Rapunzel Part 02

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Rapunzel Part 02Rapunzel Pt. 02By oggbashan ©Sequel to my 2004 version of RapunzelWith apologies to the brothers Grimm.***************Copyright Oggbashan January 2017The author asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.This is a work of fiction. The events described here are imaginary; the settings and characters are fictitious and are not intended to represent specific places or living persons.Note: Euryale was one of the Gorgons, and immortal.**************The prince Johann had survived three months with Rapunzel and her mother Euryale before they let him go in an anaemic state. Euryale didn’t tell Rapunzel that she had blinded Johann before abandoning him at the edge of the forest.She didn’t – until they had an argument three months after Prince Johann had left. Rapunzel was annoyed that she had to stay in the tower while her mother roamed the countryside. There was no reason for it, was there? Rapunzel hadn’t been a virgin for at least a thousand years so why was she ‘protected’? Even if she was only a quarter of a goddess she could protect herself, couldn’t she? If it hadn’t been for Euryale’s blood lust Rapunzel could have enjoyed Johann for years.That was when Euryale shouted back “If you want him back, you find him. He can’t find himself. I blinded him so he couldn’t lead anyone back here. If you are satisfied with a blind mortal you can have him.”Euryale stormed out in a temper leaving Rapunzel alone in the tower. From past experience Rapunzel knew that Euryale wouldn’t be back for months or years. Euryale would go to a city and drink men’s blood for a month or two before she had to move on.Euryale could enter and leave the tower without using Rapunzel’s hair because there was a snake infested underground tunnel. No snake would dare bite Euryale. It would die instantly. As Euryale’s daughter Rapunzel couldn’t be killed by snake bite but she might suffer considerable pain if she tried to use the tunnel. Rapunzel took some money from their strong box. She sighed. Euryale might be her mother, but she could be a pain. She unbound the last six feet of her hair, let it wrap itself around a strong hook and lowered herself out of the window and down the tower. She willed her hair to unwrap and it slid down the tower. She bundled it up into a backpack and covered the backpack with a large cloak. It gave her an odd shape but that was better than having her hair trail on the ground for yards. She set off through the wood looking for Prince Johann.Soon after leaving the wood she met a woodcutter heading towards it.”Have you seen a blind young man recently?” she asked.”If I had, he wouldn’t have seen me.” The woodcutter replied. “What does a pretty girl like you want with a blind man, anyway? I could do anything he could and see you while I’m doing it. How about a quick fuck?”Rapunzel’s hair flew out of her backpack and snaked around the woodcutter. He was tightly lashed into a faintly squirming bundle of braided hair. The end of Rapunzel’s plait squeezed around his throat. His face was turning from red to blue before she released her stranglehold.”I wanted a civil answer, not a suggestive one,” she said. “Have you seen a blind young man? Yes or No?””No… I’m sorry, I didn’t realise you weren’t human. Let me go, please.””I’m human enough to resent an invitation for a fuck from a sweaty peasant like you. You should be more polite to strangers. I’ll let you go in a minute, when my hair has fed. Just stay still and it won’t hurt.”The woodcutter would have pleaded again but his words were cut off in a skein of Rapunzel’s hair. When she released him there were threads of blood across his bare skin. He staggered to his feet and shuffled away.Rapunzel sighed as she piled her hair back into her backpack. This wasn’t going to be easy.She made her way to the nearest village and paid for a night at the inn. There were some strange looks because she didn’t remove her backpack even when eating but no one insulted her. She asked the landlord about any blind men. He hadn’t seen any. She wondered whether Euryale had lied to her.As she made her way up the stairs towards her room a middle-aged groom stopped her.”I might be able to help, miss…” he said nervously.”How?” Rapunzel said abruptly. She was tired and in no mood for banter.”I heard something…””What?””It might be worth a reward?” The groom was shuffling his feet.”What sort of reward?””What can you give?””Come with me,” Rapunzel said. She led the way to her room and unlocked the door. Once she and the groom were inside she locked the door again. She sat down on the bed and patted it.”Sit here,” she ordered. The groom sat beside her.”What have you got to tell me?” She asked.”Payment first…”Rapunzel’s hair snaked out, trapping the groom’s arms by his sides. His protest was muffled by a braid cutting across his mouth. Rapunzel pushed his pinioned body backwards to the bed as her braid wrapped closer and closer around him. His eyes were wide open with shock as she put her face above his.”Are you going to tell? The payment will be your freedom. If you don’t tell…”Rapunzel’s hair squeezed around his ribs forcing the air from his lungs. A loop of hair tightened around his neck. His frightened squeak died in his throat. His face was turning blue from lack of air.Rapunzel relaxed her hair’s grip.”Well?” “The blind man passed two or three months ago going West.” The groom croaked. “He was wearing a sword. I don’t know why. He can’t use it. An old crone was leading him. She had weird hair hidden under a large floppy hat.””Euryale…” Rapunzel whispered.”Who?””It doesn’t matter. Thank you.”Rapunzel released the groom. She produced a silver coin from her purse.”You could have had this without being throttled. Learn from it. People give rewards for information. The size of the reward depends on how useful your story is.”The groom rubbed his throat gingerly.”How was I to know that a pretty girl could be so dangerous?””Not all pretty girls are what they seem. Be more careful next time. Go!”She pushed her hair into her back pack. The groom scurried through the door.It was too late for her to continue that day. She’d stay overnight and go West in the morning. It should be easier to follow Prince Johann if he was with Euryale. He was going West, led by Euryale months ago? What had he been doing during the two weeks when Euryale had still been coming back to the tower? Her mother must have been looking after Johann. Why? Why had she blinded him?That night Rapunzel slept badly. She couldn’t understand what her mother was doing with Prince Johann. Westward? That was the direction of the Prince’s domain. Was she taking him to his home? Why? The next morning she paid the innkeeper for her breakfast and left. The groom saw her as she passed the stables. She waved at him. His face turned white as he scuttled back from the door.Rapunzel had walked several miles when a horse and cart came up behind her.”Lady? Want a ride?” The carter’s voice sounded friendly.Rapunzel turned round. The carter smiled at her. He looked like someone’s father. He was wearing a surprisingly well-tailored jacket.”If you are going West, yes, I’d like a ride,” she answered.The carter watched as she climbed up to sit beside him.”Where are you going?” He asked.”I’m looking for my mother,” Rapunzel answered. “She was going this way, leading a young blind man. Have you seen them?””No. But I wouldn’t have done. I haven’t been along this road for half a year. I’ve got ten miles to go, unload, and then I can go back home.””When will you get to your destination?”The carter looked up at the sun.”About eleven o’clock I think. The unloading shouldn’t take long and I should get home by dusk. My wife will be pleased to see me – because I’ll have been paid.””Not otherwise?””We need the money. I would like to be with her. She likes having me around, but I won’t get much local carting work until harvest time, and we need to eat.”As they travelled the carter talked to Rapunzel about the countryside they were passing. He didn’t ask any questions. She appreciated his tact.At his destination, a farmhouse being extended, he had some smith’s ironwork to unload. Rapunzel helped him, surprising him with her ability to carry heavy weights. The carter was paid. He looked sorrowfully at the few coins he had earned.”What’s the matter?” Rapunzel asked.”I’ve been paid the proper amount but I’m not sure we can survive the next few months on this.””If I asked you to take me to the capital, and paid you, could you take me?””The capital? We wouldn’t get there until dark. I’d have to stay overnight in an inn. I can’t afford that.””You could, if I paid you for the night’s stay and food.””Can you really pay so much, young lady?””Yes. To show you that I can, I’ll pay you for the miles you have taken me so far, and also for the rest of the way to the capital. I’ll pay for the inn. I’ll say you’re my uncle. That do?””It would – if you really have the money.”Rapunzel put a hand through a slit in her skirt to find her purse. She felt around to produce a handful of silver coins. She held them out to the carter.”Would this be enough for you to take me to the capital?” she asked.”Enough? That’s more than I would earn in a year. How rich are you?””Rich enough to prefer not to walk, uncle.”Rapunzel poured the coins into his hand. His face paled as he felt the weight of the coins.”You don’t know what this money means to me, Miss,” he said.”If it makes you and your wife comfortable, then that’s good.””It does more than that. I owe a small amount to a moneylender. He has been good to me for years, tolerant and understanding, but this money means I’d never need his services again. It can provide for emergencies.”He stopped speaking. His face brightened.”The capital? I could visit my sister-in-law if I could pay for my food. I could buy some cloth for my wife to make herself some new clothes. She’s really good as a seamstress but needs cloth to work on. Her father was a tailor. Just a few of these coins would buy enough to make her happy and busy for months.””Did she make your jacket?””Yes. That was last year when we had some money.”Rapunzel put her hand back in her pocket.”Uncle? If your wife had plenty of material, could she make clothes to sell?””Of course she could. She’s a great seamstress.””Then uncle, I’d like to invest in your wife’s skill. You have an empty cart. Buy whatever your wife might want to make clothes for others. All I ask is one tenth of her profits to be kept for me until I ask for it. Could you and she do that?””But it might take months before she makes a profit,” the carter protested.”Months, years, it doesn’t matter. Is it a deal?””I can’t refuse an offer like that. Do I need to sign a contract?””No. Just give me your name, and your word.””My name? Angus Scott. My wife is Jean. I give you my word. One tenth of the profits.””And my name is Rapunzel.”Angus’ face went pale again.”Euryale’s daughter?” he whispered.”Yes. But you are safe from me. We have an agreement between us. I won’t hurt you, nor will my mother.””I thought it was too good to be true. You’re not human, Rapunzel.””No, I’m not. But I can behave as one. And we have a deal.”Rapunzel put her hand into a slit on the other side of her skirt. She produced a gold coin worth far more than the handful of silver she had paid Angus.”This is my investment in your wife’s dressmaking. It will never need to be repaid, only one tenth of any profits from her work. Take it, Angus, please.”Angus was reluctant. His hand stretched out and withdrew slightly.”Take it,” Rapunzel repeated. “It won’t harm you, nor will I. Look…”Rapunzel took his calloused hand, dropped the gold coin into it, closed Angus’ hand around them and stroked the back of his hand.”What have you done?” Angus asked in alarm.”Gorgons, and Gorgons’ c***dren, can heal as well as harm. Try stretching your back, Angus.””My back? It’s too stiff.””It was. It isn’t now. Try it.”Angus stood up on the cart’s seat. He straightened his back. A look of disbelief was followed by joy. He swung towards Rapunzel, took her hand to his lips and kissed it.”Thank you, Rapunzel. I don’t know how, but that’s amazing.””I am – amazing,” she replied, “Or I can be to my friends. Now, on to the capital, please.” +++They talked as the horse and cart trundled slowly along. Angus knew that Rapunzel wanted to find Johann, and possibly her mother Euryale. Angus didn’t want to meet Euryale. His fear of Gorgons was too great but a beautiful Rapunzel sitting beside him didn’t look like a Gorgon.Angus plucked up his courage to ask the awkward questions.”Why, Rapunzel, were you in the tower? And why aren’t you now?”Rapunzel laughed.”Why was I? It was a long time ago. Pan wanted to make love to me. I didn’t like the idea of cloven hoofed c***dren with horns and a tail so I retreated to the tower to get away from him. Why aren’t I there now? Pan gave up hundreds of years ago. Now I want to find Johann. My mother blinded him. He didn’t deserve that. He had tried his best to please us.””If you find him, can you make him see again?””I don’t know. I know gaziantep escort what might heal his eyes – the tears of an adult virgin.””An adult virgin? In the capital? She must be rarer than hen’s teeth,” Angus protested.”I know. But there might be one. That’s all he needs.”Angus asked Rapunzel if she wanted to go to an inn in the capital, or stay with his sister-in-law.”I’ll have to pay her so she can buy food. She’s even poorer than we are since my brother died. She has a teenage son and daughter she’s trying to teach to become a tailor and seamstress to start the family business again. She makes a little money repairing clothes, and that’s their whole income.””Is she a seamstress too, Angus?””Yes, but she used to help my brother with the tailor’s business. Now he’s dead she can’t be a tailor. Only a man can be, and her son’s still too young.””How good a seamstress is she?””Nearly as good as my wife. No. I wouldn’t say it if Jean were here but Hilda is just as good as my wife.””OK, Angus. We’ll stay with your sister-in-law but I’ll pay what we would pay in an inn. That do?””She would be very pleased with that.”Once at the capital they went to Angus’ widowed sister-in-law’s house in a poor district near the market. It was a large dilapidated house with a shuttered shop on the ground floor.Angus helped Rapunzel down from the cart before he knocked on a door beside the shop front. A teenage boy opened the door.”Uncle Angus!” the boy said. “Mum will be pleased to see you.””Hans. This young lady will be staying – as a paying guest. Your mother might have to send you out shopping.””Shopping? I’ll take Jutta too. She’s better at bargaining with shopkeepers than I am but can’t carry much.”In the kitchen Hilda was baking bread. She hugged Angus and welcomed Rapunzel politely. When Angus explained that Rapunzel would be paying for both of them to stay Hilda was relieved, then astonished when Rapunzel poured some silver coins on to the kitchen table. Hilda quickly wrote a shopping list and sent Hans to find Jutta and go shopping.As soon as her c***dren had gone, Angus introduced Rapunzel.”Hilda, your guest is Rapunzel, you know, Euryale’s daughter.”Hilda was shocked.”Rapunzel, but…””You have nothing to worry about, Hilda,” Rapunzel said. “I’m here as Angus’ friend. I won’t harm you or yours.””But why…?””Why am I here? I’m looking for my mother Euryale and a blind young man who is with her. They’ve come to the capital. I don’t know why.””Euryale and a blind young man? They should be easy to find, Rapunzel. Tomorrow I’ll send the c***dren out looking and asking for you. It shouldn’t take them more than a couple of hours but it might tire Jutta.””Tire Jutta? Why?””She had a broken leg a few years ago and it didn’t set properly. You’ll see her limping when they return. I’ll just put this bread in the oven and make some tea for us. Please sit down.”Angus and Rapunzel sat at the kitchen table. Ten minutes later all three of them were drinking tea.Later, when Hilda went off to make the beds for her visitors, Rapunzel asked Angus about the shop. He sighed.”Hilda’s husband was trying to expand the business. He had bought and installed some weaving looms and was going into partnership with a master weaver. They were on a trip to buy some more equipment when they were ambushed by bandits, robbed and killed. Some of the money that was stolen had been borrowed against future profits. The business was wiped out. Hilda repaid the debt but that left her with nothing but this building. The tailor’s apprentices had sought new masters.In theory Hilda could have become their master, but she didn’t have enough money left to keep up her subscription to the tailors’ guild, or enough to even feed the apprentices.””Is there a possibility I could invest in Hilda’s business, Angus?””I’m not sure it would be a good risk, Rapunzel. When Hans is a couple of years older he could be an apprentice, and another year later Jutta could be, but Hilda hasn’t got enough to pay for them.””But if she paid her dues to the guild, could she take apprentices now?””Possibly. But she’d need a master weaver as well to run the looms.””How much money?””I don’t know, Rapunzel. As much, or maybe more, than you’ve invested into my wife’s skill.””Angus. Like my mother, I’m immortal. Time is unimportant to me. I can wait a decade or two for a return on my money. Otherwise it just sits in the tower, inaccessible to humans. Could we talk to Hilda about the possibility?””We could, Rapunzel, but I’m warning you again. It will be risky. It might be less risky if the c***dren were a few years older, and if Jutta’s leg was stronger.””Why Jutta’s leg?””If she could move better, or carry more, Jutta could help Hilda. If Hilda is to start the business again, and take on apprentices, she would need Hans and Jutta to take over the domestic activities, at least until they could afford a servant or two. At present servants are no more than a wild dream for them.”At that point Hans and Jutta came into the kitchen carrying the groceries they had bought. Hans was carrying far more than Jutta, but she was obviously in pain. Their mother, Hilda, came downstairs.”Hans, Jutta, this lady is our guest for a couple of days. Her name is Rapunzel.Hans looked shocked. Jutta was intrigued.”Rapunzel with the very long hair?” Jutta asked.”Yes. I am.” Rapunzel replied.”Aren’t you dangerous?” Hans blurted out.”Not to friends, nor when I’m a guest in your house, Hans. But I can be dangerous, mainly to adult men. Until you are a few years older, you’re safe from me.””But Uncle Angus isn’t?” Hans insisted.”He’s a friend. He’s safe from me unless my hair is loose. That’s why it isn’t.”Jutta looked disappointed.”So I can’t see it?””You could, if your uncle wasn’t in the same room. Not while he is. But, I want something from you, Jutta. If I let you see my hair, will you let me see and touch your damaged leg?””Why would you want to do that?” Jutta asked.”I might…”Angus interrupted.”Rapunzel can be a healer, Jutta. She might be able to help with your leg.””But the doctor said nothing could be done, short of breaking it again and resetting it, and that might make me worse,” Jutta said.”I won’t make it worse, Jutta. My touch wouldn’t even hurt. Is it a deal? You see and touch my hair; I see and touch your leg.””When Uncle Angus isn’t here?” Hans asked.”That would be best.””I can take a hint, Rapunzel. I’ll go and see to the horse. Hans? Will you come to tell me when it is safe for me to come back?””Of course, Uncle Angus. I will.” Hans replied. “Mum, Jutta, please let Rapunzel try. You have nothing to lose, and possibly it will help. I trust Rapunzel. Please?”Hilda still looked worried.”Please Mum,” Jutta asked.”I’m off,” Angus said. “See you soon.””Are you sure it won’t hurt her?” Hilda asked Rapunzel.”It won’t. Nor will my hair.” She replied.”Very well. The c***dren would like to see your hair first. To be honest, so would I. Is it really that dangerous?””To men? Yes. To women and c***dren? No.”Rapunzel shrugged her back pack off her shoulders. Some of her braided hair came out as she pulled the pack around to her front. The two c***dren helped her to unfasten the thongs. Her hair shone like spun gold in the kitchen. Gradually the full length of it was revealed, covering the kitchen table in lustrous coils. Jutta and Hans were fascinated. Even Hilda was surprised at the amount of hair.”What can you do with it?” Jutta asked.”I can use it as a caress, or a weapon,” Rapunzel replied. “I can make it do almost anything.”Hilda was doubtful. Jutta persuaded her. Rapunzel’s hair pulsed across the kitchen table in waves before forming itself into the shape of a body on the table.”What do you think of that?” Rapunzel asked.”It’s odd,” Jutta said, “but it shows you’re not the human you look like.””Could we touch your hair?” Hans asked.”Yes, Hans, you can now. But never when you are older,” Rapunzel replied.Hans and Jutta gently stroked the hair on the table.”That’s enough,” Hilda said. “You’ve seen Rapunzel’s hair. That will be something to tell your c***dren eventually.”Rapunzel gradually wound up her hair. All four of them helped to braid it and fasten it with the leather thongs before Rapunzel put it into her backpack. “Now, Jutta, I want to look at your leg,” Rapunzel said. “Could you lie down on the kitchen table?”Hilda and Hans helped Jutta to get on the table and straighten her body. Jutta pulled her skirt above her knees. Jutta’s right leg was distorted below the knee and shortened. Her right shoe had a wooden patten strapped underneath it to try to match the length of her left leg.Rapunzel’s hands gently stroked Jutta’s leg from knee to ankle. Hans and Hilda watched in amazement as Jutta’s leg straightened. Jutta couldn’t see what was happening but showed no sign of pain as the change took place.”Your hands are very gentle,” Jutta said. “They feel like soft feathers on my skin.”Hans nearly said something. Hilda held a finger to her lips to warn him to keep quiet as Rapunzel continued to stroke Jutta’s leg. After five minutes she stopped.”Jutta, you can sit up now,” Rapunzel said.Jutta sat up. Her legs were still visible below her raised hem. They matched now except for the useless patten on her right shoe. Rapunzel nodded to Hans to take the patten off. He had to cut the laces holding it.”Can you stand up?” Hilda asked.Jutta slid off the table. Her skirt fell downwards. She still hadn’t realised what had happened. She staggered as her two feet hit the floor at once. Hilda was there to support her. Jutta looked shocked. She stood and moved her right foot experimentally, putting her weight on it very carefully. It held. She took a couple of steps holding on to Hilda’s arm before letting that support go. Jutta walked to the end of the kitchen, turned around and walked halfway back.Suddenly she ran towards Rapunzel and gave her a fierce hug.”Thank you, thank you,” Jutta shouted as the tears ran down her cheeks. Hilda was crying too. Hans pretended that he wasn’t but he joined Jutta in hugging Rapunzel. “You can tell your Uncle Angus that he can come back,” Rapunzel said.”I’ll go,” Jutta replied before Hans could. “I can get to the stable easily now.””Be careful, Jutta,” Rapunzel warned, “at least for a few days until you are used to the change…”Jutta was out of the kitchen before Rapunzel had finished speaking. Hilda came towards Rapunzel warily but accepted a hug beside her son. Rapunzel kissed Hilda on the forehead.”What have you done, Rapunzel?” Hilda asked cautiously.”Later, Hilda. I’ll tell you later,” Rapunzel said.After the evening meal and when Hans and Jutta had gone to bed, Rapunzel, Angus and Hilda sat around the kitchen table.Rapunzel explained what had happened with Prince Johann, and that she was looking for him and possibly Euryale who might be with him.”Why?” Hilda asked. “You seem to have used him and then tossed him out.””He might be stupid, but he didn’t deserve to be blinded by Euryale. If I can, I’d like to make him see again…””With the tears of an adult virgin?” Angus protested. “You might as well be looking for a unicorn.””But you’re a healer, Rapunzel,” Hilda said. “What you have done to Jutta’s leg is amazing. But what did you do for me and Hans? I felt something change when you kissed me.””You two? As I did for Angus. I wish I could heal Prince Johann’s blindness like that. I can’t. My mother will have caused his blindness by magic that I can’t undo. I just healed the few things that were wrong with both of you. You and Hans are reasonably fit and well so a hug or a kiss was enough. Fixing Angus’ back took slightly more from me. Mending Jutta’s leg was much harder, but now it is repaired it will stay that way even as she grows.””Thank you, Rapunzel. That was very kind of you.””Kind? I had another motive as well. I have invested in Angus’ wife so that she can produce and sell clothes. She’ll pay me ten per cent of any profits when there are some. I want to support you to start up the weaving and tailoring business again, Hilda. When you make profits, save ten per cent for me.””But… That needs money. I don’t…””I have money, but you need more than that. You need Hans and Jutta to be able to help you more around the house if you are going to run a business. Now Jutta’s leg is better, she can do more until the business is established. Later both of them can be apprentices.””Rapunzel? You are talking about more money that I could possibly repay for a decade.””I’m immortal, Hilda. A decade? That’s a short time for me. Euryale and I have plenty of money from investing in people over centuries. How much would you need, to hire a weaver, pay your guild dues, get cloth and repair the house?””I don’t know, Rapunzel. I just don’t know.”Rapunzel reached into a skirt pocket and produced five gold coins.”This enough, Hilda?”Hilda’s face went white with shock.”With that much I could hire half the tailors in the city. Two gold coins would be ample, Rapunzel. Even if my business became successful I’d never be able to repay five.””Two it is,” Rapunzel replied giresun escort handing them over.+++The next day Hilda sent Hans and Jutta out into the city to try to find a blind young man and a woman with odd hair. They went different ways but came back together three hours later.”The woman with odd hair was here but left a couple of months ago,” Hans said. “She was with a blind man at first but he vanished shortly before she did. Jutta knows more.””I spoke to a sentry at the Royal Palace,” Jutta said. “He’s always been friendly to me perhaps because he has a daughter of my age. He told me the blind man had been arrested because he was wearing a sword. He is somewhere in the Palace, apparently treated well but not allowed to leave.””Thank you,” Rapunzel said. “Now I have to get into the Palace to see if I can find Prince Johann. I’m puzzled. Even blinded they should have recognised him. His sword alone should identify him.”The c***dren left to get ready for bed.”Perhaps they have identified him,” Angus suggested when the c***dren had gone. “but didn’t want people to know that their Prince was blind.””I’ll try tomorrow,” Rapunzel said.”Tomorrow I’ll have to go back home,” Angus said. “My wife will be worried if I’m away more than a night or two. Will you come and visit us, Rapunzel, please? I’m sure Jean would like to thank you. We’ll be free of debt and able to support ourselves.””How will you get back to your tower?” Hilda asked. “Walk,” Rapunzel replied. “I might have to stay at an inn for one night but Angus’ cart doesn’t go much faster than I can walk.””Won’t that be dangerous? An attractive woman walking on her own?” Hilda said.Rapunzel laughed.”But I’m not a woman, Hilda. I’m an immortal monster. I’m more dangerous to men than they are to me.””You haven’t behaved like a monster. You’ve healed Jutta. You’re helping me.””Even monsters can appreciate friends, Hilda. Tomorrow I’ll try to get into the Palace to see my friend Prince Johann.””Will he want to see you, Rapunzel?” Angus asked. “You and your mother treated him badly.””He won’t SEE me, Angus. He can’t. But he enjoyed most of his time with us. I didn’t blind him. My mother did, and if I can I want to reverse that. Why she did it? I don’t know. She must have had a reason. She doesn’t do bad things just because she can. Feeding her hair is different. She and I have to do that sometimes but if we stop soon enough it isn’t life-threatening. Her hair hurts more than mine does but doesn’t kill. Or rather doesn’t HAVE to kill. If we are attacked? That’s different. We’ll react and the attacker will probably die.””I still find it difficult to think of you as a monster, Rapunzel,” Hilda said.”Angus and Hans had the right reaction to me, Hilda. They were afraid of me. I’m no threat to Hans now. He’s too young. But when he’s adult? Most women are afraid of me too because of the damage I can do to their men. But you, your c***dren, and Angus are friends. You are safe from me. Even Prince Johann was safe from me as far as his life was concerned.” +++Early the next morning Angus left to go home. Hilda and the c***dren were working together on plans to restart the tailor’s business but Jutta had difficulty concentrating. She wanted to skip, to dance, and to enjoy her healed leg.Rapunzel made her way to the Palace. She asked a guard if she could talk to the officer of the day. The guard was reluctant but agreed to call his sergeant after Rapunzel have him two silver coins. The sergeant required five silver coins before he took Rapunzel to the guard office.”Young lady,” he said after he had shut the door, “I appreciate the money. I will take you to our officer if that’s what you want but I should warn you. He’s a nobleman, a rich nobleman. He doesn’t take bribes but…””But?” Rapunzel prompted.”He likes pretty young women. What he wants is their bodies, not their money. I shouldn’t say this but he’s a lecher.””I’ll try to forget that you were the one who told me,” Rapunzel said. “I’ll still like to see him, please.””I have warned you,” the sergeant said.”You have, and I appreciate that, but I need to see him.””Very well.” The sergeant stood up. “Please don’t blame me for whatever he does.””I won’t, Sergeant.”Rapunzel followed him along a passageway. The sergeant knocked on the door and waited to be told to come in. He put his head around the door.”A young lady wishes to see you, Sir,” he said.Rapunzel heard the officer’s voice.”Is she pretty?””Yes, sir, very.””Then send her in.”The sergeant stood aside and motioned for Rapunzel to enter the room. She walked in. The officer stood up. The sergeant shut the door.”Well, young lady? You wanted to see me? Why?””I want to talk to Prince Johann, Sir.””Prince Johann? He went missing months ago.””And now he’s back,” Rapunzel retorted.”Is he?””Yes. He’s back and he’s blind.”The officer looked at Rapunzel quizzically.”Is he now? You’re sure of your facts?””Yes. Prince Johann is back in the Palace but he’s blind.””If I believe you, what do I get in exchange for taking you to Princess Eleanor?””Princess Eleanor? Who’s she?””Princess Eleanor is looking after Prince Johann. They became engaged recently. No one else would look at her and he can’t.””I don’t understand, Sir.””You will when and if you see Princess Eleanor. But what do I get first?”Rapunzel sighed. She lifted the front of her skirt above her knees. The officer’s eyes dropped.”Ah. Yes. That could be a satisfactory payment. Follow me.”The officer walked into another room. There was a prominent bed. The officer pushed Rapunzel on to the bed. She lay back and hitched up her skirt to show her blonde bush.”There you are. I get to see the Princess. You get what you think you want.”The officer wasn’t listening. He shed his clothes as fast as he could before climbing on top of Rapunzel. His hands stroked her bush for a minute or two before he lifted himself to penetrate her. Rapunzel’s legs spread further. He didn’t notice that her hair was wriggling around her head. As he plunged deeper Rapunzel’s hair slowly wrapped itself across his back and legs. He pumped harder. He gasped as Rapunzel’s hair clamped across him.He was forced further inside Rapunzel than he had been inside any woman. He tried to pull back. Her hair stopped him. He tried to lift himself with his arms. The hair lashed around them, tying his arms to his body as he slumped with his head beside Rapunzel’s. His protest was stifled by a hair gag tightly wrapped around his mouth. He ejaculated helplessly into Rapunzel. He was no longer the sexual predator but Rapunzel’s victim. She sighed with pleasure as her hair started to drink blood from his naked body. His futile struggles slowly subsided as he knew that he could not get free.”Now, Sir,” Rapunzel whispered to his ear, “You have had what you wanted. So have I. If I get to see Princess Eleanor I’ll let you free. If not?”Some of her hair flexed around his neck and squeezed.”You’ll die? Is that clear?”The officer nodded his head as much as he could. He had limited movement but the nodding was repeated.”I see the Princess?”The nodding was more frantic.”Good.”Rapunzel relaxed the noose around his neck. She moved so that she was sitting up looking down at his body tightly wrapped in golden hair. She uncovered his mouth so he could talk even if he was face-down on the bed.”Who are you?” his muffled voice asked.”A better question, Sir,” Rapunzel’s voice was mocking, “would be ‘what are you?’. I’m not a defenceless human female. I’m a Gorgon’s c***d and you, Sir, are my victim. You’ll live but be more careful in future. Not everyone is what they look like.””You won’t harm the Princess or the Prince?” “I won’t harm them in any way. I promise.””If I thought you would, I’d rather die than take you to see the Princess.””I’m pleased you have that much respect for your duty but the only person at risk is you. You still are. Betray me and I could kill you in seconds. Understood?””Yes.” Rapunzel released the officer.”Get dressed,” she ordered.He dressed himself frantically.”That won’t do,” Rapunzel said. “Look in the mirror. You’re supposed to be a guard officer not a sloppily dressed private. Sort yourself out.”He rearranged his tunic, combed his hair, and refastened his trousers.”OK,” he said. “We’ll go to see Princess Eleanor. I’ll have to wait outside the door to take you back to the gate.”Rapunzel followed him. He stopped to put his head around another door.”Ralph? Can you stand in for me for about half an hour? I have to escort a lady.””A lady? You dirty dog! Yes, but you’ll owe me.”They went on through the Palace’s corridors and down a flight of stairs. They seemed to be in the basement. The officer knocked at an inconspicuous door.”Stay here,” he whispered to Rapunzel.A female voice said “Enter”.The officer went in, shutting the door behind him. Rapunzel waited a couple of minutes. He opened the door again and came out.”You can go in. I’ll be waiting out here until you’ve finished.” Rapunzel walked into the room. A woman was sitting with her back to the door.”Stay there. Don’t come any further. What do you want?””I want to talk to you and to Prince Johann,” Rapunzel replied.”To my fiancé? Why?””Because I might be able to help him get his sight back, Princess Eleanor.””And if I don’t want him to get his sight back? What then?””Why wouldn’t you want the Prince to have his sight back?” Rapunzel was startled.”Because then he might not want me as his fiancée. He can’t see me so he doesn’t know what I look like. If he could? Would he want me?”Princess Eleanor stood up and turned around. Rapunzel winced involuntarily. Eleanor’s face was disfigured by scar tissue. The end of her nose was missing with the nostrils enlarged and almost flat to her face.”He likes my turned-up nose. Do you? Who are you? Who?””I’m Rapunzel, Euryale’s daughter.””Rapunzel!” Princess Eleanor almost shrieked and then started hysterical laughter. It took Eleanor a couple of minutes before she could speak again.”Why would he want to talk to you? Your mother blinded him.””Did she say why?””Does it matter?””Yes, Princess Eleanor, it does. My mother doesn’t do things without a reason. I don’t know why she blinded Prince Johann but I think she must have told him why. Has he told you?””Yes, he has. I think we do need to talk, Rapunzel.”Princess Eleanor clapped her hands. A woman servant put her head cautiously around a door.”Tell the officer standing outside the door, from me, that he is to come back in two hours time.””Yes Ma’am,” the servant said with a curtsey.”Then bring us some tea.””Yes Ma’am.” The servant went out through the door Eleanor had come in.”Sit down facing me, Rapunzel. I don’t often talk to people face to face. It upsets them. I feel like upsetting you.”Rapunzel sat down.”It won’t upset me,” Rapunzel said. “It was a shock the first time but not now. How…?””…did it happen? I was a toddler and I escaped from my nurse. I found my way to my Palace’s kitchens and tipped over a pot of boiling water. My face took almost all of it. My layers of clothing protected my body but not my hands.”Eleanor held out her hands. Like her face they were a mass of scar tissue.”If I hadn’t been the fifth daughter they might have taken more care of me but one of my older sisters was having a tantrum and all the servants’ attention was on her. They didn’t notice me slipping away.”The tea was brought in. The servant poured two cups before leaving.”If you or I want more than one cup I’ll have to summon a servant or ask you to pour. My hands aren’t steady enough.””Thank you. One will probably be enough. Can we talk your about your fiancé and my mother?””OK,” Princess Eleanor sighed, “If we must. My family and Prince Johann’s thought we should be suitable partners even when we were very young. It wasn’t fixed. It was just a possibility that might work when we were adults. My accident changed that. I was no longer acceptable as a wife and potential Queen. Princesses and Queens are expected to be beautiful. I’m not and can’t be. When Prince Johann came back blind his parents were horrified. He couldn’t be a blind King. But because he was blind he wouldn’t know what I look like. Our parents resurrected the match between me and Johann. A blind Prince wouldn’t know that I was a disfigured Princess. We could be happy together, perhaps, even if no longer as rulers. I was brought to this Palace in a closed coach and met Johann again. We get on reasonably well, perhaps better than most of the nobility in arranged marriages.Johann likes my voice. He knows I’m scarred but he doesn’t know what I look like. He likes my gentle touch. He even likes my snub nose.”Eleanor’s laugh had an edge to it.”We talk a lot. Johann likes talking. He says that when he is talking to me he can forget for a while that he is blind. He told me about you and your mother, Rapunzel. He almost loves you. He said that you warned him several times before he climbed up into your tower. Is that true?””Yes. I tried to tell him he was being stupid. He didn’t listen.””That’s why Euryale blinded him, or that’s what she said. Johann said she escort bayan was very fierce with him. She told him that he was stupid. He judged by appearances only and didn’t think before acting. As a blind man appearance wouldn’t influence his judgement. As a blind man he would have to think carefully before he did anything, even to take a step. She kept him in a hut in the forest for two weeks visiting him a couple of times a day. She told him to make sure he knew his way instinctively around that hut before taking a step outside. He had to learn to use his other senses, particularly touch.””He had been impulsive before,” Rapunzel said. “What happened?””Euryale took him to the city slowly walking. She told him that he had to learn to depend on someone else. Being a Prince wasn’t enough. He would be responsible for other people. He had to learn how much other people would depend on him by being someone else’s dependant. He must learn humility and the importance of caring for others.I can see what she meant. Johann is almost totally dependent on me. Of course he has servants but it’s not the same. I am his prop, his partner-to-be, his guide and teacher. Like him I was taught how to be a ruler of my people. Unlike him I actually took notice of the instruction. He’s learning from me but what’s the point? As a blind Prince and a disfigured Princess we can’t rule anything or anyone no matter how qualified we are. We are just useless hangers-on, perpetually marginalised.””Princess Eleanor, can I ask you a very personal question, please?” Rapunzel said. “It is important otherwise I wouldn’t ask.””I suppose so, if you must.””Are you a virgin?””What!””Are you a virgin?” Rapunzel repeated.”Yes! Yes! I fucking well am. Or not. No fucking for me ever! Who would want to fuck me except with a bag over my head? You don’t put bags on Princesses’ heads. I’m a virgin and will be until and unless Prince Johann marries me in a private ceremony. I’m a virgin.”Eleanor began to cry. Rapunzel started forward, grabbing a napkin. She stopped herself.”No. That won’t do.” Rapunzel said to herself.”What won’t do? That I’m a virgin? Do you think I want to be a virgin? Perhaps forever if Johann gets his sight back?””No. That’s not what I meant, Eleanor. Humour me for a few minutes while we talk some more.”Eleanor picked up her tea and drank it, looking suspiciously at Rapunzel.”Well? What else?””If, let’s talk about a fantasy scenario, you and Johann became rulers. Would he take advice from you? Would he listen to you? Who would actually take decisions? You? Or him?””That is a fantastic suggestion but you did ask me to humour you. They are interesting questions. Before he was blinded I think the answers would have been different. I didn’t know him very well then but I have been told what he WAS like. He was impetuous, took stupid risks, and didn’t think deeply. It might have been that he was still immature despite being in his twenties. His parents were very disappointed that he wasn’t what he should and could have been. Now? He takes my advice. He listens to me. Sometimes he even defers to my judgement. If we were actually rulers? I can influence him now without him really knowing I’m manipulating him. If he was a King? Most but not all of the time I think I could stop him acting rashly. I ought to be able to prevent him from doing anything really disastrous. In a few years’ time and after we are married I think I could do much better than that.””That was what I wanted to hear, Eleanor. That was why my mother blinded Prince Johann. He wasn’t taking any notice of the good advice he was being given. As a blind man he has learned at least some discretion and how to depend on others. Another odd question. Are you right or left-handed?””I was right handed but my right hand was more injured than my left so I use my left hand almost as much. Why?””Trust me for a couple of minutes more. Please give me your left hand.”Eleanor hesitated. She sat forward and extended her left hand. She tried to straighten out the fingers. That obviously hurt.Rapunzel held Eleanor’s left hand with her own right while gently stroking it with her left hand. Slowly Eleanor’s fingers lost the scar tissue and straightened fully. Eleanor watched in amazement.”How?” she breathed.”I can heal. Your injuries are old but I can heal all of them. You can have perfect hands and the face you should have. I can’t heal Johann’s blindness. You can.””I can? How? I’m not a healer, Rapunzel.””Johann’s blindness was caused by my mother’s magic, not by injury. That magic can only be reversed by the tears of an adult virgin. You are an adult virgin. Your tears on his eyes will remove his blindness.””And then he will see me as I am and reject me.””No he won’t. He will see you as you should be, uninjured and unscarred, just as your left hand is.””And how do I explain the changes?””We need witnesses, important witnesses, who can testify that magic healing was used. The King and Queen perhaps? If they see their son being healed they will believe it.”+++Three hours later Prince Johann, Princess Eleanor and Rapunzel were in the King and Queen’s audience chamber. The officer of the guard was standing beside Rapunzel. Eleanor was sitting on a settee with Prince Johann’s head on her lap. His parents were standing to one side. Facing the settee were a dozen of the most important nobles of their kingdom.Princess Eleanor looked straight at the nobles. Some couldn’t bear to look at her disfigured face.”This lady,” Eleanor said, pointing at Rapunzel, “is Rapunzel, Euryale’s daughter. She has healing powers which she has already used on one of my hands.”Princess Eleanor held up her left hand, wiggling her fingers.”She is going to heal my other scars while all of you watch. Rapunzel?”Rapunzel walked forward followed by the guard officer who looked very nervous. She stood behind the settee so that everyone could see Eleanor. She picked up Eleanor’s right hand and showed the scarring. Rapunzel held that hand while stroking it. Gradually Eleanor’s right hand lost the scar tissue. As she finished, Rapunzel held Eleanor’s hand up before Eleanor demonstrated how flexible her healed hand was.Eleanor reached behind herself so that the Queen could examine the restored hand.”And now she will repair my other injuries,” Eleanor announced.Rapunzel stroked Eleanor’s face for several minutes. The reddish scar tissue slowly disappeared as if it was make up being removed. Eleanor’s nose took another couple of minutes. When Rapunzel lifted her hands away a pert, slightly turned up, and very attractive nose was revealed. Some of the nobility clapped. Prince Johann turned his head towards the sound. Eleanor’s hand moved it back to her lap.”I can’t cure Prince Johann’s blindness,” Rapunzel announced. “It was caused by magic. But Princess Eleanor can.”Rapunzel held out her hand to the officer who passed her a mirror. Eleanor moved Johann’s head and leant forward.”Johann? Please open your eyelids as if you were looking at me.” Eleanor asked.Johann’s eyelids opened to reveal blank eyes. Rapunzel held the mirror so Eleanor could see her own face. Eleanor gasped. Her tears began to flow, tears of happiness. She let them fall on Johann’s blank eyes. He blinked as the first tear hit him.”Open! Keep them open!” Eleanor ordered fiercely.The King and Queen leant forward. As they watched Eleanor’s tears dropped onto Johann’s eyes. The blankness cleared. He was looking at Eleanor and seeing her. He smiled.”You’re beautiful, Eleanor, just as I thought you were,” he said, blinking again as more tears fell all over his face. Eleanor smiled down at him before bending forward to kiss him.”Thank you, Rapunzel,” the King said. Rapunzel had stood back after the mirror had taken effect.”We can’t thank you enough,” the Queen said. “But we’d like to know more.””Later,” Rapunzel said.Prince Johann had sat up. He had picked Princess Eleanor up and lifted her on to his lap. Oblivious of the people standing around them they kissed, smiled, kissed again. Eventually Prince Johann stood up, pulling Princess Eleanor to stand beside him.”I would like to introduce you to my fiancée, Princess Eleanor,” he announced, “Who is as beautiful as I thought she should be.”Eleanor blushed. The guard officer snapped his fingers. Servants who had been waiting at the edges of the room came forward with champagne for everyone.”To Prince Johann and Princess Eleanor,” the King said loudly, raising his glass.”Prince Johann and Princess Eleanor,” they dutifully echoed back.Eleanor raised her glass.”And to Rapunzel who made this happen,” she said.”Rapunzel.”The next half hour was an anticlimax. The healing had been witnessed. The nobles congratulated Johann and Eleanor who stood with their arms wrapped around each other.Rapunzel and the Queen stood a little apart. Rapunzel explained to the Queen what she had already said to Eleanor, that Euryale’s infliction of blindness on Johann had been to try to teach him responsibility and consideration. His mother wasn’t convinced but admitted that Johann had changed for the better.After half an hour Rapunzel said goodbye to the Prince and Princess. They were grateful but weren’t reluctant to let her go. A gorgon’s daughter is a dangerous guest.Rapunzel went over to the guard officer.”You can now escort me out of the Palace,” she told him, “unless you’d like…”He turned pale.”No. You’re not human.””I’m not. But beware. I’m not the only monster that looks like a young woman.””Won’t they want you to stay around?””No. No one wants a monster even if she doesn’t look like one. No one wanted Princess Eleanor when she looked as she did. I’m going back home.”+++Rapunzel went back to Hilda’s house for the night. The next morning she set off to walk back to her tower. She’d have to use a flaming torch to get past the snakes in the tunnel but she’d take a couple of spare torches. Halfway back to the tower she stopped at a large inn for the night. It was busy. The food was good and the service was efficient. The flaw was the landlady’s adult son. He was an obnoxious drunk annoying any women. He sought out Rapunzel as the only young woman on her own. He made several crude suggestions that produced laughter from his equally drunken friends. At the end of the evening she walked up to him.”You have been talking a lot. Are you too drunk to do the actions to match your words? You look strong enough, perhaps.””Perhaps! I can do better than perhaps, Missy.””Come on. Prove you are the man you say you are.”He followed Rapunzel upstairs to her room. She helped his fumbling hands to undress him.”No peeking!” Rapunzel said, pushing him on to the bed.She blew out the candles and undressed before straddling him.”Hey!” He protested. “I fuck you.””No you don’t. You get fucked. By me.”Rapunzel’s hair slithered around him as she stroked his flaccid erection into partial stiffness.”What are you doing?” The man was beginning to appreciate that he was Rapunzel’s victim as her hair tightened around his body. He might have said more but her hair gagged him into silence.Rapunzel impaled herself on his erection as he vainly struggled to free himself. She rode him mercilessly until she was satisfied that she had achieved enough orgasms. She relaxed her hair gagging him. He could speak.”Now, Sir,” Rapunzel said, “I want more of you tonight, much more. You aren’t going anywhere until I say so.”She had to give him enough slack to use the chamber pot a couple of times during the night. After each time Rapunzel rode him hard, stifling his protests with her hair over his mouth. Eventually she let him sleep and allowed her hair to draw some of his blood.In the morning she rode him again. He was exhausted and almost motionless on the bed as Rapunzel unwound her hair. She tied his hands to the bed head with some of the thongs she used around her hair. She stuffed his mouth with a hand towel and tied that in place. He didn’t have strength to resist as she fastened his legs together around his ankles and knees.Rapunzel went down to eat a good breakfast. Afterwards she went to find the landlady and pay.”Your son is…” Rapunzel started to say.”…a nuisance,” The landlady finished.”More than a nuisance. He is bad for your business.””I know he is, but he is my son.””I taught him a lesson last night. I’ve left him tied to the bed in my room. I suggest, and it’s only a suggestion, that you leave him there for some hours.””You’ve tied him to the bed? But he is a strong lad.””Not strong enough to wear out a woman.””I wish…””Wish what?””That a woman would show him that he isn’t as great as he thinks he is.””I may have done that. Another suggestion for you. Send one of your oldest maids to untie him, or several maids to laugh at his predicament.””That’s a thought. I’ll send his fiancée and her sisters. She’s been trying to get him to behave better. She will never let him forget last night.””That sounds good.”Rapunzel left the inn. She reached her tower in the middle of the afternoon. She lit a torch to walk through the snake-infested tunnel. She wasn’t feeling very charitable to Euryale’s snakes. Whether they sensed that? She didn’t know but she passed uns**thed. The tower might be boring but it had the familiarity of home. She’d stay there for a while until she wanted to hunt a man to feed her hair, or some stupid Prince came asking Rapunzel to let down her hair. The End.

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