Chapter 17: The Lantern Festival
'Dragons' – Dragonese
Much to the dragons' dismay, they had to wait on the border line of the trees while Rapunzel, Eugene, Hiccup, Carlos, and Max entered the city. They could easily tell that she was very excited to finally be here. As they were walking, Eugene noticed another wanted poster of him and quickly grabbed and crumbled it. He turned to Max who was glaring at him and he shoved the crumbled paper into the horse's mouth. But then Max spit it out and spread out on Eugene's face. Max and the boys laughed at that. However that upset Eugene and he started to get into a fight with the horse. Then the two heard Pascal who was glaring at them, warning them to behave. The two separated and shoved each other with deadpan faces.
Up ahead, Rapunzel was gazing at everything that was going on as people walked by her. Then she kept bumping into people and tried to avoid getting hurt. Unfortunately she was tugged by her hair when someone had stepped on it and saw Eugene and the boys collecting it, trying to prevent it from getting caught onto something. Once they gathered all of her hair, the four of them tried to think of a way to keep her hair from getting stepped on. Then Eugene spotted four red hair girls braiding each other's hair at a fountain. That's when he got an idea. He whistled at them and gestured the pile of hair in their arms. The girls were shocked at the amount of hair and decided to braid her long hair.
Meanwhile, Eugene and the boys were watching Rapunzel getting her hair braided while trying to stay hidden from the guards who passed by. Then Eugene, Hiccup, Carlos, Pascal, and Max stared at Rapunzel whose hair was beautifully double braided with flowers and twirled around with a smile.
"Oooh, thank you." Rapunzel thanked the four little girls as she awed at her new hairstyle.
Eugene smiled at her awed expression. He had to admit that she looked beautiful with her hair like that. He turned and saw Max and the boys grinning and wiggling their eyebrows at him. He playful shoved Max's face away from him who neighed playful as well while Hiccup and Carlos chuckled. Throughout most of the afternoon, Rapunzel was gazing at each stand they came across as they walked. Soon enough, the gang got hungry and Eugene decided to get them something to eat. As they waited in line, Rapunzel and the boys spotted a tile art style mural of a man and woman holding a little girl in their arms. The man had short brown hair with a beard and blue eyes while the woman had long brown hair and green eyes. Both were wearing crowns which meant that they were the King and Queen of Corona. In the woman's arms, the baby girl had short blond hair and green eyes that appeared to be wearing some sort of crown. There were a few people standing in front of it. Vases of flowers were laid right near it. Then they spotted a woman sitting down with a little girl in her lap while another one, who looked to be the older one, was holding a flower in her hand.
"It's for the lost princess." The little girl said as she placed the flower near the mural.
The three looked back up at the mural. For some strange reason, the little girl looked familiar to them. Before they could question about it, Rapunzel heard music and spotted a small group of musicians and decided to follow them. By the time, Eugene got the food he spotted Rapunzel dancing to the music that the musicians were playing. Then she started making other people join the dance. The five watched Rapunzel twirl around with the people until she saw the group and gestured them to join. But Eugene shook his head which meant 'no way'. However Max pushed him into the crowd which he was grabbed by a woman to join him to a dance. So the remaining four chuckled at his expression and watched him dance. Then Max and Pascal gestured to Hiccup and Carlos to join. Figuring that Max would make them go anyway, they went into the crowd. As the afternoon went by, the group was having the time of their lives. Dancing, looking through books in small libraries, trying delicious treats, drawing pictures with chalk on the ground, buying some souvenirs, while trying to remain hidden from the guards. Right at the end of the day, the dance in the square was coming to a finish and Rapunzel was twirling until she ended in Eugene's arms, both out of breath.
"To the boats!" A man yelled as the two separated.
Later, Rapunzel and Eugene along with Pascal were in a boat heading into the water. He wanted Rapunzel to get the best seat to see the lanterns. As they were heading off, Eugene glanced at the saddened Max on the docks along with Hiccup and Carlos.
"Hey Max!" Eugene said as he grabbed a bag from the boat and threw over to the dock which bright red apples came out. Max stared and then frowned at Eugene. "What? I bought them."
That relieved Max as he began eating the apples.
"Most of them." Eugene added with a smile which caused Max to halt in eating the apples.
"Don't worry, Max. No one else will find out." Hiccup assured the horse.
Max pondered for a moment and began eating the apples again.
Night had finally arrived. The lanterns were about to be released. Hiccup, Carlos, Max along with their dragons were getting excited about it. Luckily their dragons were able to come over without anyone seeing them since it was night out.
"I wonder how Rapunzel and Eugene are doing out there." Carlos pondered.
"Rapunzel's probably super excited." Hiccup replied.
"I can imagine. She's been thinking about this moment her entire life." Carlos commented.
"But there's something that's bugging me." Hiccup stated.
"What is it?" Carlos asked.
"What will Rapunzel do after she sees the lanterns?" Hiccup questioned.
"Don't know, maybe she'll find something new to see." Carlos answered.
"Maybe." Hiccup confirmed.
At that moment, a lantern had been released. Soon enough, there were thousands of them. The group on the docks couldn't help but awe at it. To them, it was absolutely beautiful, like the night sky became even brighter than ever before.
"Wow." Hiccup and Carlos awed.
"Pretty." The dragons awed as well.
Then the two lite their lanterns and let them join the others in the sky. Hiccup and Carlos couldn't help but feel lucky that they got to experience something like this.
"I have to admit that this is amazing." Hiccup commented.
"Yeah, somehow it reminds me of home." Carlos said, "But it's just as good as the ones back home."
"You know, we should come here next time we're around Corona." Hiccup suggested.
"I can agree to that." Carlos agreed.
"Me too." Toothless crooned.
"Me three." Cielo crooned.
"Me four." Sharpshot warbled excitedly.
Max neighed excitedly as well which caused the group to chuckle at the possible hope of seeing another lantern festival. Soon enough, all of the lanterns went up in the sky and were out of sight. The group stayed at the docks and waited for Eugene and Rapunzel to return. Hiccup and Carlos couldn't help but feel like something was wrong.
"They should've been back by now." Carlos said.
"What could be taking them so long?" Hiccup questioned.
"Why do I get the feeling that something isn't right?" Toothless asked.
"So I guess we're not the only ones." Hiccup commented.
"Maybe we should go look for them." Carlos suggested.
The two were about to mount their dragons until they heard a male voice nearby.
"No! No! No! Wait, guys! Guys!"
The group went towards the voice and spotted Eugene being restrained by the castle guards.
"RAPUNZEL!" Eugene shouted before he was escorted roughly away from the docks.
The group turned towards the woods with shock and worry on their faces.
"We have to find her!" Carlos declared.
"But we don't know where she is! We'll get lost if we follow after her!" Hiccup reasoned.
"Okay, we'll wait until sunrise. But what about Eugene? How are we going to help him?" Carlos questioned.
"There's like a hundred guards in that castle. Not to mention that we don't know where the dungeon is. For assets, we have ourselves, three dragons, and a horse. Do you think we have a chance of getting him out?" Hiccup pointed out.
"Well, we'll need a plan in order to get him out." Carlos added.
Max neighed at the two boys.
"Do you have a plan, Max?" Hiccup asked.
Max neighed again and gestured the two to get on his back.
"Whatever you got for a plan, Max, we'll go with it." Carlos said as he and Hiccup mounted on Max's saddle.
"Let's go!" Hiccup ordered.
Then Max went off like a shot and went over the bridge, leaving the kingdom behind them with the dragons following them.
The group soon arrived at a familiar place: The Snuggly Duckling.
"What are we doing here, Max?" Hiccup asked as he and Carlos dismounted Max.
The three walked up to the door and knocked. The bald hooked guy appeared. He looked surprised to see them. Then he gestured them to come inside. Once they were, all of the other thugs were looking at them, wondering why they were here.
"We need your help. Flynn's in trouble." Carlos declared.
They decided not to tell that Flynn's real name was Eugene. They knew it would ruin his reputation, but maybe getting captured would also ruin it. The bald hooked guy looked at them and at the thugs. Then they nodded and stared back at Hiccup, Carlos, and Max.
"How can we help?" The bald hooked guy asked.
The trio smiled at that response.
"If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes."
– Andrew Carnegie