Tangled The Next Generation @kelseyalicia
A Mother's Love

Both Eugene and Rapunzel were reluctant to leave their two-and-half-year-old twins behind in the care of Rapunzel's parents. However, Eugene had a crucial obligation back in the Dark Kingdom.

His father, King Edmund, sent word about a month ago. Eugene hadn't been knowledgeable of the anniversary of his mother, Queen Eva's demise. Edmund could no longer face this day of remembrance alone.

Also, Eugene desired to know more regarding his late mother. Given his father hadn't had an opportunity to tell him much yet. Aside from his mother's name, that is. Eugene had temporarily put Maximums in charge of the guards. No one questioned the wonder equine being in control. It's what Captain Justin "Maximums" Tregsburg would've done. Either way, everything was settled in Corona for now.

They're taking the hot air balloon as it was the most rapid way to get there. Unlike the long journey when they took the caravan initially. With clear skies and the wind in their favor, the young royals were making good time.

Rapunzel relished sightseeing as they journeyed. However, Eugene stood uncharacteristically silent. Eventually, Rapunzel detected her husband's subdued mood before hugging him. "Eugene, do you want to talk about it?" she prodded gently, to which her husband sighed.

"Blondie, please don't think I'm regretting going to the memorial services. And no, it's not about leaving the kids behind either."

"Then what precisely are you feeling?"

"It's just...how am I suppose to grieve for a mother I never knew? I've never even had a mother figure in my entire life. Plus, things between Dad and me are only beginning to improve. It's helped he's stopped speaking his thoughts audibly. Nevertheless, Rapunzel, I'm also terrified to discover what my mother was like."

"You think you'll be disappointed?"

"No, the exact opposite. I think I'll be so euphoric only to be so depressed that extraordinary woman wasn't alive to raise me."

Rapunzel embraced him tightly, "I'll be honest, Eugene. I had the same anxieties when I was first reunited with my parents. It took a long time before we truly felt like a family.

But things will work out. My mother once told me that the people we love aren't ever gone. If we keep their memory alive in our hearts, they'll still be living. It's never goodbye, Eugene. Its only till I'll see you again. I hope that makes you feel better."

"Thanks, Blondie, it does," they quickly kissed before turning to appreciate the sunset. Meanwhile, in Dark Palace, King Edmund sat isolated in the dining chamber. His dark-brown eyes never darted away from his precious Eva. Her smile always lit up their kingdom, even in their kingdom's darkest hours. His mind gradually drifted back to his youth, recalling when he encountered her.

"The sunlight shined down upon the Dark Kingdom. The young prince headed out to see how this year's crops were coming along. He chitchatted with an occasional passerby. Finally, he ended up taking a wrong turn only to stumble upon a young girl. She appeared to be tending to something small at the base of an aging oak tree. "Excuse me, good lady? Might I trouble you for a moment?" he asked as the teenager gradually stood up to face her prince.

He'd never seen a more fetching female in his life. Her smile melted his heart immediately. He didn't even bother with his trademark expression. He knew he didn't need it to impress this lady. "Good afternoon, Prince Edmund. How are you doing on this delightful afternoon?" she inquired in the loveliest voice he'd ever heard.

"I'm...o...k, I"m okay!" he stammered, to which she giggled gaily. She tossed her lengthy chocolate-brown locks over her shoulder before speaking again. "I thought princes were supposed to be charming. You seem a bit awkward instead."

"How is a prince supposed to act charming? Is there a textbook I can read concerning it?"

"I'm not certain if there is a book one can read. But, if there is, I'd expect my father might have it. He operates the only bookstore in the realm."

"Really? I'm not knowledgeable about it. What his name and yours for that matter?"

"My name is Eva Fitzherbert, daughter of Eugene and Evynne Fitzherbert. My mother is a proficient herbalist. Both of my parents are quite respectful and devoted parents. What about you, Edmund? What are your parents like?" Eva inquired curiously.

Edmund couldn't help but redden, "My father, King Horris, is a bit stern with me. My mother, Queen Phoebe, is more diplomatic and a good listener," his face so red. If Eva noticed, she didn't comment on it. "So what are you up to on this fine day, my Lord?"

He puffed up a bit before answering. "Father wanted me to see how the harvest is coming along. It's been challenging this year because the stones invaded the upper left quadrant of the farmlands."

"Hmm, yes, every year those rocks get a bit more problem some. I fear for both our people and for the creatures who inhabit the land as well," as she showed him a newborn raven. "The rocks recently obliterated his family's nest. Only he survived its obliteration. So I've been doing my most useful to care for him."

"You seem to have a way with animals. He looks so healthy and happy," as he gently caressed the chick. Eva once again laughed gaily before replying, "Well, when one has a loving and thankful heart? Others usually return the favor," as both tickled the young chick.

"Oh, Eva, how I miss you so," Edmund whispered in a broken voice after leaving memory lane. Just outside the doorway stood Hector and Adira. The two Brotherhood members glanced at one another. "I've seen him depressed before, Adira. However, its never been this bad either."

"Hush, Hector. You know this year's more complicated for him because both father and son will ultimately be grieving together. King Edmund is also sad that his cherished son never knew his dear mother.

That alone is sufficient to exacerbate his despair. So we should keep our distance but still be near enough if anything goes wrong," with that, the two of them left their king in his heartache. Both of them were conscious only Eugene could bring him solace.

Two days later, Rapunzel and Eugene docked. King Edmund's spirits slightly brightened at seeing his son. However, both father and son's eyes shared the same heartbreaking expression. "Hey, Dad, it's been a while. How goes rebuilding our kingdom coming along?" Eugene asked in an attempt to break the tension.

"It's coming along as well as expected. The farmlands soil still needs more TLC to make them fertile once more. But one step at a time, son."

"King Edmund, it's so awesome to see you!" his daughter-in-law greeted him with a huge hug. Hugging his precious daughter-in-law made him feel a bit better. Yet, it remained disappointing Eva never met such a remarkable young woman.

"I suppose I should show to your rooms," he began before Adira cut in. "No need, my king. I'll help them get settled. Why don't you and your son enjoy some alone time? Coming, Ms. Sunshine?" to which Rapunzel nodded as the warrior woman led her away.

Both father and son glanced awkwardly at the floor. Not sure what to say. Finally, Edmund said, "I'd like to show you some of your mother's prized possessions. Would that be alright, son?" he questioned cautiously. His son nodded, and they headed to the late queen's private chamber. Edmund hadn't entered this chamber since her death.

It showed from the quantity of dust and moldy smell. Still, it held all his wife's memories. Eugene took a deep breath before traversing the threshold into his mother's room. One of the first things he glimpsed was a half-covered portrait. He hesitantly approached it, turning, his father nodded, and Eugene ripped the curtain off it.

He was genuinely shocked by what he saw. It was a family portrait. However, he correctly guessed the other individuals were his grandparents. He knew which were which based on their attire. Edmund started talking before his son could ask questions. "That's your mother's parents, Eugene and Evynne Fitzherbert," he began before his son cut him off.

"Wait a second, Dad. You said you named me Horris originally, so how am I named after my maternal grandfather?"

"We named you after both your grandfathers, son—Prince Horris Eugene Fitzherbert of the Dark Kingdom. I didn't mention it before because it slipped my mind. Also, I hadn't thought about your mother for a while. However, she's the one insisting you'd be named after both your grandfathers. Plus, seeing how royals don't tend to have last names, she used her surname."

"Well, it seems I got my good looks from Mom's side of the family," he noted. Then he indicated to his paternal grandparents. "So, what're your parents' names?"

"King Horris and Queen Phoebe. If you'd been a girl, we would've named you after your grandmothers. Which would've been Princess Phoebe Evynne Fitzherbert."

"So, what were my grandparents like?"

"Well, your mother's parents were a bookshop proprietor and a herbalist. When I met your mother, she described them as respectful, devoted parents. They supported her as she sought to achieve her goals. Helping her learn integrity, altruism, accountability, and overall how to be a good person. Incredibly amiable and family-orated people. My folks loved them instantly. So they'd no problem of me courting your mother."

"So my other grandparents were decent people too?"

"More or less. My father had an authoritarian personality, making it challenging to show emotion. Mother was far more levelheaded, diplomatic, and a good listener. They balanced each other out perfectly."

"Hmm, what's in here?" holding a decorative box out. "That's the family jewels from your mother's side. It used to be the bride's dowry. Despite we've long given up that custom." Carefully he unlocked the box to inspect his mother's heirlooms. For being locked away for over two decades, they pieces were in pristine condition.

"Here," Edmund offered his son another chest. This one was slightly larger then the jewelry box. Eugene was still hesitant to open it. Finally, his father's pleading look helped him unlock it. He noticed baby items, a rattle, clothes, and a hand-stitched stuffed animal inside. "Are these things she made for me?" he couldn't keep his voice from breaking.

"Yes, she made them herself. However, sewing wasn't her forte, I'm afraid. I never could figure out what animal she was trying for. Nevertheless, you couldn't sleep at night without it."

Eugene could almost remember his mother giving him the toy for a split second. Her gentle hands and her soothing voice. He couldn't stop the tears from falling holding these precious things.

Father and son spent the better part of the day in the room. No one dared disturb them. The next day everyone arrived at the queen's grave. No one said any words, for the words required were already in their hearts. The small gathering stood silently, mourning the loss of a beloved wife and mother.

Queen Eva: Laura San Giacomo: Fox from Gargoyles

Take the initiative.

"Don't wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get, you've got to make yourself." Alice Walker.

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