Chapter 2: In which Rapunzel is Locked in her Tower, and Larry Unlocks it For Her
Larry rode Mangé back to Rapunzel's tower early the next morning. Once again he declared for her to let down her hair and once again Rapunzel poked her head out and came back with a megaphone.
"Oh, it's you. I guess I won't blow you away with my hair dryer, since that meal yesterday was so delightful."
"Will you let down your hair so that I can save you?" Larry said hopefully.
"No!" came the sharp reply. "I'm actually thinking of cutting it off. It can be such a nuisance in the morning." Larry was shocked.
"But," he spluttered, "but how will I save you?"
"I suppose you won't." Larry sighed and sat down on the grass and let Mange eat.
"Well, it's a two hour ride from the castle so I'm not going back yet." His face lit up. "How about a game of tick-tack-toe? I'm sure the Evil Olde Lady won't mind if just for a moment." Rapunzel was silent for a moment before replying.
"Well, alright. You won't beat me though. I was the tick-tack-toe champion when I was little."
Larry dismounted from Mange, who wandered off to a patch of clovers and began munching contentedly. The pitter-patter of Rapunzel's slippers could be heard descending the stairs, and stopped as she went to push back the bolt. Nothing happened for a bit, and Larry began unsaddling Mange to let him graze freely. Rapunzel reappeared in the tower window megaphone in hand.
" It seems it's been bolted shut. I can't get it open."
"Let me look at it." Larry said, walking over to inspect the door.
"Well, don't try and break down the door." Rapunzel said, leaning far out her window to see. "You'd dent it for sure, and those solid oak super escape-proof doors are expensive to fix."
"What, you don't think I can break down a door?" scoffed Larry, looking up at Rapunzel.
"Not this one." she said definitely. "Believe me, one particularly thick knight, great hulking guy, he tried to run it down. Well, he crumpled like a wizard under pressure!" Larry rolled his eyes and turned back to the door.
"It's just one of those slide bolts." He called up to Rapunzel. "Here, you can come down." With a click, the door was once again open, and Rapunzel emerged from inside.
"Excellent. Now what about a game of tick-tack-toe?"
"You know I could break the door down." Larry grumbled. "There was a course in Knight Training for it too." Rapunzel patted Larry on the head and nodded.
"Of course you could've." She said kindly, and steered him towards his saddlebags lying on the grass. For the rest of the day, Larry and Rapunzel played assorted board games that Larry had stuffed in his saddlebags.
"Okay," Rapunzel said looking down the score sheet. "So, I've won 50 board games, 15 card games and all of the tick-tack-toe games. You have won…"she quickly counted the tallies. "9 games. Total."
"You cheated." Larry complained, stacking up the games in front of him.
"Did not. I'm just terribly good." Rapunzel gave him a winning smile, that didn't look quite right on her face. "I'd forgotten how much fun board games are. I hadn't played since I was a child." Larry packed the games away and looked at the sky.
"I won't be able to get back home before the sun sets." he cried, dismayed.
"So, ride in the dark." Rapunzel said, sitting down on the grass again. Larry frowned at her.
"I can't ride in the dark." He said
"Wasn't there a course on it in Knight Training?" Rapunzel retorted.
"Yes," he defended himself. There was a silence for a moment as the sun sank lower in the sky.
"But…" Rapunzel urged him.
"I failed," mumbled Larry speaking to the ground. There was a pause.
"HA!" laughed Rapunzel, making Larry jump and a full Mangé turn his head. "You are the FIRST knight I have ever met that CAN'T ride in the DARK!" she gasped between bouts of laughter.
"Stop laughing at me!" Larry protested. "It doesn't matter." Rapunzel contained her laughter and tried to make a serious face.
"You're right." She said, her voice shaking. "Absolutely right. It doesn't matter that you failed that course, you're still a very good an brave knight." More silence floated between the two.
"Yeah." Larry said. And Rapunzel collapsed once more, laughing.
"HA! Hahahahahaha!" Then, in a most unladylike way, she snorted and Larry shook his head.
"Oh, shut up." The sun was almost completely down now, and the warmth was seeping out of the day. "Well, do you have an extra room I could stay in, just for tonight?" Rapunzel sighed and stood up.
"Well, I do have a spare bedroom. Second one down, right under mine." She grumbled, and started towards the tower.
"Excellent!" Larry called to her, slinging his saddle and bags over his shoulder. "And Mangé, you'd better not be too fat to get home in the morning!" Mange snorted in response.
Larry awoke to the sound of birds twittering on his windowsill and the warmth of the sun spreading across his face. He sat up in the bed and looked at the birds.
"How lovely!" he said.
"SHUDDUP!" came a screech, and a shoe came flying down from above. The birds scattered, and flew to the forest. Larry got out of bed and hurried over to the window, and stuck his head out.
"What the…." He started, and ducked inside as another shoe whistled past. "Rapunzel!" Larry slowly put his head back out and looked up. Rapunzel was leaning out of her window, her hair a mess with a livid look on her face. "What are you DOING?" Larry called up to her, exasperated.
"The darn birds wake me every morning with their twittering. And Thursday is the one day I sleep in! I have an alarm clock, you know!" Rapunzel screamed the last part at the still retreating birds.
Larry gaped at her for a moment, then withdrew his head. She was completely crazy, there was no denying it. Larry changed out of his pyjamas back into his armour and stepped out onto the stairwell. He went down one level to the kitchen and sat at the table. A few minutes later, a bleary-eyed Rapunzel came blundering in.
"Stupid birds." She muttered, pulling out a slice of bread and stuck it in the toaster. Then she noticed Larry at the table. "Are you still here?" Larry was taken aback.
"Well, yeah, I mean, you don't expect me to ride home without breakfast!" Rapunzel shook her head.
"I don't know what you can or can't do now. It seems you've taken courses on everything, but the only thing you've gotten right so far is the riding in and saying 'Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair.'"
The toast popped and Rapunzel plucked it out and handed it to Larry. He took it and gazed at her, confused.
"How in Neverland do you know this?" he asked her. "Do you read the knight textbooks or something?" Rapunzel put her own bread in the toaster and leaned against the counter.
"Actually," she started, but was interrupted by a deep roar. The two froze, and then hurried to the tower window.
"…Darn." Rapunzel breathed.
Winding around the base of the tower and looking menacingly up at Larry and Rapunzel was a grossly enormous Dragon.