Rapunzel and the Two Towers
You notice things others don’t when you spend your entire life stuck in a tower
Written by: Celeste Kallio using SudoWrite
Illustrations by: Sharon Zhou using DALLE-2
Narration by: Andrey Kurenkov using BeyondWords
You notice things others don’t when you spend your entire life stuck in a tower. Rapunzel knew the best combination of hair products from all available in the realm. She knew the health of the crops by the color of the sunlit fields. She thought it curious that across the Queen’s valley, a stone tower stood apart from the rest of the village, similar to the one in which she was imprisoned.
She used her hand mirror to flash light at the other tower. There was no response to her first attempts, but one day a light flashed back. Six quick flashes in a row. Rapunzel returned the message, and recalled one of her many books contained a popular coding system. She hoped that whoever was in the twin tower knew about it, too.
They began to “talk.” Conversation was clumsy at first, but they quickly grew fluent. Across the valley lived Robert, a boy about her age who also lived in isolation, as naive about his crimes against the Queen as Rapunzel was.
“I wish I could get out of here and have a real adventure,” Rapunzel flashed.
“Me too,” Robert said. “But if we get caught, they’ll kill us.”
“What would we do, if we escaped?”
“What do you want to do?” Robert asked.
“I want to explore!” Rapunzel said. “I want to climb the highest mountain and look down at everything. I want to swim in the most beautiful lake and see its bottom. I want to find a glacier and walk on its surface.”
“That sounds incredible!” Robert said.
“I want to see you in real life, instead of as a flashing light.”
“I’ll bet you’re beautiful in real life,” Robert said, and Rapunzel flushed deeply, happy that her crush couldn’t see her for once.
Occasionally, the evil Queen visited Rapunzel for no discernable reason other than to gloat, sometimes. Before she met Robert, she didn't mind terribly as she had no one else to talk to, but now she wished the Queen would leave her alone.
"Maybe we can trick her into setting you free, somehow," Robert proposed. "What do you think she's afraid of?"
"She was worried about the movements of troops to the East."
"The East, you say? Why, I can see the troops from my tower."
"Can you keep an eye on them for me, and tell me what they're up to? Maybe the Queen will believe I'm clairvoyant, and she will forgive me for whatever wrong I committed!"
The next time the Queen visited, Rapunzel pretended to go into a trance and gave the Queen details about what Robert saw from his tower. At first, the Queen thought she'd finally driven Rapunzel mad, but when she confirmed the information with her ministers, she was astounded. "Perhaps the girl isn't as worthless as I thought."
Rapunzel was surprised at how long she'd been able to maintain the charade without slipping up. She'd never been a very good liar, but she was a quick study and the Queen was too arrogant to suspect a ruse.
The Queen told Rapunzel that she'd decided to allow her to live her life as she saw fit, but advised her to stay on her good side. "You will never be able to leave, but at least you won't have to be locked in the tower all the time."
Robert continued to feed Rapunzel information, and she informed the queen that her enemies were headed for the kingdom of the North.
"Why would they do that?" the Queen asked.
"I-I don't know," Rapunzel said. "They're very powerful and there are a lot of them. I wonder if they're going to attack."
"They must be stopped! We need to join them and fight with them!" the Queen said. "If we don't, we'll find ourselves invaded from both directions! I'll send a legion to join them, but you must send information about where the army is, in case anything changes."
The Queen left and Rapunzel was free! She fled from the castle and raced across the Valley to Robert's tower. She got to the base, but there was no door.
"Robert, Robert!" she called up to her beloved. His hair was pitiably short, but he tied together all his bedsheets to make a rope that was almost long enough.
"I'll catch you!" Rapunzel braced herself below him, and Robert let go, barelling into her arms. They both fell to the ground, but dusted themselves off soon enough with nothing broken.
"Let's leave this place," she said.
"You're even more beautiful than I thought you'd be," Robert said.
He didn't miss Rapunzel's flush, this time.
"I promised you a glacier! To the mountains!" Robert grabbed Rapenzel's hand and they ran to the foothills, never again to set foot into the valley or learn of the fate of the Queen in her battle against the North. There were far too many things in the world.
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