“Well you see dear, it all started 16 years ago to the day, that we started taking care of you.” Fauna said as she passed around plates of cake.
“Yes, I know that. You've told me that many times.” Briar Rose replied.
“But we've never told you why.” Merryweather interjected.
Fauna took a deep breath and continued, “We've never told you because it was too dangerous for you to know. You are someone very important to this kingdom. You are the daughter of the King and Queen; you are Princess Aurora.”
Briar Rose's eyes widened at the revelation. “I'm...what?” She slowly set her fork down and pondered the thought. “But, why would you take care of me instead of my parents?”
Flora tilted her head to the side and smiled in the kind way she always did. “Because you were in too much danger.”
“Will you two kindly let me explain. We don't want the poor girl to get confused.” Fauna stated. “My dear, we are fairies from the woodland realm. Your parents invited us amongst the others to your presentation ceremony, where all in the land were to come to meet the heir to their throne and to pay their respects. But someone uninvited showed up. Her name is Maleficent and she was, and is, the most wicked sorceress you would ever meet. She placed a curse upon you, saying that on the eve of your sixteenth birthday you would prick your finger on a spinning wheel and fall into an eternal sleep.” Fauna paused a moment, smiling at the girl. This was a lot of information for the young girl to hear all at once.
“I was cursed as a baby?” Briar Rose sounded upset, as she had every right to. (No one wants to hear that they're to fall prey to a curse.)
“That was why your parents made the greatest sacrifice they could, and gave you up into our care.” Merryweather answered.
“Briar?” Rapunzel asked quietly. “How does all this news make you feel?”
“How does it make me feel?” Briar Rose asked incredulously. “Shock, fear, joy, anger, despair. How else should it make me feel?” she quickly stood up from the table, sending her chair flying onto the floor. “I need some air.”
Briar Rose darted out the door, leaving her guardians and her new friend sitting at the table, staring at the empty spot she had previously been occupying.
“It's okay, I'll go talk to her.” Rapunzel said, standing up from the table. “Thank you so much, for the cake, by the way. It was delicious.” Rapunzel dragged some of her hair up from the floor as she stood and pushed her chair in behind her, walking out the door to try and find her new friend.
A dark raven flew over a castle. It flew through one of the many open windows and landed on the staff of its mistress. It cawed loudly, giving an unknowable statement to the woman sitting next to it.
“Well, well, well. Diablo, did you find me something more useful than Aurora?” Maleficent waved her hand and a large green ring of smoke appeared before her, showing the images that Diablo had seen on his flight.
In the circle was Flynn Rider, sleeping on the bed. “Well that certainly doesn't look like a mans room, now does it, my pet?” she said, stroking the birds head.
She waved her hand again, “Show me who's room this is.” The image changed again to show Rapunzel walking through the woods.
“Briar Rose?” the girl called. “Where are you? Look, I know they lied to you, but they had the best of intentions! And I think that's what really counts.” she searched all around her, dragging her hair behind her. “Pascal, help me look!” she told the small chameleon on her shoulder.
Maleficent waved her hand once more. “And who, pray tell is in charge of you?”
The circle was dark and showed nothing for a moment. Then a small light appeared to one side and a voice asked, sarcasm dripping from the words, “And to what do I owe this wonderful honor? A visit from the one and only Maleficent?” The voice took form as a figure stepped out of the shadows. A light skinned, dark haired woman stood in a large patch of berry bushes, a basket draped over one hand.
“Why, Gothel, I had no idea I would be visiting you.” Maleficent said, surprise lacing her voice. “You're the one in charge of that pretty little blonde with the very long hair? How surprising. I never figured you for the mothering type. Not after what happened to your wolf.” She stroked the raven in her own show of maternal affection.
“What do you know of my charge?” Gothel asked, fury barely masked in her voice. She had a deep loathing for the woman and Maleficent knew very well why.
“Oh, I know that she's outside, looking for someone called Briar Rose, who has apparently just found out that someone has been lying to her.” She smirked lightly. “I also know that there is a man sleeping in the room where your charge should be. And I know that neither of those things make you very happy.”
“What is wrong with that girl? I suppose I should thank you for the information. It will never change things though.”
“Oh, I wasn't trying to change anything. My hatred of you is just as strong as the day you cursed my dear Diablo.” she answered, placing the raven on her shoulder. The bird cawed loudly in agreement.
Gothel raised an eyebrow. “Well you deserved it.” she said quietly under her breath.
“As did you when I retaliated.” Maleficent replied. “But, I have had an idea. I need to find Princess Aurora so that my revenge on her and her family may be dealt with today before the sun sets and you need to find your own charge, since she is clearly not where she is supposed to be. So, I will send you the controlling curse you need to take over the young gentleman in her room, and in return you will use this gentleman to find Aurora for me first, and then your charge for you. After that, you may do whatever you like with him.”
“And why would I agree to that?” Gothel asked.
“Because, you know that my curses are so much better than your own.” Maleficent answered, a smug look on her face.
“Regardless of that opinion, I do accept your offer. Send it the tower where R....where my charge should be and I'll take care of the rest.”
Maleficent was about to wave the circle away, but the other woman commented. “And if your curses are so much better, why is Diablo still a bird?”
She stopped her hand and instead shook a finger. “Because no matter what form my son is, he is still my son. Unlike you, I wouldn't abandon family.” she sneered, waving the irritating woman out of her sight.
She took a calming breath and looked at the raven. “It's okay, my child. Everything will be fine.” she said, stroking the pet that had once been her flesh and blood.