If Rapunzel had been back in her tower, or even out in the lush fields, Ravi’s comment would have sent her into an aggressive tailspin. Of course she was definitely not going back yet. Her heart thumped a little too hard in her chest when Ravi pulled her towards the door. Sure, she could get out. But wouldn’t he take her home?
The door slammed before he could bring her past the threshold."They’re going to hurt me. I’m going to have a panic attack. We’re never going to make it to the lights!" Peeking over Ravi’s shoulder, Rapunzel could see that the drawing on the door was certainly a portrait of Ravi. Not a very good one, but it was him all the same.
One of the very intimidating men started to approach Ravi. He pulled him by the collar and insisted he would be given a reward. Ravi was swiftly wrenched off the ground by another man, ripped away at the arms by another, and grabbed by another still. Soon the whole crowd of men had Ravi surrounded and appeared to tearing him apart. “No, no! I need him! What if they actually hurt him!”
"Please, stop! Hey, leave him alone!" Rapunzel’s voice hardly carried over the roar of the mob. She tried to whack one of the larger men with her skillet a few times, but all she could hit was his shield. "Give me back my guide!" She broke away from the crowd to see if there was a way in. Looking around, she found something even better. A weapon. Rapunzel whipped her hair around a branch that had broken through the ceiling board and tugged as hard as she could. The branch snapped back before falling hard and fast on the largest man’s head. The mob paused.
"Put him down!" The large man turned his head to her. This would be her only chance to reason with him, so she tried to speak quickly. "Hah, okay. I don’t know where I am and I need him to take me to see the lanterns because I’ve been dreaming about them my entire life! Haven’t any of you ever had a dream?" The large man turned away from Ravi and pulled a large sword from a sheath on his back. It would have been a beautiful and impressive instrument to admire if he wasn’t approaching her with it in hand.
Hands continued to pound into Ravi’s face and body as he was weighed down by multiple smelly, sweaty limbs despite his calls of desperation for them to stop. At this rate, his nose would probably end up looking like a number of his wanted posters, including the various shapes with every punch and wallop. He could barely hear the girl’s voice as it was drowned out by the growing volume of the men’s calls of greed as each one seemed to have a reason to reap in the rewards for himself after turning in the thief.
After grunting and hollering in pain, Ravi was able to see again, only to spot one of the thugs winding back his fist and was aiming right for his face as the other burly men holding him down watched. “Not the nose! Not the nose!" he pleaded, trying to move as much as he could while being held back. A ginormous hand clamped down on his head to restrain his movements even more. The least Ravi could do was close his eyes as he braced for the oncoming blow.
A loud thunk roared through the air, which immediately brought anything and everything in the Snuggly Duckling to a halt as silence descended on the place. After a moment of anticipating the place to erupt in the same commotion that filled the place only seconds ago but it never came, the thief cracked open an eye to witness the guy that was about to smash his face in direct his glare at the girl who yelled at them all. Did she really have a death wish? Apparently so as the the rest of the men followed suit in turning their attention to her. Ravi’s jaw went slack as his own gaze stayed on her and before he knew it, he was hung on a nail by the back of his shirt.
The one brandishing the sword sauntered over to the girl. His grimace broke once he was almost nose-to-nose to her as he growled out, “I had a dream once.” He then tossed his sword in the direction of a scrawny guy in the corner with his legs bound together. In the poor fellow’s lap was a tabla drum. The larger man pulled a swarmandal out while everyone was distracted by the sudden beat and started playing it as he expresse his true dream of being a famous swarmandal performer since his hook wasn’t much of a hinderance. Soon the place was filled with cheering, contrasting with the yells from before, as numerous men started confessing their dreams.