If you're reading this, hopefully you read my first chapter. And hopefully, this means you liked something about it! So for that, my friend, I thank you. It took me a long time to post this, but finally: on to the next chapter!
Princess Bubblegum sighed and leaned closer over the map of Ooo. The candle grew low, and soon so did it's flame. The map bore the seals of the different kingdoms, whether they were allies, enemies, or neutral, and where the bulk of their troops were.
Bubblegum stood, stretching her back with a long, grim sigh, and picked up the dimming candle. She gave a thought to lighting another, but decided against it as she stepped outside. Her tent was only thirty feet away, but she stopped and looked up at the sky.
Princess Bubblegum was currently the only commander in the main camp; Flame Princess and Whisper Dan commanded forces in the west, and the Mountain King and Werewolf Queen were positioned in the north, based in the Rock Candy Mountains. Bubblegum was positioned with the reserve forces in Treetrunks' apple orchards while Marceline led her assault on the south-eastern segment of the Wall.
PB let out another grim sigh. Even though they were several leagues away, the Wall still seemed to loom over them all, looking over their shoulders and casting an odd, speckled shadow from the refraction of the moon's light.
The Wall had three entrances: one to the north, a tunnel that went under the Wall and into the Candy Kingdom( Lemonrealm, now, she thought. Bubblegum cringed at the thought.) from the Rock Candy Mountains. She knew this tunnel well; she had it created herself three hundred years ago. The Mountain King and the Werewolf Queen were currently commanding the Order of the Champion's forces ther-
"Well hello there, Bonnibel B. Is it the stars or the Wall that you have come to see?"
Bubblegum whipped around, gasping softly as the candle went out. Choose Goose was sprawled against the tree behind her, swallowing the remains of a bright red apple. Next to him was his stand, a small wooden rickshaw with a folding roof and curtains all around.
"Hello, Choose Goose. War profiteering, are we," Princess Bubblegum said dryly, the moonlight refracting through the Wall to cast a mesmerizing shadow across Choose Goose's beak.
The goose laughed, spread his arms, and let them flop to the ground. "I wouldn't dream of gaining from loss; I give the very idea a toss. Now, pray tell, dear Bonnibel, can you tell me how the Wall came to be?"
Bubblegum shook her head, shutting her eyes tight to the tears that leapt to her eyes. She didn't want to remember. Oh, Finn...
Choose Goose sighed, and nodded. "I do understand, my dear Bubblegum; everyone I've ever asked simply plays dumb. In that case, however, may I suggest... a friendly wager, a simple jest?"
The princess of the Candy Kingdom sighed again; she was fighting a war, and she had been tired, ever since... she found herself sighing again. Bubblegum found herself sighing a lot lately. But Choose Goose wouldn't leave her alone until she agreed, she knew.
"Very well, Choose Goose," Bubblegum said, another wave of exhaustion washing over her. "I will play your game. What are the stakes?"
Choose Goose cackled madly, clapping his hands together wildly. His foot whipped out, slamming into his rickshaw, and the curtains fell aside to reveal three small pouches.
"In one of these pouches lies a gem that is green; you could find that to your enemies, this gem could be very mean. Find this gem, and it is yours; but beware, for in the other two bags is a powder you'll see, with the power to make you tell me whatever memory. You can keep that too," the goose told her, breaking his rhyming with the last sentence.
PB glowered. She knew now that this was all a ploy to learn how the wall was created. But as a Princess of Ooo, she knew that she was bound by her word; she had to play the game. Choose Goose grinned back at her madly, a twisted reflection of her own expression.
"Very well. I choose... this one," She muttered, weighing her options before choosing the pouch in the center. Each pouch was a different color; each one looked the same. She knew the math, the odds, the algebra, but deep down, her gut told her it was this one. Striding forward, she opened the pouch, just as a burst of light blue puffed into her face.
The last thing she heard was Choose Goose saying, "The Wall, tell us all, how and who created the Wall!"
Princess Bubblegum slipped back in her mind.
Bubblegum strode into the newly dubbed Lemonrealm with Cinnamon Bun, Champion of the Flame Kingdom, and Jake the Dog, acting Champion of the Candy Kingdom at her back. On her left was Flame Princess, who could barely contain the wrath within her, the flames that made up her body burning so bright and hot that Bubblegum had to stay several feet away from her.
Next to Flame Princess, apparently unbothered by the heat, was the Ice King. Bubblegum had seen the Ice King angry, upset, afraid, and ashamed. He had kidnapped her more times than she could count, and his laugh actually made her feel like harming somebody. He rambled on and talked to himself. She had seen him do things that didn't make sense to her to that day.
But she had never seen the Ice King serious.
Yet ever since Marceline, the Vampire Queen who stood to Bubblegum's right, had run into the war council's tent and told them what had happened... that Finn the Human, the strongest Champion Bubblegum or the land of Ooo had ever known, had been captured...
Bubblegum looked over at the Ice King and shuddered. He was almost fearsome.
The Princess of the Candy Kingdom knew his history, of course; shortly before founding the Kingdoms of Ooo, she had collected as many archives of the world before the Mushroom War as she could, revealing the life and death of Simon Petrikov, and the rise of the Ice King. She also knew the events that occurred when Bella Noche was awakened and temporarily freed Simon of his mental prison, allowing him to bring the human Betty Grof forward in time. She sighed; she could see in his eyes the closest to sanity she'd ever seen.
"Ah, the former rulers of Ooo! I thought you might come sooner or later."
As they entered the courtyard of what was formerly the Candy Palace, they looked up to see Lemongod lounging on a chair made of cotton candy on his balcony(On my balcony, Bubblegum thought with venom.).
Next to him stood a tall, parchment-skinned man. Long, black, tangled hair sprouted from the sides of his head, flowing down into an even longer beard that fell to his knees. His shoulders were broad and muscular, imbued with the strength of black magic, and across his left shoulder was a harsh scar. His body was withered and dead, animated by the darkness of the darkest magics in Ooo.
And his face was even worse... or the half of it that remained. The flesh was white and shriveled, a single glazed-over green eye set deep in it's socket. The other eye was missing, along with the left side of the man's face, the skin tattered and torn, exposing gleaming white bone. Even though the right side of his face was stoic, the exposed teeth of his left side were locked in a permanent, wicked grin.
Princess Bubblegum flinched every time she saw him. Billy, the former hero, now reanimated as a lich by the energy of the Gems of Power. He stood behind and to the right of Lemongod, his hands resting on the pommel of his greatsword, Nothung. He stared blankly over the courtyard; Lemongod's(or rather the Gems of Power's) presence kept him docile and obedient.
PB turned her gaze back to Lemongod. "Where is Finn the Human? Regardlessof who holds the Gems of Power, I am still the Princess of the Candy Kingdom, and the Champion's Accords sta-"
"Silence!" Lemongod screamed, a glimmer of his former madness shining through. He regained his composure, continuing, "I see no Candy Kingdom here, only Lemonrealm. And a Princess with no Kingdom is only a silly woman. The Champion's Accords mean nothing in this situation." Lemongod smirked, and waved his hand.
Below him, across the courtyard, the doors to the main hall of the Candy Castle opened. A full company of Gumball Guards marched out, sabers drawn.
And out in front was Finn the Human, his wrists bound by steel shackles. His clothes were ragged and dirty, his eye blackened, and blood ran from a gash in his hairline, but he looked up at Bubblegum and smiled. At eighteen, Finn was six feet tall, and his shoulders were broad and muscled. His arms were strong and hard from his years of using a sword, and his back was strong. In the years since Bubblegum had met him, he had grown from a happy-go-lucky boy to a powerful adventurer.
Despite the pressing tension of the situation, Bubblegum felt her lips curve into a grin. Only Finn could come out of a dungeon covered in dirt and blood, and smile.
"Lemongod," Bubblegum started again. "We would like to negotiate for the release of Finn the Hu-"
"Enough!" Screamed Lemongod, the Gems of Power glowing softly as the mad lemon's sudden outburst shook the courtyard. Bubblegum saw Finn crouch, and as his Gumball Guards struggled to keep their footing, she saw a little paper plane shoot out of his breast pocket, rocketing toward her. She caught it, feeling it transform in her hand as Lemongod kept speaking. "You are no longer a Princess of Ooo, Bonnibel," he hissed through clenched teeth, using PB's real name. "Lemonrealm therefore does not recognize you as a leader, and will not honor any negotiations you make."
Next to Bubblegum, Flame Princess flared, the heat pushing her friends back a few feet except for Cinnamon Bun, who had his Flame Shield on, and the Ice King, whose body radiated cold.
"This is ridiculous," FP screamed, her eyes white hot. She stepped forward, the peanut brittle cobblestones melting and then burning under her blazing feet. Acrid smoke rose around her as she pointed at the usurping lemon. "Let Finn go, or I'll raze this Kingdom to the ground, and Bubblegum can start anew."
PB frowned, but it didn't matter. Flame Princess was either bluffing, or she would follow through; there was nothing PB could do about it. Born of evil and wildfire, only one thing could stop Flame Princess when she went on a rampage.
Princess Bubblegum stepped back, letting FP be the center of attention. In her hand, the little paper airplane transformed into a small person, his edges ragged and dirty.
"I am Paper Pete," the little paper figure said, folding himself into a bowing horse before opening back up into a person. "Finn sent me with a message: he said to get Gridface Princess here to set up a force field the next time you come. Allow Finn to challenge Lemongod to a duel, then have her set up a force field so they can fight one on one for the Candy Kingdom."
PB's heart dropped into her stomach. That plan was crazy, if for no other reason than that there was no way Lemongod would fight Finn on an even level. But before she could say anything, Paper Pete transformed back into a little paper airplane, rocketing back toward Finn so low to the ground that Bubblegum thought he would grind himself into the peanut brittle cobblestones. He alit on Finn's shoulder, dropped into the adventurer's breast pocket, and was gone.
"FP," the pink princess murmured to her friend. The blazing young woman turned toward her in surprise; Bubblegum realized that Flame Princess had been steadily arguing with Lemongod about the Order of the Champion's right to their respective Kingdoms. "Let's pull back," she continued, clenching her jaw as Lemongod's brutal mouth twisted into a sneer.
"Oh? Realized you can't win?"
Bubblegum grit her teeth and turned to where he sat on the balcony. "We will return in the morning with our terms of negotiation for Finn the Human."
With that, the leaders of the Order of the Champion left Lemonre-
"I release you!"
Bubblegum's eyes popped open. She was sitting on the damp ground, her back resting against Choose Goose's stall. Lady Rainicorn had her body coiled over PB protectively as she shot several beams of chromatic light around the goose's body. Choose Goose pulled his legs back toward him.
"I have done as you asked, so let me turn my back," the goose hissed, and Lady Rainicorn spit back in Korean until he rolled away, leaving his rickshaw behind. PB knew that later they would return to find it gone.
Lady Rainicorn brought her head down, sniffing Bubblegum's body for injuries. She fired off in rapid Korean, and in her dazed state, it took a second for Princess Bubblegum to translate it.
"Why are you crying, my Lady?" The Rainicorn's equine eyes were big and round in concern, still checking her best friend for injuries. PB's hand slowly made it's way up to her soft pink cheeks, her fingertips coming away hot and wet.
The effects of the drug were still wearing off- a torrent of memories were throwing themselves through Bubblegum's usually orderly and calculating mind. Memories of happy times with Finn, and Lady, and Marceline; memories of times laden with grief and stress; recollections of long, agonizingly slow thoughts as she clawed her way to consciousness after the Mushroom War.
But nothing had ever left her feeling so wretched, so lost, as the death of Finn the Human.
Princess Bubblegum's hands clutched themselves at her chest. It was silly, she knew- Bubblegum had no heart. But in the back of her calm, calculating mind, even she had sometimes thought that everyone had a heart, deep down inside.
"I'm crying," she said, her non-existent heart ripping apart inside of her, "Because I remember what happened next."