"It's the window, your highness." Flambo pointed from his perch in the fireplace.
I walked over and saw on my balcony Jake the dog and, "Finn, my prince!" I threw open the balcony door and rushed to wrap my arms around him.
"Sholeh! Hmph!" Whatever else Finn had to say was cut off by my kiss. He found himself thrown back by the speed of my charge.
"Careful your highness!" Jake stretched an arm to the other side of the balcony to keep us from going over the edge.
I didn't want to move an inch away from Finn, but I had to see him, so I leaned back with our arms wrapped around each other to keep our bodies pressed tight. "How did you get all the way up here?"
"Jake's a great climber."
"And my buddy Finn is lousy at waiting. I told him to wait for the wedding, but he was up way before dawn this morning, dragging me along the ground until I woke up."
"Oh Finn, how glad I am to see you again, to hold you again." Unable to resist I kissed him again.
He seemed surprised when my tongue reached for his, but he soon responded to match my passion.
"Hey, you two. Save some for the wedding."
I heeded Jake's words and pulled back from Finn. "Yes. Tonight my Prince, we will be one."
"Bonnibel has lent me books from her most private collection. The things they have shown me." I reached down below his belt and gave a playful squeeze. "Well, I will show you tonight and for many nights to come." I backed away and blushed.
"Alright. Knock it off you two. Come along Finn, we need to get you all dressed up for the big event."
"Just one more kiss." Finn grabbed me and bent me way back. It was only his strong grip that kept me from falling to the floor as he bent down to kiss me. Then he lifted me back up to my feet and kissed my wrist. "My lady, my light, my love. I am yours forever. While I must go now, I leave my heart with you. I will see you at our wedding." He stood and mounted Jake, who then used his powers to climb back down the castle wall.
As I stood there blushing with a passion that somehow was not quite sufficient to make me actually catch on fire. I wondered for a moment if he had spent days on those words, or if he had help with them.
I bathed, put on a formal dress (but not the wedding dress I would don in a few hours), had Flambo lend a flame to my finger to light my hair with (on the balcony this time, to keep from re-steaming my room) and set out with him to greet the many last minute arrivals.
However when the carriage of brass pulled up, I stepped up to its door alone. "Father, may I have a word with you?"
"Of course my child. Come in." The Fire King waved at the empty bench across from him.
I got in and he closed the door behind me.
"Sholeh, you've changed."
"Yes, Father. But, as you can see, I can still carry a flame."
"I meant in character, not composition. If you had still been the spoiled princess I had to lock up, then this entire castle would have been reduced to smoking rubble on the first day. And look, there's not a scorch mark on it."
"This has been a gravely humbling experience for me. For you see I was exposed to -"
"What, how did you know?"
"The same thing happened to a great great uncle of yours, my child."
"Now I find that I can not return to live in the Fire Kingdom."
"Because you require, rather than abhor water?"
"So my child, what are your plans?"
"I will marry the Prince of the Grasslands and ensure that the trade lanes to the Fire Kingdom always remain open."
"Have you not seen what a ragamuffin so-called prince he is?"
"His house is indeed humble, but there is great treasure heaped randomly about it. This is because he is, or is close to being, the greatest warrior in all of Ooo. His ability will provide the foundation for a great empire, with proper direction."
"And you my child, shall provide this direction?"
"With the help of your advice, Father. And that of Princess Bubblegum."
"The candy princess at the center of everything? I could see her hand in this, even if you weren't under her roof. I can see I chose wisely when I released you into the care of his buffoon."
"His buffoon? But Finn himself came to your court for me."
"That was Jake, using his shapeshifting powers to mimic Finn's form. I played along to see if you would notice. How does it feel to have been played a fool?"
"What?" In a flash I replayed the events of the court visit in my mind. "Father!" I leaned forwards and kissed the side of his head of fire. "You have made me the happiest girl on Ooo!"
"Careful, child. You'll burn your dress."
"Father, you have removed the last doubts in my mind as to Finn's character. The entire event was just Jake's usual buffoonery."
"And will you now roast the dog?"
"No, I will give him a kiss on the nose. For he has delivered me into the arms of my true love. I feel so very blessed."
"Careful, child. A princess of the Fire Kingdom must never cry." He reached over with his hands of fire and flashed my tears of joy into steam. "Now let us present ourselves at the court of this princess of candy. We shall show all of Ooo our true flames."
I walked with my father for a few minutes as he met the various dignitaries, but I was soon carted away by the Lollipop sisters, to be squeezed into my wedding dress. They escorted me through the grand hall, which was being prepared for the great feast and so was otherwise off limits for the moment.
My wedding dress veil was made of the special netting used in certain lanterns, to allow my hair fire to flow along and lift it up. The rest of the dress was of more ordinary fabric, but I knew already that Bonnibel's gifts for me included several outfits of alchemically treated fireproof outfits. Half of these had clever mechanisms to allow for the expansion of my middle for those times that I would be carrying Finn's children, in the way of the water-folk.
I was interrupted from my examination of how the dress looked on me in the mirror when my father arrived.
"Come, Child. It is time." He took me by the hand, while I carried the bouquet of flowers in my other hand.
"You seem nervous, Father." I whispered to him, while we walked down the aisle between the rows of seats for the dignitaries towards where Finn waited, next to Bonnibel, Jake and the others.
"I do not know if I am more terrified of stepping out under open skies or giving away that which is the most precious to me."
"Well if the weather changes in the next few minutes, there are plans to move everything inside."
The Fire King was struck by a block of ice. The steam reaction extinguished my hair before I could think to exert my power.
I was lifted into the air on the arm of a blue skinned man with a goblin-like long nose. He had long white hair and beard and wore a robe and a crown.
"Finn, how dare you get married to a princess before me! And such a cutie, too. I'll just take her for myself." The old man leered at me.
"Ice King! I'll kill you!" Finn had drawn his sword and was charging down the aisle.
"Father!" I looked down at the Fire King. I saw that while his flame was much reduced, it still burned.
Then my vision was blocked by a scalding blast of steam. I was of course unharmed, but the Ice King yelped and dropped me.
I fell a few feet and then was caught by a man who was swinging from a long whip.
I looked at his scared face, with his short white hair and light gray eyes and knew who it had to be. "The Pirate Prince!"
As we came to the top of the upswing and started down he shouted out. "The Isle of Steam claims the Princess Sholeh as our own. And so we give her, without reservation, to our good friend, Prince Finn of the Grasslands." He dropped me.
Finn dropped his sword so he could catch me with both arms.
The pirate prince continued on with his swing to the top of the outer wall. He bowed to us all then leapt off the other side.
I looked up into the sky and saw the Ice King backing away, up into the air.
"Curse you Finn! I'll be back for your princess, when you don't have so many friends around to keep her from me." Then he zoomed out of sight.
I leapt from Finn's arms. "Father!"
"By claw!" The Fire King shakily got back to his feet. He turned to me and said. "The pirate prince said one thing that was true. From this day onward you will no longer be the Flame Princess." He reached over and re-lit my hair, then took my hand again and raised this. "Long live Princess Sholeh of the Grasslands and long live Prince Finn of the Grasslands."
The crowd was silent for a moment then joined in a great cheer. Bonnibel had her candy orchestra restart the wedding march and we resumed the ceremony.
I had to move my own veil back for the kiss, as it was hot to the touch, but there were no further complications that day.
Later we would have grave troubles indeed. But those dark times are stories for other days. So let me end here the story of how I became the Flame Princess no longer, on this happy note.