The radiance lasted for an eternity, the two lovers suspended in that moment of contact; he had quested for her, crossed worlds for her, waged war against friend and made ally of enemy, all for this moment. The touch of her lips burned in ecstasy, the warmth of her embrace was intoxicating.
And then it was gone.
A cool hand grabbed a handful of Finn's collar and jerked backward, tearing the hero out of the pillar of whiteness and casting him onto the hot rocky earth. The human boy hit the ground with a thud and rolled poorly, caught completely off guard by the sudden attack. "Stand and face me, varlet, I demand satisfaction!" Prince Cobalt barked the words fiercely, green embers trailing off his arm, the sleeve torched away by reaching into the fiery pillar.
Likewise, the sudden disconnection left Vermillion confused. She came out of the kiss as if she had been asleep, blinking slowly as the brilliant light was suddenly extinguished. "Wha . . . Finn?"
"That's your name, is it? Finn?" Prince Cobalt drew his sword with a furious slash, "Then draw your sword, Finn, because I challenge you to a duel!"
"Oh-ho!" Volcanus and Ferron emerged to better view the spectacle.
"WHAT?" Vermillion shook her head, "Cobey? Finn? What's going on?"
"Duel me?" Finn shook his head, "I don't want to fight you! Dude, I don't even know you!"
"Don't want to fight, eh?" Cobalt's brow furrowed, "Then stay still, and I will make this quick!"
"Oh my GLOB!" Finn rolled out of the way, the blade barely missing him as it furrowed the black earth where the human had been an instant before. "Whoa, let's talk about this!"
"I have no need for words, coward," Cobalt followed after, his crystal sword slicing the air, "My sword has all the discourse I care to share with the likes of you!"
"Finn!" Jake hurled the demon blood sword to his brother, "Stop messing around and kick this loser's butt!" Finn reached for the sword, but Cobalt's blade struck it from the air, knocking it off course.
The red sword clattered to the ground at Vermillion's feet. "Cobey, stop this!" The princess shouted, the fiery edges of her form flaring outward, her figure almost beginning to distort as her anger surged.
"Look, man, I don't even know you!" Finn continued to evade, hurling his lean body to the side as Cobalt's swings grew closer.
"Regardless, you and I have issue!" The earth prince lunged, his blade sinking into the ground as Finn evaded. The human boy yelped as the blade nicked him, slashing through his blue t-shirt. "You have stolen the object of my affection, you heart wrecking hooligan!"
"Oh that is it!" Finn kicked the sword from Cobalt's hand, "I have had enough of this dumb butlery." He rolled and dove past the prince, sweeping the crystal sword up from the ground as he turned towards the prince. "You want a sword fight, fancy pants? Let's see how you like being the unarmed guy!"
"Finn, don't hurt him!" Flame Princess cried out as he raced in, the blade swinging a deadly arc toward Cobalt. The human boy turned the blade at her cries, the weapon missing his target.
"What?" Finn turned toward her, "Vera, he's trying to kill me!"
"I know, but please, he's my dearest friend!"
Finn sighed heavily, "Okay, but only because it's you." He tossed the sword aside, "Okay, look Prince . . . whatever your name is, I don't want to fight you."
"Coward!" Cobalt pounced on Finn, "I don't need a sword to beat you!"
"Cobey, stop fighting him this instant!"
Finn rolled with him, using his legs to launch the prince off of him. Cobalt skidded face first through the sooty earth, coming up with his blue-hued skin stained brown and grey. "Seriously, what the nuts is your deal?"
Prince Cobalt screamed wordlessly and charged Finn, drawing a dagger off his belt. Just as Finn was beginning to turn and go for the discarded crystal sword, there was a deafening impact as a giant flaming fist slammed down on top of the berserked earth prince. There was a 'whoosh' of fire from beneath it, and a cluster of small green flambits crawled out, scampering off in different directions. "STOP FIGHTING!" Vermillion shrieked, her voice a distorted howl.
"Whoa, that was a close wha . . .HUH?!." As Finn turned, his words gave away to a surprised yelp. The flame princess was a massive pillar-like monster of flame, with many serpentine arms flailing about around her. Her crimson hair writhed about her head like a sea of blazing tentacles, and her gentle face was a nightmarish expression carved into the sea of flames that she had become. "What's . . . happening to me . . .?"
"I don't know," Finn walked forward, gesturing with his hands, "Just try and calm down."
As Finn stooped to pick up his sword, there was a massive booming noise at the main gates. Then, with a triumphant cry, a pair of muscular green hands tore the massive iron barricade off its hinges. "Oh no, not them!" Finn sheathed his sword, watching the archway with certain dread.
The pathway clear, the congregation of Ooo's royalties emerged, their pretty faces turned into dark masks of war. Some of them carried weapons, others were followed by knights or soldiers, and others still had primed their spells and incantations. "FLAME PRINCESS!" Muscle Princess bellowed as she led the horde of would-be brides into the courtyard, "We have come . . . to . . ."
The princesses stared blankly at Finn, then at the fiery monster behind him, then at Jake, who was sitting off to the side noodling with his cell phone. Finn looked over at his brother for the first time since their arrival, "Jake, what are you doing?"
"Texting Lady," he replied plaintively, "I'm telling her about how all the princesses just showed up and your girlfriend is a twenty foot tall fire monster."
"Girlfriend?!" The princess congregation shrieked out in surprise. Could the massive beast behind Finn be the woman who threatened to snatch him away?
"Y-yeah," the flame monster stammered, "What of it?" Finn looked over his shoulder at her and smiled. She flashed a slight one of her own, the red in her face deepening slightly.
The tension snapped, audibly. "GET HER!" The horde descended upon the flame princess, weapons, warriors, and spells flying as Armageddon erupted.
"Move forward, my hot dog knights!"
"LET'S LUMPIN DO THAHS!"
"DeStRoY hEr, DeStRoY hEr!"
"Finn will be mine!"
"BRING THE PAIN!"
"Wait, stop!" Finn struggled to stop the royalty as they surged forward, their respective forces clashing with the greatly distended figure of the flame princess.
"Stop it!" Vermillion shielded her face with one hand as she lashed out with the other, the massive wave of flame scattering hotdog knights like leaves in a hard breeze. Wave after wave of attacks from the army of enraged nobles surged upon the monstrous conflagration that the flame princess had become, but they were completely ineffective. "STOP FIGHTING ME!" Her voice deepened into an even more monstrous keen as she continued to grow, her expanding form beginning to encompass the glittering spires of the Obsidian Gardens.
Looking around desperately in the melee, Finn spotted Bonnibel and Marceline; the pair stood in the back ranks of the battle, observing Princess Vermillion's devolution with a sort of morbid fascination. "Marcie, Peebles!" He ran to them, his face wet with manic perspiration. "You have to help her, what's happening?"
Marceline couldn't speak as she met his gaze, the raw emotional turmoil inside of them threatening to overwhelm them both. She'd seen him in his best and his worst, but the anguish he felt in that moment, seeing the flame princess losing control, was the most raw she'd ever seen in his young face. It was a feeling she new all too well.
Bonnibel, however, seemed unmoved by the display. Indeed, she regarded the Flame Princess with a draconian indifference, as if she drew some sort of vindication from seeing the lovers so close, but so far from each other. "I warned them that this would happen if she left her lamp."
"What?" Finn paled, "Warned them about what?"
"The fire people," Bubblegun said with a slight sneer, "They're unstable. Their elemental matrix isn't able to tolerate emotions on the 'good' side of the alignment spectrum." Even watching the display, how she could lie like that, to Finn, was something Marceline could not fathom. "It causes them to intensify their thermal signature, growing in size and temperature, until they supernova." Finn turned to look back at his beloved Vera, who was nearly thirty feet in height and glowing more intensely than before, missing the wicked smile that curled the corners of Bonnibel's mouth. "At her current rate, I imagine she'll be bigger than the Candy Palace in about fifteen minutes; after that she'll reach critical mass, igniting all the oxygen in our atmosphere and engulfing Ooo in a massive fireball that will exterminate every living thing. Unless, of course, you can find a way to extinguish some of her thermal mass."
Finn looked down at the blue stone of Infinis he wore around his neck, then to the red stone that had sunk somewhere into her body. His face fell. "I understand; get everyone clear, I'll take care of this."
"Finn, wait!" Marceline tried to approach him, but he was already running into the melee. "How could you do that to him?" Marceline turned on Bonnibel, "How can it be so easy for you to lie to him like that, to destroy something that makes him so happy?"
"Finn was mine first," Bubblegum said plainly, "He has an obligation to the Candy Kingdom. I allow his heroism to benefit the rest of Ooo so long as it does not conflict with my own interests, but I won't allow his destiny to be clouded or his loyalties to be swayed; not by you, Marceline, and especially not by some elemental." She composed herself and it was as if she were a different person; the manipulative, deceitful noble was gone, replaced by the charming princess of the Candy Kingdom. "Everyone, we need to evacuate!" She started flagging the other nobles back toward the border of the flame kingdom. Marceline looked after the shrinking figure of the hero boy, then turned and followed the other nobles out of the castle's gates.
"FINN!" The flame princess was shouting his name, looking wildly around as she continued to expand, "Where are you, Finn?"
"I'm here!" Vera looked down, seeing the ant-like figure at the base of her form, "I'm right here, Vera."
"Finn!" She reached down and gingerly grabbed him, bringing Finn up to her face. "Oh my glob, Finn, what's happening to me?!"
"It's okay," Finn reached out and laid a hand on her face, "I'm right here and we're going to be okay."
She closed her eyes and nuzzled her cheek against his tiny hand, "I'm so scared." Her voice was almost small.
Finn held back his tears, "Just remember how much I love you."
"I love you too, Finn."
The hero boy steeled his resolve and leaned forward, teetering off the side of her hand and plunging head first into the writhing nexus of flames that his beloved had become. Shielded by the gem of Infinis, the flames gently caressed him as he passed through, streaking toward the magic gem at Vermillion's core. He took his gem and held it aloft, screaming wordlessly, and as her gem rushed up to meet him, he swung down. The stones of fire and water touched, their magics coming together for an instant, before the two stones exploded with a sun-like intensity that forced him to shield his eyes.
At the border of the flame kingdom, the gathering of princesses watched as a great flash of red and blue light overwhelmed the southern sky for an instant, before vanishing; seconds after, a deafening boom echoed across the continent, audible for miles. They immediately began to murmur amidst themselves, wondering what it could be, until Bubblegum clapped her hands and called them to attention. "That can only mean that Finn has conquered the day and defeated the beast." A cacophony of cheers erupted from the nobles, "Now, return to your kingdoms. There will be time to celebrate the hero's return soon enough."
The crowd began to disperse, the various nobles eager to return to their kingdoms and prepare for the next visit from the flaxen-haired hero of Ooo. Eventually it was only Marceline who remained, staring at Bubblegum with an expression of disgust on her face. "I can't believe you allowed this, ENGINEERED this. What happened to you, Bonnibel?"
Bubblegum drew her cotton candy stole around her shoulders, "I remember the first time that Finn saved me from the Ice King. I realized at that moment that Finn could never truly belong to anyone, but rather, he belonged to all of Ooo. I cannot let our hero be distracted from his path. We are all bound by our destines."
"And this has nothing to do with the fact that the Fire Count seduced Queen Cotton Candy out from under your grandfather's nose."
"It's irrelevant!" Bubblegun screeched at her in a moment of lost composure. She took a second to regain her demure. "That my grandmother decided to forsake her vows to the Candy Kingdom and indulge herself in a scandalous affair that plunged our kingdoms into civil war, while disgusting and selfish, is of no importance anymore; that grudge died with my father."
"You're right, Princess," Marceline drew her coat up around herself, "We are bound by our destinies. We are also shaped by the sins of our fathers." Without another word, the vampire queen was simply gone.
When Princess Vermillion awoke, she was tucked into asbestos covers and surrounded by scented candles. Finn was nearby, his clothes singed badly, his face soot-stained. "Finn?"
He lifted his head wearily, "I'm here, Vera."
She rose and quickly moved to his side, "What happened?"
"After the explosion, Jake got us out of the flame kingdom. We're in a ruin on the western shore, where Jake and I go to train."
"Did I do this?" She stared in mortified horror at the burns he'd suffered.
"No, it's my fault." He gently touched her hand, "I . . . had to destroy the stones of Infinis." Tears ran down his cheeks, "The blue stone was stopping you from extinguishing the flames, forcing you to keep growing until you would have destroyed the world. I had to smash it, with my stone."
"I . . . see." Vera sat down beside him, looking dejectedly at her lap. "Where's Jake?"
"He's gone to the tree house to get the jar of healing tears." He reached into his singed backpack, withdrawing two scrolls. "Princess, there's something I wanted to ask you."
"What is it?" She looked at him.
"I have these scrolls of fire shield and ice shield. They'd stop fire or water attacks from hurting us for a few hours, but they're temporary." He cleared his throat as he turned to look at her more directly, taking her hand in his; she was warm, comforting. "There's a couple's movie night tomorrow night. Do you . . . want to go with me?"
"Even with everything that's happened?" She looked at him with surprise, "I almost destroyed the world!"
"So? Will you defy nature with me?"
A slow, warm smile curled her lips, "Yes, I'd love to."
Author's Notes: Even in the depths of adversity, their love perseveres. ;^_^;
And so, the story comes to its end. I've enjoyed it very much, and I have especially enjoyed all the love from the fans. I can honestly say that the whole reason this story is concluding now is because so many people showed such an avid interest. I actually put every other writing project on hiatus, just so I could make this story my whole focus (aside from work, school, and family). So in a way I am glad to be done, because now I can work on other stories, but at the same time I am sad to be done, because this story is such a huge fan favorite.
So now, I guess, it's time to go work on all my other stories, which are mostly unknown to the people on this site.
But do keep your ear to the ground. The Jumper Chronicles is going to crash into the lands of Ooo and Aaa in the near future, so you'll be seeing more of Finn, Fiona, Jake, Cake, Princess Vermillion, Bubblegum, Marceline, and everyone else. I will be continuing this universe in that regard, and maybe even further, given the HUGE fan response to this arc.
So once again, thank you all so very much for your high praises. I hope to see more of you all in the near future.
Sunshine loving devil: Here you go. Thanks so much for staying tuned through the whole ordeal.
Killer-bear-hoffman: There are a few moments in the story where I wanted to mess with people's heart guts. I had a hard time with some parts.
TheWarriorofOOO: To each their own, I suppose. I like FP and Finn as a pair, because honestly, I have a hard time envisioning any of the others as a real pairing. PB is much too hung up on his youngness that I can't see him reaching her age without growing bitter over her rejection. Marcie is too angsty, and she's gonna be a teenager forever, Marcie's really angsty and has major anti-everybody issues. And the majority of the other princes are . . . well, either foodstuffs or inanimate objects. Once they formally introduce the more humanoid princesses, then we'll talk.
Steelghozt: This clash kind of identifies the difference between Marcie's and Bonnie's affection toward Finn.
Fujin of shadows: Thanks. ^_^ I was really obsessed with how to work it all out.
Rainbow dash: I assumed you didn't, but it's always fun to joke. And yes, MASSIVE drama bomb.
Bigredfox10: I hope the climax of the story is as good as you hoped.
Lerans: My goal was to address a huge event, establish a bond about their feelings, and then return it to as close to canon as I could manage.
Adventure time lovr: Thank you much for the praise, and the free publicity. My goal was to make this as much like a real episode (or series of episodes) as I could, in that it would be as infinitely relatable to young and old fans.
: I hope the climax is as epic as I intended. I want to blow the dial off the amp.
SirDippingSauce: Cobalt's only flaw was assuming that because she grew up in a lamp, she could see no one but him. Maybe in the sequel, I should write him a nice water girlfriend or something.
CryoftheCat: One epic ending, as promised.
Mrnin10do: I had to make it a short fight, mostly because the fight wasn't supposed to be the focus. The majority of the princesses are just background fodder.
Kendramccormick: Thank you, I wanted the final paragraph to be really powerful. They've struggled, and I wanted their vindication to be as great as their trials.
Storylover Vodhr- Dux Ducis: Glad you approved. ^_^
StrikerXE: I love making the chapters fast paced. It makes it all feel like an actual episode to me.
Harvest-Mooniac: You're half right. The chromatic diagram you refer to is correct, as long as the flame burns off of a solid matter fuel. When consuming a vaporous fuel, the color scheme starts with red as the coolest and gets hotter through orange, yellow, blue, and white as the hottest. This is because of the presence of carbon found in fuel and the quantity of it remaining post ignition. Hotter gaseous temperatures vaporize matter more completely, resulting in a cleaner light.
I assumed that the flame people consumed gaseous fuels as a primary, and solid fuel as a secondary. Sort of how they always seem to burn, but they can consume coal or other fuel sources if they desire (such as how Flambo pops coal like candy in the earlier chapters).
The23thStudent: A duel and an escape all in one. ^_^
: The pillar of light is a manifestation of how the Flame Princess burns brighter the more emotionally intense she becomes. You notice in the cartoon how she always glows brighter when Finn is sweet to her? I figured that you really couldn't get much more intense than a kiss, right? At least, not in my story, I'm not turning this into a lemon. ^_^
Kody the Guard of Flames: Never. Finn and Vermillion forever.