Disclaimer: I don't own any character, name, place or anything related to the original show. Everything belongs to ©Cartoon Network, Frederator Studios and Pendleton Ward.
Through Her Burning Gaze
The sunlight entered through the window, it hit the glass and then it was reflected on my face. Every morning was the same thing; the light was always shot at my closed eyes, disturbing my sleep and on top of that, it would always happen at dawn. No one is awake at dawn! And I couldn't go back to sleep 'cause the throne room had some sort of openings in every wall. "The eyes of the Mighty King" that's how my father calls them. When this palace was built, many centuries ago, my great-great-great-great ugh…I forgot how many greats were… Anyway, my great-grandfather "The Mighty King", wished to see the whole kingdom from his throne, so he ordered his architects to melt a hole on the rocky walls of our volcano in the shape of a tear. Well, they look like tears to me…
Anyhow, I don't care if he thought that it was a good idea, I hate it! Didn't he ever think that his great-great-etc-granddaughter would have to sleep there, and that she would be awakened by the sunlight every morning and then be left alone until the rest of the palace wakes up? How inconsiderate of him, whoever he was…
I leaned back on the crystal and waited. About two hours later the first servant appeared. "I haven't seen him before…he must be new." I thought, whooshing forward and placing my face and hands against the glass.
He looked like a piece of coal with a flaring head and long skinny limbs, short and chubby. I followed him with my eyes as he walked whistling a funny song throughout the hall. When he was close enough I knocked on my lamp's crystal to call his attention. It's funny you know? Even though I had always been here, hanging from the ceiling, no one ever notices me or what I do. No subject knows that I'm the first one in waking up instead of the service mistress —like everyone thinks— and nobody knows that I'm the first one in falling asleep —I always felt sleepy at sunset because, what else could I do being locked up inside this lamp? Maybe they didn't care about me; after all, I was just part of the palace's ornaments. Something that was meant to be appreciated, but with time, something eventually ignored.
The only one who would glance back at me every now and then was my father; he's the only fire elemental who would dare to speak to me. The others were too afraid to do it…don't ask me why. Perhaps that's one of the reasons of why they ignore me, not having to deal with the King's daughter was something good for them. However, I watch them everyday; I know what they think about me. The Flame King's evil daughter, that's all I seem to be. When did I earn that title? I don't know either, they always use it when they speak of me, well they don't speak—they whisper on my back. I hate that so much! I've always wondered what's wrong with me, why do they ignore me? Why do they whisper when they talk about me? Why are they so afraid? And why do I have to be locked up inside this thing? Maybe it was because I shot the Flame General and turned him into flambits when I was four… I don't know.
The little coal guy kept walking happily while I stared at him, maybe I wasn't insisting enough. I tried knocking on the lamp again, this time I got his attention. He turned around reluctantly and gazed at me with fear. I rolled my eyes in annoyance because of his reaction and rubbed my stomach to let him know that I was hungry. He tilted his flaring head in confusion —clearly not understanding the message— and then I proceeded to open my mouth and point repeatedly inside it with my index finger.
He slapped his face and gave me a shy smile, showing a thumb up "Hey, I like this one!" I whispered, watching him rush towards the royal kitchen. Maybe he wasn't afraid of me, he must have been nervous about not knowing what to do when the princess called him. Most of them would have just continued their way, pretending that they didn't hear anything. They preferred to wait until my father arrived to offer him breakfast and then, bring me the same food he asked for in default. I sighed, leaning back again. This only happened because he was a new servant and I was sure that in a month or so, he'd learn to fear me... just like the rest of them.
Soon the entire palace came back to life; the servants entered the hall and began to swipe the ground, lit the torches, and polish the golden base of my lamp. Then the important people came; high-class subjects, ministers, and dukes—that kind of people. Their voices filled the hall, many different voices speaking at the same time... I couldn't understand what they said. It was another kind of whisper; one I was forced to hear until my father walked down stairs.
I loved when that happened; his very presence frightened them to death, he just had to step into the throne room and then everyone would shut their mouths. The annoying noise would cease instantly and his deep, imposing voice would be first projected to greet one person in particular. The only soft and gentle manner that his subjects would hear from him during the entire day would be directed to me… Then everyone would have to notice me hanging from the ceiling, and bow with respect.
I had been waiting for this moment the whole morning; I needed to tell him something very important. I wanted to let him know that I wasn't going to shoot anyone ever again. I believed that, by promising him to behave, he would let me out of the lamp. I stood up, because I was taught that royals never knelt before anyone, and I also wanted to please my father as much as I could—that way he'll feel even happier and it would be more probable that he'll grant me my freedom.
"Good morning Princess, did you sleep well?" he asked, bending his neck backwards to look at me.
"Yes father, you know I—…" I was about to tell him when someone entered the throne room and distracted my father.
It was his jester. I don't really know what to think about that guy and I don't understand what's his purpose on this palace's court either. I thought that he was supposed to entertain the king, but he always ended up annoying him. All he does is to dance and laugh around him.
"Hey your highness~!" the jester greeted, jumping next to my father and then made a back flip to stare at me.
Flame Jester was the weirdest fire elemental that I have ever seen, he was the only one who wasn't afraid of my father or afraid of me. Still, I don't consider him brave, he's just… stupid.
"Oh I see you there!" the weirdo laughed staring at me "Are you going to do it again? Why do you even bother, huh?"
One last thing about this fiery creep... I don't understand how, but every time I'm about to negotiate my freedom with the king, he knows it! And nothing makes me angrier than that! For some reason my father doesn't even want me to think about leaving the lamp. Seriously, was blasting that general something so evil? And to make things even worse the jester would always start signing annoying songs about how: "Daddy's little girl's going to grow old forever trapped in her crystal lantern!" That isn't even funny. It's scary, I don't wanna grow old inside this thing! I mean… My father should let me out someday, right? He couldn't be thinking of leaving me here 'till I die, how would I see the world or…meet my true love living like this?
Dad hated when this happened —maybe even more than I did— He noticed the frustration and the fear spreading through my face. He knew that I wanted to escape from this prison more than anything, and he didn't need someone to be reminding me of how unreachable that dream was. He growled furiously at his jester and kicked him to the other end of the hall. Then he shifted out of his copper armor and reappeared on a staircase from where he could be even closer to me. There was a golden lever next to his feet—I've dreamed so many times of watching him pulling it down, I would be free then.
I glanced at him, all the excitement was gone now "The jester was right, why do I even bother?" I whispered angrily, turning my face away from him.
I noticed that his hand was touching the glass softly as he spoke to me "You were going to try again, didn't you?" My father replied dryly.
"Yeah, I know! I was going to ask again, okay?! Go ahead punish me!—Oh wait, I'm already punished!" I yelled feeling totally hopeless—but not for the first time in my miserable life.
"This is not a punishment my dear, we have talked about this before…"
Oh great here it comes again... The wisest words to have ever been spoken, if I had to listen to that lecture again, I was sure I was going to vomit and that would be a problem for someone trapped in such a small container like me.
"You and I have a great responsibility to share with our people and with the other kingdoms… I understand that you are young, that you are curious about the world around you, and that you want to step outside and enjoy your freedom, but you can't because—…"
"Because responsibility demands sacrifice…" I said, cutting him off "I know that! That's all you've ever told me since you threw me inside this…this…this cage!" I was starting to feel dizzy; I couldn't believe that I had just said those words. Who came up with them anyway?—Some moron, I was sure about it. They didn't mean anything to me, besides the fact that I will be locked up for some unknown reason my whole life.
"It's not a cage!" my father yelled, feeling angry as well "I'm just keeping you safe!"
Keeping me safe from what? That had always been his excuse and I couldn't get it either. I sighed, letting myself fall again. There was no point in acting like a royal now and I wasn't going to be on my feet the whole day. I dragged my knees towards my chest and crossed my arms over them, with one last bothered glare; I hid my face within them. Now the day was ruined —if not the whole week— it didn't make any difference for me.
"The King" (I don't like calling him father whenever I'm mad at him) sighed in resignation and shifted back to his throne. I peeked with one eye at him, he was going to start his everyday labors now and I was planning to be as annoying as my fourteen-year-old mind could let me. He was going to learn what happens when you keep a girl inside a lantern for ten years!
The runes on the entrance doors changed their colors and shapes to be unlocked and let the first visitor of the day inside. I recognized her immediately, she was known as Madame Pyre—a fiery woman obsessed with order and perfection. Always wearing a long dark-grey dress with scarlet flames acting as laces on her sleeves and collar, she walked her corpulent body towards the throne. Her chin was always raised high with pride and her slanted eyes were slightly closed to reaffirm an air of pomposity that was very common among the Fire Kingdom's high-class subjects. I could feel a naughty grin being drawn across my face. Pyre was perfect, she was a harsh lady that could intimidate even the strongest and most magnificent men in the land, make them cry, and drag them along a shameful path by pulling their ears if things didn't work in the way she was expecting them to do. I glared at "The King" again; it was time for my little revenge...
"Ah, Madame Pyre! It's always a pleasure to welcome you in my palace!" The King bowed before her respectfully and she did the same, using exaggerated manners of decorum. Her self-exaltation was pretty obvious, even more than in "The King."
Then, Pyre raised her glance at me, probably expecting me to greet her as well. But I didn't. I remained in the same position that I was before, sitting in my lamp while hiding my face within my crossed arms. "The King" gave her a nervous smile and cleared his throat loudly to call my attention. I ignored him.
Her eyes were wide-opened and she threw a disapproving sigh towards my father "Ignitus, what's wrong with this girl?!"
Such was her arrogance that she even allowed herself to call him by his name, and the worst thing was that he'd let her. Normally, heads would roll if someone dared to call the Flame King by his first name, but not with Madame Pyre. She seemed to have power over every man in the kingdom, including my father.
"That's a good question, you know?" I replied, breaking every rule of diplomacy that I've been taught. I walked forward and leaned my side on the glass with my arms still crossed "Maybe he'll answer you—a complete stranger—while in ten years he had never given me—his own daughter—a straight answer...!" I said, tasting the sweet flavor of sarcasm sliding off my tongue.
Pyre jumped back in astonishment, covering her mouth to prevent an impressed gasp from escaping. "The King" glared at me, I could feel his incandescent eyes piercing through the crystal of my prison. I knew that nothing good would come out of this, but I was making him have a stressful time and that was all that mattered.
"Ignitus what's the meaning of this?!" the pompous woman cried, looking offended and began to attack my father with her humiliating scowling and yells "I always knew something like this would happen! A girl can't be raised without the feminine touch! But big lords like you think that you're so powerful, ha! I can't imagine you, the Flame King, changing dippers! Much less teaching a young lady how to use tampons! It's a miracle that she's been able to reach her current age, even though you have already spoiled her! Since her mother passed away I've been always worried about all this matters; I just knew this would happen and you—Ignitus, you are the pathetic excuse of a father!"
I watched in delight how "The King" melted in shame on his throne, it mustn't have been a pleasant experience for such a mighty ruler to be scolded and practically humiliated in front of his subjects and fellow dignitaries but for me—the young princess in question, was a total win.
After being severely scolded by my father, I found myself sitting inside my vessel like every normal day, watching him fulfill his duties—duties that one day would be mine. Nothing extraordinary happened in the transition from the morning to the afternoon until the Royal Messenger came.
Sure, a royal messenger wasn't extraordinary either. He was just a simple peasant devoted to his job of receiving and delivering the correspondence within the palace's walls. What was amazing about him was the mess that he always brought along with him, each time he entered the hall. Fire wolves would never stop following him, no matter where he'd go. Dad called it "The mailman's curse" I wish I knew what does that mean.
Enjoying myself with the chaos before me (fire wolves chasing people and people chasing fire wolves) I couldn't help to ask my father another question, one I hoped wouldn't be as controversial as the first one.
"Father?" I said after knocking the crystal to make him turn around.
"What is it?" he replied with an unfriendly stare.
I must admit that he made me feel a little nervous, but after what I did this morning, and assuming that I couldn't make him more upset than he already was, I dared to ask "Can I has one?"
My father sat on his throne, glancing back at me "It's not has, it's have" he corrected "and no, you can't."
I felt frustrated "But, you don't even know what I'm talking about!"
"You can't own a fire wolf and that's the end of it!"
Then end of it? Did he really believe that I was going to surrender to that proclamation? "Why?" I asked eagerly.
"Because I say so!"
Uh, okay… I can't fight against that one, nobody can.
So, I couldn't get my freedom and I couldn't get a pet. Was I going to get something besides food and boring lectures today? I sighed, leaning my back against the clear surface that surrounded me. I really wish I could step out of it; ten years of imprisonment have been more than enough... I wonder how much time did the other princesses had to wait. The princesses that always appeared in ancient fairy tales were so lucky, their lives were pretty much like mine; they were locked up in a tower, a dungeon or any type of prison, yearning to be free. The only difference —in contrast with me— was that a prince would always come to grant them that freedom. That makes me query, if I am a princess who has been unfairly locked up like them... then, wouldn't that mean…?
"Hey you, halt!" the guards yelled as they cornered a flambit with their spears, obviously driving me out of my thoughts.
"Where do you think you are going? Speak!" My father demanded, standing up from his seat and stomping the ground powerfully.
"Hey! W-wait, Flambo's just going to the Grasslands for a little stroll! What's the big deal, huh?" the flambit replied, giving them a nervous grin. The guards turned their heads waiting for the king's orders.
My father let himself fall on his seat lazily "Let him go, it doesn't matter…"
"Can I go too?" I asked suddenly, getting back on my feet and holding my hands against my chest "Please!"
My father raised his head and stared at me with a disconcerted look "What? Of course not!"
"But, Flame Princess's just going to the Grasslands for a little stroll! What's the big deal, huh?" I said imitating that flambit. Somewhere deep in my heart I wanted to believe naively that it would work.
Dad chuckled "Nice try Princess, but the answer is no."
Yeah, I knew it. No matter what I did or what I asked for, the answer would always be…no. I spent the rest of the afternoon arguing with my father about it until he decided that I had talked enough and ordered me to be quiet. So I remained silent, sitting inside my lantern and staring at the ground beneath me. What else could I do?
"Uh…Yo! What's up? I'm Jake, Jake the Do—uff!" a strange voice broke the silence all of a sudden.
I turned my head to see who that was; it was the weirdest thing I had ever seen... He was short, round and fat…well he looked like a potato to me. A blue potato with blue boots and a blue backpack. I could only wonder, what was he doing here? And from where did he come from?
'Cause he wasn't —obviously— one of my kind...
I hope the first chapter wasn't boring. I wanted to make an introduction to the main chapters, focusing on how Flame Princess' everyday life was before "Incendium" I also hope that she wasn't too out of character. There's so little characterization of her in the show that's a bit tricky to work with her.
So the next chapter will be "Incendium", please tell me if you like the concept...actually, please tell me whatever you want, flames are accepted :)