Disclaimer: The characters belong to Pendleton Ward
The light blinded him as soon as he opened his eyes. The first thing he felt was the beating of his heart, slow and gentle.
It was barely perceptible.
He also felt cold. His teeth chattered and his hands gripped the blanket that covered him.
He tried to whisper, but the words died on his lips. It was then that he realized he was awake.
With bloodshot eyes, Simon started to look around.
What was that place?
It was so colorful, to the point that it almost fell into extravagance. The smell of the room was also too sweet, similar to that of candies. And …there was another person there.
A boy, but he was not alone, as he was accompanied by a dog. Both looked at Simon with concern.
Just as his beloved Betty had done when Simon...
Then, the dog spoke.
It was at that moment that Simon decided that he was still immersed in a dream. There was no other explanation, just like there was no way that was real.
Colorful and sweet smelling rooms?
Speaking with dogs?
His subconscious was giving him dreams far too distinct from reality.
The only thing that kept Simon going in the sad and raw real world was Betty, his princess. Simon closed his eyes again, both by choice and by exhaustion, anxious to wake from that bizarre dream back into his warm bed together with Betty.
A smile appeared on his lips.
Before disappearing back into his sleep, Simon heard a whisper.
The dog was still talking.
This time, Simon awoke with another panic attack. His own screams deafened his ears.
The boy and the dog came again to try to calm him down, as they always did.
Simon was in a frenzy of delussion. It had been days since he had last cared if that place was real or not, and now he could just cry until he was left completely voiceless, only to then plunge into a bitter crying.
The speaking yellow dog always looked at Simon with indifference , but the boy had learned to look at him with sadness.
Simon grabbed him by his shirt and pulled the boy closer to him.
Simon could see how the boy's confusion transformed into fear, but he did not care.
He was to scared to do so.
"Betty. Where is my Betty?"
Simon's question sounded more like a plea rather than a petition.
The boy did not answer, and his expression of fear became one of compassion. Simon allowed the boy to hug him while he cried.
He continued repeating the name of his princess.
And just as it had become a routine in the past two weeks, Simon continued hugging the boy until his tears ran out.
That world was real, Simon had no longer any doubt about it.
He spent the first two months trying to convince himself that it was just an illusion created by his mind, which was maybe demented by the tragedies that Simon had lived in the war.
But he was wrong. That land called Ooo was no illusion of his imagination, but the world reborn after violence culminated with its destruction.
Simon also had no more ignorance of his former identity as the Ice King. The boy named Finn and his dog named Jake had explained him, as gently as they could, all about it.
The crown had apparently locked Simon inside his own mind for over a thousand years, and it was not until a intense battle that the spell was broken, and Simon was finally released from his prison.
He remembered nothing of what he had done under this identity, but Simon was repentant enough to impose himself self-exile. His appearance had returned to normal, except for his skin, which was still as blue and icy as when he was the Ice King.
But Simon wasn't bothered by it, because it was thanks to this abnormal skin that he could continue to live alone in the cold mountains of the kingdom.
Not longer as a king, but as a mere exile.
The only thing that kept him alive was hope.
The small but warm hope that was Betty, his princess.
Simon had not forgotten her, and now that he was free, he would be devoted to search for her in this new world .
It had been a long time since he had last saw her, but Simon thought it was still possible to find Betty.
And perhaps, it was even possible for her to love him again.
It had to be.
Otherwise, Simon would have preferred to be dead.
Simon Petrikov is dead.
His heart is still beating, but his soul is broken beyond repair.
After four years of searching, it was finally over.
It ended not because Simon had found the remains of his princess, covered with grass or snow, nor because Simon had given up.
All ended because of a memory.
It was short and simple, and yet, it was enough to ruin any hope Simon had of finding his beloved princess.
It was on the last night of the fourth year that this memory found its way out from Simon's mind and had spread like a disease in his heart and soul.
At the time when happiness was not a hope but a reality, Simon had for the first time put the crown on his head. At the time when that silly joke became the start of his misery, Simon had not scared Betty away with his words.
Simon had killed her with his bare hands, leaving a pain that was only cured by madness and oblivion.
Simon wished he had never remembered.
But that was not possible, and now he knew his princess was gone.
Only this time, it was for good
The next morning, Simon left everything behind, and abandoned that world to go to his princess's side.
And maybe in that another life ,they will meet again and they will be free to love and live in happiness together, just as they had dreamed so long ago, in the time when Simon and Betty only lived for each other.
Together in a love only possible between a king and his beloved princess.