The three princes wooing the oldest princess when things go wrong -- or rather, the three that had been wooing her, one having come to his senses and started to pack even before she vanished. The other two decide that they aren't going for the rescue, the hand in marriage, and half the kingdom either.
Looked fine in the outline, actually writing their rejection of the matter makes me wonder what will happen with them. Hmmm. Hmmm. Hmmm.
Good thing the heroine's in the inn. She can hear traveler's tales. They don't have to appear onstage, especially when I know none of them are interested in her.
The one who's the miles gloriosus is going to be the easy one. "Go I Know Not Whither, Bring Back I Know Not What" -- his second attempt at matrimony ends about as badly as you would expect in a fairy tale where he started to eye another man's wife.
The one who came to his senses -- well, I was thinking of quick disposal and my first thought was finding a sleeping princess in a crystal coffin -- and then I whapped my own wrist because that's of course one of the Top Twenty(ish) Tales. Hmm. . . of course I could have him find Brother and Sister instead. Or a variant where he doesn't hunt the deer. . . hmmm, there's the Girl Without Hands. Or Our Lady's Child but I don't want to inflict that on him. Or One-Eye, Two-Eyes and Three-Eyes, which has the advantage of ending once they are married so the tale can get back promptly enough.
And then there's the third. Blank, blank, blank. A fairy tale not in the Top Twenty(ish) and not already slated elsewhere in the story, neither in itself nor as a variant.
I could, I suppose, send him home to be a mute figure in Mollie Whuppie's fairy tale, marrying her without a line (because it's his father who promised). I could put him under a curse to send him haring after Anthousa Xanthousa Chrisomalousa even if that does get classified as Maiden in the Tower, because it's much closer to the Girl Helps the Hero Flee, or after the Three Oranges. Or Citrons. Or whatever.
This story has a new sort of list. Fairy tales references. And it's going to have a side list of fairy tales I've read that I think might be interesting to slate in. Making that side list longer could probably help with the writing.