Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

“So, there was this beautiful princess.
She was locked in a high tower, one whose smart walls had clever holes in them that could give her anything: food, a clique of fantastic friends, wonderful clothes. And, best of all, there was this mirror on the wall, so that the princess could look at her beautiful self all day long.
The only problem with the tower was that there was no way out. The builders had forgotten to put in an elevator, or even a set of stairs. She was stuck up there.
One day, the princess realized that she was bored. The view from the tower—gentle hills, fields of white flowers, and a deep, dark forest—fascinated her. She started spending more time looking out the window than at her own reflection, as is oftern the case with troublesome girls.
And it was pretty clear that no prince was showing up, or at least that he was really late.
So the only thing was to jump.
The hole in the wall gave her a lovely parasol to catch her when she fell, and a wonderful new dress to wear in the fields and forest, and a brass key to make sure she could get back into the tower if she needed to. But the princess, laughing pridefully, tossed the key into the fireplace, convinced she would never need to return to the tower. Without another glance in the mirror, she strolled out onto the balcony and stepped off into midair.
The thing was, it was a long way down, a lot farther than the princess had expected, and the parasol turned out to be total crap. As she fell, the princess realized she should have asked for a bungee jacket or a parachute or something better than a parasol, you know?
She struck the ground hard, and lay there in a crumpled heap, smarting and confused, wondering how things had worked out this way. There was no prince around to pick her up, her new dress was ruined, and thanks to her pride, she had no way back into the tower.
An the worst thing was, there were no mirrors out there in the wild, so the princess was left wondering whether she in fact was still beautiful…or if the fall had changed the story completely.”
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