Once upon a time, as all such stories go, a beautiful princess rested inside a glass coffin inside a castle where all the walls were covered in elegant white sheets and all the floors were covered in blue roses. The princess never really did sleep, so she watched outside the window in the small room she lived in and watched over the world below her day in and night out. As time passed, the princess wondered about loneliness.

Sometimes she would see a group of people she came to recognize as a family, and she would wonder where her own was. What woman gave birth to her after nurturing her for nine months in her womb? What man loved her mother so genuinely to kiss her with so much passion, to bring her into the world with so much passion? Occasionally, she would see a family bigger than just three people, and she understood that those people had siblings. Did she also have siblings? Was there possibly someone else out there with a face slightly like hers and with the will to argue with her? At times like those, she was painfully aware of how alone she was, but never once did she raise her voice to talk to the outside world. Who would hear a princess trapped inside a glass coffin? What a lonely existence it was to be a princess without a king or queen to guide you through the delicate world.

She saw other things as well. As she watched out the window, she watched mothers cry as they lost their sons and daughters. She watched children take up weapons when they lost their parents and watched those children kill other people's parents to get the food they needed, the things they wanted. She watched people hurt each other for reasons she couldn't understand, but she still tried to stretch her imagination. Gradually, slowly, she started to understand the sad state of the world as ash fell like snow from the sky.

After a while, observing became tiring. All those people outside grew old and died while she never changed. When she pressed her spine against the glass coffin it hurt a bit, but she never said anything as she took this chance to observe the world in a slightly novel manner. She finally caught a glimpse of the sky, and what was there amazed her beyond words. Never once had she thought of a castle floating upside down in the sky.

Now she knew the source of all the ash. At least finally it seemed as though the war had stopped. There were still many children without parents and many parents without children, but the war was over. Now the only people they hurt were themselves. How many generations had she seen pass when they were always fighting?

The poor princess never did notice the two coffins beside her, one of quartz and one of ebony. Whether or not they were occupied is probably nothing of importance, but were she someone's child, maybe those parents rested in the coffins beside her, only they would be filled with corpses instead of ageless beauties if they were filled at all.

She was perfectly alone, eternally, in her castle and glass coffin.

But eventually everything changes. When the ash grew too thick and the children had troubles breathing, the princess would occasionally hear footsteps through the endless halls. She turned, occasionally stepping on her own ground-length hair awkwardly when she tried to look around through the castle for once instead of out the window. With the doors closed and only those blue rose and white sheets in sight, seeing much was impossible.

One day, during those brief moments she closed her eyes, she was returned to reality by a close, genuine voice. As she turned, she realized she was exposed in front of this well dressed man who looked truly like a prince. She, however, had not learned such shame in her time of watching out the window, so she merely stared back at the prince. Her hand reached out to touch against the glass, wanting contact with this person who had been so ambitious as to see her. She was so lonely, so maybe, just maybe the princess wouldn't have to be alone anymore.

The prince looked injured, blood slipping through his white clothing. There were tears at his eyelashes from the pain, or maybe it was something else, like when a mother lost a child. He pressed his own hand against the glass just as she had, his forehead pressed to the glass as well as he smiled at her with such sad eyes.

"I suppose you won't understand this, Princess, but you are someone very important. To free you from your coffin, I must die. When you awaken, I want you to set the world into motion. I want you to change the world, to revolutionize it. To guide you, this ring," he pressed a silver-colored nut with a blue rose insignia etched into it against the glass, "will lead you to your destiny. Take it, dear Princess, and be free."

The prince closed his eyes and pressed his lips against the glass coffin, and in turn the princess mimicked his actions and pressed her lips to the glass. When she opened her eyes, she stared with apathy just as she had watched the events outside her window when the prince fell onto his back. Just as he landed, his body shattered into thousands of nuts and bolts, the one 'ring' for the princess lost amongst the bunch. However, at the same time, as the nuts and bolts bounced against the flowered ground they crashed against the glass coffin and shattered the glass.

The princess didn't flinch as she was cut again and again by the glass. Her bare skin tolerated the pain. Smoothly, she pulled her hair over her shoulder before kneeling down. She found the ring from her prince with ease and slipped it onto her left ring finger. The beautiful princess picked up a larger piece of glass, lifted up her long hair, and cut through it with much difficulty until the long locks fell across the nuts and bolts and left her with hair that framed her face, curling against her cheeks.

Afterwards, she sat down on the ground amongst the nuts, bolts, glass and the blue roses to stare out the window. That was when she fell asleep. It was time for her to wait to awaken in that strange land as the prince had told her.

As she dreamed she heard a beautiful singing voice. She didn't doubt for a moment that it was a man's elegant voice that sang in her ear as she rested, and without a doubt she saw images of the floating castle in her mind. Maybe, one day, if she woke up, it would not be so bad to explore the floating castle. Maybe, just maybe, a family was waiting for her there, or maybe the voice belonged to the prince who had selflessly sacrificed himself so she could escape the glass coffin.

That was the last time the beautiful princess could enjoy her sheltered captivity.