The Ugly Maiden: Because They Only Save the Pretty Ones

Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far away . . .

Well, not really. Sure, we live in a kingdom, but it's not your everyday fairy-tale kingdom. We have kings, queens, princesses, princes, and knights, but we're more of a cross between the world of Cinderella and a typical, modern-day high school: the football players/knights recue the cheerleaders/damsels in distress from dragon-guarded towers.

This is the land where I learned the importance of rescuing yourself from that tower. Although it's funny to think that it all started with a broken heel. . . .

Snap!

I groaned. I knew that shoe was a bad idea. I should never have let my sister force me into that death trap.

I was on my way to a restaurant to meet my blind date. My sister set us up. As if that was the only way I could get a date with a face like mine. Blindly.

Although, sadly, I kind of agreed with her.

Carefully, I took my shoes off and started walking barefoot. So what if my feet were dirty by the time I got there? It's not like my ridiculous dress was doing anything to make me look better. If anything, it contrasted terribly with my ugly face and made me even worse. Same with the shoes.

Grinning slightly, I could almost picture Sarah, my sister, yelling at me for this. Rachel! she would whine. I spent a lot of time on your makeover, and now you ruin it. Uggghhh!

I heard the flapping of wings, and only one thought was able to cross my mind before I got literally carried away: Dragon.

The flight was very long, and after about half an hour, I got plunked inside a tall tower. Perfect.

"I've been hired not to hurt you," the dragon had said.

"Who hired you?" I'd asked.

"Your sister."

Of course. There had been no "restaurant" or "date" in the first place. It was all a scheme to get some random knight to rescue me. By some unspoken rule, every time a knight rescued a fair maiden from a dragon-guarded tower, he would have to marry her. What a stupid rule.

So I waited and waited. Waiting for someone to rescue me, and hoping it wasn't some idiot jerk-face.

Days passed, and the dragon made sure I had everything I needed to survive. My room was perfect. The food was perfect. Everything was perfect. I even got indoor plumbing. Who knew?

The only thing wrong with being captured was that I was, well, captured. And I got lonely. Sure, the dragon was nice and everything, and we became sorta friends, I guess, but I missed my family and my other friends.

Finally, after countless days of being trapped, I heard the sound of a horse galloping towards the tower. I was finally getting rescued.

"Don't worry, my fair maiden!" the knight called to me, using the "proper language" that you're supposed to use when someone is getting rescued. "I shall rescue thee from this foul beast!"

I suddenly got very nervous. I didn't want him to slay the dragon. The dragon was my friend.

"I deeply express my upmost gratitude to thee, my brave knight!" I called back, also using the "proper language" although I hated it and was terrible at it. I was pretty sure that I was failing miserably in my attempt to sound like one of those people from medieval times. "However, I shall be even more greatly indebted in thee if thou did not slay the dragon!"

"Art thou completely crazy? I must slay it!"

"What is thy problem? What did this noble creature ever do to thee?"

"It captured thee, my lovely damsel in distress."

"Lovely?"

"Yes, thou art lovelier than all the roses in the kingdom!"

"You wanna bet?"

The knight suddenly looked slightly anxious. "Thou mustn't speak like that, my dear maiden. Thou must use the word thou—oh, what the heck. Who am I kidding? I hate talking like this!" he hesitated. "Wait, what do you mean, 'you wanna bet?'"

I sighed. "I'm not the beautiful maiden you think I am."

And I stepped to the window.

As soon as he saw my ugly face, he gasped. "Oh, I just remembered! I have to go to a . . . thing. Good luck with . . . whatever!"

And he "ever so nobly galloped away." Yep. Real brave. Lets give him an award. That's my knight in shining armor, folks!

What a spineless fool. He ditched me just because I was ugly.

What do I do now? I asked myself.

I looked around, and I had an epiphany. Who said that a knight had to save me? Who said that I couldn't save myself, huh? I didn't need some idiotic, cowardly, pathetic, shallow jerk to rescue me from this tower. I was going to rescue myself.

I found a rope and tied it to a peg near the window.

Why didn't I think of this sooner? I asked myself as I climbed down. I had everything I needed to escape; I was just too blind to see it.

My feet touched the ground.

Freedom.

I was so happy, I literally danced with joy. Then I looked around to make sure no one had seen my dorky dancing.

Unfortunately, someone had.

The Dragon.

"Dragon?" I asked him.

"You've escaped." He seemed awestruck.

"Ummm . . . I guess I did."

"Nobody has ever escaped since . . . well, nobody ever has. You're the first."

"Yeah . . ." I was starting to get a little creeped out.

Dragon gasped, there was a burst of light, and he transformed into a man about my age.

"What the heck?" I shouted.

He looked up at me. His eyes were beautiful, I realized. "You escaped on your own," he explained. "A few years ago, an angry sorceress casted a spell on me. I turned into a dragon, and the first person to escape my tower without anybody helping her was to be my true love. Since true love breaks a spell, I would turn human again. And I did, as you can see."

"I'm you true love?"

"Apparently so. I always knew there was something different about you."

I laughed bitterly. "Because I'm ugly, right?"

He frowned. "What are you talking about?"

I shook my head. No need to bring it up. "Never mind."

He shrugged, then, reaching over to pluck a rose from a nearby bush, he got down on his knees. "Rachel Amanda Tanny, will you marry me?"

I smiled. "Sure."

And so Dragon and I got married and lived happily ever after. The End.

I stared at the ending of our story. "Wait, Wait, Wait! When did I ever agree to this? I mean, gee, I'm flattered and all, but you need to slow down a little, Dragon. First of all, what's your real name?"

"David Pendragon."

I sighed. Of course it was. "Okay . . . David. Why don't we take a few steps back. You're rushing things too much. How about a date first?"

He sighed, too. "Fine."

"Okay, so how about Friday at eight at the movies?"

"Okay. See you then."

The End (of this story)