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Happy Endings for Sale
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away there lived a very rich, very ugly girl. She had a very long nose with a very large wart and very messy hair, and though she was not, she looked like a witch. It was not her fault, but rather the fault of a father who made a hobby of suing fairy god mothers. No matter what her family tried, they couldn't seem to find a cure to her hideous affliction.
The girl, Mildred (as if she needed anything more to be teased about), grew increasingly worried as her sixteenth birthday approached. She expressed her fears to her mother one perfectly sunny afternoon. "Mother dearest, what if, for all of my money, this curse shall force me to live the life of a hermit, eventually becoming an old cat lady who is eaten to death by mutinous cats?"
"Of course not, daughter dearest. I'm sure a lovely prince will discover your charm, your quirky spirit- we just need to get you some good conditioner and a nose job."
"But surely all of the plastic surgeons in Happily Ever After have retired upon seeing my dreaded visage!"
"No, dear, I assure you, we will find you a practitioner before your sixteenth birthday," her mother said, utterly serenely.
Long story short, they didn't. So now I'm stuck in some stupid tower playing tic tac toe with a ginormous dragon.
See, I used to live in a really nice gated community called "Happily Ever After". All of the rich people, the ones who had made their fortune poaching unicorns and suing fairy god mothers and doing other profitable illegal junk lived there. And everyone wanted to make sure that their kids married the right people AKA, rich people, and had "happy endings". So one genius entrepreneur came up with a great idea- why not sell them? It sounds stupid, selling happy endings but people actually bought into it. See, the guy figured that if you just followed a specific fairy tale pattern, one that had been proven for generations, people wouldn't have to worry about if their kids found true love or not, because they could buy it.
The formula was this: take one damsel in distress, one super-long-lasting love potion, and one knight in armour (whether it was shining- or even real- depended on how stingy the parents were), and you've got true love! And a multi-million dollar business, of course.
At first, people were a little suspicious, but after seeing how happy the first descanters were, they decided to try it out themselves. People've been doing it for over a century now. It's how my parents got engaged. Everyone loves the idea.
I'll admit, when I first heard about them, I was pretty stoked. My parents were all "you won't die alone!" and I was like "I won't be eaten by cats!" and everyone was weirdly happy. For months before my sixteenth birthday my mother and I flipped through catalogs of different dragons and towers, and we even went through a poisoned apple phase. Things were exciting. I almost forgot about how no guy had ever looked at me long enough to say a word before hurling into the nearest trash can. I'd thought that people would look past that, you know? Like, looks weren't the only thing. Man, I was stupid.
Now that I'm stuck here, I know there's not much chance in me getting out the traditional way. I'm gonna have to blow this popsicle stand. Getting out won't be a problem, it's what this thing was designed for. The problem's gonna be where I'll go after I get out. I mean, I can't exactly tell my parents that all that money spent on a dragon was wasted, but I don't have any money to get a place of my own. I'm sorta stuck. But not to worry, I'll figure something out... eventually. In the mean time, I think my parents deserve a refund.
Although... I have an idea that just might work. "Yo! Scaley!" I called out, waiting for the dragon to pop up.
"What?" he roared, perched on a nearby turret.
"Can you give me a lift to that witch coven in Garland Woods?" I look like a witch, maybe I’ll be able to pass for one there. At least people won’t be scared to look at me.
"That violates the terms of our contract. In chapter 4 subsection 3 part ii, it clearly states that you're not to be moved unless you are dead, nearly dead, or someone's proposed to marry you!"
"Screw the contract! I'm leaving."
"You fully accept that this now makes the entire contract moot?"
"Whaddaya mean, moot?"
"In particular, the clause that prevents me from destroying villages, starting forest fires, and doing pretty much everything else that real dragons do?"
"You mean you've let a stupid contract stand in your way all this time?"
"You wouldn't understand. There was a curse..." a cuff around his neck caught the light.
"Oh, really? Gee, I've really got no experience with those!"
"Long story short, you break the contract, ya break the curse."
"Whatever, as long as you drop me off at that witch coven."
"Done!" the dragon said, ecstatic. He his extremely long tale up to my window, and I jumped out, catching hold of a ridge on his back as he beat his powerful wings, flying into the air. I was free!