She opened her eyes very carefully, but almost immediately had to shut them again due to the wind whipping around her. As she slowly became more aware, she noted that her hands and feet were bound and something was cinched around her waist. The scent of pine flooded her brain. She noticed a swaying motion that was quite unsettling.
She attempted to work her hands free of whatever was binding them. When she succeeded at last, she tipped further than she had before and almost fell. Her newly freed arms flailed as she tried to right herself. However, she was able to open her eyes, and what she saw made her immediately shut them again.
She was tied to the top of a tree.
She hurriedly cast a few protective spells around herself to prevent her from falling and suffering a horrible, grisly death. Keeping her eyes shut against the new images that had rushed to her mind, she then leaned down as far as she could, considering the waist constraint, (which she didn't dare remove, despite her precautions) and barely managed to untie the knots binding her feet.
She tried to remember a levitation spell that would bring her down safely. Unfortunately, she could not. She screamed at the heavens, releasing her frustration.
Her cry could have easily been mistaken for that of a hawk. It is hopeless, she thought. I will never be found.
It was so easy to lose track of time up there. She had no idea how much time, if any, had passed. She slept fitfully, and had awful dreams. Most involved her falling, and as she hit the ground, she would wake up and realize where she was again. Then she would lean her head up against the tree and try to think of another spell. That was all she could do up there. She felt no hunger, no thirst. If she had, she surely would have been dead before she could get down. She got so bored, wracking her brain until she almost believed she was going mad.
It was no good. No matter how hard she tried, she just could not think of a spell. Perhaps her magical education was lacking. Well, that she knew for certain. She did not know half the spells that her mysterious educator did. But she seemed to remember that one night when she had snuck away, they had spoken of levitation. She rubbed her eyes, ran her hands through her matted hair. That always helped her think. She desperately tried to focus on that night, but her concentration wavered, and then slipped away entirely.
Though she desperately tried to remain awake, something pulled her back asleep.
Maybe it was hours, maybe days, or even weeks after she first recalled, but she slowly became sharper. She remembered more, she could hold her focus longer, and she was able to finally think of a spell. She waited just a few more days, until she knew the days and nights, and was able to tell the endless hours apart from the slow minutes apart from the swiftly passing seconds. She waited until she knew, for certain, that no one was coming to be her shining knight.
This princess had to be her own hero.