01. The Fishy Little Mermaid

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Long, long ago, in an enchanted kingdom very far away, there lived a handsome prince. And in that kingdom, there also lived a first minister, whose job was to run the kingdom and who was fed up to here with the handsome prince.

"Your Highness," he sighed, taking a deep breath and bowing in front of the prince, who was just sitting down to an opulent breakfast. "I must once more strongly convey my severe dissatisfaction with your lack of interest in initiating a matrimonial arrangement."

The prince nodded gravely, for he was a good prince and always lent an ear to his wise first minister. Thus, he spoke, "Okay...can you say that again, maybe so that I can actually understand what you're talking about?"

"I want you to get off your ass and get married!"

Once again, the prince nodded gravely. For he was a good prince and very talented at nodding gravely.

"I see. And why exactly?"

"Because, Your Highness, considering the recent demise of your forbearers, the populace might suffer from increasing anxiety due to your lack of issue."

"English, please."

"The people are worried because your parents kicked the bucket and you have no heir yet!"

"Ah, I see."

This was indeed a mighty problem that had weighed on the minister's mind for a long, long time. Since he was such a wise man, filled with knowledge of both the heart and mind, he approached it with his customary, unparalleled tact.

"I mean, honestly! What is the problem?" he demanded. "There are over one million, five hundred seventy-one thousand three hundred and forty-five women in this enchanted kingdom! Five thousand more if you count the ones that have been turned into deer and various kinds of frogs. It shouldn't be too hard to get one of them knocked up, and, after that, it'll be easy-peasy! I mean, what girl wouldn't want to marry a prince? The I-want-to-marry-a-prince instinct is practically tattooed on female brains!"

"You think so?"

"I know so! There was a poll on that only last week! Look!"

Withdrawing a brightly colored publication from his robes of state, the minister held it up for the prince to examine. The prince did so with due diligence. Then he directed his princely gaze to the minister, raising a royal eyebrow.

"You read teen magazines for girls?"

The minister's venerable face turned as red as the roses on a rose bush enchanted by an evil fairy godmother to be a particularly beautiful red.

"That is beside the point! The point is, Your Highness, that you seem to be, as the young people would put it, a 'hot commodity.' I quote—" Leafing through the magazine, he found the page he wanted. "OMG!!!! The prince is so freaking hot! Is the opinion of a young lady called Maggy from Fairywood. Whereas a young lady from Pixyburg declares that she is endlessly and eternally in love with him, and I know people say it is impossible, but someday I'm sure we will meet and he will fall in love with me on the spot. A young lady from Twinkle-Twinkle-by-the-Sea proclaims I want him! OMG!! I just want to rip his clothes off and..."

The minister cleared his throat, cutting off. As mentioned before, he was not only a very wise and venerable minister, but also a very tactful one.

"What does 'OMG' mean?" the prince inquired.

"I believe it is some sort of acronym, Your Highness. I have put together a research team to discover what the letters stand for and will inform you as soon as we shall have any results. However," he cleared his throat once more, "I believe it is clear that the young ladies are generally enthusiastic about you. Why not pick one of them?"

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