07. Wicked Weddings

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Once upon a time, there lived a wicked woman. You could tell she was wicked from her crooked nose with a big wart on top. However, she had absolutely no talent for witchcraft, which somewhat impaired her wickedness. She could lure handsome princes into dark forests—but no matter how much she waved her self-made wand about, they stubbornly refused to be turned into frogs. She could catch children, kill, cook, and eat them—but, for some reason, the magic paste she made from their bones never gave her the ability to fly, as she discovered to her great disappointment when she jumped off the great cliff at Pirate Cove.

"Death and damnation!" Pulling seaweed from her hair, the wicked woman marched back onto land at the nearest beach, her boots squelching. "I did it exactly as it said on the witch's recipe! I'm suing that witch for fraud!"

Thus, the wicked woman remained a very unhappy wicked woman, far from reaching self-actualization as the villain she dreamed of being. However, things did not get really bad until she met the Prince.

We're not talking about any of the princes she tried to turn into frogs. Oh no. Those were just mediocre princelings. This is the Prince, with a capital 'P.' The kind that goes around sneaking into sleeping princesses' rooms and forcing shoes on the feet of innocent, unsuspecting girls.

The Prince was just newly arrived in town and had called all the women of the town together to have a good look at their left feet when the wicked woman saw him for the first time. It was a magical moment. She was standing with a lot of other women in the middle of the town square when, suddenly, the royal carriage rolled up, and there exited the most handsome man she had ever seen in her life, followed by a pack of lackeys and bootlickers.

"Up with your skirts!" the Prince commanded. "All of you!"

How incredibly romantic!

Well, not really, but he was the Prince, after all.

The women raised their skirts, proudly displaying their feet. The wicked woman followed suit, quickly slipping off her black crackows. She watched avidly as the Prince went from woman to woman, trying to squeeze the shoe he had brought on the foot of every single female. The wicked woman knew that it wouldn't fit any of the others. She knew because, in her heart, she knew that the Prince belonged to her. It was destiny! He would slip the shoe onto her foot, smile at her, gather her up in his arms, and carry her off to the royal bedchamber, where he would make passionate, wicked...

Here, the thoughts of the wicked woman digressed somewhat from the main plot of our tale. Suffice it to say that it was love at first sight, and a lot more besides that had better not been mentioned just in case children are reading this and their parents are watching.

Finally, the long awaited moment had arrived. The crowd around the wicked woman parted, and the Prince stepped forward, kneeling in front of her with fluid grace.

"My lady? If you would allow?"

He gently took hold of her foot and gazed up at her. His eyes widened. The wicked woman smiled. It was a magical moment.

"Good God! That one is ugly!" he gave a snort. "If the shoe fits, I'm demanding a refund from the shoemaker!"

Well, magical for her, anyway. Her smile waned somewhat. But no matter! He'd soon see that they were destined for one another when the shoe—

"Thank God!" The Prince breathed a sigh of relief. "It doesn't fit!"

"What?" The wicked woman stared down at him. "Try again!"

"Good God, no! Do you take me for an idiot?"

The wicked woman had to admit, this wasn't quite the magical marriage proposal she had been expecting. Other women shoved her aside to take their turn with her shoe, and she was forced to retreat.

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