WITH the conclusion of the previous night’s celebration King Philip had let it be known that there would be no more surprises for the last five lords. For these last five remaining days the upcoming challenges of each would be announced the night before, and Christophe could imagine none to be scarier yet more exciting than the test that was to be taken on this first day of actually knowing one would be competing. It was the test of compatibility, and explained why the princess had been blindfolded before the lords had been led into the hall. It also explained why Germany was no longer brandishing a beard, as each of the five contenders was to approach the visually-disabled maiden and kiss her. The one she found to be least drawn to would then be eliminated, leaving the others with a one in four shot of winning her hand.
The newly shaven Germany was up first, and given that the two were so dramatically different in size he looked as though he were going to eat the princess up in one bite. But when their mouths came together he managed to pull off a confident kiss and proudly resumed his place amongst the others.
Belgium was next, and also showed skills of a man with years of experience, making Christophe feel more inadequate with every passing moment.
Italy followed, and judging from all the smitten females in attendance, his kiss seemed to be just as appealing as his looks, giving Christophe the doomed feeling that today would be his day of elimination.
He was only three years younger than his beloved, but in his mind it might as well have been three decades, for she had far less growing to do than he. With a bosom nearly fully matured and a pair of hips ready for child-bearing he couldn’t escape the thought that she, along with all else, somehow knew that he had only recently began growing pubic hair, and that his kiss would be as plain as the bare skin below his waistline.
All hope had been lost the night before while he lied in bed practicing on his hand. With the feeling of defeat already having him picture his shameful departure from the Palais Christophe plucked a grape from the bunch Father Ramsey had personally delivered to him that morning, plopped it in his mouth and turned over to go to sleep.
The deliveries were a daily occurrence, as it was the only possible advantage the boy and his mentor could think of having in this competition amongst royal giants.
They were both hopeful that at some stage Christophe would be able to impress the maiden with his very own creation. A special grape that had originated from his own passion.
Inspired by fairytales much like the one he was now living, he found himself fascinated by stories that involved a boy or girl from the life of peasantry who somehow would win the heart of a prince or princess. These fables would remind him of his own life. Of how he had come from those who could afford nothing more than the common grape of peasants, Gouais Blanc. And as a product of fate he had become a cultivator of this grape and many others, including the highly-regarded grape preferred by royals and the like, Pinot Noir.
At about the same time he had become a teenager the innovative thought had come to him. What if he were to bring the two worlds together? The common and the rare? And thus he used the seeds produced by each to cross-pollinate, in turn creating a new form of grape he called Chardonnay.
The result was a grape of intense sweetness. Small and fragile with a thin skin, bunches of which would grow tightly packed.
Christophe and the monks at the monastery all agreed that they would keep his creation as a secret until the time was right. Perhaps as an asset of insurance, to be used if the order were to ever fall on hard times.
Only when the lad had returned to the monastery last month from his delivery to the Palais with the astounding news that he had been made a lord so as to have the privilege of competing in the Maiden of Monaco festivities was the fate of Christophe’s Chardonnay grape decided.
He would use the fruit as an advantage in this competition of David versus nine Goliaths, but at what stage was yet to be determined since details of the challenges had been kept under wraps.
Offering the grapes as the initial gift to the maiden had been considered, but it was too strong of a game piece to use early on, so the boy would just have to use his own judgement from one test to the next as to when to use them.
And so he felt the day had come, in this test of compatibility that he believed he otherwise had no chance of winning. Concealing the small Chardonnay grape in his right hand he watched as Denmark attempted to slide his tongue into the maiden’s mouth. But the fair princess leaned back before he could get past her lips, leaving the lord looking stupid with his tongue sticking out.
The crowd laughed, and for a moment Christophe thought of saving the grape for a later time, but when the laughter died down and all realized it was his turn the hall went silent.
The anticipation for his epic fail was evident, and so as he passed those who had went before him in his approach to the maiden’s seat he kept his hands to his sides, his right therefore hidden from view from all who were now to his left as he smashed the grape between his index finger and thumb.
Christophe then did a quick wipe of the lips, which was perceived by all the judgemental eyes as being nothing more than a nervous gesture from a boy who was way out of his league.
With the beats of his heart pounding through his ears Christophe slowly leaned in for those beautiful pair of lips, and when his made contact with them it were as if every hormone in his body burst into a thousand more.
While in the midst of implosion, the pair of lips that were against his began to move, and without thought instinct took over and he found the movement of his own lips merging with hers.
Christophe then felt a different kind of softness across his mouth. One that was more wet, and instantaneously produced a great impulse from between his legs.
It was Princess Angelique’s tongue, lightly licking from his sweetened lips, and after being driven wild by a few more of her soft strokes he released his own tongue to meet hers.
Lost in ecstasy, the two twirled in excitement with playful passion while they shared the sweetness that swam about. For how long they indulged neither knew, as all else was forgotten.
The outer crowd of the spectators…
The inner court of the royals…
The four other lords in competition…
None mattered, none existed…
Until the maiden’s mouth was abruptly torn from Christophe’s.
It was the princess’s lady-in-waiting who had broken the sensational trance, pulling Her Highness away from the young lad who had such hunger across his face that it looked as if he were about to whirl the princess into his arms and run off with her.
And that’s precisely what Christophe felt like doing. The intensity. The rapture. She had to have felt it! They were meant to be. They were destined. Losing this competition was no longer an option.
He would win, or die trying.
Chapter 5 will be posted shortly,
with Christophe being physically tested
like never before.