Author’s Note: This takes place at some point after Part 58. Technically this could qualify as a bonus chapter that could be read at any time but it seemed to fit in really well at this point so I made it a standard chapter.
I sit at Mistress’s bedside. She lies in bed, smothered in warm blankets and furs, her face flushed red with fever. I lift the washcloth from her head, drench it in the bowl of water, ring it, and place it back upon her. She scrunches her nose. I take my cue and hold a tissue for her. She blows it and lets out a small cough. My wonderful Mistress has a cold.
I spoon feed her a few bites of soup and give her a small piece of an orange for her to suck on.
Her eyes open with some difficulty and she cracks a half smile.
“My pet.” I smile back at her.
I quickly exit to the laundry where I run the dryer for a few minutes and return to her, adjusting her blankets and placing the dryer-warmed blankets over her torso and legs. I pull her favorite fur blanket up over her upper body so that it’s closer enough for her to rub on her cheek.
“pet, tell me a story.”
“What kind of story, Mistress?”
“A fairy tale.”
“Which fairy tale would you like me to tell you, Mistress?”
“Make up a new one.”
I chuckle a little bit under my breath. These times when Mistress reverts into her “cutesy” mode always make my heart melt. I definitely don’t want to disappoint her.
“Are you ready, Mistress?”
I sit back on my chair and begin to make things up as I go.
“There once was a little boy that nobody wanted. He spent many days in sadness, toiling away, unloved. Joyless years passed by. He began to wonder why he was alive… and why he continued to live in this world with no hope in sight.”
“‘There has to be something worth living for,’ he thought to himself, or no one would keep on going. With blind faith as his only ally, the boy kept on going. As he got older, he grew afraid. He began to try harder. He changed. He buried his sadness and became someone that wished to be a source of happiness to others.”
“He tried and tried but he was still the boy that nobody wanted. They liked parts of him but he was never enough. Life was still joyless with no change in sight.”
“After a while, the boy became a man. Time and failure had taught him many lessons. He still tried and tried. He became accustomed to watching his world crumble like sandcastles in the wind. He rebuilt it… over and over… bigger and better than before. It always toppled down. He was now the man that nobody wanted.”
“As his sadness began to overwhelm him he began to seek out baser, selfish pleasures. His desires filled him with shame but he kept on looking. Before long the man heard rumors about the existence of Goddesses. Divine and beautiful beings with the power to enslave men. The man became enthralled with these rumors and wished to know if these Goddesses actually existed.”
“For years he built up courage and researched the existence of Goddesses. He looked long and hard at himself, this man that nobody wanted, surely could never be worthy of a Goddess. The man continued to dream.”
“One day, while racked by sadness, the man set out into the world and passed through the gate into the realm of Goddesses. He was surprised to find he was not alone. There were thousands of other men seeking to win the favor of the Goddesses. His first impulse was to think, ‘I am a man that nobody wants… no one would ever choose me when there are all these others around.’ He decided that he would admire the Goddesses from afar. That would be enough for him. He couldn’t be so arrogant as to believe that any of them would actually choose him.”
“But then the man caught sight of the most beautiful Goddess in the world. She was so radiant that he had to look away. He hid himself away and peeked at her from a distance. He felt his chest tighten and he could barely stand. When his eyes finally came into focus, there she was, the most beautiful Goddess. She was clad in furs from head to toe. Her elegant features and long, flowing hair made her so obviously superior to the other Goddesses. The man fell to his knees and tried to catch his breath. He had found the true Goddess of them all. This was no rumor. This Goddess held the power to enslave men.”
“The man listened to the whispers around him. The words being spoken. The standards this Goddess required to meet her consideration. The man’s stomach turned in knots as he realized that he, the man nobody wanted, could never be worthy of such a Goddess.”
“At the feet of the Goddess sat an offering bowl. The man looked on as countless other men traversed the stairs and placed their marble into the bowl. Each marble was unique. Some big, some small. Some bright and shiny, while others were dull and clouded. The man looked down at his own marble and quickly buried it in his pocket and returned to his home to sulk.”
“That night he tossed and turned. The vision of the Goddess was burned into his mind. He was ensnared by her before he had even realized it. For days all he could think about was the Goddess. For days he worried about his own inferiority. The battle played out in his heart. The call of this siren’s song was too powerful.”
“He found the Goddess’s shrine and read its inscriptions over and over. He could tell she would be a demanding Goddess, expecting complete devotion of those who wished to worship her. She was as intelligent as she was beautiful. He read the words of the Goddess over and over. His heart ached with longing. He had a dream that night that the Goddess commanded him to look deep into his own soul and see what he found.”
“The next day when he awoke he felt a new sense of purpose. He steeled his resolve. He closed his eyes and plunged into the abyss. He had the words of her shrine memorized by heart. He matched each line up to his own being. To his surprise, he fit many of these lines. The ones where he did not were things he could not change.”
“That night the man that nobody wanted decided he would silence the voices and heed the siren’s calling. He visited her shrine and slowly climbed the stairs leading to the top. Visions of other worshippers filled his head as he walked. He could see them posing to show off their prowess. He could see them confidently charging forth, sure to win her favor. The man that nobody wanted was none of these things but he would try anyways. He did not place his marble immediately, instead, he chose to kneel in reverence. He bowed his head in respect and quietly recited the mantra he had so carefully crafted in his mind. His final words were honest and spoke from deep within his heart, ‘Goddess, I am intimidated by your intelligence and beauty and while I fear that I am not worthy of you, I wish to make up for my shortcomings with love and devotion. He slowly lifted his head and carefully placed his marble into her bowl, gently setting it down so as not to disturb her.”
“After the man departed her shrine he quickly hurried to the safety of his bed. His insides swirled out of control. He couldn’t believe that he had approached the Goddess. He couldn’t help but feel self-conscious and unworthy. Hope had somehow worked its way into his heart. He tossed and turned feverishly, unable to sleep, waiting to find out if the Goddess would notice him.”
“Days passed. He couldn’t eat or sleep. He visited her shrine daily but did not wish to be a bother. A few days later he found a new inscription on her shrine. ‘The Goddess has received more applications for consideration than is reasonable for her to respond to. She will be accepting no further applicants and if you do not receive a response please take this as a sign that the Goddess has denied her favor upon you.’ The man that nobody wanted felt his heart tear asunder upon reading these words. ‘Stupid… stupid… stupid man, how dare you insult the Goddess by thinking you could even possibly be worthy,’ he thought to himself. He lay in his bed and watched as the vision of the Goddess flew away.”
“The man nobody wanted sulked for days. He visited the realm of Goddesses repeatedly hoping to catch a glimpse of another Goddess that could match her. It soon became clear to him that she was truly peerless. Two weeks had passed since he made his offering. There wasn’t another Goddess in the entire realm that he felt he could offer to with the same conviction. The man nobody wanted felt a sadness deeper than ever before. That kind of sadness only occurs when hope dies. He stopped looking for a Goddess.”
“At the end of the third week an unexpected letter arrived. He did not recognize the address from which it was sent. The man nobody wanted’s fingers could barely open the letter they were shaking so vigorously. He finally found himself reading it. It read as follows:
‘To he who has been considered,
The Goddess will be straight-forward and let you know that your offering has caught her attention but you are not her first choice. The Goddess has been overwhelmed with offerings and is carefully evaluating each one. Those who have passed the first screening test will be evaluated personally by the Goddess in the order in which she has deemed them worthy.
The evaluations will take time. Please be a patient boy and grant the Goddess peace while she completes this task at her leisure. Failure to respect these wishes will cost you the Goddess’s favor. She will notify you of your status in due time.’”
“The man nobody wanted felt his heart jump to life upon reading those words but clung to a sense of caution. He carefully crafted a brief reply, ‘Thank you, Goddess, for your consideration. This applicant is forever grateful and wishes you luck in your evaluations. Take care.’”
“The following weeks were agonizing. The man again obsessed over the Goddess, visiting her shrine with every spare moment he had. Me admired the portraits representing her form, memorizing every detail and line on her face. She truly was a magnificent and beautiful Goddess.”
“A few weeks passed and he received no reply but her shrine contained new inscriptions stating that the Goddess was continuing her evaluations and had not found an applicant truly worthy of her favor. The man nobody wanted allowed hope to creep back into his heart. He knew this was necessary to be ready for her if he was lucky enough to be graced with her presence. He practiced what he would say. He practiced what he would do. All he could think about was how to present himself to the Goddess if she called upon him.”
“The next few weeks felt like an eternity. The man nobody wanted didn’t like to wish misfortune upon others, but he prayed to the shrine to please let the other applicants fall short. His prayers were answered when he received another letter from the Goddess. ‘The Goddess has decided it is your time for evaluation. Your evaluation is to take place at the chosen meeting grounds at 8pm on Thursday. Please confirm.’ The man almost jumped out of his drawers as he quickly checked his schedule and responded that the selected day and time would be fine.”
“As the day approached the man nobody wanted slowly grew terrified. No one had wanted him before, how was he supposed to win the favor of a Goddess? His only solution was to try as hard as he could. He left early, knowing that ideas would come to him and he wanted to be prepared for any eventuality. He stopped by some vendors on the way. He purchased the prettiest flower he could find, hoping it would please the Goddess. He sought out the richest and most delicious chocolate possible and purchased some. He hoped these meager offerings would please her.”
“The man arrived at the meeting place early, but stayed in his wagon until closer to the chosen time. A few minutes early was okay but he did not wish to disobey her instructions by arriving far too early. The Goddess had selected a glorious dining hall that was suitable for her presence. He entered the hall five minutes before the hour. The servant at the entrance inquired to him and he responded that he was meeting the Goddess. The servant was readily familiar with her and escorted the man to her table.”
“As the man caught his first glimpse of the Goddess he felt his heart skip a beat. The rest of the world vanished and he could see only her. The sweet scent of her perfume penetrated his nose. All he could think in that moment is ‘She is the one true Goddess. I am not worthy.’”
“The man couldn’t help but stare. She was finally before him, her gown covered by a fur capelet. Her words snapped him out of his trance.
‘Is there something wrong?’
‘No, ma’am. You are just far more beautiful in person than I could have ever imagined.’ She let a small smile slip from her lips.
‘I permit you to sit at my table, but be aware, the commoners in these parts are not familiar with the worship of Goddesses. Do not do anything that will embarrass me.’
‘Yes, ma’am. Thank you.’”
“The man slowly presented his offerings of flowers and chocolate to the Goddess before taking a seat at her table. He watched as the servant asked the Goddess if she would like another drink. She requested more wine. After the servant departed the Goddess spoke again.
‘I’m going to be straight to the point. The evaluations so far have been disappointing. Do not ask me any questions that do not pertain to our conversation. I expect you to answer all of my questions thoroughly and honestly if you wish to remain in consideration. Do you understand?’
The man felt his chest tighten at her words. He did not expect her to be so aggressive but he did not know what to expect.”
“She continued to speak.
‘I noticed that you were extremely punctual. Did you arrive early and sit in your wagon until the meeting time?’
‘Yes, ma’am. That is exactly what I did.’
‘Did you factor in how long it would take to locate me?’
‘Yes, ma’am. Based upon the reputation and prestige of this hall, I estimated that a commoner such as myself could not simply stroll in to locate a Goddess.’
He felt a sense of relief as he watched her lips form a light smile as her eyes pierced his. He watched as she inspected the flower in her hands.
‘Why did you choose a single flower instead of an entire bouquet?’
‘I wished to find the most beautiful flower possible… a flower worthy of a Goddess. Such a flower would get lost among a sea of common flowers. I hope it did not displease you.’
‘And the chocolates? Why did you choose three truffles instead of an entire box?’
‘I wished to find the most delicious chocolate possible… chocolate worthy of a Goddess. Truly not all chocolates in a box are equal. I also pondered the possibility that the Goddess might not like chocolate, in which case the offering would seem like a very poor choice. I hope it does not displease you.’
‘You intrigue me, boy. You have passed the first test. Would you like something to drink?’
‘Might I please have some water, ma’am?’
‘No thank you, ma’am. I do not drink.’
He felt his breathing return to normal as the Goddess’s lips parted into a smile. He watched as her graceful hand waved to a nearby servant and commanded him to bring some water.”
“The man nobody wanted felt his hopes growing but he was quick to stifle them from raging out of control. The Goddess before him was very formidable.
‘boy, tell me, is this your first time approaching a Goddess?’
‘Why did you choose your offering to me?’
‘When I entered the realm of Goddesses I was immediately drawn to you. Not only were you beautiful but the engravings upon your shrine showed someone of intelligence, wit, and confidence. After seeing your shrine I could picture no other Goddess but you.’
‘You are short and not particularly handsome. Why did you think I would ever grant you consideration?’
The man paused as fear entered his heart. He knew he had to choose his next words carefully.
‘Hope, ma’am. I studied the engravings upon your shrine in great detail. I believed that I had the potential to uphold many of your ideals but I admit I am lacking in areas that are beyond my control. I held onto hope that you might find me worthy of consideration… but I feared I would be unworthy.’
He scanned her face as her expression changed. He was unable to read her and feared he had lost her.
‘Tell me about your previous relationships, boy.’
‘I’m sorry ma’am, I have never had a relationship before.’
‘Have you ever had sexual relations before?’
‘No ma’am. I am still a virgin.’”
“He lowered his head in shame and as he raised his eyes he saw that a smile had returned to the Goddess’s face.
‘How tied are you to your place of residence?’
‘It is unimportant to me, ma’am.’
‘How rewarding is your current career?’
‘I could take it or leave it, ma’am.’
‘Do you have any close and dear friendships or family ties you consider important?’
‘No, ma’am. I am not close to my family and I do not have any close friends.’”
“The Goddess paused to take a drink of wine. She slumped back in her chair, her hand petting the fur of her collar.
‘Tell me, boy, why would you be worthy of the Goddess’s favor?’
‘Ma’am, I am uncertain if I am worthy. What I can offer is a blank slate. I offer myself to be molded by you into a form that you would deem worthy and acceptable.’
‘Oh, little one… you certainly do know how to tempt a Goddess. Are you willing to cook?’
‘Are you willing to clean?’
‘Are you willing to put my needs above all else?’
‘Are you willing to accept… correction… when I do not approve of your behavior?’
‘Are you willing to prove this to me if you are given the chance?’
“The Goddess again leaned back in her chair and took another drink of wine. The man was shaking, realizing the promises he had made to this Goddess who was still a stranger to him.
‘Did you eat dinner, boy?’
‘I have not eaten, ma’am.’
‘Would you like to order some food?’
‘Only if you are hungry too, ma’am.’
‘I have already eaten. It would please me to know you are hungry. Do you find this acceptable?’
The Goddess’s smile turned into a wide grin.
‘The boy has passed the second test. Do you have any limits, boy?’
‘I’m glad. A boy who claims to have no limits can’t be trusted. What is your most important limit?’
‘Ma’am, I do not wish to ever be touched by another man.’
‘Interesting. By touched do you mean violently or sexually?’
‘Both. I do not think I could handle that.’”
“The Goddess ordered more wine for herself. Her eyes inspected him from head to toe. The man nobody wanted was different than the rest. The Goddess slowly at the chocolates in front of him, savoring every bite, making sure to lick her lips and enjoy the moment. When she reached the final chocolate she paused and spoke.
‘Does the boy wish to try a chocolate?’
The Goddess’s face shifted to a smirk as she ate the final chocolate. He shifted around in his chair.
‘Why are you squirming, boy?’
He let out a small murmur and his eyes fixated on his lap.
‘Do you have an erection, boy?’
He nodded a few times but remained silent, his face flushing a deep shade of red. The Goddess, wise in the ways of man, quickly shifted the conversation as she didn’t want him to get aroused and lose her favor.
They talked for a while about various things. Art. Film. Music. Literature. The Goddess was pleased at the man’s tastes and experiences. He was able to relax once the focus was away from relationships and sexual acts. The Goddess laughed a lot at his jokes. She smiled. Her eyes beamed. Her hair danced freely over her shoulders. The man nobody wanted found himself falling deep into her trap. He couldn’t picture another Goddess in the entire world except for her.”
“As the evening wore down, the Goddess proclaimed it was time to leave and that the man had earned the right to escort her to her carriage. He beamed with happiness as she hooked her arm in his and they paced together through the dining hall. His thoughts were simple, ‘I am the luckiest man on the face of the Earth to be accompanying the most wonderful Goddess in existence.’
‘Are you okay to drive, ma’am?’
She smiled at him.
‘I have a driver. I will be fine.’
As they parted company the Goddess granted the man the privilege of kissing her hand. He got down on one knee, lowered his head, and placed all of his hopes and feelings into the tip of his lips, hoping they would penetrate the leather of her glove and find their way into her heart.”
“The man nobody wanted’s head spun on his drive home. This was the greatest day of his entire life. Upon returning home he found a letter there waiting for him.
‘You have impressed the Goddess. Starting tomorrow you have one week to win her favor. Be at her castle in the evening at 6pm sharp. If you arrive early the Goddess expects you to stand at the doorstep and wait, knocking only at the proper time. Do not disappoint her.’
The man raised his arms above his head to express his joy. For the first time he found himself so excited he could barely sleep. He called in sick to work to get a bit of a nap in. He wanted to be in good form for later. He left his home well before six and once again visited the local vendors. Yesterday’s flower was a rose. Today he found the most beautiful orchid he could imagine and a few small and very delicious pastries. He arrived at the castle at 5:30. He stowed his wagon just inside the gates and made his way up the long path leading to the castle. He reached the front doors where he stood as instructed, checking his watch every few minutes.
Little did he know that the Goddess had been watching him since he arrived. The wind was blowing and causing the drifts of snow to swirl and its flakes sprinkled through the air. He shivered in the cold. When his watch showed 5:58 he tapped the knocker on the front of the heavy door. The man no one wanted quickly primped himself and shook the excess snow off of his shoulders.
He waited. His teeth began to chatter as the wind blew even stronger. He glanced to his right and could see lights on. He strained his ears and heard the faint trace of music. He stood his ground and waited.
At 6:22 the front door opened and a gloved hand extended out. The man knelt down, bowed his head, and planted a kiss. The door opened wider and he stayed on his knee and presented his gifts to the Goddess.”
“The man was freezing but his adrenaline kept it from showing.
‘You may enter, boy.’
He took a couple of steps inside, removing his shoes and placing them neatly on the mat near the door.
‘Kneel, and kiss my feet.’
Instantly he spun around and found the Goddess standing before him. She was adorned with a long red velvet robe trimmed in black fur and a matching hat with a brim that hid her eyes from view.
He quickly dropped to his knees, bent down, and kissed her feet. First the right foot, then the left. Before he could rise she pressed one of her feet against the back of his head.
‘Are you cold, boy?’
‘Address me as Mistress.’
‘Yes, Mistress, please forgive me.’
He heard the castle door close with a thud. He was in her realm now.”
“Tell me what happened after that, pet.”
“The man passed her trials and managed to win the Goddesses favor. When he reflected back on what a journey his life had been he realized that the boy that nobody wanted had become the man that was enslaved by the Goddess. He would go on to serve her and live happily ever after.”
“That was a beautiful story, pet.”
“Thank you, Mistress.”
Her breathing reverts into a cute little snore. I love you, my Mistress.