Mark is a twenty-year-old student presently going to college in England, whose mother is Australian, but whose father's parents came from some unknown land. At school he meets another student, Stephen, for whom Mark develops something of a crush, though Stephen is unaware of it. Together they take a weekend outing to visit Stephen's grandfather Ian, of whom Stephen warns Mark, "He's quite old, and a bit daffy." Through conversation the eccentric old man recognizes Mark as a descendant of the royal family of a strange exotic country composed of eleven islands in the South Pacific which Ian had visited some fifty years before, a land dominated by a massive three-mile-high tower of rock from which emanated some mysterious force, which those of the royal family could, to some extent, bend to their will. Ian had barely escaped a great cataclysm, in which the Island Country had fallen away into the sea, but over the long years since, he has become convinced that its people are somehow still alive in the depths of the ocean; "And you could go there," he whispers to Mark, "just by the will of your thought." Mark concentrates as hard as he ever has in his life and suddenly finds himself at the base of the tower itself, with a great dome of waters above him. Unable to speak the language of the inhabitants, he is taken to the Royal Residence and brought before three people who appear to be very important; but it is the youngest of the three, a young man about Mark's age, who holds Mark's gaze for a long moment - and both are instantly mesmerized by each other. The story now finds Mark, having been in the Island Country almost a year, getting himself into a rather ticklish predicament...)
"Today we speak only with your language," Prince Ríqlo announced, which in his accent (which Mark found utterly charming) came out more as, "Tudei ui spiq onli ueth iur lenguej."
"Non fóneth uóni qu nínu?" Mark asked, grinning; he had become rather fluent in the language of Rápan Térat, the Island Country, during the past months.
"No...not my...mine," Ríqlo said hesitantly. "Your...s." He threw up his hands in mock exasperation. "Lal! Your speaking has too many words for the same! Our word is same for "my" and "mine": uónu; or "your" and "yours": nínu. But this English is so...amóqu!"
Mark laughed, and thought of Stephen, who would probably have translated this last as "daffy." Stephen. A friend from a different life, so it seemed to him now. "Yes, English is a bit daffy...and you haven't even tried to write it yet! I have a much easier time with your language."
They had come yesterday to this cottage on the southwest part of the island, far from the Qéfuvil, the main town, to spend a few days alone together. They lay close to each other now on the grass outside, both naked; and Mark felt perfectly comfortable in the warm gentle breeze. It was morning, or what passed for morning here, for he could make out a little sunlight shining down through the waters at the top of the dome, though it was hardly enough to light their surroundings; that light came from the Prezántu Tor, the Great Tower. Even though he had been here for almost eleven months, Mark was still amazed that the giant pillar of rock could produce such a soft glow (to look directly at it did not hurt the eyes at all), which nevertheless diffused all the land and provided enough radiance for the plants to grow in lush profusion, and could enable him to see clearly about himself even here, sixty-odd miles away from the tower.
"I don't think you'll ever be able to speak to me in English as well as I can speak to you in both languages!" Mark said teasingly. "Ha-ha on you!" He reached over and playfully spider-walked his fingers across Ríqlo's bare stomach. The Prince giggled, and his arms and legs involuntarily jerked inward to protect him.
"Ah, you now know," he said, still laughing a little. "I am...I do not know this in your speech...I am helízu."
After considering for a moment Mark realized that this was a compound word meaning something like "laugh-touchy." "You are 'ticklish,'" Mark said. "That is our word." Privately he was pleased that Ríqlo's body was so sensitive; the vulnerability attracted and enticed him. When growing up he had often tried to find out if certain of his friends were ticklish - although they would often find out about him, too. A mischievous grin spread across his face. "Tickle fight!" he shouted, and suddenly began attacking various parts of Ríqlo's body with his fingers. The Prince burst into laughter and began fighting off Mark's hands; eventually he found an opening in the assault and, reaching in, tickled Mark under the arms. The aggressor found himself suddenly to be the victim and collapsed on the grass in helpless laughter.
"So," Ríqlo smirked, "you have this 'ticklish' also."
"Yes, you've found my weakness," Mark said, panting a little.
"Hmmm..." Ríqlo sat back and looked intently into Mark's eyes for a moment. "Now I know this. We will...hmmm, páignide..."
"Play a game?" Mark prompted.
"Yes. We will play a game. You know you carry the súrspeqt, the extra sight." He stretched out on his back in the grass with his arms above and to the sides of his head and his legs somewhat spread out. He looked up at Mark. "Hold me to the ground with your thought."
"You can do that. Send your thought to my body. Hold my arms and legs to the land with...wishing it to be so."
Mark thought this to be the strangest request he had ever received. But he began to concentrate very hard, thinking of Ríqlo's limbs immobile on the grass. After a moment he looked inquiringly at the Prince. "Okay...Well?"
Ríqlo seemed to try and get up from his prostrate position. "My arms...my legs...they will not come."
Mark hid a smile. "A game it certainly is," he thought, "and he thinks the joke's on me. But I'll see that he moves!" Aloud he said, "So. You want me to tickle you while you...'can't move.'"
Ríqlo appeared to be a bit nervous. "Y...yes. I want to know if I can endure this."
His companion gave an evil laugh. "We shall see." He moved his hand, fingers outstretched, towards Ríqlo's stomach. The Prince tensed and pulled away slightly. Mark took one finger and made delicate circles around Ríqlo's navel. Ríqlo jerked and giggled softly, and tried to elude the finger, but without moving his arms or legs. "Evidently the assault needs to escalate!" Mark said with feigned viciousness. He began to use all five fingers of one hand to tickle Ríqlo's abdomen, just below his waistline. Ríqlo laughed out loud and thrashed about, but his limbs did not move on the grass at all. Mark stopped tickling him and looked at him in surprise. "You really can't move?"
"I...I don't believe it." Using both hands he tried to pick up one of Ríqlo's arms from the ground. It would not budge, almost as if it was welded to the earth with some strange invisible soldering alloy, and the Prince was obviously not exerting himself at all to hold down his arm. "Amazing!" Mark whispered; he had not realized that his power had progressed this far. There had been some unusual things he had been able to do lately, but this! He looked at his friend, spread-eagled on the grass before him. "He's beautiful," he thought. He admired Ríqlo's body, slender but nicely defined, and fair from the lack of direct sunlight shining on the land. And had fantasized about this very situation: to have a handsome ticklish young man at his mercy. "Okay," He said, moving his hands into attack position. "Here it comes!"
He began tickling Ríqlo all over his stomach and ribs, and on the insides of his thighs; the Prince's helpless laughter and useless struggling excited Mark all the more. He found that Ríqlo's most sensitive spots were his feet and armpits; when Mark's fingers danced across these areas Ríqlo begged him to stop, amid much laughing and gasping for air. Eventually Mark did almost stop, but with one finger of each hand still gently tickling under each arm.
"Do you really want me to stop?" he asked quietly, his face now quite close to Ríqlo's. "Do you want me to let you go?"
Squirming and trying not to laugh from the soft armpit tickling, Ríqlo said, "No...I will tell you...stop" (here a few giggles got out of him in spite of his attempt at control, as Mark had added another finger gently twitching under each arm); "I will tell you stop...but you will not listen..."
"Are you sure, Ríqlo?"
This was what Mark was waiting to hear. He kissed Ríqlo, then sat up.
"Okay, you asked for it!"; and he began an all-out assault on practically every inch of the Prince's helpless ticklish body. He had never heard Ríqlo laugh so hard, and he loved the very sound of it. The erotic torture continued for perhaps three-quarters of an hour, during which time Mark would sometimes tickle more gently in one spot, and then suddenly go for hysteria, periodically giving his victim brief rests to catch his breath. Finally he stopped and, leaning over to kiss Ríqlo again, bent his thought upon releasing him. "You're free now."
Exhausted and perspiring Ríqlo moved his limbs a little, but made no attempt to get up, and continued to lie on the grass, panting. "That was...most good."
"You liked it?" Mark asked, beaming.
"Yes...but hard...to endure." He looked up at Mark. "Yet you...touching me...touching my body...tick...tickling my body...made me...excited." (Mark had in fact noticed that one part of Ríqlo's body had indeed indicated his arousal.) Finally the Prince gained the strength to sit upright, and he looked at Mark, a mischievous twitch at the corners of his mouth. "Well...now you?"
Mark shuddered slightly. "I guess it's only fair." Hesitantly he stretched himself out on the lawn. He was a little afraid, as he knew he was extremely ticklish, especially in one place, and probably more ticklish altogether than Ríqlo as well. But he was excited too, and curious to see how much of the torture he could take. Ríqlo seemed to take several minutes to prepare his thoughts and Mark's mind began to wander. "It's so great that there are no bugs here," he thought idly. "Back home I wouldn't have dared to lie in the grass totally naked and..."
"Try to move," Ríqlo interrupted suddenly.
Mark had expected some pressure on his arms and legs as if from invisible bonds, but he had felt nothing. He began to exert his muscles to lift his arms and stopped in surprise. He could feel nothing whatsoever holding them down, but he was completely unable to move them even slightly. He looked up nervously at Ríqlo, but at the same time an intense thrill rushed through his body: he was totally helpless at the fingertips of his lover. His lover! Yes, he could say that now. Only last evening in the cottage they had declared their love to each other in the beautiful language of the Island Country: Uon amáne nin, amáno! And after that, had the night of fragrant seabreeze ever ended, had they ever slept? This Prince who would one day rule this hidden land, and this outsider come back at last to the country of his forebears, enthralled with each other at first sight, were now inseparable, in this near paradise where a man could fall in love with a man and not be given a second thought by others, though he held the highest of offices. He looked up at the face of Ríqlo, to him the most handsome face on earth, as the Prince made ready to torment him with the sweetest unendurable torture imaginable; and every part of his body felt keenly aroused and alive.
Ríqlo did not begin tickling right away, but instead reached down and began gently brushing his fingers across Mark's nipples. Mark moaned softly and began thrusting his hips up and down; his arousal was now almost too intense for him to bear, and his private organ quickly grew to its full size. "You enjoy this much, do you not?" the Prince whispered.
"Mmm hmm," Mark answered lazily.
It was Ríqlo's turn to admire his victim's body. Mark was somewhat more muscular in his build, and his upper body was tanned from working shirtless outdoors every year during the Midwest summers. But his legs were almost as white as Ríqlo's since he had worn long jeans and not shorts. Ríqlo traced his finger across the line on Mark's waist where the tan ended, which caused Mark to shiver and squirm slightly.
"Well, I wish to hear laughter now," Ríqlo said, and suddenly moved down, and let his fingers frolic in the arches of Mark's feet. He was rewarded by immediate intense laughter and struggling; and he explored every part of these very sensitive feet, tickling each toe separately and then all together, and searching between the toes. After quite a few minutes of this he began slowly moving up each leg, and found that from the knees on up along the inner thighs Mark was excruciatingly ticklish. Eventually he rediscovered the groin area and had much fun tickling from that wonderful tanline down, always skirting the rock-hard manhood, sure sign of his lover's enjoyment his touch; this and tickling just above, across the stomach, sent Mark into waves of absolutely helpless laughter. "And I know before this is ticklish," Ríqlo said, and assaulted Mark's underarms to the sound of much laughing and gasping and cries of "Oh God, oh God!" Then his fingers began sliding downwards.
"Oh, no!" Mark pleaded. "Not the ribs! Please, I'm so ticklish there!" But part of him secretly hoped the Prince would take ruthless advantage of the most ticklish area of his body.
"Exactly here?" he inquired, and began gently sliding one finger from Mark's chest down one rib to his side. Mark squirmed, and then burst out laughing.
"I hardly touch you!" Ríqlo exclaimed in amazement. "You are this much ticklish here?"
"Y-he-he-hes," Mark said, still giggling.
A wicked grin appeared on Ríqlo's face. "And how many of these...ribs ...have you?"
"Oh God, no!" Mark pleaded wildly. "I know what you're going to do! Please d-"
"One..." Ríqlo interrupted as he used his fingertips to find Mark's lowest rib.
Mark erupted with laughter. "HAHAHA...oh, please sto-ha-ha-ha-op!"
"NO!...HA (gasp) HAHAHAHAHA!!..."
Ríqlo stopped. "Now, there! Your loud laughing distracted my mind, and I have lost the number. I must begin again." Ignoring Mark's pleas for mercy Ríqlo began his anatomy lesson again, this time reaching the number five. Then he stopped, noticing the hard swelling of his victim's organ, and of his own. Suddenly he threw his leg across Mark's groin and moved his own midsection against Mark's side, and sent a volley of tickles all over his ribcage, making him howl with hysterical laughter. Mark could no longer beg or indeed form words at all; and he thrashed about, thrusting himself against Ríqlo's leg and causing his side to rub against Ríqlo's hard member.
Suddenly a thick stream of pearly-white fluid shot out onto Mark's chest and stomach, and seconds later Ríqlo reached his peak. The tickling stopped, and both of them moaned as orgasm shook their bodies. As they subsided Ríqlo looked into the other's eyes, the wicked grin returning.
Mark's eyes grew wide with terror. "No, Ríqlo!!" he shouted desperately, knowing that his body would be much more sensitive after the climax. "PLEASE DON'T TICKLE ME NOW!!!" But Ríqlo chose not to take this bit of advice and tickled Mark's stomach and thighs, spreading the slippery fluid around with his fingers making the sensations even more ticklish, and convulsing him with hysteria; then he started wiggling his fingers closer and closer to Mark's sides. "NO!! NOT THE RIBS!! NOT NOW!!!" were Mark's last words before the rib-tickling started and he began shrieking and screaming with laughter at the top of his lungs; he thought that at any moment his sides would rip open. Ríqlo mercilessly tortured him unceasingly for several minutes, before finally deciding that his poor victim had had enough, though before he loosened the invisible bonds he tickled around Mark's navel a few times as a reminder, causing Mark to burst into helpless giggles yet again. Mark was panting and perspiring profusely, and after he was "freed" lay on the ground for perhaps a quarter of an hour without moving very much. Ríqlo then put his arms around him and both of them, exhausted and spent as they were, slept together for a while, naked upon the grass.
And the last thing Mark heard, before drifting away into tender unconsciousness, was Ríqlo's soft whisper in his ear: "Régeru Mark, you are my Prince now, the ruler of my heart."