The following is a recap of the story to date for those of you who don't want to read through 12 installments of the story but want a recap before reading the entry for the letter M.
King Quirinus is dying and wants to make sure his kingdom and daughter, Cardelia are taken care of when he dies. He invites the noblemen of the surrounding kingdoms to come and compete in a quest. The first man who returns with the correct item will win Cardelia’s hand in marriage as well as the kingdom.
Cardelia hates being the “prize” in her father’s game and runs away.
Xavier rules a small but important piece of land. He’s been injured in a battle defending his land and his face is horribly scarred. He receives and invitation from Quirinus and decides to compete. His younger brother Valerius joins up with him midway through his journey to Quirinus.
Dianthe, rumored illegitimate daughter of the king, and Cardelia lookalike, is ordered to pretend to be Cardelia until she can be located.
Xavier, knowing he’s monstrous to look at, asks Valerius to pose as him.
Xavier and Valerius arrive at King Quirinus’ castle. Xavier is smitten by Dianthe who is posing as Cardelia. In turn, Dianthe is also drawn to Xavier who she assumes is a servant of the man sitting next to her.
An odious nobleman interrupts the meal, claiming to have completed the quest which is a poem as follows:
Ye seek the nose of fifty two
The twelve of round are paired and true
The bloom you’ll find is quite contrary
The flower of death to those unwary
The nobleman produces a bouquet of deadly flowers. The king tells the nobleman that his flowers are not the right answer. The angry nobleman shouts curses at the king, but when he starts in on Cardelia, Xavier uses force to make him stop
Later, Valerius returns to his room where Xavier is already abed. Xavier mistakenly thinks Valerius has been with Cardelia and tackles him. Valerius makes it clear he was not with Cardelia and at the same time, comes to understand that Xavier has feeling for her.
The next morning, Dianthe (posing as Cardelia) gives Xavier (posing as Valerius) an ointment to help heal his face. She lets Xavier know she wants him to return to her.
Meanwhile, Cardelia has been hiding under her bed in her room the whole time. Her maid servant uses the bedroom for amorous relations with Valerius (posing as Xavier) while Cardelia lies trapped under the bed. Cardelia decides Valerius is a licentious lout but is still floored when she sees how handsome he is.