Garden Of Poison

[Volume 1: Dante Blackthorn] When Anastasia and her sister Marianne are captured and shipped across the seas by pirates, they become commodities to be sold in a distant land. Marianne is taken as a courtesan, while Anastasia barely escapes a terrible fate by pretending to be mute. She is forced into the lowest ring of servants at the royal palace, where she endures a life of servitude and creates beautiful artwork to mask her pain. Despite years passing, Anastasia has never forgotten her sister's promise to return to their family together. However, with her movement restricted and the guards vigilant, escape seems impossible. When Anastasia comes into contact with the Forsaken Prince, her life spirals out of control and she triggers a Crux of incredible proportions. Now battling her own inner demons while navigating the treacherous politics of the royal court, Anastasia must confront the truth about her sister's fate and make a choice that could alter the course of an entire kingdom. [Volume 2: Emily Blackthorn] Princess Emily's life takes a turbulent turn when she is rejected, leaving her heartbroken and her soul at the brink of corruption. In a desperate bid to save herself, she journeys to the West. Enter the Storm Prince, a charismatic archdemon with striking blue eyes, with a saint-like smile. Emily had hoped she'd seen the last of him, but fate has other plans. As if her soul dying isn’t enough, someone wants to steal it! Caught between the suitors and the haunting nightmares that have plagued her since childhood, Emily begins to see Raylen in a new light. The blue-eyed demon may not be the monster she once thought.

ash_knight17 · Fantasy
Not enough ratings
286 Chs

End of the dark passage

Anastasia stood behind the wall of the next corridor so that she could avoid the Mother Queen questioning her. Earlier, when she found the older woman struggling to stand, she couldn't get herself to walk away and felt compelled to help.

Placing her hand on the wall for support, Anastasia leaned to take a look at the Mother Queen and the minister walking away in the other direction. She heaved a sigh of relief.

"That was close," she said, pressing her hand on the wall, ready to head towards the main hall when a brick moved back, a part of the wall next to her opened like a door. "A hidden passage?"

Anastasia looked left and right before staring at the narrow passage that invited her. Curious, she stepped inside, and when she began to walk, she heard the wall automatically close behind her.

The hem of her green gown brushed the ground behind her as she walked through the passage for a little while, before catching sight of the light at the end which was blocked by creepers. Pushing them away, she stepped outside and noticed it was a balcony.

Anastasia stared at the sight as she murmured, "To think I have spent eight years here without knowing the existence of this place."

The walls and the arch of the balcony had green creepers running on them with little red flowers that gave off a sweet fragrance surrounding it. But it was the view of the sea that shone under the moonlight that captured her attention.

The cold wind greeted her as she walked towards the short railings, and she had to mind her steps. Wondering if the royal family had ships or boats at the bottom, a curious Anastasia craned her neck to look below.

[Music Recommendation: Someone- TSS]

"Lean any closer, and you will see the water closer than you want to," a voice spoke behind her.

Startled by the sudden voice against the silence that had accompanied her until now, she turned on her heels. Her eyes fell on Prince Dante.

"…!" One of her feet moved backwards, and she felt a hitch in her breath when she felt she was about to fall over the railing, when Dante grabbed her.

Anastasia gasped, feeling her heart slip from her ribcage. Her body was no longer leaning towards the sea, as Dante had grabbed her by the waist.

Anastasia noticed how the breeze on the balcony gently moved his dark hair in front of one of his eyes, the eyes that now intently stared at her. He wore a blue shirt that had a circular collar with intricate gold designs that moved down the buttons of his sh— Her throat felt dry when she noticed her hands resting on his chest. She wanted to move, but she felt his firm hold that had prevented her from falling.

"I didn't mean to lean that far," Anastasia whispered, her brown eyes still wide in surprise.

"Surely, you didn't," Dante responded, his eyes slightly narrowing at the young woman standing before him.

He had come to the place to get some fresh air when he caught sight of the female guest leaning over the railings. The balcony was secluded, which is why he hadn't expected anyone to be here at this hour.

The prince's stare wasn't absent from glare; it was another matter that it was how he mostly looked at people. Did he recognise her? Clearing her throat, Anastasia parted her lips,

"Thank you for helping me…"

Dante's eyes fell on her full, pink lips as they moved beneath the veil. Her voice reminded him of the sweet berries at the beginning of summer.

Anastasia finally felt Dante release her waist and was about to step away from the prince to maintain distance when he did it himself. He stated,

"You will miss the commencement of the celebration if you don't hurry to the main hall."

At the same time, Anastasia watched him step away from her and move closer to the rails. He started to watch the scenery ahead of him.

Anastasia nodded even though he didn't pay attention or look at her. She turned when the little belt around her waist loosened, and she caught hold of it and whispered, "Oh no..!"

Moving to the side, Anastasia started to wrap the belt around her waist, trying to push the straight pins, but the position wasn't right, so she fiddled with it.

On the other hand, Dante had come here for some time alone before going to the main hall. But the woman on the balcony fiddled with her dress belt. His eyes moved away from the sea and fell back on her.

The breeze on the balcony moved the thin veil that tried to cover part of her face, revealing her delicate face beneath it. Her dark, wavy brown hair was let down, cascading over her shoulders and back. A half-crown braid ran over the top of her head, which had three shiny pins fixed at the side.

A sigh escaped from Dante's lips, and he said, "I will send a maid to attend you."

"No!" Anastasia quickly exclaimed, not wanting any maids to recognise her. The probability of lower servants recognising her was higher than that of people of high status, as they had never paid any attention to her. Raking through her mind, she politely said, "It would put me in a difficult position if my family knew I was here, away from the main hall. They want me to meet suitors, but I have no intention to. Please… Prince Dante."

On hearing his name roll out of the young woman's lips, Dante's eyes narrowed. He wondered if this woman had purposefully called his name in such a tone, and if she was trained in the art of seduction because every word was a tickle to his senses. Those were also the kinds of women he despised deep down in his bones.

Anastasia offered him a bow before returning to fix the belt, this time not bothered if it was sitting right. All she wanted to do was bolt from here.

"Who are your parents?"

Her hands stopped what they were doing, and she looked up at the prince. She answered, "Mr. and Mrs. Flores."

Flores? Dante hadn't heard that last name and wondered if she was Lady Sophia's guest. He questioned again, "What's your name?"

Anastasia turned nervous with his questions. After all, they did cross paths closely twice, and he was angry both times. Instead of giving her name, she asked wide-eyed, "Why?" Five seconds later, it dawned on her that instead of answering, she was questioning the Blackthorn prince; she quickly gave a part of her name and bowed, "Tasia. It is Tasia."

Dante noted how young women, who were often quick to reveal their names and get near to him, was for once seeing someone who didn't give it right away. But then the woman mentioned stalling meetings with the possible suitors. He tilted his head to the side while watching her and tested her name,

"Miss Tasia."

"Yes?" An anxious Anastasia replied, dropping her hands back to her side.

As a maid, Anastasia was so used to lowering her eyes in front of the royal members, that she tried hard not to look away from Dante's piercing gaze as if he were reading her.

"I believe you know your way to the main hall and won't try to take another look at the water below," Dante remarked as he walked and exited from there through the door, not the narrow passage she had used.