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

From pan to fire

An hour later, Anastasia was mopping the floor along with Theresa.

The excitement for Charlotte had disappeared from her eyes and was replaced by disappointment. In some corner of her heart, she wanted to give Charlotte the benefit of doubt, but the sight of charcoal powder on Charlotte's hands didn't hide the betrayal that had happened.

To go so far as to steal… Anastasia could only guess that Charlotte had used her sketches to get a close enough position to work under Princess Niyasa. She noticed Charlotte walking from one end of the corridor to where she and Theresa were working.

"Are you going to visit Princess Niyasa, Charlotte?" Theresa asked, not knowing what Charlotte had done.

Charlotte smiled, and replied, "I am. I am in a hurry now as Princess Niyasa doesn't like to be kept waiting." She turned to look at Anastasia, who made no attempt to speak to her. She pursed her lips and said, "Take care of yourself, Anna. If there's something to clean in the princess's room, I will be sure to ask for you." Saying those words, she left the corridor.

On noticing Anastasia's unfriendly behaviour towards Charlotte, Theresa said, "I thought you weren't upset with Charlotte's promotion..."

Anastasia replied, "It isn't her promotion that upsets me. It is the means by which she promoted herself."

Theresa frowned and asked, "What do you mean?"

"She stole something that was mine. Truthfully, it isn't that she used it as an opportunity that makes me sad, but that she broke my trust," Anastasia stopped mopping the floor, clutching the wooden stick with her hands. She said, "What she took… they were all very dear to me. But had she asked, I would have happily given them to her."

Theresa's eyebrows furrowed, and she asked, "What did she steal, Anna?"

Anastasia shook her head, "It doesn't matter," she said before continuing to mop the floor. "After a few days, it won't matter anymore." Because she was sure she would escape this place where people attempted to move up ranks by trampling on others. Once she and her sister left this place, all these things would be just a memory.

Away from where lowly maids like Anastasia or Theresa weren't allowed to enter, in the heart of the royal palace, Charlotte made her way to the inner garden, where Princess Niyasa was.

Princess Niyasa was the second daughter of King William Blackthorn, whose mother was the King's first concubine, Lady Maya, and the sister of Prince Maxwell. The princess had let down her brown hair, and had a jewelled pin fixed on the left side of her head. Though she was only nineteen years of age, her arrogance was as if she had collected it for far too long.

"The talented maid is here," Princess Niyasa remarked on seeing Charlotte enter the garden. She then said, "What are you doing standing that far away? Come closer."

Princess Niyasa remarked, "Your sketches are unlike anything I have seen. I had them placed in the parlour so that everyone can enjoy the sight of them." To the princess, having talented maids was nothing less than her owning beautiful jewels or dresses. They were an accessory to show off to others. Her blue eyes stared at the plain maid, and asked, "How did you draw them again?"

Charlotte bowed deeply and replied, "I draw them as they come in my dreams, Princess."

"So gifted. I hear that you haven't dreamed of anything lately, which is why you haven't been able to draw new ones?" The princess questioned, while crossing her legs on the chair she sat upon in the garden.

"That is right, Princess. Once I have had a good dream, I would be happy to show it to you. I am delighted to hear that the princess is pleased with my drawings," Charlotte continued to bow, while hoping she would be able to sketch like Anastasia.

"Which is why from now on, you will be my maid," Princess Niyasa smiled with the corner of her lips pulling up.

And while Charlotte reaped the temporary benefits and praises from the princess, on the other side of the palace on one of the above floors, Anastasia walked with one hand carrying a bucket of water, and the other carrying a mop. She walked in the corridor where the wind blew, as there were no walls or windows, but only pillars after a length of railing.

Anastasia had come here to clear her head. Even though she told herself it didn't matter, she was still sad about what Charlotte had done.

She placed the bucket on the ground and leaned against the railing, watching the vast kingdom that went beyond the high walls and the desert. A minute later, she heard a metal clatter. Her eyebrows furrowed, wondering what it was. She slowly walked near the end of the wall, when her eyes widened at the sight of a thief!

The thief seemed to have just climbed over the wall, and was now pulling up the rope with which he had climbed. The person wore a black cloak and a hood that covered his head.

"Oof!" The thief wheezed and placed his hand on his back to stretch it. "Why are there so many guards?"

Anastasia parted her lips, ready to shout for the guards, but at the same time the thief turned and she caught sight of his face.

'W—was that Juan?!' Anastasia's mouth fell open. Was he here to steal?

But she didn't get enough time to think, for when Juan ran his hand through his hair, his appearance began to change. Her mouth went dry when she saw Juan take his original form, and that was of Prince Aiden.

Anastasia quickly hid further behind the wall, while she felt her heart beating loudly in her ears. The young man she had met twice in the Bazaar was the prince! For a brief moment, she was glad that she didn't pick up the nearest available object to hit his head with as she had done to the drunk man at the Bazaar.

She peeked from behind the wall, watching Prince Aiden discard his black cloak and fix his clothes. As he rolled the rope and anchor, she heard him whistle,

"Today was a good day. To leave the palace twice."

Anastasia had heard about the Blackthorn family members holding different abilities, but no one knew what abilities each of them held. But King William's powers were no secret to anyone in or outside the palace. It was said that he could read one's mind, making a person vulnerable in his presence.

Did she just agree to meet the prince and have him get her a camel? Anastasia felt her head ache.

Previously, the person she was going to deal with was a simple townsman and she believed her plan would be risk-free. But now… this was trouble knocking on her door. And the most important thing was, did he know she was a servant of this palace? She would only know when they next met, she thought in her mind.

She prayed they wouldn't meet!

Upon hearing Prince Aiden start to make his way toward where she was, Anastasia looked back and forth before she ran as fast as she could, so that he wouldn't see her. She felt as if she was being followed, considering how she couldn't get rid of the footsteps that weren't too far behind her.

When Anastasia entered the floor below, she failed to realise that she had picked a corridor which led her to the heart of the inner palace. With Prince Aiden's footsteps following hers, she turned the knob of the door next to her and entered the room.

Anastasia closed the door, her heart beating loudly, and waited for a minute. Feeling it was alright to step out again, she opened the door for the light to spill, but it was for the briefest moment.

Because the moment she opened the door, at the same time a hand appeared from behind, forcing the door closed. She heard a husky male voice speak right behind her,

"You have some nerve to enter the room without permission and think you can leave as you please."