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

Thorns around the rose

At night, the temperature had dropped around the Kingdom of Versailles, and everyone stayed inside their rooms and their beds. The people with high status covered their bodies with thick quilt-like blankets, while the ones of the lower class, like the servants, used the thin bedsheets around their bodies, but that wasn't enough for them to sleep comfortably.

In the servants' quarters, Anastasia had fallen asleep sooner than the other days, as tonight she didn't want to touch the charcoal piece to sketch and was tired.

Deep in sleep, with the silence surrounding the servants' quarters, Anastasia dreamt of what her heart longed for.

'Anna?' Her father's voice echoed. 'Anna?'

'I am in the backyard, papa!' Anastasia replied, who was hanging the clothes on the rope, which she had washed at the riverside.

Anastasia wrung out the dress and hung it on the rope, while her father stepped out of the house through the back door. He said, 'There you are! I have brought the plums that you like. The small purple ones.' They looked the same as when she and her sister were little girls.

Her mother, who followed her father, said, 'Anna, it is time to come in. Mary said she wants your help. We cannot be late for the celebration.'

'Of course, mama,' Anastasia said, pouring the water from the bucket on the ground before entering their lovely and warm house. Wiping her hands, she went to her sister's room and knocked on the door. When she turned the knob, her eyes fell on her sister, who wore a simple white gown. 'You look beautiful, Mary! I am so happy for you to be marrying the man you love,' she said, hugging her sister.

Marianne's eyes were moist, and she smiled, 'I am happy too, Anna. I cannot believe the day has finally come.' She pulled Anastasia in front of the long mirror and remarked, 'But it is time for you too. Look,' her sister urged her, turning to look at the mirror.

When Anastasia turned and looked at the mirror, she noticed Marianne missing from the reflection of the mirror, as well as missing next to her, leaving her alone in the room that had turned dark. The mirror suddenly broke into many pieces, and she raised her hand to shield her face.


She heard someone whisper her name from a distance, which had an echo to it.

'It is time for you to come home,' said the voice to her.

'Papa?' Anastasia called her father, but received no response. The darkness that was clouding her eyes started to clear, and she now stood in a long, lonely corridor. Her lips moved again, "Papa?"

Anastasia walked on the cold marble floor with her bare feet. Her eyes fell on the closest fire torch fixed on the wall, and it appeared dusty and cold, as if it had been years since it had been last lit. From the look of her surroundings, it didn't take her long to realise that this place resembled the Blackthorn Palace.

When the back of her hand grazed the surface of the wall, she winced in pain, and the pain felt real. It couldn't be… Was she not dreaming anymore?

"No, it can't be real," Anastasia murmured. But then she remembered something that Marianne had told her.

'There's no one here. You can sing when we are alone and when no one is around. I heard the west side of the palace has been unused and left untouched for years.'

The west side of the palace was part of the inner heart of the palace, which was why she had heard nothing about it.

"I must get back to my room before I get into any more trouble," Anastasia said to herself, as she was no longer dreaming. She couldn't believe that she had sleepwalked into this place.

Making sure the view ahead was clear, Anastasia was quick on her feet. But before she could leave, her eyes fell on the centre of the four corridors, where there was a dried garden, and at the centre was a single dried rose that was surrounded by black thorns.

Having never heard of, or seen something like this, Anastasia was drawn towards it. She moved closer, staring at the thorns that protected the dried rose in a circle without touching it.

"Such a strange thing," Anastasia murmured, and she went to touch it.

But at the same time, she heard voices, and when she turned in that direction, one of her fingers grazed a thorn, which drew blood from it. The red drop fell on the ground below the thorns. She heard a woman's voice,

"I don't need this place to be cleaned all the time, Aziel."

Anastasia then heard a man's voice, "Forgive me, Your Highness. I thought it would be better to have the floor cleaned, if you were to drop by here for a visit."

"It's not a place people have tea at. The last thing I need is someone entering and disrupting what shouldn't be touched."

Anastasia quickly held the front of her night dress and climbed onto the platform of the corridor. Not knowing where else to hide, she quickly found the nearest pillar and stood behind it.

The footsteps got louder as two people entered the place, walking along the corridor opposite to where Anastasia was hiding. It was none other than the Mother Queen and her trusted minister, who followed two steps behind her.

The minister named Aziel informed, "There are only three servants who come in here, Milady."

The Mother Queen's eyes fell on the dried rose bush, which was in the same condition since she had last seen it. She said, "I suppose it shouldn't be bad if it is just three servants entering here."

"I have given the servants strict instructions. To not go near any of the plants or touch anything apart from the floors," Aziel assured the Mother Queen, noticing her grim look. "The Blackthorn rose is safe, my Queen."

"For now… before it finally withers," the Mother Queen remarked, her lips set into a thin line, while a frown came to settle on her wrinkled forehead. "It has been one hundred and eighty-seven years since the curse fell upon Versailles, turning this place into a desert. Did you know that the Blackthorn family name is originally derived from that plant which once used to be abundant around the kingdom?"

"So you have told me, Milady," the minister answered the Mother Queen.

"The Blackthorn roses were once used as an elixir in minute quantities. Only a few members of the royal family knew the precise amount to be consumed. For when more than the required amount was taken, it would turn into poison, and that information wasn't shared with others. Many ambitious men and women wanted to live longer, and they gulped it down," the Mother Queen softly harrumphed at the greed of the people as she stared at the thorns from afar. She then continued, "This is the last one, and though it is dead, the family has preserved it for years as a treasure. Which is why I don't want anyone trying to come near it."

The minister quietly bowed to comply with the Mother Queen's order.

Anastasia, who was hiding behind the pillar, quietly listened to their conversation. She carefully peeked to look at the wilted black rose. She had never heard this story before. To think the kingdom was cursed—she wondered what had happened in the past, for such a thing to happen.

While the Mother Queen and the minister continued to talk about something related to the court, Anastasia, who was waiting to return to her room, felt her nostrils tickling. She quickly rubbed her nose to avoid being caught, and scrunched her nose many times, while praying to God to spare her from any more trouble today!