✍️✍️✍️✍️ Garden Of Poison Chapter 74 - 75 complete Chapters ✍️✍️✍️✍️



Midnight eyes that follows her (Chapter 74)

Upon entering the dimly lit room, Anastasia quickly placed the tray on the side table before walking to each window and drawing the curtains apart. She then opened the windows to let fresh air inside the room.      
"It is morning already," murmured Princess Emily, still in bed, her voice laced with sleep.      

"Good morning, Princess Emily," Anastasia greeted her. Returning to the bedside, she offered the glass of juice to the princess. "Did you sleep well?"      

"I did," Princess Emily smiled, and she returned the question, "How about you, Anna?" Caught off guard and unsure what to say, Anastasia simply nodded while the princess consumed half of the glass of juice before resting it on her lap.      

Anastasia quickly walked to the bathtub and began to draw a warm bath for the princess while hearing Princess Emily remark,      

"You look pretty today, Anna. You should always let your hair down like this. It makes you look younger."    

Anastasia bowed, returning to her side and said, "Thank you, Princess, but I will be pinning it back up into a bun."    

"Why so? I think you look rather lovely like this," Princess Emily asked Anastasia, who pulled the blanket away from her before assisting her out of bed. The princess's hazel eyes then fell on the darker patch of skin on her maid's neck, prompting her to ask, "Did you hurt your neck, Anna?"      

"T—That, yes," Anastasia stammered in response to the princess's perceptive eyes. She assured her with a smile, "But I am fine now."    

Princess Emily looked at her suspiciously before saying, "It doesn't look fine. The skin underneath looks bruised. Did someone hit you? You know you must inform me if Mr. Gilbert punishes you, okay?"      

Anastasia smiled at Princess Emily's protectiveness and replied, "I do, Princess." She then led the princess to the bathtub, helping her out of her nightdress.      

Princess Emily didn't push Anastasia for an answer but didn't fail to remind her maid, "Don't forget that you can always tell me anything, and I will keep it between us. It will be our own little secret."      

"Thank you for your kind words, Princess Emily," Anastasia smiled and proceeded to help the princess bathe.      

It wasn't that Anastasia didn't trust the princess. She only worried that, based on their previous conversations, if Princess Emily found out the truth about what her eldest brother had done to her and what it implied, depending on her reaction, there was a possibility that Princess Emily would jump in excitement at the prospect of turning her into her brother's woman, which would circle back to her becoming a concubine. After all, she wasn't a woman of high class, and she didn't want any part of that.      

"About your hair, are you worried about people finding out you are Tasia Flores?" Princess Emily asked Anastasia with her eyes closed while she soaked in the warm and scented water.      

"I am, Princess," Anastasia answered, and she continued, "I also think it is better I don't catch anyone's attention as I am happy to move in the shadows."    

Princess Emily softly laughed at her response and she remarked, "You might very well be the only maid in the whole palace who doesn't want to be noticed, Anna. However, I think it is a challenging request for you," as she dipped beneath the surface of the water before resurfacing gently.      

Anastasia's eyebrows furrowed, and she asked, "Why do you think so?"      

Princess Emily wiped her face with her hands and turned to look at Anastasia to say,      

"You are my maid, Anna, and a princess's maid doesn't go unnoticed. Why do you think most servants endeavour to elevate their status?" She said, "Perhaps one way to divert attention from Tasia is by subtly transforming yourself, ensuring that no one will ever grow suspicious?"      

It wasn't that the thought hadn't crossed Anastasia's mind, but doing so would only threaten her current status within the palace.      

Once Princess Emily was ready, Anastasia twisted her hair before fixing it into a tight bun. Yet, it seemed that it wasn't just her hair but her very appearance that was undergoing a change, like a bud that had begun to blossom in the spring of its life.      

Anastasia stepped out of the room, following two steps behind Princess Emily. She heard the princess comment,      

"I think one of the best times of the day is in the morning when we can speak freely. Maybe once we finish visiting Lady Evin in her chambers, we can take a stroll in the garden. What do you think, Anna?"      

"I think it is a wonderful idea, Princess," Anastasia replied as they headed towards the dining room.      

As they walked through the deserted corridor, with no one but them present, she whispered, "How long will it be until she wakes up?"      

"We aren't sure," Princess Emily whispered back, as they were talking about the king's fianceé. She said, "Grandmother handed over the right antidote, yet there has been no sign of improvement. Grandmother said she will be leaving the palace to search for the nearest available antidote for the spreading poison. As she has the seal of freedom in her possession, she is no longer under arrest. But Queen Maya has decided to send guards to accompany Grandmother, so she doesn't attempt anything suspicious."      

Upon reaching the dining room, Anastasia offered a bow, as she had turned mute once again. She was about to step backwards to go to stand against the wall and await the return of the princess, who had disappeared inside the room, when Mr. Gilbert noticed her standing idle and called out to her,      

"Anna, come and take this." He beckoned, and handed her a tray of freshly baked food.      

Mr. Gilbert was used to calling Anastasia for assistance, and he seemed not to care much that she was now Princess Emily's maid.      

Anastasia had hoped not to show her face to anyone inside the room, especially to the one who had bitten her.      

As soon as Anastasia stepped inside the room, her eyes scanned through the people sitting at the table, and it took her less than two seconds to spot Prince Dante, who was seated at the far end, while Prince Aiden and Princess Emily were sitting between him and their grandmother.      

Seated on the opposite side of the table were Queen Maya, Princess Niyasa and then Lady Evin's parents, while King Maxwell occupied the head of the table.      

The royal family members didn't bother to look at Anastasia, as she was only a maid, while they were busy engaging in conversation.      

"How about I join Grandmother on her travels today, King Maxwell? I don't think it would be good to have only the guards accompanying her," Princess Niyasa appeased her brother with a polite smile.      

"Niyasa is right," Queen Maya agreed with her daughter's proposal. She then turned to the Mother Queen and said, "She cares about you a lot."      

"Mm," the Mother Queen hummed before muttering, "Sometimes I wonder what I did to deserve such amazing grandchildren."    

Anastasia ignored the words spoken in the room and continued to walk to Queen Maya's side before she leaned forward, placing the tray in the middle of the table. And just as she did this, it took only a breath for Dante's eyes to fall on her.      

Even though she tried to keep a blank expression, Anastasia's cheek flushed instantly, betraying the warmth she felt under his gaze.      

She was about to leave the dining room when Mr. Gilbert ordered her in a lowered tone, "Where are you going? Serve the food there and wait." He gave her a pointed look as if she had forgotten all the training she had learned until now.      

Anastasia closed her eyes before turning around to help serve the food.      

Princess Niyasa, who was smiling with glee, found her smile faltering when she noticed her sister's maid walking around the room, serving them food. Her eyes narrowed upon noticing the new design of her dress. She asked Princess Emily,      

"Lily, I didn't know you were altering the designs for your maid's dress. If you told me, I would have done the same with mine."    

Princess Emily smiled at her younger sister's words and replied, "I happened to be playing with the fabric when the idea struck me to change it. I can ask Norrix to inform the tailor about it."      

"It's fine," Princess Niyasa replied before her eyes returned to the maid, and she said, "I will have the tailor create a better version than the current one."      

"I am sure you will come up with some better ideas," Princess Emily encouraged her sister.      

Queen Maya intervened, halting their conversation by saying, "They are servants, not members of the royal family. Even though it is apparent who belongs to royalty, there is no need for such pointless changes." She then turned to look at Princess Emily and said, "I expect you to consult me regarding such matters, Emily."      

"Yes, Queen Maya," Princess Emily responded, offering a slight bow.      

Meanwhile, as much as Anastasia tried to keep her eyes on the food and the ground, she was becoming increasingly conscious of Dante's presence.      

It was one thing to be stared at when they were alone but an entirely different matter when others were present in the same room. She inadvertently made the mistake of glancing at him and found herself locking eyes with his deep midnight gaze, watching her intently as he continued to eat.      

Distracted and not watching where she was walking, Anastasia's body collided with Niyasa's hand, which the princess had pulled back while speaking, causing the glass in her hand to fall, along with its contents of milk.      

The slight clatter gathered everyone's attention, and Anastasia's eyes widened in horror as she quickly bowed, expressing her deepest apology.      

Princess Niyasa became irritated and questioned the lowly maid sharply, "Can't you see where you are walking? You always seem to crash into things and cause damage."    

"You shouldn't have pulled your hand back, Niyasa," Aiden quickly interjected, coming to Anastasia's defence.      

Princess Emily quickly placed her hand on her younger brother's arm, signalling him to shut up. There were some boundaries they couldn't break and were expected to uphold. If they didn't, it would cause retaliation. There was a time in the past, during their father's reign, when they could voice their thoughts, but things were different now, and they didn't hold the same power as before.      

"Are you suggesting that the blame lies with Niyasa rather than the maid?" King Maxwell demanded from Aiden, who immediately went quiet. "Your first priority should be to defend the family, and the rest comes second. This is why you aren't sitting here."      

King Maxwell turned to look at the maid, whom he couldn't see clearly as he only caught a glimpse of a side of her face. He ordered, "Get it cleaned up quickly."      

When one of the maids came over with a cleaning rag, Anastasia took hold of it, as it was her fault, and she sat down on her heels. She pressed the dry rag to the carpet, and while she was doing so, she heard Princess Niyasa complain in slight frustration,      

"There's saffron milk on my dress now! I will go get it cleaned."      

Princess Niyasa didn't bother to turn, and instead, she stood up and adjusted her chair to move it back, causing the back leg of the chair to press on Anastasia's right ring finger.      

Anastasia stifled a cry of pain as her lips parted involuntarily,, while she cursed the rude and heartless princess in her mind.      

She felt as if an iron nail had been hammered into her finger from the pressure exerted by Princess Niyasa on the chair before she vacated her seat. Tears threatened to prickle her eyes due to the unbearable pain. Under the table, she continued to clean the carpet despite the throbbing pain and the beginning of a bleeding wound on her finger.      


Person from the Storm Kingdom(chapter 75)

Anastasia looked down at her hand, feeling her heart pounding even though moments had passed since Dante had left her alone. She shook her head before her thoughts could go further astray than they already had and stepped out of the room to accompany Princess Emily to where Lady Evin was resting.    
Lady Ruby Jeremiah stood beside a sleeping Lady Evin, and she asked, "Will the next antidote help, Queen Maya? I thought the Mother Queen had already handed over 'the' antidote."    

"King Maxwell is doing his best to find a cure for Evin, Lady Ruby. The spots on her skin have disappeared, so we must remain patient," Queen Maya assured Lady Evin's mother, who looked visibly distressed.      

Standing behind Princess Emily in the room, Anastasia stared at Lady Evin, the very person responsible for the state she was in. The sleeping woman was administered juice to keep her alive, as she could not consume any food in her current condition.      

Lady Ruby took a closer look at her daughter's face and said, "The weather is hot today. She needs a wet cloth placed on her forehead and dabbed on her skin to cool her down."    

Queen Maya turned around and snapped her fingers at Anastasia. She ordered, "Go get it quickly."    

"Anna, go let a senior maid know about it," Princess Emily said, as Anastasia was her maid.      

"There's no need for a senior maid, Emily. I am sure your maid is capable enough of doing the job, yes?" Queen Maya raised her eyebrows before snapping her fingers at Anastasia again, gesturing for her to get to work. She briefly glanced at the lowly woman in the room, who picked up a cloth and went to soak it in a bowl of water. She commented, "Your maid should feel fortunate to be serving the future queen of this kingdom."      

Princess Emily offered the woman a smile that didn't reach her eyes. She was still a little peeved over how her brother's soulmate disregarded her warning by displaying arrogance and causing trouble.      

Anastasia returned to Lady Evin's side, and bending down, she gently pressed the wet cloth on the woman's face. She heard the woman's mother ask,      

"What happened to that servant who was pricked by the thorn?"      

"He lost his consciousness like Evin, but as there was only one available antidote, he died," Queen Maya explained before placing her hand on the worried woman's shoulder. She continued, "Soon, when another antidote is made, Evin will be awake in no time. Patience is what we need now."      

Lady Ruby nodded before ordering the maid, "Make sure to dampen her neck and chest as well. She must be feeling hot because of the weather today."    

Anastasia used her good hand to dab the wet cloth against the lady's skin before soaking it back in the water and repeating the process. Queen Maya then said,      

"We should allow Evin to rest now. The physician instructed that we shouldn't display any stress in front of her, as it would only put unnecessary pressure on Evin's body and mind. She needs to feel better to recover." But what she said was a lie, as Maxwell had to be coerced to pay a visit to the sleeping woman in her chambers. She had gone to great lengths to take precautionary measures to ensure that no strand of doubt would form in anyone's mind.      

One by one, everyone stepped out of the room, leaving Lady Evin to rest. The doors to her room were closed, while guards were on standby in case the lady woke up or if an unknown visitor sought entry.      

And as the woman lay unconscious on the bed, one of her fingers finally moved for the first time.      

In the palace's exterior garden, Anastasia walked with Princess Emily through one of the corridors. The princess said,      

"Looks like clouds have gathered in the sky. The hour is perfect for a walk outdoors, although it doesn't appear that there will be more than a light sprinkle of rain."      

Was it that time of the year? Anastasia asked herself, pondering if it was indeed the season when one could witness the light drizzle before it would dissipate into the air. She heard Princess Emily ask her, "Did it rain a lot where you come from, Anna?"    

"It did, Princess," Anastasia replied, without moving her lips too much and her words a whisper, while also offering the company of her voice when they were alone. A smile came to form on her lips, and she said, "There were hailstorms, thunder and lightning. The pitter-patter of rain. You might have liked it."    

Princess Emily softly laughed as if to hide her embarrassment before she said, "I am not good with thunderstorms. I experienced them twice before, and it scared the soul out of my body."      

Maybe it was because Princess Emily was used to living in a kingdom where rain was scarce and was not used to such weather events, Anastasia thought to herself. She watched the clouds obscuring the sun behind them, and it intensified her longing for home more than she had ever felt before.      

"I spoke to Norrix a while ago," Princess Emily began, as they continued to stroll through the garden. "I requested that he have someone else assist in the dining room from now on so that you don't have to worry about colliding with Niyasa again."      

"Thank you, Princess Emily," Anastasia was grateful that she had been considerate enough to do so, because she doubted she would survive with how Niyasa glared at her.      

"She makes a lot of the servants uncomfortable in the palace. It is just how she is, and now that Brother Maxwell has become the king, she's taking even more liberties than she did in the past," Anastasia heard Princess Emily sigh wearily. "Brother Maxwell has not been himself, and I don't know if it's the power that has transformed him like that… it feels like almost everyone who ascends to the throne becomes tyrannical."      

That was somewhat true, Anastasia said to herself, without vocalising her answer. Just because the princess was kind, she couldn't take liberties and speak her mind. There was still a line between them that she didn't intend to cross.      

"Speaking ill about the king, the princess must not feel that her head is precious," a masculine voice remarked from a short distance ahead of them.      

Anastasia and Princess Emily instinctively became guarded, looking around to see who had spoken, and soon a man stepped out from behind a tree.      

The man had reddish-brown hair, and his clothes were of a different style from what people customarily wore in Versailles. He appeared to be somewhere in his late twenties. He exhaled a puff of smoke from his lips, indicating that he had been smoking a cigar in the garden. He offered a polite smile to the princess, and his pale blue, lazy eyes briefly moved to look at the maid standing behind her.      

Anastasia observed Princess Emily's expression become guarded, and she offered the man a slight bow, who returned it with a nod. She said,      

"I didn't expect to see you here. I thought you were inside the palace."      

"Would you have refrained from badmouthing your king if I were? Maybe we should ask the king what he thinks about his tyrannical rule," the man replied, raising his hand to take another drag from his last cigar before he blew the smoke through the corner of his lips. And though he smiled, it looked as if he was mocking them.      

"You should be better versed in it than he is, Prince Raylen," Princess Emily responded, offering him a tight smile, while her demeanour was frigid.      

Anastasia could feel the air grow stifling because of the hostile atmosphere, and she wondered if this was the prince of the Storm Kingdom, Prince Raylen Storm. He chuckled in amusement over the princess's words, and he remarked,      

"It looks like you still hold a grudge over what happened in the past. The people of my kingdom only breached the walls of yours before they were ordered to retreat. No damage was done," Prince Raylen took the last puff from the cigar, exhaling the smoke into the air and casually dropping it on the ground before he trampled it with the sole of his refined shoe.      

"Your men retreated because Brother Dante stopped them from breaching our walls, not because you ordered them to return," Princess Emily's eyebrows had drawn close together as she watched the man make his way towards them.      

"And now we have a truce of peace, Princess," Prince Raylen stated, and his eyes fell on Anastasia, who quickly looked down at the ground. "What's your name?"      

"It is Anna," Princess Emily replied to his question. When he looked at her, she said, "She cannot speak."      

"I must have imagined her replying to you then," he replied, his lips curling up as he observed the princess and the maid freeze. Anastasia was sure she had been whispering. "Speaking of your brother, where is Dante?"      

"He went out," Princess Emily answered curtly. "I believe the king has already mentioned it to you."    

"Sort of," Prince Raylen answered, and he continued, "I came to offer my condolences to the family on the death of your father. But I didn't know that your mother and some of the others were in the old palace. My sympathies."      

Princess Emily nodded in acknowledgement.    

"Prince Raylen!" called his minister, summoning his attention. At the same time, Anastasia's eyes met the inquisitive stare of the Storm Prince, which lingered on her for a few seconds longer than expected.      

Anastasia observed the sky turning a little darker before brightening once again when the prince offered a slight nod to the princess as he walked past them.      

When the prince stepped out of the garden, walking away with his minister in tow, Princess Emily muttered,      

"He's just here to mock my family. Versailles and the Storm Kingdom have a delicate relationship, which is currently calm because of the political truce in effect. A few years ago, they joined forces with another kingdom against us in war, and we suffered significant losses."    

Anastasia and Princess Emily followed the prince of the Storm Kingdom, who shared a few words with King Maxwell and Queen Maya before he boarded his carriage with his minister. Inside the carriage, the minister asked,      

"Did the visit serve your purpose, My Prince?"      

Prince Raylen offered his minister a polite smile, and he remarked, "Yes." He looked outside the window and murmured, "It has begun."      

Princess Emily looked tired and said, "I feel a little drained of energy. I would like to get some rest and put my feet up," she decided, while they were still outside the palace. As they headed towards the palace entrance, Anastasia's eyes fell on one of the palace windows.    

Her brown eyes widened when she noticed a woman standing behind the window. It was Marianne. Anastasia couldn't help but stare at her while simultaneously hearing the princess say,      

"You should go and get some rest too, Anna. Don't think I haven't noticed you yawning," she smiled, going ahead.      

Once Princess Emily disappeared from her sight, Anastasia quickly darted towards the corridor that she had glimpsed her sister standing in. Her footsteps were quick. She avoided running as she was traversing the inner corridors of the palace.      

Was it her sister's ghost? If it was, would she be able to speak to her?      

Nervous and excited at the same time, Anastasia finally reached the corridor with her heart pounding in her chest, and her footsteps finally stopped. The smile that had stretched her lips faltered when she didn't find anyone at the window.      

She breathed heavily, her eyes frantically scanning the deserted corridor in desperation. She walked towards the windows and stood before one of them, in the very spot where she had seen her sister, or believed she had seen.      

Anastasia closed her eyes, trying to compose herself, her fingers tightly gripping the windowsill. She wished she could talk to her sister. As greedy as her heart was in this matter, she was ready to settle for the briefest connection, even if it was just for a single moment.      

As she reopened her eyes, now moist with emotion, she blinked away the tears as she stared at the garden, and then turned to leave the corridor when her eyes fell on King Maxwell.    

Like Anastasia, Maxwell, who had been outside the palace, had also noticed the ghost behind a different window, and now stood at the end of the corridor, staring at her.