✍️✍️✍️✍️ Garden Of Poison Chapter 83 Complete Chapter ✍️✍️✍️✍️


Don't hurt me more (Chapter 83)

Emily had raced through the corridors in search of her grandmother, finally spotting her strolling along one of the passageways adjacent to the royal court. She quickly ran towards the older woman with worry written all over her face.      

"What is the matter, Emily? Did they find the thieves?" The Mother Queen questioned, her footsteps halting when her granddaughter came to stand before her.      

"I need your help, Grandmother, and it's urgent," Emily hastily implored before she went on to explain, "Queen Maya is punishing the servants who were previously bestowed with gold coins by our family members. She claims they stole them and labelled them as thieves when they were innocent. Please help them get out of this predicament. My maid, Anna, is also being falsely framed."      

The Mother Queen frowned and said, "If she's your maid, then you are the one who is in charge of punishing her. Queen Maya should know better."      

Emily was filled with anxiety because the matter had blown out of proportion in the servants' quarters. It was Niyasa's maid who had stolen from the palace, not Anna. She said,    

"That… Grandmother, they found out that my maid can speak, and they have taken her to the scaffol—"    

"She can speak?" The Mother Queen's eyes narrowed at her granddaughter. "All this time, she has been moving her hands, amusing herself with making us guess? And so have you… I didn't expect it from you, Emily," a look of disappointment clouded the older woman's face.      

Emily realised that her grandmother wouldn't take it well if she were to inform her that this same maid was none other than Tasia Flores. Because revealing the truth would only compound the number of lies. Instead, she said,      

"People assumed she couldn't speak, and she simply went along with it. If there is anyone who should be angry at her, it should be me, as I am the one she has been serving. But I am not, and don't hold it against her," Emily attempted to reason, even though her grandmother continued to look disappointed. She pleaded, "I have lost many maids, and I have never questioned it before, but this time, I need you to help me. Please, Mother Queen!" With a deep bow, she beseeched the older woman.      

The Mother Queen's frown only deepened with every passing second, and she didn't miss that her granddaughter had addressed her as 'Mother Queen'. The older woman then pulled out a ring of keys, picked out one of them and said,      

"You will find the seal inside the drawer of my cupboard. You know what to do."    

Back in the present, Emily watched her younger sister step down from the scaffold, quietly glaring at her as she walked past her and Aiden before leaving the place to return to the palace with the scroll in hand. While the accused servants were being untied, she asked,      

"Where were you earlier?"      

"We went to bring back the escaped servants. Never imagined returning to this," Aiden murmured before his lips set into a thin line. They walked towards the stairs and watched their older brother carry an unconscious Anastasia in his arms as he stepped onto the ground.      

"Take the other two servants back to the palace and tell Norrix to tend to them," Dante ordered the guards, and they quickly obliged.      

Dante had Anastasia ride with him back to the main palace by having her sit sideways with her body leaning against his chest. He had covered her back with his coat, shielding her wounds from the breeze as Oasis galloped on, his hooves pounding against the dusty ground beneath.      

Emily rode with Aiden, following Dante's lead, and when they reached the main palace, Aiden asked,      

"Should I order for the physician to come look at her wounds?" Emily and Aiden dismounted from their horse. One of the palace men came forward and led the third prince's horse towards the stable.    

"That won't be needed," Dante replied as his horse departed, making his way to the back of the palace. Instead of taking the kitchen's back door, he got one of the palace's guards to open another door, concealed behind some bushes in the corner, leading to a spiral staircase.      

Carrying Anastasia in his arms, Dante ascended the spiral staircase, then proceeded down a narrow corridor, eventually arriving at a door before opening it and entering a room. It was a secluded place, rarely frequented by either the royal family members or the servants.      

Dante laid Anastasia on the bed, positioning her on her front before he removed his coat from her body. When his eyes fell on the prominent welt lines and broken skin of her back, now stained with blood, his jaw tightened.      

Earlier, he had felt a spark of relief when he realised it wasn't her who had fled from the palace. But when he and Aiden had returned to the vicinity of the palace, he encountered Emily, who explained about what had happened during his absence, before they rushed to the scaffold. He was consumed with rage at the state he had found her in, and if Niyasa's brother and mother weren't the king and queen, he would have slapped some sense into his younger sister.      

His clenched hands loosened as he stared at Anastasia.      

When someone knocked on the door, Dante responded, "Come in."    

It was Emily, who had come with a wooden box and a dress. She wore a troubled expression as she spoke, "I brought the first aid box… if the one here proves inadequate. And Anna's dress for when she wants to change from the one she's wearing, as it is torn." She paused for a moment, her eyes falling upon her unconscious maid. "I hated not being able to stop it…"    

"You did the best you could have in your position," Dante responded to her, taking the first aid box and the dress from her and placing them to the side. He pulled out the scissors before cutting the back of Anastasia's dress, so that the fabric wouldn't stick to her wounds.      

Their mothers were exiled to the old palace, and if King Maxwell or Queen Maya were to become upset, the little support they could count on could be snatched away from them, or worse.      

Emily then asked, "Is there anything I can help with?"      

Even though it was difficult to watch, it was the least she could do. She observed her elder brother gently brush Anastasia's hair away from her back and delicately tuck some strands that had come to hover in front of her face. And then something unexpected occurred. As subtle as the action was, lasting only a second, she saw his fingers tenderly caress the maid's head, and the princess's eyes widened.      

"I will take care of her. You should go find our grandmother," Dante said, turning to look at his sister, knowing that Queen Maya wouldn't be happy that the Mother Queen had interfered with her orders, which probably caused a rift.      

Emily was left slightly dumbstruck, and she wondered if she had imagined it. She quietly nodded, "I will go find Grandmother…"    

"Close the door behind you, as well as the one downstairs," Dante instructed her, and she nodded.      

When he turned to get a bowl of water, Emily stepped out of the room, closing the door behind her before walking away.      

Inside the room, Dante dipped a cloth into the water before wringing it out and using it to clean Anastasia's bare back. He then picked up a small box of turmeric and combined it with olive oil, mixing them into a paste and applying it to the welts inflicted by the leather whip.      

When Dante gently applied the paste to one of the deeper wounds, the sting finally roused her from her unconscious state. She whimpered in pain, instinctively pulling away and getting up only to feel the drying skin of her wounds tightening, causing her more pain. Her shoulders were strained from her hands being hung.    

"P—Please don't hurt me…" Anastasia pleaded, as she could still feel her back resonating with the echoes of the lashes she had endured, which felt never-ending. She felt it throb from the torment she had faced in the public's eyes.      

Dante observed her guarded expression, and as he clenched his teeth, he nipped the skin inside his mouth, drawing blood. She held the front of her dress to prevent it from falling down, as her back remained exposed.      

"I won't hurt you," Dante gave her his word, with his eyes fixed on her anxious ones. He said, "Your wounds need to be treated. Lie back on your front."    

"It's fine. I am fine," Anastasia's lips trembled as she refused to let him touch her back. She saw the first prince staring at her.      

[Music Recommendation: To The Heart- Jonny Southard]    

Dante noticed how small Anastasia appeared, like a wounded, scared animal. He felt the urge to protect her. When her eyes briefly darted away from his to look at the unknown room they were in, he stretched out his hand towards her, which caught her attention.      

"Come here, my rabbit," Anastasia heard Dante beckon her closer to where he was seated. There was tenderness in his voice, almost ready to deceive her. He stated, "We can do this for hours."      

After the vicious treatment she had undergone at the hands of one of the royal members of the Blackthorn family, the humiliation of people labelling her as a thief and the pain she had felt, her heart quivered at Dante's words.      

Seeing how he hadn't dropped his hand or retrieved it to his side, Anastasia finally moved closer to him with the support of her hands. When she sat facing him, she felt him pick up her hand, and he said,      

"Lean on me, Anastasia. Trust me."    

Anastasia didn't know what the prince was planning, but she found herself leaning towards him as if having no choice in the matter. At the same time, Dante supported her by placing his hands on her arms and drawing her closer, and she rested her head on his chest in silence.      

She could hear his heart beating steadily. She felt him let go of her arms to retrieve something beside them while he gently placed his left hand on the side of her body that had no wounds.      

"Ah!" Anastasia whimpered at Dante's finger brushing against the wound as he applied the paste. "It hurts…"    

"Bear with it a little more. It will be over soon," Dante comforted her as he paid attention to the wounds on her back so that he didn't press on them more than necessary. He added, "You don't have to hold back your voice here."      

Dante's fingers continued moving across her skin, attentively tending to every single wound inflicted upon her back. Anastasia dug her nails into her palms, and her body trembled, reminding her of what had taken place outside the palace. Her tremors ceased when she felt Dante place his hand on the back of her head.      

Her eyes watered, and Anastasia whispered, "All the royal family members are cruel…"      

"We are," Dante agreed, and when he tended to the last bleeding wound, he felt her burrow into his arms, seeking shelter from the pain.      

She felt him gently caress her head when he apologised, "I am sorry you went through what happened today. You were caught in the crossfire of envy and hate, and the actions of the maid who ran away, causing you pain," his voice hardened at the end.      

Dante's eyes narrowed at the thought of the maid who had stirred up chaos in here, leaving the innocent ones to suffer. The culprits responsible for making him doubt and harming the one in his arms would be held accountable and punished.      

Anastasia's lips trembled, and a sob escaped from her mouth. It wasn't solely because of the physical pain she endured but also from what had happened in the servants' quarters. Her sobs grew louder, yet Dante didn't let go of her in his arms as he quietly comforted her, his shirt turning wet from her tears.      

With no one else to complain to, Anastasia cried to him, "I—I didn't do anything to an—anyone. Mary didn't do anything… T—there were only her ashes inside… if you looked at the pot, you could see it was too small to hold coins. But s—she broke it," she sobbed, taking a deep breath before continuing, "She broke it! T—that was all I had of her, and…she was stolen… How could s—she..." Tears streamed down her cheeks, and her voice choked with sorrow.    

In the silence of the room, which filled itself with Anastasia's sobs, Dante could hear her heart break further at the thought of her sister's ashes being desecrated. He patiently stroked her head, providing solace as she voiced her sorrows.      

"It was all I had…of her," Anastasia whispered. She never knew she could hate someone as much as she despised the second princess.      

When Anastasia's sobs gradually quieted down, she heard Dante say, "You haven't lost her. Your sister will always be with you, and no one can take her away from you."    

With her heart not as heavy as before, Anastasia pulled away from Dante's chest to meet his midnight eyes. She shook her head in response to his earlier words.      

Dante noticed her flushed cheeks and the redness around the rim of her eyes. Her doe-like eyes appeared smaller because of the tears she had shed, and he said, "Because we have been trying to find the murderer, the furnace where your sister's cremated ashes were hasn't been disturbed. She's still there for you to keep a part of her."    

Relief washed over Anastasia's senses, and her eyes widened with hope. To confirm, she asked, "Really?"      

"Mm," Dante nodded, noticing how her spirit seemed to lift at the mention of her sister's ashes, and he gazed at her intently. As beautiful as she looked while crying, he didn't like the thought of someone else making her cry.      

Anastasia expressed her gratitude, "Thank you!" And when another tear slipped from her eyes, she felt Dante brush it away with his thumb. She blurted out, "W—why are you being nice to me?" The people of the palace were ruthless, and so was he.      

Dante didn't drop his hand as if ready to wipe the next tear that fell from her eyes, resting it gently on the side of her face. He tilted his head and asked, "Aren't I always nice to you?"      

As her guard dropped and her head felt hazy, she replied, "Not really." When he continued to stare at her, she said, "You are hurtful and frightening. It feels like you strike where it already hurts."    

"I guess that is my way of showing affection," Dante remarked. His thumb caressed her cold cheek and he noticed a faint bruise on her cheek as if she had been hit. He apologised, "Forgive me, Anastasia."      

Perplexed, Anastasia looked at him questioningly, and before another second was wasted, Dante leaned into her and kissed her lips.      

Anastasia's eyes grew wide, frozen at the unexpected action. Time stood still as she felt Dante's lips gently press against hers. The kiss was short, but it was long enough to register in her mind when he pulled away to look at her.      

"W—what did you just do?" Anastasia whispered. He stole her first kiss!    

Dante stared into her eyes and said, "I have decided to keep you."