✍️✍️✍️✍️ Garden Of Poison Chapter 121 Complete Chapter ✍️✍️✍️✍️



Fabrics of clothes and people (Chapter 121)

Music Recommendation: Buck Twenty- Thomas Newman     

Four days passed, and the air of death dissipated from the Blackthorn Palace, returning it to the way it was. At this moment, Anastasia sat in the company of Lady Sophia, Lady Noor, and Princess Emily, watching the concubines gracefully dance to the music. The women enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere, complete with refreshments and two maids gently fanning large fans to keep them comfortable.      

"Anastasia, did the tailor come by?" Lady Noor inquired, causing her to shift her attention to the woman.      

"Not yet," Anastasia replied politely. She said, "I was told that a seamstress would be visiting to take my measurements."      

"A woman," Lady Sophia noted, taking a sip of her juice and briefly glancing at Anastasia before returning her focus forward. "I don't think there is a seamstress in Versailles, and if you intend to find one, the person will need to be brought here from another kingdom."      

"I believe it will be something to look forward to, don't you think?" Emily smiled, adding, "To adorn yourself in something different from what we are accustomed to wearing."     

Lady Sophia remarked, "Now that you are the king's concubine, it is imperative that you are dressed well. Considering there's only a week's time remaining until the celebration, did you make a particular request for this?" She raised her eyebrows as she looked at the young woman.      

Anastasia shook her head, "It was a decision made by King Dante."     

Lady Sophia softly harrumphed in response. She stated, "Crafting an exquisite dress will undoubtedly take a considerable amount of time. And if I'm not mistaken, the choice of fabric hasn't been decided yet, has it?"      

Anastasia offered a polite bow and replied, "The fabric is set to arrive today. Lady Noor graciously offered to assist me with it."      

"Always helpful towards those in the highest position," Lady Sophia's lips twisted in disdain.     

"Anastasia is now the king's companion; it is only right that we all offer our assistance to her. You are welcome to join us, Lady Sophia," Lady Noor extended an invitation to the older woman, whose lips tightened in response.      

"I am sure you will manage just fine on your own, considering you were once a king's companion yourself; you won't require my assistance," Lady Sophia turned away from them, her hostile demeanour casting an uncomfortable atmosphere.      

Anastasia noticed how Emily subtly shifted in her seat due to the awkwardness caused by her mother's attitude. However, she decided not to pay any heed to it. Lady Sophia, having once been a princess, had been raised not to entertain women of lower status. If she didn't know better, she would have believed that Lady Sophia's animosity was driving everyone to view her as an enemy due to her hostile behaviour.      

Several minutes later, Mr. Gilbert arrived at the entrance of the concubines' quarters, offering them a deep bow and informing them,      

"The merchants have arrived with the materials and fabrics. I have them waiting in the gallery."      

"Impeccable timing," Lady Noor murmured, seemingly seeking a way to distance herself from Lady Sophia's presence. She turned to Anastasia and proposed, "Shall we go and take a look at what the merchants have brought, Anna?"      

Anastasia nodded and stood up, followed by Lady Noor. As Emily prepared to stand, Lady Sophia interjected, "I have something to discuss with you, Emily."      

Anastasia and Lady Noor both offered a bow to Lady Sophia before departing the confines of the concubines' quarters. With Mr. Gilbert leading them, they made their way towards the gallery.      

"Do you have any preference regarding the colour or style of the gown you'd like for the coming celebration?" Lady Noor asked as they entered another corridor.      

"I must admit I haven't given it much thought," Anastasia replied, because her mind had been preoccupied with other matters beyond trivial concerns like clothing or jewels.      

Anastasia couldn't help but feel burdened with pressure following Dante's words spoken to her during their conversation in the bathing room. Not to mention, the disclosure about his past, where he revealed he had annihilated the family of the woman he once loved because of betrayal, had struck her right in the heart.      

Now that Dante was the King of Versailles, Anastasia hadn't seen much of him except for breakfast and dinner due to his busy schedule. However, this pattern wasn't any different from their past, when he used to be stationed at the soldiers' training base. Word had also reached her about his impending plans to conquer the nearby kingdoms.     

"Typically, tailors provide design booklets from which you can select or make additions according to your preference. Perhaps the seamstress will have some options readily available," Lady Noor reassured her, as if conveying that there was nothing to worry about, even though Anastasia wasn't feeling concerned.      

"I am sorry that Lady Sophia said those things to you back there," Anastasia apologised.      

"Don't be. I am used to her remarks," Lady Noor responded as they walked beside each other.     

Compared to the other older woman, Anastasia got along well with Lady Noor due to her pleasant demeanour. Unlike Lady Sophia, she didn't indirectly jab her with words. Lady Maya, on the other hand, had only joined them for meals and hadn't spent much time with them otherwise.      

Once they arrived at the gallery, the merchants swiftly proceeded to present a series of opulent fabrics, each more beautiful and softer in texture than the last.      

"Please consider this, milady. It's the latest arrival on the market and absolutely lovely to the touch," one of the merchants presented, his hand holding the gracefully flowing fabric.      

"Alternatively, you might like to try this one. Why not give it a try in front of the mirror, milady?" another merchant in the room suggested.      

Anastasia had never been surrounded by this level of attention before, and it was beginning to feel a little too overwhelming. Amidst it all, she heard Lady Noor advise her,      

"Don't hesitate, Anna. They are here to cater to your needs. Choose whatever you like."      

As Anastasia's fingers glided over the fabrics, she ultimately settled on a pastel yellow one and said, "I think I will go with this."     

"A wonderful choice, milady!" the merchant complimented her, and Anastasia could tell that the man would have responded the same way no matter what she picked.      

Lady Noor shifted the fabrics aside before selecting a more refined yellow option with a smoother texture. She suggested, "I believe you might find this one more to your liking than the previous one, Anna." She handed the fabric to Anastasia to examine it closely.      

"You are right. You are really good at this," Anastasia responded, and Lady Noor waved off the compliment.      

"It's merely the result of seeing many different fabrics during the time I have lived here," Lady Noor replied with a smile.      

As the merchants continued to pull out various fabrics meant for the inner skirt of the dress, Anastasia gently inquired, "If it isn't out of line for me to ask, were you also brought here as a slave?"      

Lady Noor appeared slightly surprised by Anastasia's question. She shook her head and replied, "No. I came here willingly."      

This response left Anastasia confused, and she said, "I don't understand."      

"King William and I met during his travels through my kingdom. He expressed his desire for me to become his woman, and that's how he brought me to Versailles," Lady Noor explained with a sigh.      

It seemed that each woman who had become King William's partner had a different story, with no two stories being alike. Lady Sophia had willingly married him as his wife. Lady Maya had been forcibly brought to Versailles as a slave, initially resisting before eventually accepting her fate. Lady Lucretia, on the other hand, seemed to embrace her fate without resistance. And Lady Noor was a different case entirely.      

Lady Noor had willingly agreed to be his concubine? Anastasia had never found King William charming; instead, she saw him as someone ruthless, making her wonder whether his power and status were what made him desirable to others.      

"Are you enjoying your position as Dante's concubine? I am sure you must be feeling relieved. After all, you didn't have to endure the hardships of being a courtesan," Lady Noor remarked while they shuffled through the fabrics before them.      

"Yes," Anastasia gave the only acceptable answer. "I am grateful that I didn't have to go through that."     

Lady Noor placed a consoling hand on Anastasia's back and said, "I can only imagine how daunting it could have been."     

Someone knocked on the door, and Lady Noor's maid entered. The maid offered a bow and conveyed, "Milady, Prince Victor is unwell and asking for you."     

Lady Noor acknowledged the news with a nod and addressed Anastasia, "Pardon me, Anna, but I must take my leave."     

"Would you like me to accompany you?" Anastasia asked, as they had finished going through the fabrics.      

"You don't have to trouble yourself with that; he will be resting, and I will be by his side," Lady Noor replied as she stood up from the couch. "I will see you later."      

Anastasia nodded, rising to her feet, and watched as the woman stepped out of the room with her maid. As Lady Noor walked away, Princess Niyasa stood at the end of the corridor, attentively watching the woman leave.      

"Milady, would you care to see the next fabric? It possesses qualities akin to silk and might appeal to you," the merchant addressed Anastasia. "How about this violet shade, milady?"      

"Which colour doesn't stand out?" Anastasia inquired, perplexing the two merchants as they wondered if she was jesting with the conversation.      

"I gather that the lady wishes to ensure no one else wears the same colour," one of the merchants said, nodding as if understanding Anastasia's intent.      

Anastasia offered a smile before responding, "You read my mind."      

Once Anastasia finished deciding what fabrics she liked for the gown and those for the inner skirt, she finally stepped out of the room. She stood in the corridor, prepared to either call for Theresa's company, or retreat to her room for a brief rest, given that it was only noon.      

However, before she could turn in the direction of her room, one of the guards appeared, standing at a respectable distance before announcing,      

"Lady Anastasia, King Dante has requested your presence in the west wing of the palace."     

Saying that, the guard bowed and proceeded to walk away.      

As Anastasia headed towards the west wing, she wondered whether Dante was enjoying his time in the inner garden. She also wondered what the Mother Queen was up to. Two days prior, like thieves, they had a short conversation when Dante had briefly left the palace.      

'How is your health, Anastasia?' That was the Mother Queen's first question to her. 'I wanted to talk to you, but it appears Dante's ears are attuned to wherever you are.'     

'I am doing okay now. But please, don't tell anyone what you saw,' Anastasia said with worry, as she didn't want the information to reach Dante.      

The Mother Queen parted her lips to say something but then closed them before saying, 'Yes, I think it would be best to keep something like that a secret.'     

'Has Dante spoken with you?' Anastasia asked the older woman, who responded with a grim nod.      

'Yes. He informed me that if I attempt to take you anywhere near the Blackthorn plant or cause you harm in any way, even by mistake, he will give my cat a good time in hell,' the Mother Queen grumbled, scowling at the thought.      

Upon reaching the west wing, Anastasia ventured deeper, arriving where the inner garden was located. She surveyed her surroundings, but Dante had not yet arrived. And as she waited in accordance with the guard's instruction, she finally heard footsteps approaching where she stood and turned to face the source of the sound, anticipating meeting red eyes. But instead, when she turned, she found herself locking her gaze with a pair of grey eyes instead.      

"Gabriel? What are you doing here?" Anastasia asked, her eyebrows knitting together.      

"Theresa said you wanted to meet me here," Gabriel replied, walking over and coming to stand before her.      

Anastasia's confusion deepened, and she shook her head, saying, "I never told Theresa such a thing." Why would Theresa tell him something like that? "I am here waiting for the king, who could arrive here at any moment. You should go from here," she urged him to leave.     

"If I am not mistaken, King Dante hasn't returned to the palace since his departure this morning. What's going on, Anastasia?" Gabriel questioned her, not understanding why she was lying.      

"Perhaps he only just returned," Anastasia replied, her concern evident as she continued, "I think something is not adding up here. You were told to meet me at the same time I arrived here."     

"Theresa probably mentioned it because I told her that I wanted to talk to you," Gabriel explained. Then, he inquired, "How are you doing, Anna? Whenever I speak to Theresa, she doesn't seem to know anything, and I haven't had the chance to speak with you."     

"There's a reason why I haven't spoken to you, Gabriel," Anastasia said as she looked behind him to ensure they were alone. "I should go. If there's anything to discuss, we'll do it through Theresa." She attempted to step aside, only to be blocked by the man, who regarded her with a serious expression on his face.     

"Has the king done something to you?" Gabriel questioned, staring right into her eyes. "Has he touched you?"     

At the same time, at the front of the palace, Dante had returned from his time outside. He ordered a servant, "Find out where Anastasia is."      

"Yes, Your Highness," the servant bowed and was about to depart when he heard the king change his mind, saying,      

"Actually, I will find her myself." Dante proceeded to enter the palace.      

Back in the west wing, Gabriel discerned Anastasia's expression, giving away the answer, and he confirmed, "He has touched you." His voice was angry, despite his lack of knowledge about what had actually transpired.      

"Your question is inappropriate, Gabriel, and it is something that doesn't concern you," Anastasia swiftly retorted. "I have told you before that things aren't the same, and I am now the king's woman—"     

"That is not what you wanted. Have you been coerced and threatened?" Gabriel questioned her with a deep frown. He continued, "I have made the necessary preparations to depart after the upcoming celebration that is to take place in a week's time. To go back to Hawkshead, where my family and yours await us."     

"I haven't been forced," Anastasia replied, observing the disappointment clouding Gabriel's face before he uttered,      

"You have developed feelings for him…"      

Anastasia felt her heart momentarily skip a beat at Gabriel's words because they rang true. Dante's touch or words didn't repulse her, and she willingly followed him. She took a brief pause before whispering, "I guess you could say that."     

"And what happens when he finds other women?" Gabriel asked out of concern.      

Dante and her relationship had initially begun as a means to help each other, a remedy for their respective wounds that eventually evolved into him saving her life. And with time, this dynamic shifted to what they were now. Undoubtedly, the man invoked a sense of fear within her, but it was hard to turn away when he exhibited his care for her, entangling her in a complex web that complicated their circumstances.      

Given the way Dante's mother had been treated and the events in his past, Anastasia didn't believe she had to worry about other women.     

'You are my rabbit that won't do anything wrong,' Dante's words echoed in Anastasia's mind.      

The dread of what he would do upon discovering her origin as a woman of the forest loomed over her like a dark cloud poised to unleash a lightning bolt of consequences upon her.     

"I don't want you to get hurt, Anna. If it were my sister in your place, I would have felt the same. You said Marianne was once in your position. What did you advise her back then?" Gabriel asked her.     

"I told her to escape with me…" Anastasia whispered, the memory of that fateful night when her sister met her demise etched vividly into her mind.      

"I lost my sister here, and you lost yours. I would be saddened if something happened to you, especially when it could have been prevented. And from what I've overheard from others… there's a merciless demon residing inside the king now," Gabriel softly said to her. "You must have seen it, haven't you?"     

Of course, she had. She was right there when a man erupted into nothing but a pool of blood.      

"It isn't as simple as others make it seem…" Anastasia replied, as this situation wasn't a matter of Dante being possessed.      

"I am only relaying what the servants are saying, and from what I know, another minister dropped dead on the floor yesterday," Gabriel said with a sigh. "However, if you have already made up your mind, then I won't force you. I can only advise you to give it some more thought, as there's still time, okay?"      

Anastasia gave him a nod and said, "Okay."      

But before they could leave, she was taken aback when Gabriel stepped towards her and wrapped his arms around her. He conveyed, "I have been worried about you since you were thrown into the sea and then turned into the king's concubine. If your answer doesn't change, consider this a goodbye."     

Anastasia felt panic welling up within her, and she quickly gave his back a reassuring pat before putting some distance between them. Urgently, she advised, "You should leave before someone sees you."      

It was then that she heard the unmistakable sound of shoes clicking against the marble floor, and Dante came into her view, his hollow eyes fixed upon them. He remarked, "What's the hurry?"