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11 Enemy Territory

Though Caspian had already made it clear to Anastasia that they would be meeting at the ball, he couldn’t help but keep on thinking about Anastasia the whole day. And before he knew it, he found himself in her bedroom.

Anastasia was so deep in her sleep that she didn’t even realize that someone was in her room and was watching her.

Caspian gazed at the serene face of the Princess. She looked even more innocent in her sleep. Her ginger hair was still wet, making it look even more beautiful. And her smell... she smelled like fresh lavender.

Caspian was already enchanted by this innocent woman who forcefully came into his life.

A soft smile appeared on his lips as he thought, ‘From the level of eagerness that she had shown earlier, I had thought that she would already be working on enhancing her looks to try and get my attention tonight. Not saying that she doesn’t already have my attention... but look at her sleeping like a baby!’

He let out a soft chuckle and dragged himself out of the room. He still had a lot of preparations to do for the night.

Tilla walked back to the Princess’ room after taking a bath. She was carrying her fine gown with her so that she could change into it after preparing the Princess.

She thought as she clutched her gown, ‘As I am the only one to attend the ball from the Princess’ side, I don’t want to bring disgrace to her by dressing sloppily... that also on the day of her wedding celebration.’

The Princess was still asleep when she reached her room. There was still a few hours left before it was dusk so she let the Princess get some more sleep.


In the meantime, she worked on her own hair and even did some makeup. Without even changing into her fine gown, she already looked like a noble lady from a higher class family.

The much-awaited dusk finally arrived. Tilla walked over to the bed and gently nudged the Princess, “Your Highness, it’s time for you to get ready.”

“Hmm... it’s morning already?” Anastasia asked in her half-asleep state.

Tilla smiled and politely replied, “It is evening, Princess. And you have to get ready for your wedding ball.”

Anastasia gasped and flung her eyes wide open. She instantly sat up on her bed as if she had completely forgotten that she was no longer in Orsenia.

She looked around in her new room and scoffed, “I wasn’t dreaming, was I?”

Tilla gave a wistful smile and shook her head.

Suddenly, Anastasia raised her brows as she noticed that Tilla had already groomed herself up. “Oh, look at you. You look so beautiful.”

Tilla shyly smiled and humbly replied, “You are just flattering me, Princess,” She then went and grabbed a gown that the Queen of Orsenia had specially prepared for the wedding day. “Princess, allow me to prepare you for the ball.”

“Sure,” Anastasia got out of her bed to let Tilla help her out with her gown as well as her hair and makeup.

After a few hours, they heard a knock on the door followed by a familiar voice, “Your Highness, I hope you are ready for the ball. I am here to escort you.”

“Yes, we are ready. Give us a moment,” Anastasia shouted from inside the room, though it was not really necessary considering the sharp hearing of the vampires.

Tilla stood in front of the Princess for one final look. She glanced at her masterpiece from head to toe and gave a satisfied nod.

“You are ready, Princess. Though I would have preferred to make you stand out less in the ball, I bet the vampires will smell you out anyway. So I took the liberty to make you look your best. After all, this is one of the big days of your life.”

Anastasia gave a thankful smile to her friend. But it didn’t take long for that smile to wither away and be replaced by anxiety.

She held Tilla’s hand and reminded her again, “You have to stay by my side throughout the ball, okay? There is no doubt that the guests will all be vampires. So you can’t walk around alone.”

“I have no intention of leaving your side, Princess.” Tilla let out a ragged breath and gulped.

The two of them then walked out of the room to find Zenon waiting by the door. He was also dressed very grandly for the occasion.

He bowed to the Princess and said with his cheerful smile, “Follow me, Your Highness.”

Tilla offered her arm for the Princess to hold and the two of them followed the Royal Advisor.

It was already dark outside but unlike yesterday, each and every corner of the Palace were well lit. Anastasia looked around in awe because the ghastly castle looked beautiful because of the lights.

After exiting the part of the castle her room was in, Anastasia saw a few vampires walking around in their fancy clothes. ‘They are most probably the guests,’ she thought as she quickly ran her eyes around.

Every once in a while, the girls would feel a gust of wind whooshing past them. They didn’t think much of it. They just thought that the weather was a bit windy today.

After walking for a while, Anastasia could hear soft music coming off from a hall a little further ahead. And the closer they reached that hall, the louder the music as well as the sound of laughter and talks.

Zenon elegantly stopped in front of the grand door of the ballroom. He gave a gentle bow to the Princess and gestured inside the hall, “Your Highness, we have arrived at the ball. His Majesty will join you shortly.”

“Thank you, Zenon!” Anastasia gave a polite nod.

Both Anastasia and Tilla took a deep breath in before they courageously stepped inside the ballroom full of vampire nobles.

And the moment they entered the hall, everyone went quiet, even the music. It was as if everyone and everything were frozen in time. Everyone’s judgmental eyes were fixated on them, sending chill shivers down their spine.

The ladies felt as though they had just entered the enemy territory.

Thankfully, that awkwardness lasted for a few seconds only and everyone resumed what they were doing. But those few seconds must have been the longest seconds in Anastasia’s life.

“Let’s wait over there,” Anastasia pointed at one empty corner of the ballroom and quickly pulled Tilla along with her.

They stood there while cluelessly looking at the vampires who had gathered for the celebration.

Anastasia’s heartbeat was increasing steadily even though the vampires were behaving no differently than the humans. Everyone was enjoying themselves. Some were dancing to the music, some were happily talking with each other while holding a glass of red wine each.

‘Red wine...’ Anastasia’s heartbeat leaped the boundary at once.

‘That’s no red wine! That’s blood!’ the Princess widened her eyes and screamed in her mind.

‘Well, at least the castle doesn’t look like an abandoned haunted house anymore...’ she tightened her grip on Tilla’s arm and screamed again, ‘it looks like a haunted house full of ghosts!’

Anastasia turned her glance at Tilla. She looked nervous but it didn’t seem like she had figured out what they were holding in their hands yet. If she had then she would have already pulled the Princess back to her room.

And as though two of the ladies sensed Anastasia’s fear, they gave a menacing glare to her and inched closer in her direction.

Anastasia panicked thinking that they were Caspian’s mistresses and they were out for her blood. ‘Oh no! What should I do? Should I run? Should I pretend not to notice them? Should I play dead?’

To her relief, she noticed Caspian entering the ballroom. And ironically enough, she felt safer in his presence.𝘪𝐧𝓷𝘳e𝑎d. 𝒸𝒐𝑚

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