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22 Paranoid

Anastasia didn’t have much appetite even though the breakfast looked delicious. She rested her chin on her hand and played with the teacup for a while.

‘Maybe I should have asked the maids to prepare the bath first. Maybe then I would have had some appetite.’

“Oh, I have such a big appetite today!” Down in the punishment room, Caspian was now sitting on a chair while holding a glass of blood.

He was gleefully watching Bart as his blood was being drained from his body. And because of the lack of blood, Bart’s body was slowly turning into ash-grey color. His young-looking skin from before was now all wrinkled.

Caspian swirled the glass and inhaled the sweet aroma of human blood. He took a sip and moaned, “Mmm... blood never tasted this good.”

He licked his lips and went and stood in front of Bart. He made Bart smell the aroma and taunted him while making his lips touch the rim of the glass, “Do you want a sip or two to heal your wounds, old man?”

Bart was instinctively attracted by the smell and he tried to drink the blood. But Caspian dropped the glass and spoke playfully, “Oops! It slipped from my hand.”

Caspian smiled and went to sit on the chair again. And he ordered Zenon who was standing behind him, “Zenon, why don’t you break all the breakable bones in him and put him in the box?”


“What? No, no, no! Please don’t break my bones,” Bart struggled to whisper and plead. Breaking bones when he was already drained out of blood would mean that he wouldn’t have sufficient energy left for healing. And he would rot in anguish till eternity.

Back in Anastasia’s room, she took a sip of her tea and was subconsciously conversing with herself, ‘I haven’t even changed out of my yesterday’s dirty gown yet... but why does it feel so comfortable as if I’m not wearing...’ she looked down at her chest and widened her eyes in horror and screamed, “ bodice!”

She clasped her mouth with her palm and then hurriedly got out of her bed to check herself in the mirror. She ran in front of the dressing table and panicked, “Oh god! Was I looking like this the whole time?”

Anastasia was covered in nothing but the sheer linen chemise on her upper body. To her relief, she was still wearing her under petticoat on her lower body which was layered enough to protect her dignity. ‘But my upper body!’ she screamed in her mind again.

‘Who took off my stomacher and my bodice? I’m almost naked! And I was talking with Caspian in this state!’

She reflected and tried to remember if she was covering her body with a blanket or not. ‘But I think I was covering myself with the blanket the whole time... no... only my lower half was covered with the blanket!’

‘And he was ki-kissing my all over my neck! He saw me, didn’t he?’ Anastasia glanced at her reflection in the mirror and covered her chest with her hands. She furrowed her brows and bit her lower lip so hard that she almost cut herself.

She restlessly began pacing back and forth in the room again while overthinking everything. ‘Wait... who undid my clothes? I hope it was either Martha or Holly.’ She pushed her dark ginger hair away from her face and let out an exasperated whisper, ‘I will die of shame if it was Caspian.’

Anastasia chuckled nervously and waved off her hand, ‘No way! Why would he take off my clothes when there are plenty maids here. I’m just being paranoid.’

Her expression turned pale again. ‘But he was the one who sat by my bedside the whole night. What if he saw me sweating and took off my bodice? And what if he...’

She inhaled sharply all of a sudden and uttered under her breath, “Okay, that’s it. I’m asking the maids.” She then glanced towards the door and shouted, “Martha! Holly! Can you hear me?”

Martha came running to the room in no time and bowed, “Your Majesty, you called me?”

“Yes. Martha, will you tell me who undid my clothes?” Anastasia asked in a single breath.

Martha lowered her head and replied a bit apologetically, “His Majesty asked me and Holly to help you out of your gown. We wanted to change you into your bedgown but since you were unconscious, the task became almost impossible. So we just made sure that you were in breathable clothes.”

She deeply bowed to the Queen and apologized thinking she had angered the Queen, “We are sorry if we offended you, Your Majesty.”

Anastasia let out a huge sigh of relief upon hearing that. And she waved her hand, “No, why would I be offended? Since my handmaid is... sick, I was just curious to know who helped me. That’s all.”

Martha softly smiled and asked, “Your Majesty, shall we prepare the bath for you? I think you’re already done with your breakfast by now.”

She turned to look at the table only to find that the breakfast was untouched.

She looked concerned and asked Anastasia, “Your Majesty, was the food not to your liking? If that’s the case then you could have ordered us to bring something else. We would have gladly prepared it for you. Is there anything specific that you would like to eat?”

Anastasia felt bad when the maid looked somewhat anxious after seeing her plate full of food. So she gave a wide smile and denied that. “No, you don’t have to prepare something else. I was about to eat. The tea was a little hot earlier. Now it must be just the right temperature for me.”

Anastasia trotted towards her bed and then sat down in front of the table, “I will eat it now.” She took a bite of her toast and gave another order instead, “Martha, why don’t you prepare the bath? I will finish eating by then.”

“Of course, Your Majesty,” Martha rushed out of the room in an instant while feeling glad that the Queen was eating.

Anastasia closed her eyes and forcefully chewed the food, not because they tasted that bad, but because she didn’t want to eat, and having to eat became more like a punishment for her.

In the punishment room, Zenon and a few others nailed the coffin with Bart inside. And they took the coffin to the cemetery where all the other criminals from Caspian’s brother’s time were buried half-alive.

After enjoying the torture show, Caspian headed towards Anastasia’s room to escort her to her handmaid’s room. He reached out his hand to push the door open and that was when he saw his hands and clothes covered in blood.

‘Bloody hell... she will faint if she sees me like this,’ he thought to himself and went to take a bath first.

After some time, Holly and Martha went inside Anastasia’s room with buckets of warm water in order to prepare the bath. And after emptying the plate, Anastasia went to her bathroom and let the maids help her wash up.

Mid bath, Anastasia asked for the loofah and scrubbed the knuckles where that criminal had kissed her.

‘I have to get rid of that filth...’ Anastasia was gritting her teeth and was rubbing her knuckles with great force, so much so that Holly stopped the Queen and stole the loofah from her hand.

Holly was afraid that the Queen would end up hurting her skin. “Your Majesty, you should get out of the water now. Else you could catch a cold.”

Anastasia finally came out of her hate-filled daze after hearing Holly mention the cold. There was a high chance of her catching a cold if she kept on staying in the water for too long. So she instantly let the maid finish up and dress her up.

Anastasia chose a simple light blue gown made out of silk to wear for the day.

The maids also helped Anastasia with her hair. After her hair dried, the maids puffed and pinned the front section of her hair. While the back section was barrel curled and pinned to form a beautiful and elaborate bun.

Anastasia was quite impressed with that new kind of hairstyle. “This is the first time I am wearing this hairstyle. And I like it so much. Thank you!”

The maids were flattered by the Queen’s appreciation.

They would have probably spent some more time with their new Queen but they bowed and ran out of the room when they saw their King.

Caspian stood behind Anastasia and stared at her reflection. Anastasia glanced at his reflection and gave a soft smile to him.

Even without any makeup on and even without the extravagant gown, Anastasia’s beauty was too much for him to handle.

And he praised her in his deep whisper, “You look... breathtaking.”

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