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110 Reading the Letter

“How are you feeling now? A little better than yesterday?” Caspian asked Anastasia when she opened her eyes.

Anastasia rubbed her eyes and pushed her hair back. She covered her mouth with her palms and yawned. And she replied while wiping the tears from the corners of her eyes, “I’ve been sleeping nonstop for four days now. My back feels so sore.”

“Do you want to walk around in the room for a while then?” Caspian gently put his arms below Anastasia’s head and waist and helped her to sit up.

Anastasia nodded. “Yes, I think that will be great.”

Caspian helped Anastasia to get down from her bed. He wrapped Anastasia’s arm on his own. And he slowly walked alongside his wife.

Anastasia’s arm wasn’t burning Caspian’s body anymore. That gave a little relief to Caspian’s heart.

She was still feeling weak though her fever had settled down by now. Even taking a few steps around the room was difficult for her. But she was determined to get better soon. So she kept on moving her feet without complaining.

“Are you sure you are okay? Do you want to rest now?” Caspian looked at his wife and asked when he heard Anastasia’s breathing getting heavier.

Anastasia rested her head on Caspian’s shoulder. And she whispered, “No. If I keep on sleeping then I will take even more time to recover. So, I need to at least walk a few more steps. I will sit down after five more minutes.”


Caspian was worried. But he believed his wife knew what worked better for her. “Okay, if you say so. But let me know if it gets too difficult for you.”

“Okay.” Anastasia shifted her hand from Caspian’s forearm to hold his bicep. She took a deep breath in and continued walking around the bedroom.

When they reached in front of the window, she stopped to look out the window. The morning sunlight paired with a cool soft breeze was making the surroundings look refreshing. The once spooky gate looked beautiful to her now. And the swooshing blur that she saw every now and then also looked very normal to her.

Caspian was looking at his wife’s face for a while now. He noticed how the corners of her lips curved up slightly.

So he asked, “What made my wife smile like that?”

Anastasia was caught off-guard. She took a quick peek at Caspian and looked away to smile shyly. She inhaled the fresh air and answered, “I really love it here. Everything is so beautiful.”

Caspian leaned to the side to directly look at his wife’s face. “Including me?” he asked with a whimsical grin on his face.

Anastasia smiled ear to ear and nodded. “Yes, including you,” she said in a soft whisper.

Caspian stared at his wife’s face for a while. He noticed that her cheeks had soft rosy color on them. And her face wasn’t looking pale anymore.

“Why are you staring?” Anastasia laughed because her husband seemed lost.

Caspian leaned forward and gave a soft kiss on her forehead. “You are starting to look healthier,” he replied. “And I am happy to see you getting better.”

Anastasia’s cheerful smile suddenly turned melancholic.

And she thought to herself, ‘I should tell him. Now. I cannot keep on lying to him forever.’

She took a deep breath in and looked at her husband with determination. She wanted to let out the secret that she was terminally ill. She was hurting every time her husband would display his affections toward her.

Thus, she forced herself to speak, “Caspian, I...” She took a deep breath in and said again, “I am unwell.”

“Yes, no doubt in that.” Caspian, however, thought that she was talking about her current illness. “I was just saying that you look healthier than yesterday. I bet you will be back to your normal health in no time now.”

He then took her hand and kissed the back of her palm.

“No...” Anastasia looked at Caspian with a distraught look on her face. It took a lot of courage and days of mental preparation for her to finally reveal what she had been hiding but unfortunately, Caspian misunderstood her. “That’s not what I meant to say.”

Caspian knitted his brows in confusion and asked, “Then what did you mean by that?” He wondered why his wife’s heart was racing all of a sudden.

Anastasia fanned her face with her palm and tried to say it more clearly this time, “I meant to say that...” She looked at Caspian’s curious expression one more time before saying, “I don’t have enough ti-”

“Your Majesty.”

Again, Anastasia’s confession was interrupted by someone.

Caspian looked at the door and said, “I will be right back. Let’s continue our conversation shortly.”

Anastasia sighed and gave a nod.

After a brief moment, Caspian returned and stood in front of Anastasia with a letter in his hand. He handed the letter to her saying, “You’ve got a letter from your brother.”

“A letter from my brother?” Anastasia’s face beamed all of a sudden.

She instantly tore the envelope and took the letter out. And she went through the contents of the letter but she stopped when she felt her head spinning all of a sudden.

Caspian held his wife’s wrist when she suddenly tilted towards the window. And he asked with worry, “What happened? Do you want to go back to your bed?”

“Yes, please,” Anastasia closed her eyes and replied.

Caspian swiftly carried her in his arms. He took her to the bed and gently placed her down. He then stacked the pillows behind her back so that she could sit down comfortably.

Anastasia thanked her husband and then handed the letter to him. “Will you read it for me?”

“Sure,” Caspian took the letter.

And he began to read it for his wife.

“Dear Anna,

I hope this letter finds you in good health. I’m also doing fine here in Lavinya.

I am really sorry that I took this long to draft a letter for you. I tried writing a letter to you earlier. But I couldn’t bring myself to write even a paragraph. I was really upset when I found out that our parents sent you off without letting me see you first.

I was thinking of coming to visit you in Sorvando. But I cannot take a leave since I will be graduating soon.

But I promise that I will come and meet you as soon as I finish my studies. I will come to Sorvando before heading to Orsenia.”

Caspian glanced at his wife and said, “Ah! I guess I will have to prepare to welcome your brother here. When is he completing his studies?”

“Um... I think in about two months,” Anastasia replied.

Caspian nodded. “Okay, I will make sure to treat your brother well. And I will also make sure to increase the security for him.”

Anastasia could only look at her husband with eyes full of appreciation.

He then continued to read the letter, “You better greet me with your head held high when I see you. And I hope the weight of the crown isn’t too heavy on your head, both literally and figuratively. Now the serious talk, dear sis-”

He cleared his throat and made some correction of his own, “Now the serious talk, Alexander’s dear sister. How are you? How is your health?”

Anastasia giggled when she heard his correction.

Caspian raised his eyes from the letter and asked Anastasia with a smile on his face, “And how is your husband? Is he treating you well?”

Anastasia smiled and replied, “Yes, he is treating me like his Queen.”

Caspian smiled back and focused on the letter again. He raised his brows and read while chuckling, “I hope I don’t need to rally an army to Sorvando and rescue you from there. But I am ready to do that if needed.”

Caspian looked at Anastasia and asked her, “My reputation is very bad outside of Sorvando, isn’t it?”

Anastasia smiled and nodded her head truthfully. But she quickly added, “But I am sure my brother was simply trying to tease me. He always loves to do that.”

Caspian gave a soft smile and said in a bit sad tone, “Yes, I bet. That’s how siblings express their love for each other.”

He then quickly completed reading the letter, “Please write to me and let me know how you are doing. Take good care of yourself. And I really hope that you are getting along with your husband. I hope he will fall in love with you, if he hasn’t already. And I really hope that I will get to play with my nieces and nephews someday in the future. From your loving brother, Alex.”

Anastasia’s heart skipped a beat upon hearing that last paragraph of the letter. She knew what her brother really meant to say to her.

Caspian, on the other hand, was really impressed by Alexander. He looked at his wife and said with a huge smile on his face, “I really like your brother. I am looking forward to meeting him.”

He leaned close to her to steal a kiss from her lips. And he softly whispered in her ear, “And I am also looking forward to fulfilling your brother’s wish.”

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