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99 Ready to Die

“Have you seen His Majesty around?” Anastasia asked Tilla the moment she entered her bedroom with a tray of food.

Tilla looked around the room and replied, “I thought he was here with you. That’s why I didn’t come here early to check up on you.”

Tilla set the tray aside on the table and sneered, “I thought he said that he would personally take care of you. But I guess he only meant that for yesterday.”

Anastasia giggled at how angry Tilla looked. “Relax, Tilla. Caspian was here with me for the whole night. He took care of me really well. He was here until Zenon came and said something about wer-wool. And he urgently ran off without telling me where he was going. So, I was asking if you knew where he was.”

“Ah! He earned a little bit of my respect then.” Tilla let out a sigh of relief. She then sat down at the edge of Anastasia’s bed and asked her, “By the way, what’s a wer-wool?”

Anastasia shrugged. She was going to ask the same to Tilla. However, since Tilla also had no idea what that thing was, Anastasia assumed, “Maybe some kind of fabric made out of human hair?”

Tilla looked at Anastasia’s hair and skeptically said, “I don’t think making a fabric out of human hair is possible.”

Anastasia gave an awkward laugh. “I thought so too. I don’t think some hair fabric would have been so important that Caspian would run off like that.”

She gave her hand and asked Tilla to help her up. She adjusted herself comfortably on the bed.


And Tilla held a bowl of rich beef soup to feed it to the Queen.

Anastasia didn’t like the taste of it since everything was bitter on her tongue. But she still drank it. She wanted to recover sooner.

While feeding Anastasia, Tilla suddenly spilled the soup because she got startled when she heard a loud scream coming from downstairs.

“I’m so sorry!” Tilla hurriedly took out a kerchief from her pocket and wiped the spilled soup from Anastasia’s chin and chest.

“What sound was that?” Anastasia gazed at her open bedroom door and asked.

Tilla cursed herself for forgetting to close the door of the Queen’s bedroom as well as the main door of the antechamber. ‘How could I forget to close the door when I had been hearing the scream all morning?’

She tried to brush it off though. “I think someone tripped or something. Don’t worry about them. You should worry about yourself.”

Tilla got up and rushed to close the doors. However, before she could do that, they both heard the blood-curdling scream again.

“No, I don’t think that’s the sound someone makes when they trip. Something is happening in the castle, isn’t it?” Anastasia was now sure that her husband had something to do with those screams. “Answer me truthfully, Tilla. What’s going on here?”

“Arghhhh!” Ruby’s scream resounded throughout the dungeon and the castle for the umpteenth time. She cried and asked while in pain, “I already... already told you everything I remember, Your Majesty. Why... why are you doing this to me?”

Caspian was digging his claws into Ruby’s chest again.

He glared at her and growled, “Are you sure that’s all you remember? That you were bitten by a huge wolf and not a dog? Tell me more! Tell me more about that wolf. Why did it bite you? Did you beg it to do it? Who is that wolf? And where did it come from?”

“I...” Ruby’s voice was now inaudible from screaming a lot. She tried to gulp and moisten her throat. But her mouth was dry as well. And she went into a coughing fit and couldn’t speak a word.

“Bring her some water!” Caspian shouted and pulled his hand out of her chest.

Within half a minute, a vampire guard stood behind the King with a glass of water in his hand. “Your Majesty,” he looked at the King.

And Caspian snapped, “What are you waiting for? The full moon? Make her drink it!”

The guard bowed and did as he was told.

Ruby gladly gulped down the water in one breath. For a second, she forgot about the holes on the left side of her chest. They were starting to heal the moment Caspian pulled his fingers out of her chest.

“Now speak!” Caspian shouted the moment Ruby chugged all the water.

Ruby looked at the King and pleadingly said, “Your Majesty, I would never ask anyone to bite me. I didn’t even know shape-shifting was possible until today. So, I don’t know who that wolf was. All I saw was a huge black shadow leaping at me. And it left the moment it bit me and dragged me for a while. I never saw it when it was a human.”

“And if I knew I would turn into this monster...” Ruby’s tears rolled down her cheeks and she felt a lump in her throat when she whispered, “I wouldn’t even have gone to the woods that day.”

“Then why did you go there? Your home is on the other corner of the town, isn’t it?” Caspian was now asking anything and everything to get any hint about this other werewolf.

Ruby lowered her head. She closed her eyes tightly when she remembered something.

“I went there because...” She kept on lowering her head and whispered, “...because I wanted to pick some wild mushrooms to sell in our store. I didn’t know my life would turn upside down like this when I went to the woods that day.”

Slowly the pieces of memories that she had suppressed in her mind were returning back to her.

She recalled how she had run into the woods after hearing the direful screams of a man. He sounded like he was dying. And Ruby simply wanted to help.

However, when she reached to where the sound was coming from, she encountered that wolf instead of a man.

Now, Ruby could guess what might have happened that night.

But she didn’t tell those things to Caspian.

For some reason, she wanted to protect that man. She wanted to protect that angelic man who had talked with her nicely. She couldn’t even think of betraying him even when she had guessed that she was tied up in the dungeon because of him.

Ruby had already guessed that that man was the one who had bitten her and somehow turned her into the thing she was now.

Even though she was in this hell because of what he did to her, she didn’t want the same thing to happen to him. She didn’t want the vampires to get an air of him. She wanted to keep these vampires as far away from him as possible.

If she had to give up on her life for that to happen, then she was even ready to die.

And Caspian was ready to kill if that was the last thing he needed to do to squeeze out the information from Ruby.

From the way Ruby was lowering her head, Caspian suspected that she was doing that to hide the true emotions that were showing on her face.

So he grabbed her by her chin and made her look at him. And he asked furiously, “Why do I sense lies? Are you trying to protect someone?”

Ruby’s heart jumped inside her chest when Caspian rightly guessed. And her eyes widened just a little.

Caspian instantly knew that he had caught the right rope. He protruded his fangs and glared at Ruby with his predatory eyes.

And he snarled at her, “Tell me who you’re trying to protect? Now!”

But Ruby pressed her lips together tightly as if she was now completely refusing to talk.

Blinded by his rage, Caspian was ready to dig his fangs into Ruby’s neck and tear her head off.


Caspian suddenly heard his wife’s scared voice from behind him.

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