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The Queen Mounts Her Throne

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Anastasia mounted her throne. To the left side of the Red King, of course. She was bedecked in her finest jewels and velvets. Petition day was the one day a month she was allowed to be seen by the peasants en masse, and she had to be sure to let them all know who they were dealing with.

As she seated herself, the Red King lifted her gloved hand and kissed her fingers. "There you are, dear." Dear, my ass, Anastasia thought as she smiled vapidly at her husband. You have a different whore every night. "I had worried that you might not be joining us today," he finished.

Turning her smile on brighter, Anastasia simply gave him a coy look. "Oh, darling, you know a true woman takes time to put herself together." Unlike whoever was in your bed chamber last night. Or the night before. Or the night before.

The Red King patted her hand and smiled. He seemed genuinely fond of her, but in a way that would have better suited a Golden Retriever or a rare kitten from a far away land. They had only consummated their marriage on their wedding night, and that had been strictly for legality's sake, she was sure of it. Anastasia didn't think he was attracted to her in any way, shape, or form, and although she wasn't attracted to him at all, either, it still stung to know her husband was fucking half of the Wonderland aristocracy behind her back.

But what was worse was that he also treated her the way one would treat an especially beloved pet. He spoke gently, yet somewhat condescendingly, to her. As if he knew he was far superior to her and knew best in all things. As she settled herself and smoothed down her skirt, the King spoke again.

"Now, Anastasia, let's make sure we don't have another Petition Day like we had last month."

She looked over at him, her blue-green eyes clear, her face giving nothing away. She knew what that meant. Keep your mouth shut. Sit still, look pretty. Certainly, never, ever disagree with me. She kept her face schooled as thoughts roiled in her head. You will be dead soon, old man. If not from natural causes, from some sort of venereal disease. And I will be left alone to rule this castle. And I will do it ten- no, one hundred- times better than you do!

Even as the thoughts kept coming, Anastasia began to smile sweetly at her husband. "Of course not, darling."

The King nodded. "Good. Glad that's settled. You know, my dear, you really can come off very intimidating."

Anastasia blushed and gave a little laugh. "Me? Really?"

You have no idea, old man. And when you're dead, Wonderland will be mine.