Tainted Saint, Chapter SeventeenMature

"You do realize that the anniversary celebration is in three days," Xandria said, breaking through Amadeo's thoughts.

The day had been filled with audiences. Exhausting as they were, Amadeo considered it a privilege to listen to his subjects' dilemmas and disputes and offer solutions. But the last audience had been rather distressing. Two men had come with a disagreement concerning land, but instead of listening to Amadeo's advice, they had left, more confused than before.

Startled by Xandria's words, Amadeo raised his eyebrows and turned to Xandria, one of the oldest members of his court. "What's that?" he asked, trying to collect his thoughts.

"Marcos' and Gabelle's anniversary celebration," Xandria said, worry creasing her brow. "Your Highness, you're not thinking about that girl again, are you?"

Chuckling nervously, Amadeo glanced away.

"She's eating up your mind, my Liege. She's all you can think about anymore. It's time you start looking elsewhere for a wife. If she won't have you, then don't you think you ought to move on?" Xandria gently asked, meeting the King's eyes.

Amadeo shook his head. "I'll be fine," he said, leaning forward and massaging his temples. "I'll be fine," he repeated, though his mind had never once forgotten the woman who had so completely captured his attention. He sighed. "You're right. The anniversary." And I still haven't found a woman to accompany me.

Biting her lip, Xandria appeared to be working hard at holding her tongue. Finally, she continued her previous opinion. "And, Your Highness, what would the kingdom think if you married...someone like her?"

"Xandria," Amadeo said, tone filled with warning. "I'd rather not talk about this."

Xandria remained silent.

"No matter where I turn, people are telling me that I ought to forget about the woman. But how can I forget about her? I've never felt so compelled to anyone before in my life." Amadeo stood. "I'm going for a walk."

Xandria stood, eyes dancing with worry. "Your Highness, please," she started.

"Give me a moment," Amadeo replied. With heavy steps, he left the throneroom, heart pained more and more with every beat. Am I the only one who sees the girl for who she truly is?

The End

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