Tainted Saint, Chapter Twenty-EightMature

Cassandra.

The name ricocheted off the walls of Amadeo's mind as he bade the last of the guests goodbye. Ever since Cassandra had run from the castle, Amadeo had been unable to think of anything else but his concern for her. This concern had become so immense that Amadeo could hardly concentrate on the dancing or the talking or even the eating. Everything had been one large blur of worry.

And Amadeo wasn't typically the worrying kind.

Sighing, Amadeo watched the last carriage pass through the castle gates. When the carriage faded from his eyesight, he turned to find Xandria watching him.

"She's on your mind again, isn't she?" the King's old adviser asked, her voice sympathetic.

There was no need to answer. Amadeo gave Xandria a long look before nodding and averting his eyes. "I know I wasn't much company at the celebration tonight," he admitted. "I just...I can't get past those eyes." He stopped speaking, for fear that his voice would begin to tremble again.

Xandria watched Amadeo for a long time, brows furrowed in concern. Finally, she nodded. "I saw something in her eyes, too," she confessed. "I don't think you're so crazy anymore."

"I just wish everyone would see what I see in her."

"Perhaps they will, someday," Xandria said cryptically. She ran a hand through her silvery-grey hair. "Remember - people didn't know what you saw in Gabelle when you offered her a position in your court. Now, Marcos is married to her. People change. Perhaps someday, Cassandra will, as well." She stepped forward and gave Amadeo's forehead a motherly kiss. "Sleep well, Amadeo," she said, then turned and walked away.

Amadeo watched Xandria disappear down the hallway, wishing with every fiber in his being that Xandria's prediction could come true.

The End

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