Tainted Saint, Chapter Thirty-FourMature

Cassandra was feeling better by the next morning. Not perfect, but well enough that she wouldn't have any excuse to lie in bed any longer. Yes, she was still running a fever, but Hadrian would want her to return to her own apartment.

Stumbling out of bed, Cassandra turned to look at her reflection in Hadrian's pathetic excuse for a mirror. She looked awful. Her hair was stringy and tangled; her eyes were sunken in and hopeless. Even her skin was gaunt. How could she have gotten so ill within only a few days? It's not just illness of the body, Cassandra. It's illness of the soul, and you know it. You know it.

Heart physically hurting from the pain it carried, Cassandra placed her hands on her hips and turned to look at her figure sideways. Was it just her, or had she lost just a bit of weight? She recalled that her eating habits hadn't been as regular as of late. The awfulness of her situation had finally begun to eat away at her appetite.

If I lose too much weight, my figure won't be as pleasing as it once was, Cassandra reminded herself. I've got to eat, even if I'm not hungry. I can't let this bad mood get to me. I'll be fine.

Still wearing the lavender dress she'd worn to the anniversary celebration, Cassandra threw out one last look at herself. No wonder Hadrian was so displeased with her. Would her appearance ever recover from her inner pain?

Cassandra sneaked a piece of bread out of Hadrian's food supply before making her way out of Hadrian's tenement and to the building where her own apartment was. What she hadn't expected was to see Lizzie immediately upon her arrival.

As soon as she'd opened the door and entered her apartment, Cassandra's eyes flickered across the room to where Lizzie was sitting and nervously wringing her hands.

"Cassandra!" Lizzie exclaimed, jumping up from her chair. "Cassandra, Hadrian said he'd be sending you home today, and so I got here to wait for you, and then I suppose I fell asleep waiting for you, and now I look like I'm snooping around in your apartment, but I just have to tell you something!" the poor woman gushed, her voice practically reeking of nerves.

Cassandra, wholly unprepared for Lizzie's outburst, tried to get a word in edgewise, but it was no use.

"The King is here, and he's looking for you, Cass!"

It didn't help matters that Cassandra was already sick. It took only one moment for Lizzie's words to register, and then, Cassandra doubled over and threw up. The next thing she knew was that Lizzie was bending over her with a concerned look on her face. After that, things were blurry, and then they were dark, and then Cassandra was completely out.

The End

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