Tainted Saint, Chapter Thirty-SevenMature

I will find you, Cassandra.

Wasting not even a moment, Amadeo turned to those who had accompanied him. "I'm going to find her," he said, his tone allowing no argument. "Feel free to come with me, but I'm going, even if you decide to stay back."

Clearly confused as to why Amadeo would pursue someone he hardly knew, the guards looked at one another, nervous.

It took Amadeo only a few moments to retrieve several golden coins, just in case he needed to buy something for himself to eat...and just in case Cassandra was in need of anything. Glancing about the room in which he had stayed the night before, he nodded to himself. This is right. I'm doing the right thing.

The day was a cooler one than usual, for which the King was very thankful. But even if the weather had been unbearable, it wouldn't have stopped him. He was going to find Cassandra, even if it took more time than most others would have been willing to give. I will find you, Cassandra. I will find you, because I care about you. Deeply.

If Amadeo's hunch was correct, Cassandra was probably in the worst part of Nicu. Dodging mud thrown at him by filthy children, Amadeo stopped here and there to stoop and give coins to the beggars, inviting them to the palace. The sad truth was, few beggars ever took Amadeo up on his invitation. They think they're content, living where they are.

The walk to downtown Nicu was not a long one, and Amadeo instantly knew he was in the right section of town when he began to spot a dramatic increase in taverns and women for hire. Aware of the fact that many were scorning him as he passed, Amadeo tried to meet his subjects' eyes. But it was all to no avail; they were determined not to peer into the face of Truth.

At last, Amadeo's eyes rested on someone who could lead him to Cassandra. It was the blonde prostitute - Lizzie. She was standing outside the apartment building, laughing and talking to a potential customer. Yet even Amadeo could see her smile was fake.

"Excuse me," the King said, stepping in Lizzie's direction. "May I ask you something?"

Lizzie's eyes widened, and she crossed her arms. "You're not getting anything out of me," she hissed. "Go ahead and ask, but I'll tell you nothing!" And she seemed resolved, too.

It was then that the entrance to the tenement building opened with a creak. Out stepped the very woman for whom Amadeo was searching. Amadeo's heart rose to unspeakable heights when he saw her. There she was! There she was!

But his heart sank with her words. "I know you're looking for me, but I'd like to ask you to leave. Please."

The End

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