Tainted Saint, Chapter Forty-EightMature

"So, what are we going to do?"

Cassandra's reverie of thoughts was shattered by Moriss' question. "What do you mean?" she asked quietly, though she perfectly well knew what he meant.

"Are we going to keep on living like this?"

Hesitating, Cassandra fought for words. Finally, she offered anticlimactically, "I think you ought to return to the castle."

Morris' eyebrows drew together in a pensive frown. "And why's that?"

"Perhaps you were born into a world where darkness and sin prevail, but I think you were made for something better. Something...more beautiful. The fact that your heart yearns for more than this life of depravation proves that you weren't meant to spend your life in this hellhole."

"If I was made for something more, Cassandra, then why do I keep running back to the things I hate?" Morris burst out angrily, though Cassandra understood that the anger was not directed at her. "If I was made for something better, then why am I this way?" He swore and shook his head. "I think you're wrong. This is the best we can do."

"Everyone's heart is slanted for evil," Cassandra whispered. "But that's not the way it's meant to be."

"And how do you know all this?"

How do I know all this? "Because I know Amadeo is my soul mate, no matter what I say. And we both know that Amadeo would never fall for someone who wasn't made for him. Yet here I am, drenched in sin. I must be made for something more."

A long, long silence.

"So...so you really think I ought to return to the castle, then?" Morris asked, defeat in his voice. "After coming back to Nicu, you really think the King will accept me again?"

Cassandra knew there was only one word appropriate for Morris' question. "Yes."

Shoving his hands into his pockets, Morris absently kicked a pebble with the toe of his boot. At long last, he met Cassandra's eyes. "And what will you do, Cassandra?"

Cassandra gave a mirthless, self-deprecating laugh. "I will see if he comes for me."

"You should come with me. We can face up to our actions together." Morris gave Cassandra what was probably meant to be a comforting smile but actually looked more like a grimace.

"What would Hadrian think if I left?"

Leaning in to better meet Cassandra's eyes, Morris asked slowly, "Why does it matter what Hadrian thinks?"

Cassandra balked at the question. "It matters because...because..."

The End

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