Tainted Saint, Chapter Sixty-FourMature

I shouldn't be here. I shouldn't be here. I really, really shouldn't be here.

Wiping away tears from her eyes as she ran through the castle gates - Amadeo had, apparently, given the guards orders to let her through, if she ever came back - Cassandra didn't pay any heed to the countless eyes that studied her. Certainly, they all knew who she was by then. Perhaps, they all hated her. Perhaps, they all wanted her to leave their King alone...

Cassandra's foot caught on a slightly askew stone in the pathway, and she tumbled to the ground in a heap. Still weeping, she swept aside the tangles of hair that had obscured her vision, but before she could get herself up, she felt a pair of firm but gentle hands grasp her arms and help her stand.

Cassandra knew, without having to look, who had lifted her to her feet. An immeasurable number of apologies, greetings, excuses, and explanations died on her lips as she brought herself to look upon the face of the one who now stood before her.

But the King didn't yell at her, didn't grab her shoulders and try to shake sense into her - as Hadrian had done, so many times. No, Amadeo's eyes lit up as he said softly, "You're back," and wrapped Cassandra in an embrace that felt like home.

Pulling away from the King, Cassandra shook her head and tried to hide the fact that she had been crying. Covering her eyes ever so slightly, she tried to express her remorse and her shame. "I know I shouldn't have left, and I'm sorry, and I know it was a stupid thing to do, and you don't have to take me back, and I guess I just shouldn't have come back, but is it okay that I'm here?" she babbled.

"I'm just glad you're back," Amadeo said, but his eyes were marked with not only happiness...but also great sorrow.

"I...shouldn't have come," Cassandra whispered, and she drew further away.

"No, Cassandra. I'm glad you're here. I've been watching for you every day, and I can't begin to express my joy when I saw it was you who entered the castle gates." Amadeo's voice then changed from joyous to hurt. "But Cassandra, why did you leave?"

The End

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