Tainted Saint, Chapter Sixty-NineMature

The door to Amadeo's personal chambers swung open, and in marched Marcos, without so much as a knock or a "hello." There was a look of complete disdain on his face as he waved his hands in the air and began his rant. Amadeo inwardly groaned.

"And you're bringing her to dinner again?" Marcos asked, incredulous.

Amadeo calmly chose a robe from his wardrobe, though there was no telling how long his calmness would last.

"You can't be serious, Your Highness!" Marcos exclaimed, disbelieving.

Amadeo glanced in the mirror. Yes, he looked fine. He could only hope that Cassandra would think so, too.

"This is madness!"

Angered but waiting until Marcos was finished expressing his opinion, Amadeo ran a hand through his hair.

"Your Highness, what can you possibly be thinking?!" Marcos continued. "That woman, she's unfit to be here! She'll only bring disgrace to the castle!"

It was then that Amadeo was willing to hear no more. "Silence, Marcos!" he began, but Marcos apparently wasn't finished with his rant.

"She's a prostitute! A prostitute who will only - "

"I said silence!" Amadeo took a deep breath, not wanting to act on a whim of frustration. "Marcos," he said, "I would appreciate it if you would keep your opinion of my dinner guest to yourself."

"But do you realize what this could do to your reputation?"

"How could turning someone broken into someone beautiful dishonor me? If they people choose to believe lies about me, then so be it. I do not live to please their expectations of me." There was a tone of finality in the King's words.

But Marcos was not ready to listen. "But, Your Highness, your people look up to you! What will they do if they find out that - that - that urchin is your dinner guest?"

"And what does it mean to you, Marcos! Why does this upset you so? Are you only concerned that your reputation will be marred if you are the comrade of a King who refuses to love only those who are seen as deserving? Are you afraid you'll be knocked from your pedestal, if I choose to love this woman? Why does this bother you so?"

"I refuse to share the King, to whose service I have most faithfully pledged myself, with someone so unworthy!" Marcos' voice trembled. "That is the root of it," he muttered. "Do not expect me to be at dinner tonight."

And with that, Amadeo was left alone in the room.

The End

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