Tainted Saint, Chapter Seventy-FourMature

Knowing that Marcos was referring to the letters about Cassandra's inability to be anything but a downfall of the kingdom - and the King! - Cassandra tried to think of a creative but subtle way to change the conversation. Marcos, however, seemed completely willing to continue the conversation in its current direction.

"Oh, just letters about certain citizens of this fine kingdom," Marcos said, and he lifted his goblet to his lips.

If Cassandra could have vanished into thin air, she would have. Unfortunately, she was sitting at the table, and she was quite stuck. Getting up to leave would be too obvious.

"Oh - that's interesting," Xandria said, and she cast a curious look at Cassandra.

She knows who Marcos is speaking of.

"Would you mind passing the bread, Kalia?" King Amadeo asked, gesturing to one of the servants. He turned back to Cassandra and smiled. "Is there anything else you'd like to eat? There is more than enough to eat, as I'm sure you can see."

"I'm alright, but thank-you, Amadeo," Cassandra whispered. To her humiliation, her eyes began to burn with unwanted tears. She found she could no longer sit still, so she began to curl the napkin in her lap. If only, if only she could be a little child again and believe that if she closed her eyes and saw no one, no one would be able to see her...

"What do you all think of finishing the dinner a bit early?" Amadeo asked. "I'm afraid I've got some paperwork to tend to." He shot a look at Marcos. "And apparently, you do, too."

Cassandra wondered if her relief was tangible.

Gabelle caught the King's gaze, and a look of understanding crossed her eyes. "I agree," she said, voice soft. "I'm quite stuffed; the chefs truly outdid themselves tonight."

Cassandra wanted to leap from her chair and run from the room, but she managed to wait until the others had risen from the table. As the servants gathered around to take the dishes, Cassandra looked across the table.

And locked eyes with Marcos.

Marcos' eyes were unforgiving, and they seemed to be saying, I know what you've done, and I know what you've read. Shuddering, despite her attempts to remain unconcerned and nonchalant, Cassandra did not bother to wait for the others to leave until she swept through the door, leaving Amadeo behind.

The End

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