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I feel like the dialogue at the end is odd, please let me know anything else you notice!!

The Prince and The Assassin

September 17, 2017


"These violent delights have violent ends." -Romeo and Juliet

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The clay bottle was rough against his hands. 
He knew he shouldn't be drinking. He had work to do. But the drink made the whole thing easier to bear. 
And Cullen would do anything to have it be easy. 
His dagger sheath dug against his leg, hidden in a secret pocket in his trousers. It hurt, but what hurt more was the thought of what he was about to do. 

 ✠  ✠  ✠  

Three months ago, Cullen didn't have to drink. He didn't have to force himself to forget about the job he had, the people he had killed. 
Three months ago, Cullen had Joshua. 
That whole thing with Josh should have never started. Cullen should have left the moment he heard the word "prince" slip out of Josh's mouth. 
But he didn't. 
He had stayed with that boy, sneaking into his castle so they could talk for hours on end about nothing in particular. 
Cullen had stayed, ignoring the fact that he had things to do, ignoring the fact that he was going to get in trouble. 
And now he had to face what he'd done. 

 ✠  ✠  ✠

The drink had made Cullen's head foggy, but he dragged himself out of his seat, and as stealthily as he could he started down the hallway that he had walked so many times before. He could hardly breathe. 
If you want to survive out there, don't let anyone close. The words of his brother echoed in his ears, all those pointless lessons and drills he had repeated over and over again, hoping to prepare Cullen for the world. Too late for that, thought Cullen. He had gotten close to Joshua, closer than he had gotten to anyone before. 

 ✠  ✠  ✠  

Cullen sighed as he thought about his job. The knife was still digging into his leg. When he was younger, when he still had a little but of hope, he had tried to run. He had tried to escape. They had always caught him. Always hurt him. They would make sure he did his job, the job they were too weak to do themselves. The time he and Josh had tried to run away together had been the final straw. If he didn't do this, he would die. But Cullen thought that might be worth it. 

 ✠  ✠  ✠  

The door to Joshua's room was unlocked. It always had been. No one was supposed to be able to get this far in the castle. But no one else had been sneaking in here for the past three months. Cullen had to grab the wall for support as he was overcome with a wave of nauseating guilt. They'll kill him anyways. I have no choice. This was the argument he had repeated to himself, over and over until it lost meaning. This, and lying in his cot trying to not make noise, imagining a scene where things turned out okay. None of it ever worked. Cullen had known this would have to happen eventually. He stepped inside Josh's room. 

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Josh was standing in front of his mirror, so he didn't instantly see Cullen. Some part of Cullen, the mouse part, wanted to run and face death. Joshua was wearing a baggy white shirt and plain trousers. He had never been very good at dressing like a prince. His "just-for-show" crown sat a little lopsided on his head. Cullen had the crazy urge to straighten it. 
"Joshua," he said instead. He couldn't make himself say anything else. He couldn't do this. He had trained and trained, and been forced to do so many things, but not this. Never this. 
Joshua turned around, his eyes lighting up at the sight of Cullen. 
"Cul!" he gasped. He was the only one who ever bothered calling him anything besides Cullen and 'boy'. "But I thought they-" Joshua realized what was happening midway through his sentence. "Oh, Cul." Joshua walked to Cullen and hugged him, his body jamming the dagger sheath harder into Cullen's leg.
"I was stupid," Cullen mumbled. "I thought I could do it."
"But if you don't, you'll die."
"Listen to yourself. You'll die first. I could never do that," said Cullen. 
"Then they'll kill us both, Cul."
"What?" Joshua asked. 
"I said, fine. I'm sick of doing what they tell me." 
"We'll run away then," Joshua said. It was a naive idea and they both knew it. It hadn't worked the last time and it wouldn't work this time. 
Joshua rested his head on Cullen's shoulder. 
"Okay," said Cullen. "We'll run away."


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