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When she looked down next, she saw the prince again. He was with another woman, and his beauty was once again undeniable, even though dark blue and green blotches dotted his back and side. Pandora took some small pleasure in that.
He turned and seemed to look straight at her, but the woman said something before pulling his face back to hers. Unnerved, Pandora built the wall for her magic again and was careful not to look back until she drained the tub.
Her mother and Tabitha hadn't wasted the day. The rooms that had been cluttered and dusty, shadowed by thick curtains, were now warm with the setting sun and surfaces seemed to sparkle.
“Yes,” Helen said, surveying the surroundings. “I think Bianca will like it here.”
Pandora's less than chipper mood soured a little more. “You're that eager to bring her here? To push me aside again?”
Helen hugged Pandora. “No, of course not. However, I do want to help Bianca, don't you? If we don't teach her, she'll marry a king and be little more than a slave to him. If we can help her, she will be more like us, able to stand up to those who would claim her.”
Pandora had no argument with that, but that Tabitha did.
“I wonder. You had a natural rebellious streak, hardly surprising with your background. Pandora has also got an independent nature. She certainly fought me.” Her wide grin showed her pointed teeth. Pandora had expected anger with that statement, not pride. “Bianca, however. Well, she fought you,” she said, pointing a gnarled finger at Helen, “but not her father, not the dwarves, and not me. I wonder, even if we teach her, if she won't end up some King's bauble.”