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It took less nudging than Russell expected, and based on the sounds, his brother had done a fair job of it. As soon as he heard Bianca's cries, he looked for a mirror. It was late, and he expected to find Pandora asleep. Instead, she and the beautiful Helen were making tearful farewells. More disturbing was the kiss she laid on the withered cheek of the revolting Tabitha. She seemed truly sad to see the witch go. How odd.
Pandora remained in Tabitha's fortress, picking up a cat with too-intelligent eyes. A new familiar. He spent the next hour watching while he honed the edge on his sword.
Marcus didn't return that night, and Russel left him a note before departing at dawn.
Dont' let her out of your sight for the next week and visit her bed often.
Her father will understand. I'm off to reclaim my Princess.
Pushing Thunder hard up the incline, Russel rested his mount in the village atop the cliffs. He knew it, the same one he had found Tabitha in when he stole her bean. The weary horse drank from a trough while Russel brushed him. He could see the path he had taken, but the fortress wouldn't wait in the same place twice, would it?
It didn't hurt to check, and if it wasn't there, he had time to walk back and find a mother or daughter to take him in before dark.
He stumbled into a fine woman with ample breasts and hip, but no boots or britches at her door or on her clothesline. He gave her a small coin to watch Thunder while he stretched his legs.