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“If you need me to teach your entire coterie how to pulverize one tempermental milksop,” says Proserpina dryly, “she must have hit you harder than I thought.”

“That’s not what we want!” snaps Iala. “It’s the–the way they look at you, everyone. The fear. The respect.

“I’m sure you’re fantasizing, and in any case, I can’t teach it.”

“Then show me how to earn it!”

“How? Hurting Ernestine?”

“If necessary!”


“Then why do you love fighting so much?” Iala sniffs.

“Because boxing isn’t a weapon,” Proserpina says, smiling, as the idea begins to light her up. “It’s a sport.”