In the Drinking Bear, Isadora awoke with a start. The posters had made her situation even more precarious. She was beginning to think that she had no choice but to go back to her old life, but she knew that if she did, Rudolph would be punished far more severely than she, if he was ever found. And if she went back with Quin.... she didn't even want to think of what the punishment would be for either of them.
She got out of bed, but stopped herself before she had washed up too much. This is what she had been reduced to - from a princess to no more than a beggar, living off of other people, not even able to wash the dirt off her face. This wasn't what she had wanted when she left the palace. She had imagined running off with Rudolph, buying some pretty little house in a far-off land, and... no. She couldn't even think the words "living happily ever after." This is shy she had clung to Rudolph. Yes, she had loved him, but what she had really wanted was the ideas that fell from his lips of a life where the two of them could live together. But then Rudolph had been carried off by that awful dragon, and she had been alone again. She hadn't known what to do - her dreams had been snatched away just as Rudolph had.
And then she had met Quin, and saw that her dream could still be realized; she had wanted to live in the forest house with Quin, who admired... or maybe even loved her? She had dropped Rudolph like a broken toy, and now she hated herself for it. What a selfish, naive person she was, expecting the world to submit to her every whim as the servants had in the palace. She knew now that if she wanted that kind of power, she would have to give up her freedom for it.
Thinking back, she hadn't had that hard a time. She had nearly always been accompanied by Rudolph or Quin, except for the week in the forest before she reached Quin's house, and the day and night since she left Lilia's. Still, compared to her life of palace comforts, Isadora did not realize how well-off she really was.
The princess looked at herself in the grimy, spotted mirror. She hardly recognized herself. She had gone from a beautiful prize, to be envied and coveted, to... some awful creature of the gutters of the city. Other than her hands and face, she was filthy, and her blond hair had turned to brown. Once perfectly styled at every occasion, it hung limp in its tie down her back. She was thin, thinner than any corset could have made her seem a month ago. The only part of her that she took comfort in were were her bright green eyes. Although they looked older and sadder, she could still stare her mirror-self down with the gaze of royalty.
And in that gaze, she saw what she had to do. And she made up her mind to do it.