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Dulap and his gunny are gone by noon.

Silhouine, ashamed of herself, pokes through the front room: trinkets and baubles, mostly. Gewgaws. Mlle. Sunanza sold junk to the gullible and information to the incognito rich, but neither magic nor connections can be stuffed in a sack.

“Beds and fresh linen in the back,” says Yael. “Come on. You need some sleep.”

Silhouine fingers a pewter key, pockets it, sighs and obeys.

She wakes with a sack on her head, jouncing along saddle-hung on a humpbacked donkey.

“I deeply regret making your acquaintance,” grumbles Yael, nearby.

“So do I,” says Silhouine.


The survivors take stock of their worldly possessions.

  • Silhouine: nothing
  • Yael: nothing
  • The cat: nothing
  • Dulap: pretty much all the things he had before

“Whatever you want from my shop is yours,” says Dulap. “I’m packing a gunny for the north road.”

“Why do I suspect,” says Silhouine, “that what you’re actually offering us is Mlle. Sunanza’s remaining stock?”

“Do our masters deserve anything?” says Dulap. “They ran off to the country and left us here to get extorted and bombed!”

“It wasn’t actually a bomb,” groans Silhouine.

“What is a bomb, after,” Yael muses, “but a crater and leftover fear?”


Silhouine spends the night underneath her little pantry-tucked bed, fearful of dragons, with a cat who alternates between dozing and jerking itself awake to bury startled claws in her back.

In the morning she knocks next door, at Mlle. Sunanza’s, to find that she’s not the only apprentice left to literally mind the shop.

“There are a bunch of us stuck here, owners hied out to the country,” glowers Dulap, over buttered dumplings. “We’re having a bonfire in the square tonight. Want to come?”

“I’d like that,” Silhouine smiles.

They don’t burn the shop down that night. That happens later.