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Lily and the motley crew



"Lily?"

The voice made her look up from her improvised make-up table. In the smudgy mirror, which was flanked by oil lamps with cracked leather caps, she saw the outline of the owner of the bar.

Lily had just sung in his establishment and now she was removing the make-up from her face. "What do you want? And why don't you knock when you come into a lady's dressing room? I could be naked for all you know." She assumed that was what he had been hoping for.

"Just wanted to bring your pay, Lily, that's all." Part of the man in the shadows became visible for a moment as a hand put an envelope on the table. "I'll get in touch when we have another evening. You're the best, Lily." For a hesitant second it looked as if the hand wanted to come to a rest on her shoulder, but its owner decided differently. He did not know how smart a decision that was. Footsteps moved away from the singer.

Lily waited until the door closed. "Sure. The best. That's why I sing here and not in something like Albert Hall." She knew she wasn't the best singer in the world, but that was fine with her. She could live her life anonymously and do what she liked. And what she had to. "Speaking of which, I should get moving," she told her hairbrush.

The singer quickly put her few belongings in her bag, slipped her coat on and with her umbrella in hand she left the bar through the back door. A fine rain greeted her as she walked away.

"Wonder when there is an evening I won't need it," Lily muttered as she fought the umbrella. She won, so she could walk along under the small portable shelter. Since the start of the alchemists' convention it seemed to rain more than usual.

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