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The Look

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By the time Sancia was allowed to look into a mirror, she hardly recognized herself.

Of course, given that the clothes were she was wearing right now were supposed to be a disguise, to keep people from suspecting, even for a moment, who and what Sancia really was, that might not be a bad thing. Still, it was unsettling.

Almost as unsettling as the realization that at some point, Sancia had begun to enjoy herself. Changing clothes had always been an unpleasant necessity. She hadn't owned many, so she'd usually put it off as long as she could. After all, it wasn't as if anyone in the Commons had the water to spare to spend on washing clothes, so why bother?

This past hour though, she'd probably tried on at least a dozen different outfits. She'd felt the fabrics against her skin, and for the first time in her life, she'd understood what people meant when they called something 'smooth as silk' or 'soft as velvet'.

"You look wonderful," said Berenice. Her voice sounded a little husky.

No, I don't. You look wonderful, Sancia thought. Me, I only look like someone I'm not. Even though she had to admit, looking like someone Berenice thought 'wonderful' didn't sound all that bad. Plus, the fabric felt delicious against her skin. Some of the other dresses had made her feel constrained, as if she'd have trouble running in them, let alone climbing a wall, or crawling through a sewer. Of course, everything here was scrived against getting dirty, but this particular dress still felt different from all the other ones she'd tried on so far. This one felt right. She'd be able to move in this dress. Fight, if she had to. Run, when she wanted to.

The nearby shop assistant gave her a hopeful look. Sancia imagined that even though the woman was used to rich (which was to say: difficult and demanding) customers, an hour was still a long time to spend on a single customer.

Berenice nodded her head. "We'll take it."

As Sancia slipped back into her old clothes, she tried not to think of the absurdity of spending more money on a scrumming dress than she'd ever spent on any of her heists. Remembering the expression on Berenice's face helped.