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The lanes of Dalaran were bright, even in the late evening, thanks to the attentions of Windle Sparkshine each night. Jinx felt safe in the floating sanctuary as she ran her errands..."Still," she mused, "I miss my own home in Ironforge...or Gnomeregan." Though it warmed her heart to see people of all races and creeds mingling in the streets, she wondered how long it would take for old rivalries to flare up if the Kirin Tor hadn't shrouded the city with a pacifying spell. As she passed a sewer grating she could hear the clash of metal and the grunts of combat as people sparred in duels down in the Underbelly, where goblin bookmakers snickered and set odds for opponents.

Jinx shook her head. Old hatreds did not fade easily, and always left stains. This she knew firsthand -- she knew she could never fully trust a trogg, or a Dark Iron dwarf, for their collusion in the destruction of her hometown and the loss of her first husband and infant children. But years of travel and negotiation had granted her experience and patience in dealing with different cultures, and she was proud to serve as an ambassador and diplomat for the Gnomish people. She'd even managed to set aside her reservations against the followers of Thaurissan to broker a trade agreement with a splinter group of Dark Irons, calling themselves the Thorium Brotherhood. The process had taken her many years and many peace offerings of rare materials to their craftsmen, but in the end she was granted the highest status available amongst them, a feat which gave her great personal satisfaction.

She made her way to the Legerdemain Lounge, the largest tavern in Dalaran that served both Horde and Alliance patrons without prejudice. There was yet another convention of magi scheduled to descend upon the place and the chef at A Hero's Welcome, the Alliance-only pub, had asked if Jinx could deliver a catering order. The proprietor, Arille Azuregaze, spotted her as she entered, and set down the goblets he'd been polishing.

"Good evening, Mrs. Blinkert. How do you fare this night? Is that Miss Lee's stew I smell?" He spoke with the sonorous tones of a High Elf, unaffected by the mana-addiction that plagued his Sin'dorei kin.

"Oh, fine, thank you, and the answer is yes and no to your second query--it's Katherine's recipe, but I prepared it myself, with her same attention to detail, I assure you."

"Ah, that makes it all the more delectable, I am sure. Here, this is for you..." he passed her a small red sack bulging with gold coins. "...go buy yourself a treat. Can I interest you in a glass of wine? The conventioneers won't be here for another half hour."

"No, not tonight, but thank you all the same. I've got another errand to run...and I suppose it is a treat, come to think of it." Jinx waved and stepped out again into the brisk night air, and crossed the street to the barber shop.

Inside, a pert young goblin, her brown hair in a neat topknot, was directing two enchanted brooms with precise flicks of her wand. "Hey! Ya missed a spot! Yeah, right there! Good! Now where did I leave that thingy...woop, here it comes!" Jinx had to duck as a dustpan came sailing down from a shelf to receive the hair clippings being gathered up.

"Yipes! A potential customer! Sorry, didn't hear ya come in. How ya doin? I'm Kizi Copperclip, proprietrix of this fine establishment. What can I do fer ya? We got haircuts, hair stylin', hair colorin', manicures, pedicures, hornicures, hooficures, tuskicures, ear piercin', nose piercin', eyebrow piercin', piercin' piercin, nose jobs, ear jobs, anythin' but my job, cause you can't have it!" She burbled with laughter. "Oh, and no curb jobs, you gotta go down to the Underbelly fer those, capice?"

"Hmm," said Jinx, instantly charmed by the garrulous goblin, "I've had this same hairstyle for so long, But how much can you do with this?" She ran her fingers through the short-cropped strands, making her cowlicked bangs stand on end.
"Oh, I can set ya up fine! Here, jump up!" Kizi swung a barber chair around and snapped out a clean white drape with a flourish before tucking it around Jinx's collar. "Here, let's get ya started...ya ain't allergic to Khadgar's Whisker, are ya?"

"No, I don't think so..."

"Good! Cause I ain't had the release forms printed up yet." Kizi snatched a bottle of brilliant blue liquid and began sprinkling it on Jinx's head. "This oughta do it! Copperclip's Patented Trademarked Copywritten Proprietary Barbicidercide!"
"YEEEEOOOWWW!" shrieked Jinx as her hair began growing at a prodigious rate, cascading down past her shoulders!

"Aw, no, did that hurt? Gosh, I'm sorry. Maybe I should add an analgesic."

"No, no, it just feels...weird! I'm not used to FEELING my hair growing! Wow! You could sell that tonic to all the gentlemen of Gnomeregan who suffered alopecia after the disaster! You could singlehandedly help bring Gnomefros back into fashion!"

"Gee, ya think? Hmm. Maybe I could franchise! Anyway, now that we've got somethin' to work with here, let's get you lookin' pretty. How about some big puffy boar tails? Always in style!" Kizi seized a comb and pair of shears, and pulled over a tray of bright mithril barrettes and silver ribbons.

Jinx giggled. "No, no, I'm not thirty years old anymore. Something...sedate, I guess, but fashionable. I trust your taste."

"Ya do? Gosh, that's a first! Hee hee! I kid, I kid. Okay, let's see. And remember, the only difference between a good hairstyle and a bad one is...two weeks! Hyukhyuk! Here, have a magazine--" a copy of Lady's Gnome Journal fluttered out of the rafters into Jinx's lap"-- and let me do the heavy liftin'."

Jinx sat back and relaxed as the goblin snipped and combed. Kizi's touch was light and she hummed a slightly off-key rendition of the Booty Bay Boogie while she worked, clearly enjoying herself. Jinx smiled, delighting in the presence of one who is fortunate enough to work at a trade they take pleasure in.

"O-kay, let me just tie this here...and...voila! The new you!" Kizi held up a mirror so Jinx could see the back. Her hair had been parted down the middle and braided into two loops in an adaptation of a Dwarven style, tied neatly with ribbons. The upstart bangs she had struggled with for so long now fell neatly to each side of her face.
jinx held a hand to her cheek. "Oh my...I didn't think this was possible! Thank you so much. I feel like a new gnome!"

"Eh, it's my job." Kizi shrugged. "Let's settle up yer tab! Tips always accepted, no tip too large, wink wink nudge nudge! Hee!"

"You're worth every copper, Miss Copperclip. Here..." Jinx emptied the contents of the purse she had gotten earlier that evening into Kizi's hands. "..and I'll be sure to send business your way. You've earned a loyal customer tonight."

"Woohoo! Word of mouth is the best advertisin--cause it's free! No overhead! You have a great night, now, and come back whenever ya need a touchup--or a change!"

"Will do. Good night!"

Jinx strode down the street towards the Hero's Welcome inn. "I guess it is true what they say...a change is as good as a cure!"
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June 2016

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