“You really don’t have anything to wear.” Lina let out a deep sigh, rifling through the dresses.
“But there are so many,” I pointed out.
“It’s your coronation—you have to look the best!”
“There’s no need.”
“No need!” Lina looked at me like I’d lost my marbles.
“The entire Empire is paying attention to you—Iona, the lucky lady whose status was restored! I daresay the nobles will have eyes only for you.”
I gave a nervous grimace.
“Please don’t say that.” Just thinking about it made my hands tremble.
If what she was saying was true, I just might turn to stone.
In four days, I would receive my title.
For a debutante, it was a special day, but I had no family or relatives to gather, so having a festival at home wasn’t really an option.
Still, I’d need proper clothing since I would be officially entering the palace.
The dresses the emperor had given me were all fancy indoor clothes or ball gowns that weren’t fit for a master of a family.
And Lina could tell.
She’d scoured the closet for an eternity before giving up and announcing that there was nothing to wear.
“It’s ok,” Lina said, a faint gleam of hope in her eyes.
“I’m from the capital.
I know a decent tailor, and I’m sure they’ll make something amazing for you.”
A smile unfurled on my face.
Lina returned to the closet and took out a few clothes for our outing and instructed another maid to prepare a carriage.
Herr face seemed to glow.
Clearly, I wasn’t the only one excited about going out.
I put on a comfortable blouse and a skirt without a corset, thinking how good it was that I wasn’t in the palace.
“I shouldn’t wear dress pants, right” I asked.
“Jeans are best for moving around.”
The noblewomen in this world only wore dress pants when they went horse riding.
There was a prejudice against women wearing pants.
I quite missed being able to wear my jeans and t-shirt.
As I headed downstairs in my outdoor clothing, I bumped into Rylan, who was soaked in sweat like he’d just finished his morning training.
His short, chestnut colored hair was matted against his forehead.
“Hello, Rylan,” I said.
“You’re busy as always.”
“Hello, Viscount Lesprey.” He took a look at my outfit and frowned slightly.
“Are you going somewhere”
I need to buy something at the shop.”
His eyebrows furrowed some more.
“Wouldn’t it be better if you called the merchant There’ll be lots of people downtown.
That could be dangerous.”
“It’s my first time out of the palace,” I replied with a shrug.
“I’ve never seen the capital before.”
It was true.
The Lespreys were a viscount family with a small countryside territory.
We never came to the capital when I was little, and after I became a slave, I’d bounced around from mansion to mansion.
I’d gone downtown to grab a few things now and then, but never in the capital itself.
Rylan regarded me for a moment but made no move to stop me.
Instead, he turned and raced up the center stairs.
“Please wait!” he called over his shoulder.
“I’ll be ready soon.”
“I can just go with Lina, though,” I called back.
But I knew I didn’t have much of a choice.
My two bodyguards would never let me go on my own.
The knights Ridrian had assigned to me would probably also trail after me if I told them I was headed out.
How long do I have to keep this up I wondered.
At this point, I wouldn’t mind being attacked soon if it meant I could get this over with.
“Are you headed out, Iona”
It was Eris, who’d also finished her morning training and washed up.
She stood staring at me from the front door.
I’m thinking of buying some clothes.
Would like to come along”
I figured she might be better at this since she’d lived her entire life as a noble, unlike me who’d been restored only a few days ago.
I wasn’t that interested in clothes, but Eris was.
I’d seen how well the fancy dress she wore to the masked ball fit her.
Maybe she can help me pick out something decent
Her face lit up and she hurried up the stairs.
“Of course!” came her reply.
“I’ll get ready quickly so we can go together.
Don’t go alone, ok”
“Ok,” I promised.
She and Rylan left for their respective rooms, leaving me in silence.
I stared out the window.
The sun shone brightly, and the heat smacked my face, but the day was quite nice.
It was our first outing, and I couldn’t help feeling like it would be a good one.
So many people.
I glanced around in awe at the most crowded merchant place in Etherium, Baon Street, which was packed with more people than I could count.
I figured there was some kind of festival going on and was shocked to learn that this crowd was smaller than usual.
“I think I really am an indoor person,” I muttered aloud.
Lina and Eris turned to look at me.
“What are you talking about” Lina said.
“You’re just not used to this.”
“She’s right,” Eris chimed in.
“This is good for you.
You should try to get used to it.”
“Yes, Lina is right.
You have the right to get used to something that’s good for you.”
“Lady Deron is right!”
“You’ll have to buy at Sed Tailor so it’ll be fitting for you.
That’s the best place in the capital.”
When did they become such good friends