An heiress's decision is made easier after talking with her seamstress.
Elissa missed the charging clamps and her hoverbike toppled over sideways. “Shoot!” She was late, and sprinted for her room. Nora, the Regal Seamstress, was already there when she arrived. “Sorry,” Elissa moaned, hurrying to remove her outer garments, dropping them to the floor. “Lost track of time.”
“Pish-posh,” the old woman smiled. “Here you are.” Surrounded by antique trunks, she untied a wrapped bundle, rolling it out to reveal her tools. “I should say, however, you’re taking this ceremony very lightly. Here, hold this.” She produced a small device attached to an elastic strap.
“What is it,” Elissa asked.
“A garment field,” she said. “My own invention.”
“What do I do with it?”
“Put it on your wrist,” she explained, and Elissa did so. Next, the woman pulled out her best silks and finest ribbons, laying them out. She then opened the tall trunk behind her, revealing a simple, yet elegant, white gown, bare at the shoulders and just about Elissa’s size. “Now, turn the dial to the first setting.”
Immediately, the gown drifted weightlessly away, rising over Elissa’s shoulders and lowering itself down over her. The material shimmered in the warm light and was soft as a feather. Elissa turned circles in the mirror, smoothing the dress down admiringly. “It’s beautiful.”
“The finest Cortusian silk,” Nora agreed and went to work tightening the seams. “Your parents spared no expense.”
“My parents,” she sighed, her mood suddenly changing. “Is all this really necessary?”
“You’re coming of age, my dear. The presentation ceremony is a critical moment for you.” She winked, “Hopefully, you’ll fetch a wealthy husband, maybe even a royal. Now stand still.” Nora turned Elissa’s device to the second position, then began placing long trains of fabric at specific points in midair around her, the field anchoring them in place.
“But what if I don’t want this?”
“It’s your birthright. And I’m doing this fitting just as I did for your mother.” The last piece in place and Nora turned the girl fully toward the mirror. Elissa stood adorned in glistening silks floating over open shoulders, wraps and laces drifting on an imperceptible wind, all accented by fiery virtual wings upon her back. “Well?”
Nora sensed disappointment. “Yes, too much around the shoulders, I think,” and she turned back the dial. Immediately, all the fabric dropped away.
“It’s not that,” Elissa sighed. “I just want more than a privileged life. I want to really live!”
“The decision is ultimately yours,” she said, pins between her teeth and layering a bit around Elissa’s shoulders, even more behind the hips. “Of course, if you decline the ceremony, you’ll never ascend.”
“But I don’t want to move up the elitist ranks,” she sulked. “I want to know what it is to work, to prepare my own food, clean my own room, and go wherever I want. I want to fall in love and have children that aren’t genetically engineered.”
“Let me tell you the story of a girl who wanted the same. She was young and beautiful, impulsive, though bright, even heiress to a Grand Duke. She, too, longed for a great adventure.”
“She found it, I suppose, travelling to the farthest reaches of the Verellian Abyss, even surfing the cometary jetties of Relusia. She met a man, who broke her heart, found another and had children. One of them died. Eventually, she even regained the trust of the Great Houses in the simplest of jobs – Regal Seamstress. A good life.” Nora turned Elissa back to the mirror. “Done!”
Tight at the waist, long trains of silk and satin flowed weightlessly behind her, whilst elegant ribbons wound through her hair. She sparkled, and Elissa could hardly believe she was the girl in the mirror.
“Stunning.” She ran her fingers along the layers of ribbon, then sighed, “But it’s not me.” Elissa turned the dial back to zero and the fabric dropped immediately away. Her dress lifted overhead and returned to its trunk. “I’m sorry,” she said and gathered her clothes. “You’ll tell my parents?”
“Will it cause you trouble?”
“Heavens no,” she chuckled. “I’ve listened and retold the same story to countless daughters, even your mother.”
“Give them my love.” Elissa embraced her warmly before bolting away.
“Was that the outcome you expected?” the seamstress asked.
“It was the one I’d hoped for,” Elissa’s mother stepped from the shadows of the next room. “A mistake I made that, thankfully, she was strong enough to avoid.”