Of all the places she liked, Krystal liked going to the Great Market most. It was just for an errand for her father — he'd run out of satin and needed it for a noble customer who wanted it "as fast as possible" — and there was only one supplier anywhere close by who had the specific type that particular noble preferred, but work or no work, Krystal loved the lively atmosphere. Plus, sometimes she'd like to imagine herself as one of those nobles, floating around in those perfect dresses her mother made for them. But today she was running late. She'd stopped by that candied apple stall that she always visited, and the nice old lady who ran it had chattered away at her, until she tried, as polite as she could, to excuse herself from the conversation, and ducked away into the crowd.Having a sense of balance was never Krystal's strong suit, but she ran along anyway, weaving through the sea of people with as much nimbleness as she could manage. She even let out a few little "excuse me"s, pressing a little song into them, and a few people actually let her pass. Soon, though, her luck ran out, and she ran headlong into someone.Krystal gasped and dropped into a deep curtsey. "F-forgive me, my lady!" she stammered, holding the bundle of cloth closer to her chest as she kept her eyes down, scared to look up.
"No, my lady," Krystal answered, eyes still downcast. She quickly glanced at the feet of the lady in front of her; her dress was made by someone with the most skill in all the land, no doubt, judging by the quality of the hem, and the shoes she could see just peering out from underneath her skirt looked much better than the shoes she herself wore. She decided the lady must be important. "But my ma and pa are. And I'm perfectly alright, my lady — just a little startled, that's all." She blushed. "It was my fault. I didn't watch where I was going."
"S-sorry, my lady." Krystal flushed again. Gosh, how'd she manage to displease someone so many times in the same moment? But she'd looked up anyway, careful not to let her eyes directly meet the important lady's. She tried not to let the surprise show on her face when the important lady asked her about the goods at her family's shop. "Well, we probably have a couple frocks, but if you're looking for something custom-made, my ma and pa take orders and use the clothes you like. Or if you'd like, we're just next door to the shoemakers and the jewellers, so you can go look at their places, too." She added, a little hurriedly.
"Of course!" Krystal nodded, maybe a little too vigorously, then winced slightly at that. "Just follow me, my lady. I'm on my way back to the my parents' shop anyway." As she waited for the important lady to follow her, she began to go through the dresses she knew would be ready-made at the shop. She knew there were several customers who would donate dresses to the shop for them to re-use the fabric, and her parents kept several ready-made items anyway, so she was sure that the lady could find something she at least liked a little.
Krystal began hesitantly. "Well," she said — not quite sure where to start, really, because why would this important lady be interested in hearing about her ordinary family?"Well," she started again. "There's just me and Ma and Pa, really — 'cept there's a baby on the way. I grew up in the shop and sometimes my Ma teaches me how to sew. Do you know how to sew?"
"Well, that's unfortunate," Krystal mused. Though sewing made her prick her fingertips, it was a useful skill to have, especially when she didn't want to let Ma know that she'd ripped her skirt for the tenth time, so she'd do it herself. "Sewing's real useful. When I'm older, I can help Ma and Pa with the outfits too, so they don't have to do them all themselves."She skipped a few steps. "It's just this way. It's close to the edge of the market cos we need more space."
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