I look in the mirror. I’m wearing a light green shirt made from fine fabric. It has white embroidery stitched on it. Unlike the shirt I’m used to, this one has its neat small buttons on the side instead of the front in the centre. I like that look, it seems as if this shirt was buttonless. Along with the shirt, I got a pair of fine fabric trousers in dark green. I also receive pink coats with the same embroideries as on the shirt. There are two coats, a heavy coat for the colder season and a light coat in the same style for the warmer season.
Aster got a similar set of clothes. His clothes are in the same style as mine; they are just in a similar colour scheme, but darker. And the embroideries on his clothes are in black. Well, mine have leather shoulder pads that are not present on Aster’s shirt. Those are apparently for Cyril, who keeps wanting to ride on my shoulders.
“Older brother,” Finn says, “do we still have some leeway in today’s budget?”
Rory sighs and answers, “you only call me older brother when you ask for the impossible! Sadly, there’s nothing I can do this time, I’m sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it, I’ll just have to prepare for a greater one next time.”
“A greater budget? What for?” I ask.
“You look so adorable in those clothes!” Finn answers, “don’t you agree, Emily?”
“Absolutely,” Emily says while nodding.
“I’d like to buy even more.”
“But we’re receiving several sets,” I retort, “isn’t this too excessive?”
“It’s not my place to intrude into your private discussion,” Sean says, “but I have to agree with Princess Finn. You look like you were meant to wear those clothes! Please excuse me for a moment.”
Sean leaves the room.
“I’ve never seen Sean this excited,” Rory comments, “but I do agree with you. Though I can’t approve of Finn planning on buying clothes for Rowan to wear just for personal amusement.”
Personal amusement? For some reason, Aster breaks into laughter.
“Aster?” I timidly ask.
“I’m sorry that came out of nowhere, I guess,” he answers, “I’m a single child, so I don’t know how it is to be a younger sibling. I’ve only heard tales from my peers of what it is like. It seems their tales were very accurate. But enough of that, where did Sean go?”
“I guess he’s having something prepared for Rowan,” Rory explains, “this is one of the few boutiques where they are able to make adjustments to the clothes just by measuring. In other places, you need to have them done while you’re wearing them, it’s quite annoying.”
“So it’s like a trade secret? I thought every boutique here could to that. I mean, it’s not that complicated.”
“You know how to do it?”
“Yes, well, where I’m from, it’s like ancient knowledge. So saying everyone knows about it would be an overstatement. Most people like me just have knowledge of the concept of it.”
“Since you’re speaking of ancient knowledge, Aster, did you have a Greenfruit recently?”
“Greenfruits?” he asks, “never heard of it.”
“Aren’t those luxury items?” I ask.
“Not anymore,” Howard explains, “Rory had invested into a plantation in Nalsatix county for an experiment. Crews on ships where they had a steady supply of Greenfruits were less likely to fall ill. Since then the demand for Greenfruits has risen and more plantations in Nalsatix have started.”
“Yes, it’s been quite a surprise,” Rory adds, “the results were surprising. But according to documents handed down in the royal family, people from beyond the sky regularly need them. From what I remember, it’s because of a disease called scoo-vis or something like that.”
How is it that everyone seems to know he’s from beyond the sky?
“People from beyond the sky?” Howard asks, “I’ve heard legends of it, but what does that have to do with Aster?”
“There has never been a case where someone had a flying home and was not a person from beyond the sky,” Rory explains, “have you heard of it?”
“Yes, it’s a nasty one,” Aster answers, “it’s kinda hard to explain, too. You can get it when your food is lacking of a certain important nutrient. Where I’m from, it used to be quite a scourge for sea-faring people.
It’s not contagious, since it’s just malnourishment. The early symptoms include feeling weak and wounds taking longer to heal. Eventually, your teeth fall out. You treat and prevent it by making sure to get that nutrient. Those Greenfruits you mentioned seem to be a good source of that.”
That disease does sound nasty.
“That matches with what the documents describe, but sailors here don’t get that.”
“Judging from what you explained,” Aster says, “it seems people here are not able to develop that disease. I think your body produces that a minimal amount of that nutrient naturally.”
So Greenfruits… I need to make sure to get some for Aster.
After confirming all sets fit, Howard pays Sean for the goods.
“Please have old clothes and the extra sets brought to the blue suite on the Shining Dove.”
We leave the boutique.
“Let’s get some lunch,” Rory suggests, “is there any special place you want to go to?”
Aster and I shake our heads.
“Let’s go to Owen’s place!” Finn declares.