Footsteps thundered down the hallway as Levi marched impatiently toward Luna’s room. The man huffed as he reached the ornate double doors leading to the female’s chambers in the royal palace and did not even bother to knock as he pushed one door open and entered the room, where he was met with a squeal from one of the maids assigned to tend to Luna for the evening. Levi turned to close the door behind him and took in the scene he walked into.
Luna was only wearing her bloomers, with a tight cream-colored corset around her torso, which was currently being laced when Levi entered. Luna was already wearing white stockings which were kept up by clasps attached to the garters of her corset. The squad leader was bent over a Cleopatra sofa with her hands holding on to the arm rest to keep her from moving as the maid tries to put on the lacing of her corset through its hoops. Levi clicked his tongue and reached into his pocket for his watch to check the time for the umpteenth time that night. Levi could never see the reason as to why this event has to happen in the first place, and he hated that he had to wait for his brat of a colleague to finish getting ready before he gets over the whole ordeal and turn in for the night.
It has been two weeks since Levi and Luna, accompanied by Erwin Smith, arrived at the capitol at Sina. They were welcomed into the royal palace by the queen’s guards, and were told that they shall be meeting with the queen for lunch that same day. The said lunch was spent with Luna, chatting away with Queen Reiss, or Historia as Luna called her, catching up with the latest news about each other. The two got along pretty well even after it was revealed that Historia was part of the real royal family, and it was evident that the two had missed each other’s friendship. Erwin and Levi kept quiet the whole time, until it was time to end the lunch meeting. Erwin was the first to speak up, updating Historia about the preparations for Luna’s court presentation, as well as the restoration of the Castillo estate. Historia only nodded in acknowledgement, and told one of the royal butlers to show Luna and Levi to their respective rooms in the palace, where they would be staying until the Castillo estate is fit for habitation again.
Luna soon discovered that the cleaning abilities of the maids from the palace were not up to Levi’s standards. They went into Luna’s quarter first, as Levi insisted on helping her bring her things to the room in order to see if the place is clean enough. The short corporal clicked his tongue as he set down the suitcases he carried for Luna and removed his jacket, hanging it inside the closet and instructing the squad leader to do the same so that they can start cleaning the filthy place up before she unpacks. The squad leader did not protest as she knew that resisting will only result in her getting all the cleaning work for herself. She was just grateful that Levi is actually helping her with the cleaning. After scrubbing, dusting, and polishing the whole room from top to bottom, Levi was finally satisfied with its cleanliness and left with a small ‘good job’ to Luna, and carried his own suitcases to his own quarters at the end of the hallway, probably to do the same level of cleaning to it as well.
The next few days after that was spent in the preparations for Luna’s court presentation. Most of it was already arranged by the palace officers as Erwin had informed them, and the only things left was for Luna to get a dress for the occasion. To Levi’s dismay, he also had to get himself a court uniform, seeing as he was delegated by Erwin to be Luna’s escort. The man screamed at the tailors to get their filthy hands off him when they took their measurements, and refused to take part in it until they go and wash themselves. Levi hated the new trend of people not taking baths every day, and would crinkle his nose at the strong perfume that the nobles used to cover up their smell, saying that the military men had more hygiene than the whole of Sina put together, and these tailors were no exception from his contempt for the people who chose to neglect their personal hygiene for the health benefits that some stupid person claimed to be true. It was not until Luna stepped in, offering to take his measurements, that the tailors managed to get the corporal to comply and finally get his court uniform started, and Levi was actually impressed on how well the uniform fitted him during his final fitting. It was a black full court uniform. The waistcoat was made of black silk velvet, and trimmed with cut steel buttons, containing the wings of freedom insignia of the Survey Corps. A black vest and a dress shirt with lace-trimmed cuffs were worn underneath, and finished with a ruffled cravat to the neck. Hanging on his right shoulder was a green sash with white trimmings, and pinned to his left side with a ribbon from which a badge consisting of a grand cross bearing the Wings of Freedom in the middle, showing everyone who may see it that the man wearing it is a high-ranking officer in the Survey Corps. Levi was also provided with a rapier, with an intricately-designed hilt to hang on his left side.
Levi crossed his arms as he stared at the female before him, who was still in her undergarments, getting her corset laced up by a jumpy maid. The squad leader already had her hair and makeup done, with the crown in a poof, leaving her bangs and the rest of her long hair which was done in loose curls trailing down. Luna wore a thin headband with gems dotting along it and finished at both ends with medium-sized silk flowers, decorated with small strings of pearls and thin ribbons. Her makeup was done with a bit of kohl to emphasize her eyes, finished with what the corporal assumed was fake eyelashes. A light dusting of blush was on her cheeks, and her lips were a light pink, instead of the usual red lipstick which the corporal hates a lot. To finish it off, Luna wore a lace choker with gold trimmings along the edges and a large pearl at the middle. Levi would never admit it, but he actually thought that Luna looked quite pretty with the way she looks now. He was so used to her looking so rough and always ready for battle, with her Survey Corps uniform and 3D Maneuver Gear strapped to her harnesses. Luna usually wore her light brown locks in a tight bun at the top of head and in all their years in the military, Levi never really saw her wear it down. It was refreshing to actually see her dolled up, even just for the night.
Levi clicked his tongue again, quirking an eyebrow at the squad leader’s direction.
“And how long are you planning to stay in here wearing just your underwear?” Luna did not flinch when the corporal walked into her wearing just her undergarments. They had spent a long time in the military, sometimes sharing the showers during the crunch time before and after an expedition as well treating each other’s wounds in the battlefield, that they were pretty comfortable in standing in just their underwear in front of their brothers in arms.
“I’m sorry. May here is just new, so she’s still figuring out how to lace up a corset. It’s not like I can do it myself, you know.” Luna smiled, making her attending maid blush in embarrassment at the mention of her shortcoming.
“Tch, at this rate, your party would be over without you. You!” Levi barked at the maid who jumped at the man’s glare. “I’ll take over from here. Go clean somewhere else. You may go now.” And with that, the maid hurried to get out of the room, without even questioning why a male would be allowed to help Luna lace her corset and dress her up in general. Levi walked over to Luna and started putting the ribbons of her corset through the loops with skilled fingers. Luna hummed in interest.
“Oh, I didn’t know you were knowledgeable about doing this whole corset thing.”
“I saw nobles do this back when I was living underground.” Levi responded, as he began tightening the corset around Luna. “Tell me how tight you want it to be.” The corporal said as he pulled the ribbons tighter.
“Ugh, I think that’s enough. My breasts are already up to my neck!” Luna said, waving a hand, indicating that Levi should already stop pulling. The corporal complied and began tying the ribbons securely at her back. Once Levi was done, Luna stood up and walked over the floor-length mirror placed near her dresser, and observed herself while adjusting the corset around the breast area, surprised that such a thing could give her that much cleavage.
“Oi brat, where is your petticoat?” Levi asked, glaring at Luna who was still admiring herself in front of the mirror.
“Sorry, it’s by the bed.” Luna said and followed Levi to the bed. Levi undid the ties of the heavy petticoat, and held the waistband open, nodding at Luna to have her step into it so he could pull it over to her waist and secure it there. Luna did so, and Levi did the rest, tying the ribbon at the waistband and making sure that it would not fall off for the rest of the night. He then walked over to the bed, and opened up the box containing Luna’s dress.
“I can’t believe I’ll be helping a brat like you dress up. Erwin should be paying me extra.” Levi said, as he pulled the dress over Luna, and zipped it up at her back. He then led her back to the floor length mirror and rearranged her hair back to its original form before the dress was pulled over her head. Going the extra mile, Levi took the shoes which were set beside the mirror and went down on one knee, to help Luna wear them.
Luna admired her dressed up form in front of the mirror, noting how different she looked from her usual military getup. Her dress was a floor-length Tudor gown made of off-white silk with white lace and gold trimmings. Ribbons lined up vertically on the front panel of her bodice. The skirt was made of white silk which was embroidered in gold and finished off with white lace trimmings, and covered at the sides and back with the off-white material of the gown. Her bell sleeves were also finished off with elaborate layers of white lace from the elbow up to her wrists. White lace embroidered with silvery flowers lined her bodice up to her feet and was outlines with gold trimmings. A dark blue sash with a red outline hung over her right shoulder, and pinned into her left side with a ribbon with a silver grand ross, bearing the insignia of the Survey Corps in the middle, signifying her position as a noble, and as a military woman. She sighed, giving herself another once over, before walking over to Levi who already had the door of her room open.
“You should be leading me into the court.” Luna teased, feeling a bit more comfortable with herself, and also confident that Levi will be a bit more gentle with her now that she is wearing this heavy dress. Levi only clicked his tongue, and offered Luna a hand, and led her to the holding area at the second floor, where they were instructed to go to after they were done with their preparations.
They were led to the double doors leading into the main ballroom of the palace. Luna pressed her ear to the wooden surface to hear the faint sounds of the people at the party, while gripping onto Levi’s hand tightly. Levi could feel the coldness of her palms through his white gloves. She was that nervous.
“Shithead, stop holding my hand so tightly. We’re not going on an expedition, what makes you so fucking nervous?” Levi said a bit too harshly which made Luna let go of his hand, and wipe it on her dress.
“I’m just worried I would make a mess out of myself out there. I don’t belong there. I’m a soldier. Not a fucking noble.” Luna said, fingering her curls nervously, as she gave Levi a side-glance to see if he was angry with her.
One of the guards approached them, telling them that they will be called into the ballroom in a few minutes, and the squad leader took a deep breath and straightened her posture. The Lance Corporal offered his hand to Luna, and she took it and gave him a small smile. Levi squeezed her hand, as her presence was announced to the court. The double doors were opened, bathing the squad leader and the corporal with the light from the ballroom. Levi tugged lightly at Luna’s hand and led her into the grand ballroom.
All of the beautifully dressed nobles were lined at the side giving them a round of applause as Levi led Luna to the throne where Historia was sitting. Luna could hear some whispers from the nobles commenting on how the both of them looked. She smiled as she heard the people comment on how beautiful her dress was, and even more on how Humanity’s Strongest was actually a very handsome man.
A/N: Levi’s dress was inspired by THIS and Luna’s was based off Hizaki’s Curse of Virgo dress.
Court Uniforms are used by military men as replacement for their usual military uniform when attending formal functions. A great example of the use of Court Uniforms is Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding.
A bit of research told me that in traditional court presentations or debuts, girls wore white gowns, which gave me a bit of a shock, then I realized that these parties were held so that society will know that the girl is ready for marriage. You could probably say that it was a sneak peek on how they would look like wearing the white dress. Lol. In my country, debutantes have more control over what design and color of gown they wear. Heck, some even have a ton of outfit changes during the party, though it is usually the family who organizes these type of parties for their daughters, so none of that signing up and approving process in a formal debut.
Sashes and badges. These are for high ranking officials who were either issued an order from the royal court or holds high-ranking positions in the government/military. Military women’s traditional court uniforms are boring in my opinion, and it is just not something that a girl should be wearing on her debut, so I opted for the sashes and badges. I did not go into much research anymore regarding the relationship of the design of the sash and badge with the position that an individual holds, so I pretty much just assigned colors for Luna and Levi’s sashes. Blue for Luna, since she technically holds a place in the royal court, and I have seen many royalties wearing blue sash, while green for Levi since that is the color of the military, or more specifically, the Survey Corps (This is based on the colors of the bolo ties worn by the commanding officers of each branch. Erwin was wearing green.).
I decided to chop this chapter up into two parts, seeing that describing the clothes and all the formalities took a lot of space. So, in the next chapter which I will be publishing shortly after this, we get to see the party, and a new development in Luna and Levi’s relationship.