May 19, 2019 2:57 PM
A Margaret in Fabulous
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Mariposa says, "We have targets but if you don't have your stardarters yet that won't do you much good. Sometimes we do cardio so we're in better condition, that'll especially help with you since you can fly, Sumiko can stay in the air a lot longer than she could last year."

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"Cardio is a good idea! I'll definitely want to use the targets when I can, but for now, Sumiko, do you want to go flying?"

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"Yeah!" says Sumiko, and she takes a short running start and gets into the air. She has shorts on under the sailor skirt.

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Margaret needs a few more steps of running start to take off than Sumiko did, but she gets in the air and does also have shorts on under her dress. Between the lack of practice and the heavy metal skin she's not the most maneuverable of airborne beings, but there's plenty of space out here. 

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"You might want another couple inches of wingspan," says Sumiko, maneuvering into position ahead of Margaret so she can use her wake and craning her neck to see. "It can make a big difference, and you can shrink 'em back down when you land if you prefer."

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Margaret checks that she has enough altitude to recover from a midair stumble and isn't about to crash into Sumiko, then tries lengthening her wings on the fly.

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She does stumble; it's hard to fly when you can't see where you're going, little though it might seem to matter in the sky. But the change doesn't take that long and she has an easier time getting loft.

"I don't know if you've already cut scale weight as much as you can - what are they?" asks Sumiko. "It doesn't matter that much how scratchable or whatever they are since you can always fix them in starscape."

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Margaret had gone for steel in the initial rush of excitement and hadn't remembered to update it when she took the plunge on wings. She lands, letting her wings drag on the ground for a minute (no pun intended), and swaps the steel for aluminum. Thin plates but not too thin, she wants a bit of built-in armor. The result is a fair bit lighter, though she still weighs more than any baseline human of her same (rather small) height and girth.

When she takes off again, she's still no hummingbird but she's a lot more graceful than she was. She gets back up to Sumiko's altitude and calls out, "Thank you, that did a lot!"

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"No problem!" Sumiko calls back.

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Margaret will enjoy her new airworthiness for a while before she gets worn out and lands, well before Sumiko needs to. Cardio: definitely a priority.

For that matter, she wonders if bulking up her muscles in the starscape will actually make her stronger. Something to experiment on when she gets home.

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Back on the ground, they're all standing in a circle around Hattie, suggesting aesthetic adjustments for her to try and seeing what the magic thinks of them.

"No, that's not any better than the version with the brass fittings," reports Hattie, and then she opens her eyes. "Hey, we should do this for Margaret, she's new."

"Ooh, yeah," says Aaliyah.

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"That sounds awesome! What should I try first?"

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"What are you going for with that sleeve thing?" asks Larissa. "Asymmetry can work but you have to be pretty careful and I'm not sure the way it kind of wraps is working for you."

"Yeah if I were doing that I'd do the one sleeve in very open-work lace," muses Josephine.

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"I didn't want to have nothing at all on my arms", says Margaret as she enters the starscape. "Hmmm . . ."

The arm thing disappears. After a bit, it's replaced with a sleeve in open lacework, in a diamond pattern that echoes but doesn't directly mimic the overlapping scales underneath. Select intersections in the lace get little gems, white this time to show up better against the blue.

She makes the sleeve bell out at the end to keep having a drapey wrist-thing. It was just too fun to fidget with to give up that easily.

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"Ooh, that looks better to me, does it feel better on your end?" says Hattie. It does, a bit.

"You have to make a lot of really subtle changes at the high end, you get a lot of the low hanging fruit just by putting on a dress," says Aaliyah.

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"Hard to say, it really is subtle."

She switches back and forth a couple times, "listening" carefully for any magical feedback. She also tries turning the gems on the lacework sleeve from white to green and back to see if that does anything.

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It prefers lace to the swirl and it prefers white gems to black or green.

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She'll go with those, then, she likes them best too. "The lace does help, yeah! What else should I try? Maybe different shoes?"

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"Yeah, yours aren't very interesting - but don't go with heels if you can't run in them, you can't take off indoors," says Hattie.

"I just change my shoes real quick if I have to run," says Larissa, who is wearing high heeled sandals that do not look running-friendly. "Like this -" She quickchanges into snug high boots of soft leather with no fasteners. "Oh, and don't fall into the trap of making it so you can take them off, who needs that? If you need laces for the aesthetic you can do it for that without worrying about practical off-and-on."

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Shoes are hard. Margaret hikes up her dress a bit so the others can see her shins better, and thinks.

The boots extend up above her knees, and get tight enough around her lower thighs to be self-supporting. Then they split into a collection of separate diamond-shaped panels held together by fine chains, each panel pierced with an elaborate swirl of small holes. 

Margaret is pretty sure this is either awesome or total garbage, but couldn't begin to say which.

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"Hmm, I think something like that could work for gloves but it doesn't look great for shoes..."

Her magic thinks it's an improvement, but not much of one.

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"Yeah, it helps a bit but it's not great. Gloves are kind of a pain in the neck unless you go fingerless, though, and I'm not sure this is a fingerless-gloves kind of outfit . . ."

Does it help to ditch the leatherworking but keep the panel structure? Add even more leatherworking but fuse the panels back together? Change the base color from metallic silver to something more opalescent?

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Fusing the panels and upping the leatherworking helps, opalescent is a little worse.

"I like the opaly thing," says Josephine, "if it's not helping it might be because you're not doing much else with it yet..."

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If she changes the silver bits of her body to the same shade, and adds a single opal to her sapphire tiara . . . ?

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Substantial jump!

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