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oOo

Clef woke up slowly to an aching head and a nasty fuzziness in the back of his throat. He was curled up on the floor, from what he could tell – he didn’t want to risk opening his eyes, not with a headache like this. He moaned slightly and curled further into himself. The awful feeling meant one of two things had happened: someone had drugged and kidnapped him (bad luck them, he felt ready to do some prison-breaking), or someone had managed to get him drunk.

His memory wasn’t helping, but that could follow either theory. All he could recall was odd memories of bright colours and swirling, and the scent of lighting burning in the air. He winced. Please, let me have been kidnapped…

Inching one hand out, his fingers brushed up against a post of carved wood – recognisable as one of the legs of his bed, unfortunately, which meant that the worst was true. Somehow he had managed to get thoroughly drunk. The temptation to give in to his aching head and go back to sleep got stronger – his alcohol tolerance was only moderate, and drinking more than the occasional single glass of wine tended to end with unwise and frequently destructive acts of magic. Cleaning up whatever he’d blown up this time was a prospect he did not want to face.

Then something in the room shifted. He felt the vibrations in the floor beneath him, and he risked opening one eye slightly, to peek around.

Clef looked straight into a large, slit-pupiled set of gleaming yellow eyes, and shot backwards away from them in a blur of motion that only stopped when he slammed backwards into a large, blue, scaled tail.

Selece?” He forgot both titles and volume control in his shock and regretted it when his head throbbed harder.

That head got closer, peering down at him. “My Knight set me to watch over you and prevent you casting any more magic."

Clef winced, less at the volume of Selece’s voice than at the size of it. He forcibly ignored the embarrassment of having a god sent to baby-sit him, at least for the moment, and looked around the room with bleary eyes. His bedroom looked just as he remembered it – well, what he could see beyond the large blue dragon curled round him, anyway. “…What did I blow up this time?” he asked, more rhetorically than to Selece.

“Are you prone to exploding things when intoxicated?”

“…Sometimes.” Clef admitted.

Selece laughed, and that was painful, though it didn't continue too long. “Rest assured, little mage, you did not destroy anything last night.”

“I didn’t?” What, then, had the memory of lightning been about?

“You decided a thunderstorm would do the gardens some good, but nothing was harmed by that, and you may have been right. The plants outside are pleased this morning, at least. But when you came realise you were …impaired, you attempted to safeguard the situation by securing yourself in a room on your own.” Selece continued, lowering his voice a few degrees until it wasn’t going to break Clef’s head apart – but only just.

“Well, at least that was sensible.” Clef muttered. Selece remained suspiciously silent. “…Or not?”

“It would have been, but the closest room without other people was the workroom which has recently been in use by the boy from Autozam, for his experiments in integrating Cephiran magic and their technology. There was apparently some concern that a few of the components present might be… volatile.”

Wincing again, he rubbed a hand over his face. “But I didn’t explode anything?”

“No. You were talked out of the room, and brought away, though my Knight seemed to be of the opinion it would serve the boy right to lose his ‘toys’, save it would have put you in danger. After all, it was his drink you mistook for your own. She was of the opinion he should have been taking better care of his glass.”

Clef huffed a laugh, able to picture that all too well. “Please tell me that was the end of it, at least, and evening held no more embarrassment?”

Selece paused, again, and Clef dropped his head back to look up at the one large yellow eye he could see from this angle. He was feeling too flustered – and hungover – to manage awe as well, which would probably leave him mortified over again later.

“Go ahead. Tell me, please, before Umi does.”

“…I am not certain whether it would be considered embarrassing,” Selece mused. “It is simply that you insisted none but my Umi could escort you away.”

Clef stared up at that unreadable face a moment longer, then closed his eyes, hiding them behind an arm for good measure. “That does count as embarrassing.” He managed, voice coming out slightly strangled and his cheeks heating up.

Whether he wanted to hear it or not, Selece continued. “You appeared concerned that anyone else might end up on fire. Although when asked why my Knight was not at risk, it was apparently not because her power is highly suitable for extinguishing purposes, but merely because ‘of course I could never hurt Umi, don’t ask silly questions.’

“…Oh dear.” With his eyes shut and sheltered by his arm, he felt Selece move rather than seeing it, but something in the deliberate, controlled motion made him look up – and he found himself being decidedly loomed over.

“Therefore, little mage, I have one question for you. What are your intentions towards my knight?”

Looking up into a decidedly draconic smirk – which involved more teeth than Clef was at all comfortable with – he found his mind had gone entirely blank. “Um.” He swallowed.

“Aah.” Selece curled closer. “I think we shall have a good conversation, this morning, little mage.”

Clef swallowed, and swore to himself that next time he was at a party, he was going to take great care to not confuse his drink with anyone else’s.

oOo