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Umi only meant to take a quick look through the cupboard - more a store-room, really, a full two metres high and three deep, lined with shelves full of interesting glittering materials. It was one of Presea's storage spaces, for things that were volatile enough they were best stored in a shielded space well away from any active use of magic.

Presea had dropped in and opened it up on the way out of lunch - when Umi asked if she could have a look, Presea waved a cheerful hand and told her to make shut the door was shut when she was done, it would lock automatically.

Stepping inside, Umi hadn't thought too much about the ramifications of that until there was a quiet 'snick' behind her, and she turned from contemplating a vial of glimmering silver-and-blue dust to see the door standing closed behind her. Either it had slowly swung closed behind her, or someone had noticed it was open a fraction and had pushed it the rest of the way shut on their way past, without checking if someone was inside.

She must have been banging on the door for a good ten minutes before she realised if she couldn't hear anyone on the other side, no one out there would be able to hear her either.

"Well, blast," she muttered, stepping back from the door and then flopping down to sit on the floor, propping one arm on her knee so she could res her head in her hand. When Presea had said it was shielded she had figured that was against magic, not everything else as well!

She'd been the last of her friends out of the dining hall, and none of them were expecting her to show up until dinner time - even if they started asking around then, who knew how long it would be until they spoke to Presea?

Who might not even be at dinner - the smiths had their own little dining hall now, in the building Presea had set up as their headquarters out in the castle gardens. And if this place was shielded that well, would Clef even find her with a tracking spell?

Umi stared up at the walls and swallowed trying not to panic. She was in the Castle, it wasn't like she like she was lost in the woods. Someone would find her.


A glitter from the closest shelf caught her eyes and she turned to see one of the clear liquid - which had confused her when she entered the room because it has been so very plain - well, it wasn't plain now. A glimmering blue-white light was flickering at the heart of it, pulsing slightly in time with-

In time with every breath she took.

'Magically unstable', Presea had called the items in her. Umi shivered, looking about and tried to take a deep breath and calm down. The light faded a little as she did so - and there were a couple of other items which changed colour, or shrank a little.

"Right," she told herself, saying it aloud. In the somewhat forlorn hope it would sound more effective that way. "I need to find a way out fo here. This is Cephiro, so where there's will enough, there's a way, right?"

The shelves didn't answer her. She glared at the locked door. "I just need to be on the other side of you," she told it. "Wait. Clef transports himself about all the time. I should be able to work that out, right?"

Ten minutes later, all she had for her troubles was a headache and a lot of ominously glowing rocks. "I should be able to get through a little cupboard door!" Umi snapped, finally. "I can get myself from Cephiro to Tokyo! It must be similar." She raised her hands again, closed her eyes, and concentrated as hard as she could on her need to be out of this closet. Magic rose sluggishly about her, and she searched in vain for a warmth, for words…

/Hey, if I work it out, maybe I could take myself to Chizeta for a holiday. Wouldn't that startle Tarta,/ she thought - and her magic suddenly snapped together around her, just as it did when they came to Cephiro, and dragged her away.


Umi opened her eyes, blinked at Tarta's startled face, and wobbled. "Huh," she said, voice faint. "Wasn't expecting that."

"Umi?" Tarta yelped, and then she was reaching out and grabbing her as Umi swayed and almost fell to her knees. "What did you - how are you here?!"

"Knew you'd shout, though," Umi said, highly satisfied, leaning against her shoulder. "…And I got out of the cupboard! Take that, shielding!"


Half an hour later, having been sat down and given a large glass of water and several snacks by a flurry of attendants Tatra sent running about while Tarta was helping Umi not fall over, they sat her down in front of one of the big communication devices and put a call through to Cephiro. Tatra asked politely if they could speak to the Guru, and someone was sent to fetch him - obviously they hadn't known to warn him, though, because he walked in looking mildly confused, saw Umi, and froze.

//Umi - Umi why are you in Chizeta?// he demanded. //You were here an hour ago! I saw you at dinner!//

"Hi Clef! Tarta yelled too," Umi told him, cheerfully. "I got stuck in a closet. But I got myself out again!"

//So I can see!// Clef snapped back at her, pressing his hand between his eyes as if trying to stave off a headache. //Of all the foolish - how did you even get locked in a closet?//

"Long story. More importantly, I'm good to send myself back, right? I mean, it's been most of an hour and I've had a snack, so…"

Clef pressed both his hands to his head then, and dropped into a chair. //…You are going to sit right there until I've taught you the theory, so you don't land yourself in the middle of a wall, or five miles underground, or anything else foolish,// he snapped.

The impromptu magic lesson was entertaining itself; Tarta and Tatra were both fascinated with Clef's explanations, and kept asking him so many questions that Umi felt completely like herself when he finally, grudgingly allowed her to take herself back. The Princesses waved goodbye, and Umi closed her eyes, concentrated, and ran through the visualisation exercise Clef had insisted on - imagining the Receiving Hall in all the detail she could remember, putting herself in the picture, and then reaching for her magic…

His warnings about all the ways transportation could go wrong had been rather off-putting, but she'd been fine coming the other way! She was sure it would work. All she needed to do was send herself back pretty much the way she'd come, and-

Magic rose about her, and Umi relaxed into it, let it take her away.


She opened her eyes again, pleased that the world wasn't spinning quite so much - and stared about herself at the inside of the same damn cupboard she'd started out in.

"Oh, no," Umi declared, watching wide-eyed as the rocks and bottles on the shelves started vibrating. She'd never, she realised, actually told anyone which cupboard she'd been stuck in - and Clef would be waiting for her in the Receiving Hall, and-

The first shining cracks appeared in the closest rock, and Umi grabbed her magic in a rush, and flung herself away.


This time, she appeared two foot above the floor, and fell forwards into Tarta's arms with a sharp cry. Tarta, bless her, caught Umi before she could bounce off and hit the ground, and lowered her to the floor.

"You're back," Tarta said, eyes wide. "Why are you- Umi!"

"Someone call Clef," Umi said, urgently. "Tell him Presea's cupboard's about to explode?"

"It, what? Umi!"

"The cupboard," Umi insisted, and then she could hold on no more.


She woke up after a long enough time she could tell it was late, and she was - in bed, wrapped up in blankets, with a vague memory of Clef telling her she was the worst student he'd ever had.

"Why would Clef be yelling at me in Chizeta?" she muttered, and dragged her arms up to rub at aching eyes.

"Why wouldn't I be yelling at you?" Clef said, and Umi bolted upright to see him glaring at her from the end of the bed. Tarta, also glaring, was sat on the mattress by Umi's feet.

Sitting up that fast had been a mistake; the world span, and she flopped back onto the pillows with a groan.

"That serves you right," Tarta said, primly, but she reached out and grabbed Umi's closest hand, which helped some. Then Clef's hand was on her forehead, and that helped, too.

"Well," he said, after a moment. "I hope you wanted to impose yourself on your friend's mercy for a few days, we're going to be here a little while. I'm not letting you touch another spell for a few days, you nearly kicked yourself into a backlash with that. Even my magic's not going to be a good idea."

"The closet?" Umi said, forcing her eyes open again. "It looked like it was about to go boom, Clef, and it's on a main corridor, and-"

He sighed, and flopped down on the bed, the other side of her from Tarta. "Presea dealt with it. No one's hurt, and none of those materials are currently needed urgently. It's fine. …Sometimes we all forget that you don't know as much about Cephiro as someone born to us."

"…Don't tell me there's a phone in there or something," Umi muttered, and he snorted, and patted her arm.

"I won't tell you, then. But if you get stuck in one again, look for the bright red rock stuck to the wall by the door, and hit it. For now… sleep, Umi. It's fine. Princess Tarta has said we can stay as long as we need - I don't know why, as you apparently attempted to flatten her twice…"

"She caught me," Umi told him, and he patted her arm again with a sigh.

"Yes, she did. Now, will you do her and me both a favour, and go to sleep?"

With Clef holding her arm one side, Tarta holding her other hand, it was hard to stay worried about anything enough to fight off the exhaustion still trying to swallow her. When Tarta added her order to Clef's, Umi obeyed both of them, and slept.