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The cell door clanged shut with a ringing finality as Clef was shoved through, stumbling into Umi's shoulder, as the guards left them both in the small rocky cell with no light except the amount coming through the barred window in the door itself.

"And get your Captain back here so I can yell at them too!" Umi was shouting as she grabbed Clef's arms and kept him mostly upright. They both knew it wasn't going to do any good - whatever translation spell Mokona had lain on the Magic Knights when they were first summoned to Cephiro, it couldn't deal with the language here. Umi could yell until she was hoarse, no one would know what she meant. Which, given some of the things she'd been saying, was probably for the best.

Clef didn't have a translation spell, and he didn't understand a word anyone had said, but he wasn't doing any yelling. The heavy cuffs locked about his wrists saw to that. They were suppressing his magic - and as he looked about the cell, he shivered hard; the walls seemed made of the same glossy stone as the cuffs themselves. His head was stinging, and every joint in his body ached.

This was what he got for trying to teach Umi how to actually control the transportation spell; a whole new world of trouble that she'd literally dropped them into.

"Gah," Umi muttered, pulling him away from the door. "Okay. Do you have any idea where we are?"

Clef stared at her. "Why would I know where we are? You're the one who brought us here!"

"I didn't mean to!" Umi snapped back, letting go of his arms. "I was trying to get us to Autozam, just as you asked me to, then- it was like something dragged me down out of the spell, it felt like a massive cobweb wrapped about my magic, real nasty. I just thought you might recognise something, or actually understand what they're saying, or. I don't know."

Dropping to the floor, Clef leaned his head back against one of the walls. It made the aching get worse, but he wasn't sure he could stay upright under his own power. A stinging head was quickly progressing to narrowed vision and an uncertainty which direction was up. "…That sounds like a trap," he muttered. "But why would a trap have landed us in the middle of some kind of ceremony?" Quite literally in the middle of it; the moments while Umi had been taking them to Autozam had been as smooth as that kind of spell ever was, until a sideways jolt had thumped them down into the middle of a circle of singing robed figures stood about a statue on a pedestal.

Clef had thumped into the pedestal and grabbed for it when it started to topple over. He wasn't actually sure whether it was his magic or touching the statue that had warranted the cuffs.

That Umi was, as yet, without them did argue he'd transgressed by saving the statue (or by bumping into it in the first place, involuntary though it was.) They certainly didn't seem to realise she was the one who had brought them here.

He was going to do everything he could to keep it that way, but there was one spell he needed her to try.

"Can you get out?" he asked, making himself look up at her. "Can you reach your magic, even in here?"

"Why wouldn't I be able to?" Umi said, slowly, looking from the cuffs on his wrists to the walls and back. "Clef… what's going on?"

"The only reason I can think of to set a trap like that is to try to catch some kind of a spirit to power your ceremony. And these things… they're definitely interfering with my ability to access my power. The cell is enhancing the effect." That was an understatement. "Given we seem to have not been quite what they were expecting but close enough that the suppressant they had on hand has worked… if possible, I would rather like you to get back to Cephiro and see if someone can work out where I am before they decide to try finishing the ceremony off. I doubt it would be good for my health."

"Being used as a battery doesn't sound like much fun," Umi agreed, voice dropping. As the only equivalent ceremonies he'd ever heard rumour of usually involved the death of the 'power-source', Clef whole-heartedly agreed.

He didn't see any way that Cephiro would be able to find him, but at least if Umi could get herself out, they couldn't harm her.

"But why would I go for help, and not just take you with me?" Umi asked, suddenly, dropping down in front of him and grabbing his hands. She pulled them onto her lap, staring at the cuffs, head bowed in the thin trickle of light. "Do these-"

"I suspect you won't get me out through the walls, not with these on," Clef said, closing his eyes with a sigh. Umi's hands were cool and steady, and his fingers ached less where she was touching him.

"If I was wearing my glove," Umi muttered, and nothing more. It had been years since she'd gone around with her gauntlet on all the time. "I can feel my magic, though it's a bit weird in here, my head feels all - floaty. But if I can't take you with me, I'm not leaving."

"If you don't leave, how will anyone know to start looking for us?" Clef countered, even as he gave in to an impulse and slid his hands a little further up her arms, until the delicate smooth skin of her inner wrists was against his finger tips. He could feel her heartbeat pulsing fast as she took in a breath.

"No," she told him, flatly.

He looked her straight in the eyes. His voice trembled, though not as much as his hands were starting to. "Please, Umi."

There was a long moment's silence as she tried to stare him down, but after a few moments she looked away, swearing. "I'm still going to try to take you with me."

Clef drew in a shaking breath, closing his eyes in relief. All he wanted was for her to get out of here. "If you can, I'm in favour of it. I just don't know it will be feasible."

Umi shifted closer, leaning in and tugging at Clef's hands until he leant away from the wall, and slumped into her shoulder. Her arms went about his back, and he allowed himself to hold her as tightly as he could this one time, forehead pressed to the curve of her neck, as her magic rose about them. It tugged at him, but slid off like soapy fingers trying to grip the edge of a bath, and when the spell spiralled away it left him alone.

The heaviness of the room pressed closer, and Clef let himself slump back against the wall and out of consciousness, his one imperative task complete.


He was dragged back to aching reality by Umi's voice yelling his name, and opened his eyes to see her leaning over him, expression invisible in the gloom of the room.

It felt like days had passed, but it was probably hours; there was no way to tell. The one light outside the cell didn't waver, unlike Umi's hands as she grabbed hold of him, and he was caught in a dizzying tangle of relief and terror. "You came back! Umi, why- go, you have to-"

"Of course I came back," Umi snapped at him, even as she dragged him closer until his head was on her lap. It was so much nicer than bare floor. But she shouldn't be here. "Help is on the way, just - hold on, okay? I don't know how long it's going to take to get to us-"

Her fingers were combing through his hair, but even with the terrible headache lessened a fraction he was struggling to stay conscious, and he knew very little of the next few hours.

In fact, his next clear memory was of the door being flung open, light flooding in on them, and looking up to see Princess Tarta of Chizeta in the doorway looking absolutely livid and very regal, standing back as several guards scurried in to remove his cuffs.

"What-" he managed, before the release of the cuffs let his power loose, like a flood of pins and needles all over and he couldn't concentrate to say anything more.

"I said help was coming," Umi told him, as she helped him to his feet. "I never actually said I went to Cephiro."


The Princess gestured at them both, and with Umi's help he stumbled across the floor, wincing in the sharp light of the corridor. There were armed guards with Tarta, not all of them from Chizeta. Clef couldn't help but stumble to a halt, trying to work out what this would cost them, all of them-

Umi got her arm around his waist, pressing tight against his side and getting them behind Tarta as fast as she could. "Come on, we're getting out of here."

Bewildered and stumbling, he went.