Clow escaped the droning voices and the heat of the hall by slipping unnoticed out onto the balcony.
The curtains fell back over the door behind him,
open slightly so that he could keep listening to what was being said inside by the council -- mages whose chief ability seemed to be a talent for making interesting news dull.
Outside, the air moved slowly through the sleepy summer day, stirring the leaves in the garden below.
When he leaned over the stone wall, he saw a figure moving among the slim trees, thin as a sylph herself.
She was gazing at a butterfly that had landed on her fingertips -- or at least, she seemed to be,
since she was wearing a lace veil that covered her face and the shoulders of her long-sleeved dress.
Clow removed his spectacles in contemplation, wiped them on the honorary stole that marked him as a member of the mages' council, and set them back again on his face.
He leaned against the wall with more interest.
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