“He’s moving, Mama!” A high-pitched voice sounded beside Sebastian’s ear, and he shifted irritably.
Whoever said children sounded like angels had been mistaken.
Footsteps plodded through the room, as if a miniature elephant were roaming about it. Perhaps one of his friends had brought a foal or other animal into his house. It wouldn’t be the first time one of his friends from the now-defunct Hades’ Lair had decided to play a prank on him.
No doubt, there was no small child here either. Just one of his friends, testing his falsetto abilities.
Sebastian grudgingly opened his eyes. He blinked. Normally, when Sebastian opened his eyes, he gazed upon a particularly naughty French painting:
Venus in Repose. The white plaster before him was an imperfect replacement. Sebastian rather missed Venus’s soft, rounded curves and the manner in which her skin glowed on the silky strands of verdant grass the painter had depicted her on.
Where on earth was he?
His head ached. Pain ripped through it, accompanied by an odd pounding, as if some tin miner had crawled into his head and had decided to dig his way out, armed solely with his hammer and chisel.
Well, the horrible pain rather explained things. Obviously, he’d managed to get absolutely drunk last night.
He scrunched his forehead together. Clearly, the public house needed to improve the quality of their spirits. They must have sold him firewater, at a potency that even he couldn’t be expected to drink unscathed.
He would have to speak with the manager immediately.
He nodded. If his head pounded in such a ferocious manner, then others’ heads must also pound in a ferocious manner. It was only polite to inform them of where they were going wrong.
This bed, certainly, was imperfect. It was lumpy. He wriggled in it. Yes, it was decidedly lumpy. Clearly, they hadn’t changed the feathers in years. What sort of establishment used old feathers? He shook his head. Obviously, this place lacked standards.
“Mama! Mama!” the boy called. “Genevieve!”
Sebastian frowned. Was this public house run entirely by females?
No doubt, this person’s mother was simply a servant here.
Footsteps approached him.
Sebastian didn’t bother to turn his head. Turning his head would be painful, given his outrageous hangover.
“Can you please bring me some coffee?” Sebastian asked.
“See? He’s talking,” said the high-pitched boy again.
“How marvelous,” said a female voice.
Sebastian shifted uncomfortably in the bed. Most of his friends said Sebastian was always quick to take an opportunity to brag, but he wondered whether he might have met someone even quicker to give him compliments than himself.
Talking was an activity he’d mastered by the time he was two, and he’d just been increasing the frequency of his use of multi-syllabled words since then. Perhaps Sebastian hadn’t given himself enough credit for that achievement, and he flashed a beatific smile at the maids who approached.