Larry and Hogrod were back in the Dragon’s Cauldron, surrounded by their purchases and chatting about Pigburps.
“So, when you get there, you will be sorted into one of 4 houses, Spiffingdor, (that’s supposed to be the best, most spiffing house), Baconlure, (for people who like to eat), Chucklepuff, (for good natured happy people) and Slithering. There isn’t a wizard gone bad that wasn’t in Slithering!” explained Hogrod animatedly.
“Wow,” said Larry, awestruck. He couldn’t wait to get to Pigburps, it sounded brilliant!
“Oh! Larry, I almost forgot!” Hogrod bent down under the table to retrieve a one of the shopping bags. “I bought you a birthday present!”
“Oh my god! I can’t believe it! I forgot it was my birthday today!” Larry said, astounded.
“Well, I remembered. Do you like owls?”
“Wow! You bought me an owl? Do all amazing wizards like me own owls?”
“Well, owls are very handy for delivering letters and such, but what I got you is way better than owl,” Hogrod pulled a shoddily wrapped parcel out of a bag and handed it to Larry. "Happy Birthday. I can’t imagine you had many birthday presents living with your aunts."
Larry opened it eagerly, and then almost started crying from disappointment when he saw what it was. It was the ugliest thing he had ever seen. It was a gigantic umbrella, made from a stuffed owl, the wings spread to protect you from the rain.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” Hogrod cooed, stroking the hideous bird’s beak.
“Stunning.” Larry said unenthusiastically, annoyed with the horrendous gift.
“Oh dear Merlin!” cried a voice from the other side of the pub. “That boy has murdered an owl!”
Unfortunately for Larry and Hogrod, the APE society (Animals Protected by the Elderly society) had chosen that Friday evening to have their monthly meeting, and were in the Dragon’s Cauldron to see Larry’s unsightly new possession. Even more unfortunately for Larry and Hogrod, when the APE society get together, they get drunk. And when they get drunk, they get violent.
“GET THEM!” screeched a voice, and the whole society got up to chase Larry and Hogrod out of the pub. Hogrod, being a dwarf and having short legs jumped onto Larry’s back and together they ran out of the pub, closely followed by the stampede of animal activists.
Larry tripped over a cobble and sprawled over the path. The society caught up with them and took out their wands. They all had beige clothes, wrinkles, bald patches and murderous expressions on their faces. They were quite intimidating!
“How dare you kill an innocent owl!” asked a particularly vicious looking member (her purple tinted perm was becoming increasingly frizzy with rage), waving her walking stick menacingly.
“I didn’t kill it! It’s just an umbrella! I didn’t ask for this monstrosity!” Larry protested, gesturing to the stuffed bird at his feet, which had lost a foot in the commotion.
“Hey! I thought you would like it; it’s from that fascinating shop, Brollyvanders!” Hogrod said, hurt.
“So Brollyvanders is to blame for this brutal murder?” said the old, wrinkly witch.
“Well the owl probably died of natural causes…” Hogrod began before Larry interrupted.
“Yes! It’s all that crazy shop keepers fault!” He wanted to get the angry activists off his back, and was excited at the prospect of the insane dragon being attacked by them.
The group left, summoning flamed torches and pitchforks with their wands as they left.
“That was close!” Larry breathed a sigh of relief
“You don’t think they’re going to hurt him do you? Or report him to the police? Where would I get my brollies from?”
“Hogrod, honestly. You have survived your whole life without Brollyvanders, I’m sure you’ll be fine without it.”
“I suppose you’re right. I should get you home, you’ve had a long day and you will have to be up bright and early in the morning to go to Pigburps.”
“Wait, school starts tomorrow?”
“Yes, did I not mention that? Let’s go back to the Dragon’s Cauldron; you can travel by Poo powder back to Private Drive.”
“What’s Poo powder?”
“It’s a magical powder that allows you to travel freely between toilets. I keep forgetting how completely clueless you are.”
When they got back to the pub, they went into the men’s toilets and Hogrod told Larry what he would have to do in the morning.
“Go to St Pancras station and get to platform 3 and a half. Here is your ticket.” He passed a bright red ticket to Larry, “…and your Poo powder,” he gave him a handful of brown shiny dust. He roughly shoved Larry into a cubicle and explained that he should throw the powder into the bowl and follow it in.
“Wait! Platform 3 and a half?” Larry questioned. Saying those words whilst standing in a toilet with Poo powder slowly dissolving in it was not a smart move. Before he could say the name of his actual desired location, he started spinning like a top and soon found himself tumbling out of an unfamiliar cubicle, covered in – for lack of a nicer word – crap.
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