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Chapter 2 : History of Magic
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*swoon* everafter at tda is a god
The following morning entailed rain – a dreary start to the academic term. We were given our timetables at breakfast, along with a dose of authority from James, who was somehow convinced that the Ravenclaws had hexed one of the second year Gryffindor's with a nasty twitching jinx.
“I will launch an investigation”, I told him over my bowl of muesli.
His hazel eyes glowered back at me. “Not good enough. Your lot are the only ones dorky enough to know an advanced spell like that”.
“Anyone can take out a copy of Quiggs Quilled Magic, James. It’s not wandlore”.
“The fact that you know where the bloody thing comes from proves that it has something to do with your house”.
“Watch your mouth Potter. I could make those dreamy eyes of yours shut forever if I wanted to”, Chrissy murmured, tapping her wand against her glossy lips.
James glared and shuffled uneasily. “I want this taken care of”.
I assessed this sudden interest in other student’s welfare. “Who is the boy?” I asked. He was currently standing beside James, his head bobbing and his left arm repeatedly banging against the bowl of scrambled eggs.
James lifted his chin a little. “Stefan McLaggen”.
My nose wrinkled. “McLaggen? Then I would hedge a guess that this-”, I gestured to the convulsing boy, “-was through duelling”.
“And what’s your guess based on? What people have said about his Dad?”
I swallowed my cereal forcefully, to prevent it becoming lodged in my throat.
Today was just becoming even more surprising. James opinions on other people were normally straight from his Dad or my own. If Harry Potter so much as lifted an eyebrow when James mentioned a new acquaintance, then he ended the friendship in a blink of an eye. To be preached by him was laughable.
“No. My guess is based on the incident that one of the Prefects recorded last year. McLaggen was caught being the little hero when one of the Slytherins pushed a friend of his in the mud. Of course if you ever turned up to any Prefect meetings you would have known this and you would have also known that McLaggen has a reputation for always coming worst off in the fights, even when his opponents don’t even remember casting the spells that he is inflicted with”.
James’s jaw stiffened, then, giving me and Chrissy the filthiest of looks, he stalked away from the Ravenclaw table, dragging little McLaggen behind him.
Harrison slid into his empty seat and passed out the timetables he had collected. “Potter looks happy”, he commented.
“Babe, pass over the veg sausages”, Chrissy commanded, snapping her fingers at the dish.
Harrison looked up, one brow lifted. “Lost your legs, babe?”
My eyes darted away from the timetable to the scene in front of me. Unusual behaviour for a conquest. And from the look on the brunette’s face, she was equally confused.
“Please”. She didn't whine, but the sound was pitiful enough for Harrison to roll his eyes and go find the vegetarian sausages.
I watched his retreating figure.
“I'm tiring of him”, Chrissy muttered.
“Really? I assumed you were enjoying the challenge”.
“There are challenges and then there are tests. And at the moment that boy is testing me. I won’t have it for much longer”, she stated.
“What? The resistance to your charms or the brain cells?”
“If he had any brain cells then he wouldn’t be with me in the first place”, she said dryly.
I returned to my timetable. It was refreshing to see subjects such as Care of Magical Creatures and Divination off my timetable. Though I did have two lessons on top of one another, it was nothing me and the Time-Turner couldn’t handle.
“We’re in Advanced Potions together”, Harrison pointed out, as he returned to the table with Chrissy’s sausages.
“Yes….”, I mumbled, distracted by the little name underneath History of Magic. Professor Binns had been my teacher since I had arrived, but this year his name had been exchanged for Professor Whitlock.
I checked Chrissy’s timetable. She had the same class as me, with the exact same teacher.
“Why is Binns not doing History of Magic?” I asked.
“He still does”, Harrison answered. “Whitlock just teaches the N. E.W.T course”.
“Have you seen what we’ve got first?” Chrissy tapped the first box under Monday.
Herbology, with the Slytherins.
Herbology was located in Greenhouse Six, the furthest away from the school. While many of the Slytherin girls squealed their way through the hammering rain, Ravenclaws implemented a basic water repellent charm, ensuring that we were not wringing our hair when we arrived.
“Bit wet outside”, Professor Longbottom said cheerfully. “Great weather for the plants though”.
Nobody smiled back at him.
“Right. Today will be dealing with Aconite. Anyone know what Aconite is used for?”
A few hands went up. But we all knew who would end up awnsering the question.
“Wolfsbane Potion. Only the flowers are used as the leaves produce a very toxic serum, harmful to skin”.
“Five points to Ravenclaw”.
A smug smile lifted my lips.
“As Miss Weasley said, Aconite is toxic to human skin, so I don’t want to see anyone without their gloves on. Harvesting Aconite is quite difficult, as you can see, the plant is seventy-five percent leaves and the flowers are hidden between the vegetation. Plucking the petals is a very delicate job and these plants are extremely expensive, so please, no heavy hands. Once you’ve plucked the petals, you have to dismantle the rest of the plant, cutting down the stem and extracting the juices, who knows why?”
My hand shot into the air.
“When mixed with ground horn it forms a gel used to treat infected areas of the skin, for example rashes”.
“Another five points to Ravenclaw”.
It was impossible to ignore the soundless animosity issuing from the crowd of soggy Slytherins.
Extracting the petals from the Aconite did prove to be a tricky job. With Chrissy designated as petal plucker, I began slicing the stem and as per usual, we were first to finish and allowed to leave ten minutes before the end of the lesson.
“I might wait for Harrison”, Chrissy said, stopping outside the Greenhouse Five.
I blinked. “Ok. If you want to”.
“Rose, I don’t want to. But I'm thinking a show of commitment will make him far more devoted. After all there’s nothing more fun than a guilt trip”.
I was doubtful. But said my goodbyes and headed back up to the castle on my own. The rain had stopped, thankfully, and now the fresh smell of wet grass left me with a spring in my step as I headed up the hill.
Taking out my timetable, I checked what I had while walking along, but before I even read the subject, something hard crashed into me, knocking all my books to the floor.
“Sorry, I didn't mean to–here you go.”
My eyes bulged. It was the hair. I took back my books swiftly. If I could just walk quickly away without him figuring it out-
“Wait”. His voice was sharp.
I turned my head unwillingly. Recognition filled his pale features.
“Weasel”. It sounded like a bad punch line.
“Malfoy”, I swallowed.
A famous sneer curled around his thin lips like a snake. “My apologies”, he said, stepping forward. “I didn't recognise you”.
His hand came down and my books spilled to floor for the second time.
“It won’t happen again”, he smirked. And with that he stalked away, not giving me a second glance.
From then on my day only seemed to go downhill. I received stacks of work from Professor Vector and a eight-hundred word essay from Flitwick. History of Magic was the last lesson and I wasn’t in mood to be trying to gauge how to handle this cryptic Slytherin Head.
Albus waved at me from across the classroom as I sat in one of the back desks, next to Chrissy. History of Magic at N.E.W.T level wasn’t predominantly popular and so houses were mixed together. This caused debate and disorder simultaneously.
Chrissy eyed him with a sultry leer that was positively immoral.
“Have you asked him about his new toy?” She enquired, as I began unloading books onto the desk.
“What he plays with is none of my business”, I replied.
“It is when the dolly is a modelled after you”.
“She looks nothing like me. And even if she did, that wouldn’t matter”, I lowered my voice a little, “Albus is my cousin”.
“Cousins used to marry all the time. Kept the blood pure”, she purred.
My gaze flickered upwards – a silent prayer for the girls’ soul.
“Oh my”, chortled a voice. “Aren’t we chatty today”.
I diverted my eyes from the ceiling to the small figure that had entered the room. Noise ceased and people turned in their seats, watching as the Professor placed her books in two equal stacks on the desk and then turned to face the class, her hands clasped behind her back. As always, her robes looked three sizes too big for her. Her bony hands stuck out like sticks and her gaunt features looked almost excruciatingly joyful.
“For those who I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting yet, I am Professor Whitlock, your new History of Magic Teacher and I look forward to exploring our world’s past with all of you”. She beamed at us. “Now I do have a few rules, so don’t get too cosy. Firstly, I like books off the table. No use learning out of something that is fifty years behind the rest of us.”
There was a loud clattering as books were swept off the table. Unwillingly, I took my copy of History of Magic Grade 8 and set it gently on the floor. There was nothing wrong with learning from textbooks. And wasn’t the very aim of History of Magic to be studying things that were fifty years behind us?
I watched, guardedly, as she flicked her wand at the board. A projector came crashing down.
“Pretty”, Chrissy said.
Pretty was opposite of the image adorning the screen. A man kneeling in what appeared to be his own regurgitated blood, was cradling his tongue, which was not only engorged to a unhealthy size but forked like a snakes.
The image was as repulsive as it was appalling.
“Does anyone know what this curse is? Or more importantly, who created it?” Professor Whitlock, looking completely unfazed by the picture.
Unsurprisingly, no-one raised their hands.
I looked around once and then slowly, reached into the air, my body rigid.
Immediately the Professor’s eyes zoned in on me. She gave a polite smile.
“Sliticouis. It was created by Herpo the Foul one of the earliest Dark Wizards of his time…..”, my voice faded out. Everyone in the class was ogling me.
“Correct”, Professor Whitlock said, her voice alarmingly chirpy in the solemn atmosphere in the room. “I'm afraid I don’t know your name, dear”.
“Weasley. Rose Weasley”.
“Well. Miss Weasley, would you care to name another Great Wizard who also practised this particularly gruesome curse?”
Both the Professor’s eyebrows soared. “Sorry?”
I corrected myself. “I mean, no, because I don’t think Herpo deserves the title of Great Wizard”.
There was a punitive silence. People who were watching me had now let their gaze swivel back to Professor Whitlock, whose lips were pressed tightly together, as if she were struggling to hold back bemusement.
“Miss Weasley, whether you like it or not, Herpo the Foul was one of the most powerful and influential Dark Arts practitioners in wizarding history”.
“He was indeed powerful and influential, but I think to call him a Great Wizard would be heresy….Professor”.
I took no notice of Chrissy’s cautionary glare and stared straight back into the woman’s eyes.
“Hersey?” She gave a short bark of laughter. “Would you like to be a Aurour Miss Weasley?”
“I would like to be someone who recognised evil when it stared them straight in the face”, I said coolly.
The amusement on the Professor’s features vanished. She walked towards me, her heels clunking against the floor. As she approached my desk, I battled the urge to recoil away from her.
She stopped in front of me and Chrissy. “Perhaps”, she said thoughtfully. “You could assist someone as……common as myself to succeed in that endeavour, Miss Weasley. Not all of us are gifted to make such godlike judgments, but to be given guidance from the niece of the great Harry Potter…..well, I would consider myself honoured”.
I went for my wand, but Chrissy had already snatched it from my desk. Unable to do any more than gawp, I did the only thing I could think of.
Pulling my lips into the exact copy of what Malfoy had done earlier that day, I let my gaze wander over her dishevelled appearance and rest, thoroughly disgusted, on her face.
The result was instantaneous. “Get to the back of the classroom, Miss Weasley!”
Trying to remain indifferent, I gathered my belongings and headed to the back of the room, ignoring the dozen pairs of eyes pinpointed on my face.
I sat down in the seat, not knowing whether to feel triumphant or deeply ashamed of myself.
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