Chapter 9 : Chapter 9 - To Pigburps! part 2 (it's far away okay?)
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As Larry exited the pig he kept his head down and followed the crowd. He didn’t want anybody recognising him and talking to him as he didn’t want possible future friends or fans to think he was crazy when he hooted at them.
“The side effects might have worn off by now, try speaking!” Wrong encouraged.
Larry opened his mouth, releasing a very loud “twit twooh”. All the nearby students turned around and looked at him at the noise. Both Wrong and Larry looked up at the sky with looks of wonder on their faces.
“Wow! That was one big owl! Did you see that? It just swooped down and stole my sweets, didn’t it Larry?” Wrong fabricated. Larry nodded quickly and returned his gaze to his shoes, causing his monocle to fall out.
“Damn it!” he said. He then looked pleased and said “Ooh Wrong! My normal voice has tweet tu twit twooh” He slapped his hand over his mouth as the owl voice came back. He fumbled around on the ground for his monocle, but his hand found something furry and small on the ground instead. After fitting his monocle back into place he saw that what he was holding was a small, pink animal rather like a guinea pig.
“Tommy!!!! You found Tommy!” a small chubby boy came rushing over to retrieve his ‘Tommy’. “I thought I left him at the station but now he’s back with his mummy! My gran would have been really mad if I lost you, wouldn’t she ickle Tommy-kins?” he said, kissing the furry fuchsia face.
Larry coughed a couple of times to test his voice before speaking, curiosity overcoming the embarrassment of having the voice box of a night time bird. “Um, what kind of animal is Tommy?”
“It’s a chawallawalla of course!” the boy said before walking away, whispering sweet nothings to his chawallawalla.
“My brothers warned me about the crazies you meet at Pigburps,” said Wrong.
They carried on walking behind the rest of the Pigburps students, until Larry heard a familiar voice say “First years over here!”
Larry, Wrong and a bunch of other people followed the sound until they found Hogrod standing by a large lake and carrying a brown sack that was almost as big as him.
“Larry! You made it! I was quite concerned what would happen to you after you travelled by Poo powder to platform 3 and a half instead of back home but I see it all worked out alright. Larry? Aren’t you going to say anything?”
“He ate too many Jelly Owls, he’s afraid to speak because of the side effects,” Wrong explained. “Are you Hogrod, the groundskeeper?”
“Yes I am,” Hogrod chuckled. “Now, take a pair of goggles and a swimming cap,” he pulled two of each out of the sack and handed them to the boys “and put them on while I explain what’s going to happen.” Larry and Wrong put on their hats and goggles (easier said than done for Larry who had to force it over his monocle) while Hogrod distributed the swimming gear to the rest of the first years.
“Everyone wearing their goggles and hats? Good. Now you have to swim across the lake to the school. It’s only 2 or 3 miles. Or 7. Or 15. I forget which. Anyway, whoever gets there last has to sit in the corner of the Great Hall for the whole of the feast wearing the Hat of Shame. Everybody ready? Now go go go!!!”
Wrong and Larry exchanged nervous looks before hastily jumping in with everyone else. They didn’t like the sound of the Hat of Shame!
“Wrong! Wrong! Help me! I can’t touch the twoooh! I mean the twoooh! I mean the twoooh! I mean the bottom! Help!”
Wrong looked at Larry in disbelief, whilst easily treading water. “Are you telling me the-boy-who-didn’t-die-when-Mouldywarts-tried-to-kill-him can’t swim?! The great Larry Rotter can’t swim?!”
“Well, technically speaking... no. Now please help me before I drown!!! As the great Larry Rotter I am ordering you to fashion me a boat out of sticks and row me to the school.”
“If you are the great Larry Rotter, surely you can magic yourself one?”
Larry thought about it. How hard could it be? He removed his wand from his sock and took a deep breath – choking and swallowing a lot of water in the process. He waved it experimentally and said “Producio Boatimus.”
“Larry, is that even a real spell?” Wrong asked.
Larry was slowly sinking under the water coughing and spluttering. Wrong swam over quickly to help him, when a giant cruise-liner rose out of the water. Wrong gaped at Larry in shock and awe, and together they climbed the ladder on board.
“Okay, Wrong. I am going to sit on the deck and sunbathe and you can steer, alright?” Larry said to Wrong, who shook his head.
“No way, Jose. I can’t steer a boat. I’d rather swim. If you want to get to the castle you have got to...” but before Wrong could finish his sentence the boat lurched forwards towards the castle, seemingly of its own accord.
Larry grinned. “Looks like neither of us have to steer!”
They spent the journey running around the cruise ship, playing hide and seek and messing around like the eleven year olds they were. Every so often they would pass a struggling first year trying to swim to the castle. They would nearly always say something like “Is that a shark over there?” or “I do hope the alligators have had their dinner” and then laugh at the petrified looks on their faces.
After a while the ship came to a halt, and they clambered off the boat and onto dry land. They was a box labelled “Swimming hats and goggles” which had only one of each in, so they were some of the first students to cross the lake. They smiled at each other, and Wrong once again congratulated Larry on the conjuring of his boat. Larry vanished the ship with a wave of his wand and they made their way up to the castle.
However, they were stopped in their tracks when something came out from behind a hedge and stood in front of them. They jumped back.
“Arghh!!!! Goblin!” they yelled simultaneously.
“Hey!” the goblin replied. “I’m not a goblin! I’m a girl!”
“Oh, sorry,” said Wrong. “We mistook your bushy hair, ugly face, stupid complexion and dumpy build for that of a goblin.”
The girl made a face. “Well, I’m not a goblin. My name is Hippopotamus Stranger, and I know what you did.”
“What do you mean?” Larry questioned, eyeing the girl suspiciously.
“You didn’t swim across the lake. You cheated. And I’m going to tell. You’ll be in trouble, and you’ll be expelled before you’ve even started Pigburps. Just you see.”
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