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Prologue
As my mum and I emerged onto platform thirteen I smiled. I began searching for
my cousins immediately and finally found Uncle Ron, standing with Rose and Hugo.
Rose gave me a quick hug and I skipped over to Hugo.
Hi Lily! You excited?
I made a face. Excited? Id only be that if I were going on the train. Today Im
happy.
He smiled. At least we get to see everyone! Well, except for Fred and Roxanne.
My shoulders slumped. They arent coming? But I thought Uncle George and
Aunt Angelina were going to see everyone off!
Hugo shook his head. Freds going next year, so they wont come this year.
There were several loud thumps and we turned around to see our relatives
trunks being loaded into the luggage racks. James, Rose, and Albus climbed in just as
the first doors began to slam shut. Only minutes later, the train began to move.
Suddenly my good mood evaporated.
I watched, now glum, as the train pulled out of the station. I wanted so badly to
get on that train, to glide off to Hogwarts, to come back with books and magical friends
and stories to tell. But no, because I was Little Lily Potter I had to stay home. There
would be no annoying comments or hair ruffling from James, there would be no half-late
responses from Albus because he was reading. They would both be gone this year, and
the next year too, before I got to join them on the Hogwarts Express, which was for now
only a dream. The house would be very quiet this year, I knew. My dad would be at the
Ministry as Head of the Auror Office, and my mum would be playing as a sub for the
Hollyhead Harpies in the Quidditch season this year. Unless she was out with an injury
or not called to sub for anyone, and then she and I would spend time together while she
wrote her column for Quidditch Weekly.
Overall, I wasnt sure how often that would happen, as I knew that Roxanne and
Hugo, my cousins that were the same age, would want to spend a lot of time with me at
The Burrow. The end of the train slid past and I felt tears prick my eyes. My dad started
to run with the train, waving at my brothers. My mum put a hand on my shoulder and
squeezed, knowing how hard it was to watch the train leave and not be on it. Then the
train went around the bend and was gone. My dad slowly stopped and walked back to
us, looking a little sad, but very proud. Would he still look like that two years from now? I
wished so much that I had a younger sibling. Then I wouldnt be the last one to go to
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Hogwarts. But thats what I was; I was the Last Potter, and that seemed very unfair. I
had to try everything last, and try to do it differently without failing at it. I knew that
James was going to try out for seeker this year, so I knew that I would focus on
becoming a chaser. There was no way that I would try to steal the position from James,
but there was also no chance of me sitting idly by, like Albus. Then again, Albus was
afraid of heights. I wasnt afraid to fall because when I had been four I had fallen out of
my window. Instead of falling, I had floated, and to this day I still could, if I concentrated.
I trusted that if I fell, that would save me. My mum took my hand and led the way out of
Kings Cross Station. As we reached the car my shoulders slumped. I looked up at my
mum. Why do I have to be last?
My mum smiled as she knelt beside me. Lily, its the hardest to be last, I know.
But you can do great things, and surprise everyone when you get your chance to shine.
Trust me; it will be well worth the wait. Plus, if you went now, you would never get to
have friends the same age as you. And thats important too!
I smiled and nodded to show my understanding, but I wasnt too keen on really
accepting her logic. Then again, why would I want to be in the same year as Albus? It
seemed boring to be with your siblings. But cousins were a whole different matter. They
were actually fun. I climbed into the car, fantasizing about what my first year at
Hogwarts would be like. Id have a huge group of friends, be great at most subjects
(honestly, who cared about the History of Magic class) and Id get a ton of mail. That
would be an awesome first year. Of course, it wouldnt happen for another two years. I
snuggled into the comfy back seat as my dad pulled out. I started to imagine all of my
school supplies. A pretty trunk, a handsome owl, and loads of spell books. Oh I wished I
could speed time up and start already!





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Chapter 1: Beginnings
I wandered downstairs, carrying my Hogwarts Letter. Inside was the list of spell
books I would need for my first year at Hogwarts, and I was excited. My bare feet
padded over the dark wood, making no noise. I knew it was early, probably just before
seven oclock. I was an early riser, and today was a special day. I decided, turning
around, that I would start it off with a luxuriously long forty-five minute shower.
Later, I pondered what Diagon Ally would look like, never having been there
before. I preferred to stay with all my under-age cousins at The Burrow with Granddad.
But now I was of-age to go to Hogwarts, and I would go by floo from The Burrow to
Diagon Alley. I imagined countless scenarios in my head, and smiled at the
improbabilities my brain was trying to insert. Like me somehow meeting the quidditch
sensation, Alyxa Pinto. As I emerged from the bathroom, I smelled the wonderful aroma
of my mums bacon and eggs, which were always a favorite. I walked downstairs in
some nice looking jeans and a t-shirt with a Gryffindor lion on it. My dad looked up over
the daily profit and smiled at me, Always the first one up, huh? You never are last. I
smiled outwardly, and nodded, but inwards I was thinking, yeah, Id love not to be the
last one in the family to go to Hogwarts, but guess what, I am!
My mum took one look at me before saying, Ill dry your hair during breakfast if
you go get your brothers. Do you want ringlets?
Sure mum. Ill go get the boys. I trudged upstairs to get my brothers, going past
my room and upstairs. When I reached the next landing I turned to the right and went to
Al's room. I opened the door to find him sleeping with his head on the desk, glasses still
on. I tapped him gently, feeling sorry that I was going to wake him. He looked really
tired. Al, time to get up! I said quietly. He groaned and mumbled something inaudible. I
prodded him again. Come on, up up up!
He lifted his head off the desk and moaned, I don' wanna get uhhhhhhp.
C'mon Al, we've got to go to Diagon Alley, and we have to wake James up! I
prodded him again then said, The bacon and eggs will be all gone if you don't go
down! Then I whipped out of his room, and went to James's room. I flung the door open
and entered his... cave. With the state it was in, you really couldnt tell that it was really
a room, and not an actual cave. I walked quietly to his bed and picked up the extra
pillow that was always there. I knew a foolproof way to get this teenager out of bed. I
hefted the pillow, then slapped it across James. As it was a pillow, it wouldn't hurt, but it
would wake James up. I took five more swings with the pillow without getting any
response.
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Then James sat bolt upright, Whaz going on?
I laughed at him, his brown eyes still looking confused.
Breakfast is going on! Get up! I replied, and then dashed out of the room,
running silently down the stairs. As I reappeared in the kitchen my mum handed me a
laden plate. I sat down and began eating. When my brothers came in they too got a
laden plate, and then my mum started drying my hair. Nobody was talking, as my mum
was gauging if she'd cooked enough, my brothers were too tired to be coherent, and my
dad was still reading the Daily Prophet. I was content to stay quiet for the moment. My
mum ran her wand over my hair, drying it with magic, and then she curled it around her
wand and started putting it in ringlets. She finished only a few seconds before I finished
my food, and I smiled.
Thank you Mum! Suddenly, Kreatcher was in the room, and offering to wash
the dishes.
Thank you Kreatcher My mum sighed, That would be wonderful of you.
Kreatcher took my plate and went to the sink, where he started washing the dishes with
magic. Lily, will you go get your list? I realized I didnt know where it was. Uh oh. Mum
saw my expression. Lost it? she said, smiling.
Yeah.
Accio! Suddenly a piece of paper was whizzing towards my mum, which she
caught with ease. She wasnt a back-up chaser on the number one team in the league
for no reason. I smiled softly. I had always aspired to be a chaser like my mum. It would
be cool if I made the Gryffindor team in my second year. My mum handed me my list.
Keep it safe, will you?
Of course! Ill keep it in this pocket, see? Mum smiled at me, and turned to my
brothers.
Come on boys, go get dressed and ready so we can go. They obediently
bolted, racing each other up the stairs. Dont forget your lists! Mum shouted after
them. Dad sighed wearily, smiling at my mum.
One of them will probably forget, anyway. I agreed silently with my dad,
because they always forgot about anything important. I thought that was why Albus had
fallen asleep at his desk, probably staying up to read without realizing he would be on
his feet for hours the next day. Hed be wiped out by the end of today. I was determined
to outlast him. After another fifteen minutes, we were ready to go, standing in front of
the fireplace. Mum held out a small jar of green sand, otherwise known as floo-powder.
James was first, and he took a pinch, throwing it into the fire, where the flames grew,
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and turned bright emerald. He stepped in and shouted,
The Burrow! As he spun into nothingness, Dad stepped up.
He too threw powder into the flames and shouted, The Burrow! After him went
Albus, with similar actions. I took my powder, and stepped up to the edge of the hearth.
I threw my powder in and took a deep breath. It was my fool-proof method. I
stepped into the flames and, only exhaling, shouted, The Burrow! I closed my eyes
and tucked my arms in, crossing them over my chest. I held my breath and counted to
twenty before the spinning slowed, opening my eyes just before I stopped. I stepped
neatly down into the hearth, and saw that, so far, no one but Gran and Granddad were
here, as well as the rest of my family. I stepped out of the hearth smoothly, and was
enveloped by Gran. As my mum arrived, there was a traffic jam. She was shoved out of
the fireplace as Hugo came sliding in. He tottered, then slipped and fell, covering
himself in ashes. As my dad helped him up and magically cleaned him off, Uncle Ron
came spinning into sight. He stepped out of the hearth and smiled,
Harry, Hermiones going to go bonkers when she finds out you got here before
us! My dad laughed as Rose came tottering out of the fireplace, looking green. She had
never liked traveling by floo. Lastly came Aunt Hermione, spluttering that she knew she
should have left five minutes earlier. As hugs went around, I felt as if I were being
squeezed to death. But we were far from having everyone there. Uncle Percy, Aunt
Audrey, Molly, and Lucy werent there, and neither were Aunt Luna, Uncle Rolf, Lorcan
and Lysander. Nor were Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur, Victorie, Dominique, or Lois here yet.
Most importantly, I thought, Uncle George, Aunt Angelina, Fred and Roxanne werent
here. As they slowly filtered in, the real fun began. Lois and Fred were both thirteen, like
James, and because theyre all into scheming, the three of them went off in their own
corner. Rose and Albus and Molly, the Academically Achieved went their own way too.
Lucy and Hugo joined Roxanne and I, and Lorcan and Lysander sort of flitted around.
The last to arrive were Teddy and Victorie, who were coming just to help chaperone.
They would be the coolest chaperones by far. The Burrow was packed to the bursting
point when we began to once again use the floo. This time though, we were all going to
Diagon Alley. As I piled through the fireplace and then emerged in Diagon Alley with
Victorie, my chaperone (we randomly drew our chaperones names out of a bowl) I
looked to see who else was in my group. I was surprised to see it was just Hugo,
Roxanne, and I. We were the only first years this year, and we had all drawn Victorie!
Hope you dont mind that I charmed your picks? Victoire exclaimed, smiling. So
much for saying we randomly drew. But I didnt mind, and neither did my cousins.
Victorie was the most sought-after chaperone. Plus, her French accent made her
amazingly cool. Where to start? Do you guys want to get your wands first?
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Yes! Can we please, pretty, pretty, please get our wands first! I blurted out. It
was unanimous. We would do to Olivander and Thomas, the wand shop, first. A friend
of my dads, Dean Thomas, worked there. That was why it wasnt just Olivanders
anymore. As we walked in I was disappointed to see that Mr. Dean was already helping
someone. Well, I thought, I would get my wand from the more historic one of the wand
makers.
As Mr. Olivander came to us he smiled Another batch of Potters and Weasleys
come to get their wands! Good to see you! Ill start with you, young man. Hugo stepped
forwards, looking a little out of his depth. Wand hand, please. Hugo held out his
dominant left hand. An old, battered tape measure whizzed around him, until Mr.
Olivander said, Stop. Then it fell to the floor, curling up obediently.
He turned and started murmuring something about measurements and wand
types as well as, The wand chooses the wizard. I had heard that he said that a lot. I
think I believed the phrase, but I wasnt quite sure. Mr., Olivander shuffled into the back
room, and when he returned, he was carrying five slender boxes. He set all but one
down, and handed the wand inside to Hugo. Hugo brandished it, and the five other
boxes fell off the table Not that one, I am thinking. Mr. Olivander murmured. He
handed Hugo another wand from the boxes that had fallen to the floor. This time, the
wand made a banging sound, and Hugo dropped it. On his fourth wand, Hugo waved it,
and a warm, sweet aroma arose, permeating the air with a delicious smell, similar to
freshly baked bread. According to Mr. Olivander, the wand had chosen Hugo. Hugo
bought the wand for ten galleons. Then it was Roxannes turn, and she went through
ten wands before all the damage to the poor window mended. She bought that wand for
ten galleons.
Finally, it was my turn. I held out my right hand, my wand hand. The tape
measure flew around me, and I realized it was taking many more measurements than
was necessary. Like the length of my eye. Mr. Olivander sighed, Oh a hard one here,
yes a very hard one to guess. It was a bit creepy, and I didn't know what he was
talking about. He shuffled off, taking the old possible wands for Roxanne with him.
When he came back, he had what looked like a million boxes in his arms. He set them
down, and then put a cushion on the desk. Please aim at that, Miss Potter. He handed
me a wand, and I pointed it at the cushion. I gave it a little flick and a small hole ripped
open. Mr. Olivander looked excited. Well now! I tried the next ten wands, all with
similarly destructive results. Mr. Olivander turned to Victorie, This will take a good forty
five minutes at least, Miss Weasley. And even with both Mr. Dean and I working!
Victorie looked rather dumbfounded.
Forty five minutes? Err... really?
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Oh yes! Probably more! He sounded positively delighted. It might be wise to
take the other two on their way, and get supplies for Miss Potter without her along. This
is going to take some time. Victorie really had no choice. She could either make us
super late, and have all the parents hounding her, or take Roxanne and Hugo to get
their stuff while she got mine. While doing this she would be leaving me here in the
wand shop with only the two wand makers.
I think I'll leave Lily here, and go get her things for her. Victorie signed me away
with those words. I was going to be left all alone while trying to buy a wand! She turned
to me, We'll check back in every ten minutes, okay? I tried to smile, I really did, I just
don't think I did a great job of it. So then I was alone with Mr. Olivander. He handed me
another wand, then snatched it away. I was given wand after wand, each doing damage
to the poor cushion. After ten minutes we had gone through twenty wands. Mr.
Olivander looked very pleased. So did Dean as he walked in to the portion of the front
office that Mr. Olivander used, looking at the pile of boxes with amusement.
Come with me, Lily. Mr. Olivander looked like he was apprehensive now. I
followed him into the back room and gasped at how large it was. It just had to be
magically extended. Mr. Olivander led me farther and farther, then began walking down
seemingly random shelves and handing me wands to try out. It had been another 20
minutes and we were still looking for a wand. Victorie had come by and told me that
they were saving Madame Malkins and the place we would buy our pets until last, just
for me. I was very glad that they weren't trying to guess my robe size. That would be a
hassle. Mr. Olivander was now looking jubilant as I put the fifty-first mark on the pillow,
and he snatched the wand back. As I waved wand after wand I began to get frustrated.
Did none of the wands like me? After fifty minutes looking for a wand, Mr. Olivander
murmured, Hmmm. Let's try... Follow me Miss Potter. I followed him as he led me to
the very back of the shop. There was one shelf marked carefully with runes I didn't
know. He selected one of the boxes, handed me a wand, and snatched it away before I
could even do anything. He then, very carefully removed a box that looked black with
age. He removed the wand carefully, as if it were made of glass. He handed it to me,
gently setting it in my palm. I pointed the wand, and before I could even move it there
was a rush of air that blew through the room, centering on me. Everything straightened,
the pillow mended, and the breeze seemed to shimmer, before disappearing into me.
Mr. Olivander whispered, My my, so many... so soon. Then he seemed to snap out of
the mood. Well done Miss Potter! This is curious... so strange! I had no idea what he
meant.
Why is it strange, Mr. Olivander?
This wand... this wand is ancient. It has been waiting a very long time for you...
yes... a very long time indeed. I was curious; his words had piqued my attention.
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How long has it been waiting? He looked at me for a long time, his weird gray
eyes making me feel unnerved.
This wand is called 'The Ethereal Seeker' and it is made of the strongest wood
yet to be seen, as it is a magical combination of all the wand woods. It is long at
seventeen inches exactly, and it is perfectly smooth. It has a combined core as well,
each of the magical elements is found within it. It is yielding to some and unyielding to
others. It is very, very old indeed. You see, Miss Potter, this wand was made before
Hogwarts, my dear. I was astounded. How had this historic wand chosen me? It was
ancient! Mr. Olivander smiled. We should get to the front for Miss Victorie. As we
walked silently to the front of the shop I turned the beautiful wand over and over in my
hands. The ends of the wand were so dark that they seemed black, but the center
seemed to radiate cherry colored wood, getting deeper as it flowed toward the black
ends of the wand. It was beautiful, and Mr. Olivander had spoken the truth, it felt as
smooth as glass on my skin. We reached the front just as Victorie was coming through
the door.
Lily! You found one! Her smile was genuine. How much does it cost? Ten
Galleons? Mr. Olivander shook his head.
Im sure Lily can tell you why, but I will be charging fifteen Galleons this time.
Victorie looked perplexed. But we paid for it and got it boxed, then left. I explained why it
had cost extra and Victorie laughed, telling me I was something special. She walked
towards Madame Malkins, and I saw Roxanne and Hugo waiting outside with many
bags sitting next to them. As Roxanne saw me, she squealed and ran forwards,
stopping and turning to walk with me.
Lily, you got your wand! What is it like? I cant wait to get everything! We only
have to get owls and robes and our last book. The line was too big earlier. Im so
excited! As we walked through the shop doors, silence fell, and I didnt feel like replying
and breaking the silence. Victorie rang a little bell on the small desk at the front, and
went to wait outside with the bags. Madame Malkin came through the racks of robes,
and her face broke into a smile when she saw us.
First years! Needing robes for term, I suppose! Follow me ,dears! We
obediently followed her to the very back of the little shop, where there were three stools.
Jump up on one of those, Ill be right back! She hurried off as Hugo and I clambered
onto our stools. Roxanne, not understanding, sat down on her stool, before looking at
us and hurriedly standing on it instead. We were all laughing at her expense when
Madame Malkin came trotting back into sight.
One by one, we were each given a robe to put on, and Madame Malkin pinned
them and fitted them. You know, these are some very wonderful new robes. Your
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house crest appears as soon as its given to you! So convenient! She remarked. As we
left with a week or mores amount of robes in bags we were smiling. Madame Malkin
was very nice.
We each grabbed bags from Victorie and set off for the Owl Emporium. It was
dark and smelly inside, packed with owls on perches. In the far corner, there were
different perches, and a small climate control bubble-spell was over one of the perches.
I made my way over, and found myself staring down into a nest. There were young
fledglings inside, and they were the cutest owls I had ever seen. Their eyes were
hooded by a triangular white-brown brow, their faces colored a dark toffee brown. Their
faces and bodies were tan with white and brown spots, and their wings were a mix of
brown and white. A sign next to their nest read,
The White-fronted Scops Owl is an easy-to-train and train-your-own type of owl.
These fledglings are three months old, and able to take care of themselves now. They
are priced at; 6 Galleons and 4 Knuts. Originally rescued from the tropics, they can
endure hot summer flights, and they have been trained to deal reasonably well in snowy
conditions. They are on the Vulnerable List, so please do not put them in sight of
muggles for long enough for them to be identified.
It was easy to convince Victorie to let me get one, as she thought they were cute
too. I walked out with the smallest male Scops Owl, Roxanne bought a male Spectacled
Owl, and Hugo decided on a cute little female Saw-whet Owl. Then, we rushed to get
the book Defensive Spells of the Age, the Best and Most Updated Guide to Wizarding
Attack and Defense. After two long hours in Diagon Alley, we headed to The Burrow
with renewed energy, ready to spend the rest of the day relaxing. We each took floo
powder from Victorie, and one by one, we went spinning back to The Burrow. We were
the last ones to return, and everyone was outside waiting for us. As my parents found
out about the more expensive wand I had bought, I found myself having to tell the entire
troop the history of my wand. Thankfully though, when Lysander wanted it passed
around, I was able to deter him by telling him that I didnt know which bag of mine it was
in, and I got away from all of the questions. We spent the rest of the afternoon playing
only-quaffle quidditch, and when I finally stumbled to my room, I was exhausted.

Chapter 2: Friends
I was hopping up and down next to my packed trunk, ecstatic that I would finally
make the trip to Hogwarts with my brothers. Hey Mum, can I see the list again? I cant
forget anything! Hey Al, will I get in trouble if I forget something? I was so excited! I
couldnt stop talking. Plus I was relieved to hear Albus tell me I wouldnt get in trouble
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for forgetting anything. James thundered down the stairs, headed to the kitchen no
doubt, and I heard him mutter something that sounded amazingly like worry wart, but I
wasnt quite sure. I decided to assume that he had said that. Im going to HOGWARTS
James! I cant afford to make any mistakes! I heard a sigh all the way through the
floorboards from Albuss room. He was probably frowning at the fact that he still had to
find his glasses case, or had forgotten to pack some book, and was now regretting it
because he had to rush. Dad came pounding up the steps, took a look at the very
muggle-like jeans and sweater I was wearing and smiled, pulling his wand out of his
back pocket.
You look good Lils. Ready for me to take your trunk down to the car so we can
get going? I nodded, finally shutting up out of a sudden excitement attack. Wingardium
Leviosa! my dad said. Suddenly my trunk was a foot off the ground, just hovering there.
My dad pointed his wand down the stairs and off he went, guiding my trunk ahead of
him. Get Calder and come on down! He added anxiously over his shoulder. He didnt
need to though. Calder, my owl, was sitting patiently in his cage on my bureau, prepped
and ready. As I re-entered my room the scops owls eyes peered out from under his
triangularly hooded brow.
Can I fly to Hogwarts?
I laughed at my silly owl, No Calder, it would take at least a day and at most two.
Ill let you fly next to the train when were on it though, okay?
Fine. Spoil my fun. Calder turned to show me his tail feathers. I sighed, picked up
his cage and smiled. The only thing I had inherited of my Dads ,other than his eyes,
was his ability to understand owls, but I had gotten the power magnified along the way. I
could talk with them the same way I could talk to my brothers. I was the only one in the
family with the gift, though. I whisked Calder away, ignoring his grumblings as I sprinted
down the stairs. I was just in time to see my dad fitting the first of three school trunks
into the undetectably extended trunk of the car. I could tell it was mine because of the
multi colored loops and whorls on the side that my artistic streak had deemed
necessary after receiving a plain brown trunk. I rushed out of the house toward the car,
beaming with excitement. My Mum was busy rushing James and Al out of the house as
I climbed into the car. When everyone finally joined me, my dad started the car and off
we went.
************
It was not a long drive to Kings Cross from (a highly renovated) Grimmauld
Place. As my dad groaned in mock horror at having to lift three heavy trunks onto
individual trolleys, we got out. My mums now past-shoulder-length hair shone in the
warm August sun as she went to get the trolleys, and Al and James went with her. I
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started bouncing up and down next to the car, getting excited all over again. My dad
smiled at me, Not really nervous are you Lily? I shook my head and kept bouncing, I
couldnt wait! What did he mean by nervous? After what seemed like ages, I heard my
mum returning with my trolley, James and Albus trailing behind with their own. My dad
lifted the trunks out and, puffing slightly, loaded my trunk onto my trolley. I set a covered
and caged Calder on top, suddenly comprehending how hard I would have to push the
trolley to get it to move, and turned it with a lot of effort. As I pushed across the street to
the station with my mum, I could hear my brothers loading their trunks and smiled. I was
ahead of them! Ha! That would show them! Lily CAN do it James! As I entered the
station I stared at the huge clock in the wall of the station. My mum whispered
humorously, Lily, watch where youre going, we want to beat Al and James, not allow
them to catch up! I saw I had begun to zigzag and stopped myself.
Thanks Mum! I dont want them to catch up until were in front of the barrier. My
mum smiled, and said,
Then dont stop until were there! Then as an aside, she said, Lily, while youre
at Hogwarts, please dont help your cousin with any of his normal mischief, okay?
You mean Fred? My mum nodded, Sure. I promise Mum. Thinking about
Fred, who was the same age as James, brought me to thinking of Roxanne, his younger
sister, and one of my best friends. It would be her first year too! Then I wondered if wed
get mixed up often, or confused as twins. We both had red hair and a similar height and
figure. The only visible differences were that she had brown eyes and her skin was the
color of hot cocoa, not as white as mine. So she was like the darker version of me.
Everything about her was five shades darker, we always joked. But we did have
different voices and preferences too. I shrugged off my worry, it would be fine. My mum
and I passed barrier nine and my eyes went up, counting the pillars. There it was! I was
a bit disappointed. There was absolutely nothing special about the barrier. I felt that
something should be different about it now that it was my turn to go through it. I slowed
to a stop and waited for my brothers to catch up. As James passed me, he didnt even
stop talking to Al. He drifted right by and Al made it look as if he had hesitated, falling
behind James and allowing our mum to join him. Al gave me a wink and looked
expectantly at James, who strolled nonchalantly forward, melting through the barrier
with hardly a glance, mum right behind him. Al gave me a wink and sailed after James,
calling his name. A group of high school kids with shirts all saying missionary kids
passed in front of the barrier and, by the time the main group passed, Albus was gone.
At least its not a portkey. I joked, sounding more confident than I felt.
Dad smiled and murmured, Lets go Lils. I broke into an obedient trot, and a
terrible thought struck me. What if the time ran out and I smashed into a solid barrier? I
stretched my eyes open as far as they could go. The barrier was five feet away. I had to
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make it! Four feet away. I was going to miss! Two feet left. I was brave, I wanted to be
a-
WOOSH
-Gryffindor! We stepped onto the platform, and I realized my dad was beaming at
me proudly, Youre the only Potter that didnt flinch their first time through! Youre
definitely my brave Lily! Now I was beaming too, all of my nerves still two feet from the
barrier. I took off Calders cage cover and heaved my trolley after a rapidly disappearing
Albus. When he stopped at compartment 13 I was confused for a second, and then the
haze on the platform cleared, and I saw them. It was everyone save Uncle George and
Aunt Angelina, Fred and Roxanne. I smiled, and parked my trunk perfectly next to the
train, hopping up next to Hugo, and hugging him.
He hugged me back and laughed, Long time no see, Lily! Are you nervous for
our first year?
I shook my head, then elaborated, I was nervous before I got here, but once I
got here and everything started happening, I realized nothing was really scary, so Im
not nervous. Everything sounded harder when I thought about it, but it isnt, not really,
anyway. I watched my mum levitate my trunk onto the luggage rack and I smiled. But
suddenly, I heard the first compartments door slam shut. Where was Roxanne and
Fred? Suddenly I saw Fred and Uncle George racing toward us, Aunt Angelina and
Roxanne close behind them. They slid to a halt next to our compartment as the eighth
door slammed, and Roxanne and Fred launched themselves into the compartment with
us. Rose gasped in pain as Fred landed on her foot. The trunks seemed to throw
themselves onto the rack as the eleventh door slammed shut. Thud! Our door shut
firmly a few seconds later, and my brothers and Rose left the compartment, searching
for their friends. I leaned out the window to see my dad, chasing the train, waving and
smiling at me. I beamed back at him and yelled, I finally get to go to Hogwarts! I saw
my mum smile at that, and I was far enough away that I doubted what I saw with the
smile. Why would my mum cry? The train went around a bend, and I lost sight of my
parents. I was going to Hogwarts! I turned around and hugged Roxanne before she
could say anything.
When I let go she said amicably, Looks like youre still my twin cousin! We
laughed at the inside joke and, looking warily at her brother she said, Lily, Hugo? Lets
find another compartment so we dont have to be part of my brothers stupid pranks,
alright? Hugo and I nodded agreement and we trooped out of the compartment. I was
glad I could keep my promise to my mum. We all agreed to walk towards the end of the
train, it was the longest way to go, and there was more chance wed find some other
first years. We were talking excitedly about the teachers we knew, and speculating on
13
the ones we didnt, when there was a loud hissing noise behind us. Roxanne glanced
back and her face paled. Run, get in a compartment and stay there for thirty minutes!
Freds put Ghastly Gas in the hall! She and Hugo dashed for separate compartments,
panicking. I turned around and was surrounded by green clouds of gas. I gasped, and
knew instantly that it had been a mistake. The odor was terrible! Suddenly the world
tipped and, by sheer luck, I caught a compartment door handle, wrenched it open, and
stumbled inside, dry heaving as I slammed the door shut. I clung to the door as the
world tried to buck me off my feet.
I registered that there was someone in the compartment with me and mumbled,
trying to warn them, Don go atta heere for thirtee min- I fainted mid-sentence, nausea
and dizziness overcoming me. The world faded, and everything went black.
************
Oh no! I groaned, talking to myself, Why did she have to faint here? Of all
places! I tried to convince myself that I should ignore her, but failed miserably. She was
the most interesting thing that had happened to me today. My father, as usual had
insisted on us arriving almost thirty minutes early, so no one would see him. Coward.
My mother had pretended we were all a perfect family and insisted she dote on me in
front of the few families that were there. I hated my parents faade of being a happy
family. At home all they did was try to make me think I was better than everyone else, or
scold me for random things. So I was pretty interested in this girl. She had red hair,
could she be a Weasly? She wasnt Rose, my only rival for top marks in my classes.
Maybe she was the younger sister of that Fred character? I puzzled over it for a few
seconds, and then realized that she was still on the floor. In one, fluid motion, I
crouched, slid my hands under her crumpled frame and stood, laying her out on the
seats opposite mine. I looked at the green cloud hanging outside my compartment, it
was obviously magic, and had to have a fainting spell or odor spell intertwined with the
fog. A simple, but effective magical device nonetheless, I decided. I rummaged through
my bag for a minute or two. Where were they? Ah! I pulled my fist out in triumph,
holding up my smelling salts. My parents would never approve of my muggle materials
but they were helpful when I was hit by bludgers. As Slytherin seeker, I couldnt go
down without dooming my team. Now though, I waved them under the girls nose and,
seeing her eyelids flutter, sat back hopefully, while shoving the salts back into my trunk.
Her eyes fluttered open, and I knew the truth.
She was a Potter, and the only one she could be was Lily, a first year as of
today. I cursed my luck, because if she was anything like James I was in trouble. Maybe
she was like Albus? Hopefully she would be gentler than James, and less judging. Her
eyes panned across the compartment, taking in the fact that I was the only one there,
and that no one elses trunks were here besides mine. When her eyes settled on me I
14
braced myself for hash words.
Thanks for getting me off the floor and waking me up. Who are you?
I was caught off guard for a second, then decided to act on my previous
assumption. I murmured, Youd hate me if you knew who I was. I stared at the floor.
Lily looked at me like I was crazy and sat up. No I wouldnt! Why would I hate
someone who just helped me? That would be wrong!
Once again I was caught off guard by her reply, and I stupidly told her the truth.
Lily, I am Scorpius. Scorpius Malfoy. I cursed myself inwardly.
She looked shocked. Oh.
I told you youd hate me!
No! she practically yelled, Im thinking my brothers have been biased! James is
always making fun of you, or making you sound terrible, and Al is just like, hes quiet,
and well, a Slytherin. But thats not true other than the Slytherin part! I was shocked.
She was perhaps, the most unbiased person I had ever met.
Really? I sounded really happy, even to myself. I realized that Lily was slowly
making my day.
Yeah. You seem really nice? She said it like it was a bit of a question, but then,
to her, it contradicted everything shed been told about me. I felt myself blushing; it was
the nicest compliment Id ever received. Lily was really nice, and very pretty. I mentally
berated myself; shes eleven, and a Potter you idiot! Youre thirteen, grow up! These
thoughts only made me blush an even deeper shade of pink, and Lily noticed, Youre
really shy arent you, Scorpius?
I grimaced, I dont talk often. Theres really no point in talking in Slytherin house.
Either people listen to you, and then use your words against you, or use them to get
their way, or they take what you say as an insult or something stupid like that.
Thats rubbish! I can see why you dont talk around them!
I know. Its pointless for them to try and get anything useful out of me. You see, I
dont actually like any of my housemates so far, other than one guy with the same
opinion, so its pretty easy to ignore them. They seem to think Im important though, just
because Im part of a rich, haughty pureblood family. I put air quotes around their
justification for my importance. It was a stupid reason.
I can sympathize. Everyones been staring at me because Im a Potter The
15
Last Potter, actually.
Well, I can understand why theyre all watching. For reasons other than being
pretty, I thought secretly, Your brother James, the seeker, Albus, the academic wiz
theyre waiting to see how you turn out. She cocked her head to one side, studying me.
I think you're right. She said bemusedly, and then went on, I never thought
about things that way. Thank you. I smiled,
Glad to have helped, Lily. She smiled back at me,
Im glad I met you Scorpius! Youre my first friend here! Her statement was
followed almost immediately by tapping on the glass of the compartment door. We both
looked hurriedly around, and I was surprised to find a darker skinned, less pretty, brown
eyed version of Lily staring through the glass. Freds younger sister, I assumed,
because her hair was a darker, brownish-red like his. The girl was motioning with one
hand for Lily to come, with the other hand; she was motioning down the hall. Lily sighed,
Id best not disappoint Roxanne. She must have found someone she wants me to
meet. She stood, Thanks for everything Scorpius. I realized my new friend was going
to have to leave.
Youre very welcome Lily. Ill see you later, wont I?
Of course! See you at the feast! With that she slid the door open and vanished
down the train. I was so happy to have a real friend I didnt even care that my parents
would kill me if they knew who it was. I was friends with Lily Potter. I wondered which
house shed end up in.
************
I joined Roxanne outside of Scorpiuss compartment and snapped, What?
She didnt notice my tone, and blurted, Come meet Arlette and Seth! Theyre
first years too! I was confused for a second, then realized she had found what we had
set out to find; friends in the same year. I let her drag me down the hall, and when we
stopped, she thrust me to the right, through an open compartment door, and in front of
two kids our age. One was a dark-skinned, brown haired boy with amber eyes; Seth.
The other was a petite, blue eyed brunette, Arlette, obviously.
Hi. Im Lily.
Arlette leapt forwards towards me, obviously the louder and more energetic of
the two strangers. She held out her hand, Im Arlette! Arlette Kay! Seth waited for
Arlette to stop shaking my hand and step back before he introduced himself.
16
Hi Lily, Im Seth Loup.
Arlette interjected, Are you named after Lily Potter? I was aghast at the
prospect that people might have been named after me, when I hadnt even done
anything great yet!
Er I am Lily Potter. I choked out awkwardly.
Arlette squealed, I knew it!
Stop pestering her, Arlette! It was Seth talking again. I looked at him, and
realized that most first year girls would probably have a crush on him by the end of the
day; they would think he was cute. But I knew I wouldnt, I had just left my new crush in
his compartment, and in my opinion, Scorpius was better-looking. Roxanne moved over
an empty owl cage, Calders I saw, and said,
Sit down and relax Lily! You look overwhelmed!
I fainted in the Ghastly Gas! Of course I look overwhelmed! I replied,
exasperation flooding my tone.
Arlette gasped, and Seth said with a joking smile, If only you knew who had
released it, you could get back at them!
Roxanne and I gave each other a knowing look, and then said in unison, It was
Fred Weasley! For the rest of the train ride, in between breaks for food, or changing
into our robes, the four of us made a master plan: we were going to get back at Fred,
and let him have a dose of his own medicine.



Chapter 3: Hogwarts
The train slowed to a stop and I said to my co-conspirators, Good job! Now lets
all hope were in the same house! They began chorusing their agreement when we
heard the conductors voice, carrying magically through all of the compartments,
Please leave all luggage on the train. This does not include pets, with the
exception of first years pets, which will remain on board. We have now arrived at
Hogsmeade Station. I was so excited I could barely breathe. Was I going to prove
myself here? At this school? I hoped so. But first I had to get there. I stepped onto the
17
hazy platform and looked around. Hagrid, one of my close family friends who had
recently retired from his post as a teacher to become the gamekeeper again, had said
he would be taking the first years up to the castle this year. Suddenly, I heard his gruff
voice as it was raised above the chatter,
Firs years oer here! Firs years! There yer go! Firs years!
I made my way towards Hagrid, leading my friends.
Hagrid! Good to see you!
Why Ill be darned if it aint Lily Potter! He boomed, joking with me. I smiled as
Hagrid raised his voice and bellowed over the crowd again. I looked around and saw
more first years trickling towards the group slowly forming around Hagrid. Everyone
here was talking excitedly, but only those who were right next to them heard anything.
Finally, Hagrid did a head count, seeing as nobody had joined us for a minute or two. As
he finished he bellowed over the chatter, Al right, were all here now, so I can take you
where we need ter go! Now, follow me an dont get lost! He set off, and we followed
him, like a school of fish. As he continued walking, we started slipping and sliding, the
path he was following was narrow and slippery, and not very fun to walk down. We were
mainly silent, except for the countless apologies as someone was trod on. Here it
comes yer all! Yer firs sight o Hogwarts! Hagrid had barely got the words out before
we came around a swift bend in the track. Many of us gasped (myself included) as we
saw the castle. I had barely enough time to register the emotionless expression of Seth
before I lost myself to looking at the castle. There were so many windows! I wondered
which tower was Gryffindor Tower; there was a plethora to choose from! The castle
looked so majestic and powerful, and I had to wrench my eyes away to keep walking.
But it was worth it, because the path widened to show us a fleet of lantern lit boats
floating on, what I now realized was the lake, so black tonight, that I had not realized it
was there until I saw the boats moored at its edge. Four o you per boat! Four o you
per boat! Hagrid was calling again. I looked at my friends, and without having to speak,
we all found an empty boat, and clambered in together. I realized with a giggle that
Hagrid got a boat all to himself. Typical. He was a half-giant though, so it made sense.
When he saw that we were all in boats he shouted, Right, an - FOREWARD! Instantly
the boats began to move, forming into a double line as they glided across the lake. All
seemed perfect, still and silent. Then Hagrid ruined the silence with a bellowed, Get yer
heads down! we obediently bent, and I felt ivy trailing along the back of my school
robes, which I had changed into during my friends scheming on the train. When I
stopped feeling ivy, I sat up and looked at the giant hole that we had come through.
Most of it was covered in the thick, dark ivy. We continued along the underground
tunnel for some time, and Seth whispered to me in a tone of wonderment,
18
Were under the castle! Soon after he said it, we were clambering out of the
boats onto an underground, pebble strewn beach. Hagrid led us up some wide stone
steps and waited until we were all there. Then he turned, and knocked three loud times
on the great oak doors that barred our way. After a short pause, the doors began to
swing outwards, and from behind it came a loud puffing.
Help me out here, Hagrid! There came a high, squeaky voice from behind the
door. Hagrid pulled the doors open, and revealed a small, stout wizard of no more than
three feet in height, possibly (and probably) less. Thank you for bringing the first years,
Hagrid. He then turned to us, Please follow me, students.
Night Professor Flitwick.
Good night, Hagrid. With that the tiny professor turned, and led us away. He led
us through another doorway, into a humongous chamber with a stone floor. I heard a
cacophony of voices issuing from the huge, gilded door on the right. The rest of the
school had to be in there, I thought. But we did not go through the doors; instead we
were led into an antechamber off the hall with the flagstone floor. We packed ourselves
into the room, huddling together like frightened sheep. Professor Flitwick cleared his
throat, and got up onto a stool in the front of the room. He was holding what looked like
a dirty pile of rags in one hand. Id like to welcome you to Hogwarts, School of
Witchcraft and Wizardry. Before the start-of-term banquet begins, you will be sorted into
your houses, or school families, where you will remain for the rest of your tuition here.
The Sorting is an important ceremony, determining where your House common room is,
who your classmates are, and when you will have your classes. The Houses are;
Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin, and they are in that order, from left to
right, in the Great Hall. Each house has noble origins and has produced fine young men
and women. You may earn house points for any achievements, but you will lose points
for any misbehaving. The house with the most points at the end of the year will win the
Honor of the House Cup. I hope you all earn points for your houses through hard work.
The Sorting ceremony will begin momentarily, and the entire school will be watching.
Feel free to straighten yourselves up. We will be ready for you when I return. With that
he turned, got of the stool, and put the pile of dirty cloth upon it, and marched, holding
the stool aloft with magic, out of the room. The doors leading in whispered shut and a
buzz of conversation broke out.
How are we sorted?
I dont know!
Do I look okay?
Did I fasten my cloak right?
19
My sister said the houses were
The door swung open again, and Professor Flitwick re-entered the room. All
conversation stopped. The students around me looked at him with apprehension.
They are ready for the Sorting ceremony to begin. Form into a line, please.
There was instantly a shuffling to get to the back of the line. Only I actually moved
forwards, towards Professor Flitwick. As I walked forwards, I realized that no one was in
front of me. As others began to trickle forwards behind me, I realized I was the head of
the line. I was the leader, and I was not afraid. There were only other students and staff
in the Great Hall. How bad could it be? I reached the tiny professor and he smiled,
There we go! All in a line? he looked around and confirmed his question. Weve got
our leader! Follow me! as we began walking, I felt perfectly fine, but as soon as the
giant, gilded doors were fully open, I realized that the entire schools population was
rather larger than I had expected. The moment I set foot in the hall, I resolved to keep
up a calm, cool faade over my fear. So I held my head high and walked forward on
legs that seemed to be made of Jell-O. The amount of faces staring at me was
unimaginable. But wait, I recognized some of them! There were my brothers, cousins,
and their friends, all smiling at me. They looked as if they were excited to see what I
would do. I gave them a big smile, hoping it didnt waver. There at the Slytherin table
was Scorpius! He was watching me! I gave him a little wave, and kept smiling. After
what felt like ages we arrived in front of the High Table, and the little stool Professor
Flitwick had been carrying earlier. My face felt like it was going to fall off because of how
long I had kept the smile plastered on it. I realized now that what I had mistaken for a
pile of rags was actually an old, dirty, burnt, ripped hat. The Sorting Hat, to be exact.
Everyone was looking at the hat, I realized, so I riveted my eyes on it, waiting to see
what would happen. My eyes widened as the hat seemed to come to life, a rip near the
brim opening to form a mouth, and two dents in the side taking on the look of eyes. The
hat seemed to take a breath, and then, much to my surprise, it began to sing.
Old secrets long forgotten
Are now taking their hold,
Heroes shall rise in every House
Just like in times of old!
Each hero shall fulfill
Their own legendary deed,
And their bold words
20
You have been warned to heed!
For darker secrets tread these halls
Than is all the legends ever told,
So watch for your heroes to rise,
For they will be those ever bold!
The ones who see shall take the lead
And know the course to victory,
For they will be able to see
A path laid down in history.
So listen close and listen well,
A labyrinth does await them still,
And they shall only make it through
By using all their mighty will.
Wish them luck when they are found,
Their task shall be to pass and yield
For grudges will fade in disregard
And chambers deep shall be revealed!
Now do let The Sorting start
As I decide which house has kin,
For some of their destinies shall decide
The Heroes loss or win!
As the hat finished its song the rest of the school burst into appreciative
applause, and I quickly joined in, trying to look like I knew what I was doing. As the
applause died away Professor Flitwick withdrew a long scroll of parchment from within
his robes. Please come forwards when your name is called, place the hat on your
head, and sit on the stool to be sorted.
Abbot, Jennifer! A blonde girl rushed up to put the Sorting Hat on, sitting on the
21
stool for less than three seconds before the hat shouted,
HUFFLEPUFF! The first table on the left cheered wildly, and Jennifer hurried
towards it, grinning.
Alto, Addison! This time, a petite, raven-haired girl darted up, looking for all the
world like a nervous bird. Her eyes disappeared under the hat, and stayed that way for
several minutes before the hat declared,
RAVENCLAW! the first table on the right shouted their pleasure.
Bakers, Keith! A small boy with a gleam of mischief in his eyes that would
instantly have the teachers against him stepped forwards, and after a minute, the hat
screamed,
GRYFFINDOR! as the table on the far left began cheering, I saw my brothers
among them, but I frowned when Keith sat next to Fred. Great, put the trouble makers
together, I thought disapprovingly.
Bentley, Aaron! Was made the second Hufflepuff that night, and Berke,
Taylor! rushed up to become the first Slytherin, the table farthest to the right exploded,
and I saw Scorpius again as Taylor sat down on his left. I noticed that, previously, both
seats on either side of him had been empty. He certainly seemed to be able to put on a
freezing cold demeanor around his housemates. Bunt, Cindy! A slim, serious faced girl
who sported business-like glasses shakily sat and jammed the hat on her head, and the
hat, and after a minutes consideration, called to the hall,
GRYFFINDOR! The cheers echoed out again as Cindy went to sit down.
Caspar, Andrew! Was on the stool for a decent five minutes before the hat
screamed,
SLYTHERIN!
Cole, Merrin! He sat on the stool for barely ten seconds before the hat declared
him a Ravenclaw. Danunbe, Amy! was declared a,
RAVENCLAW! and went to sit next to Merrin.
Dare, William! Became a Slytherin as soon as the hats brim fell over his eyes,
and Finch-Fletchley, Cedric! was called up.
HUFFLEPUFF! shouted the hat. The Hufflepuff table went mad, cheering wildly.
Farkas, Matthew! The hat took its time, and finally it called,
22
HUFFLEPUFF!
Grant, Tammy!
RAVENCLAW! Many names continued to slip by, as I became less interested
and more impatient for people I knew to be sorted.
Jones, Marc!
HUFFLEPUFF!
Kay, Arlette! I crossed my fingers inside of my sleeve, hoping that
GRYFFINDOR! I relaxed, now I just had to join her, and so did the rest of my
friends.
King, Chloe!
SLYTHERIN!
Loupe, Seth! I once again reverted to crossing my fingers in hope. The hat was
barely on his head though when it screamed,
GRYFFINDOR! I beamed as he walked past me, and he beamed back.
Martin, Kirk! Was called, and the hat took several seconds to consider before
announcing,
RAVENCLAW! I knew that I had not remembered many of the people sorted,
but the next name pleaded for attention, as it was far out of the ordinary.
Maximilian, Clovis! I was somehow surprised when the hat called out,
GRYFFINDOR! I was still puzzling over this as the rest of the Ms went by.
Newman, Megan was, despite her first impression of being nice, made a
Slytherin.
Potter, Lily! My heart leapt into my throat as my name was called, and keeping
my face collected, I stepped forwards. I was pleased that my legs were steady, and this
allowed me to put a cool, calm, but miniature smile on my face as I took the few steps
forwards. I picked the hat off the stool, sat down, and slipped the hat onto my brow.
Before the hat could even slip past my eyes, I heard a small voice,
Definitely, GRYFFINDOR! I pulled the hat off, having never even lost sight of
my family. I cast a quick glance Scorpiuss way, and saw a bitterly disappointed look
being hastily concealed. I was the only one that noticed. As the Gryffindor table
23
exploded into cheers, my full smile spread across my face, and I gave Roxanne the
thumbs-up as I went by her, then hurried to sit down across from my brothers and their
friends, who were all cheering for me. I was pleased to find that Seth and Arlette were
already sitting there, and there was a place across the table from Arlette for Roxanne.
Roberts, Emily!
As I turned my attention away from Keith and Fred (who were shouting, We
have all the Potters!) A girl with a short brown bob ran up, and the hat soon cried,
SLYTHERIN!
Smith, Samuel! Was instantly made a Ravenclaw, and Turpin, Amelia was
sorted into Hufflepuff.
Ulen, Grace! A girl who looked like she usually got her way hurried up and, as I
had assumed would happen, the hat screamed,
SLYTHERIN!
Weasley, Hugo! I paid special attention to my cousin, who stepped up with
trembling legs, but a bold face. Apparently, the hat had seen this, and it was not long
before Hugo was made a,
GRYFFINDOR! and he went to join the rest of our family, finding a place next to
Albus.
Weasley, Roxanne! My cousin was finally up! I watched as she slid the hat on,
and crossed my fingers under the table, and waited. The hat sat on her head for thirty
seconds, and I was beginning to worry when the hat called,
GRYFFINDOR! As I congratulated Roxanne, several more names went by, and
Young, Doung! was the only one there when we looked back. He sat on the
stool for a while before the hat announced,
HUFFLEPUFF! As the sorting ended, the hat became limp, and Professor
Flitwick levitated both it, and the stool, whisking them away through a door behind the
High Table before taking his seat. As he did, Headmistress McGonagall stood, and the
room fell silent. She let a little smile cross her face, and then spoke.
Welcome to another year at Hogwarts! Im glad to see you all here. Let the feast
begin! All sorts of food appeared on the table, lamb chops, salad, pork, steak, several
varieties of potatoes, chicken, and much, much more.
Finally! My brother said loudly to me, Im so hungry I could eat a hippogriff!
24
Albus leaned across the table, and whispered to me,
We need to talk later, you James and I. I nodded, knowing that a direct answer
would draw attention he apparently didnt want. I put a dollop of mashed potatoes on his
plate and gave a misleading reply,
Is this enough mashed potatoes, Al? He nodded and I smiled. He had
understood what I had done. I could be quite the actress. I looked up to find Seth
digging in, and realized I had better load my plate before all of the food was taken.
When I finished loading up all of my favorites, I threw myself into the conversation. My
mum always said I was quite the social butterfly. As we moved from topic to topic, each
one before it seemed to fade and be forgotten. Except the one we had about Weasleys
Wizard Wheezes. That one was a lot of fun, especially because we knew most of the
products were banned from Hogwarts. Then Arlette asked about family. She had figured
out that Roxanne and I were related through the similar appearance we shared, and she
told us that she was a half-blood; her dad was the only wizard in her family, and she
was the only witch. After we had revealed how we were related, she turned to
questioning Seth. He seemed to shy away from the questions, although eventually she
wheedled the answers out of him. It turned out that Seth was from a small wizarding
community in Northumbria, England, somewhere on the border between Westmorland
and Durham. All of the inhabitants of the small, self-sufficient village were magical, and
the muggles knew nothing about it due to protective enchantments around the entire
area. It was a quiet, barely influenced by the ministry type of place, and he had enjoyed
growing up there. We were all astonished when he openly told us,
There are more people at this school than in my village! It was only a few
minutes later when Headmistress McGonagall stood again, and silence descended on
the hall.
I know some of you would like nothing better than to troop off to bed right now,
but I must first remind you that the Forbidden Forest is out of bounds, as it always has
been, and that a new list of banned items has been posted for you all to look over in
your common rooms. We will finish the night with the school Anthem, and then you will
be dismissed to your respective common rooms. She waved her wand, and a golden,
shimmering ribbon started forming the words of the song. She smiled and said, You
may use any tune. Begin! as one, we began the first word, but, from there, everyone
was singing the words at a different tune. My friends and I stuck to the original tune as
we belted out:
Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts
Teach us something please,
25
Whether we be old and bald
Or young with scabby knees,
Our heads could do with filling
With some interesting stuff,
For now theyre bare and full of air,
Dead flies and bits of fluff,
So teach us whats worth knowing,
Bring back what weve forgot,
Just do your best, well do the rest,
And learn until our brains all rot!
There was no real, definite end, as the song came to ends in seconds, a minute,
or several minutes. Eventually, some Gryffindors finished their tune, and the singing
was over. Headmistress McGonagall smiled warmly.
Prefects, show the first years along to your houses. Everyone, off to bed! I rose
with the others, yawning as I realized how tired I was. As I went to go find the prefect, Al
said,
Hey, Lily, wont you walk with your brothers? he said it very teasingly, but I
agreed to it anyway. Why not go separately from the other first years? It would be
different. As we started walking, James joined us, smiling. I followed them up staircase
after staircase, getting turned around in the process. I knew that as we talked, they were
hiding something. They were probably hiding whatever it was they wanted us to talk
about. I yawned again, and James saw it.
Why dont we talk as soon as we get back to the common room? I nodded,
anything to get to bed faster was better. I saw, one staircase ahead of us, the prefect
come to a stop. As we rounded the bottom of the staircase, we heard her say,
The password is Helms Feather everyone! At that, a portrait of a fat lady in a
pink dress swung open, and I heard gasps of amazement from other first years. I turned
to my brothers, now fully awake again, and said,
Ill meet you in ten minutes in the common room. I want to see my dorm room!
They barely had the time to register the words before I was dashing up the steps, trying
to find Arlette or Roxanne. I clambered through the entrance, and as I looked around, I
26
was amazed. There was a warm, happy fire crackling away in the hearth, and there
were comfy chairs and couches all over the room. Everything was a shade of red, gold,
or both. It was wonderful. Suddenly Arlette was tugging on my arm.
We got the top dorm! Come with me! she squealed in excitement.
Okay, okay! Im coming! We dashed up the stairs, and when we reached the
highest door, there was a neat sign with our year mates and our names on it. I opened
the door, and stepped inside. Our room was a perfect circle, and there were six beds
positioned evenly around the room. The ceiling tapered to a point, and I knew we were
in one of the turrets that branched off one of the towers. In the center of the room, there
were six mirrors, each facing its own four-poster. There were also side cabinets next to
every bed. I saw Cindy open her mirror like a door, and realized that each mirror was
also a door to a magically extended closet. Wow! This room had everything! I identified
my bed and mirror by my trunk sitting at the end of my bed, and the mirror across from
it. We even had vanities next to our beds! After unpacking the bare essentials though, I
went back down to the common room. My brothers saw me coming down the staircase,
and ushered me over. Instantly, James got to the point.
Wow Lils, you really werent scared at all were you? He said. I smiled,
I was, but I put on a brave face. Had my own brothers not realized I was
scared? Apparently so!
Really? How did you manage that? Albus queried. So I told them how I had
managed the brave face and wave, and there were instantly more questions. James
insistently wanted to know who I had waved at.
A friend. I answered simply, and anonymously, thinking that my brothers
wouldnt take to my friend well.
Which friend?
What friend?
Who? The questions were hurled my way so fast I didnt have time to take them
in. I didnt want to answer them either. I meant to say, oh, nobody important, but
instead I ended up blurting,
I shouldnt tell you. Well, that was exactly the wrong thing to say. They were all
over me, bombarding me with questions, and demanding that I tell them, exactly, who. I
was very, very mad at myself. Ill tell you on the condition that you will not be biased in
any way, and you will not take it out on either me, or my friend. They both looked at
me, then at each other.
27
Okay.
Deal.
I gave myself to defeat. Hes Scorpius Malfoy. My brothers gaped at me. It was
James who exploded first.
Scorpius MALFOY! Are you KIDDING! Hes a slimy git! Hes hes a family rival
for Merlins sake!
Leave Merlin out of this James! I spat at him. You are so biased that you cant
see the truth! You only see Scorpius when you have to be his rival seeker! Its YOU
whos being a git! As I finished the little outburst, I felt as if I was breathing fire. James
stared at me. I was really glad everyone else had gone to bed, and that we were the
only three people in the common room. Al piped up,
Lily, how do you know Scorpius is nice when he doesnt say two words
together? I fixed my glare on him now.
Hes very talkative when youre actually willing to listen to him Al! And when he
talks, hes very nice! I will not have you messing with him, and I wont be messed with
either! In fact, I met Scorpius because he saved me from one of Freds ridiculous
schemes! James could tell I was talking to both him and Al when I said the last part. I
gave them a good, long look, then said stiffly Good-night. I turned, and headed up the
stairs to my dorm. I was exhausted. And mad.
************
I watched Lily join her siblings and head into the Entrance Hall, and I followed,
watching her flaming hair ascend the staircase. I sighed, and turned, heading towards
the dungeons instead. I decided I would go roof jumping tonight. It would help me think
things over. It always did. I followed behind the first years.
That one girl, the one whod sat next to me, had been a complete motor mouth.
She would probably end up paying for it, what a pity. I had always known that you were
never listened to when you didnt stop talking. It was an unspoken rule in my family. I
was the strong and silent, bred and trained that way. Trained was definitely the correct
word, there was no doubt. Lily Potter had pointed out I didnt talk much. Now, Id do
anything to talk to her, or to see her. We reached the end of the stone passage that led
to our common room door. Our password always had to be something haughty,
degrading, or cunning. Or it had to be something about Slytherin. It was, in my opinion,
a very stupid way of choosing a password.
The password is Slytherins Snake everyone better remember that. The
28
prefect drawled lazily. The door to the common room opened, and I put my icy gaze
back on, no one would bother me when I wore it. On either side of the green-stoned
fireplace there were stairs to the dorms. I went down the left staircase, and at the fifth
door down I turned, and went in. My dorm was a shady, rectangular affair, with plenty of
extra corners to bargain in, but you could always be overheard from the right spot. I
opened my trunk, and began to put things in the tall, gilded wardrobe while slipping on
some very expensive, very padded, muggle shoes. My roof jumping shoes. I continued
to put my belongings in my wardrobe so I wouldnt look as if I wasnt planning to sneak
out, as I had done many times. I slipped a length of rope with a hook on the end into my
deep robe pockets. As my dorm mates filtered in and got ready for bed I headed out into
the common room. Good, no one was following me, and even better, the common room
was empty. I walked through the common room to the alcove with the gilded window
depicting Slytherin, and eased one of the panes open. As far as I knew, nobody knew
that the windowsill outside was big enough to stand on, or that the window even
opened. I slithered out of the window with practiced ease, not making a sound. I shut
the portion of the window, and turned.
I was only a foot above the lake, as only the alcove with the Slytherin window
was above the water level. I turned again, and put my fingers and toes in between the
large castle stones. With barely a breath I began to work my way up the tall wall,
towards the first battlements. I went a meter up, moving in time with the shadows. I
knew that no one would be able to see me. I drifted into deep thought as I glided further
up the wall. Lily Potter thought I was nice. I thought Lily was the prettiest girl on the
planet. Could she like me? I sighed. Her brothers would never allow it. I was doomed.
But I wanted to at least be Lilys friend. Maybe I could see her tonight. If I could find
Gryffindor Tower tonight, I could, and would see Lily. She just probably wouldnt see
me. I kept going, determined to find Gryffindor tower by ten oclock. As I crested the
battlements, I summersault-flipped over them, landing crouched on the balls of my feet.
I raced forward, building momentum before flying up the battlements on the other side,
and launching myself off of them. As I flew both forwards and downwards I did a triple
backflip, just for fun. As I came out of the last one I bent my knees and angled my feet,
then slammed down onto the ceiling of the Great Hall.
I began to slowly slide down the slanted roof, but I sprinted up to the top and
began to work my way to the nearest wall. It was the same stone as the other castle
walls, and it was not unfamiliar territory. I got my handhold and footholds, and began to
scale the wall. As I did, I narrowed the list of towers that could be Gryffindor Tower.
None of the towers that were classrooms held what I was looking for. Neither did the
two smallest towers, they werent big enough to hold all of Gryffindor house. Then there
were the towers that were not accessible through the Entrance Hall. Those couldnt be it
either. That left me four towers to try. Each tower had a turret, but one of them had two
29
turrets. Those could be the dorms, and the main tower could be the common room. I
saw that the top of the wall I was climbing was coming to an end. I flexed my toes, then
pushed out from the wall with such force that my legs swung out, away, and then over
my head. As my legs reached the correct angle, I rotated my body upwards, so I was
looking across at another wall. At the same time, I heaved myself up, and away from the
wall, and the momentum of my legs carried me up and over it. I rotated as I went over,
and came down on the roof, a smile on my face. It was my favorite way to end the
scaling of a wall, and I had executed it perfectly. I looked at the tower I would scale first.
The one with two turrets would be first. Then I bounded across the roof, seeming to reel
the tower in with each flip, bound, leap and wall that I passed. After seven more walls
and eight more roofs, I stood at the base of the tower, panting slightly. After a minute
respite, I took the rope in my pocket out, and tapped the hook end while murmuring
spells
Cathos nak, reel asurem, canet breks. They were three charms I had found in a
book of ancient spells in the Malfoy Manor. They would allow the hook to stay wherever
it fell until I took it away from the wall, and it would make the rope stronger; unable to
break under my weight, and it would ensure that the rope did not knot itself as I was
climbing. I wrapped the rope shoulder-to-hip around me, and then began to climb the
curved tower wall. After long minutes of moving, wraith-like, up the wall, I looked up to
find the cutting edge of the top one of the turrets base looming above me. I moved
slowly as I undid the rope, and then let the rope hang from my loose wrist.
I flicked my wrist, hard, and saw the hook ark up, and over the edge of the turret
base, out of sight. After several seconds, I tugged lightly on the rope, which I found to
be steady. I put my full weight on the rope, put my feet on either side of the rope, and
swung outward. As I dangled off the lip of the tower I waited for the rope to quit
swinging, and then began to hoist myself upwards.
As my feet came level with the first good foothold, I inserted them in, then felt out
my handholds with caution. When I had them, I let the rope dangle loosely, and moved
it to the side. I came to the first window, following my rope, and saw that, with some
form of luck, I had picked the Gryffindor Tower, and the Girls dorm turret, correctly. I felt
like whooping, but instead I went further up the turret. The first years in my house had
gotten the lowest dorm, so that meant that, in Gryffindor, first years would be at the top.
I went up seventy more feet, and came to another window. I could see no one that
looked like Lily through the gaps in the bed hangings, but there was a big, six-way
mirror blocking my way. I climbed to the other side of the tower, and again peeked
through the window. There, in between a large gap in her hangings, was Lily. All I could
see was her red hair, sprawled across the pillow. I smiled, satisfied. I had done all that I
had wanted to do and it was only I looked at my watch 8:30. I smiled, and sat on
her windowsill. It had only taken me an hour to get here, to my surprise.
30
After ten minutes I once again was on the move. Next time, I would come by
broom, but I had wanted to do it the hard way first. Plus I had wanted to roof jump
anyway. It took another hour to retrace my steps, but as I stood beside my bed I
realized how exhausted I was. It had been a long, tiring climb to take. I probably
wouldnt be able to make it to Gryffindor Tower tomorrow if I roof-jumped there. My eyes
felt heavy, and my excitement was dulled by sore, tired limbs. My head had barely hit
my pillow before I fell asleep in my own four-poster.
Chapter 4: Differences
I woke to warm sunlight streaming through the turrets windows. I smiled, pushed
the soft bed hangings back, got slowly out of bed, and looked outside. I groaned as I
saw that the sun was only just coming up. The mirrors in the room had reflected the light
and made it seem brighter than six forty-five. I sat down at my vanity and helped myself
to one of the pieces of parchment it was stocked with. I dipped one of my new quills into
the built-in ink well, and started writing a letter to my parents. When I was finished, it
was short and simple.
Dear Mum and Dad,
As expected, I was sorted into Gryffindor. Ive made friends with Arlette Kay and
Seth Loupe. Roxanne is part of our circle of friends as well. You may receive some angry
letters from Al and James, so Ill explain now. They are really biased and cant see past
old family rivalries. On the train the yesterday, Fred used some Ghastly Gas, and I
fainted in it. My new friend, Scorpius Malfoy (keep reading dad, and no, he didnt
confound me) somehow worked a way around the spell, and woke me up. He really is
very nice, and I wont let anyone decide who Im going to be friends with. Please accept
my choice. Im very happy here and cant wait to start classes.
Love,
Lily L.
I reviewed the letter, satisfied with my work. Breakfast started at seven thirty, so I
had half an hour to find the owlery. Or I could go to breakfast early, and deliver it when I
was finished. That would be the best way; after all, I could get someone to show me the
way. I got dressed, pulling on some black flare jeans, tucking my Hogwarts shirt in, and
slipping my already tied tie over my head. Slipping on shoes, I pulled my cloak on and
left the dorm. I had twenty minutes to find the Great Hall, and I was sure I could do it in
less. I ran down the stairs, and flitted across the common room, pushing the portrait
hole open. I had a talent for walking quietly, and I used it as I turned from staircase to
staircase, all of them moving. I reached a door that said first floor corridor and I knew I
31
should only go down one more flight of stairs. I sighed with relief as I came into the
Entrance Hall. I had made it without any help! I walked towards the Great Hall, and I
was about to step through the great gilded doors when I heard my name being called.
Lily! Youre up early! I turned to find Scorpius making his way across the hall
towards me, book bag slung over his shoulder.
Scorpius! I didnt know you were an early riser too!
The early bird misses the rest of his house by miles! He said cheerfully, then
added with a smile, He also gets to take all the bacon he wants! I laughed as we
started walking towards my table.
Hey Scorpius?
Hmm? His stormy eyes flicked back to mine.
Would you show me the owlery when were both done with breakfast? He
smiled and nodded.
You probably want to send a letter home, dont you? I nodded, smiling, and sat
down at the Gryffindor table. Ill be back then. Scorpius walked to the other side of the
room, sitting down at his own table. I turned my attention to the food.
Half an hour later I was walking out of the Great Hall with Scorpius, and most of
the other students were just coming to breakfast. We chatted as we walked, our
schedules in hand. As we continued, he pointed out where different classes were, like
Charms and Transfiguration. When we stepped into the owlery a huge Great Sooty Owl
swooped down to Scorpius, cuffing him on the head affectionately. He smiled, Good
morning Sagitta. I let a tremolo whistle out, and Calder responded, answering with a
hollow version of my whistle that lasted nearly fifteen seconds. He then flew in an arcing
circle onto the nearest perch. Scorpius looked at me, I didnt know you could imitate
owl calls!
I laughed. I trained him to only come when he hears his own species hoot
imitation. I did all of his training myself.
Scorpius raised his eyebrows. How? He asked.
I smiled. I can communicate with owls the same as you can talk to me. I just told
him to only come when I call. Plus I told him other training stuff.
Thats cool. I wish I could do it! He replied.
I laughed again Sorry, the trait is inherited.
32
Have you got a letter or did I come for no reason?
Sorry Calder, Ill get your letter. I replied without thinking. I notice then that
Scorpius is watching me.
Unexpectedly, he speaks. Do you want me to copy your timetable so you can
send it? I agree, and suggest he keep a copy too, so he would know when I was free.
He handed me a copy of his, and put a self-updating charm on the ones we gave each
other. I sent Calder off with the letter, and pocketed Scorpiuss timetable. What do you
have first, Lily? I smiled and replied,
Herbology with my Godfather, Professor Longbottom.
He frowned, Ive got Transfiguration, not that I mind the class, but I wont be able
to show you where Herbology is. It was fine by me, and we set off, only once stopping
so I could get my book bag from Gryffindor Tower. Then we raced each other to his
class, and Scorpius was ten minutes early. I re-entered the Entrance Hall and found
Roxanne, Seth, and Arlette. We walked across the grounds towards the big, glass-
ceilinged greenhouses. We filed into greenhouse one, and found a table. The last
person to arrive was the first year I had noticed last night, Clovis Maximilian. He looked
around for a seat and without pausing to think I called,
Clovis, you can sit with us! He looked a little relieved as he joined us standing
around our table, and we all turned to Professor Longbottom.
Today we will be starting with some simple magical plants called belladonna,
and we will be extracting the essence of belladonna out of them to replenish both your
own stores of it, and to replenish the student supply of it. Belladonna is a mellow,
beautiful plant. It sways slowly and is either a beautiful green or purple. They are out
back, and each table will have two to work on. With that, the lesson began, and soon
we were determining which leaves were fat enough to extract the essence of
belladonna from. The project would take a month to complete. For homework, we were
assigned a paragraph on how to correctly procure untainted essence of belladonna.
The next class we had was flight class with the Slytherins, in which we would
learn to fly. This year, Coach Wood would be teaching this, as he was off Puddlemere
United for a year so he could properly heal after his horrific shoulder and elbow injury
that had even made the Daily Profit. As we made our way to the pitch, Arlette began to
fret. She was worried that, since she had never been on a broom before, she would
make a fool of herself. Seth and Clovis were having their own conversation, and I could
tell that, quick, smart Clovis was now part of our group of friends. We entered the pitch
with the rest of the Gryffindor first-years, and Coach Wood called,
33
Please stand next to a broom! He then saw that there was confusion on which
side to stand on and shouted over the chatter, On the left side, please! Hugo ended up
next to me, and I smiled at him. He smiled back as Coach Wood told us to hold our right
hand out over the broom we had gotten. I held my hand out confidently, Id ridden
before, and I was sure I could do what the Coach wanted. Now say up!
I shrugged and forcefully said, Up! my broom snapped into my hand, and I saw
Seths broom do the same. Only one other student, a Slytherin, got his broom up on the
first try. I smiled. I felt ready. After fifteen more minutes, everyone had managed to tell
their broom who was in charge. Then we began a series of takeoff and landing drills.
Coach Wood then separated us into a beginning group and an advanced group.
Seth, Hugo, Roxanne, and I were the Gryffindors in the advanced group, and
facing us were five Slytherins. Figures, I thought, that they have more people with
experience. We started passing exercises, and I was the star at that. We passed
oranges, apples, and a new brand of junior quaffle, which, as it was for juniors, was half
the weight of a normal quaffle. When Coach Wood sent us on a water break, I looked
over at the beginners, assessing them. I had noticed that one girl, with a haircut like a
lions mane was the best of the beginners. She had to be a Gryffindor, with that haircut,
but she hadn't been there last night, unless I had forgotten my dorm mates in less than
twelve hours. But I doubted that. After all, I had grown up around my huge family. I did
not forget names or faces easily. I leaned over to Roxanne. "Who is that?" She looked
at me inquisitively. "I mean the one with the lions mane hairdo." I elaborated. She
looked at me like I was crazy for a few seconds, and then laughed.
Thats Cindy! I forgot you left early, and she was behind us in Herbology!
But Cindy doesnt look like that! I exclaimed, confused.
Yes she does, at least for today, Lily. She looked at me like the answer was
obvious. I was now frustrated beyond belief.
Thats impossible Roxanne! Unless she can change her appearance with I
trailed off as an idea struck me. No Roxanne, she cant be! Roxanne played dumb.
She cant be what Lily?
A Metamorphmagus! I exclaimed, and Roxanne beamed at me.
You got it! You left early, but when we woke up she was making her appearance
change in the mirror! It was so cool!
I snorted. I see Teddy do it all the time when he stops over! Still, Id like to see
Cindy change her appearance.
34
Roxanne commented as we got on our brooms again, I cant believe Teddy and
Victorie are engaged! I mean, were bridesmaids this summer! I laughed. I couldnt wait
to see the perfect couple married; after all, they were made for each other.
When it was time to head back up to the castle I was thoroughly pleased at my
performance, and sighed contentedly. It had been a care-free hour and a half here, and
most of the other first years had enjoyed themselves too. We would have a quick lunch
and then I consulted my schedule and What? Double Potions with the Slytherins? It
was the first day of term, and a Monday, for goodness sake! I groaned and leaned to
show Seth the schedule, pointing at the offending class. He pulled out his, only to see a
perfect match to mine, as all the first year Gryffindors had the same schedule.
Oh come on! Double Potions already? He groaned. We trooped into the Great
Hall and I checked with my friends. All of the Gryffindor first years had Potions together,
and Cindy informed us that the entire group of Slytherin first years did too. Still, I really
shouldnt judge Potions Class off what Al and James have told me, I thought. Plus, I
really didnt want to make a bad first impression on Professor Slughorn, who was still
teaching here. So, with that reasoning, I bolted my lunch, and headed off into the
dungeons with Cindy, who had also had the same idea. As we walked further down the
sloping dungeon floor we began chatting amicably, and she was pleased to find out that
I really knew who she was, even with the new look. We reached the closed door with
plenty of time, and stood gratefully next to the warm door. Apparently Slughorn had
asked Professor Flitwick to put some heating charms in his classroom, which meant that
the door was emanating heat and, consequently, comfort. After another ten minutes, the
rest of the Slytherins and Gryffindors could be seen coming, if they werent already
standing around the door. Suddenly, the door swung open, and a man who obviously
enjoyed his luxuries stood in the doorway, smiling at us.
Come in! Come in! As we filed in and found tables, Slughorn went on.
Welcome to Potions Class! Well start off today with a fun little potion, and one that will
take your entire class to brew. It will be a little more advanced, but that is just so I can
assess you! Please take out your caldrons! There was a scraping sound as we
dragged our caldrons onto the table, positioning them over the fire grates and laying out
the protective cloth around it. Now today, on page one-hundred and eleven, we will be
brewi- He was cut off by a sharp rap on the door. For a second he looked puzzled, then
recovered and feebly said, Enter. We were all surprised when the door opened to
reveal an annoyed looking Headmistress McGonagall, standing with a class of dust
covered students.
She said in a tone that left no room for refusal, Horace, would you kindly allow
these students to help conduct your class? Professor Flitwick is out cold from a
misused spell and I dont have anywhere to put this unfortunate bunch! Professor
35
Slughorn readily agreed, and the Headmistress left, leaving the dusty students to cram
into the potions room. I looked at them and suddenly recognized three of them.
Scorpius was in the front of the group, and Al and Rose were standing together in the
back corner. This had to be the Slytherin and Gryffindor third year charms class, then.
Professor Slughorn muttered something inaudible, and then began speaking again,
Change of plans! Third years, find a student to help with The Draught of Bliss on
page three-hundred. Suddenly, the third years exploded into a seething mass, all trying
to get a partner they knew. Rose rushed towards her brother, and I looked around for
Albus. To my horror, I saw he was fighting his way towards me. Thankfully, Scorpius
was also headed my way, and had started out closer, so he was winning the race
towards my table. I watched, sort of fascinated by the race. I wasnt surprised when
Scorpius won though. He stopped right before crashing into my chair and smiled.
Partners, Lily?
I grinned, Of course! My brother then arrived at the table. Apparently, he
wanted to stick close to me while I was with Scorpius. Ha. He would have a harder time,
next time.
Roxanne? Partner with me, will you? Al asked. She nodded at him, and Albus
walked around Scorpius to stand behind her. I took a look around the room and saw
that Fred and Keith had teamed up, and there were many odd combos throughout the
room. Scorpius brought my attention back to him by whispering,
Page three-hundred, Lily. I turned to page three-hundred and handed him the
book.
You read the ingredients, and Ill pull them out, okay? He nodded and smiled,
then began listing the ingredients.
You need; Powdered Root of Asphodel, Dragon Blood, Sloth Brain, and Spider
legs, Acromantula Venom, Dittany Petals and Rose Oil.
I frowned. Scorpius, I dont have any Sloth Brain! Or any Acromantula Venom
for that matter! He laughed and reached into his own potion ingredient case, pulling out
the said items, and placed them on the table.
Then, with a straight face he replied, What do you mean Lily? The ingredients
are right there! I smiled and took the book out of his hands as I said,
Well, they somehow appeared there, and I have no idea who put them there!
We both laughed, and it was a second before I realized that my brother was laughing
with us too! I smiled, but pretended not to notice him. I would get the truth later.
36
I peered at the instructions in the potions book, and then placed the book in front
of me. The book had been reprinted recently, with the Half-Blood-Princes notes tested,
and used to replace old instructions. The first instruction read; take three measures of
spider legs and crush to fine powder with your mortar and pestle. I took a standard size
spoon out of my kit and followed the instructions. Scorpius meanwhile added eight
ounces of Acromantula venom to the caldron, and prodded the grate with his wand,
starting the flames. As the venom began to boil, I pulled on my dragon-hide gloves and
held the dittany petals in the venoms steam. The petals crumbled into ash and fell into
the potion, turning it a light purple. Then I added a cup of rose oil, and three ounces of
ground sloth brain and the spider legs. One ounce of dragons blood was added
afterwards, and we left the potion to simmer. Forty-five minutes later, we added the
asphodel, and the potion turned from a light red to a pale, watery pink. It had been an
hour and thirty minutes since we had started the potion, and Slughorn was now coming
around the room, assessing the potions. He sniffed at one and recoiled, his nose turning
slightly red, as if agitated. At another caldron, there was only what looked like a red
pancake inside, which he said was because they had forgotten the rose oil. When he
got to our table, he walked around, pointing out what they had done wrong. I bit my lip,
what if I had gotten it wrong? Slughorn peered into our caldron and exclaimed,
Perfect! Ive never seen such a first brewing in my life! Well done, Mr. Malfoy,
Miss Potter!
Scorpius smiled and said, All I did was put the Acromantula venom in and start
the fire Professor. Lily did the rest. I realized it was true and swelled with pride. I had
done this potion almost all on my own, and I had done it perfectly!
Well then! Lily has inherited her Grandmothers talent! Well done, and twenty
points to Gryffindor! I left class feeling as if I was floating, and thanked Scorpius
profusely. He shrugged it off, repeating what he had said to Slughorn.
I smiled, Still, I want to thank you, Scorpius.
He smiled and replied, It was my pleasure, Miss Lily. I laughed, and we
continued walking, him to Defense Against the Dark Arts, and me to History of Magic.
The class was, admittedly, the most boring of them all, as Professor Binns still had not
changed his curriculum. But, I took notes anyway, and I was one of the few that did. We
were learning about Buffo the Buffoon and his quarrels against Cordon the Crafty, who
eventually killed Buffo, but the feud still goes on today. It was, to say the least,
extremely pointless. When the bell finally rang we all rushed to dinner, glad to be out of
class, and glad that we would be eating shortly. We joined the body of black-clad
students and streamed towards the Great Hall, filling the corridors to capacity. When I
finally made it to the Gryffindor table, I sat down with my friends. We were all excited
37
and talking about our day, but when the food appeared, there was instant silence as
everyone dug in.
As we started slowing down, Cindy started changing her appearance for our
amusement. When she tried the duck bill, which I had seen Teddy try, she also made
her eyes really big, and it actually looked good, although Im sure Cindy would never
leave it that way. Our section of the table was roaring with laughter by the end of dinner,
and I couldnt help smiling. If only I didnt have homework!
We all did our homework together, which made it fun, but we had a lot to do.
Herbology, Potions, and History of Magic class had all given us homework. I finished
Potions work last, and trooped up to bed, yawning. I felt like I had forgotten something,
but after double checking that all of my homework was done, and making sure my bag
was packed with the right books for tomorrow I gave up and went to bed. After all, if it
wasnt homework that I was forgetting, it couldnt be too important, right? I drifted into a
dreamless sleep, content with that assumption.
************
I was disappointed to go to Transfiguration Class for the first time ever. In fact, I
was actually wishing I was a first year again. It wasnt because the Class was too hard,
far from that, as I had already read the entire textbook. It wasnt even because of Rose
Weasleys snarky attitude towards me, or the fact that she hated whenever I outshone
her, which was, admittedly often. No, the reason I was, for once, not enjoying
Transfiguration was because my newest friend was not in the class. She was down in
the greenhouses, probably working with an entire table of friends in her own house. I
sighed, and then realized that Professor Marvala had asked me a question, something
about why theory was important. I picked the best answer I had. Theory is important to
any magic involving the wand because only when one fully understands the theory of
the magic they are asking their wand to perform can they ask their wand to perform it,
and have it performed to the best of the wands ability.
Professor Marvala nodded, impressed. Fifteen points to Slytherin for the best
answer to that question that I have heard in all my years of teaching! Excellent job,
Scorpius! She paused, and then addressed the class. Everyone, write that down!
there was a rustling of quills against parchment, and I wrote it down too, just so that I
could remember it. Underneath, I wrote a note saying that I had won fifteen points for
the answer. For the rest of the class, I sort of zoned out again, and Professor Marvala
didnt ask me another question.
During the next period, I had an open spot in my schedule, so I went out to the
grounds, found my favorite tree, and climbed into the branches, concealed from the
world. As I sat in the perfect little hollow in the branches, I did my Transfiguration
38
homework and watched the people out on the grounds. I glanced at the Quidditch Pitch
and watched the multi colored dots zooming around, not more than fifteen feet of the
ground. Students, or, more accurately, the first years. I smiled and took out Lilys
schedule. Sure enough, it showed that she was having flying lessons in the Pitch at that
very second. I smiled. Maybe next year Id play against her, but only if she was good
enough to make the Gryffindor team. I finished the fifteen inch Transfiguration essay
with a good half-hour until lunch, so I decided to walk down to the Pitch and watch some
of the exercises. But I never made it there. Instead, a seventh year, Harper Jones, who
had been made Captain of the Slytherin Quidditch Team saw me, and headed me off
right away.
Malfoy! Get over here! Ive been searching for you! Didnt I tell them specifically
not to call me that? I hated being called by my surname! I walked over anyway, hiding
my displeasure. Jones handed me a piece of parchment, sealed with a green wax
serpent. Thats your invitation to tryouts, alright? Dont lose it! You are the seeker this
year, or else! I felt like laughing. The Slytherin Team tryouts were by invite only and I
was the lightest and quickest ever requested. Nobody could beat me if they were in the
same house. I was the best seeker Slytherin had drafted in over ten years. By the time
Jones finished his lecture, the lunch bell was ringing, and it was far too late to go watch
the first years. I went in to lunch, contemplating what a Quidditch schedule should look
like. I was usually the only one on the team that hadnt been hit in the head with a
bludger one too many times, and therefore, I usually got passed the job of schedule
making.
I ate a quick lunch, not tasting the food at all, and left the Great Hall, heading to
Charms, where we surprisingly had Double Charms, something I didnt even know was
possible. As I waited for the door to open and the rest of my classmates to arrive, I
began analyzing this years Quidditch season. James Potter would most likely become
the Gryffindor seeker. Thomas Petra would probably be the Hufflepuff seeker. Hmm
what was the Ravenclaw girls name? Freya Siren, if I was correct. An odd name, but
she classified as an extremely talented flier, and would be hard competition. Finished
with my estimates, I looked at the growing queue forming behind me. I saw Albus
Potters black hair, and next to him, a crazy, curly, fly-away head of red hair. Rose
Weasley. I was proud that I was now taller than both of them; I had a good seven inches
on Rose, and five on Albus. I noted with surprise that I was, in fact, taller than the vast
majority of the third years. As I turned back around, Professor Flitwick opened the door
and ushered us into the class, and began telling us which pages to read in our theory
book. It was only two pages, and we finished quickly. Then he had us begin to practice
both the wand movement and the incantation. I was just drawing my wand when there
was a huge explosion in the front of the room. There was a blast of purple smoke and
dust that filled the room. As it cleared, Professor Marvala came sprinting in, a couple of
39
seventh years with her. I looked at the source of the blast and gaped. There was a small
crater where a desk used to be, and two students, along with Professor Flitwick, had
been knocked unconscious inside the blasts diameter. I looked back at professor
Marvala, whose face had paled in shock.
What happened, students? she managed to gasp out. Someone tell me what
happened, please.
I found my voice and choked out, They must have tried the wand movement and
the incantation, or done something wrong professor. Honestly, I dont think anyone
knows what happened!
Professor Marvala nodded, conceding the point. With a flick of her wand, she
sent something silver, like a shadow, flying down the hall. There was a tense silence as
we waited for an explanation of the shape, but none was forthcoming. Instead,
Professor Marvala sighed and massaged her temples while we began trying to get the
dust off our robes. I was disgusted to find that it had even gotten in my hair, but really, I
should have expected it, what with the amount on my robes. Only a minute or two later,
Headmistress McGonagall came marching through the door, looking like she would be
smoking at the nostrils if she could. While we students waited with baited breath, she
and Professor Marvala, as well as the seventh years that had come with her, stepped
outside, into the hall. After a hurried discussion, Professor Marvala and her two students
went back to class, and Headmistress McGonagall came back in, telling us to follow her
to another class where we could, Do something useful while staying out of trouble. I
was half expecting us all to get detention, but seeing as we are all partly in shock;
McGonagall seemed to be letting us of the hook. We followed her silently, and she led
us towards the dungeons. Was she going to deliver us to our common rooms and
declare the rest of class a free period? Apparently not, as she stopped outside of the
potions room and knocked on the door. I hurriedly dug in my pocket for Lilys schedule,
hoping for a miracle. I look at the schedule and, - YES! She had potions class now! I
grinned as we filed into the class, and then I was trying to spot Lily. I didnt have to look
much though, as her red hair stood out immediately. I shoved her schedule back into
my pocket and started listening to Professor Slughorn.
Change of plans! Third years, find a student to help with The Draught of Bliss on
page three-hundred. Instantly, I knew which student I wanted to partner up with. But
then it dawned on me. Albus was in this class too! I didnt even look behind to see if
Albus was trying to get to Lily. Somehow, I just knew that I was right. I focused on
getting to her as fast as possible, and sped off in her direction. I saw that she was
watching me, and I sped up, showing off a bit. I stopped right before slamming into her
chair, and I wasnt surprised by the fact that she didnt flinch. Im also very impressed.
40
I smiled, Partners, Lily?
She gives me a huge smile and replies, Of course! Albus then arrives, and I feel
triumphant. Hes too late. As Lily and I get started, I joke with her, pretending that my
ingredients are really hers, and we laugh. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Albus
suppressing a laugh of his own. Cool. I hadnt thought Id ever even get within ten feet
of Albus, much less be able to make him laugh! I mindlessly start following the potions
book instructions, but then I remember that Lily is supposed to do most of it. I stop and
let her take over, which also gives me the chance to see that she has a natural talent for
potions. I am amazed. Who would have guessed? She could be the Potions Prodigy
Potter! I smile at the silly alliteration. Still, all I do after forfeiting my work is joke with her
and talk. Shes that good at potion making on her own. Then the moment of truth
comes. Slughorn starts making his rounds, giving some praise, and some correction.
Then he gets to Lilys caldron. I hope I didnt let her down. And then there comes words
that are music to my ears.
Perfect! Ive never seen such a first brewing in my life! Well done, Mr. Malfoy,
Miss Potter!
But there is one thing that professor Slughorn got wrong. Its Lilys potion, and I
barely did anything to help. All I did was put the Acromantula venom in and start the fire
Professor. Lily did the rest. It was the truth, and I hope Lily realized that.
Well then! Lily has inherited her Grandmothers talent! Well done, and twenty
points to Gryffindor! Boomed Slughorn. Lily was beaming with pride as we left class,
and kept thanking me. It was the most sincere thank-you I had ever received, and I was
a little moved by it. I didnt let it show though, and I gave a nonchalant answer, although
I have no idea what I said. As I peeled off into Defense Against the Dark Arts class I
was feeling as if I was floating. I had a friend, and she was amazing!
Professor Edwards snapped me out of my reverie my saying, Wands out,
everyone! there were whispers around the classroom. Wands out on the first day of
class? I was puzzled too, but obediently got out my wand, twirling it in my fingers,
loving the warmth and companionship my wand expressed. Now, does everyone know
their wands description? Id like you to write it down if you do! I smile. Thats was so
easy! On a scrap of parchment, I write my wands description.
o Combined Wood (all)
o Combined Core (all)
o 17 inches exactly
o Unyielding to some, yielding to others
41
o Historic; made before Hogwarts
o My wands name is; The Eternal Seeker.

I finished my list and put my quill down, only to pick it up again as Professor
Edwards continued, Put your name on the back of your paper, and bring it up to me
please. I scrawled my name on the back of my paper and walked it up to Professor
Edwards. I noticed that, as he received each paper, he would read it, see whose
description it was, and either nod or raise his eyebrows. After a few more minutes, the
rest of the students had turned their information in, and Professor Edwards began to
explain what we would be doing. In the previous years that I have taught you, we have
learned theory, strategy, recent history, and the basics. Now, this year, we get down to
the serious training. The duels, the fights, those will start this year. This year, it all
becomes more real. So, I need to know you a little better. Your wand is the perfect way
to start. It tells me a bit about your basic fighting foundation. But this isnt just going to
help me. You will be guessing which wands belong to who, based on the wands
description. Does everyone understand? A ripple of excitement ran through the room,
and I felt it too, although I didnt express it.
Professor Edwards read the first description. This students wand is made of Fir
wood with a phoenix feather core. It is pliable and is 14.7 inches. Looks went around,
and then Roses hand shot into the air.
Thats Albuss wand!
Professor Edwards smiled and nodded, Correct, Miss Rose! Next He went
on, and I listened, searching for wands I knew. Finally, I heard one. This one is a
wand of Cherry wood, hard, with a unicorn hair core. This wand is 14 inches long.
Rose Weasley! The words are out of my mouth before I can stop them. I like to
know a lot about my rivals, but no one knows that. Yet. Rose looks at me, mouth agape.
I smile and shrug, turning away. Keep your friends close, and your enemies even
closer. Since I had previously had no true friends, the latter had been easy. But I
switched enemies with rivals. My thoughts are interrupted by Professor Edwards and, at
first, I dont know why. Then, it hits me. Hes reading my wands description!
As he finishes reading the description, there is silence. People are looking
around, puzzled. I sigh. Nobody has noticed that I have the longest wand in our year. I
look to my left and see one student mouthing, Wands can have names? Apparently, the
silence has gone on long enough, and Professor Edwards gives the class a hint. This
wand belongs to one of the guys in here, and its not mine! Give me some guesses! A
couple of students murmur a name or two, but they are all wrong. Eventually, Professor
42
Edwards gives up. Okay. Whoever has this wand, show the class who you are.
I smile as heads turn, searching the room. I raise my wand; tip up, to show them
that the wand is mine. First one, then another, and then more students catch sight of it,
a few look shocked. One or two gasp. I understand why. My wand looks unearthly long,
and the colors are unlike any other wand. At the center, it is the lightest shade of amber,
at the tips, it is dark brown. Twenty minutes later, when class ends, I am still getting
furtive glances. Uncomfortable under all the scrutiny, I skip dinner, and instead do my
homework while sitting in my favorite corner of the library. When I first found it, it looked
as if no one had been back here in years. But Id become attached to this corner, and it
had a sense of home. I finished my homework; Transfiguration, Charms, and D.A.D.A.,
and then looked at my watch. It read 8:50, and I sighed contentedly. I was so tired that
as soon as I got back to my common room, I fell right into bed.


43


Chapter 5: The Realm
I wake up and yawn, then gasp. Where am I? My red hair is splayed across a
white pillow. Wait, its a white pillow? I sit up and gasp. Im in an ornate hall lined with
white beds. It looks like the hospital wing, except that there are no windows. Im
puzzled. I look around, and when I look to the left, I see that the wall at the end of the
chamber is shimmering. Thats when it hits me. Im still asleep! This is all a dream! As I
watch the wall, a gilded, blue-and-silver door rises out of the mist, and then the mist
seeps away. I scramble out of my bed and move towards the door. There is something
drawing me to it. I cant stop. But before I reach the door, I reach a rack of robes. They
are very old-style, but its better than exploring in pajamas. I look at the rack, and then
select some robes and a hooded cloak. Both garments are white and soft, like satin. I
am unsurprised to find that, when I put them on, they fit perfectly. Because they are so
old-style, the sleeve cuffs hang down, and the robe-dress hem stays in a perfect circle
on the floor, hiding my feet. Ready to pass through the door now, I turn to the huge blue
doors. As I approach, they swing open for me, and I get the sense that I am supposed
to be here. At my first glance inside though, I am astounded. Inside is a massive library,
at least three times the size of the one at Hogwarts. I take tentative steps inside, and
the door closes behind me. I freeze. Am I trapped?
But then, a melodious voice rings out. Welcome, Lily Potter. I look hurriedly
towards the direction the voice came from, and my eyes widen. A raven-haired lady in
elegant, blue-and-silver robes is striding towards me. On her head, there is an ornate
diadem. On her shoulder, sits a raven. I know instantly who she is. I curtsy, and duck
my head.
Lady Ravenclaw. It is an honor to meet you.
She smiles. So, you know who I am! But my dear, call me Rowena. I nod. I
realize I have been given a great honor, as, by using Rowenas first name, I become an
equal. Leave us, Hraban. She said. The raven takes flight, gracefully disappearing into
the depths of the library. Follow me, Lily. I will begin your training. Training? Training
for what? But I follow Rowena anyway because, who would, or could, refuse training
from a founder? As we reach the center of the library, I see that an open, made-for-
everything classroom has been set up.
Wow. There are instruments, books, and caldrons. There is so much I dont
recognize. Im sure that every subject could be taught here, if Rowena were so inclined
to teach them all. Rowena picks up a small vial and hands it to me.
44
Drink it. I look at her, unsure. It will help you remember this when you wake
up. Convinced now, I drink it. It feels like, and tastes like nothing. I hope it works.
Rowena motions for me to sit at the piano, and I do. She strides off, and returns with
several books and papers floating in front of her. She selects the thickest book and
hands it to me. I will teach you the classical arts, Lily. I will teach you the ways of
music, language, history, and etiquettes. Today, I am going to begin with history.
I nod. So, youre going to teach me about things that Professor Bins teaches?
How will that help me?
It will teach you to listen and to concentrate, and to learn from what has already
happened. It will help you learn focus and control. It will be the foundation of your
learning here. History has a way of repeating Itself, so it is important to learn. With that,
Rowena begins the lesson. She teaches me about how things were when she was
alive, and teaches me the history of the magical world. She tells me of the earliest times
of magic, and the first users of the power that it possessed. She even explains to me
the origin of good and evil muggle superstitions. Apparently, many stories were based
off of what great or terrible things the magic users began doing once they became more
common. The stories strike a chord within me, and I know I will never forget them. After
several dream-hours, she deems that I have learned enough. I am able to summarize
the first five hundred years of magic lore with minimal difficulty. I have also taken
extensive notes on all that I have been taught. Rowena is an extremely talented
instructor. You have done better than I could have hoped, Lily. When we meet again,
we will continue. Return to the first chamber, and you will find the way to return to your
dormitory. Remember my lesson.
I smile and curtsy. Thank you, Rowena. I will return, I hope.
She laughs. Of course you will, dear girl! You have already come here once, and
I will be able to summon you here again. Go now, Lily, and I will see you soon. Study if
you can.
I turn, and walk back to the blue-and-silver door. Once again, it swings open for
me. As I pass through, I know what I must do to return to my dormitory. I change back
into my pajamas, putting the robe and cloak in the dream-cabinet next to the bed I woke
up in. I climb into bed, and close my eyes.
When I open them, I am back in my dormitory, and there are textbooks and notes
beneath my bed.
************
At first, my sleep is dreamless, but eventually, I become aware of soft light
45
filtering around me. I know I am dreaming. In my dormitory, it is pitch black until the fires
are lit, and the house elves light them while we are at breakfast. I open my eyes and sit
up, to find myself in a long, ornate hall filled with clean, white beds. The only occupied
one other than my own is directly across from me, and before I get a look at the
occupant, the person seems to turn to mist, and vanish. For some reason, I find this
neither disturbing nor frightening. I look down, to the end of the chamber, and see an
ornate, gilded, blue-and-silver door. Before the door is a rack of medieval wizards
robes. Obviously, I should not go through the door until I have made myself
presentable. I get up, and move silently to them. I quickly chose a matching set of
robes and a gray cloak, both with blue highlights. I am amused by the fact that the
colors match my eyes perfectly, and fit perfectly too. Looking at the door, I feel ready.
When I reached within ten feet of the door, they swung silently open, admitting me.
Inside, there is a massive library, and my fingers itch for a good book. But before I can
decide which one to read, a voice stops me.
Scorpius Hyperion.
I turn, pleased that the person has not used my last name, but instead has used
my middle name. As I catch sight of the woman, I raise my eyebrows. She has long,
raven hair, and is wearing blue-and-silver robes. A diadem, of the same colors, rests in
her hair.
Lady Ravenclaw, tapestries do not do you justice! To what do I owe the
pleasure?
She laughed, You wouldnt be able to come here if you werent worthy of
training. But you have made it here, so what was that tell you?
It tells me that I am to be trained.
Good! Very good! Drink this, and follow me! With that, she set off, leaving me
behind with her quick stride. I drink the potion unquestioningly. I trust Rowena. She
leads me to an alcove, and at the center, there is a piano. I sit, put my hands on the
keys and start playing instantly. In the Greengrass family, all the men learn to play the
piano. It was a tradition my mother had continued when she married into the Malfoy
family. So you play an instrument? Rowena sounds puzzled.
I keep playing while I answer her. Only the piano.
She smiles. Would you like to spend some time on the piano, Scorpius? I stop
playing and take a few seconds to think. Then I nod. Almost as soon as I answer, music
sheets are flying to us, summoned by Rowena. After a dream-hour, she stops me.
Scorpius, you have natural musical talent, and this is all I wish to cover tonight.
46
I nod, accepting that she is done. But there is one mistake in my logic. Instead, she
continues, I will start you on a code, as we have extra time. I am startled. A code?
What code? She continues speaking though, and I hurry to listen. This code must work
in three ways. You must be able to speak it, write it, and it must be of a high enough
difficulty so that no one cracks it. Oh gosh. This sounded impossible! But I nod, setting
myself one-mindedly onto the task. Can I use the books from here?
Of course you may. This library contains all of your resources. I will come and
get you when it is time to go.
I acknowledge the statement and start pulling olden orchestra music books off
the shelves. Olden composers in Greek, German, French, Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic,
Italian, Latin and Russian styles all come off their shelves, spines crackling with age. I
find a chair and table stocked with parchment, ink, and quills, and sit down with my
books. I make a list of all the clefs, then list the notes contained in each. I give each clef
a number, then number off the notes. I then chose pieces from each music book, all of
which are relatively short, but contain all the notes I need to include numbers one
through twenty six. This takes at least an hour. I am in the process of writing out a
decoder for the notes when Rowena finds me.
It is time for you to go, Scorpius. Continue your work later.
I look her right in the eyes. I will return?
I will summon you, when you next need to come. I nod, and turn, heading back
to the white chamber. When you return, Scorpius, call me Rowena. I look back at her
and smile.
It would be an honor. With a sense of finality, I turn away, and walk back
through the library to the blue-and-silver doors. They swing open and I walk to the bed I
woke up in. I change out of the old-style robes and tuck them into the cabinet next to the
bed. Then I swing myself into the bed and close my eyes.
When I wake up, the code and all the books are in my wardrobe.
************
I get up quickly, still excited about meeting Rowena. I change into my school
uniform and hastily take the time to do my hair. Looking, around, I grab my bag and
dash down to breakfast. I am early, but Scorpius is already there. He is staring at
nothing, so I can tell he is deep in thought. Since we are the only two people in the
Great Hall, I sit down across from him, at the Slytherin table. He blinks, and his thought
is broken, but he smiles. Lily! I didnt expect to see you here! So for now, Im making
you an honorary Slytherin!
47
We both laugh Well Im honored! I reply through giggles.
He smiles. Pass the bacon, will you? Im starving!
I joke with him, And that would be because youre working hard, right?
He laughs again. That would be because I skipped dinner last night.
Scorpius! Why?
He shrugs, and then tries to explain. Well, in Defense Against the Dark Arts, we
did a wand guessing game, and no one knew mine because either they had never
noticed it, or they were confused because its such a different wand. I nod, and he
continues. I finally just had to show the class my wand, and after that, I started getting
looks because everyone wanted to see my wand again. Its so different that they were
all interested in it. I didnt like the attention, so I skipped dinner. As he finishes, he
meets my eyes.
I feel like easing his burden, or embarrassment, a little. Well, I happen to have a
strange wand too. He looks at me skeptically, one eyebrow raised. Really, I do! I
smile, and pull out my wand, laying it on the table. He reels backwards on his bench,
and I look at him, alarmed. What did I do? He doesnt answer me. Instead, he pulls out
his own wand and lays it next to mine. This time, I gasp. They are exactly the same
length, and both start with light colors in the center, and darken outward, to end with
dark tips. I gaze at the two wands. They are like twins!
What type is your wand? Scorpiuss question snaps me back to reality.
Combined wood, combined core, its 17 inches exactly. Its unyielding to some,
yielding to others. Its also historic because it was made before Hogwarts. Its name is
The Ethereal Seeker. I spit out the facts and look up at him.
He stares at me. Your wand is named what, again?
The Ethereal Seeker.
Youve got to be kidding.
Im not! I swear!
Okay, okay, I believe you. But its odd because my wand is combined wood,
combined core, and 17 inches exactly. Its also unyielding to some, and yielding to
others as well as a historic wand. The only difference is that mine is called The Eternal
Seeker.
You arent kidding?
48
He shakes his head. No, Im not kidding. We stare at one another for several
seconds. Then Scorpius sighs happily. Now I know Im not the only oddball at
Hogwarts!
Hey! You know what? Im so offended Im thinking about heading back to the
Gryffindor table! Im joking with him and he knows it, but he pretends to be offended. I
dont feel like going back to my own table, so I eat breakfast with Scorpius. We leave
before anyone else arrives, but instead of just walking together aimlessly, we go to our
classes early. Each of us has a lot to think about. I wander to Transfiguration and wait
outside of the door, thinking. What does the similarity of Scorpiuss and my wand
mean? Why are they so similar? Does anyone else have a similar wand? I am relieved
when the door finally opens, and I rush to the front. I am somewhat surprised, but
pleased, when Hugo, Seth, Arlette, Cindy, Roxanne and Clovis join me. Professor
Marvala comes marching in, looking extremely serious. At first, I am nervous, but I soon
figure out that shes just one of the stricter teachers. Our class is mainly theory reading,
but we do get to watch her demo. She turns her desk into a dog, a caged raven into a
goblet, and a pile of parchment into a rabbit. In the last fifteen minutes of class, we learn
about what is considered the most advanced piece of transfiguration; becoming an
Animagus. Personally, I think its way cool, but Roxanne says it sounds creepy to her.
As we finish the class, we are assigned a short essay over the chapters we read in
class.
Defense Against the Dark Arts is much the same, with textbook reading, a short
demo on The Second Wizarding War. This is sort of boring for me, as I know a lot of
details from my parents and my relatives stories. After all, my dad is Harry Potter. At
the end of class, we are assigned an essay on what we know about The Second
Wizarding War. That will be so, so easy for me. Then we head to lunch, and we are all
talking about how much homework we will have. I am not really interested in talking,
and soon drop out of the conversation. I begin thinking about my father. About what he
has done and who he is. There are so many things he has done, so many things I could
never live up to. Suddenly, I feel as if I am not just trying to live up to my brothers
reputations, but also my fathers. They are huge reputations. I feel so small. How will I
step out of the shadows of the people I love? Will the shadows of their reputations crush
me? Then, a worse string of thoughts run through my mind. Can I stand out from them?
Will I be able to? My appetite is gone, gone because of the new sense of insecurity. I
sit, listening to Seth joke about the baker in his village, known as Baker Ferran.
Im not really paying attention, and I just wander along as we go to Charms class.
When we get there, Hugo and his group of friends are already there. For a moment, I
am struck with a horrible pang. I had always thought that Roxanne, Hugo and I would
be in the same friend group at Hogwarts. Now though, Roxanne and I will always be
more separate from Hugo. He seems to be part of two groups. How did this happen? Its
49
then that I realize that this all started on the train, when Hugo found his own
compartment of first year friends. A deep feeling of determination settles in my gut. I
WILL fix this. I will find a way to bring our year together. I know it is unrealistic, but its
something I feel I can do, somehow. As Charms class starts, I have to work hard to stay
focused, but dont pay attention when its time to take notes, and I just copy down the
notes without thinking about them. I have too much on my mind at the moment, what
with my new goal to improve house unity, and my family expectation issue. When the
class ends, I walk slowly towards Herbology. I am shocked when Hugo joins me.
Whats wrong, Lils?
I look up from the floor, startled. Well Hugo waits patiently for me to explain. I
realize it is a sign of how close we are. I start talking really fast, all my troubles spilling
out. Oh Hugo, I dont know what to do! I feel Im living in my familys shadow, I want to
find a way to bring our year together because I hate that we ended up separated, and
on top of all that, my brothers dont approve of my friend Scorpius, and Im afraid my
parents wont either! I am sort of surprised when the last one slips out, but I realize that
its true.
Hugo smiles. Youve really got yourself worried havent you? I nod
disparagingly. He waits a few seconds, then continues. I know what you mean about
the family shadow; after all, my dad has a history of his own, although not as big as your
dads. So, what I do to stand out is be a comedian, more like Uncle George. You could
do something completely your own too. I nod. Its a good idea. For the whole year to
unite is pretty big, so Im going to just say good luck with that, Lils. And for the whole
Scorpius-is-your-friend thing, just dont stress. Wait until you actually hear from your
parents before you stress about their answer.
Hugo has straightened everything out for me. Thank you Hugo. Thank you so,
so much. We arrive at Herbology with a few minutes until class starts. This class, we
work in groups of three or four, and Hugo, Roxanne, and I decide to partner up. We did
a simple lesson on creating a diagram of any plant in the greenhouse. Its fun and rather
easy, so I am smiling when I leave. As I bound up the stairs, I decide to go to the library
to do homework. It will be peaceful and quiet there, and Im hoping it is Like Rowenas
Library, at least a bit. When I finally push through the library doors though, I find that it is
smaller and does not have any nooks with instruments in them. It is good enough, I
decide, and I find a table to sit at and then get to work on my homework.
************
I am pleasantly surprised when Lily joins me for breakfast at the Slytherin table.
We keep up a teasing banter until she asks me about why Im so hungry. My answer is
no big deal to me. Ive missed dinner many times before.
50
But Lily is shocked, and asks, Scorpius! Why?
I shrug. Well, in Defense Against the Dark Arts, we did a wand guessing game,
and no one knew mine because either they had never noticed it, or they were confused
because its such a different wand. I nod, and he continues. I finally just had to show
the class my wand, and after that, I started getting looks because everyone wanted to
see my wand again. Its so different that they were all interested in it. I didnt like the
attention, so I skipped dinner. I meet her eyes when I finish, wanting to know if she
understands.
Well, I happen to have a strange wand too. Her words interest me, but Im not
sure I believe her. I raise one eyebrow. Really, I do! She says with a smile. Then she
sets her wand on the table. I nearly fall off the bench in shock, and instantly, Lily is
worried. What did I do? I cant speak, so instead of answering her, I pull out my own
wand and lay it next to hers. This time, Lily gasps. Our wands are exactly the same
length, and both start with light colors in the center, and darken outward, to end with
darker tips. They are twins in appearance.
What type is your wand? I blurt. Maybe her wand is special, like mine.
She looks at me for a second, then recites her wands information. Combined
wood, combined core, its 17 inches exactly. Its unyielding to some, yielding to others.
Its also historic because it was made before Hogwarts. Its name is The Ethereal
Seeker.
I stare at her in utter bafflement. Your wand is named what, again?
The Ethereal Seeker.
Youve got to be kidding. Her wands name is so close to my own!
Im not! I swear!
Okay, okay, I believe you. But its odd because my wand is combined wood,
combined core, and 17 inches exactly. Its also unyielding to some, and yielding to
others as well as a historic wand. The only difference is that mine is called The Eternal
Seeker. I look at her again, and her eyes are huge.
You arent kidding?
I shake my head vehemently. No, Im not kidding. We stare at one another for
several seconds. Then I sigh contentedly. Now I know Im not the only oddball at
Hogwarts!
Hey! You know what? Im so offended Im thinking about heading back to the
51
Gryffindor table! she says, and I know that were back to laughing with each other. She
ends up staying and eating with me, but then we head to our separate classes. As I
walk down to the greenhouses, I start thinking. Maybe Lily and I were meant to be
friends. After all, we have so much in common.
I am somewhat distracted in Herbology but still manage to do well. We are
working with plutonian night flowers, watering them and making sure that they are in
ideal condition. Professor Longbottom tells us that the best looking ones will be set in
the Great Hall for the Halloween Feast. I get an easy piece of review for homework, and
a chapter to read on the Plutonian night flowers. We are dirty and smelly when we walk
up to the castle, but we have to deal with it for one more class before we get a break to
shower.
The next class we go to is Potions, which is a piece of cake, easily one of my
best classes, and thats saying something. We brew a complex but short potion that we
use to test liquids for poisoning, and then bottle it, putting our names on the beaker, so
that Professor Slughorn can grade our work. He gives us no homework, but tells us that
there will be a test next class, so we should study. I dont stress. Ill have plenty of time
to study between now and the next potions class, on Friday.
At lunch, I hastily pile my plate and eat, enjoying some sweet raisin rolls. I return
to the Common room to shower, then hurry towards my next class. It is time for our first
ever Care of Magical Creatures lesson. Maybe I should have waited on that shower. As
the other Slytherins and I troop down to the small paddock on the edge of the Forbidden
Forest, the Gryffindor third years join us, and Rose Weasley shoots me a glare. Instead
of rolling my eyes like I normally do, I raise one eyebrow and mouth, Hasnt this gone
on long enough? Rose looks away, thoroughly confused. I frown and keep walking. I
want to make peace with the Weasleys and the Potters, and I always have. But it has
become a goal of mine, now that Lily is my friend. As we reach the fence of the
C.O.M.C. paddock, the Professor introduces himself.
Hello third-years! I am Professor Auttenberg, your Care of Magical Creatures
instructor. Set down your books, quills, parchment, etcetera, and come into the
paddock! We obediently follow his requests, and I was glad to end up in the front of the
group surrounding him. Professor Auttenberg smiled warmly, and then continued Now,
I apologize in advance for my terrible memory with names. I only hope I manage to read
them correctly! Please say here if you are here.
He read through our names with minimal mistakes, and we try to help him along.
He was one of the teachers that is easy to like as soon as you meet them, and seemed
to understand us very well. He explained that, for the first class, we would do something
simple, to get us comfortable with the class. We are at first confused by the creatures
52
that we see, then in awe. Strutting around the small enclosure that had been set up,
there were ten Phoenixes. There were five gold and red Phoenixes, flame Phoenixes,
which, as Professor Auttenberg explained, were the most common. There were also five
different Phoenixes, three that were silver and icy blue, and two that were amber and
emerald. Professor Auttenberg tells us that the other two types were rarer, with the ice
Phoenixes being only slightly more common than the earth Phoenixes. All Phoenixes
were rare though, so he had wanted to show them to us while wand makers were
willing to lend them out. I stood with my fellow students, in awe of the amazing
creatures in front of us. They were the most majestic creatures I had ever seen. Their
feathers shone like jewels in the sun, and they regard us aloofly. I leaned down,
kneeling before their picket fence and looking closely at them. They peer at me from
under jeweled, encrusted eyelids. They seem to know the deepest secrets of anybody
they look at, and I can hear some of the others gasping when the phoenix's eyes meet
theirs. But I hold my phoenix's eye. Its as if it is trying to tell me something, but I dont
understand. All I know is that I feel rather stupid compared to the phoenix peering up
at me. For the rest of class, we are allowed to admire and observe the phoenixes, on
the condition that we take notes on their behaviors. Professor Auttenberg assigns us to
create a paper on phoenix behavior based off our notes, and to research the two
phoenixes that are endangered, the lightning phoenix, and the elemental phoenix. I am
excited about the homework assignment; my curiosity has been piqued by the
phoenixes. There is a general air of disappointment when we have to leave the class,
and everyone but me is discussing the phoenixes with their friends. Suddenly, Rose and
Albus are flanking me. I stiffen as Albus murmurs something, and shoves a piece of
paper into my hand. Then, I coil, and like a spring, explode off the ground, flipping
forward and sideways. I land next to where Albus would be in three steps. Then I turn
back towards them.
Sorry, Im not used to being surrounded. They stare at me as they catch up.
When they do, Albus opens his mouth, but Rose asks her question first.
Where did you learn to do that?
Then Albus said, What was that for?
I regard them for a few seconds, then decide to answer both questions. Rose,
Ive been doing that since I was a really little, so Im pretty good now. Why I did that just
now, Albus, is because, by instinct, I dont like being cornered. I felt cornered when both
you and Rose were surrounding me.
Albus nods and we keep walking, in a silence that is a bit uncomfortable. Finally,
I unfold the not in my hand and see Roses handwriting.
Meet us at 10:00 in the Transfiguration Courtyard.
53
I look up. Why do you want to meet me at ten?
Shhh. Rose hisses at me then whispers, So we can talk. We dont have
enough time right now. I nod. I guess theyve found out that Im friends with Lily. Then I
frown.
Why dont we just talk in Divination?
Albus rolls his eyes. Because Rose will be trying to learn, of course.
I shrug. Sorry. I sort of thought she might give up, after all, I have beaten her at
everything so far. To my surprise, Rose laughs. Albus nods and smiles. It appears that
they are actually okay with me being around them.
Suddenly, Albus blurts, You know, I wish I had talked to you before now
because Lilys right, you do talk more than I thought. Plus youre fun to talk with.
I am speechless, but manage to choke out, Thanks, Albus. I realize I am
smiling a true smile. One that, until now, only Lily had seen. Rose gives me a weird look
of awe.
What? I ask.
She continues to give me the look as she says, Youre actually smiling!
I laugh and exclaim, Its not that rare!
Now Albus joins in. Wait, did you just laugh? Ive never heard of that before!
Theyre both smiling, so I now they're joking with me. I smile and shrug. You
cant blame me! Lilys the one thats to blame! Now you guys know that I can smile! But
they know that I am joking with them too. In Divination class, instead of sitting alone, like
I usually do, I sit with Rose and Albus. We, no I, get some odd looks, but I dont care.
When have I ever cared what people think of me, though? But I know the answer now. I
care what Lily thinks of me. During class, Rose goes back to competing with me,
although its a friendlier competition than before. I though, have always had an affinity,
or maybe an instinct, for what is going to happen. Therefore, I proceed to interpret all
the tea leaves correctly and soundly whip Rose. It doesnt seem to bother her though,
so I feel fine as I head off to Slytherin common room to do homework. Unfortunately, I
now have plenty of time to get nervous about meeting them at ten.
************
After dinner, I put on my roof jumping shoes and pull the curtains to my four-
poster, sitting nervously awake as I hear my room-mates drop off to sleep. when the last
54
one has dropped off, I sneak out of my dorm room, and push open the window depicting
Slytherin. I pause for a second, then launch myself up the wall.
I fly over the balustrade, then orient myself. The Transfiguration Courtyard isnt
far, or at least, it isnt by roof. I nimbly flip on to a lower wall, then run, catlike, to the next
wall. I twist over the top, landing neatly, then lower myself over the opposite wall, one of
the four walls of the Transfiguration Courtyard. I glide down the wall with ease, until my
feet hit the courtyard overhangs for the covered walkways that border the courtyard. I
turn away from the wall, and sit down, legs dangling off the roof of the overhangs. In the
dark, I can barely make out three, indistinct forms on the other side of the courtyard. But
I can hear them whispering.
I told you, Rose, hes a dishonest, cheating liar! hes not going to come, and
your plan of us meeting him here will result in three detentions! James is speaking, and
as soon as he says this, a whisper-argument erupts. I hear James stomp away, heading
back to the Gryffindor tower. Rose sighs frustratedly.
I decide Ive let things drag on long enough. I triple backflip down from the roof,
and when I land I whisper, Why was James here? And I dont lie. Im right here, just as
promised.
They gape at me for a few seconds. Then Rose asks, How did you get here?
Albus blurts, Where did you learn to do that?
I answer Roses question first. I got here by jumping from roof to roof, Rose. As
for where I learned that, I learned it from years of practice at my home.
Albus snorts. Sure wish I could do that! Is it really scary?
I shake my head. No. I enjoy doing stuff like that. It's sort of like flying, and yet it
feels a bit more... dangerous?
Albus looked interested. Rose, however, seemed impatient to get on with 'the
meeting'. Finally, she sighs. Lets get a move on with this, guys! Scorpius, we've
prepared a question list for you, so I'm going to run this interview-style. Got it?
I nod, and the questions begin.
When is your birthday?
I dont see how this relates to getting to know me better. Uh... the sixth of
January, why do you ask?
Isn't it obvious? Rose says with a roll of her eyes. I wanted to know your star
55
symbol. You're a Capricorn.
I frown. Why does that matter?
She doesn't answer me, just plows on with more questions. Which hand is your
dominant hand?
My right hand.
When did your magic first appear?
When I was three.
Explain the event.
I fell off the roof I was running on. I floated in midair until I ran to the next roof. In
essence, I learned to levitate. I still possess the ability today, although I don't use it
often. I use some of the weightlessness when I travel by roof.
Albus and Rose stared skeptically at me. Suddenly, Rose narrowed her eyes.
Prove it. With the way she was smirking, and the triumphant way she had asked me to
prove my ability, I could tell that she thought I was bluffing.
I raised one eyebrow. You don't believe me?
Rose shook her head vehemently. No, I don't. So prove it.
I smile. Alright. I put my hands out to either side of me, and felt the warm rush
of my own magic. I lifted my feet off the ground, sitting, crisscross-applesauce, in midair.
Slowly, I closed my open hands, rising a little higher, and beginning to walk. But I'm not
really walking, because, I'm two feet off the ground. That prove it?
They gaped at me, then Rose nodded and choked out, Yeah... yeah that proves
it. I smiled and stepped down onto the courtyard cobbles again.
Next question?
Rose looked down at the list of questions she holds. She has obviously lost her
place. She finds the next question and hurriedly reads it. Have you ever been in the
muggle world?
Yeah, totally. My family's property is surrounded by the muggle world.
Sometimes I sneak out and catch a muggle bus into town. Then I just find a magical
money exchange, and then I have muggle money. It's surprisingly easy."
The questions go on and on, and I fall into bed late at night, only to wake up in
56
Rowena's antechamber for another night of hard work. The days fly by with homework,
assignments from Rowena, and spending time with Lily. I meet some of her other
friends, Seth, Arlette, Clovis and Cindy. They all get along well together, and I
sometimes find myself wishing that I was in Gryffindor. Thankfully though, I open up a
bit, and find out that Ambrose Zabini, a Slytherin third year, is a loner like me. By the
end of the first week, Seth, Arlette, Clovis, Cindy, Ambrose, Lily and I are spending as
much time together as we can. Roxanne, for some reason doesn't like to spend time
with Lily as much anymore, and I have a suspicion that it's because we Slytherins are
hanging out with her. Of course, she still sits with Lily during classes and at lunch, but
never during the third year free periods. Lily and I will also figure out all of Rowena's
lessons, as well as study together when we have the time. It surprises us when we
realize that two weeks have passed when we've been at school. Together, we start
wondering when Rowena will reward us with the joint lesson she's been hanging over
our heads for days. Finally, in the third week of school, she gives us one.


57

Chapter 6: Leadership
I wake in the White Chamber, and it takes me a minute to get my bearings.
Instead of only Rowena's door forming, the antechamber seems to have stretched out,
and this time, there are four doors that are visible. Across from Rowena's door, all the
way across the hall, is a golden-yellow door with inlaid obsidian. The other doors are
halfway down the chamber, perfectly across from one another. One of the doors is a
deep green with silver gilt work, and the other is a deep crimson with gold gilt work. I
gasp. The other Founders' doors have appeared! I hurriedly get out of bed and find that,
for once, I have come here in my white cloak-dress. But then I realize that the room is
still misted over, as if it hasn't finished forming. As the thought crosses my mind, the
mist begins to dissipate, and when the room solidifies, I can see a figure moving at the
other end of the antechamber. Oh my gosh! I have company! I think, then rush towards
the end of the hall. I stop in confusion when I get three fourths of the way there. The
person is not a founder, somehow, I just know that. So who are they? And then I
register the color of the persons clothing. Gray, with an undertone of steely blue. Just
like Scorpius's eye col-
Scorpius! It hits me like a wall, and I berate myself for not realizing that it was
Scorpius sooner. This must be our first joint lesson! As I call out, he whips around,
instantly on the defense. But then he relaxes as his face splits into a wide grin.
Lily! He walks to stand next to me. Looks like we get to meet the other
Founders.
That assumption would be correct, Scorpius. We both whip around to see
Rowena approaching, her raven sitting on top of her shoulder. Lily, Scorpius, I know
that you were both aware that the two of you were making trips here. As you have
figured this out and worked together, you have proven that you are ready to move on to
the next step in your training. It is time you met the other Founders. Follow me. She
walks past us, heading towards the yellow-gold and obsidian door. Scorpius gaze
meets my own, and by unspoken agreement, we follow Rowena in silence. The yellow-
gold doors swing neatly outward, and a sense of welcome seems to spill out of the
doorway. A faint, jaunty tune carries from the depths of the room that we step into. The
room is stylishly furnished, like a cozy sitting room. Through one of the three open
doorways I can see an elegant balcony, through another I can see a dining room, and
through the third comes a lady smiling broadly. She is a short, rounded lady with short
brown hair and a wide smile, with a motherly aura about her.
Lady Hufflepuff! Scorpius and I say in unison.
58
The woman bustles over, smiling. Oh you fine dears! What good manners! Call
me Helga, if you please! Then she looks accusingly at Rowena. Rowena, why didnt
you bring them here sooner? They need good food! And you know I've just been dying
to meet them!
Scorpius and I smile at each other. We both are already at ease with Helga, and I
can see that both of us like her a lot. Helga turns to us again, smiling warmly. Come
have some hot chocolate dears, goodness knows, Rowena doesnt believe in eating
well! I doubt shes given you anything but homework! We follow Helga into the kitchen,
and she gives us huge cups of the best hot chocolate Ive ever tasted. We return to the
sitting room, and Helga gets right to business as we sit down. "Now, you probably don't
know why you've been training with Rowena, do you? Well, I do. And it's high time you
knew. There is a threat that we Founders did not recognize until after our time. You see,
the Gryffindor and Slytherin rivalry was not present in our days."
She sees the puzzled look in our eyes and hurries on. "Yes, I know that's not
what you've been told, so listen closely. We four Founders were the closest of friends,
but our children were not. In fact, Slytherin's son, Incartus, was the bitter rival of
Gryffindor's son, Fairwin. They, respectively, also were known as Gryffindor and
Slytherin. Incartus is the one who placed the basilisk in his father's chamber, defiling it.
The chamber was supposed to be a test of nobility in Slytherin house, but Incartus
changed that. When he left the castle, Fairwin took the opportunity to fortify his father's
chamber, and, to this day, no student or teacher has found it. Meanwhile, Rowena's
daughter and my daughter were busy preparing to fight this threat, this deadly rivalry.
My daughter, Delaney, prepared a secret chamber with the help of Adira, Rowena's
daughter. Today, this room is known as The Room of Requirement. It will take its true
form only when a group of Heroes that have the power to save Hogwarts from this great
threat arises and opens the chamber. We Founders are the only ones who can train and
chose such a group, as we are the only ones that live on in memory, and are therefore
able to become 'real' in dreams. We also created our own realm. One that you will
discover, in time. But this is why you have been summoned here every night. We
founders are once again choosing a group of heroes. We finished recruiting a week
ago. You two were the obvious choices for our leaders. Then we began picking more.
There are twelve others, not including you. All of them are in the third year or under. No
more will be added to your group. It is your job to figure out who they are. You all also
have partners within this group. The partners have already been established with joint
lessons, so you know know that you are partners. The partners work closer together
within the group, and both the full group, and the partners split into their own divisions
can work cohesively. You are the school's only hope. We have tried to defeat Incartus
and Farwin many times, for they will rip apart the world with their rivalry. The Prophecy
is your only hope. But you can only find the prophecy after your group of Heroes have
59
truly become a real group of Heroes. This means that you must be trained, and you
must complete a quest. Unfortunately, that is all that we Founders know. No one has
ever made it through the quest and to the Prophecy room."
Scorpius and I exchange a glance. I break the silence. So, you said weve been
chosen to be the leaders?
Helga nods. Yes. Do you accept?
Scorpius and I glance at each other again. Then we turn back to Helga and say
in unison, Yes.
Helga smiles. "Oh, I just knew you two would take the position! But now we've
got to move on. It's time you met Salazar, don't you think?"
She bustles us out of her chambers and herds us towards the ornate, green with
silver gilt door, telling us that Salazar would be "overjoyed" to see us. When we get
close enough, the doors swing open, revealing an impressive potions room. From one
of the far corners, a tall figure steps into the light. "Greetings, young leaders of Heroes."
He says silkily.
************
After the chamber lights up, I'm not as intimidated by my house's founder.
Salazar is obviously the least sociable founder, standing warily by the wall. I glance at
Lily, then step forward. Its a pleasure to meet you, Sir Slytherin.
A thin smile touched the mans face. The pleasure is mine, Squire Scorpius.
He nods at Lily. It is an honor to meet you as well, Squire Lily.
Thank you, Sir Slytherin. Are we going to start combat training today? She said
politely.
He smiled, a real smile this time, and nodded at her. We will, we will. I will be
teaching you strategy, Rowena will be teaching spell work, Helga will teach healing, and
Sir Gryffindor will be teaching you how to use a sword, knives, and other such
weaponry. Of course, we will teach other things, but that will be our focus subjects for
now. But because you need armor to fight, we need to find a pair for you. Come with
me.
We spent a good half hour finding armor that fit, and Sir Slytherin saved us a lot
of time by putting it on magically. Then, Lily and I were each given a practice sword
made of wood. After that, we clanked over to Sir Slytherins main chamber, where he
led us back to the White Chamber, with the rows of beds. As the emerald and silver
door closed behind us, it melted into the wall, vanishing completely. As soon as it was
60
entirely gone, a new door began to push its way into reality, seeming to be doing a
reverse form of the melting that Sir Slytherins door had done. Within a minute, a new
door of scarlet and gold was glimmering majestically in its gilded frame. Slowly, the
doors opened, and Sir Slytherin led us into the chamber. It was an enormous gym, with
weights, gymnastics beams and sets of bars, tumbling mats, trampolines, punching
bags, a rack of ropes, an obstacle course, and a large arena in the center of the room.
The only thing I didnt recognize were some tall, thick posts on the far wall.
Unfortunately, that was where we were headed, and a tall, imposing figure in ruby inlaid
armor was waiting for us. As we came to a stop in front of him, and he raised his visor.
Welcome, Squire Lily and Squire Scorpius. I am Sir Gryffindor, and I will be
training you. Please, choose a practice pole. He lowered his visor and turned to the
poles, waiting until Lily and I were positioned awkwardly in front of our own poles.
Please show me a right-hand side cut, on three. One... Two... Three!
Both Lily and I swung at our posts, and there was a crack of wood on wood. Sir
Gryffindor showed us how to improve our swings, then taught us more. In a half an
hour, he began calling sequences, and Lily and I performed the cuts he asked for. Soon
we were both breathing hard and sweating under our armor, so Sir Gryffindor let us
have a break. For the rest of the hour that remained, we lifted weights and did a
combination of push-ups, sit ups, and jogging in place. Thankfully, we got to take off our
armor for that part of the lesson. I felt like I would never have gotten off the floor if Sir
Gryffindor had asked me to do a push up while wearing armor, even if it was magically
lightened.
As the lesson came to an end, Sir Gryffindor called us over. Squire Lily, Squire
Scorpius, every day you come here you will spend four hours in here, one with Sir
Slytherin, one with Helga, and one with Rowena, and one with me, in that order. On
occasion, it will change, but that will be rare. Remember to look for the other heroes.
Now, back to the White Chamber and off to your dormitories with you!
As I left The Realm and fell back into a dreamless sleep, I had a few seconds to
feel apprehensive. What if we couldnt find everyone? After all, we were looking for
twelve other people! But I also felt nervous about something else... something I couldnt
quite place. Then The Realm was gone, and I was truly asleep again.
************
I woke earlier than normal, but had to look at my watch to tell the difference. After
all, it was always dark in the Slytherin dormitories. I didnt know what had woken me up,
after all, it was four thirty in the morning! But then I heard something. A quiet rustling,
magnified only by the silence. It stopped for a couple of seconds, then repeated itself. I
felt like investigating the sound. If I had woken up because of it, then something was
61
wrong. Moving slowly and quietly, I shuffled towards the sound. Slowly, I pinpointed the
sound. It was Ambrose Zabini, muttering in his sleep. As I listened, the words became
clearer.
"Side-cut, thrust, overhead backhand... "
My eyes widened in shock. He was muttering Sir Gryffindor's sword patterns!
Then it hit me; he was training! He was one of the heroes I had to recruit! With a smile, I
made my way back to bed. I would have to recruit him in the morning.
************
When I woke up a couple of hours later, I swung out of bed and over to my desk,
which was next to my wardrobe. I tapped the candles with my wand, and they lit up,
casting just enough light for me to see by. I quickly scrawled a note.
Zabini,
We have been watching you. Its no doubt youve been told by The Founders that you
will be recruited. I hope you take their words to heart. After all, this is what I ask of you. Meet
me in the Transfiguration Courtyard at 10:00 tonight. The Heroes of Hogwarts await your
arrival.
With all due respect,
Squire S.
I slipped the note into his hand while he was still asleep, then got dressed and
left the dormitory. Lily and I walked into the Entrance Hall at the same time. I smiled as
we met, at the exact center.
I found someone to recruit.
She looked at me with her eyebrows raised in the perfect expression of
astonishment I had come to know well. Who?
I grinned this time. Ambrose Zabini, of all people.
She smiled. Really? Thats awesome!
I was surprised. You dont have any objections?
Nope. From what I hear, hes a loner too, and cant make up for it with brains
like yours. Hasnt he been spending time with you? I guess this is his chance to redeem
his family name, just like youre trying to redeem yours. Plus, if the founders selected
him, why should I object?
62
I nodded. Yeah, youre right. I didnt think of it that way. Now why dont we eat
breakfast?
************
I woke up early, and went skipping down to breakfast, without a care in the world.
That is, until I was halfway there. It was then that I remembered my mission. To find,
like, twelve, highly elusive people and lead them? What had I been thinking when I said
yes? I walked slowly down the steps, mulling over my new responsibilities. When I met
up with Scorpius in the Entrance Hall, I was feeling nervous. Sure I liked the idea of
leading people, of being a hero, but actually doing it was an entirely different matter.
"I found someone to recruit." He said, smiling.
My eyebrows shot up in surprise, and I blurted, "Who?"
His smile got wider. "Ambrose Zabini, of all people."
I felt an intense relief that we had found someone to recruit. "Really? That's
awesome!"
When Scorpius asked if I had any objections, I almost laughed. I gave Scorpius a
straight answer, and I could see that he agreed with me. We went in to breakfast, and
he told me about the note he had left for Ambrose, and I conceded that it was a good
idea.
"We should induct them all separately until we have everyone. Then we'll have a
meeting altogether." I said. He nodded, and we finished breakfast, then headed off to
class, which we were undoubtedly early for.
Sure enough, I was waiting outside of class long before my friends showed up,
and they only made it with a minute to spare. Seth was grinning widely and talking
animatedly with Cindy.
Yeah, they were all like, we must evaluate you, now follow what we say. I was
so confused.
Well, dont you ever give credit to dreams? I mean, it sounds like I saw the same
people as you, except that theyve told me to watch and wait for someone to tell me
more.
Yeah, yeah...
I stood stock still, trying to conceal the puzzlement I was feeling. Could they be
talking about visiting The Realm? But how? That would mean that three of us, all in the
63
first year, all in Gryffindor, had been recruited! That seemed crazy! But then the Charms
classroom door swung open, and we all focused on the lesson, so, for the moment, I let
myself forget about my recruiting mission. After charms, there was flying, and enjoyed it
so much that I really was disappointed to go to lunch.
Well, said Arlette, Its not as if its that big a loss, after all, we get to go straight
back there. She was right, of course, we did have another scheduled flying lesson right
after lunch, but my team had been winning! That wasnt something you could just come
back to after stuffing yourself with food!
As it turned out, I didnt worry myself over it anymore, because Cindy sat down
next to me, and I didnt get to eat much more. Instantly, I saw that she had grass stains
all over her robes, and I remembered that she had been knocked out of the air by a
beefy Slytherin kid.
Cindy, are you alright? I asked worriedly.
Oh, Im fine! Im really competitive, so I guess this is what I get for it! She
smiled, and the ends of her hair turned banana peel yellow. That was Cindys happy
color, so I knew she had to be fine. A lot of us Gryffindor first years discussed Quidditch
strategy for the rest of lunch, and I never got to ask Cindy about her dreams. After all,
that was a kind of weird question. I could just imagine the you are crazy look I would
get if I asked her, Are you having weird dreams? What are they like? In the middle of a
conversation. So I decided to wait and see what would happen if I just let things play
out. Maybe if I didn't say anything, Seth and Cindy would bring up the dreams again.
Which, if Seth was having dreams too, shouldnt I recruit him? It was all so confusing! I
would have to consult Rowena.
************
That night, I worked in the alcove where the Slytherin window was located, and I
watched as the common room slowly emptied. I saw that Ambrose was having an
especially difficult time, what with the first years playing catch over his head, and
himself trying to check his watch without anyone noticing. Unfortunately, since I saw it,
he wasnt doing a very good job of hiding it. Then again, Ambrose was a quiet person,
like me, but he usually had nothing to hide, (which I always seemed to have), so he
wasnt experienced at hiding anything. At ten thirty, when no one but he and I were left
in the common room, Zabini got up, and slipped out of the common room doors.
Quickly, I scrambled through the window, put my hood up, and began to climb the wall.
I flipped over the barricade at the top of the wall, leaving flips and acrobatics for
later, because at present, I needed speed. I ran along the wall, then dropped lightly onto
one of the covered walkway roofs, moving with the shadows. I had only been there a
64
minute before Ambrose slipped around the corner, sticking his back to the wall. I
smiled, pulled my hood down, and jumped off the roof, landing with a dramatic swoosh
in the center of the courtyard.
Ambrose jumped, then straightened his shoulders and stepped forwards. Who
are you? Why did you want me to come here?
Well, I said, You already know me, Ambrose. And you know why I called you
here. The Heroes of Hogwarts would like to add you to their ranks.
Ambrose regarded me warily. How do you know me? How can I trust you?
I threw back my hood, and the moonlight shone off my silvery-blond hair. Im
also a student here, Ambrose. I think you might recognize me now.
For a second, he hesitated. Scorpius? Is that you?
I nodded and stuck out a hand. Sure is, Ambrose. Are you in?
************
When I fell asleep that night, I was exhausted. I almost didnt want to go see
Rowena about Seth and Cindy. It felt like so much... effort. But I woke up in the White
Chamber anyways, and surprisingly, my weariness evaporated instantly. I got up and
moved towards the blue doors, then stopped and stared. In front of me, the doors were
opening for two other Heroes! I was sure of it! I rushed silently forwards, and watched
as the two people went through. As the doors began closing, I slipped through, just in
time to see the girl peel off to the right, saying, Well, off to swordsmanship class with
Godric! See you later!
As soon as I heard the voice, I knew who it was. It was Cindy! She was a hero
recruit after all! I did half of a victory dance before realizing that the other guy was
getting away from me. I practically ran after him, trying to keep up as he wove through
the maze of books. When I finally caught up, he was discussing something with
Rowena. Even from the back, I recognized him. It was Seth, and I was so glad to see
him I nearly laughed out loud. Thankfully, I caught myself at the last second and
managed to hold the laugh off. Suddenly, Rowena looked straight at me, and I got the
message as clearly as if she had said it out loud. Youve been here long enough. You
have solved your problem. Now go, and recruit them in your own world. I heeded her
silent message and turned to leave, but before I could go two steps, the world dissolved
into white mist, surrounding me. I had the sensation that I was falling, but there was no
ground beneath me. Was I going to fall forever?
I sat bolt upright in bed, gasping. I was coated in a cold sweat, and I was
65
breathing hard. It felt like I had just run a marathon, and I smelled like I had too. So, I
showered before heading down to breakfast, and at the last minute remembered to
leave a note to Cindy. when I was done, it read:
Dear Cindy,
Please join me tonight for your induction into The Heroes of Hogwarts. I trust that
The Founders have explained what an honor this is. I also trust that you understand how
serious this is. This is a one-time chance only. I suggest you take it. Meet me at 11:00 PM
in the Transfiguration courtyard.
Sincerely,
Squire L.
P.S. Enclosed in this letter is another matching request to be given to Seth.
consider it your first assignment to give it to him. Do not discuss it more than necessary
while around other students until you have been inducted.
I left it at that, and then raced to breakfast, knowing that I was probably
late for my usual meeting with Scorpius. Then again, it wasnt like I was in a rush
for breakfast. I always had plenty of time to eat, run up to the owlery (or chat) and
I had never been late to a class this year.
But when I was halfway across the Great hall, I froze in surprise. Instead of
just Scorpius at the Slytherin table, another person was there. They were sitting
next to each other, talking animatedly. For a second, I was frozen. Then Scorpius
looked up and waved me over impatiently. As I sat down, Scorpius introduced us.
Lily, this is Ambrose. Ambrose, this is Lily Potter, the other leader of The
Heroes of Hogwarts.
The dark-skinned guy was about the same build as Scorpius, and just as
friendly. Nice to meet you Lily. Glad to know someone will rein Scorpius in when
his head blows up out of self-importance!
I laughed, and all three of us cracked up. Finally, Scorpius brought us back
to order and got us on task again.
Lily, did anything happen last night in The Realm that I missed? I didnt
get to check in last night.
I started to shake my head, then stopped. Well...you didnt miss lessons,
66
but I did go there to confirm two Heroes identities. So, we do have two more
recruiting jobs to do.
Ambrose sat back as Scorpius pulled a piece of parchment, a quill, and a
bottle of ink out of his bag. Scorpius wrote down his name, my name, and
Ambroses name, then looked up at me. Who are the other two?
I smiled. It was so Scorpius-like to start a list at the very beginning of
something. Okay, talk about a coincidence, I elaborated, The two people I
need you to put on that list of yours are Seth and Cindy.
Scorpiuss eyes flicked up at me, then he let a smile escape. Really?
I nodded, also smiling. Yep. And you already know them, so thats good.
Ambrose leaned forwards. I dont know them.
Oh, right. I exclaimed, smacking my forehead. So we need to figure
out... Suddenly, I had an idea. Yes! Ive got it! All of us will go to recruit Seth
and Cindy. That way, they get to meet all of the members we have, Scorpius and
I both get to do the recruiting, and Ambrose will get to meet them too.
The boys nodded and agreed, and we were almost done with breakfast
when I remembered that I had left out one very important detail. Oh my gosh, I
almost forgot. I left them notes that they have to go to the Transfiguration
courtyard at eleven tonight. So, I need you guys to be there then.
They agreed, and then they went off to class while I waited in the Great
Hall for the rest of my friends. When they arrived, we chatted as usual, and then
headed off to our classes.
That day, the classes flew by, and I was up until nine thirty working on
finishing it. Unfortunately, that meant that almost all of the other first years were
also up working, and I had to pretend to be just as tired as the rest of them. But
really, I was wound as tight as a spring. It would be my first time ever sneaking
out. What if I got caught? Finally, I came to the decision that I needed a little help
walked across the common room.
Hey Al?
My brother looked up. Whats up Lily?
67
Um... I was wondering if I could have the cloak tonight? I murmured
nervously.
He looked at me. Its for something important, right? I only have it for this
week, and you got it a couple of weeks ago.
Yes, I need it for something really, really important! I promise! I
practically begged.
Al shrugged. Okay. Just dont do anything dangerous, alright?
I wasnt sure if sneaking out would be considered dangerous, so I nodded
and left him to get the cloak for me. Five minutes later, I had the cloak waded up
under my robes and I was going upstairs to my dorm room. When I got to the
door though, I stopped, threw the cloak over myself, and silently made my way
back down again. I set my watch to a ten-fifteen alarm, and curled up in a chair,
yawning.
I woke up a couple of minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off,
which turned out to be very, very lucky. I got up, and instantly felt that I was being
watched. But that didnt make sense. I was wearing the invisibility cloak! Then I
saw the pair of bright yellow eyes watching me. It was the cat that Hagrid had
given to Albus years ago, when he had found it in the snow. Henceforth, the cat
had been called Snowy. I edged silently past the cat and to the portrait hole.
When I pushed it open, Snowys eyes flicked towards the door and he leapt for
me. I slammed the portrait hole shut, and heard Snowy bounce off the other side
with an angry meow. Sorry Snowy. I murmured. Then I turned and made my
way quietly to the Transfiguration Courtyard.
I entered the courtyard at 10:50, with ten minutes to spare. Unfortunately,
Scorpius and Ambrose were already there, so I couldnt hide the cloak. I whipped
it off and both of them jumped a foot in the air.
Oh my gosh how did you do that? Exclaimed Zabini. One second youre
not here, the next, poof you appear! How?
I smiled and held up the cloak, making sure to overlap it so that it
appeared as a shimmery blob in the air.
Scorpius nodded thoughtfully. You have an invisibility cloak? I didn't know
your family had one.
68
I nodded. Its been passed down for ages in our family, and right now my
siblings and I get to share it.
I put my hood up, ending the conversation, and motioned for Zabini and
Scorpius to do the same. Then we waited in the center of the courtyard, with
them flanking me.
Footsteps and voices could be heard coming from the direction I had come
from.
I suddenly became very worried that it would be a couple of teachers, but
then my friends came around the corner and my heart rate steadied again. I
stepped forwards.
Seth Loupe and Cindy Bunt, do you wish to be admitted into the ranks of
the Heroes of Hogwarts?
A glance passed between them. Then Seth nodded, and Cindy, smiling,
said, Yep.
I smiled and put back my hood. Then come and meet the other members,
guys!
They both looked at me in astonishment. Lily? Seth exclaimed, Youre
the leader?
I nodded, then motioned Scorpius forward. Along with Scorpius. Were the
leaders of the group. Scorpius lowered his hood and quietly introduced himself.
Then Zabini stepped forwards and lowered his hood. And Im the guy who
doesnt have a partner yet. My name is Ambrose.
Seth shook Ambrose's offered hand, and then we got down to business.
We need to find nine other Heroes. I explained. There will be fourteen of
us in all. We do know that Zabini's partner is reluctant to come in. He or she
doesnt think that joining is a good idea. Were also having problems finding the
others. So we have to keep our eyes and ears open.
Seth nodded. So we have to build this group now that weve joined it. But
what happens after we find everyone?
Scorpius replied smoothly. We know that we are assembling this team to
69
face a threat that is so old, no one really knows what it is, other than The
Founders. But they cant tell us much.
Cindy frowned. Why cant they?
I gave her an understanding look. All that Rowena and Helga can tell us is
that the Gryffindor versus Slytherin rivalry didnt start with The Founders. It
started with their sons, and their sons have called upon dark, mysterious forces
to help them battle. Theyre still fighting and drawing in evil, but Voldemorts
death released enough evil that theyre going to start a fight like never before
seen. Also, the daughters of Helga and Rowena hid a prophecy in a room that
can only be found by the destined heroes, after a successful quest. so we have
to do something to see if we can find the prophecy.
Cindy's shoulders dropped. It sounds like its something so much bigger
than what a group of students can do. After all, were not even of age!
There was an awkward pause. Somehow, no one had seemed to realize
that we were not fully qualified wizards.
Oh bollocks. stated Ambrose. And that pretty much summed it up.


70
Chapter 7: Recruiting
Ambrose and I retreated to the common room, but neither of us felt like
sleeping. We sat down in a small alcove with high backed chairs and both were
silent for a couple of seconds.
Then I burst out, I cant believe it!
Ambrose shook his head. I know, I know!
I buried my face in my hands and murmured. Were supposed to be
smarter than that! How can we not have realized that we, as students, will be
going up against some great threat?
Well, I wasnt any smarter. He said with a sigh, and we briefly met each
others eyes.
Do you have any idea who your partner is? I asked hopefully.
He sighed. I think my partner is a girl. He hesitated. I motioned for him to
continue. You see, once I found out that you and Lily actually knew you had a
partner, I got curious. I wanted to know if I had one too. So, I ...um... stayed after
my lesson, and I hid in Rowenas maze of shelves. I heard someone come in,
and they were talking with Rowena. It was a girls voice, but no one I recognized.
I dont even know if I heard the right person! He shook his head in frustration.
So I asked Rowena if I could meet my partner. She said that I couldnt, that I
wouldnt know my partner until they were ready to be on the mission. It feels so
unfair!
I nodded. Im guessing well have to recruit your partner last. Then they
wont be able to back out.
He nodded. For now, we just need to keep recruiting.
Yeah. After a short pause, I got up. We might as well get some sleep. I
suggested, yawning.
He yawned and followed me back to the dorm. But neither of us felt any
better about putting first years up against some kind of threat. Then again, we
weren't sure that we would be useful in a fight. And we were third-years.
************
71
I woke up as usual and started to go down to breakfast. But then Seth
came barreling out of the boys tower to catch up with me.
Lily, wait!
I stopped and let him catch up with me. Whats going on? I asked him.
Helga gave me this! He brandished a sheaf of parchment like it was the
most exciting thing hed ever seen. Look!
I took the paper and turned it over. Then I gasped. Oh my gosh, Seth, this
is... this is exactly what we needed! We have to go show the others! I bolted
back upstairs, woke Cindy up, and rushed her back into the common room. Then
the three of us dashed down to breakfast, skidding to a stop at the Slytherin
table.
Both Scorpius and Ambrose were looking bewilderedly at us. I sat down
and triumphantly laid the paper on the table.
What is it? Ambrose asked in confusion, not looking at the paper.
Oh, come on! Seth exclaimed. Read it!
Ambrose looked down at the paper, and comprehension dawned on his
face.
Its a clue as for who to recruit! Seth burst out excitedly.
As soon as he had said it, Scorpius was snatching the paper out of
Ambroses hands. He laid it on the table, so that everyone could see it. Have
you even deciphered it yet? he asked impatiently.
I looked at him sharply. What do you mean when you say decipher? Its
written in English!
He pointed at the letters after every blank spot, and everyone leaned in
around the paper.
Simultaneously, everyones expressions turned as grim as Scorpius's.
What did the notes Helga had left us mean? I looked at the paper critically.
Everyone else was silent, thinking just like me.
72

Two seconds later, I smacked myself in the forehead, astounded. I knew what
the letters meant! Guys! Its obvious! The letters are extra hints! See? I point to the
letters after my own name. Im a first, year, so she put a one. Im a Gryffindor, so she
put a capital G. The last one is our gender, with the f for female and the m for male!
Easy!
The others hurriedly begin checking their own post-print, and when it all matched
what Id said, Ambrose gaped at me. Are you sure you werent supposed to be a
Ravenclaw? He asks.
I laugh, then shake my head. Im not a Ravenclaw. But it looks like your partner
is!
We turn our attention back to the paper, looking at the descriptions of the
unknown heroes. Suddenly, Cindy gasps and hovers her finger over one of the
descriptions. Look! Hes a first year Gryffindor! We have to know him! Seth and I
converged on the paper for a couple of seconds, making sure she was right.
Who could it be? Seth asked.
73
I dont know. I answered, and pulled a piece of parchment out of my bag. I took
out my quill and scratched down the names of all the Gryffindor first years. Once I had
done it, I crossed out the girls names. Then, I began eliminating the boys. Hugo would
not be in the Heroes. If he was, then my brothers wouldve been. So, it wasn't Hugo.
Since Seth was already part of the group, I ignored his name, and circled the three
remaining ones. The three names were Clovis Maximillan, Keith Bakers, and Brandon
Windmoor.
I turned to Seth. Youre the only one who can figure out who the Hero Recruit is.
You know them better than anyone else here. So thats going to be your goal; to find out
which of them to recruit.
He nodded and turned back to the list. Scorpiuss hand shot out to point at
another person. Look! Shes a third year Slytherin!
He and Zabini made another list, and set their own goal; to find the third year
Slytherin. It was time to get to business.
************
Ambrose and I had our work cut out for us. Both of us werent extremely social,
especially around the girls in our house. For me, it was mainly because Pamara
Riddims was convinced that I just had to ask her out one of these days. (Honestly, she
was repulsive, with a shrill voice, and features that always looked pinched.) Plus, her
best friend, Tamra Willis, was the same way about Ambrose, which was why he never
hung out with the girls. So, we didnt know the girls well.
But we both agreed that neither of them were Hero material, as well as the third
wheel, Kelli Jayson. So we were left with Bernadette Parks and Casey Drewmond. Both
of them were tomboyish and tough, which made it very hard to figure out which one to
recruit.
Three days later, I finally had a brainwave. In our spare time, Rowena had been
teaching us how to play some music on the piano, as it could be helpful with any code
we invented. Since I knew how to play the piano, (a requirement for all honorable
Malfoys) I could play the code piece, Brahms Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, and I hoped
any hero that heard it would recognize it. Hopefully, they would also follow the noise.
Ambrose and I stayed up late that night, hiding in an alcove. When everyone had
gone to bed, I went and sat down at the piano. I started playing quietly, because I knew
that the acoustics in the dorms would make my playing more haunting and eerie. If
anyone came up, Ambrose would throw Lilys cloak (which we had borrowed) over me,
and hide in an alcove where he could see whoever came up. Then, I would stop, and
74
make sure I couldnt be seen before I moved. We had put letters on the piano,
recruiting letters, so that whichever one was the Hero would grab the unspecified letters
and realize what they were for.
I had started to worry when I had reached the two minute mark without anyone
coming up. What was taking so long? Suddenly, Ambrose threw Lilys cloak over me,
and dove for the nearest alcove. Behind me, I heard two people. Oh no... what now? I
thought. I stoically kept playing.
Bear, isnt that the code piece? a boys voice said. I heard a sharp intake of
breath from the alcove. Thankfully, whoever Bear was, they didnt hear it.
Instead, they replied, Yeah, thats it. Cmon! And, by their voice, I recognized
the Bear person as none other than Bernadette! As I came to the end of the first
movement, I let the playing trail off, and made sure that I was completely covered by the
cloak. The two people stepped up onto the raised platform that the piano was on. I
flinched as both of them took a letter. We didnt have two recruiting letters!
But then, I realized, I was still invisible! I stood up and turned to face them.
Before you open those letters, have both of you been recognized by the Founders? I
said.
The two of them jumped nearly a foot in the air, and then the boy stepped
forwards. Yes, we have been recognized. Now what are you? Who are you?
I laughed quietly. I happen to be a leader of the Heroes of Hogwarts. And my
right-hand man is right over there. Ambrose stepped out of the alcove, and I took off
the cloak while they were looking in the other direction.
The boy gaped at Ambrose. Youre a Hero?
Ambrose nodded, And so are you, Jason. Youre in.
I turned to Bear. Bear, youre in too. I took the letter back and looked at
Ambrose. Confirmed?
He smiled and took out Helgas paper. Looking at it, he smiled. Confirmed!
I turned to address the two new heroes. Do either of you know your partners?
Bear and Jason both nodded, and I felt a surge of relief. Bear kept going.
Hufflepuff, second year, her names Claire, and shes my partner.
Jason smiled. My partner is Val. A third year Hufflepuff.
I grinned. Well, tell them theyre in, and bring them down to breakfast early two
75
days from now.
Ambrose passed me the list, and I looked at the four names that had filled in.
Bear and Jason agreed to tell their partners, and we all went to bed. I have to
say, Zabini and I were pretty proud of ourselves.
************
I woke up and went to go downstairs, but the stairs had turned into a giant slide. I
got my book bag, and slid down with it, puzzled. But when I got down, it made sense.
Seth was brushing himself off and trying to pretend that he was innocent. I rolled my
eyes at him to let him know that I knew exactly which person had been trying to get to
the girls dorms.
He turned away, waving me along. I followed him out of the portrait, and then he
turned around. An excited puppy look came over his face. Its Clovis! He said
happily.
I blinked, and then the full impact of what he had said hit me. Then lets go
check! I exclaimed, pelting down the hallways and stairs. I skidded into the Entrance
Hall in time to see four people coming up from the dungeons. I stopped in surprise,
then realized that it was two other Slytherins walking with Scorpius and Ambrose.
Ambrose waved us over, and Scorpius introduced us to Jason and Bear.
As we went to sit down, Seth took Helga's list from Zabini, saying, Clovis is a
Hero, we have to recruit him!
For a second, nothing on the paper changed. But then, miraculously, a name
appeared in the only remaining Gryffindor position. It was Clovis A. I. Maximillan.
I smiled. What are you waiting for, Seth? Go and get him!
Seth shot off, shoes squeaking, to go get Clovis. Jason looked at me. Is it, like,
always this busy at meetings?
I frowned. Well, its only because of the recruiting rush that were in. Otherwise, I
think wed all be more relaxed.
Scorpius nodded in agreement. Plus, once the rush is over, well get to do
training all together. So the quicker we get through this rush, the better. Right?
Bear nodded decisively. So Jason and I need to get our partners into the group.
How should we do it?
I shrugged. However you chose to, but the quickest and easiest route would
76
probably be the best.
Bear nodded again, and we all dug into breakfast while waiting for Seth to come
back with Clovis. When they came in, they were speed walking towards us, and Seth
growled, Your brothers are following us! Quick, get back to the Gryffindor table!
I jumped up, and we scurried over to the Gryffindor table, sitting down with only
moments to spare. That was close! Clovis said excitedly.
I leaned towards him and whispered, Did Seth explain whats going on?
Yeah, I know whats going on, and I know that Im in. Who else is with us?
I pointed out Bear, Jason, Ambrose and Scorpius quickly, and then my brothers
sat down with us.
Hey Lils! James said loudly, slapping me on the back. I was so unprepared for it
that I nearly landed in my plate of eggs. Annoying, James! I thought disapprovingly.
James! I complained. Whats the fuss?
He smiled. Theres the first Quidditch match today!
I blinked. Scorpius would play against my brother today, and he hadnt told me!
What an awful way to try and make James like him! James kept rambling on. Im going
to wipe the Slytherin Seekers smile right off his face! I cant wait to cat-
I interrupted him. James, you do know that the Slytherin Seeker is Scorpius
Malfoy?
James looked over his shoulder to where Scorpius was sitting. Yeah, the git. He
thinks hes so great.
I twisted around, hiding my snigger from James. He could be so pigheaded
sometimes! Um... what do you mean by that? Al asked nervously.
I dont know. said James, an angry scowl on his face.
Clovis frowned. You dont like him? Seth made a shushing gesture, and Clovis
went silent.
Then James continued with his explanation. Hes just so... unfriendly. He doesnt
work with anyone in class, and he always makes the rest of us look bad. Hes as cold
and as dangerous as ice. My eyes widened. He even made Rose look bad? He was
smarter than Id thought.
77
Al shrugged. I dunno... I definitely dont think hes dangerous. Smarter than all of
us, he just might be. But dangerous... I dont think so.
James rolled his eyes. You havent faced him in Quidditch, Al. Hes scary on the
pitch.
I excused myself, trying not to laugh while mumbling an excuse about grabbing a
good seat in the stands. As I escaped into the Entrance Hall, Seth and Clovis caught
up with me. They wisely refrained from commenting on the awkward Scorpius-Analysis.
As we got to the Pitch, I sighed. Why does our busy day have to be today? There were
shrugs all around, and I said, Clovis, do you know what to look for in a possible Hero?
He smiled apologetically. No, sorry.
I waved away his apology. Dont apologize for not knowing, its fine! Right now,
we need to find Val, a third year Hufflepuff, and a second year Hufflepuff named Claire.
Since Bear and Jason know who they're looking for, our goal will be to help them. If we
can find them.
Seth frowned. Both Jason and Bear will be in the Slytherin stands, wont they?
What if their partners are on the Gryffindor side?
I nodded thoughtfully. Thats where we come in. Well be able to move through
the Gryffindor stands without sticking out.
Covis nearly tripped going up the stand stairs as he looked over his shoulder.
How do we find them?
Travel with Jason, I guess. blurted Seth.
I nodded. So wheres Jason?
We stop and begin scanning the crowd that is slowly filling up the seats around
us. Suddenly, Clovis yells, There! and darts off, slipping through the crowd like a steak
knife through butter. Seth and I call after him, but he is long gone.
All we can do is sit on the benches and hope that Jason and Clovis know what
theyre doing.
************
As I flew, the air howled around me, and the cold air chilled me to the bone. I
thought about casting a heating charm, but I wasnt sure what it would do to my broom.
For all I knew, the heat charm and the cold air would crack the wood, and then I
wouldnt have a broom to fly with.
78
I circled, and looked up at the gray storm clouds in time to see a chilly rain begin
to fall. I cursed my luck, and then I was soaked to the bone, the rain coming down in
torrents.
Suddenly, there was a familiar clang beneath me, and I looked down to see that
the game had begun, and that Ambrose had shot the Quaffle through one of the
Gryffindor hoops. The clang meant that ten points had been awarded. I shook my head
and realized that, this far above the game, I hadnt heard Coach Woods whistle. As I
circled the pitch, another clang sounded, and I heard James whoop in triumph. Ten to
ten. I circled again, trying to keep warm.
As the icy rain pelted down, I continued to search for the snitch. As the hours
went by, the game became exceedingly close. Thirty-twenty became Thirty-Forty, and
after the second hour, the score was Ninety-One Hundred Ten. We were losing.
I continued to circle the pitch, trying desperately to find the snitch. The Gryffindor
lead continued to increase. By the third hour of the game, It was One Hundred-One
Hundred Fifty. I was getting desperate. Not only were the other Slytherin players
frustrated, they were cold, wet, and tired. Their only hope was that I would catch the
snitch, the game would be over, and we would win. Suddenly, James went into a dive. I
raced after him, streaking through the air. I scanned the air in front of him, and realized
that James had been trying to trick me. The snitch was nowhere in sight! I pulled out of
the dive just as something went whizzing past my face.
To my surprise, the object was not a bludger. It was small and golden. The
snitch! I raced after it, and I heard a shout from the stands. They saw it too! I chased the
snitch higher and higher, until ice was stinging my cheeks, not rain. The small golden
ball raced, ever higher, through the ice storm. For a moment, time ceased to exist. I
could no longer see the crowd beneath me because of the clouds, and the ice storm
around me was beautiful. But the most beautiful thing in the storm was the unwavering
golden ball, whizzing just ahead of me.
I unclenched my right hand from my icy broom, and the ice on my wrist guard
shattered into glittering shards. As the ice fell away beneath me, I reached out towards
the snitch. It floated just out of reach, hovering mere inches from my fingertips. With a
triumphant yell, I hurled myself up the broom and towards the snitch. I saw, rather than
felt, the snitch hit my numb palm. As it did, I heard a shout behind me.
NOOOOOO! screamed James as he entered the cloud cover.
I whipped around, my fingers firmly caging the golden snitch. James swore and
turned his broom back towards the ground.
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I grinned, and my frozen face felt as if it were cracking. Still, there was no way I
couldnt smile. I dove back into the pitch, whooping and waving my hand over my head.
As my teammates converged on me, I distantly heard the commentator declaring,
Slytherin wins! It is now Two Hundred Fifty-versus-One Hundred Fifty!
************
As I walked down to breakfast a week after the match, I contemplated how Clovis
and Jason had run off at the beginning of the match. In retrospect, it had worked
perfectly, and we had been able to meet up with Jasons partner, Val, at breakfast the
next day. She had become a full part of our group, and had helped to recruit Claire just
two days later. Today was the twelfth of October. We had plenty of time to find the other
three.
When I had last talked with Helga, she had told me that the remaining Heroes
would seek out our group on their own. I was really glad that I wouldnt have to chase
them down. The Recruiting Rush had been crazy, and I was relieved that it was finally
over.
I breezed into the Great Hall, and made my way to the Slytherin table. Already,
the meeting was in full swing. Ooops, I thought, checking my watch. It was later than I
had realized. Had I taken the long route to the Great Hall?
Lily! exclaimed Clovis. Finally! We were just discussing our lessons from last
night! Is it true that you mastered Slytherins basic draught of healing?
I laughed. Kind of... but Ive always been good at potions. Did you get it?
No! I stirred clockwise instead of counterclockwise, and I ended up with a basic
poison!
I shuddered dramatically and sympathized with Clovis on his ruined potion. It was
about the time when we would usually go back to the Gryffindor table when everyone on
the other side of the table stiffened. My back was to the doors of the hall, so I leaned
forwards and whispered What is it? to Seth.
He mouthed, Theres someone in the doorway!
Who? I murmured, taking my volume even lower.
Seth shrugged.
I rolled my eyes and turned around on the bench. There was a boy standing in
the entrance, eyeing us with curiosity. I waved at him, and he smiled, taking a hesitant
step forwards.
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As he came forwards, I looked him over. He was a Hufflepuff, identifiable by his
yellow tie. He had sandy-brown hair and looked to be in his second or third year. Those
were all good signs. One of the last Heroes we were looking for was a second year
Hufflepuff guy.
The Hufflepuff stopped in front of the table. You guys are a special group, right?
You know... centered around the founders?
I opened my mouth, about to say Congrats, youve finally found us when I
thought better of it. I nodded instead.
The Hufflepuffs stance relaxed. Good! You guys are the H.O.H.!
The H.O.H? Ambrose asked, confused.
The Heroes of Hogwarts, Ambrose. replied Scorpius offhandedly. Then he
turned back to the Hufflepuff. Who are you?
Er... Liam Stair. Nervously, Liam shifted from foot to foot.
Scorpius nodded. Cool. Do you know who your partner is, Liam?
Liam nodded happily. Ally Brooks, a first year Ravenclaw.
Seth ducked under the table and pulled Helgas List out of his bag. As he spread
it on the table, we all leaned forwards. Sure enough, both Liam and Allys names had
appeared on the list. The only name that had not appeared on the list was next to
Ambroses name.
As congratulations went around the table and the others agreed on when to
recruit Ally, I began to think about Ambrose's partner. It suddenly hit me, one panicky
thought of, we dont have enough time! I knew that I could trust that instinct. Which
meant that we really, really had to find Ambroses partner.
Youre very right about that, my dear. whispered Sir Salazar. Then his voice
was gone.
A chill ran down my spine.

81

Chapter 8: Denial
I sat in front of my bureau, frowning into the mirror. There was no way on earth
that I would join... ever. I reached for a quill, ready to make a list of reasons why I would
not be swayed. As I did, a familiar face appeared over my shoulder in the mirror. I rolled
my eyes.
Rowena, I wont join the Heroes! I refuse! Now go away so that I can go back to
being myself!
Rowena smiled. You do not seem to realize that you are the only thing in the
way of yourself, my dear. Your destiny lies with the Heroes.
My destiny? My destiny! I thought that if it was my destiny, I got to choose it!
You are going to regret this decision all your life if you choose not to do this. I
can see that.
Thats a load of rubbish! I dont ever want to work with Ambrose Zabini! And this
whole hero thing is not going to be part of my business! Its not my fight!
Eyes blazing, lips whitening, Rowena snapped, It is your fight! It is a fight for the
magical world as we know it! This includes you! You are part of the magical world! She
slipped a piece of parchment out of her robes and slapped it down on the table. It is
time you got over such a petty thing as hurt feelings years ago! If you would read this,
you might possibly see how childish you are behaving! She vanished, and I turned
back to my bureau. I was shocked to see that the paper she had brandished was now
sitting on my desk. I picked it up and began to read the jagged script.
As soon as I had read the first word, I threw the paper down. Really? Ambrose
had written to me? To get me to join? There was no way that I was reading anything of
his! This was pathetic!
But...
How would I know if I was wrong (or right) about everything unless I read the
letter?
Resignedly, I rolled my eyes and picked up the paper. I began to read again. This
time, I tried not to think about who the letter had come from.

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To whom it may concern,
I would like to firmly apologize for any affronts that I or the Heroes have made. This may
be the reason you are reluctant to step into our midst, and if so, I do believe that these affronts
can be resolved. If you have not been offended, I would like to formally invite you to be part of
the Heroes. We need you desperately, and would like your support. As we are trying to defeat an
evil force of great magnitude, we need all the resources and support that we can get. You are an
essential pillar to the group, and without you, the whole effort to defeat the great evil may topple,
and come crashing down upon us. As your partner, I feel this keenly in group meetings or
training. Be warned though; the group is quickly approaching the point where you can no longer
join. I do hope you reconsider your reasons for choosing to remain outside of the group. Your
insight, as a Ravenclaw, may be needed. Also, I need your help to overcome the challenges in
the future. The Founders have already confirmed to me that I will not survive the final battle
without a partner. I seek your aid in helping the word to conquer the evils that threaten the
magical, and muggle, world. I plead for you to join us.
Your partner,
Ambrose Zabini

I sat back, frowning at the letter. He would die without me? He would be
prepared to sacrifice himself to a good cause without knowing that I would join? And
why had I never realized that this problem would spill over into the muggle world?
I had so much to reconsider. So many more stakes. Had I been so blind to the
real threat? Secretly, I had always been hoping that this was some kind of joke. I sat
there, stunned, thinking hard.
I came up with one solution. Only one.
And so, hours later, I was sprinting across the grounds, hair flying, book bag
swinging wildly. I was ten feet away from him when I called, Ambrose! Stop! I have to
talk to you!
************
I was walking the grounds during lunch, trying not to think about the Heroes.
Trying not to think about the death sentence hanging over my head. I hadnt told anyone
other than my possible partner. How could I?
The truth was, I was scared. No, I was terrified. To be told you would die before
the age of seventeen without the help of someone you didnt know? That was a heavy
burden to carry. Especially as the other Heroes had begun to notice my depressed
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mood.
That was why I was walking alone. I knew that they cared, and I couldn't bear to
tell them the truth.
At the start of October, Rowena had told me that my partner had to join before
November first, or I was doomed. It was noon of October thirty first. My death sentence
seemed to hover over my head, getting closer with every passing hour. It was almost a
certain thing, now.
Suddenly, I heard the pounding of footsteps behind me. Ambrose! Stop! I have
to talk to you!
I whipped around, startled. Who was it? I looked at the person for a long
moment, then my eyes widened. Blue?
The girls eyes turned icy. Thats not my name, Ambrose!
I frowned at her. As I recall, you never told me your name. So I called you Blue,
and you left without telling me your real name. Youve always been Blue to me. You
even ended up in Ravenclaw!
She glared at me. My name is Gene Councilman. Not Blue.
I sighed. Alright, alright! I get it! Now why do you want to talk to me? Youve
avoided me for the past two years!
Her glare vanished as she raised an incredulous eyebrow. I would have kept
avoiding you, you pigheaded git! But Youre the one who sent me that letter! You need
my help, and I cant just deny it because youre annoying!
I gave her a blank stare. What? Then it hit me. I swore loudly and buried my
head in my hands. You? Youre my partner? I swore again. No wonder you were so
stubborn! No wonder you didnt want to join! You hate me! Did you only join because
you...Why did you join?
She glanced guiltily away. I read your letter. I wasnt convinced that we had to
be partners until then. I wanted the Founders to switch my partner to someone else. I
also didnt think that I would be important. After all, who needs a brainiac to defeat to old
spirits? I thought you could do it on your own.... Until I read your letter.
I looked at her thoughtfully. Youre in then. But why do you hate me? I never
understood that.
She flicked her hair over her shoulder, then said in a huff, You offended, me,
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insulted me, and ruined my confidence on my first day. How was I supposed to get
around that? You made things hard for me... and you still are.
I frowned. Are you kidding, Blue- Gene? I helped you on your first day!
She frowned. I wanted to be independent! You ruined that!
There was no way that you couldve hauled that trunk onto the train by yourself!
Plus, you had no idea what type of school Hogwarts was going to be! I... Suddenly, I
trailed off.
Gene looked at me, one eyebrow raised. What! she snapped. Spit it out!
I shook my head. Look, that was... stupid... of me. I should be thanking you for
joining me, and apologizing for... ruining your, err, train ride in our first year. So, is that
okay with you?
Gene flipped her hair over her shoulder. I guess, Zabini. But make no mistake,
Im not your friend now. Ill work with you, sure, but theres no way that Im ever going to
forgive you that easily.
I rolled my eyes. Of course not!
************
As I walked up to the castle with Ambrose, I began to feel slightly guilty. I wasnt
normally mean at all. Being this rude felt... wrong... but there was no way that I was
going to make this easy on Ambrose. Our partnership was about the last thing I ever
wanted. As far as I was concerned, he would have to earn my complacency before I
even contemplated friendship.
However... No, there were no howevers or buts about it. There was certainly no
way that I was changing my mind. After all, an opinion easily swayed was worse than
having no opinion at all. And I always had an opinion, always.
Usually, it was correct. However... No, there would be no more howevers!
I kept walking, but the tension was killing me. Who made up the rest of the
group? Rowena had only told me who my partner was! Finally, as we were walking up
to the steps and into the castle, I blurted, Okay, Who am I going to meet? Whos in the
group? What are we doing right now?
Ambrose looked at me, then stopped walking. Well... everyone should be at
lunch, but we hold our meetings at an early breakfast, somewhere around six thirty. So,
for now you arent an official member of the H.O.H. There are thirteen of us, not
85
including you, but Ill send you a list later. Therefore, you wont be meeting anyone right
now.
My shoulders slumped. There was no fun in that! I had actually been kind of
excited! But now I didnt get to do anything until the next morning!
Ambrose registered my disappointment. Oh, alright. Ill give you the list now, so
that you can gauge the people you're going to work with!
I was about to thank Ambrose profusely, but then I remembered that I hated him.
I settled for a quick, Okay, and... thanks. I mumbled the last bit.
He scribbled down a chart on a large piece of parchment, writing names, then
connecting the names with lines. As he handed the parchment to me, he pointed out the
numbers and letters next to each name. Those will tell you what year and what house
the people are in, and the lines connect the partners.
I nodded my thanks and we walked into the clamor of the Great Hall and parted
ways. As I unrolled the parchment, I sat down at the Ravenclaw table. As I began to
scan the list, I felt a growing sense of surprise. Lily Potter was partners with Scorpius
Malfoy? There were five first years in the group? It was shocking. But I was having fun
looking at who I would be working with.
As I scanned the Gryffindor table, I picked out Lily and Cindy, who were sitting
with a large group of friends. They were the easiest to pick out because of their unique
hair types. I guessed that the guys in the group were Seth and Clovis, the other
Gryffindor Heroes. So far, it looked as if The Founders had chosen well.
I turned my eyes to the Hufflepuff table. I already knew Liam and Clair because
they took most of their classes with me, but I couldnt tell who Valentine Casey was.
Still, I knew that Liam and Claire were some of the best people Id met, and that The
Founders had made good choices in recruiting them.
At the Slytherin table, Ambrose and Scorpius were sitting in another small group,
like at the Gryffindor table. I was forced to assume that the two others they were sitting
with were Jason and Bernadette (or Bear). As far as I was concerned, I couldnt judge
the Heroes that I didnt know, but I wondered why Ambrose had been selected to
become a Hero.
Finally, I turned my eyes onto my own house. I knew Ally vaguely, as another
member of my house, but... Brom was a Hero? My eyebrows shot up. Brom was one of
my best friends! There too, I could see that The Founders had made wise choices.
So... did that mean that I really would be a part of the team? I wanted to be a part
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of the team! I couldnt wait to meet everyone! The only downside was my partner.
************
After classes got out for the day, Scorpius and I went back to the Slytherin
Common room. On the way, we paused to look at the partially finished Halloween Feast
decorations. Both of our plutonian night flowers had been selected to decorate the hall,
and we checked in with Professor Longbottom to make sure that everything was going
as planned. He told us a funny superstition about plutonian nightflowers being bad
omens. It was how they had become part of the Halloween decor. Unfortunately, the
enormous pumpkins were in the process of getting filled with bats, so we didnt stay
long.
I had finally gotten around to telling Scorpius that my partner was the girl I had
called Blue. He was the only one who had ever known about the nickname for the
Ravenclaw girl. Unfortunately, he also found an ironic humor in the fact that the girl who
hated me was now my partner.
You know, he said, This could be your chance to actually become friends with
her. I think The Founders put you two together on purpose.
I frowned and shook my head. She doesnt seem interested in ever being my
friend.
Scorpius wisely dropped the subject after that.
When it was finally time to go to the Halloween Feast, we abandoned our
homework and trooped up to the Great Hall. Half of the candles that usually floated
above the tables were now inside large, floating, pumpkins, which darkened the room
with a muted orange light. Bats fluttered from one enormous pumpkin to the next, and
the ghosts were constantly in motion.
After Headmistress McGonagall said a few words, I attacked the food with gusto.
There were rows upon rows of dishes, and I tried to pick out just my favorites. I
definitely wanted to have room for dessert.
As I was scraping the last of my mashed potatoes off my plate, Scorpius started
to get up. I looked at him sharply. Whats going on?
I think I ate too much... Ill be back when I feel better. replied Scorpius. I looked
him over and nodded. He did look paler than usual, and for him, that was quite a feat.
Twenty minutes later, Scorpius still hadnt returned. I was halfway through a huge
piece of fudge when the realization hit. I set the fudge down and looked around.
Suddenly, a familiar voice echoed through my head.
87
Ambrose, you must follow him! It was Helgas voice. I looked around warily, and
when I was sure that no one would think anything of it, I got up and left the Great Hall.
************
I was chatting with Emily, one of my year mates, when I happened to glance
towards the doors. Ambrose, to my surprise, was leaving the feast. What was going on?
Suddenly, Rowenas voice was sighing through my mind. Follow him!
Emily looked at me. Gene? Are you okay? Youve gone all pale!
I shook my head. I think I... My mind raced. What could I use as an excuse to
leave? An idea struck me, and I went with it. I think I ate something with peppermint in
it! Im allergic!
Emilys eyes went wide. What do we do?
I swallowed, exaggerating the gesture. I...I have a potion in my bag... Ill go get
it.
Are you sure youll make it? Emily asked, worried.
Ill be fine, I said as I got up. I might go straight to bed, Emily. See you later.
She looked after me as I left the hall. I hope she bought my story. I actually was
allergic to peppermint. As I reached the top of the Marble staircase, Rowena whispered,
Go to the seventh floor... I raced onto the moving staircases, sprinting upwards. On
the trick staircase, I jumped three steps and kept going. There was something
important going on.
I was breathing hard when I sprinted into the seventh floor. Ambrose was
rounding the corner of the hallway in front of me. Ambrose! I called.
He spun around. Cmon! Weve got to follow Scorpius!
Whats going on?
I dont know!
We raced around the corner, headed to the right. When we reached the next
intersection we both turned left, listening to our guides. Then, as soon as we could, we
turned right, and we kept going straight until we reached a room where three tapestries
normally hung. The tapestry across from the entrance was crumpled on the floor. Where
it had hung, there was a great golden gate, marked with the crest of Hogwarts.
Ambrose and I hesitated. We have to go through, Gene. He said.
88
I know.
We stepped forwards, and Ambrose pushed the gate open. Go... Rowena
murmured. I gulped. Why would Scorpius go through some random gate? Why did we
have to follow him?
Ambrose and I stepped through the gate, which shut behind us with a clang. We
were in an empty room. Where was Scorpius?
That was when the walls began to dissolve. We were left, standing in a vortex of
darkness. Then the floor vanished, and we began to fall.

89

Chapter 9: Falling
As soon as I started falling, I started screaming. The darkness around me
rendered me as good as blind, and I could no longer see if Ambrose was beside me.
But I could hear him. He too was screaming, although he stopped after about ten
seconds and started swearing instead.
We continued to fall...
And fall...
And fall.
After an immeasurable amount of time, it began to grow colder. Suddenly, I could
hear the rushing of water and the murmurs of voices beneath me. I stopped screaming
just before I hit the water.
It was icy, and it slammed into me like a brick wall. Instantly, the wind was
knocked out of me. I hit the bottom and kicked off, desperately searching for the
surface. I came up just in time to take a breath, and then a current caught hold of me. It
drug me into a stone trough, which got more and more shallow until I had washed onto
a stone slab.
I rolled over, retching. As the water drained from my ears, voices began echoing
around me.
Oh my God!
Who is it?
Are you guys alright?
There was a retching sound to my left. Apparently, Ambrose had washed up too.
I rolled onto my back, coughing. Ambrose retched again, then called out hoarsely, Who
are you?
Ambrose? Its Scorpius! Im with Lily, Seth and Cindy. Is Gene with you?
I gasped for air. Im here! Im here! Then I thought about it. Where are we?
A girls voice answered. Were not sure where we are. Were obviously under
the castle... unless weve fallen into another part of The Realm.
I groaned. This doesnt look like The Realm... how long have you been down
90
here?
Scorpius and I have been here for roughly twenty minutes. Seth and Cindy have
been here for about ten. She said
So youre Lily. I observed.
Er... yeah.
I coughed into the silence. Suddenly, Ambroses voice rasped out again. Will all
of us end up in here?
I sat up in alarm. There was a tense silence. Gene, Scorpius asked, What do
you think?
I lowered my head in defeat. If I was brought here, as the newest member of the
team, there is no doubt in my mind that the others will be sent here. I was glad that I
couldnt see the others faces due to the complete absence of light.
Seth had apparently been exploring the stone slab that he was on, because there
was a splashing sound and a shout. Ahhh!
Seth! cried Cindy.
Everyone! Dont move! Seth yelled. Whatever you do, dont move! He waited
until only the rush of water could be heard. Guys, Were each on our own little islands,
as far as I can tell. If we try to leave the islands and swim to someone elses island, well
get carried away by the current. So were all stuck.
I buried my face angrily in my hands. Oh my God! Around me, there were other
murmurs of disquiet. Were we going to be stuck here forever?
For a long while, there was silence. Then, the chamber rumbled ominously.
What's that? asked Ambrose tentatively.
Lily sighed. We've heard that every time the gateway has opened. Then another
group joins us down here. Sure enough, as her words died away, the screaming and
swearing started up. The others began to shout advice up to the falling Heroes.
STOP! I shouted. We have to say our message in unison, or they won't be able
to understand! On three, everyone yell for them to hold their breath! One, two, three!
We all shouted, Hold your breath! and, for a moment, the screaming and
swearing stopped. Then there were two loud splashes as the next two heroes
plummeted into the water. I really hoped that they fared better than Ambrose and I had.
We had nearly drowned!
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The rest of us were silent as we listened for the other Heroes.
We waited...
And waited...
and waited.
Then, there was a gasp to my left, where previously, no one had been. Further in
the same direction, someone else cried, Whats going on?
************
It turned out that Clovis and Brom had been the next Heroes to enter The New
Realm. Then came Ally and Liam, followed by Claire and Bear. Jason and Val were the
last ones to fall in.
We had been commiserating with each other, but now we were truly scared, and
silence had fallen. What was going on? It had been fifteen minutes since Jason and Val
had fallen, and nothing had changed. Were we going to be stuck here forever?
Suddenly, there was a sighing, as if wind were blowing deep underground. The
sighing slowly resolved into a familiar voice. Heroes of Hogwarts, I am here to
explain... Rowenas voice echoed around the chamber. This is the second part of The
Realm that we, The Founders, created.
Slytherins voice rang out. This place is your test. We have tested many, but no
one has ever succeeded.
Gryffindor began to speak. To test you, we have made this Realm. It will play
upon your worst fears, and you must overcome this. It will all be real.
Finally, Helgas voice sang throughout the chamber. If you die here, your death
is final. All of you must make it out, or none of you will. You must enter the bottom of the
mountain to find the way...Good luck!
With that, their voices died away, and a great rumbling sounded throughout the
chamber. Whats that supposed to mean? someone shouted.
Come back! said another.
The rumbling sound increased, drowning out all sound, and the next thing I knew,
I was getting swept off my feet by a wall of water. The current drug me relentlessly away
from my island, and separated me from the rest of the Heroes. Gene! I yelled, but no
one replied. The current washed me into a passage of sorts, and I bumped along, trying
to find purchase on the walls. All I managed to do was lose my sense of direction.
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I allowed myself to be pushed along, trying to conserve my strength. After a very
long time, I felt stone beneath me, and I began to walk up, out of the water. I waded out
of the water, shivering. I realized, with a start, that I could see my surroundings faintly.
Before, I would not have been able to see my hand if I had held it in front of my face.
Now, though, there was light coming from ahead, just enough to see by. I walked
forwards cautiously. I had arrived in a round chamber, washed in by the water. The only
way out, through which the light shone, was a hole through the cave ceiling. The hole
would be just big enough for me to worm my way through, but its sides were rough, and
I could easily see myself getting stuck in it. Also, because of the sunlight glaring through
it, I couldn't tell how long the hole was. There was no way that I was wedging myself in
that hole to try get out. I was terrified of getting trapped in small spaces.
On a snap decision, I whirled and charged back to the water. I would swim all the
way back to where I had started, if that was what it took.
Five minutes later I was fighting against a strong current. If I gave in, it would
take me all the way back to the circular cavern I was trying to escape from, I knew. But I
was fighting with all of my strength, but I was going nowhere. If I kept going much
longer, I would lose all of my strength, and possibly drown. From what Helga had said,
either all of us had to survive, or none of us would. So I would be better off back in the
round chamber. I gave up, and was promptly swept back to the chamber.
When I got there, I clambered out of the water and back onto land. I hadnt
realized how tired my efforts had made me. It would be about midnight, back at
Hogwarts. I collapsed against the cave wall and lay down, too tired to move. Looking up
at the hole through the ceiling, all I felt was despair.
I woke with a start. How much time had passed? Sunlight was no longer entering
the cave, but I could make out the hole in the ceiling. Through it, I could see stars, but
the stars were not the ones I had always seen at Hogwarts. These were the stars of The
Realm.
As I looked up at the foreign stars, an overwhelming sense of anguish washed
over me. I knew, deep down, that this was the only way out. Somehow, I would have to
climb out of the chamber through a narrow, claustrophobic space. While making my way
out, I had a good chance of slipping and falling. Why had I chosen this? Why had I
wanted to ever be a Hero? I was frightened of a cave, of inanimate stone. I would never
be able to face a real enemy!
Suddenly, I was thinking of Gene. Would she give up? No. No, she would never
give up. Which meant that I was not going to give up either. If Gene, who had practically
just joined us, was ready to face her challenge head on, then I would be ready too. I
gritted my teeth and stepped underneath the hole. Looking up, I saw the unfamiliar
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stars. I reached into the hole, and found my handholds. Then, I hoisted myself in to the
hole, scrabbling for purchase. All around me, I felt the stone, seeming to press inwards.
As I placed my feet into precarious crevices, I once again reached for new handholds.
Slowly, I drug myself up through the stone. I was very glad that it was mostly dark. I
could not see how high I was, or how far I had left to go. I could not see the stone
entombing me.
I continued to climb, growing more and more weary with each small movement.
Before long, I was yawning again. When I realized that I was yawning for the third time,
I cursed my stupidity. Why had I not waited until I was fully rested to do this? I was an
imbecile.
The next thing I knew, I was drifting off. Then, I felt as if I was falling, and my
head snapped up again. With a gasp, I realized that the falling sensation had not been
real. Fully awake, I began to climb again. The stone escape was much longer than I had
anticipated. What if I ran out of air, or something? The thought sent adrenaline racing
through my body, and I shot upwards, moving dangerously fast. Still, I seemed to be no
nearer to making it out of the tunnel. After what seemed like ages, I realized that my
arms and legs were shaking with effort. I had to rest. For the first time, I risked looking
up.
Far, far above me, the stars shone. However, not six feet further up, the passage
appeared to have a hole leading off of it. Hope flared through me, and I climbed towards
the hole. I was sadly disappointed when I got there. Instead of being an easier exit, the
lead off led to a small, smooth-sided cave, just big enough for me to fit inside. I was
about to move on when a thought struck me.
If the cave was big enough for me to fit inside, I could rest there without fear of
falling. With a sigh, I wedged myself into the cave. It was better than nothing. Still, I
would be hungry when the next sunrise came to The Realm. Now that I thought about it,
I would be thirsty too. There had better be something edible outside of this cave, I
thought worriedly.
************
I was stumbling through the seemingly endless passageway and wondering if I
would go blind. After being washed away, I had found myself in a passage, and I had
been trying to escape from it ever since. It had to have been somewhere near the tenth
hour of my second day in the passage. I knew that I hadnt been going in circles, but I
felt lost. I hated being lost. It was horrible and stressful. After all, how long could this
passage be? Id been in it for two days!
Suddenly, the hand that I was trailing on the left wall of the passage ran into a
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wall. I jumped, then berated myself for being so skittish. I frowned. either the passage
took a ninety degree turn, or this was a dead end. I followed the new wall.
After ten feet, the left wall took another ninety degree turn, this time, to the right. I
came around the corner...
Light blinded me. I screamed in pain and shock, throwing my arms up to cover
my eyes. After so long without light, this brightness was physically painful. Keeping one
arm firmly over my eyes, I reached my hood and flipped it up. I pulled the thick, dark,
fabric over my eyes and cautiously removed my arm. under the brim of the hood, I
could still see the light, but it was obvious that the light was coming from near the
ceiling, as the floor was the darkest part of the passage.
The adrenaline from the pain raced through my veins, and I tried to calm myself. I
sat down, my back pressed to the left wall, and tried to breathe evenly. At least now I
knew that I wouldnt go blind, I thought ruefully. I knew that it would be unwise to
continue while keeping my hood over my eyes, so I began to devise a plan. I needed to
slowly readjust my eyes to the light, and I would do so while I rested. If I could count out
36000 seconds, it would mean that I had sat here for ten minutes. Every ten minutes, I
would raise my hood by an inch.
Set on my plan, I began to count. It was monotonous and mind-numbingly boring,
but it calmed me down. When I had reached 36000, I reached up, and slid the cowl of
my hood up. The light was uncomfortable, but not painful. I repeated the process six
times, slowly working my hood farther and farther off. Once the hour was up, I counted
to 36000 for the last time, and carefully removed my hood.
The light felt uncomfortable, and I had to squint against it, but it was better than
being blind in the dark. I raised myself to my feet and began to walk down the passage,
noting that the light was coming from rows of torch brackets along the wall. Some were
unlit.
With every torch that was un-lit, I felt a sense of foreboding, like I was missing
something. Finally, I stopped, and re-assessed the torches. In my mothers favorite
muggle mystery series, what did people do with unlit torches when they were
underground?
I thought about it. In the series, unlit torches were like blessings, because... you
could save them! All the unlit torches were trying to tell me that there would be darkness
up ahead! I would need the unlit torches to become my backups!
I raced back to the beginning of the bracketed torches, and I reached for one,
pushing it up and out of the bracket. It fell to the floor, and I began to work on the other
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unlit torches. I moved from torch to torch, and as they fell to the floor, I began to stuff
them into the deep pockets of my robes. I crammed in as many torches as would fit into
my pockets, and then I swept my robes off. I took the tie and the sweater from my
uniform and fashioned a bag of sorts out of it. That, too I filled with torches.
When I was positive that I couldnt possibly carry any more torches with me, I
moved on. As I had expected, the lit passage wasnt long. I walked along it for a half an
hour, and then, it was time to light the first of my torches. I took another unlit torch off
the wall, and lit it using the torch next to it. Looking into the oncoming blackness, a chill
ran down my spine. Whatever my real challenge was, it was waiting for me out there.
************
I woke with a start, nearly bashing my head into the top of the small cave. How
long had I been asleep? I didnt know. But light was once again pouring through the
hole. As I wriggled back into the chute, I vowed not to look down until I was at the top. I
scrambled upwards, trying not to give in to the fear that was my constant companion.
Unfortunately, because there was nothing else I could do while climbing but think, I
thought quite a lot.
I would need food and water very soon. I had last had a drink involuntarily when I
was swept along in the water, and that was a long while ago. I could only hope that it
hadnt been three days. I looked up. One hundred feet above me, the stone ended. If I
could make it to there, I would have a good chance of finding food and water.
With renewed determination, I continued to climb upwards. I had no way to
measure time, as I could not see the angle of the sun (not that I could really tell time by
that anyway). All that I knew was that I was completely exhausted when I had ten feet
left to go. It was colder here, too. As cold as November at Hogwarts, which it probably
was, by now.
My shaking hands reached for the last handhold. I heaved my body up and
found new footholds. Then, I was reaching for the lip of the hole, sunlight touching me
for the first time since I had entered The Realm. I awkwardly swung my upper body out
of the hole, dragging my legs behind me. Once I was out, I collapsed, glad to have open
air in front of me. It was then that I realized where I was. There was snow all around me,
and my labored breathing was creating steam.
I was on a mountain, next to a two-hundred foot drop. I gave a strangled shout
and rolled away from the edge. Then I turned my attention to the snow. It was what I
needed. It was water, albeit frozen. I began to eat the pure, white snow around me,
knowing that it was the most important thing I could do to help myself. When I could
stomach no more, I stopped.
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I looked around, searching for anything with nutritional value. Unfortunately, I
was above the tree line. What would be above the tree line? I had no idea. I got up and
looked around. I was hemmed in by snow and rocks. However, if I went far enough to
the left, fresh powder created a steep but manageable slope. I ran in that direction.
There was plenty of snow, so I knew I wouldnt have to worry about water. My main
concern now was food.
I began walking through the snow, glad that it came up to my calves. This way, I
couldnt trip and fall all the way down the mountain. But it was cold.
I found food by luck later that day. I had made it to the tree line, which had been
much closer than I had expected. As I walked through the trees, I saw what looked like
a small Christmas tree up ahead. I inspected it. To my immense surprise, the tree had
bluish-white berries on it.
I stopped to wonder if they were poisonous, but then concluded that I would have
to take a risk. So I ate them. They were tough and tasted nasty, but they were food
none the less. I picked the poor tree clean, trying to eat as much as possible. Who knew
when my next meal would be?
When I moved on, I sadly thought of the other Heroes. Were they faring as bad
as me?
***********
I stumbled through the passage, and I knew that I was dangerously dehydrated.
When the hallucination started, I wasnt surprised. Why else would I imagine that
mushrooms, one of my least favorite foods, was growing on the floor? I stopped to
inspect them anyway.
They felt surprisingly real, for hallucinations. I picked one, and held it close to the
light of my torch. It was a clomantin toadstool. The caps healed, but the stems were
poisonous. I took a bite out of the hallucination. Even imaginary food was better than
none. So I ate the cap of the mushroom, and chucked the stem down the passageway.
Who cared where the hallucination ended up? I laughed, and it sounded strange. Like
someone insane had laughed, not me. I picked up another mushroom, and repeated the
process. Then I sat down, giggling madly and slightly dizzy.
I didnt know how long I sat there. But, very suddenly, my head cleared.
Everything came into sharper focus, and I stopped laughing. What had happened? I
reached out and touched a mushroom. It was definitely real.
I gulped as I realized how close I had come to dying. It had been luck that had
saved me, really. The mushrooms had healing properties, and contained water, so for
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now, they would keep me alive. But wait... Mushrooms needed water to grow! I touched
the left wall and groaned. The walls here were beaded with moisture. How out of it had I
been?
The water could have saved me, but I had been too delirious to notice. I cursed
myself and picked another mushroom, nibbling it carefully. Then I held my torch high,
and got up off the floor. The mushrooms were numerous, so I had no need to pick and
save any.
I continued to walk. If I was hungry or tired, I ate mushrooms. If I was thirsty, I
would get some of the water from off of the walls. In that fashion, I continued, until I met
my challenge.
I rounded the first corner I had seen in miles and gasped. I was elevated fifty feet
over an enormous cavern. In the cavern, there was a maze with stone walls fifteen feet
high. Mazes often featured in my worst nightmares, because I was terrified of being
trapped, lost, or both. This was obviously my test.
Was I allowed to cheat? More than anything, I wanted to skip the maze. It was
terrifying, even from a distance. It had taken me four days to walk this far, but how long
would it take me to find a way out of the maze? If I was averaging two miles an hour for
roughly eight hours a day, and I had walked for four days, then I had already walked
about sixty four miles! Now, though, I would have to enter a maze while only armed with
a wand, some torches, and mushrooms. I could get lost... get injured...get attacked...
I realized that I had started to hyperventilate, and I stopped myself. It was no use
pondering what-ifs. I could only deal in solid facts. I looked at the maze, trying to
memorize its paths.
Suddenly, there was a rumbling noise, and the walls of the maze began to shift,
changing into new patterns. I groaned. I could not memorize the maze, and I could not
escape it. Once again, it seemed, my life would depend on luck. I set down my torch
and tied my sweater-sack to me, making sure that the unlit torches would not fall out. I
checked my pockets, making sure that I wouldnt spill those torches, either. Finally, I
took out my wand and started moving down towards the maze.
Fifteen minutes later, I was facing an intimidating stone gate. Through it, was the
maze. Through it, was the only possible route. Though it, were my worst fears. I took a
deep breath, and stepped inside
***********
I continued to make my way down the mountain, eating from the Christmas-
looking trees whenever I saw them. When I saw that the sun was getting close to the
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horizon, I stopped, and began to gather wood. It hadnt been too cold today, but the sun
had been out, the sky had been clear, and I had been moving the entire time. By the
time the sun set, it most certainly would be cold, so I needed to make a shelter of some
sort, and hopefully, a fire.
I found exactly the foundations of what I needed by looking around for trees that
had died and fallen onto other trees. When I had found a tree that had collapsed with
its roots facing west, and leaning on a tree to the east, I began to gather more wood
around it.
Several hours later, I had a make-shift lean-to, and I was setting up a fire. It was
beginning to get dark, and I could feel the temperature dropping steadily. For the first
time in The Realm, I took my wand out. Prodding the wood as I prodded the potions
fires to life worked, and soon my fire was burning merrily, sheltered from the west wind
by an extra part of the lean-to.
Once I was sure that the fire would continue to burn, I began to insulate my lean-
to with snow, filling in all the holes, and covering the sides. I made sure to scrape the
snow off the area that I would be sleeping on, and by that time, the sun had set. I sat by
my fire, warming my hands and face until the fire became coals, and then I used a
quick, Wingardium, Leviosa! to move some of the coals near where I was sleeping.
It was still slightly cold, but it was much better than nothing.
I woke the next morning, shivering, and went to the coals of the previous nights
fire. Scooping them into my cold hands, I began to walk, ready to move on. The coals
were still warm, and I felt optimistic.
Until I saw the tracks. When I first saw them, I thought that they were rocks,
buried in the snow. Then, I saw that they continued far out of sight. I went to them, and
what I saw amazed me. There, in the snow, were tracks like I had never before seen.
They had to be from some huge canine, a monstrously large wolf. Monstrously large,
because, the tracks were the size of draft horses hooves. Larger than my outspread
hand. Suddenly, I realized how close the wolf had come to my shelter. What if it had
attacked me?
I stumbled away from the tracks, wanting to put as much distance between them
and me as possible. I had to keep going down the mountain, but I also had to survive
whatever perils this mountainside held.
I felt a twinge of panic. None of us knew what kind of beast lived here. With the
tests, the terrain, and the beasts, how were any of us going to survive? We were
inexperienced juveniles, out on our own. Would our inexperience kill us?
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100

Chapter 10: Too Much Water
The last thing I had heard before being swept away by the wave had been Brom,
my partner. His words still rang in my ears. Clovis, we have to...Ahhhh!
I shivered. I was not a big fan of water coming out of nowhere. I had nearly
drowned when I was five, and I had never really gotten over it. But, I had been swept
away by an enormous, invisible wave, and taken into what I would call The Tunnels.
The Tunnels were filled with a good three feet of water, and I was about four feet
tall. That meant that it was terrifying in The Tunnels, even if moss glowed on the walls. It
was so...eerie. I also freaked out twice a day because there would be an ebb, and then
a rise in the current twice every day, or so I believed. The ebb meant that I was forced
even further under water.
That meant that, as of now, it was my fifth day in The Tunnels. My fifth day of
eating moss, drinking possibly unclean water, being nearly submerged in water the
whole time, and having to sleep in crude rock shelves. Most of the time, I ended up
falling off the rock shelves, and waking up unexpectedly wet.
So, it sucked. However, the water wasnt cold enough to kill me, which was
definitely a good thing. The last thing I wanted to be was a Clovis-ice-pop. Although, if
someone were there to thaw me out afterwards... I might think about it.
I waded on, letting the current do most of the work. Another downside of The
Tunnels was that they were mind numbingly boring. So boring, that I had nearly fallen
asleep in the water before. I frowned. That would be really annoying if it happened
again. No, not just annoying, it would be dangerous and scary. I didnt need either of
those in my average day, thank you very much.
I swept around a bend and looked confusedly around. There was another fork in
The Tunnels! Each day, I found one fork, but this was the earliest that I had ever found
one. Without hesitation, I had always chosen the path with the strongest current. I did
so again, but with a feeling of trepidation.
I could tell that this choice was different. Or maybe I was imagining things.
Whatever the case, I chose the left passage, floating along. The current became faster
and faster until I was whipping along, trying not to hit the walls. This had never
happened before! I smacked into the wall, scraping my hands and only just managing to
block my face. I let out a cry of shock and pain, and the current swept me on. What was
happening? My knee smacked into wall as I went around the next bend, and I gasped in
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pain, swallowing a mouthful of water.
I spat the water out as rush of terror shot through my veins. Up ahead, I could
hear the roaring of water. What was going on? Where was I now?
Suddenly, I was whipping around and unexpected bend, and I smashed into the
wall. I cried out, spinning through the water, spitting blood. This time, I had smacked my
face into the wall so hard, that I was seeing stars. Hot blood coursed down my face,
only to be washed away in the water. Adrenaline raced through me. My heart pounded
as the roaring sound got louder. In a moment of clarity, I understood. I was headed
towards an underground waterfall! I turned and began fighting the current, but I wasnt
much use. Help! I screamed, although I knew that no one could hear me. Help me!
I felt the water around me rush forwards with dangerous speed, and then I was
falling. AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! I screamed, flailing wildly. Im going to die, I thought
detachedly. I will die here, and no one will find me.
I fell for a long time, long enough to register that I would doom the rest of the
heroes to failure. Im sorry, so sorry...
I could feel the blood coursing through my veins as I fell. I could hear the
pounding of my heart, the air in my lungs.
For a moment, there was absolute clarity as I realized just what I was. Who I
was. How flawlessly my consciousness was a part of my body. I was aware, it seemed,
of everything that was a part of me. And I guessed that it was important.
Then I smashed into the waters surface, and everything went black.
************
The wind howled around me, snatching at my cloak and threatening to hurl me
off the path. Lightning flashed. With a clap, thunder boomed across the canyon, and I
clapped my hands over my ears, flinching and ducking.
The canyon was treacherous enough without the storm. I was following a
precarious deer trail that looked like it would take me out of the canyon, but I wasnt one
hundred percent certain that it would lead me out. So far, I had spent five and a half
days wandering around, foraging, and trying to face my fear of thunderstorms. The only
problem?
I was the only thing taller than four feet for miles upon miles.
Luck seemed to be on my side, though, because I had been washed into a small
pool below the canyons edge when I had first arrived on the side of the mountain. So
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far, all the lightning was hitting the edge of the narrow canyon. Still... it wouldnt be long
before my luck ran out.
As rain ran in rivulets over my hood, I pulled my cloak tighter around me.
Because Ravenclaws were often the target of snowballs, I had learned a waterproofing
charm. I guess that my practice had paid off, but I would have preferred being hit by a
thousand snowballs than to wandering around in a foreign wilderness.
Who could know what this wilderness contained? It wasnt even real! Yet, I had
become part of this unreality. In some ways, I supposed that it was good to be
compatible with The Founders creation. In other ways, though, I was very sure that it
was not a good thing. After all, The Founders could have placed any imaginary creature
in their imaginary world.
I flinched and ducked as another ear splitting clap of thunder rolled across the
mountain. This was miserable. I decided to find shelter for the night. I had no way to
judge time because my watch was waterlogged and the sun had disappeared behind
the slate grey clouds. But I was tired, miserable, and hungry. It was time to stop and
rest. Maybe, the storm would abate and I would actually get more rest than the uneasy
sleep that had plagued me these past few nights.
As I looked about for a juniper tree or some other edible plant, I also let myself
search for overhangs that would offer me shelter. I saw a suitable overhang with lichen
hanging from it. Hmm... Bounding over, I tried not to slip in the mud. The track was
slowly washing out, and I would be lucky if some part of it wasnt completely missing at
some point.
Turning my attention to the overhang, I reassessed it. All but one type of lichen
was edible, and I didnt think that this type was going to be a problem. I ducked under
the overhang and began to pull the lichen down, helping myself to a meal.
I ate a good deal, and figured that I would harvest the rest when it was time to
move on. It tasted horrible, but it would keep me alive. I was lucky enough to have
something to eat at all, and even the rain was a blessing in some ways. Although I
hated thunder and lightning, the water allowed me to live. I decided that I should be
thankful for what meager supplied mother nature was giving me.
As I listened to the beat of thunder and watched flashes of lightning light up the
sky, I curled into the most heat-conserving position I knew. From a spectators point of
view, lightning and thunder weren't that bad.
But I didnt like the fact that I was cold. One more night, I told myself. Just focus
on getting through one more night. I shivered as I fell asleep to the sounds of a raging
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storm.
************
I felt the shock of the water register with my body, and I began to thrash around,
trying to find the surface of the water. I forced my eyes open and tried to look for the
glow of moss above the black water. But the moss was growing underwater, too!
I thrashed about, growing frantic. Bubbles began to escape from my sealed lips.
Then, I realized that bubbles traveled upwards. I swam in the direction the bubbles had
gone, my chest burning. Just when I began to give up hope, my head broke the surface,
and I was able to breathe again.
Heaving in air, I shook with suppressed terror. I had been beaten against the
cave walls and tossed over the waterfall's edge, viciously swept along by the current.
How was I supposed to learn to not fear the water? I was more scared than ever.
Breathing roughly, I allowed myself to be swept along by the current, trying to asses my
injuries.
I could feel that the left side of my face had been scraped up, and my fingers and
knees were throbbing painfully. I suddenly found myself wishing that the water was
colder, so that it would numb my aching body. My breath was coming in great gasps
and heaves, and I felt out of control. I was having problems discerning if I really was
alright or not. Mentally, I knew that I had just been wiped out. I was in no mental state to
continue, frightened to the point of dysfunction. Physically, however, I wasnt sure. How
badly hurt was I? I hadnt broken any bones... or so I believed.
Slowly, the current slowed. I wanted nothing more than to get out of The Tunnels.
I was more terrified that I had ever been. As it slowed, so did my mind, until I was calm
enough to think straight again. With the thought, came realization.
I hadnt died. I hadnt doomed the others. I was just going to continue as if I had
never gone over the waterfall. What if I could just... forget about it? I wish that I could. I
floated along for hours, coming to another split in the path and letting the current sweep
me into one of the forks. When I finally felt the second tide of the day, I climbed onto a
rock shelf and curled up, shivering. The water was making me weaker, I was sure.
Every day, I spent very little effort to continue on my path. The water carried me
along, and I hardly ever had to worry about being unable to touch the bottom of The
Tunnels. I had gone from having to support my weight all day, to having a natural
buoyancy that carried me along. It scared me to think of how weak I would be once I left
The Tunnels. Would I even be able to walk?
I fell asleep, still worrying over my condition. I knew that if I didnt get out of here
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soon, I was doomed.
I woke up and rolled back into the water many hours later. I had gotten the most
fitful nights sleep yet, and I was ready to go. I decided not to worry any more. Perhaps
it had something to do with my fall, but I was ready to get moving and not worry about
anything until I made it out. I thought about the other Heroes, wondering what their
worst fears were. They probably werent lucky enough to have a fear that gave them a
free ride through... wherever we were.
I floated on my back, watching the moss on the ceiling as I passed clump after
clump. When I was hungry, I ate some. I picked another fork in the path, and continued.
after yesterdays excitement, today was almost boring, I thought. I was actually less
scared today than I ever had been.
Of course, as soon as I thought that, the water began to speed up. I tensed,
ready for anything. I went around a smooth turn, and terror once again gripped me. Up
ahead, the ceiling of the tunnel I was in went beneath the water!
I began to try and swim back, but it was to no avail. As the end of the tunnels
breathing space grew near, I took a deep breath and ducked under water, trying to get
deep enough so that I wouldnt scrape the ceiling. I kept my eyes open as I was swept
under, and I began looking for a way out.
There didnt seem to be one.
I panicked and kicked upwards. Suddenly, the ceiling was back to normal height,
and my head broke the surface of the water. What? I frowned, and realized that the dip
must have been temporary. I gratefully sucked in a breath, and turned my attention to
the path ahead.
There was another dip! Once again, I dove under the water, and looked for a way
out. When I didnt see one, I went upwards again, and the ceiling reverted to its
previous height. I gulped in air and looked ahead. I once again saw the dip in the
ceiling.
I repeated the process over and over: taking a deep breath, going under the
water, and going up to take another breath. By the time I felt the second ebb of the day,
I was so exhausted that I could barely pull myself onto a rock shelf to sleep. The water
seemed to have come up with a diabolical plan.
Until yesterday, I had done nothing but grow weaker and weaker as I floated
along. I had grown very weak. As soon as I had gotten dangerously weak, The Tunnels
began to try to kill me. Either it was throwing me off a waterfall or making me work hard
to get air. Whatever happened, it still meant that I was nearly dying every time.
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What a diabolical maze of stone and water.
************
It was the morning of the seventh day when I realized that the canyon was
ending. Slowly, the right side was smoothing into the mountain, and giving me a path to
follow. I saw no reason not to follow it.
Picking as much lichen as I could fit in my pockets, I moved on. The rain had
abated to become a misting fog, but even that was thinning out. I couldnt help but hope
for the best. As I left the last wall of the canyon behind me, I looked up. Above me was
a beautiful mountaintop, crested with snow. The snow was generally from the top of the
mountain to about a thousand feet above my elevation point. If It had been a real
mountain, I was sure that it would be a popular tourist destination. It was... pristine.
Beneath me lay the other two thirds of the mountain, shrouded in mist that had not yet
been evaporated by the sun.
Slowly, the mist in front of me melted away, and I beheld a great forest stretching
out in front of me. It seemed to wrap around the rest of the mountain, even going above
the canyon I had been trapped in. I gratefully headed towards the shade, knowing that
the forest would also provide me with food.
The sun, being low, gave me hope. I still had most of the day left to get as far
down the mountain as I could. As the first tendrils of shadow from the forest touched
me, I smiled. I had hope, today.
I walked aimlessly down the mountain, wondering if the other Heroes were
anywhere nearby. Inexorably, the sun crept onwards. I could do nothing more than
think, walk, and occasionally stop for food. Around three hours passed when I had
entered the forest, I began to wonder where I could find water. It was nearly midday, as
far as the sun could say, and I hadnt had water since that morning.
I moved along, trying to follow where the soil was wettest. It was hard, and mildly
frustrating. No wildlife was out either, so I couldnt follow them to a stream. I finally
stopped, and tried to listed for the sounds of rushing water.
I heard nothing. Walking again, I tried to be quieter. After another hour or so, I
was ready to give up when, conveniently, I heard a twig break to my right.
At first, the sound made me jump. Then I relaxed. Was an animal finally going to
help me out by going to get water from some stream? As I crept closer to the noise, I
stopped, and suddenly a beautiful sound could be heard.
The sound of rushing water.
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I walked quickly towards the sound, walking around a huge oak tree. I came
around the tree to find a figure already at the stream. I stumbled backwards, and the
figure whipped around.
Yellow eyes met mine.
Seth? I exclaimed.
Brom? Seth asked, his face splitting into a wide grin. We walked towards each
other, almost afraid, as if we were worried that if we walked forwards, it would only be to
discover that the newfound company was an illusion. Suddenly, both of us were smiling
and laughing, the worries of the past week washed away.
Ive been looking for you! Seth said, just as I was saying something about
wanting to find someone from The Heroes.
Youve been looking for me? I asked.
Yeah! He exclaimed, shaking his head. I know how to track game, but I was
trying to see if I could find anyone else!
I sighed. I wish I knew how! I found you by luck!
Seth laughed. Was it the stick I broke?
I nodded. What were you doing?
Seth shrugged. I was going to build a fire and try to cook a meal.
I stared at Seth. Cook? Here? What would you cook?
Seth pointed to a spot near the stream, where a rabbit lay, obviously dead. I
need to cook that before sundown, or well attract attention.
I looked at Seth in amazement. You managed to catch it? Then I shook my
head. Never mind. Is the water good to drink?
Seth nodded, and I leaned down to the stream, grateful for the refreshing
coolness of the water. Seth frowned contemplatively. Just so you know, Brom, I do
think Im on the trail of one other Hero.
I got up. Really? Who?
Seth shrugged. I dont know, but Ive been tracking them for a day or two.
Theyre going fast. Every time I think Ill catch up with them, they speed up.
I shook my head. That sucks, doesnt it? I guess we could try catch them now...
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if thats a good idea.
Seth nodded. Its a good idea, but Id prefer to catch up with them when its dark,
just in case they arent one of us. Plus, we have to eat.
Seths points were valid. My stomach rumbled at the thought of meat. Alright. I
said eagerly. Teach me how to build a fire.
************
I floated along, glad that, as of today, I had met no obstacles. I felt listless, like
there was something wrong with me, but I couldnt figure out what.
The current was a bit faster than normal, but nothing I couldnt handle. Nothing I
was afraid of, anymore. I drifted along, feeling a bit like a piece of wood. I couldnt bring
myself to eat any moss. I knew that I should eat, but I just couldnt stomach he thought
of eating the moss today.
The current sped up a little, and I shrugged. It was nothing extreme. Id already
been in the water for a good five hours. The places where I had injured myself were
starting to throb again. It happened about every two hours, an ebb and flow in my pain
level. I didnt know why that was happening either. But it was better to feel something
rather than nothing, right?
I kept telling myself that. Somehow, it didnt help my feeling of listlessness. I saw
a corner up ahead and sighed. Great. Another corner. As the current swept me around
the bend, I slowly put one arm out, and pushed myself of the wall.
A spike of pain went through my arm, and I shot my hand back, off the wall. What
in the world? I didnt usually feel pain when pushing off the walls. What was different? I
had no idea. I reached out again, this time for moss, and once again, the pain shot
through my arm. Confused, I pulled my arm back again, lost. What was going on? Was
something wrong with my hand? I hadnt hurt it before, so why was it hurting now?
The current sped up, getting faster and faster. It was almost as if my confusion
was fueling the current. I shot around another corner, and this time I slammed into the
wall. My whole side exploded into pain, and I felt hot blood on my face. I was confused
and nervous. What was happening now?
I swept around another bend, and suddenly, light from ahead blinded me. I
flinched as my eyes received the painful amount of light, and it hit me that the light was
daylight! I was actually drawing to the close of The Tunnels!
My relief was short-lived. Just as I registered the daylight, I registered a familiar
roaring sound. The end of The Tunnels was a waterfall! I kicked weakly, but knew that
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there was no escape. At least I knew that I most likely wouldn't die this time.
I had time for one last thought of what my parents would think before I dropped
over the edge.
"AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!" I screamed, unable to control my fear any longer. I
screamed for what felt like ages, and relived the best times of my life when I was falling.
And then, once again, I was at peace. I could feel everything in me, the breath in my
lungs, the blood in my veins, and I knew that I would never have been able to live
missing any of me. That I could not have been here without all of me working perfectly.
Suddenly, all I was seemed to be so tangible, it was as if I could feel my very soul, and
exactly how it interacted with my body.
For a moment, everything was perfect.
And then I was slamming into the water beneath me. I smashed into the bottom
of whatever pool I had fallen into, and felt my head crack against a rock. Once again,
my world dissolved into darkness.

109

Chapter 11: Seek and Ye Shall Find

It was absolutely the most frustrated I had ever been. I was running out of
torches, and I was completely lost. The maze had turned out to be a Labyrinth, filled
with stupid traps. It was horrible.
Why couldnt someone, anyone, get lost in here with me? At this point, I would
even be glad if Ambrose were with me. I rounded the next corner, raising my torch, and
I screamed.
Laying on the floor in front of me was a skeleton. It was obviously old, but it was
also obviously real. This was no trick. Someone had died here! As my scream died
away, I looked at the skeleton. Its chest had been pierced by multiple spikes, age old
blood still dried onto the ribs.
I frowned. Where had the spikes come from? I turned my attention to the walls.
Three feet up from the floor, tubes were carved into the wall. Had the spikes come from
there? I reached into my pocket and drew out a mushroom. Tossing it lightly, I threw it in
front of the spikes, then held my torch high, so I could see what would happen.
HISSS-SHINK!
A spike came shooting out of the hole, hitting the mushroom before I could blink.
As the mushroom hit the floor, it began to hiss and dissolve around the spike.
I really didn't want to risk getting spiked, but I was getting closer to the end of the
maze by going this way, I knew. The more dead guys I found, the closer I seemed to
get, and the harder the challenges got. I frowned, looking at the room again. How was I
supposed to go through?
My eyes flicked to the wall. An idea came to mind, and without hesitation, I
followed the plan. It was simple, but the simplest plans seemed to be the best. I darted
forwards, bent double, and sprinted across the room, trying to keep my torch from going
out.
There was no hissing, and no spikes. I sighed. Thank God. The idiot who had
gotten stuck here forgot that there were no spikes beneath the three foot border. I
moved to the next room, and was surprised to find another challenge. Behind me, a
stone wall grew into place.
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I turned and looked, confused, at the wall. Excuse me, but that was just plain
rude! Cut me off? Uhg! I turned back to the next challenge hall, and I felt like punching
the wall. This maze was so... annoying! But if a wall had blocked my way so soon... I
had to be close to the end of the maze.
I swear, if it could talk... Oh, Gene, just come this way... youre getting closer...
closer... and, oops! It looks like Ive got to try killing you again! What fun! I swear, that is
exactly what it would say.
I stomped towards the next challenge, then screeched to a halt, raising my torch
to try and determine if what I was seeing was real or not. Along the walls of this corridor,
there were millions upon millions of miniscule holes. What? How was I supposed to go
through if this place held spikes? Were these even spike holes?
I plucked a mushroom from the wall, and tossed it down the hall, and made sure
that it was still in the torchlight There was a small clicking sound, but nothing happened.
I frowned. Really? Nothing bad was going to happen? I stood still. If I waited long
enough... something would have to happen, right?
Five minutes later, I gave up on my plan of waiting. Obviously, nothing was going
to happen. I quickly moved ten feet down the hall, my pulse racing, ready for some kind
of surprise. Nothing happened. I moved off again, but as soon as I did, I heard a horrible
clicking sound behind me, seeming to echo and swell. I looked back over my shoulder,
confused, and then I screamed.
My scream went on and on, like no scream Id ever made before. I had also
never been more terrified in my life. I began to run , not caring about the possibility of
the torch dying, as behind me, thousands of spiders began to pour forth from their
holes. I sprinted down the hall, screaming my head off. With every miniscule hole I
passed, more spiders began to chase me. As their numbers grew, I began to tire. How
much longer would I have to run? I was either going to be killed by a thousand spiders,
or I was going to have to find a way to kill them myself.
My mind went into overdrive, desperately trying to find a way to kill a thousand
spiders. So far, all I could think was that the light and heat of my torch wouldnt exactly
be welcome to them. But then I would be out of fire. What else could I do? The
mushrooms had saved me before, but in this situation...
Suddenly, a crazy plan came to mind. I decided that I had to try it. Reaching for
the walls, I grabbed at all the poisonous mushroom stems I could find. As soon as they
broke off in my hand, I threw them behind me and continued to sprint. Behind me, a
horrible hissing sound began, and I took that as a good sign. I repeated my plan over
and over, until my breathing was so bad that I began to see stars.
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I had to stop. My pace began to slacken, and my limbs began to feel clumsy. I
raced around a corner, and stumbled as daylight hit me like a physical force. Gasping, I
dropped my torch and ran the final stretch to the end of the Labyrinth. Thank Goodness!
I stumbled outside, and my legs gave out, so that I was rolling down a grassy slope. My
breathing came in ragged gasps, and my vision began to fade as I rolled down the hill,
plastering myself with mud. As I fainted, I realized just how lucky Id been. No spiders
would come halfway down a sunny hill to devour me.
************
I was continuing my trek downhill when I heard the sound of water. Angling that
way, I jogged towards it, surprised at how increasingly loud it got. Suddenly, a scream
rent the air, nearly drowned out by the thunderous crashing of the water. I sprinted
towards the sound of the water. The scream had come from that direction, I was sure of
it!
As suddenly as the scream had started, it stopped. What was going on? I raced
past more trees, trampling undergrowth, and finally spotted the river. Or, should I say,
the waterfall. A waterfall poured out of a concealed cliff face, gushing downwards for
roughly a hundred feet. In the roiling pool beneath it, a dark form was under the water.
A human form.
I gasped, then dove in towards the limp form. The water was surprisingly clear
underneath the surface, despite the foamy waterfall above. I swam over ten feet
downwards, and my lungs began to burn as I wrapped my arms around the limp form.
Turning, I kicked off of the bottom hard, hoping that I could hold my breath long enough.
As my head broke the surface, I heaved in a breath of air and swam for shore,
dragging myself and the person up onto dry land. I turned the person over, and leapt
backwards with a shout.
It was Clovis! But he was so pale that his skin seemed translucent, and there
were cuts and scrapes all over his hands and face. He was bleeding anew from a fresh
gash as his temple. I reached for him. Clovis? His lips were turning blue. He wasnt
breathing!
With mounting panic, I pushed on his chest, trying to get him to breathe. I didnt
know how to save someone from this!
Suddenly, water streamed from Cloviss mouth, and he was coughing, gasping
for air. His eyes remained firmly shut as he turned himself over and coughed up the last
of the water. With a groan, he collapsed again.
Clovis! I shouted, shocked.
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Clovis jumped, and scrambled backwards, then collapsed again. He slid his
wand out of his pocket frantically, and pointed it in my general direction. His eyes were
still closed. He looked like he was trying to say something, but all then came out was a
strangled, ragged sound.
Clovis! Its me! Ambrose! I crawled towards him, and his eyes flicked open. As
soon as they found my face, Clovis let out a yell of pain and threw his arm over his
eyes. Whats wrong? I asked him frantically.
After a long moment, Clovis put his wand away, and turned himself to my general
direction. He cleared his throat, and in a scratchy voice, started to talk. Ive been stuck
underground in half-submerged tunnels for a week, as far as I can reckon. Its too bright
out here to open my eyes, and Im really weak. He moved his hand in the general
direction of the waterfall. Ive been over two waterfalls so far. There was a pause, and
then Clovis asked, What have you been through?
So I told him. I told him about the two days climb, the issue of water, and how I
had been living off of one type of tree. By the time I was done, Clovis was beginning to
droop. I tapped him, and he winced. I think we should find some shelter, Clovis. He
nodded, and I took his hand to pull him up. As soon as I had him on his feet, he tried
taking a blind step, but fell instantly. He hit the ground with a yell of pain as I dove
towards him. Clovis! Whats wrong?
It was then that I noticed that Clovis wasnt wearing any shoes. When he had
stood up, the rough stones on the bank had cut into his feet. His hands, where he had
caught himself, were also cut. How did someone cut themselves that easily?
Suddenly, I could hear shouts and the pounding of feet. I hauled Clovis to his
feet, and half-carried, half-walked Clovis to the nearest underbrush, thinking only of
getting us out of danger. I laid him down and turned, drawing my wand. Two figures in
billowing robes came charging towards the river from the direction I had come from. I
gasped, then called out in excitement when I recognized them.
"Seth! Brom! Over here!"
They spun around, and Seth shouted, "Ambrose! What happened? Who's been
yelling?" His eyes fell on Clovis's limp form behind me. "Oh heck! Who's that?" He and
Brom ran quickly towards me in alarm. I too, remembered my panic, and spun around to
check on Clovis.
Kneeling in the grass, I saw that Cloviss body was completely slack. I groaned. I
played enough Quidditch to recognize this. Clovis had passed out. As Seth and Brom
caught sight of Clovis, they began to attack me with questions.
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What happened?
Howd you find him?
I dont understand!
I glared at them until they quieted down. Really guys? I said, exasperated. Then
I began to explain how I had found Clovis, what he had told me, and the oddity of his
weakness. As I did, Seth paled. When I was done explaining, Seth buried his face in his
hands.
Thats bad. Really, really bad. I think I know what happened, but He trailed
off, then bent to examine Clovis. Brom and I exchanged worried looks before following
Seths movements with our eyes. Seth touched the skin on Cloviss hand, and turned
his fingers towards himself, examining them. He hissed in alarm, then examined
Cloviss cut feet. He shook his head. This is bad. Looking up at Brom and me, he said,
I need you to help me. I have to get everything thats wet off of him.
Without question, Brom and I got to work, and by the time all three of us were
done, Clovis was left in only his pants. Finally, Brom turned to Seth. Why did we have
to do that? What was wrong?
Seth looked at the ground as Brom and I waited for and answer. After a moment,
Seth sighed. Its called maceration. Basically, you spend so much time in water that
your skin goes way past wrinkling. It becomes kind of well, it starts dissolving. Thats
why Clovis is so pale. Its the worst Ive ever seen it, so I wouldnt be surprised if it
takes him several days to be even somewhat normal Hell probably have some
permanent sensory damage. Thats why we have to let him dry.
It was the longest thing Id ever heard Seth say. As it hit me just how badly Clovis
had been injured because of it, a chill ran down my spine. That had been close. Then, I
realized something strange. How did you know that, Seth?
Seth, who had been walking towards the river, turned around. I live in a small
wizarding village. We grow up knowing whats dangerous in the wild. He shrugged. I
guess Im lucky to have learned that. He turned back to the river.
After a moment, Brom frowned. Seth, what are you doing?
Seth had kicked off his shoes, rolled up his shirtsleeves and pant legs, and had
removed his school robes. He looked at us questioningly. What does it look like Im
doing? Im going fishing. He replied, stepping into the river. Will you guys get a fire
going?
************
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I blinked, and sunlight scorched my eyes. The hand on my shoulder abruptly
stops shaking me and lets me go. Gene! Thank goodness! I was afraid you were
dead! a voice cries. Its a girls voice. Whos? I dont remember.
Slowly I crack open my eyes again, and a form takes shape above me. Blond,
young... suddenly the voice clicked. Cindy? I croaked.
Its me! she said excitedly. You have no idea how glad I am to see you!
I smiled, my lips cracking as I did. I think I might know.
She nodded. Probably. Can you stand?
I assessed myself. I was actually feeling kind of... good. Aware, rested, even
hopeful. Yeah, I can stand. Then I thought about it. Why?
Cindy pointed down the mountainside, into the forest. Theres water in the
woods, I think, and I suppose theres game.
I nodded. Okay. I sat up, expecting the world to swim in front of my eyes.
Instead, the only thing that happened was that my vision blurred, and then cleared in
less than a second. Slowly, carefully, I got my feet underneath me and stood. The world
seemed very, very bright out here. Outside of the caves. I shuddered, then turned to
Cindy. Alright. Where are we going?
Cindy shrugged. Into the forest, probably near a river. I was hoping you would
lead.
Now that I am standing, I realize that Cindy is shorter than I am, and as I look
down at her, I remember that she is younger, too. She needs me to be the leader. I take
a deep breath, gathering my wits, nerve, and leadership skills, and then smile at her. Of
course. This way. I stride off, and Cindy follows, a stride behind and a little to the left.
Its easy going, the slope here is gentle, and the meadow is easy to walk through. After a
short silence, a question comes to me. I blurt it out without looking at Cindy. How did
you find me?
For a moment, Cindy did not reply. Then, she tentatively asked, You had to face
a fear, right?
I looked at her earnestly. Yes...I did.
She nodded and looked away. Well, I found you because my fear is being alone,
without friends. My test was to get down the mountain without anyone, so I had no one
at all. When my anxiety stopped, I was able to find the easy way down. It led straight to
you.
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I nodded. I had always had a small group of close friends, but I was fine on my
own. Still, I could see where her fear came from. Cindy looked tentatively at me as we
continued to walk. What did you have to do, Gene?
I sighed. I had known she would ask. I... I have a fear of being lost, not knowing
where I am, or having no set, planned path. It can be either physical, or mental. I was
put through a Labyrinth, and I had to figure my way out of it. At the end, though, I had to
run from a horde of spiders, which I also fear. With surprise, I realized it felt good to talk
about what I had been through. It made it...easier. More tangible, rather than
nightmarish.
As we entered the forest, the temperature dropped noticeably, and both Cindy
and I lowered our voices as we continued to talk. We shared our worst experiences and
our highest moments as we worked our way downhill, and I suddenly wished I had
joined The Heroes sooner. That I was already friends with them all. I wished this
because, even as we walked, Cindy and I became better and better friends, the bonds
between us strengthening. I wished Id meet her before. She was kind, understanding,
and friendly.
A long while later, I remembered that Cindy and I needed to find water. The sun
was high in the sky, and even under the trees, we were becoming dehydrated. I began
looking for thicker grass, and wetter soil, trying to find the water they represented. At
long last, we heard the gurgle of water, and raced towards it, laughing in relief.
As we ran through the last trees and crouched in the soft soil by the waters
edge, I looked around for game. They would come to water, right? Behind me, Cindy
was already quenching her thirst, and I was just about to give up and do the same when
a chill ran up my spine. Something was...
A low moan came from the other side of the river. I turned to Cindy, my heart
pounding, eyes wide. Did you hear that?
Barely glancing at me, Cindy said, What noise?
Cautiously, I looked around. Had I imagined it? Then why had I gotten chills? I
touched Cindys arm. Stop drinking and listen! Do you hear it?
Dubiously, Cindy looked around, and suddenly, the moan came again. Cindys
eyes shot to mine, a look of alarm crossing her face. What is that? She whispered.
Every instinct I had screamed danger. And yet... The noise seemed to be
strangely human. I looked back at Cindy. I dont know what it is. I whispered. But I
think we should give it a look. I havent ever heard of some dangerous magical creature
that moans.
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For a moment, Cindy shot me a dubious look, and then, as if by magic, her face
cleared and became set with conviction. Alright. Together.
Gathering my courage and preparing to lead, I pointed at the stones in the river.
Well cross there. Cmon! As we slipped, slid, and splashed our way across, I hoped
that whatever it was too unobservant to notice our racket.
Having reached the other side, I moved quickly towards a tree, hoping for cover.
Suddenly, a moan came again, and I felt Cindy freeze behind me. As we listened, the
moan died away, and then came the most horrible retching sound I had ever heard.
Looking at Cindys alarmed face behind me, I dragged her behind a tree, and we both
sat there, terrified of looking past the tree to see what was on the other side.
I finally mustered up the courage to do so after counting to three-hundred-sixty. I
shuffled on my knees until I was near the edge of the tree. Very, very carefully, I peeked
my head out of the safety zone behind the tree.
Just as soon as I was able to process the scene in front of me, I sighed with
relief. There was no monster, nothing to fear! I smiled, and then felt horribly guilty. I
needed to help! I front of me was one of my classmates, Claire. She was sitting against
a tree not ten feet away, and she was a putrid shade of green. Obviously, she was
nauseous.
Knowing that if I suddenly left the tree it would confuse Cindy, I ducked behind it
to whisper what was really going on. As soon as I had told her, a sympathetic
expression came over her, and the ends of her hair turned blue. She instantly agreed
that we should help Claire out. For a second, I hesitated, before stepping out from
behind the tree and calling, Claire!
Looking up, Claire let out a strangled yell of surprise. Then she pushed her hair
out of her eyes and looked at me. Gene? Oh my goodness is that you?
Making my way towards her, I nodded. Its me. Cindys here too. At this, Cindy
stepped out from behind the tree as well, and Claire smiled at her. We all gathered
together in the grass, and I asked Claire if she was alright. Even now, her color was
returning, and she seemed to be feeling better.
Nigh on laughing, Claire replied. Of course! I just had to get the potion out of my
system! She looked at our blank faces. You didnt have to drink potions? She queried,
seeming lost.
Our challenges were different. I explained. I think we all went through a
personalized challenge based off our own fears. Do you want to talk about yours? Cindy
and I talked, and it made it seem less... harrowing.
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Potions Class is a little hazardous. Is that what youre afraid of? Cindy asked
tentatively.
Quite the opposite! Claire replied, laughing. I love potions class! But my
challenge was finding myself, because I fear being misunderstood by others. At every
stage, I would have to take a potion that induced memory hallucinations. Then, at the
end of each stage, I would have a trait that defined me. It was really cool, but also really
gut wrenching. I had to acknowledge all of my faults and all of strengths without hiding
anything.
Reaching forwards, I took Claires hand and looked into her eyes. Claire, you
must be a lot braver than me. I would never have the courage to do that.
Sighing, Cindy said, Me too. I dont think I could do that, Claire.
Turning her face away in embarrassment, Claire shrugged. I just did my
challenge, like you guys. Hopefully the others have gotten through their challenges too.
She paused speculatively. Have you seen anyone else?
Unfortunately, I had been keeping a close eye on our environment, and I hadnt
seen anything. No, sorry Claire. But we should keep an eye out. Ive never tried
tracking, but in theory I know how to. Same with setting snares. I guess all my survival
skills are that way. Does anyone else know anything about this?
Very little! snorted Cindy. I only know how to use a makeshift sling, and I
practically caught all my game so far on accident.
Well, at least you guys know something. Claire said, ever the positive one. All I
know is basic common sense, like not to eat snow thats, err-
Xanthic? I blurted. Claire and Cindy both looked at me like I had a second
head. Sorry, I mean yellow. I said, feeling sheepish. Thats what xanthic means. Of,
relating to, or tending toward a yellow color . My face burned red.
You memorized a dictionary? Cindy said, taken aback. What other words do
you know that are that weird?
Zygomorphic; having bilateral symmetry; divisible lengthwise into similar or
symmetrical halves. I mumbled, blushing.
Cindy and Claire smiled at me, and I realized they weren't making fun of me, they
were simply astounded and found my vocabulary slightly amusing. Like friends. I
relaxed, and the three of us began to work together. For the rest of the afternoon, I
explained how to build the best shelter (no openings to the west means you will avoid
most blowing storms), Cindy helped us make slings out of strips of our robes sleeves,
118
and Claire helped brainstorm ways to find the others. As the sun set, and we finished
out last morsels of meat, we settled down, feeling very prepared for what was to come.
************
I woke up the next morning feeling safer than I ever had before while in The
Realm. I rolled over and got up, feeling very empowered. I felt slightly less empowered
when I saw two fish lying next to the river along with a stack of firewood. I looked back
at the clearing where we had been sleeping. There were only two other forms in the
grass.
Seth was gone.
I had known that it was a possibility; after all, we had agreed that, because Seth
knew the mountain so well, he would search for the others while Brom and I took care of
Clovis. Still, it felt a bit like being left behind. Sighing, I began to build the wood into a
reasonable campfire. But the time it was lit and the fish were spitted over it, Brom was
stretching and getting up.
After seeing that breakfast wasnt quite ready, he turned away to inspect Cloviss
condition. It was improving, but Clovis was weak. He could only manage to stay awake
for a couple of hours at a time, and there was no way he could walk. His skin was still
pale and wrinkled like he was some sort of enormous white prune.