Vimes had left in a hurry after Detritus had delivered his report. Harry had been a little upset that he had left so soon, Vimes had listened to his tales of his nightmare cousin Dudley and had promised to teach Harry a few tricks to help turn the tables. Still, it wasn't every day that he got to meet a genuine Ankh-Morpork troll. It was a warm day, Lady Sibyl had decided to take baby Sam out into the gardens with her while she saw to the little swamp dragons in the sheds. Ron had been a little less than keen to meet those, so the two wizards were talking to Detritus.
"So youse is from another world where you look like us but not us? That's stupid" said the Sergeant, his cooling helmet whirring into overtime. Harry decided not to press on.
"So what about you? I've never met a troll before" Not technically correct, but Harry was prepared to overlook that.
"Not much to tell, I came down from mountains like other trolls, does lots of jobs then joins the watch. My Ruby say it make man of me. And now I is sergeant and gets to shout a lot. It's a good job" Detritus rumbled
"But don't trolls eat people?" Ron blurted out
"Only stupid trolls do that. It give good trolls like me a bad name" If Detritus was offended by this it didn't show. Ron decided to keep his mouth shut
"So why did Commander Vimes leave so quickly?" Harry asked. Detritus stopped
"Ev'ry sentence we just said started with 'so'" He realised before rumbling on
"Commander Vimes is busy with Watch business. Very important"
Harry and Detritus chatted for a while; eventually Ron even managed to pluck up the courage to join in. All too soon it was time for Detritus to leave. The two young wizards saw him to the gate then found Lady Sybil in the dragon pens. She was dressed in what Harry could only describe as full body armour and was holding down a rather fat little dragon with one hand and trying to get it to take some pills with the other. The dragon responded in kind by snorting flames every time her hand got too close, drawing giggles from baby Sam who was safely behind a protective shield with a little window to look through.
"I'm a little busy at the moment boys" Sybil called to them as they came in.
"Err, we were thinking about heading over to the University, to see if Ponder had come up with anything yet" Ron managed to say before the fat dragon let out a huge burp that smelt of sulphur.
"Froggleton's Stomach Rot. Poor little thing, he's gone right off his coal. See how his flame is a really dull colour" Lady Sybil said by way of an explanation
"Err, yeah, right…" Ron wasn't convinced
"Anyway, it's not even midday yet, some of the faculty might not even be up" the dragon wriggled in Lady Sybil's arms. She took the opportunity to push the pills into its mouth.
"They were all up yesterday" Harry said, clearly confused
"Daylight savings time. It confuses the life out of the poor dears. I'll tell you what; we'll have Willikins send a message to let them know your coming. In the meantime, can one of you hand me that tub of liver salve, I've got a whole pen of Dry Scale to deal with"
Fouls smells were also the main talking point at Hagrid's hut. He'd found a pixie infestation in his turnip patch and was indoor brewing up the vilest smelling concoction Rincewind had ever encountered to get rid of them. He had Hermione had decided unanimously that the weather was far too nice to sit inside. They had spent the morning learning some basic spells. Rincewind had so far mastered levitating anything lighter than a teacup, a rather useful little spell for turning a matchstick into another matchstick, and, quite by accident, he had zapped a stray pixie and made it do everything backwards. Rincewind was proud of that one; he had been trying to shake a cramp out of his hand at the time. Now they were discussing lesson plans. Rincewind's plan had been to lock the classroom door and hide under the desk. Hermione had been less than impressed.
"The best way is to play to your strengths. What are you good at?" She asked. Rincewind actually laughed at this.
"Oh, you were serious! Well… err… I guess I've always been good at languages. I can scream for mercy in seventeen dialects"
"Why so many?" said Hermione with a funny look
"Different pronunciations, for one thing. The basic 'Aaaarrrhhhh' sound translated in a few of the more widely used dialects on the Disc can mean 'My face is melting', 'Your wife is a hippo' or, in extreme cases, 'Quickly, fetch more boiling oil'"
"Oh" was all that Hermione had to say about this.
A pixie started buzzing around Rincewind's head. He shook his wand at it, hoping to recreate the backwards spell. Green sparks completely missed the pixie and instead hit a small tree which spent the rest of the day believing itself to be Janis Joplin. Hermione expertly zapped the offending pixie, making it freeze solid and fall to the ground.
"Actually, now that I think about it, screaming is quite useful. There's a creature called the Zebric, it's a type of vampire that lives underground and has no eyes so it hunts by using its hyper developed ears"
"Hermione, I'd like to take this chance to say thank you, thank you very much. I now know what my next few nightmares are going to be about" Rincewind scolded, making Hermione laugh
"If you would let me finish, all you have to do is scream really loudly at them. Sounds that are too loud hurt them, and if you can scream loud enough they pass out"
"Zebrics, eh? Think I've got one or two of 'em out back. Wanna see 'em?" Hagrid called out as he came out of his door carrying a pot of greyish purple goo that smelt of every stinky thing Rincewind could imagine.
"I think I'll pass" he managed to say. Behind them, the small tree happily sang a very good version of 'Me and Bobby McGee' in tree language. It was a shame they couldn't hear it.
Various pipes lining the side of HEX seemed to be whistling a tune that the Bursar was merrily conducting with what appeared to be a well chewed pencil. The tune in question was in fact Strauss' 'Blue Danube Waltz', but neither Harry nor Ron were very keen on opera and weren't to know this. The Bursar, in his current frame of mind, would be hard pressed to tell the difference between a waltz and a badly hummed version of 'I'm a little teapot'. Strangely enough, this was the exact moment that the pipe leading to a large jug by HEX's main keyboard began filling it with the familiar brown liquid. Ponder wondered for a moment why Hex had started making so much delicious Earl Grey tea at this time every morning for the past few days. Maybe it just didn't like being left alone. Ponder took the jug and, spotting Harry and Ron, came over to where they were stood.
"Harry, Ron, good morning. Would you like some tea?"
"Tea some like you would. Morning good, Ron, Harry" the Bursar agreed.
"Is he due his dried frog pills?" Ron asked
"Pills frog dried his due he is"
"You catch on quick, what can I do for you?" Ponder asked as he poured the tea into some of the mismatched mugs that seem to breed anywhere that students were and completely ignoring the Bursar
"You for do I can what, quick on catch you"
"We were wondering if you were any closer to figuring out what the portal thing is" said Harry, gratefully taking the tea ponder had offered
"Is thing portal the what out figuring to closer any were you if wondering were we"
"Hang on, this won't take a minute" said Ponder, pulling a small pill bottle out of his pocket
"Minute a take won't this. On hang"
Once the Bursar had been calmed down Ponder was able to talk to Harry and Ron much better. He explained his nights work in long winded technical terms that Hermione would have loved. Harry amused himself during the particularly difficult bursts of technobabble by guessing just how pale Ron's face would go and being amazed at just how wrong he was.
"To sum it all up, I've never seen anything like it before" Ponder finished. "Err, is Ron alright?" Harry waved his hand in front of his friend's face. Ron blinked.
"He'll be fine. Big words scare him, that's all"
"I wonder what's going on at the Watch House. Commander Vimes left in a hurry this morning, and Detritus had to go too" Harry said aloud.
"I don't know. The Watch is always busy. This is Ankh-Morpork after all" Ponder replied.
"You know what's weird, Vimes is about the only person we've met here that doesn't remind me of someone form back home" said Ron
"Lady Sybil does seem to be a little bit like your mum, Ron, but I figured that was just because she's a mum herself. Who does Detritus remind you of?"
"A more intelligent version of Goyle"
"Comparing him to a troll, eh? Who should I feel sorry for? Detritus or your friend?" Ponder asked
"Definitely Detritus" Harry laughed. That was the moment when the entire building shook.
Outside, a dwarf by the name of Glod Glodsson-Stronginthearm was picking himself up from underneath what was left of the very heavy cart he had been driving. Maybe it was because the weight of the cart was no longer pressing upon him that he now felt considerably lighter than he remembered. He paused to inspect the damage to the cartwheels before noticing a large hole in the wall that he had just crashed into
DREADFUL, ISN'T IT? Said a voice as old as time itself.
"You're telling me. That's going to take some serious repair work. What building is this, do you know?" Glod inquired
I BELIEVE THIS IS THE UNSEEN UNIVERSITY
"Oh dear. The Wizards aren't going to be happy"
NO, THEY AREN'T
As Glod and his new friend watched, several figures wearing black clambered through the hole into the University grounds.
"Rotten thieves. Unlicensed too, I'd wager. I bet they did something to my cart to make it crash" said Glod to the tall figure beside him
THESE THINGS HAPPEN, BUT IT'S NOT REALLY WORTH WORRYING ABOUT NOW said Death.
The afternoon rolled on. Hermione had come up with several really good lesson plans. Rincewind was all for the idea of her taking the classes herself but Hermione had been adamant that she was still a student and didn't have the authority. Hagrid had decided that they had done enough work for one day and had offered to take them to the Three Broomsticks for a drink, to which Hermione had replied that she still had homework to do. This was why a giant, a coward, an ape and a wooden box were sat in a booth waiting for their drinks. Rincewind, despite a yellow streak big enough to land airplanes, was the veteran of some of Ankh-Morpork's finest establishments. Compared with the likes of the Mended Drum, where fights broke out so often that you could set your watch by them and drunks were thrown onto the river for fun the Three Broomsticks was a haven. The barmaid even brought the drinks to the table!
"Three pints of mead? Like I have to ask" she held up the tray
"That's mine Rosmerta" smiled Hagrid
"And the Twisted Banana Hammock with extra banana?"
"That would make the beer yours then" said Rosmerta as she put the drinks on the table
"Err, yes, thanks"
Rincewind looked at the glass in amazement for a while.
"You can see though it! And there's nothing floating either!"
Across the bar the man with the dark mark who had met with Rincewind's double earlier watched in silent shock as Rincewind and Hagrid drank their drinks while the Librarian went in search of peanuts. He had spent the whole day looking for the Potter boy with no luck, and now it looked like the Death Eaters had come up with another plan without him. He waited until they left and followed behind, not noticing the gentle patter of wooden feet behind him. On the outskirts of the village the Orangutan that was with them ooked something that made them both laugh. He ducked behind a tree to avoid being seen and came face to keyhole with The Luggage, and The Luggage was not happy about its master being followed.