HARRY POTTER AND ICE CREAM DELIGHTS
Disclaimer: The characters and their world are the property of J.K. Rowling, various publishers and Warner Bros. No money is being made and no copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Note: This is a stand alone story, but it does share some common ideas and locations with Harry Potter and the Sword of Astragal.
Introduction: Harry Potter knew better than anyone that a person's life could be changed forever in a single day, but until he spent a summer day with Luna Lovegood he didn't realize that his life could be made forever better. This story is an alternative summer following Harry's fifth year. Spoilers for HBP and DH. Story intended for romantics, be warned.
CHAPTER 1: A BULL NAMED FERDINAND
As Albus Dumbledore pulled his head out of the fireplace he felt every day of his one hundred and fifty years. Dealing with the odd dark lord every now and again was bad enough, but dealing with an outraged parent was infinitely worse. And the floo call that he had just received was one of the worst that he could remember. The old man sighed deeply and sat down heavily behind his desk, reaching for the first of the several lemon drops that he would consume that evening. For some strange reason sugar had a calming effect on the old man, and he certainly needed it at that moment.
Most people regarded Xenophilius Lovegood as an odd and eccentric man, fascinated by strange animals and absurd conspiracies; but few would regard him as exactly threatening. Possibly it was his fondness for wearing bright yellow Japanese Kimonos, or his love of muggle zither music, but people viewed him as a harmless and eccentric father-figure. However Albus Dumbledore could attest to the fact that Xenophilius Lovegood could be extremely intimidating when he needed to be, as evidenced by his just concluded floo call. Dumbledore knew that Xenophilius loved his young daughter very much, and that the child's words were gospel to the doting father; what the Headmaster hadn't known was that Harry Potter and Luna Lovegood had apparently become very close friends.
Xenophilius had just informed him that Harry Potter and his daughter had been exchanging regular owl communications since the beginning of summer, and that the young wizard had apparently disclosed much more to Miss Lovegood than he had to his other friends. Many of the things that Harry had apparently told the young girl, and that she had passed on to her Father, were less than flattering to the old Headmaster. Upon reflection, Albus Dumbledore wondered if he had handled the situation as badly as Xenophilius had declared. Perhaps he should have been more honest with the boy from an earlier age, perhaps he could have trusted him with more information; but regardless he still believed that he had done what was best to protect the young wizard.
But apparently his best wasn't good enough, as Xenophilius had informed him in no uncertain terms. The outraged parent had demanded that Harry spend the rest of the summer at his home near Ottery St. Catchpole in Devonshire. Lovegood further declared that unless Harry was immediately removed from the abusive environment of Privet Drive, he would blast the story wide open in his newspaper, The Quibbler. Albus Dumbledore had no fear of Lord Voldemort, but there was something in Mr. Lovegood's tone that made the most powerful wizard in the world rather apprehensive. Maybe it was his fear that Lovegood might be right, and that he had terribly failed the boy who had been placed in his trust. For whatever reason, Albus Dumbledore had meekly agreed to the move and had provided Xenophilius with the coordinates for Harry's bedroom at Privet Drive.
Albus Dumbledore had humbly offered to help by strengthening the wards around the Lovegood home, but even that sincere offer was curtly refused. Xenophilius Lovegood declared that the wards on his house were quite sufficient to protect Harry Potter or anyone else beneath his roof, and that Dumbledore's help would not be needed. His daughter would pick up the boy immediately, and that was where the conversation was abruptly ended.
As Dumbledore considered how dreadful his evening had gone, he reached for two more lemon drops; glancing at the few remaining in the bowl on his desk. He made a mental note to reorder more in the morning; realizing that with everything that was going on he certainly didn't want to run short of that vital commodity. And then his thoughts turned to the upcoming term, and his level of apprehension grew even greater. The thought of Harry Potter and Luna Lovegood together absolutely terrified the old man. While most regarded Luna Lovegood as a dreamy and eccentric oddball, Albus Dumbledore knew better. He realized that beneath the dreamy exterior the girl possessed a very acute mind and a unique wisdom; that combined with the unflagging loyalty that she had inherited from her Mother. With Harry and Miss Lovegood together the boy would be impossible to control; and control at this critical moment was what Dumbledore needed most. It would no longer be a case of the master directing the pupil, but rather of a powerful witch and wizard uniting to make their own decisions. Dumbledore shuddered at the thought of what the two of them might get themselves into, and with a deep sigh he resolved to double his order for lemon drops; feeling certain that he was going to need them.
- o -
Harry Potter was more than shocked when a fifteen-year-old girl portkeyed to his bedroom in the middle of the night; but given Luna Lovegood's habit of doing the unexpected it really shouldn't have surprised him that much. Since the beginning of summer Harry had written to Luna on an almost daily basis, knowing that she would always be supportive and never judgmental; something that he couldn't always say about his other friends. In fact, he had kept his owl Hedwig so busy that the faithful bird was on the verge of a revolt; and Luna's owl was in very much the same mood.
Luna knew better than anyone the deep depression into which Harry Potter had fallen after the death of his Godfather, as well as the constant abuse to which he was being subjected at home. She had convinced her Father that action needed to be taken immediately, and had suggested that Harry spend the rest of the summer at their home near Ottery St. Catchpole. Their conversation was immediately followed up by an extremely irate floo call from Xenophilius Lovegood to Albus Dumbledore; and immediately afterwards Luna popped into Harry's bedroom. The fact that it was well past midnight, and that Harry was dressed only in his pajama bottoms, didn't seem to concern the young girl in the least. Harry, on the other hand, was seriously questioning his sanity and wondering if the whole thing might not be some kind of strange adolescent dream.
After accepting the fact that his unexpected visitor was real, and not simply the product of overactive teenage hormones, Harry progressed on to his next fear. If his Aunt and Uncle ever discovered a girl in his bedroom they would most certainly murder him, probably in ways that involved a considerable amount of pain and moralistic lecturing. While his cousin Dudley would most certainly find it entertaining, Harry doubted very much that he would. But in spite of the realistic possibility that his Uncle might grind his bones into a fine powder to sprinkle over his Aunt's roses, Harry was extremely happy to see his friend. In the past few weeks the young boy had come to value his eccentric friend more and more; she seemed to be the one person capable of helping him deal with the stresses of his life. Luna seemed to understand him better than anyone else, and he found her company very comforting.
After talking for some time the boy finally relaxed and fell asleep on her shoulder, and she carefully tucked him into bed. Luna herself curled up in a blanket on the floor to wait for morning and the anticipated confrontation with his relatives; something that she was saving up for. She could accept the abuse that other people might heap upon her with a dreamy detachment, but she would not allow anyone to hurt one of her friends. She could count the number of true friends that she had on a single hand, well two fingers actually; and Harry certainly counted as one of them. She didn't like Harry in a romantic way, she was rather sure of that, but he was someone that she trusted and cared about a great deal; and she wasn't about to let his horrible family hurt him. Ginny had hinted that Luna's feelings might be otherwise; but Luna rationalized that Ginny was just at that certain age when she saw everything from a romantic point of view. 'No, definitely not romantic,' Luna thought to herself as sleep started to overtake her, and she turned her thoughts back to the nasty hexes that she would use on Harry's family if it became necessary.
After a surprisingly easy departure, in which no hexes were found necessary, Harry and Luna portkeyed from Privet Drive into a large, grassy meadow surrounded by an ancient forest of Oak trees. Although Harry knew that the Weasleys lived somewhere nearby, the landscape surrounding the Lovegood home was quite different from the pastures and apple orchards which bordered on the Weasley property.
The house was located in the center of a meadow of native grasses and wild flowers, and appeared to be every bit as eccentric as its owners. The structure seemed to be of great age and had the appearance of being added onto at several times during its history, with each addition using different materials. The oldest part of the structure was built of heavy stone blocks carefully cut and tightly fitted together, much in the style of a medieval Norman castle. The second story, which appeared to be a more recent addition, was constructed of hand-made brick and heavy oak beams; having a rather Tudor appearance. The heavy thatched roof that crowned the structure was typical of that employed during the Elizabethan period of English history. More than anything else the old house had the appearance of a very large mushroom that was tilted slightly to one side, and Harry was quite certain that magic had no small role in keeping the old building standing.
If this wildly eclectic mixture of materials and styles wasn't enough to win the house the designation of an architectural oddity; it possessed one other unique feature guaranteed to take that title. The building contained windows literally everywhere, of every conceivable shape and size, running from low to the ground all the way up into the thatched roof. It seemed to Harry that the builders must have wanted as much contact with the outside world as possible, and to that end they employed as much glass as was possible.
But in spite of its eccentricities Harry immediately liked the warm and friendly old house; it possessed none of the stale conformity of the Privet Drive homes that he was used to. He very much doubted that there was another house like it in the entire world, and it was clear that the people who lived in it didn't care what others might think. It was a very refreshing change from the home of his relatives, where everything was designed to impress others.
In the days following his arrival, Harry became even more comfortable with the old house and the warm and friendly feeling that it conveyed. At dawn the sun flooded into the east-facing windows bringing with it the positive energy of a fresh, new day. And at sunset the house was bathed with a golden light that made the ancient oak paneling a glowing honey-color, and brought the day to a warm and peaceful conclusion.
However, as much as he enjoyed the house Luna saw to it that the young teen spent the majority of each day out of doors with her, lying in the soft velvet grass of the meadow or walking the tree-shaded paths through the dark woods. As his level of trust in his friend grew, Harry found himself sharing confidences that he never thought he would disclose to another living soul; there was something about the Lovegood forest that encouraged such confidences. He was surprised at how easy it was to talk to Luna about things that until that moment he had considered very private and personal, and she responded with sympathy, understanding and support.
- o -
On Harry's third day staying at The Meadows, for that is what Luna called her home, the young girl suggested that the two of them might take a walk into Ottery St. Catchpole. Ron and Ginny had often spoken of the small rural village, and Harry thought it might be fun to finally see it. It was a warm day with a light wind, and he thought it would be perfect for a leisurely walk.
The two started out just after breakfast, Luna wearing an old-fashioned muslin summer dress and Harry wearing his school slacks and the only decent dress shirt that he had. They followed the narrow trail that led through the meadow and into the line of green trees that marked the edge of the forest. The wind was warm and felt gentle on their faces, and the wild grasses swirled and billowed around them like the currents of a peaceful sea. The two friends walked together in a comfortable silence, neither feeling that the need to make conversation. Others might find the quiet uncomfortable, but it only seemed to make Harry and Luna more at peace with each other.
Passing into the forest the trail was illuminated by dappled golden sunlight filtering down through the leafy canopy overhead, contrasting markedly from the brightness of the meadow they had just left. The forest here was different from the one at Hogwarts, and was filled with a luxuriant growth of ferns, mosses and wild flowers. The forest floor at Hogwarts had always struck Harry as sterile, barren and rather sinister. But the perfusion of life in Luna's forest was almost unbelievable, with a new wonder awaiting discovery at every turn of the trail.
As they walked along the young teen reflected upon how pleasant the last few days had been, and he realized that the girl walking by his side was the major reason for that. While some people might find Luna's unconventional personality disturbing, Harry found that she created for him feelings of peace and serenity. She accepted him just as he was, not the hero of the wizarding world or the 'chosen one,' but simply as her friend. And for that acceptance he was very grateful.
As the trail ran deeper into the woods it began to slope downhill into a shallow river valley, and turned in the direction of the sea. Much of Devonshire is made up of low rolling hills used as pastureland and orchards; but the forest in this one corner of the county was wild and dense, as the entire country must have been before man arrived and cut down the trees to make room for his sheep and cattle.
After an hour of walking the two teens emerged from the forest and, after climbing over the remains of a tumbled down stone wall, stepped onto a narrow gravel lane. The countryside here looked more familiar to Harry, with green pastures and apple orchards, and in the distance he got his first glimpse of the small village of Ottery St. Catchpole.
As they walked Harry chanced an occasional glance over at his friend, and wondered how he should phrase the question that he very much wanted to ask. After all of the help and support that Luna had given him over the past months, Harry now considered her to be one of his very closest friends, along with Ron and Hermione. While in the past he had been content to accept Luna and her strange beliefs without really understanding them; he now really wanted to know what made her the unique person that she was.
"Um…can I ask you something, Luna?" he asked very tentatively.
"Of course you can, Harry." She replied with a dreamy smile.
"Uh…you're able to accept a lot of things that others can't. How…um, how can you..." Harry's question trailed off into silence, as the last thing that he wanted to do was somehow challenge her beliefs.
Luna stopped walking and turned to look at him carefully, even though he was still looking uncomfortably at his feet. She could see that he was sincere in his desire to understand, so she decided to help him along. "You want to know how I can believe in so many things that others don't; is that it?"
"Um…ya," he responded self-consciously, glancing up into her bright silver-grey eyes.
"Some of it I simply take on faith, until I can prove to myself one way or the other. But mostly I believe in things because I've found them to be true," she said simply. Seeing the confusion on his face she attempted to explain. "People see only what they expect to see, and believe what others tell them is true. Think about how you grew up, Harry. Muggles don't see magic, so they don't believe that it exists; but we know that it does. Before you came to Hogwarts did you believe that people could ride brooms?"
"No…no, I didn't," Harry responded with a dawning comprehension.
"Most people believe only what they can see, or like Hermione what they read in books; but I try to discover the things that aren't in the books," she explained patiently.
As the two started to slowly walk again Luna saw a familiar overgrown field up ahead that gave her the perfect opportunity to make her point. The stone wall surrounding it had suffered from many years of neglect, and the stones were falling down in many places. "Let me show you something, Harry," she said as she took his hand and led him through one of the gaps and into the waist high weeds. She led him up a narrow dirt path towards a pile of rocks near the back of the field, smiling at him mysteriously.
"What do you see, Harry?" Luna asked, waving her arm in a sweeping motion to encompass the entire area.
Harry's first instinct was to answer that he merely saw the evidence of a poor farmer, but he realized that she must have a purpose in asking the question, and studied the landscape in more detail. "I see what appears to be an abandoned field," he answered carefully.
"And up there," Luna asked, pointing to the mound of stones at the back of the field.
"It appears to be a pile of rocks," Harry declared, feeling more than a little bit silly about the whole thing.
"That's right, Harry. That's what it 'appears' to be. That's what most people would see. But come have a closer look." And she led him up the narrow trail to the pile of stones. "Now look again Harry, more closely." And as he looked at the rocks she sat down on a small grey boulder next to the pile.
This time Harry studied the pile of stones more carefully; trying to discover what it was that Luna wanted him to see. They were the same kind of grey river rocks that could be found in most of the southern counties of England, and had for centuries been a standard building material for farm cottages and rock walls. The stones on top of the pile were a loose jumble of different shapes and sizes, but those on the bottom seemed more organized, almost as if it were planned. And then it hit him like a rogue Blodger: it was planned and had clearly once been the foundations of some type of structure.
"What was this place?" the boy asked in surprise.
Luna smiled at him proudly; she knew that he would figure it out. "A thousand years ago this was one of the strongest Saxon keeps in this part of the country. The Normans destroyed it during their invasion so that it couldn't be used against them. It's laid here in neglect for all of these centuries with passersby thinking it nothing more than a pile of rocks. Things are not always what they appear to be," she said knowingly.
Before Harry could say a word Luna reached into her pocket and pulled out a small canvas carry bag, of the kind that was common for young women to carry in that part of the country. At first Harry's attention was drawn to the remains of the ancient structure which he had just discovered, but as Luna continued to unfold her bag into a larger and larger size his attention was drawn back to her. As the bag reached a size that could only be described as enormous, Harry was reminded of the magical chest that the fake Moody had used in his fourth year; and he knew that Luna's bag must be charmed as well. Finally she reached the proper compartment and withdrew a small magnifying glass, which she then handed to Harry.
"Now look at this," she said pointing to the ground at their feet. Harry looked down and saw a trail of ants running from the field, between their feet, into a small gap between the lowest course of grey stones. His first instinct was to discount them as unimportant, but then he hesitated. Using the magnifying glass he looked closer at the moving stream of life, and what he saw utterly shocked him. Under the power of the glass what he thought to be ants now showed themselves up as a stream of tiny blue, fairy-like creatures. And they weren't crawling on the ground at all, but were actually flying slightly above it on tiny translucent wings.
"What are they?" Harry asked in awe.
"They're called Pixie Sprites, and most books say that they don't exist." Luna declared with mirth evident in her voice.
Harry was still looking through the glass, and the tiny sprites seemed fully as interested in him as he was in them. A bulge had appeared in their line of flight, as several of the tiny creatures stopped moving and began to hover directly below the magnifying glass; seemingly determined to study the large green eye that was staring down at them. Finally satisfied that the enormous creature had no malicious intent, the sprites resumed their organized movement.
Harry looked up at Luna in absolute astonishment, and knew that she was right. Hermione and the rest of the school would quickly dismiss these creatures as just another one of Luna's fantasies, but here they were. And if these tiny sprites existed, then why not Crumple Horned Snorkacks and all of the other creatures that Luna believed in?
"The world is full of wonderful things, Harry; but most people never see them. You have to look closely to see the truth, and sometimes you just have to believe without seeing," Luna said carefully.
It was at that moment that Harry realized that if Hermione was the smartest witch at Hogwarts, then Luna must certainly be the wisest.
"How long have they been here?" He asked in a whisper.
We can't know, but this colony has probably existed for hundreds of years. My Great Grandmother found them when she was a little girl, and she persuaded her Father to buy the land in order to protect them. Her Father gave the land to her and she passed it down to her daughter, who passed it down to hers, and now its mine. And if I ever have any children I'll pass it on to them." Luna said, a very slight note of sadness creeping into her voice that Harry noticed.
"What do you mean 'if;' aren't you planning on having a family of your own someday?" Harry asked with concern.
"I know that everyone thinks I'm crazy, and I realize that I'm not very pretty," she said with a note of sad resignation.
Harry felt the anger welling up in him; he had come to realize that Luna was someone very special, and for her to have doubts about herself was just wrong. "I don't think you're crazy, and I never did; and I think you're very pretty," Harry declared in a boldness born of anger, and then he blushed slightly at his own words.
They walked back towards the lane in silence, both trying to think of something to say to end the awkwardness they were both feeling.
"You know these sprites are really quite unique," Luna began awkwardly.
"Oh, how so?" Harry asked, grateful that Luna had found a way to change the subject.
Well, all living things need certain minerals in order to live; Pixie Sprites are the only creatures known to science that can take their energy from gold, and they must live in close proximity to it."
"You mean there is gold buried here?" Harry asked in surprise.
"Oh yes, the sprites wouldn't be here if there wasn't. At the time of the Norman invasion many Saxon families buried their treasure to prevent its seizure, and some was never recovered afterwards. The sprites build their colonies around lost treasure hordes, but if the treasure is found and removed the sprites will die; that's why there are so few of them left," she said sadly.
As they walked back to the gravel lane Harry realized that Luna trusted him with the lives of the tiny creatures, and he resolved never to tell anyone about the sprites or their treasure.
"I hope no one ever discovers them," Harry said with concern as he looked back at the innocuous pile of stones. He had heard how muggle treasure hunters often destroyed unguarded sites in their search for gold. "Aren't you worried that someone might just walk in and start treasure hunting."
"No, the wards won't let them," Luna responded casually.
"There are wards on that field?" Harry asked in surprise.
"Oh yes, actually my Grandfather put them on. Anyone uninvited who tries to enter the field feels an irresistible need to go straight home and have apple pie and ice cream."
"Apple pie and ice cream?" Harry asked in amusement.
"Yes, my Grandfather loved it, so he thought it might be a nice thing to put in the ward."
Harry thought for a moment and felt quite certain that he would have liked Luna's Grandfather. "So, do you like pie and ice cream?" He asked coyly.
"You'll find that out tonight; that's what we're having for dessert." Luna responded with a grin.
They continued on in silence, but now it was once again the warm and comfortable silence that they had felt earlier, and after a few minutes Harry felt Luna slip her small, warm hand into his. He liked the feeling, and he gave her hand a gentle squeeze to tell her so. Then he smiled and thought to himself: 'This summer is going to be so much fun.'
After a few minutes Luna began to limp slightly, and she seated herself on the ancient wall that bordered the lane. The side of the wall facing the lane was only about a meter high, while the side facing into a wide sunken pasture dropped off a bit more
"I need to stop for a minute, I have a pebble in my shoe," she said casually as she removed her shoe. Harry sat on the wall beside her as she tapped the heel of her shoe on the grey stone, worn smooth by years of wind and rain. Glancing into the field he saw a very shaggy bull peacefully grazing on the rich grass a hundred or so paces away. It was all rather idyllic, and Harry loved his blissful escape to the country.
He looked over at his friend as she retied her shoe and realized that Luna was really quite pretty, in her own rustic way. Her long sandy blond hair gently caressed her back and shoulders as it reached nearly to her waist and her large silver-grey eyes, which looked particularly bright in the early morning sunlight. In some ways Luna reminded him of a gentle ghost from some past age that simply couldn't fit in with the modern world. She was simple, sincere and natural in a way that was different from other girls; and Harry found himself thinking about how very appealing she was. Pulling himself out of his reverie he shook his head as if that would suppress the strange feelings that he was experiencing. This was Luna, she was his friend and he liked her a lot, but not in that way. As he glanced back into the field he was surprised to see the bull was much closer, moving towards them with a determined look in his eyes.
"Uh, Luna…I think we better…." But before Harry could complete his thought the bull had broken into a charge, directly at them.
"Luna!" Harry screamed, as he stumbled back off the wall and into the ditch beside the road, arriving at just the same moment that a rickety old lorry was making its way slowly up the hill. The driver laid on his horn and Harry, caught off guard between the two possible threats, fell down on his bum in the grassy ditch. With his eyes tightly closed, Harry sat in the ditch trying to regain his composure and figure out what had just happened.
As his wits returned to him, the boy was conscious of wild, uncontrolled laughter coming from the other side of the stone wall. He opened his eyes cautiously and noticed that the lorry, the bull and Luna were nowhere in sight; but he still heard the hysterical laughter. Getting unsteadily to his feet Harry stumbled over to the wall, praying that the bull had not hurt Luna. The sight that greeted him on the other side left the boy totally speechless. Luna was lying on her back in the tall grass laughing uncontrollably, the bull lying placidly in the grass next to her. She looked up at Harry, her eyes full of mirth, and she began to laugh even harder.
In spite of his heart stopping experience Harry felt a smile creeping onto his face, and he began to laugh as well. Once Luna's laughter had subsided, Harry's smile turned into a smirk.
"A friend of yours?" He asked, eyeing the bull with suspicion.
She laughed softly, in a tone that sounded quite musical to Harry. "An old friend, actually," Luna said, gently patting the bull's shaggy back. "Harry this is Ferdinand, and Ferdinand this is my friend Harry." The bull raised his head and gave Harry a friendly snort, and then returned to eating his breakfast of grass.
It suddenly occurred to Harry that Luna had probably set him up in the surprise meeting with the intimidating, yet friendly bull. "Do you have other animal friends that I should be worried about?" He asked with a smirk.
"I have many animal friends, but none that you need to worry about," she answered with a smile; but there was the slightest trace of sadness behind her words. He realized that what she wasn't saying was that although she might have many animal friends, Luna had very few human friends. Harry just couldn't understand why so many people took pleasure in tormenting the quiet, good natured girl; but he had already resolved that the coming year was going to be different for his friend. He was determined to do whatever was necessary to ensure that the year would be a good one for Luna, and if a few Ravenclaws had to suffer in the process it was something that they had brought upon themselves.
Putting a forced smile on his face, Harry clambered over the low rock wall and down into the pasture, sitting down cautiously next to the large animal. "Well then I guess that I should get to know him," he said bravely, as he laid a cautious hand on the animal's broad, shaggy back.
A bright grin immediately illuminated Luna's face, as she moved to the animal's other side and began scratching his forehead. "Bulls are really rather misunderstood creatures you know," Luna said sincerely. "They are not really aggressive unless people try to make them that way. Ferdinand and I have been friends since I was seven."
Harry certainly couldn't argue with her statement, as the large animal dozed off into a peaceful sleep in the tall grass between them. He knew all too well what it was like to be misunderstood, and looking over at his friend Harry knew that she too knew the loneliness of that condition.
Trying to lighten the slightly sad mood he was feeling, he plastered a smile on his face. "Well I think that we should start a club for people…" and then glancing down at the large animal he added "and animals that are misunderstood. The three of us can be the founding members."
Luna giggled slightly. "You can count me in," she said with a musical laugh.
The two remained in the pasture for another half hour, enjoying the warm sun and the friendly company. And when it was finally time to leave, Harry gave Ferdinand a friendly pat on the head and followed Luna as she climbed back over the rock wall.
As they continued their walk into town Harry felt a new respect for his friend. He had learned two very important things about Luna. She was far wiser than people gave her credit for and she had a truly devilish sense of humor. As he glanced over he realized that there was so much more to this young girl than met the eye, and he rather eagerly looked forward to what the next revelation might be. He wouldn't have to wait long in finding out.
Chapter two to follow soon.