The Speech

Disclaimer: I do not own The Worst Witch or any of the associated characters. This story is entirely no fun and no money is being made.

Chapter 1. Arrival

It was not an especially impressive badge really. Perhaps it had been once but now it was a little battered by long use. The coat of arms emblazoned on it was rather faded and the words "Head Girl" embossed in gold on the centre a bit tarnished. No, it was not particularly impressive, but to the girl who wore it, pinned neatly to the front of her gymslip, it meant the world.

That girl's name was Mildred Hubble, a pupil at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches and she touched the badge with absentminded affection as she floated down on her new broomstick into the school courtyard. In previous years she had often been called "The Worst Witch in the school" but that was something she hoped was now behind her as she started her fourth and final year at Cackle's and took up in earnest the duties of her new role as Head Girl

Becoming Head Girl at the end of the previous year had been the last thing Mildred ever expected, but also the best thing that had ever happened to her. Of course it was a position of considerable responsibility and not a little power, but it was not these things that excited Mildred. It was the hope of acceptance, of finding a niche where she was valued and respected. To a girl who had been dismissed by many as a hopeless nuisance at best and at worst a walking calamity it was a heady prospect.

Touching down gently in the courtyard Mildred looked round at the handful of girls already there. She spotted her four friends a little distance away and called out to them

"Jadu! Enid! Maud! Ruby!" They turned round and called back excitedly.

"Millie!" They rushed towards her. None of them had changed except for being a little taller. Of course Jadu was wearing the Deputy Head Girl badge and all four, like Mildred herself, were wearing the red belts that signified a Fourth year girl. Mildred felt a momentary sadness as she realised this was the last time they would all meet up like this at the start of a school year. At this time next year they would be on their way to different colleges, or else starting jobs or apprenticeships. It was even possible that the five of them would never be gathered together again.

Then she put aside these melancholy thoughts as her friends crowded round her and they exchanged hugs and greetings.

"Hey, you got yourself a new broomstick!" Ruby exclaimed.

"Yes!" Mildred held up the broom so her friends could examine it. "Nice isn't it?"

"So how does it fly?" Jadu asked her.

Mildred grinned happily. "Fantastic! A lot better than my old banana broom!"

Maud laughed. "You know I thought you'd never get rid of that."

"Well I could never persuade my parents to replace it before," Mildred explained. "But now I'm Head Girl I convinced them I just couldn't carry on with a broken broom held together with parcel tape!"

"Ah exploiting you're position already eh?" Enid teased her.

"No, not really." Mildred sounded a bit defensive. "That was just with Mum and Dad, I'd never flaunt being Head Girl here at school."

"Why not?" Ruby asked. "I would if it were me!"

"Yes, after all you're the Main Man around here now Millie, well Main Woman actually." Enid grinned impishly. "The Big Cheese, the Head Honcho!" She bowed to Mildred with exaggerated deference. "I prostrate myself before your greatness!"

"Oh come off it, Enid!" Mildred couldn't help laughing at her friend's antics. "I won't be that important."

"Well it is a big responsibility." Ruby said. "You even have to give a speech at tomorrow's assembly!"

Mildred nodded. The Head Girl's speech at the first assembly of the year was another of those Cackle's traditions. It would be her task to welcome the First Years and to "set the tone for the year" as Miss Cackle put it, to explain what she hoped to achieve as Head Girl. This was usually one of the most boring events in the entire school year but she and Jadu were determined that this year would be different.

"Aren't you feeling nervous, Millie?" Maud asked. "Having to give a speech in front of the whole school?"

"Not really." Mildred shrugged. "I know what I need to say. I'm pretty confident about it actually."

"Extreme!" Maud's face shone with enthusiasm. "Let's have a look at it then."

"Well I don't actually have anything written down." Mildred confessed.

"You haven't?" Maud looked at her despairingly. "Oh Mildred!"

Maud Moonshine was a very organised, methodical girl, and fond as she was of Mildred, her friend's haphazard ways sometimes exasperated her.

"It's okay Maud, really," Mildred told her. "Jadu helped me over the summer."

"Yes," Jadu said. "Millie and I have it all worked out already."

Maud shrugged, not looking especially reassured.

"You worry too much," Enid told her. "I'm sure it's gonna be great!"

"Yeah!" Ruby put in. "It'll be extreme!"

The new Head Girl exchanged a significant look with her Deputy. Jadu had stayed at Mildred's home for two weeks over the summer holidays, and among other things they had worked on the speech together. It would be extreme all right - quite literally!

"C'mon guys," Enid said. "All the Fourth Years are supposed to meet in our common room before the new girls get here."

"I think I'd better pit this away first," Mildred told them, holding up her new broomstick, "or HB will have my head!"

"Can't have that, can we?" Enid grinned as they moved towards the broom sheds. "A headless Head Girl at the start of term wouldn't please Miss Cackle!"

"I don't think it would be much fun for Millie either!" Maud observed.

Laughing and joking, the five friends made sure Mildred's precious new broom was safely put away then walked back across the courtyard toward the castle's main doors. A moment later they had disappeared inside.

Mildred's last year at Cackle's was underway!