Journey to Pandora - Chapter 3: Back at Hogwarts
The three friends landed back in the same field where they came. All of them were anxious as to how they would be received back at Hogwarts after deliberately using a spell forbidden by underage wizards. They dropped off the masks at Hagrid's home and decided to be as inconspicuous as possible when returning to school.
"Hey, if they didn't know we apparitiated to Pandora, we don't have to say anything," said Ron.
"Shhh!" whispered Harry under his breath. "Then how are we going to explain this plant we got?"
"We'll just say we were practicing our potions and it grew from the potions themselves."
"But then they'll want to know how to grow plants from potions, Ron," said Hermione.
"We can just say that we forgot which potions worked."
"They'll never believe that, Ron," said Harry. "We're already in a heap of trouble for doing what we did so we might as well come clean and say we did it for a friend who was suffering. Then we need to find out why they hid this valuable herbology book in the archives. It has so much valuable information on Pandoran vegetation. Someone HAD to have gone to Pandora to take note and come back to write this book!"
As expected, once they stepped foot inside Hogwarts, Severus Snape was there to "greet" them. He did not look pleased.
"You three have a date with the Ministry of Magic," he said in a lucid monotone. "In the meantime, Gryffindor loses half its points."
Before anyone could say anything, Snape then motioned them to follow him. He transferred them to the "courtroom" that was the Ministry of Magic. While Ron and Hermione were wringing their hands nervously, Harry scanned the audience for any sign of Professor Dumbledore. Unfortunately, the elderly head of Hogwarts was nowhere to be found.
Immediately, the three friends were ushered into seats before the Ministry of Magic. Cornelius Fudge and the rest of the staff set their sights on them.
"Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley," said Fudge. "I'm surprised at you. You all know better than to apparitiate underage. However, I will allow for an explanation for your misgivings. If you are successful at defending yourselves, then I will let you go and award the points back for Gryffindor. If not, the point value stays the same and all three of you will be expelled from Hogwarts School of Wizardry."
"We can do this," Harry whispered to his friends. Just as he raised his head, he saw two people enter the Ministry of Magic. One was Professor Dumbledore and the other was Ginny Weasley, who was already starting to sport grotesque callouses on her arms. This ellicited stares and whispers from the crowd.
Before Harry could open his mouth and speak, Dumbledore addressed the Ministry of Magic.
"I apologize for being late but I must have my say," he said. "While I do disapprove of young wizards apparitiating in unknown places, I do believe that these young wizards had a purpose."
"This had better be good, Dumbledore," Fudge said. "However, I would prefer that one of the children speak up in their own defense."
Harry stood up, shaking. His stomach wound up in knots. He cleared his throat and began. "We don't deny that we apparitiated while underage," he said. "Dumbledore is correct that we had a purpose in doing so. You see Ginny Weasley over there is stricken with a disease that would cover her in warts and callouses. The only known antidote exists in a plant that is not native to England or even the world for that matter."
"So where does it exist?" asked Fudge sternly.
"It exists on a moon called Pandora, inhabited by a race of people who live in nature. The plant in question is a carnivorous plant called helicoradian. The plant is needed to provide a formula to be replicated to create an antidote to this disease known as "heliotrophy." I have Ginny's medical record as proof of her illness, which I feel that you don't need, judging by how she looks already."
"Well, I see that Miss Weasley is already struck with this illness. But how did you find out about the plant and its wearabouts?"
Harry continued, feeling confident each time he spoke. "I found a book titled Herbology of Different Worlds in the archives of the Hogwarts Library. The classification and identification of Pandoran plant life is incredibly detailed and it was extremely helpful."
"Let me see the book," said Fudge.
Harry handed the book to him and he leafed through it, reading the comprehensive detail about Pandora. He then closed the book and put it down. "I have made my decision," he said. "And may this be the ONLY time the three of you ever apparitiate again until you all turn 17. You have a reprieve; you may return to your studies and Gryffindor will receive back the points that was previously deducted. Next time something happens like this, you must tell a professor and let them deal with it. What you did was brave but otherwise dangerous. If you try something like this again, expect to be expelled immediately, no matter how noble your cause is."
All three nodded in agreement. Ron breathed a sigh of relief. Harry still wasn't finished. He had to know who managed to escape Pandora alive to write Herbology of Different Worlds.
"Excuse me, I do have a question," Harry said.
"Go ahead," said Fudge.
"I was told by the medical staff that no one has successfully apparitiated to Pandora and come back alive until today," he said. "What I want to know is how was this book written, with a detailed chapter on Pandoran vegetation, without anyone going to Pandora and coming back?"
"Well Mr. Potter," said Fudge. "That's a common myth. Most people don't believe that anyone went to Pandora and came back alive. The herbologist that authored the book was Archimedes Falcon. He actually made several trips to Pandora. He almost died from breathing the air in the atmosphere and that's what probably got the myth started."
"And," said Dumbledore, chiming in. "Mr. Falcon was involved in finding ways to treat and cure heliotrophy during an outbreak at Hogwarts. He and the medical team were so successful at ridding Hogwarts of the heliotrophy outbreak that they decided that once it was gone, it was gone and threw away the formula to the antidote. The plants they had harboring it had died. Now we can hopefully preserve the treatment because, quite frankly, going to Pandora and back is a pain in the backside. After his death, Herbology of Different Worlds was placed in circulation at the Hogwarts Library but no one checked it out and it was forgotten for several years."
"So that explains why it ended up in the archives room in the library," said Harry.
"Exactly," replied Dumbledore. "And thanks to you, this book will be available for future generations of herbology students and enthusiasts."
Once the medical staff received the helicoradian plant, they went to work immediately to develop the antidote. Once Ginny was treated, her callouses and warts disappeared within a week. After Ginny's recovery, they were all featured on the front page of The Daily Prophet. The four celebrated with a round of butterbeer.
"Thank you so very much for what you've done," Ginny said. "Your help and dedication are greatly appreciated."
"No problem, Sis," said Ron. "Mum and Dad wrote that while they didn't like the idea of risking our lives, they were happy that everything turned out well in the end."
"That's pretty much what Cornelius Fudge said," Harry chimed in.
"My parents were happy I helped but they were disappointed that I didn't find the book first," said Hermione. She rolled her eyes. "You can't please everyone."
As they continued talking and enjoying butterbeer, they were welcomed by fellow students, receiving high fives, fist bumps, and claps on the back for their job well done. After further reading The Daily Prophet, the friends found out that a new edition of Herbology of Different Worlds would be published with new information about Pandora and the older one would be put on display in the Hogwarts Library.
The four young wizards finished drinking the last of their libations and returned back to school for classes. While Ron and Hermione walked off, Ginny grabbed Harry by the wrist and looked at him.
"Thank you Harry," she said as she kissed his lips.
"You're quite welcome," said a grinning and blushing Harry. The two held hands and went back to their studies.