Hi everyone! I know it's been a while, but I'm back with more, so one without story!
Okay, so I was going thru my journals, and I realized I labeled eight as seven, and seven as eight. Ummm…oops? Anyway, my arm had healed enough by the next day that we were able to begin our training in preparation for the Quillan Games. For the next few days we split our time between running through magical mazes (that changed direction just when it seemed you'd gotten out), Quidditch, and dropping in on various classes to deter suspicion from ourselves.
So it was right before potions class, which was a mix of Gryffindor and Slytherin; I wasn't exactly sure where to sit, but I saw Aja and Siry…only to realize there wasn't a spot for me. Fortunately, Ron was more than happy to save a seat for me. I've had a lot of creepy teachers in school, but the guy who walked into class realllly topped the list; he had shoulder-length black hair, piecing black eyes, a sinister beard, and a hooked nose (you really had to have been there to get it, especially the evil look in his eyes.
"That's Professor Snape," whispered Ron.
"Good morning class, or as good as we can manage at any rate," said Snape. "Please turn to page 362, and follow it as instructed."
"So, is this gonna, like, kill us if we don't mix it right?" I asked to Ron.
"Oh, goodness no. We don't start those sorts of potions till next week."
I know some people might consider allowing teenagers to play games involving actual swords and spears and stuff, but personally, I think making them mix potentially deadly potions as part of class rates just a bit more on the irresponsibility scale; granted, they both don't have anything on whatever's involved in the Traveler selection process.
"Ms. Beauregard, perhaps you can tell us why Mandrakes root is essential to this particular potion," said Snape, the sour expression on his face completely unwavering.
"Huh?" I responded, as I tried desperately to make sense of my potions book.
"I understand that might be an acceptable answer in America, but know that at Hogwarts, and my class especially, ignorance is no excuse. Five points from Gryffindor."
So apparently as part of the competition between the house you can earn points for your house by doing things like doing well in class or winning a Quidditch match, but you can lose points by breaking various rules, or if your professor just doesn't like you. Apparently the house with the most points at the end of the year gets their banners hung in the Great Hall and special prestige, but not really much else. I guess it comes down to honor and accomplishment, but it really seems kind of pointless to me (even though it's serious business to everyone at Hogwarts).
Anywho, ponder this would have to wait, because it wasn't long before Aja shot up her hand almost instantly. "Mandrakes root is the key agent to unlocking the insomniac properties of the potion."
"Very good Ms. Killian, ten points to Slytherin," said Snape.
Of course, Aja was the teacher's pet, and Snape snuck extra point's to his house; typical. Somehow I was able to survive the rest of class without anything blowing up (thank the gods), and before long it was over. As I made my way out of class Snape motioned for me to come over.
"I might be just another acolyte, but I expect to be treated with not less respect!" whispered Snape.
It was then that I noticed the ring on his finger, smooth grey stone surrounded by the symbols of the territories and sub-territories.
"Oh," was all I managed to squeak out, because I just couldn't conceive how such a kind-hearted person like Dumbledore could possibly have picked someone as sour as Snape to be his acolyte.
"Farewell for now Silena, it was truly an honor sitting next to you!" called Ron.
Well Ron was certainly…charming (meaning, trying just a bit too hard and coming off as slightly creepy), so I quickly made my way over to Aja and Siry.
"I could get used to this place," remarked Siry.
"I don't know…it all just seems so overwhelming to me," I said.
"Wasn't Camp Half-Blood the first time you ever went to it?" asked Aja.
"That is true. I guess I could see myself here with time, and magic is fun!"
As we made our ways thru the corridors we came across Spader pulling a book about magical beast off of Patrick (again), who was clutching his nose really hard.
"I don't want to be a wizard anymore!" sobbed Patrick, who sounded more than a little stuffed-up.
"Cheer up mate, you're just down on your luck because you're being attacked by nargles, but it's your luck day! Because you see, if you buy these magical items that available exclusively thru the Quibbler…
"I take it they don't have pyramid schemes on Cloral," Aja interjected.
"What are you talking about?" objected Spader.
Aja sighed, "Yeah, the magical demons…"
"Whatever, the points is only the Quibbler claims them to be real, and only they claim to have this so-called cure. Doesn't that strike you as a little too convenient, a little too good to be true?"
"The Quibbler is a trusted news source, and is run by the nicest people…"
"Trusted by their miniscule reader ship perhaps, but not by everyone as a whole! Are you just that dumb that you'll believe everything you read?"
"Why you gotta be a buzz kill?" asked Spader.
"I'm just trying to get you to think rationally so that you don't get yourself killed. A little rational thought, is that really so hard?" asked Aja in exasperation.
We all continued down the hallway in silence for a while after that; we all had free time, and we were spending pretty much every free opportunity we had to train in either magic or skills of the Quillan Games, so that mean we had to find the magic room Dumbledore was holding our training sessions in. I know, I know; Hogwarts is a magical school, so all the room must be magical, but this room was special. See, this room was unknown but to a few students, and it changes depending on what you need it to be the most (which in our case, was a training room).
Well, we would have gone to the secret room, but we decided we'd been training enough and had earned a day off, so instead we made our way to Hogsmeade (it's this all wizarding village located not too far from Hogwarts). I can best describe Hogsmeade as being one of those picturesque little villages you always see on postcards, but never seem to actually exist, except that Hogsmeade was very real. We walked into the Three Broomsticks Inn and Pub, and ordered a round of butterbeers, and yes, they are nonalcoholic, and taste surprisingly like sniggers.
"Cheer up Patrick, it'll get better," I said.
Patrick looked up sadly from where he was slumped over the bar counter, "In the few days we've been here I've been attacked by books, had my legs magically locked together, ate magic candy that gave me actual sickness, Haymitch and Snape hate my guts, everyone makes fun of how much older I am thank everyone else, the poltergeist won't leave me alone, and everything in magical beast class has it in for me!"
Before long Neville Longbottom, this guy from Gryffindor with luck about as bad as Patrick's, came over to us and placed a few coins on the counter.
"Another round for my friend, he needs it."
"Thank you Neville, you and herbology class seem to be the only things about this place that aren't rotten."
"Well, you've got your friends don't you? If there's one thing I've learned in all my years at Hogwarts, it's that the most valuable thing you can learn isn't spells or potions, but how to find friends that'll truly be there for you," said Neville.
Patrick was about to say something, but just then this guy, whom I can best describe as looking like a reallllly fat owl (but not actually being an owl, as far as I knew anyway), came over to where we were sitting.
"I say, you fellows wouldn't have some coin to spare for an impoverished Hufflepuff, would you?" asked the Fat Owl (what? He was fat, and he looked like an owl).
"Oh, terribly sorry. Everyone this is Billy Bunter, he a recent transfer from Greyfriars," said Neville, taking time to introduce us all.
"Is Greyfriars another wizarding school?" I asked.
"Hardly, it's a prep school devoted to hard work and turning boys into men…but I rather found it to be a load of rubbish really. Thankful, I discovered my magical abilities, and before I knew it I was standing on Platform 9 ¾, waiting for the Hogwarts Express," said Bunter.
Neville fidgeted around nervously before choosing his next words, "S-so, I, er, that is to say, my friend Billy Bunter…might possibly…need…"
"I had a package stolen from me, and need help getting it back!" Bunter interjected.
"I knew it! Nargles for sure!" said Spader, slamming his fist against the counter.
"No, it was a great and beastly giant! The retched brute infiltrated the mail system, but if we work together, we can break into his lair and steal it back!"
"Excuse us for a moment," said Aja as she pulled everyone Traveler related to the side. "Before anyone says anything I'm telling you now, we are not helping fatso find what'll probably prove to be sweets or something equally fattening!"
"Aja!" we all exclaimed.
"What? I'm just stating obvious."
"You don't have to be so mean about it!" I said. "And why not go? It'll be a chance for Patrick to feel like he actually belongs here, and as Travelers we're supposed to be helping the people of the territories and sub-territories, aren't we?"
"I seriously doubt that this is actually…"
"The work of nargles? Oh you've made that quite clear Ms. Skepticism," quipped Spader.
"Two words: GROW UP!"
Everyone in the pub turned to see what the commotion was about, but quickly returned to their drinks. Patrick coughed meekly before speaking up.
"Maybe we should put it to a vote. We're supposed to work together and solve our problems as a team, right?"
"Alright, but it's all or nothing, and I'm opposed," said Aja.
"Well, I'm in favor!" I said.
"Same here," Spader said.
"It's risky, but I'm tired of everyone making fun of me, and this'll get me the respect I need. I want to try!" said Patrick, with full confidence.
"I'll make it 4-1, and so we reach a stalemate," said Siry.
"Come on Aja, what'll it hurt?" I pleaded.
"Right, helping a fatty get fatter, true heroics," remarked Aja sarcastically.
"What do have against fat people?"
Aja seemed a bit startled by this, "What? You think…I mean it's not like…I'm not…fine. I change my vote, but just to prove to you guys what a waste of time this is, and so you won't try to get involved where we aren't needed!"
Gods, Aja was so prejudiced! I pondered why that might be later that night, as I waited for the time we had all agreed to meet. Before long it was time; I slipped out of bed as quietly as possible, and equally quietly, I made my way down the stairs from the girl's half of Gryffindor dorm. As I made my way into the common's room I found Neville in an armchair by the fireplace.
"Hey, you okay Neville?"
"M-me? N-n-n-never been b-b-b-b-better," stammered Neville (who obviously wasn't fine).
"If you're not up to it…"
"No! I-I mean, no, I'm up too it."
I eyed Neville suspiciously as we made our way to the meeting place in the corridors, where everyone was waiting.
"I say you fellows, is it really a smart idea to go looking for my package dressed in our pajamas?" asked Bunter.
"It'll give us an excuse in case…in case we're…caught," said Neville.
"Like, say we was lookin for the loo?"
"Yeah…that means bathroom right?" asked Siry; Neville and Bunter nodded.
According to Bunter, the quickest way to the giant's lair was thru the Forbidden Forest (it's this forest located just outside Hogwarts and it's strictly off limits to students due to the dangerous creature that live in it). We were constantly pointing our wands, with the Lumos spell activated, for fear of what might be lurking just around the corner. We had to be especially careful in the part of the forest, because we were near this tree called the Whomping Willow; it's this giant killer tree located on the Hogwarts grounds, and you definitely don't want to be around it when it's in a bad mood (or at all).
We all stopped suddenly when Bunter let out a high-pitched girly scream. "Ah! It's got me! The Whomping Willows' got me! Call Scotland Yard! Call a groundskeeper! Do something you fellows!"
"Actually, never mind it! Save yourselves! I'll keep calm and die!"
"What am I saying? Help me! Save me! I…"
"You're pants got caught on a tree branch!" shouted Aja.
"Of the Whomping Willow?"
"Of an average, non-deadly tree," said Aja, tapping the tree to emphasize her point.
Bunter adjusted his glasses as he unhooked his pants, "Oh, well…can't afford to take any chances!"
"But you could certainly afford to lose a few pounds," muttered Aja.
As we continued on thru the dark forest, all the while seeming to get further and further from our destination, I pondered what Aja had against fat people. Maybe she had been in the past? No, gloid was way too perfectly health for that, and I seriously doubted Aja had lived before gloid became the only food source on Veelox; at least before the events of…gods, how long had it been since Veelox?
I know it can't have been more than a month, maybe two, but my adventures on Veelox (and my old life at Second Camp Half-Blood) seemed an eternity ago. Wait, food, could that be it? Was I looking at it from the wrong angle? I could ponder this later, because next thing I knew Spader was smacking into me, and soon we were both on the ground.
"Oh! Sorry there Silena! I guess I didn't see you there."
"Just a question, but how do you been anything with those at night?" asked Patrick.
"Oh I can hardly see at all, but if any nargles are about, I'll see them just fine!"
"Your gullibility never ceases to astound me," muttered Aja as she rolled her eyes.
After a while, we were completely lost; after several minutes of bickering over directions, we decided to take a rest on some logs. We hadn't stopped for long before Aja jumped up screaming (she sounded so un-Ajay that it seriously freaked out me out), and slapping her legs.
"S-s-s-spiders! B-big, hairy, spiders!" stammered Aja.
"Are you sure? Because nargles…" but Spader never got a chance to finish before Aja's fist connected with his face, and sent his staggering backwards before Spader collapsed to the ground.
"Aja!" we all scolded.
"S-so what? You guys know how I feel about spiders and his opinions!"
"Hehehe! So the mighty Aja Killian is reduced to sniveling mess by itsy bitsy spiders!" giggled Bunter.
Aja glared daggers at him, "Go ahead lard-ass, give me a reason, I dare ya!"
"Now, now, no need to fight. It stresses the meat ever so."
We all exchanged nervous glances, because the deep, scary, and growing-ever-closer voice that we'd just heard hadn't come from any of us. I could feel something tickling my legs, and when I looked down I saw several spiders crawling over me and everyone else! If Aja was freaked out before, she (along with the rest of us), went completely Blue Screen of Death as soon as a gigantic, monstrous, hungry spider crawled out from the shadows!
"I am Aragog, king of this Acromantula colony," said the spider as it crept closer.
"W-would you like some chocolate frogs?" stammered Neville (never cared from them much, considering they're incanted to act like live frogs. Seriously, ew!).
"Afraid not. I am hungry, oh so hungry. My children are hungry as well."
"So if you're the King of the Spiders, does that mean there's a Mrs. Aragog?" I asked.
Aragog paused for a moment, as if this was a new thought to him. "You are…different. Yes, your scent, it is most refined. I believe I shall eat you first."
At that point we all snapped out of it and bolted towards the deep thicket of the forest; hopping Aragog would have trouble keeping up through the dense trees. Unfortunately, though we were able to gain some distance, Aragog was doing a pretty good job of keeping up and catching up.
"You cannot escape the King of the Arachnids! You are like flies in a web!" taunted Aragog.
Speaking of web, we had to constantly keep an eye out for these giant webs that were strew throughout the Forbidden Forest (presumably by Aragog), and all hope seemed lost until… a car flew out of the sky! No, really, and it's kind of looked like the car Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer always drove. The car opened its doors and gave a few friendly honks, as if to say "hop in, quick!"
"Well, what are you guy's waiting for? Aragog's coming!"
"But Silena, what if it tries to eat us?" whimpered Patrick.
Aja whirled around and grabbed Patrick by the shoulders, "You, will get in this magical flying car, or you will be eaten by a giant talking spider and never see the light of day again! Do you understand?"
"Do you understand?"
"Yes! Yes I do!" said Patrick as he jumped in the car and the rest of us followed suit; unfortunately, we soon encountered a bit of a problem.
"Wait! This car seats five people, but there are seven of us!" noted Bunter in a panic.
As if in response, the car opened its trunk and honked its horn a few times; Bunter sighed, as he and Neville got in the trunk. The car slammed its doors shut and took to the air…just in time to avoid having Aragog slam into us. The terrors of the forest below us, we were gently cruising through the completely gorgeous night sky; the moons as a glowing silver orb, the stars were like diamonds amidst wine-dark velvet, and Hogwarts castle rose majestically in the distance like nothing that could possibly be captured in a painting or a photo. It was a sight that had to be seen to be believed.
"Wow. It's so beautiful," whispered Aja.
"Reminds me of back home on Ibara, sitting on a hill and looking out at everything. Still, I think this is just a bit better," said Siry.
Aja raised an eyebrow suspiciously, "Oh? Any reason in particular?"
Siry smiled wryly, "Well…I'm with you for one."
In that instant I could see all the anger melt from Aja eyes almost…like those times with Spader! A love triangle, gods, I should have seen this coming! As if this weren't jarring enough, the car suddenly took a dive and careened wildly thru the forest until we came across a grove.
The car settled down, and then it magically ejected the seven of us out it; the car gave a few honks before it sped off into forest. As we all tried to gage our bearings, we soon heard the approaching of hooves. We were on high alert, ready to make a run for it, when out of the darkness emerged…a heard of centaurs!
So, though it's been a while, we've reached yet another cliffhanger. Just a thought, regarding the whole Spader-Aja-Siry love triangle, what do you guys think she should end up with. It'll be a while before that resolves, but I'd like to hear your opinions. Until next time dear readers!