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Alistair Grim's Odditorium
Verne-ian fantasy and reversal of fortune la Dickens willlure readers into this good-vs.-evil series debut.-Kirkus Reviews Funaro''s first book for young readers has all theplayfulness of classic adventures like The Phantom Tollbooth and the intrigue ofnewer steampunk novels, making it a clever mash-up of mystery and merriment,ideal for kids who loved Percy Jackson and Harry Potter. -BooklistWith a dash of Dickens and more than a bit of Rowling, thisfirst book in a proposed series should have no trouble finding an audience.-VOYA Grubb, age twelve (or thereabouts), has never known anything beyond his miserable existence as a chimney sweep, paid only in insults and abuse by his cruel master. All of that changes the day he stows away in the coach belonging to a mysterious guest at the inn that he is tasked with cleaning. Grubb emerges from Alistair Grim''s trunk and into the wondrous world of the Odditorium. Fueled by a glowing blue energy that Grubb can only begin to understand, the Odditorium is home to countless enchanted objects and an eccentric crew that embraces Grubb as one of their own. There''s no time for Grubb to settle into his new role as apprentice to the strange, secretive Mr. Grim. When the Odditorium comes under attack, Grubb is whisked off on a perilous adventure. Only he can prevent the Odditorium''s magic from falling into evil hands-and his new family from suffering a terrible fate. Grubb knows he''s no hero. He''s just a chimney sweep. But armed with only his courage and wits, Grubb will confront the life-or-death battle he alone is destined to fight.
Price 17.99 CAD
Price 17.99 CAD
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Posted: Wednesday 13 January 2010 01 07 10 pm Post subject: Re: Albus potter and the Path Left Untrodden in topic:Albus potter and the Path Left Untrodden
Chapter 18: Advanced Lessons
Much to Albus's surprise, the anamatek was still sitting in Balladanis's classroom the next class. Albus really thought Kendrick would have made him get rid of it. The class continued practicing on it and after a few sessions with it, Albus got used to the fact that it was an anamatek. As long as it didn't turn into a dementor or a chimaera or something else really dangerous, Albus didn't mind.
Practicing on the anamatek was a lot like practicing dueling anyway. That's how Albus saw it. Defense classes were beginning to be a lot like dueling practice. Albus was very happy about this, especially since the next dueling tournament was quickly upon him. It took place on a Saturday in the middle of November, the day before the second inter-school dueling tournament.
"Nice to see that you actually showed up today, Potter," Malfoy smirked as Albus and Amanda sat down at their team table.
"Shut it, Malfoy," Lynley Anderson said as she walked past Albus, "Or you won't duel in the next tournament."
Malfoy scowled and Albus smiled to himself. He sat down and looked to the front of the room. The usual dueling rings were set up and Neville was standing in front of one. Balladanis was standing in front of the other one. He must have been chosen to be the other professor in charge of the dueling club since Albus's dad left.
The tournament began a short while later and Albus sat back to wait for his turn. As much as Albus loved dueling, he couldn't stand having to wait while everyone else dueled. He couldn't wait until he was a fifth year and could try out for the regular dueling club. The teams were much smaller for that and Albus would get to duel more during each tournament. If he made the team, that is.
"Albus Potter and Kaden Dursley," Balladanis announced.
Albus looked up and stared at him. Kaden? Albus turned to gape at Amanda, who shrugged. Albus was going to have to duel Kaden? Albus had yet to duel any of his cousins.
Albus got up and walked towards the ring. Kaden was already there when he arrived. Albus and Kaden bowed to each other and then raised their wands.
"Begin," Balladanis said.
"Expelliarmus!" Albus shouted and pointed his wand at Kaden while silently apologizing to him. He really didn't want to duel Kaden.
Kaden's wand flew from his hand and Albus caught it. Albus looked up at Balladanis. Balladanis was looking at Albus with his piercing stare and Albus quickly looked away.
"Point to Potter," Balladanis said without taking his eyes off Albus.
Albus handed Kaden back his wand and went back to his team's table. Lynley and Amanda congratulated him and he sat back down.
"I can't believe they had you duel Kaden," Amanda giggled.
Albus shrugged. It hadn't been much of a fight. Albus rarely had trouble dueling anyone during the tournaments. The only person who Albus ever had difficulty dueling was Malfoy, and he was on Albus's team.
Albus wasn't really thinking much about having to duel Kaden. He couldn't get the look Balladanis had given him out of his mind. It was sort of like the looks he'd received in class, only more intimidating. There was a hint of curiosity mixed in with something Albus couldn't describe. It was almost like he was trying to read Albus's mind, but Albus had had enough experience with that to know that Balladanis wasn't doing it.
Malfoy was up next and he dueled James. It was a very fast-paced and exciting duel. In the end, Malfoy managed to disarm James. Albus had no idea how he felt about this. Part of him was happy that his team got the point, but on the other hand, the thought of his brother losing to Malfoy was rather unsettling.
James had a mutinous look on his face as he grabbed his wand out of Malfoy's outstretched hand. He stormed back to his table without a second glance at Malfoy or Balladanis.
Albus looked back to Balladanis and saw him giving Malfoy the same odd look he had given Albus earlier. Albus had no idea what to make of that. Balldanis hadn't looked at anyone else like that.
The next person Albus dueled was a bit more challenging, but Albus still disarmed her within three minutes. She was a fourth year Ravenclaw who had the reputation of being the smartest of all the fourth years.
Balladanis gave Albus the same strange look as he awarded him the point. Albus quickly gave the girl back her wand and went back to his table.
Albus's team narrowly won the tournament. Lynley congratulated everyone and said the entire team had improved greatly since the last tournament. Albus and Amanda got up and joined the throngs of people leaving the room. They headed up to the common room, where they had agreed to meet their friends after the tournament.
"Good job," John said as he sat down next to Albus.
"Thanks," Albus smiled.
"Yeah," Kaden agreed, "I mean, you beat me pretty quickly."
"Albus is the best dueler out of all of us," Matt said as he joined them.
"Balladanis was certainly interested," John said, "What was up with him looking at you like that?"
"I dunno," Albus said, "It was really odd."
"He was looking at Malfoy like that, too," Rose said as she and Linda sat down.
"I'll bet it's because you're both such good duelers," Matt replied, "I hate to admit it, but Malfoy is really good."
"Did you see James's face after Malfoy beat him?" John laughed, "That was pretty funny."
"I don't think James would agree with you," Albus smirked.
"Well, we should probably do some homework," Rose said.
Everyone groaned but nobody disagreed. Albus went up to his dormitory and returned with his books. He cracked open his Herbology book and started an essay that was due on Tuesday.
"You're from Australia, aren't you?"
Albus's head snapped up. Linda was staring curiously at Matt, whose eyes were darting about. Everyone else was now staring at Linda. Albus didn't think he had ever heard her talk outside of class.
"Er, why do you think that?" Matt asked nervously.
"The other day after Defense, you mentioned that your dad hadn't seen an anamatek even though he worked down there," Linda explained.
"Oh, yeah," Matt muttered, "I did used to live there."
"Why did you move?" Linda asked.
"My dad's job," Matt said.
"Oh," Linda replied, "Well, if you hadn't, we could have gone to school together."
Matt mumbled something under his breath.
"What?" Linda asked.
"Nothing," Matt said and closed his book, "I'm, er, going to the library."
Albus closed his own book and got up to follow Matt, but he had already left. Albus sighed and looked at Rose, who was slowly shaking her head. That was exactly why Matt had wanted to stay away from Linda and Albus couldn't blame him.
The rest of the afternoon was spent in silence in the common room. Albus managed to finish his Herbology essay just before dinner. He had no idea if Matt actually went to the library, but found him in the Great Hall at dinner. He made no mention of what Linda had said, so Albus didn't bring it up. Albus only had enough time to eat a quick dinner anyway, because he had Quidditch practice afterwards.
"All right, that's enough for today," Balladanis announced as the bell rang the following Tuesday, "Leave your essays on my desk on your way out."
Albus stowed his wand in his robes and rummaged around in his bag for his essay. For some reason, Balladanis always collected essays at the end of class. Albus had no idea why. All the other teachers collected them at the beginning, presumably to prevent students from frantically scribbling their essay during class the day it was due. That would be impossible in Balladanis's class, though.
"Potter, Malfoy!" Balldanis shouted, "Please see me before you leave."
"Looks like you're getting extra help, too," John laughed, "Welcome to the club."
"Somehow I doubt that," Matt replied, "Albus was the only one to cause that anamatek to fly halfway across the room today. Well, besides Malfoy."
Albus shrugged and muttered that he'd meet them in Herbology. His heart started beating a bit faster as he placed his essay on the pile and stood in front of Balladanis's desk. Why did he want to see him anyway? Could Balladanis really think he needed extra help?
Malfoy tossed his essay onto the pile and then leaned up on Balladanis's desk as he watched the rest of the class leave.
"Stand up, Malfoy," Balladanis said as he shut the anamatek's trunk and walked over to his desk.
Malfoy jumped and quickly stood up straight. Albus stifled a laugh and turned to Balladanis, whose face was expressionless.
Balladanis walked over to the door, shut it, and returned to his desk. "I couldn't help but notice that both of you won both of your duels last Saturday."
"I always win both of my duels," Malfoy said pompously.
"I thought so," Balladanis replied, ignoring Malfoy's less than respectful tone, "I'm assuming the same goes for you, Mr. Potter?"
"Yes, sir," Albus nodded.
"Have either of you ever been defeated in a duel before?"
"I've disarmed Potter during practice," Malfoy smirked.
"And I've disarmed you, Malfoy," Albus rolled his eyes.
"Any other times?" Balladanis asked.
Albus opened his mouth, but Balladanis interrupted him.
"During the dueling tournaments, Mr. Potter. I have heard about your altercation with Jameson Washburn, Jarret Willinson, and his son."
"No other times," Albus replied.
"I could have defeated Washburn," Malfoy announced.
"I sincerely doubt that," Balladanis said, much to Albus's delight, "But that is not what I have asked to discuss with you. I have noticed, both in class and during dueling tournaments, that the two of you seem to possess exceptional skill when it comes to dueling. You're dueling skill appears to be much higher than the third or even fourth year level.
"Therefore, I would like to train both of you privately. There is only so much you can learn in a large group with those whose skill is less than your own. I will be able to teach you spells you wouldn't normally learn until fourth or fifth year. Are either of you interested?"
"Of course," Malfoy said immediately.
Albus couldn't believe it. His family and friends always told him he was an excellent dueler, but somehow having Balladanis tell him meant more. Balladanis was incredibly hard to please, and not only did he think Albus was a great dueler, he was offering to teach him more advanced spells. That was incredibly exciting. Albus would be able to learn spells that James hadn't learned yet.
"Yes, I'd like that," Albus grinned, thinking it would be brilliant to beat James in a duel.
"I shall see you on Friday at eight, then," Balladanis told them, "After I am done tutoring the less skillful in your class." He pulled out two pieces of paper and scribbled onto both of them. "Give these to your teachers, as you are quite late to class by now. Get out of here."
Albus took his note and left the room feeling that Friday was an incredibly long time away. Private dueling lessons. He couldn't wait. Sure, they'd be with Malfoy, but Albus was willing to put up with him in order to learn advanced spells.
Albus hurried to Herbology, but the class was already well into that day's lesson by the time he arrived. He handed his note to Neville and then sat down next to Matt, who was shoveling dirt into an empty pot.
"What did Balladanis want?" Matt asked.
"You're never going to believe this," Albus said as he pulled on his gloves, "Balladanis wants to give Malfoy and me private dueling lessons. He wants to teach us advanced spells that we wouldn't normally learn until fourth or fifth year."
"You're kidding," Matt said in awe.
"Nope," Albus grinned.
"But why?" Matt asked, "Did he say why he's teaching you?"
"Just because he thinks we're good duelers, I guess."
"Well, you are a good dueler, Albus," Matt agreed, "When do you start?"
"Friday at eight. Right after your help session, actually," Albus answered.
"I'm not going to the help session this week," Matt lowered his voice, "And you'll be having loads more fun than me."
"Oh, right," Albus whispered, remembering that the full moon was Friday night, "I'll let you know how it goes, though."
After Herbology was over, Albus told John, Rose, and Amanda about Balladanis's dueling lessons and then had to repeat it to Kaden when they ate lunch. All of them were excited about it, especially Kaden. Albus suspected he was a bit jealous, too.
The remainder of the week seemed to creep by at a flobberworm's pace. It wasn't like Albus didn't have anything to keep him busy, but he just couldn't think about anything other than the dueling lesson.
"Albus, you've got to stop tapping your quill," Rose said shortly, "It's driving me mad."
Albus and his friends were in the Marauder's Den. It was Friday evening and dinner had just ended. Albus was trying to concentrate on homework, but it wasn't working. Rose and Amanda were both reading. Linda had mysteriously disappeared after her last class and Rose and Amanda had been with Albus and the other boys ever since. John and Kaden were discussing a prank that involved charming gobstones to follow the Aurors and prefects around as they patrolled the corridors. Rose had already advised against this, but John and Kaden didn't listen. Matt was laying on the couch with his eyes closed, but he wasn't asleep. John and Kaden kept asking him things and he'd respond with very short answers.
"Sorry," Albus muttered and dropped his quill.
"So where's Linda tonight?" John asked.
"I dunno," Rose shrugged, "She didn't look that great today, though."
"Then she's probably sucking some animal's blood in the forest," Matt announced.
"Well, there's a lovely picture," Kaden said loudly, "Linda biting the neck of some helpless animal and sucking the life out of it. Think of all the blood. It must get all over her face and neck. That's pretty gross."
"Thanks for that image, Kaden," Matt replied.
"It's better than her sucking human blood," Rose pointed out.
"That's true," Kaden agreed, "So, should we fill the gobstones with stink sap before we charm them?"
"Of course!" John grinned.
"And that's my cue to leave," Matt sat up slowly and rubbed his head, "I'll see you lot tomorrow, probably."
"Yeah, we'll see you in the morning," Albus assured him.
"Have fun," Kaden said.
"Fun," Matt muttered on his way out, "That's a word I've never used to describe it."
"We'd better go, too," Amanda said.
"Yeah, time to go sit through an extra Defense lesson," John groaned as he stood up.
"I thought you didn't mind them," Rose said.
"I don't. They just get old after a while," John sighed as he and Amanda left.
Albus worked on his homework for the next hour, mainly because there wasn't anything else to do. Rose was working on her own homework and didn't seem to want to do anything else. The hour dragged by at an incredibly slow rate, but eventually Albus packed up his books, said goodbye to Rose, and left for Balladanis's room.
The door was half-way open when Albus arrived. He took a deep breath, suddenly overcome by nerves, and knocked lightly. There was no answer. Albus pushed the door open and walked very slowly inside.
The room was dim. The only light stemmed from a few torches lit on the walls. It was obviously the same classroom he had Defense class in, but it looked completely different in the evening.
There wasn't anyone left in the room from the extra Defense lesson earlier. Albus had passed John and Amanda in the corridor. They both wished him good luck.
Albus looked around the room and saw the trunk that contained the anamatek sitting unnaturally still in front of Balladanis's desk. Balladanis himself was also sitting unnaturally still at his desk. He stared directly into Albus's eyes and Albus, remembering the Occlumency lessons he received two years prior, quickly averted his own eyes and began to close his mind.
"You know Occlumency, Mr. Potter," Balladanis said not as a question, but as a statement.
Albus nodded as Balladanis slowly rose from his chair and walked around to the front of his desk. Albus took a step back and nearly collided with the front table. He swallowed nervously and kept his eyes off of Balladanis.
Albus had always been a little wary of Balladanis, but now he had to admit that he was a bit scared. The only way for Balladanis to know that Albus had been practicing Occlumency was if he had actually been performing Legilimency. Albus had enough experience with teachers performing Legilimency on him and he didn't want to do go through that again. The only thing Albus was thinking about then was how he could leave the room without Balladanis getting suspicious. He wished he had a Puking Pastille or something in his pocket.
"Who taught you?" Balladanis asked.
"My Aunt Hermione," Albus muttered. He wondered where Malfoy was. That had to be the first and probably only time he would ever wish Malfoy to be present.
"Hermione Weasley," Balladanis mused, "Yes, she is one of the most accomplished Occlumenses of her generation."
Albus's head snapped towards the door as he heard footsteps enter the room. He breathed a sigh of relief and had to stifle a laugh at the fact that he was happy Malfoy was in the room.
"Mr. Malfoy, you're late," Balladanis said.
"Sorry, sir," Malfoy muttered.
"Sit down," Balladanis pointed to the front table.
Albus turned around and sat as quickly as he could in one of the chairs. Malfoy took his time in sauntering over and sat in the chair next to him.
"Mr. Potter. Mr. Malfoy," Balladanis began to pace in front of them, "By now I am sure you are both aware of my stance on the Dark Arts. If not, I suggest paying a bit more attention in class.
"You may also be aware of my devotion to helping the students who are struggling in my classes. I hold extra help sessions every single day after dinner. However, I also wish to help those who are truly talented to reach their true potential.
"You two are the most talented duelers in the third year," Balladanis paused and looked at each of them in the eye, "I would argue that you are the most talented duelers amongst the students below fifth year. I would even wager that you could give a couple of the sixth years a run for their Galleons."
Albus stared at Balladanis. He didn't think he was that good of a dueler. He knew he could beat most of the students in the Junior's Dueling Club, but sixth years? They were doing N.E.W.T. Defense classes. They knew spells Albus had never even heard of.
"I wouldn't go picking fights with sixth years, though," Balladanis continued, "They know spells you do not. What I mean is that you have the talent to learn spells that the sixth years are learning. The spells I am currently teaching in class are incredibly simple for the two of you. What I hope to do is teach you spells that are more at your level. Now, stand up, the both of you. Let's see what you can do."
Albus stood up and pulled out his wand. He had no idea what Balladanis wanted him to do. Would they be practicing on the anamatek?
Balladanis waved his wand and the desks moved to the sides of the classroom. Another wave and the light increased. "I would like you to duel each other. Use any spell that you have learned in school. Do not use any spells you have picked up elsewhere. Madam Pomfrey would not be happy with me if I sent the two of you to the Hospital Wing with missing limbs. Keep going until I say to stop."
Albus couldn't believe it. He was getting to duel Malfoy! He had been wanting to do that ever since Kendrick had first announced the dueling club. The little practice duels they did weren't really what he had wanted to do, though.
Albus raised his wand and stared at Malfoy. Malfoy was smirking and pointing his wand at Albus. The two of them bowed and Albus took a step forward.
"Petrificus Totalus!" Albus shouted and pointed his wand at Malfoy.
Malfoy easily dodged the spell and sent a tickling hex at Albus. Albus threw up a shield and then tried to disarm Malfoy. Malfoy jumped onto a nearby desk and the spell collided with a chair which collapsed.
The duel continued in this matter for quite some time. Albus tried as hard as he could to actually hit Malfoy with a spell, but Malfoy kept dodging and blocking them. It was driving Albus mad. He kept thinking of everything Malfoy had done to him in the past two years and how much he wanted to beat him in this duel. If he beat Malfoy, he'd have something on him for the rest of the year.
"Expelliarmus!" Albus shouted for what must have been the tenth time.
Malfoy dodged it and sent the same spell at Albus. Albus jumped and the spell hit Balladanis's desk.
"That's enough!" Balladanis shouted.
Albus lowered his wand and glared at Malfoy. Albus shoved his wand back in his robes and looked around to find a chair that remained intact. He found one and collapsed into it. That duel had been exhausting.
"Well, that was certainly interesting," Balladanis gave a rare smile, "Not a scratch on either of you but my classroom has been destroyed. It seems that I was not premature in my judgment of your dueling skills.
"Have either of you thought about what you want to do when you get out of Hogwarts?"
Albus stared curiously at Balladanis. That was an abrupt change in conversation. Albus had never thought about life beyond Hogwarts. He was only thirteen. He never thought there was any need to think about it yet.
"Er," Albus began, "Not really. I mean, I always thought being an Auror would be interesting."
"Indeed it would," Balladanis said, "Your father certainly is happy with it. How about you, Mr. Malfoy?"
"No idea," Malfoy replied.
"There are many things you can do with dueling skills such as yours. I would suggest looking into it," Balladanis said.
"But sir, we're only third years," Malfoy scoffed, "Isn't it a bit early?"
"I already knew what I wanted to do at thirteen," Balladanis said quietly.
"And what is that exactly?" Malfoy asked.
Balladanis gave Malfoy the strangest look Albus had ever seen. It was a combination of sadness, anger, and pride.
"I do not wish to discuss that," Balladanis said, "Perhaps you will find out someday. For now, I think it best we call it a night. If you wish to learn advanced spells, return at this time next week and we will begin."
"I'll be here, sir," Malfoy said as he walked out the door.
"Thanks, Professor," Albus said as he followed.
"Mr. Potter," Balladanis said, "Please tell Mr. Eckerton that it will not do for him to skip his extra help sessions."
"But sir," Albus looked at him incredulously, "You know what tonight is. He couldn't possibly have gone."
"The moon didn't rise until after the session was over. I do not take excuses."
Albus sighed to himself as he left. Balladanis had been teaching him for over two months and he still surprised Albus all the time. Albus had seen a different side of him that night. He did truly hate the Dark Arts, that was something Albus did not doubt. But he had also performed Legilimency on him. Albus didn't think he could ever trust a teacher that did that. Not after his experience with Washburn.
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Posted: Wednesday 6 January 2010 02 34 28 pm Post subject: Re: Albus potter and the Path Left Untrodden in topic:Albus potter and the Path Left Untrodden
Chapter 17: The Anamatek
In all the excitement of the possible sighting of Washburn in Hogsmeade, Albus nearly forgot about talking to Rose that evening. He was sitting in the common room trying to read his Defense Against the Dark Arts book when John prodded him.
"What?" Albus looked up at John.
"Linda just went to Quidditch practice," John gestured to the portrait hole, which just closed behind someone, "We can talk to Rose now."
Albus nodded and closed his book. He had to admit that he was a bit nervous about telling Rose that Linda was a vampire. He had a feeling she wouldn't take it well. They were going to have to break this to her very nicely.
It wasn't that Albus was worried that Rose would be upset that Linda was a vampire. Albus knew that wouldn't bother her in the slightest. It was the fact that Albus was the one who figured it out that he was worried about. Albus fully expected Rose to deny that Linda was a vampire for the sole reason that she hadn't figured it out herself.
"I guess we'd better," Albus said as he got up. He glanced around the common room and his eyes rested on the table Rose and Amanda were sitting at.
Albus walked over to her table with Matt, John, and Kaden following. The two girls looked to be working on homework.
"Rose," Albus sat down next to her, "We need to talk to you about something."
Rose put down her quill and looked up. "Is it about Washburn? If you're worried about him coming back, don't be. He can't get into the castle."
"It's not about him," Albus sighed, although he had a feeling Washburn could get into the castle if he wanted.
"Then what?" Rose said shortly.
"It's about Linda-"
"Then I don't want to hear it," Rose interrupted.
"Rose, it's important," Albus insisted, "Just come talk to us."
"No," Rose said a bit louder, "I know you lot don't like her, but I do. And I don't need you telling me who I can and can't be friends with."
"That's not what we're going to tell you," Albus groaned, "There's just something about her you should know."
"Just talk to them, Rose," Amanda said, "To be honest, I'm sick of you ignoring them."
Rose looked a bit taken aback. "All right, fine." She shoved her books into her bag a bit harder than necessary and stood up.
Albus said nothing but lead everyone out of the common room. Nobody said a word until they were in the Marauder's Den. Rose sat in one of the chairs and folded her arms across her chest.
"What?" she asked, "What do you possibly have to tell me?"
Albus glanced at Matt, who nodded. Albus took a deep breath. "Linda is a vampire," he said quietly.
Rose's mouth fell open and then she burst out laughing. "Are you bloody insane? How in the name of Merlin did you possibly come up with that stupid idea?"
Albus groaned. "It's not a stupid idea. It's true. And Matt told us."
Rose rolled her eyes and glared at Matt. "Of course. You're the one who hates Linda the most."
"Rose, it's true!" Matt insisted, "Do you honestly think that I would just randomly claim someone was a vampire? For all the differences between vampires and werewolves, they both get discriminated against."
"Oh, I don't know. Maybe because you want me to stop being friends with her?" Rose shouted.
"Well, that would be stupid of me because I know you wouldn't stop being friends with her because of that," Matt said quietly, "After all, you're friends with me. Or at least you used to be."
"I still am," Rose whispered.
Albus smiled to himself. That was promising. Maybe their friendship wasn't totally destroyed.
"But don't you lot think that if Linda was a vampire, I would have figured it out?" Rose asked, "I mean, I was the only one to figure out that Matt's a werewolf."
"How much do you know about vampires, Rose?" Albus asked.
"Er, not much, I guess," Rose said sheepishly, "But still, how do you know?"
Albus opened his bag and pulled out his Defense book. He tossed it at Rose. "Read the bit about vampires."
Rose caught the book and opened it up. She began to read it with Amanda reading over her shoulder. A few minutes later, Rose set the book down. Her face was pale.
"You're right," she whispered and then turned to Matt, "Is that why you don't like her?"
"Sort of," Matt shrugged, "It's not the fact that she's a vampire. It's the fact that she knows I'm a werewolf."
"Oh," Rose nodded, "And she's from Australia and Killigan doesn't like werewolves. I get it. But, wait, how come Killigan lets Linda go to school but he wouldn't let you?"
"No idea," Matt sighed, "It's a mystery."
The room descended into an awkward silence and Albus looked at all of his friends. Rose still looked a little shocked and Amanda did as well.
"So," Albus began, "Are you going to keep ignoring us, Rose?"
"Are you going to let Linda come in here?" Rose asked.
"No way," Albus, Matt, John, and Kaden said at once.
Rose sighed. "Fine. I've missed you lot, but I am still going to spend time with Linda. I guess I'll just split my time, then."
Albus grinned. "Good. But next Hogsmeade trip, you're coming with us."
Over the next couple of weeks, Rose and Amanda began spending more and more time with Albus and the other boys. Albus was thrilled about it, especially since after a few days passed, it was like Rose and Matt hadn't rowed at all. Nobody ever brought up the topic of Linda, though. Rose and Amanda both spent time with Linda, usually in the library, but Albus didn't particularly mind. He kind of liked having time to spend just with Matt, John, and Kaden.
John and Kaden found it increasingly difficult to pull pranks due to the fact that Hogwarts was being patrolled by more Aurors since the Washburn sighting. Teachers, prefects, and the head boy and girl were also patrolling more often than they used to. Albus was secretly happy about this since he had an increasing fear of Washburn breaking into his dormitory to steal the Invisibility Cloak. John and Kaden, on the other hand, came back to the common room ranting about how they couldn't pull off some prank or the other due to an Auror or prefect finding them. Matt didn't seem to have an opinion on the subject and Albus suspected he would be happy so long as Killigan stayed away from him.
The next Quidditch match was in the beginning of December, and although that was still a month away, Wood increased practice to three days a week instead of two. Wood was especially tough on James since the next match would be between Hogwarts and Australia. Wood was determined to beat Australia and that meant James would have to try and fly faster than Linda. Teddy was working with him one on one during all the practices.
The next junior dueling tournament was coming up as well and Albus was determined to actually duel during this one. He didn't care if both his legs were broken, he would still go.
Between his various practices and classes, Albus didn't have much time for anything else. All his teachers were increasing the work load, especially Balladanis. He started packing more and more into each lesson and had begun assigning weekly essays. And since all the lessons were practical, Albus had to read the book to do the essays. There were no notes from class to use.
Albus and the rest of the students no longer bothered taking their books and parchment out at the beginning of class. In fact, the majority of Albus's class didn't even bother sitting down. Albus wondered why Balladanis even bothered to put the desks back at the end of class, since he had yet to hear of any of the years having an actual lecture in that class.
Due to this, Albus was completely shocked when Balladanis told the class to sit down at the beginning of Defense in the beginning of November. Albus turned to Matt and John, who looked equally surprised. Balladanis, on the other hand, was acting like this was perfectly normal.
Albus sat down in between Matt and John amongst the whispering of the rest of the class.
Balladanis stood in front of his desk and looked out at the students. There was a large trunk in front of him which reminded Albus of the first day of class. But why would Balladanis bring a Boggart back to class? Matt told Albus that Balladanis wasn't even using Boggarts in his help sessions anymore.
"Today's lesson will be part lecture," Balladanis announced, "The reason for this being that the particular creature we are studying today is not in your text book."
The class erupted in more whispering and Albus distinctly heard Rose gasp.
"Settle down," Balladanis said, "The creature is not in your book because it is extremely rare and most wizards will go their entire lives without ever encountering one. Because of this, it is not normally in a third year curriculum. The creature is usually studied in advanced N.E.W.T. Defense Against the Dark Arts only. I however, believe this creature is extremely beneficial to third year defense and am adding it in, despite the fact that it is not in your book."
Albus was on the edge of his seat now. He was staring directly at the trunk in front of Balladanis, where the creature probably resided. It couldn't be that dangerous, could it? Otherwise, Balladanis wouldn't have brought one. Although, there wasn't much that Balladanis could do that would actually surprise Albus. He was a very odd teacher.
"The creature I am talking about is an anamatek," Balladanis said as he began pacing back and forth in front of the trunk. He stopped in front of Rose, Amanda, and Linda's table. "Does anyone know what an anamatek is?"
Albus had never heard of one in his life. Rose didn't put her hand up either. The only hand in the class that went up was Linda's.
"Yes, Miss Morales," Balladanis said.
"An anamatek is a shape-shifter, but it is different from a boggart. anamateks are forced to change into whatever form the wizard controlling them wants," Linda explained.
"Correct," Balladanis began pacing again, "anamateks are very strong and powerful creatures. It takes a very strong and powerful witch or wizard to control them. Not many are able to do so. But if a witch or wizard can, the anamatek must transform into whatever form the wizard wants.
"This of course is very dangerous if a dark wizard gets hold of one. Can you imagine if Voldemort had been able to control a few anamateks and had them transform into chimaeras?"
The entire room was silent. Albus shivered at the thought of an army of chimaeras, especially in the hands of Voldemort.
"Luckily for us, anamateks are extremely rare and the majority of wizards can't control one, let alone an army of them. The few anamateks that exist in the world reside in warm climates and they prefer to stay hidden amongst trees or bushes. Anamateks are rarely sighted in Britain and I would guess that there aren't more than four or five in the entire country. They are a bit more common in warmer climates such as the Southwestern United States, Latin America, South America, Africa, and Australia. However, you could search all of these countries extensively and never come across one.
"Anamateks do not like wizards because they do not want to be controlled. Not only can wizards control what the anamatek turns into, they can also make it do whatever they please. When they are not controlled, they can turn into whatever they like and usually choose a particularly dangerous creature in order to dissuade wizards from capturing them. They cannot, however, turn into humans, for the most part. There are exceptions to that. Certain powerful witches and wizards have had success turning them into humans, but they do not act like humans. No anamatek can turn into a human on its own."
Balladanis paused and stopped next to his trunk. "I have captured an anamatek. I captured it many years ago and it has been under my control ever since. Having an anamatek at my disposal provides a great learning opportunity for all of you. Can anyone guess why?"
Rose's hand shot into the air. "Yes, Miss Weasley," Balladanis said.
"You can have it turn into whatever we're studying and we can learn to fight it instead of having to fight a real one. That way, you can control what its doing and none of us will get hurt," Rose answered.
"Correct," Balladanis said, "Before class, I performed a spell which caused the anamatek to turn into a kappa, which I hope you are all aware that we are currently studying. When I say so, get up and form a line in front of my desk. You will be performing the spell you learned last class to try and repel the anamatek, which is going to look and act exactly like a kappa."
"Sir?" Malfoy raised his hand.
"Yes, Mr. Malfoy?"
"Sir, are you going to tell us the spell to bring an anamatek under a wizard's control?"
"No, Mr. Malfoy, I am not," Balladanis said darkly, "First, it's not just one spell, it is a set of extremely difficult spells, beyond N.E.W.T. level. Second, there is much debate as to whether the spells are Dark Magic or not. Third, it would be pointless since none of you would have the capability of performing such magic and will likely never have the opportunity to perform it. Fourth, the headmaster would not be happy if I did so. I will also not sign any notes to admit any of you into the Restricted Section of the library to research the spells."
Malfoy scowled at this and Albus stifled a laugh. It didn't surprise him in the slightest that Malfoy would want to learn the spells. Albus was extremely curious as to how Balladanis managed to perform them, and how he had come across the anamatek in the first place. Albus doubted that he would tell that story, though. Balladanis never talked about his past.
"Everyone get up!" Balladanis shouted.
Albus hastily stood up and watched as the rest of the class did the same. Rose and Linda shoved their notes into their bags, but nobody else had bothered to take notes. The thought hadn't even crossed Albus's mind. He was so used to not taking notes in Defense.
Balladanis moved the tables to the sides of the room and Albus joined the queue forming in front of the trunk. He stood on his tip-toes and peered around John to try and catch a glimpse of the anamatek when it emerged from the trunk.
Balladanis pointed his wand at the trunk and it shot open. Nothing happened for a few seconds and then a slimy, scaly kappa crept up over the top of the trunk and climbed out. It stretched out its webbed hand and started towards Janie Creevey, who was first in the line.
Janie held up her wand and muttered the spell. The kappa was shot back towards the trunk and Balladanis nodded at Janie. She stepped to the side and Karina walked forward as the kappa recovered.
The queue moved forward and Albus was able to get a good look at the anamatek. It looked exactly like a kappa. If Albus didn't know any better, he would say that it was a real kappa.
Balladanis made everyone perform the spell until they could do it successfully. Rose and Linda got it on their first tries, but Amanda had a bit of trouble. Albus had a feeling she would be working with the anamatek in her next extra help session. John managed to have success on his first try and he stepped to the side and Albus stepped forward.
The anamatek crept towards Albus, who held up his wand. Kappas didn't really scare him in the slightest, yet his heart had begun pounding faster. The anamatek is what scared him a bit. The thing had the potential to change into something dangerous like a chimaera at any moment. How much control did Balladanis really have over the thing?
Albus shouted the spell and the anamatek was thrown back against the trunk and landed with a loud crack.
"Very good, Mr. Potter," Balladanis smiled ever so slightly, "A few of the rest of you might wish to take note of the force Mr. Potter put behind his spell. A determined kappa would have been able to recover very quickly from most of your spells. Mr. Potter, on the other hand, would have been able to escape if this had been a real kappa."
Matt's turn was next and Albus stood next to John to watch him. The kappa was only slightly deterred by Matt's first spell and he had to try about three times to get it to work.
"Now I know what Balladanis is going to have me do tomorrow night," Matt whispered to Albus as they watched Malfoy take on the kappa.
Malfoy sent the kappa slamming into the trunk with almost as much force as Albus had, earning him a slight smile from Balladanis as well.
"Where in the name of Merlin did Balladanis get that thing?" John exclaimed after they'd left the classroom.
"No idea," Albus shrugged, "But I wish he'd tell us."
"He won't," Matt sighed.
"I know, but I still want to know," John said, "And what did he do for a living before this? I mean, I don't think teachers normally come upon anamateks."
"Probably not. I don't think my dad has ever seen one and he's an Auror," Albus pointed out.
"They are extremely rare in Britain," Rose ran up next to Albus, "I bet Balladanis lived in some other country before he started teaching here. Africa or Australia or one of those places where anamateks are more common."
"Yeah, but they're not exactly common in those places either. My dad hasn't seen one either and he worked with magical creatures in Australia for years," Matt said.
"I'm surprised Kendrick lets him have that thing in the school," Amanda said.
"I doubt Kendrick knows about it," Albus replied.
If Kendrick hadn't known about the anamatek before, he most likely did by the end of the day. The entire school was buzzing about it. Apparently Balladanis had not only shown it to his third years, but second and fourth through seventh years as well. The common room was filled with chatter about it after dinner, as well as extremely jealous first years. Lily, Hugo, and Ashtyn whined about not being able to see it.
"Are you ready for Quidditch practice, Al?" Georgia said to Albus as Lily and her friends left.
Albus looked up. Georgia's face was white and she looked more than a little scared. Albus stared at her curiously.
"Yeah. But, Georgia, are you ok?"
"I'll be fine," she assured him, "Balladanis had that anamatek thing turn into a dementor during class right before dinner. We spent the entire class trying to cast Patronuses against it. Let me tell you, that anamatek was just like a dementor." Georgia closed her eyes and shuddered.
"You should have some chocolate," Albus told her and pulled a chocolate frog out of his bag. He tossed it to her.
Georgia caught it and ripped it open. "Thanks. Let's go find James."
Albus said goodbye to his friends and went to go find James with Georgia. He felt a bit unsettled that Balladanis had used the anamatek as a dementor. Having it turn into a kappa was one thing, but a dementor? They were really dangerous. As far as Albus knew, the Patronus charm wasn't actually practiced on dementors until Auror training. Part of Albus hoped that Kendrick would ban the anamatek from the school before he started learning the Patronus charm in seventh year.
Joined: 28 December 2006
Location: Going through LeakyCon withdrawal
Posted: Wednesday 30 December 2009 11 18 36 am Post subject: Re: Albus potter and the Path Left Untrodden in topic:Albus potter and the Path Left Untrodden
Chapter 16: The First Match
The atmosphere at Hogwats the next day reminded Albus a lot of what it was like the day of the Quidditch Final. It was the day of the first Quidditch match of the Inter-School Competition. Australia would be playing New York. Albus was excited, but not as excited as he would have been if Hogwarts was playing. He didn't particularly care who won this match. He was curious about Linda's seeking skills, though.
"Hi, Al," someone said from behind Albus as he walked down to the pitch with Matt, John, and Kaden.
Albus turned around and saw his dad. "Hi, Dad! Here to see the match? Or are you on duty?"
"Just to see the match," Harry grinned, "I'm hoping to be able to see them all, especially the ones you and James get to play in."
"I don't really get to play in any of them," Albus pointed out.
"You never know," Harry said, "Well, I'm sitting with Neville, so I'll see you after the match."
"Bye, Dad," Albus waved as he ran ahead of them.
The boys found decent seats and waited for the match to begin. The weather was particularly nice, especially for a late October day. The sun was out and there was only a slight breeze in the unseasonably warm air.
"It's kind of odd to not be rooting for Gryffindor," Matt said.
Albus agreed. Nobody was segregated into House sections like they usually were during Quidditch matches. "I don't know who to root for."
"Me either," John lowered his voice, "I mostly just want to see how Linda plays. Never seen a vampire play Quidditch before."
"She must be good. She's only a second year and she's on the team," Albus pointed out.
"But she's immortal," Matt reminded them, "So she's probably decades older than us at least."
Albus still found that aspect of vampires very strange. He sighed to himself and focused on the pitch, where a few people were milling about. Albus could make out Professors Kendrick, Roberts, and Killigan, along with a few other people Albus didn't recognize.
"Welcome, students, staff, and guests to the first Quidditch match of the competition!" Kendrick shouted over the crowd a few minutes later, "This will work exactly like regular Quidditch matches. Ludo Bagman of the Department of Magical Sports will referee this match. And now, I give you the Quidditch teams of the Adirondack Academy of Magic and the Australian School of Sorcery!"
The New Yorkers were dressed in blue Quidditch robes and the Australians were dressed in green. Both teams entered the pitch with brooms in their hands. Albus watched as each of their captains shook hands. Bagman blew a whistle and all fifteen of them rose into the air.
"And they're off!" Todd Smith, who was apparently the commentator for the inter-school matches, shouted, "Haberino of New York catches the Quaffle and is flying to the Australian goal posts...."
It was a very fast paced match. The Quaffle passed back and forth between players faster than Smith could announce. Albus was very impressed. He also doubted he could fly as well as them and was sort of glad he wasn't playing.
Albus knew he should pay the closest attention to the Chasers, but he couldn't help but gawk at Linda as she flew around the pitch. She was noticeably faster than the rest of the players. Her form was practically a blur every time she darted in between the rest of the players.
"Merlin, she's fast!" Albus exclaimed as Linda went from one end of the pitch to the other in mere seconds.
"I don't think I've ever seen anyone fly that fast!" John gaped, "And I've been to loads of Puddlemere matches!"
"Well, that would explain it," Matt smirked.
"Puddlemere has plenty of fast fliers!" John shouted, "It's you who's probably never seen anyone fly fast, what with you being a Cannons fan...."
Matt rolled his eyes. "She's fast because of what she is."
Albus nodded. He kind of figured that. It didn't seem fair, though. None of the other teams had a vampire for a Seeker. James obviously wasn't a vampire and Albus doubted the New York Seeker was one either. He was a lot slower than Linda. It seemed like there should be some sort of rule that would prevent Linda from being on the Australian team. Although, Albus wasn't sure Kendrick and Roberts knew Linda was a vampire.
"New York scores!" Smith shouted, "40-20 New York!"
Linda may have been fast, but New York seemed to have better Chasers. Their style of playing reminded Albus of how he played with his cousins. When Albus played with Heather and Fred, it was almost like they shared a brain.
All of a sudden, Linda shot across the pitch, from the Australian goals to the bottom of the New York goals. Albus stood up and watched the New York Seeker flew after her, but was meters behind. Linda dove for the ground and flew back into the air clutching something in her hand.
"Is that?" John began.
"The Snitch?" Kaden gaped.
"It is," Albus stared as the two teams descended to the ground. It had only been fifteen minutes since the match started!
"Linda Morales of Australia has caught the Snitch!" Smith announced, "Australia wins 170-40!"
"That was the quickest game of Quidditch I've ever seen," John said.
Everyone agreed. Albus had never seen anyone catch the Snitch that fast before. If the other matches were like this one, Australia was going to have the competition in the bag.
"I'm guessing this match won't be followed by a party in the common room?" Kaden asked as the boys got up from their seats.
"Probably not," Albus laughed, "Hogwarts didn't play, so we've really got nothing to celebrate."
"Linda's in Gryffindor, though," John pointed out.
"Yeah, but I'm betting most of the Gryffindors are going to be a bit upset at Linda's seeking skills. I mean, James is good, but even he's going to have problems going up against Linda. I think she'd even give Teddy a run for his money," Albus pointed out.
"James can beat her," John said confidently as they began the journey back to school, "He's a brilliant Seeker."
"But she's faster," Albus sighed.
"She's bound to slip up eventually," Kaden said hopefully.
Albus certainly hoped so. Maybe the Beaters could just constantly pelt her with Bludgers throughout the whole match so she wouldn't have a chance to find the Snitch.
They continued to walk alongside the forest on their way to the castle. The hair on the back of Albus's neck bristled and he looked quickly over his shoulder. It felt like someone was watching him. He stopped in his tracks and looked into the forest. He saw a dark figure jump behind a tree. Someone was in there.
"Why'd you stop, Albus?" Kaden asked.
"There's someone in the forest," Albus whispered.
"Hagrid?" Matt asked.
"No," Albus shook his head, "Too small to be Hagrid."
"We should go find out who it is," John announced.
"Are you mental?" Matt said, "Whoever's in there could be a murderer or something!"
Albus wasn't sure about that, but he was sure that he was curious. He wanted to know who was lurking about the forest after a Quidditch match.
"Maybe we should," Albus said.
Matt sighed. "Albus, you're supposed to be the sane one."
"I want to go see who it is," Kaden said.
"It's the Forbidden Forest!" Matt groaned, "Forbidden! If we get caught, we'll be in huge trouble! Look at everyone walking around. Someone is going to catch us."
That was a good point. But at the same time, Albus really wanted to know who it was. He couldn't just stand there and not go find out who the mysterious figure was....
"Al," a voice said from behind him.
Albus jumped and turned around. His dad was standing there, looking at him curiously. "Oh, hi Dad."
"What are you doing?" Harry asked.
"Er, there's someone in the forest," Albus replied.
Harry peered into the forest and then turned back to Albus with a grim look on his face. "Thanks for letting me know, Al. I'll check it out. I want all four of you to go back to the castle and go straight to Gryffindor Tower."
"Who do you think it is?" Albus asked. His dad seemed rather worried.
"I have a few guesses," Harry replied, "If it's anyone important, I'll let you know."
Albus nodded and started to walk back to the castle with his friends. He glanced back at his dad and saw his Patronus running in the opposite direction. A few people were pointing at it and whispering.
"Who do you think it is?" Kaden asked.
Albus shrugged. "Dunno. I mean, the only people I can think of are Washburn and Willinson, but they haven't been sighted in months."
"It's got to be one of them," John said, "Why else would your dad get so worried about it?"
"But he couldn't even see who it was," Matt pointed out, "It might turn out to be nothing."
"Scary, though," Kaden shivered, "One of them coming back. I mean, I've never met either of them, but if they're anything like Quinton...."
"Don't worry," Albus assured him, "We'll just go back to the common room and we'll be fine."
The boys hurried back into the castle and up to Gryffindor Tower. Most of the people around them were talking about the match, but Albus overheard a few people talking about his dad's Patronus.
The Gryffindor common room was packed when they entered it. There was a very large group of people in the middle shouting about Quidditch and Albus had no doubt that Linda was in the middle of it, even if she didn't want to be. Albus didn't see Rose or Amanda anywhere and figured they were with Linda. Albus had a fleeting thought that he needed to tell them about what he saw, but decided not to since Rose wasn't speaking with him. He just didn't feel like telling her anything important while she was still giving him the silent treatment. He was starting to feel a bit dejected that it had been going on so long.
Albus and his friends found a table and sat down. They were quickly joined by Lily, Hugo, and Ashtyn.
"Can you believe she caught the Snitch that fast?" Lily asked.
"That was incredible," Albus agreed, "But she's going to make it hard to beat Australia."
"I'll say," Hugo sighed, "Everyone is trying to figure out how she's so fast. Fred thought she had some sort of special broom, but she denied it."
"Well, she obviously wouldn't admit to that," Ashtyn rolled her eyes.
"Maybe Rose could ask her," Lily suggested.
"I doubt Rose would do that," Albus muttered.
"Are you still rowing with her?" Lily asked.
"Er, yeah," Albus said.
"Why? Nobody's told me what your row was even about," Lily huffed.
"It's not your business, Lily," Albus sighed.
"Come on," Lily whined, "I'm your sister."
"And I don't tell you everything," Albus said, "So give it a rest."
"Can I have everyone's attention?" someone shouted from the portrait hole.
Albus looked up and saw Neville standing there. Everyone immediately quieted down. Teachers rarely went into the common room. In fact, the only time they did was when something bad happened or when Gryffindor had a spectacular Quidditch win.
"I don't want anyone leaving the common room for now," Neville said in an unusually strict tone.
"What's going on?" Georgia asked.
"Someone was spotted near Hogsmeade and in the forest," Neville replied.
"Who?" Fred asked.
"The Aurors don't want us to disclose that information yet," Neville said, "I'll be back when we know more."
Neville left and the common room erupted into whispers. Albus turned to his friends, who had all turned a few shades lighter after hearing Neville's announcement.
"It's got to be," Matt whispered, "They wouldn't shut us in if it wasn't someone dangerous."
Albus nodded and swallowed hard. He knew he was perfectly safe in the common room, but couldn't help feeling a bit scared.
"I bet it's Washburn!" someone shouted from across the common room.
"Who's Washburn?" one of the first years piped up.
"Evil Charms teacher," someone replied.
"Yeah!" Ashtyn said, "He tried to kill my brother!"
"Mine, too!" Lily put in.
"And he tried to kill my sister," Hugo added.
Lily, Ashtyn, and Hugo started telling the other first year what had happened to Albus and his friends. Albus groaned and shook his head as all four eleven year olds watched him.
"Wish we could go to the room," Albus muttered.
"Let's go to the dormitory," John suggested, "I'll bet it's empty."
The boys left the common room (much to the dismay of Lily, Hugo, Ashtyn, and their growing group of on-lookers) and went up to Albus's dormitory, which was thankfully empty.
Albus, Matt, and John all sat on their beds and Kaden sat on the foot of Albus's. None of them said a word. Albus supposed that deep down in his mind he knew Washburn would come back, but he tried not to think about it. He figured Washburn was after the Resurrection Stone. That meant he wouldn't try and break into the castle, didn't it?
No, it didn't. Albus's gaze fell upon his trunk, where the Invisibility Cloak resided. If Washburn still wanted to unite the Hallows, he'd need that cloak. Albus gulped. Washburn was going to try and break into the castle. Albus didn't know when, but he knew it would happen at some point.
Harry never returned to the castle to tell Albus what had happened. Neville came back to the common room an hour or so later and told everyone they were free to leave if they wanted to, but he didn't disclose any details. Albus and his friends stayed in the common room, hoping Harry would eventually find Albus, but he never did.
The Great Hall was filled with much more chatter than was normal on Monday morning. Albus and his friends sat down at the Gryffindor table and James immediately passed Albus a copy of the Daily Prophet.
"They didn't catch him," James said as he tossed Albus the paper.
Albus took it and all four boys read the front page article at the same time.
[b]Washburn Sighted in Hogsmeade; Mysterious Man Sighted in Forest[/b]
[i]Jameson Washburn, wanted for torturing underage
students and the illegal use of Legilimency on an
underage student, was sighted by an anonymous witch
in Hogsmeade yesterday afternoon.
The sighting took place a few hours after the first
Quidditch match in the tournament between Hogwarts,
the Australian School of Sorcery, and the Adirondack
Academy of Magic. The anonymous witch stated that
'a man ran from behind the Hog's Head up towards the
hills. He looked like Washburn.'
Harry Potter, Head of the Auror Department, was on the
Hogwarts grounds at the time and reported quickly to
the scene. No signs of Washburn were found and Potter
is sure he had Disapparated quickly.
Potter had previously been investigating the Forbidden
Forest, after receiving a tip from a student that
someone had been lurking around. Nobody was found.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry went into
lock down after the supposed sighting of Washburn.
Students were not informed about the situation. The
Auror Department has not said whether additional
protection will be given to the school. Currently, an
Auror is assigned to the school at all times, after the
kidnapping of a student by Quinton Willinson (currently
residing in Azkaban) last Spring.
'We don't want people to worry. We're not even sure
whether either sighting was actually Washburn or not,'
Potter told reporters.[/i]
Albus set down the paper and turned to look at his friends. There was no doubt in his mind that that man in the forest had been Washburn. He had gotten away again. For someone who seemed incompetent at just about everything, Washburn certainly was good at escaping.
"I wonder where he's hiding," John said, "I mean, he's probably somewhere around here, you'd think?"
"I bet he Apparated someplace far away," Albus replied, "He's not going to want to stick around and get caught."
"Yeah, that's true," John said, "But I bet he'll be back."
"Probably," Albus agreed, "Willinson might even go with him. I wonder where he is."
"I hope he's far away from here," Matt said, "We'd better get to class."
Albus was happy that they had Care of Magical Creatures first because he would be able to continue talking about Washburn as they observed firecrabs.
"You don't think they'll cancel the Hogsmeade trips, do you?" John asked once they had walked a safe distance away from the Slytherins.
"I dunno," Albus shrugged, "They didn't cancel them when Sirius escaped from Azkaban."
"I hope they won't," John said, "They could just have Aurors patrolling the village. That'll keep Washburn away."
"There are already Aurors patrolling the school," Matt pointed out, "So I'm sure they'll be patrolling Hogsmeade now, too."
"Just as long as they don't bring any dementors here, I'll be happy," Albus shivered. He had never actually seen a dementor, but he knew enough about them to fear them.
"Well, that didn't exactly work out well when Sirius had escaped, did it?" John replied.
"I know, but still...." Albus's voice trailed off.
"Dementors don't even guard Azkaban anymore, so I don't see why they would get sent here," John said as he stopped his firecrab from escaping.
"I wonder where they went," Albus pondered, "I've never seen one."
"Me neither," John shook his head, "But that's a good point. What did happen to them all?"
"That's one thing my dad never told me," Albus shrugged.
"I've never seen one either," Matt shivered, "But my dad has. He's had to deal with them at work-"
"So he knows where they were sent?" John interrupted.
"No," Matt shook his head, "He dealt with them in Australia. There are a lot of them on the outback. There's hardly anyone living around there, so every once in a while, they'll descend on some tiny town they come upon. Then some witch or wizard reports it and my dad or someone else from his office would have to go clear them out."
"That would be a horrible job," John said quietly.
"He hated it," Matt replied, "He'd come home all shaky and depressed and Mum would feed him loads of chocolate. Then they'd go talk by themselves. He refused to tell me and Amy what he hears when he comes across dementors, though. Amy asked loads of times, but he never told."
"My dad won't tell me what he hears either," Albus said, "It's got to be awful."
"Neither of my parents have ever seen dementors," John said, "I think my parents lead relatively normal lives compared to yours."
"No one in my family leads a normal life," Albus laughed.
"Mine either," Matt agreed.
"Well, hopefully your dad will catch Washburn and Willinson and then you can have a somewhat normal life, Albus," John said.
"Maybe," Albus shrugged.
"As for me, I like a little excitement in life," John grinned.
"You can have all of mine," Albus laughed.
"Mine, too," Matt smirked.
"Nah," John shook his head, "I'll make my own."
Joined: 28 December 2006
Location: Going through LeakyCon withdrawal
Posted: Thursday 5 November 2009 02 50 20 pm Post subject: Re: Albus potter and the Path Left Untrodden in topic:Albus potter and the Path Left Untrodden
Chapter 8: The Incident With the Giant Squid
The remainder of the week went by quickly. Albus spent all his spare time on the Quidditch pitch, trying to hone his skills for the try-outs on Saturday. Unfortunately, the Slytherin Quidditch team booked the pitch all Friday evening, so Albus was unable to cram in a last minute practice session.
Instead, Albus sat in the common room with the rest of his friends, trying to write an essay for Transfiguration. He was supposed to research a famous Animagi and write a foot long essay about him or her. Albus had wanted to write about his grandfather, but given the fact that Prongs's Animagus status had been a secret, Albus didn't think such an essay would work. So, Albus eventually decided to write about McGonagall. He had a feeling half the class would write about her.
"What are McGonagall's markings?" John asked, proving Albus's theory.
"Spectacle marks around her eyes," Albus answered as he stared at his mostly blank piece of parchment.
"Thanks," John grinned, "You just saved me fifteen minutes of research."
"No problem," Albus replied. He wasn't sure why the essay was taking him so long. He knew a great deal about McGonagall and her Animagus capabilities. He supposed he just had his mind on other things, like the Quidditch try-outs.
"How can she even concentrate on her studying?" Rose sighed loudly.
"Who?" Albus asked.
"Linda Morales," Rose muttered, with a hint of contempt in her voice, "Just look at her."
Albus turned around and saw Linda sitting at a table with a bunch of books and parchment strewn about it. There was quite a crowd of boys surrounding her, including Bilius, Ethan, James, Ben, Cedric, Nathan, and a few second years Albus didn't know the names of. They all seemed to be talking at once while Linda had her eyes fixed on one of the books.
"Well, from what you've said, she's so freakishly smart she doesn't need to study," Kaden said.
"Humph," Rose huffed, "Everyone needs to study."
"I think you're jealous, Rose," Albus smirked.
"Am not," Rose replied.
"I wonder what position she plays," John mused.
"What?" Albus asked.
"Position. You know, in Quidditch," John explained, "She must be on the Australian team. Since she's our age, she can't be on the dueling team."
"Seeker," Rose said.
"How do you know?" Albus asked.
"Karina asked her one day in the dormitory," Rose explained.
"Who's a Seeker?" Matt dropped his bag onto the table and sat down in the chair next to Albus.
"Linda Morales," Albus told him, "How was your boggart lesson?"
"Weird," Matt replied, "Balladanis wasn't stern like he is in class."
"Really?" Kaden gaped, "I don't think I could imagine him not strict."
"Yeah. I wouldn't say he was nice, but he didn't act like he does in class."
"What did he do?" John asked.
"Well, I walked in and he was sitting at his desk. So I walked up to him and he got up and went over to the trunk. He didn't say much, just told me to battle the boggart. And then I did. Over and over again until I thought I was going to go mad."
"That sounds like Balladanis," Kaden interrupted.
"I know," Matt replied, "I'm getting there. Anyway, eventually he told me I could stop. Then he told me to sit down and that he wanted to talk to me. He basically told me the same thing he told everyone in class the other day. But he changed it a bit."
Matt lowered his voice. "He said that the point of Defense class wasn't only to learn how to defend ourselves against the dark arts. He said it's also to teach us why the dark arts are so horrible. He then went on to tell me that it was especially important for me to know that."
"That is weird," Albus said quietly, "You don't think he said that because of, well, you know."
"Yeah, I think he did," Matt replied, "But he didn't say it in a mean way or anything. It was just really really odd."
"I'll say," John agreed, "Do you have to go there again?"
"Unfortunately, yes," Matt muttered, "He wants me to go every Friday until he says I don't have to anymore."
"How did it go with the boggart, though?" Rose asked.
"I thought it went ok. I mean, I'm doing better than I was. But he still wants me to go in for extra help."
"Well," Kaden said after a few moments, "This just proves that Balladanis is a very very strange teacher."
Albus awoke riddled with nerves the next morning. It reminded him of the nerves he had only one year ago prior to the Gryffindor team try-outs. Only this was ten times worse. He felt like he'd eaten a few live pygmy puffs and they were bouncing around his stomach trying to escape.
Try-outs were to be held shortly after lunch and Albus spent all morning talking with his fellow Gryffindor teammates in the common room. Georgia spent over an hour talking about the strengths and weaknesses of the other people who would be trying out. Albus only sort of paid attention. The rest of the team seemed excited and not nearly as nervous as Albus. Albus thought James was lucky; he was only competing against Lisa Galivant of Hufflepuff and Miranda Corner of Ravenclaw, as Slytherin was getting a new Seeker that year.
Albus sat with his team at lunch, although he didn't eat much. Georgia continued talking about everything they'd need to know for the try-outs. The other Gryffindors kept coming up to him and wishing him luck. All Albus could manage to do was nod and mutter 'thanks'.
In an effort to keep order on the Quidditch pitch, the headmaster had banned the rest of the students from watching the try-outs. Albus was very grateful of this and was kind of relieved when Georgia finally announced that they should leave for the pitch. Albus's friends wished him luck and he left the Great Hall following James.
The walk to the pitch was quiet. Georgia had stopped her running commentary on the strategy of the rest of the Hogwarts Quidditch players and everyone else seemed to realize they were more nervous than they thought.
Albus took a deep breath as he entered the pitch and adjusted his broom on his shoulder. He tried to think positive thoughts and followed his team onto the pitch. Then, he stopped in his tracks and felt his jaw drop to the ground.
Standing in the middle of the pitch, next to Professors Oteski, Longbottom, Slughorn, Patil, and Polo, was none other than Teddy Lupin. Standing with Teddy and the professors were Oliver Wood and Tyler Pike, the Head Boy from Albus's first year.
"What's Teddy doing here?" James whispered.
"No idea," Albus whispered back, wondering the same thing. Why was Teddy there? He hadn't mentioned anything over the summer about doing anything at Hogwarts that year.
Albus stood with his team and looked at the rest of the students who were trying out. The Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff players were already there. Amongst the Ravenclaws were Kate Waverly, the Keeper; Natalie Cable, Damien Waverly, and Dan Burke, the Chasers; Zack Valentino and Allie Davis, the Beaters; Miranda Corner, the Seeker. Their entire team was trying out, like the Gryffindor team.
The Hufflepuffs had a few less players trying out. Their Keeper, Tanner Royce was there, along with Anna Reilly and Shawn Ames, the Chasers. One of their Beaters, Andy Kaper was there. Albus remembered that their other Beater had graduated the previous year. Lisa Galivant, their Seeker, was there as well, looking determined.
The Slytherins showed up a few minutes later. Leading them was their new captain, Ferris Fielding, who was a Chaser. His fellow Chasers were Peyton Haines and Hailey Odele. Their remaining Beater, Talan Flint, glared at the Gryffindor team as he walked by.
Professor Oteski gazed around the pitch and then looked at his watch. He said something to the four heads of houses and then cleared his throat. Albus stopped watching the Slytherins and turned to Oteski.
"I think everyone's here now," Oteski began, "First, I want to introduce you to your Head Captain and your Assistant Captains. Oliver Wood, formerly of Puddlemere United, has agreed to captain the team."
There was a very loud round of applause and a few whistles from the crowd of students. Albus grinned and clapped until the applause began to quiet down.
"And your Assistant Captains are former students you probably all remember. Teddy Lupin, former Seeker and Captain of the Gryffindor team, and Tyler Pike, former Seeker and Captain of the Ravenclaw team will be your Assistant Captains."
Albus clapped hard enough to make his hands hurt. He had no idea Teddy was going to help run the Hogwarts team! Teddy must have had a hard time keeping that a secret over the summer.
"You will all try out this afternoon and I, along with your captains and heads of houses will make the decisions tonight. The final list of the team as well as the reserve players will be posted in your common rooms late tomorrow.
"Now, I thought we'd start with the Seekers. Everyone else please go sit in the stands."
Albus and the vast majority of the crowd drifted towards the stands. James, Lisa, and Miranda remained in the pitch. Miranda was a third year and Lisa was a fourth year. Albus thought James had a pretty good chance of making the team. He had beaten both of the other Seekers numerous times.
Albus paid some attention to James's try-out, but mostly he was thinking about his own try-out. Eventually, James and the other Seekers finished and Oteski called for the Keepers. Georgia practically ran down to the pitch, followed by the other two Keepers. Albus watched and he was pretty confident Georgia would make the team as well. After Georgia returned with a huge grin on her face, Oteski called the Beaters down. Albus's cousin, Bradley, as well as Ryan O'Malley did well with their try-out, but so did the other Beaters.
Finally, Oteski announced for the Chasers to enter the pitch. Albus stood up with his cousins, Heather and Fred, and walked nervously down to the pitch. Teddy flashed him a grin as he entered the pitch.
There were ten other Chasers besides Albus; the worst chances of all the positions to get a spot on the team.
"Ok, I want everyone to fly around the pitch a few times," Oliver Wood announced.
Albus mounted his broom and flew into the air. His nerves seemed to calm down as he felt the wind blowing against his face. Just think of it as another Quidditch match, he thought as he flew amongst the other Chaser hopefuls.
The thought of try-outs being like a Quidditch match carried Albus through the whole try-out. He was still nervous and did drop a few Quaffles, but all in all, it wasn't as bad as he thought it would have been. The rest of the Chasers had dropped a few Quaffles as well. Albus still wasn't sure he'd make the team, but at least he hadn't made a fool of himself.
"Everyone did great," Oliver Wood said at the end of the try-out, "We'll make our decision and post the team list tomorrow. I'll be seeing some of you really soon."
The group started to disband and Teddy made his way towards the Gryffindor team.
"Teddy!" Georgia shouted, "I can't believe you might be my captain again! How in the name of Merlin did you keep this a secret?"
Teddy shrugged. "Honestly, I'm not even sure. I guess I kind of liked knowing something you lot didn't."
Georgia groaned. "Oh, shut it, Teddy."
"You all did really well, though," Teddy grinned.
"Yeah, but there's so many other Chasers," Albus pointed out.
"Al, even if you don't make it, you're a brilliant Chaser and you'll still have the house Quidditch. That's still going on during this whole thing."
"Oi, Teddy!" Tyler Pike called, "Get a move on, we've got to discuss the team!"
"I'll see you later, Al, everyone else," Teddy waved as he left.
Albus left the pitch with the rest of his team, who were all talking animatedly about the highlights of the try-outs. Albus was thrilled that Teddy was going to be one of the captains and it made him hope for a spot on the team even more than he had before.
Albus and the rest of the Gryffindor Quidditch team were greeted by raucous applause when they returned to the common room. Albus thought it was kind of premature, since none of them were actually on the team yet, but it was still nice. Rose, Matt, and Amanda were sitting at their usual table and Albus went over to them.
"How was the try-out?" Matt asked immediately.
"Better than I thought," Albus replied as he sat down, "I think I have a slight chance of making it."
"That's good," Matt grinned.
"Oh, and Teddy's one of the captains!" Albus told them.
"Really?" Rose said, "Who are the others?"
"Tyler Pike, the Head Boy from our first year, and Oliver Wood-"
"John is going to be thrilled when he finds that out," Matt interrupted.
Albus grinned. Oliver Wood had gone to Slughorn's Christmas party in their first year and John had given him a Quaffle to sign. John was a big supporter of Oliver Wood and Puddlemere United.
"Where is John anyway?" Albus asked, "And Kaden?"
"In the Marauder's Den," Matt answered, "Plotting. They're planning on swimming in the lake tomorrow with the Giant Squid."
"I'm rather afraid of what sort of plotting they're doing," Rose muttered, "If swimming requires plotting, nothing good will come of it."
"I take it you three don't want to join them?" Albus laughed.
"Definitely not," Amanda said.
"Are you insane, Albus?" Rose raised her eyebrows, "Of course not."
"Nope," Matt shook his head, "I'd rather not get in trouble this soon into the year."
"Yeah," Albus agreed, "I don't want to either." Albus and his friends had gotten into quite a bit of trouble, mostly because of Kaden, the previous year and Albus was hoping he'd keep Filch's detentions to a minimum this year.
"The two of them are going to be in detention more often than they're not," Rose muttered.
"That wouldn't surprise me," Albus replied. John had always been the trouble-maker of Albus's group, even before Kaden entered the scene. And then when Kaden had arrived, nothing was going to stop him. Now John had someone to conspire with for all of his mischievous schemes.
Although Albus and Matt flat out refused to swim in the lake with John and Kaden, the two mischievous boys managed to convince them to at least watch by the side of the lake. However, Rose and Amanda refused to be anywhere near the lake when this took place. Rose insisted that she needed to devote the day to studying and Amanda decided to join her. Albus had a feeling Rose's increased amount of studying had a lot to do with Linda Morales, but knew better than to mention this to his cousin.
John and Kaden walked excitedly ahead of Albus and Matt on their way out of the castle the next day. Albus still had no idea what exactly they were planning on doing, and for that he was grateful. If John and Kaden got caught, Albus preferred to not know anything about it, so he could deny his involvement.
There were a few students sitting around the lake enjoying the warm late summer day when the boys arrived. Albus and Matt chose a spot underneath a large beech tree and sat back to watch the event unfold.
John and Kaden grinned at each other and then pulled off their shirts and shoes, so they were only wearing shorts. A few first year girls who were sitting near Albus and Matt giggled and began whispering to each other. Albus turned to Matt and rolled his eyes. Matt stifled a laugh.
"This isn't going to end well," Albus said.
"But it will be entertaining to watch," Matt laughed.
John and Kaden began to obnoxiously stretch by the edge of the water. Albus had a feeling they were doing it only to try and gain the attention of the few students who weren't watching them. Next, they bent down to the water and felt the temperature.
"Bloody hell!" John shouted, "It's freezing!"
"That means we'll just jump right in!" Kaden announced. He turned around and walked away, and then took a running start into the lake. He landed with a loud splash that soaked John, who was still standing by the edge.
"They're mad," Albus grinned.
"All right, here it goes!" John shouted and followed Kaden into the water, "Merlin, that's cold!"
Albus laughed as John and Kaden got used to the water. The two of them were flailing around and shrieking like little girls. They had gained quite a few on-lookers who were standing around the lake laughing their heads off.
Albus may not have wanted to do something this crazy himself, but he was having a good time watching his friends do it. The two of them got used to the water and then began swimming around.
However, merely swimming in the Black Lake wasn't that exciting. Albus knew they had something else up their sleeves (or lack thereof) and it was only a matter of time until they put their plan into action.
John and Kaden were just beginning to have a contest to see who could remain underwater the longest when a long tentacle appeared out of the water a few feet behind them.
"Ooo!" a girl shouted, "It's the squid!"
Both John and Kaden turned around. "Yes!" they both shouted at the same time, "The squid has arrived!"
Albus watched as John and Kaden swam towards the tentacle, wondering what sort of torment they were going to inflict upon the squid. He didn't think the squid was particularly dangerous, but who knew what it would do if it was provoked.
John and Kaden treaded water on either side of the tentacle and then began to tickle it. This earned a bunch of loud gasps and more hysterical laughter from the crowd.
A few more of the squid's tentacles appeared out of the water and two of them smacked John and Kaden on their heads.
"Hey!" John shouted and pushed the tentacle away.
Then, the squid's head emerged from the surface of the water. A few of the younger girls who were watching began to shriek and the older students laughed even harder. Albus was laughing and shaking his head at the same time. He couldn't help but laugh at his friends' stupidity. They should have known that the squid would try and tickle back. And it had more arms than John and Kaden combined.
John and Kaden grinned at each other and then swam towards the back of the squid as it rose out of the water. They grabbed onto its back and began to ride it. Albus gaped as the squid began to swim around with John and Kaden on top of it. The two of them had actually decided to ride the Giant Squid.
"They're idiots," Matt commented.
Albus nodded as the squid swam closer and closer to the shore. The onlookers retreated and scattered as it drew nearer. John and Kaden both looked thrilled, until the squid propelled them onto the shore. They landed in the grass and the squid returned into the murky depths of the lake.
Albus jumped up and ran towards John and Kaden, followed by Matt. He squeezed his way through the crowd and looked down at his two friends.
"Urgh," John groaned as he sat up, rubbing his head.
"That was incredibly stupid," Albus grinned, "And very entertaining."
"Let's do it again!" Kaden said excitedly as he examined his arm, which was bleeding.
"How can you actually want to do it again when the squid threw you five feet into the air?" Matt asked.
"It was fun," Kaden shrugged.
"Move aside!" a female voice shouted.
The crowd immediately dispersed and people ran towards the castle and to other areas of the grounds.
Albus looked up and saw Professor Patil striding towards them. Albus groaned. He knew they wouldn't get away with this.
"I've just been informed that the two of you were riding the Giant Squid!" Patil shouted at John and Kaden, "Is that true?"
"Er-" John began.
"Well..." Kaden said.
"Of course it is!" Patil replied, "Look at you! I'm very disappointed! I thought it was a given not to swim in that lake and the fact that you provoked the squid..." she shook her head, "Well, you two will need to go to the Hospital Wing and then I'll assign you detention."
John and Kaden stood up and nodded. The thrill that had been on their faces just moments before, was completely gone.
"And what about you two?" Patil said to Albus and Matt, "Were you involved? I see you're both dry, but I've noticed that the four of you are always getting in trouble together."
"They didn't do it, Professor," Kaden announced.
"Yeah," John agreed, "They didn't even know what we were going to do."
Albus felt a surge of gratitude for his friends, especially Kaden. Just a year ago, Kaden had been getting all four of them in trouble for things only he had done. Now, he was actually telling teachers that Albus wasn't involved. True, Albus hadn't been involved, but it was the principle of it.
Patil nodded. "All right. Mr. Brickston, Mr. Dursley, you'll need to follow me. Mr. Potter and Mr. Eckerton, you may return to your common room."
Albus didn't need to be told twice. He and Matt took off towards the castle and once they were out of earshot of Patil, started talking about John and Kaden's adventure.
"I think the two of them could single handedly cause the destruction of the entire castle," Albus laughed.
"It's only a matter of when they'll do it," Matt smirked, "Let's see, Kaden's already tormented the Whomping Willow, and now they've tormented the Giant Squid. What'll be next?"
"Filch's new cat?" Albus suggested.
"Filch would love that," Matt replied.
At some point in between the end of the last year and the start of this one, Filch had obtained another cat. Albus had heard stories about his previous cat, Mrs. Norris, from his parents, aunts, and uncles, but had never actually met her. She had died before Albus was born. Apparently Filch had been so overcome by grief that he hadn't gotten another one, until now.
The new cat, Josie, was a young sprightly kitten, whose only resemblance to Mrs. Norris was her uncanny ability to locate students who were breaking rules. All the students took an immediate dislike to Josie and turned in the other direction when they saw her small orange body emerge from around the corner.
People were already talking about John and Kaden's swim in the lake when Albus and Matt entered the Gryffindor common room. Albus had a feeling it would be weeks before anyone forgot about it.
Albus and Matt spotted Rose and Amanda and sat down at their table. It was spread with numerous books and rolls of parchment and quills. The only other table that rivaled its amount of books was the one Linda Morales was sitting at.
"I take it you've heard about John and Kaden's incident with the squid?" Albus asked.
"Bits and pieces," Rose muttered without looking up.
Albus and Matt launched into the entire story and Amanda was in stitches by the time they finished.
"Those two are going to be expelled if they're not careful," Rose said as she frantically scribbled something onto a roll of parchment.
Albus looked curiously at his cousin. Rose had always been a stickler for homework, but never had he seen her this obsessed with it unless it was right before the end of term exams. And this was only the first week of school.
"Rose, why don't you take a break?" Albus suggested. He was actually kind of worried about her. Studying was good, but too much was kind of unhealthy.
"Can't," Rose muttered, "My Potions essay is only a roll and a half of parchment."
Albus gaped at her, "Rose, you do know that Slughorn only wants a half a roll, right?"
Rose nodded. "Yeah, but Janie said that Linda's essay is already two rolls. So I've got to make mine at least that long."
"Rose," Albus sighed, "Your essay doesn't have to be longer than Linda's."
"Yes, it does," Rose insisted.
Albus sighed and sat back in his chair. He knew it was a lost cause. His cousin had that determined look in her eyes and Albus knew there was no convincing her that she didn't have to be so competitive with Linda.
"I think she studies so much because she doesn't really have any friends here," Amanda said quietly.
"What?" Albus looked at her incredulously. At any given moment, Linda was surrounded by at least five other people. She was easily the most popular of all the Australian students. "Look at her! She's got eight people talking to her at once!"
Amanda groaned. "They're not her friends. They just think she's pretty. She doesn't even want them around. They do all the talking. All she does is sit there and study. Plus, ever notice how she's never around any of the other Australian students?"
Albus looked at Linda again. Amanda was right. Linda wasn't actually talking to any of the students around her. And come to think of it, he hadn't seen her talk to any of the other Australian students either. "Wonder why that is?"
Amanda shrugged. "Well, all the other Australian students are a lot older than her. All her friends are probably still in Australia."
"She could befriend any of those blokes near her," Albus pointed out.
"Again, they're only there because they think she's pretty," Amanda sighed, "But she's really really quiet. Her first night here, she didn't say a word in the dormitory. Now, Janie's really the only one she talks to. I mean, being shy is one thing, but never talking at all?"
Albus turned to Linda once again. It was kind of odd for her never to talk to anyone, besides the teachers. It was like the only thing she wanted to do was study. Her obsession with homework seemed to be ten times that of Rose's and Albus wasn't sure if Rose could keep up.
Joined: 28 December 2006
Location: Going through LeakyCon withdrawal
Posted: Wednesday 28 October 2009 05 20 39 pm Post subject: Re: Albus potter and the Path Left Untrodden in topic:Albus potter and the Path Left Untrodden
Chapter 7: Nightmare
After lunch, Albus, Rose, and Matt headed to Ancient Runes while John and Amanda went to Divination. Albus didn't really know what to expect from Ancient Runes, nor did he know anything about the teacher. Matt had told them that Amy said the teacher was nice enough.
Albus, Rose, and Matt sat down at one of the tables in the middle of the room and waited for the teacher. Linda Morales was already seated at one of the front tables. Albus wondered how she always seemed to be the first to arrive to any class. There was also an assortment of Hufflepuffs in the room. Albus, Rose, Matt, and Linda appeared to be the only Gryffindors taking the class, though.
The professor walked in a few minutes later. She was a short woman with curly grey hair and a patient look on her face.
"Hello," she smiled, "I'm Professor Sturly."
She took attendance and then gave a lengthy lecture about what the study of Ancient Runes was. Albus kind of thought she could have condensed it and he found himself zoning out about halfway through. Rose was paying rapt attention and Albus had a feeling this would become one of her favorite classes.
Towards the end of the class, Sturly gave an overview of the first chapter in their book and then assigned the remainder of the chapter for homework. The chapter covered a variety of basic runes that Albus and the rest of the students would have to memorize.
Charms consisted of Rose and Linda alternatively answering every question Cedonia threw at them. Albus had a feeling it would become a regular occurrence in all the classes he had with both Rose and Linda.
"How was Divination?" Albus asked his friends after dinner as they were sitting around the Marauder's Den.
"Entertaining," John laughed, "I think it'll be my easiest class."
"So, who did Trelawney say would die this year?" Rose asked.
"What?!" Kaden exclaimed, "Someone's going to die?"
"No," Rose sighed, "Trelawney just predicts someone's death every year. The student in question has never actually died during that year."
"Oh," Kaden shrugged, "So she's not a real psychic?"
"You mean a Seer?" Rose asked, "Well, she has made a few real predictions. She's the one who spoke the prophecy about Albus's dad. But can she really predict the future with crystal balls and such? I doubt it. I really doubt anyone can do that. I'm sure there are real Seers out there, but they're extremely rare. Divination is a very obscure branch of magic that is difficult to interpret. My mum says we shouldn't put much faith in it."
"I still think it would be brilliant to know the future, though," Kaden grinned.
"I don't know," Matt shrugged, "I've always thought the future was best left unknown."
"I've always thought so, too," Albus agreed.
"So, who's going to snuff it?" Kaden asked.
"Carter Eubert," John replied, "That Ravenclaw we shared a boat with when we crossed the lake in first year. I have to say that I'm relieved it wasn't me."
"Me, too," Amanda agreed.
Rose groaned. "I've told you that it's not real! Trelawney has never accurately predicted a student's death. She predicted my Uncle Harry's death and he's still alive!"
"Yeah, but didn't he nearly die at the end of his third year?" John asked.
"Key word, nearly," Rose replied, "Plus, he faced death pretty much every year."
"Ok, ok," John said, "But I'm still glad she didn't predict my death, even if it's not a real prediction."
"So how was Ancient Runes?" Amanda asked.
"Really interesting!" Rose said excitedly and proceeded to give a commentary on how the class had went. However, Kaden seemed to be the only one really intrigued by it.
Albus and his friends spent the remainder of the evening in the Marauder's Den. Once they had exhausted the topic of their first two days of classes, they moved on to the Quidditch competition and Albus's chances of making the Hogwarts team. Everyone thought Albus had a good chance of making it, except Albus. Then they talked a bit about their upcoming Hogsmeade trips, although that topic kind of made Kaden jealous. John brought up the topic of Linda Morales, but both Rose and Matt didn't want to talk about her at all.
Eventually, they had to return to Gryffindor tower in order not to break curfew. On his way up to his dormitory, Albus noticed that Linda once again was surrounded by a group of admirers, but appeared not to be enjoying it at all.
"No! I don't want to go! Dad, don't make me go!"
Albus's eyes snapped open. He peered at the clock and saw that it was just after two in the morning. He could hear someone tossing and turning and mumbling in their sleep in the bed next to him.
"Please, I don't want to. Just let me go home."
Albus was wide awake now. The talking was coming from Matt's bed and Albus knew he was having a nightmare. Albus had been woken up by Matt's nightmares on numerous occasions, especially during first year. They always seemed to come around the full moon. Although, Albus was pretty sure that the full moon wasn't for a few weeks. This nightmare sounded worse anyway.
The mumbling continued for another few minutes and then stopped all of a sudden. Albus heard the bed creak and footsteps crossing the room until they disappeared altogether. Albus sat up and waited a few minutes before quietly getting out of bed. He stepped into his slippers and padded across the room and carefully shut the door behind him. None of the other boys had woken up.
The common room was dark and empty when Albus got there. The fire had long since died out and Albus shivered slightly as he stumbled around the room. There was faint wand light coming from one of the corners. Albus walked slowly towards it and saw Matt sitting curled up in one of the chairs, staring at the floor.
Matt startled when he saw Albus. "Oh, Albus," he sighed, "What are you doing up?"
Albus shrugged and sat down in the chair next to Matt's. "Followed you down here."
"Oh, did I wake you up?"
"Sort of," Albus replied, "But it's ok. I just came to see if you were all right. I mean, first the boggart and then that nightmare-"
"How do you know I had a nightmare?" Matt asked.
"I sort of heard you mumbling," Albus answered, "You were talking in your sleep."
"Listen," Albus paused, "You don't have to tell me, but I was sort of wondering who that bloke was that your boggart was. I mean, I kind of thought it would be a full moon."
"So did I," Matt said quietly, "Which is part of why I freaked out so much."
Albus nodded, wondering if Matt was going to continue or not.
"I know I haven't told you much about what happened when I lived in Australia," Matt began.
Albus nodded again. All he really knew about Matt's life in Australia was that he had lived in a mansion and his dad had been the Head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.
"That bloke the boggart turned into is the current Head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures," Matt continued, "He replaced my dad. But before that, he was the Head of the Werewolf Control Unit."
Albus was still a bit confused about why he was Matt's boggart, but he figured it would be best to just not say anything.
"While my parents were in the process of finding out where to move, a law was passed that all werewolves had to transform in a Ministry approved center if their place of transformation failed an inspection. Mine failed."
"What?!" Albus gaped at him, "But your dad was-"
"The head of the department, I know. They passed the law while we were visiting New York. My parents refused to let me transform at one of the Ministry centers, so they broke the law and were fined. The first time that happened, my dad was fired over it.
"But that bloke, Ralph Lubar is his name, wouldn't give up until I transformed in one of the centers. My parents said it was because he hated my dad so much. The two of them had some sort of long term row going on or something. I don't know the details. But anyway," Matt paused, "Eventually, Lubar was able to pass a law that made it legal for the Ministry to take werewolves by force to one of the transformation centers. He flooed to our house, grabbed me, and flooed to the Ministry approved center before my parents had a chance to stop him."
Albus stared at Matt. He could hardly believe what he was hearing. What was even more unbelievable, was that it had been legal. How could it be legal to basically kidnap a kid for a night?
"I don't remember any of it," Matt said quietly, "Except for what happens in the nightmares I have. It was horrible, though. The other werewolves were all adults and they all sort of ganged up on me. I spent a day or so at the hospital in Australia and then my parents had me transferred to St. Mungo's because they wanted Healer Sterling to take care of me. I spent three weeks there."
"Well, it makes sense that you were so scared of that boggart," Albus said, "Lubar is one of the most horrible wizards I've ever heard of."
Matt nodded and shifted slightly. "I thought I was over it. I mean, it was over five years ago. I really thought that boggart would turn into a full moon. But I guess having Killigan here brought everything back. I thought all that stuff that happened in Australia was behind me, but I guess not."
"Nothing like that is going to happen here," Albus said quietly, "Lubar has no control over our Ministry. He's in Australia."
"I guess you're right," Matt sighed, "I think I'll go see if Madam Pomfrey will give me any dreamless sleep potion. Could I use the Invisibility Cloak?"
"Yeah, of course," Albus said as he stood up. He had a feeling that Madam Pomfrey would definitely give him the dreamless sleep and probably try and convince him to spend the night in the Hospital Wing as well.
Albus and Matt quietly walked back to the dormitory and Albus dug out the Cloak, as well as the second edition Marauder's Map, and handed them to Matt. Once Matt had left the room, Albus climbed back into bed.
Albus lay awake thinking about what Matt had told him for a while. His own boggart of not making the Hogwarts Quidditch team seemed very insignificant now that he knew the details about Matt's boggart. That didn't make Albus any less nervous about the try-outs, though.
Albus and the other Gryffindor third years, as well as the Ravenclaws, started out the next day with History of Magic. All Albus learned during the hour was that third year History of Magic was equally as boring as second year. Transfiguration consisted of another lecture on Animagi and Albus noticed that John paid a considerably more amount of attention than he usually did. Albus thought this was pointless, though, since they had already established the previous year that they would not become Animagi.
Care of Magical Creatures was after lunch and the class moved on to the slightly more interesting bowtruckles. Albus was very thankful for the break they had afterwards, when Rose went to Muggle Studies.
"It's only the third day and I'm already sick of homework," Albus muttered as they entered the Marauder's Den.
"So don't do it," John said as he pulled a Chocolate Frog out of his bag.
"You should do that Divination homework," Amanda said, "You know, the one where we predict what happens to us next Wednesday."
"Already did it," John announced.
Albus, Matt, and Amanda all stared in shock at John. John never ever did homework early. He was always the one finishing the last lines of an essay as the teacher took attendance.
"What?" John shrugged, "I occasionally do stuff before it's due."
"No, actually, you don't," Matt smirked.
"Divination's different. It's fun to make up fake predictions."
"So what's happening to you next Wednesday?" Amanda asked.
"I'm going to break my neck when I fall off my broom."
"John, you don't even play Quidditch," Albus pointed out.
"Trelawney won't care."
Albus personally thought it was a waste of time to come up with fake predictions for Divination, but that was probably why he hadn't signed up for the class.
"Oh, did we ever tell you what Balladanis's boggart was?" John asked Albus and Matt.
"Nope," Matt said.
Amanda burst out laughing. "You're going to love this."
"Yeah," John grinned, "When the two of you left, the boggart got a bit confused because no one was standing that close to it. Everyone was whispering and not paying an ounce of attention to it, so Balladanis stepped in front of it and you'll never guess what it turned into!"
"A werewolf?" Matt asked.
"No, but that would have been funny, too," John laughed, "Anyway, it turned into a woman."
"A woman?" Albus raised his eyebrows.
"Yeah," John said, "A tall, skinny, pale faced woman. Her skin was as pale as Linda's. Her hair was a bit lighter, but still a dark brown. The woman just sort of walked over to Balladanis with a smile on her face. She was kind of pretty in an odd sort of way."
"Now that is weird," Albus replied, "Why in the name of Merlin would he be afraid of women?"
"Maybe it was a specific woman," Matt pointed out.
That would make more sense. After all, Matt wasn't afraid of all men. His boggart had turned into a specific man. But Albus did think it was kind of odd that Balladanis, the stern man who hated Dark Arts, would be afraid of a witch. Albus would have thought he'd be afraid of some sort of scary dark creature.
"Who do you think she was?" Matt asked.
John shrugged. "His wife?"
Albus smirked. "Well, that would be funny."
"My dad jokes that he's afraid of my mum at times," John replied, "But I doubt his boggart would turn into her."
"Maybe she's some sort of dark witch that he's faced in the past," Amanda suggested.
"Good thinking!" Matt agreed, "Maybe she was a Death Eater."
"I don't know if he fought in the War or not, though," Albus said, "My dad's never mentioned his name before and he doesn't really seem like the kind of bloke to just stay in the background, does he?"
"I guess not," Matt replied, "She could still be an evil witch, though."
"That does make the most sense," John said, "She must be really evil. I mean, Balladanis doesn't seem like he'd be afraid of anything."
"Everyone's afraid of something," Albus pointed out, "But yeah, she must be evil."
"What did Balladanis do to make her funny?" Matt asked.
"Turned her into some sort of statue," John answered, "It was strange, like she was petrified. She just froze in place. And then Balladanis banished it to the trunk."
"How is that funny?" Albus asked.
"No idea," John shrugged, "Just adds to the mystery that is Balladanis."
"I'm still not sure I like him," Matt commented.
"Me, neither," Albus agreed.
"But hey, at least he didn't give us any homework on the first day," John pointed out.
The next day Albus found himself yet again sitting in the back of the Defense classroom in between Matt and John. Malfoy kept turning around in his seat and smirking at Matt. Albus was glaring at him, silently daring him to say anything about Matt's experience with the boggart.
Balladanis stormed into the room a few minutes later in a way that reminded Albus of Washburn. The class immediately quieted down and Malfoy faced forward in his seat. Balladanis quickly ran through attendance and then stared at his students.
"Well, some of you were successful with last class's boggart," Balladanis began, "However, there were quite a few of you who weren't."
Malfoy yet again turned around and looked at Matt, this time unable to stifle his laughter.
"Quiet, Mr. Malfoy," Balladanis growled, "Five points from Slytherin."
Albus couldn't help but grin at that. At least Balladanis wasn't favoring Slytherin.
"Therefore, we will continue battling the boggart until you all have success with the spell," Balldanis continued, "I do not want any of you to slip through the cracks and skate through this class on the tails of more successful students. That may work while at Hogwarts, but the moment you get out into the real world, it will abruptly end. Without a basic knowledge of defensive spells, you will meet an untimely end at the hands of dark wizards."
This teacher was making it seem like they were in the midst of a war. Albus knew it was important to be able to defend yourself, but he thought Balladanis was acting like everyone was out to get you. It kind of reminded him of what his parents, aunts, and uncles had said about Mad-Eye Moody.
"Dark wizards love finding victims with little knowledge of defensive spells. The students who skirt by with acceptable marks and just barely pass each exam, without really understanding anything. They also love people who read book after book and pretend to understand everything. And while these people may have a full knowledge of defensive spells, they may not possess the skills necessary to perform them," Balldanis's eyes rested on Rose and Linda.
"I want everyone in this room to have more than the basic skills needed to perform defensive skills. I want everyone to be able to come off better in a duel. I want everyone to be able to defend themselves against dark creatures and wizards alike.
"Starting with the boggart, I will not rest until every student is capable of performing every spell we learn in this class. I will assign extra lessons to those I deem it necessary. You will come in for extra help. I do not care if it interferes with clubs or Quidditch practice. Quidditch will be of little help when you are facing a dark wizard or creature.
"Stand up!" Balladanis ordered. The class scrambled to their feet and Balladanis moved the desks aside.
"Sir!" Malfoy called out, "What if we've already had success with the boggart?"
"Then you'll do it again," Balladanis replied, "Practice makes perfect."
The class lined up in front of the trunk. Albus and his friends wound up being in the back, and Albus didn't think Matt minded this in the least. He looked very nervous at the prospect of seeing the Lubar boggart again and Albus couldn't blame him.
The line moved much faster this time than the last class. Everyone who had had problems with the boggart during the previous class seemed to do a better job this time.
Albus stepped forward once it was his turn and the boggart once again turned into Oteski, who told him he did not make the team. Albus vaguely wondered what the boggart would turn into after the try-out, if they battled it after that. He shouted the spell and moved to the side to stand next to Rose and Amanda.
John was next and battled his clown boggart in the same way he had the other day. He stepped to the side and Matt walked slowly towards the boggart.
"Two Galleons says he runs again," Malfoy whispered in Albus's ear.
"Shut it, Malfoy," Albus and John said at the same time.
The boggart once again turned into Lubar and Matt slowly raised his wand, which was shaking.
"R-R-Ridikkulus," Matt whispered. Nothing happened and the boggart advanced towards Matt.
"Louder," Balladanis told him.
"R-Ridikkulus!" Matt shouted. Still nothing. His wand arm was shaking even harder.
"R-Ridikkulus!" he shouted once again.
This time, the boggart spun around and when it stopped, Lubar was decked out in a black and white striped prison outfit with a ball and chain attached to his right leg.
"Looks like you owe us two Galleons," John smirked at Malfoy.
"Not a chance, Brickston," Malfoy growled.
"Good job," Albus grinned as Matt joined the group.
Balladanis already had the boggart shut in the trunk when Albus looked back at his teacher.
"That's enough for today," Balladanis announced. "You," he pointed at Matt, "Come see me."
Matt glanced at Albus and then walked slowly towards Balldanis as the rest of the class left the room. Albus and his friends lingered near the doorway, but Balladanis gestured for them to leave. They reluctantly left, but waited just outside the doorway.
"What did he want?" Albus asked once Matt exited the room.
"I have to go in for extra help," Matt groaned, "Until I can face the boggart successfully."
"But you were successful," John pointed out.
"Not successful enough for Balladanis."
"Somehow, I don't think anyone would be successful enough for him," Rose muttered.
"Yeah," Albus agreed, "That was some speech he gave at the beginning of class."
Albus still didn't know what to think of their new Defense professor. He seemed very strict and Albus didn't really feel comfortable with him, but on the other hand, he seemed very knowledgeable in defensive spells. Albus had a feeling they'd learn a lot from him, and even though they weren't involved in a war at the moment, Albus knew defense skills were always important to have. That's what his father had told him ever since he could remember. Albus had grown up knowing the need for defense against the dark arts. He just had never had it taught to him in such a forceful strict way.
Joined: 28 December 2006
Location: Going through LeakyCon withdrawal
Posted: Friday 23 October 2009 05 03 13 pm Post subject: Re: Albus potter and the Path Left Untrodden in topic:Albus potter and the Path Left Untrodden
Chapter 6: Flobberworms and Boggarts
As it turned out, Albus didn't have to wait until classes to know if Linda Morales was his age or not. Rose and Amanda burst out of the girls' dormitory as Albus, Matt, and John were heading down to breakfast.
"Albus!" Rose caught up with him, "Linda is our age. She's in our dormitory."
"Really?" Albus replied, realizing that he hadn't really thought about which dormitory the new students would be in.
"Where is she now?" John asked.
"Still up there," Amanda said, "She's been in the bathroom for ages."
"Girls," John muttered, "I'll never understand them."
The group hurried down to the Great Hall and ate a quick breakfast before their first class. Neville handed out schedules and Albus saw that he had Care of Magical Creatures first.
"Blimey, this schedule is packed," John said as they headed out of the castle towards Hagrid's hut.
"Well, we are taking two extra classes now," Albus pointed out.
"Wonder who we'll have this class with," Matt said.
"With our luck, it'll be the Slytherins," Amanda groaned.
"Maybe Linda's taking this class," John said hopefully.
Amanda sighed, "You haven't even met her."
"Yeah, but this class would be the perfect time to do that!" John pointed out.
Amanda groaned and they continued their trek to Hagrid's hut. Once they got there, they saw that they were indeed with the Slytherins. Albus groaned inwardly and stood with his friends as everyone waited for Hagrid to appear.
"'Ello, everyone!" Hagrid said as he stepped out of his hut a few minutes later, "Welcome to Care o' Magical Creatures."
"Hi, Hagrid," Albus grinned.
"'Ello, Albus," Hagrid grinned back, "Now, today's lesson's abou' Flobberworms. Can anyone tell me anything abou' them?"
Flobberworms, Albus thought. Flobberworms were about the least exciting magical creatures in the world. Albus wished they were doing something a bit more exciting.
"Nobody?" Hagrid said, "Well, I know they aren't the most excitin' creatures, but we've got to start somewhere. Now, flobberworms are small white worms...."
Albus listened as Hagrid explained about flobberworms, but he didn't take any notes. Rose would have, but Albus didn't see the point. Flobberworms were pretty basic.
"Now, everyone can take a worm," Hagrid held up a box, "An' draw them into yer notes an' observe 'em."
Albus and his friends each took a worm and began the tedious task of recording the worms' every movement and sketching them. Albus thought the rest of the class was rather boring and was a bit disappointed. He had kind of been expecting Hagrid to bring in some sort of dangerous creature, like he had when his dad was at Hogwarts. Although, come to think of it, his cousins had said Hagrid had adopted a more normal curriculum.
"I wish Hagrid would bring in a dragon or something," John said as they made their way back to the castle for Transfiguration.
"He probably wishes that, too," Albus laughed.
The Transfiguration classroom was already filling up by the time Albus and his friends entered. Albus noticed that they had this class with the Hufflepuffs. Rose was already inside, sitting at her usual table in the front. Amanda quickly joined her. Linda was there as well, but she was sitting by herself at the other front desk.
"Let's go sit by Linda!" John said excitedly.
"Sure," Albus grinned and started to walk towards her table.
"Wait," Matt said, "There's only two seats. And do you really want to sit in the front?"
"Er, that's true," John said, "We'll sit behind her then."
Albus vaguely wondered why Matt so set on not sitting with Linda, but he didn't dwell on it and sat down at the table behind Linda. Patil walked in a moment later and everyone quieted down.
"For the first few classes we shall be learning about a very difficult branch of transfiguration," Patil said after she took attendance, "And it is called the Animagus Transfiguration. Can anyone tell me what that is?"
Albus smirked as Rose's hand shot into the air. Albus knew the answer, of course, but he was perfectly happy to let Rose answer.
"Yes, Miss Morales?" Patil pointed to Linda.
Albus turned away from Rose and saw that Linda had half-way raised her hand. The rest of the class was staring at her as well, probably because Rose always answered the preliminary questions in class.
"The Animagus Transfiguration is the act of transfiguring oneself into an animal," Linda answered.
"Yes, that is correct," Patil smiled.
Albus noticed that Rose was staring in shock at Linda. He had to stifle a laugh at this.
Patil went on to describe Animagi in more detail and Albus took a few notes.
"Can anyone name a registered Animagus they may have heard about in another class?" Patil asked.
Both Rose and Linda's hands shot up into the air. Patil called on Rose this time.
"Minerva McGonagall," Rose answered.
"Yes, she turns into a cat. She used to teach Transfiguration here and was the Headmistress for a few years. How about an illegal Animagus?"
Albus scribbled the words 'Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs' onto a piece of parchment and showed it to Matt and John. All three of them stifled laughter and then looked back up at Patil.
"Rita Skeeter," Rose grinned.
Patil smiled. "Yes, and it was your mother who discovered her."
The rest of the class passed by at a reasonably quick pace and once it was over, Albus and his friends went to the Great Hall for lunch.
"You've got some competition, Rose," John grinned as they walked down the corridor.
"Shut up," Rose muttered.
"She might beat you on the next test," John laughed.
"And your point is?" Rose snapped.
They walked the rest of the way in silence, as no one wanted to set Rose off even more. Albus had no idea she would get that competitive about grades. Although after two years of easily being the smartest in their year, Rose hadn't previously had any competition.
Half the Gryffindor table was roaring with laughter when they arrived for lunch. James quickly filled Albus in on the fact that Hugo had exploded his first potion earlier in the morning and was apparently quite proud of it.
"Well, you'll have no competition from him," John muttered to Rose. Rose sent him a withered look and sat down to eat.
Albus spent lunch telling Kaden about Care of Magical Creatures. Despite the fact that they learned about flobberworms, Kaden was jealous.
The third year Gryffindors had double potions after lunch, with the Slytherins again. Slughorn started the class with a review of the previous year's potions. Once again, Rose and Linda both knew the answer to every question. Then, when Slughorn had them brew a new potion, both Rose and Linda tied for best potion. Slughorn gave them each a bar of Honeyduke's chocolate. Albus was quite surprised that Linda seemed as smart as Rose. He had never met anyone his age who could compete with Rose with grades. John was right. Rose did have some competition.
"Well, time to go meet the new Defense teacher," Albus said as he finished breakfast the next morning.
"I wish your dad was still teaching," Matt sighed.
"Yeah," John agreed, "The new teacher looks like the kind of bloke who gives a lot of homework."
"You really ought to just keep an open mind," Rose commented as they left the Great Hall.
"Easy for you to say," John muttered, "You're freakishly smart."
"You have got to be kidding me!" Albus groaned as they reached the classroom, "We're with the Slytherins, again!"
"Great," Matt sighed, "Three years in a row, what are the chances of that?"
Albus led the way into the classroom. Linda Morales was already seated at one of the front tables. Rose and Amanda immediately took the other front table.
"Let's sit in the back," Matt muttered.
Albus nodded. He really didn't want to sit near the front. The teacher was already there and was wearing an unreadable expression. If he turned out to be mean, Albus preferred to be as far away as possible.
The classroom looked exactly the same as it had the year before, except for a trunk that was sitting in front of the teacher's desk.
A few more students trickled in and once the bell rang, the teacher waved his wand and the door slammed loudly. Albus jumped in surprise and snapped his attention back to the new teacher.
He walked slowly from behind his desk and stood in front of it. He was holding a piece of parchment and a quill. Albus noticed that he was wearing the same black robes, except now he noticed that there were intricately designed silver fastenings on them.
"Please raise your hand and say 'present' when I call your name," he said in a stern voice. He ran through the list, fixing each student with a piercing gaze when he called on them.
"Brilliant," he said flatly, "All here. I am Professor Balladanis, as you all know from Professor Kendrick's speech. You will address me as Professor Balladanis, or Professor, or Sir. I will not tolerate speaking out of turn or misbehavior of any kind in my classroom. I expect all homework and other assignments to be completed on time, no excuses."
Professor Balladanis began to pace back and forth in front of his desk. "As you shall discover throughout the year, I take defensive magic very seriously." He paused and glared sharply at Linda and Janie Creevey, who had sat next to Linda.
"Defensive magic is a very very important branch of magic. I would make the argument that is the most important. It can save your life. It has saved my life on numerous occasions. I have no doubt that your previous two years of instruction were very extensive and I am sure you all have a basic knowledge of defensive spells courtesy of Professor Potter."
Balladanis stopped pacing and paused before continuing his speech. "However, the third year Defense Against the Dark Arts curriculum focuses on defense against dark creatures." He turned to Albus's table and gave Albus, Matt, and John a piercing stare.
"I will be continuing the curriculum that has been used in this school since after the final battle," Balladanis continued, "I have looked over the curriculum and have deemed it satisfactory. I immensely approve of the first day's lesson for third years. I've always thought a practical approach was good for Defense, although I do expect you to carefully read your text book as well.
"In this box," Balladanis gestured to the trunk, which jumped a little as he touched it, "Lives a boggart. Can anyone tell me what a boggart is?"
Rose and Linda's hands shot up into the air. Balladanis smirked and pointed to Rose. "Yes, Miss...?"
"Weasley, sir," Rose replied, "A boggart is a shape shifter. It takes the form of whatever scares you most. No one knows what one really looks like."
Balladanis nodded. "Correct. 5 points to Gryffindor. Boggarts," he began pacing again, "Take the form of whatever scares us most. The boggart focuses on the nearest person and turns into whatever scares them.
"We will have an advantage over our boggart. There are a lot of us, which means the boggart will become confused about what to turn into. However, that is not enough. There is a necessary incantation for defeating boggarts. It is 'Riddikulus'. Repeat after me, 'Riddikulus'."
"Riddikulus," Albus said along with everyone else.
"Good," Balladanis said, although his voice wasn't exactly cheerful, "You'll also need to think of a way to turn whatever your most feared thing is into something funny. Laughter is what really finishes off a boggart. Then, think of that as you're saying the incantation. Now, take out your wands and stand up."
Albus pulled his wand out of his bag and stood up. He wasn't even sure what he was most afraid of. Snakes? No, he really didn't fear snakes. Spiders? Nope, not them either. He had no idea what that boggart was going to turn into, and that made it even scarier.
Balladanis waved his wand and all the tables and chairs moved to the sides of the classroom. "Form a line," he instructed.
Everyone pushed to be at the front of the line. Albus wound up being towards the back, behind John and in front of Matt.
"Miss Weasley," Balladanis motioned for Rose to step forward, "Perhaps you could go first."
Rose nodded and stepped out of the line. She stood in front of the trunk with her wand raised. Albus had no idea what the boggart would turn into for Rose either. Nor did he have a clue what John and Amanda's boggarts would be. He had an inkling about Matt's, though.
Balladanis stood off to the side and pointed his wand at the trunk. The lid slowly opened and out stepped...Neville. Albus gaped at the boggart.
The boggart Neville opened his mouth. "I'm sorry, Rose, you did not get the highest grades in your year. You've been beaten."
Oh, Albus thought, that kind of made sense. For a moment there, Albus actually thought Rose was afraid of Neville, which was ridiculous.
"Riddikulus!" Rose shouted.
The boggart Neville swayed, but didn't look any different. He opened his mouth again. "Rose, you have beaten everyone in the entire school! You have the best grades in the history of Hogwarts."
Albus smirked. It wasn't entirely funny, but it fit Rose perfectly.
"Interesting," Balladanis muttered, "Next!"
Rose stood off to the side and grinned as Amanda stepped forward. Albus watched as the boggart turned into a very large snake.
Amanda stared at it for a few moments and then shouted, "Riddikulus!" The snake twirled around and tied itself into a knot. Amanda, along with most of the rest of the class, burst out laughing. Amanda stepped to the side next to Rose and Janie Creevey stepped forward.
Janie's boggart turned into a giant rat, which then got transformed into tiny mouse. A few Slytherins were up after her, and then it was Linda Morales's turn.
Albus watched intently as the boggart that had previously been a dragon turn into a raging fire. Linda raised her wand and shouted, "Riddikulus!" The fire turned into a waterfall and Linda joined the growing group of students off to the side.
Marina Jordan-Bell was next, and her boggart turned into a spider, as did her sister, Karina's. Karina had a bit of trouble, but eventually managed to turn the spider rainbow colors. Ethan and a couple of the Slytherins had difficulty as well.
Leigh Montague charmed her mummy boggart into a strait jacket and then it was John's turn. He stepped forward and the mummy turned into a clown. A clown, complete with a big red nose and huge shoes.
Albus could hear a few of the other students snickering already. Albus wasn't exactly a fan of clowns, but he could think of at least ten things that were scarier than them.
"Riddikulus!" John shouted. The clown boggart started to walk forward, but it tripped over its ridiculously large feet, which were growing at an alarming rate. The entire class burst out in the loudest laughter yet as John joined Rose and Amanda.
Albus took a deep breath and stepped forward. The clown with the huge feet started spinning again and when it stopped, it looked like Professor Oteski. The Oteski boggart stepped towards Albus.
"You did not make the Hogwarts Quidditch team," it said.
Albus gulped. Come to think of it, that was what he was most afraid of at that moment. But how could he make it funny. He racked his brains as the Oteski boggart continued walking towards him.
"Riddikulus!" Albus shouted.
The boggart spun around again and then stopped. "You did make the team!" it said, "In fact, everyone is on the team! All of Hogwarts will play at once and therefore win the competition!"
Albus laughed at the thought of a Quidditch team consisting of over 200 people on it and joined John at the side of the classroom. Albus watched as Matt stepped forward.
"Hey, Potter," Scorpius whispered, "I bet the boggart won't know what to turn into with Eckerton. He's afraid of everything."
"Shut it, Malfoy," Albus growled.
"Quiet over there!" Balladanis shouted. Albus immediately shut his mouth and Scorpius didn't say anything else.
The boggart was spinning around again and when it stopped, it didn't turn into the bright full moon that Albus had been expecting. It had turned into a very sinister looking man. He was skinny and rather short and had a mop of untidy brown hair on his head. It wasn't like Roberts's hair, though. This bloke's hair was stringy and dirty looking. His eyes were piercing, not unlike Balladanis's, and he was sneering at Matt. Albus didn't recognize who it was. He hadn't seen anyone that resembled the boggart.
The boggart stepped slowly towards Matt, who looked frozen in place. Albus could see his wand shaking in his hand.
"Who's that bloke?" John whispered.
"No idea," Albus said.
Albus continued to watch as the boggart advanced towards Matt. Balladanis wasn't doing anything besides watching with an unreadable expression on his face.
The boggart was now only a couple feet away from Matt, who still wasn't doing anything. The boggart began to slowly raise its hands and muttered something that Albus couldn't quite catch.
At that moment, Matt seemed to unfreeze. He stepped back and all of a sudden ran towards the door. He wrenched it open and disappeared from the room. Everyone who had already faced the boggart started whispering amongst themselves
Albus turned to John, who shrugged. Albus couldn't even begin to imagine why Matt was afraid of that strange man, but he could sense that it went beyond a normal fear.
"I'm going after him," Albus whispered to John. John nodded and Albus ran from the room without asking Balladanis or even looking back at him.
Albus could hear Balladanis trying to quiet the rest of the students down as he walked quickly down the corridor. Matt wasn't anywhere to be found. Albus continued to walk down the corridor, not really knowing where he was going. Where would Matt go? The dormitory? Room of Requirement? Marauder's Den? That was it, Albus thought. That's where Matt would go. After all, only a few people knew about that.
Albus walked through the empty corridors, thankful that nobody else was wandering around. He glanced at his watch. There was only ten minutes left in class.
The fifth floor corridor was also deserted. Albus quickly pulled up the arm on the appropriate suit of armor and then searched the opposite wall for the tiny paw prints. He found them and glanced up and down the corridor once more before wrenching the door open.
The room looked empty when Albus stepped inside. In fact, it looked just like they left it at the end of the previous year. Albus hadn't been in it for months. He quietly walked further into the room and headed straight for Matt's alcove.
Matt was sitting on his four-poster bed, just staring directly at the wall in front of him. Albus wordlessly sat down on the bed, not sure of what to say. Matt didn't even acknowledge the fact that Albus was there. Either that or he didn't notice.
"Er, are you ok?" Albus asked after a few moments of awkward silence.
Matt looked over at him. He didn't look all right. His face was pale white. "I guess," he said quietly, "But everyone probably thinks I'm afraid of everything now. Nobody else ran out of the room."
"Maybe everyone else's boggarts weren't as scary," Albus suggested.
"Maybe," Matt muttered.
Albus heard the door open and he craned his head around to see that Rose, John, and Amanda had come inside. John and the girls walked over to where Albus and Matt were.
"We've got your bags," John said as he dropped Albus and Matt's bags on the floor.
"Thanks," Albus replied.
"Are you all right?" John asked Matt.
"Yeah," Matt sighed.
"What have we got next?" Albus asked.
"Herbology," Rose answered, "And we'd better go if we don't want to be late."
"Are you coming?" Albus asked Matt.
"Yeah," Matt got up off the bed, "Let's go. I just hope we don't have it with the Slytherins. I'd bet my last Galleon that Malfoy's going to make fun of me for this for rest of the year."
Albus would have been willing to bet that as well. Fortunately, the third year Gryffindors had Herbology with the Ravenclaws that year. A few of the other Gryffindors stole quick glances at Matt during the beginning part of the class, but nobody said anything to him. Neville quizzed them about a few plants they had learned about the previous year for a few minutes. Rose and Linda answered all of them. Then he gave a broad overview of what they'd be doing that year.
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