On the morning of the first of September, Howl woke up feeling very excited. He usually did nothing to show his emotions, least of all if he was nervous. But that day he felt like opening the windows wide and taking a deep breath of air. He then remembered the foul smell of this town's air and refrained of it. He was even tempted to ask Madam Sulliman to take a walk out into the mountains instead of deeper into this strange country. He sighed, then stood up from his pillow-crowded bed and composed his expression in front of the mirror. He had been taught to keep a calm, pleasant expression at all times, but at moments of excitement such as this, it was hard to comply with the King's Sorceress's rules. He began mentally ticking off the things he needed to do before leaving. He went over his textbooks and double-checked Heen's concealment charm before heading downstairs for breakfast. He thought he caught a glimpse of Haku going into his own room and smiled. That boy was extremely good at his job.
-Good morning, Howl. - called his tutor from the cushioned chair she always used.
-Good morning, Your Honor. That new headdress looks splendid on you.
- You always overdo it with compliments, dear. - answered Madam Sulliman, slightly pink now - But that might be a part of your charm. And speaking of charms, why did you choose such a heavily magical dog, Howl? A nice cat would have been perfectly fine for a pet, especially in that strange place. Moreover, you are only allowed to bring a toad, a cat or and owl. What will you do with him?
- You underestimate your own teaching, madam. I have concealed him and he will be acting as my owl. Wizards here use them as a kind of postal service and, as you said, Heen is heavily magical and will serve me as what the English Folklore calls a familiar.
Madam Sulliman estoically sipped her tea, but Howl had seen some distress show in her since the King's order had arrived.
- It was the King's desire for me to learn this kingdom's ways of magic. It was also a surprise for me, but I will give it my best. And besides, I was not the only one who got chosen to attend.
- It is not my wish to go against the King's desires, but I do not think sending Haku and you to learn wandspelling will be of any improvement to our kingdom's magic. Not when we have already surpassed the use of mere wands and staves.
- Now, now Madam. We all eventually come to need a wand or staff at an old age, so we might as well learn both ways while we're still young.
They went on eating that way, with Howl ever more amused by Madam Sulliman's ill concealed jealousy.
- On top of that, look at their choice for a motto: Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus. Who on earth would tickle someone like Haku, even asleep?
- People can be weird sometimes, madam. It is my guess that they might be even more so when they grow up in a place like that school. We will eventually come to see, and if Haku and I become bothersomely English, Witch Seniba and yourself are perfectly capable of righting a couple of misled magic holders.
Madam Sullivan smiled very slightly at Howl's tamed compliment, but composing herself said:
- You should fetch Haku and get ready to leave immediately. You will have to perform a series of charms on him if you wish to travel by flight in an England-approved manner.
- Certainly, madam.
And so, Howl left for his room, feeling ever more anxious to join this country's magical apprentices and learn all he could. When he arrived, Haku had already arranged Howl's luggage in a superb mahogany trunk, and his own in a slightly less fancy oak trunk.
- You should show off a bit more, you know? - Howl told him.
- I have grown used to the life of a servant, even if Witch Seniba and I are fortunately wealthy ones. That is the reason I try not to call for much attention.
- I don't know, it's a bit odd. You might even have more money than my master. Anyway, you also don't have to be so formal all the time either. - Howl winked - Just when Madam Sulliman is near.
Haku smiled ever so slightly, and so they carried their luggage towards the hall and then were off, soaring through the air towards a new adventure in that strange school named Hogwarts.