AN: HAPPY HOLIDAYS INTERNET! Enjoy this second chapter. I'm a bit jet lagged so apologies in advance for the errors resulting from that. Expect the next chapter: Of Steam Trains and Sorting Hats in 1-2 weeks. (2 weeks only because I'm very busy with the holidays). I've planned out the story now and can safely announce that you can expect regular, weekly to biweekly updates with this. Reviews are appreciated. This is my first long form story with the canon Sailor Moon characters and my first ever long-form work with the Harry Potter ones. Curious to know your thoughts as I have more work planned for each universe.
Disclaimer: If I owned this, I'd build Sailor Moon World right next to Harry Potter World. But that ain't happening cause I am just a humble fan.
Sailor V's Old Stomping Ground
"Ohhh! And that would be the Girkin – I think." Minako said, pointing a finger out of the glass pod of the London Eye towards the newest skyscrapers in the city
"You think?" Haruka asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Well it wasn't done yet when I was here - just under construction along with a couple other ones. But I know it's supposed to be the ugly one – ANYWAYS! That's where I nabbed one of my first perps!" Minako cheered.
"And delayed construction of the building by a year," Artemis muttered.
"Nobody's perfect," Minako laughed. "Oh and that bridge over there,"
"Which one?" Usagi said, straining to see.
"That one," Minako pointed again. "I nearly broke that one in two once – I mean the guy from the Dark Agency did. And Artemis fell in the Thames."
"You knocked me in!"
"Accidentally," Mina huffed.
"Oh don't worry about it Mina-chan!" Usagi said, putting an arm around her shoulders. "I knew I couldn't be the only clumsy one."
"I was not clumsy." Minako murmured.
"Sure you weren't," Haruka said. "Can we see the Tate from up here?"
"Uh, yeah…that one over there." Minako said, pointing down the riverbank.
"Oh good its close," Michiru murmured. "We are definitely going there later."
"All of us," Usagi whined. "I mean, I'm sure all the art is pretty but…"
"No, you are not all coming," Haruka said, putting an arm around Michiru. "You can find somewhere else to be."
"Mina!" Rei called across the pod. "How do we get on one of those ferry cruises?"
"I am glad you asked," Minako said, stepping across the glass pod and pulling two tabs of paper out of her pocket. "We get on with tickets like these!" She grinned at Rei's startled expression. "No better way to see the city all lit up at night…well except for up here."
"I want to go on a river cruise," Usagi pouted.
"Get your own d – " Mina started to say until she realized that Usagi certainly would want to go on a date with Mamoru. "I mean don't worry – I got tickets for everyone…didn't I, Setsuna?"
Setsuna shook her head. "Yes, but if I recall you left the other tickets in your bag... which I've already dropped off where we're staying."
"Ah yeah funny how I did that." Minako chuckled.
"It's just as well – we'll need to make a trip there before it get's dark anyways. And I have to get you all your translation charms as well."
"Are they real charms?" Ami asked, briefly turning away from where she, Hotaru, and Makoto were scanning through the display screen reading different facts about London's landmarks.
"Yes, and you'll have plenty of time to learn how it works once we get your wand and books," Setsuna adds.
"Right, but we're not doing it today." Minako affirmed again. "One day is entirely tourist-ing. Where's the place we have to go again?"
"Charing Cross Road."
"Ohhh! Good! We're taking the long way then – I can show you all the places round there I helped Katherine out and beat up the Dark Agency and where Ace…yeah." Minako got quiet for a moment, lost in memories both fond and painful, before shaking head. "It was a pretty busy area for evil doing."
"Hopefully not anymore," Setsuna said. "Now before we get too low to see, you are going to point us towards a good spot for lunch, yes?"
"Oh yeah!" Minako said, pressing her face to the glass and scanning the approaching ground. "Well there's tons of stuff along the South Bank…ohh! There's a Creperie that way, but we have to make sure we don't lose Ami in the Book Market."
"Book…Market…" Ami said, leaving the computer to peer out Minako's side of the pod, hoping to spot yet another wonder among London's crowds.
"And that's where I saved Artemis from a rat!"
"I was perfectly fine," her familiar protested as he kept pace with her, glancing hastily at Luna beside him.
"Ha!" Mina laughed, smirking down at him. "You ran right out into the street screaming like a…a kitten."
"It was a very big rat," Artemis protested, ears drooping as the senshi – and even Luna – chuckled.
"We're here." Setsuna announced, pointing to the dingy sign that hung above a pub just across the road.
"That place," Minako squinted in the bright afternoon sun at the old, rusting sign above the pub. "The Leaky Cauldron… Funny…I recognize it somehow…but I don't think I've ever been inside…"
"You would have been well underage at the time," Haruka pointed out.
"Setsuna you're sure about this place…" Michiru wondered, wrinkling her nose. "It looks like a dive bar."
"I promise the inside is quaint, but accommodating – and clean." Setsuna says as she directs them all to the nearest crosswalk. "Besides I thought it best to stay within Wizarding London if at all possible – and this is the entrance to it."
"All of Wizarding London?" Makoto asked sceptically. Indeed, it didn't look like much.
"Even back while I was here?" Mina queried. She took in the battered appearance – the dirt and soot permanently coloured into the old bricks, the blurry glass on the windows and the shudders hanging lopsided on their hinges. It didn't even appear as though there was anyone inside.
"The outside is meant to discourage those who don't know what lies beyond from entering," Setsuna said. "I believe it's a side-effect of their non-magical repellent charms. To those without any magic it should just appear as a wall."
"Wait!" Minako gasped as the light above the crosswalk turned green. "Now I know why it's familiar!" Her face darkened. "You say it looks like a brick wall to non-magicals?"
"Yes," Setsuna nodded, stepping onto the pavement once more and approaching the battered old door of the pub.
"Then I have been here before. My first year as a senshi I helped Katherine with a string of assaults and muggings in this neighbourhood," she said, scanning around the bright street.
"Those were the times all the victims had amnesia afterwards!" Artemis recalled.
"Yeah…but all of them tested negative for drugs." Minako cracked her knuckles. "Told her once we should ask around in this pub for anyone suspicious and she hadn't the faintest clue what I was seeing. Cases all ended up going cold… could that have been wizards' work? Bet they'd disappear back here with no one the wiser."
"It's plausible unfortunately," Setsuna sighed. "In any case…shall we go inside?"
"Sure…maybe the bartender will know something."
"Mina…it's been years," Rei whispered.
"Yeah well that doesn't mean I can't still fight for justice – I am a senshi of it after all."
"Hush about that," Artemis advised, and he hopped up onto her shoulder as they entered the pub. "I've heard Britain is not as accepting of magical girls as the Japanese are…"
His voice trailed off as a patron near the door looked up from his lunch to stare before shaking his head and muttering away about "misuse" of "parroting charms." He had a peculiar sense of fashion, Minako thought. Rather than a shirt and trousers he had a robe of dark blue that reached down to just below his knees and dark boots laced up to his calves. And on top of the robe he wore a belt with…a wooden stick affixed to the side.
"Well I guess it is clean," Michiru murmured, looking around. The walls inside were dull red brick – aged, yes – but they appeared no worse for wear. And neat sets of wooden tables and chairs gave the pub quite a homely feeling. Several of the girls did a double take, as a chair appeared to tuck itself into one of the tables unaided.
"Ah! Ms. Meioh!" a gruff older man said, having just emerged from what must have been the kitchen. "This all your students?"
"They are, two of them have brought their cats as well – familiars. That won't be a problem, I hope." she said in perfect English.
"Where did she learn to speak so well?" Ami marvelled.
"Beats me," Makoto shrugged. "Maybe it's a time-guardian thing."
"Nah – cats got nothing on some of the beasties my clients bring in. Got a guy once who brought me a baby Chimera. Now – he's a half-giant, mind. They don't bother him so much. But he gave some ah' my regulars a fright. Any who – here's the keys," The bartender raised an ordinary looking stick in the air and gave it a sharp flick.
They had to try hard to stifle a gasp when three pairs of keys jingled as they whizzed off of their hooks behind the counter, straight into the palm of his hand. "Third floor…though I hope you don't mind not having a single for yourself."
"That's absolutely fine," Setsuna said, taking the keys. "Some of them I don't trust to their own rooms anyways."
"Did I understand that wrong?" Haruka murmured to Michiru, "Or did she just insult us?"
"She is pretending to be our teacher," Michiru pointed out. "Besides you most certainly require extra supervision, you flirt."
"Right," Setsuna said, passing out the keys. "There's one double room."
"Dibs," Minako shouted, darting around Michiru to snatch them.
"And a room for three and four…which I presume shall now be Usagi, Ami, and Makoto and the four of us," She said, nodding to Hotaru, Haruka and Michiru.
"Yes!" Hotaru cheered. "Do they have TV here? Can we have movie night like we used to?"
"I don't believe so," Setsuna said, tossing the keys to the young girl. "But, since we're taking you out to the orchestra tonight, I doubt you'll mind."
"Aww look at that: a cute family date – by the way," Minako grinned, nudging Rei with her elbow. "After the cruise tonight, how's about you and I have our own date – to the theatre."
"Did you have anything in mind?" Rei asked, eyes watching closely as Minako fished another set of tickets from her pocket."
"Depends if this is still your favourite Shakespeare play," Minako said, brandishing them in the air. The big red letters reading Globe along the side were clear for all to see. "So if we could grab those translating charms early…I mean I'm fluent, but not in ancient prose."
Setsuna rolled her eyes. "There are only so many times I can cross my own timeline," she lectures.
"I know and I really appreciate it…" Minako trained her best puppy dog eyes on the stern time guardian and clasped her hands together. "Please Setsuna-chan…for the sake of romance."
Setsuna sighed and shook her head, giving Mina an exasperated smile. "check your purse."
Minako cheered, spun around, and dove a hand into her purse. Grinning, she pulled out two plain metal chains with square bronze charms attached – both carved with the same ruin impressed into the metal. "You're the best!" she cried, startling Setsuna with a firm hug. "Romance is saved!"
"A date and their own room; that's not fair," Haruka pouts. "Say, Hotaru. Don't you wanna have a sleepover with Usagi, Ami and Makoto?"
"Don't be silly, Papa!" Hotaru laughed at her. "I wanna stay with you. It'll be fun!"
Haruka was then left backpedalling over her request. "Yeah it'll be the best." And she shot a glare over her shoulder at Minako as Hotaru latched onto her arm. Setsuna smirked at them both before directing the whole big group towards the spiralling stairs in the corner of the room.
"Why wouldn't she also want Setsuna to stay somewhere else," Usagi whispered to the girls beside her.
Michiru turned around ahead of them and winked. "That would none of your business."
It took a while to get settled – namely to get used to the mirrors that talked back, the windows that opened and closed on command, and strangest of all to Ami: candles and chandeliers where one would have expected electrical lights.
"I guess non-magicals do have one up on Wix," Makoto said, flopping down on her bed. She glanced at the nightstand beside her and noticed the newspaper tucked underneath the candlestick. "Hey look at this! The pictures move!"
"Ohh! Let me see!" Ami said, snatching it away. "Oh this is strange – looks like the front page story is a school expulsion."
"Weird kind of thing to make front page news," Makoto commented.
"Yeah let me see…oh dear, some of this is clearly magical terminology…but it says someone named Harry Potter…oh it looks like he's been in the news before he's got a nickname…quite a long one. Anyways. Harry Potter was expelled after reportedly using magic outside of school…"
"And his case is… being reviewed," Haruka finished reporting to the other outer sailors. Three of them were already dressed for the Orchestra, but Michiru was still doing her hair. "Weird thing to expel someone for – self defence."
"Wonder if we'll know any of his friends." Michiru sighed. "Anything else of note?"
"Uh…not much that I understand…oh hang on." She squinted at the English text, reading it twice through. "Disappearances…but they're just short blurbs way in the back…you'd think they'd be more concerned about them."
"Strange," Michiru said, turning back to the mirror as she fluffed her hair again.
"You're looking a bit green, dear," the mirror's prim voice chimed in.
"You're sounding a bit dull," Michiru retorted.
A crash from the room beside theirs caused the paintings on the wall to rattle and squawk in indignation, and some of the candlesticks to teeter. Two distinct shrieks directly followed the crash, devolving into fits of giggles.
"Oi!" Haruka banged on the wall. "Keep it down, you two."
Hotaru cackled gleefully as they heard frantic shushing and Rei's angry voice from the other side of the wall.
"Sorry!" Minako hollered. Setsuna rolled her eyes, shook her head, and smirked. It was going to be a long weekend.
"The transfer students are in London getting their supplies," Mcgonagall reported as she stepped into Dumbledore's office.
"You're spying now?" he mused, his eyes darting away from the letter Professor Charity Babbage had left with him yesterday afternoon.
"No," she sniffed. "But they were hard to miss. I was picking up the new set of broomsticks and as I walked through the Leaky Cauldron there were nine of them – all talking in Japanese, mind."
"Well then this may be an excellent opportunity," Dumbledore mused. "I am nearly done preparing everything for the hearing…perhaps I can also invite their Ms. Meioh for a visit."
Though most of them turned in quite late, they were all still up early – Haruka was the first to trek down to the dining room at 7:30 sharp – having woken up to the sound of a train outside and then been tempted downstairs by the smell of breakfast on its way out of the kitchen. Hotaru was hot on her heels – still quite the early riser. Most of the others made their way downstairs by the time Haruka had finished her first cup of tea.
Predictably, she noted as Makoto and Ami slid into their booth, it was the two lovebirds and Usako who had yet to make an appearance.
"Rei's awake," Ami offered when she caught Haruka's glance towards the stairs. "I'd leave it to her to sort out waking them up."
Ten minutes later, when hot breakfast was being passed around the table, they all found out exactly how the young priestess chose to do just that.
"REI!" Usagi shrieked so loudly from upstairs that even diners in the farthest corner of the pub jerk their heads up, glaring, from their morning tea and crossword. All the senshi raised their eyes to the ceiling as the sounds of crashing, stomping, shouting, and doors slamming, were heard from an ensuing scuffle overhead.
"Morning," Minako said calmly as she descended the stairs. A loud thump sounded as something was thrown – accompanied by Rei's sharp laugh and Usagi's frustrated roar.
"Should we be worried?" Haruka asked.
"Mmm…nope," Minako smirked, sliding into the booth next to Ami.
"Good," Haruka nodded, raising her eyebrow as Minako tucked her hair behind her. Ami's eyes caught the same thing hers did and the younger girl blushed.
"M-mina," Ami stuttered. "You've ah…"
"What?" Minako mumbled through the bite of sausage she had already stuffed into her mouth.
"Here," Michiru responded, smirking. And she slid a much-used compact of make-up across the table. "You've got something on your neck, dear."
Mina blushed even brighter than Ami as she swiped the make-up off the table, tucking her chin and hastily pulling her hair back around to cover her neck. All the while, Hotaru sat beside Haruka giggling gleefully, accompanied by Makoto's deeper, howling laugh. Even Setsuna couldn't quite manage to keep her composure – her grin peaked out from behind her hand.
The laughing redoubled when Usagi finally stormed up to the table, hair sopping wet, all the while shooting glares over her shoulder at Rei – who had followed her much more composed down the stairs. Usagi slumped down into the booth, still glaring, and Rei just smiled coyly, seating herself delicately in the outer-most seat.
"Pass the orange juice," Rei asked as Usagi grabbed the plate of eggs and dumbed a liberal portion onto her plate. She continued stewing until Makoto reached around Ami to dangle bacon in front of the Moon Princess' nose.
"Fanks," Usagi muttered through a full mouthful, perking up as the bacon was dropped onto her plate.
"She dumped water on you, didn't she?" Hotaru giggled.
"Uh-huh," Usagi whinged. "It's not fair."
"It was effective," Rei countered.
"You didn't do that to Mina."
Rei raised both her eyebrows and smirked, her violet eyes twinkling with impending mischief. She set her glass of orange juice down on the table and leaned in close to Usagi until they were nose to nose. "You'd rather I woke you up like I woke Mina up."
"No she doesn't!" Mina blurted out as the rest of the table stifling their laughter to better hear the exchange.
"You didn't dump water on her so you know what – yeah. I would rather be woken up…however you woke her up."
"You want to know what I did?" Rei whispered.
"Reeeeeeei!" Minako cried, smacking her hands over her beet-red face.
"I –" and Rei leaned into Usagi further so that Hotaru wouldn't hear. They all watched, smirking as whatever she whispered made Usagi blush from her neck to her ears and caused her eyes to bug out of her head. Meanwhile Minako was staring down at her plate appearing utterly mortified
"I – uh…" Usagi stuttered as Rei pulled away, looking quite pleased to have gotten the upper hand in the argument. Not to be outdone, Usagi huffed, and stuck out her chin, and retorted: "actually – yeah! I'd much rather you do that next time."
"Moving on!" Minako declared in an overly loud voice that had all the eyes in the pub once again drifting towards them. "I think we should get fitted for uniforms first today."
"And then the books!" Ami added.
"Ami…" Usagi sighed, shooting wide puppy-dog eyes her way. "Can't you get them for me?"
"Not a bad idea," Setsuna remarked. "There should be quite a bit here for you to see, and while my sight is still quite muddled in this world I can say quite certainly it'll take everyone a while to explore."
"I'll pick up the potions supplies then," Makoto chimed in. "I have a feeling if it's anything like the spice isle at the grocery store, I'll be in the apothecary a while."
"I am all for that," Michiru affirmed. "That leaves a few more hours to investigate exactly what constitutes high fashion here," she said referring to a map of the alley she'd picked up from Setsuna – all the clothes shops already highlighted. "Let's convene for lunch somewhere central…or else meet in the afternoon once everyone's all set."
"The latter's going to be more convenient," Setsuna confirmed. "In fact, I think we should all save the wands for the last stop. When I went to file all the paperwork with the ministry the clerk hinted that could take a while."
"Noted," Haruka nodded, "I definitely don't want to waste a day in some boring old wand shop."
"No, and I suspect there's a couple places that will be of more interest to you," Setsuna said, reaching into her pocket. "In fact there's a place right next to the shop I bought these," she spread seven more translation charms out on the table and a smaller one the size of a bracelet, which she slid towards Usagi. "For Luna… anyways, you'll notice the shop right away – there's a broomstick in the front window."
"As in for cleaning or…" Haruka's eyes lit up as Setsuna nodded.
"There's flying brooms!" Mina inferred, grinning. "Excellent!"
"And here I was mourning a year without racing."
"Oh you'll be racing all right!" Minako said. "I may not be old enough to drive, but I'd damn well better be old enough to fly."
"What are you going to do all day, Mama?" Hotaru asked.
"I was going to pick up the robes once the tailor's done with them and then I thought we might –"
But she didn't get a chance to finish as an owl announced its presence by flying through the window and over Hotaru's head. The girl shrieked as the large bird dropped a letter right into Setsuna's hand.
"It's from Hogwarts," Setsuna announced, breaking the seal on the envelope and pulling out a short piece of paper inside. Haruka grabbed the envelope, one hand on her new pendant, and read without any effort.
"Dr. Setsuna Meioh, the corner booth by the stairs, The Leaky Cauldron, number 314 and 1/5th Charing Cross Road, London." She frowned at the envelope. "Creepy."
"Quite," Setsuna agreed. "It appears you'll be exploring without me – I have a meeting with the Headmaster." And before they could comment the letter in her hand glowed bright white and she was gone in a flash. No one in the pub batted an eye.
"Wix can…teleport?" Ami said, mouth agape. "Why that takes at least four of us to pull off."
Indeed, it began to sink in for all of them, while it didn't necessarily complicate finding Mamoru, such feats of magic by those other than magical girls set them more than a little ill at ease.
"We'll get you to the proper books about it as soon as we can, Ami," Minako insisted. "But I don't care how curious you are – we're finishing breakfast first." And with that, she dumped a large load of fried potatoes onto her plate and helped herself to more bacon as well. She was only in London for so long after all. It would go against all the laws of justice not to consume as much of her favourite food as she could – especially as Artemis had decided to sleep in for once. Finally – all the bacon and none of the nagging!
"Welcome to Twilfitts!" the cashier in quite formal dress robes said, flashing an absurdly bright smile at them as Michiru and Hotaru pushed open the door of the fancy shop. "Will you require a fitting today,"
"No, thank you." Michiru said, eyes falling on an attractive looking cloak on a mannequin across the shop room. She twitched when the figurine suddenly turned and waved, wood-carved body moving with living fluidity. Her hand darted towards the henshin wand in her pocket.
Hotaru's hand reached up to grab hers instead. The younger girl looked between the moving figurine and the shopkeeper. "That Mannequin's creepy," Hotaru informed her frankly.
Not a youma, Michiru reminded herself as she gave Hotaru's hand a grateful squeeze. Pretending to be used to Wix magic was turning out more stressful than she'd assumed. Especially all the clearly unnecessary magic.
The shopkeeper laughed. "Don't like them huh…I admit they used to scare me too when I was young. What are you? Eight?"
"Eleven, actually. She's my cousin," Michiru lied without missing a beat.
"Awwww, you're starting Hogwarts this year then – well you came to the right place for your robes,"
"Well we just picked hers up from Mme. Malkins," Michiru said. "But I was hoping to look for a few editions that are a bit…classier." She pulled her best socialite smile. "I am a seventh year myself – it just wouldn't do to walk around in those drab, black things."
"Ah – for sure!" The shopkeeper agreed. "I graduated three years ago – some of those girls were perfectly content to just trounce around in all black – oh especially those Ravenclaws, you know."
"Oh they've no sense of fashion at all," Michiru lied through her teeth. Whatever is a Ravenclaw?
"Well let's see – we've got a line of designs from Paris that's quite the fashion this year…you'll find all of those items by the fitting rooms. Oh – but surely you want to get your measurements done first."
"Those tickle," Hotaru commented wrinkling her nose.
Indeed. They'd had their measurements taken at Mme. Malkins and too many encounters with vined and tentacled youma had left her quite irritated at dealing with the flying, charmed, measuring tape.
"Perhaps later. We're just looking at cloaks and hats at the moment, and shoes if you sell them."
"Whole section in the back," the cashier assured her. "The mirrors are charmed to show what other items they go well with. And all the clothes come in every house color." She gestured to her own uniform and the delicate gold-and black designs along the hems of her robe "I know it's a bit gauche to deck yourself out in house colors years after. But I figure something like this is tasteful – nothing like the Gryffindor alums do."
"They're that absolute worst." Her eye fell back on the cloaks towards the back. There was the one she'd fancied, but on an ordinary rack rather than an absurd walking display. She pointed it out to Hotaru. "I think we'll browse for a while and see everything – thanks so much for your help."
"Any-time," the young woman said as she waved them onwards into the shop.
"She was annoying," Hotaru whispered once they'd walked several aisles away from the checkout counter.
"And far too chatty," Michiru sighed. "See anything you like?"
Twilfitts certainly did have more high-end items to display than Malkins shop. By the time they had wandered over to the hats she'd already picked out quite a few items to spice up the awful looking school uniforms. It had been a shock with the first one she touched floated up off its hook and onto a rack that had begun to follow she and Hotaru around the shop of its own accord. But she'd quickly got used to the convenience as she easily compared two of the emerald coloured cloaks side by side. "I could just get both," she comments to Hotaru.
"Mmmm…I like the one on the left better."
"Then I'll get this one and find a smaller one for you – ah!" She jumped and grinned as the desired cloak soared off its rack two aisles away and landed in her hand. "Then we'll match at school."
"That may not be wise," another shopper commented as she flicked her wand and poofed a set of dress robes onto her own shopping rack. "Oh I'm sorry – I couldn't help but overhear her say she's a first year – so you don't know what house she'll be in yet."
"No…but it's still fun to match Ma…Michiru," Hotaru caught herself. "My cousin."
"Oh of course it's fun for such close cousins to try to match," the woman agreed. She was quite tall, and looked even more so in her dark, slim robes. Their black color matched her hair exactly save for the streaks of grey that ran through the elegantly coiffed locks. "I just mean since that green there is a house color. You might not end up in your cousin's house."
"It's just a color," Hotaru shrugged, stepping up on her tiptoes to reach a purple hat that had caught her eye.
"Oh that may be true if it were Ravenclaw's or Hufflepuff's," the woman said. "But – and this is simply friendly advice for you both since you're new to Hogwarts: Slytherins are quite proud – and they don't like interlopers just appropriating their signature color left-and-right."
"Well that's no way to make friends," Hotaru said.
"How did you know we were new to the school," Michiru interrupted in a casual voice. She stepped slightly to the side in order to reach a sleek hat on the opposite shelf, placing herself in front of Hotaru in the process.
"Oh easily," the woman sniffed. "My husband's on the board of Governors. And it's been the talk of the summer: Transfer students at Hogwarts. It's quite unusual."
"I wouldn't know," Michiru offered diplomatically. "I believe our Student Advisor organized most of it, I simply thought it was a good opportunity to experience another culture."
"Oh of course. Well Britain, I would say, is one of the best choices to experience. You know we have a rich history: founding member of the International Wizarding Council." She raised her chin even higher if that was possible.
Her nose might bump the ceiling if she points it any more, Michiru thought.
"But where are my manners. I should introduce myself." And she tucked her wand into the sleeve of her robe and extended a hand. "Malfoy, Narcissa Malfoy."
Mama Michi's posture relaxed, Hotaru noted, but her hand did not stray far from the location of her henshin wand. Hotaru frowned. Sure this Malfoy lady seemed nosey and unpleasant, but Mama Michi was not usually so paranoid.
Then she spotted Narcissa raising her wand again, casually moving clothes between their hook and her shopping rack, even going so far as to change their colors. And the magic makes Mama nervous, Hotaru realized.
"You know," Narcissa continued, looking down her very high nose at Michiru as she carried on selecting clothes. "I've heard quite a lot about Japan. They value tradition greatly."
"I suppose," Michiru thought. "Less so in Tokyo, it's such a big place."
"Oh but surely even there you've developed ways to exclude muggle influences."
Michiru and Hotaru traded glances as one unfamiliar word lingered in the otherwise understood sentence. Perhaps this charm doesn't do so well with slang. "I'm sorry," Michiru shook her head. "I'm not quite familiar with all the English terminology yet…muggle?"
"Oh yes, excuse me. Of course you'd have a different word for it. That's our word for those non-magical wretches. Here it's quite the chore to keep them from traipsing across Wizarding lands. I imagine it's even harder for you too keep them at a distance in Tokyo – so crowded."
"Why would we," Hotaru started to say, but Michiru gestured for her to hush. When you're not sure of a person, Hotaru recalled her advising, you keep your opinions to yourself – you learn more about them that way.
"Well Japan, may have a different relationship to its…muggle society," Michiru considered diplomatically.
"Hmm perhaps. And you and your fellow transfers, they're all from old families, I'd imagine only Mahoutokoro's elite would have been offered this opportunity."
"I was top of my class at my old school." Michiru said
"Oh excellent – you may end up in Ravenclaw yourself then. They're not so bad. But some of them are so naive. I've had so many, many friends have to pick up their Ravenclaws from the train and spend their whole break arguing with them about those ridiculous ideas those mud-muggleborns put in their heads." Narcissa sighed. "Thank goodness my Draco ended up in Slytherin. None of those types in there, I wonder: how does Mahoutokoro deal with the nuisance of muggles' so-called "magical" children?"
"I wouldn't know," Michiru said casually. "I didn't go to Mahoutokoro."
Hotaru watched as the Malfoy lady's eyebrows furrowed in confusion and caught the look in Michiru's eyes. It promised mischief.
"Oh really – Japan has another magical school?"
"Couldn't tell you. You see my old school was Mugen Academy – a muggle school, as you might call it."
"But…but you're magical," Narcissa sputtered.
"I am. I was also president of my student Orchestra."
"All of us are. And this will be the first magical school we've ever attended. I dare say, I hope Hogwarts impresses me more than you have with your bigotry."
"You have some nerve, girly."
"I pity that son of yours, Mrs. Malfoy," Michiru said as she turned and pushed Hotaru towards the check out counter. "Muggles could teach you quite a few things. Certainly," she shot her best judgemental look at Narcissa. "About fashion sense."
And she whirled round, steering Hotaru by the shoulders. She paid for their clothes without another word and whisked them out of the shop with the Malfoy lady still staring after them.
When the door of the shop swung shut behind them Michiru huffed. "I'm sorry I rushed us out of there, Hotaru. I shouldn't have caused that kind of scene."
"Okaayy," Hotaru said, adjusting her new purple witch's cap on her head. "But, just so you know: you were super cool." She proceeded to spin around as Michiru laughed, twirling on one foot to show off her hat under the bright, summer sky.
So absorbed were the two of them in adjusting their shopping bags and finding the next shop to hit, that they weren't looking back into Twilfitts as they passed the open window. They did not see the seething Lady Malfoy give her wand a subtle wave as she sends a Confundus charm shooting out the shop's open window. It hit Michiru dead-on and glanced partially across Hotaru.
Ordinary passers-by saw nothing out of the ordinary – just two Hogwarts age students stumbling on the sidewalk as though they had momentarily misplaced their feet on the uneven surface. Witnesses shook their heads but thought nothing more about it as the two girls continued to meander down Diagon, hugging the edge of the alley and eventually wandering into a darker side street.
They'd wandered several dozen yards off the high street before the Confundus charm wore off. Michiru cursed upon coming to her senses – a string of expletives flying from her mouth.
"Where are we," she murmured to Hotaru, as she turned around seeking a street sign. "This isn't the High Street."
"It isn't even on the map," Hotaru whispered, showing her the paper, which only has "Diagon" and part of "Horizont" on it.
Michiru's eyes caught those of several curious onlookers lurking under the awning of a nearby shop. She put her arm around Hotaru's shoulder. "Put that away," she said. "Let's not stand out anymore than we already do." She glanced around. The alley ahead continued to be narrow with several winding, offshoots. "We'll turn around at that shop there," she said pointing too a run-down old bookshop. "And head back that way. I think we'll end up on the main road."
"There's wrong things here," Hotaru murmured, eyes drifting over the many storefronts that set her senshi-senses on the alert.
"Indeed," Michiru's arm tightened around Hotaru's shoulder. "Come on," she said, turning towards the door of the bookshop.
"No wait," Hotaru stopped short in the middle of the alley and shook her head. Her hand, Michiru noted, had drawn her henshin wand and was holding it close. "We should investigate."
Michiru bit her lip, considering. They hated dragging Hotaru into danger, but…
But she's Sailor Saturn, the part of her that was Sailor Neptune reminded her. Hotaru might have been a little girl, but after countless battles, Michiru understood her unique abilities for what they were: a valuable asset.
"Stay close to me then," she instructed Hotaru in a whisper as they both continued deeper into the unknown alley. She glanced all around as they continued on, searching for a street sign…anything. As they walked, Michiru twisted the communicator on her wrist and tapped one of the buttons with her thumb. "Ami, I need you to track our location, we might need back up."
They ventured further – past shops with black curtains drawn across the windows, a barber with hard-eyed clientele, and past Wix walking up and down the narrow street in mostly dark robes – all with their wands visible.
"No one's responded," Hotaru worried after a while. Michiru lifted up her communicator again and swore – the screen showed only static.
"Magic must be interfering with it," Michiru took a deep breath and looked all around – no obvious means of escape. And Mercury won't be able to track us without her tech, she thought.
Hotaru stepped a bit closer to her as they walked. "That shop there's full of…I don't know what. But my powers don't like it," she said, pointing to a dimly lit shop nearby.
Hotaru didn't know the word on the sign. Michiru did: Necromancy. Of course Sailor Saturn would be appalled.
She pulled Hotaru closer and her eye caught a small bronze sign just next to the door of the Necromancy shop: 61 Knockturn Alley. She held the image of it in her mind and sought out the only other Sailor with a psychic presence strong enough to receive the message.
Come now! She thought as her mind briefly touched that of the fire senshi's.
Portkeys, Setsuna decided almost as soon as it had warped her out of physical space by the navel, had some nerve. Though the note had requested that she merely keep hold of the parchment should she wish to meet the headmaster she still resisted anything that sought to dictate where and when she should be anywhere. She'd transformed while the Portkey was still dragging her through warped space and promptly dropped it, summoning the Time Doors to pick her up. Once she'd got her bearings, and added Portkeys to the list of infernal devises polluting Wizarding time and space, she'd set her own course for Hogwarts and spent an indeterminate amount of time reviewing all she'd learned recently about Wix magic.
Too little, in her objective opinion. But at least her ability to successfully break away from the portkey without getting lost in warp space suggested their powers would still have some influence here.
The Time Doors, Setsuna was displeased to discover, refused to breach Hogwarts grounds. She stepped out of them and de-transformed, intending to arrive at the front doors of the school, only to be met with a lone stone post along a wide, but empty highland road. On it was a Latin phrase and a plane declaration of the boundary of Hogwarts grounds. "Interesting," she murmured. Though it was decidedly not. She had known Wix were quite capable users of magic, but that they could stop even the Time Doors was unsettling. And she would be outside their world entirely while her friends and family remained inside – wholly unable to see what dangers lay in their path.
She was forced to walk the remainder of the way, and her hand automatically sought the comfort of her henshin wand. It wouldn't do to reveal their true nature so quickly. But then again, she reasoned as she walked around the edge of a murky lake and spotted a rather large tentacle darting above the surface, it never does hurt to be careful.
The lake was long and twined around a hill, which was covered in trees. So it was only once she had crested the top that she got her first glimpse of the castle. She gasped.
It was an entirely different style from Crystal Tokyo's palace and (she couldn't help but think as she took in the many towers, turrets, and high windows) it was even more stunning.
To think we use magic so often to destroy, she thought as she stared, her view clear against the grey backdrop of the highland clouds. Yet they use it to craft works of art like this.
The innovator in her, the one who'd awakened upon her rebirth on Earth and her exposure to the beauty and practicality of design, sighed in envy. I wish I could to learn to use magic like that.
Even as enraptured by the architecture as she was, and with due regard to her enhanced senshi awareness, her welcoming party was decidedly easy to spot. He stood out starkly against the grey castle stones and cloudy sky, and was a bright contrast to the dark lake and forest in the background.
He's quite flamboyant, she observed, eyes drawn to the wide-brimmed Wix hat that shimmered every color of the rainbow and the purple robes with accents of silver actively pin-wheeling across the fabric. I dearly hope those choices are on purpose and not this society's unfortunate sense of fashion. So garish was the outfit that she had trouble tearing her eyes away to take in the man's face. "Headmaster Dumbledore, I presume." she said, extending her right hand.
"Indeed I am." His smile was warm and emphasised the many laugh lines across his face. He shook her hand, then surprised her entirely with a customary bow. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Meioh-san, or is it professor as well?"
"Doctor," she corrected. She did, after all, have an Astrophysics degree lying around somewhere in her mortal paper-identity. "But my students simply refer to me as Meioh-san."
"Quite informal, though I suppose their schooling structure is as well," Dumbledore's cornflower blue eyes twinkled. "Which is the subject I hoped to speak with you about today," He said, gesturing to let her first up the castle's main steps. "If you wouldn't mind following me up to my office, we could chat, perhaps over a cup of tea or lemon drop."
Rei jumped as the mental order startled her, dropping the book she'd been perusing.
"Careful!" The snotty older man sitting at the front of the fortune telling shop huffed. "Honestly, you mundanes…no respect."
"Nothing much to respect," Rei muttered. Hastily, she grabbed a more interesting book off the shelf of old Celtic practices and walked to the front of the shop, shoving it towards the old shopkeeper. "How much?"
"Seven galleons," he said, stretching his hand out and beckoning with it.
She winced as she calculated the amount in Yen. Thank goodness Setsuna had said the bills were on her.
"Be there soon," she thought to Michiru.
Knockturn Alley…she spotted a small sign pointing her down towards the bank but stopped, gazing down the winding road that was Horizont Alley. She took off towards it, following her gut. I hope they don't find trouble.
Usagi had meant to see more of the Alley, but really? Where was the need to? She could see straight from the Leaky Cauldron all the way to the fountain from her spot anyways.
"The Butterbeer sundae," the merry old Florean announced as he deposited menu item number 14 in front of Usagi. She cheered, thanked him profusely, and dug her spoon into the latest treat. Wix definitely had the best ice cream.
"Usagi!" Minako's voice shouted as she ran up to the ice cream parlour's outdoor seating dragging Ami behind her and brandishing…a broomstick.
Mina skidded to a halt in front of her and twirled the broom between her hands. "Check it out!" The deep red handle was smoothly carved and polished, the gleaming carving along the top read Firebolt in golden script.
"Does it really fly," Usagi wondered.
"Uhuh – I saw pictures in the shop!" Minako exclaimed. "They claim it'll go 150 miles per hour."
"Do you even realize how fast that actually is," Ami cautioned. "You won't be able to control it."
"Pssha," Mina waved her hand dismissively. "It has safety charms on it – relax Ami-chan."
"Have an ice-cream," Usagi added, pushing the very long menu towards them. Minako plopped down into the seat beside her and stole it away first, scanning it with eager eyes.
"You picked a great spot for lunch," Ami commented "Do they sell anything besides Ice cream though?"
"Nope!" Usagi grinned, stuffing the first delicious spoonful of her sundae into her mouth.
"Come on Ami!" Minako elbowed her. "Look, this one's called Dragon's Dream – live a little."
"Maybe just this once," Ami said as she peered at the picture of the treat.
"Haruka!" Makoto called as she spotted the older girl slipping out of a nearby shop examining the broomstick in her hand closely. The other girl jerked her head up and nodded as Makoto approached.
"Is that all the potions supplies?" she asked, raising an eyebrow at the small box tucked neatly under Makoto's arm.
"Oh yeah – they can shrink them and lighten them. It was so convenient. Does that thing really fly?"
"It's supposed to," Haruka said. "How, I've no idea; it didn't come with instructions." She checked it over again, muttering: "how does it stop and go?"
"Maybe you just use…magic." Makoto grinned and Haruka glared at her.
Suddenly a bright red flash caught her attention and she and Haruka looked over towards the source – deep within the bowels of the Wizarding shops, possibly off a side street.
"That looked like Mars," Haruka muttered, pulling her henshin wand from her pocket. Makoto already had hers drawn.
"There's an alcove between those shops there," Makoto said, and the two of them dove into it, off the visibility of the high street. They raised their henshin wands in tandem, and Uranus and Jupiter transformed within the second. They nodded, jumping up onto the roof of the closest building and running at the same speed along the top, eyes trained on the flames that were even clearer from this high up.
They ran along the roofs of Horizont Alley, feet clacking on the mostly brick structures. They caught the attention of a few shoppers whose hearing was particularly good, and several Wix who lurked between the buildings saw them as they leapt between the rooftops. But the Wix, for the most part, shook their heads, many muttering about high-spirited Hogwarts students getting into mischief.
They reached the intersection of Horizont and yet another street and were deciding which way to go when another red flare caught their attention.
"Mars Flame Sniper!" they raced towards the voice, jumping across uneven roofs until the light of the flames was bright from the street below them. Jupiter and Uranus stepped up to the edge of the rooftop, preparing for a startling entrance.
Just as they looked over the top though, a firebird shot up the side of the building causing Makoto to fall back and leaving Uranus hair and bows singed.
"Sorry!" they heard Mars shout. And they ducked as the bird swooped towards them again.
The firebird then flew up into the air, and Uranus and Jupiter leaped over the side of the building before it decided to return. Uranus landed with the Space Sword drawn and took in every detail of the narrow street. There were Michiru and Hotaru's henshin wands at Jupiter's feet, as well as a wizard: knocked out, his face and robes burnt. Michiru and Hotaru stepped away from one of the shop-fronts and knelt to pick up their henshin wands as Jupiter checked the wizard's pulse.
"He'll live," she announced.
"Pity," Michiru tutted.
"You alright?" Uranus asked, pulling Michiru and Hotaru close "What happened?"
"We were followed," Michiru said. "Right after we came out of investigating this antique shop and refusing to sell the owner the aqua mirror – honestly the nerve of him. We were cornered by this idiot demanding to see our wands and saying Muggles weren't allowed in the alley."
"He started firing spells," Hotaru added. "Mama was blocking them off the mirror, but when we went to transform, the henshin wands just flew out of our hands."
"Another spell," Michiru filled in.
"Why is this place even here?" Uranus commented about the many darkened buildings...skulls and advertisements for blood and curses decorating the windows. She ducked as the firebird swooped in low again and grimaced as it caught her hair on fire. She put out the flame with her fingers. "You gonna put that thing out, Mars?"
"Can't!" Mars shook her head. She had one eye watching down the dark street. "For some reason, it's out of my control… Not sure it matters at this point though – I hear more coming this way."
"More like him you mean," Jupiter frowned as she spotted something peaking out of the man's sleeve... a tattoo of a snake curled through a skull. It moved as she touched it. "Strange."
"We need to get out of here in any case – I'm not keen to attract attention." Michiru brandished her henshin wand "Neptune Eternal Make-Up!" Blue and turquoise light wrapped around her, fading into her senshi uniform. She directed her gaze at the wild firebird who was now in the process of lighting the roofs across the alley on fire "Deep Submerge!" she shouted. A precise blast consumed the creature. The seawater crashed over it and left a trail of smoke in its wake.
"Thanks," Mars said. "Come on, before we've a real fight on our hands."
"I'll cover our exit," Uranus said. "World Shaking!" she sent her attack racing over the street, tearing up cobblestones. It left a four-foot high pile of them between them and the approaching Wix – and most importantly kicked up a cloud of dust. She nodded to the others as they all turned to make their way out of the alley.
Neptune paused at their knocked out assailant and spied his wand still in his left hand. She stepped on it with the heel of her boot until it snapped, silver sparks flying everywhere. "Anyways," she said. "I say we stop for lunch and then move on to wands. I've had quite enough exploring for one morning."
"Lemon Drop?" The Headmaster offered as he took the seat across from her at his desk.
"No thank you." Setsuna said, jumping as two full teacups materialized on the desk before her. Dumbledore picked up his and raised it towards her. "Apologies, by the way, for the abrupt scheduling of this. I've had a few pressing school matters to tie up of late."
"It's not a problem," Setsuna dismissed. "But what did you want to discuss?"
"Well, for starters," The Headmaster said, waving his wand. A piece of paper appeared in the air, drifting down towards the desk. She bristled as she recognized the note that had been delivered to her that morning. "I am most curious how this was activated and sent to my office without bringing you along – and imagine my surprise when I learn you materialized at the entrance to the grounds."
"Forgive me – I find Portkey travel disagrees with me." Setsuna said.
Dumbledore nodded and sipped his tea. "And yet, you did not appear through apparition. In fact I've never heard of anyone using a set of magical doors for travel such as that. Vanishing Cabinets, yes but even those cannot appear and disappear anywhere on a whim." His eyes fell to the pocket of her blazer where her henshin wand had been concealed; she set down her tea and folded her clammy hands neatly in her lap. But I didn't see anyone around!
"I wasn't spying. Fear not." and he made a gesture with his hand, turning towards the open door of an adjourning room. "My friend was just very curious about you."
She was expecting a person, but the melodic sound that echoes from the other room was far from human in nature. She gasped as something bright orange and yellow soared through the doorway, flapping heavy wings and landed elegantly on Dumbledore's arm. Setsuna stared at the bits of ash that settled on the desk as the clearly mythological creature fluffed its wings. She reached out unconsciously towards the magnificent bird, and it trained burning red eyes towards her.
The phoenix regarded her hand with curiosity before leaning in and taking her finger gently between its powerful beak. It was hot! Seemingly satisfied, the phoenix chimed again, releasing her finger and nuzzling its hot, feathered head against her hand. As it chimed she gasped - A clear image of the future was forming within her mind for the first time since arriving in London.
The bird's song within the vision was emotional and heavy, drawing on the emotions of all those present at the gathering. Her Sight rushed over the massive crowd of people over to the edge of the forest where Usagi turned to her with a startled look on her face, long, blond pigtails whipping in the slight wind.
"I know who he is." She said, eyes wide, pointing somewhere beyond her. "That's – That's Mamo-chan!"
Setsuna whipped around but this part of the future was still blurred, and there were many faces in the crowd beyond her – too many to narrow down which stranger Usagi might have been pointing out.
The vision occurred in the space of a blink. By the time she opened her eyes again the phoenix had moved on from nuzzling her hand to pecking at Dumbledore's. The Headmaster smiled warmly at the bird and offered it a lemon drop – which it gulped down eagerly, belching up a small plume of ash a few seconds later.
"His name is Fawkes," The Headmaster said. "He was the one who informed me of how you arrived."
She nodded, eyes still trained on the bird. She did not know what they meant to Wix lore but Phoenixes were extraordinarily pure creatures – the rare glimpses of them she got when they streaked through the Time Dimension were a sight to behold. To bond with one required…being an exceptional individual at the very least.
Perhaps she had misjudged this Dumbledore character.
"Now," the Headmaster continued as Fawkes squawked and settled in on his left shoulder. "Tis good to know Fawkes trusts you – he is a consistently good judge of character, but I am still curious about the students you bring to Hogwarts. Mahoutokoro claims they have never been enrolled there."
Her mind was still buzzing from the first clear glimpse of the future she'd ever gotten among the Wix. Setsuna sipped her tea again and thought. This Dumbledore appeared perceptive and was also clearly of good character. That did not mean she could trust him with everything, but clearly a little trust would be needed to ensure their smooth transition at the school.
"Truly, they have never studied this kind of formal magic," she told him, editing out many of the details. "And we do not mean to impede upon the running of your school. They have enrolled because they are looking for someone like us." She said. "But someone who appears to be one of your Wix."
"Is said person dangerous?"
"No." Setsuna assured him. "Not at all, but they will be difficult to find." She spoke as much to the Phoenix as the man, hoping it would judge her story good enough.
Fawkes cocked his head to the side as his red eyes stared intently at her. Finally, he ruffled his feathers and opened his beak, setting off a new string of melodious sounds. She saw Dumbledore smile and relaxed. If the Phoenix trusted her, perhaps the headmaster wouldn't press for more details.
"So they lived largely amongst Muggles before now then?" Dumbledore asked and she frowned at the unfamiliar word. "The non-magical." He supplied.
"And you did as well – pardon me, it is just rare to meet a magical individual who spends the majority of their time in the muggle world. Most wizards here never see beyond Diagon Alley."
"It does make our perspective of magic a bit different than most," Setsuna agreed.
Dumbledore set down his tea and clasped his hands to prop up his chin, eyes twinkling as brightly as the silver swirls across his robes. He leaned forward, smiling. "Fascinating. Then I hope you won't mind sharing a bit about that perspective." He said. "I have always wondered – how on Earth did they send an aeroplane to the moon?"
By the time Setsuna's meeting with the Headmaster meandered to a close she was already late to the meeting with Ollivander. She permitted the Headmaster to charm another of the dastardly portkeys before abandoning it mid-journey again and using her Time Doors to navigate her safely back an hour of time. She stepped out between two shops and startled a nearby street vender so badly that they lost control of their slow-cooking charm, sending a shower of hot chestnuts exploding across Diagon. Setsuna paid it no mind and continued on to Ollivander's wand shop, where several of her friends were already waiting. She grinned at the youngest girl, showing off her child-sized, purple Wix cap to the others. And raised an eyebrow at the singe marks in Haruka's hair and the soot that seems to have splattered across the Aqua mirror Michiru was trying to clean. I hope they didn't get into trouble, she thought as she joined them. All they were missing were Minako, Usagi and Ami. I hope she's not lost in a bookstore. Setsuna thought.
"Mama!" Hotaru cheered and hugged her as she approached them. "Papa got a flying broom!"
"Did she now," Setsuna mused, spotting the red broomstick by Haruka's side. She pointed up to her hair. "Was there a fire."
"In a manner of speaking," Haruka said glaring at Rei who sniffed.
"It appears some attacks function slightly differently here." Rei huffed. "I got the enemy, didn't I?"
"Enemy?" Setsuna frowned.
"Just a wizard," Michiru dismissed, gesturing to the half-polished mirror. "Had to block a few spells with this – but it was fine."
"How did your meeting go?" Makoto asked.
Setsuna considered. "The Headmaster is a unique man. I must say I anticipated some of what we discussed, but he did surprise me quite a bit."
"What did he say?" Hotaru asked.
She smirked. "You'll find out when school starts. How's that."
Haruka rolled her eyes. "There you go being cryptic again – I bet half the time you could tell us and you're just having fun."
In answer Setsuna simply laughed. "I guess you'll always wonder which one it is." She looks around down the Alley with the others. "Have any of you seen them?" The others could only shake their heads, and they all shifted from foot to foot as they stared impatiently down Diagon.
At last, she spots Usagi's signature blond odangos and Minako's flowing blond mane of hair whipping behind them as they sprint down the middle of the street, Ami was following within steps of them.
"Sorry!" Minako cried out after the three of them skidded to a halt in front of the group. "We got held up on the way – there was this joke shop – no, wait. I'll tell you later." Minako grinned when she noticed Haruka holding the same model Firebolt as her own. "We are so gonna race!" She decided before directing her ever-present enthusiasm towards the final stop on their school-shopping venture. "So…this is the wand shop." She pressed her face up to the dusty window. "Is it even open?"
"The sign says so," Usagi stated, and bounced up to the front door. She pushed it open and surveyed the inside. "Doesn't look like anyone's here."
"They might surprise you," Michiru warned.
Tentatively, Usagi stuck her face through the door and called out. "Eeeeh, Hello?" She paused in the doorway and was just about to duck her head back out when Makoto gave her a nudge, pushing her all the way into the shop. Despite her screech, the shop remained empty. And Usagi huffed. Don't shopkeepers usually want to sell you things? "Helloooo-ooooh!"
"No need to shout."
And where Usagi had thought there was just a wall of narrow boxes before, there was now an old, slim man who had appeared seemingly from nowhere. He gazed at them over the narrow glasses perched on his nose as the nine senshi all pushed their way into the shop.
"My, oh my," The old man murmured as he appraised them. "This is most interesting, I say, do you all need – " He was cut off suddenly by a rattling from the other room, then a subsequent bang. "Oh pay no mind to that – just one of the new wands testing its limits so to speak, now is it true – all nine of you. Delightful!" And he flicked his wand, summoning a tape measure out of his desk drawer. "Why this – " another bang echoed out of the adjoining room. Mr. Ollivander just smiled merrily. "Very interesting," he decided.
He's weird, Haruka decided, eyes flicking between the strange geezer and the point on the wall where the banging was originating. The boxes on that shelf were rattling.
"Well, don't all just stand there," Ollivander beckoned. "Someone step up. You – " and he pointed a wizened, spindly finger at Makoto as he looked up over the top of his glasses.
Makoto stepped forwards, eyes flicking all over the packed storefront before the banging from the other room draws her attention to the opposite wall. Does it sound like…she closes her eyes to focus. It does! "Is there a storm behind that door?"
"Don't be ridiculous," Ollivander dismissed. "Wands creating storms – no that one is an experiment of mine. Livelier than most…although." And as he pondered the thunderous sound echoed through the wall again. This time it knocks quite a few wand boxes onto the floor. "It hasn't been quite this active in…yes it's entirely possible." And he set his tape measure aside and raised his wand. "I suggest you raise your wand arm?"
"Your dominant hand," Ami whispered from behind her. Another thunderous bang echoed from the next room.
Makoto had barely raised her hand when Ollivander flicked he flicked his wand. The wall blocking the sound swung open at once, slamming into another shelf as a gust of wind forced it all the way open. A small object rushed through the air, trailing sparks behind it, and landed in Makoto's outstretched hand with an even louder thunderclap that shook every loose object in the shop. Usagi and Hotaru covered their ears. Makoto stared as she curled her fingers around the wand. Lightning fizzled out of the wand tip and wrapped around her hand, shooting up her arm and sending static sparking through her hair.
"Curious," Ollivander said. "Why, I hadn't even intended to sell that to anyone, it was more an experiment than anything. My grandfather kept that wand core as a collectable for a number of years but it was only this year I thought to experiment with fitting it with a wand.
"What is it," Makoto wondered, tracing the smooth wood with her fingers.
"Oak 11 and ½ inches with a most unusual core – Dryad hair. They're powerful creatures, though it's rare to find one willing to contribute to a wizard's wand."
"Dryad hair," Ami murmured. "What does that do?"
"Oh many things – a natural pair to Oak as it happens. A most unusual entrance though."
"May I try next?" Ami asked and stepped forwards when Ollivander nodded. "You I will need measurements, I believe." He said, gesturing for her to step closer to the center of the shop.
The tape measure rose of the desk and flew to Ami, measuring her right hand when she held it out. It also measured her whole arm, her fingernails, and even the distance between her eyes.
Finally it returned to Ollivander and he reviewed the numbers it had given him.
The old man then left the tape measure on the desk and walked without another word into the stacks of wands. They heard him pulling wand after wand off the shelves, working his way through. When he finally returned there were ten boxes strewn across the desk.
"Let's try this one… Apple and Unicorn hair." And he walked beckoned for her to walk up to the desk and pointed to the plain box third from the left. Ami reached for it, but her fingers had barely brushed the handle before Ollivander jerked the box away. "No, no. Clearly not. Here – Elm with Phoenix feather…" And they watched as he pointed her towards yet another box. But this one too was taken away when it was picked up and promptly wrenched itself free of Ami's grip. "Oh you're going to be a difficult one." Ollivander says.
It proved to be true. Ami went through nine of the wands with similar results and with each one Ollivander would shake his hand and mutter – often in wandmakers' jargon. Ami was reaching for the tenth and final wand on the desk when Ollivander raised his hand. "Wait here."
And he left the desk, returning minutes later with a plain, white box. He lifted the lid off it himself and presented it to Ami. "This one I am quite sure."
Ami reached in and raised the wand in her hand, immediately feeling a sense of calm that had not accompanied the other choices. She gave it a small flick and the other scouts gasped as a thin sheen of ice froze over the top of Ollivander's desk. Ami grinned. "This one is the right one then?"
"The wand chooses the witch, Ms. Mizuno, I simply provide them with the candidates." He nods to the wand. "And in this case it seems that Alder and Unicorn hair has chosen you."
"Oh so they have feelings then?" Haruka muttered to Michiru and Setsuna. "They can't choose anyone."
"You think so Ms. Tenoh?" the old wandmaker shot a sharp look towards her and gestured towards the desk. "Here then, go up to the desk. I suspect the wand that will chose you is there already – go on."
Haruka eyed the old man skeptically but shrugged, strolling up to the ten wands that were still open on the frozen desk top and put a hand under her chin considering. "Do I just pick anyone?"
"Heavens no – hover your hand over the boxes. That's it. If your wand is there it will –" but Ollivander doesn't get a chance to finish as, a second later, Haruka's hand moves over the box on the far right and the box rattles. The wand inside shakes itself free of it's wrapping paper and shoots up into Haruka's hand, accompanied by an updraft of hot, clean air. Haruka gasps, watching as a small twister of wind spins out of the wand tip, blowing quite a few papers around the shop before fading away.
"Interesting…Fir and Dragon heartstring. Quite a powerful wand. Fir is not my preferred wood but in these trying days I've had quite an uptick in interested buyers."
"Why's that?" Haruka muttered, giving the lightweight wand a couple of waves.
"Well – Fir has a reputation amongst the Aurors and Curse breakers especially – Plenty of their most resilient members have Fir wands. My own ancestor dubbed it the survivor's wood. It is very curious." He said, gazing at Haruka with a pale, perceptive eye. "Many infer from this that the wood is lucky but I disagree. Instead, I believe it selects those witches and wizards who not only have a predisposition for throwing themselves into danger, but the will to live through it as well."
Haruka's grip tightened around the wand and she averted her eyes from the wandmaker's, cleared her throat, and stepped away from the desk.
"My turn," Michiru announced, stepping away from the group and trading places with Haruka.
"Indeed it is," Ollivander said, tapping his wand against the tape measure as Michiru held out her right hand. She clenched her fist to keep from grabbing the infernal thing out of the air as it wrapped itself around her wrist and moved on to measure the spaces between her fingers.
"I wonder…" Ollivander muttered as he read some of the measurements. He stepped away from Michiru but did not return to the stacks. Instead, he disappeared within the dark room that Makoto's wand had broken free from and returned a few minutes later, a wand wrapped in crisp brown paper held in both his hands. He peeled the paper back and presented it to Michiru. "Try this one," he said, peeling the paper back. Michiru reached in after a slight moment of hesitation and withdrew the wand, grinning as she wrapped her hand around it and held it aloft. A jet of sea spray shot out of the top, which resulted in many iridescent water droplets raining down on the shop.
"Another experiment," Ollivander supplied. "Not so unpredictable as young Ms. Kino's there – but it is incredibly rare to acquire that core. Most of the merpeople would never part with them purposefully. "
"Merpeople," Michiru murmured.
"Indeed – Hazel wood with the hair of a Mermaid for the cure. I hope you won't mind telling me how that wand fares. It has been centuries since a Merperson has relinquished one of their hairs to any wizard. I would relish the opportunity to study the kind of magic it is capable of."
"Are there anymore wands with cool cores?" Minako asked as she rushed up to the desk as well, bracing both hands on the still-frozen surface. She extended her left arm with a dramatic flourish. "Well, size me up, go on."
The tape measure was at work at once and Ollivander watched with a calculating gaze. He hummed as the tape made each measurement, eyes flicking around the shop. "Hmmm" Ollivander considered. "Tricky, you're very tricky." and then he left the desk again, still muttering.
"Great yours is going to take as long as Ami's," Usagi grumbled.
"Wand matching is a delicate art," Ollivander's voice filtered through the shelves. "Wands must take as much time as they need." and he emerged from the shelves grinning, laden down with another pile of boxes. He set them down and with a swish of his wand; the top came of the first box. "Try that cypress there."
Mina had no sooner touched it than a plume of smoke engulfed the desk. Ollivander coughed and jerked the box away. "No, no," he grinned. "Try this..."
In the end, Minako went through twenty and nearly snapped the last one in half when it refused to do absolutely anything for her.
"I'll just go back to Juuban," she muttered.
"Oh no, no. We definitely have it now." Ollivander said. And he reached for a box just behind his desk. He presented her with the open box and directed a merry grin at her. It looked entirely strange on his narrow face. "This will be the one."
Minako hesitated but then squared her shoulders and set her jaw. She reached in with a sure hand and whipped the wand out of the box. It felt warm in her hand. "Do something." she commanded and flicked it at the ceiling.
The air in the shop heated in an instant, as if a warm breeze has rushed through the shelves. It even smelled like the seaside. Orange sparks shot out the end of the wand, forming a heart in the air before disappearing.
"This is it." Minako cheered.
"Indeed it is: blackthorn and dragon heartstring." he mused "very like Fir wands in that they frequently fall into the hands of those who face danger quite often. Some find it to be a rather difficult wood but I disagree. blackthorn wands seek individuals who have grown strong through struggle. The best soldiers were often chosen by Blackthorn.
Minako gaped at him and then the wand. "I'm not..."
"The wand never lies." Ollivander said sharply. "You'll be quite happy with that one. It is said that the bond between witch and blackthorn wand is also strengthened by surviving hardship."
The mood in the shop had grown quite contemplative now, everyone wondering exactly what these wands would say about them. Rei's heels echoed in the quiet shop as she approached the desk and placed a hand between Minako's shoulders to encourage her to step aside.
"My..." but Rei stopped suddenly and closed her eyes, putting both hands together as she did when she meditated.
Ollivander stood back and crossed his arms in interest as Minako and the other scouts steppe closer.
Finally Rei opened her eyes and turned towards the stacks of wands and pointed into the third row. "The one at the far end of the shelf." Rei declared.
"Oh this is delightful. Very well, if you're quite sure." and Ollivander clapped his hands and walked briskly over to the stacks, returning a minute later with one already open box. He presented it to Rei. "Yes I think you might be right."
She picked it up and closed her eyes again before waving it once through the air.
They all gasped as a ring of flames arced out of the wand and spiraled through the air, wrapping all around Rei before fading. The young priestess opened her eyes at last. "What is this one."
"Cherry and phoenix feather." Ollivander said merrily. "A most unusual wood - it is rare for one - known for belonging to exceptional witches and wizards. Interesting that it picked you: the students of Mahoutokoro prize these wands above all others. Traditionally, they are said to choose only the strongest witches and wizards.
Rei nodded and bowed to Ollivander before dragging Mina back away from the desk.
Usagi stepped forwards next. "I want a cherry wand too," she declared.
"Alas, it must pick you." Ollivander said, pulling out the tape measure.
Usagi had trouble standing still through the wand fitting. Her eyes fell on the many discarded ones on the desk. "What about this one," she said, reaching down with her off hand.
"Pine would be a very bad fit for you." Ollivander cautioned.
"Okay...this one." she reached into another box and pulled out the wand as the tape measure snaked around her hand. She waved the new wand. A sharp crack sounded through the air as smoke filled the shop. Usagi coughed as Ollivander ripped the wand away. Rei and Ami smacked their hands over their faces.
"She should have gone first." Makoto decided.
The tape measure finished its measurement about then and Ollivander muttered "quite curious you are." he turned and walked slightly left, grabbing two boxes off their shelves. He set them down in front of Usagi. "Go on then: choose one."
She frowned at the twin boxes and considered before reaching for the one on the left. The moment she touched it they knew they had the right wand.
The silver crystal - still in its brooch on a chain around her neck, blazed with bright, white light. As Usagi lifted the wand it too began to glow. She grinned as she waved it, a silver hare formed in the air above it. The spectral animal hopped once all around the shop before landing on Usagi's head and disappearing.
"Oh my." Ollivander murmured "in all the years I've sold a wand no one's ever produced a patronus for me on the first go.
"A pater-what?" Usagi frowned.
"Very advanced magic - but then I suspect it is quite natural magic for the wand you hold," he said as he stowed the spare wand away. "Willow and Unicorn hair. It is notably an exceptional pairing for healing magic. Like that crystal you have there."
Usagi's hand immediately sought out the brooch, clenching around it. "How do you know what it is?"
"I didn't" Ollivander smiled "twas merely a guess. I have always been known as a good guesser." And his eyes sought out the two remaining in their group. "Let's have...you," he said, pointing to Setsuna.
"But...but she's not coming." Ami frowned but Setsuna stepped forwards anyways, offering her hand. The tape measure zipped all around at a record pace and Ollivander clapped his hands together. "I may have just the thing."
"How do you suppose he picks them?" Makoto asked as he once again vanished between the shelves.
"It's not random." Michiru confirmed. "Though I'm at a loss for how he's selecting them."
The wandmaker returned with only one box and pulled the top off, turning it so Setsuna could pick the wand out by the handle. "Rowan and Phoenix feather."
She bit her lip as she reached in, but picked the wand up quickly. Suddenly Setsuna stumbled, her free hand clutching her forehead. They all sprung forwards as she swayed, about to collapse.
The old headmaster was standing atop the tower, looking at her with serious eyes."I want you to know: this is for the greater go-"
But he does not finish. A flash of green light explodes around him and when it fades his eyes are dull and he is limp, falling over the side of the tower. She couldn't move.
"Mama!" Hotaru is shaking her arms and she feels two others at her sides, holding her up.
"This is the one," she confirmed to Ollivander. "Thank you."
"I require no thanks," he said dismissively. "Now lastly..." but his voice trailed off as he took in Hotaru's accusing eyes, still angry from Setsuna's near collapse. The youngest senshi stuck out her left hand.
Ollivander frowned, rubbing his chin, and gestured the tape measure forwards. "Curious." he murmured.
It took the longest of all of them to gather Hotaru's measurements, once even stretching from her toe to far over her head (the height they recognized as that of the Silence Glaive) before finally returning to the desk. Ollivander was shaking his head.
"I know what you require..." he said "And I am sorry, but I do not have it, nor any wand of it's compare. However." he trained his sharp eyes on Hotaru's. "I suspect you already have quite a powerful item which shall serve you well as a wand."
Hotaru hesitated but nodded, stretching out her left hand. They gasped as the silence glaive appeared there. She tapped the handle once against the ground and the blade glowed a soft lavender, sparks spiraling out of the point at the end.
"Fascinating." Ollivander mused. "Yes I'm sure: this shall perform magic for you as well as any wand."
Hotaru frowned at the glaive and dismissed it, letting it disappear once more. She stepped away, and Setsuna's arms came down to wrap around her shoulders.
"Thank you, Mr. Ollivander." Setsuna said, reaching into her purse and counting out the appropriate number of Galleons. "We'll be going now."
"Hogwarts shall have great things in store for you," he said as he waved them from the shop.
"He was creepy." Makoto decided as they left.
"Knew too much," Haruka affirmed.
"I wonder if he's like that with everyone," Ami said. "Now do we need anything else?"
"We need to pick up the robes...and cauldrons along the way." Setsuna said, peeking around at all the shops. "Otherwise we'll be coming back at the end of August - and you can get anything else then."
"We really have to wait a whole month." Minako whined "can't you just..." But Setsuna's raised eyebrow was enough to silence her. "Yeah, yeah...I know." she said before standing up on her tiptoes and doing her best impression of Setsuna. "Time is a delicate balance."
Haruka snorted as the others devolved into giggles.
Setsuna smiled "I promise," she said as the strolled down the magical high street. "It won't feel like long at all."
~I Solemnly Swear That I Am Up To No Good~