'It's over there my dear.'
Hermione frowned and reached for her wand.
'Well go on then, that is where you want to go after all, isn't it?'
'I don't quite know; I was looking for Professor McGonagall - is she here?'
The Elf sighed and stared hopelessly at the bushy haired girl standing before him. 'They told me you were smart. It appears they were wrong.'
'Who told you I was smart?'
'They all did. Now, hurry up and follow me!'
For a few moments, Hermione watched silently as the little Elf sprung forward. As he turned a corner she pulled her cloak close to her body and ran after him.
'Up the tree?'
'Must you question everything I ask? You really are arrogant, aren't you?'
'No I'm not, I've just never seen such a tree before!'
Hermione's eyes were wide with awe as she breathlessly took in the sight before her; the tree was at least a mile high, and it's branches were as thick as small houses. 'It really is quite extraordinary, isn't it?' she asked of no-one in particular. 'I suppose I really must climb it, if only to see what is at the top.'
'Good girl. Now up you go!' cried the Elf.
Hermione started slowly at first; she wasn't the best at coping with heights. After a while however, she fell into the swing of it and soared the tree quite easily. It really was a marvellous example of how man had corrupted nature to his advantage. Hermione noticed several little glassed windows as she grew higher, each window allowed her to glimpse into another creatures existence. Inside the quaint houses she spied everything from tiny faeries who held magnificent power to dwarf like men who were so covered in hair that their facial features were completely hidden.
'Hullo, Miss Granger' said a deep voice from above.
'Oh! Gosh you gave me quite a fright!' cried Hermione 'do I know you?'
'You do - do you not recognise me?'
Hermione frowned slightly and took in his appearance; the man before her was exceptionally tall and frail looking although he appeared to hold great strength and power. He held a wand which glowed in a faint blue mist. The face of the Wizard was perfectly round, rather like a moon, and his eyes, brilliantly bright pierced through Hermione and comforted her at the same time. 'I'm sorry, you seem familiar but I can't quite place you.' she spoke quietly, hoping not to disappoint the kind old man.
'No matter. Our meeting here is merely coincidental anyway. I believe you're looking for a friend?'
'Um, yes. Well, less of a friend and more of a mentor.'
'Keep to your quest, Miss Granger, do not let strangers who glisten deter you.' The old man's eyes sparkled as he slowly retreated away from the girl.
After several moments of staring at the point where he disappeared, Hermione cautiously began to ascend the tree, this time however, she was more aware that her presence may not be welcomed by everyone she came across.
As she climbed, Hermione became tired and longed to reach the top. She had almost forgotten about her desire to met with her Professor, and instead was focusing all her energy on placing one foot in front of the other. Finally, she saw a ladder.
'May I help you?' drawled a voice.
'Oh I'm okay thank you, I believe I am where I need to be. Thank you anyway, Sir.'
'This tree is not where you normally habitat, is it girl?'
Hermione stepped closer towards the ladder; the area around it was cloudy and she was finding it difficult to see the man she was speaking to.
'What do you want, Granger? Answer me this time.'
'I want to know why everyone knows my name when I barely recognise anyone at all!' exclaimed Hermione.
'Maybe it's because you won't allow yourself to' spoke a second voice. 'I believe you're looking for me, Miss Granger?'
Hermione stared in disbelief at the tabby cat which, moments before, had spoken to her. 'Professor McGonagall?'
'So I see you recognise me at least.'
'I'm afraid I don't, but you're the only person I've been looking for.'
'Well how may I help you?'
'I've forgotten what I wanted. Do you know?'
'No I do not. Why don't you rest for a while? The Land above the ladder is Squishy land; in other words it's quite a nice place for a nap. Up you go, child.'
Hermione followed her mentors' instruction and climbed the ladder. What she found at the top was far from comforting, it was the Land of Despair, and Hermione cried her sorrow for all the hear for the remainder of her stay.