WHEN: September 3rd 2010, 10:55
WHERE: Great Britain, Scotland, location unknown. GPS error: Can't find satellite signal
The cat belonged to the aged and grumpy Mr. Filch, caretaker of Hogwarts Castle, as Artemis was about to find out.
Not even ten seconds after Mrs. Norris had spotted Artemis, Mr. Filch appeared, anger in his face.
"Ooooh, what. Have. We. Here. Our new model student out of class, eh?" he asked, grinning in thought of the punishment he intended to give Artemis.
Artemis originally wanted to throw a nasty comment back to Mr. Filch, but thought better and remained polite: "No, Sir. Prof. White had let those who finished their potions out of class early. Therefore, I and the other students whom you will find out of class are excused for being so."
Mr. Filch's mood fell even more into darkness than it already was. A chance to mark an example for the first-years, missed again due to some ruddy teacher...
"All right, Mister Fowl, all right. I shall check this... But be warned... even a single rule broken and I'll have you in chains... Come on, Mrs. Norris...", he muttered and disappeared with his cat as fast as he had appeared.
Chains? Seriously? I thought these were outlawed long, long ago?
He exited through the big wooden door onto the greenfield. It was, unusual for early September, still warm and sunny outside... now, the only thing missing was something to sit on.
Let's see if that Comfortus charm is living up to its description in the Transfiguration book.
Comfortus was a spell that transfigured air into a wide array of furniture, at the choice (and power!) of the caster. Early starters would just be able to conjure a small cushion, a trained wizard was able to supply a whole house with furniture using just one single spell.
But naturally, Artemis aimed for the highest.
So, I want a nice sofa to relax on... "Comfortus!"
A golden jet hit the ground next to the pavement and indeed, a plushy red sofa appeared. Artemis walked over and sat down.
Yep, that's a sofa. Just looks like those at Fowl Manor, and we paid boatloads of money for that furniture... so if I ever run out of money, I can at least start selling replicated luxury furniture.
From where the sofa was, Artemis had a pretty nice view: the Great Lake, in which he was sure the squid was searching for food in the front, the Quidditch field (where seven players were flying on brooms) to the left edge and the Forbidden Forest surrounding everything.
Together with the magical birds tweeting and some owls flying over his head, it was a nice way to relax. Then, he saw his owl appearing on the horizon - it was easy enough to spot with a wingspan as big as he was. A letter was bound to its leg.
Oh, Holly's answer! I just hope I got some Owl Treats in my bag... and as I think of it, I still haven't decided on a name. And... how in blazes was Butler able to summon him?!
As the owl sailed towards him, Artemis got the Owl Treats out of his bag.
The owl graciously landed next to him on the sofa, hooting and looking into his eyes.
His intuition had not failed him: the letter indeed was from Holly. He unbound the letter and handed the owl a couple of treats. After eating them, it flew into the Owl Tower, leaving Artemis and his letter alone.
That with Opal is worrying. I hope that I have a chance to phone with her tonight...
He could not think much further, because it was end of the second class and the bell announced the soon enough arrival of hordes of students.
So, how do I now get rid of that sofa? Too bad there are no Vanishing spells in that book.
There's a Transfigure to Matchbox spell in the book, might be worth a try.
He stood up, pointed his wand at the sofa and cast a Converso spell, while thinking of a matchbox. The result was all right, the only thing was that the matchbox was not made out of paper, but of the fluffy wool of the sofa's side part.
Ah well, not too bad for a first-time. Also, the matchbox is cute. Might be a nice present for Holly.
He took his bag and went to the other side of the castle, where the Greenhouses were built. Apparently, every grade and house combination had its own, plus a couple extra greenhouses, making over twenty in total.
He entered the "Grade 1, Ravenclaw-Slytherin" greenhouse, where Prof. Neville Longbottom already waited for him and the other students.
In the greenhouse, there were a variety of plants. Artemis recognized nettles and dittany from the Muggle world and a couple others, including a huge Venomous Tentacula, from the book.
"Hello everyone. My name's Professor Neville Longbottom, for those who don't know me yet."
Longbottom rings a bell somewhere.
"In Herbology, you will learn the secrets of hundreds and thousands of plants and herbs with magical properties. You will see some of them again in Potions or other subjects, because most other subjects in magic rely on plants and herbs.
We will also, throughout the year, raise a couple of plants. Everyone has a couple of named plant pots which have been bewitched so that no one except you is able to fool with your plants. At the end of the year, the plants will be graded for health and looks in addition to your theoretical knowledge examinations. Now, to get started: how is the plant behind me called?"
He pointed towards the Tentacula, which in response moved its arms to seize Neville's wand... but a quick flame spell made the Tentacula retreat.
It was not surprising that Artemis' hand was the first up, but a couple other students also seemed to know the plant.
"Mrs. Cattermole?" Neville asked.
"It is Venomous Tentacula, I believe." she asked.
"Correct, five points for Ravenclaw. How did you know?"
"It's tried to seize you, it was afraid of the flames and the spikes are unique to it," she replied.
"Five more points to Ravenclaw, then. And the rest of you, please write this down."
Neville was a relaxed, experienced teacher and the lesson passed with a breeze, until the bell sounded, announcing the end of the first lesson.
"We will continue at 1400, in this greenhouse. You're dismissed," Neville announced and the students went to eat in the Great Hall.
A/N: Yep, the Cattermole family has survived the war, and Mary and Reg got another baby in 1999 - Susie Cattermole, ending up in Ravenclaw this year.
And Filch is still alive and kicking, same for Mrs. Norris... after all, there's no one who wants to do that sucker job and Mr. Filch is actually enjoying a tiny bit of sadism, so he said he stays until he collapses over his cleaning mop.
shtoops: Why fire the full ammunition in the beginning? :D
StarlightGilgalad: Thanks :)