• Published 23rd Apr 2017
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Magic School Days - Dogger807

When the CMC asked Discord to help them attend magic school, he pulled an owl out of his hat. Only he didn't exactly have a hat. Which was okay, since their new school had a singing one laying around. Where the hay was Hogwarts anyway?

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Chapter 41: Realigning, Rough Housing and Revealing

The familiar environs of the headmaster's office brought no comfort to Dumbledore as he sat at his desk. Smiling ruefully, he took in the subtle sounds of plinking, whizzing and tooting that would normally help him unwind after a stressful day. Unbidden, a familiar quotation from Eliot came to his lips. "This is the way the world ends, not with a bang . . ."

Up until the last week, he was certain what needed to be done to avert the impending bloodbath. For decades, he had been positioning his pieces, maneuvering friend and foe alike, guided by prophecies. Now, one seemingly innocuous event had shattered the foundation of his strategy. Like dominoes, the other pieces were tumbling one after another with no end in sight. It was all he could do formulate a plan to postpone the inevitable long enough to put an alternate in place. The greater good that he and Gellert had envisioned was indeed in dire straits.

Despite the changes that the thrice damned Discord had foretold, Dumbledore was sure he could have cobbled together a scheme to enforce the old prophecy. Harry was to be sacrificed to end the menace that Voldemort presented. After all, what was the life of one child compared to the fate of the entire wizarding community?

Dumbledore took a swig from his office bottle, barely registering the burn as the firewhisky went down. His trump card was gone. There was no way he could get close to the boy, let alone persuade him to join the cause. His latest trip to St. Mungo's was a painful reminder of the sort of power that now protected Harry's interests.

To make matters worse, a new prophecy had been revealed to the wizarding world. It was unprecedented in its scope; never before had a prophecy voided its predecessors. If only he had been there, he could have kept it a secret. How was it that Sybill could have chosen his moment of weakness to overcome the compulsions he had placed? Why had she been in the Great Hall unsupervised? Surely someone must be conspiring against him; fate would have forewarned him.

Of more immediate concern, the political landscape had been rooted with the subtlety of an atom bomb. Superficially, it appeared that he had advanced his cause. Old enemies had been removed while the forces of light had taken their places at the table. However, removing the old foes simply made way for the new, and the new legislators, while dedicated to the same ethos, could hardly be called allies. Those he had under close observation had slipped away; Tom was the most troubling of the lot. Complicating matters, those who had been his steadfast allies were now questioning his methods and motives, forcing him to smooth ruffled feathers when he should be countering new foes. Almost as if an afterthought, his control over Harry had been irrevocably stripped away. Should he attempt anything against the boy, those more powerful than his magical guardian would intercede.

There was still the matter of what, ostensibly, was his primary responsibility, the education of the new generation of witches and wizards. In his absence, Minerva had shown a disturbing sense of independence that threatened to upset the balance he had so carefully worked to maintain. The apartheid between the wizarding and muggle worlds had been established with good reason. He could scarcely fathom the horrors that integration would bring. Muggleborn would simply have to leave their old lives behind, while purebloods would never savor the temptations of the magicless.

Where there was life, there was hope. Although his grand plans for the greater good lay in shambles, he could still salvage the situation. He had been completely reactive over the past week, but now that he had a chance to catch his breath, he could again drive the agenda. However, the road forward was unpleasant in the extreme. He would have to abandon all attempts to influence Harry. Instead, he would have to revitalize the conservative factions, relying on former opponents to preserve the status quo. Surely, he had the influence to temper the ambitions of the new Wizengamot members. With the right guidance, he could let them have their victory while he preserved the wizarding traditions. Concurrently, he had find a way to locate and neutralize Tom and his ilk. But first, he had to find a spell to guard his dreams.

Dumbledore blinked, bringing his office back into focus. He had his head tilted back with a now-empty bottle at his lips. With an indignant snort, he vanished the empty vessel. He had picked the wrong day to give up drinking.

The soft-boiled egg in the gilded cup on Filthy Rich's breakfast table was his way of telling Monday to bugger off. Since they lacked anything even remotely prehensile, eating one with grace was the epitome of earth pony etiquette. It took a good eye, a steady jaw, and complete concen . . ."Good Morning!"

Blinking the yolk out of his eye, Filthy Rich regarded the sight of the wildly-grinning draconequus with well-concealed irritation. It was preferable to have egg on his face than to suffer any of the creature's more creative notions."Good morning, Discord. What brings you to my humble abode?"

“Humble?” Discord looked around at the opulent dining room, “I don’t think that word means what you think it means.” Pointing at the pony's snout, he said, "You have a little something there." The draconequus snapped his fingers, and the egg was transformed into a startled hen who flew off, dropping a fresh egg on Filthy Rich's plate as it made its escape.

Filthy chuckled and motioned to an empty seat. “I’m glad you like it. Please have a seat. My daughter should be down soon, and we’ll break our fast when she arrives.”

“How kind,” Discord commented, taking the seat. “However, I hadn’t planned on imposing on your hospitality. In fact, I shall be breakfasting with a fine young lady shortly. I just popped in quickly to get you to sign on the dotted line here.” He produced an inked quill and a contract with a snap.

“What’s this?” Filthy said, examining the offered paper.

“Is that my marriage contract?” a pink filly exclaimed, darting into the room. “Oh, thank you, Daddy! Thank you, Discord!” Effusively, she hugged both.

“Marriage contract?” Surprised, Filthy took a closer look at the paperwork. “Just a moment Diamond Tara, let me look at this.”

“Hurry, daddy!” the filly whined, hopping in place.

“I think you’ll find everything in order,” Discord said smugly as the elder pony read the contract.

“Either party can easily negate this, without penalties, if they so decide.” Filthy noted, “Hardly a binding contract.”

“Is that a problem?” Discord asked?

“No, it’s just unexpected,” Filthy said still reading, “This will bypass all the laws Celestia has in place for marriage contracts?" The stallion shot a glare at his daughter. "Diamond Tiara, stop that bouncing this instant.”

“Daddy!” she whined.

“Twilight seemed to be impressed by the last one I drafted.” Discord smirked.

“How does the spirit of chaos manage to be so good with the laws?” Filthy asked.

“My good sir, laws are merely chaos masquerading as order. Why else would we have lawyers?” Discord shrugged. “Besides, I had a friend draw it up; it’s kind of her thing.”

“I would almost say that this is too good to be true,” Filthy said. “As a rule of hoof, when something seems too good to be true, it normally is.”

“And we all know what I think of rules,” Discord countered.

“There is that,” Filthy agreed taking the quill with his mouth. “What it comes down to is if I am willing to take the risk to ensure that my princess has this opportunity. And I’m well aware it’s only a matter of time before the princesses close whatever loopholes you are taking advantage of. Some things you just have to hop on when the chance presents itself.”

“Yeah!” Diamond Tiara pranced around her father as he signed to secure her future.

Monday evening found the Gryffindor herd settling into their routine. Now that classes had ended for the day, they gathered as a study group in the library to complete their homework. Having others to discuss concepts sped comprehension. For the practical exercises, when one herdmate struggled, the rest were quick to pitch in to tutor and demonstrate. To the envy of the other first-years, the herd was finished for the day with plenty of time to spare for rest and relaxation. As they filed back to their tower, Hermione stayed behind. She insisted that she had some independent study she had to finish, and that she would join them later. True to her word, she crawled into bed with the rest of them, but only after arriving late and taking another shower instead of a bath.

In suburbia, Tuesday mornings were rarely pleasant. Just as she had her hands covered in suds, there was a knock on the front door. Sourly, she rinsed off her hands and turned off the faucet. The morning dishes would have to wait. It was much too early for doorstep selling; this did not bode well. She dried her hands on her apron as she went to answer the door.

“Oh,” she said listlessly upon seeing who was waiting, “I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised to see you. It was only a matter of time.”

“Petunia,” was the greeting she received, “won’t you invite us in?”

Wordlessly, she stood to the side and gestured for the men to enter. Closing the door, she indicated the seats she wanted the two to occupy. Woodenly, she left her guests to make themselves comfortable and made a quick trip into the kitchen. Soon she reemerged with three water glasses and a gallon bottle. A picture of a man in a red coat briskly walking was on the label.

“Isn’t it too early for that?” Remus asked.

“Even if you aren’t going to need it, I know I will.” Petunia placed a glass in front of each of them before taking a seat for herself.

“How bad was it?” Sirius demanded, anger evident in his voice.

Petunia closed her eyes and gave a small hiccupping sob, “She was my sister.” She began quietly,” I hated her for having something I could never have. I despised her for leaving me behind. I envied everything she had accomplished . . . all the wonderful things her life contained. BUT SHE WAS MY SISTER! . . . And, I still love her.” Tears were freely flowing as she curled up in her chair. “If it had been me, she would have taken Dudley in and raised him as if he were one of her own! I wasn’t even allowed to do that! I hate him. I hate him so very much. No matter how much I try not to, I just can't stop. I hate him.”

She sobbed bitterly as the two men looked on aghast. “They,” she started but sobbed again, “they said they couldn’t prove he cast the spells. Promise me that you’ll make him pay. Promise me!”

“We are working on it,” Remus said as Sirius opened the bottle. It was going to be a long morning and one wasn’t going to be enough.

James Tilley was once again manning the service counter when a familiar wizard walked into the Records Department. “Good morning, I’ll be with you in just a second,” he said. Quickly, he annotated an interdepartmental memo. After casting an authentication spell, he charmed the note to fly to its destination in the form of a paper airplane.

Satisfied that the message was on its way, he addressed the newcomer. “How may I help you this morning?”

“Just some more notarizations for you my good man,” Discord said, holding up a stack of papers.

“Another marriage contract?” James asked, accepting the paperwork.

“Why yes,” Discord answered and spent the next couple minutes watching James do his job.

Before long, another wizard entered the Records Department and strode over with purpose. “Mr. Discord,” he said with a nod of his head.

“Saul Croaker.” Discord returned the nod. "Are you not supposed to speak?"

“You know of me?” Croaker asked in surprise.

“No, but I couldn’t let you be the only one who mysteriously knows the names of complete strangers,” Discord replied.

Croaker studied Discord for a second before continuing, “I see that you’re filing your second marriage contract within two weeks.”

“Yes,” Discord confirmed.

After waiting a few seconds to see if the wizard would volunteer anything else, Croaker said, “I see. You’re not the type to beat around the bush.”

“I have been beating the bush a lot recently.” Discord noted.

Croaker gave Discord another odd look. “Yes, well, the reason I am here is because we’ve noted your interest in marriage contracts. We assume this means you have a surplus of women back in your homeland.”

“A fair assessment,” Discord acknowledged.

“Would you be open to talks of maybe allowing some young ladies to emigrate to Britain? We would be happy to integrate new blood into our populous.”

Discord blinked in surprise, “I must say, that is an unexpected proposition. I must confess, though, that the fees and paperwork are a burden for the average citizen.”

Croaker shrugged. "The paperwork is a necessary evil. As for the fees, that's something we should be able to pony up."

On Tuesday evening, Sweetie Belle couldn't decide what was worse, losing her turn at the game console or being summoned to Professor McGonagall's office -- again.

Nervously, Sweetie Belle climbed into the chair in front of the desk of her head of house.

“There is no reason to look so anxious, Miss Belle.” Professor McGonagall never lost her stern expression, but a little of the stress noticeably drained from Sweetie Belle.

“Okay,” Sweetie Belle said as she fixed her professor with a questioning look.

“I called you here tonight to let you know that Arthur will be here tomorrow morning to escort you to the Wizengamot meeting.”

“I thought he was going to act as my proxy for all these meetings.” Sweetie Belle cocked her head.

“He will be, but tomorrow a new minister shall be selected. All Wizengamot members and their proxies should attend as a sign of respect. I know it is all new to you, but I do believe you will be able to manage admirably. I know that you have had a lot of responsibility foisted on you in the last couple of weeks, and I am proud of the way you are handling it.”

Sweetie Belle sighed. “It’s going to be a boring ceremony, isn’t it?”

“Most likely,” Professor McGonagall agreed.

Defeated, Sweetie Belle wilted. “I’m sure I’ll figure something out to make it less boring.”

“Please don’t,” Professor McGonagall pleaded.

Wednesday’s breakfast brought a new and unexpected milestone to the Gryffindor table. The majority of the herd had scarcely sat when Magah made a grab for the most popular platter. “Baa kon!” she gleefully spouted, pulling the dish close and digging in face first.

“Seriously,” Apple Bloom said, glaring at her, “that’s your first word? Bacon?”

“Baa kon!” Magah smiled, stuffing another piece into her mouth.

“After as much time as she’s spent watching Lavender play, I would have guessed her first words to be something like ‘I told you to jump, you wanker.’” Dean commented, “As it is, I count us lucky that she has a bacon obsession.”

“She took all of the bacon!” Sweetie Belle whined, trying to reach around the woman to get at the platter.

“Yup, she’s definitely Sweetie’s unicorn all right,” a third-year Gryffindor boy said as he sat next to the herd. “There’s another platter of bacon right here if you’d bother to look.”

“You know,” Neville said, “you’re supposed to limit the amount of bacon you feed your owl; I’m sure that applies to pet unicorns as well.”

Philomena trilled her agreement from Sweetie Belle’s shoulder, greedily eyeing the bacon.

“You try and take it from her,” Ginny said, gesturing toward Magah. “In the meantime, pass the sausage.”

“Bad unicorn,” a fifth-year girl said, reaching out to bop Magah on her nose. “Don’t eat directly from the platter; use your plate.”

“Gah!” Magah cried, bringing her hands to cover her nose and smearing even more grease on her face.

“Good morning everyone,” Hermione said, making her way over to the Gryffindor table.

“Hermione!” Abigail greeted in return. “Glad you could make it. Did you find what you were looking for? You’re spending all of your time in the library.”

“Yeah, you almost missed curfew last night,” Seamus commented.

“I’m sorry I’ve been such a bad friend.” Hermione looked down in shame. “But this is important.”

Magah threw a handful of oatmeal at the girl who had bopped her on the nose. “Baaa d!”

“If it’s important, we can help,” Scootaloo volunteered. “What exactly is it that you’re researching?”

“Oh no you didn’t!” The fifth-year girl reached for the yogurt.

“I’m not sure if I should say,” Hermione said. “I kind of brought it on myself.”

“Hey!” Apple Bloom yelled, after finding out that transformed unicorns could dodge just fine. “It’s not even raining out!” She grabbed the scrambled eggs.

“Doesn’t matter if you brought it on yourself,” Harry reassured Hermione. “We’ll still help.”

“You do realize, this means war!” an egg-covered Hufflepuff from the next table over shouted before grasping some tarts. It was at that point that the nutritional content of their breakfast became moot.

“Good morning, Arthur.” Minerva greeted her friend as he exited the floo in her office.

“Morning, Minerva,” Arthur said, brushing the soot off his clothes. “Is Sweetie Belle ready?”

“The children are most likely at breakfast. I am sure that she will be presentable. I told her last night to wear something more formal for today and she does seem to have acceptable fashion sense.”

“Good.” Arthur said, “Shall we go get her then?”

“If I weren’t positive that Molly had already fed you, I would offer you breakfast in the Great Hall first.”

“There isn’t much of a chance of leaving the Burrow without being fed,” Arthur agreed as he followed Minerva out of her office.

“That was wicked!” Ron exclaimed excitedly as the herd left the Great Hall. For once he had more food on the outside than the inside.

“What was with jumping on each other’s backs?” Abagail asked. “Not that it didn’t work well, given Scoot’s aim, Sweetie blocking with a platter and Apple Bloom grabbing everything in sight.”

“It’s just something they do,” Parvati said, whipping fried eggs off her robes.

“I’ve got jelly in my hair.” Lavender complained, “We’re going to have to take a bath now.”

“No!” Hermione panicked. “We’ll miss class!”

“I think the professor will understand if we are a bit late,” Dean said.

“What in the name of Merlin happened here?” The children were startled by the sudden appearance of their head of house, who was glaring at them.

“Baaa un corn!” Magah explained.

The Wizengamot chambers were once again filled beyond legal capacity, prompting the room to expand to accommodate the crowd. Curiously, there wasn’t as much background noise as one would expect for such a large gathering. Instead, there was a general hush as the wizards and witches present ogled at the two spectacles occupying the center of the room. One was the expected pedestal bearing a stone goblet. The blue flames it held were seductive, but not unexpected.

The more memorable spectacle was the little girl on the unicorn. A purple- and pink-haired young girl rode her prancing mount in a circle around the goblet, cheerfully waving at the gathering. It was a mesmerizing sight. She wore pristine white robes that matched the unicorn’s fur perfectly. She radiated serenity and joy. Her very presence brought a sense of peace and contentment to all who watched. The phoenix on her shoulder was just overkill. The singing avian guaranteed the crowd would stay quiet, if only to relish the rare melody.

As the starting time approached, the girl forgot herself. When she had first arrived, she had been nervous over being the center of attention. After parading around, she had subconsciously begun to sing. Blending her voice with the phoenix’s own song came an experience heretofore unknown to human ears. It was as though she were sharing not only her voice, but also her heart. What little noise the crowd was still making ceased immediately. Afterwards, none could say what the girl had sung, they just understood that it had been a song about hope for the future.

Immediately following the song, silence reigned for at least a minute as everyone present savored the last echoes of the harmony. There had been magic in the song, magic and a promise of a better tomorrow.

So began the Wizengamot meeting.

Clearing his throat, Dumbledore struck his podium with his gavel and said, “Good morning my friends, may we have a round of applause for the lovely Miss Belle?”

Instantly, the gathering rose to their feet and a thunderous applause claimed the room.

Blushing furiously, Sweetie Belle waved once more before guiding Magah toward a beckoning Artur Weasley.

“Now,” Dumbledore continued once the applause died down, “as Chief Warlock, it is my honor to call this special assembly of the Wizengamot to order.”

The people still standing quickly found their seats as the old wizard smiled warmly at everyone gathered.

“As you are all undoubtedly aware, we are gathered here today to choose a new Minister for Magic.” Dumbledore surveyed the assembly, “But first, is there any new business to be brought before the Wizengamot before we proceed?”

Almost as one, the gathering turned to look at Alice Rutter expectantly. She just sat in her seat with a huge grin and waggled her fingers in a wave, before shaking her head.

“I have new business,” a member of the Wizengamot said, finding his feet.

“Ah, Mr. Miller.” Dumbledore said, frowning internally. This couldn’t be good, it looked like change was about commence. “Since you are a member, I must ask you if your new business couldn’t wait until our normal session. I am sure many of the witnesses currently present are here to greet their new Minister.”

“This shouldn’t take too long,” Greg Miller stated. “My new business is actually old business that should have been taken care of ages ago.”

“Can I not persuade you to wait?” Dumbledore tried again. Why was no one listening to him lately?

“No,” Greg said firmly. “I have been reading our mandate, something I’ve recently had access to due to my new position. It has come to my attention that all laws pertaining to the arbitrary segregation of the populous are categorically forbidden by the mandate. I remind the members of the Wizengamot that we have all sworn on our magic to uphold and enforce it. In fact, the original drafters seemed to be concerned that the untitled would attempt to claim the same privileges as the titled.”

A murmur ran through the crowd as some saw where this was heading. Paling slightly, Dumbledore said, “I’m afraid I’m not positive as to how this is significant to our current situation.”

“It means that all laws pertaining to segregating muggleborn, half-bloods and purebloods rights are unsanctioned and must be removed immediately,” Greg said triumphantly.

The murmur that was wafting through the assembly turned into a roar as realization of what was proposed was digested.

While he still smiled on the outside, Dumbledore felt his stomach lurch. The new Wizengamot member had just gone straight for the jugular. While the previous incarnation of the Wizengamot generally agreed that the segregation mentioned was not arbitrary in nature, it didn’t take a seer to realize that the new Wizengamot would not see it that way. All the unique rights of the purebloods would now be under attack, en masse. Dumbledore was well aware that he needed to stall.

“This is indeed a revolutionary viewpoint.” Dumbledore said, striking his podium for order, the magic of the room making him easily heard above the ruckus. “However, I’m afraid it is well outside the scope of this special session and deserves more attention than we can devote to it today. As such, I’m afraid that it needs to be tabled until our next regular meeting. This will give you time to do additional research on the subject.”

“What?” Greg declared in disbelief, “It’s rather straight forward. All these laws need to be struck down.”

“I’m afraid it is not that simple.” Dumbledore shook his head. “If it were so, then all of the previous Wizengamot members would have been bereft of their magic. I must insist that the matter be tabled until our next session.”

The noise slowly died down as attentions began to refocus on the conversation.

“Very well, Chief Warlock,” Greg Miller said sitting down. “We will revisit this at our next meeting.

“Thank you for being reasonable,” Dumbledore said with an approving smile, “I apologize if you feel slighted, but this assuredly is not the time to tackle this issue. We have a new minister to appoint, and he or she will need some time to build their cabinet so that they may properly investigate your concerns. I do hope you can see how this will be in the best interest of government. We need to be made whole, first and foremost.”

“I suppose you have a point.” Greg Miller sighed.

Satisfied by the time he had bought, Dumbledore once again addressed the assembly. “Once again, I ask for any new business.”

A couple of wizards actually started to get to their feet but thought better of it and remained seated. There would be time for new business during the next meeting. After all, they were now well aware that putting their requests through the review process was a curtesy that could be overridden if necessary.

“Very well,” Albus Dumbledore intoned, “now onto the business that you have all journeyed here to witness. Dolores, as the highest remaining member of the previous administration, would you kindly do the honors?”

“Of course, Chief Warlock,” the large woman in pink said, climbing to her feet before waddling over to the goblet with exaggerated dignity. Once next to the artifact, she stopped to smile and nod, acknowledging the gathered warlocks and witches in each section of the audience.

“Ahem. Attention please,” Dolores Umbridge said unnecessarily. “I will now retrieve the name of our next honored minister.” With those words, she held her hand out over the chalice and waited.

The object in question seemed to suck in all the light from the room before it flared and spat out a single orange slip of paper. With baited breath the gathering watched as Umbridge easily caught the paper and read what was written on it. The mask of pleasantry the woman wore slipped off her face to be replaced by a scowl as she stared at the paper.

“No,” she declared, “I refuse to be a part of this travesty!” Angrily she shredded the orange fragment into confetti before whipping out her wand and reducing the confetti to ash.

“Stop!” Dumbledore said, storming toward the goblet, followed closely by some aurors and Director Bones.

“I wash my hands of this farce!” Dolores shouted, storming away from the center of attention even before the others arrived.

With a sigh, Dumbledore swished his wand at the fragments littering the floor, and a restored slip of paper floated up to his hand. Once again, the crowd held their breath as he read. When he did not immediately say anything the tension in the room doubled.

Finally, Dumbledore looked up and said, “It would seem that our next minister is none other than Mister Xenophilius Lovegood.”

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