• 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 48: Granite, Gravity and Gravitas

This was a place where chaos had been vanquished. Only a privileged few could see the way in, far fewer that those who were truly deserving. The lawn was a sea of tranquility, neatly trimmed. There was not even so much as a blade of grass out of place, let alone litter from a careless passer-by. Row upon row of silent marble sentinels quashed any thought of frivolity. Each bore a pithy story in stone, a story of love lost but preserved for eternity. Each was a guardian of memories, marking a final resting place, regardless of what lay beneath, a stark reminder that all things must end.

A small crowd gathered in front of one stone that bore the tale of a couple taken before their time. They paid their respects, honoring the lives of the two while mourning their loss. Although their bodies lay inert, the couple still lived on, part of every beating heart among the gathering. Tears fell freely, tangible signals of what the gathering felt -- regret.

A woman with an almost giraffishly long neck knelt before the marker and reverently laid a bouquet dominated by white stargazer lilies. Pink and white carnations added volume and a splash of color, while a single yellow rose boldly announced its presence.

Between sobs, she spoke. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for so much. How could we have grown so far apart? The world of magic stole you from me, and I will forever hate it for that. Those bastards never even told me where you were buried. I miss you. I missed my chance to tell you I'm sorry in person. I hope you understand that you are my sister, now and forever, no matter how much we argued. If I had only been given the chance, I would have taken Harry in and raised him as my own. That damned magic that took you out of my life never even let him into mine. It denied my own flesh and blood the comfort of family."

The woman paused for a moment to compose herself before continuing. "Your friends tell me that you would have understood, that you would have forgiven me for something that was out of my control. My head knows this to be true, but my heart tells me that is a lie. There is not a night that doesn't keep me awake, the knowledge of the the monster that I was, the monster that I was forced to become. Tell me, how? How can I make it up to you? How can I make it up to him? I am so very sorry."

Well away from prying eyes, in the middle of her comfortable, windowless basement recreation room, Emma Granger sat on the creamy shag carpeting and multitasked between her two of her favorite activities. Anyone who knew her daughter would not have been surprised that reading was on the top of the list. Greedily, she guzzled the information on the basics of magic, reading through the large book propped up on a large throw pillow. She now had access to a world that she'd previously been denied; all it had taken was a request for her daughter to keep the lid of the trunk open. A veritable library was now at her disposal, and she was not about to let it go to waste, even if she could not cast a single spell.

The other activity was somewhere further down the list. Emma would never divulge where. As she read, her hands were elsewhere, pleasuring her husband. She had never had a pet as a child, and with Dan transfigured, she could indulge in something long desired. One hand casually scratched him behind an ear while the other guided a well-worn brush down his barrel.

“Would you stop kicking your hind leg like that?” Emma teased absently, not taking her eyes off of her reading material, “You’re shaking the book I’m trying to read.”

“Can’t help it,” Dan moaned.

“Can you at least stop drooling on my leg?”

“Oooooo.” Dan melted a bit more.

Emma sighed. “Live it up; in five more minutes it’s my turn.”

Deep in the bowels of Hogwarts, a pile of first-year students lay in the hallway. Everyone was slightly sweating as they shared a laughing fit and leaned against one another, trapping their self-appointed guardian beneath them.

“That was fun!” Luna Lovegood exclaimed “Let’s do it again.”

“One heartsong at a time,” Apple Bloom said, resting against Neville.

“I don’t think back to back heartsongs are even possible,” Scootaloo said. “That one sure caught me by surprise.”

“Wanker!” Magah complained from beneath the pile of children.

“You’ve done this before?” Parvati asked, draped across Ginny.

“Sure.” Sweetie Belle shrugged, disturbing Philomena, who had been snickering on her on her shoulder. “We have one or two weekly back home.”

“I’d love to see that someday,” Seamus said, “but why did it happen here?”

“No idea.” Sweetie shrugged again.

“I sense some leakage from Hermione,” a nattily-clad Discord remarked, peering down at the jumble of children.

There were a few seconds of surprised silence before most of the first-years cried out, “Discord!”

With a huge grin, Discord waved hello.

Harry latched onto what the man had just said. “Hermione? Do you know where she is? We’ve been worried sick over her.”

“I am sure she is having a good time in Ponyville,” Discord said. “I sent her there this morning to have a talk with Twilight. Thankfully, her trickle of fear stopped not too long after.”

“You sent Hermione to Ponyville?” Seamus questioned.

“An’ y'all didn’t tell us?” Apple Bloom squealed.

“Wanker!” Magah repeated, still under all of the children.

“You tell him Magah,” Scootaloo encouraged.

Discord raised a surprised eyebrow, “I just now told you,” he countered.

Lavender huffed, in frustration, grabbed the nearest object and threw it at Discord. Aghast, her herdmates stared at her in amazement as Ron's limbs flailed during his short flight into the wizard.

“Lavender Brown!” Apple Bloom scolded as Discord and Ron went down in a tangle of limbs. “No throwing colts!”

“Sorry!” Lavender muttered, her face turning red.

“REEEEEEEEADINGGGGGG IS FUUUUUN DAAA M . . .” Abruptly, the song cut off as if a switch were thrown despite the singers still waving their hooves dramatically and their mouths still moving.

All around, ponies stopped their accompaniment. Practically all of them dropped like puppets whose strings had been cut.

“That will be just about enough of that,” a lone human stated firmly, brandishing a wand and followed closely by a throng of frowning townsponies.

Suddenly aware of the havoc they had wreaked, Twilight and Hermione stopped their song and gawked at the downed backup singers.

“Thank you,” several of the exhausted rasped as they struggled to regain their breath.

“Just look at the damage you have caused,” McGonagall continued, marching up to the duo. “Everyone is a little hoarse.”

Silently, Hermione mouthed, "But you're a human!"

Pinkie flattened her ears against her skull. “That joke is getting old. Like really, really, really, really, old.”

With her own ears drooping, Twilight spoke, but no sound came forth. The lavender unicorn frowned before concentrating. A magenta aura emanated from her horn and washed over her. She repeated, "I'm sorry everypony. I don't know what came over me. That was undeniably a S.T.I.C.H.S. and nopony has yet to discern how and why they happen.”

There was much eye blinking until somepony asked, “What are stichs?”

“Well, you see, a S.T.I.C.H.S. is a sustained thaumatically ingeminated and compelled heartsong set,” Twilight said, taking on the tone of a college professor. “In the last six hundred years there have been seven confirmed and three suspected incidents. It’s actually very exciting to witness one first hoof.”

“Just what we need around here,” Carrot Top called out, “more excitement.”

“I know,” Twilight concurred. “Isn’t it great?”

“Twilight one; sarcasm zero,” Blue Bonnet commented from somewhere in the crowd.

“Wait!” Cherry Berry interjected. “How can there be three suspected incidents? It’s kind of hard to miss everypony breaking out in unending songs.”

“That’s a good question.” Twilight nodded at her. “You see, we can only presume the three incidents were S.T.I.C.H.S.s because everypony who could have been a witness was found expired due to exhaustion. Three small villages were wiped out, and the best explanation we have is S.T.I.C.H.S.”

The gathered townsponies regarded Twilight with wide open eyes and mouths before Cherry Berry said, “On second thought, I would have been just fine not knowing the answer to my question.”

“And on to safer subjects,” Banana Fluff said over the murmuring. “Who’s your singing accomplice? I don’t think I’ve met her before.”

“Oh,” Twilight said with a glance down at the bright orange filly, “thank you for reminding me. Everypony, I’d like you to meet Hermione, she is one of the newest Cutie Mark Crusaders.”

Hermione shyly waved at the crowd and said something, but no sound escaped her throat.

“Ooooooooooh,” chorused the crowd.

“She’s a Crusader?”

“That explains a lot.”

“Should have seen that coming.”

“No surprise here.”

“Does that mean all damages are coming from the Crusader relief funds?”

“What’s up with the strange looking minotaur, anyway?”

“I didn’t see any damages.”

“My cabbage cart got knocked over, trampled coleslaw everywhere.”

“Wait!” Cherry Berry called out, bringing the exchange to a screeching halt. “’One of the newest Cutie Mark Crusaders’? As in, they've added more than one?”

The resulting silence was palpable. It would have been the perfect time for a small breeze to come by and stir a few leaves for dramatic effect. However, all the pegasi were standing unnatural still, holding the wind at bay.

“Sweet Celestia,” Lily Valley finally said, terror evident in her voice, “THEY'RE MULTIPLYING!”

"WE'RE DOOMED!" added Daisy.

Roseluck gasped, "The horror . . . the horror." On cue, the three collapsed, unconscious.

In an unexpected display of flexibility, Ron and Discord managed to disentangle their limbs. Once the two separated, the girls reached an unspoken consensus and group-hugged their benefactor.

“I’m sorry I used you as a target,” Lavender said with her arms around the man still sitting on the floor.

“Not a problem, my dear,” Discord said with a chuckle. “I was planning on practicing my dodging in the near future anyway.”

“Oh?” Dean asked. “That sounds like fun. Could you teach us?”

“This may be a wee bit out of your league.” Discord rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “I was planning on showing a friend of mine some pictures depicting the destruction of some less than innocent books. I figure it will be good for a couple minutes of playing dodge the magic bolt.”

“Yer going to show Twilight pictures of books being mistreated?” Apple Bloom gasped. “Y'all need to screw yer head on tighter.”

“Yikes,” Scootaloo said, wincing, “You’re not talking about dodging magic bolts there. She’s going to pick up the town water tower and play whack-a-Discord . . . if you're lucky.”

“I’d ask if we could watch.” Sweetie Belle said, “but my survival instincts are stronger than that.”

Discord focused his attention on Sweetie and said, “Considering who that is coming from, I may have to rethink that particular course of action.”

The three original Crusaders all nodded their heads emphatically.

“Oh, who am I kidding? We all know that it will be a blast.” Discord waved a dismissive hand.

Apple Bloom sighed and placed her face in her hand. “Jus’ make sure that yer not in the town when ya do. It’ll cut back on the cleanup.”

“Actually,” Sweetie Belle said, “I heard that they were thinking of clearing the land just west of the dam for something or other. If you take her there first, you can pluck two flowers at once.”

“I just knew you would have some helpful insights.” Discord smiled widely. “Anyway, before we continue onto the reason for my visit, I see that you have added a couple of new members to your group.”

“Mr. Discord.” Parvati said with some flair, “This is Abagail Bates, and this is Luna Lovegood. Say 'hello' girls.”

“Hello.” Abagail said, bouncing and waving her hand with the speed of a hummingbird's wings.

“I like your eyes,” Luna demurely greeted.

“Thank you,” Discord said, standing up. “You are too kind. I do hope you are more lively than your namesake.”

“Ba kon,” Magah said as she leaned into Discord and started sniffing.

“Well, we cannot have you two feeling left out,” Discord said, producing a familiar puzzle box. “In fact, I think I will tweak these a little, just to keep things inter . . . Don’t sniff me there!”

“Wanker?” Magah said, her knowing look unmistakable.

“Not even remotely,” Discord growled.

“I’m sorry, Discord.” Sweetie frowned. “She doesn’t know that many words, yet.”

“And where did she learn such an offensive one?” Discord asked.

As one, the herd turned to look at one of their members.

Putting her hands behind her back, Lavender looked at the ground. “I tend to get a little expressive when I play games,” she muttered.

“I see,” Discord said, snapping his fingers. “It looks like we may need to work on your temper to keep it at an acceptable level.”

Turning noticeably redder, Lavender nodded her head without lifting her gaze from the ground.

“Here,” Discord said, holding out an object in his hand. “This will help.”

After accepting the object, Lavender said, “A bar of lavender soap? That’s terrible.”

“I guarantee that it will help you keep your language clean,” Discord said grinning.

“Thank you.” Lavender said softly, ashamed, sticking the bar into a pocket.

“Now, as I was saying,” Discord said, holding out a ring for each of the newest girls, “we can’t have you being the odd ones out.”

“Thank you!” Abagail said, all but snatching one of the rings. “Oh, thank you! thank you! thank you!”

Luna was more sedate in retrieving her own. “This is a wonderful gift, thank you,” she said. “I do have a question for you though.”

“Go ahead, dear,” Discord said, leaning his head toward her in acknowledgement.

“Is it hard to walk around with such mismatched legs?”

Discord blinked in surprise, “I mange just fine,” he said cautiously.

“Yes,” Luna said tilting her own head as she studied him, “I suppose you would.”

Discord gave Luna a barrage of questioning looks before saying, “On that note, Harry, you have an appointment with Mending Psyche. I am here to escort you to her office.”

“Do I have to?” Harry blanched.

“No,” Discord said, “but I think it will help, and I wish to at least pretend to be a responsible adult.”

“If you want to stop pretending.” Dean said with an evil grin, “you could always give us a couple of flame throwers to play with. That would even it out.”

Discord gave Dean a calculating look.

A large group of ponies sat with an outlier around an outdoor café table, awaiting somepony to take their order as the nibbled on breadsticks and blossoms. The misfit had an attentive admirer sitting so close that the mint mare was practically climbing into her lap.

“How much can you pick up with your fingers?”

“Lyra, please,” Bon Bon moaned, “let the poor creature eat in peace.”

“Is it true that you’re an omnivore?”


“Ah’m surprised yer not helping with the barrage of questions,” Applejack said, looking directly at Twilight.

“I’m feeling strangely drained,” Twilight admitted. “Besides, I plan on exploring the human world later this week. I know I was excited at the idea earlier, but right now I can’t seem to drum up the energy to care.”

“After that many heartsongs, I can see why, darling,” Rarity said. “Perhaps a visit to the doctor’s office is in order.”

“You were planning on exploring our world?” Professor McGonagall asked.

“Yes.” Twilight nodded. “How could I pass up the opportunity to learn about a new culture?”

“You are so taking me with you,” Lyra insisted.

“It would be best if you had a guide,” Professor McGonagall firmly said.

“I didn’t want to impose,” Twilight said, letting her head drift toward the table.

“You have to have a guide or else you could get hurt,” Hermione said, not looking up from the menu she was reading. “Our world has hazards you’re not used to.”

“You are so taking me with you,” Lyra reiterated. “Wait! ‘Our world’? You’re a human too?”

“Maybe?” Hermione permitted.

“Twilight,” Lyra seethed, “you’ve been holding out on me.”

“I’m sure I can arrange an escort.” Professor McGonagall placed a placating hand on Lyra’s head and absently began to scratch. “If I ask, I am sure I could convince Sirius to show you around.”

Twilight's head shot up, and she cast hope-filled eyes at Minerva. “Do you think he would?”

“I do believe it would be safe to say that he would,” Minerva said as it was Lyra’s turn to have her head drift toward the table.

“Isn’t that the stallion you were talking about earlier?” Rarity asked, her senses perking in anticipation of impending gossip.

Twilight nodded, her head once more drifting towards the table. “He was one of the stallions at the meeting with Harry Potter.”

“Twilight’s got a crush,” Pinkie declared in a singsong voice.

“I do not.” Twilight let her head connect with the flat surface. “He’s just a nice stallion I’ve recently met.”

“You’re lying.” Rainbow Dash started, before thinking better of it. She sent an inquisitive glance in Applejack’s direction.

Applejack hid a smirk before nodding.

“You are so lying.” Rainbow teased, “You think he’s cute.”

“No fair using Applejack,” Twilight complained.

“So, you admit you find him cute?” Rarity prodded.

“You girls are jumping to conclusions,” Twilight objected.

A bright flash of light flared and suddenly, there were two more ponies standing not far from the café table.

“Hello Princess Celestia! Hello Princess Luna!” Pinkie waved from her seat. “You’re just in time for lunch!”

“Princess Celestia!?” Twilight’s head popped up and she looked around wildly. After, locking her eyes on her mentor she smiled, “Oh, hi there, it’s good to see you.” She laid her head back on the table and started snoring.

“Okay,” Rainbow said, eyeing her lavender friend, “that’s not normal.”

Fay ran into the first-years on her way to the Great Hall for lunch. “Hello there,” she said. “Where are you lot heading? It’s almost time for lunch.”

“We were just headed outside for a little target practice,” Apple Bloom answered.

“Well, that can wait. Like I said, it’s almost lunch time and then Quidditch tryouts are right afterwards. Our new captain wants you all on the field for that.” Fay considered the younger children for a moment. “And what exactly are you all wearing on your backs?”

“Nothing.” Dean said.

“Uh huh.” Fay mused, “And why do your nothings have ‘Warning Flammable’ written all over them?”

With the glow of her horn painting Twilight’s sleeping form, Princess Celestia said, “I don’t detect anything wrong with her that a good night’s sleep won’t remedy.” Then, turning her eyes on the fluorescent filly, she continued “And you were her duet partner for every song?”

“Yes, your highness.” Hermione nodded her head.

“It is indeed strange that thou are not similarly afflicted,” Princess Luna reflected, as she casually held a dull grey apple-sized rock in her magic. “Are thou not the least fatigued?”

“No, your highness,” Hermione said.

“Most puzzling,” Celestia said casting an array of diagnostic spells on the filly, “and most frustrating. It’s been almost a hundred years since the last S.T.I.C.H.S., and we are no closer to understanding them now than we were then.”

“I have to ask.” Rainbow said, “What’s the deal with the rock?”

“Tis none other than the original versebreaker stone.” Luna hovered the artifact closer to Rainbow Dash so that the mare could examine it.

“So, it absorbs songs?” Rainbow ventured, leaning close to scrutinize the nondescript rock.

“Not quite,” Celestia said still examining the filly, “S.T.I.C.H.S. are a wild form of magic. They negate most traditional spells and ensnarl anypony unlucky enough to get too close. It took three teams of unicorns a year to enchant it, but the stone will seek out the main singer and force unconsciousness upon them, thus ending the heartsongs.”

“So, it has a powerful sleeping spell attached to it?” Pinkie asked, also leaning forward to examine the stone.

“That’s one interpretation,” Celestia said. “Let's leave it at that.”

“Hello, Harry Potter,” Mending said as she entered the cheery room full of colorful beanbag chairs. “I hope you had a pleasant week.”

“Yes, thank you.” Harry politely stood to greet the mare. “I had fun learning magic and being with my friends. How was your week?”

“My week has been interesting.” Mending said, then gestured and the elderly blue pegasus following her. “Allow me to introduce Sky Sunder. She has asked to observe this session if that is all right with you.”

“Hello ma'am.” Harry addressed the older pegasus. “I am pleased to meet you.”

“He is a well-mannered colt,” Sky Sunder said approvingly.

“It is an improvement over the last time we spoke,” Mending said. “Though, to be fair, he was overwhelmed by all the attention he had been receiving.”

“I'm sorry if I was rude,” Harry apologized.

“You weren't rude,” Mending said in a comforting tone. “You were much more guarded, though.”

“I'm sorry,” Harry repeated.

“Don’t be, dear,” Sky Sunder said, easing herself onto a red beanbag chair that clashed horribly with her coat. “From what I hear, you handled yourself very well for being in such a strange situation. After all, you are in a new world, wearing a new body.”

“Speaking of bodies,” Mending said, “I would like to see you in your birth form if you would feel comfortable showing us.”

“Yes ma'am.” Harry said, “I’m okay with that.”

With that, Harry transfigured back into the guise of a Gryffindor first-year, standing taller than the two ponies.

“Thank you, Harry,” Mending said, coming closer to examine the colt. “I've been consulting with minotaurs this week and you don't seem too different from them. Just notably smaller with a different head structure altogether.”

“Yes ma'am,” Harry agreed.

“You may change back, if you like,” Mending said. “Are you comfortable in your pony form?”

“Yes ma'am. I spend most evenings in pony form, after we are done with our homework.” Harry shrank back into a sky-clad pegasus and lay down on a mauve beanbag.

“I am very pleased to hear that.” Mending found a garish beanbag of her own to claim. “I admit to being worried you might reject your new form.”

“No ma'am, I am very fond of being a pony.”

“Why don’t we lose the 'ma'am'. Although it is proper, you are making me feel old. Please, just call me 'Mending'.”

Harry complied. “Okay, Miss Mending.”

“Better,” Mending said with a hint of approval, “but still a touch too formal.”

“So, you like being a pony?” Sky Sunder said breaking into the conversation. “Does that mean you've been teaching yourself how to fly?”

“No ma'am.” Harry shook his head. “It wouldn’t be fair to Scootaloo if we started that without her. We’re waiting until she can change along with us.”

“That is very compassionate of you,” Mending said. “Now, I’d like to ask you a question that I asked you last week.”

“Yes Mending?” Harry said giving the mare his full attention.

“Are there any adults you trust?”

“Yes, I have a list of adults I feel I can trust,” Harry said. After a second's thought, he added, “Actually, that's not completely true. I have a list of adults I don't distrust, but only one that I trust.”

“That's a good start.” Mending smiled encouragingly. “May I ask who is the one adult you do trust?”

Harry nodded and said, “That would be Mr. Discord.”

Hermione drifted along amid the multicolored sea of legs. She looked with concern at the mint green unicorn at her side before looking up at the lavender load lofted two meters above the throng. With worry evident in her voice, she asked, "Are you sure you have to carry her so high off the ground?"

"Don't worry," Lyra said dismissively. "Twilight's a lightweight. Besides, this way, nopony'll accidentally bump into her. She needs her sleep."

"But what about you? You nodded off at lunch. Couldn't you just set her in a cart and roll her along?"

Lyra replied, "That power nap was just what the doctor ordered. Besides, we've got the fastest flyer in Equestria keeping an eye on her."

“But she's up there awfully high,” Hermione argued.

“Don’t fret, darling,” Rarity said, reaching down to nuzzle the distraught filly. “Twilight is perfectly safe.”

“Okay,” Hermione said reluctantly.

“Why are y'all so worried like?” Applejack asked.

“Tisn't natural to be up so awfully high,” Hermione whimpered.

“We're not that far up,” Rainbow said from where she was flying next to Twilight. "Even Rarity could jump this high if she wanted to."

“You've got wings,” Hermione countered. “Falling is not a thing for you.”

“Hold on a sec here,” Applejack said, eyeing Hermione, “Yer a bit too worried over a little bit o’ levitation. Y'all wouldn't happen to be ascared o' heights, would you?”

Hermione didn't answer but continued to eye Twilight warily instead.

“You are afraid of heights.” Rainbow said with an evil grin, “You’re in luck; we have a cure for that.”

Whenever house elves were involved, meals could be guaranteed to be of the highest quality. What set the Great Hall at Hogwarts apart was the uncanny way in which the menu always seemed to feature choices that pleased every palate. History was being made as a woman with long, silvery-blonde hair stared down at the soup plate that had been set in front of her. After a tentative sniff, she scowled in disgust. To the dismay of every gastronome in the room, she protested loudly.

“Ba kon!”

“No, Magah,” Sweetie Belle said. “There is no bacon for lunch today. Now, please eat your goulash like a good big unicorn.”

“Ba kon!”

“I told you no, you are not getting any bacon right now. Eat what I put in front of you.”

“Ba kon!”

Sweetie Belle picked up a spoonful from Magah's bowl and pretended to eat a bite. "Mmmm. Tasty." The girl extended the spoon toward the transfigured unicorn who turned away.

"Ba kon!"

The phoenix on her shoulder took advantage of the distraction to claim the contents of the spoon. Sweetie Belle said, "See? Philomena likes it."

"Ba kon!"

"How about some brussels sprouts? Don't you just love that nutty flavor?"

“Ba kon!”

“Did you seriously just foist your share of brussels sprouts off on your unicorn?” Seamus asked.

“Ba kon!”

“Don't be silly.” Sweetie pointed at the table. “They are sitting on a platter for those who want them. If you don't like them, don't take them.” The girl speared one with her fork and held it up to her shoulder. Philomena stuck out her tongue before incinerating the offensive offering. The others at the Gryffindor table stared in shock as Sweetie savored the ashen sacrifice. "Yummy! Just like Mom used to make!"

“Ba kon!”

“Still, giving her those evil little things is probably a bad idea.” Dean opined.

“Ba kon!”

“I said 'no', Magah. Eat your goulash.”

“Ba kon! Ba kon! Ba kon!”

“You do realize,” Parvati said, sitting down at the table after returning from a talk with her sister, “you are effectively losing an argument against someone with a one-word vocabulary.”

“Ba kon!”

“Don't laugh,” Terisa said. “Anyone with small children will tell you just how easy it is to do that.”

“Ba kon!”

“Besides, Parvati.” Neville put in his two knuts. “You know Magah has a vocabulary of at least four words.”

“Ba kon!”

Parvati realized Luna was watching her with unblinking eyes, “What?” she asked of the little blonde.

“Ba kon!”

“Nothing.” Luna answered and returned to her meal.

“Ba kon!”

“For the love of Merlin!” an older student from the Ravenclaw table shouted, “Give her a BLT already and shut her up.”

“Ba kon?”

The war of wills hung in the balance.

As Hermione looked down at the ground rapidly racing up to meet her, the analytical portion of mind finally kicked in. To counter her spin, she had to draw her limbs close and then spread them suddenly, increasing her moment of inertia. While she was by no means enjoying the experience, it was no longer inducing absolute terror. To her surprise, she could not remember how many times she had been dropped from the clouds. She was now confident that one of the pegasi watching her would catch her before she reached terra firma. If Rarity's story were to be believed, Scootaloo's mother was more than fast enough to serve as the last line of defense.

Ruefully, she reflected on the experience. She could barely stand during the breaks; solid ground did not have the undulations of the cloud. The honey-laced tea the nurse gave her had chased some of the soreness from her throat, but the fear had drawn out all the liquid over the course of the subsequent drops.

With her peripheral vision, she watched the first catcher swoop in, matching her speed. Gently he grasped her in his forelimbs and descended in a lazy spiral. As they touched down in front of the nurse, Hermione waved her back. She wouldn't be needing the soothing tea any more. Her acrophobia still demanded her attention. However, Hermione had finally realized that screaming in terror did get boring after a while.

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