• 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 61: Playing with Fire

Patience was the watchword on the island that history had forgotten. The signs had been unmistakable. The die had been cast. Now, it was a matter of waiting.

The island's latest resident could have been mistaken for a statue in the same way his colorfully-feathered escorts could have been mistaken for pigeons. A casual observer would have seen birds perched on the head and shoulders of an immobile figure. A closer examination would have revealed a body neither alive nor dead, with a mind still active, focused on one goal. The birds did not defile their perch. They cheerfully chirped and squawked their complete approval of his mission. The perch was all but immobile; only his eyes focused in and out as the stared across the miles, waiting.

His quarry lay somewhere along that bearing. At least that was where it was last detected. The power signature had dropped below the detection threshold, so the fiend could not have travelled far. While the bearing was known, the distance was not. There was only one thing he could do. So, the nemesis waited.

Generations had been tainted by evil incarnate. Generations had sworn no other would be its prey. The finest minds prepared for every contingency. The finest casters laid the groundwork for an inescapable trap. The purest hearts sacrificed everything to create its nemesis. This was part of the master plan. So, the nemesis waited.

The flare of magic had been unmistakable. The tyrant had taken an innocent, fattening the lamb for the slaughter as he forced it to gather much-needed mana. The scenario had been foreseen, and it had been incorporated into the master plan. So, the nemesis waited.

A weapon had been forged, cast in gold and gems. That weapon would sense the link between the tyrant and his victim. As soon as the transfer surged, the device would activate, shielding the innocent and incapacitating the tyrant. This was a linchpin of the master plan. So, the nemesis waited.

Such evil could not be destroyed. Unbound, it would eventually find another host. The tyrant's soul would be its prison. It would be fed just enough mana to keep it anchored to the mortal plane, keeping it in a perpetual state of limbo. That was the goal of the master plan. So, the nemesis waited.

It would take time for the scenario to play out. He could feel the weapon fulfilling its purpose. He knew events would unfold as they had been predicted. All was going according to the master plan. So, the nemesis waited.

Justice would be delayed, not denied. The nemesis waited.

Tension spiked in the Transfiguration classroom as Professor McGonagall entered. She did not storm in, that was something Professor Snape did from time to time. However, there was something clearly different about her entrance. Her body was tensed for action, and her senses seemed peaked to discern even the most minute detail. Although her entrance was almost silent, she drew every student's undivided attention. They would have sworn they were looking at a lioness on the prowl.

Scanning her class, she asked. “Does anyone present know where Miss Bloom is?”

The spattering of Ravenclaws all shook their heads, and Padma said. “They have a little time before class starts. I’m sure all of the Gryffindors will turn up together as usual.”

“Very well, when the period starts, I would like you all to review Chapter Three in your texts.” Minerva closed her eyes to sigh. “I will need to have a conversation with your peers when they arrive.”

The witch could have sworn there was a flash of light. An unexpected voice drew her attention.

“Here she is now,” Discord said, and Minerva opened her eyes to find she was in the infirmary, packed in with her missing first-years. “We can ask her.”

“Minerva.” Madam Pomfrey didn’t cease casting spells on Neville, who lay on one bed while Dean sprawled out on the adjacent bunk. “I’m glad you’re here; we have a situation.”

“How badly have my lions been hurt?” Minerva asked.

“I’m fine,” Dean insisted. “It was kind of like that feeling you get if you put your tongue on a battery, only over my whole body. It went away quickly enough though.”

“I’m fine too,” Neville stated weakly. “Just give me a minute, and I’ll be right up.”

“Neither of you are to get up until you have my say so,” Pomfrey commanded in a no-nonsense manner. “Minerva, these children claim they were ambushed on the way to their dorm.”

“Ambushed?” Professor McGonagall did not bother to hide the surprise in her voice.

“An older boy snuck up behind us and started casting a curse at us,” Parvati snarled. She and the rest of the Gryffindors waited impatiently on the other side of the room. “No warning or reason.”

“Do you know which spell?” Professor McGonagall asked.

“Horendum digitos,” Hermione promptly answered.

Madam Pomfrey and McGonagall share a look then with Discord before the professor prompted. “Are you sure?”

“Yes.” Hermione nodded her head. “He said it two and a half times.”

“And that’s when Miss Bloom threw him out of the window?” Professor McGonagall inquired.

“Ah never got no chance to lay a hoof on 'im.” Apple Bloom's disappointment hung heavily on her features. She muttered, "Ah wasted a perfectly good yoko tobi geri."

“He flew into the lake all on his own then?” Professor McGonagall wasn’t about to put up with lies at a time like this. The adult ponies had insisted that Apple Bloom simply did not tell fibs, but parents often missed their children's faults.

“No, ma’am.” Apple Bloom shook her head, then turn to address Lavender. “Which reminds me. What have Ah told y'all about throwing colts?”

“I’m not going to say I’m sorry.” Lavender screwed her face into a snarl. “He attacked Neville and Dean.”

“Ah know,” Apple Bloom said, “but throwing colts is a bad habit to get into. After classes, you and Ah are goin' down to the pitch and y'all are goin' to run twenty laps. That’ll learn you right like.”

“Twenty?” Lavender gasped.

“Did Ah say twenty.” Apple Bloom rubbed her chin. “Ah meant fifty.”

Lavender wisely kept her mouth shut and sulked.

“Do you not think that is a bit harsh?” Discord asked, lacking his usual grin.

“Nah,” Apple Bloom answered. “Power without control is nothin'. If’n it hadn’t been well-deserved, she would be doing two hundred at least. Ah’m going to break her of the habit.”

“Miss Brown threw your assailant into the lake? Not Miss Bloom?” McGonagall confirmed, skeptically.

“Ah would have cleared the lake,” Apple Bloom asserted.

Philomena trilled and nodded her head.

“Isn’t that a tad hypocritical?” Madam Pomfrey asked, content with her examination of Neville.

"Ah never said Ah was gonna throw 'im. Ah was gonna put his wand where the sun don't shine." Apple Bloom defiantly crossed her arms.

"I fail to see a distinction, Miss Bloom," noted Professor McGonagall. "You were prepared to physically attack your assailant."

"There are tons of ways ta take down a colt without throwin'. Ah don't want any filly to use this as her first move."

Discord quirked an eyebrow. "Are you sure that's all there is to it?"

Apple Bloom sighed. "Well, Ah do want to get mah licks in on any polecat that threatens mah herd."

Madam Pomfrey switched her attention to Dean and began waving her wand. “Are you positive he used the same spell on both of them? Mr. Longbottom has displayed the expected symptoms right down to the electrical burns. Mr. Thomas, on the other hand, has not.”

“I didn’t turn around in time to see the curse, but he said the same words each time,” Hermione assured the school nurse.

“It would seem that he flubbed the spell the second time. Mr. Thomas appears unharmed,” Madam Pomfrey said. “Mr. Longbottom has suffered some minor electrical burns, but is otherwise whole.”

“Which brings us back to my question. What is to be done with the attacker?” Discord interrupted.

“That will be up to the headmaster,” Minerva said. "He was with the other heads of house, fishing the accused out of the lake. We will, of course, need to hear his side of the story. However, such behavior shall not be tolerated.”

“Shall you be calling the constables?” Discord asked.

“That, too, shall be up to the headmaster. If no real damage has been done, I suspect he will decide to handle this internally,” Professor McGonagall answered.

“And shall the children’s parents be notified?” Discord pressed.

“That is also up to Professor Dumbledore.” McGonagall admitted.

"My dear professor, what these children endured would be politely described as 'atrocities' in any civilized society. The parents deserve to know forthwith.” Discord snapped his fingers, and the room became notably more crowded.

“Discord!” the first to recover yelled, running her hand through her mint green hair. “Haven’t you caused enough trouble for one day?”

“My dear, Lyra.” Discord tsked. “I’ve yet to cause any today. In fact, I was spending some valuable alone time with Alice and Fluttershy when I became aware poor Neville here was in enough pain to stop an elephant.”

“Tell that to the clientele of the Leaky Cauldron.” Lyra snapped. “Twilight just emptied the place.”

“What happened to my Neville?!” Augusta Longbottom demanded, shoving her way over to the bed holding her grandson.

“Luna?” Ginny asked, confused. “Where did you get that popcorn?”

“A house elf just brought it. It seemed appropriate.” Luna Lovegood held out a large bowl of fluffy, buttery goodness. “Want some?”

“That’s it,” Scootaloo said. “She is not to be left alone in a room with Pinkie Pie.”

“Aaaaaah!” *Crash!*

“My supply cabinet!” Madam Pomfrey fretted.

“Lavender!” Apple Bloom scolded. “Not throwing colts extends to not throwing full grown stallions, either.”

“But he was trying to get the drop on Ron!” Lavender countered.

“Was that Crispin Lee?” Arthur Weasley asked, eyeing the bedraggled and dirty man who had just left a man-sized indentation in the front of the supply cabinet with his body. “He’s supposed to be in Azkaban.”

“I thought the parents of the accused should be present as well,” Discord stated.

“You broke them out of prison to attend a parent teacher conference?!” Professor McGonagall did the unthinkable and raised her voice around students.

“That explains why that woman just staggered out the door,” Harry noted.

“Oh, bugger me!” Arthur swore, rushing for the exit himself.

“The goblins are not going to be happy with me just up and disappearing again,” Elisa Bates commented.

“Hi, mum!” Abigail waved cheerfully.

“I take it back,” Scootaloo said. “Abigail is the one not to be left alone with Pinkie.”

“I vote for neither of them are to be left alone with her.” Parvati opined.

“Wait,” Sweetie Belle said pointing a stunned blue pegasus stallion with a rainbow mohawk standing between Applejack and Rarity. “Who’s that?”

Scootaloo swiftly did the math in her head before timidly approaching the stallion. “Dad?”

“What?” The stallion shook himself out of his stupor. “Rainbow Dash?”

Scootaloo stopped mid-step. “Huh?”

The stallion looked around the room in confusion before fixing his attention on the girl. “I don’t know what is going on, but Rainbow Dash is my only daughter, and she’s a pony. You must have me mistaken for somepony else, and I’m not even sure what you are.” The last was said with him pointing a hoof at Scootaloo.

Aghast, Scootaloo turned a burning gaze on Discord.

“I am sorry,” Discord said. “Rainbow is still in the process of adopting you. I guess my aim was a smidgeon off. I assure you this was not intentional.”

“I.” Tears stared flowing down Scootaloo’s cheeks. “I understand.” With those words she spun and ran from the room. Harry, Ron, and Sweetie Belle were in quick pursuit.

Apple Bloom turned to Lavender. "Keep an eye on the colts." She turned to follow the other Crusaders.

“Now, ya jus’ gone an’ done it,” Applejack growled, hurrying after the first-years. No one paid any attention to the lone cloth napkin floating to the floor as she flowed into her human form.

“It would seem that the transfiguration on Miss Applejack’s outfit has worn off,” Professor McGonagall said unnecessarily.

“Uh huh,” the male members in the room agreed.

“It would also seem that she was correct about the powers she ascribed to human udders,” Rarity added, taking the time to change herself to her human form.

“Yeouch!” Lavender’s father cried out. “What was that for?”

“Your eyes belong over here,” his wife seethed, brandishing her wand.

“Anyway,” Discord hastily interjected, “I still think Dash should be here.” He snapped his fingers and a stream of rainbow light shot across the room, impacting solidly with a groggy man standing up from where he had been lying next to a supply cabinet.

*Whump!* The supply cabinet's doors splintered and fell to the floor.

“Oh, I had forgotten about him.” Seamus’s mother admitted.

“What? What?” Rainbow sputtered, trying to untangle herself from her victim.

“Rainbow! How’s my girl?” the blue pegasus stallion exclaimed.

“Dad?” Rainbow said staring at him. “What are you doing here? For that matter, what am I doing here?” Then after looking down to see what she had landed on, she exclaimed, “Eew! Medic!”

“I’m coming,” Madam Pomfrey called out, rushing over.

“Are we just going to ignore the starkers woman who just ran out of here?” Parvati’s father asked.

“She wasn’t starkers.” Discord corrected. “She was wearing a hat.”

“Well, I guess that makes it alright thaaaaaaaand.” Parvati’s father replied.

“Hmm,” Rarity mused. “I’m not even focusing any magic into them, but it is apparent that size is a factor.”

“Would you please put those away?” Parvati’s mother requested.

“I just wanted to test it out,” Rarity said, complying.

“What’s going on here anyway?” Rainbow asked, backing away from the human stallion receiving medical attention.

“Haven’t got a clue yet,” Mr. Lovegood said, claiming another handful of popcorn from the bowl his daughter was holding. “I’m sure Mr. Discord was about to tell us.”

“Actually,” Discord said. “First I was hoping to find out why Lyra considers Twilight emptying a pub my fault.”

“Two words,” Lyra said. “Book burning.”

“Oh.” Discord winced. “That would do it.”

“I don’t get it.” Dean’s mother spoke up. “Why would that explain it, and how did she empty the pub?”

“I’ve never seen anyone’s hair burst into flames like that before.” Emma Granger offered with a shudder.

“And she was white hot with magical rage. Everyhuman decided that they wanted to be anywhere but where she was.” Lyra nodded her head.

“Her head caught fire?” Dean’s mother gasped. “How awful! Should we get her help.”

“One.” Emma said. “I didn’t mean her hair caught fire. I meant that her hair turned into flames and started to dance around wildly. And two, no, we should let her cool down some before we even consider getting close. Pun not intended. I've never seen clothes vaporize before.”

The fishing expedition had been successful. Dumbledore led the way with a stoic expression as he led the way. Three heads of house formed a cordon around their catch, the de-slimed and dried Barnaby Lee. The seventh-year staggered as he followed the headmaster toward the school's medical wing. The lad had claimed that the first-years had attacked him without provocation and that it was Lavender Brown who had launched him through the window.

The mere fact that such an attack had occurred was vexing, to say the least. Dumbledore could not discount the possibility, however slim, that a pack of first-years had ambushed a seventh-year. The more likely scenario would be a disaster for his plans. Miss Brown was a minor daughter of a thriving clan, whereas Mr. Lee was the last of his line. Special consideration was going to be needed here, lest Barnaby become the last of the Lees. With any luck, he would be able to defuse the situation without resorting to anything drastic. He would have to act swiftly to prevent it from getting out of hand or becoming public knowledge.

The party stopped when a healthy, young, blonde woman skidded around the corner.

“Professor Snape, Ah’m glad Ah ran into ya,” she said, tipping her hat back on her head. “Have you seen Scootaloo? The filly jus’ had the shock of her short li'l life.”

“Gah!” Professor Snape said, letting go of the supporting grip he had on Barnaby Lee’s arm.

“No time for that now. Mah eyes are up here. Ya can ogle 'em all ya want later.”

“Gah!” Snape smartly repeated.

“Come on!” The woman grabbed Snape’s hand and started dragging him off down the hall.

After watching them disappear around yet another corner, Barnaby said, “That lucky bastard.”

“Mr. Lee, language,” Professor Sprout admonished.

“Let him have this one,” Professor Flitwick said. “Just let him have this one.

“Indeed,” Dumbledore said, turning to continue on towards their destination. “It would seem that our Potions master shall be occupied for a while. We shall have to proceed without him.”

He hadn’t taken two steps when a silvery cat made of magic put in an appearance. “Albus, if you are planning on coming to the infirmary, don’t. I would prefer to keep the property damage and injuries to a minimum. Just send Severus and Mr. Lee instead. Your time would be better spend tracking down Imogen Lee, who is skulking about somewhere.”

“Mom?” Barnaby asked, as the cat disappeared. “She’s here?”

Professor Sprout looked at Flitwick and said. “I just got a bottle of thirteen-year firewhisky; why don’t you come over after classes?”

“I’ll bring Paola and a bottle I have stashed away as well.”

“Is that wise on a school night?” the headmaster asked.

“With the way things are going, what harm could a little firewhisky do?” Professor Sprout returned.

“Hot! Hot! Hot!”

“The roof! The roof! The roof is on fire!”

“We don’t need no water- Let the motherbu . . ."

“Hey! Don’t listen to her! That’s my house! Put it out! Put it out!”

“That does it,” Berry Punch said, wavering unsteadily on her four hooves. “Derpy is cut off.”

“Yeah.” Carrot Top was also swaying. “Who would have >hic< Who would have thunk >hic< Who would have thinked that mixing a magical fire breathing booze, a pegasus, >hic< an’ a thatch…ch…ch…it roof would have been so vol… >hic< vol… >hic< tile.”

Roseluck said, "Nah breath. After burn."

“Anyway.” Berry slurred. “Minete, line up the next round of shots. We have thirsty ponies here.” She turned to see if her command were being followed. “Neva mind, you go ahead and enjoy your nap. Carrot, you wanna get the next round set up?”


“Or I could jus’ do it myself.” Berry trotted, er, lurched over to the table cum makeshift bar to help spread the joy.

Order had been restored to the infirmary in short order. The elder Mr. Lee had been restrained on a bed using a full body bind after being given several doses of Skele-Grow. In the meantime, Rainbow Dash introduced her father, Bow Hothoof, to the concept of humans before introducing him to the other parents. Still, something seemed out of place.

“Before we go any farther.” Rainbow raised a hoof as she flapped idly in the air. “Any chance I could get one of those rings and one for Dad too?”

“Oh, but of course,” Discord said, producing his puzzle box from nowhere.

“Thanks, Discord,” Rainbow acknowledged.

“Don’t mention it,” Discord said. “I have been getting my magic’s worth from passing these out.”

“I hate to impose,” Dan Granger said, “but I left a patient being prepped for some drilling when you snagged me. If it wouldn’t be too much trouble, could you send me back?”

“Oh, hay no!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed as she frantically began to pull the painfully pink outfit she was wearing from her lithe, athletic, human body.

“On second thought,” Dan mused, “there's no harm in waiting a few more minutes.”

“Dan,” Emma growled halfheartedly.

Rarity eyed her friend's new body critically. "Darling, I'm afraid an attack with those would simply fall flat."

Lavender’s mother shook her head in dismay. "Showing off like that is a boob."

Lavender's father received a slap to the head when he noted, "Two, actually."

"That will be just about enough of that," said Professor McGonagall said, brandishing her wand. One quick charm later had transformed the pink monstrosity into a virtual straitjacket, with the sleeves covering the hands and straps in the back securely holding the garments in place.

Sternly, Minerva said, "Mrs. Dash, that is not the way you should expose yourself to the wizarding world."

“But this is so . . . so. . . so,” Rainbow sputtered.

“I think she is trying to say that this is far too masculine. Why, anypony would mistake her for a stallion,” Rarity observed.

“Very well.” Minerva swished her wand again.

“Rarity!” Rainbow wailed. “Stop helping!” The fashion disaster slowly transformed into something out of a fairy tale. Ballet slippers were hidden under petticoats that were covered by a skirt of silk and lace. The front parts of the sleeves became white, elbow-length gloves, while the tops became puffy short sleeves. The collar grew into a Medici collar while the rest of the top became a frilly blouse. Rainbow stumbled as the bodice formed. "Hey! That's way too heavy!"

“You look so adorable, darling.” Rarity giggled.

There was a flash of light and everyone turned to see that Discord had a large bellows camera with a flash pan in his hands.

“Aaaaah!” Rainbow commented.

“I’m going to want ten copies, Discord darling.” Rarity said.

While everyone was distracted, Bow transfigured in order to avoid being the odd pony out. He studied his reflection in a mirror. "Tell me the truth. Does this make me look fat?"

Everyone else turned to the voice. The only sound that could be heard was jaws hitting the ground.

To her dismay, Scootaloo found that her human form was not nearly as fast as her natural pegasus form. The tears blurring her vision did nothing to help in her escape.

A red blob filled her field of view and said, "Wait up, Scootaloo!"

“Go away, you guys.” Scootaloo sniffed. “Trying to find a hiding spot in the empty classroom.”

“No way,” Harry said from behind, for the first time in his life initiating a hug. “You wouldn’t let me handle this on my own; you’d be barmy to think I’d let you suffer on your own.”

Scootaloo began sobbing as Ron and Sweetie Belle joined the hug. Apple Bloom said, "We Crusaders stick together," as she scanned the approaches for the slightest hint of trouble.

“We’ve got a problem,” the sixth-year girl said as she entered the potions lab. “Things are going pear-shaped.”

“Couldn’t find our missing professor?” one of the waiting boys asked.

“Oh, I found him just fine,” the girl answered. “He wants us to start titrating each batch of euric solution until he’s able to come to class.”

“Where’s the problem with that?” a different boy asked.

“The reason he’s late is because he’s being dragged around by that top-heavy, blonde bimbo.”

“Still not seeing a problem here,” the first boy said.

“She was naked again.” The girl huffed. “In the halls no less, mind you.”

Yet another boy asked, "Are you sure she's the same one?"

Growling, the girl replied, "I recognized the freckles on her cheeks."

The second boy said, "This is great news! It's sure to improve his mood."

An ebony-haired girl shot a stinging hex at him. Bristling, she said, "No wonder you lot don't have girlfriends! He's cheating on Zecora, you dolts!

“Eh, it’s keeping him happy; he’s been almost tolerable the last couple days.”

“You do realize how wrong the whole thing is,” a third girl interjected.

“You do realize just how outlandish the phrase ‘keeping Snape happy’ is,” the first boy challenged.

“We need to send Zecora an owl so she can come fight for her wizard,” the first girl insisted.

Silence followed.

“Well, aren’t you going to make some stupid comment about how Professor Snape should be allowed to play the two off on each other?” the ebony-haired witch demanded.”

“Nah, we’re still too busy trying to wrap our minds around the thought of any witch fighting over Professor Snape, let alone two.”

“You made my brain hurt,” the second boy confessed.

“Okay, now that we are all here, we can get to the business at hand.” Professor McGonagall said to the packed infirmary. “There are some serious allegations that need to be addressed.”

“Just a moment please,” Rarity broke in. “It may not be relevant, but the parents of the three most recent fillies are not present.”

“They were not involved in the incident,” Madam Pomfrey explained. “There would be no need to worry them.”

“They have a right to know what is happening at the school.” Rarity countered.

Discord sighed and snapped his fingers.

“What the?” Filthy Rich snorted. His wife and Silver Spoon’s parents looked just as startled as he did.

“Princess Cadance?” Lyra gasped as the large pink pony goggled over her unexpected change of location.

“Where am I?” Princess Cadance asked. “Are these the humans everypony has been talking about?”

“Welcome to Hogwarts, your Highness.” Professor McGonagall said. “Yes, we are humans.”

“Wait a minute,” Rarity crooned. “You are Clouded Hope’s mother.”

A series of expressions flitted across Cadance’s muzzle as she considered her options. “Maybe?”

“You and your coltfriend had her awful young.” Lyra noted.

“Um, Shiny is a very capable stallion.” Cadance shuffled her hooves uncomfortably, unsure of the situation she was finding herself in.

“Oh my, the absolute scandal,” Rarity gushed.

"Do you mean Shining Armor?" Lyra asked as she projected the image of a white stallion in a Royal Guard's uniform.

Cadence purred, "That's my stallion."

“Isn’t he Twilight’s older brother?” Lyra asked.

“Maybe?” Cadance admitted.

"You have my condolences," said Lyra. "Have you broken the news to Twilight?"

"News?" asked Cadance.

"You're taking his passing awfully well," replied Lyra.

"Shiny is alive!" insisted Cadance.

"But Discord brought all the other parents." Lyra's eyes shot wide open. "Oh." The other parents hid their smirks with their hands.

The pink pony growled, "That's my story, and I'm sticking with it." Impossibly, a blush showed through her fur.

“My,” Discord said. “This has truly been a day of revelations.”

“Twilight has a brother?” Rainbow Dash asked.

“Which reminds me. We should probably go back to the Leaky Cauldron and see if she’s calmed down yet,” Emma said.

“She can take care of herself for a while.” Lyra shook her head. “With nopony there to guide her, she’ll just gravitate to one of the bookstores.”

“Why does Twilight need to calm down?” Rainbow cocked an eyebrow.

“Discord burned a whole shelf of rare heirloom books,” Lyra explained.

Dash’s eyes shot wide open as she addressed Discord. “Have you decided what you want on your tombstone?”

Madam Malkin could not believe her luck. True, back-to-school season was always a boon for her business, but this year she had lucked into a good number of complete wardrobes to furnish after the normal rush, including seven more just this very day. There was so much work to do that she was considering closing her shop for the day when the bell above the door announced a customer.

Hearing her assistant gasp, Madam Malkin looked up from the written orders she had been scrutinizing. “Hello?”

“Um, hello.” her customer greeted. “I need some clothes.”

“I can see that.” Madam Malkin said, taking in the color of her customer's hair, all of it. “What happened to your pink uniform?”

“Rarity burned that first chance she got,” her customer said.

“I see. I hope you don't mind me saying this, but I always thought 'sackcloth and ashes' was just an expression.”

“Well, I had a rather nice outfit when I got here.”


“Well, that got burned too.” The woman blushed. "Luckily, bank keys and my wand are fireproof."

“I see.” Madam Malkin nodded. “Could I interest you in something with some heavy flame resistance charms then?”

“Yes. Please.”

She was not going back. Nothing in this world or the next could make her.

Never before had she been so appreciative of that secret passage that lead from the Slytherin area in the dungeons to just outside the infirmary.

Years of malnutrition and neglect had taken a massive toll on her body. An influx of magic buffered by both fear and hope compensated for some of what had been stolen from her. What they could not do, desperation finished. They lent her the strength she needed to cross the wards and enter the Forbidden Forest.

Not even a breath later, she called out. “Yippy! Come here!”

A crack announced the arrival of the one who had contributed more to raising her than her own parents. “Mistress youz free!”

“Quick, Yippy get me Uncle Tarquin’s wand from the vault. I need to get to the safe house.”

“Yippy be taking you there directly!”

There was another crack, then silence.

While most purebloods treat their house elves with something less than respect, the practice is not universal.

Though her classmates and peers would have lambasted her if they had known, Imogen considered Yippy her oldest and truest companion.

When others sought to punish the elf, Imogen loyally protected her from harm.

When others yelled and cursed at the servant, Imogen always offered a kind word.

When others couldn’t be bothered with its presence, Imogen always gave honest company.

When others screamed at her, Imogen laughed with her.

When others withheld food and basic necessities, Imogen had generously shared from her own plate.

Not all purebloods treated their elves like dirt. Imogen had whole heartedly entrusted her only child to this one to be raised in the same manner she had been herself.

Across the years of separation, despite the forcefully broken bonds of servitude, regardless of the Ministry warning to the elf that she was no longer allowed to heed the orders of this convict, Yippy had come. The elf had defied the laws of the Ministry. The elf had defied the laws of her people. The elf would have paid any price to heed the call.

For those who follow dark paths as well as those who follow the light, one thing remained true.

Friendship was magic.

Storge, philia, eros, agape. Love in all its forms was even stronger.

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