• 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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Interlude 8: Imminent Innovation Incoming

Minerva had fervently prayed that some semblance of normalcy had returned when she had felt the wards protecting Hogwarts revert to the headmaster's control. The voice that accompanied the gentle rapping on her office door dashed that hope. He should have been summoning her to his office; it was unheard of for him to visit hers for a meeting.

“Come,” Professor McGonagall called out, standing up behind her desk. The door opened, revealing that it was indeed Dumbledore who had come calling. As he entered, she asked, “Albus? To what do I owe this pleasure?”

“Ah, Minerva,” Dumbledore said, striding into the room. “It’s good to see you. These last few days at the ICW headquarters have been troublesome to say the least, and I fear it is only the beginning. My return will be short-lived, as there is much to be done.”

“I had anticipated such a scenario,” Professor McGonagall acknowledged. “Though I am surprised that you came to see me, rather than issuing a summons.”

“About that,” Dumbledore said, settling into the visitor chair. “It would seem that in my absence, a unicorn has decided to take up residence in my office.”

“A unicorn?” Minerva’s face showed not a hint of the surprise she felt. “Any pony that I know?”

Dumbledore shook his head with a smile. “He was of the forest variety, not one of our Equestrian friends. I fear I am going to need assistance in removing him; otherwise I’d risk causing undue harm. They are known to be territorial and not very appreciative of old wizards.”

“Garrick hasn’t had a problem as far as I know,” Minerva noted.

“He only approaches the mares,” Dumbledore replied. “The stallions are much more temperamental, especially when cornered.”

“How did a unicorn manage to lay claim to your office?” Minerva asked.

“The elves claim that Fawkes acquired him.” Dumbledore sighed. “I can only assume that he has observed Miss Belle and is jealous that she maintains the company of both a phoenix and a unicorn. I never would have guessed that he might react badly to being shown up, so to speak. He may have found the endeavor more difficult than he anticipated, though. The glimpse of him that I managed showed that he is in an immature state, well outside his normal Burning Day cycle.”

“This is a complication we can ill afford at this time.” Minerva allowed the hint of a scowl to cross her lips. “A unicorn stallion is potentially dangerous to the students; you are going to have to keep him well under control. Being cooped up in your office can’t be good for him, either.”

“You can’t possibly think I intend to keep him,” Dumbledore said.

“It’s either that or you need to convince Fawkes that he can’t keep a pet unicorn,” Minerva said. “It’s not like he will have difficulty sneaking it back inside whenever he takes a fancy to it.”

“I cannot deny that,” Dumbledore admitted.

“Still, that is not the most volatile thing we must discuss.” Minerva sighed. “As you are well aware, the board of governors has been restructured, bringing about a corresponding restructuring of attitudes. There was an emergency meeting yesterday evening in response to the muggles learning about magic. Several important issues were raised.”

Dumbledore sighed in disappointment. “It would seem that our way of life will soon be unrecognizable on every level.”

“That should come as no surprise,” Minerva said. “We simply do not have the option of leaving things as they were. For better or worse, we're in a whirlpool of change."

“It will be hard to hold onto the old traditions,” Dumbledore lamented.

“We have every right to hold our traditions dear,” Minerva countered. “We might pass them on, but we have no right to force them onto the next generation.”

Dumbledore grimaced before saying, “And what wisdom has our new board of governors imparted?”

“The subject of the off-limits corridor came up. They were infuriated over the idea of a school serving as a repository for anything that had to be guarded in such a manner. There were several disparaging accusations made about the intelligence of the staff who allowed such a thing. They felt it was far better for us to have used a Fidelius Charm to have hidden it, rather than potentially exposing a school full of children to those who would want to seize it. Given our new alternatives, I concur."

“They have no idea of the ramifications we all would face if the stone fell into the wrong hands,” Dumbledore said dismissively. “We do what must be done. Nothing else needs to be said on the matter.”

“They agreed unanimously that the school is not to be used for such things,” Minerva stated. “If not for a full docket of business to cover, I have no doubt that your tenure as headmaster would have ended with that exchange.”

“They are demanding that the stone be removed?” Dumbledore asked. “The fools! I haven’t the time to see to its protection with all of the work piling up. Do they wish to see our world go up in flames?”

“The world is a far different place now; with the resources we can now bring to bear, there is no need to risk our children any longer,” Minerva said sternly. “The stone has been removed, Albus. Filius and Pomona are dismantling the traps even as we speak. Which reminds me, Hagrid wants to know what you wish done with the troll.”

Dumbledore paused, aghast at the initiative the deputy headmistress had displayed. “What has become of the stone?”

“It has been given to an acquaintance to safeguard, until such time as Mr. Flamel wishes to lay claim to it,” Minerva said. “It is no longer the concern of this school.”

“How could you do that without consulting me?” Dumbledore demanded. “How can you be sure this acquaintance will not misuse such a powerful artifact?”

“She literally has nothing to gain from its power; she has no need for gold, and she is already immortal. I cannot think of a more appropriate steward,” Minerva said. “I am sorry, Albus; the board was unwilling to budge on the subject and I must admit, the resolution is more than satisfactory. The safety of the children should be our highest priority.”

“We must also safeguard their future,” Dumbledore countered. “We cannot do that if certain things come to pass.”

“Be that as it may, it is not I whom you would need to convince. However, with the disruptions that other imminent changes are sure to bring, there is no telling when you might have an opportunity to plead your case.”

“I think it would have been prudent for me to have attended the board meeting.” Dumbledore sighed. “I would have been able to rein in anything overly ambitious.”

“Doubtful. The new board has no desire to uphold tradition for tradition’s sake.” Minerva pursed her lips. “You are aware that muggle studies was sorely inadequate. They have decided that history of magic is likewise deficient and have the test scores to back that opinion. Professor Weiss has been promoted to remedy the latter situation. The former shall be rectified with the loan of a social studies professor provided by the muggles.”

“Surely they do not intend to let a muggle loose on the students.” Dumbledore frowned. “The old families will not stand for it.”

“We can no longer hide,” Minerva said. “Without an accurate understanding of the workings of the muggle world, our children will be unnecessarily handicapped in the years to come. The shield of ignorance had already been irreparably shattered by the introduction of a telly into the Gryffindor common room. As for the old families, they, of course, have the option to homeschool their children, but the board refuses to let such bigoted views interfere with the education of those not so biased.”

“The purebloods can easily pressure us into submission over that issue,” Dumbledore argued. “Our current class sizes are barely providing enough funding to keep the school solvent. If the purebloods pull their children, the school will go bankrupt."

“That is the perfect segue into our next order of business,” Minerva said, “as well as a continuation of the last. The muggle government was less than appreciative of our policy of binding the magic of children unwilling or fiscally unable to attend Hogwarts. They asserted that we do not have sovereignty over their people just because they have access to magic. Compromises were made, and all such binding shall be expunged, and the muggle government shall be providing funds for those previously unable to pay the tuition. We shall be seeing the infusion of muggleborns as soon as the new term begins. The muggles see magic as a resource, and they are most eager to cultivate the potential.”

“The board approved this?” Dumbledore shut his eyes as he visualized his control of the school slipping from his grasp.

“Enthusiastically,” Minerva confirmed. “Remember, most of the new board members are muggleborn themselves. They are greeting the muggle government's demands with open arms. Next year, we shall be having more muggle teachers introduced to fill the holes they see in our education system. Hogwarts is to meet both the muggle and the wizarding education standards.”

“And what of the proposed new students? They cannot just be inserted into the classes already in session,” Dumbledore argued. “It will be an undue burden for the staff on top of their normal duties.”

“With the fall of the statute, many jobs at the Ministry have become defunct,” Minerva asserted. “We do not lack in applicants for the additional aid that shall be required, and Merlin knows we have more than enough empty classrooms. It will be a significant deviation from the norm, but we shall manage.”

“I cannot see the students starting halfway through being able to catch up with their peers,” Dumbledore insisted.

“The muggles have introduced us to the concept of summer school,” Minerva said.

“How devious,” Dumbledore replied.

"Tempora mutantur, et nos mutamur in illis," Minerva said. "We have no choice but to adapt or perish. The purebloods will not like what is to come, but there is nothing they can do to stop it. Pureblood superiority has no place in this world. Instead of being able to force the muggleborn to conform to our world, we are now faced with having to conform to theirs.

“It is a sad day.” Dumbledore said.

"It is a new day," replied Minerva. "Those who had subjugated based on birthright now find themselves on equal footing with everyone else. There is much I do not like in the changes, but I recognize what must be done in the name of fairness."

“I cannot deny the inequities in our traditions, but so sudden a change is sure to lead to anarchy. There are many who will refuse to change.”

“There will always be those whose minds cannot be changed,” Minerva said, pulling a sealed letter out of her desk. “The board wanted you to have this and await a reply.”

Dumbledore took the missive and broke the seal. His frown grew as he read the contents.

“What is it Albus?” Minerva asked when the old wizard refolded the parchment and placed it in his lap.

Dumbledore gaped like a stunned mullet for a moment before he said, “The board is of the opinion that I cannot properly fulfill my duties as headmaster while being distracted by my duties as Chief Warlock and Supreme Mugwump. They are dismayed that I seem to conflate my politics with the running of this school. The demand is that I either resign from those offices or tender my resignation as headmaster. I have a week to decide.”

In a school very different yet very much the same, the headmaster stood alone in his office. The stress of the last few days had been almost unbearable. There had been many orders from his government to exorcise the very soul of his school, something he would never suffer. There would be no muggleborns walking the hallowed halls. His students would not be taught to subjugate themselves to the wills of mere muggles. He would not capitulate.

A war was coming, and his soldiers would be ready. It would be absurd to lower his guard. It would be inconceivable to bow to the whims of lesser beings.

Wizards were superior, after all.

The time was coming when that would be proven.

Until then, they would play the fool. They would pretend to cooperate. They would become stronger. After all, his master had been correct on many fronts.

The wards of his school were far better than anything that Hogwarts, Beauxbatons or Ilvermorny incorporated. The exact location was known to only a few outside the alumni. Wizards may have been exposed, but the school was not. It would be a bastion, a stronghold.

Yet, the stress was immense. He was boxed in from all sides. He had nowhere else to run.

He looked down at his bared arm, fearing what he knew he would see.

The mark was darker.

Much darker.

His master had returned.

In the plush smoking room of the Minister's mansion, Xenophilius looked at his forlorn guest and said. “Come now, you can’t still be upset over not getting a date. That was days ago.”

“Twilight made it look so easy,” Lyra grumbled. “I’ll bet if I had more time, I could have made it work.”

“So, you’ve said,” Xenophilius noted. “Repeatedly.”

“Rejection hurts.”

“I’m surprised that you’ve had time to feel rejected,” Xenophilius said. “We’ve been busy.”

“You more than I,” Lyra replied. “So far, I’ve just been making speeches about looking forward to good relations and shaking hooves. Dan Granger was right, you humans do like ponies too much.”

“I’m sure you're suffering from all the attention. Some people have no concept of personal space.”

“Nah, it’s been great,” Lyra admitted.

“Anyway, you had something you wanted to talk to me privately about before you head home for the night?” Xenophilius asked.

“Yes,” Lyra sighed. “Princess Celestia has heard about your prison and isn’t happy with what she’s learned. She’s thinking of breaking off official relations unless it’s closed down.”

“Mmm,” Xenophilius rubbed his chin. “I can see why she would be concerned after hearing about Azkaban. It is not a pleasant place, but it is a necessity.”

Lyra narrowed her eyes. “It is a necessity that you treat your prisoners so cruelly?”

“You’re looking at it from the wrong angle.” Xenophilius patted Lyra’s head reassuringly. “Azkaban does not exist to punish its prisoners; it exists to contain their gaolers. The dementors used to roam the countryside making victims of unwary wizards and muggles alike. They could be chased away by a powerful enough witch, but they were always a danger. They kissed many unfortunate innocents before Azkaban was built.”

“That’s horrible,” Lyra said.

“It was,” Xenophilius agreed. “We have yet to find a way to destroy them. However, they are amendable to stay in one spot if a steady food supply is made available. It is a tenuous situation, but we keep the masses safe by sacrificing the worst of us to their mercies. It is not a perfect solution but it is better than the alternative.”

“That’s horrible,” Lyra repeated.

“I agree,” Xenophilius said. “Perhaps, with the new knowledge shared by your government, we can end the need. Until then, the choice is between letting them have magicals who have proven themselves to be a danger to the common good and letting them prey upon anyone they like, anywhere they like. We are literally choosing the lesser of two evils, granting ourselves some measure of control.”

“That is so horrible.”

There were no wardens. There were no guards. Still, it was where they were forced to stay. Still, it was a prison. Still, the months had been fabulous. The dementors were but an awful memory.

Still, the months had been cruel. Hardly a moment had gone by when she wasn’t certain that there were aurors just outside, preparing to bring down the wards of her impromptu home, ready to take her back to the suffering.

Intellectually, she knew it was a baseless fear.

The price of being caught after escaping was to be kissed, left soulless by the very beings she so feared.

It was enough to drown the euphoria of no longer being in their presence.

Every day, she suffered. Paranoia ate at her very core.

It was so much better than the life she had been living.

Yippy held her as she wept.

They were both fugitives.

They were both without hope.

Thus, the days passed.

Then the mark . . . the mark darkened.

Hope came tempered by a new fear.

Her master had returned.

Yet, no call came, no way for her to find him, no way to be by his side.

Hope died anew.

She just wanted out.

The opportunity came when her sister apparated into the safehouse, with an owl of all things.

Greetings were brief, reacquaintance denied.

Her sister had little time, and her brother-in-law had forbidden the granting of aid for fear of punishment from the new Ministry.

She learned that her son was in a different dimension and the owl could take her to him.

Without looking back, Imogen and Yippy left the world of man.

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