• Published 22nd Sep 2018
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Ponies in Hogwarts - KittyrinnAiko



A pony stranded in the past must go to another dimension and learn the ways of wizards before she can return to her own time.

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Chapter 22: Hogwarts express return to London

Both Raritys departed the morning after the dinner via the mirror in Nova’s basement with Dumbledore being told they’d returned the same way they came. Nova was just sure they’d try pulling a fast one on Princess Celestia in Canterlot. From there the Human Rarity would go by portal to London where she could catch a flight back to Paris and hopefully salvage what was left of her career. Little did she know, the Phoenix incident had rocketed her to stardom. Owing to the fact that witches and wizards weren’t the only people with abilities far beyond the norm, a phoenix had not come as a great shock but had been a marvelous surprise. As for the students in Hogwarts, the test results were released on Thursday. Nova, Scootaloo, and Hermione got Outstanding on their results. Apple Bloom got a mix of outstanding and Exceeds expectations, save in broom riding where she received a grade of acceptable. Sweetie Belle got mostly exceeds expectations save for Potions where she received an Acceptable. Following the test results, the remainder of the week and the better part of the next was devoted to reviewing, and home assignments. Of which Luna was particularly dismayed at the news that no one was allowed to actually do any magic. This left only reading assignments, and reports on said assignments. Among those assignments Luna included a chapter from a book on magical creatures, detailing the dangers of inbreeding.

Early Friday morning it was decided it was time to return Moonflower to the forbidden forest. They got up early, roused her, and quietly crept out into the infirmary. They were all in their pony forms to keep Moonflower calm. Nova had been tempted to open up a doorway as close to the forest as she could, but she did not want Professor Dumbledore to know a door could be opened that far out. After all, the distance from the Gryffindor tower and the hospital wing was relatively small. A distance that made it very convenient for Gryffindor students who were studying medicine. Dumbledore would have to be satisfied with the idea that the distance a door could be opened was far more limited then it truly was.

Nova, Scootaloo, Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Moonie quietly escorted Moonflower out to the Clock courtyard, passed through the North wing of the medical classrooms. From there it was out onto a covered bridge that now crossed the gap that separated the school from the owlrey, animal pens, and Hagrid’s hut. Nova couldn't resist saying that in her day there was no roof on the bridge.

"Yes, granny." Apple Bloom teased.

From there they made it as far as the stone henge, a great stone circle.

Moonflower froze.

“Moonflower, don’t you want to go home.” Sweetie Belle asked.

“Home?” Moonflower asked. It may well have been her first word.

“The forest. Don’t you want to go back?” Apple Bloom asked.

“No!” Moonflower replied emphatically. “No!” She then spun around and began trotting back in the direction they’d come. “No! No! No!” She chanted as she went. If she'd had fingers, the middles fingers would surely have been extended. "No, no, no, no, buck no..."

“Now what?” Nova asked as they watched her go.

“We escort her back, that’s what.” Apple Bloom offered and took off after Moonflower.

“Not like I can blame her.” Sweetie Belle offered and galloped after her.

“Right off hoof, I’d say we are stuck with her.” Scootaloo offered, unfolded her wings, and lifted herself up into the air. A few moments later, she, and Nova had caught up with the barn soured unicorn. Along the way back they met up with a number of early risers, staff and students alike. Not a one of whom wanted any part in the procession, and would duck out of the way as it really looked like a unicorn from the forest had wandered into the school with a group of yearlings.

“What on earth?” Madam Pomfrey exclaimed as the procession marched past her office.

“We tried to take her back to the forest, and she refused.” Nova offered as she passed by. "She's even said her first swear word." There was a moment's silence followed by Madam Pomfrey bursting into laughter.

Nova and the other’s in the know did their best to ignore rumors concerning the pony sighting that morning while at breakfast.

“Ah, Princess Luna,” Dumbledore called on seeing her later that morning. “I’ve heard a rather interesting rumor going around this morning.”

“I’m to understand you’ve met Moonflower?” Luna asked.

“I have, in a fashion.”

“The girls tried to take her back to the Forbidden forest this morning, and she flat out refused.”

“Oh dear.”

“Good news is she can say three words now, home, no, and buck no,” Luna informed him with a smile. “And you can guess where home is.”

“Any idea what you are going to do about it?” He asked sounding concerned.

“I imagine I have little choice but to adopt her as a special needs daughter.” Luna offered.

“Adopt her? - You can’t be serious?”

“Well I can’t expect Nova to take care of her, Harmony knows she already has plenty on her plate. - I know Moonflower is good around foals, though I’ve yet to find out how she’ll react to Spike.”

“Your dog?”

“Spikes a dragon.”

“You have a pet dragon?!”

“Oh, he’s no pet. One might even go so far as to suggest he’s Twilight’s son. You see, she hatched him with her magic.”

“Hatched a dragon with magic?!”

“Well dragon fire has a high magic concentration, and the fire the mothers use on their eggs is a very special blend of magical fire. Roasting them over a fire like I'm to understand Hagrid did, just makes them crazy. Now in Spike’s case, it was Twilight’s use of Unicorn magic that caused him to hatch. And she only a filly herself at the time.” Luna explained. “Sure wish I’d have been around to help out at the time. Poor Twilight was really in over her head, and being it was her magic that hatched him, he bonded to her, and they couldn't be separated.”

“A dragon?!” Dumbledore exclaimed as he attempted to process everything Luna had said.

“Dragons, where we are from, are fairly intelligent.” Luna offered. “Spike would be considered gifted even by human standards. Though he is an exception.”

“Dragons, intelligent?”

“I’ve yet to meet any of your dragons, though I hear they can be rather difficult.”

“Difficult, they are murderous beasts,” Dumbledore said in dismay.

🐉

Later that on up in the girls' room. “Aren’t any of you going to pack?” Hermione asked sounding exasperated. “The train home is tomorrow.”

Sweetie Belle looked at her, tossed the few things that were still in the dorm room into her trunk, and drug that into the outer apartment of Nova’s luggage. “Packed.”

“I suppose I should grab my posters,” Scootaloo said, and started in on pulling things down. “I’ve already moved most of my belongings into Nova’s luggage.”

“Same here.” Apple Bloom offered.

“They are going to make me carry all their stuff,” Nova complained in mock irritation.

By the following morning, everything had been loaded into Nova’s luggage, the link to the hospital wing had been disconnected, and the balcony pulled in so no one would be tempted to use the entrance. On the outside of the building, a note had been attached to the side of the tower letting any local pegasi remaining know the entrance was no longer there. Written in the few old ponish characters that many of them knew.

They all went down to breakfast in eager anticipation of going home. At least most were eager to be home. Both Harry and Draco were less than enthusiastic. At least Draco had begun to make amends with a number of other Slytherin students. Having a thestral as an animagus form had gained him a certain amount of credit as well. Even if it was an unusually cute one. Not to mention the ability to approach a wild unicorn. They’d also all agreed not to tell anyone who didn’t already know as there wasn’t a one who hadn’t agreed that Marcus Flint had taken his bull way too far. There wasn’t a Slytherin who didn’t want to be successful in the wizarding world, and making enemies of a powerful family was not the way to get ahead.

When breakfast was over, Dumbledore reminded the student body that underage wizards were not allowed to perform magic outside of school, and then everyone returned to their dorms to gather their trunks. Nova gave hugs to Alalme, Goldwine, Alya, Rose, as well as Istel, Talma, and their two foals. Istel and Talma had decided that they were going to go through the mirror prior to the move, as they weren’t too sure about being in the trunk during the move, and were anxious about getting cut off from Gadgull. It was also decided that they’d be taking Moonflower with them. As for the changelings they'd brought over, they'd all decided to stay behind so that Mrs Norris would have some of her own kind to socialize with, and to make sure the Wizards were taking care of the local thestral herd properly.

Nova and the crusaders escorted Istel and Talma, their foals, and Moonflower down to the mirror, hugged again, and watched as the four passed through the mirror. The mirror itself had several shock absorbing braces on it to protect it should the luggage it was in receive any harsh treatment, though Nova wasn’t sure it was really needed. In all the moving the suitcase had had, the only damage the interior ever incurred had been phoenix derived.

“Now, you go wait in the master bedroom on the bed. Moonie will be waiting for you there.” Nova instructed Rose, Goldwine, and Alya a short time later. “And when I set the suitcase down on the train, the window will open up, and you’ll be able to see what’s outside the train. I’ll open a door into the closet as soon as I can, but keep in mind that I may not be able to open the door right away.”

“I’ll be in to check on you as soon as I can,” Scootaloo said as she gave Rose a hug.

“Should I turn myself into a people?” Rose asked. “Why can’t I just go with you?”

“By all means yes, turn yourself into a human when the door opens,” Scootaloo replied with a smile. “And no, it’s best you stay in here. I’m afraid there might be too many awkward questions, and you’ll be safe in here. If I call you, then you’ll know it’s safe to come out.”

“Might be a good idea for you as well,” Nova said to Alalme. “When the door opens, it might be a good idea for all ponies to hide till every pony knows who all is going to be poking their heads in. - Alice?” Alice and the other six Shadowbolts who’d originally been assigned to her were still there.

“I’m good. I’ve got my transformation back in order.” Alice offered. Nova gave each of the seven Shadowbolts a hug and exited once more into the dorm room followed by Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo who gave Rose one more hug. Hermione was waiting with her trunk.

“We aren’t leaving them.” Nova offered reassuringly as she closed the door. Phenik flew up and landed on her shoulder. Nova opened the door again. “In.” She ordered. “Go on, get in there, or do you want to be left behind, and you can not be seen by non-magicals.” Phenik gave her a look, Alalme transformed to her human form, sans clothes being she still hadn’t figured out that trick, walked forward, took Phenik, and went back inside. Nova closed the door again, reached up, pressed a hidden button, and folded the door back down to a suitcase.

“That’s a mighty nifty trick you’ve got there.” Hermione offered as Nova picked up her footlocker.

“Let us help you with that.” Apple Bloom offered concerning Hermione’s trunk.

“It’s not heavy, I used a featherweight spell on it.” Hermione offered. “Just awkward.”

“Shall we promenaded?” Sweetie Belle asked as Hermione, and Apple Bloom picked up the trunk.

“I nearly forgot.” Nova offered, opened a small flap on the suitcase, pulled out a red tag, and closed the flap again.

“Red tag,” Hermione said rolling her eyes.

“Red tag?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“To let railroad personnel know it’s bigger on the inside.” Hermione offered. “I saw a few being loaded on board the train at King’s Cross.”

“I’m ready.” Nova offered, and they made their way downstairs to the entry court where a number of carriages were waiting. Nova smiled as she looked over the rather healthy thestrals.

“I just don’t get it?” Snape was heard to say. “I’ve had to use an expansion charm on all the harnesses.”

“That’s because the standard diet proscribed by wizards is a starvation diet.” Nova offered walking up to her. “Thestrals can eat twice their weight in mangoes alone. I might be able to survive on a bucket of oats mixed with molasses, and chunks of meat, but I’d soon suffer from malnutrition. It’s not enough, and not what they should be eating. A thestral has similar dietary needs as the Indian flying fox. Fruit is at the top of that list, not meat. They eat primarily sweet fruits and supplement their diets with insects, grubs, leaves, flowers, bark, cones, and the occasional twig. - Maybe the small mammal or two, but they don’t generally eat a carnivorous diet as wizards seem to think. And yes, I’m the one who’s been providing them with the food Hagrid failed to give them. And what he was giving them was barely enough to keep them alive. - I’m fairly sure the people in nineteen oh three knew how to provide for the thestrals? - Think about it, if they were as carnivorous as wizards seem to think, they’d be quite dangerous as they are more then large enough to prey on humans. Humans who’d never see them.”

“Are you telling me they are not supposed to be thin as rails?” Snape asked. “Not carnivorous?”

“No, they’re not,” Nova stated emphatically. “And strictly speaking no, they aren’t. At least not as a primary part of their diet. They are omnivores.”

“Fine, just get in a carriage,” Snape said as she rubbed her temples.

“Sure wish I knew who’s idea it was to put them on a starvation diet?” Scootaloo asked as she and the others approached.

“I’ll let Professor Dumbledore know about your concerns.” Snape offered. “Just get into a carriage.”

“Come on, let's go.” Apple Bloom said. They lingered a moment and went on to find themselves a carriage. For those who could see the thestrals, they noticed a rather curious behavior, and for those who could not, they saw the evidence as wagon tongues dipped as Nova and the Crusaders walked past. The girls would nod their heads each time in response to the polite bow of the thestrals. Hermione just looked confused.

“Why are the tongues of the carriages dipping down like that, and what are you doing?” Hermione asked.

“You can’t see them?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“Bat Ponies. Human’s call them Thestrals.” Nova offered. “They employ a sort of notice me not aura about themselves resulting in people not seeing them even if they look right at them.” Nova took Hermione’s hand and held it up to one of the bat ponies. She drew back quickly at the sensation of sleek animal fur.

“Why doesn’t anyone just walk right into them?” Hermione asked.

“Witches and wizards are subconsciously aware of their presence.” Nova offered. “And will simply walk around them without even realizing what they are doing. - I’m immune to the notice me not effect.”

“Hey, get a load of Malfoy,” Ron announced as he ran up to them dragging his trunk behind him. “He’s lost it. He’s petting horses that aren’t even there.”

“I’m going to assume he can see them too.” Hermione speculated.

“He can even do that notice me not thing too.” Scootaloo offered. “Say, how is it I couldn't see Malfoy, but I can see the thestrals?”

“Malfoy didn’t want anyone seeing them.” Nova offered. “You’re able to see the thestrals because you are aware of them, and likely they are allowing you to see them. They see you as a princess too. - All three of you.”

“Wait, seriously?” Apple Bloom asked. “Go on, me a princess.”

“Your sister was knighted.” Sweetie Belle offered. “And just look who my mom married. All three of us are right up there even if we did start off at the bottom.”

“At least the two of you don’t have to contend with being called a royal pretender,” Scootaloo stated. “Come on, let's get in a carriage.”

“Trust me, I know what it’s like.” Nova offered. “There sure are some strange characters out there. - I see Harry, you don’t think he’ll mind sharing a carriage?”

“We’re all friends, aren’t we?” Hermione offered and began to walk over to Harry pulling her trunk, and Apple Bloom along with her. A short time later, they were loaded up, and on their way down to the train platform.

The platform hadn’t changed much from nineteen oh four save for the addition of a station building made of graying brownstone with a slate roof. Neither had the school for that matter, though what Nova had observed of the local village suggested big changes, as many of the buildings had a very uniform appearance. Instead of the mix of styles and building techniques, they were now all made of that same brownstone, with that same slate roof, and all had the exact same gabbled roofs. It just didn’t look like a wizarding community anymore. Nova had wondered why the drastic changes, and if they had anything to do with what had become of the Mackintosh farm? It all looked very planned, and very … muggle.

Nova and the others were about to climb on board the train when one of the station personnel stopped them and asked where their trunks were? “In here. Sir.” Nova offered as she presented her suitcase with the red tag.

“Miss, this tag is dated nineteen oh three.” The man said while inspecting it. “And why’s it red?”

“Maybe because she owns the train.” Malfoy quipped as he walked by.

“No, the tag is red because the luggage is bigger on the inside.” Nova corrected.

“Wait, you don’t mean that’s…?” Draco inquired taking a moment to look back. Nova nodded. “That little suitcase?!”

“Saw her fold down the door myself.” Hermione offered. The mathematics behind the spell work is on a level I can’t even beguine to comprehend.”

“Wow. Must have been some kind of mad genius who created it.” Draco offered. “And it’s stable?”

“Reason for the red tag is people were afraid it might implode if placed in a smaller displaced space.” Nova offered. “There does seem to be a safety as well. The one time someone tried, it popped right back out again.”

“Hang on, how is it Malfoy has seen your luggage, and we haven't?” Ron protested. “Hang on, that means he’s been in your room!” Ron was a gasp. “In the Gryffindor girl’s dorm even!”

“Only while he was under the influence of a certain potion I’m sure you’d rather I not mention, and his animagus form made it really easy for Malfoy to get around without being caught. And you had your opportunity, and couldn't make it past the seventh year girls.”

“See you on the train,” Malfoy said with a big grin, and stepped up, and climbed into the train. Draco was delighted that he’d seen Nova’s palace in a handbag, and neither Ron nor Harry had.

“Ya, well you just watch, I’ll get an animagus form just as cool as his.” Ron pronounced and followed after him. Harry and Hermione followed next with Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom helping them with their luggage.

“If there is going to be a problem, I can just buy a new ticket,” Nova told the man.

“Alright, climb aboard, and I’ll let the conductor know. What was your name?”

“Nova Moon.”

“Alright, Miss Moon, I’ll tell him.” He then went to help someone else with luggage.

Nova and Scootaloo climbed onboard, and soon found Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Hermione in a compartment together.

“So where’s Harry, and Ron?” Scootaloo asked as she sat down. Nova’s suitcase was quietly slipped under the seat.

“In the next compartment.” Hermione offered.

“Think I’ll have to get onto the Hogwarts Express board about refurbishing the train.” Nova offered as she looked about. To her eyes, the train was looking considerably run down. After all, when she’d first boarded the train it was brand new. Eighty-nine years later it was looking rather run down.

“Looks fine to me.” Hermione offered just as Luna entered the compartment.

“Ah, here you are.” Luna offered. “What are you doing all the way back here?”

“Um, it’s an available compartment?” Nova asked in way of an answer.

“You have a private car,” Luna informed her.

“I do?”

“She does?” The other girls chimed.

“It’s not bigger on the inside is it?” Nova asked.

“What? No, well the bedrooms are, otherwise it’s just a fancy parlor car with a few rooms, a kitchenette, and a bar.” Luna offered.

“A blank wall?” Nova asked.

“I think we can manage.”

“And the girls can come too?” Nova asked.

“If you wish to invite them.” Luna offered. “The station personnel were supposed to look for you and direct you there as a surprise.”

“I think I’ll join Harry and Ron.” Hermione offered.

“I suppose we can invite them… it’s just that Neville is with them, and he doesn’t know about my luggage.” Nova mused. “Granted, I did set it up to configure to show only my big walk-in closet slash changing room.”

“Neville’s not a bad sort, let's ask the boys, but just them.” Scootaloo offered.

“You guys want to ride in a private car?” Nova asked Harry, Ron, and Neville a few moments later.

“Core, a private car?” Ron asked. “Who’s is it?”

“Apparently it’s mine.” Nova offered with a sheepish grin.

“Owns the rail line, boards in third class.” Luna teased. “Come on those who want to ride up front.”

“Surely not with the prefects?” Ron asked.

“Oh, we are ahead of the prefects.” Luna offered. “Gather up your luggage if you wish to come, as I don’t imagine you’ll want to leave anything behind.

“Come on Hedwig,” Harry said as he lifted the cage down from the rack.

“I’ll help with the luggage.” Apple Bloom offered, and a moment later they were making their way forward.

“And Ron, no gloating, just say we are moving forward to sit with Professor Luna.” Hermione cautioned.

“Say anything to Draco, and I’ll invite him too,” Nova informed the boys.

“You won’t hear a peep out of me,” Ron replied, and when they went past where Draco was, it was all Ron could do to keep his piece being there was still a certain amount of animosity between the boys.

Going past the Prefects was even harder.

“Sorry Percy, special invitation only.” Nova teased.

“But I’m a prefect? Surely the prefects would be invited?” Percy protested.

“And you still have your duty to attend to until we arrive in London,” Luna instructed. “As opposed to myself having been sacked.”

“I swear all he cares about are what sort of perks he can get,” Ron said as they left the car the prefects, and seven years were in. The next car had a number of teachers.

“Not lost are we?” Snape asked.

“Just bringing Nova forward with me, and she’s invited the others to ride with us.” Luna offered.

“Shouldn't there be more luggage?” Pomona Sprout asked.

“It’s all right here.” Nova offered while holding up her suitcase.

“All?” McGonagall asked. Her tone might just as well have been a resounding you've got to be kidding?

“All,” Nova replied with a wink as she went by. The next car was the one they wanted, and even had a porter in a red jacket who also acted as a guard who was waiting at the entrance inside the car.

To Nova, it looked a bit like entering a house. Here there was a small porter’s room that was shared with a person who acted as both cook and barkeep. The passage doglegged to the left past a small toilet to the side of the train where they had to pass through a door. If the entry seemed lavish, what they saw next was very palatial. There were three very nice rooms, each with its own separate bath. One look told Nova not to try to take her suitcase into one as they were definitely bigger on the inside and told the boys they could put their luggage in one. After all, they’d need to change to clothing that was more muggle in appearance to get through the station at King’s Cross. This was followed by a kitchen, a small bar, and a lounge area. Everything was trimmed in mahogany, plush upholstery, and decorative designs in mother of pearl, inlaid wood, and accents in gold.

“Welcome aboard.” offered a man at the bar. “My Name is Ragnar Black, and if you’ve a need for anything, all you have to do is ask.” Aside from the fact that he was clean shaven, with his hair pulled back into a ponytail, he was the very image of Sirius Black who was still on the run. He also wore a crisp white uniform jacket with gold trim, and epaulets.

“Are you any relation to Sirius Black?” Harry asked as the conductor entered sporting a blue uniform. It seemed every person working for the rail line had a different uniform. Harry had kept every picture of Sirius black that had shown up in the newspapers when he’d learned the man was his godfather and had been wrongly accused and imprisoned without a trial.

“Oh, I dare say I couldn't say.” Mr Black offered with a wink for Harry. Harry’s mind began to race.

“Oh, good to see everyone's aboard.” The conductor offered, making no indication that he’d heard what Harry had said, and never once cast his gaze directly at Mr Black. “We’ll be pulling out of the station shortly.”

“Thank you.” Luna offered. “The rail line has truly honored us by providing such luxurious accommodations.”

“Yes, thank you.” Nova offered as she looked about. And then she spotted just the spot. There was a diagonal flat section of the wall where the bar connected to the kitchenette.

“Oh, you shouldn't put that there, Miss.” The conductor said as nova set her suitcase down.

“Oh, but this is the perfect spot.” Nova offered, as she fiddled with dials. She then pressed a button and pulled up the handle which brought the top of the suitcase upwards. A moment later it had transformed into a small doorway. “Oh, and we’ll likely have additional guests from time to time.” She opened the door inwards to reveal Captain Hoofstrong, Lt Ansaldo, Petty officer Morane, and Loki, all in human form in their uniforms. Beyond them was Nova’s changing room.

“Princess, is everything alright?” Hoofstrong asked as the group slowly entered the room.

“We were moved to a private car. Nothing to worry about.” Nova offered.

“Where’s my Rose?” Scootaloo called followed by a little girl bursting out from an interior door and rushing to give Scootaloo a hug.

“Our own security.” Luna offered as the four Shadowbolts in human form fanned out. “Just wanted to get them on board without raising any eyebrows.”

“I see.” The conductor said as he raised an eyebrow. “Well being it’s you, there’ll be no need for extra fair.” The conductor made a polite bow, turned, and exited towards the rear of the train.

“Is this the espress?” Rose asked looking around. She broke away from the hug and dashed to the center of the lounge area to have a look around.

“So is this where you had to sleep?” Ron asked as he looked into the doorway Nova had just opened.

“Thas just the closet.” Rose offered from where she was.

“Closet?” Ron asked.

“There’s more, but don’t let it bother you.” Nova offered, took him by the arm, and directed him to a seat in the car’s lounge area. “Alalme!” Nova called as her partner exited the closet dressed in one of Nova’s yukatas. Nova abandoned Ron and went to give Alalme a hug and a kiss. “How are Goldwine, and Alya?”

“Mesmerized by everything presently being displayed outside the bedroom window. - Alice and Moonie are keeping an eye on them.” Alalme offered. “And a little disappointed they can’t come out to have a look.”

“When they are older and can manage a transformation.” Nova offered in a whisper. “We’ll bring them on a trip, and act like tourists.”

“Tourists?” Alalme asked.

“People who go to visit faraway places, spend money, and otherwise make a nuisance of themselves.” Nova teased. The sound of the locomotive’s whistle could be heard blowing, a moment later the train started moving, and everyone decided to find a place to sit and watch the highlands of Scotland roll past.

“Good morning, I’ve a hankering for some boiled bits of roasted leaves from exotic lands.” Luna offered as she sat at the bar.

“Pardon?” Mr Black asked.

“You’re right, tea’s not really my style. Make it a coffee, extra cream.”

“One coffee ole’ coming up.”

“You know, Mr Black, I was rather hoping to catch up with you before anyone else did,” Luna said softly. “I know you are innocent. Also, I know full well you’re not the man who was supposed to be standing behind that bar.” Sirius Black all but froze up. “I can offer you asylum until such time as your good name has been cleared.” She gave him a moment, and added, “Which I’m afraid is going to be difficult because it seems Dumbledore himself doesn’t want you being exonerated. - Oh, and a good deal of the Aurors are actually working for me now, and don’t even know it.”

“I see. But why would Dumbledore want me locked up for a crime I never committed in the first place? Hell, my crime was trusting someone I thought a friend.”

“Why? For the greater good, of course.” Luna offered. “Coffee?”

“Right, coffee, let me just see how this contraption works...”

“Perhaps I’d better get that.” Loki offered, now behind the counter with him.

“Dumbledore has some rather grandiose aspirations and has spent the better part of his life trying to be the hero of all humanity. As such his machinations were either indirectly, or directly responsible for every woe that has begotten the English Wizard since the early half of the twentieth century by your calendars.” Luna explained. “And he’s had his teeth sunk into Harry from the moment Harry was a babe. - You wouldn't happen to know of anyone who might have some dirt on him?”

“And here I wanted to kill Peter Pettigrew,” Sirius said in a low tone that was nearly a growl.

“Oh, I don’t want to kill Dumbledore. I want to turn the screws till he begs for mercy, and then turn them some more.” Luna offered. “He needs to suffer slowly as his victims have.”

“Muma, you aren’t plotting something over there are you?” Nova called from her seat in the lounge.

“Just strategizing a way to get Harry away from the Dursleys,” Luna called back. Harry looked there way and smiled confident that Mr Black was his God Father, and Princess Luna really was trying to get him away from the Dursleys.

“So what do I need to do?” Sirius asked quietly.

“For now, all you have to do is walk through that door,” Luna replied. “That closet door that Nova just opened up a few moments ago. Captain Hoofstrong can escort you, and if anyone asks about you, I’ll simply say that you are at my disposal to do with as I see fit. It won't be long before we pick up the main line passing by Beauly. - From Hogwarts to Inverness only takes about a half hour.”

“Your coffee, Mum.” Loki offered, setting a cup of a dark brown frothy liquid down on the bar.

“Loki, you make the best coffee.” Luna praised as she picked up the cup.

“Well then, it seems it would be in my best interest to accept your invitation, as I’m sure the conductor will have likely put two and two together.” Sirius offered and began to unbutton his jacket. “You know, wizards can be just as blind as muggles at times. Seeing only what they want.” He took off his jacket to reveal a rather shoddy shirt underneath and offered the jacket to Loki. “Sir, seems you are better suited to this job than I.” He then made his way around through the kitchen, and with a nod from Luna, Captain Hoofstrong escorted him into the wardroom, and beyond. Loki took the jacket and had it on moments later.

“Hey, where’d Mr Black go?” Harry asked looking back at the bar and seeing Loki standing there creating some kind of concoction that probably wasn’t a potion. “And why is your boyfriend wearing his jacket?”

“Don’t really know?” Nova replied.

“He does look good in that.” Alalme offered.

“He does indeed,” Nova replied.

“Cute, but I’d have to say his dress uniform is much nicer.” Scootaloo offered.

“The dress uniform is nice.” Alalme offered. “Even if Nova’s is a bit tight.” Scootaloo gave Alalme a funny look and smiled.

“Yes, she’s cute too,” Scootaloo admitted.

“Why’s the train stopping?” Ron asked a short time later. The train had only recently dropped down from the highland hills into farmed land, and hedgerows.

“Don’t know?” Hermione asked. They were presently stopped at Beauly. What they could see of it was some brownstones towards the end of the train, shipping containers along a frontage road, and a handful of white cottages to the left of the train. To the right all they saw was fields. If there was a station of any kind they couldn't see it. To get their answer all they had to do was wait as it didn’t take long for the train Conductor to return with a pair of oddly dressed men who were as likely Aurors.

“So, where is he?” One of the Aurors asked.

“Unless he’d used a poly juice potion, I’d say he’s gone.” the other Auror offered. "That or our conductor is mistaken.”

“What happened to the man who was here when we left Hogwarts?” The conductor asked the occupants of the car.

“Don’t know.” Ron offered.

“He seems to have left.” Hermione offered.

“I’m Luna Moon,” Luna said introducing herself. “Mr Black will be at my disposal for the foreseeable future.”

“Mam, that man is a murderer.”

“And yet the man he supposedly murdered is being held by the ministry.” Luna offered. The man who’d spoke, hesitated but a moment, his partner whispered something in his ear, he turned to look at him and then turned back.

“Well then, it seems everything is in order then.” He offered, they pardoned themselves for the intrusion and returned the way they’d come. The conductor was not sure what to think hesitated but a moment and followed after them. A few minutes later the train pulled away from the small town as a handful of photographers who’d come through a gate at the end of a street snapped pictures furiously.

Moments later they passed through some trees, and over a river. From there it was more farmland, followed by more trees, and more farmland. It really wasn’t much different than being back in Equestria and made Nova a bit homesick. And then the land dropped away to the left side of the train revealing a large waterway.

“Couldn't really see much on our way up.” Apple Bloom offered as she looked out at the view.

“A filly could get used to living here.” Sweetie Belle offered.

“There sure are a lot more houses then there used to be.” Alalme offered.

Their first taste of Inverness was a plunge into hedgerows only to find themselves upon an elevated line minutes later. Harry and Ron found the rail yards interesting but Nova was disappointed on discovering that the big roundhouse she remembered was gone.

“Looked like shopping malls.” Hermione offered as the train pulled away.

“Oh, I want to go shopping.” Sweetie Belle proclaimed.

“Somehow I doubt they are going to stop the train just so you can go shopping.” Apple Bloom teased. The others just laughed.

Inverness was soon replaced with housing tracts and more farmland, and that soon vanished as the line plunged once more into the rugged landscape of Scotland. Granted even the wilds had a fair amount of farmland, and for the girls, it was a bit like passing Ponyville over and over, save in slightly different flavors and a mite bit less interesting. What’s more is that much of the view of the villages were often obscured by hedgerows and buildings, or ran through cuts with very little of the communities being visible. It was as though the muggles themselves wanted nothing to do with the very lifeline of their communities. Even passing through the highlands proved less interesting then they’d hoped. The one saving grace was that everything was a lush green and the heather was in bloom presenting a rich tapestry for the eyes. There was even a bridge set up to look like it had castle towers. Granted that it was a bit tacky for someone who’d been living in an actual castle. The first real railroad station they saw was in Birnam, and when they did see a decent sized community or city, what they did see was the industrial areas mostly. By the time they’d reached Carrbridge the novelty had worn off for Alalme, and Rose was fast asleep. Alalme got up, picked up Rose, and quietly went back into the apartment to check on Alya and Goldwine. A few moments later Alalme was followed by Nova, and then Scootaloo a moment later. They were in turn followed by Loki, Apple Bloom, and Sweetie Belle. All of whom were in nova’s luggage when they passed Kirkcaldy Bay and crossed the Firth of Forth railway bridge, and made their way into Edinburgh. Hermione had all but missed seeing Edinburgh castle. She knew where it was, knew it was right next to the rail line but hadn’t realized they’d be coming out of a subway, and be down in a cut. About all, she could see of it was the rock itself, walls, and the tops of buildings high overhead. They plunged into a hidden platform in Waverly station moments later. There was plenty enough that could be seen from the train once they’d emerged yet again, but it only helped to whet the appetite for more. From there on out it was more farmland, glimpses of the North Sea, small communities, more farmland, and the occasional city.

Come eleven, Hermione realized she was alone with Ron, Neville, and Harry. “Would you like that, they’ve ditched us,” Hermione announced as she looked around. There was of course still a couple Shadowbolts in the car, but aside from that, everyone else was gone.

“Maybe they went to the loo,” Ron suggested. “You know how girls are.”

“And left me behind,” Hermione stated flatly.

“Maybe they wanted to explore the train?” Neville suggested.

“They got bored and went back into the apartment.” Lt Ansaldo offered.

“You think it’d be alright if I went back to check on them?” Hermione asked.

“You’re alright. The boys will have to stay out here.” the Lieutenant offered.

“Fair enough, they might be changing or something.” Harry offered, shortly followed by Hermione vanishing into the cabinet.

“Anyone want to play chess?” Ron asked.

🏵

“Will you be dining in the rail car, or would you like to dine in the dining room?” Miss Aiko asked Nova shortly before noon.

Nova had to think about it for a bit.

“Worried about Ron, aren’t you?” Hermione asked.

“I am,” Nova replied. “I don’t want to exclude the boys. I think we could possibly trust Harry, and Neville, but Ron can tend towards being something of a bragger.”

“You mean you’d just assume the whole world not know.” Apple Bloom commented.

“World smorld, it’s his brothers I’m worried about.” Nova offered. “Draco is immature, but far less problematic because I’m fairly sure they’ll keep their own counsel, and deep down Drako is actually a good person. Ron is lacking in maturity as well but in a slightly different way. Ron wants people to be impressed. Now, Percy, Percy bothers me. He craves power. And yes I’ve seen it before. He’s the sort who’ll do anything, even turn his back on his own family to get that power. Quite frankly I’ll trust the twins to behave before I’ll put too much trust in Percy.”

“Aww come on, he’s not that bad.” Apple Bloom protested.

“No, I’m afraid she’s right.” Luna offered from a lounge chair. Luna was presently watching the English countryside roll on bye outside the window while sipping a glass of wine. “He made an absolute pest of himself from the moment I took over the DADA class.”

“I never even realized.” Apple Bloom replied.

“I don’t want to just abandon them so I suppose we can have our lunch in the car,” Nova suggested. “Might be fun.”

“What about the foals?” Alalme asked.

“Do we dare let Goldwine and Alya in the train car?” Nova asked.

“I think they kind of already know,” Sweetie Belle offered.

“What about the people running the train?” Nova asked.

“Perhaps it would be best to feed them first, and put them down for their naps, and Moonie can snuggle with them to keep them from trying to watch every square inch of landscape that goes by.” Alalme offered.

“Might be best,” Nova said relenting. She knew it was a bad idea to let it get out that there were pegasi foals on the train. Not so much she was worried about people wanting to see, but a worry that she might be violating some wizard law that really shouldn't apply to them but was bound to cause issues.

🚂

“Don’t eat anything, we’ll be having lunch just as soon as the little ones are seen to,” Hermione said as she returned to the train car.

“Lunch, but there isn’t even anyone in the kitchen?” Ron asked, but was immediately proven wrong when Miss Aiko emerged from the kitchen and began setting tables for lunch. “Where’d she come from?”

“Maybe she came from the basement?” Neville suggested. At first Harry, and Ron were going to point out that it was a train car… but then again...

“And here I thought all I’d get to eat was whatever they have on the trolley,” Harry said delightedly as lunch was served a short time later.

“Eat up Harry. You’ll not likely get good food like this at home.” Nova instructed with a smile.

“I’m not likely to get hardly anything at all.” Harry countered with a grin. “All the more reason to eat as much as I can.”

“That’s the spirit.” Ron offered.

“And don’t worry too much, as I think there isn’t a one of us who won’t be checking up on you.” Hermione offered just as Professor McGonagall walked back into the car.

“Do pardon the intrusion.” McGonagall offered. “I just wanted to see that everyone was alright.”

“Have you had lunch?” Nova asked.

“Care to join us?” Luna added.

“Oh, I wouldn't want to intrude.” McGonagall protested.

“Nonsense, and there is plenty to go around.” Miss Aiko offered and directed her to a chair.

“Sensei?” Nova asked looking at Aiko.

“What makes you think I’m your Sensei?” Aiko asked.

“You’ve been distracted by the scenery, and our Miss Aiko is standing behind you with the food cart.” Nova offered. “Come sit.”

“Well, I wanted to have a train trip.” Lady Aiko offered, as she and McGonagall sat down in a couple of unoccupied seats. “Though I imagine my handlers are having a fit right now.”

“Sensei, you are incurable.” Nova offered with a big smile.

Lunch started out with a vegetable soup which was followed by a salad of tender spring greens, mandarin oranges, and dried cranberries served with a ranch dressing. The main dish was asparagus shoots, pasta with Equestrian salmon, and for dessert, fresh apple tarts made by Granny Smith that morning.

🍽

“That was very good.” McGonagall offered after lunch as the adults relaxed with a glass of wine. “Never was there a finer meal. - Are those muggles taking pictures of the train?!” She exclaimed on passing a group parked on the edge of the motorway where the line was visible from the road. They all seemed to be driving station wagons too.

“Worse, they are rail fans.” Apple Bloom offered. “I swear the same group has been chasing us since that stop at Beauly.”

“Not quite all the same people. Though we seem to be picking up three for everyone we drop.” Luna offered.

“I’m sure we’ll lose them once we get into more densely populated areas.” Nova offered.

“But the notice me not spells on the train?” McGonagall asked sounding rather dismayed.

“Must not have much of an effect on this specific brand of muggle.” Hermione offered. “Kind of how Nova can see Thestrals.”

“Miss Nova, you can see Thestrals?” McGonagall had gone from alarmed to concerned.

“Is that a big deal?” Luna asked. The Thestral notice me not spell had never had any effect on her. But then, Nightmare Moon had been more Thestral then alicorn.

“Well normally people can’t see a thestral unless they’ve experienced death, and has an emotional understanding of what death means.” McGonagall offered. “Young Malfoy may be an exception.”

“I could see them, and I can’t say I’ve ever really experienced death.” Scootaloo offered. She did not want this conversation to go down that path. No matter what. Nova had seen more than her fair share of death. “Maybe it’s just our animagus forms? They also seem to be selective on who they allow to see them. Draco seems to be able to do the same thing.”

“Oh,” McGonagall said softly.

“His animagus form.” Scootaloo offered.

“It’s alright Louise. - Yes, I’ve seen death, I’ve seen plenty of death.” Nova offered.

“Please, you don’t have to talk about it.” Scootaloo offered. Alalme put an arm around Nova.

“We’ve both experienced more than our fair share of death.” Alalme offered in a quiet sort of tone. “Not something we’d just assume bring up at the table.”

“I’m so sorry.” McGonagall offered apologetically. “Of course, you’re from the forest. I kind of forgot. I’ll not say another word.”

“I’m not,” Nova said quietly. “Not like it matters much.”

“You forgot I was from the forbidden forest, or that I’m actually a pegasus?” Alalme inquired.

“You’re more articulate, and better mannered than a good deal of my students.” Professor McGonagall offered. She paused a moment. “What was life like in the forest?”

“It hadn’t always been such a dangerous place.” Alalme offered. “We had a beautiful glen full of tall stately trees of silver bark, and leaves. They’d fill with white blossoms in the spring, and our homes were built high in the canopy of the trees which helped protect us from most predators.” For a while, the only sound was the sound of the train rolling down the line. “It’s all gone now.”

“It was the most beautiful place I’d ever seen.” Nova offered. “Perhaps someday we can restore it as I’ve a number of saplings I collected that are in my garden now.”

“One small piece of the silver wood, now in miniature resides among such flora of which from distant lands have come.” Alalme offered.

“I know of one such tree that resides in Equestria within an arboretum in the Citadel Of Arkadia.” Nova offered. “It’s a massive tree which radiates a sort of cleansing magic that keeps all things of evil far away, up on a mountain top. The mountain is an oasis of calm in a sea of madness as it’s situated right smack in the middle of the worst part of our own forbidden forest. A place called Everfree. - Only the highest and fastest fliers are capable of reaching its gates.”

“I’d love to hear about the Everfree?” McGonagall prompted. Her prompt turned into tale after tail as told by the crusaders that gave Professor McGonagall plenty of reason to presume that forest was far more dangerous than the one that bordered on Hogwarts. Indeed the Hogwarts forest might be far less dangerous if wizards had been less cavalier about letting dangerous creatures loose into the forest when they’d done with them.

The afternoon had worn on till evening, and London approached. Professor McGonagall bid them a good day, suggested that they might wish to change, and returned to her own car to do the same.

“Oh, no no no, that will never do.” lady Aiko said shortly after Harry and Ron emerged from changing. “Come here Harry, dear, let's see what we can do with your clothes.

Harry approached cautiously as Aiko produced a long slender willow branch that not only was still green but had leaves on it.

“Salad kazoola, magic ka boobala, G-Q G-Q G-Q.” Aiko chanted as she twirled the switch. “Put them together, and what have we got, G-Q G-Q G-Q.”

To Harry's amazement, he felt himself being lifted up off the floor, and slowly twirled about as his clothes transformed. When she’d done, and he’d set his feet back down upon the floor, his clothes had been transformed. Now the changes hadn’t been huge, he still had on Dudley’s old hand me downs, the distressed genes, the old gray T-shirt, the brown and purple plaid woolen shirt, only now they fit, and the shirt had transformed into a tweed jacket.

“Wicked,” Ron exclaimed. "You've gone all tweedy."

“Oh, hey… Harry…” Nova said as she and the girls emerged from Nova’s luggage in their own outfits. Nova for whatever reason had insisted on wearing the same outfit from nineteen oh three. The Crusaders all had on distressed genes with patterned prints over T-shirts, and Hermione had on genes that showed no sign of wear and a denim jacket over a T-shirt. Ron was back to his gray slacks, dark checked shirt, dark blue sweater, and an olive drab jacket that looked suspiciously of war surplus, fortunately, everything fit him just a litter better then it had on the trip to school.

“What are you wearing?” Ron asked Nova as Luna emerged dressed in business casual.

“Yes I know, she insisted on wearing it.” Luna offered. “And we should have just enough time for Tea, as the English say.”

“Hey, we just left the mainline,” Hermione announced as the train turned down what looked to be an old abandoned line.

“You’re attention, please. Attention.” The conductor's voice was heard as if over a train-wide intercom. “Owing to an issue with a number of railfans who’ve been tracking the train, we’ll be returning via the subway route. - Sorry for the inconvenience.”

“I guess that means we’ll be underground the rest of the way.” Loki offered as he emerged from Nova’s Luggage. Lt Mouse, Captain Hoofstrong, Lt Ansaldo, Petty officer Morane, Gunny Gotha, and Corperal Pfalz followed, all dressed in dark gray suits, white shirts, black ties, and sunglasses.

“Why are you all dressed like that?” Hermione asked.

“We are to understand that security details for VIPs dress this way.” Alice offered.

“And I’m coming too,” Rose announced as she emerged from the luggage. She too was sporting a gray suit, and even had her own little fedora.

“Where did you get that cute little outfit?” Scootaloo asked.

“Auntie Rarity provided them.” Rose offered. Scootaloo rubbed her temples. She wanted to say no, but then again, she wanted to say yes.

“Be a shame to let that outfit go to waste.” Nova offered.

“And most of the student’s at Hogwarts know about her.” Apple Bloom offered. “They will as likely expect to see her get off the train.”

“Alright, all right I give in.” Scootaloo relented.

“Can we come too,” Goldwine asked from the doorway of the luggage. Alya was next to him.

“Not until you can manage a transformation.” Nova scolded. “I can just see trying to get you past the muggles.”

“They don’t know pegasi exist, and there is no telling how they’ll react. And Rose Myrtle, no transforming back and forth, no matter what.” Luna said in a tone that left no room for argument. “You understand?”

“Yes mam.” all three foals replied.

“I’ll be staying in the luggage with you, and we’ll have Moonie, and both Aikos to keep us company.” Alalme offered.

“I long for the day when we can all travel together openly,” Nova said and gave Alalme a hug. A moment later Aiko and her twin emerged with tea, sandwiches, and little cakes. This time Nova relented, and let Goldwine and Alya come out to see the car, and join them. At this point, the chances were slim that anyone would come wondering back, and see the two impossibly cute pegasi foals. The atmosphere was quiet, but everyone got their fill.

“So will you be closing up now?” Alalme asked looking at an indicator on the wall that told them that arrival was imminent.

“Think I’ll wait till we are pulling into the station.” Nova offered as she gave Goldwine, and Alya a hug.

The wait seemed like the longest part of the trip, and when they could feel the train slowing, Nova decided it was time to close up her suitcase with the remains of the tea going into the kitchen.

“I have got to get one of those.” Hermione offered as Nova closed up the suitcase.

“Sure is right convenient.” Ron offered as the train pulled into the station.

Now it was time to wait just a little longer till the railroad personnel opened up the exits. Nova was anxious to get to her new home. Or at least home away from home as Luna had indicated that they'd be spending some time playing the role of a tourist. Nova was also anxious about Harry’s situation.

“Harry, why don’t you just stick with us for now,” Nova suggested. “Just in case.”

“You mean in case there’s no one to pick me up?” Harry replied. “Between you, me, and everyone here, they dumped me at the station, convinced that Platform 9 and ¾ didn't exist. I can’t for the life of me see why they’d come to pick me up.”

“Did you write to them to let them know when the train would be returning?” Luna asked.

“I did and gave them my best guess as to when the train would arrive. - Still though...”

“So what are our plans, are we headed straight for the Walthamstove house?” Nova asked.

“We are going to stay in the Royal Horseguards hotel for a couple of weeks, as the guests of the Doctor.” Luna offered. “Interpret that as Honored guest of the Crown if you like. I’m to understand he pulled some strings and arranged everything. Someone is supposed to meet us at the station. We are to get the ‘Royal treatment’ whatever that means.”

“I sure hope they’re not going to make a big fuss,” Nova said. “We aren’t even from this world. How would they explain us?”

“Friends of the Doctor I’d imagine.” Luna offered.

“Pardon the intrusion, but you are free to disembark now.” Offered the conductor as he approached. “And thank you for coming on board.”

“Thank you for your hospitality.” Luna offered. “And don’t worry about our little issue, I’d been hoping to snare that specific man.” Luna had a delightfully wicked grin on her face, which proved just a bit contagious.

“I’ll pretend it never happened.” He offered, and then directed them to the exit.

Author's Note:

Looks like this one at least will be on time, and next weeks should be on time as well. After that I can't say. I probably spent more time going over potential routs on Google Earth then I would have if I'd gotten on a plain, flown there, and road the train in person. Add to that I've been pouring over information about London, the history and all for tidbits I might use. Did you know Churchill had a stroke while in office? I didn't.

That GQ GQ GQ bit is Aiko being a fairy godmother. I may have played fast and loose with other material, but I won't touch the Mouse's stuff. I can just picture mouse eared goons at my door. And they would too.

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