Ponies in Hogwarts

by KittyrinnAiko

First published

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.

Kitzumi Nova the fox pony, is trapped in the past, and the only way home is to travel to another dimension. It's a world of wizards and witches, and because Princess Celestia wants to make sure she gets some magical education while she is there, Miss Nova will be attending Hogwarts starting first year in 1903 and finishing first year in 1992. Will the world of Harry Potter survive?

The explanation for why she's going to be in first year so long can be found in Nightmare Moon’s Daughter if you don't want to read the entire Kitzumi's adventures through the looking glass. or wait till I cover the reason in this book.

The time of 1903 isn't canon from the lore of Harry Potter, but based on the original build date of the type of locomotive most often seen being depicted as the engine for the Hogwarts express.

The CMC arrive in the eleventh chapter. Nova rescues a troll from the crusaders from a troll, and then...

There will be drama, there will be shenanigans, and there will be breakage of forth walls.

Chapter 1: Green Goats [Eddited]

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A quick note for the sake of clarity: My writing style often uses multiple quotations within a single paragraph. Assume all quotations within a paragraph are the same speaker. As this method seems to throw some people off I'll be replacing with em dashes where quoted text butts up to each other.
One more thing before you begin. This story is intended to be a comedic parody seasoned with satire. Yes there is a good deal of drama, but that was never intended to be the main focus.

A young woman in her early teens stands looking at a mirror, her expression care worn. She’s wearing a skirt of midnight blue with ruffles at the hemline, a white blouse, and a puffy sleeved tight fitting jacket that matches the skirt, her white hair put up in a bun, and a large wide brimmed hat festooned with ribbons and silk flowers rests upon her head. The hat doing a fairly good job of camouflaging the vermilion and purple stripes in her hair. An ivory colored winged unicorn with the image of a sun on her flank walks slowly up to the girl who’s head doesn’t even come up to the horse’s withers. The girl’s complexion is light skinned, nearly as light as the horse, but thanks to her heritage she could be easily mistaken for someone from Japan. She’s not. She’s not even human.

The girl is a pony, a very special pony, a fox pony with a difficult journey ahead of her.

“Nova, you aren’t having second thoughts are you?” asked the winged unicorn. Nova turns around and gives her a hug.

“Aunt Tia, of course, I’m having second thoughts. Human’s are horrible. Not all, but many are beyond redemption. They kill for the pleasure of it. They’ll even prey on their own kind. Many are as bad as King Sombra in the height of his madness, and they commit their madness in cold calculated sanity.” She took a breath and let it out slowly. “Sure I’ve done some horrible things myself, but because I wanted to save lives, not take them. I only kill out of necessity. - Bringing an end to a sentient life is reprehensible to me, that’s why I only eat animals like fish or chickens.” Nova refused to believe a chicken could ever be sentient simply because they tasted so good.

Nova gave Celestia a tight squeeze, she’d been having nightmares about her time fighting against King Sombra, possibly due to her anxiety about going into a world dominated by humans, but that was in another world. Nova was presently in her correct dimension, but she was in the past. Her best course of action to get home was to go through that portal to take advantage of the way the timelines flowed. Her teacher, Miss Oukitsune Aiko, had done her best to help her by teaching her as many survival skills as she could. Aiko was presently standing a short distance away, she, a simple white pony by all outward appearances.

“I know, but you’ll be safe at Hogwarts.” Celestia consoled. “I’ve added your name to the enrollment book, you know where the school is, all you have to do is get there from the portal. - First stop, the Leaky Cauldron, you should get your acceptance letter shortly after arriving, it’s summer there now, but the new school year will be starting soon. - The people at the Inn will look after you, and I’ve told you more or less what to expect. On top of that, your ability to transform yourself has been a great asset.”

"Transform myself," Nova said softly. "Considering my native state in that world is a small white fox with wings like an owl, I had little choice, but to learn that spell." Nova looked up into Celestia's eyes and remembered Rarity had said that that was where the fun is. Celestia and Rarity would laugh, but Nova just didn't understand the adults. “It was so generous of you to have the royal seamstress make me some outfits.” A smile formed on her lips. “And that suitcase you’ve given me is nothing like anything I’ve ever encountered.” The suitcase was a small alabaster sided suitcase with the Equestrian blazon on a small medallion on the side of it. Inside, depending on how she opened it, was either a simple suitcase, all the way up to a copy of Princess Luna’s apartments complete with an absurdly large greenhouse.

“It actually originated from the world you are headed to. I did fix a few things and made some modifications. It’ll serve you well, and give you a little piece of home to retreat to.” Celestia had actually completely rebuilt it, but modesty kept her quiet regarding how extensive the rebuild was. Nor was it truly from the world Nova was about to step into.

“Thank you for everything.” Nova offered. She then went to Aiko and gave her a hug putting her arms around the much smaller pony.

“Take care, Tsukinokazoku Kitzumi-hime.” Aiko offered. “I’ve let my contacts in that world know to be ready to provide back up to one Miss Nova Moon any time she needs it.”

“Thank you teacher,” Nova replied. Let go, picked up the small suitcase, and walked over to the mirror. She looked back one last time and stepped into the mirror like walking into a pool of water. The surface of the mirror rippled a few times and subsided.

“I should probably get onto my counterparts to let them know to expect Miss Nova in the future.” Aiko offered. “I did a reading on Princes Nova, and she seems to have been going back and forth between a lot of different dimensions. - I hope she makes it home this time.”

“She’s been very tight-lipped about how she ended up in her present situation, but I can’t help but feel Discord had something to do with it.” Princess Celestia stated. The two were still looking into the mirror as though they could see Nova on the other side of the portal. But then, perhaps they could.

“And will you act on that impulse?” Aiko asked.

“I dare not.” Celestia's tone was bitter. “I fear that Discord may have some important role to play in the future otherwise I suspect Nova would have told me.”

“She as likely didn’t tell you because she has come to understand that the moment you know what the event is, the event becomes a fixed point in time. It’s already happened, and you’ve already made the decision that has brought us to this point.” Aiko pointed out.

“I suppose so. Still, though, I’d do anything if it meant she’d not have to drink from the cup she has partaken from.”

“Even so, she doesn’t wish to lose those experiences.” Aiko pointed out, and then let out a small sigh.

“Freezing her in stone would have been the easiest thing to do. She’d lose her magic, and her memories, but then she’d get to grow up all over again unaware that her misadventures had ever happened.” Celestia offered though the idea of doing such a thing to a pony who'd done nothing wrong was most distasteful.

“Many of those memories weigh heavy on her, and yet, they are precious, and she’s unwilling to give them up,” Aiko replied. “There are a few that she needs to let go, for her own sake.”

“She’s gone now,” Celestia announced, her tone resigned to Nova's fate. “Would you like some tea?”

“Yes please, if I may?” Aiko replied as the two turned away from the mirror and headed for the door of the room they were in.

“Well, I can’t keep treating you like a maid now that the cat is out of the bag.”

“Indeed. - It never occurred to me they’d out me during an official visit like that.” Aiko had to laugh as the memory crossed her mind.

Princess Celestia hadn’t been completely surprised by the announcement of the delegation that one of her maids was their High Priestess. Princess Celestia already knew by that point. No one else knew outside a small circle of ponies, so when the delegation respectfully requested she be returned to them, quite a few jaws dropped.

“There is one thing that’s been pestering me,” Celestia continued as they exited the room, “how is it you have nine tails?”





<~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~>

Nova stepped out onto a cobbled street in a seldom used alleyway of London, and even though she’d just stepped from a wall, not a soul marked her sudden appearance. She had to fight back the overwhelming urge to gag as the pungent atmosphere assailed her.

This was Nova's third time through the portal. Her first was to check to see what would happen. Sure enough, she’d transformed into a small white fox on her first go round. On the second go through she found that if she transformed herself first, she’d stay that way. The downside being she’d need clothing. Her transforming into a fox had to have something to do with her mixed heritage. When other ponies went through, they’d turn into humans who were fully clothed. Usually as their counterparts, which often proved interesting. One pony might end up in rags while another would be richly adorned in the finest silks. And the tight corsets would send many a pony scurrying back across the portal as quickly as they could. Nova never transformed into a human, clothed or otherwise, and had little choice but to master her transformation spell in the little time that she had before the portal closed. She was also taking a big gamble coming here, even with her ability to traverse dimensions, her home dimension was going to be too far away for her to return any time soon if anything went wrong.

Nova took in her surroundings, memorizing the location right down to the geomagnetic position, and then headed for the bustle of the main boulevard. The air hung heavy with the acrid smell of coal smoke, and animal waste. It was nearly enough to make her gag. The street itself was packed with carts and carriages, and all manner of wagons, all being pulled by the most pitiful examples of horseflesh she’d ever seen. Many were malnourished and overworked. Nova suppressed a shudder at the sight and walked down the side of the street in search of the establishment of the Inn she needed to go to. As she walked along the street a most perplexing sight caught her attention, her curiosity getting the better of her she just had to have a look. She’d actually heard the contraption long before she could see it, it made a horrible racket, and many of the horses shied away from it. Why it was a carriage, Nova realized on catching sight of it. A horseless carriage of all things. She watched in fascination as it chugged, and belched smoke from a pipe in the back of the thing as it passed by on the busy street. Nova could imagine her mother disassembling the thing just to figure out what made it work.

It was gone now, back to finding the Inn. Nova looked about in confusion. According to her Aunt Tia, it should be around here somewhere… Of course, it was hidden. Nova wasn’t too sure how she was to find an inn that had been hidden though. Her keen senses caught sight of a tall blond man with a redheaded man, both of medium build wearing long black robes of all things. No one seemed to be paying them any attention so Nova figured it was a fashion that Miss Liberty Belle, the court seamstress, had missed on her expeditions through the portal.

And they were gone.

How very odd… hold on… Nova walked briskly for the place the two had been, and marveled at the shimmering light as she approached the spot, the Leaky Calderon Inn was revealed. Her heart leapt in joy as her first quest was completed, and she pushed the door open. However, on entering, the hush that fell over the place made her feel a bit on the nervous side. No matter, she made her way to the bar ignoring the odd looks the patrons were giving her. Celestia had said she’d be safe enough once she was inside, but right now she wasn’t too sure. Why the very way the majority were dressed made her think she'd just walked into a hive of parochial schoolmasters.

“Excuse me, I’d like to make a reservation for tonight?” Nova inquired of the man behind the counter as another patron entered the shop. The man just stood there polishing a glass scarcely looking at her. He cast a glance at the person who’d entered behind Nova.

“Little Japanese san!” called the woman who’d followed Nova.

“What?” Nova asked. She could feel her ears go up, and was grateful for the hat.

“Oh you don’t need to stay here, you’ll be coming with me.” The woman proclaimed. Nova glanced at the woman, she was elderly in appearance and dressed in the oddest way having on an assortment of odd clothing to include the undergarment of a kimono warn like a robe.

“I most certainly am… mmmf!?” Nova began but was cut off mid-sentence. The woman clutching at Nova with strong bony hands, one hand going over her mouth.

“Now why in heaven’s name is there a horse in here?” the woman asked bewildered. The black beauty with wings of night, a mane that looked like a person could fall into it, and a long spiraled horn let out a snort while eyeing the woman most intently as if to say, back off bitch. The woman clutched at Nova more tightly and started pulling her away. A blast of magical energy emanated from the horn of the night mare hitting the woman square in the face. She let go of Nova who immediately pulled away, the night mare spun, the two men who Nova had seen earlier rush to open the doors to the establishment and stand clear.

The night mare’s hind hooves moved so fast that had anyone watching blinked, they’d have missed it. A moment later the women were out in the street where it was assumed she’d walked out into traffic, and had been hit by a passing streetcar.

“I say, I do like her style.” The tall blond man offered.

“Is it even legal to have a pet Nightmare?” Asked the redhead.

The barkeep pulled Nova’s hat off to reveal two very pony like ears.

“Hey!?” Nova protested grabbing her hat and pulling it back down.

“It’s alright lads, she’s one of us.” The barkeep proclaimed. He was answered by a cheer, followed by boisterous chatter. Nova relaxed for a moment and then turned on the night mare.

“Moonie, that was an unnecessary use of excessive force!” Nova chastised followed by the night mare bowing her head, and nuzzling her charge. Nova didn’t care for humans, but still…

“Now, don’t be so hard on her.” Offered the tall blond man as he approached. The redhead was right behind him. “That Muggle did seem set on kidnapping you.”

“A rather bold one too I might add. Name's Henry Weasley."

“My Name is Thomas Malfoy.” The blond man offered. “That’s quite the impressive... um, creature you have there. I hesitate to call her a horse though.”

“Rather cute for a Nightmare.” Mr Weasley offered. “But tell me, aren’t you rather early to be traveling to Hogwarts?” He paused a moment. "I'm assuming that's why you are here."

“Perhaps she doesn’t know about the train?” Mr Malfoy offered as he sat at one of the bar stools. “A shot of some of that American paint thinner if you don’t mind.”

“One shot of Kentucky whiskey.” The innkeeper replied. “Been a hard day has it?”

“Getting everything ready for the inaugural run of the Hogwarts Express has been a nightmare.” Mr Weasley offered as he took a seat. “No offense to present company mind you.”

“She only takes offense if you threaten me.” Nova offered. “I have come a long way, and I’m afraid I know nothing about the Hogwarts express.”

“It’d be in the letter letting you know that you’ve been accepted.” Mr Weasley offered. “But you haven't gotten your letter yet, have you? - I do say, I think we may have put the cart before the horse. Might be a good idea to send out a notice detailing the plans for the train. I mean this secrecy thing is going a bit far."

“I was to wait here till it came.” Nova offered. “I’m going to need a place to stay until it’s time to go as well.” “That is assuming I don’t need to start out right away?”

“They won't even be sending the letters out for a while yet.” Mr Malfoy offered. “Oh, you’ll get one. Anyone who can get a nightmare as a pet is sure to get a letter.”

“Oh, she’s not really a pet.” Nova offered. Granted that Moonie was actually a spell attached to Nova's moon amulet hidden under Nova's jacket. And while she could be thought of as a pet, she was so much more. Moonie was intelligent, could learn, and was semi-autonomous. “I suppose in a way she kind of is," Nova admitted. Her very own Nightmare Moonie. "She’s bonded to me. My Mom’s idea. She’s to keep me safe.”

“Ah, must be a powerful witch, your mother.” Mr Malfoy mused. “I’m surprised she sent you by yourself though. - What’s her name if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Princess Luna Moon. Mom’s in exile, it was my Aunt who sent me here. - I suppose you could say I’m in exile myself.”

“Don’t tell me they threw you out?” Weasley asked astonished.

“Not exactly. Just can’t go home for a while.”

“Join the club kid.” Mr Malfoy offered.

“His family kicked him out for his involvement with the train.” The innkeeper offered. “Here, have some juice, on the house.”

“Thank you, very much,” Nova replied accepting the offered drink. “So what’s the big deal with the train? I’ve ridden on plenty of trains. They’re slow, but a great way to get a large number of, well just about anything moved across the country.”

“Including students.” Mr Weasley offered.

“And including the children of families that otherwise couldn't afford to make the trip, and muggle born.” Mr Malfoy added. “My parents.” He downed the drink he’d been contemplating. “Sweet mother… that there is one thing muggles are good at.” His comment garnered some good-natured laughter. “What I was saying is that people like my parents don’t like the idea of magical education being made available to everyone. They’d much rather it remain an exclusive club. - Now I despise muggles as much as any, but I do believe that those who are born with magic deserve a chance. Many are in need of rescue, and I've even taken in a young lady myself. Ergo, I’ve involved myself with the Hogwarts Express program. - So, what did your mother do that got her, and apparently yourself, banished?”

Nova thought about it for a moment, she’d been warned that wizards could tell if a person was lying and that she should always tell the truth. Granted she didn’t have to tell the whole truth.

“Mom number one attempted to commit regicide.” Nova offered. “I’ve two moms. Things are complicated, and to make a long story short, here I am.”

“I’m going to need another.” Mr Malfoy said putting his glass back on the counter.

“Ya, I’ll have one too.” Mr Weasley said, and a few moments later he is gasping for his life while Nova gently pats his back. Malfoy is laughing along with several other patrons.

“Dear god, how do you drink that stuff?!” Weasley chocked out.

“So, you’re a dispossessed princess then,” Malfoy said after containing his mirth at his friend's discomfort. “By the way, where’d your nightmare go?”

“Oh, she usually just vanishes once she’s satisfied I’m safe,” Nova informed them. “Mr Weasley, are you going to be alright?”

“Just, give me a moment.”

“Say, why don’t you take in our little princess here until it’s time for her to go to Hogwarts, then she won’t have to stay here?” Mr Malfoy suggested.

“Oh, I couldn't.” Nova protested.

“I think it sounds like a splendid idea.” Mr Weasley offered having finally managed to straighten out.

“But I couldn't.” Nova protested again.

“Frankly I think you’d soon grow bored staying here.” Mr Malfoy offered. “Just out of curiosity though, did they send you out with any money?”

“I’ve a little on me, but I need to get to Green Goats, I believe it was the bank.” Nova offered. “I was provided with a vault key, oh, and I’ve a partial list of items I’ll need for school.”

“That would be Gringotts.” Mr Malfoy corrected.

“I should have enough for school as well as my room and board.” Nova offered.

“Well then, as a member of the Ministry of Magic, allow me to welcome you to the United Kingdom, and escort you to the bank. - Malfoy, you coming?”

“Sure why not. It’ll be a nice diversion.” He offered, and a moment later they are in a barren courtyard out behind the inn. Two grown men out in an alley behind a pub with a young woman. Nothing unusual here.

“Oh, I’ve got it,” Nova announces, and without even bothering to count, presses the brick that causes the wall to open up. The two men eye her with curiosity. “I’d memorized which brick to press.” Truth was she could see which brick was charged with the activation spell.

“I see, well come on then.” Weasley offers, and a moment later they are stepping into Diagon Alley.

Being it was the height of Summer, midweek, and late afternoon, there was as yet only a handful of people here and there. The owl shop looked inviting, and it was all she could do to not dive into the book shop. After all, she was her mother’s daughter. The apothecary gave her the willies at the site of unicorn horns. Nova had to remind herself that unicorns here, we're just dumb beasts and not anything like the ponies of Equestria. Still, though, it looked absolutely horrid to her. Despite that, the shops in the alley reminded her of some of the more unique shops in Canterlot. The ones in the back alleys she wasn't allowed to go to.

“So what exactly is a muggle anyway?” Nova asked after a while. She’d always assumed all humans were of the same species.

“Don’t you have muggles where you are from?” Mr Weasley asked.

“No, not a one so far as I know,” Nova replied.

“Perhaps it’s just a language barrier.” Mr Malfoy offered. “Closed-minded people who have no magic, don’t believe in much of anything, and can’t abide anyone being different from themselves. -Though to be honest I can think of a few wizards and witches who can fit into at least three of those categories.”

“And if a person in the magical community can’t do magic, they’re called a squib.” Mr Weasley filled in. “Do you have anyone like that where you live?”

“No, not really. Magic is fairly common. We Have three basic types, earth magic, atmospheric magic, and of course there’s the sort of magic that requires casting charms and such.” She wasn't about to say earth pony, pegasi, and unicorns.

“And what type of magic can you do?” Mr Malfoy asked.

“A little of everything.” Nova offered.

“Well, that’s what going to school is for, to refine your talents.” Mr Weasley offered having completely misinterpreted what Nova had told him. They had assumed Nova was only eleven, and just starting, but Nova was closer to fourteen, at least that was her presumed estimate, and she had been studying magic long before she could even do it. She didn’t know it, but her skill was far above what she’d be learning in the first year class.

“And we are here.” Mr Malfoy offered holding the door open to a large building.

Nova had been so engrossed in the conversation she’d completely missed climbing the steps up to the snowy white building. Standing by the door was a little man pale in complexion with a long beard, bald head, pointed ears, nose, and long spindly fingers who bowed to them as they entered. He looked to be a bit on the grumpy side as well. Nova returned the bow prior to entering. Inside were more of these odd looking grumpy little men, and a fair number of witches and wizards inside. The trio joined a line to see a teller and waited, and waited, and waited… oh, and waited some more.

“Ah, Mr Malfoy and Mr Weasley, I was told I might find you here.” Said a man coming up to them. “There have been some issues regarding the train.”

“Well that didn’t take long.” Mr Weasley moaned.

“Mr Brown, I’ll look into it first chance I get.” Mr Malfoy offered.

“Next!” called the little man at the counter. It was Nova’s turn. “Your key.”

“Yes sir,” Nova replied and retrieved a gold key from her pocket, and laid it on the counter. It had no number, only a crest. The Crest of Equestria to be exact. “Also I have some gems and gold to… convert? Are you alright?” The little beady man’s eyes had grown as big as saucers. Meanwhile, another little man who was patrolling the floor with what looked like a spectacle at the end of a stick was looking at Nova with a similar expression. “Um, hello, sir?”

“Whatever has gotten into him?” Asked the wizard who’d come in search of Malfoy and Weasley.

“Can’t say I’ve ever seen a goblin act that way in my life,” Malfoy remarked.

“Did I do something I shouldn't have?” Nova asked starting to sound concerned. Meanwhile, another goblin had gone to the one with the monocle, took it forcefully, and he too was transfixed.

Kitzumi Nova Nightfoal Moon wasn’t like other ponies. She was a fox pony. That is to say, she was part kitsune, and it was the enchanted, or divine, kitsune that was her default form in this world. Now the spectacle was charmed to see through hidden cloaks and the most elaborate of disguises, and by rights, they should have been seeing Nova as a little filly. An alicorn filly, though pegacorn was perhaps a better description being she was nowhere near being on par with her Aunt. That’s not what they were seeing. Thanks to the interplay of the different magics and how kitsune magic worked in that world, the monocle was showing Nova more or less as she was, with massive amounts of magical energy rippling off her. Had she been a full-blooded kitsune the monocle would have shown her as an anthropomorphic fox, and Nova was only a one tail at that. The goblins were at a complete loss never having encountered a kitsune let alone a hybrid the likes of Miss Nova. Meanwhile, the teller had recognized the vault key as one belonging to royalty. A vault that hadn’t seen use in over a hundred years. Another teller took a look at the key, and before long goblins were rushing about muttering frantically to each other and no one in particular as not a one seemed to know what to do. A short time later, Nova, and the now three wizards had been directed to a very nice room. There was a large oval oak table with one large oak chair on one side and four large chairs on the other. A guard stood in each corner of the room, the room has five corners, with two at the entrance, and two more at a rear exit. Five sides because the room also doubled as a trap.

“Your Highness, allow me to introduce myself, my name is Ragnok.” He offered with a bow. “You’ll forgive me, but the protocol requires a token before granting access to that specific account.”

“May I put my bag on the table?”

“Why yes, by all means.”

“Do you have protective eyewear?” Nova asked as she sat the suitcase on the table.

“I don’t expect I’ll need any,” Ragnok replied.

“Suit yourself then,” Nova said as she opened the case. Light flooded out. “Phenik? What are you doing in there?” Nova asked sounding exasperated as a young phoenix climbed out of the bag. “Honestly what am I to do with you now?”

“That’s not the token,” Ragnok stated flatly.

“I’m well aware of that.” Nova countered. She then pulled out a box that was about three hoofs in width, a quarter of a hoof in depth, and no less than seven horns in length. By rights, it should have never fit in the case. She set it on the table, and then retrieved, and put on a pair of sunglasses of all things. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Nova cautioned. Ragnok gingerly took the box, and slowly opened it. The occupants in the room were forced to squint their eyes as one of Princess Celestia’s primaries was revealed. “It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn’t so poorly lit in here,” Nova said softly. Princess Celestia truly shone as bright as the sun, and her little ponies had evolved over the millennium such that it didn’t really bother them. In fact, it was normal for most ponies to shine brightly what with their pastel colors. Even Nova’s true form was equally as bright as a harvest moon, and when ponies spoke of some pony brightening up a room by their presence, they meant that quite literally.

“Now that’s a token,” Ragnok whispered. His normal facade of disinterest had crumbled as he looked at the feather with awe and delight.

“I have a letter as well.” Nova offered pulling out a scroll with a wax seal on it. “We weren’t really sure if the account even still existed. I’m to understand it’s been a while.” Owing to the mentality of goblins, they never closed out accounts being they truly believed it all belonged to them anyway. The only loophole, one which Celestia had learned long ago, was to sell the goblins things of value that had been crafted. Princess Celestia had amassed a fortune simply by providing cut gems. Gems that would have been next to worthless in Equestria.

“I’m to understand that if the account is still available I am only to have as much as needed for necessary expenses to include school expenditures, room, and board, clothing, travel expenses, legal expenses if needed, plus the proceeds of the value of the items I provide you to be used at my own discretion.” Nova began pulling small gold bars out of her suitcase and stacking them on the table. “If I am unable to access the funds from my Aunt’s account, then I’m to open a new account to be at my discretion.”

Ragnok broke his eyes from the primary, reached across, and pulled a gold bar over to inspect it. The bar was stamped with the Equestrian winged unicorns representing night and day, Eques, Canterlot mint, point nine nine nine nine nine nine nine nine nine pure, one stone. Each bar weighed fourteen pounds when put on a scale, and Nova had stacked up one hundred bars. Now if that wasn’t enough, Nova began pulling out little square boxes. As she opened the boxes and placed them on the table, a large gemstone was revealed in each box. Now it’s important to remember that in Equestria the large stones were really only useful to dragons to be hoarded up, and eaten. To the ponies, the big ones were next to worthless because, they were fairly common in Equestria, and they couldn't be used for anything other than dragon food.

Nova wasn’t sure why Princess Celestia had insisted she bring such large gaudy next to worthless stones, but the expression on the faces of the goblins and human’s in the room spoke volumes. One being’s junk is another's treasure, Princess Celestia had explained with a wink.

“Who is this girl?” Whispered Mr Brown.

“I’m from a very old family in the far east.” Nova offered. The explanation was an answer her teacher, Miss Aiko, had told her to say. It ensured no one asked too many awkward questions and provided her with a ready answer. She’d also been told to call the country Eques being that’s what was stamped on the bars. No point in telling anyone the country was called Equestria as that might lead to more awkward questions.

Ragnok told a guard to summon a gem appraiser. “The gold will, of course, have to be appraised as well, though I’m to understand if this is indeed gold from Eques, it will fetch a high value due to its purity, and rarity.” Equestrian gold was often sought after simply for the stamps on the gold bars.

“Eques?” Mr Weasley asked.

“My country, the Kingdom of Eques. I’m a member of the royal family.”

“What are you doing here?” asked Mr Brown. "Sorry, but we haven't been introduced properly. Name's Brown."

“It’s illegal to execute members of the royal family.” Nova offered.

“Come again?” Asked Mr Brown.

It would seem there was some kind of family squabble resulting in various members of the family being kicked out.” Mr Malfoy offered.

“My mom tried to kill her sister. They had a difference of opinion, and it resulted in a knock down drag out fight.” Nova supplied. "I'm Princess Nova Moon of Eques."

“Well, I’ll be.” Mr Brown mused. “Normally that kind of behavior would be considered domestic violence and no big deal. Happens all the time, that it does.”

“Tell me about it.” Mr Malfoy drolled.

“My family fight like cat’s and dogs.” Mr Weasley offered. “No one ever gets seriously injured though.”

Meanwhile, Ragnok, having looked at the scroll had frozen. The guards suspecting something brought someone in to check him, they looked at the scroll and they nearly froze. “Why the signature is identical to the one on file, and the primary is certainly proof enough that it’s no clever forgery.”

“Why bother forging this anyway. It only allows the child to take out a small fraction, plus she’ll be adding a small fortune of her own.” Ragnok said as he looked over the document.

“A small fraction?” Nova asked.

“Not to worry, so long as you’re relatively frugal, you’d be able to live the life of the idol rich for the rest of your life.” Ragnok supplied with a smile. “And to think, you’re related to Celestia. The Celestia. Princess of the sun. How old is she?”

“She’s my Aunt. No idea how old she is.” Nova offered. “I do know she dates back to the fall of the Arcadian Empire of antiquity.”

“Arcadia? - She doesn’t have a philosophers stone does she?” Asked Mr Brown.

“A what?” asked Nova. “To the best of my knowledge, she’s just naturally immortal, or fairly near. Her magic is so powerful she simply doesn’t age. - I used to be afraid of her when I was little.” Nova made a mental note to find out what a philosopher’s stone was.

“I can see where such a person would be intimidating.” Mr Malfoy offered as the gemologist entered.

The gemologist pulled up a chair that had come from thin air, sat down, and began inspecting the gems via a magnifying glass fitted like a monocle. The room remained quiet until he came to a box containing a smallish pink stone. Small in comparison to the others, but otherwise considerably large.

“I’m not sure if that one is really worth much. It’s one that was given to me a while back. It’s got a flaw in it that looks a bit like a pony sitting in repose.”

“Looks like a panther to me.” The gemologist offered. “It’s a Mogok stone. Can’t say I’ve ever seen a gem quality stone this large. They are usually found in Burma, though some lesser quality ones are sometimes found in Canada.”

“A panther you say. May I have another look?” Nova asked. The gemologist gave Nova a pained look, placed the stone back in its box, and slid it over to her. Nova then picked up the stone and peered into its depths. Sure enough, the pony was now a panther. The position was the same, sitting in repose with its head held high in a most regal fashion, only now the mane and bushy tail was gone replaced with a long cat’s tail, a cigarette at the end of a cigarette holder in its mouth, and a monocle over one eye. What’s more is the tail was slowly flipping, and for the briefest moment Nova was sure it had winked at her. “I see, it is a panther now. It must have changed when I went through the portal, and it seems to have picked up an enchantment.” Nova put it back in the box and pushed it back over to the gemologist. “Watch the tail.”

The gemologist picked up the stone once more and looked at it with his magnifying glass. “Aaa, the tail is moving. That’ll bring up the price considerably.”

“So you got here by portal?” Mr Weasley asked. “Like a port key?”

“Beats traveling by ship.” Nova offered. Admitting to having come by way of a portal didn’t seem such an odd thing to admit being these were wizards, and it solved the issue of trying to explain by which route she’d come. “It was a mirror enchanted by a wizard known as Starswirl the Bearded. The portal would be closed now.”

“Now him I’ve heard of.” Malfoy offered. “Always though it was an odd name. If I remember correctly he did a lot of work with mirrors. It was the mirror of Erised he was most famous for. It has the most interesting enchantment I’m told, as it’ll show a person having the one thing they most truly desire. - Never understood why someone would want to do such a thing though.”

“Indeed,” Nova replied thinking she could guess. Starswirl in his travels to other worlds must have gotten stuck here, and made the mirror to get home again. The mirror showing wizards what they most desire was nothing more than a distraction to keep the human from discovering its true function being he’d have to leave the portal open.

“I’ve no doubt it’d show me shaking hands with new backers.” Mr Brown offered.

“Oh don’t tell me that’s what it was that was so important?” Mr Weasley asked.

“Mr Ragnok, looks like I’m going to want to invest in a railroad. Let's call it a school expense.” Nova offered.





And that’s how Princess Celestia became the primary backer of the Hogwarts Express.

Chapter 2: Nova goes shoping.

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Nova walked away from the bank with a small purse with a strap over her shoulder and then stopped to survey her surroundings. It was a new addition to the small suitcase. In it was an odd assortment of bits… wizard money actually, and a never dry stamp that was to be used for large purchases. As a safety measure, she was to turn the stamp from square to a diamond if she was ever under duress. Mr Malfoy and Mr Brown had returned to the Ministry to inform their people that they’d found a new backer, whose name was to be withheld for security reasons, and if anyone were to press they’d only get Celestia Solaris of Eques. Roomers of a foreign girl with a phoenix only helped to muddy the waters.

Mr Weasley had remained at Nova’s side, and Phenik, having refused to go back into the suitcase, not like it was a crammed tight space, he’d a whole deluxe apartment to explore, was presently perched on top of Nova’s hat engaged in pulling apart the silk flowers. Nova let out a sigh as a hoof-full of silk petals drifted down, people were staring at her. To make matters worse the hat was enchanted to be self-repairing which meant Phenik had an endless supply of silk petals to scatter. The hat delighted the young bird to no end.

“What say we get you some proper wizard robes.” Mr Weasley offered. “Maybe they won’t stare so much.”

“Something tells me that a phoenix is not a common pet,” Nova stated as another hoof full of petals cascaded down.

“Are they in your home country?” Mr Weasley asked curiously.

“Not especially, no,” Nova replied. “My brother Spike raised one but released it to the wild. Otherwise, the only other Phoenix I’m aware of is bonded to my Aunt. Phenik is one of the fledglings from a recent clutch.”

“I see. - Well, no point in hanging about, we’ll just draw a crowd.”

Their path leading to a shop called the Witches Wardrobe was all too easy to follow as a plethora of silk petals trailed their every movement. Why they’d chosen that specific shop was simply because Nova liked the presentation in the window.

“Welcome to the Witches Wardrobe.” Called the friendly voice of a woman in the shop. Nova took one look at the long elegant deep violet hair and said...

“Rarity?”

“Oh darling no. Though my friends often say that I’m a rarity.” Her wizard robes, a light alabaster with floral designs around the base, and looked more like a kimono than a typical wizard robe. The embroidered heraldic blazon of three blue diamonds on a silver shield boldly placed above the heart wasn’t helping Nova’s confusion. Nova had noticed that a lot of witches and wizards had these little shields, and filed it away wondering if it had anything to do with cutie marks. “Name’s Anastasia, but you may call me Ana. What can I do for you? Oh, and I must say that hat is divine. How’d you make that phoenix look so real.”

“Unfortunately, Phenik is real and very determined to destroy my hat,” Nova replied just as Phenik scattered more petals.

“Oh my... - He is quite determined. - He or she?”

“Being that a phoenix is capable of self-reproduction, I’d say both.” Nova offered. “But I usually just say she if I must be pinned down to a pronoun. - What with the egg laying and all. - Be a while before this one lays any eggs.”

“I see, I see, well come on in, and tell me how I can help you?”

“I’ll be needing some robes, thank you please.” Nova offered as Miss Ana showed her to the fitting area. Nova set her suitcase down, climbed up onto a step ladder, and Ana moved Phenik, hat and all, onto a hat stand. Nova's ears were still slightly poniefied showing a bit of a point, and plenty of fuzz.

“I’ll have to ask Madasin if she can duplicate your hat complete with a mock phoenix.” Miss Ana said as her eyes strayed to Nova's ears. “She’s a hatter, quite mad, but then all the best people are.” A moment later tape measures are whisking about taking measurements. Nova couldn't help but giggle. “I can see the speculation about you was all wrong. Most muggle born would start to panic about now.”

“What, from a few tape measures?” Nova asked, honestly perplexed.

“Indeed. They’d never experienced objects moving about seemingly on their own.” Ana offered.

“My Aunt Rarity is a fashion designer. You should see the things flying about in her shop when she’s feeling inspired. It's an experience that has inspired panic in the stoutest magic user. - My present outfit was designed by a relative of hers, named Liberty. - I knew I’d have to travel through some, um, muggle areas, so the outfit was to help me fit in.”

“I see, I see. - So they’re travel clothes.” Travel clothes were about to become all the rage. “Will you be attending Hogwarts this year?”

“We expect she will be.” Mr Weasley offered. He’d been standing off to one side to stay out of the way. “The letters haven't been sent out yet, but no harm in being prepared.”

Princess Celestia had said she’d entered Nova’s name, so Nova just trusted that her name would be in the enrollment. How this was accomplished Nova couldn't know, but she suspected that the enrollment book was a dimensional diary.

“Being that she’s not here with family, is this going to be the usual deal paid by the ministry?” Ana asked.

“Oh, I can pay my own way.” Nova offered. “Seems I’ve been provided with a rather substantial allowance.” Nova smiled at the memory of the ride down in the cart, she’d been leaning over the front of the cart, face to the wind, while Mr Weasley held on to her jacket pleading her to please sit down. They’d had to go past captive dragons and even a sphinx who’d asked the easiest question she’d ever heard. Who raises the sun, and who raises the moon. Of course, the answer was Princess Celestia and Princess Luna. Granted that would have been a wrong answer for the world she was in, but the Sphinx smiled, because the Sphinx was from Equestria, and then to the surprise of the goblin driving the cart, and Mr Weasley, the two struck up a conversation in a language neither had ever heard. Old Ponish it was, which is related to the ancient Arcadian language as the Sphinx was more accustomed to the older language. The vault itself had marble tile on the floor, and the walls and ceiling were lined with alabaster stone with ornate designs inlaid with amber. It was very much like any typical vault in Canterlot castle and was piled high with gold, jewels, and a variety of precious objects.

“She’s an heiress. Her circumstances are a little unusual, and it seems I’ll be looking after her until it’s time for her to go to school.” Mr Weasley informed with a smile on his face. "I haven't told anyone at home yet."

“Seems I arrived in England too early. - What with the train being put through. - Otherwise, I was to wait for my letter and then procure transportation to the school. - Standard school robes, and something nice in case I have to go anywhere where I’ll need to dress up.”

“So how’d you like the ride in the cart?” Miss Ana asked.

“She loved it, and seems to be old friends with the Sphinx we had to pass.” Mr Weasley offered.

“Oh now your just teasing.” Miss Ana replied. “All done with the measurements. “Now, let's have a look at some robes.”

Miss Ana levitated out several examples of school robes from the most basic, anyone can afford, but no child would want to wear it, to a few robes that Nova was sure only spoiled fillies like Diamond Tiara would wear. Nova decided it would be best to be sensible, and picked something in the middle. After all, they were school robes, and it wasn’t technically her money. As for the nonschool robes she decided to get three for casual wear, two for dressier occasions, and one extra nice one just in case she found herself being invited to a fancy party. One never knew, and if word got out that she held the purse strings to a not so small fortune, even ponies weren’t above a little flank kissing of anyone who had lots of bits.

“I’ll need a signature and payment up front, and where do I send the robes,” Ana said once they’d finished.

“I guess I’ll be staying with Mr Weasley.” Nova offered as she got out her stamp, she thanked her, and a short time later they were on their way to the next store. In this case, Nova had decided she wanted to go straight to the book store she’d seen earlier. She quickly vanished into the shelves of books, the only clue to her whereabouts being the occasional excited squeak and a trail of silk blossoms. At least that was until Phenik got excited, and started flying about the shop singing a most joyous song. It was a book store full of books Nova had never seen, and after some of the hardships she’d had to endure, it was like she’d ascended to a higher plane of creation. Granted there’d been the library in the citadel of Arcadia, but she’d been too pressed for time. Assuming Discord hadn’t moved it somehow, or it only existed in that one dimension, she hoped to return some day. Here and now, she was free to explore the shelves until they kicked her out. Not only that, but she could buy as many as she wanted.

“That’s quite the costumer you’ve brought me, Mr Weasley.”

Squee! Trill trill trill...

“Indeed she is. Mr Flourish. Indeed she is.”

Squee! Trill trill trill...

Both men had a tear trickling down their faces do in part to the song of the phoenix. Curious passers-by had begun to gather at the door as well.

Squee! Trill trill trill...

“By any chance do you have the first yearbook list for Hogwarts yet?” Mr Weasley asked.

Squee! Trill trill trill...

“A prospective student then?”

Squee! Trill trill trill...

“Indeed she is.”

Squee! Trill trill trill...

“The list just arrived the other day, and I’ve already started getting the books ready to go. You weren’t planing on getting a jump on buying the required books were you?”

Squee! Trill trill trill…

“Might just as well. Something tells me I’m not getting out of here without at least two dozen books.”

Nova rounded the corner with a stack of books on top her suitcase, and another stack trailing in a light blue aura. How’s she doing that without a wand, someone in the crowd asked softly. Nova heard, became self-conscious, and dropped the books she’d been levitating with a loud thud. Accidental magic was the verdict, though the truth was that Nova had simply been using her pendant as a focal point for her magic. A moment later Phenik landed on Nova’s shoulder and peaked out from under the hat.

“So, um, how do you plan to carry all that?” Mr Flourish asked.

“Hang on,” Nova replied, and slid the stack on top her suitcase off onto the counter. She then turned the suitcase upright again, slid a panel, pressed a button, which was followed by legs dropping to the floor. With the case thus supported, she then pressed another button resulting in the back side of the case along with two of the four legs scooting out to reveal a book rack. Her travel case was now a book return cart.

“Now isn’t that clever.” Mr Flourish mused. Phenik dropped down onto the shelf and ducked under a flap at the end that still resembled a suitcase.

“Oh now you want to go back in,” Nova said with a snarky air.

As for the books, Mr Flourish selected several books that were required for the first years and then started going over the books she’d selected. Nova started going over the required school books, and let out a sigh. The books looked like primers to her.

“Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it.” Mr Weasley offered.

Mom number two, Nova’s birth mother, was Twilight Sparkle. Nova knew all the basics of magic theory by the time she was four. Her magic hadn’t manifested until she was six, and she had been a late bloomer. Most unicorns started to learn about and use magic in magic kindergarten. Nova had been born a pegasus with a button horn. It was feared she’d be a false alicorn, which meant she’d likely never fly. Without a proper horn, she’d never do magic either, but shortly after her horn began to grow, her magic started to manifest. Shortly thereafter, Discord decided to boot her across dimensions. The wibbly wobbly nature of time and relative dimensions only made matters worse. Not to mention a bit awkward at times where Twilight and Luna were married in her world, but mother and daughter in another. Despite all that her education in magic seemed to be at a considerably higher level then where she was presently expected to start in the world she was presently in. Nova’s thirst for knowledge was rivaled only by Twilight Sparkle and had managed to further her education by one means or another regardless of the dimension, or hardships she might be in at any given moment.

“Miss, I can understand the books from the young adults' section, but you’ve picked out a number of books that are way beyond what is expected of a first year.” Mr Flourish cautioned.

Nova let out another sigh.

“You’re probably going to want to put some of those back.” Mr Weasley suggested.

Nova’s ears poniefied once more, lay down, and with hat in hand she looked at him with the most pitiful puppy dog eyes.

“For god’s sake, let her have the books!” Someone in the crowd outside the shop shouted.

A short time later a happy Nova, with suitcase in hand, can be seen headed for the next shop trailed by a rather defeated looking Mr Weasley.

Nova having satisfied her book lust, thought it’d be best to go to the pet store to get supplies for Phenik. Something she and Princess Celestia were completely remiss in that they never would have dreamed that one of the fledglings would stowaway. Nova hoped there was only the one in there.





“You do not.” Replied the blond wall-eyed sales witch at the pet shop with a smile. Nova had just informed her that she needed supplies for a phoenix.

“I do, her name is Phenik.”

“Sure you do. Besides who names a phoenix after a small fox anyway?”

“Pardon?” Nova asked perplexed.

“Fennec. It’s a small phox.”

“No, Phenik, her name is Phenik, and she’s a phoenix, not a phox. - There’s a phox called a Fennec?”

“Didn’t you see us walk by earlier?” Mr Weasley asked.

“I got hexed this morning. Can’t see a thing beyond the shop. And I don’t care if that witch’s husband is filthy rich, I’ll not sell her one more animal. - Animals are not fashion accessories to be discarded the moment you get bored with it. - If Miss Shy had been here, she’d have given her a right piece of her mind, that she would.”

“Miss Nova, why don’t you just retrieve Phenik.” Mr Weasley suggested.

“Easier said than done,” Nova replied.

“Well, I’m not going to believe you own a phoenix until I see one.”

“Phine.” Nova retorted tersely, set her suitcase on an open space, and in a few swift motions, the floor now had what looked to be a large steamer trunk mimicking a raised hatchway into the cabin of a small boat. She opened the top, and then a door on one end, and descended a staircase. “Phenik!”

Now when opened thus, it opened to the back of the apartment so that all a person from above could see was a very large sitting room. Now if anyone were to poke their heads down into the hatch they’d see, a bedroom, a library, another bedroom to the left with a greenhouse to the right, a large arch at the far end which provided access to two stairwells, and another large room.

“Phenik?!” Nova called as she walked through the sitting room.

“Wow.” Mr Weasley said looking in the hatch. Hearing Nova utter what sounded like a four-letter word, he called out, “No phowl language young lady.” Granted it could just as easily been a five letter word.

“Horsefeathers!” Nova shouted.

“Horsefeathers?” the sails woman repeated.

“Must be cultural.” Mr Weasley replied.

“Phenik, come here.” Nova’s voice could be heard from somewhere inside. She returned a short time later with said phoenix who looked quite pleased with themselves.

“Do you believe me now?”

“Yes, that’s definitely a phoenix.” The sales clerk had an expression of delight on her face. “How can I help you?”

“I was going to just get food and a perch, but it looks like I’m going to need a number of things to keep my fine fabulous fiery feathered friend occupied when I’m not watching her,” Nova replied while giving Phenik a dirty look.

A short time later Nova was putting her stamp on yet another large purchase. Much of it toys for Phenik along with an owl for sending messages. Allegedly it was possible to teach Phenik to deliver letters, but Nova wasn’t quite ready to push her luck on an untrained bird who thought destroying draperies was a good idea. Fortunately the drapes were self mending. Nova had no way of knowing for how long, and it created quite a fluff problem.

“What say we see about getting you a wand next.” Mr Weasley offered, as they walked across the street. Nova had Phenik on her shoulder once more, her suitcase in her left hand, and was happily nibbling on a muffin. “Oh, and what you have in there is not an apartment, not a deluxe apartment, it’s a royal suit.”

“Well I figured as much, but I’m not about to go running around telling people I’m carrying around a suitcase with a displaced aria inside bigger then most people’s houses, and some smallish castles.”

“Even so, you need to be extra cautious that doesn’t go inside a smaller displaced space. - Castles?"

“That would be a bad thing?”

“Ohhh, that would be a very bad thing.”

“I’ll ah, keep that in mind,” Nova replied timidly. It was going to be a difficult thing to do in a community that thrived on displaced space. “How exactly am I to know?”

“How…? - Well, don’t take it into any other cases, storage lockers, or tents. - I swear you’ve likely got the largest one I’ve ever seen. - I should probably get onto the Ministry about adopting some kind of standards, and some way for people to know so they don’t walk into something, and have the whole thing implode.”

“OK, imploding is bad. Quite possibly my least favorite thing to do. - I imploded a tree once. - Mine will attach itself to a blank wall and become a door. Is that sort of thing common?”

“Perhaps we should consult an expert.” Mr Weasley offered. Nova's interesting injection into what she'd been saying caused a raised eyebrow. “How exactly did you implode a tree?”

Nova hesitated to say anything, but on seeing someone trying out a broom at a nearby shop, she’d formulated what to say based on what she’d seen in a book in the bookstore, and overheard. The people there had all assumed her levitating things was some sort of ‘accidental’ magic. “Well, I was flying...”

“On a broom?”

“I kind of lost control, and I guess it was accidental magic.” She said bending the truth quite a bit. “Instead of splattering on the trunk of the tree, I sort of went right through it.” It’d been a panic teleport at rain-boom speed. “I’m afraid I shredded it along with the individuals who were chasing me.”

“That isn’t part of the reason you’ve been banished is it?”

“Oh no. I wandered into another country,” It’d been a dimension where Queen Moon was at war with King Sombra, and it had been Sombra's mind-controlled drones after her. “I’d been drafted, they were enemy agents, and I got a commendation.”

“You got drafted? At your age?”

“They were using me as a message runner. - All the message runners were minors. We were small, fast, and every last one of us thought we were indestructible. - That was last year, and I’m the only one of my group that made it out. I have nightmares about it now.” She had to take a deep breath. "Sometimes I'd arrive at my destination, and there would be wounded, and no medic. I start helping as best I could. After a while, they decided it might be best to start teaching the runners how to do basic battlefield first aid."

Mr Weasley reached out, perhaps to place a comforting hand in Nova’s shoulder, only to get a painful peck from Phenik. He pulled his hand back wincing.

“To be honest I thought they’d blown up the tree. I’d been hit by flying splinters, and got put out of action for a while. - Right in the plot." She couldn't help but roll her eyes. The few times she'd been wounded it had always been in the plot. “I’d have never known what actually happened if not for a scout patrol that had witnessed it.”

“Wow, that’s...”

“I got the scars to prove it too. - Want to see?”

“Um, no, that’s quite alright.” Mr Weasley replied, perhaps a bit too quickly. “And we're here.”

Nova looked at him curiously. Ponies in general certainly wouldn't have balked at looking at a few scars. She was pretty sure the CMC would think they were awesome… having a few of their own that is. The line, ‘yep, that’s gonna leave a mark’, was fairly well ingrained in her memory.

Nova looked at the shop, curious as to what a place that sells wands looked like. It wasn’t much to look at, there was a door, a window in which a single wand rested on a cushion, and a sign that proclaimed the establishment Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 B.C. in gold lettering. Nova had no idea what the number meant though she thought it likely to be some notable event. The modern Equestrian calendars were dated to Night Fall, but the lettering looked to be fairly new, so she figured the shop probably hadn’t been around all that long.

“What’s BC?” Nova asked at length.

“It means before Christ.”

“And who or what is that?”

Mr Weasley thought about it for a moment. “I’ll have to admit that I’ve no idea. I’m a government minister, not a historian. - Come on now.” He offered as he opened the door.

Nova stepped through the door into a tiny shop that was wall to wall shelves filled with small long boxes. The place reminded her a bit of some hobby shops she’d been in, what with all the stacked boxes. She could feel the magic in the wands radiating out and tickling at her senses.

“Welcome to our shop.” Said a young ginger-haired man with a shop apron on over a wizard robe. There was a certain eager anticipation to his tone. “The old man is out right now, so I’ll be the one to help you. Is this your first wand?”

“Yes, I’ve never actually used a wand before,” Nova admitted. Nova smiled as she looked into his steel blue eyes.

“You’re first...” The young man repeated sounding put off just a bit. “Tell you what, have a seat, I’m in training, but I’m sure I can help you out. Names Harold. So which hand do you favor?”

“Hand?” Nova asked as the boy got out a tape measure and began holding it in various odd ways as though trying to measure some aspect of her. The fact that the tape measure wasn’t levitating worried her. “Right hand I guess?”

“You guess?” He offered as he looks over some boxes. He pulled out a box, opened it up, and handed it over to Nova. “Here, just give that a flick… the other way round, you’ve got a hold of the wrong end. Have you never seen someone use a wand? I swear, if not for that phoenix I’d think you were muggle born.”

“She’s a foreigner.” Mr Weasley offered as he sat down on a stool that sat in a corner. “We expect she’ll be attending to Hogwarts this year.” As he was saying this Nova gave the wand a flourish. It responded by going pift as acrid smoke erupted from the end of the wand.

“Is it supposed to do that?” Nova asked.

“Ahh, no, not really,” Harold replied. He’d never seen a wand do something of the sort either. He took the wand back, gave it a wave, blanched, and stuffed it in a pocket in his shop apron. He then looked through the boxes once more, pulled out another box, and handed to Nova. The results were about the same.

“Maybe we should come back when your grandfather is here?” Mr Weasley offered after the fifth wand had gone out with a mighty wimpier, and a puff of smoke.

“No, that's OK, I can do this.” Harold implored, grabbed a box at random. “Ah, dogwood with heartstring, that’ll do it.”

“Are you sure?” Nova asked cautiously.

“Absolutely positively…"

“Bam!” This time the wand had exploded with a loud bark and ignited.

“Ahy!” Nova cried out in pain as she dropped it. Her own built-in pegasi force field had kicked in, but not quite fast enough. She'd been saved from serious injury but had still been scorched.

“Idiot boy!” Shouted a silver-haired old man with a long beard, having entered the shop from somewhere in the back. “I thought I told you to tell people they’d need to come back? - Now go find yourself a switch, and wait.”

“Yes, sir.” Harold offered apologetically. “I’m so sorry, I thought I could do it.”

“Git!” The old wizard ordered.

“Are you burned?” Mr Weasley asked.

“Just a bit.” Nova offered. “I’ve had worse.”

“I’m so terribly sorry.” Mr Ollivander offered with a polite bow.

“Thank you, I hold no grudge or blame.” Nova offered while returning the bow.

“I gather you’re trying to beat the rush before school.”

“Yes, I’ve never used a wand before, and thought that as long as I was down here, I might do a bit of shopping.” Nova replied. “I do believe I’m right-handed.”

This time the tape measure took measurements on its own. Mr Ollivander put on a pair of hexagonal glasses and studied Nova for a bit. “Interesting, most interesting.” What he was seeing was unlike anything he'd ever seen before as the girl seemed to have multiple reserves of magic. “I think we’ll start you out...” He went to some boxes on the other side of the room, and picked out a long box. “Ash with unicorn hair.”

Nova tried it. At least this time it didn’t blow up. He quickly took it away and presented her with aspen, and then alder, and then he tried blackthorn eleven inches with unicorn hair. Nova was delighted when a colorful shower of sparks came out.

“The wand does choose the witch or wizard.” Mr Ollivander offered.

Nova held up the wand and decided to try that light spell in her lesson book. “Lumos.”

The two men looked on in shock as the wand lit up with a bright light, delighted that she’d managed the spell so well on a first try, followed by dismay when the wand went out like an over-amped light bulb.

Nova looked at it thoroughly disgusted by this point, set her suitcase down, held the wand up, and produced a sort of magical heads up display in mid-air that she looked through to examine the wand. The two men were stunned as Nova manipulated arcane figures with her left hand. “So that’s the problem,” Nova said more to herself then the two men.

“What’s that?” Mr Weasley asked.

“The cores can’t handle my magic. It’s too wild.” Nova offered. "I need a mixer."

"That, that, how did you do that thing you just did?” Mr Ollivander asked.

“Magical device diagnostic spell.” Nova offered.

“But how are you casting that spell?” Mr Weasley asked.

“Oh, right,” Nova said realizing she’d need to show what she was using to do magic, undid the top two buttons of her jacket, and pulled out an amulet. The amulet itself was made out of a highly polished material he assumed to be ebony, but blacker then any sample he’d ever seen. Set into the disk was a crescent moon made from opal, a small blue crystal cut in the shape of a star directly below the reach of the moon’s overhang, and a much larger precious stone of blue also cut into the shape of a star about halfway down on the far edge from the crescent moon. The moon itself was tilted so as to reach over the first gem with the tip directly over the second. Around the edge were a series of arcane symbols derived from the Arcadian script known as liner B, which were cut into at the point where they intersected with the larger gem. Nova knew the language as ancient ponish.

“I see. But, to do such magic at such a young age?” Mr Ollivander asked. His eyes scanned the letters which read Kisumi Naowa Mune Rokaqaos. When adjusted for the linguistic shift, and translated, it read Captain Kitzumi Nova Moon, which was a most curious thing being she was only an Ensign.

“My biological mother is what I think you might refer to as an arch mage. I’ve had magic lessons drilled into me since I was as young as I can remember. As is I’ve been able to do magic since I was six.” She explained while leaving out the fact that cutie marks had the effect of turning ponies into borderline savants. She could do some really crazy stuff and yet was unable to do quite a number of things that would be considered mundane by wizards. There were also a number of gaps in her education.

“And here I thought you were joking when you said the first-year book looked like a primer.” Mr Weasley said.

“Any chance they’ll let me go at my own pace?” Nova asked.

“Not likely, but they might jump you ahead once they’ve had a chance to see what you can do.”

“Should I get second-year books as well?”

“Might be advisable.” Mr Weasley mused as Nova put the amulet back, and buttoned up her jacket.

“I’m at a bit of a loss as what to do about the wand though.” Mr Ollivander offered.

“I think I know the solution.” Nova offered. “Though you might find this to be a bit unorthodox.”

Nova handed the wand back to Mr Olliveander, took off her hat handing it over to Mr Weasley, undid her hair bun, her hair draping down to her waist, and plucked three strands of hair. One white, one vermilion, and one purple. She held out the three together by the ends and twisted them together into a spiral. “I think you’ll find my own hair should do nicely for a wand core, and it’ll be compatible with my magic.”

“Do people use their own hair very often where you come from?” Mr Weasley asked. Meanwhile, Mr Olliveander was having a closer look at the hairs Nova had handed him.

“My amulet has hair in it from each of my mothers.” Nova offered, hoping to bypass the question. It was also an out and out lie, but she wasn't about to tell them about the stones. The amulet did at least contain magic from all the Lunas she'd met. Wands were virtually unknown in Equestria being that ponies didn’t need them. The amulet itself had originally been a means for Princess Luna’s personal guard to be able to access restricted areas of the castle.

“This will do, yes, this will do nicely.” Mr Olliveander said softly. On close inspection, he’d discovered that the strands the young woman had given him were from the mane of a winged unicorn. Add to that the hairs had some rather unique properties he couldn't quite put his finger on. The girl was a winged unicorn under some kind of enchantment.

“It will?” Mr Weasley asked as Nova tied up her hair again, and put her hat back on. “Miss Moon, could you wait outside?”

“Yes, I guess, I suppose that’s alright,” Nova replied.

“I should be able to get the wand to you in about a week. It’ll be on me for the trouble my grandson put you through.” Mr Olliveander offered.

“Are you sure, I can pay,” Nova questioned.

“It’s quite alright, It’s the least I can do.”

“Well, alright.” Nova offered and stepped outside to enjoy a bit of sun.

“You aren’t seriously thinking of putting human hairs in a wand are you?” Mr Weasley asked dumbfounded at the idea.

“On the contrary, I’ll be doing nothing of the sort.” Mr Olliveander replied with a smile.

“Oh, alright then...” Mr Weasley replied. “And her wand?”

“Ready in about a week.”

:trollestia:



Mr Weasley stepped out into the alley convinced he was missing something important. On looking about he discovered the something important he was missing was Miss Nova. He felt a moment of panic as he looked about, but the small gathering of amused witches and wizards outside the book store was rather telling. Sure enough, Nova was on another book splurge. Once retrieved from the book store they went to a general mercantile and wizarding supplies shop where she purchased a Britannia pewter cauldron, scales, standard weights for the scales, and an assortment of measuring devices.

Nova simply could not bring herself to go into any of the apothecaries as every time she tried she could picture herself being sliced up, dried, and or cured in whatever fashion seemed appropriate for her various parts, and sold in the shop. Pony potions to include Zebra potions were mostly plant-based and seldom if ever took parts of creatures in such a way as to cause harm. Why even glue could be made from hoof clippings alone, and pedicure shops provided the glue industry with plenty of clippings.

“You should probably wait until you get your letter anyway.” Mr Weasley offered.

“No, this is a challenge I must face...” Nova stated, started to walk into a shop, turned right around, and added, “but not today. I think I’m good for now.”


A quick note about Nova’s cutie mark. Her cutie mark was as described on the amulet minus the arcane symbols, a crescent moon tilted to overhang, and two stars under the overhang. Her fur being white the crescent moon had manifested in deep violet, and the stars outlined in violet. Regarding the events prior to her receiving her cutie mark, Nova had been fired out of a catapult by a group of bullies who wanted to see her fly. Unable to do so she somehow managed to teleport to safety. Strait to Princess Luna’s chambers in the next dimension over. The chamber was destroyed by the force of air created by a filly teleporting in at flight speed. She landed safe enough on the bed but sank far enough into the springy cushions that she was bounced up to the ceiling along with the bed bouncing with a mighty thump. Guards rushed in, and not knowing who she was, attempted to apprehend her. This led to a chase across the palace in which Nova teleported every time they thought they had her. Now to the surprise and bewilderment of all, Nova went straight to Princess Luna, and even though this Luna had no clue who Nova was, any filly seeking sanctuary from her was going to get sanctuary. The cutie mark appeared a short time later. As to meaning, being a typical unicorn cutie mark, the meaning was anything but clear. Obviously, it signified magic, but it could potentially mean one who is protected by the moon and one other. Another interpretation has to do with the tilt of the moon, and the placement of the stars in that it was a stylized moon gate. Nova was really good at teleporting. Once her flight feathers came in at the age of twelve she became an excellent flier mixing her magic with her flight capabilities to do what few others could do, but teleportation was top.

Now, back to the Leaky Cauldron. They’d done all the shopping they could do, and Mr Weasley was explaining to Nova how to use the floo network. “Now it’s important to keep your arms and legs tight, don’t panic. All you have to do is take the floo powder. Throw it in the fire, you step in, and to get to my home say Weasley Abbey, and you're off. - You got that?”

“Easy Peasy.” Nova offered while Phenik bobbed her head up and down from Nova's shoulder, stepped into the fire, cast the powder into the fire, spoke the name Weasley Abbey, and vanished in a green puff of smoke.

Did I mention she could project a body shield about herself? Hers was the pegasus body shield that normally only kicked in at high speed. Unlike the spherical unicorn shield, the pegasus shield held tight to the body with the exception of a cone that formed in front of them at near supersonic, and supersonic speeds. It was this shield that allowed pegasi like Rainbow Dash the ability to walk if off after leaving a crater in the ground, and Nova had figured out how to activate the shield at will.

Mr Weasley stood there stunned, sure that his charge was now at the other end seriously injured. There’d been several gasps from the patrons who’d seen what had happened. Mr Weasley quickly grabbed a handful of floo powder, but before he could cast it into the fire Nova burst out in another puff of green smoke with Phenik appearing a moment later.

“Sorry, did it wrong, going to do it again.” Nova announced while Phenik circled overhead, cast the powder in the flames, stepped in, said ‘Weasley Abbey’ and was off again shortly followed by Phenik.

The flow powder slowly trickled from Mr Weasley’s hand.

“This is fun!” Nova announced bursting out again.

“Quit wasting floo powder!” Called the innkeeper, as Phenik swooped out of the fireplace yet again.

“Sorry.” Nova replied sheepishly.

“Just wait for me at the other end.” Mr Weasley said sounding just a bit put out.

“Alright, sorry.” Nova replied, and then dove into the fireplace with another green flash closely followed by Phenik. To Nova, the floo was just another form of teleportation. To her the main difference was that instead of the FTL speed of teleportation, Floo travel was closer to the speed of sound which allowed her to see momentary glimpses inside the homes of others. It was all quite fascinating, and downright fun.

“Blimey, you see that, she didn’t even use any powder that time.” A patron said in disbelief.

“What have I gotten myself into?” Mr Weasley said softly as he took up another handful of the powder. He cast the powder into the fire stepped in, and to his dismay found himself being buffeted about, twisted around, and even turned upside down till he came flying out into the Floo parlor at Weasley Abbey where he took a tumble and found himself sliding across the floor, passing by Nova, and continued to slide until stopped by a sofa. Phenik let out a happy warble, and a moment later a card flew out of the floo stating that the floo network was being shut down due to unexplained turbulence and apologizing for the inconvenience. The fire promptly went out with a mighty puff of smoke that filled the room.

The CMC would be proud.

Chapter 3: The Weasley fox

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“What in blue blazes?” called a woman of undetermined age. She was old, perhaps in her seventies, and yet still held a youthful look about her. Her hair was graying with highlights of soft blonds and a hint of ginger yet remaining. She is tall, thin, and likely very beautiful in her youth. “Henry, is that you?” She asked while peering into the haze of ash and smoke. “Who’s that with you?” Astonishment replaced confusion. “Is that a phoenix?”

“How astute of you, grandmother.” Henry Weasley offered as he got up off the floor.

Mrs Percival Weasley, Laurel to her friends, Lady Laurel to everyone else, produced a wand and cleared the smoke from the air. The room itself was a sitting room where guests waited to be acknowledged, and sneak thieves were trapped, it was a room set aside from the rest of the house. Such rooms were common and fairly mandatory to keep the more unsavory from entering the house via the floo network.

“Out with it, who is she? Not an illegitimate child of yours is she?”

“Grandmother, please?!”

“Can’t keep the sword in the sheath is it?” Nova asked with a rather cheeky smile.

“Now hold on?! I do not!” Henry protested. “Allow me to introduce to you Her Royal Highness Nova Moon of Eques.”

“What?” Lady Laurel was stunned. “What’s she doing here?”

“She just sort of fell into my lap.” He offered. “She’s here to attend Hogwarts, but arrived too soon.”

“Well, she can’t have gotten a letter yet. Can she?”

“They haven't gone out yet.” He supplied.

“Then what makes you think she’ll even get a letter. She’s dressed like a muggle?”

“These are my traveling clothes.” Nova offered. “If it’s going to be an imposition I could go back to the Leaky Cauldron.”

“The Leaky Cauldron?” Lady Laurel asked with a hint of horror to her tone.

“Yes mam, I was to stay there till my letter arrived.”

“Well you’re not going anywhere till the floo is fixed.” Henry chastised. “The floo is for transport, not for playing.”

“I’m sorry.” Nova offered sheepishly.

“Now don’t be blaming her just because the floo broke down.”

“You just had to be there.” Henry offered. “She burned out seven wands at Ollivander’s as well.

“Seven wands? “Burned them out?”

“Well the first six was because young Harold was showing off, and they were wholly unsuited for her.” Henry offered.

“I overcharged the last one.” Nova offered. “Mr Ollivander is going to do a custom build for me. Something that can handle my power surges.” “I got burned a little too, see?” Nova held up her hand.

“Oh my.” “Why didn’t you say something sooner. Come on, let's get that looked at.” And with that, Lady Laurel escorted Nova into the house and called for a servant. "Someone call for Mrs Haldisa."

Nova’s hat was taken and placed in a wardrobe, and they were about to place the suitcase in the same wardrobe when Henry called out, “Stop, don’t put that in there!”

It went in anyway.

Henry cringed fearing the worst.

“Mr Weasley, that’s...” Nova began as fear of impending doom began to set it.

The suitcase suddenly popped out and skidded across the floor. It remained upright.

“What just happened?” Lady Laurel asked looking at the case.

“Must be a fail-safe built in.” Nova offered with the air of one relived at having just escaped death.

“I’m just glad we didn’t all just die a horrible death,” Henry replied sinking to the floor.

“Fail-safe? Die a horrible death?” Lady Laurel asked as a woman about Henry’s age entered the parlor they were presently in.

“Henry, whatever are you doing on the floor?” the woman asked perplexed. “I was told you’d brought home an injured princess. Though for the life of me I can’t understand why? You really must stop bringing strays home.”

“Well she was on her own, I couldn't really leave her at the Leaky Cauldron until school started, and that suitcase is her apartment.”

The maid who’d attempted to put the suitcase in the wardrobe let out a squeak, followed by Phenik flying over and landing on her head.

“Phenik, she’s not a mouse,” Nova informed the bird.

“So hard to tell sometimes.” Henry offered.

“Now Henry, don’t be teasing the girl.” scolded the woman who’d just entered.

“And do get up.” Lady Laurel scolded. A moment later Henry got up off the floor and introduced Nova to his wife Clara.

“Please just call me Nova." Nova offered, clasping the woman’s hand and wincing. Her hand was starting to hurt now.

“I’ve the medical kit.” Offered Mrs Haldisa, a heavy set woman in a nurse's uniform, as she entered the room. She then pressed a button on the case followed by legs popping out, and the small box opening into the size of a camp desk.

“It’s just a mild burn,” Nova said looking at the case. Phenik having finally registered that Nova was in some mild distress, flew over to her, landed on her shoulder, climbed down her arm in much the same way as a parrot would, and rubbed her face on the burn. When she’d done, she climbed back up to Nova’s shoulder and cooed softly. “And now I’m good.” Nova offered. A slight redness remained, but her hand was otherwise much improved. “Thank you Phenik.”

“I’ll put the kit away.” Mrs Haldisa offered, folded the kit back up, and retreated from where she’d come. This followed a brief discussion of where Nova was to stay. Obviously being a princess precluded her from the children’s section of the house up on the third floor.

“You could just give her a blank wall.” Henry offered.

“Blank wall...” Clara asked.

“I was under the assumption she had, what, one room and perhaps a bath in there?” Lady Laurel asked. “How much of an apartment can she have in such a small case? - Though if she’s comfortable with it I suppose we could just give her a corner somewhere.”

“The case expands, and can be set as a door against a blank wall.” Nova offered. "Otherwise it can be configured to the size of a large steamer truck with steps down into it.”

“I see.” Lady Laurel mused. Well, there is a blind hallway on the third floor, if that’s to your satisfaction?”

“It will be more than enough. Thank you ever so much.” Nova replied with a polite bow.

The maid, Mimi, was elected to show Nova upstairs. Henry wanted to go up with her, if for no other reason then to get a better look, but was advised to leave the poor girl be by Lady Laurel. Nova had to carry her case herself because Mimi was a bit afraid of it, and she wasn’t too sure just how much banging about it could take before things got upset inside.

“Is Mimi your given name?” Nova asked as they climbed the stairs.

“Oh no, your highness, it’s a shortened form of Williamina, but no one calls me that. Not unless I’m in trouble, then it’s Miss Williamina Mous.” Something about Mimi’s name just made Nova smile. Once they’d reached the top, Mimi directed her to a short dark hallway that didn’t really go anywhere, though on closer inspection she could see what looked to be a large cupboard door on the side of the hall. It also made the hair on the back of her neck stand up.

“Phenik, be so kind as to fly down there, and chase off whatever it is that’s hiding in the shadow?” Nova asked. Phenik thought about it for a moment and then launched herself into the air lighting up the hall. Sure enough, something nasty had been there, but it was no match for the light of an Equestrian Phoenix. Phenik went back to Nova, landed on her hat, and went back to pulling silk flowers apart. Nova walked forward, placed her suitcase against the wall, pressed a button, and stood back. A moment later the suitcase had transformed into a fairly large door made of rosewood, with alabaster stone framing it, and around stained glass window depicting the Equestrian blazon of two alicorns representing day and night. Light now flooded through the window, and the loose petals on the floor truly made it look as though it had found its way there from a storybook.

“Will you be needing anything?” Mimi asked as Nova opened the door. “Wow.” The sight of the rotunda that had been configured to mimic Princess Luna’s tower room was breathtaking. Plush red carpets, rich velvet draperies of midnight blue, silver cords, plush furnishing of every sort, mahogany tables, banners of silver trees with seven phases of the moon on a field of midnight blue hung here and there. Also on display on the ceiling was a fresco of two winged unicorns, one depicted as the goddess of the night, the other as the goddess of the sun orbiting around each other in perpetual harmony. To the right, there was a large balcony that appeared to look out over the Abby grounds, and to the left an archway that provided access to a staircase upstairs under which was a small pantry and bar. Also through which could be accessed a staircase down into the arboretum and lower level of the structure as well as providing access to the section Henry Weasley had already seen. The centerpiece of the room was a fabric mannequin shaped like a horse, only small like a foal with some sort of armor on it black in color emblazoned with a crescent moon and two stars on the flank. A bat wing-like shield hung from it was emblazoned with a horse skull and wing. Under the armor was dark blue-gray long underwear with gold lightning trim.

But what kind of a person dresses a foal in long underwear, Mimi pondered?

“I’m good, thank you,” Nova replied to the stricken maid, went in, and shut the door.

Nova had objected to the size of the structure, but then Princess Celestia had quoted go big or go home. She’d gone huuuge. She’d also pointed out that the large greenhouse that was adjacent the apartments would give Nova a safe place to exercise her wings. It wasn’t open sky, but it was at least room to get in a bit of exercise. Meanwhile, Mimi went outside to see if she could spot the balcony. She could not but had no way to know if what she’d seen was an illusion or if the balcony was, in fact, being hidden from prying eyes.

Elsewhere the floo network being down was causing havoc as wizards who were otherwise unable to apparate to their next destination had to come up with some alternate transportation. For some that meant taking muggle mass transit and cabs.

Nova was blissfully unaware of the chaos she’d created. Nova was sitting in the rotunda looking over periodicals to glean information that would help her to better fit in while thinking of names for the owl she’d bought. Her hat hung on a hat rack near the door. Owlvis Presley, no, Owlprah, maybe, Owlgelina, Owldrey Hepbarn… now that one had a nice ring to it. The owl being a big barn owl it just fit. “Owldrey!” Nova called. Owldrey and Phenik had been playing tug-o-war with one of the new toys. The owl somehow seemed to know the new name was for her, let go the toy, which sent Phenik tumbling, flew over to Nova, and landed on the back of the lounge she was sitting on.

“Hey, OK, for now on your name is going to be Owldrey Hepbarn.”

Owldrey chirped approval.

Nova decided it’d be best to introduce Owldrey to her fox form, being Barn owls were known to eat fox cubs if they got the chance. Nova transformed into a white feathered winged fox, wriggled her way out of her clothes leaving them and her amulet behind, and climbed up to the top of the sofa. Owldrey made an inquisitive chirp. Nova stretched out her wings to give them a stretch, and Phenik flew over, landed next to her, and started preening Nova’s wing.

“Yes Owldery, it’s still me.” Owldrey made a happy chirp as Nova snuggled up to the big owl. The three made an interesting trio, Owldrey with her white face chest, belly, and sandy back and wings, Phenik in bright reds and golds, and Nova who was almost all white save for purple and vermilion stripes on her head, and feathering at the intersection of her tailbone, black legs, ears, and the tip of her tail was black. Also, unlike an ordinary fox, she’d long hair yet on her head in the fashion of a maned wolf.

Nova kicked off the top of the sofa and soured up towards the ceiling with Phenik, and Owldrey joining her in a sort of areal ballet as the three flew about the room.

Nova missed the knock on the door.

“I’m telling you it’s enormous,” Mimi said as the door opened. Mimi walked in, looking about cautiously, followed by another maid, and what looked to be a footman.

“Oh look at the phoenix… oh my, what kind of bird, or animal is the white one?” The other maid asked. Nova had turned to see who it was who’d entered unbidden, and slowly glided, her owl-like feathers making not a sound.

“I don’t know, I’ve never seen the like, and look, it does open to the outside. - That animal kind of gives me the creeps, what with just hanging there like some kind of apparition.” The footman offered. “There must be some very sophisticated enchantments that make this place work. I’ve never seen the like.”

Nova looked at them, then down at her clothes. Nova was not an Animageus, and was using a kitsune transformation spell that didn’t transform the clothes. She quietly swore under her breath. Would they see the clothes, her amulet, worse yet would they continue to explore where they’d no business being. She also wondered if the avatars of Princess Celestia and her teacher Miss Aiko might show up? The avatars were a bit like Moonie and had been created as surrogate chaperons to keep watch over her while within the suite. Maybe she should just have Moonie chase them out.

“Now what ave we here?” The footman asked. He’d found the clothes. “Looks like she’s running about in her underwear.”

‘Underwear?’ Nova thought to herself. ‘What’s underwear?’

“Typical of the young these days, just throw everything on the furniture,” Mimi commented just as the footman found the amulet and picked it up.

“Oh ho ho, lookie what I found?” The footman said looking at the amulet. “This might just fetch a pretty penny.”

“No, you can’t.” Mimi protested.

“And why not?” The other maid asked. “It’s just a trinket owned by a little foreign girl with more money then she knows what to do with.”

“Because it’s wrong.” Mimi implored.

“That and I’m wondering how far you'll get before that girl’s protector comes after you.” Offered the voice of a man Nova had yet to meet. “Cousin Henry says she has a pet nightmare in addition to the Phoenix, and whatever that white animal is.”

“Mr Weasley. We were just...” The footman began but stopped on noticing the muzzle of a shadowy creature inching ever closer to his face. The horse was like nothing he’d ever seen while awake. He dropped the amulet.

“Downstairs. Now.” This Weasley’s voice was cold, but then the circumstances warranted it. The four went out into the hall and closed the door.

“Lock.” Said Nova, dropped down and transformed back into human form. Her cutie mark was visible on her upper thighs, and the outline of her wings showed on her back. There was a satisfying click from the door. She then picked up her clothes and carried everything to her bedroom. Once there she decided to put on one of the yukata kimonos Aiko had prepared for her. She hung up the clothes she had been wearing, and then Nova got out an underskirt and put it on followed by a nagajuban which goes on under the kimono. Once that was on she got out a white yukata kimono with a floral pattern on it. It was a warm day, and the yukata was preferential to the traveling outfit she’d had on. She adjusted the length, tied it up, followed by putting on an obi sash. Since she was by herself she tied the obi in front and then rotated the bow to her back. The obi gave her the feeling of having her wings bound, but she’d just have to put up with it. She located her slippers, human feet were so tender, put her amulet on, and headed downstairs, the two avians following.

The maid and footman were receiving a serious dressing down, that is they were being chewed out. Mimi was standing off to one side along with what looked to be a fair number of the household staff. A moment later Henry walked in with an elderly gentleman wearing a fairly nice business suit, and an older woman, who had that I’m very disappointed, look on her face. By her dress, Nova took her to be the head maid.

“Tremayne, we’ve found a number of items in their rooms,” Henry informed the other Weasley.

“Well, it seems well be calling the Aurors as well as sacking you two,” Tremayne informed the pair.

Nova sat down in a nearby lounge, and on spotting some books on shelves she forgot all about what was going on out in the hallway. She got up, found one that looked interesting, sat down again, and started to read.

Nova’s ears perked up a short time later at the sound of her name.

“Excuse, I’m right here.” Nova offered as she got up. Two more wizards had arrived, and by their uniforms, Nova took them to be part of some sort of guard force. The uniforms were dark blue with black stripes down the legs, and black piping and filigree on the sleeves of the jacket over which was worn a great coat similar in style with a row of silver buckles, midway on either side running down two thirds of the way with horizontal silver bars of ribbon stitched to the jacket. Each jacket had shoulder boards with three chevrons each over which was a pair of laurel wreaths bracketing the letters MP for magical police, but could easily be mistaken for military police. On their head, they wore a wheel cap with a silver pin that had a scroll on which was printed Special Services, over which was a crown with a lion over the top of that. If anyone asked them who they were they had but to give the person asking a card with a phone number on it that rang up a contact in Military Intelligence, level five. If anyone pressed the issue, they were level six, and you’d better stop asking silly questions. Level six personnel would be told they were a dark ops unit and not to get in their way. Those who had encountered them in missions just seemed to know that certain things just needed to be handled by the dark ops section, and you really didn’t want to know.

“Um… hello.” Nova offers beginning to get nervous.

“These are Sargents Steed and Keel, and they’d like to ask you a few questions.” Said a man of middle age, perhaps more. Nova wasn’t too sure how to judge age. He was definitely a Weasley by his fading red hair, and he wore a luxurious dark purple wizard robe with a white lace cravat.

All the Weasley’s seemed to have red hair.

“You are Miss Nova Moon of the family by the same name?” Mr Steed asked.

“I think it best to inform you that as a foreign national, who failed to enter the country by legal channels, your rights are limited, and could face deportation.”Mr Keel cautioned.

“Gentlemen.” Cautioned the elder Weasley. “She’s been confirmed as a princess of Eques by the Goblins at Gringotts. There is an irrevocable law on record that’s nearly a thousand years old, giving her all rights as a citizen of England, immunity to prosecution from all save the most heinous of crimes, and her place of domicile is to be considered the sovereign territory of Eques.”

“Eques? I thought that was a myth?” Mr Keel asked dumbfounded by what he’d just been told.

“Eques is a former satellite of the ancient empire of Arcadia now remembered only in myth and legend.” Nova offered. The news regarding her status in the kingdom was a welcome surprise, and Nova presumed that Princess Celestia must have set it up so she could visit without having to worry about entanglements with the local government. “I entered the country by portal being that’s the only way to and from the kingdom of Eques being in a space set apart from the world as you know it. There are many such places still in existence in the far east such as the fabled Shangri La.” Nova’s education had included a wealth of information concerning secret fabled places in the world of men. Many of which may very well still exist, accessible only by secret passages and portals. “I am an Equestrian. Princess Kitzumi Nova, she who brings hope, daughter of Twilight, and Daughter of the Celestial Princess Luna shepherd of the Moon. - But Miss Moon will be fine.” Nova knew she was laying it on think, but at the moment, it seemed the right thing to do.

“If you’re so high ranking, why are you here, and unaccompanied?” Mr Keel asked.

“Mom had a knock down drag out fight with her sister who just happens to be the ruler, and here I am.” There was certainly something to be said for omitting unnecessary details.

The two officers looked like they were either about to have an aneurysm or were already in the process.

Nova continued. “Regarding the improper entry to my rooms, and attempted thievery of my amulet, I don’t wish to press the mater. I really don’t wish to get tied up in any unnecessary entanglements.” Her expression indicated that she was honest in this desire. “They wouldn't have gotten very far anyway. It’s got a tracking charm on it so my family can find me if I should become lost, and if it gets separated from me, Moonie will fetch it.”

“Moonie?” Mr Steed asked having regained his composure.

“The Night mare.” Henry offered from the doorway.

“About that?” Mr Keel asked.

“Not illegal. There’s not a law on the books that says she can’t have it.” The elder Weasley offered. “Even if there were, she can’t be touched.”

“Not illegal?” Mr Keel asked. “I’m to understand the beast ejected a muggle out of the Leaky Cauldron, across three lanes of traffic, and into the side of a passing streetcar. How can it not be illegal?!”

“No one’s ever managed to make a pet of one before.” The elder Weasley offered with a smile. “And as you can see, she’s also got a phoenix.”

“Is the woman going to be alright?” Nova asked hoping to direct the conversation away from Moonie.

“She was taken to hospital, and I’m told she’ll recover.” Mr Steed offered. “She’s had certain memories removed so that she doesn’t find her way back. - She’s what we call a collector. A hoarder of things exotic.”

“So to her I was nothing more than a thing perceived to be exotic.” Nova offered. “Father's family is from Neighpon. Never been there myself.”

“From where?” Mr Steed asked.

“I think she means Japan.” Henry offered. “Must be a variant in the language.”

“Well, she does speak good English, despite the odd accent and occasional word I can’t make out.” Mr Keel offered.

“English?” Nova asked. “I’m speaking Equestrian.” Nova couldn't help but wonder if it might be bleed over through the portals. Maybe even individuals going back and forth. In every case where a portal lead to a human world, they all seemed to be speaking Equestrian. The theory that Twilight had put forward is that all the worlds she’d visited all spoke the same language, more or less, must be because they were parallel worlds. Nova was fairly sure there had to be more to it. There really should have been a greater variance between languages.

“Extraordinary.” The elder Weasly offered. “Two languages worlds apart developing along such similar lines it’s near impossible to tell the difference.”

“Well we’ve enough evidence on those two we won’t need Miss Moon to get involved, there is one more thing though...”

“The white-winged fox I gather,” Nova said wondering how she was going to explain the fox.

“Do you mean you’ve a giant bat up there, a white one?” Weasley senior asked.

“Bat?” Nova asked, and then looked down at the book she had been reading. It’d been a book detailing various Animageus forms, and theories as to why certain wizards took the various forms they did. “A celestial fox. They have wings like an owl’s, and have a good deal of magic. Muggles have even been known to worship them. When they weren’t killing them to near extinction that is.”

“And you have one as a pet?” Mr Keel asked. “It might be necessary to put it in quarantine.”

“Quarantine?” Kitzu asked perplexed. It was the county shelter all over again from the first time she’d ever gone through a portal. She’d found herself at Canterlot High at the age of four, having turned into a fox on going through the portal. Back then her wings had yet to manifest on her fox form. She’d wondered about, got picked up by a girl, oh the ear scritches were divine, and then surrendered to animal control officers. Fortunately, Fluttershy’s counterpart had rescued her and got her back through the portal once she’d realized who the little fox kit was.

Nova had to throw them the proverbial bone along with a half measure of truth.

“I’m sort of an Animageus.” Nova offered timidly. “I’m the fox.”

“Are you now. You wouldn't mind showing us, would you?” Keel prompted. From his tone, Nova gathered he didn’t believe her.

“There’s a slight issue with my transformation.” Nova offered.

“Can’t do it, and you’ve another exotic creature up in your room.” Keel accused.

Nova let out a sigh and transformed. Seeing the impossibly cute fox sitting in the middle of a pile of clothing wasn’t quite what they expected.


:pinkiegasp:


PUPPY!”

Nova cringed as an eleven-year-old girl rushed over and snatched her up.

“Wings! Watch the wings!” Nova yelled.

The girl promptly dropped her, and Nova made good her escape. She flew up to the top of a cabinet, landed, and started preening her mangled feathers while giving the girl a dirty look every so often.

“Puppy?” The girl asked sounding disappointed.

“You nearly mangled my wings. How old are you?” Nova asked crossly as Phenik and Owldrey join her. “You could have broken my wing. Do you know what happens if I get injured? I can’t change back!”

“Maggie, what have you been told about grabbing animals?” Weasley senior scolded.

“I’m sorry, but...”

“No buts.” Weasley senior scolded.

“You can change back now, I believe you.” Keel offered.

“Oh, you’d like that, wouldn't you?” Nova said in an accusing manner. Sure ponies seldom wore clothes, and then only as an accessory, but she was fairly sure humans were seriously into modesty, and it was considered improper for a strange man to see her in her human form without clothes.

“Keel, her clothes didn’t change with her.” Steed pointed out.

“Change… they’re supposed to change too?” Nova asked as if she didn't already know.

“And you shouldn't be able to talk while in beast form either,” Steed added.

“Just because I take on the form of a beast doesn't make me dumb like one,” Nova responded. There was a mild accusatory tone to her voice. To Nova’s mind, it was the humans who were the beasts.

“Miss Nova, there’s one thing bothering me.” Weasley senior asked. “The nightmare?”

“Moonie, go on, show yourself.” Nova requested in a much softer tone.

Light shimmered a short distance away, and the night mare appeared. She was looking extra floofy, and was laying down with her snout between her legs looking at Maggie.

“It’s a pony,” Maggie said softly. “May I pet her?”

“Go on, you can’t hurt her.” Nova offered.

“Is it safe?” Mr Keel asked.

“She has a week spot for little ones.” Nova offered as Maggie slowly walked up to Moonie. Moonie held perfectly still, her ears twitching as Maggie dropped down and gently touched her snout. “The most she’d do is temporarily immobilize them if she had to.”

“Soft… and warm.” Maggie reported.

“She can make herself solid for a brief time.” Nova offered as Moonie shimmered and vanished. Maggie stood back up and looked about with a smile.

“I think we’ve asked all the questions we need to.” Steed offered and left the room motioning for Keel to follow.

“Sorry about that. My name is Arthur Weasley. I’m sort of in charge here.”

“Thank you for welcoming me to your home, Mr Weasley.” Nova offered sitting up straight to address the man.

“It’s actually Sir, not Mr, but we won’t hold to formalities.”

“Oh good. Titles can get so cumbersome.”

“I’ll leave you too it then.” Sir Arthur offered, asked Maggie to come with him. Once out in the hall, he sent Maggie to go on outside and play. He joined the two Aurors, and a moment later, Nova the owl-winged fox, flew out of the room carrying as much of her clothing as she could manage with Phenik and Owldrey bringing the rest. The three continued down the hall, and up the stairs.

“Poor kid,” Steed said softly. “I wonder if she even knows she’s a maledictus?”

“You sure about that?” Henry asked walking up to them. “I’m assuming that was her?”

“When she transformed, her clothes didn’t transform with her.” Arthur offered. “Short of she’s really screwed up the Animageus spell, that’s a blood curse.”





Nova went up to her rooms, transformed, hung up her clothing, and being everyone was bound to know about her fox form by now, transformed back, and shot out through the open doors leading to the balcony. A moment later she was high over the estate reveling in the joy of flight in the open sky, twisting, turning, looping, and just generally being squirrelly in the air. Phenik joined her, but Owldrey had decided to just sit and watch.





“Dear, what…?” Arthur’s wife Eliza asked looking heavenward.

“Our guest,” Arthur replied.

“Our guest?” Eliza asked as Henry and Tremayne came out to have a look.

“Said she had been a message runner in another country for a while.” Henry offered. “I’d assumed she meant by broom.”

“If she’s a princess, why would she be used as a message runner?” Tremayne asked.

“Told me she wandered into the wrong country and got drafted,” Henry replied.

“Yep, that’ll do it.”Arthur offered. “Did some time in the Queen’s navy when I was young.”

“How is it you never said anything?” Eliza asked.

“I’d been pres-ganged. Took me a bit to get away. To the muggles, I’m a deserter. Officially they weren’t doing that sort of thing anymore but they still did it. They dropped a gold sovereign in my beer, and I swallowed it because I was too drunk to think straight. Then they wanted it back, and they wanted it back right now. - I woke up on board a ship at sea. - I ended up in India.”

“So you’re the reason the Ministry of Magic frowns on alcohol,” Tremayne stated. “Eh, father?”

“Well, that and all those darn fools who got drunk and broke the secrecy act.” Arthur offered. “She looks happy up there. Brooms just aren’t quite the same.”

“So how do we get her down, it’s nearly time for tea?” Henry asked.

“That’s easy,” Arthur replied, got out his wand, pressed it to his throat, and cast the Sonorus charm. “If you want vittles you’ll need to come down from there.” He canceled the spell and put his wand away. Nova hung in the air for a moment, and then dove for the roof.

“She’s going to hit the roof?!” Eliza said with fear and concern. Nova vanished followed by Phenik, and Owldrey.

“You know, that’s right about the same area of the roof Mimi was looking at right before our two former employees decided to bully her into taking them up to miss Moon’s room,” Tremayne informed them. “I had to apparate home, and had decided the lawns were close enough.”

“You don’t say. What did you think of the greenhouse? Looked like she had a good sized arboretum in there.”

“Green house?” Eliza asked astounded.

“Hang on, all I saw was a large rotunda. I’d assumed it was a globe by the size of it. There were stairs going up to another level, and an archway, but I couldn't see where it led.”

“A large lounge area, a library, what looked to be two bedrooms, and the arboretum is what I saw.” Henry offered.

“I’m definitely going to want a tour,” Eliza stated, turned, and then went back inside.

👘

Nova arrived downstairs a short time later in her yukata once more. Maggie was waiting for her in the hall.

“Hi, I’m Maggie. - Umm, sorry about the wings. I thought you were a puppy. Honest.”

“Alright, I’ll forgive you. Give us a hug.” The two hug. “Now do try to remember that even if I had been just an ordinary puppy, puppies are fragile. They are like babies and break if not handled properly. - Now, where’s the food.”

“Oh, it’s not quite time to go in yet, but everyone is starting to gather.”

Maggie escorted Nova to where the family was gathering. Once there Maggie took to introducing Nova as though she’d just brought Nova home from primary school. Maggie was fortunate enough to attend a private primary school made for and run by the magical community. After all, no one wanted their child going to a muggle school, or to Hogwarts not knowing anything about magic. The school itself was named Saint Brutus, and the local muggles all thought it was a nut house for the incurably insane.

Nova was reintroduced to Lady Laurel, her title mostly honorary since the death of her husband Sir Percival Weasley the year before. He’d been succeeded by his eldest son Arthur who was now lord of the manor. Arthur’s wife was Eliza, and their son was Tremayne. Tremayne was married to Abigail the two having a four-year-old named Trevalan. Nova was told that Tremayne had two sisters, but they were married and out on their own now, but could be expected to drop by from time to time. That left cousin Henry. Henry, Nova was informed was from a branch of the family in America. Nova had the odd suspicion Henry was also Arthur’s son by another mare, but couldn't for the life of her understand why they’d hide such a thing. Henry was married to Clara, and Maggie was their daughter.

They were shocked to hear Nova had two mothers plus a father.

“Oh, it’s fairly common for a stallion to have many wives.” Nova offered as they went in to have tea. Nova was delighted to find that ‘tea’ did indeed mean they were having a meal. She’d also forgot to say, man, making her statement sound very odd indeed. Good thing she hadn’t said mares. “The ratio of...” Nova had to think for a moment to make sure she had her terms correct as she was directed to a place to sit, “women to men are fairly even in the cities, but in some of the rural areas it can be as high as twenty to one.”

“You’re kidding?” Tremayne asked as he sat down. Nova had waited to see if they were following any kind of protocol regarding sitting, but as they didn’t seem to be holding to any, decided to go ahead and sit.

“It’s fairly common for landowners as well as the nobility to have multiple wives.” Nova offered.

“Sounds like my kind of place.” Arthur quipped, and then winced as a shoe found his ankle.

There was definitely a proverbial elephant in this room, and his name was Henry.

The topic then switched to various other points of interest. Specifically, Nova wanted to learn as much as she could about the wizarding world while deflecting questions about her own. Granted the idea that one man might have as many as twenty wives give or take, had gone a long way towards keeping the conversation away from Equestria. Mostly because the women weren’t too sure they wanted their men getting any ideas. After all, it was 1903, and the free love movement wasn’t supposed to start until the nineteen sixties. And yet, the seed had been planted.

After dinner, the Weasley’s had insisted on visiting Nova’s apartment. Nova stalled. She begged off insisting she’d need a little time to straighten things out, and rushed upstairs once they’d agreed. Nova didn’t want them to have access to any of the books from Equestria. Especially the ones that would make it all too evident that she was anything but human. The easiest solution, set up bookshelves in the lounge area in front of the library with the books she’d recently purchased, along with a few ‘safe’ books, and lock the library. Later she’d have to set up ‘restricted’ sections, and she was going to lie through her teeth about not being allowed to access many of the books until she was older.

She needn't have worried though as the Weasleys were so overwhelmed by the size and scope of the place. The fact that all the portraits were of pastel ponies had been completely lost on the Weasleys.

“Just one thing...” Arthur began and thought for a moment before continuing. “..lets never take this thing through the floo ever again.”





The next few days were fairly mundane. Nova spent her time between studying, rearranging her library, exercise, which included time flying on and off a broom, and time spent with the Weasleys. Specifically, Maggie, who Nova had decided was woefully behind in her studies. Maggie didn’t really want to study, but then Nova did have the ultimate carrot. If Maggie did what Nova asked, Nova would let Maggie pet her, along with the occasional ear scratch. It was a win-win so far as both were concerned. The arrangement also meant that Maggie quickly learned that Nova didn’t have any underpants. After all, ponies didn’t wear such things. Well, maybe some did. Wink wink nudge nudge. Mrs Haldisa, the Nursemaid, on learning this little detail fainted dead away. Nova had never worn underpants in her life, and they were going to take some getting used to.

At the end of the week, Mr Ollivander arrived at the house to deliver the new wand in person. With grandson in tow. Mr Ollivander’s son was married to Arthur Weasley’s sister, so their delivering the wand in person wasn’t seen as that special. Harold was Arthur’s nephew, and once the usual pleasantries were out of the way, Harold was given the task of presenting the wand.

“I’d like to say, once more, how sorry I am about what happened at the shop. Your Highness.” Harold said, presented Nova with a box, and bowed.

“Thank you,” Nova replied as she took the box. She returned the bow and then opened the box. The wand was white, and the scorch marks at the end had been polished away. When she picked it up the wand responded by immediately becoming enveloped in a soft violet glow. She gave it a flourish and was delighted by a rainbow of colored sparks emanating from the wand. And this time the light spell didn’t burn out the wand.

“Almost as good as my own horn,” Nova whispered.

“Pardon?” Harold asked, only to get slapped in the back of his head. “Ow, what was that for?”

“Just because.” Mr Ollivander senior offered and gave Nova a wink.

He knew.

“I said thank you. Thank you very much.” As thanks, Nova gave Mr Ollivander two tail feathers from Phenik.

Chapter 4: The Nova Broom and Platform 9 and three quarters.

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Nova and Maggie received their letters a couple of weeks after Nova’s wand had been delivered. Nova checked off the items she already had, and the two were off to the Leaky Cauldron the next day accompanied by Clara Weasley. Nova had also brought along an oddly shaped backpack that looked more like it had been designed for a pony than a human. She had to reassure them that it was only slightly larger on the inside than the outside. Maggie was wearing a girls light blue wizard robe with lots of lace, and Nova had on a robe that closely matched the Canterlot Academy robes of cyan blue with gold trim, with the equestrian coat of arms on it. It was something Celestia had thought to provide her with. Under that, she’d put on a simple gray skirt, and a white blouse. Clara had on an emerald green wizard robe.

“Who’s Ensign Nightfoal anyway?” Maggie asked as the two waited in the floo parlor. “Your pack has Ensign Nightfoal embroidered on it.”

“Just someone in my past.” Nova offered.

“Now cast the floo powder into the fire, walk in, and say, Diagon Alley, you first Maggie.” Clara directed.

“If we are going to the Leaky Cauldron, why not just say Leaky Cauldron?” Maggie asked.

“Just do as you’re told.” Clara scolded.

“Yes, Mother.” Maggie cast her powder into the fire, walked in, said Diagon Alley, and vanished.

“You next dear.”

“Yes, Mrs Weasley.” Nova replied, walked into the fire and said, “Diagonal silly!” And vanished.

Clara’s eyes grew as wide as an MLP the movie pony turned pale, grabbed a handful of powder and quickly cast it into the fire.

:trollestia:

Meanwhile, in the Leaky Cauldron, Maggie had already stepped out, and stood aside for the next person, to be momentarily followed by Nova who popped out going fast enough to land a good five feet away, landing with both feet together, with arms stretched out.

“Nailed the landing, how many points do I get,” Nova asked. She was followed a moment later by a frantic Clara.

“Nova?! What the hell?!” Clara began checking Nova for burns and then took hold of her shoulders. “You just walked right into the fire. You didn’t say the right place name. You – didn’t – even – use – any – powder!”

“I was told not to waste any,” Nova replied as though what she'd just done was nothing out of the ordinary.

Somewhere in the pub, a hand began to thump down on a table.

“That’s her, isn’t it?” someone whispered, and then Phenik flew out of the fire. “It’s her.”

Laughter began to spread through the pub.

“It’s not funny!” Clara insisted.

“Calm down, Mrs Weasly. That their little princess you’ve got there figured out how to activate the floo without using floo powder.” The innkeeper offered.

“She what!?” Clara exclaimed.

“And Miss, you really shouldn’t do that. It worries us adults something awful.” The innkeeper said to Nova. “We were mighty worried the last time you went through, and the whole system shut down.”

“I’m sorry.” Nova offered. “Apparently it was my apartment that was the cause, what with me racing back and forth. I guess it just overloaded the floo.”

“Don’t you ever do that again young lady!” Clara scolded. She was forced to back off when Maggie popped up between the two glaring at her mother.

“It’s alright Maggie.” Nova offered while giving her a hug from behind. “I was being antagonistic. - I’m sorry Mrs Weasley, I’ll be much better behaved from now on.”

“You’d better be.” Clara chastised.

Once Clara had managed to calm herself down, the three went back to the Witch's Wardrobe where Nova had gotten her school robs. Nova had been quite delighted, they were definitely up to Rarity's standards, and the prices had been reasonable. She’d also failed to get the required conical hat. Nova thought the hats to be rather funny and old fashioned, especially being the only time she ever saw such hats was when being worn by Twilight on Nightmare Night, and Starswirl who was an old duffer. Still though, if required… She was also going to have to get better fitting underpants as Maggie’s old ones kept riding up with wear. Why humans were so insistent on such garments made no sense to her. Not to mention that strange constricting halter contraption they made her wear around her torso and shoulders. It didn’t even hardly do anything.

After Maggie had finished putting in her order, they were off to the book store for Maggie’s first-year books. Nova dove into the store once more. When she’d emerged she had several books on Animageus, both the how-to, and theory behind the spell.

From there it was off to the supply shop. Nova balked at the idea of dragon hide gloves. She wanted nothing to do with the things and insisted on having gloves that had not been made from a sentient creature. The people in the shop just gave her odd looks. Dragon’s, sentient? They accused her of being a naive little girl behind her back. Naturally, her keen hearing picked up every word of it, which didn’t make her feel any better. Maggie to her credit gave Nova a supporting hug and insisted on having the same sort of gloves Nova had.

There were a couple of other things Nova had missed on the first go round, such as vials, and a telescope. Nova decided she’d get the best telescope they had and bought the crystal vials as they’d hold up better. Maggie had wanted a gold cauldron for herself when another first year had bullied their mother into buying one, but then Nova cautioned that her potions might not work right. Some potions could easily be dependent on the type of metal being used to make the cauldron, and if the school was telling students to purchase pewter, that meant the potions were calibrated for pewter.

They were nearly done, just one place left, and that was the apothecary. At first Nova still couldn't bring herself to go in. Maggie put her arms around her. “I’m guessing they don’t have shops like this where you’re from?”

“If any existed, it’d be in a back alley behind a closed door, and the proprietor would be arrested if they were found out,” Nova whispered. She suppressed a shudder, and with Maggie’s support, Nova found the fortitude to go in. Fortunately, the supplies required for first-year students had already been bundled up, and all she had to do was pay for it and put it in her pack along with everything else she and Maggie had purchased that day.

They’d finished up earlier than anticipated. Now at first, they’d intended to go right back home, but as the soda bar was doing a brisk business, it was decided to go on in. Nova was delighted by a treat made from clotted cream mixed with shaved ice and fresh berries and had dished out a little for Phenik, while Maggie had some of the same. Clara had coffee with cream.

“Balmy on the crumpet, would ja look at that. A phoenix.” Said a boy at another table. It was a group of three, and they like many of the others at the small cafe had been so engrossed in their treats, they’d not noticed the bird.

“Aw, come on Newt, what would a phoenix be doing here?” One of the other boys offered. “I swear, you and your exotic beastie obsession.”

“No, look. There really is a phoenix.” offered the third boy. “That girl is giving it some of her iced-cream.”

“Gorblimey, yer right.”

Nova’s ears were in danger of ponifying being she could hear every word.

“Excuse me.” said the boy who’d been called Newt as he approached.

“Something we can do for you Mr Scamander?” Clara asked.

“Is that a real phoenix?” Newt asked. “Is he yours?”

“Mr Scamander was it?” Nova asked.

“Aye, that is yes, I’m a third year in Hogwarts. - Oh and those are my mates Fergus Potter, and Cygnus Black. They're fourth years though.”

“Go away Newt,” Maggie said giving him a sideways glance.

“Aww, you can’t mean that I thought we were pals. And me never having seen an actual phoenix, let alone up close.”

“The young lady is...” Clara began, but Nova cut in.

“Nova Moon.” Nova had feared Clara might slip and announce a title. Titles could be such a drag in a setting such as the one she was in. One moment she’d be enjoying herself, and the next ponies would be falling all over themselves to please and or ingratiate themselves into her good favor. The vast majority of whom she really couldn't do a thing for even if she’d wanted to. “This is Phenik.”

“Fennec?” He asked. “Like the fox?”

“Ah, no. Phenik.” Nova replied fearing a repeat of the last time. “She’s bounded to me. So in the sense of ownership, no I don’t own her. It’s not possible to own a phoenix, they have to chose to stay with someone. They can teleport, so it’s impossible to keep one captive against its will.”

“Teleport, you mean like apparate?” Newt asked as he grabbed a chair from another table, pulled it over, and sat down in it back to front.

“I guess. I’m not really familiar with the term. - I’ll be starting first year.”

“Aren't you a little old for first-year?” Newt asked. Nova looked at him perplexed. He was the first human she’d met who’d realized she wasn’t an eleven year old. Assuming Equestrian and English years even matched.

“Well, either way, it’ll be my first year.” Nova offered. “What’s that you have in your pocket?” There was a small twiggy like creature that looked a great deal like a plant.”

“Oh, that’s a Bowtruckle.”

Nova’s sharp ears picked up the voice of the creature correcting Newt. “I am Groot.

“So how do you know Phenik is a she, and not a male?” Newt asked.

“It’s just the way Phoenixes are built. The term male and female doesn’t really fit. They can all lay eggs and don’t require a mate to do so. They use parthenogenesis, subsequently, it doesn’t matter who their partner is. And will always lay one last egg at the end of their life, their magic goes haywire, and they burst into flame. The new bird that emerges will often have the same memories as the old, but it is open to a new partner.”

“How do you know so much?”

“My aunt has one. Phenik is from a recent clutch.” Nova offered. She looked over at the other two boys. “You can have a closer look provided you don’t crowd her. If you’d like?” The other two lads came over and pulled up a couple of chairs.

“She is right pretty.” Potter offered.

“The bird or the girl?” Black teased.

“Lay off will ya, I was talking about the bird.” Potter protested as a slight blush came to his face. Nova smiled, Potter wasn’t the most remarkable human boy, but he did have nice eyes. Or so Nova thought.

“Miss Nova, are you done with your iced-cream?” Clara asked. “I think we’re just about ready to start for home.”

“Oh yes, just about. It’s very good.” Nova replied.

“Must you go so soon?” Newt asked.

“I wanted to get some flying in.” Nova offered. “Which reminds me, Mrs Weasley, we really should stop off and get a new broom to replace the one I destroyed.”

“You broke a broom?” Clara asked having been unaware of the incident.

“She pushed it too hard, and it sort of disintegrated.” Maggie offered as she finished up her iced-cream.

“You any good at quidditch?” Potter asked. “We’d love to come by.”

“That would be up to Mrs Weasley,” Nova replied looking at Clara.





A short time later Nova was out on the lawns of the Abbey with a new broom and a new outfit. She had on a sailor top in dark blue, with dark blue puffy pants that tied up just below the knee, black stalkings, and a pair of lace-up shoes. All of which she’d purchased at the Quidditch shop. With her skirts, she’d been forced to ride side-saddle, but now with the poofy pants…

“I need to go back to the shop, my new broom went to pieces.”

After shredding her third broom Nova decided to get a bunch of books on broom construction and build her own. The shop, on the other hand, was convinced there was nothing wrong with their brooms. That is until the three boys started coming in with damaged brooms. The boys, having seen the maneuvers Nova was doing, we're making a concerted effort to reproduce those same moves. By the end of summer, Nova had finished her new broom, and Cygnus had become a very proficient flier.

“Blimey, that’s a right pretty broom you’ve made,” Cygnus said in a hushed tone on seeing the new broom. Fergus Potter announced her to be quite the broomsquire. His voice echoed softly through the rotunda of Nova’s apartment. Instead of using a straight shaft of hickory or oak as was common, Nova had reasoned that a custom broom made especially for her might work best if she used the same wood as her wand. The smooth white wood shimmered as though it was emitting its own light.

“But it’s not even straight?” Maggie asked. It was something that had puzzled her for a while.

“Makes it easier to grip while riding.” Potter offered as an explanation as Nova passed out copies of her notes on how she’d gone about making it. The branch itself had come from a blackthorn tree on the property. The straw was barley, fresh from the field, and soaked in a solution of spring water and twenty-year-old scotch to keep it from drying out prematurely or molding, had been intricately woven together where the straw was strapped to the end of the broom handle, and the cording holding the straw on the shaft had been Nova’s own hair.

“Where’d you get pegasus hair, and a feather?” Newt asked astounded.

“Hair and a feather?! From a pegasus?” Potter asked picking up the notes. “How, Where? Holly, you could cast magic with this thing!”

“Wait, I thought you used your own hair?” Maggie asked in honest confusion. The boys looked back and forth at both girls, and then Newt’s eyes locked on a portrait of a white pony with black ears, legs, a mane that matched Nova’s, a crown, and Nova’s locket. His jaw hit the floor, melted, and sank into the cracks of the tile.

“Why exactly does that pony on the wall looks exactly like your Celestial fox form?” Cygnus asked as Newt started motioning for the others to look at it.

“Because that’s her,” Newt said softly. “She’s a pegacorn.”

“You’ve got two Animageus forms?” Cygnus asked confused. “Would that even work? I mean if you used your own feather and hair...”

“Nova... guys, I think it might be best not to tell anyone about this,” Fergus said softly. Nova had a stricken look on her face.

“Hang on, does that mean you’re not blood cursed?” Maggie asked.

“She’s not even human.” Newt offered. “I’m guessing her human form is the second form. That’d explain why it’s not complete.”

“I won’t tell. Promise.” Cygnus offered.

“I guess that explains why the instructions say the pegasus is not to be harmed or even frightened in any way.” Fergus offered. “I won’t tell. Promise.”

“Wait, you’re a pony?” Maggie asked as incitement began to bubble up. “Show me.”

“Will you all promise to never give up my secret, that you will never betray me.”

“I don’t understand why?” Maggie asked.

“Maggie, remember the apothecary?” Nova asked.

“Oh...” Newt said looking back at Nova. “Maggie, I’d say she has plenty of reason to be afraid. Horns don't shed. Antlers shed.”

“Will you all swear by the most sacred oath of my people?” Nova asked. They nodded that they would. “Very well, state your name...” They all said their names. “No, you’re supposed to say the words ‘state your name’. They smiled and said it. “That I do solemnly swear this Pinkie promise that I will never in any way surrender Miss Nova Moon’s secret, or betray her trust in any way, cross my heart, and hope to fly...”

“What?” Fergus asked.

“Just say it, it’s a Pinkie promise. - Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye.”

They all said it and laughed because it was the silliest sacred oath they’d ever heard.

“Umm, what happens if I break the oath, and sort of accidentally tell someone?” Maggie asked. She sounded a bit like she really wanted to tell some of her friends, but then the room grew dark. The room became bitterly cold, and a disembodied voice resonated throughout the rotunda.


“Nobody breaks a Pinkie promise.”:pinkiegasp:


Nova was perhaps more shook up then the others.

“There is a practical reason for not harming the pegasus.” Nova offered once they’d regained their composure and the rotunda was back to normal. “Fright will trigger the fight or flight response and be transferred to all parts leaving a magical charge that could make the broom useless. - Otherwise, my method here is simple enough you’d be able to make brooms unlike any presently on the market.”

“Can we see what you look like as a pony?” Newt asked.

Nova looked at their expectant faces. “Oh, alright.”

Abby and the three boys looked on in surprised delight at the sight of a small pony now sitting in their midst. She’d also finally figured out a way to solve her clothing issue.

“Those have got to be the most amazing wings I’ve ever seen.” Cygnus offered. “Next to my own, that is.” Maggie was presently doing an impersonation of squeaky brakes.

“Thanks – come again?” Nova said.

“I’ve got a confession too.” Cygnus offered. “I can turn into a black swan.”

🕊

Meanwhile downstairs Sir Arthur Weasley is entertaining a guest in the smoking room. The man in question was dressed in a cyan blue wizard robe trimmed in white. On his head a mess of long curly blond hair and a beard to match. “Arthur, this damnable train is costing me my good name, I sure hope it’s worth it,” he said with an air of exasperation to his tone. “What with the damned lies the opposition has been spreading about me.”

“Well, there’s no going back now.” Arthur cautioned.

“Aye, if not for the Princess of Eques investing in it, the whole project would have died a month ago. It makes it too easy for mud-bloods to attend Hogwarts. My own family's sentiments. Not mine. Cygnus and a few others in the family support the project, but the rest can all rot in hell for all I care. I just wish the ministry would listen to me, and get the children with magic born into muggle households away from their idiot relatives.”

“Phineas, I’m afraid that sentiment could apply to some wizard families as well. And it’s their own fault they’ve so many squibs showing up in the pureblood families. Anyone who knows anything about animal husbandry can tell you what happens when we don’t bring in new blood now and then.”

“Aye, you don’t have to tell me twice. And a good number of those mud-bloods are coming from squibs. And the squibs, some of them are the worst muggles I’ve ever encountered. They can’t do magic themselves, so they turn around, and, and become some of wizarding kinds worst enemies. That is why I think there needs to be interventions. Many of these kids have been brought up thinking magic is a product of the devil, as opposed to the natural thing it is. Salazar Slytherin wanted them kept out of Hogwarts because they were the ones going bad, and the worst of the lot always seemed to end up in Slytherin house for some unknown reason.” He slapped his hand down, and grumbled, “That or Ravenclaw.”

“Funny that. - But that’s not why you’re here though, is it? Phineus.” Arthur stated rather than asked.

“Well, you got me there.” He paused a moment to collect his thoughts. “I was curious about that Moon girl you’re keeping here.” His tone was now more cordial.

“Do tell.”

“Headmaster Scrimgeour is mighty pleased to have her attending this year.”

“And yet he’s never met the girl, and likely knows little about her. Not to mention that ‘Moon’ is a fairly common name. Why then would he be so keen on her of all the new students?”

“It’s the enrollment book.”

“What about the enrollment book?”

“Well as I’m sure you are aware when a child is nearing the age of eleven and has a satisfactory level of magic, their name appears in the book.”

“Yes, and if they are found wanting or end up going somewhere else, their name gets scratched out by the quill.”

“What most wizards don’t know is that there are five samples of handwriting in the book. Salazar Slytherin, Godric Gryffindor, Rowena Ravenclaw, Helga Hufflepuff, and one other who had been an unnamed adviser to the founders. Names written in Salazar Slytherin’s handwriting almost always go to Slytherin house. It’s about the same for Gryffindor and Hufflepuff. Rowena’s picks tend to be about eighty percent going to Ravenclaw with the majority of the remaining twenty percent going over to Slytherin.”

“I must confess, I never knew that.”

“Well, those of us who know, are seldom surprised by the sorting hat’s choices.”

“I think I may be out some money on a bet I made.”

“Only if you bet Scrimgeour or one of the other heads of house. - On the other hand, if you’ve bet on your little miss, you’ll likely win the bet. After all, you know your own granddaughter best.”

“And what of Miss Nova Moon?”

“We’ve a four-way split on her.”

“Hang on, how’s that?”

“For the first time ever, and we’ve looked through the book at all the previous names, a name was entered by the fifth individual behind Hogwarts.”

“Are you telling me that Nova Moon’s name was entered by this fifth individual? - Any idea who this person was?”

“Oh yes we do, there are records and correspondences. Her name was left out of history because she’d requested it. She was a powerful enchantress of unsurpassed beauty by the name of Celestia Solaris of Eques.”

“You don’t say,” Arthur replied with a smile.

“So what’s she like?” Phineas asked. He'd meant Nova.

“Well I haven't actually had the pleasure of meeting Princess Celestia, but her niece is a genius. At least she appears that way when compared to our children. And I’m not being self-deprecating about the ability of our children. Apparently, she’s been doing magic since she was six, and she told us she was a slow starter. We might even be doing our own children a disservice by not teaching them how magic works at a younger age.” He had to stop to collect his thoughts before continuing. “She’s fastidious about her studies, and has brought Maggie’s understanding of magic up to a level where she’ll be at a considerable advantage over the other first years, and Magie can already do several of the first year charms. As for Miss Nova, she’ll need to be evaluated once she gets to school as I suspect she’s leagues ahead of her pears. She’s even making her own broom because the ones being sold couldn’t hold up to her ability to fly.”

“You don’t say?” Phineas replied not sure what to make about the comment about Celestia, and presumably Nova, being her niece. “Does it work? - The broom?”

“Afraid I don’t know yet. It looks impressive enough.”

“I’m thinking we might set her up with an at your own pace curriculum in addition to her regular studies.” Phineas offered. “There’s a lot of ill feelings about outsiders right now, might not do for her pears to be out-shined too much.”

“I’ll be sure and caution her not to be too outstanding. However, she says she’s fourteen despite her diminutive frame. That may be due to the blood curse though.”

“Blood curse?”

“She’s an Animageus. It doesn’t seem to bother her, but she can’t quite become all the way human anymore.”

“Dare I ask what she’s turning into? - Is she safe?”

“She’s perfectly safe. Unless you’re a chicken.”

“Pardon?”

“She transforms into a small white fox with wings like an owl. She says it’s an animal native to the far east.” “She has a healthy appetite, but prefers not to eat steak, and is adamantly opposed to eating horse of any kind.” “Won’t eat it even for pudding.” Arthur Weasley let out a sigh. "I made the mistake of saying I was hungry enough to eat a horse, and she locked herself in her room until Maggie could coax her out."

“Must be one of those eastern religious things. - Anyway, if she does well enough I might be able to bump her up a year. - I’ll have to consult the headmaster on this.”





Meanwhile outside, Nova is back to her human form, and Fergus Potter is presently trying out Nova’s broom.

Woooohooooooooooo!” Fergus shouted as he went flying by so fast he’d gone plaid.

🚂🚃🚃🚃🚃🚃🚃🚃🚃🚃🚃🚃🚃

September first

Getting to Kings Cross station had proven to be an adventure of its own. Being in part because no one wished to risk sending Nova’s suitcase through the floo again. A hansom cab had been procured the night before, Nova in her traveling clothes, and everyone else wearing outfits inspired by what many of the locals wore. Nova was grateful to Maggie for insisting they procure healthy animals that had been taken care of properly, but aside from that and herself, the rest of the party looked like sheep ranchers she’d picked up off the side of the lane. They loaded up first thing in the morning and headed down a cattle track out in the country there being no actual roads out to the Abbey. Nova couldn't help but wonder how they were to get to London in time for the train at the rate they were going. Turning down into a secluded glen wasn’t helping.

“Alright everyone out,” Henry said as the cab stopped. It was a very secluded location, and they really hadn’t been going all that long. To Nova’s surprise, he pulled Maggie’s trunk out.

Nova got out and pulled her suitcase out not quite sure what to think, and when everyone was unloaded, he thanked the driver who continued on without them.

“Am I missing something?” Nova asked.

“We’re right on scheduled, come on,” Henry said, and lead everyone into the center of the small clearing, and stood next to an old shipping crate with Maggie’s trunk. “Gather round, gather round.”

Nova, Maggie, and Clara went over to where he was standing.

“Grab on to each other, Miss Nova, don’t drop your bag, you might lose it. We are on time...” Henry said as though expecting something to happen. “Any moment now...”

Nova’s heart sank as the sensation of being sucked through a straw overtook her. Was this a teleport? Panic started to grip her as the fear that something had gone horribly wrong. Her instincts took over, she overrode whatever it was that was forcing them through space and time in such a chaotic way, locked in on the one point in London she knew she’d be able to hit…

“Where are we?” Henry asked as he looked about the alley where Nova had first entered this world.

“I thought we were all going to die,” Nova said softly as she tried to regain her composure.

“I hate port keys,” Maggie announced. “The last part wasn’t so bad.”

“We’re in the wrong place,” Henry announced.

“We’re in an alley a short walk from Diagon Alley,” Nova announced.

“Well just have to get a cab from here,” Clara announced. “Come on then.”

So they went out to the boulevard where all the traffic was and attempted to hail a cab. No one would stop.

“Excuse me miss, are you all right?” Asked a man in a blue suit with a tall helmet. Attached to his belt was a long black club, and he was wearing a badge.

“Oh yes, I’m fine. We’re just trying to hail a cab.” Nova offered on realizing the man was talking to her. She looked about and discovered there were quite a few of these oddly dressed men. “Umm, they lost a bet.” Nova offered. We’re trying to get to Kings Cross Station. - We kind of got off track.”

“Indeed you are.” The police officer replied. “Lost a bet was it.”

“His father’s in the Ministry.”

“Is he now.”

“My uncle actually.” Henry offered.

“Mr Weasley, I know he’s your father, no point in pretending otherwise,” Nova replied. She then looked at the police officer, and said, “Apparently having a wife on the side is frowned upon. - Any chance you could help us get to the station?”

“Tell you what, there’s a call box down the way.” The officer offered and directed them down the street.

“What’s going on?” Clara asked Nova in a whisper.

“You’re dressed like sheepherders, and I’m a young lady of means.” Nova offered loud enough for everyone to hear.

“So what’s wrong with the way we’re dressed?” Henry asked.

“We’re in London City,” Nova announced as though they didn’t already know. “And you are dressed for herding sheep. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just that people in cities dress differently. You’re as out of place as if you’d shown up in your housecoat and slippers. - You needed to dress more like a businessman.”

“I see, I see. I never realized there was a difference.”

“Oh for the life of the idle rich.” The officer muttered as they approached a large blue box with a light on top marked police call box.

“If only it had been bigger on the inside, my life would be so much simpler,” Nova muttered as she looked into the box.

“Pardon?” the officer asked as he picked up the phone.

“I was just commenting on how small it is in there.”

A short time later, they were on their way to Kings Cross station in the back of a police wagon.

🛤🏗

“Weasley, I thought we’d lost you.” Thomas Malfoy said on approaching the wagon as everyone unloaded. He’d been sensible enough to wear a suit. “Whatever are you wearing?” The officers driving the wagon shook their heads and drove away. “Come on, we seem to have a bit of a problem.”

“A problem?” Henry asked.

“They did such a good job hiding the platform, no one can find it,” Malfoy announced.

“Do you remember which one they used?” Henry asked as he placed Maggie’s trunk on a cart.

“Well, that’s the problem. They gave us a number of nine and three quarters, but the secrecy protocol has been so tight, not even wizards seem to be able to find it.” Malfoy informed him.

“Come on then.” Henry offered, and a moment later the small party pushed through the doors into the station. On entering they were presented with a number of open platforms under a long arched roof with light flooding in through a multitude of windows in the ceiling. Nova made sure to stay with the group as they walked. After they’d walked past platform nine, Nova noticed an odd thing, people would stop talking walk a short distance passing a barrier of stone between platforms, and then continue talking as though they’d never stopped. There was at least one girl who looked as though she was right on the verge of figuring it out. She’d stopped in right about the right place and was presently staring at the barrier as though willing her self to see through the illusion.

Of course, it was an illusion. Nova went over to her, closed her eyes, and allowed the rest of her senses do the work. Her ears told her where the trains were, here nose told her where the trains were, and then there was the geomagnetic navigation common to pegasi and foxes. Nova’s geomagnetic sense was also what gave her the ability to see the aura of things, and it was fine-tuned to the point that she could find a target completely blind.

“I am Beatrice Lulamoon the great and powerful. I will not be denied an education in magic!” The girl next to her shouted, and then quite possibly out of sheer frustration, closed her eyes, and pushed her cart straight at the barrier.

Nova kept her eyes closed letting her other senses tell her what was happening. Her mind's image saw the girl push her cart, and then for the briefest moment, it was as though the cart had hit a veil of some kind. The veil ripped open, and her mind could see the whole platform while Beatrice pushed through.

Nova opened her eyes, signaled to the others, closed her eyes again, and ran right at the barrier. Again there was a moment’s hesitation as though pushing against something, her right shoulder slammed into it, and she was through. She opened her eyes just a few paces away from Beatrice. Inside was a bright red locomotive with sleek passenger cars to match, and by the looks of things they had indeed been the first to gain entry to the platform. On the sides of the cars was printed Great Western Railway. “Come on, we’d better get out of the way. There’s going to be a flood of people, just as soon as they figure it out.” She offered while giving her shoulder a rub. Next time she’d have to remember to use a cart to break through.

“Ha, I’m the first one to figure it out! - I beat the challenge those purebloods couldn't figure out. I am truly great and powerful, and someday I’ll be the strongest witch known to wizardkind!”

“Come on Trixie, we need to get out of the way.”

“Trixie? My Names Beatrice.”

“I’m going to get to the train before you.”

“Not if I can help it.” Beatrice protested as she pushed her cart out of the way as others began to flow in.

“Nova, we made it!” Maggie called as she pushed her cart up alongside the two.

“Why are you dressed like a shepherd girl?” Beatrice asked.

“My father thought we’d blend in better while on the road.” Maggie offered as her trunk was loaded onto the train. Beatrice rolled her eyes heavenward and slapped her hand to her face.

“Excuse me miss, is this bag all you’ve got?” a porter asked Nova.

“Yes, sir,” Nova replied.

“We’ll need a red card on that bag.” Mr Malfoy instructed. He then got out his wand and projected his voice across the platform. “If anyone has a bag or trunk that is larger on the inside, let the porters know. It needs a red card so that it doesn’t get placed inside a smaller displaced space at the other end. Thank you.” His announcement had created an additional buzz and flurry of activity as Nova’s wasn’t the only bag in need of a red tag. There as likely wasn’t a one anywhere near as large on the inside as Nova’s, but then again, as many of the bags were going to be placed in carts with a displaced space inside to make it easier to move the luggage it was feared that dozens of handbags might collapse the whole thing resulting in a catastrophic implosion. Another likely outcome is that they’d create a small wormhole acting much the same way as a port key, depositing the hapless victims, harmony knows where.

“Did no one see you off?” Nova asked Beatrice.

“Beatrice’s parents are too important to take any time out of there day,” Beatrice responded, and then suddenly found herself getting hugged by Clara.

“In that case, I’ll just have to do it for them.” Clara offered. She then gave Nova a hug, followed by giving Maggie a hug. “Now off with you, on the train before it leaves without you.”

“Yes, mother.” Maggie and Nova say at the same time. They laugh, each gets in another hug, and then they board the train.

“Do you need another hug, Miss Beatrice?” Clara asked. Beatrice hesitated for a moment, hugged Mrs Weasley, and then climbed aboard the train.

“Miss Nova!” Newt called from a compartment. “We saved you some space.”

“How good of you to do so, Mr Scamander,” Nova called as she made her way down the passage through the train. Maggie followed, and a moment later Beatrice who asked if Beatrice could join them.

“Come on in Beatrice.” Nova offered and sat down with her suitcase in her lap. “This is Mr Fergus Potter and Mr Newt Scamander. Of course, you’ve already met my alleged sister, the wee little shepherd girl Maggie.” “Gentlemen, may I introduce to you, the great and powerful Beatrice Lulamoon.” Beatrice bowed with a flourish and then attempted to hoist her trunk up into the luggage rack.

“Let me get that.” Potter offered, taking hold of the trunk, and jamming it into a space that looked to be far too small. A small sign stated that no red card items were to be stowed there. “Here, let me get that,” Potter said turning to Nova.

“No, that’s quite alright,” Nova replied. “It says no red tag items. Looks like it’ll be safe enough to put it under the seat though.”

“No red tag items, now why… Oh, I think I get it now.” Potter replied, and then sat down again. Trixie, or rather Beatrice sat down next to him so that it was Newt, Nova, and Maggie on one side with Potter and Beatrice on the other.

“Ehem!” Said a girl standing in the doorway. “Mr Potter.”

“Beatrice.” Nova hissed motioning with her eyes.

“Fergus Potter, I’ve been looking all over for you, and here I find you with a bunch of firsties. Girls even.”

“Daisy! It’s not like that. - She’s Newt’s girlfriend.” Potter protested.

“I don’t even know him.” Beatrice protested as she moved away from Potter.

“It’s not like that!” Newt protested.

“I think he means Maggie and myself.” Nova offered. “By the way, is Cygnus going to join us?”

“He might stop by later.” Newt offered as Daisy sat next to Fergus. “He’s in Slytherin, so he usually hangs out with the Slytherins.

“Oh, you didn’t tell me you were in different houses?” Nova asked.

“We generally don’t tell people he’s a Slytherin. They’ve kind of got a bad rep. Though for the most part, the rivalry between houses is more for fun.” Potter explained. “Most of us just pretend to hate each other.”

“I see,” Nova replied. “He seemed a trustworthy person though.”

“Oh, he is.” Newt offered. “The Blacks and the Potters go way back even if they don’t always see eye to eye. Cygnus and Fergus are in fourth-year. They were lab partners in potions last year.” His tone switching to one of caution, “His sister Belvina is a prefect. You’ll want to keep well clear of her.”

“Oh, open the window,” Maggie said as the train started to move forward. Outside families were waving their last goodbye until Christmas. “Goodbye mom, bye father!” Maggie shouted out the window. They shouted back, remember to write, see you in Christmas. Mr Malfoy shouted good luck to Beatrice.

“What’s Christmas?” Nova asked as she waved.

“You don’t know what Christmas is?” Daisy asked. “Why it’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

“Not hardly.” Beatrice countered.

“You don’t like Christmas?” Daisy asked confused.

“Beatrice’s family are all Roman Catholic. For them, Christmas is a time of reflecting, and sitting in church for one mass after another. - When they found out Beatrice could do magic they tried to get rid of it by having a priest do an exorcism on Beatrice, and when that didn’t do it, they tried to beat it out of … out of me.” There was stunned silence. “Beatrice ran away, and was found by Mr Thomas Malfoy.”

“You are among friends now.” Nova offered. The idea that someone would beat someone for having magic was as foreign as this Christmas thing. More so considering ponies did have their winter holidays. But to beat someone for having magic?

“Wow,” Newt said softly.

“Anyway, to be honest Wizards don’t really celebrate Christmas, we just got into the habit of calling it that for some reason. It’s the end of the year celebration coinciding with the Jul festival and new years which originally marked the longest night of the year.”

“Oh… right. We have new years right about the same time, only our holiday is called Hearths Warming.” Nova offered. “We’re past the station, do you think it’s safe enough to let Phenik out?”

“I don’t see why not?” Newt offered.

Nova looked out the window as the train rolled on past some of the seedier parts of London, and then turned her attention to her suitcase. Nova opened the suitcase.

“What is that?” Beatrice asked as Phenik climbed out.

“You have a phoenix?” Daisy asked as Nova pulled out a book with a crescent moon, and two stars on the cover.

🌌

Dear Aunty Tia, Princess Celestia read in an identical book. I am on my way to Hogwarts today. There is something I should tell you first that I hadn’t said anything about earlier. When I first arrived, the students by rail project was floundering due to lack of backers. Afraid I used a sizable amount of your money to see to it that the project could be completed. The train is now full to capacity with students on their way to Hogwarts. I’d say that’s a good return on our investment whether we ever make any money on our shares or not.

“I see you’ve picked up that book again.” One of Celestia’s court mares says.

“One of my students on a special assignment.” Celestia offered.

“Princess, are you alright?”

The teacup Princess Celestia had been holding in her magic had pulverized.

“A new friend I’m told has had a difficult time. A pity the filly’s parents are so far out of reach.” She replied grinding her teeth. Fiery prominences flickered off her mane.

Chapter 5: Sausages and ghost balls

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As the train rolled down the track, the curious would stop by to see the phoenix, and when the food cart came by, Nova was glad for the distraction. Even if she couldn't touch half the things on it. Nova had found out at the Weasleys that she could not eat chocolate. She’d been horribly sick for several hours, and took three days to recover. The doctor had pronounced it a manifestation of her blood curse. Nova picked out a pile of goodies, mostly tarts. Everything had so much sugar in it, it was nearly too much. Most of what she’d bought went untouched, and she let the others have it. She just wasn’t accustomed to that much sugar.

“You aren’t eating any more?” Daisy asked with a touch of concern.

“It’s too much sugar all at once.” Beatrice offered. Having had extremely thick, or rather strict parents, Beatrice was in much the same boat as Nova. “Beatrice hasn’t seen this much sugary sweats in her entire life.” “Beatrice wouldn't mind some bangers right about now.”

Nova pulled her suitcase out, opened it up, “You don’t mind a leftover banger do you?” She then produced a plate full of bangers from breakfast, took one and handed the plate over to Beatrice. Even cold from the cooler, to Nova it tasted much better then all the sweets combined. “Nothing like a good banger to get a girl going.” Nova offered, and took a bite. She then ripped off a bit and offered it to Phenik.

“Beatrice loves a good banger now and then.”

“You know, I wouldn't mind a banger.” Daisy said taking the plate.

“Oh, can have a banger?” Maggie asked.

“Guys, want a banger?” Daisy asked holding the plate out.”

“It’s not all dried out is it?” Fergus asked.

“Just suck on it a bit.” Daisy offered.

“Never thought I’d be getting a banger on a train,” Newt said taking one.

“Alright, what’s going on in here?” asked a stern looking woman at the door.

“We’re just eating sausages.” Maggie offered.

“Hello, Professor Marchbanks.” Potter offered. “What can we do for you?”

“Somehow you lot have convinced half the train that you’ve got a phoenix in here. Out with it, how’d you do it?”

“But we do have a phoenix. Her name is Phenik.” Beatrice offered. “Miss Moon is feeding her bits of sausage.” Nova held up the gold and red bird for professor Marchbanks to see. On spotting Phenik her eyes opened wide. Phenik was only slightly larger than the average sized chicken but her plumage was far too bright to be taken for anything other than a phoenix.

“Say hello to my little friend.” Nova offered. Phenik bobbed her head up and down, and then turned her focus back to the sausage.

“Alrighty then.” Professor Marchbanks said real slow like. She took a moment to recover. “Well, I guess you do have a phoenix in here. - We’ll be arriving soon. Make sure you have your school robes on by then.” Professor Marchbanks turned and went back in the direction from which she’d come.

“So, where is Beatrice supposed to change?” Beatrice asked.

“I suppose we could just kick the guys out,” Daisy suggested.

“Why don’t we just use the room across the hall.” Nova offered while getting up.

“What room? That’s the other side of the carriage.” Daisy said sounding just a little bit annoyed.

“Wait for it.” Maggie offered as Nova placed her case against the outside wall. A moment later there was a door on the side of the train. This time the door had no stained glass window and was relatively plain. She opened the door to reveal a small room in which were a number of cupboards, built in wardrobes, a day bed with blankets that looked like a golden sunset, two large sturdy chairs done in rich velvety gold, and a window at the far end that looked out onto the passing scenery. The cabinetry was stained and polished in rich shades of golden oak, the carpet looked as though it was a slice out of the sky from a warm summer’s day, and the curtains were the most intricate lace in a golden alabaster color.

Nova walked in and whispered the words, ‘lock configuration’.

Maggie smiled knowingly, got up, and went in.

“Beatrice, Daisy, care to join us?” Nova asked.

“Isn’t that her closet?” Fergus asked Newt in a whisper as Daisy and Beatrice retrieved their robes from their trunks. Maggie already had a robe waiting for her in the closet.

“Oh, I bet she’s configured it so that that’s all anyone will see if they insist on having a look.” Newt whispered back.” “Come on then, let's get our robes out.”

“This is nice,” Daisy said as she walked in. “I have got to get one.” A moment later the door shut behind them.

Cygnus Black and a couple of his cohorts from Slytherin came by about an hour later with their robes on. “Hey, Potter, where are the girls? I thought you’d have at least one with you. They in another compartment?”

“What’s with this door?” One of the other Slytherin’s asked looking at the closet door on the outside wall of the corridor.

“It’s Miss Moon’s closet. That’s her luggage.” Fergus offered. “They went in to change, and still haven't come out.”

“Girls, go figure. - This is Mr Crab and Mr Goyle. They were hoping to see Phenik.” Cygnus offered. “So who all is in there besides Nova?”

“Maggie, Daisy, and another firsty named Beatrice Lulamoon.” Fergus offered.

“I thought the Lulamoon family died out years ago?” Goyle asked. “Powerful dark wizards, but there was too much inbreeding.”

“My guess is her family are descended from the squibs.” Fergus suggested. “From what she’s told us they went full muggle.”

“Aw man, never go full muggle.” The Slytherins chimed.

“She’s kind of messed up, so if she ends up in Slytherin, go easy on her.” Newt cautioned.

“How messed up.” Crab asked.

“Refers to herself in the third person,” Fergus told them. “She seems nice enough though, and Nova seems to like her. Still, though, I can see her going to the dark side.”

“And why not? After all, we have cookies.” Goyle offered. “So is it true, does Nova Moon actually have a pet nightmare as well as a phoenix?”

“Wouldn't she have to be some kind of dark wizard to get a pet Night Mare?” Crab asked.

“Ah, but that’s where you’d be wrong.” Newt offered. “You see, this specific Night Mare, likes kids. All you really have to do is not be afraid of it.”

“That’s it?” Crab asked.

“Hang on, let me see if I’ve got this straight.” Goyle began sounding a bit incredulous. “What you are suggesting is that instead of going into a blind panic on encountering one of those things, just be nice to it?”

“Ya, that seems to be about it.” Fergus offered.

“Blimey.” Crab and Goyle chimed. It went against everything their parents had told them regarding the treatment of magical creatures.

“So what house do you think Miss Moon will be in?” Crab asked.

“To be honest, she could easily go either Slytherin or Gryffindor.” Fergus mused.

“True, but we did try our best to warn her off,” Cygnus informed the other two Slytherins.

“Now why’d you go and do that for? Anyone who can tame a Night Mare belongs in Slytherin.” Goyle protested.

“Because she just wouldn't be a good fit.” Cygnus countered. “She’s a horrid book worm when she’s not in the air. - My bet is she’ll be in Ravenclaw.”

“She made her own broom,” Newt announced.

“She made her own broom?” Goyle asked astounded.

“Sweetest ride I’ve ever been on,” Fergus said wistfully. “Rides like the wind, and can undercut the nimblest snitch.”

“I’d love to see it.” Crab said.

“Except first years can’t bring brooms.” Cygnus reminded them. “Pity that.”

“I would have gladly smuggled it in.” Fergus offered as the door to Nova’s closet opened.

“Gentlemen,” Daisy said with a cold air to her tone.

“Oh lay off would ya, we aren’t even at school yet.” Fergus scolded.

“Oh, that’s a nice closet.” Goyle said looking in. Phenik could be seen sunning herself in the window. “Not having to climb down a ladder is a plus too. My sister is going to be green.”

“She’s a Slytherin, she’s supposed to be green,” Daisy informed him and stepped out into the hall. The girls now had their school robes on. Daisy had the nicest, and Beatrice had the plainest, but none were exceedingly gaudy or shabby.

“And a window, there’s actually a window.” Crab announced. “And I see the phoenix.” Outside the window, the weather had grown rather gray, and Phenik was presently brighter than the sun outside. Or at least it seemed that way.

“Just the closet then is it?” Cygnus asked as Nova exited. Nova had been the last out.

“Just the closet,” Nova replied, closed the door, and folded it back down to a suitcase. She wasn’t exactly telling the truth, but she wasn’t exactly fabricating either. The train whistle gave warning that they were approaching their destination. A moment later a voice echoed through the train informing them they’d be in Hogwarts soon. Nova wondered if she’d even be able to see it in the gathering gloom.

“Not so sure I like the idea of just leaving my suitcase in the train,” Nova responded after the announcement to leave the luggage in the train.

“It’s what they want.” Newt offered. “Maybe they figure it’ll just be more efficient this way.”

“Still, I really need to physically hand it over to someone to prevent the security spell from triggering,” Nova replied.

“Well then bring it with you, and if someone says anything, you can hand it off to them then.” Newt offered as the train began to slow down.





A short time later the train had stopped at what was little more than a platform in what looked to be the middle of nowhere. That or the highlands of Scotland. Nova wasn’t really sure which, or if there was even a difference. She waited along with the others and climbed down onto the platform when instructed to do so. Here, and there, lamps bobbed in the air that reminded her of the little mini lamps she liked to make for dispelling the gloom and anything of draconequus origins.

“You there, you were told to leave your luggage on the train.” Shouted a man in a thick Scottish brogue.

“She needs to hand it off to someone or it’ll eat them,” Fergus explained.

“Ach isn’t that just lovely. Hand it here then lass.” The man instructed. Nova offered it up to him, he turned and walked off with it. A moment later another voice was calling for the first years to gather and follow them.

“Good luck,” Newt said to Nova giving her a hug.

“What about me?” Maggie asked.

“We know you’ll be in Gryffindor.” Daisy offered. “It’s Nova he’s worried about. - Now best get going, you don’t want to be tardy on your first day.”

“Come on Maggie,” Nova said, and the two were off in the direction of the voice while the boys and Daisy went the other way.

“First years, this way.”

“Take hold of my arm,” Nova whispered to Maggie as the first years were led down a steep path in the dark. Nova found she could see just fine, her unique fox pony eyesight transferring to her human form, but poor Maggie was near blind, and could barely see the students, let alone the forest they were going through. What’s more, it had rained recently, and the path was slick.

“I’m glad I’ve got you,” Maggie whispered. They heard a squeak and a thump as someone slipped and fell.

“Beatrice is alright but would appreciate a hand,” Beatrice called in the dark.

“Wait for me,” Nova said, and a couple of moments later she’d returned with Beatrice in tow. They started up again with Nova in the middle supporting the other two.

They made there way around a bend in the path, and by the sound of hushed voices, they knew they were about to see something wonderful.

“That must be it?” Maggie said as the lake had come into view first for Nova, but now they could see a massive black castle, dotted with lights high on a promontory and reflected in the lake ahead of them. It gave Nova the shivers bringing up memories of Queen Moon and everything she went through before finally being ordered by Queen Moon herself to go home. Nova had done more in the few months she’d been in that dimension, then in the rest of her life.

Meanwhile down at the lakeshore the first years were being directed into small boats without any apparent means of propulsion. The students would get in, and the boats would start drifting across the lake. Nova, Beatrice, and Maggie got into a boat sat down, and waited.

“Is it a current do you think?” Beatrice asked as the boat began to move.

“I don’t think...” Nova began while eyeing a tentacle that had come up over the top of the gunwales on the starboard side of the small boat. Nova lunged at it, holding it fast with her hands and took a bite out of it – or at least attempted to. The moment her teeth started to sink in, it jerked loose and vanished into the now extremely inky depths. The other two girls looked on in horror as the momentum of the boats just stopped. “What, I’m hungry.”

“Nova, honestly!?” Maggie scolded. Beatrice busts up laughing.

“Why’d we stop moving?” Asked another first year in another boat. No one knew. Meanwhile, their guide who had no idea what had happened was at a bit of a loss. Not knowing what else to do people just started pulling the boats forward by rowing with their hands. Those that weren’t afraid to put their hands into water that turned their hands noticeably darker.

Maggie, and many of the other girls had no desire to put their hands in that water. There was definitely a watcher in the water. Granted that the watcher was presently cowering in a corner of the lake nursing a fanged bite wound, but it was there.

“So what did it taste like?” Beatrice asked once she’d regained her composure.

“Humm, squid actually. - Raw squid is a Neighpon delicacy.”

“Ya, I think I’ll pass,” Maggie commented.

About a half hour later someone came down to find out what the delay was. Shortly thereafter a small boat was rowed out to the boats so that they might pull them the rest of the way. One by one the boats were pulled into a cave at the base of a cliff, and, the students unloaded onto the gravel shore in a cavern in the face of the cliff. Quite a few needed to be dried out, and many were scattered across the lake as they’d no idea where to go. It all ended up taking the better part of an hour. By the time everyone was unloaded it was quite late.

“Something tells me that was all for show.” Nova offered as they were led out through a tunnel to a grassy area. They walked around to the front of the castle and up the steps where huge oak doors awaited them. Inside was an enormous entry hall. Nova couldn't help but feel the place had been designed by some lord with more money than sense. Who puts a door that big on a castle with no bailey, and have it go right into the main hall. Even Canterlot’s main keep had a bailey, and you had to go through two gates, which required a sharp tight turn to get at the second gate. The first years were directed to a small chamber off the front hall where they were crowded in quite tightly.

“Beatrice is not sure how she feels about this much togetherness,” Beatrice complained. She and most of the others were getting weary and were quite ready for an end to the games.

Professor Griselda Marchbanks walked up to the front, asked for everyone’s attention, welcomed them to Hogwarts, informed them that the opening banquet would be starting momentarily. They would, of course, need to be sorted into their houses first. Once sorted, they were to go to the appropriate house table and wait quietly. There was a brief introduction to the houses, and the instructions regarding the houses being their homes while they were at Hogwarts. Nova got the feeling they were getting an abridged version of a well-practiced speech. From there they were led back out into the entry hall, and through a set of double doors into a grand dining hall filled with worn out impatient people who’d been sitting there for at least an hour if not more.

“Bout time.” Someone said, only to get hushed.

To the human first years the thousands of candles lighting the hall floating in mid-air, and the ceiling that looked as though it continued right on into heaven was perhaps the most amazing thing they’d ever seen, their weariness forgotten. To Nova, it wasn’t that different than the palace of the two sisters, and kind of made her homesick in an odd sort of way. That or she was just hungry. Most likely just hungry. Having read the history of Hogwarts already, she and Maggie already knew about the various bewitchments.

Nova and the others watched as an old bar stool was brought out, set in front of the head table, and brought out an old conical hat that looked like it’d seen better days. They placed the hat on the stool, a rip opened up, and it began to speak. “Oh I’m the sorting hat, I tell you where to go, and I had a date with a pretty blue bonnet an hour ago, so let's get this over with.”

There was stunned silence. Nova let out a stifled laugh, which seemed to echo through the chamber as other students did their best not to laugh. From there the new students were called forward one at a time, the hat placed on their head, and then the hat called out the name. The house would applaud, even cheer in a few cases, and then the new student would go find a seat at their house table.

“Beatrice will be in Slytherin!” Beatrice shouted shortly after having the hat put on her head.

“Fine, go join the Slytherin, see what I care.” the hat retorted. Nova put palm to face. Several Slytherins echoed her motion.

Nova was beginning to get nervous. How exactly did the hat work? Was it reading minds, or just somehow judging character. Was it perhaps simply talking to the new students, and most importantly would it be able to tell she was a pony? Would it tell anyone else?

Maggie was called forward. She put the sorting hat on, sat there for a moment or two, and then the hat called out Gryffindor. The Gryffindor table applauded generously.

Nova continued to wait. There didn’t seem to be any real order or logic to when the names were called, and she was beginning to wonder why she hadn’t been called. She got really nervous when she found herself standing all by herself.

The next name had to be hers, it just had to be. She’d no idea that there was a lot of money riding on which house she’d be in, or that they’d intentionally saved her for last.

“Princess Nova Moon of Eques.”

Oh for harmony’s sake, did they have to throw in the title? The hall had grown deathly silent. Nova gathered up her dignity and walked forward. The hat was lifted up as she sat on the chair. She looked up at the hat as it was lowered on her head, and noticing regularly spaced threads attached to the brim looking as though something had been sewn on at one point in time.

“Well well well, what have we here.” The hat said more in Nova’s mind than her ears.

“Did you perhaps have bells attached to your brim?”

“Were are about to decide your fate, and you are worried about our missing bells? Look… things happen when you get old.”

“You just reminded me of Starswirl’s hats.”

“Starswirl?” The hat’s voice had changed to Celestia, and the next thing Nova knew she was standing on a flat surface in a dark room of indefinite expanse. The floor seemed to be the source of light, and Nova was back to being a pony. It reminded her of the dreamscape but it was something else, not quite a proper dreamscape, but more of a daydream.

“Oh for the sake of the gods, she’s not even human!” Protested a voice.

“Oh stuff it up your pie hole Slytherin.” Said another voice.

“You, you’re a pony. A young alicorn by the looks of you.” Said Celestia’s voice. The image of Celestia appeared a short distance away. Moonie appeared standing next to Nova. “Luna?”

“She’s a simulation.” Nova offered.

“As are we.” Offered another voice. One by one the founders of Hogwarts appeared.

“This could be interesting. I think we let her attend.” Rowena Ravenclaw said.

“Oh, you can’t be serious. I see in her great darkness. She’d be a threat to the school.” Salazar Slytherin cautioned.

“And I see great light in her.” Godric Gryffindor offered.

“I see Loyalty.” Helga Hufflepuff added.

“Tell me, young… young filly. If you are allowed to learn, will you seek power? You could achieve much.” Slytherin asked.

“I am a Princess of Equestria, and have great wealth at my disposal. By accident of birth to be true, but I am none the less already in a position that others look up to and aspire to. What’s more, is I already know a great deal of magic and have achieved quite a lot. I have no need for your kind of power.” Nova informed him as if his offer was a trifle.

“And what of knowledge?” Rowena Ravenclaw asked.

“My thirst for knowledge is insatiable.” Nova offered with a smile.

“And what of your fellow creatures?” Godric Gryffindor asked.

“I can answer for that.” Moonie offered. Nova was perhaps more surprised then the others. Especially being Moonie seldom spoke if ever. Granted this being like a dreamscape Moonie was in her element. “Miss Nova is generous to a fault, kind, honest, she brings hope to others, she has integrity, bravery above and beyond what any her age would be expected of. Often have I seen her rush headlong into danger for the benefit of others. As her protector, she’s made my job difficult.”

“Miss Nova Moon, can you name for me the five elements of harmony?” Celestia asked.

Nova smiled.

“You’re a little behind the times. There are seven elements.” Nova offered. The first is comprised of honesty, strength, and sincerity. The second is comprised of kindness, healing, and compassion. The third is comprised of Laughter, hope, and integrity. The fourth is comprised of generosity, beauty, and honor. The fifth is comprised of loyalty, bravery, and duty. The sixth is magic, sorcery, and respect.”

“Respect?” Salazar scoffed.

“Without respect, your magic will never know its full potential,” Nova informed him.

“You said seven?” Celestia asked.

“Heroic courage and redemption.” Nova offered. “Above these the greatest power you can have is the power of friendship.”

Celestia stomped her hooves in excitement.

“Friendship?” Slytherin scoffed.

“Was it not your friendship that gave birth to Hogwarts?” Nova asked. “How much more have your students achieved since then?”

Salazar Slytherin let out a sigh. “I fear that many have not lived up to our expectations. - I’ll say yes, but not in my house. - If they ever found out, I fear they’d use her for potions.”





Everyone in the hall waited expectantly. When the hat finally spoke the verdict was Gryffindor.

The Gryffindor table erupted in applause and cheers along with applause from many of the other houses. Nova went to the table and found a seat next to Maggie.

“Oi, Nova,” Cygnus called from the Slytherin table. “Did you really bite the squid?”

“OMG – Phrasing!” Someone whispered.

Nova laughed. “I did no such thing.” She replied in a haughty manner and a wink.

“Bite the squid?” asked a girl at the Gryffindor table as laughter erupted over at the Slytherin table.

“There might have been a tentacle that came up over the side of the boat, and I might have grabbed it, and I might have bit it.” Nova offered sheepishly. There was a bit of a delayed reaction followed by uproarious laughter from the people who’d heard what she’d said.

“Students...” called a voice over the din. Despite the long wait and late hour, many had gotten their second wind. Nova looked up to the head table to see an unimposing wizard in plain black robes, conical hat, long gray beard and sported a long thin handlebar mustachio that looked more like feelers then facial hair.

“Who’s that?” Nova asked in a whisper.

“Brutus Scrimgeour senior, the headmaster,” Newt whispered back.

“Welcome to Hogwarts. A hearty welcome back to the returning staff and students, and welcome to the new students after their adventure on the lake.” the headmaster offered. “Despite a few hiccups, it seems most of us have made it. Most of you will find your luggage in your rooms. Some of you will need to see us after dinner concerning the anti-theft spells on your luggage. As a matter of fact, I’m to understand several porters have been eaten.” This news elicited several barely contained laughs throughout the student body. “I had a speech, but owing to the late hour I thought it best to forgo it.” This news generated a considerable amount of enthusiastic applause. “And now without further adieu or delay, let the feast begin.”

More applause erupted, only to be cut short by the appearance of a veritable smorgasbord appearing on the tables. Nova quickly filled her plate with a verity of delightful dishes, and if anyone noticed that certain dishes were avoided altogether, no one said a thing. All the more for them. She and a few others paused only just slightly as a group of silvery individuals entered through the hall. To Nova, they looked more like they were made of clouds then actual people. And perhaps in a way they were indeed made of cloud material.

“Who or what?” Nova asked.

“Oh, those are the school's ghosts. Not all mind you, just an assortment.” Newt offered.

“Oh right, I’ve read about them,” Nova said as one broke away, and glided on over. He looked quite the poof to her, what with the tights, and puffy shorts. He’d even had a collar about his neck that seemed most impractical in its rolled layers of starched linen.

“So, I see the new students finally arrived.” The ghost offered as it drifted right into the center of the table. “Sir Nicholas de Mimsy – Porpington, at your service.”

“Hey Nic, we’ve an actual princess.” one of the boys offered.

“Oh yes, I’d heard something about a princess,” Nicholas said. Nova raised her right hand, he bowed, “Ah, your royal highness.” Old habits kicked in, he reached over as he would have in life to take her hand, and she has been through this same odd ritual herself more times then she cared for, offered her hand up to him. Nicholas took her hand in his and just froze. To Nova, it was like having her hand held by a cloud. Nova reasoned that it was her pegasus magic reacting to him, and didn’t think twice about it. As for Nicholas, it was the first time he’d actually touched anything since his death. What’s more, is he could feel her warmth.

“Good sir, what will people think, you linger so?” Nova asked at length with a blush.

Nicholas blushed. He actually blushed. His face lit up as though a shaft of light from the setting sun had eliminated him, and slowly pulled his hand away.

“What just happened?” Newt asked. The exchange not having gone unnoticed, quite a few people were looking on in something akin to shock.

“I don’t understand?” Nova asked.

“You, he, actually touched.” Fergus offered as though it was a really big deal that confused Nova all the more.

“Oh don’t tell me you two are jealous?” Nova asked. “It was just a cordial greeting. - Even if he did linger a might too long.”

“My most humble apologies, your highness.” Nicholas offered.

“No need hold to formalities, please.” Nova offered. “Miss Nova, or Miss Moon will do. I appreciate it if my friends and classmates just call me Nova.”

“Yes, of course.” Nicholas offered. “It’s just that, I haven't been able to touch anything since I died.”

“Nothing?” Nova asked.

“Nova, he’s a ghost. Ghosts can’t touch anything.” Fergus informed her.

“Nothing?” Nova asked again.

Nothing.” Newt emphasized.

“Hang on.” Nova offered, held her hands as though she was holding a ball, blew into the cup of her hands where a little bit of mist formed as she blew. She then started packing, added a bit more, and packed some more until she’d a little cloud the size of a snowball. “How about this?” She tossed it to Nicholas who out of reflex caught it. His eyes lit up in delight. It’s really easy, it’s simple wand-less magic that doesn’t require any spoken words, pretty much anyone can do. - It’s one of the first spells I ever learned.”

“Did you just seriously make a ghost ball?” one of the boys asked.

“It’s water vapor given form with magic.” Nova offered. “Cup your hands, direct your magic into the center, and think snowball. Blow into it, and pack the vapor.”

“Hey, I did it!” Daisy announced triumphantly.

“What should I do with it?” Nicholas asked. “Can I keep it?”

“It’ll dissipate after a while so I suggest you just have fun with it.” Nova offered. He smiled as a mischievous gleam twinkled in his ghostly eyes.

“Hey, Barron!” Nicholas shouted, took aim, and launched the ghost ball at a ghost over at the Slytherin table. The Barron, a bald apparition wrapped in chain and covered in bright silvery splotches turned just in time to get hit right in the face. The ghostly snowball dribbled down his face, which presently had the most perplexed expression man or ghost ever had. Daisy hurled hers at one of the boys only to have it bust apart in a big poof.

“What… what was that?” The Barron asked. He seemed quite astonished.

“Catch!” Nova said tossing a ghost ball to him.

“Oh, you didn’t just give him one?” Nicholas protested.

“Only fair.” Nova offered. By now several of the Gryffindors had figured out how to do it.

“How are you doing that?” Cygnus asked having snuck over to Nova.





“What exactly am I looking at?” Professor Marchbanks said as she looked out over the student body.

“I’m not entirely sure.” Said the instructor sitting next to her. “It looks like the ghosts are having a snowball fight, and a number of students seem to be providing the snowballs. - Darnedest thing I’ve ever seen.”

“Perhaps they’ll settle down once the dessert is served?” The headmaster offered. “Being the Barron himself is involved, I’m not sure I want to interfere. - I mean, he actually looks like he’s having fun.”





Sure enough, as soon as the desserts were served the students lost interest in making the ghost balls in favor of the delights in front of them.

“Don’t be giving her chocolate!” Maggie scolded as the deserts were being devoured.

“I do so appreciate the offer.” Nova offered apologetically. “I simply can’t touch the stuff.”

“Made her really sick when we treated her to chocolate,” Maggie explained.

“And it was so good too.” Nova offered wistfully. “Which likely only made things worse because I didn’t hold back.”

“So was it worth it?” One of the older girls asked.

Nova leaned back and thought about it. “Totally. - But if I eat any now, I’ll be sick all night, and miss my classes tomorrow and possibly the next.”

“I hear that. - My Name’s Luyif, but you can call me Caydence. I’m the Gryffindor Prefect on the girls' side. Halbert is the Prefect on the boys' side. If you ever need anything, be sure to come to us first.

“Last name’s Armor.” Halbert offered. “My ancestors made armor, that’s where the name came from. - What’s Moon from?”

“My mom raises and lowers the moon every twenty-nine days with one day off.” Nova offered about as deadpan as anyone could be. Armor just looked at her. He could tell when someone was outright lying to him. Even if they were just pulling his leg he’d be able to tell. Miss Nova Moon had just told him the biggest whopper he’d ever heard, and his instincts for the truth was telling him she’d just told him the truth.

“Alrighty then.” Armor said not sure what to think.

Nova just smiled. She liked these two prefects. They also sort of reminded her of her aunt and uncle Shining Armor and Princess Cadence for some reason, but she couldn't quite place her hoof on it.

“Your attention if you please?” Headmaster Scrimgeour called out. Once more he was standing to address the student body. “Before we send you off to your dorms there are a few things we must address. - First off, those of you who have security spells on your luggage you will need to check with your heads of house to see if you need to retrieve your luggage. - And if you’ve an apartment in a trunk you are required to sleep in the beds we’ve provided so that we can do head counts. - Second item. We are in the process of refurbishing an old laboratory on the second floor to be used as a lady's toilet. It’s not quite finished. Some of the stalls are ready for use in desperate need, but the sink doesn’t work as of yet. Don’t go behind the curtain as there is a pitfall, and we won’t go looking for you because no one is willing to go down there. Thirdly, please stay out of the forest on the edge of the grounds. It’s not safe. There are things out there that will eat you. And I’m not talking about wild luggage either.” He had to pause a moment for laughter. “Thank you and have a pleasant evening.”

It’d been a long day, and Nova was actually looking forward to going to bed early. She couldn't help but wonder if her human form was causing her to become diurnal. Just one thing. “Excuse me, Caydence, who’s our head of house? I need to see if there was an issue with my bag.”

“That’d be Professor Marchbanks. She’s right over there.” Caydence offered.

“Hopefully I won’t be but a moment,” Nova said and hurried over to Professor Marchbanks who was presently gathering a small number of Gryffindors who were on a list she had.

“Excuse, Professor, any chance my luggage made it to my room?” Nova asked approaching her.

“One moment...” Professor Marchbanks looked over her list. “You’re not on the list so you should be good. Hurry up, and catch up with Miss Luyif.”

“Thank you,” Nova replied, turned around, and rejoined the first year Gryffindors.

“Do we have everyone that’s coming?” Halbert asked.

“I do believe so.” Caydence offered.

“Alright then, I’ll take the lead. Follow me first years.” Halbert said and escorted the first years out into the grand entry hall, they all following like little ducklings with Caydence bringing up the rear of the train.

They made their way out of the hall into a grand staircase, and up a flight of stairs that moved from one floor to another. Once it had stopped Halbert told everyone to get off as quickly as they could. Moments after Caydence had stepped off, the staircase moved to another floor.

Suddenly an object came hurtling through the air at them. Nova reacting instinctively placed a shield spell between her group and the projectile. It bounced off the shield with a powdery puff of chalk. She then quickly retrieved her wand from her robe pocket so it would at least look like she used the wand to cast the spell.

“Not bad for a first-year student.” Caydence offered. “You’re nearly as good as my Halbert.”

“Nearly, I’d say that was pretty good considering it was an ambush,” Halbert commented. “Peeves, I’m warning you!”

Nova looked about until she spotted a wire trash bin full of blackboard erasers hanging over the stairwell. “Ten O: clock, about twenty paces out,” Nova said softly.

“Can’t see anything in the dark, and he’s likely invisible,” Halbert said in a growl. “How are you even able to see anything.”

“I’ve an idea.” She put her wand away. “Everyone who can manage a ghost ball, get one ready. I’ll throw in the direction I think I see who or whatever this Peeves is, and everyone else aims for that area.”

“And your shield?” Halbert asked.

“It’ll hold long enough.”

“It might just work.” Caydence offered as she balled up a ghost ball.

“Ready?” Nova asked. When everyone was ready, Nova rushed ahead and cast that magic missile right at the poltergeist. Unlike the others, she could make out the faint aura created by the convergence of energy that made Peeves what he was. It was a direct hit, followed by a half dozen more of the ghost balls. Counting Nova’s only four had hit, but it was enough for Halbert to spot where Peeves was hiding. Quick as a wink before Peeves could move he cast a spell trapping Peeves in a sphere. Unfortunately, the results weren’t quite what Halbert had hoped for.

“Look out little firsties, here I come!” Peeves shouted. He no longer cared if he could be seen or not and started rolling the sphere like a giant hamster ball. The only saving grace is he was having difficulty keeping on target and started to drift towards the wall. It looked like with luck Peeves would hit the wall, maybe do some damage to the painting, but hopefully, bounce off in the other direction… Everyone readied to flatten to dodge the ball.

Everything seemed to happen in slow motion, the ball approached the painting, the hind end of a night mare came out, the basket of erasers exploding in dust turning the insides of the ball a chalky white, the ball shot out over the stairwell, dropped into it like a pinball bouncing off banisters and stairs. On a few bounces, moving stairs would even send him flying right back up again. With each bounce, Peeves would let out a squawk followed by a stream of curses. What’s more is the lights were set to light up every time they sensed movement, it truly did give the whole spectacle the look of a massive pinball machine.

“You know I almost feel sorry for Peeves,” Caydence commented as she looked over the railing.

“Can’t say he hasn’t had it coming.” Halbert offered, a wicked grin on his face.

Nova looked back and forth at the bouncing ball ricocheting back and forth up and down in the stairwell, and Moonie who was poking her head out of the painting like it was just an ordinary window. Nova went to her and gave her head a hug.

“You know that apparition?” Halbert asked.

“Ya, that’s Nova’s Moonie.” Maggie replied with a big smile on her face.

“Be a cold day in Tartarus before anypony out ambushes me,” Moonie whispered to Nova.

“So, you have a pet Night Mare?” Caydence asked as they continued on.

From the stairwell, they went down a hall, through a secret passage, and into another hall where they approached a painting of a large woman in a pink dress who asked for a password. Nova had noticed the paintings with people and animals moving about. She’d grown accustomed to the paintings at the Weasley Abbey, though a painting she was sure had to be Celestia bed down with pegasi foals made her horribly homesick.

“Sweet flower, upon the canvas sublime, where never comes the blight of time.” Halbert offered.

“Sweet talker. You may pass.” The fat lady said, and the painting swung open to allow egress into the Gryffindor common room. Inside were a number of chairs, some bookshelves, and a fireplace. Nearly everything was upholstered in red and gold, the rug was red and gold, and the draperies were red and gold.

“Is this a schoolhouse, or a sports team?” one of the new girls asked.

“A little of both I think.” Nova offered as the girls were separated from the boys. The girls went up one flight of stairs, and the boys another.

Nova was getting rather weary of stairs, especially being it would have been so much faster if she could have just flown up. Her shared room also just happened to be at the top of Gryffindor tower.

“That looks like an awfully small suitcase.” One of the girls who’d be sharing the room with Nova and Maggie commented. She looked like she wasn’t too sure about this princess, but if she was placed in Gryffindor, well then she must be alright.

“It’s big...” Maggie let out a big yawn. “bigger on the inside.”

“But it’s so small.”

“Things you never say to a boy. - Hi, the name’s Nighy, Ruth Nighy. My father is an officer in the Dragoons. Looks like we’ll be bunkmates.” Ruth was a dark haired girl with brown eyes. Nova couldn't help but think she’d be pretty if only she was a pony.

“Your father is a dragon?” Nova asked figuring she just wasn’t hearing right. “I’ve a brother who’s a dragon.”

“Not dragon, Dragoon. You’ve a brother in the Dragoons?”

“Um, ya, he’s in the Dragoons… can’t really tell you much about what he does though.” Nova offered. She didn’t have a clue what a Dragoon was, so decided to fold out her suitcase to its trunk configuration. “Oh, and this sleepyhead is Maggie Weasley. Her family have been my sponsors while I’m in England.”

“Hi.” Maggie said as she pulled out a flannel nightgown. “Nova, it looks like they only have the one bath for all the girls, let's use one of yours.”

“One of? - Name’s Florence Portendoffer.”

“That’s an interesting name.” Nova said trying to figure out what ‘port end offer’ could pertain to. She opened up the trunk, and Maddie stepped down into it. A moment later Phenik and Owldrey flew out, landed on the bed, and looked at Nova expectantly. “Alright, alright. - Sorry, I have to feed them.” Nova's statement was followed by her going down the steps into the depths of the trunk.

“Oh wow, your apartment is huge,” Florance called. The Phoenix clinched it, despite having a Night Mare as a pet, she also had a phoenix, and apparently an owl as well. “Might I use one of your baths?”

“Use the one in that suite, clean up after yourself, and let's keep this quiet. I don’t want the whole dorm in here.” Nova called.

“Suite?” Ruth asked, and looked down. “Oh, my word. She’s got a whole palace in there. - And her own park to boot!”

“So what is a Dragoon anyway?” Florance asked.

“Her Majesties army, he’s an officer in a horse regiment known as Dragoons.”

“Is that a Muggle thing?”

“Mom and dad are magical.” Ruth offered quickly. “Truth is they were poor as church mice in the wizarding world, so dad got himself a commission in the muggle army. He’s even got a couple Aurors on staff because they never know when they might run into something the muggle troupes can’t handle.”

“I had no idea that sort of stuff went on.” Florance offered. She then grabbed a few things out of her trunk and went down into Nova’s trunk. Ruth followed shortly after. “Isn’t that sort of thing against the secrecy accords though?”

“Do you think wizards in places like Africa, the Philippines, or India give a rat’s patooty about the secrecy accords?”

“Africa? The Philippines? India? I must confess I’ve never even heard of those places. - Is it really that bad?”

“And I never even knew about Eques until Princess Nova showed up. - I swear the Ministry of magic is keeping us blind to the outside world, and it’ll lead to disaster, mark my words. There’ll be some big blow up, and we’ll get drug into it not having a clue what happened.”

“I fear you may be right. I mean look at this place. It’s enormous. She’s got a whole palace in a suitcase. I’d no idea magic on this scale was even possible.”





“How’s everyone doing in here?” Caydence asked as she came up the steps. “Must have missed them.” Caydence turned around and went back down the steps. “Has anyone seen Ruth, Florence, Maggie, or Miss Nova?”





“I’ve looked everywhere. - I can’t find them?” Caydence informed Professor Marchbanks yet again.

“Well the Fat Lady said no one has been in or out so what say we have another look in their room.” Griselda offered in a calm voice as they climbed the stairs. Sure enough, everyone was in bed, to include a sleeping Phoenix curled up on top of Nova looking like a chicken on a nest. A chicken that glowed like a night light. From a nearby painting a night mare watches. “They’re in their beds, sound asleep. What say we do the same.”


That night Nova dreamed of exploring the portraits with Luna.

Chapter 6: First week at Hogwarts

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When Nova made her way down to breakfast the next morning she was struck by two things, the way down wasn’t the same as the way up, and she was now surprisingly knowledgeable of the corridors that would lead down to the dining hall.

“Are you sure you know where you are going?” Maggie asked. Maggie and the two girls who were sharing the room with her were following along.

“Oddly enough I do.” Nova offered casting a glance at Moonie walking along within the paintings on the wall. Moonie had a pie eating smirk on her face. “Come on, this way.”

“Are you sure?” Florence asked, but then they turned a corner, and found themselves walking into the great hall. “Oh, we’re there. This place gets me so turned around.”

“I think it does that intentionally.” Nova offered as they went into breakfast. Despite having been one of the last to leave the dorm, they were now among the first to make it to the hall. “We did have Moonie shadowing us in case we got turned around, that and I suspect she took me for a walk about last night.”

“Walk about? You don’t mean sleep walking do you?” Ruth asked. “What if you get caught out of the dorm at night? - They’ll not likely take sleep walking as an excuse.”

“Not sleepwalking, spirit walking.” Nova offered. “As in my astral form. - I’ll need to have a few words with her. What if someone had tried to wake me and panicked? I can just picture my body getting moved, and me wondering the halls of Hogwarts for eternity trying to figure out what they did with it.”

“Ya, that wouldn't be good.” Maggie offered, and as they found their places to sit, Phenik came swooping in to circle around the room.

“So, how do we get something to eat?” Nova asked ignoring Phenik. Sure she’d looked, but on seeing that what everyone was so excited about was just Phenik, she and her room mates just went right back to what they were doing. Interesting what familiarity does.

“A nice English breakfast would be a great way to start the day.” Ruth said sitting down. Suddenly a profusion of delightfully scrumptious mouth-watering delights appeared on a plate in front of her.

“Oh me too.” Nova said sitting down. No sooner then she’d sat down then servings of bacon, poached eggs, grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, oat cakes, baked beans, sausage, and a potato pancake of sorts with cabbage and last nights leftover vegetable mixed in with a sort of dark brown gravy over the top of it appeared before her. “Oh, hey… so long as there’s no bovine or equine, I’ll be happy as a Little Sky Fox in a KFC.”

“What, what the what?” Florance asked.

“Cultural thing.” Maggie offered as she and Florance joined the other two at the table.

“It’s common for people in India to not eat meat, especially cattle.” Ruth offered. “I can understand not wanting to eat horse either. - My father, and the men in his command, their lives depend on their horses while on maneuvers. Father says eating a horse is akin to cannibalism.”

“Any chance you can get me a book about these Dragoons?” Nova asked. “I’d love to know more about them.” Nova asked, and then took another bite of her breakfast.

“How is it the four of you can just sit there talking, and stuffing your faces when there’s a phoenix flying around in here?” Asked one of the other Gryffindors.

“Right, hang on.” Nova held up a sausage. “Phenik!” A moment later, Phenik had landed on her arm and was happily nibbling at the sausage. Nova maneuvered her to the table so she could go back to eating. This was followed by the sound of silverware and cups being dropped.

“You’d think they’d never seen a Phoenix before,” Fergus said sitting down.

“How’d you four get down here so fast?” Daisy asked as she joined them.

“Luck I guess.” Nova offered. “What about classes, how do we know where to go?”

“Don’t worry, someone will gather up the first years according to houses, and make sure they get to class. Newt offered as he joined them as well. “No one expects new students to know anything.”

📜

No one expected new students to know anything was right. For Nova her first class was like sitting in magic kindergarten. Introduction to magic it was. Still, everyone was diligently taking notes, so she figured she’d better take notes too. Just to make things more interesting she decided to practice her calligraphy while she was at it.

“Three paints from Gryffindor for using an enchanted quill.” Announced their instructor snatching Nova’s quill. She was a stern woman with a nose like a beak and eyes that made Nova think of Griffins by the name of Krasnodar.

“I’m so sorry, I wasn’t aware I couldn't have an enchanted quill,” Nova said apologizing. “I seem to be without a quill now.”

“Another two points for not being properly equipped.”

“Professor, I’ve the same type of quill.” Maggie offered.

“You don’t seem to be using a self-writing quill, so I doubt that very much.” Two points for fibbing.

“Fibbing, but it’s the truth?” Maggie offered taken aback that someone would so readily assume the worst. “And it’s not a self-writing, just a never dry quill.”

“Is it now.” Their instructor scoffed, went to their desk, got an old battered quill, an ink bottle, brought it to Nova, and put it on her desk. “Alright, if our little princess wasn’t using a self-writing quill, let's see this quill stand on its own just like the one I just confiscated.” The instructor stepped back and crossed their arms with a triumphant smile on their twisted face.

Her smile slowly collapsed into a look of astonishment as the lid of the inkwell came off by itself, lowered into a cup by the inkwell, followed by the quill standing, hovering, dipping in the ink, and then waiting over the parchment.

“Would you like me to write 'I will not use none spoken magic to manipulate objects and write with a quill without touching it in front of my professors' a hundred times?” Nova asked having figured out what the issue was.

“Why I never...”

“Well maybe you should, it might help your disposition.” Nova shot back. The other students looked on in horrid fascination well seasoned with mirth. Professor Krasnodar just glowered at Nova, and snatched up her notes sending the ink well sprawling in the process.

Nova walked out of that class having lost an additional twenty points, but at least she’d done something to deserve it. Making her stand in a corner for the remainder of the class seemed pointless.

“Perhaps you should try handwriting for now on?” Maggie offered.

“You know how bad my handwriting is.” Nova protested. She let out a sigh and reluctantly agreed.

When it was time for lunch Caydence came and got Nova saying only, you need to come with me. She then escorted Nova to a tower and knocked on a door. “I’d sure like to know what you did. And on your first day even.”

The door opened.

“The headmaster wants to see you. Just keep climbing till you get to his office.”

“All I was doing was writing notes the way I always do,” Nova said with a sigh. She went in, the door closed, and she began climbing the spiral staircase.

It didn’t take her long to realize that for every two steps, one more was being added. Weary of stairs, she transformed into her fox form, kicked in the magical afterburners and spiraled up past the enchantment, and out into the headmaster’s office. Nova transformed back into human form, did the supper hero landing, and then stood at the position of attention.

“I understand there is an issue?” Nova asked.

The old wizard looked on curious. “I’m afraid there is. - Now before I tell you what the accusations are, would you like to tell me what happened?”

“Would you like a written statement?”

“Parchment, quills, use as many as you like. Use them all if you want.”

Nova smiled, an aura formed about the parchment lifting it into the air followed by every quill on the desk going to work like a flock of blackbirds chasing a hawk. A few moments later, the pens went back to their places, and the parchment floated back down to the desk. It had been filled with one simple sentence, ‘I was taking notes’ in the most elaborate and stunning script he’d ever seen to include beautiful line art filling in a good deal of the white space, but not so much it was cluttered.

Nova let out a sigh. “I know I was told to be careful not to stand out too much in class, but it never occurred to me that writing in the manner I’m accustomed to would be an issue. I should write with my hand more I suppose. Celestia knows I need to practice my handwriting.”

“Why are you standing like that?”

“Sir? I… I always stand like this when I’m called on the carpet for my insubordination.”

“Oh? Well relax a little.”

“Yes sir.” Nova offered and loosed up a little.

“Do you have your notes?”

“I’m sorry to say they were wadded up and thrown in the dust bin. - The class was a little slow, I was doing my calligraphy, to take notes that is, and my instructor seemed to think I was using a self-writing quill, and then got affronted when I proved otherwise. - I found the situation frustrating.”

“You thought the class a bit slow?”

“Sir, I’ve been learning magic my whole life practically. Or at least the better portion of it, and have been able to cast spells since I was six. I did pay attention, in case there were differences in the basic method, but so far the basics seem to be exactly the same, save for an emphasis on the use of a wand.”

“That snowball fight?”

“I’m afraid I was the instigator, I’ll not deny it.”

“Show me how you create those ghost balls. - If you don’t mind?” His tone was kindly and patient so as to let her know she wasn’t in trouble for that at least.

“Well sir, I cup my hands like this with a gap, direct my magic to the center, think snowball, blow and pack,” Nova explained, and demonstrated. A moment later she had a nice little puffball. “One of the first things I ever learned.”

“Well, I’ll be.” Headmaster Scrimgeour said, tried it, and quickly had one of his own. He smiled, and tossed it up and down. “This could be a very useful learning tool. - Tell you what, you did defy your teacher in class, so I’m not restoring your points, but I’m going to give you ten points for that beautiful calligraphy, and another twenty for bringing this little skill to my attention. - You may go.”

“Thank you, sir.” Nova figured a net gain of three points wasn’t too bad. “Sir?”

“Yes?”

“Might I use the window? I’m afraid I’m going to miss lunch.”

“Do you play Quidditch?”

“I’m learning. I’m told I’m rather splendid at it.”

“I imagine you might be, what with having a flying Animageus form.”

“Afraid I kept destroying brooms, and decided to make my own.”

“Is it any good?”

“It’ll hold up to my reflexes.”

“I’d love to see it. By any chance did you smuggle it here.”

“Sir, I would never so blatantly disobey the rules.” Nova protested in mock shock.

“But it is somewhere nearby, isn’t it?” He said with a wink.

“Well, being the inside of my luggage has been declared sovereign territory of Eques by the Ministry of Magic, I can honestly say that my broom is not technically on school property.”

“Sovereign territory?”

“It’s in the charter. Apparently as a confirmed Princess of Eques, any place that can be considered my abode becomes the Sovereign Territory of Eques. As I’ve a sizable apartment, they decided to define it to my luggage less I end up being your boss.” Nova gave him a smile. He thought about it for a moment and laughed. “Window?”

“It’s rather small.”

Nova transformed back to her fox form. “I think I’ll fit.”

“Well then, have at it.” He offered and laughed again.

Nova was out the window quick as a wink, flew out over the castle, down to the front door, one of which was opened flew into the hall, and then into the dining hall. The appearance of the Celestial fox had quite a few people looking on in astonishment.

“Nova, wherever have you been?” Maggie called on spotting her. To everyone's astonishment, the mystery animal flew down to Maggie, landed on the seat, and let her scratch behind the ears. “She’s my pet.”

“OK, that’s enough ear scratches, I’m hungry,” Nova said turning back into a human.

The remainder of the day went without incident, mostly because Nova was being cautious not to do anything her classmates could not. Well, that and it was History of Magic with Professor Binns. Now while it did rankle her that she had to hold back, she wasn’t too sure Professor Binns would even notice as he was quite dead. A ghost to be exact. Such a thing would never stand in Princess Celestia’s school. Or would it? To be honest Nova couldn't say for sure and reasoned that being a ghost might not be an automatic disqualification as a teacher. It was just that Princess Celestia preferred her staff to be a bit more lively. Interacting with students in a meaningful and engaging manner so as to inspire a love of learning was what Princess Celestia expected of her teachers, and Binns failed on all counts. Of course, Nova told Princess Celestia all about her day via her diary. Nova was astonished when she was answered by both book and the painting of Princess Celestia. The verdict, the woman would have been fired a long time ago if either Celestia had any say in the matter. Regarding Professor Binns, neither was quite sure how they’d address that.

Tuesday was charms followed by an introduction to herbology. Both of which were held in classrooms consisting of introductory lectures. About the only thing Nova really got out of it aside from some new terms and names of plants she already knew by different names, was more practice with her handwriting. “How am I to cast spells with a wand if my hand is all cramped up from writing?” Nova asked at the end of the day. Hers was a sentiment widely shared even if the other students couldn't use the same writing technique. They’d even gone so far as to ask her to show them how to do it. To everyone's surprise, she insisted they all master ghost ball making first, and when they’d learned how to manipulate the ghost ball into different shapes without touching it, only then would she attempt to teach them how to do writing without touching the quill.

There was one other thing of note, aside from the oddity of needing to go by a different route every time they went somewhere, Nova thought it to be most inefficient, it was the presence, or lack thereof, of Peeves. Peeves was out and about pestering students, harassing first years, and yet for some odd reason Peeves was keeping well clear of the Gryffindor students. No one was quite sure what to make of it until a rumor concerning what had transpired on the night of the sorting made its rounds. There were more than a few who delighted at the idea of catching Peeves in a bubble and sending him down the grand stairwell.

Wednesday was Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Astronomy which ended at midnight. Nothing like filling young minds heads full of everything gaulish and nasty, and then sending them to a dark creepy tower late at night. Astronomy at least had not been a disappointment for Nova. Nova had before her a brand new sky that was truly alien. Stars she’d never seen, a moon that Luna and Celestia had never known. And the sun, the sun didn’t even rotate around the planet, but the planet around it. Nova was astounded. The other students had laughed when Nova had confirmed that the planet did indeed rotate about the sun, and not the other way round. Could she… Nova wondered, could she touch this moon with her magic? She waited till the end of class, and the Astronomy teacher ushered everyone downstairs from the astronomy tower. She hung back, and when the last person had stepped down she looked to the moon, closed her eyes, and reached out with her magic. She knew that even if she could, there was no moving it, she hadn’t the strength, and so far as she knew there was no Cosmic clock of the Arcadia to assist in the effort as there was in her Equestria.

Nova opened her eyes and looked up at the moon, her eyes had a cast of silver, her hair billowed out shining with the light of the moon and stars seemed to dance about her. She touched the moon, there was power there, but it was a cold power that had never known love. She broke the connection, her eyes went back to normal, her hair back to normal, and turned to look face to face with her instructor. “It’s so cold, so lonely,” Nova said softly. She looked down towards the steps. “I should return to my room.” She walked past her instructor, and down the stairs. They watched her pass by and said nothing.

🌑

On the next day, Nova got up as she had the day before, gone down to breakfast, and then off to Transfigurations. If the Astronomy instructor had said a thing about what they’d seen the night before, nothing was said of it. Their Transfiguration's instructor was Professor Griselda Marchbanks who started out the class with a lecture on how dangerous transfiguration magic could be, and if anyone was caught fooling around they would be permanently banned from the class. Nova dutifully took notes and made sure to do no better or worse than anyone else. That afternoon was spent turning twigs into twine. Something Maggie could already do as well, but like Nova, she too held back, and somehow managed to fail to do the simple task until she saw that someone else had done it. It was all Nova could do not to turn her twig into a whole spool of twine. On top of that, the entire morning had been lectures. Her hand was killing her, and she suspected that the lingering effects of having a wand blow up in her hand was just making it worse.

Friday was potions with the Slytherins, and the instructor was none other than Phineas Black. Professor Black had a rather interesting teaching method in that he liked to pair up students with a student from the other house. “Some of you may not like it, but you’ll do it none the less. You will work together as a team, or you will fail together. There will be no sabotaging your own efforts so you can blame it on your partner.”

Nova cautioned Maggie to do the instructions exactly as written. There could be no holding back here, it was due it right the first time or risk disaster. Potions seldom had any in-between.

“The great and powerful Beatrice is in need of a partner,” Beatrice called out boldly.

“I would be honored to partner up with the Great and Powerful Beatrice.” Nova offered with a curtsy. Nova had a good idea of what she was getting herself into. Beatrice reminded her so much of Trixie personality-wise, she was sure teaming up with her would be a challenge for even the most seasoned potion master.

“For the love of Harmony no!” Nova was heard to say at several points during the exercise.

Professor Black had at first thought that Miss Lulamoon was intentionally trying to sabotage their potion. After Nova had slapped Beatrice’s hand for the seventh time telling her to follow the directions, it’d become painfully obvious the girl was a complete nincompoop. What was worse is that Beatrice was technically from a pureblood family… except in that there was a rumor that her parents were squibs who’d gone muggle. Professor Black was quite adept at spotting who had received instructions prior to coming to school. Slytherin students almost always came in with a basic knowledge of magic. That’s if they were part of one of the larger more upstanding families. Ravenclaws often came in with lots of book smarts but little practical magic, Hufflepuffs were seldom destined to be potions masters, and Gryffindors were often a mixed bag. Beatrice had all the earmarks of a muggle born who’d been given a crash course on how to blend in, and wasn’t even trying. Maggie Weasley, on the other hand, was performing every bit as well as the more accomplished Slytherins. This despite the Weasley propensity to adhere strictly to the Ministry of Magic’s rules about not teaching children under the age of eleven any magic.

And then there was Princess Nova Moon. Nova, in her desire to prevent any disasters within her sphere of influence, had abandoned any notion about not standing out, and was presently demonstrating all the skill of a Prefect, and the patience of a saint in regards to Miss Lulamoon. And then it happened, that moment every potions master dreads, something happening that’s not supposed to happen. “Sweet mother in heaven.” Professor Black said in a soft whisper. There was a phoenix in the rafters. The potion itself was fairly benign but add one phoenix feather.

Nova, without missing a beat, pulled out her wand, directed a spell at the bird encapsulating it in a globe, levitated it to the door opened the door with a flick of the wand, rolled the bird gently down the hall, and closed the door with the command, "Out, and stay out." After which she went right back to impressing upon Miss Lulamoon the importance of following directions.

“You’ve all done moderately well.” Professor Black announced at the end of class. “Fortunately no disasters this time around, and I would hope this becomes a trend.”

“Miss Moon, tarry a moment if you will. The rest of you may go.”

“Sir?” Nova asks as she stood by her work station. She was just sure she was about to be scolded yet again. “I’m terribly sorry about Phenik.”

“True a phoenix in a potions lab is dangerous indeed, but you did manage to deal with the bird. - What spell was that.”

“Just a simple bubble spell. A phoenix is not the sort that’ll let just anyone catch them. As such, it won’t matter what spell that’s used if the bird doesn’t wish to be caught.”

“I see, I see. No special Phoenix catching spell then.”

“To catch a phoenix one must find one either still in the egg, newly fledged, or anywhere between. If the bird takes a liking to you they will stay until such time as they’ve had enough of you or until you die. The only exception I know of is one my brother raised from an egg but released to the wood so that they might find another of their kind.” “They are still good friends though.”

“Indeed, indeed.” Professor Black said. “I can’t but help feel you don’t belong in this class.”

“Sir?”

“First year. - Your skill is well above the first year standards. How skilled would you say you are? And tell me true.”

“I know a few potions by memory, mostly healing drafts. I can manage most basic potions provided I’ve a good set of instructions. My schooling has been sporadic so don’t ask me to do anything complex, or create my own.”

“Well, you’re still well above the rest of the first years. I’m going to see what I can do about getting you bumped up at least a year. How old are you?”

“I believe that I can honestly say that I’m fourteen now.” Nova offered.

“You’re not sure?”

“It is my luck to have missed a few birthdays having been away from home longer then I care, and you use a different calendar. Though I’ll say I’m at least thirteen years of age by your calendar, though I’d rather say fourteen. - I’m afraid we count our days deferentially. - I may even be a year or two older for all I know.”

To be true in Equestria, Nova’s Equestria, the twelve months each had thirty days, the year three hundred sixty days, and not the three hundred sixty-five days, or the three hundred sixty-six days that occurred on a leap year of the human world. In Equestria, the years always had the exact number of days with no need to adjust the calendar do to wobbling planetary rotation around an uncaring sun.

“And if asked you’ll insist on fourteen is it?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Tell me, what do you think of muggles, and muggle born?”

“Some are good, some are bad, and I doubt there is such thing as a true muggle-born.”

“Mud-bloods you mean.”

“If that’s the word you feel is appropriate, though it does seem harsh.” Nova offered. "The sin of the parent should never be placed on the child."

"Unfortunately the sins of the parents weigh heavy on their children. - But tell me, what do you think of Miss Lulamoon?”

“She needs kindness and understanding, she is clever, but impatient. - Yes, I knew what I was getting myself in for when I chose to partner up with her. She alone solved the puzzle of platform nine and three quarters before any of the learned wizards could, and I dare say it was out of pure stubbornness. - She’ll need a lot of patience to undo what her parents did to her, and I would also call her friend despite her unbridled ambition.”

“And you’ve no ambition?”

“I need not ambition. From my perspective, to attempt to attain heights beyond that which I already posses, in hast and or lack of caution, would be sure folly. I have but to use that which I have already, wisely and generously. - Might I go now?”

“Yes, by all means. - Off with you.”

Phineas Black watched her go puzzled by this student. He’d much to discuss in tonight’s weakly staff meeting concerning new students. He'd a mind to test all new students and segregate according to the skill they had coming in the doors.





Nova found Phenik still in the bubble out in the hall. She was racing about inside the ball rolling along the floor, and when she’d enough speed she’d lay down in the ball and go tail over head round and round till she was quite dizzy the ball having come to a stop. She’d lay upside down until the world stopped turning and do it again.

“Are you having fun in there?” Nova asked bending down.

“You going to let her out?” Maggie asked. Maggie had waited.

“She can get out anytime she wants. It’s just a bubble.” Nova explained. “I’d say she’s rather enjoying this new toy.

🐣

On Saturday Nova got to sleep in. Unfortunately, she couldn't sleep in as long as she’d like. The headmaster had invited himself over for tea. Nova wasn’t too sure she liked the idea, but couldn't think of a plausible excuse as to how to refuse him. Granted it was the girls' dorm, and knowing about the enchantment on the steps graciously accepted. If the stairs let him pass, there wasn’t a lot she could do to refuse him.

Nova got up sometime before nine disappointed with herself for not getting up sooner, folded down her suitcase, placed it against an outside wall, and pulled it up to its front door, or I should say rotunda entrance, configuration.

“Headmaster Scrimgeour will be here at ten.” She told her dorm mates. “You might want to make yourself presentable.” They were still in bed. She then opened the door to the rotunda and went in.

“Excuse me Kitzumi-hime.” said a likeness of Miss Aiko dressed as a human maid, appearing to Nova as she entered. “There’s a number of uninvited guests in the holding cell.”

“What? - Oh for harmony’s sake.” I need to get ready, I don’t have time for this.”

Nova went to the stairs that lead down to the bottom floor, down a hallway, down another set of stairs to a basement, and then down a hallway, and opened a door. Inside there were three holding cells. All three were filled with house elves. None of the cells were locked, and yet there they were.

“Who?” Nova asked confused at the sight the little elf-like creatures clothed only in pillowcases. A spoke’s elf explained that they were the Hogwarts house elves, and that it was their duty to tidy up after students, and that usually included student’s trunks as well. They were at quite a loss as to how they’d ended up in the dungeon… nice though it may be. In fact, they all agreed it was the nicest dungeon they’d ever been locked up in.

“Well if I can’t stop you from trying, I guess I’ve no choice but to allow you access. - However. As punishment for entering our apartments without permission, the Headmaster will be arriving shortly for tea with guests, you are to prepare a tea in the green house upon the patio, it’s upstairs, you can’t miss it. I’d also like to remind you that these are royal apartments, and I expect you to dress appropriately. - Doors are unlocked.”

Nova turned, and without another word, went back upstairs to get ready where she found Maggie getting dressed, all the while thinking, how very convenient.

“Well you didn’t think I’d want to miss the looks on their faces when they see this place?” Maggie offered.

So the two made themselves ready and somehow managed to meet their guests at the door when they had come knocking. Maggie opened the door to see Headmaster Scrimgeour, Professor Marchbanks, and a wizard the girls had not yet met. The three looked through the entrance with astonishment. Beyond them, Ruth and Florence watched with big smiles on their faces.

“Gentlemen, Professor Marchbanks, do come in,” Nova said from a short distance away. Both girls had on one of their nicer robes.

“How is this even possible? Is it even safe?” Professor Marchbanks asked looking in.

“I’ve had cabinet makers look at it, and they proclaimed it pure genus. I’m assuming that means it’s got their stamp of approval. My Aunt Tia modified an existing piece of luggage, and I’m told she managed to correct several issues that ordinarily limit the size a displaced space can be. - Pleas come in.”

The three guests slowly entered as though their very presence might cause the whole thing to collapse.

“Is that a balcony?” The headmaster said on spotting the large opening that looked out over the school grounds. “How is that even possible?”

“It’s a twisting of space and time.” Nova offered. “It’s not visible from the outside, nor is it accessible without knowing where the sweet spot is. - Now if you’ll come with me, tea is being served in the greenhouse.”

“The greenhouse?”

Nova showed them downstairs to a landing that went through a set of large french doors with another landing in the greenhouse that looked out over the park like setting. There on the spacious landing was a table and five chairs. The table itself was elegantly arranged with five place settings, tiered platters loaded with little sandwiches, cakes and other goodies, and a delightful little tea pot. Standing nearby is Miss Aiko the maid.

“Surly this is as large as the Chrystal palace.” Offered the man who had yet to be introduced. And no, he's not talking about the Crystal Empire, but a magnificent greenhouse of epic proportions built for the World's Fair in 1851. It lasted until 1936 when it was destroyed by fire, or so the muggles believed. It's still there you know if you know how to find it. :raritywink:

“Headmaster Scrimgeour, you haven't introduced us yet?”

“Oh, right, right, I brought along Professor Dietrich Flieger. - He’s the Quidditch instructor. He and I were hoping to get a look at your broom, if that’s not too much.”

“This way pleas, masters.” The maid offered, pulling out a chair.

“Who’s she? - How is it you have a maid, don’t tell me you have her locked up in here?” Professor Marchbanks asked the presence of the maid finally registering.

“Miss Aiko is an avatar spell.” Nova offered. “She’s a very sophisticated bit of spell work that is way beyond my ability.” Nova offered. “Shall we sit.”

“Hang on, did you say broom, as in she’s violated school rules, and you knew?” Professor Marchbanks asked as she sat down.

“I’m to understand, and it’s been confirmed by the ministry, that the moment we stepped through that door, we were stepping onto Eques sovereign soil. - Though by the looks of this place I wouldn't be a bit surprised if we hadn’t stepped though a portal to her country.”

“I wish that were true, but I’m fairly sure none of my doors connect through to Eques.” Nova offered. Nova sat down, followed by Maggie, and the two men.

“You’ve multiple doors?” The Headmaster asked.

“In addition to the balcony yes.” Nova offered. Though I seldom use more than the one at a time. I can as I did on the train, open doors to specific rooms, or even just a single cupboard. I could if there was a need, set a spare door to open in a different location, within reason I’m told, and come and go that way. - Do not fear, I’ll not abuse it. Not without permission.” She flashed a winning smile.

“I’ve heard tell you seem to be able to find your way around better then even some of the more seasoned students, and a few of our instructors.” The headmaster said in an almost accusing tone.

“Well I’m not making shortcuts. It takes time to set a second location properly.” Nova explained as Aiko poured the tea. “The balcony is automatic but only shows if there is a place for it. Otherwise I’ll just get a generic skyline of the local I’m in. - No, my secret is as plane as the painted black pegacorn that follows me around.” “Interesting how no one notices her when she’s in a painting, but instantly remark on the Night Mare I own if she’s out in the open.”

“She can interact with the paintings?” Professor Flieger asked.

“Truth is she’s not a true Night Mare. She’s another avatar spell. She’s been scouting out my routs for me. All I have to do is look for her in a painting. How she figured out how to interact with the paintings is beyond me.” Nova explained. “Have a sandwich. They’re quite good.”

“You mean she, or rather it, is just a spell?” Professor Marchbanks asked astonished.

“And yet you speak of her as though she were a living thing.” The headmaster commented.

“Hardly just a spell. - That spell has been tinkered with by several very powerful witches. - Including Princess Celestia herself prior to coming here.” Nova offered. “I suspect my Moonie has exceeded her original intent and has become a sentient creature of pure magic. - She’s gone beyond simply providing me with the original service intended to something of a companion who is keenly interested in my well being.”

“Astounding. - Say, these are quite good. Where’d you get them?” The headmaster asked after trying one of the sandwiches.

“No idea, you’ll have to ask your house elves. I found quite a few in my dungeon for attempting to straiten out my foot locker without permission. I told them that they’d have to prepare the tea as punishment. - Oh, and I told them they’d have to dress more appropriately for a royal apartment.”

“Pleas tell me you didn’t give them clothes?” Master Scrimgeour asked dropping a sandwich.

“No, I didn’t. Have I aired?” Nova asked concerned. “Should I have? I mean, all they were wearing was pillowcases.”

“That’s all they ever wear, and if you give them clothing, they interpret that as being sacked.” Professor Marchbanks explained.

“Sacked?” Nova asked.

“Fired.”

“Oh, then we should be good. After all, I didn’t give them anything.” Nova replied sounding relived. “Seems a strange custom though. - Really I was just giving them a bad time for trying to get in here without permission. - I must confess it worked out rather well for tea. Afraid I slept in a bit to late.”

“I can’t help but wonder how all this is even possible?” Master Scrimgeour asked.

“I gather from the reaction of most of the people who’ve seen this that it’s anything but typical,” Nova replied. “Ruth and Florence just seemed to accept it as typical for royalty.”

“I’ve seen quite a few, and I’ve never seen anything anywhere near this scale.” Master Scrimgeour offered.

“Miss Aiko, would you know anything about this specific cabinet?” Nova asked

“I’m to understand from the memories I was allowed, that it’s a type forty-two luxury cabinet that was presented to Princess Celestia by one Doctor Whooves. The thing that makes it work is known as the Eye of Harmony.”

“Eye of Harmony?” Nova asked as a twinge of excitement hit her.

“Not related to the elements of Harmony so far as I know.” Miss Aiko offered. “I’m to understand it belonged to a dark wizard who called themselves the Master, but they abandoned it.”

“Why ever would someone abandon something like this?” Professor Flieger asked.

“My understanding is that while the chameleon circuit is quite possibly the best ever built, the propulsion system is, what was the word, oh yes, slag.” Aiko offered.

“Propulsion? You don’t mean to say that this cabinet could move on its own?” Professor Flieger asked in astonishment.

“At one point in relative time and space, yes, but being the propulsion system is function non operational, it has to be carted around. - Other then that, the primary systems are in excellent condition. - Princess Celestia also did a complete sweep prior to reconfiguring it.”

“Remarkable.” Master Scrimgeour said in quiet contemplation, not really understanding. “Hang on, I’ve heard of this Master. They’re on the very top of the most wanted list.”

“Wouldn't surprise me in the least.” Miss Aiko offered.

“Um excuse me, I do so hate to interrupt,” Ruth said approaching the table.

“Is something amiss, Miss Nighy?” Professor Marchbanks asked.

“It’s concerning Prefect Caydence Luyif.” Ruth offered. “She tried to sneak in. The door did this strange revolving door thing, and she vanished.”

“Well that’s done it,” Nova said. “She’ll be in the dungeon.”

“You have your own dungeon?” Professor Marchbanks asked.

“It’s a very nice dungeon.” Ruth offered. "Lots of fun toys."

"Ruth hush."

"Toys?" Professor Marchbanks asked.

"She's mistaking the exercise room for a dungeon. - I’d rather the whole school not know too much about my apartments.” Nova offered. “Would you mind too terribly if I left her in there until after tea?”

“Serve her right for poking her nose into other peoples business.” Master Scrimgeour offered. “And I can certainly understand not wanting people traipsing about in here. I can just picture having to form search parties to find lost students.”

“Well hopefully it’ll never come to that.” Nova offered. “Even if anyone does find there way in, there are clearly marked paths, and nothing dangerous. - With the possible exception of my broom.”

“You have your own broom?” Ruth asked.

“Yes, it’s right over there,” Nova said pointing towards the entrance. “Professor Flieger wished to see it. Ruth, could you fetch it, and don’t try to ride it.”

“I can ride a broom.” Ruth protested as she went to get it. When she returned with the broom a moment later she had an expression of reverent awe. “I’ve never seen the like.”

“Since I built it for myself, I tailored it to myself.” Nova offered as Professor Flieger took hold of the broom so that he might inspect it. "And Ruth, I don't doubt you, it's just that the broom will take off like a bottle rocket, and you'd as likely find yourself being quickly acquainted with the ceiling."

"Duly noted," Ruth replied looking at the ceiling high above.

“It’s got a nice shape to it, Black thorn if I’m not mistaken.” Professor Flieger remarked. “The wood is well favored for the use of enchantments.”

“Same as my wand. - I reasoned that being my wand was blackthorn, a blackthorn staff for a broom would respond to my magic better.”

“Why is it white, and not black though?” Professor Marchbanks asked.

“Only the outer bark is black.” Professor Flieger stated. “Strip the wood of the bark and what you have left is a nice clean white shaft. After that, the color is dependent on the varnish used. - Ah, is this unicorn hair?”

“Pegasi.” Nova offered. “It’s some I had. - The trick to getting pegasus hair that can be used for a broom is to get the hair without stressing the pegasus.”

“Yes, of course, that would make sense. Trigger the flight or fight response, and the magic in the hair would be too erratic for use in a broom. - And you’ve done some mighty fine charms too...”

“Might I have a look at the broom?” Professor Marchbanks asked. Ruth took the broom over to her, and she inspected it. “Miss Moon. Quit holding back in class. And that goes for you too Maggie.”

“I’m sorry, it’s just that...” Nova began.

“You’d be scolded for being too good, is that it?” Master Scrimgeour asked.

“Scolded for being too good?” Professor Marchbanks asked astonished. “No, don’t tell me, Professor Krasnodar.”

“I have had formal training in Princess Celestia’s own school in our land of Eques from an early age.” Nova offered. “My own parents having passed on such additional knowledge they felt best. - To be measured against the least of your new students having known nothing of magic, and to be found at fault for knowing too much.” Nova left off that which was in her heart. “I can provide a letter, though I fear its words may be without standing in this land.”

“So is she the only one we need to be wary of?” Maggie asked.

“For the most part yes.” Master Scrimgeour offered. “You’ve already made a believer out of Professor Black, which isn’t easy to do mind you. - As for Professor Merrythought, your defense against the dark arts teacher, do as your told in regards to practical work, but feel free to provide detailed reports with plenty of verifiable references.”

“You’ll need to do exactly as told in my class as well.” Professor Flieger emphasized. “Not that I want to hold you back mind you. The issue is that I always get a mixed bag in first year. Some can ride, and some can not. And there are those who think they can, but can’t. - I’m more concerned with beginners trying to copy advanced fliers. - I already know you can. Furgus Potter, and Daisy Dartford have vouched for you, and they are on the Gryffindor quidditch team. - They also proclaimed you to be the best ride ever. - They quickly rephrased concerning what they meant.” He added the last with a smile, and a wink. Nova blushed, and laughed. “I’m to understand you have a riding outfit as well. Be sure to wear it to class.”

“Thank you, sir, I will.”

:derpytongue2:

That night a meeting was held in a small room with a single large oval table that would have looked very much at home in a corporate board room save that the center was open with a hearth in which coals of a fire long burning glowed quietly. On the walls were great works of art, presently filled with the subjects of many, interested as they were to the proceedings at hand. There gathered were the instructors of Hogwarts. The Head master sat in his place with a letter in front of him. They’d gathered to speak of Nova’s future, and to the surprise of many, Phineas Black was her stanchest supporter. Of course, Nova’s performance over the week had been that of an average student save for in potions. But this was explained by the headmaster while producing an additional parchment.

Professor Krasnodar objected refusing to acknowledge what her own headmaster bore witness to.

“We will give her another week.” Headmaster Scrimgeour said at last. “Then if her performance has not improved then nothing more be said on this matter. But if it has improved, then we should set her such tests as would be needed to properly evaluate her skill that she might be placed with her own age group, or as close as may be appropriate. - All those in agreement say eye.” One by one the witches and wizards said eye until there was but one hold out. That’s when a peculiar thing happened, out from one of the paintings stretched out the head of the Night Mare. Those gathered all saw it, all that is save the one who assumed they were looking at her. The Night Mare stretched ever closer, stuck out her tong with a goodly bit of spit on the end of her tong, and stuck it in Krasnodar’s ear.

👅 “Eyeeeeeeeeee!” Krasnodar cried.

“Well then, it’s unanimous.” Headmaster Scrimgeour said with a cheerful tone as the midnight blue mare retreated to the painting.

Chapter 7: Witches Brooms and secrets.

View Online

Nova looked at the brooms laying in the turf of the quidditch pitch with disgust. Not only did the school brooms look like they’d be lucky to fly, but the sweeps were in such bad condition they wouldn't even make a decent snack. It was Thursday afternoon, the day now split between Transfigurations and the broom riding class. Aside from the condition of the brooms, Nova’s week had been going well. Here teachers, with one exception, were encouraging her to excel. She’d also been bolstered by Moonie’s news that if she could demonstrate that she was worthy of advancement, she’d be given the opportunity. Every moment not in class, or when she was not doing after class assignments, was spent studying, along with making list of possible topics that might be presented to her, followed up by additional targeted study. Her study notes had reached epic proportions.

Back to the subject at hand, which Nova reasoned, might also be on a test as well.

“I’d like you all to pick out a broom.” Professor Flieger instructed.

Nova walked over to a broom that looked like it might hold up a little while longer and looked about to see what the others were doing. Most of the boys had picked out decent brooms as well. Of the girls, Maggie and Ruth had also picked out decent brooms. The three girls were also the only girls in the combined class who had on the prescribed riding outfit. The boys had trousers and a shirt on under their robes with the robes opened from the waist down.

“Sir, how is it that Gryffindors and Slytherins must be in the same broom class.” One of the Slytherin girls asked.

“Because it’s been my experience that Slytherins and Gryffindors more often than not, tend towards catching on fairly quickly when it comes to riding a broom.” Professor Flieger offered as a seventh-year boy flew over on what could only be his own broom. Then he added with a wink, “Not so much with Ravenclaws or Hufflepufs. - Not that you heard that from me, mind you. - Oh, right, Thoarin, you’re here, good. - Listen up, Thoarin is the Gryffindor quidditch team captain. He’ll be helping us. - Now the first thing we are going to do is give the command up, wait for it Mr Ogden.” One of the Gryffindor boys had already jumped ahead, and his broom was now in hand. “Place your right hand over the broom.”

“I’m left-handed.” Alma Ashworth offered. A Gryffindor girl.

“Unless you plan on sitting on your broom the wrong way around, you might just want to use your right hand. Do not straddle your broom while doing...” One of the boys let out a squeak and crumpled to the ground. “Especially the boys.” Barely canceled laughter bubbled up from the first years. “Do pay attention, and for heaven’s sake don’t go doing anything before I tell you. - Now, broom to your right, put out your hand, and command up. - Go on do it.”

Nova’s broom responded in an instant, as did Maggie’s, Ruth’s, and many others. Most of the boys had their brooms in hand within the third attempt, but many of the girls who were either muggle-born or having been discouraged to set bottom upon the shaft of wood struggled yet. This was an imposed condition set on the girls by parents and grandparents who held outdated notions about it being inappropriate for girls to ride a shaft of any sort. Especially if it meant putting it between their legs. Beatrice to her credit had her broom in hand within the second command.

“Well, those of you who have yet to command your broom, keep at it. - Those of you who’ve managed that much, come with me.” Professor Flieger instructed. “Thoarin, stay with them.” He then directed those who had their brooms in hand a few paces over.

“Now, for the girls who have skirts, you’ll want to sit side saddle.” Professor Flieger began. “Take the shaft, bring it round behind you, take hold behind you, bring it down, sit, twist forward, and shift your left hand forward. - Gentlemen, drop the sweep down, and step over. Bring the shaft up, and sit. - You three girls who have riding outfits may do the same. - Once you are aboard, grip tight the shaft of the broom with both hands, and your feet will gently lift up off the ground.”

He waited a few moments. “Now.” Professor Flieger began. “Your target will be the far end of the pitch, around the three goal rings, back to the goal rings at the other end. Take a steady pace, and fly no higher then you wish to fall. - Now, one by one, will your brooms forward, and be off with you.”

Immediately several boys took off, and raced for the goal. Maggie, Ruth, Nova, and Beatrice followed quickly. Several more looked unsure as to how to ‘will’ a broom to do anything.

Nova revaled at the feel of the wind in her face, and longed to soar into the sky. But no, she had to stay with the rest least someone try to follow. She also doubted the broom could manage it, and she’d be forced to transform. Far ahead the boy in the lead made a hard landing as his broom failed. He got up, and kicked at the broom.

“We’d best not go to fast.” Ruth offered. “These brooms I fear have seen better days.”

“I suppose I could call it a school expense.” Nova said softly to herself.

“Pardon?” Maggie asked.

“A gift I think to make, but I shall have to do so anonymously, and time it so that it won’t be delivered until after such decisions are made as to whether or not I’m to be advanced to the next grade, or not.”

“Would you leave me behind?” Maggie asked. There was a quiet hurt in her voice.

“My dear Maggie, the time when we must part will come far to soon.” Nova offered. “I linger here but a short while, and then I must be on my way.”

The girls said nothing more as they contemplated Nova’s words.

✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍

Come Saturday Headmaster Scrimgeour met with those teachers who’s opinions he felt mattered.

“Never have I seen a student so at home in the sky.” Professor Flieger offered. “As I’m sure you are aware the Gryffindor Quidditch team had their tryouts today. Allowed to use her own broom she danced upon the zephyrs as though she’d abandoned her task at catching the Snitch.”

“Yes, I saw.” Scrimgeour offered. “I suspect she’d caught the Snitch right from the start, and only came down when she’d drunk deeply of the joy of flight.”

“Indeed she did.” Flieger offered. “When she came down, Thoarin asked if she’d perhaps given up, indeed many of the hopefuls had given up hope of finding it. She apologized explaining that once she was in the air she’d no desire to come down so soon, pulled the Snitch out of her pocket, and gave it to him. Not one person can say when she had caught it.”

Phineas Black made an account of how Nova somehow managed to accomplish the tasks given her despite her partner Beatrice, who while improving under Nova’s tutelage was a complete dunderhead. “I will have to have one of my more patient apprentices keep an eye on Beatrice. I fear teaming her up with any of the other first years might prove disastrous.”

“You speak as though the decision has already been made.” Galatea Merrythought asked.

“And have you any reason why we should not?” Black asked. “If I had my way I’d evaluate the skill of all new students, and place them according to skill.”

“Which could potentially place a lot of muggle born at a disadvantage.” Scrimgeour reminded him.

“Better to place them at the level that is appropriate to their skill or lack there of then to hold back bright young minds. They’ll just have to catch up or fall behind.” Black stated flatly. "It's a pity we can't start them sooner."

Next came Griselda Marchbanks who made an account of how much better Nova was doing now that she no longer felt the need to hold back. She was followed by the charms teacher, and the herbology teacher who’d discovered that Nova had a vast knowledge of herbs, her only fault being she knew most by different names.

“We’ve not heard from you yet, Castor?” Headmaster Scrimgeour asked.

Professor Castor Steorra thought for a moment. “I’ve never seen a child soak up knowledge so fast, and yet, it’s as though she has never laid eye on the night sky before. That is to say our night sky.” He said at length.

“Well, she is from a different country.” Dietrich offered.

“That’s not it,” Castor replied in contemplation. “Surely her country would see the same night sky. She should know the same stars only by different names, just as with the herbs. - She doesn’t know the night sky at all. What’s more, it is on the first night of the first year Gryffindor class, at the end of the class, something occurred that I can’t quite place my finger on. I’d ushered the class downstairs only to discover she’d hung back, so I went back to get her. What I saw… at first I thought surely this girl is a Veela. True I was mesmerized, but what I felt wasn’t the sort of thing one would expect from a Veela. Her eyes were like silver, her hair billowed out even though the night air was still, stars danced about her, and she glowed as though a piece of the very moon had descended from the heavens. She was looking up at the moon with what I took to be longing, the sort of look one often sees in a child’s eyes who longs for home. I felt the power as well. There was more power in her at that moment then I’ve ever felt from another human being in my life. Some ancient power fearsome, and ominous. And then it was over, and she was back to being just an ordinary girl. She turned to me, and I saw such sadness in her eyes that I nearly wept. She must have known I’d seen everything. She looked me in the eye and said in a soft voice ‘It’s so cold, so lonely’ as though she’d expected to feel some familiar presence on the moon.” He stopped for a moment, the room remaining silent as the others contemplated what he’d said. “She turned away, said she needed to go back to her room, and that was it.”

“What do we know of Celestial foxes?” Merrythought asked. “I too felt that surge of power.”

“Not much of anything I’m afraid.” Scrimgeour offered. “Only rumor, legend, and conjecture of what kind of creature they might even be. I can’t help but wonder if what you saw was a manifestation of her blood curse. - I felt that surge as well. Most ancient it felt. - Still though, we should not fear what we do not know or understand, for if we do, we will be little better then muggles ourselves. - What I can tell you is what I know of Princess Celestia who’d been a silent partner in the founding of this institution. From the first-hand accounts of her, and the palace that Princess Nova has in Gryffindor tower, yes, a palace. Princess Celestia’s power must truly be awesome.”





On the following Saturday Nova was presented with a battery of exams, and by Monday morning she was presented with third-year books, and told not to be late for class. Nova was ecstatic, gave all her friends a hug, and called for Daisy Dartford to wait up as Nova had no idea where she needed to go.

👻

All hallows Eave

Moonie delighted at this holiday more so then Nova and was delighting in hoping out of paintings, crossing whatever room hall or stairwell she might be in to jump back into another. After all, it was to her, but a variation of her maker’s own holiday. No one could be sure when she’d do it, and people began eyeing dark horses in paintings suspiciously. Now the thing about Halloween at Hogwarts is that it was the one time of year that pranks were not only tolerated but encouraged. And only now did Nova begin to understand what Celestia had done to her guardian as Moonie engaged in some very Princess Celestia like pranks. Among other things, hot sauce seemed to be finding its way into some interesting things. Halloween was also Mrs Krasnodar’s least favorite holiday next to All Fools day owing to the fact that she was universally disliked. Nor was the tentacle coming out of her coffee cup appreciated.

Meanwhile, the students who could make the ghost balls had discovered they could pack multiple tufts together to create rideable clouds, but only by the people capable of packing the things. Nova couldn't help but speculate that these most talented in the packing of clouds might have pegasi counterparts in Equestria. Students could be seen belly surfing on tiny clouds down hallways and across rooms throughout the school. Those who’d yet to figure out the trick would fall right through landing painfully on the floor. Other areas were full of strange mists do to the use of expansion spells on the little clouds, and a few enterprising individuals had even sculpted spooky ghosts that both alarmed and amazed many. Even the ghost were fascinated by them. Meanwhile, Fergus having figured out how to make mini thunder clouds, would set them adrift, and then activate it with a wand from a distance.

A close call happened with the clouds when one of the boys found himself on a slowly diminishing cloud high ever the well of the grand staircase. Watching him attempting to swim in mid-air would have been comical if not for the immediate danger. Several professors got their wands out to levitate the lad to safety just as Moonie swept up underneath and carried him aloft. She circled around a few times landed, and walked into a painting, the boy dropping to the floor with a plop.

“Then I shall tell you the tale of that which lead to my coming here.” Nova offered to a small group, one of whom had asked her. She’d gotten her hands on a strange instrument that couldn't seem to decide if it was a guitar or a harp, and strummed it now and then.

“I’m afraid it’s all on account of cake.

The thing is...

The Queen of the day she loved her cake, and never a bite would she share it.

But the queen of night looked on in delight, and swore she’d dine upon it.

Stealthily she crept while her sister slept, and stole it out from under.

But before she could be away, her sister they say awoke from her slumber. - And the chase goes on to this very day.”



“So what you are saying is we now have night and day thanks to a theft of cake?” Someone asked bemused.

“Wait, what? What’s night and day have to do with cake?”

“She’s been pulling your leg.” Beatrice offered having joined the group. She’d a smirk on her face. “Not that you didn’t deserve it, what with asking about personal family matters that are none of our business. - The Queen of the Day is the sun, and the Queen of the Night is the moon.”

Nova gave Beatrice a hug. “I knew you were clever from the moment I set eyes on you. - By the way, how are you doing in potions?”

“Do you mean since you abandoned me?”

“I suppose so, but that too is a lesson.” Nova offered. “Rely on your friends when they are by your side, but remember that there will be times when they won’t be there to help you.”

“I confess it’s a hard lesson.” Beatrice offered. “I floundered at first, but after my potions had failed no less than three times I took to heart what you’d been trying to get through to me. - Potions are indeed a serious business. - Now, on the other hand, I’m quite good at creating teacups.”

“I imagined you might be.” Nova offered with a smile even as someone came running to where they’d gathered.

“Miss Moon, Miss Moon.” said a boy gasping for breath as he approached.

“Can we help you?” Nova asked.

“Bathroom. Hole. Down.” He gasped.

“Must be some new riddle for us.” Nova Mused. “Take a moment, and try again.”

“Harold, bathroom.” He began again.

“You are the Harold of Bathroom?” Beatrice asked thinking it some prank.

“No, Harold Ollivander was in the bathroom, and he went down the hole.”

“I know he’s thin, but you can’t be suggesting he got flushed can you?” Beatrice asked.

“Not flushed.” the boy offered. He’d run a considerable distance and was still trying to get his breath.

“Oisin, try explaining with a little more detail.” Nova prompted as she let go of her grip on Beatrice.

“We um, a group of us boys that is, snuck into the girls' bathroom...”

“You what?” Several of the girls chimed.

“Second floor. - To get a look at the big hole in the wall. He slipped, and slid right down the pipe.” Oisin explained.

“Oh, and you want me to transform, and fly down after him don’t you.” Nova replied, her voice well flavored with rising anger. The girls had for the most part stayed well clear of that hole, and the boys… it was a girl’s privy for harmony's sake!

“I wouldn't ask, but you know what the teachers said. We thought...”

“You thought you’d come to me when you should be going to the teachers.” Nova all but spat out. “I swear, that boy will be the end of me yet. And I’ve a good idea why none of our professors want to go near it. There is a foul rank smell coming out of there.”

“Then you’ll not help?”

“I didn’t say that. Duty calls, and away I must go once more into the breach.” Nova said her voice commanding as though it rang with distant thunder. She handed the instrument she’d found to Beatrice, transformed to her fox form, and shot away with blinding speed.

“Pray tell, where has my charge gone to in such great haste?” Moonie asked poking her head out of a painting.

“To the toilet.” Beatrice offered.

“We shall have to counsel her not to wait so long then.” Moonie mused, and then trotted off in the direction Nova had gone.

:trixieshiftright:

The flight of the celestial fox through the school gathered the attention of more then a few to the point she might as well have been a flare racing through the halls.

“Away from there you fools!” Nova shouted on entering the second flour girl’s toilet. A moment later she dove into the hole.

The stench. Surely something horrible waited in that pit. Nor was it toilet stench either.

Nova transformed back into her true form, the passage plenty large enough for a small pony, and used the spell of recall to teleport her messenger uniform, the blue gray Shadow bolt duty uniform, and black armor took but a moment to put on while slowly descending. What the girls had assumed to be shields were in fact wing guards.

Nova made fast her hoof daggers of adamantine, true silver the metal was often called, cast a camouflage spell, and silently drifted down the passage. She stayed close the ceiling while stealing her nerves less she falter.

“Snakes, why does it have to be snakes?” Harold’s voice could be heard from somewhere ahead. A few moments later he let out an odd sort of eep followed by the sound of something hitting the floor.

Nova glided into a large chamber, a crypt of some sort. That or a shrine to snakes. There was a stone path down the center which was guarded on either side by great busts of snakes that came up out of dark reflecting pools making it impossible to know how deep the stone snakes went. Up ahead…

Nova’s fur stood on end, her fear having taken form there in front of her the great worm raised up, but it did not as yet perceive the silent hunter gliding into the chamber. Beyond that the face of Slitherin. The creatures mind was presently on the now lifeless boy. Nova did not know what this serpent was, but thought sure that it could only be the fabled Jabberwock. Her father’s words came back to her, beware the Jabberwock my foal! The jaws that bite, the claws… hang on, this thing had no claws, though it definitely had jaws that bite, and pail eyes of cannery yellow. She never did much care for the color. Perhaps it was a Frumious Bandersnatch? Yes, that must be it. That or Wyrm. Wyrm seamed most likely.

The Wyrm in offish thought cast its eyes away from its pray. It could smell the fear, and feel the air displaced. It knew not where, and scalled the chamber with eyes of flame.

Down she struck, one two, through and through, her blades of adamantine cut. And then with a crack, the boy she’d snatch, and away once more with a mighty thunderclap before the head could hit the floor.

High above they listened with fright, as the Beast thrashed its last, it’s head now on the floor.





Crack!

The air shattered as the armored pegacorn appeared in the great hall, the camouflage spell having been abandoned. She took no heed of those around, struck as they were by an odd mix of fear and an irrational desire to hug it, and laid her charge on the floor, his eyes to open never more. Her head did rise and summoned to herself one of Fergus’s black clouds. She held it above Harold, and with a thwack the cloud gave a crack, and dear sweet Harold, did jump to life once more.

Harold looked up at the pony, knew that mane, he coughed, and said. “Hi Nova.”

“Idiot,” Nova replied, and vanished with a crack.

🎃

“Nova!” Moonie called, her words echoing in the now still crypt. On realizing what was going on she’d raced down after, but Nova had teleported away, the castle’s wards never having been designed to negate unicorn magic. Nova popped back in with a loud crack. “What in the name of harmony?!”

“Harold Ollivander fell in, and found his way here.” Nova offered while producing a swarm of steel balls from a small saddle bag. Each about the size of a marble. “He was mostly dead, and I made quick to return the favor to this serpent.”

“Dead?”

“He got better.”

“He got better?”

“His heart had stopped. I jump started him with one of Fergus’s clouds.” Nova then began to assault the mask of Salazar Slytherin with her heavy steel shot using her levitation spell to fire the shot repeatedly at the mask. The speed of the shot anywhere between eight hundred to a thousand horns distance per second. High above it sounded like the attack of a thousand wood peckers. Or was it jack hammers? The sound of the shot racing through the air faster and faster emanated forth, the sound twisted so that it sounded like the rumbling of a dragon.

“Why art though doing this?” Moonie asked at length, and then the mask of Salazar cracked, and fell with a mighty crash. Nova was forced to use her shield to protect herself as a great wall of dust and debris issued forth, and up the pipe forcing the people who’d gathered in the bathroom to flee, and bar the doors.

When the dust had cleared a clutch of pail green eggs had been reveled in a hollow behind the mask, among them one egg that clearly did not belong in that clutch.

“A pegasus egg!” Moonie exclaimed.

“I sensed the eggs...” Her eyes on the pegasus egg. “I never would have guest there’d be a pegasus egg.” Nova offered. She used her magic to gently lift the pegasus egg to herself, and then destroyed the eggs of the serpent. “A task I give you now, my dear sweet knight, search these passages so that we might know if there is a mate. Find the openings, and collapse them, if you dare, so that no other beast may enter and place at threaten those we would call friends. - I’ll take this egg to our Tia, and then I must reappear in human form so that none will be so foolish as to venture down here.” And with that she vanished to reappear in her own hall.

“Tia!” Nova called. “I have much need of you! - Tia!”

The avatar of Princess Celestia appeared before her, her countenance more of light then of flesh. “A need?”

“I have just now rescued this egg from a great worm who’d kept it, perhaps as a snack for later. It’s still warm, but I must be quickly away before I am searched for.”

“This little one will need love.” Tia offered.

“This little one will need to be kept warm while I must be away, and I see no more perfect incubator then thyself.” Nova offered. “And I’ve no doubt our sweet Princess Celestia has endowed you with a fair share of her love.”

“You would make an incubator of me?” Tia said with a smile. “This will likely be a wild pegasi.”

“Even so, I could not leave this little one behind. It would be against the Shadowbolt code.”

👥

Outside the girls bathroom a gathering of teachers waited with wands ready, the students urged away. The door opened, and light shown forth. Nova walked out in human form, while behind her was the golden alicorn. The Alicorn waited but a moment, and was gone. The gap in the wall now sealed with the crest of Celestia.

Nova stepped out of the room, and the teachers lowered their wands. Those students who’d not as yet left the hall looked on in wonderment. “I have need to speak with the Headmaster.” Nova said. “Concerning this matter.”

“What has happened?” Professor Marchbanks asked, she being the first to regain her wits.”

“An ancient trap that gap, beneath which was a chamber of secrets. But I will not speak of it now. Let the depths of the mountains keep their dark secrets. That which is down there shall never find it’s way here by that passage.”

“Princess Nova.” Headmaster Scrimgeour called as he made his way down the hall. “Come, and we will discus this.”

“Professor Marchbanks, will you come as well, I’ve a mater I need speak with you both as well.” Nova offered, and a moment later the three took their leave.

📝

“I was in the hall when you appeared, and returned life to Harold Ollivander.” Brutus Scrimgeour Headmaster of Hogwarts said once the three had retired to his office.

“I did no such thing.” Nova replied.

“Do you deny that was yourself?” Scrimgeour asked.

“I do not.” Nova offered. “I did not return his life. I but used the energy in the small cloud to restart his heart.”

“What is this I hear?” Griselda Marchbanks asked. “And what was that golden pegasus of light?”

“The mare of light was none other then the avatar of my Aunt Celestia.” Nova offered. “There was a great worm in a secreted chamber deep in the mountain. A shrine of sorts dedicated to Salazar Slytherin.” She paused but a moment to collect her thoughts. “Crypt it was. Quit possibly Salazar Slytherin’s judging from the mask.” “There was a number of underground passages leading out from there as well.”

“From what Harold told me, that worm was a Basilisk. It’s very look is death if it but looks into the eyes.” Scrimgeour offered. “I then made my way to the second floor toilets as quickly as I could. And from what I know of Salazar Sltyherin he left after a heated disagreement with the founders never to return. - Strange, and troubling this.”

“The death that Harold experienced is not a true death.” Nova offered. “Such was the power of that gaze that it caused Harold’s heart to stop. And such is Fergus Potter that he’d unwittingly given me the means to start that heart again. - Granted there is a finite time to do so.”

“I see. - And you apparated, you and him to the main hall in the guess of a pegasus.” Scrimgeour stated.

“Teleported, it’s a different sort of magic, and the wards bar not unicorn magic.” Nova offered. She then told them all that had transpired.

“But how is it you can use unicorn magic?” Professor Marchbanks asked astonished when Nova had finished.

“She has a second Animageus form. That of a winged unicorn.” Scrimgeour offered. “That which we commonly name a pegacorn.”

“Two Animageus forms?” Marchbanks asked astonished.

“And undoubtedly the reason for her presumed blood curse I think. It’s left the permanent mark on her.” Scrimgeour reasoned. Nova’s second form was actually that of a human girl, but she did not as yet wish to correct this error in his thinking. “But you said you retrieved a pegasus egg. What do you intend to do with it now?”

“I intend to hatch the little one, and raise them as my own. And before you object, my people are well versed in how to raise a pegasus, and I am better equipped then any ordinary mortal man. All I’ll need is milk for the foal once they’ve hatched.”

“You speak as though you are immortal.” Professor Marchbanks pointed out.

“Well I’m fairly sure death will find me quick enough if sword or spear should give me grievous injury.” Nova offered. “As to how long I expect to live, only time will tell.” Then she added with a lighthearted smile. “And I shall count ever day past today as a gift. Had that Basilisk, as you called it, had realized I was hunting it from above the chamber instead of cowering in fear somewhere, I might not be here now, but in the belly of the beast. - Thought it seemed more to me to be a Wyrm. It was a bit too dragonish, and lacked the limbs that a basilisk would normally have.”

“Never a truer word has ever been spoken I suspect regarding your good fortune.” Her words troubled him. “Can’t very well go down there to look at it short of going in through the sewers. Pity.” Scrimgeour offered. “I’ll let our master of beasts, Mr Mackintosh, know to be at your disposal. - There is also the issue of the fact that it had eggs in the first place. A Basilisk is something created by a wizard and it’s not supposed to be able to reproduce. Plus there is the possibility of another out there somewhere. - Were you not afraid?”

“Afraid?” Nova asked boldly. “I was near ready piss myself.” She punctuated her statement with a smile, and a laugh that spoke of great relief at coming through her adventure un-eaten. “My Moonie is looking to see if there might be another, just as well no one can get down there. - Also, I’d like to keep the presence of the pegasus egg quiet. And it’ll be necessary for me to spend as much time with the egg as possible. That means sleeping with the little one while in my pegasus form as it’s beneficial to the foal inside. Also with your permission, and Mr Mackintosh's permission, I’d like to open a door as close to the barns as possible.”

“You don’t mean to keep it in your bed in the tower do you?” Professor Marchbanks asked.

“On the Contrary, I’ll be sleeping in my own bed, as the tower is a might bit too cool for a foal. I’ve also talked Tia into being an incubator when I’m not there.”

“Tia?” Scrimgeour asked.

“Princess Celestia’s avatar.” Nova explained. “I believe you got a glimpse. She’s the one who placed the seal on the entrance to the chamber, and I should probably talk to her about providing you with a way in.” she had to think a moment. “I doubt you’d want her setting an egg in my room in the tower. I imagine her presence might unhinge my roommates. I didn’t introduce her to yourselves at Tea when you came to visit as I figured everything would be overwhelming enough.”

“I got a good look, and she’s right, that whatever that was would be rather unsettling for the students.” Professor Marchbanks admitted. “This whole affair will be rather unsettling, and I think it best we do some readjusting regarding what people have seen. Rumors will run rampant if we don’t. I can tell Caydence you are working on a special project. - How do we contact you though?”

“The two of you can just knock and Miss Aiko will let you in.” Nova offered. “The girls in my dorm room have access as well. And the owls seem to have no difficulty finding their way in. The girls understand to stay out of my chambers, except I’ve allowed Maggie in. I’ll have to bring her into my confidence. Suddenly telling her she can’t come in would be difficult. I let Ruth and Florence use one of the baths, and they have willingly kept the scope of my apartment a secret so they wouldn't have to share the bath I let them use.” Nova gave a wink.

“Oh so that’s it.” Professor Marchbanks said with a smile. “Caydence has yet to see any of the four of you use the girl’s baths, and couldn't for the life of her figure out how you were keeping yourself clean.”

“The dorm baths are hardly large enough for the amount of girls that are expected to use them.” Nova offered.

“I shall have to see about expanding it, or providing more.” Scrimgeour offered. “Especially being that we’ve been saved the cost of new brooms thanks to an anonymous and generous donation. I’ll give you what you want. And we will do our best to keep secret all that needs being kept secret. - I think what we will tell everyone is that Harold fell down an old sewage pipe, you went after him, and there’d been a collapse.”

“My greatest fear is that some curious person might do some mischief out of ignorance.” Nova offered. “A pegasus foal is a most delicate treasure. Even more so while still in the egg.”

“Now, I wish to talk to Professor Marchbanks, and you may return to your precious bundle.” Scrimgeour requested.

“I think that I’d like to check on Harold, it’ll be time for dinner when I’m done, and then I’ll turn in early.” Nova offered as she got up. “Thank you.”

Headmaster Scrimgeour waited till she left.

“Are you sure letting her keep that egg is a good idea.” Professor Marchbanks asked.

“How could I not when she thinks of the egg like a child? And for all we know she may be more of pegasus then human.” His mind went back to the paintings in Nova’s apartments. The paintings featured mostly ponies of the field, unicorns, pegasi of the sky, and pegacorns arrayed in royal remnant. Not a single painting of a human could he remember seeing. The Avatar of Celestia looked very much like one of the royal pegacorns. Yes, he’d gotten a glimpse if not a good look. “I can’t help but wonder why she hasn’t let Caydence know the full extent of her apartments.”

“Dear Caydence is a bit of a meddler, and I doubt she’d keep any of this secret for long.” Professor Marchbanks offered. “Oh her motives would be good enough, but in her desire to be helpful, the wrong people are bound to find out.”

🛏

Nova arrived at the schools infirmary to find Thoarin, Fergus, Daisy, and Newt were presently visiting with Harold. The four members of the quidditch team had a worried look on their faces. “How is he doing?” Nova asked.

“Nova.” Thoarin said looking at her. “There’s been some queer rumors since he fell in the hole. What's more is he’s got some idea that you’re a horse. - I think he bumped his head on the way down.”

“Now Harold, you mustn't be telling people I’m a horse.” Nova chastised softly.

“There was a pegasus, I saw it. A lot of people saw it.” Fergus offered. “It even had armor on.”

Nova thought for a moment. “Harold and I were pulled out of the old sewage drain following its collapse. Harold was taken strait to the infirmary, and I went to talk with the Headmaster. Harold bumped his head, and you saw a prank that was ill timed. - That’s all there was to it.”

The others looked at her, blinked, but said nothing to the contrary. Nova wasn’t happy about what she’d just done, but it’d make things easier.

“Harold, you’re lucky you even survived the fall.” Daisy said.

“So what was it like to have a sewage tunnel collapse while you were in it?” Fergus asked.

“Really scary, and not something I ever want to experience again.” Nova offered. Behind her the sound of one of the professors could be heard approaching. Nova turned to see Professor Merrythought the DADA teacher. How much had she seen?

“Miss Nova, I’d like a word with you if I may? - The rest of you, with the exception of Mr Ollivander who will be staying over night for observation, need to be off to dinner. I’m to understand he got hit in the head by a very large chunk of the ceiling.” Professor Merrythought said to them.

“Professor?” Nova asked.

“Come, I’ve something I wish to discus, a little extra credit if you’re up to it.” Professor Merrythought said, while indicating that Nova should follow.

“Well now I see why I can’t read you.” Merrythought offered as they went down a hallway. Nova said nothing till after they’d gone into a small library off an office that was used by Professor Merrythought.

“Messing with the minds of my friends is not something I do lightly.” Nova offered. “It is a distasteful betrayal of trust, and to do it to my own friends. Nor would you want to read my mind.”

“Wouldn't I?”

“I got caught up in a war.” Nova shuddered at the memory. “Some of my memories are not the sort of thing any sane person would want to see.” Nova took in a deep breath, and let it out slowly. “Nor do I wish to forget wholly those comrades in arms who I loved so well.” Nova let out a sigh. “Leave me to deal with my memories, and tell me what it was you wanted?”

Professor Merrythought said nothing, went to a table where a large book lay, and opened to a bookmark. “Is this what you saw in the crypt?”

Nova looked at the three dimensional image that moved about on the page. It’s glare gave her a shiver. “Sure is a good thing a picture of one doesn’t become one. - What I saw was more dragonish.” Nova then thumbed through the pages till she found the page for the Wyrm which was a sort of legless dragon while still being considered a serpent. The king of snakes it might be called, though generally considered a dragon. She studied that one for a bit, but no, that wasn’t quite right either, and Wyrms didn’t have the same eyes as a Basilisk when it looked into your eyes.

Nova got an idea, pulled out her wand, and then pulled out the images from the book to compare them side by side. Professor Marythought watched in amazement. “Don’t worry, it’s just an illusion. There’s a few things I’m especially good at and illusions are one. - Now, what I saw was very much like a Wyrm having no limbs, more so then the large snake-like creature listed as a Basilisk, but at the same time more snake like then a typical Wyrm.” She then combined the two images, and made a few adjustments. “There, that’s what I saw.” She announced satisfied with her work. “I sent my Moonie to see if there might be a mate being there was a clutch of eggs. - Any chance you have an image cell I can place this in so I can save the image?”

“Yes, yes, of course.” Merrythought offered, and pulled out a large book with mostly blank pages. She opened the book to a blank cell, and Nova lowered what she’d created into it, the image forming.

“So that’s it then. And you killed it?”

“I got the drop on it. I was lucky. I’m also battle hardened.” Nova offered. “Being here has helped… save for this instance.”

“Dare say I’d have fared as well.”

“Can you fly, camouflage yourself, and teleport?”

“Yes, but to dive down, and kill, I’m assuming you didn’t try to use your wand.”

“I’ve two daggers of adamantine locked away in my apartments that I summoned to myself.”

“Adamantine? - Next you’ll be telling me you’ve got Andúril and Elvish armor.”

“Ah, no… I do have armor that’s made from laminated woven spider silk though. Very durable, resistant to magical attack, and light weight. - As a message runner my armor had to be light weight. Won’t save me from being swallowed hole though.”

“Was it that big?”

“Sure seemed like it. - I’d no desire to stick around to take measurements.”

“Can’t blame you. And to think something like that was right under this very castle. Likely an opening out in the forest. No idea if there was another?”

“Well unless that thing was plumbed the same way a phoenix is, I’m of the assumption it had a mate.” Nova offered. "The area it was living in was very damp too. With pools of water in the crypt. No proper Basilisk would live in such a place."

“Sure hope there aren’t any more entrances here in the castle.” Merrythought said with a shudder. “Why don’t you run along to dinner now. I’m going to save this, and add a few notes.”

“Alright, thank you.”

“It’s we who should be thanking you.”

🍽

Nova arrived at the dining hall a short time later to find she was the last of the students to have arrived. She found her seat, and sat down to wait for the special Halloween feast. Everyone around her was talking about Harold falling down a shaft, Nova diving in, how it collapsed, and the staff rescuing them both. It wasn’t what had actually happened, but Nova was fine with it. Non of the students needed to know about the things that lurked deep under the mountain. After dinner, she informed her roommates that she’d be retiring to her apartment for the night. They seemed to understand, believing she’d nearly been buried alive, and let her go without any fuss.

“Nova found the celestial avatar in her bed keeping their precious bundle warm. The egg had brightened considerably, it’s muted colors now looking more like a proper Equestrian Pegasus egg. Nova transformed back into a pony, the two switched places, Nova curled about the egg with a wing over it, and used her magic to pull the covers over herself. Contented she fell fast asleep.

It was Saturday night, and she slept till noon the next day.

Chapter 8: Of brooding and quidditch and winter's gift.

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When Nova went down to satisfy her hunger at noon, she met the Headmaster who asked her see him right after she had finished her lunch. Breakfast in her case.

Nova ate quickly, apologized to her friends, and left to go find the Headmaster. She made her way to His tower, knocked, and the door opened. Going up the steps she found the way made short, and soon stepped into the office. She was more relaxed this time, and looked about to many strange and precious objects. Scrimgeour had his face in a large basin filled with water. She read the runes around the edge and took it to mean it had something to do with memories. Old Ponish it was. How interesting, Nova thought as the Headmaster lifted his face out, took a towel, and dried his face.

“Ah, you’re here. - Come have a look.”

“What is it I’m to see?” Nova asked.

“I found something, a memory that belonged to a past master. Have a look.”

Nova came forward, gave him a look, and then placed her face in the basin. “Aunt Tia!” Nova said in surprise. What she saw was a view of the Hogwarts main hall, new from construction. Princess Celestia was in human form, but unmistakable in her radiant beauty, and very much like the Principle Celestia she had once met. Celestia was speaking with Godric Gryffindor, and a wizard that made her think of Starswirl, though Nova had no idea what they were talking about as the view seemed to be from the perspective of a child some distance away.

Nova pulled out and shook herself off leading to Scrimgeour having to wipe himself off again. “Thank you for that… it must be a very old memory.” She'd a smile on her face. “I suspect that’s Godric Gryffindor, and if I have to make a guess I’d suspect the wizard with the bells on his hat to be Starswirl in his youth. He’s not much of a beard yet.”

Scrimgeour laughed. “Glad you liked it.” He got out a small vial, and used his wand to siphon a silvery liquid out of the water in the basin, and into the vial. His expression turned serious. He put the vial in a small safe that receded into a cabinet when he closed it. “About what happened yesterday, we’ve modified the memories of the student body.” Nova looked at him as if to say, ‘and…’ He smiled. “Yes, of course, you as likely noticed. I got a copy of Harold’s memory of what he saw prior to your adjusting his memory. I was wondering if I might get a memory from you?”

“I guess it can’t hurt,” Nova said turning to him. “How do you do this?”

“Bring the memory forward, and I’ll siphon out a copy with my wand.”

“Alright then.” Nova offered, and closed her eyes and remembered, though the memory was anything but pleasant to her. The wizard's wand touched her forehead, and a moment later he withdrew.

“Thank you,” he said. “You may go find Master Mackintosh now.”

“I hope that helps.” Nova offered as she opened her eyes. He thanked her, and then she went back down the steps.

Scrimgeour took a couple steps and poured the memory into the basin. He placed his face in the bowl, and saw once more the crypt of Salazar. Before him lay Harold Ollivander, beyond him the wyrm, its eyes that of a basalisk. Above him, as the great beast raised it’s head, a shadow passed overhead. The air stirred not by his reckoning, and yet the beast looked out over the darkness as if expecting, but it did not expect what happened next as the shadow dove down from the ceiling. This pegasus was a hunter. Scrimgeour did not expect what happened next as a memory within a memory suddenly dropped him high in the air. He saw himself flying, riding high on the wind, and below a great host of armored horse on hoof and wing, and every magical creature he could imagine, and more. Here the armies of the day and night, their banners rolling on the wind, lined up to face a host of fell things so horrible the sight of which caused him to spring back from the basin as a great cloud rose up to obscure the sun. The cloud had eyes of green hate and purple smoke. A moment later he found himself sprawling on the floor. He sat there in wonder at what he’d seen. Did he just see some ancient events from before the time of men? He looked once more, the scene in the crypt played out again. Miss Nova’s form shrouded in shadow, no an illusion meant to hide her presence, and the wings, unlike any common pegasus, glided effortlessly in silence. Again he watcher her dive, and again he saw the vast armies in the thousands. It was but a fleeting glimpse, and then he was in the hall where Nova had taken Harold. He watched closely as she used the magically created cloud to jolt the boy back to life, and smiled when Harold had somehow recognized her. And now he was back in the crypt. Scrimgeour watched in amazement as Nova propelled steel at the face of Slytherin, over and over they flew chipping away at the mask till it cracked. Could these be meteoric iron he wondered, and to use them in such a way as this? The two ponies hadn’t known what they’d find, Nova had suspected, and the pegasus egg had been a bonus.

Scrimgeour sat back as the memory played out. He was puzzled, and couldn't help but wonder if this girl was even human. Not that he need concern himself too much. If nothing else, Nova had shown herself to be a defender of the light. One who would not willingly suffer any evil to come near those she called friend.

⚔⚔⚔⚔⚔⚔⚔⚔⚔⚔⚔⚔⚔⚔⚔⚔⚔⚔⚔⚔

Nova made her way to the sheds and barns of the family that cared for the animals of Hogwarts oblivious to the landmine she’d left in that memory. The caretaker's house was a modest dwelling of thatched roof, and white walls. She approached, and knocked on the door as Phenik flew down, and landed on her shoulder. No sound came from the house so she knocked again, a bit louder. She waited, and just about the time she thought to try again, a voice called for her to hold her horses. She wasn’t to sure what she thought of that. Not like she went around telling ponies to hold their humans. She wondered how ponies would react if she were to say such a thing, and smiled.

“Well, what kin I do ya?” asked an old woman as she opened the door.

“I’m sorry to bother you. My names Nova Moon. I was looking for Mr Mackintosh.”

“He’s out in the barns, but that’s not a safe place for a little girl, phoenix or not. - Come on in. You may call me granny if you like, everyone does.” Granny offered, opening the door wide. “Come on in, you’ll let the flies in.” Nova did as bid, her ears telling her there was already a fair number of flies already in the house.

Granny bid Nova follow her back into an expansive kitchen where all manner of things were being prepared. A stack of large oat treacle cookies were stacked up on a counter. They looked so inviting, whatever it was Granny was saying was completely ignored. Nova took one, never once thinking she shouldn’t. After all, ever since she’d been here, anything placed in front of her that wasn’t a potion was there to be eaten.

“Hear now, don’t be taking a bite out of that...”

Nova took a bite. The flavor of oats, molasses, bits of baked apple, and a heavy seasoning of salt lick assailed her taste buds. She closed her eyes relishing in the flavor.

“..that’s for the ponies.” Granny looked at Nova thoroughly perplexed. Most children would have spit it out in an instant. When Nova went for a second Granny swatted her with a wooden spoon. “Don’t be helping yer-self without asking, little Miss.”

“I’m sorry,” Nova replied nursing her hand. “I guess my manners have slipped a bit. - That sure was good though.”

“Yer an odd little girl. What with coming in here with a phoenix on yer shoulder, and eating oatcakes meant for the ponies.”

“Speaking of ponies, you wouldn't happen to have one that will be nursing soon?” Nova asked. “In say about two months?”

The old woman looked at Nova, a sadness coming over her. “We did.” A thoughtful expression crossed her face. “A young pegasus made her nest in one of the hay lofts. We kept her presence a secret so that none would harass her. - She came to trust, Mac, and I, and laid a single egg.”

“One to two eggs is normal.” Nova offered.

“So you know something about pegasi, do you?”

“More then you could possibly guess.” Nova offered with a smile. Her smile failed. “Did you know what it was that killed her? And stole the egg?”

“How, no I suppose that goes without saying, and no, we have no idea what it was.” Granny offered. “Some great serpent slunk in here right in the middle of the day while everyone was inside having fun, leaving a trail of death. Just for one egg.”

“The egg is rescued and in my care. One of the foul wyrms that took the egg is now dead.” Nova announced.

“What?” Granny was shocked. “Is this the project the Headmaster spoke of?”

“The little one will be in far better care in my house than anywhere else.”

“In Gryffindor tower, I think not?!”

“In, but not in. Allow me a section of a blank wall, and I will show you.”

"And what exactly is it you intend to do?"

"I need to open a door."

“Alright then, There.” Granny pointed at the far end of the kitchen where there was a blank wall just large enough for a door. Nova walked over to it, dropped down on all fours as she was going, and transformed into a winged unicorn, Phenik moving to the top of her head. “Pegacorn?” Granny whispered as Nova touched horn to the wall. The wall shimmered, and a door appeared as though raising up from out of the water. The door opened to reveal a short flight of steps into a rustic old kitchen with an open hearth to the left shortly after entering.

“If you can leave your cooking for a little while, I’ll show you my home.” Nova offered.

Granny turned down a number of things she’d been working on and followed the little pony up into the kitchen. There were cupboards and a table with chairs. To the far left a place to hang jackets, and to the right a window that looked out over the grounds from the Gryffindor tower of all things. If this wasn’t disconcerting enough, the fire seemed to be looking at her.

“Alright, who’s in that fire?” Granny asked turning to look into the fire.

“I am a powerful fire demon.” Said the fire. Every so often the fire took on the shape of the head of a unicorn.

“Tia, what are you doing in there?” Nova asked.

“Making sure you weren’t trying to sneak in a colt friend. One egg to look after is bad enough.” Tia offered from the fire.

“Please tell me you haven't cast the egg into this enchanted fire?” Granny asked.

“What? No. The little one is in my bed, where I trust my dear Tia has been keeping them warm.” Nova offered.

“You know, I can be in more than one place at the same time.” Tia offered. “Of course I’ve been keeping the little one warm. What have you been doing?”

“Making inquiries regarding the need for milk when our bundle of joy hatches. You know I’m too young to be providing milk myself.” She took a big breath, and let it out again. “Be a couple more years yet I think before I’m mature enough.”

“Well you’d best switch back, the girls are in the lounge doing their reports.”

“Good to know,” Nova replied, and turned back into her human form. “Thank you.”

“This is… incredible.” Granny offered.

“Ha, you haven't seen the least of it yet.” Tia offered.

“You mean the half, don’t you?” Granny asked.

“Half?” Tia said then laughed. “This is but the hoof of the horse.”

Nova rolled her eyes. “Shall we?”

From there they passed through a door into a corridor that looked out at a park, down the corridor passing several rooms inside one of which looked to be a medical examination room unlike any Granny had ever seen. They went upstairs where granny got a glimpse of the rotunda, the balcony that looked out over the school grounds, and then they turned into the lounge that overlooked the greenhouse.

“This is truly the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen,” Granny said looking out into the greenhouse. Maggie, Ruth, and Florence having grown accustomed to it, all laughed quietly. They loved seeing the looks on the faces of the adults who’d been allowed to see the place.

“My project is in my chambers.” Nova offered to direct Granny to the large door to the apartment. “Just a peek.” Nova opened the door ever so slightly. Granny came and gasped at what she saw. Inside was a large winged unicorn that appeared to have been sculpted from a shaft of sunlight. In the center warmed by this being of light was a small bright egg. “Are you satisfied that I can provide proper care?”

“I… I am,” Granny said softly. She stepped away, and Nova closed the door. The two returned downstairs.

“What’s she got in there anyway?” Ruth asked once they’d gone.

“It’s a project she has been given.” Maggie offered. “It is both precious and fragile. Miss Nova has asked that we not disturb her project. She fears that some great harm might be caused by innocent curiosity. I think it would break her heart if anything were to happen to it. I’ve promised not to disturb it for any reason, nor do anything that might cause accidental harm. I thought it best to stay out.”

“Can you tell us what it is?” Florence asked.

“I do know, but I’ll not say, not now,” Maggie told them. “You’ll find out soon enough.”

🐲

When Granny and Nova returned to the old house they could hear a tumult of some sort going on outside. “What in ta entire nation!” Granny exclaimed and rushed outside with Nova close on her heels.

What they found was another Wyrm, it had been blinded, and was presently bellowing, and thrashing about. Phenik flew into the air and began circling about the beast harassing it, and Nova soon saw why. Several upperclassmen were scattered about in hiding places, and every so often one would cast whatever spell they thought might do the trick. All it did was make the beast angrier. Nova studied the Wyrm, and it seemed the eyes had been struck by swift kicks of a horses hooves. She got out her wand looking for something that might pierce the thick hide. Granny looked on in surprise, she overcame her surprise, rushed back into her kitchen, and quickly returned with a wand.

“Wait!” Nova said catching sight of a dark shape racing through the air. The Night Mare took but a moment to cross the distance, her color black, and she fully armored. Moonie was gone, this was Nightmare Moon, and she had a halberd in her forelegs. She closed the distance, took a moment to judge her timing, and swung the long-handled war ax. The Wyrm roared it’s anger and lunged at the place it presumed its attacker to be standing. Again the Nightmare brought down the ax with great effort. Ax and beast crashed to the ground. Nightmare Moon raised the poll arm into the air and brought it down again. The beast thrashed about and lay still. The halberd was discarded, making a blaring thwack as it hit the ground. The air was as yet still filled with the cries of frightened beasts and animals.

“No, don’t! - That’s my Moonie.” Nova shouted. She hadn’t seen anyone lift their wands at the Night Mare, but she didn’t have to. Nightmare Moon reared up, shook her mane, and climbed high into the air her great black wings blocking out the day… but then she transformed back into the familiar creature known as Moonie. She gave a couple of flaps of her ethereal wings and glided over to Nova and landed. Nova took a few steps to meet her and gave her muzzle a hug as she came up to her. “That’s two,” Nova said softly. “Perhaps now we will be free of such things for a while.”

“Who are you?” Asked an older girl. She was wearing a Slytherin robe and had a silver ‘P’ sewed on it.

“Nova Moon.” Nova offered. “You must be Cygnus Black’s sister who I was warned to stay well clear of.”

Belvina Black looked at Nova, a look of bemusement crossing her face. “How is it you aren’t in Slytherin?”

“A lack of ambition, and a lack of caution.” Nova offered with a smile. Belvina cracked a smile and laughed a good hearty laugh. “Come on Moonie, let's go in,” Nova said to Moonie. “I think the adults will want to clean this up without us getting underfoot. - It was good to meet you, Belvina Black.” Nova and Moonie then went inside, passed through the kitchen, and into the door to her apartments. She was cautious to lock the door.

“You know, I think she’d make a good sister in law,” Belvina said, followed after Nova, but was disappointed to find her prey now gone. Within her apartments, Nova shuddered, it was as though a shadow had passed over her.

🐲

That night at dinner there was no talk of what had happened in the barnyard. Nor was there any mention of Moonie rushing in, grabbing hold of, and rushing out with a halberd. The incident had been kept quiet. The teachers hadn’t even bothered to ask her about it. Students who were hoping to go out to the barns as part of ‘Care of Magical Creatures’ were disappointed on Monday and the remainder of the week. No one was permitted to go out to the barns who did not have express permission from the Headmaster. There were a handful of seventh-year students who did go back, and forth, but when the Ministry of Magic personnel showed up at the school, no one would say a thing. They asked her about it, but she regretfully informed them that Moonie had been unable to retrace her steps to find the exit.

The following Saturday was the first Quidditch game of the year, and if anyone used that opportunity to find out what was being whispered of at the barns they’d be disappointed to find all as it should be. The weather was clear but crisp.

The Gryffindor Quidditch team flew out onto the pitch at the sound of a cheering crowd, their red and gold team uniforms bright in the sun. Thaorin, their Captain, lead them onto the pitch, and as the strongest player, he was the Keeper. Fergus Potter, Daisy Dartford, and Harold Ollivander having been declared fit for play, were the chasers. Newt Scamander and a boy named Andon Rusco were the beaters. And lastly came Nova, their new Seeker. The Slytherin team was already on the pitch. The two teams landed, the Gryffindor team marched forward to face the Slytherin team, they smiled at each other and shook hands. The teams mounted their brooms once again, took up positions while referees stood by, and someone in the stands made announcements. The balls were released, and the game began.

Nova sprang forward and made haste to circle the pitch, and when she’d gone round one time, turned to the center sped forward, and arched upwards until she looked down on the pitch from the wrong side of her broom. She continued her arch till she was right side up, and then wove her way about the pitch to watch the game going this way and that. Cygnus came up behind her, he being the most agile flier was the Slytherin Seeker. He seemed most interested in her, made a most improper lunge only to have Nova dodge him as though she was but a shadow. Again, and again he lunged, and again and again, she dodged. She looked at him and laughed.

The announcer on noticing the odd behavior of the Slytherin began to make various comments, and then the snitch was sighted. The snitch had been using Nova as a shield, she seemed to know, and yet she made no attempt to catch it. Far more fun for her to teas Cygnus who knew of this peculiar habit of the snitch to seek out Nova when it should have been seeking some place to hide from the players. But then it had been charmed to flee from humans, and Nova was not human.

“This has got to be one for the history books people, the Gryffindor Seeker is actually trying to get away from the snitch!” The announcer shouted, their magnified voice echoing over the stands. “The snitch is hot on her tail, and so is Cygnus! - Would you look at that dizzying chase, I don’t know how they’re doing that?”

Nova’s broom was by far the best aerial stunt broom ever created up to that point, and Cygnus Black had used Nova’s notes to create a broom of his own that would respond to him just as well. He’d even gone so far as to use one of his own primaries from his swan form in the core of the broom. His broom was fast and could soar to great heights. His broom wasn’t quite as maneuverable, nor did it have the same burst of speed. It favored wide turns and long distance runs.

Nova broke away making a hard about and went into a barrel roll. Cygnus arched around, and tried to predict where Nova might go next. If nothing else, it was making for a rather exhilarating chase being he knew exactly where the snitch was going to be.

Nova shot straight up, and then seemed to hang there for a moment, Cygnus rocketed towards her wondering what she was up to as she let her broom slide back. He watched in admiration as Nova went into a corkscrew straight down, only to pull out moments before hitting the ground.

The Slytherin chasers were passing the quaffle back and forth in an effort to line up for a shot at a goal when Nova suddenly dove down past a Slytherin chaser who had reached out expecting to catch the quaffle. Both he and then everyone else pulled up short a moment later. The chaser had the snitch. They had been reaching for the quaffle, and had instinctively grasped the first thing that slapped into their hand. The chaser had gone white as a sheet on realizing what they’d done.

“Snitch nip!” called the announcer. “Slytherin forfeits!”

People cheered. The Slytherins were furious. It was difficult to decide who to be mad at though. The snitch had apparently been faulty, and Nova had apparently tried to be a sport about it by giving Cygnus a good chase. After all, she could have grabbed hold of it at any time she wanted. And likely be accused of cheating if anyone caught on.

Cygnus flew over to his fellow team member and asked, “What ch catch the snitch for?” Later that evening at the Slytherin commiseration party, Belvina walked up behind him, put her arm around him and whispered…

“Marry that girl.”

👰

“Nova, are you alright?” Maggie asked. The Gryffindors were enjoying their victory party.

“I just felt a cold shiver run down my spine,” Nova replied. “Listen, I’m going to go check on my little project.”

“Will you be back?” Maggie inquired of her, though she seemed to know the answer already. Nova gave her a hug.

“No, I feel as though I’ve been down here long enough.” Nova offered. “If anyone misses me tell them I’ve holed up somewhere to study… which when I think of it, isn’t exactly a lie either.” And with that, she turned away and climbed the stairs to the girls' dormitory.





“The Headmaster is waiting for you in the rotunda.” Miss Aiko informed Nova as she descended the steps from the steamer trunk. She’d only kept the door for the visit, after which she put it back to being a steamer trunk, and put a mild do not disturb charm on the trunk itself. As for Headmaster Scrimgeour waiting for her, that wasn’t a very big surprise. He’d likely come by way of the farm door.

“Let him know I’ll be there shortly, I want to check on our little Sparkle.” Nova replied, and went to her chamber door. On entering she was relieved to find Tia snuggled around the egg, and nothing was wrong. Tia looked at Nova, but didn’t get up. She knew Nova had a guest. Nova went over, sat on the bed and gave the egg a caress. She lingered a few moments and then got up again.

“I think I know what he wants, so I’d best get it over with.” Nova offered to the horse of light, turned, and exited the room.

🌌

“Ah Princess, that was a most interesting game,” Scrimgeour said as Nova entered the room. He’d been offered tea, and some biscuits.

“I’m afraid your guess is as good as mine when it comes to the behavior of the snitch.” Nova offered as she went to sit across from him. “It does seem to be a pattern though.”

“This sort of thing has happened before I gather.”

“First time at the Weasleys. I thought it odd, but the information on quidditch says games are to be played with a snitch that’s never been touched. Theirs was used, so I just assumed it was coming to me for protection from the boys.”

“The tryouts?”

“Silly thing flew into my pocket. - There again I assumed it was a used one. I had to charm our practice one to fly away from me.”

“How very interesting.” The headmaster gave her a calculated look. “I can’t help but wonder if it has something to do with your blood curse. Assuming, of course, that is a blood curse.” Nova said nothing but gave him a worried look. “I can’t help but wonder if you are more horse then human… horse fox is it?”

“Fox pony.” Nova offered, her pride getting the better of her. She thought about it for a bit. “Forgive me, but...”

“Don’t worry. You’ve shown that you have more humanity in you than most men, and I’ll keep your secret.” He offered. “You’ve done us a considerable service, and proven that you’ve the best interest and safety of everyone here at Hogwarts in mind.”

“So then, what are we to do about the Snitch? - At least while I’m still here?”

“Are you going somewhere?”

Nova got up, and walked over to her displayed armor. She looked at it for a moment, turned, and walked a short ways back. “It’s going to break my heart to leave Maggie, but then I’d never planned to stay long, or get so close to anyone.” A few moments passed as an internal debate went through her head. “Before the school year is out, I plan to open a portal, and continue on my journey home.”

“You can open portals?”

“My magic skills are all over the board.” Nova offered. “In many of the more mundane things I am at the level I should be at for one of my age. However.”

Nova waived her hand, and Brutus Scrimgeour nearly dropped his tea in his lap. The room was gone – replaced by the night sky. “There are things I can do that is far beyond any ordinary wizard.” Nova offered. “This is just an illusion, but it’s an illusion by which I can see the entire cosmos.” An explanation was in order. “I happened upon an ancient artifact that allows me to do this, and no, I can’t show it to you, it’s not even in this dimension. I can travel across dimensions as easily as you can pull the thoughts out of someone’s mind.”

“That’s not always easy, and can be quite dangerous.” Scrimgeour offered.

“Crossing dimensions is even more so I think. I can show you what the mathematics is like.” Nova offered, and then symbols in a bright blueish white began to form in the air. It didn’t take long for the calculations to go well beyond what any mortal man could fathom. But then again who truly understand quantum mechanics in the first place. “There is math taught in Arithmancy, and logic being taught in charms and potions, but I’m afraid you’ve a long way to go to get to this level. Divinations, in general, have the potential if we understand the underlying mathematics. It’s all figuring out the patterns after all. Granted I know of only two other individuals who are able to do these kinds of computations, and that was Starswirl, and my birth mother.”

“Hang on, you aren’t suggesting Starswirl is immortal as well? - And what of Princess Celestia?”

“Him? - I doubt that. He’s known as Starswirl the bearded now. Only reason he’s still alive is he’d trapped himself along with all his best friends in limbo for a thousand years.” Nova offered. “Long story short, mother figured out what had happened, freed them, and banished a shadow that had been the cause. As for Princess Celestia, her magic is on a whole other level I can’t even begin to comprehend. - Not that she hasn’t made her fair share of blunders.”

“With great power comes great blunders is it?”

“I destroyed my Moms chambers once. Accidental magic. I wasn’t even in the right dimension.” Nova thought about it for a moment or two, and her illusion faded till the room was back to the way it was. “Not my first, and I’ve been dimension hopping for a while.”

“So, when you go, will we ever see you again?”

“I expect I’ll be back in about ninety years, so I’d have to say no, not likely.” Nova offered. “Short of you’ve got something that can prolong life indefinitely that is. Maybe I’ll get to see some of my friends again, but I doubt it.” “Think I’d get used to it by now.”

“Then why not settle down somewhere?”

“I’ve tried a couple times. In the end, I just want to see my family again. My real family, and not an imitation. I am, after all, just a little girl.” Nova wanted to change the topic. “So, what became of that Wyrm?”

“The unspeakables have it.” he offered. “They won’t say, but I’ve an idea it’s a hybridization, and no one is willing to go down that shaft. We’ve Aurors out looking for old culverts, or pipes big enough for something nasty to get through. That chamber was likely built in the tenth century after all. They didn't have all the little tricks we have now. We are searching for anything that might be a passage under the mountain that we don’t know about. And the wards have been reconfigured to bar that specific brand of monster. It’d be impossible to exclude every single potential threat. To do so would mean excluding everything, and then no one could get in or out. That pitfall in the girl’s toilet was discovered by chance. When they installed the sink, one of the new faucets kept turning into a snake head of all things, and then it wouldn't work. Naturally, we had no intentions of just leaving it, but we were at a loss as to what to do about it.” The look on his face was one of consternation. “So we decided to try deconstructing the spell, and that’s how we ended up with that great big hole.”

“And the boys were too curious for their own good.” Nova offered with a smile.

“And Harold is lucky we have you here. Any chance I could talk you into staying?”

“No, I’m afraid not. Besides, what could possibly happen? Short of everyone turning on each other and erupting into two wizard wars, I’d imagine everyone will just go about their lives the way they always have.”

🎄

Yuletide

Nova looked out at the slowly falling snow, it was December, and she’d had to break Maggie’s heart. Professor Marchbanks had come round getting a list of those who were staying, and Nova had asked that her name be added to the list.

“But Christmas? It’s the Yule season. I thought we’d spend it together?” Maggie asked a tear threatening to fall from her eye.

“Cheer up dear Maggie. I must stay. I can’t leave while the need for my special project is as yet unfulfilled. I’m praying that this wizard named Nicholas will bring me something special, and when he does, I will have a bright shining surprise when you return.” Nova added in a whisper. “If you think my pony form is cute, wait until you see a freshly hatched pegasus.”

Maggie’s smile returned to her face, and when she went out to take the train back to London, she knew that nothing she got for Christmas would be as delightful as the surprise that waited back at Hogwarts.

🏞

Nova went back up to the Gryffindor common room where she found Daisy with a few others who’d stayed behind. “Miss Nova, they say we can go to Hogsmead.” Andon Rusco announced on seeing her approach.

“Will you go with us?” Daisy asked. “Surely you don’t mean to hole up in your trunk over the holidays. You should come with us.”

Nova thought about it for a moment. Her little Sparkle would be hatching any day now, but perhaps not today. Phenik flew to her and landed on her shoulder. “Well, alright, I guess it can’t hurt. Just for a while.” On seeing Ruth, who had also stayed behind, she asked if she was going as well?

“No, wish I could, I’m only a first year. It’s third years and above, and you have to have a permission slip to leave the grounds unaccompanied.” Ruth explained. “Oh, but you’d likely not have a signed permission slip.”

“Anyone have a blank permission slip?” Nova asked.

“You don’t mean to forge one do you?” Daisy asked. “It has to be signed by a parent or guardian.”

“Don’t have to.” Nova offered. “Moonie, are you about?”

“Oh, you aren’t going to have Moonie sign it?” Ruth asked sounding incredulous. The Night Mare appeared in their midst a moment later.

“Have I not told you she is an avatar spell?” Nova had a big smile on her face. “Now who’s avatar do you think she is?”

“What do you want?” Moonie asked sounding a bit more like a mother addressing an errant child who has just come to them with heapings of praise.

“I’ve been invited to go visit the local town, but I’m in need of a signed permission form,” Nova said.

“Well, how exactly do you plan to achieve this feet being we are cut off from home?” Moonie asked. For the others gathered, that was perhaps the first time they’d heard Moonie utter anything more than a few words. Why it was a whole complex sentence.

“Are you not my mother’s proxy?” Nova asked. Moonies ears went flat. “Come on, it’s just into town. Can’t be any more dangerous than school.” Moonie let out a snort as if a laugh had burst out.

“Alright fine.” Moonie offered, reared up, and then to everyone’s amazement, except Nova, transformed into a beautiful woman of dark complexion. Unlike Nova, Luna looked more like someone from Armenia. She wore a long dress that looked as though it was made of shadows if they were midnight blue, and her long flowing hair looked like it was filled with starlight. The sound of jaws hitting the floor could be heard throughout the room. “Well, where’s the form, and I’ll need a quill.”

“Alright those who… who?” Professor Marchbanks said entering the room. “Who are you?”

“My mother’s proxy.” Nova provided.

“I’m told she needs a signature from parent or guardian if she wishes to visit the local village.” The proxy of Princess Luna offered. “I think it’ll do her good to get out for a while, and it was pointed out that she couldn't possibly encounter any dangers there that are worse then what she faces here in the school.”

Professor Marchbanks opened her mouth and then closed it. “You’re mother’s proxy? - Who is she, and how did she get in here?”

“She’s Moonie.” Daisy offered as if it should be obvious by now.

“Moonie?” Professor Marchbanks asked astonished.

“She is technically my guardian while I’m away from home.” Nova offered hopefully.

“Like you ever do anything I say.” Luna countered.

“You’re not helping,” Nova replied.

“Alright fine.” Professor Marchbanks said and retrieved a blank form from the stack of forms she had. A quill was obtained, and Moonie Luna signed it using only her magic and went back to being the Night Mare Moonie. The form was passed over to Professor Marchbanks who inspected it. Even though she couldn't say she’d actually seen who signed it, the calligraphy was undoubtedly a different individual other than Nova. “I guess that will do.” “Now, those of you who have permission, it’s snowing out, you’ll want a heavy cloak.”

❄❄❄

Nova arrived in the great hall wearing not the school cloak but a heavy cloak provided by Celestia, on which was the blazon of Equestria. Phenik was on her shoulder. Andon, Daisy, and Beatrice were waiting in the hall. The four went out into a light drifting snow, and descended the stairs in front of the school. From there they followed a road that crossed the lawns, and wound around the school ever dropping as they went.

“Is that the train platform?” Nova asked a short time later as the platform came into view. A little further on could be seen the town nestled among some trees.

“Ya, they got the idea of bringing in everyone via the lake for some odd reason.” Andon offered.

“Would have been nice if they had just let us come by the road instead of making us shiver on the pond.” Beatrice muttered.

“And miss seeing me take a bite out of that tentacle?” Nova asked.

“Was that you?” Andon asked. “Silly fox girl.”

“Yes, that was me.” Nova admitted sheepishly.

It didn’t take them too much longer to reach the town. Most of the buildings seemed to be built primarily of brownstone, but there were a few made of timber framing, and some were just timber. With but a few exceptions the majority had thatched roofs. There was one large building with a slate roof that looked like it might be an inn, so they decided to go in, to warm up. It was dimly lit inside, and it took them a bit for their eyes to adjust, during which time brushes levitated out and swept the snow off. For Nova it felt very much like Ponyville save for the lack of friendly ponies.

“Welcome to the Hogsmead Inn.” Offered a portly gentleman behind a counter not to far from the entrance. In front of the counter was a dimly lit room full of tables and chairs. A man was sitting at the far end of the counter, and a handful of older students were already at tables. “So who’s yer friend? - That’s not a Hogwarts overcoat.”

“She has a phoenix on her shoulder, and the first thing you notice is the overcoat?” Beatrice asked.

“Well, the bird is kind of obvious. Beauxbatons maybe?” He pondered.

“Celestia’s School for gifted witches and wizards.” Nova offered. “I’m here on an exchange program. The cloak is warmer then my Hogwarts cloak.”

“Oh, where might that be, I’ve never heard of it.” The innkeeper asked.

“Far East.” Nova offered wondering if maybe she should have worn the lighter weight school winter cloak. “Any chance we can get something hot to warm us up a bit?”

“That would be butterbeer.”

“Beer?” Nova asked. “What’s beer?”

“Oh it’s a wonderful amber brew made from hops and barley.”

“Barley? Can I order that? Sounds good.” Nova said.

“Afraid you’ll have to settle for the butterbeer. - I’m not supposed to sell alcohol to anyone under the age of seventeen. And by the looks of you, you probably shouldn't be here at all. What year are you?”

“Third year. I got permission.” Nova offered.

“Yes, she’s good, Professor Marchbanks OKed her to go.” Andon offered.

“And what about your little Slytherin friend?” The innkeeper asked.

Daisy, Nova, and Andon looked at Beatrice, and said, “Whoops.”

“What is whoops?” Beatrice asked confused.

“Third year and above with a signed permission slip only,” Daisy explained.

“No one told Beatrice this,” Beatrice stated with a tinge of panic.

“I’d say we’re all to blame, and we’ll all share in whatever punishment comes of it,” Nova said. “Never even occurred to me to tell her she couldn't come. It would have felt like I’d be excluding a friend.”

“Nothing that can be done about it now.” The innkeeper offered. “Four hot butter beers then is it?”

“Yes sir.” Daisy offered. They paid and started for a table when the man who’d been at the end of the counter came up to them. He was thin, had long rusty hair tied up in back, and a healthy growth of stubble on his face.

“You, you there, sell me your phoenix.” The man’s request sounded more like a demand.

“I’m sorry sir, but Phenik is not for sale.” Nova said as calmly as she could muster.

“Then give it to me!” He demanded as he pulled out a wand. “Give me the bird!”

The room had fallen silent. Nova gave him a disgusted look, and raised her right fist middle finger extended.

“You learn that from a Yank?” Beatrice asked stepping forward. She’d seen the small wisp of smoke come from the end of the man’s wand, and knew there was little he could do to them. “Here in England, we use two fingers like this...” Beatrice held up her hand palm to herself, thumb on pinkie and ring fingers with her middle and pointer in a ‘V’ shape while bringing the hand up in what was clearly intended to be a rude gesture.

“Oh right, like this then?” Nova said copying Beatrice.

“Mr Albus Dumbledore, I think you’ve had a might too much to drink.” The innkeeper warned, his wand aimed at the man. “And for that matter, you should be ashamed of yourself. You of all wizards should know that a phoenix can neither be given nor sold.” Albus didn’t seem to be listening as he was now looking at the end of his wand, his mind trying to comprehend why there was smoke coming out of it. “Now I know life has been difficult for you, but this isn’t...” The Innkeeper continued, but Albus wasn’t listening. He threw his wand across the room, and stormed out into the snow.

“You two are crazy!” Daisy hissed.

“What, she fried his wand.” Beatrice offered. “And if he’d have tried anything physical you can bet Moonie would have popped in, and had something to say about it.”

They all had to laugh at the thought of the Night Mare popping into the old Inn.

“Wow, this thing is fried.” A boy said as the group went to sit at a table. He’d picked up the wand to have a look. “Say, Miss Moon, did you do something to it?”

“It was a feedback loop I created in the wand.” Nova offered. “Fairly easy at close range. The moment he tried to power up his wand it went, poof.” She knew the same thing, or something like it could be done to unicorns, though in the case of a unicorn it resulted in nothing worse than being knocked out and waking up with a big headache. Unicorns seldom did such things to each other though, being the target would be immediately aware of the attempt and it would result in a battle of wills until both decided to back off.

Those gathered on hearing what Nova had done, all laughed, but made sure to remember that tactic. Even if they couldn't do it themselves, they had to admit that if little Nova could do it, surely an experienced witch or wizard could do it as well. A moment later the innkeeper brought out the hot butterbeer.

“Mmmm, this is good,” Nova said sipping the hot liquid. It had a creamy buttery texture while slightly fizzy at the same time. She pondered for a moment if it might be rich enough to give to a foal as a substitute for mares milk, but dismissed the idea. As rich as it was, it was far too thin, and the bubbles could cause unforeseen problems.

“So did you hear?” A boy in the room asked of a friend. Nova hadn’t meant to eavesdrop, but it was hard not to. “Old man Hendrixson caught a pegasus mare in his barn the other night with a brand new foal.”

“What?!” Nova exclaimed more than asked spinning round in her seat.

“Ya, sometimes they come out of the forest to lay their eggs in the tops of haylofts.” The boy offered.

“Can you take me to see the pegasus?” Nova asked.

“I doubt the old man will let you see it.” the boy offered. “He’s not exactly the nicest sort.”

“I see,” Nova replied. “Never the less I’ll regret it if I don’t at least try.”

“Well if you are that set on it I’ll take you there.” he offered.

“You sure this is a good idea?” Daisy asked, as Nova finished off her butterbeer, and got up.

“Positive.” Nova offered. “How could I possibly resist the lure of a pegasus foal. Trust me, this will be worth it.” Doubly for her as she intended to liberate mother and foal.

So the group, now larger, made their way through town, and beyond to where an old house and barn stood.

“So are we going to try to sneak a peak or what?” One of the boys asked.

“I thought the full frontal approach might be best.” Nova offered.

“So where’d Phenik go?” Daisy asked suddenly missing the bird. Andon Rusco, on the other hand, looked at Nova as though he was seeing a ghost. He smiled and hoped no one else would notice that the snow wasn’t sticking to Nova’s cloak. They walked up to the door, and at Nova’s bidding knocked on the door.

Unseen by the others, a white feather winged fox with black ears, legs, and tail tip, who’s main and tail feathering resembled Nova’s own hair flew into a window in the barn that it had just jimmied open. A phoenix flew in behind her. What she found was a small sable mare who’s wings had been bound nursing a new foal. Both were tethered. What’s more, the mare was quietly singing in old ponish.

Nova transformed to her pony form and made herself known to the mare. Startled at first, she moved to guard as best she may, her foal. The young, mostly white unicorn standing a few paces away startled her even more. And then she saw the wings. Nova was a young mare, but as yet not quite old enough to have foals of her own. And yet, winged unicorns were as rare as hens' teeth. Who was this pony, and where had she come from?

“I have need of you, will you come with me?” Nova asked in the old language.

“Who are you?” Life in this world for a pegasus went by all to fast, and to the sable mare, the young teen in front of here was nearly an adult.

“Does it matter? - I can rescue you.”

“My foal?”

“She will ride on my back.” Nova offered, her horn glowed, and the ropes fell away. The foal was lifted up onto Nova’s back, and Nova bid, the mare to follow.

Meanwhile, the encounter with the old man wasn’t going too well.

“I said that I would buy the pegasi.” Stated the illusion of Nova. “Name your price.”

“Not for sale, now get, the lot of you!”

The doors of the barn burst open with a loud crash hitting so hard they came off their hinges. Out flew Phenik, followed by two pegasi who flew up into the clouds.

“Fly you fools!” Illusion Nova said, and ran back to the town with surprising agility. Andon Rusco was hot on her tail hoping no one would notice that this nova wasn’t leaving any tracks. The others startled ran without question as the old man swore and ran to the barn.

It only took a few moments for the real Nova to return to Hogwarts, her new nursemaid holding tight to her tail. “Focus on me!” Nova shouted as they rounded the Gryffindor tower. “You won’t be able to see the opening.”

The sable mare looked on in amazement as Nova landed on seemingly nothing just beyond the wall of the tower. She aimed for the same spot as Nova vanished, and found herself standing on a balcony she had not been able to perceive a moment before.

“Miss Aiko, Miss Aiko, I’ve found us a nursemaid!” Nova called. A plain white pony came trotting out. The sable mare looked on in astonishment as this seemingly ordinary pony was dressed as a maid.

“Who are you ponies?”

“I’m Princess Nova Moon of Equestria. That’s Eques to the humans.”

“Equestria, but that’s just an old foals fable?”

“No, it’s real. I brought you not just to rescue you either.” Nova offered. “I retrieved an egg from certain death, and expect my little bundle of joy to hatch any day now, but I’ve no way to provide nourishment. - Will you help?”

“I will. - I am called Alalme, daughter of the Silver Wood, and my foal is Alya. - Long ago we gave up living among men, and chose to live in sky, and tree, and mountains were no man dare trek.”

Nova lifted Alya off her back and onto the hard marble floor. “Don’t worry, there’s an anti-slip spell on the floor. - Now, I must be back to the humans I call friend before they realize I left a proxy in my place.”

“You are friends with humans?”

“Not all are like that old man. Nor do I let them know the full truth of what I am. Can you not transform yourself into human form? You speak the old language of Equestria, and yet you are in pony form? Most transform the moment they pass through the portal.”

“Legend has it that our ancestors could do such things, but gave up attempting to interact with humans long ago.”

“I see. Stay within these apartments or enjoy the park. Go nowhere else, less you find yourself in peril yet again.” Nova warned. “I’ll only trust these humans so far.” and with that Nova and Phenik flew out into the ever increasing snow.

Nova found her friends a short time later looking about calling for her. Her illusion had failed at some point which had left the others to think they’d simply lost her in the snow.

“I’m right here.” Nova offered as she approached. She was back in her human form. “I think we better head back to school. This snow is getting worse, and here comes the old man.” They all decided to run, the old man seeing Phenik began shouting.

They didn’t stop running until they’d passed the station platform, winded as they were. The blinding snow, and the climb to Hogwarts slowing them down further. The storm was getting bad. Bad enough they decided it’d be best if they all held hands so no one would get separated. When they approached the castle it was barely visible as the conditions had turned to white out. And yet, they had gained the steps despite the storm seemingly thanks in part do to Phenik who everyone could see no matter how bad it got. Nova also had no trouble leading them up the path do to some uncanny ability of her own. When they cracked the door and entered in, they found several professors gearing up as to go out in search.

“Where have you been?” One of the professors asked accusingly.

“It’s only a little after three, and we’d been given permission to go.” One of the boys protested. The group had grown considerably on the way back as well, there being a mix of all four houses now.

“I think everyone started to head back when we realized the weather was turning nasty.” Nova offered.

“We did say they could go.” The headmaster offered. “Not like we expected this storm to hit like this, quite so soon.”

“And where are you going, young lady?” Asked a Slytherin professor accusingly. Beatrice was trying to sneak on past.

“I’m sorry, it’s our fault for letting her go with us.” Nova offered.

“Be it as it may, we’ve already done a headcount of who was here, and know exactly who is not. - No one is to go anywhere until we’ve checked you off the list. - Beatrice Lulamoon, you may go now, but we’ll be talking later.”

The door burst open again, and standing in the doorway was the silhouette of old man Hendrixson. “Your students stole my ponies!” he shouted.

“You want us to turn out our pockets as well?” Nova asked.

“Oh do please close the door.” Professor Marchbanks protested. “And unless there is a pony under one of these cloaks, I’d say you are looking in the wrong place.”

Nova tried her best not to look guilty.

“That bird, I saw that bird fly out of my barn followed by a white pegasus, and then my sable flew out after them,” Hendrixson stated.

“I’m sure she was just curious.” Nova offered.

“Mr Hendrixson, obviously what you saw was likely the mate of the pony you snared in your barn. Nor was that pegasus ever really yours.” Headmaster Scrimgeour stated. Oh, he’d a good idea what had happened, but then Hendrixson wasn’t exactly at the top of his people I like list. “The sable was a wild pegasus. There’s been quite a few nesting in barns lately. Most decent wizards let them, unmolested, on the off chance the foals might decide to stick around. You, on the other hand, chose to trap the one that chose your barn.” His tone was stern. “Now, if you don’t want to be stuck here until the snow stops, you might want to head home as quickly as you may.”

Hendrixson let out an angry grunt, turned, and walked into the storm.

“Any one want to bet he was born and spent his formative years in a barn?” One of the older students said, as they were about to close the door. They stopped, went back out into the storm and returned with one more student.

“Oh… hi.” Ruth said as the door was closed.

“Anyone else out there that we don’t know about?” a professor asked. Of course, the verdict was they couldn't know until they checked the students off the list.

🛀

“I can’t wait to get into a nice hot bath,” Ruth said as she, Nova, and Daisy were allowed to go.

“Bath?” Daisy asked accusingly. All the dorm had was showers. “You’ve been holding out on me, haven't you.”

“Aaahhh...” Ruth said realizing she’d just given away the secret.

“Good thing it’s just the three of us,” Nova muttered.

“What about us?” The guys asked.

“I’ve a bath in my luggage, and it’s in the girl’s dorm, so you lot are out of luck.” Nova chastised. “And don’t be telling people. The last thing I want is the whole dorm up there.” She looked about to see if anyone else had overheard. Fortunately, there were very few students about, and no one else nearby to hear.


“Alright,” Nova said standing by her sea chest with her wand held high. She’d prompted Daisy to do likewise. “Solemnly swear that you will reveal nothing of my bath, nor anything to do with it, nor of the splendor that is to be found beyond this portal. Swear it.”

“This is silly, and what if you’ve hidden something I should tell someone about?” Daisy asked.

“The Headmaster already knows what I have in there.” Nova countered. “Now swear, or no bath.”

“Alright, alright, I do Solemnly swear that I will reveal nothing of thy bath.” Daisy stated while taking on a serious expression.

“Nor anything to do with it, nor of the splendor that is to be found beyond this portal.” Nova Prompted.

“Nor anything to do with it, nor of the splendor that is to be found beyond this portal.” Daisy echoed. “Now, may we?”

“In a moment, I have to check on something?” Nova opened up the sea chest, and went down the stairs.

“Hang on, I thought she’d just a little apartment in there?” Daisy said looking down. “What do you think she needed to check on?”

“She’s got some sort of secret project the Headmaster gave her.” Ruth offered.

Nova went down through the large sitting room calling for Aiko. She was glad when Aiko appeared in human form. “Where’s Alalme and Alya?”

“Bed down in your chambers for now.”

“Oh good.” Nova thought for a moment. “Any chance they are, well you know, house broken I believe the term is? - I swear I never thought I’d be asking that about a fellow Equestrian.”

“I was able to explain the issue to Alalme, she finds it fascinating. Little Alya is newly hatched and has a nappy on.”

“Oh good,” Nova said, and then went back up to let the girls know it was alright for them to come down. Nova then went to her chambers, opened the door, went in shutting the door behind her. She could feel the eyes of Alalme on her. Alalme had both Nova’s egg and her Alya snuggled up to her.

“It’s alright, it’s me.” Nova offered in old ponish. “I have two guests so we must be careful. I also need to get these wet garments off or they’ll be just as soaked when I next transform.” Alalme said nothing, but relaxed. Nova took that to mean everything was fine for the moment. Just to be sure, Nova transformed.

“A cutie mark!” Alame exclaimed. “I’d been so intent on getting away I hadn’t see it.”

Nova transformed back, and took off her cloak, and went back to the bath. She returned a few minutes later back in her pony form. “I’m going to get a bath, I’m soaked through and through.”

“How long?” Alalme asked.

“I don’t expect I’ll be too long in there.” Nova offered.

“Not that, how long will I be able to stay in such splendor?”

“Oh. - I know this is sudden, and you are older then I am, but I’d be happy if you stayed as long as you like. Not quite family, but more than a servant. I imagine all that is holding you here for the moment is the need for a safe place and the storm outside. - I suppose that all depends on how long you'll stay."

“There is your need as well. The little one is not yours I gather.”

“Rescued from a wyrm.” Nova offered.

“My ponies were forced to scatter our nests thanks to such a beast.” A sadness overcame her. “Many will fly no more. - I fear I have no way to contact any of my remaining kin. If any yet live.”

“We will have time yet to search for kith and kin once this storm passes, but we will need to be careful.” Nova offered. “I killed the first wyrm I encountered, and a servant of mine, companion and guardian she, killed another,” Nova informed her. “I’m hoping those things were territorial enough that we can expect only the two in the area.” “Nor would I wish to openly inquire of the wizard folk on any matters as there are few I trust.”

“I’d heard there was a great worm killed at the school farm. - My sister...” She let out a sigh.

“Then I’d say that the egg I’ve laid claim to and have been keeping warm all this time may well be your kin, which makes us sisters in a fashion. - I’ll not surrender my precious prize lightly, mind you, as I’ve come to feel as though that egg is my own. - Now if I may, I need to get warmed up, and dried out.” Nova turned with a smile on her face and retreated to the bath.

Nova returned after about a half hour, she looked quite the floof ball. Alalme looked at her, and snickered under her breath. “What have you done to herself?”

“Drying spell. I always hated it when one of my mothers did this to me, but I understand now that one does not always have the time to do it properly.” She transformed back into human form.

“Your cutie mark shows even in human form… and I see the outline of your wings as well. And the medallion you wear matches your cutie mark. Do you wear the medallion always?”

“My mother gave me the medallion. It has a tracking spell which she can use to find me should I become lost.” Nova looked away for a moment as memories threatened to flood in. “The human form is my second, and less then complete.” Nova offered while keeping her answers short, and began to pull various items of clothing from dresser drawers, and wardrobes. “Human’s are impossibly enamored with clothing, and I must be at dinner, or they’ll come looking for me.”

“How have you managed?”

“I have my helpers. You’ve met Aiko. There are two others who are giving you your peace until you’ve had time to adjust. - I’m so greatly relived to have found you.”

“I’ve never met an ordinary pony who could speak. - Your Miss Aiko that is.”

“Oh, she’s no ordinary pony. I will attempt to explain her later.” Nova offered as she got dressed, and put one of her better wizard robes on. “Now before I go to dinner, I’d best make sure to see about your needs. Be right back.”

Nova went down to the door that opened to the farmhouse, knocked, and entered.

“Oh Miss Moon, I’m so sorry we’ve been unable to find a pony yet,” Granny said in apology.

“I’ve found one,” Nova said. “But not a word mind you.” Nova gave a wink. “Can you perchance provide me such vittles as would be appropriate for a pegasus of Eques?”

“Eques?”

“I have not stolen a pony, I’ve rescued kin it seems,” Nova explained. “I do not know why, but they gave up trying to be human in favor of the sky. - She can speak, but in an old language known only to my kin. The pony that had nested in your barn had been of my kin as well it seems. I guess they tired of living in a world of men, but gave it up for the wilds.”

Granny looked at her amazed.

“She’s a bit jumpy and wild, but if I haven't won her over, my need has.”

“Yes, yes of course.” Granny finally managed.

“Granny Smith, has someone come through this storm?” Asked a big man coming back to the kitchen.

“It’s Miss Moon, and don’t be worried, she came by way of the cupboard.” Granny offered.

“Hello, Mr Mackintosh.” Nova offered. “I’ve found a pony. Flew right into my window she did.” Nova offered with a smile.

“Did she now?”

“She’s nested up with my egg and a small foal of her own. A little filly named Alya.” Nova offered.

“You’ve named her, have you?” Mackintoash asked with a smile.

“Oh no, her mother has named her.” Nova offered. “She is Alalme daughter of the Silver Wood. Her kin are not descended from the Pegasi of Olympus, but of the lords of Arcadia, and Eques. Long ago they gave up living among men as men, and chose to live in sky, and tree, and mountain glens.” Nova offered coloring her words just a bit. Her words not quite the truth, but not quite a lie.

“To give up one’s humanity to be free of muggle persecution,” Mackintosh said softly. “I can only wonder how many Animageus have done the same, if only to be free of their own wicked kind. Living among animals is something I can understand. - Well then, what did you need?”

“Provisions for one in the guise of a pegasus.” Nova offered.

🛍

Nova returned a short time later with a small crate.

“Hey, what’s that?” Ruth asked Nova. Ruth and Daisy had finished with the bath, and were enjoying the lounge.

“Just something for my project.” Nova offered, went into her chambers, and closed the door behind her. She came out a few moments later without the crate. “They’ll be expecting us downstairs I think.” Nova offered, and escorted the two girls out.

🎄

On Christmas day Nova gave a wondrous cloak and witch’s cap to Beatrice, dark purple covered in bright stars. She’d been afraid Beatrice might not get anything, and while the day reminded her most of Hearth’s Warming, she was dismayed to learn that the people who should keep it best seldom did, and that of the people to whom the day held little meaning often kept it far better. To this end, Headmaster Scrimgeour told them of a tale of a miserable old muggle miser who had become such a blight on society, that a group of wizards took it upon themselves to see if they couldn't scare the love of his fellow man into him with some world class pranks. With the help of the ghost of the man’s former business partner they set to work on him, Scrimgeour informed everyone. The students all laughed uproariously at the many things they did to the miser.

From the Weasley’s Nova got a sweater with a note saying they intended to make it a family tradition. Still, though, the gift she wanted most had not yet arrived, and she fretted about it not wishing to leave Alalme and the two little ones any longer then she must. Nova insisted that she’d be the one to warm her egg at night though, and on the morning after Christmas day, the egg hatched.

Nova looked on in wondrous delight as a little golden head with a mane like the color of a soft blush Chablis, not quite burgundy with stripes of peach and pinks which reminded her of a mix between Celestia, and Luna's main, lifted their head up after kicking half the shell off to have their first look around. “Alalme, come quick, Alalme,” Nova said in a gasp.

“Nova, is something wrong? Who’s Alalme?” Ruth asked poking her head in the door. Ruth had come down to tell her it was going to be a beautiful day, and they’d be allowed to go to Hogsmeade. All Ruth saw was a pretty little pegasus in Nova’s bed with a foal fresh hatched. “Um… Nova?”

“Ruth, my foal has hatched,” Nova announced. Nova was beside herself with wonderment and joy. She was also quite oblivious to the fact that she was presently a little horse who’d just announced that ‘her’ foal had hatched. Nova cleared away the bits of eggshell, and nuzzled the baby, drying, and cleaning him with her magic. Yep, him, a little colt. “Alalme, he’s a colt!”

Alalme who’d ducked out of site so as not to be seen by Ruth couldn't take it anymore and nudged her way on past the girl. Nova had forgotten herself, and was presently using the common tongue, but Alalme understood it well enough.

“You’re a pegasus?” Ruth asked, and sank to the floor.

“Oh my, he’ll be a gorgeous stallion when he grows up,” Alalme said as a little filly in a nappy trotted into the room.

“So cute!” Ruth exclaimed in barely a whisper and passed out.

Daisy was the next to enter the apartments, and on seeing the display of unbridled cuteness let out a squee that shattered crystal for miles around.

Next to enter the scene was Professor Marchbanks who’d come in search of whatever it was that was making that high-frequency tone, saw Daisy standing as a statue, the emitter of the tone, and Ruth passed out on the floor. She rounded the corner with wand in hand, and promptly dropped both wand and chin to the floor.

Granny Smith arrived a moment later, and shut Daisy up by placing her hand over the girl's eyes. Granny had seen her fair share of pegasi cuteness, and as such had built up an immunity.

“Thank you Granny,” Nova said in gratitude. “Our little bundle of joy is a colt. A little pegasus colt.”

“Well congratulations.” Granny offered. “Professor Marchbanks, what say we usher the girls out, and then I’m going to see about getting those two some breakfast. Something tells me, Miss Moon will not be coming down any time soon.”

“You knew about, I mean… I’m confused?” March banks asked.

“If I understand right, they are from a clan of Animageus who favor the shape of pegasi.” Granny offered. “Miss Moon, have you decided on a name?”

“I wanted to use Sparkle, which is a family name from my family, but I haven't decided completely.” Nova offered.

“A noble Chieftain we once had by name of Goldwine.” Alalme offered. “It seems to fit him nicely I’d think.”

“Then it is decided, he shall be named Goldwine Sparkle.” Nova said proudly. “And now, a bit of privacy if you please. Our dear Goldwine will undoubtedly be hungry, and I fear Ruth and Miss Daisy are overstimulated enough as is.”

“Understood,” Granny replied with a smile. “Come along Miss Daisy.”

“I’ll… I’ll get Ruth.” Professor Marchbanks offered, picked up her wand putting it in a pocket in her robes, and then picked up the stricken girl. “I must confess it’s all I can do to maintain my composure as well. They are so adorable.”

“All this has challenged my notions regarding the superiority of Wizardkind as well.” Granny offered as they went. “We are supposed to be better than the beasts, and yet those who take on the form of beasts more often then not have considerably more power. I can not help but wonder if they are taping into some ancient power that is denied to those who call themselves more civilized.”

“Can you take your hand off my eyes now?” Daisy asked.

🏚

Meanwhile, at the home of old man Hendrixson, three pegasi have paid him a visit.

“Where is our kinsmare.” Growled a gray stallion with a white mane, his hoof on a broken wand. Behind him are a pair of chestnut paints, their colors a mix of browns and grays.

“Gone!” Spat out the old man. He was looking worse for wear thanks to the attentions of the pegasi. Old man Hendrixson was at his wit's end. Ponies that could use human speech was well beyond his mindset.

“Where!” demanded the gray.

“Away! They flew away!”

“They?” Asked one of the paints in old ponish.

“What do you mean by they?” The gray asked. If ever a pony had a determined look on their face it was this one. “Who took our kinsmare?”

“A white pegasus and a phoenix.”

This news was even more confusing to the ponies. The man wasn’t lying, but they knew of no white pegasus. However, they had heard rumor of a phoenix that had fought with the worm that had been felled at the Hogwarts barns by a night mare. Rumors of that fight confused them all the more. Had a pegasus of legends told only as foal stories actually come to Hogwarts?

“What more can you tell us of this white pegasus?” The gray asked.

“Black ears, legs, there was what looked like a pendant of some sort hung about her neck, a mark on her flank of a crescent moon, two stars, and a tail that was more fox-like then pony.” Hendrixson offered.

“This tale of yours gets stranger still, old wizard.”

“There is a girl at the school who owns a phoenix, go ask her? I know nothing more.”

“I’ve a mind to do just that.” The gray stated. “And if you attempt to hold any of my tribe against their will ever again, it will not go well for you. This I promise.” And with that, the three pegasi of the Silver Wood left.

Chapter 9: Nova's 1904

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“Well that was interesting.” Fergus said shortly after entering the main hall. Everyone was back from the winter break. Daisy was sort of his girl friend, and he didn’t give one knut if the girl’s parents were muggles. She was a faithful girlfriend. Just like clockwork she came strait to him, with a gleam in her eye, and went right past. Daisy had been followed by Ruth, who had that same fire in her eyes, and went past the boys like they hadn't even been there. The two girls sought out Maggie and Florence, and after a freakish display of bouncing up and down, and unintelligible squeaks, all four girls took off as fast as they could go without getting scolded for running.

“What was that all about, I wonder?” Newt asked.

“What’s to explain, they’re girls.” Harold offered. “Come on, lets get up to Gryffindor tower, and Maybe Andon will know something.”

🦊

“Nope, don’t know a thing,” Andon said when confronted. “All I can tell you is that Miss Nova Moon has all but sequestered herself in her room. She comes down for dinner, and that’s about it. - Ruth and Daisy are nearly as bad.” - I’m kind of feeling abandoned. - What’s more, is our professors don’t seem to mind one bit.”

“Well, then why didn’t you sneak up there, and find out?” Newt asked.

“Oh like that’s even going to work.” Andon protested.

Newt placed an arm around his shoulders. “What about if you tried using your Animageus form?”

“Oh no, no, not going to happen.” Andon protested. “Even if I got past the stairs, I’d never get past the girls. - It’d be just like when those damned fox hounds went after me.”

“Well, go on up during dinner then.” Thoarin prompted. “And I’m making it an order.”

“You can’t order me to do anything that’s not Quidditch related.” Andon protested.

“True, but I can bench you though,” Thoarin informed him. “Any time I want, for absolutely no reason.

:rainbowhuh:

That night at dinner the five girls came down with the biggest smiles on their faces, and Nova looked absolutely radiant. The girls sat down at the table, and Phenik joined them a moment later.

“So, how’d your holiday go?” Fergus asked.

“I’ve had a wonderful Christmas.” Maggie offered. “Thank you for asking.”

“Well, you did go home,” Fergus replied. “Daisy… you didn’t even say hi to me when I got back.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry.” Daisy offered. “It’s just that I wanted to show Maggie and Florence something.”

“Phenik, fetch Andon,” Nova said.

“What, he’s just running late.” The boys all stated at the same time. Phenik vanished with a pop.

“Interesting that you all said that at the same time,” Caydence observed. “What are you up to?”

“Up to? Us?” Harold offered.

Phenik reappeared and deposited a small red fox in an open seat.

“Tell me, little fox, what pray tell were you up to?” Nova asked with a vicious gleam in her eye. The fox shrunk down. “You do know what a vixen does to a male fox, that’s not her mate or kit, what attempts to sneak into her den, don’t you?” The little red fox shook his head no. “She uses their fur to line her bed.” The little red fox shrank down even further, and let out a diminutive eep. “Now transform back, and make yourself ready for dinner. - As for the rest of you, he made no such attempt while you all were away, though we neglected him.”

Headmaster Scrimgeour and Professor Marchbanks having seen the exchange gave each other a smile. “So how do you think she knew?” Scrimgeour asked, and Marchbanks whispered that a mother knows. He then got up, and welcomed everyone back.

Nova enjoyed the meal as well as any, though her thoughts went constantly back to her little Goldwine. He was developing much faster then a foal in Equestria would, which had prompted her to foal proof just about everything, starting with the exits. Both she and Alalme dreaded the thought that the two foals might get outside. Stairs, on the other hand, stopped being an issue by the end of the first week. The foals loved to glide down the steps to the lower landing, would turn around, climb back up, and do it again until they’d worn themselves out. The rotunda now had a large double door with stained glass panels that only the adults could open, and the outer doors were locked. Just in case. The open hearth kitchen now had a door preventing access from the hallway, and the lounge upstairs had been completely reconfigured. Everything that need not be accessed regularly was locked, and breakables put away.

It was all the girls could do not to talk about the foals at dinner Nova having allowed them limited access. There furtive glances, giggles, and fits of barely contained exuberance, had convinced Caydence that they were up to something. After dinner, Caydence quietly ascended the stairs and followed the girls up to their room. She wasn’t happy that Nova Moon was being allowed to sleep in her own trunk apartment. Nor was she happy about the fact that she couldn't get in there to make sure they weren’t up to something.

Caydence watched furtively as the girls went down, into the trunk, followed, and then went down into the trunk before it could be closed. “Alright, I’m going to find out what you’ve been up... to… wow, this is nice.” To the right was a large mural of a park that looked almost real. Though we already know it’s just a window. Nova having foreseen that sooner or later someone would make it down those stairs, and the need to keep the foals in had devised a subterfuge. The window now had a picture frame around it and had been enchanted so that if anyone looked close they’d see brush strokes, and the image they saw would take on a two-dimensional appearance. Directly in front of her was a small lounge with chairs, a table, lamps, and a writing desk. Beyond the desk was a wall filled with books. She’d have no way of knowing the wall was a front. The shelves were real enough and held all the books Nova had purchased in Diagon ally. To the left was a doorway into the guest apartment which had been fixed up to look like that’s where Nova had been sleeping. The access to the rest of the complex was hidden in the back of a large walk-in closet, that opened into the library.

“Can we help you?” Nova asked as she placed a book over a magazine.

“This place is...” Cadence stopped, the motion of Nova hiding something registering. “What are you hiding?”

“Nothing.” Daisy, Nova, Ruth, Maggie, and Florence all chimed.

“Nothing is it? Give it here.”

“But?” Nova protested.

“Now.” Caydence demanded.

Nova reluctantly uncovered the magazine, ‘The Pugilist’ took one last look at the cover, and surrendered it to Caydence. Caydence took it with a snatch. The magazine was none other than the manly art of fisticuffs, a magazine on boxing. On it’s cover a stalwart gentleman in tight pants, boots, did I mention the tight pants, boxing gloves, a magnificent mustachio, and little else. It was a wizard magazine as well, and within the publication were other stalwart gentlemen similarly attired, taking up various posses. There were articles as well, but whoever really reads those.

“Girls your age should not be reading such… Oh my.” Caydence said as she looked at the pages, turned, and slowly went up the stairs to the dorm room. “Ooo, ten points for Gryffindor.”

“I wonder if Professor Marchbanks is going to get her magazine back?” Nova said in a whisper. It was all they could do not to bust up laughing. Later she would restrict the girl’s access to the colts even further, which lead to them being properly downcast.

In the Headmaster’s office, Brutus Scrimgeour met with two of the local officials. The three pegasi that had, assaulted Mr Hendrixson, had been seen going from place to place as if in a desperate search. Scrimgeor thought it possible the ponies in question might be looking for Miss Nova’s new wet nurse, but he only said the ponies were likely looking for the pony that got away from Hendrixson. They now suspected that a heard had been scattered by the wyrm’s taste for pegasus eggs. The weather wasn’t making things any easier on them in their search. Nova had of course done the sensible thing, what any new mother might do, and that was to stay indoors with the new arrivals.

Nova said goodnight to the girls, walked into the closet, took her clothes off, and walked out into the other room once more a pony. She closed up the bookshelf wall and went to the large shared bedroom. Goldwine sat up looking at her. He was snuggled up with Alalme and Alya in the big bed. She went over to him, nuzzled him, sniffed, and levitated him to the bathroom for a quick clean up and change. When she returned, Alya needed a change. Finally, she was able to snuggle into bed and pull the covers up.

Nova had care of magical creatures on Tuesday, and as luck would have it, the weather cleared, and it turned into a nice day. Her class went out through a back entrance and trudged through the snow, and across an old stone bridge that was slick with ice. On arrival at the barns, they were handed shovels and put to work clearing snow from the various paths to and from the barns. Nor could they use magic as that could potentially upset a number of the more magical creatures in the barns.

“Art thou not a princess? How is it thy teachers put one such as yourself to work doing such menial chores?” Asked a voice from within a paddock.

It took Nova a moment to realize she was hearing old Ponish. She looked up to see a hippogriff. She bowed politely and whispered back in the old language that it was the lot of a student to do as their teachers bid, regardless of rank.

“I had a teacher back home that would make me move water from one trough to another and back again to teach me patience, and perseverance,” Nova added whispering, and went back to her task. “So why is a noble hippogriff such as yourself living behind a fence?”

“I’m old, and it’s a nice place to rest.” He offered. “Except for when that wyrm showed up. Twice it did. I must confess, I did not expect you to be conversant in the language of the beast, but then you have both a phoenix and a night mare at your beck and call.”

“That night mare is the avatar of one of my moms. The one who nursed me when my own mother could not. And I know the language as the old language of pony kind. We call it old Ponish.”

“Your mother? - Old Ponish you say?”

“I’m no human princess if that’s what you thought.” Nova offered with a smile and a wink. “I also rescued Miss Alalme of the silver wood, and her little filly Alya.”

“She’s alright then? That’s good. And she’s got a filly. That is good. Foals are so young and tender. Her kin have been looking for her. When no one could find her we feared she’d been lost in the snow, or the other Wyrm got her. They always come in pairs you know, and folks are mighty worried the other will show up.”

“Well spread the word that the mate is dead as well, to include a clutch of eggs.” Nova paused in her labors. “Alalme didn’t know how to contact any of her kin. I gather the last she saw of anyone they’d left her in old man Hendrixson’s barn with the assumption she’d be safe.” Seeing the teacher was watching, she quickly went back to shoveling snow.

“Dead you say, that is good news. And that old fool has made a grave breach of trust, but then I expect little better out of many wizards.”

“Mr Mackintosh, and his family are, I imagine, an exception to the rule. They are good people. They remind me of some ponies I once knew. - The Wyrm was discovered in a secret place deep under the castle, and nearly got a boy who I’d call a friend.” Nova shuddered at the memory.

“And you say you are, a pegasus was it?”

“A pegacorn. I can do magic, and transform.”

“Show me.”

“Now would be a bad time.” Nova protested. “There are only ten who know of my pony form. Not all of those have guessed that it's my true form. I can transform into a small white fox with wings like an owl as well.”

“Oh ho, so that little spitfire is you is it?” The hippogriff asked, and then laughed.

“Ya. Flying in that form is so much fun, and everyone sees me as a wizard Animageus so I don’t need to hide that form. They also think I have a blood curse because my human form is less than complete.”

“Haha, the assumptions of wizards. But tell me, what is your name, little one?”

“Nova Moon.” Nova offered. “And Alalme and I have a secret place where we share the joy of caring for our foals.”

“Foals you say? - But surely you are not yet old enough to have a foal of your own? But forgive my manners, I’m called Raumo, he who rides upon the storm. Now, what’s this you say, more than one foal? You only mentioned the one?” He clacked his beak and quickly licked away some drool. If Nova noticed, she made no indication.

“I rescued an egg from the wyrm, and have a beautiful golden colt I now call my own for lack of a mother to return him to. Nor would I gladly give him up as he is my pride and joy.” Nova paused in her shoveling once more. “From what I’ve learned I suspect his mother was the same Brighteyes who was slain in the hay barn on the very same day I retrieved the egg, and the beast was slain.” She studied him carefully, no she wasn’t going to tell him who it was that killed the Wyrm.

“There is much you are not telling me. But it is good that at least one foal was saved from that creature.” He clacked his beak. “Oh, and that Alalme has hers as well.”

“I’m not sure you’d believe me if I told you the whole of it anyway. And I think I’d best get back to my task.” Her instructor had indeed been watching her, though what was going on in their mind was anyone’s guess. Theirs was a mixture of concern due to the proximity of the hippogriff mixed with irritation and confusion due to the fact that Nova was both slaking in her task, and appeared to be holding a conversation with the hippogriff. As for Nova, she’d stopped completely at the sight of a large blood red roan draft horse with a palomino mane pulling a snow plow with no supervision. Nova was mesmerized by the rippling muscles on the stallion that so resembled Applejack’s elder brother.

“You’re drooling.” Teased Raumo.

“Who?” Nova asked.

“Why that’s Mr Mackintosh.”

“He’s been holding out on me, he has.”

Raumo laughed, followed by Nova’s teacher going up to them, bowing to the hippogriff, and moving Nova a good distance away from the old gray beak.

Nova couldn't resist luring Alalme out to see if they might spot Mr Mackintosh hard at work later that day. Nova had decided to venture forth in her pony form, and the foals were presently taking a nap in the care of Moonie. Moonie had been a bit of a shock to Alalme at first, but she soon grew accustomed to the appearance of the night mare. As luck would have it, Mackintosh was still hard at work along with a number of older students who’d picked up where the previous classes had left off. To the students, the sight of a pair of cute pegasi sneaking out of the cottage didn’t really seem all that strange. Watching them teasing the big draft horse had been hilarious. But alas, all good things must come to an end.

“Alright knock it off the both of you.” Mrs Mackintosh ordered with her hands just above her hips. She’d rushed to her husband’s rescue the moment she got wind of what was going on. “That’s my Stallion, keep your hooves off him.” Nova and Alalme nickered, horse laughter it was, and as it’d been a while since either had had a good chance to really stretch their wings they lifted off and soared heavenward. Raumo, having witnessed the exchange, recognized Nova by her markings, and could only laugh at the antics of the young mares.

“Mrs Mackintosh… correct me if I’m wrong, but do you have a pegasus, and a pegacorn which just happens to be one of the rarest of magical creatures, living in your house?” The care of magical creatures teacher asked walking up to her.

“Wouldn't be the first magical creature that wandered into the house.” Mrs Mackintosh offered as though there were rare exotic creatures tramped through her house every day.

“There’s a pegacorn tramping around, and you never said a thing? To anyone? - We are talking a flying unicorn here.”

“The headmaster knows, and I’m under no obligation to tell anyone about the comings and goings of wild pegasi.”

“Wild pegasi?” The teacher protested. “Three of them put old man Hendrixson in the hospital.”

“And if he’d ‘ave provided support instead of a tether, he’d not ‘ave got the beating he got, now would he? Pegasi are intelligent creatures that form strong bonds with those they care for and can be every bit as gentle as a mother cat with her kittens. A woe be on those who threaten their foals, so don’t be poking around try’n ta figure out where they’ve nested.”

As for Nova and Alalme, they were high overhead enjoying the brisk cold air.

“You have got to be the most interesting pegasi I’ve ever met,” Alalme called.

“Is that good or bad?” Nova called back.

“It’s good. I find you very likable despite your being so different.”

“So is it the eyes or the teeth?” There was silence between the two, with only the sound of wind rustling past feathers reaching their ears.

“You’ve the look of a predator. Right now your eyes are down to narrow slits, and they reflect light at night. Not so much when you are in human form though.”

“Not so much? I seriously need to work on that. Listen, the old hippogriff, calls himself Raumo, he who rides on the wind. He told me that there are ponies looking for you. I let him know that you are alright, and asked if he could get word out. No point in us trying to find them.” She thought about the gray beak for a moment. “Though to be honest I don’t know if he’ll pass the word on or not. Not the sort I’d trust with foals.”

“Even if we wanted to find those pegasi, we couldn't go far, and you have your studies.”

“I suppose so. If I knew where they were, and they weren’t too far away I could fetch them. I'm capable of covering vast distances in a very short amount of time.” They continued on in silence for a bit, till Nova broke the silence. “Would you want to go back to your herd?”

“Why do you ask?”

“I have to go. In spring. I’d like very much for you to come with me, and we can be sisters.”

“Where are you going?”

“Through a portal that’s going to open up.” She'd a thoughtful expression on her face. “It’s a one-way trip, no going back, and I’ll likely never see anyone here ever again.”

“When?”

“Easter.”

“That’s too soon to wean Goldwine.”

“I thought it might be. I’d consider letting him stay with you.”

“Even though it’d break your heart and his?”

“I want to go home, and it’s going to require going through that portal. The portal will take me about eighty-eight, maybe ninety years, give or take, into the future.”

“How’s that get you home?”

“I don’t belong here. I belong to another world and another time. That portal gets me closer to home.”

“Goldwine doesn’t belong here either. He can’t come to the forest. His color is too bright. Such foals don’t last long, and then there is the issue that he and my foal have no fear of you despite your look of a predator. They could mistake a wolf for yourself.”

“I’d never thought of that. I’m a fox pony. I’m nocturnal. I never thought my own heritage could be a liability for a foal. I’m so sorry...” Nova was a gasp.

“My fate was sealed when I followed you. I will go with you, and I’ll not regret it.”

“Really, you will? - Yes!” At that Nova did a loop, followed by a victory roll. Alalme had to laugh at Nova’s antics, nor was she that much older than Nova. Life in the forest was hard, short, and sweet. They were lucky to live into their twenties. In Equestria Alalme would be considered underage, but that was Equestria where even an earth pony could live a hundred years or more. Heck, after a ninety-year jump she’d be the oldest pony in her clan since the fall of the Princess of the Night. The idea of becoming a figure of legend had its appeal, and Nova was going to make a good sister. Nova was an enigma to Alalme as well. Nova could demonstrate maturity and level headed thinking, and yet she seemed very much like a foal under that exterior.

“You ready to go in, it’s getting cold?” Alalme asked once Nova had settled down.

“Probably a good idea. I don’t have a flight suit on, and all this soft living makes my fur thin. - Too many people at the cottage lets just go to the tower. If we are quick they won’t know where we went.”

“How do you know where the opening is?”

“I use my internal navigation. Come on, just follow me.” Nova looped around to line up with the hidden opening, reached out with her magic, swooped down, and opened the doors to land in the rotunda. Alalme dropped in right behind her.

“How’d you know the doors were open?”

“They weren’t.” Nova offered as she closed the doors. “Advantage to having a horn. I could teach you magic that doesn’t require a horn. It’s what wizards call wand-less. Um, dare I ask what your reading skills are?”

“I know some of the ruins, and can read and write just enough to leave messages, or read messages.” “Nothing like what you can do, and that wyrm destroyed out little schoolhouse.”

“In that case, I think I’ll get out my primer in old ponish.” Nova opened the door to go into the rest of the apartments where two foals waited. "It'll do you good to improve on what you already know."

“Mama!” Goldwine called to Nova. Nova dropped down and gave him a hug and a nuzzle. Her fur was ice cold, he squealed, broke free and ran away squealing.”

“You’re next,” Alalme said to Alya with a grin on her face. Alya saw her doom, her eyes growing wide, squealed, turned, and followed after her nest sibling. Nova and Alalme couldn't resist chasing after them.

:rainbowderp:💨

That night at dinner a growing rumor that there were pegasi nesting in the top of the Gryffindor tower was nearly Nova’s undoing. People had seen them approach, but lost sight of them. No one saw where, but as the two pegasi hadn’t simply gone past the tower, it was assumed they’d somehow gained access to the tower.

“Aha! So that’s it!” Caydence said standing up. She then began pointing an accusing finger at Nova, Ruth, Maggie, Daisy, and Florence. “You lot figured out how to get into the attic, there are foals up there, and you haven't been sharing!”

Headmaster Scrimgeour having overheard, along with practically everyone in the hall, banged his goblet on the faculty table and stood up. “Miss Caydence Luyif, sit down.” He waited a moment while she sat down.

Newt, Fergus, and Cygnus looked at Nova not quite sure what to think. Had she laid an egg? Is that what her secret project was?

“Now...” Headmaster Scrimgeour said in a tone that left no doubt in the minds of anyone who heard him. “It seems that there is an interesting rumor going around.” He wasn’t entirely sure what the whole story was, though he did know about the two fillies teasing Mr Mackintosh. “The attic spaces and crawl spaces are off limits. If there is indeed a pegasus pair nesting at the top of one of the towers, they are to be left alone. No one is to approach any space suspected to contain a pegasus nest, nor pester them in any way. Any harm done to any of the pegasuses will be dealt with severely.” Having nothing more to say he sat back down and went back to his meal.

After dinner, nearly every girl in the Gryffindor tower wanted to know where the access was.

“You heard the headmaster, there’s to be no going up there.” Caydence admonished, and then asked where the access was.

“I know nothing about any access,” Nova said, went down into her trunk, closed, and locked the opening behind her. She then raced through, not bothering to switch, ran downstairs and asked Granny if any of the eggshell was left. She then told her, and Alalme what the problem was, said she needed lots of sticks, and raced to the stairs that went up.

She’d yet to even go up that way as there’d been no reason to. What she found was a typical attic space filled with things Princess Celestia had thought Nova might need inside boxes with lists attached to each and every box. And then there was one more set of stairs going to a flat section of the ceiling. Nova climbed the stairs, drew a bolt, pushed a hatch open, and climbed up into the Attack of Gryffindor Tower. She didn’t know how that worked and wasn’t going to ask.

It was dark, cold, and full of cobwebs. Nova transformed, and used her horn to light up the attic space. Aside from an attic ghoul that had been minding its own business, there wasn’t a thing in there. Nova saw another hatch slowly start to open. It made a terrible creak. In a flash, she jumped on the trap door sending whomever it was crashing to the floor. By the sounds of the yells and complaints, it’d been the boys. Another hatch started to open, and Alalme quickly stepped on that one.

“So now what?” Alalme asked in a whisper.

“We need to give them something to find,” Nova whispered back. “Look, there’s a shuttered window. We build a nest, leave some old feather floof, and what’s left of Goldwine’s eggshell. How fast can you build a nest? I’ve never built a nest in my entire life!”

“Can’t we just fasten the hatches?”

“Won’t work. They’ve been told to stay away. That’s like mooning an angry Manticore.”

“So what you are saying is they are no different than a typical foal.”

“Pretty much, only with fewer self-preservation instincts.”

Granny Smith popped up a moment later with a bundle of sticks. “Start ta building.”

“I guess you figured out what I wanted,” Nova said with a smile.

“Mister Mac has more,” Granny announced as Nova’s hatch started pushing up despite her being on it. “Oy, get up here.”

Mackintosh came up with two bundles, saw the problem, set the bundles to one side, climbed the rest of the way up, sat next to Nova, and transformed. Nova found herself getting scooted away, the hatch slammed shut, the floor creaked, and dust sifted through the cracks down to the room below. Nova squeezed out from between Mackintosh, and a very confused ghoul, and went to sit on the hatch to the girl’s rooms. Alalme quickly set to fashioning a nest with the material Granny had brought up, along with additional material, and the eggshell.

“What should we do with the egg shell?” Nova asked.

“Let the ghoul chew on it.” Alalme offered. “We usually just discard them. What were you doing with it?”

“Grinding it up and giving it to you as a calcium supplement,” Granny informed her.

“Makes for strong healthy foals.” Nova offered.

“Oh,” Alalme said. “I’d never thought of that.”

“Keep building,” Nova said with horn to hatch. She then hit the latch with a powerful locking spell. “That’ll hold the girls. - For a while at least.”

“Can you do that to the other one?” Alalme asked. “Mac and Granny are going to have to go back down so I can position, and finish the nest. We can fly out the window. Don’t think it’s going to be very convincing though.”

“On my way. Mac?”

No sooner had Mackintosh turned back into a human, and stepped away from the hatch, the hatch flew open, and a boy’s head popped up. Nova hit him with a jinx right between the eyes, trotted over, and started taking pot shots at everyone down there. Pew pew pew…

And there was much cursing and scrambling.

“You are enjoying that entirely too much,” Mackintosh said as he crossed the floor. He and granny went back down, closed, and latched the hatch. Alalme pushed the nest into position and finished it up complete with padding made of feathers. They hoped no one would notice that the feathers were mixed feathers from the farm.

“The shutter’s locked from the outside?” Alalme said half panicked.

“Stand aside, and close your eyes.”

“What?”

“Just do it.”

Alalme did as directed. Her ears heard an explosion. She opened her eyes to discover the shutters had been blasted clean away. Even part of the sill was gone, and that which was left was smoldering. Nova slammed the hatch to the boys' dorm down and hit it with a locking spell.

“That won’t last long!” Nova announced, and the two jumped out the window to circle down to their balcony even as the boys burst the hatch open.

“Core, there’s a nest up here!”

Nova popped her head out of her trunk to witness Professor Marchbanks reading the riot act to the girls. Through the wall could be heard the sound of one of the men doing much the same. The next morning, the welts on quite a few of the boys convinced the girls to never try that again.

Detention for those known to have been involved wasn’t pleasant, and the lecture in Care of Magical creatures included showing everyone the remains of the shutters. “This is what happens when you corner a pegacorn.” The instructor said sternly. “You boys are lucky she held back.” The boys all replied yes sir as they fidgeted uncomfortably in their seats. To be true, the welts Nova had given them had faded much faster than the welts the teachers had given them.

The remainder of the month went without incident. The weather swung back and forth between rain and snow, and by the time February came around everyone was looking forward to the Valentine dance. Nova went if only to stem off suspicion. She didn’t really want to be there but wore her best wizard robe. She mingled, danced with some of the boys, and when she felt she’d stayed long enough, made her excuses and left. Upstairs in her apartments, the house elves had prepared a candlelight dinner out on the lawn of her greenhouse. A dinner for two. In there at least it was nice and warm.

“You know, you just might civilize me yet,” Alalme said with a smile.

“I thought you might enjoy it. Back in Equestria we call this Hearts and Hooves day. It’s a different time of year, but it’s the same sentiment. - You’ve been such a blessing, I couldn't go to a party, and leave you out of all the fun.”

The weather was mild for the remainder of the month, even so, they'd yet to hear anything about the ponies who’d been looking for Alalme.

With the mild weather, everyone began to look forward to the quidditch game coming up. The game was scheduled for the last Saturday of the last full weekend of the month, Hufflepuff against Gryffindor. There’d been a light dusting of snow the day before the game, but the day of the game was a beautiful sunny day. So much so Nova needed her goggles from her shadow bolt messenger uniform. They fit her human face a little funny, but they were better than nothing. The teams flew out, landed, shook hands, lifted off again, and took up their positions. The balls were released, and the game began.

This time the snitch had been jinxed to fly away from Nova any time it got near her. It’d fly to her, turn, head in some other direction, and then come back and do it again. Almost like it was teasing her. The Hufflepuff seeker saw this, and before long the two players were jockeying back and forth in an effort to see who might catch it first.

And then it happened.

There was a stillness in the air, and a lack of all sound save the activity of the game itself. Nova became aware of it, the lack of bird song as birds sing even in winter was unnerving – her hair stood on end.

She felt where it was coming from and turned her broom just as the wind exploded with a mighty crash. Most of the players were immediately grounded, the snitch had turned into the wind, and the Hufflepuff seeker had copied Nova simply because he’d seen her do it. He was being pushed back, no matter how much he wiled his broom forward. Nova was getting buffeted by the outfit that had been made extra baggy to camouflage her girlish shape. It’s a Victorian thing. The girls hated flying in those outfits, it slowed them down, but it was what the ministry wanted. For those who were still watching they saw Nova’s outfit get torn away save for bits of it, to reveal a blue-gray jumpsuit with gold lightning bolts around the cuffs, and a vapor cone began to form in front of her. She was also, more or less, stationary the wind was so strong. The stands began to creak and sway prompting spectators to abandon them.

Nova knew she had to finish this quickly. The snitch for its part was still racing into the wind as fast as it’s little wings could go. It wasn't making much headway. Nova maneuvered behind it, sparks began to fly from the sweep of her broom, followed by bright red and yellow flame, then white fire streaming back making more racket than the wind itself. If that could even be possible. She punched through the vapor cone and snatched the snitch.

“She’s got the snitch, Gryffindor wins, everyone inside!” Shouted the announcer, their sentence being punctuated by a loud crack.

Nova was nowhere in sight.

At the moment she’d caught the snitch she’d angled up, and rocketed into the stratosphere. It was as though she’d fallen into the sun. She looked at the snitch and asked it if it was having fun. As for the view, it looked to Nova as though she could see the entire world. Far below was Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, the barns, greenhouses, the forest, and the rail line snaking away into the distance through the highland hills. To the west, she could see the Atlantic, and to the east high mountain peaks, and beyond that the North Sea. All about the land is rugged, and more peaks can be seen to the south, and southeast.

Getting back down was going to be a challenge.

Nova angled down, tucked the snitch into her gut, and blasted forward into the wind. By the time she made it back the wind had toppled the quidditch stands. She angled over, and then down to land in the relative shelter of a large courtyard, and made her way to the great hall. Bits of her quidditch outfit still hung to her, and about her neck, her pendant was clearly visible, a chain of lilliputian silver horseshoes, from which the moon pendant hung glistened in the light. Her goggles were also about her neck as she’d pulled them down the moment she’d entered the building.

“Where have you been?!” Her friends and several faculty members asked as she walked in. Outside the wind sounded like it was trying to pull the place apart.

“In orbit.” Nova offered. She’d her broom in one hand, and the snitch in the other. “Fifty thousand horns at least.” Fifty thousand whats, they asked themselves?

“I’ve never seen the like.” Professor Marchbanks said looking at her. “What on earth, I thought your broom had burst into flame. And what are you wearing?” Several girls were presently covering the eyes of the boys around them as Nova’s flight suit fit very tight with the bits of her quidditch outfit only making the effect that much worse on the minds of the properly modest Victorian mindset.

“I used a propulsion charm.” Nova offered. “And it’s my flight suit. I sort of summoned it when my clothes ripped apart. Not sure how I did it though, I just needed it, and suddenly I’m wearing it. Kind of looks like long underwear don't it?” Nova was a healthy fourteen-year-old, her birth date being November twentieth by the Equestrian calendar, and had she been home she’d likely be in an apprenticeship now. The behavior of a number of the girls seemed rather odd to Nova that they’d react that way over an Equestrian flight suit, and then she wondered how they’d fair in pony society where clothing, when worn, was nothing more than an accessory.

“That fire, was that more of your wand-less magic? - Or is it this pendant you wear?” Professor Black asked.

“Not exactly either.” Nova offered. “My broom has the same elements as my wand. Granted there’s more too it, but it can, in a pinch, be used to cast a spell.” She looked at the end of the sweep. Numerous ends were curled, and or smoldering. “And I’ve only singed it a little.”

The wind continued unabated, and many of the students and staff had been worried the towers might collapse. Nova more than most, and went upstairs despite protest, to retrieve her suitcase. She placed her broom in a holder inside the first apartment, extinguished the smolders, went into the walk-in closet, put a skirt and blouse on, and summoned her waistcoat to herself putting that on not having taken the time to remove the flight suit. She then let the snitch go in the library for the foals to chase, exited the trunk, reconfigured it to a suitcase, and brought it back to the main hall where everyone was gathering. She regretted not telling Alalme what was going on but didn’t think she had the time. Gryffindor students and Ravenclaw students were temporarily relocated to unused ground floor classrooms do to their dorms being located in towers and provided cots and blankets. For perhaps the first time in their life, the Slytherins were glad to be in the dungeon.

Nova set her suitcase in a corner, reconfigured it to a steamer trunk, and went in. She passed through the closet making sure to close and lock the bookcase, and went and found Alalme.

“What’s happened, all the outside doors are gone?” Alalme asked. “Where have you been?”

“I moved the primary location. The front door so to speak. The wind is blowing harder then I’ve ever seen it before, and there’s a fear the Gryffindor tower might collapse. - I’ll see if I can reconnect the farmhouse door.” She then went down to the open hearth kitchen, and with a little effort reestablished the connection.

“Is everyone alright in here?” Nova asked as she opened the door. The place sounded like it was about to fly apart.

“Miss Nova!” Granny shouted over the wind. “What happened to the door? It vanished.”

“I had to move the apartment. We’ve evacuated the Gryffindor tower.” Nova shouted in turn. “Where’s Mrs Mackintosh, have her grab her little ones, and come into my kitchen. You should come to.”

“And Mr Mackintosh?” Granny asked.

“Well, I figured he’d be out trying to tie things down. - I can’t help. This is too much for me.”

“Aye, you’re right. He’s out in the thick of it.” Granny shouted back.

Just then there came a pounding at the outer door. Granny opened the door with an effort to discover three pegasi outside, a gray and two chestnut paints.

“Don’t just stand there!” Nova shouted in old ponish. “Get in here! This way.” The three hesitated only a moment and made their way into Nova’s kitchen. Once inside they marveled at the realization that the only sound of the storm came from the doorway. Granny, and Mrs Mackintosh came in with two young very alarmed children a few moments later.

“I’m going to assume you three are the ones who have been looking for Alalme?” Nova asked. “You picked a fine time to come calling.”

“We got blown here.” One of the paints offered. “Who are you, and how do you know about Alalme?”

“There was a big stallion out there throwing chains over roofs to fasten everything down.” The other paint offered. “I’ve never seen the like. - He told us to go to the house.”

“That’s Mr Mackintosh. Big Mac to his friends.” Nova offered. “He’s a wizard, though I suspect he’s more horse then wizard.”

“And who are you?” The gray asked as the door was shut. The sound of the storm vanished. Outside the window could be seen the farmyard, and things were not well.

“What happens if the house gets blown away?” Granny asked.

“So long as there is a wall there, the door will remain.” Nova offered. “I’m Nova Moon. Alalme and I have a sister pact.”

“But you?” The gray asked.

“Come, follow me, all will be explained.” Nova offered and headed for the door to the hallway. She opened the door, and the three ponies looked through to see a park outside a window where none should be. Nor was there any wind despite the wind raging outside the kitchen window. Nova walked down the hall until she was out of view.

“Well?” Said a unicorn with nova’s hair and voice looking back around the corner. “Are you coming or not?”

“Who are you?” The gray asked.

“I’m Nova Moon. Though you’ve yet to introduce yourselves.” Nova walked back in, and their jaws dropped. For whatever reason, her entire outfit had transformed with her, and it was clearly a pony uniform of some sort. Or at least that’s what it looked to be to them. Nor had they expected her to come trotting back as a winged unicorn after vanishing from sight.

“I am called Gadgull, and the mares are Istel, and Talma.”

“Well, Gadgull the Gray of the Silver Wood, come and I will introduce you to our foals.” They hesitated a moment longer, and then followed Nova upstairs. Gadgull marveled at the armor still on the clotheshorse. The skull and wing was a symbol out of legends.

“Alalme, we’ve got visitors,” Nova called. Alalme came out of the bedroom, let out a squeak, trotted to them, and there was much wing hugging and nuzzling.

“How is it that you are living like humans,” Gadgull asked in astonishment. “And what is this place.”

“Humans, this is how Equestrians live. Well, maybe not this grand as I’m to understand this estate is large even by Equestrian standards. We’ve been living in the wild, in out little village so many generations we’ve forgotten what it is to live as a civilized pony.” Alalme responded with a smile. “Do not our oral traditions say we once lived as this? - And this, my dear brother, is Princess Kitzumi Nova Moon of Equestria. And my new sister.”

“You’ve found yourself an interesting sister, she is half beast.” Gadgull protested.

“I’ll not deny it,” Nova responded as a small golden mechanical bird landed on her. Nova looked at it, it was clearly the snitch, but it now looked more like a proper bird. Had the Equestrian magic changed it, or was that Tia’s doing? Was there a difference? She looked back over to Alalme. “By the way, where’s Phenik?”

“With the foals. I put them down for a nap.”

“Well, you are coming with us. Now!” Gadgull ordered.

“You have got to be jesting?” Nova said in disbelief. “I invited you in to bring you to safety, and now you wish to throw my hospitality in my face? - Have you forgotten what it’s like out there in the brief time you’ve been inside?” She glared at him. “Nor will I suffer my sister to be compelled to go anywhere that is not of her choosing.”

“Nor would I willingly give up toilets.” Alalme offered. Nova smiled.

“So what you are saying is you love me for my indoor plumbing, is that it?” Nova teased.

“I must confess, not having to go out into the weather to poop does have its appeal,” Alalme replied with a wink. “And the window where the balcony normally would be is evidence enough, that the weather outside is not fit for mad dogs, nor English men.”

“Tell us of this thing called indoor plumbing?” Istel and Talma chimed.

“Well I did offer to show you the foals, so let's see if they are asleep.” Nova offered, went to the chamber door, and slowly opened it. She peeked in and was rewarded with the exclamation of mama. A moment later a little golden foal was under her, pressing against her legs.

“So much for naps,” Alalme said as Alya came out as well. She saw the strangers and dashed to her mother. Alalme and Nova gave Gadgull withering looks so as to impart on him the stupidity of his word as Istel and Talma cooed over the cute foals.

“They are beyond precious.” Istel offered. “Especially now when our heard is scattered.” She turned on Gadgull and gave him the same look that Nova and Alalme were giving him.

“And to even think about taking foals out into that wind is beyond insanity,” Talma said as she too added her glare.

“I may have been a bit hasty.” Gadgull offered as he took a step back.

“Well, now that that is settled, Miss Aiko, Can you provide our guests with accommodations?” Nova asked.

“Yes, Miss.” Offered a white pony with a maid uniform. Gadgull jumped at her sudden appearance.

“I can only imagine what he’ll think of Moonie.’ Alalme whispered.

“Let's find out,” Nova said with a smile. “Moonie?” The Night Mare appeared as from nowhere. Gadgull’s wings popped out in a display of arousal at the sight of the mare. Moonie nickered under her breath while Istel and Talma gave Gadgull an icy stare. “Well, now we know. - Moonie, can you keep an eye on the foals? I need to go back out to the school.”

“Awwww.” Goldwine said and held tight to Nova’s leg.

“I know, I know, I just got here, but I need to get back before they miss me.” She gently extracted herself from his grip, levitated him to Moonie's back, transformed, and teleported to the entry lounge of the smaller upstairs suite.

Nova’s sudden appearance put a temporary halt to an argument that was going on. The suite was filled with seven-year girls who had been arguing with Nova’s roommates, plus Daisy.

“How’d she do that?” One of the seven-year girls asked.

“Never mind that. We are commandeering this apartment for the seven-year girls.” Commanded another seven-year student.

“This apartment is the sovereign territory of Eques.” Nova scolded boldly. The last thing she wanted was girls that might find their way through the deception, and these girls were being rather presumptuous. Add to that the weather, and Gadgull’s attitude earlier had her on edge.

“Listen to the princess, thinks she’s so high and mighty.” One of the other seven year girls said. They all laughed.

“It’s ours now.” another informed boldly. “Now get out. Senior girls privilege.”

“Tia, dungeon,” Nova said in angered breath. There was a flash, and the seven-year girls were gone. “Keep them locked in, and lock the outer door.”

“Where’d they go? How’d you do that?” Daisy asked astonished.

“They wished that I accommodate them, and I did.” Nova offered. “They are in my dungeon.”

“Hey, um… where’s everyone?” Caydence asked coming down the steps.

“I provided them other accommodations. Would you like to join them?”

“Ummm… no. I’m good.” Caydence replied figuring she knew where that other accommodation was.

“I’ve room for the first years.” Nova offered. “That is if I’m to offer accommodations in here.”

“Alright, what is going on down here?” Professor Marchbanks asked as she descended the steps. “Where are the seven years?”

“Nova locked them up.” Daisy offered.

“They were being a bit presumptuous.” Nova offered.

“Just how presumptuous?” Marchbanks asked.

“Attempted seizure of the sovereign territory of Eques, and gross disregard for the inhabitants,” Nova informed her. “Such statements were made that I’d be well within my rights to seek a formal apology from the ministry.”

“They were going to try to kick Nova out,” Maggie added. “And take the apartment for themselves.”

“Well, they had to learn the hard way sooner or later,” Marchbanks said as she gazed into the park mural which she knew to be just a window with an enchantment. The park was filling with magical creatures. Nova took one look, vanished, and then a pegacorn appeared in the painting, wearing the same outfit Nova had on a moment ago.

“Ahhh, what am I seeing?” Caydence asked. “She vanished, and then a winged unicorn appears in the painting...”

:trollestia:

“Raumo, what’s going on?” Nova asked as she glided down.

“Our barn was in danger of collapsing. Gadgull was generous enough to invite us into this wonderful enchanted shelter.” Raumo informed us.

“Well, I guess I can’t very well say no. Do you think you can keep everyone in line?” Nova asked still hovering in the air.

“Why of course.”

“And tell them that this is not a shelter, but the garden of a princess of Equestria. If anyone destroys anything, so help me I’ll have their hide.” And with that, she sped off to the entrance.

Nova was relieved to find that Tia had added a large door to exit straight from the kitchen plus two more to restrict access to the downstairs corridor.

“Miss Nova, I hope you don’t mind,” Granny said on seeing the pegacorn enter the kitchen. “Gadgull said you’d be alright with it.”

“Well he’s not wrong,” Nova said her apprehension about the whole situation showing. Her care of magical creatures teacher was standing there looking at her with a perplexed expression. “Mr Percival.” Nova said acknowledging the man. His jaw dropped when Nova transformed back to her human form. “Mr Percival, please tell me you have other emergency shelters for the more quarrelsome, and or destructive creatures?”

“You can turn into a winged pegasus?” Mr Percival asked astonished.

“Yes, and I’ve three pegasus mares and two foals upstairs,” Nova informed him. “This space is inside my luggage. The nest in the tower was just a diversion to keep people from putting two and two together, and realizing there was more inside my trunk then just a deluxe apartment.” A thought suddenly hit her. If anyone moved her steamer trunk, this entrance would slam shut. “I need to go!” Snap!

Nova climbed the stairs just as two girls were about to pick up, and move the steamer chest. “Stop! Fix position.”

“We’re just… It won’t budge?”

Nova breathed a sigh of relief.

“What’s going on?” Marchbanks asked her in a whisper.

“The back door is being used to bring in animals to shelter them from the wind,” Nova replied in a whisper. “Move the trunk, and the door will slam shut.”

“Oh my. What’s going on?”

“I’m to understand a barn is in danger of collapsing. - Animals are being evacuated. - For whatever reason, one of my guests decided to open my doors to all comers, and it’s making me mighty jumpy. They are not being very selective, and I’m not happy about it. - Now, I’m going to go back down there, and see what all is being done.”

“What’s going on?” Caydence asked as Nova went back down, and vanished once more.

“Nothing you need be concerned with dear.” Marchbanks cautioned. Nor did she wish to mention that there was a potential for any number of magical creatures to come out of Nova’s trunk at any moment.

:twilightoops:

Nova turned back into her pony form and flew over the gardens. There where any number of creatures running about, squabbling, and staking out territories. Nova cast a bright light spell about herself, and called out in old ponish with the royal Canterlot voiced, “Silence, and be still! By our leave, thou have come, and by our hoof in thine backside will thou leave if thou faileth to behave! Pick a place to rest, and sit quietly!

And upon the field a hush fell, none daring any utterance.

Nova continued to the kitchen entrance, still shining brightly. Gadgull was standing in the entrance, but he grew week in the knees and bowed low on her arrival.

“You started this mess, I expect you to follow through, and see to it that some semblance of order is kept,” Nova said as she walked past him. From there she walked into the kitchen, wings not quit fully closed up, with light streaming off her like she was some heavenly being.

“What, what was that?” Mr Percival asked. He hadn’t understood any of it, but it was clear that a powerful magical creature wasn’t pleased by the goings-on. The sight of Nova back in her pegacorn form, ears and wings telegraphing agitation, and glowing like a celestial being… the realization that he’d just invaded the nest of a powerful magic being began to creep up his spine.

“That was me.” Nova offered and changed back to human form.

“You’re, um, glowing.” Granny offered. Things had gotten out of hand, nor had she realized Mr Percival would start bringing in dangerous animals when she’d told him it was alright to use the garden.

“Ah, so I am,” Nova said looking at her arm. She took a deep breath, let it out slowly. She countered the spell she’d cast on herself, and the light faded till she was back to the ordinary mild mannered Miss Nova. “There is a lot of squabbling going on. Creatures who have the mistaken belief they can take and hold territory, trampling my lawns, and my gardens. Coming dangerously close to my nest.” Nova let that sink in a little. “I trust every last one that isn’t a pegasus will be out as soon as you are able to do so.”

Mr Percival nodded his head, Nova said thank you and teleported upstairs.

“What was that shouting?” Alalme asked on seeing Nova.

“That was me.” Nova offered and turned herself back into a pony. “It’s pandemonium. I do hope the foals can’t get out.”

“We seem to be locked in.” Alalme offered.

“That’s just as well then,” Nova replied. “Tia is likely weighing the need to provide shelter with the necessity to keep the foals safe. - How are they?”

“Looking out the window at all the goings-on.”

“Maybe I can get them to settle down. At the very least I need a nap. All that magic wears a pony out.” Nova tried working a kink out of her neck. “There’s resistance from the Hogwarts wards every time I teleport, and it wears on me.” Nova went into the lounge, picked out one of the large sofas, and lay down. It didn’t take long for Phenik, and Goldwine to join her, Phenik on her back, and Goldwine burrowing in under a wing. Nova and colt soon fell asleep, while Phenik kept one eye open.

🍽

It was decided to risk having dinner in the main hall that night.

“Professor Marchbanks, where are your seventh-year girls.” Brutus Scrimgeour asked as they waited for everyone to settle down. The wind outside had died down a bit but still made an ominous racket.

“As the muggles are prone to say, they are at Her Majesty's disposal.” She offered dryly. “Miss Nova hasn’t come out since the last time I saw her, so I haven't been able to ask her to let them out.”

“She sent me an owl to let me know she’ll be staying in until something can be done about the animals trampling her garden,” Scrimgeour informed. “Not that I can blame her.”

“Lawns?” Merrythought asked.

“You remember the memory I showed you, of the Wyrm under the castle being killed?” Scrimgeour asked. “She’s the one who killed it. - She recovered a pegasus egg, and as she was able to demonstrate she could take care of it, I allowed it. Since then she brought home a nursing pegasus mare with a foal.”

“Where is she keeping them, surely you aren’t going to say her luggage?” Merrythought asked.

“She’s got a small estate in her luggage. It’s the reason we did the red tags for the train. I allowed her to set up access out at the barns, where she linked her kitchen to the Mackintosh kitchen so that they’d be able to provide them with some support without anyone knowing.”

“She opened a door from the dorm to the farm?” Professor Black asked astonished.

“I’m to understand that’s the limit of the estate. Or at least the range.” Scrimgeour offered. “It worked out perfectly well until one of the barns started to topple. Mr Percival it seems was given access to the estate and decided to use it as an emergency shelter for pretty much everything. - Needles to see she’s none too happy about it but has allowed it out of concern for the creatures. The downside is any number of those creatures pose a threat to the foals.”

“And the seventh year Gryffindor girls tried to commander the portion of her apartments that are accessible to the people in the dorm.” Marchbanks offered. “She’d be within her right’s to request a formal apology, and she’s said as much. She did make that section available to the first years. And I think she did the right thing. The apartment is isolated from the sound of the wind, and the younger girls needed that. The older girls were just expecting privileges that weren’t theirs to take. I suspect she may not be able to get them out, without leading them past all the animals. She mentioned that moving her luggage would cause all the outside doors to shut, and I’m assuming disconnect.”

“Which would cause the door at the Mackintosh kitchen to disconnect, creating an even bigger headache.”

“But didn’t she already move it?” Professor Black asked.

“Reconnected.” Scrimgeour offered. “I’ve already heard the door had vanished. She reconnected it, and then let in three more pegasi who were looking for shelter. She sets up space for pegasi, and then gets creatures that hunt pegasi added to the mix.”

“Surprise house guest, followed by a flood of house guests.” Professor Black commented. “That’s enough to put anyone on edge. Guests that might eat your kids? It’s no wonder she didn’t come to dinner.”

“My biggest concern is the student body will learn the truth concerning that specific piece of luggage,” Marchbanks commented. “They’d all want a look, and try to get her to make improper connections.”

“How do we know she hasn’t already added improper connections?” Merrythought asked.

“She wouldn't need to.” Castor Steorra offered. “With her fox form alone she could zip back and forth to Hogsmeade, and we’d be none the wiser. Add to that the fact that she can use Unicorn magic. A winged unicorn.”

“She can apparate within Hogwarts grounds, I’ve seen her do it, despite the wards.” Marchbanks offered. “This afternoon she was racing back and forth in her estate.”

“And she did it to save Harold.” Scrimgeour offered. “She abides by the rules because it’s in her nature to do good. She’s not going to break the rules without a good reason. In that, we can be sure of.”

:scootangel:

“I want to see,” Newt said on hearing about all the magical creatures that were presently occupying the mural in Nova’s apartment.

“We can’t get into the girls… hang on, they aren’t in the dorm, are they?” Fergus said as a big grin formed on his face.

“You behave yourself, Fergus Potter.” Daisy scolded just as the headmaster banged his goblet on the head table.

“Well, this wind has certainly gotten us all just a little bit unhinged.” Headmaster Scrimgeour said. “Hopefully everything will have calmed down by morning. When it does, there will likely be a need to do clean up. Make sure to check with your dorm supervisors first thing in the morning. - Now then, let's eat.”

“Say where are all the seven-year girls?” One of the older boys asked.

“Miss Nova locked them up for treaty violation,” Daisy informed the boy.

“Come on Daisy, you’ve got to sneak me in, I just want to see the mural.” Newt pleaded.

“It’s true, he’s more interested in animals then girls.” Cygnus teased from the Slytherin table. There was much laughter, more so when Newt admitted he couldn't dispute the claim, and that he was never the less, dead set on penetrating the sanctity of the girls lodging. No one heard the word ‘lodging’.

The wind quit sometime in the early morning, and the grounds were a mess.

“A week?!” Nova asked in shock. She’d just been informed that it’d be at least a week before they could rehouse any of the animals in her garden. “You can’t be serious? It’s a miracle they lasted overnight. Not to mention that there are a number of them that eat meat. Not just small prey, but large prey, and the only thing keeping them from gaining access to the student body and my baby is a pain of glass.” The workmen and professors looked at her stunned. Did she say her baby? As in she had a baby? At her age?” Of course, the issue regarding the student body was simple, close off or remove the access to the other end.

“Oh sure, lock them in with me, and mine in here with them.” Nova protested. “If the entrance within the school is moved, all other entrances close, and must be opened anew.”

“I can take some animals.” Offered old man Hendrixson. “Least I can do for the harm I did. - You have that pegasus and foal I so mistreated, don’t you? You have ponies in there, and you fear for them.”

“I do, and if you will do this, I will gladly reimburse you the repairs on your barn.” Nova offered.

“Won’t be necessary.” Hendrixson offered. Several other locals offered to house the various beast, and before the day was out, they’d managed to find a place for every animal, save the pegasi which nova gladly invited to stay. That is to say, she’d actually gained a few pegasi in the night. The last creature to leave was Raumo.

“Surely you wouldn't cast me out into the weather?” Raumo asked.

“Perhaps not, but I would.” Offered a commanding voice he did not know. He turned and beheld the sight of the celestial alicorn ablaze in light as though she was a shaft of sunlight come to life. “You’ve been offered a nice warm barn, and I can’t help but think your reasons for wanting to linger where foals play might be less than wholesome.”

“Y-y-you judge me harshly. I’d give them only the kindest care, anoint them with oils, and rub herbs and spices...” *!!

“Before or after you pluck them?” Nova asked. Her eyes lit up, and her mane began to flow as thou blown by an unfelt wind.

“I should be going!” Raumo said, and hurried to the exit with more spring in his step then he’d shown in many a year.

“Tia, my dear Tia, could you possibly do a sweep, and see to it there are no more hangers on”

“He was the last, not counting the ghoul in the holding cell.”

“Oh no, I forgot! - The girls. - Please tell me the house elves at least fed them?”

“They’ve been well cared for, and I myself have seen to their reeducation regarding the errors of their ways.”

“I do so love you,” Nova said with a smile.

Nova went out to the Mackintosh kitchen, and let them know she’d be disconnecting the door soon. Their kitchen and house were worse for wear, but it was still livable. She then went back upstairs to the now vacant classroom.

Professor Griselda Marchbanks was waiting.

“It’s been a long day I gather,” Marchbanks said as Nova ascended the steps out of the trunk.

“It has. - Back to the dorm?”

“Afraid not. To much damage to the roof. The tower is intact, but the top bedroom is now off limits until it’s repaired. We’ve reshuffled everyone, but the Headmaster feels it might be better to place you in a guest room.”

“All I need is a blank wall after all.” Nova offered with a smile. “Too many people know about the estate now anyway. Not sure I could keep it in the dorm without somebody… I nearly forgot again. - It’ll be safe to let the girls out now.” Nova unlocked the position of her trunk and opened to the door that opened into the holding cell. Sitting inside the guard space was the ghoul from the Gryffindor tower. The ghoul had on the rags of an old pair of pants on its thin frame, but nothing else, and it was just sitting in a corner. “Oh, there you are. Sorry, but you can’t stay in there. Out you go.”

Professor Marchbanks pulled out a wand, and the ghoul hissed at her.

“Professor, just stand back, it’ll go find a corner in the attic somewhere.”

“Ghouls are dangerous.”

“Not to ponies, they aren’t. - They are normally quite docile, and great for keeping pest under control.” Nova explained. “Maybe it’s just humans they don’t like. This one seems to be fine with Animageus as well. Come on out you go.”

The ghoul got up on all fours, and being more or less a humanoid, looked quite gamely. It ambled out hissing at Professor Marchbanks, and swallowed hard so that the gulp was a rather unnerving gollumn. It ambled over to a window, climbed the window frame, and vanished into an unseen hatch to a crawlspace in the ceiling. Just before the hatch closed up, they heard it say ‘preciousness’ gulped again, and was gone.

If Professor Marchbanks was unnerved, it said nothing for the mental state of the girls when Nova let them out of the cells.

“There, there was this thing...” One of the girls said as she slowly walked out.

“Yes, I saw the ghoul, but being locked in with a ghoul can’t be that bad?” Marchmanks asked.

“Not the ghoul.” Another girl corrected. “I think it was an elder god.”

“She lectured us for hours!” Announced another.

“What about food?” Marchbanks asked.

“Oh the food was quite nice, and the beds very comfortable.” They all agreed.

“I’m sorry I left you in there so long.” Nova offered. “I know what my aunt’s lectures can be like.”

“That was your aunt?”

“Her avatar to be exact.” Nova corrected. “She’s even more intense in person.”

“We promise we’ll never try to bully anyone to get that which isn’t ours ever again.” The girls all chimed as they dropped to their knees. “And we're sorry about the way we treated you.”

“Apology accepted,” Nova said. “Now, um, can I get you to leave, I need to move my luggage to wherever it is I’m to be housed.”

“Housed?” One girl asked.

“The top of Gryffindor tower received extensive damage, and the top floor is no longer usable.” Marchbanks offered. “Everyone is going to be a little cramped until the repairs can be made. There isn’t going to be enough room for everyone, and as Nova has her own apartment, all we need to do is provide her a place to put her luggage until the repairs are done.”

“Oh, that’s… hang on, what happened to the pegasi?!”

“I imagine they found shelter somewhere.” Nova offered. “After everyone rushed the attic, they left. Took their foals with them, and now I can’t finish the report I was working on.” Nova turned to wink an eye at Professor Marchbanks, who rolled hers. “We’ll never know though. Poor little foals, out in that horrible wind.” Nova shuddered at the thought.

“You know, I wouldn't mind getting a report of what you can tell me.” Professor Marchbanks said. “You know, just in case we ever need to provide assistance.” She prompted the seven-year girls to be on their way. The girls walked out looking more downcast than before. Nova folded up her suitcase and waited for Professor Marchbanks. The seventh-years were sent back to the dorm to freshen up for dinner, and Nova was taken to the medical wing where she was given an unused private room. There was a window that looked out in the direction of the barns where a great many people could be seen scurrying about like ants.

“You’ll find that’s nice and quiet, and it’ll be easier to come and go from your balcony as this will be a blind spot in regards to what students will be able to see.” Headmaster Scrimgeour offered walking in behind them. “I thought it best that perhaps you should consider distancing yourself from your friends. - Assuming you do plan to leave us.”

“To be honest, I won’t know myself until I attempt the spell, and I’ll have a finite window of opportunity.” Nova offered. “If it doesn’t work, you’re going to be stuck with me.” Nova set the suitcase down, propped it against the wall that was right of the window so as not to tempt the configuration, and pulled up the large door to the rotunda. “They’ll be looking for a steamer trunk, must of the students at least, not a big door like this.”

“And your roommates will know the door when they see it,” Marchbanks commented with a smile. “Will we see you at dinner?”

“I imagine I should, or people will be wondering what became of me.” Nova offered. She then opened the door to a small group of Pegasus who’d somehow managed to guess right concerning which door she’d open. She said thank you, went in, closed the door behind her, and turned back into her proper self. “Tia, you can push the bookshelf back into the library, we won’t be needing it to block off the other apartment for a while.” She gave Alalme a hug. “I need a bath, and then I have to get dressed to go back down for dinner.”

“You look worn out.” Alalme offered.

“Having all those potential threats so close… how did you manage out in the forest?” Nova asked.

“I guess we just got jaded enough, it seemed normal,” Alalme replied.

After dinner, Nova was halfway to the Gryffindor tower before she remembered that she wasn’t up there anymore, and on Monday morning showed up late to class because her new nest mate had thought she should be allowed to sleep in. Detention was helping to clean up the aftermath of the wind storm that had blasted thru.

The weeks wore on, with one thing or the other keeping Nova from many of her friends except those she had classes with. Often she’d see Maggie only at dinner time. They, in turn, had been kept so busy they had precious little time to go looking for wherever it was Nova had been secreted away to.

It was right around Easter, that Maggie found Nova waiting in the dorm room with her owl, Owldrey Hepbarn, and her broom. “Nova?” Maggie said on seeing her. She went to her, and they hugged. “We see you so seldom now, what brings you here?”

“And with broom and owl.” Ruth pointed out.

“I have a momentous decision ahead of me.” Nova offered. “Maggie, I’d like you to take care of my owl, and my broom. In fact, I’ll be giving you Owldrey. I’ve neglected her far more then I should, I’ve so many other responsibilities now.”

“Mmm, alright, I guess. I suppose I should say thank you, but why am I getting this feeling like you are going away?” Maggie offered.

“And I’m giving you my broom to keep. Take good care of it, and it will take care of you.” Nova continued ignoring the pleading question.

“Ah, Nova?” Florence asked sounding concerned. “This doesn’t have something to do with the flock of pegasi that have been flying about the castle, does it?”

“And I couldn't possibly take your broom?” Maggie said, her voice wavering.

“Don’t be silly, Maggie, of course, you can. I’ve already made a better one.” Nova said trying to sound cheerful, though it was becoming difficult. “And yes, I have to return to my people, my kind. I’ve a son. I can’t stay here. I need to go.” The truth was Nova was going to go to the future, but she’d rather the girls think she was going to be leaving with the pegasi to go live in the forest somewhere in the highlands. At least perhaps that way they’d have some comfort in believing she was out there enjoying life, and raising a family.

At dinner that night there was an atmosphere about the girls that seemed wrong to those around them. They were cheerful enough, but it was a forced cheer. Nor could they know that Nova had already seen to certain financial necessities either by owl, or in person at the bank in Hogsmeade, as she had seen fit to give the goblins as much information as seemed prudent. To their mindset, she was simply going away for a few years. If one could consider a time period approximately eighty-seven and a half years just a few years, but then goblins were rather long-lived and such an absence was a trifle. After dinner, Nova went back to her apartments, informed everypony there what was about to happen, and if they didn’t want to be dragged along, they’d need to be out within the hour. Naturally, Alalme stayed, there would be the two foals they shared, and to her delight, Gadgull, Istel, and Talma were staying. Istel, and Talma had laid a couple of eggs in one of the ground floor bedrooms, were brooding those eggs, and were not about to budge. Or leave indoor plumbing. They were informed they’d never see any of their friends or relatives again. They replied that Alalme and the foals were their only remaining close relatives, and they’d no sooner give then up then Nova would want to give up Goldwine. The clan of the Silver wood was effectively no more anyway as it really only consisted of themselves. Those remaining had been of other clans.

Once everything was settled, Nova closed up her suitcase and went down to the corridor that leads to the dungeons. For Nova it just seemed to be the best place to attempt the spell. Waiting for her was Griselda Marchbanks, Galatea Merrythought, Brutus Scrimgeour, Phineus Black, Sir Arthur Weasley who’d been requested to come, but not why, Mr Percival, Dietrich Flieger, and Castor Steorra.

“So, how does this work?” Headmaster Scrimgeour asked.

“Right now the border between now, and then, today and tomorrow is paper thin.” Nova offered, popped open a compartment on her suitcase, from which came seven small lamps, orange, pink, blue, purple, vermilion, magenta, and green in color. They took up positions, hovering in a circle in the hallway forming a sort of gateway. A mist began to form, and the hallway that could be seen framed by the lamps began to take on a completely different look. “The link between will form a time warp if it works.”

“It’s astounding,” Marchbanks said.

“Time is Fleeting.” Castor offered.

“Madness takes its toll.” Beatrice offered as she approached. She’d figured something was up and had gone in search of Nova, and the Gryffindor ghoul was strumming quickly on a guitar.

“But listen closely,” Nova continued. “Not for very much longer, I’ve got to keep control.”

And then a ghost started playing the piano while singing.

I remember doing the time-warp

Drinking those moments when

The blackness would hit me

And the void would be calling…

And all the ghost sang:

Let's do the time-warp again

Let's do the time-warp again

And then nova instructed, “It’s just a jump to the left.”

All, “and then a step to the right.”

“With your hands on your hips,” Nova instructed.

And then everyone sang

You bring your knees in tight

But it’s the pelvic thrust

That really drives you insane

let’s do the time-warp again

let’s do the time-warp again

And then Nova said in a soft voice, “It’s so dreamy, of fantasy free me
So you can’t see me, no, not at all

More singing
In another dimension, with voyeuristic intention…

Nova was gone, but as in all songs sung in the MLP franchise, everyone was compelled to continue till the last note died.

“What just happened, and why are we all standing here?” Professor black asked as all the ghosts and ghouls melted away into the shadows. “Miss Lulamoon, why are you out of your dorm at night?”





:trixieshiftright:Beatrice Lulamoon wanted nothing more than to follow after Nova. Nova was her first, and best friend. Three years later she found the room of requirement, and within was stored the mirror of Erised. Seeing herself stepping into the mirror, she did just that. The passage seemed to take forever, and then she found herself in a small storeroom in a ruined old castle. What’s more, she was now a light blue unicorn with a white mane.

“Yes, I am the great and powerful Trrrixie!”

Chapter 10: Enter the Crusaders

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Nova looked down the dimly lit hall and wondered if there was anyone about at all. She wasn’t even sure which corridor it was. Surely the school was never so dark as this, and what was that stench? She’d put the mini lamps away, but was tempted to get them out again. As her eyes adjusted she beheld the form of a great hulking mountain troll lumbering through the corridor dragging what looked to be a tree trunk. Her first reaction was one of perplexion, and she asked herself, where are the moderators when you want one?

“Ahh...” Moonie said appearing by her side.

“Maybe it’s on the faculty?” Nova whispered. The two watched the troll as it tried the door to the girls' toilets. The door opened, and the troll went it. “Ah, maybe that’s why the doors are so big?”

“But the toilets are too small?” Moonie offered just as two boys ran up, locked the door, and congratulated themselves. They started walking away when there was a scream, followed by a gleeful call to arms along with the sound of things being smashed.

“Cutie Mark Crusaders Troll Wranglers!”

The boys rushed back, opened the door, and plunged into the fray.

“Oh harmony,” Nova said and rushed to the door. What she and Moonie saw so befuddled them they weren’t quite sure what to do. There was a human girl who was being protected by Sweetie Belle who was presently in pony form. Sweetie Belle was managing a fairly decent shield spell in addition to using her levitation spell to launch broken bits of the room at the troll. She was nearly as good at it as Nova, and the troll was covered in welts. Not all of which was Sweetie Belle’s doing. Pony Apple Bloom was galloping around the troll bucking at its shins. The troll would let out an angry shout, and try to kick Apple Bloom. There was a boy hanging on the troll's back, a wand shoved up the troll’s nose, and Pony Scootaloo was flying around in circles about the troll’s head. Scootaloo having matured in the same manner as Nova, though a bit later, also sported a small horn, and was casting jinxes at the troll. Meanwhile, a redheaded boy was trying to wrest the troll’s club away with a levitation spell. The troll was not having any of it and had a good grip on the club.

“Um, who are we supposed to help?” Moonie asked.

“Well, I think the best course of action would be to put the troll out of his misery as quickly as possible.” Nova offered.

Moonie dashed into the fray, positioned herself in front of the troll, back to him, crouched down, braced, and…

Apple Jack would have been proud of that buck. The troll let out a barely audible eep, and the ceiling exploded raining dust and debris down. The redheaded boy finally gained control of the club and swung it around like a Louisville Slugger. Moonie shouted “Timber!” and dashed away pulling Apple Bloom out of the way as the troll came crashing down.

“Luna?” Apple Bloom asked startled.

“Is it dead?” The girl asked.

“I don’t think so, it’s out cold though.” Offered the boy who’d been on the troll’s back. He pulled the wand from the troll’s nose. “Eww, troll boogies.”

“Moonie, vanish,” Nova said on hearing several people running. Moonie disappeared. Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo taking that as their cue, all transform into human girls moments before the adults rushed in. Nova quickly stepped aside as an older witch, a man that made her think of an angry sulky raven, and a man with a turban all rushed in. The stench of death filled the room, and Nova took it to be a troll fart.

“We were just here to use the toilet.” The CMC said in practiced unison before anyone could say a thing. “We didn’t know anything about a troll, honest.” So far as Nova could tell they were genuine, though she suspected that something wasn’t being told.

“The boys came to warn us.” Offered the girl Nova didn’t know. “If Harry, and Ron… and that girl hadn’t come, and found us.”

Nova put her finger to her lips indicating she’d like the girl to be careful what she said.

“If they hadn’t have come and found us...” The girl offered, and stopped before saying what she expected might have happened.

“Why didn’t you just run?” Asked the woman perplexed.

“It had us cornered.” Sweetie Belle offered. It really hadn’t but there wasn’t a ready excuse that the crusaders did not know by heart.

“Very well then, I’ll not take points away.” The woman said. “Harry, Ron, in the future tell someone, and don’t go rushing into danger.”

“I’d think taking five points each would be in order.” Said the man like a raven, but then the man with the turban suggested that perhaps the boys should get rewarded for their quick thinking.

“Which leaves us at zero.” The woman offered. “Now, I want the lot of you up to the dormitory.”

“Yes mam.” everyone who wasn’t an adult said, including Nova. The group filed out, and Nova was just going to follow along until the sulky raven man spoke up.

“You there, why are you carrying a suitcase?”

“Me sir?” Nova asked turning.

“I don’t know you, who are you? Who’s your head of house, and what were you doing here in the first place?” The tall dark man asked in a most suspicious way.

“I was just on my way to use the toilet. My head of house is Professor Griselda Marchbanks, sir.” Nova offered as she turned to face the adults.

“If you’re going to lie, you might as well try using the name of someone that still serves as an instructor here at the school.” the man sneered “How do we know you aren't the one who let that troll in?”

“Me sir?” Nova looked at him wondering if he was balmy.

“Severus, be reasonable.” the woman said. She then looked at Nova. “What’s your name, and no lies.”

“Nova Moon.” Nova offered. The Crusaders looked back but hurried along after getting a withering glare from the teachers.

“Very well then, Miss Moon, come with me.” Professor McGonagall said.

“Yes, Mam.” Nova offered and hurried after her.

Meanwhile, Professor Quirrel having spotted the hole in the ceiling was peering up through it, the odd shape of the hole, sending a cold shiver down his spine.





“Do you know who I am?” The woman asked as she and Nova traversed through the castle.

“I’m sorry, but I still haven't learned who everyone is yet.” Nova offered.

“You are wearing a Gryffindor robe, and yet you don’t know who I am?” She said and stopped. Nova pulled up as well. “I’m Minerva McGonagall, head of Gryffindor.”

And as she was saying this a group of ghosts issued forth from a wall to include one Sir Nicholas deMimsy – Porpington.

“Oh, my,” Nicholas said going over to them. “My Dear Princess Nova, you haven't gotten yourself in tumble have you?” He gave a bow with a flourish.

“Good evening to you Sir Nicholas.” Nova offered with a curtsy. Sir Nicholas had just presented her with a golden opportunity. He remembered her but had no concept of time. To him, it was as though she'd just stepped out for a bit. “Afraid I’ve landed in the thick of it, and everyone has forgotten me.”

“Oh, that’s too bad. Well, I haven't.” Nicholas offered cheerfully.

“You know her?” McGonagall asked astounded.

“Don’t you?” Nic asked. “Oh my, you have forgotten her, haven't you. She’s in our house. Gryffindor.”

“But I’ve never laid eyes on her.”

“Oh, this is bad,” Nic said and made a tsking noise. “No matter, I’m sure you’ll get it sorted out whatever the problem is.” He then went and rejoined the other ghosts.

“Mortals have such bad memories.” One was heard to say as they drifted away. It was all Nova could do not to start laughing. Count on a ghost to remember everyone they met, but don’t expect them to have any concept of time.

“Come,” McGonagall said, and they were off again. They caught up with an old gray wizard in a hall right where there was a large statue of a griffin in an alcove.

“Minerva, what have we here?” The old man asked.

“Albus, we may have an issue. - This child says she is in Gryffindor, Nicholas deMimsy knows her, has confirmed she is in Gryffindor, and yet I’ve never seen her in my life?”

“Oh dear, that is a quandary. Afraid I don’t know who she is either.” He stroked his beard as he took a moment to study her. “Well, she looks harmless enough, come on up, and let's see if we can figure this out.” He stepped onto the platform and began to raise up as a spiral staircase pushed up out of the floor. Nova and McGonagall followed quickly after.

The office was fairly familiar, though there seemed to be quite a few additional curious odds and ends from the last time she'd been there, and that griffin was new.

“Sorted everything out have we?” The sorting hat asked from its stool. “Ah, Miss Nova, not in trouble are we?”

“I’m not entirely sure, but thank you for asking.” Nova offered.

“You know who she is?” Dumbledore asked.

“Princess Nova Moon of Eques.” The sorting hat offered.

“Princess?” Dumbledore and McGonagall chimed.

“I put her in Gryffindor.”

“When?” Dumbledore asked.

“Do I look like a day planner to you? - I sorted her, and that’s that.” A magical artifact's recollection of time wasn’t much better than a ghost’s.

“Perhaps we should contact Griselda Marchbanks.” McGonagall offered.

Nova, on the other hand, had spotted a large phoenix on a perch and started over to have a look. She’d only taken, a few steps when there was the flash of another phoenix appearing in the room. Nova’s Phenik was smaller and considerably thinner. The older phoenix made a startled squawk, Phenik landed on Nova’s shoulder, and then the two birds started making all manner of noise.

“Will you two hush,” Nova said in a commanding tone. “Honestly, Phenik, I was just going to say hi.”

“She’s got a phoenix?” McGonagall said though she could hardly believe it.

“It can’t be, can it? No, she can’t?” Dumbledore said in a hush. “Miss Moon, this might be an odd request, but could you go like this?” He held up two fingers in the British workers' salute.

“Are you sure, it’s kind of a rude gesture,” Nova said and held up two fingers.

“Extraordinaire,” Dumbledore said adjusting his hand to a more contemplative gesture.

“What, she looks cute while making a rude gesture?” McGonagall asked confused. Nova lowered her hand.

“Not that, I remember a girl who looked just like her doing the same thing. It was a long time ago, and she had a phoenix that was identical.” His smile faded. “Not one of my prouder moments either.”

“Oh, you can’t possibly think she’s the same girl?” McGonagall asked.

The words, sweet harmony mother bucker, went through Nova's mind as she realized who this man was.

“Nova, may I call you Nova?”

“I guess,” Nova replied. She’d just have to humor him, and hope he wasn’t holding a grudge.

“What year are you in?”

“First, but I was being allowed to do third-year.”

“Headmaster?”

“Brutus Scrimgeour.”

“Head of House.”

“Professor Marchbanks.”

“Potions?”

“Professor Phineas Black.”

“Extraordinaire,” Dumbledore said. “Care of Magical Creatures?”

“Mr Percival.”

“Defense against the dark arts?”

“Galatea Merrythought.”

“Extraordinaire,” Dumbledore said again.

“What is?” McGonagall asked.

“Miss Nova, what year was it when you entered that corridor?”

“It’s 1904, the night before Easter.” Nova offered. She knew it wasn’t, but that was the last date she knew before doing the jump.

“Nineteen oh four...” Dumbledore said, went to the records of names entered in as students, not the official enrollment book, just a record. He got out the book for the 1903-04 school year and thumbed through it. “And there she is. Enrolled in 1903, but never finished the school year. Excellent marks across the board. Turned fifteen in November of that year."

“You can’t seriously think she somehow jumped from 1904 to now?”

“It would seem a distinct possibility.” Dumbledore offered. “But it is getting late. Take her up to Gryffindor tower before it’s too late for her to get any of the sweets, and we’ll put her in with the first year class.”

“First-year, she belongs in third-year, no make that fourth-year.” Protested one of the portraits before McGonagall can.

“Hi Professor Black.” Nova said with a smile.

“There’s no documentation saying she’s passed any standardized test. My hands are tied.” Dumbledore countered. “I’m headmaster now, not you.”

“Despite what people say about my methods, the results speak for themselves.” Black protested. “Good students should not be held back to the same pace as muggle born coming in without a clue.”

“Let's not forget I was a teacher back then, I know how you rode the muggle-born students.”

“It had to be done. They had to be brought up to speed as quickly as possible, and the fact that many were getting higher OWL scores then wizard born who’d had it easy proves I was right. They should have thanked me.”

“Maybe I should go now?” Nova offered. The argument between Dumbledore and the portrait of Professor Black was just making her feel a little like a third wheel.

“We’ll be going now then,” McGonagall said, and directed Nova back down the steps.

As they went Nova could hear Black saying, what about Tom Riddle? According to Black Tom Riddle was the worst mud blood to ever step foot inside of Hogwarts, and should have had his magic removed. Nova knew Professor Black could be hard on students, and she knew that humans had a propensity towards being violent and aggressive creatures. She didn’t always agree with Professor Black, but she did agree with some of his policies to include weeding out those who might pose a threat to the community. Cozy Glow was proof enough that even Princess Celestia could only forgive so much.

They arrived at the portrait of the fat lady a short time later, Phenik having taken off to harass Peeves. The fat lady had no trouble remembering Nova, and McGonagal was beginning to wonder if Professor Dumbledore might be right. She gave the password and entered to a jubilant celebration. There were Halloween decorations and food in abundance.

“I’ll need to get settled.” Nova offered.

“Your attention please,” McGonagall called. The room slowly quieted. “We’ve got a new student, or perhaps an old returning student. We’re not really sure which at the moment, but she’s been sorted into Gryffindor.” A new Gryffindor student everyone cheered. “Settle down.” She waited for the room to quiet. “I’d like to introduce you to Miss Nova Moon. She will be in first-year despite her age owing to a lack of any appropriate paperwork saying otherwise.” The announcement created a mixed reception at the name Moon, and the ruffles on Nova’s witches robe just screamed old school wizard family. There was also the issue of yet another student being put in First-year who was obviously at least two to three years older then what was normally proper for that year level. Nova was starting to feel a bit self-conscious, and she wasn’t even sure why, but then three familiar faces rushed over, and each gave her a hug which she gladly returned.

“I was called away right after the sorting, and I'm only just now getting back.” Nova offered what seemed to her to be the best and easiest way to explain herself. McGanagall looked at her and then smiled realizing they’d not likely remember if she had been there or not. Not after the year they’d had. Not to mention that had she entered at the age of eleven she'd have been here three years ago. Louise, Miss Belle, and Miss Bloom had also started late and where much older than their classmates. Only their petite sizes allowed them to fit in.

“Louise, Sweetie, Miss Bloom, I’d like to ask something of you.” McGonagall began. They looked up at her with attentive eyes. “Now I know I’ve told you to sleep in your own beds, and not to all pile into one bed, but we are going to be a bit tight, and one of you is going to have to share so that Miss Moon will have a place to sleep.

“I’m sure that’s not going to be a problem.” Offered an older girl with a ‘P’ sewn into her robes stepping up to them.

“Idda, if you could see to it that all her needs are taken care of.” McGonagall requested. “Miss Moon, this is Idda Peverell, she’s the Prefect on the girl’s side.

“Names Percy...” offered a redheaded boy as he approached. He also had a ‘P’ on his robes.

“No, don’t tell me, you’re a Weasley, aren’t you?” Nova offered. The room erupted into laughter.

“Why don’t we introduce you after we get you settled.” Idda offered. She then directed Nova to the stairs leading up to the girls' dorm. Scootaloo who’d been identified as Louise, Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and the girl who’d been in the girl’s bathroom during the battle with the troll followed.

They stopped a short time later so Idda could point out the girls' toilets, and showers.

“Scabbers? - Honestly, I just don’t get why Ron’s rat keeps hanging out in the girl’s showers?” Idda said with just an edge of disgust on seeing the large fat rat. “Hermione, could you take that back to Ron.”

“I’ll be right back,” Hermione said as she went after the rat. “Come here you.”

Nova squinted her eyes as she looked at the rat. There was definitely something off about its aura.

They continued climbing till they got to the top floor. It all looked so familiar, and yet so oddly different. There was even a Wonderbolt poster depicting them as Quidditch players on brooms. “I’ve actually got a room.” Nova offered quickly before any arguments could start as to who would be sharing with who. “I didn’t say anything, because I thought it’d be best. I wouldn't want the entire school to know.” She then found a blank section of wall, and opened the suitcase up to a simple door. The door opened inward, and had replaced the steps that went down from the steamer trunk. The book shelf was also back in place so that anyone looking in would see just the deluxe apartment, and not the whole estate. Nova went in, and waved clandestinely to a gray pegasus in a large mural, and gave them the OK sign. The pegasus did a flip, and flew off. Miss Idda was so overwhelmed by what she was seeing she completely missed the exchange. The Crusaders did not.

“I should be set for everything with the possible exception of books.” Nova offered. “What I do have are all second hand.” She looked at Idda to judge the girl's reaction. “My circumstances being what they are.” Granted they were all brand new when she'd bought them, and was simply using a diversionary tactic to explain why all her books dated to 1903.

“You seem to have plenty of what you do have.” Idda commented going to the bookshelf. “This is an excellent selection. Many of these are out of print though. Your history book will do till you get up to fifth-year, but you might want a more recent copy of the History of Hogwarts. This is a wonderful first-year potions book, wish I’d had a copy when I was in first-year.” She looked over the books. “You’re missing a few books you’ll need, but you can borrow or share until we can get you a set of your own.” Idda spun in place as the room filled with light. Her jaw dropped at the sight of a phoenix that’d entered the room.

“Philomena?” The trio all chimed as Phenik landed on Nova’s shoulder.

“Her name’s Phenik.” Nova offered. “She’s one of Philomena’s babies.”

“You’re from...”

“Eques.” Nova cut in before the girls could say Equestria.

“Well, you’re all from the same place then.” Miss Idda said with a smile.

“Who knows, once we’ve compared notes we might find we even have mutual relatives.” Nova offered.

“Well then, I’ll leave you to it, but don’t wait too long, or there’ll be no food left.” She started to turn, and then turned back. “Oh and one other thing, there is pegasi living in some of the attics. You are not to climb up there under any circumstances, nor are you to help yourself to any eggs.” And with that Idda turned, and went back downstairs. Eggs???

“Alright, spill it?!” the girls asked. Nova was a bit taken aback by Idda’s parting warning, but she’d have to ask the girls about it later.

“Did you hear about the older Kitzumi who foal sat her younger counterpart… though I’m not sure if that’s even happened yet?”

“That was you?” Sweetie Belle asked astonished.

“I’d have to say it’s a good possibility.” Nova offered.

“And what about that Luna?” Apple Bloom asked.

“A very elaborate bit of spell work. Sort of chaperon slash bodyguard.” She explained with a big smile. “Now, before anyone comes up the step, follow me.”

“Where?” The girls reply smelling a conspiracy. Nova goes to the door, closes it, and then motions for them to follow them to the closet.

“You have to swear never to reveal what I’m about to show you to any of the humans,” Nova said. “In fact, you have to Pinkie swear.”

“Cross my heart, and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye.” The girls recited. They then followed Nova into the walk-in closet, where she reached over, pushed a piece of molding at the edge of the wall, and pushed the wall open like a big door. Nova walked though transforming to a pony as she did. Delighted at this the girls followed, transforming as they went. When they were all through, Nova used her magic to close and securely latch the door.

“It’s a library. You have a secret library.” Sweetie Bella said delightedly.

“Oh, I’ve got more than just a library. And if you come in here, make absolutely sure to close that. It’s very important for multiple reasons, two very important reasons, and I’d consider it a breach of your promise if you leave it open.”

“It’s just a library, isn’t it?” Scootaloo said as they followed Nova. “Wow.”

“Mama!” called Goldwine rushing to greet Nova. Nova dropped down and gave him a hug.

“Mama!?” The girls all chimed.

“So, we made it?” Alalme asked as she walked up to Nova to give her a nuzzle. “And who have you brought us?”

“The pegacorn is Scootaloo, also known as Louise.” Nova offered.

“Louise Magnus.” Scootaloo offered.

“Magnus?” Your mom’s relation has gone that for with Flash has it?” Nova asked with a grin.

“Well, it beats calling myself Louise Anon.” Scootaloo offered. “I’m just glad mom finally got her life back on track, and she’s in my life again.”

“Alrighty then,” Nova said with a smile. “Our little marshmallow unicorn is Sweetie Belle, and last, but not least is Apple Bloom.”

“Who you calling a marshmallow?” Sweetie asked accusingly.

“You're so floofy and cute it just fits.” Apple Bloom teased. “And besides, Nova is technically your cousin.”

“And this little colt is my son.” Nova offered while nuzzling him. Little Alya, not to be left out of the nuzzling came galloping over, and piled into Goldwine. The two tussled a bit and then settled down between Nova’s front legs. “And this is Alya.”

“They’re so cute.” Apple Bloom said.

“And this is my nest-mate, Alalme. She speaks old ponish, and she is picking up a few phrases of the modern language.

“So, is he the daddy then?” Scootaloo asked seeing a Gray Stallion approaching.

“Him? Oh no, not their father.” Nova offered. “I could say he’s part of our little heard, but he’s not my stallion.” “Alalme figure’s Goldwine’s father was a stallion named Feawine who was the son of Fea.”

“Figures? You don’t know?” Sweetie asked astonished. “And you’re Scootaloo's age.”

“I rescued his egg, and Alalme has helped me take care of him. - We don't really know for certain, but figure his mother was Alalme's previous nest-mate who was killed. - We’ve gotten rather close, and call each other sister now. I really don't know what I would have done without her."

“Oh. Alright.” Sweetie Belle said quietly. The shock to the crusaders abated though they couldn't help being a little jealous.

“If you don’t mind my asking, how is it his color is so Equestrian, and their color is so, well English countryside?” Scootaloo asked sounding a little subdued. “Just curious.”

“He was exposed to Equestrian magic while in his shell. Or at least that’s what I figure.” Nova explained. “Alalme, and he’s Gadgull, they and the others are to the best of what I can figure are descended from some of the survivors of Nightfall. And just so you know, their legend paints Princess Celestia as the instigator. It seems their ancestors were Princess Luna’s private staff and guard.” She held up a hand to forestall questions. “And yes they did become human when they found themselves in this world, but they quit living as humans sometime after they figured out how to transform back. Their subdued earthy colors developed out of the need to survive in a world without an Alicorn Princess.”

“Hello, where is everyone?”

“It’s Hermione.” Apple Bloom said.

“Quick, back through the closet,” Nova ordered. “I’ll be right there. And don’t forget to transform.”

“You’re going?” Alalme asked.

“I’ve landed on Nightmare night of all things, and there is a huge party. As the newcomer, I’m going to need to make an appearance.” Nova explained. Alalme pouted. “I could maybe get a house elf to send something up?”

“We just had a big Easter dinner.” Alalme countered.

“True, but that spell I used has left me hungry so I’d better see if I can get something to eat. I’ll be right back, just as soon as I can sneak away.”

“Alright, I guess it can’t be helped,” Alalme replied as Nova extracted herself from the foals. Nova smiled sheepishly and followed after the crusaders.

🎃

“What were you doing in the closet? And for that matter, where’d this room come from?” Hermione asked.

“It’s my portable room.” Nova offered as she stepped out of the closet. She and the trio were back to their human forms. “Everything I need in one tight package. I could try explaining the mathematics behind it some time if you’d like?”

“Could you?” Hermione asked.

“Come on you two, you can talk shop later.” Scootaloo prompted.

They arrived in the common room a short time later where there was still more food then even Nova knew what to do with. She of course helped herself to a goodly amount of her favorites. Her first few bites were as big a shock as the first time she’d eaten wizard food.

“Ya, I know, everything is full of sugar.” Apple Bloom whispered. “You kind of get used to it.”

“But there’s even more in it now, what’s wrong with humans anyway?”

“I think the use of magic burns most of it off.” Scootaloo offered.

“Ya, but it can’t possibly be healthy,” Nova muttered.

“You’re talking about all the sugar in the food aren’t you.” Hermione prompted. “I just assumed that was a wizard thing.” Hermione had to wonder why the amount of sugar was such a shock to Nova. “You are from wizarding families aren’t you?”

“Oh, ya.” Scootaloo offered.

“I can trace my family back over a thousand years.” Nova offered. “Sweetie Belle’s mom married into the family as well.”

“Ya, we’re kind of cousins.” Sweetie belle offered.

“Wizards still weirded out about pony marriages?” Nova whispered.

“Worse than finding out my sister is my mom,” Sweetie whispered back.

“You told her?” Apple hissed.

“Not like I didn’t already know,” Nova whispered back.

“Excuse me, Hermione.” Said a dark-haired boy approaching. By his side was another read head.

“Another Weasley I’m guessing.” Nova surmised.

“Name’s Ron.” Ron Weasley offered. “Listen, Hermione, about what I said, I wanted to apologize.”

“Well, you did come to rescue me, I guess I can’t very well refuse. Apology excepted.” Hermione replied. “Say, did you know, no, of course, you couldn't. Turns out that Miss Belle and Miss Moon are cousins.”

“No kidding. Not that that’s not that uncommon. Pretty much everyone in the wizarding community is related in some way or another.” Ron offered.

“So, um, you wouldn't happen to be a Potter would you?” Nova asked of the dark-haired boy with glasses.

“Oh like you don’t already know,” Ron said.

“No, I don’t.” Nova offered. “He reminds me of a boy I knew named Fergus Potter. I just thought he might be related?” Nova figured Fergus was likely an old man now if he was even still alive.

“Core, you don’t say”

“you’ve never”

“heard of”

“Harry Potter?” Asked a pair of redheaded twins. They were older, and more than likely Ron’s brothers.
“I’m Fred.”
“I’m Fred.”
“No, I’m Fred.”
“I thought you were George?”
“No, You’re George”
“Hi, I’m Fred,”
“And I’m George.”

“Hi, Forge. - Hi Ged.” Nova replied with a smile. “And no, I haven't. Should I?” She tilted her head for a moment.

“He survived a wizard attack when he was a baby, and then the wizard got all depressed, and went into seclusion because he failed. And for that Harry is famous.” Apple Bloom offered.

“He’s the boy who lived.” the twins said in unison.

“If not dying makes a person famous then these three should be supper stars by now.” Nova offered in a sarcastic tone.

“What?” The Crusaders asked in a sort of mock protests.

“Accidentally revived the lord of chaos, the time you got captured by changelings, wanton destruction of property with pyrotechnics, the time you tried to be pirates, or how about the time when...”

“Stop!” The crusaders exclaim.

“And let's not forget about all the times you’ve gone into the Everfree forest.” Nova continued.

“Ya, ya, we should be famous, we get it,” Scootaloo said. Harry was laughing having heard about the forest.

“Ya, I don’t get it either.” Harry offered. He’d stopped laughing and was looking serious now. “My whole family was murdered, and this wizard...” Harry paused for a moment. “Everyone says you know who murdered my family, and, and when he tried to kill me the spell backfired.”

Nova had no idea who you know who was, but what he'd done was horrible. Had Fergus been murdered as well?

“He’s got a cool scar.” Forge offered. Harry lifted up his hair to reveal a lightning bolt shaped scar. Nova looked at it tilted her head, one way, and then the next.

“It looks infected, did no one ever try to do anything about it?” Nova asked. To her eyes, the scar had a sickly green aura with black edges about it. Harry’s aura was a mix of gold and light yellow save for around the scar where it was gray.

“We’ve already asked why they never fixed it.” Sweetie bell informed her. “What makes you think it might be infected?”

“You remember a time when Pinkie nearly blinded a bunch of um people with a bunch of flash-bulbs on a camera?”

“Do I, I was seeing dots for days, but you… Oh, OK I see.” Scootaloo offered. Scootaloo didn’t remember a Kitzumi Nova in that group, but then she could have been if she was from a different dimension.

“I was blind for a week.” Nova offered. “I can see magic auras now. Pretty much all auras, but the magic ones are the easiest to spot. That’s about it though. Short of finding my way in pitch dark, it’s kind of a nuisance. Pretty much everything around here has a magic aura so I just tune it out for the most part. - Harry’s scar just looks off to me.”

“It does kind of hurt sometimes,” Harry admitted. “I’ve had it since… well, you know.”

“And in all that time no one ever did anything about it,” Nova said softly. “Well I guess there’s no need to worry about it now, but if it keeps bothering you, you really should have someone look at it.”

“Ya, I’ll do that,” Harry replied. “Not like my aunt and uncle ever really cared.” Harry started talking about his life at the Dursley’s. Maybe it was because here there were these girls who hadn’t known, and weren’t in awe just because he’d allegedly done something he couldn't possibly have done, and genuinely cared. The wizard's spell had backfired, and that was it. What was he going to do against a wizard when he was just a baby? The trio had shown that they cared about everyone even Slytherins. Harry just started talking, and it turned into a full-on vent.

Everyone in hearing distance was shocked.

“Harry, we...” Nova began, she’d every intention to find a way to fix it, but then an odd thing happened. Harry's aura flared a dark purple, and she’d this urge to just drop what she was about to say. She fought it, her own power surged. “Damn it, Harry, we will fix this!” She had to take a breath like something was trying to hold her back. “I don’t know how yet, but I’ll figure something out, even if I have to take you to Eques, to get you away from those horrible waists of flesh. I swear by the elements of Harmony, Princess Celestia would have sent them to Tartarus a long time ago.”

Harry looked up at her and smiled, his aura went back to normal, and for the first time in his life, he truly believed his life was going to get better.

That night Nova would do more than just let Princess Celestia know she’d made it. Nova wrote a detailed report of everything that had happened, including everything she now knew about Harry Potter.

Nova got up the next morning, gave Goldwine a snuggle, he giggled, and then he remembered that he was hungry.

“You couldn't have let him sleep,” Alalme said with half-opened lids.

“You know I need to get up and get ready for school.” She let out a yawn. “Besides, it’s not like you have to actually get up. I mean you could just lay there.” Alalme just gave her a dirty look. “Just be grateful he isn’t my own flesh and blood.” Nova teased and pointed at her sharp teeth with a hoof. “Why do you think my birth mother couldn't nurse me, eh?” Alalme smiled, and chortle a little.

“That poor filly.”

“My other mom was a lot tougher.” Nova offered, and went into the shower. She decided to shower in her human form being that was so much faster to dry, got dressed, and went out to the dorm room.

Not a creature was stirring, not even a perverted rat.

Nova went over to Scootaloo. “Hey, wake up.” She gave the girl a shake. “Wake up.”

“What… what time is it?” Scootaloo asked. “Celestia’s not even up yet.”

“Isn’t it time for breakfast?” Nova asked.

“What? No.” Scootaloo looked at the alarm clock on her nightstand. “We don’t have to be up for another two hours.”

“Wow,” Nova said as the reality of what time travel had done hit her. “My internal clock is all messed up.”

“Go back to bed.”

“The sun’s coming up.”

“So.”

“How many people know about you being a pegasus?”

“Hermione says I’m a pegacorn.”

“Well, that is the technical term for it. At least here at any rate. Sometimes they’ll say winged unicorn.” Nova offered. “Only true winged unicorn I know is my mother, and both of us combined don't amount to half of Princess Celestia's power. Pegacorn just fits better. Sometimes when I was traveling ponies would say I was a false alicorn or a dirty alicorn impersonator.” She clenched her jaw thinking about it. “Ask a wizard what alicorn is, and they’ll say it’s what our horns are made of. But forget about that, come fly with me.”

“What?”

“Who all knows you can switch back and forth?”

“Hermione, Ron, and Harry. We’ve been really careful about that.”

“Then if anyone else sees you flying about they’ll just see a pegasus out for a morning flight. Come on, what do you say? You’re the only one who can keep up with me outside of Rainbow Dash.”

“But how do we get in and out without anyone seeing us?”

“Follow me, and learn of my mysterious ways.” Nova offered with a big grin.

Scootaloo looked at her and smiled. Sure flying on a broom was great and all, but to fly free as herself. “Led on.” Scootaloo said, and got out of bed. Nova directed her back into her room, and through the closet.

Hermione had woken up, half listening to the exchange, saw the two go into Nova’s room, and went back to sleep.

“Hey, you can go back to bed,” Nova said to Alalme. She’d just poked her head in. “Seems we need to reset our clocks. Scootaloo and I are going to get in a quick morning flight.”

“Just as well I fed the foals now then. Are you sure going out is a good idea though?”

“I’m to understand that there are pegasi nesting in the attics. I think we may have started something. Anyway, it’s early, no one is up except maybe the house elves, and no one is going to notice two more pegasi.”

“Have fun then. I might have a look see myself later on.” Alalme offered.

“Be back in about an hour.” Nova offered and took Scootaloo out to the rotunda.

“Wow… hang on, that greenhouse, that great big huge greenhouse is real isn’t it?” Scootaloo said as she gazed out the window at the bottom of the stairs.

“Sure is.” Nova offered closing the door after Scootaloo followed her. “This is another door we need to keep closed.”

“How’s that?”

“Those precocious little darlings of ours can already fly. Let them out while they are too young to understand the danger, and who knows what could happen to them.”

“Seriously?” Scootaloo was shocked. “At their age, and not just spurts?”

“And they are only fifteen weeks, and… five days I believe, yes I think that’s right. This world has been hard on them. - Come on then.”

The two went out onto the balcony, Nova making sure to shut that door as well.

“Wow, this is impressive. Aren’t people going to see this balcony though?”

“Nope.” Nova offered with a smile. “You’ll need to feel for it with your magic. I can find it with my internal senses.”

“You mean like your ability to see magic. - What was that, you just shimmered?”

“Pegasus shield. I can activate it at will and helps keep some of the cold out. You should be able to do it too. All pegasi have the ability, it just doesn't normally kick in until we get going really fast."

“It is mighty cold out here, hang on.” Scootaloo concentrated, there was a slight flash of her horn, and then a shimmer raced across her body. “Ooo tingly.”

Nova was the first to take off followed by Scootaloo.

“Now, sound caries, so keep your voice down, or use old ponish.” Nova cautioned, pumped her wings, and sped away. Scootaloo, not one to be left behind raced after her. Before long the two were racing about the castle and decided to do a bit of precision flying.

“Lesson two, use your magic to push yourself along,” Nova called over to Scootaloo. “It makes it possible to do some really cool stuff.”

Scootaloo thought about it, applied the appropriate magic, and suddenly she’d lurched forward without having to flap her wings. Nova pulled up beside her.

“Flap, delta, push.” Nova said, and demonstrated by flapping her wing for a push, setting them to the delta position, and using her magic to push herself forward. In a blink of an eye Nova was racing away at a speed that normally required a considerable amount of effort. It took Scootaloo about three tries to maintain the push for more then a moment or two, and before long the two were all the way out over Hogsmeade. And it hadn’t taken them any time at all. Nova spread her wings, made a big U-turn, vapor trail forming off the tips of her wings, and headed back to the school. Scootaloo followed, and was delighted to see she’d vapor trails off her wings as well. There was just something extra about this kind of flying. When they got back, they did some precision aerial maneuvers, loops, and rolls mostly, and then it was time to head in. They showered in their pony form, used magic to dry themselves, and went back to the dorm room, transforming prior to entering. Nova had checked on Alalme, and the foals, but they’d gone back to sleep. Nova made a mental note to see if maybe the farm had been moved as she hadn't seen house or barns. All she'd seen was a bunch of rickety old sheds and makeshift pens. Even more disturbing is all the building in Hogsmeade were now nearly identical. Each having a high pitched gabled roof, and all made of the same weathered brownstone.

“So, do you want to tell us what you were doing in there?” Hermione asked as Scootaloo quickly got dressed. Hermione was dressed and sitting on her bed with her arms folded.

“Why are you even up?” Sweetie bell asked from her bed. Apple Bloom wasn’t in the room at the moment.

“What, we were looking at quidditch books.” Nova offered on seeing her old broom by Scootaloo’s wardrobe. The Wonderbolt paraphernalia was a dead give away as to who’s wardrobe it was. On her nightstand was a picture of a group of young women, all of whom Nova knew well.

“You’re not cheating on me are you?” Sweetie Belle asked Scootaloo.

“Maybe,” Scootaloo replied with a wink and headed down the stairs.

“You better hurry up if you want to catch up with us.” Nova offered and headed down the stairs after Scootaloo. They met Apple Bloom on her way back up.

“You two sure got up early.” Apple Bloom said on meeting them.

“We went out for an early flight,” Scootaloo whispered.

“Ya, well don’t get caught sneaking out.” Apple Bloom scolded.

“I have my ways.” Nova offered and then continued downstairs. “We’ll see you at breakfast.”

Nova and Scootaloo were stopped by a seventh-year girl in a towel just as they’d come to the girl’s toilets and showers. She was holding Ron Weasley’s rat. “Can you give this rat back to Ron, or whichever of the Weasley’s it belongs to.” She asked. “I just can’t figure out why it keeps coming up here.”

“Ya, sure,” Scootaloo said taking the rat. Nova studied the rat, there was definitely something wrong with that rat, but she couldn't quite put her hoof on it. When they reached the ground floor Scootaloo handed Scabbers off to a boy who handed him off to another boy who handed him off to another until Scabbers was eventually returned to Ron, who set him down without a second though. Soon as the boys were on their way downstairs, Scabbers was on his way to the girl’s shower.

Nova and Scootaloo made their way down to the dining hall, and Nova somehow seemed to know the way.

“Are you sure?” Scootaloo asked as Nova indicated a direction that just seemed contrary.

“Look at who’s in the painting.” Nova offered.

“Luna?”

The night mare nickered as she watched them as she followed in the paintings along the corridor.

“That’s my Moonie.” Nova offered. “She scouts out routes for me. Comes in rather handy, and no one ever seems to notice an extra character in the paintings.”

“That’s cool. Oh just one thing they probably haven't told you, we aren’t allowed in the third-floor corridor.”

“Whatever for?”

“They’ve a Cerberus in there,” Scootaloo whispered.

“What, they’ve locked a Cerberus in the third-floor corridor? That’s not a very nice thing to do. Locking a poor dog up in such a tight place. I bet Fluttershy would have a thing or two to say about it.”

“We figure it’s guarding something.”

“What, a Cerberus?”

“It’s huuuuuge, and viscous.”

“Viscous?”

“It slobbered all over me. All three heads. Hates humans for some reason. Somehow it seems to know that Apple Bloom, Sweetie, and myself are ponies.”

“Well dogs are very perceptive, and it’s the humans who’ve locked it up in there. I’d be resentful too.” Nova offered, and the fact that the crusaders had already encountered the dog came as no surprise to her. “As to using one to guard something, all you’d need to get past one is a decent singing voice.”

“What, that’s it?”

“It’s in my introduction to magical creatures.”

“Why do you have a book on introduction to magical creatures anyway, it’s not even in the first year curriculum?”

“Hello, who’s my counterpart’s mother, and ergo my mother?”

“Oh ya, you’ve your own library don’t you,” Scootaloo said, and then laughed.

“Just out of curiosity...” Nova asked.

“Our trunks are just ordinary trunks,” Scootaloo informed her. “We’ve got an address set up in Walthamstove London. All our contacts go through that location. Princess Celestia didn’t want to use the portal that’s near Diagon Alley, so Twilight set up a new portal. - We were told that if things got bad, we were to call for an extraction.”

“Why are you even here, I thought you’d be at the academy?”

“And suffer through magic kindergarten?”

“And first-year here isn’t much better.”

“True, but at least I’m closer to my own age group. When Apple Bloom, and Sweetie Belle found out they insisted on going too.”

“So which one of you is best at magic?”

“Apple Bloom is. I don’t get it?” Scootaloo replied. “She’s an earth pony, and Sweetie is really struggling.”

“Makes sense to me, and it’ll make sense to you when you know a little more.” Nova offered as they walked into the entry hall.

“How about just telling me?”

“Human magic is earth-based magic, and the flow of magic goes out through the arm, that is to say, the forelimb, and through the hand, or hooves in our case. - For an earth pony, the pattern is set at birth.”

“Oh, I get it. And Sweetie Belle’s natural pattern is through her horn. - Of course, I get it now.”

Whatever else they might have had to say was interrupted by the words, oh my it’s her it’s really her… “Nova, Nova Moon?” Nova looked in the direction of the person who’d just called her name to see a very elderly couple, standing with Professor McGonagall.

“Ah, do you know them?” Scotaloo asked as Nova walked over to them.

“I think that I just might.” Nova offered. The careworn visage of the woman in the rich purple robes was the easiest for Nova to recognize. “Professor Marchbanks, is that you?” The woman smiled.

“Incredible, and to show up after all these years, and hasn’t aged a day,” Marchbanks said softly.

“Just keep in mind that we are telling the student body and professors who don’t need to know that she was called away right after the sorting,” McGonagal said giving Scootaloo a cautious look.

“This is Louise, she’s a friend of the family.” Nova offered.

“Is she now?” The man offered. He was dressed in a gray suit with a black wizard robe haphazardly thrown on like an old overcoat. “She, um, just like you?”

“Is she… we are both female, both about the same age, different hair color though. Why do you ask, Mr Scamander?” Nova did not wish to give a direct answer to that question, especially as there were more people about.

“Listen, things have changed, and you’ll need a magical guardian,” Marchbanks informed her.

“And why would that be?” Asked the commanding voice of a woman not too much further away. “She’s already got a mother, and a father.”

Nova cast her glance over to who it was, and discovered a tall woman, dark complexion, with long black hair that seemed to shimmer, and she was wearing a dress that looked as though it was made from the night sky. To say she was beautiful would be an understatement. There was an essence of power and majesty about her as well.

“Um, Princess Luna, what are you doing here?” Scootaloo asked wondering if she was about to be pulled out of the school. Celestia knew there’d already been plenty of reasons to do so. But no, Luna’s eyes were on Nova, she smiled, and beckoned Nova to come to her. A moment later the two embraced, Phenik flew into the hall, and began trilling happily while circling the two.

“I hear you’ve been having quite the adventure,” Luna whispered. “After your aunt all but burned down our breakfast room, she consented to let me know what was going on.”

“Does Twilight know?” Nova asked.

“She only knows you are a Kitzumi Nova, and that you need looking after,” Luna informed her. “About that other issue. We are going to do some clandestine investigations so don’t worry if you don’t hear anything right away.”

“Does that mean I can expect a visit from Rarity in her gumshoe outfit?” Nova teased.

“We’ve persuaded her not to. She’s not exactly inconspicuous. - You alright?”

“I’m trying very hard to keep my emotions in check. Wouldn't want anyone thinking I haven't seen you in years, would I?” She took a deep breath and let it out in a sort of ragged sigh. “I was just about to go in, and get some breakfast.”

“Well then, how about I join you? - If that is permitted?” Luna asked looking to the two elderly adults.

“I think we might just get away with it just this once.” Marchbanks offered.

Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Hermione arrived just as the group was sitting down at the Gryffindor table.

“Princess Luna?” Sweetie asked.

“Didn’t I tell you to call me Aunt Luna?” Luna scolded mildly. “Don’t worry, I’m not here to pull you out of school. Harmony knows I’d have more than enough reasons to do so. Sit, and dine with us.” There seemed to be plenty of space at the table so the girls sat down, and joined them. Even Professor McGonagall had decided to join them so she could talk to Nova’s mother. Luna couldn't help but talk about some of the things Nova had done when she was little.

“Muma.” Nova protested, but she had a smile. This was almost as good as being home again. It was right about then that Professor Dumbledore came rushing into the hall wearing a house robe and bunny slippers.

“My dear Griselda, I should have been here to welcome you. Do please forgive me.” Dumbledore said addressing Professor Marchbanks. “Might I ask what’s brought you here so early in the morning?”

“Professor McGonagall sent me a note to let me know that a certain young lady had arrived, one head of Gryffindor to a former mind you, and I rushed out first thing this morning.”

“Oh, yes, yes of course.” Dumbledor offered. “Afraid the matter had completely slipped my mind. - And who is this lovely young lady you’ve brought with you?”

“Oh, I didn’t bring her. This is Luna Moon, Nova’s mother.” Marchbanks offered. If the room hadn’t already been a buzz over the surprise visitors, it was now. “She just popped in to make sure Nova had arrived safely. As mothers are prone to do sometimes.”

“Yes, yes or course, what with showing up in the middle of the night having come on her own.” Dumbledore offered. He knew a subterfuge when he heard one. Not that this one was aimed at him. No, this one was aimed at the student body. “Mind if I join you?”

“By all means, join us. It does you good to sit with your students from time to time, see what’s on their mind, and all.” Luna offered with a smile. “And it is your school after all.”

“Yes, yes, right you are,” Dumbledore replied with a smile.

Ron and Harry showed up a short time later. Their jaws dropped at the sight. Why was Dumbledore, no wait, one look at the tall supermodel explained that but who was she, and the two old people? They found a place to sit just as the morning mail was arriving. Nova received a letter, and on opening, it found it was from the bank.

“Might we see that?” Luna asked. Nova passed it over, and she scanned through the pages. “So how is it you are the principle stockholder of the London and Hogsmeade railroad?”

“It’s Aunt Tia’s money.” Nova offered.

“It’s in your name.”

“I’m under age.”

“So what you are saying is I own a railroad.”

“Pretty much.” Nova offered with a smile. “You’ll need to talk to Aunt Tia if you want to be able to access that account though.”

“I’ll be sure to do that,” Luna said. She set down the letter and picked up a newspaper. “Now this is interesting. A new crater has appeared on the moon, believed to have happened sometime around eighteen to nineteen hundred hours Greenwich time. It is believed we dodged the bullet in that speculation is that the asteroid slingshotted around the earth, and split prior to hitting the moon. Due to the unusual shape of the creator, it has been unofficially dubbed the Ball-sack crater. - What an odd thing to call a crater."

Chapter 11: Bludger Jinxes and a Dirty Rat

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Nova headed off to class that morning about as happy as she’d been in a long time, longer then she could remember it seemed. She’d gotten to see Luna, her muma, and she’d be staying for the next two nights though she hadn’t said where. Luna had talked about a lot of embarrassing things, but when it came right down to it, Nova didn’t care. It was like being home. She’d even been provided with all the books she’d need inside a carry all that was no bigger than a typical school bag on the outside, and just big enough for everything she might need for the day on the inside. It also meant no more using the backpack of Ensign Nightfoal. She ran everything up to her room, put away what she wouldn't need, and placed everything she would need in the carryall. Potions was going to be her first class now that she was back, and along the way, she happened to spot a dust-colored cat with large lamp-like eyes. The students didn’t seem to care too much for the scraggly old cat, which Nova decided was just fine when she’d recognized the mottled patchy aura that looked to be full of holes. Nova knew well what type of aura that was having seen it before and knew exactly what she needed to do. Nova walked right up to the cat, snatched it up, holding it tight, right arm about the front paws, and the left holding the gut. “Forced loving!” Nova exclaimed while holding the startled cat in tight. It could honestly be said that everyone else was just as startled as the cat.

Mrs Norris hissed and spit as Nova poured on the loving while rubbing her check on the creature's head. Mrs Norris tried to kick, but the position of Nova’s left arm had all but immobilized the hind legs. Her front legs were immobilized to, and when she tried to bite the arm that had hold of her, all she got was a taste of pegasi magic, with a hint of alicorn and something else that had a suspicious Canidae flavor. And then she gave up… Mrs Norris hadn’t felt so much love in such a long time, and it was being freely given, not taken. What’s more, the love was being poured on at a rate that was staggering. Mrs Norris slowly closed her lids down to slits, and began to purr.

“I thought you could use a little love,” Nova said, gave the cat one more head rub, set her down gently, and walked away.

Mrs Norris just sat there stunned, oblivious to the goings-on around her.

“Would ya get a load of that.” Someone said. “I think she broke Mrs Norris.” When Mrs Norris finally did get up she wondered off staggering about and mewing loudly as if drunk.





“What was that?” Hermione hissed. “That was Filch’s cat. Mrs Norris.”

“That was insane,” Harry said with a smile. He’d nearly forgotten that they were on their way to potions.

“What, I saw a cat, I hugged it?” Nova offered with a sly smile.

“She watches the students, and any time anyone does anything even remotely out of line, she runs and gets Filch, the caretaker of the castle.” Apple Bloom explained sounding a bit too bitter.

“Well, I think I know the cure for that.” Nova offered.

“A good swift kick?” Ron asked.

“I’m guessing Filch is a miserable person with no love or compassion.” Nova mused.

“Never was there a more miserable wretch.” Sweetie Belle offered.

“Worse than old Ebeneezer?” Nova asked.

“Oh, far worse.” Hermione offered, suspecting she knew who Nova was talking about. “Filch actively seeks to cause misery.”

“And poor Mrs Norris has been surviving off scraps of praise.” Nova offered. “And I’ve a mind to take her from him.”

“You have got to be barking,” Ron said as they entered the potions lab.

Nova hung back a bit as everyone found their work stations. Segregated. It was double potions with Slytherin, and everyone was segregated by house. Nor was there the friendly banter she’d grown accustomed to.

“And why are you just standing there?” Professor Snape sneered as he entered the room.

“I’m terribly sorry sir, but I haven't been assigned a work station yet.” Nova offered.

“Well if you’d bothered to be here at the beginning of the semester, you’d have been assigned a work station.” “So what was it, that was so important that you couldn't see fit to grace us with thy prescience?”

“Sir?” Nova asked. “The reasons I wasn’t here is a private family matter, but if you’ve a mind to dig further perhaps you’d like to take it up with Professor Marchbanks. I am her student.”

A deathly silence fell over the class. Nova had the feeling that Griselda Marchbanks was fairly high up considering the way Dumbledork had tried to be all chummy with her. Perhaps they were good friends, but Nova was having a hard time seeing anything other than the man he once was. As for Snape, his mind was going a mile a second. When Nova said that Professor Marchbanks was her head of house, had she, in fact, meant head of her family, and who was that woman? Oh yes, he’d seen them all at the Gryffindor table, being all buddy buddy. Maybe he’d best not push his luck, but that didn’t mean he had to actually teach this insulate brat.

“There. Use that work station.” Snape said pointing at an unused station towards the back.

“Thank you, sir.” Nova offered with a polite bow and went to the station. She’d cautioned Sweetie Belle to tie up her hair on the way back, and then fastened up her own. Nova turned, set her carryall on the workbench and waited. Snape didn’t say a thing. He turned to a blackboard, and wrote out some instructions.

“You may start now.” He said, and then looked about to see who would do what.

Nova looked at the instructions, the man’s writing was atrocious, figured out what it was he wanted, got out what she’d need, and set her bag on the floor in the back of the room. She then took a piece of paper, and quickly wrote out a checklist of everything she’d need to do.

Snape’s eyes had turned to her.

Once Nova was ready, she began.

Snape was still staring at her intently, and there was a tingling sensation right on the tip of her mind. Nova looked up at him thinking, you’ve got to be out of your bucking mind, and gave him far more then he’d ever bargained for. She’d realized Snape was trying to read her thoughts, and rather than just try to block him, she let fly the horrors of war. Not just from her own personal memories mind you, but scenes from some really intense movies. She filled his mind with every horrific thing she could come up with, slamming them in one after another. He wanted to read her thoughts, then have them damn it.

Khamûl Lord of the Nine spiced with a healthy fear of King Sombra sent Snape staggering backward. It was over. Nova went back to her task at hand.

When class was over Nova presented her work. Snape looked at everyone’s work, and awarded a point for each successful attempt, but ignored Nova. All the Gryffindors had been successful including Sweetie Belle who was usually at the center of disaster. His tone was only mildly subdued as he wasn't quite sure what to make of the images that had flooded into his mind. He knew she'd done it deliberately. Snape had been violating her privacy, and his reward had been images of a wizard war on a scale he could scarcely comprehend, against such horrors...

“I don’t know if I should be pissed at you, or thank you,” Sweetie grumbled as they made their way down to lunch.

“Snape started it,” Nova said with just an edge to her voice.

“You were putting thoughts in my head.” Sweetie Belle stated as she came to an abrupt halt. “What’s Snape have to with it?”

“I caught Snape trying to read my mind.” Nova informed them. “So I filled his head full of the worst stuff I could think of.” She all but spat out. “Really put me off my good mood too. Anyway, because he did that, and I was at such a good vantage point, and couldn't physically tell people when they were about to mess up without Snape seeing, and getting on my flank about leaving my work station, I prompted people telepathically.”

“You can do Legilimency?” Hermione asked. “And you and Snape were battling it out in the classroom?”

“You’ll get suspended for sure,” Ron said horrified.

“Suspended? What’s he going to do, go tell Dumbledore I wasn’t going to let him read my mind? - Harmony knows who else he’s been messing with.”

“You don’t think he’s been doing that to us do you? Poking his mind in where it doesn’t belong, invading our privacy, do you?” Ron asked. “And who’s Harmony?”

“Trying that on me, invading my privacy. I wouldn't put it past him.” Nova offered. “Come on let's go get something to eat.”

“One other thing,” Sweetie Belle asked, “why’d you insist I tie up my hair?”

Nova leaned in, and whispered, “Unicorn hair is reactive to potions.”

“You mean all those disasters were because of her Animageus form?” Hermione asked dumbfounded. The others laughed as their previous good mood returned.

:unsuresweetie:

A little while later at lunch, Nova was dismayed to find that Potions was the only class they had on Friday.

“Yes, it is a rather light scheduled for the first years.” Hermione offered. “Not tself-studyt do my fair share of self-study.”

“Speak for yourself.” Ron protested.

“Quidditch team will be practicing. There’s going to be a game next weekend, and we’ve been doing a lot of practicing.” Scootaloo informed her. “You can come out and watch.”

“So are you the Seeker this year?” Nova asked.

“No, Harry got picked for that,” Scootaloo replied. “I’m alright with it.”

“Everyone thinks she’s got it on account of the Nova broom.” Ron offered.

“Nova broom?” Nova asked.

“It sort of picked me.” Scootaloo offered.

“Neville got in a hurry on our first time out, and went shooting strait up about twenty thirty feet, and then fell off his broom.” Ron offered. “And then they’re all like Cutie Mark Crusaders emergency medical response, made a stretcher using their robes and a couple brooms.”

“They are well practiced in making stretchers.” Nova offered.

“Neville was out cold, and the three of us carried him to the nurses office. Apple Bloom offered. “That broom followed her.”

“And then I was told to keep it.” Scootaloo replied.

“It followed you?” Nova asked. She’d certainly never added that spell.

“It’s picky about who it lets fly it too.” Ron offered. “It’ll go nice and easy for weak fliers, but if it don’t like you, it’ll put you in the hospital. It’s been nicknamed the widow maker. Won’t let Fred or George touch it.”

“Gee, I wonder why?” Nova said sarcastically. “Kind of sounds like it’s possessed though.”

“Legend says it was made by a mad genius who had both a phoenix and a pet night mare.” Ron continued. The crusaders gave Nova a curious look while Ron continued on with the story about how Harry was chosen to be the Seeker. “Oliver Wood, the captain, is a little iffy under the circumstances about putting Harry in the game, but it was Professor McGonagall who brought Harry to Wood’s attention. - Kind of hard for him to say no.”

“Way to pile the pressure on Harry, Ron.” Nova said with a smile.

“Harry will be great, I’m sure of it.” Ron said quickly.

“I actually know something about that broom.” Nova offered. She leaned over, and whispered. “It’s got a pegasus primary feather in the shaft.”

“So do you think it chose Louise because of her pegacorn form?” Hermione asked.

“Anything is possible.” Nova offered. “What worries me is it might be possessed by a previous owner. - But don’t worry, I’m sure it’ll be fine.”

“You’re a lot of help, you know that don’t you.” Scootaloo offered sarcastically.

“I do try.” Nova offered, and turned to Hemione. “Any chance I can get a list of assignments, I’m going to have a lot of stuff I need to catch up on if I’m going to get full credit for the year.”

“You’re not asking us?” Sweetie Belle asked sounding wounded.

“I know what your notes look like.” Nova replied with a smile.

“You keep forgetting that she knows us.” Apple Bloom offered while Scootaloo did her best not to laugh.

“Well, I’m done.” Scootaloo announced. “I’m going to head on up, and get my haunted broom.”

“I’ll go with you, I want to get a better look at that broom.” Nova offered, and Hermione followed them up.

When they’d arrived Nova picked up the broom and gently caressed it. It lifted up into the air at just her touch. Owing to the Equestrian preservation spells she’d used on it, it was still in really good shape. “I see...” Nova mused, and then cast a fox fire spell on it causing it to glow.

“What spell is that?” Hermione asked.

“Afraid it’s not one I can teach you.” Nova informed her. “Has to do with my mixed heritage. It’s a unique form of magic that’s from my father’s side of the family. They have some rather unique ancestry.”

“Do you mean like Veela?” Hermione asked. “I’ve read about them.”

“Nope, not Veela.” Nova informed. “Dad is descended from an Byakkosan-tenko.” Nova wasn’t too worried as she figured that not even Hermione would be able to figure out that reference. “Yes, there’s been a considerable amount of spell work added to this.”

“What makes you think there’s been spell work added to it?” Hermione asked. “And how can you even tell?”

“Would you believe me if I told you I built this?” Nova offered.

“Maybe.” Scootaloo said with a twinkle in her eye. “But you’ll have to tell us later, I need to get to practice.”

“Alright.” Nova replied, her magic seemed to soak into the broom, and then she passed it over to Schootaloo who took it, and went downstairs. “Alright, lets study. We can sit in my little reading room, there’ll be fewer interruptions.”

It wasn’t long before books and parchment was scattered all over the place, as the two happily went over everything that had been covered up to that point. As to the volume, Nova found she was just a little disappointed in how little there was.

“Light scheduled is right.” Nova said as she leaned back to stretch.

“I know right?” Hermione affirmed. “Seems to be all the guys can do to manage though.”

“What about the trio?”

“To be honest, they are handling the work load fine. If anything I think they need more just to keep them out of trouble. Personally, I think they are brilliant, they just tend to loose focus.”

“Ya, they do have that quality.” Nova said with a smile as she looked out the picture window. Gadgull was flying about as if to find something, and there was an air of panic about him. “I’m going to use the toilet.”

Nova got up, went into her bedroom, into the toilet and bath area of her bedroom, closed the door, and teleported to the other side of the book shelf. What she found was Princess Luna in all her Alicorn glory giving Alalme the third degree, the door to the rotunda was wide open, and no sign of the foals.

“Nova, I think there’s something wrong with Moonie?” Alalme said casting a glance to Nova.

“That’s not Moonie, that’s my muma. Where are the foals?” Nova asked as Miss Aiko came running in from the rotunda.

“They’re outside, the door was left open, and they got out before I could get to the door!” Miss Aiko called.

“Sweet Luna mother of ponies!” Talma exclaimed as she came up the steps. She’d just done a sweep downstairs. Gadgull came up behind her. Princess Luna had a rather odd look on her face.

“Foals?” Luna asked, the news sinking in as Nova transformed to her pony form, cautious not to transform her clothing as well and stashing everything into that sort of temporary pocked dimension where such things went. Nova galloped for the exit with Alalme, Talma, and Gadgull following quickly on her heals. Luna realized a moment later what she must have done, transformed herself to look more like the local pegasi, and followed quickly after.

Goldwine and Alya delighted in their new freedom. They flitted from place to place exploring the towers, and roofs, while concerned pegasi looked out from their nests wondering who the out of season foals were? And what were those white puffy things around their bottoms? The foals turned, and on spotting the activity at the quidditch pitch made a beeline right for it.

Now the local pegasi were a little more then mildly concerned. Nest mates started issuing forth from their various windows.

Scootaloo was out at the pitch at this time practicing her broom flying, while the Gryffindor team practiced passing the quaffle, and clubbing bludgers. Scootaloo caught sight of a familiar gold colt in a nappy out of the corner of her eye, and then she saw the bludger headed strait for him. The twins would later plead that the bludger had gotten away from them, but the who and why wasn’t on Scootaloo’s mind. Scootaloo’s one thought was to protect that colt, and to get there before the bludger could. The mother instinct had hit her hard earlier that month owing to an ill conceived spell the Crusaders had cast, and her own personal safety was now the last thing on her mind. Not knowing how fast her broom could go she abandoned human form, and using the technique Nova had shown her, raced to intercept. Somehow she’d gotten there just in time, wrapping her forelegs around Goldwine just as the bludger hit. It grazed her left wing, and slammed into her body. Both hits causing intense pain. That wing was now useless, and she couldn't fly on a wing and a prayer. She didn’t even know the right prayer. Down they went while the bludger circled around for another go.

What the majority of the people in the stadium saw was a golden pegasus with a magenta mane come out of nowhere to shield a foal of similar hue with a mane the color of wine, who by her actions took the hit, and was downed by the runaway bludger. This was followed by a mostly white pegacorn blasting the bludger with a beam of intense magic driving it so far into the ground it would take a mining operation to retrieve it, and then she turned her magic to the falling pegasus cushioning the landing. She was followed by a sable foal, two sable mares, a chestnut paint, and a gray stallion while more pegasi flocked over head.

Sweetie Belle, and Apple Bloom ignoring all calls not to approach the pegasi ran to the fallen pony. Madam Hooch was hot on their heals to stop the girls, or at least pull them to safety.

And then they were gone.

“Gadgull, go back out and let those pegasi know what happened.” Nova commanded. Nova was now in war mode.

“I’ll take the foals to the room.” Alalme said. “Come on you two, you’re getting a time out!”

“Anything I can do?” Asked Sweetie Belle.

“Sweetie, Apple, just stand over there until I say otherwise.” Nova ordered. “Scootaloo, your wing is broken.”

“I think a few other things are broken too.” Scootaloo said in a pained tone.

“Let me.” Luna offered.

“No, I’m a trained battle medic as well as a message runner.” Nova offered pointing at her armor. Luna had wondered about that and was curious to hear the tail, but not now. “Aiko!”

“Got it.” Aiko offered dropping a large white box. On it was a red cross overlaid with a heart.

“I’m going to realign the bone, and set it.” Nova said. Scootaloo cried out in pain. “Talma, take Apple Bloom down to the lab, and bring us a mild pain killer, and bone restorative.”

Apple Bloom transformed to her pony self, Talma brightened in realization, and the two raced downstairs.

“Is there nothing I can do?” Sweetie Belle asked. She transformed, and sat on her plot.

“You can come around to Scootaloo’s head and offer encouragement.” Nova offered as she braced the wing and fixed the brace in place. “Scootaloo, how are you doing?”

“I’ve been worse.” Scootaloo offered. Nova smiled, and refrained from making any comments that might make Scootaloo laugh. Scootaloo had indeed been worse on more then one occasion.

:unsuresweetie:

Through all this Madam Hooch watched in dumbfounded astonishment. The gray pegasus who’d been identified as Gadgull returned a few moments later with a trio of concerned pegasi, and pony Apple bloom came running back into the rotunda a few minutes later with a couple vials in a small basket she carried in her mouth. She also knew Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo, Louise to her, by their cutie marks. Scootaloo’s mark, a sort of birth mark, but it wasn’t a birth mark, had been brought to her attention by the other girls in the team, and then they’d learned that all three girls had similar marks like they were part of some club. Most of the Gryffindor girls had been aware of the marks, but never said a thing. An inspection by Madam Pomfrey had reveled the marks to be magic in origin, but no known removal spell could touch them. A couple attempts had even done physical harm to the skin while doing nothing to the marks.

The pony who seemed to be calling all the shots had a mark as well, as did an appaloosa sable. What was more, these ponies were conducting themselves in much the same manner as witches and wizards would. Three were pegacorns, Sweetie was apparently a unicorn, or at least could turn into one, and Apple Bloom had the appearance of an ordinary pony save for the bright pastel colors.

Scootaloo let out a yell as Nova used her magic to snap some ribs back in place. The potions Apple Bloom had brought up were at least starting to work in providing relief, and Scootaloo let out a soft sigh.

“You’ve got this.” Sweetie Belle offered encouragingly.

“Muma, if you could lift her up, I’m going to do a chest rap.” Nova offered.

“So now what?” Scootaloo asked. Being suspended like that actually made her feel better. “Am I going to be stuck like this? What do we tell people? Did anyone see me transform?”

“Um, I, I could ask around for you?” Madam Hooch offered. She’d actually considered herself as something of an expert on pegasi, but all this was on a whole new level. It was like she’d just discovered the home of one of the legendary high elves. In the center of the rotunda was displayed a petite suit of horse armor, banners hung from the columns, paintings hung on the walls, and a fresco depicting day and night ruled by pegacorns on the ceiling. They were definitely fae of some kind, extremely intelligent, and likely very powerful. If pegasi had a ruling class, this would be it. The excitable phoenix flying around also meant that the student who suddenly showed up at school two months late was also connected to these, these ponies.

“Oh horse apples.” Apple Bloom swore on realizing the quidditch teacher had been there the whole time.

“Um, this might be an awkward time,” said one of the pegasi who’d come with Gadgull, and spoke in the old ponish. “There is an issue of an egg that was given to the trio in the top of this tower, by the human. We don’t seem to know where it came from or who it belongs to?”

Scootaloo understood just enough to know they had an egg, and didn’t know who it belonged to. “Mine!” Scootaloo called. “It’s my egg.”

“Yours?” Luna asked. Surly Scootaloo was too young to be laying eggs yet?

“You mean Hagrid didn’t eat it after all?” Apple Bloom asked. Madam Hooch made a mental note to keep Hagrid away from all pegasi eggs.

“Tell us what his name is so that we might banish his nether regions to the moon.” Luna said with the air of a parent about to commit murder.

“Haven’t we already done that joke?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“It wasn’t any colt’s doing it was Sweetie Belle.” Apple Bloom offered.

“Sweetie?!” Luna, and Nova exclaimed.

“Wait, what was the spell?” Luna prodded.

“It’s not like that.” Sweetie protested. “We turned Moaning Myrtle into an egg.”

“Who?” Nova and Luna asked.

“So that’s what happened to her.” Madam Hooch said. “Moaning Myrtle is, or rather was, a ghost in the second floor toilets.”

“Second floor Toilets where the large sun pegacorn seal is?” Nova asked.

“Yes, that one.” Madam hooch offered.

“That’s just a little to coincidental. Do you know what she died from?” Nova asked.

“I’m to understand it was a spider bite.” Madam Hooch offered.

“What kind of spider?” Luna asked.

“An acromantula.” Madam Hooch informed them.

“I’m going to need to see that egg.” Luna offered.

“Might be a good idea to see if it’s even a viable egg and weather or not there is a pony, or a girl in that egg.” Nova suggested.

“Hadn’t thought of that.” Luna replied. “I was more concerned about residual memories. No pony wants to wake up into a new life remembering about being bitten by an acromantula. - Sweetie, I’d like to see the spell, what kind of spell is it, and where’d you get it?”

“Well it’s a unicorn spell, that’s why I was the one who cast it, and it was Auntie Twili.” Sweetie Belle explained.

“I am definitely going to have to talk to her about what sort of spells she gives the three of you.” Luna grumbled.

“Well I’m all done here. What say we take Scootaloo into the lounge. She can lay on one of the sofas in there for now.” Nova offered.

“So how long am I going to be like this?” Scootaloo asked.

“The wing bracing will need to stay on for a couple weeks at the least.” Nova informed her. “No flying for a month, though I’d prefer to keep you grounded for two. I wouldn't even think about trying to transform for a few days. On the one hand, it’ll be a great way to keep the wings immobilized, but on the other hand it’s going to hurt like that time you tried to nail your own horseshoes, and missed.” She paused to let what she'd sais soak in. “I don’t want to rush the healing process anymore then I have to because it could cause a deformity of the wing.”

“Ah, what about school? What are we going to tell people?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“That’s easy, she can’t come to class because she’s a little horse with a broken wing.” Apple Bloom offered.

“No, that’s probably not a good idea.” Madam Hooch offered. “We could just say she got thrown off by that broom she’s riding. People will believe that. - Listen, your taking me here is going to be fairly easy for me to explain as I’m the person who looks after the school flock when there is an issue they can’t handle on their own. - Now, in order to keep the scope of this under wraps, I’m going to need to bring in some co conspirators?”

“You know I could just erase your memory of this whole incident.” Luna offered.

“You could, but then there’d be the issue of their not getting proper medical treatment, such as when Scootaloo got sick last month.” Madam Hooch offered. “Scootaloo, you got sick right after you participated in that spell, didn’t you?”

“Maybe.” Sweetie Belle offered.

“I heard something about it from her father, her new father I should say.” Luna offered. “Mind telling me what it was?”

“It was a severe mineral and calcium deficiency, and she was showing signs of enema. As a result of which she was suffering from numbness, muscle cramps, and poor apatite, along with fainting, and lethargy.” Madam Hooch offered.

“Sweetie Belle, could you go get that spell Twilight sent you?” Luna asked.

“We’ll need to bring Madam Pomfrey in on this, she’s the School nurse.” Madam Hooch offered as Sweetie belle got up and went to find the library. “And what about Dumbledore?”

“I’d rather not.” Nova said. She’d completely forgot about Hermione back in the lounge. “I don’t really know what sort of man he is now, but the first time I met him he’d had too much to drink, and was ready to relive me of my phoenix without my leave.”

“When was that?” Madam Hooch asked. Her phoenix? That meant this pegacorn was Nova Moon. Yes, the mane was the same. “The man I’ve known has always been the most upstanding citizen of our community.”

“Christmas, nineteen oh three.”

“Nineteen oh three?” That proved it, they were Fae.

“School records should show that that was the year Slytherin’s crypt was discovered. Two Wyrms were found to be on the grounds, and killed as well.”

“Hagrid?” Madam Hooch prompted.

“Can’t keep a secret to save his life.” Apple Bloom countered.

“Now what makes you say that?” Madam Hooch asked.

“The three headed dog is named Fluffy, and he’s guarding sumt’m important that belongs to Nicholas Flamel.” Scootaloo offered. Nova’s ears dropped at the name. She already knew why the man was famous, and what that stone really was, but decided to keep it to herself. For now at least. As for the trio, if they hadn’t have been avoiding Hagrid for allegedly eating Myrtle, they’d have had the stone by October.

“I see.” Madam Hooch said in a dry tone. “You haven't gone in there have you?”

“Slobbered all over us.” Apple Bloom offered.

“I suppose that would happen, he was raised with a bunch of Shetland ponies. Probably thinks he’s a horse.” “You go any further?”

“He don’t like people, and no.” Apple Bloom offered. “We’ve done some crazy things, but experience has learned us not to go jumpen down holes what we don’t know what’s at the bottom of.”

“I see.” Madam Hooch offered.

“Muma, what say we move Scootaloo.” Nova prompted.

“You probably don’t want to put too much trust in Hermione, her heart was in the right place, but she is the one who told us about the egg.”





Meanwhile Hermione is outside Nova’s small bathroom in the little apartment. “Um, Nova, are you alright in there?”

“Best let her be.” Sweetie Belle offered. She’d just come out of the closet. “You sure she’s even in there?” Sweetie Belle went to the door, knocked, and then opened it. “Nope, looks like she’s gone. Say, maybe she went down to the Quidditch pitch.”

“What, just wander off, and not say anything?”

“Well, you know how egg heads are.” Sweetie teased. “By the way, there was an incident on the quidditch field. The twins tried to bludger a pegasus foal, and hit its mother instead.”

“They did what!” Hermione exclaimed. “So help me, when I get through with them!”

Sweetie Belle waited till she was gone, and then fetched the spell book.

🦄

“Ya, we figured as much.” Apple Bloom offered as they moved Scootaloo. Scootaloo had fallen asleep. “She even helped us with figuring out the spell that created the egg, and spells that would keep Myrtle warm while we weren’t there. - Sweetie did most of the translating of the old ponish.”

“And I’m liking this less and less.” Luna offered as she placed Scootaloo on a lounge. Alalme brought a blanket to put over her, and then Nova went down to the kitchen to get a plate of Granny’s oat crackers. She gave one to all the ponies, and made sure there was some for Scootaloo.

“What ever became of the Mackintosh farm?” Nova asked just as Sweetie was returning. It was a book of spells, mostly academic, and a good deal of it in old ponish. It being a collection of spells from earlier works, some intended for banishing ghosts, some for finding or detecting, and then there was the egg spell. The egg spell was complicated ritual, and a wonderment they’d managed it at all. Luna wasn’t liking what she was seeing. It called for a unicorn to cast the spell, and a pegasus mare preferably of foal bearing age. Luna had a mind to truly lay into the girls big time, but by the looks of the spell, just the side effects of casting it wrong were going to be punishment enough. “It calls for a drop of blood, who’s did you use?”

Just the three of us.” Sweetie offered. Luna’s face developed a twitch.

:facehoof:

“So, how am I going to get out of here?” Madam Hooch asked a short time later.

“I should probably take you back the same way I brought you. And understand that we are going to trust you because the local pegasus trust you, but keep in mind what they sell in apothecaries.” Nova offered. “And Sweetie Belle, and Apple Bloom should go back the way they came as well.”

“Um, Hermione was in the dorm room.” Sweetie offered. "I might have sort of sent her out to the quidditch pitch."

Nova’s ears went flat again, and then she facehoofed.

“I sicked her on the Twins though.” Sweetie offered.

“Alright then, that might keep her distracted.” Nova offered. “Change back.”

:rainbowhuh:

A few moments later, Pony Nova deposited Madam Hooch, Sweetie, and Apple Bloom back on the pitch. She gave Sweetie and Apple Bloom a nuzzle, and lifted off into the air. She circled, spotted her old broom drifting towards the forbidden forest, raced to it, and brought it back to the pitch like a dog with a bone. She gave it to Apple bloom.

“Maybe we can play fetch sometime.” Apple Bloom teased. Nova snorted, and then took off again. Several teachers hurried over having heard about the abduction.

“I’m well. A bit bemused, but alright.”

“Chasing after pegasi even after you’d been told to stay well clear of those animals, that’ll be fifty points...” McGanagall began, and then her jaw dropped.”

“Awarded to Gryffindor.” Madam Hooch stated firmly.

“What?” Snape said not quite sure he’d heard what he thought he’d heard.

“And we were wrong about that egg. The girls had been taken into the confidence of a clutch of pegacorns, and our meddling may have caused that egg irreparable harm in that in our ignorance it had not been returned to the right mother.” Maddam Hooch stated. “Oh, and Miss Magnus injured herself earlier, and may be out of action for a while.” She had to take a moment to catch her breath. “Bloom, and Sweetie demonstrated excellent equine management in the care that they rendered this afternoon as well.”

“Ya, we pretty much live and breath everything horse back home.” Apple Bloom offered trying not to smile.

“I’ve a mind to take points from Fred and George Weasley for their recklessness, but that wouldn't be fair to the rest of Gryffindor.” Madam Hooch stated. “But I am going to give them detention.”

“But what all happened, where did you go?” McGanagal asked.

“Well, we were all apparated in one go strait to where they nest. And it was the easiest smoothest transport I’ve ever experienced. Like blinking, and finding myself suddenly in a different location. Assistance was provided for the stricken pegacorn, and we were brought back.”

“How badly was it hurt?” McGonagall asked.

“Broken wing, and cracked ribs. The wing has been mended, and the chest cavity wrapped. - I shudder to think what would have happened had that bludger hit that foal.” Pegasi were known to drop rocks from beyond wand range when sufficiently angered. Of course they had bombs of other kinds as well. The kind that went splat.

“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go talk to Madam Pomfrey.” Madam Hooch said once everyone had a chance to process what she’d said. “Girls, you can go back to your free time, though you may want to make sure you are caught up on assignments.”

“Yes Mam.” Apple Bloom, and Sweetie said, and hurried off.





Nova landed on the balcony, entered, closed the door, walked past several pegasi that were still there, and apparently just hanging out. “Be sure and close the door when you go.” Nova said in the old ponish. She continued to the next door. Luna had the egg now. “Muma, if you find any thing that we might want to look into, I’d like a copy of it. There are memory vials in the clinic room.”

“What sort of things?”

“Well if the spider bite wasn’t an accident, or anything having to do with Salazar Slytherin or the chamber of secrets.” Nova offered. “We sealed up one entrance, but they never found any others, nor how the wyrms were getting in and out of the school while I was here last. - Now, I’m going to go lay down with my son.”

“Excuse me?” Luna asked as a vein bulged on her forehead. “Tell us his name that we might slay him.”

“He, and his egg mother were killed by a Wyrm. I killed one of the Wyrms rescuing Goldwine’s egg. Now, there are wards that resist my teleportation spell, and I’m worn out.” Nova then went into the bedroom, climbed up onto the bed, and lay down with the foals who were more then happy to snuggled up.

“So, what kind of a relationship do you have with my daughter?” Princess Luna asked Alalme, she was sitting a short distance away, and was watching Scootaloo.

“Before I came here an injury like that would have ended a life.” Alalme said quietly. “As for our relation, it’s complicated.” She thought about what she wanted to say. “She rescued me. I was tethered in a barn, along with my new foal Alya. Even if I could free myself it was the dead of winter, and Alya too young to do much of anything. - And there she was, half pony, half predator, and she was beautiful because she was liberation.” Alalme smiled thinking of that moment. “Sometimes we are like siblings, just like sisters. Sometimes she seems so much like a little foal, and at other times she gives me the feeling of a pony aged beyond my comprehension. Nor had she come after me for my own sake. She wasn’t there to rescue me. She’d rescued an egg from a creature that we were helpless against, and the mother instinct had taken hold of her. - She’ll do anything for Goldwine.”

“I see.” Luna replied as she cradled Myrtle. “I got a taste of that duality of hers today. This morning she was my delightful little foal. This afternoon she is an accomplished member of my personal guard. - I’m finding it difficult to wrap my mind around it. And I am all to familiar with the lengths the mother instinct will drive us. Seems to hit winged ponies the hardest. - Scootaloo has it bad.”

“How simple it would be to just drop an egg, and go about our lives leaving it behind without a second thought. And yet we brood over that egg even to the point of daring to face our worst nightmares head on for the sake of the little one inside.” Alalme offered in quiet contemplation.

On noticing that Scootaloo was restless in her sleep Luna took Myrtle, and placed her under the blankets next to Scootaloo. Scootaloo did her best to cuddle the egg, and then quieted.

“You are such a broody little hen, you know that don’t you?” Luna whispered as she gave Scootaloo a loving cares on the top of her head.

🥚

That night after everyone had turned in, Nova was on the prowl. She was a fox on a mission. Her target: Mrs Norris. What with everything that had happened she’d nearly forgotten about Mrs Norris, but now, now she’d a need for that specific feline that was forcing her to push her plans regarding Mrs Norris ahead. She needed her, and she needed her tonight. The only question was would she cooperate? Nova had learned of Mrs Norris’s habit to patrol the halls at night from the Weasley twins who were more then willing to provide whatever information they might. They’d even given her a rather unique map in an effort to get back into the good graces of all those around them.

Silently the owl winged fox glided through the halls. To the casual observer she was just another pet out wondering the halls. To Peeves, she was a predator to be avoided. Peeves had no desire to be made into a pinball ever again.

But would Mrs Norris even be out prowling after what Nova had done to her? Nova had to think about it, and the answer was yes. Mrs Norris wasn’t just reporting every little infraction for the sake of praise, she was doing it to maintain order within the hive.

There.

Target sighted. Prepare for glomp.

Nova glided into position, dove down, snatched up Mrs Norris, and teleported away.

“What was that? Who’s there?” Filch called as he issued forth from a secret passage. “Mrs Norris?” He looked about. “Now where has that cat gotten to?”





Suddenly Alicorns.

Mrs Norris had been doing her patrols for the sake of order if for no other reason when the beast struck. The hallway vanished – oh Bucking sweet mother of Chrysalis – Princess Bucking Luna!!!!

Princess Luna was sitting on the floor next to a golden pony who looked to be another alicorn sleeping on a large cushion, and was presently drawing silver tendrils from an egg, and depositing them in crystal vials. Mrs Norris knew what that was, but what sort of memories might an egg have? Shouldn’t she be placing memories in the egg so that the hatchling will understand its place in the hive?

Mrs Norris looked to see who her captor was, black pony legs, white chest, head, wings, oh buck another bucking alicorn! Her doom was upon her.

“Oh don’t tell me you’ve foal-napped a kitty?” Luna asked looking puzzled. “You are a puzzle.”

“This is Mrs Norris, and she is the answer to or little problem.” Nova offered.

“A cat?” Luna asked with a bemused expression. “And which problem? We seem to have many.”

“Mrs Norris is a changeling. - Come along, change back to your ever loving love bug self, Mrs Norris.” Nova prompted.

Mrs Norris let out a sigh and transformed into her little black buggy self. Her visage marred only by a small white placard glued to the outer shell of her left wing with the number fifty three on it.

“What? But how did you know?” Luna asked. “And why bring her here?”

“I’m a fox pony. Fox ponies can sense the life forces of living things, and my own inner sight is so sensitive I can actually see the aura of just about everything. Changelings have a particularity interesting aura that is unmistakable to any fox who can see it, and knows what they are looking at.”

“What do you want with me?” Mrs Norris asked grumpily.

“Aww, is that any way to talk to the pony who topped you off with love this morning?” Nova asked rubbing her chin on top Mrs Norris’s head.

“Well you do want something, though I don’t see why you are bothering. Changelings are a threat to foals and weaker ponies. I’m surprised you didn’t just kill it.”

Mrs Norris shrunk back into Nova. At least Nova didn’t want her dead. ‘Dead, bucking dead, buck buck bucking dead, bucked, buckety buck, bucked to the bone, buck, buck, buck...’ Mrs Norris’s thoughts were filled with her bucking doom.

“Muma. Pleas. You’re frightening her. Honestly, you've got he clucking like a chicken.” Nova protested. “Besides, she’s only a threat in her present form.” If you could possibly impart on her how the changelings evolved, I think we’d have ourselves a most cooperative love bug.”

“Evolved?” Mrs Norris asked.

“Ya, those that have evolved are no longer dependent on the need to feed off the love of others.” Nova explained.

“Show me. Pleas.” Mrs Norris prompted. She’d gone so long living off scraps of emotion, this was something she wanted.

Luna contemplated for a moment, her eyes grew bright as she locked eyes with Mrs Norris. The link only took a moment, and then she leaned back to see what Mrs Norris would do with the information she’d given her. Mrs Norris seemed to be contemplating, or perhaps analyzing the information, and then a look on her face as though an epiphany had struck her. Nova decided to scoot back a few spaces. Mrs Norris lifted up into the air, light shined, a pupa formed about her, and vanished a few moments later to reveal brand new bug. She was now mostly metallic gold, with iridescent green legs, belly, wings, horns that came up on either side curved forward in the look of a tiara, and a black dot towards the end of each wing shell.

“Wow. You’re all sparkly now.” Nova offered.

“I am, aren’t I?” Mrs Norris said turning around several times on one direction, and then switching to go the other.

“Ahh, that fifty three is still there though.” Luna pointed out.

“Oh, that was stuck on me by a pony entomologist.” Mrs Norris offered. “I am outcast subject number fifty three.”

Luna let out a sight and shifted hoof to face.

“Outcast?” Nova asked. “You didn’t just get stranded here?”

“Stranded, I came here on my own volition.” She explained. “Our queen was doing crazy things, I dared to speak up because what she was doing was contrary to order and harmony. - I was forced to flee.”

“You don’t say?” Luna mused.

“We were able to live off the ambient love of pony communities.” Mrs Norris offered. “And a community must be healthy and harmonious to produce that ambient love.”

“And doing things like invading and putting ponies in cocoons would have shattered that harmony, so you spoke out.” Luna Offered.

“I did.” Mrs Norris replied. “I was deemed defective.”

“Now, there is a big favor I need from you.” Nova prompted. “I need you to impersonate a student.”

“Wouldn't that be considered a bad thing?” Mrs Norris asked.

“Well normally yes, but in this case it needs to be done for the sake of order.” Nova informed her.

“Order? How would impersonating anyone preserve order?”

“We don’t want people being concerned, and subsequently finding the truth about our dear friend Scootaloo.” Nova replied.

“I don’t know a Scootaloo?”

“You might know her as Louise Magnus.” Luna offered. “She’s our yellow pony here with the egg.”

“Oh yes, the human who is friends with the two ponies.” Mrs Norris offered. “She’s this alicorn?”

“Yes, she is.” Nova assured her.”

“Strange name for a pony. I'd have sworn she was human.” Mrs Norris mused. “Strange name even for an alicorn pony.”

“Her mother has spent a lot of time in the human world, and was found of the name Louise. Louise was given up to foster parents, for reasons I won’t go into, who started calling her Scooter Louise, and that morphed to Scootaloo.” Nova offered.

“How do you know all that?” Luna asked.

“Traveling through time and dimension a pony learns things.” Nova replied. “In fact the pegasi here actually remember you as the heroic figure of Night Fall. 'Unto the goddess of night was given a foal of dazzling beauty so much so that ponies thought he a star descended from the heavens. But the goddess of the day did covet the colt, and attempted to take him. Bla bla bla, supporters scattered to the wind.' Best I can figure is the pegasus in this area are descended from members of your household staff, and possibly some of the guard. How they got here is beyond me.”

“Oh they probably came in through the mirror of Erised. It connects to a store room in an old castle not far from Ponyville, and Professor Dumbledore is hiding the Philosopher’s stone in it.” Mrs Norris offered oblivious to the importance of what she was saying. The stone meant nothing to her, so she'd no reason not to tell the ponies about it.

“What is a philosopher’s stone?” Luna asked.

“You’d know it as a blood stone.” Nova replied.

“A what?!” Luna spat remembering the stones Sombra had made. When she’d learned how they were made she was horrified. Twilight presently had one, it was fixed to the Alicorn Amulet. No one was really quite sure why she hadn’t destroyed it. She hadn’t even placed it in a vault somewhere, no, it was on display under glass in her castle.

“Alright then, that’s two things we need to take care of.” Nova offered. “First I’d like you to step in for Louise, all you need to do is simulate the injuries typical of falling off a broom that hates you. Make it an injury to the right arm as well, and some nice convincing bruises.”

“I can do that.” Mrs Norris offered.

“Why the right arm?” Luna asked.

“Scootaloo is right hoofed. If Mrs Norris wraps up her right arm no one will expect her to write or cast spells.” “I know wizards have spells that speed up the healing process, but Scootaloo being a pegacorn, we can’t speed up the healing process to much. It has to happen as organically as we can allow. - Mrs Norris, what we’ll do is get you to the infirmary, and if we can stall for a week, I’m sure Scootaloo will be able to transform back into a human by then. But first, I’d like you to take me to that mirror.”

“But you can’t go out in the halls at night?” Mrs Norris said. She was more concerned about Nova, then worried about rule infractions.

“Well no, pony me definitely can’t go wondering about the halls, and if human me gets caught there’ll be Tartarus to pay, but there’s nothing that says fox me can’t.” And with that Nova transformed to her fox form.

“You’ve wings on your fox form now.” Luna remarked.

“The wings showed up when my flight feathers came in.” Nova offered. “Mrs Norris, you ready?”

“Hold up, your pendant?” Luna asked.

“They’ll think it’s a dog tag, and it makes it easier to cast magic without horn or wand.”

“What about if someone tries to force you to transform?” Mrs Norris asked.

“I’m not an Animageus, it won’t work, I’ve tested it. That and this seems to be my default form in this world for some reason.”

“Just one more thing.” Luna said sounding like she was hesitant. “Mrs Norris, were you here when a young man named Tom Riddle was here?”

“I was. He terrorized the school one year. When he was a prefect.” Mrs Norris told her. “He, he wasn’t human. Not in the normal sense.”

“Why do you say that?” Luna asked.

“He’d no emotions. No empathy. None what so ever. He was just blank like a gaping hole from which no light could penetrate. Gave me the creeps. And I’m a changeling. He killed Miss Myrtle, I saw him. I ran to get someone, and then he turned around, and blamed little Hagrid.”

“And you did nothing?”

“I’m a changeling. What could I do. For all their talk of how bad muggles are, wizards can be far worse, and they would as likely killed me on the spot if they knew.” She had to take a moment to calm herself down. “At least being a cat all the time is a lot safer.”

“I guess I’m asking a lot of you.” Nova asked.

“I’ll do it. For the sake of order like you said. After all if Louise isn’t produced fairly soon, they’ll start asking too many questions, and then we’ll all be in the soup.” Mrs Norris offered.

“I knew I was making the right choice by bringing you in.” Nova said, and turned into a girl again. “Turn back into a cat, and lets see if we can’t sneak out of here.” Mrs Norris transformed. “You’ve gone all floofy.”

“Mrow.”

The two made their way out to the dorm room, where they discovered Hermione was awake. Nova picked up Mrs Norris. “I’m just going to go put Mrs Norris out. She followed me to my room.” Nova informed her holding the cat. “I might sit by the fire for a bit too.”

“Mrs Norris… seriously?”

“What, she was starved for love.” Nova offered, and went down stairs.

“Now I’ve seen everything.” Hermione said, and dropped back down into her bed.

At the base of the stairs a winged fox and a cat passed into the common room, and out the portrait hole unseen by all save the fat lady. The two then made their way to the seventh floor where Mrs Norris stopped at a blank wall.

“It’s right here, not sure how to get in though?” the cat whispered.

“I can see where the opening is, I might be able to jimmy it open with a little fox magic.” Nova offered. Wisps of fog drifted from her and felt out the entrance. “Oh, right, yes of course, I do really need to get in there.” Nova said, and then a door appeared. She used her magic to open the door, and then the two went in, closing the door behind them. There in an empty room stood the mirror. Nova transformed to her pony self, and Mrs Norris transformed back to her bug self.

“Afraid all I ever see in this thing is me not having to chase after rule breakers, and everyone doing as they are supposed to.” Mrs Norris offered.

Nova looked in the mirror. “Ya, I see myself with my family, and all the friends I’ve made and left behind, but that’s not what I want right now… aha, that’s it!”

“What?”

“Well if you don’t define what you want it shows you your deepest desire, but if you tell it what you want, it’ll show you that. Come on.” And at that Nova stepped up to, and into the mirror. Mrs Norris wanting to follow after did exactly that.

They found themselves in a grubby little room with no light save for what drifted through the mirror, and that wasn’t very much being the room hadn’t been well lit. On the floor was a grubby little package.

“Don’t touch it. It’s dangerous.” Nova said as she went to the door. When she tried it, it wouldn't budge. “Well then, I guess I’m just going to have to blast it open.” She took a couple steps back, aimed her horn…

In the hall outside two guards are startled by the eruption of a section of the wall. Fortunately they weren’t anywhere near it. Other guards start running to see what the explosion was, and are startled to see a smallish young alicorn, and a gold changeling step out of the opening.

“I need a magical hazmat team, stat!” Nova ordered.

“What, who are you?”

“I am the High Priestess of Arcadia. There is a dangerous magical artifact in here. It can not be touched, and no magic is to be used to handle it. The only safe way to deal with it is with the elements of harmony.”

“Yes mam.” A guard said, turned, and ran to inform a superior and request a hazmat team.

“Who wall papers over a doorway anyway?” Nova asking of no specific pony.

“They bricked it up too.” Mrs Norris pointed out.

A captain of the guard showed up a short time later. “Who, and how did you even get in here?”

“There is a portal to another world in here. I’d recommend it be properly monitored from now on.” Nova informed them even as more guards came running. This time they were followed by Princess Twilight.

It was all Nova could do not to run to her. She smiled though, and bowed her head. “It’s a portal from Hogwarts.” Nova offered sounding a little sheepish having been thrown off her bluster.

“And who are you and what brings you here?” Twilight asked.

“I am Princess Luna’s number one shadow.” Nova said, removed her amulet, and offered it to Twilight. Twilight took it, and examined it. “And I am Princess Celestia’s agent in Hogwarts.”

“This is in deed something made by Princess Luna.” Twilight sad… Twilight examined the pendent with a probing spell and the large blue stone turned green, and burst with light. “A harmony stone!”

“And now I have to recast the spell to make it match my cutie mark.” Nova said sounding a little put off, and requested its return. “Do not tamper with or attempt to analyze the stone in the package in this room. It’s the same type of stone as what’s in the Alicorn Amulet. It needs to be destroyed, and will destroy any pony that attempts to use it.”

“But how am I supposed to destroy it?” Twilight asked as she passed Nova’s pendant back to her.

“I destroyed a small one with an artificial element of hope, so I’m guessing a full element blast should do the trick.” Nova offered hopefully. “Also, I don’t know if you’ve gotten word yet, but Scootaloo got hit by a bludger.”

“Oh no. Is she alright?” Twilight had been about to ask about the artificial stone.

“Broken wing, and cracked ribs.”

“Broken wing? - What was she doing flying around in her pony form?”

“It’s complicated, oh, and… don’t give the crusaders any more dangerous spells.”

“But I didn’t?”

“They’re the crusaders. Trust me, you did. But I’m going to leave that chewing out for Muma, er I mean Princess Luna.”

Twilight’s eyes grew wide. “Kitzu?”

“As soon as that package is on it’s way, I’ve got to get back.” Nova replied. “Nor is it safe to use this portal.”

“Alright, we’ll get it dealt with, there should be someone on the way now.” Twilight offered, hesitated a moment, and then went in search of the Evergreen palace’s hazmat team.

Twilight came back a short time later with five ponies in hazmat suits, and a large container that looked to be a cross between a cooler and a strong box. They carefully scooped up the package, placed it in the box, and latched the lid tight. This time Nova didn’t hold back, she went to Twilight, and gave her a hug. When she’d let go she ran at the far wall of the old store room, jumped, transformed into a fox and vanished through the wall. Mrs Norris followed quickly behind.

“High Priestess of Arcadia?” Mrs Norris asked on the other side.

“Well, technically it’s not exactly a lie. Now turn back into a cat, and lets get phase two of tonight’s mission accomplished.”

From there they made their way to the infirmary were they found Professor Dumbledore arguing with Madam Pomfray the school nurse.

“I’m the Head Master of this school, and you’re telling me I can’t even check on one of my own students?” Dumbledore asked in disbelief as a cat crept on past.

“She needs her rest.”

“Excuse me?” a very good likeness of a rather beat up looking Scootaloo asked. She was presently in one of the school night gowns that were kept in the infirmary, and had an arm in a sling. “Can I go back to my room so I can get some sleep?”

Madam Pomfrey proved a true veteran of the comings and goings of that school, and somehow managed to not jump out of her skin.

“Well, Head Master Dumbledore, being how you’ve woke her up, how about escorting her back to her room?” Madam Pomfrey asked as nicely as she could muster.

Dumbledore was at a loss. He’d been put off so many times, not to mention the fact that no one could remember Miss Louise being taken to the infirmary, that he’d become convinced the girl simply wasn’t there. He had the nagging suspicion members of his own staff were hiding something from him, and he was at a loss as to why. Nor could he see through changeling magic. If he could he’d have surely known that Mrs Norris wasn’t a cat. He still had the feeling he was being played but couldn't fathom why?

“They really are Fae.” Madam Pomfrey said once Dumbledore and Mrs Scootaloo Norris had left.

Somehow they managed to pull it off. Mrs Norris had hung in there for a week. Not that there hadn’t been a number of close calls. Monday started out unpleasant. Potions first thing in the morning, and Snape took a point from ScootaNorris for having the audacity to have her arm in a sling. The explanation as to why she hadn't already been healed, was that she was alergic to the healing potion, and would just have to mend naturaly. Nova had attempted to hand in the past homework assignments having completed them over the weekend with the help of Hermione only to be told that he did not accept late assignments. And in Defense against the dark arts, poor ScootaNorris nearly had a melt down.

“She’s not feeling well, I’ll get her to see Maddam Pomfrey.” Nova informed everyone, and rushed her out of the class room. The two stopped a short distance from the room.

“Are you going to be able to hold it together?” Nova asked as the two leaned against the wall. “I know it smells bad. Kind of reminds… troll fart.” Nova’s eyes widened. “That wasn’t a troll fart, that was Quirrel. He smells of death.” To be true the room stank of garlic, but the garlic was there to cover the smell of Quirrel.

“Why didn’t I see it before?” ScootaNorris said once she’d calmed down. “But then why would I pay any attention to members of the staff, they can do whatever they want. He’s so hollow. It’s like there’s no one there.” “What little I could detect was that of the remains of a shattered mind.” This statement, halting as it was, set Nova’s mind to racing, she’d been actively filtering out auras so that they wouldn't be a detraction, but now that she thought about it… Nova’s hair on the back of her neck stood on end. Professor Quirrel had all the earmarks of one of Sombra’s drones.

“What are you two doing out of class?” It was Mr Filch. Mr Filch was the last human Nova wanted to see, but exactly the person Mrs Norris needed at that moment. Both Filtch and Nova were at a bit of a loss. ScootaNorris had just hugged Mr Filch. A moment passed, and then in a whisper Mr Filch asked, “Care to explain why you’ve recruited my cat in your little clandestine operation?”

“Sir, I don’t know what you mean?” Nova asked. She was honestly and rightly flabbergasted.

“You knew?” ScootaNorris asked.

“You’re nearly as old as I am, maybe older for all I know.” Filch replied. “Why no one else ever caught on is beyond me.” He have her a pat. “Though a few have suggested you might be a lover hiding from a jealous husband. Still, you’ve been a good ally, and if I said anything now I’d be condemning myself. - Now, Miss Nova Moon, if that is your name. And you’re no first year, that much is obvious. I’m guessing a small sixteen, Maybe even a petite twenty, and that Madam Marchbanks sent you hear to investigate those girls calling themselves the Cutie Mark Crusaders. They’re not exactly first years either. We tried to remove those dark marks off those girls, but gave up because they couldn't do it with out causing irreparable damage.”

“They did what?” Nova exclaimed. “We are from Eques. If you know your Latin you’d understand ‘eques’ to mean that we are from the country of horsemen, or knights as it’s sometimes translated. We have large herds of unicorn and pegasi who we work with on a daily basis. That mark is a manifestation of magic identifying someone in our community who can work with the equines, and such is the swiftness of our armies they are known as the Cohorts of Rohan.” Nova explained, her tone seasoned with anger and bravado. She wasn’t exactly making it up on the fly either, having worked out the explanation if she should ever find herself having to explain her cutie mark. As for rohan, well that was just in intransitive verb meaning to rush, hurry, run, or sprint. Back in the 1903-04 school year it had never come up because those who knew about her cutie mark had just assumed it to be a manifestation of her alleged blood curse. “I myself have a rather elaborate marking, not just on my hips, but all the way up my back.” Nova added. “They are not dark marks. Miss Magnus is especially good at caring for injured pegacorns, few though they may be, and is tending the injured mare. And yes I am Professor Marchbanks’ student, and yes there is something going on here. And no, the Crusaders have nothing to do with it despite their propensity towards finding trouble. No, what seems to be going on here if I’m to make a guess from what I presently know, is that Headmaster Dumbledore seems to be playing a very dangerous game.”

“Dumbledore?” ScootaNorris asked as she let loose of Mr Filch.”

“I suspect he’s baited a trap for a very dangerous creature, and put everyone in danger in the process.” Nova offered.

Mr Filch just stood there. He knew more then enough to know that the traps that had been set up to protect whatever it was that was being protected weren’t going to be that difficult to get past. Not to mention the fact that Dumbledore had even gone so far as to advertise it before it was even ready. Granted it might take a few tries to get past the first three traps, but still... “So what is he trying to trap if I may ask?”

“I’m not sure what it is.” Nova offered. “But whatever it is, it’s passing itself off as Professor Quirrel. As soon as Mrs Norris came in close proximity of him, and really paid attention to him, she nearly fell apart.”

“He gives me the same queer feeling that the Riddle boy did.” ScootaNorris replied. Filch turned white as a ghost.

“We’ um, we are going to run to the infirmary. I want to see if they have any Athelas. It’ll counteract the effect that thing is having on Mrs Norris.”

“I should talk to Dumbledore.” Filch said.

“If he doesn’t already know he’s twice the fool.” Nova replied, and then she escorted ScootaNorris to the infirmary. Nova’s assumption was that Dumbledore the elder was likely just as rash as his younger self, only more calculating in the effort. Dumbledore was a man playing a game of Chess against an unseen opponent who was playing a game of Shoji.

Madam Pomfrey had never heard of Athelas. Nova let out a sigh, went to a small room which she was well familiar with, touched her wand to the wall, and produced from which a door. She then opened the door to reveal her own small clinic, went in, and retrieved a small sample of the herb. Madam Pomfrey pronounced the heard to be known as Chimpaphila umbellata with the common name of King’s cure. King’s cure was widely used in many healing brews.

“Care to tell me what’s going on?” Madam Pomfrey asked. “If I’m to be an effective healer, I need to know.”

“It’s just that...” Nova began as she placed the herbs in cups of hot water, one for Mrs Norris, and one for herself. “Defense Against the Dark arts was a bit much for Louise. What with her weakened condition.” The room began to fill with the sweat aromatic smell of wintergreen.

“I see.” Madam Pomfrey said quietly. “I’ve had a number of students coming to me with an assortment of complaints they couldn't quite put their finger on after being in his class. I imagine Louise must be extra sensitive to the smell. Why Professor Dumbledore puts up with it is beyond me, I can barely stand the smell myself, and it can’t be very healthy. Are you going to be alright going back in there again this afternoon?”

“I’ve an idea.” Nova offered as ScootaNorris sipped her broth. Nova went back into her infirmary, and returned a short time later with a container of the herb, a sheet, scissors, and string. Nova sipped some of her broth, and set to cutting circles out of the sheet. When she’d a number of circles, she placed a good sized pinch of the herb in one, pulled up the cloth, and tied it with a string. That one she placed in ScootaNorris’s school bag. She then proceeded to make several more, and placed those in her bag. After she’d finished, she finished off her broth.

To Madam Pomfrey’s astonishment both girls ate the soggy leaves.

“I’m going to let you have the remainder of what I’ve got in the container.” Nova offered. “And I’m going to give a small packet to everyone in my class. It should help.”

“Seems I’ll need a lot more.” Madam Pomfrey mused. “Can’t hurt to recruit students to make those pouches as I can’t very well ask you to make enough for the whole school. I’ll just have to distribute this to students as they come in. And as thanks for bringing this cure for the mystery ailment, I’m going to award you ten house points, and another twenty for the use of the herb.”

“Thank you.” Nova said delighted. “That should just about make up for what was wrongly taken from the girls.”

“It’s a shame that happened. Though I can’t help but think that had the girls tried to explain it, no one would have believed a word.” Madam Pomfrey offered.

“There is one other issue.” Nova prompted. “Regarding the girl’s cutie marks. It’s not some kind of dark mark whatever that is? It’s a manifestation of magic common to those of Eques, which is the country we live in. Most of us get one, and it signifies a vocational relationship with equines. Pleas pass that on, and let people know it’s nothing that needs to be removed. If you’d succeeded, the results would have been extremely harmful.”

“I’m terribly sorry that happened.” Madam Pomfrey offered. She was sincerely sorry about what had happened, and had insisted the effort to remove the marks be stopped when it was clear that they were more likely to do some real harm to the girls who’d found the whole ordeal quite traumatic. “It’s nearly lunch, why don’t you go find your friends.” Nova and ScootaNorris thanked her, and departed. The door to Nova’s infirmary had been left, but it was locked, and for what reasons she could only guess at, was only visible to herself, and Madam Hooch.

Nova gave out the herbs to each of her classmates with the explanation that it would counteract the smell of Professor Quirrel. After she was done with classes for the day she wrote a full report to Princess Celestia, who felt bound to share the information with the parents. Luna having only just returned so as to report her finding in person, wanted to go right back. Twilight advised it’d be to risky to confront whatever it was in the school. They’d need to get it out of the school. Luna sent out her best squad of Night Guard, and twenty four hours later a Harley came flying out of the portal in London. The rider was a woman dressed in black leather, she wore a helmet to match from which gold and red locks of hair protruded. Embroidered on the back of the jacket a two folded sun that resembled a yin yang symbol.

And the music was good and the music was loud.

“Unplottable my plot.” The woman said momentarily after coming to a stop. She’d been told not to go. No one tells her what to do. She looked about to get her bearings, and then started out for Hogwarts. She was going to find that school no mater what it took.

That night Nova and the other ponies were surprised by the arrival of a fully armed squad of Shadowbolts.

The week went by, Nova gaining points in Charms, Astronomy, Herbology, and even in history for outstanding work, and showing the initiative to get in the assignments she’d missed. Professor Binns had been no different then the other ghost, and seemed delighted that she could make it to class. Which in itself was rather odd being he seldom showed anything resembling an emotion. Nova was given detention in Transfigurations. Sure several students had hissed, no don’t do it, but she just couldn't resist giving the kitty some forced loving.

Scootaloo was finally healed up enough to transform in time to go watch the quidditch game, and Mr Filch actually demonstrated genuine affection on Mrs Norris’s return. As for Mrs Norris the cat’s sudden change in behavior, if any one had noticed that she was being more personable, and less likely to go fetch someone for every little rule infraction, they kept it to themselves.

Hermione went out to the game with Ron. The trio of Ron, Harry, and Hermione had grown close since the incident with the troll. The Crusaders might have joined them, they considered Hermione a friend, but they’d even more reason to keep her at arm’s, or rather, foreleg’s length. Non of the ponies wanted her to learn the secret of Nova’s room for fear she’d run strait to Professor McGonagull. Nova was no where to be seen having begged off, saying she had too much studying to catch up with. Hermione had volunteered to help, but Nova insisted she go watch the game. Not that Nova had any intention of missing the game, she just wanted to watch the game with Alalme and some of the other pegasi who were curious about the game.

“I can understand bringing snacks, and drinks,” Alalme asked as they landed on top the canopy above the stands, “but why bring those little rocks?” Nova had placed a hoof full of river rocks in the bag they’d brought.

“I did a divination reading prior to placing my bet on the game.”

“Is that even allowed?” Alalme asked. One of the nearby pegasus guards was chuckling quietly to themselves.

“Well, lets just say that divination isn’t always one hundred percent dead-on. You could even say I’m betting on my accuracy.”

“And the rocks?” Alalme asked.

“Something I saw in my reading suggested it’d be nice to have some rocks to fling at a certain pair of dark wizards.” Nova offered.

“Princess?” Asked a small gray pegasus who was sitting close by. Her wings looked suspiciously like bat wings with feathers atached.

“Lt Mouse, I expect Troll Fart to go after Mr Potter. No idea why, but I figured a good stone in the hooves of a practiced unicorn, or in my case a seasoned pegacorn, is as good a counter curse as any.”

“You think you can hit him from here?” Lt Mouse asked.

“Oh ya. I can hit him.”

They watched as the teams walked out to Madam Hooch, she said a few words, blew a whistle, and then the teams lifted off.

“No handshake?” Nova asked. That’s when it hit her, all the animosity towards the Slytherins wasn’t pretend, and the Slytherins seemed not just resentful, but downright belligerent towards everyone else. “I swear, I’m gone for a little while and everything turns to Tartarus in a hand basket.”

“It’s just a hoof, er I mean, hand shake.” Alalme offered.

“It’s not just that, it’s the way everyone behaves towards each other. That’s not Gryffindor and Slytherin out there, not the one’s I used to know. It’s more like House Lannister versus House Targaryen.”

“Who?” Mouse, and Alalme asked.

“Take too long to explain.” They all cringe at the sight of one of the players being hit in the back of the head by a bludger.

“He just shrugged that off?!” Alalme exclaimed.

“Hey, the head is the hardest bone in the human body.” Nova offered. “Why I wouldn't be a bit surprised if it’s at least a hoof thick on some of them.”

“Wow, that’s harder then a bison.” Lt Mouse offered. “Makes for a mighty small brain though.”

Down below Hagrid has joined Hermione and Ron. Hagrid was looking for the snitch with a pare of binoculars that looked like the sort one would see on a navel ship.

“Would you look at that, there’s some pegasi on the roof of a grandstand, watching.” Hagrid offered. “Oh say, one of em is a unicorn.”

“Now how’s a unicorn going to get all the way up there?” Ron asked.

“Well it’d have to be a Pegacorn.” Hermione offered.

“Harry still hasn’t found the snitch.” Ron reported. And then the snitch had been sighted. “He sees it, look at him go! Go Harry! Go!”

The Slytherin seeker had seen the snitch as well, and the two raced after it.

“Foul!” Ron, and about half the spectators shouted as Marcus Flint, the Slytherin captain slammed into Harry to keep him from catching the snitch.

“Well that’s not very sportspony of him.” Lt Mouse said as she looked at him in disbelief. Gryffindoor did at least get a free shot out of it, and Harry, to the ponies relief seemed to be alright.

“No worse then what goes on in a hoof ball game though.” Nova offered as the game went on.

“Ah, what’s going on with Mr Potter?” Alalme asked a short time later. Harry was flying about in a rather jerky fashion almost as though his broom was having some kind of clutch problem and him a new driver trying to drive a stick shift. He was all over the place, and barely hanging on as the broom bucked like a new bride. Harry was going higher, and higher, and the people on the ground began to look up at him in dismay. The broom rolled several times, jerked violently, and harry swung off, barely hanging on. Hermione grabbed Hagrid’s binoculars looking through one eye piece studying the crowd, and saw Snape. Nova had also picked out her targets.

Vip – THWACK!

Vip- THWACK!

“I’ve got him!” Said a large gray Pegasus just as Harry let go the broom.

Nova was faster, and dove down catching Harry lightly on her back. Harry was nearly as big as she was despite his small frame for a boy his age. Nova spotted the snitch, wheeled, dove, Harry reached out, and grabbed the snitch.

The crowd went nuts.

Everyone was cheering, everyone except the Slytherins who were jeering. Foul, they cried, it didn’t count they cried.

Madam Hooch called for the official role book, she and several other professors peered over the book to try to find out if it counted or not. Nova landed, and sat down causing Harry to slide off her back and land flat on his back. Snape and Quirrel lay in heaps up in the stands having been completely forgotten.

“Well, there’s nothing that says a Seeker must be on their broom.” Madam Hooch offered.

“Animal interference, if a bludger hits an animal, the game is to be halted until the animal can be removed.” Professor McGonagall offered.

“The interference rules all deal with the quaffle or snitch being removed from play.” Professor Flitwick offered.

“Oh, look here, if an animal not owned, and trained should as a result cause the quaffle to pass through a hoop it will be considered good.” McGanagal offered. “But if domestic, any aided action will be considered invalid.”

Nova was feeling glad she’d had the forethought to use a spell to camouflage her pendant, and the chain it hung from.

“True, but this is a Seeker being rescued by a pegacorn mare in the manner a foal might be rescued.” Madam Hooch offered. “There doesn’t seem to be a thing that covers this. Harry caught the Snitch in the Process of being rescued. Now the rules clearly state that he does not need to be on the broom.”

“But doesn’t it count as an assist?” McGonagall asked.

“Players are allowed to be assisted by another player in the event of a fall.” Flitwick pointed out. “There’s nothing that says the seeker can’t reach out, and grab the snitch on the way down.”

“But that pegacorn is not a player. If she was human, or any other recognized sentient being it’d be an eighth man ruling.” McGonagall offered.

“I heard, I heard.” Professor Dumbledore said as he arrived. He seemed slightly winded. He’d been in the hall when someone ran in announcing ‘Harry caught the snitch’. Good lad Dumbledore thought, and then the words ‘while riding on the back of a white pegacorn’ assailed his ears. Say what? He looked over at the small pegacorn. A large Gray pegasus bigger then Gadgull stood nearby. Dumbledor wasn’t quite sure what to think of that stallion. The stallion had a few scars indicating it’d been in some fights, and the wings though feathered, were shaped more like a thestral’s wing then a pegasus. Never the less, a mostly white pegacorn was considered a powerful ally of the forces of light, and everything deemed good. “We can’t continue without a new snitch. If there is nothing that specifically prohibits scoring in this case then there is no reason not to award the catch. Either way, the snitch has been taken out of play. - The game is ended."

“The rules say no bird or other flying animal may catch and deliver.” Madam Hooch offered. “To the best of my knowledge there is nothing that says the player can’t catch a snitch while riding on the back of an animal. Had this young mare simply flown through, or been present somewhere that didn’t interfere with the game there would have been no halt to play.” She then flew out into the center of the playing area, and placing wand to throat spoke in an amplified voice.

“On revue of the publicly documented list of rules, and faults, we can find no reason to disallow the catch.” “Gryffindor wins the match.”

Nova danced on her front hooves, trotted clear of the people, and launched into the sky. She was joined by the big gray, and then Alalme, Mouse, and several more pegasi followed, looped about the pitch a few times, and left.

Scootaloo watched them go, and let out a wistful sigh.

“If that wasn’t the darnedest thing I’ve ever seen.” Hagrid said from his place in the stands. “Can’t say I’ve ever seen flying like that either. One moment speeding past the Gryffindor team, and the next catching harry like he was a baby. Where’s Hermione?”

“She took off after Snape.” Ron said. “It looked like Snape was jinxing Harry’s broom.”

“Snape? He’d do no such thing, he’s a Hogwarts teacher.”

“Well someone else thinks he was responsible as well.” Hermione offered as she rejoined them. “Professor Snape is out cold with a welt on his head.”

“He what?” Out cold?” Hagrid asked.

“Somebody threw a rock at him.” Hermione offered tossing a rock up in the air and then catching it.

“Pity they hadn’t thrown it sooner.” Ron said. “Harry could have been killed.

“Poor Professor Quirrel fainted.” Hemione informed them. “Let’s get Harry.”

“What about the Crusaders?” Ron asked, we bringing them along too?”

“I, I don’t think they’ve completely forgiven me for telling McGonagall about that egg.” Hermione offered. “And Hagrid, you only made it worse making them think you’d eaten it.” Hagrid looked downcast. He’d heard about what Madam Hooch had said about the girls, and how they were friends to the pegacorns, but he’d not had the chance to apologize.

Somehow they managed to extract Harry from the crowd and the four went off to Hagrid’s hut to discus things. Snape trying to kill Harry among them. Hermione was also beginning to wonder if Louise might actually be a pegacorn that could transform into a person. It wold explain her attachment to the egg even though she knew it had been created by magic. She’d have to do some research. She’d asked Ron about the fallen pony, but he hadn’t gotten a good look. Harry had no comment, and there was the issue of Sweetie Belle being in two places at once, and all four girls just vanishing from the dorm room from time to time.

Ah, but lets get back to the ponies. Nova had gone back to the dorm. She transformed, got a short coil of rope, her wand, and a stop watch. She then went down to the celebration in the common room, gave the rope to Apple Bloom, and the stop watch to Sweetie Belle.

“Who we roping?” Apple Bloom asked as they headed for the showers. The girls in the quidditch team were presently showering off, and Scabbers was sitting there watching.

“Sweetie Belle, when I say go, you start timing. Apple Bloom, get ready...” The two girls watched curious as to what, or who Nova was after. Nova produced her wand, and blasted Scabbers sending him heavenward. She then blasted him several more times, the girls in the shower ducking wondering what was going on, and assuming Nova had snapped. Scabbers had no idea what was going on, thou he’d a few ideas, but couldn’t do a thing about it short of transforming. As for the crusaders, Scabbers tendency to hang out in the shower, along with the rope and timer meant one thing, there was someone what needed hogtied.

And now Nova had Scabbers clear of the girls who were in the shower. The beam of her wand flashed out spiraled white, purple, and vermilion, driving Scabbers into the far wall. Scabbers dropped, but what hit the floor was a full grown man.

“Go!”

Apple bloom rushed in, grabbing arms and legs, her rope whipping about at lightning speed. And then just as suddenly she stopped, jumped up with arms in the air.

“Three point four seconds!” Sweetie Belle shouted.

“Oh man, I’m off my best time by point three seconds.” Apple bloom complained.

“Maybe some of the boys will let you practice on them.” Scootaloo suggested from the doorway. The girls who’d been in the showers screamed, grabbed towels and ran from the room. Idda Peverell showed up a short time later followed by Professor McGonagall.

“Peter Pettigrew.” McGonagall said nearly breathless. “Never in all my days… we thought he’d been killed, and now here he is in the girls showers?”

“He was masquerading as Ron’s rat.” Nova offered. “That or he is Ron’s rat. - I’m not really sure which.”

“But how could you possibly have known?” McGanagall asked.

“I have a magical malady that makes it possible for me to sense, and see magic auras. I’ve been suspicious of Scabbers from the first night I got here. And I owe you another apology. I wasn’t just being cheeky. I, um, used you as a test subject. After that it was just a matter of cornering him.”

“Why didn’t you just say something? We teachers are good at magic you know.” McGonagall quipped.

“Excuse me, Professor McGonagall, I – being a student in first year just having come here under unusual circumstances – suspect Ron’s perverted rat, affectionately known as Mr Scabbers, to be an Animageus.” Nova offered.

“Don’t be cheeky. Just out of curiosity, what kind of wand do you have?” McGonagall asked.

“Blackthorn, with pegacorn hairs.” Nova offered.

“Hairs as in more then one?” McGanagall asked.

“My magic is a little erratic, I needed a custom build.” Nova offered. “I’ve found that in the hands of anyone else the triple core will feedback preventing them from using it to it’s full potential. It’s a one person wand.”

“You don’t say.” McGonagal replied. “Girls get Dressed. Someone get Professor Dumbledore.”

“Oh, and that cord is enchanted to prevent him from changing back.” Nova offered. “No, I didn’t do that enchantment. I have people for that.”

“You don’t say.” McGonagall replied dryly.

“There’s a crazy woman in the entry hall on a motorcycle who wants to know where Louise Magnus is!” Shouted a girl running up the steps.

“Hair like the plumage of a phoenix?” Nova asked. They answered yes.

“That’d be my mom.” Scootaloo offered.

“Well, being we are just in the way now, what say we go calm her down.” Apple Bloom offered. The four decided it might be a good idea, and went downstairs.

They found Mrs Magnus confronting several teachers, including Snape who had an ice pack on his head.

“Mom, knock it off!” Scootaloo called. Mrs Magnus cut through the teachers, and rushed to her, only to be blocked by the other girls.

“No hugs, you’ll break her!”

“Louise, I will not have you here with...”

“We just caught the dark wizard.” Nova informed her. She was a bit worried that Shimmer was about to tip off the real target. Troll Fart was standing a short distance away, and unlike Snape, showed no sign of having been struck by a rock at high velocity. Catching rat boy sure was convenient.

Chapter 12: An escalation of arms.

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Sunset Shimmer’s presence was all but forgotten when Nova and the Crusaders informed the staff members present that a man had been caught in the girl’s shower in the Gryffindor tower. Nova then had Phenik teleport the motorcycle to the rotunda, followed by the four of them dragging Shimmer off to the Infirmary being that was going to be the easiest way to get her in to Nova’s apartment since they’d no way to know if she knew how to transform or not. Sure she could pony up, but that wasn’t quite the same thing. Then again why she didn't just teleport them just hadn't occurred to her at the moment.

Filch had quietly watched the goings on, and when an Auror asked if he knew who they were he just smiled, and replied, “Must be above your pay grade if you don’t already know.”





“It was Snape, he wouldn't take his eyes off you.” Ron was explaining to Harry. Hagrid continued to insist the idea was rubbish. Hagrid had prepared a fortifying tea to help Harry’s nerves and was presently pouring out some tea.

“The thing is, we found out that Snape tried to get past Fluffy on Halloween.” Harry offered. “We think he’s trying to steal whatever it’s guarding.”

“How’d you know about Fluffy?” Hagrid said dropping the teapot.

“Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom, and Louise told us,” Hermione informed him.

“And Snape knows Harry knows that he tried to get past Fluffy.” Ron offered. “So he jinxed Harry's broom to get rid of him.”

“Snape would never. He’s a Hogwarts teacher.” Hagrid protested.

“Hagrid, there is something going on, surely you must have noticed?” Harry protested. “Snape got his leg mangled by Fluffy, and whoever that Louise was this past week wasn’t the Louise that we all know.”

“Hang on, Harry… why do you say that?” Hermione asked.

“Louise got hit on the left, not the right.” Harry offered.

“She did seem a bit off.” Ron offered. “Wait, you don’t mean it was her who got hit by the bludger?”

“Oh, now you’re just talking rubbish.” Hagrid protested. “It was a pegacorn that got hit by a bludger. Miss Magnus just fell off her broom.”

“To be honest I had suspected that the Louise from this week was someone else using a polyjuice potion.” Hermione offered. “I kept a close watch on her, and Polyjuice wears off after twelve hours if not re-administered, and she never left my sight, save a couple of times throughout the week.”

“Hagrid, Louise is...” Harry began, but then the hut began to shake, and a menacing voice came out of the fire.

Nobody breaks a Pinkie promise. :pinkiegasp:

“What was that?” Hagrid asked. The hut was back to normal.

“Nothing.” Harry, Run, and Hermione all said at the same time. The conversation quickly switched back to Snape, Fluffy, and whatever it was that Fluffy was guarding. Fang had curled tighter into his bed looking at the fire with doom in his eyes.

When the three returned to the school there were Aurors all over the place, and they were informed that Professor McGonagall was looking for Ron.

“Is that a minion?” Hermione asked as two men carried a strange little yellow man with blue coveralls and large thick goggles on his face. They were headed for the door with him. He was presently in a cage that had heavy wire mesh spaced so that not even a mouse could get out, and he was bound around all four limbs, as well as gagged. His beady eyes darted about.

“No Idea.” Fred Weasley offered.

“I hear the seventh year Gryffindor girls did that to him,” George said with a shudder.

“Ah, there you are.” Percy Weasley said walking up to the three. “Professor McGonagall wants to have a word with all four of us.”

“Whatever for?” Ron asked.

“I’m sorry to tell you this, but Scabbers...” Percy began.

“Scabbers has something happened to Scabbers,” Ron asked as a cold fear welled up. Scabbers was the family pet after all.

“Arrested.” Fred offered, putting a hand on Ron’s shoulder.

“For voyeurism.” George supplied.

“Get off, quit joking around, what’s happened to Scabbers?” Ron asked starting to get upset.

“That little yellow man they just hauled out in a cage was Scabbers,” Percy informed him. “Pretty sure Mom’s going to want her pound of flesh when she finds out the family rat was an Animageus.”

“I think”

“you broke him.” The twins offered. Ron was standing, but his eyes weren’t seeing.





Upstairs the resident Equestrians were presently trying to placate a concerned parent.

“That Minion, or whatever that was is not the dark menace Princess Celestia told me about.” Shimmer pointed out. “I didn’t get too upset when I’d heard you got hurt, but I never dreamed you got hurt bad enough that you had to sit out a week of classes.”

“Mom, I’m fine. Nova has been tutoring me, and Mrs. Norris covered for me till I could get back on my feet.” Scootaloo protested. Sunset, Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom were presently still in human form owing to Sunset Shimmer just seeming to be more at home in that skin and had shown no indication she could transform. Alalme was sitting on a mattress in the middle of the floor in Nova’s lounge with an egg, and two foals while watching the goings-on.

“We are just as safe here, maybe more so, then back home.” Nova insisted. “This apartment is well guarded, Princess Luna has sent her top squad, and there is a portal here at Hogwarts that leads straight back to the palace in the Everfree forest.”

“And who are you?” Shimmer asked.

“Nova. - I’m one of Prince Silvermane’s foals.”

“So does he name all his fillies Nova,” Shimmer asked accusingly.

“He didn’t name Estar, Nova.” Nova offered. She then transformed into her pony form. “Just so we are clear on this, I am Luna’s filly.”

Sunset Shimmer transformed. “I’ve got wings and a horn too.” She was quite a bit taller as well.

“Can you do this?” Nova asked, and transformed into her fox form.

“So cute! - Quit trying to distract me.”

“Well, you can’t go pulling… hang on.” Nova went back to her pony form. “You can’t pull Scootaloo out of school because she can’t travel yet.”

“Just transforming was difficult.” Scootaloo offered and sat down. “I’m going to be fine.”

“Well, I’d like to talk to the doctor who set your wing.” Shimmer stated.

“That would be me.” Nova offered. “My designation was as a message runner, but I’m a trained medic as well. Right now the only other medical pony is Ensign Loki. At the time of the accident, it was me or trust the humans, and humans shoot ponies. - Muma said she was going to get an actual doctor out here for us, but there seems to be a logistics issue. Otherwise, we did have Madam Hooch and Madam Pomfrey the school nurse double check my work once we were sure they’d support us. But they are human, and have limited resources and knowledge of pegasi anatomy.”

“Muma?” Sunset asked. She was registering Muma and wanted to know who that was.

“Princess Luna.” Alalme offered. “And she said that Nova did as fine a job as any white-coated doctor.”

“You nearly tipped off the individual who we believe to be the greater threat,” Nova explained to Shimmer. “..and right now the only thing stopping him, or it or whatever turban head is, from moving against us is the fact that it, and the wizard we suspect to be supporting him, don’t know we are on to them.” Deep breath. “And Mrs Norris has recruited the animals in the school to help us keep tabs on both of them.”

“She’s not another Fluttershy is she?” Shimmer asked.

“No, she’s a changeling.” Scootaloo offered.

“She’s lived here for years, and she’s reformed now.” Nova offered before Shimmer could protest. “And her primary motivation is to maintain order. We can work with that.”

“Seriously?” Shimmer asked, and then it was as though her mind had screeched to a halt. “Maybe I could hire a changeling or two at the Cloudsdale academy?”

“Anyway, despite my misgivings about Headmaster Dumbledore, we have to trust that he knows what he’s doing.” Nova offered. “Which reminds me, I need to go find Harry Potter. Oh, and Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom, this is the perfect moment for the three of you to explain about that egg.”

“Way to throw us to the Timberwolves.” Apple Bloom said as Nova walked away.

“Egg?” Sunset Shimmer asked giving the trio a suspicious look. “This had better be good.”

Nova went down to the common room where she found Harry and Hermione sitting together at the victory slash we caught a pervert party. Well, technically they were on the same sofa. The two looked stunned. Ron’s rat Scabbers had been a wizard. Nova went over to them and plopped down between the two.

“So, tell me Harry...” Nova began. Harry was beginning to feel a bit awkward about how close Nova was. “Why does the gruesome twosome want you dead?”

“Two?” Hermione asked. “It was you, you threw that rock at Snape, wasn’t it? - And there are two people involved?”

“Divination is the mathematics of large numbers and the understanding of patterns.” Nova offered.

“That’s not a denial.” Hermione accused.

“In that case, I refuse to answer on the grounds I might incriminate myself, and the two of you might unknowingly tip-off Sulky Raven, and Troll Fart.”

“Troll Fart?” Harry asked a smile cracked his lips, and he started laughing. “I think I can guess who Troll Fart is.”

“So spill, why did they try to kill you?” Nova pressed.

“Snape tried to get past Fluffy. I saw his leg, it was all mangled.”

“Well, in that case, my recommendation is to keep well clear of those two. And keep in mind Snape can read minds. Guard your thoughts well, and if you suspect Snape is trying to read your mind, fill your head full of useless junk.”

“But they’re trying to get at whatever it is that Fluffy is protecting.” Harry protested.

“Then let him.”

“What?” Hermione asked. She was stunned.

“Right off hand I’d say Sulky Raven can’t sing, and Troll Fart st-st-st-st-stutters to much.”

“Sing?” Hermione and Harry asked.

“Hermione, do you mean to tell me you haven't been through all my books yet?”

“They’re just outdated copies,” Hermione replied wondering why Nova seemed to think it important.

“They are full of information that’s not in the newer versions. Seems the Ministry doesn’t want students knowing how to tame a Cerberus.” Nova informed her.

“What?” Hermione said, shocked. “No, OK, I think I can understand the reasoning, but...”

“Older wizards who’ve read the older books would already know how to get past Fluffy. What comes next is the pit. Also easy for a mature witch or wizard to get past.”

“I don’t get it, why have traps that’d be easy to get past then?” Hermione asked. “What’s Dumbledore playing at?”

“Have faith in Dumbledore, and don’t be talking to Hagrid, he can’t keep a secret. Keep in mind that the Crusaders had no trouble getting information out of him. The man is an open book to anyone who knows how to stroke the pages, and Dumbledore knows it.” Nova offered. “Look, it’s a trap, it must be, and the package is the bait. Though I imagine the gruesome twosome know it’s a trap otherwise they’d already be in it. - Once they figure out how to get past Fluffy they’ll have to figure out the other traps and spring each and everyone till they’ve made it to the final boss. All we have to do is sit back and hope that Dumbledore is smarter then they are.”

“Well, going after Harry in broad daylight sure wasn’t very bright.” Hermione offered as a smile formed on her face.

“Harry, if you play with my hair I’ll have to insist you marry me.” Nova scolded.

“I wasn’t, I swear.” Harry lied as he pulled his hands away. Nova’s hair had caught his eye, and he couldn't get over how similar her hair was to the pegacorn that had rescued him.





That night Sunset Shimmer got a room at the local Inn using local currency Nova had loaned so Sunset would have a cover in regards to where she was staying. She’d also been provided with Dumbledore’s old wand being Shimmer hadn’t a wand, and given some tips on how to redirect her magic. Nova had kept the wand after the incident at the Inn back in the winter of 1903, and refurbished it using one of Shimmer’s own hairs. It worked perfectly.

Breakfast the next morning came with a surprise no one was expecting. Sure they’d expected an article about Harry catching the snitch, but what they hadn’t expected was the heroic picture of a dashingly heroic Harry on a magnificent heroic shining white charger that looked remarkably like the Tri Star pegasus with a horn added. Harry’s fist was held aloft clutching the snitch in triumph, the two gliding over the pitch while passing cheering crowds in the stands.

“The Phuck is this shit!” Nova said putting the paper down. Laughter could be heard throughout the dining hall

“Blatant Sexism I’d say.” Idda Peverell commented. Scolding Nova for her language was the last thing on her mind, and the boys had felt as though they were on thin ice with the girls, and chose to keep their mouths shut. “Look at that, they’ve given that poor mare a sex change, and substituted a body double for Harry.”

“And a mighty sexy one too,” Scootaloo added. Most of the people at the table just assumed she meant Harry.

“Miss Moon, do mind your language.” McGonagall scolded. She’d gone over to the table the moment she saw the photo. Harry looked more like Michelangelo's David then a student of Hogwarts.

Malfoy was presently doubled up while pounding his hand on the Slytherin table saying “I can’t, I just can’t,” between fits of laughter.

“In other news...” said Ron looking at the second page. “A peeping Minion was discovered in the girls' showers of the Gryffindor tower at Hogwarts. The alleged minion was later identified as Peter Pettigrew, who had been presumed to have been murdered by Sirius Black. It is the opinion of this reporter that Pettigrew had faked his own death to frame Sirius Black who was presumed to have been the secret keeper – Harry, listen to this – the secret keeper of the Potters.” Ron continued. “It is the opinion of this reporter, and many of our colleges, that it would behoove the Ministry to reopen the investigation concerning the attack, and subsequent massacre of the Potters by you know who and his followers. It is also our opinion that the Ministry aut not to have been so hasty in convicting Black without a trial. Nor should they have been so hasty in granting forgiveness to the Death Eaters. - Wholly sheeeee...” Ron was about to swear, but then McGonagall gave him a dirty look. “And if I ever get my hands on that rat again, I’ve a mind to skin him, beloved pet or not.”

“Understandable I assure you Mr Weasly.” McGonagall offered. She then turned away from the table to go in search of the Headmaster.

“What do they mean by Minion?” Nova asked, turned the page to discover a moving image of Peter Pettigrew looking very much the part of a yellow Minion.

“Minions are in Fantastic Beasts and where to find them, by Newt Scamander.” Herminone offered delighted that she seemed to know something Nova didn’t.

“Newt, you silly goose,” Nova said softly with a smile on her face. “And you all did this to Peter Pettigrew based on the Minion in the book.” Nova had told Newt Scamander about the show called Despicable Me. Nova cracked up thinking about it.

Poor Harry, thanks to that photo on the cover of the paper people kept asking him to flex his muscles, and then they’d laugh. The Slytherins delighted at teasing Harry, and they weren’t the only ones either. When Quirrel asked Harry to show him his muscles it was just disturbing. Otherwise, it was mildly amusing, at first, and then it simply got old. They’d forget about it a week later when the newspaper came with a large picture of a rather insane looking Sirius Black. The headlines read, Sirius Black escapes from Azkaban. The article made several assumptions concerning Mr Black’s mental state, calls to investigate the security of Azkaban, and finger pointing at the Ministry for dragging their feet regarding the matter concerning Peter Pettigrew. Just being reminded of ‘you know who’ was enough to unnerve many, and the school quieted down. Relief to the tension came a few days later when snow started to fall.





November twentieth. Nova and the other first years returned to the Gryffindor common room to discover a little itty bitty present on the table in the center of the room with a fancy ribbon that was nearly as big as the present. Attached was a tag that said ‘Happy Birthday Nova Moon. Sorry about missing so many, will make up for it’ signed Pinkamena Diane Pie.

“Is that a party bomb?” Apple Bloom whispered.

“Miss Moon looks like someone sent you a present.” Percy Weasley informed her. “The twins tried to open it, but no one can touch it. No one seems to know how it got there either.”

“It’s a Pinkie Pie party bomb,” Nova said with a smile. It’d been a while, and even though Pinkie overwhelmed her, she suddenly found herself anticipating pulling that ribbon. She went up to it, took hold of the long ribbon end, ducked down while looking away from the present.

“What”

“are”

“you”

“doing?” the twins asked.

“Fire in the hole!” Apple Bloom Shouted.

“Party in the house!” All three Crusaders shouted.

Nova pulled the ribbon. There was a loud bang, confetti flew everywhere, a happy birthday banner hung itself up, a punch bowl full of punch popped out, party favors, food, poppers, and presents for all!

“Land sakes!” Professor McGonagall exclaimed entering the common room. Everything and everyone is covered in confetti.

“Sweet.” The twins said in unison. From that moment on, they knew their life's calling.

🎉

“But I can’t leave Myrtle.” Scootaloo protested come December. “And I can’t go stuffing her in my luggage like you can. Nor do I understand why you can’t come with us.” Professor McGonagall had announced that she’d be taking names on the ninth of those staying behind, and Nova was telling the Crusaders to go home.

“Go, and come right back,” Nova told her. “As to why I have to stay, this has to do with me not interacting with my younger counterpart.”

“Run that by us again?” the Crusaders asked.

“I know it’s not particularly safe to use the Mirror of Erised as a portal, but there is no reason why you can’t do just that. - I’ve asked Lady Aiko to create a view screen for the portal so you can tell if there is anyone there, and then it’s simply a matter of having Princess Luna, or Sunset Shimmer teleport you in.”

“I don’t get it, why go to all that trouble?” Sweetie Belle asked. “And why can’t you interact with your younger counterpart?”

“Well if no one knows you are here, you won’t be expected to do any of the winter activities. You can stay up here for the whole winter break, or go back and forth to Equestria without anyone here wanting to keep tabs on you.” Nova took a deep breath. “As for the other thing. She and I are the same pony.”

“What?!” The crusaders exclaimed.

“Luna knows. So does Princess Celestia. I’m taking a risk just by interacting with anyone from Equestria. - I’m trusting that Princess Celestia knew what she was doing by sending you here.”

“I’d say she sent us here so you wouldn't be isolated from every pone you care about.” Scootaloo offered giving her a hug.

“So will we be adding them to our little heard?” Alalme asked.

“Maybe.” Nova replied while blushing.

“I wonder what would happen if I were to teas little you?” Scootaloo asked with a grin.

“Don’t you dare,” Nova warned. “She admires the three of you, a lot. - Don’t spoil it, alright? - Also, don’t worry about a milk mother for Myrtle, I’ve several candidates lined up.”

Outside the storms of December had grown to the point it was all Sunset could do to get back and forth from Hogsmeade. She’d had enough, checked out of the Inn, and took up residence in one of Nova’s spare rooms. Nor did she spend the time doing nothing. There were pegasi who needed educating and she was an educator. Many of the attics where the pegasi lived were miserably cold but not as cold as the dungeons for some reason. Being underground a person would think they’d be the same temperature all year, and yet… Students were forced to huddle by their cauldrons in potions, and Nova modified her flight suit to use it as long underwear. She’d also used cobwebs from the attics to increase the thickness of the material after stretching it. Magically combined of course. The Crusaders tried to do a partial transformation so they’d have fur under their clothes, but their ears were always the first thing to change. They were tempted to push their luck anyway, but then Shimmer cautioned that this was not Canterlot high where people were open to odd forms of magic, or even magic in general it being a rare community where magic and non-magic lived side by side. The human Twilight, Fluttershy, and Pinkie had gone to Ilvermorny. Human Apple Jack had gone to a big agricultural school, Rarity went to a prestigious fashion institution, and Rainbow Dash was now in the Naval Academy. Rainbow just had a need for speed. Sunset Shimmer had returned to Equestria after High School to try to make up for all the damage she’d done by running away in the first place. She went back to school and soon found herself in the position of an administrator at the Cloudsdale Academy from which she was presently taking a sabbatical.

But I digress. Draco Malfoy had spent the better part of the run-up to the Christmas vacation going on about people staying because their families didn’t want them, only to get ordered to stay by a Great Aunt Belvina Black he didn’t even know he had, along with the instructions to make himself available to the Nova Moon girl.

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!#” Draco was heard to say.

Malfoy had tried to taunt Harry about what had happened at the quidditch game, but when it came right down to it, everyone had been impressed by how Harry had managed to stay on his bucking broomstick, and being rescued by a pretty pegacorn didn’t happen every day. Harry had, of course, signed up to stay because anything was better than going back to the Dursleys. He was delighted to hear that the Weasleys would be staying as well.





“Don’t be too excited that I’m staying,” Nova said to Harry as they left potions class.

“There are only a few days left to the train home, why didn’t you say anything?” Ron asked as a big evergreen came walking down the hall towards them. It had Hagrid’s feet. Ron asked Hagrid if he wanted any help, but Hagrid said he could manage it on his own.

“Would you mind?” Draco asked in a cold angry undertone. “Not trying to earn some extra money are you, Weasley? Hoping to be gamekeeper yourself when you leave Hogwarts, is it? Move in with Hagrid I suppose. His hut must seem like a palace compared to the squatter shack your family lives in.” Draco was being downright vicious.

Ron made a lunge for Draco only to get pulled back by the collar by Nova. A moment later Snape came up the stairs from the classroom. Ron clasped his hands and smiled.

“Five points from Gryffindor,” Snape said.

“He never touched him, and if he had he was provoked.” Hagrid protested. Hagrid had been dearly tempted to smack Draco himself.

“He was about to, and fighting is against Hogwarts rules provoked or otherwise,” Snape said in his cold tone. “Now step aside.”

Hagrid pulled the tree over just far enough to let people pass. He waited till the Slytherins had gone. “Can’t blame you for not liking him. Not that you heard me say nothen.”

“Never heard a thing.” Nova offered and scooted on past the tree followed by the others one by one.

“One of these days...” Ron muttered as he passed by the tree. “I hate them all.”

“Don’t be like that. After all, it’s not their fault they are so anal retentive.” Nova whispered.

“Cheer up, we’re decorating the great hall.” Hagrid offered as he lumbered along after them. He’d missed Nova’s comment, and was delighted to see the mood improving.

“What are you doing down here with that tree anyway?” Apple Bloom asked.

“I was going to ask if Snape wanted a tree in the Slytherin common room.” Hagrid offered. “E’s not getting one now though.”

“Not like he’d miss it, and what would the Slytherin’s want with a Christmas tree anyway?” Run offered.

“They were a lot more generous back in nineteen oh three,” Nova said to herself.

Whatever sour feelings they still had quickly left them as they entered the great hall a few minutes later. There were enormous Christmas trees, holly garlands everywhere, and everything decorated in sparkling extravagance. The candles in the trees were magic candles, and icicles made of crystal that looked like the real thing.

“This never ceases to impress me.” Nova offered. “This’ll be my second time.”

“Seriously?” Ron asked. “Too bad you missed all that time and had to start over.”

“It’s worth seeing, and I imagine I’ll be just as impressed in a hundred years from now. Would love to see how it’s changed a thousand years from now.”

“You think you’ll live that long?” Scootaloo asked. Scootaloo couldn't help but be curious. Until Princess Cadence, and Princess Twilight there just hadn’t been what Nova called pegacorns. Not that she was aware of, and no pony really knew what the life expectancy of a pegacorn really was. And then one-day Sunset came through the portal sporting a pair of wings she hadn’t had before. And there were others, at least two in Loss Pegasus that she knew of. No, they weren’t Alicorns like Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, but then when compared to the rulers of Equestria, they were barely infants.

“Father is, what, two hundred forty-something I think?” Nova offered. “No one knows how old my great gran the Lady Aiko is.” Nova's father was a three-tailed kitsune type fox pony.

“Get off, no one lives that long.” Ron protested.

“Luna is over a thousand.” Apple Bloom offered. “Luna Moon, Nova’s Muma.” Apple Bloom wasn’t known for making outrageous claims, but the none Equestrians just laughed. They stopped laughing when they realized Nova, Apple Bloome, Sweetie Belle, and Louise were quite serious. Were there people in their country who really lived that long, or were they just putting them on?

“You can’t be serious, can you?” Hermione asked.

“Ya, we’re just pulling your leg,” Nova said with a wink. “Maybe.” She then addressed the Crusaders, “Well if I should beat the odds to live to a ripe old age, I hope you three are still around.” Nova offered.

“Them, what about us?” Ron asked.

Nova went over to him, stepped up side by side, dropped her chin, and sort of look over her shoulder at him. “You um, want to be in our herd then?” Wink wink.

“Say, I think there, yes there’s something I need to do, ya that’s it,” Ron said quickly putting some distance between them.

“But Ron?” The Crusaders said pouting. They then turned their attention to Harry who decided he’d best follow Ron, and right quick like.

“Did they just run away?” Hermione asked. Hagrid left them as well as he was called over to help with the decorating. “You’re not going to ask me to join your herd are you.”

“We like you and all.” Sweetie Belle offered.

“Ya, I get it.” Hermione replied. “I told about the egg even after I helped create it. Question though, what Madam Hooch said about the egg being returned to the right mother. We were the ones who created it. Wouldn't that make us the mother? I’m confused?”

“You’re right, the four of you are the mother. Technically.” Nova offered. “Also, in our society in our kingdom agreeing to form a heard means agreeing to be bonded together to share the burden of raising our families.”

“Hang on that sounds like a group marriage?” Hermione asked.

“It kind of is.” Scootaloo offered.

“Those kinds of arrangements are common,” Nova informed her. “I’ve got two moms, one father, and at least two siblings that I know of.”

“What?” Hermione asked not quite sure she could believe what she was hearing. “Names us all Nova too. It makes it easier for him to remember the names.”

“That does it, I’ve heard enough, can’t pull that one on me!” Hermione exclaimed, and walked off.

“Nothing more fun than telling someone the truth knowing they’ll never believe you.” Apple Bloom commented as they watched Hermione walking away.

“Or frustrating for that matter.” Sweetie Belle offered. She let out a sigh, not just because she’d like to include Hermione in their herd, but because the incident involving the cutie marks will forever haunt her. They’d tried to explain, but no one would listen.

Sunday was the big Christmas dinner for the whole school prior to sending everyone off, and then on Monday morning, December twenty-third, Nova saw the Crusaders, and Hermione off to the Hogwarts express. Soon as they’d gone out the door Nova hurried back to her room where the pegasus security detail was waiting. Out the balcony door, they went racing to catch up with the train for one more farewell. No uniforms mind you. Nova and the others kind of wished they could as the weather was anything but pleasant, but then the cold air did have a tendency to make their fur thicker. As luck would have it they arrived only a few moments after the train had left the station. People at the station were startled, even awestruck by the pegasi that flew pass overhead, having never seen pegasi fly in such defined formations without riders.

Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, Apple Bloom, and Hermione were in a compartment sitting quietly when the squad leveled off right outside their window in two perfect diamond formations.

“Look, look, look!” Someone shouted from a neighboring compartment. The girls looked out the window to see the pegasi. Nova was with the leading group, on the side closest to the train. The crusaders waved, and then Nova did a quick snap roll all the way over.

“Show off,” Scootaloo shouted.

The squad put a little distance between them, and then they all did a snap roll following first to last in quick order. Nova did one more snap roll, and then the squad pulled away from the train to vanish into the winter sky.

“Just as soon as I can get the go-ahead to start flying again I’m going to be out there with her,” Scootaloo stated.

“Do you mean to tell me you’ve been flying with them? And that looked like precision flying too.” Hermione asked astonished.

“That was a princess, and that was the security detail her mother sent out.” Sweetie Belle offered. “Surprised I don’t get a security detail too.”

“We’re not staying behind with Sulki raven and Troll Fart.” Apple Bloom offered.

“True, but we’ll be back. Mom wants me to get into a doctor first to get my wing checked before she’ll let me fly again though.” Scootaloo offered as the train rolled through the highlands, and the further away from Hogwarts, the antsier she became.





“Go on back, I see someone I want to check on,” Nova said to the lead flier as they returned to Hogwarts.

“You going to be alright out here?” Asked the big pegasus.

“I’ll be fine.” Nova offered and then transformed into her fox form. “I see someone out by the edge of the forest.” She then peeled away and glided out to the figure.

Quietly, ever so quietly she glided down, landed right behind the boy with barely, a sound, and transformed into her human form. “You weren’t thinking of going out there were you?” Nova asked. The boy spun around to reveal Draco Malfoy. Draco lost his footing, startled as he was, and proceeded to tumble backwards into the snow. His heart was racing a mile a minute. Where had she come from? A quick glance at the snow revealed only his tracks.

“What are you?!” He spat out in an accusing manner.

“I’m a minor demigod.” Nova teased with a smile. “So what are you doing all the way out here? Not planning on running away now that your parents don’t want you?”

“Why I’m here is none of your business.”

“Oh, I’m afraid it is,” Nova said picking up snippets of the reasons he had remained at school. She'd dared to read his mind, but just the surface thoughts. “You were told to stay, to make yourself available to a Nova Moon, where you not?”

“Why is that any business of yours?” Draco asked. He was starting to get apprehensive.

“Because I am...” She leaned over him, and touched her finger to the end of his nose, “Nova Moon.”

“You are?” Draco asked. He wasn’t quite sure what Nova had just done, but he felt totally discombobulated.

“Oh don’t tell me Belvina Black put you up to this? - Though to be honest I’m amazed she’s even still alive. Hundred and five not bad though, and Madam Marchbanks is older by far. Belvina has designs on getting me into the family, and she’s using you as bait. Not that I’d be interested, what with you being a total prat. Why can’t you be more like Thomas Malfoy?”

“Who?”

“He was one of the founders of the Hogwarts Express. Even had a friendship with a Weasley believe it or not.”

“Friends with a Weasley?” Draco was aghast. Everything about this girl just seemed off.

“The Malfoy family called him a blood traitor, and here we are eighty-eight years later, and Malfoys are using the very train they opposed. - Back then people actually had friends in other houses.” Nova straitened out. “You and Harry might even have been friends if you hadn’t have reminded him of his muggle cousin he has to live with.”

“Don’t you go comparing me to no muggle!”

“And why not? You’ve a mindset unwilling to accept anything different, or anyone who dares to have a difference of opinion. No, but that’s not you, not quite yet. It was that mindset that got Harry’s family massacred. Oh, I know all about it. Been doing some digging. Some grand wizard calling himself Voldemort got a bunch of the purebloods in an uproar and went about cleansing the community of muggle-born and anyone who stood in their way. Truth is he’s a mud-blood named Tom Riddle, good luck finding any info, but I bet your great aunt knows the truth. Harry comes from a pureblood family. He’s related to you believe it or not. It’s a distant relation, but he’s kin none the less. Didn’t stop them from going after him, and all because of some prophecy. Harry got sent off to live with his squib aunt, only she’d gone full muggle.” The research done by Princess Luna’s agents had discovered that the Evens family had in fact been squibs who’d all but left the wizarding community after the first wizard war. And every last bit of the misery seemed to be connected to Dumbledore in some way. Dumbledore could have talked sense into Grindelwald but did nothing until things had gotten so bad that Dumbledore had to resort to extreme measures to stop him. It was also Dumbledore who’d brought Tom Riddle to Hogwarts knowing the boy had some serious issues. Tom Riddle killed Myrtle by faking the bite of an acromantula, framed Hagrid, and terrorized the school by convincing everyone that the horror of the Chamber of Secrets had been unleashed once more. Dumbledore should have known Hagrid wasn’t guilty, but it was easier to blame Hagrid then to continue the investigation and risk the school being closed down. Riddle’s crowning triumph came upon him as the inspiration of a severe affliction of eighth-grade syndrome where he renamed himself Lord Voldemort. Princess Luna’s shadows were convinced that the very name was some kind of come find me spell. Hagrid was the Hogwarts groundskeeper because he'd saved Dumbledore's life and Hagrid who'd released Aragog into the forest.

“Well he’s had it better then I have!” Draco shouted. Nova wasn’t sure if what he was saying might be the truth. Sure, the Dursleys were horrible people who’d neglected and abused Harry, but could they even measure up to the Malfoy family? Luna had shown Nova the report on the findings regarding the Dursleys, and it was all they could do not to go murder the Dursleys. The Dursleys all seemed to have compulsive disorders which were compounded by Harry’s Aunt Petunia having serious resentment issues towards her sister. That said, the snatches of memories that were flooding up in Draco’s mind… His was a family of psychopaths and sociopaths. Some of them quite violent in their behavior.

“You know what. Maybe you’re right. Maybe you just admitted that your family are worse then muggles.” Nova offered as Draco looked up at her with horror in his eyes. “But that’s up to you to decide, it’s up to you to break the chain, and be your own person.” She held her hand out to him. “Come on, I’ll help you if you want it.”

“I don’t need your help,” Draco said shifting to stand.

“I never said that I asked you if you wanted my help, not if you needed it.” Nova offered, pulling her hand back. “There is a difference, and you’ll never get very far if you aren’t willing to accept a little help now and then.” “So what brought you out here in the first place?”

“I saw something. Not sure what it was.” Draco offered. He wasn’t really sure why he was even telling her, other then a relative he knew nothing about seemed to know about her. That and she just seemed to know things. “How did you get out here without leaving any footprints either?”

“Featherweight spell.” Nova lied. “I’m not very heavy to begin with, and with it I can walk on top the snow without sinking in. Downside is I’m vulnerable to wind.” She flashed him a smile hoping he wouldn't realize she'd just made that up. “So have you ever been out to Hagrid’s hut? I’ll tell him I found you wondering about the snow, and as a Hogwarts teacher he is duty bound to warm you up so en you can make it back to the school.”

Draco looked at Nova like she’d gone nuts.

“He’s actually rather likable. Harry is enamored by him because Dumbledore sent Hagrid to fetch him from the Dursleys. Harry’s relatives he has to live with, on account of they weren’t going to let Harry learn about magic.”

“Not learn about magic?” Draco said stunned. Not letting a wizard learn magic was like pulling a fish out of water. “Maybe he has had it worse.”

“Now, the best way to deal with Hagrid is to first, not be a prat, second, be genuine. Don’t try to be the person others want you to be, be yourself. Assuming, of course, yourself isn’t a prat. And lastly, never tell him anything you don’t want him to repeat.”

“Wait, what? Hang on if he repeats everything you tell him why would Dumbledore even keep him around?”

“Because he’s useful as a groundskeeper, and he repeats everything he's told."

“Does he know what the dog is protecting?”

“I imagine he does, fluffy is his dog after all.” Nova offered as she got her wand out, and tried a Featherweight spell on her self. The fact that Draco knew about Fluffy hadn’t phased her at all. She was delighted to find that the Featherweight spell actually worked as advertised. Also as predicted, Nova found herself drifting across the snow. She was about to stop when she realized Draco was following her in much the same manner having figured out the spell.

Draco completely missed when Nova’s hair inexplicably billowed out for a moment. They hadn’t been going in a good direction, but then the breeze shifted. Nova smiled in delight to discover she could manipulate the weather.

The two stumbled into Hagrid’s hut a short time later covered in snow. They’d fallen in several times when the spell had worn off. Fang set to barking, and Hagrid pulled him back.

“Hagrid, there’s a set of footprints going straight out to the forbidden forest!” Draco announced in mock alarm the moment Fang was under control.

“You lot wait right here,” Hagrid ordered, put his overcoat on, and took Fang out into the snow.

“I can’t believe you just did that?” Nova asked as mirth bubbled up.

“Nova?” Harry asked as she shook the snow off.

“Oh my god, it’s Malfoy,” Ron said. He was flabbergasted. “What are you doing hanging out with him?”

“Truce, guys.” Nova offered. “Just for the holidays, alright. Not that it’s going to make much of a difference since we’ll likely all be hanging out in our own common rooms.”

“Truce?” Draco said offering his hand. “We can go back to hating each other when school starts up again.”

“Just one thing,” Harry asked, “Were there really tracks headed to the forbidden forest?”

“Mine actually.” Draco offered. “And then Miss Moon here showed me that it’s possible to walk across the snow using a Featherweight spell on ourselves.”

“It’s kind of tricky. That’s why we are covered in snow.” Nova offered with a grin.

“Alright truce,” Harry said taking hold of Draco’s hand.

“You can’t be serious?” Ron asked.

“Why not, and besides, they just out Fred and Georged, Fred and George,” Harry said. “And it’ll be a nice break. - And Draco, you really need to switch up your insults a bit more.”

“They’ll never believe it. Out-pranked by Draco.” Ron replied with a strange look on his face.

“Ya, I’m going to go. I need to get some dry clothes on.” Draco offered after an awkward pause.

“See you then, we’ll likely see you at lunch or dinner.” Nova offered, and then Draco went back outside.

“Did you do something to him?” Ron asked.

“I might have pushed him a little.” Nova offered going over to the fire to dry off. “Wonder if it’ll take root or not?” She held her hands over the fire. “Listen, guys, Draco is the way he is because his family are a bunch of wackos.” Nova paused a moment. “Harry, we are still working on a way to get you away from the Dursleys, but it’s not going to be easy.”

“Why is that?” Harry asked.

“It was Dumbledore himself who put you there.” Nova offered. “It was for your protection, but if it’d been up to me I’d have sent you to America. Maybe even live with the Mackintosh family, and given you a new name. They used to be the caretakers here, and Dumbledore would have known them. They were good people Harry. They got driven out, and to be bluntly honest, I don't trust Dumbledore's motivations. Don’t know if you’ve noticed the outlines of foundations out there or not, but all this, Hagrid’s hut, and the pens and ramshackle buildings are part of what used to be their farm.”

“Seriously?” Ron asked.

“Seriously. - This hut is a modified silo.” Nova confirmed. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve some reading I want to do.”

“Reading?” Ron asked, as Nova turned, and headed for the door.

“You might want to let Hagrid know he’s been pranked.” Nova offered, pushed the door open, and went outside. Harry thought of something he wanted to say, rushed to the door, pushed it open, and looked outside.

“She’s gone,” Harry said looking out the door. What Nova had said had given him a lot to think about. He turned to find Hagrid out standing in his field with a bemused expression as he scanned the area. What he saw was one track leading to two people, and then nothing. There were some suspicious depressions in the snow at various locations leading up to his hut, but it just wasn’t clicking. Hagrid wasn’t a complete idiot, as it was obviously a trick of some sort. What was throwing him was how to they get back?

Harry went out to Hagrid. “You’ve been tricked you know.”

“I figured as much.” Hagrid offered. “And this has got to be Fred and George. One rides the shoulders of the other to get out here, but how they got back short of doing the same in reverse is beyond me? It looks like they teleported, but that ain't possible.”

“I’ll be sure and tell them you were impressed,” Harry said with a smile. For once the twins really would be innocent while pleading innocence.





Nova had transformed back into a fox and raced back. She drifted down, into the Gryffindor attic space pushing through the window to gain entry, transformed to her pony self, and walked down a staircase into her own attic. She waved to her guests who’d decided her attic was much better than the one they’d been using, and then went downstairs. She was tackled a few moments later by Goldwine and Alya.

“Captain Hoofstrong?” Nova called.

“Downstairs,” Alalme asked.

“Situation room I’m guessing?” Nova asked.

“Also we got a message from Princess Celestia. They’ve discovered a detection spell on the mirror.”

“A detection spell?”

“It’s set to detect human presence.”

“And Mrs Norris and I wouldn't have set it off because neither of us are human on coming through the mirror. At least I’m hoping that’s the case.” Nova thought about it for a moment. “And every pony else turns into a human when they come through. Aww, Crab apples! Fine, I’m going to talk with Captain Hoofstrong.”

Nova went downstairs with foals in tow like little ducklings to find the captain. She found him in a makeshift command center in a raised pavilion on the lawn behind which were tents for housing, and dining. In a panel in the floor under a pain of nonbreakable glass was the Marauder's map, and thanks to Nova’s Tia, a three-dimensional enlarged projection of Hogwarts all but filled the room. Every single room, hall, and secret passage was laid out for them except Nova’s bag that only showed up as a door in the Gryffindor tower.

“Mr Malfoy saw something go into the forest,” Nova announced. “I’m guessing one of our targets is no longer on campus.”

“You would be correct in that. Troll Fart went out to the forest near Mr Hagrid’s hut while we were sending off the fillies.”

“Shame we can’t expand the scope of this map.” Lt Mouse offered.

“Tia, can that be done, can the range be extended?” Nova asked. She was answered by a rare appearance of the Alicorn of light.

“It’s beyond my scope I’m afraid.” Tia offered. “I can only work with what I’ve been given.”

“If you could analyze the spell and provide me with a copy, I could send that off to your maker, and maybe they can come up with something,” Nova suggested.

“I can do that.” Tia offered and vanished.

“Thank you, Tia,” Nova called.

“I swear that’s more unnerving than the real thing.” Lt Mouse commented.

“Why do you think she stays hidden most of the time?” Nova offered with a smile. Her smile faded. “Your duty lies here, but I won’t stop you if you’ve a mind to put on some winter gear, take a few ponies, and have a look.”

“Wouldn't hurt to have some locals with us.” Lt Mouse offered.

“Wouldn't want to get too close to that acromantula colony. Not even in winter.” Nova offered. “Blasted things. If I could fry every last one I would.”

“I’m told there used to be a beautiful valley there.” Lt Mouse offered.

“It was. Meadows, and trees with white bark and silver leaves.” Nova offered. “I got to see it in spring when everything was in bloom. The locals were all proud to call themselves the ponies of the silver wood. They had parks, gardens, and all their buildings were high up in the trees.” Nova turned to a map on the wall. “It’s just a memory now.”

“Nova,” Alalme called. There was concern in her voice.

“Alalme, what’s wrong? I thought you were going to sit on the egg this morning?”

“Scootaloo is back.”

“What? - Oh for Celestia’s sake!” Nova rushed upstairs to find a contented Scootaloo under a pile of blankets. “Scootaloo?! Does Apple Bloom, and Sweetie Belle know you went back? What about the staff on the train?”

“Yes, and they are going to cover for me.” Scootallo offered. “I couldn't do it, I couldn’t leave. I finally figured out teleport. Soon as I had that they said go, and I went.”

“At least it was only a train. Don’t ever do that from anything moving faster, or while in flight.” Nova scolded.

“Why?” Scootaloo asked.

“It’s because of the kinetic energy transfer. The faster you are going, the greater the pop from the implosion – explosion. And now I need to send word to let them know not to expect you on the train.” Sunset Shimmer had been in another part of the train riding with the adults, and there was going to be Tartarus to pay.





When Nova went down to go to lunch she was all but accosted by Professor McGonagall in the common room. “Nova where have you been? Miss Magnus isn’t on the train. Please tell me you’ve seen her?”

“What makes you think she’s not on the train?” Nova asked, her guilt showing.

“Headcount spell that keeps track of everyone. Where is she?” McGonagall demanded.

“Did something happen to Louise?” Harry asked. He and Ron were just on their way down to lunch.

“She’s being a broody little hen.” Nova offered. “Otherwise she’s fine.”

“Would you like to explain that?” McGonagall said in a threatening tone.

“Might be easier if I just show you.” Nova offered, knowing this battle was already lost. “And not a word out of you two.”

“What? I wasn’t going to say anything?” Ron asked not quite sure what she was talking about.

“She means about Louise sneaking back.” Harry offered. Harry might have been a bit faster on the uptake, he wasn’t sure what broody meant, but he was sure he knew what Nova meant by hen and he knew that Louise could turn into a pegacorn and that there was likely an egg involved.

“You don’t mean she flew in that storm?” Ron asked.

Hearing this McGonagall stormed up the stairs with Nova following close behind.

“Well, where is she?” McGonagall asked once they’d reached the top.

“This way.” Nova offered going into her room. She then bid McGonagall follow her into the closet. “Oh and before you say anything, the Ministry knows, and the confines of my luggage is by Ministry charter the sovereign territory of Eques. What goes on in here happens at my discretion as governed by the laws of Eques.” As for the Ministry knowing, sure it was on file, somewhere, under 88 years of records.

“Now see here...”

Nova opened the back of the wardrobe to reveal the library. “After you.”

McGonagall strode into the library, and then came to an abrupt halt. Nova was closing the door, and two men in winter camouflage uniforms were waiting at the entrance of the library.

“This way.” Nova offered to direct McGonagall out of the library and into the lounge space. Everywhere could be seen Christmas, or in this case, Hearth's warming decorations, and a vast garden could be seen outside the window that Professor McGonagall had never seen, even though she’d swore she knew every square inch of the castle. Not a flake of snow could be seen either, despite the growing storm outside.

“Minerva?” Madam Pomfrey asked on seeing McGonagall.

“Et tu Poppy?” McGonagall asked. Madam Poppy Pomfrey was presently sitting on the floor talking to a golden unicorn under a pile of blankets. The unicorn pulled a blanket over its head with its magic. “Is that a unicorn?”

“That is Miss Louise Magnus.” Madam Pomfrey offered. “And she’s a pegacorn, not a unicorn.”

“What am I to tell Professor Dumbledor?” McGonagall asked.

“Tell him she got off the train at the last moment, and that she is resting in her room with a cold.” Madam Pomfrey offered. “Just say that she’s a little horse and resting.”

“If you could possibly leave out the part about her being a pegacorn brooding over an egg in an embassy in a handbag, we’d most appreciate it.” Nova requested. “It’s very important that all this remains secret even from Professor Dumbledore.”

“And why should I, pray tell?” McGonagall asked.

“Why don’t I take you downstairs and show you Harry’s profile?” Madam Pomfrey offered standing up.

“Harry’s profile?” McGonagall asked. “What’s Harry have to do with this?”

“I’m a princess of Eques.” Nova offered. “We have files on everyone that I come into contact with.” That wasn’t entirely true, but it was close, being all the persons of interest had been investigated by this point.

“Minerva, at the very least, Professor Dumbledore can be insulated from blame in the event of an international incident.” Madam Pomfrey offered.

“Show me Harry’s profile.”

The short trip down to the in-house infirmary was mind-boggling. What appeared to be outside was a vast garden inside an enormous greenhouse in which were several large tents that looked to be military in origin, and were being manned by pegasi of all things. Or is that ponied?

“What’s going on? Is everything going to be alright?” Alalme asked using the common language while sticking her head in the door from the garden. Two foals stood nearby.

“She talks?” McGonagall asked.

“Minerva, you have a student who is a pegacorn, and a talking pegasus surprises you?” Madam Pomfrey asked.

“We are just ironing things out.” Nova offered. “Seems they figured out that Scootaloo jumped train.”

“Oh, alright,” Alalme said and closed the door with a hoof.

:flutterrage:

“This, this is outrageous!” McGonnagal said with a medical file in hand a few minutes later.

“I didn’t want Professor Dumbledore to know about us originally because I wasn’t sure I could trust him.” Nova offered. “It was Dumbledore who pushed through Sirius Black’s conviction without a trial, and Black is godfathert was Harry’s legal godfather. Had there been a trial they might have found out about Peter Pettigrew. Dumbledore assumed magical guardianship of Harry, and then placed him in a home that was neglectful at best… Can you understand why I don’t want him to know about any of this?” Dumbledore may also be at the root of the Ministry’s dragging of the case involving Peter Pettigrew, but Nova chose to keep that to herself.

“But I don’t understand, why… I even checked up on Harry on a regular basis.”

“Right off hand, I’d say the very spells that were intended to keep him hidden, were interfering with your ability to recognize that he was not being taken care of properly.” Pomfrey suggested.

“We had to keep him safe, but we never meant for any of this to happen.” McGonnagal offered.

“Keeping him safe for his own sake would have been better served getting him as far away from here as possible, that scar removed, and a new name given him.” Nova offered. “Harry is bait.”

“Bait?” McGonagall asked. “You aren’t going tell me Dumbledore meant to serve him up on a platter do you?”

“No of course not. That’s why he brought the Sorcerers stone here.” Nova offered.

“You know about the stone too?” McGonagall was shocked.

“Dumbledore cares only about defeating you know who once and for all, and he knew he’d resurface just as soon as Harry did.” Nova offered. “The stone is the second bait.”

“I, I just don’t know what to say?” McGonagall offered. She looked faint, so Madam Pomfrey helped her to a seat.

“Afraid you're getting all this at once.” Madam Pomfrey offered. “Harry’s medical records is what prompted me to bring him in for a physical. Though removing that scar could be tricky. It seems to be a piece of dark magic embedded in his skull.”

“I am hopeful that Dumbledore’s gambit pays off without anyone getting hurt.” Nova offered.

“I feel like such a fool.” Minerva offered. “Harry resurfaces, and of course you know who would come after him, finds out about the stone... You aren’t suggesting he’s already here?”

“I’d rather not comment, but I think you can guess considering the military presence on my lawn. Trust me, my family is not happy about the situation. I’m here to continue my education, not clean up the messes of others.” About the only reason we haven't pulled up, and left is because it would be irresponsible on our part to do so.”

“Harry’s broom?” McGonagall asked.

“Not an accident. Not an unexplained malfunction. It was a deliberate act of sabotage.” Nova offered. “The pegacorn who caught him is some pony near and dear to my heart.”

“I see.” McGonagall said giving Nova an odd look.

“That might be one mystery best left unanswered.” Madam Pomfrey suggested as she took the file, and placed it in a locking cabinet.

“And it was Louise who got hit by the bludger wasn’t it.” McGonagall surmised. “So who all knows about this?”

“Yourselves, and Madam Hooch. If Madam Hooch knows about ‘You know who’ she hasn’t said.” Nova offered. “The Crusaders, of course, being kin know, but they don’t know about ‘You know who’ and I’m not telling them if I don’t have too. All they know is he’s a person of interest Professor Dumbledor means to catch in the act of trying to heist something valuable. Mr Filch knows who he is.”

“Filch?” Both women asked in astonishment.

“He doesn’t know anything about this. He thinks I’m an Auror.” Nova offered.

“Considering you should be in forth year I can see where he might get that idea.” McGonagall offered as a slight smile formed on her face. “Does Hermione know about any of this?”

“We’ve gone to a considerable amount of trouble to keep her from finding out.” Nova admitted in a tone of regret. “Afraid our friendship with her has been kind of strained as well.”

“Can’t say I blame you for keeping all this from her. Might have helped if they’d have just told us the truth about that egg.” McGonagall offered.

“Would it?” Madam Pomfrey asked. “They told us about the marks, and we traumatized them in an effort to remove them.”

“I’m under the impression they never told anyone back home or you’d have had some mighty pissed off parents to deal with.” Nova offered. “There are only two ways to remove a mark that I know of. One is to switch it with another, and the other is to take the magic away from the individual until it fades. Take too much magic and the effort will break us, leaving nothing but an empty shell.”

“So in our ignorance, we behaved no better than muggles.” Madam Pomfrey informed McGonagall.

“And that egg. The egg is, or rather was, a ghost by name of Moaning Myrtle.” Nova offered.

“Run that by me again?” Madam Pomfrey asked.

“Scootaloo, Louise to you, did not lay that egg. She’s much too young.” Nova explained. “My birth mother gave them a book of spells pertaining to the management of ghosts, and they, with Hermione’s help, extrapolated a complex, and a rather dangerous spell. My mom was rather impressed that they managed to do it without anyone dying in the attempt.”

“And that’s when Louise got sick.” Madam Pomfrey offered.

“So it wasn’t the egg that made her sick as Hermione had thought?” McGonagall asked.

“Oh no, there’s nothing wrong with that egg, there is a perfect little pegacorn growing inside.” Nova offered. “It was the spell that did the damage. The spell took from the Crusaders the raw material needed to create the egg, and the greater burden fell on Louise. Which may also explain why she’s being so broody.”

“Now then, back to my request that you not say anything to anyone about what goes on behind my book case? Nova asked after a short pause in the conversation.

“I’d like to talk to her,” McGonagall replied.

“Feel free to chew her out as much as you like.” Nova offered.

“Minerva?” Madam Hooch asked entering in from the door to the Nurse’s office. “Can I take it this means we’ve found Louise.”

“I’m afraid she’s too broody to leave Hogwarts. Even for a couple of days.” Nova offered.

“A couple days?” McGonagall asked.

“Well, the idea was to sneak her back in so no one would know she was here.” Nova supplied.

“Well, the young one’s do tend to be mighty broody.” Madam Hooch offered, as though a student being a pegacorn who’d laid an egg was normal.

Professor McGonagall agreed she’d keep quiet, and then the group went back up stairs to check on Scootaloo only for Nova to discover that Scootaloo was still damp.

“Why are you still damp? - We dried you off already.” Nova said as her mind raced a mile a minute. “Out, off with the blankets, up, or I’ll start plucking tail fathers, come on, get up.”

“But?”

“No buts. - I’m just betting your clothes are all wet.” Nova insisted, Scootaloo relented, and sure enough, her clothing was sopping wet.

“Why is she so wet?” McGonagall asked. Scootaloo had teleported to the top of the train prior to transforming, only to have a waterfall of slush slam into her. She nearly fell off the roof before she could transform.

“On transforming from human to pony, the water gets trapped and slowly wicks out. - I’ve done it myself. It’s a miserable feeling.” Nova offered. “Alright, everything off. Tia, new mattress, and bedding please?”

And low the angel of Celestia did appear, and the humans fell upon their knees in great wonderment.

“Sure, treat me like a maid and an incubator to boot,” Tia said in mock complaint.

“You know you like it.” Nova said as she striped Scootaloo. The avatar of Celestia removed all but the egg which was held suspended in air. A new mattress was put in place along with new bedding, and the egg returned to its place this time with Tia the wonder sun horse warming it.

“Alright change back, and remind me to talk to you about wearing underwear. Humans were undergarments.” Nova instructed.

“Why do humans wear so much clothing anyway?” Scootaloo asked as Nova used a drying spell.

Scootaloo went floof, and the humans were overcome anew by the cuteness.

“Better?” Nova asked as Scootaloo climbed back onto the mattress and became enveloped in the light of the solar alicorn.

“Better.” Scootaloo replied making herself comfortable. “Mmmm much better.”

“Come on, snap out of it.” Nova said to the three women. “Just a fancy spell and a fluffy pony. Move along, nothing to see here.”

Nova somehow managed to get the three women downstairs. She’d forgotten that only one of the three had come up that way, fortunately, it worked out.

“Did you find Miss Magnus?” Dumbledore asked seeing the three women coming into the hall.

“She’s a little horse,” McGonagall informed him. “That is, she came back, she’d changed her mind, and got soaked in the wet snow.”

“Something will be brought up to her.” Madam Pomfrey offered. “She’s not feeling well.”

“I’ll be handling her detention for the scare she gave us.” Madam Hooch offered. She wasn’t actually going to do anything mind you. After all, scolding a young mare for doing what nurture dictated was hardly something to be punished.

“That’s good to know,” Dumbledore replied. “Go on into lunch and I’ll let the people on the train know she’s here.”

Snape sat at the high table looking as dower as ever when the ladies entered. Quirrel was nowhere to be seen, but being it was lunch it wasn’t considered too unusual. Nova want to the Gryffindor table clandestinely waving at Draco on the way. Draco was presently sitting by himself. There were other Slytherins who’d had to stay, but his goings on about people staying because their parents didn’t want them hadn’t gained him much support in his own house. He had no friends.

“So what’s going on with Louise?” Harry asked as Nova sat down.

“She couldn't bring herself to leave me by myself.” Nova offered. She thought it best not to say a word about why Scootaloo had really come back. Nova was also quietly delighted in that Scootaloo had unwittingly given her the perfect excuse to just disappear into the top of the Gryffindor tower. Later that afternoon she’d be glad for the relative safety of the school and tower.

When Nova returned from lunch she found that a unicorn had been brought in. Something had brutally attacked a mare, and left her for dead. Ensign Loki the medic that had been sent with the guards had used every means at his disposal to save the unicorn. He being a fox pony, like Nova, meant he’d more tricks then the average pony. He couldn't save her. Nova sat down at her desk and wrote a long letter to Celestia regarding the situation. They needed more ponies, and they needed a surgeon.

The ponies celebrated Hearth's Warming on Christmas Eave, and Christmas on Christmas day, though it brought them little cheer.

“Come on, we need to make an appearance at dinner,” Nova said to Scootaloo. Scootaloo was presently in one of Nova’s outfits her own luggage having been left on the train. It was anyone’s guess as to weather it would be brought back to the school. Nova was wearing her Weasley sweater. Hers was white with a purple and vermilion stripe running the length to match her hair with black trim on the collar, cuffs, and bottom edge “Myrtle will be fine.”

“Will you look at this,”

“She’s got a Weasley Sweater.” The twins said as the two girls entered the common room. Percy had taken his off and was presently putting it back on.

“Oh don’t be daft,” Percy said pulling his sweater on.

“It was a gift I got a while back. It was made by the Dowager Duchess Laurel deClare widowed wife of Sir Percival Weasley.” Nova informed them.

“No way,” Percy said softly.

“No,

that’s

definitely

a Weasly

sweater.” the twins countered.

“I didn’t say that.” Percy countered. “Mother has a photo book of the Abbey before it burned down in the blitz. There’s a painting of Nova in one of the pictures. - Not that you two ever paid attention when mother got out the old photo albums.”

“The Abbey burned down?” Nova asked. “Did they not rebuild it?”

“Afraid not.” Percy offered. “Family was deep in debt, so they sold the property.”

“Does the family still have the old Tudor hunting lodge then?” Nova asked.

“Hunting lodge?” The twins asked.

“I think she means the Burrow.” Percy offered. “Afraid the old lodge is long gone. We live in one of the croft buildings now. It used to be the building they kept the pigs in. It’s been modified quite a bit as well. Sure is a small world. Miss Nova here is wearing a Weasley Family heirloom.”

“I’d have to say it’s a Moon family heirloom now.” Scootaloo countered.

“Well I’d say”

“that Miss Nova

is practically

a Weasley.” The twins offered, and then both proffered an arm for escort.

“You do know she comes as part of a package deal?” Scootaloo said taking George’s arm.

“Come along Fred,” Nova said taking Fred’s arm.

“I’m George,” Fred said.

“No, I’d say I have George.” Scootaloo offered.

“Did it not occur to you we might be able to tell who is who?” Nova chastised playfully. Considering how difficult it could be to tell one pony from another, The fillies had no trouble telling the two boys apart.

“I suspect they just might know who is who.” Percy teased. Harry and Ron came down a moment later not entirely sure what to think.

“What’s going on?” Ron asked.

“Seems Miss Nova here is practically part of the family,” Percy informed them.

“What?” Ron asked.

“That sure escalated quickly,” Harry remarked. “But aren’t you two kind of young?”

“We’re older then they are.” Nova offered. “Not like we are in any kind of serious relationship though.”

“But you’re first-year, and they are in third year.” Ron protested.

“And but for the lack of appropriate transcripts, I’d be in fourth-year,” Nova informed them. She had celebrated her fifteenth birthday. At least she thought it was her fifteenth. Celebrated it twice within the same year by her reckoning. Scootaloo was sixteen, and Alalme figured she was seventeen turns of the seasons, and so far as anyone could tell Nova wasn't much younger. If not for their petite frames as humans they'd have looked very out of place with the first years.

“I kind of got a late start.” Scootaloo offered. “I’m older then she is, it’s just that my magic only recently kicked in.”

“I thought you girls looked kind of mature for first years.” Percy mused.

“Apple Bloom is about the same age as Nova, and Sweetie is twelve.” Scootaloo offered.

“Sweetie is a protege.” Nova offered. “She was attending the school my Aunt runs, but when she found out Louise was coming to Hogwarts she wanted to come here too. And then Apple Bloom wanted to come. Most just assume they are all the same age, and Sweetie has no trouble passing for an eleven year old. And we are all a little on the petite side. - Now, shall we go down to diner?”

“Yes indeed,” Fred answered.

“I thought she was the same age as us?” Ron asked as they issued forth from behind the portrait of the fat lady.

“Won’t mother be thrilled to hear we’ve added a new member to the family.” George beamed.

“George, do have a care you don’t go giving your mother a heart attack,” Scootaloo warned him.

Dinner was everything one could imagine, and then some. Scootaloo was glad to have come as the humans did partake in quite a bit more meat then ponies typically did. Though they did find that the local pegasus did have a taste for fish. They were in the habit of smoking it over fires in pits or just roasting it. When they’d first arrived in this world food wasn’t always the best, or easy to come by. Many had allowed themselves to be penned up by wizards so as not to starve to death in hard winters. Alalme had told them when they had dinner with the ponies the night before just how difficult living free in the forest was. And here was Nova and Scootaloo on their second feast of the day.

“I keep eating like this I’m going to be too fat to fly.” Scootaloo joked. Harry and Ron laughed all the louder knowing full well what she really meant.

After dinner, the two fillies climbed the steps a little slower than they normally would have, went into the apartment, climbed into the large shared bed, and groaned.

“I haven't eaten this much since the last time I was at the Apple Farm.” Nova offered. The two were back to pony form, put it didn’t seem to help. She caught sight of Alya and Goldwine coming in for a belly dive, and grabbed hold of them with her magic. “No bouncing around Myrtle, or my over full belly.”





Harry Potter stood in the room of requirement looking into the mirror of Erisid. He had on Nova’s advice given up on whatever it was Fluffy was guarding, but to an eleven-year-old boy, an invisibility cloak is an invitation to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life, new civilizations, and to boldly go where no first year has gone before.

He’d nearly got caught by Snape and Filch in a pincer movement that had been purely coincidental. Unknown to Harry Filch had been keeping tabs on Snape and Quirinus Quirrell. Filch kept a log of everyone who went up to the off-limits corridor, and would provide Dumbledore a copy once a week. He did not leave off staff members. The list was disturbing. Sure there was the occasional lost, or misdirected student, but Snape and Quirrell seemed to be going up there quite a lot.

What are they doing? Dumbledore asked himself after the most recent list of trespasses. He knew something was off about Quirrell and was likely being used by the dark lord, may even be possessed in a fashion, but was Snape helping him? Surely Snape had to realize he wanted Voldemort to walk into his trap? As for Filch, he seemed sharper than ever, and had even mellowed considerably since the day the pegacorn got hit by the bludger. Dumbledore reasoned that Filch must have been deeply moved by the news of the injured guardian of light.

And now back to Harry Potter at the Mirror of Erised. It had finally occurred to him that what he was seeing, was his family. It was his family, and then it was men and women in winter camouflage military uniforms, medical personnel, equipment, and crates were issuing forth, a woman in black leather and hair like a phoenix, Nova’s mother came through next… what was she doing here? An old wizard, a man that looked like a Roman soldier, and a very large man who looked like he’d be right at home on board a Viking longboat.

How Harry didn’t get trampled under his invisibility cloak was anyone’s guess.

There was a flash of light, and suddenly Harry was in a large rotunda. There was another flash of light.

Harry awoke and sat up in his bed. Had it all been a dream?

The next night Harry and Ron went out exploring and were nearly about to give up when they found the room again. Once more Harry saw his family. He also saw Nova towards the back giving him a dirty look. Ron saw himself as head boy holding the quidditch cup… and Nova.

And then the room filled with people, there was a flash of light, and the boys woke up sometime later back in their own beds. Both had splitting headaches like someone had slapped them upside the backs of their heads.

“No, I am not going back,” Ron stated flatly when Harry suggested going back again. “That thing makes you hallucinate.”

“Ya, I guess you’re right.” Harry offered. Harry thought about it, and then decided that perhaps a third time probably wasn’t a good idea. After all, neither one of them had a clue how they got back to their own beds.

Dumbledore paid the mirror a visit that night to see who it was who’d discovered the mirror. No one showed. He’d suspected it might be Harry and had gone to the mirror on the second visit but had somehow missed him. After all, he had given Harry the means to find the mirror without being discovered. Harry was part of his plan. Still, though, he’d hoped to have an opportunity to explain how the mirror worked. But then again, Dumbledore didn’t really know how that mirror worked. All he knew was that it showed one’s deepest desire and that he could put things in it, and retrieved them. The spells he’d added had assured that only someone who wished to protect the stone could retrieve it, and he’d need Harry’s innocence to achieve that aim once Voldemort was trapped inside. He’d also made the erroneous assumption that once something went in, it wouldn't be able to get out on its own.





Nova made Rockhoof put a rubber stopper on his spade, and took it away from him. After the third hole in the tile she’d had enough. “Now what do you think would happen if you did that on board a ship!?” Nova yelled at him on the third hole. “This palace is like a ship, and if you go jamming that big thing were it don’t belong it’s going to be mighty unpleasant. You know what I mean! You’ll get it for missions, nothing more!”

Seeing the small pegacorn chewing out Rockhoof was nearly more than many could take, and it was all they could do not to bust up laughing. They also had a proper medical staff now. Shimmer was relived to learn that Scootaloo had healed up perfectly. “Why some of the best trauma specialists are fox ponies.” The doctor had told Shimmer. “They just seem to have an innate ability to see what needs fixing.” Shimmer was relived, but she was still troubled by the fact that Scootaloo couldn't bring herself to leave Myrtle behind in the care of others even for a couple days. Had Myrtle been anywhere other than directly above the girls, would Scootaloo have gone looking for it? But then the half-giant Hagrid had played a mighty cruel joke on the girls to keep them from looking for it.

Scootaloo and Myrtle had been moved in with Nova, and Alalme, and a pair of changelings, delighted at the chance to do a top-secret mission, were sitting in for Nova and Louise in the dorm room so the two could have more time with the foals. The last thing any of the ponies wanted was for someone in the dorm discovering the girls were missing and start looking for them. When the changelings weren’t needed for that task, they would be a reliable set of eyes and ears who could work with Mrs Norris to keep an eye on the comings and goings of their primary individuals of interest. Sure the map showed where the individuals were, but it couldn't tell them what they were doing. At least they knew who was in the castle at any given time. And everyone on the security force was fitted with tiny magical communications devices so that every creature could stay in contact.

Whenever Troll Fart decided to go for a stroll in the woods, pegasi would be dispatched to shadow him, and hopefully, thwart him without his knowing. Why he was attacking unicorns didn’t make much sense to the Equestrians either. These unicorns were about as feral as a unicorn could get, but they were still unicorns. Whatever it was Quirrel was, he was fast. Whether or not the local unicorns were in any way descended from Princess Luna’s staff would forever remain a mystery as there was nothing about them that would have identified them as having ever been Equestrian unicorns. The pegasi had at least stuck together maintaining a community, and the oral history of their tribe. The locals were proving invaluable scouts to the Nightguard who’d volunteered. Flash Magnus was the only Day Guard, not do to a lack of eager volunteers, but because of the oral history of the local pegasi. It was feared that Celestia’s finest might be viewed with considerable suspicion. Nova herself had become something of a legend as there had been five generations from the time of the appearance and slaying of the Wyrm that had so devastated the pegasi community. And thanks to Nova’s Moonie, Luna was even more of a legend. Luna was presently staying in a pavilion in the garden so as not to kick out what was rapidly growing into a small family in what was essentially a duplicate of her apartments.

Back in Equestria, there would be much discussion as to whether or not Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle would be going back. Especially Sweetie Belle as no pony wanted her in a classroom that was being taught by the Unicorn Killer.

“So why is it I’ve never seen this other me?” Luna asked Nova. She was presently sitting in the lounge with Alalme, Nova, the two foals, and all in their pony bodies. So long as they didn’t have to interact with humans every pony was just more at home in their pony selves. The mattress had been removed and Scootaloo had to contend with leaving the doors to the bed chamber open to feel like she was being included. Sitting on an egg was proving to be rather dull. Nova had been lots of help by giving her plenty of books to read. Mostly her school books, and not just the books from Hogwarts, but courses of study that would have been required in Equestria.

“She’s a representation of yourself and has been tinkered with by every Princess and or Queen Luna I’ve met in my trans-dimensional travels. Her function is to provide me with a body guard, and chaperon.” Nova offered.

“Well, that doesn’t sound so bad.” Luna surmised.

“You’re sister fiddled with her personality.”

“My sister...”

“Not that I’m complaining mind you.” Nova offered. “She’s actually a lot more fun as a companion now, it’s just that she has a tendency to act less like your dignified self, and more like a Golden Retriever.”

“Ah, so that’s why you said ‘your sister’ as apposed to say, Aunt Tia.”

“She will act seriously enough when the situation demands for it.” Nova offered. “You should have seen her take on the Wyrm she tracked to the farm. She put it’s eyes out with her hooves, and then while students kept it occupied went to the castle and retrieved a halberd to kill it. One of them old rusty ones displayed with the armor.”

“Impressive. No wonder I have such a good reputation.” Luna offered. “So what is she doing now?”

“I have her keeping an eye on Dumbledore,” Nova told her.

“He hasn’t seen her?” Luna asked.

“She moves through the paintings,” Scootaloo said from the bedroom.

“Wizards tune out the activity inside paintings.” Nova offered. “Many of the subjects in the paintings have a tendency to move from painting to painting, so a night mare, or gorgeous woman in the wrong painting just gets ignored. It’s like she’s not even there.”

“Well I’d say that at the moment, that must be her next to your chair.” Luna announced. Nova looked down, and sure enough, laying on the floor, nose between her hooves, and tail wagging was Moonie.

“Moonie?” Nova said. “Can I assume this is important being I told you not to let Princess Luna or anypone else see you unless it’s important?”

“Dumbledork moved the mirror to the base of the trap.” Moonie informed them.

“As in bait?” Nova asked.

“Do you think our activity has him thinking Troll Fart found the mirror?” Luna asked.

“Moonie’s analysis would suggest that Dumbledork is hoping that Troll Fart will go through the portal.” Moonie offered.

There was a moment no one said anything.

“Nope, not going to happen.” Nova and Luna said at the same time.

“So now what?” Alalme asked.

“First I’m going to confiscate that mirror, and then we are going to take matters into our own hooves.” Nova offered.

“Ooo, goody.” Luna said as a wicked gleam of blood lust brightened her face.

“Behave yourself Muma, we can’t move against him openly,” Nova cautioned as she was getting up. “Keep in mind that with the exception of Filch and the possible exception of Professor Dumbledore, all the other humans still think he’s lovable old stinky Pr-pr-professor Quirrel. We’d find ourselves and every other pegasus the targets of every human for miles around. We either catch him in the trap, or draw him out, and away from the school.”

“Shouldn't be to hard to pin him down in the forest, and this sitting around waiting for the rat to figure out how to get into the trap needs to change.” Luna suggested as she and Nova went down to the map pavilion where they found Rockhoof, Starswirl, Sunset Shimmer, and Flash Magnus studying the map. It hadn’t taken them long to figure out how to reverse the effect of the portal and were all in their native form.

“We have an issue.” Princess Luna announced as they entered. “Professor Dumbledore’s end game is to use the mirror of Erised to send Mr Riddle, AKA you know who, code name Troll Fart, to Equestria. We can’t let that happen.”

“Starswirl, if we stick to our pony forms will we trigger any detection spells that might have been added?” Nova asked.

“My analysis has indicated the spells in place only detect bipeds, and I doubt Dumbledore would think to have spells that detect the presence of what to him are just dumb animals.” Starswirl offered.

“What exactly do you have in mind?” Shimmer asked.

“It’s Equestrian property, we confiscate it.” Princess Luna informed them.

“I can teleport to the mirror, open up a door into here, and then we can just help ourselves.” Nova offered.

“That’d be a mighty risky teleport young miss.” Starswirl cautioned.

“I’m confident I can do it. We just need to make sure there are no Equestrians in human form about when we do it.” Nova offered. “Also, I can teleport in, in my fox form so I’ll be smaller. I’m really good at teleporting, and could teleport it here, but I don’t want to risk triggering any alarms by using magic on it.”

“Just leave it to me then, and I’ll hoist it on my back.” Rockhoof offered.

“What about a replacement?” Princess Luna asked.

“I built it, I think I can manage to transfigure a replacement.” Starswirl offered.

“Alright then, I’ll see every pony at the kitchen door in a few minutes.” Nova offered, transformed into a fox, and vanished with a pop.

Nova found herself on a cold stone floor, not a snippet of light to be had. To say it was black would be an understatement. The room was a total absence of light blacker then Princess Luna’s coffee. Before the cream and sugar that is.

For nova that wasn’t a huge problem as she could still use that fox sense that allowed her to perceive auras. She felt deep down that if she was not careful, if she used too much magic, even to shape shift and use her horn, it might set off an alarm. Her mind slowly created a mental sketch of the room, and she went over to a wall. Once there she placed her amulet against the wall, and a doorway shimmered into existence. Light streamed through the cracks.

Nova couldn't help but feel nostalgic. The last time she had opened that door, the Mackintosh family still lived on the Hogwarts grounds. She let out a sigh, and scratched on the door. A moment later Luna opened it. Nova went inside, and transformed back to her pony form. Rockhoof went into the room guided by the light from the door, picked up the mirror, balanced it on his back, while Luna and shimmer steadied it.

“Lets take it down to sub basement number one.” Nova said.

“Number one? How many basements does this apartment have?” Shimmer asked.

“No idea, and I don’t really care to find out.” Nova offered as she directed the other to the stairs that went down to the basement. From there they located another door that she had to ask Tia to unlock, and then they went down a sloping ramp into a wide corridor with many doors. Nova opened a door that seemed to be some kind of reception hall. “I guess this is as good a place as any.” She offered, so they carried it in, and set it down at the far end.

By the time they got back up stairs, Starswirl was ready with a replacement.

“You’re a genius, how’d you do it so fast?” Nova asked. “And it even shows me my desires.”

“Dare I ask?” Luna asked teasing Nova.

“No, you may not. I am a teenager after all. Sheesh.” Nova protested. Luna gave her a dirty look, and Nova smiled. “Just teasing. I see us all back in Equestria with all my friends.”

“Understandable.” Rock hoof replied as he hoisted up the mirror. “I see much the same sort of thing. If I could go back, I most certainly would.”

“It doesn’t have a portal, and the desire enchantment is a parlor trick.” Star Swirl offered as the mirror was taken to the dark room. Rockhoof gently set it down, and they placed it in the exact spot the original was.

A light turned on in a hallway at the far end.

“Everyone back inside, Quick!” Nova hissed, and there was a mad scramble. Nova shut the door as torches started to flair in the big room, locked it, said hide outside door, and peeped through a small hole in the door.

“It’s Gred and Forge Weasley.” Nova offered. “You know what, I know just the thing.” Nova teleported away, and popped back a moment later with a book in hand. Best Party Favors Ever, by Pinkamena Dianne Pie.

Nova looked through the peep hole, and teleported the book right in front of the mirror. It dropped with a bang.

“What, I’ve extra, Pinkie sent a whole box load.”

“Well I’m going to see what I can do about disabling the detection charms on that mirror.” Starswirl announced, and headed for the subbasement.

“Make sure to shut and lock the door. We don’t want the foals getting down there.” Nova said as he went out the door. “Where’s Phenik? Phenik?”

Phenik came swooping in, and landed on her back.

“The Weasley Twins are in yon room, could you be a dear and transport them back to the Gryffindor common room? Before they get caught?” Phenik gave a chirp, and vanished. Nova looked into the peep hole and watched as one boy, and then the other vanished.

“Something tells we we’re going to need to have Starswirl add some modifications.” Princess Luna mused.

“Maybe add a trap for Troll Fart and Sulky Raven. Can’t figure out why they haven't gotten past Fluffy yet? - Think I’ll go down to the Gryffindor common room.” Nova offered. “Tia, disconnect this door pleas.” The door all but vanished leaving only the door jam with a section of wall where it had been. Well if Dumbledore comes looking I don’t want him to find our back door.”

“Good thinking.” Luna offered. “You run along, I want to talk to the adults now.”

Nova gave her an odd look.

“Princess Luna, in my time she’d be considered an adult.” Rockhoof corrected.

“That’s alright, I understand.” Nova offered. “Princess Luna wants to talk strategy. My opinion, we are going to need some elements of harmony other then mine and Sunset’s, and a few more bearers.”

“You have elements of harmony?” Shimmer asked.

“I figured out how to create artificial elements. Not sure I can count on them in a pinch though." Nova explained. “Also the stones in my pendent seem to have taken on the properties of true element stones. I’ve no idea when or how it happened.”

“Looks like we’ve some people and ponies to contact.” Luna commented followed by the group departing the kitchen.





“Hello Ged, and Ford.” Nova said a few minutes later as she approached the twins in the common room. The two had their noses glued to the book Nova had given them. Phenik was on the outer most part of the fireplace hearth warming her bottom with her tail held heavenward.

“Nova, best Christmas present ever!” The twins said without looking up.

“Lets just say I thought you’d be less likely to get into mischief. Though I imagine we might all come to regret my giving you that book in good time.” Nova offered with a smile. The two seemed oblivious to the fact that they’d been plucked from the room where the mirror was. Perhaps to them that was exactly what they’d expected. To them the challenges were like living the ultimate video game. Assuming they even knew what a video game was.

At the end of the winter break Apple Bloom, and Sweetie Belle returned to Hogwarts under the protests of their families. The situation was tense, but Princess Celestia reminded them that the fillies were in no more danger there then they would be at home wondering off into the Everfree, and while Sweetie Belle could attend the school for gifted unicorns if she wanted they’d only be breaking the trio up. They also had full access of the mirror now, could go back and forth at will, and there was plenty of back up. During classes there would be changelings disguised as various animals to act as body guards – just in case.

Nova made sure the changelings all had satchels of the Kings cure herb to help counter being in the presence of the wraith passing itself off as a teacher.

Chapter 13: Chasers and Seekers

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“Snape is refereeing the next quidditch game?!” Nova exclaimed on hearing about it from the boys. January had been miserable both in the weather and in their attempts to deal with the menace that was Voldemort. Troll Fart had gone on the hunt twice, and each time they’d failed to pin him down. Luna had even gotten her hooves on a minigun, but the bastage had been too fast. Sections of the forest were starting to look worse for wear because of it. At least the thing was useful in blasting spiders whenever Luna was feeling especially frustrated. Spiders would rush in only to fall as a rain of bullets descended upon them, while Luna laughed with glee. It looked very much like a scene from the attack on Zion.

“I’m thinking maybe Harry shouldn't play?” Ron asked referring to the upcoming Quidditch game. They were presently in the Gryffindor common room.

“Maybe, and then again, maybe that’s what they want,” Scootaloo commented.

“What are you talking about?” Apple Bloom asked. As she and Sweetie Belle joined them.

“Has to do with why you and Sweetie Belle almost didn’t come back to Hogwarts,” Nova explained. “Harry’s broom mishap wasn’t the fault of the broom, and we’ve good reason to believe Professor Snape was in on that little nearly fatal accident. And even if he was somehow trying to help, his efforts were only making things worse. A jinx can only be properly countered at the source.”

"Totally agree," Hermione said in regards on what was needed to counter a jinx.

“Snape’s not going to be able to do much of anything with all those eyes on him.” Scootaloo offered.

“Ah, I hadn’t thought of that,” Ron replied.

“Do you mean to say he should play?” Hermione Asked. Both she and Ron had been against Harry playing. Just then Neville Longbottom came bunny hopping in through the entrance to the Gryffindor tower. Draco Malfoy was back to his old self and had put a leg-locker curse on him.

“Honestly Neville, why don’t you stand up to him?” Hermione asked as she performed the counter-curse.

“That or start learning some counter curses,” Nova suggested.

“Why do you let him walk all over you anyway?” Hermione asked. “You have got to stop rolling over for him. Quit being his whipping boy.” If there was one thing Hermione was bad at, it was knowing when to shut up.

“Ge thanks,” Neville replied moving one leg about and then the other. “Look, you don’t have to tell me I’m not brave enough to be in Gryffindor, Malfoy has already done it.”

“No one here ever said you weren’t brave enough, and Malfoy wouldn't be pestering you if you weren’t.” Nova offered. "Personally, I think he targets you because he knows you can take it."

“Come on Neville, cheer up,” Harry said offering him his last Chocolate frog.

“Thanks, Harry. Here, you can keep the card. You collect them don’t you?” Neville said in reply giving Harry the card.

“Dumbledore again,” Harry replied looking at the card. “Oh hey, it’s Flamel. Apparently, Dumbledore worked with him on alchemy.”

“Oh, stay there, I’ll be right back,” Hermione ordered, and took off running up the stairs to the girl’s dorm.

“Where’s she going?” Ron asked. “Didn’t we give up on that rubbish?”

“Just because we gave up doesn’t stop a person from being curious.” Harry offered.

Hermione came running down the stairs a few minutes later with a very large book. “I got this… for a bit… of light… reading.” Hermione said between catching her breath.

“Light reading?” Ron asked as Hermione thumbed through the enormous book.

“Nicolas Flamel is the only person known to have ever successfully made a Philosopher's stone. The stone can be used to turn anything into gold, and produces an elixir known as the elixir of life which grants immortality.” She announced excitedly. “Don’t you see, that’s what Fluffy is guarding.”

“Fluffy’s not actually guarding anything.” Nova countered. “Just Ask George and Fred.”

“What?” Ron asked sounding incredulous.

“They’ve already been down there.” Nova offered. "Just don't be saying anything to anyone."

“They have?” the others all asked.

“Well then, I guess Dumbledore put it someplace else,” Hermione said. “Where though?”

“I’m sure that wherever it is it is well secured.” Nova offered knowing full well the stone was no longer in this world.

“Well, it says here that Nicholas Flamel had been a prosperous scribe and bookseller when he faked his own death in 1418 after having successfully created a Philosopher's stone.”

“And he also lived during the hundred years wars, and that thing was the catalyst that started the goblin wars,” Nova informed Hermine. “In Eques those things are called Blood Stones, and they don’t grant immortality or unlimited life, they grant the user extended years, health, and vitality from stolen life.” The other’s looked at her stunned. “There is a reason why Wizards have gone to such great lengths to hide all knowledge of how to make the stone.” She waited to see if everyone was paying attention or not. “Flamel faking his own death might suggest he stole it from someone else, but even to use something like that knowing the truth.”

“How do you know about all that?” Hermione asked.

“I heard about the stone, and wanted to know what it was.” Nova offered.

“You heard about it?”

“I told a ministry official a while back that my Aunt Tia is over a thousand years old, and they asked if she had a philosopher’s stone.” Nova offered. “I’d never heard of such a thing and decided to do some extra research. Took a bit of doing too. In doing cross research to see if any were known about back home I discovered that there had been two known stones in Eques that matched the description. They were created by a mad king we know only as King Sombra. One sat upon the Blood Moon crown, and the other was an amulet known as the Alicorn Amulet. When combined with unicorn magic, it can grant the user immense power.” Nova was well familiar with both. Twilight had the Alicorn Amulet, and when Nova had been in Equestria in the past the Blood Moon Stone had been destroyed by a powerful cleansing wave generated by one of her artificial harmony stones. The wave had been generated purely by chance, and Nova hadn’t even known the stone had been destroyed until an ancestor of Prince Blueblood brought it to Princess Celestia’s attention. When asked where he’d gotten it, he’d no idea. He simply couldn't remember. “I was able to gain access to various books that provided just enough information that I was able to extrapolate the true composition of the stones, and how such a stone can grant an unusually long life span.”

“Oh my gosh… Princess Luna pressured Princess Twilight to get the elements of harmony and destroy that thing just recently.” Apple Bloom announced. “I heard she refused to do it. Only when Princess Luna said she’d get Starswirl to do it that she finally relented.”

Nova had a stricken look on her face. “No one ever said anything, I never knew about that.” She turned for the stairs and began to walk away. “I’m, I’m going to go write a letter home.”

“Maybe you shouldn't have mentioned that little detail.” Sweetie Belle said as Nova hurried away.

“Hang on, she’s known about it the whole time, and never said anything,” Hermione stated.

“And the last pon–person who tried to use the Alicorn Amulet went crazy and enslaved our entire town,” Scootaloo informed her. “It wasn’t fun. - Even kicked Nova’s mother out of town. Right off hand, I’d say she doesn’t want us having anything to do with it.”

“Kicked Luna out of town? She seems like she’d be a mighty powerful witch.” Ron asked.

“Oh no, she didn’t kick Luna out, it was Princess Twilight who got kicked out.” Apple Bloom offered. “And that was before she got married.

“Wait I thought Luna was her mother?” Harry asked.

“Oh, Luna is her mom too.” Sweetie Belle offered.

“How can she have two moms?” Hermione asked starting to get confused.

“Princess Twilight is her birth mother, but they are both married to the same Prince.” Sweetie Belle supplied.

“There are people who still do that sort of thing?” Hermione asked sounding as though the idea of it horrified her.

“I don’t have a problem with that.” Fred Weasley said from a chair nearby.

“Neither do I.” George offered also from the same chair. They presently had their nose buried in the book Nova had given them.

“Nobody asked you.” Hermione protested.

🕷

“Neigh-palm sticks like Elmer's glue, doo-da, doo-da, sticks to the itty bitty spiders too...” Luna was singing as she looked through an arms catalog.

“So help me if you blow up my house,” Nova warned.

“We would never dream of doing such a thing.” Luna offered. “We're putting everything in off-site storage.”

“That’s good, not in town though I hope.”

“An old barn some distance away. Alalme showed me where it was. She says it belonged to a man named Hendrixson.”

“Long gone I imagine. I’m glad he found his heart.” Nova said remembering the man. “Muma, did you have a fight with Twilight?”

Luna said nothing at first. She set down the catalog.

“High Priestess of Arcadia was it?” Luna asked.

“Muma.”

“I found out from the guards, and your mother hadn’t done a thing,” Luna informed her. “She was keeping it safe. Or so she said.” Luna sounded disappointed. “She had excuse after excuse, and that’s when I realized the amulet had the same enchantments as the blood moon crown. Your instinct to destroy it was dead on.”

“That wasn’t just instinct, I found out what they are. They are made by distilling the life force of sentient beings.”

“I see.” The horror of King Sombra's madness all rushed back into Luna's mind. “All those wars to protect the Chrystal Empire was just more of Sombra’s madness then.”

“The key to how they are made was in one of the books from home. I’d made copies of your own private library to include the books you had hidden away. Even then I only had hints. I used a find spell in the Hogwarts library and was directed to the restricted section. Getting the book I needed took all my cunning. I also kept the book. I locked it up with some of the more dangerous books I brought from Canterlot. Those stones are the vilest black alchemy ever conceived so I told Twilight to destroy them.”

“I had to do some tail twisting to get her to follow through.”

“So I hear.” Nova offered. “Lady Aiko has told me many times in many worlds that when in doubt, I should go with my heart.”

“Dare I ask what you are planning to do?” Luna asked giving Nova a calculated look.

“I think it time Princess Hope, and family paid Princess Twilight a visit.”

“You sure that’s a good idea?” Luna asked.

“Not really, but then what’s one more state visit?” Nova asked. “Besides, Princess Celestia took a big risk by sending the crusaders here in the first place. I can’t go as myself, can't do anything that would impact my younger self, but I should be able to get away with being Princess Hope from another dimension.” Nova had to think about what she was suggesting. "And I just thought that Twilight getting a chance to meet Goldwine and Alya when we aren't trying to corner a killer might be a nice break for her."

“I’ll see about getting you penciled in then, though it might be best for her to come here. The best time will be during the quidditch match.” Luna offered as a pony came galloping in.

“Troll Fart is on the move!”

“I’m going with them,” Nova announced and dashed for the rotunda.

“You can’t, he’ll recognize you.” Luna protested following quickly behind, her catalog forgotten on the floor. She passed through the archway just in time to see Nova, along with Nova’s old uniform, lift up into the air, both wrapped in Nova’s magic. Nova went from pony princess to hardened warrior in a matter of seconds. It was a trick worthy of Nightmare Moon. That or an anime magical girl, feel free to take your pick.

“Captain Hoofstrong, I’m taking point,” Nova said, her tone indicating she had no intention of arguing about it.

“Ensign.” Captain Hoofstrong said looking her over.

“Let her.” Lt Mouse replied as she strapped on her gear. Her feathery wings gone, replaced with bat wings. “Lt Mouse, ready.”

“Lt Ansaldo, ready.” offered a blue pegasus with a white mane and tail.

“Corporal Pfalz, ready.” announced a sable and gold bat pony.

“Petty Officer Morane, ready.” Morane was another bat pony, sable with a purple mane and tail.

“Gunny Gotha, ready.” Gotha, a pitch black pegasus with a platinum mane and tail.

“Ensign Loki, ready.” Like Nova, Loki was white with patches of black, but his mane and tail were blue.

“Ready.” Captain Hoofstrong announced. They were all wearing the purple livery of a shadowbolt save Nova who wore the blue-gray of a message runner. Each had a different colored gem in the eyepiece of their armor for protection, thanks to Nova who had her pendant fitted into her peytral. “Line up, helmets on!” Capt Hoofstrong ordered. “Shadow leader, radio check.”

“Shadow one, check.”

“Shadow two, check.”

“Shadow three, check.”

“Shadow four, check.”

“Shadow five, check.”

“Shadow six, check.”

“Knave one,” Nova said into her mic. The other’s gave her a strange look. “What? It’s my call sign.”

“I’ll follow with the elements,” Luna said. It was a well-practiced routine, except...

“Teleport!” Nova shouted, and the flight vanished in a flash, and a large pop!

💫

“Give a pony a little more warning!?” Lt Mouse shouted over the radio on finding herself plummeting over the edge of the Forbidden Forest. Wings were quickly spread.

“On-line to my right.” Captain Hoofstrong ordered, and they lined up wingtip to wingtip with the Captain on the left of the line. Nova took the position on the far end.

“Moonie,” Nova said followed by the image of Nightmare moon appearing by her side like a Klingon bird of prey uncloaking. She came complete with theme music played over the radios.

“Well Knave looks like you’re calling it.” Captain Hoofstrong said.

“Right then, Moonie, sniff him out.”

The image of Nightmare Moon dropped into the canopy of trees, Nova dove quickly after her followed by the others.

“You’re going in to fast!” Gunny exclaimed.

“This is it.” Corporal Pfalz said excitedly as he and the others dropped into the canopy behind Nova.

“These trees are too thick, we can’t keep up this speed!” Gunny warned.

“It’s just like Beggar's Canyon back home,” Loki told him.

“Moonie has the sent,” Nova called over the radio. “Listen if you heavyweights can’t keep up then drop back. If Sombra’s drones were after you, you’d be toast by now.”

“Alright, that’s enough chatter!” Captain Hoofstrong exclaimed. The speed they were going at, was extremely dangerous, but the filly was right, and this thing they were after was even faster.

Trees sped by in the darkening gloom, and before long only Loki and Lt Mouse had managed to keep up with Nova. Back at the rotunda the elements of harmony are only just now gathering. Dash has brought the Wonderbolts with her. All of them were still in human form.

:rainbowdetermined2:

“We came as quickly as we could,” Twilight said.

“Transform already.” Luna requested while prancing in place. “The chase is a hoof!”

“This may be faster if the none fliers remain in human form.” Dash offered, and a few minutes later ponies and riders were out of the gate racing for the forest. Pinkie was riding Luna dressed like a world war one fighter pilot complete with a leather flight cap, and a flowing white scarf. No one knew where the uniform had come from, and no one was going to ask. Apple Jack was being provided a lift by Soarin, and Rarity was given a lift by Silver Zoom also of the Wonderbolts.

“Darling, how are we to find them?” Rarity asked as they flew towards the forest.

A bright light erupted from somewhere deep in the forest.

“Right off hoof, I'd say we go there.” Applejack suggested just as another flash could be seen.

There were several more flashes followed by a mind-boggling lightning bolt coming down from the dark clouds. The shock wave nearly causes every pony to lose control of their flight.

:derpytongue2:

“I just wanted one little lightning bolt,” Nova said as she extracted herself from the branches of the tree she was in. She’d been thrown about a half dozen Celestia wing spans back into the trees. Celestia’s wingspan was close to twenty-five horns, a horn being the average length of a unicorn horn or a little over seven and a half meters. She didn’t come out unharmed either, and yet her first thought was not about herself. “Moonie, are you alright?” Moonie did not answer. “Moonie?”

“What about me?” Loki asked. He wasn’t in much better shape then Nova having taken his share of scrapes, cuts, and a splinter or two. “Lt Mouse? - Any pone hear me? - Great, you fried the radios.”

“I am not taking credit for that!” Nova protested while pointing at a huge crater. The trees around it were scorched, and or shredded. Many that were still standing either had their tops broken off or were now leaning out from the blast. “Lt Mouse?!”

“Over here.” Lt Mouse offered from another tree. “Any chance you got Troll Fart?” Her voice sounded strained.

“We should be so lucky,” Nova replied sarcastically.

“Loki,” Mouse called. “Could you get your medic kit, and extract me, my wings are pinned.”

“I’ll be right there,” Loki said, and rushed over to her. She had several branches piercing her wings. The remainder of the team arrived a few moments later to the scene of Loki, and Nova gingerly removing Lt Mouse from the remains of the tree. They weren’t exactly unscathed either but had been far enough back to where the blast had been muffled by the trees.

“And I thought Princess Luna was bad.” Captain Hoofstrong said as he surveyed the damage.

“I am not laying claim to that, I didn’t do it, I just wanted to hit the bastard with a lightning bolt, not whatever in Tartarus that was.” Nova protested.

“Sweet!” Dash exclaimed as she flew down to have a look. The other’s followed.

“What happened here?” Twilight asked with concern.

“She did.” The Shadowbolts said pointing at Nova.

“I did not.” Nova protested.

“Ah ha, a clue!” Pinkie exclaimed from the bottom of the pit. She was now dressed as Sherlock Holmes the ace detective. Pinkie reached down and picked up a large war hammer. “Says here, if found please return to Stark Tower 200 Park Avenue, Manhattan, New York. Ha, they spelled Manehatten wrong.”

“Well, there then. You can’t go blaming me just because some pony lost their war hammer.” Nova protested.

“Rather interesting timing if you ask me.” Loki accused. “And hit right where you were aiming.”

“Coincidence.” Nova protested.

“You’re hurt,” Twilight said going up to Nova.

“Mother, Lt Mouse has branches in her wings. We’ll deal with the splinter in my plot later.” Nova scolded. “Princess Twilight, I mean Princess Twilight.” Nova had forgotten to treat this Twilight like someone she wasn’t already very close to. As for the splinter, it was a fairly sizable chunk of wood that had penetrated Nova’s armor and blood could be seen oozing out.

If Twilight had any doubts before, she knew right then and there that this filly was definitely the daughter of a Princess Twilight.

“So now what?” Dash asked.

“We don’t know if we got him or not.” Lt Mouse offered as she was freed. She was in no shape to fly either.

“All we can do at this point is send out sweeps.” Captain Hoofstrong offered.

Lt Mouse was temporarily patched along with the other ponies who’d received injuries, and when they were ready they started back. Nova’s splinter had been removed with a bit of gauze placed between flight suit, and armor.

“We might want to teleport the rest of the way,” Nova suggested when they’d reached the edge of the forest. Their activities hadn’t gone unnoticed, and a number of the instructors could be seen near Hagrid’s hut looking towards the forest.

“I’ll get this.” Luna offered, and a moment later they were back in the rotunda.

“So who do you think this belongs to?” Pinkie asked. She was still holding onto the hammer.

“I’ve a mind to kick them in the plot when I find out.” Lt Mouse offered as they escorted her down to the infirmary.

“Is every pony alright?” Alalme asked entering the rotunda. “Nova, there’s a hole in your plot armor!”

“My plot shielding failed. Always the plot shielding for some reason.” Nova offered as she removed, and hung up her armor on the clotheshorse. She retrieved the pendant and hung it about her neck again. She stopped about halfway when she’d gone to remove her flight suit.

“You going to be alright?” Twilight asked.

“I’m going to need some hot water, it’s scabbed into the uniform,” Nova explained. Twilight and Alalme wanted to get her down to the doctor. “Doctor Hawkeye is going to be busy fixing Alice Mouse’s wings. Well get my flight suit off, put some ointment on it along with a simple dressing and it’ll be fine. It’s not the first time I’ve had wood in my plot.”

Twilight Looked stricken.

“Phrasing dear heart, phrasing,” Alalme whispered.

“What are you… Alrighty then, moving right along.” Nova said blushing, checked her pendant, and then proceeded into the back where she found Miss Aiko looking after the foals. She checked her pendent one more time whispering, “Come on show yourself already?” No Moonie. “Woona?”

Luna was about to go check on her security team but stopped instantly going to Nova. She knew from experience that Nova never used Woona unless it was dire, and Nova was looking distressed.

“Nova?” Luna asked gong to her and nuzzling her behind the ear.

“Moonie isn’t showing herself,” Nova said and used her magic to pass the pendant over to her. “Could you possibly have a look? It’s not like her to just vanish, and not come back when called.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” Luna said, took the pendant, and went downstairs.

“Mama?” Gold wine asked as Nova and Alalme passed through the lounge into the bedroom followed by Twilight. Twilight let out a strange prolonged squeak as Nova nuzzled Goldwine.

“Who’s foal is that?” Twilight asked once she’d regained control of her vocal cords. Twilight's previous visits had left her no opportunity to encounter the foals. Nor had it occurred to her that there might be any here at all. Let alone one that was apparently addressing this version of her daughter as Mama.

“Ours,” Nova replied quietly, as she went into the bath

“Ours, ours who?” Twilight asked as Nova’s response played havoc with her sensibilities.

“Ours.” Alalme offered. Her answer wasn’t helping.

“But, but, but?” Twilight asked. Her head kept going back and forth from the foals to the doorway Alalme and Nova had gone into.

“Hey, what’s been going on?” Scootaloo asked as she approached. She was presently in human form not having bothered to transform.

“Tell me his name so that I may kill him?” Twilight asked Scootaloo.

“Um, context?” Scootaloo asked. She’d seen some interesting moods out of Twilight and this was by far the most interesting.

“The foals.”

“Oh them. Ya, he died eighty-eight years ago is what I understand.” Scootaloo informed her.

“Eighty … eighty...” Twilight said, and proceeded to repeat the word. The data did not compute. Error error...

“And you broke her.” Aiko offered.

“By any chance are you Aiko the Avatar, or Aiko the fox pony?” Scootaloo asked giving her an odd look.

“That’s for me to know, and you to ponder for eternity.” Aiko offered.

“Ya, no, the avatar would never say something like that,” Scootaloo replied with a smile.

“She got you.” Nova offered coming out of the bedroom. She had a small patch of gauze stuck to her plot, and Alalme was right behind her. “Scootaloo is right. Your avatar is a lot more straight forward with her answers.”

“So what happened out there? The whole castle shook.” Scootaloo asked.

“I dropped the hammer of the gods.” Nova offered.

“Seriously? You’re going to ruin your hearing listening to Led Zeppelin that loud.” Scootaloo cautioned. “Seriously though, what happened out there?”

“I tried to blast Troll Fart with a lightning strike spell, and got a war hammer in the bargain, along with a big hole in the forbidden forest.”

“Seriously? You can even do that?” Scootaloo asked. A controlled bolt of lightning was some seriously advanced weather magic.

“Pinkie’s got the hammer if you want to see it.” Nova offered.

“Pinkie!” Twilight exclaimed snapping out of her stupor. “I should probably take that away from her.”

“Would you like to meet your grandson?” Nova asked Twilight.

“My what? Grandson?” Twilight looked like she was about to break again.

“Well technically.” Nova offered. “I rescued him, and then I liberated Alalme and Alya.”

“By the way, who’s looking after Myrtle?” Scootaloo asked.

“Don’t worry, Tia is on incubation duty.” Nova offered.

“Tia? Incubation?” Twilight asked. She’d been so distracted by Nova and the foals that only just now was she registering the Alicorn of light on the large bed in the bedroom. Twilight had at first taken the image to be a sunbeam coming in through an unseen window or skylight. “Celestia?”

“And she’s broke again,” Nova commented. “Come on mother, what say we have a nice lay down while you process all that information.”

“Um, alright,” Twilight said as she was directed to a sofa. “One thing though, why are you so much older than my Kitzumi Nova? You are her counterpart, aren’t you? She’s only five years old.”

“I think you’ve had enough difficult information for one day.” Nova offered as she set Twilight down. “Later, after I’ve had a nap, I’ve some notes I want you to see.” Nova then sat on a nearby sofa, lay down, and all but passed out. Goldwine, undaunted by this, jumped up and snuggled with her.

“Did she just pass out?!” Twilight exclaimed.

“And when she wakes up she’ll be famished.” Alalme offered.

“This is normal?” Twilight asked.

“Only happens when she overextends herself.” Scootaloo offered. “I guess that whatever it was that happened out there caused her to use too much juice.”

“That’s not very comforting,” Twilight replied. “And this whole set up isn’t working. Trying to catch, and contain that wraith in human guise is going to require a different tactic. We can’t just go chasing after it every time it comes out in the open. Something has to change. And what is that, that creature of light that looks like Princess Celestia?”

“I’m to understand she’s an avatar created by Princess Celestia, and she's a darn good incubator too.” Alalme offered. “Any chance I’ll get to meet the real Princess Celestia someday?”

“Well, I can’t really make any promises, but I won’t say it wouldn't happen.” Twilight offered. “Nova said that she rescued you? Sit, and tell me about it.”

🐉

Nova woke a short time later wondering why some pony was shining a light in her eye.

“Hey, that hurts you know?” Nova protested and hid her head under her wing.

“I’m checking for signs of a concussion.” Madam Pomfrey informed her.

“Will she be alright?” Luna asked.

“I’m fine,” Nova said, and then looked up at the worried faces. “I am fine, aren’t I?”

“You got hit hard enough to knock Moonie out of commission,” Luna informed her.

“I’m hungry,” Nova said. "Moonie?"

“She looks like she’s fine.” Madam Pomfrey offered. “Miss Nova, no headache? Aches, pains, nausea?”

“The only thing that hurts is my plot,” Nova informed her. “I think what happened is I put up a barrier in front of me when I realized there was way too much power. I didn’t factor in the kickback. So is it time for dinner, and what about Moonie?”

“She seems fine.” Madam Pomfrey offered.

"Don't worry about Moonie." Luna offered. "I can fix her."

Nova decided to transform into her human self only to find that her injury had somehow affected her human clothes. And she’d need more gauze as the one she’d had on fell off when she went to transform. Goldwine was still snuggled up to her and redoubled his efforts being the transformation usually meant she was about to get up and go somewhere he couldn't. Nova couldn't resist tickling him so she could watch him giggle and squirm.

“Come on, let's have another look at that injury of yours.” Madam Pomfrey offered. Twilight tried to pick up Goldwine, only to have him push in tighter to Nova. When Scootaloo tried, he gave in.

“Don’t worry,” Scootaloo said to Twilight as Nova got up and went with Madam Pomfrey, “He’s always a little shy around strangers.”

“Hi Goldwyn,” Twilight said.

“Goldwine.” Goldwine corrected.

“He’s so cute!” Twilight said as she held in a squee.

“And already knows his name.” Scootaloo offered. “And very snugly.”

Twilight couldn’t resist stretching her pony nose over to him, he looked at her, and for a moment their noses touched. His head immediately swung back to hide in the crook of Scootaloo’s arm. Madam Pomfrey had just come out of the bedroom, and couldn't hold back the squee. She regained her composure and went downstairs.

“Aww, he’s so cute.” Twilight was delighted when Alya flew up and landed on her back between her wings. “They can fly already?”

“Yes, and I am so grateful for this contained area for them to fly around in.” Alalme offered. “They can be a hoof-full. No idea how my parents managed.” Her question had a touch of regret. She simply hadn’t known her parents very long.

“Is Rarity still here?” Nova asked as she came back out of the bedroom. She’d a fresh outfit on, and had a skirt in her hand with a finger through a hole.

“She’d be downstairs if she’s still here.” Twilight offered. “Thinking of having her fix that?”

“If she’ll do it. It’s kind of an old style.” Nova offered.

“Why not use magic to fix it?” Twilight asked.

“And if someone casts a spell to undo spells the hole will come back.” Nova offered. “No, I’d rather it be fixed the old fashioned way.”

Nova went downstairs followed by Goldwine squirming free, and half trotting half flying after her. Alya not to be left behind took off after them.

“You go on, I want a word with Scootaloo,” Twilight said to Alalme.

“Here’s hoping we can have some time together,” Alalme said as she prepared to take off after Nova and the foals only for Nova to come running back.

“I almost forgot!” Nova announced with a slight edge to her voice. She'd draped the skirt around her neck. She’d a proverbial bone to pick with Twilight and had only just remembered. Nova went into the bedroom where she could be heard opening a cabinet, the cabinet closed, and she returned with a book bound in lurid red leather. The foals were standing nearby. “Mother, sorry, I know I should be calling you Princess Twilight. I’ve something for you, and I doubt you are going to want or like it.” Nova was hesitant but felt that this had to happen.

“Is that leather?” Twilight asked. She was stunned that a pony, even a fox pony would have such a thing. But this was a world of humans were such barbarism was common. Still, though, Nova was a pony.

“Yes, it is.” Nova offered. “I’d had several printed up by a muggle printer who wouldn't realize the contents of this is real. And I had them use this color specifically.”

“I don’t understand, why would you do that? “How could you take a life for a book?” Twilight asked horrified.

“The hide is from a dumb beast, not a sentient one. Not that that alone could justify it, and I’d like to think I haven't become just as bad as the humans.” Nova offered. She sounded as though she wasn’t sure herself anymore. “I chose this instead of card stock and canvas binding because it’s my notes on the Blood Stones. I want the very cover to proclaim the horror of what those things are. I’m to understand Princess Luna had to do some tail twisting to get you to destroy those stones." Nova informed with an edge to her voice. "I heard about it from Apple Bloom. By my estimates, it takes a thousand lives to produce even the smallest of stones. A spell cast over a potential battlefield to distill the essence of the life force of sentient beings. Ferment war. Gain virtual immortality at the expense of others. And they can be enchanted. And no I don’t know what the spell was, and I don’t want to know what the spell was.”

Twilight was horrified.

“I don’t want you being mad at Luna because she made you destroy that stone,” Nova said softly. She knew that this confrontation could potentially mar her future relationship, but felt compelled to it. “You knew that Sombra made the Alicorn Amulet, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if there was a spell on it preventing you from discarding or destroying the stone.”

“I’d thought to keep it as a memento?” Twilight offered.

“A memento of an episode that was best forgotten? Placed on a shelf like a trophy? I always wondered about it. And I could sense it’s malevolence. That’s why I never went anywhere near it if I could help it.”

“And here I was about to chew out Scootaloo for her part in creating that egg. My Nova wouldn't go near the amulet either. It never occurred to me there was more to it than her just not liking it.” Twilight said feeling as chastised as though Celestia herself had done it. No this was worse, this was being chewed out by one’s own foal. Or at last an older copy of her foal who seemed to have seen some hard times as well as the good. If Princess Celestia knew about the amulet, she’d stayed out of it. “Could you possibly wrap that up so I don’t have to touch it?” She’d except it, maybe even look at it, but she’d do it reluctantly.

“I think I can manage that.” Nova offered. “I’ve grown desensitized to the leather bindings. A good deal of the textbooks we use have leather bindings on them. I prefer putting book covers on them myself so I guess I haven't lost all my poneanity. The idea that it might have belonged to a creature I could have been friends with still bothers me.” She shuddered. “Also, I have the Blood Crown, so you don’t have to worry about finding it.” She held up her hand to forestall Twilight saying anything. “The stone was destroyed, and the spells striped from it. It’s been completely renewed into something I can use.” Nova went to a desk, got out a roll of parchment with which she made a book cover, and from a drawer retrieved a book bag that said Paw’s Book Barn, Beaver Town, Pearl, and Mount villa. “Here, now you don’t have to touch…”

“You’ve been to Paws books!?” Twilight asked wistfully. Thoughts of the legendary book store momentarily superseding the seriousness of the moment.

“I’ll have to take you there someday. We’ll have a mother-daughter outing.” Nova offered as she gave Twilight a hug rather than just telling her to focus. Twilight returned the hug hesitantly. “My intentions with the copies is to see to it they are distributed as a sort of warning. I used a Fidelius charm with the help of Tia to hide the origin of the book. Those of us in this room will be the only ones who’ll know where it came from.”

“Including the foals.” Twilight pointed out.

“It’s just a boring book they can’t as yet read, and I’ve every intention to take them back to Equestria as soon as I may. They’ll soon forget about the book, and they’ve the attention span of Rainbow Dash.” Nova offered with a smile, but then she switched back to being serious. “I sent the books anonymously to Gringotts with the suggestion that they place a copy in the vault of anyone suspected of trying to create a philosopher's stone as a sort of an implied warning. The Goblins fought several uprisings, not just for a measure of equality, but because they feared wizards would create philosopher’s stones, and flood the economy with the gold created by it. I suspect they’ll prove a good ally in seeing to it no one else ever attempts to make one.”

“You are really serious about this aren’t you?” Twilight said as she took the book bag by the handle. Later when she would open it, she’d see the author listed as I M E Mortal, and tell herself, I sure hope my daughter doesn’t turn out like her. Granted she’d yet to spend any time with Nova when she could just be herself. All Twilight had seen of her was the filly who’d had to grow up way too fast.

“Those who gain by the suffering of others are beyond contempt, and if I can curb such behavior by even a little I will.” Nova continued. “You also have to understand that if a creature like Tom Riddle were to gain access to Equestria...”

“And me with the means to their gaining unstoppable power right on my shelf,” Twilight said finishing Nova’s thought. Everything was coming into focus, and it was the sort of feeling she often got after coming out of one of her manic obsessive moods. Why had she kept that amulet where any pony, or any other creature, could just walk right in and take it. The thing had survived the destruction of the library tree for Celestia’s sake. “I just can’t understand why I didn’t destroy that stone years ago, now that I think of it?”

“I'm to understand it had similar charms as the Blood Moon crown had on it.” Nova offered. “Sombra made that with the end game of turning Princess Luna into one of his drones.”

“What?” Twilight asked. This was a tidbit of information she hadn’t known about.

“Luna found out what he was up to, and could no longer justify his actions.” Nova offered. “That’s when she went to Celestia.”

“And the rest is history now,” Twilight commented. “Scootaloo, I’m sorry, I’ve no business chewing you out either. It was my own bias that led to my not realizing how dangerous that book was in the hooves of an inexperienced magic user. I simply couldn't bring myself to believe that ghosts could be real. Had I been willing to accept that my assumption might be wrong I’d likely have thought twice about giving you that book.” She let out a sigh. “Celestia knows we intentionally limited how much money you had access to so you couldn't go blowing it all on something like buying your own train for instance.”

“We just wanted to give her another chance at life,” Scootaloo explained ignoring the train comment. She knew full well who owned a whole railroad. “We just plowed right into whether or not we could do it without ever once asking if we should.” The memory was difficult for her. “And then I got sick, and they found out about the egg. Having that egg taken, and then thinking Hagrid had made an omelet of it nearly broke me. I’d wake up in a panic in the middle of the night for several weeks to follow. I’d cry, and Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom would climb into bed with me.”

Alalme went to her and gave her a wing hug. "Losing an egg isn’t easy. You did get her back though.”

“Yes, I did,” Scootaloo replied, dropped back down to her pony form, and went into the bedroom to take over the incubation duties.

Later at dinner, they were disappointed to discover Professor Quirrell was on time for dinner, and apparently no worse for wear. On the other hand, they couldn’t know how many shorts the man had been through.

🍽

Quidditch. It was time for the big game, Gryffindor against Hufflepuff. Win this, and they’d pass Slytherin. The cute pink haired Hufflepuff cheerleaders cheered their team on unaware that their team was about to lose in record-breaking time. One of whom was rumored to be a little more than good friends with a tall dark Slytherin girl. Meanwhile, Sweetie Belle was presently swinging about a certain hammer with wild enthusiasm up in the stands with Apple Bloom, and Miss Nova. Princess Nova wasn’t actually there having been replaced by a changeling so Nova could spend some time with the Foals, Luna was working on Nova’s moon amulet, and Twilight was expected. Scootaloo presently sat in a section reserved for the Gryffindor team as a relief chaser.

Dumbledore had decided to come out to watch the game himself, and Snape was looking as sour as he ever had. The two had had words when Snape insisted on refereeing the match. Dumbledore didn’t like it anymore then the Gryffindor’s did, but had relented, all be it reluctantly. He’d come out not to watch the game, but to keep an eye on the troublesome pair. Quirrel was the primary concern, but then Snape was a double agent and one could never be quite sure who’s side such a person was on. Heads of house were not supposed to referee quidditch games either. Not to mention that Snape wasn’t exactly qualified to be a Quidditch referee. The teams marched out, the game started, shortly followed by a fight erupting in the stands. Draco Malfoy and Ron Weasley were presently having a go at each other along with Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle piling on top of another boy. Well at least they’re not using wands, thought Dumbledore.

Neville Longbottom couldn’t quite explain why he jumped into the fight save to keep the other two boys off Ron and found himself being knocked back down almost immediately. His hands reached out hoping to grab something, anything that might arrest his fall tumbled down, and was just regaining his footing as Crabbe and Goyle jumped down to start pounding on him.

The stands erupted in cheers as Harry raced after the snitch, past Snape within inches of colliding with him, and caught the snitch ending the game.

Neville’s right hand grasped the handle of Mjolnir. Now for whatever strange reason the enchantment of the hammer had no effect on the ponies. Not so for Mr Longbottom.

“What act of darkness is this?” Dumbledore asked in alarm as a bolt of lightning struck the stands where the fight was happening. Students had gone flying, all save Neville who now stood tall and proud holding a great war hammer over his head, his body having instantly grown in stature, muscles on top of muscles, he wore an armored chest plate, and a red cape billowed from his back. “What omen can this be?” It took him but a moment to realize that Professor Quirrell, Snape, and Harry were now gone. He cursed under his breath, and nearly missed the squad of armored pegasi making haste towards the forest. Clearly, there was something going on at his school that he was not privy to, and just how advanced were these pegasi? He’d have to solve the mystery of the pegasi later. Neville needed to be disarmed, and then… Dumbledore began to wonder if perhaps he’d best find Harry first?”

Nova had been patiently waiting in Luna’s pavilion while Luna worked on repairing the charms of her moon amulet. They were both in pony form, and Nova was laying down forelegs forward and had Goldwine and Alya climbing on her. The amulet itself hung in the air suspended in Luna’s magic, the color shifting every so often, and Luna appeared to be staring off into space while in a sitting position, her eyes glazed over.

Twilight had just arrived and waited outside with Alalme, the two looking in. Twilight couldn't help but smile as this was a side of Nova she’d yet to see even in her own foal. “They are climbing all over her, and yet she just sits there and takes it,” Twilight said in a whisper.

“She’s a good mother,” Alalme whispered. “Were you as patient?”

“Me? She doesn’t get that from me.” Twilight said, and then corrected herself. “Perhaps her Twilight was. I wasn’t a proper mother to Spike at all, and always to busy for my own little foals. Mine and Luna’s. They are with foal sitters right now. This nova had expressed a desire to spend some time with me when we weren’t otherwise engaged in tracking down and containing that creature. And yet here she is laying there waiting for Luna to finish fiddling with that pendant.”

“I’m to understand it has something to do with why Moonie hasn’t been around,” Alalme replied.

“Who or what is Moonie anyway?” Twilight asked.

“Moonie, I’m to understand, is a magically generated copy of Princess Luna.” Alalme offered. “She is patient, caring, protective, mischievous, and I must confess I find it hard to think of her in terms of being nothing more than a sophisticated copy of the real thing.” Alalme had a smile on her face. “She feels very much like a real pony to me.”

Just then Moonie appeared in the space between Luna and Nova. She wasn’t quite solid yet and looked rather like she was an old analog image on a TV screen that had bad reception. Nova sat up sending the foals sprawling behind her.

“Almost...” Luna said quietly, and then a moment later Moonie was in full focus. Moonie, who was presently looking more like a young Luna with a white mane and tail than the adult version, bounced over to Princess Luna and gave her a hug. “You’re as much my daughter as Nova is, aren’t you?” Luna replied as she returned the hug. Moonie broke from the hug, bounced over to Nova, and tackled her, followed by the foals tackling her as well.

“You’re back, I thought I’d lost you,” Nova said giving Moonie a hug. Tears could be seen in her eyes. “Let's go play in the garden,” Nova suggested, followed by the four trotting out the door oblivious to Twilight’s presence.

“Now that’s more like my Nova,” Twilight commented as she watched the four flit about.

“That spell has surpassed her original parameters, and is no longer distinguishable from a living being.” Luna offered as she walked over to Twilight. She still held the pendant. “She is also this Nova’s anchor. Kind of how your Smartypants was yours, only more real.”

“Smarty is… alright, I get it.” Twilight said feeling a bit protective of Smartypants.

“How attached might you have been to Smartypants if the doll could take on the form of a real pony, interact with you, talk with you, really protect you, not just from imagined threats, but real threats, as well as provide comfort when needed?” Luna asked. “Now imagine you are lost in time and dimension and that doll is the one permanent thing in your life.”

“That’s… wow.” Twilight said as the implications hit her. Moonie was equal to a sister to Nova in every way.

“Princess Luna, Troll Fart is on the move.” Offered a guard approaching quickly.

“But it’s the middle of the day?” Twilight asked. “And we haven't the surveys to do the interactive map of the forest yet.”

“He snuck away from the game.” The guard offered. “Also the game seems to have ended, Sulky Raven followed, and then the Potter boy followed them.”

Luna stood back and armored up. This time she’d two Mini guns each having a small ammo case that’d been spelled to be bigger on the inside. It took hours to fill them. Minutes to empty them and Luna could power the mini guns with magic so that the need for electricity was never an issue. The ammo containers were referred to by the industry as Hollywood magazines.

“You know, I think you are enjoying this entirely too much,” Twilight said, and gave Luna a kiss.

“I’ll never grow weary of the thrill of the hunt,” Luna offered. “..and overkill is fun.” And with that, she teleported away.

“Mom, what’s going on?” Nova asked rushing over to Twilight, and Alalme.

“No time – get Scootaloo!” Tia the horse of light commanded popping in, right in front of Nova.

“Now?”

“Any moment!” Tia exclaimed.

Nova was gone in a flash.

🐣

Harry had seen Snape hurrying into the forest and as he was still on his broom it was a simple matter to follow him into the trees from the relative safety of the air. Harry circled about over the treetops and then dropped down to a Beech tree. Snape and Professor Quirrel were arguing, nor did it take Harry long to find out what it was about. They still hadn’t figured out how to get past Fluffy. As unbelievable as that was. Harry nearly laughed out loud and had to clap a hand over his mouth. Nearly every boy in Gryffindor fourth-year and older had penetrated the depths of the vault by now.

Professor Quirrel began looking about apprehensively. Harry froze thinking that perhaps he’d heard him.

There was another movement in the trees as well. Harry looked about to discover armored pegasi taking up strategic positions around the two wizards. A small black and white pegasus with a blue mane and tail landed in Harry’s tree.

“You really should get back to the castle before you get caught in the crossfire.” The pegasus whispered. Harry's eyes widened. Down below Quirrel cussed, popped smoke, and flew away at a blinding speed leaving Snape standing there somewhat confused. This was followed by the forest floor erupting on either side of him in long straight lines going past him accompanied by the sound of thousands of woodpeckers all pecking away at once. And it was loud too. Snape made the mistake of pulling out his wand and was blasted back into the trees by a powerful beam of magic. What Harry saw next was the Queen of Nightmares cruising down through the trees with strange multi-barreled muggle devices held in magic fields to either side of her. Fire erupted from the barrels, trees toppled, the nightmare continued into the forest, and was followed by the pegasi. At this point, he decided to get back to the castle while chanting nope.





Elsewhere in the forest three heroes stand at the edge of the crater the hammer had made.

“OK, right off hand I’d say it definitely hit here.” Offered a man in red armor. The other two had on tight fitting outfits of red white and blue, one having a red cape, the other having a red and white band around his waist, a star on his chest, and a large round shield that looked like a target with a star in the middle of it.

“Well, it’s not here now.” Captain America offered.

“I can see that,” Thor replied testily. “It’s not like anyone can just pick up my hammer and walk off with it.”

“Well maybe if you weren’t so reckless in flinging that thing around we wouldn't be...” Iron man was saying but stopped as his sensors picked up two objects coming through the forest stupidly fast.

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!” Quirrel screamed as he flew past.

“What was that?” Cap asked.

“Kind of gave me the sense of a wraith, but what could possibly frighten something like that?” Thor asked looking in the direction Quirrel had gone.

“His ex?” Ironman offered and then decided doing the same might be a good idea. “Running might be a good idea,” Tony said, started to power up to take off, but found himself caught in Luna’s magic.

Luna dropped down a few paces away transformed to her human appearance. “Hello Tony, going somewhere.”

“Um guys, a little help?” Tony asked.

“That depends, ex-girlfriend?” Cap asked.

“Um, well, you see...” Tony started.

“Nope, sorry, you’re on your own,” Thor replied.

“Tony, you really need to quit ignoring me when I call.” Luna cautioned.

“Luna, I don’t know what you’re talking about?” Tony said his thrusters still at full power.

“Will you relax, I’ve been married for six years,” Luna informed him.

“Oh, hey congratulations…” Tony said backing off on the thrusters. “So um, what was it you wanted?”

“War hammer, who’s is it?” Luna asked in a very kind yet alarming tone. All eyes slowly went to Thor.

“You see, there was this dragon...” Thor offered rather sheepishly.

Chapter 14: Here there be dragons.

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Nova flew down to the quidditch area where she pretty much ignored the goings on around Longbottom, found Scootaloo, dove down, and snatched her up by the belt of her team uniform.

“I can fly on my own you know?!” Scootaloo protested as the two flew away.

“No time!” Nova announced and dropped her in the process.

Scootaloo let out a squeak, instinct kicked in, and a moment later there were two pegacorns flying together.

“Seriously, what the buck!?” Scootaloo protested.

“The egg!” Nova said excitedly.

“Egg?”

“Egg!”

“EGG!!”





The two pegacorns speeding away was not missed by Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle. The two quickly extracted themselves from the innocent bystanders and ran for the castle. Meanwhile, instructors were ordering Neville to drop the hammer. Not knowing that doing so was generally considered a bad idea he did just that. The hammer crashed through the bench, and down through the stands snapping several supports before hitting the ground where it made a small crater. Neville snapped back to himself, and the grandstand just sort of started to sway back and forth. A mad scramble to get off the stricken stand ensued.

Crabbe and Goyle came to there senses, partially at least, and looked about wondering what was going on.

“Run, you idiots!” Malfoy shouted from the safety of a neighboring stand. He, Ron, and a few others had been helping others to scramble across the gaps between the stands.

“Listen Malfoy, just because your father is a big shot doesn’t mean you get to tell me what to do all the time!” Crabbe shot back, as the stand cleared.

“Ya.” Goyle echoed.

“Suit yourself then.” Draco offered as the stand started to teeter.

“Why do you hang out with them anyway?” Ron asked as the stand started to tilt into the pitch. All animosity had been momentarily forgotten.

“You know, I’m really not quite sure.” Draco offered as the stand started to fall. “And they picked a really stupid time to assert themselves.”

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!” Crabbe and Goyle screamed on their way down.





Scootaloo arrived at the bedroom just in time to see a section of eggshell fall away to reveal a pair of tiny hooves with white legs. Scootaloo moved in, climbed onto the bed, lay down, and started clearing away bits of eggshell. A little ivory freckled head popped up covered in curly sweaty red mane, and a small white horn scarcely protruding from the mane. When more of the back was revealed ivory and gold wings were revealed. Myrtle had a band of gold on her back from the base of her skull to her plot bordered by golden dapples, but her overall color was that of ivory.

“So, um...” Scootaloo began as she nuzzled, and cleaned Myrtle with a combination of soft magic, and little kisses. “..you had a milk mother lined up?”

“Ahh, be right back,” Nova announced, and dashed for the stairs going right past Alalme, Goldwine, and Alya who’d been looking on in excitement.

“Nova!” Alalme called. Nova stopped to look back. “I’m still nursing.”

“Oh,” Nova said. “But I can't ask you to nurse three foals.”

“That’s quite alright. Istel, and Talma will be able to help out once their eggs have hatched.” Alalme offered.

“I should go tell them Myrtle has hatched.” Nova offered and dashed downstairs.

Alalme smiled, turned, and went into join Scootaloo and Myrtle. Alalme looked Myrtle over checking to make sure Scootaloo did a proper clean up, removed the remainder of the shell and joined Scootaloo and Myrtle on the bed. “You are blessed to live in the world you do.” Alalme offered.

“How’s that?” Scootaloo asked.

“She’s brightly colored, and a button head.”

“It’ll be a while before a proper set of flight feathers come in is what you mean,” Scootaloo replied. “Nova and I were the same.” She told Alalme with a look of bliss on her face. “I always kept my mane up to hide that little button. It didn’t hide so well when the horn started growing. Far too many ponies back home don’t seem to understand that having a horn and wings don’t make a pony a royal pretender.”

“Royal pretender?” Alalme asked.

“Attitudes of some of the ponies at home can be kind of out there.” Scootaloo offered. “Princess Celestia and Princess Luna are seen as deities. They are taller than every pony else and have considerably more magic. On top of that, ponies with both wings and a horn are extremely rare.”

“They are here as well. Few survive into adulthood.” Alalme offered. “But then ours is a much harder world to live in.”

“In my world, it’s ignorance that harms ponies like myself.”

While Alalme and Scootaloo discussed the hardships of being labeled an artificial alicorn, Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom having thrown caution to the wind are presently galloping through the halls of Hogwarts on all four hooves. Yes, hooves. Had not the majority of the student body been out watching the game and subsequent collapse of one of the viewing stands, our two little ponies might have been in serious trouble. Even so, they realized their mistake when the battle cry, “Ponies in the halls!” began to ring out.

Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle narrowly dodged several flying glomps from boys and girls alike.

“Pig snout!” Apple Bloom called as the two skidded up to the portrait of the fat lady. The portrait swung open, they dove in and found themselves in the midst of a group of excited Gryffindor girls who hadn’t gone to the game but had heard there were ponies in the school. “Oh, horseapples!”

“PONIES!!!!”

Sweetie Belle immediately teleported away. Which was something being she hadn’t as yet figured out how to do that. Panic, the great motivator.

“Sweetie, you bi...” Apple Bloom began, but then Sweetie teleported back, and then teleported them both to the rotunda.

“I wouldn't forget you.” Sweetie Belle offered apologetically.

“I swear I have never felt closer to death than at that moment.” Apple Bloom replied. They both had to take a moment to calm down.

When the two had decided they were calm enough, they went back to check on Myrtle and were delighted at the beautiful little filly. Scootaloo was bottle feeding Myrtle. Sunset Shimmer having anticipated the need had procured donations only just that morning from mothers in Ponyville who were told only that it was for a young pegasus who she anticipated would be in need. As for going down to dinner, it was decided to send a changeling in Scootaloo’s place. No pony was going to ask her to walk away from that cute baby so soon, and Scootaloo would be provided for from the in house kitchens that provided for the pegasi guard force.

“She’s beautiful.” Sweetie offered once the shock of seeing Scootaloo in a much more mature light then she was accustomed had faded.

“You don’t mind if I give her a new name do you?” Scootaloo offered.

“What did you have in mind?” Apple Bloom asked. “I mean, it’s going to be difficult to think of her in any terms other than as Myrtle.”

“Rose, I want to call her Rose.” Scootaloo offered. “She can be Rose Myrtle, which is a good pony name, and she is a pony now.”

“Which is a good thing,” Sunset said from the doorway of the bedroom. She had a smile. “Otherwise this would be even more awkward then it already is. Sure would be nice if there’d been a boy involved.” Sunset didn’t really have a lot of room to talk, but then at least these girls would have a lot more support than she ever had. Sunset could only wonder what life would have been like if she’d had swallowed her pride and gone back to Celestia when she needed her the most. Pride had always been her downfall. As for the crusaders, their undoing would ever stem from a desire to help others combined with a heaping helping of a lack of caution.

:scootangel:

When Nova, Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and let's say Louise number 2 went down to the Gryffindor common room there was a lot of chatter about everything that had happened that day.

“Ponies here, in the common room?” Nova asked one of the older girls and then added that it had to be a prank. Of course, she suspected otherwise and gave Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle a dirty look as they went out the door ignoring the suspicious looks of the girls who’d clearly heard the brightly colored Shetland pony use the name Sweetie in Apple Bloom's voice.

“Oh right, and who was it who swooped down, and snatched up Scootaloo.” Apple bloom hissed.

“There is a unicorn killer on the loose,” Nova informed the two. They froze in the hall. They’d never heard the full story. “We haven't actually caught him in the act, but we’ve a good idea who’s doing it. Apple Bloom, about all you have to worry about, is getting snuggled to death by the girls.”

“Ahhh….” Apple Bloom started but wasn’t sure she knew quite what to say. She had definitely seen that predatory look in the eyes of the girls in the common room. “OK, point taken.”

“So if I was found out?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“We don’t really know why they are doing it.” Nova offered. “We do have a theory but it’s kind of a stretch.” Nova took a moment before continuing. “Claiming you are Animagus or telling them you are a Metamorphmagi may not be enough to insulate you.”

As more Gryffindors began to file out of the common room, the four decide it’d be best to keep quiet about their activities and anything concerning things the majority of the student body need not know about. When they arrived in the great hall, they found there was a large gathering of students and faculty. In the middle of it was Princess Luna and three men. Being somewhat on the short side they’d no idea who was in the center of the crowd.

Nova pushed through to see who it was and discovered Luna talking with a rather unlikely group of individuals. They weren’t wizards, but they weren’t muggles either. “Um, Muma?” Nova asked as she made her way through the last ring of people. Nova looked at them feeling like she should know who they were.

“Nova, I thought you might show up right about now,” Luna said beckoning Nova to her. “I’d like you to meet an old friend of mine.”

“Um, hi.” offered the man in the red suit of armor with no apparent helmet. “She’s kind of old for, what was it…?”

“It’s complicated.” Luna offered. “Nova, this is an old friend of mine, Tony Stark, and with him are Steve Rodgers, and Thor Odinsson.

“Hi,” Nova said.

“So, can I get my hammer back?” Thor asked.

“Sweetie Belle, you still have that hammer Pinkie found?” Nova asked.

“I think I left it out at the quidditch stand.” Sweetie offered.

“Neville had it last, we’ll have to ask him.” Apple Bloom informed them.

“So that was yours then?” Professor Dumbledore asked looking at Thor critically.

“I’m Thor… you know, the whole god of thunder thing. And what do you mean by he had it last?” He gave the girls a puzzled look.

“Oh, you’re a god, I’d no idea,” Dumbledore replied sounding just a bit bemused.

“From Asgard.” Thor offered. “I’m sorry about the hole in the forest, and I’m to understand there...” Luna was looking him right in the eye. He got the message to shut up about what she’d told him about operatives in the forest.

“He was chasing down a rogue dragon.” Mr Rogers offered. "We were just helping him retrieve his hammer."

“A Norwegian Ridgeback.” Thor offered. “I kind of lost track of the hammer over your forest.”

“I see,” Dumbledore replied. “It’s a very powerful magical artifact.

“It was made by Sindri of Niðavellir in the mountain kingdoms of the dwarfs of old.” Thor offered.

“Not goblin made?” Dumbledore asked.

“By thunder, no.” Thor protested.

“Well, I’m afraid it’s at the bottom of a pile of rubble.” Dumbledore offered. Which is still being cleared. A viewing stand collapsed, two boys were injured, and we are missing a member of the faculty.”

“If you’re talking about Professor Snape I saw him out in the forest. I’m sure he’ll be along sooner or later… provided nothing got him while he was out there.” Luna offered with a rather guilty smile.

“Well then, that’s everyone accounted for,” Dumbledore remarked.

“Muma, why don’t we show these gentlemen to the quidditch stands so they can retrieve Mr Odinsson’s hammer.” Nova offered taking hold of Thor’s hand. He’d caught sight of Professor Quirrell and was looking at him like he was set to throw down with the wreak of a man at any moment.

“Yes, that might be a good idea.” Luna offered, maneuvered to Thor’s other side, and the two escorted him out the door followed by the other two men.

“Remarkable,” Dumbledore said as they left. “The man with the round shield, Mr Rogers, he looks remarkably like a man who was part of a mixed task force that fought in the war against the Wizard known as the Red Skull. He was called Captain America.”

“I’d have taken them for muggles if not for Mrs Moon.” Flitwick offered.

🎯

Nova returned a short time later and took up her place at the Gryffindor table. Dumbledore stood up, said a few things, took five points away from each individual involved in the fight, and then rewarded ten points each to Ron and Draco for their ability to put differences aside, and decisive thinking which helped to clear the damaged viewing stand before it collapsed. Though it was a pity about the two boys who proved too stubborn to be helped. He also found the need to tell everyone that if ponies are spotted in the building, students are not to chase them, as it will only make things worse.

Snape came shuffling in just as Dumbledore had finished, and sat down again. Snape apologized for his tardiness and sat down. Snape was looking somewhat disheveled as well. His robe was dirty and his normally straight black hair was anything but straight. There was a stick in his hair as well, leading to whispers suggesting the stick had migrated from its usual location.

“What happened to him?” Ron asked.

“I saw him go out into the forest.” Harry offered.

“And?” the twins asked.

“He got blasted by a Nightmare,” Harry informed them. “A Nightmare with Gatling guns of some sort.”

“Oh, get off!” Ron protested. “A Nightmare with Gatling guns my foot.”

“They’re called Mini guns.” Louise2 offered.

“Now Louise, didn’t we tell you to be careful about what you tell people?” Nova reminded her.

“Oh, sorry. - You are absolutely right Ron, it is get off.” Louise2 replied.

“I don’t suppose you want to tell me what the real Louise is doing?” whispered Hermione.

“Don’t know what you are talking about?” Apple Bloom offered. Meanwhile, Seamus Finnigan was going on about Avengers, and how can you people not know who Thor is?

“Is he some kind of famous dragon hunter?” Nova asked.

“Dragon hunter?” Seamus asked in astonishment. “He’s the God of Thunder.”

“I thought I was the god of thunder?” Nova asked.

“No, you’re the good of tsundere.” Apple Bloom teased.

“Am not.” Nova protested with a pout on her face.

“The tsundere is strong with this one.” Sweetie Belle teased.

“What’s tsundere?” Hermione asked.

“Someone who seems cold, distant, and can even be hostile if their personal space is invaded, but is actually a warm caring individual once you get to know them.” Sweetie Belle offered.

“Do I seem cold and distant?” Nova asked.

“You do, kind of.” Idda Peverell offered. “You’ve warmed up since you got here.”

“I’ve moved around a lot.” Nova offered. “It’s always hard to leave those I care about behind.” Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom gave Nova a hug.

“Well if it helps, those two bonehead teachers of ours still don’t know how to get past Fluffy.” Harry offered.

“Seriously?” Apple Bloom asked with a big grin. Fluffy had been replaced with a first-class illusion created by Lady Aiko several weeks prior, for the benefit and safety of both dog and students. Anyone other then the intended targets would just get slobbered on. The Troll was also replaced with an illusion along with other adjustments to prevent students from getting injured once it had been discovered that the only detection charms had been on the mirror itself. “What do we have to do, replace Fluffy with a kitten?”

“At this point, I doubt they’d be able to get past that.” Nova lamented.

🍻

Meanwhile, at a local bar known as the Hog’s Head, Luna is presently sitting at the bar talking to a man who’s looks were hard to define. He is of average build, short black hair slicked back, and a long thin black mustache that blended down into a well-manicured beard. He wore black trousers, and an immaculately tailored black jacket with a white lapel, under which was a white shirt with a large oversized collar fastened in front with a black bow tie. At first glance, one might mistake him for a muggle, but to do so would be a grave mistake.

“So where’s my bug spray?” Luna asked.

“I’m afraid I’m having some difficulties on that bug spray.” He said. “Seems the customs agents don’t think napalm counts as bug spray.”

“Bet they’d change their mind soon enough if they saw the spiders I want to spray with it,” Luna said with a smile.

“Oh don’t tempt me.” He replied with a smile.

“Not to but in, but what’s napalm?” The bartender asked.

“A highly flammable sticky jelly.” Luna offered.

“To kill spiders?” The bartender asked.

“I’ve a mind to burn out the acromantula colony in the forbidden forest.” Luna offered.

“Acromantulas?” he asked horrified at the idea there could be a colony of the giant spiders so close.

“Hundreds of them, some as big as a shed, and they’ve been venturing into what you’d call muggle areas.” Luna offered. “They are a non-native invasive species, they are dangerous, and they’ve got to go.”

“Hundreds?!” he said with a squeak and dropped the glass he’d been polishing.

“Wizards can use wards to keep them out, but by not taking proactive measures, people outside the wizarding community are being affected. Are there no foresters, or game wardens who keep an eye on the health and well being of that forest?” Luna inquired.

“Just Hagrid.”

“I wouldn't be a bit surprised if that dull-witted buffoon was responsible.” Offered the man in black.

“Hagrid is a good groundskeeper.” The bartender offered.

“Who is, I’m to understand, doing a job that was once done by a large team of wizards and witches who actually graduated.” Luna pointed out. “And yes, he’s a good sort, very likable.”

“I sense a but in there.” The bartender commented.

“He’s got some judgment issues.” Luna offered. “The Master here is at least partially right. Hagrid did release an acromantula when he was a student at Hogwarts. Granted it takes more than one to establish a colony. However, that spider had been suspected of killing a girl, and the release of that creature prevented the Aurors from confirming whether or not the spider was responsible. Had Hagrid not released that spider, the investigation would have turned to one Tom Riddle, and it was Tom who would become Voldemort.”

The barkeep and the handful of others in the bar looked at her in horror.

“So you see, by one selfish act a murderer went on to kill again, and again, and… well, I don’t really need to tell you now do I? Oh, how the purebloods flocked to him, and he with a muggle father.”

“You shouldn't be saying stuff like that!” A wizard shouted standing so fast that his chair toppled. He pulled out his wand, and then to his perplexion found he was now pointing his wand at his own head.

“Such fools these mortals be.” The Master said, and chuckled. “Princess, you know, you could rule this world.”

“If I ruled this world I’d have to govern it,” Luna replied. “No thank you. I’ve more than enough to keep me busy.”

“What about him?” The master asked referring to the man now staring down the business end of his own wand.

“Oh, that’s not my doing. Surely you didn’t think I’d come here without a shadow or three to watch my back?”

“Don’t you trust me?” The Master asked in feigned hurt, sounding a bit like Discord.

“You? Of course, I can trust you. I can trust you because I know what to expect from you. You are a businessman who’d like nothing more than to get one over on Mr Fixed Point in Time.”

He started laughing. “True, too true.”

🌌

Elsewhere, Captain Hoofstrong has given Rodgers a lift so that he wouldn't have to hoof it all the way back to their pick up point. Tony Stark -Iron Man was with them with his helmet back on, but Thor had gone on ahead.

“This is sweet, sure you don’t want to partner up?” Captain Rodgers offered from the back of the large pegasus.

“My duty is to my Princess.” Hoofstrong offered as Stark dropped down to get a better look at something in the forest. “I wouldn’t get too close!” Hoofstrong called after him. There were several flashes of bright light a moment later. Iron Man came rocketing back up covered in sticky gray netting of some sort. “Can’t say I didn’t warn you.”

“What the absolute heck!” Stark said as he rejoined them.

“Heck?” Hoofstrong asked.

“The big boy scout doesn’t like it when I swear.” Stark offered. Rodgers just rolled his eyes.

“I’ve a princess who swears like a long shore teamster, and can kick plot to back it up.” Hoofstrong offered.

“We aren’t talking about Princess Luna, because I don’t recall her using a lot of bad language?” Iron Man asked.

“The little one, her daughter. She’s been through some rough stuff. Displaced in time I'm to understand.” Hoofstrong replied. “So, what do you think of our little spider problem.”

“F***!!! - Little he says?! - Those are the biggest F’ing sons of Bytches I’ve ever F’ing seen!!!” Iron Man exclaimed. “Hang on, the bug spray thing in the news!”

“Wait a moment, that report about a seizure of napalm marked as bug spray, that was you guys?” Captain America asked. “Just how big are these spiders?”

“Oh, I’d say about the size of a Sherman tank. To use a point of reference you’ll understand.” Stark offered. “There was one that looked like it was bigger then a King Tiger.”

“No. - There is no way.” Rodgers protested.

“We’re clear of the forest.” Hoofstrong offered. “I see some military personnel, I’ll drop you with them, and I’m curious about what they are doing.” Hoofstrong set down a short distance away from the farm and transformed back to his human form resulting in Steve Rodgers riding on his shoulders.

“You think you could perhaps set me down now?” Rodgers asked as Hoofstrong jogged around to the farm. What they found were some rather unfriendly men and women in camouflage BDUs and light blue berets on which was a cap badge of a globe with wings stretching out and under the globe the word UNIT.

“Don’t move!” One of the soldiers shouted as a number of guns were pointed their way.

“Is this how Brits greet everyone, and where’d Mr Stark go?” Hoofstrong asked.

“I’m to understand those blue berets are United Nations." Rodgers offered.

“Names Hoofstrong, and I’m with the Eques corporation.” Hoofstrong offered. “And this is Steve Rodgers.”

“Why are you wearing uniforms?” Demanded a woman.

“I’m private security, and he’s Captain America.” Hoofstrong offered.

“I’m going to get down now, try not to shoot us.” Rodgers offered. He slowly dropped down to stand on his own two legs, and then slowly stepped up to the left of Hoofstrong.

“Alright, who are you, and what are you doing here?” Demanded a dark complected officer as she approached.

“And you are?” Rogers asked.

“I’m Brigadier Bambera. - Who are you?”

“I’m Captain America.”

“A likely story.” The Brigadier cut in.

“I believe that is who he is.” Hoofstrong offered.

“And who are you, is that some kind of uniform, you aren’t the person supplying weapons to the ranchers around here are you?” The Brigadier asked in an accusing manner.

“I’m with the Eques Corporation. I’m with the private security unit of the Eques Corporation. We sell supplies for horses.”

“That’s not a denial.” The Brigadier shot back.

“We’ve sold nothing that’s illegal.” Hoofstrong countered.

“Explain this!” She then produced a long arrow with a canister at the end where the tip would be. “And explain the ballista at the top of the silo.”

“One, it’s not illegal to have, and two, there have been a lot of attacks on the local livestock by stray dogs. The canister has a repellent, and the ballista just makes it faster to get the repellent to where the dogs are.”

“Repellent, for dogs? - I doubt that.” Offered a funny little man coming out to them. He had on an off white pork pie hat, a brown jacket, and a sweater that was covered in question marks.

“It’s the Riddler.” Captain America said on seeing the man.

“The who?” Hoofstrong asked. “The Riddler isn’t even part of your franchise.”

“I’m the Doctor. I am not the Riddler, nor The Who. And the rest of you, put those guns down before you shoot someone.”

“Doctor?” Hoffstrong asked. “How do I know you are who you say you are?”

“You know this Doctor?” Captain America asked.

“The Doctor I knew had white hair, and always dressed impeccably. I did meet him again recently, but he’d really let himself go. His hair had gone from white to brown, and it was all spiky. He’d taken to wearing pinstripes as well.”

“Pinstripes? Oh dear.” The doctor said. “Well, I don’t know how I’m to prove I’m Who to you.” He rummaged around in a pocket and produced a small white paper bag. “Jelly Baby?”

“Don’t mind if I do,” Hoofstrong replied, and took one of the offered sweets trying it. “Just like what the Doctor ordered from Sugar Cube corner. I guess that is you. A word in private, just you and me?”

“Now hold on Doctor, you aren’t going to trust him are you?” The Brigadier cautioned.

“Seems like a reasonable sort. I don’t see why not?” The Doctor offered.

The two walked a short distance away.

“Doctor, it’s a bit of a mess here. And no, that’s not dog repellent in that canister, it's spider spray. Specifically formulated for one especially nasty large spider.”

“Spider?”

“Ranging in size of a small cab to a lorry, and no, they are not native. Also, I can’t tell your friends about it thanks to British law.” Hoofstrong offered. “There’s a rather serious schism within the government of the United Kingdom, and only one side even knows about it.”

“Why ever for.”

“There is in this world as in mine individuals who have abilities that are for lack of a better explanation, magic. Persecution of those who have these abilities by those who have not, forced a large segment of this world's society to go underground, figuratively speaking of course. Beyond the hedgerow on the other side of the field is a forest. It’s a nature reserve set up in the tenth century, and it is so secret, that the majority of the people on this planet don’t have a clue it’s there. The very laws of this land prevent me from openly acknowledging any issue derived from the magical community to individuals not part of that community.”

“So why tell me? Aren’t you breaking that very law right now by telling me this?”

“Equestrians never agreed to the secrecy accords, and there is nothing that says that I, as an alien, can’t tell you, as an alien, anything I want.”

“There is always a loophole, isn’t there.” The Doctor replied with a wry grin.

“The branch of the government that manages that reserve are their own separate government answerable no one else.”

“No one?”

“They’ll report to the Prime Minister when horse apples hit the fan, but that’s about it so far as I know.” Hoofstrong offered with a resigned air. “But to make a long story short, rather then go through endless bureaucracy we decided to take matters into our own hands.”

“Hooves don’t you mean?”

“Well, that too.”

“So how is it Equestrians even got involved?”

“Private school, a couple of princesses in the school, and the local pegasi population are Equestrians.”

“The local pegasi are Equestrians?”

“The Unicorns are native. Dumb as rocks too.”

“So there are still Scottish Unicorns left.” The Doctor had to remind himself that there were two types of unicorns involved, one that had created an advanced society, and the other not having even hit the stone age yet.

“Possibly why the reserve was set up in the first place. There are some really nice perception filters around it too. What started our involvement with the forest is a poacher killing the unicorns. I try to tell myself they are just dumb animals, but visually there isn’t a big difference between the Scottish Unicorn and the Equestrian Unicorn. That and just the fact that it’s happening makes it a concern, plus there’s a portal involved.” Hoofstrong contemplated for a moment if he should say more, and decided it might be for the better. “Something else, perhaps you might know why our poacher is sucking the blood from his victims?”

“Sucking the blood?”

“That’s all they are doing. They kill the unicorn and drink the blood. It’s such a waste of life too, what with what these wizard types are capable of, the killer could just immobilize their victim, take some blood, and let the unicorn go, but no, they kill their victim.” Captain Hoofstrong had to take a deep breath.

“The only thing I can think of is it would sustain a person who is neither dead nor alive. They’d be a walking dead man. Not just taking the blood, but draining the very life force so that they could pass themselves off as human. Without it, their true state would soon become far too apparent.”

“We’re hoping to deal with him first, but it’s a matter of drawing him out in the open, and getting him cornered. He can fly, and move fast. Once we’ve done that, we were planning on roasting those spiders.”

“He?”

“At one point in time, he used to be a man.”

“And you were going to drop those napalm canisters yourselves I suppose?”

“And why not?”

“You’ll get fried, extra crispy KFC. That’s why not.”

“We were going to drop them from our maximum altitude, and then fly away as fast as we could.”

“Still seems mighty iffy to me. The heat those things produce is over 2,700 degrees Celsius. And it pulls all the oxygen out of the air. You can boil rivers with the stuff.”

“Well then we are in a bit of a fix, aren’t we,” Hoofstrong said, and even as he was saying it, a patrol was coming in accompanied by Ironman. They’d encountered the spiders.

:scootangel:

The Nova, Scootaloo, Apple Bloom, and Sweetie Belle knew little of the schemings of their elders and had plenty of other things to occupy their minds. Istel and Talma’s fillies hatched a week after Rose and were named Laire Oighrig, and Sorcha Raoghnailt. Laire was a chestnut paint like her mother, and Sorcha was white and gray.

If keeping an eye on two fillies was difficult, keeping an eye on five was an even bigger challenge. Watching Rose Myrtle was even more nerve-wracking as it required unicorns to snatch hold of her with their magic every time she tried to fly. As far as Rose was concerned, the other foals could fly, she had wings, and therefore she too must be able to fly.

“Ugh,” Scootaloo said as they went into Transfigurations. “When is she going to understand that she can’t fly?” “Was I like that I wonder?”

“Considering where we live and how often we managed to get hurt, I’d say it’s a good possibility.” Apple Bloom offered as they sat down at their seats.

“At least I don’t have to worry about Goldwine falling to his doom. Crashing maybe, falling no.” Nova offered.

“Talking about your little siblings back at home?” Lavender Brown asked with a smile. The inquiry was friendly enough and seemed genuinely interested. She was a pretty girl with long curly hair. She had also been the first to be sorted into Gryffindor that year.

“To hear them talk a person might think they were going on about their own children.” Hermione quipped as she took her seat.

“Are we that bad?” Nova asked.

“Every time you think no one is paying attention.” Ron bemoaned. “I actually look forward to Classes with the Slytherin’s, it’s the only time you shut up.”

“Prof they trust us enough to talk within earshot of us.” Lavender offered. “Can’t say I blame them for being on guard around the Slytherins either. That and I’m more inclined to think they are talking about pegasi babies.”

“What makes you say that?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“Rose can’t fly.” Lavender offered. “That wouldn't be an issue if you were talking about a sibling, not unless being able to fly is common for people in your families.”

“Well no, it’s not.” Apple Bloom replied.

“I’m also betting Rose is that egg you had,” Lavender added.

“You knew?” Hermione asked, her voice accusatory.

“All the first year girls knew,” Lavender informed her.

“I thought it was hurting her,” Hermione replied in her defense. “I guess I hurt her far worse.”

“Seats pleas,” Professor McGonagall said as she entered the room. “Today we’ll be turning Beatles into buttons.” John, Paul, Georg, and Ringo weren't too sure they were ready.

🎺🎩🎸🥁

Over the next few weeks, Hermione spent more and more time with Harry and Ron. She knew now where she’d gone wrong. She’d looked over her notes on the spell, and the spell required a pegasus. Not someone who could turn into a pegasus, but an actual pegasus. She’d assumed Louise was an Animagus who turned into a pegacorn. She was beginning to have doubts that suggested the other way around was true. If she’d really cared she’d have not helped them figure out that spell in the first place. And when it came right down to it, she only told about the egg because she feared the reprisal that would have eventually happened. Once she’d agreed to help, it’d become a lose-lose situation, and she’d had the ability to put a stop to the experiment before it went too far. She hadn’t. Hermione had realized that her friendship might not be so strained if she’d chosen to support the girls rather then betray them. They’d gotten in trouble for something they hadn’t done, and she’d been praised when she hadn’t told the whole truth. When she discovered Hagrid had a dragon egg she was torn. She’d even been horrified at first as she’d assumed he’d gotten his hands on a pegasus egg, and was roasting it. Finding out it was a dragon egg had been a relief at first. But unlike pegasi, having a dragon was illegal and could land a person in Azkaban. She couldn't tell anyone, no she couldn't repeat her last mistake, but a dragon wasn’t a pegasus. Hagrid could not keep it.

🐉

The first Nova, Scootaloo, Apple Bloom, and Sweetie Belle knew anything about a baby dragon it was May, and they were up to their eyeballs in pegasi foals thanks to their interaction with the Hogwarts herd. Ron was in the infirmary with a swollen hand and a high fever, and Alalme had earned her cutie mark in taking care of pegasi foals owing to the local pegasi taking their foals to them so they could get out and forage without having to keep an eye on their little ones. Nova, Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo had been wondering why they hadn’t seen Ron in class and decided to go pay him a visit after dinner having seen the condition his hand was in earlier the day before.

“It’s just a little dog bite.” Ron offered. Madam Pomfrey looked worried. She’d tried all the dog bite, and infection cures she could think of and was presently administering a series of tests that would identify the culprit of the infection, and or venom. She was leaning towards venom by this point.

“Dog bite my fat Aunt Fanny.” Nova accused. "Madam Pomfrey would never have let a dog bite get so bad."

“No really, it’s just a dog bite.”

“Ya, no. You can't-fool me, my sister is the Element of honesty.” Apple Bloom stated. “What bit you?”

“There isn’t a dog this side of Tartarus that could have caused an infection like that.” Sweetie Belle added.

“Ron, you can tell us the truth, or...” Nova began, but the answer was right on the top of Ron’s mind. She hadn’t meant to read his mind, but he seemed so determined that no one fond out that it was all he could think of to the point of broadcasting his guilt. “Fine, have it your way. Go on, and die from a venomous lizard bite, or whatever that thing was.” All Nova was getting was images, and what she was seeing simply hadn’t registered as anything other than a large winged lizard. At least that’s how she perceived it at first. Had Ron found a wild Fire Lizard?

“Ron, dying is not a better option than getting in trouble for doing something stupid.” Scootaloo implored.

“No, really it was a dog… Lizard?” Ron insisted. “Who said anything about a lizard… what are you doing?”

Nova had begun to form a foxfire screen to get a better look at what the culprit was. “You’re insisting on doing this the hard way, the hard way it is.” A mist began to form about her feet spiraling up, and her ears and face began to take on some very fox-like features. Ron’s eyes grew wide. Was he hallucinating? He must be because the other girls weren’t reacting at all. They did take a few steps back from him. Madam Pomfrey looked on in fascination. This was a form of magic she had no knowledge of, and her tests had just shown her the infection stemmed from the venomous bite of some creature.

Ron felt a warm tingling sensation as Nova’s venom cleansing spell washed over him. When you live and work in close proximity to the Everfree forest you learn some spells for cleansing venom from someone, and Nova had a good one that relied on her kitsune heritage. Ron dropped back down, the magic faded, and Nova stepped back a couple paces to find herself being braced up by Madam Pomfrey. It was a spell of last resort, and the greater the spread of poison, the greater the toll on herself. Her features slowly returned to that of a human girl.

“What spell was that?” Madam Pomfrey asked.

“An anti-venom spell.” Nova offered. “It tends to make me a little dizzy.”

“I get this feeling it’s not one you can teach.” Madam Pomfrey remarked.

“Afraid not. It’s kitsune magic. I’ve kitsune ancestors.” Nova offered. “It’s powerful magic but it takes centuries to master. I’m lucky I can do that spell at all. Hopefully, you’ll be able to undo the damage now.”

“Centuries?” Ron asked. He felt groggy, but he had to admit that he was feeling better.

“Yes, and depending on how much of that heritage I’ve got in my blood, I could potentially live well beyond the longest-lived wizard.” Nova offered, and then a bit of information collated in her head. “A baby Norwegian Ridgeback? That’s it isn’t it?”

A look of panic washed over Ron’s face telling everyone gathered that Nova had hit on the correct answer.

"Bing Bong!" Sweetie Belle exclaimed.

“Some idiot stole a baby, that’s why Thor had to chase down that dragon,” Nova added as more of the pieces began to fit.

“Look, I don’t know what you’re talking about?” Ron pleaded.

“No, I don’t imagine you would, though you can’t deny having come into contact with a baby Ridgeback.” Madam Pomfrey said. "Still, a half a truth is better than dying to avoid getting in trouble for foolishness.” She then went to her potions that were kept handy, retrieved one, and brought it over to him. “This will speed up the healing process.”

“What’s it taste like?” Ron asked.

“Oh, it’s about as nasty as everything our Potion’s Master makes.” Madam Pomfrey offered.

“And if you don’t drink it, we’ll make you drink it.” Apple Bloom informed him.

“One way, or another,” Scootaloo emphasized with a rather sinister smile.

Ron took the vial hesitantly.

“Best not to smell it.” Madam Pomfrey cautioned. He gave her a pleading look. “Well if you had owned up to what bit you, we could have given you something far less nasty. Drink it up fast, it won’t be so bad if you don’t let it linger.”

They all watched as Ron drank the contents as quickly as he could.

“God, that taste like Percy’s dirty socks,” Ron said when he’d finished.

“Oddly specific?” Sweetie Belle mused with a smile.

“My guess is the twins have shoved dirty socks in his mouth.” Apple Bloom offered.

“And he’s asleep,” Nova announced. Ron was sitting while breathing softly. “Is he supposed to be asleep?”

“Are you sure it was a baby dragon that bit him?” Madam Pomfrey asked.

“Try not to take this the wrong way.” Nova began cautiously. “I can read minds. Sometimes whether I want to or not. I don’t know for a fact it was a baby Norwegian Ridgeback that bit him. All I can tell you is that’s what he believes. He also seems to be protecting someone, though I could probably take a guess as to who." The fillies had no love for Hagrid. "As for my ability, I was born with it, and had to learn how not to use it.”

“I see.” Madam Pomfrey replied. “Can you, well, to put it mildly, make people do things?”

“I can’t make people do things they don’t want to do. I can put suggestions in people’s heads. Make an annoying person go away, tell storm troopers these are not the droids they are looking for, but the suggestions do wear off. Which can be disastrous if I’m counting on someone. Help of any kind has to come willingly.”

“So then you never did anything to me.” Madam Pomfrey remarked.

“I didn’t really need to. Not once we’d shown you the info we had on Harry.”

“No, I suppose not.” Madam Pomfrey said on thinking about it. “Now, it’s getting late, and you should probably get back to your dorm.”

“We’d best take the short cut.” Apple Bloom offered. The others agreed and went into one of the private rooms only moments before Dumbledore entered the infirmary.

“Madam Pomfrey, perhaps you may want to check for venom of some kind.” Dumbledore offered. “Hagrid seems to be secreting away a new pet in his hut.”

“Already one step ahead of you, and right now we are leaning heavily towards Norwegian Ridgeback.” “Considering Hagrid’s track record, I can’t help but think that first years might best be banned from his hut.”

“I’ll have a word with him in the morning.” Dumbledore offered, sounding disappointed. “A Norwegian Ridgeback? It would have to be a Ridgeback, wouldn't it? I made some inquiries and found out that someone took an egg. The mother tracked that egg across muggle areas at which time that Thor person was forced to put it down. That’s when he lost track of his artifact. It went down in the forest, and there is a sizable crater where it hit. What I can learn of this Thor person seems to be steeped in ancient lore, and deemed godlike even among wizardkind. That such a being as that would make an appearance now concerns me deeply.”

“You don’t say.” Madam Pomfrey offered in a deadpan tone. “I saw what just dropping that hammer onto a bench can do.”

“There’d been a number of ponies, pegasi, out there as well. Out at the crater site.”

“Likely curious about the lightning strike.”

“Picked up the hammer, and brought it back here.”

“You think that’s likely how it made its way to Neville Longbottom?”

“He told me that Sweetie Belle had brought it out to the grandstand.” Dumbledore offered. “During that same incident, I saw a flock of pegasi in armor of some sort, well-made armor, flying from the school out to the forest. And they were in formation without the aid or riders. I also saw that Black and white pegacorn come fetch Miss Louise Magnus by the belt, hoisted her up into the air, dropped her, at which time Louise transformed into the very same pegacorn that had been injured by a runaway bludger.”

“Are you suggesting Miss Louise is a pegacorn?”

“A pegacorn who can turn into a human? God, I hope not, otherwise, we’ve done her a terrible injustice. Being able to turn into one, however unlikely as that may seem, is our other option. I’m also concerned that we aren’t seeing any more foals. The pegasi seem to be keeping them hidden.”

“So, we are faced with the possibility that one of the students may be a pegacorn, of which we know very little of because they are so rare, or that Miss Louise is an Animagus who can turn into one of the rearrest creatures known to wizardkind. Add to that, our mishandling of that egg.”

“There were also reports of a unicorn yearling and a bright pastel yellow Shetland pony with a red mane and tail running through the halls. Oh and that unicorn had purple and pink mane just like one of our first year Gryffindors.”

“So now three students are ponies?”

“Maybe four, perhaps?”

“Now who might that be I wonder?” Madam Pomfrey asked thinking she knew who he was about to suggest. She was also ready to shoot him down.

“Miss Nova Moon.”

“Well unless she can manage more than one transformation you’d be wrong.” Madam Pomfrey had already guessed that Nova must have two transformations. Just seeing her picture in the old file had been shock enough. And then there'd been the revelation about where the egg had actually come from, and that really was Louise's egg, plus the golden pony of light. Everything she knew was causing her to question Dumbledor's judgment.

“Pardon?”

“I looked up her medical file, she has a blood curse and turns into a fox. She also seems to be ninety-nine years old. Care to elaborate?”

“It would seem she passed through a portal through time.” Dumbledore offered. “Madam Marchbanks has confirmed that she is indeed the student she had the pleasure of teaching. And before you say anything she needs to have taken her exams before I can move her up.”

“Because doing otherwise would invite too much scrutiny from the ministry, wouldn't it?”

“Why Madam Pomfrey, whatever are you getting at?”

“Now Professor Dumbledore, surely you aren’t going to deny that you are playing a very dangerous game, are you? And I know that he’s here as well.”

“He?”

“You know who.” Her statement rang like a death bell. “And you’ll find the pegasi are a lot smarter then you could possibly imagine. You knew that he’d come after Potter the moment he resurfaced. You kept the boy where you could keep him close by, condemned an innocent man without a trial, so he wouldn't get custody of the Potter boy. Brought Harry back here, and then you brought the stone here as a secondary lure. Only it’s not working. This grand scheme of yours. Has he seen through your traps, is he waiting for some reason I can’t guess, What could it be? Maybe in his diminished state, he can’t get past Fluffy?” Dumbledore was stunned. “Student’s haven't exactly stayed out of that corridor. Meanwhile, he’s been going out into the forest killing unicorns, which has gotten the pegasi riled up.”

“How do you know all this?”

“Princess Luna Moon of Eques has been keeping tabs on things. How do you think she managed to show up so conveniently when those three men wandered in? Everything is ready to blow up right in your face. You know who is at your door, and there is an army in your attic you have no control over. Who’s move is it I wonder?”

Dumbledore just stood there at a total loss. Somewhere during all his strategy, he’d gone from chess master to pawn.

:trixieshiftright:

Nova had napped for a while in the pony pile that was quickly becoming her family and feeling restless decided to shift Goldwine over and got up. She and the Crusaders were right in there with Hermione when it came to studying, though they did most of their studying behind closed doors while their doubles covered for them. They wanted to do more than just pass, they wanted to impress upon the testers that they were deserving of being bumped up a couple of years.

Nova went out to check on the night shift and found Ensign Loki and Princess Twilight of all ponies. “Late Saturday night rendezvous?” Nova teased.

“We’ve got activity tonight.” Loki offered, ignoring the dig.

“Activity?”

“Harry Potter and Hermione are at the top of the Astronomy tower.” Loki offered.

“Aren’t they a bit young to be sneaking around like that?” Nova asked.

“Aren’t you a bit young to be setting up a family?” Loki quipped.

“According to my medical file, I’m ninety-nine years old.” Nova pointed out.

“Still a pup.” Loki countered.

“So says the one-tailed Tenko.” Nova teased in reference to his being part of a group who’d wound up being banished along with Nightmare Moon. The very same group that was presently assigned to keep an eye on her. “So what else do you have?”

“Neville Longbottom is in a corridor on his way to being caught out of dorm at night.” Twilight offered.

“Where is he?” Nova asked. Twilight pointed out his location on the map. “I’m feeling restless, think I’ll go get him myself.”

“Not going to send Phenik?” Twilight asked.

“Send Phenik? I might as well fire a flare down the corridor.” Nova replied, picked up an earpiece in her magic, shrunk down to her fox form, shrunk the earpiece to fit her ear, and teleported away.

Neville spun in place at the sound of a loud snap nearby, felt the impact of an animal hit his gut, his feet going off the ground, the cold nothingness of between, followed by landing on his bed with a girl on top him.

“Hi Neville, you’re sure up late.” Nova teased.

“What, who, how?” Neville squawked.

“A girl, Miss Nova, girls can climb the stairs, and don’t ask why just accept it.” His roommate supplied with a note of caution.

“Hush… it’s just a dream.” Nova offered in a breathy voice, and began to hum, followed by singing. “Come, little children, I’ll take thee away, into a land of enchantment. Come, little children, the time's come to play here in my garden of shadow...” Nova knew the song well having grown up listening to it. The boys drifted off to sleep and would remember nothing of what happened the night before.

“Got four bogies headed for the Astronomy tower.” Loki offered over the radio. Nova transformed back into a fox and flew out a window.

“Let's see what’s going on before we make any contact,” Nova suggested.

“I’m on my way, we’ll have back up shortly.” Loki offered.

“Confirmed,” Nova replied using the old ponish. She then flew over towards the tower where she saw Harry and Hermione handing off a cage containing the very same winged lizard that bit Ron, to four cloaked individuals who’d come in by broom. “Looks like Harry and Hermione are passing off Ron’s dragon to four humans.” Nova offered in old ponish over the radio.

“And here I thought they were just up here for the stars.” Loki offered in the old ponish as another celestial fox took up position on Nova’s left.

“Hi, Loki,” Nova said with a smile. They watched as the baby dragon was attached to a harness between the four humans, and was carried off into the air. Going going gone. Harry and Hermione satisfied with a good days work went down the stairs.

“Well, that’s it unless Trollfart decides to show.” Loki offered.

“Hang on,” Nova said and dropped down to land on the tower.

“What are you doing?” Loki asked dropping to the parapet of the tower. Nova was gone. “Nova?”

“I’m right here, can you see me?”

“Ahh, no, hang on… wow I can just barely make out your aura.” He nearly fell off the parapet when Nova’s little fox head appeared as though it’d been disembodied.

“Can you see me now?”

“OK, that’s just creepy.”

“Shizen!” Nova exclaimed, took hold of the invisibility cloak, and took off after Harry and Hermione. She arrived at the base of the tower just in time to see Harry and Hermione being caught by Filch.

To Nova’s dismay, Loki came bounding down the stairs, crashed into her, and the two went sprawling out into the corridor. At least they were still in their fox forms. “What are you doing?!” Nova scolded in the old ponish language. To the humans, it just sounded like guttural animal noises. Loki just dropped his ears and head, and just whined pitifully.

“Oh, and left the hatch open too by the looks of it.” Filch scolded. To filch the two winged foxes were just more exotic animals typical of the wizarding world. He’d no idea what sort they were, but he’d not been able to actually attend Hogwarts as a student being a squib.

Thinking quick Nova ran back to the cloak, snatched it up, raced to Harry, wrapped it about his legs, and then raced back over to Loki, and seemed to Harry to be scolding him some more. Hey, hey, shoe, get out of here!” Filch yelled waving his arms around. “And don’t you two...”

Harry and Hermione were gone, and to keep him from going after them, Nova preceded to race about Filch’s legs, even to the point of running between them. Loki decided this was the best of fun, and joined in. Filch breathed in a sigh of relief when the two foxes decided to leave him in peace.

Harry and Hermione entered into the Gryffindor common room and pulled off the invisibility cloak.

“You’re not out of the woods yet,” Nova said as she took the cloak. “I’d better hang on to this for a bit.”

“Filch will know who we are. That or he’ll just lay in wait to identify us.” Hermione bemoaned. “And Malfoy will have told them about the dragon.”

“And once again Nova seems to know everything,” Harry said. “And why should I let you have my invisibility cloak?”

“I don’t know who had the dragon, and I can hide the cloak where McGonagall can’t find it.” Nova offered. “Also, I was one of the foxes that returned your cloak, and distracted Filch.”

“They are bound to come looking for the cloak.” Hermione offered.

“Tell you what, Hermione, just tell them you heard from the older students it was a good place to see dragons, and you took Harry because you heard you had to have a guy with you.”

“What?” Hermione asked.

“Trust me, it’ll work.” Nova offered with a smile.

Chapter 15: When every little bit of hope is gone.

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First thing Sunday Morning, all the first years were rousted out of bed and made to line up in the main hall so that Filch could identify the culprits that had gotten away. Many were in their night robes as they’d been rousted from bed, it being Sunday few had gotten up yet. The doors were open to let the fresh morning air in, and it was a bit on the cool side. If Nova and Scootaloo looked nervous, it was because they weren’t Nova and Scootaloo. Other students just shivered in the cold. Otherwise, most of the first years looked confused and dismayed by the early morning. Hermione and Harry had a pretty good idea of what was going on. Both looked like they hadn’t had much sleep either.

All four house heads were there, and Filch slowly walked the line eyeballing each person. He stopped at Harry.

“Harry Potter.” Filch said dryly. “Did you really think you’d get away with it?”

“Please, sir it was my fault.” Hermione pleaded. “I drug him up there because I’d heard we might see dragons flying by. That is I heard we could see dragons, but there had to be a boy, and just the two of us, or there’d be no...” Hermione slapped her hands over her mouth, her eyes growing wide. She’d been had. What kind of lame excuse was that? The other first years burst into laughter.

“I’ve changed my mind,” Draco announced. “I must have misheard, and want nothing further to do with Harry’s dragon.” More laughter.

“Oh, you naive little girl,” Snape said in his usual condescending tone.

“Miss Granger,” McGonagall said sounding very disappointed, and then announced that she was very disappointed. “Twenty points from each of you, detention, and when we find that invisibility cloak it will be confiscated.” Her words were not punctuated by any complaint from the students, but the clip-clop of tiny hooves. A small golden pegasus with a mane and tail the color of wine was now standing a few paces away from the Nova changeling. The colt was also wearing a nappy. Goldwine had only just left his mother, and was wondering how she’d gotten down here so fast? And for that matter, what was she doing, and why was she pretending not to know him? Apple Bloom and Sweetie bell had half panicked looks on their faces, and the two changelings were at a complete loss as to how to handle the present situation. Most of the girls coed at the sight of the impossibly cute colt, the boys were interested but dared not betray whatever thoughts they might have, and the instructors looked like they were hoping it’d leave without any incidents. Snape was looking very nervous.

A moment later the real Nova, in her pegacorn form, came gliding into the hall, Goldwine saw her coming in, and dashed to hid behind the girls.

“Don’t anyone move.” Flitwick cautioned.

“Come here,” Nova whispered in old ponish. Goldwine pressed against Sweetie Belle and smiled.

“Goldwine, behave.” Sweetie Belle hissed. He looked up at her, hesitant, she smiled and motioned where he needed to go with her head. Sweetie watched as his face filled with fear and pain accompanied by a loud crack! He bolted to his mama, who wasted no time in scooping him up under a wing and locating the wand that had produced the hex that had hit Goldwine. Nova channeled a devastating amount of magic into the offending wand.

Slytherin students who a moment before had been giggling now cried out in dismay. A black haired heavy set girl named Millicent Bulstrode cried out in agony. Her hand now a mangled mess.

“Stupid girl!” Snape shouted even as Mama and colt teleported away. Snape, to his credit, scooped her up and rushed her to the school's infirmary.

“As for the rest of you, care of magical creatures class. Eight O’clock.” McGonagall said in nearly a shout. “Dismissed,” McGonagall uttered a frustrated sound, and stormed off.

“I didn’t even know who did it.” Draco offered in his defense moments after the other teachers had left the students. Girls from the other houses were converging on the Slytherins. “I doubt even Crabbe and Goyle would be dumb enough to cheese off a pegacorn.”

“Hey… yes, that’s right.” Crabbe replied. He and Goyle weren't entirely sure if they should be insulted or not. “My Gramps has Pegasi, and they’ll shit bomb people they are mad at.”

“Well, then you’d better stay indoors.” Apple Bloom suggested in a cold voice as she and the other Gryffindor girls walked past. From there they rushed upstairs, not just to get ready but to find out how Goldwine was.

On seeing Sweetie Belle, Goldwine began to cry and hid under Nova’s wing. The two were presently in the big shared bed in Nova’s primary bedroom. “Goldwine, it wasn’t me.” Sweetie pleaded. Sweetie remembered to transform into a pony, and tried again. “Goldwine, it wasn’t me.” Sweetie dropped her head on the edge of the bed with a frown and looked like she was ready to cry.

“That hex ripped a hole in his tender hide,” Nova informed them trying to stay calm. “It’s probably going to leave a scar. Loki stitched it up as best he could. Afraid I was too emotional to do anything.”

“How did you know who did it?” Apple Bloom asked.

“I didn’t. I looked for a hot wand. One that had been recently used, and then I overloaded it. I really wasn’t paying attention to who it was. All I could see was red.”

“I know that trick, it’s a unicorn thing. They want us in Care of Magical creatures at eight.” Sweetie Belle announced.

“Can Cornicle cover for me?” Nova offered as Alalme came in with Alya right behind her. Alya went straight to Goldwine. “Gently, Alya, he’s been hurt.”

“What happened?” Scootaloo asked as she came in behind Alalme with Rose hot on her heals. Rose climbed up on the bed too.

“Millicent Bulstrode hexed Goldwine.” Apple Bloom announced.

“She did what?!” Scootaloo exclaimed. “I’ll kill her!”

“Nova blew up her wand and half her hand.” Sweetie offered.

“Killing is too good for her anyway.” Nova offered, her tone giving witness to the rage simmering underneath. “Her and every Slytherin who laughed.”

“Stupid Slytherin’s” Rose said softly. Rose had been learning to talk far faster than would have been normal and seemed to have a far better grasp of what was going on around her than other fillies her age. Well except for the flight thing. Rose still wanted desperately to fly and could only manage with the assist of a unicorn, or Scootaloo who would use a levitation spell to compensate.

“So what happened?” Alalme asked once more, her tone was soft and sympathetic. She gave Rose a pat on the head.

“The front doors were open, and he saw the girls standing in the hall.” Nova offered.

“I thought you weren’t going to let him out?” Apple Bloom offered.

“A group of us took our foals out to show them around the grounds.” Alalme offered. “I’m to understand the locals have been doing that for a while now. The foals need to get out and exercise their wings so that they’ll be strong enough to leave the area. And they need to know their way around. Flying around inside our park isn’t enough.”

“Where do they go?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“I’m to understand that a large number of the tribe has been migrating around late spring to early summer to a number of small islands north of the northern most tip of Scotland located within a triangle of which the northern tip is the Shetland Islands, and the furthest westward reach is the Faroe islands. There is grazing, plenty of fish, and sod house shelters they can use to shelter from storms.” Alalme offered. “It was a move they made after the forest became unsafe, I’m to understand.” She paused a moment. “Originally it was only the strongest who’d go up there, and the local wizard farms can only take in so many pegasi. They’d fish, smoke what they caught, and bring the catch back before the weather got too bad to fly.”

“So what you are saying is they winter here, and then move up there in the summer?” Apple Bloom asked. “They are living like refugees.”

“Princess Luna has told them they can believe what they want to believe, but they don’t have to live like refugees. No, they don’t have to live like refugees.” Nova offered. “She’s invited them to come back to Equestria.”

“Any takers?” Apple Bloom asked.

“Quite a few have shown an interest.” Scootaloo offered.

“Can’t say as I blame them.” Apple Bloom admitted.

“Suppose I better get dressed, and go get something to eat.” Sweetie Belle offered. “Scootaloo, they want all the first years in Care of Magical creatures at eight. You coming?”

“I’m not leaving Goldwine till he’s had a chance to calm down.” Nova informed them.

“You mean till you’ve calmed down, don’t you?” Apple bloom asked.

“That too.” Nova replied. "The way I feel about the Slytherins right now, one person says something inappropriate, I might kill them on the spot."

“I’ll go.” Scootaloo replied, her tone cold and devoid of expression.

:twilightangry2:

When Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Cornicle disguised as Nova arrived in the dinning hall it became obvious that the house elves were upset about what had happened as well. The only thing the Slytherin Students were being given for breakfast was a gray lumpy gruel.

“So where’s Millicent Bulstrode?” Scootaloo asked, her tone anything but kind, just as someone came marching in with horse dung smeared all over them.

“Who cheesed off the Pegasi!” the boy shouted.

“First year Slytherin’s.” Someone called from the Ravenclaw table.

“It was the girls.” Goyle offered as he picked at his gruel. “Even the house elves are mad at us now.”

:rainbowlaugh:

The Care of Magical creatures class room was standing room only. All four house heads were waiting along with Madam Hooch and Professor Dumbledore. In the front of the class was a number of black and white photos of boys with welts, in the center of which was an old pair of scorched and shattered shutters. On a table in front was a silver tray on which looked to be the scorched remains of a wand.

“I don’t think I have to explain why you are here.” Dumbledore said coldly.

“There will be a hundred points taken from Slytherin house.” Snape announced.

“Not fair!” Protested a Slytherin girl. “It was just a stupid little foal.”

“His name is Goldwine Sparkle, son of Freawine Chief of the pegasi of the Silver wood.” Scootaloo exclaimed in nearly a shout. “Who’s sire was Frea son of Aldor, who was the son of Brego, son of Eorl, son of Leod, son of Gotha.” There was shocked silence. “His ancestry goes back more then a thousand years, can any of you say as much?”

“Miss Magnus, I think you’ve made your point.” Madam Hooch offered. Dumbledore and the other instructors gave her an odd look. “There will be no Quidditch until such time as peace can be reestablished.”

“Do you think that will be necessary?” McGonagall asked.

“Despite appearances and common held misconceptions the English Pegasi have a society that is every bit as sophisticated as our own." Madam Hooch informed everyone. "I’m to understand they had a large settlement in the forbidden forest in a place known only as the silver wood. Someone released acromantulas into the forest, and the infestation devastated their community. They were forced out of their homes. I know this because many can speak our language when they care to speak to us, and have a language of their own. The pegacorns are liken to the nobility, and are powerful users of magic.” Madam further Hooch explained. “The sky is all they have left they can call their own, and we are but intruders.” She let that sink in. “I’m afraid a cooling off period is going to be needed.”

“Well why are they even allowed to stay at Hogwarts?” asked another Slytherin.

“And why do we trust House elves?” Dumbledore asked. “And who do you think it was that introduced acromantulas to the forest? Judging by the breakfast served to the Slytherins this morning it should be fairly clear how easy it would be for our house elves to poison us all. And no they were not told to serve anyone gruel. Least wise not that I’m aware of. They did that on their own.” He let that sink in for a bit. “Pegasi are much sought after by wizards. Allowing a wild heard to stay here at Hogwarts was my predecessor's decision, and it’s one I support. Furthermore, if you wish to stay here at Hogwarts you must, no you will, respect the animals.” He have them a moment to think. “The pictures you see are the Gryffindor boys back in 1903 who invaded the nest of a pegacorn. The shutters give us an idea of what that pegacorn was truly capable of.” Professor Dumbledore took a few steps, and picked up the tray. The pieces had been fixed in place allowing him to turn the tray so everyone could see it. The blackened remains stood out in sharp contrast, and gave testimony as to why antagonizing such a creature was a bad idea.

“Wow, she really did do a number on that wand.” Scootaloo said softly. Dumbledore gave her a calculating look. By the girl’s reaction this was the first time she was seeing what had happened as though she hadn’t been there, and was expressing a familiarity with the pegacorn that had been responsible.

“Miss Magnus, does this pegacorn have a name?” Dumbledore asked.

“Her name is Kitzumi.” Scootaloo offered giving the fox pony name. “She’s the daughter of the Princess of the night.”

“The princess of the night?” Snape asked.

“She’s a tall Night Mare.” Madam Hooch offered. “I understand a lesser, or perhaps younger Night Mare took on and killed a Wyrm back in the 1903 – 04 school year.”

“Entirely possible I’ve met her.” Snape replied and shuddered.

“You’ve met her?” Dumbledore asked.

“And yet I live.” Snape offered in a dry tone. “I made the mistake of pulling my wand. Though in hind sight I believe I know what she was hunting, and I’ll say no more on the mater now.”

“You fared far better then Millicent Bulstrode.” Dumbledore offered.

“Miss Bulstrode was sent to St Mungo’s to get her hand rebuilt.” Professor McGonagall informed everyone.

“Is she going to be alright?” Scootaloo asked. She and the others had switched from being mad at Millicent to honest concern. True if anyone hurt Rose, she’d be furious too, but once that anger has died down every pony is usually able to forgive, even if the forgetting might be a bit difficult.

“What she did is no different then what unicorns do to each other.” Sweetie Belle offered. “It generally doesn’t result in anything more than a headache. That being because the individual being targeted can resist the effect.”

“Ah, yes of course. Where as a wand user won’t know there’s an over charge being sent.” Madam Hooch surmised.

“Since when is she an expert on unicorns?” Crabbe asked.

“She grew up around unicorns.” Madam Hooch informed everyone.

“In which case I’d say it’s fair to say that Miss Sweetie Belle might just know a thing or two about the animals.” Dumbledore remarked. A thought struck him, and it occurred to him that a talented witch or wizard might be able to disable a wand in much the same way. Looking back through his earlier days he was suspicious that Miss Moon had done just that. “At least we can be sure the attack wasn’t directed directly at Miss Bulstrode, but at her wand. It’s also fairly clear to see the action was one intended to neutralize a threat. Now, I want a report to be presented to your heads of house first thing Monday Morning explaining why you should never mistreat animals. And I’m not just talking about the ones that can kill you if you make the mistake of angering them. I’m talking all animals. - You may go now.” He waited until the students had all left.

“Severus?” Dumbledore asked. “You never talked about your little misadventure. Why is that?”

“I believe that Quirrel is working for the dark lord.” Snape announced. “And I also believe that the Night Mare I encountered was after Quirrel.”

“After Quirinus?” McGonagall asked.

“I met with him out on the edge of the forest, and he seemed to know the night mare was coming before I did, and I watched him fly away using a spell the Dark Lord himself knew, but Professor Quirrel would never have been able to do on his own. Not that I don’t blame him for running, the nightmare was ripping up the forest with muggle made multi barreled boom sticks. Somehow she was able to levitate the devices, and activated them at the same time.”

“So the night mare is after the servant of the dark lord.” Dumbledore mused. “Perhaps Professor Phineus Black had been right, and I am too black and white in my thinking. He once told me that nightmares are not our enemies, and that all we have to do to befriend one is to not be afraid of it.”

“What are we to do?” Madam Pomona Sprout asked.

“Do? Why we do nothing.” Dumbledore offered. “He either walks into the trap I laid for him, or the night mare will get him. Confronting him in the school is out of the question, as we can not elevate the level of risk for the students. Something that night mare seems to be aware of."

“Doesn’t this put us in a rather dangerous position?” McGonagall asked. "I was aware that there was perhaps an agent of the Dark Lord if not the Dark Lord himself skulking about, but this means he's trapped between a rock and a hard place."

“I’m afraid it does.” Dumbledore replied.

“Trap? I thought we were trying to protect the stone?” Snape asked. When Dumbledore had acknowledged the protections around the stone to be nothing more then an elaborate trap, Snape had been at something of a loss.

“I had to have some kind of bait that the dark lord would want badly enough it would distract him from Harry Potter, and with luck be enough to get him to walk into the trap thinking he’d be able to get out again.” Dumbledore explained. “I must say that Fluffy has proven a far greater deterrent then I’d imagined he would.”

🐶🐶🐶

When Nova heard that she’d blown apart Millicent Bulstrode’s hand she too felt bad for the girl. Not so much that she’d call off the general strike by the animals of Britain's wizarding world. As word spread, otherwise obedient animals decided to simply refuse to cooperate, and a few were downright aggressive towards witches, and wizards they didn’t like. Horse spit can be difficult to clean.

Millicent Bulstrode returned to school a week later, but still had her hand wrapped. She along with Draco, Harry, and Hermione were to do detention together the week after that, and the ponies had the break they’d been longing for. Troll Fart had been overheard having a monologue with himself. He’d be going out again, and this time the ponies would be ready.

Harry and Hermione went down to meet Mr Filch at eleven on Tuesday. In all the teasing Hermione and Harry had been getting about their alleged midnight get together he’d forgotten that Draco, and that girl would also be there. He at least had some solace that Slytherin was now dead last for the house cup. Granted that Gryffindor was second to last, but at least they were beating Slytherin. Millicent Bulstrode was looking far more humble then any Slytherin ever had, and Draco just looked the way he always did.

“Follow me.” Filch said sharply, and directed the four out the front door of the entry hall. “It’s a pity they don’t use the old punishments anymore.” Filch said as they went out into the dark. He closed, and locked the door. “I hear they showed you the pictures of what that pegacorn did to those boys back in oh three. My father was one of them. They used a cane on him I hear. Any time that sort of punishment proved insufficient they’d hang the students up with chains around the wrists. Sometimes for days.” He lit a lamp, and continued on down the steps. “I bet you’ll think twice about breaking school rules again after tonight, won’t you. And if you don’t I’ve chains in my office just in case I get the opportunity to use them.”

The small group continued on through the dark, but Harry wasn’t so disoriented he didn’t know where he was going. After all he’d been that way himself plenty of times. The light from the windows of Hagrid’s hut filled him with both hope, and dread. On the one hand they’d be with Hagrid. On the other hand they’d be with Hagrid. What could they possibly have in mind for them to do out here in the middle of the night? Whatever it was it wasn’t likely to be very pleasant.

“Is that you Filch?” Hagrid called from the dark. “Hurry up, I want to get started. I’ve been waiting a half hour.”

“I’ve only just fetched them, why on earth would you be waiting out here so long?” Filch called back. Filch turned back to the students, “Don’t be too hopeful, Hagrid has a most unpleasant task for you this night.” He informed them in a low warning tone.

Hagrid came striding out of the dark, fang his dog at his heal. He was carrying a large crossbow, a quiver of crossbow bolts hung over his shoulder, and a lamp was held in his left hand. “It’s about time.” Hagrid said as he approached.

“What’s the ballista for?” Draco asked.

“That’s in case one of you decides to make a break for it.” Filch offered, laughed, and returned to the school. Hagrid watched the man go wondering if he actually had a sense of humor, or if he was serious?

“I was supposed to have you lot clean out the Thestral caves, but something else has come up.” Hagrid informed them. “Were going into the forest.”

“I I’m not going into the forest.” Draco protested. His bravado was gone, and sounded a bit like Neville had on many occasions when faced with a task he dreaded.

“You will if you want to stay at Hogwarts.” Hagrid said as the sound of wings flapping somewhere overhead could be heard. Millicent Bulstrode cringed down.

“But we’re first years, I thought we’d be copying lines, if my father hears about this...” Draco protested.

“He’ll tell ya that’s how it’s done at Hogwarts.” Hagrid said crossly. “If you think your father would rather have you expelled then get back to the castle and start packing. What good is copying lines anyway? Go on.”

Malfoy didn’t move, he knew a trap when he saw it. All Hagrid had to do was say he’d refused to do his assigned detention, and he’d be gone. “I’m not going anywhere. You’ll not be rid of me that easily.” Draco said as anger began to boil up.

Harry found himself having to reassess Malfoy. In a way, Draco was right, they really had no business going into the forest, especially at night. And yet here they were, and they’d no choice in the matter. They had to do whatever it was Hagrid had dreamed up. No matter how dangerous. Harry couldn't help but feel a little resentment as well. After all, he’d gotten into trouble helping Hagrid.

“Listen up, if there’s no more argument,” Hagrid said giving Draco a look. “What we are going to do is dangerous, do as yer told, and no one need get hurt. Now follow me.”

They followed Hagrid somewhat reluctantly as he marched into the forest. Silently they went, the only sounds being their own footsteps, and Fang’s panting. Moonlight shown down through the trees here and there illuminating misshapen old snags. Some of the trees even looked like they’d been ripped apart by some irresistible force, and the forest floor was all mounded and cratered with the trunks of trees laying every which direction. Some even looked charred.

“See there?” Hagrid asked coming to a stop at a cross trail that looked to be little more than an animal track. Small pools of dark liquid that shown silvery in the pale moonlight could be seen. “That there is unicorn blood. They’re been hurt badly by someth'n. This is the second time in a week. I found one dead last Wednesday. We’re going to try to find the poor thing, and put it out of its misery.”

“Are we not even going to try to give it aid?” Hermione asked sounding appalled.

“There’s blood all up and down this trail,” Hagrid stated flatly. “Not like it’s a dragon or an acromantula, or something else cool like that.” Hermione felt a cold shiver run down her spine. “Now listen up, we are going to split up.”

“Um, what if whatever hurt the unicorn comes after us?” Draco asked hesitantly.

“There’s nothing in the forest that’ll hurt cha if yer with me or Fang,” Hagrid informed them.

“I want Fang then.” Draco requested.

“Fine, but I should warn you, he’s a brazen coward,” Hagrid informed him. “I’m going to take Hermione and Millicent on the left path, Harry, you go with Draco. If you see the Unicorn send up green sparks. If you get into trouble send up red sparks. Now get your wands out, you’re going to need them.” Hagrid handed Fang’s leash over to Harry, and then went down the left path. “Stay on the path.” He instructed as he made his way through the forest.

Harry and Draco stood there in the dark as they watched Hagrid and the girls disappear into the forest. Draco lit up the end of his wand, reached into his pocket, pulled out a letter, and offered it to Harry. “Ron’s letter. - For what it’s worth, I never showed it to anyone.” Harry took the letter, and put it in his pocket.

“Thanks. Everyone thinks Hermione and I were up there snogging. Why… that is to say, why didn’t you give this to Professor McGonagall?”

“Don’t know really.” Draco offered. “You first.”

“Why me?”

“Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart who’s daring nerve and chivalry, set them apart,” Draco replied in a teas. “I’m just a Slytherin.”

“Aren't Slytherins supposed to be strong leaders?” Harry asked, and then lit up his wand.

“I’m more the shrewd cunning type.”

“Which explains why you kept that letter to your self,” Harry replied, as he started out on the trail. “Now I owe you one, and have to be nice to you.”

“Don’t be too nice, it might get weird.” Draco quipped.

The two continued on in silence, their wands illuminating the occasional spots of blood.

“Might a werewolf have gone after the unicorn?” Harry asked after a while.

“You’d have to ask Hermione, she seems like she’s really book smart.” Draco offered. “I doubt it though. Unicorns are fast, and have magic.”

Fang suddenly dropped to the ground and whimpered. The two boys waited quietly, their ears pricking at the sound of something slithering through the underbrush.

“What was that?” Draco asked in a whisper once it had gone.

“Something tells me it wasn’t a werewolf.” Harry offered.

“So now what?”

“I guess we go on.” Harry offered.

“This has got to be the stupidest thing ever,” Draco replied.

“As much as I like Hagrid, I can’t help but agree. Now come on. Come on Fang, get up. Fang up.”

Fang didn’t want to budge at first, but with a bit of pulling by Harry, and gentle coaxing by Draco, they managed to get the dog moving again. Harry was surprised that Draco could actually be nice, but then again, maybe he was just more comfortable with dogs. They hadn’t gone much further when a figure approached from a moonlit clearing.

“You shouldn't be out here.” Called the voice of a man. Harry and Draco looked on in shocked bewilderment. From the waist up a man with red hair, but below that a chestnut horse. “I see you’ve got Fang with you.”

“D-detention.” Harry managed to say. “Hagrid’s back that way.”

The centaur looked up into the sky and announced that Mars is bright tonight.

“A unicorn was hurt. We’re trying to find it.” Draco offered.

“Always the innocent are the first victims.” The centaur said after a long pause. He looked the two over. “I will talk to Hagrid. He should not be bringing foals into the forest.” And with that, the centaur cantered off.

“Well, that was interesting.” Draco offered.

“He agreed with you,” Harry commented.

“Half beast and he’s more common sense.”

“Come on.”

“Wouldn't be a bit surprised if this is Hagrid’s thanks for getting rid of that dragon, and keeping him out of Azkaban.” Draco offered in his usual smarmy tone. Harry said nothing. What could he say? Draco was probably right.

The two continued on, plunging once more into the trees. “Mars is bright tonight.” Draco mimicked as they walked deeper and deeper into the forest.

“Mars is the fourth planet, and represents the god of war.” Harry recited.

“And?” Draco asked.

“I’m wondering if Mars being bright might be important,” Harry said. He also had the odd feeling they were being watched.

“By the looks of this forest I’d say it probably means we are about to walk into a war and die.”

“Now that you mention it, this place reminds me of a documentary I saw on the Ardennes and the battle of the bulge.” Harry offered and then pointed out a large patch of blood. As they progressed further they began to see blood splattered everywhere as though the animal had been thrashing about. There, in a clearing ahead of them, lay a gleaming white lump illuminated by the moon. It was both a sad sight and oddly beautiful site. As they cautiously drew forward they could make out the shape of the animal. Its mane was spread out in the grass of the clearing, and its legs were haphazardly splayed about. Harry took another step forward when the sound of something slithering through the grass caused him to freeze from fear. Harry, Malfoy, and Fang stood transfixed as a hooded shape slithered towards the unicorn. The creature leaned over the unicorn and began to suck its blood. Fang let out a yelp and bolted. The creature stopped what it was doing, looked up, and looked right at Harry, blood dribbling down its front. The creature rose up and made straight for Harry. Blinding pain shot through Harry’s scar, he staggered back, hooves could be heard galloping, and Draco did something that seemed totally out of character. Draco did something both incredibly brave, and incredibly stupid.

“Incendio!” Draco shouted pointing his wand right at the fiend's oncoming face. The condition of the forest had been plenty of motivation for Draco to think of a good attack spell, and now seemed the best time to use it.

It did little more than enrage the beast, but it also blinded it to the approach of Rockhoof. Draco wasn’t quite sure what he was seeing when the shovel came flashing past him wielded by a massive draft horse of all things.

A mighty clang gave witness to spade hitting head even as pegasi swooped in, and airlifted the stricken unicorn. Rockhoof struck, again and again, driving the fiend back. Now came powerful beams of magic wielded by five pegacorns, one white, two that looked to be black, and two that were golden in color with fiery manes. More pegasi rushed in, some with riders, powerful magical artifacts began to glow, light beams struck out enveloping the fiend. Draco had no way to know he was witnessing Nova, Luna, Twilight, Scootaloo, and Sunset Shimmer all teaming up on the fiend. Fluttershy, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Starswirl, and Flash Magnus were all part of the gathering as well. Those who could fly were in pony form, the others were in human form riding on the backs of Wonderbolts. Luna’s seven Shadowbolts were there as well, and the power of multiple elements of harmony lit the forest brighter than the sun.

Draco Malfoy watched in utter astonishment as a rainbow of magical light ripped a hole in the very fabric of time, space, and relative dimension. They cast the fiend into the rift and slammed it shut.

The light was gone, and everything had gone black. Draco could hear Harry crying out in pain, lit a light on the end of his wand, and found Harry clutching at his head while curled up on the ground.

“Help, Harry’s hurt!” Draco called. He watched helplessly as pegasi swooped in, snatched Harry up, and flew away with him.

“Don’t just stand there a jaw’n, mount up!” Called a woman with a heavy southwest American accent. Draco turned to find himself face to face with a Night Mare. The woman who'd spoken to him astride another Pegasus nearby. Oh, and that night mare wasn't just any Night Mare, but The Night Mare. Princess bucking Luna in full battle mode.

Draco had hung back to listen into what the teachers were saying in the Care of magical creatures class on the morning they’d all been drug to the main hall so Filtch could identify Harry as having been wondering about at night. He’d heard much of what had been discussed, and the words of Albus Dumbledore came to mind concerning what Phineus Black had said about Night Mares. Just don’t be afraid of it. He approached cautiously, found himself lifted up onto the Night Mare’s back, and rocketed heavenward on the wings of the night.

It only took a moment to clear the forest. Draco looked about at the night sky, in places clouds could be seen illuminated by the light of the moon, and the stars were brighter then he’d ever seen them before. “Beautiful,” Draco whispered.

“The sky or the pony?” Asked the American woman.

“Both! - He called back. “Is Harry going to be alright?”

“I don’t know? - I sure hope so.”

“Who are you?”

“Name’s Applejack.”

“What about Hagrid?”

“He had no businesses taking you into that forest chasing after somethin’ he didn’t have clue one about. Let him stew.”

The Night Mare nickered her approval, and then they landed in front of the main door of Hogwarts. The night mare cast her magic on the doors, and they swung open. She then lifted Draco off and set him down.

“I’m still in detention,” Draco said not quite sure what to do. He turned to discover Nova’s mom, Luna Moon, standing there. “Is Harry going to be alright?”

“Detention canceled.” Luna offered. “If anyone asks why? Tell them you wondered right into the middle of a military action and nearly got killed. I believe the muggles call it a firefight." That explanation was going to sound strange being wizard kind didn’t technically have a military. Just Aurors. They were bound to understand what a fire fight was though. “As for Harry, I’m sure he’ll be alright.”

Draco blinked, and they were gone. He stood there looking out at the night sky, for how long he couldn't be sure, turned and entered the open doors and decided to just leave them that way. A strange feeling came over him like a wave of hope had washed past, and returned to his dorm headless of whether or not he should happen upon anyone or not.

A moment before that wave of energy had washed past, Dumbledore had been quietly sitting in his bedroom adjacent to his office reading when numerous loud alarms began to go off. Startled out of his repose, he took a moment to collect his thoughts and rushed to see the cause of the alarms.

“Oh no, oh no!” Dumbledore said as a cold dread sank to the pit of his gut. These were the monitors on Harry Potter. He watched in horror as every last one of them, stopped their racket, and went dark. Dumbledore threw on his night robe and rushed down to the cave where the Thestrals were boarded. All the monitors going dark could only mean one thing, the unthinkable had happened, and in his panic, he missed that gentle wave of hope.

No one was there. Why were they not there? All they had to do was clean out a creepy old cave at night. Why were they not there?”

The Thestrals themselves were there and were looking oddly plump as they happily munched away on a strange fruit with yellow flesh he’d never seen the likes of. What did it matter though? Dumbledore rushed back up to find Filch. Filch confirmed that he had indeed left Harry and the others with Hagrid. Dumbledore rushed downstairs where he found the main doors wide open. Why were the doors wide open? Filch having followed after Dumbledore, rushed out into the night to see if he might locate Hagrid to find out what he was about?

Draco climbed into his bed unaware of the boiling panic of Dumbledore.

Dumbledore apparated to the chamber where he’d left the philosopher’s stone. The mirror was still there. At least it looked like the mirror of Erised, but there was no sign of his detection spells nor could he feel the presence of the stone.

Dumbledore sank to the floor. He’d been totally defeated.

Voldemort was now unstoppable.

Chapter 16: The end of the day.

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The Centaur who’d talked to Harry and Draco had gone straight away to Hagrid and had nearly been shot for his effort. Hagrid just seemed a bit too itchy to use that large crossbow. Hagrid apologized to Ronan, pleasantries, and introductions were made, and then Ronan brought up the businesses he had with Hagrid. “Hagrid, you should not be here this night.” Ronan cautioned.

“There’s a wounded unicorn, and I need to put it out of its misery,” Hagrid explained. Ronan looked up into the sky.

“Mars is bright tonight.” Ronan offered as though that was supposed to explain all. “Take the foals out of the forest. They should not be here.”

“They are serving out their detention.” Hagrid countered stubbornly. “It’s Hogwarts businesses.” Hermione and Millicent just looked at the Centaur dumbfounded as their sense of propriety warred with their reason. Ronan, part man part horse hadn’t a thing on, and he was definitely part man. His manly features could have been chiseled by Michelangelo himself, and the horse half was a fine stallion that could cause even the stoutest of mares to swoon.

“He’s huuuuge,” Millicent whispered.

“Oh god,” Hermione replied. Hermione hadn’t even thought about that. “Oh – my – god.”

Another centaur emerged from the trees a moment later triggering a giggle fit from the two girls.

“Hello Hagrid, I hope you are well.”

“Hello, Bane.” Hagrid offered while turning to look at the girls.

“Fillies can be so strange.” the new arrival commented.

“There’s a unicorn that’s been hurt, have you seen anything strange?” Hagrid asked turning back to the centaur.

Ronan looked up at the sky. “Always the innocent are the first victims.” He let out a soft sigh. “So it has been for ages past. So it is now.”

“Um ya, but have you seen anything strange?” Hagrid pressed. “Anything unusual?”

“Mars is bright tonight.” Ronan offered. “Unusually bright.”

“The moon grows in brightness too.” Offered Bane. “But Mars is bright. Venus dances with the moon as well.” He contemplated the signs for a moment. “Artemis hunts tonight.”

“The signs are indeed unusual tonight.” Ronan offered.

“Ya, but I was meaning unusual as in a bit closer to home. Here, in the forest?” Hagrid pressed.

“Artemis is hunting Mars.” Ronan offered.

“I’m asking about the forest,” Hagrid asked with a hint of exasperation.

“The forest hides many secrets.” Ronan offered after having to think about his answer. Most wizards would have understood a statement Artemis was hunting Mars. It meant that an individual associated with war had entered the forest, and a powerful huntress was after him.

“Bane, would ja know anything about someth'n going after unicorns?” Hagrid pressed. Bane walked over to Ronan and replied that Mars is bright tonight. “Ya, we’ve heard. If either of you sees anything, let me know. We’ll be off then.” Hagrid grumbled.

Hagrid continued down the trail with the two girls trailing behind.

“Hagrid?” Hermione asked as she looked back in the direction they’d come. “Hagrid, there’s light.”

“If it’s not green or red I ain't interested,” Hagrid grumbled.

“But should there even be light? It’s in the direction the boys went. - Hagrid, I see blue light, now pink, and now orange. Now there’s purple, magenta, and vermilion. A green light!”

Hagrid turned to see the colors of the rainbow lighting up the forest. “I said green if they find it, not light up a bleeding disco tech.”

Hagrid watched in dismay as the swirling lights pulsed, converged, and pulsed again. Light washed out over the forest. And then a column of light blasted straight up into the stratosphere. Higher and higher the column went, and then crashed down again.

Silence. It was as though the forest itself was holding its breath, and for a brief moment, it was as though the stars and moon had vanished. Hagrid couldn't even begin to comprehend the forces being brought to play.

The light was gone. What was going on?” The three stood there looking into the blackness. They heard the rush of wind and were nearly bowled over by it when it hit. And then everything was as it had been before.

Hagrid started walking back in the direction they’d come and then broke into a run.

“Hagrid?!” Hermione called. Hemione pulled out her wand and illuminated the end.

“Where's he going?” Millicent asked sounding frightened.

“Come on, I’ve had enough of this forest.” Hermione offered. “I know I deserve to be punished, but this just doesn’t seem right to me.”

“What do you have in mind?”

“Find our way back to where we left the main trail, and find our way back to Hagrid’s hut. That’s assuming he doesn’t come back for us.”

“What if we can’t find our way back?”

“We will. We have to.”

👥

Harry was brought down to Nova’s infirmary and placed on an examination table. Blood was dribbling from his scar. On another table, nearby Doctor Hawkeye, a brash young pegasus surgeon, was patching up the unicorn while a nurse hooked up a bottle of plasma via an intravenous tube and needle. Hawkeye had volunteered when he heard about the opportunity to prove himself, and he was every bit as nimble with his hooves as any unicorn surgeon. *“Come on, stay with me, don’t give up, don’t let the bastard win!” Hawkeye exclaimed as he worked feverishly.

“Come on Harry, what’s going on with you?” Nova asked shortly after he’d been placed on his table.

“It hurts.” Harry pleaded, clutching at his head. He was in so much pain he was oblivious to the fact that he was surrounded by talking ponies.

“Tia, what’s going on with Harry’s scar?” Nova asked.

“It seems to be reacting violently to the fact that Troll Fart was banished. Almost as though it were a piece of him?” Princess Celestia offered.

“Aunt Tia?” Nova said in surprise. “Can you do anything?”

“It needs to come out, but I’m afraid the attempt might kill him.” Celestia offered. “I’m afraid it’ll kill him if we don’t.”

“Would it come out if he was, shall we say technically dead?” Nova asked.

“It would. What did you have in mind?” Celestia asked, concern in her voice.

“I’m going to need a small thunderhead!” Nova shouted, and started making cloud balls. “I’m going to stop his heart, you pull that thing out of him, and then zap him with the enchanted lightning to get his heart going again.” “Harry, you have to trust us, there’s no other way!” Nova explained as she passed over a cloud ball to another pegasus, and started making another one. “Don’t just stand there, start packing. Aunt Tia, there are containment jars on the shelf behind me. Once you get it out, put it in there, and seal it up.”

“Well have you a cloud in a minute.” Rainbow Dash offered as she joined in packing clouds.

“Alright, I don’t want to wait any longer,” Nova said as she passed another cloud ball over to the pegasi who were packing cloud balls into a small thunderhead. She placed her hooves on Harry’s chest and willed up the Foxfire. It took but a moment for the aura to envelop them both.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, what are you doing?” Aiko asked rushing in.

“What I have to do, to save Harry,” Nova informed her. The magic poured into Harry, his body convulsed, Nova found herself fighting spell after spell that had been intended to keep Harry safe. All they were doing now was preventing her from helping him. Harry let out a gasp and went limp.

“Go,” Nova ordered breathless. She then slumped to the floor to be caught by Aiko. “I’m alright, that just took a little more then I thought it would.”

“You’ll have left a little of yourself behind, in the form of your magic and a little of your spirit energy, you know that don’t you?” Aiko asked.

“And a little of him migrates over to replace it.” Nova offered. “It doesn’t break away pieces of my soul or anything like that. I’ve little pieces of every pony I ever saved or tried to save. Along with a little of everyone I ever cared about or loved. It happens naturally between individuals who care about each other. The way I see it, I gain far more than I ever lose because I carry a little piece of everyone I ever cared about, and it’s the only way to balance out the lives I’ve had to take. Taking lives of ponies, when I found myself in that war against Sombra, it hurts. It hurts something awful. Giving a little piece of my heart to those I care about is the only way I know to heal the hurt. And then sometimes I feel like even that’s not enough to make the pain go away.” Aiko looked at Nova with care and concern and gave her a hug.

“Got it!” Celestia announced. “Dash, where’s that cloud? - Aiko, I need that jar, quick! This thing is trying to get away from me!”



Hermione and Millicent slowly made their way back along the animal track. “Don’t you have a wand?” Hermione asked as they made their way through the dark.

“Just a school wand I can’t really use. My hand hasn’t fully healed yet.” Millicent offered. “The doctors aren’t sure if I’ll even be able to do magic again.”

“Why ever did you hex that little baby in the first place?” Hermione asked. She might as well be asking what were you thinking, why’d you do something so stupid, and cruel? All questions that had been asked repeatedly by people from other houses, people from her own house, the teachers, the medical professionals, her parents, and the greatest insult of all, even from the person who’d dared her to do it in the first place.

“I just did. - I survived my brothers hexing me.”

“And how did your parents react?”

“My father said it would make me strong.”

“That is just messed up.”

:rainbowhuh:

“Harry!” Hagrid called as he raced down the path. He’d slow down every so often to check the forest floor for spots of unicorn blood, and then raced on again. He slowed to a walk when he came in sight of the clearing where the unicorn had been. He saw the trail of splattered blood growing dark in the cold, the pool of blood in the clearing, the depression where the unicorn had been, and hoof tracks everywhere. “Harry!? Harry!”

“What av I done, what av I done?” Hagrid asked himself as he raced about looking for signs of Harry and Malfoy. When he found where Harry had lain it looked to his mind that there had been a struggle. “Malfoy,” Hagrid growled. It really did look like the one boy had knocked down the other, and then someone must have flown in on pegasi, snatched them up along with that valuable unicorn carcass. Oh yes, he’d made a tidy profit selling the last one on the black market. He'd made a good deal of money recently. He could only guess at who had this one.

“I’ve got to tell Dumbledore,” Hagrid said at length. But what was he to tell him? Ronan had told him that he shouldn't be here. Ronan always seemed to know when something was about to happen, though it was beyond him, and the way centaurs talked just befuddled his mind. Hagrid knew better than to take first-year students into the forest, but then the lure of finding that unicorn had clouded his judgment, just like the thrill of having his very own pet dragon had. He’d even gone so far as to tell a total stranger how to get past fluffy just to get that egg. True, he missed Norbert something terrible, but Ron, Harry, and Hermione had been right. Hermione?! He’d left the girls alone in the forest! Hagrid turned and went crashing back in the general direction he’d come. Moments before he was due to intercept them, the girls on hearing the sound of a great beast crashing through the forest chose to hide. Not knowing what could possibly be approaching them, Hermione doused the light of her wand and pulled Millicent under a fallen tree. She needed a little prompting. They waited till the unknown behemoth had passed, scrambled back to the path and hurried as fast as they could, not wishing to encounter anything else in that forest. Getting suspended was better than getting eaten any day.

By some miracle, Hermione and Millicent found the path they’d come in on and turned back for Hogwarts. They met Filch on their way out.

“What are you doing out here?” Filch asked as he hurried to meet them. He wasn’t angry at them. He wasn’t accusing them of anything. He was honestly surprised that he’d actually found them, and bewildered as to why they’d be out in the forest in the first place. “You’re supposed to be mucking out the Thestral caves, not traipsing about in the forest? Where’s Hagrid?”

“We don’t know?” Hermione offered. “He left us by ourselves.”

“Two first-year girls, on your own in the forest?” Filch said astonished. “You could have been killed out there! What is he thinking? Where is he? What’s happened to Potter, and the Malfoy boy?”

“We don’t know.” Millicent offered.

“After Hagrid left us, we thought it best to go back to the hut, and take whatever consequences there might be.” Hermione offered.

“I’d have done the same.” Filch offered. “Let's get you back to school.”

“Are we going to be suspended?” Millicent asked as Filch escorted the girls out of the forest.

“I can’t see how you can be faulted if you were never put to the task you were supposed to have done in the first place.” Filch offered. “And for that matter, leaving girls out in the forest by themselves is a bit much even for my tastes. Dying is not learning.”

Finding Fang cowering on the doorstep of Hagrid’s hut did not bode well. Filch took pity on the dog, and let it inside so Fang could go in and curl up on his bed. From there they returned to the school where Filch roused Professor McGonagall.

“What’s going on?” McGonagall asked as she opened the door. Filch told her about Professor Dumbledore coming to him, about finding the main hall doors wide open, and that Hagrid for reasons known only to himself had taken the students into the forest, and left the girls to fend for themselves. The whereabouts of Hagrid, Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy, and Professor Dumbledore were presently unknown. “Girls, return to your dorms. - Mr Filch, we need to wake the staff.”

:scootangel:

Hermione climbed the stairs to Gryffindor tower a short time later, she was weary and worried. There was no one in the common room, and no one in her shared dorm room. How could there be no one in her room? Maybe they were in Nova’s room? Hermione thought about knocking on the door but decided not to wake them up. She was too weary to do anything but change, and when she’d changed she pulled the covers on her bed back and sat down. Why is their a pony poking her head out of Nova’s room? “Louise?”

“You made it back. That’s good.” Scootaloo said.

“Harry...”

“He’s going to be fine.” Scootaloo offered. “Did Millicent make it back too?”

“Harry’s alright?” “Yes, she did.”

“Good, that’s everyone except Hagrid. He’s a big boy, and can take care of himself.”

“I think McGonagall is about to organize a search?” Hermione offered as a little filly in a nappy bounced up onto her bed. Hermione was just too weary to question anything at this point and wasn’t sure if she might be dreaming.

“Hermie-ne.” Rose said with a smile and sat down.

“So cute,” Hermione whispered.

“Come on Rose Myrtle. If you are satisfied that she’s alright, we need to get you back to bed.” Scootaloo said, her voice warm and caring.

“Myrtle?” Hermione asked.

“Ya, that’s Myrtle,” Scootaloo confirmed. “If we had wanted to make her human we would have needed a drop of your blood.”

“You aren’t human then.”

“Afraid not. I hope that isn’t going to make things worse. I really do want to be your friend. And Rose wanted to see you. I think she remembers things. She was worried too. I think she somehow knew something was going on.”

“What does she remember?” Hermione asked sounding concerned.

“Don’t worry, Princess Luna went through and removed anything that wasn’t a happy memory.”

“Tank you,” Rose said to Hermione. “I have to go now.” She then got up again, walked to the edge of the bed, spread her wings and jumped.

“Well, at least your landings are spot on.” Scootaloo offered.

“When fly?” Rose asked.

“When you’re older. Come on now.” Scootaloo offered. “Oh, and Hermione, you’ll find Harry in the hospital wing in the morning.”

“The hospital wing?” Hermione asked.

“We got 'you know who'. What we did effected Harry’s scar, and they had to remove what was inside of it.” “Good night. I’ll see you in the morning.”

“We? What have you been doing, how do you even know what’s been going on?” Hermione asked.

“Shortly after Princess Nova got here, a security detail from back home showed up. Things kind of snowballed from there. Listen, they’ll probably ask you a lot of questions in the morning about what happened. Might be best to leave out this little conversation. Might be problematic.”

“I’m so weary I might not even remember,” Hermione admitted, and lay down. Scootaloo went over to her, helped her the rest of the way into her bed, pulled the covers over her, said goodnight one more time, and escorted Rose back to the apartments.

:twilightsmile:

“Excuse me?” Twilight said as she approached the growing number of faculty in the entry hall. Twilight was in human form and looked possibly more like a muggle then a witch being she was wearing clothing that was more fitting to the town her counterpart had grown up in.

“Who are you?” Professor McGonagall asked momentarily after her mind acknowledged the newcomer.

“Princess Twilight Sparkle. I’m Nova Moon’s Mother.”

“I thought Luna Moon was her mother?” Snape asked suspiciously.

“We both are. I’m her birth mother” Twilight offered. Never mind that Twilight looked far too young to have a daughter Nova’s age, or that she was presently fairly sure Nova was some other Twilight’s daughter. For the wizards, Twilight's apparent youth strongly suggested to them a reason why Nova might have two mothers. “I wanted to let you know that your students are all accounted for. Luna brought Draco in, he should be in bed, and Harry is in the hospital wing.”

“What’s going on?” Pomona Sprout asked.

“Hagrid took the students out into the forest, and right into the middle of a black ops operation.” Twilight informed them. “We haven't told him because he’s racing back and forth like a chicken with its head cut off, and we thought it best to let him wear himself out first. That and he has a large crossbow, and we are a little worried he might shoot at anyone he doesn’t recognize.”

“Understood. You wouldn't happen to know where Professor Dumbledore is would you?” McGonagall asked.

“Stuck in his own trap I’m afraid.” Twilight offered. “Luna is going to see if she can’t get him out. I hear he’s being petulant.”

“And what exactly was this ‘dark ops’ operation you speak of?” Snape asked suspiciously.

“In a nutshell. There won’t be any more attacks on innocent unicorns in the forbidden forest.” Twilight offered. “Oh and don’t bother looking for Quirrell as he’s long gone as well. We can’t really say for sure what happened to him, but the person you thought was Quirrell, wasn’t Quirrell. - I pity him if he ever was. - And if that serpent sprouts any new heads, we’ll cut them off too.” Twilight turned and walked out the door. As she went down to the steps mist drifted by, and when it had gone, she was gone. She'd left leaving them with more questions then they'd started out with.

“I’m going to go check on Mr Potter,” McGonagall announced. “Otherwise I’d imagine everyone can go back to bed. That is unless someone wants to try to fetch Hagrid?”

“Might be best to let him wear himself out. Serve him right as well.” Snape sniped, turned, and headed for the Slytherin dorm. He’d a mind to make sure for himself Draco Malfoy was indeed back in his room. Snape was not happy. And no it had nothing to do with the apparent defeat of Voldemort’s plans. That woman hadn’t named him, but he knew who Quirrel was working for. For Snape, there was the issue of that unbreakable vow he’d made to keep Draco safe as well, and he’d trusted Hagrid to do as he was told. Snape wondered if Dumbledore would ever blindly trust Hagrid again after this night?

👩‍⚕️

McGonagall arrived at the hospital wing a short time later to find Madam Pomfrey up, and Harry sleeping soundly. Harry’s forehead was wrapped in gauze.

“They’ve removed the thing that was in his scar.” Madam Pomfrey offered. “I’m to understand that it nearly killed him. A sort of poison pill that would kill Harry if anyone succeeded in doing anything to you know who.”

“So what did they do, to Mr Riddle?” McGonagall asked.

“Mr… ah, I suppose it can’t hurt to use the man’s real name.” Madam Pomfrey mused. “They didn’t say. All they’ve said is that he won’t be a problem anymore. I suppose I should be elated, but I'm just too weary.”





When Harry woke the next morning he was not surprised to find himself in the school's infirmary. He dimly remembered the creature coming straight at him, a flash of fire from Malfoy’s wand, and rage. A rage that blinded him, and it felt as though an anvil had hit his head. After that everything was rather confused. He dimly remembered Professor Quirrel shouting something about getting away with it if not for the meddling ponies, and he’d swear the people in the operating room had all been ponies, but that can’t be right, can it?

“Hey, Potter, how’re you feeling?”

Harry was sure he was still hallucinating. Draco Malfoy was sitting by his bed in one of two chairs and seemed genuinely concerned for his well being.

“Well...” Harry began, “Either I’m still hallucinating or you’re Draco Malfoy, and you actually care what happens to me.” Malfoy laughed. It wasn’t his usual fake laugh either, but a genuine goodhearted laugh.

“Last night was pretty messed up.” Draco offered. “And don’t be telling anyone I blasted you know who right between the eyes with an Incendio spell. I did what I did because what I saw wasn’t even human. That and when it comes right down to it, you’re probably the closest thing I’ve got to a real friend in this place.”

“More like rivals if you ask me.” Harry offered with a smile.

“True, but rivals can be friends.” Nova offered having just entered the small room Harry was in. She hadn't come in from the hospital wing. “Glad to see you are better.”

“Do you know if that unicorn is going to be alright?” Draco asked Nova. He wasn’t sure why he asked her, he just had a strange feeling she might know.

“She made it through the night.” Nova offered. “She lost a lot of blood though. Be a while before we can say for sure if she’s going to be alright. - Draco I heard about what you did. That was mighty brave.”

“What I may or may not have done was mighty stupid on multiple levels, and I’ll thank you not to go spreading rumors.” Draco cautioned.

“Understood, and don’t worry, no one outside of those who were involved in last night’s operation know.”

“Know what?” Hermione asked as she entered. “Is Harry alright?”

“Draco stayed by Harry’s side until help came.” Nova offered. “Best not tell anyone. We wouldn't want to tarnish his reputation.”

“Until help came?” Hermione asked. “What exactly happened out there?”

“We caught up with the creature that was killing the unicorns and nearly got killed ourselves.” Draco offered. “That’s the way it is at Hogwarts my arse. I’ve already been told by Professor Snape and several other teachers that Hagrid had no businesses taking us into the forest. Even Dumbledore admitted it. I saw him this morning. He wanted me to tell him everything that happened, and he was livid.”

“I see,” Hermione replied softly.

“That was pretty reckless, taking us out into the forest after something capable of pulling down a full-grown unicorn,” Harry admitted. Hermione walked over, and sat on the end of the bed, followed by Nova sitting on the other side.

“Oh ho ho, what have we here?” Malfoy teased just as Ron came bursting into the room.

“Harry!-Malfoy!?” Ron exclaimed. He was delighted to see Harry alive, and just assumed the worst of Draco.

“What about us?” Nova asked.

“He gave the letter back. Never showed it to anyone.” Harry offered.

“Wait, what?” Ron asked confused. Up to this point, everything Ron had heard concerning last night’s incident had all been second hand. Hearing that Draco had returned his brother's letter detailing their plans to evacuate Norbert simply went against everything he knew to be true about Malfoy.

“And saved Harry’s life.” Nova offered. “Or at least had a part in it.”

Draco got up, walked over to Ron, “Now you have to be nice to me.” He teased and then left the room.

“What just happened?” Ron asked sounding very confused. “Nice? To Malfoy?”

Draco went down to the dining hall where he found Millicent sitting by herself, and sat down next to her. “I’m guessing by the good food you’ve got that the House-elves aren’t mad at you anymore,” Draco commented, and was delighted when he was provided with the best breakfast he’d seen since Millicent had jinxed the foal.

“How do you two rate such good food?” One of the other Slytherin's asked accusingly.

“Might be because we went through hell last night.” Draco offered even as the morning papers came in.

“Draco, what was all that light last night?” Millicent asked.

“Harry and I got caught in the middle of a firefight between several powerful wizards, and the thing that was killing the unicorns. - Though you probably don’t know about unicorns being killed.” Draco offered to the others at the Slytherin table. He looked at the Daily Profit, the headlines read ‘Students left in Forbidden forest to die’. How the Profit had found out so fast was beyond him. They were lacking a lot of details as to what had actually happened, but when did that ever stop Rita Skeeter? “You should have seen it, it came straight at us. That’s when an Animagus in the form of a draft horse comes galloping in, and bats its head with a great big shovel sending it flying like its head was a bludger. Next thing I know the air is full of wizards, and pegasi, and they were casting spells the likes of which I’ve never seen. When it was all over I even got to ride a nightmare back to Hogwarts.” Any suspicion he had that the nightmare and Luna Moon might be one and the same he kept to himself. He also suspected that not one of them believed him when he said he’d got to ride a nightmare.

“We saw the light.” Millicent offered. “Hagrid was going to ignore it till he saw a green flash. The light show went out, and a few moments later we were nearly bowled over by a blast of wind. After that Hagrid took off and left Hermione and me to fend for ourselves. Hermione decided she’d had enough and to Azkaban with the consequences. I wasn’t going to argue either. On our way back a great beast comes crashing through the forest, so we hid till it had passed. Though in hindsight I think it might have been Hagrid.” Draco laughed. “Filch was actually happy to find us. Apparently, we were supposed to be mucking out a cave that was full of Thestrals and not traipsing about in the forest. As bad as that sounds I think I would have preferred it. I imagine it lacks the potential to die a horrible death.”

“Me too.” Draco offered. “Harry and I nearly got killed, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if that big oaf gets fired this time for sure.”

🐝

What could possibly happen next? Dumbledore asked himself. He’d received an urgent summons to see Minister Fudge at the Ministry of Magic. He’d gone the gantlet of emotions and didn’t need anything more to happen. He’d honestly believed Harry had been killed, he had been trapped in the Mirror of Erised, and Luna Moon had come to his rescue. At first, he hadn’t wanted to be rescued. Luna had been bewildered by his not wanting to be freed from the mirror. How did she even know how in the first place? Bad enough she was able to get past all the traps without even so much as a scratch. He could do it because the wards allowed him to apparate. Was Luna Moon able to apparate within Hogwarts? It was inconceivable. He’d been overjoyed that Harry was alright and furious that they’d defeated Voldemort without him. Logic suggested he should be overjoyed, but he wasn’t. Luna Moon never told him what had become of the stone either. All she’d say is that it, along with Tom Riddle, was gone. As inconceivable as it seemed, Dumbledore had come to the conclusion that his trap had indeed failed, Voldemort had gained the stone, made an attempt on Harry’s life which was nearly successful, and that the family Moon of Eques had taken matters into their own hands to clean up his mess. It also begged the question, just how powerful was this family?

“Professor Dumbledore?” Asked a young woman on approaching him. Dumbledore had been on his way to Fudge’s office. “Beatrice Lulamoon. I was asked to escort you. I’m Minister Fudge’s new assistant.”

“Is he not in his office?” Dumbledore asked wondering who the strange woman with silver and pale blue hair was. She also wore a purple wizard robe and hat covered in blue and yellow stars he found to be quite delightful.

“No, I’m afraid not. - Now, please follow Trixie.”

“Trixie?” Dumbledore asked.

“It’s what my friends call me.” Trixie offered as she made her way down a corridor, checking every so often to see if he was still following.

“By any chance do you know where you are going?” Dumbledore asked one eternity later. They’d been back and forth up and down staircases and even cut through a few offices.

“Trixie knows exactly where Trixie is going.” Trixie offered followed by directing him into an elevator. Just as the door was closing she flicked a beetle off Dumbledore’s shoulder out into the hallway.

“Inconceivable,” Dumbledore said under his breath and watched in bemusement as Trixie pressed every single button. He let out a sigh as the door closed. The beetle was locked out in the hall, and Dumbledore seemed oblivious to it thinking only that this young witch was wasting his time.

“Trixie is also well known for getting lost.” She said, took hold of his robe, and teleported the two of them straight to the Hall of Prophesy on the ninth floor. If the destination hadn’t been surprising enough, the teleport was most startling. Apparition wasn’t supposed to be possible within the Ministry, and that transport hadn’t felt anything at all like they had just Apparated.

“Inconceivable! - Where did you go to school?”

“Oregon State University,” Trixie replied with a smile. “They’ve a wonderful course on defense against the dark arts.” Trixie couldn't very well tell Dumbledore she was a drop out from Hogwarts, and telling anyone about Equestria was out of the Question. When Trixie had learned about Princess Celestia’s incursions into the human world, she immediately inserted herself as an adviser and was presently working undercover. They’d even managed to recruit Griselda Marchbanks who’d nearly blown Trixie’s cover when she had recognized the girl. It’d been easy enough, the question who sent you was asked by Madam Marchbanks, followed by Trixie informing her that Nova Moon’s parents had sent her. The question where have you been, and why haven't you aged past what looked to be her twenties was a little more difficult to answer. All Trixie could say was that her age had something to do with the portal. Nova’s parents were concerned about the state the country would be in when Nova reemerged, and Trixie wasn’t the only undercover agent they had.

“I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of it?” Dumbledore asked wondering what an Organ state was?

“This way.”

Trixie directed Dumbledore further and further into the Hall of Prophesies. The place was never really well lit relying on the prophecy globes to light it, but today the place seemed darker than normal. It wasn’t until Trixie pulled out a wand to cast a light spell that Dumbledore realized why. Now with vision unclouded he beheld orb after orb that had gone out.

“Ah, there you are!” Cornelius Fudge called as they turned a corner.

“Took our good sweet time at it.” Bartemius Crouch Sr said as they approached.

“Trixie always arrives when Trixie intends to.” Trixie offered. Minister Fudge smiled at her answer. In addition to Minister Fudge, and Mr Crouch, there were two other men who were looking at the burned out Globes.

“Minister Crouch, Cornelius, and I see Mr Bode and Mr Croaker. What seems to be the problem?” Dumbledore asked as though he hadn’t noticed that there was an entire row that had gone dark.

“What seems to be the problem?!” Crouch exclaimed with a tone that suggested he thought Dumbledore had finally lost it. “The prophecies! They’re all going dark! And it seems to have started with the prophecies that center around Voldemort!”

“Professor Dumbledore.” Fudge began quietly. “The boy who lived, Harry Potter I believe his name was? How is he?”

“He seems to have died last night.” Dumbledore offered as though what he was saying was, oh Harry, yes he has the sniffles.

“Dead?” Fudge asked with just a hint of horror.

“He got better.” Dumbledore offered.

“He got better?” Crouch inquired with an air of Now I know you’ve gone quite mad. “How do you get better from having died!?”

Dumbledore had to think for a moment. He let out a sigh and began. “Last night, a small group of our students went out with Hagrid to do detention. Hagrid did not stick to the planned activity, and chose instead to go unicorn hunting.” Dumbledore was not happy with Hagrid’s actions. Hagrid had at least been more than remorseful, but… Dumbledore simply could not just let this latest transgression go. Dumbledore knew about Norbert. If he’d had dealt with the dragon himself, Harry would never have been caught out of his dorm and been subject to detention in the first place. Dumbledore had done nothing when he should have, and his inaction had once again resulted in disaster.

“Speaking of which I need to have a word with you concerning Hagrid and a unicorn later,” Crouch replied. “But go on.”

“You can put a warrant out for the capture and arrest of Quirinus Quirrell,” Dumbledore informed him. “He’s the one that was killing the unicorns, betrayed my trust last night, helped himself to the Philosopher’s stone, and tried to kill Mr Potter on his way out. He was nearly successful.” Oh, Dumbledore knew full well they’d never find the man, not if he could believe Draco Malfoy’s account. And Draco wasn’t the sort to make up a tale like the one he’d told. Dumbledore was suspicious Draco had left a few things out as well. If Luna Moon hadn’t shown up to let him out of his own trap… He wasn’t entirely sure it was even his trap anymore. Luna Moon had also assured Dumbledore that the creature they’d trapped would no longer be an issue. Quirrel, or what was left of him was lost in the bargain as well along with the stone, or so he believed. Not that he needed to tell anyone at the ministry the whole truth of the mater as he knew it. “As far as the prophecies go, I believe Quirrel was working on behalf of the dark lord. His failure to kill Potter has likely caused a domino effect where prophecies dependent on the prophecy about Mr Potter could no longer stand once that prophesy failed. The effect will undoubtedly spread. Prophesies depending on other prophesies all falling apart one after another being the conditions for the prophecy to come true no longer exist. I’ve no doubt we’ll be completely in the dark in a matter of days.” Dumbledore also suspected there’d be a mad dash by Voldemort’s supporters to find a man that no longer existed in this world once the word got out that Quirrel was presently on the run with the Philosopher's stone. Dumbledore could take solace in that Voldemorts followers would likely turn on each other and that the Philanderers stone was still safe.

“I set policy based on the prophecies. What am I supposed to do now?” Fudge asked sounding frightened.

“You could try doing what your heart feels is the right thing to do,” Dumbledore suggested. Fudge just looked at him as though he’d gone mad. Dumbledore was also glad he’d told the staff not to talk about what had happened. Luna Moon was going to cover the Defense against the Dark Arts class, and they’d decided it best not to let on that a wraith had been teaching the class. Granted ‘wraith’ really wasn’t the correct term, but he was at a loss as to what Professor Quirrell had become?

🕕

“Come on Harry, it’s nearly time for dinner,” Nova announced as she brought in a wheeled chair. Harry was at least dressed, Ron, having brought him some clothes earlier. The clothes he’d had on in the forest were muddy and bloodstained from unicorn blood and had been removed shortly after they removed that fragment of Tom Riddle's soul.

“You aren’t planning on making me use that are you?” Harry protested.

“Harry, your heart stopped. You were clinically dead.”

“About that, I seemed to have had this strange dream that you were the one who did it. Only you were that black and white pegacorn.”

“Best not say anything.” Nova offered. Or they might take that Quidditch win from you.”

“Hang on, what?”

“If anyone asks, I turn into a little fox, not a pegacorn.”

“You turn into a fox?” Hermione asked as she entered the room. Ron was right behind her.

Nova jumped up onto the bed and transforming to her fox form mid-jump. She turned and sat on the bed looking back at Hermione, and Ron.

“What kind of fox is that?” Ron asked.

“One of a pair who tried to help us when we forgot the invisibility cloak.” Hermione offered. “That other one anyone we know?”

“Oh, he’s the real deal.” Nova offered. “I think he wants to be my boyfriend. And if we can keep this quiet, I’d really appreciate it.”

“She can talk while she’s an animal?!” Ron exclaimed.

“Ron, lots of animals can talk.” Hermione offered. Nova shifted back as Hermione edged forward.

“You weren't thinking of snatching me up, I got wings you know,” Nova said sounding a bit accusatory as she transformed back to a human. In her mind, she saw herself displaying a wing, but she was presently in human form… right? To Nova’s bewilderment, and embarrassment a wing materialized, and smacked Harry right in the face.

“Harry!” Hermione exclaimed. “You’ve killed Harry!”

“Harry, I’m so sorry, are you alright?” Nova spun around, and as she did her other wing popped out smacking Ron in the face nearly knocking him over. And these weren’t her little compressed fox wings, but her full-sized wings. Each protruded from a slit that had magically appeared in her clothing. “Why are they even doing that? This is so embarrassing!”

“Oh my?” Madam Pomfrey said on entering the room.

“Harry, speak to me!” Hermione ordered the now prone Potter. Ron had retreated to a safe distance.

“Just take a deep breath, and let it out slowly.” Madam Pomfrey suggested to Nova.

“Alright,” Nova replied.

“Harry?” Hermione asked as Harry reached for his head.

“I’m alright.” Harry offered. “Just got knocked over. Her wings are really soft.”

Nova took a few moments and somehow managed to get her wings back to where they looked like they were tattoos on her back. She then got out her wand and cast a binding spell on herself.

“You think that’s going to be necessary?” Madam Pomfrey asked.

“Until I can get this new issue under control, I think it best.” Nova offered.

“You don’t think it could be your condition worsening?” Madam Pomfrey prompted.

“My… oh that. Celestial foxes, also known generically as kitsune or Oukitsune in Nippon can transform into humans when they are old enough, so that’s not really going to be an issue. It’s more a matter of my getting control of the transformation spell.” Nova explained.

“So then, you are turning into a little winged fox that can turn into a human?” Ron asked. “That’s just weird.”

“Don’t be so sure she’s not a fox who’s turned herself into a human who’s slowly turning into a fox who can turn into a human.” Harry offered.

“Or maybe...” Ron began.

“No, stop. If I let this continue, we’ll never make it to dinner.” Hermione protested. “So what’s the wheelchair for?”

“That was for Harry. I stopped his heart so we could get that fragment of dark magic out of his head.” Nova informed them.

“You did what?” Ron asked. “And what were you doing out of the dorm in the middle of the night?”

“It worked, he’s here, alive… Ah, that’s probably what’s going on with my transformation. When I did it, my spell, our magic mixed a little. I sure hope it’s not going to affect my spell work. Oh, and I wasn’t out of the dorm either, not technically.”

“Your magic mixed?!” Hermione asked accusingly. “And how can you be out of the dorm, and not out of the dorm?”

“It was that or let him die.” Nova offered.

“Madam Pomfrey?!” Hermione asked accusingly.

“I’m afraid I wasn’t there at the time.” Madam Pomfrey offered. “I can assure you that they were successful in their endeavors. And what Nova said about not technically being out of the dorm is true. Whatever else she might have been involved in doesn’t really matter for two reasons, Headmaster Dumbledore is going to let it slide, and the Ministry can’t touch her short of asking her to leave the country, and the Ministry of Magic doesn’t have the authority to do so.”

“I’m a trained medic, and it was my Aunt Celestia who did the extraction. They brought him right back here, and I pitched in.” Nova offered.

“Miss Nova’s family has a full security detail with medical personnel keeping tabs on her.” Madam Pomfrey offered. “She is a princess after all, and they were the ones that went after the creature that was killing unicorns. One more thing, we need to keep the details confidential, there’s to be no talking about what you may or may not know.”

“Oh, I see,” Hermione replied. “I guess that explains a lot. How Miss Moon here always seems to know what’s going on.”

“And Harry, perhaps you should use the chair, just for tonight?” Madam Pomfrey offered.

“There are no ramps in this place.” Harry pointed out. “How am I supposed to get down to the ground floor?”

“OK, maybe we’ll just leave the chair after all,” Nova replied with a sheepish grin.

They arrived at the great hall a short time later and took up their usual seats. To Nova’s delight, the second year Gryffindors were excitedly talking about the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. The classroom had been cleaned and aired, nor was there any sign of the previous instructor to remain. Quirrel had been replaced by a beautiful witch who really knew her stuff. Granted it also begged the question, what had become of Professor Quirrell?

“Your attention please,” Dumbledore said to the student body moments after going to his place at the head table. He waited while everyone went to their places, and sat down. “I’ve a few words.” He paused a moment. “As some of you may already be aware of, Professor Quirinus Quirrell is no longer with us. Madam Luna Moon has agreed to cover the class for the rest of the year.”

“Madam, he says?” Nova mused. Luna was giving Dumbledore an odd look and smiled when she realized that she hadn’t told him she was a Crown Princess. Under the circumstances, he could be forgiven if he’d forgotten that Nova Moon was a confirmed Princess of Eques, and hadn’t made the connection.

“As for Professor Quirrell, I might as well tell you now before you read about it in the papers.” At that moment the evening edition of the Daily Profit was arriving. The headline: Quirrel attempts murder of Harry Potter! “I had secreted away a certain valuable artifact here in the school with the assumption that there could be no place safer. Unknown to me, one of our own had already betrayed me, and simply been waiting to strike. Professor Quirrell took that artifact late last night, and even went so far as to attempt to murder Mr Potter.” There was stunned silence. “In that regard, we have to thank Mr Draco Malfoy for sticking with Harry and bringing his plight to the attention of a group of Aurors who were hunting a dangerous non-native beast that had been preying on the local unicorn population. Fifty points will be awarded to Slytherin.”

The Slytherin’s erupted in cheers. Who cared who Malfoy had saved, he just regained fifty house points.

Dumbledore waited for the Slytherins to quiet down. For keeping their head after having been abandoned in the Forbidden Forest, Hermione Granger and Millicent Bulstrode will be awarded twenty points each.” Dumbledore waited till the dining hall quieted down. “For abandoning his duty, and the students in his charge, I regret to inform you that Hagrid has been suspended for the remainder of the year. On his return next year, he will be on probation.”

“Hagrid’s been suspended?” Harry asked. Sure Hagrid had really screwed up big time, but Harry never thought Dumbledore would actually suspend him.

“Dumbledore must really be mad at him.” Percy offered.

“That’s all I’ll say on the mater for now,” Dumbledore announced over the chatter. “I’m sure there will be plenty about it in the morning papers. Now it’s time to eat.” Dumbledore sat down, and the food appeared moments later.

“It’s not going to be the same without Hagrid around.” Ron offered as he helped himself to a plateful of roast beef. “Say, Nova, why is it you never eat beef?”

“A little to close to cannibalism.” Nova offered as Sweetie Belle piled the meat onto her plate. “I never eat anything that is equine, or bovine. Not if I can help it.”

“I gave up trying to avoid it when I found out how good it is.” Sweetie Belle offered just as Phenik came in for a landing. “Phenik likes it too.”

“Traitor.” Nova accused Phenik, and then offered up some fish from her plate. “Besides, she likes fish best.”

Phenik hopped over to Nova took the offered morsel, and then lifted off. Phenik went straight to Princess Luna and landed on her shoulder.

“Alright, what does the head table have that we don’t?” Apple Bloom asked just as Dumbledore’s Fawkes showed up, and landed at the head table. The two phoenixes proceeded to squawk at each other.

“I wouldn't know, but I’d be more inclined to think Phenik can’t figure out why we aren’t sitting together when we are in the same room,” Nova replied. Luna offered Phenik a morsel of what she was eating, and then Phenik went back over to Nova followed by Fawkes. “Oh now it’s my turn again is it?” Nova asked, and offered up some more fish. Phenik took it and then flew back to Luna. “Well, at least she’s getting her exercise. Fawkes, you didn’t want something did you?” Fawkes flew back to the head table and went back to squawking at Phenik.

“Speaking of which, now that things are going to quiet down, what about that extra training, we still on?” Scootaloo asked.

“What’s this about extra training?” Oliver Wood asked.

“Louise sneaks into Nova’s room every morning.” Hermione offered.

“Um, never mind then.” Wood replied. “Harry, are you going to be up to playing quidditch against Ravenclaw?”

“How about putting Louise in?” Nova asked.

“I can fly.” Harry protested.

“How’s your magic though?” Nova asked.

“My magic… you don’t think I might have a problem too?” Harry asked.

“Hang on, too? What’s this too?” Wood asked suspiciously.

“Go on, tell them.” Hermione prompted with a smile that looked a bit like a cat who’d caught a snitch.

“I um… Harry helped me with a spell the other day that sort of destabilized my magic do to a transfer of some of our magic.” Nova offered.

“You used a bounding spell on him, didn’t you?” Idda Peverell accused. “That’s a dirty rotten trick to be pulling on Hermione.”

“I didn’t use a bounding spell.” Nova protested. “That was sort of the side effect though, but it’s not like that.” She gave everyone a moment so they'd hear. “He and I will be a little like brother and sister now.” Nova was quick to defend herself and try to explain without having to go into detail. “It’s not like he’s going to suddenly fall in love with me, and I’ve kind of got a colt friend.”

“She said colt.” Sweetie Belle said and started laughing.

“Boyfriend, I meant boyfriend.” Nova corrected.

“Along with a wife, a son, a daughter, and a girlfriend.” Apple Bloom offered with a grin.

“I thought I had three girlfriends?” Nova asked her with a wink. Sweetie Belle stopped laughing, and Apple Bloom blushed.

“Oh, you’re not saying the four of you?” Ron protested.

“And why not?” The twins asked.

“I find I’m having difficulty deciding if you girls are really immature, or just the opposite?” Idda said as she studied the girls. The part about the wife, son, and daughter simply did not add up. “So then who’s who?”

“Alalme Silverwood would be the wife.” Scootaloo offered. “You haven't been introduced to her yet.”

“The son and daughter are Goldwine and Alya.” Apple Bloom offered.

“And if we add Scootaloo to the family that brings in Rose Myrtle.” Nova offered.

“Rose?” Hermione asked startled. She vaguely remembered meeting a foal named Rose. The details concerning who Rose was, was a bit hazy at the moment. “Ah ha, they are talking about the pegasi herd. You are so lucky you get to spend time with them.”

“If you’d like I can make it up to you by letting you join our study session.” Nova offered. “Just the five of us though.”

“You’re not inviting Ron and Harry?” Hermione asked.

“It’s going to be up in my room, be kind of hard to let the boys join in.” Nova offered.

“That’s quite alright, you don’t have to include us, we won’t feel slighted in the least.” Ron offered.

“Hang on. She has her own room?” Percy asked.

“There wasn’t a bed for her,” Idda explained. “She’s sleeping in a deluxe trunk. It’s quite nice actually. Wouldn't mind getting one for myself.”

“So we’re on then?” Nova asked. “Just us roommates

“Sure, I’d like that,” Hermione replied.

🚪

After dinner, they went up to the room at the top of the tower. Hermione gathered up the books she’d need and went into Nova’s lounge where Nova, Scootaloo, Apple Bloom, and Sweetie Belle were waiting. “Um, why are you just standing there?” Hermione asked.

“I thought we’d use my library.” Nova offered.

“Sounds good to me,” Scootaloo added. “Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom, do you concur?”

“I think she’s ready.” Apple Bloom offered.

“Me too.” Sweetie Belle added.

“Tia, open the bookcase.” Nova requested.

Hermione’s eyes widened in surprise as the bookshelf at the far end of the room began to slide into the wall to the left. When she saw what it opened up to she dropped her books. Five pegasi foals stood expectantly, along with Alalme, Istel, Talma, Gadgull, and Twilight Sparkle.

“Pegasi,” Hermione said softly.

“This is my family.” Nova offered. She transformed herself into her pegacorn form and walked over to the waiting foals. “Some of my family, not quite all.” Goldwine went up to Nova and snuggled against her. Rose walked up to Hermione. "I should probably mention that Goldwine is still a little shy around humans."

“Hermie-ne?” Myrtle asked.

Hermione dropped to her knees. She was now surrounded by ponies, Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo now back to their true selves.

“You… you have two transformations?” Hermione asked. “And you are all ponies?”

“Yep, sure are.” Apple Bloom offered.

“About the two transformations, I’d just assume not have to explain that to anyone.” Nova requested.

“She and Ensign Loki are the only ones who can do that, that I know of, and they both have the fox transformation.” Twilight offered. “My Name is Twilight Sparkle. You can call me Twilight if you like.”

“Twilight is my mother,” Nova announced. Hermione noticed Twilight’s ears twitched when Nova announced that she was Twilight’s foal. Twilight didn’t know the full truth of the matter but was growing suspicious. Nova dropped down and gave Goldwine and Alya wing hugs. “These two cuties are Goldwine and Alya. And this beautiful sable mare who’s sneaking up on my left is Alalme. Alya is her filly.”

“The wife, I assume?” Hermione asked with a smile as Alalme nuzzled Nova’s left ear.

“We’ve a sister pact.” Alalme offered. “It is good to meet you, and I hope we can be good friends.”

“Ya, um… likewise.” Hermione offered.

“Hermie-ne?” Rose asked looking at her.

“I think we broke her.” Scootaloo offered.

“Let's just give her a bit to catch up.” Twilight offered with a smile.

Meanwhile, Princess Luna was meeting with Professor Dumbledore.

“It is so good of you to offer to cover the Defense Against the Dark arts class,” Dumbledore said warmly. “And please forgive my petulance from early this morning.”

“I understand completely. We had hoped the Dark Lord would be trapped in your trap. I fear I must tell you that we felt the need to make a few modifications to the obstacle course do to students daring it. It’s a little less lethal now. Oh, and we replaced Fluffy altogether with a very clever illusion. Although, I don’t understand why Quirrel didn’t just blast his way in, short of some diminished faculties. Getting past the dog should have been easy.”

“I see...” Dumbledore said slowly as he processed what Luna had just told him. “I… I’m a little curious myself as to why he wasn't trapped?”

“He’s trapped now.” Luna reaffirmed. “We placed him in a limbo from which there can be no return.” She paused a moment. “I fear we may not be fully rid of him just yet.”

“And your reasoning?”

“It concerns Myrtle Warren.”

“Do you know what became of her I wonder?”

“Oh yes, I know exactly what became of her.” Luna offered as she retrieved a crystal vial from a handbag. “It’s the memory of her murder.”

“You’re suggesting her death was deliberate?” Dumbledore gave no hint of emotion.

“It was Tom Riddle. Granted Hagrid has some judgment issues, but the real criminal is Mr Riddle. He didn’t just kill her and frame young Hagrid, he performed some kind of ritual as she was dying.” Luna said nothing for a moment or two. “The memory is rather disturbing.”

“I suppose I’d better have a look.” Dumbledore offered. He took the vial over to the Pensieve, poured the contents in, and put his face in it.

“It’s worse then I feared,” Dumbledore stated a few minutes later as he pulled his head out. “He was reading her his fan fiction.”

“But why? It’s bad enough he killed her, but why force her to listen to bad fan fiction as she was dying?” Luna asked. The very notion of it made her feel ill. “Not even the worse villain in Eques would subject another to something so horrible.”

“It’s my belief he may have been trying to make a Horcrux.” Dumbledore offered. “It’s a way to cheat death.” “Tom Riddle had been asking about it when he was a Prefect in Hogwarts. I located a book in the school library that had enough information that he could have figured out how to do it, so I removed the book for fear he might actually try it.”

“Seems he tried it anyway, and it would explain why we couldn't kill it. So what exactly is a Horcrux?”

“A Horcrux... the individual splits their soul by committing murder, and by means of spell and ritual. They take a portion of their soul, believed to be half, and then locks it away inside an object to be kept safe. So long as that object is safe the individual cannot be killed. At the same time, they are not truly alive either.”

“What we pulled out of Mr Potter’s forehead seems to have been a piece of a corrupted soul.”

“You got it out?”

“My Sister did, with Nova’s help,” Luna explained. “It, the fragment, was reacting violently to what we did to Riddle. I’m to understand they had no choice, and they took a big risk to remove it.”

“There are three things I deeply regret, and bringing Tom Riddle to Hogwarts was one. I knew what sort of boy he was when I found him in the orphanage. I honestly believed I could redeem him.”

“And the Horcrux?”

“All I saw was a book so it’s hard to say. The memory ends before the deed was finished. And given there was a piece of his soul in Harry’s head, it suggests that he’s done it more than once. What became of the piece that was extracted?”

“It’s sealed up in an unbreakable jar. It crystallized shortly after it was placed in the jar.”

“So are your people any good at finding a needle in a haystack?”

Luna gave him an odd look. “The trouble with finding needles in haystacks is sometimes you get stuck by the needle.”

“Understood,” Dumbledore replied. “It may not be as difficult as it might seem. Tom was enamored by power. I think it shouldn’t be too difficult to make a list of items he might have used. If I trace his activities in the past, I may be able to narrow down that list. For now, there is little more we can do.”

“If he did use a book, I know an individual or two who’d be delighted to search for it.” Luna offered with a smile.

Chapter 17: End of year exams, part one.

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If Harry’s magic had been affected by the transfer of magic from Nova, it didn’t show. At least not in class. Harry had come into his own, his magic was stronger now. Everything he did seemed to come easy, and he hadn’t been plagued by any more headaches now that the thing in his head was gone.

Quidditch practice didn’t go so well. Harry’s newfound confidence fell flat about the same time his face went splat. No one was quite sure how he even managed to survive. Harry was all over the place and had made several small craters in the ground. Sure he could still fly, but he couldn't control the broom with any consistency. With a week to go till the big game, Wood had little choice but to bench Harry and put in Scootaloo.

Let us not forget that end of year finals were coming up as well. Nova had taken to taking the CMC into her own potions lab to practice and was interviewing students regarding what they’d been tested on in previous years. A chart was soon developed. Sure Nova had near perfect recall, but even she had her limits. She was also very aware that many of the humans who were seeing the material for the first time were at a distinct disadvantage. Even Apple Bloom who’d had potions lessons couldn't be expected to memorize all the possible potions they might be expected to be tested on. As for Sweetie Belle. She needed to be watched like a hawk. How was she going to manage on her own without being held back due to dismal failure? Or worse yet, catastrophic disaster.

“Miss Peverell! Come see my chart!” Nova called rushing downstairs once she’d completed her findings. A moment later Nova had drug Idda upstairs followed by several six and seventh-year students who were mildly curious.

“You’ve made a potions chart,” Idda said sounding unimpressed.

“This is brilliant.” one of the seventh year girls announced.

“But how is it brilliant?” Idda asked.

“There is a pattern,” Nova announced. “And the man has no imagination. He always repeats every seven years. That is if the information you and other students have given me is correct.” As Nova had asked about what people remembered of classes ahead of them she’d actually managed to glean information from the past fourteen years. “All potions assigned are limited to the time allotted for the test which means if you are given seven hours to complete your test, you can bet the potion takes at least six and a half hours to accomplish. Though I wouldn't put it past him to assign a potion that takes exactly seven hours.”

“We can predict which potions he’s likely to test us on,” Idda said with a smile. “Wish we had more time, but this will make it easier for people who are struggling.”

“Oh one other thing, I’ve learned from a reliable source...” the source being Moonie “..that Snape has been tipping off the Slytherin students regarding what their next assignments will be.” Nova offered. “Anyone interested in a nightly briefing? - Granted we’ve only four days till the finals begin.”

“That dirty rat fink!” One of the girls spat out as the news sank in.

“So who’s your source?” Idda asked.

“My guess is that it’s that Night mare that follows her around in the paintings.”

“I’ve noticed that too.”

“Miss Moon?” Idda asked Nova.

“I have a pet Night mare in addition to a phoenix.” Nova offered with a sheepish grin. “Night mares are extremely intelligent, and like Thestrals, are just the opposite of their reputation. This specific one is actually a magical construct. A three-dimensional rendering if you like.”

“You mean she’s just a spell?”

“Just a spell?” Nova scoffed. “Not hardly. She’s so sophisticated I can’t tell the difference between her and an actual flesh and blood being. She’s capable of independent thought, emotion, and learns on her own.”

Naturally, the girls wanted to meet Moonie. “Ladies, I’d like you to meet my Moonie.” Nova offered moments after calling for the mare. Moonie had come through the closet instead of just materializing, and to Nova’s dismay, the foals followed shortly after. “Moonie!? - Why’d you bring the foals with you? You know I don’t want them too habituated to humans.”

“They're so cute.” the girls all chimed.

“Moonie...” Nova pressed as Goldwine pressed up against Nova’s legs. His golden coat, and wine colored mane and tail set him apart from Alya’s dark sable. Myrtle’s ivory with gold dapples, red mane and tail caused her to stand out even more then Goldwine.

“I was foal sitting.” Moonie offered.

“You couldn't just pop in real quick? What if there was a deranged mad man in here?” Nova countered sounding cross. Moonie looked down. She knew there was no threat, but she also knew she’d screwed up and wasn’t quite sure why she’d done it.

“Mama?” Goldwine asked looking up at Nova. Moonie was looking a bit contrite at her error in judgment.

“It’s alright Goldwine, not your fault.” Nova offered, dropping down to give him a hug.

“That foal seems mighty habituated to you.” Idda accused. “Mama was it?”

Nova let out a sigh. “He’s my son.” The room fell silent.

“Hi, Miss Idda,” Myrtle said looking at the girl. “I’m Myrtle.”

Myrtle’s announcement left the girls stunned and confused. Nova had just announced that a pegasus foal was her son, and a foal was actually talking to them. Not just mimicking the word mom, but actually talking.

“Well this is awkward.” Nova offered. “She had to think about what she wanted to say. “The thing is, I’ve a blood curse. Also, I’m telling you this in complete confidence. I have two animagus forms. Professor McGonagall, Madam Pomfrey, and Madam Hooch know. I’m a pegacorn. I rescued Goldwine, and now he is just as much my son as if I had laid that egg myself. Harmony knows I spent plenty of time sitting on that egg.”

The girls just looked at her with that deer caught in the headlights of a fast moving vehicle look.

Nova transformed into a pony, got up, walked over to Idda and nuzzled against her. “Say anything and it could cost us the game against the Slytherin team.”

“That was you at the game, and it was you who blasted that Slytherin girl.” One of the girls announced.

“Don’t think I didn’t get scolded for blasting that wand.” She hadn’t. At the time, Nova was seen standing with the rest of the first years giving her the perfect alibi. Granted Madam Hooch had her suspicions but decided to just let it go. “Granted I had no idea who it was, and I’m very protective of my foal. Though to be honest I was kind of hoping it was Crabbe or Goyle.” Nova offered as she transformed back into a human.

Hang on, how did you do that in the first place?”

“I can sense magic. I traced the source, and overcharged the wand.” Nova explained. “I’ve done the same to Dumbledore.”

“You fried Dumbledore's wand?”Idda asked.

“Ya, that was a while back.” Nova offered. “I doubt he remembers, and I didn’t explode his wand, just burned out the core. I’m pretty sure he remembers the incident, but if he does remember his wand burning out, and has made the connection he’s never said anything. Then again it could explain why he stuck me in first-year when I should have been in third. - I have to take the tests, my plot. I didn't have to take tests on my last go round. They evaluated me, and bumped me up two years.”

“Well, I tell you what...” Idda said while producing a rubber curry comb. “..I won’t say anything if...”

“Oh, you can’t be serious?” Nova protested.

“I’m working towards a vocation in animal husbandry. Being able to say I’ve worked with a pegacorn would be a nice feather in my cap. Figuratively speaking.”

“And you’ve talked to Madam Hooch about this?” Nova asked.

“Madam Hooch? Hagrid doesn’t take care of all the animals? I’ve been working with Hagrid.”

Nova rolled her eyes. “You’ve been here how long, and you didn’t know that it was Madam Hooch who looks after the pegasi? - Let me guess, Hagrid told you he could teach you everything ya needed to know. And I bet he’s been teaching you all manner of things about creatures the likes of which are either illegal to have or require special handling permits. Not that there is anything wrong with knowing how to handle such creatures. It’s just that his judgment is a bit skewed, and from what I hear about him, he kind of looks down on creatures that look dainty, if you catch my meaning. Add to that the fact that he never finished school. I wouldn't trust anything he teaches you. That is to say, that man thinks giant spiders are cuddly from what I hear.” The girls all shuddered. “English pegasi can be just as dangerous as any of his favored besties. - You know why because they are smart.”

“So it’s a no then?”

Nova let out a sigh. “Alright, and if you do a good job of it I’ll put a good word into Madam Hooch. And there will be no teasing the foals and don’t let them wander downstairs. I catch a hint of one thing out of line, and I’ll blast the offender, and march the foals right back to where they came from.”

:unsuresweetie:

A short time later Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and Hermione return to find the six and seventh-year girls brushing Nova, Moonie, and otherwise taking turns cuddling or playing with the foals.

“Care to explain?!” Scootaloo demanded.

“Um hi… It’s um, complicated.” Nova offered. “Miss Idda does a mighty good massage too.”

“I’m next.” Sweetie Belle announced as she transformed.

“Baby unicorn!” the girls chimed with glee on sighting Sweetie Belle’s diminutive and impossibly cute form. As for Scootaloo, she transformed as well, but the scowl on her face, and swept back ears suggested she was not in the mood. She walked up to the girls, picked up Myrtle by the scruff, and vanished into the closet.

“Aww mom!” Myrtle protested as they passed out of sight.

“So, um, how exactly are we going to keep us a secret?” Apple Bloom asked with crossed arms. “Not to mention we were trying our best to keep the foals from finding that exit so that there was no chance of another hexing incident. - Or worse.”

“It was my fault.” Moonie offered as Alalme ventured in, picked up Alya by the scruff, gave Nova a look that was unreadable, and returned in the direction she’d come. Goldwine decided to follow before he got the scruff treatment. He gave Nova one last look before continuing into the closet.

“Something tells me I’m sleeping out here tonight.” Nova bemoaned.

“Ya think?” Apple Bloom asked none too kindly. “What were you thinking? You should have herded them right back.”

“I was going to introduce the girls to Moonie.” Nova protested. “Moonie came walking out with the foals in tow. - The damage was done.”

“I kind of pressured her to let them stay.” Idda offered. “It’s my fault.”

“So no ear scratches then?” Sweetie Belle asked. “I mean now that the pony is out of the bag.”

“Louise seems more than just a little upset.” one of the other girls offered. Owing to a widespread rumor that Louise had in fact been the pegacorn who’d been injured by the bludger, her transformation had not been a complete shock.

“Myrtle is kind of sorta her egg. The egg that was taken from her. As you saw, Louise’s animagus form is pegasi, which apparently isn’t as much of a secret as we’d like it to be, and I can tell you from experience that the instinct to protect, and care for that foal hits mighty hard.” Nova explained. “Being an animagus doesn’t negate that nesting instinct.”

“Oh quit beating around the bush.” Hermione protested. You saw the spell we did. That foal is just as much hers as if it had come from her body.”

“Hermione, we don’t need to discuss that.” Apple Bloom scolded sharply. “We all know we screwed up big time. No one else who doesn't already know needs to know.”

“Maybe I do need to know.” Idda implored.

“The Headmaster knows.” Nova offered. He didn’t actually know the whole truth, and Nova would just assume keep it that way.

“Nova?” Apple Bloom queried as it was the first she’d heard that Dumbledore had been told anything.

“And now we shall put a spell on them to prevent them from ever speaking of this.” Nova offered with a smile. “Fox magic.” The girls gave her an odd look.

“Fox magic?” Hermione asked sounding skeptical. Nova transformed to her fox form, dropped her ears, made her eyes as big as they would go, tilted her head slightly, and dropped her nose.

“Please don’t say anything to anyone.” Nova pleaded. When Sweetie Belle followed suit as her pony self the effect was almost lethal.

“I’m sorry I caused you trouble.” Idda offered.

“Something like this was bound to happen sooner or later.” Nova offered as she got up. “I’d better go see if my lost poppy look will work on Louise.”

“Scratch the ear?” Sweetie asked as Nova trotted on into the back.

“Sweetie, you’re not helping this situation.” Apple Bloom prompted.

“I’m not the one who all but told everyone that Louise is a pegacorn, and that filly is her baby.” Sweetie countered giving Hermione a dirty look. “I know Scoot’s had it rough, but I think she’s overreacting a bit. Goldwine’s the one with the scar on his flank. Speaking of which, have you noticed the scars Nova has? Kind of puts ours to shame. Now if Nova was OK with the situation, then that tells me she’d decided to trust these girls so far as allowing the present situation to continue. You know as well as I do what she’s capable of.”

“Alright point taken.” Apple bloom offered.

“You all sound like you are ponies who turn into humans, and not the other way around?” One of the girls asked. Sweetie Belle replied with, maybe.

Nova found her way back to the master bedroom where Scootaloo and Alalme were cuddling Alya, Goldwine, and Myrtle. The foals weren’t quite sure what they’d done wrong. Nova sat on the floor with her nose between her paws.

“That’s not going to work.” Alalme scolded softly. Nova replied with a whimper. Alalme turned and buried her head in Scootaloo’s flank. “Don’t look. Whatever you do, don’t look.” Looks. “Oh gods, not the wiggle!”

“Aw come on, have you no pride at all!?” Scootaloo protested. She’d looked to find Nova was now on her back with all four paws in the air, and her tail tucked. “Shameless little ball of floof. Come here.”

Nova flipped over, bounded up, and curled up between Scootaloo’s front legs.

“So what have you to say for yourself?” Scootaloo asked.

“Would it help if I mention that I put a confidentiality spell on them?” Nova offered.

“Maybe.” Scootaloo consented. “You want to tell me what happened?”

“I think my Moonie has become sentient.” Nova offered. “And I’m not joking… Haven't we had this conversation.”

“How about running that by us again?” Alalme asked.

“As I said earlier, I wanted to introduce the girls to Moonie. Moonie has been spying on Snape for me. Walking through the closet with foals in tow is a stupid mistake she never should have made.” Nova explained. “I know it looked like all I was doing was indulging myself, but it seemed the best way to do a little damage control. Hopefully, they will think keeping quiet is their idea. Though to be honest, Scootaloo’s transformation doesn’t seem to be much of a secret due to the incident at Quidditch practice.”

"Let's not forget about you grabbing me at the end of the game as well. Hang on, your study suggestions for potions?” Scootaloo exclaimed. “Moonie? Isn’t that cheating?”

“Mr Sulky Raven has been telling the Slytherins what he’s going to cover in the next class, and I think I can make a good prediction as to what he’s going to test us on.”

“Say what?!” Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom chime from the doorway of the bedroom.

“Is that why you have me going over stuff that hasn’t been covered?” Sweetie Belle added.

“Snape is notorious for assigning potions he hasn’t actually covered in class on end of year exams.” Nova offered. “And by interviewing as many people as would talk to me, I’ve a good idea which potions he’s likely to pick.”

“Why you sneaky little vixen you,” Scootaloo said, moved in to nuzzle Nova to discover she’d turned back into a pony. Their lips touched, Scootaloo pulled back, and blushed. “You sneak.”

“Feeling better now though?” Nova offered, as foals piled on her upturned belly.

“A bit.” Scootaloo offered. “I’m worried about the game too. There is a lot riding on this game. If we win, we will win the Quidditch cup, and be in striking distance of the house cup.”

“Don’t worry about it.” Nova offered.

“Well, what if the Ravenclaw team is just better then us? What if their Seeker gets the Snitch first?”

“Not going to happen.” Nova offered.

“You sound rather sure about that.” Apple Bloom commented.

“Sure enough to bet the Slytherins that you’ll have the Snitch within the first five minutes of starting the game.” Nova offered with a grin.

“Oh sure, way to put the pressure on.” Scootaloo protested.

“First five minutes, followed by explosions from the Forbidden Forest, and muggle jets going over.” Nova offered with a grin.

“That sounds strangely specific.” Apple Bloom offered.

“Malfoy was the only one smart enough to back out.” Nova offered with a big grin. “Though I kept quiet about the possibility of jets.”

“So what makes you think I’ll even be able to catch the snitch before what I assume is going to be a bombing raid on that Acromantula colony?” Scootaloo asked.

“When they release the practice snitch, what does it do?” Nova held up a hoof in the air and made a little whistle. Before anyone could react, a very lifelike Golden Snitch landed on Nova’s hoof.

“It comes to me,” Scootaloo said softly as she looked at the Golden Snitch on Nova’s hoof. “You’re not suggesting that’s not just a quirk of the practice snitch, are you? Is that?”

“One of the Snitches I caught. There should be a couple of them in here. Saved might be a better description.” Nova offered. “They fly around in here going mostly unnoticed, and the ambient magic keeps them well charged.” It took off moments before Phenik flew in, and perched on the outstretched hoof. Nova dropped her hoof, and snatched Phenik up in a hug, Phenik protesting loudly. “The mechanical snitch is spelled to fly away from humans. I told them about this issue, but it’s evident they never did a thing. - Moonie… I forgive you.”

Moonie the magical night mare peeked her head around the corner.

“Come on, your forgiven,” Nova called. “She is forgiven right?”

“Yes, I forgive her.” Scootaloo offered. “So is she our foal now too?”

“I blame Celestia for sticking her horn in where it doesn’t belong. That and the incident where I nearly lost her seems to have changed more than just her hair. I can’t blame her if her judgment is a little off.” Nova offered as Moonie came into the room, and joined them on the bed. “Dear sweet Moonie, for everything you can do, sometimes your as much a filly as Alya.” Nova offered as she reached over to nuzzled her. Nova couldn't help but ponder whether or not the spell used on Myrtle would work on Moonie. Did Moonie have a soul, or was she just a magical extension of herself? Was Moonie nothing more than the Djinn that lived in the amulet?

Finals hit on Monday and ran through to Friday. Nova was desperate to prove that she deserved to be advanced to her proper year. Charms proved way to easy, and there was little she could do to prove herself. After all, making a pineapple dance wasn’t that hard. To mix things up a bit Nova got up on the table and challenged the pineapple to a dance-off. A person would almost think she was born to be a hoofer.

“Yes… um, that’s… you may go now.” Professor Flitwick said once he’d snapped out of the stunned stupor he was in. Nova wasn’t sure if he was happy or disappointed.

Transfigurations was turning a mouse into a snuffbox. Before Nova could even begin, she had to reassure the mouse that she wasn’t going to eat it, and that it would be perfectly safe. Nova then began to chant the spell, and flourish her wand about. Professor McGonagall’s jaw dropped when the beam from the wand split into three and began swirling about the mouse. As for the mouse, it seemed to expand, and shrink at the same time, and within moments the mouse could be seen as an animated mother of pearl inlay within the panel of a golden framed snuff box of exquisite craftsmanship showing life in Equestria on the sides, and Luna, and Celestia in rotation on the top. McGonagall looked closely at the panel with the mouse and saw a golden pegasus with a pink mane pick it up, and give it a cuddle.

“I… I’ve never seen the like,” McGonagall said softly. It’s truly a work of art.”

“Princess Celestia has many such treasures.” Nova offered. “Only hers aren't made from a living animal. May I change it back? It just doesn’t seem right to leave it that way.”

“Change it back?” McGonagall asked. “Part of the test is to see how long the transfiguration holds.”

“I’ve Oukitsune ancestry. I possess living magic. I can assure you the charm will hold so long as there is a source of ambient magic.” Nova explained. “And there is my being part pegacorn.”

“I see. Never the less, the requirement still stands.”

“I see. If you could perhaps place a little food and water inside the box from time to time, I’m sure our little friend would appreciate it. Am I done?”

“Yes, yes, you may go.”

🐭

Potions. Professor Snape was not a happy camper, not one bit. Owing to a couple of words, or more, having been said to just the right witch, coff- Griselda Marchbanks -coff -coff, Snape had been saddled with an observer. Snape did not like having anyone looking over his shoulder. After all, they might discover what a woeful teacher he was. But then again the observer was not likely to pick up on anything untoward during a test. As for the testing area, each student had been separated into cells lower in the dungeons. Snape had grown suspicious over the year that Nova Moon was somehow helping the first year Gryffindor students, and was nothing more than a plant. Not the brilliant student she appeared to be. She was no first year, that much he was sure of. He was also highly suspicious of Louise Magnus, and Miss Apple Bloom as well, and devised a way to prove it. But what of Sweetie Belle you might ask. To be true, her efforts hadn’t been much better then Longbottom’s, and Snape expected her efforts to be a dismal failure no matter what task he gave her. Snape was going to go easy on her in hopes that she wouldn't somehow blow the place up.

Nova walked into her assigned cell, looked at the instructions she’d been given, raised an eyebrow, smiled, and set to doing the task. The observer entered a short time later as Nova was gathering up, and laying out everything she would need. Nova had yet to do that specific potion and had memorized it only the week prior, along with several other potions that had found their way to her list.

“Miss Moon?” Asked the observer, a tall thin witch. “Do you feel you can manage that potion? That’s not exactly a first-year potion.”

“It’s a fourth-year potion.” Nova offered as she continued in her preparations. “As Professor Snape has seen fit to give me this opportunity to prove that Professor Dumbledore misplaced me, it would behoove me to accept the challenge. - I’ll be alright.”

“You feel confident you can do that potion?”

Nova generated a heads up display in front of her using her foxfire showing a list of every step that needed to be done. “Fortunately it’s one I recently memorized.”

The witch looked at the enchanted display with eyes wide. “Well… I’ll leave you to it then. - You wouldn't happen to have kitsune ancestry would you?”

Nova cast her a glance and smiled. “Divine kitsune. My teacher back home is a Tenko.” Nova offered as she ignited the fire under her cauldron.

The woman smiled, and slowly backed out. Yes, she’d heard tell of such witches, they were said to be endowed with great power. It was no wonder Madam Marchbanks was so interested in this princess. Who cared from what nation she or her ancestors originated from, a child of the sluagh sidhe by any other name was indeed precious and needed to be carefully nurtured.

Nova continued, carefully following her instructions, going through each step, checking things off the list. The sound of an explosion from one of the other chambers prompted her to pull out her wand and cast a shield spell on the open doorway. She could only hope that the rest of the first year Gryffindors remembered the shield spell she’d tried to teach them. She also hoped that the explosion hadn’t come from anyone she liked. She worried about Sweetie Belle, told herself Sweetie Belle wasn’t a total disaster anymore, concentrated on her task at hand, and went back to work.

Smoke began to fill the hall beyond the barrier, and there was a funny tingling nagging sensation in the back of her head like someone was watching her.

Nova did her best to ignore the goings on in the hallway. Seeing a woman beyond her shield, Nova simply indicated she was fine. A few moments later the smoke was cleared by a rather striking looking woman who looked suspiciously like Snape.

Nova did her best to ignore the fact that several Slytherin girls were being escorted past her doorway. Wait, was that Crabbe and Goyle? It was all Nova could do not to laugh when a very cute Draco Malfoy walked past a little while later. Unlike the other Slytherin students, Malfoy had vials in hand filled with a completed product. One by one the other first years filtered out, to include a very cute, all be it somewhat distressed redheaded girl who looked suspiciously like Ron’s little sister. Hang on, was that Ron?

Things quieted down, and Nova set her brew to a low heat. The instructions next step called for stirring starting in the west, arching inwards to south, then to the east, then back to the west, and repeat one hundred times more. One hundred and one bowed motions four times to round the pot. If nothing else, making that potion was rather tedious.

As time wore on, Nova saw the rest of her friends leaving. Sweetie Belle came by, looked in, and gave a thumbs up before going on.

Well well well, if it isn’t the protegee no one is talking about.” Sneered a familiar voice. Discord. His voice was both in the room, and not in the room. Nova was presently standing motionless legs apart, and arms behind her back, hand in hand as she watched her pot, and an egg timer. She’d sensed his approach and put up a barrier to keep him out. Why him? Why now? Especially now.

Go away.”

Well that’s not very… hang on… I seem to be stuck.

Teleported yourself inside the wall, did you?” Nova asked with a smile.

I did no such thing. - Now how do I get out? - Can’t say I can remember this ever happening before.

This isn’t Equestria.

Thank you, Sherlock. I might have never known.” He retorted testily. “So, um, why are you just standing there like that?

The instructions say not to stir for twenty minutes.

. . . - You mean, don’t stir the pot, don’t you?

If the requirement was not to stir the pot it would say not to stir the potion.” Nova countered. “It’s a vibration thing.

In that case, should you be talking?

Do you see my lips moving?

Ahhh... - You’re in my head, aren’t you?

*“Never mind that noise you heard, it’s just the beast under your bead, in your closet, in your head.” Nova mocked. “I sensed your presence, why do you think you are stuck?

You dare, I am the lord of chaos.” Discord blustered as his head filled with some rather distracting music.

Not here you are not. Here you are just a sub-par, all be it, imaginative wizard.

Sub par?!

Who’s stuck in a wall.

You’ll pay for this.” Discord growled. “If I ever get out of here that is.

You could try backing out the same way you came in.

Can’t.

Yes, of course, that would be too logical. - Well if you care to wait, I’ll get to you just as soon as I’m finished. - Ah, good. Times up.” Nova said no longer using telepathy and checked her notes. “Add one pegasus pin feather...” How had she missed the fact that she’d need a pin feather, and hadn’t had one? “And that bastard didn’t give me a pin feather.”

“What about using one of your own?” Discord offered as his draconic head slowly emerged from the ceiling. Nova’s shield about the room had begun to crack.

“I’m an alicorn!” Nova protested. “A foxicorn even. Unless...” There was a sound of body parts hitting the floor from several locations. Nova let out a sigh. “Well I can’t say you aren’t imaginative.”

“I do seem to be all over the place, don’t I?”

“Do please, pull yourself together, and turn yourself into something less noticeable.”

“How’s this?”

Nova cast him a glance to discover all he’d done was place a lampshade over his head. Several body parts were in the wrong place as well. Nova let out a sigh, extended her left wing, reached up, and plucked a pin feather.

“Saw you flinch.”

“I’ve been through Tartarus, and back, and a little thing like plucking a pin feather still bothers me.” Nova offered.

“Tartarus?”

“A figure of speech.” Nova offered as she tentatively held the feather over the cauldron. “I can honestly say that Tartarus is one place I haven't been.” She took in a breath and let it out slowly.“Well, if this ends in the biggest bomb since Solo, tell my mother I love her.”

“What makes you think I’m going to survive if you don’t?”

“Two reasons, one, I know that you are a true immortal, and two, from your perspective, you haven't bucked up my life yet.” Nova let loose the feather.

The two watched it slowly drop into the murky muddy liquid and was delighted when it turned into a shimmering ivory color and texture.

“Congratulations. It didn’t blow up. What is it?”

“Shampoo.” Nova offered and began transferring the liquid into crystal vials.

“I’m sure Severa Snape will be most delighted.” Discord offered with a slight lilt to his voice.

“Severa?” “Oh, you didn’t.”

“I didn’t. It was a boy named Vincent Crabbe.” Discord offered. “Though I imagine she’ll likely go by Millicent or something like that now. Not my fault he didn’t notice me switch ingredients.”

“And here we all thought it’d be Sweetie Belle or Neville who’d somehow manage to mess up that bad. And for that matter, you had no business doing that. These tests are important, and this is not your playground. You don’t even care if someone gets hurt, do you?” Nova scolded. She paused a moment, and added, “At least I won my bet.”

“Bet?”

“Never bet against a friend unless it’s a sure thing.” Nova offered. “I bet Sweetie and Neville would not blow up their assignments. - Now, I need to finish cleaning up my work station and turn in my assignment. And don’t let anyone see you. They might shoot first. Not that I’m not tempted.”

“You don’t like me, do you?”

“You screwed up my life.”

“But I’m good now.”

“And every good dead you do comes with a high price.” Nova scolded. “And you know what? Stay away from me. Just stay the buck away from me. Even trying to be good, you end up being a menace.” Her tone was sharp and scolding. “Just leave me alone and we’ll get along fine.”

Nova finished up, picked up her things, took down the shield on her door, and left Discord to ponder the reality that there was a pony who truly hated him. He could tell if it was just dislike. Lots of ponies disliked him. They were the ones who didn’t understand, and many were afraid of him though he was at a complete loss as to why. Nova wasn’t afraid of him. And she had a point. He was vulnerable in this world. She at least cared enough to give him good caution. He couldn't help but wonder what he’d done to her to make her hate him. Had they been friends in another time and place. If so, he must have really blown it. And for that matter, why had she put the shield on the door back up after leaving? Somehow he'd make it up to her, preferably by spending more time with the Nova that didn't hate him.

Nova found Madam Snape in the classroom desperately looking through potions books. “Professor Snape. I’ve finished my assignment.”

Snape rounded on Nova. “Well, aren’t you going to laugh?”

“Why?” Nova asked. She was honestly puzzled.

“Don’t I look comical to you?”

“Um, you actually look good.” Nova offered. “My assignment?” Nova offered while holding up the vials in a small case.

“You finished it?”

“I, um… didn’t have a feather...” Nova looked down and unfolded her wings so that she looked like an angel in witch's clothing. “I substituted, used one of my own, so I don’t know if it’s safe to use or not.”

Snape just looked at her dumbfounded. “Wings?”

Nova folded up her wings, and they vanished from sight. Snape pointed to a shelf and told her to leave the potions. “Thank you, Professor Snape.” She went over to the shelf, made sure the vials were properly labeled and set them down. She turned, headed for the door, stopped, turned, and thanked them for not laughing at her. She stepped out leaving Snape to ponder on what had just happened. While the other Gryffindors had been a little shocked, none had laughed. None had dared to laugh at Snape. Not in his, or rather, her face. The Slytherin girls had laughed at what happened to the boys, and him. Not all the boys had been affected though. Most of the Gryffindor students had cast a shield spell that had kept the enchanted smoke out of their work areas, and the smoke only seemed to have affected the boys. No idea why. The girls weren’t going to be laughing by bedtime if he couldn't reverse the effect of the potion.

Nova arrived at the Gryffindor common room to find that Neville and Ron were now indeed girls. Neville was presently being protected by several of the older girls. Ron, or Rhona as the twins were now calling her, was presently at the mercy of the twins.

“So are you alright?” Scootaloo asked on seeing Nova.

“Snape gave me a fourth-year potion and left out one ingredient. Add to that Discord showed up.” Nova offered.

“Who’s Discord?” Idda asked.

“Think Peeves on steroids.” Apple Bloom offered. “Nova, if you didn’t have what you needed?”

“I substituted. I’m going to go have a lie-down."

“Any idea what to do with Nelly and Rhona?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“Send them to the hospital wing.” Nova offered. “That or make room for them in the girl’s dorm on the off chance they aren’t going to turn back into guys.”

“I don’t want to be a girl!” Ron wailed.

“Now now, Rhona, that’s no way for a lady to behave.” The twins said in near perfect unison. “Won’t mother be delighted to have another girl in the family?”

“Careful how you tell her, or she’ll think one of you is getting engaged.” Nova cautioned and headed for the stairs. She climbed slowly, went to the bed that was accessible to the dorm, transformed to her pony form, climbed onto the bed, and lay down spent.

“Nova, are you alright?” Idda had followed her up.

“I’ll be alright.” Nova offered as she closed her eyes. “It’s just that keeping Discord from screwing up my potion took a lot out of me.”

“Nova… Nova?” Idda prompted, but Nova was out cold. Somehow this just didn't seem right to her and rushed downstairs to find the Crusaders. Her news that Nova had collapsed resulted in not just the CMC rushing upstairs, but half the girls in the common room. All of whom assumed they’d know what to do. Finding a pegacorn in Nova’s bed was not what anyone expected. Even the CMC assumed Nova would have collapsed in her human form. This was bad.

Princess Luna was presently moderating students taking the Defense against the Dark Arts test. Her first clue that Discord was in the vicinity was when the students' written exam suddenly turned into a practical exam. And then things got downright strange. Desks turned into urinals, the walls became cluttered in printed bold text that had been cut from various publications, mouths began separating from students, bodies turned to boxes, tentacles sprang from faces, and birds replaced heads. A few students even developed see-through skin.

“There. Isn’t that so much better?” Discord offered while riding on the back of the skeletal wyvern that normally hung from the ceiling. It was now flying about the room threatening to scoop up panicked students. “DADA at its finest.”

Discord! Stop this at once!” Luna shouted. Dust sifted down from the rafters at the impact of the Canterlot Royal voice.

“But I’m having so much fun?” Discord complained.

“Discord. Now!” This time Luna’s voice was low and threatening.

“Oh, I should tell you that one of your students was quite rude to me, dear Lulu. I just can’t see what you see in that brat. You are spending entirely too much time on her when you could be spending time with me.”

“I am under no obligation to spend any time with you!” Luna growled. As for the students, by this point, they’d begun to figure out that the thing presently taunting their favorite teacher, was more than likely the cause of the pandemonium. First one student, and then others started throwing every curse and hex they could think of. Discord did his best to dodge, but soon found there were too many spells being flung about.

“Whatever you do, don’t cross the streams!” Discord shouted as several beams of magic connected.

Luna looked on in shocked bewilderment as discord began to struggle to break free.

“I want to break free, I want to break free... god knows, I want to break free.” Discord sang very badly. “Oh horseless, these humans mean business!” Nova had warned him after all, but who was he to listen to a voice of reason. The worst part was that the humans seemed to be using his own energy against him.

Luna’s lips curled into a malicious smile as she lifted up her wand. It was a powerful wand featuring one of her own hairs. “Metamorphoses est lapis!” Luna shouts leveling her wand at Discord.

The room returned to normal for the most part save for the addition of a statue of a draconequus now riding the wyvern suspended from the ceiling, and a number of students who’d been injured during Discord’s play time. “What do you know, he’s vulnerable to Terran magic,” Luna said with a delighted grin. “And I suppose I’m going to have to pass everyone who helped subdue him.” Students who had wands in hand cheered. “Alright those of you who weren’t injured, help the others to the hospital wing.”

“Princess Luna!” Scootaloo shouted as she burst into the room. “Nova collapsed! -Discord!”

“Discord has been dealt with.” Luna offered. “Nova?”

“She had a run in with Discord.” Scootaloo offered. “We can’t get her to wake up.”

“Where is she?”

“In her room.”

“I’ll be right there just as soon as I take my class to the hospital wing.” Luna offered. She was torn between running straight to Nova, but she had a duty to see her students to the hospital wing. At least she’d be able to use the short cut through the infirmary. “Come along every pony, er I mean everyone.”

Luna arrived at Nova’s apartments a short time later to find She’d been moved to the master bedroom, and that Twilight was already there along with Alalme, Moonie, Scootaloo, and the foals were all pressed around her.

“How is she?” Luna asked.

“Low on manna reserves, but she’ll be fine.” Twilight offered as she cuddled Nova’s head. “I hear she had a run in with Discord.”

“I did as well. Several of my students were injured during his antics. His little stunt.” Luna offered with more than a little anger in her tone. “With the help of the students I was able to turn him to stone.” No idea how long it’ll last.”

“Humans thrive on chaos.” Nova offered softly.

“Welcome back.” Twilight offered. “You gave us a good scare.”

“I sensed his presence, and used a good deal of effort to keep him from screwing up my assignment,” Nova explained in a quiet almost whisper. “Snape would have been fine had I failed. He set me up to fail, and I wasn’t about to let Discord screw everything up. So, um, why are you here?”

“I just had a feeling that you needed me.” Twilight offered. “That and Sweetie Belle came through the portal to let me know there was something wrong. Sure is a good thing my magic is the same as your mother’s or you’d have been in trouble.” Nova cast a glance at Twilight and just let out a sigh.

“So how’s Moonie?” Nova asked. “She kind of runs on my magic.”

“She’s got a fair amount of mine as well.” Luna offered. “And she’s right here. You are in the middle of a pony pile.”

“Ah, no wonder I feel so snugly,” Nova replied with a smile.

“Now what do we do with Discord?” Twilight asked.

“Well whatever you do with him, that draconequus is not to come in here under any circumstances,” Nova ordered. “Not one hair, toe, talon, scale, spleen, or any other part of him. - Oh, and something else you might want to know about. Discord claimed to have switched one of Crabbe’s potion ingredients. Good luck trying to get a straight answer out of him as to what it was.”

“I think I’m going to send a sample to Zecora.” Twilight offered.

Chapter 18: End of year exams, part two.

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That evening’s walk down to dinner proved, interesting. Nova was back on her feet and was a little annoyed at how many of the Gryffindor girls were now not just overly worried about her well being, but obsessively protective of her. “What’s going on?” Nova asked of Idda.

“You collapsed in your outer bedroom in your pony form.” Idda offered. “It’s going to be difficult to keep it a secret.” What Idda didn’t say was that had Nova been an ordinary human animagus she’d have remained human, not transformed.

“They do understand that if a certain pony were to be found out to be a student it could put our win against Slytherin in jeopardy?” Nova asked. The girls all looked about at each other, and without having to say a word, agreed to keep quiet. Dinner conversation had other things to discuss. Finding Draco and the other first-year Slytherin students who’d wagered against Sweetie Belle proved all but futile.

Nova found Draco, eventually, at the Slytherin table sitting by himself, or rather, herself, her long blond hair cascading down her back.

“Malfoy...” Nova prompted.

“You going to make fun of me too?” Draco said softly.

“Um, no… we had a bet. And for that matter where are the others?”

“A bet? - I’ve been turned into a girl, and all you care about is a bet?” Malfoy protested. There is some laughter nearby. Others just glare at Malfoy as though she was somehow guilty of a horrendous crime.

“Ya, that’s all I care about. We had a bet. You said that Either Sweetie or Neville would blow up their potions.” “Not my fault someone made a gender swap potion. - It is reversible isn’t it?”

“I don't know.” Malfoy offered. “The other’s have been taken out of school.”

“Well, I guess the money doesn’t really matter.” Nova offered. She leaned in and whispered, “If things get to the point you feel you can’t manage, I’ll help you out any time you’ve a want for a little help.”

“Consorting with the enemy is it? Coco.” Marcus Flint, the Slytherin Quidditch team captain jeered. There was venom in his tone.

“The enemy? - Are we not all students in the same school?” Nova asked as she straightened out. “Are we not all equal?”

“Equal she says?” Flint spit out. “Just because they let you in, doesn’t make you equal.”

“All right, that is quite enough out of you, Mr Flint.” Snape scolded. The students looked at her with wide-eyed astonishment. Sure it was Snape, but Snape now looked like a supermodel. She was still tall, her robes now form fit, and thanks to Nova’s potion her hair seemed to be blowing in a breeze no one else felt. Shimmering highlights, light that seemed to originate from her hair, and background singing every time she moved.
L’Oréal deAlicorn, because you’re worth it.

Jaws dropped.

“Um, Professor Snape, maybe you shouldn't use that potion I made?”

“Nonsense.” Snape retorted. “Best shampoo I’ve ever used. - Now, I’ll have no more trouble out of any of you.” Snape turned, her hair fanning out in slow motion as she turned, and then walked up to the head table with a spring in her step.

“I am very conflicted right now.” One of the boys said in a low tone.

“That is just downright strange.” another Slytherin boy offered. “He, or she… is actually smiling.”

“Oh, and Mr Flint...” Nova said just loud enough for the boys to hear. “..on the mater of equality, I own the Hogwarts express, have enough money to buy the school outright, and I’m a princess.” Nova gave a slight bow of her head, turned, and went back to the Gryffindor table.

“I guess that’s why my great Aunt Belvina is so interested in her.” Coco offered in a contemplative voice.

“She’s going to be mighty disappointed if you don’t get changed back.” Millicent Bulstrode offered as she sat down next to Coco.

“Don’t be so sure about that.” Nova offered from her seat. “I think Coco is cute.”

“Disgusting.” Flit said in nearly a growl.

“She lives in a harem.” Hermione offered as though saying that’s just the way it is. “I’m to understand it’s fairly common in her country for one man to wed multiple women.”

“I doubt Flint would know what to do with even one woman.” Idda teased, generating a round of laughter from the Gryffindor table, and even a few stifled laughs from the Slytherins.

“Your attention please,” Dumbledore called out over the gathered students. “Do to unforeseen circumstances that took place in several classes today, those who were effected will be given the opportunity to retest. Stand by after dinner, and you will be told if you need to retest or not, and I’m to understand the Defense Against the Dark arts class that was interrupted is to reconvene right after dinner. What about potions, Professor Snape?”

“I’m going to try to shoehorn in the first years who were unable to complete their assignment tomorrow.” Snape offered. “I’m also awarding ten points each to Neville Longbottom, Ron Weasley, and Mr, or should I say, Miss Malfoy, for having the guts to stick it out. Those individuals who left will get an incomplete if they aren’t back in time to retest. And no I do not consider getting one’s gender-swapped to be a valid excuse to skip out on a test.”

“And is there a counter-potion?” Dumbledore asked.

“Afraid I’ve had to send the offending potion off to the Unspeakables to see if they could identify what the individual in question actually did.”

“And what have we done with the, what was it?” Dumbledore asked.

“A draconequus.” Luna offered. “Cut up into manageable pieces, and shipped him home. I must say it never occurred to me to just throw random curses at him. It seems to be a most effective tactic.”

“She cut him up?” Sweetie Belle asked astonished, and slightly horrified.

“Not like it’s going to hurt him.” Nova offered. “It just makes him more manageable. I think my moms intend to de-stone his head and interrogate him for whatever good that does.”

“Wait, they can do that?” Rhona asked.

“No different than freezing Peeves.” Nova offered. “Discord is not a being of flesh and blood, he only simulates being flesh and blood. His body can be cut up into pieces, and will snap right back together.”

“Ya, I kind of forgot about that.” Sweetie Belle offered.

After dinner Nova was relived that she wouldn't need to do the potions test again. Nova was worn out and wanted nothing more than to get in a good nap prior to the Astronomy test. Fortunately, the test was scheduled for ten instead of the usual midnight class. The Crusaders woke her up when it was time to go, collected Hermione, and then collected Nelly, and Rhona who’d been provided a deluxe trunk in the common room as it was uncertain when, or if the potion would wear off. The situation was most awkward for the two. The school rules stated that girls could not be in the boy’s dorm, and for the moment they were girls. It was unknown just how long they’d remain that way.

“I don’t know why they can’t just sleep in their own beds.” Harry lamented. For Harry, not having two of his roommates was making for a rather quiet dorm room.

“Same goes for me.” Seamus Finnigan offered. “It’s mighty quiet up there without you two.”

“Um, guys… which toilet do I use?” Rhona asked sounding desperate.

“Isn’t there a toilet in your trunk?” Hermione asked?

“I can’t go in the trunk, that’d be unsanitary.” Rhona protested.

“Oh for… come on.” Nova offered and directed the two up to the girl’s toilet.

“So um, how do I do this?” Nelly asked when they got there.

“Um, ya, not like I’ve ever, you know...” Rhona offered.

Nova placed a palm on her forehead. “You pull up your robes, pull down your panties, and sit.”

“Which way?” Nelly asked.

“And then what?” Rhona asked.

“The same way you always do, and it’s the same set of muscles. Just get in there, and try not to over think it.”

:derpytongue2:

Astronomy proved rather anticlimactic.

Herbology was Nova’s best class. Pomona Sprout was convinced that the four students from Eques were by far the brightest students she had ever had the pleasure to teach. Apple Bloom and Miss Moon had clearly been taught about herbs. The fact that even little Sweetie Belle already knew the majority of what they’d need to know for first-year had never crossed her mind until she learned of the King’s cure. Athelas Nova was calling it, and it took a considerable amount of time for Madam Sprout to locate any references to the name Athelas. She found it in texts that were so old the pages had to be preserved with magic. Athelas, King of Arkadia of old, praised as a great healer, son of Adrastus, who was the son of Herakles, who was sired by Onkios King of Arkadia, who had been sired by King Areion who’s sire was called Zephyrus god of the wind. The most surprising thing of all is that Zephyrus was, according to the sources she’d looked at, sired by none other than Poseidon himself. The records indicated something about a cataclysmic event that devastated the empire, something they themselves had created, and then the records stopped. It was even speculated that references to Atlantis coincided with the fall of the Arkadian empire. What they did know came to them from Mycenaean records written in ‘Linear A’ which the muggles thankfully had yet to translate, as a good deal of the information in the old records contained a good deal of information about magic. Then it hit her, what she’d thought had been doodles in the margins were a variation of the Mycenaean Linear A. The girls had been making notes in what had been thought to be a dead language.

Professor Sprout looked over the class of first years. Hermione, Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom, Louise, and Nova were all writing very detailed answers to the questions. The necklace that Nova normally kept hidden was hanging out, on it a crescent moon, and two stars bracketed by Mycenaean symbols circling around the edge. The chain was a chain of tiny horseshoes, and the gems seemed to glow with a light of their own.

“Miss Moon, can I have you hang back after everyone is done?” Professor Sprout asked.

“Yes, mam,” Nova replied without looking up from her test.

When Nova had finished her test, she took her work up to the front, handed it in, went back to her seat, sat down, and waited. When the last of the first years had left, Professor Sprout went over to Nova and sat down at a desk across from her.

“Can I ask you about your necklace?”

“Is there something about it you were curios about?”

“The script on it, what is that?”

“It’s the native language of Eques commonly referred to as Old Ponish.” Nova offered. “It’s taught in all our schools along with the Roman script. The Roman script was introduced sometime in the last millennium.”

“May I have a look at it?”

“I’d rather you didn’t. You might trigger the anti-theft spell.”

“Anti-theft spell? - Are you telling me this is an enchanted artifact? Would you object to my using a detection spell?”

“If it feeds back, the feedback wave it produces could banish every ghost within a five-mile radius. More or less depending on the amount of feedback. I’m sorry, but you really need to direct your questions to Professor Moon. She made it. It was enchanted to provide me with protection when there is no one to watch over me. I hadn’t been wearing it, but the appearance of the draconequus yesterday has me a bit jumpy.”

“My dear, you are perfectly safe in Hogwarts.”

“Considering that Professor Quirrell had been Lord Voldy, I’m surprised you can say that with a straight face,” Nova said in a scolding manner. Professor Sprout stepped back as though she’d been physically slapped.

“You… So how much do you know?” Professor Sprout asked.

“This pendant is also a badge of office. - I had to be briefed on the matter, and we were poised to pull out of the school.” Nova informed her. “I’m glad it never came to that.”

“The matter concerning you know who is being kept quiet.” Professor Sprout offered. “Even so, I dare say Professor Dumbledore has had to answer a lot of questions. But you know who and that draconequus are gone now.”

“That draconequus is never every truly gone, any more then you can rid the castle of Peeves.” Nova offered. “And he is far more dangerous. Calls himself Discord, and delights in causing havoc.”

“Potions.”

“He told me he switched an ingredient,” Nova admitted. Up to that point Professor Sprout had been unaware of where the information had come from. “No way of knowing if he was telling the truth or not. The reason I collapsed yesterday after potions was because I tried to contain him, but without my pendant, it took too much effort, and I was unsuccessful. After that… I barely remember returning to my room. - Being turned to stone is only an inconvenience to him.”

“I see.”

“May I go now? My friends are waiting.”

“Yes, you may go.” Professor Sprout offered.

‘Thank you, mam.” Nova said, got up, gathered her school bag, and quietly exited to the hall were a good deal of the first year girls, and Harry was waiting.

“So what did she want?” Scootaloo asked.

“She was curious about my pendant.” Nova offered. “Come on, let's go get some lunch.”

That afternoon was the defense against the dark arts class.

“I do hope everyone has studied diligently,” Luna said as she looked out over the group. In the time Luna had been their instructor, Luna had done overviews of everything they should have been learning. They were woefully behind from where they should have been. The exams were passed out, Nova and the others wrote their names on the top, and then they were given permission to start.

“Nova breezed through the first few pages, and then the questions started getting harder. How curious? Nova thought as she continued. She was beginning to have to actually think about her answers. She paused for a moment, and a smile formed on her lips. Nova was finished with the first year test and was presently working on second-year questions. Invigorated, she dove back into the test.

“If you don’t know the answer to something, make your best guess, and skip to the next question.” Luna offered to the class. She couldn't help but notice that students were struggling. “And you have my permission to make a joke out of it if you’re going to get it wrong anyway. At least that way we’ll get a good laugh out of it.” This announcement had the effect of energizing students who’d been struggling. “Oh, and everyone has a different test. Looking at the paper of another will do you no good.” There was an audible groan out of one of the girls. “Better get on that. Won’t do to have the right answer on the wrong question.” There’s some good-natured snickering.

Nova couldn't really be sure how long it had been before Luna called time. Several students groaned, and a few voiced their need for more time. Nova made one last mark, set her quill down, leaned back and smiled.

“The reason I told you to skip anything you didn’t know the answer for was because I gave you all more questions then you could possibly hope to answer.” Luna offered. “What I’m going to do considering the teacher you had, is throw out the bottom ten percent, and then grade on a curve according to what you actually answered.” She let that sink in a moment. “You should not have to suffer more than you already have.” Luna’s eyes caught Nova’s smile. “You seem rather happy considering I gave you the most questions.”

“I finished it.”

Everyone turned to look at her. The pile of papers stacked on her desk a testament to how much she’d had to go through. Luna picked it up and began thumbing through it. Most of the answers were academic in nature. A few were first hand, or rather hoof, accounts. Luna read through a few, stepped up to Nova, wrapped an arm around her, and gave her a long hug.

“Alright, hand in your tests, and you may go,” Luna said after a while.

“What was that about?” Scootaloo asked a short time later. The Gryffindor first years were slowly making their way back to the common room.

“Since it was Luna, I wrote down some real life experiences I went through.” Nova offered.

“What?!” Apple Bloom exclaimed.

“The thing is… what they put in the book is just one way to defeat a creature, or other, that’s intent on doing you harm. I once drove off a boggart by sicking Phenik on it. didn’t even know about the spell that renders it powerless.”

“Do you think that’s why she told us to just guess?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“I’d imagine she’s going to look at what people put down, and consider whether or not it has a chance of working.” Nova offered. “I had a Basilisk go after me once, one of them half snake half chicken things. I pulled out my signal mirror and showed the blasted thing it’s own reflection. - The number one thing about a potentially life or death situation is to never lose your head. Number two is to be creative.”

“I hear that’s what brought down that Discord creature.” Harry offered. “From what I hear tell, about a dozen students realized he was the root cause of everything going on, and just started casting random jinxes at him.”

“Everyone teaming up on him must have been more then he could cope with.” Sweetie Belle surmised.

“Back home the method to try to keep him under control has always been a well-orchestrated single attack.” Apple Bloom offered. “I doubt it ever would have occurred to just use a bunch of random attacks.”

“Wonder if the same thing will work on Peeves?” Rhona asked. “He keeps trying to flip my robes.”

“Just tell him if he doesn’t behave I’ll turn him into a pinball again.” Nova offered with a grin.

“Hang, on what?” Scootaloo asked.

“Trapped him inside a spherical shield spell, and sent him bouncing down the main stair well.” Nova offered. “Though technically I did have help. Peeves was hiding, invisible, I figured out where he was, initiated our retaliatory attack, our Prefect, a boy named Albert Armor cast the bubble spell around Peeves, and then Moonie gave him a good solid buck. - It was glorious.”

“Hang on, I’ve heard legends about someone doing that?” Rhona offered. “You are not seriously going to tell me you were there? That was like eighty ninety years ago from what I understand.”

“Truth is I stepped through a time warp.” Nova offered. “Come on, I’ll prove it.”

“I believe you, but how exactly are you going to prove it?” Scootaloo asked as Nova directed them towards the main hall.

“Wait and see,” Nova replied, and a short time later they were in the Quidditch trophy room. “See there, the nineteen oh three oh four Quidditch team. Look at the name, and look at the picture of the seeker.” She gave them a moment to look. “This is why no one but the ghosts remember me.”

“Wicked,” Rhona said looking at the picture. “That really is you.”

“And the Nova broom too.” Dean Thomas announced.

“I made it.” Nova offered as she cast a glance at the 04-05 team. Maggie Weasley had replaced Nova on the team and proudly displayed Nova's broom. “Lots of witches and wizards made their own brooms back then.” Nova couldn't resist looking at the different pictures to see who all had used her broom.

“You didn’t seriously make your own broom.” Lavender Brown scoffed.

“Why do you think it’s called the Nova broom? Mind you the spell work has been tampered with over the years.” Nova informed them. “I’ve been working on a new one. Any one want to see it?”

“Can we?” Harry asked.

“But first years aren’t allowed to have their own brooms?” Hermione protested.

“It’s alright, I’ve shown it to Madam Hooch, and she’s declared it an extra credit project. I’m just not allowed to ride it until she’s given her approval.”

The first years arrived at the Gryffindor common room a short time later, and Nova told them she’d bring it down momentarily. The boys had little choice, but to wait, but the girls, including Nelly and Rhona, followed her upstairs.

Nelly and Rhona quickly turned and went back down to the common room blushing madly on seeing girls in various states of undress.

“I sure hope for their sake's they aren’t stuck that way.” Apple Bloom offered as the others giggled.

On arriving at Nova’s apartment Nova dropped her school bag, and went back into her closet. She returned a short time later with her latest broom. This time she’d left the bark on it. It had rough areas and a black surface. The new broom also had the same fine weaving as her old broom and had been bound so that the straw tapered to a tight end in a sort of teardrop shape that had been shaved at the end. It also featured silver foot rests made from a metal that had been forged in Equestria.

“You didn’t remove the bark?” Parvati Patil asked.

“What’s it made of?” Scootaloo asked.

“It’s Blackthorn. Same as the last one.” Nova offered. “I haven't done all the spell work yet, being how busy I’ve been, so it doesn’t actually fly yet.”

“Wouldn't having the bark on it adversely affect the speed?” Hermione asked.

“I did a lot of sanding, followed by layers of black lacquer, more sanding, and more lacquer.” Nova offered. “I wanted to take advantage of the bark’s natural roughness at the grip points. - Well come on, let's go show it to the boys, and girls.”

By the time they got downstairs, the entire Quidditch team had shown up along with a few other boys who were interested.

“Core, that looks wicked,” Rhona said.

“I’ll be the judge of that.” Wood said sounding a bit pompous. “Hand it over.”

“It’s not fully enchanted yet. I’ve only done the primary preservation spells.” Nova informed him as she handed it over.

“Nice ergonomic curve to the shaft… kind of the look of a black Nimbus 2000...” Wood reported as he looked the broom over. “Lightweight… what are the foot rests made out of?” He tried giving one a tug. Then pulled even harder. “That’s on their really good. What’s it made out of?”

“Adamantine.” Nova offered. “Not easy to get, and costly.”

“I’d imagine.” Wood offered as he began to inspect the braided straw, and finely wound cording that held it all together. “Wow, you’ve duplicated the workmanship of the Nova broom… did you say adamantine?!”

“As in True Silver.” Nova offered. “Kind of expensive.”

“Kind of!?” Wood said as his hands began to shake. “How…?”

“I’m stupidly rich.” Nova offered. Nova had actually shipped various goods to Fancy Pants to be able to pay for the foot rests as she had no money in Equestria. One thing led to another, and now Nova owned a logistics company that would fill orders set up by Fancy Pants who in turn was putting aside a percentage of the profits so Nova would have money on the Equestria side of the portal.

“She kind of is.” Scootaloo offered with a grin.

“I’d say she did a better job on the braiding too.” Katie Bell, one of the team’s chasers offered.

“The fact that she can afford adamantine doesn’t surprise you?” Wood asked.

“Her deluxe apartment has its own bath, a bedroom, a walk-in closet that seems to connect to the attic space somehow, and a large reading lounge that’s as big as some deluxe apartments I’ve seen.” Katie offered. “She’s a princess, she has money. And I’ve seen her working on that broom, so I know she didn’t buy it.”

“You can’t buy a broom like that. Not that I’m aware of.” Rhona offered.

“I’ve seen pictures of some high end one of a kind brooms.” Wood offered. “Every last one is nothing more than an attempt to copy the Nova broom.”

“Seriously?” Nova asked.

“What are you using for the twine?” Angelina Johnson asked.

“It’s pegacorn hair.” Scootaloo offered.

“Ah, so that’s what makes the difference.” Wood mused. The girls, Nova and the Crusaders weren’t about to tell them it had a primary feather inside the shaft of the broom. “And you have access to them.”

“Ya, and I should probably finish the spell work on it so it’ll be ready for Madam Hooch by tomorrow afternoon.” Nova replied.

“I’m seeing white, reddish, purplish, magenta...” Wood was saying as he studied the hairs that made up the cording. “I guess that’s black… kind of seems to shimmer, and gold that’s really catching the light.”

“Broom… I need to finish it?” Nova prompted.

“Oh, right, here. Sorry.”

🖌

The next day was history of magic in the morning. The test was grueling. Not because Nova didn’t know the material, but because it was just so tedious. Question after question about the Goblin wars. Oddly enough there wasn’t word one concerning why the wars had happened. After class everyone met in the common room, and then went down to lunch.

For Many of the first-years, this was going to be the last chance they had to fly on a broom until returning in the following school year. Nova could certainly understand the sentiment as she went upstairs to retrieve her project. Her living situation over the summer was as yet still undecided so far as she understood. The problem of avoiding influencing events in Equestria, and at the very least, not interacting with her younger self still hung over her head.

“Hey, wait up!” Scootaloo called as she hurried to catch up with Nova. “I have to fetch my broom too.”

“I nearly forgot.” Nova offered with a smile and gave her a hug.

“So which one of us is the elder I wonder?” Scootaloo asked as they climbed the stairs.

“Be hard to say. I’m not really sure how old I am. - Fifteen by my reckoning, but I could be off by any number of years.” Nova offered. “Not that it really matters. What matters is what we share together in the future.”

“Maybe I am older than you in years, but when you say things like that, I can’t help but see you on the same level as Princess Celestia.”

“Perish the thought. I am in no way on the same level.” Nova offered. “I’ve yet to make the same number of mistakes.”

“Mistakes?”

“Why if I’m to measure up to her, you and I would have to banish Discord, Sombra, and have a knock down drag out fight in which one of us ends up on the moon.”

“Oh harmony no.” Scootaloo protested, and then laughed. “And besides, dealing with Troll fart was hard enough.”

“He was a slippery one.” Nova offered with a smile as they continued down the corridor that took them to the portrait of the fat lady.

The two retrieved their brooms and made their way to the quidditch pitch. Gryffindor was paired up with Slytherin, and a number of other students were simply enjoying free time. Most of the Slytherin first years were in one group, and the Gryffindor first years had gathered in another. Malfoy was standing off by herself with the most pitiful broom Nova had ever seen.

“Madam Hooch, surely Malfoy can’t be expected to test on that old thing?” Nova called.

“I’m aware of the issue, and if the one you’ve made is up to snuff she can use the one that was brought out for you.” Madam Hooch offered.

“Fair enough.” Nova offered. Malfoy for her part didn’t say a thing. The old Malfoy would surely have objected, but this new Malfoy was quickly learning to keep her opinions to herself. Nova went over to the boy turned girl. “Come on, thing’s get better. Just chuck that thing and use that one over there, and if the prick who set you up with that one don’t like it, I’ll give him what for.” Out of the corner of her eye, she could see some older Slytherin students who’d undoubtedly been tasked to help, only to bring out what looked to be one of the brooms from nineteen oh three.

“Well then, Miss Moon, front and center. Let me see that broom you’ve made.” Madam Hooch requested with a smile. Nova walked up to her and presented the broom by holding it out in front of her at a slight angle, her feet together, her form straight. Madam Hooch took the broom, raising an eyebrow as Nova’s arms quickly went to her sides. Nova was standing at attention, her face giving away no emotion. Madam Hooch inspected the broom with equal seriousness and then set it on the ground. She held her hand over it, and was surprised when the shaft slapped into her hand at just the thought of the command of up. “What’s the shaft… is this Blackthorn?”

“Yes, Mam. Same as my wand.” Nova offered. “I reasoned that the wood would respond to my magic better than any other woods.”

“I see.” Madam Hooch replied. She handed it back to Nova, who took it without saying a word. “Now place it on the ground, and lets put it through its paces.”

Nova stepped away from the group, set the broom on the ground, held her hand over the broom, and commanded up. Nothing happened. At least not at first. Schootaloo who’d been watching intently, eager for Nova to succeed turned her head to look at her broom. The Nova broom was vibrating.

“My back hairs just went all tingly.” Sweetie Belle whispered.

“I feel a heart song coming on.” Apple Bloom said in the same hushed tone as Nova’s new broom slowly lifted up into the air.

Shaft now in hand Nova swung the sweep down, and stepped onto the footrests. She crouched down and sat. Somewhere up in the stands, our old friend the Gryffindor ghoul began strumming his bass guitar.

Nova gave the Crusaders a wink, and then fire roared from the back of the sweep.

*“Revvin’ up your broom, listen to her howling roar.” Scootaloo sang knowing better than to fight it. Nearby she caught the bewildered looks of Slytherin boys trying to jinx the broom while they began to chant it needed a proper test in a deep counter tone.

“My broom's under tension, begging me to touch and go.” Nova sang out followed by her and the Crusaders singing, “Highway to the danger zone. Right into the danger zone!”

“Heading for that horizon, I’ll be spreading out my wings tonight!” Nova sang out and then rocketed forward and upward as though launched with a catapult. Behind her, the Slytherin boys wands have snapped.

“She’s jumping off the deck, and shoving into overdrive!” the Crusaders sang.

Everyone present sings, “Highway to the danger zone! I’ll take you right into the danger zone! - You’ll never say hello to you until you get on the red line overload, you’ll never know what you can do until you get it up as high as you can go!”

Nova sped down the pitch, rounded the goal hops so fast the air complained in protests. “Out along the edges, always where I burn to be. The further on the edge, the hotter the intensity!” Nova sang, pulled up on her broom and rocketed heavenward.

Down on the pitch, students went into singing the chorus three times through while some one opens up with a saxophone.

As the last notes die away Nova goes racing by.

“What just happened?” Rhona asked.

“Heart song.” Hermione offered. It’d been a heart song that had been used to convince her to do that spell to turn Myrtle into an egg.

“Madam Hooch, permission to join Nova. My brooms got an itch that’s got to be scratched.” Scootaloo asked.

“Yes, go ahead.” Madam Hooch offered. “I’m going to have some words with my helpers.”

Scootaloo mounted her broom and chased off after Nova.

“Wish we could fly like that.” Apple Bloom lamented.

“What are you talking about? You are a good flier.” Harry offered as he looked up.

“Not like that.” Sweetie Belle said as she watched Nova, and Scootaloo does a synchronized barrel roll.

✈✈

Chapter 19: The Raid

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It's early Saturday morning, a group of RAF aviators along with one US Naval Cadet with short rainbow colored hair are sitting in a hanger undergoing a mission briefing. Outside can be heard the sound of jet engines warming up.

“So why’s Pride Day here?” One of the aviators asked. “No offense to the Midshipman mind you.”

“Why does everyone harp on my hair? It grows that way!” Dash complained.

“Midshipman Dash is going to be riding along in the Hunter acting as a spotter.” The mission commander explained. “It’s a dead zone. Our very own Highland triangle.”

“What, not that Falkirk triangle rubbish?” One of the men asked.

“Don’t be daft, that’s our own aircraft people are spotting.” Offered an older man in an army officers uniform. His name, Lethbridge-Stewart, retired Brigadier. “Not that a few of those sightings might be legitimate.” He added with a wink. “Midshipmen Dash here was chosen for this mission because it was brought to our attention that she was immune to the localized effect that caused people to literally look the other way. And she can’t say no. There have been numerous unexplained disappearances in the area, and most recently there’s been an issue regarding a none native species that have taken up residence in a forest in the region.” A large poster-sized card was turned over to revel a picture of a large upturned spider with a man standing nearby with an automatic rifle trained on it. The body of the spider was as big as the man. Some more poster cards were turned over showing satellite imaging.

“Here’s the thing, the majority of you are not likely to be able to see any of what can be seen on satellite.” The Mission Commander offered. “The Brigadier here is acting as a liaison officer with UNIT.”

“I’ve seen more than my share of strange.” The Brigadier offered. “This one is actually one of the milder ones.”

“Now, each of you will have precise coordinates dialed in by satellite. There is a town not too far away, and a large private school. Neither of which you’ll find on any maps.” The Mission Commander informed them. “Do not stray from the GPS, unless the Midshipmen waves you off. Do not attempt to go into this area with any other aircraft. These birds have had their avionics shielded from the effects of the radiation specific to the area. And don’t worry, it’s only harmful to electronics.”

“Seriously?” One of the pilots asked.

“Seriously.” Offered the pilot who’d been out with Dash. She was a training officer with the call sign of Spitfire. “I’ve been over that forest about three times now. The first two times all I saw was Scottish moors. About halfway into the third flight that moor vanished, and was replaced by forest.” She looked at each one in the eyes to make sure they were paying attention. “This is quit possibly the most dangerous mission you will ever do because you’ll be going in completely blind to what you are flying into. - Listen to the radio. There will be a spotter in the civilian area identified as Moon dust. If she says pull up, if she says turn left, or turn right, then you bloody well better do it.”

:rainbowdetermined2:

Three pegacorns glide silently over the quidditch grounds, one mostly white with black, a golden orange yellow with magenta hair, and a larger mare of midnight blue with black dapples and plot. Students have begun to gather, but there are no other pegasi about.

“You’re serious about the jets, aren’t you?” Scootaloo asked as they rounded the goal hoops.

“Now what lead you to that conclusion?” Nova asked with a grin. Luna just nickered.

“You asked the pegasi to either move on to their summer homes, or return to Equestria by first light today, and insisted that no pony remaining be in the air, or anywhere near the forbidden forest.”

“A few of my new friends got together, buried the hatchet, and managed to get an airstrike scheduled to go after the acromantula colony.” Luna offered.

“As this is the last game of the year, most of the wizard folk will be at the game, and there won’t be any students or staff anywhere near the forest,” Nova added. “That leaves pegasi accidentally flying into the path of an aircraft.”

“I feel a little sorry for Hagrid,” Luna informed them. “It’s a good thing he’s nowhere near here. I can see him rushing strait to the colony. Being that at least one of them was his pet. And yes, I did a lot of networking to make this happen. Even the Prime Minister knows about the raid. Well, we wouldn't want him to be blindsided, and we’ve some of our best agents keeping a close watch for when the Ministry of Magic people go ballistic.”

“In case you are wondering, no, we did not tell the fliers to go right over the quidditch grounds,” Nova explained to Scootaloo. “I’m to understand they were told to stay well clear of the school. t’s just that the human Rainbow Dash and Spitfire are in one of the airplanes, and if those two are anything like our Dash, and Spitfire...”

“They’ll buzz the school the first chance they get and bring company.” Scootaloo offered, finishing Nova’s thought.

“I’ve an idea, let's loosen up a bit.” Nova offered while propelling herself forward a little faster. She did a quick snap roll, followed by a loop. Scootaloo, and Princess Luna couldn't resist and followed so that it turned into a game of follow the leader. The three were frolicking about when Wood’s voice rang out over the pitch.

It sure would be nice if our seeker would quit horsing around, and get ready for the game!

“Um, do you think he knows?” Scootaloo asked looking towards the team changing rooms. Wood was standing there with his wand to his throat glaring at the trio.

“They know your cutie mark, and we know several people saw you transform to shield Goldwine. Who knows how many people saw you transform when I snatched you up? - Sorry about that." Nova offered. “They were bound to figure it out sooner or later. Might be best to circle around though.”

“I’m going to head for the Astronomy tower.” Luna offered. “I’ve a radio set up there I can use to scold the pilots if they get too close to the school.”

“Alright mom, see you. I’m heading in, and will be out in a bit.” Nova offered as Luna glided over towards the school. “Scootaloo?”

“Oh darn it all anyway. If he knows it’s only a matter of time till everyone has figured it out.” Scootaloo stated, and glided down to where Wood was waiting. Nova watched from above as Scootaloo dropped down, and walked into the team room as onlookers watched in astonishment. Wood turned around and followed.

Nova circled a couple of times, and then went back to the Gryffindor tower. There she transformed to human form and went downstairs gathering Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom, Hermione, Harry Potter, and Rhona Weasley along the way. Ron was still a girl owing to the fact that no one had figured out a counter-potion yet. They arrived at the quidditch grounds a short time later to discover a large gathering of students and staff gathered round the entrance to the team rooms.

“Guys, you’ll never believe it!” Nelly called on seeing the group. “A pegacorn landed, and walked right into the Gryffindor team room!”

“Oh for...” Nova said as palm found face.

“A pegacorn… anyone we know?” Apple Bloom asked crossly, as she gave Nova a dirty look.

“Wood figured it out.” Nova offered. “And I’d imagine the whole team knows. You can’t actually believe we were going to keep a lid on that forever. I mean about Louise being an animagus.” She added a wink knowing full well there’d be people who could hear her.

“Now hang on one minute?!” Apple Bloom protested.

“Up in our room, she was being protective. A might bit overprotective I might add.” Nova countered. “And I told her to go around. It was her idea to just go strait down.”

“Be it as it may...” Apple Bloom protested.

“What say we see what we can do about this crowd?” Sweetie Belle offered, and started working her way forward. Apple Bloom followed, followed by Nova. But when they’d gathered where the teachers were, they were told to stay back.

Hey! You guys got a pony in there!” Apple Bloom shouted, and a fine impersonation of the Royal Canterlot voice it was. The teachers, and gathered students all cringed, followed by Wood venturing out a moment later.

“What’s this all about then?” Wood asked as he looked about.

“By any chance is there a pegacorn in there?” Nova asked.

“Ah, no. Whatever gave you that idea? No one in here save team members.” Wood replied.

“Well then, nothing to see here, move along, move along.” Sweetie Belle offered as she made a shooing motion with her hands.

“Come on, let's go find a place to sit.” Apple Bloom prompted as instructors began to poke their heads in the team room to have a look. “Nova, you’re joining us this time I’m assuming?”

“Yes please, if you’ll have me?” Nova offered with a touch of a dramatic flair.

“Come on you little floof ball.”Apple Bloom called as she made her way to the stands.

“Hey, only Alalme gets to call me that.” Nova protested.

“Floof ball.” Apple Bloom calls with a smile. “Hey, don’t land on my head!? What are you doing?” Nova had transformed into her fox form.

“Distraction.” Nova offered as she dropped around Apple Bloom’s neck to rest on her shoulders. Students and staff alike look on with jaws dropped. “Alalme is a little disappointed she can’t come.”

“She understands about the possibility of aircraft coming in?” Apple Bloom whispered as she made her way through the crowd of curious onlookers.

“Ya, she’s not sure she’s ready for humans flying in machines.”

“But are you going to be alright if one or more should buzz us?” Apple Bloom asked.

“What? How big can they be?” Nova asked, followed by Sweetie Belle laughing. “What?”

“You there!” Filch called coming up to Apple Bloom. “Is that your animal? That animal is not an approved animal.”

“Um, actually, no, she’s not mine.” Apple Bloom replied. With Quirrel gone, Filch was right back to looking for any infraction he could find.

“Then why is that animal sitting on your shoulders?” Filch asked in an accusing tone.

“I really have no idea, she just landed...” Nova the fox blows a raspberry at Filch, “..there.” Apple Bloom offered. Apple Bloom proceeded to bite her lip in an effort to keep herself from laughing.

“She’s mine.” Offered the familiar voice of an old woman joining them. Nova turned to discover Madam Marchbanks, and wagged her tail. “She runs errands for me. Now if you’ll excuse us, you are holding up the line.”

“I’m terribly sorry,” Filch replied and backed away.

From there it didn’t take them long to climb the steps up into one of the viewing stands. “You girls don’t mind if I join you?”

“No, not at all.” Apple Bloom offered.

“So how’s your special project going?” Madam Marchbanks asked of Nova.

“Is it alright if I sit with you?” Malfoy asked from behind. Nova got off Apple Bloom's shoulders as the others found seats, dropped down to a seat herself, transformed back into a girl, and invited Malfoy to sit with them. Malfoy just stood there with jaw agape.

“Well come on.” Nova prompted as everyone sat. “And my little project is quite energetic.”

“I guess it’s alright.” Harry offered Malfoy.

“Are you sure we want Malfoy sitting with us?” Rhona asked.

“Well right now she is in the same boat you are in, and I don’t hear Malfoy trying to antagonize you about it.” Nova pointed out.

“You’re an Animagus?” Malfoy asked.

“Yes, I am at that, now come have a seat.” Nova offered.

“Thank you.” Malfoy offered as she went around to sit down.

“They giving you a hard time?” Nova asked.

“I just don’t understand them. There is harassing people, and then there is just plain… It’s a nightmare.”

“Perhaps I could have a word with Professor Snape?” Madam Marchbanks offered. “What was your name?”

“Malfoy, Draco, though I guess you could just call me Coco now. Plenty of other things I’m being called, but I guess I can live with Coco if I have to be stuck like this. And Professor Snape knows. He’s moved me to the hospital wing. It hasn’t been easy for him either. Get hit with a gender-swapping potion, and suddenly no one gives him any respect anymore. And they are treating me like I’ve done something horrible.”

“Welcome to the female gender.” Madam Marchbanks offered with a sarcastic air.

“Madam Marchbanks, you knew the winged fox was Nova?” Hermione asked after a short and slightly awkward silence.

“She used to be my student. It was a long time ago, and then something happened that I don’t fully understand, but I’m glad she’s here, whole, and well. We used to give her a lot of leeway, but she behaved for the most part.”

“I don’t understand?” Malfoy asked.

“I was displaced in time,” Nova informed Malfoy with her voice low so only those right next to her could hear. “That’s the real reason I was late.”

“Are you sure it’s a good idea...” Sweetie Belle said voicing her concern.

“It’s pretty much common knowledge for anyone capable of connecting the dots.” Nova offered. “The ministry knows, I’m the individual who made the Nova broom, all the ghosts remember me, but no one else at school knew who I was.”

“So that’s what that was all about.” Malfoy offered quietly as more people filed in, to include Professor Dumbledore. It was not Professor Dumbledore's normal place to sit.

“Ah Griselda, so good of you to join us.” Dumbledore offered as he found an empty seat. “I’m looking forward to an exciting game today.”

💫

Meanwhile in the Gryffindor team room, Wood is looking out the door with a worried expression.

“Something wrong?” Katie Bell asked as she finished buttoning her uniform. “I am defiantly going have to get this let out a little. What do you think? I mean, I’d hate to have my buttons pop out on the pitch. - Oliver? - Katie to Oliver Wood?”

“Where are the pegasi? I don’t see the pegasi?” Wood commented.

“What pegasi?” Katie asked.

“The ones that usually hang out on top the viewing stands.” Wood said sounding frustrated.

“Well, you could try asking our resident pegasus.” Katie pointed out.

“Most of them have moved to their summer residences,” Scootaloo informed him. “But tell me, how long have you known I was an animagus?”

“We saw you transform that day you got plastered by the bludger.” Katie offered.

“You were our little secret until recent events.” Angelina offered.

“Recent events? What are you talking about?” Wood asked turning to look back. Nothing, the girls chimed. Outside Lee Jordan, the Gryffindor student who did commentary at the quidditch matches had begun talking about what a momentous day it was.

“So all this time you knew?” Scootaloo asked. “And never said a thing?”

“Considering how they reacted to those tramp stamps you and the others have.” Katie offered.

“They are called cutie marks. They are a manifestation of Equestrian magic.”

“Which means...” Alicia Spinnet said as she collected her broom. “That your favorite mare is likely a certain girl from Eques, and is probably in the stands right now.” Thanks to Nova having collapsed in her pony form, Alicia had a pretty good idea who it was too.

“You think… hang on that’s bad, that’s very bad.” Wood said. It seemed he might start rambling.

“Not to Worry.” George offered.

“The Slytherin’s have already challenged the call,” Fred informed.

“And they were told that they’d still lose,” George added.

“Seems.” Fred began.

“That round robin they did at the goal hoop.” George continued.

“While we were otherwise distracted,” Fred added.

“Is one of the fouls that aren’t listed in the book.” George completed.

“Yes of course. Any time a goal is made the quaffle is taken by the referee, and handed over to the apposing team.” Wood said with a smile on his face. “The goals didn’t count.”

“Still though, it wouldn't do to let on that she’s a student.” Angelina offered. “Who knows what kind of fall out it could create if it were commonly known.”

“Absolutely right.” Wood stated firmly. “Can't have another incident like the Cutie Mark incident. That simply will not do. Not at all.”

“It’s time,” Alicia informed them.

“Indeed it is.” Wood offered with a smile.

“Oh, and if you hear thunder, hit the deck.” Scootaloo cautioned as she retrieved her broom.

“What? Thunder?” Wood asked sounding panicky.

💥

Nova and the others watched with anticipation as the teams entered the field. Sure she had a good idea how it was going to end, but there was still that chance her prediction was wrong. Her predictions seldom were, being how they were backed by mathematics. The teams squared off, Madam Hooch blew her whistle, the balls were released, Players lifted up into the air, Scootaloo stretched her arm out, was seen to snatch at something, and then held up her fist with the snitch firmly held in hand. A moment later the forest out where the spider colony was, erupted into flame. For those who were in the stand facing that part of the forest it looked like Scootaloo had been framed in a background of flame, players to either side of her, followed shortly by the sound of thunder, the howling roar of engines, and muggle jets passing right over the viewing stands.

Up in her tower Luna was presently chewing out the pilots as more incendiaries and napalm hit the spiders little glean, and the silver wood erupted into golden fire.

Wave after wave flew over the forest until the entire colony had been burned to cinders. With any luck, the spiders being nocturnal, they’d all be extra crispy KFS. If not there were plans to have members of the Equestrian guard force do a walk through.





Dumbledore looked out over the forest dumbstruck. Nova who had absolutely no idea how big and noisy human aircraft were, was presently in Apple bloom’s lap clinging on to her for dear life. Along with Sweetie Belle, and Coco who was equally startled having never seen a muggle warbird. Coco was also presently a white ball of fluff with tufted ears, a blond mane, tail, and leathery wings. Rhona, and Nelly were clinging to Harry, and Hermione was without words.

“Shit’s going to hit the fan on this one.” Madam Marchbanks offered as she recovered from the momentary surprise.

“What a finish! That has got to be one for the books. Fastest finish ever, and what a spectacle!” Lee Jordan shouted over the quidditch stands and proceeded to go nuts.

“Nova, what are you doing?” Hermione asked having finally found her voice. “You predicted this, and look at you!” A broad smile formed on her lips, and then she started laughing.

“I was not expecting that!” Nova protested. “I’ve never seen a muggle jet in my life! - I nearly wet myself!”

“Oh god,” Coco whined.

“Me too.”Sweetie Belle offered quietly.

“Well, that doesn’t do me a whole lot of good.” Apple Bloom complained.

“Nor me,” Harry added.

“I’ve never been more scared in my whole life.” Rhona protested bitterly.

“Hermione...” Harry said softly. “You wouldn't happen to have a good clean up spell?”

“Coco, by any chance you wouldn't happen to have a mandrake leaf in your mouth?” Hermione asked as she got her wand out to do a little cleanup.

“Maybe.” Coco replied. “Why?”

“Look at yourself,” Hermione suggested as Scootaloo did a victory lap around the pitch.

“I don’t have to look at myself to know I soiled myself,” Malfoy said tersely.

“Before or after you transformed?” Harry asked.

“What? - I transformed?”

“Well would you look at that!” George called from his broom a short distance out.

“Seems our little girl has found herself a boyfriend,” Fred called.

Rhona froze, but relaxed on feeling the effects of Hermione clandestinely using a scourgify spell on the group. Madam Marchbanks did the same for Apple Bloom’s huddle and then looked around to see if anyone else had a similar experience.

“Hang on, who’s the floof ball?” Scootaloo asked as she pulled up on her broom. Madam Hooch was presently trying to get all the quidditch players grounded just in case another muggle aircraft buzzed the pitch.

“I transformed?” Coco said again as she untangled herself. “Hang on, what am I?”

“You appear to be a baby Thestral.” Madam Marchbanks offered.

“She’s a Caribbean Thestral Alba.” Hermione offered.

“Aww, I wanted something cool,” Coco complained.

“Hey, nothing cooler than being a bat pony.” Offered a gray thestral hanging from the underside of the overhang.

“Friend of yours?” Madam Marchbanks asked.

“Body guard.” Nova offered. “Mouse, what are you doing up there?” Nova called as she extracted herself from her little pile on top of Apple Bloom. Dumbledore stood up and apparated. “Not like I’m in any real danger now that Troll fart is gone.”

“It gives me something to do.” Mouse offered.

“Why don’t you drop down, and introduce yourself?” Nova inquired. Mouse thought about it for a moment, dropped, tumbled to right side up, spread her wings to slow herself down, transformed into her human form, and dropped down to the stands. She was presently wearing a uniform that looked like an Auror from nineteen oh three.

“Lieutenant Mouse, at your survive.” She offered with a polite bow. “Her Majesty's own Shadow Bolts.”

“I see.” Madam Marchbanks replied.

“On loan from home.” Nova offered. “What say we go inside? - I’ve the distinct feeling the Hogwarts staff are in a mild state of panic.”

“You are a fine one to talk.” Apple Bloom pointed out as more explosions erupted in the forest.

“I’ll catch up with you as soon as I can get changed.” Scootaloo offered and then flew off towards the team rooms at the far end.

“Professor Marchbanks, Pro… Madam, we must evacuate! Where’s Dumbledore?” McGonagall called as she climbed up to their viewing platform.

“My dear Minerva, do calm down.” Marchbanks scolded.

“But, but?” McGonagall protested.

“The muggles were after the spider colony. Not the school.” Marchbanks offered. “Yes, I was aware that something was up. As the ministry had seen fit to ignore a problem that had been brought to their attention, those who were being most affected, the very farmers and ranchers this school gets its provisions from, they chose to turn to others for a solution.”

“I see,” McGonagall replied. “Where has Professor Dumbledore gone then?”

“I’d imagine to go have words with the Minister of Magic.” Madam Marchbanks offered.

“Perhaps we should go inside?” Nova suggested. “Just in case of stray acromantulas.”

“Perhaps that would be prudent,” McGonagall replied. “Just one thing first, where did you get that creature, and where is your mother?”

“Hey!” Malfoy protested.

“That’s Malfoy, and mom is at the top of the astronomy tower with a radio.” Nova offered. “I’ve no doubt she is chewing out those pilots via the radio, and will likely do so in person later on.”

“I see,” McGonagall replied with fire in her eyes.

“Young Malfoy has figured out the animagus spell on their own.” Madam Marchbanks offered. “Tell me young pup, by any chance, can you change yourself back?”

“Maybe after she’s calmed down a bit.” Lt Mouse offered.

“Oh, your father is going to be thrilled.” Professor McGonagall stated. “Do you know that he never even bothered to come check on young Malfoy when he was informed that his son had been turned into a girl? He sent a letter informing us to be sure and transform him back prior to sending him home.”

“Well, what if I want to stay a girl?” Malfoy stated stubbornly. Malfoy’s statement is followed by stunned silence. “I mean, aside from the fact that half of Slytherin House hates me even more, and would just assume dissect me if they catch me like this, I really don’t mind being a girl.”

“OK, the dissecting part has me a little worried.” Lt Mouse stated. “That is to say, I wouldn't put it past some of the members of that house to do it if they thought they could get away with it.”

“Has anyone ever been resorted into a different house?” Nova asked.

“It’s never been done.” McGonagall offered. Just the idea of even wanting to try it astounded her. “Even if it can be done, the year is nearly at an end anyway.”

“Malfoy is cunning and manipulative, but when he’s not being a total prat Malfoy is also brave, daring, and has plenty of nerve.” Harry offered. “If Draco had grown up with a different set of parents who’s to say he might have been sorted into Gryffindor. - He’s not the same person he was when he first arrived.”

“Malfoy? In Gryffindor?!” Rhona protested.

“He faced down the creature in the forest.” Harry offered. “Would you have done the same? - Miss I can’t stand spiders.”

“Hey, spiders are just creepy, and I don’t blame the muggles for wanting to kill a spider with fire.” Rhona protested.

Professor McGonagall rolled her eyes at Rhona’s statement as a pegasus flew in with one of the twins tied up and strapped to his back. He was followed by another with the other twin.

“Trying to go to the blast zone.” The first pegasi offered as they unceremoniously dumped the pair.

“Fifty points from Gryffindor, from each of you,” McGonagall stated flatly. She then went to the edge of the viewing stand, and with wand to throat, projected her voice out with the order for everyone to return to their houses for a head count.

“I think perhaps Malfoy should be my guest for the duration of the school year.” Nova offered.

“Yes, that might be a good idea.” Madam Marchbanks mused.

“I’ll be sure to let Professor Snape know,” McGonagall replied dryly.

🦇

A short time later Bat pony Coco is being given a pony back ride right to the balcony exit of Nova’s apartments. At first, she was convinced they were going to crash, but then the balcony appeared.

“Wow,” Coco whispered as she slowly walked into the rotunda. “This is in the Gryffindor tower?”

“Oh ‘eaven’s no.” Lt Mouse offered as she followed Coco. “It’s a very special sort of wizard space, that is both in the world and not in the world at the same time. Displaced space. This is just one entrance, and it belongs to Princess Nova. There is even an entry in the hospital wing, which is where we are going.”

“We can get to the hospital wing from here? Without having to go through the hallways?”

“Sure can come on.” Lt Mouse offered and led the way to the stairs. Coco looked at the large door that led to Nova’s personal apartments on the other side of the stair landing. It’d been added to keep the foals from racing down the stairs when no one was watching, and likely would be kept there to help keep the foals in during nap time. “That’s Princess Nova’s private apartment. We need to go downstairs. - Come along.”

“Wow, where is that park at?” Coco asked as they descend to the lower landing that looked out into the greenhouse.

“We are still inside Princess Nova’s palace. All that is inside the palace.”

“Seriously?”

“This way.” Lt Mouse offered and opened the door to the lower hall. They’d only gone a short way when they turned in through the door that entered the infirmary where a curious white unicorn watched from her hospital bed. At this point, Lt Mouse transformed back into her human form. She went to a door at the far end and looked through a peephole. “Seems you’ve visitors from your house.”

Malfoy paled. As if it was possible for a white bat pony to get any whiter. “I can’t let any one from Slytherin house see me like this. - Is that the entrance to the hospital wing?”

“Sure is.” “Doesn’t exactly look like a social visit either.”

“My stuff is in there.”

“Hang on they are leaving the room.” Lt Mouse waited a moment. “Wait here.” she then opened the door, quietly slipped in, and shut the door behind her. Madam Pomfrey could be heard berating the boys who’d been in the room.

LT Mouse walked out to the ward where there were a number of open beads. The fact that the leader of the boys was Marcus Flint was no bi