Scarlet was startled awake by Avani’s alarm clock beeping. With bleary eyes she looked over her timetable. ‘Are any of you in my Magical Creatures class this morning?’
‘Who have you got?’ asked Avani.
‘It says here Professor Hieronymus Fluttertwitch.’
Naomi practically hopped on the spot, the beads in her braided hair clicked together. ‘I’m in that one, you can sit with me. I’ll give the run down on all the hot guys in class.’
Avani rolled her eyes, ‘don’t you ever think about anything other than boys?’
‘I’m pretty keen on food too,’ Naomi’s beamed. ‘Talking of which, we better get down to breakfast.’
Everyone hurried to get dressed. It was Scarlet’s first time in her new uniform and she took a moment to survey herself in the full length mirror built into her wardrobe. The silver stitching sparkled in the light as she moved. Scarlet ran her finger over the curves of the design, first the swirl then the tree, as she did she felt a small tingle of the electric power that ran through her the day before. So much had happened since then; it all seemed so long ago now.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a chiming sound.
‘Breakfast! We’d better hurry.’ Said Buttercup as she linked her arm through Scarlet’s.
After eating Naomi showed Scarlet where to go for her first lesson on Magical Creatures.
‘I’m never going to find my way round this place, it’s huge.’
‘It all looks subtly different. You soon get used to it. Come on it’s just down here,’ Naomi gestured towards a winding staircase.
As the two girls arrived at the class they could smell a faint wet dog type smell. ‘Does it always smell this bad?’ Scarlet said as she wrinkled her nose.
Naomi laughed, ‘Afraid so, I think it’s because they have all sorts of animals coming through here.’
Other students were gathered outside the classroom waiting to go in; Naomi introduced Scarlet to a few. As the door opened and they all herded in someone bumped into Scarlet. ‘Sorry,’ said Scarlet automatically.
The boy she’d bumped into mumbled inaudibly from under his messy dark hair then carried on. Scarlet thought how rude he was.
Once inside the classroom Naomi pointed to the seat next to her and motioned for Scarlet to join her and some others. Scarlet noticed the rude boy sat alone at the far side of the room. ‘What’s his problem?’ asked Scarlet.
After Naomi looked to see who Scarlet was talking about she sighed in a fed up manner. ‘That’s Connor, he’s in Earth House too but he doesn’t actually talk to anyone from Earth, or any other house for that matter. He’s the dark, mysterious type, some people find that kind of thing hot, but I just think he’s arrogant and weird.’
Scarlet glanced over at him only to find him looking at her. She quickly turned back to Naomi.’ You don’t think he can hear us do you?’
‘I doubt it, but would it matter if he could? He obviously thinks he’s better than everyone here. Not to mention he’s a howler.’
‘Howler, what do you mean? He’s one of Dunstan’s extra special students, he’s a werewolf.’
Just then Professor Fluttertwitch strode into the room, leather coat flapping behind him as he did. ‘Right then class, take out your Bestiary books and turn to page two hundred and sixty four.’ This instruction was followed by a frantic rustle of paper as each student tried to get to the page requested as fast as possible.
Scarlet looked down at page two hundred and sixty four which bore the heading Creatures of the Sky.
‘Today we shall be learning about Pegasus, the winged horse. If you’ve been studying the Greek myths you’ll already be familiar with this creature. And as you will be aware the Greek myths were chronicles, non-magicals perpetuated the myth theory, as they have with all magical creatures.’
At the end of class, Professor Fluttertwitch called Scarlet to one side as she was leaving. ‘Scarlet Lyall I presume?’
The professor went on to explain to Scarlet that Cybil had selected him to be Scarlet’s tutor for catch up lessons on what she has missed so far.
‘I may specialise in magical creatures, but as Cybil is aware I am gifted in all areas of magic, and was always top of my class in my days at Dunstan,’ as he said this he seemed to push put his chest in a very self-important manner. ‘I am sure we will have you up to speed in no time. We shall meet here after dinner for an hour each day except for Fridays. Don’t be late.’
‘What did Professor Fluttertwitch want?’ asked Naomi as soon as Scarlet caught up.
‘Extra tuition, to help me catch up.’
‘Oh poor you, how boring,’ Naomi looked genuinely sympathetic.
‘I don’t know, I haven’t done any of this before so I haven’t got a clue how far behind I must be.’
‘You can’t be that far behind, everyone starts at different times here.’
‘Hope so. It’s certainly different, for a start there weren’t classes on creatures like that at my old school. There’s been this whole other world I’ve only vaguely been aware of before. I never had any idea at how much I didn’t realise actually goes on in the world.’
Naomi wasn’t in Scarlet’s next class, but she was relieved to see Buttercup as she arrived at her Charms class.
‘Hi Scarlet, how was your first class?’ asked Buttercup.
‘Not bad, although I did meet this really rude guy from our house.’
‘Connor by any chance?’
‘How did you guess?’
‘He is notoriously ignorant. People have tried to talk to him but he barely gives them the time of day, so people don’t even bother these days. Talk of the devil.’
Scarlet turned to see Connor stalk into the Charms class and once more position himself off to the far side, and sit alone.
As the lesson got started Scarlet started to feel very at home and took to the lesson quickly. They’d been learning how to charm inanimate objects for protection. Each student had a smooth round pebble placed in front of them.
The charms teacher was a tall, willowy woman, round glasses balanced on the end of her sharp nose. She had long, wispy, mousy-blonde hair that flowed to her shoulders like the vines around a tree. ‘Now class today we shall be transforming these seemingly ordinary pebbles into something extraordinary.’
There was a ripple of mutters around the class.
‘I want you to focus on turning this pebble into something decorative or something useful. We
That afternoon Scarlet had Magical History, Avani had saved a seat for her.
‘Today we shall be discussing some of the types of spell casting that are banned. Can anyone name any?’ asked Professor.
A boy in front of Scarlet raised his hand. ‘Bone magic.’
‘Correct. Any others?’
‘Blood Bonding before the age of 21,’ said a girl who immediately flushed as she became the main focal point.
‘Ah yes. The bond that can never be broken, we’ll be covering that next time. Can anyone think of another?’
Avani’s hand shot up, ‘Blood Magic!’
‘Yes, and that is what we shall be looking at today.’ Professor looked very serious as she said this. ‘Blood Magic, a practice that was widely used many years ago, particularly those whose natural magic is waning or they have poor training. Blood is a person’s life essence and to use it is to steal some or all of that essence, and in turn creating spells that are particularly potent.’
Throughout the lesson as soon as any questions were asked Avani was quick to raise her hand.
‘Blood Magic was banned due to its very nature; to use this form of magic is going against human ethics and morals, magical or otherwise. To take a life or injure another for personal again is never acceptable.’
The last lesson of the day was Spell Casting. As Scarlet arrived at class after getting lost she searched the room for familiar faces, there was only one and this wasn’t one she wanted to see, Connor.
‘Ah, Scarlet, welcome to Spell Casting said Professor. We tend to work in pairs in this class. You’re in luck there’s just one student left who needs still needs a partner.’ Professor swept her hand in Connor’s direction.
You’ve got to be kidding me, she thought, but resigned herself when she could see that there was no getting out of this. Scarlet trudged over and sat in the chair next to Connor.
‘Hi,’ said Scarlet awkwardly. ‘Guess this means we’re partners.’
Connor pushed some items towards Scarlet.
‘Thanks, what are we meant to be doing?’
Connor just gestured to his open spell casting book resting on the wooden bench in front of them.
Scarlet leant forward slightly to get a better look and Connor visibly tensed. What is his problem, she thought. ‘
The whole time they worked together Connor only spoke when he absolutely had to.