The rest of the week flew by for the girls in an excited daze interrupted by new spells, charms, potions and friends. During Potions, Adara, Sam and Molly had been joined by Sherlock Holmes, the boy Adara had tried to talk to before the sorting ceremony, and Annabeth Chase, who turned out to be an acquaintance of Percy’s and had taken to hanging out with the group during their hours off. It was almost comical, but with Adara, Annabeth and Sherlock sitting in the same row, most of the answers for Potions and History of Magic, the other subject that Hufflepuffs shared with the Ravenclaws, seemed to come from the same place.
“Does anyone know where you would find a Bezoar?” Professor Oswald asked just before one of these occasions fifth period on friday. Almost in sync, three hands shot into the air: Annabeth on the end, beside Sam, Adara, who was sitting in between Sam and Molly, and Sherlock, who was sitting on the end on Molly’s other side.
“Are you going to answer together or do I have to pick one?” Professor Oswald asked, stifling a chuckle when she had made sure that no other student was going to offer an answer. “Very well, then. Holmes, you tell me,” she sighed.
“You would find a bezoar in the stomach of a goat, as it is a small stone that is created there. It is useful because it can be used as a cure for most poisons.”
“Excellent answer. Five points to Ravenclaw,” Professor Oswald beamed. “Now, as Mr. Holmes just told us, a bezoar is a stone created inside the stomach of a goat and has the ability to cure many common poisons...”
“How the hell are you not in Ravenclaw?” Sam whispered, leaning slightly closer to Adara so they could have a conversation without being overheard. “Seriously, not many Hufflepuffs can keep up with us.” Adara shrugged.
“I thought I was going to be in Ravenclaw,” she replied. “You heard me on the train. I guess the sorting hat didn’t think it was the right place for me. I don’t know why, Molly’s my only Hufflepuff friend. The rest are in Gryffindor and Ravenclaw.” Sam grinned.
“We only need a Slytherin and our group will have representatives from all the houses,” he joked. Adara laughed.
“Yeah, that would be a first.”
Gem and Percy were walking back from another boring History of Magic lesson and heading towards the Great Hall when Gem tripped in a deserted hallway. She went flying, (Percy was still too asleep to react quick enough) and she was certain she was going to collide head first with the tapestry covered stone wall when she landed, pushing through the tapestry and being met with empty space.
“Gem! Oh, Gods, are you okay?” Percy was by her side as soon as she landed, eyes looking concerned for his friend.
“I... Ye-yeah,” Gem replied, a little shakily. “I think I found something!” Percy helped her up and they both looked at each other, before Percy started laughing.
“You should’ve seen your face!” he said between giggles. “You went flying. I swear you were airborne!” Obviously, now he knew Gem wasn’t seriously injured, he didn’t see the point of containing his mirth. Gem rolled her eyes and checked they were still alone before grabbing his hand.
“Shut up. Look,” she said quietly but sternly. Percy nodded, wiping his eyes and allowing her to show him what she’d found. Gem stepped backwards so she was flush against the wall and gently moved the corner of the tapestry with one hand. With a grin at Percy who was looking just a little astonished, she slipped behind it, stepping into a passageway.
It was a roughly cut stone passage that didn’t look the same vintage as the rest of the castle, mind you, that didn’t say much, considering after the Battle of Hogwarts, only six years previously, large portions of the castle had to be repaired. Still, this looked new. The corridor lead away from them, disappearing into shadows too dark to see through.
“I wonder where it goes?” Percy said from directly behind Gem, making the girl jump a foot in the air. She glared at him, the face she pulled more menacing than it would have been usually because of the close proximity and the low light throwing shadows over her face.
“Why don’t we see?” Gem questioned, a look that promised mischief crossing her face, brown eyes glittering in the dark.
“Well, I would, but...” Percy began.
“But you’re chicken?” Gem countered, stepping further into the passage.
“No,” Percy replied, actually affronted. “But we can’t because we can’t see a thing down there so how are we going to know what we find?” Gem’s face fell, but then brightened again immediately.
“Then lets show Adara!” she said. “We’ll tell her at dinner. Come on!” She dragged Percy out and back into the brightly lit main corridor, the both of them squinting at the sudden change in light level.
When they got to the Great Hall (first time without getting lost!) Gem spotted Adara already sitting at the Hufflepuff table with Molly.
“Adara! Come here!” Gem called, waving her over. Adara glared at her for suggesting she leave in the middle of dinner and finished off her plate before grabbing her bag and heading over to her friend.
“What is it?” Adara demanded, then seeing both of their expressions, she gave a sly smile. “What have you found?” she said, slower this time, and sounding infinitely more interested.
Gem beckoned her over to a corner of the hall where they were less likely to be overheard.
“Secret passage,” she said in a loud whisper. “We would’ve tried to follow it, but it was too dark. No torches, no lights, nothing.”
“Awesome!” Adara cheered. “When are we going down?”
“I dunno. After dinner?” Gem asked, rubbing her growling stomach. Adara nodded.
“Great, I’ll get ready, then meet you at the top of the stairs by the basement after you’ve changed,” she said quickly, already looking like she wanted to get started. Gem and Percy nodded eagerly.
“Okay. See you in half an hour,” Gem told her, starting to head for the Gryffindor table.
Adara headed towards the Hufflepuff common room.
“Hey, Adara,” said a voice from behind her: Sam must have passed her on the way to dinner.
“Oh, hey Sam!” she said, then grinned. “C’mere,” she beckoned him over. When she didn’t think they’d be heard, she said, “Gem and Percy found a secret passage. They didn’t give me many details but we’re meeting here in half an hour if you wanna check it out.” Sam grinned.
“Half an hour?” he asked. Adara nodded. “Oh, I’ll definitely be here. See ya!” he then left, so Adara descended the stairs, tapped the right barrel and entered the common room. Most of the students were still in the Great Hall, so she hurriedly got changed into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and grabbed her charms text book.
Half an hour later, Adara ascended the stairs again to see Sam and Percy waiting for her. She grinned at the boys and shifted her school bag higher on her shoulder. She looked for the world like she was just going to the library.
“So, shall we wait for Gem, or just go without her?” Adara joked, earning a chuckle from Percy. They didn’t have to wait long before a tiny squeak came from the stairs to Adara’s left and Gem nearly tripped down the stairs again in her hurry to join the rest of their group.
“Hey, guys,” she said nonchalantly trying to recover from the near fall. Adara and Percy both sighed and rolled their eyes in identical movements. Sam just laughed.
“Lead the way, Columbus,” Adara addressed Gem, earning a confused expression from the witch. “Never mind,” she said, shaking her head. “Onwards!” Gem nodded and lead the way.
The three of them followed her up two flights of stairs before they stopped in a deserted, but innocuous looking corridor. A red tapestry, embroidered with gold hung on one wall, but other than that, the place looked rather unadorned.
“Over here,” Gem said to the group, walking towards it.
“Behind the tapestry?” Adara asked, sounding just slightly disappointed. “I was hoping for something more original.”
“Hey, you don’t like it, you can go back to your common room,” Gem retorted playfully.
“Fat chance,” Adara scoffed. “Besides, without me, how are you going to see where you’re going?”
“What?” asked Sam sarcastically. “Are you just going to illuminate whatever you find with your enlightened mind?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. I came prepared,” Adara said. She indicated for Gem expose the opening of the secret passage and followed her inside. Once all four of them were in there and the tapestry was in place again, she unzipped her bag and pulled out what looked like a little ball of light. When their eyes adjusted to the unusual lighting, they could see that clearly, Adara was holding a little blue flame in a small glass jar.
“Brilliant,” Gem exclaimed, only to be shushed by the other three. She muttered a small apology then looked to Adara, who grinned, looking almost feral in the flickering light cast by the flame.
“So,” she said, looking from Percy to Gem and then to Sam. “Are we going, or what?”