Chapter 31 / Diagon Alley
I stared at the place where professor Babbling had disappeared. We had just had a session about ancient runes and my brains felt like pulp. Professor Babbling had had the idea that I needed extra lessons before the actual lessons would start. Apparently, she had no idea that I had been studying on my own for two years, with some lessons once in a while and she wanted to make sure I understood how hard her lessons would be before I started them. Honestly, the study of ancient runes wasn’t easy, but once you had the hang of it, it was alright.
A loud ticking noise interrupted my thoughts. I opened the window and Thoth flew in, landing on the table and putting out his leg so I could detach the letter. Luna’s handwriting smiled up at me from the paper and I grinned. Luna was the only person who had actually written me this summer and I loved her for it. I hadn’t heard anything from Ginny, which wasn’t like her at all and it led me to believe that she didn’t want anything to do with me anymore, now that she knew who I was. The only other people I heard anything from were the professors that visited me to teach my subjects. They didn’t visit as often as they used to do, since it was the summer holidays, but they came by every once in a while to make sure I was doing my homework, to discuss the lessons for next year and just make sure that I was ready to go back to school. It would be a major change again.
That much had been clear a couple of days ago. Professor Flitwick had visited with the list of books I would need. As usual, I had to get my books for Transfiguration, Charms, Potions, Care of Magical Creatures, History of Magic, Herbology and Defence against the Dark Arts, but next to that I had to buy ‘Numerology and Grammatica’ for Arithmancy, ‘Home Life and Social Habits of British Muggles’ for Muggle Studies and ‘Spellman’s Syllabary’ for the Study of Ancient Runes. It only then occurred to me how many subjects I was actually taking this year.
There was one book that grabbed my attention: ‘The Essential Defence against the Dark Arts’ by Arsenius. In the previous years, we had always used the books written by Quentin Trimble, but I guess the new teacher was going to bring a new wind.
Flitwick had suggested to come with me to Diagon Alley and since I thought he did it to keep me safe, I agreed. Turns out that Flitwick was a hilarious companion, who knew a lot of people and always seemed to see someone he had to say hi to. He introduced me to everyone and beaming with pride, he’d say that I was his top student and I was a real addition to the Ravenclaw house, which made me beam with pride too.
It wasn’t until we past Gringotts Wizarding bank that I realized that money was going to be a problem. I had worked two jobs during the past two years to finance the costs of living alone, but I hadn’t saved up that much.
‘Don’t worry,’ Flitwick squeaked, ‘Hogwarts has a special funding to help young wizards and witches who can’t afford school.’
So, instead of spending all my savings on books and other school supplies, I visited Florean’s for ice cream, Eeylops Owl Emporium for Owl Treats and, off course, Gambol and Japes Wizarding Joke Shop, where I got no-heat fireworks to entertain Christian and Carrie and shock-o-choc’s for Oliver.
‘Do you mind if we apparate the way back?’ Flitwick asked as we finished our drinks at the leaky cauldron, ‘I really don’t like the Floo network.’
‘Neither do I,’ I answered, ‘but I’ve never apparated before.’
‘You don’t have to do anything. Just close your eyes, grab my arm and think about nothing.’
I did what he told me and seconds later I felt his arm twist away from me. I tightened my grip. The next thing I knew everything was black. I was pressed very hard from all directions: I couldn’t breathe, there were iron bands tightening around my chest, my eyeballs were being forced back into my head, my ear-drums were being pushed deeper into my skull. And then, it ended. I could breath again, but instead of breathing, I vomited.