““Hey there. How is the ride treating you so far? I figure we should be pulling into Hogsmeade right…”
Belle paused as she noticed the concerned look on the duo’s faces.
“Belle, don’t you usually ride with Eric?”
““Always, the only way I can make sure he arrives to Hogwarts without being transmogrified into a tea cozy before school even starts. I just left him for a few minutes to get something from Charlie.”
“You left him alone?”
““Just for a minute. I locked the compartment behind me. He should be fine. Why what’s going on?”
‘We think Rufus has been up to something. We think he was impersonating Fooz and Dan. Two people who looked like them locked two first years in a storage locker.”
“If he and some pals are looking for trouble, well we all know how easily Eric attracts…”
Belle was already rushing on down the corridor. Calling back to the two prefects she told them to ““Come on. He’s at the far end.”
As the trio rushed through the train, with Dief clinging to Belle’s shoulder, the Express ground to a stop and students began to fill the corridor. Out of the corner of her eye Belle could see the familiar carriages lined up beyond the station, skeletal pairs of horse like creatures linked up to them ready to pull students up to Hogwarts. Belle had always been able to see the Thestrals since she first went to the school via the carriages in her second year. However, she had always kept this to herself. She knew enough about magical creatures that some people were superstitious about what these creatures were like, and were nervous around anyone who could see them.
Pushing past the throngs of students, the three of them came to a stop at Belle’s compartment. However, something was wrong. The door was slightly ajar, whereas it had been tightly sealed when she left.
“Stupid Rufus being his stupid self and doing stupid…” Pushing the door open, Rose let out a groan and immediately stepped back. Humiliated and huddled in the far corner, Eric turned his head away from the door in time to spare them the sight of the large green and brown slug forcing its way from his mouth.”Oh gross.”
Without taking a step into the potentially clothes-staining slime that now covered the floor, Cassidy summoned a large bucket from the cleaning closet at the back of the train. Mercifully, most of the students were already eagerly jostling to get off the train so there would be few witnesses to Eric’s continued embarrassment as the curse ran its course through him.
“Someone needs to teach Rufus a lesson. Not a prefect, of course. We’d never dream of such a thing. But…” Ambrosia’s smile was positively chilling as she looked up at Belle. “I’m sure no one would be at all upset if someone managed to drop something particularly nasty down the front of his pants–like maybe a little bit of Devil’s Snare…”
“I was thinking more along the the lines of an Acromantula.”
“Do you hear something, Rose?”
“Nope. Did you say something Belle?”
“Not a thing.”