Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Phoenix Eclipse

Chapter Eighteen: I Solemnly Swear

by Spyridon 2 Reviews

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres:  - Characters:  - Published: 2010/04/26 - Updated: 2010/05/07 - 5450 words

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Chapter Eighteen-I Solemnly Swear
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Shyamal knew that Hedwig was still recovering from Edward's so called care, taking care not to startle her. At first, she had been unable to fly very long distances as her wings had atrophied with the lack of exercise and use due to the fact Hedwig had hidden herself into the corner of the store. His siblings' owls Vega, Akane, and Farran had gently forced Hedwig to begin hopping from perch to perch in the Owlery, until she was gliding from the higher ones to the lower ones. By the end of October, Hedwig had taken to flying around the campus grounds with the other three owls. With the arrival of Eclipsis, Hedwig had taken up the job of hunting for her adopted chick until he was flying on his own as well. Even then, Shyamal didn't use her for owl post as his siblings did with theirs which was usually for orders of potion ingredients that weren't in the regular standard kits.

So when Hedwig came into the Great Hall on Tuesday with a note in her beak during lunch, Shyamal was surprised. He removed the note, offering Hedwig a goblet of water which she drank.

"Who's that from?" Ron poured more pumpkin juice for himself, glancing over at the small letter.

When they had left Charms, Hermione had dashed off the library to do extra reading on the charm they had just done, believing it would on their OWLs. Ron and Shyamal had played a game of wizard chess before heading to lunch.

Shyamal flipped it open, seeing the familiar handwriting of Owain on it. "Oh an acquaintance from when I was at Durmstrang. It seems he's finally lonely." He read the note quickly, noting that Owain wanted to meet during that night for an important talk. He slid the note into his pocket, wondering how he would slip Professor Black enough for him to go meet the Blood Elf Prince. "We had a falling out before we left, swore that I was making the worst mistake of my life."

"Sorry, mate." Ron winced, knowing the feeling. "Was he a good friend?"

"Was being the operative word in that sentence." The tone of his voice signaled that was the end of the matter.

"We got Care of Magical Creatures today." Ron grinned. "I wonder what Hagrid has for us today. After all, he does seem to have a knack for bringing interesting animals."

Shyamal raised an eyebrow. "If you can call a Chollina with a bad temper interesting then by all means, consider yourself interested with the next dangerous creature he brings to class."

"You're just mad that the stallion almost hoofed you in the head."

"I wasn't paying attention to its rear end. I didn't know I was stepping on its feathers until it decided to whack me one." Shyamal sniffed. The previous class, Professor Grubby-plank had showed off a family of Chollinas which were a species of winged horses, the race from which the legendary Pegasus had sprung from. The feathers on the Chollinas grew to long lengths but were sensitive when pulled. Because of the interest of everyone regarding the young colt, Shyamal had been pushed against the stallion until his foot was stepping on the long white hairs. It was only his quick reflexes that stopped him from getting hoofed in the head when the stallion reared. After that, Grubby-plank had allowed them to see the Chollinas in groups of five to get near the magical creatures to prevent another occurrence. "I know Hagrid plans to show off the Seraphinas off this Thursday as the end for Chapter 4 on the magical equestrian creatures but do you know what he plans to show today?"

Ron shrugged his shoulders, grabbing another grilled cheese sandwich from the platter in front of him. "He's been very hush-hush about it. I tried to get it out of him when I visited him with Hermione on Saturday but had no luck. He just got this sparkle in his eye." Ron paused. "The bets going around say he'd bring in an Alicorn."

Shyamal gave a chuckle. "An Alicorn? No, that's much to tame for our Keeper of the Keys. If it was Grubby-plank, then I would agree with you but Hagrid doesn't strike me as the type to bring in an Alicorn. I'm thinking more along an Abraxan; big, strong, difficult to control, and only drink the finest of malt whiskeys. Anyway, we should be heading down to the grounds; otherwise we're going to be late. Hermione should be down there after heading to the library."

The two made their way down to the paddocks where Hagrid was, Hermione with him holding an extra book in her arms. But that wasn't what caught Shyamal's eyes. The moment Shyamal saw Hagrid, his mind started coming up with reasons as to why the half-giant had an assortment of bruises. Ugly purplish-black marking with yellowish-green edges lined his entire face. His eyes were slightly puffy as if he had gotten a severe black eye along with the other injuries. Turning to Ron, he muttered. "Yup, it might be Abraxans."

Hagrid's booming laugh rumbled out. "No, Shyamal, it's not Abraxans. The beast I show yer today is in fact a cousin of the Chollinas."

"Would it be an Alicorn?"

"Yer 'ave to wait an' see." Hagrid's black eyes twinkled even more. He patted a large sack at his feet. "They won't stay away once they ge' a whiff of this."

Shyamal sniffed the air, seeing the bottom of the sack was a dark red. "Is that a slab of meat?"

"The finest I could ge' for today. Wouldn't want them to be a no-show." The two fell silent, waiting as the rest of their classmates showed up in small groups. As the last stragglers joined them, Hagrid hoisted the slab onto his shoulders. "Today, yer'll have yer lesson in the forest. Tis the on'y place yer'll see them, if ye can. Stay close." The chatter of the students died down as they slipped deeper and deeper into the forest, following the broad back of the half-giant.

"Hagrid, what exactly are we going to see today." Hermione asked as she stepped over an exposed root.

"Since yer finishin' the chap'er on magical equestrians, I thought it be best if we see this creature as we 'ave a 'erd of them 'ere at 'Ogwarts." Hagrid stopped at the edge of a large clearing. "Wait 'ere." He crossed to the other side and dropped the slab, using his knife to rip the sack open and move the meat out into open. Sliding his knife back into his belt, he moved back before the class.

"All we 'ave to do is wait."

"What exactly do we have to see?" Draco asked loudly from the back of his group, flanked by his goons. "I don't see anything."

"That's because, Mr. Malfoy, only a few people can truly see them." Hagrid started, looping his thumbs into his belt.

"WHAT IS THAT?!" Pansy screamed suddenly, pointing a finger at the meat.

At first, nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary but as the class watched, a large chunk of the red meat seemed to disappear then another. Dead leaves on the forest floor rustled as the creature there moved, focusing on the offering of food before it. Shyamal knew what was eating it as he saw the creature the moment it had stepped into the clearing.

Pure white eyes rolled in sunken sockets, peering out from a large skeletal horse head. Bat-like wings stretched from bony shoulders, ribs glaringly obvious as the creature moved over the forest floor. The leathery coat was as black as midnight, light barely reflecting off it.

It was a Thestral.

"Can anyone tell what we're supposed to be seeing?" Hagrid asked, looking over the crowd. Hermione raised her hand and answered. "Tha's right. Take five points, Hermione. The creature 'ere is a Thestral. Most of the Wizarding world believes them to be bad omens. Can anyone tell me why?"

Shyamal raised his, eyes on the creature. "People are afraid of them because the only way to see them is if you have seen death and understood it. Most people mark them as omens of bad luck and death because of that."

"Correct, Take five points, Mr. Suha. Can anyone see them?" Shyamal raised his hand, seeing Neville and Edward raise theirs as well. "The 'erd we 'ave at 'Ogwarts is the on'y ones trained in Britain. They are close relatives of the Chollinas an' distant relatives of the Seraphinas. Mighty fine beasts they are. Can travel faster than any broomstick made by wizard and know the destination even if they've ne'er been there before."

Another Thestral walked out from the forest, joining the first one in eating the slab of meat.

"They mostly feed on dead carcasses in the forest here but for the first few months, they suckle like any other mammal when they're born."

"They're the ones that pull the 'horse-less' carriages." Ron asked, his brain clicking the pieces together.

"That's right, Ron. The horseless carriages are not really horseless."

The rest of the class passed as they watched the Thestrals continued to munch on the meat. For homework, Hagrid assigned them an essay of twelve inches how why breeding Thestrals were so dangerous.

That night, Shyamal found himself with Owain and his escort near the northern boundary of Hogwarts. Damian, Cosmas, and Hala were keeping Sirius busy by forcing the professor to keep them together. They were by the Southern boundary, away from the Acromantula nest and near the area where the centaurs usually were. Theron and Samaria, the escorts for Owain, were keeping a lookout in the trees, just in case Sirius caught scent of where they were.

"What did you want to talk about, Owain?" Shyamal asked quietly, his breath misting in the cold air. The black-purple vault of the night sky arced over them, the blurry brush of the Milky Way sweeping across. Distant stars twinkled in the clear skies, the moon a silver observer.

"The kingdom was attacked last Tuesday and the council has declared war on the Giants two days later." Owain saw the shocked look on Shyamal's face. He pulled his thick winter cloak around him, continuing. "It seems that Voldemort had taken offense of the Blood Elves once again denying his request to an alliance. Father personally thinks he's trying to take advantage of whoever is personating you." His alabaster skin was even whiter in the glare of the moon.

"How many died in the attack?"

"We lost about thirteen Elves because the wizards had a number of Giants with them. The small force lost four Death Eaters with two in custody. The Giants lost another four. Most of the casualties were because of the Giants."A cloud of mist came from his mouth as he continued. "Father is going to meet with the British Minister of Magic. Andrei Mikhail, the Romanian Minister of Magic will also be joining them. His concerns are the British Ministry's ability to contain a hostile terrorist group within their own borders."

"Do you think Mikhail can be trusted? If the Death Eaters penetrated the boundary of the Romanian jurisdiction it might show that there is a chance they could have infiltrated the Romanian Ministry."

"The Death Eaters only concern was the Kingdom because of the mines we hold and the Blood Trees, for reason you don't know why. As for Mikhail, he cares not for money but for the general welfare of the people. I believe he knows that Fudge was elected mostly on the premise that he lets the Death Eaters bribe him into keeping them out of Azkaban. He might use political pressure as a foreign country to get him to own up to his office." Owain paused. "I know we're be focusing on the Giants as they live north of us and the clans that live in Russia, who have been notified of the growing situation."

"Voldemort's sphere of influence is increasing. Having the Giants on his side would triple the problems the Ministry has now; the Giants, this Dark Heir, and the werewolf clans leaning toward Voldemort."

Owain smiled. "I believe the Headmaster has sent a family friend on the way to the kingdom. Possibly due to the success with your werewolf brothers, I'm sure. If the technique is just as successful with others and we side with Dumbledore and the Ministry, it could be the leverage to have the werewolves fight on our side against Voldemort."

"The laws would have to change first and with Fudge being the Minister, I can't see that happening. Too many Death Eaters are close to him. No, we'll have to force Voldemort in the open to get him removed." Shyamal stated with a hard voice, pacing before the older being. "The next in line for the candidacy who we can trust is Amelia Bones of the Department for Magical Law Enforcement and from what I hear; she's a fair and just person, one who we need to lead."

"I'll alert Akane to your view on the situation. She's at the Kingdom, acting as Queen." The Blood Elf watched as the teen continued to pace back and forth, head bowed deep in thought. "Something's troubling you." A snort sounded from the wizard, not breaking stride as he turned around. "What's wrong, Shyamal?"

"It's out of control." The young teen stopped, hands clenching into fists. "Ever since I came here, I feel like everything is spinning out of control. At first, I thought I could sneak into Hogwarts and have us just blend into the wall But from day one, we've been in the spotlight. I thought I could be a double agent and glimpse into that hag's mind but I couldn't even do it right and now she has her beady eye on me and my siblings, waiting for me to step out of line. I've also attracted the attention of Black and Dumbledore even though they do it from a distance. To pile even more, I'm in charge of an illegal student organization to train the members how to take on Death Eaters." Shyamal raked a hand through his hair, frustration boiling in his chest. "We were just supposed to be here to see what's up!"

"Is that the real reason why you came here?"

"Of course, it is!" Shyamal answered immediately.

The Elf moved in front of his younger friend, leaning forward until Shyamal's eyes were locked with his. "Are you really sure? Or are you really denying your feelings?"

"I'm not denying my feelings." Snapped Shyamal, glancing away, eyes focusing on the dark trees. They snapped back to Owain when he placed his hands on Shyamal's shoulders, forcing the teen to look at him. "Why would I care about them? After what they did to me and my siblings?"

"That's something you should be asking yourself, Shyamal. Obviously, there's something compelling you to do all of this. A reason why you care enough to lead a group of students in learning how to defend themselves from Death Eaters, of placing yourself in situations that could reveal yourself to them."

"What are you saying, Owain?"

The Elf Prince dropped his hands. "I think you want to be caught."

Shyamal's jaw dropped. "If they found out, they might kill me before even thinking of listening to me. They think I'm the Dark Heir and a supporter of Voldemort. Damian and the others count on me to protect them. Would I risk our lives?"

"You and I know that they can handle themselves better than most students in that school. Hala is even good with a short sword and her quiver of arrows. She may be attached to you and jealous that you're making friends with others but she can handle herself. Damian hasn't just been reading medical tomes with Cosmas, Shyamal. You've seen them fight with Miroslav."

"That's beside the point. I didn't want them growing up like I did, forced to look over my shoulder, to learn how to kill and harness the dark side of yourself. I wanted them to have a childhood, to be carefree, innocent."

"They did have a childhood, Shyamal. Can't you see that? If you continue to smother them even further, they won't be able to grow in here and here." Owain placed a hand to Shyamal's heart then moved it to his forehead. "Let them grow, Shyamal. Keeping them babies isn't going to keep them safe forever. And don't deny the fact that you want the same thing as them."

Shyamal closed his eyes, knowing what Owain meant by that last sentence. "I can't trust them again, Owain. Not after what they did."

"Love is a powerful weapon, Shyamal. It isn't just a hindrance." Owain saw the uneasiness rolling off the young wizard so he decided to drop the subject. "What are you planning to do with this Dark Heir person? His presence is frightening the public and forcing Potter to keep up with the demands of the Ministry as well as trying to deal with the bad publicity."

"I was thinking of giving the masses another symbol. Since Edward has his head too far up his arse to see the rest of the world, they really don't have anyone to rally behind." Shyamal pointedly looked at Owain. "I was thinking of engaging him in battle."

Owain groaned. "You have Elven armor. The moment you appear there, Voldemort will suspect that we have joined Dumbledore. You can't move without permission from the council since it will look like you are acting on their orders."

"I was afraid you were going to say that."

"Just don't do anything. I'll alert the council to your – feelings- and I will see to what they have to say. It might help in pressuring Fudge to do what is right instead of trying to save his lumpy arse." Owain eyed the teen. "I know your phoenix is maturing enough to the point he will begin to be able to flash from place to place. Be careful or you might get seen by the rest of the students."

Shyamal's head tilted to the side as he studied Owain. "You've noticed. He's been getting this quick thing of flaming up more, then settling down. Fawkes has been around to teach him so it might be within the next couple of weeks Eclipsis will begin flashing short distances."

"Don't use him yet and even don't think of using him to flash you to battles." Owain warned.

The teen held up his hands in a calming gesture. "I'll wait for the council's decision. But if he attacks my siblings or Hogwarts, all bets are off."

"Noted. You best be off before the wizard notices you're gone."

Shyamal said his goodbye before shifting into his panther form and gliding across the clearing and disappearing into the trees.
_________

The next day, after dinner, Shyamal was in the boys dorms on his bed, finishing the chapter on magical equestrians when a noise from the door had him looking up. Ron was there with Hermione behind him.

"Can we talk to you for a minute, Shyamal?" Ron asked, the tips of his ears red.

Confusion spread across his features as he closed the book. "Sure." Ron entered, going swiftly to his bed as Hermione, George, and Fred entered who close the door and cast an array of charms over it. "Oh, is it going to be one of those?"

"We figured you didn't want anyone to know about what we're going to say." Hermione shifted as Shyamal's face hardened. He swung his legs off the bed and stood, book dropping on the side table.

"What do you know?" His voice was hard as his eyes started flicking from one person to the other.

Hermione's fingers started twisting the hem of her shirt. "You know about the story we told you about Professor Lupin being a werewolf. Well, during one of his absences, Snape filled in and had us do an assignment on werewolves. Over the year, I started noticing that he disappeared every full moon." Her eyes drifted to the floor as anger clouded Shyamal's face. "I noticed that your siblings disappeared the past two full moons including the one last night."

"She came to us and with some help from our sources; we confirmed that your siblings are werewolves." George said from where he was leaning against Neville's bed.

"What made you want to find out our secret?" Shyamal hissed, furious that someone had found out about his brothers. He didn't care it was his friends; they weren't supposed to know!

Ron spoke up. "It's just how Hermione is, mate. She didn't mean anything by it. Finding out answers is vital to her."

"You're curious? That's the reason why you were wondering about why we were disappearing?" Shyamal had gone from hissing to just under yelling, his tone cold. "If you knew that your professor was a werewolf and he didn't tell anyone, didn't you think it was because he didn't want to risk the whole world knowing? It didn't enter your brains that I didn't want people to know about my brothers because they would be shunned and spit upon if someone ever found out and yapped to Umbridge?"

"N-n-nn-no." Hermione stuttered, her head ducking as Shyamal continued to glare at her. Ron got up from the bed. "I was too curious and I wanted to know. I'm sorry!"

"I believe that is not going to cut it."

"Oy, mate, you're out of line." George stepped in, blocking Hermione from Shyamal. "If she has a major fault, it's her wanting to know everything and not leaving anything a mystery. I know it was wrong of her to inspect your family so to speak, but Hermione still doesn't quite believe that the Wizarding world can be still so unjust when it comes to civil rights."

Shyamal's hands clenched, teeth grinding down. "I do have half a mind to Obliviate the four of you." Ron stiffened as Hermione gaped in shock. Fred and George looked unconcerned even though their hands tightened ever so slightly. "I'm still deciding on that action."

"It wouldn't be good for you, Shyamal. The only way for you to erase Hermione knowing anything would be for you to wipe out her personality and install a new one." Ron lamely joked.

"That can be arranged, Ron." Shyamal sat on the bed, head in his hands. What was he going to do? If they had found out through observation, who else could have put the pieces together and come to the same conclusion? Umbridge was looking for any reason to throw him in jail along with his siblings.

"Um, Shyamal, think you can, uh, control yourself just a bit." Ron's shaky voice broke through his anger. Rising out of the dark mood, Shyamal noticed that the curtains were beginning to flap in a windless breeze, the objects around the room rattling against the oak furniture. The air itself was crackling with barely leashed energy, mostly concentrated around him.

He closed his eyes, taking in deep, calming breaths. Slowly, the tenseness in the air disappeared, the rattling ceasing. "Sorry. I have a volatile temper when things get out of hand."

"Good to know mate." Fred said, breaking out into a grin.

"The only thing we can say now is that we won't tell anyone and if you need some help in covering for your brothers, we can offer our services." George winked at Shyamal, rubbing his nails against his shirt. "We're masters at that type of thing."

"Why don't you create something like a joke for it? You have those things that turn people into canaries. Why not have one turn people into wolf-like creatures."

Fred and George glanced at each other, thinking over Hermione's suggestions. "We can do-"

"-a whole line of-"

"-products with that." They finished together, the mischievous glint in their eyes. "So many animals."

Shyamal interrupted the twins' rant, knowing they could carry on that act for long periods of time. "How did you guys find out about us? We were sure that we were leaving the school without being seen."

"Ah." Fred tilted his head toward his twin. "We have something that ordinary and boring students don't have. Every prankster's dream, in fact." The red-haired twin shoved his hand into his pocket and pulled out an aged looking parchment, a few tears dotting the edges.

Shyamal could immediately sense the magical aura surrounding it, layers upon layers of different charms and spells twisting together. "What is it?"

"The Marauders' Map." Fred grinned impishly. "It seems Filch took it from the Marauders in their last year, believing that someday it would be taken back from the old caretaker. They were right; we took it when he left us one day to go after Peeves who was doing something or other. A good thing too as this has helped us over the years." Fred whipped out his wand and touched the parchment with the tip. "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."

Black fine line began spreading out from the tip, sketches of stairs, halls, rooms, closets, and other assortment of rooms drew themselves across the dark beige surface. Small black footprints moved all over the place, their respective names following close behind. Shyamal, Ron, and Hermione could see the even the names of the ghosts, Peeves currently creating a ruckus in the dungeons while Sir Nicholas was on the first floor with the Fat Friar.

Placing it carefully on the table, Fred waved for the others to take a closer look at the magical object.

"Oh, look there's Seamus and that girl from Hufflepuff." George pointed out, the two names almost overlapping each other in an isolated corner. "Hmm, good bit of blackmail material right there."

"Don't you dare!" Hermione hissed.

"This is how you got one up on my brothers." Shyamal traced a line but his eyes on the name floating in the private dungeons of Snape; Edward.

"Yup." George flicked the map with a finger. "This bit of parchment shows every single passage in Hogwarts, including several that lead to Hogsmeade but only one is usable."

"Does it show the Room of Requirement?" Hermione traced the outline of the library, Madam Pince sitting at her desk. A group of Ravenclaws are in the back, one moving now and then among the aisles of books.

"No, we think that Room is Unplottable as you can see people entering it but after that, they disappear. They only reappear when they exit." George said, showing them the area where the Room would have been. "It's just a blank wall."

"Do you think there are more rooms we don't know about?" Ron turned the map around so he could see the names. "Ew, I wonder why Filch is with Umbridge. You don't think . . .?"

"Ron you are disgusting!"

"Yeah, bro, did not need that mental image." George's face was scrunched up in mock horror. "I'm going to have nightmares from that, I will!"

"Wonder if Edward has one?" Shyamal said out loud, ignoring the sounds of Fred gagging.

"Probably. I heard Auror Potter asking Professor Black once if Edward still has the map which I think is the updated version."

Fred glanced at his twin before looking at Shyamal. "Why don't you take it? I'm sure you can put it to good use."

Ron's head snapped up. "Oh, and what about me?"

"Exactly what would you have done with it if we had given it to you?" Fred asked, leaning on the table, eyebrow raised.

Ron thought for a minute. "I would say hex Edward and Malfoy but I probably wouldn't have done it."

"My point exactly; Shyamal could use it to keep an eye on his siblings which is a much more greater use then hexing poor unsuspecting students in the hall. Mischief managed!" The Map immediately wiped blank, looking like a regular piece of parchment.

Hermione narrowed her eyes at the twins who were supporting innocent faces. "And what were you doing the past seven years at Hogwarts?"

"That's something completely different, 'Mione." Fred gave her a smile before turning to Shyamal. "No hard feelings then?"

Shyamal sighed, shaking his head. "I can understand why you were curious but it's potentially dangerous for anyone else to know about my brothers. Things could happen to them and I don't what I'll do if I lose them. They are the only family I have along with Hala. Just keep it to yourselves and don't even hint about it."

Fred mimed zipping his mouth shut and throwing away the key. "Our lips are sealed.

Shyamal nodded. "Thanks for keeping it a secret."

"No problem. There are already too many prejudices around here without adding to it." The Weasley twins stood up and walked out, chatting about adding to their reservoir of pranks and tricks.

"I'm sorry, Shyamal. I should have kept it to myself. You were right about why-" Shyamal raised his hand, silencing Hermione in mid-rant.

"You have to understand, Hermione, I don't trust people very easily because of what happened to us during the first few years after our parents died. Not even my friends at Durmstrang knew about my brothers and I had known them for years." Shyamal sat down on the bed again, thinking over what to do. They were the Gryffindor Prefects for fifth year and Hogwarts but he didn't know them as themselves. "I'm trusting you with this. If I see any sign that you're about to spill to anyone, I'll Obliviate all of you and damn the consequences."

Hermione paled but nodded. "That's fine. I would do the same thing if I was in your position."

"Well, you now have people covering for you, Shyamal. I'm sure George and Fred will keep an ear out for any rumors regarding Cosmas and Damian." Ron said confidently.

"The only thing I'm worried about right now is the fact about who's going to be testing those pranks now." Hermione poked Ron. "Your brothers better not endanger any students here."

"They test it on themselves first before moving to the people and we have Madam Pomfrey here in case anything goes wrong." Ron gave a hiss as Hermione gave a particularly hard poke in between his ribs.

Shyamal took the Map into his hand, studying it quietly. "Hermione, since you're so curious why don't you help me in creating a better version of the Map? Maybe we can find some spells in the Espiritus Castellum that we can use."

"Sure. Maybe Hogwarts can help us out in updating the passages and stuff." Hermione got a glint in her eye. "We can go on Friday over there. There also should be passages from Hogwarts there that might still be in use."

"I'm sure there a few more Unplottable rooms like that teleportation room." Shyamal stated.

"The Founders could have placed one on every floor and in the dorms." Ron thought. "If I was building something as big as Hogwarts, I would make sure all the students could get to the Castellum as fast as possible."

"We should go explore the Castellum this weekend. Ginny, Damian, Cosmas, and Hala could join us."

Ron turned to Hermione. "Why them?"

"Because they're observant enough to notice that we'd be missing the whole day. Shyamal's siblings almost caught us as we were leaving the teleportation room."

"You know, Hala is attached like a parasite to your hip." Ron commented to Shyamal who shrugged.

"Damian and Cosmas had each other to play with so Hala and I bonded like a makeshift twin. She is my younger sister." And the one I dote upon the most, not that I will tell her. Shyamal thought.

"We'll work on the Map this weekend then." Hermione concluded, standing up. "I'm heading to the library to do some preliminary research. You're coming?"

Shyamal settled back against his bed. "Nah, I have to finish this essay for Hagrid since I didn't do it last night. Was too jittery." Hermione and Ron gave him knowing grins.

"Ron?"

"Same here except I was just too lazy."

"Well, see you two later." Hermione left, closing the door behind her.

Shyamal grabbed the tome from where he had dropped it on the side table. After a while, he let the book fall into his lap, hearing Ron fidget constantly the past few minutes. "Is there anything else you want to say?"

"What do you guys do when you're out there?"
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