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Meera was skeptic as ever. It was tearing her apart. She didn’t want to go, but Zuck’s words ringed in her ears. Your country’s magic council wants you to study magic at Hogwarts. She didn’t know why she needed to believe someone who had appeared out of thin air. But for some reason she felt it would be equal to betraying if she denied something she was chosen to do. To make things worse, Mayna kept shut. Even after many pleadings, she would not tell Meera more than what Zuck had told her.
It was the 14th day, the day of the no moon. Zuck could appear anytime and Meera would have to make a decision that would challenge everything she ever knew. She was nervous and scared.
Was she ever coming back if she left? Would she ever see her city and the familiar temples again? What if Zuck was a fraud? What if he had given Mayna some crazy medicine to get her to play along? What if he was blackmailing her?
Despite all these questions her suitcase was neatly packed and placed in the corner of her room. Meera knew that Mayna had been keeping a close watch on her as her older sister kept passing by her room every hour since dinner.
It was close to 10 o’ clock at night and there was no sign of Zuck. Meera had begun to think that perhaps it was all a joke after all as she laid over her bed. He wasn’t going to come. And she could place all her clothes back into her closet and sleep.
It was quarter past 11 and Meera had almost fallen asleep when a noise woke her up. She could see a gigantic face looking at her from above. In a flash she screamed and moved towards the edge of the bed. The window was wide open.
‘Got stuck in traffic!’ Zuck said floating in the air seated on his broom as he placed a big bag on the ground. ‘Had to visit Diagon Alley to get all your things for school Meera. Here’s your robe and your books.’
Meera was still by the edge of her bed. Zuck had come after all and now her heart was going to explode.
‘I see your suitcase is packed. So do you want to leave then?’ he asked. ‘But I suggest you change into your robes before heading out.’
Meera knew Mayna was across the door as it flung open.
‘Greetings Zuck!’ said Mayna.
‘Ah greetings to you too Mayna,’ he replied.
Meera could not digest the familiarity in their voices as they greeted each other. But that was less than important at the moment. Zuck looked at her waiting for an answer.
‘I will come,’ she said. Mayna smiled as if she had always known the outcome. Meera changed her clothes which was clearly big for her. Zuck looked sorry for the mismatch. But there was no time.
‘Mount your broom,’ Zuck said, ‘Locomotor!’ he yelled as he waved his wand and her suitcase and the bag he had bought started flying in the air. ‘You’ve never flown that long, but there’s no other way as of now to go to Hogwarts from here. So hold on tight.’
Meera mounted her broom and bid her farewell to her sister and they slowly started flying through the window. Mayna peeked out and yelled, ‘Take care of her Zuck!’ Zuck nodded as they disappeared.
The air was cold as it hit Meera face. It was almost midnight and the city was asleep. They slowly accented above. Zuck had told her to tilt her weight so that the broom’s direction could be altered. It was not that bad after all. Zuck kept checking on her. He had chosen the night of the no moon to pick her up so that it would be dark enough to avoid gazes from the people.
‘Having fun?’ he asked.
‘Now slowly we go, slowly.’
It was a long journey. The air was colder and colder. Meera could only see tiny little figures below which she guessed must be houses.
It must have been two days that they had started the journey, stopping only to have some magic bread that filled them enough. Meera was almost asleep when a big figure caught her attention. It was dark but she knew that it must be a big castle, the kinds she had only seen on TV. There was no commotion outside. She could see a big lake in front of the castle. It was queer and quit.
‘Welcome to Hogwarts,’ Zuck said as they touched the ground. ‘I’m afraid the Sorting Ceremony has already begun. We’re a bit late but it mustn’t be a problem.’
What kind of ceremony was it and what did she have to do if she had to do anything at all. Meera was miles away from home. She had to face whatever came ahead.
She followed Zuck as they entered a big hall. Meera looked to her left and right as she admired the beauty of the castle. A big door flung open and Meera could see a mass of students in their robes. The hall was lighted with flying candles and everyone wes staring right through her. When she raised her head to look up, she was taken aback. There was no ceiling, or so she thought. A chair was placed in the center with a weird looking hat.
‘You’ll have plenty of time to look at the castle like never before,’ Zuck said smiling, ‘but first we must continue.’
Zuck marched ahead and Meera quietly followed hoping she could avoid the gaze of all those eyes surrounding her. A group of older men and women were gathering in a line besides the students.
‘Greetings Madame Pomp,’ Zuck said as he slightly bowed down as they reached the center. Madame Pomp nodded back.
‘And is that Meera?’ she asked.
‘Yes yes, I hope we haven’t missed the sorting ceremony?’ he asked.
‘Oh no, we just finished the last student. You’re in time Professor Zuck.’
Madame Pomp turned from Zuck to Meera and said, ‘Welcome to Hogwarts my dear. We’ll have the sorting ceremony and see which house you belong to.’
She signaled Meera to sit down in the chair and placed a hat over her head. Meera was petrified.
‘The hat can talk!’ she yelled. Everyone looked as if she was the culprit and it was her fault that she did not know the hat could talk.
‘Hmmm…,’ said the Sorting Hat audible only to Meera. ‘It seems you’ve come from a distant place. I’ve never sorted a 16 year old before. Odd odd very odd. Where shall I put you then?’
Meera felt like a mistake to have come. She wanted to run back home.
‘I’m taken aback, myself you see,’ the hat continued.
Her heart was beating loudly. Meera clenched her fist and avoid looking anywhere else but the floor.
‘Hufflepuff!’ the hat screamed and a few claps went off in a distant table.
Meera somehow knew that the clapping table was where she had to go as Madame Pomp removed the hat. She walked up to the table and sat at the corner most seat. A few faces were smiling at her and she tried smiling for a fraction of a second. Some of them seemed really young. How old are they? she thought.
The boy to her left lent out a hand, Meera lent hers. ‘Hi I’m Neal,’ he said.
Meera felt completely out of space. Now that she had to introduce herself, she felt her oversized robes were embarrassing. Her new friend Neal was a fifth year student. He was surprised to know that she had come all the way from Nepal. Hogwarts did not accept foreign students, in most cases now that she had become an exception.
In a while the mass of students started moving directed by the Prefects. One of them called out to Meera and asked her to stay back. She was told the headmistress wanted to see her. Meera was a tiny bit scared. What could the Headmistress possibly want from her.
Meera was guided to the office of the Headmistress by Zuck. She was told her name was Rin Elysian, one of the most powerful witches of the current time. She could see the big gargoyles outside the entrance.
‘Fish fingers!’ Zuck said and the gargoyle turned to create a passageway. He signaled her to walk in as he left.
Meera thought it was a rather odd password for a Headmistress’s office. But everything about the moment was odd, the oddest of all, Meera herself being a witch. The office was something that Meera had never seen before. Pictures of what looked like wizards and witches were hung all over the wall. The Headmistress had a collection of all of the weirdest things, Meera concluded, the collection included an old looking telephone. And the weirdest of all was the Headmistress herself, with a big oversized pointed hat and a Royal blue robe that touched the floor.
‘Odd isn’t it all?’ the Headmistress Elysian said. She was seated on a big chair, which looked beyond comfortable.
‘Yes,’ said Meera feebly.
‘You know I was a Hufflepuff too,’ she added. Meera suddenly remember that it was the name of her house the Hat had just yelled a couple of minutes ago. ‘Hufflepuffs are loyal and just. You must be too,’ she paused. ‘I know you have questions Meera, but all that can be done right now is for you to study magic to your best ability.’
Meera looked at the Headmistress in dismay. Her words were not close enough to comfort the chaos inside.
‘You will find your answers, only if you live through the days, no matter the rain,’ the Headmistress said. ‘You may leave now Meera. A Prefect outside will be guiding you to your dormitory. ‘
Meera walked out. No matter the rain, she mumbled to herself.
The World of Harry Potter is one masterpiece. The idea that the human mind can conjure such masterful creation leaves me in total awe. My attempt to write a fan fiction inspired by this world is filled with potholes, both from the holes in my mediocre writing abilities and the incomplete knowledge about the timeless creation of JK Rowling. If there’s any suggestion you’d like to give, please drop a comment and help me improve this little piece. A big thank you once again to my beloved beta readers Sushaili, Syani and Trisha, my little potterhead sisters, and to all my friends (some of whom I coaxed into) reading the first chapter!