Meera quickly recovered to give a boost to Hogwarts’ Quidditch team, but they still couldn’t win the trophy. She looked a little lost every now and there. She hadn’t told anyone her secret, not even Neal and Benny. She didn’t know if any of it made sense.
A final farewell was organized for the winners and all the team and their schools. It was a party scheduled in the ground itself.
Everyone was dressed in their best dresses and robes. Meera, Benny and Neal reached the ground. The match ground had been converted into a huge hall filled with lights, ribbons, tables filled with food and a fountain in the middle.
‘It smells good,’ Benny said looking at the table filled with cheese delicacies. ‘We should try some.’
Meera nodded and the three headed to taste a few cheese pies.
‘I hear there’s going to be a dance too,’ Neal added eating his pie. ‘This pie is good.’
‘Who will you dance with?’ Meera questioned and immediately fell silent.
‘I might ask Gia. And you?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘She’ll of course ask Li, you see,’ interrupted Benny.
Meera turned slightly red.
The remaining team also entered the hall. The Durmstrang team was dressed in their dark robes, eliciting power and the Beaubaxtons were as elegant as ever.
‘How are the boys even that elegant, we should learn some,’ said Meera looking at the Beaubaxtons students.
‘French perfume,’ said Neal as a girl passed by.
Benny looked at him with a weird look in her eye.
Headmistress Elysian appeared from one of the corner and smiled at the Hogwarts students. Zuck was besides her.
‘Enjoying the party?’ he asked as a group of students passed by them.
Everyone of them nodded back in appreciation.
‘The party isn’t bad, is it Headmistress,’ he said looking at Elysian.
‘Not half as bad.’
‘How’s Meera doing?’ she asked.
‘She’s fine. Looks little lost every now and then, but intact enough.’
‘Is everything alright?’
‘The secret’s out.’
The color in Zuck’s face changed, but he tried not to show his shock admit the crowd.
‘We must protect her at all costs,’ he said.
‘We will give our best. But we must not put others’ lives in jeopardy,’ said Elysian rather sternly.
‘I know you’re torn between your loyalty to your friends and your position at the school, Headmistress,’ said Zuck softly. ‘But I’m sure Meera can fight it too.’
Elysian nodded and fell silent as a group of guests approached them.
The entire place was buzzing with the sound of the teachers and the students. Meera wondered how she would tell Neal and Benny her big secret.
‘Look, there’s Li. Walk up and ask him to dance,’ Benny said looking at Meera.
‘I’m not sure,’ she said.
Just then Meera saw Redna rush to Li and whisper something into his ear. The color in Li’s face changed.
‘What do you think is Redna saying?’ Benny asked.
Meera sensed something was wrong. She wasn’t listening to Benny at all. She walked towards Li.
‘Meera,’ Benny called from the back. ‘Go get him!’ she cheered.
Meera didn’t know what to say. She knew something was not right and she needed to know it. She felt like it was sign, the kind Mayna was talking about in her letter.
‘Li,’ Meera called as she reached closer.
Redna was besides him, looking slightly shocked.
‘Is everything all right?’ Meera asked.
‘None of your concern,’ Redna said before Li could say anything.
‘Our broomsticks are broken,’ he said.
‘Broken?’ Meera questioned.
‘You don’t know do you?’ said Redna. ‘Do you ever know?’ she added.
‘Redna, it’s okay. Let me explain what is going on to Meera.’
‘Professor Zuck was skeptical about the people coming here tonight so he put a spell on our broomsticks, just to ensure we reach back safe,’ Li said.
‘So the broomsticks we rode on are broken?’ Meera asked.
‘Yes, some of them. The pieces look very violent like somebody was searching for something in them, or near them. Hard to tell.’
‘So why is the broken broomsticks a concern?’ Meera asked again.
Redna looked disgusted at Meera not being able to grasp anything.
‘That was a powerful charm Professor Zuck put in. The broomsticks mustn’t break like that,’ Li said looking a little frightened. ‘And the condition they’re in looks like some very serious magic done.’
‘We should tell Professor Zuck,’ Meera suggested.
‘Yes, I’ve asked to meet him at the scene.’
‘Let me join as well and bring the others too.’
Li nodded. Meera walked back to where Benny and Neal were.
‘That looked like some serious conversation there,’ Neal said. ‘I thought you were going to ask Li for the dance.’
‘The broomsticks are broken,’ Meera said, looking pale. ‘We need to get there. I’ll explain everything on the way.’
Meera began rushing in through the crowd.
‘Hey but what about the dance?’ Neal yelled as he followed Meera along with Benny.
Professor Zuck, Li and Redna were already at the place with the broken broomsticks when Meera, Neal and Benny reached.
‘How awful!’ yelled Redna looking at her broomstick which was in pieces.
Many of the broomsticks were badly destroyed, like someone was really angry.
‘Why would anyone do something like this?’ Li questioned.
‘I’m not sure Li,’ Zuck replied. ‘How did you come to know of this mishap, Redna?’
Redna turned slightly pink.
‘Oh professor, I was about to go on a broom ride with one of my friends. Just in the vicinity. That’s when I saw this,’ she replied.
‘You sure you didn’t notice anyone?’ Neal questioned. ‘This looks really bad. But why would someone destroy our broomsticks when the league is over? Were they thinking we won’t go home if we don’t have broomsticks?’ he added.
‘Good observation Neal,’ Zuck said. ‘Why destroy the broomsticks?’
Zuck was lost in deep thought for a moment and then he suddenly asked, ‘Where’s your’s Meera? Did it get destroyed with the others?’
‘No professor. I rode with Neal today.’
‘Why did you leave yours?’ Redna questioned in a suspicious voice. ‘You knew this was going to happen right? Did you do this?’ she started screaming loudly.
Meera was aghast.
‘Why would I? I just wasn’t feeling too good to ride on my own,’ she replied.
‘Enough,’ said Zuck. ‘Calm down Redna. You can get a new one. A firebolt maybe.’
The word firebolt made Redna feel much better than she was.
‘We should get going. We shouldn’t leave the party for long, that would be very rude. Get going students,’ Zuck said.
They started walking away when Zuck called, ‘Meera, I’d like a word with you.’
Meera stopped and walked back to where Zuck was standing.
‘Whoever did this was looking for your Nimbus Two Thousand,’ he said.
‘I had a feeling,’ Meera said.
‘I do know everything that you know Meera, you can trust me as an ally, as always,’ Zuck said. ‘I suggest you tell your friends about it if you haven’t already, especially Neal. He’s a wise wizard. Might be able to help you if need. You might keep Benny out though, unless you deem her fit to join the quest,’ he went on.
‘But what would a broomstick do?’ Meera questioned. ‘Even if whoever was looking for my broomstick would have found it, what difference would it have made?’
‘A lot,’ said Zuck. ‘If you’ve realized you’ve always had your broom. You might have not known it’s significance, but it was always with you. Let’s call it your first magical object. It was given to you by your grandmother, the Queen. I do know it’s full significance myself, but I’m sure it’s important.’
Meera looked troubled. ‘Will they get to me professor?’ she asked, very concerned.
‘We won’t let that happen. Be assured. You should head back too.’
Later that evening Zuck, Elysian and Reva were on top of a hill nearby, looking concerned for what had happened earlier.
‘What’s with the broomstick, your majesty?’ questioned Zuck.
Reva looked like she wouldn’t answer Zuck, not now not ever.
‘Let me fill in,’ said Elysian. ‘Meera needed something to connect her with the magical world. Not a person, because Mayna was there, but a thing, an object that she would be able to touch and feel. It couldn’t have been very suspicious and so Reva decided it should be a broom, a very common everyday object in the muggle world.’
‘What would happen if the broom is destroyed?’
‘Nothing much,’ added Reva.
Elysian and Zuck both looked surprised at Reva’s attempt in answering.
‘But enough to weaken Meera’s powers. Because she lived sealed without magic for years, that broom was a source that nourished her inner powers. It won’t be that easy to destroy it though. I used my best spells to keep it as it is.’
‘I understand it,’ said Zuck. ‘I might not want to say it but I do feel we have a traitor amongst us. The larger wizard and witch community we’re living with.’
‘Hogwarts, you mean,’ added Elysian.
Zuck looked disturbed.
‘One doesn’t need an enemy, anyone who feels their lives threatened by Meera’s presence could have done it. It’s not about being enemies with someone, it’s about protecting oneself. It’s a bargain, one hardly anyone can refuse’ Reva said.
‘I wouldn’t imagine that,’ said Elysian.
‘Your wizards and witches have done it before, what is to say they won’t again?’ Reva said in a loud voice silencing Elysian. In a few seconds she gathered herself and excused her out of the place.
Zuck looked confused. He didn’t mean to worsen the condition.
‘Let me answer your query Zuck,’ Elysian said. ‘During the battle against the Princess, some of my trust allies leaked information and switched sides. We faced a lot of casualties because of it, including Reva’s close family members. She’s never been able to get over it, it seems.’
‘Meera will have to eventually fight it herself it seems, Headmistress.’
‘I agree. Every battle calls upon it’s equal. If Meera’s been put into it, she must get out of it too.’
After months of procrastination and the notion of my idea being just good inside my head, I’ve finally had the courage to continue something that I started- the Harry Potter fan fiction. Hogwarts term has begun in September and while I can’t go to the magical world, I can dream about it in my head and write them down. It’s an honor to have found the magic of writing. Rudimentary it may be, and yet it fulfills an important space in my life.