A few days after the Quidditch selection, Benny seemed better. Meera knew that she was a little mad at being rejected. But surprisingly enough, Benny still showed up at Quidditch practices to cheer her friends. Meera was a little worried if it helped Benny, but Benny did not seem bothered as she was the day the names were pasted on the door, so Meera let it go.
It was misty morning as the colder months approached. The Quidditch practices continued as a major tournament was ahead of them. Meera was running to reach the practice ground. The group had already gather and were warming up.
‘Hi!’ said Neal as Meera reached.
‘Hi!’ she said panting.
‘Benny’s not going to show up?’ Neal asked.
‘No, she got some extra homework to finish.’
‘Better get ready for practice.’
At a distance Li was waving. Meera waved back as Neal tried to smile. She wasn’t sure if he was really waving at them. Li was the team captain and the keeper of the team. It was his job to keep the opposite team from scoring. Neal was the seeker, which was rather unexpected. Nobody thought he could take up that role, even Neal himself was a little reluctant. But as the days progressed, he proved to be one of the best the team could ever have. Redna and Gia were the beaters while Meera, Yuki and Kate were the chasers.
A new professor named Plutus was overseeing the entire Quidditch game for the Hogwarts team. He was a serious looking person who did not speak much but made the team practice really hard. It seemed like he had made his life’s mission to win the league.
‘If we don’t do well, Plutus will keep us till nightfall,’ Gia said as the team gathered closer.
‘The league begins in one week’s time,’ added Li. ‘And we shall be playing against Durmstang.’
‘I hear the team at Durmstrang is really good,’ said Neal.
Neal always had some information to share with the team. No one knew exactly where did he get his bits of information from and no one really asked. Meera did try, but Neal did not seem to want to reveal his sources.
‘Plutus is coming!’ gasped Redna. She particularly did not like him.
‘Everyone back to work!’ said Li.
The next two hours were filled with broom sticks flying left and right, the team members zooming in from there and here. Sometimes it felt like a state of chaos to Meera. When Plutus nodded to let them leave, everyone was exhausted as they hurriedly left for the Great Hall to have dinner.
A separate table had been arranged for the team. Meera thought it made them feel special but she also felt like it was quite unnecessary as they attracted so much of attention. Benny often peaked out of the side of the Hufflepuff table to have a look at Meera and Neal. She had other friends too, but it was clear she missed them.
As everyone sat down in a rush, Meera was surprised to find Li sitting next to her. He smiled as she sat down.
‘You did well today,’ he said.
‘Thanks,’ Meera said, running out of anything particular to say. ‘You’re always great,’ she was quick to add.
‘Nah, I’m just trying,’ he added.
Meera felt like she was so inadequate at conversations. What should she say next? How about how classes are going? But what would she say? Classes with students much younger than herself? How was it like? Maybe she should just keep quiet, yes that would be best. Maybe he’d say something interesting.
‘So how did you get to come to Hogwarts?’ he asked.
Yes, something interesting, Meera thought.
‘I’m not sure myself. Zuck just appeared out of thin air,’ she said and instantly regretted. Perhaps there was a better explanation, something that was really truly hooking. Sadly, there wasn’t.