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The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter Eight: Safety Concerns, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter Eight: Safety Concerns, pt. 2
The Goblet manifested a flow of Conjured blood after the last name was chosen, and Amos, who had been unwisely invited by Sandrine Laurent, is the prime suspect (though the French daily wizarding paper, the Voyant, is allowing equal space to the idea that it's Cedric's ghost). Others are proposing Dani Villanueva (jealous of the possibility of a new champion at a more prestigious tournament), and one blames the presence of Celia (werewolf). They are, if anything, more adamant than before about the Tournament.

Meanwhile, James has started classes. I am a little off on days in the year 2019. Oops.

Table of Contents So Far

Charms at Beauxbatons was a different sort of class than it was at Hogwarts, and James found a second point at which he considered Hogwarts superior. Beauxbatons Charms classes were rather joyless and precise, with finicky little effects stressed and very little in-class practice time. James wasn't sure where Beauxbatons students planned their adventures without a noisy Charms class to cover their conversations. Back at the train, Robards taught the British requirements for Transfiguration--a traditionally more important subject at Hogwarts than at Beauxbatons, and therefore more involved--taking Scops and James together, even though Scops was a year behind. Since it was more or less a one-on-one tutoring session that happened to switch back and forth between them, this didn't seem to be a problem.

James's first Herbology class in the Beauxbatons gardens came the next morning, in the Garden of the Right Foot, where they were learning to augment the growth rate of common Muggle plants with magical uses. James worked with Yanis, who he'd met the first night, and they got a healthy growth of chicory around their work table by the end. Elodie Lejeune worked by herself, and did just as well. James was beginning to get a sense of the other fourth years--there were about forty, as there were at Hogwarts, but because they lacked a house system, the members of different classes tended to be different. He saw Valentin and Marine in Defensive Magic, but they paired with each other for dueling practice and James ended up working with a boy called Alexis Andre. The smartest person in the year was Julie Richard, but she wasn't very good at the practical parts of class. James met and liked several people whose names he didn't remember after classes, but they were patient with him.

He took Arithmancy with Robards on his second afternoon--alone, since no one else was taking it--and late at night, Robards took all of the Hogwarts students up to the top of the High Tower for Hogwarts Astronomy lessons (James had no idea why Astronomy woud be different enough to require different instruction).

When the weekend came, the Beauxbatons students all apologized that it wasn't an excursion weekend, but promised that soon, they'd take broomsticks up into the mountains. There was a casual Quidditch game going on at the pitch on Saturday, since no one needed it for practice. James asked if he and Celia could join in, as one team was lacking a Beater and the other a Chaser. They looked like they wanted to say no to Celia, but James didn't make the offer separately, and ultimately, they took her on. By the end of the game, they were treating her quite normally, possibly because she'd managed to knock James off his broom before he could score.

After the game, a few of the players suggested a walk around the zoo, to check the barns and see if there was anything to give a clue to the first challenge. James and Celia were amenable to this, and were walking with the others, brooms slung over their shoulders, when Celia suddenly stopped and tugged on the shoulder of James's cloak.

"Look," she whispered.

James peered in the direction she was pointing--the walled paddock that had been built up behind the barns. Several witches and wizards on brooms were flying around just beyond it.

"It's Nate Blondin," Celia said. "Neil's foster father. Nate and his construction crew. They must have got hired to do something for the Tournament--Madame Maxime said she use them."

"We should say hello," James suggested.


"We, er... should invite them." He pointed ahead at the Beauxbatons students they'd been playing with.

Celia smiled wickedly and called in French, "A friend of mine from the mountains is down--would you like to say hello?" She pointed at the broomsticks.

Apparently, all the others heard was "a friend of mine from the mountains," as they all declined with polite smiles, invited James and Celia to join them at the Fountain of the Heart later, and disappeared.

"Won't Nate be a little angry that you told them?"

"Told them what?" Celia asked, blinking her eyes innocently. She shrugged. "Besides, anyone who's hired him knows. It's not a secret."

Together, they walked the path back toward the Quidditch pitch, then turned off it, onto an unpaved path that was being beaten into the grass leading toward the paddock and whatever Nate's crew was working on. Whatever work they were doing was behind some kind of obscuring spell, making it look like a slow, low-grade tornado was swirling around.

Nate spotted them when they'd got about halfway there. He signaled his crew with a wave of his hand, then swooped down and landed beside Celia and James.

"Fancy meeting you here," he said with a grin that made it perfectly obvious that he'd anticipated seeing both of them. "Sorry, but I've been sworn to secrecy about what we're building."

Celia craned her neck to look over his shoulder, then wrinkled her nose and said, "Good concealment hex."

"Madame Maxime's," Nate told her. "So--Beauxbatons after all. How is it?"

"About what it looks like," Celia said. "You remember James, don't you?"

"Let me think... Yeah, he's had supper with the pack about a hundred times, I think I recall."

James laughed. "You can't tell us anything? Neither of us is the Hogwarts champion."

"Neither of likes the Hogwarts champion," Celia amplified. "Though James may let it slip to Durmstrang."

"I would not."

Nate raised his eyebrows, but didn't pursue this. "No, no," he said. "I can't say a thing. Not a solitary blessed thing about what I'm building. All I can do is catch up on news from home. Alderman's back in South America, you know."

"Is Mum Viv with him?"

"I believe she's back in Oaxaca. There's a bloke down there who can't seem to remember one month to the next what he needs to do without Viv to help him out."

"Enrique?" Celia guessed. "Yes, forgetful fellow. Hope Mum Viv remembers to leave him instructions this time. She keeps forgetting to do that."

Nate laughed. "She did tell me to try and find you here." He flicked his wand and said, "Accio book," and a beaten old paperback came flying. "Seems you may have left this on your nightstand. Thought you might want it. You never know when the classics will come in handy," he said piously.

Celia took the book, which James could now see was a copy of the Odyssey. She frowned at it, then said, "Yeah... you never know. I'll have a look."

"Well, I should get back to work, before the new girl manages to--well, I can't really say what she might cock up, can I? But I need to get back. You know me--always working with a song in my heart."

"A song in your heart," Celia repeated.

Nate put his hand on his chest, then kicked off on his broom and flew back to the job site.

"You know, I've never actually read the Odyssey," James said, reaching for it playfully.

"Me first," Celia said. "And I think neither just now. It's not polite to read in front of new friends. We'll just have a look later. On the train." She put the book in her book bag.

"Is it even really yours?"

Celia shook her head. "It's Nate's. He reads this stuff all the time."


"Why do you sound so surprised? Just because he didn't go to school doesn't mean he doesn't like books!"

"I didn't mean--"

"The lot of them learned to read to spite Greyback. They love books."

James held his hands up. "Okay, okay. I just didn't know that. Nate always seemed more a builder than an imaginer."

"Ever try to build something without being able to imagine it? Especially magically?"

"I see your point."

She sighed as they started toward the fountain. "Sorry I snapped at you. It's just... I've got used to Hogwarts."

As the walked, James remembered something else Nate said. "What did he mean, 'Beauxbatons after all.'"

Celia shrugged. "We used to see the Beauxbatons students on their excursions. They were so pretty. I thought I could be one of those fancy Beauxbatons girls, as long as I lived here. You can imagine how that went when I asked."

"Well, good. I like you better as a Hogwarts girl."

She smiled. "I like me better as a Hogwarts girl, too."

There was nothing else to say about that. They went on to the Fountain of the Heart. The others hadn't arrived yet, so they sat together on the low stone wall, dipping their bare feet in the clear, cool water, and talked about what they knew of in Homer that would make a good challenge.

"Maybe there's a Cyclops," Celia suggested.

"Cyclopes are giants. Do you really think Madame Maxime is going to let them treat giants like odd monsters?" James asked.

"Good point."

"Think they might have a Scylla? Charybdis would be a little hard unless Nate's building a whole ocean."

"He could be building a passage between two of them that you have to navigate. Some kind of water tank wouldn't be that hard. That'd be a good task."

James sighed, imagining his way through a water obstacle course to gain a clue to the next task, as Dad had with the dragons... then he remembered that it would be Horace doing any of it. He thought about the fact that Horace couldn't seem to navigate the bathroom sink without instructions, and hoped it wouldn't be as complicated as all of that.
28 comments or Leave a comment
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: September 29th, 2011 06:25 am (UTC) (Link)

A Clue!

Why am I thinking of a little blue beagle?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2011 03:15 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: A Clue!

I'm not actually sure...
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: September 30th, 2011 03:31 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: A Clue!

Oh, wait -- you're not familiar with Blue's Clues?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2011 03:35 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: A Clue!

Oh, is that a beagle? *snort* I kept going to a Snoopy place.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 29th, 2011 12:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
seems hogwarts is superior in class enjoyment after all (at least charms, transfigurations,etc)

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2011 03:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Transfiguration may not be more enjoyable, but it's definitely a harder subject.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: September 29th, 2011 12:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

wow, that was fast!

it's Great to have updates so fast now Fern, Thank very much!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2011 03:16 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: wow, that was fast!

I'm going to try and keep up at every other day. I need some discipline here! :D
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 29th, 2011 02:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
beauxbatons seems to have nice classes too

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2011 03:16 am (UTC) (Link)
They've got some good stuff, that's for sure.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: September 29th, 2011 02:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooooh, clues!

(Psst! Neither of likes the Hogwarts champion. I think there's an "us" missing there.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2011 03:16 am (UTC) (Link)
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: September 29th, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

well that's sort of a relief

that James likes Hogwarts classes better than the ones in Beauxbatons *not all but in general*

although i dont know, as much as I favor Hogwarts, I like the fact that in Beauxbatons they learn about Muggle plants as well.... and it would be nice of Hogwarts did something like that as well, I mean It's not like pureblood wizards never seen a daisy, or a chamomile plant.....

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2011 03:17 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: well that's sort of a relief

I think there are probably Muggle plants in the greenhouses--Harry may not pay attention to them because he spends time pruning Aunt Petunia's flower gardens--but we know they're used in Potions. Dittany, Wolfbane, lots of them.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: September 29th, 2011 02:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

yeah I like the oddyssey as welll but i dont think....

having a Charybdis or a Scylla would be a good idea at all.

I mean full Grown/ adult , warrior trained Muggles couldn't deal with them (except Odysseus)

how would they expect 17 to 14 year olds to deal with them, wether or not they can do magic?

plus I doubt these greek monsters wouldn't kill a handful of the the wizards trying to capture them for the tournament...

so yeah, do not want greek monsters. yikes!

From: (Anonymous) Date: September 29th, 2011 03:36 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: yeah I like the oddyssey as welll but i dont think....

Let's leave them to Percy Jackson! ;)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2011 03:18 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: yeah I like the oddyssey as welll but i dont think....

Well, we do have sphinxes and giants already, so they're not entirely alien to HP.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: September 29th, 2011 02:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sirens, maybe? Or a spell that turns champions into swine? Racking my brains for memories of The Odyssey.

Glad to see Nate and hope sightings of the other cubs is possible. Felt sorry for Celia having wanted to be a Beauxbatons girl at one time, but given their attitude towards werewolves, I agree with James that she's better off where she is. At least she gets the chance to sample another school, though.

Looking forward to finding out what the first obstacle is. And what is in store for the unpopular Hogwarts champion.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2011 03:18 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm going to try and see more of the cubs over Christmas, I think.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 29th, 2011 10:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
why is celia being so judgemental? she worries that people are going to pick on her for being a werewolf, and when things are sort of at least civil, she antagonizes people.

she's not doing herself any favors.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2011 03:19 am (UTC) (Link)
To be fair, she wouldn't have turned them away if they'd wanted to come, but she might have died of surprise.

There's definitely a bitter edge here. Being told that she had no place in the pretty, well-lit world did not sit well with her.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 29th, 2011 10:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
is there anything cool the beauxbatons doesn't have?

i'm half expecting them to have an opera house or something somewhere

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2011 03:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Ha. No opera house. That I know of yet. ;p
oliversgal07 From: oliversgal07 Date: September 29th, 2011 10:24 pm (UTC) (Link)


I really think sirens because of the song comment and didn't they just make a silencing potion with Prof Du Lac? We shall wait and see!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2011 03:20 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: clues!

Yup, we shall. ;p
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: September 30th, 2011 03:34 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: clues!

I cheated. I went through all your challenge fics and found the one where Ruthless visits James...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2011 03:35 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: clues!

Ah, but the story's not going entirely as planned... ;p
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 30th, 2011 03:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm betting on Sirens, too. But, dare I guess, scarier than the Odyssey Sirens? Sure, there was that eating men business, but how much threat is something you can beat by putting wax in your ears? Or a good muffling charm?

One thing I really liked about the old movie version was how it wasn't the magic song that enchanted Odysseus, it was the Sirens calling out in the voices of people he knew and casting a spell convincing him he was home at last but his ship was taking him away.

Of course, a lot of the stories say the Sirens had talons and claws. Some claim they could manipulate the weather (fog, storms, other sea hazards).

But, the basic Siren attack, pretty girls asking a guy to come on over . . . . is it stretching a classical metaphore to say Goyle's going to get it right in his Achilles heel?

28 comments or Leave a comment