The Secret of the Forest
Chapter 7: Divination
“Just ignore him,” Alexis had told him when Lorcan’s slander against Phoenix became public.
But as much as Albus wanted a peaceful year, instinctually he found himself embroiled in yet another social quagmire. He could not help it. Lorcan was his friend and he always liked Riley. He could not bring himself to oppose Lorcan on the matter or even simply ignore him as Alexis advised him to do. As he explained his moral dilemma to Alexis, she just smiled, watching her quill floating in midair during Charms class while she listened.
When he finished, she allowed her quill to rest and as Professor Ackerly went on to explain his lecture on Cheering Charms, she put her head closer to Albus and said with a small smile, “You know, that’s what I like about you. You say you want a peaceful social life but you’re the first one in when a problem arises. You care too much, Al.”
“Lorcan is a family friend,” Albus defended. “I kind of… feel the obligation to help him because I know he’d help me.”
“Great,” she said happily, putting her hands together. “So, when you do find yourself in a sticky situation, he might just be the first one to help you. The two of you are in this together now. Help him and he helps you. I say keep going with it.”
“So, you don’t think I’m being a trouble-maker?” Albus asked.
“Oh, heck no,” Alexis shrugged. “I think you’re being a trouble-finder,” she added. “You’re practically begging for trouble but certainly not making it. Anyways, cheering charms.”
“Right,” Albus moaned.
“Make me laugh and I’ll tell my daddy to give you fifty points,” she offered sweetly.
“Ok,” Albus said more cheerfully.
The lesson ended with a failure on Albus’ part to make her laugh but Professor Ackerly still gave him five points for effort. He walked back to his dormitory, yawning all over, feeling exhausted from the day of lessons after a weekend of hearing Lorcan and Phoenix go at it with Scorpius and Rose providing background noise.
He walked back to the Common room to see the owl Archimedes waiting for him on one of the chairs. He hooted once for Albus and held his leg out where a scroll was attached. I was a letter from his Aunt Hermione and yet more trouble to an already troubled mind.
It’s Aunt Hermione. I can’t say much here, but I am aware of a campaign against Headmaster Phoenix concerning Riley Blackberry. Rita Skeeter is involved in this and is surprisingly taking Phoenix’s side since he expelled the vampire boy. I want you to keep your eyes open and vigilant. Do not trust anything Phoenix or Rita says in any article. I’m working on exposing her but the truth I shared with you about her over the summer cannot be revealed because her position allows her to slander me as well. Don’t expose anything yourself for that reason. When it’s time to lash back at her, we will. I’ll take my battle with her to the newspapers. Look for my name.
‘We will,’ she had said. Albus could not help but to roll his eyes at this. He would have to ignore this letter. He told her very clearly he was not involved nor did he want to be. And he found himself considering sending a letter to his dad asking him to call Hermione off. As far as Albus was concerned, there was no ‘we’ in this. He did not want anything to do with this. He, for once wanted a peaceful year and social problems were enough. On top of the feud between Scorpius and Rose, he was also caught in the middle concerning Lorcan and Phoenix. Since Walter took Malcolm’s side in the matter, Albus found himself in a constant debate and at odds with the rest of his dormitory.
Lorcan had kept his confrontational attitude against Professor Phoenix since the argument. After he lost twenty points from Slytherin house for arguing with Phoenix, he gained himself many enemies. Malcolm for example was furious at Lorcan for being so stupid and as ‘reckless as a Gryffindor.’ Walter agreed because he was one of the students on the receiving end of Riley’s Garlic Frenzy the year before and even Scorpius was not too keen on supporting Lorcan’s crusade against Phoenix.
Aside from the enemies he made; however, he also gained some allies, Albus Potter among them. Albus himself missed Riley and felt that Riley was indeed provoked and had his nature used against him when his patience was already being tested by the likes of Mark Wallader the year before. Then, there was the matter of Era’s supposed demotion and Nate’s problem. Nate himself, just for being Riley’s brother and a half vampire himself, was suspended and like Riley, allowed only for classes. Like Albus, the Head Boy Joel Herbert fully supported Lorcan, and even talked to him in private about the next move Lorcan could take.
Rose and Scorpius’ feud wore off by the next week. Divination class was on the first Monday of the next week, and Rose didn’t sign up for Divination, so there was no time for anyone to fight with anyone. Instead, Scorpius kept up with snide, indirect comments referring to girls knowing little about Quidditch. Some, Rose understood, and others she remained oblivious. Albus thought it best not to tell her, especially because she understood the gist of Scorpius’ comments at the very least.
But Scorpius had it from a few other students. It was enough to turn him in a bad mood. He earned himself a scolding from James for annoying Rose, even Roxanne and Lucy Weasley was angry at Scorpius, and Hugo threatened to attack him with the Knock-back Jinx if he did it again. Scorpius laughed so hard at that threat though. He, Albus, and everyone else who witnessed the threat being given knew Scorpius was third year and could surely take Hugo on any day.
Laughter ended as they walked to the North Tower. Albus only knew where the room was because his dad took him aside, and told him precisely where it was with detail, and James had shown him on the map.
The room was a trapdoor on the ceiling, as if it led to an attic. When they climbed the ladder, a waft of very warm air greeted them. It immediately made Albus feel drowsy. His eyes lit up when he saw what littered the room though. A bunch of armchairs and pouffes and tables were scattered. Albus and Scorpius took an empty table, and awaited the rest of the class.
When the class took their seats, among the class Riley and Mark, a misty voice sounded from the shadows. “Greetings, third years. Welcome to Divination.” Out of the hot darkness stepped a skinny woman with glasses that magnified her eyes. How she could live in this room… “I am Professor Trelawney. I do not usually join the rest of the school, for I find the cool air destabilizes me a great deal. However, you will soon find whether you too possess the sight of the future. Even the best may not have it, and yet the worse are the most gifted. A very unique subject, Divination is… now,” she called dramatically. “You will find on your desks, small cups of tea. I want you all to drink them until only the leftover dregs remain, and let me”-
“Professor,” Mark interrupted apologetically. “I don’t drink tea.”
Trelawney did not seem taken-aback. She stared at Mark with her mantis-like eyes, and said, “You have to, dear boy. Do you not want to find your future?”
Now, it was Mark’s turn to gap at her. He stared at Alex and Eric, but they just shrugged. Laura was across him, getting her tea ready. She finished first, and rested on her hands, gazing at Mark almost dreamily.
Albus was rather thoughtful. Wasn’t Trelawney the name of a woman Phoenix mentioned? He vaguely remembered Galadral mentioning her name as having made a prophecy back in his first year. Albus and Scorpius put their cups together, “Cheers,” and drank them. Within ten minutes, everyone was finished, the last being Mark. Eric sighed, and stared at Trelawney expectantly.
“Now, switch your cups around. Wash the dregs out with the left hand three times, and drain the last of the tea on its saucer, and decipher the shapes the dregs make. Refer to Unfogging the Future Third Edition to understand the future. Carry on.”
Scorpius worked with Albus’ cup first. He looked skeptical, but not nearly as skeptical as Mark and Eric. Only Alex seemed interested. Laura was doing Mark’s cup, muttering.
“Ok, Al, you’ve got a ball,” Scorpius said, peering at the cup. “I think that means… a turn around. Wait, it’s probably a shield… no, the ball is the shield. Defense, I’m guessing. No, wait, it could be a door. What the hell is that?”
Albus laughed. “Let me see yours. Alright, you’ve got a cat. That’s gotta be… selfishness. You are a very selfish person. Or, it could be just be Ursa… or both. A selfish Ursa-owner. Or, the shape is… a lion, no… cheetah, erm… Yeah, and… a skull. Death? No, danger. Or maybe it’s a ball. But that’d be a turn-around. Maybe it’s a Centaur. Territorial. Are you territorial? Wait, no, the cat is territorial. Uh…”
“Al, you said the ball is a shield, this doesn’t make sense,” Scorpius laughed.
“This doesn’t make any sense,” Albus muttered.
“Well, heal your inner eye, dear,” Scorpius muttered in mocking of Trelawney.
Trelawney was looking at Alex and Eric first. “Ah, my dears, the aura is the same around you. Am I right in guessing you were born on the same day?”
Mark couldn’t help it. He burst out laughing. Even Laura, who was usually clueless about everything but Mark, laughed very hard. Trelawney ignored them, “A dog. Loyalty. You are very loyal people. But the dog is more solid in this cup. Whose is this?”
“Mine,” Alex raised his hand, rolling his eyes.
Trelawney spotted Scorpius laughing, and swooped on him next, grabbing his cup. Was this for real? Albus couldn’t understand. Now he knew why Aunt Hermione didn’t recommend the course. It was rubbish. There was Trelawney deciphering and finding out stuff that anyone knew just by looking at the twins, and that wasn’t the half of it. More bilge swooped down in the form of a mantis minutes later.
“My dear?” Trelawney exclaimed. Scorpius jumped, letting out a long, shocked gasp. Trelawney was over him. “Are you not paying attention? I was asking if you are Half-blood.”
“Here’s an idea, next time, give me a heart attack,” Scorpius said almost angrily. “And I’m Pure-blood.”
She swiped the cup from Scorpius’ hand and turned it around in different directions, Trelawney straightening her glasses, staring at the cup. “I see… the skull,” Trelawney declared dramatically. (“Thought so,” Albus responded sheepishly.) “Danger. And… OH! My dear, my poor dear!”
“What is it?” Alex asked, abandoning Eric and running over to see. Trelawney’s eyes filled with tears and she gazed at Scorpius. “Death. Oh… dear, my dear unfortunate Pure-blood Wizard. I see a Scythe!”
“Scythe?” Scorpius repeated incredulously.
Eric and Mark came over too, Laura being left alone at her table. “Bringer of death. Disaster my dear. The Grim! The omen of death. You shall kill and be killed. Disaster plagues your future, my dear, I- I- I think we’ll leave it here for now.” As the class got up to go in confusion, she stopped them, “Wait! On a happier note; I see an adventure. An impossible feat. I see death in this year, dears. There will be an epidemic of the flu at the beginning of next term. By the end of next year, someone here will responsible for the death of another. And dear…” she said dramatically to Scorpius, “Please, take care and watch your back.”