The six of them walked out into the sun as Terry stretched and said, "Well, at least we get some fresh air today." The other five hummed in agreement as they crossed the vegetable patch and their way to the greenhouses.
As they neared the greenhouses, they saw the rest of the class standing outside waiting for Professor Sprout. But even more shocking, Rowan had somehow managed to have beaten them first despite having dropped Regulus first in the tower for Transfiguration with Professor McGonagall. Sputtering Terry merely points at Rowan in shock as Rowan spots them and smirks.
"How did you-?" Terry paused in shock. "You know what, I don't want to know."
"Good, because I'm not telling you," Rowan said with a great deal of satisfaction.
The other three girls merely look at Terry with pity as Severus snorts and says, "So much for being malevolent, eh, Terry?" Terry ferociously glares at Severus causing Severus to suddenly regret his comment. After all, he was Terry's roommate and it was remarkably easy for Terry to avenge himself.
Hastily looking away, Severus says, "Oh look, there's Professor Sprout." They all turn to see a squat little witch wearing a patched hat over her flyaway hair. As usual, there were large amounts of earth on her clothes and fingernails as she happily beamed at them. "Greenhouse three today, chaps!" Professor Sprout announced once she stopped before them.
There was a murmur of interest in the crowd as they'd only ever been allowed into that greenhouse one time before. Greenhouse three was far by most the most dangerous as it housed the more interesting and dangerous plants. Professor Sprout reached for her belt and took out a large key to unlock the door.
Rowan sniffed the air with a bright sparkle of interest in her eyes. Everyone else slightly wrinkled their nose at catching a whiff of damp earth and fertilizer mixed in with that of the heavy perfume of some giant, umbrella-sized flowers dangling from the ceiling. Everyone neatly lined up before a trestle bench in the center of the greenhouse.
Standing before them Professor Sprout pointed at the twenty pairs of different-colored earmuffs on the bench. "We'll be repotting Mandrakes today. Now, who can tell me the properties of the Mandrake?"
A round-faced boy, Andrew Abbot raises his hand in the air. Professor Sprout nods her head at him as Andrew Abbot excitedly answers, "Mandrake, or Mandragora, is a powerful restorative. It is used to return people who have been transfigured or cursed to their original state."
"Excellent. Ten Points to Hufflepuff," Professor Sprout said. "The Mandrake forms an essential part of most antidotes. It is also, however, dangerous. Who can tell me why?"
Rowan's hand goes up in the air as soft whispers can be heard saying, "Of course, a Slytherin would know." Instantly the Slytherin side of the room glares back at the Hufflepuff as they quickly quell and turn silent.
Professor Sprout, either pretended not to notice or purposefully choose to ignore her Hufflepuffs as she nods her head at Rowan to answer. "The cry of a Mandrake is fatal to anyone who hears it," Rowan promptly said.
"Precisely," Professor Sprout and after a short pause as if an afterthought added, "Ten Points to Slytherin."
Turning to point at the row of deep trays, Professor Sprout continues, "Now, the Mandrakes we have here are still very young." Everyone takes a step closer to for a better look and see a hundred or so tufty little plants. The small plants were purplish green in color in perfect rows.
"Everyone please take a pair of earmuffs," Professor Sprout carefully instructed. There was a sudden scramble as all the boys tried to grab the pairs that weren't pink and fluffy. Having made certain everyone had a pair, Professor Sprout says, "When I tell you to put them on, make sure your ears are completely covered. And when it's safe to remove them, I will give you the thumbs-up. Right earmuffs on."
They all snapped their earmuffs onto their ears as the sound instantly shut out. Professor Sprout put on a bright pink, fluffy pair, before rolling up her sleeves and firmly grasping one of the tufty plants. Pausing to gather her strength, Professor Sprout pulls very hard until with a spray of dirt the Mandrake emerges.
Rowan's eyes glimmer at seeing the Mandrake. It was a small, muddy, extremely ugly baby that was pulled out of the earth. Leaves were growing right out of his head as his pale green, mottled skinned faced was wrenched together clearly bawling at the top of his lungs.
Professor Sprout took a large plant pot from under the table and plunged the Mandrake into the pot, burying him in dark, damp compost until only the tufted leaves were visible. Professor Sprout dusted off her hands and gave them all the thumps-up sign as she removed her own earmuffs. "As our Mandrakes are only seedlings, their cries can't kill yet," she calmly explained as though she wasn't handling wizard killing plants. "However, they will knock you out for several hours, and as I'm sure none of you want to miss your first day back, make sure your earmuffs are securely in place while you work. I will attract your attention when it is time to pack up."
Turning around she gestured to the wall. "Four to a tray there is a large supply of pots here compost sacks over there and be careful of the Venomous Tentacula, it's teething." Suddenly, Professor Sprout gives a sharp slap to a spiky, dark red plant with long feelers that had been sneakily inching over her shoulder.
Rowan and Bethanie glance at each other as Bethanie says, "I'll take the girls, you take the boy's, Rowan."
"What's that supposed to mean?!" The rest of them protested.
Bethanie merely raises her eyebrow and says, "You four know exactly know what I'm talking about. I needn't remind you of the pumpkin head incident."
The four of them grow quiet as they all innocently recalled how it had started with Tiffany throwing an enchanted frog at Terry, who had promptly thrown a transfigured spider right back, which unfortunately landed on Silvia. In which, Silvia then, in turn, responded by casting a Leek Jinx at Terry but missed and instead hit Severus. Furious at having leeks pouring out of his ears, Severus cast the Melfors Jinx at the panicking figure of Silvia for it only to miss and hit Narcissa Black, who was entering the common room area with Head Boy Lucius Malfoy. Needless to say, neither of them was pleased and Lucius assigned a weeks' worth of detention to the lot of them.
Feeling sheepish, the four of them look away as Rowan and Bethanie each grab their own pair and head over to a tray. Needing one more person, Rowan glances around to find the round-faced, Andrew Abbot approaches them. The flat-haired boy warmly smiled and said, "Andrew Abbot. I think I got all your names, the Slytherin twins, Rowan and Severus Prince. And the fragile-looking Slytherin, Terry Greengrass."
"Wait, why am I described as fragile?!" Terry protested as Rowan and Severus merely rolled their eyes.
"Well, needless to say, I remember you, Andrew Abbot," Rowan confessed. "You've got a natural green thumb." Not to mention, he was an Abbot. And was somehow related to Hannah Abbot, either an uncle or possibly her father even.
"Why thank you," Andrew's round face beamed with pleasure. But before Andrew had a chance to continue Professor Sprout signaled for them to put on their earmuffs.
Having worked and helped Tadbey in the garden the twins were much more experienced in the art of weeding. Severus and Rowan carefully wrap their hands around the tufts and pull. The mandrakes did not like coming out of the earth as they squirm, kick, flail their sharp little fists, and gash their teeth. However, Severus and Rowan were ruthless and slammed them into the pots, before carefully covering them up. Terry, on the other hand, did not fare very well as he struggled for more than ten minutes to pull one out and repot it. While Andrew fared much better and kept up a steady potting pace.
By the end of the class, Rowan like everyone else was tired, sweaty, and covered in dirt. As they left the greenhouse, Tiffany m.o.a.ned, "If I ever see another plant again, I'm going to cry."
"Tough luck, it's a required course," Silvia groaned as Bethanie feeling too tired herself didn't even bother to say anything in protest.
As they trotted groaning back to the castle for a quick wash, Rowan said, "Terry, you're supposed to go and grab Regulus. He needs to head to History of Magic next."
Terry almost cries as he says, "That's not fair!"
"Severus's turn will come tomorrow," Rowan firmly replied. Terry instantly perked up at the thought of shared misery as Severus grunted in anger and horror. Getting his second wind, Terry tiredly jogged away and began the long hike up the stairs to get to History of Magic.
"You know, I think Terry might actually be related to a Dementor," Silvia said as they watched Terry jog away.
"Why?" Rowan said with some surprise.
"Because he seems to feed off the misery of others," Silvia staunchly declared.
Severus chokes and says, "But he's too pale and golden-haired for that."
"I'm sure that's just a cover," Silvia gravely said causing the rest of them to burst into her laughter at her somber expression. Still chuckling the five of them made their way back to the dorms for a quick wash.