Unlike the previous years, during June and July, where normally Rowan and Severus would relax and wander outside, however, this year, they were both frantically studying. Both of them were required to memorize their textbooks up until their 7th year, which would have been an impossible feat any other year. But as it turns out mourning is a way great to achieve success and commit to the impossible of learning four years' worth of coursework in just over a month and a half.
They did not simply just memorize said coursework but were forced to prove their competence in said subjects as well. And since neither Rowan nor Severus could use their wands as a trace was still upon them, Reginald and Georgine had lent them their wands in order to practice spells with. Much to the two older Prince's disturbance, the twins were able to more or less perform every single spell required in their textbooks. Now, whether their resulting spells were perfect or not that is an entirely different story. But the two of them were at least able to perform with mixed results, every single that is required to know up until their 7th year.
And to Reginald's great chagrin, Reginald discovered that Rowan was actually a somewhat talented potions student, but nowhere near Severus's level, (and provided there wasn't a living ingredient that she had to deal with). On the hand, Rowan had an uncanny talent of being able to improve any potion that used dried or fresh herb. But most disturbing of all, her poisons and antidotes were flawless.
It was a rather disturbing conundrum that Reginald did not like to dwell on. But then again, Severus could improve a potion simply by intuition which allowed him to brew any potion to perfection including the most difficult potions that could be attempted during the limited time that they presently were under. Not to mention that Severus could invent small simple potions with an ease that left Reginald flabbergasted and made him beam with pride knowing that the next great Potion Master of the century would without a doubt be his grandson.
As it would turn out thanks to their exaggerated studying, Rowan and Severus had completed their summer homework by the third week of June in between their spare time. In the evenings, they'd either read or reply to all the letters, they'd been receiving from concerned friends. It was a hassle at times as neither Rowan nor Severus were much for showing their emotions to others much less penning their grief down in a letter.
Still there was one tiny bit of good news, a letter from Pandora arrived. Somehow thanks to Tiffany's advice, Pandora had managed to capture the fancy of the ever-elusive, Xenophilius Lovegood. It was nothing short of a miracle as Xeno didn't seem to understand such emotions. But Pandora had against all odds kept at it until Xeno realized that he rather liked Pandora at his side. And as such, the rest was history as the Ravenclaw duo was now officially dating each other.
Beyond that, there was only news on the Quidditch World Cup and that of Potion Master Damocles Belby finding the cure to werewolves. Quite a number of werewolves were simply pouring out of the Woodstock, which frankly shocked the wizarding masses. But those too poor to afford the cure the Ministry of Magic had solemnly promised to pay for their treatment only requiring their being registered.
For not even the staunchest supporters could disagree with such a benevolent act given that there now existed a cure. And even better those previously cursed could now rejoin wizarding society once more and become excellent taxpayers. This was true as most werewolves had trouble holding down jobs given the nature of the curse.
Reginald and Severus were rather thrilled by the discovery, but Rowan didn't show much shock and neither did Aunt Georgine. However, that was simply because Georgine was not interested in the topic for the moment. And as for Rowan, she had, had a hand in it after all.
It was towards the second to last week in July when Rowan and Severus found themselves with a small packed overnight bag in front of an old red telephone booth in the middle of London. "At least it's Doctor Whoish," Rowan muttered out loud as Severus just stared at her blankly until he finally got the reference.
Their grandfather, Reginald steadfastly said, "The three of us will want to go inside at the same time." All three of them made faces at that statement because despite the fact that they slim and tall, they weren't that thin!
With clear reluctance, all three of them squeezed inside as Reginald closed the door behind them. It was a tight fit. Rowan and Severus were jammed on either side of the telephone box, while Reginald reached for the receiver. Reginald had a blank look on his face for a moment, which caused cold sweat to suddenly be felt on the back of the twin's necks.
Finally, Reginald blinks as if recalling something, before peering at the dial and putting in the numbers. 6-2-4-4-2, and so forth. As the dial whirred smoothly back into place, a cool female-voice sounded from inside the telephone box rather than the receiver. It was as though there was an invisible woman standing right next to them.
"Welcome to the Ministry of Magic. Please state your name and business."
"Reginald Prince here to escort my grandchildren, Rowan and Severus Prince to the C.S.A.E., the comprehension student apprenticeship exam to be held today," Reginald calmly responded.
"Thank you," said the cool female voice. "Visitors, please take the badges and attach them to the front of your robes."
There was a clink and a rattle as three badges came out of the metal chute, where coins usually came out of. The three silver badges were all square. The badges read as, "Rowan Prince, C.S.A.E Examinee; Severus Prince, C.S.A.E Examinee; Reginald Prince, Escort for C.S.A.E. Examinee's."
"Visitor to the Ministry, you are required to submit to a search and present your wand for registration at the security desk, which is located at the far end of the Atrium."
The floor of the telephone box shuddered. All three of them were very slowly sinking into the grounds as Rowan grumbled under her breath, "The Doctor's booth was way cooler."
After a minute, a chink of golden light illuminated them as the woman said, "The Ministry of Magic wishes you a pleasant day," said the woman's voice.
The door of the telephone box sparing open as the three of them got out in relief. Reginald briskly says, "Come along children," while Rowan drags the stunned open-mouthed figure of Severus behind her.
Severus stares at the peac.o.c.k blue ceiling that has golden moving symbols, before whirling away to stare at the glistening Fountain of Magical Brethren lies halfway down the Atrium as a group of golden statues, depicting a wizard, a witch, a centaur, a goblin, and a house-elf, spout water into the surrounding pool of water. The pool is filled with coins all of which will be given to St. Mungos.
Only then to stare at the green flaming fireplaces. At this hour the main lobby gilded fireplaces connected to the Floo Network are flashing as ministry members are arriving for work. Most of them carry the Daily Prophet, while others are mid eating, and some are busy staring at paperwork. The right side of the gilded fireplaces rare light up as a few night birds on the night shift are heading back home to sleep.
While a stream of Ministry employees heads for the golden gates, the three of them stepped over to a desk on the leftover which hung a sign saying SECURITY. A younger, tired poorly shaven wizard in peac.o.c.k-blue robes yawns, Eric Munch.
"We're here for the C.S.A.E., the Comprehension Student Apprenticeship Exam," Reginald said as he narrowed his eyes at the yawning, unshaven guard.
Munch flinched at the stern gaze, before saying, "Step over here."
All three of them walked over as Munch holds up a long golden rod, thin and flexible as a car aerial. "One wand at a time," Munch instructed as he placed the golden instrument down.
Rowan produced her wand and handed it over. Munch then took out a strange brass instrument, which looked something like a set of scales with only one dish. It began to vibrate. A narrow strip of parchment came speeding out of a slit at the base. Munch tore the slip off and read it out loud.
"Elder with a Thestral core. 13 inches. Been in use roughly for three years, is this correct?"
"Yes," Rowan replied as Munch slipped the slip of parchment on a small brass spike, before thrusting her wand back at her.
"Thank you," Rowan politely said, before Severus went next, and then her grandfather.
"You'll be heading to the first floor and then you'll want to go right, and then left. It'll be the fifth door on your right," Munch instructed them, before waving them on through.
Reginald nodded his head at him in thanks, before leading the children through and past the golden gates. Making sure they weren't jostled by the crowd, he led them through the small hall where twenty lifts stood behind wrought golden grilles. With a great jangling and clattering a lift descends in front of them as they moved inside with the rest of the crowd.