The mood in May became filled with excitement at the Third Task coming up, but that much tenser with final exams steadily approaching. Rowan would only be taking six exams: Gobbledegook, Mermish, Alchemy, Ancient Studies, Ancient Runes, and Advanced Arithmancy. While Severus would be taking the same exams with the exception of his Ancient Runes and Advanced Arithmancy. Instead in their place, he'd be taking Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures.
Rowan and Severus would be taking two of their exams a week in advance when in comparison to the rest of the school, Alchemy and Mermish. The reason being there being the only two students in either course, they might as well get two out of the way. As such, their exam was scheduled quite early on as the written exams were to take place on a Tuesday and the practical exam for Alchemy to be taken on Thursday. As such they'd be excused from their Tuesday and Thursday classes that week.
Thankfully Professor Slughorn had finally had a word with the 5th and 7th years over their dragging Rowan and Severus to study as they had not learned their lesson after the still unspoken Slytherin brawl in the common room. Fearing another brawl, Slughorn firmly stated that the Prince twins were apprentices and ought to be studying to for their own exams. And even worse in Rowan's case, she was preparing for the Triwizard Tournament as well. Maybe a thread of guilt finally hit them or the fact that Slughorn actually threatened them with detention. Either way, Severus and Rowan were finally left alone.
The warm month of May just flew away and two weeks before the end of May on a Tuesday, Rowan and Severus found themselves in Professor Boa's classroom taking the practical exam for Alchemy. It was surprisingly a cinch. Not only were most of the questions on the exam were Herbology and components related, but to write down the formula for said alchemy creation.
Rowan especially zoomed through the test and only finished an hour later. Severus on the other hand took a bit longer, but he still finished fairly quickly. Professor Boas was thrilled as he said, "Vonderful! I look forvard to grading da exams!"
Since they finished their exam rather early, the two of them headed up to Dumbledore's office to wait. The two of them blinked at finding Professor Dumbledore with another figure. Severus blankly stared at the wizard with short dark hair neatly parted to one side almost unnaturally straight. But most especially the narrow toothbrush mustache.
While they were in primary school, Rowan and Severus had in fact studied World War , they felt that such a mustache might not be very appropriate in muggle society. Especially when such a mustache might be very offensive to a certain group of people in the world.
Rowan at least on her part recognized the prim, proper wizard, Bartemius aka Barty Crouch Sr. But what was he doing here? Was he here on some sort of assignment?
Dumbledore beams at them and says, "Mr. Crouch will kindly be the ministry's delegate to witness the both of taking your mermish exams. Mr. Crouch is fluent in mermish and is delighted to be here." That was a lie, because Mr. Crouch looked anything but delighted to be here with them.
"Thank you for coming, Mr. Crouch," Rowan and Severus politely said.
"I couldn't very well miss this opportunity," Mr. Crouch crisply relied.
"Good, then we'll begin with the translation portion, before moving onto the practical verbal portion of the exam," Dumbledore said with a pleased expression.
Rowan and Severus put their school bags away in their desks, before Mr. Crouch handed them anti-cheating quills and a roll of parchment. "I have already written which needs to be translated on the board. Please write an in-depth essay in Mermish in response to the prompt."
"Yes, sir," Rowan and Severus replied as Rowan resisted the urge to flip him the board. Mermish was already difficult on her vocal cords, but not as bad as Gobbledegook given that she could make the high-pitched shrieks. But still, it wasn't a language she'd ever have chosen to learn.
Concentrating on the task at hand, the two of them began to translate the Mermish poem, before translating the question about comparing the Mermish style of poetry to that of wizard poets. Rowan and Severus draw a blank as they'd only studied muggle poets never Wizard poets. And what would a wizard poet even right about? Magical creatures and the bleakness of a potion?
Slowly raising her hand, Mr. Crouch frowns at Rowan. "Yes, Miss Prince?"
"Er, Severus and I never studied wizard poets in primary only muggle poets. Might we instead do a juxtaposition on someone yourself might know, Mr. Crouch? Such as Shakespeare, John Keats, Lord Byron, any one of those or others?" Rowan requested.
"Ah, I'd forgotten to mention that Barty," Dumbledore said with a twinkle in his eye. "Is there any muggle poet that you might prefer?"
"I suppose I am partial to the American wizard poet, Edgar Allen Poe," Mr. Crouch admitted. "The Raven would do nicely."
"Figures," Rowan privately thought to herself, before starting to write. The poem was quite dark, to be honest, and was about a man haunted by the loss of his lover and the raven that can speak only in reply, "Nevermore." But who was Barty Crouch mourning for? What had he lost that this poem spoke to him? Then again, she had heard from Barty Jr. that his grandmother had passed away only two years ago.
Shaking that trail of thought away, Rowan returns to the task at hand and solemnly concentrates. With some difficulty and the occasional scribbling out, she finally managed to finish her essay an hour after Severus. The brat was better than her at writing Mermish. But then again she had an easier time when speaking the screechy language.
Turning in the exam, Mr. Crouch nods as Dumbledore says, "Let's take a break for lunch, Barty. We'll resume the verbal exam afterward."
"Yes, Professor," Mr. Crouch grumbled as Dumbledore summoned a house-elf.
Mr. Crouch simply stares at the elegantly dressed house-elf that says, "We bring in the lunch now, Headmaster?"
"Yes, please and thank you, Habby," Dumbledore said with a smile.
"It is Habby and the rest of the elves are honored to serve, Headmaster!" Habby proudly said, before apparating away.
Dumbledore catches Barty Crouch Sr. staring and says, "Wonderful creatures, really. They've really changed these past years; they produce such wonderful meals! I'm quite happy to see the change in them."
Mr. Crouch can't quite seem to wrap himself around the idea, no doubt thinking about his own house elf, Winky. A group of house elves pop into the office the girls in their tidy French maid outfits, while the males in their elegant coat and jackets. The house elves happily provide an array of food, before bowing and popping away back to the kitchens.
Mr. Crouch stares at the food as Dumbledore says, "This here is Thai noodles with vegetables, quite tasty might I add. That's a meat dish from Mexico called, Carne Asada. And we can eat it with fresh salsa on its own or put the meat on these round thin flour crepes called, Tortillas." While Dumbledore chatters about introducing all the food, Mr. Crouch can't seem to believe his eyes.
After a while, Mr. Crouch tentatively serves himself and apprehensively watches Dumbledore put meat and fresh salsa on a Torti-ya and eats it with his bare hands. Not one to eat food with his bare hands, Mr. Crouch instead serves himself a scoop of the grilled mean with said salsa. He hesitantly takes a bite as his entire face brightens it up, it was delicious!
Chewing, Dumbledore hums and catches Rowan's eye. "Oh yes, the Hogwarts house elves are paid and given on day per month. The things they've gone out buy for themselves such a proper clothing or going out to learn new recipes. Oh yes, it most certainly has paid off!"
"House elves being paid how utterly ridiculous," Mr. Crouch snorts.
"Tadbey, our house elf is free and is paid," Rowan knowingly interjected. "And as for Dawn, his wife, despite being traditionally tied to the Prince family she is allowed to order and purchase things for herself from a Prince fund that has been set up for her personal use."
Mr. Crouch looks startled by both ideas, but the appeal of setting up a fund for his house elf to use appealed to him greatly. And especially if his house elf, Winky learned how to comport herself properly like the house elves of Hogwarts and no doubt that of the Prince's. He rather liked the idea.
Not much was said during the rest of the meal nor during the verbal exam, but slowly the wheels of fate were turning. By the next day, Winky was sent to Hogwarts to learn how to be a proper higher severing elf.
Naturally, the Headmaster had to first allow the foreign house elf into Hogwarts, but an oath must be sworn to never bring harm to Hogwarts in any form or manner nor much less reveal her secrets. Once the oath was given by the master and house elf, Winky was permitted into Hogwarts kitchens.
Over the course of the next week, Winky was brain washed by the Hogwarts house elves, before being sent back with the proper spirit to serve. Later in May, when Mrs. Crouch invited her friends over, they were all shocked how neatly Winky looked and the delicious new treats she presented them with.
Naturally, Mrs. Crouch gave all the credit to the Hogwarts House Elves and the Prince Household. After that, any pureblood family or those with house elves were sending them to be taught and trained at Hogwarts. Slowly, but surely the wizarding society had begun to change for the better in regard to the House Elves. It wasn't a very big change and the house elves weren't free yet, but it was one giant step in the right direction. And one day, maybe, just one day there would be a house elf who'd like to serve independently within the Ministry of Magic.