126 The Coming of Hogsmeade
It became clear that Defense Against the Dark Arts had become the most enjoyed class. Only Draco Malfoy and his gang of Slytherins had anything bad to say about Professor Lupin.
"Look at the state of his robes," Malfoy would say in a loud whisper as Professor Lupin passed. "He dresses like our old house-elf."
But no one else cared that Professor Lupin's robes were patched and frayed. Although his first lesson had a tiny accident, the next few lessons were interesting and accident free.
After boggarts, they studied Red Caps, nasty little goblinlike creatures that lurked wherever there had been bloodshed: in the dungeons of castles and the potholes of deserted battlefields, waiting to bludgeon those who had gotten lost.
From Red Caps they moved on to kappas, creepy water-dwellers that looked like scaly monkeys, with webbed hands itching to strangle unwitting waders in their ponds.
Arth only wished that everyone would leave him alone.
Every single teacher some how had learned of the incident and stared at him with gazes filled with pity whenever they thought he wasn't looking.
They were wrong. He always caught them and it never made him feel any better.
Even Malfoy had heard of the incident and attempted to make fun of him when Sebastian charged into the great hall and almost attacked Malfoy.
He was eventually kicked out of the great hall by Dumbledore, not before sending a silent salute to Arth.
Hermione had to ask him many times what was wrong when he tried his best to hold in his laughter, shaking.
... on after thought, he probably indeed look as though he was mentally ill.
The night with Dolorem had eased his mind and calmed him down to a degree where he could act normally.
Some of the classes had a major change.
Worst of all was Potions.
Arth was starting to understand why Harry and Ron hated Snape.
Snape was in a particularly vindictive mood these days, and no one was in any doubt why. The story of the boggart assuming Snape's shape, and the way that Neville had dressed it in his grandmother's clothes, had traveled through the school like wildfire. Snape didn't seem to find it funny. His eyes flashed menacingly at the very mention of Professor Lupin's name, and he was bullying Neville worse than ever.
But on second thought, his anger was kind of fair. Who would want to be dressed in a dress? With the exception of those who do that is.
Arth was also growing to enjoy the hours he spent in Professor Trelawney's stifling tower room, deciphering mystical images and symbols. He honestly liked Professor Trelawney, even though she was a bit abnormal at times.
Arth still couldn't get his predictions right however, it would be perfected soon.
Another class everybody really liked Care of Magical Creatures, which, after the action-packed first class, had progressed with the same renewed vigor.
Arthur was glad to see that Hagrid had not lost his confidence... although Arth could tell that Hagrid was being especially careful not to bring anything big with claws to class.
Quidditch season had begun again and Harry was once again occupied with Quidditch practice almost all the time.
Another plus was that trips to Hogsmeade were going to begin very soon. While they were reading the bulletin board, Harry came back from quidditch practice.
"What's happened?" Harry asked.
"First Hogsmeade weekend," said Ron, pointing at a notice that had appeared on the battered old bulletin board. "End of October. Halloween."
"Excellent," said Fred, who had followed Harry through the portrait hole. "I need to visit Zonko's. I'm nearly out of Stink Pellets."
Harry threw himself into a chair beside Ron, looking depressed. Hermione seemed to noticed Harry's mood.
"Harry, I'm sure you'll be able to go next time," she said. "They're bound to catch Black soon. He's been sighted once already"
"Black's not fool enough to try anything in Hogsmeade," said Ron. "Ask McGonagall if you can go this time, Harry. The next one might not be for ages —"
"Well it would be smart of him to hide in Hogsmeade then wouldn't it?"
"What do you mean Arth? What kind of idiot would hide in Hogsmeade?"
"You see here Ron. The best place to hide is where they do not expect you to be." Arth gave a grin, "and where is the most least likely place to hide?"
"Yep! So there is a chance that Black could be in Hogsmeade."
"But... ah whatever, arguing with you will just end up with me in the losing end.
"Yep, I'm glad you realized."