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“Man, I can’t believe they managed to set up a Wizarding school in this dump.” Jerrica complained as she and Stephanie watched the water crash around the bow of the ferry.

“What’s wrong with Atheleona’s WS? I think it’s really nice being this close to Toronto.” Stephanie asked as the school came into view. Located on Mugg’s Island, just beside Toronto Island, the city skyline was still clearly in view from the north coast of the small island.

“It’s just so… unimpressive! I hear in the UK, they have real castles as Wizarding schools, and not some poor excuse at a Victorian Mansion.” Jerrica huffed as the ferry pulled into a small wooden dock out of the woods on the sheltered side of the island, marked only by an unassuming statue of a lion.

Mrs Leibritz disembarked first, herding the first years behind her, and touched her wand to the statue. The statues eyes began to glow blue, and triggered a wake of other glowing eyes, outlining a path through the woods with a variety of different birds and animals. Stephanie gasped from the ferry deck along with the first years in their oversized robes, and the younger ones jostled each other to get a better look. Jerrica snorted and elbowed the girl.

“Come on Steph, you’ve seen this like, 4 times now. It’s just some fancy lights. Let’s go get our robes on.” Jerrica turned to head down to the lower deck, flouncing her bubblegum pink hair off her shoulders in a way that made half the boys on deck turn and watch.

Stephanie lingered behind, taking in another look at the slowly fading lights as the ferry moved on to the proper docks. It always sent a chill down her to remember that walk the first night through the woods, as all the statues followed her with their eyes. She was so mesmerized by them that she didn’t notice how far the group had wandered ahead, until she walked straight into an owl statue and realized all the other first years were far ahead and she was alone in the dark. She’d nearly panicked when she felt a cold shape touch her hand, but when she looked, it was one of the wolf statues. The statue looked at her, then cocked it’s head as if to say “They went that way.” She’d scurried away with barely a nod to say thank you.

Below deck, Jerrica was digging out her robes when Stephanie arrived.

“I hate these robes.” She complained, “You’d think they’d update them to something a little more fashionable this close to the city.”

“They did once.” Stephanie reminded her, “Haven’t you seen the old class pictures in the common room where they have all those feathers?”

“Yeah well… Maybe they should update them more than once every 5 centuries. They’re totally lame now.” Jerrica picked at the black robe distastefully. “At least we get to wear real clothes when we go to Wizardtown on the weekends.” Stephanie laughed.

“Well, maybe your birthday present will help.” She said, handing Jerrica a small package wrapped in gold. “Sorry I couldn’t get it to you sooner, but it’s practically impossible to get out of Smallville, Ontario.” Jerrica unwrapped the box to reveal a pair of glowing amethyst earrings. She let out a girly squeal.

“OMG Steph, they’re gorgeous!” She enthused, wrapping the smaller girl in a hug. Steph returned the hug excitedly.

“I’m so glad you like them! I got my sister Heather to help me enchant them.” Stephanie touched her own golden, star shaped studs. “If you hold them like this, I should be able to hear things you say, and vice versa. So like, Mr Gottfried can’t split us up in class any more for talking.” Jerrica giggled as she put on the purple earrings.

“This is gonna be the best year ever!”

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