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It took a couple of weeks but finally I worked out a way to cast the spell on a larger group of people. We also realised that, once Severus had input his knowledge of languages into the spell by casting it, the knowledge was stored there; now, Welsh was another language that the spell contained.
We waited until Monday morning, when the majority of the castle had gathered in the Great Hall for breakfast before the first classes of the week. The hall was buzzing as breakfast awoke the Hogwarts population from the sleep-induced stupor that seems to be so common on a Monday morning.
“Well?” James murmured to me as I glanced around. “Do you think that now is a good time?”
I shrugged. We had decided that Monday morning was the opportune moment; every student had classes on a Monday morning. “No time like the present.”
He grinned. I glanced over to Severus and he winked, wand at the ready under the table. I reached for mine and saw him mutter simultaneously with me, “Lingua vicissitudo ut totus!”
The generic tone of the Hall’s conversations disappeared as English disappeared from every Hogwarts inhabitants’ vocabulary, to be replaced by a random language.
I smiled quietly as I listened, hearing even through everyone’s evident confusion the melodic tones of Swedish, the fiery passion of Spanish, romantically nasal French, crisply solid German, and the floaty foreignness of Welsh.
Actually, it was quite nice to hear the Welsh that was so foreign to me because after a few moments, the contradictions of so many languages to my mind became confusing and, if I’m honest, a little overwhelming. It was very funny, though, to see the confusion on people’s faces as they realised that everyone in the Hall (and, indeed, the school) had begun to speak a completely new language. James and I caught one another’s eye and had to concentrate extremely hard not to laugh and give the game away.
I wondered what language my English had been altered to by Severus’ spell, but as soon as I started to speak, I realised that I was still able to switch between them; we hadn’t previously considered prior knowledge. To avoid suspicion, I decided to stick to Spanish, the language I knew best (after English, of course).
All around us, I could hear people exclaiming as the realisation hit them;
“What did you say?”
“What’s going on?!”
“Why is no one speaking English anymore?”
“When did you learn French?!”
The castle remained in a state of chaos for the entire day; all the professors were speaking different languages, as were the students, which made it completely impossible for classes to continue unaffected. Interestingly, people starting grouping together with different people to those with whom they would usually spend their time; by the end of the day, groups were forming with people of different years, classes and even houses - all based on the language they could now speak.
“Should we end this now?” Severus asked me, feeling a little more free to be caught talking to me now as we were both speaking the same language.
I grinned. “I’m not sure...let’s let the chaos continue through dinner and then maybe we could take pity on them and return everyone to normal.”
Severus laughed. “Sounds perfect to me!”
We heard a laugh and a small applause from behind us and turned to see Professor Dumbledore watching us, a small smile beginning to cross his features.
“So you two are the criminal masterminds behind this particular prank,” he said. “Perhaps you could accompany me to my office and we could have a chat.”
I glanced at Severus, who was looking a bit apprehensive, then nodded.
As we entered the office, Dumbledore flicked his wand to call over two chairs. We sat facing him across the desk.
“Would you prefer to conduct this in English?” he asked, smiling.
I felt myself blush a little as I pulled out my wand and muttered the counter curse.
“Thank you,” Dumbledore smiled. “Well, come now. You are both looking as though you’ve done something terrible! Is there more to this prank than I am aware of?”
We looked at one another then shook our heads hopefully.
“Well, firstly, I must really ask you where you found this spell,” Dumbledore continued.
I cleared my throat. “Actually, sir, I invented it. Severus helped me to...um...refine it, as it were.”
The smile on Dumbledore’s face widened. “I suspected as much, Mr Lupin. That really is some rather astonishing work you’ve done. How long have you been working on this?”
I paused to think. “Oh...um...a few weeks, I guess.”
“Extraordinary. Well, I really must congratulate you both. You especially, Mr Lupin. Ingenious, really ingenious.”
I felt myself blushing again. “Thank you, professor.”
“If I may ask, how did you come about this idea?”
I proceeded to explain, punctuated by Sev. Once we had finished explaining, Dumbledore positively beamed at us.
“Fascinating. Truly fascinating. I had no idea the two of you were eloquent in so many languages between you.” He paused. “Now. Really I should be punishing you for sending the school into so much commotion...and I am aware that this was intended as a prank.”
We both looked down at our laps, waiting for our sentences to be delivered.
Dumbledore paused. “However.”
We both glanced at one another in hope, then up at him again.
“No harm was done. And it has certainly provided an interesting lesson for us all in communication and friendship. It certainly raises the question of how much friendship is based on communication...something you may wish to consider and pursue one day. With all that said, I must also consider that this was rather foolish to use on such a large quantity of people without their consent; after all, this is an untested spell.”
We waited for him to reach a verdict.
“Hmm...quite a conundrum. Let’s say that as no harm was done, and considering the brilliant spell work, I am happy to call this the trial run of your new charm and leave it at that. How does that sound?”
I stared at him, delighted. “That would be wonderful...thank you professor.”
“However, I really must insist that you write up all that you have told me, Mr Lupin. I can tell you how to format it. Once you have written it all up - how you came across the idea, how you came to choose the incantation, then all the testing with the correct dates - we can go about getting it published.”
I felt my jaw drop in disbelief. “Seriously, professor?” I finally choked, unsure of what to say.
He beamed at me. “Absolutely. This certainly is a brilliant spell. You have a very bright future ahead of you, should you choose to go into this as a career, Mr Lupin.”