Lily and Alice spent the next hour talking, trying to stop Godric escaping and setting up Lily's camp bed. Well... Alice wasn't very sure where to start with the inflatable item, but she made quite a few attempts at it. This was the fourth time she thought she had successfully built the bed.
“I – I think I've got it, Lily!” said Alice in triumph.
“Alice, it's upside-down,” replied an exasperated Lily. “And you've poked a whole in it with your wand.”
Alice stared down at the Muggle contraption and shook her head. “I don't know how Muggles get on without magic, really I don't. Dad bought it from the mountain gear shop down the Muggle street the other day – I was half expecting the shop owner to stop him from coming in. Last time, when he tried to buy a bike, he knocked over half the display trying to get 'the motor' going. I had to tell him afterwards that there was no engine at all, and that you had to pedal.”
Lily laughed. Eventually, the camp bed was looking more like a deflated bouncy castle that had been caught in a storm (thanks to Alice making too many holes in it) and they gave up on it. Alice felt a bit guilty that she had destroyed the bed, so she offered to sleep on the floor, and Lily could sleep on her bed. Lily insisted that she slept on the floor instead, but Alice wouldn't hear of it.
“Fine, OK, I'll sleep on your bed,” Lily sighed. Alice knelt down and tried to make the pillows on the floor as comfortable as possible; she was so deep in concentration, she jumped when the dinner bell sounded from downstairs.
“So what's for eating, then?” asked Lily.
“We're having a hotpot,” she replied. “Mum's own recipe. I just hope she hasn't burned a hole through the pot – that's what happened when Gran gave her a cookbook a few years ago. Forgot to mention you had to only put a sprinkle of chilli in, see... Mum did an entire spoonful... almost destroyed the oven...”
They had reached the door going into the kitchen now, and Alice pushed it open. Mr Ranchstill was reading a wizarding news paper, the Daily Prophet, and Mrs Ranchstill was gently stirring dinner. Jake threw his toy Puffskein across the table and it narrowly missed Mr Ranchstill's head.
“Now, now, Jake, you're not meant to throw things – ah! Lily, Alice, have you sorted out your things? How did the camp bed work?” said Mr Ranchstill eagerly, lowering his paper. Lily glanced at Alice and replied, “Er – fine, Mr Ranchstill.”
“Good, good,” he smiled, going back to his paper. He read for a little while and suddenly gave a moan of disgust.
“What's up, Dad?” asked Alice.
“It's that Rita Skeeter woman again. Second article she's written about the Ministry – she's only 20 something! Looks like she had field day writing this – I mean, who else could write so much about some werewolves escaping? There's something about me, here, too... the scandalous woman! Apparently, I am 'a largely worthless employee of the department, Mr Runclutch'. Have a look.”
Mr Ranchstill pushed the newspaper towards Alice. Her mouth fell open in anger.
“'The Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures (Beast Division) faced an embarrassing incident after the Werewolf Capture Unit failed once again to capture a pair of werewolves. 30 werewolves have evaded capture in the last year alone, all thanks to this bunch of useless wizards, and now these dangers pose a threat to our peaceful society'. Peaceful? Huh – nothing's peaceful when she's writing for the Prophet.”
“Don't worry about it, Edward,” said Mrs Ranchstill soothingly, setting the pot on the table. She began to ladle large amounts into Lily's bowl. “Nothing she writes is worth worrying about.”
“I can't believe she comes up with this kind of rubbish,” snarled Alice.
“Some people just can't help themselves,” Mrs Ranchstill shrugged.
After the delicious hotpot had been completely demolished, Lily and Alice went back upstairs for an early night. At least, that was what Mr Ranchstill intended.
“Bet you I can make a bigger beard than you out of Dad's shaving foam,” Alice grinned cheekily, taking a can of Merlin's Masculine Shaving Foam – For Real Wizards out of the bathroom cabinet. Lily grabbed another can off the top of the cabinet and replied, “You're on!”
Soon enough, the 'beards' turned into 'hairstyles', and then that evolved into a full-on war. Before long both of the girls had facial hair to rival Father Christmas's, and the whole bathroom looked like Antarctica during a snowstorm. Mr Ranchstill unlocked the door with magic and seemed very angry at the fact that a) he had no shaving foam left and b) the bathroom was in a disgrace. He fixed most of it with a wave of his wand, but couldn't replenish his supply of Merlin's Masculine Shaving Foam – For Real Wizards, however hard he tried.
Giggling uncontrollably, the girls changed into their pyjamas and laid down. Just as Lily was beginning to drift off, Godric began hooting madly and flapping around in his cage.
“Shut up, you overgrown pom-pom!” Alice hissed, throwing her dressing gown at him. This just seemed to annoy him further, so Alice had to resort to desperate measures and lock him in the wardrobe. He didn't make any more noise after that, and Lily could finally get to sleep.
“Lily, wake up!”
Lily awoke to the sound of Alice's voice and her tugging on her arm. She sat up and rubbed her eyes.
“What time is it?” asked Lily.
“Half five in the morning.”
Groaning, Lily put on her dressing gown and followed Alice downstairs.
She really wasn't built for getting up quite this early.
“Morning all!” said Mr Ranchstill brightly. Mrs Ranchstill certainly didn't have the same cheerful attitude – in fact, she was scowling, as Jake had just been sick all over the newly washed table cloth.
“Hi, Dad,” yawned Alice.
“Good morning, Mr Ranchstill,” added Lily politely. She sat down and began to eat her breakfast, scrambled eggs on toast, rather faster than usual, since “time was ticking on” (according to Mr Ranchstill).
“I don't know why we have to get up so early,” Alice moaned half an hour later as she put toothpaste on her hairbrush. Lily pointed this out and Alice got even more annoyed.
“See?” she said furiously. “It's making me do stupid things now. I'm too tired!”
“What time is the cup starting, Alice?” Lily asked.
“It's at half past ten,” Alice replied crossly. “Dad said we needed to leave time for getting there, but seriously! It's not like we're going to the Arctic Circle, it's only Scotland.”
“Only Scotland?” choked Lily.
At 7:15, the Ranchstills and Lily left the house and began a seemingly endless trek through the woods. Mr Ranchstill was leading the way, happily pointing out different trees and birds, while Alice rolled her eyes to Lily at the back. Mrs Ranchstill was carrying Jake along in the middle – the toddler was wearing an England scarf, on the insistence of his father, that flashed different colours.
“Here we are!” Mr Ranchstill beamed. They had been walking for an hour when they reached a hill thick with trees. They parted to reveal a very large scarlet carriage, with Sponsored by the 1972 Quidditch World Cup in gold lettering written across the side. Some more people were there too, waiting.
“Oh, cool!” Alice grinned, as everybody piled in to the carriage. There were about 60 more witches and wizards sat inside. “I had no idea Dad was taking us in a carriage; I've only ever been in one when we visited Gran in Wales, and that was when I was three, so you see, I don't remember it.”
Mr Ranchstill gave the driver some tickets, and they all sat down on red seats. The carriage rose into the air of it's own accord and floated slowly over the countryside.
They were in the carriage for another hour, but at last they reached Scotland, and the site of the cup. The carriage filled with noise as it landed, and people began to pile out; Alice was gabbling excitedly and Jake was even laughing, although that could have been because his mother had given him a cookie.
“Look – Joanne! I can see the stadium!”
A tall blonde-haired girl was talking quickly to 'Joanne' next to her. Her voice carried far, even though they were several rows in front of Lily and Alice, and she was right – the stadium came into view when they reached the right point.
“Wow...” breathed Alice.
It certainly was 'wow'.
The structure was magnificent – turnip-shaped and ending in a point, the stadium was silver, and a jet of gold stars were emitting from the very top. There were 4 long staircases embedded in it, one each at the north, south, east and west. It was massive.
Mr Ranchstill spent a second gazing at the pitch in awe, before pointing out that they hadn't found place to put the tent. Lily didn't have a clue how five people were going to squeeze into a two-man tent, but that problem was solved with magic.
“I hope there's room for everyone,” said Mr Ranchstill happily, stepping back as his wife ducked into the tent with Jake. Alice looked perfectly content too – what was going on?
“Mr Ranchstill?” Lily asked anxiously. “How are we all going to – well... fit – fit inside the tent? I mean, it's very small, and -”
“Well, isn't it obvious?” replied Mr Ranchstill, slightly sharply.
“Erm...” Lily trailed off. “No, not really, Mr Ranchstill. Sorry if I'm being thick, or if I'm missing something, but -”
Mr Ranchstill suddenly laughed heartily and clapped Lily on the shoulder. “Of course, your family aren't magical, are they?”
Lily shook her head.
“You'll just have to see for yourself, I suppose. This isn't a Muggle tent! Ho ho!”
Throwing a quizzical look at Alice's father, Lily stooped and stepped inside. The sight that met her made all her blood rush into her feet in sheer surprise.
Alice was relaxing on a sofa in the corner, and Mrs Ranchstill was admiring the kitchen. There was a bathroom (in a separate section) as well as two bedrooms, also in different compartments. The tent was, effectively, much bigger than it was on the outside, and Lily was shocked with a mixture of glee and wonder.
“The wonders of magic, eh?” Mr Ranchstill beamed. He walked over to the pair of sofas and flopped down on one. He began to read a copy of the Daily Prophet. “Honestly, I've no idea how the Muggles get on without it...”
Lily stepped backwards outside and looked at the small tent, and then went back in again. Shaking her head and grinning, Lily went into one of the bedrooms (which she would be sharing with Alice) and began to unpack.
Write a Review Lily Evans and the Mysterious Portrait: Arriving at the Quidditch World Cup