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For the first time in two months, Beth was full.

When food had literally appeared out of thin air right in front of her, Beth had had to rub her eyes to check she wasn't hallucinating. Now, however, she was sitting back while others still ate, having bolted down every type of food in sight. Now she sat happily listening to Luna chatter, enjoying hearing about the castle, and the teachers, and the students. She had told her all about Harry Potter, apparently the most famous boy in the wizarding world, and Beth had in turn told her new friend all about the last two months at Beauxbatons.

"Luna," Beth said suddenly, interrupting her monologue about the Hogwarts ghosts. "Who are those boys over there?" She jerked her head towards the table Luna had said was the 'Gryffindor' table.

"The ones with the red hair?" she said. "I think they're the Weasley twins. I don't know them very well, but you hear stories – they're the school's best Mischief Makers. Well, current Mischief Makers, anyway. Dessert?"

Beth's mouth dropped open at the appearance of hundreds of cakes, trifles and ice cream. She dived in, piling her plate high and had just started to eat, when she felt that prickle on her neck again. This time, however, when she turned around she saw it was in fact Professor Dumbledore watching her with interest. When she caught his eye, he tilted his head slightly and smiled. Beth grinned, raised her plate of piled food, and nodded back as if to say Thanks for the grub.

Then Dumbledore turned to watch someone else. Beth followed his gaze. He was watching one of the Weasley twins, who was talking animatedly with his brother. They laughed, and carried on eating while Beth went back to her own food.

When the plates disappeared, Beth was full to bursting with food and ready to sleep. Dumbledore excused his students and the whole school stood up and started filling through the double doors.

"Mademoiselle Wilkinson!" Maxime's voice rang out through the buzz of chatter, and Beth stopped in her tracks, caught. She had been trying to subtly sneak out with the Hogwarts students, hoping to stay in Luna's dormitory, but now she sighed and reluctantly joined Olivia and her friends.

"You zink I could not see you, you silly girl?" Maxime scolded, shaking her head.

Beth shrugged. "It was worth a shot."

The edges of Dumbledore's mouth twitched.

Beth saw the Durmstrang students walking out the doors, and looked up at Maxime.

"So where are we staying tonight, Madame Maxime, Your Highness?" she asked.

"I would be more than happy to let you sleep in the castle," Dumbledore offered. "We have set up rooms for the girls, if they wish to stay."

Olivia and the other girls looked less than thrilled at the idea. They were still shivering, and turning up their noses at the stone castle.

"I'm in," Beth said eagerly. "Thanks for letting us stay at your castle, Mr Dumbledore, Sir. It's amazing."

"I'm glad you think so," he said, eyes twinkling again. "I'm sure you also enjoyed my speech?"

"Your speech?" Beth looked apologetic. "Well, I wasn't actually listening to your speech. But if it's any consolation, from the looks on everyones' faces I'm sure it was great."

Maxime grabbed Beth's shoulder with a cast-iron grip, and thrust Beth forward.

"You may take zis one, Professor Dumblydorr," she said, a little desperately. "Ze others may sleep in ze carriage."

"I won't hear of it," Dumbledore said. "Follow me, I'll take you to the dormitories. Your luggage has already been taken up."

They followed him out of the hall and through a complicated network of corridors filled with suits of armour, stone walls and floating lanterns. Every now and again, a ghost would emerge from a wall and the girls would all scream.

When a ghost dripping blood burst from a door before Dumbledore could reach for the handle, Olivia leapt back, screaming, onto Beth's toe. Beth screamed in pain, shouting, "Oh my gosh, a GHOST! Because THAT hasn't happened a million times before!" Olivia gave her a furious look and carried on walking, Beth working hard to watch her feet and not walk into anything.

Eventually they reached a large, cosy room with a roaring fire and a huddle of squashy sofas. Beth tried to catch Olivia's eye, but her friend was too busy scowling and shivering to notice. She sighed, saw her suitcases sitting in front of the fire, and picked them up.

"Shotgun the best bed!" she said, grinning. The other girls ignored her and sat down on the sofas – backs straight, shoulders back, chins up. "Well, g'night guys. Night Maxime, night Professor Dumbledore."

She went through to the dormitories and got changed into an oversize t-shirt, humming cheerfully under her breath. Then she lay in bed, wide awake, listening to the other girls trail in, complaining loudly in French.

"Beth?" Olivia's face appeared in the curtains around her bed, and Beth scooted over to make room for her friend. "Madame Maxime is telling me zat you may join ze fifth year Ravenclaw class, if you wish."


"Zat is not good news?"

"Well, I guess," Beth said. "But I'll be all alone."

Olivia nodded. "Maxime will teach us uzzers, as we are in ze seventh year. But will you not be in ze same class as your Ravenclaw friend?"

"She's only in the third year," Beth said glumly. "I guess I won't be seeing her much more, since I'm not allowed in the Ravenclaw common room."

"You should ask ze 'eadmaster. 'E is still talking to Madame Maxime."

Beth nodded, then quickly got out of bed. She crept across the room, her bare feet stinging with cold on the bitter stone floor. She padded down the corridor, but stopped at the door to the sitting room when she heard voices on the other side.

"Each time zat girl walks into something, it is anuzzer grey 'air on my 'ead!" Maxime was complaining. "If she did not 'ave such good grades, I would 'ave expelled 'er ages ago."

"Ah, yes, I saw her report," Dumbledore's voice replied. "Excellent, quite excellent."

"Yes, well, zat is to be expected, since she 'as no friends. She only joined my Academy two months ago, you know."

"Really? And before that, her parents taught her magic, I assume."

"Oh no, Dumblydorr," Maxime said. "Ze girl is Muggleborn. 'Er parents were quite against 'er coming to 'Ogwarts, so zey moved to France to start a life far from magic. But Beth 'as begged and begged until she makes 'er parents crazy, so zey send 'er to Beauxbatons."

"Extraordinary," Dumbledore said, sounding impressed. "Quite extraordinary. You mean to say that Miss Wilkinson has never learnt magic before, but within two months has become the top student in her year? I've never heard anything like it."

Beth grinned behind the door, enjoying Maxime's stunned silence. Obviously this conversation had not gone the way she had planned.

Dumbledore broke the silence. "Anyway, shall we wrap this up? I believe we have a visitor."

The door swung open in front of Beth, and she stepped out of her hiding place, blushing.

"Ah, Miss Wilkinson," Dumbledore said warmly. "How may I help you?"

"Umm ... Well, I was wondering ... if, maybe, I would be allowed into the Ravenclaw Common Room?" Beth said nervously. "Since my friend Luna is in Ravenclaw, but I won't be in her lessons, so I won't be seeing much of her otherwise."

Dumbledore surveyed her over his half-moon glasses. "You have made friends with Miss Lovegood," he stated. "Well, I'm afraid only Ravenclaw students are permitted in their Common Room. Students from other houses will not get in, as to get into Ravenclaw house you must answer a riddle. Only those of open mind and great intellect may enter." He smiled, as though enjoying a private joke.

"Oh," Beth said, turning back to the dormitory. "Never mind, then."

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