The lights flickered
slowly and then burst back into flame. Everyone blinked several times
to get used to the light, and then realisation dawned on them.
The thirteenth godmother had arrived.
Longbottom, recent graduate of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and
Wizardry and the newest recruit to One Wish, Inc. stood in the centre
of the room.
Well, actually, he stood on the centre of the One Wish table, having taken his Apparition instructions as literal to the letter.
made a less-than-magnificent figure, clad in the standard-issue scarlet
jumpsuit. Although, unlike the other One Wish operatives, the colour
rather suited him, the jumpsuit had been cut to fit a much larger
person and hung about him in great folds that made him look rather like
a crash-dieting elephant with a dreadful blush. A heavy bandoleer was
slung across his chest, holding his wand, a pair of shears and a
pump-handle plant spray.
He stepped down onto a chair and then
onto the floor, and approached the young Princess, taking care to steer
well clear of Malfoy as he did so.
"Er, did you use the spell of Wretched-Post-Pubescent-Death?"
"I have a fondness for the classics," Malfoy sneered, nodding. "And what are you planning on doing about it, Longbottom?"
by a prick. Well, need I say any more?" Neville went on, ignoring
Malfoy. Someone looking closely might have noticed that he was
trembling slightly, but his rather ill-fitting jumpsuit disguised this
rather well. Ron snorted at his comment, and he seemed to draw some
confidence from this.
"You're a botanist, Longbottom. You have no power here."
I were a botanist, you'd be right," Neville said. He looked back down
at Princess Susan, who had reawakened. She cooed and giggled as Neville
stuck his tongue out at her. He turned back to face Malfoy, and it was
as though someone had poured steel down his spine.
not a botanist, am I, Malfoy? After Pomona Sprout's last few missions,
you eliminated botany from the specialities offered by One Wish. You
sent me out on the worst jobs. You called me a Godmother Without
Portfolio. And now, Draco, I rather think that the joke's on you."
"What do you mean?" Malfoy asked, the first, tiny, hint of a confidence shortage appearing on his face.
"I don't have to stick to one area, Malfoy. I can cast any spell I want. I can prevent Princess Susan dying."
can?" the King asked. He was feeling rather behind current events, and
had just begun to contemplate the death of his daughter. He felt rather
cheered by the idea that he hadn't wasted too much energy by worrying
needlessly. "Well, bravo! Get on with it, then, and we can kick the
golden boy here out and get on with the feast."
Neville hesitated, and his confidence seemed to drain away.
can prevent your daughter's death, sire," he said. "But Malfoy has
cursed her, and the curse will still have some effect. Your daughter
will not die, but something will happen. On her seventeenth
birthday, when your daughter leaves her childhood behind and becomes an
adult, she will get a prick-"
The King's eyes narrowed.
"-from a thorn, perhaps-"
"I shall order the gardeners to grow thornless plants!" the King boomed.
"-or from a needle-"
"The new national dress is a toga. No sewing!"
"-or, well, the other..."
The King's eyes narrowed again.
man who comes near my daughter before her eighteenth birthday will have
his wedding tackle fed to the male cows in the field yonder. Why, if
any man so much as looks the wrong way at my daughter, then I'll-"
their bollocks to the bullocks, sire, yes," Neville said, hurriedly,
before the King got too caught up in his rant. "However, supposing that
all your plans and protections are unsuccessful, and your daughter
somehow receives a prick on her seventeenth birthday-"
she will, and it'll probably kill her anyway, Longbottom's so rubbish,"
Draco drawled, as he peered critically at his fingernails.
Neville turned hesitantly on his boss and, taking a deep breath, placed his face close to Malfoy's.
he said. Malfoy toppled backwards and fell on his pert, tightly-clad
butt. Neville turned back, his face rather flushed.
"Sire," he said, rather shakily. "Your daughter will fall asleep. And she will sleep until awoken by love's true kiss."
"Love's true kiss?" The Queen asked. "But she'll be asleep. How will someone fall in love with a sleeping girl?"
King muttered something under his breath about sleeping girls being
silent, but decided not to offer the observation up for public
"Your Majesty, the alternative is poor. This is the best I can offer you."
The Queen appeared conflicted, but with a sigh she nodded.
"Longbottom, I'm warning you-"
Neville screwed up his face and ignored Malfoy. He stepped forward and raised his wand over the Princess.
There was a flash, and Princess Susan began to cry. Neville stepped back with a worried look on his face.
"I hope that it worked," he said.
"You hope?" the King asked. "How can we tell?"
Neville gave the King a worried look. "We can't, your Majesty. Not until your daughter's seventeenth birthday."
years, eight months and twenty-seven days passed. Draco Malfoy was
jailed for crimes against fashion when he attempted to make his gold
hotpants the standard uniform for his employees. Hermione succeeded him
as the head of the company, and Neville followed her into the post when
she was appointed Minister of Magic.
Many questioned her
decision to take the office of Minister, as it was rather less well
paid and rather more boring, but Minister Granger announced a sweeping
series of social reforms that made wizarding Britain an altogether
nicer place to live and, as she said, as Minister she could grant the
wishes of an entire country and still have time for lunch.
placed Ron in charge of the One Wish uniforms following his years of
frustrated campaigning under his arch-nemesis and his girlfriend, who
were sometimes one and the same person. Displaying a hitherto
unsuspected flair for fashion, Ron opted for a conservatively cut set
of black robes with yellow highlights. Of course, having successfully
regained his rights to an individual uniform following the fortunate
incident of the cat in the daytime, and having swathed himself daily
for many years in the bright orange of the Chudley Cannons, it didn't
matter much to Ron what the new recruits wore.
But there was a principle at stake.
in the wizarding world, Albus Dumbledore finally stepped down as
Headmaster of Hogwarts having achieved a probably unbeatable fifty-year
run as head of the school. He is now expected to write his memoirs,
which may well take another fifty years, if not longer.
new headmaster of Hogwarts is expected to be the former Auror, Alastor
"Mad-Eye" Moody. Pupils at the school will be encouraged to take
additional classes in Defence Against the Dark Arts and study the
Unforgivable Curses. It is not thought that this is likely to lead to
the rise of a new Dark Lord, although the ambitious streak present in
all Slytherins, most Ravenclaws and a fair number of Gryffindors
suggests that the number of students who complete their seven years of
education may be significantly smaller than the number who begin it.
other news, Pansy and Millicent Snape, stepsisters of Ginevra Potter,
finally found love when they enrolled in a prison penpal scheme. The
blushing brides-to-be will meet their future husbands, Walden Macnair
and Rabastan Lestrange, for the first time when they visit Azkaban
prison for the wedding a week on Saturday.
And, with the
recent birth of septuplets to Oliver and Jessica Wood, the player-coach
of the Appleby Arrows has announced his retirement from playing in
order to devote more time to training his five sons and two daughters
in order to challenge the Ministry's ruling of 1674 and create a
fourteenth full-time Quidditch team in approximately eighteen years
And finally, we'd like to take the opportunity to wish
Princess Susan Bones a happy seventeenth birthday. May all your
birthday wishes come true, your highness.
Well, except for that one about dying, of course.
Princess Susan was beautiful.
Princess Susan was kind-natured.
Princess Susan was friendly and a good listener.
Princess Susan could speak many languages.
Princess Susan was sharp of wit and reflex.
Princess Susan was brave and adventurous.
Princess Susan was hale and healthy.
Princess Susan was protected by a powerful amulet.
Princess Susan had an excellent memory, particularly for dirty jokes.
Princess Susan was celebrating her seventeenth birthday.
Susan rose and, as she did every day, spent several seconds staring
blissfully at the many, many pictures of her favourite Quidditch player
that filled her scrapbook.
Princess Susan dressed in simple, yet elegant robes and left her bedroom to go downstairs to breakfast.
Princess Susan was headed for the pricked finger intended to kill her.
She didn't know this, of course, and sometimes ignorance is bliss.
In this case, ignorance was going to lead to all sorts of trouble.
as ever, was a triumph. The King in particular delighted in the annual
"What day is it? What day? Whose birthday? Only joking!" routine that
the entire court would take part in. Princess Susan, more lovely today
than yesterday, smiled and took it with the exceptional good grace that
she applied to every aspect of her life.
"Happy birthday, my
dear," the King said, smiling at his only child from the other end of
the long dining table. Princess Susan had grown used to interpreting
the King's movements at meal times, for the dinging table was over a
hundred feet long, and this morning the King certainly appeared to be
"Is something wrong, Father?" Susan asked.
the King replied, startled. "What could possibly be wrong? Nothing is
wrong. My dear," he asked his wife, "is anything wrong with you?"
Queen, seated halfway between her husband and daughter, shook her head
and blew her nose loudly on the tablecloth, having exhausted her supply
of tissues, handkerchiefs, napkins and sleeves approximately ten
minutes after waking.
"There, you see, nothing at all the
matter," the King replied. He wiped the sweat from his forehead with a
tissue from a dispenser held by a nearby flunkey. He threw the tissue
over his shoulder where it landed on a rather soggy pile of its
brothers. Already the pile was around four feet high.
And rather smelly.
Susan smiled. If she had a fault - and I am only prepared to admit that
it may be a possibility, for I am hopelessly smitten - it was that,
having been brought up to be honest and open, she assumed that everyone
else was similarly truthful at all times.
"I am glad, Father,
that things are well," she said, before tucking into a double helping
of eggs and bacon that would do nothing to affect her figure or
Smitten I may be, but that's so unfair.
breakfast, Princess Susan repaired to the courtyard for her morning
constitutional. Along the way she passed any number of flunkies,
guards, men at arms and coroneters who were suddenly and inexplicably
struck down by hay fever, allergies, bits of fluff in their eyes and
any number of other causes of watering eyes and runny noses. Always a
well-prepared girl, the Princess was able to supply the first few poor
souls with handkerchiefs, but soon even she had run out and had to
summon another servant with a roll of tissue paper for her to dole out
along the way.
Finally, she reached the courtyard where the
bright morning sunshine glinted brightly on the soft lines of the
award-winning Bones gardens. Susan smiled and made her way to a small
patch of tiger lilies that bloomed rather prettily in a corner of the
courtyard. Breathing deeply, she inhaled the perfume of the flowers,
and closed her eyes as a satisfied smile spread across her face. More
than anything, Princess Susan adored the smell of these flowers, and
she always took the time to smell them when they were in bloom.
her eyes, Princess Susan let her gaze fall upon a small door at the
foot of the one of the castle's many towers. Her brow knitted together
fractionally, for she did not remember the door having been there
before. Indeed, the tower was purely ornamental and had no stairs
within. If Princess Susan knew the layout of the castle properly - and
we can assume that she did, for she was an adventuresome and
inquisitive young lady who had explored the castle and grounds many,
many times -