Ehehehhh… Bought myself a new game (read, four of them) on Steam, and that's what I've been doing for the last few weeks, rather than actually work on this.
And they're all JRPGs, so they've got a LOT of playtime. I just finished the first one, and I think I devoted what, 50 hours to it? The second one, however, only took 17 hours for the first playthrough, so I'm not too happy with it.
That added onto writers block which JUST WON'T GO AWAY (Redacted), and this chapter was a mess to make. Oh well, it'll be posted when it's done, whenever that is.
It's a little bit shorter than I'd have hoped, but I can always touch back up on it later.
Crap. So much for stealth.
Well, on the plus side, Umbridge is out of the picture for the next week. Those doors are all heavy, so I can't imagine the landing on her would be pleasant.
Unfortunately, we're all acutely aware that, the moment she gets her flabby ass out of the Hospital Wing, she's going to take it out on the students.
On the plus side, Dumbledore himself is stepping in for Defense while the teacher recovers, and thus we're learning actual material. His teaching style is a bit weird, pretty much all by word and action, rather than having a solid teaching plan, but it's definitely a lot better than Umbridge.
Normally, having Umbridge out of the picture would be something to celebrate, but none of the six of us are sure yet whether or not the Obliviation held, and that could mean anything from us getting off scott-free to all six of us ending up in Azkaban.
I honestly would prefer Azkaban to immediate destruction, what with the fact that Potter's godfather managed to escape the same prison with nothing but a little shape-shifting.
Plus, yknow, it's not like the demons would be able to affect me as much as a regular person, so that's a benefit, I guess. Still wouldn't be pleasant, and would raise all sorts of questions when, and definitely it would happen, I break out.
Anyway, the deadline for the potion's coming up, and I really want to get it done while Umbridge is still incapacitated. Or at least get the practice done. I've got two samples brewed up already, both of which I'm happy enough with.
I'm pretty sure I'll display it next week, which means I've got some time to kill.
What was that saying about idle hands and devils, again?
It's been three days, and nothing's happened to any of us. Still, it's not a real excuse for any of us to slack. We've been pushing hard on the training down in the chamber, although from the way Potter's acting, he's taking it rather too seriously.
He's beginning to run himself ragged, at that, if his eyes are any indication. We already got on his case slightly, telling him to ease up, slightly, but I don't think he's going any lighter than he was before.
Maybe we'll get Ginny to try to talk to him. Don't know if it'll work, but it's worth a shot.
Anyway, we're down the list of spells now, and I've got a decent feel for what each of the six of us are good at, and where we're not so great. We've all got our own specialties, for better or for worse.
Potter's probably the strongest 'real' spellcaster among us, although he mostly sticks to the standard direct spells: Stunners, Disarmers, and the Blasting Curse. His Stunner's strong enough to mess with my balance already (with two being enough to knock me down, usually), but I'm still able to just shrug off the occasional Disarmer. Still confuses him when I pull it off, which is always funny.
Still, as strong as Potter is, he's got pretty much nothing for dealing with big groups, nor for dealing with obstacles or things he can't get a clear shot at.
Weasley's style is all about battlefield control. I've heard that he's good at chess, but seriously, being backed into a corner during a duel is never fun. I swear, every time I try and dodge in one direction, he has the next spell already set up for right there!
His power isn't too great, however, and while he can pretty much always win against Ginny or Potter, assuming he manages to force them into a pattern. Me and Luna, however, are a little bit harder for him (though I still go even at best…), since I can 'cheat' and take spells that take down anyone else, and Luna's pretty much entirely unpredictable.
Granger seems to be all about knowing the perfect counter for whatever she runs into. Half of the spells we throw at her she counters midair, and the rest either get Shielded away or dodged out of. She doesn't, however, do so great against 'weird' spells, including pretty much anything Luna throws at her, or anything else she can't identify.
Watching Granger and Weasley is actually pretty cool, however. Sure, it takes a while, since neither of them are really good at starting it off, but it's the closest thing we have to a balanced duel down here. Still, after about two minutes of them trading the occasional spell, one of the two gets the advantage and the other surrenders.
Luna, is weird.
Actually, no. Correction: Luna, is Luna. I don't know if she's go silent casting down, and likes to mess with us by shouting gibberish, or if she just has an entirely different spellbook than us, but I've seen her cast spells that you'd need to see to believe. Illusions, sensory-affecting spells, and this weird colorless gas-thing that passed through Granger's shield for a win.
Unfortunately, as weird and cool as her spells tend to be, they're a lot slower to cast than what the rest of us are using, so Potter, Ginny and I can power right through her defenses in the time it takes for her to set up.
Ginny's got a similar style to Potter, except a little bit more focus on finesse, over direct power. Lots of blasting, stunning, and the like, but unlike Potter, who pretty much always aims for the chest, Ginny tends to aim (at least in my case) at the hands or the shoulders. She's still missing pretty often, but when it does hit, it's definitely getting great bang for its buck.
She's finally strong enough to force me to commit when a soak a spell: two or three hits is enough to take me down, which she's doing distressingly often. Not like I let her do so easily though, since our matches tend to be rather close.
I'd call her my rival, but I'm not sure if that's the correct term. Rival brings to mind Malfoy for Potter, and I don't think I'd ever be able to stomach that sort of thing.
And then there's me. I'm not the odd one out, actually. A lot of what I do is battlefield control, like Weasley, mixed evenly with weird, like Luna. Fire spells, with the occasional flank by summons (I had to show everyone Cinder, but it was worth it) is pretty much my go-to, although I do mix it up with Stunners, Knockback Jinxes, and a few custom spells of my own. Add in the fact that I'm still soaking the occasional weaker spell (which I know I shouldn't be getting used to, since we're going to be dealing with the Killing Curse a lot out there...), and I actually have a pretty good chance in a one-on-one.
With everything as it is, I'm generally able to take down Granger and Luna (except when Luna's in a bad mood and stops pulling her punches, at which point we go even), go even with Ginny and her brother and lose about three-quarters of the time to Potter.
One of these days I will figure out how to beat him, but right now, my only wins have been me summoning something, and then rushing him down.
I might be learning more about magic from Dumbledore up above, but I'm definitely learning more about myself down here.
And who can forget about Quidditch.
While I've been off in my own little world of Potioncraft, training, random persecution, and evil toad-women, the Quidditch season has been progressing, as it is wont to do.
I know this, because Ginny dragged me down to watch., so I'm writing this particular entry a little bit later than I had hoped.
Yes, Ginny made the team, but apparently Gryffindor's got a pretty solid team right now: with the current Chasers (the position she's aiming for) being in their last year, they want to spend as much time as possible up in the air. Thus, Ginny, (the replacement in training), ever the fan, dragged me down to watch.
If she were up in the air, I'd be less bothered about the whole thing. Right now, she's only watching Potter, and giving excited play-by-plays of the various players, including two of her brothers (the twins).
She's just as biased as the other announcer, by the way, not like it's a bad thing.
Anyway, now that she's explained to me what exactly is going on (her commentary, along with actually giving me a rulebook to read), I have to say there's a bit more to the game than I thought there was. The Seekers (the guys who stay up top and watch), apparently, aren't actually there to win the game: they're more like a flexible stopwatch.
Basically, it's almost impossible to communicate with the Seekers during the game, save for getting a player to fly directly to them. Also, it takes pretty much the Seeker's entire attention to find the Snitch (A little, golden ball), thus, the players need to score enough of a lead on the bottom of the field before either Seeker ends the game.
Sure, it's possible to tell the Seeker to hold off on catching the Snitch before a certain point and run up the score, but that leaves the field open for the other team.
It'd probably be more balanced if the Snitch was worth less points, like fifty or something. Zero would also work, but would drag the games on for way longer than they should.
Eugh, I've written way more on this than I thought I would… I guess her enthusiasm rubbed off on me somewhat. Still, there was definitely some impressive flying out there from Potter, along with the rest.
I know Ginny's aching to join him up there, when her time comes, and when she does, I'll be there to watch, even without prompting.
Still, it feels good to have friends, even if I can't tell them everything. I mean, Ginny was, and probably will be my best friend for a long while, but…
I trust them. I never thought I'd trust a group of people, but I do.
And if all I need to do for them to keep trusting me too is to suffer through the occasional Quidditch game, or help them out when they need it, I'd be more than happy to go through with it.
I guess this is what it's like to be human.
Tomorrow is the last day before Umbridge gets out of the Hospital wing. As probably horrifying (I don't really find it abhorrent, but Granger's sorta iffy about whether or not it is justified or not) as it is, there's already rumors and bets flying around for someone to go and break into the wing, and keep her out of the picture for longer.
Dumbledore might be slightly crazy, and slightly dangerous for me, but at least he knows how to teach. We've somehow, in three weeks, caught up to the level of material we should've been at.
I have no idea how he did it, but I suppose experience is good for something. There's actually been another surge in respect for him, which while probably good for his overall magic power, definitely isn't going to be doing him any favors to Umbridge's mood.
Still, pretty much no one is happy to be going back to the level of education that we were receiving earlier. A few students already tried to beg him for private teaching sessions.
Potter's already received a couple of glances, since it's more or less known (at least to the Gryffindors), that we're training him outside of classes. Either that, or they believe his libido knows no bounds.
Still haven't told anyone in the group that particular rumor, and I'm waiting for the time to do so. Hopefully, it'll turn both him and Ginny entirely red.
It's always funny how people do that.
Anyway, back to my last moments of freedom before Umbridge breaks free from her confinement.
I already booked my demonstration for Snape for today, in an hour and a half, at that, so I guess I should really get prepared.
It's been the best week of my life, and I intend to end it on a high note.