I had a really strange dream last night. I was in a small house, at the end of the sloping garden of a huge manor, and all three were in disrepair. The manor and garden looked as if they hadn't been habituated in…well, years. The smaller house was a run-down shack, and it was the sort that belonged to a groundskeeper in old manors. Papa and I didn't have one. We preferred to take care of our gardens ourselves. They were mama's pride and joy, you see.
There was an old man inside too, making a cup of tea, and I assumed that he couldn't see me, since he kept looking through me. Of course, he could've been just ignoring me, but I was more inclined towards the first option.
There was some sort of light in one of the windows of the manor. After a while, the man had noticed it, and by then I had deduced what it was. Fire. The man figured it out too, but by the way it flickered, rather than sensing it like I did. He grabbed a walking stick and a ring of keys and set off across the garden.
I followed, and it was odd, my feet made no sound on the grass, nor was there any visible indication that I had walked on it. It was like I was a ghost, or something.
We reached the house and, using a large rusty key from the ring he had brought with him, the man opened the door and entered the dark and dusty house. Climbing the stairs, I heard the faint murmurs of voices and it was then I realised that I had normal human hearing in this dream. It felt weird…
The door was slightly ajar and the man stood in the shadows, looking surprised that the fire was lit in the grate. I stopped behind him, listening carefully when the voices began to talk again. I stiffened. That voice was familiar. Horribly familiar. "There is a little more in the bottle, my Lady, if you are still hungry." Wormtail. The little rat who was the reason my grandparents were dead. Another voice responded and chills ran down my spine since this voice was all too familiar as well. "Later. Move me closer to the fire, Chase." Wuya.
I heard a scraping noise and the figure of Chase Young came into view, pushing an armchair closer to the fire. "Where is Nagini?" I had only heard that voice once two years ago, but it was unmistakable. Chase Young.
"I – I don't know, my Lord. She set out to explore the house, I think…" Wormtail sounded nervous. Good, he deserves it.
"You will need to milk her before we retire, Wormtail. She will need feeding in the night."
"The journey has tired me greatly."
"My Lord, may I ask how long we are going to stay here?"
"A week. Perhaps longer. The place is moderately comfortable, and the plan cannot proceed yet. It would be foolish to act before the Quidditch World Cup is over."
"The – the Quidditch World Cup, my Lord? Forgive me, but – I do not understand – why should we wait until the World Cup is over?" Oh, come on, Wormtail, are you really that stupid? Even I can figure that out!
Apparently Wuya agreed with me, since she spoke next with a distinctive tone of distaste. "Because, fool, at this very moment witches and wizards are pouring into the country from all over the world, and every meddler from the Ministry of Magic will be on duty, on the watch for signs of unusual activity, checking and double checking identities. They will be obsessed with security, lest the Muggles notice anything. So we wait."
"Your Ladyship is still determined, then?"
"Certainly I am determined, Wormtail."
"It could be done without Kimiko Tohomiko, my Lady."
That certainly caught my attention. Well, wouldn't it catch yours if one of the most powerful dark witches of all time was, for some reason, hell bent on killing you, and they're discussing, with their partner-in-crime and a servant, about something being done with you?
"Without Kimiko Tohomiko? I see…"
"My Lady, I do not say this out of concern for the girl. She is nothing to me, nothing at all!" Aw, thanks Wormtail. It's not like you were one of mama's best friends and my grandparents treated you like their son, or whatever… "It is merely that if we were to use another witch or wizard – any wizard – the thing could be done so much more quickly! If you allowed me to leave you for a short while – you know I can disguise myself most effectively – I could be back here in as little as two days with a suitable person-"
"I could use another witch or wizard, that is true…"
Wormtail continued to ramble, not picking up on the note of annoyance in Wuya's voice. "My Lady, it makes sense! Laying hands on Kimiko Tohomiko would be so difficult, she is so well protected…"
"And so you volunteer to go and fetch me another substitute? I wonder…perhaps the task of nursing me has become wearisome for you, Wormtail? Could this suggestion of abandoning the plan be nothing more than an attempt to desert me?"
"My Lady! I – I have no wish to leave you, none at all-"
"Do not lie to me!" Wuya shrieked and the old man beside me jumped. I had almost forgotten he was there… "I can always tell, Wormtail! You are regretting that you ever returned to me. I revolt you. I see you flinch when you look at me, feel you shudder when you touch me…"
"No! My devotion to your Ladyship-"
"Your devotion is nothing more than cowardice. You would not be here if you had anywhere else to go." Chase hissed.
"How am I to survive here without you, when I need feeding every few hours? Who will milk Nagini?"
"But you seem so much stronger-"
"Liar. I am no stronger, and a few days without either of you would be enough to rob me of the little health I have regained under your clumsy care." Wuya's voice dropped and I could tell the old man was struggling to hear it. "I have my reasons for using the girl, as I have already explained to you, and I will use no other. I have waited twelve years. A few more months will make no difference. As for the protection surrounding the girl, I believe my plan will be effective. All that is needed is a little courage from you, Wormtail – courage you will find, unless you wish to feel the extent of my wrath."
"All through our journey I have gone over the plan in my head – my Lady, Bertha Jorkins' disappearance will not go unnoticed for long, and if we proceed, if I curse-"
"If?" Wuya hissed venomously. "If? If you follow the plan, Wormtail, the Ministry need never know that anyone else has disappeared."
"You will do it quietly and without fuss; I only wish that I could do it myself but in current circumstances…"
"Come, Wormtail, one more obstacle removed and our path to Kimiko Tohomiko is clear. I am not asking you to do it alone. By that time, my faithful servant will have rejoined us."
"I'm a faithful servant." Wormtail sulked.
"Wormtail, I need somebody with brains, somebody whose loyalty has never wavered, and you, unfortunately, fulfil neither requirement." Wormtail continued to sulk and argue back, but I was too busy laughing to hear what was being said. I probably shouldn't be laughing if I really thought about the implications, but Wormtail being insulted like that was just too funny. Even if it was coming from Wuya.
By the time I calmed down enough to listen, Wuya was muttering again. "One more curse…my faithful servant at Hogwarts…Kimiko Tohomiko as good as mine, Wormtail. It is decided. There will be no more argument. But quiet…I think I hear Nagini…"
Chase started speaking in Parseltongue, which, unfortunately, I don't understand, and then Nagini, a giant serpent, slid up the stairs and into the room, the man pressing himself to the wall in fear. By the confused look on his face I guessed he was a muggle.
"Nagini has interesting news."
"In-indeed, my Lord?"
"Indeed, yes. According to Nagini, there is an old Muggle standing outside this room, listening to every word we say." That solidified it. I was invisible somehow, but the man wasn't so lucky. The door was flung open at once and Wormtail stood before him. "Invite him inside, Wormtail. Where are your manners?" Wormtail did so. "You heard everything, Muggle?"
"What's that you're calling me?" The man was brave, but standing in a room with Chase Young, Wuya and their servant, Wormtail, and you're a Muggle, you have no chance.
"I'm calling you a Muggle, it means that you are not a wizard."
"I don't know what you mean by wizard. All I know is that I have heard enough to go to the police, I have. You've done murder and you're planning more!" I must've missed that part. "And I'll tell you this, too, my wife knows I'm up here, and if I don't come back-" Bad move. Not only will Wuya know you're lying, even if they didn't it wouldn't stop them killing you.
"You have no wife, nobody knows you're up here, you told nobody you were coming… Do not lie to me, Muggle, for I know…I always know…"
"Is that right? Well, I don't think much of your manners, my Lord and Lady. Turn around and face me like a man, why don't you?"
"But I am not a man, Muggle. I am much more than that. However…why not? I will face you…" Chase began to move the chair and I closed my eyes tight, not wanting to witness a murder. Sure enough, I heard the familiar words, felt the familiar spell rustling past me, and heard the tell-tale sound of a body crumpling to the floor before I woke up.
What disturbed me most about that dream, was that it felt so real, and due to the mention of the Quidditch World Cup, I knew that if it was, it was happening around about now, and that right now, Wuya was planning something that involved me…
Speaking of the Quidditch World Cup, I was waiting for the Pedrosas to arrive at my house. Mr Pedrosa, through his job at the Ministry, had managed to get tickets for the family – minus Carla and Alejandro – to go to the final, and they invited Clay, Omi and me. In the Ministerial box, no less!
Suddenly there was a loud bang from the living room, and I ran in to hear scrambling noises from the chimney. Oh no, they didn't… Papa rushed in, looking utterly bewildered.
"Ouch!" Came a sudden shout from the chimney. That was Antonio's voice. Apparently they did… "Ricardo, no – go back, go back, there's been some kind of mistake – tell Fernando not to – OUCH! Fernando, no, there's no room, go back quickly and tell Raimundo-"
"Maybe Kimiko can hear us, Dad – maybe she'll be able to let us out-"
Next came the sound of pounding fists. "Kimiko? Kimiko, can you hear us?"
Papa stared at me and I had to fight to contain my giggles enough to speak. "They – they've travelled by Floo Powder – by fire grates – only that fireplace is blocked – hang on-" I approached the fireplace, bending down and calling up it. "Hey, guys! Can you hear me?"
The noise stopped, as someone hissed "Shh!" and then, "Ouch, Raimundo!"
"What are we doing here? Has something gone wrong?"
"Oh, no, Raimundo," Ricardo answered sarcastically. "No, this is exactly where we wanted to end up."
"Yeah, we're having the time of our lives here." That was Fernando this time, only it sounded as if he was pressed against the wall.
"Boys, boys…" Antonio sighed.
"The fireplace is blocked up, guys!" I called up the chimney.
"Ah, well, stand back!" I stepped backwards, dragging papa with me and a second later, the fireplace expanded dramatically and four brunettes came tumbling out of it. Antonio quickly fixed it while his sons were struggling to their feet. "Oh, you must be Kimiko's father!" Antonio sounded rather excited, and then I remembered that he was fascinated by Muggle things. "Why on earth was the fireplace blocked up?"
"It's an electric fire." Papa explained and he and Antonio engaged in a conversation about that.
"Why didn't you just Floo into my room, there's a fire in there."
"There is?" The twins looked astounded.
"Yeah. You know that, Rai." Rai continued to look confused, while large grins were spreading across the twins' faces at the nickname. Oh dear, I think I just subjected Raimundo to a lot of teasing… "Well, first: I'm the Xiaolin Dragon of Fire, what else would I have in my room but a fireplace with a proper fire? And second, you saw it last summer."
"Oh, I don't think he was paying attention to the fireplace."
Antonio and papa rejoined us then, and Fernando and Ricardo's eyes lit up. "Would you like a toffee, Mr Tohomiko?"
"I'd love one," papa took the proffered toffee from Ricardo. Once he began to eat it, a strange expression took over his face, then he opened his mouth, and his tongue was swelling rapidly, a strange purple colour.
"Here, take this." Fernando handed him a different sweet and papa managed to place it in his mouth. His tongue shrunk back to its normal size.
"Boys!" Antonio looked mad. I had never seen him mad before. It was usually Carla who got mad. "What was that?"
"Ton Tongue Toffee." They announced proudly.
"It was brilliant!" Papa grinned. "Where did you get them?"
"We made them."
My jaw dropped. "You made them?"
"Yeah, it's for their joke business they're planning – Wizarding Wheezes." Wow.
"We should be going now. Kimiko, do you mind if we use the fireplace in your room?"
"Of course not. All of my things are in there anyway."
I hugged papa goodbye, since it was mid-August, I would be staying with the Pedrosas until school began. Antonio Floo-ed first with my trunk, then Fernando, then Ricardo, before Rai and I used the elemental transport we had perfected over the last year. I grinned as I re-materialised. This was going to be a good summer.