“Magic mine, be my will,
Protect me, henceforth, from all ill!”
Mildred held her hands up, trying to project the barrier like she wanted to. There was a weak lilac coloured flicker, but it disappeared again, soon. The young witch let out an annoyed huff.
“Why are you working so hard on this? It’s a spell for the third grade.” Enid asked as she and Maud sat in a seclude corner outside, watching Mildred perform this spell for the umpteenth time. Said witch only sighed and plopped herself next to her two friends.
“It’s not because it’s difficult and I want to get a head start, but because of what dad told me the other day.” She explained and earned two raised eyebrows.
Maud asked: “You mean when he told you that he was scared that you wouldn’t be safe?”
Mildred nodded. “I told him that he didn’t need to worry because we are witches and could take care of ourselves and that I’m also able to protect myself. But I’m the worst witch here. If something were to happen, I would be the last one to be able to fight back with magic. So I’ve been looking up spells I think might be useful if I’m ever going to be attacked.” She sighed and let herself fall back onto the soft grass.
After a few minutes of silence, she added: “Maud, remember our first day here when we had entrance exams last year, where Agatha challenged Miss Cackle to a magical duel?” She sat up with a smile. “I don’t like that they had to do that, but if I could fight like that, then I’m sure dad would finally stop worrying and try to stop thinking of ways to either monitor the school or get me to transfer to one closer to him.”
The three girls giggled. “Yeah, he is kind of overprotective, isn’t he?” Enid replied and Mildred nodded. Then she turned sombre again. Maud picked up on that and frowned.
“What’s wrong?” She asked and Mildred only sighed.
“I know I told you he’s worried about me, but I’m just as worried about him.” Enid winced in sympathy.
“He’s gone again, isn’t he?” She asked and Mildred nodded.
“Yeah. He should be in mandatory downtime, but something came up and somehow the only one who had to go was my dad. Something about a contact only he could deal with. I don’t know, dad didn’t tell me anything. Like always.” She sighed again and played with the hem of her dress unhappily. “At least they didn’t let him go alone this time. He said that another agent, agent Bond, I met him, was going with him. He had complained about that, but I’m glad that he didn’t go alone.”
Maud smiled encouragingly at her. “But think positive. You said they said that it’s not supposed to be dangerous and it’s only a meeting and that he’s going to be back tomorrow.”
Mildred sighed. “Yeah I know. But he’s not supposed to be cleared for any kind of work and even though he can walk around normally again and everything, he’s still not fully healed and still on painkillers. I’m really not happy about it.”
Enid clapped her on the back encouragingly. “Well, then how about getting up and train this spell. So when he gets back, you have something to surprise him with and maybe he’ll get off your back about transferring schools.”
Mildred giggled and nodded, jumping up with renewed vigour. She planned on mastering the spell before the next time she met him, so she still had a lot of work to do. Finally, after a lot of tries, she was able to hold it and it was strong enough to defend herself against the balls her friends were throwing at her. Mildred wasn’t sure if it could defend her from bullets and a falling building, but it was better than nothing.
She had just started practicing the reverse spell, keeping something contained and from harming her, that the bell rung and the trio hastened back to lessons.
While they walked through the corridors, they noticed the green, a bit slimy sheen the walls were covered with. It had started the day before but Mildred had been too upset that morning with the message from her father that he was to fly out so soon after being released from the medical ward to really think about it.
Now that she had calmed down, she realized the weird feeling she got whenever she walked close to it and it even seemed to follow her. Mildred didn’t like that feeling one bit. As it seemed, her friends weren’t either, so they hurried up to the potions lab.
When they were inside, they met the rest of their classmates, but instead of the usual chipper chatter, they were met with an uncomfortable and awkward conversation. As it seemed, they were not the only ones feeling the strange effects of the green sheen.
With a flicker their potions teacher Miss Hardbroom teleported in and with a fast survey she nodded. “Everyone move to the great hall. Our headmistress has an announcement to make.” She commanded and with an uneasy look between each other, the girls stood up and followed her into the great hall, where the rest of the school was already waiting. On their way they saw even more of the green sheen and the foreboding and uneasy feeling grew.
They all sat down and waited for their headmistress to speak. Miss Cackle sighed and rose, the hall silenced by that.
“Hello my dear girls. I have an unfortunate announcement to make.” She looked around and they all waited with baited breath for her next words. “As I’m sure you have realized, the school has been infested. The green sheen you’ve been seeing all around the school is a rare but for witches and wizards very dangerous kind of fungus. It feeds on magic and will drain you slowly from it.”
Nervous muttering started up and even Mildred felt the uneasiness that fell over her schoolmates.
“But not to worry,” Miss Cackle continued. The school was silent once again and the headmistress gave them all a warm smile. “There is a way to get rid of it and we teachers are already working on it. However, for the time being, it would be irresponsible and even dangerous to keep you girls here. Thus school will be suspended for the rest of the week starting this afternoon. It will continue on Monday and for the time being we will send you all home, where you will be safe.”
Confused and even excited muttering arose and Mildred grinned. It was Monday, that meant that she had a full week. And she knew already where she would be spending it.
Shortly after they were released and they moved to their potions lab, where they would get a few assignments they had to complete for the rest of the week and not two hours later the girls were packing their bags to get ready to return home. Mildred was excited, but did feel a tad bad that she wouldn’t spend it with her mother. But she thought that, as it was right now, her father needed her more.
“So, where are you guys going?” Maud asked when the three met up in the inner courtyard, ready to say good bye to each other for the rest of the week. They all were dressed in their school uniform with their witch hats and cloaks, holding their cats in their arms. Mildred was a tad exasperated when she tried to coax her familiar in her backpack. After over a year and her Tabby still hated flying.
Enid shrugged her shoulders. “My parents are currently in York, preparing for a show. I’m going to fly there and spent the week with them. Maybe participate in one.” She turned to Mildred. “And you? What about you? Where are you going?” The dark haired girl asked and Mildred shrugged.
“Mr. Q said that dad is coming back today. So I’m going to fly to Heathrow Airport and pick him up. Then I’ll stay with him in London for a week.” She grinned. “Someone has to take care of him and keep him out of trouble after all.” The trio laughed at that.
In the end the three hugged and mounted their brooms, slowly ascending into the air with a lot of other students, all waiving at each other in good bye. Some stayed together because they would be flying in the same direction for a while, but one after another disappeared into a different direction and in the end Mildred was the only one flying to London.
Mildred had written to Mr. Q and had asked him when the plane would land. He had answered and now Mildred sped up a bit. She hoped she would make it in time and that she wouldn’t be too late. She wanted it to be a surprise and pick him up from the airport. She was sure her father would be happy to see her. She knew she would.
When the young witch arrived a few hours later, she gulped. She had never been inside an airport before and Heathrow was supposed to be quite big. She was a bit scared that she wouldn’t be able to find her way and would get herself completely lost. Still, Mildred took a deep breath and dismounted her broom, putting it inside her bag and returning to visibility.
Mildred entered the airport and earned a few odd looks and suddenly she felt self-conscious. She knew she should have changed into normal street clothes, but she hadn’t thought of it earlier and now she was stuck wearing her school uniform with witch hat and cloak. At least she could put away her hat to make her less stand out, what she promptly did.
Still, she earned a lot of curious stared because she refused to take of her cloak. It was a bit cold after all. Yet, the girl was still lost and utterly confused when she stared at a massive blackboard with arriving times of different planes and gates. Mildred was officially lost and she reconsidered trying to surprise her father. Maybe it would have been better if she would fly to his apartment and waited there? With every passing minute the idea seemed to be more appealing.
“-dred? Mildred!” The familiar voice pulled her out of her musings and said girl turned around, searching for the caller. Her eyes widened and a bright grin appeared on her face.
“Mr. Q!” She called and waived happily. Well, if that wasn’t a happy coincidence.
The young man came up to her and gave her a warm but confused smile. “What are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be in school?”
Mildred only shrugged. “There was a problem with some kind of dangerous magical fungus the teachers had to deal with. So today we all gathered in the great hall and they send us home for the rest of the week while they are dealing with it.” She explained and the man gave her an unbelievable stare.
“A … magical fungus?” He asked and Mildred nodded.
“It feeds on magic and stuff. We all felt how it was bad news and in the end they send us home for our own safety.” Mildred clarified and Mr. Q only nodded.
“Yet it still doesn’t explain what you are doing here, at the airport.” He specified his question, “And how did you even get here? Did you come directly from your school? You’re still wearing your school uniform?” And Mildred grinned at him.
“Well, you told me that dad’s plane would be landing and I thought I could pick him up.” She explained, “And also, I flew here of course. Everyone went home on their brooms. It was really rather sudden after all and a broom is the typical way for witches and wizards to travel.” She explained and finally Mr.Q gave her a smile.
So that’s why you were asking,” he murmured absent-mindedly. “That’s very nice of you. I’m sure he’ll be delighted to see you. But where is your broom? Did you park it somewhere like a car?” He asked and smiled at her. Mildred grinned and shook her head.
“Of course not. It’s inside my bag.” She answered and the man frowned.
“How does it fit – oh forget I asked. Magic of course.” He sighed and finally smiled at her.
Mildred returned it but then frowned.
“Hold up a second. Then what are you doing here?” She asked and the man sighed and motioned for her to follow him.
“I’m doing the same as you. Picking them up. 007 still has documents and papers that need to be completed and seeing as he volunteered to go on this mission solely to escape the paperwork, which, unfortunately is needed for my department and seeing that I am the Quartermaster, M had decided that he would send me to deal with it and make sure that it will be completed today and that I would drive them home to collect it.” The man grimaced and Mildred winced in sympathy. She had heard that all field agents seemed to hate paperwork and she couldn’t fault them for that. But the ones who needed it weren’t to be envied either.
The two sat in front of the arriving gate and talked while they waited. The boffin again gave her the invitation to visit his technical department in MI6 should she come with her father to the building tomorrow when he would be dropping of his report and the young with happily agreed.
Mildred told him of the many adventures and mishaps that had happened at Cackles’ and how she was currently working on some defensive and healing spells to maybe appease her worrywart of a father. Mr. Q laughed at that but agreed that it was an amazing idea, offering help whenever she would need it.
Finally the announcement came that the plane had landed and Mildred was barely able to sit still, waiting with bated breath that her father would arrive.
After what felt like forever she could spy two familiar figures seemingly arguing with each other, one more tired than the other, rubbing his eyes and temple. Mildred recognized him as her father and the other, who was obviously pestering him, her father’s best friend and fellow agent James Bond.
The two hadn’t seen them and didn’t seem to realize that they were there.
Mildred couldn’t hold herself back anymore and jumped up.
“DAD!” She yelled and when she saw how fast her father’s head turned when he heard her, she waived animatedly at him, jumping up and down in happiness. She could see the clear shock and surprise on his face with a glint of hope in his eyes and saw him mouthing her name, seemingly not realizing that she really was there.
Mildred couldn’t wait anymore and sprinted across the airport, shortening the distance separating them and ignoring the looks she was given. Her father was also moving into her direction, slowly, as if he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
Finally she was only a few feet away from him and when she showed no sign of stopping, her father opened his arms and the young girl jumped happily into him, hugging him hard and grinning wide.
“You’re here. You’re really here!” Her father mumbled against her head, pressing soft kisses to her hair and hugging her close to his body.
“I am,” She replied, breathing in his familiar and calming scent, her heart fluttering in happiness that she was finally reunited with him. After what felt like forever, they both loosened their grip, yet still refusing to let go of each other and Mildred smiled at him. He stared at her in happiness and Mildred grinned at him.
“Welcome back, dad.”