Beyond the Foggy Path

Chapter 6: Fitting In!

The rest of the night had gone by in a blur. Erela awkwardly answered questions that older students from Hufflepuff house asked her as well as awkwardly make conversation with the other first years that were housed with her during the feast. It was kind of hard to soak in everything all at once, but she knew she would get over it within the year since she would be spending most of her days in Hogwarts.

After the feast, Erela and the other first years were escorted to Hufflepuff tower by the two Prefects. Prefects were students who had been given extra authority and responsibility by the Head of the House, or headmaster/headmistress. One boy and one girl would be chosen from each house by their fifth year and continue onward to their sixth and seventh year until they leave school. They had the power to take points away from their own house as penalty for rule-breaking, but are not allowed to take points from other prefects or students in other houses.

All in all, they were the hall monitors of their house. Brilliant students, but rather dislikable figures by their own house.

Erela followed the Prefects, getting closer to the kitchen and passed by the tempting aroma of the food that was left from the feast that night. Where the heck was Hufflepuff house located? The students kept on walking to the nook of the right hand side of the kitchen corridor toward a stack of barrels. The prefect boy tapped the barrel two from the bottom, middle of the second row in some sort of rhythm, and the lid opened.

"Follow us," the prefect girl told the first years as she got on all fours and crawled into the barrel hole. The first years looked to each other quizzically before the students up front did the same and crawled into the hole.

Um . . . okay? Erela did the same and crawled in, following behind the rest just in front of her. How far was the place? Too bad for those who were claustrophobic, they would not do well. Erela then remembered that badgers lived underground, oh so that was what they were thinking. The Hufflepuff house lived underground.

"The location of the Hufflepuff has remained a secret for a thousand years, making this the most secure out of all the houses," one of the prefects told them as they came into the common room one by one from the tunnel.

Erela stood up and looked around the round room. It was covered in lots of yellow and copper colors with overstuffed sofas and armchairs in yellow and black. Windows high above showed a vista of grass and pots of dandelions that barely covers the windows in case some students outside of Hufflepuff house did discover the basement. There was some ivy hanging on the walls and ceiling to create more vegetated life into the common room. Wonder if sunlight in the room would add to the "enchanted forest" effect.

"This is the Hufflepuff common room where students will have their free time if they choose. The other doors you see are more tunnels that will lead you to the dormitories. Girls' dorms are to your left, the boys' dorms are to the right. All your things should already be in your dorms," the prefect girl said. "Be sure to collect instructions on how to enter this place again before you go out. If you tap the wrong lid or the wrong rhythm, you will be doused with vinegar," she also added before she and the prefect boy wandered a little further into the Hufflepuff common room.

Some first years stuck around to look around the common room while the other half wandered into the tunnels to find their dorm. Erela and the freckled boy, Landon (if she remembered clearly), took the piece of paper of instructions that would bring them back into the basement.

"Do you remember how they did it?" he asked.

"The rhythm? Not really," she shook her head and sat down on one of the armchairs and stared at the instructions, tapping her fingers to remember how the beat went earlier. "If I knew we were expected to memorize it on the spot, I probably would have actually paid better attention," she said as she memorized the instruction.

"No kidding," the boy nodded as he read through the piece of paper too.

Just before Erela decided to go to bed, she went to the prefect girl to teach her the rhythm to tap the barrels. She didn't leave until she was sure she had it down. Erela crawled in one of the tunnels on the girls' side and found the room with five four-poster beds covered in patchwork quilts. The room was illuminated by warm copper lamps and copper bed-warms hung on the wall.

Right, it would still be cold underground.

Erela learned the other girls' names. Gloria Pinkstone, a pudgy red head. Damara Blane, a dark skinned girl with dark curls and a really tiny figure. Aurelia Peltier, a blonde girl with green eyes and a scar across her nose. And Bianca Carter, a dark skinned haired girl like Erela and closer to Erela's tall stature than the rest of the girls, just about an inch shy of her.

Gloria was the quietest one out of Erela's four roommates and kept to herself like Erela did. Erela and Gloria exchanged a few sentences to one another before they turned in for the night for their first day of school.

Within the next morning, Erela woke up early so she could make sure she was going the right way to class. The castle was large, very large, it would be a miracle if first years didn't get lost on their first three days of school.

Erela buttoned up her short-sleeved top and pulled on a sleeveless sweater vest afterward. Once she slipped into a knee length skirt, dark grey socks, and her penny loafers, she attempted to tie her yellow and black tie and soon gave up. Would she really get in trouble for not wearing a tie?

She left the Hufflepuff common room, humming the rhythm she had learned from the prefects as she looked through a map of the school that was left on her trunk back in her dorms as well as look through her schedule. Defense Against the Dark Arts was her first class.

Sounded . . . well, besides useful, rather interesting.

Mondays was was Defense Against the Dark Arts and Charms. Transfigurations, Flying, and Potions on Tuesdays. Wednesdays was History of Magic, Herbology, and Astronomy. Astronomy, she learned was at . . . midnight!? They expected ten to eleven year olds to be awake that late for class!? Geez, good luck trying to get Erela to stay awake during that class. After Wednesday classes it reverted back to Monday and Tuesday classes. So her Wednesday classes only met once a week.

There weren't a lot of students out. And by the looks of their nose pressed to the schedule and maps in their hands, they were out the same reason Erela was out early in the morning. She went looking for her first class of the day and wandered around from corridor to corridor looking for her classes in order. Good thing the class met each other one day a week. Eight classes a day would be pushing it.

More and more students were starting to appear as Erela went searching for her fifth classroom when she heard some students telling each other to get to class before they were late. Wait, already? She knew she had gotten lost here and there, but not so much that an hour passed by so fast, right?

Erela looked down at her watch to see the time before running to her Defense Against the Dark Arts class. Dang it! She had so little time to make it!

She was ten minutes late, as well as many were. Their professor, Chroniculus Haxel, allowed them to be late, but only for their first day. The rest of the year they were expected to be on time. And immediately, he went through what they were going to do the whole year.

Erela was sitting next to Michael in that class since he was the only other familiar face in the class and she wanted everyone to stop staring at her when she walked through the door. Again, Michael tried talking to her via notes while the professor's back was to them. Erela was starting to warm up to the boy, he was always trying so hard and she was able to recognize that.

"Hey, do want to have lunch together?" Michael asked when the professor dismissed them.

"Umm . . ." Seriously, why the heck not? Michael was at least trying to make friends with Erela and she kind of felt he wouldn't stop trying. "Sure," Erela nodded in agreement.

"Brilliant," he smiled as he got up from his seat. "I'll see you in Flying class then at lunch afterward?" the tall grey eyed boy asked.

"Of course you will," Erela chuckled. It was actually the first time she let go of a laugh since before her birthday a month ago.

"Alright, bye! I'm going to look for my next class," he waved her off excitedly and ran off. He was a very energetic boy.


The rest of the week went by in a blur. Erela was pretty overwhelmed with all the topics she would have to learn and the fact that she was going to be tested on all eight of them was freaking her out.

Erela learned she sucked at flying. Even if she had her first two classes, the broom didn't "speak" to her as much as she had wished. In fact, the broom actually kicked her off a couple times.

She had a natural talent for Transfigurations, or at least understanding it. The professor hadn't taught them how to change things just yet. That wasn't for another two weeks.

Erela asked for help from Michael during Potions class since he was much better at it than she was and helped one another for History of Magic. By the end of the week, Erela and Michael had become rather close. They ate with each other and helped each other with their homework as much as they could before having to go to class and going to bed. Their housemates from Slytherin house and Hufflepuff house kept looking at them, wondering if the two first years were daft for befriending one another.

She only rolled her eyes and kept to herself about the whole thing. To Michael and Erela, it shouldn't matter whether or not they were from different houses. They were still people. In her head, she thought that stereotypes shouldn't create a wall.

Within the month since school started, Michael Hughes, the Slytherin boy, and Erela Harris the Hufflepuff girl became best friends.

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