"Now, let me explain." Mrs. Inash started in a droning voice, trying to be kind and welcoming. But she obviously had something on her mind that was distracting her, "Students come here at the age of three, and study at the nursery." We turned the corner and went out the giant oak doors, leading onto the large grassed courtyard, and on the right was a small castle.
I could hear happy squeals coming from the open window as we walked past. Adjusting the bag on my shoulder, I smiled, but had no idea why. Maybe it was because deep down I knew they have what I didn't. A type of family.
But that family seemed to change as we walked past the older years, everyone seemed to be in there own clique, it looked like something out of a lame American film.
Walking back into the main castle building and through the magnificent dining hall, the cliques seemed to be more apparent. Everyone seemed to be dining in there own species. Looking up, the ceiling was painted with a giant map, and on the columns next to the large floor-to-ceiling windows were shields. All with a different picture on the crest. Weaving in and out of the circular tables filled with students, Mrs. Inash carried on with her welcoming speech, "Now this is where you will be eating most of your meals Mr. Bytheway. This is a very beautiful room, and I hope you respect it." Ignoring the last snide remark she made, I quietly carried on admiring the room, and the ‘people' in it.
Witches where floating things in the air, most of them whizzing notes to tables at the other side of the room, giggling. "Mr. Randall!" Mrs. Inash shouted at one of the tables, pulling me out of my trance, "Put that out at once!" The guy she was shouting at looked at her with a blank expression, the burning piece of plastic cup still in his hand, the laugh was in his eyes. The table he was sitting at was different though, it had allsorts of different people sitting at it. Another guy with platinum blonde hair sitting beside him laughed and blew it out in any icy steam. The rest of the table laughed as the blonde guy shouted back, "It's alright Miss, we'll make sure he won't do it again!" He grinned and tapped his friend on the back, as he did, the one apparently called Mr. Randall muttered something, annoyed.
"As I said Mr. Bytheway, respect this hall." she tutted.
We walked most of the castle before we finally got to my living quarters. It was past the dormitories, the playing field, half the classrooms, study areas, giant library and past most of the specialist observatories. Obviously you need a lot of space to teach all these types of people.
My small cabin was slightly hidden from sight in the tree's next to the woods. I guess Professor. Hershall wanted to make me feel at home. It was working, but only slightly. I still didn't understand what he wanted with me.
"This was part of the old infirmary, so we had to do it up quite a bit for your arrival Mr. Bytheway, I hope you find it quite comfortable for the time being." Mrs. Inash opened the door, to reveal a medium sized room.
"It's better than a shed." I smiled at my own joke as I looked around. Walking in I put my bag on the single bed in the corner to the right of the room. The bathroom was on the left side in a small tiled extension, a desk next to the door, a green three seater sofa in the corner parallel to the bed, in front of it a low coffee table and next to that a small draw with a lamp on top. Hooks with hangers were hanging from the ceiling, ready for the little clothes I had, and a good sized book shelf was stood next to the draw. It was very nice in my oppionion.
"Yes. Yes I'm sure it is better than a shed, Mr. Bytheway." The corners of her mouth twitched slightly, "You have missed dinner but I can get the kitchen staff to cook a meal for you and send it over if you would like."
"Thanks Miss, but I‘m not hungry."
"It's Mrs. Inash to all students, Mr. Bytheway. Someone will be here in the morning with everything you need. I look forward to seeing you in my classes."
"Good night." I smiled as she gave a small nod and went out into the setting sun, closing the door behind her.
I sat on the bed thinking for a while, every detail of this evenings event's swirling through my head. First of all, Professor. Hershall enrolling me here. Why? And then there was Mrs. Inash, her attitude seemed to swap and change throughout the school. She was distant in Professors office, annoyed in the dining hall but kind and welcoming in here. She probably had a lot on her mind, I resorted with a sigh and got up to unpack my bag. All I had was six t-shirts, two of which are long sleeved, and a couple of pairs of jeans. They didn't take long to hang up.
Walking into the bathroom, I pulled back the shower curtain and turned the water on. The warm water running down my back relaxed me slightly as I washed. Suddenly a humming sound came into the bathroom, and small padding footprints, pulling back the curtain-
"Whoa!" The sound of metal hit the tiles and objects I couldn't interpret yet splattered and rolled onto the floor. Quickly grabbing the shower curtain back I covered myself. There was a small goblin like creature in front of me, "What the hell are you?!" I exclaimed.
"I'm - I - I'm sorry Sir!" his small hands flew up to his eyes, covering his shocked face. "Miss told me to bring you food Sir... from the kitchen!"
"Oh..." The curtain covering the least modest part of my body, with the water still splashing down my back and a scared looking thing covering it's eyes must of looked quite an amusing sight if anyone were watching.
"It's beef casserole Sir, I shall wait outside for you to finish, please, please finish what your doing."
With that he turned, hands still covering his face, and walked towards the door, "Ow." he muttered as he hit the door frame. I pulled a towel from the bathroom shelf, wrapping it around me I went back into my bedroom slash living space.
"I am so very sorry Sir, please forgive Paggin. Paggin shall go and get you more food, Sir. Yes, yes that is what Paggin shall do for Sir to forgive him." He seemed to be talking more to himself as he walked towards the door.
"No. Stop it's fine, really. You just scared me thats all." I tried to be sympathetic to the poor creature.
"Paggin is very sorry for scaring, Sir. Paggin will get Sir more food. Mrs- Mrs. Inash will be angry with Paggin if he doesn't get more food for Mr. Bytheway." he stuttered.
"Is that your name? Paggin?" I asked as he tried to reach for the door handle. "Yes Sir, Paggin is my name," he squeaked proudly as he bowed slightly, "Would Sir be so kind as to open the door for Paggin?" Paggin pointed to the handle, which was about three inches higher than he could tip toe, but looked slightly guilty for asking such a request.
"I will, but you have to tell me what you are first." I tried to bargain with Paggin, whatever he was.
"Paggin cannot tell what Paggin is, Sir. Paggin is just here to serve all students at this school, Sir."
Looking at Paggin, he didn't look like a goblin, or an elf for that matter. He had scaly muddy skin with little feet, long bony hands and stood about two feet off of the floor. All the clothes he had on was small three quarter length trousers, and a long scarlet scarf, wrapped around his neck at least twice even though it still trailed across the floor slightly.
"Please just call me Rowan." I was getting rather annoyed with everyone calling me Mr. Bytheway and Sir all of he time.
"Yes Sir Rowan."
"No, just Rowan."
"Yes Sir... Rowan." he repeated.
"Rowwan." I said slowly as if I was talking to a foreign exchange student."
"Row-won." He repeated again, this time in two syllables. I gave up.
"Do you want to sit down, Paggin?" I pointed to the green three seater sofa, maybe he could explain a few things about this place. Paggin gasped in horror.
"No! No, no, no, no, no, no, Paggin does not want to sit down on Sir. Row-won's chair!" Paggin started to hyperventilate, his small chest rising and falling drastically. What did I say?! I quickly had to do something before the poor thing dropped dead in the middle of my room.
"Okay Paggin, breath in and out. Really slowly, do it now." I kneeled in front of him, trying to keep calm, "That's it,"
He started to breathe a little normally but he still managed to mutter, "Sir Row-won asked Paggin... to sit. Paggin, must not... sit... in Sir's chair."
"Okay, I'm sorry, just breathe Paggin." he gasped again, his breathing going out the window,
"Sir Row-won is sorry... for .... Paggin. Sir Row-won must not be sorry!" Paggin squealed.
This was getting ridiculous. "Paggin, will you just breathe!" But my attempts were shunned as he started to pace the room, every now and then giving a running start at the door and jumping for the handle. Might as well give him some sort of break, I thought as I went to open the door, "Thank you, Sir Row-won." He said picking himself up off of the floor as he fell out of the door only seconds before. "Paggin will see Sir in the morning at breakfast!" he called back, scrambling up the small hill to the main castle.