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by: Milo Witte
Friday, 3 February 2012
8:00 p.m.

No one wanted to listen to him or his "mad" ravings.

Milo should be used to being discredited. His rantings and ravings and unexpected tangents and moments of clarity had most people thinking he was odd and a little less likely to want to spend time with him because he was hard to keep up with or something like that. But really, what was it so hard to believe their murderer was a vampire or something similar born in 1858? Was it really so difficult to believe considering his fascination with blood, the fact most victims had been discovered in the morning, if they were ever fresh? Given their killer's desire to show his prowess, killing right under others' noses, wouldn't it make sense he would kill in broad daylight if he could? The fact he hadn't so far as Milo could gather at least strongly implied their killer was limited to the confines of darkness.

There had been questions, yes, even in his own mind. For instance, why wasn't he simply biting the necks? Why did he leave the blood alone? Why hadn't any of their victims been drained? Why didn't he have an army of undead sirelings? The amount of control it would take not to be enthralled by the blood could be attributed to the vampire's age, Milo had deduced, or--which this was more likely--he wasn't a vampire. Milo had done research, and there were creatures with long life spans who shared nocturnal restrictions to the point going out in daylight could be deadly.

But no, they kept to themselves, so clearly this wasn't one of them or something like that. Anything to brush him away, to pacify their own fears. And it didn't help that the game with the devil himself hadn't been nearly as frequently played nor interesting as Milo had anticipated. He'd taken to writing the government, but he could only assume they were ignoring him as well.

Milo sighed as he looked down at the pile of papers that surrounded him at his spot at the end of the Ravenclaw table. He supposed he'd better get this done. He wanted to actually get some sleep tonight.
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by: Dresden Faust
It had been another long day in a series of long days with nothing but panicked students and staff to deal with. Honestly Dres was finding it harder and harder to keep up his happy go lucky nature. The killer was still loose, the Guard was nothing short of useless...

He still hadn't told anyone that he'd met and had a conversation with the killer whom he was now more than 100% certain was something vampiric in nature. Definitely not a normal vampire by any means but something similar. It wasn't that he hadn't dropped hints about it, or flat out told the guard on the few times they had been together... but each time he was ignored. Not surprising really, but it was frustrating. The worst they could have done was humored the idea... wasn't like they had been doing anything else productive.

The professor made his way to the great hall with a stack of papers in hand. He tried his best to keep his students occupied by having them write about certain spells that could help them defend themselves in situations similar to the one they were in. If the Ministry and the guard weren't going to do anything he opted to try and give his students a fighting chance even though deep down he knew it was to little to late.

When he saw Milo sitting at the Ravencalw table he made a slight detour so he could join his friend and fellow professor.

"Care for some company Milo?"
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by: Milo Witte
Milo jumped at the sound of his friend's voice. He shook his head to shake himself out of the daze he'd fallen into. He hadn't realized he was that deep in thought. Or was it that he was that tired? He didn't know and he didn't care. His face was weary as he looked at Dresden, drawn and obviously tired. "Sure," he replied adding as much cheer to his voice as he could muster under these circumstances such as they now lived in. "Need to get these things graded. Even with everything, the students still want to owl mum and dad with their good letters." Milo gave a small chuckle.

"It's been a while," Milo said. And it had. He'd seen Dresden in passing, but they hadn't had a chance to spend time together other than moments at the professor's table. But let's face it, that was hardly anything worth mentioning. "How are you hanging in there?" He set his quill down. There was little need to hold it for now. His mind needed a break, some change of pace, and hopefully Dresden could provide it.
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by: Rika Lefcourt
The great hall seemed like a great idea. Usually she would simply retreat to her quarters and do the work there, but as of late those four walls seemed to be suffocating her. That papers on transfiguration were also rather boring didn't particularly help either. Yes, the students wanted to do other things. Of course they did. They weren't any different in Japan. But waving around their wands and chanting incantations was not a good start for the exact science called transfiguration. First they had to understand the theory, the basics, the science behind it and, as the young professor had found, her predecessors had been not exactly forthcoming with this kind of information for the students.

It also still irked her that she had to call it Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration. What nonsense that was. The law and the five Principal Exceptions were really Mu Guiying’s Law. Mu Guiying had been a legendary heroine of China’s Northern Song dynasty and a prominent figure in the Generals of the Yang Family stories and legends. She had been one of the first, if not the first to stipulate the basic principles of transfiguration and the exceptions sometime in the tenth or so century.

Why Hogwarts was so far behind was still something she couldn't quite wrap her head around. Most likely it had historic reasons, with wizards and witches being on a sort of hit list of various organizations in the past.

Another thing she dreaded were the answers in the papers underneath her arm. The first test had brought answers like “I'm sorry, I don't really know” from three different students. Sometimes it felt that she had to return to the basics even with more advanced students.

Well, on the good side, at least they weren't wasting their time with nonsense like Kwikspell. Such correspondence courses gave exact sciences like transfiguration a bad name. Surely such things were useful for the more shady pseudo-sciences, like divination, but for transfiguration? Ridiculous!

As she approached the great hall a voice sounded inside. She stopped. That had sounded like professor Witte. It was not that she minded him or had issues with him. Sure, he was a rambling lunatic at times, but at least he wasn't as obnoxious as that Fernsby woman. Witte was, at least from her point of view, a harmless dork.

It would have been easy to simply turn away and find a different place, but on the other hand...

Professor Lefcourt stepped through the door and noticed that professor Witte was not alone. Professor Faust was also there and for a second she found herself wondering again whether he was related to the legendary doctor Faust or Faustus.

“Good evening, gentlemen.”
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by: Dresden Faust
A smirk made its way across Dresden's face when his friend jumped and for a fleeting moment he was tempted to call the younger man out on it but at the very last second managed to bite his tongue considering the circumstances. After all with a killer running around the school being jumpy was almost becoming the standard.

Seeing as Milo didn't mind the company Dres dropped the pile of essay he'd brought with him and took a seat pointing at the pile as he did. "Indeed it has, and I can relate," he stated simply with a face that looked liked he'd rather be doing anything but grading. Grading was the one thing he despised most about teaching. Practical lessons were more Dresden's cup of tea, and a heck of a lot more fun too for both student and teacher.

Dres pulled out a quill, though he made no more to do anything with it other than roll it between his fingers, as Milo asked how he was doing. Honestly he was a lot of thing at the moment: tired of consoling worried students, annoyed at the headmaster and Ministry for not being more proactive with the situation they were in, angry at the blatant stupidity of some of the guard and their inability to think outside the box and most importantly, exceptionally curious as to what this creature was that was stalking the halls. Never mind their was a well hidden worry for a certain idiot friend that had got involved in certain idiot things. All in all though, he thought he was holding up decent considering the circumstances.

"As well as to be expected I suppose, considering the circumstances. Sent out more bloody owls than I ever though possible over the past week. Otherwise just trying to keep my students busy and productive. How have you been?"

No sooner had he given Milo his answer and question, another familiar voice sounded off. Dres turned his head and offered Rika a smile. This was turning into quite the former Ravenclaw gathering. "Good Evening Professor. Care to join us?"
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by: Milo Witte
Milo held his breath a moment as he contemplated how best to reply to Dresden's return of his own question. After a moment, he released it as he said resolutely, "Perturbed." It was perhaps the nicest way to put how he was feeling. After all, there were quite a few choice words he had for some of the people who now resided in the castle and not nearly enough time to say them all. So, he'd rather begin with digressing then expound upon it should his friend so ask. Alright then: it was a bit more likely expound upon it when he so decided.

"You see, I have obtained a rather shady friend, and I have written many letters concerning my suspicions surrounding his nature to our blind 'guardians.' These letters, however, have as of yet been either dismissed in the worst way possible or altogether ignored. It's quite vexing, as I'm sure you'll understand, disconcerting at best." It was then he felt Rika's presence and heard her voice. He peered up at her, making a mental note to get a hair cut as it was blocking his view from where Fezzy weighed it down, and smiled back. It was a polite sort of smile, the sort you gave someone you somewhat respected but had no real relation to. "Hullo there," he replied then glanced at Dresy, smirked, then pointed across his body at his friend. "What he said. Join us."

((Short but wanted to get something up for you guys. Sorry for the wait!))
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by: Rika Lefcourt
What were those two conspiring about anyway? The words she had been able to make out had been curious and not exactly, well... The way things were, Rika had been raised properly as a good, little Japanese girl who would follow the rules, a notion she had recently started to defy, which, by itself, was rather odd of her. Nevertheless the secretive talk of these two didn't quite fit into her upbringing.

“Thank you,” she said anyway and took the opportunity to join them.

How odd, she thought to herself when realizing that they were both sitting at the Ravenclaw table. A part of her had never stopped wondering about the pink elephant in the room. What if her mother had taken her to Britain much earlier? What if Rika had joined Hogwarts right away rather than Shirasagi first? Had she made Ravenclaw? Or would it have been Slytherin? Lefcourts always made Slytherin, so the family had believed, but since she wasn't truly one of them she was convinced that Ravenclaw would have been the only real choice for that old, smelly sorting hat.

She put the stack of papers on the table. “Owls? Secret letters? Shady friends?” Her right eyebrow rose slightly, making her a spitting image of Shirasagi's potions master. A slight disapproving look, with just the right amount of contempt, that's how that woman had always done it.

“Don't let the guard hear of it.”

Though, part of her wondered how much these two, or anybody else at Hogwarts for that matter, knew about her connection with Williams and the true reason for her being there. However, that reason, it had somewhat dissipated, hadn't it? The professor was still keeping her eyes and ears open, but communication with Williams had ceased a while ago. That man was probably trying to find a certain rat animagus all by himself.
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by: Dresden Faust
Dres offered a shrug at Rika's questioning and then slight chastising of Milo's response to his question. Don't let the guard hear of it? As if they really had to worry. The guard had their heads so far up their backsides the professor would honestly be surprised if they actually sought out help on the current matter. And it wasn't like they had said anything that would get them in trouble. Owls could be sent to anyone, any letter could be considered a secret, and shady friends could be anything from someone that was disapproved of right down to someone you would find in Knockturn Alley.

"Come now, I highly doubt our current keepers would consider us worth the recognition. I'm sure they have more pressing matters to attend to." His lip curled into a smirk even as he spoke. He wanted to ask his friend more about this shady character and whether or not it was the very same killer he'd met, but he chose to bite his tongue. While he trusted Lefcourt to an extent she wasn't what he considered a close friend. She was more an acquaintance really, colleague at best so Dres made a mental note to ask Milo about it later.

"I do agree though that this whole thing has been vexing as you so eloquently put it Milo. Though there is rumors that they have finally come up with a plan of some sort, though what that could be I have no idea."

Absently he grabbed the first essay on his pile and read the first few lines before making a face and letting out a soft sigh. "You'd think by 6th year students would have at least a minimal grasp on proper sentence structure..."
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by: Milo Witte
Milo looked at Rika with a raised brow and a look of suspicion to match. Her hearing was good--too good--and, quite frankly, it unnerved him to some degree. Perhaps not enough to make him steer clear of her but enough to make him wonder why from time to time. Perhaps he might have investigated by now if it weren't for the mystery at hand. Milo cast his attention back to the paper at hand, satisfied for now with saying nothing to the non-busybody busybody.

Milo glanced up at Dresden with a snort at his first sentence. "That's an understatement," he muttered to himself. And it was. He should have received more of a response than a, "Thank you for your concern. The Minister/Lord/insert-title-of-choice-government-figure-here," that he was certain was intended to shush him and keep him from adding to the hundred or so letters he had sent before that point. (Alright, alright. He'd admit it. He'd sent upwards 183 to be exact. Some were short, others long-winded. But they all contained the same basic deduction. It was merely the verbiage that was different. He'd tried dumbing it down, "smarting" it up, using slang, using Cockney rhyme, omitting contractions, making it textbook perfect, telling what he had to say as though he were telling a story, and any other approach one might think of. He'd even tried using different handwriting.) It was off-putting. Almost made him consider giving up his current job. Then, he thought about politicians and shuddered. No, he'd much rather deal with children than want-to-be adults and liars.

Milo nodded at Dresden's line to him then shrugged. Who knew. He highly doubted they had any plan whatsoever, and frankly, if they had come up with one at all, he believed it was likely due largely to his myriad of letters.

"You would think," Milo replied. "There's a reason I save the Ravenclaws for last."
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by: Rika Lefcourt
“True enough,” she said and pulled out the chair in front of her. The professor sat down and shuffled forward a bit. After grabbing the first paper Rika shook her head. “However, even Ravenclaws are lacking in regards to theory of transfiguration. It's this strange way of teaching that seems to be common here.”

She had watched their exchange, their glances. A dog would have had it easier in regards to changes in scent, but her kind was still vastly superior than humans and those sad stumps in their faces which they called noses -odd how her perception of humans had changed. “Don't get me wrong,” Rika continued, “the Hogwarts approach has its merits, especially in regards to student morale, but this is transfiguration. It's an exact science. It's not divination.”

Oh divination, that had always been an issue for her. It had been the one subject where her scores had been average. Oh! We can see the future! No, they could not! Divination only allowed for vague images that were subject to subjective interpretation or, if one was really good at it, variations of the future, but those were still just variations, potential outcomes and the path there was always invisible.

To Rika Lefcourt divination was the worst pseudo-science wizards had ever come up with. Why schools around the world still bothered with it was something she couldn't fathom.

“Ah,” she said suddenly. “Here we go again.” The young woman's facial expression returned to being a carbon copy of Shirasagi's potions master. “I'm truly sorry, Miss,” Rika read, “but I seem have to lost my notes on this topic.” She shook her head. “Mr Stainthorpe, Gryffindor. That's the second time he's trying this and the second time it won't work. “

Young Mister Stainthorpe, who had his head in the clouds all the time and was dreaming of a career in Quidditch, would have to spend some time in detention. Now she only had to come up with a fitting punishment.

Then Rika decided to go fishing. Out of the blue she said, “But the problem with shady friends is that they could be a rat.”
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by: Dresden Faust
Strange way of teaching? What on earth was Lefcourt talking about? Each professor could be considered to have a few unique quirks but for the most part, or at least in his limited experience, Dres didn't find Hogwarts to be doing anything out of the ordinary. Certainly other magical schools would have their own way of doing things and Dresden couldn't help but wonder if that was what Rika was referencing. Still he couldn't suppress a snort of amusement as his colleague began to read an excuse written by a student in hopes of getting out of homework.

"You'd think if he was going to use an excuse he'd be a little more creative. Especially if he was aware that his professor was a former Ravenclaw." Dres thought back to the antics that he had pulled with Gideon to get out of homework of skip class altogether. More often than not it ended up in a detention but he could definitely say the pair had come up with some pretty unique excuses.

No sooner had he finished that particular line of thinking, Rkia abruptly changed the topic.

"A rat?" Dresden paused in his writing and glanced at Milo before offering Rika a questioning look. Did she know something the guard didn't? Had her true employer tip her off to something? "Does Williams know what's going on?" The question was asked innocently enough and with typical Dresden tact, but Dres was more than interested in figuring out if this rat had anything to do with his rather mysterious visitor.
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by: Milo Witte
Milo looked to Rika inquisitively, a thick brow arched. Did she know more than she was letting on about this situation? Had his shady friend also reached out to her? Dresden beat Milo to speaking, but he nodded to indicate he had similar questions. There was no need to do or say more at this point. It did make things more interesting, to say the least, but these days, Milo never knew when "interesting" was going to be good or when it was going to be bad and he hated it. He wanted to go back to the days when being inquisitive didn't get you more than you bargained for or deepen a mystery rather than help solve it. He wanted to go back to when he didn't really care nor pay much attention to the amount of discrediting he received on a daily basis. Being ignorant had been bliss.

"Did he contact you?" Milo blurted out after a few moments had passed. It suddenly felt urgent. If he had contacted Rika, then there was someone he could discuss theory with and share information with and perhaps further confirm what he believed to be true, though it had nothing to do with rats.
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by: Rika Lefcourt
Professor Lefcourt observed them both very carefully. So they knew about the rat animagus and professor Witte even had contact with him! She had to tell Williams.


While it was true that everything Rika knew about investigation or police work came from detective novels, movies and TV shows -one of the advantages of growing up in the belief to be a half blood was that one learned about and knew both worlds, and most wizards had no idea about this movie and television thing anyway-, there were a few lessons she had learned form those. One thing was that one mustn't jump to conclusions and she had almost done so.


Given the events and the situation they were all in, there was no way to be sure that either of them knew the mysterious rat kidnapper. Professor Witte could have just as well referred to the mysterious murderer, which, in all likelihood, was a worse scenario than the kidnapper -though, they had gone willingly, so it wasn't exactly an abduction. It was a mess either way.

Between those two Witte seemed to be the weak link. He was smart, yes, but so far he hadn't made an impression of being strong and decisive. Faust, on the other hand, he seemed to have a few skeletons in the closet, which would give either troublemaker something to use on him, if they knew whatever those skeletons were.

That didn't help at all.

Of course, the guard didn't really buy into her own theories either. They believed in one killer, Rika didn't. She was convinced that there were two. As for Williams...

With that Rika put her fountain pen -she disliked quills, those damn things were so big they always got in her way- onto the papers and folded her hands on the table. There was only one thing she could do. She had to play this smart.

The professor then looked towards the entrance of the Great Hall as if she was searching for something or someone, and then quickly, yet quite visibly, scanned the room for potential listeners and onlookers. Then she leaned forward and said quietly “Professor Faust, I haven't heard form our illustrious leader in quite some time.”

She focused on professor Witte. “Indeed.” Even that was true, from a certain point of view, after all there had been a note asking what are you.
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by: Milo Witte
Milo nodded. Well, that was interesting, but he was more than a little disappointed Rika offered no further information. What had he done? Said? Was it in person? Was it via some trivial game like the numbers on the door? Was she simply making it up to get information from them? Perhaps she had heard from Williams or the new lord, the one he had dubbed his replacement and this was now her task since the Guard was making a botch job of it all. But he had nothing to hide. The Ministry already knew everything he had to say. He had sent them letters for days to no response aside from formal thank yous that they probably gave everyone who sent in a letter of concern.

"Do share," Milo said to Rika. "Perhaps we can use our experiences to find out more about him." Being straightforward seemed the best strategy, and if she refused? Then, Milo would have to wonder why. Rika had always been a secretive sort, kind of a mystery in a way. However, now was not the time to hold back information. The only people who actually cared about anything going on here were professors and students, and if they kept things from each other, how was anything to ever be solved? The curfew was already making it tricky enough.
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by: Dresden Faust
The conversation was stating to get a bit hard to follow... this rat didn't seem to be related to the killer, but Rika was talking about the rat while Milo was talking about the killer? She'd brushed of his query about Williams so maybe the man hadn't known what was going on after all and Milo's statement had gained his full attention. Had his friend met the killer too? Was that what he had meant by "Did you meet him?" Rather than ask one of the millions of questions that were on the tip of his tongue, the professor opted to remain silent for the time being. Maybe Milo would expand on what he had meant and Dres could add to it where necessary. True, neither his friend or his fellow colleague know that he himself had met and chatted with the killer but at this point and time Dres didn't feel it important enough to share, especially with Rika around.


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