‘Where we…don’t do rules? ’ Jo thought incredulously. Wasn’t this man just promoted into a position where he would be—for lack of a better phrase—doing rules? She had thought a prefect would be someone she’d have to manipulate and goad into letting her do what she wanted—not someone who actively encouraged it! ‘If the rest of Aquila is like this, maybe this whole thing won’t be so bad…’
Well, it was no skin off of Jo’s teeth. Rules weren’t something she paid attention to often, and so far, that attitude had suited her just fine. Aquila was a house above rules—and that mentality went straight to the top, if the prefect—Elliot, she should probably be calling people by their names if she was going to go to school here—could be trusted.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “you said he’s going to prank us?”
She must have misheard. What kind of head of house wasted their time pranking children? Jo couldn’t imagine what the ulterior motive to turning chairs into butterflies could possibly be—did the humiliation quickly establish him as someone worthy of respect? Was it used to remind students that they still had plenty to learn while in his care, and that they should never deign to best him? Was it an invitation to fight back?
Her mother had always taught her it was perfectly fair to fight back against someone who was about to attack her. By initiating something, they were betting they were more clever or powerful than their target. Jo was a first year; she wasn’t stupid. Clearly, she needed more information about this ‘Rob’ (she shuddered at how informal a name it was; why didn’t the head of house—or the headmaster, for that matter—stand on any level of ceremony?).
Jo quickly began to think—a potions professor would obviously have a weapon of choice. If Elliot’s experience was commonplace, something that she was invited to touch would be doused with poison. The effects would likely be benign—she couldn’t imagine that a professor could keep their position if they were harming students on the first day—but after that, there were no real clues as to what the prank might be. Again, she needed more information.
“Actually,” Jo said before Elliot could answer. “A rundown of the whole house might be warranted, starting with Professor Robert. A who’s who of Aquila, house politics, who to watch out for, and so on. An itemized list of past years pranks would be wonderful as well, if you’re not busy?”