It was a surprise when Kit got to Magizoobotany and realized that they had a different professor. There were a couple of ways she could tell it was a different professor, first because the professor looked much more female than Professor Blackburn (although Kit knew from Dakota that you Couldn’t Make Assumptions) and second because the professor was taller than Professor Blackburn. Or at least, Kit was pretty sure. Okay, maybe it was only that the professor probably had a different gender than Professor Blackburn. Well also her face was different, but the thing about being in a magic school was that sometimes you didn’t know whose face was whose. Hm. And Headmaster Toby hadn’t introduced a new staff member this year either.
This was very suspicious.
But the new professor did have a new professor name, and didn’t seem to recognize Kit’s when Kit entered and Professor McCloud introduced herself, so it could be that Kit’s suspicion meter was just zingy today. On the other hand, it was RMI and you never really knew what was going to happen at RMI. Kit was pretty sure that if anyone actually was able to guess what was about to happen at RMI, Grandpa Garen at least would have retired years and years ago. Sometimes he got this expression when Kit said things, and she was pretty sure after all this time that it wasn’t always a good expression. Which made since, when you thought about it, since Grandpa Garen dealt with an awful lot of the stuff that happened at RMI. Maybe even more than Headmaster Toby, and probably-definitely more than Deputy Headmaster Fell who Kit was pretty sure was some sort of magical robot. Real people didn’t act like Fell, and Kit was pretty sure that if something was possible in a scifi movie, it was possible at RMI, the school of limitless possibilities. Or like, in the magical world in general.
Kit had never met a welcome willow before, but it looked very friendly so once she hung her school robes up on the welcome willow she gave it a hug. Maybe it was her imagination, but Kit was pretty sure the tree made a little movement like hugging her back.
The introductions Professor McCloud made them do seemed a little silly to Kit, since all the students already knew each other, and since Kit didn’t think her pronouns really mattered since she wasn’t transgender, but it did give her the chance to share her favorite plant. The Mimbulus Mimbletonia had been Kit’s favorite plant since she learned about it last year, and she had plans to get one and keep it as a pet. Once she could afford one, because when Mom and Dad had looked into it they had found out that it was, in fact, a very expensive plant. It was also when Dad had found out about the Stinksap part, which Kit suspected was a factor in their conclusion that she could not, in fact, get a Mimbulus Mimbletonia not even for her seventeenth birthday.
Once introductions were over and Professor McCloud was explaining what they were doing for the day, Kit became less impressed with the new professor. The direction to not be ‘stupid’ was, first, rude and was, second, not teaching. Telling you to look things up in a book was not teaching, either, and how were they supposed to know which plants were animate and which ones weren’t? This seemed like a recipe for disaster, especially for the fourth years who hadn’t even worked with anything that cool yet. Someone needed to tell Professor McCloud that she could make her own greenhouses and that feeding students to plants or even POISONING THEM (because WHO would POISON PEOPLE) was rude. Also that calling her students stupid was rude. Pretty much, Professor McCloud was rude.
But she was still the professor so Kit followed directions but went towards the one plant she was one-hundred-per-cent sure would not poison her: the Devil’s Snare. Sure, it might try to grab her and suck her in and maybe eat her, or hold her for something else to eat (she was unsure on the details there) but she stood a better chance of using her wand to protect herself against a Devil’s Snare than against something poisonous. Unfortunately, she got to the Devil’s Snare at the same time as Elliot Phippen, who clearly could not see who she was over the plant because he offered to work with her.
“I don’t know what dream you have in mind, Elliot Phippen,” Kit said,, “But I don’t think inappropriate thoughts about plants.” Her tone was somehow both prim and judgmental. She didn’t know why her cousin insisted on spending time with this miscreant. And Elliot was pretty much the definition of miscreant. Kit wasn’t sure why he hadn’t been kicked out yet, except she was pretty sure nobody had ever been kicked out of RMI not even for felonies. “If you are going to be appropriate, though, we can work together.” The concession only came after a quick look around, which revealed no other Devil’s Snares. Plus, if they were working together, Kit could use Elliot to figure out if a plant was poisonous or not. Hmm that was a good use for him.