It was time for Advanced Potions, and Rob was excited. He was escaping from their boring textbook for a hot second and doing a project that he mostly thought was cool. It also involved a couple of substances that you normally didn’t hand a group of teenagers and as he set up the classroom for the class that would begin shortly, the professor did not think of that at all. Overall, he probably should have, but Rob Hier was not known for his excellent judgment (the primary exception being his choice in life partner - Celia was a good influence on him). His service dog, Lapis, lay off to the side with her head on the floor while Rob wheeled around the room, making sure everything was where it should be and there were no, for example, spare bottles of Veritaserum lying around for someone to crack open and spill all over the place.
Never a dull day at RMI.
The students arrived with an alacrity that Rob could only attribute to the boredom of being back at school. Although to be fair, several of the students in his advanced potions class did actually want to be there.
“All right, all right,” Rob called, speech slightly slurred as usual, when mostly everyone had got there. “Settle down and let’s get started. Today we’re going to do a fun project.” He grinned, only a little maniacally, at the class. “We’re going to be making Foe-Glasses. Any chance any of you know what those are?” Some hands shot up and Rob called on one. “Not quite, but I’ll give you five points for that anyway. Anyone else?” The second student answered correctly, for fifteen points awarded to their House.
“So there are a couple of different ways to make a Foe-Glass. One of them involves a fair bit of complicated magic that it takes real skill to pull off, and if you have any questions about that ask one of your other professors because I have no idea how it works.”
“Enchanting mirrors is tricky because of...I don’t know, ask Professor McKindy, I didn’t pay that much attention in Spellwork.” There was some snickering among the students. “Anyway, in short, if you can enchant a Foe-Glass you’re good at wandwork and I am not, so I learned to do it the other way.”
“There are three things that you don’t have in your kits that I’m providing for you today. Silver nitrate, sodium hydroxide, and ammonia.” Rob gestured to the table next to him, which had a couple of clearly marked containers. One of the first things that he did with his advanced students was go over basic chemistry, because Muggle chemistry had a shocking relevance to potions-making, as it turned out.
“Do not lick the silver nitrate,” Rob said - because, well, this was RMI and anything could happen. “Do not eat the silver nitrate. Do not sniff the silver nitrate. Do not put the silver nitrate in your pocket to save for later. Silver nitrate is bad for you.” Okay not all the way, because it did have some medical purposes, but Rob was definitely not going to tell a group of RMI kids that. Merlin only knew what would happen, and whatever it was, he didn’t want to be even remotely responsible for it. After all, he’d been an RMI kid once too and look how that had turned out.
“From your kits, you’re going to need a gram of powdered unicorn horn, a gram and a half of powdered Wiggenweld bark, and a crushed snake fang. Please make sure the fang is from a non-venomous snake, or it’ll mess up your potion.” Rob waved his wand and instructions appeared on the board. “You’ll also need your glass backing and there are a variety in the cupboard over there.” An assortment of cut glass in various shapes, set in various backings was in the cupboard. Some of them looked like fancy hand-mirrors, whereas others looked like a standard vanity mirror, and there was everything in between, even a couple of tiny compacts.
“I’m not going to make you work together for this one, but everyone should sit in pairs and double check each others’ work because you’re dealing with extremely volatile substances for this assignment and I don’t have the ability to make sure every single one of you is making an effort to retain their fingers every minute of this class. So go ahead and get started, and ask if you need help!”
The directions on the board read:
1 container silver nitrate (diluted)
1 container sodium hydroxide (diluted)
1 container ammonia
1 crushed snake fang
1 gram powdered unicorn horn
1.5 gram powdered Wiggenweld bark
1. In your small cauldron, carefully mix silver nitrate and sodium hydroxide.
2. Add ammonia to the mixture until there are no more solids visible
3. Heat mixture until just before boiling
4. Add snake fang and unicorn horn
5. Stir clockwise five times and counterclockwise six times
6. Add Wiggenweld bark
7. Stir until dissolved
8. Remove cauldron from flame and let cool 3 minutes
9. Carefully pour mixture over glass backing, making sure the pour is smooth with no bubbles
** make sure that the mirror has cooled completely before picking it up again