The Sugar Quill
Author: Sada (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: The Sugar Quill  Chapter: Chapter One
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Chapter Two

Hermione passed her mum on the stairs.

“Have fun dear,” was all she said, leaving Hermione to greet Ron on her own.

Hermione paused before entering the living room, gathered up her bravery, then confidently strode inside.

Ron was standing next to the fireplace, smiling shyly at her.

“Hi Ron,” she said.

“Hello,” he said, blushing for no apparent reason.

Honestly, thought Hermione. That is so cute. I hope he never grows out of that. She walked up to him and gave him a long hug.

“Are you all ready?” he asked.

"Yes, I hope so. What are we doing?"

Ron smiled, "You'll see."

He stepped over to the fireplace and threw in some Floo Powder.

“Hadrian's Wall” he said, stepping aside. “After you.”

Hermione was wide-eyed. Hadrian’s Wall? The old Roman ruin between England and Scotland? Now the sweet shop really seemed like a normal place for a date. I didn’t see this one coming, she thought somewhat gladly. I wonder what he is up to? She eagerly grabbed his hand and they entered the fireplace.

The world rushed around them until they stepped out into a deserted living room.

“Ron,” said Hermione, looking around. “Is this a bed and breakfast?”

Ron chuckled. “Yes, we are at Carrsgate East in Hexham. The wizard couple that owns it makes a killing I’m told. But this isn’t our date. This is just our way to the wall. 

“So we are having our date at Hadrian’s Wall?” she asked.

“Nope,” said Ron.

She playfully made a face at him. “Are you ever going to tell me what’s going on?”

He took her other hand. “No, I’m going to show you. Let’s go.”

And he led her out the door.

It was a gorgeous day. The sun shone over the rolling green landscape. Hadrian’s Wall was nearby. They could see it’s stone remains trailing along into the distance, reaching 15 feet tall in some spots.

Hermione eyed Ron's bag. "Are we having a picnic?" she asked.

Ron laughed, "This is driving you nutters, isn't it."

She smiled widely. "Okay, fine. I'm not going to try and guess anything. As far as I know, we are going to go stand next to an old wall."

"Would you mind?" teased Ron.

"No," she said softly. "I'd still love it."

Ron blushed.

They climbed up towards the wall, eventually reaching a taller section.

"We're here," said Ron.

Hermione looked around. "Where?"

Ron smiled. "I didn't think I'd have you going for this long," he said gleefully. "Don't you remember how you first reached Diagon Alley?"

Her eyes widened. "Of course! We went through a wall!" She looked sideways at him. "If I weren't so distracted I would have figured that out by now."

"Distracted, huh?" grinned Ron.

"You know it," she replied. "Where are we going? I didn't know there was a wizarding community around here."

"Well, there isn't," said Ron. "It's more like a hidden vacation spot."

He went up the wall, took out his wand, and tapped the wall in an odd sequence. The walls opened and Hermione stepped through.

She gasped.

They were standing on an island made from dark, red rocks. Water stretched out all around them, dotted with other islands. Sea creatures played in the water, no, she sniffed, the ocean. In the far horizon she could see volcanoes spurting lava. The sky looked like a sunset, even though it was afternoon.  It was beautiful.

"Welcome to the Iapetus Ocean," said Ron, looking pleased with himself.

"It's gorgeous," she exclaimed.

"Way behind us is England. And that lump way in the horizon there is Scotland. This ocean used to be between them, but it disappeared way back when the continents collided," explained Ron, "The wizards decided to revive it, with enhancements of course."

Hermione turned to him, "Why Ron, you sounded almost like an encyclopedia just now. I'm so impressed"

A look of mock horror crossed his face. "Oh no! You're rubbing off on me!" She playfully pushed him. He laughed and turned her to her left.

"Want to go on a little cruise?" he asked.

Her eyes landed on a boat. It didn't resemble any Muggle or Wizard boat she had ever seen. It looked a bit like a small trireme, she recalled from her history books. It was long and curved up at one end. The other end narrowed into a sharp point, looking almost like a needle-nose shark. But instead of three rows of oars, it had three rows of miniature waterfalls - each row gushing out a different colored water, sparkling blue, green, then gold, eventually mixing into a beautiful sea hue. The boat itself looked like it was made from some sort of wooden ivory. There was a mast for the sail, but there was no sail in sight. Hermione laughed when she saw the boat's name etched in its side.

"The Sugar Quill," she exclaimed.

Ron laughed. "Good clue?"

Hermione smiled up at him and gave him a kiss. "Yes! Let's go now!"

Ron reeled a little and watched her run towards the boat. This is going to be even better than I figured, he thought, and then ran to join her.

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