Just before seven, my love-rending alarm clock rang again and again and took me out of my well-earned, but far too short sleep. But as a result of how smoothly everything had been, I happily went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth and washed my face. Then I tied my hair to a ponytail to get myself ready to run. In the end, I took another quick look at the two potions which were steeping. Everything okay, fantastic.
I put on a pair of trousers and a t-shirt, my sneakers, and ran down the stairs, out of the door, and into a good jogging pace to our nearby park, where I could turn my rounds. An hour later, I hated myself a lot! Did I ever say I could not stand myself? Okay, here again, a memo to me: I just do not particularly like myself today. I had a crimson head that was close to the explosion and barely got any air with my burning lungs. Crap! Each breath burned without end. Had I already said that I had stupid ideas? Actually, yes I did.
These were the thoughts that went through my head as I opened the door to our house feeling like a pile of misery. Fortunately, it was not so hot in summer, despite the fact that I sweated. I was standing in the hall, panting, just like a poor old steam-engine. Mum and Dad immediately came out of the kitchen to see me, but I couldn't speak. So I only waved at them, exhausted, and was allowed to look into their laughing faces, went to the stairs and pulled myself up, incredibly unelegant, almost crawling, and heaved myself into the shower.
Man, it did well as the lukewarm water ran down my body and massaged my muscles. Then I rubbed myself with a healing ointment, which relaxed my muscles and left only a slight pain in the tissue, but no soreness. I also had the advantages of being a witch.
Oh Goddess, thanks for the magic! I would not have been able to move for a week. My muscles were totally overused (?). I dressed up accordingly to the wonderful summer day, with a spaghetti top and short jeans. Now there was only one thing to do before I could devote myself to breakfast. I rushed to my cupboard and carried a shrunken kettle out of it, which I moved into the bathroom and enlarged there with a charm. The ingredients for the skele wax I had already prepared during the night before. The potion was quickly set and had to simmer for 24 hours with moderate heat supply before I had to add chopped burdock roots. Then stir five times in a clockwise direction and simmer for an additional eight hours.
I allowed myself a satisfied sigh, stretching the still slightly aching limbs before I left my room. Down in the kitchen, my coffee was waiting for me, and I drank thirstily. I was already better, but I still was knocked out.
"Oh dear, how was it? You looked very engaged when you came back," Mum said diplomatically, and Dad nodded approvingly. Yes, I can kid myself, I looked finished, but they always expressed themselves like that.
"It was okay, just unaccustomed, but I’ll be alright. You must leave soon, right?" I asked and again drank from my coffee.
"Uh yes, just bring me your registration with your coach tonight. I'll make the payments to him then!" Dad pointed out.
I looked at him with pleasure, glad that he supported me in this, that felt well.
"Alright, and thank you! I wish you a beautiful day," I said to them, really glad that everything went so smoothly and shortly afterward I was alone again and so I devoted myself to my varied tasks. Once again I took a look at the skele wax. It looked really good. It was a relatively easy potion for me, but time-consuming. Next, I headed for the martial arts center with a bag, my sportswear inside, the bag slung over my shoulder.
I entered the school at about ten o'clock and looked around attentively. The room presented minimalist, puristic in black, red and white, as Japan Chic I would describe the ambiance. A young, Asian-looking man, whom I estimated for 25 years, stood with an open facial expression behind the reception bar.
"Can I help you?" He asked kindly, looking out of big, dark, slightly slit eyes.
"I would like to be taught in close combat. I've been studying karate for three years now, and I'd like to get back in now, with intensive training, maybe?" I said in a questioning tone.
"Sure, we do everything. Do you want only Karate or something else? Luta Livre, Jiu Jitsu, and do you want single training? Because our Sensei would teach this personally, and between us, he's not going to go easy on you!", He asked curiously "Oh, the name’s Jack by the way!", And showed a series of bead-whitened teeth.
I giggled happily. Jack had no idea, for whoever experienced Professor Snape and survived would be prepared for anything. Any other strict teacher would be like an innocent lamb, for so demanding, unjust, cynical, and mean, that was already unique.
"Pleasant, I’m Hermione. And no, I don't just want karate, rather something of everything, a rather individual martial style? Freefighter, if you have something like that? And I think that single training is the most efficient, but you can estimate that better as a professional?", I looked at him and batted my eyelashes. That was so ridiculous, I knew what I wanted, period. From the far back a first semester in a white Asian combat robe with a black belt, short, formerly black hair, mottled, apparently Asian-looking, came closer.
"Can I help, Jack?" Asked the stern-looking man. He was small, but wiry and vigorous. Sipped a little.
"Yes, Sensei. Hermione here would like to be taught, individually."
Jack mentioned as Sensei lifted his eyebrows irritatedly and took my appearance skeptically in.
"Do I know you?" He asked after a few seconds of reflection.
"Yes, Sensei, that's right. I was here the last time four years ago, and before that I've been taught karate for three years, from Mr. Naruito," I said. Deliberately, Sensei nodded, gesturing with his hand to follow him, I did as told, after a short nod to Jack. He took me to a small office located further back.
"Well, what can I do for you, little lady?" He began.
Here I had to talk enough tacheles to show that I was neither a little lady, nor a little girl, and I did not need to speak about the hot mush. One should not underestimate him, despite his strict, calm, deliberate nature, and I wanted him to teach me to survive in battle. So here and now a trust base had to be created without me saying too much about myself and the world I come from. I sat upright in my chair, raised my face to him, and looked at him openly and honestly.
"I hope you can help me. I'll try to be as open and honest as I can, Sensei, but I admit there are things I can’t be fully honest about" I began, my face filled with seriousness. He looked at me with interest and curiosity, but said nothing, and gestured to me that I could continue with a gesture of his hand.
"Where I come from, there is currently an exceptional situation that will lead to open confrontations sooner or later. In my opinion, sooner rather than later, so my time is limited. I must learn to defend myself, I'm afraid. I can understand if you are skeptical of this statement, but I swear to you, you and my parents will also be affected by this in the future. The times are rough, and unfortunately, there are a lot of crazy people out there. Unfortunately, I can not tell you any more, but you can imagine it like a guerrilla war." I looked at him and could see some skepticism and disquiet in his dark eyes.
"This is hard to imagine, here in London?" He said wisely. "Especially what does a young girl should have to do with it?"
"Do not be fooled!" I said, “War affects everyone, no matter sex or age, unfortunately. I plan to take an active part, so I need your help" I looked at him urgently. "And no, not in London. But it's still real, and I want to learn to defend myself, please help me, Sensei!", I looked at him with big eyes "As I want to be trained as intensively as possible, I guess that it will not be cheap, But that does not matter" I continued. Hey, he had a school to finance, which means money always helped. I could just understand Malfoy in his manner.
"You're a strange young girl," he said, "your language is not that of today's youth, and your behavior is very mature!" He paused. "I do not know what to think of it, but your behavior and my inner voice tell me that you speak the truth and need help!" He took a deep breath and seemed lost in thought before he continued. "Well, this is a school of fighting! What would you want to learn from me?" He asked, his eyebrow raised.
"Melee, an individual style, Karate, Judo, Kickboxing, Krav Maga, Luta Livre, Capoeira, dirty street fight, FreeFighter, to make the opponent opaque in my style, I would have thought. Whether I can, I do not know, sir?" Before he could answer, I continued, "And the fight with two daggers, that would be the coronation! I want to come every day and spend three or four hours for the whole remaining vacation!"
He looked at me with big eyes. "You've thought about this a lot, Miss. To answer your questions, yes, I can teach you such a martial style but it is neither particularly aesthetic, nor beautiful, but extremely useful, and I believe you are in need of something like that. Also, learning to fight with weapons is not a problem, but do you find six days a week is not somewhat exaggerated? And two hours should be enough. Besides, it is no longer good to name what we are talking about." I let a cynical smile slip over my lips. I knew somewhere, everyone had their weak spot.
"Sensei, that is enjoyable to hear! But as I told you, time runs out, two hours a day would be too little. I also started to jog every day in the morning for one hour to improve my fitness. I would also come to you on Sundays, if you had not closed, for I wish to learn quickly, you must never doubt, sir," and looked earnestly into his eyes. He grabbed his chin as he pondered in disbelief.
"Good, you are convincing. I believe that you indeed have problems, or you would not be so committed and so you need fight training. I will help you. Your maturity and your will, as you present here convinced me, also I accept your temporal demand. How it will work out, time will show." He looked at me appreciatively. "Every day from 3 pm to 6 or 7 pm," he decided, leaning back in his chair. "But individual training in this form, as I said, is not cheap," he added.
"I am aware, Sensei! How much ...?" I asked.
"Well, I demand 40 pounds an hour. That would be four hours, then 160 pounds. In the week 960 pounds, how long will your holidays last?" He asked.
"Count eight weeks. I have overheard that we are talking about 8,000 pounds, with registration fee and everything. I hope you treat our training confidentially, also to my parents, because I will pay you. I would only ask you to issue a bill of 500 pounds for my parents. The remaining 7,500 pounds, I would like to pay with my check card!", I reached into my jean’s pockets and pulled out my Gringotts debit card, and held it out to the surprised Sensei. Well, I had once rounded up generously.
"Of course, Miss...?" I smiled at him, "Miss Granger," he leaned forward and asked for Jack, who soon came to the door. "Jack, would you debit the card here 7,500 pounds and make a bill for Miss Granger's parents over 500 pounds!"
Jack took the card, baffled and bowed slightly to the Master "Of course!", And turned away.
"So, as this is now clear, Miss Granger, I will ask you to go to the changing rooms and get into more proper clothes for training, because I want to get an overview of what you can do and like. I'll be waiting for you in battle room 5," he commanded at once, and I looked a bit surprised, but then did as I was told. As I stepped out of the door, there was already a smiling Jack holding up my card. "You have to explain this sum to me. You just got up to our best-paying customer," he whispered to me.
"Later!", And gave him a dear smile.
A little while later, I entered the combat room, which was a lot smaller than the one I knew of my earlier hours. Immediately, the Sensei turned and looked at me. I was sure he was not one hundred percent sure as to how to assess me. As soon as I stood on the round mat, I held my hands together as if in prayer and bowed traditionally. He did the same to me, at which point we sat up and then it was already starting.
I stood in the shower of the Center three hours later and stared at the blue spots on my body, I found hardly a place that was not blue. Oh Goddess, everything hurt. The master had given me no mercy; he was a merciless teacher, could compete with Snape a bit, even if he was so far only mentally relentless. Although he had only fought in baby-modus and I frantically attempted to use everything I had ever learned about defense in close combat, I was, as I expected, methodically processed to mince.
I went to my locker, rubbed myself all over with the healing ointment, which I had taken with a brilliant inspiration from home, and was now digging for a vial with a light, refreshing drink to relieve the pain. As I said, he had not spared me. Perhaps you ask yourself where I had all these potions and ointments since I had only begun with the potions. As I had just mentioned, Harry had been in the hospital wing during the tragic events of the tournament, and while everyone had been distracted and busy, I had been serving the expenses.
Yes, they would all have been shocked to death if they knew that I, Miss Granger, had a slight inclination to steal, but if I had such an opportunity, I would always benefit them. You never knew what it was good for. I had just learned that he had returned, that we would all get in trouble and that such potions could be useful, so that had immediately opened up to me. As I said, over the years I had become rather pragmatic in such moral matters, I took it as it came.
The ingredients of the multi-juice drink in the second school year had after all not flown to me. As I set out to leave the center, I noticed that it was much more lively now than this morning. I stopped briefly at Jack's to get the bill for Dad.
"See you tomorrow," we said goodbye, since he was now very busy, although he would have liked to question me. I noticed his astonished look that I could still leave the fighting school standing upright and happy.
He probably wouldn't have guessed that. I giggled a bit, after all, magic was not available for everyone.