October arrived, spreading a damp chill over the grounds and into the castle. Madam Pomfrey, the nurse, was kept busy by a sudden spate of colds among the staff and students. Her Pepperup potion worked instantly, though it left the drinker smoking at the ears for several hours afterward.

Ginny Weasley, who had been looking pale, was bullied into taking some by Percy. The steam pouring from under her vivid hair gave the impression that her whole head was on fire. Raindrops the size of bullets thundered on the castle windows for days on end; the lake rose, the flower beds turned into muddy streams, and Hagrid's pumpkins swelled to the size of garden sheds.

Oliver Wood's enthusiasm for regular training sessions, however, was not dampened, which was why Harry was never to be found. Ron was in the Common room playing wizards chess with Seamus and Dean. Arth and Hermione decided to take a trip to the library.

On their way there, they met a familiar ghost. Nearly Headless Nick, the ghost of Gryffindor Tower, was staring morosely out of a window, muttering under his breath, "...don't fulfill their requirements...half an inch, if that..."

"Hello, Nick," said Hermione.

"Hello, hello," said Nearly Headless Nick, starting and looking round. He wore a dashing, plumed hat on his long curly hair, and a tunic with a ruff, which concealed the fact that his neck was almost completely severed.

"Is something bothering you?"

"Ah," Nearly Headless Nick waved an elegant hand, "a matter of no importance...It's not as though I really wanted to join...Thought I'd apply, but apparently I don't fulfill requirements..."

In spite of his airy tone, there was a look of great bitterness on his face.

"But you would think, wouldn't you," he erupted suddenly, pulling the letter back out of his pocket, "that getting hit forty-five times in the neck with a blunt axe would qualify you to join the Headless Hunt?"

"Uh..." Hermione turned to face Arth with a look that showed that she had no idea what to say.

"I mean, nobody wishes more than I do that it had all been quick and clean, and my head had come off properly, I mean, it would have saved me a great deal of pain and ridicule. However-" Nearly Headless Nick shook his letter open and read furiously.

"We can only accept huntsmen whose heads have parted company with their bodies. You will appreciate that it would be impossible otherwise for members to participate in hunt activities such as Horseback Head-Juggling and Head Polo. It is with the greatest regret, therefore, that I must inform you that you do not fulfill our requirements. With very best wishes, Sir Patrick Delaney-Podmore."

Fuming, Nearly Headless Nick stuffed the letter away.

"Half an inch of skin and sinew holding my neck on, Harry! Most people would think that's good and beheaded, but oh, no, it's not enough for Sir Properly Decapitated-Podmore."


"I mean he has a point," interrupted Arth. "And I'm not saying that I think you aren't headless, I just think that you really can't participate in some of the activities."

Seeing the furious look on Nick, Arth sighed.

"However, I think that I might be able help you with the nearly aspect of your headlessness."

"What?" Hermione and Nick both stared at Arth with an incredulous expression.

"How are you going to help him? He's already dead? No offense Sir Nick."

"None taken." Replied Nick with a tip of his hat.

"Nick is a ghost, and he is intangible, you can't just rip his head off."

As if an idea had just come to mind, Arth stared at Nick.

"Have you tried pulling your head off?"

"Why would I ever do that? I am a ghost! I am not like you living people who can tear off a piece of clothing off of yourself."

"So did you try?"

"No. As I said, why would I ever try-"

"Then try, cant hurt can it? You are already dead."

Nick rolled his eyes before pulling his left ear. His head came right off his neck, and when he pulled, the head... came off.

Just joking, of course it didn't, why would it? He was a ghost.

Annoyed, Nick threw his head back on and raised an eyebrow at Arth.

"Are you happy now?"

"Hahaha, it was worth a try, I mean, if the answer was that simple, it would have been wonderful. But apparently, I have to use my brain for this..."

Arth stared intently at Nick before taking a swing at him.

His fist went through the startled ghost like the ghost never existed.

"Was that necessary?" Nick whines

However, Arth ignored it and continued to punch at Nick, but this time, Arth did so while thinking of magic. Not any incantations, but magic, pure magic.

His hands were covered in a thin hazy sheet of something as they flew towards Nick.

Thud.

Arth felt resistance for the first time and saw the sight of a surprised Nick being sent flying.

"Oh! It worked."

Unable to comprehend what had just happened, Hermione watched on with an amazed look.

"Arth! What did you just do? Did you just touch Nick? He is a ghost!"

"Yes, he is a ghost."

"You know what I meant. How did you do it?"

"Well... it was just a thought but I asked myself, how exactly do ghosts form?"

"Huh?"

"I mean think about it. What are ghosts made out of? Air? Particles? An unknown element? Well if you think about it... ghosts aren't made up of air. Cause air can't phase through walls like ghosts."

"But you are using science alongside magic, those two don't go along you know."

"No, who said that?"

"The professors, the books-"

"Did anyone do extensive research on this subject? Is science contradictory with magic?"

"Yes, Actually. There have been many cases where-"

"They did it wrong, they didn't devote their entire intelligence to it. Magic cannot contradict muggle science, it works together with it."

"Then how do you explain changing a needle into a match? They are composed of two entirely different elements yet they can change into each other using magic. This can't be true."

"Yes it can."

"Even if you can prove it, how do you explain conjuring spells? Or even conjuring fire. This directly contradicts the law of conservation of mass-"

"Matter cannot be destroyed nor created. Yes I know that already. but it doesn't matter."

"What do you mean?" Hermione asked with her brows furrowed.

Arth laughed before smiling at Hermione.

"Basically, in simpler terms... Magic is matter."