The next morning, Spike squinted at her star chart. Funny, she remembered this as being a lot clearer and more orderly. Reviewed in the light of day, her notes were muddled, and the ink was blurred from where something had spilled on it. Something rather green, with a heavy scent of licorice. No matter, she would make a clean copy later and submit her proposal for an Astronomy OWL, but right now, she had to grab her bag and run, so as not to be late for Charms.
They settled in, where the professor explained about the uses of the Tracking Charm. Spike was interested to learn that the charm was used to keep tabs on the movements of the students at Hogwarts. She tapped her quill on her teeth thoughtfully. Not that she was planning anything nefarious, mind, but knowing a way to defeat that charm might come in handy sometime. She made a note in her personal log to follow up on that thought.
She explained the assignment in detail to her minions later that afternoon as she assembled the components she was going to need at her workbench. "So, see, we are to track a fellow first-year student and find a piece of homework they previously completed, then make the same item." Perhaps she was too enthusiastic, as Dmitri immediately volunteered to go and find a first-year, shake a project out of them, and then return to the dungeon with item in hand.
"If they won' give it up villingly, Hy sure we can find a way to makes dem cooperate." He grinned. "Pipple alvays happy to cooperate, hyu just asks de right vay."
"I don't think that's what the professors had in mind, Dmitri." She drew the lines with magnetized chalk, concentrated, then performed the wand movements carefully. Vapor rose from the drawing, coalesced into a tiny figure of a Gryffindor, who looked around curiously. Spike groaned as she saw the sash of a second-year student, whipped her wand through the figure to dispel the charm. Drat! A misfire!
Spike gritted her teeth, looked over the diagram of wand movements again. Made a couple of rehersal movements in the air, disjointed parts of the more complicated gestures. She hated this part of magic, the careful, tiny flickers of one's hands and body. So much easier on paper. So much less likely to have a spell misfire due to an itchy nose, a mispronunciation.
She carefully oriented towards the Ravenclaw Tower -- if you're going to crib, crib from the best -- and the spell went off in a shower of sparks. It was working! She could see a quarter sized image there on her workbench, a first-year student dressed in blue and bronze, wearing a pair of . . . Spike waved the image in closer, zooming in on the tiny hands. Gloves. Fingerless gloves. What an awesome idea for the chilly dungeons! Another flick revealed the student's name, and Spike was ready.
She submitted her homework a few days later, beaming with pride. "This is going to be a cakewalk," she confided to her minions afterwards. Totenberg shook his head, thinking of all the excellent plans that never survived first contact with the enemy.