Professor Vindictus Viridian Edits a Book
The publisher’s owl was not unexpected. It arrived at breakfast, just as Professor Vindictus Viridian had opened a soft-boiled egg. His colleagues at the table stopped their conversations as they looked for their own deliveries.
The owl waited its place in the queue, and then swooped down to drop the letter on the table on top of the newspaper and various posted advertisements. He picked up the embossed envelope, smiled, and tucked it inside his robes before he tackled the rest of his mail that other owls had brought.
It took only a moment to scan the headlines of the newspaper, fold it, Vanish the unwanted advertisements, and return to his breakfast. Professor Viridian was a very efficient man.
After dabbing his mouth clean and returning his napkin to its proper place, he arose from his chair and bowed good-bye to his colleagues, who were now discussing the dismal performance of the Chudley Cannons at the latest Quidditch match. Normally he would have joined in the conversation, but the publisher’s letter had caught his attention.
Soon he was in his office, where he sat down at his desk and, savouring the moment, opened the letter.
Dear Professor Vindictus Viridian:
Your books continue to sell well. Enclosed is the deposit receipt to your account at Gringotts Wizarding Bank, as per your instructions.
Please let us know if there is anything we can do to expedite the next edition of Basic Hexes for the Busy and Vexed.
Hadrian Publishing Co.
The next edition was almost ready. He carefully filed the letter away, and set to work at once.
Viridian sharpened his quills, shook up his ink, and then brought out the publisher’s galleys to review. He immediately spotted a spelling error: “Bat-Boogey”. He deleted the extra “o”. Unconsciously, he took out a handkerchief and cleaned out his nostrils while he continued his proofreading.
He liked the simplicity of the book’s title. It was much better, to his mind, than his first book, Curses and Counter-curses (Bewitch Your Friends and Befuddle Your Enemies with the Latest Revenges: Hair Loss, Jelly-Legs, Tongue-Tying, and Much, Much More) by Professor Vindictus Viridian. But that had been his first, and the publisher had been insistent that with that title it would sell well. And it had, but then, so had Basic Hexes for the Busy and Vexed and Jinxes for the Jinxed.
The professor thought it was mildly clever that the publisher had selected green covers for all three books to play up his name, Viridian. That the publisher had elected to put his name and title so prominently on his first book was another cauldron of fish; after all, he was no Gilderoy Lockhart. But the publisher thought that the name “Vindictus”- meaning vindictive - was too good to ignore, and the fact that he was a professor assured the public that the book was well researched.
Viridian had added quite a few hexes in this, his second book, second edition. Of course, he had plenty of material to work with, as Hogwarts students were a rich mine of hexes, jinxes and curses. One student, William Weasley, had been gifted in creating counter-curses. Because he’d been a prefect, and later Head Boy, he’d been relatively easy to approach and interview. And because Professor Viridian was who he was, the thought of “intellectual property” never crossed his mind, though Mr. W. Weasley had sent send him a rather curt note after the latest edition of Curses had been published.
Mr. Weasley had become a curse-breaker, a fitting career. Interestingly enough, his twin brothers were also treasure troves of jinxes and hexes, and their young sister showed definite promise. The school caretaker, Mr. Filch, was only too happy to lend him the twins’ detention reports, but then, Viridian’s times with Mr. Filch were always profitable for his research.
He was always surprised at the variety the students came up with. Merlin knew that he brought not a few to the mix during his school days; he himself was gifted in creating both curses and counter-curses, and was ecstatic when he realized that he could make money by observing and recording his fellow classmates’ and, later, students’ activities. Professor Viridian was nothing if not a true, ambitious Slytherin.
His books were now in multiple editions and printings. And the fact that he had done it without Professor Slughorn’s help pleased him immensely: he owed the man nothing.
Jinxes would be the next edition he would work on. He had a lovely one to add to it, one that had just been discovered the previous spring: a jinxed parchment, used to discover and punish contract breakers. It was a complicated bit of magic that resulted in a horrible case of spots that spelled out “SNEAK” across the forehead. He had seen the victim (though the professor was of the opinion that she deserved her punishment), and was surprised that the Healers at St. Mungos had discovered no counter-jinx. Truly this was a work of art! (He was annoyed to find himself rubbing his own forehead.)
I will, of course, need to find the counter-jinx before I can publish it, mused Professor Viridian, as he picked his teeth with his quill. He had yet to lay his hands on the parchment, as “Professor” (he snorted at her title) Dolores Umbridge had seized it, and it was now at the Ministry of Magic. Neither the jinxer nor the jinxed had been available for interviews, so the research would have to be postponed. Or, he thought, I could try to recreate the jinx…. He rubbed his forehead again.
Viridian looked at the calendar. Deadline for the Hexes revision was next week, and today he would beat it. He gave the parchments a final once-over and set off to get an owl to take them to the publisher.
The next morning an envelope from Gringotts arrived by owl just as the professor and his associates were finishing their breakfasts, and as before, he took prompt care of it, finished his breakfast, and bowed his good-byes to his colleagues.
Back at his office, the professor opened the envelope, and with a smirk, read,
Dear Professor Severus Snape:
A deposit to your account at Gringotts Wizarding Bank was made yesterday….
Author's Notes: Beta-ed by Somigliana!
Author’s notes: This plot bunny jumped out and fastened its teeth in me while I was looking up something else in the HP Lexicon. How could he not be Snape! That the Half-blood Prince would use a pen name to publish a book was in character; “Viridian Vindictus” neatly describes our Potions master; and if the first item that Harry picks up in the wizarding world would be by Snape, it would definitely fit JRK’s sense of irony!
There is, of course, nothing tying "Hexes" and "Jinxes" to Professor Viridian, except for my imagination.