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 The Fight, chapter 88

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Aivy
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Anzahl der Beiträge : 69
Anmeldedatum : 25.10.14
Ort : Bodensee

The Fight, chapter 88 Empty
BeitragThema: The Fight, chapter 88   The Fight, chapter 88 EmptySa Nov 10, 2018 2:43 am

Chapter beta: Dani
Chapter translator: Aivy




Harry gave me one last questioning and hesitant look. We both knew the show was about to begin and I nodded affirmatively. Then he resolutely took a deep breath and opened the door confidently.

Tense, we went into the Hall of Prophecies. That was the room we entered reverently, and - oh wonder - it was pitch-black inside at first, and the air was very cool. Hundreds of narrow, long rows of shelves lined up which could only be seen due to the shimmering light of the many orbs stored in the stacks.

Just as in the round entrance hall, blue candlelight flickered to life and spread an even more eerie, mystical atmosphere, making our companions noticeably more nervous. On the shelves, we could see neatly lined up and legibly labelled crystal balls that contained prophecy copies. They glowed in a silvery, peculiar light. Other spheres lay dark in their places and seemed extinguished. It seemed very surreal but also spooky.

“Wow, what’s that?”

“What are those spheres?”

“Creepy!”

The others whispered softly.

“These are prophecies!” I murmured in reply. The tense atmosphere in this incredible room was impalpable.

“Don’t touch them! If you get into contact with one that isn’t about you, you will go mad!” Harry explained in a low voice to our companions, prompting everyone to shy away and cringe. They stayed in the middle of the corridor and we kept going further down the hall. I think the others wondered how Harry knew that, but ultimately there was a reason why he was lured here.

“Where are you going, Harry?” Neville breathed anxiously, hurrying along the corridor as swiftly as we did.

“Row ninety-seven. That’s our designation,” Harry replied quietly and when he arrived there, he looked down at the floor, not really surprised that there was no captive and tortured Sirius lying on the ground.

“And now?” Ginny asked, and then we heard Neville stuttering fearfully:

“Harry, look! The label here has your name and other funny things written on it!” he pointed nervously, with respectful distance, to one of the many orbs.

S.P.T to A.P.W.B.D
Dark Lord
and (?) Harry Potter

“What do you think, Hermione?” Harry asked me doubtfully and I stepped close to him.

“Well, I think the good Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore could have told you everything and decided not to!” I said contemptuously, for I recognised the initials of our valued headmaster.

“So you think S.P.T. is Trelawney?” a worried Harry asked and I nodded.

“Yeah. Her full name is Sybill Patricia Trelawney,” I explained swiftly.

“You really know everything!” Harry echoed in disbelief and I chuckled, but there weren’t that many teachers in the school that you couldn’t read up on them.

“I know. Curious, isn't it?” I coquetted despite the precarious situation.

“And that’s Dumbledore? M-hm… I think so too. The man clearly has too many names. But what about the question mark?” he wondered doubtfully.

“We'll only know that when you take it and hear what's said there. But we also know that's what the Death Eaters are waiting for. As soon as you take it, all hell will break loose. Do you really want to risk this?” I whispered softly in Harry's ear while we discussed our options.

“We are here now, right? Go to the others and get close together, wands ready. I won’t go without this knowledge, even if we have to fight for it!” Harry declared grimly and I stood by his decision.

“Very well, if that’s what you want. I'm game for anything.” I stepped back and pulled everyone close.

“What’s Harry up to, Hermione?” whispered Ron excitedly and with heavily suppressed nervousness.

“He’s going to take the prophecy. Ready your wands and be on high alert!” I nodded to Harry and he took a deep breath, reached out with his hand, stretching to reach the orb, and took the prophecy from its shelf. Awestruck, he looked at the ball now lying in his palm.

Tense because of what was to come, Harry joined us. At that moment, as expected, we became surrounded by - one, two, three... - a total of twelve Death Eaters clad in their combat gear. They were wrapped in their uniform, long, night-black cloaks and wore their frighteningly ugly masks. Chic, I scoffed inwardly.

The man who confronted us as their leader wore a mask that looked like blackened silver. On this slightly matt black silver, gleaming silver ornaments wound around the eyes like another mask. The forehead was dominated by a large, shiny ornament that looked almost like a crown or an antler. It was also noticeable that the mask apparently modelled the face shape of the wearer very closely and suggested high, narrow cheeks. The chin was adorned with an ornament very much like a fleur-de-lis, the symbol of purity of blood and the French monarchy. Although this symbol had nothing to do with the purity of wizarding blood - if anything it alluded to Mary, the mother of Jesus - but maybe someone used it for his own purposes. Or did the wearer want to suggest that their family was just as old and pure and had roots in France?

It was very clear to me who it was because only one man could be so sure of himself. Isn’t that so, my Royal Highness, Lucius Malfoy?

Our companions were all frozen, breathing frantically and fearfully, only too aware of the danger we were in after these dark, evil figures had corned us so monumentally. They created a sinister, gruesome sensation with their masks. We were faced with a faceless menace approaching us slowly like a closed black wall.

When I had identified Lucius Malfoy, I stepped resolutely next to Harry who remained surprisingly cool and motionless despite the threat we were up against. He stood upright with the orb in his hand and seemed very collected. I whispered:

“That’s Malfoy!” After my words, which were clearly audible due to the soundless silence, the tall black figure detached itself from the group and stepped forward with an air of nobility. With a swipe of his wand in front of his face, the iron mask dissolved into silvery smoke. Truly impressive, that trick.

“How right you are, Miss Granger. As always a pleasure to see you again! Something that unfortunately happens far too rarely! You always seem to slip away from me when I corner you, my dear. Yet, I know so many exciting things we could share with each other!” We could now look at Lucius beautiful, aristocratic face from where his grey eyes stared down at us.

“What?!” Ron, Harry and Ginny exclaimed shocked at the same time. I didn’t let myself be impressed and looked at him coldly, cocking my head slightly and was aware that they all listened eagerly, even the Death Eaters.

“Mr Malfoy, I think that there are several people who wouldn’t like that. Not that I’m eager to get so close to you again to have you -” I explained very callously and showed that I was not intimidated. However, the conclusion of the statement didn’t leave my lips so easily because I didn’t know how to explain it to anyone. It turned out I didn’t have to as he interrupted me quickly:

“My dear, if I want to bite you again, I will do just that. And I have to say, your blood was a treat!” Now he licked his lips lasciviously and I could hear that my friends were all baffled by the new insights. I also saw that Harry looked at me, distraught and stunned. I found it rather exciting though to play this game and it managed to distract everyone. Sometimes, you had to stand above it and drop your masks if need be.

“Didn’t you tell your friends about our ... hmm … so inspiring encounters?” he whispered in a velvety voice, enjoying the shocked faces of my companions. In a theatrical gesture, he pressed his gloved hand to his chest that was hugged snuggly by a tight-fitting leather vest.

“No. Why? I would just have artificially exaggerated something very unimportant!” I retorted spitefully and his dark grey eyes narrowed to angry slits.

“Everything I do is important!” he hissed through his narrow lips and I thought it was so easy to infuriate a Malfoy and gave him a mocking smile. “You belong to me!” he ground out unexpectedly violently while I could only think how right he was. If only he knew how much I belonged to him and his family!

“Lucius, could you stop flirting with the little Mudblood now and cease the courting? It makes me sick, plain and simple! Do you remember our mission to get the prophecy?” A dark, hoarse voice screeched aggressively and coldly as a surprisingly fine-boned, tall and thin person stepped beside Lucius. She had a filigree, pale silver mask adorned with playful decorations. The sharp eyes held a crazy shine, staring at us from the slits, the hood barely concealing her tangled, wiry, curly black hair.

“Bellatrix, my dear. If you dare once again to interrupt me or to reprimand me, I will show you who I am! Don’t forget that! I run this mission and when I want to talk to the delightful Miss Granger, all you have to do is keep quiet!” Lucius snarled at the masked figure, who now took off the mask. But honestly, if he snubbed somebody like that, his frigid voice froze everyone and his subordinates clearly knuckled under it.

Now we were face to face with Bellatrix Lestrange. You had to give her credit, half a year in freedom had done wonders for her appearance; she was fetching again and looked well-groomed. Nothing reminded me anymore of the pictures published after the Azkaban escape. She was now so darkly attractive as her sister Narcissa was attractively fair.

“Lestrange!” spat Neville in disgust behind us and abruptly rushed forward. Harry and I responded with lightning speed and just managed to grab him by the shoulders before he could pass us. He was panting like something gone wild while staring hatefully at Bellatrix.

“Neville, calm down!”

“Stop! Watch out!” we shouted in unison, pulling him back sharply by his shoulders. Ron was suddenly there too and lent a hand.

“Oh, who’s that?” she suddenly purred, intrigued. She hadn’t stepped back a millimetre, peering at Neville.

“That, my dear, is the Longbottoms’ son,” Lucius said indifferently, but somehow ironically, brushing back a long, silvery blond strand of his smooth, light hair.

“Really? Well, your parents didn’t last long!” she viciously mocked Neville and giggled wildly.

“Ahhhhhrrrr, I’ll kill her!” Neville yelled hotly, prompting Harry to urgently whisper imploring and reassuring words in his ear.

“Be quiet, Bellatrix!” Lucius hissed irritably through clenched lips and turned to me with a devious smile. The other Death Eaters had only been minor extras until now.

“Miss Granger, what would you think about coming to an agreement? You make Potter give up the prophecy voluntarily, and when you come with me I'll let your friends walk away unscathed!” he offered me generously and let his blasé look wander salaciously and calculatingly over my body clothed in the school uniform.

“Never in a million years!” Harry roared indignantly. I, by contrast, had simply stoically endured Lucius's gaze and rolled my eyes. If I didn’t know that Lucius was lying through his teeth, I would even go with him. Nothing more or worse than Snape had already done to me would happen because I had a marvellous protection. A protection that my friends didn’t have and which they knew nothing about.

“Calm down, Harry,” I chided, before turning to the quite intimidating man in front of me. “Mr Malfoy, as ‘pleasant’ as our meetings were - and they were quite memorable - I think I should better not-” I was about to answer when the words stuck in my throat.

I swallowed hard and watched as a figure moved smoothly and silently out of the darkness of the passage to our group. Even though he didn’t differ from the other figures in terms of appearance, I knew immediately who it was as his mask was a combination of a matte black background and light green ornaments: Snape!

A realisation that managed to make me speechless. What was he doing here? As a Death Eater!

“Lucius, get a move on... and leave the Mudblood alone!” The voice reprimanded Lucius coldly and without any fear of reprisals and I recognised it, too. Harry and the others didn’t, thank the goddess. I believe that he had magically altered it, so fortunately, only I knew who had joined us.

To my shame, the casual expression on my previously composed face slipped just a tiny bit. Lucius turned around in surprise at the unexpected disturbance and looked at Snape.

“We have to do something; the situation is getting too precarious. You can’t give it to them. Better destroy it rather than handing it over!” I said, giving him an imploring look.

“Yes, definitely… Listen, shoot Stupefy at them and Reducto on the shelves!” Harry decided to act immediately and we all nodded in agreement. A Reductor Curse could dissolve objects. Say, should the curse hit, it would pulverize a table, for example, and all the objects on it would fall to the ground. Poof! The ensuing chaos would be glorious!

Now things went very fast and in rapid succession. We got into position and, at Harry’s command, we cried “Stupefy” at lightning speed as if from one mouth and red beams of light shot through the blue-illuminated room. The white beam of the Reducto, which we sent immediately after, flashed brightly through the darkness and smashed into the shelves, which dissolved at once. For a few seconds, it was like the thousands of spheres floated in the air before yielding to Earth's gravity and they rushed towards the ground.

The Death Eaters were astonished and shied back. They were obviously stunned that we dared to fight back! Two, three, and a fourth were incapacitated with the Stunning Spell. The orbs fell clattering and shattering to the floor; it rang loudly. They had underestimated us, but that was what Harry had trained us for and I still had one or two aces up my sleeve.

The onset of confusion and chaos was all-encompassing.

“Go! Run!” Harry shouted and we sprinted off, everyone in a different direction, running for our lives.

“Chase them!” came Lucius answering roar.

Fast as an arrow, I dashed down a dark corridor and heard the crystal balls still falling to the ground and shattering behind me into countless shards. The chaos became complete when ghostly people formed out of the fog and the predicted prophecies were repeated by thousands of voices. The whole hall was one great mess.

Idiots, I thought, because that meant they could have just thrown down the sphere and the prophecy would have been announced loudly and clearly to everyone in hearing distance. Good that the Dark Lord had no hair on his head, it would either turn grey or he would rip it out in anger!

We had started something like a chain reaction and were now destroying the room because all the shelves collapsed and we ran like mad to avoid getting killed by them. I rushed to cast a Cave Inimicum - a protective spell against enemies - on myself and wisely changed my wands without stopping and hurried on.

In-between, I and the others shot curses everywhere as the Death Eaters pursued us like shadows.

Suddenly, a masked Death Eater barred my way and targeted me with a curse that zoomed in on me in a lush purple colour. I just kept running towards him, instinctively knowing my shield would hold, smiling a grim smile. The expression in his eyes behind the mask looked dumbfounded when I ran so carelessly at him and his magic fizzled out on my strong shield. They clearly underestimated us and me especially.

“Brackium Emendo,” I shouted, still running, and watched as my spell hit and he collapsed weakly as if all the bones had been removed from his body - which was exactly what I had done. His look was priceless when this very ‘white’ spell struck him.

His body struck the floor covered in shards hard. Ouch, that must have hurt. I jumped over him without hesitation. To top it off, I also heard a shelf falling over and a stifled “Oomph.” Alas, he had apparently been hit or rather buried. Poor guy! I heard a startled voice in my back calling out:

“Nott!”

Oh, I suppose I had taken out Theodore's father! One thing was clear: he was incapacitated for good. Nothing and no-one would be able to magick his bones back that quickly.

I reached the door that led to the Time Room and saw no one else waiting for me. However, I didn’t stop, running through the door at full tilt and slamming it shut behind me.

There I immediately saw Ginny and Luna desperately trying to fend off a Death Eater. He no longer wore a mask and thus showed his remarkable resemblance to our classmate Crabbe. First, I hexed the door with a non-verbal Colloportus without anyone noticing and hoped that the boys had been faster than us and had had already left the collapsing hall behind.

Then I took aim and shocked the inattentive, beefy man with a Stupefy. Immediately, he dropped, unconscious, and fell with his head into the bell jar with the egg that was constantly evolving into a bird and back. The glass didn’t splinter upon impact but enveloped his head and from then on exerted a morbid fascination on me. I watched and noticed in amazement how his head first turned into the head of a small, shrunken baby only to age in rapid time, becoming the bearded head of a man and then a wrinkled old man's head to then mutate back to the baby’s head. Wow, that was gross!

Crabbe's father had awakened from the Stunning Spell and was desperately trying to pull his head out of the glass as his body always remained the same. It was truly macabre and when he finally made it, it was a grotesque sight. His undamaged, full-grown male body still wore the weird baby skull, so that he staggered around uncoordinated, flailing around with his fists and smashing the clocks around him. He caused great damage to the Time-Turners as well and uttered a high, piercing infant’s cry and howling. It was unbearable.

“How disgusting!” Ginny said mercilessly. Grimacing, she got to her feet with difficulty, when she groaned in pain, leaning heavily on Luna.

“Ginny, what happened?” I asked worriedly, hurrying toward her quickly, avoiding the berserker who was destroying the room.

“Oh, a stupid Death Eater hit me by the ankle. I think it's broken, but it’ll be alright!” She stubbornly grit her teeth, but she was a little pale around the nose.

“I’ll help her. You, look out!” Luna said, astonishingly serious and farsighted. I nodded. They followed me as quickly as possible to the door to the round entrance hall and we left the giant baby to his demolition work.

I had eliminated two Death Eaters by now, so it was only ten plus Snape left. The four Death Eaters we had knocked out with Stupefys in the start had probably been woken up again by their comrades.

I threw open the door ready to attack and stopped just in time when I spotted three exhausted boys looking lost. They also seemed a bit harried and Ron was supported by Neville, while Harry was still holding the orb tightly in his left hand.

“Thank god!” and “Thank Merlin, there you are!” they exclaimed in relief.

Already, the room was spinning, something that almost brought Ron to his knees.

“What’s wrong with Ron?” Ginny asked worriedly when she saw the pained expression on his face.

“He got hit,” Harry replied hectically and breathlessly.

As soon as the room stopped, we ripped open one of the doors and ran frantically into the room behind it. Screaming, we lost the ground under our feet, immediately rising into the air. We floated freely. What a strange feeling, to glide weightlessly through the room.

We had found the Space Chamber, swimming around and dodging the planets floating around us.

Then the door sprang open again and two Death Eaters stormed in, firing wildly. It was not long before Ron was hit, screaming. Immediately, his face took on a foolish expression. He had been so confounded by a curse that he acted and reacted as if drunk.

We dodged frantically and cursed back. Neville fought hard with Ron who behaved like drunk, confused, and giggled incessantly. An Immobilising Spell struck Neville, causing him to let go of Ron. So Harry grabbed frantically for Ron while Neville was revived by Ginny. Neville caught himself astonishingly fast and now wrestled with one of the two Death Eaters, hurling curse after curse. They drifted closer and closer to each other, thanks to the zero gravity.

“Dolohov, watch out!” called the other Death Eater the name of his companion when the latter almost collided with Neville. Dolohov kicked out with his foot, ramming it with force into Neville's face, hitting his nose.

The crunching of the cartilage was pitifully loud and Neville cried out in agony, dropping his wand. Mindfully, the other Death Eater summoned it with an Accio and broke it in two with a loud crack in front of our eyes.

“Thanks, Jugson,” Dolohov yelled back with a wicked grin.

Neville held his bleeding nose and whimpered slightly. I noticed Harry hitting the second guy, Jugson, with a Stupefy and tying him up with an Incarcerous.

Dolohov hit Harry with an Impedimenta but Luna responded quickly and spoke the counter spell on Harry which immediately brought him back with a jolt. Even I just narrowly avoided some curses, managing by a hair's breadth to bring some planets between me and the trajectories of spells.

At that second, Dolohov wanted to alert the other Death Eaters. He started blaring in which room we were in and I didn’t hesitate to aim and hit him nonverbally with a Silencio, silencing him at once so that he couldn’t betray our location.

It seemed that he was not capable of non-verbal magic, or too surprised at the act, for he showed such a biting expression that he resorted to unfair means. He grabbed the hovering Ginny instantly and with lightning speed and wrestled her from Luna.

He clamped her head roughly in the crook of his arm and strangled her. She shrieked in panic, clawing at his arm, and tried desperately to get away from him.

“Ginny!” Luna cried fearfully and hurled the planet Pluto in the face of Ginny's attacker. Screaming with pain, he let her go, spitting blood, just no sound came over his bewitched lips. Immediately, Luna called Ginny magically to her and grabbed her, pulling her determinedly with her and the other girl rubbed her bruised neck and wept bitterly.

“We have to get out of here, guys,” Luna called out over the chaos and I swam to the door which didn’t lead to the entrance hall. I held on to the door, holding it open and everyone came to me.

Meanwhile, Harry managed to throw a full-body bind on Dolohov so that he, too, floated defencelessly through the chamber.

Neville came with Ron in his grasp because the redhead was doing nothing but chuckling stupidly and behaving crazily. Luna, holding a coughing, gasping Ginny, and Harry left the room, and then I came last, slamming the door shut with force. Luna copied me quickly and chanted “Colloportus”, sealing the door and we took a deep breath.

After a look around, I realised that we were in the Brain Room. I was panting and just wanted to turn to Harry when we heard Neville shouting in alarm.

“Ron, no, don’t!” he screamed in outright panic. It was too late, however, as Ron was already shouting, laughing:

“Accio!” He aimed at the brains in the central basin, and immediately three of those pale red, wobbly shapes flew in his general direction. But only one of the brains was racing directly towards him with its long slippery white-grey tentacles. It hit Ron full in the chest and wound itself around him. Thereby, it seemed to cut right into his flesh. A gruesome sight but something that made Ron laugh madly.

“Ron!” we all exclaimed aghast, and I had the presence of mind to send a Petrificus Totalus to the greedy tentacle brain. Neville, whose face was covered in blood, was already at Ron’s side and prying off the slippery tentacles that held Ron's arms and hands with difficulty.

The skin of his two arms looked terribly cut and sucked. He was bleeding miserably, meanwhile laughing and giggling as if mad. His head wobbled back and forth. It had affected him pretty hard.

The moment of rest was over when this door also was blasted open. Immediately, an overwhelming number of Death Eaters poured into the Brain Room which instantly became a battleground. Lightning flashed through the room in bright colours. It was a single flashing sea of colour, accompanied by loud crashes.

I jumped aside, behind one of the desks, and decided to resort to wordless fight so no one would know where I was hiding and what kind of spells I was using. It wouldn’t be so good right now if the wrong person noticed.

This onslaught was dangerous, and although I'd learned from the previous battle that they were apparently not shooting lethal curses on Lucius's strict command, the fight became more and more dogged because of our resistance.

What motivated Lucius to treat us so ‘gently’? No, wrong thought! A curse was crashing into the wall just over my head and wood chips rained down on me.

Macnair was shooting a yellow beam of light at Luna and she flew like a ragdoll into the air and slid across a table, then fell with a loud bang to the floor, unconscious.

“Where are Greengrass and Rookwood?” a gasping Macnair asked a fast-approaching Lestrange brother. He managed to catch Harry with a spell that squeezed his trachea. “Give us the prophecy, Potter!” he demanded viciously but got distracted by Neville.

This allowed Harry to throw off Macnair’s curse and cast a non-verbal Petrificus Totalus on the onrushing Mulciber, and he hit his target. Mulciber froze, struck by the full-body bind and, for good measure, I followed up with a Sleeping Spell.

Neville had screamed in alarm at the same time as Luna landed on the floor, unconscious. He rushed like a berserker at Macnair and slammed Ron's wand, which had been forcibly removed from his owner by Neville, right into his eye. He drilled the pointed wood down mercilessly into this yielding soft tissue and Macnair cried out in anguish.

What happened then went lightning fast as Neville was hit in the back by the newly released Jugson who barged into the room and hit him with a spell. Neville went down unspectacularly. Wailing, Macnair covered his bleeding, as-good-as gouged eye. As he pulled out the wand sticking out of his eye, there was a loud smacking sound that was utterly disgusting, and he shrieked piercingly. His scream stopped abruptly when Macnair was completely incapacitated by one of Harry's Stunning Spells.

I could not react fast enough to prevent Ginny, leaning against a desk, getting hit and thrown around by a Stupefy spoken by Rodolphus in passing. She collapsed, unconscious.

He himself went straight to Harry, grabbed him by the throat and squeezed. He seemed very angry and upset and wanted to wrest the orb from him. Before he could succeed, I put a Trance Spell onto Rodolphus that wasn’t easily lifted. He slowly let go of Harry and sank to his knees, visibly dizzy, doing nothing but staring blankly into the distance. Still, I magically tied him up with an Incarcerous. Meanwhile, Harry was wheezing pitifully.

Jugson spun around to cast a Killing Curse that just missed me, but still brushed a few of my hair tips and made my heart beat faster. I had been able to get away with a quick dive to safety in the last second. That had been damn close! All of us were out, except for Harry and me, and that idiot Jugson fastened onto me. Apparently, my previous assumption had been wrong, maybe Harry was the only one that shouldn’t be killed. After Lucius' earlier advances though, I thought he wouldn’t be pleased to learn that I should be the declared fatality.

Just in time, Harry saw the raging Augustus Rookwood, whose face was painfully disfigured and shimmering in different shades of blue, rushing toward him with a determined set to his mouth, and I shot a Confounding Charm at him from behind a console.

Harry managed to throw himself sideways just in time, so Rookwood landed headfirst in one of the basins. Clinking, the glass broke and the tentacle brains flew across the room. One of those things grabbed Rookwood's head and its tentacles immediately wound around him, whereupon he began to fight hectically against them. They snaked around his head and seemed to cut into his skin as they had with Ron’s who was sitting confused, giggling and laughing on the floor.

At that second, a Confringo hit the wooden writing desk behind which I had jumped and blasted it away, sending me flying as a result of the blast of detonation. I rammed my front teeth into my lips to forbid any sound of pain from escaping and also pinched my eyes while the wood chips pierced my body and I started to bleed from several wounds. I landed less than soft on the hard ground and the air was pressed from my lungs. Nonetheless, I remained very calm because of the anger pulsing through my veins.

Without hesitation or apprehension, I called “Avada Kedavra!” quietly and mercilessly from my now exposed position on the floor and hit Jugson straight in the chest. He had just approached me with a sinister grin full of pleasant anticipation that withered quickly when he got caught by the cold green beam of light and tumbled over like a felled tree. He hadn’t expected me to cast that curse.

I allowed myself briefly to lie back and to take a breath. The splinters hurt, but fortunately they had not sunk in deeply and so I mentally called myself to order. This wasn’t over yet. I had to get to Harry and help, so up!

One enemy less! I had incapacitated one more. Looking around the ruined and demolished room, I couldn’t make out either Harry or Neville. Luna was still on the floor and Ginny too, but she started to stir again. Apparently, the spell Rodolphus had struck her with hadn’t been that strong.

Jugson himself lay dead with eyes rolled so that they showed the white. Rookwood was still fighting silently with the tentacles that mercilessly snaked around his head and cut into it. Ron continued to sit in the middle of the room, unnoticed by everyone, chuckling and rocking dizzily back and forth. The one Lestrange brother didn’t fare any better, staring impassively into the air. Macnair lay unconscious on the floor with his bleeding eye.

My blood ran down my body, but I didn’t feel anything; the adrenaline rushing through my veins did not allow for any pain or bigger sensations.

“Ginny, wake up!” I ordered her, shaking her shoulder, and she opened her eyes, holding her bloody skull with a face twisted with pain.

“Hermione”, she whimpered and started to cry.

“Shshsh… listen!” I reassured her and pressed her wand roughly into her limp hand. “Wake Luna and take Ron. Get out, please! And you can do it, grit your teeth, little one! Got that? Afterwards, you can break down, okay?” I spoke grimly and very forcefully with her, grabbing her by the shoulders and squeezing them tightly. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and I stroked her cheek reassuringly.

“What… about… you?” she sobbed, “you… don’t look… that well… yourself!”

“I'm fine, I have to get to Harry! Go and do what I said. We’re counting on you, Ginny!” I insisted convincingly. Immediately, she nodded and I saw her usual strength return to her light brown eyes. She squared her shoulders in determination and I pulled her up with me. She clenched her jaw when she put her foot on the floor and I turned away quickly.

In my mind, I recalled quickly who else was left: Nott was the first to get incapacitated by my spell and the shelf, then Jugson, who clearly wouldn’t get up again and whom I had wiped from the face of the earth with my second Avada in just a few hours.

Rookwood was busy with the brain wound around him, and Mulciber would sleep for a long time before anyone found the right counter-spell. The almost one-eyed Macnair was additionally stunned with a Stupefy and would not be operational anytime soon. The only other one that remained around here was Rodolphus who had also become incapacitated with my Trance Spell. Just then, I remembered Crabbe who had become an abstract giant baby.

So we had effectively eliminated seven of the twelve Death Eaters. A good cut, as I found, but still not good enough!

Hence, I rushed to the door through which the others had left, casting an Episkey on myself in the run, and pushed open the door without hesitation to emerge into the room of my worst fears.

The eerie Death Chamber!

I immediately spotted Harry in this uncanny room resembling a Roman arena and the disembodied whispering of voices reinforced the unworldly impression. The permanently supernatural, ghostly atmosphere here really made me nervous.

He was standing looking lost on the pedestal centred down there in front of the large, free-standing, weathered stone archway with the gently waving veil, and Lucius, who stood out from this darkness with his white hair threatened Harry, positioned in front of him.

I just wanted to hurry on when I was grabbed by the wrist, eliciting a stifled squeak from me. I scolded myself, annoyed that I hadn’t taken better care while I got relentlessly pulled into the darkness of an alcove.
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