When Hermione Fights
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 Narcissa’s End, chapter 118

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Anzahl der Beiträge : 107
Anmeldedatum : 25.10.14
Ort : Bodensee

Narcissa’s End, chapter 118 Empty
BeitragThema: Narcissa’s End, chapter 118   Narcissa’s End, chapter 118 EmptyFr Dez 06, 2019 9:41 pm

Chapter beta: Dani
Chapter translator: Aivy




We entered the hall at the same time and I tried to read something from Severus' or Lucius' expression, but both of them returned our looks coldly and markedly composed. Draco had the same cold expression on his face, but his cheeks were still slightly flushed, heated by what we had done, as were mine.

He directed me purposefully back towards the place where I had sat before, but just before we reached Lucius and Severus, Draco stopped and pulled me vehemently against his body. I couldn't see anything in his eyes this time, his mask sat perfectly, which made me swallow restlessly. What else came now? He had already shown sufficiently that I belonged only to him.

He turned to me and hugged me possessively to his chest. His hands buried into my hair and he breathed a kiss on my forehead.

"Never forget, my Mudblood, you belong to ME," he whispered quietly.

I was briefly lost for words, as volatile as his mood was right now. On one hand gentle, on the other hard and commanding.

Finally, he turned away from me again and stared Lucius and Severus hard in the eye, while he continued to have a hand on my hip.

"Never forget, you belong only to ME," he didn't speak to me, but to the other two, who left this uncommented and seemed rather unaffected.

"And did you like it?" Draco asked me. "You did wish for more variety, after all!"

I beamed at him joyfully, because to emphasize again that I had done this of my own free will was certainly important to him, and apart from having to be vocal, I had done it very willingly and gladly.

"Oh yes, my Pureblood, I had my fun. I always like to play with you.”

"We get it, Draco. Could you please stop this ridiculous spectacle? You are worse than your father! So frighteningly melodramatic and puffing up like a peacock," Severus grumbled. No matter how sarcastic he sounded, the gleam in his disgruntled eyes showed how much he wanted to be in Draco's place.

Lucius though knew how to top all this, because he started to applaud slowly and very affectedly.

"I am proud of you, son, you have learned from a master and are well on your way to become one yourself. I have understood that you want to put us in our place. You have made your point clear, now sit down! That was quite enough and dangerously close to overstepping the mark!"

This time Draco obeyed without even a second's hesitation. It was only too clear, Lucius was fully there again; he was now the patriarch who gave orders and expected them to be followed. His voice was cold, threatening and authoritative, conveying that he would not tolerate any contradiction. Lucius had apparently enjoyed the interlude in a certain way, at least in part, but now he wanted to have his peace. Evidently, we had pushed him too hard.

"These little games must stop now; Narcissa is more important at the moment," Lucius declared while we sat down. "Well, Hermione, I hope you are aware of the special favour I am showing you by giving you the honour of punishing Narcissa!"

"Yes, Lucius and I thank you for it," I answered obediently and without hesitation. It was easy for me to adapt to them.

"Good, good. I just want you to know that this is something exceptional," he explained confidently, but now with a relaxed expression while his fingers played with his cane.

"Of course, Lucius, I am aware of that!"

"And I think you are still deeply in my debt because I saved you. I am even with Draco," - here he turned to his son - "I understood that you accused me of saying that my word to you was no longer valid, but you know, a word within the family is true and sacred, so I see your debt as paid. I stand to the oath I gave you!"

Draco had only very briefly shown that Lucius' words surprised him, then he had hidden it deeply again.

"Thank you, Father, that reassures me," the younger blonde said, bowing his head slightly.

Yes, we had clearly hit the mark regarding Lucius with our action.

"But now back to you, dear. Do you already know how you intend to pay your debt?" Lucius whispered provocatively to me.

I now had to swallow uncomfortably that he would so openly demand payment of the debt and I had not expected that today, in the morning after my near death. I composed myself and tried not to sound intimidated when I attempted to answer, but Lucius raised his right hand commandingly and waved it brusquely in front of my face.

"Think about it, you do not have to tell me now, but do not forget it. I expect you to offer me something!"

Almost relieved that he granted me a postponement, I wanted to thank him when we heard the double door slam open behind us.

Oh, so Narcissa had finally arrived. We all turned our heads in her direction and, with our eyes, followed the fury that stormed into the hall.

She walked proudly around the table. The lady of the manor was wearing a pale pink, flowing silk dress that emphasized her slender figure and had her hair pulled into a tight bun and seemed briefly irritated that I was sitting next to Lucius, but she recovered quickly.

I felt her watchful, angry, piercing gaze from blue eyes on me at all times. I did not like this woman. It was today the day after the attack and she seemed to be haggard and I knew hate was too mild a word to describe her feelings for me. However, I could reassure her, I did not like her either. She could apparently not believe that I was alive, that I had survived her cowardly attack, and so I gave her a hostile look which matched hers in malice.

We all waited in silence until Narcissa had sat down on the chair next to Severus - as the next possible seat - and she looked at us arrogantly and with her head raised. My emotions would probably be overflowing if Draco hadn't satisfied me so effectively.

Then Lucius turned to her with a stony face and stared her down.

"Narcissa, I hope the night in the dungeon was restful," he asked quite spitefully which caused her eyes to widen a bit.

"Thank you for allowing me to freshen up," she skilfully ignored his enquiry and cleverly hid the trembling of her hands by hiding them under the table. That was interesting. No matter how confident she seemed, she feared her husband.

"Anyway... We all know that yesterday you tried to do something against my explicit order that you should not have done," he now rebuked her with a snarl, shaking his aristocratic head as if he could not believe her insubordination. "I do not understand that you ignore me and my wishes again and again. ... Why are you doing this? Am I not a good husband to you?" he asked so melodramatically, touching his chest in dismay, that I thought I was in a second-rate theatre performance.

Subsequently, she angrily pinched her lips together and stared hatefully into her husband's eyes. Also interesting, because it seemed as if the couple were not really happy.

"What makes you think so, Lucius? Over the years I have learned to accept many things," she spat out resentfully, and there was hatred to be heard from her words, "but can't you see what I do? You... you all, you go too far... Why should I not be allowed to do anything to the Mudblood whore? She has no place being here! She defiles the reputation of the noble House of Malfoy," she breathed icily and grazed her son with an abysmally contemptuous look, but on the other hand she knew nothing of my mark. For her it had to be really incomprehensible why the three men did all this here, but it was not up to me to enlighten her.

"Tsk tsk tsk... Narcissa... You have known me for far too long! Why do you want to get involved in my decisions? You know that it was my explicit command to keep away from her; what is not to be understood about it? Once and for all, she belongs to the family, Narcissa and she belongs to Draco! You will never change that and you know you have to expect a punishment for your cowardly attack on a family member," he hissed coldly at her and his wife's eyes got even larger and more incredulous at the announcement.

"Lucius, you don't really mean that. Family? You can't do that to me! You cannot be serious," she choked out in horror. "You accepted her into the family? Did I understand that correctly?"

"Yes, you did," Lucius confirmed emphatically.

"I am shocked... which one of you was so stupid as to take this filth into our family?" she breathed softly before her gaze swept around to us and she flew off the handle in resentment. "Did you do that, son? Was it not enough for you to get her into your bed?"

She had jumped up and shouted angrily at her son, who only looked at her coldly and uninvolved.

"This is not your decision, Mother. She belongs to the family and you will have to come to terms with that and accept it," Draco replied callously, whereupon she snorted disparagingly.

"Sit down again, Narcissa. You will learn today what your punishment for your misconduct will be and you will not behave unseemly here at my table. This does include not shouting or attacking anyone. Do we understand each other? Besides," he added very frosty, "you have nothing to say here. I can do whatever I want with you," he explained almost affably, that even I had goosebumps running down my back.

As he measured her icily and stared her down, one could see the ruthless determination in his gaze, so that she slowly buckled, realizing herself that nothing good was coming from her husband. When she sank back into her chair, he played constantly, subliminally threatening, with the snakehead of his ebony cane, which contained his magic wand.

On his last words, however, she straightened up again, sitting stiffly on her chair, as if she had swallowed a stick.

"No! You're not serious," she echoed in shock. "For her, you would do all this to me...?!”

"... and even more ... Nice that you now recognise your precarious situation. That is enough of an answer for me," he said indifferently and shrugged his elegant shoulders, which were so artistically surrounded by his long, blond hair that it was too beautiful a picture.

While I had followed all this, all I understood was that Narcissa's standing in the ranks of the family was more than bad, and it did not satisfy my vindictiveness in the least. Especially since I instinctively realized that this woman would always be a constant danger to me, always trying to ram a knife into my back. This wasn't just about me, but about the fact that she lived out all her accumulated feelings against her family on me, and unfortunately I was the one who suffered.

This was about more than punishment, this was about what my life in this family should look like. A decision was being made about how I would live my life. Therefore, I wanted to interfere now, because he had promised me Narcissa!

"Lucius, so far I have not yet had the sufficient opportunity to thank you sincerely! You saved me, thank you," I said vehemently as she gasped for air.

Thus, I stood up ostentatiously, walked resolutely towards him, laid my petite hand on the noble brocade fabric of his shoulder, enjoyed this touch for a moment and smiled at him with deep meaning, but he looked at me only with his brow raised. Then I bent down lasciviously and thankfully breathed a kiss on his soft cheek.

I sharpened my lips and pressed them firmly against his skin. He enjoyed this intimate favour visibly before all eyes. From Narcissa came an incredulous, gargling sound, with which we were rewarded, because she choked rather distastefully. Severus and Draco also watched us, but seemed to enjoy the spectacle as they gave Narcissa scornful looks. It was really awful when everyone in the family was against you. I would never want to be in that position.

My long hair now fell over my shoulder as I stood there slightly bowed and Lucius raised his hand and gently brushed it back for me. I retreated slightly and immediately he put his palm to my cheek, keeping me so close to him and looking deeply into my eyes.

"LUCIUS," Narcissa screamed indignantly and I could watch him rolling his eyes in annoyance.

I followed suit in silent agreement, which he reciprocated with a conspiratorial smile. I remained in this posture and leaned a bit more into his hand, which he acknowledged with an indulgent smile.

"Lucius, could I talk to Narcissa?" I asked velvety. Now it was enough for me; the old hag was a pain in my ass. So I slightly backed away from him and with a nod he let me go completely. I straightened up, sparkling fearlessly at this harridan.

"Go ahead," he said affably to me and leaned back to enjoy the spectacle.

"I'm not talking with dirt," Narcissa informed me snidely, which made a demonic grin spread across my face.

"Then it's a good thing I'm not dirt, isn't it, Narcissa?" I clarified maliciously and she gasped audibly as I dared to address her so confidentially, but before she could protest, I raised a hand.

"But all right, I won't keep you on tenterhooks. I'm bored... What do you think of us resolving our dispute in the only way possible... for us?" I began to advance my proposal to her when she interrupted me disparagingly.

"By vanishing into thin air and disappearing, Mudblood?" she suggested bitingly and made an ugly grimace of her beautiful face.

"No! Much more creative, but also more final. I suggest something else," the tension increased almost immeasurably, for the men also hung tensely on my every word.

"And what would that be?" she said with pronounced indifference.

"Let's play a game of life and death," I breathed conspiratorially and walked towards Draco with swaying hips and was curious about the reactions that my quite daring suggestion would trigger.

"WHAT...? No... that's out of the question!" Draco shouted angrily and I immediately put my hand on his arm in a reassuring gesture.

The other two just lifted up their eyebrows and kept silent. Draco, on the other hand, insulted me very much when he thought his mother had a chance against me and so I tried to silence him.

"You heard right, Narcissa! ... This is a uniquely good offer! I don't like to be killed twice. If you try it a second time, I want to fight back, no matter when, no matter how, no matter where! Do as you see fit, but expect that I will also carry out one or two assassination attempts on you," I presented her with my idea and grinned at her nastily. "May the better witch win," I said, straightening up again and enjoying the horrified expressions of everyone present. Especially Narcissa seemed a bit confused with the open declaration of war on my part.

"Her-" wanted Draco to protest again, but I pressed his shoulder and turned to Lucius, who had an almost malicious smile on his lips, which made me slightly insecure.

"Do I have your permission for this?" I asked him coldly and was thus a better and more obedient daughter of the House, since I obtained his permission, albeit after the fact.

Indirectly, though, I requested something completely different: I wanted permission to kill Narcissa with impunity. I looked into Lucius' frozen face as he nodded slowly but deliberately. He didn't seem really surprised or even worried.

Then I looked at Draco, who gave me a slightly insecure smile while he too nodded slowly, almost cautiously. Lastly, I looked at Severus, who had annoyance written too clearly in his dark eyes, and from him came a very reluctant, very hesitant nod after a pondering look at Lucius.

As a result, a cheerful smile spread on my face, as I already knew exactly how I would wipe this annoying individual from the earth's surface.

I actually had the permission and couldn't really grasp it yet. I was so grateful that I had received it, and I noticed that I had been more tense than I had wanted to admit before. A punishment would never have been enough for me; this woman was too dangerous for me. I could not care for her and her survival! She would make my life hell and I could not afford that. She had to perish, so I was only grateful and happy that all three had more or less agreed to Narcissa's death. Everything went like clockwork.

That Draco hated his own mother so much that he had given me permission today, that didn't really surprise me after I had had the pleasure of experiencing the madwoman. She now jumped, enraged and displeased, as the contempt of her family was so clearly revealed to her. The chair fell to the ground behind her with a loud thud, and she stared at me as mad as hell.

"I don't believe this! I am the wife here, the mother! ... I am pure-blooded! You cannot be serious! You agree with her! With her, this person... Are you so blinded? You will be sorry for that. The Dark Lord... I will go to Diagon Alley today and visit a curse breaker," she ranted in outrage and glared angrily at everyone, threatening all of us. I felt doubly and triply confirmed.

"You are not going anywhere alone! You have forfeited your rights. If so, then Severus will accompany you - should Hermione be in agreement..." determined Lucius generously and you had to admire his cold-bloodedness.

I listened attentively. That would be perfect! I hadn't expected that. That would play into my hands. I hadn't expected that my chance would come so soon and so I also rose, almost with something like a thrill of anticipation in my heart. My brain was working at full speed and as so often I was planning like crazy.

"She may go," I decreed immediately. "Unfortunately, my appetite has passed. If I could withdraw? The last day and the morning were exhausting," I looked at Lucius insistently and he smirked back at me salaciously.

He probably thought of our intermezzo before Narcissa had arrived, but I only noticed how Narcissa fled the room. Her silk dress rustled loudly around her hectic steps. When she almost ran now, it was as if she was fleeing after my threat and running for her life!

And she wasn't even wrong about that!

Severus, on the other hand, got up ponderously to rush after her. From then on I also had to hurry. The hunting fever had now gripped me properly; my prey was fleeing and I felt the joyful tingling sensation one gets when spotting their target and it was now on the run and I, the huntress, was chasing after it. It was an exciting feeling throughout.

Nothing counted anymore, only victory!

I had to be fast. I received the gracious permission from Lucius to leave the table. Draco said goodbye to me, but I did not really notice it anymore, only that he had to stay with his father, because today they had important appointments that would come into the house. That information was fine with me, of course, so I hurried out of the salon as well.

I knew that the business from which she hoped to get help against my curse, but also against my mark, was right next to Ollivander.

I quickly put my Geminio twin to bed and rushed to the dressing room. Here I ripped open my trunk, which stood in a corner there, and rummaged impatiently in it. Where was the little thing... Ah there. I pulled out a small jewellery box and opened it.

I took a ring out of it, which I quickly pulled over my left index finger and then moved on immediately, because time was pressing. I pulled my heavy, black cloak over my white lace dress. I didn't have time to put on anything else, only took enough to get into firm, flat shoes.

Then I stepped to Draco's suits, pulled them aside and looked at the wooden panel. Running my wand over it with a whispered "Dissendium" and already it moved to the side and revealed the dark secret passage behind it, which would take me away from here unseen. Only this time actually unseen, I laughed wickedly and devilishly. Adrenalin pumped through my veins.

I hurried, almost flew along the passage and was now able to release the warding spells almost blindly. Thanks to the incidents they had not yet had time to build up new, improved ones. The old curses seemed to have rebuilt themselves, but were, as I said, no problem and even the last trap that had been my undoing was no longer a problem for me, as I had seen through the curse and now knew how it had been woven. I broke it completely this time and was annoyed that I had been so blind not to have recognized the structure faster.

I now left the hollow tree behind me, standing again in the summer forest, which seemed to be in no way inferior to that in Hogwarts, and, unfortunately, again had no time to examine it more closely. Well, next time, I thought with an absolutely vicious smile. This idiotic tart really thought that a simple curse breaker would be able to break my spells or take this ancient marking curse off of me. It would be too nice, but that was just laughable. I didn't want to know what the beetle had tried to do to break my curses in vain. Well, I didn't want to sound arrogant, but I was just brilliant. When I did something, I did it right, I laughed happily and terribly spitefully.

When you had been snatched from the jaws of death as narrowly as I had been, you always felt such a great urge, an infinite thirst for actions that proved you were alive!

I know, very few people will be able to understand that. Who else kept knocking on heaven's door? Trust me, it was a great, intoxicating feeling. Now I greedily sucked in the much more intense, rich, fresh forest air deeply into my lungs and enjoyed feeling the tickle of the sun's rays on my face. That's how I had felt the morning after I had had the knife stuck in me.

At that time, I had also felt compelled to kill Bole and as long as Narcissa walked this earth, she was an incalculable danger to me. To be honest, I had enough problems that I had to take care of and that I unfortunately couldn't get out of the way as quickly and unproblematically as Narcissa. Therefore there was no hesitation for me here.

I had spontaneously decided that only her death was a just punishment. Did I shock the men with it? I don't know. One or two of them, presumably. I didn't think they had expected it to escalate like that. Only, Narcissa had made the same mistake as everyone else: she underestimated me.

Well, she had practically signed her own death warrant. Taking great delight in the fact that everything went so unexpectedly fast, I now implemented my transfiguration and this time I surpassed myself. I looked as ugly as possible under my black cloak. My skin looked ashen and wrinkled, I had dull green, protruding eyes and my lustreless, dark red hair stuck out from my head in short, tangled bristles. My nose took on an abstract hook shape and the large, abysmally ugly wart above my mouth completed the image of the evil witch who seemed to have emerged from a horror tale of the Brothers Grimm.

The spell was not easy and required a lot of concentration and attention, but thanks to Severus' potions I was up to the task and managed it without breaking a sweat.

Proud of my transfiguration, I looked at myself in the mirror I had conjured and bared my crooked, yellowish teeth. A truly successful transfiguration, the result of which looked nothing like Hermione Granger or rather Hermione Malfoy! I should have deserved a bloody O for that!

Then I apparted into the side street of Diagon Alley and pulled the hood slightly into my abysmally ugly face, before I meandered through the busy alley.

I stood in front of Ollivander's shop, looking in on the curse breaker and waited. What took so long? Had the tart needed to change? Where was she?

Too much vanity was never good! Thus, I had time to observe the hustle and bustle; all the masses of witches and wizards who, on this summery day, frequented the alley and hurried from store to store doing their shopping. I noticed many children who used to be in Hogwarts and now accompanied their parents shopping during the holidays.

It was loud, colourful, it was too hectic and the people were in good spirits. It all seemed very chaotic!

I also registered some Aurors patrolling the alley. Apparently this was a new measure by the Ministry in the fight against the Dark Lord and to give people the feeling of security that I was about to take away from them to some extent. It was daring. So many people, such a public place... But well, I was daring and it would certainly be exciting. Then I didn't plan any further, because she finally arrived!

I could not believe what I saw. She had really changed her clothes. I only shook my head about so much vanity. She now wore a forest green robe, a matching, slightly fluttering, silky cloak over it and next to her walked a very dark looking Sn... Severus, whose long dark hair framed his face. Surely, he felt once again very sorry for himself for having to play the nanny for an absolutely nonsensical cause. He knew for sure that the curse was good and not to be broken, otherwise he would not still use it after he had examined it and he would have done something against the mark of my stomach long ago if there was anything to find, so it was a waste of time and effort.

An icy calm settled over me, because the show was about to begin. I had made this decision and would now perform it with no scruples.

Without hesitating for a second, I set myself in motion, slowly walking towards the unequal couple, affecting a stooped posture. I wiggled skillfully through the stream of people, purposefully heading for my victim. Even though Narcissa was much taller than me, she seemed very graceful and thin, especially next to Severus. She struggled to keep up with him, in which she did not really succeed, but that was preferable for my purposes.

Closing in on them inevitably, I had to suppress a really nasty, derisive smirk while I reached for the ring on my left index finger. I had prepared it last summer because I thought you never knew what it was good for. I had just read a biography about the Borgia and found their way of disposing off enemies efficient and brilliant, so I had adopted some ideas and utilized them in a modified form. Now would be the first time, but certainly not the last time, where the results would be put to use.

The ring I had quickly snatched on my way out was a silver ring I had been looking for a long time and had eventually found in a Muggle shop and bought happily, hard to believe but true!

It had the shape of a detailed, filigree scorpion, whose chitin skeleton segments were accurately reproduced, with two scissors in front, six spider-like feet and a quadrinomial tail, which completed the appearance of the scorpion. But what made it perfect for me was the ring head. It depicted the shell of the animal, which was represented by an embedded onyx and which, when I pressed on it, released a hidden, small silver stinger. A sugar-sweet idea, as I found, and just right for me. This little needle wasn't long, but then it didn't have to be, and when I saw the ring, I had to buy it, because I immediately thought of what venom I would put on the stinger.

Now I walked with my noticeable hunch towards the high-born people, limping slightly. When I was close, I turned around and croaked.

"Milady, have mercy. I beg you, a pittance for a poor witch," I begged desperately, obstructing her path, wringing my hands so that she had to stop and the distance to Severus widened, as he hurried ahead and didn't immediately notice.

"Get away from me, you lowly creature," she answered brashly with a disgusted expression. Her pretty little nose was wrinkled in contempt, as if I was polluting the air with my presence and she tried to wave me off with her elegant and delicate hand. But I wasn't that easy to get rid of.

"But, but... Milady, show mercy," I wailed impressively and her face now showed an angry grimace.

"Out of the way, riff-raff," she snapped at me venomously and leaned threateningly towards me. At that moment, I reacted without hesitation, raising my left hand and sweeping her left cheek with the back of my hand and the poisoned silver ring.

I quickly dragged the venomous stinger over her immaculate and flawless skin until she flinched in affect and so my ring slid down to her neck in a single, merciless line. Since the venom would spread more quickly at the neck, this was only right for me. It wasn't a clean puncture in itself, but rather a long scratch that stood out glaringly red from her impeccable, distinguished pallor. I was completely satisfied with my assassination.

I grinned hatefully into the horribly widened, absolutely horrified looking blue eyes as her hands jerked to her face and she carefully touched her injured skin. Some witches and wizards had stopped and watched our quarrel, but nobody intervened yet.

I had searched for a long time until I found a scorpion that could truly give a deadly dose of venom for an adult. Despite the widespread belief that scorpions were dangerous, few were lethal to humans. Of over a thousand two hundred species, there were only twenty-five who did the trick. Therefore, I had become an expert when it came to this toxin, since I was a perfectionist and only the right scorpion venom fitted to such a symbolic ring. Since I was an even more vicious and nasty bitch than Narcissa, there was a second reason why I relied on the scorpion's venom.

I had opted for the Buthus tamulus, the Indian red scorpion, as this venom was deadly, as I said, but there was another reason: the most important component of the venom was Iberiotoxin, a neurotic peptide.

The release of large quantities of neurotransmitters into the peripheral nervous system led to cardiac arrhythmia and lung failure. So this venom led to a concentration-dependent contraction of the muscles and would be an excellent way to avenge my near-death.

When she now held her bloody fingers incredulous in front of her face, she screamed in horror at the physical, for her completely unexpected attack.

"Severus, attack! Somebody help me!" she shrieked theatrically.

Meanwhile, I had already left her behind, knowing that I had won, heading for Knockturn Alley at a fast pace. I heard a ruckus and some shocked cries and hysterical screams from the audience behind my back, but that didn't stop me from quickly heading for the dark, dreary alley.

I didn't know whether Severus or others followed me, because I didn't dare look back and so I released the spells that lay on me while walking, hidden under my cloak, and assumed Minna's appearance. I grimaced painfully as my bones re-shaped themselves with brute force. I had to be careful not to stagger and gasped in pain as I went through the transformation.

I was not allowed to slow my pace under any circumstances, as the patrolling Aurors would soon take up pursuit. Only at night none of the law-abiding individuals ventured into the black magic alley, but if a member of the Malfoys was attacked on the open road during the day and the attacker disappeared down here, even the Aurors would jump over their shadows and follow them here. But didn't that make it so thrilling and exciting?

I didn't dare rub over my tingling and throbbing face to get my painful nerves back to life because I wanted to avoid anything that was conspicuous. At that moment, I noticed loud trampling behind me.

"Everyone stay put," one of the Aurors shouted authoritatively and commandingly.

All dark-dressed people stopped briefly on the spot and looked carefully and suspiciously from under their hoods at the group of Aurors, who didn't fit in here at all with their characteristic, brightly coloured robes.

"Take off all your hats and hoods right this instant, by order of the Ministry," the Auror hissed angrily. His demand met with little willingness to do what he wanted, and so nobody moved.

Hey, nobody here was wearing the masks for fun, I thought with amusement. How stupid could Aurors be? He might as well ask everyone to give him their wands, I thought cynically, shaking my head over so much stupidity.

"You can't do anything to me," raged a dirty man who would resemble Dung very much if he wasn't as dirty as he was. Many others grumbled as well, while the first ones carefully grabbed their wands and braced themselves to immediately do a runner.

Okay, shortly it would get heated around here. It didn't seem as if the dark fellows here felt like accepting the authority of the aurors. Let's be honest, neither did I and so I held my wand in my hand ready to attack as the situation blew up almost instantly.

Some of the masked people suddenly hurled forbidden black curses at the Aurors and I didn't hold back either, throwing myself into battle without reserve. Only if you were particular about it, I was on the wrong side. Or was it the right one?

Difficult question, even more difficult answer!

I had set up my shields immediately, my hex deflection stood and I plunged into the rough, unforeseen battle without hesitation and without delay, casting one flashing, colorful curse after the other. Good that I always trained so hard. My movements were smoother and more controlled, and also more exact than even those of the, in my opinion, slow Ministry employees, and so I slid rapidly through the ranks of the fighters.

The otherwise so gloomy, dark and dusty alleyway was illuminated by a real rain of sparks as it all spread out in a truly unmanageable, hectic chaos in the narrow street. The curses and cries of the people hissed and hummed through the hot air in a deafening cacophony. The relative narrowness hardly allowed for proper tactics on both sides. It was very confusing.

At first, the Aurors seemed frozen with shock at the violent reaction that their demand to unmask had triggered. They seemed paralyzed by the aggressive resistance it had caused. It completely took them by surprise and so they showed nerves and went on the defensive, trying at first only to protect themselves.

Meanwhile, I took the only sensible action and saw to it that I got away, unlike the brainless idiots who thought they had to play war here. I turned around hastily, whirled around the next corner as quick as an arrow, trying to escape the loud roar and the deafening screams, the shattering glass panes of the shop windows and the anguished, miserable outcry of the injured, who were bleeding and whimpering on the floor.

As it looked, one or two concealed Death Eaters had apparently been on the road today, because the fact that normal, untrained thieves and whores could stand up to the Aurors in such a way as they did just now, was highly unlikely, although it shouldn't bother me any further.

Behind me a Confringo hit one of the stone walls quite loudly, but I had turned to the side just in time at lightning speed when I saw the white ray heading in my direction. The explosion tore a huge hole in the stone and I made a full-length dive to avoid being torn to pieces and rolled off the muddy cobblestone as smaller chunks of rock trickled down on me. The dust cloud of the pulverized stone let me cough briefly, but my reaction speed was as always well developed. Instantly, I was back on my feet and sent several Expulso to the men attacking me in rapid succession.

Now I aimed higher and struck a projecting alcove on the first floor of a house. It came loose with a loud bang and a lot of noise and fell down mercilessly on the Aurors following me, burying them under itself.

Ouch... How far had that come? Now I fought against Aurors without ifs and buts and without regard to losses!

I hurried on towards the next apparition point, which was supposed to take me away from this battlefield into which we were transforming a part of Knockturn Alley at that very moment, when a painful, short sting on my calf caused me to stumble slightly. I immediately felt warm, sticky blood flowing down my skin. Ouch... That had felt like a Diffindo that had passed through my flesh like a smooth cut. However, I didn't let that deter me and kept running, hearing my quick breath and the muffled stomping of my feet hitting the cobblestones.

I heard the roar of an Auror, who now shouted out a Defodio to blow the debris from the fallen alcove out of the way, which had so far successfully prevented them from pursuing me, as the rubble in the alley behind me had completely hindered anyone from moving through it. They pulverized the debris with a loud bang, only to hurry after me yelling loudly.

I sensed that I would be able to apparate right away, and in a crouched posture I skilfully avoided the buzzing and hissing curses as I gathered my magic around me. I then channelled this power into my white wand and for the first time in this fight cast my spell aloud.

"RING OF FIRE," I yelled and a huge, burning barrier formed between me and my pursuers. The wall of fire was soaring high, the flames were licking at the dark stones of the walls and flickering along them. The flames glowed in an intense, dark red, then turned into a rich yellow and gold at the tops. The Aurors on the other side abruptly stopped in front of my hot, fiery obstacle and quickly worked on the countercurse as I disappaparted with a contented grin, leaving chaos behind and returning successfully to the manor.

Out of breath, I hurried into our suite, dissolved the Geminio, took off my cloak, and was amazed that my dress really looked like new again after a Scourgify, as it had remained surprisingly intact. Then I healed the cut with an Episkey and then applied an ointment to the thin red scar.

Hectically, I looked around, making sure that I hadn't forgotten anything, and only then did I allow myself a deep breath.

When I had covered all my tracks, I slipped into the armchair in front of the fireplace with a relieved and cheerful sigh and then let my head fall back in exhaustion. I couldn't deny myself a very satisfied grin. I felt very fulfilled and recalled everything that had happened earlier.

How had things continued with Narcissa? I would be curious about Severus' report. The Malfoy men most probably didn't know yet because they weren't here right now. So, what had happened to the good girl?

Actually, the sting of a scorpion, like a wasp sting, hurt painfully, causing swelling and redness. I had been able to witness this when Narcissa had looked at her bleeding fingers.

But what happened to her after that? It could be that blisters would form which would ruin her beautiful appearance in death. Pity that, I thought gloatingly. She would feel numbness around the injury. In addition, there would be nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting, sweating and shortness of breath because I had administered the toxin in high doses!

Then the blurred vision and slurred speech would begin, which would herald the inglorious end. Muscle spasms and then the intoxicating finale would cause her blood pressure to rise and her heart rate to skyrocket. All this would lead to a life-threatening circulatory complication and take Narcissa Malfoy née Black away from us forever!

Sniff, so sad, I smirked contemptuously.

With the lethal dose of venom I had given her, death came within five to twenty hours from respiratory arrest. I estimated half the time for her, but hoped for the five hours, although I would let myself be surprised. Let her suffer.

Eventually, the door burst open and three men stormed into the suite and saw me sitting relaxed in the armchair, measuring them now with raised eyebrows as they so swiftly charged into the room. Apparently, I disagreed with their calm, civilized manner, I thought amused.

"Hermione," Draco shouted with relief, while still eyeing me suspiciously, whereupon I calmly returned his piercing gaze.

"Yes," I said with pretended innocence and felt the penetrating gaze of a pair of jet-black eyes on me.

"Phew... You're fine," was the only thing Draco said with relief and I looked questioningly as he hit the couch with an inelegant thump that was not very Malfoy-like. I said nothing, only transferring my questioning gaze to Lucius, who measured me disapprovingly.

"There was an attack on Narcissa... She's in St. Mungos. Draco and I have to go there. Everything else later. ... Draco," it came commanding from the restrained man who looked stately in his grey brocade. I could see Draco's aversion when he struggled back to his feet unenthusiastically, but he did.

"Until then, my Mudblood," he said, giving me a quick kiss to the forehead.

Lucius bowed his head to say goodbye, then slipped gravely out of the door and the two were gone. It seemed as if they were going on an important mission.

I, on the other hand, now looked at the dark corner, where a black-robed person, as so often, stayed in the background and seemed to fade into the shadows.


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