Chapter 4 : Chapter 3: Dresses and Nitwits
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Chapter 3: Dresses and Nitwits
“Calm down Ginny!” Hermione bellowed over the cacophony in the hall of the palace. It was no use, Ginny was not looking up towards her and the servants were still hacking away noisily at the door. “Oh, forget it,” Hermione said resignedly before pushing a button on her console. Instantly the servants straightened and wandered off from their previous task.
“What? Come back here!” Ginny screamed at them, frustration evident in every move she made. Hermione could see that her eyes were puffy and red; finally Ginny looked up at her. “Why did you send them away?” Her tone was defeated and the hand, the one that still clutched a rather daunting broadsword, dropped helplessly to her side.
“You weren’t listening to me.” Hermione replied shortly. “You are a Lady and as such, you are to conduct yourself as one when the servants are about. It will not do for you to be seen killing Prince John who you are supposed to be marrying him in a week’s time.”
Ginny’s jaw dropped. “You can’t be serious! I can’t marry that… that… that bastard!”
“Ginny!” Hermione said reprovingly. “You won’t be marrying him as long as Harry, I mean Robin,” she corrected herself hastily, “comes to save you from Prince John.”
Ginny stared up at her. “I think,” she began slowly, “that you need to tell me more about this story.”
“Well,” Hermione cleared her throat. “Basically you will wait here and hope that Robin and his Merry Men will come to rescue you. I have them training right now.”
“Are you saying that I have to sit here and knit like a helpless twit and wait for a boy to come and save me?” Ginny looked incredulous and mildly offended. “I have to pretend to be an effing damsel in distress till my Prince Charming comes for me?” Her voice was rising steadily in pitch, as she got more and more agitated.
Hermione spread her arms wide, trying to placate the fiery redhead. “I know that it is not something you find appealing.”
“Appealing?” Ginny’s face turned bright red. “You cast me to be an incompetent, useless ornament! Why don’t you just set me on a shelf and be done with it?” She was screaming now. “I can’t believe this! Here I am stuck in this dress that keeps me from moving and pushes my breasts up to enormous proportions and I can’t fight or argue or do anything worthwhile to save myself! I might as well be home with my family, at least there I wouldn’t be dressed like a doll.” She finished by throwing the sword to the floor, which clattered and banged as she stomping off down the hall.
“Ginny, wait!” Hermione yelled down to her and Ginny paused. “I didn’t say that you couldn’t help yourself, I merely said that you would have to wait for Robin to get here before you can make your move.”
Ginny spun around sharply and nearly tripped over the long dress. She righted herself and scowled. “What if I do just kill Malferret and leave? What are you going to do?”
“If it were only Malfoy that was keeping you here, then it wouldn’t even be an issue. But there is also Snape to contend with and I think we can both admit that he is a more daunting adversary. He is the Sheriff of Nottingham and he will also be ensuring that you are here for Prince John to marry. Right now he is also training to use a sword and bow.”
Ginny was silent for a moment. “So can I learn to fight better as well?”
Hermione chuckled. “Yes. You will find that one of the guardsmen will be sympathetic towards you and he will teach you to fight with a sword and also how to shoot a bow. You are not to let any of the others see you practicing though. This way when Robin comes, you will be able to help yourself escape.”
“Good,” she said firmly. “I let myself play the damsel in distress once and it nearly got Harry killed. I won’t do that again.” Her eyes glowed with a determined light. “What’s this guardsman’s name?”
“Eric,” Hermione informed her. For a moment they were both silent, each thinking. Eventually Hermione spoke. “I can understand that you don’t want to be rescued Ginny but I do hope that you won’t be rash. You are supposed to let the story play out as it was written but there nothing that says you must sit helplessly by while the men… uh and Luna, fight to free you.”
“Why couldn’t you have cast Luna to be Maid Marian?” Ginny asked, her tone almost pleading.
Hermione laughed. “I expect that you wouldn’t want Harry kissing Luna and Robin has a thing for Maid Marian, so I thought you would rather wear the dress and get the boy than let her have him.”
Ginny nodded once and turned around to go, throwing airily over her shoulder, “Right you are then. Well, I’m off to find Eric.” She stopped and turned abruptly, as if a thought had suddenly occurred to her. “So… when Harry, I mean Robin, gets here… is there anything in the rule book that says I can’t be the one to kill the Ferret?”
Hermione had to fight hard to suppress her laughter as she gazed sternly at the other girl. “You are not allowed to kill Prince John, although I think maiming him would be acceptable. He must be alive when you escape, that is part of the story. Oh and Ginny, do make sure that you take care not to run into Snape. He will be the one that you will have to look out for.”
Ginny nodded. “What am I to do about Malfoy then?”
“Hit him every time he insults you, only don’t kill him. That would cause me no end of hassles. You can’t leave this place if one of you dies.”
“Right then, I won’t kill him. But I might ensure that he never has children. I think that would be doing all of us a favor.”
Hermione contemplated that for a moment. “I think that would be acceptable.”
Both girls turned quickly and saw a very pale Malfoy staring wide eyed at them. He was almost completely white except for a red trickle of blood that was oozing from his nose. “What do you want?” Ginny asked agitatedly.
“Ginny, why don’t you go and knit?” Hermione put a lot of emphasis on the last word and Ginny seemed to catch her meaning. She walked back and picked up the broad sword before setting off again, hopefully to locate Eric.
“Why do you need a sword to knit?” Draco asked stupidly.
Hermione chuckled. “She needs something to cut the string with.”
Draco did not believe her, it was obvious that he was still attempting to work it out but Hermione forestalled him by speaking.
“I need to talk to you anyway about what you are to do this week.” She smiled reassuringly at the idiot, hoping that he would not see the loathing that she had for him.
He barely spared her a glance. “I don’t want to contaminate my ears by listening to a mudblood- AHHHH!” He let out a blood-curdling scream.
Hermione let go of the lightning button as Draco fell to his knees, grabbing his bum as smoke began to curl up from him. He swore loudly before looking up at her. “You bloody bit- AHHH!”
Hermione struck him again and held the bolt on him for a few seconds longer. “It is obvious that you don’t pick up on things very quickly, but let me assure you,” she paused, making sure that he was listening closely. “If you continue to insult me, I will let Ginny use that sword for more than knitting.”
“You can’t,” he smirked as if he knew something that she didn’t. “I heard you. If I die then none of you will ever leave this place.”
“You obviously weren’t listening to her then. I didn’t say that she would kill you, I just said I would let her use that sword.” Hermione ran a sweaty hand down her pants, hoping he could not see her tension. “Personally I think that having the Malfoy line die out is a marvelous idea. I can’t see that there is anything redeemable about you.”
Draco covered himself hastily and looked around. He stopped however when he heard Hermione’s raucous laughter. “Yes of course.” He frowned and got slowly to his feet. “You wouldn’t dare strike your friends,” he spit the word out as if it were disgusting, “with lightning but you see nothing wrong with hurting Snape and I. Personally, I can’t see why Dumbledore would make you the narrator.”
Hermione was startled momentarily. Was she being unfair? No, she thought quickly. Malfoy was insulting me and trying to be rude and insufferable. I had every right to hit him with the lightning. She took a calming breath and spoke. “I will not hit you with lightning again as long as you don’t insult me.”
His pale eyes became weary. “I don’t trust you.”
“I don’t trust you either but obviously Dumbledore put you in here for a reason and I want to get out of here someday. That means we all have to work together and since I doubt you know the story of Robin Hood, you have to listen to me about your instructions.”
He pursed his lips for a moment. “What do I have to do?”
She rubbed a hand over her temple, feeling the tension slowly seeping from her skin. “You really only have to do one thing and that is attempt to marry Maid Marian in a weeks time.” She held up a hand to forestall his argument. “In the mean time, you can do many other things. You can do nothing and laze about the castle or you can make the Sheriff go out to rob and torment the poor. You can learn to fight with a sword or learn archery. You can even learn to knit but in six days there will be an archery contest that you must judge and the next day you will have to marry Maid Marian unless she is gone.”
“Why would she be gone?” Draco asked huffily, almost petulantly.
“Because she might be rescued by Robin Hood” Hermione explained patiently; she was extremely proud of herself for keeping her temper.
“Am I supposed to stop him from taking that witch because I can’t really see wanting to marry her.” He looked as if he was now trying to provoke her again.
Hermione shook her head. “Look at it as a challenge. You would want to stop Harry from being happy and Harry would be very angry if you married Ginny.”
Draco’s eye twitched almost imperceptibly. “This won’t be a real marriage, would it?”
“No, of course not!” Hermione said shocked. “Only certified employees of the Ministry and a member of the Wizengamot can marry a witch and wizard. Neville hardly qualifies as either of those.”
“Longbottom would be marrying us?” Draco asked and began to laugh.
“Well, he is the only religious person that we have around. He would have to marry you.” Hermione waited for a moment. “So what are you going to do?”
Draco contemplated what she had said for a minute. “So, I can torture the Muggles around here?”
“No. You can’t hurt them but you can take all of their possessions and because you are the prince, you can order them about.”
“Fine,” Draco replied slowly. “I think I’ll go find a girl and-”
“You may not kill them or rape anyone.” Hermione said sharply.
“Don’t be stupid, I wouldn’t ever rape anyone. That’s just sick.” He ran a hand through his hair, pushing it back from his face. “As I was saying, I think I’ll go find a girl and get massage. I am feeling rather tense right now.”
Hermione studied him, not exactly trusting his words. “I know everything that you are doing at all times so don’t do anything that would make me punish you and just make sure,” Hermione paused trying to think of how to phrase it. “Just make sure that you keep away from Ginny. I won’t stop her if you insult her. If she keeps punching you, you’re not going to have any teeth left and your nose will never look the same. We have no way to fix the damage that she can cause.”
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