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Chapter 5 : Chapter 4: Good Idea
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Chapter 4: My Ideas Are Stupid
Snape glanced surreptitiously over towards the men under his charge. He had assembled them in the jail to discuss what they had been doing. Right now, they were standing stock-still but several were turned away from him as if he were not there; ready to command them. Snape felt his ire rise dangerously and a rush of frustration washed over him. Without his wand, he could not force them to act upon his will. “Did you hear what I said to you?” Snape snarled maliciously and the guards all shifted uncomfortably.
“Begging your pardon Sheriff but…” the man who had spoken in a low, guttural voice paused and shifted his considerable bulk again. “Well, it’s like this. You don’t know how to use a sword and you don’t know how to string a bow. So why should we,” he swept his arm around the room, indicating the other men, “follow your orders?”
Snape seethed inwardly. I knew it was a bad idea asking for help on fighting. I should have kept my mouth shut and watched what they did, or better yet ordered them to do the dirty work while I sat back and watched. Snape let out a slow breath, trying to return his flushed and angry face back to its normal hue. “I see.” He walked over and faced the man, staring him hard in the eyes. “Have you ever killed someone?”
The man’s eyes flickered and he wavered slightly. “No sir.”
Snape felt a triumphant smile slip on to his lips. “Have you ever tortured someone?”
The man’s only reply was a curt shake of his head.
“Well then my dear fellow, I suggest you not anger someone who has.” Snape finished speaking in a low and deadly voice and thought for sure that the man would finally acquiesce to his orders.
But that was not how it was to play out. “Begging your pardon again, sir,” the man’s ‘sir’ did not come out as polite. “But if you’ve killed someone, how did you do it without a sword or bow?”
Snape felt the triumphant feeling that had welled up in him deflate very suddenly. The wretch has a point, damn him! “I am the Sheriff and you will do as I say or else I will-”
Snape looked up to see a bushy haired girl floating above him on her cloud like dais. “What do you want, Granger?”
She fiddled with something on the console in front of her and instantly all the men in the room dispersed, leaving them alone in the jail’s main room. Snape stared around, dumbfounded. “How did you do that?”
She let out a snort. “They aren’t real. So, I can control them.” She interrupted him before he could speak. “Only I can, not you and I’ll thank you not to threaten your own men. You have to win their respect or else you won’t be able to defeat Robin Hood.”
“Why, pray tell, would I wish to defeat Robin Hood?” Snape asked, injecting his trademark sarcasm, trying his best to remain calm.
“That is your mission.” Hermione countered. “You are to stop Robin and his band of Merry Men, er… People, from robbing from the rich and giving to the poor.”
“I see,” Snape replied slowly, trying to take in fully what she had said. “Is there anything else?”
“Yes. In one week’s time, Prince John will marry Maid Marian and it is your job to make sure that the marriage goes off without a hitch.” He could tell that she was suppressing a smirk.
Snape felt an eyebrow rise on his otherwise stoic face. “Are you going to tell me how to do this or not?”
Granger sighed and nodded. “First you must know that the men under your control are only there because they are looking for power and an easy meal ticket. Most of the peasants are starving.”
Snape nodded. “Go on.”
“Next thing to realize is that you are in charge only because you the best fighter and archer among them and you have favor with the Prince and the King before him, although the King probably won’t be too happy with you if he comes back.” The girl cocked her head to the side and fell silent.
“Who is the King and where has he gone?” Snape felt those were the next most logical questions.
“King Richard and off to fight in the Crusades. Actually, in some forms of the Robin Hood tale, Robin went off to fight with him. It is said that Prince John took over the throne and meant to rule for the rest of his life, believing that his Uncle would never return.” Granger recited it off as if it were text from a schoolbook. “Robin comes back from the Crusades and finds the town being ruled badly, by Prince John, and yourself of course, and vows to make it right by stealing from you two every chance he gets. That is the situation you find yourself in right now.”
“I can’t believe that you want me to succeed in stopping Robin from robbing us.” Snape paused and another thought occurred to him. “Why would I have to ensure that Prince John marries Maid Marian? I can’t imagine you wanting Draco and Ginny to marry.”
She sighed heavily. “They won’t really be married but it would ensure that Prince John could keep the throne because the King has no other heirs except whoever marries Maid Marian. That person would take over the crown upon the death of the King.”
Snape frowned. “That does not sound right. Wouldn’t that make Maid Marian his daughter?”
Granger shook her head. “No, and I’m not sure exactly why that is because the story does not go that way usually. My instructions tell me, however, that it is the way that it will be played out. Whoever marries Maid Marian will control the crown.”
Snape couldn’t help it; he started to laugh. “I can’t see Miss Weasley being too happy about being a pawn.”
“Err, actually she does not know. I have instructions not to tell her, just you. You are to inform Malfoy at some point when you are sure that she is not around.” She met his eyes, keeping her gaze firm. “Be sure that she is not there. I would be willing to bet that she will post spies by using the servants. They will not be loyal to you, nor to Malfoy.”
“Why would they be loyal to her?” Snape probed; amazed that she could be so lucky when he would have to struggle to gain favor among his servants.
“She’s a pleasant and beautiful woman-” Snape let out a derisive snort but she went on as if he had not made a sound, “-and she knows how to manipulate people into feeling like they are doing what they want instead of what she wants. It’s called charm.”
Snape’s fell open. “Are you saying that I am not charming?”
“I’m saying you’re a snake and they know it.” Hermione threw a book down at his feet. He looked down and saw the title, Idiot’s Guide To Medieval Tyranny. “Learn fast or you won’t stand a chance of stopping Robin, I’ll make sure of that.” Her voice held a lot of malice and he shivered involtarily. “But, I have to help you if you need it. Simply say my name and I will come to your aid. Make sure that you are polite when you ask for my presence or I’ll zap you again.”
“I wouldn’t expect less from Potter’s friend,” Snape taunted back maliciously.
Her eyes narrowed dangerously. “The old adage that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar works with me. This also means that you’ll catch lightning if you attempt to abuse me.”
“Why you little bi-” Snape caught himself and stopped. I need to remain calm or I will not be able to succeed and it seems important for us to control the kingdom. “What will we get if we gain control?”
Granger looked down at something, which he realized must be a book. He waited patiently for her to flip through it although she seemed to get more and more agitated. Finally she slammed it shut and looked down at him. “I don’t know what you get. King Richard will reveal it at the end.”
“But you don’t know who-”
“NO! I don’t know who he is!” Granger scowled at him. “Get to work. I’ll check in on you soon if you don’t call for help first.”
“I won’t call for he-” but he cut off, she had disappeared. He looked around and almost bellowed for his men to come back but decided to start studying the orange book at his feet. He picked it up and flipped to the first chapter, ‘So You Want To Be A Tyrant,’ and began reading.
Hermione was fuming as she appeared back in the forest where Harry, Ron, Neville and Luna were waiting. She wasn’t sure what to expect but what she saw made her laugh. They were all asleep even though it was only dusk.
Each of them was covered in grime and dust and they were asleep together around a campfire that was burning bright. Luna was covered in a badly cut deerskin but the others were curled into balls, resting on their sides using leaves and hay for their beds. It also appeared that they had left over meat hung above them in the tree. Clearly, they were each exhausted by the day’s events.
Hermione sighed and studied them for a moment before sighing and whispering, “Oh Dumbledore, I hope you knew what you were doing.” She felt an almost hysterical giggle well up in her. “If you weren’t already dead, I’d be tempted to kill you.”
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