A few days later, Albus, Scarlet and Shiori found themselves in familiar positions in Watanabe’s office, awaiting the clue to the second task. He looked through a few notes on his table before standing up and walking over to them.
“I’m sure you are all familiar with the stories of just how powerful Voldemort and Dumbledore were. They accomplished spells that still baffle wizards and witches to this very day. But power isn’t always something to be worshipped. Much like the nuclear weapons that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the explosions were only half the task, getting them their undetected was the other half. Stealth is a powerful tool in itself and can be used as both offensive and defensive weapons. Stealth can save your life. But remember, just because you are hidden in darkness...doesn’t mean you can’t be seen,” he said as cryptically as possible.
Albus fought back the urge to swear. Stealth was about the last thing he was good at and the world knew it. His preference was to blast in, wands blazing.
“This lesson will help you prepare for the second task which was to take place on January 12th, but due to Mr. Potters recent injuries, we have agreed to push it back until the 28th.”
“That’s not necessary. I’m fine,” Al said, grumpily. He hated being a charity case.
“Albus, Headmaster Watanabe is right, you need to rest,” Shiori said sincerely which sincerely confused Al until she spoke again, “you’re weak.”
She was not referring to his injuries. In fact, she had made sure that the word ‘weak’ was accompanied by a sly and sweet grin.
“Weak as fire whiskey. That stuff knocks you on your ass,” he grinned back, making sure that she got the threat.
The two of them had already forgotten that fact that both Watanabe and Scarlet were standing next to them, looking bored and frustrated.
“I’m yet to meet anything that can do that,” now her smile was beginning to fade.
“Well, you obviously haven’t been to the kind of parties I have.”
“Why would I want to?” she tutted.
“Because it would save us time, we wouldn’t have to go to a whore house,” Albus said casually.
Suddenly Scarlet was knocked out of the way as Shiori lunged at Albus, looking ready to kill him. The only thing that stopped her was the shield that shot from Watanabe’s wand, causing her to bounce off. He was a hell of a lot faster than his age suggested.
“If you two are quite finished...” he said forcefully causing Shiori to calm down immediately, “there is also the Yule ball to discuss.”
Albus’s anger transferred from Shiori to the ball as he remembered that it was tradition that the Champions dance at the beginning of the celebrations. That meant he would have to find a date...
“Actually, now that you mention it sir, my injuries are quite bad and Christmas isn’t far away so I might not be able to make it to the ball,” he said quickly, hoping Watanabe would take pity on him.
“Well, then you are lucky that the ball isn’t taking place on Christmas, it’s happening on New Year’s Eve,” Watanabe said, retracting his shield.
“Christmas isn’t celebrated in Japan in the same way it is in England and America. New Year’s Eve however, is often the highlight of the year so; the Yule ball and now become the Eve ball.”
Out of all of them, Scarlet was the only one looking happy about this announcement.
“There will be more details of the event in the coming days. Now I will let you all retire to your homes,” Watanabe said with a quick smile.
Scarlet left the office looking very excited while Albus slumped out shortly after getting one last dirty look from Shiori. This was a disaster. He hadn’t had a date in two years. He couldn’t go with Scarlet because she was also a Champion and Buckly, or Becklett or whatever her name was Scarlet’s her assistant which ruled her out. None of the Hokkaido students would want to go with him because they all worshiped Shiori and therefore hated him. Most of the Hogwarts students were too afraid to be around the man that blew up Hogsmead so there was really on one more option.
“Rose, I need you to poison me!” Albus said a few minutes later after arriving back at the house.
“What?” Rose asked looking up her newspaper at him like he had lost his marbles.
“Around Christmas time, so I can get out of going to the Eve ball!”
“What’s an Eve ball?” Scorpius asked.
“It’s the Yule ball, but it’s happening at New Year’s.”
“Oh,” Scorpius groaned. He already knew that he and Rose couldn’t go together; it would make things way too obvious.
“I’m not going to poison my own cousin!” Rose declared.
“Why not? You poisoned James!”
“That was an accident!”
“An accident that just happened to take place after he transfigured one of your hands into a beer bottle and started calling you Rose Bud,” Al said accusingly.
“Talk about that again and something very bad will happen to you in your sleep!” she hissed.
“Yes, great! Can it happen in my sleep around New Year’s?” Al asked sounding hopeful.
“No! Forget it! Find yourself a date and go to the ball!”
“No woman in their right mind would go on a date with me,” Al moaned.
“You ain’t kidding,” Scorpius remarked.
“Scorp, you want tomorrow’s headlines to read: Rose Weasley pregnant with Scorpius Malfoy’s child?!”
“Don’t say stuff like that...” Scorpius mumbled, looking very scared.
“Go with Jessica, she seems to like you,” Rose suggested.
“If I go I’ll have to dance and that means someone will get hurt!” Al objected.
“He’s not joking Rose,” Scorp agreed.
Rose threw down the newspaper and jumped out of her seat. “Poison yourself! I’m not going to help you skip out on a centuries old tradition just because you don’t like dancing!” she huffed. “I’m going to take a shower!”
With that she stormed away upstairs.
Albus groaned loudly and collapsed into the chair that Rose had been sitting in.
“Why the hell didn’t you remind me that there was dancing involved?!” he yelped.
“Sorry, it slipped my mind!”
“If I had known, I wouldn’t have put my name in the bloody Goblet!”
“Bit late now.”
“You don’t say! What am I gonna do?” Al sighed.
Scorpius’s suggestion that he simply learn to dance didn’t make it out of his mouth because a small purple origami paper bird had fluttered in through the window and landed on the table in front of Albus. He looked at it curiously for a second before unfolding it and reading the contents.
Albus, we need to talk, it’s important. Come to our house ASAP
Al handed the note to Scorpius. For a moment he suspected it might be another little surprise like the party they had thrown him or perhaps something to do with the ball, but they didn’t seem right. Something about the way the note was written made it seem more serious.
Scorpius quickly scribbled out a note for Rose and left it on the table before the two of them exited the house. They walked down the pathway, towards the small hill that marked the turn off leading to the Salem dorm. As they walked, Albus fiddled around with a packet of cigarettes that was getting very empty.
He pulled one out and was about to light it when something in the distance caught his eye and made him stop. The cigarette almost fell out of his mouth as it went agape.
He could see Scarlet, wearing nothing but a red bikini, standing right next to the Hot Spring outside her dorm. Her figure alone was enough to make glamour models jealous.
“Whoa...” Al breathed.
Scorpius stopped himself from staring and looked away, trying to fix a picture of Rose in his mind.
“All that yoga seems to have done her well,” Al grinned.
His grin faded as that uneasy feeling crept into his gut. Something wasn’t right. She was standing completely still, almost like a statue.
Then, behind her, Blakely appeared, also wearing a revealing bikini only she was walking. Like Scarlet, she was frozen in a statuesque position. She was being dragged towards the Hot Spring by a man. They had been petrified.
A second man, Japanese and carrying a wand, walked out from their house and over to the Hot Spring. With a simply nudge, he pushed the frozen Scarlet into the Spring while the other man dumped Blakely in the water.
They were trying to drown them!
Albus spat out the cigarette, pulled his wand and charged towards them with Scorpius running behind. Albus, still sprinting forward, raised his wand and fired.
The Japanese mans wand flew out of his hand and through the air. They spun around to see who had fired just as Albus let off a stunner. The two Japanese men bolted away and the stunner connected with the dorm behind them.
Albus continued to fire but the two men had reached the tree line and the trunks were taking all of the hits for them.
Scorpius ran over and dived into the water without hesitation. Scarlet and Blakely had sunk to the bottom of the Hot Spring like stones and lay there unmoving. Their eyes however were a different story. They were darting all over the place in utter panic while their faces remained still. Scorpius aimed his wand at Scarlet and thought the word: Finite as hard as he could.
It worked. Scarlet suddenly started thrashing around wildly and kicked herself to the surface. He did the same to Blakely and the three hit the surface, gasping for air.
They pulled themselves out of the water.
“Scorpius, come on!” Al yelled, already running towards the tree line.
Scorpius picked himself up and ran after Albus. Even thought they were terrified and out of breath, Scarlet and Blakely followed them as fast as they could. They shot through the forest, dodging trees and fallen branches with the two men still in sight. The fact that Scarlet and Blakely were still only in their bikinis hadn’t seemed to register with them, not when the adrenaline was still pumping through them.
They hit the adjourning side of the forest which led into the car park at the very front of the school just in time to see the two men jump into a Black BMW and speed off.
“Shit!” Al yelled as he gave up the chase.
“We can Apparate after them!” Scarlet said in a gasp.
“I don’t know how to Apparate,” Al huffed.
“We can side-along,” Blakely said quickly, trying to catch her breath.
“You know where they’re going?”
“Then we have to chase em!” Al roared and ran over to the nearest car; a Silver Mercedes.
He laid a massive elbow into the driver side window smashing it to pieces. He unlocked the door from the inside causing the alarm to sound then got in and ripped off the panel underneath the steering wheel. Scorpius jumped into the passenger seat next to him as Al started fiddling with the wires.
“Scarlet, Blondie, err, Boobies, B-B– get in the car!” he yelled to Blakely.
“Do you have Alzheimer’s or something?!” she growled as she got in the back.
Albus ignored her and twisted some wires together causing the alarm to cease and the engine to come alive.
“How do you know how to hot wire a car?!” Scarlet gasped.
“I watch too many movies, fasten your seatbelts!”
Al shifted gears, dropped the handbrake and put his foot down. The Silver Merc torn away from the car park and down the small road that led through the mountains. He straight away pushed the engine to seventy miles an hour causing the tires to screech when he made a quick turn.
“I didn’t even see them...they just came out of nowhere!” Blakely said, still in shock.
“Where were the Aurors, they were supposed to be guarding us?!” Scorpius asked angrily.
“I don’t know, they left.”
The Merc burst through a magical barrier that made it look like there was simply a large stone to anyone passing by. Albus spotted the tire black tire marks on the road leading to the right and followed them. They were now on the muggle highway.
They passed a sign that said that listed how far they were from the nearest towns and cities. The closest was twelve miles away. The highway was more open, more visible and had less sharp turns so Albus accelerated up to ninety.
“There! There they are!” Scarlet yelled, pointing to the Black BMW about two-hundred yards in front.
“Yeah, that’s them!”
“Those sons’a’bitches tried to kill us!” she hissed, anger taking over fear.
“Let’s go ask em’ why!” Albus growled.
He put his foot down, closing the distance between to two cars. Without hesitation, Albus pulled the Merc up alongside the BMW and rammed into them.
“Where do you think you’re goin’!” he roared.
The two Japanese men in the BMW looked shocked and seriously pissed off. They hadn’t expected this!
Albus rammed them again before having to break away to avoid hitting a muggle car coming the opposite direction. The thugs took advantage of the opening and slammed their car into the Merc. Albus gripped the steering wheel, stopping the car from spinning out of control.
They shot past more muggles cars and signs. Now small shacks and houses were starting to appear on either side of the highway. They were getting closer to town.
Al smashed into them again and yelled: “Pull over!”
The dueling vehicles ran straight through an intersection despite the red lights, causing muggles to swerve to avoid them.
Albus moved up to ram them again but this time the Japanese thug in the passenger seat was ready. As soon as the Merc was close enough, he pulled out a 9mm Pistol and pointed it at Al’s head.
“Gun!” Al grabbed hold of the guy’s wrist causing him to fire at the roof. Blakely screamed as bullets blew out the sun roof.
Albus pulled away from the BMW but didn’t let go of the thug. He was actually dragging the guy out of his car and into theirs.
“Come on in shit head!”
The Japanese man struggled wildly while his partner gripped one of his legs trying to pull him back into the BMW.
The gun dropped into Al’s lap and the Japanese man he had a hold of has disappeared. They looked behind them to see the crumpled body of the thug wrapped around a lamp post that they had just driven between.
“That’s gonna leave a mark,” Scorpius blurted.
“So what did you learn from him?!” Scarlet snapped with sarcastic anger at Al.
“Well, I’ll ask the other guy!” he shot back.
They were now heading into a heavy urban centre. The houses on either side had been replaced by shops, restaurants and very confused looking locals. Muggles that were in the middle of crossing the street screamed and ran for safety and the two cars shot down the road.
“How do you say ‘pull over’ in Japanese?!” Scorpius asked.
“Like this!” Al picked up the gun in his lap, pointed it out of the window and shot out the front tire of the BMW.
The car jerked wildly but didn’t slow down. Instead it smashed back into Al’s Merc causing him almost lose control.
“AL, WE’RE RUNNIN’ OUTTA ROAD!” Scarlet screamed.
Right in front of them the road suddenly cut left and right and directly ahead was an entrance to a shopping centre. He didn’t have time to turn.
The Merc smashed straight through the shopping centre entrance, tearing it to shreds and causing glass and broken metal to fly everywhere.
Albus rapidly beeped the horn and screamed for people to get out of the way as frantic shoppers jumped out of the way of the speeding Merc that was now driving through the shopping mall. Scarlet and Blakely screamed in terror as a dead octopus landed on the windscreen after they crashed through a sushi cart, it big bulging eyes looking back at them in shock.
Albus didn’t stop. There had to be way out somewhere, he just couldn’t see it through the tentacles that were flapping all over the place.
“THERE HE IS!” Scarlet yelled and pointed to the left.
Driving adjacent to them was the Black BMV, visible through the exterior windows of the shops they were passing.
“Step on it!”
“He’s gonna get away! PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN!” she screamed, sounding a lot like Albus all of a sudden.
Ahead of them, through the slimy tentacles of the octopus, there was no more mall to drive through, just a large clothing shop with big plate glass windows. With no other choice, Albus floored it.
The four of them yelled in panic as the Merc blasted through the windows and into the shop. They rammed their way through dozens of discount dresses, shirts and hats before smashing through the exterior windows and back into the street.
As they hit the road, the Merc collided with the busted BMW sending it spinning away. The Japanese thug was forced to hit the brakes before the Beemer flipped over. It screeched to a halt in the middle of the street.
Albus yanked the hand brake up causing the Merc to come to a violent stop. The four of them look over at the Black BMW and the thug driving it. They never even had a chance to do anything.
The BMW exploded into a fireball as a massive 18-wheeler truck came out of nowhere collided with it. Broken fiery bits of metal were flung across the street as the truck grinded to a stop about thirty meters away. The driver jumped out of the cab, took one look at what had happened then fainted. Scarlet, Blakely, Albus and Scorpius just watched, stunned into silence by pure adrenaline filled shock.
Albus saw the remains of the BMW’s steering wheel and what looked like a chard human hand still clutching it lying next to their car.
“I don’t think he’s going to tell us anything...” Albus mumbled, stating the obvious.
Police sirens began to fill the air.
Scorpius, still wide eyed and staring at the rubble managed to speak in an unusually calm but unnerving tone. “You know Al, sometimes it is really hard work being your friend...”
“Yeah...but it’s worth it...” Al said.
“So...this is what it’s like to be you guys...” Blakely said grimly.
Within seconds they had their hands in the air and fifteen guns pointed at their heads. The police looked like they had just caught Hitler.
“What seems to be the problem officers?” Albus smiled meekly at the Japanese cops.
A couple of them lowered their guns and looked at the octopus that was still stuck to the windscreen with utter bemusement, mainly because it was now wearing a fluffy pink hat.
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