Chapter 24 : Chapter 23: Wit Beyond Measures
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Half of the Phoenix Army was decimated and the majority of the survivors were also confined in St. Mungo’s together with Kingsley and other Ministry’s employee who stayed and fought.
Most severed in the wounded was Hestia Jones who lost too much blood and is still unconscious despite the blood replenishment charms the healers had performed on her. Dedalus Diggle was also listed among the critically wounded as his entire body was paralyzed due to a broken spinal column. Sebastian and Jocasta bought sported broken arms and laceration all over their body due to their battle with Golgomath the Giant. Sebastian was still sedated as the healer feared his wounds might haven taken more than his aged body can handle. Michael Corner who was struck down by the giant was able to leave the hospital with a bandaged head and was eager to find out what happened to the giant. He later found out that Aberfort who was also staying in St. Mungos finished off the giant with Hagrid’s help. Hagrid, on the other hand, immediately returned to his cottage to recuperate and tends to Fang.
Draco, Seamus and the others were also admitted with varying degree of wounds, despites their protestation. They wanted to go out and help with the current situation but Harry had placed his foot down and they finally relented sulking. Draco Malfroy surprised everyone when he followed Harry’s order to stay and recuperate. Seamus and Dean kept glancing at him as if he’d grown a second head on his shoulder.
Susan Bones was also confined as half of her bones were broken when she was slammed against the dice. She had to drink bone re-growing potion every two hours. Cho Chang, who only suffered minor wounds were discharged and was sent by Harry to do something that everyone even Luna Lovegood was curious about. Luna, too, was released immediately after cursory examination by the healers. She was assigned to watching over Neville that was still unconscious though the healers had assured them that his condition wasn’t serious and his mind is merely giving his body time to recover.
Hermione wanted to leave the hospital and help Harry sort things out but she too was ordered to stay and keep tabs on Army members that could still fight in a day’s time. She was also tasked with guarding Ginny who was healing rapidly that even her hair had grown back to its former length, no signs that it was burned to a crisp. She was the most difficult to guard for Hermione. She kept trying to escape and go with Harry.
The hardest job was trying to stop the reporters from invading the hospital and pester the wounded with their questions of what happened during the Ministry Siege. The job fell to Charlie and the other elders who were not in the siege.
As Harry and the whole Phoenix Army stumbles to recover from the devastation of the Ministry Siege, the Bloody Baron crept back into Hogwarts. He had been staying in the Forbidden Forest near the centaur encampment. Now that Hogwarts were closed, he knew that only the professors would be left in the castle, making their last minute packing. He knew most of them would join the aurors or Potter’s group to police and protect their students even though they are no longer in school.
He had left when Damocles killed Minerva McGonagall. He had journeyed, using a wand he stole from a student, to the forest where he had killed Helena Ravenclaw all those centuries before. He knelt beside the tree that even until now still glowed from the blood of Helena. The centuries had not been able to wash off her blood nor had it been able to fell the now massive tree.
Using his wand, he began digging under one large root until something caught the light from his lantern. Discarding his wand, he dug using his hand until he was able to pull out a dirtied knife that still glistened with silver blood. Sighing sadly, he tucked it under his robe and apparated back to the edge of the Forbidden Forest.
Now, as he looked at the dark silhouette of the historical castle, he can’t but help to remember the last time he stood on the very same edge, looking at the very same castle. Except back then, the castle was blazing with lights while his heart was full of sorrow of what he had to do.
“Baron, do you understand what I am saying?” Rowena was lying in a bed with the Baron sitting on a chair beside her bed. A week ago, her daughter, Helena had stolen her tiara as she had seen she would do in Harry’s mind.
“I do, mistress.” The Baron bowed, clutching the knife the weakened Founder has given him a moment ago. “But to order me to kill your own daughter…”
“She has a higher purpose and that purpose is not within this time. She needs to die in order for her to fulfill her destiny. She will understand this when that time comes. ” She spoke, tears flowing from her eyes. “And you need to use that knife that I have enchanted. I asked this of you my most loyal servant. Fail me and the whole world falls.”
I will not, mistress.”
“I do not wish to ask this of you but after her death, you must also take your life…”
“Mistress…” The Baron gasped in shocked.
“Hush…This will not be the end of you. You, too, have a higher purpose but not in this life time. You need to trust me. You must kill yourself and hid the knife before death claims your soul. ”
“As you command it mistress.” He bowed though he was already shivering in fear of what he must do.”
“You must be resolute my young champion. The whole world depends on it…Remember this…the time will come when the blood red sword hangs over Hogwarts. Only then will you retrieve the knife from its hiding place and gives it to my daughter.”
“Time will tell you how, Baron.” Rowena sighed weakly as if it takes all her power to hold on to life. “That is why it is important for you to remain here in Hogwarts even after your current life expires. The knife will ensure it…so to will my daughter…Do all this in haste and I will finally enter the veil with a light heart…”
Now, as he silently opens the massive door of Hogwarts, using the disarming of locking charms technique thought to him by Rowena herself, he can’t help but applaud the far sightedness of his mistress.
She had seen this endless night and she had made preparation for him and Helena to help the people of this era. What ever that help is, he do not know yet but this is not the time to start wavering in his trust in his mistress.
He silently went to the Ravenclaw’s dormitory. With the Divination tower, destroyed, Helena would be staying in the dormitory she is most comfortable at.
As he nears the dormitory he was quite saddened not to encounter any student. When he was a ghost he wished lesser students but now that the school was actually closed, he realized that the students completes the school, that the castle was nothing but an empty relic of the past without the laughing students.
Which is faster, the turtle or the hare? An embodied voice asked as he knocks on the Ravenclaw’s door.
“How would I know? I never seen them race.” He muttered
Which is faster, the turtle or the hare? The embodied voice repeated its question.
“It depends on what perspective you are looking: the turtle’s or the hare’s…meaning both are faster than the others”
The Baron whirled around to see Harry Potter standing in front of him. He barely registered the door opening behind him.
“Hello, Baron.” Potter smiled before walking past the former ghost. “I take it you are here to see Helena as well?”
“What do you want from her?” The Baron asked but Harry did not answer as the ‘her’ in question, Helena Ravenclaw was sitting on a couch in front of the hearth, looking at them expectantly.
“What do I owe this pleasure?” She asked looking at Harry. She had talked to the boy…man as a ghost before but somehow, talking to him flesh to flesh was different. There was a pull she couldn’t understand; it was as if he was someone special in her life. “I thought the school would have been emptied by now.”
“I came to talk to you about something but I’ll wait until Potter is finished.” The Baron harrumphed before going to the nearest window.
“I heard about what happened to the Ministry.” Helena pointed to her wireless radio. “I am sorry about your wife.”
“She is recuperating faster than I could.” Harry chuckled, remembering how Ginny wanted to come along with him. “Any way, I too, need to tell you something and ask you for a favor.”
“Well, I suggest you take a seat then.” Helena smiled.
Harry took the seat opposite her, marveling that she is more approachable as a living person than a ghost. He also felt…concern for this woman in front of him and sadness for what he was about to ask her to do.
“Do you remember the third war?”
“Yes, you and your wife resurrected my mother.” Helena’s brow furrowed. “Is it connected to my and the Baron’s resurrection.”
“I don’t think so but I believe your mother has a hand in your resurrection.” Harry noticed the Baron’s shoulder jerking as if taken by surprise. He surmised the Baron knows something. “I’ll get to that later. I need to tell you first that something went wrong the first time we resurrected your mother. Damocles caught her before she could return to the veil.”
“Are you telling me my mother is still here?” Helena asked. Even the Baron had turned to them now.
“She is here, not only that, she is also possessed by Damocles.” Harry said softly, looking straight the emerald eyes of the former Grey Lady, emerald eyes that looked so familiar.
“My mother is possessed by your enemy?”
“Yes and there is only one way to free her.” Harry answered truthfully.
“How?” It was the Bloody Baron who spoke this time, though he already had inkling on how to do it.
“Damocles can only be stop by the progeny of his host.” Harry said, stalling.
“Stop?” Helena asked
“Are telling us that Helena must kill her own mother?”
“Yes.” Harry answered even as Helena gasped.
“I see.” The Baron closed his eyes, now understanding why he must give the knife to Helena. Sighing he took it out from his robe.
“I can’t kill her…I just can’t!” Helena stood up, hands over her mouth. She glanced nervously at the Baron when he took out an all too familiar knife. “What…?”
“She wanted you to have this.” He knelt in front of her extending the knife which lay on his palms. “Even then she knew what must be done. I believe it is for that reason we died and it is for that reason we were resurrected.”
Harry could only stare in shock at it all. Rowena Ravenclaw, thanks to the vision of Cassandra Trelawney had foreseen and planned for everything.
DISCLAIMER: EVERYTHING BELONGS TO JK ROWLING
NEXT CHAPTER: FRENCH REVOLUTION
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