Chapter 4 : Helga
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She felt it before she saw him. The ground quivered with the force of his step, the air practically bubbling with his rage. She raised her head slowly, wiped her forehead with brown fingers, and prepared to face Salazar at his worst.
"Stop a moment," she said, pushing herself to her feet. Salazar flung an arm out, already anticipating her motions to stop him. She waited for the hand to whip past then took hold of his elbow.
"Just because you and Godric dispute over some things doesn't mean you can't agree on othersó"
"The time is past for such talk," Salazar raged. His robes swung wildly as he turned to face her, ripping his arm from her grasp. Helga had always matched in skill what she lacked in passion, just as the others put their best foot forward. All four always came out equal in the end. But as Salazar fumed before Helga, wand twisting in his fingers, waves crashing behind his eyes, fear kindled in her.
"Just as we need you, you need us," she began. "You're grounded by this school, Salazar. You've poured your heart and soul into it, even more so than the rest of us. Leaving would not only break the school, it would split you open as well."
He'd been threatening departure for months, spewing plans about demons in distant empires and pureblood pockets requiring sorcerers in remote parts of the world. She saw that this was it.
"Then I'll split it open for you before I go!" Salazar cried. He brandished his wand at the school, too far to do any real damage. But as Helga stretched for his wand arm, he cackled and a huge crack echoed over the grounds. When she turned, there was a deep gouge in the side of the castle, a trench reaching from the front doors up to the third floor.
"Salazar," Helga hissed. "You're furious, and it clouds your mind. You're letting your rage consume you."
"What else would it do?" Salazar laughed. He flicked his wand again, and all the windows in Gryffindor Tower shattered with a tinkling of glass. A scream slithered down the castle walls, across the grounds, curled in Helga's ears. She began to feel hot.
"Stop it!" she cried. "This is your life you're ruining! Everything you've ever worked for!"
"Oh, stop blubbering. I could Vanish this all in an instant, and it would do good for all the purebloods Godric dirties."
"No," she whispered. He raised his wand threateningly. His eyes did not look right; they were far off in some other place, already shielded from the blow he spoke of. He would not hurt until later, when the damage was done and the fires put out.
"For the good of us all, I beg you!" Helga screamed, and ripped her wand out. As its desperate tip found Salazar's heart, the castle shuddered. As the tears began to flow, his eyes grew wide. Even as she tried to catch him, he tumbled to the ground.
"Salazar," Helga sobbed, clutching her friend's robes. But something had shifted inside of her. Something good had withered.
There was no time. She had to mend the castle wall, the Gryffindor windows, dispose of the... body. Before anyone saw. No one would be surprised Salazar had left once and for all. No one would be surprised that sweet, mild Helga hadn't been able to stop him.
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