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Chapter 9 : The Cottage Key
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Malfoy raised his eyebrows, “I’m fairly sure that neither one of us can distract the guard, if there is a guard that is, well enough that they won’t notice the other strolling on by them,” Malfoy responded sarcastically.
Hermione gave an exasperated sigh for what seemed like the hundredth time. She reached into her beaded bag and pulled out the invisibility cloak with a flourish. “They won’t see us because we’ll be using this.” She looked up and met Malfoy’s widened eyes.
“How the bloody hell did you get an invisibility cloak?” He blurted incredulously, “Even my family couldn’t get their hands on one!”
“It’s Harry’s,” Hermione replied simply not wanting to get into much detail.
“That explains a lot,” Malfoy scoffed.
“Alright enough about the cloak, do you understand the plan?” she asked with a slight edge of anxiety.
Hermione ignored how Malfoy flinched when she grasped his hand to apparate. The invisibility cloak wrapped tighter around them as they were sucked into the uncomfortable sensation of apparation. Despite the countless times she had apparated, Hermione still grimaced slightly. Suddenly, her feet hit the ground and her destination appeared before her. The town of Bibury was obviously small. Surrounded by rural area and with only a few cottages in sight, Hermione imagined it must have been a very relaxing place to live. The cottage in front of her was a medium size, one of the larger ones on the road. It had dark wood paneling with a fading white trim. Thick green vines grew up the left side and completely covered it. The front porch was even equipped with a rocking chair which, Hermione imagined, must have been sitting there since Professor Noires was very young. Hermione turned to the blonde boy next to her. He too was examining the cottage.
“Let’s move,” Hermione whispered and began to walk towards the cottage. Malfoy hesitated for a moment but then followed.
They crept around the side of the cottage being careful to avoid any branches or other things that, if stepped on, could give away their position. They moved around the back and spotted the small door that led inside. When they reached it, they quickly scanned the area for guards. After spotting none, Malfoy reached out and grasped the handle of the door. Suddenly, he jumped back, crashing into Hermione, and hissed loudly.
“It burned my bloody hand!” Malfoy whispered furiously.
“Move over, let me try something,” Hermione squeezed her way past Malfoy and pointed her want at the door handle, “Subsisto Igneus” she whispered then cautiously touched her finger tip to the handle. She felt nothing. Hermione quickly turned the handle and opened the door.
The inside of the cottage was dark, lit only by the faint trickle of light that came from behind the clouds and through the windows. Hermione cast a quick ‘lumos’, as did Malfoy, and the room came into view.
It appeared to be the living room. Old, faded couches sat in front of a dusty and cold fire place. The small chandelier was consumed by cobwebs as was most of the rest of the cottage. The dark hardwood floor was creaky, and the rugs were covered with so much dust that Hermione suspected they would leave footprints.
“So where do you suppose this key will be?” Hermione whispered, hoping Malfoy had an idea.
Malfoy scanned the room quickly. Suddenly a smirk landed on his face. “How about right on top on the mantle?” he asked as if it was obvious.
Hermione spun to face the mantle and sure enough there sat a large wooden frame that encased a small, old fashioned key. Hermione became sure it was the right key when she saw the small name plate under it that read “My Childhood’s Key”.
“This must be it!” Hermione whispered excitedly. She raised her wand and pointed it at the glass of the frame, “Diffindo,” she said and the glass cracked. Suddenly, pops began to echo all around the room. Hermione turned quickly and saw they were surrounded by ten hooded figures.
Hermione let out a faint gasp. Malfoy responded by sending her a nasty glare. He leaned into her ear, “What do we do now, Granger?” he barely breathed but Hermione could still detect the anger in his voice.
“Just stay quiet” she mouthed back hoping that the hooded guards would just assume that whoever had been there had left.
“There’s no one here,” one of the figures said, answering Hermione’s wish.
“Hang on, Dan, they could be concealed. Finite Incantatem!” another figure exclaimed. The cloak stayed firmly in place.
“They must have gone, come on let’s fix the glass and then we can go” the figure moved quickly towards Hermione and Malfoy. Hermione tried to pull herself and Malfoy out of the way fast enough but her foot caught on the edge of the couch, sending her sprawling.
The figures were momentarily stunned motionless. This only lasted a second, however, before they began shooting spells at Hermione. Hermione sprang into action and dove behind the couch shooting a few stunners as she went down. She knew that she and Malfoy stood no chance against ten other opponents. She needed to find Malfoy and get out of there. She fired a few more spells and attempted to spot him however, he was nowhere in sight. Hermione ran across the room and towards the door, thinking she’d have a better chance of escape outside. The figures began closing in on her shooting spells that were whizzing by her. Hermione nearly jumped a foot in the air as she saw a stunner fly by her so closely that she could almost hear the magic as it went by. Hermione frantically pointed her wand to the dusty bookshelves across the room. “Oppugno!” she cried and the tomes sprung at her attackers effectively distracting them. Knowing she had little time, Hermione turned to open the door only to have something latch onto her wrist before she could grasp the handle. She caught one last glimpse of the wild scene in the cottage before she was again pulled into the uncomfortable feeling of apparation.
Hermione landed with a thump outside the mouth of their tent. She looked up to see Malfoy pulling off the invisibility cloak. They were both breathing hard, and staring at each other incredulously.
“Bloody hell! What is the moronic professor getting us into here!?” Malfoy exclaimed angrily, “We could have been hurt for Merlin’s sake!”
“I think he just wants this to seem real,” Hermione replied, not knowing why she was defending Professor Noires. She too felt this was ridiculous.
“He’s mental! This whole thing is absurd!” Malfoy pushed himself up and brushed the leaves off of his pants, huffing furiously.
“I know and we did it all for nothing! We still don’t have any ‘Horcruxes’,” Hermione shoved the invisibility cloak back into her beaded bag with unnecessary force.
Malfoy turned to face her. The ever present smirk returned to his face. “Not so fast, Granger,” he said pulling something out of his pocket, “It is me you’re working with.” He tossed the object to Hermione.
Hermione caught the object gently in her lap only to discover that it was the key. Hermione looked at Malfoy in amazement. “How did you get this?” she asked.
“I grabbed in after you tripped out of the invisibility cloak. While you had everyone distracted. Nice move by the way, you could have failed us both.” He replied testily.
“Would you rather I stood there, dumbstruck, like a statue? Because I’m pretty sure you had that role covered.” Hermione crossed her arms and glared at him.
Malfoy ignored her statement. “So now that we’ve got this thing, how do we get rid of it?” Malfoy asked his voice holding a slight challenge matched in his eyes and he stared at Hermione expectedly.
Hermione fingered the key in her hands again before looking up at Malfoy. “I’ve got another idea.”
A/N: Sorry for the long wait guys I've been super busy! It'll probably be at least a couple of weeks before the next chapter is up so I hope you enjoyed this one. Once again I would like to beg you to please review! It is much appreciated! Thanks for reading!
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