Chapter 25 : Duelling the Devil
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Ch-23 – Duelling the Devil
As soon as the words were out of Harry’s mouth, Hermione went into action mode.
“Incarcerous!” She screamed, ropes flying out of her wand and around Zaila, who froze with shock, not acknowledging the attack at first.
However, even before Hermione could have the time to congratulate herself on catching Zaila off-guard, the ropes dissolved into black smoke.
Parvati, Harry, Ron, and Ginny watched hopelessly as their simultaneous hexes were deflected easily by a swish of Zaila’s wand. As she cackled madly, Hermione had the vision of Bellatrix doing the same in Malfoy Manor. She let out an involuntary shudder.
“Lacarnum Inflamarae Maxima!” Zaila shrieked as a huge ball of fire came hurtling towards the group.
“Protego Maxima!” Ginny and Blaise shouted at the same moment, as a massive shield appeared and absorbed the ball of fire, saving them all just in time.
“Reducto Maximum!” Zaila shouted and their shield blasted into shards. Before they could have time to react, she shrieked in the same breath, “Mutatio Skullus!” A jolt of red light shot from her wand and straight to Theo, who shouted and clutched his head as it started to expand, blood trickling down. Ginny shrieked as he fainted and ran to him.
“Crucio!” Zaila shouted again, this time aiming for Ginny, and Ron roared as he ran in front of his sister, taking the curse. He was hoisted in the air and twitched painfully, screaming.
“Crucio!” Harry shouted, now anger apparent in his eyes, pointing his wand to Zaila who deflected the curse, and in the process letting go of Ron who collapsed on the floor with a thud.
Hermione, Ginny and Parvati had tears running down their cheeks as they desperately fired hex after hex, some getting deflected, some missing, and some changing course. Harry, Draco, and Blaise were also shooting curse after curse, only to have it minimal or no effect on Zaila. It was one against six yet they were losing out.
The girls screamed once more as a jet of blue light shot at Blaise and he fell on the floor in a heap, as if not breathing.
“Impedimenta!” Hermione shouted desperately and Zaila, caught off-guard once again, was thrown backwards.
“Stupefy!” Harry and Draco shouted at the same time, but Zaila was too quick for them and deflected the curses.
“Landarldadius!” Jets of black light zoomed towards Parvati, Hermione and Ginny. Hermione was quick to dodge and deflect it, but Parvati and Ginny fell to the floor, both gasping for air and apparently not being able to get up.
Now it was only Harry, Draco, and Hermione, trying to fight off the evil witch.
“You kids will be out in no time as well, and then my fellow death eaters shall enter this castle and take our much-awaited revenge!” She cackled, ready to fire more curses at the three, suddenly helpless, teenagers.
“I do not think so, Zaila,” A quiet yet fierce voice interrupter her as the doors of the dormitory blasted open and Albus Dumbledore stepped in, with the rest of the staff behind him.
“Deredius!” Dumbledore bellowed and a purple light shot out of his wand towards Zaila. She seemed shocked for a moment before quickly slashing her wand and deflecting the curse.
What happened next was a blur of noises and lights, as Harry, Hermione and Draco watched transfixed. McGonagall, Sprout, Flitwick, Snape, Sinistra, along with Dumbledore fired curse after curse at Zaila, who fired curses in return. A haze of red, blue, green, purple, and yellow lights could be seen passing from both sides until six stunning hexes hit Zaila at once which she was too late to deflect, and she collapsed on the floor, her arm bleeding and her face and neck bruised.
“Professor!” Harry suddenly shouted as he saw McGonagall stumble and fall lightly on the floor. There were deep gashes on her cheek. Flitwick, Sprout and Sinistra’s condition was the same. Snape had torn robes but not much damage. Dumbledore looked fine, but fierce. Harry had only seen that look during his duel with Voldemort.
The Headmaster turned towards the group of his injured staff and students. With a wave of his wand, he conjured several stretchers.
“Let us take you all to hospital wing,” he murmured, levitating those unconscious, or unable to move, on the stretchers. He contemplated for a moment before levitating Linda, or Zaila, on one of the stretchers as well. The rest, which included of himself, Snape, Harry, Draco, and Hermione, followed behind him quietly.
“Please do not get in our way. What happened will be explained to the school later,” Dumbledore announced as the Gryffindor Common Room got crowded with students.
“Mi, are you okay?” Draco asked his girlfriend gingerly, concern coating his eyes.
“I-I am fine. Just a little injured,” she answered, leaning her body on Draco’s, and limping. “I think my ankle is broken.”
"Here,” Harry came and gave her support from the other side, holding her steady as they walked.
“She’s my best friend, don’t think a Thanks is needed, Malfoy.”
“I can’t believe all this happened. It took place so fast. It is all blurry to me now. And I hope Ron, Ginny, Parvati, Blaise, and Theo, are all okay,” Hermione whispered. Draco squeezed her shoulder.
“They’re strong. They’ll be fine.”
She nodded. They continued the rest of the walk silently.
“Oh my Merlin! What happened to them, Headmaster?!” Madam Pomfrey shrieked as she saw the injured party marching into the Hospital Wing,
“There will be time to explain later, Pomfrey. As of now, I suggest you summon some Healers from Mungo’s immediately. Tell them it’s an emergency.”
The matron nodded before conjuring a Patronus, speaking to it quickly, and sending it apparently to St. Mungo’s.
One by one everyone lay down in the beds of the Hospital Wing, except for Dumbledore and Snape.
“Poppy, I would first like you to tend to this lady here. Give her a potion that will make sure she remains unconscious for at least the next few hours,” Dumbledore said gravely, gesturing to Zaila.
If the matron looked baffled by this, she didn’t show it, merely followed his orders.
Soon, the Healers from Mungo’s arrived and instantly started tending to all the various injured students. Hermione felt herself drifting off to sleep after being given a painless potion. She glanced at Draco and Harry once, who were talking in low tones to the Headmaster, while they were being healed, before closing her eyes and falling into a dreamless sleep.
After what seemed like ages, the brunette woke up to hushed voices and urgent whispers. She looked around slowly to find that her bed was surrounded by curtains obstructing her view. Wanting to know if all her friends were okay, and to know what actually happened to Zaila, she sat up carefully and pulled back her curtains. Her ankle still throbbed, and she had a mild headache, but apart from that she felt fine.
"Miss Granger!” She heard Dumbledore’s soft voice as he saw her awake and sitting up. He walked towards her, Arthur and Molly Weasley following behind.
“Hermione, how are you feeling honey?”
“I am better Mrs. Weasley. Thank you,” the older Weasley sniffed and pulled her into a light hug before sitting on her bedside and taking her hand.
“Professor…” Hermione opened her mouth to ask Dumbledore a million questions but he cut her off.
“Do not worry Miss Granger. Everything is under control. Harry and Draco told me everything that took place with Linda…er…Zaila, since the beginning, and explained me the entire situation. The Minister of Magic had arrived, and Zaila has been straight away taken to Azkaban. Before being sent away, she was woken up, bound and given Veritaserum. She told us the whereabouts of her…partner with whom she had been working, and the hiding place where all the Death Eaters are currently hiding, unknown to all events. The Dementors are back under the Ministry’s control, and the Imperius curses on the Azkaban guards have been lifted. The Aurors may even have already gotten hold of the Death Eaters. To sum it up, everything has been taken care of smoothly,” the headmaster’s eyes twinkled and Hermione relaxed.
“Thank you Professor. If you hadn’t arrived, I don’t know what would have happened,” she smiled. “What about Harry, Draco, Ron and the others? Are they all okay?”
“They’re all fine. Injured, but fine. However, I regret to inform you that your friend Mr. Zabini was hit by quite a harsh hex, and he had to be transported to St. Mungo’s. His treatment couldn’t be possible here.”
At this Hermione’s eyes filled with tears and she nodded slightly.
“I suggest you lie back down, and take some rest Miss Granger. I’ll call Poppy to check on you.”
With that Dumbledore left her side, and Mrs. Weasley patted her shoulder.
“All your friends will be fine Hermione. Don’t stress now, please.”
“Yes Mrs. Weasley,” she mumbled and lied down. She turned on her side and closed her eyes, but images of Blaise plagued her mind. What if something very serious happened to him? She couldn’t even bear the thought. It had been a short time, but they had come close. She loved him as much as she loved Harry and Ron. If something happened to him, she didn’t know what she’d do. Not to mention, how broken Draco would be. Blaise and he had always been great friends. No, she needed to stop having these negative thoughts. Wiping away a few stray tears, she prayed, prayed with all she had, that Blaise was well.
A/N: I know this was short for all your wait, but my muse is being really slow right now. I wrote all that I could for this chapter. I will try to write more and update soon. Please bear with me. Do leave your reviews in the little box below. They motivate me to not abandon the story! Thank you!