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Task One Challenge: The Runaway by Cavell
Chapter 1 : I
 
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Run, her brain screamed, but there was nowhere to run, not in this place. She was backed up against the tree, palms flat against the bark to keep her balance, breath coming in short and quick puffs - not gasps, never gasps. That would just make the dragon target her even more. The worst thing was that she wasnít even sure that it was looking at her. The almond-shaped eyes were closed, but she knew it wasnít asleep. It was listening, listening for the heartbeat currently pounding against her chest, listening for the breaths, for the oh-so-slow footsteps she would take to earn her freedom once more.

But she wouldnít. Cho came here for a reason, if not a slightly stupid and meaningless one, after all.

At first, it hadnít been too bad - sure, the Secrecy Sensors and Probity-Probes when she had first arrived had been a little bit annoying, but Hazel had warned her of them in the first place, what with her having accidentally mentioned that goblins used dragons in Gringotts, being a former Cursebreaker for the bank and now the other dragon keepers were paranoid that the goblins would send wizards to scout out more dragons to use. But, now, Hazel Monroe was a trainee dragon keeper, and Cho had stopped by to visit her friend.

If only she had remembered that it had been Hazelís day off, and that the brunette had gone to visit her grandparents in France. Cho was going to avada kedavra her later on for not mentioning it earlier. If only, if only. There were so many ifs in the world. What if Cedric had lived? What if that year had never existed at all? But she had no time for remembering things like that. Those thoughts were for nighttime, when she was alone at home and would forget to make her Dreamless Sleep Draughts. Or she would purposely forget.

The huff of scalding hot breath from the dragon jolted her out of her thoughts, and Cho rolled away just in time for the Hebridean Black to burn down the tree she had been backed up against. That was close. Too close.

One step back. Two steps. Three. Four. She could make it, back to the dragon training centre where someone qualified could deal with the dragon. If she just ran fast enough, maybe - crack. Cho froze, foot hovering over a newly-broken fallen branch. There was only enough space in her mind for one more thought - run.

And run she did. This had been a stupid idea in the first place, visiting Hazel at the largest dragon reserve Great Britain had to offer, and the largest reserve it was - the Hebridean Black was the only dragon that she had properly encountered, but she had also seen the Common Welsh Green, the Chinese Fireball, the Hungarian Horntail and so much more. It was just dumb luck she hadnít ended up with the Horntail, though the Hebridean Black wasnít much better - it was the most aggressive out of Britainís native dragons, and at this particular dragon reserve, resided in a forest just a touch smaller than the Forbidden Forest in Hogwarts. Merlin, she was more screwed than Hagrid would be if the Ministry found out about the Blast-Ended Skrewts.

Cho slowed to a halt somewhere deeper into the forest, hand gripping her wand tighter. Made of fig, unicorn tail hair core, 10 inches, well-balanced, good for Charms. She still remembered the exact words Ollivander had said so long ago in his shop, and she hoped her wand wouldnít fail her now. She racked her brains for any spells she could use to get out of this situation. Maybe a sleeping spell? But dragon hide was well-protected against spells and charms, she remembered. Everything a dragon had to offer was useful, even its blood, used for cleaning ovens, removing spots, healing cuts if diluted enough, making poisons and even toughening up the outside of cauldrons.

Still, it was worth a try.

"Soporus!" Cho hissed, pointing her wand at the dragon, but it was a big mistake. The Hebridean Black roared with fury, fire spurting from its flaring nostrils and incinerating several trees nearby. She only had time to transfigure a nearby rock into a fireproof shield of some kind before the dragon would burn her into ashes, too. The howling wind added to the horror of her situation as it blew the ashes through the air, and she had to shield her eyes before it blinded her. She would have blinded the dragon, too, but she didnít think the dragon keepers, least of all, Hazel, would be too happy with her. So what could she do, then?

The sight of the dark, rough-scaled dragon with red eyes narrowed creeping through the trees and towards her scared Cho enough to clear her mind. If a fourteen-year-old - albeit, it was Harry Potter who had survived the Killing Curse as a baby and managed to throw off the Imperio Curse, too, but still - could outsmart a dragon and get an egg, then the least she could do was escape this confrontation with her body unscarred, dark locks of hair not charred and every limb still intact.

If a fourteen-year-old could do it, why couldnít she? She was Cho Chang, former Ravenclaw, after all.

Cho was off again, feet pounding against the hard ground, eyes darting to-and-fro to look for a sufficient hiding place - just enough to be able to Apparate away safely. She didnít want to be too panicked while she did it and end up Splinching herself in the process. She was so focused on thoughts like these that she didnít realise that the Hebridean Black was right behind her until it was too late.

The arrow-shaped spiked tail landed with a resounding crash as it fell down onto the large rock Cho had been hiding behind, but she had already rolled away to safety - but she had had enough of this. Enough of the hiding, enough of the running, she had to properly get away, so with her warm bed at her and Hazelís apartment in the Quadrant firmly in mind, she turned on her heel with a crack.

Well, this just proved it, no way was she ever going to visit Hazel Monroe at her job ever again.



This was written for Task One over at the forums for this year's House Cup :) The prompts I ended up using were:

- features your House's Champion
- mentions at least four specific breeds of dragon
- mentions at least one Unforgivable Curse
- mentions the Blast-Ended Skrewt
- features a dragon
- mentions a Sleeping Draught
- mentions at least two of the following types of magic: a transfiguration spell, a sleeping spell, the conjunctivitis curse, the summoning charm (accio)
- includes mention of at least five of the twelve uses of dragon's blood (canon or made up by the author)
- mentions at least two of the following types of Dark Detectors: Foe-Glass, Sneakoscope, Secrecy Sensor, or Probity-Probe
- features a theme of flourishing in the face of adversity
- mentions the details of your Champion's wand, as provided by your Head of House

I'm pretty sure I ended up using all of the prompts :D By the way, according to Google Translate, sopor means deep sleep or stupor, and I just added the 'us' to make it sound more like a spell. Thanks for reading, and reviews are appreciated!




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