Chapter 8 : Plans and Preparations
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“Rashidi, are you alright?” Scorpius lowered his voice, still cautious of it arousing the man’s attention and him coming back.
“I am fine, just a small chest pain,” the old man wheezed. He moved his hands from his chest to his mouth before emitting a loud throttling sound which resembled something close to a cough.
Scorpius managed to make out Rashidi in the gloom of the room and saw his lined face contorted in pain. Something was seriously wrong with him. Something he deeply wished he could solve. There was nothing here which could alleviate his pain. Nothing.
Gazing around the room, he saw that setting of it was still the same as it had been since their arrival, a week ago. The scuffed wooden chairs they were sitting on were the focal point of the room. The rest was simply dust. It was as if the room was waiting for them to decay so they could become a permanent fixture of it. He glanced over at Dalila and saw her eyes shut and that her head rocked back and forth ever so slightly. It looked as if she was trying to find some form of meditation which would take her from here. If it worked, Scorpius wouldn’t mind knowing how to do it himself.
Scorpius didn’t feel like a Ravenclaw right now. He just wanted to give up, not solve the problem. But then somewhere deep inside of him was saying he should be formulating something logical to save him from this place, to free them all.
“Right,” Scorpius announced, startling the other two. “We need to do something. We can’t just sit here and do nothing.”
“But what?” Dalila despaired. “Grandfather is so ill right now, he can’t help with it. What can we do, we can’t even move?”
To prove her point, Dalila pushed against the binds holding her hips down to the seat and winced in pain as the force of them hit her. She couldn’t even loosen them with it being reinforced by a spell. It was as if the man had left their hands free on purpose to mock them. He knew they could never, ever free themselves, and this was a joke, a game to him. For a moment, all seemed to be lost.
“We need a distraction,” Scorpius said with more conviction than he had spoken with this past week. “If we can distract him, maybe we can get out somehow. Trip him over or something so we can take his wand. It shouldn’t be too hard in theory.”
“In theory.” Dalila paused. “But have you put it into action before? I do not want to get killed on some whim. I cannot take that risk with Grandfather. He is already frail as it is, and this would just worsen him completely.”
Scorpius turned to face the old man who had been oddly silent and saw that he had a small grin on his lined face. Scorpius noted that it almost made him look young again.
“Dalila, do not worry about me. I will be fine. In fact, I think I can help out with the distraction.”
Rashidi gave a small wink before his face turned deep in thought. Scorpius realised that though Rashidi may appear frail, he was still incredibly young at heart.
Rose nudged Lorcan’s arm before whispering, “Did you see what Edward was holding?” Without waiting for a response she barrelled on with her response. “It was a wand! A real wand!”
Lorcan was considerably more furtive with his response to Rose. Glancing around his surroundings and seeing that the others had gathered around the rock where Edward stood he then finally spoke. “Wait, do you think that means-“
Again, Rose couldn’t heed to caution and carried on with her theory.
“They’re wizards! They must be! That must be some sort of map or something which Edward’s holding, and I bet you anything it will show us the way to Acanthus. The only thing that puzzles me is how on earth did they get hold of it? With all that prior research I had to do in Cairo, I’m sure that I would have found the map if such a thing existed.”
Lorcan mused for a minute. “Perhaps it’s because something happened to it in the past which meant it was never found again. If I were them I would want to keep the map because something like that would be priceless.”
Rose nodded in agreement and lull of silence fell between them. Noting that the camel’s head was butting into her own, she grabbed the leather water bottle, pulled the cap loose and poured some of the water into her hands so it could drink. The bumps of its tongue rubbed against her smooth palm, and she couldn’t help but laugh at the sensation it triggered.
She almost couldn’t help but laugh at her situation once she had started giggling. Stuck in the 1920s and in Egypt of all places, on a quest to find the same ancient city Scorpius, Dalila and Rashidi were attempting to find in the twenty first century. She silently hoped that by reaching Acanthus she could somehow find a way home, to be with Scorpius, to be back somewhere safe, even to be with her family.
She had begun to realise in these past few days that this idea of writing this article to prove something was stupid. All the trouble it had given and for what? To show that she was clever as them, as successful as them? Rose sighed; surely there would have been an easier way than this one. A little lump rose up inside of her when she thought of all of them back home, knowing that she really did miss them. She just had to go back a hundred years to realise that.
Still unsure about how to break the subject of magic to the others, Rose turned to face Lorcan to see if he had any ideas. Sorting out this problem had to be dealt with first, her family could come later.
“So, what’s the plan?”
“I reckon we tell them,” Lorcan said after a while. “We have nothing to lose. They’ll probably even trust us more if they find out we’re magical because it’s something which joins us together. Perhaps they’ll even tell us more. That could be useful when-if we get back.”
The small slip up from Lorcan stilted the conversation. Rose raised her eyes from the ground and gave Lorcan a small smile. “We will get back. Trust me, Lorcan. If we managed to get here, I’m sure there’s some sort of way to get back.”
Lorcan gave a small smile back before shaking his head. “Who wants to break the news to them then?”
Rose couldn’t help but grin. She was worried for a moment that she had lost him, but there were still flickers of Lorcan deep down there. Flickers that she wasn't the only one fighting for their return.
Hugo drummed his fingers on the table, waiting for his dad to finish sorting out the cups of tea in the kitchen. His mum, the biggest worrier he knew, had called a family conference over the disappearance of his sister.
Hugo could sense she thought it was a big deal just from looking at her. Flecks of grey had begun to merge in with the nest of brown, and even more lines had appeared on her face. The press liked to create rumours about how Hermione Granger was more dedicated to her job than her children, but just observing her now, Hugo could tell that those rumours were false.
His father, Ron Weasley, hovered three wobbling cups of tea into the room, still a little unsure when using Wingardium Leviosa. Usually, his mother would tell the tale about how that spell made them become friends, but this time it wasn’t case. It hadn't been case for a lot of things recently unless they were focused on finding Rose.
“Milk and no sugar for you.” Ron placed the spotted red mug in front of Hermione, receiving no reaction. “Then how tea should be, milk and two sugars for me and you.”
Hugo grabbed his cup from where it was placed in front of him and slurped greedily at it. His mother gave him a little glare, probably due to not having good etiquette. He slammed the mug down on the table to prevent anymore anger, but that didn’t have its desired effect as trickles of tea began to pool onto the table cloth.
“For goodness sake, Hugo,” Hermione cried. “Can’t you be more careful? Your sister was never like that.”
“Yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard about how Rose was the much better behaved child. Enough of that now.”
“Don’t talk like that about your sister! She’s been missing for over three weeks now without a trace! No one has heard from her, not her editor, not your aunt Ginny, not any of her friends. I even contacted where she was staying in Cairo but they said all they knew was that she was still searching for that stupid Acanthus! She’s not reckless enough to go charging off without saying anything, something must have happened to her, and I want to know what.”
A sound of a chair scrapping back could be heard, and Hugo saw his father hurry over to his mother before clutching onto her hand.
“It will be alright, Hermione,” his father soothed her. “We can talk to Harry and get him to send some Aurors to scout the area. Maybe he can even talk to his Egyptian counterparts and see if they’ve heard anything. Rose might just be having a great time and has forgotten to owl us or something.”
His mum snapped out of her despair at once. “I know Rose, Ron. She wouldn’t have forgotten. You can do all of that, but nothing’s going to stop me. I’m going to Egypt and I’m going to look for her myself.”
Rose stared at the five of them, observing all of their varying reactions. There were Charlotte and George, almost mirror images of the other with their hands cupped to their mouths, eyes agog. Anthony looked bored, as if their announcement was nothing out of the ordinary, and quickly announced he was off to check on the camels.
It was only Edmund and David who showed any sort of excitement and happiness about the big reveal with their questions about their background and magical abilities.
“So you’re both magical? You’re not Muggles?” Edmund asked.
“No, we even have a wand.” Lorcan tapped his pocket proudly, glad that he could finally use it out in the open.
“But how did we not know about you before? The wizarding population isn’t that great and with an obscure name as Lorcan I’m sure I would have recognised you at once. The Weasley family is so great, it’s easy to see why I didn’t know Rose, but I would have thought I would have remembered Lorcan,” David despaired, running his hand through the thin layer of hair on his head.
“That’s because we didn’t go to Hogwarts,” Rose jumped in. “We went to Beauxbatons instead. That’s how we became friends by being the only English people there. My parents wanted me to learn French so I could be more cultured, and Lorcan had issued at Hogwarts so he came to Beauxbatons instead.”
Lorcan gave Rose a small wink before adding on, “Yes, us Brits had to stick together when faced with all those French people. Only a hundred years ago were we fighting against Napoleon, so it’s a bit too soon to be best friends with them.”
Rose didn’t bother questioning Lorcan’s historical accuracy, it was no doubt right. He always seemed to be able to retain every detail every said to him. It did make Rose wonder how he wound up being a photographer with a brain like his. Then again, his family were all into academic things so perhaps he wanted to avoid the same route.
“Yes, I think we call all sympathise with that,” Edmund chuckled before glancing around. “Seeing as we obviously have a lot to discuss, do you want to set up camp here for the day? It would make it a lot easier.”
Rose surveyed the surroundings and apart from the large, grey rock they were all gathered around the area was sparse. No weeds were even present. All that was left was the endless stretch of beige tinted gold. The only attraction being the horizon line which had even lost its appeal after always being in sight.
“Yes, I don’t see why not,” she agreed. “It would be best to discuss things.”
Charlotte, suddenly snapping out of her reverie, began bustling around. It was something akin to how Nanna Molly acted, Rose thought, her heart aching slightly at the memory of her.
“No time like the present then,” Charlotte said decidedly. “Edmund, you can go and get that scoundrel in the form of Anthony and get him to help you set up the tents. David, perhaps you could go and scout for any water as our supplies are running low. George? George? Where are you?”
From the excitement of the big reveal, Rose had failed to pay attention to the number of the group falling by one. He couldn’t have gone far, she thought, it was rather hard to hide here, after all. David and Edmund simply gave out a little laugh before sauntering off to where the camels where, ready to get on with their tasks. Just as she spotted the dash of blonde hair belonging to him, Lorcan cried out that he had spotted her before she could jump in.
“He’s there, Charlotte, over there.” He gestured with his hands and Charlotte quickly saw.
“George! Can you come and help me? We need to start finding supplies of herbs and plants, not that it looks as if we’ll be successful but there’s never any harm in trying.” Lowering her voice, she continued on to Lorcan and Rose, “He is a bit of a fool at times, George is. Never knowing what we’re doing or where we’re going. Look at him now, ambling around like that!”
Rose followed Charlotte’s stuck out finger and saw George had ended up near Anthony, but unlike Anthony who seemed as if he had a purpose, he was simply staring off into the distance, muttering to himself. Noticing the stares of the others, George turned and began running back to them, hair blowing all over his face to enhance the image of him being a fool even more.
“Sorry, what did you want?” George asked, a tousled bit of hair blowing in front of his blue eyes. He reminded Rose of an over-excited child.
Charlotte must have had a similar thought when she replied. “George, just listen more in future, it’s a lot easier!”
Rose could hear her continue to witter away to him and soon lost concentration, only observing the scene. They were an odd bunch, she thought. Despite that, she couldn’t help but notice the warm tingles creeping up her spine, at least she had ended up with them, she noted, being with anyone else in the past wouldn’t have been nearly as enjoyable. She didn't know what she would do when she got back to the present, having two lives in two different eras was hard to balance.
The man listened by the door to their plans. Oh how futile they were, he laughed. He would not let anything disrupt the plan he carefully crafted. What they were discussing now was a minor piece in the larger puzzle.
He could hear Scorpius’ cries rise above the others, determined to save that stupid girl Rose, raving about how great it would be when he saw her again. Pretending to be brave when it wasn’t your natural inclination was a great downfall of many, he noted. It was just a shame that it was a downfall of Scorpius Malfoy’s, he laughed.
Slowly walking away from the door, allowing their plans to develop, the man wandered into the equally sparse kitchen where a large black cauldron stood. Turning the grey liquid round and round with his spindly wand, he grabbed the pot of white powder and added a sprinkle of that to the potion turning into a lighter shade of grey. He let it stew for a few minutes more, the spitting sound acting as interval for him. One final stir turned it almost white.
Kneeling down and smelling it, the man gave an approving nod. The next batch of the potion was ready.
Author's Note: So everything's moving on quite quickly now, so I hope you're all getting excited! I hoped you liked Hugo's little cameo there, and I would love to know your thoughts on the man (you will know his name at some point!) and Scorpius's plans. Any crazy theories are also welcome, because I would love to see how true they are to what I have in my head.
Thanks for reading and if you want to be wonderful you can leave a review! ♡
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