This is my new fiction, in English this time- sorry dear French readers. I might have it translated later, although I'm planning on publishing a kind of Robin Hood Dramione fic in French soon that in many aspects will be similar to this one.
The title, Mercury, is in reference to two things. First, in Roman mythology, Mercury was the god of thieves. Secondly, it is of course a reference to Draco Malfoy's silver eyes.
I do hope you like it. Unfortunately, my beta has currently stopped evolving in Fanfiction, much to my sorrow, and I haven't found a new one yet. So I do hope you will be able to overlook any writing mistakes in this fiction.
The story is one that I love a lot, and I hope you'll appreciate it as much as I do. It is an AU, so I'm going to give you a little information, although as the story goes on you should manage to understand it all:
- This is in the 1600's, although the language will be close to our modern one for evident reasons.
- Imagine the setting to be a crossover between the traditional European courts of the 1600's and the tales of Ali Baba and his forty guys.
There you go. Here's the first chapter, enjoy!
The slender figure slipped through the palace corridors, dressed in a white muslim night dress over which she had thrown an ermine-trimmed cloak, to cover her modesty and against the draught of the corridors. The guards stiffened in a silent aknowledgement as she drifted by, a candle in her bare hand.
Behind the feminine figure came two maids, who followed her, rubbing their eyes and yawning, however, the Princess must not go alone. The palace was supposed to be a secure place, but vandals could get in, it being so big; besides, no respected lady should be unattended when walking by night, and in such attire; this being the Princess herself, she was barely allowed to go to the bathroom without a whole crowd.
The Princess had awoken that night in a tired and cross state; it was plain summer, and even the bedrooms of Her Royal Highness were bound to be too hot. Sighing deeply, she had thrown herself in her cloak and slippers, and her maids, Parvati and Padma, two twins of her age, had immediately followed, bearing candles against the dim light.
The Princess arrived in the kitchens and took one quick glance around the place, before sitting down in front of a table. Parvati started lighting a few torches, and Padma brought them three cups made in silver and a bottle of honeydew wine.
"Cheers," she grumbled, sending a no-nonsense glance to the Princess who pinked slightly:
"Sorry, ladies. I will not forget now to keep drinks in the chambers," she announced in her cristal-clear voice.
"Yay," muttered Parvati in sarcasm before joining them; "you finally understood that we hate being awoken, Your Highness."
The Princess shot back a furious gaze and said,
"How many times exactly must I remind you to call me Hermione?"
Padma poured a second cup for them and retorted,
"Yeah right. So that the King your father can have our heads for not respecting our future ruler?"
"I didn't ask you to call me by my name when Father is around," snapped back the Princess. "Besides, given how you talk to me as if I was some commoner, it's not that far a step."
They giggled and soon retreated to their bedroom, where the twins flopped upon the makeshift beds near Hermione's, as they did two nights a week upon their shift.
Soon, the Indian servants were asleep, Padma even snoring slightly, and since Hermione was still too hot to do as much; she sat on a windowsill and breathed in the warm breeze.
Enough was enough: she was not tired enough to sleep like the twins, so she would tire herself. She decided that a bit of exercice would do that nicely. Hermione donned again her cloak and slippers and gazed at the twins; they seemed happy to sleep, and would be grumpy to wake, so she decided to leave them be. Besides, what would happen to her in the sleeping palace?
Hermione slipped out of the room and padded away on a random route. The palace was so peaceful at night. She wandered through empty corridors, relishing one of the rare times that she could actually roam unattended.
Suddenly, as she was silently walking past a long, dark corridor, she heard a tinkling noise, as if someone had just made something fall. The noise was followed by shuffling, then silence.
Hermione was not anything if not adventurous, which could put her royal person in trouble from time to time. If she were not her parents' daughter, she would have long been beheaded for such cheekiness.
Curious, Hermione scampered down the corridor at the end of which, she knew, lay the Treasure Room. The two guards in front of the doors seemed to be knocked out cold. Hermione's heart pitter-pattered in fear and excitement. She knew she should have turned back, knew she should have called for help, but she did not.
Instead, she slipped through the door, graceful and silent.
Hermione had been in this room before, so she cared not for the massive amounts of gold and jewels lined up against the walls, on the ground in heaps, in chests and on tables, in bags and sacks. Her attention was focused upon two people before her.
They were both male, and probably her age. One was tall, lean but all muscle, and had dark skin with beautiful features. The other was smaller and stockier and seemed broody, with chestnut hair. Another thing was obvious about them; they were thieves, stealing the royal treasure, shoving it into sacks at their feet, backs half-turned to her. Hermione's heart burst in indignation, and she silently picked up a sword near herself, its hilt embedded with rubies, trying to be brave and ignore the fact that the dark one had a wicked-looking dagger thrust in his belt, and that the other one's rapier swung at his side.
"You cannot ever shut up, can you, you clumsy, stupid fool," sneered the dark one.
The other rolled his eyes and whispered loudly back:
"Sorry, Ô Great King Of Duplicity and Shadows, but not everyone is as able as you to merge in the darkness and shut the hell up."
"Well, you should learn, Theodore," affirmed the dark one.
"Now, how about this for a change. You being the one to shut your trap lest you make our presence known, Blaise?"
"And how about I kick your non existent brains right out of your butt, you stupid commoner?"
"Well, how about I..."
"Oh, shut it already and get on with it, you bumbling idiot."
"Like anyone shall find us," muttered Theodore in an amused tone. "I mean, the King is just some kind of cruel bastard who lays taxes upon everyone and no-one, his wife the Queen is an unable sub, their guards are foolish enough to let only two of us walk through the entire place, and oh, let's just say that the daughter and heir must be some kind of nasty bitch rubbing her thick, greedy hands together while plotting for the throne, as the good daughter of tyrans she must be."
"Oh, I dunno," replied Blaise while closing his bag, "they say she's pretty. And that she's as sweet as the King is cruel."
"Yeah right," scoffed Theodore, closing his sack too. "Propaganda."
Blaise shrugged it off and turned around.
To meet the business end of a trembling sword pointed upon him and his partner in crime.
A lovely young woman their age was holding it, and she seemed wide-eyed and frightened, though she was putting on a rather convincing brave face. The three stared at each other for a while, then Blaise licked his lips and managed a seductive smile. He could easily push the terrified little thing away, but he did not wish to hurt an innocent. Theodore, he knew, would not have such qualms.
"Why hullo there, good maiden. Be careful, dear, that sword appears much too heavy for you. How about you put it down a minute?"
"So you can get out?" she retorted immediately.
Suddenly, her face scrunched up in a disgusted motion:
"And probably slit my throat before leaving," she added.
Her voice did not tremble, and her sword had steadied itself. Blaise could not help but be impressed. The adorable little thing did not seem so adorable any more. In fact, she seemed deadly serious. Too bad for her.
"I wish not to hurt an innocent," replied calmly Blaise, palms up, "but by all the dieties, love, if you move, I will have to do just that."
Her face grew colder and her sword motioned to the treasure in their sacks.
"Ah no? Then why do you steal the Kingdom? You are taking away the food and clothing of the poor. Is that not hurting innocents?"
Blaise and Theodore forgot a moment about the time they were losing to stare incredulely at her.
"Wow. You work in the kitchens, lass, to know nothing about where this money goes to?" asked Blaise slowly, in disbelief. "It is common knowledge that the King steals the poor to feed the rich. It is only right that we take some back."
"Nonsense!" she stomped her foot, glaring through narrowed eyes. "My f-I mean, the King would never do such a thing; he would not hurt anyone."
Suddenly, Theodore cut in, peering at her clothes:
"Hey, lass, but are you not wearing ermine? The very material reserved to royalty?"
She stilled, and the men's faces went from curious to lethal.
"Let's kill her," growled Theodore.
"No, Theo," cut frostily Blaise. "If she is royalty, then her murderous family shall come after us. We only want peace. Tie her up and leave her here."
"Yes, so that she can blabber away just how we look, and talk, and act when she is found? Kill her, I say!"
Blaise seemed torn. He did not want to hurt the girl, who was going a ghastly white as Theodore was speaking, but she was royalty, and by no means ready to befriend them, common thieves.
Suddenly, in a remarkable quick move, Hermione jumped back...
...And began screaming on the top of her lungs.
After all, it was her only escape route.
"Told you," hissed Theodore, grabbing the sacks and hauling them over his shoulders. "Darn that the place doesn't have a window around."
Blaise leaped on the girl, knocking her to the ground and the breath out of her lungs, but naturally, her knee came up to his groin, making him pant. Angrily, he slapped her, hoping to calm the minx, but she did nothing but wrestle, and finally bit his hand. When he was done, though, his shape and training gave him the upper hand, and he neutralized her.
Too late. Footsteps were running down the corridor.
"Now what, Master of Dealing with Impertinent Royal Maidens, Frenzied Guards and Escape Route All At Once?" hissed Theodore.
"Keep a hold on that money, you butt trumpet. She's our token out."
Theodore nodded in appreciation and burst the doors open, effectively stopping the stampeding guards a few meters away from the doors. Blaise followed him out, trailing a writhing, furious Hermione with him as if she was no more than an annoying mosquito, which infuriated her even more so.
"Please," muttered Blaise. "Please, dearest. Be quiet, play nice, and no-one shall be hurt."
"You wish, you common mongrel!"
"I resent that," he taunted, pulling her along.
The guards gasped and stopped all movement upon seeing her. Blaise glanced down, something akin to admiration in his gaze.
"Nice tour de force, lass. You must be someone of importance."
"Now," bellowed Theodore, strutting up to the guards, "throw your weapons. Leave us pass. And no-one, especially not the maiden, shall be hurt."
"Says who?" challenged a young guard. "You are only two. Whereas two thousand of us keep this palace!"
The next instant, the tip of Theodore's rapier was under Hermione's chin, drawing a few drops of blood. One elder guard swirled around to the youngster:
"You fool! Her blood has been drawn. The King shall have your head!"
Hermione blanched, and Theodore shot her a look of pure loathing before muttering,
"See what you lot do?"
She sneered back, and Blaise began pulling her again. The guards had dropped their weapons and backed up. The two thieves strolled almost leisurely to the palace doors, then a General's voice boomed,
"Get them! Alive if possible!"
The second after, a roaring wave of guards came hurtling out of the palace, hot on their tails. Blaise gagged Hermione swiftly, then the two thieves set off at full speed in the city, keeping the still fighting girl in case the guards caught them.
Blaise, Theodore and Hermione ended ducking into a dead end. The guards rushed past, screaming in fury. Blaise almost felt guilty as he felt the girl's tears fall on his fingers. But then he remembered who he was, what he was fighting for, and panted in Theodore's direction.
"Kill the chit," decided coolly Theodore.
"No? No, Blaise? We are in it to the neck! Dead or alive, the girl is not worth it! The King's army shall still scour the world for us even looking at his parent. So what big deal?"
"We should take her back with us," decided Blaise. "The Captain shall know what to do with her. As you said yourself, they'll never give up finding us. Best keep her to use as a joker, you know, a bargaining chip to use if things get nasty."
Theodore seemed to think about it, then shot Hermione a dirty look.
"Who is she, anyway?"
"Do we really care about that right now?"
"Guess not. I don't like the idea, to be honest."
"Well I do not care. She's coming and that is final. Besides, we screwed up because of her, it's only deal."
"Yeah. If ever she issues a threat..."
"You have my permission to kill her."
A short silence followed, only cut by the two thieves' shallow breathing and Hermione's moans and cries, muffled by the gag.
"We must reach the Inn of Four Roses," decided Blaise. "It is only three streets down."
They slipped out of their hiding spot and, although Hermione was gagged and trailed by the two criminals, no-one seemed to notice. It was mayhem. Guards were running about, seizing people, beating them to within an inch of their lives, while asking of the whereabouts of the two men and the young woman. Horses crushed dying people under their metal shoes, as guards mercilessly made them canter and gallop here to there.
Finally, the three of them reached a dingy, tiny place, with only a banner showing four roses hanging off the wall. They entered swiftly. The place was rammed full of men and women. Men were playing bets upon card and dice games, drinking far too much, smoking contentedly and trussing up prostitutes and servants. A few women joined in the men's fun. Theodore lost no time rushing up to the owner of the place, a small, old man who was smoking a long, curved pipe and watching almost lovingly upon his dear customers. Theodore whispered a few words into the elder one's ears, and the man turned briskly towards Blaise and Hermione, before nodding quickly and, with accurate speed, held out a hand in which Theodore dropped a few pieces of gold. Then, the man smiled, and beckoned for them to follow, swiftly moving out of the way of a flying knife. Apparently one game was getting a tad out of control. He simply chuckled and led them into a covered back yard. Hermione winced upon seeing a couple making out against a wall, and Blaise winced back in apology. She glared at him.
The man, without speaking, walked them into a stable in which several horses were saddled up and ready to go. Theodore made his pick and attached his bags of stolen goods to one saddle, as Blaise elegantly but quickly bustled Hermione onto another horse before leaping up behind her, knotting her hands with a piece of chiffon the old man gave him with a knowing nod, and took up the reins. Theodore threw another piece of gold at the old man, before cocking his head to a side and placing a menacing figure upon his lips to motion for silence.
The next thing Hermione knew, they were galloping full speed out of the city of Gryffindor, and right into the desert.
However, the young Princess was at this point fed up and, though aknowledging the tremendous speed they set themselves at, she threw herself to the left and tumbled off the horse. Ignoring Blaise's shouts and Theodore's curses, she then proceeded to run back in the direction the city stood on the horizon, its palace's roofs bright silver under the moon. All right, it was a petty plan, since she was on foot, gagged and wrists bound, and they were on horseback, and she had absolutely no shelter in the surrounding desert, but still...
A double set of pounding hooves thundered up towards her, and she was suddenly hauled back up by a strong pair of arms onto Blaise's horse. Cursing them all, she smacked an elbow across Blaise's pretty face, making him groan.
The next thing she knew, was a deep cracking to the back of her skull before all went dark.
Blaise looked down at the now limp little form in his arms then back to Theodore, not approving one bit.
"Damn the bitch," screeched Theodore while sheathing his rapier, the hilt of which had knocked the girl out cold, "what a nuisance. Well, do you think now she'll shut it until we arrive?"
"I think that with that blow, we're lucky she's not dead," replied coldly Blaise, "and she will not come around before tomorrow in any case."
"Oh, poor likkle thing," mocked Theodore in a sweet voice before they set off again. "She surely needed her beauty sleep anyway. Royalty sucks. Anyway, why do you care so much if she dies?"
"I care," boomed Blaise, "because the Captain will care. What do you think he will say if we stroll up announcing that the whole bloody country of Hogwarts is after our blood because of two sacks of gold, hm? You are lucky she's here, or the Captain may have just killed us and sent back our bodies to the King, so that the others of our clan shall be left alone."
Theodore seemed to muse over that.
"Yeah, sure. He would have, wouldn't he?"
Blaise nodded, smirking.
"Well, he would at least have had us thoroughly corrected, for sure."
They bellowed out laughing and trotted across the ocean of sand to who knows where.
They arrived in Slytherin's Pit barely an hour before dawn. Their beautiful city underground, their world of orphans, thieves, poor people, forced here by the ungodly rule of the tyrannic King of Hogwarts and his court in Gryffindor.
The horses slid down the dune towards the secret entrance; merely a hole under a slab of rock, only thick enough to file one by one in; they had to bow their heads a bit to not scrape the rock ceiling. At last, they came on an underground cavern, with a bright blue lagoon-like lake in the middle. This grotto was huge. Theodore stood before the waters and pulled his sleeve up, revealing his secret tattoo in form of an M around which curled a black rose, in the crook of his elbow, to the lake, before saying out loud, his voice echoeing around the cavern:
"I command thee, waters of Slytherin's Pit, to open afore us, noble members of the clan of Darkrose!"
For a second, nothing moved. Then, with enough noise to arouse the dead, making Blaise worried for the girl's life as she still would not wake, the waters began boiling in the middle, before parting themselves to the sand beneath; the two men clucked their horses forward, passing evenly. When they reached the other shore, five minutes later, Theodore turned to the lake once more, arm raised:
"We thank thee, waters of Slytherin's Pit, for having judged us and our quest noble enough to let us pass!"
The two then continued into a narrow, torch-lit corridor, without glancing back at the unfurling walls of water that frothed and danced around before stilling in a once again lake. They travelled on for another few minutes, then finally reached a tall, well-lit cavern, with four corridors leading from it, one of which being that they had just entered from. Immediately, the two men trotted forwards and crossed the front one; they arrived in the Chambers of Salazar, the place where the true members of the clan lived in opposition to Hufflepuff Cavern and Ravenclaw Grotto, where the poor who sought shelter came to hide under the Captain of the clan's protection. Here were thus the army quarters, if you can qualify a clan of well-trained thieves as such.
The first cavern of the Chambers was like the entry, the parlor: and it was not empty. Three men and a woman were standing there. The woman was dressed quite scantily, albeit prettily, her long black locks shimmering under the light. Her emerald eyes glittered in a gaze that knew no fear. Blades could be seen about everywhere over her body: several in her belt, crossed in her back, slipped in black seductive garters on both thighs, in the straps of her sandals, and even more dangerous were the blades that the woman did not show.
Two of the men were great, bulky things. They loomed like huge soldiers, bodyguards. And they were. They could barely read and even less write, but they sure could knock out several enemies at a time with fists like those.
The last man was dressed much like Theodore and Blaise, in a black tunic over black, poofy trousers and sandals. He had a sword at his side. However, this man was well over the two palace thieves. You could see it simply in his way of standing, of being. Besides, he wore emeralds in his weapon's hilt and a sole emerald in shape of a tear on a piece of string around his neck.
He was quite the sight. He was tall, all muscles though lean enough not to be thick, with white, almost translucent skin, aristocratic features, long fingers, and a perfect sense of hygiene. His hair was blond, nearly silver white. But the most beautiful about him wasn't his signature hair, his perfectly straight nose, his white teeth, or his pretty lips almost always turned up in a smirk. It was his eyes. They said that his eyes were more telltale than the devil's horns. Naturally a stormy grey, they would turn almost blue in his happiness and steel grey in his fury.
No-one, on Earth, had ever stood up to Draco Malfoy, leader of the Darkrose clan, and lived to tell the tale.
"There you are," he simply smirked in his attractive drawl. "We were wondering if you got lost."
The two bodyguards laughed out and one said,
"Yeah, Pansy here almost sent out a research party."
Theodore, Blaise, Draco and the other bodyguard sniggered. Pansy turned to the man, who was the shorter of the two, and hissed:
"If you do not shut it this instant, Vincent Crabbe, I shall introduce you to Helena. She is the blade that makes death long and painful. Same for you, Gregory Goyle."
The two shut up. Pansy was not a woman to cross. Some feared her even more than Draco Malfoy himself: she was without pity.
"Eventful?" asked Draco calmly.
The two thieves looked uneasily at each other and suddenly, Pansy pointed to the small slack figure over Blaise's saddle.
"Been raping poor, unsuspecting girls again, Zabini?"
He sneered down from his horse at her.
"Shut it, pug face. I've never raped anyone and you know it."
"Yeah, but seeing you go all red in the face was well worth the effort. Bastard."
"Stop." commanded Draco, and everyone fell silent. Pansy and Blaise hated each other enough to kill, but they could fight their petty fights later on. "The girl? Explain."
"Well," started slowly Theodore. "We were in the treasure, plundering well and happy, when this chit appeared, wielding a sword twice to big for her arm, poor thing. She then screamed for the guards. They came and, since she was wearing ermine, we guessed that she was royalty."
Tension exploded in the room. Crabbe and Goyle cracked their impressive fists against their thighs. Pansy's hand went automatically for a knife wedged in her skirt band. Draco paled a tad in fury and his eyes narrowed.
"Tell me," hissed he. "Was she? Was the darn slut royalty of this land?"
"Oh, aye, she was," nodded warily Theodore. "We decided to use her body as a shield to get out. We were totally surrendered. Anyway, from the looks upon their faces, they were damn scared she would break a nail. Must be high up in the family, maybe a cousin of the King or something. So, we used her, and we were about to release her and leave, when a General decided to go after us. All Hell broke loose, and then the bastard guards were out in the city, killing and plundering and burning the whole lot. We managed to slip to the Inn and obtain horses to ride back. I was for killing the bitch, but Blaise decided not to, saying that the King was already out for our blood and that it was cautious for us to keep a bargaining chip. The girl. She is a damn pain in the arse, she is, jumped off the horse, even gagged and bounded. Just couldn't stay still. We had to knock her out."
Silence followed as he shrugged, and Draco seemed deep in thought. Then, maintaining a loathing, lethal gaze on the tiny limp form, he said,
"It was a good idea to keep her, even though I wouldn't have cared if the little whore was dead meat. Anyway, she is here now. What do you propose?"
Blaise cut in.
"She needs rest, and medical attention. She's been through quite her piece tonight. Tomorrow we can decide of her fate."
Draco nodded before adding in scorn,
"Quite through her piece, eh? Well, tell yourself that she probably murdered your kin or a hundred others'."
"Don't think so," replied coolly Blaise.
He had decided to protect the poor girl. She needed at least one voice for her.
"She's so young, Captain, you haven't seen her. And she seemed so afraid. She didn't even know how to yield a sword properly and, come to think of it, she did say we were stealing the poor in that room, eh Theo? And, she didn't scream blue murder until we actually talked about killing her. In fact, she only saved her life."
Pansy snorted, her fingers caressing a blade tip lovingly.
"Got a crush, Zabini?"
"Fuck off you snake!"
"Enough," cut quietly Draco. "Blaise, Pansy is right. Do not be fooled by her looks or her apparent weakness. Remember that it is always when an enemy seems harmless that it is the most dangerous. If she did not murder, then her family did, and she probably laughed along to their stories of it. She was alone against two outlaws, so she donned the coat of innocence to save herself."
Blaise shrugged. It was possible, of course, even very so. The ruling family, the blasted Granger clan, were known for their lack of mercy and their overflow of bloodlust and, as such, were quite able to come up with cunning plans.
"Perhaps, Captain. Still, for now she's out cold, so she needs a bed."
"Straw in the stables would be too good for the bint," hissed Pansy spitefully.
"Well, get her down," ordered Draco warily. "She might have a birthplate, it happens a lot in upper society, such as a necklace or a bracelet. Pansy, search her."
Pansy nodded despite the disgust and repulsion evident in her face. Blaise jumped down, stretched, and gently gathered his burden up in his arms before lying her down on the cold natural stone floor, and he softly wiped her messy brown curls out of her face. They all gazed down at her, realising, for the first time, including Blaise and Theo, how dainty and pretty she actually was. Though her face was bruised, her small, pink, pouty lips were set under a button nose, high, delicate cheek bones, in perfect white skin. Pansy growled and fell to her knees, one of her blades cutting away at the girl's ermine cloak attach. The men, except Draco who didn't care for now, coughed and slightly looked away when she was revealed in nothing but a muslim nightdress, and Pansy frowned upon fingering a golden necklace, quite modest, around her neck. On it was a small pendant representing a crown. Pansy examined it.
"Yes, definitely royalty," she muttered, causing a shiver of hate to go around the witnesses. She then looked at the tiny letters forming a name and she gazed at them, suddenly white, jaw slack.
"What is it, Pans?" asked swiftly Draco.
With almost trembling fingers, she handed him the pendant and chain after snapping it off the girl's neck. He figured out the name and smirked.
"Well, well, well. Our best prize ever, gentlethieves. You went out to fill a couple of bags with gold...and you come back having abducted none other than the great Princess Hermione Granger herself, heir of the Kingdom."
Draco looked back at the girl, his hatred even more fuelled if possible. The others blanched and gasped. Hermione Granger, the sole heir and their enemy, was in their grasp...
"Get her out of my sight."
There we go for chapter one. I don't yet know the update rate, as I have several other ongoing fictions, and a lot to do in my personal life, between work and Uni exams coming up. I apologize if the next chapter doesn't come fast enough for your liking.
If ever someone wants to beta'e this story- and/or my other ones- please, do speak up. I'd be delighted.
Please read and review and tell me what you think!
See you soon,