23. Epilogue:

'Enervate!' whispered Harry pointing the wand at Snape.

Severus opened his eyes, looked around...

'Potter...?' he muttered surprised 'What the hell...'

Suddenly he remembered everything. He sprang to his feet and fixed burning eyes on Harry.

'What happened?!' he cried widely 'Where is Vega?'

Harry lowered his head, tears rose to his eyes. The words couldn't get out from his throat. He couldn't tell him ...

He didn't have to. Severus guessed everything. He slowly turned round and looked at the vast rubble that several minutes ago had been Lord Voldemort's castle. Snape groaned desperately, he sank to his knees and hid face in his hands.

Somewhere among the heap of rubble a stone slid down and hit the ground with a loud bang. Harry rose his eyes and stood petrified. Among the clouds of thick, grey smoke a human silhouette emerged.

'Professor!' he called warningly, he run to Snape and shook him vigorously 'Look! There is somebody there...'

Severus stared at him wit such an expression as if he didn't understand what Harry had said. But there was something in the boy's eyes that made him turn his head in the same direction...

He jumped up, looking intently at the approaching figure, every second more and more visible. The wind blew and scattered the smoke. Severus gasped. He couldn't believe his own eyes !

'VEGA !!!' he cried, run the to witch and grasped her in his arms 'You are alive !'

Vega smiled faintly.

'Of course I am,' she muttered looking at Snape with tenderness 'You will not get rid of me so easily...'

Severus was beside himself with happiness. He brushed sticky wisps of hair away from Vega's forehead, he stroked her dirty cheek. He couldn't take off her his eyes, brimming over with deep love.

Harry hemmed.

'Erh...professor' he mumbled 'How...how did you do that?!'

The Auror smiled with satisfaction.

'I used a Triple Shield' she explained 'Such a useful invention of mine, extremely strong Defensive Spell. Armageddon is such a powerful curse that it usually takes two or three seconds between the incantation and the action. And it was enough for me.'

'I always knew you were the most powerful witch in the world!' said Snape with a deep conviction.

Vega's grey eyes twinkled mysteriously.

'You're right...' she said lengthily and a nasty tone sounded in her voice, like a cold, gloomy sneer 'Now I am really the most powerful...'

Harry shivered though he didn't know why. Severus was watching Vega concentrated.

'Voldemort is dead' said the Auror 'Dumbledore is dead. No one will stand in my way...'

She laughed shrilly and Harry felt his heart stopped beating and cold fear squeezed his throat. He knew that laugher, cruel and ruthless...

'The new era is coming!' yelled Vega with a devilish twinkle in her eyes 'The era of the DARK ARTS !!!'

Harry was staring at her thunderstruck.

'What...what are you talking about...?' he whispered in a shaking voice.

Vega's face twisted in a triumphant smile.

'About the NEW EMPIRE !!!' she cried widely, her eyes were burning 'We have Dementors. We will bribe the Giants. We will gather remains of the Death Eaters. They used to serve the Dark Lord so they will join unhesitatingly the Dark Lady. I will build up an army no one ever dreamt of !' she laughed shrilly 'Before a month expires, all the world either lie down at my feet or I will drown in the ocean of blood !'

Snape was staring at her with adoration, his black eyes expressed fanatic faithfulness and devotion.

'It will be as you wish, my Lady!' he said with a smile and bowed with esteem...