Hey, everyone! I'm sorry for such a long wait for this chapter, but it is a rather long one. So maybe that will help me redeem myself a little. Anyway, please review. Enjoy!
"Draco saw her?"
Reina nodded with a frustrated sigh. She and Kaze were in their dorm discussing the present problem of keeping their identities a secret. "Kiku doesn't know for sure if he saw her or not," she said. Both girls were sitting on their beds in their true form, the door being locked and charmed.
"If he did then it won't be long until we're figured out as well," said Kaze. Fireball was curled up in the wind demon's lap sound asleep. Occasionally, one of his ears would twitch at the sound of the girls' voices.
"Maybe, but there are too many if's we're thinking about," said Reina, crossing her arms. She leaned back against her pillow. "There is still the possibility that Draco didn't see her. Besides, the only things Kiku hides is her ears and the swirl to her eyes. And of course her aura is downsized to match that of a normal witch."
"But the if's are what we need to worry about," Kaze said scratching Fireball's back. The young cat purred from pleasure. "You said it yourself that we're in danger if someone in the school founds out. What makes it worse is that someone is Malfoy! He could easily tell his father who is a Death Eater meaning he's in league with Voldemort."
Kaze did have a point and Reina couldn't deny it. Both girls never imagined they would have to deal with the dark wizard Voldemort. In their village, Voldemort wasn't a big threat. Demons thought their world was separate from the magical world, but some demons changed their beliefs when the Ministry finally acknowledged Voldemort's return. Now that muggles were being drawn into the war, more and more demons were worrying about Voldemort and his followers pouring over into their territory.
"I wonder how much longer until Voldemort's influence reaches home," said Reina. Her lavender eyes were focused on the hole in her pajama pants. She wasn't aware of how it got there, but that pair of pants were old.
"Isn't that what your dad is investigating now?" the wind demon asked. She, too, was concerned about the welfare of their kind. Voldemort's power had become so strong to the point that no one, wizard or muggle or creature alike, was safe.
All Reina could so was nod. Words were lost to her as she thought of Darikk and his safety. Many demons would not be happy with a rogue shadow demon sticking his nose in their business. There were countless things that could happen, especially if Darikk did come across one of those demons working for Voldemort. The half-demon's throat was burning and her eyes refused to blink. Worry was taking over her mind. Where was her father?
"We should get to sleep. There's class tomorrow," said Kaze. She turned off the light and scooted farther under the covers. Fireball stretched before kneading another place between the wind demon's legs. He curled up and joined his owner in sleep. Reina, on the other hand, wasn't able to close her eyes without seeing Darikk in some horrible predicament.
"He's really going to take you with?"
Harry nodded in response to his cousin's question. "Dumbledore promised he would when he found out where another Horcrux is located," he stated.
Reina frowned at this. It was not what she wanted to hear. "But that's dangerous, Harry. Are you sure you're up to it?" She knew her cousin was perfectly capable of taking care of himself, and she probably sounded like a worried mother. Despite that, Reina couldn't keep worry out of her mind. It had been plaguing the half-demon all night for multiple reasons including Darikk's safety, her hometown, Hagrid's current state of mind, her friends, and Harry. Needless to say, Reina didn't sleep well the previous night.
Before Harry could respond, something white caught his eye. "Ron, you're making it snow," Hermione said grabbing Ron's wrist.
"Hey," Kiku recoiled her tongue into her mouth. "I was catching those."
"Sorry," Ron muttered. He brushed the snow off Hermione's shoulder, the whole time having Lavender's eyes on them from across the room. "I guess we all have terrible dandruff." After shaking his own head clean of snow, Ron looked over to Kiku. "Why are you sitting here today? You're usually over there with Malfoy." His lip curled up in a snarl as he gestured to a pale Draco.
Kiku frowned instantly, and it wasn't because Professor Flitwick was approaching them. Luckily, Ron and the others forgot about hearing an answer after Ron made his goblet explode. After class, the group had learned more than just how to turn vinegar into wine. It made all of them happy to hear that Ron and Lavender had broken up. Harry was even happier to find out that Ginny and Dean were no longer together. Reina also seemed rather pleased with this news.
"Now's your chance, Harry," said Reina as she passed the wizard in the hallway. She would have loved to stay and talk, but she had business to take care of with Kaze and Kiku. "Say hi to Katie for me!" she added before racing away down the corridor.
"Katie?" Harry echoed. He looked to Ron and Hermione in confusion.
"I don't know what she's talking about, mate," Ron said.
Harry shrugged it off, but only for a few seconds. When the portrait hole opened, there was a small group of people gathered around Katie Bell. Ron became slightly more confused, but Harry and Hermione connected Reina's knowledge of Katie's return with the telepathic wind demon.
"What are we going to do about Malfoy?" Kaze asked breaking the silence. Actually it wasn't completely silent. The sounds of Kiku pounding on one of the heavy punching bags echoed through the large training area that the Room of Requirement supplied the girls with. Neither of the other two demons replied. It wasn't exactly easy to answer that question.
Another minute passed by before Kiku suddenly stopped punching the bag, leaving it to swing slightly in front of her. "I'm such and idiot!" she yelled. Her fist slammed into the bag for one final punch, but this time a blast of boiling water erupted from Kiku's hand. The heavy, cylindrical bag broke from its chain and flew across the room before slamming into the back wall. Kiku jumped back in shock. "What just happened?" She turned back to Reina and Kaze, her eyes moving from her hands to her friends.
"Whatever it was, it was awesome," Kaze said running over to the punching back, which had a hole through the center of it.
Reina glanced to the cracked stone of the wall where the bag made contact. Looking back to Kiku, the half-demon smirked. "You're anger got the better of you, and in turn boosted the strength of your powers."
The water demon was still stunned at first, but then a big grin slowly spread across her face. "I did it!" she exclaimed ecstatically. Kiku began jumping around in circles. "I actually conjured water from the air. I've never been able to do that before. And I wasn't even trying."
"Our powers are tied to our emotions," said Reina. She watched as Kaze rushed back over to them. "And you're not an idiot," she added while walking back to the bench. Kiku and Kaze followed now that they were over the initial ecstasy of the occurrence.
"Reina's right, Kiku," the wind demon said sitting down on one of the benches. Fireball rubbed up against Kaze's exposed thigh, a sign that he wanted attention. Picking the cat up, Kaze placed him on her lap where Fireball curled up to sleep. "It could have happened to any of us."
Despite her attempts at condolence, Kaze's words didn't lighten Kiku's returning guilt. The water demon plopped down on the opposite end of the bench. "But I still screwed up. I should've been paying more attention to my surroundings. Maybe then I could have sensed Draco before he came too close."
"We still don't know for sure if Draco saw you," Reina reminded them. "Until our suspicions are confirmed, we shouldn't be worrying so much. Besides, who is he going to tell that will actually believe him?"
"Snape," Kaze said with disgust.
Kiku nodded and added, "Draco is close to Snape. Even with their argument before Christmas, Draco would still confide in Snape with something this important."
"Snape already knows."
Both Kaze and Kiku stared at the half-demon in shock and then confusion. "Snape knows we're demons?" they asked in unison. Glances were spared to each other, but they focused back on Reina intensely. "How does he know?" Kaze questioned alone. "And how do you know that he knows?"
Reina sighed as she leaned against the cold stone, which felt good on her warm skin. "The answer to both of those questions is Dumbledore," she said calmly. "He needed Snape's help concerning some things. Who do you think has been making the potion I've been forced to take?"
Kaze frowned in confusion. "I figured Madam Pomfrey was mixing it up since she was the person you were getting the vials from."
"Madam Pomfrey is the one who tests the potion," the half-demon explained. "Snape is actually the mastermind behind my successful medicine. He really is a great potions master. His potion is the only one that's been able to keep the human facade from fading or draining me of energy."
"Why didn't you tell us this before, Rei?" Kaze was a bit irritated that her best friend had kept this a secret from her. "You know the suspicions that Harry has about Snape."
"Dumbledore trusts Snape," Reina said defensively. "I haven't killed over, nor have I suffered any side effects of the potion. And unless I do, I have no reason to distrust Snape."
An awkward silence fell over the room for the next minute. Each girl was lost in their own thoughts. The dangers they faced now could be minor nuisances or serious threats depending on what happens next. If the young demons' identities somehow made it back to Voldemort, there was no denying just how much trouble they'd be in. Reina, Kaze, and Kiku were all well aware of the possibilities.
"This puts a damper on enjoying the last Quidditch match of the season, doesn't it?" Kiku said with a forced smile. Reina and Kaze expressed weak laughs, but it was hard to cover up what they all felt.
Luckily enough, the girls were momentarily distracted by Reina's ring, which was glowing red. "Mayoke wants in," Reina explained. She stood up and walked over to the door. After listening for any sounds of shuffling feet and hearing none, the half-demon opened the door just enough for the raven to come in. Mayoke quickly flew in followed by Hashi, who trotted over to Kiku.
"Did you find anything out?" Kiku asked the fox when he sat down next to her on the bench. Hashi shook his head. "Oh, well. Thanks for trying." Pulling out a dog treat from her bag, Kiku gave it to Hashi.
Kaze crossed her legs on the bench, adjusting Fireball as she did so. "Are you still using Hashi as a spy?" she asked glancing to the fox devouring the treat.
"Yeah, but he hasn't been able to collect any information lately," replied Kiku.
Kaze and Kiku looked to the half-demon, who had her back to them. Reina's eyes were focused on the black raven flying wildly around the room. "Something is wrong with Mayoke," she said worried. "Mayoke!" Reina had to call out the bird's name two more times before he finally returned to the half-demon's arm. "What's wrong?" Reina glanced up to her friends while stroking Mayoke in an attempt to calm him. The raven quit cawing, but he continued to flap his wings, and move up and down his master's arm.
"He looks spooked," said Kaze. Fireball had lifted his head from Kaze's lap to look at the bird. However, instead of trying to attack Mayoke like usual, Fireball just continued to stare as if he, too, knew something was wrong.
Kiku stood up and approached Reina. She looked over Mayoke, inspecting him for any injuries. "He doesn't seem to be hurt," she concluded. Just then, Mayoke began cawing again rather loudly. He jumped from Reina's arm, scratching her in the process, and flew to the door.
"Reina, are you okay?" asked Kaze when the half-demon hissed in pain.
"I'm fine," Reina replied. She inspected the scratch from which drops of blood were forming. Looking to the door, she saw Mayoke hovering there expectantly. "This isn't like him," she said walking over to the cubby holes containing supplies. After wiping away the blood, Reina found a clean bandage, which she brought back over to Kiku. "Could you tie this, please?"
Once Kiku had wrapped the bandage around Reina's upper arms and tied it off, the half-demon hurried to the door. Without saying anything, she opened the door and quickly followed Mayoke out. The door closed behind her, hiding the entrance again from plain sight. Mayoke flew down the seventh floor hallway and downstairs with Reina running on the stone below him. They continued down each floor until Mayoke finally stopped and perched on the statue outside Dumbledore's office. Reina came to a sudden halt in front of the statue. She wasn't able to rest for long before a gentle yet grave voice came from behind her.
"Reina, I just sent someone to find you," Dumbledore said when the half-demon turned to face him. His face was grim and his eyes looked upon Reina with obvious sadness. He was about to speak again, but paused when he noticed the crimson color seeping through the bandages. Reina wore a sleeveless shirt, so she couldn't hide it. "Are you injured?"
"Forget about that," Reina said a bit more forcefully than she intended to. She took a deep breath in order to calm herself. "Professor, what's going on? Something's wrong, I know it."
Dumbledore stared at the young woman for a few seconds before speaking again. "I'm sorry to say that something is indeed wrong. Please come up to my office." The spiral staircase opened up when the wizard spoke the password. Dumbledore ascended first without looking back at Reina until they reached the top of the stairs. After Dumbledore stepped inside and out of the doorway, the half-demon walked into the Headmaster's office. She didn't make it any farther than two steps and then froze. Standing in the center of the room was the very person Reina did not want to see. What made it worse was that the woman was alone.
"Oh, Reina!" Aleera flung herself at Reina, wrapping her arms around the younger demon in a painful hug. "I'm so sorry," she said with tears forming in her dark eyes. "I couldn't stop him."
Reina untangled herself from Aleera's unwanted embrace. Once she was free, she backed away until she made contact with the closed door, which Dumbledore had shut with his wand. The half-demon gave up on creating more space between them, and instead stared back at Aleera. "Where is my father?" Reina asked. The beautiful demon bit her lip as if holding back a sob. It was obvious to Reina that this was all an act, and she wasn't going to let it go on.
While she was still on the seventh floor, Reina cast the concealment spell before she past anyone. Despite her rush and worry, she still had sense enough to hide her demonic traits. That concern, however, was quickly fading along with the spell. Within seconds Reina's appearance was that of a half-demon. Her lavender eyes narrowed as she continued to stare at Aleera. "Where is he?" she demanded. The edge in her voice caught Aleera off guard, causing the older demon to lose grip on her grieving mask. Aleera quickly began the waterworks again for Dumbledore's sake.
"Darikk was drawn into a fight in Cromel," Aleera said. The corner of her mouth twitched, but she resisted the sudden urge to smile when she saw the fear cross over Reina's face. Aleera forced more tears and another choking sob before adding, "He was badly injured."
While growing up, Reina was taught a lot about the different demon tribes and villages thanks to Darikk. Of all the demon tribes in Europe, Cromel was the worst. Located in the Netherlands, Cromel was home to ruthless demon who despise humans entirely. These demons also hate their own kind who try to gain any type of information from them. Darikk was an obvious target since he was there solely to collect information.
"Ho badly was he hurt?" Reina asked. Her voice still held an edge, but her throat was beginning to hurt from the burning sensation caused by the first stage of tears.
"I-I'm not sure," Aleera replied, fake tears still streaming down her pale face. "Darikk c-couldn't move much without being in pain. I tried to stay and care for him after we escaped Cromel, but Darikk insisted that I come here to check on you. He did say he would come see you this month."
By this time Reina's throat was burning even more and her fingernails were digging into her palms. Darikk was hurt and alone. He wasn't far from Cromel meaning the hostile demons might go after him again. Reina realized she wasn't breathing and quickly took a few shallow breaths.
Both demons looked to Dumbledore, who was standing behind his desk watching them through soft blue eyes. Reina stepped around Aleera to stand opposite the wizard. "Yes, sir?" she said, the strength in her voice finally breaking.
Dumbledore walked around his desk and stopped in front of Reina. He placed his uninjured hand on Reina's shoulder. "Go," he said.
"What?" Reina knew what Dumbledore meant, but she was surprised he said it. He promised Darikk that he would keep Reina safe. Why would Dumbledore let the half-demon go so easily?
"You want to go help your father, don't you?" The wizard didn't wait for a reply. "If I told you not to leave the castle, you would leave anyway. So what's the point in telling you to stay?"
Reina stared at the Headmaster for a moment longer. Suddenly she sprang forward wrapping her arms around the wizard. "Thank you, sir," she said hugging him. "Thank you for everything."
Dumbledore was surprised by the hug, but he didn't pull away. He returned the embrace with a smile. "You're very welcome, my dear," he said. "And don't worry about Harry and the others. I'll explain everything." As they parted, Dumbledore held Reina's shoulder again. "Be careful," he said staring into lavender eyes.
"I will," Reina assured him.
"We better go then, "Aleera said from behind Reina. She had stopped crying and was now putting her cloak on.
Turning to Aleera, the half-demon realized that she would need her cloak as well. She had none of the required potion with her to change her appearance, and she knew she wouldn't be able to concentrate enough to keep a spell up. Fortunately, Dumbledore was one step ahead of her.
The wizard handed Reina a traveling cloak, but it was not like Reina's own cloak. This one was dark blue, matching the half-demon's hair, with a silver lining. The texture of the fabric proved that the cloak was definitely not cheap. Reina looked up to Dumbledore after examining the fine article of clothing. "I can't take this, sir," she said trying to give it back.
Dumbledore only smiled and pushed the cloak back into the girl's hands. "There is no time for you to return to your room. Take it." He leaned in to hug Reina again, and then he whispered very quietly, "It is woven with powerful magic that will protect you." Reina's expression changed to one of understanding when they pulled back.
"Thank you, Professor," she said with a small smile.
"Come on now," Aleera said butting in. She was becoming rather impatient, which was obvious to both of the other people in the room. However, Dumbledore labeled it as concern for Darikk. Reina, on the other hand, was sure Aleera had an alternative motive.
"Goodbye, Professor," Reina said before turning to leave. Aleera already had the door open and was walking down the stairs. With a heavy sigh, the half-demon reluctantly followed.
When the two shadow demons stepped off the stairs, the entrance sealed itself once again. Both women had thrown their cloaks on while still on the staircase. Now they pulled the hoods over their head before walking down the corridor. Neither Reina nor Aleera spoke until they reached the Entrance Hall. Even then it wasn't the demons who spoke when a voice reached their ears.
Only the half-demon looked up upon recognizing her cousin's voice. Harry was hurrying down the marble staircase towards them, leaving Ron and Hermione halfway up. Reina hesitated but a second and then walked away from the door allowing Aleera to fume at the delay.
"Reina, where are you go-" Harry was cut off as Reina flung her arms around him. At first Harry was confused and unsure what to do. After a few awkward seconds, he hugged his cousin in return. Eventually Reina pulled away, but still remained close to the wizard. "What was that for?" Harry asked with a curt laugh. However, the laughs and smiled faded at the seriousness in the half-demon's eyes. "Reina, what's wrong?"
"Why aren't you human looking?" Ron inquired as he and Hermione came up behind them. "And who's that?" He gestured to the other cloaked figure waiting impatiently at the door.
The half-demon shook her head in order to stop further questions. "Dumbledore will explain it all," she said quickly. The desire to save her father and the wish to stay at Hogwarts were pulling Reina's heart in different directions. And yet the urgency of Darikk's situation easily overpowered its opponent. "But I have to leave for a little while. Could you please tell Kaze and Kiku to speak to Dumbledore?" It took a few seconds before Harry agreed, still uncomfortably confused. "Thanks. I've got to go now. Goodbye." With that said, Reina rushed back over to Aleera. Without a look back, the two demons disappeared outside the castle.
The walk from the castle entrance to the edge of Hogwarts' grounds was made of an uncomfortable and welcoming silence. Neither demon had any desire to speak to each other, nor did they trust the other to speak the truth. However, Reina and Aleera needed information from each other whether they liked it or not.
While Reina was deliberating on how to form any questions concerning her father, Aleera took a stab at irritating the half-demon more. "We could have already been well on our way if you hadn't wasted time on pathetic goodbyes," Aleera said with a roll of her eyes. "Who was that boy anyway? Your boyfriend perhaps. Darikk did say you had so called 'friends' who knew your little secret. It's a pity you'll lose all of your friends soon enough. Half-demons are destined to be outcast for their entire lives."
Aleera's rant about half-demons barely even registered in Reina's mind. She was more focused on Aleera's seemingly lack of knowledge about the relationship between her and Harry. This meant that Darikk hadn't told his new lover. However, Aleera could just be playing dumb, but Reina highly doubted that. Aleera was too proud of whatever scheme she was playing at to keep what she knew a secret.
"Are you even listening to me?" the woman demanded.
"You insolent brat,"
Reina stopped walking when they were about a quarter of a mile from Hogwarts. It took a few seconds longer for Aleera to stop, too. She turned to the half-demon, her arms crossed and eyes narrowed. "What are you doing?" she snapped.
"Aren't we going to use the Shadow Realm?" Reina said, her own voice full of disgust for the woman she was forced to be with.
Aleera's frown slowly morphed into an amused grin. "I'm afraid you won't be going to the Shadow Realm, but more along the lines of a realm of unconsciousness."
Four men in black robes and white masks suddenly appeared surrounding the half-demon. Reina instantly knew it was a set up, but it was already too late. Her hands glowed purple and a sphere-like mass of energy formed in her palm. The Death Eaters had their wands raised, but were wary of the half-demon, so they did not act right away. Reina took the chance and threw the purple orb at the nearest Death Eater. She conjured another after attacking with the first, and then aimed this one at another Death Eater. Reina's first attack was blocked by a Protego charm. He seconds his its mark catching the man's robes on fire.
"Idiots!" Aleera shrieked. "She's a damn half-breed!"
This only made the four Death Eaters dislike Aleera more. And yet, they threw away any restraint. Reina had put up a demonic shield that was backed up with a reinforcement spell. Luckily the next few spells thrown at her disintegrated once they hit the shield.
Dammit! This is not good, Reina thought as more and more spells hit the shield. There's no way out of this. I'm too far from the castle and I can't get to the Shadow Realm fast enough.
Outside of the shield, the Death Eaters shot spell after spell at Reina. Some were destroyed on impact and some bounced back making the Death Eaters move to dodge them. "This isn't working!" one of the men yelled over the noise. The magic stopped flying and the Death Eater backed away from the crackling bubble. "We'll have to attack all together," he concluded.
Inside the dark bubble, Reina was frantically trying to come up with a way out. She was having trouble thinking though since she could feel and hear every blow the shield took. It was taking all she had to keep the shield standing, but Reina could feel the power weakening with each hit. A few more rounds of spells would have broken it. So it surprised her when the attack stopped. While still concentrating on keeping the shield together, Reina peered through the tinted walls. It took a moment for her to realize what they were doing. A second after realization hit, the half demon braced herself against the final assault on her haven.
The onslaught of combined magic made contact with the protective shield successfully shattering it. Reina was thrown back from the force of power along with Aleera and two Death Eaters. A sharp pain ran through Reina's body as she collided with a sturdy oak tree. She fell to the ground unable to move. It took a long moment before feeling returned to her limbs and she could push herself up on hands and knees.
"Grab her!" one of the men commanded.
Two Death Eaters, the same two who had been knocked aside, rushed forward. They reached down to take hold of the half-demon, but were unable to touch her without consequence. Only when both men began swearing out of pain did Reina look up. The four hands that had grabbed her were now red and blistered as if they'd been burned.
"What the hell is this?"
"Demon trickery, I'd say!"
"Fools! It's the cloak."
Reina's head was beginning to spin due to the pain in her back. Her arms were shaking and could have given out at any second. Unfortunately, Reina fell to the ground by something else. The eldest Death Eater among them walked over and kicked her in the ribs. With a cry of pain, the half-demon collapsed to the ground. Mere seconds later her vision began to blur and darken. The last thing she saw was the four men and Aleera looking down at her with expressions of victory.