There was flash of bright light, followed by a soft thumping sound, followed by a croak.
George opened one eye and looked around; Kai was no longer leaning over him. He raised his head up and saw sitting at his feet, a rather plump looking green toad.
"Stupefy," Enoch cast a stunning spell at the toad, hitting it squarely in the body. A few seconds later a second bright flash occurred and the toad transformed into the now unconscious body of Kai.
"That was a close one," George understated, propping himself up on his elbows and looking up at his uncle who was still aiming his wand at the body, "so now what?"
"Well," said Enoch thoughtfully, glancing over at the broken shards of green gem, "since you broke the emerald before the wish could be made permanent I guess there isn't much left to do."
Grabbing his nephew by the arm he pulled him upright and helped steady George, who was limping slightly on his left leg.
"Look," said Enoch pointing at the prone body of Kai.
At first George wasn't sure if he could spot what his uncle had been pointing at, but then he suddenly noticed that through Kai's body he could make out the outline of the steps in a way that reminded him of the ghosts that inhabit Hogwarts. Initially he could see only the faintest of lines but gradually he began to be able to clearly make out the ground through the body.
"He's disappearing," noted an astounded George as Kai's body began to fade further and further.
"Well I said the wish was only temporary unless the ritual was completed properly," Enoch reminded his young relative.
George and his uncle stood in silence as the image of Kai slowly became fader and fader until nothing remained. Enoch even made a point to prod at the area with his shoe just in case but it met only empty air, he bent down and picked up George's trick wand.
"Why in Godric's name would you carry this around with you?" he asked handing it back to George.
"I always carry it with me," shrugged George stuffing it into his trousers, "I like freaking people out by pretending to be an Animagus."
"With anyone else I'd think that was weird," said Enoch shaking his head. "Come on let's help your brother."
The two of them made their way over to Fred, George hobbling as best as he could while his uncle helped him along. Enoch lent down over the young Gryffindor and examined his injuries.
"Nasty cut on the head," commented Enoch after a few minutes, "and he'll be sore when those bruises come up, but apart from that I think he will be okay."
"Lucky him," muttered George trying to lower himself down onto one of the steps.
"That's nothing serious either," dismissed Enoch waving a hand at George's injured leg, "might as well get Sleeping Beauty up, Ennervate!"
Enoch waved his wand over Fred who immediately began to stir, his eyelids flickering quickly as he came out of his stupor. Suddenly his eyes flipped open and he sat bolt upright with a look of concern etched on his face.
"George!" he shouted, his eyes darted urgently around the room and immediately settled on his brother, who was sitting in front of him with a look of amusement on his face. Fred frowned as he saw his twin.
"Alright bruv," beamed George enjoying his brother's moment of confusion.
"You're alright?" asked Fred relieved, before looking around the room again, "where's Kai?"
"Oh him?" George replied casually, "I took care of him no problem."
"Oh hi Enoch," said Fred realising his uncle was there too, he did a double take and looked back at his brother, "hang on, what do you mean you 'took care of him'."
"I ran him a nice warm bath, got him a hot cup of tea and massage his feet for him," George commented rolling his eyes, "honestly, what do you think I mean?"
"You defeated Kai?" asked Fred sceptically, he looked up at his uncle, "he's joking right? You took care of Kai didn't you?"
"Well I did stun him," shrugged Enoch sitting down on the step next to George, "but he's telling the truth. Not only did he stop Kai from being able to use the emerald, he also distracted him enough for me to hit him with my spell. The boy's a hero, of sorts."
"I don't believe it," muttered Fred shaking his head, "I get knocked out for a bit and the whole world goes mad. I would say I was dreaming but I'm pretty sure my body wouldn't hurt this much if I was asleep."
"You didn't break anything did you?" Enoch pointed out, "all in all considering the night we've had it's not that bad."
"Oh yeah?" queried Fred wincing as he tried to stand up, "instead of becoming stupidly rich, I am battered and bruised and we're still trapped in this tomb."
"Relax," said Enoch getting to his feet before helping George do likewise, "the other tunnel I took leads out I think. Once I realised that, I doubled back as fast as I could, got here just in time to save your brother's hide."
"Hey, I had everything under control," complained George indignantly, "you said it yourself; I'm a hero."
"You know I'm going to have to put up with this all summer don't you?" Fred muttered as the three of them made their way back down the tunnel.
Enoch led them back down the passageway until they came to the room where their original routes had diverged, this time they went down the second tunnel. This one seemed longer and they could tell that it was leading them upwards as the slope of the ground began to increase. They rounded a corner and the twins were surprised, and a little annoyed, at being faced with a dead end as the tunnel stopped abruptly.
"Brilliant," muttered George leaning against the wall for support.
"Relax," soothed Enoch, picking up a stone and throwing it at the dead end, "it's a hidden exit, like in the first cavern."
The stone passed soundlessly through the seemingly solid wall and clattered against some rock on the outside.
"Okay before we go out," said Enoch warningly, "better get your wands at the ready, just in case."
Enoch led the way through the secret exit, wand stuck out ready to defend him and the boys if necessary. Fred and George followed suit, although it would be harder for them to engage in any confrontation since George was leaning heavily on Fred as he limped along.
They stepped out into a moonlit night, the air felt refreshing in their lungs compared to the cramped, stuffy and stale conditions of the catacombs. They looked around and saw that they were on the side of a hill that overlooked the city. Casting wary glancing around them they realised they were on their own, but decided to remain cautious anyway.
They gradually and carefully made their way down the side of the hill and began to trek around towards the school. Not only did the terrain slow them down but so did George's injury.
"I just don't see why you don't Apparate us straight back to the school," complained George limping alone as best as he could, "it was be so much quicker and less painful."
"Because," replied Enoch over his shoulder, "I can only do one Side-Apparition at a time, and there is no way I'm leaving one of you back here on your own."
The boys followed their uncle as they picked their way down the sloping hill. Eventually reaching even ground they increased their speed as they trekked back.
Suddenly a loud crack of undergrowth being trampled on echoed to the left of them. Enoch aimed his wand into the darkness. Fred managed to dive to one side as a red flash of light shot passed him.
"Boys get down," ordered Enoch returning fire into the darkness.
"Wait! Ceasefire! Stow those wands," ordered an authoritative voice, "they are some of ours."
"Dumbledore?" asked Enoch, his wand still raised warily.
"Yes Enoch," replied the headmaster, stepping out of the darkness. The twins, getting back on their feet, were aware of a number of other people milling around them on all sides, "we've been looking for you for some time."
"Charlie and the others got back then?" enquired George.
"Indeed they did," nodded Dumbledore, "and you'll be pleased to know they are perfectly fine, although we had already been alerted to the situation."
"You knew?" asked Fred, "How?"
"We knew something was wrong," admitted Dumbledore, "but we weren't exactly sure what was going on until we found your brother. Imagine my surprise when I, along with the rest of the school, were enjoying taking in the sights of the passing comet when Headmaster Currymore and myself were summoned downstairs to meet with a member of the Egyptian Ministry of Magic. It seems that he had been in contact with someone from our very own Ministry, a rather excitable fellow by the name of Collins or Coolens I forget exactly. Anyway Mr Collins, or whatever his name, was all in a flap over a number of reports of underage magic that had suddenly sprung up and landed on his desk. Since the Ministry knew we were away, they decided against sending an owl and contacted one of their associates in the Egyptian Ministry."
"He of course came straight over to let Illyia and I know what was going on. Needless to say we did a quick head count and I was rather surprised to find that not only a number of students were missing but so was our own Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher."
"Ah, well you know," shrugged Enoch, giving a slight cough, "the midnight air helps my lungs and all that."
"Quite." Dumbledore replied smiling slightly, "well of course once we realised there were some students missing we set about searching for you. Mr Abiben discovered a number of the school's flying carpets were missing from the storage room. Luckily for us, there seemed to be a couple particularly irate carpets that had been used by some people earlier in the night and they were able to lead us to the tombs."
"Of course the most surprising part of the whole night," Dumbledore carried on before Enoch or the twins could say anything, "was when we found a group of individuals who belonged to a long thought died out sect of fanatics, trying desperately to break through a collapsed tunnel."
"Really?" asked Enoch trying to sound casual, "what happened to them?"
"Well they weren't really in the mood to talk and proceeded to attack us once they saw us," Dumbledore informed the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, "despite the best efforts of myself, Headmaster Currymore and a few helpful gentlemen from the Egyptian Ministry of Magic we only managed to subdue some of them, most of them escaped as soon as they realised they were losing."
"They got away?"
"At first," nodded Dumbledore, "but once the captured ones were taken into custody and were interrogated most of the others were rounded up quite quickly. The Egyptian authorities take a very dim view on membership to the Sect of Kai; they represent a very dark time in the history of wizards, and were swift to act."
"Very efficient of them," muttered Enoch.
"Yes quite," agreed Dumbledore. "We scoured the area and managed to locate a number of the students who had snuck out; you'll be please to know your friend Mr Jordan and your brother Charlie are doing fine."
"You found them?" asked Fred quite relieved.
"Alive and well," nodded Dumbledore, "of course I tried to find out exactly what had happened during the nights events and needless to say I got a lot of different stories with a number of gaps running through them. I wonder if you three could bring me up to speed any better."
"Well," sighed Enoch, finally giving up any hope of bluffing his way through this, "it's a long story."
"Perfect," smiled Dumbledore, "I enjoy a good yarn, it's quite a way back to the school on foot, and it'll give us something to talk about."
"We're walking?" asked George limping awkwardly just to emphasise the point to the headmaster.
"Oh just me and Enoch will be taking the midnight stroll," replied Dumbledore, he waved a beckoning hand at one of the other figures milling around and said something that the boys couldn't understand. The man nodded and disappeared off heading back around the hill. "You two will be taking a carpet back to the school."
"Excellent," smiled George looking much happier.
"Where Professor McGonagall is waiting to have a word with you," Dumbledore carried on.
"Ah…," George's smile stalled on his face, "I don't suppose we could just tag along with you could we?"
By the time the twins had arrived back at the school it had become very late indeed, only the faint snores from the portraits in the hallway could be heard between their echoing footsteps. Reaching the tower they tapped in the password and waited to be let in. Reluctantly treading up the stairs they walked into the Common Room to see Professor McGonagall standing in the middle of the room, arms folded, tight lipped and tapping her foot impatiently on the floor.
"Well?" she snapped.
What happened over the next few minutes was what the twins would describe as the greatest work of fiction they had ever concocted, even more impressive then their History of Magic essays, which had, on occasion, rewritten whole passages of Wizarding history and received a large red zero from Professor Binns for their efforts. Their version of events depicted them as unwitting participants of the night's escapades, dragged reluctantly from the warmth of the school into the cruel cold night air, to do battle with unimaginable horrors in the pursuit of saving, not only, their fellow students, but the world itself.
"And that's what happened is it?" asked McGonagall with her arms still folded.
"More or less," replied Fred tactfully.
"Try less Mr Weasley," said McGonagall sternly, "since your account doesn't really tally up with the other students who were also out tonight."
"Enough Mr Weasley," McGonagall interrupted holding up a hand, "before you get yourself into more trouble than you are already in. I shall be having a long chat with Professor Dumbledore about your punishments, which will be extensive and severe, and I will inform you of our decision tomorrow. For the time being wait here while I go and get the school nurse to look at your injuries and then it is straight off to bed for the both of you."
Fred and George sunk themselves down into a couple of soft squishy armchairs, while McGonagall disappeared down the stairs. Neither of the boys spoke whilst the deputy headmistress was out of the room, both preferring to take the opportunity to relax on the comfy chairs instead. McGonagall soon returned with a squat looking lady who was carrying a large brown leather briefcase which she proceeded to remove various jars and flasks from.
She soaked a cloth in some clear liquid and handed it to Fred, before indicating he should keep it pressed against the cut on his forehead, while she secured it with a binding. George's treatment took a little while longer since the school nurse didn't speak English and neither McGonagall nor the twins spoke Egyptian. Eventually through various mimes, pointing and George standing up to demonstrate his limp, the exact nature of the injury was conveyed and the nurse immediately lathered some thick green paste onto his leg and wrapped it with a bandage. With her work done the nurse packed up her bags and nodded goodbye to the teacher and the two boys and headed back down the stairs.
"Right, you two," said McGonagall sternly, pointing towards the stairs to the dormitory, "off to bed the pair of you."
Fred and George reluctantly pulled their aching bodies out of the comfy confines of the armchairs and headed towards the stairs.
"There is one more thing," said McGonagall before they started their climb. The two boys looked at her expectantly, "where's Mr Filch?"
At breakfast the next day there was an excited buzz flying around the dining hall. By the time Fred and George had made their way downstairs, Charlie, Miro and the rest of the students who were out the previous night had already told their sides of the story and people were waiting expectantly to hear the twins' portion. However a still angry Professor McGonagall stalking up and down the aisles soon stopped people from trying to crowd around the two boys while, along with Enoch, they told Lee everything he'd missed when they had become separated.
"Unbelievable," said an astounded Lee, sitting back in his chair as George finished the story, "well apart from the part you got knocked out, I can believe that."
"Hey, I wasn't knocked out," complained Fred, "I was pretending to be, so Kai would forget about me, and then I could jump up and surprise him."
"So what happened with Dumbledore?" Lee asked Enoch quickly before the twins could start arguing.
"I explained everything to him," Enoch said shrugging, "with the emerald gone there was little point in holding anything back. Although I did make it sound like I dragged you lot into it, thought it might make them lenient with their punishments."
"Nice one uncle," George thanked him, "we'll find out after breakfast if it did any good, McGonagall wants to talk to us then."
"That's why I left this on," said Fred pointing up at the bandage wrapped tightly around his head, "I'm going for the sympathy vote."
"I suppose anything is worth a try," shrugged George looking around the room, "I don't see Filch sulking around; someone did go into the tomb to get him didn't they?"
"Slight problem with that," admitted Enoch rubbing his chin, "it seems that they couldn't locate the hidden tunnel that we exited the catacombs from, I even went back this morning to try and help them find it."
"So he's stuck down there for good?" asked Lee not sure whether or not he should be feeling sympathy for the caretaker.
"No," replied Enoch shaking his head, "my guess is that the exit is still there, but it's one way only. We just have to wait for Filch to realise no one is coming for him and to find the way out from him and Sebastian."
"Talking of Sebastian, what's going to happen to him?" George asked looking serious.
"That's a tricky one," said Enoch leaning back in his chair, "our Ministry raided his mother's house late last night as soon as they were informed of the situation; turns out his family had been members of the Sect of Kai for generations. Can't really blame him of course, he was brainwashed from birth to believe in all that Kai nonsense, complete fanatics the lot of them, but he's still young so he might turn out okay in the long run. Dumbledore said he'll petition the Ministry to be moderate in their decision."
"I guess that is something," said Fred thoughtfully, "what about the rest of the Sect?"
"Most were rounded up last night," Enoch informed him, "a few of them got away, like that Wentworth bloke, but it doesn't really matter, they'll be tracked down eventually. Either way, with the emerald gone there is no way for them to bring back Kai. Since that is why the Sect was formed in the first place, they have no real reason to continue, especially with both Ministries after them."
"Now that you mention the Ministry," said Fred eagerly as though just remembering some exciting news, "the guy who gave you that box in the first place. Remember? In Hogsmeade?"
"Yeah?" nodded Enoch slowly, "Mortimer Waldron, what about him?"
"That's it, Waldron!" Fred said excitedly, practically bouncing up and down on his chair, "he was in the paper, he'd been killed. We asked you if you knew him, remember? And you said you didn't."
"Yeah, sorry about that," Enoch apologised, "I didn't want to drag anyone else into this whole thing."
"That's okay," replied Fred quickly, "but you're admitting it now; he was the guy that gave you the box in Hogsmeade?"
"Well yes," agreed Enoch frowning, "but what has that got to do with anything?"
"Oh nothing," beamed Fred looking at his brother, "just a little bet I had with George."
"What?" George's face suddenly went from one of confusion to a brief stop over of recollection before settling on a look of panic, "you can't be serious, that bet was finished with."
"Yeah I remember," Fred said pointing up at his eyebrows, "but you were wrong and not me. A bet is a bet."
"Not again," sighed George resigned to his fate, "mum nearly killed me last year."
The tomb was quiet. The glimmering light from the torches on the wall threw up strange shapes as the flames flickered back and forth. In the confines of the dark shadows a voice broke the silence: