I can only apologize this chapter was supposed to be up much sooner as was the completion of this story, however I was focussing my time on passing my exams an getting into dentistry, which I know have, I then however had a serious snowboarding accident and badly damaged my wrist- now full of metal x and it has taken me until now to get back to writing this fic. I fully intend to complete this hopefully within the next few months as I devote my free time to this.
Sorry again x
Chapter Forty Three
'Could you stop that?'
'I'm not sniffing!'
'It's getting on my nerves.'
'Then go somewhere else.'
'I was here first.'
Rhoan gave Anton a light cuff around the head only slightly irritated, they were lying in thick mud hidden beneath the heavy undergrowth of a forest floor, the forest was the location of a splinter group of dark wizards from somewhere in the Ukraine who had come to Britain to consider joining up with Voldemort.
The fact was, Anton mused, that they seemed to believe they would have some sort of power in the Death Eater ranks possibly even be on some sort of level with his evilness, they didn't seem to realise they would become the mindless drones of a mass murderer, but even mindless drones caused significant damage, therefore their job was to 'disable' the group before they could make contact.
Anton unconsciously sniffed once more trying to clear his bunged up nose and got an elbow in his ribs for his trouble.
'It's not like I can help it!'
'Yeh but you're doing a fine job of alerting the wizards that we're here.'
'What worried you can't take them.'
Rhoan rolled his eyes and edged his wand out,
'I think it would be best if we wait until they've fallen asleep, then subdue them, that way there are less chances of anything going wrong.'
It was late evening but none of the wizards appeared remotely ready to turn in, they were to busy running training drills and shooting hexes at each other for practise.
'Guess we're in for the long run,' Anton groaned dropping his head to his hands and muffling a small cough, they were a fair distance from the group that most quiet noises were lost before they reached the wizards 'it would be stupid to attack now.'
'This group is obviously well trained,' Rhoan muttered as he watched them 'we should definitely let them run down their energy.'
'Depends how powerful they are though,' Anton replied 'it may not take long for some of them to recharge.'
'But we can't risk attacking until they're completely off guard, and that won't happen until they're asleep.'
'Maybe we should change our method slightly,'
'What are getting at?' Rhoan raised an eyebrow before seeing the expression on Anton's face,
'No! No way are we doing that!'
'Shhh!' Anton elbowed him 'I didn't mean that.'
Rhoan gave a disbelieving shake of his head.
'I didn't,' Anton insisted 'it caused enough trouble last time and it didn't even work properly, I meant, the whole superheated air method.'
'Nasty way to go,' Rhoan said thoughtfully 'still it's probably the cleanest.'
'What's the Ukraine's Ministry of Magic's punishment system like?'
'Harsh, it's guaranteed to be a bad day if you get arrested there.'
'Perhaps we should make an example of the, you know, this is what happens if you get involved in British dark wizarding politics, it might stop this escalating, stop it spreading across Europe.'
'Horror story from the survivors.'
Anton cocked an eyebrow 'boring week at work?'
'You have no idea,' Rhoan gumbled 'I feel like I'm a social worker sometimes, I thought I was working for one of the toughest departments.'
'You're breaking my heart,'
'Something's happening,' Rhoan leaned forward to get a better look.
'Voldemort!' Anton yanked Rhoan back down into the undergrowth.
'I thought they weren't making contact with him until next week,' Rhoan scowled 'our intel told us they were only meeting with some of the higher Death Eaters.'
'What the hell do we do now?' Anton cursed as Voldemort and a few of his inner circle made their way into the moderately sized tented area in a corner of the clearing, Ofelia made to follow them but a hissed command from her 'master' had her halting, she swung around with a resentful glare to look out at the remaining Ukrainian wizards.
'Nothing we can do,' Rhoan rolled his shoulders 'anything we do will draw the attention of both parties, and that includes getting the hell out of here.'
'Okay Plan B.'
'Not sure yet, maybe we could pit them against each other.'
'Kill as many off on both teams without us being involved.' Rhoan scanned the area looking for a suitable starting point.
'It would put of others from coming from other countries, how many people want to join a person who'll kill you when you're in discussions, she'll be a problem though.'
'One of us should draw her away,' Rhoan replied.
'I'll do it,' Anton offered 'meet up with me after you've started this off, whatever she's been doing these last few years, it isn't light magic, and it's made her very powerful.'
'We're better,' Rhoan whispered back.
'We hope anyway,' Anton said quietly 'were do you want to meet up?'
'30yrds north of that oak we passed,' Rhoan reached into a pocket of his cloak and tugged out a Death Eater mask, scowling at the abhorrent object 'I'll meet up with you in twenty.'
'Make it fifteen, lets get out of here as soon as possible, we can come back later.'
'Count the bodies?'
'Something like that.'
After a few more quick ironing out of details Anton drew back and edged cautiously around so he was in the line of sight of Ofelia, readying himself he watched as Rhoan placed the mask on and shifted into position before he stood up straightening himself out making sure he directly in the line of site of his former friend he tugged his hood off making sure his face was visible and conjured a quick flash off flame.
Ofelia's gaze immediately picked him out of the darkness, Anton could see her thinking of what she was going to do, her eyes flickered almost indiscernibly to where her 'master' was, but apparently all was not well between the two as she took a step forward towards her former friend.
Anton allowed himself an internal smirk, excellent, if it was one thing you could rely on it was Ofelia's wrath, and better yet her unsurpassable ability to hold a grudge and from the looks of it Voldemort had better be watching his back.
She took another step and Anton took one of his own backwards, she had to know he wasn't running from her, but he knew she'd follow.
Anton drew deeper in the trees, he still faced Ofelia, not trusting to show his back to her, she matched his slower pace her eyes fixed on his.
'Is there a reason for this?' he voice was clear but without real volume apparently she also had no intention of drawing the attention of the others.
'I think you know why we're here, those wizards can not be allowed to join with Voldemort.'
She smirked 'ever the crusader Professor Lukyen. Tell me are your little students aware of what you get up to on the weekends?'
'We're at war, and I wasn't exactly raised to teach quietly in a classroom while innocent people are being murdered.'
They were now deeper into the trees well out of sight and it was Ofelia who first drew her wand running her hand lightly down the wood.
'Anton, Anton, Anton.' She shook her head 'Haven't I taught you anything. There are very few people in this world that are truly innocent.'
Rhoan dug a small hole in the dirt at his feet before carefully wedging the remaining charge into position brushing off his hands he scanned the area quickly before stepping out of the trees close to the entrance of the tent, sparing a quick look in he could see Voldemort and the wizards he had brought with him they were standing in a circle along with a tall dark haired man with a twisted grimace fixed on his face, his second in command stood to one side with a Ukrainian witch at the other, apparently 'negotiations' weren't to their liking.
Surveying the group he picked up on a smaller man who was closer to him than the others and who hadn't yet realised he was there.
'Hi' he called out.
The man jerked his attention to Rhoan,
'Just wondering,' Rhoan said cheerfully through the mask 'if you'd be offended if I said you look like your mother mated with a whole tub of ugly to make you?'
'Er' his face wrinkled in confusion 'no English?'
'Damn, I sort of need a reaction…sorry about this.'
He yanked his sword out and shoved it into the mans leg simultaneously muttering the release to the bombs which exploded with enough noise and force to send many sprawling to the floor, the injured man screamed as Rhoan pulled his blade back out and grabbing his own wand he yelled a curse at the elemental.
Rhoan dodged it quickly and it instead crashed into the tent where the meeting was being held, however due to the noise the people within had been drawn out, the spell narrowly missed one Death Eater who retaliated instantly firing the killing curse into the wounded Ukrainians chest, he slumped lifelessly to the floor.
The leader of the splinter group swung round to face Voldemort his wand pointed at the dark wizard, he snarled something that Rhoan was unable to hear, whatever was said was enough to anger the Dark Lord and the familiar flash of green flared again, the second in command took out one Death Eater before he to was killed.
The other wizards from the group now all had their wands out and were ignoring the flames that licked the foliage around them, their two commanding men were dead and with another curse the senior witch joined them, the remaining wizards and witches now swept towards the Death Eaters, curses and hexes were shot at either side and frequently someone would be killed.
Rhoan dropped back from the main fight and sending a small gust of wind he separated the fire encircling the camp and slipped into the shadows, or at least that was the intention.
'You!' a thick accent called him.
Rhoan turned to the wizard, he stood half hidden by a large tree his wand held out in front of him.
'Yes, something I can do for you?'
'Why?' was the growled reply 'we were coming to your side.'
Rhoan removed the mask and shrugged 'mate if you managed to escape the last thing you should do is approach the wizard that started it.'
'You will pay for this,' the man continued 'if you do not belong to them then I will present your body to the Dark Lord and he will accept me as a soldier for the true way of living.'
'Thing is,' Rhoan replied as he covertly pulled his wand out 'I don't think he even knows what I look like.'
The spell hit him dead on and threw him backwards.
'Freaking dark wizards' Rhoan muttered as he crossed past the wizard and headed to the meeting point 'you'd think they'd learn.'
Anton turned his head and spat a glob of blood onto the ground
'And I should trust your word why?'
'Think of it this way,' she answered 'we share a common goal and at the moment what we want is the same thing, temporarily of course.'
'If you want it then why don't you do it yourself?'
'You may have noticed,' her face twisted 'that I am…out of favour, I cannot risk my position even more than it already is.'
'And he won't blame you when Nagini just disappears,' Anton raised an eyebrow in question.
'I am not about to explain myself to you,' Ofelia snapped 'nor do I have any intention of ever doing so, you are sub-intelligent at best and your brother has even less to commend about himself but you both have certain skills, and access to certain artefacts that I can't get to, I wouldn't be trying to make this deal if I had any other option.'
'Flattery will get you nowhere,' Rhoan's voice carried as he stepped into the clearing 'but feel free to keep trying, you might want to hurry though your master's calling.'
Ofelia looked back at Anton and wiped blood from under her eye 'think about my offer.'
As she left Rhoan looked to Anton 'are we right to just let her leave?'
Anton watched her retreating back 'for now I think it's our best choice,' he turned to Rhoan 'everything go ok?'
'There won't be any more joining Death Eater ranks tonight.'
'Good,' Anton resheathed his sword 'let's get the hell out of here.'
'And that is everything she offered?' Dumbledore steepled his fingers as he fixed his gaze at the brothers.
'She gives us Nagini, to be picked up at a yet to be determined location and in return we destroy it.' Anton drummed his fingers lightly on the wood of the chair.
'Interesting,' the headmaster said rolling the sweet around in his mouth 'a most fascinating development, we will have to consider this carefully, but for now I believe it would be best for you to turn to your beds, unless either of you require a visit to the hospital wing?'
Anton shook his head 'we're fine, I'll see you tomorrow headmaster.'
'Goodnight, Anton, Rhoan.'
'Night' Rhoan yawned as he followed Anton out of the door.
When they were clear of the office, he drew level with Anton who turned his head to look at him taking in the expression on his face.
'We haven't decided anything yet,' he reminded him.
Rhoan rolled his shoulders slightly 'I don't trust her, I think we should make our own plans at getting the Horcrux and ignore her offer.'
'We're going after the Diadem first' Anton pointed out 'it won't take much planning especially as it's already on school grounds, then we can concentrate entirely on the last three.'
'Don't remind me,' Rhoan scratched at his head 'just promise me you won't do anything without telling me first.'
Anton stopped walking 'Rho, when have I ever not told you what I was planning?'
'Never, but when she's involved it puts me on edge and your word will make me feel a whole lot better,' Rhoan moved his hand to rub at the back of his neck 'please Anton.'
'I promise, of course I do,' Anton gave a light shot to Rhoan's shoulder 'jeez what's next, talking about our feelings?'
Anton knew something was wrong even before Snape appeared at the back of his classroom ten minutes into his lesson.
'Professor Lukyen, a moment.'
'Of course, everyone turn to page 324 and start reading.'
'What's happened?' he hissed the second they stood in the corridor a thick ball of dread fixing itself in his stomach.
'Your brothers at St Mungo's, I don't have any details but you need to go now.'
'I am sure I can make an adequate substitute, even if I am covering one of your… renowned lessons' Snape drawled as he swept past snarling at the waiting class before he had yet to finish entering the room.
Anton ran to his quarters and his floo within it and immediately called out the hospitals name, he had barely finished stumbling out before he spotted Lupin standing in the reception area.
'Is he alright? What happened? Where is he?'
'Rhoan was caught in an explosion while at the ministry, another wizard was killed and two other witches were also injured, they're not sure what caused the explosion but they are treating it as suspicious,' Lupin spoke quickly as he led the way through a door to their left 'Rhoan's leg bore the brunt of what happened but the healers are hoping that the extent of the damage isn't as bad as it's looking now.'
They stopped by a partially closed door and Lupin gestured to it 'he's drifting in and out of consciousness so don't expect too much.'
Anton gave him a tight nod before pushing the door fully open and slipping inside. He was as pale as the sheets he was lying on, that was the first thing Anton really registered, his leg was swathed in bandages and lying over the covers, his eyes were closed and the surrounding area was bruised and littered with small cuts a particularly nasty one measuring at least six centimetres sliced through his eyebrow, one hand was also completely covered in white bandages and the other had two fingers strapped together.
Sirius sat a chair at one side of his bed, when his godson entered he jumped to his feet.
'Anton, why don't you sit down,'
He shook his head, 'I'm fine, after all this isn't the first time,' he reached for Rhoan's less injured hand and squeezed it slightly.
His brother shifted slightly and blinked blearily and smiled 'hey An…an…an…hey.'
'Huh they gave you pain relief potions then?' Anton couldn't help the smile.
'Mmmm,' Rhoan attempted to nod 'it's all fuzzy…like candy….candy, you know, the muggle fluffy stuff.'
'Do you remember what happened?'
'I got blown up,' Rhoan giggled slightly 'cabooooom, didn't even realise there was a bomb, there was a bomb right?'
'We're not sure, why don't you go back to sleep, I'll still be here when you wake up.'
'No, no, no, no… you need to destroy the hat thingy.'
'Yep, you have to go now, has to be done…be done…now…kay An...An….An?'
'Yup, okay, nighty night.'
'You go,' Sirius instructed 'I'll stay, that way I can ask him where his rent is when he wakes up.'
'Thanks Padfoot,' Anton relented realising he wouldn't get any peace otherwise 'I'll be back soon hopefully.'
Anton walked swiftly down the corridor, students weaved to move out of his, being a teacher did have its advantages.
Anton spun around almost causing the person pursuing him to run into his front.
She craned her neck back to make eye contact with him, which resulted in her doing an impression of somebody doing the limbo, Anton hastily took a step back and she righted herself and beamed.
'Just the man I wanted to see'
'Something I can help you with?'
'I'm looking for volunteers, I need people that I can rely on to assist me with pruning the willow that stands in the grounds, very important job.'
'The willow…that wouldn't happen to be the tree known as the Whomping Willow?'
'Small joke among the students, nothing serious, nothing you should be worried about, so can I count you in?'
'Let me get back to you on that one, Professor Sprout,' Anton back peddled a couple of steps before turning and resuming his stride.
'I'll put your name on the list,' she called after him cheerfully.
'We start this weekend!'
Despite the delay it didn't take him an exorbitant length of time before he was slipping into the Room of Requirement and even less after that to actually retrieve the Diadem, he held it carefully unsure of how to go about destroying it, he had never actually found this particular Horcrux, Voldemort's spies had removed it from Hogwarts before they had managed to unearth its location.
Anton carefully held the headdress and ignited fire onto his fingertips before extinguishing the flames, no better to do it outside away from any students, he shrugged his outer robe off and wrapped the object making sure it was completely covered before heading back into the student populated areas.
The Chamber of Secrets was almost a familiar sight for Anton as he arrived at the heavy guarded door, he wasn't fond of the cavernous hall but it was better than risking in any way the safety of the students.
This time he kept his distance from the decaying snake, the cooler temperatures mixed with the thinner air meant that the decomposition was taking longer and the smell had saturated every corner.
Once again lighting his hand streamed the flames towards the Horcrux whose power rose to fight the offensive magic, it burnt more easily, destructing in on itself faster than the other perhaps it had a smaller fragment contained within however without an expert on the evil there was no way Anton could truly know.
All my free time now to be spent writing this before I go to uni x