Disclaimer: I do not own Harry potter and nor the characters in it except for the original characters created by me.
Chapter 5: Exposure
"Move you feet! Come on, surely you can do better!"
"Expelliarmus!" Blaise shouted, rolling on the floor and taking cover behind the desks. Lupin bounced the spell back at the boy.
"P-protego!" Blaise said but it was too late. His slight hesitation cost him and his wand was neatly ripped out his hand.
Blaise swore loudly at his third straight loss.
"Keep the mouth clean, Blaise," Lupin said chuckling. "You're improving but your moments are still slow. You're still young and your magic is not strong enough to use stronger spells so if you find yourself in a duel you have to make the best of what you have around you."
"How am I supposed to win if I don't learn stronger spells?" Blaise asked angrily, wiping the sweat off his forehead.
Lupin snorted. "Is that what you think we're doing here?"
"I told you I want to learn how to fight," Blaise said.
"And I clearly remember telling you that you can't," Lupin retorted. "You're fourteen and…"
"Fifteen," Blaise corrected. "I turned fifteen in March."
"Alright," Lupin acquiesced. "You're fifteen and no matter how hard you practice you're not going to be a match for a death eater or a vampire or a werewolf. The reason I'm teaching you how to duel is so that you can learn to escape quickly and safely if that time ever comes."
"Harry's fourteen," Blaise retorted even though he knew about Harry's powers. He was just in a terribly angsty mood.
"Harry can wipe the floor with me," Lupin shot back.
"I can learn do that too," Blaise sneered.
"Well I'd to see you try," Lupin said smirking and spread his arms taunting Blaise. "Come Mr. Zabini. Show me that you have what it takes to fight off awizard!"
"Depulso!" Blaise yelled, banishing the desk towards Lupin. "Expulso." And the desk exploded in front of Lupin.
Blaise thought he had him but Lupin a blue shield shimmering in front of him and was smirking. He ran across the room taking cover behind the furniture and started to cast stunning spells at the werewolf while constantly staying on the move.
Lupin didn't retaliate but he kept dodging the curses with ease. "Is this all you got!" he laughed out loud.
Blaise's anger levels spiked and one by one he began to banish all the furniture in the room towards Lupin hoping to get an opening to stun the werewolf. His anger grew even Lupin just stopped them in mid air and sent them flying to the corners of the room.
"Come on Blaise," he taunted. "Did you know that Ron gave me a better workout than you?!"
Blaise's eyes widened at that. Weasley was better than him?! "No bloody way," he growled and aimed for the werewolf's feet and shouted, "Confringo!"
The floor exploded with the force of a bomb and Blaise felt waves of exhaustion attack his body. He had never experienced such a drain on his magic before.
"Now that's what I call a full powered exploding hex," Lupin said from behind him.
Blaise turned around sharply but everything started to spin.
"Easy there kid," Lupin said gently and grabbed on to the boy's shoulder. "You used up a lot of your magic to power that spell. You need to rest now or you're going to pass out."
"I can't believe you said Weasley was better than me," Blaise muttered.
"He's not," Lupin chuckled. "You're all novices at this and from my point of view; all of you are pathetic duelers." Lupin removed a vial of pepper up potion and handed it to the boy.
Blaise glared at him and downed the vial grudgingly. Instantly he felt his energy return to him.
"But there's a lot of potential for growth," he added smiling warmly.
The door burst open and Hermione and Ron came skidding to a halt. "Professor!" Hermione cried out. "Sorry we're late."
"It's alright," Lupin said. "But you two are not helping me keep the high opinion that I hold of you."
Ron stared at his toes embarrassed. "It was my mother," he explained. "She wants us to stay in the dorms and study." He said 'study' like it were some terrible disease.
"We're really sorry professor," Hermione said, "But it's true. Mrs. Weasley refuses to let us learn how to duel!"
Lupin frowned. It was being increasingly difficult to manage the bouts of hysterical screaming of Mrs. Weasley and her influence over the rest of the mothers was worrisome too. He had spoken to Arthur about it but the man had just shrugged and said, "She don't mean any harm. She just cares too much." Lupin had been tempted to tell him her good intentions were not just the path to hell but she was already there.
"Professor?" Hermione called hesitantly.
"I'll have Sirius take care of your mother," he said finally. Somebody had to convince that woman that mollycoddling her children and forcing the others to do the same was not helping their cause. If the children were ever exposed to an attack they needed to know how to defend themselves and Sirius was the perfect man to tackle a stubborn mother. He had successfully infuriated his own mother and charmed James's mother into letting them go to a muggle strip club!
Remus chuckled at that memory and the three children looked at the man strangely.
"Sorry," Lupin apologized. "I let my mind wander."
"Anyway!" he said clapping his hands. "Are you feeling alright for another round Blaise?"
"Zabini?" Ron said in surprise. "What is he doing here!?"
"Same as you Weasley," Blaise said dryly.
"Aren't you supposed to be kissing 'you know who's' arse?" he spat.
"Ah, it seems like you haven't been informed," Remus said.
"Nothing new there," Hermione muttered under her breath.
"Well?" Ron demanded.
"None of your concern Weasel," Blaise sneered. "I doubt that miniscule brain of yours could process anything remotely related to an intelligent conversation."
"What has intelligence got to do with why you are here," Ron said hotly.
"Explaining why I am here requires an intelligent mind to understand and seeing as there are only two here I fail to see why I have to explain myself to you of all people."
"If you two are done making fools out of yourselves maybe you'd want to remember why exactly you're here?" Lupin said acidly.
Ron and Blaise glared at each other one last time and put on their best fake apologetic face. "Sorry professor."
"Now on the platform all three of you," he barked. "Today I'm going to teach you how to rebound spells or deflect them."
Hermione frowned. "But sir, we know how to do that. We've almost perfected the shield charm."
Lupin smiled. "And I praise you for that Ms. Granger but this particular spell, you'll not find in any book that you read and if I were going to teach you the shield charm then I would have said shield not deflect. For your benefit I shall show you the difference but before that." Lupin concentrated and whispered, "expecto patronum."
"Whom did you send a message to?" Blaise asked curiously.
"You'll see," Lupin said, "Now listen up. To deflect a curse the first thing you need to know is how to recognize curses the moment they leave your opponents wand. The next step is to repeat the incantation silently in your mind and thirdly and most importantly, can you guess it?"
"Deflect it?" Ron asked.
Blaise and Hermione rolled their eyes.
"Some added incantation?" Hermione said tentatively.
"Close," Lupin said grinning. "You rotate your wrist like this and add a sharp upward flick at the time of deflection," he said showing them the moment, "and the power you put into your spell must be more than your opponents."
"If we don't?" Blaise asked.
"You won't be able to deflect it," Lupin said grimly. "This particular spell is very difficult to master and it is even more difficult to use in battle. That is why you'd rarely find a mention of it any book Ms. Granger. This is auror level magic and I don't expect anyone of you to master it anytime soon."
"Then why tell us to learn it?" Ron said scowling. "There's no point!"
"The point is that as a byproduct of attempting to master this spell you'll master silent casting, recognizing spells and the speed at which your brain processes data in a duel will improve tremendously," he said solemnly. "We are past simple dueling lessons kids. From now on I expect you to give these lessons everything you got and more."
"Sir, how come none of the other students are learning about dueling," Hermione asked. "I mean, it's important for their survival too right?"
"Professor Flitwick is teaching the older students," Lupin replied. "Filius is a master of dueling and all the sixth and seventh year students that we have are going to him for lessons."
"Then why are we here?" Ron asked confused. "I mean, wouldn't it be better if we learn from him too?"
"You are here because your basics are abysmal and none of you would be able to keep up with Flitwick's lessons," Lupin said sharply. "Now repeat after me," he said, showing them the wrist moments once more."
"What's our next move going to be Mr. Dumbledore," asked General Casey. He was a tall man in his late fifties. His hair line was receding rapidly but still held its luster. The lines on his hard face did nothing to highlight his age but instead made him look tougher and meaner.
"We wait for Warlow's memory charms to disintegrate and for him to complete his mission," Dumbledore said distantly as he stroked Fawkes plumage.
General Casey had become their liaison between the muggle army and the wizards after they had found Cane with a bullet sized hole in his skull. The politician had ended his life after the meltdown. The General had been forced to leave the fleet of aircraft carriers he was commanding and take up residence at Hogwarts.
The general sighed and pulled out a bunch of photographs from a folder he was carrying. "This is what the world looks like right now," he said. "Martial law is in effect in pretty much every part of the world that still has some form of government and from what I hear the governments in the Middle East have just been taken over by extremists. There has been a lot of chatter about war in the Asian region and there's no one to stop them from doing anything foolish."
"They are not listening to us," Dumbledore said tiredly. "The destruction of the United States has presented many surviving countries with an opportunity to further their own interests instead of recognizing the deep danger that they are in. It's only now that we realize how important the US was to world peace."
"They were also instrumental in many war's that have plagued this world Dumbledore," Casey retorted.
Dumbledore just hummed. "Great power comes with great responsibility," he said grimly.
Casey and Harry snorted.
"You're quoting Peter Parkers grandfather," Casey said in amusement.
Dumbledore frowned. "Who?"
"Never mind that," Snape said impatiently. "We just received news from Patil that the Indian wizards are systematically placing several plots of land under a spell similar to the fidelius and are protecting their wealth. When I asked them about the government's lack of action he just laughed and told me not to bother with the politicians."
"Wealth?" Harry murmured in disgust. "They're worried about gold?"
"Knowledge Mr. Potter," Snape said tapping his temple. "I thought you'd know that."
"Politicians," Casey spat. "The most selfish and greedy individuals I've had the displeasure of interacting with. They're all the same no matter which continent they hail from."
"Mr. Patil is acting as our contact to the Asian magical community," Dumbledore said.
"The Patil twins father?" Harry asked.
"Yes. He has agreed to coordinate with us and they have a group of individuals focused on keeping track of any signs of nuclear weapons."
"The major Indian and Chinese cities suffered a lot because of the meltdowns but somehow they are still functioning and the fact that we were able to stop the meltdown in Pakistan has created some incredible tensions in that area," Dumbledore said grimly.
"We got the same Intel," Casey said gruffly. "There's some intense political chaos going on over there. But in the background, their intelligence agencies are working hard to protect their countries from imminent attacks."
"Are they going to war?" Harry asked.
"Not yet and if they keep their wits and senses they won't."
"So that means so far we've seen almost total disaster in the US, Europe, major parts of Russia and Japan," Harry said. "The Middle East has a revolution going on which is going to result in more deaths and South East Asia is dealing with the disaster in the best way they can but things could fall to pieces at any moment. It seems that South America, Australia and Africa are the only continents that have been relatively unharmed."
"Except for the total economic destruction of all the countries," Casey said dryly. "It's a survival game now kid and when a human being has a desire to survive empathy is far from their thoughts. With radioactive clouds engulfing the skies and countries unable to provide for their people anarchy is only solution. All we can do now is wait for the violence to break out and then wait for it to settle."
"Don't call me kid," Harry warned. "And that's not a solution at all. What we have to do is create safe zones wherever we can. Warded and well supplies fortress to keep the muggles safe."
"A noble thought Harry," Dumbledore said quietly, "One which we've discussed a lot but right now we are building our strength. If Voldemort gets wind of our activities outside Hogwarts you can take it for granted that they'll be an army of dark creature's right behind us."
"What about the survivors in nuclear dominated countries?" Harry asked. "I'm sure there are some areas which were unaffected and we will most definitely find survivors there."
"Our satellites are still working on that," Casey said. "The military and navy that survived have joined our forces but so far there's nothing they can do but hide and survive. The depleting food reserves might force them to dock their battle ships somewhere soon."
"Don't worry about that General," Dumbledore said. "We have our elves working on building food supply and we'll ensure that your men are provided with enough."
"What is your man Warlow's main objective?" Casey asked Dumbledore.
Snape answered that query. "Find the source that is powering the wards around London and provide a proper evaluation of Voldemort's army."
"A ward that massive always has something powering it," Dumbledore explained. "And if we can find and destroy it, we can rain him with every weapon we've got."
"Well let's hope this Warlow succeeds," Casey said gruffly. "And even if we do manage to destroy this damn dark lord of yours the world is still piled with mountains of shit to clear."
Someone knocked on the door distracting the four.
"Ah, come in Mr. Croaker."
The man of mysteries, the head of the unspeakables walked in.
"Any progress made with the muggle scientists?" Dumbledore asked the man.
Croaker conjured an arm chair much to the general's shock. He was still getting used to watching wizards and witches use magic to do the impossible.
"Men of science verses men of magic," Croaker said tiredly. His eyes shone with exhaustion. "I've spent the better part of two days breaking up fights and arguments."
His eyes flickered to Harry and a disapproving look came upon him. "What's Potter doing here?"
"I invited him here," Dumbledore said smiling. He knew that Harry's presence in these meetings annoyed a lot of adults but it was important to have him present. The General and his people along with a number of wizards had to learn to bury their ego and adapt to situations where wizards or witches younger than them could take command.
"Have your men found anything more on the dwarves and dragons?" Harry asked, purposefully letting his magic loose. He enjoyed the feeling of superiority when it came to magical strength. It was the only way people like Croaker would respect and acknowledge him.
Croaker scowled at Harry and ignored the drop in temperature. "Nothing so far," he replied stiffly. "When we do find something you'll be the first to know."
A parakeet patronus startled the occupants of the room and it made its way to Harry.
It was from Lupin. "Harry, do you mind coming to the dueling room?"
Harry turned to Dumbledore who nodded. "You're not needed at the moment," he said.
Harry ignored the smirk on Croakers ugly face and left.
"Well?" Casey asked Croaker. "Any progress?"
"None," Croaker replied heavily. "Mixing magic and muggle science is dangerous business. We've had to deal with a couple of explosions already and Merlin knows how many are around the corner."
"Keep at it," Casey grunted.
"In the mean time the first batch of silver bullets are ready," Croaker added. "If the dark lord decides to send his beasts on a killing spree, we'll be ready for them."
"The portkeys are ready too," Snape said.
"How many locations," Dumbledore asked.
"A lot," Snape replied dryly. "Most of them are charmed towards the more populated regions."
Dumbledore leaned back in his chair frowning pensively. "Severus, go with the general and acquaint his men with the darker and dangerous aspects of magic. They need to know what to expect."
"Before we do that let's have a look at the map you were working on," Casey said.
Dumbledore nodded and tapped his wand on his desk. A moment later a holographic map of the entire world marked with location of Voldemort, Hogwarts, the muggle army, the densely populated regions, the regions decimated by the nuclear clouds; everything was reflected on the map.
"That's a lot of navy in the pacific," Snape said dryly.
"Even we get our opening, Voldemort is going to regret destroying our world," Casey growled.
All they needed was a stroke of luck.
Harry had to duck as a stinging hex came zooming towards him as soon as he entered the room. In a flash he has his wand out and the curse was bounced back in the direction it came from. He recognized the cry of pain that followed.
"Blaise?" he said incredulously.
"Oww," moaned Blaise. "Why did you do that? I was so close to taking out Granger!"
Harry's interruption had paused their duel. Ron's hair looked like it had been singed by fire; Hermione had some scratches and cuts on her knees; Blaise, on the other hand, looked the worse.
"Nice black eyes there buddy," Harry commented.
"Admire this bruise on my arm too," he said tiredly. "Courtesy of you," he added.
Harry bowed, "My pleasure." His eyes, trained to spot details noticed the dirty shirt, torn pants, cuts on his legs and face. "Looks like it was two on one," he stated.
Blaise shrugged, "More practice for me."
"Harry, so glad you could come," Remus said, his perpetually tired eyes reflecting calculated happiness.
"Why did you cal me?" he asked.
"I want the three of them to take on you."
"What? No!" Harry said; his mood dropping.
"Before you give me your usual reasons, let you give mine," Remus said quickly.
Harry frowned and folded his arms.
"Dueling someone of their own age group will show these three why we don't want them to get involved in anything beyond these walls."
"Err… professor. We already know Harry can kick our arses," Blaise said dryly.
"If the three of you together cannot beat him, then you have no right to demand answers about the war and you can forget about even trying to participate in it," Lupin said. "You've had the same level of education and attended the same number of classes so technically you're at his level aren't you?"
"Not at all!"
"Well that's the argument Weasley tried to pull with Sirius," Lupin said.
Harry laughed. "Are you serious Weasley?"
"It's true," Hermione mumbled. "We can help."
Harry and Lupin exchanged glances and now Harry understood why he had been called.
"I don't want to duel him," Blaise said immediately. "I know about his powers and I don't want them directed at me."
"Calm down," Lupin said.
"We can take him," Ron said confidently.
"Provided he doesn't use his element," Hermione said warily.
"You think the three of you can take me?" Harry scoffed.
"Without your element you're on the same level as us."
"Granger, I've been studying beyond our school syllabus since first year! Even without my element I can sweep the trash with you."
"So have I," Hermione shot back.
"Don't insult us," Ron said angrily. "We've been training hard too. Maybe we can't beat you but we can definitely give you a hard time."
"I can beat the three of you with my hands tied behind my back," Harry said, looking at Ron with superiority. It was superiority backed with the confidence and skill to prove it.
"Deal!" announced Blaise happily. "Harry, with his hands tied up versus the three of us."
Three heads swiveled towards Remus questioningly while the fourth just rolled his eyes.
"Deal," Harry said with a predatory look in his eye.
Lupin smiled and black ropes flew out his wand and snapped themselves on Harry's wrist and forced them behind his back.
"On three?" he asked lightly.
"Three!" shouted Lupin and immediately backed away to his protective corner.
From one of the room, three wands began to go through the motions of different hexes as fast as they could. On the other side Harry started to run towards the three.
It was over in matter of seconds. He didn't use his element or his magically enhanced speed and not even his wand less capabilities.
A dash towards Ronald; a slick diagonal jump to avoid the three hexes; throwing a shocked Weasley in the path of Grangers curse; shoving a slow Granger into Zabini and with his wand behind his back, conjuring a perfectly placed steel net was all it took.
"Expelliarmus," Harry said in his best possible bored voice.
"Speed, unpredictability and skill," Remus lectured. "Without these three you can't do squat," he said coldly while reviving Ron from his stint in the dark.
"He cheated!" Hermione said indignantly. "He started moving before you said three!"
"And I thought you were going to count to three," Blaise said scowling. "Not just say three."
"And that is exactly the reason why you kids don't deserve to know anything about this war and forget about even thinking about participating in it!" Remus shouted.
"Do you actually think vampires will wait for you to count before they suck you dry?" Harry said sardonically. "Do you think a werewolf is going to wait for your permission to sink his teeth into your skin? Do you think a wizard is going to wait before he tears your heart into shreds?"
The three were quiet.
"You are nowhere near ready to know anything," Remus said quietly. "The only way you can help right now is keep training, keep your head down and help the muggles in any way you can."
"But," Ron protested and the next moment Harry had stunned him.
Remus gave him a disapproving look.
"Stop being so soft on them Remus," Harry said. "And if they don't get the point then show them some of your memories" And then he left. Truth to be told, he didn't care if they wanted to fight or not but they needed to face reality and that reality was that without power you get nowhere.
"Is that what he calls you being soft?" Hermione asked incredulously.
"Harry has been forced to grow up too fast," Remus said with what sounded like regret in his voice. "All of you had a normal childhood with the problems every family faces. Harry grew up with nothing of the sort and the only friend he had was power. Power helped him not get hurt."
"What do you mean?" Hermione asked, horrified. "He was abused?"
"No, not the kind of abuse you're thinking about," Remus said thinking about all that Sirius had told him about Harry's time with the Dursley's. He knew a little about growing up in a loveless family and he regretted never going and checking up on Harry. He couldn't even fathom the mental isolation that Harry experienced during his childhood.
There was stretch of silence allowing the four to gather their thoughts.
"Go get something to eat," Remus said finally. "Burke will be waiting for you and the rest of your friends for your charms class."
"I don't like Burke," Blaise said. "He's not as good as Flitwick."
"Flitwick has other responsibilities now," Lupin said. "Now run along and don't forget to stop by at the infirmary. Poppy will kill me if she found out you didn't get your wounds healed up."
Dumbledore's actions at Beauxbaton weren't without consequences. Voldemort's army had begun to start their sweep through Europe and there was little the resistance could do to stop them. Their rescue operations continued but they didn't dare to engage the army of beasts. Trolls had been the latest addition to the dark army and with the vampires and werewolves it would be suicidal for the resistance to engage the dark army.
It was slow but steadily Voldemort began to extend his territory beyond London.
Cities of grand magnificence began to take shape in places of great significance and one by one more and more magical being began to join hands with Voldemort. Witches and wizards who, in the beginning, stayed away from the conflict began to fill his newly formed cities and inch by inch his empire grew.
In the mean time the resistance formed by people who believed in the word of Albus Dumbledore and belief that Voldemort was evil struggled to survive. They hadn't given up yet but it the faith the magical folk had in them was beginning to wane. The muggles in their camp kept growing larger while the magical population inevitably began to shrink.
The nuclear clouds had almost cleared and what remained in its wake was a barren wasteland. The little portions of land that had survived the fall out were now isolated and even as the resistance did the best to track them down, it wasn't long before starvation and suicide got to them. Not to mention the dark army that was extremely adept at detected life and even better at ending it. Flora; fauna; nothing survived. It was causing a slow and torturous death to the planet.
On the other side of magic, the muggles kept their focus on increasing their forces and the surviving armed forces from all over the world were joining ranks forming an unprecedented alliance to combat the threat magic posed to their existence. The Asian countries were still in a political standoff but in light of the recent events the people had all but ignored the existence of a government and had chosen survival instead.
Everyone was waiting for the terrifying moment when the nuclear bombs would be dropped on them. Countries were ripe with fear as they did they best to stock up for the inevitable war.
In London, Lord Voldemort shivered with pleasure at the sight of the terrified muggles in his prisons. His empire was growing and the first anniversary of this city deserved to be celebrated with grandeur and blood. Nothing made his adrenaline rush like watching muggles kill each other.
His army had suffered a hit in France and Egypt but it was nothing he couldn't rebuild. He could gladly say his losses had resulted in a greater victory. Witches and wizards from Dumbledore's camp had defected to his and with them came valuable intel on Dumbledore's operations.
The dark mark wrapped around in Slytherin's crest now floated high above five more cities spread across central Europe. While London could be classified as his capital city, the rest were still having their foundations laid out and true to his word, the pureblood's that had supported his cause were now in charge of their governance.
It seemed like life was giving the best of what was there to offer to the magical beings but anyone who accepted these gifts was deluding themselves if they thought they deserved them. Everything they now had was built upon lies, murder and destruction and one day they would have to answer for their crimes.
But then every great civilization was built upon the blood of others. It was a fact engraved deep in the history of human civilization.
"Are the bombs ready?"
"Yes my lord."
"Good. Prepare them for deployment," Voldemort said.
The nuclear bombs had been modified. Voldemort knew that any bomb he tried to deploy would be tracked down and the order or rather the resistance as they called themselves now would have a chance to stop it. Every nuclear bomb that exploded was followed by an electromagnetic pulse that was capable of frying every electronic device in its radius and that was exactly what the dark lord had the scientists he had kidnapped do. It was amazing what results people would produce with the fear of death hanging over their heads.
This was the solution he had for the countries without the presence of nuclear reactors. He would destroy their electronics, their financial databases and then watch them tear themselves apart. The muggle hierarchy was dominated by the numbers they had in their bank accounts in a virtual world.
When those numbers disappeared…. it was going to generate a lot of angry people followed by death.
Voldemort's lips curled.
"Have the muggles been prepared for the games?"
"Yes my lord. The banners have been put all over the city and Marcus is in charge of the events. If what I have seen so far is correct, then the games are going to be a huge success."
Voldemort smirked. "Good," he said. "Very good."
The dark lord was unaware that at that very moment, a man named Warlow was having a terrible seizure. He was remembering things that were unknown to him; things that didn't match his personality. His very thought process was being changed. Second by the second, the cruel cold hearted betrayer disappeared and Warlow remembered his mission, his true purpose.
A few minutes later he stopped seizing and he lay on the floor of his house panting hard. He felt like an anvil had just smashed his brain into mush every time he tried to think.
"Merlin," he swore. "You didn't tell me this was going to hurt so bad Albus," he mumbled and pushed himself to his feet. He was still feeling a woozy but he steeled himself and checked the date.
It had been two months since he had gone undercover. One month behind schedule.
"Are you alright master?" came a gentle voice from behind him and Warlow nearly jumped out of his skin.
It was a muggle girl dressed in a maid's uniform that left little to imagination complete with a steel collar strapped around her neck. Her eyes were dull and she never looked at him in the eye.
Bile rose in his throat as he remembered what had been done to this girl. She hardly looked like she was over twenty years old.
"Yes, yes I'm fine," he whispered. Warlow took a deep breath and composed himself. He remembered what he too had done to the girl and he with the memory of that he couldn't bear to look at the girl.
Today was the celebration and it was the perfect opportunity to complete his mission. He knew now that he had his memories back he couldn't stay. If he did it would be only a matter of time before he was caught. No, he had to find the secret behind the wards and get out of this hell as fast as he could.
"Carla," he called quietly.
"Where are your quarters?"
Carla's eyes clouded with fear. When the wizards asked about their quarters it was never a good thing but she knew better than to lie.
"In the dungeons," she said, her voice quivering.
"Which ones?" he asked. He couldn't let her know he intended to help. It could endanger his mission.
"Under the house behind the castle," she said. "All the working lower breeds reside there." Lower breeds; that was the term Voldemort had designated for the muggle slaves.
Warlow was quiet for a moment as a plan formed in his head. There was a special portkey which was able to bypass the wards and they were located in the castle. Also the power source of the wards was also somewhere within the castle walls. If he could locate the power source and steal some of the portkeys, escaping would not be a problem.
"I want you to take the day off and stay in your quarters until tomorrow morning," he said. "I want you to find as many friends of yours as possible and I want all of you to stay together without informing any witch or wizard do you understand? Since today is the celebration all your sisters will be with you."
"Yes master," she said and with her head bowed, she quietly slinked out of the room.
"Time to get to work," he said grimly. The event was set to start in three hours and after that he had five hours to complete his mission. Focusing on the task at hand, he conjured a massive white sheet that covered the floor and from memory he began to draw a plan of the castle.
The clock was ticking.
Harry was scowling and it seemed like that was all that he did all day long since they had shifted back to Hogwarts. First the reason was the confinement; then the reason was the swarm of people now occupying the Quidditch grounds making it impossible for him to go on his daily run; then it was the superiority complex of adults who thought they were better than him; after that it was dealing with the agony of failing at occlumency constantly; and now it whether it his body or mind he did not know.
Freckles was grinning and waving at him and despite his bad mood he smiled and raised his hand acknowledging her. That involuntary action that was so unlike him caused him to yank his hand down as fast as possible and deepen his scowl. What in Merlin's name was wrong with him!? Deep down he knew the answer to that question but he was far from accepting the fact that it was true. The truth was that he liked Lillian.
"Hey. What with that ugly look?" she asked.
"Nothing," he said uncomfortably. "Just having a bad day."
"Huh. Well I look forward to your nonexistent good days then," she teased.
"Fat chance of those coming by any time soon," he grumbled.
"Walker still kicking your arse?" she said grinning.
Harry's scowl deepened if that were possible. "I don't know why they want me to learn how to fight the muggle way when I can kick arse with magic!?"
Lillian patted his back sympathetically. "Having a woman beat you down is pretty humiliating huh."
"Like you're doing any better," he snapped.
"Hey, I like the lady," Lillian said grinning. "I'm learning loads from her and watching her beat the crap out you is pretty awesome too."
"Yeah well, it's not the first time something like this has happened. Penelope was even more brutal."
Lillian pursed her lips. "I'm glad I got Nicolas," she said. "They guy was strict but he was nice too."
They reached teachers lounge and headed to the back room which was now Walkers private training area.
Sarah Walker, CIA agent, deep undercover in the Middle East. She had been extracted by General Casey's men after they had recovered some of the agencies files. Anyone who was valuable and possibly an asset to the war were being found and rescued if possible.
"You're late," Walker said sternly. Harry's constant arse whooping could also be related to the fact that Walker was the hottest blond he had ever laid his eyes on. It didn't help that she liked to wear tight fitting clothes too.
The room had been modified to have a wooden floor and numerous racks filled with all sorts of weapons placed all around it. Walker was only twenty six but she was proficient in hand to hand combat, sword play, kick boxing, and numerous other things Harry had never even heard of.
Her job was to teach Harry hand to hand combat under Dumbledore's orders despite Harry's protests. It had taken several hours of convincing to manage to get Harry to agree and the key argument was it would help his occlumency come along.
An hour later Harry lay flat on the floor, panting. "You know," he groaned. "You don't need to use all your strength in your kicks."
"Pain is quite the motivator," she said smiling. "And your headmaster told me that no matter how much damage I do to you, your doctors can fix you up in a jiffy."
Lillian came over and helped Harry get to his feet. "You alright?"
"My ribs feel like they've been cracked and yanked out one by one," Harry groused. "Does that answer your question?"
"No need to get all smiles on me Austin," Walker said. "You're up next."
Lillian gulped and after setting Harry down in the corner she walked up to the spy and got into position. Her body facing Walker sideways and her left hand in front with her right beside her chest.
"Good," said Walker. "Now the same steps that I showed you yesterday. Now, ready?"
"Come!" Walker said sharply and Lillian burst into motion.
Warlow couldn't believe what his eyes were seeing. A dragon unlike any other dragon he had ever seen was bound and covered in runes deep under the ground under the castle.
"This must be one of the free dragons," he whispered in reverence. It wasn't hard to figure out what was going on. The floating castle; the impenetrable wards; it was all being powered by constantly siphoning magical power from the dragon. He could feel the immense power of the dragon's magic all around him.
"Confringo!" Warlow said pointing his wand at random locations around the chamber. His aim was destroy the runes and cut of the siphoning process. "Confringo, confringo, confringo!"
He kept bombarding the place until it was looked like it was about the collapse any moment. The first indication was the growl that rumbled in the dragon's throat. It was waking and Warlow knew it wasn't going to be pleased with the treatment it had received by the dark lord.
A burst of inspiration struck him and he fired a tracking charm at its underbelly. It might be useful to know where it came from if it managed to escape.
The dragon stirred and the entire chamber began to crumble. That was the signal for Warlow to run. The wards around the chamber prevented him from apparating so he had to sprint back the way he came; through a narrow flight of spiral staircase which led to this place thirty feet under the ground.
"Bollocks!" he cursed as the ground began to shake violently and the stairs beneath his feet began to fall apart.
He ran as fast as he could and in the nick of time he leaped out the secret entrance and into the embrace of the sun light above.
But it wasn't over.
The floating castle was rapidly losing the magic that was keeping it in the sky and Warlow's eyes widened in fright when he saw the entire structure growing bigger and bigger from above him.
There was no time to waste! He twisted on the spot and apparated to the dungeons where some of the muggle women and children were being held captive. It was possible for those living inside the wards to apparate within its boundaries except for certain places important to the dark lord.
The instant he appeared in the dungeons he took advantage of the lack of security and the panic caused by what they thought was an earthquake and quickly stunned the guards on duty.
"All of you listen up!" he shouted, amplifying his voice. "I'm here to rescue you and if you want to escape then I want all of you to take a hold of this thread."
He withdrew a ball of thread and passed it to the nearest muggle. "Pass it along quick and make sure every one of you gets a finger on it!"
He spotted Carla's frightened face in the crowd of the women and ignored the guilt that rose in his gut.
"Come on, come on, do it fast!" he yelled. The ball in his hand grew smaller as the thread kept getting pulled to as many muggles as possible.
His ears twitched when he heard the doors to the dungeons burst open.
"Vampires," he whispered in fear and without wasting a second he tapped his wand to the thread and said, "Salazar."
Warlow, along with nearly a hundred women and children disappeared in a flash just as the vampires descended upon his location.
He had completed his mission beyond what had been expected. He had dealt the first severe blow to Voldemort by sending his castle crashing back to the earth and destroying the wards that surrounded them. Now it would be possible to fight back without wondering where to strike.
Their enemy was now exposed.
A/N: Luna's meeting with Dumbledore shall be covered in the coming chapter.
Pointing out mistakes is always helpful! Hope you enjoyed the chapter.