XII – Made in Peru
“Now here’s my plan,” said Bury, “one of us should be able to cast a wandless spell to get one of the wands back if we really concentrate hard, and then...”
“That won’t work,” said Harry, relaxing on the reasonably comfortable bed of the turret room where they were being held. “The wands are three floors down, and if we accio them they’ll be flying around the place, and I’ve a feeling someone would notice. Look, I think they’re starting to believe the truth about the body, if we just wait it out I think we’ll be all right.” As he talked he signalled for Bury to play along, guessing that they were being overheard, if not by magic then by electronics, or by Illyria listening through the walls. He couldn’t see a camera anywhere, that didn’t mean that there wasn’t one but he hoped that if they could see him they wouldn’t understand what he was doing before it was too late.
“I suppose you’re right. Even if we got away, I can’t see us getting the hearse out of here.”
“Exactly. Like I say, we just have to wait it out. Most of them seem to be reasonable people, it’s just that witch of theirs that worries me.”
“The red-head?” Bury made a face. “She’s going to kill herself or one of her friends casting spells without a wand.”
“It’s not quite that bad,” Harry saw a winged shadow flit past the window, and quietly got up and put his hand out through the bars. “Wandless magic has a bad reputation, but I think she has it under control. I was thinking more about the things we’re not allowed to tell her. I don’t think she’ll be satisfied without knowing all the facts, and you know how much paperwork that would involve.” He waited… there was a soft thud from the fireplace behind him, and some soot sifted down from the chimney. Henrietta was a good owl, but not quite in Hedwig’s league; she’d missed seeing his hand, but at least she’d found the right chimney.
Harry groped in the ashes, and found a small leather pouch. “Anyway, might as well get a bit of rest, they said they were waiting for someone from London, probably won’t get here for hours.” He gestured for Bury to come close, while listening for anyone coming up the stairs. He couldn’t hear anyone, that didn’t mean that there wasn’t someone on the way.
Harry tipped out a silk bag containing a dozen of the finest Weasley fireworks, carefully selected for noise, duration, and distraction value, and a book of matches. Next was a gold Galleon, Hermione’s invention, magically connected to a dozen others like it, at the Ministry and carried by some of the other Aurors. It probably wouldn’t work through the castle wards, but ought to be useful once they were outside. The next item was a phial of the Draught of Living Death, enough to knock out eight or ten people. After that was what looked like a stubby Muggle pencil; Harry flicked it gently, and a butterfly flew from the end. Bury raised his eyebrows in surprise. The disguised wand was one of the Ministry’s secrets; it took Ollivander three weeks to make something that size that worked at all, longer to match it to its user, and they cost a small fortune. It wasn’t anywhere near as good as his usual wand – it was impossible to pack a powerful core into such a short length – but it ought to be good enough to get him to the real thing. For a moment Harry wished that he still carried his cloak routinely, or had it in his emergency kit, but it was too precious to risk. Never mind; the final item was a matchbox-sized cardboard box containing four tiny glass phials full of swirling black powder, and a pair of folding cardboard spectacles with grey lenses. Harry turned the box over to show Bury the Weasley logo, and ‘Made in Peru.’
Harry lit one of the fireworks and threw it as far as he could out of the window. A few seconds later there was a colossal ‘BANG!’ and flash of red light outside, followed by the ‘Whizz’ of a dozen more bomblets flying off in different directions. Harry ran back to the door, and with a quick “Alohomora” the door swung open. Harry stunned the distracted girls outside, put on the cardboard glasses, and threw another two fireworks and a vial of Peruvian Darkness Powder down the spiral stairs. There were more explosions, and Bury looked at Harry dubiously. “Upstairs!” said Harry, “and grab my belt if the darkness comes up this far.” Below the stairs were filling with harmless evil-smelling smoke and darkness; the darkness was soon level with their feet, rising up their bodies as Bury grabbed him. In a few moments only the special glasses allowed him to see his way. He led Bury up a flight and back into the light, found a door that led out onto the battlements, fired off more stunners at the women patrolling the wall, and ran across the roof towards another turret. An arrow whizzed past his head – Harry wondered why they preferred them to Muggle guns – and he fired a stunner back but couldn’t tell if he hit his target. Another phial of darkness powder gave them the cover they needed to reach the turret. Along the way he threw more fireworks down into the castle courtyard, and threw the last firework and another vial of powder down the flight of stairs in the new turret.
“Now what?” said Bury, “They’re bound to guess we’re going down.”
“We’re not; keep quiet.” He led Bury back outside under the cover of darkness, cast a quick spell on his enchanted Galleon, and threw it out as hard as he could. He whispered “Now we wait here,” and risked a last silencing spell and a low-level Muggle repelling charm, hoping that neither would be enough to tip off the witch to their presence. He felt as tired as though he’d played a hard Quidditch game, using the wrong wand was exhausting. He put the pencil in his pocket, joining a couple of pens the women hadn’t confiscated; if they were caught there was a chance it would go unnoticed.
For the next few minutes the explosions continued, slowly tapering off into silence. Twice girls groped their way along the battlements, but as Harry had hoped they missed the crouching wizards.
Slowly the darkness began to clear, and Bury whispered “better break the last vial.”
“Can’t. They’ll notice for sure if this doesn’t clear.”
“There you are!” a satisfied-sounding voice said a minute later. Harry looked around; Willow was floating in the air level with the battlements, a faint flicker of lightning around her. She gestured, and Harry felt his charms evaporate, along with the last of the darkness.
“Now what?” said Bury.
“Now we find out what you’re really up to,” said Willow. “Someone could have been hurt with all those explosions.”
“They’re harmless,” said Harry, “just noise and light. Look, we just want to do our job and take her to be buried.”
“Yeah, like I believe that.”
“It’s true,” said Harry. “Anyway, it's too late for arguments.”
With a series of loud cracks a dozen broomsticks appeared around the castle, each carrying a combat-trained Auror, and a Sonorus-amplified voice said “This is the Ministry of Magic – lay down your wands and weapons and come out quietly.”
“I’m sorry,” said Harry. “Hopefully we can settle this without criminal charges, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to take you in for questioning.”
Comments please before I post to archives. I probably won't post any more until after the weekend, I'm off to a con in the morning.