A Day and A Night

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Chapter 4: A History and a Mystery:

Hermione stood, still a bit unstable, and she reached out for the wall. Draco walked up the sidewalk, and then back again, his eyes scanning the area for the man in question, although he knew he was long gone.

He looked toward Hermione, who seemed pale and flushed at the same time. She was shivering, though it was not that cold outside. He walked up to her and asked, “Who was that?” He wasn’t sure why he asked, because he knew the answer.

“Milo Dorchester,” she answered, taking a steady breath, and then another. She removed her hand from the wall, and started to take a step toward Draco, but she faltered.

He stared at her and said, “You're so stupid sometimes.” He huffed in anger. He was angry at her for leaving the pub, and he was angry at himself, for not realizing that she would leave the pub. He was calling himself stupid, as well as her.

That statement was NOT what she needed to hear at that point and time. “Malfoy, one word of warning,” she began, leaning against the wall again. “Never, ever, call me stupid. If I didn’t feel so wretched at the moment, and if I had my wand, I would show you why that is a bad idea.”

He started to hand her wand to her and said, “This solves one of your problems.” She took a step toward him, reaching for her wand, but before she could take it, she stumbled again. He pushed on her shoulder, none to gently, and she plopped back down on the stairs where she had sat before.

“Stay there for a moment,” he ordered, finally handing her wand to her. He looked about again, and then he walked back into the bookstore where she had just exited.

She didn’t know what was wrong with her, but she was worried. She was going to go blindly with that stranger, for that was what he was, a stranger. She wondered if he had her under the Imperius, for she was going to leave with him, even though she knew she shouldn't. She felt strange and unaware. Had he enter her mind somehow? Usually she could easily guard against such things. She took another deep breath, breathing out through her mouth, and she stood again.

Draco walked out of the bookstore with a glass of water, and the little old lady from earlier was behind him. “Here,” he said, succinctly, handing the glass to her. She took the water and nodded her thanks.

The little lady said, “Are you okay, sweetheart?”

“Fine,” she answered. She handed the glass back to the woman and asked, “Did you know that man?”

“Oh yes, we all know of him,” she answered. Hermione thought it was strange that the woman said, ‘
we all know OF him,’ instead of, ‘we all know him’.

“Do you know his name?” Hermione asked.

Not waiting for the old woman's answer, Draco said, “Let’s go, Granger.” He pulled on her jacket sleeve.

“Wait!” she barked. She turned back to the woman. “He said his name was Milo Dorchester, and that he was from Glendora. Is that true?”

“Milo Dorchester, aye, that's the way of it,” the woman confirmed, “but you knew that, didn’t you?”

“Well, I knew that was what he told me,” Hermione answered. “Why did everyone in the pub either leave or look away when he came near and why did you leave your own store when he entered it?”

Draco sighed and said, “Leave the old woman alone. Let’s go.” He reached out for her arm, but she moved so that he couldn’t grab it.

“I don’t mind answering your questions,” the lady said. “I'm very glad you asked. Shall we?” She motioned toward the door of her shop.

“We don’t have time for this, Granger,” Draco whined. Hermione stared at him and wondered why he didn’t want her to talk with the older lady.

“Go collect our things, and meet me here if we’re in such a hurry,” Hermione reasoned. She walked in the bookstore behind the woman. Much to her chagrin, Draco followed.

The woman pointed toward a door in the back of the store. She closed and locked the front door of the store and pulled down the blinds. Hermione and Draco entered a smaller room in the back that had a table and chairs.

On the table was a crystal ball and tarot cards. Hermione rolled her eyes and started back out of the room, but ran right into Draco. Draco pushed Hermione back into the room and whispered, “Too late now, Princess. You wanted to hear what she had to say, so you’re staying.” He smiled as the old woman sat down.

Hermione remained standing until Draco repeated, “You wanted to hear what she had to say, Granger, so sit.” He knew of her disbelief in the art of divination, and he knew she probably hated Muggle charlatans even more, therefore, he thought this might be fun.

The old woman motioned to Hermione to sit in the chair to her right. Hermione sat down, wearily, and Draco sat opposite the old lady. The woman said, “I’m a witch, like you, but to the members of this community, I’m just a crazy old lady who runs the used bookstore, and does fortunate telling and reads tea leaves in the backroom.”

“How did you know we were wizards?” Hermione asked.

“Please, everyone knows who you are, Miss Granger,” the woman said with a smile. “I mean everyone in our world. I also know you were sent here to investigate the murders of those young witches. You see, the Ministry officials and Aurors have already questioned me, but they didn’t ask the right questions, so I couldn’t tell them much.”

“What can you tell us?” Draco asked, leaning forward in his seat.

“Nothing about those girls, and perhaps nothing useful about Glendora, but I’ll tell you what I know, or at least, what I believe to be true about that man.” She shifted in her chair a bit, and then said, “Tell me, Miss Granger, what do you know about Veela?”

Draco straightened up in his seat, then stood suddenly and said, “Granger, we don’t have time for this. Come on.” He held out his hand, just as Milo did to her earlier, the only difference was that she didn’t feel compelled to take Draco’s hand.

Hermione ignored Draco, even as he stood by the door to the little room, shifting from foot to foot.

Before Hermione could answer, the old woman said, “Veela are a race of semi-human, semi-magical creatures reminiscent of the Sirens of Greek mythology. They are nymph like creatures of Slavic mythology. In Serbian legend, they are known as Vilas, or Vily, and they are nature’s guardians, caring for streams, trees and flowers. They can cause and cure illnesses. They almost always have fair complexions.”

“They appear to be young, beautiful human women, and their appearance and especially their dance are magically seductive to almost all males. When Veela are angry, however, they transform into something more like Harpies, they assume the form like humanoid bird of prey, such as a vulture, their faces turn into cruel-beaked bird heads and long scaly wings burst from their shoulders. They can launch balls of fire from their hands.”

“Veela have been known to marry magical human men, although it is unknown whether any have ever married Muggles. Children of these unions are half-Veela, and will inherit their magical ability from their fathers and beauty and charm from their mothers. Veela traits persist for at least a few generations.”

Hermione listened intently, though everything the woman had just related to her, she already knew. She said, “Are you saying that this man, Milo, or better yet, the people of Glendora, are Veela? Are there male Veela?”

Draco huffed and said, “Granger, we have to go. This woman told you nothing that you didn’t already know, and of course there are no male Veela.”

“Sit down, Draco,” Hermione ordered. She pointed toward the chair. He raised his brows, sat down, and then crossed his arms in front of him, like a small, petulant child.

“No, there are no true male Veela,” the woman confirmed, “but that wizard, Milo Dorchester, and the people of Glendora are not true Veela. The legend goes that many, many centuries ago, in Serbia, a beautiful veela tried to attract a man when he was lost in the woods, but somehow, he was resistant to her charms. It angered her, and she shot an arrow at the man, and he slumped over, presumable dead. At dawn she took him back to her coven, but he wasn’t dead at all. At twilight, the next night, he awoke, and he killed all the Veela in her coven, except for the one that abducted him. He killed them by draining them of their blood.”

“He was supposedly a vampire. He was refuted to be as dark as she was fair, and as handsome as she was beautiful. The two mated, and as much as a Vampire and and Veela could fall in love, I guess they did. Later, somehow, they had children. When it was discovered by other Vampires that they could mate with Veela, more Vampires came to that wooded area, mated with the Veela, and after many generations, they became a new race of people. They still possessed much of the powers and qualities of both Vampires and Veela. Because they were also magical, they were under the rule of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magic Creatures under the Ministry of Magic. As you know, any creature that has sufficient intelligence to understand the laws of the magical community, come under the control of the ones that shape those laws.”

“However, this group set themselves apart from the rest of the magical community, as well they should. Their community was older than most, and they had traits not common to other wizards. They began to be more and more secretive, and more and more private and mysterious. They called themselves the ‘Valdes’ and they made up laws that were limited unto themselves. They felt they were no longer accountable to the Ministry of Magic.”

“How do you know so much about them, and why do the Muggles of this area fear them so much? How do they know Milo Dorchester, in particular?” Hermione asked.

“Everyone here knows of the legend, some believe it, some don’t. Everyone also knows that Milo is from Glendora, although he affects people differently. Some fear him, and some are in awe of him. As to how I know so much, well, I’m a descendent of the Valdes,” she said, “although my family left over one hundred years ago. I’m under the ancient oath of the Valdes never to relay their secrets, yet my great-grandmother found a way around that. She put a charm on me at birth that allowed me the right to tell their story to any magical person who asks me questions about them directly, as you did.”

“As for Milo Dorchester, his bloodline comes directly from the original Vampire and Veela; their names were Andre and Katrina. His is the oldest family, and he is the guardian over all the other families. He is sort of like their prince.”

At the mention of the word ‘prince’ Draco pinched Hermione’s arm. She winced, but paid him no mind.

“What type of magic does he possess, and do you think he had anything to do with the killing of those young girls?” Draco asked. Hermione looked at him almost in awe. She was glad he was finally interested and was asking questions, although he seemed to be in full ‘Auror’ mode at the moment.

“I have never personally been to that village, so I don’t know the extent of their magical ability, although I would say it surpasses our own,” the woman spoke.

Draco pointed at Hermione and said, “I don’t know. That man might be the Prince, but this is the refuted Princess of Magic over here.”

Hermione felt like hitting him, but instead she said snidely, “I thought I was Princess Pauper.”

“That too,” Draco sneered. “Maybe that’s what attracted you to him, the fact that you’re both royalty.”

“You’re royalty, too,” she said, leaning closer to him. She mouthed, “You’re a royal git.”

He smiled sweetly at her and whispered, "And you're a royal pain in my arse."

The woman looked at Draco and then to Hermione and she said, “Would you like a word of warning?”

“Sure, whatever,” Draco said with a shrug.

“Stay away from there. Dorchester seems drawn to young Miss Granger here, and her reaction to him was a bit out of the ordinary. I wouldn’t be surprised if all of this wasn’t arranged to lure her here for some reason, and even you, Mr. Malfoy, with your background and ancestry, won’t be able to protect her, if that’s true.”

“Alright, we’ve heard enough,” Draco said suddenly. He stood so quickly that he knocked his chair over. He took Hermione’s arm tightly in his grip, opened the door to the little room, and he pulled her through the doorway, back out to the front of the bookstore.

“Wait! What did she mean?” Hermione yelped. “What’s your background? Why would he lure me here?”

“She’s crazy, come on,” Draco insisted. He wasn’t going to let this crazy old seer tell Hermione anything before it was time for her to know. Draco didn’t even know how the old women knew these things, but he wasn’t about to wait around and find out.

“But we didn’t even find out why everyone in this village seemed weary of the man, or how they seemed to know who he was,” Hermione pleaded. “Stop, Malfoy!”

He pulled her through the door of the bookstore and back outside. She pulled out her wand and said, “Let me go, or I'll use my wand on you!”

“Are you joking?” Draco asked. He let go of her arm and said, “Now you’re going to curse me? Duel me? What?”

“I want to finish talking with her,” Hermione replied.

Draco pulled her wand right out of her hand and warned, “Muggles are around, Granger!” He stuffed her wand back in his pocket and said, “We have to go. We’ll pack and then find a way to the village.”

“Draco, why are you here with me?” Hermione asked.

Draco kept walking instead of answering her question.

She ran up along side him. This time, she pulled on his arm. “Malfoy? Answer my question!”

“Because I’m an Auror, and you'll undoubtedly find trouble, as you so frequently do, so you need a bodyguard,” he replied, even if it was only partially the truth.

He continued his jog down the sidewalk, and she stopped completely. He looked back and said a long line of expletives under his breath. He walked back to her and said, “What now?”

“Why would my old professor suggest I see this man, Milo Dorchester, if he meant me harm? Do you really think this has to do with me? Could those young girls’ deaths be my fault somehow?” He could see the concern on her face, as these and probably a hundred more questions twirled around inside her head.

He closed his eyes for a moment and said, “No, they aren’t your fault, and your professor probably just assumed that as leader of the clans, or as the prince, or whatever barbaric thing this Dorchester fellow is, that he could best help you, that’s all.”

She sat down on a tall windowsill. He almost stomped his foot as he repeated, “What now?”

“Malfoy, I felt funny when I first saw him in the pub, and then later, when he took my hand in the bookstore, I felt almost like I had no control. I knew I shouldn’t take his hand, but I did. I felt weak and apprehensive, and even mildly nauseated when he let me go. Why do you suppose that was? I’ve never been so easily persuaded before, and I didn’t like it. I’m usually stronger than that.”

He could see that she was genuinely worried. He really couldn’t answer her questions without revealing too much. He placed his hand on the window, by her head, and he leaned down toward her, almost nose-to-nose and said, “You know you aren’t a weak person, so stop being ridiculous. If you meet him again, and you find that you feel that way again, just fight that feeling. Fight it hard, or take out your wand and curse his arse.”

“Then you think he did had some control over me?” she asked. She looked up at him, with a combination of dread and worry.

He looked right in her eyes. They were dark brown, with gold flecks. Strange that he had never noticed that before. She had freckles, too, right across her nose, and even one on her chin. He wasn’t sure he was ever close enough to her to notice before. No, that wasn’t true. He had noticed before, but he made himself forget.

He mentally shook his head, and said, “First, no one could possibly control you. I’ve been trying to control you since we’ve arrived here, but you’re still a first-rate, know-it-all, pain in my arse, who does whatever she wants, liking climbing out of toilet windows, and talking to old crazy ladies, so apparently, you can’t be controlled. You probably just have a fever. That’s it. You’ll coming down with something.” He lied, but so what? He lied often.

He even placed a hand on her forehead, in false concern. “Yes, you’re warm. You definitely have a fever. You’re probably delirious, too.” Actually, he was the one that felt warm suddenly. “We’ll let you rest today, and we’ll go on to Glendora tomorrow, ‘right?” He stood up and pushed away from her.

“I feel warm?” She placed her hand on her own forehead. “I don’t feel warm to me, and I don’t feel sick any longer. I only felt ill when he let go of my hand.”

“Well, you look sick,” he said harshly.

She shook her head. “Thanks. I can hardly stand all of your compliments. First I was stupid, and now I look ill.” She stood up and they started strolling along. “Maybe we should stay here one more night. I’d like to ask a few locals what they know about Milo Dorchester. Maybe that young waitress from the pub would speak with me again.”

“No, you’re going back to the motel and you’re resting, Granger. Potter will have my pretty, blonde head on a platter if anything happens to his little Princess.”

She hit him as hard as she could on the shoulder with her fist. “HEY!” he shouted.

“Stop calling me Princess!”

He rubbed his shoulder and said, “I may be rude, but you’re a brute.” They turned the corner that led to the motel and Draco said, “I’ve just decided that your new nickname is Princess Brute.”

“Ha!” she laughed, though it wasn’t a real laugh. “You’re so droll.”

“How about Princess ‘can’t climb out a window without someone finding her’? Do you like that name better?” He laughed.

She said, “I shall call you Princess Annoying.”

“Princess?” he asked.

She laughed and said, “That truly was a slip of the tongue. I meant ‘Prince’. Sorry. I wasn’t questioning your manhood, although I hear there are questions regarding it swirling around out there.”

Now he laughed and said, “I’m all man, Princess.” He unlocked the door to their room, and held open the door for her, as he said, “After you. See, I’m a true man. Chivalry is my middle name.”

She smiled and said, “I thought it was ‘Prat’.” She bowed, and said, “Thank you, Prince Rude.” She turned around, started through the door, and then screamed. She turned back toward him quickly, and ran directly into his chest. One of his arms went instinctively around her, but just as quickly, he placed her behind him and looked inside their room.

He gasped and then he quickly shut their door. He pushed her away from the doorway and said, “Stay here. I need to get the Muggle police.”

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