It was extremely difficult for each of them not to scream. They stood there for a second, watching the distorted, dark figure through the window. It raised a hand again and knocked more urgently upon the castle doors. "What do we do?" Helga whispered urgently, plainly terrified. They turned with baited breath back to the window. The figure wasn't moving, but the way it was standing it looked as if it were watching them.
"Well, for one thing," Godric said quietly, taking in a shaky breath, "we don't sit here and wait for the thing to come to us." He noiselessly took the strap off his newly repaired leg, and strode over to the Hospital Wing doors. "Are you coming?" he called across the hall, staring at them. Helga made shushing noises and Rowena pressed a shaking finger to her lips. Salazar, however, stood up and bravely marched to stand next to Godric. Rowena and Helga exchanged a look, then hurried after the two boys.
As the four approached the great oak front doors, Salazar turned around to face them. "I think we should hide as it comes in, j-just for safety," he whispered. They all nodded. Godric concealed himself behind a tapestry of a lost-looking troll, while Salazar slithered into a niche next to a rusty suit of armor. Rowena crouched down behind a bust of a monk mumbling to himself, and Helga crawled inside a large vase. "Ready?" Rowena mouthed over the Latin mumblings of the bust above her. They all nodded, very white in the face. Godric pointed his wand at the large doors in front of them, and slowly they creaked open. A great gust of chilly winter air flowed inside. The figure was still standing there, drenched from the rain, but looking oddly impressive and mysterious surrounded by the gloomy mist of the night.
"Hello?" it called, in a strange, deep voice. "Who's there?" It whipped out a short wand and slowly stalked into the Hall. "I don't want to hurt you! Show yourself!" It demanded. Quickly, the figure dragged down it's damp hood, revealing it's face at last. He had scraggly, brown hair with sunken cheeks. His eyes were a liquid-looking black. He looked very woe-begone, as if he had been traveling for days. His dark eyes scanned the circumference of the hall, finally resting on Rowena shivering behind the bust. She realized he had found her, clapped a hand to her mouth, and shouted, "Oh my God - !"
"STUPIFY!" he yelled. Rowena keeled over sideways, unconscious.
Godric stood up and yelled "IMPEDIMENTA!"
"Protego!" the man blocked the curse easily.
"Crucico!" Slazar shouted, aiming at the man's back. His yells of pain echoed all around them, like some sick kind of chorus. He fell to his knees, still screaming, his eyes watering-writhing around on the floor-
"Stop! STOP IT!" Helga crawled out of the vase and tried to wrestle the wand out of Salazar's hands.
"Fine!" he glared at her, the lifted the curse. The man lay huddled on the floor, staring up at Salazar.
"I-I have a m-m- a message for you," he gasped between raged breaths. The three exchanged a terrified glance, then helped the man up. "I'll take you to the Headmaster's office," Godric offered.
As the two left the Hall, Salazar quietly muttered, "Reparo," and the damage of the Entrance Hall was repaired. Meanwhile, Helga hastened over to Rowena's limp form, pointed her wand at Rowena's chest, and said, "Renervate."
Rowena instantly sat up and rubbed her eyes. "What hap-" she started to ask, but Helga shushed her.
"Come on," Helga whispered. The three of them followed the same way Godric and the stranger had gone. Two corridors, three passageways and five shortcuts later, the five were standing in front of a handsome griffin, on whose sides sat two ugly stone gargoyles.
"Password?" the gargoyles asked in a bored way.
"Lemon drop," Godric replied. The rest of the group starred at him. "What? I couldn't think of a better password...they're quite good, actually..." his voice trailed off. Upon hearing the correct password, the gargoyles sprang aside while a large, moving staircase rose out of the floor and began to wind its way up to the top of the tower. They all stood on the stairs as they were carried up to the top. In front of them was a large, wooden door with a griffin-shaped knocker, upon which Godric pushed open. They entered the office, and sat down, the stranger sitting behind the Headmaster's desk. After a few moments of awkward silence, Godric said, "I believe you had something to tell us, Mr.-?"
"Beetle," the stranger replied, "Everyone calls me Beetle. Don't ask why, though," he added sharply.
"Well, Beetle," Godric said, "Please begin."
He heaved a sigh and began, "I really don't know where to begin. I suppose I'd better tell you the news, though. You see, I've been watching you for quite some time. I followed you here, watched you build this-this place, and I was even at the Meeting Place that terrible night. I found out later that the people-the.....the-people, they....well, they're watching you," he paused, as a terrified shiver went around the room, "actually, they're watching all of us. Witches and Wizards alike, around the country. That's why I came here. To warn you, because they watched the Meeting Place, they followed you here, and they probably will find you here sometime soon."
"Why?" Godric questioned.
"Probably because they're frightened of us. You see-" Beetle chuckled a little, "We scare them. The only reason as to why they made a habit out of these awful burnings is because they don't want to deal with us, having their kind grow up along side our kind, dealing with politics and what not and every other thing that requires us to be social with them. I suppose their way to see things is that, if we were wiped out, they're safe."
"But why did you follow us? Why tell us this? We're safe here, aren't we?" Salazar asked.
Beetle's smile drooped a little, and he continued, "Yes and no. The enchantments put around Hogwarts are safe, but like the Secret-Keeper Charm, they can be given away, and then broken. Since you four all know the castle's location, if, by accident of course, you let slip to the people, they could find you in a blink. And if they found you, well, thats the end. I highly doubt the four of you could single-handedly defeat a mob of the people, if they were really determined to kill you.
"Oh-you asked why I followed you. I'm an author. All my life I've stalked dozens of villages like yours, and looked for magical experiences, or lessons I could write about to teach to young children. I'm currently working on my first-and probably last- novel."
He smiled, then added, "If you'd like, I'll send you a copy when I'm finished."
"Oh, there's no need for that, Mr. Beetle!" Rowena said urgently. "You're welcome to stay with us here at Hogwarts long as needed!"
"Thank you, m'dear, but I'm afraid I can't," Beetle said sadly. "I do believe-" he glanced down a miniscule pocket watch, with seven numbers and twelve hands "-that it is time for my departure."
"You can't go just yet, Beetle!" Helga cried, leaping up from her seat to follow Beetle down the spiral staircase.
'I must go, I'm a busy man with a tight life. I've no time to spare," he said.
"But it's pouring outside, and it's late in the evening!" Godric pointed out.
"Yeah, and plus the people are out there, it's not safe anywhere you go!" Salazar added, as they decended the marble stairs into the wide Entrance Hall.
"Listen closely, you four," Beetle said quietly, with a very serious face. "You need to understand that there is a life to live. We all have a time and place to stay and lounge around, but now is not my time for it."
"I must go now, and I will. You cannot convince me otherwise. I came here for one purpose, to explain this to you, and that purpose has been done. Now If you'll excuse me, m'ladies, sirs, I'll be off, with a very good evening to you."
Beetle nodded at Salazar and Godric, swept off his hat and bowed at Helga and Rowena, and finally strode out the large oak front doors into the dark, rainy night.
A few minutes later found the four huddled around a fire in a small classroom. "Did any of what Beetle said make sense to you guys?" Godric asked.
"A bit of it," Rowena said, with a mischievious smile. "But if you ask me, I thought he was quite the bard."
I'm so sorry this chapter took so long to complete; I've been super-uper busy with school, schoolwork, activities, ect. I really enjoy getting all the positive feedback from you; it really makes me smile at the end of the day to know that this novel is somewhat a success. I promise I will try to update my novel more often from now on. Remember to continue to like, fan, and comment, and keep reading for more chapters! ^-^