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Harry Potter and Arabian Nights by Panacea

Format: Short story
Chapters: 22
Word Count: 32,084
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Contains profanity, Strong violence, Sensitive topic/issue/theme, Spoilers

Genres: Horror/Dark, Mystery, Romance
Characters: Harry, Hermione, Lucius, Narcissa, Draco, OC
Pairings:

First Published: 02/05/2018
Last Chapter: 07/16/2019
Last Updated: 07/16/2019

Summary:


Draco, Harry and Hermione are sent on an undercover project to the beautiful and dangerous Arabian country Marwah. A Kingdom ruled by darkness, mystery and secrets. The answers they seek lay within the Palace walls but they will need the help of a Princess, the courage of Gryffindor and the ingenuity of a Slytherin to bring justice to Voldemort's victims once and for all.
Banner by Ande

 

 



Chapter 1: Chapter One
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Marwah is an island off the Arabian Sea, it’s shores are pale gold and the waters clear aqua gently massage the sands. The island was like many others, there was an affluent area awash with a Palace of ivory and gold, lavish mansions overlooking the aqua waters. And then there were slums, houses moulded out of packed mud, no electricity or running water.

But this city was magical, governed by soldiers who limited everyone’s magical use by their financial status. If you were poor you were allowed to use your wand once a day, if you were wealthy…well the possibilities were close to endless.

The King Izaiah and Queen Mariah had ruled for over fifty years, they had a son Prince Jarrett and a daughter Princess Samira. Marwah was ruled peacefully until the murder of the Queen Mariah, plunging the Kingdom into grief. The Kingdom watched on as their King raised his two teenagers and ruled a country. Until two years after the Queen’s death a new woman appeared by his side, their step Queen.

“Queen Alexia, and this is where Marwah begins it’s decline,” Draco spoke croakily, he took a sip of water, sweat trickling on his forehead.

The trio stood on top of a three storey building, chunks of it’s walls crumbling into dust. This was their home in Marwah until their Ministry pulled them out. The rooftop was dusty but a beautiful view of the city distracted them from their shabby surroundings. The sky was a clear cornflour blue and the wind was warm, their pale English skin already tingling with the sun’s burn.

“The King lost all interest in his Kingdom when Alexia stepped on the scene, his eldest son took off ashamed by his father for replacing his Mother. The younger sister Princess Samira paid the price for her brother’s leave and is now confined to the Palace.”

“King Izaiah never went looking for his son?” Hermione asked.

“He was too busy instilling the new laws of his Kingdom, splitting the country into factions; the centre of town is faction one – one spell allowed per day, where we are is faction three – three spells allowed per day and it goes on five, seven, nine and finally the Palace which is infinite.”

“How can they possibly monitor it?” Hermione looked doubtful.

“They made an early example of those who broke the rules, public hanging’s, beheading, incredibly old fashioned but nonetheless it drove the point home. The country’s law enforcement is led by Captain Vlad, his soldiers patrol the streets and perform random spot checks on wand usage.”

“And our Ministry does nothing?” Hermione said aghast.

“What can our Ministry do?” Harry replied, “they have their own legal system. What I’d like to know is why did the Ministry send us here to meet with you Draco, an Unspeakable?”

Draco cleared his throat, “you both know that Unspeakables have been tracking down any remaining Death eaters and associates of Voldemort’s?”

Harry and Hermione nodded.

“The last known sighting of my parents was here approximately three weeks ago, I’ve been trying to locate them but have had no luck, I asked the ministry to allow their top Auror’s to go undercover and help me find them and bring them back to the Ministry.”

“Oh Draco, you’ve been here three weeks and haven’t found them?” Hermione said sympathetically.

He nodded, his pale complexion was now golden brown from weeks in the Arabian sun, his hair was a dark brown and cut close to his skull.

“Why would they come here, where they can do limited magic?” Harry asked.

“The island is so isolated, I believe they think we’d never look for them here. I’ve checked the wealthier parts of the island and no luck.”

“If they really wanted to disappear the slums are probably a good place to start,” Hermione offered.

“I can’t imagine the Malfoy’s slumming it in these mud huts,” Harry answered.

“I couldn’t imagine my parents doing a lot of the things that they did but they did them and I know they’ll do whatever it takes to save their own skin,” Draco’s grey eyes almost looked sad, he snapped out of it quickly, “here are your identities and your transformations.”

Harry took his parchment, “Dante? A bachelor living with his sister and husband, candle maker?”

“We moved here for a simple life and to get away from the hustle and bustle,” Draco explained.

“Thalia,” Hermione read, “home duties?”

“Sorry Hermione,” Draco showed a flicker of a smile, “it’s very traditional here. I also wouldn’t advise leaving the apartment after dark.”

Hermione pursed her lips, bursting to voice her opinion on women’s rights under the Marwahian laws.

“I thought it best to be married to Hermione given the behaviour of Ginny,” Draco respectfully averted his gaze.

“We split up,” Harry admitted.
“Oh…sorry to hear that,” he cleared his throat, “I’ve already told neighbours my wife and brother in law are joining me.”

“That’s fine, best not to say anything to Ron about this,” Harry gave Hermione a significant look, knowing her ginger haired boyfriend would boil over if he knew his old school enemy was undercover as Hermione’s husband.

“HALT!”

A thick voice shouted from the streets below, two shirtless soldiers in red harem pants pointed their wands at a bony man cowering behind his fruit stall. The trio watched other stall holders and customers retreat. What was a bustling marketplace had become deserted in a matter of seconds.

“How many spells have you cast today?” The shorter soldier boomed.

The bony man’s voice trembled, “f-f-four, my wife she is ill she needed cooling from her fever.”

“You’re a faction three?”

He nodded, unable to speak.

With a wave of his wand the terrified man’s head was sliced off and rolled into the middle of the street. His brightly coloured fruit now spattered with dark red blood, people screamed including Hermione and Harry felt the air leave his lungs, he gripped Hermione’s hand.

Draco’s voice was dark as he watched the man's head roll into the street.
“Welcome to Marwah.”



Chapter 2: Chapter Two
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A peal of laughter came from the Princess’ quarters, the handmaidens Reed and Lea giggled trying to smother the sound with their hands.

“Princess, you will get yourself into trouble,” Reed warned still giggling.

“That was suitor number twelve?” Lea shook her head still smiling.

“Each suitor seems to be more and more arrogant,” Princess Samira rolled her eyes.

“I think Prince Malek broke his back,” Reed stifled a giggle as she secured the Princess’ tiara in place.

“Well Prince Malek shouldn’t have tried to show off,” Princess Samira said smartly as she watched the jewels glitter on her throat.

“You’re all ready Princess,” Lea said adjusting the fabric of her red skirt.

“Thank you ladies,” Samira admired the red silk fabric that swirled around her ankles.

A sharp knock at the door made Reed and Lea drop their smiles, the girls stood to attention their hands neatly folded in front of them.

“You may enter,” the Princess announced.

“Princess Samira,” the King’s butler Dimitri bowed deeply, “your father wishes to meet you in the throne room.”

“Thank you Dimitri.”

He bowed once more and purposefully strode back to his boss. Princess Samira gave her friends a raised eyebrow, they knew that her father, the King had heard about latest issue with her suitor.


Princess Samira entered the throne room, her father and step mother perched on their elegant gold thrones with equal looks of distain. Her father’s crown sat upon his salt and pepper hair, his hazel eyes glared at his daughter. Her step mother’s gaze was no better, cool grey eyes framed by dark brown hair, she had never seen her step mother look warm and kind. Not like her mother, she had inherited her mother’s sage green eyes and mahogany hair, she missed her mother’s eyes, her mother’s love and adoration everyday.

Beside her father was the Captain of the Guard, Vlad, her father’s most trusted employee of nearly ten years. Vlad had piercing grey blue eyes and long brown hair tied back at the nape of his neck, he always managed to give Samira a chill deep inside of her.

Samira breathed in awaiting the lecture from her father.

“Samira,” he bellowed.

“Father,” she nodded.

“Why has Prince Malek stormed out of the Palace with a limp?”

“Prince Malek was attempting to show me his push up’s but unfortunately injured himself,” Samira fought down the urge not to smile.

“That is the twelfth suitor Samira! We are running out of options and time, I have delayed your engagement for almost five years.”

“If you’d let me travel, I’m sure I’d meet the right man,” Samira pleaded, the age old argument began again.

“Don’t start this again, you know the law.”

“A law YOU made to keep me under your thumb.”

“You’re the only heir for this Kingdom now, this is part of being a Princess,” the King’s fingers flexed.

“I never asked to be a Princess,” Samira said darkly.

“You ungrateful—“

“Darling,” Alexia soothed, placing her hand on top of her husbands, “there’s no need to get upset.”

“Yes, quite,” King Izaiah cleared his throat, “we have found a solution, there’s a scroll from our fifth generation Marwahian descendants. After a particularly terrible plague wiped out many available suitors, sons and daughters of the King were married to heads of the community and notable delegates to the Kingdom. And we have decided that Captain Vlad would be an appropriate suitor for you and he has kindly agreed wed you if a suitor cannot be found.”

The floor seem to shrink, Samira felt her stomach plummet and her insides turn to ice. Before she could respond Vlad had approached her, bowing deeply he took her hand and kissed it gently.

“It would be an honour Princess.”

“Father, you can’t be…”

“Your father has agonised over this decision,” Alexia attempted a brief smile to her step daughter.

“But he’s closer to your age then mine!” Samira protested, stepping away from Vlad.

“Princess I could help you lead this country, your father trusts me,” Vlad reached for her hand again, “I know it’s a lot to digest, give yourself time.”

“What other options do you think I have Samira?” Her father asked her plainly, “now come let us get ready for dinner.”

“I’m not hungry…actually, I have this dreadful headache,” Samira touched her hand to her forehead giving her a polite way to release Vlad’s hand.

“I’ll have the chef send you up some supper,” her father nodded, excusing her.

Samira left as quickly as possible without breaking into a run. She heard her parents talking and Vlad’s voice but they were drowned out by the blood rushing in her ears. It was time to leave, she had an escape plan at the ready.
The Palace staff would be busy tending to dinner, turning down the rooms ready for bed. Samira dismissed her handmaidens for the night feigning her awful headache. Once she was alone, Samira snuck down to the staff room, snatching a pair of olive green robes from an unassuming servant’s bag, she swapped her jewelled gold sandals for shabby brown sandals.

After years of spying on the staff leaving through their own private exit out of the palace. Samira tapped her wand on the doorframe replicating the order of taps she had watched the staff perform.

The doorframe melted away leading out into the city and for the first time in a decade, Samira was outside the palace walls.


Chapter 3: Chapter Three
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Harry had no time to adjust to his new life as Dante, the next morning before the sun had fully risen Draco helped Harry set up his candle stall. Doing everyday tasks without magic was proving to be difficult and time consuming.
Hermione had already spent all her waking hours cooking breakfast and washing without magic. Draco and Harry were eager to get out of the apartment as Hermione’s temper was flaring with every menial task she had performed.

The marketplace was between factions seven and five, it was a zig zag pattern of alleyways and side streets with brightly coloured stalls dotting the edges. Vendors all seemed to know one another and they laughed and called out to each other.

Harry kept brushing his new light brown hair out of his face, as part of his undercover operation his hair had lengthened and lightened, he could tie it back in a pony tail.

“Andre,” called a vendor, “this must be your brother in law?”
The vendor was broad chested with short bristled black hair on his face, head and arms. He reminded Harry of a smaller version of Hagrid.

“Morning Ali,” Draco said smiling, “this is Dante, just got here yesterday.”

“I can tell by the sunburn,” Ali laughed.

“Nice to meet you,” Harry said shaking his hand.

“Best candles in town so I hear?” Ali grinned, she black beard stretching.

“Oh I don’t know about that,” Harry said, “why don’t you have one on the house?”

“I couldn’t.”

“Keeps the mosquitos away this one,” Harry said picking up a yellow cylindrical candle.

“Oh go on then,” he took the candle and handed over a hessian bag of his own wares, “that’s a sample of my roasted nuts, best in town, your missus will love them.”

“Thanks Ali but I’m single, I’ll enjoy them though.”

“Single? Come to the tavern with me tonight and Andre you too if you can get away from the missus,” he clapped Draco on the back good naturedly.

“Sounds good,” Draco replied.

“I’ll let you get set up, good luck today,” he waved and headed off calling out to other vendors.


“He seems nice,” Harry observed laying out more brightly coloured candles.

“Ali is the town gossip, everything that goes on, he knows about,” Draco was still watching Ali chatting with dried fruit vendor now, “it’s not respectable for married men to go to the tavern alone but with you, it’s more socially acceptable to go with friends.”

“I see,” Harry grinned, “do you need to ask Hermione for permission to go out?”

Draco grimaced, “don’t start, she’ll want to come with us but it’s unusual for a woman to go to a tavern. The only kind of women that go there are…”

“Say no more,” Harry bit his lip, “she’s going to get mad if she has to stay home all the time.”

“Nothing we can do mate,” Draco said lining up the last row of candles.



After lunch, the rush began, tourists with their purses jingling, brightly coloured robes filled the marketplace and Harry’s stall was especially popular as a new vendor. His own satchel was soon overflowing with coins.

“This isn’t a bad gig,” Harry grinned at Draco.

“Just wait till close up,” Draco replied darkly.

Harry forgot to respond he noticed a figure in dark green robes slowly make their way through the marketplace. Her eyes were alight with wonder and she smiled at passers by, she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. And he wasn’t alone, many other vendors stopped and stared at the beauty wandering past them. Her eyes were engaged and enchanted by the sights and sounds around her. Vendors placed their goods under her nose to entice her, she smiled politely and continued walking.

The stranger’s eyes met Harry’s, she smiled and ducked her head into the hood of her robe. Harry felt his cheeks burn and not from the sun blaring down on the marketplace.

“Why don’t you take a picture Harry,” Draco snickered.

“Shut up, she’s the best looking thing I’ve seen since we got here.”

“She’s coming this way,” Draco smirked at Harry, “sell her a candle.”

Harry kicked Draco behind their stall as she approached.

“Good afternoon,” Harry said, a little louder than he intended.

“Hi,” she gently touched a midnight blue candle, “these are beautiful.”

“Thank you,” Harry saw that she was more beautiful up close, her eyes were almond shape and the colour of sage.
“Is this your first time in the marketplace?” Harry asked.

“Is it that obvious?” She laughed and the sound made Harry’s stomach flip.

“HALT!” The soldier’s voice boomed through the marketplace, “wand’s out!”

The bustling mood in the marketplace instantly vanished, vendors and shoppers nervously took out their wands apart from the woman in front of his stall.
“Are you deaf?” The soldier stormed up to Harry’s stall, in an effort to intimidate her but she stood her ground.

“Why must I show you my wand?” She asked innocently.

“Because I’m in charge sweetheart,” he leant close to her, leering.

“I’d rather not thank you and I’d prefer if you wouldn’t stand so close to me,” she said politely.

“What’s your name rat?” he growled, stepping closer to her.

“Sadie, what is your name?”

“That’s none of your business,” he shoved Sadie out of the way and called out to a fellow soldier, “we’ve got a resister!”

“Sadie, Miss!” Harry whispered, “you need to run.”

“Hey! Stop talking to her!”

“Harry shut up!” Draco whispered.

Both soldiers approached Sadie and before the could flank her Harry cast a non verbal spell stunning the two huge soldiers, they hit the ground with a loud crack. The marketplace tension rose, everyone had their wand out ready for inspection and anyone could’ve stunned the soldiers.

“Get out of here!” Harry said.

“Thank you,” she mouthed and bolted.

Draco rolled his eyes, “can you ever not be the hero?”







Chapter 4: Chapter Four
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Samira didn’t stop running until she was deeper inside than city than she had intended to be. Her city was like rotten fruit, beautiful and tempting on the outside but dark, filthy and decayed the closer you bit into the centre.

She could hardly believe the conditions people under her rule were living in. The smell of rotting food and disease stung her nose and eyes. Rats and people scurried through trash piles left on the side of the clay built houses. It was humiliating, why had her Father not done anything about it?

Samira found a Tavern further away from the foul smelling centre of the city. Now darkness was beginning to cloak the city she really had to find somewhere safe to stay for the night and work out her next move. The city was not as friendly at night, as the sky darkened so did the people of Marwah.

The Tavern owner, Leo had kindly explained the factions of her city, the details no one in her family had ever bothered to share with her.

‘It’s none of your concern,’ her Father constantly chided.

How could her father sleep at night?

The Tavern began to fill, Samira her cloak on and her hood up. She really had no idea what to do next. All Samira knew was that she couldn’t ever marry Vlad and if she had to walk the city all night and forego sleep, she would do just that.

“Hey!”

The loud yell made her flinch, no one knew her here so they couldn’t possibly be speaking to her.

“You’re not going to get paid sitting on your ass with your cloak on,” a stranger grabbed her shoulder and tugged her off her stool.

A brutish looking man with three day stubble and a three day stink yanked her to standing, his eyes raked her face, “apologies, I thought you were one of my girls.”

Samira pulled away sharply, not accepting his apology.

“You should work for me,” he said sizing her up.

“Is there a problem here?” It was the man in the marketplace, the candle man. Samira smiled at him, he had rescued her earlier today.

“Just business my friend,” the brute replied, “none of which is yours.”

“She’s not interested in what you’re offering,” he persisted.

The brute stepped closer to the candle man, “I said, it’s none of your bus—“

Samira watched the brute crumple to the floor as she had stunned him.

“Her again,” the candle man’s friend appeared beside them, “get her out of here, I’ll take care of this.”

Wordlessly she followed the stranger out of the tavern, into the darkness.

“What is your name?” She asked.

“Dante and you are Sadie, the woman who won’t hand her wand over?”

She nodded, his voice was soothing and warm, with an English accent, “I’m sorry I stunned that man but he was making me uncomfortable.”

“I can see why,” he smiled, “I can also see why you don’t like handing your wand over if you make a habit of stunning people.”

“I didn’t know about the factions,” Samira admitted, “but thank you for the distraction today.”

“Can I walk you to your hotel? These streets aren’t exactly safe at night.”

“That’s very kind of you but I’ve imposed on your day enough.”

“It wouldn’t be a problem,” he said earnestly, “I could show you around?”

“That would be wonderful.”

“We’ll head towards the shore, if that’s ok.”

“Thank you,” the pair began heading away from the centre of town, “who was that man at the tavern who helped you?”

“My brother in law, Andre.”

“You have a sister here?”

“Yes Thalia, my older sister. Do you have siblings?”

“Yes an older brother but I haven’t seen him in years.”

“Oh,” Harry didn’t know what to say.

“Sorry I don’t know why I said that.”

“Not at all, you must miss him.”

“All the time, our father believes in arranged marriages,” Samira admitted truthfully, “he drove my brother away.”

“And now you?”

“How did you know?”

Dante smiled, “a beautiful woman wandering the streets with no idea about the city she’s in? Classic runaway.”

Samira’s cheeks burned, “your investigative talents are wasted selling candles.”

He laughed and Samira felt her stomach swoop, “my father is forcing me to marry a much older man, I just ran.”

“I would have too,” Dante frowned, “I don’t understand how a parent would want to hurt their child like that.”

“I don’t know but I do know I’m not going back.”

“Where will you go?”

“I’m not sure,” she blushed again, “I didn’t really think this through, I was so shocked by who my father wanted me to marry that I just wanted to get as far away as possible. You must think I’m incredibly naïve.”

“Not at all, I think it’s brave to leave everything you know behind.”

“I never thought about it like that,” Samira smiled at his kindness, “thank you.”

“Here we are,” Dante gestured to the shore line, “the Marwahian beach.”

Samira felt the breath leave her body, it was truly a beautiful sight. The moon shone like a silver disco and it’s reflection glistened in the inky waters lapped gently on the sand, she kicked her shoes off and felt the fine sand between her toes. Dante was close behind, she could smell his woody scent mingling with the salty air, she closed her eyes and inhaled.

“First time on the sand?” Dante asked.

“It’s been a long time,” Samira answered, trying to remember a time when her mother was alive and she had sand between her toes. “Do they have beaches in England?”

Dante grinned, “whose investigative skills are wasted now?”

Dante took a seat on the sand, his legs extended toward the shoreline where the sea lazily nipped at his bare feet, “there’s nothing like this in England no, our beaches are mostly pebbled.”

“That sounds very beautiful,” Samira sat beside Dante enjoying the cool water wetting her feet.

“It’s mostly cold though, all the time,” he continued, “not like here, it’s always warm, even now.”

“I’ve been to England, it’s so different to Marwah it’s hard to believe we are living on the same planet.”

“Did you go to London?”

“Yes! We stayed there, my mother loved London very much, she loved the shopping,” Samira smiled at the memory of her mother.

“She’s passed?” Dante asked.

“How did you know?”

“My mother is also passed, I know the smile you just gave, it’s familiar,” Dante smiled gently and that familiar swoop returned to Samira’s insides.

“It is an incredibly isolating loss, no one quite understands, the bond between a mother and child is the strongest bond on Earth, no magic can heal that,” Samira couldn’t believe the words she was saying to this mere stranger but it felt nice to share.

“A friend told me, those who love us are never truly gone, they live on, in here,” Dante placed his hand on her heart and if she could’ve melted into the sand she may have.

Everything was so perfect, the moonlight, the sea, the man. Her head was spinning, this was crazy but she had the strongest urge to kiss this stranger on the beach, her first night away from her father in nearly 25 years.

Were they leaning in towards each other?

“HALT!” A voice shouted, the pair sprang apart.

“That’s the man!”

It was the brute from the Tavern, “he stunned me! Arrest him!”

Two soldiers grabbed Dante ripping him away from Samira, “he was bothering this woman,” Dante protested.

“Let us see your wand,” a soldier commanded.

“It wasn’t him!” Samira said loudly, “I stunned that man, not him, let him go!”

The brute scoffed, “a woman couldn’t stun me!”

Without another word Samira stunned the brute for the second time, he crumpled to the floor with a thud.

Instantly a soldier appeared ready to grab Samira, she held her wand out, ready to strike, “let him go, he has done nothing wrong.”

“Put the wand down or we will take you in by force,” the soldier commanded.

“Sadie, listen to them, I’ll be fine,” Dante warned.

“We’ll slit your boyfriend’s throat and he won’t be so fine,” the soldier holding Dante warned.

“You will not!” Samira waved her wand and her robes vanished, revealing her Princess garb, she felt the tiara rest on her head.

“I command you to release him by order of the Princess!”

The soldiers sank into a deep bow, taking Dante with them, who stared aghast at the transformation.

“Princess Samira, your highness, we are deeply sorry, forgive us, we did not know you were outside the palace walls tonight,” the soldier remained bowed.

“Release this man at once.”

The soldiers immediately stepped away from Dante, except for one, “I will escort him home, to ensure he is safe.”

Without another word the soldier disappeared with Dante by his side, she didn’t even get to thank him.

“Princess we must take you to the palace your father will be worried sick.”

Samira followed willingly, she had a few topics she needed to discuss with her father.


Chapter 5: Chapter Five
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"Dimitri!" Samira called, "Did you go into market today?" Samira had asked the King's servant the same question for the last five mornings since her adventure outside.

"Yes your highness," he bowed, "no one has seen your candle making friend since the day you visited the market. A rather large man was helpful and had heard that they were returning to London as they couldn't handle the weather here."

"Oh," Samira cast her eyes to the marble tiles of her lavish breakfast room, "thank you for asking around for me."

"Not at all Princess," he bowed once more. "Dimitri, what faction are you?"

He stood perfectly still, "inside the palace to serve the King only the law is lifted upon me."

"But outside the Palace?" "Five," he replied stiffly.

"How many people live in your home?"

"My wife, our two children and my Mother in law."

"I am trying to make some changes Dimitri," Samira insisted.

"Thank you Princess," he bowed again, no change of emotion registered on his face.

Samira watched uncomfortably as Dimitri exited the breakfast chambers, his gait was so polished and refined that he would pass for an Earl or councilman but these factions had left him with only five spells per day. But unlimited to serve the King, it wasn't fair. She gazed at the marble table laden with breakfast fruits, juices, breads, none of it was fair.

 

"Samira!" Her father and step mother entered the chamber.

"Good morning," she nodded cursing herself for lingering, "I was just grabbing breakfast."

"Please sit," her stepmother said with a smile, "we haven't had a chance to catch up since your little adventure."

Samira clenched her jaw at the mention of her 'little adventure', her stepmother purposefully made her escape sound childish.

"We don't need to touch on that matter again," her father sneered, taking a seat.

Reluctantly Samira followed suit, a nameless servant taking out her chair and placing a linen napkin on her lap, she thanked them quietly and took a deep breath.

"Actually Father, since my 'little adventure', I have decided I would like to spend more time in the city and get to know my people. If I know their needs it will make me a better leader," Samira finished awaiting the backlash.

"I think it's an excellent idea," her stepmother came to her assistance surprisingly, "that's a very noble exercise for a young woman to partake. It would give the people hope and brighten their days."

"Thank you Alexia," Samira nodded.

"A royal wedding would brighten their days," her father began again.

"Now Izaiah, if Samira takes these excursions into the city she will need to have protection. It wouldn't look unusual if the Captain of the Guard accompanied her and they fell in love through spending more time together," Alexia sipped from her crystal goblet hiding her smile.

 

That manipulating cow, Samira's blood boiled, so that was her game, let her have what she wanted and appear to the public that their relationship grew organically.

Her father brightened immediately, "wonderful idea! Wonderful! We will set up the arrangements at once!"

"Don't we have more suitors we need to see out of obligation?" Samira added hopefully.

"Yes of course however a few suitors have withdrawn their courtship, Vlad is your most solid option," her father tucked in happily to his breakfast.

"Vlad is in his fifties," Samira commented.

"And he looks magnificent for his age! Wonderful genes to pass on the family tree."

Samira felt her breakfast swim in her stomach and she swallowed hard to stop herself from being sick.

She pasted on a smile that nearly hurt, "well I'd like to plan my itinerary for my first public visit, may I be excused?"

"Of course," her father nodded.

"Good day Samira," Alexia smiled. Samira didn't trust her voice and simply nodded, escaping to the corridor she squeezed her eyes shut trying to erase the words that were said to her.

"Princess," it was Captain Vlad, "apologies for disturbing you but I overheard your parents…I would like to help you in reaching out to the people. They have suffered for too long."

"That is very kind of you," Samira replied, "I apologise for commenting on your age."

"You were right to remind your father," he smiled slightly, "why would a young and beautiful woman want to marry an old man."

"Please Captain Vlad," she placed a hand on his arm, "I do not think of you as an old man, I think of you as my father's friend. You are very handsome and any woman would be lucky to have you."

"Princess you are embarrassing me," he ducked his head, "my hope for you is that there is a brave suitor for you."

"Thank you, I must be going." Vlad bowed and gently kissed her hand in farewell.

She had no intentions of ever marrying Vlad but it eased the tension in her chest to know that he saw how ridiculous the idea was. And he wished her a proper suitor, that was sweet.

 

Little did the Princess know another suitor was coming her way.

 



Chapter 6: Chapter Six
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"I'm going to be sick," Harry said between clenched teeth.

"Just breathe," Hermione responded smiling, "we can do this."

"If we get caught—"

"Shut up Harry," Draco interrupted, "we're ready, they're waiting for us."

Harry swallowed down the bile rising in his throat, if he threw up now that would give it away. He looked to his friends, Hermione wearing a heavily adorned gown in pale blue, her hair was lightened to honey blonde and she appeared taller or maybe that was the posture she attempted to pull off.

Draco was in royal bulter's garb, his hair was darker and cropped close to his skull.

Harry felt sweat pool at the base of his spine, his clothes wear heavier, more expensive, his hair was shorter, blonder and his skin was back to it's English white.

 

Since Harry's return from his run in with the Princess, the idea was instantly formed that where else would the Malfoy's hide? A lavish, luxurious palace. And the only people allowed into the palace other than the staff and royal family?

Princess Samira's suitors.

 

Hermione sprang into action and organised approval from the Duke of Oslo and the royal family of Norway to go undercover as the Duke Erik, his sister Lady Simone and head servant Daniel. The family even sent four Norwegian armed guards to assist in the project.

 

"Presenting Duke of Oslo, Erik Epsen, his sister Lady Simone Epsen of Norway," Draco announced in a confident voice.

The Palace gates opened soundlessly revealing a long marble path leading to the golden doors of the Palace. Their horses trotted forwards seeming more confident than their rider's. These horses were from the Duke of Oslo, he was well known for his love of horses and riding, Harry had had to learn how to ride and learn everything about the Duke to pull off his character.

 

The King's servant and guards greeted them at the doors to the Palace, they bowed deeply and Harry felt the heat rise from his collar.

"Your grace," the servant said, "the King Izaiah thanks you for your travels for his daughter's hand. Please take this afternoon to relax and refresh before your audience with the Princess tonight."

"Thank you," Harry nodded.

"We will look after your horses for the duration of your stay," he replied.

"Very well," Hermione spoke formally as best she could.

The trio entered the Palace and were careful not to look too impressed by the abundant interiors. Every inch of the Palace was decorated with silk, gold and jewelled excessively.

 

The King's servant sunk into a bow ahead of them, Draco and Hermione quickly followed suit but Harry wasn't quick enough.

"Your highness," the servant said still bowed.

"Another suitor?"

Princess Samira stood in the centre of the jewelled hallway, framed magnificently, a long gown of deep plum floated around her ankles. Harry and her locked eyes, was there a flicker of recognition.

"Yes you're highness," the servant replied.

"Get down," Hermione clenched her teeth in a whisper.

Harry sunk into a bow but couldn't take his eyes off the Princess, she was beautiful and seeing her in her own surroundings he wondered how he could ever have thought she was just a girl from the village.

"You didn't hear your Grace?"

Harry swallowed willing his mouth to work, "pardon me your highness?"

"Surely you have heard the gossip? I'm a brat, a spoilt elitist," she raised an eyebrow her eyes glinting with mischief.

"I don't socialise with people who gossip your highness, especially those who speak ill of you," Harry sank into another bow.

"I'm sure you will soon see for yourself, don't unpack," she grinned and left, her gown trailing behind her.

 

"I assure you, your highness was being facetious, she has quite a sense of humour," the King's servant gave an apologetic smile.

"Your highness seems lovely," Hermione said.

 

"I'll leave you to your rooms to settle in and we shall see you at the dinner tonight, seven o'clock," with a distinctive bow and left.

 

Draco passed Hermione a slip of parchment it read, 'Set the muffalio spell on our rooms. We need to plan now.'



Chapter 7: Chapter Seven
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The Princess assumed she must have seen Duke Erik at other royal functions, the bolt of familiarity between them had definitely been present. He was handsome and not in a polished, regal manner. More simple and a trustworthy face, but we shall see. Of course all these suitor's were the same and only wanted to inherit the royal fortune one day and carry the title of King.

 

Samira eventually shook off her maid's as she strode into the dining room, her bold red dress fell softly off her shoulders and rubies glittered off her ears, throat and wrist. She had dressed a little more promiscuous than usual, if the Duke was her final chance before having to marry her father's guard Vlad, she would take the Duke closer to her age and handsome.

 

The dining room and it's guests sparkled and glittered in the strategically candlelit room. The candles made everyone's skin appear to be glowing, the silverware glinted expensively and the food looked intricate and expensive.

 

"Your highness Princess Samira of Marwah," the guard announced as she entered the room, which then followed this announcement by sinking into a bow.

To her annoyance the Queen had the floor and was in the midst of telling a highly amusing antidote and when Queen Alexia spoke, everyone listened.

"Princess," Vlad had peeled away from the crowd, "may I say you look breathtaking this evening."

His eyes lingered too long on her bare skin and she immediately wanted to cover herself up. He reached for her hand as soon as his lips had pressed into the back of her hand, she felt her heavy necklace drop.

"Allow me," he dutifully placed the necklace back around her throat and gently clasped it back together, his fingers brushing the back of her neck.

"We can't have your highness looking dishevelled in front of his grace now can we?" His breath was sour and seemed to linger at her ear.

"Of course not," she smiled and slid out of his clutches, "forgive me Vlad I must mingle with our guests."

"Let me know if you need help with the Duke," he bowed deeply.

 

Smiling politely Samira escaped from Vlad although she could still feel his eyes watching her. The Duke was looking more and more appealing the more time she spent with Vlad. She could have very happily have settled for the Duke and keep Vlad at bay. If only she had never met Dante, she never knew about the spark or the connection until she met him, even though it was brief, it was unlike any feeling she had ever had before.

 

She did her best to smile and laugh at all the right moments in front of her guests. And to her frustration the Duke did not approach her, she suddenly felt very foolish in the gown she chose.

 

While a new round of extravagant cocktails was being served, Princess Samira stepped out to the balcony. The air was crisp with salt from the ocean and the sky was littered with stars caught in an inky black sky.

She sat on the edge of the marble balcony her dress fanning over the marble like a red flame.

"Your highness?"

 

It was the Duchess Simone, holding two crystal goblets of wine, her blonde hair twisted in a sleek knot and a gown of robin's egg blue fluttered around her ankles. She was an exquisite looking woman.

She handed her the goblet, "I apologise you seemed as though you needed a refreshment."

"Thank you your Grace."

"Please call me Simone," she sat gracefully down her back as straight as an arrow.

"Call me Samira," she raised her glass is a small toast.

"Forgive my brother, he is quite shy."

"Not at all, I despise these events, everyone watching to see how we interact so they can gossip to their circles about what they saw," Samira sipped the wine.

"May I suggest accompanying him to the stables tomorrow? He is most confident when he is around his horses and it might be away from prying eyes," Simone asked.

"Of course," Samira agreed, "you are a very kind sister."

"Thank you, you must miss your brother."

Samira was taken aback at how brazenly Simone had mentioned her brother, he was known as a bit of an outcast amongst the royals, after all, who would choose to give up this lifestyle?

"Oh sorry," the Duke appeared and blushed.

"Erik really! We travelled all this way the very least you could do is sit by Princess Samira," Simone rose and handed Erik her drink with a condescending pat on the shoulder and a smirk that Samira saw briefly she left her anxious brother alone with Samira.

"Your sister seems like a lot of fun," Samira said genuinely.

Erik rubbed the back of his head and took a large swig of wine, "sometimes…she ah… has always been very bossy ever since we were young."

Samira smiled attempting to relax the jittery Duke, "my brother was like that also, the eldest always knew best according to him."

He smiled briefly and Samira noticed again how handsome he was.

"So why did you decide to meet me?"

He took another gulp of wine, "can I be one hundred percent honest with you?"

"Please," she urged.

"I use all these suitor engagements as a way to travel, my parents aren't big on travelling too far from home but I love experiencing the different culture and food and environments, there's so much to see…", he looked bashful admitting this.

"I would definitely do the same if I was in your position."

This seemed to put Erik at ease and he sat, "your country is beautiful, the beaches here are unlike anything I've ever seen before."

"Perhaps we could take you there during your visit," she smiled.

"You're not mad?"

"Why would I be?" She raised her eyebrows, "I've been begging suitors to be honest with me for this entire ordeal and finally here you are."

"Why would they lie?"

Samira gestured at the palace and the view of Marwah.

"Oh right," Erik bowed his head, "don't you think the whole suitor process is a bit…"

"Absurd yes! A princess must do this, a princess must marry a complete stranger?"

"I know Simone is glad she's a Duchess," he faltered, "I'm sorry your highness."

"It's fine, please call me Samira," she paused watching him nervously fiddle with his goblet.

"Despite what everyone says, it's very nice to meet you Samira," he smiled and Samira thought maybe this wouldn't be so bad.



Chapter 8: Chapter Eight
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Harry threw down his tailor made sports coat and flung himself into the velvet club chair. A sigh of relief escaping his lips. As he had finally made it back to his suite in the palace.

"I take it your morning went well?" Hermione barely peered up from her book.

"It was a nightmare," Harry closed his eyes rubbing his temples, "there was about sixteen royal officials and press and staff watching our every move."

"I know," Hermione snapped shut the book she was reading, "I tried to speak with the Queen alone and have a 'girls' chat, not a chance on your life!"

"Well," Draco entered with a flourish, "you need to slum it with the servants and staff here, they know all the goss."

"Really?" Hermione looked sceptical.

"Truly," Draco couldn't stay still, his physique buzzing with energy, "the staff are invisible to the royals."

"So…" Hermione asked.

"Oh I have absolutely nothing on my parents but I just have scandalous news," Draco mocked a fainting motion.

"You're in a good mood," Hermione observed.

"He had a shag," Harry laughed, causing Hermione to blush.

"Draco!" She whispered fiercely.

Draco threw his hands up, "we needed to get information, any means necessary."

Harry laughed and rolled his eyes, "so what information did you get?"

"It's really foul actually," he glanced at Hermione, "Hermione will probably start a campaign against it but according to the law if the Princess can't find an appropriate suitor her father can approve the next highest power of the Kingdom to wed her."

"That's unfair!" Hermione protested.

"Especially when the next highest power is the Head Guard, Vlad, that old guy!"

"How disgusting! He looks to be the same age as the King, how can a father allow this?" Hermione was outraged.

Draco rolled his eyes, "calm down Hermione, she's a princess with all the wealth in the world you can't feel too sorry for her."

"Money isn't everything Draco," Hermione's eyes flashed.

"Settle petal," he grinned, "I haven't even got to the best part."

"You're sick," she shook her head disapprovingly.

"The Princesses maid Reed didn't think so," Draco winked at Harry, "Reed seems to think that the Princess has already chosen a suitor."

"She has?" Harry tried to act nonchalant but found his heart beginning to beat faster.

"Apparently ever since the Princess met this young man she hasn't stopped thinking about him and has been asking the staff to look out for him in the marketplace," Draco's mouth curved into a sly smile.

"Who on earth is it?" Hermione asked.

"A simple candle shop owner she met named Dante," Draco finished off theatrically.

 

Harry felt heat flood his body as Hermione's eyes flew to him.

 

"Harry," she said urgently, "you need to write to her immediately, if she is waiting for you to return and has to marry that old man…"

Harry found his voice, "err…yes of course…I'll write saying I had to go back to London, she knew I was from there."

"Maybe Harry wants to pursue her?" Draco offered still grinning.

"Unfortunately the Princess thinks he is a poor man named Dante and not Harry Potter," Hermione replied tightly.

"He could have a quick shag," Draco winked.

"We are here on behalf of the Order not here to shag," Hermione said pointedly.

"It's alright," Harry said diffusing the impending fight, "Draco she's a princess not a maid, it'd be a lot more difficult. I'll go write to the Princess as Dante and send it from marketplace to avoid any suspicion."

 

Eager to get away from Draco and Hermione's bickering Harry made his way to the royal gardens. The sun was beginning to set and a brilliant show of purples, oranges and golds were streaked across the sky. Harry could feel the warmth from the sun slowly slipping away, he heard a voice, a rushed whisper and ducked behind a large wisteria tree.

 

"I really appreciate this Basi," the voice whispered.

"You know I would do anything for you," came a whispered reply.

Harry peered out from behind the wisteria and was inches from Princess Samira's face.

"Your grace!" She curtseyed, her face flushing.

Maybe she wasn't pining for Dante after all? She looked guilty but quickly regained herself.

"Your highness," he bowed.

"What are you doing out here?" She asked.

"I have some business to attend to in the marketplace."

 

Whatever she had been feeling before dropped and she laughed, "you can't just walk out of the Palace your Grace." She sized him up, her eyes glinting in the quickly disappearing streaks of sun, "we'll help you attend to your business if you promise not to speak of myself and Basi leaving?"

"Deal," Harry shook on it and felt a surprising stab of annoyance, he had no business in the marketplace if the Princess was so obviously not waiting for Dante to return but he had committed this far and there was no turning back.

Basi was a weedy young man with large eyebrows, a bald head and glasses, his eyes were kind and gentle and Harry couldn't help but feel a tug of envy towards the man.

Harry followed the pair to a dense copse of trees shielding a weathered brick wall. It was the first surface in the entire Palace Harry had seen that wasn't polished or expensive.

"This is the staff entry, Royals aren't meant to leave the palace unauthorised," the Princess explained, she draped a dark brown cloak over her expensive clothes and handed one to Harry.

"We need to fit in," she winked.

"Where exactly are we going?"

"Just follow us and keep your head down," she pressed one of the bricks with her wand and the wall melted away, "are you ready?"

 

The world felt wonderfully open and vast outside the palace walls. Harry couldn't believe how free he felt to simply be outside and unwatched by royal officials. He followed the Princess and Basi down several back alley ways, the standard of living and condition of townspeople grew more decrepit as they walked further from the palace.

Finally they arrived at a mud brick home on the corner of a bedraggled street with a battered well nearby. Beggars and unkempt children huddled around one another and stared warily at Harry and the newcomers.

"Absolutely no magic unless there are dire circumstances," the Princess warned in a hushed voice.

"Understood, I can meet you back here in fifteen minutes?" Harry offered.

The Princess looked to Basi who nodded, "see you soon and please be careful."

 

Harry nodded and watch the pair head towards the house on the corner, he didn't have much choice but to move along and not draw attention to himself. Harry was careful to walk a simple route so he could return quickly, the darker the sky grew the darker the people of Marwah became.

 

Harry found a public rooftop where townspeople congregated, it was congested and noisy but there were dusty brown owls that delivered letters. Quickly he attached the letter to a large owl and he watched the bird make it's way to the palace. Dodging the crowd he hurried back down to the ground floor.

 

Call it intuition or just sheer curiosity but Harry stopped in his tracks when he heard a rumbling laugh. It made the hair on his neck stand up, he edged closer to the heavy wooden door where the laughter had come from.

"How does the Princess like the Duke?" A different voice purred.

"Unfortunately they seemed to hit it off," it was the laughing voice, cold and familiar.

"I suppose she is desperate."

"I'll get rid of him," the cold voice replied.

"I wish we could get rid of her."

"All in good time, we are so close now and you have been so patient my love and you will make a beautiful Queen."

"Can you stay a bit longer?"

"Not tonight my love, I have already been gone too long."

"You know sometimes I think you're just using me!" The voice shrieked and Harry's heart leapt into his mouth, his blood froze like ice in his veins.

 

Why was Ginny in Marwah?



Chapter 9: Chapter Nine
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Samira arose, got herself showered and dressed before her maids have even turned down her bed. They were shocked to find their Princess dressed in teal silk pants and a white flowing top and her hair hanging loosely and un styled.

 

“Princess!” Reed exclaimed, “did the stylist not lay out clothes for you?”

 

“Yes,” she replied brushing her hair, “but I want to look more like my people and less like a Princess.”

 

“Your father will not be happy,” Lea grimaced taking over brushing Samira’s hair.

 

“My father is never happy but today I am! And if he’s going to let what I’m wearing upset him then he is a fool.”

 

Lea and Reed ducked their heads as they hid their smiles, it was prohibited to speak poorly of the King but daughters seemed to get away with it.

 

“Let me finish getting you ready,” Lea smiled.

 

“I’ll go through your fan mail while we have time,” Reed suggested making her way to a tray of letters overflowing on the golden bureau.

 

 “You and the Duke seem to be getting on well,” Lea twisted the Princess’ hair into a complicated design.

 

“He is a gentleman…at last,” she remarked, “I hear his staff are getting on well with our staff.” Samira winked at Lea whose cheeks flushed as she gave a sheepish grin.

 

Reed gasped.

 

“What is it?” Samira asked.

 

Reed held up a simple parchment note with ink blue scrawl, “it’s from Dante.”

 

Samira’s heart leapt into her throat, without a word Reed handed her the letter. If her maid’s said anything else she didn’t hear it.

 

Sadie,

 

I am still in shock that I met a Princess, you are so humble and down to earth. Unfortunately I must travel back home to London but I had to let you know how unforgettable meeting you was and I will remember it always.

I consider myself very lucky to have shared time with a Princess.

 

Take care your highness

Dante

 

 

“I’m so sorry your highness,” Reed looked as crestfallen as Samira felt.

 

“It was a nice little dream to have,” Samira shrugged her shoulder, folding up the letter. Surprised that her voice sounded a lot stronger than she felt.

 

“Precisely,” Lea answered, “besides this Duke is looking to be quite promising, saving the best till last I believe!”

 

“He’d be a fool not to marry you,” Reed added.

 

“Thank you ladies, you are very kind but really I’m fine,” Samira smiled and ever so subtly tucked Dante’s letter into her pocket.

 

 

 

After her father complained of her outfit for several minutes Samira finally escaped to the Palace stables where her black horse, Jinx was tacked up and eager to leave.

 

“You and me both,” Samira whispered to her horse.

 

Up ahead the Duke sat comfortably on his white stallion, his sister and servant either side of him in the midst of what looked like a very heated discussion.

 

“Your highness,” Vlad trotted beside her in full guard garb.

 

“Good morning Vlad,” she inclined her head.

 

“Might I say that no matter what you wear, you still look like royalty to me,” he held out his hand to take hers but with a slight squeeze around Jinx’s middle he took off.

 

“Apologies Vlad, someone’s eager to get out of here!” She gave Jinx a grateful pat and caught up with the Duke.

 

“Good morning, your highness,” the servant addressed her loudly making Eric and Simone spring apart.

 

“I hope I’m not disturbing anything,” she asked.

 

“Not at all,” Simone smiled, “I love your pants, such a sensible idea when riding.”

 

Samira grinned, “my father doesn’t think so. I thought we could go past the Marwahian coast line first?”

 

“That would be lovely, it looks so beautiful from the Palace,” Simone looked to her brother for a response but his eyes were glazed over and looking far off into the distance.

 

“Forgive my brother he isn’t an early riser,” Simone kicked at her brother, “say good morning!”

 

“Good morning your highness,” his eyes rested on her, “nice pants,” he smiled.

 

“Why thank you, it is nice that our staff seem to be getting along so well isn’t it your Grace?”

 

Eric’s smile stretched across his face and Samira heard Simone chastises their servant.

 

“Shall we ride together?” He offered.

 

“I would love too.”

 

 

The Princess and Duke trotted along with easy conversation to the coastline. The shore put on a magnificent display to it’s foreign guests, the azure waters dazzled beneath the warm sunlight.

 

“This is really something,” Eric looked longingly at the sea.

 

“Come on, lets get our feet wet” Samira offered gracefully dismounting her horse.

 

Eric followed suit kicking off his shoes and stepping on to the fine sand, it was hot and he followed quicker than usual to dip his toes in the waters bringing instant relief.

 

“Do you ever go swimming here?” He asked.

 

Samira looked at him incredulously, “you’ve met my Father?”

 

“Sorry, it’s such a waste isn’t?” Eric rolled his pant legs up wading further into the water.

 

“We used to all come here when Mother was around, I have so many beautiful memories here,” Samira followed Eric deeper into the water.

 

“Does it get any easier?”

 

“Pardon?”

 

“Missing you Mother, does it get easier over time?”

 

“Not really, I think you just adapt to your new reality… Some days are harder than others, I’ve always thought how sad I will be on my wedding day to not have her with me.”

 

Eric was thoughtful in silence, he reached out and squeezed Samira’s shoulder gently.

 

“You don’t talk about yourself very much,” she observed.

 

Eric laughed, “I’m pretty boring to be honest, my family has no scandals or skeletons that’s why I think I must travel so much, there’s nothing else to do.”

 

“Do you have a favourite place you’ve visited?”

 

Before he could answer, he jumped suddenly, “ouch I think something just bit me,” Eric rubbed the back of his shoulder and his hand came back red with blood.

 

“You’re hurt,” Samira rushed to his side, “it’s not a deep cut but, ouch!”

 

“What’s going on?” Eric looked to the shore where the guards seemed unaware of what was unfolding.

 

“Get into the water,” Samira grabbed his hand and gracefully leapt further into the ocean, their cuts stinging in the salt water. More cuts had appeared their blood turning pink in the sea and disappearing like smoke.

 

Now the guards had noticed, they were clambering into the sea, water splashing around their waist, yelling for the Princess.

 

Another sharp sting pierced Samira’s forearm and this time she saw the small razor blade, “someone is throwing these at us,” she showed Eric the small but dangerous blade.

 

Protego,” Eric called and a silvery shield wrapped around the pair in an orb, several blades being stopped by the magical force, “what in Merlin is going on?”

 

“Someone doesn’t want me visiting the town,” Samira said her fingertips pushing down on her sliced forearm, “the guards are losing it.”

 

Eric saw the guards shooting jinx’s at the shield, the voices angry. Simone and the servant rushed towards them immobilizing the jinx happy guards.

 

“There’s spells going everywhere, someone is going to get hurt,” Samira’s eyes were wide, “they’re upsetting the horses.” She shot a pale yellow spell at the horses and the turned and cantered away.

 

“Can you do a patronus?” Eric asked.

 

“Yes?”

 

“Send a message to the shore, tell them to go back to the Palace.”

 

Samira summoned a silvery, elegant jaguar it leapt gracefully across the water absorbing the guards spells. She saw gratefully that Simone had listened to the message and was telling the guards to stop.

 

“Great idea Eric, I think they thought you were attacking me,” she laughed in spite of the situation.

 

There was a loud crack and a bolt of red light tore apart the shield around them, Eric’s eyes rolled into his head and he went crashing into the water. Completely submerged Samira screamed and clung to his shirt desperately trying to pull him up. She got grip on his shoulder and squeezing her eyes apparated back to the Palace infirmary.

 

“BASI!” Samira felt the scream tear at her throat.

 

Staff came rushing in, their eyes wide in shock as they saw their Princess soaked and bloodied in the hospital room clutching at the limp body of the Duke.

 

The Healer came rushing into the room, “are you okay?” He asked urgently.

 

“I’m fine, the Duke, a jinx hit him it broke the shield charm,” Samira blinked blood from her eyes.

 

“Why are you bleeding?” he said softly.

 

“At the sea these razor blades kept flying at us, so Eric set up the shield but the guards thought he was—“

 

“Where is my brother?” Simone raced in, her servant and Vlad close at her heels.

 

“Here,” Basi called, “it just looks like a stunning jinx but because it mingled with the shield charm he took it quite hard.”

 

“Who in your division have a strong enough stunning jinx?” Simone turned fiercely to Vlad, her eyes blazing.

 

“What do you mean?” He stammered.

 

“I mean that my brother’s shield charms are almost impenetrable, someone on your team knows highly advanced and possibly dark magic,” Simone seemed to radiated wrath through every pore of her body.

 

“I will speak to the King and get to the bottom of this at once my lady,” he bowed deeply and gave one long look in Samira’s direction before fleeing.

 

“I have Healer experience let me help,” the servant made his way beside Eric.

 

“Please Sir, tend to the Princess,” Basi asked.

 

“I’m fine,” Samira argued wiping more blood across her face, only then did she notice her hands and fingernails coated with blood.

 

“Please your highness,” he gestured to the hospital bed parallel to Eric’s and begrudgingly she took her place.

 

“There’s twelve cuts just on your front,” he inspected.

 

“Here,” Simone said, “I have Dittany.”

 

“Don’t put that on her yet!” Basi warned, “I need to check if—“

 

“The wounds are cursed,” Simone said simply, “I already have, there are no abnormal tears or blood deformities.”

 

“Are you all Healers?” Basi said, a small smile creeping up on his face.

 

“Just anomalies you learn along the way,” Simone brushed it off and began dabbing the dittany on Samira’s wounds, they immediately began to heal and the skin looked new.

 

“Royal blood heals faster than us peasants,” the servant laughed.

 

“Basi will he be alright?” Samira asked.

 

“Yes your highness, the stunning jinx was very powerful but his shield charm was also extremely powerful,” Basi continued waving his wand over Eric’s body. “May I ask Lady Simone, where did you learn to duel?”

 

“Oh goodness,” she concentrated hard on Samira’s wounds, “all over the place.”

 

If Samira wasn’t mistaken the Duchess appeared tense at the question being asked.

 

“Why do you ask Basi?” Samira queried.

 

“I’m not sure… I could be wrong but the level of this magic is reminiscent of Albus Dumbledore.”



Chapter 10: Chapter Ten
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Harry opened his eyes, the room was dark. Once again he had found himself in a hospital bed but this was his first time in a royal hospital bed. He muscles ached, especially in his neck, he rolled his neck hearing the satisfying pops release some tension.

 

“Your Highness,” the healer’s voice whispered, “Duke Eric is waking up.”

 

“Is he alright?” Samira’s voice was soft.

 

“Just a bit sore,” Harry answered, “how are you?”

 

Samira’s face was draped in shadows from the soft candlelight that ignited the hospital room. She had a royal blue silk kimono on held tightly around herself, no make up, no elaborate hair or jewellery adorned her face. Harry felt his stomach flip in a way that had nothing to do with his injuries.

 

“I’m fine, I’m sorry for disturbing you, I only wanted to see you awake and well,” she awkwardly looked everywhere except his eyes.

 

“I needed to apologise for putting you in danger today,” she fiddled with corner of her kimono.

 

“It’s not your fault,” Harry assured her, he desperately wanted to hold her hand to stop her fidgeting but the gesture seemed to intimate. So he shuffled over, allowing Samira to perch neatly on his bedside.

 

“I really wanted to show you the city,” she admitted, sitting.

 

“We can go again tomorrow,” he offered.

 

Samira laughed softly and the stomach flip returned, “I probably won’t be leaving the palace anytime soon.”

 

“We will find a way,” Harry promised, his hand itching to hold hers.

 

“We?” She asked, her eyebrows raised.

 

“I like it here,” Harry admitted, “I’ll stick around a bit longer, try and get you a decent husband.”

 

“Thank you,” she said softly, “that’s very kind of you, if there’s ever anything I can do…”

 

“You waited for me to wake up and you saved me from drowning, you’ve done more than enough.”

 

“Simone said that one of the stunning spells must have been incredibly strong to break your shield charm and Basi believes you were trained by Albus Dumbledore,” Samira had shuffled closer to Harry and his brain struggled to catch up.

 

“Basi can tell who I’ve been trained by?”

 

“Certain techniques that he’s studied, it can come in very useful when healing. How well did you know Albus?”

 

Harry reached for his glass of water, his throat dry with the name Albus, “he was a friend of the family.”

 

“Me too,” she admitted smiling, “my Mother and he got on terribly well together, he escorted us around London many times. I was devastated to hear of his passing, he had a remarkable service, all those centaurs appearing!”

 

“You were at the service?”

 

“Of course, weren’t you?”

 

“Yes… I just didn’t remember seeing you,” Harry covered quickly.

 

“There were thousands of people, all his students too. I doubt you would’ve seen me,” she paused thoughtfully, “my brother and I were trying to get a glimpse of Harry Potter.”

 

Harry’s blood ran cold, “did you see him?”

 

“Yes,” she said reminiscing, “he looked so lost, they say Albus was an enormous mentor to him.”

 

“Really,” Harry was hoping she couldn’t hear his heart beating through his shirt, he needed to change the topic quickly.

 

“Are you alright? You’re hot,” she placed her cool fingers on his forehead, “do you want me to get Basi?”

 

“No,” without thinking he leaned in and kissed Samira, after a moments hesitation she responded and kissed back. There was a rushing sound in his ears, a sound and a sensation Harry had never experienced before.

 

And then it was over.

 

Samira looked as shocked as Harry felt by what had just happened, but there was no time to fixate as footsteps approached the infirmary doors.

 

“Thank goodness,” Hermione threw her arms around Harry, ignoring Samira.

 

“You must relax sister,” Harry added weight to the word to remind Hermione who she was.

 

“She is only worried for her little brother,” Samira had composed herself so well that Harry wondered if he had dreamt what had just happened between them only moments ago.

 

“I’ll leave you, let me know if there is anything I can do,” Samira smiled and left the room.

 

Draco looked slyly back at Harry, “you snogged her,” he declared, checking the Princess had left the room.

 

“Of course he didn’t!” Hermione defended her friend, only to catch a glimpse of his guilty face, “Muffliato! Harry! Do we need to take you out of here?”

 

“No, no, she was talking about Dumbledore and Hogwarts and I didn’t know what to do,” Harry said frustrated.

 

“Maybe kissing her wasn’t the best idea! We promised the Duke not to compromise his relationship with her and now she thinks the Duke has feelings for her, not Harry, the Duke!” Hermione’s lips were drawn together making a thin line.

 

“I know, I know,” Harry pushed himself off the bed, keen to get away from Hermione’s glare, “we’ve narrowed down our search now thought, we shouldn’t be here too much longer?”

 

“Yes,” Draco said, still with a smirk on his face, “we’ve narrowed it down to the guards present today but also another fun fact.”

 

“I found one of the cursed razors and I’m certain it was Ginny’s magic, it’s her style, unless it was Narcissa, but it was definitely magic from a Hogwarts student,” Hermione still looked agitated but was calming down.

 

“Right, well we need to interview the guards then. Draco you can pretend you want an inquiry as to who injured me, a report you need to give back to the palace,” Harry said while the other two glanced at each other, “what, what is it?”

 

“Well actually Harry,” Hermione said awkwardly.

 

“You have a duel against the guards tomorrow, it’s kind of a ‘can this guy look after my daughter’ tradition,” Draco wasn’t smirking now.

 

“I’ll confund the guards who were at the beach today to duel tomorrow,” Hermione assured.

 

“Right,” Harry felt his stomach turn hard, “I’ll be fighting Lucius tomorrow then?”

 

“We can only hope,” Hermione grimaced, “our solace is that he wouldn’t do anything to brash infront of a crowd which it will be, it’s quite a big event.”

 

“Yeah all the guards are so excited they can’t wait to rip into the rich little Duke, apparently they take bets to see how long you’ll last,” Draco was back to smirking now.

 

“Yes well other previous suitors haven’t done very well and it’s a seemingly innocent way for the guards to take out their frustrations to the wealthy,” Hermione grimaced again.

 

“He’ll be fine,” Draco rolled his eyes, “they won’t know what hit them tomorrow.”

 

 



Chapter 11: Chapter Eleven
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Samira was in the duelling parlour long before she was due to arrive but she had hoped to catch a glimpse of Eric before the duel began and maybe wish him luck. Or maybe ask if that kiss happened or had she just dreamt it.

 

“Princess,” it was Simone, she curtseyed, “you’re here early.”

 

“Yes, I just wished to give your brother good luck before his duel.”

 

Samira noticed a brief sadness across the sister’s face, “that’s very kind of you. He’s already with the referee I’m afraid.”

 

“Oh, no matter I’ll just see him afterwards. Would you like to sit together during the duel?”

 

“Absolutely, I’ll be quiet anxious, he’s not the greatest dueller.”

 

“His shield charm was exceedingly powerful Basi said.”

 

“Yes he is powerful but accuracy and speed,” Simone faltered off and gave a little grimace.

 

“It’s only a friendly duel,” Samira comforted, “it’s absurd I can look after myself, these are old traditions from hundreds of years ago when women didn’t learn as much magic as men. You and I could probably take on all the guards better than your brother.”

 

Simone laughed and appeared to relax a little, “I’ll see you back here at noon.”

 

 

The Duke proved to me a much more impressive opponent than any other suitor and within the hour he had quickly and successfully disarmed eight guards, who were licking their wounds glaring and the Duke.

 

“Eric is wonderful,” Samira beamed.

 

“He’s been lucky,” Simone still teetered on the edge of her seat.

 

“Even my Father was cheering him,” Samira glanced at her father who was laughing at the dismal performance of the current guard hanging upside down by his ankles.

 

“That was the final guard Lady Simone,” Daniel bowed.

 

“It couldn’t be,” Simone gazed around the room, “that can’t possibly…unless, did you?”

 

“Lady Simone,” Daniel gently placed a hand on the Duchess shoulder, “that is everyone, your brother has performed an incredible feat.”

 

“Thank you but – “

 

“Was there a certain guard you were hoping to see,” Samira raised an eyebrow.

 

“Oh…just one of the guards that accompanied us yesterday, I can’t remember his name but he was very handsome,” Simone admitted.

 

“We’ve had all the guards from yesterday,” Samira followed Simone’s gaze, “perhaps he looked different out of his usual uniform.”

 

“That might be it,” Simone leant back into her chair looking confused.

 

“When they are back in the uniform tell me which one it was,” Samira patted her hand kindly.

 

“Vlad get in there!” The King boomed, “let’s see if you’ve still got it!”

 

The other guards boomed and cheered, desperate to see one of their own defeat the posh Duke. Vlad smirked and unclipped his cloak, he slid his wand out of his waistband and entered the arena.

 

“Of course your highness,” Vlad bowed to the King, Queen and finally to Samira.

 

“Just friendly duel you two,” the King laughed, ‘he’s an old man son don’t be too hard on him.”

 

Eric and Vlad bowed, neither taking their eyes off each other.

Vlad struck Eric with a non verbal spell, knocking him back ten feet before he crashed onto the floor in a heap.

The losing guards cheered and applauded for their captain and for the sight of a rich Duke on his ass.

Eric was ready and shot back, a bolt of red was blocked by Vlad and Eric blocked a jet of blue. Eric’s aim was true with a bolt of gold light that swept Vlad into circles and flung him to the floor.

 

No one was cheering now, the atmosphere was intense and crackling with electricity. Someone had hit a switch and it no longer felt friendly.

 

A blast of red missed Eric and he dodged narrowly missing crumbling debris. Eric shot back knocking the captain to the ground once again. Eric almost disarmed him when the captain shot back, a large cloud of grey smoke clouded the room and a hushed hissing noise filled the room.

Lady Simone and her servant shot out of their seats, racing to the duelling area. Samira was hot on their heels, the trio clearing the smoke as the ran.

 

A silvery python glided along the floor towards the Duke, but he didn’t seem afraid of the Duke, he stared mesmerised by Vlad, his skin paler.

 

“Diffindo,” Samira shouted and the python disappeared into smoke, “Vlad! How dare you!”

 

“Vlad,” the King had met them too, “are you out of your mind! You can’t set a snake of the Duke!”

 

Eric hadn’t moved.

 

“What did you do to him?” Samira demanded.

 

“He is not to be trusted,” Vlad panted.

 

“Vlad, why would you do this? I have to punish you for this…this absurdity! You set a python on a visiting Duke, in front of his sister! This is unacceptable, I’m sorry Vlad but you will have to go to the dungeon for three nights.”

 

“Very well, I understand,” Vlad looked to the Queen who nodded her head.

 

“Three nights in solitary,” the Queen commanded.

 

“Eric, are you alright?” Samira touched his face, it was warm and sweaty but she didn’t care.

 

“Take him to the nurse,” the King ordered the staff.

 

“I’ll take him,” Samira promised, “I want to make sure he’s alright.”

 

“Very well,” the King agreed, “come along Vlad we have paperwork.”

 

The rest of the room filed out in silence, the audience shooting glances at the Duke who looked like he may faint. Samira quickly gathered up the Duke’s robes from the change room, eager to remove him from the wandering eyes.

She heard his sister whispering frantically.

 

“It’s him, this whole time, it’s been him, right under our noses,” she breathed quickly.

 

“He knows it’s me too, he wouldn’t set that snake on anyone, we have—“ the Duke’s voice sounded strange.

 

“We don’t know for certain he knows who you are,” the servant warned, “but we definitely found him now we need to find Mother dearest, she will be nearby.”

 

“Who will be nearby?” Samira emerged from the change room, the three faces before her even paler than before.

 

“There is something going on with you three, I knew it as soon as you arrived,” she pointed at the Duke, “I’ve met you before, I’m sure of it. Whatever you’re planning you better disclose to me or I will make your lives very difficult.”

 

“Princess,” the Duke began, “it was me Dante, I met you in the marketplace. I just wanted to see what you were really like before—“

 

Samira held up her hand to silence him, “I don’t believe that the three of you are royalty not for a breath. Dante is long gone, he sent me a letter—“

 

“I sent the letter to you, that night we went to the marketplace with Basi? I didn’t want you to pine over Dante when he didn’t exist.”

 

“That still doesn’t explain why you are here posing as one of my suitors. What’s your fascination with Vlad?”

 

The servant stepped forward and sunk into a bow, “your highness, please accept our deepest apology, we are from the Ministry of Magic London and we believe there are some Death Eaters living here in hopes of gaining new followers to mistreat muggles and half bloods.”

 

Simone added, “we had to infiltrate the palace somehow, we thought these death eaters had found themselves close to your father to infiltrate the government here.”

 

“And you think Vlad is one of these Death Eaters based on your duel?”

 

“Yes, your highness,” Simone bowed, “and the magic used yesterday at the coast. We feel terrible that we lied to you but it was the only way to get into the Palace.”

 

Samira’s face remained impassive, she had been trained from an early age to supress emotions as it wasn’t correct royal etiquette to fall apart at the seams when you were a Princess. But inside her heart sunk, she had thought Eric and Simone had been new friends, genuinely interested in her but it was all an act.

 

“Princess,” Eric’s eyes were full of concern, “we truly are sorry.”

 

A loud horn sounded, deafening all occupants of the palace, warning that intruders were among us. Guards would start to storm the hallways gathering all the royal family and high profile guests into their rooms for safety.

 

“What’s that?” Simone gripped Eric’s hand.

 

“They know you’re here,” Samira said, “any moment now the guards will collect me and see you.”

 

“We need to run,” the servant drew his wand out.

 

“The Palace will be impenetrable,” Samira took her wand out and made some complicated shapes the glittered purple and vanished in smoke leaving three purple stones.

 

“What are you…” Eric begun.

“Take this stone with you, grip it tightly and squeeze, ready?” The Princess plucked her own stone out of her pocket.

 

“PRINCESS!” Guards shouted running closer to the duelling room.

 

“What do we—“

 

“Trust me.” She warned.

 

“PRINCESS!”

 

In haze of purple smoke they were gone.



Chapter 12: Chapter Twelve
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The trio and Princess landed in a candlelit room, it was dim and smelt of jasmine and ash. The trio lit their wands, illuminating the space, there were three large, expensive looking beds spread out with matching dresser’s.

 

“Where are we?” Simone asked.

 

“I made it,” Samira answered simply, “this room leads into my room. It’s undetected by everyone except me.”

 

“Like the room of requirement,” Hermione whispered, “that’s advanced magic.”

 

“I told you, I don’t need anyone to look after me,” Samira added a beautiful bay window, complete with lavish window dressings to further prove her point.

“So you went to Hogwarts then?”

 

The silence was heavy.

 

“I know there was a room of requirement there, Basi said you were trained by Dumbledore and you became extremely uncomfortable when I told you I was at his funeral,” she raised an eyebrow at Harry.

 

“Samira, we really appreciate what you’ve done but if you know who we are, you could be put at risk,” Hermione said gently.

 

“It’s a risk I have to take, these Death Eaters have been influencing my Father and turning my kingdom into this horrid place,” she breathed in and regained her composure, “I have to help and you know I can be useful.”

 

“She’s not wrong,” Draco agreed.

 

“But the ministry—“

 

“Simone,” Samira interrupted, “if you don’t allow me to help I will give you up to the guards, you have no choice in this matter.”

 

Harry glanced at Draco, no one had ever told Hermione what to do but they watched in amazement as Hermione backed down.

 

“As you wish Princess,” Hermione bowed.

 

“Thank you,” she nodded, “now please stay here and stay quiet. The guards will be checking to see where I am and I’m not sure how strong my sound barriers are on this place.”

 

She left the room through a concealed doorway posing as the light filled bay window. Her skirts fluttered behind her and she was gone in a swirl of satin.

 

“This is not what we were enlisted to do,” Hermione said nervously, “we weren’t meant to get anyone else involved, especially not a Princess!”

 

“She didn’t exactly give us much of an option,” Draco grinned, “I like her, I think it will be a lot easier with her on our side.”

 

“She still doesn’t know who we are, once she does…” Hermione trailed off.

 

“Hermione just stop thinking for once in your life,” Draco put a hand on her shoulder, “we found my Father and we must be close to Mother, the ministry won’t care how we did it as long as we get it done.”

 

“Don’t worry about her safety either,” Harry gestured to the room they were in, “Samira’s magic is more advanced than we first thought.”

 

Draco flung himself on to the bed closest to the window, and peered underneath the bed, “she even brought our luggage!”

 

“The Palace will think we’ve fled,” Hermione nibbled on her thumb, a habit Harry hadn’t seen her do for many years, “soon the ministry will know we were made and they will wonder where we are.”

 

“My Father is not going to alert the Ministry of anything, he’s trying to keep his head down remember? He’s certainly not going to shout from the rooftops that Harry Potter is here.”

 

“Keep your voice down!” Hermione warned, “no one knows we are here, except Kingsley. We need to keep Harry’s identity a secret for as long as possible.”

 

“Why me?” Harry asked, “you’re just as famous.”

 

“Harry don’t do this now,” Hermione opened her organised trunk and plucked out a quill and parchment, “if only we had a desk to write on.”

 

Within a moment a sleek golden table with four comfortable plum chairs appeared into the room, complete with quills and parchment.

 

“And I wish we had some refreshments,” Draco sat up, cottoning on.

 

Goblets of sparkling water and elderflower wine appeared, followed by fresh bread, colourful salads and half a gleaming ham.

 

“That’s enough!” Hermione scolded, “the room must be under the Royals magic, anything we want we get,” she pointed at Draco, “let’s not take advantage of this, we don’t know who is in control of this magic.”

 

Hermione picked up a plate and added a sizeable helping of food to her plate before sitting down and using the writing utensils supplied by the Princess.

“Well?” Draco said sarcastically.

 

“I’m not about to let it go to waste,” she commented popping a carrot stick into her mouth, “these quills are so divine, they have auto correct on them!”

 

“Hermione, we’re in a situation remember?” Harry said gently.

 

“Of course, you’re right,” she began to write frantically on the parchment until the quill wriggled itself free of her grip and wrote on it’s own accord.

 

“We’ve got Marwah, King, Queen, Princess, Rouge Prince, Captain Vlad we now know to be Lucius,” Hermione read off her parchment, “we also know Ginny is here but why?”

 

Harry nearly choked on his sandwich, “that’s who she was talking too! Lucius, it was his voice and it makes sense he wanted to get rid of the Duke so he could step in and…”

 

“Ginny could become his Queen?” Draco said coldly, “that’s what you heard him say right?”

 

“Yeah... But maybe I heard it wrong,” Harry said quickly.

 

“You didn’t, sounds like my father, he was always lecherous, still is apparently,” Draco put his food down.

 

“Ok,” Hermione said slowly, “why does Lucius need Ginny and since when did Ginny have contact with Lucius?”

 

“When we split up,” Harry began, not making eye contact with anyone, “she had said she was bored, it was more fun when we were fighting and going on adventures…she said that, nothing was exciting in her life anymore.”

 

“Harry I…” Hermione began.

 

“Don’t,” he pleaded, “really it’s fine.”

 

“Then how does my mother fit into this,” Draco continued much to Harry’s relief, “she wouldn’t wait around while Father was having an affair.”

 

“Maybe she has moved on?” Hermione suggested.

 

“Kingsley told me they were both here, there must be a reason,” Draco stood up from his chair and began to pace.

 

“We’ll get back to that,” Hermione continued as the quill continued to scribble, “the factions were introduced eight years ago when the King remarried—“

 

“With Vlad heavily in my Father’s ear,” Samira said reappearing, resulting in all three to jump in fright, “sorry,” she smiled slightly.

 

“What’s going on out there?” Hermione asked anxiously.

 

“The Palace is in complete lock down, they think you’ve escaped, I told them you ran right after they took Vlad away,” she stood awkwardly, “Vlad told my Father that it was Harry, Ron and Hermione, you know the golden trio?”

 

“Did he believe him?” Hermione asked.

 

“Of course not but Father didn’t believe you were royalty either so I guess his suspicions were confirmed. He thinks imposters tried to marry me to get his money,” she glanced at the three of them unsure and uncertain, “I’m sorry to do this,” she waved her wand and showered the trio in silver light, their physical appearance returning back to normal.

 

Draco’s hair became lighter and his eyes cool grey again.

Hermione’s hair grew darker and longer, her eyes melted back to brown.

And Harry’s hair grew untidy and black, his eyes became his signature emerald green and his iconic scar returned to his forehead.

 

“Two out of three,” Draco tried to joke.

 

Samira’s eyes widened, her hand flew to her mouth.

 

“Now you know why we couldn’t tell you,” Hermione explained.

 

“But now I understand,” Samira had once again composed herself extraordinarily quickly.

 

“Are you alright?” Hermione asked.

 

“Yes, yes…I’ll just be in my room, you can come in if you need anything I have excused my servants for the night.” Without another glance, she left the room again.

 

“Harry, you need to talk to her,” Hermione said, “she has feelings for you and I know you do for her.”

 

“Is that really what’s important right now?” Draco remarked.

 

“It is if we want her help, we need to clear the air,” Hermione argued, “and we need her help now.”

 

“Right,” Harry stood up, his food feeling like lead in his stomach, “I’ll talk to her…”

 

“Good luck,” he heard Draco say just before the bay window closed behind him.

 

 

 

 

Harry entered the Princess’ quarters, he thought his room was lavish but her room was more like an entire penthouse apartment. An enormous rose gold framed bed was adorned with greys and blues, a polished gold table, writing desk, chairs led out towards a gigantic balcony with beautiful bright flowers dotting the scene. A room around the corner looked to be her dressing room with an incredible mirror, shelves of shoes, gowns, jewellery and further past the wardrobe must have been the bathroom.

 

The Princess was leaning on the balcony rail looking picturesque, over the Marwahian skyline. Harry stared for a long time before she must have felt his stare and saw him standing there, awkward and alone.

 

“You can’t stand out here!” Samira grabbed Harry’s arm and guided him inside, she waved her wand closing the heavy drapes, the room instantly became darker and more intimate.

 

“Is everything alright with your room?” She asked.

 

“Er…yes the room is fine…I just wanted to see if you were okay…”

 

“I’m fine,” her face impassive once again.

 

“You can be mad,” Harry said weakly, “I’d understand if you wanted to yell.”

 

She laughed, “I wouldn’t know how to yell even if I wanted to.”

 

“You don’t want to yell at me?”

 

“Not quite…”, she laughed again, “Harry…Harry Potter, or Dante the humble candle maker, or Eric Duke of Norway…”

 

“I never intended to upset you…I didn’t think we’d get this close,” he admitted.

 

“That night I met you as Dante, did you know who I was?”

 

“No, I had no idea. That’s what put the plan in motion, we knew the only people who could get into the Palace were your suitor’s.”

 

“I liked Dante,” she mused, “and Eric, they were really sweet. I guess you have the same problem as I do.”

 

“I do?”

 

“All these men wanting to marry me for my money and all the women must chase you for your fame. You never know who actually wants to be around you, just because they simply like who you are.”

 

“I like who you are, I liked Sadie and I like you,” Harry admitted.

 

“That’s very kind of you but I know now the real reason for you staying here as the Duke and it wasn’t because you liked me,” Samira looked for the first time incredibly vulnerable.

 

“That’s not true.”

 

“You kissed me just so I’d stop talking about Hogwarts, you didn’t want me to catch on,” she smiled sadly, “I was naïve to think—“

 

Harry took her face in his hands and kissed her, her body melted into his. His arms entwined around her waist and Samira laced her hands around his neck.

 

“Don’t!” Samira put her hands on Harry’s chest, “you can’t just kiss me every time you want me to be quiet.”

 

Harry grinned in spite of the situation, “then stop talking.”

 

 



Chapter 13: Chapter Thirteen
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Reluctantly Harry went back to his room as the sky began to lighten. Samira knew her maids would be here soon to prepare her clothes and bathe for the day. She wasn’t even remotely tired, the pair had stayed up all night talking, just talking. She had never been able to speak so freely, he understood what it was like to lose a parent, he understood the pressure and responsibility towards an entire nation, he understood people using you.

 

Not in a million years would she ever have believed Harry Potter and she would stay up all night talking in her room, she was giddy with disbelief as she changed into her nightgown so she wouldn’t arouse suspicion to her maid’s. Samira slid into bed just as her maids slipped into her room to prepare her clothes.

 

She must have fallen asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow, Samira awoke a few hours later to her maid’s fussing with her breakfast in hushed whispers.

 

“The Princess and the Duke got on so well though,” Reed said in a hushed whisper.

 

“Well he’s long gone now,” Lea commented, “she must be terribly upset.”

 

“We will let her sleep and tell her guards she is unwell,” Reed sounded sympathetic as Samira tried to keep her breathing steady.

 

“Ridiculous keeping all the guards escorting the family about the Palace, whoever that Duke was he had plenty of time to harm her and never did,” Lea sounded frustrated.

 

“You’re just upset you can’t see Jayden because he’s working 24/7 protecting Vlad,” Reed replied cheekily.

 

“Two guards per royal family, around the clock protection BUT Vlad has six guards? Something doesn’t sound right to me,” Lea was forgetting to whisper.

 

“Hush,” Reed warned.

 

“Where is the Princess?” A new voice spoke, risking a peek, Samira saw her two maids and two guards at her doorway.

 

“Jamil hush now, she is unwell, we will check on her in a few more hours,” Reed shooed the two men out of her doorway.

 

“I’d be unwell too if I had to marry Vlad,” Jamil said darkly.

 

“Jamil is jealous, he thought he had a shot with her,” a new voice said.

 

“Shut up Ant, I’ve seen you look at her highness too,’’ Reed smirked.

 

“Point is,” Ant continued, “she’d rather marry someone like me than Vlad he’s gotta be in his 60’s?”

 

“That’s none of our business,” Lea warned, “just do your job, we’ll be back in a few hours.”

 

The door closed firmly behind, leaving Samira alone, with three vagrants in her secret room. So her Father had already jumped back on the Vlad train for marriage, it hadn’t taken long, less than 24 hours since her last prospect turned out to be an imposter.

 

And suddenly she had an idea.

 

 

“Your highness,” Hermione raised her eyebrows, “what in Merlin’s name?”

 

“This is Jamil and Ant,” she announced, magically dragging enormous bodies behind her, “I confunded and stunned them, so when they come to they won’t know who they are.”

 

“We don’t know who they are either,” Draco said smirking slightly.

 

“They are my new guards, every royal family member has two guards with them at all times within the Palace.”

 

“At all times?” Draco suggested.

 

“Except for in my room,” Samira said quickly.

 

“Tough break,” Draco muttered, winning him a slap on the arm from Hermione.

 

“I have enough polyjuice potion for you two to switch places, probably enough for eight hours which is when the guards change over… I thought it might be useful for you to get around the Palace,” she finished very uncertain with her plan, “just trying to be of some assistance.”

 

“This is brilliant Princess,” Hermione grinned.

 

 

“Just remember look straight ahead, no eye contact unless you are addressed,” Samira whispered, taking in the view.

 

Draco was now Jamil his skin the colour of caramel, piercing blue eyes and shoulder length black hair tied into neat ponytail. And Harry became Ant who was not as the name suggested tiny, he grew a few inches up and wide, his hair gone revealing a smooth latte coloured scalp and Samira noticed his eyes no longer that incredible shade of green but now a dark copper.

 

“We’ll go to the throne room, I imagine that’s where they will all be,” Samira strode ahead confidently, she had worn her teal gown adorned with gold, it had a silky fishtail trailing behind her, it showed off her legs and draped off her shoulders. If there was one way to get Vlad talking, that’d be a good start.

 

The three entered the throne room, it’s high ceiling’s glittered with gold and jewels, equally as emblazoned were the King and Queen’s thrones but instead of the King and Queen a wiry red headed girl occupied the Queen’s throne.

 

“Princess!” Vlad sounded surprised to see her, “my apologies, my niece Emily, begged me to let her try the throne.”

 

“That’s perfectly alright,” she smiled.

 

“Your highness it is an honour,” Emily bowed.

 

“Thank you, you’re visiting your Uncle?”

 

“Yes of course,” Vlad chimed in, “I don’t have much family but I wanted my niece here for the wedding.”

 

“Whose wedding?”

 

Vlad laughed and Samira felt a chill roll through her, “our wedding of course. Your Father and I thought after that terrible business with the Duke it’d be best to move on, you know for public morale.”

 

“And what about what I thought was best?” Samira’s eyes glared at Vlad.

 

“Your highness,” Vlad snaked his arm around her waist and led her to the Queen’s throne, “it pains me to say it but you were completely hoodwinked by the imposter, your Father and I just care about your safety.” He sat her down gently on the Queen’s throne and knelt beside her.

 

“Maybe if Father had let me travel and meet people I wouldn’t be so easily fooled,” she replied tersely.

 

“My dear, he was a professional, he told you all the things you wanted to hear so you’d fall in love with him, he charmed you,” Vlad placed a hand on her knee, “I only wish I had seen it sooner.”

 

“I didn’t fall in love,” Samira argued, her body tensing at his touch.

 

“No one would blame you for falling in love, it must get so lonely. You must have welcomed the distraction,” his hands dragged along her arms to her shoulders where he gently massaged her shoulders, “you can just relax now, I’ll look after you.”

 

“Gross,” Emily whined, “save it for the honeymoon.”

 

“Emily dear, get yourself ready for the engagement party tonight,” Vlad dismissed her and before giving her Uncle a seething look she turned on her heel and stomped out of the room.

With Vlad’s hands still squeezing her shoulders, she had never felt tenser in her whole life. She desperately wanted Harry and Draco to leave but Vlad’s guards remained so they must as well.

 

“Princess,” he said softly, “I promise to look after this Kingdom, I will look after you as my Queen and this Kingdom, you will never have to worry about a thing. And when our children are –“

 

“You can still have children?” Samira interrupted, his hands froze on her back and he leant forward grinning an awful, terrible grin.

 

“Yes Princess, I assure you there will be no problems consummating our marriage,” he leant in to kiss her but Samira shrank away until there was no room to move further back. To her horror Vlad pressed his lips to hers and pulled her close. She pushed with all her strength and shot off the throne, wiping her mouth.

 

He laughed and that familiar chill swept through her, “you will learn Princess, just wait until our wedding night.”

 

She fled from the throne room, hot tears pooling her eyes, she had to hold it together, she just had to make it to her room and close the door. Harry and Draco would have to stay outside her door and she could cry alone where no one could see.

 

Without a word, she shut her room door and slid down sitting on the plush carpet. Samira continued to wipe her mouth ridding herself of Vlad’s scent, her tears were salty and eliminated the taste.

 

Hermione was in her room, she stared sadly at the Princess curled up on the floor and wordlessly helped her up, put Samira into bed and stayed beside her stroking her back until the sobs subsided and she fell asleep.



Chapter 14: Chapter Fourteen
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“He is vile,” Hermione said her face twisted in disgust, “I can’t believe he would speak to the Princess that way.”

 

The three were in their secret room of requirement, Harry perched on the edge of a table, his expression unreadable. Hermione sat in shock beside him at what the boys had just relayed to her and Draco had his head in his hands.

Draco shot up and in anger punched the dresser beside his bed, a loud crack issued from the dresser and he hit it again, and again.

 

“Draco,” Hermione soothed, “that won’t help.”

 

Harry led Draco away from the dresser, it was shattered into pieces, however upon Draco turning his back on it. The dresser sprung back to it’s normal form as though it hadn’t been touched.

 

“We also know he is using Ginny for something,” Harry added hastily trying to change the subject, “she’s probably the one that planted the idea in his head that we were here.”

 

“Nobody thinks Draco is here, we still have that up our sleeve,” Hermione looked cautiously at their new friend still brimming with rage.

 

“We have four hours of Polyjuice potion left,” Harry commented, “that should be enough for the party.”

 

“Correction we have enough for another eight hours each,” Hermione grinned mischievously, “I thought I’d try my luck at wishing for some polyjuice and the room provided!”

 

“You need a piece—“

 

“This is Reed,” Hermione pulled back the hangings on her bed where one of the Princess’ maids lay asleep peacefully, “she is in a dreamless sleep for eight hours and I got a spare uniform too.”

 

Harry shook his head and even Draco managed a small smile.

 

 

Transformed into their disguises of guards and maid’s, the trio exited their room of requirement to see Princess Samira dressed and ready for the party. Her hair was a silken veil, shining warm red’s and browns. Her dress was the palest mint with a strapless bodice and feathered skirts, they gleamed mint, gold and white.

 

If only her expression matched her outfit, Harry had never seen a more downtrodden and hopeless human in all his life.

 

“Your highness,” Hermione breathed, “you look absolutely magnificent.”

 

“Thank you,” she whispered, barely audible.

 

“Princess,” Draco cleared his throat, “I’m…uhh…well…I just wanted to—“

 

“You must not apologise for your father’s actions Draco, we can not choose our family.”

 

“Draco let’s wait outside,” Hermione not so subtly led Draco/Jamil by the arm and closed the door behind them.

 

“You look beautiful,” Harry said.

 

“I don’t want to do this Harry,” Samira said tightly.

 

“We could run away?” Harry suggested meekly.

 

“Don’t think that hasn’t crossed my mind,” Samira grabbed his hands and squeezed, “anytime I smile tonight it’s because I’m thinking about running away with you and living in an apartment in London, or Paris or New York, anywhere but here. It would be a lot easier to hide if I wasn’t a Princess and you weren’t Harry Potter.”

 

“We will get you out of this,” Harry promised, “one way or another Lucius will lose, he will not become King.”

 

“Thank you,” Samira squeezed his hands once more, and seemed to regain her composure once more, “now let’s get this over with.”

 

 

 

The party was in full swing and the alcohol was free flowing, the guards Harry and Draco had been copying had even snuck a few drinks as the guests became more and more intoxicated. Among them was Ginny, dressed in a pretty fuchsia gown and shamelessly flirted with every expensive looking man that glanced her way. She was becoming increasingly more drunk and loutish as the night wore on.

 

“The Princess is managing this extremely well,” Draco murmured.

 

“This is what the royals are trained for,” Harry muttered back.

 

Samira looked so radiant and her smile seemed so genuine, even as Lucius held her or kissed her, she giggled and played the part of a blushing bride to be. Ginny was throwing dark looks their way with every smile and kiss Lucius gave the Princess.

 

“There’s Hermione,” Draco nodded across the room where Hermione was busy refilling drinks, “a galleon says she’s eavesdropping on every conversation.”

 

“Easy,” Harry smirked at his brilliant friend.

 

“I’ve met you before.”

 

To their horror Ginny approached Draco, her eyes wandering down his new muscular body and blue eyes. She swayed slightly and took another gulp from her champagne glass.

 

“I apologise, you must have me confused,” Draco replied, taking a small step back.

 

“No, I’d remember those eyes anywhere,” she slurred, leaning closer.

 

“You should get back to the party Miss,” Draco said politely.

 

She let out a bark of laughter, “this poor excuse for a party,” she rolled her eyes, “the Princess’ fiancée isn’t even in love with her,” she leant in whispering, “he’s in love with me. He likes them younger,” she winked.

 

“I like them English,” Draco said lowering his voice.

 

Ginny’s eyes widened in excitement, “you are such a flirt,” she giggled.

 

“I like them even more when they’re not single,” Draco said quietly again.

 

Harry stared at Draco in disbelief.

 

Draco leaned in closer to Ginny, her body positively quivering with excitement, “tell me more about your boyfriend.”

 

“That Captain Vlad? We’ve been together for a year, he said he wants to marry me and make me his Queen but he has to get rid of her first,” she pointed towards the Princess, “you know what would drive him crazy,” she placed a hand on his chest, “if we disappeared for a while. You must know all the Palace secret rooms?”

 

“He’s my Captain,” Draco replied, “he could fire me.”

 

“He could do worse than fire you, trust me, your boss, is a dark, dark wizard,” she leaned so close to Draco she was nearly kissing his ear.

 

“What’s the meaning of this?” Lucius interrupted.

 

“Oh UNCLE Vlad, I was just getting to know these lovely men,” she draped an arm across Draco who was backing away.

 

“You’re drunk! That’s enough for you,” he ripped the glass out of her hand, “I have a speech to make then you need to sleep it off.”

 

Ginny stomped away, looking for more champagne.

 

“My niece,” Vlad shrugged, “not used to this fine champagne I suppose. She’s completely drunk I wouldn’t take much notice of anything she said.”

 

“Of course not Sir,” Draco agreed.

 

“Your niece only wanted to talk about Jamil,” Harry answered.

 

“Ah yes well… I’d find it highly inappropriate for you to…cavort with my niece.”

 

“It won’t happen Sir,” Draco said.

 

“Excellent,” he gazed around looking for Ginny, “my speech then,” he nodded at his guards and made his way to the centre of the room just as Hermione appeared beside them.

 

“What did he want?” She asked, wiping her hands on her apron.

 

“Just making sure drunk Ginny didn’t let anything slip,” Draco drawled, “which she did.”

 

“Brilliant, I’ve found out a lot more about the Kingdom, I was listening in on—“

 

Hermione was interrupted by the pinging of crystal as Lucius prepared to make his toast, the crowd fell silent as Princess Samira and the Captain Vlad glided into the centre of the room.

 

“Ladies, Gentlemen, distinguished guests, your majesty and your highness,” he held Samira’s hand who remained smiling, “I thank you for being here tonight to celebrate Princess Samira and my engagement.”

 

Suddenly the lights in the room flashed, the doors swung open resulting in a loud cracking sound on the marble walls. Heads turned, people gasped and one lady shrieked.

 

“Get your hands off my sister.”

 

A voice rang out through the crowd, as if set by magnets the crowd parted to reveal a very handsome, sandy haired man. His green eyes furrowed with rage and his wand pointed straight at Vlad.

 

Harry looked to Samira, her mouth hung open, her eyes widened, all composure forgotten as she ran up to the stranger and threw her arms around him, he in turn wrapped his arms around the Princess. His eyes no longer angry but full of emotion as he gripped her tightly.

 

Hermione gasped, “it’s Prince Jarrett, the rightful heir has returned.”



Chapter 15: Chapter Fifteen
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“Samira! Stand back! He could be an imposter,” the King shouted rising from his throne.

 

“Guards!” Vlad called unleashing his wand, “Princess stand down.”

 

“Don’t hurt him!” Samira shouted guarding his body with her own, “Jarrett prove it!”

 

With a lazy flick of his wand Jarrett produced a silverly, snarling bull that charged for Vlad. Guests screamed and gave the patronus a wide berth, looking to the King for guidance.

 

“Stubborn as a bull,” he whispered more to himself, “your mother,” he laughed, “she wasn’t at all surprised when your patronus formed a bull. You were the most stubborn child we had ever seen.”

 

You could have heard a pin drop in the room as the crowd of wealthy guests watched with baited breath at the eight year reunion between father and son. The King’s eyes softened in a way Harry hadn’t seen before and for the first time he looked like a father.

 

Still protected by his sister Jarrett’s eyes were cold, “how could you let your daughter marry this old man?”

 

“Son, this is not the place, nor time,” the King gestured to the crowd.

 

“Son?” He laughed, “that’s rich! Eight years I was gone Father and you never bothered to find out where I was, when I know you have the means to do so. Lucky for you I’m here now and I have interesting news to share with the Kingdom.”

 

“We should sit together as a family,” he began.

 

“No! This has already been delayed far too long, ten years too long for me,” Jarrett resembled the snarling bull now.

 

“Jarrett, you’re shaking, what’s the matter,” Samira took her brother by the arm.

 

“Father didn’t tell you either then? I guess not,” he paused and looked his father in the eyes, “we were allowed to access Mother’s will once we turned 25 years old Samira, did you know that?”

 

“Is that true?” She looked to her father who had turned pale.

 

He nodded.

 

“And in that will it states,” he produced a rolled up parchment from his cloak, “My children are permitted to marry whoever they please on the agreement of the surviving family members.”

 

Silence pressed on the ears of everyone in the ballroom.

 

“Just how long were you going to keep this from us?” Samira said dangerously.

 

The King stood there, his mouth gaping, he started speaking so many times he looked like a fish gasping for water.

 

“Your father just wanted what was best for you Samira,” the Queen purred.

 

“With all due respect Alexia,” Samira looked daggers at her step mum, “shut the fuck up, you are not a part of this family and you never will be.”

 

“How dare you!” The Queen shrilled.

 

“Drop the act Alexia, you were thrilled when Jarrett left and you’ve been pushing for me to be married off for years,” Samira glared.

 

“I think we should call it a night,” the King said quietly, “everyone please leave.”

 

“You’ve changed Father, you always liked a party,” Jarret’s voice dripped with sarcasm, “you know I remember the last party I was here for, it was your wedding night Father and do you know how your loving wife wanted to start the honeymoon?”

 

“He’s lying!” Alexia grabbed the King’s hand, her eyes wide and strained.

 

“I thought you might say that, luckily my memory is as good as it ever was,” Jarret smirked and pulled a silvery strand from his temple, a memory that he shot into the sky. Above the guests heads an illuminated version of a younger Jarret and Queen Alexia came to life.

 

“The handsome Prince,” the Queen purred, “have you felt it too?”

 

Jarrett looked confused, “felt what?”

 

“This tension between us?” Queen Alexia touched his face tenderly.

 

“Definitely,” Jarret replied grabbing her around the waist.

 

A mixture of disgusted and surprised expressions rippled through the ballroom as the crowd watched the much older Queen kiss and touch the twenty year old Prince.

 

“Take me, in my wedding dress,” the Queen breathed heavily.

 

“Get off me!” Jarret pushed his step mother off him, wiping his mouth and spitting, “leave my Dad alone and leave this Kingdom. I know you’re just after his money and if you don’t I’ll tell him what you did to me tonight!”

 

“You little brat!” Alexia’s eyes turned to ice, “now I know why your Father wanted to get rid of you! You and your sister are spoilt little brats! Rude! Ungrateful!”

 

“At least we are honest, which is more than can be said for you,” Jarret smirked, “and a creep, what are you like thirty years older than me?”

 

Alexia’s face tensed, her words came out like poison, “your father told me, he wished you had died instead of your mother, he said you were the biggest regret of his life.”

 

The smirk vanished on Jarret’s face, his skin paled, the Queen may as well have stuck a knife in his chest.

 

The memory vanished.

 

“That was the night I left,” Jarret explained, the hurt still prevalent in his voice.

 

“Jarret, I never said those things!” The King’s eyes were pooled with tears, “Alexia, why would you… How could you?”

 

“I should have killed you when I had the chance,” Alexia’s voice was low and brittle, she raised her wand to Jarret.

 

“Don’t you dare!” Samira shot a protective shield in front of her and her brother.

 

Alexia let out a howl shooting more spells from her wand at random. Guests screamed and ran colliding into each other, some took shelter under tables, their expensive gowns forgotten as they dragged across the floor.

 

Harry looked around urgently, the other guards didn’t know what to do either, did they attack their Queen?

 

“Protect, do not aim at the Queen,” Vlad shouted before being knocked out by a group of guests and crashing into the Captain, he fell hard and cracked his head on the marble floors.

 

“The Princess,” Hermione shouted.

 

Harry could see her barrier was earning chinks it it’s shield, the barrage of spells Alexia sent their way were wearing it’s magic down. The trio ran to assist adding their magic to the protective charm.

The King made his way to his children, leaping over guests bodies on the floor, blood splattered and made his journey slippery.

 

Alexia saw her husband running towards his children, her eyes narrowed so dangerously it made Harry’s blood run cold.

 

“Narcissa!” Hermione shouted the name so loudly is broke through the screams in the room.

 

The Queen’s attention was diverted to Hermione and her wand aim was off she screamed ‘AVADA KEDAVRA!” The green light streamed out of her wand tip, reflecting off the protective shield and hitting her squarely in the chest.

 

The Queen was dead.



Chapter 16: Chapter Sixteen
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Samira watched her stepmother’s body crumple to the floor. Her first thought was of her own mother, was that how she had died? A flash of green and her life gone before she hit the ground.

 

Was the ballroom silent or maybe she couldn’t hear over the blood rushing in her ears and her brain turning to catch up with what she had just witnessed.

 

“Look!” It was her maid and for a moment Samira forgot it was Hermione disguised.

 

Samira, Jarret and her Father stepped tentatively towards the body and saw the Queen’s hair begin to change. Her short wavy hair became white blonde and straight, her face changed to a thinner shape, a longer nose and high cheekbones.

 

“Narcissa Malfoy,” the King asked as though she might suddenly reply.

 

“I don’t understand,” Jarret whispered.

 

“That’s why the imposter’s were here Father, to warn us Narcissa Malfoy and Lucius Malfoy had infiltrated the Palace and you, you married a death eater,” Samira said in disbelief, she couldn’t take her eyes off her step mother.

 

Her mother.

 

Draco’s mother, Samira let out a gasp as the thought hit her like a thunderclap. Draco had just witnessed his Mother’s death.

 

“Basi!” Samira called.

 

“Yes your highness,” he appeared instantly, his face paler than usual and blotting his brow with his signature blue handkerchief.

 

“Please take Father to his room, he’s undergone a terrible shock and needs to lie down.”

 

Basi nodded in reply and gently led her father away.

 

Clearing her throat Samira addressed the crowd all of them in various degrees of disrepair. Expensive apparel was torn and smeared with blood or dirt, some were unhurt but pale and shaking with eyes as wide as galleons.

 

“Ladies and gentlemen, I apologise for the ordeal you just had to witness, we will have your carriages around the front for you to return home in. If you or a member of your party is to injured to travel we will accommodate you here…uh.”

 

Samira looked around lamely not knowing who to ask.

 

“I will see to all guests with serious injuries are looked at by our nurse, our senior guard Jayden will look after the carriages, thank you ladies and gentlemen for your understanding.” Jarret said smoothly, his voice warm and soothing to frightened guests.

 

Samira looked at Harry and with a shock saw his skin becoming paler, the polyjuice was wearing off.

 

“You three come with me,” Samira ordered, “I’ll alert the London ministry.”

 

 

Samira ushered the three in front of her, Harry and Hermione sped hurriedly while practically dragging Draco along. Luckily the corridors were deserted as all the action was happening in the ballroom, the rest of the Palace was deathly quiet. All you could hear was the rustling of the Princess’s ball gown the feather of her gown floating away like snow.

 

Safely inside the her room, their disguises now fully evaporated, everyone stared at Draco, his face impassive, blank. His stare eternal, no one knew what to do or where to look but Draco didn’t seem to notice.

 

“How did you know?” He said barely looking at Hermione.

 

“Her face,” Hermione said quietly, “when she lied to the Prince and when she was jinxing everyone it reminded me of seventh year when Bellatrix…”

 

Without words the pair embraced fiercely and Samira felt intrusive in her own room. So many unspoken regrets and so much pain filled her room she thought her heart might burst.

 

 Draco’s shoulders begin to shake and very gently Hermione led him away into their hidden room leaving Harry and Samira alone.

 

Harry spoke, his voice empty, memories were playing in his mind, “before the battle of Hogwarts, Ron, Hermione and I were captured and taken to Malfoy Manor where his Aunt and Narcissa tortured Hermione. She talks about a lot of things that happened that year but never what they did to her.”

 

He sat in a daze on the chaise lounge, his weariness evident in his eyes and face, “perhaps she can gain some closure now?” Samira suggested not knowing what to say.

 

“Maybe,” he stared blankly ahead.

 

Gently Samira took his hand and to her surprise Harry leant his head on her shoulder, leaning into her for support. She wrapped her arm around him and hoped she was doing the right thing.

 

“Why is some strange man always touching you sis?” Jarrett appeared in her room, his Palace privileges didn’t subject him to await permission to enter.

 

“Is that…” Jarrett’s jaw dropped.

 

“Jarrett this is Harry,” Samira introduced, “no need to bow to him Harry.”

 

“My sister, the comedian,” Jarrett shook Harry’s hand sturdily, “I know you saved the wizard world but hands off my sister until I’ve approved you.”

 

“Jarrett mind your own business,” Samira scowled.

 

“Right I’ll let you marry that old guy then?”

 

“Don’t you dare waltz back in here and pretend to have saved the day!” Samira’s eyes flashed in anger.

 

“I should’ve stayed where I was if I knew this was the thanks I’d get,” he raised his voice.

 

“You want me to be grateful? You abandoned me. Mum died, Dad remarried and you left me,” her voice softened.

 

“You saw what Alexia said to me, how could I stay?”

 

“How could you leave without even saying goodbye?”

 

“I’m sorry sis, I had to get out of this place. By the time I’d left it was too late to come back and see you, I wanted to. I missed you every day, I swear.”

 

“Is everything ok?” Hermione had appeared with Draco behind her.

 

“Samira, what have you been up to?” Jarrett smirked, “harbouring fugitive’s in your bedroom, Daddy’s little golden child.”

 

“A lot has changed since you left,” Samira smiled shyly. “I snuck out and saw what had happened to our city and I had to do something about it. Then I met Hermione, Draco and Harry and they told me what the Ministry in London knew.”

 

“Your highness,” Hermione bowed, “your sister saved our identities, without her our mission would have most certainly failed.”

 

“Hermione Granger,” Jarrett kissed her hand gently causing her to blush brilliantly, “what an honour and it would be my honour to do whatever I can to assist you.”

 

“We need to interrogate Ginny,” Draco volunteered.

 

“Are you sure you’re alright?” Hermione gently placed her hand on his arm.

 

“I’ll feel a lot better when I know exactly what my parents were up to.”

 

“Vlad…uh your Father was knocked out cold, Basi was taking him and a few other injured guards to his infirmary,” Jarret offered eyeing Draco cautiously.

 

“Princess!” A frantic shout came from the door, “Princess!”

 

Silently Samira gestured to her friends to hide in her walk in robe, all three had their wands out ready to attack.

 

“Basi?” Samira called back, “Are you okay?”

 

She opened the door with her brother, wands out. Basi was frenzied, his hands shaking, Samira held them gently, “what’s wrong?”

 

“Vlad!” Basi panted, “he’s escaped.”



Chapter 17: Chapter Seventeen
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“What do you mean he’s gone?” Samira’s voice shook.

 

Harry, Draco and Hermione stood sandwiched in the Princess’ extensive wardrobe, listening doggedly to the slight panic attack their Healer Basi appeared to be having.

 

“He was knocked out,” Basi panted, “so I tended to the other patients, it was chaos in there, people everywhere, blood, yelling. Only he mustn’t have been knocked out because next thing I knew his be was empty and no one had seen anything. I have his wand though,” Basi added weakly, clearly frustrated with himself.

 

“I’ll organise the guards to search the Palace,” Jarrett said.

 

“I already have, he’s long gone, I thought if he was injured he might be slow moving,” Basi replied.

 

“Unless he was pretending to be knocked out so he could escape,” Samira wondered.

 

“And now the Minister of Magic is here,” Basi blurted out, “talking to your father.”

 

“What?” Jarrett said, “the Minister…so…”

 

“I guess it’s alright if you come out now,” Samira called back.

 

“Who?” Basi sounded puzzled.

 

“Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy,” Samira introduced, “they have been hiding out here trying to learn more about why the Malfoy’s were here.”

 

A strange expression crossed Basi’s face and he licked his dry lips, his brain obviously whirring with questions.

 

“I just found out to Basi,” Jarret grinned, “my rebellious sister aye?”

 

“Yes, quite…well I suppose the Minister already knows you’re here?” Basi asked.

 

“I would say so,” Hermione answered, “we best go see him.”

 

“We’re going with you,” Samira ordered, “I want to know what we do next.”

 

 

Harry walked beside Samira still in her engagement dress, feathers were still floating on her skirts but there was a few spatters of blood congealing the feathers to her skirt. Her hair had come loose and hovered around her face. The rest of the group were in similar states of dilapidation, scatters of blood, smudges of dust covering their clothes and skin.

 

But there was no sight quite like seeing Kingsley in her meticulous robes and grooming, he exuded power and wisdom and all at once Harry felt calm. Beside him was Arthur Weasley, his beaming smile at daughter in law and adopted son.

 

“Ron!” Hermione embraced him, squeezing him tight.

 

“I had to come when I heard what happened,” Ron explained, giving Harry his own hug and even a nod to Draco.

 

“We both had too,” Arthur smiled an embraced Harry warmly.

 

“Your highness Samira,” Kingsley bowed, with Ron and Arthur following suit, “welcome home Prince Jarrett.”

 

“Thank you,” Jarrett inclined his head.

 

“We apologise for our paths crossing in this manner but as I was just explaining to your father, the situation was more dire than I initially predicted,” Kingsley’s eyes fell on to Harry, “had I known just how far the Malfoy Seniors had infiltrated… I would’ve handled this very differently.”

 

“Minister, we do not blame you,” Samira offered pleasantly, “we are all experienced witches and wizards, we should have seen the warning signs.”

 

“I should have seen the warning signs,” the King said thickly, he’d had his head bowed since Harry had arrived, “how could I be so stupid?”

 

“Father, you were grieving, you were weak, they took advantage of you,” Samira said kindly, although she made no move to stand closer to her Father.

 

“You said it all along,” he replied quietly, “you said it was too soon, that I should wait.”

 

“The Malfoy Senior’s have deceived many esteemed witches and wizards before, I would not be terribly hard on yourself your majesty,” Arthur sat beside the King and patted his hand kindly.

 

“I understand you have Ginny Weasley?” Kingsley asked.

 

“Yes, Minister, I detained her when I learnt Vlad…or Lucius had escaped,” Basi spoke more sturdily this time, proud he had captured one vagrant.

 

“Very well,” Kingsley said glancing at Arthur, “I’d like to interrogate her if possible.”

 

“I’ll have her brought down,” Basi bowed and exited the room quickly.

 

“Arthur, Ron, you can leave for this if you wish,” Kingsley offered.

 

“I need to hear it from her or I’ll never believe it for myself,” Arthur said shaking his head and Ron nodded aggressively in agreement.

 

“Harry Potter,” the King spotted him suddenly, “in my country, in such dark times. We should be throwing a parade for you, instead you were forced to sneak into the Palace to try and save the day once again.”

 

Hermione nudged Harry to speak, “uh…really your Majesty as the Arthur said, the Malfoy Senior’s have done this before, you’re not the first but hopefully the last.”

 

The King looked unconvinced and bowed his head once again.

 

“Here she is Minister,” Basi magically floated the sleeping body of Ginny beside him. She still wore her bright pink evening gown, her hair was a tangle of red and dust.

 

“Thank you, have you got the veritaserum?” Kingsley asked placing Ginny on a seat.

 

“No Sir, I haven’t been able to find my potions, a lot have gone missing,” Basi admitted.

 

“Basi why didn’t you say something?” Jarrett chided.

 

“I did, I reported it all to Vlad…”

 

There was an uneasy silence, the members of the room knowing how dangerous these potions were in his hands.

 

“Never mind, I always carry a vial with me,” he winked at Samira, “you never know.”

 

He waved his wand at the sleeping Ginny, “enervate.”

 

Her eyes snapped open and looked wildly about the assortment of people surrounding her and finally fell on Harry.

 

“Harry!” She gasped, “thank goodness, I’ve been trapped, under the imperius curse!”

 

“Ginerva,” Kingsley said coldly, “we know what you’ve been doing here and now the Malfoy Senior’s are gone and they’ve left you to fend for yourself.”

 

“Draco is still one of them! He helped them escape! Lucius told me everything! I swear it!” Ginny was panicked, her lips were dry and cracked.

 

“Harry, Hermione and Draco have been here for almost a month undercover and have seen you directly have contact with Lucius Malfoy, with no dark magic binding you to him,” Kingsley’s voice was dead calm.

 

“A month? You’ve been here a month?”

 

“Yes they have and as you don’t seem willing to cooperate of your own accord, your family have given me permission to administer veritaserum.”

 

“You traitors!” Ginny screamed.

 

“You are the only traitor in the room,” Ron said darkly, “Mum’s too embarrassed to show her face.”

 

Ginny thrashed wildly in her chair, her mouth shut tight, refusing to drink the clear and dangerous vial.

 

“Allow me,” Hermione said and casually flicked her wand so Ginny’s jaw swung open allowing Kingsley to drop the liquid down her throat.

 

The thrashing stopped almost immediately, her eyes became distant, she became void of all personality.

 

“Ginny, who are the people in this room?”

 

“Kingsley Shacklebolt, my father, my brother Ron, Harry, Hermione, Draco, Princess Samira, Prince Jarrett, King Izaiah and a servant.”

 

Kingsley nodded, “how did you come to Marwah?”

 

“I was trading dark artefacts and heard rumours of dark magic in Marwah, I knew their laws weren’t as stringent. I got here and Lucius found me.”

 

Hermione scratched at her parchment, recording every monosyllable Ginny spoke, her brow furrowed.

 

“And what did Lucius have you do?”

 

“He wanted me,” she grinned, “he wanted me to keep the factions in line, to enforce the punishments, also get rid of the Duke.”

 

“Why did he want you to get rid of the Duke?”

 

“Lucius had fooled the King into believing he could marry the Princess but the Duke and Princess were getting along better than expected. I was told to get rid of him so that the Duke would leave the Princess.”

 

“Why did he want to marry the Princess?”

 

“To become King of course.”

 

“Ginny why did you do what Lucius asked?”

 

“Lucius and I were in love, once he became King he was going to have the Princess killed and make me his Queen.”

 

Harry had the urge to move closer to Samira, the nonchalant comment send ice through Harry’s veins .

 

“And what about Narcissa?” Kingsley’s face remained as impassive as ever.

 

“Narcissa had infiltrated as Queen, she knew nothing of our plan.”

 

Everyone stared at one another.

 

“Where is Lucius Malfoy now?”

 

“I don’t know.”

 

“Where would be a safe place for him?”

 

“Albania, there is a network of dark wizards in the forest where The Dark Lord hid for so long. People believe his magic still exists there.”

 

Kingsley nodded once more, the rest of the room was silent, “your majesty, could I impose on you for a little while longer?”

 

“Anything,” the King croaked, “anything at all.”

 

“Lucius returning would be just the morale booster these dark wizards need to properly cause terror again,” Kingsley looked sharply at Hermione and Harry, “I need you to gather up the members of the DA and Ron you the Order.”

 

“What about—“ Arthur began.

 

“I want you to stay with Molly right now Arthur,” Kingsley left no option of an answer.

 

“Kingsley, I can help,” Draco began his eyes pleading.

 

“You are to stay here with Ginny, and just in case Lucius returns for her. Interrogate her and find out all you can, then communicate it back to me,” he saw Draco ready to argue, “some members of the Order are not as forgiving as your friends here Draco.”

 

Draco swallowed whatever retort he had planned and nodded, his shoulders slumped.

 

“When do we leave?” Hermione asked.

 

“Now.”



Chapter 18: Chapter Eighteen
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Seven Days Later

 

“To Princess Samira and Prince Jarrett,” an elderly woman raised her ceramic mug with a gap toothed grin as the rest of her family repeated her cheers.

 

The royal siblings had been busy this past week restoring and rebuilding the poorest parts of town and lifting the faction laws. Where there was once, dust, dirt and rotting garbage now there were cobblestone pathways, lush, sweet fragrant shrubs, community gardens of vegetables and herbs, fully restored wells of fresh drinking water. The city of Marwah had transformed to its former glory.

 

Their had been celebrations all week, joyous parties and ceremonies celebrating the transformation and the end of repression for the people of Marwah. Jarrett and Samira had been diligent and generous to the people that had suffered for so long.

 

A large family of eleven had invited the siblings in for tea, they graciously accepted the kind offer and enjoyed chatting with the family and getting a better insight into what else could be changed.

 

“The salesman must’ve known you’d be joining us,” the mother grinned, “it’s called Princess tea! Made with fresh jasmine, vanilla bean and mint.”

 

“It smells wonderful,” Samira smiled.

 

“Can we have it yet?” One of the children complained.

 

“We should let our guest drink first Alegra,” her older sister said.

 

The mother beamed proudly and nudged her husband, “we are so honoured, how does it taste?”

 

Smiling, Samira sipped the aromatic tea, it was flowery and sweet. Before she could answer everything went black.

 

 

 

Samira awoke to the sounds of the infirmary, her head ached painfully, pulsating in time with her heartbeat. She stretched her neck and it cracked so loud she thought she may have woken up other patients.

 

Sitting up her vision swam as though she was underwater, she blinked several times until her focus became clear again.

 

“Keep your voice down,” a voice maybe ten feet from her spoke.

 

“I’ll do it right next time!” A female voice hissed.

 

“You’re far too selfish to ever go through with that.”

 

“Draco?” Samira called.

 

His blonde head appeared in her cordoned off hospital space, “Princess you’re awake!”

 

“What happened?”

 

“No, no don’t try to get up, I’ll get Basi,” he gently held her arm and guided her back to a laying position.

 

“The family I was with are they ok?”

 

Draco smiled, “yes it was just you that passed out, a mixture of strong herbs and exhaustion Basi said.”

 

“How embarrassing,” she muttered.

 

“Poor little Princess isn’t used to a full days work,” teased a voice.

 

“Ginny shut up,” Draco said sharply.

 

Samira drew back her curtains with her wand, “what is she doing here?”

 

Ginny’s face morphed into a sneer.

 

“She tried to kill herself but only for some attention,” Draco said bitterly.

 

“Like the Princess didn’t faint just to get out of working with poor people,” Ginny scolded.

 

“Are you a fool?” Samira asked, “you cannot speak to royalty that way.”

 

“I’m sure Harry spoke to you much worse,” she raised her eyebrows, “he can be real dirty.”

 

“Ginny, you’ll shut your mouth,” Draco held up his wand.

 

“We can move you to your room if you’re feeling better,” Draco offered kindly.

 

Hearing Harry’s name had made her insides swoop rapidly, a feeling that had nothing to do with strong herbs or exhaustion. Samira thought back seven days ago when Harry and Hermione had left immediately without an appropriate goodbye. They were off to their next task, Princess Samira and Marwah were no longer required.

 

Draco however had been asked to stay behind to keep an eye on Ginny in the slightest hope she may reveal new information and lead to any of Lucius’ contacts in Marwah.

 

“There you are!” Jarrett boomed as he entered the infirmary, “how are you feeling?”

 

“Fine, thank you,” Samira forced a smile.

She hadn’t even noticed shy Basi enter behind her boisterous brother, “you’re on bed rest Princess.”

 

“But we have the new gardens to unveil tomorrow,” she argued.

 

“They can wait,” Jarrett said sternly, “you’ve been working yourself to the bone Sadie, you need rest and a good few solid meals.”

 

“The Prince is right,” Basi nodded, “you have put your body under too much stress.”

 

Samira fought back the urge to roll her eyes, they were treating her like she was wrapped up in cotton wool.

One second thoughts maybe she had been most of her life.

 

“Listen princess,” Draco chimed in, “you’ll be no good to your people if you’re sick, give yourself a day and if you feel no better I’ll tell them to lay off.”

 

“She’s just pining over Harry,” Ginny snarled from her bed, “didn’t even kiss you goodbye did he?”

 

Draco flicked his wand and Ginny slumped backwards into her bed, “only way to shut her up.”

 

 

Samira eventually conceded to having Jarrett pick her up and carry her to her room. She was shocked to find that her legs could only travel a few steps before buckling underneath her, her limbs felt heavy and full of concrete.

 

Basi fussed over her, arranging pillows on her bed, he looked troubled.

 

“Is everything alright?” Samira asked.

 

“Princess, I do not mean to pry, but what Miss Weasley said about Mr Potter…”

 

Samira waved it off, “don’t be foolish Basi, Harry Potter and I, could you imagine?”

 

“Have you imagined it?”

 

“Perhaps,” Samira answered with as much reserve as she could muster.

 

“I’m sorry to pry Princess, I just wonder if his absence has something to do with your illness.”

 

“I’m sure it’s just me being a little run down, I will be perfectly fine come tomorrow,” she assured him.

 

“You won’t take a day off?”

 

“Of course not.”

 

Basi smiled, “well then I will brew you up a special blend guarana and ginseng it’s an energising potion. I’ll be right back.”

 

She watched Basi leave with slightly more bounce in his demeanour than before. Samira had just lied to one of her oldest friends, Basi. He had been one of her only friends growing up in the Palace, always keeping a professional distance but always being there for support.

 

So why couldn’t she admit to him that her feelings for Harry ran deeper than she had ever expected?

 

“Princess,” Draco knocked, “Basi gave me some tea for you.”

 

“Thank you Draco, please come in,” she gestured for him to sit.

 

“You must be sick of tea,” he smiled gingerly.

 

“They can’t all be bad,” she hesitated cradling the warm drink in her hands, “have you heard from Harry at all?”

 

“No,” Draco answered, “but that’s not unusual, might not be able to make contact.”

 

Samira nodded, her eyes far away.

 

“He liked you Princess, the first time he saw you in the Marketplace, he was hooked. It’s just…circumstances,” he finished lamely.

 

Samira laughed, “circumstances being he is a worldwide celebrated hero and I’m a Princess?”

 

“Yeah that’d be the circumstances, it’s a shame though, I’ve never seen Harry so happy before.”

 

“Thank you Draco,” Samira smiled and sipped her tea and warm feeling spreading through her body as she stared at Draco.



Chapter 19: Chapter Nineteen
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“We have a problem,” Hermione said as she slammed the Daily Prophet in front of Harry’s face. A large skulking photo of Draco took up most of the front page, next to a dazzling photo of Princess Samira waving and beaming to a crowd.

Harry’s heart flipped at the sight of her moving picture, he hungrily read for details.

 

Junior Malfoy Following in Father’s Footsteps in Royal Scandal

Draco Malfoy, ex Death Eater, vouched for by Harry Potter has been on an enduring journey to bring his parents to justice. Or so he claims?

After the terrifying night at the Palace of Marwah where Narcissa Malfoy was unmasked posing as Queen Alexia, she died during a battle between her and Aurors.

Lucius Malfoy was said to have fled the palace to avoid capture, yet again. His son Draco was kept at the Palace to watch over prisoner Ginny Weasley and to gain more insight into his father’s crimes.

But it seems we have been fooled again by the devious Malfoy family. A close friend and confidant in the Palace revealed that Draco gave Princess Samira a love potion and has been attempting to be alone with the Princess as much as possible.

Like father, like son, the Malfoy men have been targeting the Princess to wed her and inherit the Marwahian fortune and Kingship.

Draco Malfoy has since fled the Palace and guards are on the hunt for him.

We wish Princess Samira and swift recovery after this dramatic ordeal and await the proper punishment for the Malfoy men.

 

 

“It’s not true,” Harry said at once.

 

“Of course it’s not,” Hermione agreed, “if Draco has escaped, he hasn’t left Marwah.”

 

“How do you know?”

 

“I put a tracking spell on his wand, I know when he leaves the country.”

 

“You’re tracking him?”

 

Hermione looked frustrated, “I’ve done it to your wand too! Just as a precaution, after Narcissa died I wanted to keep tabs on Draco. I know Draco is still there and I don’t think Lucius ever left.”

 

“When do we leave?”

 

Hermione smiled and handed Harry a glowing portkey, “now.”

 

 

 

The pair arrived in the blazing sun of Marwah, the same small apartment they had shared when they first arrived, which seemed like a lifetime ago, before he’d ever met Samira. Hermione was carefully undoing jinx’s and adding her own security measures to the humble apartment.

Harry noticed immediately that the streets were full of colour, laughter and music. Dust no longer filled the air but spices, sweet flowers filled his nostrils. Samira had really stuck to her promise and transformed the city into a charming and lively place.

 

“Samira has done well in just a few short weeks,” Harry remarked.

 

“You will get to see your Princess soon enough,” Hermione grinned, “according to my tracking Draco is in here, he’s set up some protective measures to…ah that’s got it!”

 

Hermione strode into the apartment and wrinkled her nose, the odour of alcohol, sweat and stale food hung heavily in the air. Draco lay asleep on a threadbare couch his wand dangling from his hand and copious empty bottles with flies lazily buzzing over head.

 

“Draco,” Hermione said softly, “it’s Hermione and Harry.”

 

Draco sluggishly opened his eyes, his hair was greasy, his skin sallow and patchy with stubble, “going to arrest me?” He croaked, his voice sounded unused.

 

“Of course not, we don’t believe what everyone is saying about you,” Hermione said gently.

 

“Going to un vouch for me Potter?” He slurred, gripping his wand more tightly.

 

Harry was taken aback, it had been a long time since Draco had called him Potter, “don’t be daft mate, we came here to help, we think Lucius is still here.”

 

“You reckon,” Draco said sarcastically, “that weasel Basi nearly got me executed but I escaped like father like son aye?”

 

“Draco you are nothing like your father, we’re here to help you, we’re your friends,” Hermione pleaded.

 

Draco looked uncomfortable, “I don’t know what happened,” he said defeated.

 

“Give me your memory,” Hermione fished in her beaded purse for a Penseive.

 

“He won’t like it,” Draco muttered to Harry.

 

“Draco don’t worry about me,” Harry reiterated.

 

“Fine,” with distain Draco placed the memory in the swirling bowl of smoke and all three tipped their wands in.

 

Instantly transported to Samira’s extravagant bedroom. Samira was sitting up in bed, her hair glossy and shining around her shoulders and her face void of any make up. She looked a little paler than usual but otherwise breathtaking.

Draco had brought in a tray of tea, that was steaming gently.

 

“Princess,” Draco knocked, “Basi gave me some tea for you.”

 

“Thank you Draco, please come in,” Samira gestured for him to sit.

 

“You must be sick of tea,” he smiled gingerly, the tenderness in Dracos voice made Harry a little envious.

 

“They can’t all be bad,” she hesitated, taking the drink in her hands, “have you heard from Harry at all?”

 

“No,” Draco answered, “but that’s not unusual, might not be able to make contact.”

 

Samira nodded, her eyes far away and for a moment Harry thought she looked right at him.

 

“He liked you Princess, the first time he saw you in the Marketplace, he was hooked. It’s just…circumstances,” he finished lamely.

 

Samira laughed, “circumstances being he is a worldwide celebrated hero and I’m a Princess?”

 

“Yeah that’d be the circumstances, it’s a shame though, I’ve never seen Harry so happy before.”

 

“Thank you Draco,” Samira smiled and sipped her tea and warm feeling spreading through her body as she stared at Draco.

 

Ill let you get some rest, Draco made to leave.

 

No, please stay with me, Samiras hand shot out and grabbed Dracos.

 

Draco looked slightly surprised but pleased and stayed with his hand holding hers , is everything alright?

 

Yes, of course Draco, when youre with me Im better than alright,she beamed at him.

 

Draco couldnt hide is surprise anymore, maybe drink some more tea?

 

She complied and the real Draco beside Harry shook his head, I thought she maybe hit her head or something.

 

Hermione hushed him and stared obsessively at the scene before her.

 

Draco, I must admit I get kind of intimidated around you, Samira blushed but didnt let go of his hand.

 

He laughed, I hardly think I could make you intimidated.

 

Draco dont be silly, how could I possibly make you intimidated, youre so strong and handsome and...very sexy.

 

Dracos eyebrows were knitted in complete confusion now, his mouth gaped open.

 

See! Youre not intimidated by me at all, you just think Im this silly, spoilt princess, Samira flung the covers off her bed and stood up in frustration. She was wearing blue silk shorts and a matching singlet adorned in lace. Now Draco really did look intimidated, she looked exquisite as she pulled on a matching kimono in the same midnight blue.

 

I dont think youre silly or spoilt, Draco replied hurriedly, youre kind, caring, incredibly brave and determined.

 

The Princess walked slowly back towards him, a smile playing on her lips, oh Draco, do you really mean it?

 

Of course I do...and youre the most beautiful woman Ive ever seen, Draco stared at Samira, her arms linking behind his neck, he grabbed her around the waist and kissed her deeply. Samira responded eagerly, her body pressed to his.

 

The doors crashed opened, with Basi, Jarrett and palace guards wearing furious expressions.

 

There he is! Basi pointed.

 

How dare you! Jarret stormed forward but Samira stood infront of Draco.

 

Jarrett dont! I love him! She shouted, protecting Draco.

 

In that moment Harry saw the realization dawn on Dracos face and the fierce anger he felt towards Draco evaporated upon seeing the hurt etched on his face now.

 

Theres been a misunderstanding, Draco said calmly.

 

No! Samira shouted, were in love Jarrett! And you need to accept it!

 

Youre not in love Sadie! He gave you a love potion! Jarret tried to pry his sister away from Draco but she stood her ground.

 

If you hurt him Ill kill myself! She screamed, thrashing her arms wildly.

 

Ive got her, Jarret picked her up copping kicks and punches from his sister, take him to the dungeons.

 

Dracos eyes were panicked, he created a plume of smoke and with the shrieks of Samira in the background he was gone.

 

The trio returned to their apartment, “I stayed in that secret passageway until I’d heard them leave and sedate Samira, then I snuck out using the worker’s entrance.”

 

“You were lucky to escape,” Hermione said.

 

“I’m sorry Harry, I know you liked her,” Draco wouldn’t quite meet his eye.

 

“I didn’t know you did,” Harry replied.

 

“Maybe some of that love potion got to me,” he tried to smile.

 

“Draco you’ve just lost your mum, I think anyone would understand that you’re vulnerable right now,” Hermione gently soothed.

 

“I don’t know what happened, normally with a love potion, it’s blindly obvious but I don’t know was this more subtle. I really thought she’d hit her head too hard but then when she started walking towards me I just…”

 

“It’s alright,” Harry repeated.

 

“What’s not alright is that someone in that castle set you up and I assume it’s your Father,” Hermione packed her items away into her beaded purse.

 

“We need to get back into the Palace.”



Chapter 20: Chapter Twenty
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“You go missing for years, abandon the family and Dad throws you a masquerade ball,” Samira rolled her eyes, “and thank you for choosing me as a peacock, just in case the rest of the world didn’t already think I was too proud.”

 

“Would you stop complaining for once,” her brother grinned, “you look beautiful, my friends can’t stop looking at you.”

 

“Spare me,” Samira groaned, she did however love her dress a brilliant peacock blue with feathers decorating the bodice and skirts, her mask nearly obscured her whole face, she was virtually unrecognisable.

 

Jarret looked handsome in a dark grey suit and his wolfish mask, heads turned when the pair entered the room, through the guests entrance so no one would know they were royalty.

 

The ballroom was flooded with colourful guest’s all dressed and masked as different animals, golden lions, shocking pink flamingo’s, lilac butterfly’s, green tree snakes, bright orange tropical fish. It was a much younger crowd as Jarret had invited friends he’d met on his travels. They were obvious to spot as they gaped openly at the ornate ballroom, decadent food and lavish décor.

 

“Dude!” A brightly coloured parrot grinned, “I can’t believe you left this!”

 

Jarret clapped his friend on the back, “it’s so good to see you all. This is my sister Samira, don’t bow or anything we’re trying to stay under the radar tonight.”

 

“I wish you’d introduced us sooner,” the parrot said appreciatively.

 

“You can’t hit on a Princess, Charlie,” a masked gorilla gave him a playful punch.

 

“Jarret told me about all your travels, it sounded absolutely wonderful,” Samira smiled.

 

“She talks how you used to!” The gorilla chided.

 

“Pardon?” Samira said raising her eyebrows.

 

Jarret laughed, “our speech Sadie, is a lot more refined than theirs.”

 

“I think it sounds lovely, very classy,” a black cat purred next to Jarret, “I’m Linda.”

 

“Pleased to meet you,” Samira smiled and shook her hand even though Linda’s attention was firmly fixated on Jarret.

 

Jarret’s friends were very sweet but Samira felt a million miles away from them as they chattered on about their many adventures. She excused herself and retreated to the balcony. Peeling off her ridiculous mask as she found privacy on the empty balcony.

The air was a few degrees cooler and the tang of sea salt filled the air. She watched as dark inky clouds passed by the moon, it’s light obscured for a moment and it reappeared.

 

“Princess,” it was Basi, “aren’t you enjoying the party?”

 

“Of course, I just wanted some air,” she smiled.

 

“Just keeping an eye on you Princess, can’t have anyone else tipping potions in your drink.” He grinned and handed her a glass of champagne, she took a grateful sip from.

 

“I don’t believe for a second that Draco tried to poison me, he had plenty of opportunity to do so, why would he choose a moment he could be so easily prosecuted for?”

 

“He had just lost his mother perhaps he thought you were a means of revenge?”

 

“I’m sorry Basi but that’s ludicrous,” Samira stood up, “speaking from experience when you lose your Mother the last thing on your mind is poisoning someone.”

 

“I’ve upset you,” Basi said.

 

“No, not you, I’m just tired of everyone trying to decide what’s best for me.”

 

Samira watched as Basi wiped away the sweat beading on his forehead, “where’s your handkerchief?” She asked.

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“Your blue handkerchief, I swear you must have about seventy of them.”

 

“I must have left it in my room,” he forced a smile and Samira felt her stomach tightened.

 

Pieces of the last few weeks were zooming together to create a picture. A picture she had been so foolish to ignore. The tea, the handkerchief, the leaks to the press about Draco…

 

“You look pale Princess, are you alright?” He moved towards her and she shrunk back.

 

“Just a bit dizzy from the champagne,” she dropped the glass, it shattered into thousands of glittering diamonds across the floor.

 

“Princess!” Basi wrapped his arm around her, “you must lie down.”

 

“What was in that drink?” She asked.

 

“The clever little Princess,” he smirked, a face Basi had never made, “a bit too late isn’t it? You have taken a potion to dull your magical and physical abilities, if you scream or make a fuss I will kill every guest in that room. Do you understand?”

 

Samira nodded and in a swift move picked up a piece of glass and sliced the shard into Basi’s face. A red line appeared from his ear to his cheek, blood leaked steadily from the wound, his lips curved into a maniacal smile.

 

“Perhaps you’re not so clever,” he grabbed her wrist twisting in painfully. The potion taking affect as Samira couldn’t even wretch herself away from him, her body lost all feeling and was completely weightless, she flopped around like a ragdoll.

 

“Basi!” Jarret called, he was laughing hysterically. “Basi, sorry to disturb you, one of my friends pissed off the knights amour and they’ve got him in a headlock, can you reverse the spell?”

 

Jarret was laughing so hard tears winked out of his eyes, he didn’t notice his sister’s pleading eyes or that Basi was holding her upright.

 

“Of course your highness,” Basi perched Samira on the edge of the balcony and whispered “if you try to move you just might fall off the edge, see you soon.”

 

The noise and music blasted as the doors opened and swallowed up her brother and Basi. Then suddenly stopped as the doors closed and Samira was left with silence and the thudding of her heart.

 

She desperately tried to move her fingers or summon her wand, was it her imagination or did her wand vibrate ever so slightly. She attempted again and it definitely was responding, he may have dulled her magic but she was royalty and her magic was stronger than the average witch. Her mind was still strong and that’s all she needed to create a patronus message, she thought of Harry, her brother and finally her mother when silver issued from her wand, without her touch. The powerful jaguar leapt gracefully into the ballroom with her message for help.

 

The patronus had brought feeling back into her fingers and hands, the warmth from the silvery feline was wearing off the spell. Her patronus was instructed to find someone to help her as she knew her brother was severely intoxicated and would be no help.

 

“Samira?” The ballroom doors opened and if she did have full use of her body she would’ve fallen over the edge in surprise.

 

“Harry!”

 

Harry, Hermione and Draco were a magnificent sight standing in the glow of her patronus, they took off their masks and within seconds Harry had embraced her so fiercely she thought her head might explode.

 

“I’m so glad to see you,” she breathed, “Lucius never left, he’s disguised himself as Basi, he gave me a potion I can’t move or do much magic.”

 

Hermione immediately waved the patronus to it’s owner, the big cat affectionately head butting Samira’s knee. The warmth and feeling back into her body almost instant.

 

“Thank you,” she said to Hermione and her jaguar, “he said he’d kill everyone in the room if I screamed.”

 

“We need to get the guests out,” Draco advised.

 

“He could come back any moment looking for her,” Hermione argued, “and when he doesn’t find her he might start killing people.”

 

Harry looked over the balcony, “she could have fallen off the balcony?”

 

Her magic now fully restored, Samira waved her wand and an identical dress and wig lay in the garden, it looked like she had fallen face first on to the ground.

 

“That will buy us some time, we need to get the guests out,” Draco repeated.

 

Hermione grinned and did some complicated wand work. Fireworks erupted in front of the Palace, dazzling colours and patterns, pictures and lights shimmered through the sky. The group slipped inside the ballroom as everyone gathered on the front steps to watch the show.

 

Draco magically locked the front doors, “there, hopefully that holds, now what?”

 

A cold voice swept through the Palace, “now it’s only us, hand over the Princess and no one will get hurt.”

 

The lights in the Palace went out, the only source of light were candles and the bursts of light from Hermione’s fireworks.

 

Samira’s voice was calm and steady, “I’m coming Lucius, don’t hurt anyone.”



Chapter 21: Chapter Twenty One
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“Samira, don’t,” Harry reached for her but she had already turned away.

 

The light from the fireworks illuminated her gown, she was only a few feet away. Harry gave chase and Draco made to chase her too.

 

“I can’t leave the fireworks,” Hermione called out.

 

“Keep everyone outside safe,” Harry yelled over the booming fireworks.

 

Another flash of red light lit the hallways and Samira was gone.

 

“Where’d she go?” Draco shouted.

 

“She can’t have gone far,” Harry grabbed Draco’s shoulder in the darkness.

 

“He’s been disguised as Basi maybe she’s gone to his room?” Draco suggested.

 

“Good idea, it’s next to the hospital room isn’t it?”

 

A flash of purple light filled the hallways as Draco and Harry took off in the direction of Basi’s room.

 

The light was dimmer up here, they were further away from the constant fireworks, they both lit their wands. Disfigured shadows of artworks and armours filled the hallways, their shapes grotesque.

 

A woman in a long white dress darted into a nearby hallway.

 

“Did you see that?” Harry asked changing his direction.

 

Draco nodded and followed down the dimly lit hallway. The figure stopped, it’s hair looked the same as Samira’s.

 

“Samira!” Harry called.

 

The figure turned around, where a face should’ve been, a wrinkled face and a gaping hole for a mouth sucking air. Harry heard blood rush into his ears, he was thrown back into his nightmares of dementors.

 

With one quick spell, the white figure shrivelled up into a puddle of white lace.

 

“It’s not a dementor Harry,” Draco’s voice surprised him, he had forgotten where he was for a moment, “they’re decoys, to keep us away from my Father and Samira.”

 

“Right,” Harry breathed, trying to slow his heart rate down.

 

“We must be close if he has decoys,” Draco was searching back down the hallways before they had gotten distracted.

 

Another flash of white caught his eye, “I have an idea,” Draco said, he picked up the discarded white clothes and draped them over himself, “you never tell anyone I put a dress on Harry.”

 

Harry managed a smile, his pulse returning to normal, “you’re on.”

 

 

Harry even managed to immobilize the next white decoy and donned his own white dress. Both men pulled the veils over their faces and headed towards the hospital, the other decoys ignoring them.

 

“They all look like Samira,” Harry whispered.

 

“It’s just to creep us out,” Draco replied but sounded unsure.

 

“There she is,” the silky voice of Lucius Malfoy slid through the doorway.

 

They were only behind her by a second or two. The hospital was swarming with the white decoys, they moved slowly, the white skirts gliding along the floor. Harry and Draco slowed to match their pace.

 

Samira eyed the decoys with concern, “where is Basi?”

 

“You’re little friend? He put up quite the fight but he is still alive for now,” Lucius smoothed his silver hair back, his eyes never leaving Samira, “you see I needed to keep him alive for Polyjuice potion but now that you have figured out my disguise there isn’t much use for him—“

 

“Don’t hurt him, please, you have me,” Samira sounded confident, “now what do you want with me?”

 

Lucius’ face transformed into a grin that made Harry’s skin crawl, “what do I want with you? Princess I have been trying to decide that for many years. First I thought you were just a spoilt little brat but I’ve watched you grow up into a strong, passionate young woman and I fell in love with you Princess, I thought all I wanted was the throne but I now know all I want is you.”

 

Samira looked around again at the decoys, her eyes lingering on Harry, “what are these?”

 

“These are wedding dresses.” Lucius immobilised one nearby and caught it’s gown, “I’ve had hundreds of designs for your wedding dress flown in from across the globe, I want you to look perfect.”

 

“You slimy bastard!” It was Ginny, her wand in hand and a furious expression on her face, “you wanted me! You wanted me to be your Queen, you said you were in love with me!”

 

Samira disarmed Ginny in one quick flick of her wrist.

 

“Don’t take another step Miss Weasley,” Samira ordered.

 

“You’re going to pretend to be in love with him so he doesn’t hurt your friends now?” Ginny spat, the white decoys circling her.

 

“I’m not pretending,” Samira said clearly, her eyes flickered again to Harry, “I hardly know you Lucius and this is the first time I’ve seen you in the flesh.”

 

“Do you like what you see?” He smiled in what he probably thought was charming.

 

“I can’t deny, I like what I see, you are very attractive,” Samira smiled and Harry felt his stomach clench, “it’s a shame you hid your true appearance from me all this time.”

 

“Lucius she’s lying to you! She just wants to save her own skin!” Ginny shrieked.

 

“Miss Weasley could you give Lucius and I some privacy?” Samira asked.

 

“No!” Ginny charged at Samira but Lucius swatted her away like a fly, she fell unconscious on the floor.

 

“I must say I am surprised at your response Princess,” Lucius traced a hand up her arm.

 

“I feel like you know me,” she said earnestly, “you know the real me.”

 

“I thought you were after Harry?” His hands slipped on to her waist and pulled her close.

 

“Harry doesn’t know how to treat a woman, you have experience and incredible sex appeal,” Samira ran her hands up his arms on to his shoulders.

 

Draco tripped on his gown and went head first into white decoys and hospital instruments clattered to the floor.

 

Samira grabbed Lucius’ head and pressed her mouth to his, her hand trailed down his arm holding his wand. Harry had the sense to disarm Lucius and was ready to stun him when.

 

“Lucius!” Ginny shrieked, “watch out!”

 

With the reflexes of a snake Lucius had one arm binding Samira and the other arm holding a precarious dagger to her throat.

 

“I knew the great Harry Potter wouldn’t leave a damsel in distress,” his cold grey eyes penetrated Harry’s.

“Let her go Lucius or we’ll hurt Ginny,” Draco had a hold on Ginny his wand tip at her temple.

 

“Traitor!” Lucius roared, “you can do what you like with her, if you’ve truly gone to the weaker side you won’t harm her. Your kind don’t do that,” he hissed at his son.

 

“You prick,” Ginny spat, “I saved your life while you were busy with her they were about to attack you.”

 

“And I thank you for your service Ginny but that is all you are, a very useful service but a service nonetheless,” Lucius pulled his attention back to Samira, the tip of his dagger trailing across her neck leaving a thin red line.

 

“What do you want Lucius?” Harry asked firmly, “you have the power right now.”

 

Lucius’ mouth curled into a smirk, “for once you’re right Potter, now listen carefully. I need you to take all your silly protection charms down so I can leave with the Princess and no one is to follow us or she is dead.”

 

“I will let you go Lucius and I won’t follow you, I’ll even throw the Ministry on the wrong track but you can’t leave with Samira, people will search for her,” Harry spoke calmly, he tried not to look in Samira’s terrified eyes.

 

“Then she dies,” Lucius warned pressing the blade deeper into her skin, tiny droplets of blood trailed down her neck.

 

“Ok, Lucius, if it’s really that important to you, we will let you leave with the Princess but I will need her help, only royalty can transport out of the Palace,” Harry spoke as calmly as he could, his fingers twitching.

 

He saw Lucius’ eyes flash, he knew Harry was right, only Samira could transport out of the Palace, “one wrong move Princess and this blade pierces your jugular vein, you’ll be dead before you apparate.”

 

“I thought you were only into English women?” Draco asked nodding to Ginny, his voice casual.

 

“My foolish son, you do not understand the amount of magic royalty possess, I have an old friend who can siphon magic out of people and pour it into someone else. I could be the most powerful wizard, more powerful than the Dark Lord.”

 

“Then take me instead,” the King stood magnificently in the doorway, “you shed some of my daughter’s royal blood I was immediately notified. If you want the most powerful royal, take me,” the King threw his wand to the ground and held his arms up to surrender.

 

“No offence but the Princess is more my type,” Lucius smirked but the wheels in his head were turning, “there are other things your daughter can do that you can’t.”

“Lust over power? Mr Malfoy I am surprised at you, you’re not at all how they perceived you to be.”

 

Lucius’ mouth twitched.

 

“A King over a Princess?” The King let the question hang in the air and watched Lucius’ mind swirl with the idea.

 

“I need both of you,” Lucius panted.

 

The King laugh good naturedly, “you don’t need my daughter if you have me. I have more powers than my children combine.”

 

“Prove it,” Lucius spat.

 

“You won’t hurt my daughter if I do magic?”

 

“Just do it,” Lucius growled.

 

“Very well, a simple jinx to a normal wizard but with my powers,” the King tapped his wand the hospital bed blasted into pieces, sending ash and sparks of colour through the room.

Lucius’ grip loosened in excitement, Samira grabbed his knife wielding arm and twirled out of his grip plunging his own knife into his chest.

 

Lucius doubled over, blood bubbled from his mouth, he fell to the floor, wheezing rapidly.

 

Samira waved her wand sending a stream of gold light to Lucius’ chest, it froze him and his eyes flew open.

 

“He will be ok,” Samira said to Draco.

 

“You saved him?” Draco said in disbelief, “he was going to kill you.”

 

“He needs to answer for his crimes,” she said coldly, “he can’t do that if he’s dead.”

 

 



Chapter 22: Chapter Twenty Two
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Samira watched the sky, it was coming to life with the sun peeking over the horizon. Pinks, purples and oranges streaked across the sky in a beautiful soft watercolour painting. The princess gathered up her peacock blue skirts, the mask had long since disappeared and their was a smears of dried blood crusted on to her expensive clothes.

The only indication that something terribly wrong had happened.

 

To all the other guests of last night’s part, the evening was a success, the firework show an added treat to end of a spectacular night of fine food, expensive wine and dancing.

 

Samira gently touched the swollen mark where the dagger had punctured her skin on her neck, a reminder that she was lucky to be alive.

 

Her brother nervously flittered around her, not knowing how to behave.

 

“You could’ve said something,” he whispered nervously.

 

“You were drunk, it’s alright,” she reassured.

 

“You could have died Sadie,” he gripped her hand.

 

“Jarret,” her Fathers booming voice sounded.

 

They were in his office, the sun creeping in through his ceiling high windows. He opened the doors allowing Hermione, Draco, Harry and Kingsley to enter.

Kingsley looked polished and every part the Minister, the other three were in their evening wear, streaked with dirt, blood and ash.

 

“Your highness,” Kingsley sank into a bow along with the rest of the English wizards, “may I offer my deepest apologies.”

 

“Minister,” Samira interrupted, “you are not responsible for Lucius Malfoy’s actions and nor would I blame you.”

 

Kingsley looked at her father with a sparkle in his eye, “your daughter will make a marvellous queen.”

 

Her father nodded, a slight smile threatening to appear.

 

“How is our friend Basi?” Samrira asked.

 

“He’s going to be fine, some dehydration but he’s very tough,” Hermione grinned and Samira returned the smile.

 

Samira caught Harry’s eye for a moment and felt her cheeks burn, he needed to only look at her for less than a second and her body did things she never thought possible.

 

Then the most unexpected words came out of her father’s mouth.

 

“I would very much like it Minister if my daughter could oversee the trial and prosecution of Lucius Malfoy, perhaps provide a testimony if needed,” he commanded in a polite manner.

 

“Of course your majesty, that would be most helpful,” Kingsley bowed.

 

“She will of course need your most skilled aurors as her body guard while staying abroad?”

 

“Father?” Samira asked.

 

“I’m sorry my dear I just assumed you would want to go?”

 

“I do, yes of course I do!”

 

“It’s time you saw more of the world and if Mr Potter will accompany you and I can’t think of a more trusted companion,” her Father’s eyes softened in a way she hadn’t seen for many years.

 

“Is that alright with you?” Samira asked looking at Harry.

 

His eyes said more than his voice to her but he nodded and she noticed Hermione beaming.

 

“It’s time your brother learnt a thing or two about running this place,” her father clapped Jarret on the back and grinned.

 

“Thank you Father,” Samira said.

 

“Your mother wouldn’t want you to be couped up here, you need to explore.”

 

“Well,” Kingsley clapped his hands together happily, “I will make sure all the arrangements are in order for your highness’ arrival. The people of London will look forward to your visit Princess,” he bowed out of the room.

 

“When do I leave Father?”

 

“As soon as you’d like Princess.”

 

Samira looked at Harry and smiled, for the first time she felt as though she would have created the strongest patronus known to magic.

 

For the first time since her mother had passed she felt a door open and an opportunity of adventure and a way to become someone different and someone exciting that could maybe even have a future that wasn't already scripted and planned.

 

“Let’s go,” she grinned at Harry, took his hand and got ready for her first adventure outside the Palace walls.



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