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9.

“You let her go?” Hermione screamed, “just like that?”

“She wanted to,” Harry answered, watching Hermione madly pack various items into a small handbag that would usually carry that much. “What are you doing?”

“Packing, aren’t I?” Hermione exclaimed wildly, “to save her and the city and I know there are many behind me. Since your article Harry the Order has been inundated with wizards and witches offering their services. Half the Order is already there which you might have noticed had you not been moping about.”

Fred and George grinned at Harry from the doorway, “what has he done now, Hermione?”

“He has let Layla go back to Medina on her own!”

George’s grin dropped and Fred’s eyes darkened, “when did she leave?”

“Not long ago, apparated, Harry honestly,” Hermione sighed at him.

“We never saw her,” George said.

“Why would you see her?” Harry asked irritated.

“George and I were out the front we would’ve seen her leave and tried to stop her!”

“She apparated outside my room,” Harry said.

“Try and apparate outside of this house,” Hermione challenged.

Harry tried, he couldn’t, “but she did I heard the crack right outside my door and you two reckon you didn’t see her go outside.”

“We defiantly didn’t,” George answered, “we’d notice, believe me!”

“Only a very powerful witch could’ve apparated out of this house,” Hermione paused, “not even you could Harry.”

There was a knock at the door, “maybe it’s her, poor thing,” Hermione muttered as she left to answer.

There was a loud voice from the door, “where is he! Where are you keeping him from me!”

“Ginny,” Harry breathed.

Ginny flounced through the room and into Harry’s arms, “oh Harry,” she sobbed, “the media have made up so many lies about me.”

“I’ve missed you so much,” she sobbed burying her face into his arms, Harry remembered her scent and breathed it in and returned the hug.

“I missed you too.”

“Oh please!” Hermione laughed, “and I suppose you want to come to Medina and help?”

“Of course I do Hermione,” Ginny’s eyes narrowed but Harry didn’t notice, “it’s been so hard without you Harry, my own friends and family have turned on me.”

“That’s enough, you!” Hermione objected, “Harry we’re going with or without you.”

“I want to help Harry, it’s the least I can do,” Ginny planted a wet kiss on his lips, the other three occupants in the room turned away disgusted. Harry remembered the last kiss he had received it was from Layla, it was soft and deep and made Harry’s heart stand still. But now he had Ginny back, Ginny who would marry him and there was something secure and comforting about that knowledge that made him kiss her back.

“Let’s go then,” Harry announced looking brighter than he had done for days.

With glum and moody expressions Hermione, George and Fred stomped off to apparate to Medina, whilst Ginny giggled all the way with Harry.


Harry’s smile was wiped when he arrived in Medina, it was as though the life had been sucked out of the city. Bodies lay decaying, blood stains painted the town deep red, the only bright colour left in the town. There was no music, no colourful smoke and not a soul around.

“This place is depressing,” Ginny announced unimpressed.

“This place is what would have happened had Harry not defeated Voldemort,” Hermione said darkly.

“It wasn’t when I was here, it was full of life,” Harry looked around, hoping people would start pouring out of their little houses making noise and colour but no such thing happened. Harry stared at the surrounding houses, all their doors were open, windows broken, he shuddered.

“This is awful,” Hermione said stifling a sob, George put an arm around her.

“Let’s find the others,” Fred said to everyone but Ginny.

A small house the Order had chosen as their headquarters’ and unknown to them was Layla’s old house. No one looked pleased to see Ginny and Molly had to leave the room when she arrived but Arthur kept the proposed mission meeting going as if nothing had happened.

“This house funnily enough had protections already placed upon it,” Arthur said curiously.

“Excuse me Arthur,” Harry said politely, “this was Layla’s place maybe she put charms on it?”

Arthur grinned, “these are pretty powerful charms Harry, I had actually thought someone like yourself may have put them up to protect her.”

Harry felt Ginny’s body tighten, no doubt in Harry’s mind Ginny had seen the news about Harry and his new ‘stunningly beautiful’ friend. Harry knew that the speedy return of Ginny was no doubt initiated by this but he didn’t mind he liked having her back.

“Has anyone seen Layla,” Harry asked genuinely.

“We saw her being willingly lead by a man we discovered his name was…Ron what was it?” Arthur asked looking through parchment.

“Sandi, Dad,” Ron looked at Harry, “we saw them enter the palace and then not a soul except for guards for the past twenty four hours.”

“In the houses with an orange phoenix feather on the doorstep is where allies are,” Arthur continued.

“How many people are here,” Hermione asked.

“I’d say roughly fifty at the moment and plenty more on the way,” Arthur gazed hopefully.

“Fifty is more than enough,” Harry exclaimed, “those guards are more brawn than brains.”

“We have noticed the lack of skill the guards posses Harry,” Remus said grimly, “but we don’t know how many prisoners they have or where they are for that matter, we need to know these details before we just attack or else we could kill more people than save.”

“I’ll go,” Harry volunteered, “I’ll use my cloak to get in.”

“Harry dear, are you sure?” Molly asked.

“After Voldemort some wannabe Voldie should be no trouble for our Harry,” George grinned.

“Yeah piece of cake,” Fred added.

“Harry I really don’t think you should go,” Ginny requested grabbing his sleeves.

“I’ve got to; I made a promise to a lot of people.”

Harry left a reluctant Ginny and threw on his invisibility cloak, which was unnecessary for most of his trip, Harry felt like he was in a ghost town. Harry arrived at the palace gates luckily in time to sneak through with three guards. Untouched Harry made his way to the Sultan’s room.

His invisible entry made every occupant in the room stare, the Sultan, Faris, two slaves girls and Layla. Layla was sitting in a golden throne beside the Sultan, clothed in an elegant fine silk robe, glittering gold jewellery sparkled off her wrists, ears and throat.

“Layla,” he said taking off his cloak, making the room react and for a moment he saw Layla’s eyes light up and a smile painted on her lips, the Sultan looked at her and the expression vanished.

“Mr Harry Potter,” the Sultan spat, “how dare you show your face.”

Harry smiled roguishly, “I said I had plans for your city Alem and I do.”

“I’ve had my own plans since you and my dear Layla left to abruptly we introduced a city lottery, every man, woman and child in my city has a number and every morning I call a random number out, whoever that lucky number is gets a chance to run in the death pit, Layla tell Mr Potter what happens in the death pit,” the Sultan finished grinning evilly.

“The death pit is where a person is put in a large area of land and must avoid jinx’s and curses from the Sultan and the guards, they are eventually killed,” Layla said emotionlessly, Harry’s stomach turned.

“Layla, if you haven’t noticed has gone up in ranks,” The Sultan reached out a hand, “Layla has agreed to be my bride.”

Harry felt his heart twist as though someone was wringing all the life out of him.

“Oh he didn’t like that one, did he Faris,” the Sultan laughed and Faris forced a smile.

“Layla, why are you doing this?” Harry pleaded.

“Tell him why Layla,” the Sultan teased.

“Because I love him and I always have, I was trying to get close to you so I could find out more about the Order,” Layla finished calmly.

“No,” was all Harry could say.

“Faris,” the Sultan said grinning, “what lucky number is Harry?”

“Number 667 your highness,” Faris said bowing his head.

“Very well now I think—“
The Sultan was cut off a large explosion of purple smoke filled the room, once it had cleared Harry had vanished. Layla was relieved momentarily when two guards bounded through the Sultan’s doors holding a feisty young woman, Hermione.

“We found this woman trying to get into the palace,” the guard announced.

“Uh a friend of Harry Potter’s no doubt, you just missed him, take her to the prison, she can have Harry’s number,” the Sultan dismissed them and the made their way out of the Sultan’s room.

“You know,” Layla said loudly, “it’d be a shame to waste such a wonderful cook in the prison.”

“A cook?” The Sultan mused, “I have many cooks, take her away.”

“An English cook though!” Layla got inspiration, “a cook who cooks the same food Voldemort used to eat.”

“Cook me a feast tonight woman of the Dark Lords’ favourite foods,” the Sultan ordered.

Hermione’s face was white she slowly bowed her head.

“I wish some girls to bathe me,” Layla ordered.

“Very well,” the Sultan said lazily, “you and you go,” he pointed to two slave girls, “and you too.” He pointed to Hermione which Layla was hoping he would do.

In Layla’s now Princess suite, like everytime Layla ordered for the girls to bathe her she would give them food and let them sleep on her amazing bed. This time was no different however Hermione was there.

“What is this?” She asked angrily, “did you forget to mention you were Queen, why have you dragged us all here to save your city when you are a ruler!”

“Hermione you do not understand, the Sultan has forced me to become his bride, we made a deal if I am his he will stop killing my people,” Layla said.

“Layla,” Hermione said slowly, “he is still murdering people, he isn’t telling you the truth.”

“He said he’d stop,” Layla nearly whispered.

“He’s not, I’ve seen it,” Hermione paused, “but you can help! In your old house in the city the Order is set up, you need to go there while the Sultan is having his feast, give every bit of information you have and you will have helped the Order so much. Also I think Harry would like to see you,” Hermione smiled but her smile was not matched by Layla’s.

“Harry will be angry at me because the Sultan made me lie to Harry,” Layla sounded miserable.

“Just explain yourself he’ll understand,” Hermione put her arm around her, “now I’m going to start cooking, they didn’t get my wand so I should be ready in fifteen minutes.”

“Alisha,” Layla asked politely, “could you please tell the Sultan that I am unwell and wish to rest and not be disturbed for tonight?”

“Yes your highness,” Alisha replied bowing.

“Don’t bow or call me your highness I am not worth such things,” Layla spoke softly, “now I shall go into the city, be careful with the Sultan, Hermione only speak when spoken to. I’ll be back before desert.” With an astounding crack she apparated into the night, leaving Hermione confused, how could this woman apparate anywhere she pleased?

In the dark streets of the city Layla had grown up in she made her way to her old house. The streets were so quiet and still that she almost felt her breathing was too loud.

“Layla?” A female voice asked.

Layla turned around not as frightened as she should have been, “who wants to know?”

“Oh a bit defensive aren’t we?”

“You just have to be careful these days, who are you?”

“Ginny Wealsey, Harry’s fiancée,” she announced silkily, “I believe you know him.”

“Yes I was just on my way to see him, I thought you and Harry broke up?”

“I just needed some time apart after the traumatic events that happened but Harry does not wish to see you. That’s why I was waiting out here I wanted to catch you before he did, he is very upset,” Ginny was mocking a sad voice.

“Yes, I know why he is but it is why I must see him,” Layla pleaded.

“He wishes not to see you Layla, ever again, those were his exact words. He said you had betrayed him and he never wanted to see you ever again and that you broke his heart,” Ginny smiled in the darkness.

“I had to give information to the Order though,” Layla said weakly.

“They don’t wish to see you either Layla, in our country when you betray someone the next time they see you they have to kill you, it is a magical law in London, you’d better go and never come back this way stay in the Palace,” Ginny grinned as Layla ran off into the still of the black night.

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