Chapter 45: Winter Morning
Erela went into the library the next morning to go and research on any symbols with a skull. She went through old tales of pirates, Voldemort and his Death Eaters, and other symbols that could have been the cult that Erela and Stacee had run into the night before. When Erela woke up in their common room, a million things came to mind. First was: how did she get back in the Hufflepuff common room. Second was: maybe there were some members in Hufflepuff house. Thirdly: where was Stacee?
She had gone to the mouth of the seventh year boys' dorm hole and threw her shoe in there to get some reaction from Landon or Stacee. "You guys in there?"
Erela threw her other shoe in and hear an annoyed groan. Oh good, she hit someone. Landon peeked his head out of the opening of the hole with squinted eyes and her shoes hooked into his shoes. "Any reason why you decided to throw your shoe at me?"
"Was trying to get someone's attention. Didn't mean to actually hit you," Erela answered quickly. "Is Stacee in there?" she asked.
"No . . ." the werewolf yawned and rubbed his eyes.
Erela huffed and nodded her head. "Thank you. Sorry for waking you up," she said, took her shoes from Landon, and turned away before he could answer.
She hoped Stacee was okay. Maybe he woke up earlier to go on a date with Laila. God, she hoped he was safe.
Erela flipped through the pages and skimmed through any possible ideas on what the cult do. She had no idea what they did, any of the things she read could be what they did when together. Blood sacrifice of animals for invisibility, the open use of Unforgivable curses . . . there was more to do with the group and Erela had to know what else they did to actually fear their goals.
Erela looked up toward Michael and closed the book she had in front of her. "Hi."
"It's the weekend. Rest already," he laughed.
"Interesting topic," she shrugged.
"How about you come join my group meeting thing to rest your "interest" and eyes?" he rolled his eyes.
"She blinked at him and pursed her lips. She didn't see him last night in the cult. But she couldn't be too sure. Did the group meet during the day? "I guess . . ." she forced to roll her eyes and stood up.
"That's the spirit," Michael stuck his tongue out while Erela put the book back.
"So I finally get to see what you do," she said while the two walk out of the library. "Any reason why you've been keeping this a secret?"
"Because I knew you would judge me," the Slytherin boy shrugged.
"I'm curious how," Erela raised a brow.
"I know you will," Michael rolled his eyes as they made way toward the dungeon. Erela stopped at the foot of the stairs and merely stared at the boy ahead of her. Was he leading her to the group? Were they currently down there just waiting for her to come back and possibly kill her? They were no stranger to death seeing how they slaughtered an owl last year. Killing a person probably didn't even phase them. "Come on, Ela."
"I don't know . . . I'm not feeling so comfortable meeting your group members . . ."
"Oh come on you antisocial robot," Michael rolled his eyes and pulled her by her wrist. "You can handle werewolves but not people?"
"The werewolf I've affiliated with doesn't judge me for being who I am and is possibly the friendliest being I've ever met," she said grimly. At least not entirely if she didn't use her power and didn't vocally challenge him.
"Well, these guys won't judge you. Promise," the Slytherin boy winked and pulled her along. Erela took careful steps behind him as they went down to the dungeon. She was cautious going around the corner when they got to the bottom of the stairs and led her into one of the classrooms. Erela didn't even realize she held her breath until she saw other students facing one another with chessboards in front of them.
The little pieces moved by themselves and attacked one another, a normal game of wizard chess. Erela looked for any suspicious behavior, but the atmosphere in the room was calm and pretty intense from each player thinking carefully on their next move.
"The . . . wizard chess club?" she looked up at him.
Michael shrugged. "Yeah . . . I took an interest in it a while back and had a feeling you'd make fun of me for it."
Erela pursed her lips and covered her smile behind her hand. So that was what he had been going the whole time. The group she had seen back in summer of the quidditch tournament, they were the from this intense wizard chess club?
She was actually relieved.
"You were beginning to make me worry," she chuckled.
"About what?" Michael raised his brows at her.
She looked at him for a moment before she shook her head and waved him off. "It's nothing. How good are you at this?"
Michael snickered and gave her a shrug. "I'm okay."
Erela went over to one of the chessboards left alone and took a seat in front of it. "Why don't we play and see?"
The grey-eyed Slytherin boy rolled his eyes and joined his friend across from her. "Alright. Loser buys them sweets from Honeydukes."
Erela lost. A lot.
She had cornered Michael a couple times and he always managed to turn the tables that ended up with her being cornered. After three long rounds, Erela left to go eat lunch when her stomach roared in hunger. "See you later, Erela. Remember, you owe me sweets."
"Yeah yeah," she laughed.
She walked out of the classroom and eyeballed the last door down the hall where she had last seen the group. She wondered if they were in there at that very moment. How have the professors not noticed? They couldn't be THAT oblivious? And that was coming from a student who didn't even realize her ex-boyfriend was a werewolf until their fifth year!
Once she entered the main level of the castle, she saw pink hair within her peripheral vision. Erela shot her gaze towards the metamorphmagus boy and ran to him quickly before she grabbed him by his shoulder. "Stacee, you're okay."
"Christ almighty, Ela!" he hissed and looked around before taking them away from earshot of the other students.
"I thought they did something to you," she hissed in a whisper.
"No," he shook his head. "Did you tell them anything?"
She shook her head. "No. I didn't. Did they give you a warning?"
Stacee pursed his lips and looked away from her for a moment. "It makes me nervous how we got back into the basement," he muttered quietly.
"You think there's members from Hufflepuff house too . . ."
"The common room is the most secret place in the castle that only people in our house and the Headmistress knows where it is. It's only likely that they have eyes on us all the time . . ."
Erela went pale at the very thought. She had the feeling that there were people in their house in on the whole thing. But since he pointed out that they were always being watched, it made her even more nervous on what she would do or say in the future. She gulped and let out a shaky sigh when she said: "I tried to look into what they do. I'm still trying to pinpoint what it is they symbolize with the patch I saw."
"You too," he nodded. "I think I might know what they represent." She looked back up at the metamorphmagus boy. Interest and fear welled up inside her at his discovery. "They—"
"Well don't you two look shady," a voice broke the intensity in the atmosphere and made Erela jump. She glanced up at the werewolf for a moment before she dropped her eyes and looked away to hide her blush.
He musn't know . . .
Erela glanced at Stacee for a moment and read the look in his eyes immediately. They were warned to not tell anyone. Landon should never know . . .
"I was trying to give Erela some pointers on Disapparation and Apparation from what I've been told and read," Stacee shrugged. Erela restrained herself to stare at him quizzically or else Landon would catch on the lie. It was best for Stacee to do the talking for them, Erela wasn't the best liar next to her awkward humor attempts.
"That's not until after the holidays," he rolled his eyes.
"I . . . wanted a head start," Erela added.
"You're sure you want to take it? If you have difficulty flying," he pointed out.
"It's a twelve week program," Erela shrugged. "I think I can manage?"
Landon blinked and chuckled a little. "So much confidence," he teased sarcastically. Erela played with the end of her braid when Stacee left the two behind. There was obviously something in the air that he sensed the two had to discuss and didn't want to be there and intrude.
Erela puffed her hair away from her eyes and collected her thoughts during the silence and started: "Ummm . . . about—"
"Do you have plans close to Christmas?"
She blinked at him for a few moments and shook her head. "Just spending time with my parents," she answered.
Landon ran his fingers through his hair and scratched the back of his head when he added: "Stacee and his family will be over at my place again. If you want to come, that'll be fine. I just have to tell mum before everyone comes to visit."
He was inviting her? To spend the holidays with him and his family? Was that . . . really okay? Even when they had a fight a couple days ago?
"I'll . . . ask my parents if that's okay," she nodded. Erela shoved her hands into the pockets of her jeans and lightly tapped her feet nervously during the short silence. "So . . . we're okay?"
Landon shrugged and ran his fingers through his hair awkwardly. "Yeah . . . I think we're good."