Enter the lion
Disclaimer: none of the characters are mine, but belong to their respective owners.
Note: this story is part of the existing series; previous installments should be read for a better understanding of it.
“Remind me, why are we doing this?” Priya asked nervously, as she followed Faith and Draco into London’s Ministry of Magic. “I’m no witch, or sorceress, or anyone like that at all!”
“No, but you still can use magic, not unlike an Animagus, and you’re both a foreign citizen and a member of the British Commonwealth – therefore you need to get registered, whether you like to or not,” Draco said firmly, before adding, “sorry.”
“Uh, fine, let’s just get this over with,” Priya said crossly as the two of them and Faith finally reached the registration office in the Ministry and opened the door.
The registration witch was there, but so was minister Shacklebolt.
“Ah, LeHane, or LeStrange, or whatever your name is,” the minister said almost fondly. “I need for you to go the Hadrian’s Wall and deal with a lion that cannot be killed, apparently.”
There was a general pause in the air, a calm before the storm, if you will. “Excuse me?” Faith said in the sort of a voice that implied that a wrong answer will get the interlocutor cursed – or worse.
“Look, there’re rumors of a lion that rose from its grave at the magical village in that vicinity,” the registration witch – who apparently was in the loop – spoke quickly. “That village is important – it’s sort of a border guard between us and the Fae world – and so anything unexplainable there tends to be attributed to the Fae, whose magic runs differently from ours. Quite a few of the Fae are hostile to us, so we have to know if that isn’t the case with that lion-shaped rumor.” She paused and added, explaining things further: “The minister wanted to sent Auror Potter, but since he’s on a curse-breaking treatment, and since you were involved in it at that time, your name came up-“
“Well, that is fair enough, I suppose,” Faith deflated, though still sounding not very happy. “I’ll go along with this idea – for now. And speaking of now, while I’m dealing with that lion-shaped rumor for you, Ms. Umbridge, can you please register Priya as she’s supposed to be registered?”
“It’s a deal,” the pink-clad witch said brightly. “Flint,” she pointed at one of the Aurors that appeared by corridor seemingly by magic (even though Apparating in the Ministry was impossible). “Explain to Ms. LeHane the details of this case, would you?”
The Auror just nodded and left with Faith, leaving minister Shacklebolt looking rather stunned...* * *
Nobody really knew what Larry Flint the Auror (distant relation to Marcus Flint the quidditch player, BTW) had told Faith, but the elder Vampire Slayer in Britain did go north to deal with the lion (if there was a lion) and stayed there for an entire month.
Well, for 29 days, to be precise. On the thirtieth (the month was April, which has 30 days) day she came back, looking distinctly worth for wear – i.e. the usual for Faith.
“Yes, there was a lion, or rather – a wingless dragon with a really thick and powerful tail, considering what it technically looked like,” she said when she was dictating the ministry officials the protocol (using a quill similar to the one used by Rita Skeeter). “But let me get things in order.”
“When I flooed there, it was dark, because it was night-time, and the landscape looked quite deserted. Even though there may not be a lion, it was equally possible to be jumped by the local vampires or ghouls, so I found some high ground and spent the night there.
“In the morning, as I got down, I discovered that I was in the magical village the minister and the other magicians were talking about, but it was quite deserted – everyone appeared to have fled before the terrible lion.
“Or – almost everyone. As I walked through the village, I encountered one of the local witches, Mallorca – well, actually, she is a Slayer as well, called when Willow had activated the Scythe... but that is not the point.
“Mallorca was a witch, but she was also a Wiccan, since her mother was a Muggle-born, not a pureblood. Consequently, she was praying to Mother Earth for assistance, and decided that I was that assistant. Considering that I was sent to deal with the lion, I did not argue with her but instead asked Mallorca about the details.
“There was a lion, or at least a lion-shaped creature. Bigger than a polar bear, it seemed to have an armor-like hide that was impenetrable to any spell or weapon, which was bothersome to say the least. But...I am a Slayer, and death is my gift too, according to B, so I ventured forth into the highlands where the beast was seen all the same.
“As I went, I confess I grew worried – how was I to bring down a magical creature that was invulnerable? And as I thought about it, I came across a stone statue of a lion, very artfully done.
“For a good long while I just stared at it, appreciating the magic and stonecrafting expertise that was put into making such a beast of a statue, when it blinked and got onto its feet. Apparently, I have found the lion I sought.
“Not really thinking at all, I chucked a rock at it using Slayer strength – it shattered against the hide. I tried it once more with the same reason, and that was when the lion decided that it had enough – it turned around and fled into the highlands. I followed.
“For the rest of the day I searched for the lion – all in vain. The lion itself did not reappear and there were no tracks in the rocky highlands. The night came. I started a bonfire and heard the lion roar. I looked up, and there it was on, the high ground, illuminated by the moon. However, when I quickly reached that spot, the lion was gone once more, vanished without a trace.
“I waited till the sunrise and went to search for the lion once more. Again I saw it and again it vanished once I got close. Since it was morning now, however, I was able to search for the lion in a greater detail and quickly found the cave where the lion took to hiding.
“The cave was both dark and narrow, so I hesitated from going into it straightaway; plus I could see the lion glaring at me from within its’ depths, so a change of strategy was in order.”
“Yes, really,” Faith glared. “I can strategize, I have you know! I walked back to my camp, picked up a still-burning branch from the fire and walked back to the lion’s cave.
“Getting ahead of myself, as a beast warped by elemental magics, the lion was afraid of fire, so it retreated into the cave’s depths very quickly. Encouraged, I followed it inwards, and as I walked, the higher and more spacious the cave became. Soon, it was spacious enough for me to try to tackle the lion, but it went around a bend and was gone.
“The cunning animal made a lair in a cave with two entrances or exits, however, you may look at it. In this manner, I chased the animal until late in the night, when I finally had to admit that another change in strategy was in order. After spending a lot of time thinking, I lit another fire before the first entrance of the cavern and spent the next night dragging huge rocks over to the second, until I blocked that entrance completely.
“Once that was done and I had rested, I grabbed another burning branch and charged the lion again. It tried to retreat, but once it discovered that the other entrance was blocked, it whirled around and charged me instead.”
“Then what happened?”
“It tore me to pieces?” Faith said, smiling sourly. “That’s a joke, by the way. In reality, I dodged the first paw swipes, came up low and grabbed the lion by the neck, lifting it upwards. As I did, I sensed something on the lion’s neck, underneath the mane, and ripped it off. It was that,” she pointed to a broken collar lying on the table. The insignia W&H was still evident on the damaged item.
“Once the collar was off,” Faith continued, “all of the fighting left the lion, and I had no problem subduing it and dragging it back to Mallorca to figure it out. She did. She claimed that it was an ordinary Asian lion, spell-warped – whatever that meant – and contacted your people via floo. They came, and you know all the rest from Mr. Flint and the others. I stayed there for the rest of the month, helping them deal with the local vampires, ghouls, and the like before getting back here, my job there being done.