The Magic Quill #54: Locating Ilona, Part Two

by Robbie Fischer, concepts Contributed by: Vanessa, Richard, Gphoenix5, Jake, Bean and hpwestham13

As Spanky’s story continued, he and the Potters and other friends were in the house at Godric’s Hollow, surrounded by a wall of fire:

“And then I heard a voice that was really quite fmiliar—the voice of Eustace, the death eater who had imperiussed me before. The voice of Eustace, magically magnified from somewhere outside, said: ’You are quite surrounded by dampening spells. You will find apparition, floo powder, and portkeys to be quite useless. No one will escape alive unless you do as I say. And I say: James Potter, come out alone with the child, and we will leave everyone else unharmed. You have exactly thirty seconds.’

“’I told you,’ Sirius spat at James, and I saw him throw a poisonous look first at me, then at Lupin.

“’Nonsense,’ James snapped back. ‘I only wish I knew how they got through the spells.’

“’I believe you do know,’ Sirius growled.

“’I don’t care for what you are insinuating,’ I said, producing two wands from the inner pockets of my robes. ‘But this is no time to argue about it. I’m armed. And I’m with whoever cares to make a stand while the Potters escape.’

“’We are not running away from our home on the first night of our son’s life,’ James said furiously.

“’Your time is halfway up,’ Eustace’s voice roared.

“’I saw a passage down in the cellar,’ Lupin said, daring Sirius to fix him with a look of bitter distrust. ‘Peter, you remember where we saw it? You had better lead the women down at once. The child must be kept safe. Em, Dora, help Lily…’

“’Five seconds!’ Eustace bellowed as Pettigrew and the women hurried out of the room, levitating Lily’s bed between them.

“’I don’t know what to do now,’ groaned Sirius, as he counted the number of figures silhouetted against the blazing light from out the window. ‘There are too many of them. Even with Mr. Stricken-from-the-Owlympic-Records here…’

“’Your time is up!’ shrieked Eustace. ‘This is your last chance, Potter! Bring the child out now!’

“’I’ve got it,’ I said, lunging toward Lupin. He flinched away from me, but not before I had seized the bottle that he still held opposite his wand hand. I pointed my wand at the cork and it popped off, shattering a nearby window. But instead of wine, the bottle was full of old air and a vaguely sweaty smell. Everyone ducked as a loud bang filled the room, and suddenly a fifteen-foot-tall, pot-bellied, pale, ill-looking man stood over the place where Lily’s bed had been, nearly naked, his back bent double and his shoulders wedged against the ceiling.

“’Can’t a body get a few hundred years of privacy now and again?’ the genie said peevishly.

“’I’m quite in earnest!’ the voice from outside screamed.

“’You didn’t used to be covered in gold leaf?’ I asked the genie, my heart plunging into the colon region. ‘And you weren’t in much better shape a few years ago?’

“’You needn’t get all personal about it,’ said the genie, trying to cover a slight belch. ‘I wouldn’t have pulled the gold off, if I had a choice.’

“‘You pulled the gold off?’ I cried, feeling hope again.

“The genie looked irritated. ‘It’s a hard life, being the slave of a bottle,’ he said firmly, while a magnified voice from outside yelled, ‘We’re not going to wait much longer!’

“’I can well imagine,’ I said sympathetically.

“The genie seemed pleased, but said, ‘No, you can’t. There’s a lot of pressure involved. Especially once the spirits wear off, then you get bigger and bigger, and the bottle gets tighter and tighter. Luckily I found a loose scale of gold before I got wedged in too tightly, and managed to work it loose. Then I wished it to my brother in Brescia, who manages the affairs of a wealthy Comte. He was kind enough to send me a few drops of wine, every time I sent him a bit of gold leaf…’

“’The tight-fisted hunks,’ Lupin muttered ungraciously.

“’I’m not out here for my health!’ Eustace’s voice screeched. ‘Come out at once, unless you wish to see me in a bad temper!’

“’It was the best he could do, after all. There’s hardly room for a whole bottle inside that bottle. I drank a bit, shrank a bit, peeled off a bit more gold leaf, and so kept on until I ran out of leaf. It is such a relief to breathe fresh air again, and to be under a bit less pressure—though to be honest, you folks could stand to knock a few walls out of this place. Still, I hate to be seen in this condition. And that light is killing my eyes. Besides, you’re probably going to start making me grant wishes again, and that does SO make my head throb.’

“’I’m very sorry to inconvenience you,’ I said, as Eustace shouted, ‘Don’t make me count down from three!’

“’Ah, well, it can’t be helped,’ said the genie, wriggling around to make himself more comfortable. ‘I suppose you want me to do something about those wizards outside?’

“’That would be most agreeable of you,’ I replied.

“’I hate to rush you gentlemen,’ James said awkwardly, looking by turns at me and the genie. ‘The Death Easters seem to be setting up for something really nasty.’

“’You have to wish,’ the genie told me. ‘I don’t give freebies these days—not in this economy at any rate.’

“I took a deep breath, and said, ‘That Lord Voldemort’s followers would leave the Potters alone, er’—here I caught a glimpse of James’ alarmed face (I didn’t want to ruin his career, after all)—‘as far as their home is concerned,’ I added, ‘is what I wish.’

“’Done,’ said the genie, and the next moment the flames outside had gone, and the room suddenly seemed blind-dark in comparison. ‘That’s one,’ said the genie.

“’For two, I wish you would undo the enchantment that you put on my intended, Ilona Ilonera, so that I might find her again.’

“’Damn you, Spanky, I’ve been right here all along,’ said Ilona, wrapping her arms around me.

“You’ll forgive me for passing over the next few minutes,” Spanky begged of his audience in the back parlor of the Hog’s Head. By now Merlin, Joe Albuquerque, and Endora had taken their places as well. There was a general clearing of throats and muttering of “I quite understand” as Spanky swallowed a bubble of emotion that had started to rise in his throat.

But Sadie had to ask, “What was your third wish?”

“Oh, that,” Spanky said, looking sheepish. “I was so happy. I could think of nothing but to wish the genie free to do as he pleased. At once the bottle in my hands turned to dust, and with a sound like a thunderclap the genie disappeared. I don’t know where he went after that.”

“That was so noble of you,” Endora gushed, putting her invisible hand atop Spanky’s.

“It’s too bad that I let the genie go before I made sure my second wish had come out right,” Spanky said, discreetly withdrawing his hand from Endora’s grasp.

Sadie gasped. “What do you mean?”

“Well, the magic the genie had put over her was rather like our Fidelius Charm. The genie had revealed Ilona’s location to me, but as for everyone else…”

“You don’t mean…!” Endora stammered. “She’s not…”

“There’s no point even telling you that she’s sitting right next to me,” Spanky replied, gazing adoringly at his wife, who gave him a brave smile over her knitting. “You won’t even hear the words I am saying; that’s how serious it is to have a genie as your secret-keeper.”

“I beg your pardon,” said Harvey, anxiously. “I don’t know what those buffoons in the kitchen have dropped this time, but I didn’t hear the last thing you said. Would you repeat it?”

“Never mind,” said Spanky, still sharing a private smile with his wife.

Harvey and the others looked vaguely uncomfortable, and Merlin rather squirmed.

“Well, then,” Joe said brightly. “Let’s get back to our previous topic. Merlin, old man, weren’t you just saying how you told that Rigel character–”

“Ha! Yes,” said Merlin, picking up his cue. “I was saying, ‘Do you know what this goblin pit thingy is, you daft boater-wearing weasel? It’s our grave!’”

What happens next? Send us your idea in 150 words or less, and tune in next week for another installment of the Magic Quill.