The Lion, the Snake, and the Safe Room
18 May 2006
Royalty is the second chapter of The Lion, the Snake, and the Safe Room.
Draco leans against the lamppost, the world spinning around him and his left arm throbbing. As his dizziness subsides he inspects his forearm: the white snake imprinted thereon fades away when he strokes it with his other hand. leaving only the red eye-holes which now look like old scars. He ponders the tasks he has been set, not caring for some but desiring the ultimate end: there is only one possible snag and a bit of playacting should get him through that, and then… He finds himself chanting under his breath:
|“||Revolution, revelation, coronation…||”|
He is interrupted by Freeman who is surprised to see him, and sceptical: she doubts he knows where they are. Obviously they're in Narnia, he says, and she wonders how he knows, seeing that he would never read Muggle books. Well then, he challenges her while squeezing his arm, how does he know that they're in Lantern Waste, or that the wardrobe used to belong to one Digory Kirke (he recalls his reaction to the name), or that Lucy Pevensie was the first to use it, followed by her brother Edmund and then their siblings Peter and Susan who defeated the White Witch and became Kings and Queens of Narnia? She seems willing to believe him and asks whether he also knows which way they go to get out. She takes the direction he indicates while muttering about lucky guesses: he keeps his mouth shut as they find themselves back among clothing. Just as Freeman jumps out of the wardrobe with Draco behind her, the bedroom opens, and Potter and Granger appear. Freeman is excited to tell them what just happened, but she doesn't think they will believe her, and she thinks Draco is going to says she made it up: that depends what she's about to say, he says. She takes a breath and blurts it out: they found Narnia, this is that wardrobe![Note 1] Granger is also excited, her face lighting up: she tells Potter that it's just like the book, and he points out that Edmund met the White Witch on his first visit. He challenges Draco who rebuffs him: he's not Potter's brother like Edmund was to the others. Granger peers at the wardrobe, wondering whether the rest fits: she asks Freeman whether she met anybody. She did, she says, a Dryad named Oren who is a willow tree and has told her what is happening in Narnia. Potter sits on his bed, Granger on one of the chairs: Draco stays leaning against the wardrobe as Freeman talks. Apparently it's at least a thousand years since the Pevensies left but there are still traditionally two Kings and two Queens, in their memory. The current set are two married couples: High King Ardan and High Queen Ilana, and King Gilles and Queen Caelin. Potter asks how they can be Kings and Queens if they are from Narnia: it seems they have just enough human blood to suffice, Caelin having the most being a half-blood. But that's why they need help: there's a White Wizard, rumoured to be the White Witch's son, called a "skin changer" because he can change into a great white snake. Draco smiles inside while Potter bemoans his fate: Granger says it's because he's a hero, no matter what world he finds himself in, but he says maybe he doesn't want to be. He stands up and tells Freeman that while he doesn't think she's lying he doesn't want to be pushed into yet another destiny…and he definitely doesn't want Draco along. The latter suppresses a moment of panic: if Potter doesn't go everything will be ruined. So he taunts Potter about being afraid, and it works as Potter swings at him. He steps into the wardrobe and taunts Potter some more which works even better: Potter tackles him just like before. Draco's momentary worry about hitting the back of the wardrobe proves groundless, but he is distracted from their arrival in the forest by the need to stop Potter's fists hitting his face. Still, at least he's managed Step One.
Hermione tries to separate the struggling boys but fails and is surprised when she does not hear their expected impact on the back of the wardrobe: Meghan is triumphant but Hermione has no time for celebration. She follows the sounds of fighting and when shouting does not work she uses her wand, first to separate them and then to Body-Bind Harry: Meghan takes care of Malfoy. Hermione takes a moment to savour the joy of finally finding Narnia, having dreamed of it since reading the books when she was little: she just wishes that Ron could be here instead of Malfoy. She apologises to Harry while unbinding him: he asks if they are supposed to become Kings and Queens. He is sceptical of Malfoy, guessing that he would scuttle off to find the White Wizard given the chance. Malfoy, released by Meghan, stays on the ground but protests his innocence: why would he bother running off anywhere if he's supposed to become a King? Meghan is not enthusiastic about the prospect of being his Queen, but he points out that she might not have a choice: with four of them and four monarchs required, they fit the bill. He proposes a truce until they can return to Hogwarts. The other three confer privately: Hermione points out that the Pevensies only survived by sticking together, while Meghan expresses her distrust, saying that Malfoy is always up to something. Harry says that both of them are right: maybe Malfoy's purpose is to die a glorious death defending Narnia. Hermione suggests that they make him swear an oath on something, for which Meghan suggests his face: apparently he has a huge supply of lotions and creams to use on his hair and skin! Hermione is reminded of a jinx she has recently discovered, which can make someone who breaks a pledge break out in terrible spots: she tells the other two that she could even make them spell out a message which provides some welcome comic relief.[Note 2] Malfoy grudgingly submits to the proposal, although he wants to adjust the wording, and he wants them all to sign. By the time they have all signed the moon is close to setting and they are all yawning. Meghan suggests finding the lamppost, which is almost as old as Narnia and blessed by Aslan, so it should be safe: Harry can see the light through the trees. As they walk, Hermione remembers other times of being in a forest with Harry, even that one time with Malfoy.[Note 3] They find the lamppost safely and lie down to sleep: the last thing Hermione sees is the light reflecting off Harry's glasses as he takes them off for the night.
Meghan awakens first, initially exhilarated by the thought of being a Queen in Narnia, but then she remembers her mother and sobers. She and her mother have always been haunted by what they thought her father had done, made worse by the fact that she has her father's eyes in her mother's face.[Note 4] Even now they know the truth, she's only met him once so they haven't had a chance to build any kind of relationship. Her mother is not taking it well, so it was actually a relief to return to Hogwarts, and this time in Narnia—however long it lasts—will provide an added bonus. On that note, she wonders whether they are likely to be there for years, like the original Pevensies, or if their adventure will last only a few months like the others. While she thinks she is already walking towards Oren's home: he can tell them the way to the palace.
|“||Beautiful Cair Paravel, on the eastern shore by the sea…||”|
Harry awakens from a nightmare and is relieved to find that he is far away from Voldemort or the Dursleys: that the latter cannot find him in Narnia is cheering, although he doesn't like the sound of this "White Wizard" who sounds a lot like Voldemort. Having said which, at least this Wizard has no personal animus against Harry himself, he'll just hate all four newcomers equally for the simple fact that they are human. He puts on his glasses and eyes Malfoy, who will have to be watched to make sure that he cannot turn to the White Wizard—always assuming he hasn't already. Idle speculation about how the High King is chosen turns to vehement denial that it could be Malfoy, just because he is older. Harry is surprised that he cares so much, but vows that he will prevent Malfoy becoming High King…even if he has to do it. He is still trying to sort out how he feels about this when Meghan returns with a brown-paper parcel. This turns out to be breakfast courtesy of her friend Oren, who has also given her directions for the trip to Cair Paravel, or at least as far as Silver Spring where he will meet them at noon with lunch. She undoes the parcel while Hermione awakens, finding that it contains fruit, rolls and drink: The rolls turn out to contain some kind of sausage, and Malfoy grudgingly takes one along with drink and some fruit before returning to his sleeping place. Hermione gets the last roll and agrees that they are good, but she is confused because she didn't think dryads eat the same food as people. Meghan affirms this, but Oren knows a family of Red Dwarves at the Palace whose mother taught them how to cook, and one of them was responsible for their breakfast.[Note 5] It turns out that the "drink" is plain water, but it is still good, and they finish quickly and clear up before setting off. Hermione asks how long it will take, and Meghan's reply that it's a three-day journey prompts a grumble about blisters from Malfoy. She wasn't finished and speaks over him to say that there will be a boat waiting for them at the Silver Spring, so the trip will be done by noon the next day. Harry ignores Malfoy to pay attention to a Robin which has caught his eye: he tentatively greets it. It replies, appearing to be at least as flustered as he is, although for different reasons: it apologises profusely for "bothering" them. Hermione reassures it that they weren't bothered at all and is nonplussed when it addresses her as "Princess". Her mood is not improved when it asks whether she might be a "nymph in odd clothing" rather than a Daughter of Eve, but Harry jumps in to confirm that all four of them are indeed human. The Robin is satisfied to be correct, but asks a favour: he would like to know their names so he can spread the word (apparently everyone already knows they're here but nobody yet knows their names). Harry forestalls the bird's excited chatter by giving him their names as requested and the Robin gives his name in return before flying away. Malfoy mocks Hermione for her surprise at being a "princess", but she is more concerned about how they could possibly be here: after all, according to the books Narnia ended forty years ago according to their world's time. Meghan and Malfoy look baffled but Harry supposes it's "the time thing again". She is not convinced, pointing out that the books always moved forwards in time. Meghan pipes up that "Aslan can do anything" and reminds them that there are huge swathes of Narnian history which are very vague. Malfoy is becoming impatient and sets off, much to the amusement of Meghan who leads the others in the correct direction while he struggles to catch up.
Draco is feeling pleased with himself, mentally reviewing his instructions. He has managed to get his companions into Narnia and moving towards the palace. He is working on lulling their suspicions, which is going to take some time. The next item on his checklist might be tricky, however, for various reasons which were spelled out to him in some detail:
|“||Do not drink from the Silver Spring.||”|
As they walk they are watched by Talking Animals of various kinds. Meghan is surprised when some young Talking Mice actually climb up her robes, and Harry is amused when their Mother reminds him of Molly Weasley. He is not so amused to notice that a Crow arrives, bowing only to Malfoy and ignoring the rest of them, the only Animal to do so. Meghan and Malfoy love the attention but Hermione is uncomfortable, revealing to Harry that she doesn't know how to rule anybody. He reassures her that he doesn't either, but at least they will be together. She adds Meghan to that, but tells him that oddly enough, she's almost glad that Ron isn't here. It takes a couple of tries but she manages to convey to Harry that she is somewhat attracted to Ron, but she doesn't think it would feel right being crowned alongside him. She teases him with the possibility of having Cho there instead of Meghan. His ineffectual glare doesn't last, and he admits that she wouldn't fit here either. Hermione observes that at least they won't be any older when they get back, but she will miss Ron: Harry admits that he will too. Malfoy interrupts their conversation, calling for them to hurry up.
|“||"You know, he sounds almost friendly," said Harry…||”|
- ↑ So how did it get here, then? Apparently nobody knows what happened to the canonical wardrobe.
- ↑ This is clearly referring to the clever jinx on the DA list in canon.
- ↑ Near the end of the first book, for McGonagall's detention.
- ↑ Sound familiar?
- ↑ "Red" people with a mum who cooks…?
- The Lion, the Snake, and the Safe Room, Chapter 3 on FanFiction
- The Lion, the Snake, and the Safe Room, Chapter 2 on Fanficauthors.net
|The Lion, the Snake, and the Safe Room|