Chapter Three - Choices (Part One)

          “Hermione?” thundered Caecilius. “What are you doing here?” The woman blushed red and seemed lost for words. He took her by the shoulders and shook her.

          “I was listening,” she said, ashamedly.

          “That much is obvious! May I ask why? If I had wanted you to be a part of the conversation, I would have asked you to stay in the room with us!”

          “I wanted to hear what she told you…” Hermione jerked her head in Anna’s direction. “Anyone would have done it, in my place.”

          “Oh yes?” thundered the king. “Do you see my bodyguard hanging around, listening at doors?” Hermione had to admit that she did not.

          “Who are you working for, Hermione?” said Anna quietly. Hermione blushed even deeper, if that were possible.

          “I don’t know what you mean,” she said. “I’m not working for anyone.” Anna turned to the king.

          “She’s lying, sir,” she stated. “She’s a spy.” Hermione gasped and looked horrified, as though the very suggestion was an outrage, but Anna wasn’t fooled.

          “Now, now, Anna, what evidence do you have of that?” said Caecilius warily. “She’s nosy, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that she was a spy.”

          “You’re just going to have to trust me, sir,” said Anna. “Ask her what’s in her pockets.” Hermione started to empty the contents of her jacket onto the table. Anna could not tell what was ordinary, being as she was so misplaced in time, but Caecilius gasped.

          “Where did you get this?” he thundered, holding up something that looked just like a stone, except jet black and shining. “Where did you steal it from?”

          “I didn’t steal it, I swear!” sobbed Hermione. She fell on her knees before the king.

          “Oh? I suppose, then, that you have no information to give me on the matter of my disappearing Bolt, that vanished mysteriously from my desk only days ago?” he said coldly. “I see here the same markings on this, a Bolt I find in the hand of one of my trusted advisors!” Hermione was crying in earnest.

          “Sir, she’s hiding something else,” Anna said. The sense that had overwhelmed her, telling her what to say, continued to lead her on. “In her sleeve.” Sure enough, there was a bulge there. Caecilius pulled at it, and out came a small leather bag.

          The strings were tightly tied, and Caecilius had no fingernails, so Anna was the one to undo them. Out into her palm fell seven sapphires, an emerald, and a priceless diamond.

The End

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