The Sugar Quill
Author: zzzFF LolliPhoenix  Story: Dare or Forfeit  Chapter: Default
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“I dare you to spend ten minutes in the Forbidden Forest

“I dare you to spend ten minutes in the Forbidden Forest.”  Mindy had said, a manic gleam in her eye.  Lily groaned – she hadn’t wanted to play this ridiculous game in the first place.  “Or?”

“You kiss James Potter.”  Yana, another friend of hers, replied quickly.  Lily shook her head vigorously.  “No way.  I’d rather die.”  She said, shuddering at the thought.  “I’ll go into the forest.”  She said, “When?”


That was how she came to be strolling into the eerie, dark and highly Forbidden Forest.  Alone.  She shuddered as she took her first step into the trees.  No one would see her now.  She had ten minutes before she could step foot out of the forest.  Ten long minutes.  She shivered as a cold breeze skimmed her bare arms – she hadn’t thought to bring her cloak, and now she regretted it.  She kept walking, sticking to the paths trodden into the ground.  The trees seemed to whisper in the breeze, mocking her. 


Nine minutes. 


Lily had the peculiar feeling that someone, or something, was following her.  She put it down to an overactive imagination and an overly frightened mind.  She drew her wand out anyway.  Just to be safe. 


Eight minutes.


Something caught her eye – a movement between the trees.  She was definitely not alone.  She held her wand tighter, telling herself that it was probably just a harmless centaur or something.  Not necessarily dangerous, just because it inhabited the forest.  She kept walking despite the fact that she was not alone, humming quietly to keep her confidence up.  She kept glancing around her nervously.


Seven minutes.


The humming didn’t work, so Lily began to sing.  Ever so quietly at first, but her voice growing a little louder.  Then she stopped – nothing was going to make her feel any better.  She crept forward in silence, hearing her heart beating wildly in her chest.


Six minutes.


Then she saw it.  A lion’s head, a goat’s body and a dragon’s tail.  It was right in front of her.   She could remember reading about these – Chimaera’s.  What had the book said?  Oh yes – something about them being Greek?  Greek?  Lily thought wildly – what on Earth is a Greek beast doing in the Forbidden Forest?  Weren’t these supposed to be really dangerous?  Oh yes, she remembered now – only one had ever been slayed in history – one.  “Uh oh.”  She whispered to herself.  The beast stared at her, it’s eyes rolling and it’s teeth bared.  Time had temporarily stood still.  She was alone, in a dark, scary forest, facing a Chimaera.  Of all things, she had to come across the Chimaera.  Typical.  So what was she going to do about it?  Panic, of course.


Five minutes.


Lily didn’t dare move – she tried to remember what its weaknesses were.  Did the darned beast even have any weaknesses?  She couldn’t remember!  She lifted her wand, trying several different charms, all of which were spectacularly ineffective, unless you counted the fact that they enraged the beast even more so.


Four minutes.


Lily was past panicking.  She was at the stage of emotional breakdown, and though she wasn’t a religious person, she quickly said several prayers.  Her eyes quickly took in the situation for the hundredth time – she could run, but any Chimaera would outrun her in a flash.  She could stay still, hope that it would too and that someone would come and help, or she could try and fight it.  None of the options seemed particularly attractive. 


Three minutes.


It did seem cruelly ironic that her arm chose that particular moment to itch like crazy.  Maybe it was the nerves.  Whatever it was, it wasn’t helping make up her mind.   She turned her head ever so slightly as she saw more movement – something large and fawn-coloured was in the bushes beside her – what was it? 


Two minutes.


Was it going to help her?  Or did it too want to eat her?  Her hysterical mind wasn’t helping her situation, but she couldn’t calm herself at all.  It seemed like an eternity before the Chimaera moved towards her, and when it did, it seemed to move in slow motion.  The animal in the bushes chose that moment to burst out, and Lily saw that it was a stag.  The huge antlers pushed the Chimaera back for a moment, before stooping to pick Lily up.  Lily scrambled onto the stag’s back, pointing her wand at the Chimaera.  “IMPEDIMENTA!”  She cried, “Come on.  Think.  IMPEDIMENTA!  STUPEFY!  Argh!”  She let out a cry of sheer frustration before hurling every single curse she had ever read about, heard of, and seen someone use, at the beast that was tailing them.  The stream of spells did what the single ones hadn’t.  The Chimaera fell back, looking oddly dazed.


One minute.


Lily closed her eyes in exhaustion.  She was getting out of this horrid forest and she was never – ever – going to come back in here.  She leaned forward and patted the neck of the stag.  “Thanks.”  She murmured, still breathing heavily.  She slid from the back of the stag as they neared the edge of the Forest, and checked her watch.  Thirty seconds.  She stood in front of the stag, trying to figure out why it seemed so familiar.  She shrieked and fell backwards as the stag transformed – into none other than James Potter.  “It would have to be you, wouldn’t it?”  She said, not even trying to get up – she lay back on the floor, thinking once more of the cruel irony of the world.  “Are you ok?”  James asked seriously. 

“I’m…yeah.  Thanks for that.”  With that, she stood up, kissed him and ran from the forest, as if the Chimaera was still at her heels. James tore after her after a moment’s hesitation.  Lily had been in the forest for nine minutes and fifty-six seconds.  She would have to forfeit – oddly enough, kissing James Potter didn’t seem so very horrifying now.  She may have secretly been looking forward to it.

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