Tengu and Ninja's Daughter by StarFeather
Summary: Someone will go hunting Kappa's eggs.
Categories: SIYE Challenges, Magical Creatures Challenge (2017-3)
Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
Chapter 3: Chapter 3 The First Victim
Chapter 4: Chapter 4 Freshwater Plimpies
Chapter 5: Chapter 5 Flight Before Halloween
Chapter 6: Chapter 6 The Secret of Kappa's Egg
Chapter 7: Chapter 7 Crack
Chapter 8: Chapter 8 Torn Pages and a Lie
Chapter 9: Chapter 9 Second Victim
Chapter 10: Chapter 10 Bridge Over Troubled Water
Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Author's Notes: *Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them by J.K.Rowling
** / *** Against All Odds by Phil Collins
Many thanks to my Beta, Pixileanin, HappyMollyWeasley & BookDinosaur
"Look at that messy black hair. I don't reckon his blood traitor mother loved him. I wonder where she is now. South America? Is he happy that mother spends most of her time abroad?" Scorpius Malfoy sniggered with his mates.
Albus turned around, touching the cypress wand in his pocket with his left hand. Malfoy's provocative grey eyes met Albus' green eyes. Albus tried to remember the Bat Bogey hex his mother had taught him after he'd been chased by Daily Prophet reporters.
Rose Weasley stopped him and whispered, "Concentrate on your textbook. If you don't, Professor Malfoy will..." but she wasn't given time to finish.
Professor Malfoy's lips curled into sneer, "Your father will be disappointed to know your Potions ability is low like him, Potter," he kept taunting Albus. "Where can we find white turmeric?"
Albus had no idea where to find the herb. Rose stood up, her hand stretched high into the air. Albus glanced sideways at Scorpius as he began shaking with laugher.
"I don't know, sir."
"Southeast Asia. How does kappa produce young ones?" Malfoy asked again.
Albus flipped through the Potions textbook, but he couldn't find the description at all. He nudged Rose to tell him the answer. She frowned and muttered, "I don't think kappa is the name of a herb. We'd better check Newt Scamander's textbook. Do you have one in your bag?"
Albus rummaged among the books inside the bag, and finally grabbed the one she was talking about.
"Ten points from Gryffindor for Rose Weasley talking with Albus Potter. Whispering is strictly prohibited in class," Draco Malfoy declared coolly.
It was too late for him to find the old textbook. Albus bit his lips, and put the textbook on the desk. He flipped to page 43 in his father's textbook. Though the Potters lived a wealthy life, Albus' mother Ginny carried out the policy ‘live a simple life'. She didn't mind if her children used secondhand textbooks. Her own mother, Molly Weasley, had done the same thing because she had had to bring up seven children, so Ginny was comfortable doing the same.
Albus stared at his father's scribble: Snape hasn't read this either*. He thought of Severus Snape, the man he'd been named after. His father used to repeat the same old story about the brave Severus Snape, and the reason that he was named after the courageous Slytherin. He kept staring at the same page and noticed the explanation about Kappa under the scribbling by his father. He remembered the story Hagrid had told him last summer.
"Kappa love cucumber. They don' suck blood from humans if yeh throw them a cucumber," the grey-haired half-giant had said.
Ever since he could remember his father had taken him, James and Lily to the Burrow and every summer Hagrid had joined them to celebrate Harry's birthday. Out of all Harry's kids, Hagrid was fondest of Albus, because Albus resembled his father the most.
His older brother James resembled after their mother the most and had already gotten onto the Quidditch team as a Gryffindor Chaser. Albus was going to join the tryouts for Seeker this weekend. His thoughts jumped into Quidditch things during Potions class. As he hated to be mistreated by Malfoy, he felt relieved when Malfoy dismissed the class.
He was going to visit James in the pitch as usual, but remembered the Potions essay he had for homework and changed his plan. He dropped by Hagrid's hut. Hagrid was sitting at the scrubbed wooden table with his boarhound Fang II with his head in Hagrid's lap.
"How's the classes? Did yeh enjoy them?" asked Hagrid. Albus liked his smiling silver-grey hairy face very much.
"Potions sucks. I hate Draco Malfoy. I wish my father could find out what he's up to. He should be sent to Azkaban," Albus blurted out.
"He's getting better. You oughta call him Professor. What're you studying?"
"I need your help, Hagrid. I have to write an essay about a habitat of kappa and tengu."
"Why does he want ter know about them? Malfoy hated Care of Magical Creatures class during his days at Hogwarts. Is the essay ter do with Potions?"
"I don't know." Albus shrugged.
"Well, then. There's an interesting story."
"What story?" Albus asked, when Rose appeared in the hut.
"Albus, it was mean of you to come here alone!" she huffed, sitting down on another big wooden chair.
Hagrid grinned at her and said, "Well, this story is worth tellin' ter two listeners."
Albus was sitting at the table near the four-poster beds. He picked up his quill and started writing his essay. He didn't want to put it off till the next weekend, because to his delight he had been chosen to be Seeker for the Gryffindor team, and had a practice on the weekend. He was sure Rose would write better, if she was here, but the story Hagrid had told them was very interesting and he didn't hesitate to start writing. He picked up his quill and chewed the tip of it for a while. Then he began writing his essay.
(Albus's essay for Potions class)
On the borders of Gifu and Shiga, there was a small village where Kouga ninjas lived in.
Saki was fifteen years old, the daughter of the chieftain. She was a very spirited girl, who ran up the hills, went fishing and performed swordplay with the boys in her childhood. She had an old playmate, his name was Shota, but he had been missing since she was seven years old. His father was one of Saki's father's men and they had exchanged an engagement promise between their children. She had been dreamed to marry Shota since she had first known him while they played at swordfighting in the field near the bamboo forest when they were just seven years old. They were too young to fall in love with each other, but they both knew that they got along well. In the winter they ran, throwing snow balls with fellow kids. They collected the cherry blossom petals from the ground in spring, went fishing in summer, made a small boat of leaves and floated it on the stream. They practiced throwing shuriken, the ninja blades, into the mark on the trunk of the big zelkova tree. In autumn, they climbed the chestnut tree, and shook the nuts off the tree.
Their farewell was so sudden. When she dropped by his house as she normally did, his mother was frantic, telling her that they had lost Shota. They had found his futon in his bedroom empty in the chilly early morning. She couldn't understand why he was missing. Their parents and other people searched for the body of Shota in the deep pond and by the river bank. Saki didn't want to imagine that he had drowned but she was so scared that a Kappa had drowned the young boy in the river or in the pond.
The Kappa was a magical creature who preferred living at the shore of the lake, on the peat bog, in the swamp and behind the water fall, all kinds of places with water. It looked like a monkey with fish scales, and had a hollow on the top of its head which carried water in. When its water dried up, they said it would die.
The villagers couldn't find Shota, and started believing that he had been drowned by the Kappa. They began to offer cucumber on the shore of the lake every autumn when he was lost.
Saki had reached adolescence now. She stopped playing in the field with boys though she never stopped practice of shuriken. As usual she trained herself, throwing the star-shaped blades into the mark on the trunk for an hour. She looked up into the sky, at the orange glow of sunset creating the magical color above, the fluffy carpet of the clouds spread endlessly over the space above her, decorated with various colored stripes; orange, pink, light blue and white. The crows flew back to their homes, croaking in the sky. Then she saw a white bird flying among them, no, a creature like a human-being clad in a white kimono was flying in the air. He had a red face, and his nose was very big and long. He was wearing a pair of wooden clogs, a kind of shoes, and with a magical feather fan in his hand. Was it a tengu? She couldn't believe her eyes. The creature flew away beyond the fluffy clouds, flapping the white wings on his back gracefully.
When the grass glistened with morning dew Saki passed by the humid old big oak trees, feeling someone watching over her. She looked up. A handsome young man was sitting in a tree.
"Hello. You're good at shooting shuriken but they hurt the trunk of the tree." His voice was gentle like a soft cotton blanket and the warm moonbeams were emitted from his eyes. The gaze reminded her of something familiar to her.
"Who are you?" she asked.
The young man vanished from the tree and appeared standing in front of her.
He spoke, "I was a son of Ninja. But now I'm not. This figure of mine you see now will soon be changed to a different one."
"What's your name? We've lost a boy about seven years ago." Saki had a faint hope. She thought that the young man might be Shota.
But the young man said, "I can't remember. I was brought up by them. I'm a leader of their tribe."
Saki thought he was too young to be a leader of a tribe and asked, "What tribe?"
"I can't tell you. I must leave now." Then he vanished again and she couldn't see his figure any more.
How can just I let you walk away
Just let you leave without a trace **
The stolen child was Shota. How had he endured the loneliness after he was forced to be apart from his family? Saki wondered. He must be Shota. She remembered the beautiful dark brown eyes, his gentle voice. He could use a kind of magic. She couldn't find a single trace to find him. She hoped she would see him again in the next early morning.
Early next morning, the spattering rain wet the footpath between the rice fields. She came to the same big trunk of the oak tree. She called, "Shota, are you there?"
She heard the leaves in the tree rustle and she glanced up to see him appearing in the tree.
He spoke, "I had a hunch you would come here again. Then you came. I'm happy to see you again." But he didn't try to go down to the spot there she was standing.
"Why don't you come down from the tree? I want to talk with you for a while," she shouted in the rain.
"You would soon be soaked with rain. Climb up here."
She started climbing and sat on a bough next to him. She felt every breath he exhaled every time he spoke. His breath smelled wild pears.
"Do you like pears?" she asked.
He smiled and said, "Yeah. Do you?"
"Yes, I do. Can I call you Shota?"
He thought for a while and finally answered, "Yeah. What can I call you?"
"Call me Saki." As you did seven years ago. She said to herself in her mind.
They had a long chat about what each life was like, animals and insects in the mountains. She wanted to talk with him like this forever.
When she tried to ask about his magical power, he said, "I have to go. See you again tomorrow morning, perhaps?"
Then he vanished making a pop sound.
When she came back home, her father was searching for something everywhere. She asked him, "What's the matter?"
"Someone stole my sword. Yesterday Sasuke's arrows and bow were stolen. Tengus must have stolen them. The battle is coming. We have to support our king. Tengus will support our enemies." He stomped away.
Saki had a bad feeling about the battle. The battle would destroy everything. It would demolish nature. It would destroy the village, the forest and the river she loved. She had lost her uncle and Shota's grandfather in the last battle between Genji and Heike. Two tribes, Genji and Heike had been fighting for a long time. Saki's father and Shota's father, Sasuke had supported the king of Genji. It was said Tengu, a tribe of magical creatures, had supported the king of Heike. She had never seen Tengu. It was said that most of them had the shapes of human-beings with beaks. Only the leader had a human mouth instead of a beak.
It had rained heavily for three days. She couldn't visit the big old oak tree. When she woke up early in the beautiful morning, she hurried to the spot. She called his name but she couldn't hear his voice at all. She was leaving there then felt dripping from above on her head. She glanced up and started climbing the trunk. When she reached the top, she found Shota lying on the bough exhausted. She was stunned to see he had wings on the back. His dripping wings were beautiful. She was mesmerized by the glistening feathers and tried to touch. But Shota jerked up noticing her, and vanished.
How can you just walk away from me
When all I can do is watch you leave? ***
After Rose finished reading Albus's essay, she muttered, "Albus, did you mention how kappa produce young ones?"
Albus caught his off guard and tried to remember the description of kappa on his essay. He barely managed to remember the part and said, "Eh, Hagrid told us only how they looked like and where to live, didn't he?"
"No, he didn't. He didn't know it, either. We have to go to the library."
Rose dragged him into the library. When they reached to the East Asia section, they encountered a person they didn't want to the most. Scorpius Malfoy was sitting in the secluded spot behind the book shelves. He sensed them and glanced up.
He frowned at them and said, "I don't want to see your face here. Go find somewhere else to sit!"
Back to index
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
Author's Notes: The first chapters, mostly Nex Gen characters enter, Harry and Ginny will appear in the later chapters.
* Encyclopedia of Monstrous Creature by Shigeru Mizuki
** Harry Potter PS by J.K.Rowling
Many thanks to my beta Pixi!
Albus contemplated what Malfoy said to them for a while after they came back to the Gryffindor Common Room. He couldn't forget the tone of Malfoy's voice. Rose managed to borrow some books about kappa. They had a plan to scribble notes about information about their breeding.
"According to the Encyclopedia of Monsters in Japan, there are many kinds of kappa. But it doesn't mention about their breeding at all," Rose heaved a big sigh.
Albus fingered the Snitch his father gave on his birthday, sitting on the cozy sofa and said, "Why did Malfoy want to drive us away? The library is a public space for all of us."
"It's clear that we're not Pure-Bloods. Will you read my draft, Albus? I have to add information about their breeding though," Rose held out her essay.
He took it and started reading.
"Kappa has a lot of names. They're called, kenmon, garappa and kawatarou *. They commonly have fish scales, and a hollow on the top of its head which carried water in. Muggle folklore tells us that it is only an imaginary creature appearing as a drowned man. But they exist. The kappa is a water demon similar to the grindylow in Britain and Ireland.
They become aggressive when Muggles and wizards insult them but if you have cucumbers, they won't attack you. How they reproduce is a mystery just like the tengu. Tengu's leader was a human who was kidnapped when he was a little boy. They let him drink potion made from special herbs to make his body and face red and let his nose big. They looked like crows when they're flying in the sky. .."
Albus stopped reading and said, "Rose, this is not what Hagrid told you. It's just information about the kappa and tengu that you got from these books." He was disappointed that her essay was so factual and without imagination. With two magical creatures like the tengu and kappa to write about, Albus had hoped that Rose would have made up one of her fantastic stories like she used to when they played together in Grimmauld Place when they were little. He had loved those stories, and still remembered them fondly.
Rose rolled her eyes and said, "I knew you would write like a story when you started writing your essay, so I changed my plan. Professor Malfoy will doubt that they are two different essays this way. He questions us if there're two same kinds of essays. By the way, yours needs information about kappa breeding habits too. If you want to add more, you need information about kappa's breeding."
Draco Malfoy went pale as he read the sheet of parchment in his hand. They had sent the letter again. How could he find kappa eggs? The animals didn't live in Britain. He had expected one of his students to find clues to find the kappa eggs as research for him, but so far, no one had written anything helpful. He was now brooding over whether he should report that to the Auror Headquarters. He had thought of sending the eggs of a grindylow instead. But the villains who called themselves "Dark Lord's famulus", threatened him. If he did not send the eggs or if he reported the threatening letter to the Aurors, they would spread rumors to ruin his reputation at Hogwarts. He didn't want to lose his job as a Potions Master. He crumpled the letter into a dustbin at the corner of his room. As he started to leave, his son Scorpius entered the room.
"Scorpius, you must knock before you enter," he reprimanded.
"I'm sorry, father but I have to finish the essay, you know? Could you give me hints to where the answers are?"
"Think for yourself, Scorpius. I had to solve problems by myself when the Dark Lord threatened my family."
Draco grimaced, remembering the bad memory of being forced to assassinate Albus Dumbledore. Because Albus Potter was named after the deceased headmaster, Draco hated him. He hated him even more because of his middle name, Severus. The fact that Severus Snape was a double agent was another bad memory. On top of all that, Draco owed a life debt to Harry Potter and couldn't disobey the man. All of these irritating feelings were forced onto Harry's second son every time he walked into Draco's class. The fact that his face and figure were looked just like his father added fuel to his distaste towards Albus Potter.
He stared at his son. He looked a little dispirited. The expression took after his mother, Astoria very well.
He suddenly felt sorry for the boy, and said, "You can find the book in the East Asia section. The title is Illustrated Dictionary of Asian Magical Creature".
Scorpius smiled at his father's advice. Draco didn't expect that his son would find the key to solve his problem at all. He guessed that if one of the students found the answer, it would be Rose Weasley. He admitted that she was very clever. She reminded him of her mother, Hermione Weasley. Then Draco devised a plan. When Rose found the clue that he needed, he could somehow give the idea to tell her uncle, Potter about it. But Draco would have to be careful. The villains couldn't know what he was trying to.
He addressed his son again, "I'm going to Professor Longbottom's office. See you at the library, later." And he left the room.
Scorpius stayed behind and he looked about his father's office with curious eyes. He liked the room very much. He smelled the herbs and got closer to a glass shelves which contained various shapes of bottles of potions. Brewing potions was one of his favorite things at Hogwarts. He wanted to be like his father in the future. When he tried to touch the dried herbs that hung from the ceiling, he stumbled over the dust bin. It rolled down on the floor with a rattling sound.
Then he noticed a crumpled parchment. He got curious. He picked it up and unfolded it over on the desk. Reading the threatening letter, his face turned white with fear. He felt like he was drowning in the Great Lake. He couldn't remember how he reached to the library. He was sitting at the small table behind one of the bookshelves in the library. It was his favorite secret spot to hide whenever someone shouted him, "Go to Azkaban! Your father deserved it!"
And he hated the green eyes of Potter. Every time he saw the eyes, he felt like they demanded him to feel sorry for his father's dark past. It was natural for him to speak ill of Potters and Weasleys, he just wanted to attack before he would be attacked. To be honest, he didn't understand what on the earth the Pure-Blood status meant at all, because his mother didn't care about it, either. His father hinted that before, but he looked always frightened by something whenever he tried to voice his opinion. He wanted his father to have confidence. He envied Potters and Weasleys. That was when they appeared. They always had the worst timing. Albus and Rose were talking about his father's assignment.
Rose spoke, "No, I don't think so. I remember the Asian section was moved to the back room. I reckon it is near here. "
"Okay, let's search the shelf there, Rose," Albus reached the spot where Scorpius was hiding. He thought Scorpius had been crying.
Scorpius noticed his rivals were near him and held his face up. With his red-faced, he got angry. He didn't want to show his weakness to them and shouted, "I don't want to see your faces here. Go find somewhere else to sit!"
After Scorpius retreated to the dungeon, he set the book, "Illustrated Dictionary of Asian Magical Creatures" next to an old leather covered East Asian Fairy Tales book. Both books were very thick and heavy, and he pondered which to read first. Finally, he took the latter and became completely absorbed in the old story.
The young man drank the strong herbal potion. The transformation into a Tengu was painful. Feeling his nose get longer and his face turn to red like the glowing sunset sky, he waited for wings to sprout from his back.
After transformation, Shota walked up to the entrance of a secret headquarters. In the dusk sky, he spotted a flock of Crow Tengues flying back to their nest. The nest had been built in the sheer cliff among the sacred mountains. Muggles used to look up the cliff and had believed there lived Tengues. Shota's subordinates stormed inside from the shrine entrance. They had beaks and the rest of their bodies were the same shaped like human-beings. One of them, a male creature with sharp eyes, spoke.
"Master, we gathered information from our enemy. They're planning to attack a fisherman's village" He held out a roll of parchment to his boss.
The leader unrolled the parchement and examined the map. "How many people are in the troop?"
"Five hundreds, sir."
"Not so many," muttered the young man.
"But the Kouga Ninja tribe will be there."
"Yeah, I know, Saburo."
Saburo stared at his boss skeptically, "How do you know this?"
"It's none of your business. Anyway, keep watching the enemy's movement. I want to keep damage at a minimum." He grimaced in worry, thinking of his old friends and his family.
"Master? I suggest you'd better drink one more vial of potion to ease your pain from the transformation."
He didn't answer and stood up from his wooden stool irritated. Saburo bowed deeply and waited for his next words. Shota didn't grimace because of the pain. He had suffered from a nightmare. In his dream, he was a little child, playing with a girl on the mountain. Whenever he tried to remember the girl's name, he always woke up. But this time, he remembered that her name was Saki, a daughter of the Kouga Ninja. Her father was his father's boss. She was the same girl whom he met near the big oak tree. He marched to the entrance.
Saburo followed him saying, "I'll go along with you, sir."
But Shota flatly refused. "I'll search the village alone."
He leaped through the entrance door of shrine built in the cliff. Spreading his big white wings, he glided down to where his old family and his childhood friend lived. The wind blew and tangled through his silky jet-black hair. Tree branches bent as the leaves stirred up into the air. He pulled out a portable fan made of feathers and swung it lightly to balance his body in an upright position. Then he landed on the branch of the old oak tree. A scaly thrush sang a far-carrying sad song from the opposite branch in warning. He noticed the abandoned nest on the front branch and found five dull green eggs. They looked like kappa's eggs.
Excited by the first clue he'd found, Scorpius quickly bookmarked the page with a Puddlemere United ticket he'd kept in his pocket from last summer. Then he grabbed for the book his father recommended and was instantly mesmerized by the cover, showing a haunting Asian lady in kimono and a creature with a monkey's head, a badger's body, tiger's limbs and a snake's tail. He flipped through the moth-eaten pages to find an illustration of the Kappa. Some of them cuddled each other inside a small cavity under a tree, the others were sumo wrestling on a floating island near a sand bank. He paid attention to the spot, the drawing of the dark green eggs covered with leaves. He began taking notes furiously, muttering, "I found it, I found it," over and over.
Each time Professor Malfoy stepped inside the green house, he recalled unpleasant memories of his school days, piercing screams of Mandrakes, dirt under his nails and slimy worms. He much preferred the dried ones needed for potions, which he saw in little bags on Longbottom's desk.
"It's rare that you visit here." Neville Longbottom straightened up from an over grown pot of herbs.
Malfoy glanced at Neville's dirty cotton work gloves, but put on his impassive face and said,
"I need your help. I need to get Kappa's eggs for my study. The academic conference will be held in November, and I need them soon."
"Are you sending a report to the International Herbology and Potions Society this year?
Good for you. It's my pleasure to help." Longbottom discarded the gloves into the laundry bucket and asked, "But I've never heard about kappa's eggs. Why didn't you choose grindylow?"
Malfoy nearly uttered, ‘How thick you are!', but he calmed himself before he spoke. "Recently, I have been studying rare Asian magic. I know of no one in England who is an expert, so it'll be a shortcut to making a name for myself."
"Yeah, surely. Nobody has claimed an award in that area yet. I'll ask my Mongolian friend about the kappa." Longbottom nodded and began sweeping the floor.
Malfoy smirked at how quickly Longbottom accepted his story. It was easier to tell a lie than he thought.
"Thank you. I believe I have a rare Herbology book that you would find interesting as payment for your help. Please tell your friend that I won't spare any expense if he can find the eggs."
Malfoy didn't forget to pocket a dried worm bag as he left the greenhouse.
Outside, he felt a little cooler. Autumn had begun its work on the forest that surrounded the castle of Hogwarts. He loved his work and didn't want to lose this cozy place. How many times would the shadow of the remaining Death Eaters threaten the tiny shred of happiness that he'd found? Looking back on his school days, he grimaced at how stupid he'd been. As a child, he'd thought that being a Death Eater was something to be proud of. But the reality of how the Wizarding World was trampled down by the Dark Lord and his followers, didn't bring anything but loss and suffering to anyone, including his father and himself.
"Professor Malfoy, how are your students? Have they prepared well for the new semester?" The stern voice made him aware of the headmistress standing near the staircase into the dungeon
Rumors said that Minerva McGonagall would retire at the end of the year, but she still clearly observed all of her staff in her old age, like a stray cat watching humans warily. He flinched at her stare, as if she could discover his secrets just by looking at him.
"F..fine. Everything is in good order. I reckon your favorite Weasley will get top marks. No worry."
"How's your son, Scorpius? I think he will get Outstandings as well as Rose Weasley."
"Thank you, professor, but I don't think so. He's not qualified," he answered sarcastically.
"Don't downgrade your son. You are his father, Mr. Malfoy. Giving children confidence is our task. Don't forget that."
McGonagall nodded and climbed up the stairs in a dignified manner. Draco descended to the dungeon, starting to feel guilty about making his students research the kappa for his own sake. He had thought to be like his mentor, but he couldn't compete with the courage that Severus Snape must have had to be an effective double agent. Underneath it all, how cowardly must he be? Malfoy heaved a big sigh and shoved the Potions classroom door open. Flames of torchlights along both sides of the dungeon flickered against the stone walls. Draco remembered what Snape told him once.
"I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death."**
I don't deserve to seek fame. I should not be here. How can I teach these innocent students how to brew glory? I couldn't save even my mentor who had saved me more than twice.
Then his gaze fell upon Albus Potter. Harry Potter's second son stared back bravely, holding a sheet of parchment. His face was full of confidence like his father used to be. He gave Potter's second son a long look and averted his eyes disdainfully. He surveyed the other students. Most of them turned their eyes away when they recognized his stare except for Rose Weasley. Her competitive demeanor reminded him of her father, Ronald Weasley. The cleverness was obviously inherited from her mother. His strained look softened when he saw his own son staring back at him as well. Scorpius looked worried, which showed how clearly he cared about his father. Malfoy coughed lightly, trying to wipe away the guilt of using these students, including his own son.
"Open your Advanced Potions textbook to page fifty-six. I'll gather your reports at the end of the class."
He pointed his wand at the rolled screen and spread it. He swished it again and the map of East Asia was reflected on it. "Turmeric is very useful for various potions as well as ginger. But if you don't dose them properly, they will do harm. The excessive dose of rue and sage commonly caused death in Merlin's era. You must memorize the color of each powder per uses. Which one do you use for hangover potion, Potter?"
"Eh, a white one?" Albus voiced uncertainly.
"Correct. But you didn't use the proper words to address me. Ten points from Gryffindor."
Albus blinked with disbelief. Rose whispered to him, "You forgot to say ‘professor'."
The Potter boy maintained a sullen silence until the end of the class. When Malfoy told them to hand in their reports, he marched into the desk, submitted his report and left displeased.
Rose followed Albus briskly after she turned in her report. "Wait, Albus. You shouldn't have behaved like that. A moment of patience in your anger saves you detention added later."
"When Professor Malfoy behaves, I'll follow the manner. If he continues like this, my father won't ..."
"Your father, what?" Scorpius interrupted.
Albus halted and turned around to stare at the Slytherin. "My father will never allow him to have a prejudice against me. He can send him back to Azkaban."
Rose gasped and tried to reprimand him, but Scorpius was faster.
"Who do you think you are? You're nothing without the shadow of your father." Fury surfaced on his face.
"So who are you? A son of the Death Eater?" Albus didn't flinch at all.
Scorpius sprang on Albus and pinned him against the wall at the Great Hall.
"You have no right to speak to my father like that!"
"Don't I?" Albus challenged him.
His words fueled Scorpius with rage, but before he could punch Albus on the jaw, a thick hand grabbed his hand held it in the air.
Neville Longbottom looked angrily at them both. "Violence isn't allowed here. Talk to understand each other. I always listen to you. Your next class is in the Greenhouse. Follow me."
Albus noticed Rose panting behind Professor Longbottom. He guessed she had called him. Unexpectedly, Scorpius followed Longbottom without complaint.
They passed by the pond where grindylows inhabited. Longbottom talked to them brightly,
"Professor Malfoy is preparing a report for an important conference this year. You're so lucky that you can listen to his lecture. He'll surely be a potions pioneer in Asian magic."
Then he shoved the entrance door open.
"I'll listen to what happened after the Herbology lesson. Do you like tea and hot biscuits? My wife, Hannah baked a lot and sent them to me this morning."
Three of them nodded. Then the other Slytherins and Gryffindors entered the greenhouse one after another. When all of them settled, Longbottom opened his mouth,
"All of you know how worms take a role as cultivators. Whether they are magical or not, they help plants and crops grow. Today we'll observe them and learn how to fertilize the soil."
Rose held up her hand and asked, "When will we learn how to plant Mandrake?"
Longbottom smiled at her and answered, "Next year. As you think of Mandrakes, remember today's lecture.." He pulled out his wand and swished it.
Each table received a pot of soil with a small ball of cabbage planted in it. A few girls started screaming when they saw baby flobberworms eating the leaves.
"Please don't hate them, ladies. They're adorable creatures. Their feces is a natural fertilizer. Your task is to draw what you observe. You don't have to draw any artistic pictures. Take notes on anything that you'll notice. Oh, Flint, don't mistreat them!" Neville marched to the naughty Slytherin.
Albus turned to the spot but his eyes caught Scorpius first. They stared each other showing hostility. Rose elbowed him,
"Don't turn to Malfoy. Focus on the flobberworms!"
But Albus kept staring at Malfoy till he looked the other way. Albus smirked with a defiant expression and began observing his pot. He drew a big worm on the sheet of parchment.
"Do you think we should color them?" he asked Rose.
"Yes, we should. Especially yours. Your drawing is good, Albus. It shows that you're very good at observing things."
Following Rose's advice, he got engaged in coloring the picture of flobberwarms and a ball of cabbage. He even drew the black feces. He finished up in high speed and looked around. The other students hadn't caught up with him at all. He had plenty of time. He flipped the parchment and began drawing kappa which he and Rose found in the book they borrowed the other day. The report he submitted to professor Malfoy was written perfectly well. He had confidence to get a good mark. If Malfoy wouldn't evaluate students fairly, he was prepared to consult his father.
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Chapter 3: Chapter 3 The First Victim
Author's Notes: Many many thanks to my beta, Pixi! Without her advice, I can't continue this story.
The Aurors were bustling about on Marsham Street, a clean broad road flanked by a forest of Muggle modern buildings. The jet-black haired man led a team of warlocks to the exact spot of the occurence. He squinted at the crowd of Muggles who had been watching their investigation. Thanks to Obliviators, those Muggles believed that he and his team were Muggle police officers viewing the wands as stout, black batons. One Muggle British Ministry officer was missing. He had covered local government finance and according to the Muggle news, he is an ordinary, hard working person. The magical map at the Auror Headquarters showed that an unforgivable curse had been used at the spot where he'd last been spotted. The fact that the curse registered at all meant the culprit's wand had been on record. It would be easier to track the wand than searching for the remaining Death Eater, Rabastan Lestrange. When the untidy jet-black haired man contemplated this, the curly blond haired man began talking,
"Harry, we found this," Justin held out a soaked leather shoe.
Harry pulled out his spectacles. It assisted with examining whether an object had any leftover magical traces. The spectacles were new product he was testing for George and Arthur Weasley, who had developed the concept with help from Bill and Hermione.
"What do you see?" asked Justin.
Harry saw a jet of light stream across the sky from the trace through his spectacles.
"Imperius Curse and Binding Hex. This proves that the victim was abducted after these curses were cast."
"Beginners, huh? Professional wouldn't leave any proof."
"Maybe.. or not." He took out the magical camera and released the shutter.
"If the culprit did this intentionally, why ?"
"I don't think it was intentional." Harry grabbed the instant picture and examined it carefully.
"What do you mean?"
"If the culprit didn't care that his magical trace would be discovered, it means his intentions exist in another place. Can you guess?"
Justin shrugged. Harry started to explain, but then his holly wand vibrated. The way of vibrating indicated that his boss needed the report immediately. He reckoned Robards and Kingsley must be nervous because of the Muggle Ministry issue. He chanted the spell, and his silvery Patronus trotted away with the message.
A stray cat groaned at a coyote in the falling curtain of night after the beautiful sunset. The wild animal turned into a hooded wizard, who hit the poor little animal with a green flash from his wand. He looked up at the tall gates of Hogwarts and whistled. Then an Eagle owl zoomed up from the dark sky and glided down to him.
"Good boy. Carry this message to him." He patted the owl and released him to the dark night.
The Eagle owl soared up once and swooped through an opened window of the Great Hall. He flew directly to his master who was sitting at the head table of professors. Malfoy had been talking with Neville about the magical flowers which never whithered through the year until the owl interrupted them.
"Good news?" Neville asked.
"I hope so," Malfoy disentangled the letter from the owl's leg attempting to hide his pale, flustered face. Feeding his owl a slice of bacon, he rapidly read the note and then stood up saying, "Excuse me, I have urgent business."
McGonagall stared at the back of Malfoy who had hurried out of the Hall and turned to Neville,
"What has Mr. Malfoy been doing, Mr.Longbottom?"
Neville stuck a diced beef in his mouth and said,
"Studying Asian herbs and some amphibians in Asia. Oh, professor, have you heard of Kappa?"
"Yes, I have. But I know little of them. How about you, Hagrid? Did you know professor Malfoy has been studying amphibians in Asia?"
"No, professor. He should've asked me about them. I reckon he has avoided me fer years since he was a student here." Hagrid threw beef into his mouth without cutting.
"I'm afraid so, Hagrid. It's deplorable that he can't talk with you properly. I must speak with him about his behavior." McGonagall swallowed her unpleasant feelings towards Malfoy as she sipped a cup of Earl Grey.
After Malfoy retreated to his office, he shut the door making sure nobody followed him.
On a second thought he cast Locking Charm to prevent his son from entering the room. Malfoy didn't want his son witness this embarrassing predicament. He unfolded the threating letter again.
I need more than two eggs from the kappa. If you try to trick me or inform this to the Aurors, you shall lose everything. When you're ready, owl me.
He crumpled the letter and shoved it into the desk. He had come up with a plan of making imitation eggs. Otherwise, how on earth could he acquire the eggs that he'd never seen?
He sat down and reread the essays written by his students. Most of them weren't even acceptable enough to be graded Poor. Very few Exceeds Expectaions would be given. But three essays contained more information than he had expected. After reading half of each essay, he thought of giving Outstanding to his son. Scorpius had written a detailed description of Kappa's eggs and even reported uses for the eggs. Only his son had found these facts. And he disgustedly remembered it was the reason why he was threatened. Two Es to Rose Weasley and Albus Potter. Though it was annoying to give good marks to two typical Gryffindors, he recognized the importance of fairness. If he allowed his son to score higher it would downgrade their scores. But if he did that, McGonagall wouldn't turn a blind eye to it.
He took the wood stamp and began reading the rest of Albus's report.
"Saki, a daughter of Kouga Ninja looked up the cold night sky. She wondered if the amazing rare creature she had witnessed the other day was her lost fiancÚ, Shota. Her mother and she used to go to the stone statue of the Kappa every summer to pray for the lost child of Sasuke. Sometimes they found a Kappa's dull egg under the leaves of Taro. The leaves had small protrusions and repelled water which cleaned up all dirt on the leaves so that the Kappa's egg was guarded from water and dirt. In east Asia, you can still sometimes find these eggs under the leaves of Taro near the pond."
Malfoy stopped reading there and stared at the well-drawn picture, the leaves of the Taro and the Kappa's eggs peeking out from under them. Potter's report gave him more information than he expected. Most of it was based on a fairy tale, but this was the closest he'd ever come to having any information about the eggs at all. He would now have a place to look for them when he went to Japan for the International Herbology and Potions Society Conference. The leaves of Taro. He had to ask Longbottom about that plant. Then he read the latter part of Rose's essay.
There are various species of water demons. : Grindylows are found in lakes throughout Britain and Ireland. Kelpie live in the lakes of Scotland. The Kappa inhabits shallow ponds and rivers. Kahaku inhabits the Yellow river in China. Vodyanoi appears as a creature with a frog-like face and fish scales in Muggle dams and the big river in Russia. The Bunyip inhabits billabongs, riverbeds and swamps of Australia. Kraken dwell near the coasts of Norway and Greenland. This same creature is called Umibouzu near the coasts of Japan. Among them, the number of Kappa is decreasing rapidly in recent years due to reduction of rivers within Muggle's city development. Their methods of breeding have been a mystery for a long time. One expert of Asian folklore collected folk tales and published the tales that he found. According to the rare source, "Illustrated Dictionary of Asian Magical Creature", the dark green eggs covered with Taro leaves shows they are oviparous creature. My mother's friend, a Magizoologist sent me an owl and told me that he witnessed the creature inhabiting the basin of a waterfall in Aomori Prefecture in Japan. I wish I could meet the Kappa.
"Rolf Scamander. The grandson of Newt Scamander..." Malfoy muttered to himself. He wondered if he could find a way to meet the famous Magizoologist.
Neville poured as he observed the three young students. They were quiet at first, sitting on the chintz sofa in his office attached to the green house, but then Albus's stomach growled, which made Rose giggle. His face turned red but he remained silent. Scoripus took one sip of his tea and said nothing.
Neville sat down on the wooden chair and offered biscuits.
Albus jammed a biscuit in his mouth. Rose nibbled at hers little by little, daintily.
Her cousin said,
"You don't eat biscuits at home, Rose!"
Her freckled face turned a light shade of pink and she protested to admit what he said and she spoke,
"I do, Albus!" She cast a glance at Scorpius.
Scorpius said, "No, thank you," when Neville nodded towards a plate of biscuits.
Then the professor coughed lightly. "Okay, lads, tell me what happened after Potions class. I reckon each of you have your own reasons but fighting isn't allowed. Before throwing a punch, try to understand each other before. Which of you started this fight?"
"Malfoy." Albus blurted out.
Scorpius looked Albus furiously and said,
"It was you who insulted my father! You're so- arrogant, posing as a hero. "
"What? Who are you to talk about posing? If my father hadn't felt pity for your father, he would have been in Azkaban. Everybody knows that!"
"You hide behind your father's authority again! I've had enough! I can't stand it!" Scorpius stood up from the sofa and started to leave.
"Calm down, lads, and drink your tea." Neville took a step closer to Scorpius.
Then the door of the office suddenly opened. Professor Malfoy poked his head in,
"Longbottom, If you don't have a class the next period..." He noticed the three students, "Oh, Scorp, what are you doing here? Did you have a quarrel?"
Neville sighed. "To my regret, you're right. I remembered the time when you and Harry were like them."
"Well, I don't care what happened, but the three of you are together at just the right moment." Malfoy sat down on the sofa where his son had been sitting before and beckoned Scorpius to sit back down. Scorpius came back to the spot reluctantly.
"What do you mean?" Neville asked.
"These students' essays were excellent. Among them, Weasley, your report is splendid."
Rose couldn't believe and asked,
"Is that true, professor?"
"Yes, I mean it. I was very impressed by the last part of your essay." Malfoy smiled but his eyes did not.
"Professor, how was mine?" Albus asked, still irritated.
But Malfoy ignored him and talked to his son,
"I gave your essay top marks as well, Scorp. I've never read such an excellent report before."
Scorpius smiled brightly at his father. But Albus stood up and he stormed out of the office. Rose trotted after him.
Albus halted and turned around, burning with rage,
"See? That's his way. I can't stand unfairness anymore. I'm sending an owl to my father!"
"You shouldn't, Albus. He didn't say he downgraded your essay at all."
Then Neville caught up with them and said,
"Rose is right, Albus. You received a well-earned Exceeds Expectations."
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Chapter 4: Chapter 4 Freshwater Plimpies
Author's Notes: Thank you for beta reading, Pixi.
Thank you for suggestions about Luna's house location to HermyLuna2 and Rolf's feature to
After Neville went back to the office to meet with Malfoy, Albus walked with Rose up to the Great Hall from the greenhouse. Albus forgot for a moment about his hunger as he remembered how Malfoy had ignored him when he asked about his essay. He halted suddenly in the middle of the corridor.
"Why do you think Malfoy gave me a good mark?" he asked.
Rose looked perplexed. "Why do you think? Your essay was very good, especially your detailed pictures of the Kappa's eggs and plants."
"Yeah, I thought I had done a good job on all of it. But Malfoy didn't mention anything about the pictures or the writing."
"Because you left before he could tell you."
"He ignored me when I asked him. He never just goes ‘round openly praising our reports. He must be up to something."
"Well, I did feel that he wasn't happy about giving my report a good mark either. He might have just come to talk to us because he's afraid of McGonagall. Still, I got the impression that he meant it seriously."
Students from all houses passed them, chatting merrily as they entered the Great Hall.
Albus frowned and said, "Do you mean that giving us good marks will bring him merit?"
"Yes, I think so. He was going to ask me something before you left the office." Rose shoved the door open. "Let's wait for professor Malfoy to come back to see what he was going to ask me." She waved her hand towards Hagrid who sat down on his chair on the platform.
They waited for Malfoy to appear during lunch, but he never showed up.
Scorpius stayed in Neville's office with his father. Professor Longbottom set a silver plate of sandwiches next to the biscuits on the desk.
"Is it cold? I'll ignite the hearth," asked Neville, who raised his wand to point at the hearth.
"No, thank you," Malfoy said shortly. "I was planning to eat my lunch in the Great Hall. This won't take long..."
"Sandwiches and warm soup served by Hogwarts house-elves are not bad. I have so many kludgy things to do later in the greenhouse that I can't go back to the Great Hall to have lunch."
Malfoy and Scorpius exchanged glances. Finally, they took sandwiches and began eating.
Neville smiled, satisfied that they were eating. "So what do you want to know?"
"Rolf Scamander. I remember Lovegood is married to the guy, isn't she?" Malfoy couldn't hide his disdainful look. He had never understood Luna.
Neville didn't notice Malfoy's expression. He grinned and began talking. "I will never forget their wedding party. We were assigned costumes that Luna had picked out for us.I heard it was difficult for Rolf to prevent Luna from putting on a lion hat, and..."
"Excuse me, Neville," Malfoy interrupted, "I have a class after lunch so if you could simply tell me where they live, I would really appreciate it."
"Oh. Luna lives with her family near the Burrow. Do you want to meet them?"
"I heard Mr.Scamander had visited Japan." Malfoy pretended that he didn't care whether Scamander had visited Japan or not. "As you know, I am studying about special items from that area. He may have information that might help."
Neville grabbed a sandwich and started eating it. With muffled voice, he spoke, "Yes, I heard that too. I know he will be in the country the end of October. Luna's family live near Ottery St. Catchpole in Devon. They'll celebrate Halloween for a week wearing costumes just like Muggles. On the last day, they'll have a big Halloween gathering at Scamander's house at Shitterton. It's Luna's idea. Their twins will wear Halloween costumes and..."
"I cannot wait until then," Malfoy cut in. "Will you ask if they're available for this weekend?" he tried asking nonchalantly.
"I'll tell her via Floo network. Oh, you can ask Rose to tell her father that," Neville stopped talking and opened his mouth again. "Eh, never mind. I'll tell Luna myself."
"Thank you. I'm afraid Ronald Wealsey won't be happy if I appear at Ottery St. Catchpole. So please don't mention this to him. Thank you for sandwiches and soup. Let's go, Scorp." Malfoy stood up.
Not only would he hate to see Ron, but he was also afraid that Weasley would tell Potter that he had shown up near Ottery St. Catchpole, so close to the Burrow.
Scorpius went back to his dorm after lunch in the greenhouse. He wanted to bask in the afterglow of his father's praise alone. He pulled out his essay marked "Outstanding" and smiled. He opened the trunk by the bed and put it inside carefully, on top of his textbooks. Then he remembered the half read fairy tales of East Asia and went to the desk. He sat down and began reading.
Riding a horse was one of the needed skills for Kouga ninjas. Saki quickly learned all the paces: trotting, cantering and galloping. Once she mastered them, her father taught her to use a sword on horseback. To his satisfaction, she acquired that skill very quickly, too.
One spring day, her father came to her and said, "As much as I hate to see you on the battlefield, it is your destiny, Saki. Starting today, I will train you as one of our secret army."
"Yes, my father. I'm ready." She didn't flinch at all, proud that her father had sensed her skills were strong enough. She was hoping that her new skills of stealth would help her to find Shota, who she guessed might be a Tengu. She was sure that the young man with the beautiful wings must be a leader of Tengu tribe. She didn't know what she would do when she encountered him. But the feeling that she wanted to meet him again was getting stronger and stronger.
Scorpius was absorbed in the story. It would be embarrassing if anyone saw him reading from the book of fairy tales, so when his Slytherin roommates came into the room, he closed the book and pretended that he had been studying. The next class was Hagrid's Care of Magical Creatures. He didn't hate the class, no matter how his father despised the half-giant teacher. He just liked Hagrid's kind eyes. That was because he was lonely. He could never remember having real friends.
Flint blew hard on the back of Scorpius and said, "Oi, join us in messing up the half-giant's class, Malfoy!" he smirked with the other cunning Slytherins.
Scorpius stood up rubbing his back which ached and asked, "Okay, what are you up to?"
"I saw him go to the pond to feed the grindylows. I reckon he'll let us observe the grindylows today. Why don't we feed them spicy flobberworms? It'll be fun!" He pulled out a small glass case in which the poor creatures slowly wriggling from his pocket.
"What did you do to them?" Scorpius asked irritated. It was disgusting to see the poor creatures getting weak. Flint must have swiped the worms from Neville's greenhouse.
"I sprinkled red pepper sauce over them. Let's go!" Flint dragged him outside.
Hagrid carried an enormous fish scooping tool and a tank by the muddy pond. It had been twenty years since he'd taught Harry to ride a Hippogriff. After the tragic news that Buckbeak was nearly going to be executed, the professors had discussed changing the curriculum to introduce Care of the Magical Creatures to the first years at Hogwarts. Hagrid also remembered that Remus Lupin was the first professor to bring grindylows to the class.
"The great teachers die young." Hagrid got a little melancholy and shook his head. "It may be about time for me ter retire." It would be good to go to France to see Madame Olympe, he thought.
One of grindylows showed its head on the surface of the pond. Hagrid handled the big net skillfullly and scooped up a grindylow. He threw it into the tank filled with massive water plants, willow and moss. Among the floating plants, he found a dull green egg speckled with brown spots. He wiped it with his clothes and pocketed it. It was a good opportunity for the students to learn about hatching the animals.
Albus rushed up to him with Rose and said, "Hagrid, I saw Flint dragging Scorpius Malfoy. They are up to something!"
Hagrid smiled at him, "Yeh're really like your father, Albus. Good boy, I'll be careful."
When the naughty boys arrived, Hagrid sensed that Flint was hiding something in his hand but pretended he didn't notice anything.
"Everyone, come closer ter the tank. Today, we will learn how to treat this creature, the grindylow."
Some of the boys started chattering with excitement. The other girls noticed the sharp nails of the creature in the tank and backed away.
Hagrid saw them retreat and spoke to them, "Girls, don't be afraid. It's not difficult. C'mon, come closer."
But the girls didn't dare. The creature bared its scary green teeth and turned to show its sharp little horns. Hagrid coughed lightly and continued his lecture.
"Well, the brave four champions of the Triwizard Tournament had to confront them in the Great Lake in the past, but yeh don't have ter fight them. What yeh have ter do today is find their eggs and prepare to hatch them."
Smirking, Flint asked, "Professor, I have a question."
"Do we need to swim in the pond?"
"No, yeh don't. Flint. We're only collecting their eggs. Here," Hagrid took out the egg from his pocket and showed it to them.
Most of the students, including the girls, came closer. Hagrid was excited to see their sudden change of attitude, and didn't notice Flint throw a spicy flobberworm in the tank. It didn't take much time until the class turned to chaos. The grindylow jumped at the food. Soon, it writhed and splashed muddy water around the tank. The students near the tank got soiled and made a big fuss. Hagrid was completely disconcerted as some of the Slytherin girls were soaked with muddy water and began complaining loudly. Flint and the other Slytherin boys laughed their heads off. Albus noticed that Scorpius wasn't laughing among them.
He couldn't believe his ears when he heard Scorpius suggest to Hagrid, "Professor, I think you'd better get it back to the pond. Why don't we sketch the egg in the class while you take care of the grindylow?"
"You're right, Scorpius. Everyone, go back ter..."
"We could go to the Greenhouse. I heard that Professor Neville isn't teaching this period." Scorpius offered helpfully.
"Thanks, Scorp. Boys and girls, go ter the greenhouse. Albus, please carry this egg with yeh." He handed the grindylow's egg to Albus.
Albus took it carefully with his both hands. It was bigger than a chicken's egg.
Hagrid whispered to him, "Please watch Flint. Protect this from his mischief."
"I will." Albus nodded determinedly. "Let's go," he said to Rose. Then he glanced back to Scorpius. He contemplated the fact that Scorpius Malfoy had helped Hagrid twice. What was he up to? What merit would he get by helping the Care of Magical Creatures professor? Was he trying to get good marks?
On their way, Rose swished her wand and cast cleaning spells on the Slytherin girls who were blaming Hagrid for getting them muddy. Albus was nearly stumbling along the way up to greenhouse holding the egg in his hands. When they arrived at the greenhouse, they were welcomed by Neville.
"What happened to Hagrid's class?"
"Flint did something to the grindylow in the tank. Hagrid is taking care of the poor creature right now."
"Is that its egg?"
"Yes, it is. We're supposed to sketch this during the rest of the class. Can we use the greenhouse, Professor?"
"Sure. Come in everyone and find a seat!"
Albus and Rose stood at the door while Flint and his gang passed by. Flint glared at him and gestured rudely towards Rose. Albus didn't understand what Flint meant by it, but he was sure it was some sort of insult. He glared back at Slytherin boys. Scorpius was the last to enter. He chose the northern end of the long wooden bench which was the farthest away from the group of snickering boys and sat down. Albus and Rose asked Neville to give them something to cushion the egg.
"I have something good. Wait here."
Neville retreated to the back room, and in a few minutes, he returned with a small cushion made of cotton and silk. After setting the egg in the center of the long table, Neville cast a protective charm around it to prevent anyone from touching it. Albus and Rose went to find seats, but the only vacant space available was across from Scorpius. They nodded to each other and moved to the spot.
Having seen Scorpius help Hagrid, Albus thought that maybe he had misjudged the boy. He saw that Scorpius was taking something out of his colored pencil case with a blue and white logo of Puddlemere United printed on it.
"Hey, are you a fan of Puddlemere United?" Albus tried to smile, but his face felt tense.
Scorpius stared at him for a while, apparently confused by the unexpected question.
"Yes. Eh, you?"
"I am. Though Uncle Ron tried to force me to be a fan of Chudley Cannons." Albus tried smiling again. This time it was easier.
Scorpius said, "They're the worst team, aren't they? I mean based on the results of last year and the year before that. They've never been great."
"Yeah, I know. I still like them, though."
Soon the class became quiet as everyone concentrated on drawing the egg. Even Flint and his friends got wrapped up in making magical animated cartoons from their scribbles. Neville overlooked them, thankful that they were quiet and not being harmful.
While Albus began coloring his drawing, Scorpius asked him, "Potter, I have something to ask you."
"What is it?" Albus stopped his hand and faced Scorpius.
"Nice picture." Scorpius looked at the well-drawn picture with full of admiration for a while and said, "I want that egg. Will you tell professor Hagrid?"
Albus became guarded. He wondered if the only reason that Scorpius had been so helpful to Hagrid was to get his hands on the egg. Even his praise for his picture seemed like a tactic to get a favor.
Albus answered carefully. "What will you do with the egg? Why do you need it?"
Scorpius bit his lip. He seemed to think deeply before answering. When he finally spoke, he nearly whispered, "I desperately need the egg. Please don't tell anybody." He stopped, seeming to think it over, and then added, "My father was threatened. I need your help."
Rose who had been listening to their conversation, couldn't ignore what he'd just said, "Who threatened your father?"
"Shh!" Scorpius looked around nervously, making sure nobody was eavesdropping. "I'll talk you later. Okay?"
"I got it. Let's meet at Hagrid's hut after class. I have a moment before Quidditch tryouts. You?" said Albus.
"Yes. Thanks." Scorpius looked relieved.
After Neville dismissed the class, the three of them dashed across the lawn, passing by the pond where Hagrid was taking care of the writhing grindylow. On their way, Scorpius told them all about the threatening letter he found in his father's office. Then they noticed the limp body of grindylow floating in the tank.
Albus asked fearfully, "Hagrid, did the creature die?"
"Nope. It took a long time ter have it spit out the poisoned food. I gave him radish roots mixed with fish for his recovery." Hagrid answered, mortified. "I can't forgive Flint. What a naughty lad!"
"Hagrid, do you mind giving Scorpius the grindylow's egg?" asked Rose.
"What for? What do yeh do with it?"
"Well, Scorpius, can we explain the real reason for this?" Albus asked.
Scorpius seemed to hesitate. Rose insisted that they needed adults to confront the threat that was targeted at Professor Malfoy. Scorpius thought for a while and at last he agreed with them. He pulled out the crumpled letter and showed Hagrid.
"That was delivered to my father's office the other day. I found it in a dustbin."
When Hagrid finished reading, he asked, "Good ter know what's bothering you right now but why don't you consult with your father, Albus?"
"Don't, please. If they find out we informed Aurors, my father will be in trouble!" Scorpius begged Hagrid.
Hagrid got perplexed and said, "But it's better ter ask for help from Harry. He's a professional."
Rose suggested,too. "If you find it difficult to leave everything to us, please tell Uncle Harry."
Hagrid muttered, "I have hunch you'll be in trouble, lads. You're like your parents. The three of yer are just like the trio." He shook his head and handed the egg to Scorpius. "Tell me your plan. I may be able ter help yeh."
"Thank you, Professor. I'm wondering if I can disguise it with paint or a spell so it will look like a Kappa's egg." Scorpius spoke.
Everyone was surprised by his confession.
Albus asked, "Are you planning to trick the villains?"
"How can we get real Kappa's eggs?" Scorpius said heatedly. "We can only get them in the Far East countries. We will never be able to go there."
"But if they find out we cheated them, the result will be more serious," Rose opposed.
Scorpius frowned and started thinking hard for a while. Finally he compromised, "Okay. Tell your uncle, then. But don't tell my father about this."
"We won't" Rose promised.
"Fine. I'll give yeh the eggs after Rose and Albus tell Harry the truth." Hagrid promised.
"Well, I have to go. The Quidditch tryouts." Albus stood up.
"Wait," Scorpius said suddenly.
Albus turned around. "What?"
"Can I go with you? I mean... I'd like to watch the tryouts." Scorpius answered, stammering.
"Sure, follow me." Albus smiled. He trusted Scorpius this time.
They went up to the pitch together. Albus felt the bracing autumn air and admitted to himself that he had a kind of a prejudice against Scorpius for his father's past. But after he witnessed how Scorpius was concerned for Hagrid and his confession about his father, he changed his mind about the Slytherin. He remembered what his father said at the station when he was going to go aboard the Hgowarts Express.
"All Slytherins are not villains," he muttered to himself.
"What did you say?" Scorpius asked frowning.
"Never mind. Let's hurry!"
The weather was awesome. The tall seat building stood beautifully against the blue sky with a few clouds. Such a scene was rare to be seen in Scotland. Albus' brother waved to him as he flew by on his Firebolt.
Scorpius groaned with envy. "I wish I had that broomstick. My father didn't allow me to buy it."
"There are various makers. My father just likes the Firebolt. His godfather bought one for him for the first time. James followed his taste. I want to try a Hayabusa though."
"I heard of the brand. My father told me that he tried to buy a Bulgarian maker's broom once."
"Didn't he get it?"
"No, he had no chance to buy it. He had to spend more time studying potions instead of playing quidditch."
"Are you going to join the Slytherin tryouts? I heard it'll be held next weekend."
"I wish I could. But I reckon they have no intention to hand over the position for Seeker. They had the fifth year super star, MacNeil. Though my father joined in his second year, I don't have such a chance." Scorpius continued chatting with Albus Potter, even though the conversations felt surreal. Hadn't they hated each other just yesterday?
"Even if they don't give you the Seeker position, it's worth joining the tryouts." Albus was going to the spot where a group of the other Gryffindors gathered around.
Scorpius shouted without realizing it, "Go for it! You can capture the postion!" Then he regretted it instantly. All attention was focused on him.
One of the Gryffindors shouted, "Malfoy? Are you spying us?" John McLaggen, who seemed to be the same year as James, scowled defiantly at him.
When he tried to object, Albus did it for him.
"I invited him. He's not spy."
McLaggen was still dubious of the existence of Scorpius in the pitch, but he turned to his fellow Gryffindors and asked the captain, "What position will you start, Ted?"
Teddy Lupin, who came back after two years study abroad, stared at the spot where Malfoy was sitting for a while and then shouted, "Chasers, go to your position! We'll begin with Beaters. McLaggen, release the Bludger when the newbies are ready."
Scorpius couldn't take his eyes off the astonishing sight, the vigorous performance played by the Gryffindor Chasers. Among them, James Potter far surpassed the others, and he remembered that his mother was Ginevra Potter, who had been a Hollyhead Harpies star Chaser. He felt that it might be a good idea to join the Slytherin tryouts next week. But at the same time, he felt discouraged. He could guess there was hardly a possibility that he would be selected as a regular. It was obvious that they would never give the chance to first years.
Watching Albus Potter prepare for the tryouts, he got envious again. Being a son of Potter gave Albus an advantage to join the quidditch tryouts unquestionably thought he was still a first year. Albus had a talent as a Seeker, and watching the process of choosing the position was thrilling. Scorpius was sure that he couldn't do such splendid nimble movements as Albus. After Albus was awarded the Seeker position, Scorpius left without telling him. It was thoughtless of him to have confessed about his father to Rose and Albus. Scorpius felt miserable again thinking over how he had been bullied as a son of the ex-Death Eater, ever since he had boarded on the Hogwarts Express. Even some of the Slytherins ridiculed and slandered him. Storming away from the pitch, the feeling that he could be a friend of Albus Potter faded away.
Malfoy stood in front of the odd building. The outer wall was made of blue glass. Malfoy scowled at his own figure reflected on the blue wall. He hated his own pointed chin and wondered if he'd better grow a beard. The news reported by the Daily Prophet the other day had been horrifying. He understood what the soaked shoe left on the crime scene meant. He knew who had abducted the Muggle officer from Marsham Street.
Then a dreamy voice was heard from a letter box at the bottom of the stairs. "Who is it?"
Malfoy answered the letter box, "Draco Malfoy. Did you hear about my visit from Neville Longbottom?"
"Yes, we did. Please come in."
Then one of the glasses changed its color to purple, and the entrance door emerged. Malfoy opened the door cautiously. Luna and her husband Rolf welcomed him. He couldn't subdue his feeling towards their twins. He smiled at them and said, "Hello." But the twins soon hid behind Luna whose uncombed blonde hair was reached her waist. Rolf Scamander was a very tall man with dark hair. He had handsome Indian features and held out his hand to Malfoy.
"Nice to see you, Professor Malfoy. I heard about you from Neville. You study Asian potions and you'll be attending the meeting in Tokyo, right?"
"Yes, I am. I have questions that I need to ask in order to finish my research report. I hope that you would be able to help me."
Luna asked, "Do you like Freshwater Plimpies? Rolf caught them early this morning."
Malfoy haven't heard of Freshwater Plimpies. He had no idea what they were like. He managed to answer, "Well, I've never eaten them, but I'll try." He tried to be as amiable as he could. He wished they didn't look so grotesque.
Rolf urged him to sit down on the sofa covered with cotton clothes and said, "Please take off your shoes. We go barefoot in the house. I learned the custom in Japan."
"Oh, I didn't notice that." Malfoy hastily took off his leather shoes, placed them neatly by the hearth and sat down.
Rolf sat the opposite side of him and asked, "Neville told me you wanted to know about my visit Japan. What are you studying now?"
Malfoy wondered if he should beat around the bush or not, but then he decided just to ask.
"I heard from Rose Weasley that you had found Kappa's eggs. I'd like to know all about that, with as much detail as possible."
Rolf's hazel eyes sparkled with excitement. "Are you interested in the Kappa? I have so much to tell you." He talked on and on.
"I explored the upper reaches of the Oirase River. It's an unexplored region near Towada Lake. Unknown Asian magical creatures still reside there. I have had much interest in the area, and luckily I got a native guide. She was a middle-aged witch who could foretell things. She told me I wasn't the only European who had visited there. She predicted one more would come. Oh, now I've got it. You'll be the next to visit there!"
Malfoy was very astonished and asked, "She predicted that I would go there?"
Rolf nodded, satisfied. "Yes, she did. Led by her, I kept exploring the place. Two nights passed before we finally found the Kappa habitat. You know, they prefer a place with plenty of water. They were living behind the basin of a waterfall, and looked like monkeys with a shell on their backs like turtles. I wished I could take a magical photo of the ones I saw who were wrestling in the cave. But the witch didn't allow me to."
Malfoy leaned forward intently. "Did you see their eggs?"
"Yeah, I did."
"What color were they?"
"They were dull green and covered with Taro leaves. I guess the leaves protect them from dirt or raindrops. I wanted to bring them back, too. But she advised me if I bring them back, my family will be cursed forever. So I followed her advice and left them alone."
Malfoy took a breath and thought on what Rolf said. What if his future family members would be cursed forever? But if he refused to bring back the eggs, Lestrange would never let him pass. Without the Kappa's eggs, House of Malfoy would be ruined forever.
He tried a question, "Have you heard of the other wizards who had taken their eggs before?"
"Well, it was possible that one of our kind has done that in the past.,."Rolf smiled with a look that meant something.
"What do you know? Come on, don't keep me in suspense."
"My grandfather did."
"Oh, are your family members cursed?" Malfoy asked nervously.
"No, we aren't. I suppose the witch made up that story to prevent us from overhunting them. Do you know what effect they have?" His look turned serious suddenly.
"Yes, I do." Malfoy answered gingerly. "Though it's not written in the textbook, ‘Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them*' written by your grandfather."
"No. He didn't mention it on purpose. What are you going to do with the eggs, Mr. Malfoy?"
Malfoy broke into a cold sweat, being questioned closely by Rolf. He managed to open his mouth, "I, eh, need them for my study. Nobody in the Potions field has studied them from my country. I need to establish my status as a scholar. You know our family history. I'm desperate to return to the good graces of society." He waited for Rolf's answer holding his breath.
The smell of cooked fish wafted from the kitchen.
Finally Rolf smiled at him and said, "I understand. I'll tell you about the place in detail after lunch."
Malfoy felt relieved. Luna brought in a tray on which three bowls of soup.
She said, "Here are the Freshwater Plimpies. It's a very delicious soup. If you taste them once, you'll never forget them." She set a bowl of soup in front of Malfoy and asked in her dreamy voice, "How's your wife, Astoria?"
"Fine, thank you." Malfoy stared at the bowl. The surface looked like clam chowder.
"I reckon she feels lonely. You and your son stay at Hogwarts most of the year."
"Thank you for asking about her. She's alright. Her sister Daphne visits her for tea with their friends."
"Good for her." Luna sat next to Malfoy. She kept staring at him.
Malfoy felt he would nearly lose his mind. He couldn't stand it and asked her, "What are you thinking?"
"I think you'd better take Harry with you. He'll keep your secret."
Malfoy got pale and wondered whether she saw through him. He asked trembling, "What do you mean?"
Rolf laughed and said, "Never mind what she said, Mr. Malfoy. Sometimes I don't understand what she says. She's really funny to live with. That's why I married her."
Then they started kissing deeply in front of him. Malfoy had to endure the passionate display until their twins began crying in the next room. Luna jumped up from the sofa and dashed to the children's room.
Rolf coughed lightly and said, "Well, I'll bring you a map of the unexplored regions," and he left.
Malfoy held up a bowl of soup and tasted it. It was delicious, even though it had gotten cool after the long conversation, and then the kissing.
Back to index
Chapter 5: Chapter 5 Flight Before Halloween
Author's Notes: Many thanks to my beta, Pixileanin.
I try to set Harry/Ginny scene around next.
"Shitterton?" Harry repeated what Hermione had just said.
"Yes, I heard of the name of the place from Luna. Shitterton. Her husband's birth place." Hermione told him again.
Ron started laughing. "Weird name isn't it? When I heard it, I couldn't stop laughing."
Harry had stopped by the Burrow to take a break from the investigation. He watched Lily play with Hugo out in the garden. Arthur and Molly had been taking care of the children, since Ginny had been busy with her first report for the Quidditch League.
Since Marsham Street, the Aurors hadn't found any more clues. Harry needed more leads. Hermione had suggested that he would attend Luna and Rolf Scamander's Halloween party. She had a hunch that it might be related to their interest in the magical creature. Harry agreed with her idea.
"The only material evidence was the soaked shoe of the victim. We sensed a slight trace of magic related to water creatures." Harry spoke, sitting on the sofa.
"It might be a water demon," Hermione concluded. "Did the team search all the lakes and rivers in Britain?"
"Yes, we did. But there might have been some holes that we couldn't find."
"Did you investigate the pond and the Great Lake at Hogwarts?" asked Ron.
Harry startled and said, "No, we didn't. I hadn't thought of that."
Ron grinned. "You should, mate. So what will we wear for the party?"
"We have to be in costume, Ronald. Luna said so in her letter."
"It should be fun. We can take Hugo and Lily, too. I miss Luna's big lion hat," Ron remembered it fondly from their school days.
"Her husband hates that hat," Hermione said. "We can borrow Dragon Tamer's costumes from Charlie. One for Ginny too. Send him an owl, Ron."
"Cool! I will." Ron jumped up from the sofa and went into the study.
Hermione stood and asked Harry, "Tea or coffee?"
"Coffee, please. Strong."
"You've already had two or three, haven't you?"
"How did you know?"
"It's obvious. You have dark circles under your eyes."
Harry rubbed his eyes and said, "I've been feeling weird since the investigation started. Kingsley and Robards said they felt it too. When the Muggle officer went missing, it left dark magical traces. It's like when Voldemort came back."
"You mean the Ministry will be taken over?"
"It feels like it. We have to stop them. I sensed Lestrange was involved in the incident."
"I hope we'll find something new at Luna's party," she said supportively.
Albus couldn't understand why Scorpius Malfoy left the pitch without saying anything last weekend. He wondered if he had said something wrong. Since Scorpius confessed that his father was threatened in the letter, he hadn't spoken with them.
After breakfast Rose said, "Wait for him come to us. He may be scared that he confessed everything. Did you send an owl to your father, Albus?"
"No, I didn't. I've been wondering how to tell him about it."
"Do it now, then. I'll help you." She pulled out a sheet of parchment and a green quill.
Albus picked up the quill and stared at it dubiously. "Is this an automatic spell check pen? It reminds me of Rita Skeeter. I hate her. She followed my Dad around wherever he went."
"I bought it from Uncle George's shop. According to my father, they are hot sellers. It's handy. Try this."
Albus took it and stared writing.
School is going well. I was selected as the Gryffindor Seeker. And I got an E in Potions class! I didn't think my essay would get such a good mark, but Malfoy said I earned it. Rose got an E, too. She doubts that Malfoy gave us good marks without a motive. She thinks that he is up to something.
I have one more to tell you. It's serious, so please don't tell anybody. Scorpius Malfoy confessed to us that his father got a threatening letter. Professor Malfoy doesn't know that Scorpius found it. We told Hagrid, and he insisted we should tell you, Dad. The threat came from someone whose initials are R.L. Please contact us via Floo Network as fast as you can. I think we need your help.
He left out the information about the Kappa's eggs on purpose. He was afraid, just in case someone might open the letter before it reached his father. He showed the letter to Rose.
After Rose read through the letter, she said, "You'd better add ‘Professor' to Malfoy in the first paragraph.
Malfoy submitted a request to McGonagall for time off. She read over the application and smiled. "You've already given the students their marks for the first half of the term."
"Yes, Professor. If something bad happens to me, they don't have to wait for the results."
"You sometimes say strange things, Professor Malfoy. I called a substitute teacher for you. She'll cover your classes until you come back in the middle of November. She'll arrive tomorrow."
"Fine, I'll leave straight away. Thank you, Professor." Malfoy hurried back to his office to send a message to Lestrange.
Scorpius tried not to be near Flint and his gang. He reckoned they would never forgive that he had supported Hagrid. Everytime he finished lunch at the Great Hall, he dashed to the boy's dorm and shut himself in the corner of the room and opened the fairy tale book. He was fascinated by the tale of the Ninja and Tengu.
The battle between Heike tribe and the Genji tribe became intense. Many hamlets were ruined after the battle. Saki's father had his followers within the Kouga Ninja's army protect his daughter from harm, but she wanted to be treated on equal terms with the others.
One day, very early in the morning, she took a horse and snuck away from the army guards. She guessed that the Tengu tribe was hidden behind the sacred mountain which was famous among Muggles. A song bird whistled from the top of an oak tree. Then she heard a familiar flapping of wings. She looked up and saw large, white wings in the gray sky. As the creature flew closer, she could see that his face was red and his nose was very long. He plummeted to the base of the mountain and vanished.
Saki was certain that was where the Tengu lived. She dismounted from her black horse and tied it to the oak tree. Before she left, she noticed a persimmon tree nearby. Its branches sagged under the weight of ripe fruit. She climbed up the tree and picked a ripe persimmon from the branch. She shoved it into the pocket of her kimono. After she jumped off the branch and landed the ground, she touched the hilt of the sword attached to her back to make sure her weapon was ready.
The view around her was veiled in the morning haze. The cool air welcomed her. An hour of silent walking brought her to the bottom of a cliff. She measured the steep wall with her eyes. Then she pulled out a rope and a hook and threw them to the spot where it would be a foothold. She balanced her body vertically and started climbing up to the entrance of the hiding place. When she arrived halfway up the cliff, she saw a flock of Tengues fly back to the entrance. She hid under the foothold hastily and waited for them vanish. Then she cautiously continued. The entrance looked like a torii, a gateway to a shrine. She made sure nobody saw her enter. She crept into the inner part of the cave, remaining hidden, and soon passed the conference room where she heard voices.
"Master, you look tired. Please rest. We did our best. We have to wait for their next move."
"Thank you, Saburo. I'll rest." It was Shota's voice.
Saki's heart started beating faster. The meeting was quickly dismissed, and the followers came out of the room. She saw Tengues up close for the first time in her life. They had beaks like birds, glittering eyes, and black crow-shaped wings. Only the leader Tengu had a red face and a long nose. Waiting for them pass, Saki worried about seeing Shota as a Tengu. She couldn't imagine him with a red face and a long, beak for a nose.
After she was sure everyone else had left, she crept into the room. It was very dark, and the only moonlight came through the clerestory. Saki took a bold step closer. He tensed but didn't try to attack her. His soft brown eyes stared at her, and Saki was sure that he knew who she was. She felt like he was searching for something inside of her.
He spoke. "I wasn't born a Tengu."
"I know." Her hand rummaged in her bosom pocket for the persimmon and a petite knife.
He watched her quietly peel the fruit, mesmerized by the vivid carrot orange and her white hand that held it out to him without words. Her velvet black hair shone under the moonlight. She had grown up to be such a beautiful woman.
Shota took it and said, "Thank you." He took a bite and felt relaxed for the first time in ten years. "Do you eat?"
She nodded and took it back and nibbled at it. Then she handed the rest to him. Seeing him munch it all up, she remembered their younger days. In the dark room lit only by moonlight, they shared the small quiet space and their memories. Shota hadn't changed except his outlook. He grew up manly handsome. Her heart started beating fast again. She fell in love with him. Shota felt the same way. He moved closer and pulled her gently into his arms. She closed her eyes. When she felt his lips brush hers, they heard Saburo's voice from the outside.
"Master, Genji started attacking our king of Heike. We'd better join their army."
Saki became alert and stared at Shota. He pointed the hidden secret window by his bed and mouthed, "Go." He opened it. A gush of wind streamed in through it. Saki didn't hesitate and stepped on the top of the stairs beyond the sash. She glanced back wondering when she would be able to see him again.
Scorpius wanted to read more, but the lunch break was ending. Next period was Hagrid's class again. He stood up reluctantly and put the book away. Then he hurried outside so that he wouldn't be late for Hagrid's class.
When he got to the paddock near Hagrid's hut, the lecture had already started. Only the girls were inside the paddock, with all the boys standing outside, watching them. Scorpius saw Rose among the girls, who were petting tall, majestic unicorns.
"Sorry boys, but Unicorns prefer a girl's touch. Please stand away from the fence. I'll show yer their hairs. The one thing yer need to remember is yer mustn't try drinking their blood. If your lips touch it, ye'll be cursed forever, just like the Dark Lord."
Imagining what the curse was like, Scorpius was lost in his thoughts deeply until Albus poked him.
"Oi, are you listening?"
"What?" Scorpius was very surprised at his voice and tried to stand back.
"Don't sneak away, Malfoy! Why did you leave the pitch without saying anything to us?"
"Be careful of your language, Potter!"
"You're the one who needs better manners!" Albus grabbed Scorpius tightly. Suddenly he started laughing. Scorpius became stiff and looked around, worried. But Flint and his gang were too busy smirking at the girls who were petting the unicorns inside the fence to notice him. Scorpius wondered what they were up to. Then he was astonished by Albus who was very near him and whispered,
"You don't have to worry about the letter alone. I sent an owl to my father. He will send a reply to me soon. We are with you."
Scorpius stared at Albus. There was both fear and hope in his mind at the same time. He was afraid that his father would not be happy about that, but he was relieved that someone would help him soon.
Colorful light reflected off the roof tiles in the autumn sunlight. They painted the asphault in orange and blue where Harry was standing on Marsham Street. Robards had wanted him to return to the place where the stolen wand had been used. There was possiblity that the culprit might reappear with the kidnapped Muggle officer. The poor Muggle might be dead, but the Aurors concluded that he could be cursed by Dark Magic. Harry swished his holly wand and drew a magical boundry around the crime scene so that Muggles would detour around the place. After half a day of waiting, Justin apparated in.
"Harry, I'll keep watching here. You're needed back at Headquarters. A Hogwarts owl is waiting for you."
"Thanks, Justin," said Harry.
When he went back to his cubicle, the loyal school owl was standing in the middle of his desk. Harry undid the parchment on its leg and started reading. He smiled at the news that his second son was a Seeker in his first year like he had been. Then he found "RL" in his son's letter. What was the last Death Eater up to this time? It wasn't a wise move to drag Draco Malfoy into the Ministry for questioning. It wouldn't be a good thing for the Hogwarts students to see either.
He thought of Scorpius, too. It would be better to visit Hogwarts and investigate quietly on his own. Hermione and Ron had also suggested that he needed to check the ponds and the lakes at Hogwarts anyway, and it would be good to hear detailed information from Albus and Rose, too. Rose was a smart girl like her mother. Harry reckoned she could see the things Albus couldn't.
He marched to Robards' desk and said, "Sir, I got an important owl from Hogwarts. Malfoy was threatened. I'm going to investigate the area." He handed the letter to Robards.
Robards read it and glanced up. "Do you need a team?"
"Not yet. After my first survey, I'll send a report."
"If you need a partner, call Weasley. I heard he was bored with joke shop's marketing."
Harry grinned wide. "I will."
Though he had done apparation many times, Harry stumbled after he landed on the ground in front of the Hogwarts gates. He conjured a silvery stag to tell McGonagall about his arrival. But the action wasn't necessary.
A familiar voice came from above him. "Potter, Marvelous stag."
A tabby cat was sitting under the statue of the Griffin. It transformed into the figure of McGonagall.
Harry greeted her with a smile. "Professor, I'm very glad you are looking well."
McGonagall's voice turned serious. "You said that Malfoy was threatened by the last remaining Death Eater. Is that true?"
"I'm not sure, Professor. I received the information from a student. I have come to investigate at Hogwarts before I come to any conclusions."
McGonagall opened the gate and asked, "Is the student your son?"
"Right." He grinned.
"If Albus Potter sent you an owl, it is likely that Rose Weasley knows something as well."
"Correct." Harry pulled out his Invisibility Cloak and said, "I don't want Malfoy to know that I'm here until I am ready to ask him questions. Where shall I stay the night?"
"You'd better hurry. Professor Malfoy is leaving for Japan tomorrow morning. Use Slughorn's old room. Professor Malfoy prefers the room Professor Snape once used. You will need to perform your own Cleaning Charm before you go to bed. Do you know the spell? The house-elves are busy for preparing dinner right now."
"Of course, Professor. I'm not a school kid." Harry laughed.
"I know. I wanted to say it." McGonagall smiled with a mischievous glint in her eyes.
When they approached the castle, Harry put on the Cloak. His leather shoes touched the floor of the Great Hall, and a spicy smell wafted from the long tables. He suddenly remembered that he had missed lunch. The mischievous feeling came back to him. He thought of secretly sneaking some food from his sons.
He felt happy to see his three sons sitting at the long Gryffindor table. He was amazed by how tall his Godson, Teddy had grown. James was talking in his loud voice. Harry smiled at his brightness. It reminded him of Ginny. Then his gaze fell on Albus. He was whispering with Rose next to him. They were just like how he and Hermione had been in their younger days. On the platform, he saw McGonagall sit in the center seat. Neville was talking with Hagrid, but the seat on his other side was vacant. Malfoy wasn't at dinner. Harry smiled at them. On his way there, he took a chicken sandwich from behind Albus and had a bite and whispered to him,
"Hmm, yummy. Hand me the pumpkin juice."
Albus got surprised and said in his small voice, "Dad?"
Rose soon noticed him and she poured pumpkin juice to the goblet. Teddy and James were so absorbed in their conversation about Quidditch, that they didn't notice.
"Thank you Rose." He gulped it down. "So Albus, inform me about what you didn't write in your letter. I'll go to Professor Malfoy after lunch."
"R.L wants Kappa's eggs. He threatened Malfoy to get them. Scorpius is trying to make fake ones to save his father from getting into trouble."
"Poor Socrpius. So what's your plan, Rose?" asked Harry.
"I think professor Malfoy has an interest in Mr. Scamander. I felt that when he told me my essay got an E."
"You got an E. Great job, Rose. Have you heard if Professor Malfoy has recently visited Luna's house?"
"I don't know. Maybe Professor Longbottom knows."
"Your guess is right, Rose. You're a smart girl. Thank you for sharing lunch with me. I'll ask Neville. Study hard, Albus. See you later."
Harry guessed that if he went to talk to Neville now, Hagrid couldn't help giving him away. He didn't want anyone to know that he was around. It would mean that his investigation would be harder to do. He patted his son on the shoulder and left the Great Hall.
After he finished searching around the ponds and the lakes, he went down into the dungeon. The basement corridor became cooler and cooler the farther down he went. Remembering what McGonagall told him, he went to the office at the end of the corridor, where Malfoy now resided. Harry used to spend time here with Snape for his Occlumency training and detention. He tried opening the door but the office seemed to be sealed by the Anti-Alohamora Charm. After years of his experience, he knew what he could do. He knocked the door and waited under the Invisibility Cloak.
"Who is it?" Malfoy asked through the door.
No one answered, and he opened the door and looked around. Then he shook his head and tried to shut the door. But he couldn't. Invisible Harry propped his arm against the door to prevent Malfoy from closing it.
"Malfoy, tell me the real aim to go to Japan." He took off his Cloak.
Grey eyes got wide, and Malfoy froze in anxiety. His long-time nemesis, Potter was standing right in front of him. Then he recovered and said, "I don't understand what you're saying."
Harry chose the words, "There a few who noticed that your unique assignment has a hidden meaning. Tell me the real reason that you want to go to Japan."
"Did Longbottom tell you something?" Malfoy uttered.
Harry didn't answer.
"Oh, McGonagall found out?" Malfoy's voice broke.
Harry stared at Malfoy for a long while. Finally he spoke, "I can't tell you who noticed but you must tell me why you are doing this."
"Let me pass. If I don't bring back what he wants, he will put my family in danger." Malfoy covered his face with his hands in agony.
Harry cast Muffiliato and asked, "He is Rabastan Lestrange, isn't he?"
Malfoy nodded slightly.
"You need the Aurors. We can guard your family. We've been tracking him for years. What does he want?"
"I can't tell you."
"Kappa's eggs." Harry used the bait.
Malfoy became angry and asked, "Did you do Legilimency?"
"I don't think you felt a headache. You're going to search the eggs. What kind of power do they have?"
"I have the right to silence."
"I can give you Veritaserum."
"Potter, I am telling you the truth. I'm not an expert on the Magical Creature. Your half-giant friend knows what the eggs can do. And you can't have me drink Veritaserum. I'm allergic to the stuff." Malfoy retorted.
Harry breathed in and changed his plan. Grabbing his wand, he cast Legilimens on Malfoy. His green eyes caught a familiar glass door of Luna's new house. But he couldn't enter the house, his thoughts were shut down by Malfoy's Occlumens.
"Potter, give me a break! I am the victim here! You haven't changed at all! I hate how you weild your authority too much."
"What did you find at Luna's house? What did her husband tell you?"
"Nothing. I have to find them first. Leave me alone!"
Harry nearly told him that Scorpius knew about the threatening letter, but he remained calm and said, "Well, you're not allowed to apparate there alone. I'll call a team to protect you. They'll escort you to Japan tomorrow morning."
Harry left Malfoy in his office and went to Slughorn's old office. The room was still as grand as he remembered. He walked to the tall, ornate hearth and ignited the fire to use the Floo network. When Robards' face appeared in the flames, Harry told him that he would need the team. Robards promised to send a team of Aurors in the morning to escort Malfoy when he left. Then Harry pulled out his two-way mirror.
Ron's face appeared in the reflection within seconds. "Hey, Harry. Where are you?"
"At Hogwarts. How's your business?"
"Fine. We're busy, but I got used to the daily routine. I get plenty of money, but I'm bored."
"What Robards said was right." Harry chuckled.
"What are you laughing about? Do you have a case?"
"Sort of. Do you want to see your Rose?"
Ron's face got bright and said, "I'll be at Hogwarts soon via Floo Network. I need to tell George that I'm leaving." Then Ron's face vanished.
Soon, Ron landed on the soft red carpet next to Harry. "Blimey, isn't this Slug's room? I nearly died in my sixth year here." He looked around.
"Thanks to me, Ron. I saved your life." Harry grinned wide.
"Yeah, without your help, I wouldn't be here today." Ron grinned back.
"George must be busy without you."
"No, it's okay with him. Verity directs the other employees. So what do you need me to do?"
"Let's keep an eye on Malfoy. He's been threatened by Lestrange. I requested a team from Robards, but they won't be here until the morning."
"Do we have to watch him now?"
"Yeah, please do. I'll lead you to his office, and then I want to visit Neville."
They went back to Malfoy's office. Harry knocked on the door saying, "Malfoy, open the door. The team is coming soon."
But there was no reply. They exchanged glances. Ron shoved the door open, but Malfoy wasn't there.
"Did he go somewhere? Does he have classes today?"
Harry bit his lip and said, "No, he doesn't. He submitted a holiday report to McGonagall. He must have left for Japan already."
"He has registered his wand, right? So we can track him."
"No, we can't. The magical map is only for Britain. I told him not to go alone. But he seemed to have ignored my warning."
"No way. Why didn't you drag him away to Headquarters instantly?"
"I didn't want to do that in front of his son."
"Harry, you're sometimes too soft. You shouldn't throw the reins to the horses."
"You're right. I'll ask Robards to contact Japanese M.O.M."
"I have a hunch that Robards will let us go."
"I think so too."
"Can we meet some Ninja?"
"It depends on the location."
When Harry reported Malfoy's flight to Robards, his boss ordered them to attend the Halloween party at Scamander's. "If Malfoy has gone hunting the Kappa's eggs, we need to consult the authorities. We have no knowledge of Aisan Magical Creatures. Ask Newt Scamander anything. He ought to have often visited the Far East."
Malfoy landed on the ground of Aomori in Japan with a folded map in his hand. His hands were numb with cold after repeating the apparition through frosty Nordic countries and snowy Russia. If he did the right thing as informed by Rolf Scamander, he should be in the right place. From where he was standing, he could see the dim outline of the temple in the gray misty morning.
The encounter with Potter at Hogwarts was a close call. Malfoy had managed to disapparate outside of the castle before the Aurors arrived. He couldn't confess everything he knew to Potter. He might be poisoned by Lestrange's plot, but he still had ambition to solve this on his own. Though he knew he was doing the same thing as his father, Lucius Malfoy, he couldn't turn back .
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Chapter 6: Chapter 6 The Secret of Kappa's Egg
Author's Notes: Many thanks to Pix for beta.
This was my first NaNo fanfiction novel. Please leave your thought.
“It’s not so hard, compared to a battle,” Draco Malfoy muttered to himself. He didn’t want to admit he was forced to visit the farthest land from his home under the threats of Rabastan Lestrange, or accept that he was being manipulated by the last remaining Death Eater. He knew what Lestrange was up to. The Aurors had been tracking this last man for years, but still they couldn’t catch Rabastan Lestrange. He still had Pure-Blood supporters who had enjoyed privileges for centuries by associating with the nasty business of maintaining their status through the change of the times. Malfoy knew the benefits very well and also knew the price they paid for the privileges. Still, he had difficulty getting over the old Pure-Blood ideology. He took a step closer to the burnished ebony gates of the temple.
If you see a big moth on the gate, don’t scare her away. She’s a guardian of the gate. Rolf Scamander’s words rang through his head as he looked up at the ebony column. There rested a big green moth. He wasn’t sure if she understood English.
“Excuse me, miss, is this the place your master lives?”
The moth suddenly soared up into the air and transformed into a middle-aged witch with long black hair. “Who are you?” she asked him. “Do you have a letter of introduction?”
“Yes, I do. Rolf Scamander wrote it for me. Do you know him?” Malfoy asked with expectation.
Her ink-black eyes fixed on his grey eyes. “We know him and his grandfather well. Show me the letter.”
Draco handed a sheet of parchment to the witch. Her almond-shaped eyes skimmed through the letter.
“You’re a Potions Professor at Hogwarts, Mr. Malfoy. I heard the previous Headmaster, Dumbledore died from Voldemort’s curse. On which side did you stand during the Battle of Hogwarts?”
Draco was at a loss. How would it be best to answer the question? He thought for a while before speaking.
“I was forced to join the inner circle of the Dark Lord. But we are now at peace so I don’t have intentions to provoke the war again.”
She smiled and said, “Good. We hate war and Dark Magic. You’re are allowed to enter our temple, Professor Malfoy. Call me Hana.”
“Your English is good. How did you learn it?”
“When I was younger, I guided Mr. Scamander to the secret spots in this area. He taught me the language. He had many dictionaries in his suitcase. I believed that he even had an animal dictionary.”
Draco was astonished and asked, “Could he speak animal languages?”
Hana laughed. “No, I don’t think so, Professor. I believe he had developed a method to communicate with the magical creatures.”
They walked up the gravel path to the entrance of the building. It had a black heavy roof and a beautiful Chinese style decoration. The solid appearance gave Malfoy an impression of solemnity.
The slide door was opened. Hana urged him to take off his shoes at the entrance. He did as she directed and climbed up the floor which was one step higher than a dirt floor. They marched to the backroom. He looked around curiously to see sliding paper doors on the both sides.
“Is this the first time you have seen a Japanese temple, Professor Malfoy?” Hana asked.
“Yes, it is. They must catch fire easily.”
“That may be true. The material allows the passage of light and prevents heat and humidity from permeating the inside of the building. We have a lot of rain and snow in the winter. But it’s hot and humid in the summer.”
In the backroom, an old priest of the Zen sat in meditation on a mat floor. A big dragon was painted on the ceiling in vivid crimson and jet-black colors. Its eyeballs were larger than those of a Chinese Fireball.
Hana spoke to him from behind in Japanese.
“Master, Professor Malfoy arrived from Hogwarts in Britain.”
The old priest opened his eyes and stood up. He was as tall as Malfoy, and strongly-built. He made a polite bow. Malfoy imitated the movement and bowed, which reminded him of Hagrid’s Care of Magical Creatures class with the Hippogriffs. Then a bitter memory from Hogwarts came to him. He hated exposing his neck to a stranger.
“Professor Malfoy, welcome to our magical site. I’m Dogen. Do you eat roasted sweet potato?”
He waited while Hana translated his words. “Yes, thank you,” Malfoy answered.
Dogen urged Draco to sit down. It was hard to put his legs together and keel on the mat like the old man had, but Draco tried his best. They didn’t exchange words at all. But Dogen’s piercing eyes looked at Malfoy’s like he saw through his mind. Involuntarily, Malfoy cast his eyes down on his lap. Pleasant smelling sweet potatoes wafted from the corridor. Malfoy remembered he had skipped dinner and suddenly felt very hungry. It was far from dinner time but he began eating ravenously after Hana handed him a plate, along with green tea. After the stressful trip, he thought he wouldn’t forget the taste of roast sweet potatoes in the far eastern land.
“Professor Malfoy, what’s your purpose here?” asked Dogen in a calm, low voice.
“I specialize in Potions and I have an interest in the properties of the Kappa's eggs.”
“You’re interested in the Kappa’s eggs. What will you do with them?” Dogen stared at Malfoy quietly.
“I’d like to do a spot check on them and present the possibility of using the essence for medical purposes in the conference which will be held at Tokyo next month.” Malfoy answered tensely. He wished that Dogen wouldn’t have cast Legilimens on him.
Dogen sipped green tea from a teacup and said, “You have to produce results by the day of the conference. You’re busy. Well, Hana will help you as she did when Mr. Scamander visited here. Hana?”
“Yes, of course. We’ll leave for the Oirase River tomorrow morning.” Hana smiled at Malfoy.
Malfoy felt relieved. He had to send the eggs to Lestrange before the Aurors found out what he was up to.
Hana and Malfoy got up very early the next morning. They climbed down Mt. Osore, which she explained was called “Itako” by local Muggles. “I sometimes go to the Muggle world to tell them about the spirits of their ancestors.
“Can you contact the dead beyond the veil?”
“Mostly, I can. Do you have a dead relative or a dead friend you want to meet?”
Malfoy remembered three people, Aunt Bellatrix, Professor Snape and Vincent Crabbe. He could already communicate with the portrait of Snape, and he didn’t want to talk with his aunt at all but he missed Vincent.
“Yes, I want to see my friend again. And I’d like to apologize him.”
“I’ll call your friend after we find the Kappas,” Hana promised him.
Then she took his arm and they did side-along apparation to the middle of the mountain.
Hermione took out two sets of Dragon Tamer’s costumes and handed them to Ron and Harry. They were gathered in the sitting room of Grimmauld Place.
“Ron, don’t say a word. I know how you feel about this color, but maroon suits you well.”
Ron mumbled something in a small voice and started to put on his costume. Harry chuckled and took off his Auror robes. His costume’s color was vivid green, which reminded him of Peter Pan. Hermione’s was just the same color as Ron’s. Then Ginny came in the room with Lily and Hugo.
“Hermione, do you have anything for the kids? Lily refused to wear her princess costume.”
“Oh, no, I don’t. Transform it, then. Hugo, don’t run away! We have no time.”
Ginny heaved a big sigh, “Harry, will you do this for her? My transforming charm is awful.”
“Got it. Lily, come here and show me your dress.”
Lily came bouncing to him.
“I want the same color as Mum and Dad, green!”
Harry hugged her in his arms and kissed her on the forehead and said, “Okay.”
He pulled out his holly wand. Observing the color of his daughter’s red hair and Ginny’s, he transformed her beige dress into olive green Dragon Tamer’s costume. Then he pointed his wand at his costume and changed the vivid green into the same olive green.
Lily was fascinated by her father’s work and became jubilant. “Thank you, Dad!” And she ran away to Ginny.
Hugo was resigned to change his clothes. When he finished, Hermione gazed at him fondly. “You look like your dad, Hugo, come here,” she beckoned and hugged her son. Hugo protested his mother’s kiss on the cheek, but he looked happy.
“Harry, we’ll change ours too.” Ginny urged them to go and wait the outside of the room.
“Oh, yeah, we’ll wait at the Entrance Hall.” Harry put his arms around Ginny and kissed her.
“You look gorgeous,” she whispered close to his ear. “I’m wondering if you should get a Hungarian Horntail tattoo on your chest.”
“It may be a good idea, Gin.” He said softly and kissed her again.
“Oi, we’ve got to leave, Harry!” Ron patted his shoulder playfully.
On their way to Shitterton, they stopped by Godric’s Hollow. They visited the Potter’s graves. The ruined cottage was designated as a heritage by the Ministry after the Battle of Hogwarts. Every time Harry and his family visited there with his friends, he winced remembering his painful infant experience. This time wasn’t an exception, even wearing Dragon Tamer’s costume.
Ginny and Hermione conjured the autumn flower wreaths and set them near the tomb stone. Ron pulled out his wand and cleaned the dirt off it solemnly. Not caring about how sad the adults felt, Lily, James and Hugo went running around the grave yard while Harry talked to his parents.
“Mother, Lily and Hugo will go to Hogwarts in two years. We’re all fine. Father, the case we are grappling with is a hard one. Please lend us your power. I have a hunch that Lestrange is somehow behind all of this.”
They went back to High Street and dropped by the local pub to have a meal. The small space was full of regular customers. They felt at ease in the homey and comfortable atmosphere. A madam noticed them and dashed to the spot they were sitting.
“Thank you for visiting, Mr. Potter! Wow, nice costume, sir! What will you have today?”
“A light meal, please. We’re on our way to visit my friend’s house.”
“I’ll make you sandwiches. Mike, bring over pumpkin juice! Your drinks are on me.”
“Oh, thank you, madam!” Harry grinned wide.
“You’re welcome. You and your parents were our saviors. You and they have done so much for us.” She left briskly.
After a joyful meal, they left for Shitterton to visit Scamander’s.
Malfoy was listening to the murmur of the river. The air was very clean and fresh. The purity should have washed away the trouble in his soul, but the dark feelings wouldn’t go away. He couldn’t back down now. He had to find the eggs. According to Hana, the Kappas lived behind the waterfall. As they walked up to the headstream, she told him that she’d recently seen them reside there. She also mentioned that in her younger days, she’d led Newt Scamander to the same place.
“Did Mr. Scamander bring the eggs back to Britain?” Draco asked Hana.
“Yes, he did. But he wrote me a letter that he didn’t donate them to the Ministry. He hid them somewhere instead.”
Malfoy suspected that Lestrange already got them. Lestrange had hinted that he’d acquired his first set of the Kappa's eggs in the previous threatening letter. Draco was afraid that Lestrange and his followers had already tested the essence on the Muggle who was abducted. The Daily Prophet’s description of the soaked shoe found in the Marsham Street was grim. If his guessing was right, the Muggle was alive but his condition would be… Draco’s thoughts were interrupted when Hana spoke again.
“Professor Malfoy, there. They’re wrestling.”
Malfoy followed the direction she pointed at with her hand. He saw two water demons playing sumo wrestling. Draco and Hana held their breath and watched quietly. The magical creatures had a hollow on their heads and webbed feet. One was bigger than the other, and soon the smaller one rolled down on the ground. Their faces were like monkeys.
“Can you see their nest in the middle of Taro fields, Professor?”
Malfoy turned around and squinted in the direction opposite to the waterfall. The heart-shaped green leaves grew thickly there, but other than that, he couldn’t see anything that resembled a nest.
Hana chuckled and said, “I’ll guide you, Professor. We have to conceal ourselves from the Kappas. Don’t look back. If you do, the Kappas will notice us.” She swished her hand and cast a spell. He guessed it was a kind of Disillusionment Charm. Malfoy pulled out his wand and did the same. And then they silently approached the spot where the eggs were hidden.
Malfoy got nervous and didn’t see the big dead branch near his foot. He tripped over and made a big snapping sound.
Hana warned him in her whispering voice, “Don’t look back. They are watching us.”
Malfoy felt cold drops come out of his skin. He worried that they would attack them. If Newt Scamander was correct in his book, they would suck his blood. He regretted that he forgot to bring cucumbers with him. To his relief, they were not attacked.
Hana walked up to the middle of the Taro Fields. He followed her. She pushed aside the leaves and beckoned him to have a look at the eggs laid underneath. Malfoy hurried forward as Hana collected them and held them out to Malfoy. He took out the velvet cloth from his pocket and wrapped them up carefully. The color was just like the same as three kids had written in their essay, “the dark green eggs covered with Taro leaves,” Rose Weasley had described.
“Let’s go forward. We can’t go back to the place where we were. If they notice that we stole their eggs, we’ll be attacked.” Hana told him and kept going.
They plowed through the thicket of tall Taro Leaves. “The small kids use these leaves for umbrellas when it rains,” Hana said.
“Clever,” Malfoy muttered.
“It is.” Hana glanced back and smiled, “There, we reached the exit.”
The Taro fields ended there. Hana pointed to a nearby cave.
“We’ll stay the night there. When we go back to the temple, our Master will cast the preserving charm on the eggs for you. We can’t use the Muggle road to go back. If the eggs are exposed to their world, they’ll be soon rigid.” Then smiling, she led him to the cave and began setting up camp. “If you want to see your friend, I can call him back to you, Professor.”
The sitting room was crowded with guests in Halloween costumes. A Chinese Fireball streamer was hung on the wall. Its big eyeballs moved, welcoming the guests. The old magizoologist welcomed the Potters and the Wealseys. He wore a coat covered with soft, custard-colored fur. Harry guessed it imitated the Puffskein.
“Konichiwa (hello)! Oh, all of you came in Dragon Tamer’s costumes! How lovely! Come in, come in.”
Newton Artemis Fido Scamander, over ninety years, was still healthy and vigorous. His wife, Porpentina, wore a matching Puffskein coat, surrounded by their grandchildren. Luna appeared in a vivid red China dress, and to Ron’s delight, had the lion’s hat on her head. She sat on the long sofa with her twins, Lorcan and Lysander, who wore purple hats with unidentified animal horns on then. Harry guessed they were from a Crumple-Horned Snorkack. Lilting music filled the air. Lily got excited and dragged a reluctant Hugo to the center of the room. Lily’s body instantly seemed to know how to move. Luna’s twins stood up and started a stepping dance. Luna adjusted the lion’s hat on her head and joined them.
Harry noticed Ginny’s head on his shoulder. “Do you want to dance?”
“Yeah, will you escort me?”
“I’m a terrible dancer.”
“I don’t mind. Come on, let’s dance!” She led him by the hand to the center of the room.
Ron escorted Hermione into the center. He was grinning wide at Luna’s event hat. As the music changed to up tempo, more guests joined them. Newt Scamander looked very happy to see his guests enjoying themselves. After the music ceased, they served beverages and snacks. Rolf Scamander and Luna went to the kitchen to help Porpentina and Rolf’s mother. Harry took this opportunity to go over to the older Scamander.
“Excuse me, sir. May I ask you about your trip to Asia?”
“Yes, Mr. Potter. I’m always glad to talk about my adventures. When I have listeners, I feel like I’m off on a trip abroad again.” Newt smiled and beckoned Harry to the chintz sofa in the corner.
“I heard you have visited Japan. What I’d like to know is about the Kappa. Do they lay eggs?”
“Yes, they’re amphibians. Did you study my textbook at Hogwarts?”
“Yes, we did. Your textbook is intelligible. My son uses my old textbook, ‘Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them.’ * ”
“Good, good,” Newt said satisfied.
“I have a question, Mr. Scamander. What effect does the egg have?”
Scamander’s face got tensed. He suddenly went silent.
“Young people sometimes want to know the things they shouldn’t know,” he answered mysteriously.
“You won’t tell me, will you?”
“Mr. Potter. I heard you have some secrets related to the second war. I understand there’re lots of things people shouldn’t know. So I think you can understand what I mean.” Scamander sounded like he was chewing each word to implant them into Harry’s mind.
Harry could understand what Scamander tried to say. But without the information, Headquarters couldn’t solve the case. He tried again.
“What I’m going to tell you is confidential, Mr. Scamander.” Harry cast the Muffiliato. “There is a man who is threatened by someone who searches for the Kappa’s eggs.”
“I want to help you, Mr. Potter but if I tell you the effect, there will be horrible consequences. I was warned by Dogen when I visited Aomori. My grandson knows it very well and he keeps his caution afterwards.”
“I think I understand what you mean. Well, if you have the eggs, will you show me what they look like?” Harry wasn’t going to give up. He thought if Scamander showed him the eggs, it might give him more information.
“Very well, come with me to my study.” He stood up and walked out of the room.
On their way to his study, three Kneazles were sitting on the stairs. Scamander held up one of them, “Good girl, Hoppy.” The small cat-like creature groaned with content in his arms.
In the dark room, Harry found a Plimpy tank. Three mottled fish with long legs dwelled on the sand inside.
“Are you raising these for food, Mr. Scamander?” Harry asked.
“No, I have them as pets. It took much time to have Luna understand these are not for eating. She’s extremely fond of them.” Scamander chuckeld and lit up the room.
Harry was stunned to see various stuffed magical creatures. A Phoenix doll showed its long golden tail and beak in the light and it looked like it would soar up at any moment. The vivid orange Fwoopers was perching on the bar. Under the bar, there was a lime green patterned egg. Then he was stunned to see the stuffed small Kappa.
“It’s a fake one, Mr. Potter. Just a doll. But I have the eggs. Please wait a second.” Scamander shoved open the secret door behind the book shelf and vanished behind it. Harry waited for him to come back to the spot. When Scamander emerged from the hidden room, he looked utterly petrified.
Scamander was standing there. Harry waited for him speak. Finally, Scamander muttered,
“They have gone. Someone stole them.”
“What? Do you mean all Kappa’s eggs were stolen?”
“I can’t believe it. When were they stolen? I and Porpentina have never left...Oh!” Scamander made his eyes big and took a step closer to Harry. “What did you say?”
Harry got perplexed and repeated the words, “What did I say?”
“You said the Aurors found a soaked shoe.” Scamanders’ hands were shaking.
“Yes, we found it in the Marsham Street. One Muggle officer is missing.”
“I wanted to keep this secret forever. But this time I have to tell you. Do Muffiliato. My magic is weak now. Do it for me, Mr.Potter.”
Harry cast Muffiliato. Scamander sat on the wooden chair and started speaking slowly.
“The effect of the egg is categorized as Dark Magic. We shouldn’t extract the essence of the egg.”
“If we extract the essence, what will happen?”
“It will work in the same way as Polyjuice potion but there is a big difference.”
“If you drink the essence, you transform to the water demon.”
Harry felt shocked. “You mean the essence of the egg has the power to transform into a Kappa itself?”
“Are there any counter curses?”
“If there are any, I’d like to know.”
Harry’s blood drained from his face. The missing Muggle must have been forced to transform into a Kappa. Gather as much as information you can. He remembered what Robards said. He asked,
“Many years have passed since you got the eggs. How have you preserved them?”
“Dogen cast the preserving charm. Only he can do it. The egg turns to stone when you bring them out of the magical world. They are very sensitive. It only takes an hour or two.”
Then they heard a noise outside of the room.
“My son, Xavier came home,” mumbled Newt.
Harry remembered the name, Xavier Scamander. He was a Ministry officer. He was said to have joined the Ministry because he didn’t want to be measured against his father. Though he avoided the career as a Magizoologist, his knowledge cultivated by growing up in the House of Scamander made him cut out to be an officer of Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. His son, Rolf succeeded the position, Magizoologist.
“Your son is an officer of DRCMC. Will you introduce him to me?”
“I don’t know. He doesn’t like me. Ask my wife,” said Newt and he left the room walking with a stick.
Harry followed him and went downstairs together to the sitting room. When they reached the ground floor, they heard the cheerful music again. It seemed that dancing party had begun again. Newt yelled into the kitchen.
“Porpentina, call Maggie.”
Maggie Scamander, Xavaier’s wife was a tall and slender witch. She came out of the kitchen with a wash towel in her hand and came to the spot where Newt and Harry were standing.
“Will you talk with him, Mr. Potter?” she asked elegantly. Her reined-in move reminded him of Narcissa Malfoy.
“Yes, Mrs. Scamander. I’d like to talk with your husband.”
“I think so, if he isn’t tired. I’ll go and fetch him downstairs,” Maggie left with hurried steps.
After five minutes, she emerged with Xavier Scamander in the sitting room. Xavier held out his hand to Harry and said,
“It is our pleasure to welcome you, such a celebrity in this place. I hope you enjoy your Halloween night.” He welcomed him politely.
“Thank you. It’s a very fine party. Shall we sit and talk there? Do you have time?”
“Sure. I finished my Ministry work so I can spare some time. What do you drink?” Xavier tried to be amicable but his voice was tense.
“Fire whiskey, please.” Harry answered.
Xavier nodded and walked up to the table where the glasses and a bottle of whiskey were set. Newt smiled at them and sat back down on the chintz sofa. Soon Xavier came back with a tray of whiskey. After a toast, they sat at a table near newt. Newt asked Xavier about his work eagerly.
“How’s the Ministry recently? You come home late at night every day.”
“Father, I’m grappling with the werewolf’s problem. The things aren’t easy, you know that very well.”
“Yes, my son. I was a member of the Werewolf Register in 1947. Do they protest their rights again?”
“Not only them, there’re some more unregistered magical creatures.”
“What? In 1964, we passed the Ban on Experimental Breeding.” Newt raised his voice in anger.
“Yes, you did. But Europe missed one Asian Magical Creature, Father.”
“What do you mean?”
“The one you explored when you visited Japan.”
Harry couldn’t understand their conversation and asked,
“Excuse me, what is going on with the Kappa?”
Xavier turned to Harry and said, “All the Kappas weren’t natural Magical Creatures, Mr.Potter. Some of them were experimentally bred.”
“Who fabricated such a stupid story?” Newt questioned his son.
“We got the information from a reliable source. I reported you after I took the eggs from your study, Father. They were sent to the Department of Mysteries.”
Newt’s face got red with anger. “I haven’t used them for an experiment at all.”
“The officers of the D.M. will determine whether you did or didn’t.” Xavier said coolly.
Newt Scamander was shocked and couldn’t speak for a while. Harry saw him quiver and worried he would faint. Finally, Newt spoke,
“I shouldn’t have told you about the hidden room. When did you take them?”
“Last month. Don’t worry, Father. They managed to keep them safely. They’re professionals.”
“Take me to the laboratory, tomorrow. I have to make sure they are all there.”
Harry got a word in. “I’ll go with you. We have to investigate, if there is a possibility that the banned experiment has been done.”
At the library, Rose and Albus walked to where Scorpius was waiting. The table was surrounded by Asian section books.
“Hey, why did you laugh at the Care Magical Creatures class?” asked Scorpius when Albus sat next to him.
“I don’t know. To distract Flint and his gang?” Albus shrugged.
Scorpius shook his head and tried to go back to the fairy tale of the daughter of the Ninja and Tengu. Bur Rose cut in,
“Scorpius, I heard from my dad. Your father has already left for Japan. Did you talk with him before he left?”
Scorpius tensed and answered, “No, I didn’t.”
“Incredible. Didn’t he really?” She pressed.
“No. I’m telling the truth.” He bit his lip.
“I can’t imagine my dad leaving without telling us where he is going.” Rose said rolling her eyes.
“I understand. My dad leaves without telling us if he feels he needs to.” Albus said showing his sympathy towards Scorpius. Then he noticed the book opened near Scorpius’s arm and he asked,
“Does the book have information about the Kappa?”
“Can I read it?”
“Sure.” Scorpius handed the thick book to Albus.
Albus started reading it from the page Scorpius had left off.
Saki held up her sword over her head and swished it downward diagonally and swished it back up again. She knew the opponent had fallen down with a thud without having to glance back at all. She ran and ran away from that place. It was the first time that she had ever killed a man. She couldn’t believe what she had done. It was just surreal. She wished it was only a dream. But it was real. If she had hesitated, he would have killed her instead. Her mission was to find out where Heike was hiding the little prince with a magical mirror. Before she slipped into the old temple, she caught a little boy running across the grounds of the temple from the bushes. He seemed to be a child of the Imperial Household. Then she was attacked by the guard. Without thinking, her hand grabbed the sword, her body reacted to the attack as she had been trained by her father. She hoisted herself up and her legs hit the sides of the horse. Running away to her village, her mind jumped to Shota. She desperately wanted to see him.
The wind blew through the rocks, making a sound like voice of a human-being. Shota looked up at the serene sky without a cloud where the stars were shining brightly. It was so cold that he could see his breath in the air. He swished his feather fan and commanded his fellow Tengues to attack the fishing village that supported Heike. But he told them not to kill women and children.
“What if women attack us?” asked Saburo.
Shota grimaced and answered, “If you’re in self-defense, there is no alternative.”
He joined the battle, too. It was the tenth time for him. After he remembered who he was, it was harder to continue leading the Tengues. Someday he would have to fight against the village where Saki lived. He couldn’t bare thinking about it. Then he heard a dart swish by his ear. Saburo targeted a woman warrior. She fell down on the ground, thrown from the village wall.
Albus looked up from the book, “The story written here is the same as the story Hagrid told us. Do you think he has read this before, Rose?”
“Yes, I think so. Let me read the book.” Rose took it and started reading.
In the heavy rain, Saki saw Shota standing there. He spoke,
“I can’t stand anymore. I can’t shut out the sight of my village being burned. I can’t bare the imagination that I have to take away your life. I ran away from the mountain.” He looked pale and miserable.
Saki felt relieved but she was worrying for him. “What will happen if you abandon your fellow Tengues?”
“I’m cursed. I will die within a year.”
“Are there any spells to break your curse?”
“There is only one way.”
“What is it?”
“To brew potion mixed with the essence of Kappa.”
Saki couldn’t believe her ears. “Will you transform into a Kappa?”
Then Rose gasped, “Oh, the pages are torn down.”
“What?” Scorpius snatched it from her hands and searched the rest of the book flipping through the pages.
From page two hundred thirty-eight through two hundred forty-five, someone had torn them out of the book. Albus grabbed the book and started reading the next available page.
Shota emerged out of the water of the fall, naked. Saki dashed to him and covered his body with her short kimono coat. They went back to their village. In a few days, a grand wedding ceremony was held, Saki and Shota became a good couple and they lived happily ever after.
“So he could come back to a human being. The important part is missing. When were the pages torn out? When did you borrow the book, Scorpius?”
Scorpius frowned and answered, “After the essay was assigned.”
“Let’s ask Hagrid. He might know all of the story, including what is on the missing pages,” Rose suggested.
“Yeah, it’s a good idea. But before leaving, Scorpius Malfoy, aren’t you going to join the tryouts for the Slytherin Quidditch team?” Albus stopped Scorpius who was going to leave the library.
Scorpius turned to Albus slowly and spoke, “I don’t want to join such a savage game.” Then he tried to walk away.
“Oi, playing Quidditch is your dream, isn’t it?”
“It’s waste of time. I don’t want to play games that I know I can’t win.”
“What do you mean?”
“I watched you play at the tryouts for Gryffindor. The Slytherin team isn’t going to be able to beat your team. There’s no point in playing,” Scorpius spat out and left.
Back to index
Chapter 7: Chapter 7 Crack
Author's Notes: Harry sensed something disturbing situation in the Department of Mysteries.
Beta read by awesome Pixileanin.
Kingsley’s regime had continued since the Battle of Hogwarts. He retired once, so he could rejoin the Aurors, but after a time, he remained popular and was elected Minister again.
Voldemort’s followers had focused on the Prophecy and other secrets that the Unspeakbles had kept safe. When Harry stopped by his office to tell him that he was going with Newt Scamander to determine the numbers of the Kappa’s eggs, Kingsley warned him to be careful.
Kingsley beckoned him to sit down. “Unspeakables have been eager to test you, Harry.”
“What do you mean?” Harry asked sitting on the chintz sofa.
A strawberry blonde witch set down a tray of tea and winked at Harry before she left. He forced a smile at her. Kingsley gave an amused chuckle and said, “You’re not good at hiding your feelings, Harry. I can see what you’re thinking now.”
“I’m a married man. Why does she wink at me?”
“They read Rita Skeeter’s articles. Never mind her. Anyway, they’ll welcome you more eagerly than Newt Scamander. You’re still a mystery to them. They desperately want to know why you survived the Killing Curse.”
Harry gave a big sigh and said, “I’m tired of the story. I’ve kept saying ‘No’. I won’t talk about it to anyone.”
“I sympathize with you, Harry. I’ve tried to shut down reporters’ interests in this, including Rita Skeeter, for years. But you can’t be too careful.”
“Thank you, Kingsley. I’ll make a mental note of it. Have you gotten any information from the Muggle Ministry?”
“No. He has forgotten about the missing officer for a while. He has a lot of things to tackle.”
There was a knock at the door. The strawberry blonde secretary told them that Newt and Zavier Scamander had arrived. The old Scamander walked in with a cane. Harry remembered that he hadn’t used one at his house. Newt Scamander noticed his gaze and said,
“I could walk without a cane inside my house. I know everything in my house including obstacles, which prevent me from stumbling. But outside, I can’t go anywhere without this cane.”
Kingsley shook hands with Newt Scamander and said, “Please sit down, Mr.Scamander. It’s great honor to welcome you.”
“It’s about time to visit the place where my son works.” Newt Scamander sat down slowly.
Xavier Scamander stood near his father quietly.
Newt opened his mouth again, “I heard from my son, the Ministry stocks Kappa’s eggs for study. But what I’d like to say is, Kingsley, they’re very dangerous when someone misuses them. Did you know that?”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Scamander. I wasn’t informed about the secret of the Kappa’s egg. I’ve left all concerns to Joannne McSherry, a head of the D.M. I should’ve asked her. “
“Yes, you should’ve informed me about that.” Harry sympathized with Kingsley, who had been very busy managing the security between the Wizarding World and the Muggle World.
“Or your boss,” Newt continued. He wasn’t finished blaming people for the oversight. “Gawain Robards should’ve grasped the information, Mr.Potter. The information about them could be very dangerous if the Dark Wizards find them.”
“I know exactly what you mean. We should’ve cooperated with each other,” Harry said extremely sincerely.
Then Xavier Scamander, who had been waiting patiently cut in,
“That’s enough, Father. We should go and check them. Minister, I think Joanne checked in her office after she left her daughter in charge.”
It was the cue for them to leave for the D.M. Xavier briskly led them to the grilled door of the lift. When the door shut, they kept completely silent until they reached level nine. When Lavender Brown’s voice told them their destination, they marched to the D.M.’s entrance gate. It had taken on a different appearance since Harry witnessed it in his teenaged days. Each numbered door was painted in a brighter color, pastel shade. He wondered which room was the Brain Room remembering an enormous tank of deep green liquid and a weird number of pearly-white brains. Then a calm alto voice came from behind.
“I’m sorry for having you wait on me. This way.” A brunette smiled at them. The assuring smile gave them a sense of security. Her navy blue robes waved as she walked away from the entrance. Harry noted in his mind, “She’s professional.” The number fifty-five was colored in vivid green on the door. Joanne turned to the visitors and explained,
“We preserve the things related to the Water Demons. We really appreciate Mr. Scamander for contributing your treasure to our collection.” She bowed lightly to Newt.
Newt Scamander said, “It was my son who stole my treasure. I didn’t contribute them. But I won’t complain about it. The problem is if you have preserve them all safely. I want to make sure they are all here.”
“I understand your concern. I’ll show you.” She pulled out her wand and drew complicated runes in the air. The door clicked open instantly and she said, “Please come in.”
Harry asked her, “Is there anyone else who knows the opening runes?”
“Yes, there is.”
“Please tell me who knows them.”
“I’ll tell you personally later, Mr.Potter. Do you have a moment? One of my fellow staff has wanted to see you.”
Harry got alert remembering Kingsley’s warning and answered carefully,
“The answer is yes or no. I have to leave as soon as possible after I get the information about the Kappa.” His green eyes stared at her brown eyes. He was almost doing Legilimens.
Joanne blinked and said, “I’m sorry, Mr. Potter if I was rude to you, but what you achieved in your younger days is mystery. My associates have been wanting to know the secret of the man who survived the killing curse twice.” She sighed and continued, “Anyway, I’ll tell you the names of them later.”
Inside, they saw enormous and small tanks of water. The first one they saw contained enormous spider crabs moving slowly in the big tank. Even they heard the Muggle piano soud as background music. They looked like they were dancing to the sound. The next tank had millions of electric jellyfish and a giant squid. The wizards were completely mesmerized by the mysterious world. Near the third tank where the common Gryndylows were swimming, the Kappa’s eggs were displayed in the transparent protective case. Newt Scamander took a step closer to it with his cane in haste and started counting. Harry asked,
“I had four. The number is the same. I’m relieved, but I doubt they’re real ones. Can you open this?”
“I’m sorry. I can’t. If you wait a sec, I’ll go and fetch the staff who is in charge of this case.”
“I’ll wait,” Newt insisted.
“Alright. Please wait there.” Joanne guided them to the wooden bench near the enormous tank of Merpeople.
Harry wondered what Dumledore would say if he saw them. He felt it wasn’t right for them in the tank. One of them moved towards them beyond the glass of the tank, and stared at Harry. He felt the male merperson tried to tell him something. He guessed that he would be able to understand the creature if he jumped into the tank, like he had in the Triwizard Tournament at Hogwarts. But the thought was forgotten when Joanne emerged with another Unspeakable.
The man looked middle-aged like Joanne. He was thin and tall, and. focused his glare on Harry. He felt unusual in the man’s glare and had a mind to do Legilimens on him but it was probably poor timing in front of the Scamanders.
“This is Robert MacNeil. He has plenty of knowledge about Water Demons.”
After the introductions, Joanne said, “Excuse me, the Space section needs me now.” Then she left.
Xavier seemed to have known MacNeil from before. “We’re appreciate you setting aside space for these oriental eggs. I hope it’ll serve as a beacon for the continued study of Water Demons.”
MacNeil answered without smiling, “With our pleasure, Mr. Scamander. Asian section has been our weakest point for long time.” He pulled out his wand, pointed to the case and chanted the spell. The case slowly opened without a sound. When Newt Scamander approached the eggs, MacNeil warned them,
“Please don’t touch them. The temperature will be changed if you touch them.”
Newt Scamander sighed as if he was displeased and observed them crouching. And he mumbled,
“Is this light necessary? The light prevents them from showing their true color.” He pointed to the side light inside the case.
“Yes, it is. The light keeps the temperature,” answered MacNeil, and he shut the case instantly before Newt tried to protest. “I think you observed them enough. They are very delicate. Excuse me, I have to leave if you don’t have any questions.” He waited for their answer coolly.
“Thank you, Mr. MacNeil. We’ll leave, too. Please guide us to the entrance,” Xavier Scamander said.
MacNeil nodded lightly and waited for the entrance until everyone went out the door. “Joanne will be near the gate of the D.M. in a few minutes. I’ll call her for you.” Then he shut the door in front of them and vanished from their sight.
Harry asked Newt, “How did you feel about the eggs? Do you think they’re fake?”
“I don’t know, Mr. Potter. If only he had let me examine them closer, I could tell you. Measuring them by touch is important to make sure if they’re real or not.”
“I’ll ask Joanne if she allow us to see them again.” Harry offered.
Newt Scamander looked tired and said, “Please do, Mr. Potter. I hope something bad won’t happen anymore. I feel guilty about bringing them here years ago.” His shoulders dropped and he blamed himself.
They tried going back to the entrance gate, but they lost the way. All the pastel doors looked the same. When Xavier Scamander started walking again, Harry stopped him.
“We should stop wandering. We’d better wait for Joanne.”
They waited for the head Unspeakable in front of a door numbered “seventeen”. A half-minute later, she jogged up to them.
“I’m sorry. The star observer claimed the panel went wrong so I had to recalibrate it.” When they reached the gate, she asked, “Did MacNeil open the case for you?”
“Yes, he did. But he didn’t allow us to touch them. Mr.Scamander needs to observe them with his hands.” Harry said.
“If MacNeil said no, I can’t permit you to touch them, Mr.Scamander.”Joanne said apologetically.
“They belonged to me once, Mrs. McSherry.” Newt Scamander pressed her. His voice shook with anger.
Joanne wrinkled her browns in thought for a while. She finally opened her mouth.
“There is a way. Please come with me, Mr. Potter.” She conjured two chairs for the Scamanders with her wand.
“Me?” Harry felt bewildered. He had a hunch that something was about to go wrong.
She led Harry to her office and urged him to sit down. “If you tell us how you came back from the Veil, I’ll order MacNeil to allow Mr. Scamander to touch the Kappa’s eggs on the condition of exchanging information.” She held her hands up seeing his protest, “Please don’t be secretive, Mr.Potter. It’s our earnest wish to reveal the mysteries of life and death.” She showed her pride as a professional Unspeakable of the D.M.
Harry said, “I understand the situation, but there are some things which shouldn’t be revealed in the world, Mrs. McSherry. I warn you. If I tell you how I came back from the Veil, the second Voldemort will appear in our world.” Harry persuaded her in his unearthly serious manner which had worked many times in the past.
Overwhelmed, she kept silent for a while. Harry tried to leave saying, “If you can’t get MacNeil to open the case, I’ll ask Kingsley to exercise his rights as Minister of Magic.”
She uttered her thought, “I understand what you said, Mr. Potter. Please ask the Minister. We’ll obey the Minister’s order.”
“Thank you for understanding.” Harry left.
Scorpius was brooding over whether he should join the Slytherin Quidditch tryouts. He had given up once, but every time he heard the exciting news from his fellow Slytherins about plays by seniors, his inner desire arose. He couldn’t stop thinking about joining the team. After breakfast at the Great Hall, he slung his school bag on his shoulder and left for the green house for Herbology. Then the hem of his robes was pulled suddenly. Albus Potter grinned wide and held a carton out in front of him.
“What’s this?” asked Scorpius frowning.
“Open it.” Albus shoved it in Scorp’s chest.
Scorpius put it on the floor in the Entrance Hall and sat down. He removed the lid and looked into it. Then he uttered,
There were various stationaries with logos of professional Quidditch teams. He took an ink bottle on which the letters “Pudlemere United” were scribed, with golden crossed bulrushes in navy blue. He asked in his husky voice,
“How did you get these?” Even Malfoy couldn’t get such rare items.
“My mother sent them yesterday.”
“Oh, I got it. Your mother got them from the league managers, didn’t she?” He became jealous.
“Yep. I’ll give you all if you join the Slytherin tryouts tomorrow.”
“You can.” Albus grinned again.
“Potter, your positive thought doesn’t fit for me. No, thank you.” Scorp shoved the carton box back to Albus. And he stormed out of the castle. He hurried to the green house.
But Albus didn’t give up.
“Wait, Malfoy. I forgot one more thing.”
Scorpius turned around to Albus.
Albus handed the leaflet to him. Scorpius read it and was stunned.
Christmas Gathering for Puddlemere United fans. Workshop for future professional Quidditch players.
Albus folded it and put it into Scorp’s pocket saying,
“My mum will take us to the gathering during Christmas holidays if you show up at the tryouts.” Scorpius swallowed hard and said,
“Good!” Albus patted Scorpius on the back.
On the day of tryouts, Scorpius got up earlier than any other mates in the boy’s dorm. He checked his bootlaces many times before he left for the pitch, holding the newest Nimbus model. When he saw Flint and his gang, Scorpius regretted that he had come. Ever since he had stuck up for Hagrid, they didn’t treat him well. It was easy to imagine that they would hoot over his bad moves. Flint noticed him and jeered from the stand,
“Hey, Malfoy. I didn’t know you can fly!”
Socrpius bit his lip and marched to the group of first and second years. He felt relieved to see one familiar girl who was the same first year. He tried to remember her name, but he couldn’t. Just then he heard from the opposite side,
“Scorpius, show us your skills!” Albus was waving his hand and smiling.
Rose Weasley sat next to him. She was reading a thick book on her lap. Scorpius shook his head but he couldn’t stop smiling broadly. Could he call them his friends? Maybe. How on the earth could they sit among all the Slytherins? Perhaps even the Slytherins might not have guts to chase away the children of war heroes. Slytherins knew how politics worked. They were good at courtship and ‘It is no use contending against a man in power.’ was their principle. Also, James Potter and Teddy Lupin were very popular among the Sltytherin girls, so they might want to make a good impression on Albus and Rose. One of them even gave cookies to Albus once. Scorpius suspected it was a kind of bribe. He could imagine what their conversation was like. “How’s your brother, Albus? Please tell him I’m his fan. His play at the pitch was fabulous. We’ll welcome you and your brothers anytime at our practice.”
After the tryouts for Chasers, Captain MacNeil called the time for Beaters. Seeing the thickest players soared up in the air, Scorpius remembered the House of MacNeil had supported Lestrange for long time. Suddenly he got anxious, remembering his father. What was he doing now? He wondered if his father would find the Kappa’s eggs. If he found them, would he really hand them over to Lestrange?
Scorpius felt gloomy. He couldn’t endure thinking his father would be a criminal. When he was deeply lost in his own thoughts, it became his turn to challenge the position fo Seeker. There were four candidates including Scorpius. He heard Flint comment sharply from the stand. He had a sudden impulse to slap Flint on the cheek. Then his jeer vanished abruptly. He looked around and noticed the red haired Rose put her wand into her pocket. Her thick book was closed and was put on the seat. He reckoned she cast a Silencing Charm on Flint and his gang.
He was filled with an unspeakably warm feeling, flung his right leg over his Nimbus and kicked the ground hard. He soared higher and higher in the air. The wind was cold against his face but he felt very happy and forgot about the dark emotions towards his father and House of Malfoy. On the pitch, he could forget all the annoying things.
All the sky above the Hogwarts was his. He wondered if Shota in the fairy tale felt like this when he transformed into a Tengu. He wondered what would be like to fly with his own wings, without help from the broomstick. Shota must have forgotten the hardship of the war when he was flying. The young man in the East Asia had to endure the burden as a leader of the tribe and had to fight against his family and his friends. Scorpius couldn’t understand what it was like to have a fiance from childhood, but he could imagine what the war was like. His grandparents on his mother’s side and Grandma Narcissa told him about how the war was absurd and destructive ever since he was young. And he could guess what would become of his father, who was going to support Lestrange. He couldn’t bear the thought that his father would vanish suddenly. It was just then that the Bludger hit him. He felt a dull pain on his left shoulder and lost support of his body in the air. He was falling. He wondered if death would visit him suddenly, when he hit the ground. He heard Rose’s voice far away.
He felt his body hover for a moment but he fell senseless from the acute pain on his shoulder and closed his eyes. The next time he opened his eyes, he was on the bed in the Hospital Wing. Madam Pomfrey was looking into his grey eyes.
“Can you see us?”
He noticed Albus and Rose with worried looks next to Pomfrey, who continued,
“If Rose Weasley didn’t know that spell, you might be dead. I’m very proud of you, Rose. You really take after your mother. So smart for your age.” She smiled at Rose and handed Scorpius a flask of potion. “This will give you strength. You broke your shoulder bone. How dangerous these sports are! Though I have seen many severe injuries, no one’s ever died at the tryouts, yet.”
“Has anyone died during Quidditch?” Albus asked her in horror.
“Not at Hogwarts. But you know, there were a few in the professional leagues, your mother knows very well.”
“Yeah, she does. What were you thinking, Scorp?” asked Albus.
Scorpius felt ashamed. He uttered the words, “I was distracted.”
“Why? I cast Silencing Charm on the gang. Did anyone jeer you?” asked Rose.
“No, it was my problem.”
Both Albus and Rose exchanged glances. Rose opened her mouth,
“You are worried about your father, Scorp?”
Scorpius felt thankful for her to call him his first name. Since when did they start calling him by his first name? He liked that. It was like true friends. Albus vanished under the bed suddenly and he was now rummaging through something. Finally he stood up with a carton box in his hands and put it on the edge of the bed. He pulled out a sheet of paper. Scorpius noticed the leaflet for the Christmas Gathering by Puddlemere United fan club. There was a ticket attached on it.
“It’s yours. You flew well. You deserve this.”
Scorpius tried to sit up but he felt pain on the shoulder and sank to the bed again. Rose and Albus gasped and said,
“Lie down, Scorp!”
“Thanks,” Scorpius barely managed to say the word, grimacing. He asked, “Who was selected as a reserve Seeker?”
“MacNail’s brother. He was super!” Albus told him and added, “But you would be great if you weren’t distracted with the ...other things."
Robert MacNeil made sure that no one was watching him. Then he swished his wand to move the secret sliding door on the floor. The spot where he pointed his wand showed a dark space through which only one person could go. He descended to the bottom and carefully opened the lid of the glass case where four dull green eggs were laid. He observed them and closed and wrapped it with a black piece of cloth. He ascended to the main floor and closed the secret door. Then Joanne came into the room. MacNeil held the wrapped case in his one arm and grabbed his wand in his right hand.
“Hi, Robert. Do you have time to talk?”
“Yes, but I have to hand this to my staff. This is urgent. Please wait in your office. I’ll be back soon.”
“Okay. I’ll wait.” She smiled and left.
MacNeil gave a sigh of relief and went out of the room. He turned the corner to the bathroom and went to the back toilet and tapped the cubicle door with his wand. A cauldron gradually rose up from the toilet. The muddy water was boiling. He removed the cloth from the case, and touched its surface with the tip of his wand. A needle sized hole appeared. He pointed the tip at the spot again and poured the liquid out of the egg, into the cauldron. The transparent liquid merged with the surface of the muddy substance, making a sizzling sound.
He smiled satisfied. He achieved what he had to do. As he swished his wand, the hissing sound slowed and finally settled. He took out a flask from his inside pocket and poured the fresh potion into it. He capped the flask and shoved it back in his pocket. The potion was ready for the second victim.
The abducted Muggle officer would be returned to his world after they captured the wizard who would be their next target. The effect of the Kappa’s egg was limited. Nobody had known the secret yet except the old Japanese priest and Newt Scamander. The Aurors would find out eventually, but by then, the deed would be done.
MacNeil put the rest of the Kappa’s eggs in the bottom drawer of his desk and cast Locking Charm. His next move was going to be tricky. But nobody would be able to find the clue.
Gordon Haas was a strong candidate for the next Minister. He had supported Kingsley’s regime for three tenures, and after Kingsley’s declaration that he would not continue for a fourth term, Gordon had decided to step up. Kingsley was so popular that many people had tried to convince him not to resign, but his mind wouldn’t change. Haas was Half-Blood and had a more discreet style compared with Kingsley, but his neutral attitude was quickly gaining popularity. Having endured the pain of his Muggle mother being victimized by the Death Eaters had made his determination to wipe out the remaining Death Eaters unshakable.
MacNeil had supported House of Lestrange for centuries. When the Dark Lord was rising, MacNeil didn’t show any intention to join the inner circle, but House MacNeil was thought as one of Lestrange. They had survived by keeping in the background. They were cleverer than Malfoy. That was how they had gained political power over hundreds of years.
When MacNeil finished Haas, he planned to trap the Head of Aurors, Gawain Robards. He thought Kingsley would be the last target. He knew it would be hard to do it. If one of the eggs didn’t work, they would need fresh eggs. That’s why Lestrange had sent Malfoy to Japan. Then there was a knock. Joanne McSherry came in. MacNeil sensed something was wrong from her mood.
“Is there trouble?” He poured coffee into a goblet and handed it to her.
“Thanks. Hmm, I like this flavor. MacNeil’s spice. Please tell me how to make this later, Robert.” She sipped and put it down on the top of the potions shelf.“You have to open the case of Kappa’s eggs for Mr. Newt Scamander. It’s Minister’s orders.” She stared at MacNeil gingerly.
“Oh, did they set that in motion?” MacNeil pretended to be calm. Inwardly, he was wondering how he could talk his way out of whatever was going to come up next. “When will they come back?”
“Tomorrow morning. Can you? I’m afraid the exposure will do harm to the eggs.”
“Yeah, I’m afraid so. Please put this in my hands, okay? I need to search the best condition for the eggs.”
“I trust in you, but Mr. Potter insists it’s urgent. So we have to hand them over tomorrow morning. We can’t change the schedule.”
He still had one night to move. “Okay, I’ll work on a plan.”
Before the conference, Draco Malfoy submitted his research papers via Neville’s friend in Asia, and secretly went back to Hogwarts to accomplish the task Lestrange had demanded. He was so exhausted after the repetitive apparition and the long trip from East Asia. As soon as he shoved the box of the Kappa’s eggs to the bottom of the potions shelf in his office at Hogwarts, he had a lie-down on the bed without changing his clothes. It was the middle of the night, and he still had to write an owl to Lestrange to tell him of the meeting at Malfoy Manor. But he had no energy to do that. Then he heard a modest knocking, which meant his son. Only his family knew that fact that he came back.
“Scorp?” Draco sat up and opened the door.
His son was standing there and said, “Father, how was the conference?” He entered the room timidly.
Draco noticed his son’s arm in a sling and asked,“Were youl bullied by someone?”
“No, I wasn’t. Quidditch.”
“Get well soon. But how did you come here? Only Prefects are allowed to wander around at night.”
“I gave him a bribe. All boys do that in our House.”
Draco tried to smirk but his tired face failed.
“I’m tired. If you have some questions about your study, we can discuss it tomorrow morning via Floo Network, is that okay?”
“Yeah, fine. I just worry about you, Father. I’m wondering…” he hesitated to say more.
Scorpius kept silent. Draco got irritated and asked,
“Scorp, I’m exhausted after a long trip. After I check everything at Manor, I’ll leave for Japan again. The fact that I’m here is secret.” He pressed his son.
Scorpius nodded and he was going to leave, but he glanced back again and said,
“Father, I know you’re being threatened by them.”
“Wait, Scorp. Shut the door and come.” Draco said sternly.
Scorpius closed the door and came back to his bed. He was afraid if his father would lose his temper. Expecting to be scolded by Draco, he nervously sat down on the edge of the bed slowly trying not falling down with the other arm. Draco sat next to him. He heaved a big sigh and said,
“What do you know?”
“I’m sorry, Father, I found the letter in a dustbin. Did you get the Kappa’s egg?”
Draco stared at his son shocked. Scorp’s innocent eyes fixed on his. Then he spoke,
“Scorp, what seemed to be unpleasant is necessary in this society. That is how we, the Malfoys have survived.”
“But Father, if you obey him, you’ll be sent to Azkaban!”
“Shh, Scorp!” Draco pulled out his wand and cast Muffliato charm. “Scorp, you’re also one of us. We lost so much of our dignity in the previous war and were labeled as losers but this time may be our chance. You’re Slytherin, Scorp. This is our chance to regain political power. You have to realize it. Do you understand?”
Scorpius nodded overwhelmed by Draco’s strong remarks. He stood up and said,
“I understand, Father. But please be careful.” He was leaving now.
Draco halted his son,
“Wait, Scorp. I have one thing to say. Didn’t you say about this to Potter’s son? I heard from Longbottom that you made friends with them.”
Scorpius answered without turning back to Draco. “No, I didn’t. I hate them.”
“Good. Now, leave. Good night.”
“Good night, Father.” Scorpius shut the door and walked away. He stood at the foot of the stairs, unable to climb them. He wanted to cry. He hated that he was born a Malfoy with all his heart.
Draco stepped out of the hearth of Malfoy Manor. Since Lucius Malfoy had taken his wife to France, the Aurors had stopped observing the Manor. The only thing that concerned Draco was Potter. He admitted that Potter had a keen sense for tracking down dangerous developmetns among the remaining Death Eaters.
“Strong obsession,” muttered Draco.
But this time, Potter didn’t seem to notice the meeting. Malfoy Manor was very quiet in the early morning. He could see the peacock his father loved, spread its fair feathers in the garden from the window. He didn’t see any Aurors who usually observed his home. His wife, Astoria entered the sitting room gracefully. She sat down on the purple velvet sofa and said,
“You look tired, Draco. You don’t have to work so hard. Who is coming here today?”
“I can’t tell you. You’ll visit your sister’s Manor, won’t you?” Astoria didn’t know what he had done. If she found out, she would try to stop him.
“Yes, but if you need me, I’ll stay. This guest is an important person, isn’t it?”
“It’s none of your business!” Draco raised his voice.
“Draco?” Astoria looked anxious.
“Sorry. Never mind. I’m just exhausted.” He hated himself. He hated the fact that he always felt off balance before important meetings.
“I told you. You don’t have to work at Hogwarts. If you get tired of the students, you can retire. How’s Scorpius?”
“He’s doing well. I gave him an Outstanding on his essay.”
Astoria smiled and said, “He is very proud of you, Draco. And I’m very happy to be your wife. I’m looking forward to hearing about your successes at the conference.” She stood up and took a step closer to him. Her arms wrapped around his neck and she kissed him.
He breathed in her lemon verbena perfume and whispered, “I’m doing right by you and our family.” Talking about his son and embracing his wife relaxed him and eased his nerves.
“I believe in you, Draco.” She smiled at him and left the room.
Newt Scamander was with Luna. He looked younger and vigorous with his daughter-in-law. Luna was laughing a reply for his jokes.
“Why Luna?” Ron said to Harry. They had been waiting for Joanne McSherry at the gate.
The old famed Magizoologist looked happy with a good listener. Harry grinned at them, turned to Ron and answered,
“I don’t know. But she may see what we can’t. It’ll be helpful with her.”
Scammader walked up, carefully using his cane. Luna looked around the floor with much curiosity.
“How are your twins?” Harry asked her.
“They’re fine with Rolf. He’s at home today.” Her gaze shifted to his green eyes. “Where’s Ginny now?”
“She’s with Lily at the Burrow right now. Soon, she’ll be leaving for Spain to report on the Quidditch game.”
“It was fun with you all at Halloween Party. When will you leave for Japan?” Luna asked in her dreamy voice.
Harry was stunned at her words. How did she find out that they were leaving for Japan? “Luna, did I mention leaving for Aisa at the party?”
“No, you didn’t. But Draco Malfoy left for Japan, didn’t he?” Luna’s big eyes kept staring at his.
“Yes, he did. Oh, yeah, he visited your husband before Halloween, right?”
“Yes, he did. Rolf gave him a map.”
“What map?” Harry cursed himself. He should’ve checked the fact earlier. Engrossed in the matter of lost Kappa’s eggs at Newt’s study, he forgot to ask Rolf Scamander about Draco’s visit.
“Harry, I thought you would want the map, so I brought the copy for you.” Luna pulled out a sheet of paper from her bosom pocket.
“Luna, you are our queen!” Ron cried in triumphantly.
“Thank you for your compliment, Ron.” Luna looked happy with his comment.
When Harry was about to spread the map out, Joanne turned up. She looked serious. Harry shoved the map in his pocket. He had a bad feeling and asked,
“Mrs. McSherry, what happened?”
“We have to say the situation is quite undersirable.”
“What do you mean?” Ron asked.
“When MacNeil opened the case of the eggs this morning to show you, everything turned to stones.”
Newt Scamander gasped and said, “Why? Isn’t he an expert, is he?”
“Of course, he is. He tried to search for the best way to keep the eggs as fresh as possible. But we couldn’t stop the phenomenon. I’m sorry, Mr. Scamander.”
Harry thought Scamander would fall down. When he tried to support him, Luna’s hand captured him and she wrapped him from behind with her arm.
Scamander opened his mouth, “Can I see them?”
“Of course. Please follow me.”
When they entered the vivid green room, MacNeil was giving directions to his staff. He noticed them and bowed deeply at Scamander.
“We did everything we could. I think if we hadn’t exposed them to the air, the crisis wouldn’t have happened.”
“What’s the cause?” asked Scamander.
“Under investigation, sir.” MacNeil bowed again, “Excuse me, I got information that a new species was found in Scotland. I have to go and see them. One of our staff, Bob Henry will bring you the remains. Ask him anything.” Then he left there.
The younger staff, Bob Henry set the glass case on a small white table. There stood four egg-shaped stones. Scamander took each in his hand carefully and observed it.
“Scamander?” asked Harry.
Scamander shook his head and sighed, “They seemed to be exposed in the Muggle’s world. Once they’ve touched the air which is not magical, they turn to stones. Is there any space where Muggle air enters in this room?”
“No, I don’t think so, sir, but we’re investigating right now,” Bob answered apologetically.
Harry stared at the stone eggs. They were all dull green. Luna took one of them and kept watching it quietly. Then she spoke,
“What’s this, grandpa?” She held out the egg to Newt. “There’s an eye needle hole.”
Scamander observed it again. And he checked the all four. He spoke,
“Luna is right. All of them have the hole. I suspect someone has already extracted the essence before they exposed them to the Muggle world.”
“Harry, we have to hurry. If they’ve already extracted them, there’ll be more victims in the Muggle World,” Ron said.
“Right. Let’s go.”
After they reported to Robards, their boss directed them.
“Kingsley assigned the Aurors who are available near all Muggle public offices. Potter, Weasley, leave for Japan and put Professor Malfoy under guard. He’ll show up at the conference at Tokyo in a few days. Dig for his real purpose there.”
When Draco realized he had the fever, only two days were left until the conference began. Frequent apparations had caused him great exhaustion. He couldn’t move from his bed at all. It was lucky for him that he didn’t forget the antifebrile potion. He gulped a flask of potion and crept into bed. All he could do was sleep. Slumber visited him soon and he had a dream.
He was in the midst of blizzard in Russia. Surrounded by a zero-zero fog, he was struggling to walk ahead.
“I have to go back to my home safely. I have to go home safely for Scorp and Astoria,” He chanted in his mind like a mantra.
After a long walk, suddenly his vision cleared. The blue autumn sky broadened above and he noticed he was standing on the top of the hill in northern Japan. Chirping of small birds was heard as he climbed down the hill. He searched the stream which would merge into the big river. He traced the river bank. He had to find the eggs. As he walked, the ground became greener and greener. The sight of tall, thickly growing Taro leaves told him that his destination wasn’t far away. Then he heard cantering sound of horses. Five Oriental warriors, mounted on horseback, prepared to shoot arrows. Draco noticed their target was the two surviving soldiers. At first, he thought they were men, but soon he noticed one of them was a woman. The man shouted, shielding the woman,
“Kill me, but spare her. She’s a daughter of Kouga Ninja. Kouga is an ally of yours.”
The woman cried desperately, “No! If you kill Shota, kill me as well. We’re married.” Her long, velvet hair was sadly beautiful against the greenness of Taro leaves.
The boss of the hunters smirked. “I won’t kill you, beauty. But we must capture the leader of Tengues.” He climbed off his horse and drew a short sword.
Shota pulled out his long sword, too. Five minutes of holding out against an attack would give him time to transform into a Tengu. With wings he would be able to fly away, carrying Saki in his arms. He raised his sword against the Genji warriors. Sake fought back, too. Her sword skill was equal to the rest of warriors. When the three Genji warriors fell down, Shota edured the pain of his back while fighting the boss. After dodging the enemy’s attack many times, his transformation was complete, and he spread his wings to fly up into the bough above. He landed on it and soon kicked off the tree to fly back to the spot where Saki continued fighting. He gave one last blow to the boss, and he embraced her in his arms. They flew away and landed on the top of the mountain where some water falls were dotted. They started tracing the stream to the upper bank to the big water fall. They carefully climbed down, and behind the water fall, they saw the Kappas eating fish on the stone floor.
“I think the eggs are under the Taro leaves. We have to find the leaves,” Shota told Saki. They kept searching for a while then finally found the spot. Saki entered the bush and pulled out her short sword to cut the stem of the Taro leaves away from the nest. Two dull green eggs lay under the roots. She picked them up in her hand and rubbed her sleeve gently to remove the dirt from them. She came back to the spot where Shota was waiting.
Draco woke up. He remembered the dream was the same story as the pages he had torn from the book. After Scorpius read the book, Draco had snuck into the boy’s dorm and removed them. He sat up on the bed and wondered where the eggs were now. When he remembered that he had already handed them to Lestrange, he shuddered, realizing that he had finally assisted the conspiracy.
Had he finally become the same coward as his father, Lucius? At the same time, he felt like he could understand the real Malfoy pride. That was how his ancestors had survived to protect their families. Good Gryffindors always faded away. Bad Slytherins could live longer. He had learned that lesson from his mentor, Snape. His life would be lived for all of his comrades who had died too young. For his friend, Vincent Crabbe who died in the Room of Requirement at the battle of Hogwarts.
He remembered the spirit of Vincent, who had spoken from the Veil after they succeeded in collecting the Kappa’s eggs in Aomori.
Hana put the animal’s bones and the rainbow colored pebble stones and shells on the stone floor and began chanting. Draco felt the air change, surreal and cool around him. Then her chant suddenly changed to a male voice. Vincent told Draco in the cave,
“Live longer for me. Protect my old mother and your Pure-Blood friends.”
Draco had been relieved to know the spirit wasn’t a ghost, and at the same time the wistful tears started in his eyes. His old friend called from the Veil in the cave was still young and Draco was far older than him. He hadn’t thought of Vincent as a true friend back then, just one of his followers in his school days. But now he remembered him as one of his House mates. As he had gotten older, he had gotten lonelier, realizing that he’d had no true friends until he became an adult.
Suddenly, he wanted to see Neville. He had an urge to confess everything to him through the Floo Network. Then he rethought. How could he meet Neville after he deceived him and ran away to work for Lestrange?
Back to index
Chapter 8: Chapter 8 Torn Pages and a Lie
Author's Notes: Many many thanks to Pixi for beta!
A wintry blast wailed outside of Hagrid’s hut. The firewood was burning in the hearth when the three students came inside. Albus supported Scorpius as he climbed onto the big wooden chair. Hagrid smiled at them with satisfaction and said,
“I’m proud of yeh for entering the tryouts, Scorpius. Playing Quidditch needs a lot of guts. Yeh’r injury is like a medal of bravery.” He put a mug of tea in front of Scorpius.
Scorpius held the mug in his right hand and sipped it carefully not to spill it.
“Hagrid, we have something to ask you.” Rose put the thick book on the desk and opened to the torn spot.
Hagrid noticed it, “What? Did you tear these pages out? If this belongs to the library, Madam Pince won’t let you get off for nothing.”
“No, we didn’t. The pages had already torn.” Albus answered.
“It’s impossible. Madam Pince must have noticed.” Hagrid said.
“You’re right, Hagrid. Scorp, did you notice that when you borrowed the book at first?”
“If the pages were torn after you borrowed it, who did it? And when?” Albus frowned.
“Scorp, how are your dorm mates?” asked Rose.
“Adrian and Peter aren’t interested in books at all.”
“Are you sure?” Rose asked again after she checked the jagged line.
“Positive.” Scorp observed Rose whose red hair lay over her shoulder. He had an urge to touch it. The red color was rarely seen in Slytherin House, and couldn’t be ignored when his housemates ridiculed the blood traitors, the Weasleys.
Albus gulped down his tea and said, “The only adult who can enter the dorms is a professor. Your father can enter your room.” He stared at Scorpius.
Scorpius tore his eyes off of Rose’s hair and said darkly, “I was thinking the same thing.”
“He won’t admit it even if he had done it. Hagrid, do you know what was written on the torn pages?” Rose asked.
“Sure. Let me see the previous page.” Hagrid sat down on a wooden chair with a thud next to Rose.
Rose handed the thick book to Hagrid with both hands.
He grabbed it with his big hand, and knitted his brows to remember the missing part. “Well, after Shota and Saki got together, they were hunted by Genji warriors. So the pages missing were...right, I’ll tell you.”
Saki pulled a hairpin from the top of her hair and stuck it through the shell of the egg. She handed it to Shota. He put it to his lips and started sucking the insides. Seeing her try to do the same, he waved his hand to stop her. He said,
“Wait for me at the river bank where we used to play. You know the place, don’t you?”
Saki nodded. She imagined the terraced rice fields lit under the morning sun in her village. Abundant mineral water flowed into their fields from the river.
“I’ll be there in two nights and three days. Believe me. I’ll come back to you. I promise. Now go. I don’t want you see me in Kappa form.”
“Wait!” Albus stopped Hagrid and asked, “Does that mean he transformed into Kappa?”
“Yes, ‘e did.”
Albus was horrified as the image of that bizzare, amphibious creature flashed in his mind. “Could he turn back to a human?” “I don’t think the book explains how he could turn back to a man, but I reckon Shota could do two animagis. You know, Tengu and Kappa.”
Rose had been listening to them without saying a word. Finally she spoke, “Hagrid, you said Shota wanted Saki to wait at the river bank where they used to play. It must mean that the key to the mystery is the place.”
“Clever, Weas...Rose,” Scorpius was surprised by her insight and respected her. At the same time, he felt awkward to call her by her first name, and his face turned slightly red.
Rose beamed at him and continued, “If transforming to Tengu and Kappa is magical, that means the place they used to play wasn’t magical.”
“Genius. But why did Malfoy, sorry, your father want to tear the pages, Scorpius?” Albus followed Scorp’s precedent manner towards Rose and corrected himself about Scorp’s father.
“I don’t know. I want to know what your father knows.” Socrpius stared at Albus. Though he felt thankful about his rival’s manner, he was still guarded against Harry Potter.
“Yeah, my father may know. But he won’t tell me about his work.” Albus frowned.
Rose sensed their adversarial mood and said, “I’ll write an owl to my mum. She’ll give us something helpful, Albus.”
“Good idea. Aunt Hermione will give us some hints about the mystery.”
The narrow hallway led Kingsley to the Muggle Prime Minister’s office. He didn’t dare to use the painting in the Prime Minister’s room. As he had been engaged in guarding the successive Prime Ministers as an Auror, he was accustomed to wearing his black suit in the Muggle world. The room was handsome as before. The cozy sofa was waiting by the fine marble fireplace. The Prime Minister beamed at Kingsley when he entered the room.
“You came to check if I’m fine, Kingsley? See, I’m okay. No worries. The bodyguards you sent are doing good job. Blaise Zabini and Cormac MacLaggen. They are aces, aren’t they?”
“Yes, they are ace Auror and Hit Wizard in our world. I have a question about your officer.” Kingsley sat on the sofa opposite to the Prime Minister.
“The maid will bring a cup of tea. Biscuits?”
Kingsley took one politely and put it down on a porcelain plate. “Did he come back looking normal?”
The Minister nodded, “Yes, he is quite healthy. The doctors have finished checking him over. If you want, please make sure there are no magical traces.”
“Thank you, Minister. I’ll send the team to him.”
Soon after their conversation, the team of Aurors was sent, but there were no dubious results, except the fact that he had no memory about the missing days. They reckoned the Oblivious Charm was used. They had discussed why the Muggle officer was abducted and what the culprit’s aim was. Still, they had no answers.
Harry and Ron were sent to Tokyo to watch Malfoy. They expected that the remaining Death Eaters, including Rabastan Lestrange, would contact him. The conference was held in the deep in the western mountains near Tokyo. For local Muggles, the spot was seen as an abandoned camp site. Researchers each had their own bungalow, which was magically enlarged to a bigger room inside.
When the sun set, Ron looked around the site. “This reminds me of the World Quidditch Cup. Do you think they’ll come, Harry? I mean, the remaining Death Eaters.”
“I don’t think so. Let’s go. Neville’s Mongolian friend told me where Malfoy stays.” Harry handed a sheet of parchment to Ron.
Ron took it and peeked in. Harry started walking to the back deserted bungalow. When he reached the front door, he knocked. Soon Malfoy’s voice was heard beyond the door.
“I’m part of the staff for the site. Will you give me a sec?” Harry waited the next answer.
“I’m busy with the conference preparation. Not now.” Malfoy said.
“I brought you a tea pot and sweets. Will you open the door?”
Then the door was open and Malfoy, whose face was pale, was leaning against the inside wall. As soon as he noticed who it really was, he tried to shut the door immediately. But Harry prevented him.
“We won’t let you pass this time.” Harry entered by force.
Ron followed. “Don’t think any silly things, Malfoy!” He pointed his wand at Malfoy.
“I’m sick. I don’t have the energy to fight you,” Malfoy uttered weakly.
“You’ve already searched for the eggs in Aomori, haven’t you?” Harry pulled out the map Luna gave him and showed it to Malfoy.
Malfoy might have been surprised, but they couldn’t read what he was really thinking. He said, “I’ll answer to any questions after I recover. Please let me rest. The conference is tomorrow.” Malfoy sunk into the sofa.
“You’re seriously sick.” Ron sat down opposite Malfoy, but his wand remained in his hand.
“Go off to bed, then. We’ll question you after the conference.” Harry said as he was leaving.
“Harry?” Ron stood up in a fluster.
“I’ve already cast strong anti-apparation charm in this camp site. We’ll set up a tent outside. You can’t run away this time.” Harry warned Malfoy, and left.
Ron followed Harry out of the bungalow. He put a miniature box on the ground. When Harry pointed the tip of his wand and cast a spell, it was enlarged and a tent popped up in front of them.
“I hope we can go home the next week. Staying in a tent reminds me of our mission in seventh year.” Ron muttered gloomily.
“We can’t leave Japan until we find the truth about the Kappa’s eggs. Robards ordered us to find the priest named Dogen and visit him.” Harry changed his tone merrily. “Come on, Ron. Let’s go inside. I’m itching to cook a local hot pot I’ve just learned from the camp site owner.”
The tent had a small kitchen and a bedroom. Ron smiled at the neat dining table.
“I’m amazed by you and feel a little ashamed for my sister. Has she cooked for you recently?”
“Oh, don’t blame her. I like cooking. I understand the situation she’s in now. When she is at home, she cooks for me and the children. She has inherited the gift of pies and puddings from Molly. Her baking is the best.” Harry set an earthenware pot he borrowed from the owner on the stove, and started cutting vegetables and chicken.
Ron was fascinated by his adeptness and said, “Tell Hermione this recipe. Though her cooking ability is improving, sometimes she forgets to add salt.” He chuckled.
Harry grinned remembering their younger days, and threw cut ingredients into the pot. “Why don’t you cook with Hugo instead of her? Lily and I cook together. Recently, I haven’t had to help her at all.”
Smacking their lips over the steaming dish, they discussed their plan to have Malfoy confess everything.
“Do you think Malfoy already has the eggs?” Ron sipped soup from the bowl.
“I think so. Seeing he’s sick, he must have already made the trip north to the unexplored area.” Harry spread the map on his lap.
“So our mission becomes simple. Impound the Kappa eggs Malfoy has now, and visit the priest.”
“Yes. Ron, go and watch Mafloy at the conference tomorrow. I’ll stay here and search for the eggs at his bungalow.”
Next morning, all the scholars gathered around the conference room underground, and Ron kept watching Malfoy. Harry stood in the middle of the bedroom in Malfoy’s bungalow. The wrinkled blanket and sheets showed Mafloy hadn’t slept well and had no time to make the bed. The internal condensation collected on the surface of the window by the bed. The room had been warmed through the night, and Harry wondered how Malfoy kept the eggs in good condition. Thinking over how Unspeakables cared for the condition of Scamander’s eggs at DM, they had to be in a special container or something. He searched the inside of a wardrobe but he found only five empty hangers suspended. He dropped on his knees and looked under the bed, but he found nothing except a fat-legged spider running away. He finished searching the bedroom and moved to the kitchen. Rummaging through the cupboard on the higher wall and under the sink resulted in a wasted effort. He went back to the entrance, set his spectacles to cast a tracing charm through the whole inside, but it didn’t reveal any trace of hidden magic at all.
He pulled out the two-way mirror and called Ron. “I couldn’t find anything here. How’s Malfoy?
Ron’s eyes on the mirror glanced to the side and focused on Harry. “He’s very sick. I doubt he’ll be able to get through his speech.”
“Does he have a leather bag with him?”
“Can you check it?”
“Do it if you can.”
“Okay. I’ll report back in thirty minutes.” Ron’s face vanished from the mirror.
Harry began searching around the outside of the bungalow. A cold wind raised withered leaves into the air. He pointed his wand at a thick growth of weeds and checked if there was an egg hidden beneath it, but his search ended in vain. Then he felt the two-way mirror vibrating in his chest.
“Malfoy let me search his leather bag. I couldn’t find any evidence. I reckon he failed in finding them.”
“Malfoy let you search his bag? That’s strange. He might hidden them somewhere else. Keep watch. I want to know if anyone tries to contact him.”
“Right.” Ron vanished from the mirror again.
Malfoy suffered terribly from the fever. He glanced at his wrist watch Astoria had given him nervously. He wanted to finish his panel discussion sooner. The potion he brewed made him sit on the bench. Neville’s Mongolian friend with the ruddy face had been passionately speaking about the effective repelling plants for Acromantula. His talk seemed to go on forever until Malfoy finally passed out. Then he suddenly regained consciousness as his name was called. He couldn’t remember how he managed to finish his speech or answer the questions about herbs in Okinawa. It was uncomfortable to see Weasley waiting for him in the entrance hall of the conference room, but he had no energy left to deliver any sarcastic remarks. Weasley shoved his bag to his chest.
“Have a good sleep. You need to rest.”
Malfoy felt thankful that they hadn’t trespassed any further, though he reckoned Potter had already searched everything in the bungalow. He wasn’t worried, since the Kappa’s eggs had already been handed over to Lestrange. The man must already be working with MacNeil on the potions for their VIPs in the Ministry.
After one good night’s sleep, his condition improved. When Potter asked the same question he had before, Malfoy told them a white lie.
“As you guessed, I couldn’t find any eggs. I respect Newt and Rolf Scamander. I admit I have no guts to explore the unexplored magical area.” He didn’t know they had already known about the priest Dogen in the northern temple.
Haas liked to sit beside the indoor plants in the Ministry cafeteria. He even decorated his desk with small pots of them. Green calmed him after the tiring paper work involved in registering the new bills. After the war not a few important bills had passed. Wand Register for School Age to protect the kids from the crimes, Proliferation of Welfare Facilities for Werewolves and a new bill for House-Elves. It took much time to let the third bill pass. He and his colleague were now working on Repel of the Act for Pure-Blood Privilege. He could guess easily that most of the Pure-Bloods would refuse the bill pass. Their privilege covered a wide range of various business in the Wizarding World.
He put his tray on the table near the plants and sat down. The smell of steak-kidney pudding wafted. He poured his favorite herb tea into the cup. He didn’t notice the slight difference of the color of it. He tasted it as usual. The mint flavor gave him relaxing feeling. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the temporary happiness before his hard schedule began without knowing he would be transformed.
A new DADA teacher, Johan Lybeck at Hogwarts had been invited from Norway. He was chosen for his knowledge about Trolls and counter curses against the Dark Magic. Albus and Rose hadn’t learned from him yet for they were still first years but they had a chance to be talked to by him in the corridor to the potions class. Lybeck was a very robust and tall man with sandy blond hair. His voice was loud and Rose felt embarrased when he called her name loudly.
“Rose Weasley and Albus Potter, I have something to talk about with two of you.”
“Yes, Professor?” The bag slipped off Albus’ shoulder and he slung it again. It was annoying that it got heavy with new ingredients for Potions class experiment. He had been expecting the substitute teacher for Malfoy, who went abroad to attend the conference, would give the students easy task, but she didn’t. He rather preferred Malfoy’s to hers.
“I heard from Headmistress that your parents fought with a Troll at Halloween night in their school days. I’d like to discuss about it later. I’ll offer you salmon sandwiches in my office.” He winked.
“Thank you, Professor. Where’s your office?” Since Hagrid was Gryffindor House Head, they didn’t know his office.
“Next to the kitchen. The entrance for the kitchen is secret, so don’t tell anybody. My office is the next to the painting of a bowl of fruit.” He winked again and left.
After class, Albus and Rose dragged Scoprpius with them to Lybeck’s office.
Scorpius protested on their way there, “Why do I have to go with you? I have essays to work this afternoon.”
“Only knowledge of books don’t give us good marks, come on!” Albus urged him to get closer to the door.
Lybeck welcomed them with broad smile, “Come in, come in.”
The room was like the one in Hagrid’s hut. All pieces of furniture were made of wood and it had no sofa. Fire was crackling in the hearth. Above the wooden desk, there hung a large picture of a dark green Troll.
“Do you like wood nymph’s candy?” He urged them to sit down on the wooden chair each and had them pick the wrapped candy.
Unwrapping the stripe cellophane, Scorpius whispered dubiously, “Is it tasty?”
The taste was too hot and their eyes were watering so that Lybeck had to conjure a glass of water. But salmon sandwiches were delicious. He was delighted to listen to how Albus’ father and Rose’s father beat a Troll. Scoripus criticized that their heroic act was too dramatized and they were just lucky with beating the monster who was not so wise. Lybeck nodded satisfied and said,
“You’re right, Scorpius. Trolls aren’t smart but they are extremely enormous so they deserve to be praised. Hmm, this sandwich is so tasty. Do you want more?”
“No, thank you. Mr. Lybeck, have you heard about the Kappa’s egg?” Rose asked abruptly.
Albus and Scorpius were waiting for Lybeck’s answer intensely.
“Oh, I know Kappas. They’re cool, aren’t they? I heard that they’re so aggressive and we need to throw them cucumber to protect ourselves. But I didn’t know about the eggs at all. Are you interested in water demons? It may be a good approach to learn about DADA. I’ve been wondering what I should teach the next year, but it seems to be better to teach them than Trolls and Giants. Or should I teach you Mermish first?”
“Oh, can you speak Mermish? We heard a story related to them from Uncle Harry, didn’t we, Albus?” Rose got excited.
“Can he talk with them?” Lybeck bent himself forward in curiosity.
“No, he can’t. He had a task to rescue his friends in the Great Lake at the Triwizard Tournament.” Albus explained.
“Great Lake! I sometimes chat with merpeople there after lunch. Please say hello to your Dad for me!”
Rose and Albus developed quite a rapport with Lybeck. Only Scorpius was left behind, and he got sulky.
“I’ll leave. I have essays to finish.” He stood up.
“Oh, take some sandwiches with you, then.” Lybeck wrapped the leftovers and held them out to Scorpius.
Scorpius took it awkwardly and said, “Thank you.”
When they were leaving, Lybeck spoke, “Talking about the Kappa reminded me of an article by a priest in Asia. The title was ‘The Counter-Curse against Water Demons’. My recent field of study is Counter-Curses.”
Albus responded Lybeck’s word, “Asia” where his father and uncle were right now. He didn’t know which country they were though. “What’s his name?”
“Dogan or Dogen...I’m sorry, I forgot. But I’ll tell you when I find the name after I check the past essays.”
Kingsley’s uneasiness grew with each passing moment. Reports showed that his right hand man had numerous unscheduled absences from duty. The meetings about the new bill which was relevant to the Privilege of the Pure-Bloods were postponed many times. The Daily Prophet reporters including Rita Skeeter fussed that the bill would be rejected. Things were wrong in the world, and Kingsley felt powerless against the growing feeling that it wasn’t going to get better any time soon.
Everything came to a head when Haas’s wife came to tell him her husband had just been admitted to St.Mungo’s.
Rose stared at the front page of the Daily Prophet and contemplated for a while. Vice-Minister Haas was in St. Mungo’s. The most important bill of the term had not passed. Her porridge was not touched at all. The only thing she wanted to do right now was ask her mother some questions. James talked to her from behind.
“Aren’t you hungry, Rosie?”
“Oh, I was reading this.” She handed the newspaper to him.
“Politics? Are you interested in entering the Ministry like your mum?” He handed it back to her.
“I don’t know. When will Uncle Harry come back?”
James shrugged. “I don’t know. Haven’t you heard when my dad and yours come back?”
“They didn’t contact us via Floo Network or the owls.”
“What did he say about his father, Malfoy?” James glanced back at the Slytherin table. “I can’t see the Malfoy boy. I suspect he’s at the owlery. He must be missing his dad.”
“He is with Albus at Hagrid’s hut. They’ll be back soon.”
James frowned. “When did my brother become his mate?”
“Perhaps since the Gryffindor tryouts. Your fascinating stand play attracted him.”
“Oh, did he watch my play?” James asked with his head held high, twinkling his brown eyes.
“You and Teddy are the most famous and popular at Hogwarts. He admits the fact.”
Teddy, whose hair color changed from vivid purple to ginger red, cut in their conversation.
“Hey Rosie, what are Albus and Malfoy up to? I often see them going to Hagrid’s hut. Tell him we need a Seeker for the early morning practice if we’re going to win the game against the Ravenclaws at the end of this month.”
“Oh, ask him directly. Here they come.” Rose waved her hands towards them.
Albus and Scorpius were running into the Great Hall. Rose noticed Scorpius face was bright with excitement, which showed their plan was finally worked out. Albus sat down next to her as she watched the other boy go back to the Slytherin table.
“Well, did you guys finish?” she asked Albus.
“Yep, finally.” Albus grabbed a toasted Sunny-Side up egg and took a big bite.
“What were you doing?” James swiped his brother’s bacon and chewed with satisfaction.
Albus frowned at him and said,“None of your business. We helped Hagrid with a project.”
“Well, if you’re so secretive, I’ll owl my Dad.”
“Oh, don’t tell him yet!” shouted Albus.
“Yet? What do you mean?”
“I can’t tell you.”
Teddy handed a goblet of pumpkin juice to Albus.
“Brother, you didn’t show up in our early morning practice recently. Do you recognize how important the first match against Ravenclaws?”
“Yes, I do, Captain. We have to win against Victoire. But isn’t it easier for you to win her? If you kiss her in the middle of the game...” then he was smacked by Teddy on the back. “Ouch!”
Teddy in his vivid turquoise blue hair, was grinning wide.
After classes, Albus, Scorpius and Rose hurried to Hagrid’s hut. Hagrid had already set a grindylow’s egg painted in dull green on the dry leaves in the wooden box. Rose looked into it mesmerized.
“Wow, it’s beautifully painted, Albus!”
“I helped him, too,” Scorpius pouted.
Rose giggled at his attitude. “I’m sorry. I know you’ve worked so hard. Well done, Scorp!”
“It’s a Kappa’s egg whichever way yeh look at.” Hagrid smiled with satisfaction and served a slice of rock cake on each plate.
“All you have to do is, Scorp?” Albus urged Scorpius to say the rest.
“Yes, I know. I’ll ask my father if he got the real ones in Japan and give these to him.” Scorpius got serious.
Admiring their art work, he spoke, “Yeah. I hope your father hasn’t handed them over yet.” He thought in his mind, if Malfoy handed the Kappa’s eggs to RL, their hand-work would be in vain. He loved to draw pictures, but painting was an exhausting job. Albus continued, “I sent the second owl to my father but he hasn’t replied. I’m afraid he hasn’t read my letter yet.”
Rose sipped her tea and hesitated to eat the rock cake. “I’m afraid of that too. I’ll send owl to my mum.”
“Thank you, Rose.” Albus took a bite of the cake and said, “Hmm, it’s hard to chew, but yummy. Scorp, you’d better try it. This one is better than the one the other day.”
Scorpius had been staring at his cake for a while. Encouraged by Albus, he began eating gingerly.
Hagrid smiled at them and said,“I added dried fruits into my rock cake after I got the idea from Molly. I can’t wait to see the match. I’m the head of House Gryffindor. Win the game, Albus. Catch the Snitch faster than your Dad.”
“I have no confidence at the first match. But I’ll do my best.” Albus grinned wide.
Harry twirled his holly wand in his hands as he stared at Malfoy. Malfoy had gotten better after he’d had enough sleep. Harry was wondering if it would be wise to try Legilimens upon him. He sensed Malfoy must have been hiding something. “Malfoy, I can give you Veritaserum whether you are allergic to it or not. Tell me everything you are hiding from me.”
Malfoy heaved a big sigh and said, “You’re mental, Potter. When will you stop interrogating me? If you want to do Legilimens, try it. I mastered Occlumency.” He glared at Harry.
“Okay. I will tell you I got information from Luna and Rolf. It is clear that you visited the Priest. Take us to Priest Dogen.”
Malfoy shrugged, but his mind was ruffled and he searched for a way to escape. Then he thought of a plan. “Alright, I’ll send an owl about our visit to Dogen.” He was going to send false information that Potter and Weasley were the egg hunters under the disguise of Aurors.
Hana stood in front of the temple gate and gave the two wizards with Professor Malfoy an amused look. One had jet-black hair which revealed the lighting scar on his forehead with an occasional gust of wind. The other had ginger red hair, a rarity in her part of the world. More than that, she was amazed by their fearless determination. “Good evening, gentlemen. I’m Hana. What can I do for you?”
Harry said, “I’d like to meet the Priest Dogen. I heard from my friend whose grandfather is Newt Scamander about the Kappa’s eggs. I need to know if Professor Malfoy found the eggs.”
“Why didn’t you ask him yourself?” Hana asked. She noticed Harry’s eyes were the special green. She remembered that “Seers” lived in the far West land. “Are you a druidic warlock?”
Harry was puzzled at her words. “My mother might be one, but I’m not sure. Well, can we meet your master?” He stared at her dark brown eyes and tried his magic.
Feeling a slight headache, she answered, “Unfortunately, he has left for your country. If you…” her words were cut off suddenly.
Malfoy coughed hard and said, “See? I did as you commanded me. I have to be back at Hogwarts. The students are waiting for me.” Then he disapparated away.
“Bloody hell! We didn’t expect this. Harry, we have to chase him!” Ron was going to vanish too.
Harry grabbed Ron’s arm and said, “No, Ron. We’ll stay. Hana, I reckon the Priest Dogen is here.”
Ron was surprised. “Harry, did you do Legilimens?”
Harry nodded lightly and continued, “Your master will understand when we have a talk with him.” He stared at her eyes again, “I’m sorry I read your mind. Your master is here, I’m sure.”
Hana stared back and said, “That’s why I asked you if you’re a druidic warlock. Seers can read the other’s mind.” Then she smiled, “Welcome to our magic land. I’ll take you to my master.”
Green tea’s aroma wafted from the open sliding window. Hana, a middle-aged woman poured tea into each cup on a birch wooden table. Her kimono’s indigo blue suited her calm attitude and the refined appearance of the temple garden so well. She urged Harry and Ron to eat a steamed bun. She chuckled at Ron’s clumsy manner of using chopsticks.
“You can eat it with your bare hand if your hand is clean.”
“If you say so, excuse me,” Ron picked it up with his right hand and bit it cautiously. “Hmm, it’s good. Not too sweet.”
“Confectioneries in my country are lightly sweetened. We make good use of its material. You can feel red bean’s taste better.” She asked Harry, “Do you like it?”
The mild sweetness of the red bean paste melted in his mouth, which he enjoyed very much. “Yes, I like it.” Then he sipped green tea. He was very impressed by the combination of green tea’s bitterness and red bean’s sweetness and its texture. “I like green tea, too.”
Hana looked satisfied with his compliment and smiled. “My Master would be glad to meet you two. I can’t believe you and Mr. Malfoy came from the same country. He looked…feared something. On the contrary, you two looked very confident yourself.”
“You are right. He has been threatened by the remaining Death Eaters. I feel pity for his situation, but he has to decide to cut all ties with them.” Harry put down the china cup on the table and asked, “How was he like when he visited here? I reckon you guided him.” He stared at Hana.
“Please, don’t look at me like that. I feel magic from you, Mr. Potter. I know you can read people’s mind.” Hana closed her eyes for a moment and opened them again.
Harry said, “I know manners. I won’t do Legilimens if you tell the truth to us.”
Hana breathed in and sipped green tea from her cup.
Ron tried to change the tense air and said, “Your kimono is beautiful. I’m wondering if I can get the same one for my wife. Can I buy it somewhere?”
She smiled at Ron. “Yes, you can, Mr. Weasley. I’ll tell you where to buy it.” She turned her face to Harry and said, “I can’t tell you a whole story, but I can say Mr. Malfoy achieved his goal. And my Master will tell you how to solve the problem in your country. I think I gave you enough information to investigate the case.”
Harry smiled. “Thank you, Hana. I think so.”
Ron looked perplexed and asked, “What? You can tell us if Malfoy could get Kappa’s get or not by telling the truth. It’s simple.”
“If my Master feels he needs to tell you the truth, he will. If he doesn’t, please just guess.” Hana stood up and bowed deeply to them. “I’ll call my Master. Please wait.” And she left the Japanese-style room.
Ron still looked confused. Harry said,
“I think I can trust her. It might be a good chance for us to learn Ninja skills from Dogen, Ron.” He grinned mischievously.
“Oh, can we learn Ninja tricks?” Ron got pleased, “Wicked!” Satisfied, he finished his green tea. “And I’ll buy kimono for Hermione and an accessory for Rose. I wish I could buy a toy throwing knife for Hugo.”
“Ron, remember our mission…” reproving his best mate, he imagined Ginny in kimono in his mind. Watching a Chinese bell flower painting on a thick papered sliding door, he wondered if purple kimono would suit her well.
The Buddhist priest wore an oblong piece of gold and brown ornamental cloth over his plain robes. He sat erect with his legs folded under him when they entered the room, and turned his head in their direction. Harry wondered if he had to sit in the same way as Dogen.
Dogen spoke in his low reassuring voice, “My answer to your question is you had better save the victims. The man who vanished is also a victim.”
“You mean Malfoy? I’m sorry, eh, Professor Malfoy is a victim?” Harry asked.
“Yes, he is. He found the Kappa’s eggs. I’m sure he has been threatened by Dark wizards.”
“You knew Malfoy had been threatened and you let him go?” Ron couldn’t hide his distrust.
Unperturbed, Dogen continued, “He’ll soon regret what he has done. You’ll need this when he wants to adjust his orbit.” He pulled out a chained hourglass and held it out to Harry.
Ron peeped in and asked, “Is this a necklace? The top looks like a sandglass.”
“Time-turner.” Harry muttered, grabbing it in his hand.
“I heard most of them in your country were destroyed. Use it wisely.” Dogen beamed at them. “Now I’ll let you in on Ninja skills before you go back to your country. Come with me.” He stood up and began walking.
Ron whispered to Harry, “Did he do Legilimens on me? How could he find I wanted to learn Ninja skill?”
Harry shrugged. He couldn’t guess how to use the Time-Turner. He had a lot to ask Hermione when they got back to Britain. Dogen looked back to them, “We’ll do side-along apparation. Take my arms, gentlemen.” He tapped him on the arm.
As soon as they grabbed his arms, they vanished and appeared on the side of a gigantic waterfall surrounded by rugged rocks.
He took off his oblong cloth and robes and jumped into the water with only a loincloth remaining. He bobbed up and down on the surface of the water and moved right to the foot of waterfall. Standing, he folded his hands and started chanting a prayer. Harry urged Ron to remove his clothes and they jumped one by one into the water. Shivering, they swam towards the priest and did the same movements. Hearing the howling of the waterfall, they nearly choked with falling water. After the ascetic practice, Dogen swam back to the spot where he jumped and they followed him. Casting a drying charm, Dogen smiled at them,
“How long can you swim?”
Ron didn’t answer and continued drying his body and soaked hair.
Harry answered, “As we use Bubble-Head charm or Gillyweed, for two hours or so.” He pointed the tip of his holly wand to his hair and cast a drying charm. Oddly, he felt warm after swimming in the cold water.
“You’ll need to swim with the victims to save them. You need to develop stamina.” Dogen noticed Ron was looking at him with much expectation. “Are you eager to learn more about the art of Ninja? Good! Follow me” Then he started running.
The priest ran faster than the wind, Harry thought. He soon heard his mate breathe hard next to him. Harry also gave up trying to catch up with Dogen. They jogged for a while and took off their Auror robes and sat down on the ground.
“Where’s the priest?” Panting, Ron asked.
Harry looked around, but Dogen had vanished. Then he got knocked on the head from behind with a wooden sword. Rubbing the spot Dogen attacked, Harry stood instantly and got ready for the next attack pulling his wand high.
“Constant vigilance, gentlemen. I’ll tell you how to do a moment movement. You get the strength of your magic from the wind, Mr. Potter. Mr. Weasley, your strength is the ground. Concentrate on gaining power from nature. Close your eyes.” Dogen folded his hands in prayer again and started chanting.
Harry and Ron exchanged glances and did the same. They repeated the same activity till the sun set. When the sun hid behind the mountains, it was Ron who succeeded first in the skill. Raising a thick cloud of dust, he vanished and reappeared right behind Harry.
“I did it!” Ron cried like a child and clenched his fist in triumph.
Harry got jealous of his mate, and cursed himself for his childish feelings. Dogen chuckled and advised, “Climb the big rock there and do the same movement jumping from there. You can win the wind power to your side.”
Harry dashed to the rock as Dogen had said, and climbed to the top. He closed his eyes, folding his hands. He imagined his destination and chanted, “Teleportatio!” Soon he felt his whole body thrown far away then landed right behind his mate.
Ron shouted, “You did it, Harry!” and gave him a five.
Dogen beamed at them, “It was fun to teach you a few skills, young men!”
After going back to Britain, Harry remembered his son’s letter, still inside his pocket and unfolded it. He smiled at the scribbles and muttered,
“He inherited my bad handwriting. I have to ask Hermione to tutor him during the winter holidays.” The letter began with the talk with a DADA teacher who could speak Mermish. He found a cartoon of the Kappa at the bottom. The picture was well drawn. It had reptilian green and yellow skin with scales and webbed hands and feet. There was a hairless spot on the top of its head.
Then Ron patted him on the shoulder and shoved the Daily Prophet in front of him.
“Have you read this?”
Harry read the front page about the Vice Minister’s hospitalization.
“I need to see Kingsley.”
At Kingsley’s office, the strawberry blonde witch told them that he had already left for St.Mungo's, fluttering her eyelashes. Ron flushed and asked her,
“When will he come back?”
“He didn’t say. Will you go to St. Mungo’s? It’s speedier to check directly with the Contagious Maladies section. That’s the floor where Mr. Haas was sent.”
“We’ll use the Floo Network. Thank you, miss.” They grabbed a handful of Floo powder and went straight to St. Mungo's.
Haas’ private room was at the end of the ward. His bed was set inside a cubicle. No one was allowed inside to see the sleeping man, not even his wife. Kingsley was talking with her outside the cubicle, while Harry and Ron waited. When Kingsley noticed them, he urged them to go outside of the room. When they reached the staff room, the Head Healer led them into his office. He shut the door and spoke,
“I’ve never encountered this type of disease before. I can’t find any remedies for this.”
“What’s happening to him? According to his wife, he suddenly started drinking water all the time, and preferred only salad and fish to meat and bread. His baths got longer. Now he can’t speak and can’t perform daily functions. Does he have nerve palsy?” Kingsley asked.
“I’m afraid Mrs. Haas doesn’t know how or why he is transforming now.”
“Transforming?” Harry asked the Healer.
“Yes. Transforming. Since he entered the ward, the staff has checked him regularly. They reported Mr. Haas is transforming into a water demon. This is the first time we have ever seen such a rare disease. I wonder where he was infected.”
“Is it contagious?” Ron asked.
“We’re not sure.”
Harry pulled out the letter Albus had written and showed the hand-drawn picture of a Kappa to the Healer,
“Is he transforming into this?”
The Head of Healers was stunned at the cartoon.
“He’s precisely in this state.”
Ron peeked in the letter and said,
“He still has hair.”
“He’s losing his hair little by little.” The Healer confirmed.
They exchanged glances. Kingsley, who had been silent for a while, finally spoke.
“Harry, I’ve been busy with the bill, but what is going on over at Headquarters?”
“I can’t tell you here, Kingsley.” Harry nodded towards the Healer.
The Healer said, “I’ll be back to my patients. If you need me any time, call me.” He left.
“So what has happened?” Kingsley asked in his baritone voice.
“Malfoy has been threatened by Lestrange. Lestrange commanded him to get Kappa’s eggs. Newt Scamander’s eggs were kept in the DM, room number 55, but they seemed to be stolen, an inside job... We found the eye of a needle, the means by which the essence must have been extracted. I suspect Mr. Haas is the targeted victim.”
“Do you mean the essence of the Kappa’s egg made Mr. Haas transform into a Kappa?
“I suppose so. We’ll do our best to find the Counter-Curse.” Harry said.
“I’ll tell Gawain to watch Malfoy Manor. Lestrange and his followers may visit there during winter holidays to see Draco Malfoy. If the connection between Lestrange and Malfoy is discovered, Draco Malfoy won’t be able to escape from Azkaban this time.” Kingsley said sternly.
“His game will be up,” Ron said.
When Scorpius heard from Rose that her father told her mother about the possibility of Malfoy’s arrest, he got depressed. He recalled that his father secretly had a temporary come back before the conference. Rose noticed his gloomy mood before the Potions class started, sat down next to him.
“Are you okay?”
Scorpius didn’t say a word and stared at his father who had been preparing for the next class. Malfoy was checking each cauldron. “I wish I had a time-turner,” Scorpius uttered. “If I had one, I could change my father’s mind in the past. We made a fake Kappa’s egg, but it was useless. My father must have handed them to Lestrange.”
“When do you think he did it?”
“Before the conference. He came back to Hogwarts secretly.”
“Did he really?”
“Oh.” Rose contemplated for a while and opened her mouth.
“I heard there was only one left in Britain.”
“A Time-Turner. My mum’s talked about it. I’ll ask her about it via Floo Network tonight.”
Sheets of parchment were scattered on the oak desk. Hermione was overwhelmed by the different numbers of house-elves between the Pure-Bloods and the non-Pure-Blood families. The case in the House of Black (Potter) was rare. Her aim was to set the trusting relationship between house-elves and the wizards as the same level as Kreacher and Winky at Grimmauld Place. The bill had just passed, but the real battle would begin after she submitted her documents.
She glanced at her wrist watch and felt irritated. She promised Ron that she would try cooking a Japanese hot pot with him. She felt thankful that Ron was willing to help her with the kitchen recently. She reckoned Harry’s words encouraged him during their recent mission in Asia. Ron had been helping George with his joke shop, George was now managing three and he needed his brother’s hands. W.W.W. had created innovate products with the ideas of his father and sometimes she helped with the new products and some of them were promoted by Harry and his colleagues. Ron had enjoyed managing the other two branch shops but she knew he had been missing being out in the field. When he contacted her with the two-way mirror, he looked lively after he returned from Asia.
After an hour’s intense desk work, she had her finished with all the documents. She stretched herself and cleaned up all the mess on the desk. Satisfied with her accomplishment, she took a step closer to the hearth and grabbed a handful of Floo powder and shouted, “The Burrow!” As she landed on the carpet of the sitting room, her son Hugo welcomed her.
“Mum! You came home early!” He grinned wide at her.
She hugged him and said, “Have you studied your math?”
“Yes, I did. But what for? Dad said we wouldn’t use math at Hogwarts.
“Hugo. Most of modern technology needs mathematics. Grandpa Arthur told you we started using their devices mixed with our magic, didn’t he?”
“Yes, but it’s boring. When will Dad and Uncle Harry come back?”
“Tonight. Oh, Hugo, help Molly with the laundry. I have to prepare dinner.”
She went to the kitchen. It seemed that Molly had finished the boiled potatoes and meat pies already. The big steel pot was ready on the stove. She pulled out her wand and pointed at the vegetable knife. Then Hugo came to call her,
“Mum, Rosie is calling you.”
Hermione glanced at the vegetables sitting by the cutting board and came back to the sitting room with Hugo. He pointed at the hearth and she saw her daughter’s face in the flames.
“Hi, Rosie. How’s your studying?”
“Not bad. I envy you, Mum.”
“I wish I could have a Time-Turner.”
“Oh, Rosie. You inherited my side. I understand your feelings. There’re so many subjects to study but you can’t choose two in the same period.” She smiled at her.
“You said the oldest Time-Turner was found in Britain the other day. Tell me about it in detail, Mum?”
“Well, I happened to hear from my colleague, Casey. She got to know an old witch who lives in Giants Causway, and still keeps in contact with her. ”
“Is that in the Druidic district?”
“Yes. The old witch named Nora O’Byrne, came to Hogsmeade to live with her son and his family last month. His name is Padraig O’Byrne. I heard he donated his mother’s Time-Turner to Hogwarts last week. It’s very rare. It can make you be back two weeks ago at maximum.”
“What? You said the Time-Turner is in Hogwarts right now?” Rose was stunned at the news.
Hermione smiled at her, “Yes, it is. If you want to learn two subjects at the same period, you can ask the Headmistress.”
The unexpected news made Scorpius delighted. They decided to get together at Hagrid’s hut after classes. Albus had a little hard time to reach the hut. James and Teddy halted him.
“Albus, you’re going to Hagrid’s but we won’t allow you to go there this afternoon. If you want to visit him, practice with us first!” Teddy reprimanded him.
Albus exchanged glances with Rose and Scorpius and gave a big sigh.
“I’ll race with the reserves double times as usual tomorrow, okay?”
They reluctantly agreed. Albus ran after Rose and Scorpius and caught up with them in front of the pumpkin patch.
“What’s the news?” Albus asked Rose.
“I’ll tell you inside.”
The room was empty except Fang II sleeping by the hearth. There was a note by a tea pot on the big wooden table.
I’ll be back soon after the meeting with Minerva.
Rose pointed her wand at the hearth and ignited a fire. They were staring at the wood burning in the hearth. It was Albus who spoke first.
“So what’s your plan?”
Scorpius came to his senses, “Did you ask McGonagall to lend you the Time-Turner, Rose?”
“Yes, I did. She will lend it to me tomorrow after lunch.”
“Okay, after we get the Time-Turner, you and Scorp will go where?” asked Albus.
“Malfoy Manor. I reckon my father called Lestrange there and handed the eggs him then.”
“It’s too dangerous for only two of you to go there. We should tell our plan to my Dad.” Albus said gingerly staring at Scorpius.
Scorpius didn’t say no. Rose continued,
“Right. I’ll tell this to my dad as well.”
Then they heard the voices outside. Albus dashed to the window and peeped out. He shouted,
“Here they came. Dad and Uncle Ron!”
Hagrid opened the door and came in with Harry and Ron. He spoke,
“Whoa, hah! Surprise! They came to Hogwarts for an investigation.”
Scorpius became tense. Rose and Albus jumped into them. Harry hugged his son tight and said,
“Long time no see. How’s Quidditch? Do you need a new broom?”
“I like my old broomstick. You don’t have to waste your money.” Albus grinned.
Hugging Rose, Ron pulled out an oriental comb with pearl inlay and handed it to her. She was mesmerized the beautiful art and said,
“Wow, dad. It’s so beautiful. Thank you. How was your stay in Japan?”
“Most of the time, we watched …” Ron hesitated for a while seeing Scorpius and continued, “Malfoy. He had a heavy fever. How’s your father now, Scorpius?”
“He’s fine, thank you.” Scorpius answered shortly and kept silent.
“What will you investigate here, Dad? Is it related to the case we saw on the front page?”
“Yes, Albus. We suspect Professor Malfoy handed the things to the culprits before he left for Japan.” Harry said and stared at Scorpius.
Scorpius got pale and uttered,
“You suspect my father committed a crime. If he did that, will you send my father to Azkaban?”
“We have to say ‘yes’.”
Scorpius breathed hard. Albus took a step closer to him and said,
“We have a chance to change the situation. Dad, we’re planning to change the past.”
Harry stared at his son with surprise and asked,
“The past? You can’t change the past with magic except a Time-Turner. There aren’t any Time-Turners left in the Ministry since we intruded there at our school years.”
“Hey, Rosie, you and Hermione were talking about the things at the Burrow. Hermione wouldn’t tell me what you were talking about. I reckon you were talking about the Time-Turner, weren’t you?” Ron asked Rose.
“Yes, we were talking about it. I borrowed it from Professor McGonagall. We’re planning to go back to the time Professor Malfoy came back to his house before the conference. Scorp and Albus made a fake egg from the grindylow. If Lestrange gets the fake one, you can arrest him. We have to persuade Professor Malfoy to co-operate to capture Lestrange. If he agrees, he will turn to be a cooperator not an accomplice, won’t he?”
“Did Professor Malfoy come back in the middle of his stay in Far East Asia? It’s incredible.” Hagrid poured tea into mugs.
“That’s why he got sick. Repetition of apparition had him exhausted mentally and physically.” Harry said. “I’m on it. We’ll work with you. Rosie, come back to us as soon as possible after you persuade Malfoy. We’ll use the Time-Turner to go back to Malfoy Manor to arrest Lestrange. I’ll lend you my Invisibility Cloak. Use it if you feel that your’e in danger or need to hide.” He pulled out his Invisibility Cloak and handed it to Rose.
Rose asked, “You said Time-Turners. Does it mean there’s more than one?”
Harry winked and said, “Your dad and I will follow you three. If the bad wizards emerge, we’ll protect you. Let’s go persuade Scorp’s dad not to commit a crime.”
Back to index
Chapter 9: Chapter 9 Second Victim
Author's Notes: I added one more episode (Harry/ Ginny ship) for this site in this chapter after great beta by Pixi.
When Ginny appeared wearing purple kimono in their bedroom, Harry was completely mesmerized by her beauty. His pulse picked up when his eyes caught a roll of her red hair worn at the nape of her milky white neck. She smiled shyly,
“I don’t know how to dress kimono. I managed to do remembering Junko, a Japanese Quidditch player, who I met before. I almost forgot how she wore…” she stood awkwardly in front of him.
He could smell her flowery scent when he kissed her. He had missed this for these weeks. He was pulling her to the bed. His eyes slid down to her front while flipping open her kimono. Her white skin looked attractive on the beautiful violet fabric. He squirmed with desire when she ran her hands through his messy black hair. With heat and hunger, his hands had been already stroking her torso under kimono. She whispered moaning with pleasure,
“Welcome home, Harry…”
She was a white lily on the violet petals.
Racing with the reserves, Albus’s mind flew far beyond the pitch. He regretted that he had agreed with the plan. He felt like he was the only one left behind. While Uncle Ron and his father left for Malfoy Manor, his role was to watch Professor Malfoy. Rose and Scorpius were preparing to travel back to the time when Malfoy had temporarily come back from Japan, just before the conference. Then James shouted from the ground.
“Albus, focus on the Snitch!”
The golden winged ball fluttered near the goal post. He accelerated his broom to the max speed and caught it. When he landed on the ground, his brother checked his wristwatch and said coolly, “That’s not as fast as you were at the Burrow this summer. You can catch it faster.”
“Easier to say than do,” he muttered.
It was far from comfortable to walk the bare corridor between the cold stone walls. Scorpius felt thankful that Rose had traveled back in time with him, but it made him wonder. Did all Gryffindors act like this for their friends? Scorpius stared at the redhead from behind. Her hair reminded him of the sunset on the Great Lake. It was warm and calmed his uneasy worries about his father and the Malfoy name. When his hand tried to touch her hair wondering how it would look at the sunset, Rose glanced back,
“You go first, Scorp. Make sure your father isn’t there.”
They were standing in front of the door of the room. Scorpius swallowed hard and knocked. There was no answer. He tried to shove it open but he couldn’t. He pulled out his wand and chanted the Unlocking Charm. It made a clicking sound and opened. He was relieved. He had been worried that his father had cast a stronger locking spell on the door.
“I don’t think he’s here. We checked his schedule, didn’t we?”
Rose stood face to face with him, so close that. Scorp could count the freckles on her face. She lifted the chains of the Time-Turner off Scorp’s neck and muttered, “Clockwise, twice at maximum, we’ll be back two weeks ago. On the day your father came back secretly from Japan with the Kappa’s eggs.”
They experienced a sharp pain in their legs which felt like their limbs were pinched by a big peg or something. When the pain eased, she said “I think we’re safely back in time. Your father will come to this office. You’ll be coming as well after he enters. Do you understand that you must not be seen by yourself?”
“Yeah, I do.” He looked around the room. There was nowhere to hide.
Rose pulled out the Invisibility Cloak and said,
“I’ll hide under the cloak. Dad and Uncle Harry must be hiding somewhere for us as well. I’ll wait here by the bookshelf. Good luck!” She took a step closer to the bookshelf and pulled the cloak over herself.
Encouraged, he nodded. He had an hour or so until Scorpius from the past came in. In ten minutes or so, his father entered the room.
“Scorp, what are you doing here?” Malfoy was very confused.
“Father, I don’t know you could get the eggs, but I made a fake one for you. Please don’t be a criminal for me!” He begged and held out a fake egg to his father.
“What’s this? Why did you do that?” Malfoy grabbed the egg and put it on the desk.
Scorpius noticed Malfoy’s leather bag on the floor. He held it quickly in his arm and said, “I told Harry Potter that you’ve been threatened by Lestrange. Please cooperate with the Aurors.”
“Scorp, hand me the bag. Don’t hold it so violently.”
“Why? I reckon there are eggs inside.”
“No! I’ll break them.” He shoved his hands inside the bag. His hand touched the two eggs. He pulled out the one and crushed it in front of Malfoy.
Malfoy groaned, “Scorp, I understood what you said, so stop.” He pulled out his wand and tried to cast a spell on his son, but Invisible Rose was faster.
“Protego!” Her spell shot towards Scorp. Malfoy’s Body-Bind hex was blocked by her defending spell.
“Potter?” Malfoy gasped at the bookshelf.
Rose emerged from the Cloak and said, “I’m sorry, Professor Malfoy. But your future situation will be worse. If you hand the eggs to Lestrange, you’ll be sent to Azkaban.”
“Weasley, how did you know that I would come back here?”
“My father and Uncle Harry know all your moves,” Rose said aloud. She reckoned his father and Uncle Harry were waiting outside of Malfoy’s office.
Malfoy stared at Scorpius and Rose for a while. He breathed hard and said,
“Alright, what’s your plan?”
Rose told Malfoy what Harry had explained before using the Time-Turner. Malfoy listened calmly and said sarcastically,
“Since when did the Auror Headquarters employ children?”
Scorpius took the other egg from Malfoy’s bag and shoved it into his pocket. He took the fake one from the desk and handed it to his father. Malfoy took it carefully and said,
“It is well done. Lestrange won’t be able to notice it’s not real.” He put it in the bag and glanced back at them once again. He said,
“Scorp, you’re wiser than me. You chose good friends.” He grabbed a handful of Floo powder and shouted, “Malfoy Manor!” and vanished.
“Do you think he trusts us?” Rose asked Scorp dubiously.
“Yes, he does. That was the highest praise he’s ever given me.” Scorpius smiled.
“Professor Malfoy left for Malfoy Manor, Uncle Harry.” She handed the Time-Turner to Harry.
“Well done, Rosie!” Ron hugged her tightly, “Now, it’s our turn.”
“Thank you, Dad. Take care, Dad and Uncle Harry. Well, let’s go back to the spot we should be. We mustn’t be seen by you, Scorp. Your past self will be here soon.” Rose lifted the chains off Scorp’s neck.
Harry and Ron were leaving the hut. Scorpius couldn’t resist saying,
“Mr. Potter, please save my father.”
Harry glanced back and said, “Yes, I will. I’m a professional.”
Ron complained, “How many times have we saved him? When will Malfoy learn from his past experiences?”
Harry answered, “He must have learned from his son today.”
Scorpius smiled, and he and Rose went back to the future.
Harry and Ron reached the gate and went out of Hogwarts. They disapparated and instantly landed at the gate of Malfoy Manor. Harry lifted the chains off Ron’s neck and they endured the hard pain. The next moment, Harry pulled over the Invisibility Cloak and two of them hid under it. Thanks to the Cloak, they could get into the Manor House following after the hooded wizard. Ron whispered,
“Is he R.L.?”
“Yeah, I think so.”
The orange-hued ray of the sunrise started dyeing the Manor House. Contrary to the good weather, the inside was very dark. When they passed the large sitting room, Ron whispered again,
“This place reminds me of the time when...”
“Yeah, I know.” Harry whispered back.
They remembered their hunting for Horcruxes and grabbed their wand. The hooded wizard ascended the stairs. They followed without making a sound. He knocked at the door of the library and then vanished beyond the door. After ten minutes or so, the hooded wizard came back out with Malfoy. He spoke,
“I carried two, but one turned to stone. Be careful not to expose this to the air of the Muggle world.”
They made sure that Malfoy handed the fake egg to R.L. by Malfoy’s words. As soon as RL went out of the building, they cast the Full Body-Bind hex against him. Hit by two strong hexes, Rabastan Lestrange turned stiff and fell down on the ground. Harry sent Patronus message to Robards. Soon the four Hit Wizards apparated there and took Lestrange to the Headquarters. Feeling the change of the color of the sky, Harry and Ron went back to the future.
“Ahh! I don’t want to do this again. How painful!” Scorpius groaned.
“Let’s leave,” Rose said. “I don’t want to be caught by your father now. Besides, Uncle Harry and Dad are waiting for us.”
When they came out of the room, Albus was waiting for them.
“Oh, Albus, thank you for watching.” Rose said.
“You seemed to forget I was here,” Albus pouted.
“I’m sorry. We’re just excited,” said Rose.
“Did everything go well?”
“Yes, he left for .. shhh!” Rose warned.
They saw Malfoy come around the corner, from the dungeon.
“What are you doing here?” Malfoy questioned in his cold manner.
“Someone stole Albus’ snitch,so we’ve been searching for it,” Scorpius lied.
“Is there any evidence that one of Slytherins did this, Potter?” Malfoy asked.
“I’m not sure, but I thought I saw green robes on the pitch.” Albus frowned at Scorpius. Scorpius smirked and said, “I’ll teach him well, Father. Let’s go!” He started running away.
Albus shouted, “Wait!” and chased after him.
Rose followed behind them. When they arrived at the door to Hagrid’s hut, Albus blamed Scorp.
“Why did you tell a lie?”
“If I didn’t tell a lie, he wouldn’t have released us.” Scorpius shrugged.
“Scorp is right.” Rose knocked on the door, “Hagrid! We came back!”
Hagrid opened the door instantly and welcomed them.
“Did yeh do as yeh planned?”
“Yes, we did,” Scorpius answered brightly.
“We arrested Lestrange and he confessed with Veritaserum that he couldn’t pass along the Kappa’s egg to his followers. We managed to change the past. But Mr. Haas was still a Kappa. Why?” Ron asked Harry.
“Because we can’t capture his followers, and the culprit used Scamander’s eggs,” Harry concluded.
“Right. Then why didn’t Robards let us arrest MacNeil? He must be guilty.”
“We can’t find any evidence. Ron, I feel there’s something fishy about him but we have to catch him in the act. It’s essential.”
“Why can’t we catch him out? Let’s go and investigate room 55 again.” Ron stood up from the stool in Harry’s cubicle.
“I was going to suggest that to you just now. You know what we should do.” Grinning, Harry followed him out of the office. “Ron, you’ve missed this. I’m glad you’re regaining the sense of the field work.”
“Nah, I won’t do this job forever. I told you. I love working at George’s shop.”
“Yeah, he needs you.”
They descended to the DM floor. The guard at the gate noticed them instantly as he passed by. The front page that reported Lestrange’s arrest two weeks ago had influence over the officers in the Ministry. Harry and Ron had become famous again.
“We got a free pass, ha?” Ron walked the corridor triumphantly.
Joanne McSherry walked to them briskly.
“Mr. Potter, Mr. Weasley, how may I help you?”
“We’d like to investigate Room 55. Can we go in?” Harry asked.
“Sure. MacNeil isn’t here on business but you can ask Bob Henry anything.”
Harry liked the young staff, Henry whose hair was dark brown and curly. He was honest and politics-free, far from cunning like the other Unspeakables.
Ron started investigating the surroundings of the case where the Kappa’s eggs were stored. Harry looked into the other display items in the room. When he did a third pass, he noticed the tank of Merpeople. The female Merperson looked like she was singing a song. He remembered the Triwizard Tournament. The idea occurred to him suddenly. What if the Merpeople had witnessed the time when MacNeil stole the eggs? He shouted,
“Bob, come here!”
“Yes, sir!” Henry hurried to Harry.
“I want to listen what she says.” He pointed the tank.
“Who is she?” Henry got perplexed.
“This Merperson. What’s her name?”
“Eh, we call her Dolores.”
“Dolores. Good name. Bring a swimsuit.”
Ron noticed what Harry was up to and came closer.
“Are you going to jump in the tank right now?”
“Yes. Bring the long step-ladder, Ron. ”
After changing into his swimsuit, Harry climbed the ladder to the top of the tank. There was a small space to sit down at the top. Squatting down on his heels, he touched the surface of the water. It was warm. He cast a Bubble Head charm and dove in. In the water, Dolores swam closer to him. Her face wasn’t pretty like a mermaid from the Muggle cartoons, but he didn’t feel hostility from her at all. Swaying softly, she began singing. The song was very beautiful, but he had no idea what it was about. He swam up to the surface and climbed back to the ladder. When he jumped down, Ron asked,
“What did she say?”
Harry coughed and managed to answer, “She sang a song for me. I think she was trying to tell me something, but I couldn’t understand her at all.”
Ron heaved a big sigh, “We’re up against the wall.”
“If Dumbledore is here, he could tell us. But we can’t soak the portrait of him in the water…wait!” Wiping his body, he rummaged the pocket of his robes. He pulled out his son’s letter. “We’ll call for Professor Lybeck. Let’s go back to the Headquarters.”
When they were leaving to the Headquarters, Harry glanced back to Henry,
“Bob, don’t let Mr. MacNeil enter this room until we fetch professor Lybeck here.”
“Yes, sir!” Henry answered lively.
They came back to the office and reported what they had to Robards.
“Where is MacNail now?”
“I don’t know, sir.”
“I’m afraid he is targeting the second victim right now. Did you ask Mrs. McSherry where he went?”
“Yes, sir. But she only knew he went to Scotland.” Answering, Harry and Ron got nervous.
“Did he go alone?” Robards seemed to feel the same way. He frowned.
“Yes, sir.” Harry and Ron exchanged glances. They hoped nobody would be the second victim.
MacNeil was hiding in the basement of the closed old pub in Hogsmeade. He had a syringe in his hand. The essence was successfully filled in. He climbed the stairs to the ground and left for the Three Broomsticks. He knew professor Lybeck visited there regularly on the weekend. MacNeil got information that Lybeck had recently studied the Counter-Curse focused on the Water Demons. He had to cross him out before the Minister and Headquarters would figure out the solution for the case. He found an empty seat at the bar and pulled his hood over deep. Then the tall professor entered. Madam Rosmerta with grey hair, still glamorous at her age, welcomed him and led him to his favorite seat next to MacNeil. Lybeck greeted him lightly and ordered Firewhiskey and kipper. MacNeil offered to treat him and asked.
“Hello, I work at the Ministry, in the public relations section. I heard you have studied the Counter-Curse, Professor. What’s your interest in?”
Lybeck smiled widely with his ruddy face, “Oh are you interested in the Defence Against the Dark Magic? Yes, I'm studying the Counter-Curse developed by Asian countries. Do you know the priest, Dogen?”
“No. If you don’t mind, please enlighten me.”
Lybeck looked around the pub contented and said, “I love the atmosphere here. Nice talk and angel’s share,” he sipped his drink and began talking about the essay.
What Lybeck told him was as dangerous to MacNeil as he predicted. The priest seemed to know the secret of the Kappa’s egg very well. He had to make sure whether the essay had been circulated to the public or not. He asked,
“Where did you find his essay? Is it well known in Britain? I’d like to read it, too.”
“No, you can’t. The National library is unique. It is located in the Muggle Royal library. You have to get a license to enter there. Luckily I have a relative who belongs to the Royal Academy of Literature and Science, so I was able to inspect it.” He nibbled at his kipper, “Would you like some kipper?”
“No, thank you.” MacNeil was timing when he would shove the needle.
Madam Rosmerta came back to serve them more shots and left to tend the other drunken guests. That left only MacNeil and Lybeck at the counter. MacNeil took his chance. He pulled out the syringe and stabbed the needle in Lybeck’s arm, pulling it out instantly. Shocked, Lybeck pressed down on the spot with his left hand. MacNeil cast Obliterating Charm in no time. He spoke,
“Professor, you drank enough. Let’s go outside.” He urged Lybeck to leave the pub.
Lybeck reeled along the dark street in Hogsmeade. MacNeil led him all the way to the river bank and waited. Lybeck suddenly crouched down on the spot. The transformation began. As MacNeil had witnessed the Muggle officer’s transformation, he kept calm. After the dreadful transformation, The Kappa Lybeck stood up. The tall creature’s skin was covered with reptilian scales. It had a bowl-like head which contained a small amount of water. MacNeil knew it couldn’t live without water. If the healers at St. Mungo’s had not figured out soon, Kappa Vice Minister Haas would die, which was MacNeil’s plan. To accomplish his task, Professor Lybeck was an obstruction for him. He pushed the half-fish, half-man into the river.
“Professor, your home is here. Enjoy your swimming.” And he disappeared into the darkness.
The next Saturday, Hogwarts had a quidditch match between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw. Nobody had noticed Lybeck’s disappearance yet. Hagrid was excited the most. He even came to the locker room to encourage the players,
“I trust in yeh, all of yeh!”
Teddy’s hair turned from Hagrid’s grey hair to vivid turquoise blue and he bellowed, “Show the Claws your gut!” and he mounted the broom and kicked the ground hard.
The Gryffindor team mates followed their captain as quick as lightning to the sky. Victoire with her blonde ponytail was observing the Gryffindor players near the goal post. She tried to focus on the game, needing to bring the victory to her team. If she lost, she wouldn’t be able to face her parents who had named her after the victory of the Battle. She predicted James and Teddy would strengthen their attack. She had to find a Snitch as fast as she could. She imagined how her father, Bill would be proud of her. She tried hard not to think how gentle Teddy’s smile was and how manly his bone structure was. And her gaze shifted to Albus, the youngest Seeker. She knew his father was the first youngest Seeker in Hogwarts history and how he played in his school years. Her mother used to tell her that Uncle Harry saw what she couldn’t see during the Triwizard Tournament and he had immeasurable power which came out in difficult situations. Albus was told that he had inherited Uncle Harry’s nature the most. She decided to mark him. Her cousin was circling near the opposite goal post. Jealous of his agility and balance, and regretted that she had eaten all the biscuits her mother sent the other day. Then Albus suddenly dove down to the Gryffindor cheering section. Victoire mistook that he found a Snitch. She followed him but she saw him waving towards Uncle Harry and Uncle Ron among them. Albus soared up in the air high and shouted to her,
“Nice dive, Victorie!” and he flew back to his position.
Chasers on both teams played hard. Beaters sent out the Bludger constantly. The audience was mesmerized by their skillful batting and there was a big stir every time they deflected the Bludger against the Chasers. As time went pass by, Ravenclaw was behind Gryffindor by forty points. Skelping a Bludger to Teddy wildly, her teammate Beater, Rosa Chang shouted, “I’ll shoot a Bludger to the Gryffindor captain again. Focus on the bloody golden ball, Victore!”
“I’m okay, thank you!” Victore shouted back. She felt irritated that Rosa was giving her order. “Who is the captain, anyway?” she muttered.
Then Rosa’s Bludger hit Teddy straight on his left shoulder and he fell, spinning downward to the ground. She wanted to cry but she was so shocked she couldn’t make a sound. She knew she should concentrate on finding a Snitch, but she was so worried about Teddy that she couldn’t concentrate until Uncle Harry bellowed a Hovering Charm. Watching her boyfriend descending in the air slowly, she calmed down and went back to her position. She turned her gaze to the spot Albus had been. But he wasn’t there. She frantically searched the small figure in red uniform and finally she could find her cousin high up in the sky. It was too late for her to catch up with him. His hand had already reached the golden fluttering ball against the sun.
The moment his godson landed on the ground safely, the crowd went wild. The commentator shouted, “Albus Potter caught a Snitch! Gryffindor won!” He smiled at his son who held the golden ball high in the air and ran towards Teddy. His godson was rubbing his left shoulder and looked depressed. His hair returned to its original dark brown color.
“Hey, you fought bravely, Teddy my boy!” Harry patted him on the head gently.
“Thank you, Uncle Harry. Albus did a good job.” Teddy glanced back to Albus.
The other Gryffindor mates jumped onto Albus. Harry raised Teddy in his arms and led him to the Hospital Wing. Ron caught up to him.
“Harry, I’ll take him so you can go to your son.”
“I’ll take him. Teddy is my son, too.”
“Uncle Harry, please go to Albus. I’m okay. Albus practiced so hard for this.”
“Thank you. I’ll be back to you soon.” Harry left him with Ron and went back to the pitch.
Albus was leaving the pitch surrounded by Gryffindor mates. He found Harry and ran to him,
“Dad, did you see when I got a Snitch?”
“Yeah, I did. I’m very proud of you, son.” He ruffled his son’s messy hair.
Albus looked delighted. He asked, “Did you come here just to watch the game?”
“Well, I want to say yes, but the real aim is to ask your DADA teacher about something very important. Where is he? He isn’t in his room.”
“I don’t know. Did you ask the Headmistress?”
“Yes, I did. But Professor McGonagall didn’t either. She sent her patronus but got no reply.”
Harry and Ron came back to Hogwarts the next Monday, but Lybeck hadn’t shown up for class. McGonagall spoke with them in her office,
“We can’t deny the possibility that Professor Lybeck is missing.”
A team of Aurors came to investigate Hogwarts. They searched all areas, the inside and the outside even around the forbidden forest. But they couldn’t find any trace of the professor.
“I feel like someone has trapped us,” Harry said after he finished searching around the Great Lake. He took off his spectacles and wiped the dirt off.
“Do you think someone killed him and hid him?”
“I couldn’t say no.”
“Well, we need a break. I heard Professor Lybeck often went to the Three Broomsitcks. Let’s go there.” Ron suggested.
When they arrived at Madam Rosmerta’s, night was falling. They sat down the bar and Ron called to Madam Rosmerta. Harry felt his mate was high spirited in her presence.
“Wow, two of you grew to be attractive men. What will you have?” she asked Ron.
“Firewhiskey.” Ron’s voice cracked. Harry couldn’t stop himself from chuckling.
When she served them two shots of Firewhiskey, Harry asked her,
“Did Professor Lybeck come here last week?”
“Yes, he did. He ordered more than five shots of Firewhiskey.”
“Did he have a company?”
“Yes, he did. A wizard.”
“What was he like?”
“He put on deep hood so I couldn’t see his face. The professor ordered kipper. When I came back to them, they had left here already.”
“Did they leave together?”
“I suppose so.”
Harry ordered kipper, too. He shared it with Ron, but it was too salty. They barely managed to control their desire to drink more. When they finished eating, he turned on the tracing spectacles and investigated the bar counter. Then he noticed a slight trace of lights, the pattern of swishing that a wand created when the caster performed an Obliterating Charm on the victim.
“I have to report this to Robards. If MacNeil did this, his wand was registered on the map at Headquarters so that we will be able to find out if he committed the crime here or not.” He sent his Patronus to Robards.
Back to index
Chapter 10: Chapter 10 Bridge Over Troubled Water
Author's Notes: I added some spots mainly about Harry/Ginny ship after great beta by Pixi.
MacNeil came back to the DM. He reported that the unidentified new species of Magical Creature was the same kind of kelpie as the largest one found in Loch Ness. McSherry seemed to be disappointed at the news. He muttered in his mind, “You can find the new one, if you go to the river of Hogsmeade.” He chuckled to himself while imagining Kappa Lybeck.
When he tried to enter Room 55, Bob Henry stood in his way.
“I’m sorry, Mr. MacNeil. You can’t enter.”
“Why? I’m the head of this room.” He raised his voice in anger and stared at the young officer.
“But you can’t. Mr. Potter’s orders.” Bob repeated firmly.
While he gnashed his teeth, he heard footsteps behind him. Before MacNeil could react, Harry and Ron came out of the back room and had their wands pointed at him,
“MacNeil, give me your wand,” Harry demanded.
Surrounded by Hit Wizards, pressed by Aurors, he gave up and held out his wand to Harry.
Harry took it and said, “Take him to Headquarters. I need to ask you about Professor Lybeck’s disappearance.”
In an interview room, they tested whether MacNeil reacted against Veritaserum. When the results came back negative, they had him drink the potion. He confessed to every crime that he had ever committed.
With the new information, Harry and Ron went to the river bank of Hogsmeade to search for Professor Lybeck. After twelve grueling hours, a Water Demon, Kappa was located near the upper stream. He wasn’t aggressive, but he was very thin and extremely hungry. Ron gave him a can of kipper that he ate ravenously.
“Professor Lybeck?” Ron asked gingerly.
Kappa Lybeck didn’t seem to understand what he said. He had a little bit of hair and a hollow in his head that looked like a small basin surrounded by weeds. He was round-shouldered and had a turtle shell on the back. His hands and feet were transformed into webs. His skin was greenish like a frog.
“Poor Lybeck.” Ron muttered. “What should we do with him?” “Take him to Newt Scamander’s. He’ll be shocked, but it was him who brought in the Kappa’s eggs. He knows about the Water Demons very well. He’ll take care of him for a while ‘till we find the solution.”
Ron and a team of Aurors accommodated Lybek in a big cage and took him to Scamander’s home.
The old Magizoologist heaved a big sigh when he saw Kappa Lybeck. ‘I am responsible for your tragedy, Mr. Lybeck. I will help you to regain your former body at any cost.’
‘How long will it be before we can take him to the spot?’ Ron asked Scamander.
‘We need two weeks. He must regain his physical strength before he is able to travel.’
Harry went back to Hogwarts to check about Dogen’s essay. He reckoned that Malfoy knew something about him. When he arrived at the hearth of McGonagall’s office, she welcomed him and said,
“Harry, I have a favor to ask you.”
“What can I do for you?”
“With Professor Lybeck in his present state, there isn’t a DADA teacher so I’m wondering if you could step in as a substitute teacher.”
“Me?” Harry was about to refuse the offer, but he quickly rethought it. “I have to research something related to the transformation of Professor Lybeck. So I think I can teach the students while I stay.” Harry remembered the time when he taught DA members in his fifth year and became excited about the thought of being a real teacher this time, if only for a short while.
When Albus entered the Great Hall in the morning, he noticed his brothers and friends were gathering around the platform where the professors were sitting. James found him and beckoned him closer.
“Hey, Albus! Big news! Dad’s going to teach us DADA!”
Albus became jealous. First years wouldn’t learn DADA yet. Next to his father, Professor Malfoy sat scowling. Professor Longbottom was smiling as usual. McGonagall looked very satisfied and stood up. She clapped her hands three times and said,
“Attention, boys and girls! It is my pleasure to introduce your substitute DADA teacher. Mr. Harry Potter will be taking over for Professor Lybeck while he recovers from an unexpected illness. Mr. Potter has offered not only to teach classes but also have a demonstration DADA lesson for all years. If you’re interested in the subject, gather around in the Great Hall after school tomorrow.”
The students broke into loud cheers. Albus felt like jumping up and down. He grinned at Rose. She looked very happy to hear the news, too. They glanced back to the Slytherin tables. Scorpius looked delighted and waved towards them. After the introduction, McGonagall urged the students to sit down and eat breakfast. Neville spoke to Harry,
“The students aren’t the only ones who are excited. I’m glad you’re here too, Harry.” He had been cheerful until he spoke in small voice, “I heard from Luna about Professor Lybeck.”
Feeling Malfoy’s attention, Harry cut in, “Do you exchange owls with each other?”
“Yes, we do. Her knowledge of Magical Creatures helps my research in Herbology.” Neville answered and got serious. “Rolf sent an owl to Priest Dogen. Kingsley had visited him since Mr. Haas was forced to transform to the Kappa. You’ll soon get a reply from Rolf.”
“Is he the priest who wrote the essay, ‘The Counter-Curse against the Water Demon’?”
“Oh, have you heard from Professor Lybeck about it before?”
“No, I got the information from MacNeil who drank Veritaserum.” Harry answered and watched Malfoy flinch. He continued, “If Luna’s husband finds the answer, we can save Professor Lybeck. But if he can’t, Malfoy,” Harry stared at Malfoy.
Malfoy tried to stand up and said, “Excuse me, I have to prepare for the lesson.”
“Sit down Malfoy, I haven’t finished. Harry had unknowingly raised his voice, and some of the students nearby gave him surprised stares. Malfoy reluctantly sat down. “What do you want?”
“Tell me what you know. You must have got some information in Aomori.”
Malfoy kept silent for a while and said, “Yes, I did. If I tell you the information, what will you do for me?”
Harry stared at him. He was dumbfounded by Malfoy’s insatiable demand.
“You don’t give us the information without repayment? Okay, we’ll do patrol around your Manor House regularly.” He conceded by promising Malfoy his family’s safety.
“Good. Your son has already known the information. I had them write an essay about the Kappa. Ask him.” Malfoy stood up and left.
“Wha..?” Harry stared at the back of Malfoy like he was bewitched by a dwarf.
Albus hurried to Hagrid’s hut. When he entered, he found his father talking with Hagrid merrily.
“Hey, Albus, how’s Potions class?” Harry asked his son in a relaxed mood.
“Not bad. Professor Malfoy hasn’t said any sarcastic things to me recently. I feel weird though.”
“Because I saved Professor Malfoy again. He has to behave properly. Study hard, Albus. Whether you like Potions or not, what you learn will be useful in the future.”
“Yes, I will.”
Then Rose came in with Scorpius.
“Uncle Harry, I brought Scorpius. What do you want to know?” Her face was flushed with excitement.
Scorpius was surprisingly calm in spite of the recent events. Albus and Rose seemed to be his best mates now.
His face seemed brighter than the last time Harry saw him.
“Rose, Scorpius, I need your help. I heard from Professor Malfoy that you received good marks for your Potions essay. I need to know what you researched.”
Rose climbed into a big wooden chair while Hagrid poured tea into mugs and started slicing the rock cake, delighted to be serving guests.
“Scorpius, tell him why you got an Outstanding.” Rose urged Scorpius to talk.
Scorpius started explaining brightly, feeling he would be useful to Rose’s uncle. “I found out that the Kappa’s egg has the power of transformation while I was reading the thick classic book in the library.”
Harry felt disappointed. He had already known the fact. But Scorpius had more to say.
“My father wrote some interesting notes on my assignment. . Actually I got this after lunch today.”
“After lunch today?”
“Yes. Here.” Scorpius held out his essay.
Harry started reading Malfoy’s scribbles,
You did good research, Scorp. I’ll add some more useful information I got during a trip to Japan. If you want to go back to the original appearance after the transformation, go to the Muggle World and breathe its fresh air for a day to the maximum.
Harry smiled at Scorpius,
“Thank you, Scorp. I have what I need.”
Harry decided that Malfoy had given up supporting the Pure-Blood political parties. He reckoned the decision was hard for Malfoy. Malfoy had tried a last-ditch resistance, but the attempt was illegal and contaminated with Dark Magic from the first place. Harry pulled out his wand and cast the Copying Charm on a blank sheet of parchment. He rolled it up and stood up,
“I’ll send this to Newt Scamander. If everything goes well, Mr. Lybeck will be back with us soon.”
Harry entered Lybeck’s study and smiled at a large picture of a dark green Troll above the wooden desk. He remembered his first year’s adventure with Ron and Hermione in the basement on the Halloween evening. He sat at the desk and picked out the file with a label of the third year. Remembering what James said, he checked what the third years had learned. They seemed to have learned the Bubble-Head Charm. There was a note that the practice should be postponed for summer when the Great Lake would be warmer. So they had learned only the theory. As he contemplated what he should teach them, the school owl pecked the window. He opened the window and let the owl in.
“Good girl. Did you come from Luna’s?” He gave her owl nuts from a jar on the desk and spread the letter.
Mr. Potter, I apologize for my family’s careless work. We shouldn’t have brought the eggs back. The secret should’ve been kept forever. We had not covered the Department of Mysteries. We washed our dirty linen in public. I’ll confess that my father and grandfather were on bad terms with each other. My grandfather did a great job and became famous in the Wizarding World. Under pressure, my father was too eager for success. Not knowing what disaster would be waiting, he stole the eggs from my grandfather’s secret room and donated them for his own promotion. He was also a victim of MacNeil. Please don’t blame my father. I’ve attached a letter from Priest Dogen. Luna will bring his picture book to Hogwarts later.
As Rolf wrote, there was a copy of Dogen’s reply written in Indian ink. It took more time for Harry to read them, they were written in a unique style.
Mr. Rolf Scamander
The incidents in your country saddened us. The Kappa’s eggs should not be used for such an evil aim. We had used it for protection from enemies during the battle. There remains some folklore related to the transformation. I’ll send a picture book so please donate it to Hogwarts library. To regain the original appearance after the transformation, you’d better go to the river which flows between the magical area and the Muggle world. Please don’t forget the fact the Kappa can’t live without water. The victims have to keep swimming to return to their original appearance. It’s dangerous in the dark. Mr. Haas and Mr. Lybeck have to swim for an entire day. If they are not in good condition, your friends had better support them in the water.
Harry folded the two letters and shoved them inside his pocket. He took a step closer to the hearth and grabbed the Floo powder. Landing in front of the hearth of the Headquarters, He looked for Robards. His boss was staring at the old map of Britain.
“Sir, I got a clue to the case.”
Robards turned to Harry. Harry handed him the letters. Reading them, Robards became spirited,
“Well done, Potter. I’ll form teams for Mr. Haas and Professor Lybeck.”
“I’d like to join the team but the Headmistress asked me to teach DADA at Hogwarts. How long will it take for Professor Lybeck to be back to Hogwarts?”
“I suppose at least three days. After he regains his original appearance, he’ll need a checkup.”
“After Professor Lybeck comes back to us, I’ll ask him to interpret Mermish. The merpeople, Dolores must have witnessed MacNeil’s crime scene at the DM. We need evidence for the coming trial.”
Albus got up earlier than usual. He even enjoyed the Potions class when Malfoy taught them how to make digestive medicine in which they needed knowledge of measurement. Malfoy spoke in his drawling voice,
“If you give a wrong dose of potion, your responsibility will be immeasurable.Do you understand, Potter?””
Called like that, Albus felt offended a little and thought of throwing out a hint that Malfoy was responsible for Professor Lybek’s absence in the middle of class, but he stopped mid-thought, realizing what that would do to Scorpius. Malfoy’s attitude towards his son had improved greatly. It was no good to bring up the matter again. He answered obediently, “Yes, Professor.”
Most of the class succeeded in making the digestive medicine except Flint and his gang. They were scattering white turmeric around the cauldron. To Albus’s surprise, Malfoy reprimanded them.
“I’m willing to send your parents a bill for the wasted white turmeric. This is rare and very expensive.”
Albus felt completely satisfied to see them shrink and noticed Scorpius felt in the same way from his facial expression. After class, on their way to the Great Hall, he talked to Scorpius,
“Did you talk with your father since then?”
“Yes, we did. I confessed I was bullied ever since I got on the train.”
“Oh, were you? I didn’t know that.” Albus felt guilty that he had been harsh against him before.
“Don’t feel pity for me. I just wanted to be treated normally. I hate to be under the spotlight.”
“I feel in the same way.”
Scorpius was surprised and asked, “I always thought you were proud of your father’s power.”
“I’m proud of my father, of course. But we’ve been chased by Rita Skeeter since I was a baby. Would you want to live like that?”
They came up to the Entrance Hall. Rose was running from behind and caught up with them. Albus asked her,
“What were you doing?”
“When I went to the library to take back the book, I saw Luna at the desk so I talked with her. Big news. She brought some picture books from Japan.”
Albus and Scorpius exchanged glances. Scorpius shrugged.
“The fairy tale of Shota and Saki! Don’t you want to read it?” Rose added.
“I do!” they answered at the same time and grinned.
“You have to wait till Madam Pince marks the Hogwarts emblem on them,” said Rose.
The Great Hall was crowded with students. All the long tables were removed and on the platform, Albus saw his father surrounded by seventh years in earnest discussion.
“But Mr. Potter, what do you think about Pure-Blood superiority? Though the system have caused many tragedies, I think the benefits that Pure-Blood wizards achieved in the past is enormous.” The tall golden haired boy threw a question.
“Goldstein, what’s your first name?” Harry asked.
“Please call me Tim.”
“Okay, Tim, are your parents from Pure-Blood, right? I suppose your family has reaped many benefits for generations. It may need much courage to give up most of the benefits. But what if you’re born a poor Muggle or poor Pure-Blood? What if you’re not treated properly by your family? You may feel desperate for everything if nobody loves you. There was a man whose mother was born in a declining Pure-Blood family. He didn’t know love. He was constrained by the radical thought of Pure-Blood superiority. He tried to build a society which insulted Muggle-Borns. Why did he try to eliminate Muggle-Borns? He hated his Muggle father who ditched his mother. Hate produced evil thoughts. Hate sought for evil power. He knew he could pervert his talent and the wrong ideology, the Pure-Blood superiority for his evil aim. If you want to master DADA, you have to understand the background of our world, Tim.”
Hushed silence reigned over the Great Hall. Harry nodded towards Neville who was waiting near the platform. Neville climbed it and stood next to him. Harry pulled out his holly wand and rubbed it with his left thumb. He spoke,
“You have a wand. You have to appreciate it. We have responsibility for own magic. A long time ago, our ancestors used magic to make our lives convenient. But before we knew, magic was used against each other. Magic shouldn’t be used for fighting. The day that we don’t need to learn about DADA, is the day that our world is finally at peace. So what you learn today from me is one skill, Disarming Charm.”
“No way! Again, Dad?” James muttered.
Harry smiled at his son,
“My first son has already learned it during summer holidays. But if he fights with a skillful wizard, I doubt James can win against him. James, come here. Neville is your opponent.”
James climbed the platform nervously. Neville pulled out his wand and got set to duel. James had never seen Neville’s so serious look. He pulled out his wand, too. The students and professors including McGonagall and Hagrid watched with breathless interest. Harry shouted, “Ready, set go!”
“Expelliarmus!” they bellowed at the same time.
Albus caught his brother’s wand that hurtled into Rose with his Seeker’s moves. He handed it to James who trotted down. James looked sullen with chagrin.
“Who’s next?” Harry asked.
Soon, Harry called Scorpius. Albus noticed Malfoy was observing near the entrance door. The spot was dark so that he couldn’t see his facial expression. Scorpius climbed gingerly and pulled his wand and held it to his waist level. Neville’s face got softer. Albus predicted that Professor Longbottom would be easy on him. As he foresaw, Scorpius was faster than the professor. There was a clapping sound from behind the crowd. Malfoy was praising his son. Harry said,
“Well, done, Scorpius.” He clapped his hands, too.
All the students started clapping. Scorpius jumped off the platform and came to the spot where Albus and Rose were smiling at him.
Madam Pince examined the oriental cover of the fairy tale book. She had never seen such a unique cover. She could feel the texture of the handmade paper by the touch. The coloring materials must have been far different from any paints used for European and Celtic books. Making sure whether the emblem was flat enough not to damage the other books if she stacked the on top, she stacked the three books on the other books carefully. Then she heard the girl’s voice, a bookworm. Rose Weasley spoke timidly,
“Madam Pince, are these ready for lending?”
Madam Pince stared at her over her spectacles,
“Yes, they’re ready. If you tear, bend, fold, smear, drop...” her words were cut in by two other boys,
“Yes, we will promise to take care of them.” Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy grabbed the book each and opened the cover and wrote down their names on the column.
Then they held the book in each arm and left for their favorite place to read, in the back room. The three students sat around the small table and soon started reading voraciously.
Swimming in the Kappa’s state, Shota remembered his younger days. He used to go fishing crawfishes at the river in the summer and pond smelts in the winter with childhood friends. Saki was always there with him. He had a vivid memory her wearing Chinese milk vetch flower necklaces. He remembered the early morning sounds outside of his room. He could still see the pricked up his ears and stared at the paper slide doors. two silhouettes reflected on the screen of the paper slide doors and the crow men who entered the room. He had tried to call for help, but he couldn’t. In spite of his resistance, he was forced to drink a potion and went to sleep. When he woke up again, he was wrapped in cotton clothes, lying on the floor. An old man in white clothes was laid next to him. He sensed the man was dead. Some of the crow men chanted songs he couldn’t understand at all. Small pieces of holly wood were burned and the scent of smoke filled the air. The elder crow man spoke,
“Our leader was found. I declare the transferring ceremony was successful.”
The elder crow bowed deeply to Shota and said,
“My boy, I’ll take care of you from today. My son Saburo will take care of you as well.” He introduced his young crow son.
Shota knew that he was abducted from somewhere. He knew that he and the dead old man weren’t crow men. He reckoned the old man was also abducted in his younger days. He wanted to see his village again but most of his memories had already gone and couldn’t remember the past well. All he could do was accept his destiny.
When he reached the age, he was forced to be the leader of their army. The Tengu tribe had supported Heike Samurai. He knew the fact that the village where he was born was located in the border of Heike territory and Genji territory later. It was the time when he realized that he was abducted from the Kouga Ninja’s village which supported the Genji tribe.
He stood on the top of the cliff and stared at the river meandering down through the mountain. Houses were dotted all along the banks. He wondered which one was where he had grown up. He couldn’t remember her name, but he missed the girl. Temporarily, he remembered that they were supposed to be together. Then Saburo approached him.
“Sir, it’s time to drink the potion.”
“I’m coming.” Shota went back to the nest.
He didn’t like Saburo. His attitude was cool, but he took care of Shota earnestly. It could just be loyalty to the top of his tribe. Shota would rather have the respect come from his heart.
He knew the Tengu tribe supported Heike in secret. Shota’s army was just one of them. He went to the battlefield many times. Exhausted, he sometimes visited his village. Though Saburo checked to see if Shota drank the potion, sometimes Shota would secretly not drink it since he wanted to remember the girl. That was how he had met Saki near the tree after he had been exhausted by a night scouting mission. Once she had seen him when he was in his Tengu state. He had predicted that she would find out what he really was sooner or later. As he had thought, she found out his hiding place and slipped into his nest. On that day, everything from his past had come back to his memory. When he saw her under the moonlight, he was perfectly mesmerized by her beauty. She had grown up a woman. He fell in love with her on that night. She seemed to feel in the same way. She couldn’t take her eyes off him. He pulled her in his arms and kissed her. When he wanted more, Saburo’s voice was heard outside. He reluctantly let her go. He had to protect her. If she was seen by his Tengu tribe, she would be killed instantly. He showed her his secret exit to the outside and she ran away to the darkness.
Heike had the other supporters were like pirates in the western sea. They reached their political peak at Kyoto but soon after their short reign, the Genji regained their strength with support from Ninjas and the other Samurai warriors. The Heike warriors ran away with their ladies and children to the western sea. They took the little Emperor and three magical tools : a sword, a mirror and a jewel with them. The battle came to unexpected sad ending. The noble ladies and the little Emperor threw themselves into the sea, along with the three magical tools.
The hunting didn’t end there. Genji warriors went hunting for the warriors of the Tengu tribe. Many of them were caught and killed. Desperately, Shota and Saki married secretly and decided to run away together. On their escape, they were found by the Genji warriors. Shota was determined to have Saki get away first. He chose to transform into a Kappa. They arranged that they would meet again at their village. He knew that the place was the border between the magical world and the Muggle world, the border between the Tengu tribe residence and the Ninja tribe residence. He knew that he had to transform from Tengu to Kappa to break the Curse cast by the elder crow man in his younger days. After making sure Saki ran away, he transformed into a Kappa.
He had to endure a different pain from the time when he transformed into Tengu. He bore the pain for Saki, and for his own freedom. When he finished transforming, he saw his image on the surface of the water. The water mirror reflected his scales and webs and green skin color. He touched his head which had a plate where no hair existed. When a mellow wild pear fell into the water, Shota jumped into the river. As he transformed into a Kappa, his memory went blurry. He felt like he had been a Kappa for a long time. But the memory of his younger days still remained and he kept swimming forward. The recollection that he and his friend ran through the bridge over the river revived. ‘To the bridge…’, he determined to swim forward. His goal was the bridge. How many miles he swam, he did not know. He was hungry and tired. But he kept swimming and swimming. Day and night, he swam on. His limbs were numb and he was nearly giving up. But the image of the girl in his mind made him continue the trip. Suddenly the scent of wild pear wafted in the water. The familiar scent made his memory come back to him. He realized his limbs had no webs. He was changing back to a human being. The realization gave him the strength to keep swimming. He exerted his last strength, and finally reached the bridge. He stretched his arms and held a bridge post. He climbed up and grabbed the bar of the bridge. He hoisted himself up to the top of the bar. When he fell down on the bridge, Saki ran towards him. She took off her kimono jacket and wrapped naked Shota with it. Supported by her, he came back to his village from years ago. He seemed to be very tired out after long swimming. Even so, she thought he was very beautiful. She fell in love with him again.
Shota’s family shed tears and welcomed him. The village feasted for seven days. After that, the young couple went to the old big oak tree. Under the tree, Shota knelt down and proposed to her following the traditional rules.
Cold winter had left with the northern wind. Spring visited the village with the east wind again. Women boiled rice and made rice cakes for celebration. Men carried barrels of sake. Villagers sang and played instruments. Strong drums vibrated through the valley, mountain and river. Among the blooming cherry blossoms, Saki and Shota marriage was celebrated by the people’s blessings.
Finished with the fairy tale, Rose said,
“I learned the meaning of what priest Dogen wrote in his letter to Uncle Harry. They used the Kappa’s eggs for their protection from their enemies. We shouldn’t use them for other things.”
“You’re right, Rose. I remembered what my father said at the DADA lesson at the Great Hall. We have wands. We have a responsibility for our magic. Magic should be used to make our lives convenient. Magic shouldn’t be used for fighting.” said Albus.
“Why have we fought each other? We’ve learned Magic history and how stupidly we’ve killed each other. Father still suffers from nightmares about his friend who died at Hogwarts.” said Scorpius.
They stayed there, rereading the picture book until Madam Pince urged them to go back to their dorms.
On the day of MacNeil’s trial, Professor Lybeck entered the witness box. He turned to MacNeil sternly. Chained to the arms of the chair, MacNeil’s face was expressionless. Lybeck started reading the translation of the mermaid, Doroles.
“I, Doroles of the Great Lake, witnessed the wizard from the magical photo in the newspaper break the case and steal the four Kappa’s eggs. I saw him use his wand to replace them with fake ones. After that, he put the fake eggs in the case again.”
MacNeil closed his eyes. Until he was arrested, everything had gone well. Rabastan Lestrange’s idea was perfect. He had hope. After Voldemort fell, their fervent wish was to reconstruct the society of Pure-Bloods. When MacNeil found the Japanese Magical Water Demon’s secret, Lestrange was excited and delighted. They planned using Scamander and Malfoy. Lestrange threatened Malfoy. It was MacNeil’s job to steal the Kappa’s eggs in Newt Scamander’s possession. He skillfully got information about the eggs from his son, Xavier Scamander and took advantage of their long-term feud. He talked him into stealing the classified Water Demon’s eggs from Newt’s room and let him donate them to Room 55 of the DM. It was easy for him to cheat the head of DM, Joanne McSherry. Though she was a smart boss, she had a weak point, her daughter. He cunningly let her believe her daughter was sick and gave her a reason to leave, which made his dirty job easier. But he had not noticed he also had a blind spot. He had no idea about the merpeople, Dolores witnessed all his evil acts from the tank in the same room.
The Chief Justice read out the judgment after Lybeck’s testimony.
“Given evidences were the used Kappa’s eggs and two syringes of their essence extracted. They were tagged with the names of Head of the Auror, Robards and Auror Potter. It is obvious that MacNeil would target on them the next after he committed the crimes against Mr. Haas and Professor Lybeck. He conspired with Rabastan Lestrange and committed crimes. He’ll be indicted on the five counts of misusing of the Kappa’s eggs for one Muggle, two wizards and attempted misusing of them for two wizards. For these crimes, he will be sent to Azkaban.”
After court, Professor Lybeck approached Harry. He said brightly,
“I wish I could see your DADA lesson. I heard the lesson was welcomed by all houses. I’m planning the second dueling lesson after yours, Mr. Potter.”
Harry tried to ask what it was like when the professor had been a Kappa, but he rethought and changed his mind. He was shocked to know MacNeil had a plan to make him the third victim by stabbing him with the syringe of Kappa’s essence. Sensing his thought, Lybeck spoke,
“I remember the memory when I was a Kappa, Mr. Potter. It was shameful to be forced to the Water Demon but it was a valuable experience as a DADA teacher. I wanted to go back to Hogwarts. The strong feeling kept me swimming up the river to the Great Lake.”
“Oh, then does the Great Lake have a Muggle area?”
“Yes, it does. If you’re changed to a Kappa, you could swim it better than me, Mr.Potter.” Lybeck grinned wide.
Harry made a forced smile but he had no confidence about it.
Harry went back to the Burrow where Ginny and Lily were waiting. Luna visited them with Lorcan and Lysander. Hugo and Lily jumped into them to get together and soon they started the game ascending and descending the stairs vigorously.
“Grandpa and dad had worked together for the first time to save professor Lybeck and Mr. Haas. We helped them, too. Rolf and dad joined the team for Mr. Haas and grandpa and I helped professor. This incident made bonds between parent-child tied firmly. All is well that ends well.” Luna said in her dreamy voice seeing the children play.
Arthur was observing Harry’s spectacles and asked,
“I heard from Ron that this spectacles were made good use of. I’m proud of it, Harry. It took much time for me and George to develop this product.” He looked very satisfied.
“I wanted to show you the lights trace on the bar counter at the Three Broomsticks.” Harry smiled at him.
“What the hex did you say?”
“The Obliterating Charm.”
“Ah, the typical!” shouted Arthur.
“Don’t forget Hermione’s advice, Dad.” Ron entered the sitting room. He showed the owl letter to Harry, “Hey, professor Lybeck became your fan, Harry.”
“Oh, I know.” He took it and unfolded it.
“What does he say?”
“He is eager to teach me Mermish and I’ll teach him the dueling skill instead.”
“Wow, will you learn Mermish?”
“Yeah. After the incident, I recognized the importance to learn the other language. If I knew Mermish, I could have prevented more crimes.”
“Oh, you don’t have to blame yourself, Harry.” Ginny entered the room with Lily. “You work so hard. As your wife, I worry about your health.” She frowned.
Holding Lily in his arms, he said, “Thank you Ginny. But I’d like to learn Mermish. Years passed, I realize what a great wizard Dumbledore was. I want to be closer to him as possible.” He kissed Lily on the cheek. “Are you taking our children and Scorp to Christmas Gathering for Puddlemere United fans?”
“Yes, I am. I’m happy to know our kids and Scorp became good friends.”
“I expect Scorp will have more confidence after you take him to the gathering.” Harry smiled.
They sat together on the sofa. Lily jumped off it and ran out the room to play with Hugo. Ginny sat down next to him and they kissed. Arthur coughed lightly and was leaving the sitting room. But he noticed Ron was still there, approached him. He patted him on the shoulder and urged to leave together.
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