Bet you thought I'd never update this again. I've been busy the past few years. I wrote other fanfics, practiced on my writing and...


It's called "The Dreg of Bellmead", and it's a Dark Fantasy novel! It's part of a large series I am naming "Conduit".

Here's the description!

Description: Finding out there was a world of magic lurking right under his nose sounded like fun— until he made contact. Instead, Nevan has to fight for his survival in a world of monsters, blood sacrifice and death, as well as maintain his sanity when the voices of the souls he'd consumed begin to speak to him.

I've released it on amazon,com/dp/B07XRVXXPB (replace the comma with a period, obviously)

Make sure to review it on Amazon and Goodreads!

You can also access it on my website: samirka,xyz (replace the comma with a period again, haha)

Thank you so much!

Now, on with the story that started it all...

Lightning Dragon's Roar
A Harry Potter Fanfiction
By Zero Rewind

Chapter 69: Gaia Pit (5)

"So, you're looking for a mirror called 'Shimmer'." Ranma asked. "As part of a favor for a magical fairy?"

I nodded.

"Because she has held your father captive for over a decade." Akane adds.

I nodded again and finished the last of my ration bar. We were having a meal in the tent. Sleep did not come easily for any of us, but we had at least managed to get a few hours' worth of rest.

"And the T-Rex outside is our guide?" Ranma finished.

"That is about right." I realized how ridiculous the entire story sounded. "Yeah."

Ranma snorted. "So that's what it's like from the outside in."

I rolled my eyes and got to my feet, dusting my hands off. "Anyway, I'm going to head to the temple. It would make sense to have Shimmer there, rather than, say, a random brush in the forest."

I fixed the two with a look before pulling out the Zat gun and holding it in front of Akane.

She looked at it and then at me.

"It's called a Zat." I explained, activating the weapon with a beep. "One shot will paralyze. The second will kill."

She gasped.

"Yes." I nodded. "This is a lethal weapon. Treat it with the respect it deserves."

"W-what?" Akane asked shakily, still not reaching for it. "Why are you giving this to me?"

"Think of it as extra insurance for your life." I said seriously. "We're not in friendly territory, here. You have been lucky, so far, to not have to deal with powerful opponents. With this, you can at least defend yourself, as some opponents can't simply be defeated with brute force."

She bristled at the insult, but said nothing. My rumbling tirade had gotten to her well, it seemed.

Ranma got to his feet as well.

"You're talkin' like we're goin' to separate." Ranma said, eyeing me unsurely.

I blinked in confusion. "...Aren't we?"

The red shirted boy did not answer, but closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. He muttered something in Japanese.

§Idiots, every last one of them.§ Balthazar supplied quietly.

Before I could react, Ranma fixed me with a steely gaze. There was a fire in his eyes that was even stronger than when we'd fought in Nerima.

"I'm goin' nowhere." Ranma declared. "You took away my curse. I owe you a debt I can't repay."

"It's not something you have to repay!" I shot that idea down before he could give it any traction. "You saw that curse as well as I did. Whatever it was… I would never let anyone suffer under that. I don't need payment!"

"I don't care." Was Ranma's answer. "This is what I want to do."

We stared each other down hard.

Akane rolled her eyes, mouthing "boys".

"Fine, whatever." I shook my head, before glaring at the two. "If you die, don't blame me, got it?"

Ranma merely smirked. "An upgrade from having my life threatened if I fail."

Despite the circumstances, I felt the tension ease away at the sight of the man's confidence. "It would be too much effort to kill you— even if I wanted to."

"We'll see when we fight again." Ranma jibed good naturedly.

"Will you two stop behaving like brutes?" Akane chastised the two of us, finally taking the Zat and holding it at her side.

"Takes one to know one." Ranma muttered, looking away from the girl.

"What was that!?" She rounded on him. Ranma held his hands up placatingly.

"Nothing!" He cried out.

I chuckled at the sight before exiting the tent and greeting my newest companion, the capable T-Rex.

§I see you've had some company.§ I gestured at the raptor corpses lying at his feet.

§Them.§ The T-Rex replied, swiping one away with a surprisingly dexterous tail. §They believed me to be still weak from before. They fell quickly.§

§And, you didn't eat them?§ I asked in confusion. Surely, it was hungry after a long time of no food?

§They were not worth eating.§

§That's fair.§ I shrugged. If he wasn't going to eat, it wasn't my problem. §Can you take me to the temple at the end of the forest? I saw it as I was entering the pit.§

§Orochi's Temple?§ The T-Rex said, before turning his head to the right. §For what purpose?§

§I believe what we seek is there.§ I fibbed a bit. I wasn't sure where the Demons which killed the T-Rex' wife and children were, but if I was a betting man, I'd bet on the temple.

§They would dare defile Lord Orochi's Temple?§ The T-Rex seemed to be angry at the mere idea of it.

§I wouldn't put anything past these monsters.§ I shrugged as Ranma and Akane came out of the tent, eyeing the T-Rex warily. §Will you lead us to it?§

The gigantic creature eyed me for the longest moment before nodding. §Very well, pink-skin. I shall lead you to the Temple of my God.§

§Cheers.§ I smiled and turned to my two human companions. "He's going to take us to the temple."

"You can talk to snakes?" Akane seemed a mix of impressed and disturbed, while Ranma looked a little spooked.

"What's up with him?" I asked curiously, pointing a thumb at the creeped out man.

"Huh?" Ranma said eloquently, shaking his head. "Me, afraid of hissing? Nope. Definitely not. Ranma Saotome knows no fear!"

He then began to laugh maniacally.

I blinked as Akane stood to my side.

"He has a very bad fear of cats." She explained quietly enough so that Ranma didn't hear. "I guess you sounded a little like one."

My eyes unfocused slightly as a few puzzle pieces came together. That was why he'd been afraid of that cat-like creature on our way to the Gaia Pit.

It made sense.

"Okay." I accepted the explanation and, with a wave of my holly wand, I collapsed the tent back into a small bundle. Another wave, and the tent was in my mokeskin pouch.

"Are we ready?" I asked the two. Ranma was too busy ranting about not being afraid, but Akane nodded. With an unflattering insult, Akane got the boy's attention.

"Are you done, idiot?" Akane asked, shaking her fist threateningly.

"Feh." Ranma ignored it in favor of following the already departing T-Rex, muttering about un-cute girls.

§Yeah, those two are definitely deep in denial.§ Balthazar seemed amused by the interplay.

I snorted, only agreeing slightly. They could be a match— but only if they found a peace between each other. As it was, all they did was argue.

With a shrug, Akane and I followed Ranma and the T-Rex into the thick of the forest once again.

Soon, I would have the Shimmer in my hands.

One step closer to retrieving my father.

I clenched my right fist in anticipation. To have my father back, it was half of the desire shown to me by the Mirror of Erised.

I briefly wondered what I would see in that cursed artifact if I laid my eyes on it. Having a child's desires allowed me to move away from it.

However, after all I'd been through, I was certain that the Mirror would show me something wholly different.

Would I be able to resist its spell? I frowned. I had been able to conquer fear, but fear was something entirely different from the Mirror of Erised. It preyed on something far more powerful: longing, regret, love, lust, greed, envy and heartbreak.

I sighed, finding the topic tiring and banishing such thoughts from my mind.

"I wonder how it is that a forest so thick could grow underground." Akane asked curiously, brushing her hand against a human-sized leaf.

"Could be a number of reasons." I shrugged. "Some plants don't actually require sunlight. These might have evolved over the years to be the same way."

"That doesn't really make sense." Akane blinked. "Trees usually grow upwards to try to reach the sun."

I opened my mouth to reply, before closing it again. "That's a good point. It's probably magic."

"You can't just say 'magic' to everything." Was her reply.

"Of course I can." I grinned.

Akane shook her head before staring at Ranma, who was slowly approaching the T-Rex. He looked back toward me.

"Can you ask if I can ride it?"

I snorted involuntarily. "Sure, Ranma."

And so, I asked the T-Rex.

It tilted its head down at Ranma who stared defiantly back. A few moments, and it nodded.

With a gleeful whoop, the pigtailed martial artist fluidly leapt onto the T-Rex's back. "This is great!"

I smiled at the childlike wonder in his eyes, before it fell away. Ranma was a confusing person. At times he seemed to be completely in his element, aware of everything around him and in total control.

At other times, he was almost like a child, like there were things he wasn't allowed to exper— the old crone's words instantly came to mind:

"That boy holds so much over his shoulders. I, myself, have contributed heavily to his burden." She had said. Was that really a few days ago?

It felt like it had been an age since the day I made my way to Nerima.

There was a sudden rustle to our right, but it was enough of a warning sign for us to be ready. Within moments, we were swarmed by more of the blood-demons we'd encountered much earlier.

A few beeps indicated the Zat was already firing, striking one of the demons and exploding it on impact, drenching us all in blood.

One shot to boil blood-demons alive, it seems.

I ignored the girl's gasp, jumping into the fray, activating Balthazar's [Poison Mail] and channeling Lightning to make it even stronger.

With a wordless cry, I sidestepped the downward slash of its burning scythe and jabbed at its arm, tearing it off at the elbow, the weapon flying uselessly to the side.

An instant later, I chopped its neck off with a fluid side motion, before leaping above its falling corpse to dodge another scythe from its merciless comrade.

I snatched the weapon in mid-air, imbued it with Lightning and used its momentum to send it right back at the sender. The scythe dug deep into the demon's abdomen.

It shrieked as it fell, stopping one from leaping towards me, but not the other five beside them. It looked like they were going to swarm me in the hopes of killing me before I returned the favor.

How adorable.

"Kachu Tenshin Amaguriken!" My fists blurred as I delivered punch after punch at the hapless demons, who could do nothing but be obliterated from the onslaught.

With a wave of my hand, the remaining two demons who were struggling on the ground were impaled by various Bolts.

That… Had been much easier than I thought it would be. Note to self, Lightning, Poison Mail and speed punching was ridiculously lethal.

Just how powerful had I become?

"That was…" Ranma said as he, the T-Rex and Akane approached me. "Chestnut fist?"

I nodded and wiped the blood off my face, not even bothering with the rest. "Cologne."

I thought it would upset him, but he grinned instead. "Should make our next fight even better."

"Oh, yes." I agreed with a smile, before gesturing at the T-Rex, who was already leaving. "Shall we?"

Ranma's answer was to leap back towards the T-Rex's back. The great beast grunted but allowed the human on its back once more.

We followed.

It was minutes before Ranma spoke again. "Why'd you want to fight me?"

"Cologne." Was my answer again. "I wanted the Shimmer, and she said I had to fight you if I wanted the information she had on it."

"Figures the old ghoul would do that." Ranma sighed. "Confuses the hell outta me. Tricks of tests..."

Akane muttered something unkind, but Ranma didn't hear it.

I frowned but said nothing. It wasn't my business.

It took quite a bit more walking, but the forest-land gradually became less thick and foreboding, before being completely replaced by carved stone.

We were finally at the temple: Orochi's Temple, where the Shimmer was likely being held.

§I've gone as far as I'm allowed to go.§ The T-Rex hissed. §Ones such as I are not allowed to step foot in Orochi's hallowed land.§

I frowned at his words. §Didn't you want to fight the demons?§

§I did.§ The T-Rex said, showing its blood-stained teeth. §I've killed many of the spawn who killed my mate and children. I will soon kill many more, but I cannot go further. Our time together has come to an end, pink-skin.§

I absorbed the majestic beast's words and nodded. §So be it.§

§It has been an honor.§ The T-Rex bowed its head to me, before shaking Ranma off like he was nothing but a flea. §The next time we see each other, pink-skin, let us hunt for more of these infernal spawn.§

§I'm always up to killing demons.§ I replied, realizing I was likely never going to see this creature again, but humoring it anyway. There was no sense in being disrespectful, after all.

§I wish you good fortune on your quest.§ And, with that, the T-Rex turned and headed back into the primordial forest, letting out a final, ear-shattering roar as it did so.

I turned to my two companions who looked a little strained.

"It's really weird when you do that." Ranma said bluntly. Akane, in response, whacked his arm, hissing something in Japanese at him.

She was probably admonishing his lack of manners, but I couldn't care less about something like that.

"I guess so." I shrugged. "It just sounds like English for me."

In the lull of the conversation, we turned to the temple steps. Up close, this temple was much larger than I ever thought it would be.

"Just up these steps and you'll find your mirror?" Ranma asked needlessly.

"I hope." I replied and began to walk the steps. I stopped for a second and turned to the two. "This is your last chance to turn back. You could still go back in the jungle and retrace your steps."

"Like I'm ever skipping out on a good fight." Ranma snorted as if it was the most ridiculous thing I'd ever said. "Something as strong as you should prove to be quite the challenge."

I snorted. "Remind me to introduce you to a friend of mine. His name's Clark."

"Clark?" Ranma repeated, frowning. "Sounds like a wimp who couldn't fight his way out of a paper bag."

I suppressed the laughter that was trying very hard to bubble its way to the surface. Clark, who'd completely destroyed a Lord of Outer Night, a wimp?

"I'll remember what you just said." I said with a smirk. "I'm going to laugh when he wipes the floor with you."

"Tche." Ranma scoffed, but didn't say anymore.

Akane, staring up at the foreboding temple, took a deep breath to settle her nerves, before taking a step. "Let's go. I still have to complete my duty as the Tendo Dojo's heiress."

I had to admire her bravery, if nothing else. "Yes. It will get harder here on out. Watch each other's backs. More than duty or honor, your very life is on the line."

The next few minutes were filled with the sharp sound of our footsteps as we ascended the stairs of Orochi's Temple.

We passed by various effigies raised in the monster-demon's likeness. Strangely, they were all differently shaped, but all were depictions of an eight headed snake monster.

Though, sometimes, it was an eight headed dragon. There was even a detailed depiction of the greek Hydra.

Just how old and entrenched was Orochi in human society?

We reached the top of the stairs, where a large set of stone doors awaited. In front of it, there was a tall statue of what looked to be a priest.

His hands were raised, as if in a prayer.

"This is it." I muttered before holding a hand up. "This statue is probably going to come to life and try to kill us."

A second passed.

"Yeah, that sounds about right." Ranma agreed. "Think we can get to it and break it before it— nevermind."

The dark brown statue was already gaining color even as it moved into a fighting stance, a gale of wind buffeting us.

"I've got this one." Ranma took a few steps forward.

"We should fight together." Akane and I moved to stand beside him, only to stop at his steely look. I glared back. "Don't be a dumbass."

He shook his head. "That's not it. We've never fought together. We'll get in each other's way."

That was a good point.

Akane nodded and backed off, though she did not look too pleased about it.

I raised my hands in surrender. "Fine, have it your way."

With a nod, Ranma engaged his opponent, a broad chested priest with a black mantle over a blue overcoat.

The two exchanged blows at breakneck speeds for a few seconds, before breaking their engagement and staring each other down.

"You're pretty nimble for a statue." Ranma smirked, flicking his nose with his thumb as a sign of disrespect.

"And you as well, for a human." The man replied with a deep, cultured baritone.

"You can talk." Ranma said in surprise.

The man didn't dignify that with an answer, instead waving his arm and enveloping Ranma in a cyclone, sending him flying.

"Ranma!" Akane called out, but I held a hand up to forestall whatever she was going to say.

"He's fine." I pointed to the man in question. "His flips are tightly controlled. He's perfectly using the cyclone's power and bleeding it off with various spins to let the momentum dissipate."

It was a testament to Ranma's true skill in martial arts; he had an amazing grasp on his body's inner workings as well as the forces acting upon them.

"Moko Takabisha!" Ranma landed, immediately launching the blast of power at his stoic enemy.

Wind whipped up once again, surrounding the priest's hands as he drove them into the blast, breaking through with a bit of effort and rushing to end Ranma's life.

However, Ranma had already learned his lesson with me, ducking under the being's strike and unleashing a rapid fire set of punches into its gut.

The priest was sent back tumbling a few feet away.

As he got up, I saw that the skin covering his chin had been ripped off— likely when it got dragged against the unyielding stone.

"Impressive technique." The man praised, ignoring what obviously seemed to be a painful wound, before giving a bow to Ranma. "What is your name, human?"

"Ranma Saotome." The red shirted fighter answered.

"I am Goenitz, the Heavenly Priest of Wind." The tall man said, nodding his head.

§What a pretentious name.§ Balthazar hissed in amusement.

Goenitz rushed Ranma once again, hands coated in deadly wind.

The fight turned into a contest of speed: Ranma kept dodging and weaving away from the tall man's strikes which were strong enough to split steel in two.

"Ranma really is fast." I was impressed. "He's even faster than in our fight."

I hadn't expected that, but then again, if I hadn't ended the battle as soon as possible, it would have been a completely different story.

"Yes." Akane agreed quietly, tightly grabbing her shirt. "He's been training for a long time."

"His enemy is also quite something." I added.

"Ranma won't lose." Akane seemed confident. "He hasn't even gone all out, yet."

Interesting. I thought, bringing my full attention back to the fight.

"So you're Orochi's priest?" Ranma asked in between dodges, looking like he was having the time of his life.

"Correct." The man didn't let up, blowing a cyclone Ranma's way.

Ranma nimbly dodged the wall of wind, landing a kick in the priest's face, laying him out flat on his face.

"He might need better servants." Ranma smirked and put his hands in his pockets, watching his opponent slowly get back to his feet. "Or maybe Orochi just ain't all that impressive."

That seemed to have touched a nerve.

"You dare!" Goenitz sent a massive wall of wind at Ranma, who cut through it with another one of his blasts— though the winds cut into the boy, creating tears in his clothes with wounds to accompany them.

"What's wrong?" Ranma taunted. "The lapdog didn't like when his master got made fun of? What a baby."

Goenitz' mask of civility disappeared entirely, rage settling in his eyes. "Lord Orochi will feast on your flesh, human!"

Goenitz began to attack Ranma with wild abandon, his previous fighting technique all but forgotten as he tried to end the pigtailed martial artist's life.

He's much more like a beast than a priest, now.

Ranma, on the other hand, was a whirlwind of motion, ducking, dodging, leaping over and parrying the being's strikes— but there was something odd.

He had absolutely no expression on his face.

§The temperature in the air is shifting in a way I can't explain.§ Balthazar commented.

I paid closer attention, noting that Ranma seemed to be moving in a certain pattern.

"A spiral?"

Akane shifted beside me. "Get ready."

That was all the warning I had as Ranma stopped and launched an uppercut at nothing in particular.

"Hiryu Shoten Ha!" He shouted. For a moment, I thought that my newest friend was about to die to Goenitz' charge, but the wind began to pick up, calling up a cyclone the likes of which I'd never seen before.

§Heaven Blast of the Dragon.§ Balthazar supplied helpfully, even as Goenitz was sent flying high in the air.

I could obviously tell that he was trying to fight it with his own mastery of wind, but it was a futile effort.

Ranma's move had been too sudden and too strong.

Goenitz cried as he smashed against the upper barrier of this pit, which disintegrated him on the spot. And so, Goenitz the Orochi priest was dead.

This is why we followed the set paths. I thought to myself. If I had jumped down, I'd have died.

The large set of doors ahead of us opened up, not giving us any time to absorb the fact that the fight was already over.

"Ranma!" Akane rushed over to her fiancé.

"Was nothin'." Ranma grinned, wincing and dropping to a knee.

I pulled a can of Murtlap Essence from my pouch and threw it to the girl, who caught it deftly.

"Put that on his cuts." I said in answer to her inquisitive look, moving to stand in front of the two of them.

I stared at the large, open doors and what lay beyond.

The entire temple seemed to be one humongous room. Torches sat on various sconces placed alongside the walls and pillars, casting some light in the great darkness.

At the end of what I could perceive, something seemed to be glinting merrily.

Could that be the Shimmer? I almost took a step forward when I faintly recognized Ranma's hiss of pain.

"Stop being a baby!" Akane admonished.

"It's not my fault you're as delicate as a gorilla!" The boy shot back.

I stifled a wince. I cured the boy's curse, but I didn't think anything could fix his tendency to put his foot in his mouth.

"Do you want me to make it worse?" Akane growled, shaking her fist at him.

"I'll be good." Ranma said wisely.

I smiled slightly, still peering into the darkness of Orochi's Temple, with what looked to be a shining object at the end.

Shimmer, at last?


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