Finally, I'm done. It's been over two years since my last upload, and I'm sorry for that. But it's been a hard time for me. In May 2019 I lost my job, then in November I got diagnosed with depression. Then the Covid crisis began and made it impossible for me to find a new job, basically killing the entire year 2020. Now things are finally starting to return to normal, and I hopefully can begin writing again. I thank you all for the reviews during these years. I hope you all enjoy this chapter, even though it's shorter than normal.
"Right, so what do we know?" Hermione said as the five friends sat at a table in the library.
"Well, the creature is said to have belonged to Salazar Slytherin, so it has to be serpent based, as Slytherin was a Parselmouth, which would have given him the ability to control the creature." Seren answered.
"So we are looking for a serpent-like creature that can live for... what? A thousand years?" Halios said.
"Sounds about right." Hermione stated with a sharp nod. "While most magical creatures live far longer than non-magical, few can live more than a century."
"Okay, so where do we begin?" Neville asked.
"Let's find as many books on the subject of magical creatures and start reading!" Hermione said with fire in her eyes.
"I'll send a letter to daddy." Luna said with a dreamy smile. "While books are a good place to begin, they won't contain any of the more rare creatures."
"Good idea, Luna." Seren said whilst casting a glance at Hermione, who looked a bit perturbed at the thought of a book not holding the answer. Turning to Hermione, Seren explained why Lunas' idea was good.
"Lunas' father is an amateur mythozoologist," she told the book-loving Hufflepuff, "and he has a lot on knowledge the books here at Hogwarts lacks, if only due to it having yet to be printed. He also have the ability to contact Newt Scamander, the leading authority when it comes to magical creatures, something we don't have."
This calmed Hermione, and she settled down with a book, determined to figure out what the creature of Slytherin was.
"So Luna..." Neville asked. "Do you have any guess on what the creature could be?"
"Hmmm... it could be a Grootslang, but it's the wrong type of climate as far as I know. It could also be an Araganaqlta'a, or perhaps a Nabau, or maybe..."
With that, Luna began to mutter to herself whilst staring at the air in front of her. Halios, Seren and Neville simply looked at each other before turning back to their books.
A few hours later
"This is getting us nowhere." Seren said with a sigh as she put down the book she had been reading.
"I agree." Halios said. "We simply don't have enough information available for us to be able to narrow down what type of creature the monster is. So far, we have found the Basilisk, Cockatrice and Gorgon in the books, Luna has given several suggestions of creatures she has heard about, and her father might know even more. Luna will have to send a letter to her father to see if he has any insight concerning this. Until then, we will have to wait."
"Will do, your Haliosness!" Luna said with a smile, and together the group left the library.
It took about a week for Luna's father to answer her letter, and the group found that – while the man knew a lot about mythozoology – he could offer them no help in figuring out what the beast in the Chamber of Secrets was.
The next few weeks went by quickly. The entire school was on high alert after the attack on Mrs Norris, but unfortunately, it did work. One night, a first year Gryffindor was found laying petrified close to the second floor stairway. This led to an exodus of students going home for Christmas. Normally, perhaps 60 to 70 % of the students went home for Christmas. This year however, 95 % of the students left.
Halios also left as she had been invited to spend the holiday with Seren and the Black-Weiss family. Though New Year was to be celebrated at the Longbottom Manor. Hermione would also be there, as Halios had promised to pick her up a few hours before the celebration was to begin.
The train ride back to London was a sombre affair. The student body was almost to a man too scared to be able to enjoy the upcoming holiday, and where they normally would roam the train and laugh with their friends, they now sat in the compartments in groups, only speaking in low voices.
Their arrival at platform 9 ¾ was a strange affair. The parents and family members gathered there were in high spirit, eager to spend the holiday with the returning students, but instead of being met with laughing and happy children, they were met with silent children who quickly led their families away whilst telling stories of attacks by some unknown creature or assailant.
Standing amongst the rest of the parents, were the families of Black-Weiss, Granger and Longbottom. Sirius and Estée had met Hermione's parents – Daniel and Louise Granger – at the place they had parked their car before apparating them to the platform, since they wouldn't have been able to enter it otherwise due to the anti-muggle wards. The group was chatting about the upcoming holiday as the train rolled in to the station, but they stopped when they noticed the mood of the returning students.
Joining the adults, Halios, Seren, Neville and Hermione just shook their heads when asked what was wrong, and said that they would explain when they got home. The parents – and grandmother – gave each other a confused look, but agreed to it. Saying goodbye to each other, the three families and Halios went their own way home. Neville was side-along apparated by his grandmother, the Grangers left to take the Underground to the closest station of their parked car, and Halios joined the Black-Weiss's, who used a portkey to get home.
Once back at the Black-Weiss home – a smaller manor located in the Shropshire Hills, close to the Welsh border – Seren and Halios told Sirius and Estée about what was happening at Hogwarts. Once they were done, there was a few minutes of silence.
"Well, that was a lot to take in..." Sirius said as he leaned back on the couch. Estée nodded as she joined him.
"I agree," she said whilst looking at her daughter and her daughters friend, "but we can help, can't we?"
"Of course." Sirius answered with a determined nod. "I'll have the House-elves look through the Black library, both here and in all the other properties we own."
"Thank you, dad." Seren said with a smile. "It will help tremendously in figuring out what's going on at Hogwarts."
"Happy to help, luv." Sirius answered, before snapping his fingers. "Speaking of libraries, I got a letter this morning. Moony will be returning to Britain this coming easter."
"Uncle Moony? He's coming back?" Seren asked excitedly.
"I'm sorry, but, who is Moony?" Halios injected.
"Right, you don't know..." Sirius said as he sat up straight. "Moony is Remus Lupin, another friend of James and I. He has been out of the country for the last three years, working on a project that could possibly fix his furry little problem."
"'Furry little problem?'"
"Well, he's..." Sirius began before hesitating slightly.
"He's a werewolf..."
"...And he doesn't like it?"
"Hmm, perhaps I should talk with uncle Hircine..." Halios mused. "Anyway, you said something about a project?"
"Oh, yes. Moony has been with one of the magical tribes of North America, trying to find either a way to cure lycanthropy, or a way to remain in control during the transformation. And according to the letter, he has had some success. Though, he didn't mention what type of success."
"Fascinating. It will be interesting to meet him."
"I'm sure Moony will like that." Sirius said with a grin.
Christmas came and went, with Halios enjoying the holiday spent with the Black-Weiss family. They spent most of their time talking about different magics from both Earth and Tamriel, reading in the Black library and walking around London, looking at the Christmas decorations.
Meridia and Sheogorath also came to celebrate, but they were forced to leave after a few hours, as their mere presence warped the magic of the Black-Weiss home to better fit them.
On New Year's Eve, Halios went and picked up Hermione at midday so that she could spend the afternoon at Seren's, before they were to leave for the Longbottom Manor at five thirty. The Grangers home was a nice detached house with a medium sized garden right next to a small wooden area in one of the suburbs of London, called Biggin Hill.
Knocking on the Grangers door, Halios was greeted by Hermione. After saying hello and goodbye to Hermione's parents, they left by portal from the backyard. Once back at the Black-Weiss home, Seren and her mother began to help Hermione with her hair and some minor make-up. They also gave her some jewellery to go with her dress.
Soon, it was time to leave and the group side-along apparated to the Longbottom estate, where they were greeted by the Dowager Longbottom and Neville. They were led into the estate, where the group split, the adults going over to the other adult guests, while Neville led Halios, Seren and Hermione to the children, all of them either year-mates at Hogwarts or a few years older. Halios recognized some of them, namely Susan Bones, Hannah Abbott, Padma and Parvati Patil, and an older Ravenclaw student named Roger Davies. A few minutes later, they were joined by Luna. Together, the group spent the evening chatting with their schoolmates and each other. Halios had especially fun watching Luna confuse the other children with her speech and description of strange creatures. Soon enough, midnight approached, and as the minutes slipped away, they gathered in groups of close friends.
As midnight struck, they could see the fireworks from the nearby muggle cities light up the night. After that, the party slowly came to an end, and after saying their goodbyes, everyone returned to their homes. Hermione of course joined Halios and Seren for the night, before Halios escorted her home the next day. The next few days passed quickly, until it was time to return to Hogwarts.
And that's that. This filler chapter is finally done. Up next is the final chapter for A Ninja Summoned. Until then, enjoy.