Arc 01: Reconfiguration

Ch. 04: Ichorous Education


Author's Notes

Thus begins Chapter 4 of E3DC Book 1: Ascension, the first chapter that is entirely of my own design, unlike the previous two chapters, which are modified rewrites of DH3H.

I gave myself a one month deadline to publish this chapter starting from April 14, 2019, which was when I published Chapter 3; therefore, with my real life commitments and this story being my first serious work of fiction, I am satisfied that I have kept pace with my self-set publishing schedule.

In the previous chapter, some readers may have picked up on a few nods to the siblings' ease of magic usage. Well, their dragon blood were awakened.

I now realise that there is no explanation for the mechanics of the Targaryen siblings' reincarnations. This chapter contains no such explanation either, however there is a brief dream sequence teasing of things to come with respect to this subject.

I refuse to add accents to the speech of non-native English speakers or those for whom English has not reached full verbal proficiency. Since I do not have the talent for doing it well, doing so will only make said speech look grotesquely mangled. Exceptions are those words used deliberately or reflexively, such as "bonjour", "oui", "non", and some other sprinklings of exoticism. They also sounds lovely, when spoken by a beautiful and classy French woman at least.

For anyone wondering about my footnote format, I am using a modified version of the Chicago/IEEE citation style. As FFN, or any of the other fanfiction hosting websites for that matter, does not offer citation support, and I do not want to labour over painstakingly changing the square bracket notation(s) of existing citation(s) whenever I need to take out or insert a citation, each chapter's citations and footnotes are therefore quarantined from the other chapters'. Thus, for the xth in-text citation appearing in chronological order in Chapter i, the citation and footnote identifier notation is [ix], where the x in the bracket is the lowercase Latin letter corresponding to said chronological location (bold text for emphasis only).

My advice for posting reviews on FFN: make them count. Since FFN only allow one review from a user per chapter, not to mention the review, once posted, can be neither modified nor removed, I suggest that you not waste them on trivial text. For example, if you simply wish to inquire about the status of the next chapter, just PM me. Otherwise, unless it is a substantive review, I will most likely just ignore it.

Now, onwards with the story.

Beta readers are also welcome to contribute to this story.

Publish date: 2019-05-11


Replies and Answers to Common Questions and Comments Posted before or on 2019-05-11 (Consolidated from FFN, AO3, and HPFFA)

Yes, the three dragons will be hatched soon, although I am still trying to figure out how to have the Eveschatten triplets regain enough memories in time to name their dragons Balerion, Meraxes, and Vhagar. Or maybe the names can be changed later. Regardless, names of magical beings have power over them; as such, a change in name has real magical implications on identity.

Guest ("I believe we will soon see Balerion…"): Balerion will not reach his monstrous size any time soon. I really could not care less about who is the B/GWL. Let the fool keep the dubious honour. No infant, no matter how potent their magic is, is able to physically destroy a powerful sorcerer, and accidentally no less. The prophecy will have no substantial impact on the plot. The only characters who will take it seriously are the usual suspects. Also, I do not know why you keep incorrectly referring to the various characters' names, when they are clearly spelled out as intended in the previous chapters.

Jorenz: I understand your concern. However, I think for a lot of fans, the emerald eyes are the most distinctive and most preservation-worthy physical trait of Hadrian. Since the triplets are Valyrians reborn and literally have dragon blood running through their veins, having silver/silver blond(e) hair is almost like a requirement. If it is of any (temporary) consolation to you, their hair colours remain mostly unchanged in this chapter. As for their eyes, if you read the scene carefully, you will see that their irides are now a two-toned emerald-amethyst colour combination. See Footnote [2i] for a slightly more detailed explanation.

Ath510: To hedge my bets, the story summary states that only Hadrian's sisters will become his confirmed lovers. However, from the descriptions of the other girls in this chapter, there certainly seems to be a not insignificant probability of other females joining the collective as well. Also, although actions later on will reflect this point, keep in mind that Hadrian is not just Aegon I in a new and blank body; his experience living as Hadrian for the first 14 years of his life has given him different worldviews and morals as well.


(See the opening AN for legalese, detailed story parametres, and text formatting legend.)


⇝⇝⇝Dream Begins

Rose did not know where she was, or why she suddenly felt wisps of her hair whipping about her head and her battle robes-like clothing felt compressed against her front. The first inclination she had of this experience not being one rooted in reality was due to the erratic movement of her hair, because her now pixie haircut was not long enough to dance in the wind like that. A few seconds later, her senses sharpened enough for her to realise that she was up in the air, riding a silvery beast whose core body was at least the length of a bus.

She did not know how and why she was where she was, for she realised she was only an observer experiencing the world from the body of someone else. Incantations of a foreign language slipped off of her tongue effortlessly, no doubt due to years of usage and practice, which briefly changed the colour of the stream of scorching flame spat out by the great mount she was riding. Said mount, she now realised, must be a dragon, one that looked and felt much bigger, more majestic, and powerful than the ones she had experienced thus far in her life. The brief change in colour of the dragonfire must had been empowered by her surfed body's spells, for it immediately increased both in ferocity and range, immolating everything that was unfortunate enough to be touched by it.

Still, she could feel her host getting frustrated, because no matter where her dragon left its mark, she could not detect the presence of a single enemy or their warfare-worthy assets. Just as her host was about to direct her mount to turn around and fly back from this, in hindsight, valueless excursion however, her host's enhanced ocular sense detected a bolted weapon of some sort ready to be launched against her, or more likely, the living weapon of mass destruction (WMD) she commanded.

Correctly predicting the flying projectile's aerial path, she directed her dragon, whom she felt connected to via some sort of a mind meld [4a], to avoid the surface-to-air bolt [4a] with the most economical of movements. Realising that whoever fired that weapon had just made themself an outlet for her mounting frustration, she cried to her dragon, ⠟Meraxes⣴ [4b]!

Dream Ends⇜⇜⇜


=+= Saturday, November 29, 2014, The Tower, Hogwarts =+=

Rose woke with a startled inhale of breath, unintentionally mirroring her brother's cause of sudden departure from the land of Morpheus earlier this week. Before anything else transpired, she quickly filed the name Meraxes away in her mind, the other portions of her dream being too fantastical to make heads and tails of at this time. She looked around the room of her and her siblings' private sanctuary in an abandoned Hogwarts tower, fire still crackling merrily in the hearth, then at herself. She was in her usual position whenever the three of them spend some quality time on a couch. With her body curled up next to her Brother and her face leaning on his muscular and warm chest, she reflected on that strange, yet vivid dream. 'Although the dream may not be that strange, considering all the equally strange occurrences that have transpired since that incident.' Even though no longer understating the incident as 'The First Task', she was still a bit reluctant to blasély take the whole affair completely in stride, as her Brother had done, who kept referring to the incident as either 'Trial by Fire', or more mockingly, 'Baptism by Fire'. He was not wrong though, for all three of them had gone through enough changes in personalities that many classmates and of the rabble, let alone themselves, had trouble believing that they were the same individuals as before. Bella was too unyielding to do anything other than kept hoping for her hair to grow back faster. As for Mother, she only cared that her children were unharmed; they were her precious children. It was as simple as that.

Tilting her head away from its resting place, she glanced at her Sister. She and her Brother only managed to find Bella in the late evening of yesterday, and by the time they arrived at their cosy sanctuary, they quickly fell asleep, mentally exhausted from all the drama that had occurred that day. Thus, they had yet to have an opportunity to discuss with Bella the intimate moment the two of them had in one of the forgotten halls yesterday. Knowing her Sister, Rose had little doubt that she wanted the same increased level of affection from their Brother. And there was also the issue of the dragon eggs to discuss. The three of them did not know whether the Headmaster had told their Mother yet of Hadrian's plan, yet none of them was willing to move forward with it until the four of them sat down as a family to discuss it.

Glancing her head at the window to see that hazes of deep orange had peaked out from the horizon, Rose began to nudge her siblings awake.

Beside her justified pride in her hair, beauty sleep was one of the few other contributing inputs to physical appearance that Bella indulged in, so the sound that came out of her mouth was not unexpected. "Grrr…"

Hadrian let out a soft grunt, and instead of awakening, he only pulled Rose tighter into his embrace. Not that she was displeased by his action, they still had important matters to discuss. So with a more insistent attempt, the two sleeping siblings finally awoke from their slumbers.

While her Brother tried to smote her with his gaze, an action that was made less effective by his still drowsy eyes, he still pulled her back so that her pert breasts were squashed against his right side. Meanwhile, Bella grumbled, "Why did you wake us up so early in the morning on a Sunday, Rose?"

The accused sister said nothing for a few moments, basking in the wonderful feeling of her and her Beloved Brother's bodies melding together.

Bella, ever observant, bluntly asked, as per her usual modus operandi, "What happened to subtlety, Sis?" She was not jealous at all at her Sister hogging all of their Brother's attention. No sir.

Rose, seeing a perfect segue into the issue at hand, could not help but tease her elder Sister to provoke her desired reaction. "What's wrong, Bella? Is it so improper to show our Beloved Brother some Sisterly affection?"

Bella frowned, feeling as though she was missing some important context.

Hadrian, although in a relaxed mood, wanted to put Bella at ease. He took the palm of his left hand and placed it over the back of her right one, tracing comforting circles over it to let her know that their Younger Sister did not mean anything mean-spirited by it.

Placated by this gesture, Bella said, "Okay, I noticed you two giving me looks yesterday after meeting up with me. So out with it already."

Leading the charge, so to speak, Rose asked, "Have you noticed any significant changes in yourself since our encounter with the dragon?"

"You mean besides the loss of my luscious and envy-inducing mane?"

Not bothering to dignify her flippant remark, Rose maintained to look at her sister expectantly.

Now beginning to sense how serious this matter must be, Bella fidgeted slightly. "Well… I've noticed that my magick seemed to have become more potent and instinctual to wield than ever before. And, …" She glanced at her still observing Brother, "um…" She quickly avoided his amused gaze, nipping her lower lip.

Bella had never displayed such uncertainty before, and Hadrian decided right there and then that his Sweet Sister's new bashful look was very cute and endearing. Moving his left arm, he cupped her chin and gently turned her head around to face him. Finally inserting himself into the discussion, he said, "Bella, Rose and I won't judge you, not without the entire context at least. In fact, Rose and I already had a conversation similar to this nature yesterday." Deciding that a show-not-tell approach would be the most effective, he turned his head the other way to face Rose, and proceeded to do something that would irrevocably alter the triplets' relationship, which until this point, was still mostly platonic, despite the stretched definition in their case.

Rose, seeing her Brother's sudden lustful gaze, knew exactly what he wanted from her. So, as to both oblige him and indulge in her own desires, she saucily bit her lower lip, giving him permission to proceed.

Bella could only gape and stare, as her Brother manhandled their Little Sister with his masculine arms and hands so that she was now sitting sideways in his lap. They wasted no time sealing their mouths together, kissing fiercely right in front of her, appearing as if they had only indulged in their last house role-play session yesterday. Speaking of which, this lustful exchange of tongues and saliva brought up the long suppressed memories and feelings of the three of them playing house together as children, a period of time when she and Rose were always trying to one-up the other in getting in the most kisses on their Brother. It had all started innocently enough, however that quickly changed once Rose found one of Mum's Harlequin-esque romance novels. Their young minds back then could not yet fully comprehend the implications of their actions, yet compared to other siblings, it was not difficult for their bright minds to form the conclusion that their behaviour was not the norm. Nevertheless, they were happy and not bothering anyone else, so why should they have cared?

Not breaking her stride, Rose swung her left leg around so that her ended up straddling Hadrian's right upper leg, heatedly engaging in their activity all the while. Rose fervently ran her hands through Hadrian's short hair, while he cupped her sumptuous lower cheeks in a feverish attempt to meld the fronts of their bodies together. After a few more blissful moments, the two finally disengaged from their mutual oral exploration, a thin trail of saliva appearing and connecting their mouths, like a strand of gossamer weighted by fresh morning dew.

Throughout her siblings' utterly non-platonic display of familial affection, Bella was initially shocked. Quickly getting over it, she started squirming in place, desperately wishing it was she who was in Rose's spot. After the two had pulled away from each other, she, non too eloquently, blurted out the first thing on her mind. "What was that?!"

Two heads eerily turned towards her direction with identical smirks. Thankfully, Rose spoke for the two of them, unknowingly sparing her Sister of a bout of synchronised twin-speak, a practice that was much ruined by the obnoxious Weasley twins [4c]. "Well, dear Sister, it would appear that recent changes had induced a resurgence of our incestuous desires. What says you?"

Bella in fact did not say anything, masking her face into an unreadable expression.

All of a sudden, she pounced on her Brother, earning a surprised squawk from Rose.

"Hey, be civil, Bella!" Recovering as dignified as she could manage, Rose mock-chastised her Sister.

Hadrian did not even get a chance to be surprised before his Elder Sister's lips were on his. "My pride is on the line, Rose." Bella's lips broke apart from her Brother's as her eyes mock-glared accusingly at her Sister. "It's clear that you have gotten closer to Arie than me since our dance by fire." With a glint in her exotic eyes, she firmly stated, "Well, that just won't do."

Getting herself more comfortable, Bella's position now mirrored that of her Sister's, sitting on her Brother's left thigh in contrast to Rose. True to her bold nature, Bella began to slowly grind her core against his thigh, drawing an appreciative grunt from her Brother, who had not spoken a word since her surprise assault on his oral cavity.

Rose sent a pout in her Sister's direction, aiming to keep up in this glorious Sisterly battle for their Brother's affection.

Soon enough, the three siblings descended into a pile of writhing mass of torsos and limbs. Hadrian was greedily roaming his hands across both of his Sisters' svelty bodies, which provided him with an abundance of delectable flesh to play with. From their toned butt cheeks to their juicy breasts, every part of their bodies that could be reached were greedily consumed by his hands. Bella and Rose did not remain idle either, grinding their increasingly damp cores against their Brother's thighs. Their right and left hand, respectively, were working in tandem to caress the now solid erection straining against the fabric of his khaki trousers.

Before the incestuous debauchery could progress, or descend, any further, three stomachs chose that moment to make their displeasure known. At that moment, Hadrian's hands were squeezing Bella's sizeable breast underneath her layers of clothing and pressing the tip of his index finger against Rose's damp rosebud underneath her knickers, while the Sisters had their hands underneath his Oxford shirt too, feeling up the chiselled contours of his heated torso, pinching his nipples, and tortuously scratching his skin. Hadrian's face was buried into the crook of Rose's neck, greedily sucking on a point right above her right collarbone, no doubt leaving a mark for the world to see, right after he did the same to Bella. The Eldest Sister returned the favour to her Brother's earlier action, eagerly staking her physical claim on him as well.

Reluctantly ceasing their fun, the siblings' faces broke apart from each other, each sporting a grin that ranged from goofy to smug. As the triplets cuddled in the afterglow of the delightful perversion of their familial bond, Hadrian called for a school House Elf by the name of Mipsey and requested her to bring them some light snacks. In the meantime, with Hadrian possessively hugging his Sisters close to his body and the sides of their faces pressed against his chest, he intoned to them, "I hope you know that today is just a precursor of things to come. Satisfaction will not be achieved until I make both of you mine."

Rose and Bella shuddered pleasurably at their Brother's bold declaration of intent, feeling his rumbling voice vibrating outward from his powerful chest.

Taking their lustful mewling as eager acquiescence to his tyrannical claim, he continued, "I still don't know exactly what the dragonfire did to change our bodies and what I suspect to be our instinctual desires, yet I fully intend to explore these new possibilities on all fronts to their fullest extents." He smirked as he felt his Sisters silently squirming against him, rubbing their heated and now damp cores needily against his muscular thighs [4d].

Hadrian shifted his torso back and pushed his Sisters back so that he could gaze properly at the two beauties in his embrace. Pausing briefly to gather his thoughts on the other main topic on his mind, he said, "Rose and I were looking for you yesterday, Bella. Seeing as how we never got the chance to properly discuss my admittedly on-the-spot decision to take in the dragon eggs, we want to receive your input as well."

Mipsey popped back at that moment with their requested nourishment, before popping away with a happy squeak after a round of quick 'thank you's from the triplets.

Taking advantage of the time spent eating, Bella spent the next few minutes formulating a proper response. "When you first told us about your intent back in the infirmary, Arie, both Rose…" Bella looked at Rose, who gave a nod in agreement, "…and I were still too stunned from the events of the First Task to adequately process the proposal beyond acknowledging we were to have three dragon eggs come into our possession." Taking a breath, she sustained, "Now that I've had a few days to think about it, the idea seems risky, yet the advantages that can be gained if we're successful are too valuable to ignore."

"So it seems that all three of us are in agreement then." Rose concluded, she herself obviously an affirming party to this proposal. "However, we need to discuss this matter with Mother as well, not to mention all the extra protections, such as warding schemes, we will need to set up to make Skye Cottage and the surrounding lands secure-worthy for raising a 5X-ranked magical creature."

"I wouldn't dream of not gaining Mother's approval on this matter first Rose; incurring her wraith may be more suicidal than going up against an actual dragon." Hadrian solemnly stated.

The triplets chuckled at that statement. Unknown to each other, they all thought of their Mother chewing out their father for the various imbecilic actions he committed to the detriments of their health and wealth.

After finishing their snacks, they prepared for another session of their educations in combat, strategies and tactics, and statecraft. They knew just which field of study they should pursue today to work off the build-up of their lustful energy.

Getting up from the couch, they opened up a small closet that contained multiple sets of their workout clothes. While the siblings had never been prudish, recent events had allowed them to develop increased appreciations of each other's bodies, which was evident to see as they stripped down to their underwear. Hadrian's chiseled form was on display, only covered by a pair of snug crimson trunks that outlined an impressive bulge. Bella was splendidly toned, her taut form enhancing her inherent femininity. Despite making generous allowances for the topmost obsession of her vanity, her luscious mane, Bella was a practical girl, which was reflected in her choice of a pair of emerald micro boyshorts. Rose was not as fanatical about physical conditioning as her elder siblings. Nonetheless, endless hours of practice over the years had given her a svelte body that was hard to match by other girls in her age bracket. Not too surprising considering her flirtatious nature, she had a matching pair of navy blue lacy thong panties and bra on [4e].

Wanting to keep his wits about himself through the upcoming session, which he would not be able to achieve if he saw Sisters nude, he hastily drew up some privacy sheets with a wave of his hand. Regardless of the normality of the procedure, Rose and Bella pounced on the chance to further tease their Dear Brother, invoking a verbal promise to smote their tight bodies that drew pleased laughter from them. After they finished changing into their attires, which consisted of trainers, snug sweatpants, a compression T-shirt for Hadrian, and sport bras for the sisters, the siblings opened a cabinet that contained many manners of weapons. From daggers to bastard swords to modern pistols, most people would be either horrified or fascinated by an armoury that could be used to take on a company or small battalion in experienced hands [4a]. Suffice to say, their Mother's doctrine of maintaining proficiencies in multiple forms of martial arts [4f] had left lasting positive impressions on her children. Taking out two bastard swords and a longsword on account for Rose's shorter stature, the triplets proceeded to exercise away their fresh intakes of energy.


== November 29, 2014, The Great Hall, Hogwarts ==

Around noon, the siblings, still in their workout clothes, though with snug hoodies on as well, entered into the Great Hall, more relaxed than they had been since the incident. Their change in behaviour was glaringly obvious to anyone who paid attention. Since the siblings almost always moved as a unit whenever and wherever the three of them were together, it did not surprise anyone who had interacted with them more than once, nor was it an uncommon occurrence to see them holding hands. For the students from the visiting Schools though, it was a highly unusual sight for siblings to engage in a physical gesture of affection that was usually associated with romantic partners or between a parent and a small child. The siblings thought better about greeting their Mother, who sat at the High Table, when they saw her chatting with Professor Flitwick, probably having one of their usual academic debates in Charms [4g] or other esoteric subject matters.

Seeing them all sat down together at the Slytherin Table, Fleur's interest in the young man, who was supposed to show her and her companions around the Hogwarts castle next Saturday, piqued even more, since no other Hogwarts student was sitting at a table that was not associated with their School House. She sat at the Ravenclaw Table between Cho and Padma, two bright students whom she had taken a liking too, although them acting as a buffer for her to keep the troll-like behaving males away was also a nice bonus. The French competitor [4h] asked the two of them, "Why are they not sitting according to their own Houses? Is it not…" Despite her dim view of such a tradition, which inevitably led to increased self-imposed segregation and stereotypes among the school populace, she had no standing to make such a critique without cause. "…a rule for Hogwarts students to abide by?"

Cho was not in Ravenclaw just for her book smarts. She also generally kept a cool head on her shoulders, which was why, despite Marietta being her friend, she did not get overly upset on her behalf, knowing just how dangerous a provoked Belladonna Eveschatten was. She was the first one to answer. "It would appear that way, but not really. Except for important events such as the Welcoming Feast, where seating by Houses is pretty heavily enforced, the professors don't have any administrative standing to do so during the rest of the academic year."

"Although, as you can see, almost all students here conform to social expectations for one reason or another, especially for Slytherin and Gryffindor, where each House's students will, through a status quo achieved through decades', or perhaps even centuries', worth of social and schoolyard political calcification, not associate with the members of the other House, at least openly." Padma picked up.

"Then considering peer pressure to be such a big factor, those three certainly don't appear to be suffering any noticeable detriments from opposing the norm." Fleur led on, wanting to confirm something on her mind.

With a strange chuckle, Padma answered her, "Ah, do see for yourself, but the Eveschatten triplets are not ones to meekly obey institutions or norms without cause. You see how Malfoy and his clique are glaring at them?" She pointed out to Fleur, who hummed in acknowledgement. "Well, back in our First Year—Cho's Second—Malfoy and co. wanted to 'impress' upon Bella the importance of not publicly associating with outsiders, especially Gryffindors."

"Then what happened?" Fleur asked, although she could make a fairly educated guess, seeing the impotent glower of this Malfoy, who had a wretchedly obvious self-important air about him.

Padma smirked. "Well, Ms. Eveschatten obviously took exception to his impudence. The day after, Malfoy was found in the Great Hall first thing in the morning, bound and passed out." It was always a delight to revel in that pompous brat's humiliation. "It took several more of these demonstrations for this lesson to fully sink in, with each iteration more humiliating than the last. The last demonstration left him stripped and bound, decorated with a creative assortment of a feather duster, whipped cream, and some girls' unmentionables."

Fleur mimicked a gagging motion at that disturbing image, and even Padma grimaced at the memory. Cho was not much better, shuddering despite herself.

"As you can imagine, Malfoy's parents grew increasingly livid with each assault. No one knew or could prove the identity or identities of the culprit(s), though the smug smirks on the triplets' faces after each demonstration certainly did not leave many doubters." Padma finished her tale.

Cho continued the rendition of the Eveschatten siblings' acts of infamy. "A less mentally scarring event happened in Hadrian's House later that Year. Although it's a pretty well-known accepted truth now, I only heard from several of my Gryffindor friends back then that he invited his sisters into the Gryffindor Common Room. Gryffindors did not like outsiders coming into that space in the first place, and with Bella being in Slytherin, the reactions were even worse. I didn't know exactly what happened; suffice to say, the Gryffindors have not seriously spoken out against her to this day."

Fleur turned her body to look at the siblings conversing with several Slytherins at their table, noticeable among them was an imperious-looking blonde. To the immediate right of her was a younger brunette who looked almost exactly like her, most likely her little sister then. Eveschatten [4i] sat on the presumed sister's right side, talking with the icy blonde. Eveschatten had her right hand intertwined with her brother's left one, idly tracing circles on the back side. Hadrian sat between his sisters, entertaining the brunette sister with some presumed tale, making her giggle. Rosaline [4i] had her left arm wrapped around his right upper arm, talking with the two people to her right. 'Either the Eveschatten triplets are simply more publicly affectionate than the average Briton, or Eveschatten is not the only frere amant in the family.' Fleur thought slightly bemused. On the other side of the siblings were an olive-skinned ravenette who was sultry in mannerisms, as well as a strawberry blonde who appeared to be amused by something spoken by Rose, although appearing trying to not draw too much attention to herself. 'Well, sitting with the dominant topic of Hogwarts and Mgk. British societal gossip of the past few days is not helping you there.' Fleur thought wryly.

As interesting as they were, the French competitor still wanted to gather as much information about them as possible, and that included their circle of connections. "They certainly seem unaffected by all the staring. So who are the blonde and ravenette they're talking to?"

Not seeing any harm with sharing a bit of public information, Padma recited from memory, "The blonde is Daphne Greengrass, one of the few people whom Bella associates in her House. Not much is known about her family, except that they're moderately wealthy from their potions supplies business, and Lady Greengrass is one of the leaders in the Neutral faction. While I don't think that their Houses are in a formal alliance of sorts, she and the triplets certainly are on friendly enough terms."

"The ravenette is Lucretia Zabini. She and Rose get along surprisingly well. She is also the daughter of the infamous Black Widow of Europe, Adrasteia Zabini." Cho supplied. Before she could say anything more, Fleur interrupted her.

"Say no more, Cho. Ms. Zabini may be mostly based in Mgk. Britain now, but her exploits were, and still are, infamous across the continent." Privately, Fleur thought, 'Hmm, the siblings' choices of associates are certainly neither dull nor full of supporters of the so-called "Light" faction. Interesting as these information are, I may do some of my own digging later on.'

The biggest question though, still had yet to be answered adequately, even by the so-called "experts". "'ave you heard anything concrete about their changes in appearance?" Fleur asked her acquaintances.

"You mean besides the usual bull and tripe the media, 'experts', and others have come up with?" Cho snorted indelicately. "Smart as I am, I'm not arrogant enough to propose an outlandish theory for a literally unprecedented event in magical history."

At the mention of the hot new topic until the lemmings found another one to latch onto, the people near them who could still pick up on their conversation refocused their attentions, though trying to appear inconspicuous in doing so. Several seats away from Cho, Marietta Edgecombe, still sporting her edgy new hairstyle fashioned during duress, scowled as she listened, stabbing her food with more force than necessary.

The three did not bother to ward the space around them from prying ears, for they were not discussing anything that required secrecy.

"While I too don't claim to possess anything near to expert knowledge on this issue," Padma glanced at her friend, "the only explanations that would make sense to me are a mutation in physiology or magic that allowed them to survive a direct blast of dragonfire." She finished, using a Mundane scientific jargon she picked up from Rose some while ago.

"Mutation?" Fleur and Cho asked simultaneously. Although they were more knowledgeable regarding the Mundane World compared to other influential Magical families, that was not saying much, considering how low the bar was set.

Padma answered, "Mutations are what Mundane scientists, biologists to be exact, refer to the changes in a living organism's genetic sequence, a code that is unique to each living organism in the biota. Essentially, it's each living organism's genetic material that determines their or its physical structure, barring external factors." Upon seeing looks of surprise on the two girls faces, Padma blushed a little bit, reminded of her own ignorance on the subject, before adding, "I didn't know what a mutation was either before Rose explained it to me and handed me an introductory biology textbook."

Seeing Fleur's and Cho's blank stares, Padma elaborated, "Rose mentioned that her mother, Professor Eveschatten, made sure that she and her siblings kept up with their Mundane education as well." After a few seconds of thinking, she added, "Frankly, even after learning just about biological mutations, I think that Muggle Studies will prove to be an outdated and useless subject."

Observing the slightly doubtful looks on their faces, Padma offered, "It may be hard to believe, however you'll be amazed at how far the Mundanes have come over the past few centuries. I can ask Rose to lend you the appropriate materials." Then she smirked, "Or, maybe you can just get a Mundane library membership card."

Both girls, who were quite curious individuals in their own rights, were quite interested by Padma's proposal and expressed them as such. Moving away from that tangent, Fleur then provided her own thoughts on the Eveschatten siblings' physical alterations. "My thoughts on the matter are similar to yours, Padma, though I didn't know that mutations, as the Mundanes call them, could be the cause of their changes."

Adding her own few Knuts on the matter, Cho said, "Regardless of the underlying cause or causes, the triplets have always given off peculiar vibes. This may be an ad hoc justification on my part, though I think you would agree with me on this point too, Pad."

Looking a little sheepish, Padma confirmed, "Well, don't take this the wrong way, but yes, Rose, Hadrian, and Bella have always had mysterious airs about them. I swear that had I not met them in person, I would have thought that their eye colour to be unnatural." She paused, before adding, "Hmm, their new eye designs are only going to increase the amount of colourful rumours. Like Cho said though, trust the 'esteemed' Daily Prophet to continue publishing the ravings of ignorami." She scowled.

Despite not knowing the Eveschatten siblings well, Fleur did not wish the reputations of those who had not done her person any injury to be tarnished by unfounded speculations. Yes, even that bitch Belladonna did not deserve such.

Mere moments after Fleur returned to observing her persons of interest, since she did not have anything to add beyond her own similar hypothesis, she saw that the siblings had finished having lunch with their companions. This would not have otherwise interested her, except that they were walking towards the section of the table that sat her, instead of walking out of the Great Hall. All three siblings' hair were inexplicably longer than they would naturally be otherwise after growing anew in only several days' worth of time, and all three now had a thick, similar shaded silvery stripe in the front as well.

As the triplets progressed in their gait, they visually took in the various people who were trying to discreetly, and failing, to observe them like fascinating specimens to dissect. They could not care less about what others thought of them, so they decided to embrace their new changes in stride. Rose had her cheery mask on as usual, her hair now in an extreme boyish pixie cut. Bella had an imperious air about her par for the course, rocking an extreme undercut with the top swept to the right side of her head. Hadrian walked with his casual confidence, displaying an utilitarian cropped undercut, not unlike some modern soldiers.

As they approached, Fleur was momentarily surprised when Eveschatten stopped several steps in front of Cho's friend, Marietta. Fleur heard about what happened to her of course, although her empathy for the girl was limited, seeing how obvious and off-putting her snobbish personality was.

Bella clearly did not want to be here, yet something her Brother whispered in her ear had her scowling playfully, smacking his arm ineffectually, and shooting him a blushed look. 'This action feels much less like an obligation now, after factoring in Arie's reward, ufufufu.' Schooling her features, she spoke to Marietta firmly and clearly, "Ms. Edgecombe, my assault upon your person yesterday is an action unbecoming of my character. Therefore, I hereby formally apologise to you, as well as offer a form of compensation within reason." Her voice easily penetrated the sudden silence of the Great Hall, the inhabitants within eager to lap up any potential gossip material or drama concerning the Eveschatten triplets.

Upon hearing this statement, the reactions from various individuals within the hall were mixed.

Cho was more relieved than anything else; she got along well with the siblings and might be harbouring a crush on the sisters' handsome and brother who was slightly younger than her. Factoring in how annoying Marietta could be at times with the opinions she parroted from her mother, a brown-nosing Ministry middle management type, it was little wonder then that Cho was glad Marietta would no longer have a proper excuse to bitch about Bella.

Fleur, as the daughter of a prominent politician and a member of a species that was predisposed to heightened emotional perceptions of others, had learned to read people and analyse their motivations early on, skills that were especially valuable to her as a young Veela until several years ago, when her body growth was still deliberately stunted by her innate Veela heritage. Thus, her respect for Eveschatten had just risen several levels. Grudgingly, if only to herself, Fleur admitted that the two of them had similar, that was to say proud, personalities. An apology this public therefore was not simply done out of the goodness of her heart. Not only was this public maneuver politically savvy, for it communicated her willingness to take responsibility for an action she thought to be unworthy of her character, as well as blunted any form of public retaliation Marietta and her family might take, it would also nudge the sheep-minded public to jump onto this piece of gossip, instead of focusing on the siblings' new physical changes. Now granted, she did not think that the latter benefit would last long, yet this reprieve would still give her family precious time to craft an appropriate public statement.

Lily was proud of her daughter. When she heard the news from Severus in the Faculty Lounge, she felt disappointed in her. Bella had always been the most outwardly passionate of her three children, yet she had taught them the value of maintaining proper emotional control at all times, or at least in public, a lesson learned from her own bouts of youthful brashness. Thankfully, her lover took her in hand and corrected this shortcoming of hers [4j]. She was a firm believer in not apologising for any action, as long as one can honestly justify their cause to themself; therefore, she felt that her daughter's impudence grossly outweighed any verbal slight Ms. Edgecombe slang her way. 'Your brother can't be there every time you need to be brought to heel, my sweet.' Lily thought amusedly.

The triplets' Slytherin friends were generally approving, seeing Bella's action for what it really was. The preadolescent Astoria though, glared at Marietta with cutely puffed cheeks, irritated at her for badmouthing her surrogate big sister's beautiful hair.

Of the three siblings, Susan was the closest to Hadrian and Rose; Bella, at her base state, could be an intimidating person. That was not to say that she had ever unleashed her menacing aura on her own person deliberately however. As the niece of the Head of the DMLE and the sole heiress of House Bones, Susan knew that a lot of people, many of them unscrupulous, were going to make overtures towards her once she took up the Bones headship. As such, she needed powerful and interest-aligned allies by her side. Despite giving an unassuming appearance, Susan had a real knack for evaluating people, which was why she was quick to make friends with the Eveschatten siblings. Hadrian being easy on the eyes was a motivating factor too. Although Susan was not guileless enough to take Bella's public apology at face value, it was enough to nudge her into seriously considering getting to know her better.

Dumbledore was of a similar mind when he heard the news and was proud of Ms. Eveschatten for taking responsibility for her action. Ms. Eveschatten was a fierce, but tempered, young woman, so very like her namesake several decades ago. Digressing from that painful memory, he focused on the present. Ms. Edgecombe either must had really set Ms. Eveschatten off, or the more obvious and likely scenario, corroborated by witnesses, was Ms. Edgecombe's very unwise insult of Ms. Eveschatten's previously gorgeous mane, not that it excused the latter's behaviour. His colourful—those with no eye for fashion would say loud—tastes in robes aside, he did not consider himself to be a vain individual, yet even he knew that most women were very proud, maybe even irrationally so, of their hair. Some battles were just not worth fighting.

Snape was not one to willingly apologise for anything or to anyone, save for one particular individual. And as much as he disagreed with one of his favourite pupil's action, he was shrewdly cognisant of her rationales for doing so.

Draco, too short-sighted to see the objectives Bella had set out to accomplish through this maneuver, was plotting to use this incident to bring the bitch down several pegs.

As for Marietta herself, Belladonna Eveschatten was someone she feared and was jealous of in equal measures. She was someone whom she herself aspired to be, yet constantly fell short of. Eveschatten had the looks, power, and disposition to back up her alpha female status without even trying that hard, yet she herself had to constantly invoke her mother's conceited authority at the Ministry to integrate herself into the more popular Cho's group. What could she do but accept her apology with grace then? She was nowhere powerful enough to openly challenge Eveschatten, and she just knew that bitch would humiliate her, only much more discreetly, if she further antagonised her.

"Very well, I accept your apology, Ms. Eveschatten. No compensation is needed. I, too, apologise for my verbal provocation." Marietta managed to say neutrally, feeling as though she was the one trying to save face instead of the one being apologised to.

"Thank you for your understanding, Ms. Edgecombe. Have a good day." Bella said with equal enthusiasm. She turned around to leave the Great Hall without further ado.

Throughout this short and awkward exchange, Hadrian and Rose stood close to their sister, giving her silent support, although his smirk and her silent giggle undermined their united front somewhat. Before Bella could depart however, Hadrian gently, yet firmly, took her hand, giving her pause and a mental message, causing her to briefly roll her eyes and huff. Nonetheless, she dutifully stood by her Brother and more, along with Rose, whom he had already informed.

Hadrian, along with his two sisters, moved to stand in front of Fleur.

Having initially expected this development when the siblings first walked to the Ravenclaw Table, Fleur merely raised a well-manicured eyebrow. "Bonjour, Hadrian, Rosaline, and Belladonna. Is there something that you need?" She deliberately addressed them by their first names, thus insinuating that she was on enough familiar terms with the triplets to address them as such. Well, she was stretching the truth by a fair margin. Not to mention, she had no desire to broadcast the disinclination between her and Belladonna that would hopefully simmer down [4i].

Hadrian smiled charmingly at her. "We're merely passing by on our way out of the Great Hall, Mlle. Delacour. I simply want to remind you…" He looked over at her clique, giving them a wink, "…and your friends of your upcoming appointment." He kept his wording vague enough so that no one, beside the tourists-to-be and his sisters, could make sense of it.

Amused by his deliberate ambiguity and mentally tipping her hat at his presumed admonishment of her presumptuous addressment, Fleur said in her musical voice, "Seeing as we already know each other, there is no need for such formalities, non? Please call me Fleur." She then held out her arm.

It was Hadrian's turn to raise an eyebrow. Refusing to play the game on her terms, he simply waited.

Adopting a slightly abashed, yet nonetheless pleased look, Fleur rose up, still offering Hadrian her hand.

Bending slightly at his waist and neck, Hadrian took her hand in both of his and gently brushed his lips over her middle knuckle, behaving every inch a proper gentleman. This transaction, of course, only served to fuel speculations about their relationship and his unaffected behaviour around a Veela. Who could know whether this was an orchestrated event?

Hadrian looked at her with a roguish smirk, then jerked his head minutely towards his two sisters. Understanding his gesture, Fleur nodded. "I'm pleased to formally make your acquaintance then, Fleur. And you have already met my lovely sisters, Bella and Rose, of course." Hadrian said amusedly.

Rose smiled mischievously at Fleur, while Bella merely nodded, a bit stiffly at that, a gesture that Fleur returned with an enigmatic smile of her own.

Fleur sustained, "And yes, Hadrian, my friends and I 'ave no intention of canceling it. I certainly am looking forward to it." She finished with a sly smile on her rosy lips.

Hadrian gave Fleur and her friends some final nods of acknowledgement, before turning to his and his sisters' two friends beside her.

"Cho and Padma, we'll see you later." Rose and her siblings greeted them, before walking away together.

As they were walking, Hadrian glanced at Luna, who was sitting some seats down the Ravenclaw Table, observing the spectacle like everyone else. He still remembered his self-made promise to look out for her, although he did not think a sudden and public approach would do her any favours.

Reactions were once again mixed.

Daphne and Lucretia thinned their delectable lips minutely.

Cho, Padma, and Susan had slight frowns on their pretty faces.

Parvati was chatting animatedly with Lavender, trying to make sense of these multiple unexpected events that occurred within the past 10 minutes.

Lily hid an amused smirk behind her raised glass of sauvignon blanc while chewing on her roasted sea bass with thyme, mentally cataloguing the reactions of her Darling Son's female friends.

Ron scowled, his face turning crimson with impotent jealousy. "Another bird? And a Veela?! Doesn't that jerk already have enough fit birds around him?" He muttered angrily, before shoving a disturbingly huge amount of food into his oral orifice at once. He had lusted after Hadrian's female friends since the last School Year. Rather insultingly, none of them would appreciate his greatness. Letting out an ugly belch and unaware of the general disgust of those having the misfortune of sitting near him, his lecherous thoughts turned to the Eveschatten sisters. Rosaline looked like the younger sister of her mother, who was definitely one fit cougar [4k]. He quickly shut down that line of thought, shuddering as he remembered the death glare Professor Eveschatten gave him when she noticed his attention on her person. Even Belladonna, despite being a Slytherin, was gorgeous. Once again though, his thoughts were derailed as he remembered the not too subtle threat her berk of a brother delivered to him after cornering him in an abandoned hallway.

As the triplets walked towards the exit of the Great Hall, Bella looked their mother's way, mentally conveying a message. Expecting this matter to arise sooner or later, Lily gave a minute nod towards her children.


=+= November 29, 2014, Professor Eveschatten's Office, Hogwarts (Scn. 4c) =+=

An hour or so later, the triplets were in front of the door of their mother's school office.

"Come in." Lily said after hearing a knock on her door.

Opening the lock, Hadrian let himself and his sisters into her office.

"Hi mum!" Rose exclaimed happily, giving her a hug while doing so, which Lily returned with reciprocal sentiment.

The triplets proceeded to sit comfortably on the tasteful antique couch, which was able to be accommodated in Lily's office thanks to some judicious application of space expansion charms. The triplets sitting closely together was not an uncommon occurrence, yet Lily's keen eyes picked up on some subtle changes in their body languages. While this was an interesting development, they had another matter to deal with first.

Cutting straight to the issue, Lily focused her imperious gaze on her son. Elegantly crossing her legs and folding her arms, she bluntly stated, "The Headmaster told me about your intention for the dragon eggs, Hadrian. I hope you don't mind explaining to me why I should indulge in your request."

With the developments of the most recent two days, his Mother's stern female authoritarian impression was bringing up certain interesting thoughts in Hadrian's mind. Mentally shaking away the thoughts that were no longer too perverse, he focused his mind on convincing her of his admittedly not too well thought out plan and rationale. Her usage of his forename was a succinct prompter of his need to quickly deliver a convincing sales pitch, so to speak.

Deciding to lead from a position of humility, Hadrian said, "Mother, I acknowledge what I asked of the Headmaster was a spontaneous act. However, I saw three dragon eggs that were just waiting to be exploited by unscrupulous individuals, such as Snape. It would be both morally wrong and a waste of potentially three magnificent dragons to ignore this opportunity."

Lily knew Snape better than anyone, save for a few other individuals. After all, one tended to know the measure of someone after facing them on the battlefield, repeatedly in their case. Because she herself told her children of Snape's history before and during the last civil war, before they set foot on Hogwarts, Lily could not fault their negative views towards the man. Furthermore, unbeknownst to her, Snape had further incurred Hadrian's displeasure by lusting after her, which was an affront to both his sense of familial protectiveness and his recently heightened predatory instinct of displaying hostile intent towards those trying to encroach on his territory.

Coming out of her tangential thought, Lily replied, "I don't disagree with you on that front, Arie. These dragon eggs, and potential future hatchlings, deserve protection. Even so, there're numerous institutions which are qualified, not to mention would be thrilled, to take care of them. What do you think our family will be able to do to help these yet to be born creatures, hmm?"

After the debacle of the First Task, the particular Romanian dragon reserve, which previously held the escaped Hungarian Horntail, decided the wash its hands of any direct assets related to the dragon in an effort to escape any further negative publicity, which meant that it wanted the dragon eggs to be destroyed. Luckily for Hadrian, Dumbledore's powerful political pull in his triumvirate capacities as the Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards (I.C.W.), Chief Warlock of the British Wizengamot, and Headmaster of Hogwarts was more than enough to secure a DBL for him. Still, Hadrian knew that convincing his Mother was a Herculean task compared to leveraging Dumbledore's affable nature and fondness for the Eveschatten family, for Lily dealt not in sentimentality or emotional blubbering, just cold reasoning. Of course, while some allowances were made for the siblings on account of them being her children, familial affection could not be used as a major criteria for objective decision-making.

Seeing an appropriate opening, Hadrian made a gesture to his sisters. The siblings proceeded to take off their individual small duffel bag from their shoulders. Opening the duffel bags, they took out the three dragon eggs that they brought with them and lined them up in a row on the coffee table in front of the couch. The two eggs at the ends were the size of an ostrich egg, approximately 15 centimetres (cm) in length and 13 cm in diametre, with a colour composition of red and brown, as well as a scale-like texture. The egg in the centre however, was approximately 25% bigger in volume with respect to the other two eggs. If not for its smooth shine, one would be forgiven for assuming it to be a miniature black hole, given its dark as the void like colour, or lack of.

Hadrian gestured to the eggs. "The egg in the middle is clearly different from the other two in terms of size, texture, and colour, no?" He asked rhetorically to no one in particular.

This was the first time for all three Eveschatten females to gain a good look at the dragon eggs. Rose and Bella did not even know their brother had them in his possession until half an hour ago, when he presented them with the obviously filled duffel bags. Vexedly, he did not allow them to see the eggs, claiming to not want to ruin the surprise. As for Lily, Dumbledore told her of the tentative change in the titles of the dragon eggs. Knowing that her son would talk to her about the matter when he was ready, she was content to wait. Suffice to say, all three of them were suitably intrigued by the noticeable differences in the middle egg.

Letting the pause elongate for a few more moments to build up the suspense, Hadrian dramatically said, "As I just said, one of them is not like the others. And I can assure you, natural mutation was not the cause for its changes." Taking a look at his temporary audience, he asked, "Does anyone want to take a guess? Five points to the House of whomever can answer correctly!"

Exasperated by his sudden flair for the dramatic, Bella slightly smacked him up the back of his head, demonstrating that for all the changes in their sibling relationship, she was still technically his big sister, a familial position that imbued her with the prerogative to discipline her younger siblings.

Whining petulantly, Hadrian only found an unsympathetic audience in a smirking Lily and giggling Rose. Letting out a faux huff, he slyly looked at Bella, "Tsk-tsk, you should only channel your sadism during battle… or in the bedroom, Sister Mine."

As he chuckled, Bella could only let out an indignant sputter. Rose giggled even louder, while Lily mentally filed that exchange away, another piece of evidence in support of her silent inference.

Getting serious, Hadrian explained, "Yesterday, I was lightly experimenting with ways to make the fetus innately stronger by modulating the parametres of its environment, such as the housing temperature and localised magical saturation. As a result of my efforts, that egg is now bigger, more magically saturated, and thicker and stronger in shell than the other two eggs. What you see before you, therefore, is a promising demonstration of the viability of artificially-induced fetal growth."

"Taking a page from geneticists, Arie?" Rose asked knowingly. Receiving a pleased nod in return, she then inquired, worried for her Beloved Brother's safety, "Are you sure that you can ensure no negative influence will be borne as a side effect though?"

"I'm not sure whether I should be proud or worried that you finally let your inner mad scientist out to play, Hadrian." Lily muttered an interjection. "Regardless, that was a reckless thing you did." She chastised.

Hadrian was unrepentant though. "I'm not a stereotypical Gryffindor cannon fodder, you know." He huffed indignantly. "I took reasonable precautions, and I also confined my experimentation to just the one egg, on the low probability of things going awry."

"Regardless, you will not endeavour any more of these experiments on your own. Am I understood, mister?" Lily said, brooking no complaints.

"Well… I can't promise you perpetual compliance, mum." Hadrian hedged. Seeing his Mother's glare though, he quickly added, "Of course, I'll observe all reasonable safety measures during this task at least." Lily still did not look completely placated though, so he further cajoled, "Also, I'm sure that Bella, Rose, and I will have peace of mind if you supervise our experiments and lend us your considerable experiences and expertise in magical creature lore, arithmancy, runes, and warding."

Lily was amused, yet appreciative of her Darling Son's blatant flattery. "Hmph, it's clear that you three will continue this task no matter what. I guess it behooves me, as a dutiful mother, then, to oversee the sustained and safe existence of my children." She intoned faux pompously.

"What will we ever do without you, o Mother of Mine." Bella snarked.

"What a disrespectful daughter I have to back talk me so." Lily said dejectedly. Bouncing back from her momentary indulgence in childishness, she said seriously, "I was unyielding with you because I wanted to test your resolve to this cause, Arie. Since raising dragons is a long-term project, I had to be certain that your commitment is unwavering."

Hadrian nodded. "That's a valid point of concern, mum. To assuage any remaining doubt you may have, I have to ask first: do you understand the implications of our recent physical changes?"

"I have an inkling, yes, but nothing substantive." Lily replied, intuitively seeing the common thread between what he just said and the main topic of this discussion.

"Our changes in eye colours and hair aside, I have been finding it easier to manipulate my magic without an external conduit." Demonstrating his claim, Hadrian waved his hand about and levitated the four teacups on the coffee table, easily making them traverse in a three dimensional (3D) figure eight pattern, resolving the logistics of the intersection with a bypass. As the teacups continued their looping journeys, he explained, "I do this to make my next statement more palatable."

"You didn't sacrifice any innocent virgins to gain your increased proficiency in wandless magic, right Arie?" Bella joked.

Giving his sister a deadpan look, Hadrian solemnly said, "That would be too great of a price to pay for a minor power boost, my dear." Before any more interruption could be made, he pressed on, "As I was going to say, I had a strange dream earlier this week, one that involves knights and multi-factional warfare. The memory was a fleeting one, however the most important aspects of the dream were the appearance of a great three-headed dragon and said dragon calling me by the name of Aegon."

Hadrian observed their reactions. Bella was surprised to say the least. His mother was rather stoic upon hearing this news. Rose had the most visible reaction of them all though.

Gasping, Rose quickly grabbed his hand, stating more than asking, "So that's what you were dreaming about the evening before the First Task!" She wanted to reprimand her Brother for keeping such a secret bottled up, yet that would be hypocritical of her, irrespective of the different time lapses.

Before he could respond, Rose continued, "Actually, …" Everyone turned to look at her, "…I had a dream of a similar nature yesterday. I, or at least the individual I was experiencing the dream reality from, was waging siege warfare on a castle. Incredibly, I was doing so atop of a bus- or greater-sized dragon, as if such a thing was possible. Also, according to the warrior, the dragon's name is Meraxes."

Observing that her mother did not look particularly perturbed at these revelations, Bella acted on her curiosity, to which Lily waved away her inquiry with some nonsensical muttering. Unconvinced, yet knowing now was not the time to probe further, she resumed looking at her siblings with slight concern.

Hadrian looked at Rose with a relieved expression on his face, before addressing all three females. "Not that I thought I was becoming mental, it's nonetheless good to know that I'm not the only one having these types of dreams in the family. Regardless, since these dreams are apparently not isolated phenomena, I propose that we begin to catalogue them to be best of our memories and abilities." Again looking at Rose, he asked, "Rose, you're still determined to construct a pensive for your OWL project next Year, right?"

Rose nodded, realising what her brother was proposing.

Displaying the kind of mental wavelength synchronicity that was difficult to achieve outside of the relationships of close siblings or lovers [4l, Bella asked their mother, "Mum, would it be possible for us to borrow the family pensive? It would be easier for our purposes until we find a more permanent solution. And after hearing about these dreams from Arie and Rose, I'm almost certain that they'll be visiting my mind beginning in the near future as well." She received a thankful squeeze and beam from Hadrian and Rose respectively.

Lily readily agreed to Bella's request, not quite being able to mask a brief look of eagerness.

"Hem, hem." Hadrian sounded out deliberately, drawing everyone' attention again. "That's a good idea, Bella. For now, I need to finish explaining why I brought my dream up in the first place."


== November 29, 2014, Level 7, British Ministry of Magic (M.o.M.) Headquarters (HQ), Whitehall, London, ENG, Mgk. GBR ==

A woman of a doughy disposition, dressed in an assemble of various ghastly shades of pink, including a fuzzy cardigan, had no choice save to momentarily pause her motion as she sneezed, feeling as though some no-good, subversive brat was appropriating her trademark sound. In front of her, a portly little man groaned, feeling the loss of her able ministrations.

"Is something the matter?" The man, dressed in a pinstriped three-piece suit with lapels as wide as his unmerited ego, inquired, wishing she would hurry up and bloody resume her express service already.

"Not at all. Just some airborne dust, that's all." The woman quickly recovered.

"Yes, well, we're in a not-frequented supply closet, after all." The man chuckled. "C'mon now, dear, we haven't got all day."

"Of course." With the distraction passed, the woman was able to sustain her selective tactic of negotiation.


=+= Scn. 4c (Ktnd.) =+=

"Now, although this is only conjecture at this point, I'd wager a chain of causality being the link between my dragon-related dream, our bath by dragonfire, my increased proficiency in free-form magic, and my modest success in manipulating the growth of the dragon egg. With Rose apparently in the same situation as I am and Bella probably not far behind, it's reasonable to infer that we'll have the best chance out of any party to not only successfully hatch the dragon eggs, but upgrade many attributes of the dragons as well." Hadrian ended, finishing his arguments to keep the dragon eggs.

Lily and Rose, being the most academically-oriented individuals in the family, shared a speculative look with one another. Rose deferred to her mother's more expansive knowledge base, so the older redhead reasoned, "Well, we are in figuratively uncharted waters here. However, when you put it that way, Arie, the probability of each of these events being independent is astonishingly small."

Making up her mind on the matter, she concluded, "Alright, we will keep the dragon eggs." She cut her children off before they could celebrate further. "However, my conditions are nonnegotiable. Not to mention, you three can't let your academic performances and social activities suffer due to this increase in responsibility. To sweeten the deal, I can procure some helpful material from my department in the Ministry."

At the mention of academics, the Eveschatten triplets gave their mother identical smiles. Now Lily was definitely proud of her children, yet even her pride did not lend itself to inquire about the nature of the scheme they had surely cooked up.


== November 29, 2014, The Great Hall, Hogwarts ==

It was dinner time, and Marietta was sullenly stabbing at her food again. The cause for her ill-content laid in a certain Eveschatten, whose hair had somehow brushed her shoulder already. Naturally, Bella was far too pleased with herself, chatting away with Cho and Padma. Sitting across from her were Rose and Hadrian, who sat with Fleur. The latter two were conversing together, talking inanely while trying to withdraw secrets from each other. Rose, whose hair had also grew to similar lengths, had her form leaning into her brother's arm and her chin resting on his shoulder, looked on at the scene amusedly. Her hand was in his hair, idly caressing the lush locks she missed running her fingers through these past few days.

Lily idly glanced at her children, making a mental list of all the research material, both self-written and from work, that she would need to bring out and procure again.

Today was an excellent one for the Eveschatten triplets, further unsullied by the lack of need for hair stimulation tonics.


© Hadrian von Eveschatten, 2019


End Author's Notes

This chapter is very dialogue-heavy and explores the more consequential aftermath following the events of the First Task. Because of the importance of the second and fourth scenes in laying further groundwork for the future of the story, a lot of effort were put in to do them justice. I really tried to make the dialogue of said two scenes, as well as the interaction and increased intimacy between the siblings in the second one believable, yet I know they still need work. I encountered some writer's block in writing those two scenes, hence the almost one month period between the publishing of the last chapter and this one. The quality fanfiction that I have read all have their unique je ne sais quoi qualities to the aforementioned dimensions that hopefully I will eventually be able to incorporate into my own writing. Let me know what you think of them and how they can be improved.

As a firm believer in "show, not tell" mode of writing myself, I am not thrilled having to rely on so much third-party dialogue to convey the history of the triplets' bond in the third scene. Nevertheless, it is an efficient way to do so.

Finally, as a preemptive answer, yes, more substantial action will resume soon.


Footnotes

[4a] The Eveschatten siblings have been made sure by Lily to not disengage from the Mundane World.

[4b] Well, not surprising given whose reality Rose is experiencing in that "dream". I also do not want this and future "dream" sequences to give the respective reincarnations too much contextual information, for what I plan for the triplets' future will be of diminished value if they are allowed to retain most or all of the contextual memories of their past selves.

[4c] That is right. The Weasley twins are obnoxious enough as it is with their juvenile, and sometimes seriously physically harmful, "pranks" without their eye-twitch-inducing twin-speak.

[4d] To preemptively answer the segment of the reading audience who think that the physical aspect of the triplets' relationship is progressing too fast… you might be right. However, in my defense, the story has already established that they had engaged in innocent and mild sexual exploration before Lily's intervention during their childhood. Also, as per both the ASoIaF canon and word of god (GRRM), two important reasons for Valyrians to frequently engage in inbreeding are the instinctual influence of their dragon blood and the benefits of retaining much of their dragon blood-associated magick. It is also a great trade-off, because despite their multigenerational inbreeding, the increases in negative recessive traits, due to homozygosity, have been much less than they would have otherwise been under normal conditions.

[4e] As someone who has always appreciated the utility and aesthetic appeal of a pair of snug trunks, I simply cannot let the Hadrian in my story wear a pair of baggy boxers, which is a mark against many otherwise quality HP fanfiction. As for Bella and Rose, their choices in boyshorts and thong panties reflect their emphases on utility and sensuality respectively.

[4f] Despite modern connotations, martial arts do not only refer to East Asian styles of unarmed combat. Here, martial arts maintains its original definition, which includes both unarmed and armed forms of combat. The term is literally derived from Latin for "arts of Mars", named after the Roman god of war (Well, the main god of war in the Roman pantheon anyway; Bellona is also a goddess of war.).

[4g] Chapter 1 of DH3H states that Lily is Flitwick's colleague. Some of the otherwise quality HP fanfiction that I have read have her employed as the Muggle Studies professor at Hogwarts. Yeah… that is not happening in my story. Besides the fact that Lily is largely recognised (at least within the HP fandom) as a Charms genius and thus should not be wasting her talents teaching a subject that can be taught by any Mundane not living under a rock, why give the Magical British populace a working knowledge of how far the Mundanes have truly come within the past few centuries? As such, in this story, Lily is one of the two Charms professors at Hogwarts. Flitwick took on a more active role as the Head of Ravenclaw, therefore he has also reduced his teaching workload. The two split the first six Years between them, alternatively handling three Years per person, and both sharing responsibility over the Seventh Year curriculum.

[4h] This is a minor detail, however the nomenclature of [Nationality Champion] in the TWT does not make sense. The "Champions" are still competing, so how can they be called such? So instead, I just call them [Nationality competitor].

[4i] Until the relationship between Bella and Fleur improves, I am afraid they will only call each other by their surnames, and that is them being civil towards each other. Rose is just as willful as Bella; however, her own interaction with Fleur left the latter with a more healthy dose of respect for her (see Chapter 2 for contexts).

Well, what do you know.

[4j] Oho, what is this? Lily had a (mysterious) lover? Hmm…

[4k] I tried to incorporate appropriate vulgar British slang for attractive females, although I am afraid I only know the ones with widespread usages, such as "fit" and "bird". If any reader know of other slang to use in this context, please let me know!

[4l] I say, why not both!