Hey friends and fans! Kairomaru is bringing you another chapter of Harry Potter and the Artificer Legacy! Champion Selection time! Who will be the Champion for each school? Will there be an unexpected fourth Champion?
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Chapter 37 – Champion Selection
"Where are you taking me, Harry?" Fleur questioned with a melodious giggle.
"You'll see," Harry replied with a grin as he led her down a seemingly random, empty corridor.
"Are you looking for a place to be alone with me, mon amour?" Fleur teased her love and Harry only nodded to her teasing.
"Perhaps…" Harry chuckled as he stood in front of the protected door to his hidden workshop. "We're here."
"Here?" Fleur looked at the end of the corridor, just blank walls on all sides. "Where is here?"
"Right here, of course." Harry smirked at his silvery-blonde girlfriend a he took hold of the door handle and opened it.
"Magnifique!" Fleur praised with a beautiful smile as the door came into her focus and she could see inside. "More of your work, I take it?"
"Some of the simpler stuff, yes." Harry confirmed as he led her inside and shut the door behind her.
"Well, now that we're alone and hidden from everyone, whatever could your plans be with me?" Fleur purred teasingly as she ran her left hand over her curves.
"I was thinking I'd show you the gift I made for you." Harry rebuffed her teasing with his experience. He knew her games. Not to say he wasn't very tempted though!
"A gift?" Fleur cocked her head to the side, her silvery locks swaying from the motion.
"It's in the smithy." Harry gestured for her to follow him and he opened the door to the smithy for her. Fleur gave him a smile as she stepped into the room only to stop dead just like Penny had done the first time.
"Harry…" Fleur breathed as her blue eyes locked onto the armor that was resting on a mannequin in the smithy. The Veela teen could swear she'd heard a hiss in her mind the instant she'd stepped into the room. There was a sense of being watched and a slight pressure on her senses. She took a second step when she felt Harry's hand on her back. "You made another Basilisk Scale Mail?" She asked as she snapped out of it and the feelings faded away.
"Three more now, actually." Harry smiled at her as they walked over to the Artifact Armor. "This one is yours."
"Mine?" Fleur's head snapped around so quickly her hair twirled through the air from the motion. Her beautiful eyes searched his for only a moment before they confirmed the truth in them. "Harry… Thank you, I love it." She graced him with her gorgeous, heart-warming smile as she pulled him into a hug.
"I'm glad," Harry returned the hug as his arms wrapped around her waist. "I want to keep you three safe. I need to." He pulled her closer as he tightened his hold on her.
"We will be safe, Harry, thanks to you." Fleur assured him as she pulled back just enough to look into his eyes. Without another word she pressed her lips to his and the two quickly got lost in their kiss. When they pulled away to catch their breath, both were hazy-eyed.
"Fleur." Harry didn't need to say anything else as his hands descended from her waist to her hips and then to her bottom.
"Harry~" Fleur breathed hotly as she wrapped her arms around his neck and hopped up to wrap her legs around his waist. Harry quickly supported her weight with his hold on her ass. Lips met again as Harry carried her out of the smithy and towards his work desk.
Sitting Fleur on the desk without breaking contact from her lips, Harry moved his hands to gently cup her face. The Veela teen hummed in approval before her hands began to tug at his robes. With a heavy breath the two separated and started removing robes, shirts, and Fleur happily removed her bra to expose her large breasts to her love. Harry wasted no time to lavish her tits with his full attention. Fleur moaned pleasurably at the warmth of Harry's touch as she held him close to her breasts. She kept her legs wrapped around his waist to both encourage their closeness, as well as prevent either of them from removing anything below the waist. They were teens and indulging as teens did, but that didn't mean they would be irresponsible.
The couple wasn't seen by anyone until dinner that night.
-Great Hall ~ After Dinner-
It was time for the Goblet of Fire to choose the three Champions for the Tournament. Fleur had put her name in first thing this morning and Harry was certain that she'd be chosen for Beauxbatons. He hoped Hogwarts got a good Champion too. At the very least he hoped it was someone that wouldn't embarrass themselves and the whole of Hogwarts by extension. He was also fairly certain that Viktor Krum would be chosen for Durmstrang. According to his Scouter the teen had a mana reading just over 7,000. He was by far the strongest of his peers from the northern school.
The Goblet's shimmering blue flames spiked and Dumbledore waved his wand to lower the lights in the Great Hall. Only the flickering candles inside the floating Jack O' Lanterns remained to give illumination alongside the blue flames of the goblet. Dumbledore stood next to the goblet as the blue flames swirled about. When the flames turned red a spark leapt from the fire and a singed piece of parchment floated through the air. Dumbledore plucked the falling parchment from the air and opened it.
"The Champion for the Durmstrang Institute is…Viktor Krum!" Dumbledore announced and the Hall erupted into cheers. The large teen was congratulated by his peers and Karkaroff was applauding more than most of the students. Viktor made his way up to Dumbledore and was motioned towards the antechamber behind the Professor's Table.
The red flames flared high again as Viktor headed into the antechamber. With another blast of sparks, a new piece of lightly singed parchment floated downwards. When it was in reach Dumbledore caught it and proceeded to open it. After a second to read, the Headmaster looked up and spoke.
"The Champion for Beauxbatons Academy of Magic is…Fleur Delacour!" Dumbledore declared and the Hall, most especially the male students, broke into raucous cheers. Fleur playfully rolled her eyes as she stole a kiss form Harry and stood up. She walked up to Dumbledore and exchanged a few short words. Fleur also headed for the antechamber just as the Goblet's red flames flared up.
With an impressively high burst of flames, the last parchment that held the Hogwarts' Champion's name began to flutter towards the ground amid a shower of sparks. Harry noted that the magical flames turned back to blue and died down. When Dumbledore caught the parchment the blue flames were snuffed out as if someone had blown out a candle. All that was left was the wooden Artifact, sitting on its pedestal.
"The Champion for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is…" Dumbledore stopped as he read the name on the parchment. A perplexed look of confusion filled the old man's face as he looked to be staring at the name on the lightly charred parchment. The Headmaster looked up and his eyes landed on Harry. The two literally locked eyes and Harry felt his stomach drop.
'No… No, no, no…' Harry had a very unpleasant realization as their gazes held each other. When he saw Dumbledore's eyes show a mix of confusion and a hint of suspicion, Harry nearly swore aloud. 'Fuck!' He could still swear internally though!
"Harry Potter." Dumbledore wasn't loud, his voice much more subdued than when he announced the previous two Champions. Most eyes in the Hall quickly turned to the Fourth Year in shock.
Harry stood slowly and with great reluctance he started walking. His emotions must have shown on his face as several students flinched back as he walked passed them. He was angry, why wouldn't he be? Somehow, someway, he'd been entered into the Triwizard Tournament! What the hell was going on and who did he have to viciously beat to death with his blacksmithing hammer for getting him mixed up in this? As he made it up to Dumbledore, he started to hear the buzzing in the Great Hall. Whispers and murmuring were slowly starting to build as the other students questioned what was going on.
"Harry, Mr. Potter," Dumbledore corrected himself. "I trust you didn't do this?"
"Of course not, Headmaster." Harry nearly hissed in response. "I have a revived, potentially undead, Dark Lord coming after me. I have no time to waste on this Tournament."
"I figured as much," Dumbledore gave him a nod as they continued to talk in hushed tones. "We'll get to the bottom of this, I promise you."
"I will be examining the Goblet of Fire, Headmaster." Harry made it clear with both his tone and his posture that he wouldn't be taking 'No' for an answer. "You can expect to be talking to Sirius shortly as well." With that Harry nearly, just short of really, stormed off to the antechamber and roughly closed the large door behind him.
"Harry?" Fleur's confusion could be heard as he walked into the chamber.
"Is something wrong?" Viktor questioned with his usual semi-surly look on his face. The older teen had clearly not expected to see a Fourth Year in the antechamber for the Champions of the Tournament.
"One second, please." Harry begged off as he reached into his robes and pulled out the Communication Mirror from his pocket. "Sirius Black." He whispered to the hand mirror. With a slight vibration Harry felt the moment the connection was made.
"Harry? I didn't expect a call this early." Sirius' expression was perplexed. "Isn't the Halloween Feast still going on?"
"There's been a complication, Sirius." Harry spoke to his Godfather and the man picked up on Harry's anger, confusion, and trepidation.
"What happened? Do I need to come to Hogwarts?" Sirius was clearly moving as the image of his face in the mirror became tilted as his hand moved.
"I was somehow entered into the Triwizard Tournament against my will." Harry informed him and the image of his Godfather stopped moving as Sirius stopped cold.
"LIKE HELL YOU'RE PARTICIPATING IN THAT BLOODY TOURNAMENT!" Sirius roared through the mirror and even Harry flinched back at the explosive outburst.
"Mr. Potter?! What have you got there?! Was that Lord Black?" McGonagall spoke up from behind Harry.
Harry turned to find that Dumbledore, McGonagall, Flitwick, Snape, Maxime, Karkaroff, Ludo Bagman, and Bartemius Crouch were all standing behind him. Harry was confused as to why Snape was there, the man wasn't his Head of House like Flitwick. He wasn't Headmaster or Deputy Headmaster; that was Dumbledore and McGonagall. He wasn't the Head of Durmstrang or Beauxbatons, nor was he the Head of Magical Games and Sports or International Magical Cooperation. He really had no reason to be here.
"It's a Communication Mirror, Professor." Harry explained as he showed the group the hand mirror with Sirius' enraged face looking at them all. "I called my Godfather, my legal Guardian, about what has happened tonight."
"Dumbledore! We're having words, now!" Sirius barked out at the old man at the front of the group. "I'll Floo to Hogwarts if I have to, so help me! Harry is not participating in the damned Triwizard Tournament!"
"Lord Black, I assure you we're going to get to the bottom of this." Dumbledore accepted the mirror from Harry.
"That should be obvious!" Sirius was spitting mad and not afraid to show it.
"Lord Black, I'm afraid things aren't so simple." Crouch tried to placate the Lord of House Black. "The Goblet of Fire constitutes a binding Magical Contract."
"How the hell can my Godson be bound to a Magical Contract he didn't submit himself to?! You think you can hide behind some flimsy excuse like that, Crouch?!" Sirius turned his ire on the Head of International Magical Cooperation.
'Speaking of,' Harry thought as he noticed the Tournament Organizers all focusing on the lambasting Sirius was dishing out through the Communication Mirror. 'Let's examine this Artifact.' A wandless Summoning Charm and Harry felt his mana connect to his target. With a mental pull, the wooden goblet came hurtling into the antechamber, over the heads of the Organizers unnoticed, and into Harry's hands. 'Now, how do you work?' Harry wondered as he let his mana flow into the Artifact to try and commune with it.
There was some rather rough Runecraft that made up the Goblet of Fire. It was a very old Artifact though, so maybe at the time this had been top tier work? Regardless, Harry delved deeper to try and determine how the Artifact had gotten his name or even chosen him. The wooden goblet only had two functions, Contract and Designation. The ability to hold the Triwizard Tournament's rules as a Magical Contract and the ability to choose those that were bound to said contract. Honestly, it would be a Median Grade Artifact for its two functions alone, at least in Harry's opinion. The teen Artificer noted that there were little to no actual failsafe measures to prevent someone from submitting another person's name though.
'Shoddy foresight.' Harry criticized internally as he searched for the last bits of information that he could glean from the Artifact. 'Is that it? This thing can collect the Magic of anyone that violates its Contract? No wonder someone could just toss my name into it! This piece of junk has no protections woven into it! Any student from Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, or Durmstrang could be bound to this thing! Whoever put my name in could have tossed in anyone's name. They could have tossed in a First Year's name and the Goblet might have chosen them!' The Artificer raged internally at the shoddy work and lack of care that had been put into the Goblet of Fire's overall creation. 'The only determination for choice is…wait…really? That's all?' He wanted to find out the Goblet's destruction method so badly right now! The only 'choice' the Goblet made with its Designation function was based entirely on how strong the Wizard or Witch in question was? How tacky was that? Did skill mean nothing to the Artificer that made this?
"But how does it measure strength?" Harry murmured aloud as he came out of his communing with the Goblet of Fire. "Is it some arbitrary method that can be picked up from the signer's writing, perhaps? But that would be so easy to fool. Just pouring your mana into the quill and ink as you wrote would trick such a simple measurement."
"Harry? Are you alright?" Fleur whispered to him and Harry blinked as he just now noticed Fleur standing next to him.
"Sorry Fleur, I was trying to understand this shoddy Artifact." Harry held up the wooden goblet. "I'll be alright, but I don't think this thing's Contract can be broken. Whoever made it was simplistic as hell. Only going through the Tournament removes the contract. What idiot made this back in the day I don't know, but I'd really like to bludgeon him or her to death with their own shitty work!"
"Mr. Potter? Why do you have the Goblet of Fire?" Crouch questioned the teen. Apparently Sirius had needed to stop his tirade against the Tournament Organizers to breathe.
"I'm an Artificer in case you've forgotten, Mr. Crouch." Harry reminded the older man. "I was studying this embarrassing piece of work to try and determine how I was entered into the tournament. With its simplistic rulings and total lack of any preventative safety measures, I'm now wondering how many previous competitors were forced into this tournament in the past."
"It's obvious you put your own name into the Goblet, Potter." Snape sneered at the teen.
"Shut your mouth, Snivellus!" Sirius barked at the dour Potions Professor. Snape bristled at the childhood insult and only a look from Dumbledore made the pale man hold his tongue.
"As it stands, only completing this Tournament will remove the Contract of the Goblet." Harry let out an annoyed sigh. "So it looks like I'll be competing as the Hogwarts Champion…, just brilliant."
"I'm still heading for Hogwarts, Harry." Sirius spoke up and drew all attention back to the Communication Mirror.
"Please do, Sirius," Harry had a sardonic little smile on his face. "I'm sure the Organizers will be interested to hear what legal ramifications you have in store for them in person." He took some vengeful joy at the slight flinches of both Bagman and Crouch.
"Dumbledore, I'd like to Floo to your office to discuss this incident further." Sirius requested, though the man's tone made it clear that this was anything but a request. "Will you open your Floo?"
"Yes, of course, I'll need some time to get to my office to do so." Dumbledore nodded to the mirror in his hand.
"Excellent, please hand the mirror back to Harry." Sirius instructed the old man. Once the mirror was back in Harry's hands Sirius spoke again. "I'll be there shortly, Harry, we'll talk about this before I leave."
"Thanks Sirius." Harry smiled at his Godfather.
"See you soon, Harry." Sirius grinned at his Godson. With that the mirror went back to normal and Harry saw only his reflection.
"I believe you still need to inform us of the Tournament in some way?" Viktor spoke up from his place near Karkaroff. Harry stowed the Communication Mirror back into his inner robe pocket before entwining his fingers with Fleur's.
"Yes, the First Task will be held on November the Twenty Fourth." Ludo Bagman spoke up with a smile.
"What will this Task entail, exactly?" Fleur questioned and almost rolled her eyes when the portly man's gaze became unfocused as he looked at her.
"It is a test of daring. You three will go into it blind with only your wands to aid you." Crouch informed the three of them with a serious look on his face.
"Well, that's unhelpful." Harry remarked and Fleur squeezed his hand even as a small giggle escaped her lips.
"Now that you've been informed of the date of the First Task, you may retire to your quarters." Dumbledore told the three Champions with his grandfatherly aura, as Harry jokingly referred to it, in full effect.
"Walk me to the carriage?" Fleur batted her eyelashes at her boyfriend.
"Of course, my lady." Harry gave her a gentlemanly bow as they both snickered. The couple walked out of the antechamber hand in hand and smiling softly.
When the couple walked through the Great Hall it was empty, the students having been ushered into their dormitories for the night. They took a leisurely stroll down the castle steps and across the grass towards the Beauxbatons carriage. When they were standing in front of the carriage they gave each other a kiss goodnight. They probably would have gone further, but they could see Madame Maxime heading there way already.
"Goodnight, Harry." Fleur gently pressed her forehead against his.
"Goodnight, Fleur." Harry returned as they looked into each other's eyes.
As Fleur entered the carriage, Harry turned and started heading back to the castle. He gave a short bow to Maxime as they passed each other. He needed a copy of the rules of the Triwizard Tournament. The Champions might be afforded some measure of leeway or perhaps outright exemptions for certain things. Any extra time he could get to work on his Artifice and delve deeper into Alchemy would be welcome. It was going to be a ridiculously busy year if he had to do all of his classes on top of preparing for the Tournament.
'It's looking more and more like this should be my final year at Hogwarts.' Harry thought to himself as he headed for the Headmaster's office. Knowing Sirius he'd want to see him as soon as possible.
"Harry!" Sirius beamed at his Godson fondly.
"Sirius." Harry smiled back as he accepted the hug from his Godfather.
"I was just about to inform these two of what you being forced into the Triwizard is going to cost them." Sirius shot a glare at both Ludo Bagman and Bartemius Crouch. Bagman flinched while Crouch merely kept a controlled, neutral expression.
"I figured," Harry couldn't stop the small, vindictive smirk from forming on his face as he was sat in a cushy chair next to his godfather.
"Firstly, you're Departments are both going to be sued for endangering my Godson with your ill-conceived restarting of this tournament." Sirius had a stony glare for both men. "You can expect the formal and legal notifications to be sent by the Black Family's Attorney in a few days. Secondly, you're both going to face charges of endangerment, personally. This tournament was ended because of the ever-increasing death toll and now my Godson's life is endangered because of you two. The Minister had to sign off on this as well, so he'll also be getting a notification from my attorney at the same time."
"I-I-I…" Bagman seemed to be having trouble forming words at the mere thought of being brought up on legal charges.
"Sirius, I understand your displeasure, but…" Dumbledore was cut off before he could try to play mediator.
"Don't think you're off the hook, Headmaster." Sirius turned his gaze on Dumbledore. "Your Age Line protection around the Goblet didn't prevent this from happening and you had no other safety measures. I'll be demanding recompense from either Hogwarts or yourself personally for your lack of care in this matter. The Triwizard was supposed to be made exclusive for 'Of Age' Witches and Wizards only. It is dangerous despite what precautions you've claimed to have made this time around."
"That is a reasonable request, Sirius." Dumbledore nodded to the Lord Black. Harry got the distinct feeling that the old man wasn't happy, but wanted this to be resolved quickly regardless. "I'll await the legal correspondence and hope to have this matter settled shortly."
"Harry, is there anything you need or want now that you've been forced to participate?" Sirius turned to look at his Godson.
"I'd like a rule book so that I know everything about this contract. If certain privileges are afforded to the three Champions I'd also like to know about them as well." Harry laid out his current wants in regards to his unintended placement into the tournament.
"I do have a copy of the rule book on my person." Crouch spoke up as he reached into a large pocket and removed and even larger book. It wasn't overly thick, but it was probably sitting at more than one-hundred-fifty pages by Harry's estimation. He accepted the book from Crouch and held it in his lap for now.
The rest of the meeting didn't last very long. Harry listened attentively though, so as to not miss out on any details that might be important later. When all was said and done Bagman practically dragged himself into the Floo. The retired Beater looked utterly drained by the meeting. Crouch gave a firm nod to everyone in the room before leaving in a flash of the green flames. Sirius reminded Harry that he could always contact him if anything else happened and saw Harry out of the Headmaster's office.
'The way Sirius looked tells me he and Dumbledore are still going to be having words. I wonder what they're talking about?' Harry mused as he headed for Ravenclaw Tower. He had a book to read through, or at least partially read through, before bed tonight.
"Give it to me straight, Dumbledore." Sirius gave the old man a hard look. "What are the odds this was done by Voldemort in some way?"
"Normally I would say next to none, but with the bold actions at the World Cup, I can't rule it out." Dumbledore admitted with a contrite look on his wrinkled face.
"That's what I figured." Sirius grumbled as his fists clenched. "You know you have two former Death Eaters in the school right now, right? Both of them also had access to the Goblet of Fire and wouldn't be stopped by an Age Line. A certain greasy dungeon bat even has access to Harry's written name from assignments."
"Sirius, need I remind you that Severus has my complete trust?" Dumbledore sighed at having to have this conversation again.
"That's just it, Albus." Sirius changed to using the man's first name. "He has your trust. Not mine, not anyone else's, just yours. I'll never trust him when he willingly joined up with that madman back in the day. We trusted Peter and look where that got us. Just because you speak in Snivellus' defense does not wipe away what he did of his own volition. I hope you remember that in the coming conflict. We can't expect to be saved by James and Lily again."
"I am aware, Sirius." Dumbledore let out a heavy sigh and his advanced age became far more apparent.
"I hope so, Albus, not just for our sakes, but for Harry's too. He's already lost too much to that monster and I won't let him lose more if I can help it." Sirius stood from his chair and made his way over to the Floo. "Make the hard decisions, Albus. Do what is right for those who deserve it. Redemption is for those that actually seek it, not the ones that never saw their actions as wrong in the first place."
"Yes." Albus exhaled and his shoulders sagged further.
He'd thought with Voldemort dealt with and his most fanatical supporters locked away that Magical Britain would recover stronger than ever after the night of Halloween in Eighty One. How wrong he'd been. The corruption, bigotry, and beliefs of those that aligned themselves with the 'Dark' had only retreated temporarily. The roots of such thoughts ran deep in their country and Albus had been too optimistic back in the early eighties. Now they were right back where they started. Worse even, considering they'd lost many a good Witch and Wizard in the last war.
"Have a good evening, Headmaster." Sirius nodded as he stepped into the fireplace and vanished in swirling green flames.
"That was in poor taste." Albus hummed morosely after the departure. How could he possibly have a good evening after this debacle?
Fawkes trilled softly from his perch to try and uplift his old friend's mood, even if just a bit.
Well, that's annoying. But Harry is the Hogwarts Champion now. At least this time he's not some illegal fourth Champion with an entire school turning on him.
What will Harry find in the Tournament Rule Book?
Are the Tasks the same this time around?
Can Harry progress in his Artifice and Magic faster than Voldemort can recover?
What will happen next?
Keep reading to find out!
Current Mana Levels
Harry – 8,862
Tonks – 9,836
Penelope – 8,314
Fleur – 8,790
No increase this time, since it's only been a day.
Until I get your reviews, later!