Hey friends and fans! Kairomaru is bringing you another chapter of Harry Potter and the Artificer Legacy! As Harry and Fleur prepare for the First Task together, we see the effects of the Champion Selection. How does our Champion couple prepare? Practice and some Enchanting, of course!
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Chapter 38 – Preparation for the First Task
"This is annoying." Harry grumbled as he and Fleur were having breakfast at the Ravenclaw Table the morning after the Champion Selection.
"Pay them no mind, mon amour." Fleur gave him a warm smile that always brightened his day.
The entire student body of Hogwarts was abuzz with talks of how Harry had become Hogwarts Champion. There were already so many rumors and theories of how it had happened that Harry couldn't keep track of them all. Some of the rumors were outright malicious, claiming that Harry had bribed his way into the tournament or blackmailed the organizers. Apparently his rage at being forced into the tournament didn't factor into the rumors being spread about him.
"I stayed up late last night reading the tournament rule book and looking into the Champions' responsibilities and privileges." Harry informed Fleur with a small grin. "Turns out we can skip classes, so long as we're using the time to prepare for the tournament."
"Hmm, I'm sure we could both find time to prepare together." Fleur giggled softly with a warm light in her blue-eyes.
"Definitely." Harry chuckled as he went back to his breakfast. "I'm using the privilege to skip Potions for the entire year at minimum. I might also skip Herbology, Astronomy, and Transfiguration."
"At that point you'll be skipping most of your classes entirely." Fleur mused before taking another bite of her own breakfast.
"I might put aside everything except Defense Against the Dark Arts to be honest." Harry hummed thoughtfully. "At least Remus will teach me useful things that might help with the Tournament."
"Don't burn yourself out, Harry." Fleur gave him a concerned look as she set her silverware down. "I will step in if you start trying to overwork yourself."
"I know you will, love." Harry smiled at Fleur, a smile that showed the depths of his affection and love for her in his deep green eyes.
"As long as we're clear, mon amour." Fleur felt her cheeks warm at his look.
After classes for the day, which Harry did indeed skip Potions, he found himself suddenly surrounded by his study buddies. Luna only gave him a gentle smile as she sat down next to him like normal. Hermione, Megan, and Padma looked as if they were barely holding back their curiosity. Harry sighed and playfully rolled his eyes.
"Ask; I can see that you want to." Harry gave all three of the still standing girls a knowing look.
"Did you get past the Age Line?" Hermione blurted out her first question.
"Did you enter yourself?" Padma's question came only a split second after Hermione's.
"How did you become Champion?" Megan was just honestly curious.
"In order," Harry chuckled with a grin. "I didn't, I didn't, and thank you Megan for not believing that I would enter myself into the tournament. The best guess I have is that since the Goblet had no actual failsafe measures or protections, someone wanted me in this dangerous tournament for a reason. Who did it, why they want me in the Tournament, and everything else is still a mystery though."
"Sorry, Harry." Hermione looked sheepish at her question.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to insinuate anything, Harry." Padma apologized.
"You're welcome Harry." Megan chuckled. "So someone else tossed your name into the Goblet?"
"That seems to be the case so far." Harry nodded to the brunette girl.
"Will you help me with my homework, Harry?" Luna asked as if Harry wasn't involved in the Tournament at all and this was just a regular study session of theirs.
"Of course, Luna," Harry smiled at the small blonde. "What do you have today?"
"Transfiguration." Luna opened her book and got out her parchment and quill.
"Ah, Material Composition and its effects on Transfiguration." Harry looked at the page of Luna's book. "McGonagall gave us that assignment last year too."
The rest of the study session went by fairly normally after that. Harry was more than happy to have the bit of normalcy. It had only been a day and already he was annoyed by the near-constant whispers of the other students.
-Saturday, November 5th-
"Are you ready, Harry?" Fleur questioned her boyfriend as she finished stretching a bit. They were out on the expansive Hogwarts grounds to get in some spell practice together.
"As ready as I can be." Harry confirmed as he rolled his shoulders a bit to loosen them up.
In the five days that had passed since the Champion selection, Harry had more than enough of his peers in the castle. The whispering that would either stop dead when he entered a room, or that started up when he entered a room, both had gotten on his last nerve. The only bright point was the mirror call he'd gotten from Tonks and Penny. The two Witches had found out about his placement in the Triwizard Tournament and had apparently Apparated to Wood End Cottage to borrow, (Force Sirius to let them use), the Communication Mirror. Tonks and Penny had both been angry on his behalf for the situation. They'd both fretted over him as well, showing their concern for him through the mirror. Harry had assured them that he would think of his safety over the Tournament without question.
'Still, I hope Tonks doesn't go through with her threat.' Harry chortled as he remembered Tonks muttering about Bagman and Crouch having accidents while at the Ministry one day.
"I am ready whenever you are, Harry." Fleur gave him a challenging look from across their chosen practice area. Not many people were out on the grounds, considering the chill of the Scottish November was setting in now days. They had plenty of space and only a very small audience.
"We'll see, won't we?" Harry chuckled as he seemed to split into multiple copies. One Harry went to the left, while another went to the right. Then another Harry would appear over to the left at the same time a fourth Harry appeared to head to the right again. Harry had learned to cast Similitudo on the mirror images that the Charm produced a while back. Using it on the first copy made it produce its own mirror image, then using it on the image's copy caused it to produce another mirror image of itself. He was rather proud to have figured this out after enough practice.
"You think you can confuse me?" Fleur raised one of her delicate, silver eyebrows. With a simple wave of her hand, blades of frosted grass levitated into the air and then straightened out. A mere push with her mana and the frozen grass shot out in a wave.
"Ow." One Harry cried out in faux pain.
"Missed me!" A different Harry jeered.
"Hey!" The third Harry acted offended at being hit with grass.
"Confused yet?" Another Harry asked Fleur cheekily.
The copies all spoke! Fleur would admit to being mildly impressed by Harry's forethought to cast a simple Vocalizing Charm on his illusory copies. Unless she actively dispelled them, they'd keep trying to confuse her to the real Harry's placement.
"Clever, mon amour, but not clever enough." Fleur was moving now and conjuring small fireballs at the same time. Since Harry and his copies never stayed in one place, it would be foolish for her to stand still. "Catch!" The small fireballs, none bigger than a baseball, began to rocket from Fleur's hands and burst into small explosions whenever they hit something. The copies were rapidly decreasing in number as her spell disrupted the Similitudo Charm.
Harry's response was to conjure ropes and send them at Fleur's moving form. Strong constructs flew through the air towards the Veela while several writhing ropes slithered their way across the ground towards her. Pincer tactics would force Fleur to split her focus. To further split her focus on him and his conjurations, Harry stomped his foot on the ground, sending a spell into the partially frozen dirt.
"Vraiment maintenant? (Really now?)" Fleur huffed as two large bears were transfigured from the ground. The great beasts charged her with realistic roars and she couldn't find much fault with Harry's inanimate to animate Transfiguration. Stealing a page from Harry's book, Fleur cast a wide area Immobulus Charm to freeze the ropes and the bears in place. A powerful Finite vanished the conjured ropes easily. As she was already moving, Fleur directly touched the two transfigured beasts. The bears returned to dirt only to then fall under Fleur's control as she transfigured them herself.
"Crap." Harry, still on the move himself, lamented as he watched Fleur undo his transfiguration and then split the dirt into balls. The dirt balls were quickly transfigured into metal spikes that were launched at Harry en masse! An overpowered Protego saw the spikes bending and deforming as they bounced off. 'Let's see how she handles this.' He shifted his feet, feeding his mana into the earth around him as he did so. With a strong step forward he cast his spell through the dirt as a medium.
"Quoi dans le monde? (What in the world?)" Fleur blinked as the ground shook and four walls of hardened earth erupted upwards. The four walls fit together perfectly, trapping the teen in a box of transfigured earth. Only the top was still open to the sky.
"Good night!" Harry's called out as he formed a large Stunning Spell directly above the hole in the top of his earthen box. He dropped the large, red orb of the Stupefy into the box to end their practice.
He didn't expect his spell to suddenly stop. He really didn't expect it to start rising back upwards against his will. Fleur had one hand above her head with a bright Protego holding back the stupidly large stunner. The Veela teen was floating in the air, no wait; she had transfigured a section of the ground under her into stone and cast a levitation charm on it. Harry watched his overpowered Stupefy shrink and then flicker out entirely as its power faded away.
"A good attempt, Harry." Fleur grinned at him as she dispelled her Protego. "Try this!" A single bright spark of magic -yellow in color- appeared just in front of Fleur's outstretched right hand. The spark then became two equally sized sparks, then four, then eight. It continued to double as Fleur only smiled at her boyfriend. The absolute storm of sparks was launched forward and Harry raised his hand, forming a 'gun' with his index finger extended as the wave came at him. He was consumed by the sparks, lost in their bright glow. Fleur felt something hit her back before her vision went dark.
"Bang." Harry smiled as he used levitation to catch Fleur's unconscious form. He'd basically just shot her in the back with a Stupefy after all. Using Similitudo was getting easier and he was finding new ways to make use of the spell as he continued to experiment with it. With her vision blocked by his transfigured earth walls, Harry had been able to cast the spell again. His copy had moved in the opposite direction as him, mirroring his movements. That left Harry standing behind Fleur, facing her back, while his copy stood in front of her, facing her directly. "Good thing I had a backup plan. I figured she might block it, but I sure didn't expect her to catch it like that."
"Mmm…what?" Fleur blinked her grogginess away as she awoke. A simple Enervate was all that she needed. Seeing Harry holding her she gave him a half-smile. "I guess you win that round, Harry." She had such a faux pout that Harry couldn't help but crack up a bit.
"Yes, yes I did." Harry nodded sagely. Fleur gently swatted his arm with an eye roll. "I believe that entitles me to a reward."
"What reward?" Fleur tilted her head only for Harry to claim her lips in a kiss.
"That one." Harry chuckled and Fleur grinned at him.
"I'll allow it." Fleur allowed with a smug little smile on her lips.
"Let's get inside out of the cold, we can have hot chocolate and I'll play my wooden flute for you." Harry offered as the couple stood up from the ground.
"Oh my, a warm drink on a cold day and being serenaded by my love, you'll spoil me~" Fleur teased as they walked towards the castle hand in hand.
"I live to do so." Harry retorted playfully as he snapped his fingers, using his unoccupied left hand, and his earthen box trap sank back into the ground as he reversed the Transfiguration.
Neither of them paid any mind to the stunned looks of their small audience as they walked back inside. The couple also took no real notice of the fact that there was a larger crowd watching than when they'd started either. They simply made their way up the castle steps and into the castle proper. They'd get their hot chocolate and retreat to the hidden workshop to spend the rest of Saturday together.
-Wednesday, November 9th-
"You're skipping class again, Harry." Fleur noted as she closed the door to the hidden workshop behind her.
"Yep." Harry replied, gracing her with a smile before returning to his work. "You are too, if you didn't notice."
"I'm doing it to find you and prepare for the Tournament." Fleur replied with a light chuckle. "You're doing it because you know your Potions Professor hates the fact that you can skip his class."
"No, no, that's just a bonus." Harry chuckled as he continued his sewing. "I am actually preparing for the Tournament right now."
"And how is sewing preparing you for the Tournament?" Fleur questioned her boyfriend as she transfigured an old school chair into a soft, plush high-backed chair with a strong point from her right index finger. Truly her control and power with Magic had never been as great as when Harry had shown her how to harness Wandless Magic. She'd treasure this gift forever.
"Creating Enchanted Objects for use in the Tournament is considered preparing, I checked the rule book." Harry faked a know-it-all tone rather well.
"But they said we would only be permitted our wands in the First Task." Fleur reminded him as she transfigured an ottoman for her feet to rest on from the only other extra chair in the room. She pulled it towards her desired location with a well-controlled Summoning Charm and then plopped her feet atop it.
"Yes, but the Second Task and Third Task will be different." Harry shrugged as he shot her a wink. He pulled the needle back to tighten his previous stich.
"You read up on the Tournament's history too," Fleur gave a relaxed sigh as she enjoyed her transfigurations. "I'm sure it didn't take you long to notice the pattern."
"A Test of Daring first, usually against some kind of dangerous Magical Beast." Harry acknowledged as he pushed the needle through the cloth again. "Then a Test of Ingenuity, which is to figure out the Second Task and prepare for it ahead of time. The Third Task is the only one that actually deviates and is usually decided upon by the organizers of each individual Tournament."
"Bon." Fleur gave him a loving smile. His intelligence was one of the biggest attractions she had to him. "So you're making something new for the other two tasks?"
"Indeed." Harry nodded as he continued to sew. "I got my order in the other day, so I figured I should get started."
"What are you sewing with by the way?" Fleur questioned as she looked at the black threads Harry was working with.
"Shadow Moth silk." Harry didn't even look up as he answered her question.
"Shadow Moth?" Fleur was no Magizoologist, she'd never heard of the creature.
"A Magical Species of moth from Asia." Harry informed as he continued to sew. "They have a rather unique ability when they're adults. I'm using their silk because it holds that type of Magic very well and makes it easier to impart the effect I want the Item to have."
"What effect might that be, mon amour?" Fleur giggled at how absorbed Harry could get when he was sewing.
"Something I've wanted to learn since the World Cup." Harry teased, knowing that Fleur's inquisitive mind wouldn't let this go until she knew.
"And?" Fleur had an unamused look on her face at Harry's teasing.
"Space Expansion Charms." Harry looked her directly in the eye with a devious grin. "But you know me…"
"Very much so." Fleur sighed with a shake of her head. "What kind of obscure way are you going to make use of Space Expansion Charms?"
"That has to do with the Shadow Moth's unique ability." Harry chuckled as he pulled another stich tight. "They can flit from one shadowy place to another, sort of like Apparation but with a much shorter range. They do this by manipulating space for a brief instant, much like Apparation does. Just imagine what a material that has intrinsic Space Manipulating properties could do when you apply Space Expansion Charms to it as well. Why, I could carry almost anything without any extra weight beyond the Item itself."
"I'm not sure I like that manic cackle I know you're suppressing." Fleur sighed at her boyfriend with her cheek being supported by her palm.
"I don't manic cackle." Harry grinned 'innocently' at Fleur.
"Of course you don't." Fleur gave him such a disbelieving look that Harry could have sworn he physically felt it.
"Okay, so maybe I do when I'm hamming it up, sometimes." Harry admitted with a chuckle.
"You are a very large ham sometimes, indeed." Fleur giggled at him.
"As long as you three still love me, that's all that matters." Harry shrugged and Fleur smiled at him warmly.
"You don't have to worry about that, Harry." Fleur leaned over to kiss his cheek softly. "Not now, not ever."
-Monday, November 14th-
"Do you like it? I like it." Harry grinned as he showed off his completed Enchanted Item to Fleur in the hidden workshop.
"It's a lovely cloak, Harry." Fleur assured him with a grin. "Though a little plain."
"What is with Magicals and wanting everything to scream 'I'm Magical, look at me!'?" Harry huffed at Fleur who burst into melodious laughter at his pout. "Effect is much more important than looks."
"But looks have an effect all their own, mon amour." Fleur grinned seductively at him, cocking her hip and emphasizing her curves.
"Point." Harry agreed with a nod as his eyes roved up and down her figure.
"So did it work? How much can you stash in this cloak of yours?" Fleur questioned as she looked at the black fabric that hid all of Harry's body except for his head. He didn't have the hood up at the moment.
"Plenty!" Harry chuckled as he moved his left arm and the cloak flapped upwards a bit. Something prevented the cloak from returning to its previous position and only when Harry gave a pull on the cloak did Fleur see what it was.
"Did you steal a desk?" Fleur blinked at the wooden desk that Harry had just casually dropped from within his cloak.
"No one was using it." Harry replied with a straight face.
"Uh huh…" Fleur gave him a teasing look.
"I thought it could be useful to have a desk on hand to work at." Harry explained his choice of item.
"You were showing off how large of an object you can carry." Fleur instantly knew Harry was fibbing and called him out playfully.
"Perhaps…" Harry replied flatly.
"How did you get the desk into the cloak's storage though?" Fleur asked curiously as she looked the cloak and the desk over.
"Like this." Harry tossed the black cloak over the desk, making Fleur's eyes widen slightly as the cloak clearly expanded to cover the object entirely. In an instant the covered desk seemingly disappeared as the cloak fell back around Harry at its normal length. "Neat, huh?"
"I think I know what I want for Christmas." Fleur smiled brightly and Harry couldn't help but chuckle at the sparkles in her beautiful blue-eyes.
"Maybe if you're good, Santa will bring you one." Harry responded sagely and Fleur couldn't stop the snort that escaped her.
"Oh?" Fleur walked up to Harry with a noticeable sway in her hips. "I'm sure I could be naughty enough to get one too~" She pressed herself against him with a seductive grin on her full lips. "Don't you think so, Harry~" Fleur purred into her boyfriend's ear. She grinned victoriously as she felt him straighten up and his hands took hold of her waist.
"Probably." Harry admitted immediately as they found each other's lips and kissed.
Neither of them was seen until dinner that night.
-Thursday, November 17th ~ Hagrid's Hut-
"Hagrid, what is it you want to show me?" Harry whispered to the Gamekeeper. Hagrid was oddly dressed up, as much as the large man could be given his sheer size. He even looked like he'd tried to comb his thick, shaggy hair and beard.
"Shhh…Harry, just stay under your cloak and follow me." Hagrid instructed the teen. "Don't make a sound, alright?"
"Alright…" Harry agreed even as he pulled the hood of his Invisibility Cloak back over his head and disappeared completely.
"Ah, Olympe, over here." Hagrid called out just a few minutes later.
"Mr. Hagrid, you said you had something important to show me this evening?" Madame Maxime appeared from the gloom of the night. The large woman was clearly curious about whatever Hagrid had told her.
"Aye," Hagrid nodded to the woman, and if Harry wasn't mistaking, the large man was actually blushing. "I thought we could take a little stroll to get to what I'd like to show you tonight." Hagrid offered with his best smile. "I promise you won't be disappointed."
"Very well then," Madame Maxime took Hagrid's arm when he offered it to her. "Lead the way."
Harry followed at a slight distance behind the two of them as they made their way through the Forbidden Forest. As they got deeper into the dark woods, Harry began to hear strange sounds. It almost sounded like muffled roaring? He followed along until a bright light lit up the forest. The Artificer stopped dead as he beheld what he was sure Hagrid was trying to show him.
"Dragons." Harry mumbled quietly, his eyes wide at seeing the three massive beasts.
There were three fully grown, enormous, vicious-looking dragons rearing on their hind legs inside three separate enclosures that were fenced with thick planks of wood. The great beasts were roaring and snorting, shooting torrents of fire into the dark sky from their open, fanged mouths. The flames were blasting out, fifteen meters above the ground on the dragons' outstretched necks.
Harry had studied up on Dragons a bit and easily recognized the three that had been chosen for the Triwizard Tournament. The dragon with the scarlet, smooth scales and a fringe of golden spikes around its snub-snouted face with extremely protuberant eyes was a Chinese Fireball, sometimes called a 'Lion Dragon' due to the spikes around its neck. The scales of the second dragon were silvery blue, and the powerful flame it was shooting into the air was also a brilliant blue color. From the spikes on its head and the rather short muzzle it had, Harry was easily able to identify this one as well, a Swedish Short-Snout. They were rumored to have the hottest fire among all Dragon species.
It was the final Dragon that took the cake in Harry's opinion though. It was massive, with black scales and a lizard-like appearance. Its baleful yellow eyes, bronze horns and similarly colored spikes that protruded from its long tail were all the indicators that Harry needed. The Tournament Organizers had brought a fucking Hungarian Horntail to the Tournament!
'Safer than previous years, my arse! They're going to kill someone in the First Task!' Harry cursed internally as he quickly headed away from the clearing. He'd be damned if he went into this unprepared.
It was time to learn how to deal with Dragons.
-Little Hangleton ~ Abandoned Riddle Manor-
"Is the boy in the Tournament?" Voldemort questioned the Wizard before him. His red-eyes were practically boring into the man's head with their fierce, expectant gaze.
"Yes, My Lord, as you commanded." The Wizard informed the recovering Dark Lord.
"Excellent, it is good to have a competent follower back at my side." Voldemort offered some praise to the bowed man.
"Your words honor me, My Lord." The Wizard remained bowed.
"Rise, Barty, there is still much to be done." Voldemort gave off a dark, hissing chuckle.
"As you command, My Lord." Barty replied as she stood up. The man looked like a younger Bartemius Crouch, his dark-brown hair not yet flecked with grey. The ruckus at the World Cup had let him escape over a decade of Imperius control by his father. Bartemius 'Barty' Crouch Jr. had finally returned to his Lord's side.
All the while, no one in the abandoned manor mentioned the distinct lack of one Stephen Flint.
Well that's not good. Barty is back at Voldemort's side. That could cause some problems later.
Harry is practicing with Fleur often and has even made a new item! What will he call it? Will he market this one or keep it to himself?
Next chapter is the Weighing of the Wands and the First Task! I hope you're looking forward to it!
Maybe Harry earns a new Title to go along with his Artificer Title?
What will happen next?
Keep reading to find out!
Current Mana Levels
Harry – 9,124
Tonks – 10,152
Penelope – 8,598
Fleur – 9,046
Until I get your reviews, later!