Chapter 21: Prince?
This story is written by Zialema (original in French). English translation by 3A07.
I have the author's permission.
' T/N: Thank you for the reviews, it's interesting to learn what readers are thinking about, and their hopes for the story. Just a reminder that since I am merely the translator, I do not change the story from the original author's (Zialema) story.
Ace was in the bleachers with Luna. No way in hell was he going to hang out with Ron.
"Weasley is an idiot." said Luna.
"I won't contradict you on that." sighted Ace.
"What should we expect from Harry Potter?"
"A flight lesson."
They silently watched the performance of the champions, enthusiastically clapping Cedric's and politely the other two.
Than it was Harry's turn. He entered the arena, rather nervous, and raised his wand:
For a few desperate seconds, nothing happened, than the broom was going straight to it's owner, who quickly climbed and made for the sky, where he relaxed a little.
All the spectators were speechless watching the young boy dance around the dragon, trying to get her to take flight. It was easy to see he mastered just enough Haki to feel, without watching, the flames and tail strokes. He was not able to avoid them all, one slip his attention, which ended slashing his shoulder.
"By Merlin's Beard!" exclaimed Verpey. "That's what is called flying! Are you seeing this Krum!?"
Ace raised an eyebrow, bent toward Luna, a sneer on his lips, and told her really low:
"Remind me to ask Marco to put them back in their places, they know nothing about what it truly is to fly."
"I will think about it." assured Luna in a singing voice.
Finally, Harry managed to get the gold egg.
"Look at this!" screamed Ludo over the crowd, "No, but look at this! Our youngest champion was the fastest to grab his egg! This will increase the bets on Mr Potter!"
Ace saw Ron and Hermione get up to leave the bleachers, running.
"Shall we go down?" suggested Luna.
They go up and left the bleachers. The went around the exit of the arena, to joing Harry, exiting the healing tent with both Hermione and Ron. Hermione in front, and in tears.
"Woah, what happened to you?" worried Ace seeing the young witch cry in his arms.
Hermione had a small laugh and tried to dry her tears.
"Boys are really stupid!" she said.
Ace raised his eyebrow once more.
"CAUTION!" howled Charlie's voice.
Everyone turned to see the Magyar decided to take a freedom hike... or to get vengeance on Harry since the dragon managed to free herself and was storming her way toward them.
The next second, many wizards wondered if they did not have an eye sight issue. Ace had only stared at the dragon waving his hand toward it's snout. He lowered his arm to have it as the extension from his shoulder, and the dragon fell on it's four paws, her mouth closed shut, trembling in fear. Seemingly crazy, Ace went closer and petted her scales, smiling. The dragon had some sort of purring, looking for more affection from Ace.
"You're a nice girl..." smiled Ace.
"By Merlin's Beard, what did you do?" exclaimed Charlie arriving with his colleagues.
A large crowd had gathered close to the arena. Every champions, the juries, and almost all of the student's and staff of Hogwarts were there, mouths open wide in front of such an unnatural scene.
"Nothing, I just told her I was stronger than her, that's all... she's a nice girl, right beautiful? I am almost tempted to rename you... Curly Dadan, that would be a good name for you! She was my nanny! A ferocious women, and powerful who hid her affection in her gestures, instead of her words..."
He continued to speak to the dragon, who was purring in pleasure, before the dragonologists moved in to take care of her.
"Portgas... I think all of Hogwarts agree on the fact that, if it had been you the champion, we would have won easily..." commented Cedric in a nervous chuckle.
"Nah, it would have been too easy..." pointed Ace watching the dragon leave with sadness.
"I can give you my miniature, if you want her." suggested Harry giving his the animated figurine of the black dragon.
Ace had a childish smile and thank him, taking the figurine.
"I think this concludes the incident." concluded Dumbledore. "The judges are reuniting to announce the grades of Mr. Potter."
And everyone turned back toward the arena to take back their seats. Ron stayed as far as possible from Ace when he noticed the dark glare the pirate was giving him.
"Can I suggest an article about you to the Quibbler, having for tittle: 'The Man who Whispers in the Dragon's Ears?" asked Luna with hope.
They looked the judges' grades.
"No, thank you." answered Ace.
Mme Maxime gave an eight.
"It would make a great article... A fourth year student who manages to make a dragon purr..." insisted Luna.
Mr Crouch gave a nine.
Ludo Verpey... ten.
Ace and Luna stared, surprised.
"That guy really want to make Potter win." commented Ace.
Dumbledore gave a nine.
"Speaking of purring, Taishou, can panthers purr?"
Karkaroff gave a four, which did not make him very popular. Apparently Potter was not the outcast.
Ace preferred avoiding to comment.
A high shriek invaded the Common Room when Harry opened the Golden Egg. The only possible comparison was the Musical Saw orchestra that played on the Death Anniversary of Nearly Headless Nick.
"Close it!" howled Fred, both hands pressing hard on his own ears.
"What the hell is that?" exclaimed Seamus looking at the now closed egg. "It sounded like a deadly spectre... Maybe that's what you will have to go against next Harry!"
"It sounded like someone was getting tortured!" mumbled Neville, who became livid and his food now on the ground. "They will throw the Cruciatis Curse and you will have to resist it! That will be the second task!"
"Don't talk rubbish, Neville, that's illegal." said George. "They would never use the Cruciatis against the champions. Personally, it reminded me of Percy's signing... Maybe you will have to attack him when he showers."
"I don't agree!" countered Ace. "I think my jiji sings like that, when he has one glass too many. Believe me, Potter. Monkey D. Garp, is a monster when sober, but if you have to attack him when he is dunk, you can already write your will!"
"Monkey D.? But your name is Portgas." commented Dean.
"He adopted me."
"So, I think the egg should be put under different conditions, to see if there are any changes. Who know, when it's set aflame, alone in a room, thrown from the Astronomy Tower... maybe it will get different reactions and will get access to the enigma. You know where the room is, Potter? Can I trust you to work seriously on this?"
"I do want to survive, Portgas. Thanks for worrying. You won't be using it this weekend?"
"I'll be around, with Tsuki no Hime. You're not the only one trying to learn Bunsoshoku."
Ace caught Rita by the arm before she managed to come any closer to Care of the Magical Creature class.
"Oh, I remember you, you're the young man that tamed a dragon so easily? What's your name, sweetheart? What do you think of the work from the Tournament's officials about the security? Do you have any ambitions to work with dragons? Who do you think is going to win the Tournament?"
Ace forcefully pulled Rita through the portal and closed it in front of her face.
"Come back once more, and I will teach you something about me... my surname."
"And what is it?" smile Rita hooking her raptor's fingers on the bars.
Ace turned back around to return to class.
Harry asked Hermione why she was so kin on losing her time trying to force evolution on the wizard's mentality on house elves treatment, and she had dragged him to the kitchen to show him what well treated house elves were like.
They found Winky, but even more surprisingly, Dobby.
And Dobby dropped quite a shocking fact about Ace...
"Harry Potter did not know he had a Prince within his friends?" naively wondered the house elf. "House Elves know many things! Even if they don't see them, they know! House Elves know that the War Mage is Kaizoku no Ouji-Sama!"
"Eh?" was the smartest answer Harry managed.
Dobby had simply nodded his head.
Hermione just told him to forget it, but it was impossible for the boy. He had looked for a dictionary to find the translation that intrigues him so much.
Prince of Pirates.
It was true that the back tattoo Hermione had restored – which was sometimes visible through some of the shirts Ace wore – showed a pirate ensign...
Actually, with Ace, there was always something that brought him back to pirates...
Remembering that Hermione managed to have answers by talking directly to Ace, Harry decided to try the same.
"Portgas... can I ask you a question?"
"Hmmm?" was Ace's answer, busy looking up something in his chest.
"The House Elves call you Kaizoky no Ouji... the Pirate Prince. Why?"
Ace instantly froze. Slowly, he straightened up, his face tilted forward, hiding his eyes.
The next second, Harry had the tip of Ace's nodachi straight under his throat and his friend was staring at him with silver eyes, reminding murder...
"Don't. EVER. Call. Me. That. Ever. Again. Wakatta?" hissed Ace.
Harry swallowed and, not trusting his own voice, nodded his head.
"I am one of henchmen of the Lord of the Oceans, and, in no way, the Pirate Prince. Anyone that even insinuates that I am the son of that man... will die under my blade. Now that you have been warned, you will forget that I even exist."
He sheathed his blade and left the dormitory at the same time, leaving a worried and perplex Harry behind.
The boy went down to the Common Room to see Ace walk out of the Tower like a hurricane.
"What happened to him?" asked Ron.
"Let me guess... you asked him about what Dobby said?" guessed Hermione with a reproachful look.
Harry stayed silent and dropped himself on one of the armchairs. Rubbing his hand against his throat, unable to remove the sensation of the cold metal...
"If I told you to forget about it, it was for a good reason." said Hermione. "What you did is not simply twisting the knife in the wound, Harry. It's grabbing it hands down and pulling it open, brutally!"
"What are you both talking about?" inquired Ron.
"We went to the kitchen to see the house elves and saw Dobby and Winky." explained Harry. "One thing led to another and we ended up talking about Portgas, and Dobby was talking of him, calling him the Pirate Prince."
Ace burst laughing from the unlikely fact.
"His exact words were Kaizoku no Ouji." corrected Hermione. "And you should never have bring up the topic with Ace!"
"Why?" asked Harry.
"I'm able to keep my secrets, me."
And she brutally closed her Runes book before going up to her dormitory.
The next few days were miserable. Ace was part of the gang, now, but refused to say even a single word to either Harry or Ron. When either of them tried to start a conversation with the pirate, their wizard clothes suddenly burst on fire, or, when he was toying with his nodachi, making the threat quite clear.
Often, they could see Hermione try to talk to him, to reason with him, but it seems he was stubborn as a mule. And yet, he could give them classes about obstinacy. The rest of the time, he was either with Neville, or with Luna which who he spoke in Japanese.
Harry was not even able to panic in front of the second task, or finding a girl for the ball... For a short while, when leaving Metamorphosis class, and understanding that he would need to seek a partner for the opening of the ball, he wondered who Ace would invite. He had never shown any interest in women...
As if Lavender had read his thoughts, she went to see Ace, who was talking with Neville, a little further down the corridor.
"Portgas... would you be my partner for the Christmas Ball?"
"Iie. Wari." answered Ace shaking his head.
"Do you already have someone?" the girls asked, hopeful.
"Oi! Tsuki no Hime!"
Apparently the Ravenclaws third year were going to McGonagall's class.
"Yes, Taisho?" asked the girl in her soaring voice.
"You got someone for the ball?"
"No. It does not bother me more than that."
Surprising everyone, Ace walked up to her, laid his blade on the ground before taking a knee and grabbing her hand, with a charming smile and malicious eyes.
"Would you be so kind to save me from this community, of which you are the sole representative crazy enough to support me?"
Luna faked thinking a little and smiled to the pirate:
"If you talk to me about your confrontation against Jimbe, or the many times you tried to take Newgate's head, I might very well accept."
"It seems we reached an agreement."
He kissed the back of her hand and picked his weapon back before moving away.
"Now, I have a someone for the ball!" loudly announced Ace.
Hermione pulled his ear and dragged him upstream of the group, so they could be alone:
"I thought you were gay." she hissed.
"I am." confirmed Ace in a low voice. "Luna knows, and she also knows I love someone, and that I went to her only as a friend. I would have asked you, but I know you would like another knight to bring you."
Hermione stayed frozen, blushing like a tomato, allowing Ace to get his ear back.
On Christmas day, Ace stayed in the Requirement Room with Luna, training her relentlessly.
"You should talk to him." said the young Ravenclaw while blocking a staff hit with her own.
She dodged and went for his head, only to be blocked midway.
"No way. I don't want to be hurt again by that topic... I won't open up again to that kid, to give him weapons he can use against me like an immature child!"
Luna did not comment any further and focused once again on their fight.
Ace was an uncompromising teacher after all.
Harry stared at the package he found in the middle of his gifts.
It was the Muggle book he had wanted to give to Ace. He had put it back in the boy's pile, without even opening it. 'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu. On the opposite, Ron and him both had a gift from Ace, with a message that it was to compensate the lack of at last Christmas. Ron received a book about the history of his favourite Quidditch team and Potter one tracking back the best catchers in the history of Quidditch.
"He send your gift back as well?" mumbled Ron.
"There is still his birthday in a few days, I'll try again..." sighted Harry while putting his book in his trunk.
"What did you do to him?" wondered Seamus.
"According to Hermione, I was acting like a fool before the first task. I knew what I did was stupid, but I apologized..." grumbled Ron his ears reddening.
"I think I stepped in it, but I don't know the how nor the why." sighted Harry.
"That story about Portgas being a prince?" asked Dean. "That's how the house elf called him."
"Well now we know we better not to talk about it with him." pointed Seamus.
Neville seemed lost in his thoughts for a moment, before going back to his own gifts.
"If I have seen Ace?" repeated Fred, while the Gryffindors were walking down to the Great Hall for the ball. "Did you look at the map?"
"He's not on it."
They were unable to discuss further. The enigma of where Hermione was was was resolved.
She was escorted by Viktor Krum, she had done a marvelous job that rendered her unrecognizable: straight soft hair, pulled back elegantly to her neck, a vaporous blue dress, was standing straight, smiling a little nervously, showing to those who did not know, her perfect teeth.
"Oh, Portgas stood up Loony! He must have realize how crappy it was to invite her!" laughed a girl.
Everyone was watching the silvery Ravenclaw, dress in a sober and elegant way, without a single article, nor Butterbeer capsules necklace.
"Wari Luna, I'm late!"
Everyone turned to see the top of the stairs, and therefore Portgas walking down in his kimono and hakama. From the slight light of the torches and candles, the cloth strange color let one think he was wearing pure flames. He had no visible weapons, and a pointed straw had on his head. His hair was braided in a short braid. On his strange shoes, he walked down the stairs nonchalantly and stopped once he reached Luna.
"Konbanwa, Tsuki no Hime-sama." greeted a malicious Ace, briefly removing his hat to bow to the young lady.
"Konbanwa, Nibantai Taishou-san," smiled Luna, bowing back.
Ace reached his arm out, to which Luna hooked herself, after being complimented.
"You are ravishing as well, Hermione." smiled Ace. "Krum, take care of her, or I will show you what I can do with a blade on a thing you truly do not want to lose."
Hermione had a shining smile, which only reminded Ace that her dresses' color went perfectly with her complexion, and Krum answer Ace with:
"Of course, Porrrrrtgas."
Ace but his straw hat back on his head and, soon, the Champions entered the Great Hall for the ball.
They went to sit with Neville and Ginny to have a nice diner.
"Oh, Ace... Dobby went by and he is worried that you and Harry were in some sort of Cold War." announced Neville with the same intonation.
"I'm not surprised that you are angry against Ron, he's an idiot, I would be the last one to deny it." said Ginny. "But I don't get what happened with Harry?"
"He is not aware that his curiosity is pushing me on painful subject which I might not want to talk about." simply answered Ace. "I can only assume the elf called me by the very name for which I am currently pissed at Potter."
Neville nodded his head. Luna tapped on Ace's arm with compassion.
"You know what this is all about?" wondered Ginny, staring at Luna.
"I know more thing that what it seems." answered the girl in a dreamy voice.
The meal ended and the champions opened the ball.
"Shall we go?" suggested Luna.
"You know how to dance, Ace?" asked an astonished Neville.
Ace did not manage NOT to blush. He escaped toward the dance floor with Luna, instead of answering the embarrassing question.
"That story must be even more interesting than the one about the fight with Doma" smiled Luna while Ace made her turn.
"I will never tell it." answered Ace, continuing to lead.
"Oh, why not?"
Luna made her biggest puppy eyes she could manage, immediately reminding Ace of Luffy when he kept refusing during their childhood.
"Because the end of the story is not PG.
Luna blushed, reading between the lines, and dropped the matter.
Ace noticed Percy looking, or rather staring at him, he leaned on Luna.
"Go to the bathroom at the end of the song, I need to check in with my spy. This way, no one will say I stood you up, ok? I'll find you as soon as I'm done with him."
"No trouble" ensured the young Ravenclaw.
They danced a bit more, than Luna kissed Ace on the cheek before she went away. The pirate tilted his hat on his face, and went toward the exit, crossing Percy on the way.
"Seventh floor, painting of the wizard teaching the trolls to dance."
With that, Ace disappeared in the crowd. He quickly reached the stairs, removing his shoes to go faster.
He reached the corridor and sprinted three times back and forth before a door opened, revealing a carbon copy of what used to be the Commanders' meeting room.
He sat on one of the chairs and put his shoes back on. Later, Percy joined him telling him about the latest information and gave him a big fat folder on what he managed to gather on his boss.
"Something is wrong in his behaviour, from what I can read, he isn't acting like himself..." mumbled Ace. "Another thing, I have my doubts about Moody, can you get me info on him?"
"Moody? On the payroll of a dark wizard?" wondered a skeptical Percy.
"I'm tending more toward impersonification... which could explain the incident with the trashcans during summer..."
Percy seemed to think it over, and nodded his head.
Ace asked the room something in Japanese, two denden mushi with orange cowboy hats and flame patterns appeared.
"These are denden mushi, they are connected to each other." explained the pirate. "You just need to pick up, press the button beside the handset and the other one will ring. If I have to ask you something, it will be around 10 or 11pm that I will contact you."
"Then I shall use the same schedule." said Percy putting the snail in one of his pockets.
"Give it a salad leaf per day and it should be happy. They are telepathic snails."
"I will never let my father come close to it." laughed Percy.
"He won't be able to find any anywhere. Is this all you needed to tell me?"
"No. Lucius Malfoy and a few others say having been forced, under Imperius to take Snake Face's mark, are starting to act strangely."
"Yeah, my source on that side tells me the Dark Mark is getting neater and more precise every day. Something will happen during the Tournament, and I'm pretty sure it will lead to the comeback of Snake Face. Anything else?"
"That's about it, I will contact you if I find anything new."
"I registered our discussion. It should be in Dumbledore's hand before midnight."
The two accomplices greeted each other and left the room, before splitting paths. Ace went to meet Luna in the bathroom, trying to comfort Hermione in tears.
Here it comes…
Ace found himself with a crying Granger in his arms.
"Who do I need to kill?" asked the pirate with a deep sight.
"Weasley had a jealousy crisis." explained Luna.
"Tch… don't worry, Hermione… come on…"
The trio went back to the Great Hall and quickly found Krum, who was apparently looking for Hermione.
"One of our fellow was a bitch to her, please, try to cheer her up to a smile for the end of the evening." half ordered Ace entrusting him with Hermione.
Ace went back to the dance floor with Luna. They grazed Dumbledore, who was dancing with McGonagall, long enough to slip the Tone Dial in the director's pocket.