Disclaimer: If you recognize it, then it probably isn't mine. Any characters and situations, whether they be from Harry Potter or another literary universe, are the property of their respective authors. I do not claim ownership.

A huge thank you to Wakefan for providing me with an early review of the chapter from a reader's perspective. His feedback has been wonderful, and so has his assistance in general.

Also, big props to Shadowz101 for the good tips and advice, along with his excellent guidance. He's been a great listener, too. Cheers to him.

A/N: Also, regarding the translation/transliteration of languages in this fic. No one asked, but I felt like it needed to be explained. While I do speak English, Spanish and Portuguese fluently, I do not speak German or Arabic or French or Greek. Thus, the internet is and will continue to be my guide for the foreseeable future. If the need arises, I will always try to clarify what specific kind of dialect Harry will be using with a language just to not confuse readers.

For 'The Forest of Dreams,' the little bits of German I did use were all 'Standard German'.

With Arabic, though, I'm using 'MSA' (Modern Standard Arabic). This probably isn't too accurate to the worldbuilding (As Egyptian Arabic exists) but it is acceptable for literature, so that's what's going to happen.

Either way, I am not fluent in Arabic (not in the least), so if you catch a mistake/error (for any of the translated languages, really) then please point it out in a review.



PS: Also, 216 favourites; 311 followers; 15.5k views! You guys are insane! Thank you so much! I'm sorry for uploading so late! Enjoy the chapter!

"Alright, we're here!" Alicia exclaimed, a little too cheerfully for Harry's taste. They had spent the entire day ogling the wares in the muggle market, and he was tired. He wanted peace, quiet, and a nice warm bed. They could've just spent one more night in the hotel (Harry and William's idea) and move in with their new host come the morning, but Alicia had insisted they arrive that very same day. So they had. Harry groaned at his mother's excitement.

Alicia then promptly grabbed her handbag and trunk, before scuttling off the sidewalk and up the marble staircase towards the door, leaving William behind to pay the cab. They had to use muggle means to reach the apartment building, because neither Alicia nor William were comfortable enough with the layout of Cairo to apparate around looking for the address. Not to mention the attention they'd attract. So they had to resort to hailing a cab and being driven to the address.

Alicia reached the doors, two stylish things composed of large, rectangular panes of glass, surrounded by a thick frame of African Blackwood. They sported long gilded handles, which she pushed inwards upon, before sliding inside.

Harry rolled his eyes at her eagerness and picked up his trunk, following his mother inside the ten-story apartment building which was located somewhere down in central Cairo.

William sighed, before taking up the rear of the procession. Yesterday had been their last night in a hotel, and for the remaining weeks, the Portwoods would be seeking accommodation together with an old friend of Alicia's from Hogwarts. Harry glanced around at the luxurious entrance hall of the building, before shrugging and plopping himself down on one of the waiting chairs.

The room itself wasn't too glaringly exuberant, but Harry had a good-enough eye to notice the little details that made the place feel more prestigious. Such as the collection of fresh flowers arranged throughout the room, which he reasoned were replaced daily. Or in particular, a very old Greek vase sitting proudly atop a glass table; one displaying a red-figure scene of three women playing music. Harry smiled at the depiction.

William, on the other hand, remained nearby idly looking around the entrance and appreciating the art hung up around on the sleek walls.

A soft laugh caught Harry's attention, and he pulled his eyes away from the Greek vase to silently watch his mother approach the reception desk, where she chatted with the man behind it for a few seconds before nodding and making her way back over to them.

Harry tilted his head to look up at her and she sat down beside him with a huff. "He says he's notified Samira, so we've got to wait for her to come down and clear us." Alicia then rummaged through her purse, picking out a slim novel, which Harry recognized. He stared at his mother with a teasing grin.

"Really, mum?" he said, catching her attention. He raised an eyebrow at her choice of reading. "You're reading The Scarlet Wi—"

"Don't bother your mother, Harry" William interjected with a sigh. "Didn't you read it yourself?"

Harry pouted. "So? She's an adult, she should have better taste. I read it because I was bored," he said, making an excuse up on the spot.

William quirked an eyebrow at his son, a smile threatening his lips. "Oh, is that so? And what about that time when I caught you reading A Summertime L—"

"Quiet, old man," Harry interrupted, scowling. He raised his finger threateningly at his father. "You don't want to wake up to frogs in your covers, do you?" Alicia laughed openly, while William simply smirked. Harry quickly gave up the intimidation act, smiling instead. His parents could act so much like children sometimes.

A few minutes passed in silence, before the elevator at the end of the entrance hall pinged open, the steel doors sliding ajar. Harry looked up to see a young woman exit the elevator.

Harry observed her for a second, before turning away, thinking that she was just someone going for a night out, even if her outfit seemed rather informal. She was wearing a long, ankle-length maroon dress with short sleeves and a simple flowery pattern. Her neck was mostly covered with a thin golden scarf, but Harry caught sight of a small shining pendant, too. She wore thin-strapped gilded sandals that somehow matched the expensive-looking silver headpiece she wore, too. A few bracelets tinkled against her caramel skin as she walked, and her flowing black hair was let down, which was strange. He'd rarely seen women do that in Egypt. Even his mother had begun covering up more. Shrugging to himself, he went back to gazing at the Greek vase.

A few seconds passed and Harry heard her footfalls close in, instead of veering off towards the receptionist or towards the front door. His mother was too engrossed in her sappy romance novel (he'd know) to look up, and his father was off down the hall, his back turned, staring at a peculiar moonlit landscape.

The soft clack of her sandals came to a stop nearby, and her feet entered Harry's line of sight, prompting him to look up and stare for a few seconds.

The young woman's long hair swayed slightly as she stood there, amusedly looking down at him, then his mother, who still hadn't realized someone was waiting for her. After a moment of silence, Harry met the woman's dark eyes before sighing and calling his mother softly. "Mum?"

Alicia ignored him, instead choosing to cross her legs and bop her right foot constantly. Harry heard the woman sigh fondly in response, which made him wonder if this lady was the 'old friend' of his mother's they were going to be staying with. Harry raised his hand before snapping his fingers sharply, but he elicited no response from his mother.

For a moment, he forgot where he was, and muttered, "Must've put up a silencing charm or something. Ugh. I swear…"

He clammed up a moment later and glanced at the woman, alarmed, before relaxing when she said, "Yeah, probably. She hasn't changed much in that regard, I see."

Harry nodded, grinning at the woman, to which she gave a small smile back. Harry then shook his mother's shoulder slightly, which caused her to look up at him. He coughed, before pointing to the woman standing a little way in front of them. He saw his mother gasp before smiling, though he couldn't hear anything from her end.

'The charm must've been going both ways,' he realised, though he wondered why his mother had chosen to do so. 'Maybe she was muttering,' he decided, looking back at his mother, who had discreetly pulled out her wand and dispelled the silencing charm on herself.

"Samira!" Alicia exclaimed, standing up and giving the woman a tight hug. "It's been far too long," she continued, her eyes shining with happiness. Harry smiled at the display, his earlier annoyance with his mother's cheerful attitude wiped away immediately. He could manage the excitement. It wasn't that late, anyway…

The newly-designated Samira laughed, before returning the hug just as tightly. "I know, Alicia dear. I've missed you - and the others - terribly. It gets so lonely here sometimes, and work just isn't enough to keep me distracted, you know? It's the only reason I invited you all."

The sentence might've appeared to be rude or dismissive, but Harry caught the joking manner and subtone of genuine gratefulness coming from her. His mother did too, obviously, as she proceeded to fuss over her old schoolmate. "Oh, you poor dear. Don't worry, we'll sort you out."

"Now," Alicia prompted, smiling at her friend. She moved aside a bit so Harry came into Samira's view again before wrapping an arm around my shoulder and bringing me to her side. "Samira, this is my son, Harry," she introduced, a little bit of pride in her voice. Harry smiled, hearing it vividly.

His mother then turned back to him, before gesturing to Samira. "Harry, this is Samira Nazari, one of my old friends from Slytherin."

Harry didn't move from his spot, standing at a respectful distance, but he did raise his hand and held the palm flat against his chest, before bowing a little and saying, "Motasharefon bema'refatek." Pleased to meet you.

Samira returned the greeting, albeit modified, with ease, before sharing a look with Alicia that seemed to convey a dozen words at once. When his mother nodded, Samira smiled, before gracefully offering Harry her hand.

Harry then knew that the 'local greeting' was over, and this was simply a test to see if he remembered his 'wizarding etiquette' lessons. Maybe his mother half-expected him to forget them over the months.

He hadn't forgotten, though.

Harry stepped forward a small bit and took her hand before bowing and pressing his lips to it lightly. "Enchanté, Mademoiselle Nazari," he added, on a whim. Even though it wasn't English, it was still formal enough to be allowed, and he was on foreign soil, so it didn't matter if he used English or any other language. He retreated, cautiously eyeing his mother, wanting to see if he performed the greeting correctly...

"Pareillement, Monsieur Harry, " Samira replied with a little courtesy; not missing a beat.

Harry fell back beside his mother with a mischievous grin tugging at his lips, though his face tinged pink when Samira began giggling uncontrollably, her hand pressed to her heart.

Samira smiled at him, cooing. "Isn't he such a little charmer," she said, before turning to Alicia. "I bet he gets it from that husband of yours." She smiled, before frowning. "Speaking of your husband, where is he?" She twirled in place, looking around for William. "I haven't seen—oh, there he is! William! Oh, Mr Husband!" She called in a singsong voice.

William spun around at hearing his name and caught sight of them. He beamed when he recognized Samira and hurried over. Samira waved lightly, laughing at him.

"Sammy!" William said teasingly, stepping forward and bringing Samira into a warm hug. "You haven't grown at all!"

Harry very nearly choked on his saliva from the shock of seeing his father act so informally. Save for when in private, his father was always formal and distant (even with Randolph, to a degree) and Harry had rarely ever heard his father use such a demeaningly playful tone of voice - only occasionally with Alicia, and she hexed him when he did.

Harry had to bite back a laugh when his mother sidled up to William and smacked him lightly on the back of the head. He did laugh when his father spun around and glared at her, rubbing his nape, while Samira joined him in laughing openly at his parents.

Harry continued watching, slightly amazed, at his parent's actions. 'They're… they're acting like kids,' he realized, holding in a snort, though also glad his parents weren't feeling downcast.

Between the slow pace of the search and the admittedly stressful events of the Black Forest with Melia, their nerves had been rather frayed. Even if their base recollection of everything wasn't the same, they still felt the emotions attached to the event, and that feeling of apprehension and wariness had visibly clung to them throughout the last month in Germany.

It was good, Harry decided, that they had come to Egypt. They were slowly putting the past out of mind, and focusing on the future. He smiled, sitting back down on his chair and propping his head up with his arm, trying to get comfortable. He was silent as his parents talked, not wanting to disrupt them from catching up with an old friend.

After a few minutes of chatting, whereas Harry was ready to fall asleep right then and there, Samira stood back markedly before gesturing down the hall towards the elevator. "Let's take this upstairs, shall we? After all, we do need to get you both settled," Samira glanced at Harry, smiling, "and it looks like your son is about to curl up and fall asleep any second now."

Alicia, startled, turned to Harry, and smiled when she caught sight of him all curled up in the chair. "Oh," she remarked, "that's why he was so quiet." She moved to pick Harry up while nodding towards William. "William dear, could you take our things?"

William nodded, stepping towards the three trunks they had carried from the cab and discreetly pressing the tip of his wand on each of them, muttering. He then picked all three trunks up - one stacked over the other - with relative ease, before peeking his head over the top of the luggage and moving towards the elevator. Alicia and Samira followed him. Harry was fast asleep.

They reached the elevator and hustled inside, with Samira near the panel to select the right floor. She pressed the last one, gaining a smart glance from Alicia.

"The Penthouse, Samira, dear?"

Samira smiled mischievously, before winking. "I have my secrets."

William, from behind the two ladies, snorted. "Yeah, I'll bet. You probably just showed them your—"

"William!" Alicia exclaimed, scandalized, "Why, I never—"

"—wand." William finished, raising an eyebrow at his wife. "Why, Alicia, whatever did you assume I meant?" he drawled.

Samira guffawed at Alicia's rapidly flushed face. Alicia huffed and glared at the both of them, before adjusting Harry in her grip. "Hush, you two. You'll wake Harry."

They both quieted down, but William was still smirking and Samira, though her cheeks were tinged pink, was smiling as well.

A few moments passed before the elevator pinged open. "We're here," Samira commented.

"Thank you, Madam Obvious," Alicia snarked, not resisting the chance to jab at her long-time friend. Samira simply raised an eyebrow at the comment before stepping out into the carpeted hallway.

William closed his eyes and shook his head gently. "Ladies? Can we get a move on?" He asked, lifting the trunks in his arms pointedly.

"Hush," Alicia replied, waving her free hand at him. "You're not even carrying them muggle-style. Stop complaining." Regardless, she conceded and stepped out of the elevator, following Samira down the short and well-lit corridor towards the only apartment door at the extremity of the hall.

Reaching the door, Samira produced her wand and tapped the lock with it smartly. Following, a sharp click signified the successful use of the Unlocking Charm. The witch then swung open the door and moved inside the entrance, holding it open for both Alicia and William to pass through.

The doorway, Alicia noted, led straight into the living room, where she had to restrain herself from whistling out loud at the sight.

The luxuriously decorated sitting room looked like one of those perfectly arranged covers of A Modern Wizard's Lair; Alicia was genuinely afraid to move around out of worry she might mess up the picture-perfect scene.

The couches were coloured a suave creme and inlaid with fine green silk on the seat cushions. Velvet pillows lay on both ends of the sofa; golden leaves embroidered into them so delicately that they might've just landed there in spring and simply sunk into the fabric, though Alicia knew from experience that they must've taken tens of hours to individually sew and craft, even with the aid of magic.

Alicia scanned the white curtains covering the floor-to-ceiling windows. They were linen and the kind of white that was untouched by hands and devoid of dust. A cursory look to the right showed her the almost hidden cords that would be used to open and close them; if Samira ever bothered to use her hands, that is. There was no television present in the sitting room; whoever had designed the room chose instead to showcase a central bespoken fireplace, with its mantle jutting only slightly out of the wall.

Two identical bookshelves framed the fireplace, and the photographs arranged on top the chimneypiece of the hearth waved silently at the three adults. They were wizarding pictures, though none of them seemed to be even an inch out of place - even the frames looked professional and distinctly high-class. Around the room, in the spaces between the fireplace and the couch were two matching chairs. All of this encircled a small coffee table in the middle of the velvet-coloured carpet, which had been set for tea.

Samira interrupted Alicia's appreciation with a pointed order. "Just leave everything on that spot right over there," the witch said to William, gesturing with her wand towards a patch of highly polished dark wood flooring near the couch, which looked just as free of dust and clutter as the rest of the room. "We can sort it out later," she said, earning a nod from William.

Samira then directed Alicia past the kitchen area and into the domestic hallway. They passed several rooms while heading towards their destination, and Samira wasted no time pointing everything out to Alicia. "This one's mine," she said, rapping her knuckles onto the wooden door of the master bedroom. "This one's for you and William, dear," she commented, splashing an open door on the opposite side of the hallway with a Red Sparks Charm. "This one's the shared bathroom, though only Harry'll need it… and this is a spare room. Feel free to use it for whatever," Samira offered as they passed both doors in quick succession. Alicia merely nodded saying she understood.

It took them a few more paces before they finally reached the end of the hall and the last door, which led into the smallest of the spare bedrooms. "You can leave little Harry in here," Samira explained, opening the door and gesturing inside. "I've already gone and made the bed, so don't worry about that."

Alicia smiled gratefully at her friend, adjusting her son's head on her shoulder. "Thank you, Samira, for letting us stay here. You're a lifesaver."

Samira smirked, waving off the thanks casually. "It's not a problem, Alicia." She clapped her hands together softly, leaning in closer. "Now, I'll let you get this little tyke settled in," she pinched Harry's cheek, making him crease his eyebrows together in his sleep, "while I go help out William with the trunks."

Samira stepped back, allowing Alicia to move towards the bedroom door. "Because let's face it, if it isn't studying, he's pretty much a lost little lamb," Samira joked, already walking off towards the sitting room area.

Alicia tittered, rolling her green eyes before tilting her head towards the bedroom door and moving inside. She walked towards the twin-sized bed before casting off the grey covers and white sheets.

Alicia then hoisted Harry up once for support before laying him down gently on the bed. She stood back and produced her wand, pointing it at the ceiling and weaving a simpler variant of the Atmospheric Charm on the room to keep it at a comfortable temperature throughout the night. She moved in closer and tucked Harry in snugly, before stroking his hair and planting a soft kiss on his forehead.

"I love you, little one," Alicia whispered, smiling when Harry mumbled something incomprehensible in return. His mother then quietly tip-toed out the room and shut the door firmly, but not before taking one last look at her sleeping bundle of joy,

After a moment of silence, Harry cracked open one eye and smiled wearily. "Love you too, mum," he mumbled, already tumbling back into the land of dreams.

"I'd like to purchase this book, thank you."

Harry peered up at the man behind the counter of the bookstore with large, willful eyes. In his outstretched hand, he held a very specific book he had picked up - one he would have been remiss to find anywhere in Britain due to the subject's terrible reputation.

The clerk raised a bushy eyebrow at him, his eyes wide in disbelief. He was a scruffy old man, but Harry recognized the look in his eyes. "Why, may I ask, young man, would you ever want to buy this book?" It was clear the clerk's first language wasn't English, but Harry admired his determination to make his customers as comfortable as possible.

Harry blinked once, in the most innocent way he could. Inside, though, his mind was racing to find an acceptable answer that would throw the man off his scent. Even if speaking to snakes wasn't as badly viewed in Egypt as it was in Britain, it still gave off attention - something Harry had been told to avoid.

"Always be discreet," His mother would tell him. "You never know who may be watching, and what can be used against you."

Harry cocked his head at the store clerk. "Well, last week, my mum and I were walking down the markets - it happened then, you see. We had just walked into the live part of the market - I always wanted a pet lizard, and my mother said they had the most beautiful ones here."

The clerk nodded, and Harry continued his fib. "That's when I saw him - it was an old man, he had a grey beard and a bald head, and he was hissing. My mum was on the other side looking at the lizards, so I came closer to catch a good look at what he was hissing at. It was a sleek, black, cobra. Of course, I hadn't known he was speaking to the snakes. Only later, when I mentioned it to my mum, she told me about what a Parselmouth was." Harry stopped to catch his breath. "After that, I wanted to learn more, so my mum gave me a little bit of money to buy a book about it."

By the end of his fib, the clerks' eyes were wide in surprise. He leaned in over the counter, with a gleam in his eye. "A Parselmouth? Around here? Are you sure, boy?"

Harry bit his lip and nodded slowly, giving off an air of uncertainty. "I think so. Maybe he was just…" Harry knocked his skull thrice. " know?"

The man behind the counter shook his head and looked off into the distance, distracted. "No… to think! One of the Psylli, around here. It's been ages…"

There was a moment of silence in the air.

Harry furrowed his brow. "Uh, sir? Could I purchase the book now?"

The man nodded, clearly still a bit out of it. "Yes, yes," he waved his hand around vaguely. "That'll be 20 Nebu."

Harry tilted his head as he reached into his robe pockets, fumbling around for his mokeskin pouch. '20 Nebu is equivalent to 1 Galleon, and that is equivalent to 25 British pounds. 25 British pounds is… 250 Egyptian pounds, I think. So 1 Nebu is a little more than 12 Egyptian pounds. Interesting,' he mused.

After a beat, Harry grasped the little bag and split the mouth open, reaching inside for the correct amount of Egyptian wizarding currency he needed.

Having collected the twenty Nebu in his palm, he passed the little gold rectangular stamps over to the shopkeeper, who took them without much fuss.

Quickly, Harry snatched his book up from the counter and left the musty store, already looking forward to learning more about Parseltongue. The fact that it was hereditary made him wonder all the more just who his parents were. He wondered whether or not they would've been pleased that he had inherited such a rare magical ability, or if they would've seen it in a bad light.

Harry considered it for a second more, before shaking his head. It probably wasn't a point in his favour, honestly. Considering that they were more than likely British, his parents had probably been hoping for him to be born without the ability to speak to snakes.

Feeling restless and trying to turn his thoughts away from the hypothetical, Harry retrieved his newly-bought book - which he had tucked under his arm for the time being - and stared at its shining leathery cover. He noted that it looked frighteningly like it was made out of real snakeskin. Maybe it was. Harry roamed his eyes over the silver-green details of the cover, appreciating how it was very unassuming and simplistic, even if it looked high-quality.

If anything, it wasn't eye-catching, at least. You had to pay attention to recognize the book, which was good. Harry slowly traced the title of the book with his finger.


Harry smiled to himself, before heading off in a random direction. He drank in the colours, the aromas and the atmosphere like an elixir of vitality, even though you wouldn't have been able to differentiate him from the locals by the way he weaved expertly through the crowd. Harry swept his eyes over a pair of sprightly young wizards bartering with a vendor on the bulk price of papyrus rolls. He reached the edge of the designated market area, from when on out the demographic of the commerce bled out of the 'open-air' and into physical shops and stores. He beamed at the sight of a young seamstress advertising Beautifying robes. According to the witch, it would significantly enhance the attractiveness of the wearer.

When he heard the wording of her advertisement, Harry had half a mind to ask the last how she had approached the issue of 'enhancing' the robes for 'beauty', just to gauge whether or not they were high-quality.

Harry knew, from listening to his mother's rants on 'mass-produced wizarding fashion,' that bargain Beautifying robes simply tried to bewitch the robes with a type of mental compulsion charm, which made onlookers compelled to ignore the faults of the wearer. Alicia had raved about 'cheapskates' and 'circumventing the problem', though she had relented that it was pretty complex magic in its own right. The only issue that it brought on was that the magic could easily be ignored with either enough focus or practice throwing off legal compulsions, which made the robe rather useless. In addition, there was the age-old problem of low-end alternatives simply bewitching the object - to keep costs low, the seamstress would simply finish the robe, and then bewitch it with the compulsion magic, meaning that the effect would eventually wear off after a couple of years.

Harry also knew that the alternative was much harder and more expensive to produce. Alicia had explained, with great passion, the issue: essentially, the expensive Beautifying robes were never bewitched with a spell - instead, they were always enchanted with whatever magical effects the customer wanted - which meant whatever magic was needed, it was applied as the fabric of the robes was being woven, which made for a near-everlasting effect. Both aspects of the robe, physical thread and magical spell, were woven simultaneously. His mother would bemoan this fact, explaining that appreciation for the practise was dying out in modern-day magical Britain, and that she was one of the few who bothered enchanting the robes they made. Of course, that meant she could charge a premium, but fewer and fewer witches nowadays bothered to appreciate the benefits of high-end enchanted tailoring.

Though, from what Harry understood, the difference didn't end there. In addition, if the seamstress was going to bother with enchanting the robes at all, they always used multiple venues to approach the issue of 'beautification', which made them inherently superior to the low-end alternatives. In addition to applying the legal compulsion charms, they always included custom glamour charms woven into the robes, designed to create perfect illusionary enhancements for the wearer. Enchanting them into the robes made the magic very hard to circumvent, even if one tried casting a 'finite incantatem' or dispelling in some other manner. To his mother, those kinds of robes were genuine pieces of art, and truly above the mass-production that was seen in the modern-day.

Harry had found the entire explanation fascinating, to be honest. He could also see just why both of his parents were masters of their respective crafts, though they were both labelled enchanters.

Smiling, Harry continued with his exploration. To him, the wizarding side of Egypt seemed so much more vibrant and interesting and intricate, despite it occupying a measly amount of space in comparison.

While walking around the perimeter of the market, Harry would occasionally elect to swoop and veer to the side to greet the store owners; stare at the vats of Everlasting Ink on display, or inspect the traditional Egyptian amulets that seemed to be popular. He wondered briefly if they were enchanted, and if the kind of magic varied from the magic in Britain. Were they created with pseudo-Latin-based spells like Salvio hexia or Protego totalum? Perhaps. Or maybe the people here believed they were inherently magical. Both were valid, Harry reasoned. He didn't doubt them for believing that the divine symbols still had some kind of power.

In all honesty, they more than likely did. Melia was adamant that the Greek gods existed, so the Egyptian deities were probably still around, too. It warranted investigation, at the very least, though Harry wasn't too sure he wanted to get involved with deities at all. Maybe they valued their privacy? He didn't know.

Harry continued on his window-shopping, feeling ecstatic as he did so. He did want to explore as much as he could today, though, so he restrained himself from entering the actual shops and buildings lining the outskirts of the open-air wizarding marketplace. Instead, he chose to swerve away from the edge buildings and explore the stalls and street vendors that occupied the centre of the marketplace.

He passed a group of teenagers dressed in light and breezy clothing, probably with added cooling charms to combat the sweltering spring heat of Cairo. He stifled a smile when one of the younger boys tripped on an uneven flagstone and frantically looked around to see if anyone had noticed. Harry caught the boy's eye - he was maybe a few years older - and mimed zipping his lips shut. The boy grinned at him and waved before turning around back towards the other teens, who were each buying some kind of pita bread dish stuffed with minced meat and other things. Harry glanced at the sign that read when translated, something close to: "Hawawshi (x 4): 1 Nebu."

Nodding to himself, Harry wondered if he should've brought more spending money. He could really go with something fried right now.

Harry then ducked behind a stall selling some kind of headdresses and stepped forward. He caught sight of a little artificial stone hill and climbed atop it before glancing around his surroundings in awe.

"So this is Cairo's famed 'Hekasouk'," Harry breathed, having reached the centre of the space occupied by the internationally renowned marketplace, where he could finally catch a glimpse of the enormity of the area.

A lost child wailed for his mother stumbling around the flagstones. A man frantically searched for his missing dog, whistling sharply whenever something moved in the distance. Shopkeepers screamed out offers on the top of their voices to attract customers and those attracted desperately tried to bargain for the best possible places. This was the 'Hekasouk', a place which was always drawing in the sea of people. The ground was gritty stone and the air an annoying mid-spring blister.

Not a single empty site could be spotted between the stalls. Children too young to practice magic held out hands against their foreheads to shield themselves from the heat or gathered newspaper or magazines to create makeshift fans, while adult witches and wizards walked undisturbed, Cooling Charms unabashedly seeing use under the merciless shine of the sun. Beads of sweat glistened on those unlucky enough to not afford foci, and sweltering red faces were not uncommon. The salty odour of sweat mingled with the nose tingling aroma of spices and the sweet smell of flowers coming from the street vendors. All of these smells mixed together and gave the Hekasouk a rather unique scent, which hung in the air all through its open hours; from early morning to late evening.

Harry sighed at the sight before sitting down on the artificial landmark, the little hill of stone, and pulling up his hood to cover his face. He retrieved his book again and opened it, this time nodding to himself, determined not to get distracted by the sights again.

"Now, let me see what this is all about…"


By Luis Garcia Hernández

Chapter 1

Origins and Legacy

The Psylli ('Seli') was a native Berber tribe hailing from Ancient Libya that existed between the years 800 BCE - 100 CE. The large majority of the tribe could speak Parseltongue and were widely known to be Parselmouths, though they were simply referred to as 'the Psylli' back then. It is unknown how they obtained this inheritable magical ability.

During the height of their rise in population, the Psylli are known to have experienced a nomadic intrigue, which led to the main tribe body sometimes spending as many as three generations away from their home region of Libya.

Thus, throughout their travels, many originally from the Psylli tribe decided to break off from the main travelling body and settle down in specific or remote locations. Most of these locations can be considered part of the Mediterranian Basin.

The Psylli tribe are known to have originally settled along the shores of the Nile river, the plains of the Greater Iberian Peninsula, the southern regions of Roman Italy. A large majority of the Greek land, and small burrows into Asia Minor.

The most notable regions include the Kingdom of Egypt, Southern Greater Iberia, the Medit the southern plains of Greater Iberia, and the Mediterranian and Most notably, many of their numbers During their time, the Psylli were known to have visited many civilizations, leaving their influence and descendants wherever they visited. They extended their reach as far as the Congo rainforest southern, the plains of Greater Iberia in the north, the deserts of Libya in the west and the civilizations of Ancient Greece and Rome in the east.

Famous descendants of this ancient tribe include the Dark Lord Herpo the Foul, who lived in Ancient Greece circa 400 BCE and is most well known for his practices in the Dark Arts and his experimental breeding, which resulted in the creation of the Basilisco Hibrido.

Another notable name is Hogwarts Founder Salazar Slytherin. Slytherin's ancestry is suspected to have origins in Greater Iberia, though his family is thought to have fled the region during the Iberian War of 526-532 CE, and migrated to Britain, upon where they adopted the last name Slytherin. They are believed to have lived in relative obscurity for four-hundred years in the upper parts of Ireland, until the birth of Salazar, circa 950 CE. The nomenclatures 'Parselmouth' and 'Parseltongue' were popularized by him, and have since been adopted as correct in Great Britain, North America, and a large majority of northern Europe.

While the actual tribe no longer exists (they are rumoured to have fully died out sometime before 100 CE), their descendants, also called Psylli in context, have since spread all across the world, though known examples are rare. Muggle references to these peoples have since been edited to infer that they were simply a tribe of 'snake-charmers'.


Harry snapped shut Parsél, though he allowed a small smile to grow on his face. He rose from his seat on the dusty flagstone hill and patted down his robes, muttering a generous amount of expletives, as though they would somehow help remove the dust that had stuck to him. He found it a little odd that the title was in Spanish while the text itself was in English, but he didn't complain, figuring instead that it was some choice relating to 'aesthetics' or design. He was just glad he understood it, mostly.

Not wanting to waste any time, Harry stood up abruptly and glanced around, searching for the friendliest-looking stall owner. He decided on a young girl selling flowers - she was probably no more than seventeen, though you never knew with witches. He walked up to her stand and looked up at her. She had her hair out, which Harry had noticed was very uncommon, even amongst witches, and she was humming a tune while bending over something, lost in her own little world.

He cleared his throat, causing the girl to look up at him from her seat. She glanced at him for one second before smiling and speaking in near-perfect English:

"How can I help you?" She said, tucking a strand of her dark hair behind her ear. She sat forward, her equally dark eyes wide and attentive.

Harry grinned, relishing the chance to speak English again with someone other than his family (and Samira). "Could you point me towards the live market, miss?"

The girl nodded, though she looked mildly concerned. "I can, yes. Why do you want to go?"

Harry shrugged, trying to appear childish (It worked). "I just wanted to look at the snakes. I like snakes."

She paused, before nodding decisively. "Well, it's not too safe for a little kid like you to be walking around all alone. I'll accompany you." Before Harry could object, the girl had already turned around towards the other end of the stall and leaned over the frame, cupping her hands to her mouth.

"Khala!" she shouted - Auntie! - before waving frantically, beckoning to someone in the distance and pointing at the ground. The girl turned around again, before laughing at Harry's flummoxed expression.

"You don't need to come with me, you know?" Harry mumbled, watching the girl's aunt (presumably) take her place at the stall. The girl slipped out, coming to a stop beside him. She looked at him curiously.

"What's your name?" she said, ignoring his earlier comment and walking forwards into the bustling market area. Harry sighed, his shoulders heaving.

"Harry," he said, simply, already turning around to follow her. She had longer legs than him (which was rather irritating) so he had to work to keep up. "You?"

"Rashida," she replied, not even looking over her shoulder. Harry frowned at her back, before shaking his annoyance off.

He briefly glanced at her choice of clothes and accessories before nodding. Everything she wore was higher-end in quality, and he had noticed the now-familiar outline that the wand holster made under robes. He sped up a little, trying to close the distance between them. "You're a student at Uagadou, right?" He asked.

Rashida glanced back at him, eyebrows raised. "What makes you say that?"

Harry grinned at her nonchalant attitude. She clearly wasn't caving in anytime soon. He rolled his eyes as though it were obvious, before listing off his reasoning on his fingers. "First, we're in Egypt, which is only a little ways from the Mountains of the Moon, regardless of whatever the muggles say - I find it incredibly funny that they think they could ever actually reach Uagadou, much less line it up with any physical mountain range."

"Second, your robes are a much higher quality than the rest of the wizards around here, which points to being able to attend Uagadou, again." Her lips parted minutely in surprise; which Harry counted as a victory, even though it was a rather small one.

Harry raised his third finger. "Finally, I can see the outline of a wand holster on you. Wands are expensive here so that further points towards you being higher-class and thus attending the most prestigious wizarding school in all of Wizarding Africa. Though, I am curious as to why you use a wand. I was under the impression it wasn't common around here...?"

Rashida was silent for a good minute before she answered. "You're kinda freakily good at the whole analysis thing."

Harry ducked his head. "Sorry, it just - I blurt stuff out like that. My bad."

She waved his unease off. "Don't worry. I'm impressed - you managed to figure all that out just by looking at me. It's a good skill to have." Rashida nodded idly, taking a left round a food stall. "But you're right. I do go to Uagadou. It's my last year there."

Harry raised his eyebrows. "Oh? Where is it?"

Rashida looked at him funnily. "What? You don't already know?" She joked, laughing when he turned bright red. "I'm kidding. It's top-secret, so I can't tell you much. To be honest, I'd be surprised if you did know how we ran things. Even the summer program students have to sign non-disclosure contracts before they visit. It is a good school though."

Rashida paused, having reached a ten-foot-tall archway that led to another area. "How about you?" She asked, leaning onto the divisive walls of the Hekasouk and its sister markets. "What school are you shooting for? Beauxbatons?"

Harry shook his head. "Hogwarts. My parents both got in, so..."

Rashida nodded. "Figures. You don't sound too much like a Brit, though."

"Lugha wāhidah lā takfī," Harry replied, smirking. One language is never enough.

Rashida's eyes grew as wide as saucers. "W-what? Hal tatahadath lughat 'ukhraa bijanib alearabia?" She asked, straightening in interest. What languages do you speak besides English?

Harry idly shifted in place, before answering, "German, Greek and Arabic. A little French."

"Min sijak?" she exclaimed. Are you serious? Harry nodded. Rashida whistled. "That's pretty impressive, then. I'm bilingual, myself." She then glanced up at the sun, before frowning and walking through the archway. She turned around and beckoned him to follow. "Come on, I've wasted enough of your time. Let's get you in front of some snakes."

Harry beamed.

A man rushed through the crowds, breathing fast and hard, though his footsteps were light and silent on the flagstones, nimbly darting with practised ease despite his imposing frame. He ignored the startled cries of those strangers he knocked over, choosing instead to escape before any of them could call attention to it. He wore a combination of linen undershirt and leather overwear, all coloured the same as his mantle; a large black cloak fastened by a golden brooch billowed as he ran, fluttering but never seeming to get in the way of his agile movements.

He stopped suddenly, glancing around once before nodding and turning on his heel, entering a small, dingy establishment. Nameless, the outside of the kiosk looked run down and worn to pieces, with its entrance being guarded by only a thin shimmering veil that served as a door. He wasn't fooled, though. He quietly brushed past the flowing purple fabric and stepped into the equally despairing hallway behind it. With measured steps, he crept along the length of the creaky floorboards, careful not to trigger any creaks. He might've silenced himself with skill, but the floor held no such reservations.

He reached the end of the hallway without trouble and searched the otherwise unobtrusive door for the only distinguishing mark; the golden symbol that would be painted on the side of the frame, the one that matched his own.

Finding the symbol to the far bottom left, he reached down and pressed three fingers inside the small box of the hieroglyph, listlessly watching it glow softly for a second before the wooden door in front of him shimmered out of view, displaying an open entrance in its stead.

He took that as a sign of permitted entry and stepped into the spacious room inside. It was much larger than what should've been permitted by the laws of normality, but they never really concerned themselves with those trivial matters. It was a sitting room, of sorts, the centre occupied by many seats, cushions and couches of warm and earthy tones. The entire perimeter of the room maintained an uninterrupted surface top pushed against the walls. It was covered by a deep hue of simple red cloth, upon which rows and rows of candles flickered, casting mixed shadows onto the surfaces of the chamber. He cast his gaze to the centre of the meeting room, where two distinct figures sat;

The first was a woman; she sat sensually on a large cushioned armchair, her legs crossed elegantly under her long, luxurious ankle-length satin garb. She shifted with his arrival, and he caught proper sight of her open-footed strappy stilettos under the candlelight. Her dress was fitted, non-traditional around these parts, with a high-waist and a small train that draped onto the carpeted floors of the room.

Her left hand rested on her lap; drawing attention to a gold ring adorned with a large emerald gem; the right brushed her red lips lightly, showing a hint of pearly white teeth behind her open-sleeved black silk attire. Atop her head; thinly encasing dark rivulets, sat a thin golden headdress paired with a long, rectangular scarf that wrapped around her crown and pinned itself in place at her shoulders.

Finally, a gold pendant shaped into the ever-recurring hieroglyph hung around her neck, attractively pressing against her silk covered chest in the deep maroon candlelight. Her bright aureate eyes flickered towards him as he entered, as brilliantly golden as her jewellery.

The second figure noticed the movement of the woman and adjusted his positioning on his chair to face the newcomer accordingly. He was distinctly male; large, broad shoulders and heavy build only enforced this notion further. His shoulder-length silvery hair shifted slightly as his head turned, though a large majority of it was secured into a militaristic bun.

He was wearing simple linen garb, in equally dark tones as his female companion, though it seemed to accentuate his age and experience rather than youth or beauty. Besides the now pronounced wrinkles and the firm line his mouth had turned into, the man gave no further reaction to his presence, save for a single commanding tap of his booted foot on the ground before him.

Though the ensemble of a large cloak and golden brooch the silver-haired man wore matched his own, it looked to cover a much larger frame, barely hiding the glint of the thick dragon-hide chest piece that had uncovered itself with a shift in the man's positioning. Along with hints of leathery greaves and shin guards, a long, dangerously sharp silver-white khopesh was strapped to the man's waist, it's gleaming curved blade barely visible between the folds of the cloak. The man's harsh argentate eyes surveyed him as he moved forward, as wickedly sharp as his blade.

The newcomer stepped forward thrice before kneeling in respect before the two figures. There was a brief moment of heavy silence before he spoke, his voice a soft, youthful monotone. "It shall be very, very hidden."

The golden-eyed woman looked down at him, contemplative. "No one shall know it, no one shall see it," she continued the verse solemnly. The candlelights flickered in the windless room.

The silver-haired man breathed out quietly, his dark jawline unclenching. "Apart from the sundial that gazes on its secret." A low, unnatural hum accompanied the recital.

Still kneeling, the newcomer began anew, not skipping a beat. "The officiating priests shall enter silently, their bodies veiled." A beat of a drum, echoing dully.

The glint of gold twinkled in the light. "So that they shall be protected against sudden death."

"Those unworthy may not enter, may not see anything," The silver blade gleamed in the dark.

"So decrees Per-Ankh, the House of Life," the newcomer finished, almost instantly removing his hood in one smooth swipe of his hand. He stood still, his face never leaving the carpeted ground, and his smoothly shaved head covered in tattoos shone under the candlelight of the room. His one good eye, marked with kohl, gleamed with anticipation of what was to come.

The golden-eyed woman and the silver-haired man shared a glance, wondering how to approach the youngster before them. The man tilted his head slightly, and the woman snapped her fingers, the noise deadening the otherwise quiet room.

"Rise," she commanded. The newcomer complied, rising steadily before bowing steeply.

"Nebu," he said, angling his bow towards the woman. "Hedj," he said, performing the same to the man. "I bring news from the streets."

Nebu leaned back into her seat, her silky dress shifting casually over her shapely legs. She rolled her kohl-marked eyes. "You needn't bow, Cato. You know this."

Cato made no sound, simply nodding, which immediately put Nebu on edge. Usually, the young recruit was quick to return with a cheesy attempt at a pick-up line, or a depreciating comment about loyal servitude, all with a cheeky grin in place. But apparently, now was not the time. Hedj simply grunted, rolling his shoulders.

"Well," Nebu sighed, resting her head effortlessly in her right hand, still managing to appear royal despite her lousy attitude. "Get on with it, then." Hedj huffed from his seat.

Cato reached into the folds of his cloak, bringing out the small, rectangular form of a black mobile phone. He spent a few seconds deliberating with the device before he passed it to Nebu, who plucked the mobile from Cato's outstretched hand immediately.

Nebu, already interested in whatever news required video evidence, pressed 'play' and stared at the screen. A moment passed as the video played; the sound was tinny but audible. Nebu's face quickly lost all casualness, and she raised the mobile to her ear in concentration. Her eyebrows furrowed minutely for a second before her eyes widened.

"Min yatakalam lughat althaeabin," she breathed, momentarily dropping her passive expression for one of shock. One who speaks the language of the snakes.

Hedj shook his head violently, his stoic demeanour disappearing entirely. He leaned over to stare at the screen. "He is a snake-wizard, truly?"

Cato nodded, smiling eagerly. "He possesses the serpent-tongue, yes." Hedj leaned back into his chair, his thick, scarred fingers already rubbing his temples tiredly.

"One of the Psylli," Nebu concurred, her lips twisting into a sickly ravishing grin.

Hedj scowled, crossing his muscled, coppery arms in mild distaste. "He's too… white."

Nebu sent a sharp glance his way, as though warning him to continue further. "That doesn't matter. You know it doesn't. It matters only that he speaks it." Hedj brushed the rebuke off with a shrug, already used to his superiors nagging after so many years.

Nebu refocused on the video that was still playing on repeat, almost reverently. She licked her lips with a hungry gleam in her eyes. "...and speak it he does."

Cato perked up, recognizing Nebu's tone of voice. "When do we act, hem-netjer?"

"Soon," she replied, handing the phone back to Cato easily. She paused for a second, closing her eyes in thought, before speaking. "Place a tracking spell on him, and tail him for a fortnight. Find out his manners, patterns, habits. We can't afford to dally too long, though. It's obvious he's a tourist. They don't stick around long."

Hedj, who had been mostly quiet, stared at Cato with impassiveness written all over his face. "Do you know what this means, Cato?" He prompted, eyebrow raised and hand cupping his chin, gaze assessing.

Cato shifted in place, nodding his head. "I do, Emir. It means we may finally be able to free them from their imprisonment!" he whispered excitedly. "They will reward us greatly for our efforts, surely."

Hedj sent him a sharp glare. "Hush, do not speak of such things in the open. It is banned, even if done as an act of foolishness - you would do well to remember that the walls have ears, even here. You are young, so I will forgive your mishap, just this once."

Cato ducked his head, ears burning red. "Yes, Emir. I apologise, Emir."

Hedj's silver eyes softened. "Nevertheless, you are right. It is a dangerous path we walk, on the outskirts of the House."

Nebu, who had been watching the interaction keenly, spoke up, reassuring the man and the teenaged boy with simple words. "Do not fret, both of you. The exiled path we walk shall not be lost to the sands of time. We shall make sure of it, no matter what our foolish brethren may think Egypt needs. Now, I must go."

She glanced imperiously at Hedj, before commanding him. "Accompany me. We have much to prepare, now."

Hedj nodded, standing and making way to the door of the candlelit chamber.

Nebu rose, stepping forward and standing next to Cato. She glanced down at him, while he bowed steeply, much to her bemusement. She placed a hand on his shoulder, beckoning him to rise. He did, though he did not meet her searching gaze. After a moment, she muttered. "You know what you must do. Prove yourself to the netjeru."

The teen nodded. "I shall."

Nebu looked away. "Peace be with you," she said, before making her way to the door and slinking through it, hips swaying naturally. Hedj followed her silently, ever the trained soldier.

"And you," Cato said quietly, left alone in the room with only his thoughts for company.

"Tosbeho 'ala khair! Goodbye!" Harry called, waving animatedly at Rashida. "Thank you so much! Shukran jazīlan!"

He heard Rashida laugh, before returning with her own yelled greeting. He smiled, heading out of the crowds of the Hekasouk and through the illusionary wall that, when passed through, led straight into the multitude of the muggle market on the other side. Harry was grinning as he walked through, watching all the muggles simply pass by without noticing his sudden appearance. Muggle-Repelling wards were amazing.

He slid into the muggle crowd, already a bit hurried. It wasn't too late in the evening, but he knew that he should probably find his way back to the designated rendezvous, lest his parents find the need to use a tracking spell to find him.

...his mother, especially.

If he was just one minute behind schedule, she'd sniff him out like a bloodhound and then once she found him, she'd lock him in his room for the rest of the month, much like a kennel. He sighed, swerving away from an old man rubbing a golden oil-lamp and muttering.

A few minutes later, he was standing in front of the bakery they had agreed to meet at six o'clock. At least, he thought it was the right one. Harry bravely looked through the window, trying to confer whether or not this was the right one. He stared at the occupied tables, trying to find his parents amongst the hustle.

In all honesty, the place wasn't that impressive. It was a huddle of a shop. So much of the space had been taken up by the ovens behind the countertop and the mouth-watering displays that the customers were left little room to squeeze in and out. Nevertheless, that didn't seem to stop it from dragging in hungry muggles by the dozen.

From the cracked checkered floor tiles, Harry could only imagine the store to be older than himself, though the sign above the display window - Ganim's Galley - was freshly painted in black and white flowing script. With the cakes beckoningly sweet, the aroma of fresh-baked cookies and bread took him by the hand and led him inside. He figured that even if it wasn't the right bakery, he could always stop by for a snack. It wouldn't hurt.

Harry grinned as he pushed the glass door inwards, hearing the tell-tale ring of the bell above marking his arrival - just like his father's shop back in Tutshill.

Harry flopped onto his bed in the apartment with a contented sigh. It had been the right bakery to go to, regardless if it had been the actual rendezvous point.

Solely because of the basbousa they baked.

Oh, Merlin! It was magical.

Harry drooled at the thought.

—and the English scones, too

"Ugh. So good," Harry groaned, remembering the texture of the baked goods, and the smell… it was utterly and deliriously intoxicating.

"Mmmm…" he mumbled, smacking his lips.

Harry flipped himself over and snuggled into his pillow, inhaling the freshly-cleaned scent. He sighed again, his mind wandering from food to his trip at the live market earlier today. He snickered, thinking of the reaction that cobra had when Rashida had pointed out its colour was off.

"Who knew that snakes could be so sour?"

He didn't, that much was sure.

A/N: I'm so sorry for the late chapter, people. I hope that the quality - emphasis on hope - makes up for it.

On an unrelated note, I've still got no Beta reader. Shit's tough, man. Thankfully, two very wonderful users are somewhat filling that role, if only unofficially. Cheers to them!

Read and Review!