Magic was a source of energy that allowed one to manipulate the forces of nature or exert one's will upon the world. It allowed one to shape the physical and metaphysical plane according to the whims and fancies of the wielder. The requirement to accomplish these feats was to have the ability and mental fortitude to manipulate magical energy within one's body.

The ability to maintain a disciplined mind played a major part in constructing spells. The verbal commands in Latin were only a method of developing that concentration. The true skill of a wizard was in constructing spells with sheer will, imagination and concentration. Magical power was a factor but power was something that would grow in time.

Harry was not at that place where he could just wave his wand and let the magic unfold. At least he was not able to do so consciously. The fluke with the disillusion charm was not something that he could depend on.

With this in mind, he began learning spells that solely focused on defence and offence. He constructed a list of spells in his memory from the Harry Potter books that were offensive in nature. The Unforgivable Curses was a no-go as it would land him in prison even if he was using it on a magical creature. The next lethal spell that he knew was the Sectumsempra curse which he does not know how to perform. The spell remained a mystery in the old Potion's book of Severus Snape. He was going to search for the book but for the time being, it was inaccessible. The next few curses were easily accessible. There was the blasting curse, the disarming charm, the shield charm and many other spells that could be accessed in the Hogwarts library.

To that end, he searched all those books that offered such spells from the Library. While there was a three book per person limit in the library he took the most useful books that offered a wide variety of charms and curses. There was 'A hundred Charms to Bind' by Gerald Horne. Then there was 'Spells for hunting creatures' by Aron Goldstein. The last but not least 'Shielding and Deflection' by Madam Paula Everheart.

These were the books that he would use to learn a variety of spells and their effects. While Library hours were useful in researching new spells he used the daily useless History of Magic and Divination classes to read up the material and make notes. While these spells were of no great value in dealing with dragons it was nonetheless useful.

His true research however was conducted in parts in the library and the Room of Requirements. From his research on Dragons so far he learned that they had extreme magic resistant skin. A direct magical assault on a Dragon was hardly going to let him complete the First Task. The thought of using a broom was ludicrous as he didn't know whether he remained a flying prodigy. In any case, flying was not an option as he was not going to depend on muscle memories.

Or, perhaps I should try riding the Firebolt. At least it could be a Plan B, he thought.

Nodding to himself he made a note of that idea on a small letter pad that he carried with him to the library.

"What are you doing?"

Harry found the owner of that voice to be Hermione Granger. He had been avoiding this particular person since the last day but it couldn't be helped.

"I thought it obvious. I am reading a book."

"That's more than obvious Harry. I meant what are you reading?" she asked in a whisper and took a seat across from him at the table.

Harry glanced at the resident librarian Madam Pince who was keeping an unhealthy amount of attention on him for some reason. Thankfully, the woman was looking the other way for the time being.

"I am researching some magical creatures and devising ways to counter them." He answered keeping his voice down.

"Harry that's a good idea."

"I know."

He hoped the conversation would end there and concentrated on the books that were laid out before him.

"So which magical creature are you looking into?" asked Hermione not just content to leave the conversation dry.

"At the moment Dragons." He said and blinked in confusion as she took some books from the stacks that he had gathered.

"In that case let me help."

Hermione began to read a book on the Chinese Fireball.

Harry was aware of the occasional glances that Hermione was taking at him and it made him nervous. He was sailing through uncharted territory here and he didn't know just how to properly deal with his 'friends'. The last day was easy enough as it was a Sunday and he had locked himself in the ROR familiarising his magic. But now that classes were open he was once again saddled with the difficult task of dealing with his 'social' life.

"Ok. Enough of this. Why are you avoiding me?" asked Hermione all of a sudden.

"What? Rubbish." He tried to wave her concerns away while his mind spun to find a proper way to deal with what was going on.

"Don't think that I didn't notice that you have been avoiding me last day. Just because Ron is being stupid doesn't mean you have to shut out all your friends."

"I am not shutting you out Hermione. I just think that I should use the time I have productively in mastering as much magic as I can. Whoever put my name in it wants me dead or maimed. I have decided that I will not give them that satisfaction."

"Then let me help you, Harry."

"You are helping me right now." He pointed out.

"You didn't even speak a word to me yesterday." Hermione accused.

"I was dealing with some personal issues."

"What personal issues?" she asked dubiously with a frown.

"If you haven't noticed I am garnering a lot of hate from the student population. And as usual, the Hogwarts staff remain exceedingly ignorant or outright apathetic."

"Harry, they are just being stupid."

"Well, we seem to be surrounded by a lot of stupid people. This reminds me of the Second Year."

"Oh, Harry. I am sure Professor Dumbledore will find out who put your name into the Goblet."

"I am not so sure he will make that effort. His recent inaction and his unwillingness to explain what has happened in regards to me have only brought disfavour on me. Not to mention year after year I am constantly thrown into danger in this school. I am starting to think that he is part of the problem as well."

"Harry! Surely you don't mean that. Professor Dumbledore is the greatest wizard of our time."

"So?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.

"He obviously knows what he is doing." She said with a look that brokered no argument.

This was what he feared and his fears were being realized. It turned out that his 'friend' was quite under the thumb of Albus Dumbledore, a man that he had declared as his enemy on principle. For the previous Harry Potter, the Headmaster may have been a personal hero but not to this new Harry Potter.

No, he saw Dumbledore as his natural enemy. How could the Headmaster ever not become his enemy? His plans required breaking out of the confinement that Dumbledore has built around him in an effort to create a martyr for the upcoming war. But he had no intention of dancing to the tune of some old coot, whatever his endgame may be.

Harry would break out from Dumbledore's thumb. It was only a matter of when not how. He already had some plans in his mind to that effect. But he now knew that Hermione would be an unreliable variable in his plans. He just knew that people with blind faiths are not exactly a good company to have. At the same time, he didn't want to alienate Hermione Granger for that reason alone. No matter what she was just a teenage girl with faults and merits of her own.

So he just nodded silently to her argument and ended that conversation. Hermione took that as his agreement and she went back to reading the book.

Time passed and they discussed their findings of Dragons on their way to Transfiguration class.

"It is mentioned that Dragons have highly magic resistant skin. The Chinese Fireball also has a potent fire that has extreme magical properties." said Hermione excitedly.

He thought she was enjoying this discussion far too much. It was understandable considering she lacked any friends that were passionate about discussing academics.

"Yes, and it is a common trait I have seen with other Dragons. I read about the Hungarian Horntail. It is supposed to be the most aggressive creature of its kind. They seek out danger and the book mentions that they are cannibalistic in nature."

"Truly! I didn't know that. But I have read that there are several Dragon Reserves across the wizarding world. Surely there is some type of magic that can subdue the dragons. Otherwise, how did Dragon blood and other body parts were harvested?"

"It takes multiple wizards to put a dragon to sleep, Hermione. Hagrid said that in our first year, remember."

"Well, we agree that dragons are dangerous and powerful. How can one defeat them if they are used on the tasks?" Hermione wondered.

"Our regular spells won't have the desired effect. I believe that the answer lies in the basic elements."

"The basic elements? Like water?" she asked curiously.

"Well, dragons are creatures of fire. Should it not stand to reason that they would be uncomfortable or weaker in a considerable cold climate?"

"But Harry. Elemental magic is a very advanced piece of magic."

"I did learn about the Aguamenti charm from the Standard Book of Spells."

"I have read about that but it only conjures water in a small amount." She pointed out.

"Indeed but it is a start. I will be looking into more elemental spells this evening. Want to join me?"

"Sure I would Harry." Hermione smiled and by that time they reached their class.

They were just in time for the class and Harry could see Ron tagging along with Seamus Finnegan and Dean Thomas. He paid no mind to his former friend and went into the class. Hermione took a seat next to Lavander while he decided to take his seat next to Neville.

With the present cold relationship between Harry and Ron, Neville was his go-to guy for partnership.

"Hi, Harry." The pudgy boy greeted him as he moved over to give Harry space on the bench.

"Hi, Neville. Do you mind if I ask you a question?"

"Oh. What's it about?" asked Neville nervously.

"I was just curious to know whether you know about many water creatures? Do you?" Harry asked

"Oh." Neville suddenly relaxed. "I know some of them, Harry. Why do you ask?"

"I am creating a list of dangerous magical creatures that may get involved in the tasks. If it is not much of a bother can you write down the names of all the water creatures you know about?"

"I can do that Harry."

"Thanks, Neville."

Just then Professor McGonagall swept into the class.

"I gather you have all reviewed your last lesson. Now, let's continue with the stone to wood transformation…"

Harry walked through the hallways of the castle trying to ignore the hostile looks being shot at him by a pair of Hufflepuff girls. He cursed the ridiculous House system of this school for all these heightened emotions. If the school could just do away with the House system he could foresee half the problems bothering the student population would go away.

But he doesn't foresee that happening anytime soon. There was always this needless baggage being carried around by every civilization that goes by the name of tradition. Traditions are hard to dislodge when they are ingrained into the marrow of culture.

There was no point in thinking about what could be when it was obviously not going to change the present scenario. He shook his head to clear his thoughts and climbed the stairs to the Seventh floor. He had given the slip to his friends and had managed to sneak out of the Gryffindor common room. He would have to get back to the Common room within an hour but that one hour was precious as far as he was concerned.

After making sure that he was alone using the Marauders Map he paced back and forth three times before the wall. A door materialized and he let himself in and the room of born out of his thoughts greeted his eyes.

To his left, there was a table and a swivelling chair. On the table lay a few books and he took one of the books. The cover read; Magicks Most Extreme by Phineas Black.

The name took him by surprise. He had heard of that name before. If his memory served him right there was a guy with that name as a previous Headmaster of Hogwarts. It was entirely possible that this author could be a different person altogether. The identity of the author mattered less to Harry at this point. The contents however were of great interest to him.

As he leafed through the book a smile slowly blossomed on his face. It looks like he finally found what he was looking for. Now comes the hard part – learning.