So, what do we do?"
"First, Fleur, if you want to reconsider the relationship between us... cause these two are going to be in the line of fire against Voldemort, my girlfriends or not. You, on the other hand, can stay out of the way. Being my girlfriend will put you in danger."
"And ruin my life? Please non. Harry, I am a capable witch. I have no fear, dark lord or not. And, what is the guarantee that once he returns, the war won't spill to France? Also, I still have a whole year left at Beauxbatons. Till then many things will change if Voldemort returns. So, no."
"Then, we begin training. To protect ourselves. To protect our families. And this, our little world."
48. The Third Task
10th June 1995
Chamber of Secrets, Hogwarts
Harry snapped the book in his hand with a sharp snap and groaned in frustration. All the tomes in the grand library of the House Black were of no use when it came to Horcruxes... well, at least beyond the normal material that he had already found through Salazar and Helga along with the books in the chamber.
As far as everything was concerned, there was a way to make Horcruxes and a way to destroy them. But, there was not a single way to detect them or locate them!
Harry had scoured through the whole libraries in the Chamber and the Potter family and was in the process of going through the books that House Black had. So far, he had found two ways to make a Horcrux, four ways to protect sanity while making a Horcrux, a way to remerge the soul, five ways to destroy a Horcrux but, not a single fucking way to detect if an object was a Horcrux or not! There wasn't even a spell to detect if there was a Horcrux in one's general vicinity!
Dumbledore suspected that there was a Horcrux of Voldemort at Hogwarts. Hogwarts was HUGE with thousands, if not millions of magical artifacts! It was of a little solace that Voldemort wouldn't have taken a random pebble and converted it into a Horcrux before tossing it into the black lake. And, that was only because a Horcrux had to be retrievable if one wished to use it.
It was frustrating, to be honest.
Even Salazar and Helga had little knowledge of Horcruxes.
It had its roots in soul magic which was an obscure art in itself. Combine that with all the shit it goes into making a soul container, the obscurity of the subject was astronomical.
It was a testament to Voldemort's resourcefulness and prodigious mind that he had managed to create one of the foul things when he was sixteen! And then also managed to split his soul into a total of seven parts (that is if Dumbledore's assumption was correct). On top of all that, he had still managed to retain his magic, his control, and his sanity.
According to most sources, the splitting of one's soul made the person lose his sanity, magical control, or magical power. It depended on a person's control of how much or what they would lose. Voldemort had retained his power and magical control completely. He was also as sane as he could be, considering he was a dark lord. He may be labeled as a madman but he was no more insane than Albus Dumbledore was... perhaps, Voldemort was the saner one amongst the two.
"Harry, you should seriously take a break now, dear." Helga's portrait said. "You should go for a walk or a flight in the sunlight outside or spend some time with your lovely ladies! It will do you no good being cooped up behind a book in this underground chamber. Go out, child. It will freshen your mind."
"You damn well know that we have to find a solution to this Horcrux problem! Voldemort is practically immortal till we find these abominations and destroy them! And, he is coming back to power!"
"Harry! Stop it!" Salazar said in a cold voice. "You're running yourself ragged between all the training and research. It is doing your mind no good. You're on since the last fortnight when you came to know that Crouch was murdered."
"But I need to find a way, don't I? Six soul containers in the whole of Europe... perhaps even the world. Voldemort has already made his first move. A murder in open daylight!"
"Let your headmaster do the Horcrux work, Harry. Dumbledore is working on it and he knows Tom Riddle better than you do. He was the one who brought him to the wizarding world and taught him Transfiguration for seven years. He will find something. You should not be doing all this and instead, be spending time with your friends and perhaps be preparing for the next task coming up in two weeks."
"What other spells could I learn to get through that maze? You know that I can burn the whole thing to the ground or just fly over it if needed. Or even apparate to the center. I know more spells than the whole NEWT students combined. Tell me what more I could do."
"Go take your firebolt for a spin," Helga suggested.
"Quidditch pitch is off-limits to all the students."
"I know. The room of requirement isn't. Put it to a Quidditch field configuration and fly around for a bit. It will freshen you up child. And leave this Horcrux finding till the summer. We'll keep researching, but you leave it for now. Please, Harry. I implore you."
Harry sighed and nodded.
"That's like a good boy. Now, I don't want you worrying about this. Am. I. Understood?"
Harry nodded in defeat knowing Helga won't budge on the matter. And he didn't fancy an angry Helga Hufflepuff after him.
June 18th, 1995
Room of Requirement, Hogwarts
Harry and Fleur looked on as Daphne and Susan dueled each other with grace similar to that of Aurors. The two girls were now on the level that was expected of Junior Aurors. He was sure both could take on his sister Tonks and likely come out on the top. Both were powerful witches who were taking their training seriously. Harry felt that Susan was the most determined of the three once she had heard that the murderer of her parents was returning to power again. Determination pushed her to better herself every day. She would've left Daphne behind, had it not been for the Slytherin girl's own talents and previous training under the tutelage of her father, Lord Greengrass. She knew more spells than Susan, most of which were frowned upon by the normal public.
Also, Daphne had no hesitation to use dangerous spells either. She was ruthless in a fight. Susan was still hesitant to use some of the more... dangerous and painful spells that would kill in an extremely cruel way. She preferred to incapacitate rather than outright kill an opponent, even if the said opponent was a dummy. Her fighting style was much like her aunt's, just a little softer. She preferred tamer, spells, and creative defenses usually consisting of transfiguration as compared to powerful curses and shields which was Daphne's style.
Fleur, on the other hand, was much better than Daphne and Susan in magical combat. Her fighting level was comparable to senior Aurors or junior hit-witches. She would likely hold her own against the likes of Alastor Moody, Amelia Bones, and Bellatrix Lestrange even if she would be eventually overpowered due to their experience.
Harry himself was nearing the level of Albus Dumbledore and Lord Voldemort. He only fell short in the sheer level of experience the two had and their spell repertoire. His power and skills were damn near the two Titans. He was sure he could win against all others, bar the dark lord and the Headmaster. Achieving the last step of Occlumency had a lot in regards to closing the distance between the power and skills of Voldemort and Dumbledore. His magic flowed much more freely than it ever did and bent to his will. He could do damn near whatever he wished to with magic as long as it didn't violate the fundamental laws of magic.
His Transfiguration and Charms showed the most difference. They were more potent, stayed for longer, and could be performed faster. His curses, hexes, and jinxes traveled at faster speeds and were tougher to shield against. Most importantly, he could now gather magical energy from the air around him and convert it into elemental attacks, usually lightning to strike his opponent. It had limited uses but was damn useful in an all-out fight.
Harry enervated Susan who had finally fallen to a bone-crusher and stupefy from Daphne. "Hold still." He said when Susan moaned in pain before hissing and waving his wand.
A second later, a purple glow surrounded Susan's arm and she yelled, "OUCH, FUCK!" before panting. She slowly flexed her fingers.
"See? As good as new!" Harry said cheerfully before helping Susan up and handing her a small vial filled with pepper-up potion and tossing one to Daphne as well. It was half-dose each. Both the girls promptly drowned it and shook their heads rapidly as steam came out of their ears.
"Okay girls. Today I am going to be teaching you a new spell. This spell that I am going to teach you is something that is generally considered an extremely dark spell by several ministries. Fiendfyre."
Susan choked on her spit, hearing the spell she was going to learn. Harry ignored it and continued, "As you all undoubtedly know, Fiendfyre is one of the most destructive and dangerous spells known to the wizarding world. They are also known as flames of hell as they are all-consuming. The flames can destroy anything if it is held for a sufficient amount of time. It leaves behind no trace of what it has destroyed save for the ashes. No enchantment or ward can truly hold against it."
"Then why isn't it used to break through wards? If it can destroy wards, it would be very simple to break through them with Fiendfyre." Daphne asked with a frown.
Instead of Harry, Fleur answered her question. "It can. But potent and powerful wards would need a long time to burn through. I don't think any wizard has the power to keep up a raging inferno of Fiendfyre for such a long time... say two hours at least if the wards are well laid."
"Yes, and by well-laid wards, Fleur means wards that usually our types of families have... Most Noble and Most Ancient houses. If someone wants to break through our normal wards with Fiendfyre, they would have to continuously keep the fire up at full power for two to three hours. Not even Dumbledore or Voldemort have that much power to spare. And in case we go under war-wards, triple the time. A place like Hogwarts on the other hand would take some 15 hours while at Normal power and more than a week while under war-wards. And the area which would need to be covered by Fiendfyre would be HUGE considering the size of Hogwarts and our mansions. So, it is inadvisable to break wards by Fiendfyre. There are several better spells and faster methods to break through wards." Harry explained.
"Oui. Hogwarts wards are the most impressive I have ever seen. And they aren't even at full power!" Fleur said.
"Just how powerful can those wards be?"
"At full power? Well, there is a reason Hogwarts is referred to as the safest place on Earth. Under the fully powered war-wards, Hogwarts would make places like Nurmengard prison seem like mediocre work by a NEWT student."
"Nurmengard prison is ICW's top-grade prison... right?" Susan asked
"Yep. The place which houses Gellert Grindelwald and the worst prisoners on the planet." Harry said with a nod.
"It was said to be Grindelwald's best work. He along with several ward-masters had made the wards on the prison and enchanted it brick-by-brick. It is said to be impenetrable." Fleur said with an awed voice.
"It isn't." Harry broke her fangirling over the impressive work that Grindelwald had done. She had an odd fascination with powerful places and things. "My Grandfather, Charlus Potter, and Arcturus Black led a siege on Nurmengard castle in 1944 to break out the prisoners that Grindelwald had taken. It was one of the major downfalls that the knights of Walpurgis faced straight up there with the butchering in Leningrad in December 1942."
"My great-aunt was one of the prisoners who was broken out by Arcturus Black... and that was where their love story began," Daphne added a little dreamily.
"Yeah, um can we start the practice?" Harry asked.
"Harry, are you sure you want to teach us that?" Fleur asked. "Controlling the spell is tough and the spell is extremely dangerous. There are similar versions of it... you know, the water version, the—"
"Yes, I know those. It has a variation with each element: The water version known as 'Aegaeon's Fury'; The earth version known as 'Terror of Terra'; and the air version known as 'Wrath of Njord'." Harry replied promptly, listing off the names of some of the most dangerous spells in the wizarding world.
"But, it is best to learn to cast and control the flames of hell first. You seriously don't want to do the 'Terror of Terra' or 'The wrath of Njord' first? Fiendfyre may be the most destructive of the four but it is the easiest to control and the easiest to subdue. The Earth version is very tough to start and difficult to destroy while the air one is impossible to control or stop even if it is the least deadly. The Aegaeon's Fury may be easier to control and bend to your will, even easier than Fiendfyre but, it is near impossible to stop it in case one of you loses control at the peak of the spell... a risk I am unwilling to take in such an enclosed space."
"So, you can... put Fiendfyre out easily?"
"Put it out in seconds? No. Take control over it? Yes, I can take control of it within seconds in case it gets out of control, unlike the other spells. All the spells I mentioned are semi-sentient. To control it, you've to impose your will on the spell or it will get out of hand. In case, the spell gets out of control, a third party can chime in and take control of the spell. Fiendfyre is the easiest to take control of in such a manner because it is the least sentient of the four followed by air, water, and Earth. The Terror of Terra spell, if it gets out of hand, is damn destructive and toughest to regain control over."
Susan frowned. "Is it possible to snatch the control of the spell from the caster who is controlling it?"
Harry smiled, recalling that he had asked the same question to Salazar and Helga when he had been taught the spell. "Theoretically, yes. You need to impose your own will upon the spell and overpower the will of the spell itself and the one who is in control. But, no one has been able to do it to date." Harry said with a shrug.
"Let's get to work, girls. Dinner is in an hour and a half and I don't want us to be missed there. And I want all three of you to learn the spell before we pack up for the day."
"Oui. And we won't be able to meet next week because of the third task." Fleur said with a nod.
Harry scoffed. "I don't know why you're insisting on doing so much work. After all, the winner is clear: Me."
Fleur stuck her nose in the air and said, "You'll see that when I'll hold the cup in front of you and wave my victory in your face."
"Oh, aren't you cute?"
"I am not cute, I am hot!" She said in mock indignation.
"Yes, my hot witch," Harry said with a grin.
"Stop it you two! Can we begin?" Susan interrupted.
"Yes, of course. Susan, let us start with you. Okay, before that, I will demonstrate it once. Move to the side, girls." Harry said, taking his wand out. Once the girls moved to the side, he slashed his wand in the air and said. "FIENDFYRE".
Hot, blistering flames poured out of Harry's wand. He immediately willed it into the form of a wolf, a stag, and a dog before sending them to the dummies in the room as a tribute to the Marauders. The dummies were reduced to ashes within a second before Harry made them take a trip around the room and snuffed them out.
"You all will only be doing one animal at a time." He warned and the girls immediately nodded.
Harry smiled and gestured to Susan to come and stand in the open space. He noticed that she and the girls' skins were tinged red and they were sweating due to the heat that had just been produced. He ignored it, knowing it was a part of the learning process.
"Now, first, calm your mind completely." He instructed. "Then, push your magic to the tip of your wand and collect it before willing it into the fire... a fire which would like nothing more to devour everything in its part and then say, 'Fiendfyre'. Once you successfully cast it, fire will spew like a normal Incendio from your wand but once it is sufficiently big, it will start fighting you for control. You need to do it to stay under control. You control the fire. You're its mistress. Fair warning, the bigger the fire grows, the more it will fight. Anyways, once you get the fire under control properly, will it into a shape without making it spread. Once you gain the desired shape, make it obey your will to move. Do not get distracted. Let's try it now."
And they began.
24th June 1995
Quidditch Pitch Hogwarts
Harry stood in front of the maze looking over the horizon where the sun was setting. Fleur stood next to him and so did Cedric and Krum. A light breeze blew through the pitch making it a pleasant moment had it not been for the amount of noise that the crowd was making by cheering for the champions.
Huge Mirrors were placed at several places around the field for the crowd to view the champions' progress through the maze.
Harry ignored them, trying to run through all the spells he had specifically designated for different creatures that were in the maze. He reckoned that Hagrid would be having the time of his life, seeing some of the exotic creatures that had been brought to Hogwarts for the tournament in the past few days.
His mind jumped back to the trip he and his girlfriends had made four days ago to the forbidden forest to kill some Acromantula spiders to gather their venom for a poison immunity ritual that they had performed on the 21st of June, the summer solstice. It was good that Fleur could do at least the basic rituals like the poison immunity ritual. She, unfortunately, couldn't do the more complex rituals due to her Veela heritage as they would be counterproductive.
Anyways, the girls had done their first ritual that day. It provided them immunity from most poisons and speeded up their healing by a minor level. Harry was now relieved that he didn't need to worry about the girls getting poisoned by someone to kill them.
He looked at the crowd and saw Remus cheering for him along with the Weasley parents in the stands. The three had arrived in the morning along with the parents of the other champions to meet them in accordance with Tradition. Even Sirius had been present but he was currently on the Judges' table, conversing with Bagman.
Harry patted the places where his weapons were just for the sake of confirmation. He had two knives laced with the special poison that Salazar had invented, his two wands, a potions bag with necessary first aid potions. He was also wearing his basilisk hide vest along with his battle robes proudly displaying the Potter banner for the world to see. He waited as the sun set below the horizon.
Hagrid, Professor Moody, Professor McGonagall, and Professor Flitwick along with a few Aurors came walking into the stadium and approached the champions. They were wearing large, red, luminous stars on their hats, all except Hagrid, who had his on the back of his moleskin vest.
"We are going to be patrolling the outside of the maze," said Professor McGonagall to the champions. "If you get into difficulty, and wish to be rescued, send red sparks into the air, and one of us will come and get you, do you understand?" The champions nodded.
"Off you go, then!" said Bagman brightly to the four patrollers appearing from behind them.
"Good luck. Harry," Hagrid whispered, and the party walked away in different directions, to station themselves around the maze.
Bagman now pointed his wand at his throat, muttered, "Sonorus," and his magically magnified voice echoed into the stands. "Ladies and gentlemen, the third and final task of the Triwizard Tournament is about to begin! Let me remind you how the points currently stand! In the first place, we've got Harry Potter with three hundred and twenty-eight points!"
The cheers and applause from the audience sent birds from the Forbidden Forest fluttering into the darkening sky.
"He is followed by Miss Delacour with 240 points! They are followed by Viktor Krum who has a total of one hundred and ninety-five points. Finally, we have Cedric Diggory with eighty-three points!" The cheers were probably being heard in the whole of Scotland by now.
"In this final task, our champions would be making their way through the maze, filled with Myriad traps and creatures that the Champions have to make their way through. The first to reach the Triwizard cup, which has been placed in the maze earlier this day, wins the Triwizard championship! This is the final moment we all have been waiting for since last October! So, without further adieu, let us begin!"
The stands exploded once more into cheers.
"First, Mr. Potter will enter the maze! So... on my whistle, Harry!" said Bagman. "Three - two - one -" He gave a short blast on his whistle, and Harry hurried into the maze.
The towering hedges cast black shadows across the path, they had been enchanted so that the sound of the surrounding crowd was silenced the moment he entered the maze. Harry flicked his wand and an orb of light started hoovering a few feet away from him, casting light onto the path ahead. He cast a detection charm, to check for traps on the path. There were none so far, so he started walking ahead.
After about fifty yards, he reached a fork. He had no clue what lay ahead because as far as his detection spell went, he couldn't sense anything, bar the vines on each path. So, he chose the left path.
His chosen path seemed completely deserted. He turned right, and hurried on, holding his wand at the ready, trying to see as far ahead as possible. Still, there was nothing in sight. He couldn't detect anything either.
Harry kept looking behind him. The old feeling that he was being watched was upon him. The maze was growing darker with every passing minute as the sky overhead deepened to navy. He reached a second fork. "Point Me," he whispered to his wand, holding it flat in his palm. The wand spun around once and pointed toward his right, into a solid hedge. That way was north, and he knew that he needed to go northwest for the center of the maze. The best he could do was to take the left fork and go right again as soon as possible. The path ahead was empty too, and when Harry reached a right turn and took it, he again found his way unblocked.
The lack of obstacles was unnerving him. Surely he should have met something by now? It felt as though the maze were luring him into a false sense of security. It had been nearly twenty minutes but he was yet to encounter something. The worst he had faced was an overinsistent vine that was trying to grab his leg.
Then he heard movement right behind him. He held out his wand, ready to attack, but he saw that it was Fleur, who had just hurried out of a path on the right-hand side. She looked severely shaken. The sleeve of her robe was smoking. "Hagrid's Blast-Ended Skrewts!" she hissed. "Those creatures are enormous - I only just got away!"
Harry blinked. "You're already this far in the maze?"
"Oui. I entered 3 minutes after you, Krum seven, while Diggory is yet to enter." She said.
"How did you catch up so fast?"
She smiled mischievously "Just followed your footsteps, Mon Cheri. But lost them a couple of turns ahead, where I stumbled upon your friend's pet. See, fate made us meet again"
She maturely stuck her tongue out at Harry.
"Now, you go there," He said pointing to a fork. "No cheating."
Fleur pouted but nodded before going in the said direction. Harry may love his girlfriend but this was a competition where both were competing seriously.
Harry hurried off again, in the direction away from the sneaky Veela. Then, as he turned a corner, he saw... a dementor gliding toward him. Twelve feet tall, its face was hidden by its hood, its rotting, scabbed hands outstretched, it advanced, sensing its way blindly toward him. Harry could hear its rattling breath; he felt clammy coldness stealing over him, but knew what he had to do...
He summoned his happiest thought- his meeting with his mother and said, "Expecto Patronum" His Hebridean Black dragon flew at the dementor, which fell back and tripped over the hem of its robes... Harry had never seen a dementor stumble.
A boggart. Harry realized.
Advancing in the wake of his silver Patronus, "Riddikulus!" There was a loud crack, and the shape-shifter exploded in a wisp of smoke.
First obstacle. Yay!
Left... right... left again... Twice he found himself facing dead ends. He did the Four-Point Spell again and found that he was going too far east. He turned back, took a right turn, and saw an odd golden mist floating ahead of him.
Harry cast a detection spell at the mist and smirked at the result. An enchantment that would turn the victim's world upside-down. Literally. Harry recognized the enchantment which was used as a prank enchantment more than anything else. It was a mixture of an illusion and Confoundus charm which would make the victim think that the world had turned upside down.
Harry steeled his occlumency and walked through the mist. He hardly felt any change as he walked through. The illusion and Confoundus charm were rendered ineffective against his occlumency. He could've dismantled the enchantment with ease but... bah, what was the fun in that?
He started walking ahead through the seemingly endless maze. He was seriously contemplating his plan to just fly over the edges to the center of the maze. The worse part was that he was bored out of his mind. Where were the obstacles? He knew that Fleur had faced one of Hagrid's Screwts', and he had faced a boggart and an enchanted mist so far. There had to be something more.
Where were the Runespoor, the sphinx, and all the other creatures that had been imported?
He met nothing for ten minutes but kept running into dead ends. Twice he took the same wrong turning. Finally, he found a new route and started to jog along it, his light orb making his shadow flicker and distort on the hedge walls. Then he rounded another corner and found himself facing a Blast-Ended Skrewt.
Fleur was right - it was enormous. Ten feet long, it looked more like a giant scorpion than anything. Its long stinger was curled over its back. Its thick armor glinted in the light from Harry's orb.
He immediately cast a powerful severing curse at the armor to chop the monster in half. The spell hit the Skrewt's armor and was deflected off onto the hedge causing severe damage to it.
Harry blinked. Just what the hell was that armor made of? Goblin steel?
The Skrewt issued a blast of fire from its end and flew forward toward him. He immediately cast a banishing charm at the creature and sent it flying back. He wasted no time and immediately blasted it with a jet of water from his wand and encased the Skrewt in it before willing the water to freeze. The water solidified into ice, trapping the creature in it.
Suddenly there was a feminine scream from somewhere to his right. A jet of red sparks was shot into the sky a moment later.
Fleur Delacour was out of the race for the cup. It was the boys now.
He knew she'd be safe between Moody, McGonagall, Flitwick, Hagrid, and the Aurors so he continued ahead. His competitive side was screaming for him to win while a part of him was screaming to just apparate or fly to the center of the maze so that the boring task could end. He suppressed the latter and jogged ahead. He would not cheat.
Every so often he hit more dead ends, but the increasing darkness made him feel sure he was getting near the heart of the maze. Then, as he strode down a long, straight path, he saw movement once again at the end of it. It was some big creature.
Harry walked ahead towards it and saw a majestic sphinx. It had the body of an over-large lion: great clawed paws and a long yellowish tail ending in a brown tuft. Its head, however, was that of a woman. She turned her long, almond-shaped eyes upon Harry as he approached. He raised his wand, hesitating. She was not crouching as if to spring, but pacing from side to side of the path, blocking his progress. Then she spoke, in a deep, hoarse voice. "You are very near your goal. The quickest way is past me."
"So... so will you move, please?" asked Harry, knowing what the answer was going to be.
"No," she said, continuing to pace. "Not unless you can answer my riddle. Answer on your first guess - I let you pass. Answer wrongly - I attack. Remain silent - I will let you walk away from me unscathed."
"Okay," he said. "Can I hear the riddle?" The sphinx sat down upon her hind legs, in the very middle of the path, and recited:
"First think of the person who lives in disguise,
Who deals in secrets and tells naught but lies.
Next, tell me what's always the last thing to mend,
The middle of middle and end of the end?
And finally, give me the sound often heard
During the search for a hard-to-find word.
Now string them together, and answer me this,
Which creature would you be unwilling to kiss?"
'Okay.' Harry thought. 'First two lines mean a spy for sure... the last thing to mend, middle of middle and end of end... m-i-d-d-l-e! The letter D! And... er... wait, sound before a hard-to-find word, 'er'!'
"Spy-d-er, Spider!" He told the sphinx. The sphinx smiled broadly. She got up, stretched her front legs, and then moved aside for him to pass.
"Thanks!" said Harry, and he dashed forward.
He had to be close now, he had to be... His wand was telling him he was bang on the course... Harry broke into a run.
He had a choice of paths up ahead. "Point Me!" he whispered again to his wand, and it spun around and pointed him to the right-hand one. He dashed up this one and saw light ahead. The Triwizard Cup was gleaming on a plinth a hundred yards away. Suddenly a dark figure hurtled out onto the path in front of him.
It was a huge Acromantula. Harry didn't even wait and slashed his wand through the air and a yellow curse shot from it at the spider, cleaving it in half.
Harry cast a detection spell on the area and found no traps. This task was just long and tedious instead of challenging.
He walked forward towards the pedestal where the gleaming Triwizard cup sat proudly waiting to be picked up. He didn't.
Instead, he waved his wand over it, checking it for traps. There was nothing too suspicious about it. An anti-summoning, an unbreakable charm, a light rune which was making it glow, an enchantment to print the name of the winner on it automatically, and a portkey charm... which was probably meant to take him to the stage.
It was easy enough. He had won.
He touched the cup and felt the expected jerk behind his navel. His feet had left the ground. The Triwizard Cup pulled him onward in a howl of wind and swirling color.
Harry felt his feet slam into the ground. He immediately felt a wave of disorientation hit him. Suddenly he felt an incoming stunner from behind and ducked out of the way. His feeling of disorientation was increasing by the second. He just knew two things: He was no longer at Hogwarts and he was under attack.
He unleashed a barrage of deadly curses in the direction from where the spell had come from. A scream was heard just as a stunner hit Harry's chest from his left. Thankfully, his vest protected him from the spell. He turned to the place where the spell had come from, tightening his occlumency as much as he could, trying to lessen the disorientation that was increasing by the second.
He erected a shield to stop a barrage of stunners, disarmers, and bone breakers that came from his behind this time. There were more than three attackers. He immediately tried to apparate out but couldn't. He was under powerful wards.
He let out a powerful roar and unleashed a firestorm which was a lesser version of Fiendfyre. Had he been less disoriented or nauseous, he would've unleashed the flames of hell on them. But, he was not sure if he could control them in this state.
His head felt like it was splitting apart and burning at the same time. His gut was clenching uncomfortably and his dinner was trying to come out.
He erected a dome shield as he felt attacks coming from two more directions before grunting in pain as he felt his headache increase to exponential levels. He jabbed his wand towards the ground which rumbled before earthen spikes shot out in all directions around him. His shield broke and he deflected another stunner from his left before shooting an acid-blood curse in the assailant's direction. From the scream that followed, he knew he had hit true.
He felt his firestorm being put out by someone. He could see a man's visage in the light produced by his fire and shot a silent killing curse at the man. The last thing he saw was the man being hit with the green light as he felt a stunner connect with his head.
Harry groaned as he came back to consciousness. The first thing he noticed was that he had been bound by ropes... magic restraining ropes. Second, he was in a dark and overgrown graveyard; the black outline of a small church was visible beyond a large yew tree to his right. A hill rose above him to his left. Harry could just make out the outline of a fine old house on the hillside.
Also, he had been tied to a headstone. The bonds were quite tight and unbreakable. He also had a wad of cloth stuffed in his mouth.
In front of him, two men, one of whom was holding a bundle of robes in his hand stood in front of a huge stone cauldron a little distance away from where he was tied. The cauldron looked large enough to fit Hagrid in it. A large fire was lit under the cauldron. The liquid in the cauldron seemed to be heating very fast. The surface began not only to bubble but to send out fiery sparks, as though it were on fire. Steam was thickening, blurring the outline of the men tending to the potion in it.
He looked at the bundle of robes, trying to discern what it was. As he looked at it, his famous lightning bolt scar itched. It wasn't as bad as the pain he felt in his scar through his first year at Hogwarts. Heck, it was nowhere near that intensity either. Just a mild itch.
But, he understood perfectly well what it was... or precisely who it was. Lord Voldemort.
He suddenly hears noises at his feet. He looked down and saw a gigantic snake slithering through the grass, circling the headstone where he was tied. It was magical for sure. Harry could tell that by just looking at it.
Harry then heard the high, cold voice that had haunted his nightmares as a child. "Hurry!"
The whole surface of the potion was alight with sparks now. It might have been encrusted with diamonds.
"It is ready. Master." A gravelly voice said.
"Now..." ordered Voldemort in a cold voice
The man holding the Dark Lord pulled open the bundle of robes, revealing what was inside them, and Harry let out a yell that was strangled in the wad of material blocking his mouth.
It was hairless and scaly-looking, a dark, raw, reddish-black toddler. Its arms and legs were thin and feeble, and its face - no child alive ever had a face like that - flat and snakelike, with gleaming red eyes. It was the most hideous thing he had seen.
For one moment, Harry saw the evil, flat face illuminated in the sparks dancing on the surface of the potion. And then the man lowered the creature into the cauldron; there was a hiss, and it vanished below the surface; Harry heard its frail body hit the bottom with a soft thud. 'Let it drown,' Harry thought desperately, 'please... let it drown...'
Then, the man began speaking. His voice shook; he seemed frightened beyond his wits. He raised his wand, closed his eyes, and spoke to the night. "Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son!"
The surface of the grave at Harry's feet cracked. Horrified, Harry watched as a fine trickle of dust rose into the air at the man's command and fell softly into the cauldron. The diamond surface of the water broke and hissed; it sent sparks in all directions and turned a vivid, poisonous-looking blue. The men then pulled a long, thin, shining silver dagger from inside his cloak. His voice broke into petrified sobs. "Flesh - of the servant - w-willingly given - you will - revive - your master. "
He stretched his right hand out in front of him. He gripped the dagger very tightly in his left hand and swung it upward. Harry watched with wide eyes as the man cut his hand off and screamed in pain. The potion had turned a burning red; the light of it shone brightly in the darkness of the night.
The second man rubbed his hands gleefully. The man who had cut his arm turned to Harry and came towards him with a new silver knife in his hands.
As the man came forward, Harry recognized with a start who the man was: Walden MacNair.
"B-blood of the enemy… forcibly taken... you will... resurrect your foe."
Harry could do nothing to prevent it, he was tied too tightly. . .. Squinting down, struggling hopelessly at the ropes binding him, he saw the shining silver dagger shaking in MacNair's remaining hand. He felt its point penetrate the crook of his right arm and blood seeping down the sleeve of his torn robes. MacNair, still panting with pain, rumbled in his pocket for a glass vial and held it to Harry's cut, so that a dribble of blood fell into it. He staggered back to the cauldron with Harry's blood. He poured it inside. The liquid within turned, instantly, a blinding white.
MacNair, his job done, dropped to his knees beside the cauldron, then slumped sideways and lay on the ground, cradling the bleeding stump of his arm, gasping and sobbing. The cauldron was simmering, sending its diamond sparks in all directions, so blindingly bright that it turned all else to velvety blackness. Nothing happened...
'Let it have drowned.' Harry prayed, 'let the ritual have gone wrong...'
And then, suddenly, the sparks emanating from the cauldron were extinguished. A surge of white steam billowed thickly from the cauldron instead, obliterating everything in front of Harry, so that he couldn't see the men or anything but vapor hanging in the air.
Harry held his breath, hoping that the ritual failed and Voldemort died... it would save him a lot of trouble if that happened.
His hopes were completely dashed a moment later as through the mist in front of him, he saw, with an icy surge of terror, the dark outline of a man, tall and skeletally thin, rising slowly from inside the cauldron. "Robe me," said the high, cold voice from behind the steam.
The second man moved to provide Voldemort with his robe. He stepped out of the cauldron, staring at Harry . . . and Harry stared back into the face that had haunted his nightmares for three years. Whiter than a skull, with wide, livid scarlet eyes and a nose that was flat as a snake with slits for nostrils...
Lord Voldemort, the one who orphaned him, his arch-nemesis had risen again.
AHHHH... YES! Voldemort has risen again! The main plot begins! It is exhilarating to be at this point in my story. I never thought that I will write to such a point where the plot would get so interesting that I am jumping in my seat to progress ahead. And, I promise, things are going to get really-really interesting... more than they already are!
The next chapter will be the awaited duel between Harry and Voldemort.
Another thing I would like to tell you all is that: THANK YOU SO MUCH! Yes, thank you for so much love and support you all are showing to my story. It makes my day to read all the praises that you guys write in the reviews. So, thank you.
Sage-of-the-six-paths7777: I ain't doing the soul-bond or any bond tbh. I am anyways not THAT big on romance. This is more of a plot fic with a bit of romance added in the mix.
Lea Dejongh: No, Somerset is a real place.
Bama88: At least once for this fic and once for my PJO fic. This is the minimum. If I get time, I'll publish more than that per month.
Ultimate TK: I would've answered it but that would be spoilers. But, I don't like Fudge and Umbridge... especially Umbridge.
The Hallowed Man: Please re-read chapter 43.
To all who are interested, there's a Haphne Discord server around. There are new story prompts, mayhem, author discussion, movie nights, and bunnies. If that hasn't piqued your interest, I'm on there as well so if you want to talk to me that'd be one way to do it. Also, we're pretty cool people there and are pretty open to all types of shippers. In case I've finally gotten you interested, here's the link: discord . gg / pKSdvJQvhU [Remove the space]
I am also on the Pertemis server which is a PJO server where I also have my update channel along with some other famous authors. Link: discord . gg / Bv8NpYhXe6 [Remove the space]
Stay Happy! Stay safe! Keep Smiling! Keep reading!