Chapter Twenty Two: Dangerous Creed

The rest of winter break went by pretty quickly.

Breaking into the Restricted Section with Severus was easier than I thought. As a matter of fact it didn't feel very restricted at all.

There weren't many useful spells to learn from what I read, but after finishing my aunt Miranda Goshawk's Book of Spells I had added a decent number to my skill list.

It was Severus who found the most interest in the Restricted Section really.

The amount of books on what was called Dark Magic turned out to be pretty interesting.

I checked beforehand with the Scanning Charm to make sure if any of the books were harmful but it turned out only books like Magick Moste Evile that were charmed to be more annoying than anything had simple counters to go against the enchantments.

The enchantments were sentient to an extent, if closed or opened some books wailed or yelled, so the easiest way to overcome this was to quickly use [Spell Conversion] and they were all harmless.

After a single night of reading what books were in the Restricted Section, I quickly realized what "Dark Magic" meant exactly and why the Restricted Section was, well, restricted.

First, safety.

The magic described in every single book was incredibly advanced. I remember Luna Lovegood's mother was killed by her own attempt to produce a new spell, and these were no different. As a matter of fact they were multiple times more severe.

Spells that could be used to animate dead bodies were seen as Dark Magic because the living tissue that made up a person was essentially placed on magical strings like a puppet.

A quick conversation with Salazar on the subject and I had learned a building block for what I would later create in much more complex Necromancy.

The first spell I learned just as a skill book from reading Secrets of the Darkest Art was [Inferi Raising], which required an actual dead body that naturally existed in order to turn it into a thrall.

Of course the book itself did not give the actual incantation for the spell, it merely described what the spell could've been in a very useful glossary of Dark Magic. It was only with further reference to the spell in the many scrolls Salazar had archived in the Chamber of Secrets was I actually able to add it to my skill book.

But the catch was simple, you couldn't just make a dead body appear through the Gamer. The Gamer, and even the limits of magic it pushed so far, established that you couldn't make intelligent human life of any sort just magically appear.

At least, you couldn't use MP to produce dead bodies that could become an Inferi.

Inferi ultimately did not interest me at all, they were just a building block, a launch pad for better reanimation spells.

Inferi were only useful in large numbers if they were being used against a strong wizard, and because they feared the light and warmth, a strong fire or Lumos spell would instantly negate even a thousand Inferi.

What I needed was to revive dead bodies but to keep the normal processes humans had.

Basic cognitive functions like attack or defend at least, and more importantly not being afraid of a fire. Inferi were basically just really weak zombies, because at least some zombies could walk around during the daytime.

That was the first step, the second was exponentially harder. Virtually impossible without the Gamer.

Which was, making sure if it was the reanimated body of a wizard, it still held all the original magical and physical ability of that person. And not only did that corpse need to have its complete original function from when the body was still fresh and of course, alive, it needed to not be sentient enough to resist the spell and try to fight me.

Meaning, if I wanted to bring back waves of legendary wizards over the centuries like Emeric the Evil, Merlin, or Morgana, I first needed to find their bodies.

Somehow return their bodies to physically match what they looked like prior to their death or at peak condition after centuries of decomposition. Then somehow, ensure their reanimated forms could magically produce the same level of magic as they could originally.

On top of all that, these wizards couldn't have the Occlumency necessary in their reanimated minds to resist me. So I had to make them exactly as they were hundreds of years prior, except for a very crucial aspect of their mind.

After a few conversations with Salazar, the path forward to creating this spell was clear.

Finding dead bodies with magic in them wasn't hard, there was a cemetery right next to Hogwarts castle in Hogsmeade with dozens of villagers' loved ones in it.

The trick was reconstructing decomposed bodies, and I had a few ideas.

I remembered from what Salazar told me that the natural magic the castle was able to produce was so powerful it could read and relay exact messages from a thousand years ago in the memories I tapped into. Not only messages, but exact copies of what happened, not just footprints, the castle was almost seeing what was going on.

This didn't imply that magic was "sentient" it just meant there was a retractable aspect to magic that could be engineered to suit my purposes.

It was here I began to dabble with Biomancy.

Biomancy wasn't completely unheard of in the world of Harry Potter.

In the books of Dark Magic I just read, wizards for centuries could change body parts to match those of animals. That's how really evil and odd curses formed.

There were even really old spells that could turn the mind of some wizards into that of rabid animals, like a mad dog or chicken. Huh, guess it did make sense to restrict some of these books.

As beyond Hogwarts graduate level as those spells were, it told me that the physical composition of someone's mind could be changed. Weeks of work in Legilimency told me this to be true, with how Salazar told it, Parseltongue or Parseltongue powered speech physically entered the mind through the ear, unlocking the mind to be entered through the eyes.

Through the eyes, the person casting the Legilimency looked into the victim's eyes to connect their minds to each other, and was able to go in and reconnect neurons and brain chemistry to suit their needs.

Saying the mind entrance was a 'connection' was generous, you were invading a person's entire consciousness entirely. What was frightening about this was its utility for any and all purposes, it was so versatile that it could be much how much Genjutsu was cast by Itachi Uchiha in Naruto, you could send people into infinitely painful and uncomfortable nightmares that could last lifetimes.

I shuddered at the thought. An existential nightmare always stuck in for eternity.

Voldemort did get up to stuff like this so I did agree with the assessment of the magical world that this was sick.

So if Dumbledore himself looked into said victims mind, even he couldn't rewire a passage to see what memories or wills were cut or fix them.

In order to reverse engineer a copy of someone's body, including everything but their personal memories and desires, and only their magical abilities and skill, I'd need any copy of that person's body at all.

Starting with testing this on animals was simpler. Easier to achieve.

I couldn't just use a chicken or cow I had summoned into this world with MP, it needed to have at least a months worth of memories to check my work.

The few pets here in the castle during winter break could work, the problem was if the experiment failed, replacing them would be difficult. No, I needed something I could create myself easily if it called for it.

Some of the farm animals a few of the nearby villagers in Hogsmeade had would do.

I could just use one of them, steal them, and leave.

At eleven o'clock of January 3rd, 1974, I used the secret passageway leading directly into the Shrieking Shack.

I used one of the tunnels the Chamber of Secrets gave me to leave the castle and go right onto the grounds where the Whomping Willow was.

I think its roots stretched far enough that even out of range of its branches it could still sense me. It didn't matter if I wanted I could use Protego Diabolica and nothing would be left of the tree but ashes, but instead I made the special tree root freeze with a flick of my wand and the entire Willow froze in place.

It wasn't a full moon so I had no reason to worry about the Marauders, and besides, they were out of the castle for break anyway.

Completely invisible and with muted footsteps, a simple edited version of the Aguamenti and freezing charm reformed my footsteps in the snow to avoid detection.

After a few minutes of walking around the outside of the village I found the perfect place to steal a chicken with more than a few weeks of memories.

I checked a villagers chicken coop and found out it had a Caterwauling Charm, likely to alert people if someone or something was breaking in or a chicken had gotten out, so I quickly used Spell Conversion and turned it into a dodgeball.

After using the Scanning Charm on the villagers house, I found out he and his wife were in bed, asleep. I was safe.

I used the cutting charm to carve a hole into the side of the chicken coops chain link fence.

A few began clucking nervously, I quieted them all with a small hand sign that converted my MP into a simple calming spell. It was virtually undetectable because of how simple the charm was, and the best part was I was sure almost any wizard could cast it after I created it.

The chickens calmed down, but just to be safe I cast a silencing charm over all of them so powerful not even their feet scratching the floor of their cages could make any noise.

I picked the biggest and oldest looking chicken, replaced it with an identical looking copy of the chicken in case this one died, and after leaving the coop, repairing the fence and reversing the dodgeball back into the Caterwauling Charm I began to walk back towards the Shrieking Shack.

Knowing how much the Basilisk disliked roosters and birds, I decided to test out all these spells on the chicken in the Room of Requirement.

First things first, I had to check the chicken's memories and then butcher it down to a bone to reconstruct the entire chicken from.

I couldn't really call myself a Legilimens really if I couldn't take over a chickens mind so naturally I got to work.

I cast a nonverbal Petrificus Totalus on the chicken to get it to stop moving for once and then went into its minds.

The exact incantation didn't matter so long as you made it clear you were invading their mind, so I decided to go with a line from a favorite video game of mine I used to play in my old life.

"Forfeit your mind!" I roared in Parseltongue.

The second I looked into the chickens eyes I entered its thoughts.

The mind of a chicken was so simple that there was barely anything here.

Just a flat empty white landscape with nothing in it but miniature memories playing out like floating TV screens in lines in a massive square of memories.

I started walking past them, they all were the same.

Just weeks of the chicken laying eggs, having the Hogsmeade villager collect them, and then a few hours of being let out of its cage.

But I had to catch something, something complex enough that involved words. I know the chicken wouldn't be smart enough to comprehend a conversation, but I needed a check mark for reconstruction.

Finally I found the memory I wanted.

"Well ever since you got sacked from the Ministry, you've been spending far too much time at that bloody tavern!" the villagers wife said.

"I wasn't sacked damn ya." the villager collected the eggs in a huff, and from the chickens eyes I could just look around the coop from its cage just as it could as if both Hogsmeade villagers and the chicken coop were right in front of me. "My supervisor was an informant for a Death Eater and they let me go just to be safe after the hearing, just shite luck all around. Me and the lads enjoy a drink and some cards every now and then alright?"

"The lads? Or do you just have eyes for that poxy new wench, Rosmerta!? Hm!?"

"Oh give it a rest woman! Leave me alone please!" he groaned, walking off with his basket of eggs.

I had all I needed, and then I left the chicken's mind.

I drew my wand and cleared my throat before speaking loudly in Parseltongue, so loudly my words echoed across the Room of Requirement.

"Protego Diabolica!"

A huge gush of greenish blue flames rushed forward from my wand and completely engulfed the chicken. However, because the flames obeyed me so well and only formed exactly what I desired in my mind, they all gathered and consumed quickly around the bone in the chicken's leg.

It shocked me how fast the flames consumed, it was about three seconds and nothing remained of the chicken but some ashes and a single chicken leg bone. Then the flames instantly dissipated after I commanded them so.

The first Biomancy spell I created was a simple but not so simple one.

Healing magic wasn't all that hard, the magic simply allowed blood vessels and tissue to reattach itself and speed up the creation of new cells, my [Physical Reconstruction Spell].

The spell had a simple design but a very complicated layout. Whatever cell touched another cell would reconstruct, so if the chicken bone cells touched another cell like a blood vessel or a muscle, it would reconstruct the next set of tissue it touched, creating a domino effect.

Within a minute of watching the admittedly grotesque rebuilding of the chicken cell by cell accelerated heavily by MP, the chicken lay dead upon the ground rebuilt.

It was clear I could only rebuild the physical husk of the chicken, not the life in it itself.

I could build a massive skyscraper in this context, now to figure out if I turned the lights on for it.

I muttered the words in Parseltongue in my mind editing the reanimation spell I'd read from the Restricted Section and spun my wand in a circle around the dead chicken.

Vicanus Mortani.

Green swirls of light filled around the chicken and it rose from the ground.

It clucked quietly, moving around completely under my command.

Inferi chicken. Cool, that was the easy part. I knew I could do that.

Now came the hard part. Seeing if the reconstruction spell included Biomancy so precise it could match the exact recorded neural impulses in the chicken's brain that it included more than just basic motor functions.

Neurologically speaking, an entire brain stem, cerebellum, and cerebrum could be copied through DNA thanks to magical Biomancy. But the hard part was making sure the magic was strong enough that as I included it, it could still copy the exact set of memories.

It was a first step, a chicken's memories, and then later years and years of memories for casting spells and advanced magic, and then editing all sorts of things out of the thrall's consciousness like any desires or thoughts besides doing only what I commanded.

Now came the moment of truth.

"I must see your mind! I see you!" I hissed in Parseltongue to the reanimated chicken.

I looked through its eyes and into its mind, and saw nothing but white landscape in all directions.

That was it. I failed, there was nothing here.

Before I left I saw something, something in the distance of the chicken's mind.

I approached the chicken's memories. There was actually something here.

I had been able to keep just a few memories, the strongest memories. Like moments of intense fear like when the villager's wife pinned the chicken's head to a tree stump with a cleaver over it about to butcher it but deciding not to, the most recent memory of me breaking into the chicken coop and stealing it, and even the memory of the two villagers arguing.

I left the chicken's mind and began laughing.

It wasn't as much as I wanted completely, but it was a start, a great start that I had salvaged any memories at all from reconstructing an entire animal from just a chicken bone.

My, how I just loved magic. I could do almost anything I visualized so long as MP was being converted into any magic I needed.

With my work finished, I knelt to the chicken. What a great idea this was.

This little experiment involving the reanimation and Legilimency on a farm animal had laid the first stone in a path that involved a whole army of reanimated wizards from across the centuries.

Technically none of them were safe unless their body had no biological trace left on this planet.

Even if a wizard was buried deep into the ground and became part of soil or sediment, so long as I could detect and trace any physical part of them, with a developed version of my skills I could reverse engineer it into what I needed through conversion barriers and more magic.

I entered the Chamber of Secrets later that night. "Salazar!"

His ghost appeared out of one of the cave walls. "Yes?"

"I have a question for you. Would it be unethical to use the corpses of fallen wizards over the centuries to help build an army?"

"Unethical? Perhaps. But use these corpses, how?"

"To reanimate them with their magical powers to turn them into nothing more than soldiers."

Salazar chuckled. "The physical state of the corpse matters in this context, boy."

"No, but I mean. Forget about that for a second. If that wasn't an issue, could you help me find these bodies?"

"Forgetting about that? Alright, I suppose, but then there are other issues. What I mean is that most wizards when they are buried don't like their bodies being used for that specific purpose. Some build very well guarded tombs, several don't tell anyone, not even close family members outside of those who buried them if they were extremely noteworthy."

"So Merlin's tomb. Or Morgana's. Could you help me find theirs?"

Salazar sighed, thinking for about a minute.

"Putting aside the relationship I had with Merlin as my best student and in my opinion part of the ultimate legacy of all magic. There's a reason why some wizards are best left buried."

"But I thought you said necromancy was fine."

"It is fine. For wizards with the proper experience. Robert, you are only just now starting to build your army. Your faction in this war that will grow and develop into the utopia you and I envision for my legacy, will take years to merely even be born properly. Until you do not defeat Voldemort, I cannot in good faith recommend you revive any wizards in this fashion."

I nodded. "I understand."

"You're more ambitious and powerful than wizards several times your age. At about fourteen, I doubt Merlin could dream of what you have done. However, until you have graduated from Hogwarts or at least formally crushed Voldemort and his followers, you have no need for these powers yet."

"What are you talking about?"

"With the skills you are developing, reanimating Merlin, Morgana, or whoever you desire in the manner you described is normally impossible. However, I do know you break the regular bonds of magic on a daily basis. The question is what do you use these powers for. At what time."

Salazar kept explaining. "You are three years away from becoming a legal adult in the magical world. Two technically if Dumbledore sees you as ready to confront my heir and be hailed as the liberator of magicals globally, it won't matter then how old you are. The final conquest you will embark on to push magic to astronomical limits to form my envisioned perfect society will take years. You do not need powers to conquer or weaken the muggle world just yet."

"Thank you Salazar. I got it."

"I admire your ambition and drive to test and grow your magic as much as you can. To use and pursue your talents no matter the limits and boundaries. A wizard such as yourself with nothing but perfectly pure magical blood and ambition left no house but my own."

"The sorting hat basically didn't touch my head when I got sorted into Slytherin."

Salazar laughed suddenly, which was rare. "Pah! I can imagine. However, I noticed this during our journey into Hogwarts' first memories. It reminded me of my relationship with Rowena. The respect we shared, and what her students were like."

"What were they like?"

"Much like yourself honestly. Extremely intelligent, some a bit odd and using the word you've told me, quirky, but ultimately dedicated entirely to magic and studying it. Tell me, I know your family on both sides are both pureblooded, however, I want the details."

"House Pelham only made the best racing brooms in the world for centuries. They only occasionally sent sons or daughters to Hogwarts, I was lucky I wasn't apprenticed for my whole life to be a broom maker. Kept to themselves basically for their entire existence. My mother comes from the Goshawks, Charms masters and historians of all sorts, heavily associated with Ravenclaw, all purebloods I'm sure. I have eight aunts, none are significant except Miranda."

"What does she do?"

I explained. "She got a Chocolate Frog card for her achievements in Charms and writing spellbooks."

"And what is that?"

"It means you're basically such a notable wizard you're immortalized for all time with sweet boxes. You even have one. Want to see yours?"

Salazar nodded. "Alright."

The very first Chocolate Frog card I ever got, I remember that day on the train. I wanted Ravenclaw but the entire world wanted me to go to Slytherin and so I just accepted it and I did.

Now that I think back on that day, if before I walked up those steps and repeated Ravenclaw a million times in my head, the hat still might've let me pull a Harry Potter.

My inventory was a real mess, but it never got rid of items I never discarded like Slytherin's chocolate frog card.

I passed it to him, holding it out for him because as a ghost Slytherin couldn't hold or do much physically.

"I can't read this."

I nodded. "Right. It's written in modern English. Let me read it for you. Salazar Slytherin, one of the four legendary Hogwarts Founders, was one of the first Parselmouths known to wizardkind, a pureblood supremacy champion, and reknown Legilimens."

"That's it? What about being Merlin's teacher and mentor only a few years prior to his battle against Morgana? My work in alchemy? My work in enchantments? My work in dozens of fields?"

"I mean, no one technically knows when you were born or when the castle was built. This is history so ancient almost no one recorded anything about it, most of it is rumor as you said that Godric Gryffindor's followers heavily edited. The card even says that your lifespan is unknown."

Salazar coughed. "Disgraceful. What does the other side say?"

"Well it's just a little enchantment of what you're supposed to look like. It stays and goes every few hours or so."

Salazar looked at the little portrait of himself. "But that looks nothing like me and- Well, I suppose that looks a bit like me. Just far too simplistic. And my nose looks nothing like that."

I chuckled, waving a hand towards the massive statue of Slytherin dominating the Chamber with its presence. "Not everyone is as good an artist as you are."

"Not funny, boy." the ghost muttered coldly.

Peering into the Protego flames to see the future did indeed prove to be the hardest magic I'd ever practiced. Gamer or not, there was no learning Divination, you were just born with it mostly.

And it took almost three months before I saw anything at all besides small whispers here and there in Parseltongue, and it just turned out it was the Basilisk in a nearby cave searching for a snack and my hearing had just improved to that level.

What I did see was almost nothing at all.

It turned out my vision was just a small bit of a wheat field waving in the wind for about a second, and that took months of work. It was nothing at all really, but Salazar had acted like I had won the lottery, breaking down the Divinical meaning of wheat of all sorts when I was just sure it was nothing.

Training with Frumentar and Dumbledore honestly wasn't all that difficult.

Most of it wasn't even practical spellwork, but instead a series of tests built around physical endurance and reflexes.

They weren't testing my loyalty, but the tests were in both part written and practical. It was mostly just either detective work on simple logic puzzles, most of which boiled down to determining who was lying based on sets of information and who wasn't.

Some of the tests did actually include real magic, for instance I had to decode poisons from harmless orange juice only using logic riddles similar to Snape's test in the rooms to get to the Philosopher's Stone.

There was a decent bit of spellwork here and there, but for the rest of the semester until the finals for the my third year, above all, Frumentar and Dumbledore seemed intent on building skills like telling when someone is lying, and it seemed they wanted me to possibly fulfill Frumentar's job as a double agent by having me partake in training for what appeared to be magical subterfuge and counterintelligence.

They still had no clue I had received much better versions of this training under Salazar.

Within a week after listening to the way the Basilisk spoke and months of speaking Parseltongue, I learned how to tell how someone was lying. Parseltongue had increased my Speech Magic so powerfully that just by hearing the pitch of someone's voice, even if they were the best liars of Legilimens, I could tell if they were lying.

I tested this out on the breakfast table one morning.

I asked Evan Rosier if he was hiding that Ravenclaw, Beverly's Potions Textbook since second period of the previous day in his locker room, and very calmly and politely he said. "No."

Compared to the "No." of a truthful person I had gotten so used to magically deciphering and powering speech with Parseltongue that I could swear there was almost mind reading in just listening to someone speak.

A truthful and deceitful 'No' sounded the same at first glance. But even words with a single syllable carried sound waves, sound waves that could be broken down even into the tiniest bits of sound that allowed me to measure them differently through speech magic.

Unfortunately, I didn't have much time to practice my experiments with reviving more complex animals than some Hogsmeade villager's chicken.

Between the regular training I received every night with Salazar, the training I received with Dumbledore, and the training I myself had to conduct almost every day with the group of Slytherins in the room, I was what I called 'generously occupied.'

I even considered quitting Quidditch, because by now it just turned into a game of 'by how much this time can we steamroll the other Houses this time?'

Dumbledore insisted I stayed on the Quidditch team however, so as to not create suspicion.

It was already weird enough that pretty much every teacher knew I was already well over a year ahead in ability and knowledge for even the advanced material they presented in class, which was putting it generously considering how much I held back regularly. Most of the school just knew me as that 'one freakishly talented kid who even Dumbledore liked despite being a Slytherin.'

That rose enough suspicion on its own, so Dumbledore insisted I kept to my regular activities like Quidditch and occasionally spending time with everyone in the common room or on Hogsmeade trips.

I didn't blame him at all for thinking, in great part, for the last two to three years that was exactly the purpose of those things I generally found boring. To not be any weirder than I let on.

As 'weird' as I was for only being a third year and just being well known by everyone for being good at whatever I did, from the simplest classes to the hardest Quidditch games, people did admit that I was talented, and because of my wealth and status naturally the trend of the past few years continued.

I didn't blame them for thinking I was odd sometimes. In the classroom, at the Slytherin table in the Great Hall, and in several other places including the common room, if I wasn't reading or finishing assignments, I was typically lost deep in my own thoughts.

Both my hands together, leaning into them with my mouth with both thumbs beneath my chin. Strategizing and thinking on what was to come in the next four years, and more importantly afterward.

I kept being popular with people of all kinds in my house. From the talented and quiet bookish types of Severus and Nelson, to the strong burly and loud older Slytherins like Parkinson and Jeffrey.

In much the same way I remembered Andromeda Black being very popular with people of her opposite gender and having a large number of friends, people started treating me the same way.

School titles like Prefect or Head Boy didn't matter to me besides from their usefulnesss, but at this rate I was all but guaranteed to have them both considering if Mulciber or Rosier felt particularly brave or stupid, would call me 'Dumbledore's pet serpent.'

Soon after my fourteenth birthday I often wondered how Tom Riddle felt in my almost exact position.

Sure he never played Quidditch and was so obsessed with his own personal power and glory he never bothered with friendships. However, there was something I might've actually related to him.

Because he was so popular, and put on such a high pedestal by nearly every single person at Hogwarts from the headmaster to the first years most likely who might've been people like Nott if they were younger than him, it must've really added to his disconnection from regular people.

The only person who seemed not to like him at all, or even trust him during his time at Hogwarts judging from Chamber of Secrets and the Half Blood Prince novels was Dumbledore, Luthor Frumentar's 1930s and 40s counterpart.

As annoying and judgemental as every Gryffindor I knew except for Lily, Remus, and Alice were, they felt like regular people because they didn't form a large group of people who were collective friends with me.

Sure they were largely unfair in their assessment of me, but as much as I knew I didn't share Voldemort's bloodthirsty and maniacal desire to just murder and torture until there wasn't anyone left to possibly oppose him, the person I believed shared the most similar experiences to me in the entire castle was Tom Riddle unfortunately.

Salazar and the Basilisk were both very wise and mature, by default of course being as old as Hogwarts itself, but in several ways, Tom Riddle had the most in common with me than anyone else.

Why didn't Dippet do exactly as Dumbledore is doing now? A Dark Lord, Grindelwald was on the rise when Tom Riddle was at school here, Dumbledore might not have trusted Riddle back then but that didn't stop him from trusting me with becoming a protege thirty years later or so with Frumentar's objections?

Was I genuinely just kinder and more trustworthy than Riddle was? Or was Dippet just not as well respected enough?

After spending almost an entire dinner in late April considering it, just quietly listening to everyone talk and taking notes here and there, I decided the big factors between Riddle's separation from protecting the norms of wizarding society as I was expected to now was in part due to several factors, but based on the two questions I kept juggling, both were valid.

About two weeks before finals and the end of term, I found Severus at a windowsill on the upper east corridors by himself.

I tended to notice that he did this every now and then. Just wander off in thought and doze off, and I smiled, realizing I did this very same thing too.

Only it was clear to me why exactly he was more of a brooder and I was more a thinker in this sense.

Severus Snape was perhaps the best brooder I've ever met. No one I knew in Slytherin was particularly grumpy, not even Jonathan Mulciber and Jacob Avery whose closest comparisons in the Harry Potter series were Crabbe and Goyle.

Nelson was more shy than anything, Fred had grown relatively from being timid to a jokester every now and then, Emma liked mothering people from time to time, especially Rosier's trio of Black, Mulciber, and Avery, and Crouch typically was in a neutral calm mood.

When I saw Severus brood it was as if he drained all the color from nearby just by looking out a window.

The best part was, I always knew why.

"You're thinking about Evans. Aren't you?" I mumbled.

Severus said nothing.

"What's the matter? I told you, you have no reason to consider her feelings or thoughts on you as the truth about you or indicative of your worth Sev."

Severus blinked, quietly, he bounced his hand for a moment on his knee before looking at me. "I can't explain it. The more I run over how I'm going to talk to her about it, the more I worry, and then the more I think it'll go poorly."

An obsession with her. Yes, I expected this. Not his fault, the only female friend he had was Emma Greengrass, who had a pretty obvious crush on me.

The rest of everyone we spent any time with at all in Slytherin besides her twin brother was a group of boys, would be Death Eaters I rehabilitated into soon becoming extremely powerful, competent, and loyal followers of my cause for me to become the leader of a wizarding utopia in blunt terms.

I didn't blame Severus one bit for this. My plans were so detached from what he or anyone in this castle struggled with on a daily basis that my advice must've seemed frustrating to say the least.

"This just doesn't make sense." muttered Severus. "Without trying half the girls I know like you. I take your advice into account. I try to stop looking so glum and quiet all the time, I don't try to avoid Potter or his mates in the halls. She acts like we're just the same friends we have been for years, as if nothing's changed."

"She can't read your mind." I said quietly.

"I'm not saying I'm expecting her to." Severus sighed. "But she knows me so well. And I know her that well too."

"Severus, anxiously berating yourself for not being able to confess to a girl who doesn't appear to have any decisiveness about her isn't your fault."

"Any decisiveness? What are you talking about?"

I took a second to respond.

I couldn't remind Severus of some harsh realities, only fourteen year old Lily Evans would have to do that.

Even if James Potter was on top of the whole school, he was the Quidditch star, ultra popular, his group of Marauders were these super mysterious quirky bad boys, full of pride and talent. Which he nor they weren't at all since by default Slytherin occupied top positions in anything competition wise in the whole school, as well as only being known as loudmouthed troublemakers, there was no way on earth Lily would ever have developed an interest in either James or Severus from what I knew so far.

It wasn't her fault really. Severus spent the last three years training with me not knowing I was actually just trying to make him a top officer in an army to oust Dumbledore and Voldemort from power.

I sighed, smiling at Severus for a moment, he was still curious as to what I was going to say.

I could tell him a confession to Lily about his romantic feelings would result in the most polite rejection possible this early on in their lives. It was neither of their faults really, but Lily reciprocating just what Severus felt?

No. As the good friends they were, Lily would be as honest yet kind as she could be.

"Look." I said. "What I mean by decisiveness is something that you have. Something everyone who trains with us in the Room has. It's a key component of a wizard's character. With a clear mind, and intention." I snapped my fingers. "Evolving magic. You saw it yourself in the Room, I mean, you've done it yourself in the room."

"But Lily's talented with Charms and all that. Better than anybody in the other houses, except for Beverly or Carter. And I haven't even been able to be decisive about this confession for the last few months."

I chuckled. "Come on, Severus."

He raised an eyebrow. "What?"

"What I mean isn't decisiveness over simple decisions. I mean important things. The desire to not fear power or progress. To be stuck in the past, in tradition. You know there's nothing to be feared in the Restricted Section, or in parts of the castle people don't know about or shouldn't go to. Evans would probably rather do anything but take a step towards the Restricted Section without a pass."

Severus nodded. "Right," he said simply.

"Think of it this way. My main point here is mercy. Dark Lords rise every century almost in a perpetual cycle, sometimes twice in the same one like now. We're the first people to walk the halls of this castle to wake up and realize things have to be done to finally truly do something about it."

I kept speaking. "There is great power in magic. To improve upon the magic we already know and keep pushing its limits. There is enough power in the potential of magic to change the entire world as we know it, and for the most part, that gift has been confined within this castle. I don't doubt that Lily is an honest and kind person."

"However?" asked Severus.

"However she'd much rather just use her magic to perhaps become a simple career, Healer or Ministry employee or the like, and maybe raise a quaint family. These aren't bad things at all, but it takes a great deal of ruthlessness and lack of mercy to start acting properly on the power I've said. For us, willing to acknowledge these powers and know how to use them, automatically, very many people will call us evil."

Severus sighed. "Including Lily?"

"I very much doubt it. But this goes far deeper than merely being sorted into Slytherin or Gryffindor. Severus, this fundamental difference between you two is nothing bad. But it should help you put into perspective just how to process and express these feelings."

Severus nodded as I took a seat next to him on the window sill. "I understand. When I feel the time's right, I'll just let her know everything about how I feel."

"Good."

And on that day, I know Severus will tell me. And I can finally try to nurture and unlock the ruthlessness I know lies within the Half Blood Prince. My greatest ally and right hand, to create the world how I wish to design it.

"It's clear the girls who've shown interest in you couldn't matter less to you. You mentioned using magic to change the entire world. Is that what you really want Robert? The few times you've spoken at all really you tend to mention things like it."

I nodded. "Yes."

"So what is it exactly?"

I sighed, looking out the very window Severus was when he was brooding about two minutes prior. "I've been asking myself that very question for almost three years. When I realized the talent I have with magic, the first thing I asked myself is what to do with it. Why stick with what people know and expect? Minister of Magic, Head of the ICW, some sort of politician?"

Severus smiled, understanding my boggart for once. "Mediocrity."

"Precisely. The best way to describe what I envision, what I want. What I need. Is to have the entire world run like a perfect clock. With even the tiniest of gears to the largest of springs run entirely by my design, hand crafted by me alone. For complete efficiency."

Of course I left out very important details of my plan like the need for conquest and war. But if I truly was to make Severus my second in command, even at fourteen, he needed to know this.

And more importantly, I needed to gauge how much this bothered him.

Regardless, I'd know if Severus would randomly blab about this, from signing his name on a sheet of paper I enchanted, that would never leave my inventory until needed, he couldn't and I'd know about it.

Severus raised both of his eyebrows. "But the world is, rather large isn't it?"

"I know. That's why, one step at a time. I want to make this clock the way I see fit. Piece by piece. What do you think of this?"

"I think it's brilliant!" I was surprised to see Severus smiling after how down he seemed lately. "It might be very ambitious but I think it's wonderful. I'd like to help where and when I can."

With how much practice in speech magic I had, I could tell Severus said this with nothing but honesty. Not even the best liar and wizard on the planet could disguise this much emotion and be able to lie to me about it. Because I knew he was telling the truth, the magic I'd trained in told me perfectly so.

"That's wonderful to hear."

After the end of the year feast we were all used to by this point, Slytherin awarded the House and Quidditch Cup for the third year running by ever expanding margins, we were all about to be sent home for the summer after what I considered a very successful year at Hogwarts.

I managed to bring back Salazar Slytherin as a ghost and found out it might've been the best decision I'd ever made. And I had expanded my magical abilities tremendously from the start of term.

I said goodbye to him and the Basilisk the morning that I had to get up and be at Hogsmeade to take the train back to King's Cross.

"Well it's the end of term. I'll miss you honestly."

Salazar was clearly hiding the fact I was the only person who talked to him besides his Basilisk as he had to stay of course, within the Chamber at all times. "Honestly, Robert. I shan't miss you over the departure of my last remaining student after centuries for only a few scant months."

"Glad to hear it." I knew he was lying, he'd trained me to detect it through sound waves even from a ghost but still I pretended I didn't. "And you girl? Will you be okay?"

The Basilisk hissed. "For the last time I'm not a pet. I'm a familiar, there's no need to address me as merely that. You wouldn't appreciate it if I called you merely boy."

"Yeah. Salazar does that enough anyway. Seriously, will you be alright?"

"We'll be fine. We know the castle and the passageways better than anyone you might know." assured the Basilisk.

This was true. I knew Salazar had actually helped build the castle and his familiar lived for centuries within its tunnels and caves beneath it.

I sighed, knowing by tomorrow morning, I'd be back home in Pelham Manor.

I didn't like to admit it. I actually rather hated to admit it, but the closest thing I had to friends at all. People or rather one person and one very intelligent animal I confided in and needed, was Salazar and his Basilisk.

Salazar was my guide to becoming what I wanted. The leader of an inexorable, modernized, and perfect magical society. And the Basilisk was loyal, three of the horns on the back of her head formed the conduit for the very magic I did every day.

Out of everyone I'd met at Hogwarts. I'd miss these two the most.

I stood in the cave entrance leading back to the dungeons, and I gave them both a proud wave.

Even though Salazar Slytherin's ghost seemed to never smile, never, not even on my best days in training, I could see him smiling and waving back at me as the Basilisk dipped her head with her eyes closed respectfully towards me.

The train home was actually rather in higher spirits than normal.

A few of us agreed to meet at Diagon Alley over the summer or even at places around the English countryside to catch up.

Only about two weeks into my summer an owl arrived at my bedroom window.

It turned out it was a Hogwarts owls, which was weird because they usually waited later during break.

The first letter was an usual one from Dumbledore.

He mostly explained how I'd take my OWLs proctored by Hogwarts Professors and a Department of Magical Education official at the end of the year, and how most of my classwork would reflect that fact to be given special assignments this year.

Awesome, actually having to study specific subjects to write essays without just breezing through everything for the Gamer. Well not a complete obstacle, more annoying and tedious than anything.

The next letter was actually a bit more concerning.

I began to read through it.

Blah blah blah, despite recent events in the magical world Hogwarts Professors and Staff have officially decided to endorse a-

Even with eyesight heavily improved by the Gamer I had to reread the parchment.

A Valentine's Informal Dance!?

I threw the paper aside with a loud groan.

Damn!