Chapter 9: Another Horcrux and the truth

The next day, Harry, Filius, and the Tonks family returned to Britain, using the floo to travel to Potter Manor. They were greeted by Kreacher, Dobby, and the other house elves. "Welcome home, everyone," they all said in unison. Kreacher's eyes then lit up when he saw the trophy and bag of galleons in Harry's hands. "Young Harry has won the U-16 International Dueling Tournament and has brought great honor to the House of Black."

Dora chuckled and playfully ruffled Harry's hair, making it messier. "Thank you, all," he removed his sister's hand. "Can I ask you all to bring my pensieve and the portraits of my grandparents, Arcturus Black, Salazar, and Godric, here?"

"We will get on it," Bucky replied and apparated away with the others.

Once the trophy and bag of galleons were on the table, all of the wizards and witches sat on the room's sofas. Part of Harry's chest and left arm still felt numb, but otherwise, he was relieved that there would be no lasting side effects and was relieved to finally be back home.

". . .It's good to be home," commented Harry. The house elves returned with the pensieve from the Lord's study, the portraits of his grandfather and grandmother, and the two Founders. "Thank you, everyone," he said as they hung the portraits on the wall above the mantle of the fireplace and passed over the pensieve.

Arcturus smiled when he saw the first-place Dueling trophy and bag of galleons on the coffee table. "Very good," he said. "By winning the U-16 International Dueling Tournament, you have brought respect to the House of Black."

"Ignore your uncle," Dorea shot her brother a look, then returned to face Harry with a smile. "To compete against several older and more experienced witches and wizards and win an International Tournament is very impressive. You should be proud! I know we are." Charlus nodded his head in agreement. The former Lord of the House of Potter was very proud of his grandson.

Salazar then barked out laughing, "for someone who is young to compete and win a Tournament against more experienced individuals takes a lot of ambition," praising the boy, but noticed Harry's arm began to shake a bit. Something must have happened while the boy was in Switzerland. "I assume that something happened while you were competing in the Tournament."

Andromeda clicked her tongue. "If you're referring to the fact that his arm is still numb, then yes. Harry learned a valuable lesson about what happens when you play with more fire than you can handle. Didn't you?" She gave him a knowing look. Yet he shrugged it off.

"What are you talking about?" Enquired Dorea, who raised an eyebrow.

"Long story short: I crossed paths with a French Veela and pushed her a little too far," Harry answered. Dora snorted, bringing the attention to her when Dorea was about to speak.

Obviously, she was still not happy with what the girl did. "The stuck-up French bint better hope she does not run into me anytime soon. Damn, woman deserved what happened to her and needs to get over herself."

"What?" Godric and Charlus asked at once.

"Better you see it for yourself," Harry flicked his wand from its holster and pointed the tip of it at his head to extract the memory of what occurred at the tournament. Once he got the memory, he put it in the pensieve and tapped some of the runes to make a projection screen.

From there, everyone who wasn't at the tournament watched the memory in full and with rapt attention. Charlus and Arcturus beamed with pride as they watched Harry display impressive feats of magic and defeat every one of his opponents. Godric and Salazar were also impressed—namely Godric, who was laughing his arse off from the way his heir humiliated his opponents. The smile and look in Salazar's eyes showed he was highly amused and proud. Dorea tried to glare at Harry, yet her eyes told a different story, and her lips twitched up, forming a ghost smile. They spent the first hour or so watching the first two days of the match-ups and the encounter with the Delacours. Charlus, Dorea, and Arcturus hiked their eyebrows at Harry, got in her face, and called her out on her arrogance for looking down on him.

"You could have handled that situation with her a little better," commented Dorea, who looked at Harry with a stern expression that would put Professor McGonagall's to shame. "Though, I am happy you didn't back down from her."

"As I said before: I am done being everybody's punching bag, and I was not going to let a French Veela stare me down," he returned, then went on to say. "She may be beautiful, but I was sure as hell not going to back down."

"Language, young man," Dorea chided him, much to her husband's amusement, who quickly sobered up when she pulled at his cheek.

Together, she and the others continued to watch the memory of Harry and Fleur competing in the quarter-finals onward. Arcturus and Salazar grunted in amusement at the way the boy brutalized some of his opponents, particularly the Ukrainian. His second to last spell could have killed Harry had he not used his phalanx shield. The adults watched with great interest as the final match with Harry vs. Fleur Delacour began. Both duelists were ready and had looks of determination in their eyes. Their first round was merely a spectacle, a way for them to warm up. But what really caught their attention was his statement and the final round between the two. They raised their magic as high as possible and began dueling again, using all of their skills and spells in their arsenals.

Salazar laughed when the duel between them reached its climax. It was clear that Harry had won by proving to be the better duelist, but his eyes became wide when the girl's blue eyes became slit, and she released an avian screech before two blue fireballs that connected with the boy's arm and part of his chest. He was further happy when Harry successfully used the lightning leviathan arrow spell to end the duel between the two.

"Harry James Potter!" Dorea yelled when the memory ended. "Of all the things you do, you go and provoke a Veela! You could have killed her with that spell or been killed by her! What were you thinking!" She glared disapprovingly at Charlus and Godric. The former she pulled and twisted his ear when he started laughing.

"Easy, grandmother. Aunt Andi already laid into me about what I did, and I apologized to the Fleur the next day after repairing her bracelet," trying to placate the woman.

"You were right to do so," Dorea nodded at Andromeda, then returned her glare to Harry, where she quickly added. "All the same, you are lucky to still be alive and didn't lose your arm. I hope you've learned your lesson."

"I have grandmother," bowing his head a little.

Arcturus grunted with an amused expression on his face. "I like her. What did you say her name was again? Fleur Delacour?" Harry confirmed the question with a simple nod. "If I remember correctly, the Delacours are a prominent family in France, and Lucas Delacour's son married a half-veela. The Quarter-Veela you fought was exceptionally powerful, highly skilled in Battle Charms, and well-versed in Battle Transfigurations and the Dark Arts. Additionally, she seemed to have already gone through her veela maturity. There is little doubt that she will become more powerful if you two meet again."

"Here, here," Charlus agreed, then said, "the girl has a lot of fire in her. That much is certain. Though all the same, next time, try not to provoke her as much from now on," he said with a grin on his face that made his wife give him a questioning look.

"What are you thinking, Charlus?" Dorea raised an eyebrow.

"Nothing yet," he responded. "Anyway, new business now. . ." Charlus' demeanor became serious, "news that you entered this year's Dueling Tournament will bring attention to your way and knowing Dumbledore. He will try to get in touch with you before school starts or summon you to his office and get information on where you were for the most part of the summer. You will need to be careful around him this coming school year."

"I am aware. In addition, now that Sirius has escaped Azkaban prison, the Minister of Magic Fudge has decided to place the Dementors on the school's grounds and at Hogsmeade," silently thinking how stupid that idea was, as the Dementors will be unable to control themselves around so many students or visitors to the village. "Thankfully, Filius taught me how to do the Patronus charm before we left the Zone."

"Smart move," Salazar replied. "Those soul suckers will not be able to restrain themselves, and putting them in a place with an abundant amount of positive energies will send them into a frenzy. It will be a buffet of souls," the cold edge in his voice showed his dire at the Minister's decision. "We will also be stepping up your training this year. Starting with your five remaining rituals. Before you enter the school, you will need to do another ritual. Do you have an idea of which one you want to do?"

Harry explained how he wanted to do the body enhancement ritual. It would increase his speed, strength, and overall height in the long run. For an odd reason, he felt this would be an important and more painful ritual than the other two. "This ritual is going to be painful and will leave me drained. However, it will be well worth it as small-term pain equals long-term gain."

"I also need to become stronger as I have a feeling that I will come face to face with Voldemort again. The man has over fifty years of magical knowledge and experience over me, and I need to close the gap between us. Right now, if I were to face him, he would make mincemeat out of me."

Godric acknowledged what he said with a curt nod. "That's an understatement because unless all of his Horcruxes—whatever or wherever they are—are destroyed, he will just keep coming back." He might be dead, but Godric could feel his blood boil when he thought about that swine. "That bastard might be a power-hungry and psychopathic murderer, but he is extremely powerful, highly intelligent, ruthless, and very resourceful. You will need to be careful should you come face-to-face with him."

"I intended to spend some time in the Chamber of Secrets to train and sell whatever basilisk pieces I do not need and the shredded skin. From what I can remember, the skin still has some residual traces of magic. So, I imagine that it will fetch a decent profit."

"What about the basilisk you slayed? What do you intend to do with it?" Ted asked with a curious expression.

"I will start by removing its venom. Then, start cutting and removing its organs and other essentials. I'll keep the pieces I need but sell the rest," he answered. An idea then formed in his head. "Speaking of which, I wonder how much Borgin will be able to get from the skin the basilisk shed. This will be a good test to see if his business skills are as good as I've heard."

"But that's later." Harry then looked at the house elves who went to the chamber. "When you three were in Salazar's private quarters, did the wards go off around the castle?"

"No, young Harry," the female elf on the left spoke. "The wards around the Chamber of Secrets are completely different from the ones around the school."

"Ha," Salazar laughed. Everyone looked at Salazar as a big grin came across his lips. "That's to be expected. . .I designed the ward scheme and enchantments surrounding the Chamber so that only those of my bloodline and whom they willingly bring in can enter. No one. Not even that arrogant, goat fucking headmaster of yours could get in."

"That would have been useful information to know earlier," Harry unhappily replied.

"Quit your bellyaching," Salazar reprimanded with a smile. "Look at it this way. . . You can go in and out of the Chamber without worry, and since you took control of the wards, not even Tom can enter."

Rolling his eyes and mumbling something in parseltongue. "By tomorrow, the numbness should be gone in time for my appointment at Gringotts and later with Borgin. After that, I will be in the Chamber to go over the next phase of my training."

"Sounds good to me," Godric grinned. "Now, would you mind returning us to Salazar's quarters?"

Harry gave his ancestor a nod before having the house elves return the portraits where they originally were and the pensieve to the Lord's study. While they did that, Harry went to put the trophy in the awards room, with Dora coming with him.

"You gonna be ok during your final year as a trainee?" Harry turned to Dora after putting the trophy down. "Come tomorrow, I have a feeling the Daily Prophet will write about what happened this year at the International Dueling Tournament. This will undoubtedly bring a lot of attention to you and the others. Especially from Dumbledore, who likely has eyes and ears in the Ministry."

All she did was chuckle and ruffle his hair. "No need to worry about me, little brother. I'll be cautious while at the Ministry," she promised, then gave a cheeky grin he'd become familiar with. "Besides, I'm your big sister now, and I will need to spend some time with my little brother and ensure he doesn't get into trouble. . .well not without me, of course."

The two laughed. They loved spending time with one another and enjoyed each other's company. Even though Dora had to return to training tomorrow, she wanted to spend time with her little brother. Thus, they disguised themselves with their metamorphmagus abilities and left to head into muggle London.


Predictably, the next day, the Daily Prophet came in with a new headline:

Harry Potter: Winner of the U-16 International Dueling Tournament!

Is the Boy Who Lived a Cheat?

By: Rita Skeeter

Mr. Potter, age 13, is undoubtedly a person who hides many things and is full of surprises. This year, Harry Potter entered the Dueling Tournament held in Bern, Switzerland, where he competed against several older and more experienced individuals. From what is known, a handful of people believe Mr. Potter is an unqualified attention-seeking wizard who was believed to be apprenticing under Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. And yet he showed up at the Tournament and publicly declared Filius Flitwick to be one of his mentors. Most bizarre, would you agree?

Since his first match, Harry Potter displayed little to no dueling etiquette, having disrespected and embarrassed his opponents left and right or brutally beating them into submission. One would expect better from the Hogwarts school's Golden Boy.

A few of the parents of the people he faced have vouched that Mr. Potter had shown impressive skills in magic by demonstrating a handful of new and unidentified spells. Mr. Dal Sung, whose daughter Hyun-Jung Sung, had this to say: "While I am disappointed my daughter did not win, her opponent, Mr. Potter, showed exceptional ingenuity and demonstrated several high feats of magic. At first, I believed him to be an arrogant individual who believed he could compete in a Division meant for older witches and wizards. But after witnessing his skills in martial magical combat, I have to admit I was impressed. Obviously, Dueling Master Flitwick had taught his pupil well. That has earned my respect."

However, that is what Mr. Sung feels, and it contracts with what several other thinks, particularly Mr. Faddei Domitrovich, who is understandably angry at Mr. Potter's performance against his son. Mr. Domitrovich had this to say: Potter's conduct throughout the Tournament was a disgrace, and I will do everything in my power to ensure he is banned from competing in any future Tournaments. To salt the wounds of his poor behavior and lack of respect toward others—namely, my own son is still resting uncomfortably in the hospital, trying to recover from the impudent boy's attacks. The medi-witch told me Leonid would be in the hospital for two weeks at best."

Then, during the final match up. . .

Harry angrily crumpled the paper after he finished reading it. Skeeter had a lot of nerve calling and insinuating he cheated during his duels. Moreover, she dared to imply that Filius was a disgraceful Master and should have his Dueling Master's license revoked. But more to that, she went after the Tonkses, more notably Nymphadora, whom she viewed as only using him to bolster her reputation as an Auror cadet. The more he read, the angrier he became at how she questioned each of their characters and what they hoped to gain by supporting him at the Tournament.

Andromeda could feel his magic being released and saw that the crumpled-up paper caught on fire. Andromeda was equally as angry as him, if not more, yet nonetheless, placed a hand on his shoulder. "Keep it together, Harry. Rita Skeeter is a gossip columnist who couldn't write the truth to save her life."

"Did you not read what she wrote about you? This will bring a lot of trouble to you, Ted, and Nymphadora. She needs to pay," he said in a firm voice.

"She will, and I intend to start with her boss, Barnabas Cuffe," already formulating a plan against the two. Cuffe and Skeeter made two big mistakes. The first was allowing that cow to write about the Tournament, and the second was targeting her family. "Come on, we have to leave for Gringotts."

Harry stood up and changed his appearance. He now had blond hair, brown eyes, and a bit of a tan. They left the manor after Andromeda was done changing her appearance as well. She had the same color as him, though her eyes were deep blue. In short, she was posing as his mother. The two appeared at the Gringotts apparition point, where they calmly walked inside and went to one of the open tellers. The goblin raised his head when Andromeda cleared her throat to get his attention.

"May I help you?" Despite his voice being even, he didn't seem happy about being interrupted.

Andromeda leaned closer and spoke loud enough so that only he could hear. "We have an appointment with Griphook today. Would you please go get him?" She signaled Harry to hand his vault key to the goblin so he could validate his identity.

Quickly inspecting the key, the goblin handed it back. "I will return shortly," leaving his desk to go get his colleague from his office. A minute or two later, the goblin returned with Griphook.

"Hello, Griphook. I hope to find you in good health today," the disguised Harry and Andromeda gave him a respectful bow.

Griphook smiled and bowed back. "Yes, I am, and thank you for your inquiry," he said and then added. "May your gold always flow. . ."

". . .and may your enemies crumble beneath your feet," Harry replied with a smile.

Griphook escorted the two to his office, where they reverted back to normal as he sat at his desk. "Before we begin. I believe a congratulations is in order to you, young man," giving a wide smile to Harry, showing his pointy teeth. "Dueling Master Filius Flitwick showed the memory of the Tournament and was amazed by your performance. King Ragnok himself was especially pleased with your skills and power throughout the Tournament."

"Thank you, Griphook," Harry smiled back at him and said. "When you see him, please send Ragnok my best."

"Of course," giving the young wizard a nod. "Now, how can I be of service? I assume this will be a profitable endeavor?" Silently hoping that it would be.

Andromeda answered. "That it will. You might want to get a quill and some parchment, as Harry would like to make some investments in both the muggle and magical world."

Griphook's eyes twinkled with excitement as Harry started listing the places in the magical world he wished to invest in, starting with Twilfitt and Tattings. He had exchanged letters with Mrs. Twilfitt and mentioned how he was interested in her business willing to be an investor. The woman happily replied to his letter and gave him a rundown of her previous sales within the last twenty years. He had to admit to being fairly impressed with her profit margins and thus donated a decent amount of money to expand her business to other places like in Hogsmeade. In return, she agreed to give him 48 percent of her business. However, she was not the only one he had been writing to, for there were other places he became interested in, like Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour and Honeydukes. After some negotiations, they agreed to sell him parts of their businesses for his investments.

". . .That will do for the shops in the magical world. We can now move to the muggle companies," a big grin appeared on Harry's face as he watched Griphook take some very detailed notes.

Over the next hour, Griphook could not stop bouncing in his seat. The boy in front of him had a business-like mind, as his business tactics were albeit shrewd but would be very effective and bring in a lot of galleons. He had never known anyone so young to know so much about businesses and finances. This will definitely be an interesting project.

"Mr. Potter, you are about to make me the envy of every goblin in the nation," feeling like Christmas had just come early.

"Do not start singing my praises yet, my friend, as I have a proposal for you. One that will offer you and your kind something greater than money ever could."

Blinking twice, Griphook leaned with an intrigued expression. "Go on. . ."

"I first like for you to get King Ragnok in here. I believe he should hear this, seeing as he is the leader of the Goblin Nation," Harry explained.

Griphook regarded him for a minute before leaving his office, explaining he would return shortly. When the door closed, Andromeda passed Harry a small smirk. "I know what you're thinking. You know this will upset a lot of people on the Wizengamot, and Dumbledore will try to maneuver them to his side. Plus, there is another topic we need to discuss: What are we going to do about Sirius? Fudge has ordered a Dementor's kiss on sight."

Harry snorted at how stupid Fudge was being. How that idiot became Minister of Magic, he will not know. Yet, they had an idea that the Death Eaters who pleaded to being under the imperius curse were behind it. As far as he knew, Fudge was a greedy, power-hungry politician who'd do anything to bolster his reputation and the amount of gold in his vault. He would need to look more into the man, the people in his office, and his followers. Perhaps Dobby might know a couple of things.

"We will need to find him first. There are a few things I like to ask him first," Harry said, agreeing that they needed to find Sirius before Dumbledore, the Ministry Aurors, or anyone else does.

It wasn't long before Griphook returned with King Ragnok. Upon closing the door behind him, Ragnok stood by the side of Griphook's desk with a curious expression aimed at Harry. "Good morning, Harry, Mrs. Tonks," greeting the both of them, which they returned. He zeroed his eyes on Harry. "Griphook tells me you have a proposition for us. One that is more valuable than money. Is that true?"

Harry cleared his throat. "Yes, that is true. Among the many races in the wizarding world, the Goblins are by far the most hardworking and underappreciated, mainly by witches and wizards who see you and your people as greedy and selfish accountants. But you all are more than that. You are warriors who value hard work and deserve to be recognized for your accomplishments and respected."

Ragnok's serious expression changed into one of gratitude as he and Griphook nodded their heads in agreement. Harry continued. "I give you my word as both a wizard and son of the House of Potter that I have no intentions of forcing you to serve me. Only to help you gain the recognition and respect the wizarding world has long since forgotten and owed you."

"All right, Mr. Potter, you have my attention. What do you want?" Ragnok had become fond of the young man sitting before him. Like so many members of his family before him, they have treated the goblins with respect and as equals. Moreover, his great nephew Filius spoke proudly of the boy and his accomplishments thus far. He had enjoyed watching the memory of the Dueling Tournament when Filius showed him. Ragnok could hardly remember the last time he had enjoyed watching something so entertaining. Yet that seemed to only be a prelude as the boy in question seemed to have a few more surprises up his sleeve.

He listened with unwavering attention to Harry's proposal and had to admit that while it would be frowned upon, it would be a good way to upset the arrogant shites in the Wizengamot. Many believed the goblins had no other place but to sit and ensure the money and other objects remained secure in their vaults. Assuming everything goes as planned, it will be the beginning of a new era in which the members of his kind can finally be given the respect they deserve. The battle will undoubtedly be a difficult one, yet he felt it would be one that would be well worth it in the long run. This would shake the political sphere so much.

"The only thing I ask is that none of this gets traced back to me or my family. As I am sure you are aware, plenty of people will seek to use me for my stance as the next Head of the House of Potter in the hopes of gaining political and monetary influence." Dumbledore, Granger, and some of the Weasleys came to his mind and made his blood boil. "Do we have a deal?"

"This will be a difficult task," Ragnok brought his thumb and index finger to his chin and began thinking. A big smile and his pointy teeth appeared. "But it will be a big reward in the end. I'm in," he said. "Though you will first need to take up the Lordship, and we will have to see if this doesn't break any laws in either the Ministry or I.C.W."

"Fair enough," he said, rising from his seat with Andromeda. "May your gold and the blood of your enemies flow forever."

Ragnok and Griphook laughed in gratitude and bowed back at the two as they applied the glamour charm and used the metamorphmagus ability to look like they did when they first entered. The two goblins watched the humans leave the office, and Ragnok looked at his colleague. "I like him. He is much like his ancestors."

"You have no idea," Griphook laughed in agreement. "Just wait until you hear about the list of places he wishes to invest in. He has the making of a shrewd businessman." Ragnok had a feeling this would be a very interesting conversation indeed.

On the outside, walking through the streets of Diagon Alley, Andromeda, and Harry walked until they came onto the street leading to Knockturn Alley. "You remember what to do?" Andromeda asked, which was answered with a nod. "I'll head to the Daily Prophet and have a little chat with Cuffe and Skeeter. You go handle your business. We will meet back at home in two hours."

"Done." The two headed to their separate destinations. Part of Harry wished he would be there to see Andromeda lay into both Cuffe and Skeeter, but there was something important he had to do first. Approaching the familiar shop, he opened the door, alerting Borgin that someone had just entered his place of business. "What do you want, child? I am very busy," Harry resisted the urge to roll his eyes at the man's greeting.

"I have need of your services, and if you're successful in passing my test, then you might find yourself with some more gold," responding in a serious voice.

"And what kind of service could a child like you require from me?" Borgin scoffed, assuming the boy in front of him was bluffing.

"Basilisk's skin," Harry internally smirked when the man's eyes widened. "However, if you are uninterested, then I will take business elsewhere." He turned to leave.

Borgin jumped over the counter and touched the boy's shoulder. "Hold on a minute! Perhaps we should talk," a basilisk skin, even when they've succeeded in shedding their skins, would still be valuable after a few years. Though they were very rare and would fetch a high price.

"Why don't we discuss this in my office," Borgin recommended, then led the boy to his office, missing the grin on his face. He locked down his store using the wards surrounding his establishment, and when they were in his office, he closed the door and applied some privacy spells to ensure no one could overhear them. "So you have a test for me involving basilisk skin?"

"I do," narrowing his eyes at him. "However, before we get into that, I need to know. How confidential this arrangement will be?"

Borgin smirked at the question and held his head high. "Confidentiality is something I specialize in. Any business you have with me will remain between us, and no outside party will be involved in any way," he promised.

Regarding the man for a minute, Harry flicked his wand out as the man paled and pretended to wave it over himself to reveal his true identity. Much to his surprise, Borgin did a double-take as his eyebrows vanished when his eyes widened.

"Potter? This is a real surprise," he quickly composed himself. "Never would I have expected someone like you—Dumbledore's Golden Boy—to visit my shop. Then again, after reading about you in this morning's news report in the Daily Prophet, and the rumors surrounding your person have caught my attention." The merchant held up a hand when Harry angrily narrowed his eyes. "Relax. I do not buy into rumors or any of the garbage that bitch Skeeter writes. Merlin knows she can be a real pain in the arse."

Harry grunted in amusement. "You will find I am full of surprises. However, as my account manager would say: Time is money. This first job is simply a test. If you perform to my satisfaction, we might have more business together in the future."

"Well, now I am even more interested," Borgin's eyes twinkled. "But out of curiosity, how did you acquire it? Basilisk hides and other pieces are ridiculously hard to come by, especially in the British Isles."

"Long story," running his fingers through his hair. "Basically, I slayed the monster in the Chamber of Secrets, which so happened to be a basilisk and Salazar Slytherin's familiar. Since I killed it, the spoils belong to me by right of conquest."

"A thousand-year-old basilisk that had belonged to Salazar Slytherin had been near hundreds of students is unthinkable," Borgin said with a mild tone of disgust. "At least the thing is dead. How big was it?"

"The actual snake or skin it shed?"


"The skin is about 62.14 feet long when I last checked, and the actual snake is about 70 feet long," Borgin fell out of his chair at what he said.

"70 feet long?!" Borgin shouted. He took out his wand, conjured a towel, and dabbed it against his sweaty forehead. "Morgana's saggy tits, that thing is big."

"Indeed. I also have these," pulling two vials out from his pocket. "These two vials contain basilisk venom," he placed them on the desk. "I'm sure you can imagine how valuable they are."

Borgin managed to tear his eyes away from the two vials and look back at Harry. "Mr. Potter, I promise you will not regret this! These two vials, plus the basilisk skin, will indeed fetch a high price. I will reach out to my contacts and a handful of others to see which one would be willing to offer the most money."

"And my name will be kept quiet?" Harry raised a questioning eyebrow.

"Absolutely," the man confirmed.

"Very well." Harry stood up and called. "Dobby."

The young elf appeared in the office beside him. "Young Harry, sir, has called Dobby."

"Yes. Mr. Borgin and I have just struck a deal. I would like you to bring the basilisk's shed skin here if that will be all right?"

"Dobby will have the King of Snakes removed skin brought immediately," he bowed and then apparated away. A few minutes later, he returned with the skin and placed it on the floor. "Dobby has returned with the skin."

"Thank you, my friend," Harry rubbed his head. "Mr. Borgin, after you receive the funds for the items, call Dobby, and he will report to me."

"Understood," nodding his head and pulling out some pieces of parchment and a bottle of ink.

Harry took Dobby's hand and asked him to apparate him home. The giddy house-elf did as he requested and apparated out of the office while Borgin grabbed a quill and immediately started writing letters.


For the next four days, things have fallen into a routine. Andromeda and Ted were at their respective jobs, and Dora was continuing her Auror training under Alastor Moody. According to the young female metamorphmagus, the grizzled old man had been putting her through the wringer during their dueling sessions and occlumency lessons. The former had stepped up her training by going over high-level spells and studying various combat tactics. In addition, she had been steadily improving her stealth and tracking skills while under the old man, who was silently impressed with how far she had come. She could say a lot about her mentor, but he knew his stuff and was determined to ensure she was prepared for the worst. When it came to the latter, Nymphadora had been practicing with her mother and Severus to improve her mental shields. Moody was finding it increasingly difficult to enter her mind, as he could hardly find any weak points. The ones he could find were traps she had set up.

True to what she and Harry discussed; a handful of people had asked what her relationship with Harry was? Every time, she would ignore them or tell them to mind their own business. Some of the people who would ask her were Dumbledore loyalists, and she knew they would likely run and tell the old man. That included Alastor, who, to her surprise, was a close friend of the old headmaster for over thirty years. This had surprised and caused her to be wary of her mentor. Despite his assurance that he would never endanger her or her family, she felt it would be wise to be cautious about what she said around him.

As for Harry, he had been given a new training regime and was spending a lot of time studying and practicing new spells under the watchful eyes of Filius, Severus, the two Founders, and Andromeda. Speaking of Andromeda, his Aunt showed him the memory of a discussion with Barnabus Cuffe and Rita Skeeter. He was shocked at how she tore into them, namely Skeeter, who tried to defend herself by saying the public had a right to know and that she was only giving them what they wanted. That did not fly well with Andromeda, who punched the woman twice, breaking her nose and some teeth. Adding to that, Andi began suing the Daily Prophet, which she won. In response to this, the members of the Daily Prophet had to write an apology to the people she offended in the next newspaper, pay a sum of 280,000 galleons, and put Rita on suspension until the beginning of September. The last one did not sit well with the bug-eyed woman, though she could do nothing. Merlin, Harry, and Nymphadora were laughing so hard that day. Filius was also amused. He was glad that someone had finally taken Skeeter down a few pegs.

A minute after a grueling training session, Harry threw himself onto the couch when the portrait of the Founders was hanging back on the wall. Godric chuckled. "Well done, my heir. You are becoming stronger with each training session."

"I have to agree. Just make sure you do not overdo it, and when you have the time to relax, you take it," Salazar watched as Harry sat up and drank some water from his sports bottle.

". . .Goddamn my body hurt," groaned Harry, who closed his water bottle. He then looked at the two Founders, spotting their amused smiles. "I've been meaning to ask: Do the two of you have any more portraits, and if not, is it possible to make some?"

"No to your first question. All the portraits the four of us had either went missing or have been destroyed a couple hundred years ago," Salazar answered, though he seemed slightly agitated about that and began cursing under his breath. When he finally calmed down, he continued. "To the second question, it is possible, though very difficult. Rowena and I were the ones who originally designed them when we were in our advanced years."

"Do you still have the instructions?" Harry asked.

"In my private library," a smirk appeared on his face. "This man-child and the others never got into these quarters nor my library when we were alive. Ha," his silver eyes twinkled when he saw the irritated look on Godric's face.

Before the two could start arguing, Dobby apparated into the room with a letter and a bag of gold. "Dobby is sorry to disturb Harry Potter, sir, but Dobby thought he'd like to know that Mr. Borgin has returned from the continent with news."

Dobby handed the letter to Harry, and after he opened the envelope, he pulled out the letter to read:

Dear Mr. Potter,

I am pleased to say that I was able to pass your test with flying colors. My colleagues and other people I met with were most excited about the items you left me. It had been years since they had seen undiluted basilisk venom, let alone two, and they were ecstatic when they saw that the skin could still be used. After several bids and discussions with them, an old business partner I have worked with agreed to pay top galleons for the items.

Let me assure you I know this person very well and can absolutely say that he values discretion to an even greater degree than I do. He will not breathe a word of where he got the skin or venom from to anyone.

This was by far one of the better transactions I have had the privilege of being a part of. The two vials of basilisk venom were worth 7,500 galleons a piece, and the skin was worth 82,460 galleons. From this transaction, I am proud that we earned 97,460 galleons.

Your elf was present when I subtracted 15% of the amount made for my services. Minus my 14,619, you have 82,841.

I hope this meets your expectations and that we can do business again in the future.

Here's to a hopeful business partner,


Harry nodded in approval. Turns out the man was better than he thought. 7,500 galleons for one vial and 82,460 galleons for the shed skin was more than acceptable. Mr. Borgin's fee was by all accounts agreeable for his services. However, he wanted to be sure and asked Dobby if what the man said was true when he deducted his cut. The excited elf confirmed with a nod, explaining that he watched the man take out his share and even counted the gold himself.

"Thank you, Dobby. Please send the money to Gringotts and have Griphook put the money in my vault." The elf complied and apparated out of the quarters, leaving the three. "All right, ancestors, I'm heading out for the day. See you two later."

When Godric and Salazar were done saying goodbye, Harry used his heir to the House of Black ring to portkey away. He appeared in the living room of Black Manor. This time, he managed to stay on his feet despite his legs feeling a little wobbly. A part of him was convinced that magical transportation had it in for him. When the uneasiness in his legs faded, he sat on one of the sofas.

The silence in the room ended when Nymphadora and Andromeda entered the manor. "Glad to see I am not the only one who looks like he had a long day," a small grin formed on his lips as Nymphadora stiffly walked over to sit on a sofa.

"Shut up, Harry." Nymphadora rolled her eyes. "Anything new happen with you today?"

"Other than getting a confirmation letter from Borgin about a successful transaction, everything's been the same." He informed them of how much the man was able to make from the skin and two vials of venom, followed by how much his cut was.

Dora gave a low whistle, "impressive. So I take it you will be doing more business with him."

"Highly likely," answering her inquiry. "He certainly got more than what I was expecting." Not too long later, Ted came into the manor. "Good day in the office?"

"Same as usual, can't complain," kissing his wife on the cheek. "It's only when we start preparing for exams and the months of June and July that things get tiring."

A few minutes before dinner, Kreacher apparated into the living room with a look of uncertainty but, at the same time, determined. "Kreacher? Are you ok? You seem a little lost?" Andromeda observed the expression on his face, as he seemed unsure about something.

"Kreacher would like to make a request," he began. "A request made by Master Regulus before he died."

That got Andromeda's attention, as she remembered how Regulus had been forced into service of Voldemort by his mum Walburga when he was sixteen. Regulus was never evil, but he had to prove himself to his horrid mum, and when Sirius ran away to Uncle Charlus and Aunt Dorea, that made him the Heir. It was a heavy burden he had to bear. However, after he got in too deep with the Death Eaters, there were rumors that Voldemort had killed him. Though it was never proven. For years since hearing about his death, she had wondered what had happened to him.

"Kreacher, do you know what really happened to Regulus? Did Voldemort really kill him?" Andromeda asked.

A wave of fear and deep sadness washed over Kreacher's face as a collection of bad memories resurfaced. "It was Kreacher's fault. Kreacher could not stop Master Regulus from returning to the cave full of Inferi, nor could he destroy that abomination no matter how hard he tried." Kreacher started sobbing.

This was getting interesting. Harry stood up and walked around to take a knee in front of the sobbing elf. "Kreacher, you are not in trouble. But if you know anything about what really happened to Regulus, then please tell us," taking his wand, he summoned a box of tissue papers and handed them to Kreacher. "What cave are you talking and what do you mean by abomination?"

Kreacher took a few tissues, blue his nose, and wiped his eyes. "The bad Dark Lord ordered Master Regulus to let him borrow Kreacher, to which he reluctantly agreed. When done, master Regulus told Kreacher to return home. The Dark Lord then took Kreacher to an enchanted cave near the sea, where hundreds of Inferi were hidden in the water. He then placed a golden locket in a crystal basin with an unknown but dangerous potion and ordered Kreacher to drink it and test the defenses. The potion made Kreacher feel very weak, but I drank all of it nonetheless. When done, the bad Dark Lord cruelly laughed in satisfaction at Kreacher's suffering and that his protections worked. He then tapped the water and left the cave as the Inferi began to rise, intending to drag Kreacher to the bottom of the accursed lake."

"What else?" Andromeda asked in a barely audible voice as she had a feeling what might have happened next.

"The minute he left, Kreacher apparated back to Master Regulus' side, where he nursed Kreacher back to health. Once better, Kreacher explained everything that happened in the cave, from the enchantments to the Inferi, what the bad Dark Lord put in the crystal basin, and the dangerous potion. Kreacher begged Master Regulus not to go into the cave, but Master was so frightened when he learned the locket contained a part of the Dark Lord's soul. After consuming the potion, he swapped the locket out with his, but when he attempted to gather water from the lake, the Inferi started to rise, and before they could drag him down. Master Regulus ordered Kreacher to destroy it."

Ted and Nymphadora went ghostly pale while Andromeda started crying. "Oh, Reggie. Why did you have to go alone? Why did you not tell me or grandfather?"

Harry looked at his aunt before turning to Kreacher. Regulus was indirectly killed by Voldemort after discovering his secret. The others would need to hear about this later, especially Arcturus. Had a right to know the truth about what happened to his grandson. Taking a deep breath. "Kreacher, do you still have the locket? Can you bring it here?"

"Kreacher will get it immediately?" He said, apparating away. About a minute later, he returned with the locket and placed it on the table.

"Thank you, Kreacher. You are a good and loyal house-elf," Harry replied, taking out his other wand that didn't have the trace. "This is for our family, you murdering son of a bitch. Avada Kedavra," the killing curse hit the locket and destroyed the soul within it.

"This makes the fourth one we've destroyed: The Diary, one in my scar, the cup, and now the locket. Only three more to go." He waved his wand and levitated the locket to Kreacher. "I believe Regulus would want you to have this."

"Thank you. Young Harry has helped Kreacher fulfill Master Regulus' dying wish," Kreacher took the locket and apparated away.

After dinner, Harry spent some time with Andromeda before heading to the Lord's study to speak with Arcturus. There, he explained what Kreacher said about the truth regarding Regulus's death years ago. The man had a mixture of anger, sadness, and a look of pride on his face when he finished telling how the locket was no longer a Horcrux. His grandson had died defying Voldemort after discovering his secret. Now more than ever, he was determined to do everything he could to help Harry protect the remaining members of the House of Black. Where if he was not dead, then he'd hunt that bastard down and introduce him to the horrors of hell.


On the next day in the afternoon, Harry found himself reading through the Slytherin family grimoire with the Gryffindor grimoire and the book he got on Herpo the foul on the coffee table before him. What he read intrigued him greatly as Salazar tied the ability to speak parseltongue to his bloodline. Thus making sure that his descendants were the only ones who could speak the language of snake. Rather ingenious of him, as he didn't want just anyone to have such a valuable ability. He also wrote that doing so would make any of his descendants immune to a basilisk's stare. If they looked directly or indirectly at a basilisk's eyes, they wouldn't die or become petrified.

When he stumbled upon that information, he portkeyed into the quarters to confirm it with the man himself. Salazar answered that anyone from his bloodline would indeed be immune from a basilisk's stare. This greatly intrigued Harry because if he came across another basilisk, its stare would not kill or petrify him. He took his eyes away from the book when Bucky appeared in the room with an unfamiliar eagle-owl on his shoulder.

"Bucky, who's owl is this?" Harry closed the book and put it down on the table. The owl did not belong to the Weasleys, nor was it a Hogwarts owl. Dumbledore and the Weasleys have been trying to get in touch with him. Molly had been trying to send him howlers demanding his location and that he contact her. They all ended in failure as neither their family owl nor Fawkes could pinpoint his location.

"This owl is the owner of one Amélie Lefevre. I have checked the letter she sent for anything harmful." Bucky brought over the enclosed envelope and the owl.

"Thank you, Bucky. Please give our companion here some water," he pulled out a few owl treats from his pocket and offered it to the bird. The owl hooted in gratitude for the treats. "I appreciate you coming all this way to deliver MademoiselleLefevre's letter. I will read what she has written and send a reply using my own owl. Is that acceptable?"

The owl hooted in acceptance before it left with Bucky. Turning his attention to the envelope, he saw that it was indeed dressed to him and that it came from France. He remembered her from the Dueling Tournament and that she was one of Fleur's friends. The last time he saw her, she was in Fleur's hospital room. He figured that would be the last time he ever see her. So why was she writing to him all, people? Opening the envelope, he pulled out the letter and read it's contents:

Dear Monsieur Potter,

I do not know if you remember me from this year's Dueling Tournament in Bern, Switzerland, but my name is Amélie Lefevre. I am a friend of the person you defeated in the U-16 Tournament, Fleur Delacour. Listen, I know this might come as a surprise, as you were probably not expecting a letter from either myself, Fleur, or any of the Delacours in general. You may doubt the sincerity in this letter, but let me assure you that I have no intentions of seeking retribution against you, nor does Fleur or any of her relatives know that I have written to you.

Listen, I know you probably think Fleur is arrogant and conceited, and I do not blame you. Merlin knows she can be a handful every now and then. But really she is a nice and intelligent person once you get to know her. Fleur will not admit it, but she feels bad about attacking you the way she did at the Tournament. For what it is worth, I hope you have suffered no lasting injuries and am glad you defeated her. In my opinion, that loss was something she needed to experience.

Please do not think I am being biased against her or that I am taking your side on the matter. Because you acted similarly, and your last spell, no matter how angry you might have been at what she did, could have killed her in the process. I am not saying you are more wrong than her, but I ask that you please not be angry with Fleur and try to understand things from her perspective. Being part Veela can be very difficult and lonely.

Again, I hope that you suffered no lasting injuries and wish you the best in your upcoming year at Hogwarts.

Kind regards,

Amélie Olivia Lefevre of the Most Noble House of Lefevre

To say that Harry was surprised would be an understatement. He had not expected this, let alone from a friend of Delacour's. Yes, her friend Amélie chided him for his behavior and actions, but she also said she did not support Fleur's actions either. He remembered looking through the prominent families in Europe and found the Lefevres to be a decent lot. According to their history, they were a part of the Neutral faction in magical France. From her letter, she sounded sincere and figured it would be appropriate if he wrote back and informed her that he had no anger towards her friend. Perhaps it might be nice to communicate with someone from another school.

Coming to a decision, he resolved to send the girl a letter tomorrow morning.

A/N: The poll to decide what Harry's animagus form has ended, and as voted by a majority, his form will be a Hebridean Black. Finally, Harry and the others have returned home, and he showed the memory of what happened at the Tournament and his encounter with Fleur Delacour. Understandably, his grandmother was not too happy with him; however, he did learn his lesson about angering a Veela.

He had also met with Griphook and Ragnok in the hopes of talking about his investments and with a proposal for them. This will be of great use in the future as it is just the slap in the face Dumbledore and the others need. Just a little FYI: some places he invested in are car companies. Audi, Nissan, Hyundai, and Toyota. I prefer imported cars rather than American muscle.

He then brokered a deal with Borgin in which he would sell the basilisk shed skin and two vials of its venom. Mind you, this was only a test; seeing as he passed, they will be doing more business together in the future. Moreover, the truth about what really happened to Regulus is now known to him and the others, and another Horcrux has been destroyed.

Harry discovered that since he is a descendant of the House of Slytherin, he is immune to the stares of a basilisk. Another surprising thing is that a friend of Fleur's had written to him. That was something he had not expected.

Next Chapter: A promise and a realization