Shadow of the Snake Chapter 8
Disclaimer : I do not own Harry Potter or anything else I may have used.
Author's Notes : My exams ended later than I expected. I fucked up some subjects though... so that's sad. Four weeks of my arduous finals, and I'm finally done with this year's education. I know I promised I would post a new chapter by the end of November, but I was just so busy that I didn't have the time to do it.
I'm not going to make any excuses, I was just having way too much fun after my exams to start writing a new chapter. I have been constantly hanging out with my friends, basically doing dumb teenage guy stuff. U also had to catch up on all the cool games that were released when I was focusing on my studies. Mass Effect 3, Assassin's Creed 3, Farcry 3! Hmm, I'm seeing a pattern here... (Not advertising any of these commercially, though I strongly recommend playing them!)
I also went on a trip with my just my buddies (no parents!) to Korea. (I'm a fan of Kpop, so...) I've also been working recently, doing some desk job administrative work, 9 to 5. So I've been real busy as you would imagine. I've only had like an hour a day for the last two weeks to write this chapter, so it might seem really choppy.
Edit* 7/1/2013 - "Meaning, While a dragon could easily kill a griffon, it would be killed by a troll. For while fire beats wind, fire is weak against earth." I made a mistake, because fire should be defeated by water, not earth. I only noticed because a lot of people had problems with a troll killing a dragon. Lol.
Anyways, here's chapter 8, hope you enjoy it.
"Well, that was boring." Addam started as he set down his bag next to him. It was lunch period, and the Great Hall already contained half of the student population while the rest streamed in readily.
"That would be an understatement, Marbrand." The curt reply came from Draco. The two had met during History of Magic where the Ravenclaws shared the lesson with the Slytherins. When they were clamoring over who should sit next to Harry, even though there were two seats beside him, Daphne and Tracey had taken the opportunity to slip themselves in the seats.
The lesson was not as educational as Harry had built it up in his head. The Professor was a ghost, which should have been really cool, yet he had the monotony that could compare to a statue. For the entire two excruciatingly long hours, Professor Binns droned on and on about the Goblin Rebellion.
What Harry found particularly peculiar about both the textbook and the Professor was that they had either skimmed past certain parts in the rebellion or had excluded them completely. The book he had purchased at Diagon alley before contained much more content about the wars, and in more detail.
Professor Binns first talked about the casualties of war, even though he never even mentioned the larger number of Goblins who had perished under the wands of wizards. Then he had emphasized on the supposed cruelty of the Goblin King who had killed many, goblins and wizards both. Yet that particular king was only one out of a long line of Goblin royalty who were fearsome and respected warriors themselves.
Then again, history is written by the victors, which is the reason why the Wizarding world stands above the Goblin Nation, and not the other way around.
"I fell asleep after half an hour in to the lesson, who could possibly stay awake under that ghost's voice?" Addam continued, ignoring the spiteful jab by Draco when he had spat out his name. They did not possess the most amicable relationship, having started off on the wrong foot. It was mostly a playful give-and-take between them, trading insults and cynical replies.
"I did." Harry piped in as he looked through the menu. The lunch menu had a much larger variety than in breakfast. The 'Free' section had surprisingly luxurious food, for Harry anyways there wasn't much of a choice in the orphanage, burgers, sandwiches. There was even quite a diverse selection of cultural foods, Sushi, Kebab, Spaghetti.
"Well, you are the only exception to that, Harry. Although, I did see a couple of other Ravenclaws who were struggling to stay awake, barely successfully of course." Daphne retorted, "I'll have the turkey ham sandwich."
"It was easy, I stayed awake by mentally pointing out the fact Professor Binns left out during the lesson." Harry answered, ordering a plate of fish and chips for himself for 3 points. The plate of deep fried fish served with chips and a small portion of tartare sauce appeared in front of him with a mouth-watering smell accompanying it.
"First off, Harry you had better share that if you value our friendship," Tracy started "Second, what do you mean left out?"
Pushing the plate of fish and chips to the middle of the table where everyone helped themselves to a generous portion. Tracy's question did not surprise Harry at all. These pureblood children grew up sheltered from the reality of life. To them, only the wizarding world suffered in the goblin wars, only the lives of good men and women were lost to the evil goblins.
They had never needed to hear the truth for themselves, only taking the word of their parents for the truth. Not that it would be anymore wrong for them to listen to their parents, but the fact remained that even their parents were ignorant of the truth. Government propaganda ran a long way, when they obviously didn't want the truth to be taught in schools.
"Never mind." Harry quickly responded. It would be too much of a bother to explain everything and break them out of their mindset that what they knew was the absolute truth. He didn't want to appear snobby or arrogant either by correcting someone's ideal that they had lived by their entire lives, not yet at least. That would have seemed rude, it was much easier to make friends without the awkward tension of conceit and presumptuous attitude between them.
Plus, Harry wasn't sure why people thought that he was hardworking, because he absolute wasn't. He was incredibly lazy, skipping out on any chores in the orphanage, or used magic to do them. To be able to levitate a plate to you just by thinking it or completely cleaning a dirty dish with just a snap of his fingers did not build the much needed character and values a child would need.
"So how many points did you earn today Harry, to be able to afford actually edible food for lunch?" Draco casually asked as he ordered an egg-mayo sandwich.
Addam snickered, and answered for him, loudly. "You wouldn't believe it, Harry actually earned over a hundred points in Transfiguration before earning another 5 points in History of Magic."
The tables around them all overheard him, and whispers immediately started. "No way!" Draco exclaimed, with Daphne and Tracy looking equally surprised and impressed.
Harry gave a shrug, "Professor McGonagall seemed really interested in my answer for her many many questions. Though she gave appropriate points for each answer given, so it just kept accumulating. I doubt she was really paying attention when she gave the points either. I think I might have unconsciously challenged her into questioning me."
The three Slytherins looked towards each other, "You're really unbelievable. Most students wouldn't even want teachers to ask them questions, much less answer every one of them correctly." Daphne pointed out.
"Well, many of her questions were third and fourth year material, but I did read ahead during the summer. Though there was one other girl who wanted desperately to answer Professor McGonagall's questions. One Hermione Granger, who gave up after the first five questions, realizing that the Professor was hell-bent on questioning me." Harry said as he started on his meal.
Draco made a face, "Granger? Must be a mudblood." Daphne and Tracy threw a look at Draco while Addam seemed uncomfortable with the word.
"Sorry, mudblood?" Harry asked, honestly unaware of the term.
Draco looked slightly surprised Harry did not know the word, "It's kind of a derogatory term for muggleborn."
Harry nodded, making a mental note at Draco's nonchalant attitude with using the word but Addam's discomfort at the sound of it.
Lunch proceeded in a comfortable pace, conversations between the five were frequent and actually quite educational for Harry, learning many things he hadn't known before.
"Harry!" The raven haired boy looked up upon hearing his name. He turned back to see the signature red hair and freckled cheeks of the Weasley family. Wearing slightly stained and worn robes, Ron looked terribly modest, though probably not by choice.
"Weasley." Harry greeted. He frowned inwardly, he did not recall giving him permission to use his first name.
"The next lesson is Charms, Gryffindors and Ravenclaws! Let's go together." Ron loudly exclaimed. Harry looked past him to find Neville meekly following the loud Weasley. One loud and boisterous, the other weak and shy. Fitting.
"I appreciate the offer Weasley, however I regretfully decline your invitation to accompany you on the arduous journey to the Charms Classroom." Harry replied in a dull tone. The fact that Ron did not appear to understand half the sentence made the rest of the group snicker.
"Erm... Alright then, see you, I guess." The red head blankly replied before leaving in a confused fugue state of mind.
When they had left the perimeter, Draco immediately grimaced, "Weasleys, dumb as a rock isn't he?"
Even Addam did not seem to refute his statement, "I'm surprised you can differentiate between a rock and yourself, Malfoy."
"Shut it Marbrand."
Harry glanced at the retreating forms of Longbottom and Weasley, "Indeed..." he muttered absentmindedly.
The Charms classroom was actually Classroom 2E, located in the third floor. Harry wasn't really sure why Ronald was in such a hurry to get to the Classroom, seeing that it was 20 minutes before lesson time when he had asked Harry. He probably wanted to be seen spending time with the boy-who-lived. Predictable.
When Harry and Addam saw the students starting to leave, they merely followed the stream of first year Gryffindors and Ravenclaws to the classroom after saying goodbye to the three Slytherins.
The classroom was different from the Transfiguration classroom or the History classroom. The classroom had six rows of desks, all facing the teacher's table, behind which sits a large upholstered chair with a high back. Two blackboards flank the teacher's table, and behind them is a small shelf with books and other objects, beneath a pair of windows.
The students entered quickly where a struggling Professor Flitwick stepped up a stack of books to be able to see over his desk. "Find a seat, students, quickly. The lesson has already begun."
Harry and Addam sat at the corner of one of the tables, and of course Ron and Neville joined them hastily after spotting them. Harry eyed them with a slight disdain, at first it was entertaining. Now it was getting pretty annoying with them following him around everywhere. He saw Ron lounging about by the open doors to the Great Hall, waiting for him. And when the first years were moving towards the classroom, he could feel his eyes watching his every step. Now that is creepy.
When the students had settled themselves, the Professor started speaking.
"It is my pleasure to welcome you to your first lesson of Charms! I am Professor Flitwick, your Charms Professor for, hopefully, the next seven years." The Professor excitedly began. "I am most excited, and I'm sure you are to. Now, I like to start every first lesson of the year with something interesting. Now, many of you may or may not have already read up on your course books. Don't worry, it was not a prerequisite before attending the class. Though I should advise you that reading the material beforehand is highly recommended before coming to lessons. It will not only greatly shorten the time needed to understand my teachings, it will also grant you more time on the practical portions of class."
"Like I said, some of you might not have read your Charms books yet, and thus still unaware of the wonders of Charms work. Let me start off the year with a demonstration!" Flitwick had his wand in his hands instantly.
"Now a charm is a spell that adds certain properties to an object or creature, altering what the object does. For example, the color changing charm, Colosmutare." Pointing his wand at an empty table, a glowing blue spell shot out and hit the table, changing it from a dark oak brown to a lively neon blue.
It was not the most impressive of spellwork, but to the innocent and naive first years, it might as well had been seeing Houdini in action.
"That is one example of a charm that added a color to an object, not necessary changing its physical nature, but merely adding a property to the object. Another example would be the water making spell, Aguamenti." A stream of clear, pure water was conjured from the tip of the Professor's wand, and landed neatly in a bowl prepared beforehand.
"One thing I find necessary for you to realize, is that the power of a charm is greatly dependant on the caster's intent and of course the magical power put in to the spell. Right before I casted the spell, I thought about making a stream of water, focusing on the appropriate speed, volume and density of the liquid conjured. Yet, I could have just as well done this," Stopping the stream of water, Professor flitwick waved his wand in an 'S' shape, this time with a more forceful motion. "Aguamenti!"
Now, not a steady stream of water emerged from his wand, but a jet of a merciless force of nature. Crashing into the wall loudly, the splashed on to several students sitting too close to the impact. The jet of water stopped spontaneously, and another wave of his wand, all the water vanished. "The force of the spell alone could have crushed bones." Flitwick ended, leaving most of the students in awe. "Of course a simple spell like Aguamenti was not created for the purposes of the conjuration of a lethal jet of water,
Harry smiled, he was going to like Charms after all.
Charms class ended with a bang, literally. They were given the last 30 minutes to practice one of the most simple spell, the wand-lighting charm Lumos. Harry was the first to finish, successfully casting the spell on the first try, earning 10 points for Ravenclaw. Others were without the same success Harry achieved. They were dismissed when Seamus loudly shouted out Lumos in frustration and the results were... mind-blowing to say the least, when an small explosion occurred in front of him.
Flitwick was a fair professor, asking questions and giving points equally to each student he called out for quizzing, Gryffindor or Ravenclaw. He had only given Harry 10 points the entire lesson, and that was for the perfect Lumos he had casted. This slightly irked Harry, knowing he could have answered each and every one of his questions with perfection, and earned another hundred points, bring his total up to two hundred on the first day.
However, he remained silent and stoic, not wanting to seem greedy or insufferable by volunteering himself for every question like a certain bushy-haired Ravenclaw who strained herself by stretching her arm far up in the air everytime the professor asked a question.
The first year Ravenclaws had left the Charms classroom laughing, as had the Grynffindors, at Seamus' failure. They were headed to the Defense Against the Dark Arts class when Harry encountered several olders students.
The Ravenclaws continued onwards, hoping that they had not come for them when they blocked Harry's path, gesturing for the others to leave. Addam Marbrand looked back hesitatingly and looked to have decided to stay until the older student shoved him forward, away from Harry. When the corridor was empty except for them, Harry had already observed his surroundings and found three escape routes if things turned messy.
The older students turned back to Harry in silence before shifting to the side, allowing someone to come through. Harry recognised the soft black hair and silver grey eyes, "Gawain Mallister. Guild leader of Titans," Harry noticed a badge on each of their uniforms, a small golden emblem of a gauntlet holding a lightning bolt in a circle. "To what do I owe this... pleasant surprise?"
"Harry Potter..." Gawain started, his voice soft yet possessed a certain intellectual quality. "I have heard of your exploits, earning over a hundred points in single day, shattering the record by dozens. My record."
Harry tilted his head to a side, "Oh? News travels quickly in Hogwarts."
"Indeed. You remind me so much of myself when I was a firstie. Continue earning points, as much as you can, young Ravenclaw. Impressive show, yes?" Gawain smiled, his eyes staring into Harry's own unflinchingly.
Harry cursed himself for his own innate insatiable curiosity. Here he found a goldmine of information in the form of Gawain Mallister. He could ask him so many questions, hiding under the guise of a naive first-year student. Yet, from what he had observed and deduced from the brief encounter as well as the bits and pieces he had gathered from others, Mallister was a person who respected knowledge, and thus that respect was connected to one who possesed said knowledge. Though he utterly despised those who were moronic or fell beneath the high standards he places on those around him. There was still so much to know, but to risk being on the receiving end of Gawain's distaste in return for the few scraps of knowledge he would inevitable obtain later through other sources anyways...
Deciding to risk it, Harry shrugged "What's so important about points anyways?"
Gawain's smile twitched "You don't understand, do you? In Hogwarts, points are a unit of measurement of a person's worth! It determines your social standing, your desirability, it is your currency. An entire board is dedicated to tracking the top point earners in Hogwarts, and currently, you hold the top position as the only person with over a hundred points."
Harry took on a pensive look while the group turned away. Gawain looked back slightly, "The Titans will be watching you, and be warned, not many takes kindly to young upstart firsties."
Harry watched their retreating forms with slight amusement. He had known that already, that there would be some who did not appreciate the sudden intrusion of his genius. Yet, it was necessary to achieve the required level of fame and influence. Truly, power, be it social or magical, was a double-edge sword.
The fact that Gawain Mallister and his posse personally met him spoke volumes of their interest in Harry. His words before leaving left a clear realization in Harry's mind that the guilds were competing against each other to recruit the best of the best students, usually the rare gem who could choose between guilds to join. Noticing the time, the realization that he was about to be late for his first DADA class made Harry run after the ravenclaw first years.
Harry reached the DADA classroom without much difficulty, finding the students still crowding the door and ambling to their seats. Addam had already found a companion in the form of another Ravenclaw student. Scanning the class, he spotted someone sitting alone and reading the course book.
"Is anyone sitting here?"
Hermione Granger looked up in surprise, caught unaware by the sudden voice beside her. She had been reading the first year DADA textbook and was very much intrigued by the fascinating content. Ever since she found out she witch and had the ability to use magic, Hermione had been engrossed in the various tomes and books about magic.
She was never really a popular girl in school, realizing what girls her age found interesting was ridiculously childish and without any contribution to enriching their minds. Distancing herself from her peers only made her further outcasted by schoolmates and other children she lived with. Without the luxury of spending time with children her age, Hermione found solace in the books, emersing herself in both fictious stories of knights and dragons and factual textbooks on subjects well beyond her years.
This naturally made her cautious of anyone outside her own personal realm of the comforting texts of books. Hermione did not know what was it that made her speak to the boy prior to her sorting. It was a spur of the moment, impulsive action that did not fit her character at all. When she realized, along with the entire Hogwarts student body, that the raven-haired boy with enchanting green eyes was Harry Potter himself... Hermione had been happy. For an unknown reason, she was happy that the heroic Harry Potter he had read so much about was him.
And now, the very same boy was talking to her, asking her a question!
"Hermione?" Harry hesitantly asked, upon not receiving a response from the girl.
"Oh, sorry, what did you say again?" Hermione quickly replied, her sudden day-dreaming distracting her from his question.
Harry smiled, "Is anyone sitting here?"
Harry looked hesitant, smiling amusedly he asked, "Well then, may I join you?"
"Oh, oh, of course! I mean... yeah, whatever." Hermione wanted to slap herself for making herself look like an idiot in front of Harry. In fact, right now she wanted to bury herself into the table while Harry pulled out the chair and thanked her after sitting down. She made herself look so desperate for his company.
When the professor entered, the class settled into an uncomfortable silence. The professor struck an enigmatic sillhoutte, a turban wrapped around his head and a cloak billowing slightly behind him. One hand was clutching a book, the other his wand.
When he reached his table, he turned to face the class. "I-I-I-..."
Some of the students made a face, thinking that the professor would probably be incompetent. The turban-wearing professor cleared his throat.
"I am Quirinus Quirrell, Professor Quirell to you. Let's begin immediately, shall we? You are here to learn about the dark arts, not merely defense against it. For to be truly able to counter the dark, one must understand it. Knowing your enemy is half the battle won. Now, turn to page 144 of your textbook."
The rapid transition from introduction to morbid explanation left some students stunned, the more focused quickly flipped open their textbooks while those unprepared fumbled in their bags for the correct one.
"To know about the dark arts, one must first know the beings who utilize it. More specifically, dark creatures. Now what makes a creature dark, there have been many debates on this topic. Most classify dark creatures as sentient creatures willing and able to harm innocents, be it magically, physically or mentally."
The Professor scanned the room, noting the mixed reactions from his words.
"However! I disagree with that statement. For if that was true, wouldn't WE, witches and wizards be classified as dark creatures for we both are willing and able to harm innocents. Thusly proven by the centuries and millenniums of human history. No, what I believe to be the definition of a dark creature, is a sentient being possessed by an instinctive urge to harm innocents. An urge they cannot control."
His statement left a deafening silence, even Hermione who had been furiously scribbling notes for the past lessons was left stunned.
As though not noticing the effects of his speech, Professor Quirrell continued. "A very important aspect which will do you good to keep in mind is that most magical creatures, dark or light, has a natural affinity for an element. The four main elements, which most magical philosophers believe to make up nearly everything in the known universe. They are : Water, Fire, Wind and finally Earth. Each element is a crucial part of the elemental cycle. In crude terms, it is this : Water beats Fire, Fire beats Wind, Wind beats Earth, and Earth beats Water."
"Like I said before, most magical creatures are naturally attuned to a single element. A dragon, would possess a magical affinity for fire. A Griffon, wind. A Hydra, water. And a Troll, earth. Similar to the elemental cycle, these elements are weak another, while strong against the other. Meaning, while a dragon could easily kill a griffon, it would be defeated by a Hydra. For while fire beats wind, fire is weak against water."
It was information already known to some purebloods, but to hear it coming from a professor, and so crudely and directly was... enlightening, just like every other student in that class.
A raised hand. The Professor turned to the girl, "Yes, Ms. Granger?"
"What about witches and wizards, what element are we attuned to?"
Quirrell smiled, "A brilliant question, one that most definitely concerns my previous phrasing. I mentioned that Most magical creatures possess an affinity to an element. There are a few species who are exceptions to that rule. Humans being one of them. Instead of being naturally gifted, superior at a single element, where there should be a singular affinity for an element, we have none. All elements are open to humans, we are not particularly skilled at fire spells, nor are we particularly weak with water spells."
"What about spells?"
All eyes turned to the boy who had suddenly spoken, out of turn in fact, under the silence where Professor Quirrell had stopped to catch a breath.
"Charms, Hexes, Curses, Jinxes, some may have an elemental attribute, but most do not possess an elemental 'type' to their effects. Do spells follow this elemental cycle?"
"Another excellent question... Mr. Potter. Non-elemental magical abilities are one of the perks we as humans are born with, without the limitation of a single element, and instead a void that takes it place. A void that allows us to use any elemental spell and non-elemental spells as we desire."
Harry nodded, satisfied with the professor's though brief but easily understood explanation.
"Now, as you can see in your textbook, the various attributes and abilities of some dark creatures are described, which includes but not limited to : poisoning, petrification, disease spreading. And in most cases, instant death..."
Professor Quirrell was different from the other professors Harry have already had. While the other professors preferred to test their students knowledge through frequent questions, Quirrell settled on detailed and bite-sized information that left a deep impression on students. Questions from students were rare, and most usually based out of curiosity rather than misinformation.
Lessons were over for the day, and with the exception of the disappointment that was History class, Harry's first day at Hogwarts was surprisingly satisfying. Remembering the schedule for the next day, Harry realized the first lesson for tomorrow was going to be Potions. He couldn't wait for that class. Harry had experimented so much before he arrived at Hogwarts, but to have an actual potions professor teaching him, could prove to be an invaluable experience.
After the class ended, Addam had opted to continue 'hanging out' with the Ravenclaw student had he had sat with. It was not meant as an offensive gesture, neither did Harry consider it one. That was actually good news for Harry. He was given some time alone to explore the castle and its numerous magical wonders! But first, the Library! Lazy he might be, but gaining knowledge through reading countless amounts of books was not an activity Harry could describe as work.
He had heard that Hogwarts possessed the most largest and diverse library in the world. Well, not exactly the world... China's Royal Magical Library contained almost every copy of every book on magic in the world. Sprites brought back information, in the form of books and scrolls regularly to the library. India's Ivory Library also had a massive amount of books within, enough to last even an avid reader like Harry with a photograpic memory several dozen lifetime, donated by the hundreds of thousands of visitors, pilgrims or travelers who visit the Library, for access to the Library could be attained through the donation of books.
The Magical Library of Congress in the United States also held an eternity's worth of books and scrolls. Similar to its muggle counterpart, there were millions of catalogued books, scrolls, newspapers, reports and even some stone tablets from when paper had not yet been invented. Even so, Harry could spent his entire life in Hogwarts and not be able to finish even half of the many books in Hogwarts' library.
He had found the Hogwarts Library easily enough with the guidance of the map in his Student handbook. He was dubious that the book truly contained every detail of Hogwarts, but it was still very useful for a new student like himself to navigate through the myriad of labyrinths that was the corridors of Hogwarts.
Harry's first look at the interior of the Hogwart's school Library had instantly sent a smile to his face. The ceiling was as high as the Great Hall, but the actual size of the place was bigger than the Hall. Rows of shelves filled to the brim with books ready to burst from its restraints lined the walls and filled the library as much as possible without making it uncomfortable to traverse in between the shelves.
There were two floors, with the first floor containing dozens tables and chairs in the middle of the room. Some of which were already taken by students who had a free period or came to browse the vast selections like Harry did. Ladders leaned on the shelves to assist any student in retrieving their items.
Yet, the thing that caught Harry's eye the most was a large book sitting upon a pedestal. Its pages were flipped opened to a random page, however it was completely blank. Approaching it, Harry inspected the large tome with curiosity, wondering why a blank book was put upon a pedestal in the middle of a library.
"That's the Library's index."
Harry tensed before turning to the one who spoke. It was an older student, in the Hufflepuff House by the looks of the yellow and black tie he wore around his neck. He was a tall and good-looking young man with chiseled features and dark hair with bright grey eyes. His smile seemed honest enough, though Harry didn't let down his guard. It was still his first day at Hogwarts, and he still had a relatively sketchy profile on the students here.
"Cedric Diggory, fourth year." The young man now identified as Cedric waved a hand in greeting.
Instantly, Harry's mind entered analyzing mode. It was more of a force of habit than anything. He recognized the family name, Diggory. It was a minor Noble house with moderate wealth and fame. It still received recognition from the majority of the Wizarding world, despite it's lack of financial or political dominance, mainly due to Eldritch Diggory's tenure as Minister for Magic during the 1880's.
The young man in front of him was a Hufflepuff, a house most commonly known for their honesty and equality. Yet, one couldn't judge a person purely by their House. No, that would be ridiculous. For Harry himself, though a member of a House that prized learning, wisdom, wit and intellect in its members, could be considered bold and courageous if the situation demanded it. And even sly, cunning and certainly ambitious enough to be appraised as a Slytherin.
'No time for such critical thoughts, he excepts a reply. An introduction as a reply to his own would be the most socially acceptable response.'
"I'm Harry Potter. Pleasure." Harry introduced himself, casually waving a hand back in greeting.
If Cedric Diggory was and more surprised or glad, he clearly showed it by the slight widening of his grin. "Like I said, that's the library's Index. As you can see, the Hogwart's has an extremely extensive collection, and often searching for a book manually is extremely tedious, not to mention time consuming. Thus, the Index was created. Just take out a quill, write in one of the pages a word or words related to the book, and the Index will create a list of books relevant to your search. If you know the title of the book, it would of course be much more accurate."
"For example, let's say you want a book on Potions." Cedric continued, taking out a quill from within his school robe, writing down the word Potion on the Index. The word stayed for a moment before seemingly seeping into the book's pages, vanishing. A moment later the previously blank pages were suddenly filled with titles of books and their locations. It was also then that Harry noticed that all the shelves in the library were marked with a number and placed under different genres or categories.
"As you can see, the Index brought up every title the library possessed relevant to the search word 'Potions'." Cedric finished, proudly smiling at how fascinating he thought the school's Library was. A perfectly understandable feeling, given how Harry was grinning slightly himself. Not only did the Index show all the titles of the books on Potions, it even included a brief summary on what the book was about and at the top of the page, it showed the total number of items found, which in this case was a little over four hundred thousand. Not surprising considering how broad and vague the search term 'Potions' was.
There was even a filtering option, ranging from publishing date, page number to language.
"Hogwart's Library is truly incredible!" Harry stated with enthusiasm, not needing to fake the excitement in his voice.
Cedric nodded, smiling in agreement. "Well, not all the results are shown in the Index. Items that are in the Restricted Section are not included."
This made Harry raise an eyebrow in surprise. "Restricted Section? Where?"
"It's actually the 'secret' third floor of the Library, though its existence is not exactly desperately hidden. Well, actually it's more or less common knowledge amongst the older students. That being said, it's not easy to enter either. The entrance to the restricted section is hidden somewhere on the second floor, and locked with wards and runes placed personally by the Hogwarts Founders, then improved upon by every Headmaster since. Which is why the discovery and entry of the Restricted Section from a student has never been heard of. And though some students remain doubtful of the Restricted Section and considers it a myth, it's existence is widely believed to be real, and placed under high security. After all, centuries of books and tomes on subjects unspeakable to most but the most depraved beings must be careful protected." Cedric explained, finishing in a jokingly ominous tone.
"Yeah, definitely..." Harry narrowed his eyes internally, he had wanted access to the restricted section when he heard of it. Disappointed he was when Harry learned that it was hidden and protected, extensively in fact, he was also rather excited, judging it to be a challenge, rather than a obstacle. He will find the Restricted Section, that was a promise. "Though why keep hundreds or even thousands of books on such... taboo topics in a school of all places."
Cedric shrugged, "Those were originally part of a collection of the Founders, I guess they wanted to keep those near them, and since the protections in place were already as good as possible, the future headmasters must had thought why not just keep those there and continue placing more protections on it. It's not the best idea but... you know what, let's keep off of such ominous topics. Come with me, I will give you a tour on the Library."
Harry's first reaction was of course to decline his invitation, preferring the company of his own thoughts rather than another person's, but it was a chance to gather more information on the school. And as shameful as it was for Harry to admit it, his knowledge on the Magical world was not as comprehensive as he would like others to believe. Cedric seemed friendly enough anyways, and willing to divulge what he knew without judging, so why not exploit a source of information, limited as it could be.
"That'd be nice. Thank you." Harry settled for a brief show in his appreciation, not willing to prostrate himself in a gesture of eternal thankfulness by deliberately and loudly thanking him.
"Hey, don't mention it. It's my duty as your senior to make you feel as welcome as possible." Cedric gave a genuine friendly grin. It took all the artificial empathy and fabricated emotion to muster enough feeling to return a grin as bright as Cedric's.
A tour of the large library took a few minutes and just when Cedric had gestured to the last section containing books on Necromancy, it took Harry by surprise.
"Wait, Necromancy? Like, the art of raising the dead? Isn't that, I don't know, dark magic or something?" Normally, Harry wouldn't stumble over his words like this, contrary to his usual confident and elegant way of speech, but to have shelves of books about Necromancy of all things was actually rather stunning to Harry.
Cedric looked confused for a moment before realizing something, "Well, it's not really as dark as most muggleborns believe it to be. My mother is a muggleborn witch, so I am familiar with the muggle concept of Necromancy. Well, the truth is that Necromancy doesn't have as much to do with sacrificing virgins as muggle media has shown. It is true that reanimating the dead is still sort of a sensitive subject with some people, but it has remained a major type of magic that is practiced worldwide. It's actually a subject that can be taken as an elective in third year."
"Huh." Harry breathed out amusedly, musing with the knowledge that though Necromancy was a widely accepted and practiced magic, books and tomes on the dark arts were still securely protected. Which meant, magicks even viler and simply eviler than Necromancy existed behind the protections of the previous headmasters.
"Oh, one last thing that is really cool." Cedric turned to one of the shelves that took out a random book. Just as the book as leaving the shelf, another book, completely identical to the one Cedric had taken shifted itself from within into the book's place. "The shelves are enchanted to cast a constant Gemino spell on the books. So when someone takes out a book another immediately takes its place, thus that very book always remains available for anyone else who wants to read it. And of course, the books taken out only last two weeks due to the limited amount of magic put in the Gemino spells. Hence, the problem of students never returning borrowed books never occur, as the books taken out will vanish within two weeks, no matter what."
"Wow, our school's library is actually really cool." Harry said, in an awed tone. It was true, the almost luxurious system of basically everything must have made wizards rather decadent and overly reliant, Harry suspected.
"The next destination of our tour is the second floor, but I doubt you could go up." Cedric turned to Harry with a sad smile.
"You doubt my ability to climb stairs?" Harry asked, rather preposterously.
"No, no, no. It's just that, the second floor contains more advanced books on the topics of the first floor. Though they are really useful, they are not actually necessary to our education, completely out of our syllabus actually. Only those who wish to learn more advanced magic go up. And thus to limit the number of students who can get hold of powerful spells but not completely restricting usage of those books, a deterrence is placed in the form of a well, toll. To access the second floor, you have to pay with the points you have gained in School."
"How many?" Harry asked. This must be one of the incentives that encouraged students to work hard and earn points, Harry deduced.
"Well, it's actually pretty steep for entry to a library, albeit with more advanced contents, but I've been told and seen for myself that the price is actually rather worth it for the advanced material that can be found. 10 points per entry, and another 10 every book you wish to take out of the library. And an almost outrageous 150 points for unlimited entry and 100 points for the privilege of borrowing a maximum of 4 books every time you exit the second floor after for the entire year." Cedric revealed. He was not surprised at the open mouth Harry showed in surprise.
"Are the books found on the second floor really worth that much? Even then, are students willing to give up their hard-earned points for mere entry into a section of the library?" Harry found it hard t believe, unless the books inside were really rare and could not be found anywhere else.
"Believe it or not, many do. There aren't any upstairs right now, since it is rare for most to earn the 10 points for an entry, in fact any points at all, on the first day." Cedric replied, looking at the stairs up to the second floor with an unreadable expression. Beside the railing of the stairs was a... Harry could only assume that it was a scanner of sorts. "Entry is granted by letting that platform read your handbook by tapping it against the scanner." Cedric continued.
"So we use our handbooks to basically pay for any incentive that require points? Doesn't that make it attractive to... less moral students who is willing to 'borrow' another's handbook to pay for these luxuries?" Harry asked, not wanting others to be able to steal his points. He wouldn't be able to stop himself from hurting these people, which would only bring unwanted attention from others unto him.
"The Handbook actually explains this in the 'About' page. Since the handbooks are linked to every student's magical signature, only that specific student can use it for any purposes. Which is why nobody can steal it, and even if we lose it, it will just reappear in our rooms due to the summoning charm placed in it." Cedric explained.
"That's actually really neat." Harry commented.
"Hogwarts is of course one of the finest magical institutions in Wizarding Europe. The tuition fee alone makes it so." Cedric joked, to which Harry chuckled appropriately.
"Well, you don't have to worry about me not being able to enter, I did earn some points today. Though I won't be accessing the second floor right now." Harry said as he walked away from the staircase, Cedric by his side.
"You did? That's great, firsties usually don't earn many points on the first day, for the first month in fact. How much did you receive today?" Cedric asked.
"A little over a hundred, or something." Harry casually replied, seemingly not interested in what he had achieved.
"Over a hundred! That... That... Are you having me on, Harry?" Cedric asked playfully asked.
Harry inclined his head at an angle towards Cedric, "No, I'm pretty sure I'm not."
"But, that's insane! That must be a new record or something!" Cedric exclaimed excitedly. "And for a first-year student no less."
"Yeah, Gawain Mallister did mention that I broke his old record." Harry mentioned off-handedly, trying to gauge Cedric's reaction to Gawain's name.
And to his expectations, Cedric's tone had a complete change. He turned to Harry seriously, "You spoke with Mallister?"
Harry raised an eyebrow in confusion, "The guild leader of Titans, yes. What's wrong, Cedric?"
Cedric looked around him, looking for anyone who could potentially overhear his next words, finding nobody nearby, he lowered down to Harry's eye-level as he was significantly taller than the eleven year old boy. "Listen Harry, Gawain Mallister is not a... healthy influence. All I can say about him is that he's dangerous. Stay away from him, alright?"
That made Harry wary. "He can't be that bad, right?"
"I wish he wasn't, but... just don't interact with him if at all possible."
Harry narrowed his eyes, "Why? Tell me."
Cedric had already stood up, "Just don't, okay? Listen, I'm almost late for my class. It really was great meeting you, and though I hate to end on such a negative note, heed my words. See you soon."
With that, he left Harry without any answers. What did Gawain Mallister do that made Cedric so wary of him, who was he... The Mallister family was one that leaned more towards the dark than the light, but so was many other families. Why Gawain in particular had Cedric so worked up, so concerned...
"No use thinking about that now. I have some time before dinner, so..." Harry turned to view the entirety of the Library, before focusing on the Index. Grinning, he approached the Index, intending to use its full purposes to his advantage.
And done! I know, I know, I'm sorry I took so long! But I hope you enjoyed it. Now, some stuff to deal with before I end this chapter.
The adjustments to Hogwarts, because like many of you have said, I couldn't really see the Hogwarts in canon as 'the finest magical institution in europe, much less the entire wizarding world.' So I tried my best at some stuff I think I improved, but I'm not really sure of you readers reactions to it. So far, feedback has been positive on the guild system and points system. I'm really glad you guys liked it.
The elemental cycle, another thing I introduced abruptly. Okay, I'm just going tell you the truth. I'm envisioning the Harry Potter World in this story to be an RPG-like, fantasy world. And in RPGs, there are of course certain spells that do more damage to a certain type of monster. I kinda want that in my story. I hope you like it, if not tolerate it. If you seriously despise this idea, you think it really ruins the story, then I will either remove it altogether or not mention it at all.
Necromancy and other dark arts, I just really like the idea that despite being kinda dark in nature, these dark arts are widely accepted and widely practiced. I can tell that there will of course be some problems with dark wizards who will obviously take advantage of the general consensus that dark arts that don't cross the line (the line being sacrificing babies and other such evil acts) are accepted. I will deal with those kind of in Harry's POV, sort of when such topics pop up in the story, there will be an explanation. Again, if you seriously despise this idea, and think it'd be better to just throw it out the window, I will just (very reluctantly) do so.
The Library, I just see a large storage of information being more appropriate for 'one of the finest magical institution'. The book described the library to contain tens of thousands of books on thousands of shelves, I wanted to go beyond that in to the hundreds of thousands. When Cedric searched for potions in the index, there were over four hundred thousand results right? But think about it, when you search something on like Google, don't you get millions of results, but a huge chunk of them are actually irrelevant, right? That's the same as the Index, unless the search word(s) are very specific, they will just show any book that was relevant to say 'Potion' in any way, even if it was just mentioned once.
On another note, I have a feeling that this story is going to be very long if I'm going to write a single chapter for each day Harry's at Hogwarts like I've done for like the past 3 chapters. So expect mini-time skips every now and then. If you want me to, I could write out every day with surprising detail, don't think I won't, but it would just be really boring to write and read about.
One other thing! And this is kinda cool. I have Harry Potter idea that I kinda want to explore. But I'm not sure whether to actually do it or not. Okay this is how it goes :
After Voldemort kills Harry's parents and when he tries to kill the baby, the killing curse is reflected, blah blah blah. However, the first to arrive on the scene is not Sirius or Dumbledore or Hagrid. Ministry agents arrives and discovers the scene, coming to the same conclusion Dumbledore did, that is Harry somehow reflected the AK and killed Voldemort.
They bring him back to the Department of Mysteries to find out how he did it. Unlike Dumbledore, however, they find the Horcrux in Harry's scar, and is determined to kill baby Harry in order to destroy the Horcrux. However, before doing so they want to find out how Harry was able to survive the killing curse. Thus, Harry is raised in the DoM, not as Harry Potter the hero who saved the Wizarding World. But as Subject Zero, raised only to be killed when his secrets has been discovered.
Also, Harry gains lots of cool powers from their experimentations. One example, passive Legilimency which he uses to discovers the 'scientists' plot to kill him once they figure out what let him survive the killing curse.
Of course, he escapes using tons of wandless magic, is found by Albus Dumbledore, brought to Hogwarts, and blah blah blah.
This is just an idea I've been playing around with in my head. I'm not going to just drop Shadow of the Snake all of a sudden to write it, but I really want your opinion on this plot. I seriously think it's really cool and interesting, and also I want to write a Super Harry. But it's your call, if you don't like the plot, then it's alright, no big deal, I'll just cry in a corner over there.
Once again, Love it, Hate it, Review it. Any help, advice, tips you have to offer will be gladly welcomed. Please review if you have any suggestions or ideas, I would really appreciate it. I don't mind being treated like a moron for your point to get across if you have any complaints or criticisms.
Well, if you don't, I know where you live. I know where you sleep. And your parents won't recognize you when I am done. (Evil laughter)