Gender: Male Age: 18 Location: Ghent in Belgium
Harry Potter and the Sword of Gryffindor
Chapter Twenty-Three: What's a Tree?
Disclaimer: Not mine, I own nothing. I'm not making any money.
WARNING: Harsh Language, adult themes, sexual situations (i.e. smut), bad spelling and grammar.
Author's Notes: This story is a broad farce with over the top humor (a good deal of it is crude and sexual) and OOC actions (that's Out Of Character if you don't know). Also, this is my first smut-ish fic. If you don't like sex and sex-based humor, do NOT read this!
Chapter Twenty-Three: The ultimate male fantasy gets a booster shot from one of Harry's classmates and Another Horcrux Hunt!
Harry and Hermione ended up having to wait a week before giving Ron and Luna the Pensieve memory lesson. They had forgotten one vital ingredient in their plan: an actual Pensieve. The two young lovers had been so caught up with the notion of making a naughty educational memory for their best friends to view that they hadn't realized that they did not have a physical Pensieve basin for Ron and Luna to use. Harry had considered using Dumbledore's Pensieve, but didn't want to go to Professor McGonagall and ask /"May we borrow Dumbledore's Pensieve? Hermione and I made a Sex Educational memory and we need to show it to Ron and Luna." /So, Harry decided to buy a Pensieve of his own and ordered it through an Owl Order Catalog.
Once it arrived, a very nervous Harry and a blushing Hermione handed the Pensieve, with the silvery liquid already in it, to Ron and Luna.
"What's this?" Ron asked as he looked at the basin.
"It's a little something to help you two out," Harry answered cryptically.
"You mean like homework?" Ron inquired.
"Yes," Hermione said with a wink to Luna. "A very special type of homework."
Realization dawned in the blonde witch's eyes and it was clear that she knew what memory was contained in the Pensieve. Luna rapidly embraced Hermione and whispered a "thank you" in her ear. Ron, who was still looking at the swirling silver liquid, missed this interchange.
"Now remember to study this in private. And don't show this to anyone," Hermione concluded.
"Why wouldn't you want us to show anyone else?" Ron asked, still oblivious as to the Pensieve's contents.
"You'll see, Ronald," Luna said with a glow to her face. She wrapped her arm around her husband's and quickly led him out of Harry and Hermione's chambers. "Let's go study, my love."
A few seconds after their friends left, Dobby came strolling into Harry and Hermione's room with a tray piled high with food and the morning edition of the Daily Prophet. The house elf set their breakfast in front of them and Harry thanked Dobby.
"You's be welcomed, Harry Potter sir," the elf squeaked happily. "Dobby be thinking that Harry Potter's Weazy and Harry Potter's Weazy's big boobied Missus would be joining Harry Potter and the Great One for Breakfast. That be the reason why Dobby be bringing so much food; Harry Potter's Weazy be eating like a starved wizard. Several starved wizards, really."
"That was very kind, Dobby," Hermione said while she unfolded the Daily Prophet. "But Ron and Luna had to do something so they couldn't join us."
As Harry munched on some food, Hermione gasped aloud: "Oh no!"
"What is it?" Harry asked after quickly swallowing a mouthful of kipper.
"Voldemort's attacked again," she said and then read the article on the front page of the Prophet:
"You Know Who Strikes Again!
The dreaded Dark Mark hovering over Honeydukes Sweet Shop alerted authorities of an attack. When MLE and Aurors arrived at the sweet shop, they found that a struggle had ensued and that the shop's proprietor, Ambrosius Flume, and his wife were missing. It is believed that Mr. and Mrs. Flume were the most recent victims to be taken by He Who Must Not Be Named.
"The motivation behind the Flumes' abduction remains unclear. When Florean Fortescue was kidnapped, it was widely believed that the ice-cream maker was nabbed because of his in depth knowledge of history. However, Mr. Flume has been described as only knowing how to make sweets and is allegedly woefully inept in other fields. In fact, some of his friends believe that he is an idiot savant and could only make sweets. Why You Know Who would target this wizard and his wife is a mystery. Surely he could not have abducted them simply because of Flume's skill in baking sweets. The Ministry has downplayed the notion that He Who Must Not Be Named has an insatiable sweet tooth as being ludicrous."
/ /"He has to be stopped," Harry announced. It chilled him to his bones that Voldemort had struck yet again, this time at Hogsmeade; a short distance away from the school. "We'll go and destroy one of his Horcruxes tomorrow."
"I agree, but tomorrow? Hermione asked. "Isn't that a bit quick?"
"I've wasted enough time," Harry countered. "The longer I wait, more people get hurt!"
"I'm not saying we shouldn't go after them," Hermione replied, trying to placate Harry's growing anger. "It's just that we should take the time to plan how to get the Horcux. Which one should we go after?" Hermione asked.
"Well, not counting the one we can't seem to locate, there are three Horocruxes left including Voldemort. There's the locket that Zardoz has. And the one under the orphanage where Voldemort was raised," Harry responded. After a moment of thought, he added; "The orphanage probably has a bunch of hidden entrances and traps much like the ones Voldemort placed around the cave. I doubt that the locket has any traps around it. But we'd have to get it away from Zardoz first."
"All right, let's compare the difficulties of going after each one," suggested Hermione. "This Zardoz fellow is an unknown factor. We could explain to him why we need the locket and if we are lucky, he would just hand it over to us to save the world."
"But he could be a Death Eater or sympathizer who doesn't realize what the locket is," Harry sounded. "If he found out what it truly was, he'd never hand it over."
"So obviously, we can't tell him why we need the locket unless we do some major research into his background; see if he's had any anti-Muggle tendencies. Perhaps he could be bribed," offered Hermione. "Buy the locket from him."
"That may work. But Borgin said something about Zardoz being a collector of relics belonging to the founders. If he is a die hard collector, we'd have to give him a fortune. He might not even be willing to part with it for any price."
"Okay, so we can't go after Zardoz without doing some investigation and research," announced Hermione. "That leaves the one under the orphanage. You said that it could have a bunch of traps because of your experience in the cave. Exactly what kinds of traps were used in and around the cave?"
"Well, first, the entrance was hidden, like I said. Then we had to cross the lake, but we could only do so by crossing on a specific boat; a boat that was hidden magically no less. Oh, and the boat would only allow one magical person to cross at a time. Dumbledore said that he and I could cross because I was so underpowered that the charms and hexes on the boat wouldn't even recognize me as a wizard," explained Harry.
"Wait a minute," Hermione interrupted. "You're actually quite powerful, Harry. In fact, you're more powerful than many adult wizards."
"Yeah, but that's just because of the power boosting ritual I preformed," Harry pointed out.
"I'm talking about before the ritual," Hermione replied. "You were able to perform the Patronus Charm perfectly when you were only thirteen years old."
"Big deal; Tonks was able to do it easily," Harry said. "And she was depressed at the time."
"I think that may have been a fluke," Hermione argued. "Besides, even if it wasn't a fluke, she is a fully trained Auror. She has had three more years of training than most witches and wizards.
"Remember what happened when you were on trial for under-aged magic?" Hermione continued. "You told me that a number of the Wizengamot were gob smacked that you could perform the Patronus. We know for a fact that at least two members of the Wizengamot were so impressed that they talked to their family and co-workers: Amelia Bones told her niece, Susan. That's why Susan wanted to join the DA. And at least another member brought it up with the O.W.L. board because one of them specifically asked you to perform it during our DADA exam.
"Let's talk about the graveyard where Voldemort was resurrected," Hermione went on. "You threw off the Imperius Curse - an Unforgivable to which there is no defense. Added to that, the Imperius was cast by one of the most powerful wizards of our age. You also fought off a score of Death Eaters as you dragged Cedric's body back to the cup-Portkey, even though you were injured."
"So then why did the boat allow me to cross?" Harry asked. "If I was as powerful as you say, it should've recognized me as a full wizard and not allow both me and Dumbledore to cross."
"The boat did recognize you. It recognized you as Voldemort," Hermione answered.
"What?" Harry blurted out.
"Remember the prophesy, Harry. / '...the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal,'" /Hermione quoted. "When Voldemort made the boat, he must've created the charms and hexes to disregard his presence. That way, he could hop on the boat and ride across the lake if he ever wanted to check on his Horcrux. And since he marked you as an equal, the wards and charms on the boat recognized you as being Voldemort himself and allowed you to cross with Dumbledore. Actually, I'm surprised that Professor Dumbledore didn't come up with that explanation."
"Oh," Harry said in understanding.
"So what other wards and traps were there?" the brunette witch asked.
"Well, there was the cauldron," he replied. "It was full of a green liquid. We couldn't touch the liquid, so Dumbledore figured out that someone had to drink it."
"Wait, what?" Hermione interrupted once more. "You couldn't touch it but Dumbledore somehow came to the conclusion that he could drink it? How did he come up with that? And if you couldn't touch it, how would you be able to drink it?"
"I don't know, he didn't tell me," admitted Harry.
Hermione looked at Harry as she chewed her lip, clearly deep in thought. After a moment she asked; "You said that the entrance to the cave and the boat itself were hidden magically. How did you find them?"
"I didn't find them, Dumbledore did," he answered.
"Did he tell you how he was able to find them?"
"No, he said that he was able to recognize Voldemort's handiwork," he replied.
"Damn that insufferable man!" Hermione cursed. "What was he thinking?"
"What do you mean?"
"He didn't tell you how you could recognize any traps that may have been placed around the Horcruxes," she explained. "This was important information and he didn't tell you anything. He didn't teach you any charms that would reveal traps or even how to get past them! And don't get me started on those asinine lessons he gave you last year. He wasted your time; instead of teaching you helpful charms and hexes, he spent a year showing you the magical equivalent to Voldemort's home movies."
"Yeah, I guess you're right," Harry agreed. He started to feel a little angry at the deceased Headmaster. Harry was destined to face Voldemort, the most feared wizard in the world, and all Dumbledore taught Harry was that Voldemort liked to collect things. How the hell that was supposed to be helpful was not clear to Harry.
Pushing his bitter ponderings to the side, Harry returned to the subject of which Horcrux they should go after next. "We should probably go after Slytherin's locket first. That one probably won't have any traps around it."
"Yes, you're right," agreed Hermione. "We'll send a post to this Zardoz and try to set up a meeting."
"Good idea," he responded. "Since he's a collector of founder relics, I can tell him that I'm the new owner of Gryffindor's Sword."
"You're not suggesting we swap the sword for the locket are you?"
"Oh, no. I was just thinking I could use the sword as an incentive to meet with us," corrected Harry. "I reckon that he would be eager to see it."
"I see. And when we meet with him, we can persuade him to hand over the locket," concluded Hermione.
Harry made his way over to the desk and wrote a quick note:
I'm Harry Potter. I own the Sword of Gryffindor. You want to see it?
/ /Hermione took one look at Harry's post and shook her head disapprovingly.
"Let me handle the writing," she said as she began to write her own letter. "When I'm done, you can copy it."
"What's wrong with my note?" he asked. "It's direct and to the point. What's the matter with that?"
"Harry, it sounds like you're propositioning him," she pointed out. "'Hi, I'm Harry; wanna see my sword. Wink wink, nudge nudge, know what I mean?'"
/ /"Oh, I see your point."
Hermione's letter was much longer than Harry's and was filled with flowery words and phrases such as "Dear Mr. Zardoz..." "I would be honored..." /and "please...." /After Harry copied his girlfriend's note, he made his way to the owlery and had Hedwig deliver the post to Zardoz.
As they waited for Zardoz's response, Harry and Hermione busied themselves with research. The library had an expansive collection of past editions of the Daily Prophet which the teens scoured through in hopes of finding anything on the enigmatic Zardoz. Unfortunately, they could only find a few scant references to the wizard; in 1982, he had an appearance before the Wizengamot asking for permission to lead an expeditionary team into Hogwarts to find the Chamber of Secrets in hopes of finding artifacts from Salazar Slytherin. And in an editorial cartoon from 1991, a caricature identified as Zardoz was hopping up and down chanting/ "I've found the lost dill sandwich of Ravenclaw!"/
/ /Since their research into Zardoz had not proved useful in the slightest, Harry and Hermione turned their attention to the Horcrux located under the orphanage. They delved into any book they could find on ward detection and magical traps in preparation for going after the unknown Horcrux.
Three days later, Hedwig returned as Harry and Hermione were having breakfast with the rest of the school in the Great Hall. The snowy owl stuck out her leg for Harry and presented a reply from Zardoz.
"Thank you Mr. Potter for your generous offer. I would so enjoy seeing your relic, but I must take you up at a later date. You see, I, and all of my founders' relics, are on a world tour at this time. Currently, I am displaying my wonderful collection to very important people in //Belgium//. In the morning, I will head directly to the Gruenberg castle in //Germany/ to show them my precious relics. Then we are off to /Asia//. I will not be back to //England/ for three weeks. When I return, I will send you a post and set up a time when I can see your famous sword./
/ /"Damn," Harry groaned out. "Three weeks."
"Perhaps we should go after the other Horcrux?" suggested Hermione.
"What about the wards and traps that might be around it?" he asked.
"Well, we'll just have to deal with any that come up," Hermione said. "Let's spend the rest of the week cramming, trying to learn as much as possible. On Saturday, we'll go after the Horcrux under the orphanage."
After classes that night, Harry and Hermione stopped by the library and fetched as many books on ward-breaking as they could find and returned to their chamber. A short while later, Ron and Luna joined them.
"I cannot begin to show my appreciation for what you two did for Ronald and me," Luna stated in her usual dreamy tone. "Because of that Pensieve, our love life has improved, much like the Spotted Tailed Mongoose-Bat's life improves when they migrate to Bolivia every year."
"Please, it was our pleasure," Hermione said as she picked up a sandwich from the tray that Dobby was carrying around the room.
"Still, Ronald and I are indebted to you two," Luna said and returned to her book.
"Oh, look here, this one describes that silly boat Dumbledore and I rode on," Harry announced as he read from a book titled "Potent Wards and How to Break Them." /"It's called 'Vacillatio Canna' or 'Don't Rock the Boat' /hex."
"I wonder if Dumbledore had come across that book when he was researching," Hermione pondered.
The night before they were set to go to the orphanage, Hermione suggested that they should perform one of the rituals that she had created. The ritual in question created an advanced and powerful constant Shield Charm. She theorized that it would take at least seven Stun Charms to bring the Shield down. If it was not destroyed, the Shield would remain around each of them for at least two days.
They figured that if they did the ritual that they would be protected if anything went wrong while they hunted the Horcrux.
The ritual itself was a very enjoyable activity. First, they wrote runes and other symbols all over each other's body with a mixture of cream and honey. Then Harry had to sit on the floor with his legs crossed and then Hermione straddled him. It was rather fun for Harry to have Hermione bounce up and down while grinding her hips into his.
Even though it was a very simple ritual, Harry and Hermione created a Pensieve for Ron and Luna so that they wouldn't perform it improperly (which, from previous experience, was a distinct possibility). The married couple successfully performed the ritual just minutes after Harry had given them the Pensieve memory.
Saturday finally rolled around and Harry, Hermione, Ron and Luna met in the Great Hall before heading out.
"What kind of supplies should we bring?" Ron asked.
"Well, I have all the notes on ward detection and breaking that we've been taking all week," Hermione announced.
"I brought a number of healing potions as a precaution," Luna added.
"And the Shield ritual we performed should protect us," Harry concluded.
Harry was about to suggest that the group should get going when he was interrupted. As he opened his mouth to speak, Su Li (the exotic beauty from Ravenclaw) threw her arms around Harry's neck and planted a very deep tongue kiss on our hero. Harry stood there in shock; he had never even said a single word to the pretty witch and now here she was shoving her tongue into his mouth for some unknown reason.
"What the hell do you think you are doing?" demanded Hermione.
In response to the brunette witch, Su released Harry... and repeated the same act she had performed with Harry on Hermione. Harry watched in utter awe and fascination as Su wrapped her arms around Hermione and kissed the witch soulfully. Hermione's eyes bulged in surprise as the Asian witch forced her tongue into her mouth. And speaking of/ "bulging"/;/ the sight of two very pretty witches kissing passionately (even though one witch was "passionate" while the other was stunned) awakened 'Harry, Jr.'. /The raven haired wizard's jaw dropped open as all the blood rushed out of his upper head and ran to his lower one.
"I thought Su Li was dating Zacharias Smith," Luna commented.
"Eeep," Ron muttered in response. Even though Ron was no longer attracted to Hermione, it was still a common reaction for blokes to become transfixed by two pretty witches kissing.
After what seemed like an eternity, Su finally broke her kiss. With eyes shimmering with happiness, Su said to Hermione; "Thank you."
She turned to Harry and repeated he expression of gratitude before trotting off to Zacharias who was standing in the entrance of the Great Hall. When Su reached the wizard, Zacharias gave Harry a "thumbs up" signal before the couple ran off into the castle.
"That was weird," Hermione said aloud.
"Yeah... weird," Harry muttered while trying to ignore the image of his girlfriend being kissed by another witch. This was a difficult image to ignore seeing how it was very entertaining and was etched into his brain. Also,/ 'Harry, Jr.' /was demanding that Hermione should kiss Luna now for more entertainment.
"Why did she do that?" Hermione asked.
"Hermione, did you enjoy that?" Luna inquired.
"What makes you ask?" the brunette witch returned.
"Your lips are quite puffy," the blonde pointed out.
"Well... I have to admit she's a good kisser," Hermione responded with a saucy smile.
And that smile sent Harry over the edge. He grabbed his girlfriend's hand and walked very briskly out of the Great Hall.
"You're really eager to get this Horcrux, aren't you," Hermione commented as Harry half dragged her.
"What Horcrux?" asked Harry as he led Hermione into a nearby broom closet.
What followed next was an evolved sort of "quickie". The couple didn't even undress fully; all Harry did was open his trousers and lowered Hermione's knickers enough to allow him access to her flower. You see, the standard "quickie" only consist of rapid intercourse and usually doesn't allow such niceties as "foreplay" or the mood-killing "talking." But Harry wasn't inconsiderate to his girlfriend's feelings; he was thoughtful enough to go down on Hermione for a bit before leaning her against the wall and shagging her rotten.
A few minutes later, the satisfied (and tousled) pair of Harry and Hermione came staggering out of the closet to find a satisfied (and tousled) looking Luna and Ron waiting for them. Clearly, Ron and Luna had copied Harry and Hermione's actions.
"You should kiss girls more often, Hermione," Luna suggested. "The boys seem to like it."
Serendipitously, both Ron and Harry began to push their respective lovers toward each other, silently urging them to kiss. It was as if both wizards had subconsciously thought that when Luna suggested that Hermione should kiss witches more often what she really meant to say was "I'd like to kiss you, Hermione."
"Harry James Potter, we have more important things to do," Hermione scolded.
/'More important than seeing two witches snog?' /his mind asked silently.
"We have to go destroy Voldemort's Horcrux," Hermione said.
"Fine," Harry grumbled.
The four friends took the Knight Bus to London and the orphanage where Tom was raised. The moment they got off the bus, Luna and Hermione began waving their wands in intricate motions. Each witch was performing various detection charms in order to locate the hidden entrance and any wards or traps.
A few minutes later, they found the entrance on the north side of the building, hidden behind several concealing charms. Thanks to the witches various charms, they discovered that someone needed to sacrifice a bit of blood to gain entrance - much like Dumbledore had done at the cave.
Harry conjured a simple knife and cut a small gash in his left palm. He smeared his blood on the bricks and a doorway suddenly appeared in front of them. A loud creaking noise emanated from the door's hinges as it slowly opened on its own.
Cautiously, the four friends entered the dark doorway. Their only light was from the light spilling in from the out side and Ron and Harry's wand tips. Luna and Hermione waved their wands as they walked down the dark corridor, checking for traps.
"Hold up," Hermione announced and everyone stopped moving. "There's something here," she said and pointed at the floor a few feet in front of the group.
The two witches worked in tandem as they waved and spun their wands at the floor.
"It's a tripping jinx," Luna stated and a yellow line appeared on the floor. Obviously, the line marked where the jinx was located.
"A tripping jinx," Ron said dubiously. "I thought it would be something dangerous."
"Actually it is very dangerous," Hermione added as she waved her wand once more. The floor just beyond the yellow line shimmered for a second before disappearing. A six foot wide section had been cut into the ground creating a pit. Harry could see some very large and nasty spikes jutting up from the floor. It was clear that if they had walked down the corridor and had not noticed the tripping jinx, they would have fallen into the pit and impaled themselves on the spikes. Even the Shields around them would not have protected them.
Hermione perform an anti-tripping charm on the yellow line to cancel out the jinx while Harry conjured a wide plank across the pit. The raven haired wizard stepped on the plank and led the way over the pit. Once all four friends were on the other side, they came to a door.
The witches began waving their wand once more. Every once in a while, one of them would announce that they had found a trap and then disable it. At one point, Hermione found a nasty hex called/ "The Flesh Melter". /She had to consult one of the books she had brought along before she could successfully disable the trap. All in all, Luna and Hermione had to deal with seven traps and wards placed on the door.
After the wards and traps had been disabled, Harry opened the door to reveal a long stairway that led down into the ground. As the foursome (no, not that type of foursome - there will be no partner swapping in this story so don't get your hopes up) traveled down the stairs, the witches busied themselves by constantly checking for traps.
After walking down for a few minutes, Luna asked "I am curious Harry, why didn't the Headmaster show you how to detect wards or traps when you two went to that cave? I understand that you had private lessons with him all year long. Why didn't he teach you anything about such things?""
"Because he was too busy showing me home movies," he snapped bitterly. "All I learned was that Voldemort liked to collect things. I didn't find out how he made the Horcruxes or any clues as to where he might've hid them, but I do know ol' Tom's a pack rat.
"The one thing that bothered me most of all was the Pensieve memory of Voldemort's mum," Harry continued on his rant. "Did the fact that she was some sort of emo kid have an impact on Voldemort's life? Was the reason Voldemort was evil because his mom was abused by her father and she ensnared Tom Sr. No; she died a few minutes after he was born so he had no idea how horrible his family was until after he met. But he was already an evil bastard because he had killed Myrtle by that point. What was the point of making me sit through that silly memory? Dumbledore told me it was because Merope had given up on life and therefore Voldemort turned evil. How does that make sense, he was less than an hour old for pity's sake. She said /'Name him Tom' /and then died! For all Voldemort knew, she could've died crossing the street to get him milk."
"I might have some input on that, Harry," Luna began. "As I have said before, Ronald told me about the prophesy concerning you and He Who Must Not Be Named and I think that particular Pensieve memory has some insight on it. You see, Merope, the mother, lusted after Tom, the father; she was not truly in love with him. She saw him as a rich man who could take her away from her horrible life. It didn't hurt that Tom was easy on the eyes. So she used a potion or an Unforgivable to bewitch Tom into believing he was in love with her, which was a lie. Therefore, when You Know Who was conceived, it was done so out of lust and lies - literally. So even in conception, You Know Who did not know love, the power you have Harry, and the power he knows not."
"Oh," Harry muttered as understanding settled in. "I never thought about that."
"Why the hell didn't Dumbledore think of that?" Hermione griped.
"Um guys, this is fascinating, but I think I heard a hissing sound," Ron announced with a bit of fear in his voice.
Everyone became silent and Harry strained his ears. A moment later, a sound drifted up from the darkness.
"I am so-o-o bored. There's nothing to do," Harry heard a voice say.
"I hear hissing too," Hermione whispered.
"It's a snake," Harry said. It was clear to him that it had to be a snake waiting for them at the bottom of the stairs because his friends had heard hissing while he heard a voice clearly.
"What kind of snake?" Ron gulped.
"Dunno," Harry replied. "But I reckon that Voldemort put it here to guard the Horcrux, so it's probably a nasty one. You three wait here."
Harry continued a few feet further before activating his parsletongue abilities.
"Hello," he said to the darkness.
"Who's there?" the voice demanded.
"Um... your master," Harry replied. He was hoping that he could fool the snake into believing that he was Voldemort.
"No you're not," the snake snapped. "My Master has a high, girly voice, you don't."
Thinking fast, Harry back-tracked, "Did I say I was your Master? I meant I was sent by your Master."
"Really? Did you bring my virgins?"
"Ah, no... fresh out."
"Damn, he promised me virgins," the snake pouted.
"If you don't mind me asking, what kind of snake are you?" Harry asked. He was hoping that it wasn't a Basilisk. But judging by his infernal luck, it would be.
"What kind? I'm a bored one, I am," the snake moaned. "I've been down here doing nothing besides eating rats. I want to nibble on a virgin... I was promised a virgin, damn it!"
Slowly and silently, Harry crept down the stairs. The snake continued to grumble and gripe and Harry drew closer and closer. Soon, he approached a massive cavern carved out of the rock. In the middle of the cavern was a table covered by a red cloth.
"All I want is one lousy virgin," the snake complained from the shadows surrounding the table.
Even though the monster was cloaked in shadows, Harry could tell that it was easily twenty feet long and it had a bright red plume sticking out of its head. As silently as he could, Harry turned around and trotted back up the stairs.
"Is it a Basilisk?" Hermione asked.
"Yes," he answered. It was significantly smaller than the last one he had faced, but he was positive that it was the dreaded Basilisk.
"So what? Harry's killed one and he was only twelve," Ron stated.
"Ron, it was luck. And if Fawkes wasn't there with his healing tear drops, I would've died," Harry pointed out. "I'm not pressing my luck again, especially since I don't have a phoenix handy."
"We can drive it off," Hermione suggested. "It's afraid of roosters; their crow can kill them. If we make it believe there is a rooster here, it might run away."
"We can't just let it get away," Harry stated. "It's too dangerous to let live."
"He's right," Luna agreed.
"Well then we'll just have to kill it," Hermione concluded. "We distract it by making it think there's a rooster here and while it's trying to get away, we hit it with a few Blasting Hexes."
"Good plan," Harry said as he drew his wand.
"All right, Ron start clucking," ordered Hermione.
"What?" the red haired wizard shot back. "Why don't you do it?"
"I'm a girl not a boy. A rooster is a male chicken, I can't make male chicken sounds," she argued.
"Then why doesn't Harry do it?" Ron asked.
"He's a parslemouth, we need him to listen to the Basilisk to see if the monster buys it so we can sneak up on it," Hermione pointed out. "We can't do that if he's clucking."
Ron frowned before acquiescing. "Fine, I'll do it."
The red haired wizard began making soft clucking sounds.
"Louder, Ronald, it can't hear you," Luna urged. Ron added a little more volume to his efforts. "Louder Ronald, louder."
Egged on by his wife, Ron let out a very loud crow.
"That's it!" Luna cheered with a chuckle and a rosy bloom to her face. "Again! Again!"
As Ron continued to cluck, Harry turned to Hermione and asked; "You really don't think the basilisk could tell the difference between you and Ron clucking, do you?"
"No," Hermione admitted. "I just wanted to see Ron act like a chicken."
"Ronald, flap your arms like wings! I'm sure it will help you sound more convincing!" Luna passionately suggested. Ron rolled his eyes before complying. Luna giggled and Harry knew that she too had wanted to see Ron cluck like a chicken.
Slowly, the four friends made their way to the cavern. As they got nearer, Ron became more impassioned and louder. It was as if he was truly getting into the role.
Ron let out a loud crow and Harry heard the snake exclaim: "Holy shit! Is that a rooster?"
"Yes it is," Harry replied using his parseltongue. "It must've gotten in when I opened the door. Sorry about that."
The basilisk let out a startled yelp and Harry could hear it slither away.
"Bloody hell, I'm out of here," the snaked said in a panicky tone. "Screw my Master; first he won't give me a virgin and now a freaking rooster comes strolling in."
Cautiously, Harry peaked into the cavern and saw the giant snake had its head wedged into a small hole; it was trying to squeeze itself into that hole in an attempt to escape. Harry gave the signal that it was safe to enter the cavern. As Ron continued to cluck, Luna, Hermione, and Harry circled around the snake's body. The three leveled their wands at the snake and shouted the incantation for the Blasting Hex.
In retrospect, Harry realized that it was a bit of overkill - literally - having the three of them blast the monster. The job could've been easily accomplished by either him or Hermione alone thanks to their power boost. Not only did both Harry and his girlfriend hit the monster with super charged Blasting Hexes, but Luna had hit it with her own normal hex. The giant monster was blown into a fine mist... a mist made entirely of blood and magical monster bits. The gore rained down on our heroes; coating their robes, hair and exposed skin.
"I think I'm going to be sick," Hermione murmured. Even though Harry couldn't see the color of her skin thanks to the thick layer of blood, he reckoned that her complexion was a sickly green.
"I wonder if this Basilisk blood is as good of a moisturizer as Ronald's semina-" Luna began. The blonde witch was interrupted by Hermione retching out the contents of her stomach on the floor. Apparently, the mention of Ron's spunk had sent the brunette witch over the edge.
Being a good boyfriend, Harry knelt down next to Hermione - who had fallen to her knees - and held her hair back as she continued to vomit. Although he did wonder why he bothered; it's not like Hermione's vomit would have made her hair a worse state thanks to the goo that was basilisk in it. Once she was finished, Harry waved his wand and magically cleaned the blood off of everyone.
With a quiver in her voice, Hermione said, "Let's get this over with so I can take a nice hot bath."
Luna and Hermione began to wave their wands once more. After a few moments, Hermione stated: "There's no traps. Apparently, Voldemort thought the Basilisk was enough protection."
Harry nodded his head and approached the table. When he was four feet away, giant trees popped out of thin air. There were dozens of yew trees formed in a tight circle around the table blocking Harry from his target.
"What the hell; I thought you said there wasn't any traps?" Ron asked as he eyed the trees.
Hermione waved her wand and said "There isn't. In fact, I'm not detecting the trees at all; as if they aren't there."
"How can that be?" Harry asked as he reached out and touched the rough bark of one of the trees.
"Perhaps they are nothing more than an illusion," Luna offered. Before explaining herself, Luna walked toward the tree and did not stop when she came close. She proceeded to walk through the trees as if they weren't there.
"Luna?" Ron shouted in confusion and fear after his wife disappeared behind the trees.
The blonde witch's head popped out of the tree, the rest of her body obscured by the foliage. "Just as I thought; a very complex Illusion Charm. It is so powerful that your mind actually thinks it is touching something when you run your hand across it."
"Well, how do we get past it like you did?" Harry asked.
"Don't listen to your mind," she offered and she disappeared behind the trees once more.
"Oh, that's helpful," Hermione groaned. /"'... don't listen to your mind...' /Thanks for that."
"I think she means that we have to realize that the trees aren't real," Harry sounded. "Recognize that they aren't there and that belief will offset the illusion."
Harry closed his eyes and imagined the cavern the way it was before the trees sprang up. Slowly, Harry blindly walked to the table. His body tingled slightly as he passed through where the rings of trees were. When he opened his eyes, Harry found Luna standing next to the red draped table smiling.
"Hermione, it worked," Harry called out. A moment later, Hermione came through the trees.
"That was weird," the brunette witch said off handedly.
"Okay, here I come," Harry heard Ron say. A second later, a thud sounded. "Ow, that hurt," Ron shouted.
Clearly, Ron had failed to counteract the illusion and walked directly into the trees with a painful effect.
"Ron, you have to realize that the trees aren't there," ordered Hermione.
"That's what I did," he replied bitterly.
"Try harder, my love," Luna said dreamily.
"How the hell am I supposed to try harder?"
"Try imagining that not only that these trees don't exist, but all trees," offered Luna. "Pretend there is no such thing as trees; they don't exist."
Harry heard Ron begin to fervently chant "I don't believe in trees. I don't believe in trees. I don't believe in trees."
A few moments later, Ron walked through the illusionary trees. Harry turned back to the table and grabbed the red cloth.
"Let's get this over with," he said and tugged the fabric off of the table.
Placed in the middle of the table was what appeared to be... something. A very small something, minuscule even. Whatever it was, it was no bigger than the pad of Harry's thumb.
"What is that?" Hermione asked as she pointed at the tiny item.
"Oi, I know what that is!" Ron shouted out, snapping his fingers as if he recalled seeing a similar item. "That's a wizard's anvil!" Ron made this declaration as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"Judging by the lion engraved on the side, I'd say it was Gryffindor's anvil to be precise," added Luna from her spot behind Harry.
"Lion? How the hell can you see that?" Harry asked as he bent over to get a closer look. On one side of the so-called anvil were a few scratches. He strained his eyes even further and saw that the scratches could be interpreted as a drawing of a lion. "How'd you see that?"
Luna silently responded by simply pointing at her large and protruding blue eyes and stating, "How I see everything; with my eyes, silly."
"That's not an anvil," Hermione argued. "Anvils are large and ... bulky and ... and obvious things."
"Why would an anvil need to be large?" Ron inquired.
"Because a blacksmith uses it to fold and form metal items by striking hot metal on it with a hammer," Hermione explained.
"Oh, I see, you're thinking of a Muggle anvil," Luna said. "This is a wizard's anvil."
"I've always thought that an anvil is a pretty stupid thing," Ron added. "I mean, they're so useless that most people don't remember them. Heck, even if a family has theirs on display, most people either don't see them or intentionally ignore them. The whole idea of an anvil is stupid, if you think about it. Why would a wizard need one?"
"Well, what about in a forge or something?" Hermione thought aloud. "Wouldn't Gryffindor have needed one to create his sword, or at least to repair it?"
"Why?" Ron quickly countered. "He was a wizard, wasn't he? He would've just used the appropriate spells. Heck, even we've learned how to turn one item into another. So why would one of the world's most powerful wizards use a Muggle method? He wouldn't; he'd just create the sword and then add a self-sharpening spell to it."
"But if a wizard didn't need an anvil to work metal, why have one at all?" Harry asked.
"It's for show," Ron explained. "It's usually a family heirloom that's passed down from generation to generation. Heck, even we have one back home, from mum's side. It sits on the mantle above the fireplace."
"Wait, I've been to your place a load of times and I've never seen any anvil," Harry said.
"No wonder, it's only a little larger than this one," Ron said as he pointed to Gryffindor's anvil. "Don't worry about it, Mate, no one pays attention to anvils in the magical world, they're small, insignificant and meaningless."
"You're right, Ron," Hermione stated. "I guess the idea of an anvil in the wizarding world is downright inane."
"Yeah," Harry agreed, shrugging his shoulders. Sometimes, the magical world made no sense at all. He wondered why anyone would want something like this anvil; it was too small to even notice. "It seems to me that only an idiot would've looked for an anvil," he decided.
Pushing his ponderings to the side, Harry drew out his sword and swung at the anvil... and missed. He swung the blade again and still missed the target. The anvil was so small and insignificant, that Harry, even with his excellent eye-hand coordination, had trouble hitting it. Finally, Harry was able to cleave the Lilliputian anvil in two, easily destroying the Horcrux.
The four friends turned and made their way out of the cavern. As they walked up the stairs, they discussed the other Horcruxes.
"So that leaves two more besides You Know Who," Luna said.
"Yes, we know that one, the locket, is in the possession of Zardoz," Hermione stated. "But we still don't know where the last Horcrux is."
"Well, maybe you two can do that hand-job ritual again," Ron offered to Harry and Hermione. Harry leapt at the idea of doing that activity again - for any reason.
"For some reason, we only see blackness when we do it," explained Hermione.
Harry remained silent, lost in his thoughts. The nagging feeling that wherever the last Horcrux was located was familiar in some way weighed heavy in his mind.
"And then we have to find a way to get Voldemort, too," added Hermione. "Even if somehow we miraculously find out where the missing Horcrux is, we can't just walk up to Voldemort's castle and ask him to come out so we can kill him, can we?"
"We'll hurdle that obstacle when we get to it," Harry said as he led his friends over the plank suspended over the pit of spikes and out of the dark corridor. Over his shoulder, Harry saw the door magically disappear, as if the door never existed.
"I'm hungry," announced Ron as the group walked onto the street outside the orphanage.
"How can you possibly be hungry, Ron?" asked Hermione. "We had breakfast less than three hours ago."
"Well, we just successfully destroyed a Horcrux," Ron defended. "That took a lot of energy."
"All you did was cluck like a chicken, for pity's sake," Hermione expounded. "Luna, Harry, and I did all the actual work."
"Hermione must I remind you? Even though Ronald only pretended to be a chicken," Luna began and added to Ron "And a wonderful chicken at that," before turning back to Hermione, "before we went on our little trek, Ronald and I had sex." Once again, the blonde witch turned to her husband and added, "Wonderful sex at that."
"Actually, I'm kind of hungry myself," Harry stated as his stomach growled.
"I smell fish and chips," Ron said as he sniffed the air. "Over there!" the red haired wizard said and pointed down the street.
Sure enough, past the crowd of Muggles walking on the sidewalks was a fish and chips stand.
"All right fine, we'll grab a snack," Hermione assented.
The four friends began walking down the street when Harry saw someone exit the crowd of people ahead of them. Something in the pit of his stomach told Harry that he should hide. Listening to his instinct, Harry pushed his friends into a shadowy alcove.
"Harry, what-" Hermione began.
"Hush," Harry ordered.
The man's black robes billowed out behind him as he walked briskly. He continuously looked around him; trying to see if anyone was following him. His large hooked nose gave him the appearance of a bird of prey. Thankfully, the shadows concealed Harry and his friends from the approaching man's vision.
Harry watched silently from the shadows. The person walked down the other side of the street and slowly came into view. Harry heard both Luna and Hermione gasp and he felt Ron tense up.
"Snape," Harry hissed.
To Be Continued
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