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Published at 2nd of April 2024 01:24:00 PM


Chapter 134

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Did our situation suck? Probably. As how much... I couldn't really tell. I never comprehended the gravitas of Dumbledore having two of the Hallows. He was still chased out of England, no? He still lost Hogwarts to Voldemort. He was still a fugitive in a different country for decades. Even Grindelwald lost while having the strongest wand in history. So... all of these considered, I couldn't really think what was so great about them. I mean, about these Hallows.

The most potent wand in existence... so what? What does that mean? Well, I can see that it would help someone at Dumbledore's level, but to what extent? Maybe it would fire off spells more quickly, with more 'oomph' behind them. But... I remember what Ollivander said about how the wand chooses its master. It is about magical symbiotism. Something that Grindelwald also believes in. Well, if my wand chose me, then that means we are a perfect match... why would I want to switch it to another who is so fickle? Nonsense.

Then there is the cape—or cloak—whatever. I could see that as valuable. I know that there are invisibility spells and cloaks, but those are not like what Grindelwald described to us, one that never fades and never loses its power. Something that could be useful for getting to places... where you have no business to be. Hehe... But then again, it hides the one under it, but that does not mean they are truly invisible. A simple search spell could reveal anyone who is under it. So... what's so coveted about it?

Lastly, the stone. It doesn't bring back the dead... but summons them? I couldn't really understand it. I would love to talk with my Father once again, but would it be really him? Or would it be something that the stone conjures, an imitation, read out from within my mind, mimicking my Father and telling me what I would want to hear? That was what I was fearing the most... I know ghosts exist, but they don't even know what is on the other side. Haaah... I need to stop thinking about it because it is of no use to us.

"It is not a bad thing to let your thoughts wander." Herpo interjected, speaking to me in my mind while I was lying on my bed, hugging my wife, watching the ceiling as the sun slowly began peeking above the horizon.

"What do you mean?"

"You are thinking about the three major theories that are the cornerstones of a mage's life. The Hallows are the answers for the three main motivational sources of every witch or wizard."

"Power? Death? Um... what the cloak is for?"

"Hehe... smart. The cloak would be knowledge, I think. The wand is the solution to most magical wishes: to be powerful. It is the embodiment of raw power to do whatever you wish. I had that mindset once: more power, more authority. The stronger you are, the more you can achieve. Make the rules for others... while you obey none. That was my motto."

"You earned your nickname through effort, huh?"

"Yes. I did." He acknowledged it without any remorse or shame. Huh... I can't really imagine what kind of wizard he was back then.

"A bad one." Herpo added with a chuckle, "Then there was Death. I feared it. Even with all the power I had in me, simply aging and my enemies striking me down when I got weaker, that could still be deadly. Would I have acknowledged the latter part? Never. But in my mind, I knew it, so I was searching for an alternate, something to cheat Death with."

"So you came up with the Horcruxes."

"Yes. It seemed logical and fine, but it failed, so I tried something different... and here I am—an undead spirit, existing in limbo, never to live, never to die."

"..."

"Don't feel pity; I deserve it. So... the Resurrection Stone is supposed to answer that conundrum. Then, for last, the cloak. What is invisibility best for?"

"Learning secrets."

"Exactly. It symbolizes the truth hiding behind the veil of magic. Its secrets are hidden deep within, and every wizard or witch is keen on excavating them, learning them, and making them their own. So, as I said, these Hallows are answers to the main drives that burn within every great mage. If you ask me, I think they are not from Death but pinnacle artifacts, crafted by talents of their respective times."

"You didn't have this legend in your era?" I asked, unable to contain my curiosity.

"No. I would have known about it. This had to come about after my demise. I can see why it would rapture some young, ambitious minds, shackling them to their power forever, but if you want to hear my take on it, my young descendant, it is very simple. They are tools. The power comes not from them but from the one wielding them. So, never get deceived by some artifacts of old times because the real power comes from within you. You love Quincy, don't you?"

"Of course!" I answered, almost saying it out loud, sitting up, getting flustered as to why he was asking it all of a sudden.

"It's not the clothes you like on her, do you? You like her best when she is naked..."

"Um... Grandpa, you are just making me feel weird now, especially if you start reminding me that you could be watching while we do it... it's creepy enough to know, okay?!"

"You think you are special? Please. Through the multiple millennia, I saw everything that there is to be seen."

"It does not make me feel better..."

"What I was trying to say," he continued, his tone getting a bit aggravated, "Is that magic acts the same. It's not the tools you use that make it interesting, but its raw form."

"O-okay. I'll keep that in mind."

"Good. And relax... I am not interested in two teens doing it like rabbits. You two still lack the techniques behind a pleasurable, long night. Both of you suck at it."

"DAMN IT, YOU WERE WATCHING US!" I groaned loudly, finally waking Quincy up, who began trashing my arm, trying to decide whether what she heard was a fragment of her sleep or not.

"What... where... hmmm...?"

"Nothing," I answered, kissing her forehead, not wanting her to even think about it. If she realized, I would have to say goodbye to the best parts of our nights... The hell with you, Herpo! You are a foul, foul Grandpa!

...
....
......

It was weird to be back in England. Hermione couldn't tell why, but she felt a bit off from walking amongst people and understanding them without having to manually translate every day speeches in her mind. Is this how being homesick feels? She didn't have an answer, but it sure felt nice.

Of course, nobody knew she was back, and her first move was to try to contact other hiding wizards in England. She was well aware it wouldn't be an easy thing to do, but since the war returned to the surface, more and more rebelling cells popped up throughout the country. It was much easier to get a clue than it would have been before.

It took her a week, collecting papers and clues, to finally locate a local cell hiding within the city of Leeds. Getting there was easy, using the muggles' public transport, which she was overly familiar with, helping her to blend in perfectly. Right now, she was staying in a place called The Wrens, a bar with rentable rooms above it, in the center of Leeds.

"Let's see..." Murmuring to herself, she was sitting on her bed in the one-person, small room, circling spots on an unfolded map before her. "Yesterday yielded no results; two more secret entrances remain..."

What she was looking for was the local magical society's hidden city within the muggle's world. She had already learned about the previously public entrances and was going around trying to scout them out and, if possible, enter through them. But for now, those she observed were showing no signs of being used, and she wasn't trying to force them open. Once inside, she just needed to find a name she discovered in an older newspaper: Andrew McCarthy.

It was a name she came across when she was in London. After arriving and slipping into Diagon Alley, she walked around, listening to all kinds of rumors while window shopping, visiting a library, and looking up old Daily Prophet newspapers. There it was when he found an image of Angus Anguine, his department, and a list of names, including Andrew McCarthy, a supposedly Irish wizard who worked under Angus for a decade. He retired later on, but from what she could dig up, Andrew has stayed in Leeds ever since. What for? It became apparent last month when a rebel cell supposedly killed three Death Eaters within the city in an ambush, and his name was given as the prime suspect.

"Death Eaters..." She murmured, thinking loudly, and she wasn't as afraid as she had been a year before. Not just because of what had happened to her but because of the freshest news she read.

Since Dumbledore's open return, Voldemort's forces have been drafting in every pureblood wizard, including the freshly graduated students of Hogwarts. No matter who they were, ordinary wizarding homes or part of their so-called 'Sacred Families,' they were all forcefully made to fight. Meeting a Death Eater right now could also mean meeting with someone who was barely any older than her and who was compelled to be there. She was sure that if it came to that, she could persuade them; if not, she had enough knowledge to disarm them without hurting anybody.

"War is ugly... It would be best if it ends soon."

She didn't know if it was a naive thought or not, but she was sure that war was the worst for both sides. It could transform kind and caring people into monsters, just like it did with Fleur... and maybe it could distort the truth about monsters who were not really as evil as everybody else was saying.

Thinking about it, she couldn't help but pull out the news article about Conrad Anguine and Quincy Black, the youngest pair in history to be wanted throughout the British Isles. Just presenting their dead bodies would earn enough gold for anyone to live happily for the rest of their lives, while capturing them alive would be on par with delivering someone's head from the top of the Most Wanted list of the Order.

"I will need to look into your pasts..." She whispered, standing up, getting ready for the day, watching the faces stare back at her. "Being wanted by both sides is an achievement that not even the Dark Lord could show off..."





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