Fixed on 4/15. Thank you, Kminari for pointing those out.
"So the boy wants my help in dealing with him?"
"... Your lack of deference to your betters makes for a very poor persuasive material. You know this, right?"
"If you were not interested or not invested in this, yes. But I know that you are, and thus I find such needless formalities useless, oh Lord of Vampires."
The said lord scoffed. "Who else is coming to fight them?"
"The Danish Blood Enclave, the Dutch White Veela Syndicate, and the Necromancy League of Paris. Should you join, there will be a 10% in our ranks."
The vampire raised an eyebrow. "A mere 10%? My flight of vampires, which has more than a dozen Dead Apostles capable of fighting against the Prides and Enforcers of Mage's Association, increases your ranks by 10%?"
"Just as you know that the Danish Blood Enclave can easily defeat your enclave without issue. All of the troops my lord gathers are of high quality."
He didn't reply to that, not when he knew it was true. "And payment for this?"
"My employers are willing to pay in bodies. Bodies capable of producing more blood than any known human. Bodies bred and made specifically for the purpose of being livestock."
"... Give me a week to decide."
In the chaos that resulted after the dissolution of Wizarding Britain to individual moonlit nation states, he recruited many disgruntled, disillusioned, and dismayed wizards and witches into his ranks. At the start of this endeavor, he had maybe a dozen.
Now? He had an entire city of wizards and witches (most of whom were mundaneborn or half-blood), numbering approximately three thousand.
But a new problem had risen up within his ranks.
They (wizards and witches) had split up into factions, each vying for his approval and support. This was a problem because it reduced cooperation, efficiency, and production.
Well, on top of that, he didn't like his own men and women fighting each other over petty things. Sport rivalry was the maximum he was going to accept on group rivalry outside of personal vendetta, which most of these factions were. There were only two factions who concerned themselves over sport, and that was between Quidditch and Football.
However, due to his own wording of the contract to allow for maximum socialization -and thus increasing the likelihood of the wizards and witches wanting to remain in his Emiya Alliance- also prevented his direct input or action against such factions as long as he couldn't directly see the effects of such factional disputes.
His own plan had, essentially, backfired on him, however slight and out of sight it may be.
On the other hand, his Servants were not bound by such rule...
Unfortunately, they were also the source of factions.
Those who called themselves Blue Knights, a minor faction numbering in three dozens, followed Saber wherever she went. They were simply enraptured by her regal authority that she just exuded by simply existing.
They were then hated and hated by the Warriors of Thor, who decided that despite naming their group after a Nordic god, they were going to emulate Berserker. This, by extension, made them Ilyasviel's toys.
Speaking of his daughter...
"No, no, no! That's not how you link those artificial circuits together!" she shrieked at another witch who took her magical biology class.
Due to substandard education of Wizarding Britain as a whole, Kiritsugu had been forced to open up classes to his own ranks so that they wouldn't get themselves killed in the workshop or the field.
Ilya volunteered to make and teach a class she dubbed "Interaction of Magic, Biology, Chemistry, and Alchemy." Ilya tried to impress him with what they were going to do until he pointed out that those who wanted to take that particular class would need to have taken alchemy and have a strong foundation over the subject. A quick survey told everyone that the class would not exist, period.
So she dumbed down her class to "Magical Biology and Chemistry."
Unfortunately, outside of potions, most of the wizards and witches didn't know chemistry.
This resulted in Ilya's class being finalized as "Magical Biology," a subject class offered in Clock Tower to first-generation magi.
And people were still making mistakes!
One witch, in particular, was being chatised loudly by Ilya as he watched.
"What were you thinking?! Did you think that simply shoving in a artificial magic circuit made for homunculi into an animal would make them better? Those circuits were designed for humanoid usage! I didn't give them to you so you can experiment without permission! I gave one to you to make yourself a puppet, not blow up a dog!" she shrieked.
The witch's red face and caving in posture told Ilya and Kiritsugu that she knew what she had done wrong, or at least they hoped.
Or perhaps the red was just the blood that had been splattered everywhere with the explosion.
Which brought Kiritsugu to his next thought.
Artificial circuits. Since all things had souls, it was safe to say that they also possessed magic circuits, whatever the number. Even rabbits had a magic circuit, even if it was just one tiny lobe pumping out barely a unit of prana. With Obscure Tome's knowledge, Emiya Alliance was able to use the animals as ingredients to make artificial magic circuits, or Circuit Replicas, to use in puppets(or golems, as some prefer to name them), weapons, and etc.
The tome, unfortunately, was gone, and everyone in the inner circle of the alliance knew who took it.
Still, there were a lot of things the alliance had to do, and Kiritsugu trusted Shirou to keep both Harry and the tome safe.
"Ilya, don't push too much," he admonished his daughter.
Ilya, who was about to go off again on the poor witch, frowned and pouted. "But they won't learn then!"
"They have time," he said as he walked up to her and picked her up, earning him a happy squeal. "But it's time for dinner, and Tamamo is cooking."
Ilya pouted again. "She's going to give me vegetables! I don't like them!" she complained.
"You're growing again, thanks to Harry. You nee-"
"Ha... HA... HAHAHA~!"
The two Emiyas sweated dropped before looking towards the Tohsaka Tower, a name bestowed by the entire alliance due to her classes being held there and her workshop also being there (kind of a open secret within the inner circle).
"Did she finally succeed in giving herself an extra magic circuit?" Ilya pondered out loud.
After being removed as the Second Owner of Fuyuki City (with the area no longer possessing accessible ley line) and accepting the Emiya Alliance's offer for a place among them, Rin had forced all of her exploits towards jewelcraft and circuit creation. Ilya supposed she could fi-
Rin wanted to rip her hair out.
Why, why, Why, WHy, WHY WHY WHY?!
She growled as she slowly stood back up, and took a stock of the situation. Her workshop was protected by the wards and bounded fields, so the explosion didn't ruin anything beyond covering everything in a thin layer of ash.
She kicked the fragments of the jewel away from her.
Another ruby lost.
She sometimes hated her specialization. Her jewelcraft required so much goddamn money that most of the money she was earning while working with the Emiya Alliance was being funneled to fuel her own experiments. She barely had money for food at this rate! Thank the Lord her lodging was paid before she received her paycheck.
Her upper cheek twitched upward, and she glared over her shoulder.
Ilya, floating in the hole made in her workshop by the explosion with a pair of Storch Ritter (the hair strand familiars), was smirking at her.
Rin wanted to punch that smirk off of her face.
The two of them had a rivalry between them. Between their specialization, ego, and status within the Emiya Alliance, the two of them were always at each other's way. They always wanted to outdo the other, and every time someone made a mistake, the other would be there, smirking and celebrating their rival's failure.
Last time, it had been Ilya and her giant Storch Ritter (which didn't explode as much as simply shatter), and this time, it was Rin and her attempt at Circuit Replica creation.
"What are you here for, chibi?" Rin growled.
"Oh my, the dog can't hold its anger when its master shows up."
What made it worse was that Circuit Replica was a branch of alchemy, and ... well, that's Ilya's specialization.
The two of them looked down towards the ground, where a small audience were gathering. Kiritsugu was also there with a frown on his face.
"Please stop making a scene. We need our recruits to focus."
"Yes, sir./Okay, daddy."
The two glared at each other.
Harry was less than happy.
While the problem of bullies had been taken care, how he had to use his last resort (violence) to put an end to it caused some of the others in the school to become less than friendly with him. They -like the bullies before them- whispered about the "brutality" of the magus education and how barbaric it was.
Of course, any attempt from him to improve that image was taken as "deceiving."
At first, Harry didn't mind. They sat away from him, and tried to not get in his way. That was a boon compared to how the children kept on trying to bother him because he was the "Boy-Who-Lived" or heir to Most Ancient and Noble House of Potter. It was refreshing, even!
Then new troubles started.
Students in the 1st and 2nd years who thought they had something to prove approached him with swagger in their steps and trust in their wands.
Harry showed everyone why one should not touch him.
That earned him another round of talk with his grandfather and Professor McGonagall.
Harry didn't care much in the end as the school year progressed. His mind just tossed those annoyances as schoolyard version of politics and left the entire student body alone. This, of course, did nothing to help his situation in the eyes of the students.
Eventually, he only ever showed up for classes and meals, and disappeared -even between classes.
Beyond the classwork and homework, all he focused on for the duration of his first year at Hogwarts became his personal projects.
Harry pondered how to solve the problem before him.
Snape has assigned all of the 3rd years -his class- a homework -really, it was "dormwork"- on researching what reagents would be best suited for the Lesser Soothing Cream they were to make next class.
Lesser Soothing Cream was a normal product that every witch or wizard knew how to make (though mess its production made often forced many to delegate -and later forget- its production to others). Strikingly similar to mundane products, the lesser soothing cream was an emulsion that took away any uncomfortable feeling. Mundane products did this by removing heat or chemicals involved in creating those feelings. Magical soothing cream went about it by removing the "source" of the feeling.
Yup. From Harry's perspective, it was a bullshit stuff. Having grown with magus as a role model, the wizardry and witchcraft made no sense to him. Potions was close to cooking, which he liked thanks to Shirou-nii, but he was no cook; he was a tinkerer, not a recipe maker.
To that end, while he understood the reason what reagents worked better with which ingredient, his mind hated having to know so without knowing why.
At least with the rituals and crafts, he understood that concepts were being reinforced and whatnot by the usage of prana to enact miracles. Potions? It didn't even transfer or reinforce a concept.
Bloody hell, how does a fucking newt eyeball have to do with removing source of an uncomfortable feeling? Newt skin, he could understand, but eyeball?
He shook his head.
Still, he enjoyed it. Just because he didn't understand it didn't mean that he didn't appreciate learning new things. In fact, he had plans -once he went back home- to see how these reagents and ingredients worked together to do what they did.
'Actually, what do fertile river soil granules affect?' he thought to himself as he twirled his fountain pen around. 'I suppose that fertile soil has been considered to possess a "regenerative" attribute. Does this mean that the focal point of this cream is not the newt eyeball, which has to be processed so finely, but some crumbs of soil that we just toss into the cauldron?'
After thinking about it for good five minutes, Harry nodded to himself and wrote his conclusion down and why newt eyeball was a bad reagent.
He now understood why newt eyeball was added; its "concept" was in "magnification."
"So that's how it works," he grinned to himself.
Could've learned from tome.
"I know, I know," Harry told the tome. "But where would the achievement be in that?"
"But power comes and goes," Harry replied, though it was really him just copying what his father said. "If I don't get the experience, then what use is power outside of overwhelming any barrier?"
Host has grown wise.
"Thank you." There was a pause. "What does it feel like?"
No response. Perhaps he hadn't been clear enough?
'What does it feel like to not have a body? To have to hitchhike on mine.'
"But you do feel something?"
Yes. Again, irrelevant.
"Okay then. Now, help me improve this potion."
… Article 'Sonju's Siberian Soju' on page 5,190 of the tome points out that usage of elk horns, which regrows every year, improved his Cold-Away Potion.
"Elk horns? How would I go about acquiring that here?"
Portal to Siberia can be easily opened with ritual 'Ahrm's Mover,' requiring coordinate inputs of the target location relative to your location. It'll require a lot of prana and mana, however.
Harry looked around. "Well, we're at Hogwarts, where multiple leylines intersect. I think we have plenty of mana. Can you open up yourself up to that page?"
Snape read Harry's article and the … elk horns that had come along with it.
The essay had been well written, and to the point. Harry pointed out that the cause of the effects of the potion came from the conceptual properties of the potion ingredients being transferred to the potion/cream itself by the usage of magical transference that occurs in the brewing process. Then he pointed out that compared to newt eyeballs, elk horns were much easily obtained and in greater quantities.
The boy then digressed into economical benefits of running a elk farm rather than a newt farm. Unfortunately, that particular bit wasn't on topic, so points were taken.
However, by providing his own material to back up the theory he had written, Harry had essentially earned those points back anyway.
What confused Snape was where Harry might have learned about elk horn usage in potions.
Snape himself didn't know, and he knew for a fact that Dumbledore didn't know.
Was it his family?
He shook his head.
'Where he heard it is not my business,' Snape thought as he graded the paper and moved onto the next. 'But a good read, nonetheless.'
Then he scowled as his own Slytherin's work came up as a chicken scratch.
"Bloody ingrats," he muttered to himself as he bled the paper with his red ink.
When Harry got his essay back, he had been pleasantly surprised. He received extra mark for providing the professor with 'good quality potion ingredient.' He had submitted those horns to prove his point -after he tested them out, of course- so that what he wrote could be
Then he read at the bottom that his essay had been marked as a 'theory' and that Snape had persoally brewed the altered cream, which turned out to be better at its job than the generic one. To that end, Snape had submitted the essay and the cream he brewed to the International Journal of Potion Brewery with Harry's name as the main contributor to the alteration.
Yes, Harry was pleasantly surprised. He had heard that Snape was a ruthless "son of a bitch" from most of the non-Slytherins, and as a Ravenclaw, he expected to receive the same treatment.
… Well, he certainly wasn't going to reject a round-about way to congratulate him, because that's what this actually was as far as he was concerned.
'I mean,' Harry thought to himself as he gave the potions professor a nod before he left the classroom. 'He didn't say anything bad or good in the paper, gives me a full grade, and then pops this up so that only I'll be able to see it.'
Now that he thought about it, Harry's respect for the man grew.
Not only did he congratulate his student, he did it without centering attention or causing a shift in opinions of others with his words.
'… Oh well,' Harry thought as he bundled up the parchment into his backpack, and moved on. 'I wonder what experiment I should perform tonight. I've been thinking since I already have the elk horns, I might try to infuse them with stone to see what effect it has. Would it even have a significant effect?'
So, he walked out, happily thinking of things to do.
Harry stopped and looked around. He found the caller. It was … uhh... some Gryffindor girl. "Hello?" he asked.
The girl looked him over once.
"You're not what everyone expected."
Harry groaned. "Everyone is going off about that. Does it really matter?"
She gave him a contemplating stare before nodding.
He shook his head. "It shouldn't."
"Because if there's trouble, it wouldn't be me who solves them. It'll be my brother."
She raised an eyebrow. "Your adopted brother?"
Harry nodded. "He's strong. Not the strongest, but definitely strong enough to fight anything the world throws at him." 'Okay, maybe not the effigies of Gaia or the Counter Guardians or the True Dead Apostle Ancestors any time soon, but most things,' he admitted silently.
"But you're the Boy-Who-Lived."
"And you're a Girl-Who-Lives. What's your point?" Harry asked with a frown. "Actually, aren't you a bit late for this? Everyone was asking this kind of question a month ago."
She tilted her head. "I was busy."
"Fine. But what's your name? It's rude to not introduce yourself," he pointed out.
She stood there, gently swaying from side to side. Then she paused. "My name is Hermoine Granger. It's nice to meet you."
He nodded and went on his way.
Hermoine, on the other hand, remained there.
As she had thought, Harry Potter-Emiya was a different sort. He had developed further than his peers. Perhaps he was on her level, or was she on his level? He was the heir of an Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter, had been taught -and still was educated- in deep magical roots, and knew much more about the world than she did.
She nodded mentally to herself. She had decided. Harry would be her goal. To be as good as him and then surpass him. It was an improbable goal, she knew, but she walked away happily at finally having a goal.
After all, if you don't work for it, it's not worth it.