Chapter 40: Tally Ho!

Despite the excitement of Hermione and Ron's return, all the Weasley's agreed that eating was far more important than anything else at that point, and saved their questions until after they were properly fed. Once McGonagall had climbed out of her bottle long enough to yell at the prefects to take them away, the Weasley's hurried up to Gryffindor tower and began grilling Ron and Hermione about what had happened over the summer.

"Well, it was very informative," Hermione said, pulling out a large leather journal. "I took a great many notes on the different varieties of extinct species. You already saw Pretzel, but I also have notes on feeding habits, mating rituals, coloration, diet, andacfgxuhlFEGW{"SIOP;/';

Ahem. Terribly sorry about that old bean. You see, mugglesftw simply has no taste when it comes to writing a proper adventure tale. No sense of drama you see. I'm content to let him handle these other bits, but I'm afraid the next part can only be handled by a true literary genius such as I, Gilderoy Lockhart, Monster Hunter Extraordinaire. Don't worry, I'm simply hit him with a stunner. He'll be out long enough for me to give this chapter proper treatment before he can go back to writing his drivel. Now, where were we? Ah yes: Me.


The day was hot and humid, with the sun high in the sky with a few puff clouds out over the ocean. Most of the locals had sought out shade, though a few tourists in loud shirts were browsing stalls or heading out to the beaches. It was the dry season in Soure, Brazil, at the mouth of the Amazon river. This meant that instead of torrential downpours, a light rain was expected later in the evening which would hopefully dispel some of the humidity. Like the great river, life in Soure was typically slow moving and languid, and focused upon the sea.

Some distance from the sleepy town, a small airstrip was set up. Not for planes or helicopters, this strip services brooms, carpets, and the occasional airship. The caretakers were not expecting any real traffic at the moment, as though it was tourist season the next airship wasn't due to arrive until the next morning. Everyone was snoozing in the shade, too hot to move around much. A water buffalo grazed next to the dirt path, flicking its tail from side to side to ward off the buzzing insects. Suddenly, the beast raised its head, going still. Then it let out a bellow of terror and began to stampede towards the trees. The caretakers looked up, confused and concerned.

That was when a dragon plummeted from the sky, ripping the buffalo in half and spraying gore everywhere. The poor beast didn't even have time to know it was dead before it's liver was being eaten.

"Sorry!" Hermione Weasley called, looking concerned. "Was that someone's cow we just killed?"

Gilderoy Lockhart stretched and dismounted from his flying carpet, cracking his back after the long flight. They'd spent the last three days flying from England, stopping over in the Azores and Puerto Rico before flying the last leg of the journey to Brazil.

"Wouldn't worry about it my dear, those things are everywhere here," Lockhart said. "Now, my young apprentice, what can you tell us about where we are?"

"That it's too bloody hot," Ron Weasley, Hermione's side kick and lover grumbled as he slid off off the dragon's back. The beast was a magnificent Hungarian Horntail, but was too young to seat Lockhart and Constance, who had flown on the far more comfortable carpet instead.

"Damn right," Constance Vigil agreed, using the haft of his battle axe as a cane to haul himself to his foot. One leg was a peg, lost in some long ago battle. The old man glared around with his one remaining eye, the other socket covered by a patch. "Never did like South America. Breeding ground of Dark Wizards if you ask me."

A man ran up and started babbling at four adventurers in Portuguese.

"He looks upset," Hermione said, biting her lip which showed her rather prominent front teeth. Lockhart would never have called a lady buck toothed, but Hermione did a nice beaver impression. "Are you sure it wasn't his cow?"

"It was a water buffalo, not a cow. Hola señor. ¿Habla español?" Lockhart asked.

The man glared at Lockhart. "Eu falo Português não espanhol você idiota britânico."

Lockhart let out a heavy sigh. "I speak a dozen languages. English, Arabic, Spanish, Mandarin, Hindi, Russian, Tagoloan, French, Swahili, Latin, Gobbledygook, and Ymirish. But of course, I don't know Portuguese."

"Well don't look at me, I tried to learn Pig Latin once but I'm pretty sure the twins taught it to me wrong," Ron huffed.

"Je suis désolé mon lézard de feu a mangé votre vache. Est-ce que tu parles français?" Hermione ventured.

"Malditos turistas," the man grumbled. "Look, I speak English fine. What the hell you doing here? Why your dragon eat the damn buffalo? And why you here? Who are you?"

"Fear not, my good sir," Lockhart said, drawing himself up. "It is none other than I, Gilderoy Lockhart, Monster Hunter Extraordinaire, and my companions and protegee."

"Santa Maria," the man breathed. "I thought you saved people from monsters, not brought them! What is so bad you need a dragon to fight it?!"

"Well we're not really here to fight them, but we heard that there were dinosaurs in the area and we've come to study them," Hermione supplied.

"And rescue the blokes that got lost," Ron added.

"The dinossauro?" the caretaker said, blinking. "We've already taken care of him. He's a new attraction for the tourists."

"You have a dinosaur here?" Hermione asked, looking around hopefully.

The caretaker rolled his eyes. "Not here, obviously. But you have to play for using the airstrip before I show him to you. And for the buffalo, I suppose."

Lockhart magnanimously paid for the use of the airstrip (and the dead buffalo), and Ramoth was given her own clearing to rest in. Far, far away from everyone else. The party headed off for a nearby magical village, which was hidden down the coast aways from the muggle city. Most of the houses were stucco or adobe, with large windows and up on raised platforms from the ground for the rainy season. One building, however, was made of brick, and had a sign out front.

Veja o terrível Dinossauro! the lettering read, and underneath was a picture of a small terapod with red and black hide, and a crest of hairy feathers on its head. The creature in the picture raced around the frame, showing its teeth and seaming to snarl.

"Well, that must be where the dinosaur is," Ron guessed. "Maybe if we can find out where it's from we can track down the missing party of muggles."

"Very interesting, I think this confirms that dromaesaur's had feathers. I wonder, does it have a characteristic sickle claw? I wonder how large it its," Hermione mused.

"I thought you said it was a dinosaur, not a drom-whatever," Constance growled.

"Dromaeosaurs were a genus of theropod which would make them members of clade dinosauria," Hermione affirmed.

"Well, either way, we must confront this fearsome beast, and learn of its origins," Lockhart declared.

They marched inside as a mother and her two young children came out. "Mamãe, o dinossauro era chato. Apenas falava e não rosnava nem brigava com nada!" the older of the two children said in a whining tone.

"Did you see the dinosaur?" Hermione asked eagerly. "Was it frightening? Fast?"

"Foi estúpido e chato e soou como você," the child answered, and its sibling nodded seriously.

Hermione eagerly ran inside ahead of the others, but came up short when a bored looking man sitting on a stool outside held up his hand.

"Two reals to see the beast," the man said in a bored tone. He eyed the group. "Each. No discount for children."

"I'm not a child!" Hermione protested, puffing out her chest and glaring at the man. "I'm 15!"

"Is same cost either way. Eight reals for the group."

"What's that in galleons?" Hermione asked, pulling out her coin purse and eying the meager contents skeptically.

"Ten galleons," the man answered, a greedy gleam in his eye.

"I think you will find the real is 1.72 to the galleon, my good man," Lockhart said sternly. He glared at the man, who wilted.

"Fine. Five galleons," the man grumbled.

Hermione eagerly handed over the gold and ran in, eager to see the dinosaur, with Ron hot on her heals. Inside they found a large cage with a few bloody bones in it, along with a water trough. In a shadowed corner on a bed of straw, the dinosaur lay with its eyes closed.

"It's definitely a theropod," Hermione said to Ron, eagerly rushing forward towards the cage.

Ron put his hand on Hermione's shoulder and pulled her back. "Bloody hell woman, do you not see the bones? That things dangerous. Don't get to close."

"Right, yes, sorry. I suppose it would be rather vicious, not having learned any fear of man," Hermione babbled, keeping a few feet from the cage as she edged around the cage.

At the sound of her voice, the dinosaur raised its head, and in a very half hearted sort of way, said, "Growl. Snarl. Roar." Then put its head back down.

"Well that's weird," Ron said, wrinkling his nose as Lockhart and Constance talked with the man at the entrance, who mostly shrugged.

"What's odd?" Hermione said, taking out some parchment and beginning to sketch the dinosaur with pencil.

"Well, normally creatures don't say 'growl' they just, you know, growl," Ron pointed out.

"Ronald, this is a creature long thought extinct. I hardly think we could have any idea what sort of vocalizations it would make," Hermione lectured. "Ooo, I wish it would come into the light, I want a better look at its feathers."

The dinosaur rolled its eyes, but otherwise didn't stir. Ron blinked. "Hey, hey Hermione, did you see that? I think it rolled it's eyes at you. Do you think it can understand us?"

Before Hermione could answer, the man stood and pointed a stick at the dinosaur's cage. "Hey, it's putting on a good show, yes? Those last customers left disappointed! If the dinosaur isn't properly ferocious, no dinner for it!"

"Oh no, I don't mean to disturb it, I just want to see it's head feathers. This is for scientific purposes and knowing what sort of head feathers it has would have great scientific merit. Do you know if it has any sheddings I might buy from you?" Hermione inquired as she finished her first rough sketch.

The gleam entered the man's eyes again. "Oh, we could arrange that, yes. But the dinosaur had best behave! Show itself for nice english girl with money!"

The dinosaur raised its head and glared at the man, but reluctantly got to its feet and walked into the light. "Just don't think your plucking any of my bloody hair off, you uncouth plebeian," it muttered under its breath.

Hermione didn't hear, too absorbed in her sketching, but Ron's jaw dropped.

"You can talk?" he asked, stepping forward. "You speak English?"

"Of course I can," the dinosaur declared in stiff accent of a british upper class gentleman. "A fair sight better than you, at any rate."

"Hey! No talking! People is not liking talking dinosaurs!" the man bellowed, coming forward with his stick raised.

Ron blocked his path. "Wait! It's intelligent! Why do you have it locked up?"

"Because he's an uncultured protoceratops who would sell out his own mother for a bit of coin," the dinosaur spat, edging away from the man's probling stick.

Hermione looked up from her sketch, her brow furrowed. "Ronald, theropods were intelligent, and they may have vocalized, but I hardly think they could speak english. That would be utterly preposterous."

"Not as preposterous as a bunch of upright monkey's taking over the world," the dinosaur answered. "Why, if I'd known what lay through that loathsome portal I never would have ventured forth even if the legendary golden city did lay beyond it."

Hermione dropped her sketchbook, her mouth forming an "O" as she blinked at the dinosaur.

Ron put his hand on the man and jerked him away from the cage before he could poke at the dinosaur again. "Oi, mate, shove off. It's not right to keep a thinking creature locked up like this."

The man swatted Ron's hand away and glared. "You be taking my dinosaur, you be taking Ernesto De La Cruz's dinosaur," the man warned. "I am one of his collectors!"

"I don't care who you are or who this Cruz person is, you can't keep an intelligent creature as some sort of zoo attraction, right Mr. Lockhart?" Ron asked.

Gilderoy didn't answer, instead coming forward to study the dinosaur. "Tell me, do you know what happened to the humans who tried to enter the forbidden lost world?"

"The devil are you on about sir?" the dinosaur replied. "This place is the forbidden lost world! Personally I thought it was a load of stuff and nonsense; silly superstitions to keep a gentleman adventurer such as myself at bay. However, upon further investigation I rather understand why it was forbidden. No treasure, just a load of mammals with pretensions and no manners."

"I say we leave him behind," Constance muttered. "What good would hauling around a talking lizard do us?"

The dinosaur drew itself up indignantly. "I say! I am no lizard. I am Sir Hillary Clawsworth, fellow of the Adventurers guild and the first dino to explore the savage world of men!"

"Wait, if you're a dinosaur, where did you learn to speak English?" Hermione asked, confused.

Sir Hillary rolled his eyes. "I might ask the same of you, mammal. Obviously, I learned to speak the Queen's English at Eton."

"You went to Eton?" Hermione asked, astounded. "But that's a boarding school in England! A very posh boarding school! I don't recall them having any dinosaurs there, it would have been in the news."

"Clearly this is a case of parallel worlds," Sir Hillary answered dismissively. "Here, something went wrong, and you mammals took over the world meant for saurians. You've obviously copied our culture and languages, though how you managed that I don't know."

"Magic, probably," Ron said, scratchin the back of his head. "Are you some sort of dinosaur wizard?"

"Me, a wizard?" Sir Hillary said, baffled. "Please, I said I went to Eton, not Hogwarts. No, no, I'm not wizard, though some say my skill with a gun is magical. Not to boast, but I'm quite the shot. Would have never been taken by you damn apes if I hadn't run out of ammunition firing at that damnable bunch of carnotaurus."

"Oh we simply must take him with us!" Hermione declared. "If for no other reason than that Ron is right and he shouldn't be locked up. I'm sure he can teach us a great deal about dinosaurs, and perhaps show us a part of his world!"

"No!" the keeper declared, drawing a wand. "I will not let you take my-"

Hermione stunned the man before he could finish his sentence, then pointed her wand at the lock and charmed it opened. "You can show us the way to the lost world, can't you?"

The dinosaur nodded, then paused. "Well, so long as we find my clothes that is. It's embarrassing enough to be put in a pen naked, but one simply cannot venture out upon an expedition unless one is dressed for it."

Lockhart grinned hugely. "Sir Hillary, I think we shall get along just fine."

The Sir Hillary's clothing turned out to be a crate in the back of the room, though not his supplies or weapons. To Hermione's amusement, the saurian adventurer turned out to have a pith helmet and a set of kacki's along with an honest to God monocle, which he insisted upon wearing.

"I must say my good sir, you have excellent taste," Lockhart declared. "I myself favore the more contemporary leather jacket, brimmed hat and denim jeans, but one should have an appreciation for the classics."

"Quite right, quite right," Sir Hillary agreed. He peered around, his snout twitching. "I don't suppose we have time for a spot of tea before we venture forth? Those lizards fed me nothing but water and raw meat. Most unappetizing."

"Why, we're British! There is always time for a spot of tea," Lockhart decreed.

They departed a few hours later upon Ramoth and the flying carpet. Sir Hillary turned out to be rather familiar with dragons, which he claimed were rather common in his world.

"Not quite as common as the pterosaurs you see, but those magical types do need them about for making their wands and such," Sir Hillary explained.

"Wow! I wonder what sort of wandlore dinosaurs have!" Hermione exclaimed.

"I haven't the faintest idea. I'm afraid I never had much interest in the subject," Sir Hillary admitted. "Though I imagine it's similar to what you mammals do."

They ended up needing to make camp in the jungle, where Hillary and Lockhart traded tales of derring do. Hermione rapidly wrote everything down in her ever expanding journal, while Constance grumbled about the damp. Ron, for his part, seemed happy just to be along for the ride, and stuck close to Hermione.

The arose early the next morning and flew to near the center of the amazon basin. There they found a large plateau, surrounded by swamps. "Yes, this is where my expedition crossed over into your world," Sir Hillary shouted over the wind. "I imagine that's where your own lost expedition went astray."

"Yes, that's the fabled 'Lost World,'" Lockhart agreed. "The muggles breached its defenses. We'll land at the main settlement and proceed from there."

As they flew closer, several people on brooms rose up to meet them. Upon seeing that they were riding on a dragon and a flying carpet, they waved and escorted the group down to the ground.

"Sorry everyone, the preserve is currently closed," one of the broom riders said when they had landed, hovering overhead. "Though we are glad you found and returned one of our lost dinosaurs. Those damned muggles have ruined everything."

Upon hearing this, Sir Hillary leapt up on top of Ramoth and glared at the rider. "I say, I'm not one of your missing menagerie, I'm Sir Hillary Clawsworth! I was leading an expedition into your world when one of your own kidnapped me! I'm here to return to my own world, and to help rescue that lot that somehow managed to get into mine."

"Santa Maria! It can talk?" the broom rider exclaimed, floating away and fumbling for a wand.

Sir Hillary made a clucking noise and shook his head. "Tut tut. No manners at all I tell you. Now, let me get my bearings, and I'll escort you lot to the portal sight."

"No! That's a restricted area!" the broom rider declared, pointing her wand at the party. "Just who are you people anyway?"

Lockhart, not to be outdone, jumped up beside Hillary on Ramoths back, much to the dragon's annoyance, though neither adventerer seemed to notice.

"Fear not my good madam, for it is I, Gilderoy Lockhart, Monster Hunter Extraordinar. I have come with my companion Constance Vigil and my apprentice Hermione Weasley and her minion Ronald."

"Not actually a minion," Ron called. "More of her boyfriend."

"Not actually a Weasley," Hermione shouted at the same time. "Just a family friend, though I do have aspirations to-"

"Gilderoy Lockhart?" the broom rider said skeptically, not lowering her wand at all. "Weren't you exposed as some sort of fraud?"

Lockhart hesitated, but Constance spoke up. "I can damn well tell you that this man fought and killed three nundu's with no one's help but mine and that of a veela warrior. He also fought and defeated Hernan Cortez and his army of vampires, as well as several other adventures (that have not been published and as such will not yet be discussed)."

"Three nundus?" the woman asked, hesitating. She looked to Lockhart, who nodded.

"I will swear it is so under veritaserum, if necessary."

"Well, as it happens, our last expedition through the portal hasn't come back, and we've been trying to figure out just want to do. I'll take you to Senior Auror Vasquez. He'll know what to do. Come along, this way."

The woman landed, and they followed her from the clearing to the village a short distance away. All around the village, a palisade had been erected, and aurors in robes with wands and crossbows were keeping guard. In the center of the village Hermione spied the skeleton of a large theropod which was on display, animated to move about and snap its jaw. There were several places to have your picture taken, along with two large hotels and several stalls with brightly painted signs of various knick knacks and souvenirs. All the shops were currently shuttered, and the hotels seemed mostly emptied.

"Ron, why didn't you ever tell me that the wizarding world has a dinosaur safari!" Hermione gasped, pointing to a sign that showed wizards on brooms hovering over a herd of various dinosaurs.

"Never really came up," Ron admitted. "I mean, what sort of vacation places to muggles have? We never talked about that."

"Well one can always go to the seaside or Disneyland. My parents took me to the one in Paris several times when I was younger," Hermione admitted.

Ron frowned. "What's a Disney, and why would you want to go to it's land? Is that one of the things Luna's always on about?"

"That's not important right now. Ron, we're going to get to see actual dinosaurs!" Hermione said, eagerly taking out her notebook. "Maybe I can ask Sir Hillary about their mating habits!"

"Awfully similar to yours when in the prepubescent form. Overly eager and prone to it when not adequately supervised," Sir Hillary said, not turning around to see the bright red faces of the two youths. "I really should have a word with Mr. Lockhart, as your caparone he really should be keeping a better eye on you."

"Hermione is a perfectly capable young woman; I am certain she can handle herself," Lockhart said dismissively as they approached a building with "AURORS" and crossed wands on a sign above it.

"I am rather certain the young man seems to be doing that for her," Sir Hillary said, shaking his head. "Young people these days: no sense of decorum whatsoever."

Inside the building they found only one harried looking man in stained aurors robes sitting on a chair with one leg propped up on a chair. The leg was comically tiny, looking as though it belonged to a small child instead of a full grown man.

"Senior Auror Vasquez, this is Gilderoy Lockhart and his companions. They've come to help us solve our little muggle problem. They, er, also have another one of those talking dinosaurs with them."

Lockhart bowed as Vasquez pursed his lips and eyed him skeptically. "Gilderoy Lockhart. I would kick you in the ass and boot you right out of my country, but at the moment I'm short a leg. Damn dinosaur bit it off and it's still growing."

Lockhart stiffened, then slowly straightened back up. "Ah. I take it you knew me in my previous life?"

"Previous life? I just remember you being here two years ago when you had that dust up with Cortez and his bloody coven of vampires. I wasn't on the case but we don't need that sort of trouble. The Obliviators were on the case for weeks trying to keep the muggles from realizing you'd essentially started World War Three while they were not looking."

Upon hearing this, Lockhart brightened considerably. "Ah, so you know me to be a competent hunter of fiends and a master adventurer."

"Yes, yes, I know those stupid rumors about you being a fraud," Vasquez said, making a throwing away gesture. "Thought you were one myself until you single handedly defeated a thousand year old Aztec blood god practically in my backyard."

"To be fair, I had a bit of help in that," Lockhart said in a rather modest tone. "Even one such as I cannot hope to operate completely independently."

"Hmph. Well, I suppose things here couldn't get much worse. The damned muggles keep on buzzing us with planes and helicopters looking for their missing expedition. Those idiots got some radio signals out before we lost all track of them and people know they found dinosaurs. We're trying to cover it up but not having much success. I suppose if we could get you to go through the portal and bring them or their remains back, that would solve our problems."

"That is what I am here to do," Lockhart declared, drawing himself up. "With my companions and our guide, Sir Hillary Clawsworth, we shall brave the portal and this strange new world and retrieve the muggles as well as your missing aurors."

Vasquez winced at that. "I'm afraid most of my aurors are dead, or worse. We encountered foes with powerful magics of their own on the other side of the portal. Things that look like your walking lizard there, except for- is that a monocle that thing is wearing?"

"I pray good sir, that you address me as either Sir Hillary or Mr. Clawsworth, as those are my names. I am neither a thing nor a lizard: you can refer to me as a dinosaur as long as I may refer to you as a mammal."

"Mãe de Deus it's british too," Vasquez said, sighing heavily. "Of course it is. Well, as loath as I am to let you let play the heroes, I've lost enough good aurors in this mess anyway. We'll point you in the direction of the portal, but you're on your own after that."

"We shall depart first thing in the morning," Lockhart promised. "For now I ask your permission to renew our stocks of supplies and find somewhere to rest. We've been traveling hard for days now, and it wouldn't do to set off unprepared lest we meet the same fate as those who have gone before."

"Very well. There are plenty of supplies in the hotel. I'll let the staff know you can take what you wish. You can bed down there as well. But I want you gone one way or another come morning. I believe the muggles have a saying for times like this: come back with your shield or on it, or not at all."

They left Vasquez to recover, and Ron poked Hermione. "How could you come back on a shield charm?"

"He's referring to the ancient Spartan custom of warriors returning from battle," Hermione answered. "They either were victorious and came back bearing their shields, or they came back injured or dead being carried on them. If they came back without their shield it means they ran like cowards, and were executed."

"Oh." Ron walked in silence the rest of the way to the hotel, where they found plenty of supplies for their expedition.

After that, they ate a quiet meal, then split up for their rooms. Sir Hillary and Lockhart each insisted upon getting their own room, and Constance informed the kids that "what you two get up to is none of my damn business" and went to the bar. Ron and Hermione chose a small corner room to share, then went to bed despite the early hour, exhausted from their days of hard travel.

"Hermione," Ron said quietly as they lay in bed together. "Do you think we'll come back?"

Hermione shifted in Ron's arms, taking his hands and squeezing them tightly. "I don't know. But this is the chance of a lifetime Ron. To see the ancient past, another world, powerful magics, there's so much we can learn. You don't want to turn back, do you?"

Ron was quiet, then nodded, pulling Hermione close. "As long as I'm with you, I think we'll be alright. Besides, we've come through a lot without much help from adults before. This time we have Lockhart and Professor Moo- I mean Constance and Sir Hillary. We'll be OK."

Hermione rolled over and smiled at Ron, putting a hand on his cheek. "Yeah." She leaned forward to fahufadpyuoFEPY REQ repyoRP YOUrpyuiRPYUrpyorwcp yrc yy

And screw you too Lockhart! Honestly. That scene would have been totally inappropriate for a T rated fic. No sense of drama my ass. Well, I might not have a stunner but Mr. Taser here works just fine. Get up! I'm taking over again.

I say, that is most improper! You're interrupting my tale just as things are getting interesting. You simply must let me finish.

Well I have a story to tell too! The one about the Weasley's fifth year. You know that's a good one. It's got action, comedy, romance, all the good stuff! I'm not getting rid of it just to stroke your ego.

Well, then it seems we must reach a compromise, for I suspect you no more wish to be stunned again than I do to be hit with that dreadful device you have. I propose this: we alternate chapters, working together.

That sounds stupid.

The alternative is that I make you forget your own name.

That sounds great! Alternating chapters it is then. I call dibs on the next one.

Very well. I shall go consult my notes for the next one. Farwell.

You can't see it, but I'm flipping Lockhart off as he leaves.