Hey friends and fans! Kairomaru is bringing you another chapter of Harry Potter and the Artificer Legacy! The Artifact House begins to take shape as Harry keeps working. Soon enough, the Potter Family will have a new Ancestral Home! Sirius and Marlie continue to plan their wedding, hoping to get married in the next few months. Time moves ever forward, and plans are made for the future. They can only hope that it'll be peaceful once everything settles down.

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Chapter 70 – Planning for the Future

The sound of wood being scraped filled the air at the building site of Harry's Artifact House. The Artificer was currently planing a cut of timber that he'd collected from the small forest that grew on the edge of the Potter Lands in Stinchcombe. The myriad of trees varied in age, but some of the oldest ones were easily a few centuries old and over the course of their lives they'd taken in quite a bit of Magic. That made their wood very strong, but also readily malleable to Harry's Magic and his magical tools.

"Hmm…" Harry ran his fingers over the wood, smiling when he found it smooth to the touch. "Just like I wanted." He smiled at his planer. The tool had been forged and inscribed with Runes to make it ridiculously good at its intended task, while also reducing the strength that Harry needed to exert to use it. "We'll use this wood for the front and back doors, the stairs and banisters, and the flooring in several of the rooms. I can even use wood to vault and support the ceilings and the roof." The idea of framing the windows with the wood and making balconies and railings on the outside of the house was in the plans too.

He'd already shaped tons and tons of stone for the walls. Leaving the rock ready to be built with, but also with a semi-natural look as well, since Fleur, Tonks, and Penny had all expressed their desire for a home that wasn't just a rigid, stone box. Harry wasn't so 'practicality focused' that he'd build their home from regular brick and blocks. No, the Artificer was more than happy to make a beautiful home, with many materials, and give it shape and contours beyond just flat walls and a forty-five degree angle on each side of the roof.

"Looks like everything is coming along well, Harry." Sirius chuckled as he walked over to the build site. He was dressed in a casual set of clothes with a traveling cloak over his shoulders. Autumn had set in now, and the air was starting to get a bit chilly.

"So far, so good." Harry said, giving his godfather a nod in greeting. "Once I finish up with this carpentry, then I'll be ready to start building up the ground floor."

"You said that you're going for a two-story building, if I recall correctly." Sirius looked over the gathered and prepared materials that harry had built up already.

"Yeah, but the house will have a few magical tricks and features all its own." Harry chuckled to himself, already having updated a few of his plans. Since the finished home would be a surprise for his girlfriends, he had a few things that he wanted to keep secret for now.

Sirius chortled and patted Harry on the back. "You wouldn't be Harry if your Artifact didn't surprise others and exceed all expectations."

Harry gave Sirius a wide smirk. "Why thank you."

The two held each other's gaze for a long moment before they both cracked up laughing.

"I take it Penny and Fleur were very happy about the library you have planned?" Sirius playfully nudged Harry with his elbow.

"A two-story library with an open design and enough storage to hold more books than anyone could ever hope to read." Harry laughed brightly as he levitated the finished wood over into the neatly ordered piles of other completed materials. "For Scholars like them, what's not to love, right?"

Sirius nodded sagely, making Harry snort, before he held out a few papers to Harry. "I came to ask you to look these over too." Sirius mentioned as Harry took the papers in hand.

"What's this?" Harry looked at what he'd been handed. "Having the ceremony at Wood End Cottage…that's nice." He smiled at Sirius warmly. "Was that Marlie's idea or yours?"

"We agreed on it." Sirius smiled happily. "We'll have the ceremony and the reception at home, that way there's no need to travel anywhere else. We're still deciding on the colors of the decorations and such. Marlie wants all sorts of blooming flowers since we're having a spring wedding. She's mentioned Daffodils, Bluebells, and even Wisteria…something about making a tunnel with the hanging flowers?"

Harry chuckled as he imagined the scenery. "And you'll make sure that she gets it all." He lightly ribbed his godfather.

"Of course!" Sirius put his fists on his hips and thrust out his chest, a ridiculously over-the-top expression on his face. "Whatever my Marlie wants on her wedding day, she gets!"

The two men cracked up laughing again a moment later.

"Care to have lunch, Harry?" Sirius offered with a grin. "We can hit up the Three Broomsticks, or the Leaky Cauldron, or a nice Non-Magical place, now that we don't have to hide." He lightly adjusted his traveling cloak to emphasize the lack of blending in he'd do in a Non-Magical establishment.

"That'd be brilliant." Harry stood up from the chair he'd been sitting in while working. He stretched a bit to loosen up and called his Storage Cloak to his hand wandlessly. "Anything you're craving in particular?"

"I thought about trying this curry dish that's from India. It's apparently popular in parts of London." Sirius smiled at getting to enjoy more time with his godson.

"Never had it. So it'll be a first for both of us." Harry smiled at Sirius, letting his godfather place a firm hand on his shoulder. With a twist and crack, Sirius side-along Apparated Harry to London, just inside of Diagon Alley so that they could leave through the Leaky Cauldron and find an Indian restaurant in the capital city.

-Kietamura ~ Arashiyama, Japan-

In a traditionally built village that would've looked more 'normal' a century or so prior, and that couldn't be found if one didn't know how, a Wizard from the Japanese Ministry was meeting with a person of some renown, though only to the more inquisitive of Japanese Magicals. What made this person so different from any other Witch or Wizard in Japan was the fact that he wasn't human.

No, in fact, Haineko Kenzo (Kenzo Haineko in the Western reading) was a magical cat. A Bakeneko or 'monster cat' spoken of in Japanese folklore, a type of yōkai. Kenzo was just over six hundred years old, having been born as a 'normal' cat back in the early Muromachi Period of Japan. After growing to an old age, his Magic had developed and his tail had greatly lengthened. He'd spent the next few decades learning human language and how to read, while pursuing the teachings of other older Bakeneko to get a handle on his Magic. With time came both knowledge and wisdom, and the now ancient cat was truly a master of various Magical Arts.

At the moment, Kenzo was in his preferred form, a humanoid body with the head and tail of a cat. He was wearing a nice forest green kosode and matching hakama, a relaxed and easy form of clothing for one capable of shapeshifting at will. The ancient Bakeneko gave the cat equivalent of a grin as he enjoyed a saucer of sake. The Wizard in front of him had come seeking an audience regarding the fall of the Statute of Secrecy.

"We're requesting the cooperation of all sapient magical beings in making sure that this time of reintegration goes smoothly, Haineko-san." The Wizard, Yamada Toshi, gave a short bow from his sitting position.

Kenzo chuckled lightly as he set his saucer down. "Did you think I'd do something malicious now that the secrecy has been torn away?" His gray ears flicked slightly and his long tail swayed across the tatami mat floor. "I'm not some dangerous monster that's just been waiting for a chance to strike, you know?"

"My apologies, that's not what I meant to imply." Yamada apologized with a deeper bow this time. "While many do not know of you, those of us that do are very aware of what a Bakeneko of your age and wisdom is capable of, Haineko-san."

"My, my…" Kenzo picked up his kiseru and packed it with his personal blend. With but a thought, a small flame appeared in the air above the bowl of the kiseru and ignited the dried leaves before disappearing. Kenzo took a drag from the kiseru before exhaling the smoke away from his visitor. "You have nothing to fear from me or any of the yōkai that live in this village of ours." He briefly motioned with his free hand. "But…" He feline yes narrowed slightly on the Wizard. "I know that's not all that you've come here for, correct?"

Yamada nodded in confirmation before speaking. "There have been reports from multiple trusted Divination experts that a great change is coming. We initially believed it to be the collapse of the Statute, however that has not quelled the predictions. While it is a massive change from the last three centuries, the experts have assured us that this 'great change' is still coming. I was tasked with asking if you, with your centuries of wisdom, might know what this change is supposed to be?"

Kenzo took another drag from his pipe, held it for a second, and then slowly exhaled the smoke off to the side again. "I don't make it a habit of looking into the goings on in the wider world." His tail swished across the floor. "But I've heard of the predictions. When the Onmyōji of the Asakura Clan have divined it, one should take heed."

"Yes, that's why the Ministry is worried, Haineko-san." Yamada nodded in agreement with the Bakeneko. "Would you happen to know any details beyond that this 'great change' is coming?"

"Perhaps…" Kenzo had a small grin on his cat face. "But are you telling me that your vaunted Ministry that can supposedly track Magic use, can't sense the changes in the world?"

"Changes, Haineko-san?" Yamada looked confused for a brief moment.

Kenzo poured himself another saucer of sake. "My, my, but you have let yourselves grow complacent in the last three centuries, haven't you." He chuckled at the situation the Ministry found itself in. "Not even able to notice the changes in the world anymore." He sipped at his sake for a moment. "Just check your own records, Yamada-san, you'll see the changes that I speak of if you look at the population of Magical beings and creatures over the last few centuries."

"Population records?" Yamada didn't normally deal with such things in the Ministry, it simply wasn't his department. "What does that have to do with this 'great change' though?"

"You'll confirm once you return, so I suppose I'll just tell you." Kenzo looked somewhat amused at the lack of knowledge. "The Magic in this world is fading and has been for centuries now. Less Magic in the world means less births for Magical Creatures, and lowered birthrates for Wizards and Witches as well." Yamada's eyes widened in shock. "Why do you think the Statute of Secrecy was put in place? Because the Non-Magical were a threat three hundred years ago?" The Bakeneko laughed loudly, exposing his fangs, before smirking at the Wizard. "Up until the refinement of their guns and more sophisticated weaponry, the Non-Magical were not much of a threat to even a shoddily taught Magical. Simple wards and charms could keep them from even finding the home or village of a Magical person. No, the Magical went into hiding because they couldn't keep their population up. Nowadays, even in the wealthy nations of the world, you'll find only a few thousand Witches and Wizards, correct?"

Yamada nodded, unable to speak as this information was revealed to him.

"The Magic wasn't nurtured, it began to fade, the populations began to decline." Kenzo shook his feline head before taking another sip from his saucer. "The restrictions placed on Magic use didn't help. The rounding up of Magical Creatures whose very existence would break the secrecy furthered the problem. After all, how many were killed in that time of trying to hide everything?" The Bakeneko let out a little snort. "In trying to hide the Magic, already seeing the loss of it starting, the various peoples of the world only hastened its fall."

"I-Is that what the 'great change' is? The loss of all Magic?!" Yamada felt like his heart had nearly stopped.

Kenzo flicked his tail lazily, a feline grin on his face. "Do you truly believe that the Magical of this world would just let that happen? Well, the ones that paid attention, at least." He took a short drag from his kiseru while Yamada composed himself. "The Magic isn't gone forever; it just needs to be…refreshed. Others have spent quite a while working to fix this problem that the vast majority of you didn't even seem to notice, even though you caused it."

"Who are these people that've been trying to fix the problem?" Yamada asked the ancient Bakeneko.

"That's not the question that you should be asking, Yamada-san." Kenzo shook his head before finishing off his saucer of sake. "I suggest you prepare yourself for quite the spectacle when it happens. None of us are likely to see such a thing again in our lives." He took another drag from his kiseru. "No one knows just what will happen, but it'll truly be a change far greater than a three hundred year old secret being exposed." Kenzo spoke, letting the smoke fill the air between him and Yamada.

"What are you…?" Yamada trailed off, blinking as he realized that he was sitting in seiza in the middle of the forest. There was not a trace of the old village anywhere around him now. It was as if where he'd been had never existed. With slow movements, Yamada stood up and then bowed to the empty forest in respect. The Wizard quickly Apparated back to the Ministry, knowing that once Kietamura (The Vanishing Village) disappeared it could only be found again when the yōkai within allowed it. Their Magic was different enough that the Ministry couldn't trace or break through the various spells that made the village appear and disappear like a spirit. He needed to tell his superiors what he'd learned from Kenzo as soon as possible.

-November ~ Potter Lands-

Harry was thankful for Warming Charms more than ever right now. The Artificer was finishing the walls of the first floor and would have the ceiling complete today. The fact that it was snowing would've been a major hindrance normally, but with some Magic, no snow fell on his build site at all. The air was a pleasant temperature, not too hot and not too cold, which allowed Harry to focus on his work.

"And the wall is done." Harry placed the last stone and poured his mana into the in-progress Artifact again. He felt his Magic intermingle with the growing pool of Magic that the Artifact had already built up. A few seconds later and what he wanted to happen, happened. The last stone, along with all of the walls of the ground floor, glowed just slightly with Magic and became one item. "Hah…" Harry exhaled happily, his work taking a large step today.

What he was doing was not taught to him from any book, nor was it mentioned in any circles among Enchanters or Artificers. This was the furthering of his own unique style of Artifice. Whereas an Artifact normally only became a single 'whole' when it was completed, the various effects imparted to the creation through runic arrays and circuit lines, making the new Artifact vastly more durable than any Enchanted Object. What Harry was doing was quite literally fusing Magic and Material together as one!

There was no need for circuit lines, every part of the Artifact was one and the same, all of the structure carried with it the same array and the same abilities. The Orichalcum core in the basement was now one with the stone around it, the floor above it, the walls, the windows, the soon-to-be-made ceiling, everything. As he continued to build, he'd add the new portions to the Artifact until it was complete, fusing the Magic with the Material to create something never seen before.

"Woo…" Harry exhaled as he levitated the first carved wooden beam into place for the ceiling. "If only it wasn't so mana-intensive to do this… I'd make faster progress." It was true though. Harry's new process took quite a lot of mana to make it work, along with a perfect understanding of the process of his own unique brand of Artifice. "I still have the swimming pool and the smithy to add to this once the house itself is built." His plans for their home would ensure that everything on the Potter Grounds would be protected and maintained. He wanted his future family to have whatever they might need, so he continued to work, pouring his mana and his sweat into creating the perfect home for his family.

Such was the nature of a labor of love.

-Cape Town, Central Business District ~ South Africa-

"Guh!" A man hit the floor, blood flying through the air. Strangely, nothing had touched him to cause the grievous laceration across his chest. He struggled to breathe as the deep injury refused to stop bleeding.

"You should've given me the money when I asked for it." The man that had caused the dying man's injury, as well as the one responsible for the twelve other bodies lying around the building, told the injured man. With a wave of his hand, the safe in the room unlocked itself and all the money inside quickly shrank down and disappeared into a small bag the Wizard was holding out.

With his job done, the Wizard turned on his heel and vanished with a crack of Apparation.

Truly, the fall of the Statute of Secrecy had been no hindrance to many Witches and Wizards across the world. Crimes, especially in the Non-Magical world, were ridiculously easy to pull off with Magic. Many criminal enterprises where made up of Wizards and Witches that used their Magic to make themselves wealthy. The Statute hadn't stopped these criminal Witches and Wizards in the past, and now that it was gone, it only emboldened them further.

Areas that were notable for crime, both violent and not, had always been a draw for the criminal elements in Magical Society, as it was usually easy to hide from the eyes of a Magical Government. With the various Magical Governments in the world currently stretched thin trying to deal with reintegration, crimes in places that were already well known for it couldn't be investigated.

Cape Town, South Africa was known to be a dangerous place, and criminal Magicals were now striking out to form their own organized crime groups. Without people like Aurors around to stop them, it was child's play to take money, goods, materials, and anything else they wanted form the Non-Magical criminals to get themselves started. The future for several areas like this around the world didn't look good, as once the other criminals were out of the way, the Magical Criminals would have free run of all the crime-heavy areas.

For every place that was having success with reintegration between Magical and Non-Magical, there were other places that were either failing, or outright promoting the schism between the two sides. Neither side was innocent in these incidents either, the bad would fight the bad and whoever came out on top would be everyone else's problem afterwards. Such was the way of things when greed and violence met within humanity.

-New York City, United States-

A woman approached a graffiti-covered wall in an alleyway. With a tap of her wand against a specific point, the graffiti wavered away to reveal a metal door. The Witch knocked on it and a second later a small viewport slid open.

"The fuck do you want?" A gruff male voice questioned the woman.

"Mike." The Witch answered sharply.

"Who're you?" The man on the other side of the door demanded.

The Witch nearly sighed. "It's Jessica, you fucking moron."

"Oh, why didn't you say so?" The man asked and a heavy 'thud' was heard as the metal door was opened for the woman. Jessica entered the hidden shop and as the door was closed behind her, the Ward made by the Magical Graffiti reappeared and made the door look like part of the wall again.

An invention of the Wizards and Witches of the United States, Magical Graffiti took advantage of the boom of graffiti that had started in the 1960's and then spread across the country. Seemingly everywhere you went, one could find graffiti of some kind. The styles varied from artist to artist and region by region, but the simple fact of the matter was that you could see graffiti anywhere in the States and most people wouldn't bat an eye at it. The Magicals had seen this and quickly used it to their advantage, using special paints and symbols hidden within the designs, a variety of simple Wards and Charms could be placed without the need of long strings of runic sequences. Obscuration had been easy to spread for the Wizards and Witches of the States over the last decades. Even the No-Maj's locomotive shipping routes had been commandeered up to a point by the Magicals of the United States, most train cars were absolutely covered with graffiti, making them easy targets for Obscuration and Confounding Wards. Large shipments of potions ingredients, magical items, and even the occasional group of Magical Creatures had been shipped by rail across the country without a single No-Maj ever realizing it.

"Mike, where do you find these idiots?" Jessica questioned as she got to the counter.

Behind the counter, Mike, looked over at Jessica with a smile. "Around." Seeing the Witch rolling her eyes at him, Mike moved on. "So, what'd ya need, Jess?"

"The fucking Aurors are snooping around my shop. I wanted to ask you to hold on to a few things for me until the heat dies down." Jessica patted her purse that was hung over her shoulder by a long strap.

"Depends on what it is." Mike eyed the purse curiously. "I'm not taking the fall for you if you've gotten mixed up with some bad shit."

Jessica scoffed at him. "I'm not the one with ties to the Magical Mob, remember?"

Mike laughed at her comeback before motioning her to put what she wanted him to hold onto the counter.

"Re'em Blood, Crystal Dust, and Lethe River Water." Jessica put the three items on the counter.

"Woo~" Mike whistled at the items. "There's no way you got these legally." He locked eyes with Jessica. "Who were you trying to mindfuck with this combination of ingredients?"

"No one, I just have some regulars that happen to enjoy one of my original potions." Jessica answered simply, not ashamed of making brews that got Witches and Wizards high.

Mike snorted out a laugh at her words. "Yeah, well, keep doing what you're doing then. It's the same price as last time."

"I know, you greedy ass." Jessica placed twenty-one Dragots on the counter. "I'll be back in a week to pick them up."

"Right, right…" Mike waved his wand over the coins, making sure they were real, before he swiped them all into a Mokeskin Pouch which disappeared into his pocket a second later. "Have you tried introducing your stuff to the No-Maj's yet?"

"No, why?" Jessica raised an eyebrow at Mike.

Mike chuckled for a second. "Turns out No-Maj junkies are loving some of the shit we can make, and I'm talking the easy stuff we learned back in class at Ilvermorny. Cheering Draughts are apparently a favorite already."

"Really now?" Jessica had always been a deft hand at Potions. "Thanks for the info." She tossed another Dragot his way.

"Careful though." Mike warned her as he caught the coin. "The Aurors are already teaching the police what to look for when it comes to potions and shit. If you get caught, you'll find yourself in trouble and heading to prison for sure."

Jessica waved over her shoulder as she headed for the door. "I'm not dumb enough to get caught. That's why I pay you, remember?"

"See you in a week, Jess." Mike called out to the Witch just before she left his illegal shop. "The fall of the Statute of Secrecy is gonna be the biggest money-making opportunity in the country's history." The Wizard laughed to himself as he took the three ingredients and safely stashed them in a hidden safe within the backroom of his shop.

-Gringotts-

A short Goblin entered Ragnok's throne room and kneeled before the Goblin King.

"Speak." Ragnok ordered, drinking Fire Whiskey from a golden goblet inlaid with gemstones.

"My King, the tunnels have reached the edge of the Muggle underground and various access points throughout London." The short Goblin informed Ragnok.

"Good." Ragnok let the word slip out between his pointed teeth. "What of our weapons and armor?"

"The forge is hard at work, my King." A different Goblin kneeled down to speak. "We anticipate resistance from the Muggles and the Wizards, so protections are being imbued into everything."

Ragnok nodded to the kneeling Goblin. "How much longer?"

"The best estimate is late spring, my King." The kneeling Goblin told Ragnok, visible tremors of fear moving through his body.

CRASH

A rough and wicked-looking sword slammed into the stone right in front of the kneeling Goblin, stabbing into the rock and splitting it easily.

"Tell them to hurry up!" Ragnok roared out, making the smaller Goblin rush out of the throne room to fulfill his order. "Bring me more meat and alcohol!" The Goblin King bellowed, the rest of the smaller Goblins running out of the room to get the King what he wanted. Ragnok held out his hand and the wicked sword leapt from the stone and into his grip. "Everything of value will be mine!"

The intrinsic greed of a Goblin didn't lie in swindling people out of their money or valuables. No, it was much simpler than that. Goblins desired all of value which they didn't already possess. Gold, Silver, Gemstones, Weapons, Treasures of any and all kind that had intrinsic value. Sentimentality was meaningless to a Goblin, if an item wasn't of worth, then they couldn't care less about it. This was what had long led to Goblins stealing and swindling riches from others.

In the past, this had gotten them in a lot of trouble. But a Goblin would honor the words of an agreement made with them. It was why they'd eventually gained a modicum of trust from the Wizards and Witches. The Goblins had managed to convince the Wizards that they'd be better and more honest about keeping their riches and treasures safe than the Dwarves. The fact that they'd been willing to work for far less than the Dwarves and accepted the blatant disrespect that they were shown had sold the Witches and Wizards, ever sure of their superiority, on the idea and, within a generation, the Dwarves that had lived on the isles of Britain had been shoved to the very fringes of society. The Goblins had taken over the Dwarven caverns under King Gringott, Ragnok's ancestor, without even having to fight for them!

It was only years later that the Goblins began to reveal their true nature. Their greed started small, in the form of higher fees for certain transactions and services. Then came the contracts and the taking of wealth from the foolish Wizards that hadn't read the contracts carefully enough. This had gotten some pushback from the Wizards and Witches, which the Goblins had naturally argued against, stating they were just following the contract as written. Inevitably, the Wizards had begun putting pressure on the Goblins, trying to 'remind them of their place' which had led to the first Goblin Rebellion. A glorious time for Goblinkind as they killed and pillaged with impunity among the Magicals. They were eventually quelled, the lack of wands made their Magic less powerful than a wand-wielding Witch or Wizard, especially a well-trained one. But the Goblins had gotten a taste for war and bloodshed once again, and so, they continued to take the wealth and valuables they could over time, and would rebel when the Wizards eventually pressured them for the extortionist policies and contracts that Gringotts was using.

This same cycle had been going on for centuries now, but because of the Statute of Secrecy, the Goblins had been limited to who they could pillage from. If they set one foot into the Muggle world, the entire ICW would come down on their heads, and the Gringotts Goblins knew that they wouldn't survive. Thus, they bided their time, waiting for the day when they could take all of the wealth that had ended up in Muggle hands as well. Everything was for treasure and wealth, for bloodshed and battle. Now that the Statute of Secrecy was no more, the horde only needed time to prepare before they'd take everything that they could.

"We'll kill all who get in our way, Wizard, Witch, Muggle, Dwarf, all will fall and their treasures will be ours." Ragnok rumbled out as he planted his wicked sword into the floor next to his throne. The short Goblins that had left earlier were returning to the throne room, carrying platter piled high with meat and booze for their King.

Many future plans were being made across the world as the discord from the collapse of the Statute of Secrecy still reverberated across the globe. Most of these plans had nothing to do with each other in the slightest. But the biggest plan that would cause the biggest change, was still unknown to all but a few.

-End Chapter-

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Harry keeps working on his Artifact House!

It's really starting to come along now! And Harry has reached a new level above his own original style of Artifice! Fusing Magic with Material during construction removes the need for circuit lines! That makes the entire Artifact more simplified and stronger! It also saves space, since circuit lines can't touch in certain ways, just like electronic circuitry. So, I'm sure Harry will definitely be exploring this even further in the future!

The plans of the world are varied and numerous, but some are far more benign than others. Parts of the world are holding together, while others start to fall apart.

The Japanese Ministry, thanks to connections with skilled Onmyōji that are masters of Divination, have gotten a hint that the 'great change' was not the Statute of Secrecy falling! Asking an old Bakeneko for an answer has provided the root cause of the upcoming change, but not what it is!

What will the foreseeable future hold for Harry and Family?

Keep reading to find out!

Current Mana Levels

Harry – 35,362

Tonks – 27,198

Penelope – 22,536

Fleur – 22,744

Until I get your reviews, later!