Author's Note: Alright, this chapter is done. This chapter is edited By Ann.
#…# Jor-El is talking
Harry walked to the palace covertly, using his X-ray vision to help him. So far everything was according to his plan. No one had found him yet.
His eyes stopped on a wall in a throne-like room. His vision didn't work. It couldn't penetrate the wall and looked beyond it, as if there was something blocking it. The only thing able to block his vision was lead, at least according to Jor-El. Looking around, he noticed that only the section of wall in directly in front of him had lead. As he explored, he discovered that the lead created a square box, which he suspected as a hidden room.
He knew that there were hidden rooms in buildings like this, but what he didn't understand was why the ancient Chinese built a room with lead-lined wall? It was as if the one who built it knew about the weakness of the Kryptonian race's vision.
The wizard walked to the front wall of the hidden room and touched it. To his surprise the wall opened like magic. Now this made him even more curious and anxious. After all, if the builder didn't want any Kryptonian to see what was inside, then why was he able to open it just by touching the damn wall. This defeated the purpose.
The answer came to him when the door opened fully. Green kryptonite stones were facing him dead on, placed on the eyes of a doll wearing a Chinese traditional garb.
It was a trap!
Harry stepped back to a safe distance. In this time like this he was thankful of not being a full blooded Kryptonian. Jor-El told him that he assumed that he wasn't as influenced as a half Kryptonian that had human and Kryptonian as parents, since he was a being of a combination of full blooded Kryptonian and full blooded Earthian. At least that was what he assumed considering there was no natural half Kryptonian. The fact that he was also a half blood (even it was of unnatural cause) as Kryptonian made him laugh. As Harry James Potter, he too was a half blood. As an unnatural half blood he wouldn't be affected for another 5 minutes, 3 minutes if the stone was right beside him and a minute if he had the stone on his hand, until it hit him full force.
He had experimented with it. After all he had to know his limit. He couldn't ask for another's help, because he didn't want anyone to know his weakness. So he learned how to make portkeys, especially timed portkeys. He was curious whether continuous contact with green kryptonite would make him immune or have better resistance to its effects, but he hadn't experimented. He was experimenting to find a magical solution to reduce or eliminate the stone's influence on him. During his experiments he found that he had longer resistance when he was outdoors than indoors. With Jor-El, Harry concluded that the sunlight not only activated his abilities also gave him a better resistance with the green kryptonite.
Jor-El told him that he was crazy to do these experiments to begin with, but admitted reluctantly that they did have their use. During Jor-El's stay on Earth no Kryptonians ever thought of doing this kind of experiment as it was bad for their health
Harry looked at the kryptonite stones.
Well, trap or no, he had to risk it to try to get the stone. He took a small lead box he had prepared for situation like this from his shrunken trunk and levitated it to a position right beneath the doll. Flicking his wand, the lid of the lead box opened. Harry next levitated the kryptonite doll eyes carefully from the doll and to the metal box. After he did it, he closed the lid, still via magic. When he thought it was safe, he entered the room cautiously, wary of springing a trap. He took the case from the ground.
"Kal-El," he hissed in parseltongue, and the metal case was locked. It was the password he used for the box. The only one able to open it beside him was Voldemort and the word held no meaning for him. He put the lead box in his trunk, not wanting to leave the dangerous stones where they could be used later to harm him.
Standing up, he stared at the doll's garb, particularly at its pattern. It was similar to the map of the area. He took his map from his pocket and compared them. The pattern on the clothes was indeed similar with the drawing in the parchment, but there was a difference. Like the fact that it was more detailed. Unlike his parchment, the river in the map looked a bit like…a tree branch in the garb.
He blinked and looked back and forth between the parchment on his hand and the clothes in front of him. A memory of the drawing of the tree of life carved on the gate of the weird old man's house flashed through his eyes.
Was this the answer he was looking for?
He looked up when he heard footsteps and shouts heading his way. He wondered if they knew there was an intruder and if they did how they knew about it. Were they the ones who set up the trap? Could they have possibly placed cameras? They would know his face and some of his abilities!
He should've thought of it before barging into this place!
Panicking, Harry ran away, using his super speed for his escape. He exited the palace and ran to the front gate. According to the map, if he was right in reading it this time, the tree should be planted outside the palace, where he could see the palace front gate. With his super speed and exceptional sight it wouldn't be much of a problem.
He found the tree 20 seconds later. The tree looked like the picture on the doll's clothing with some differences. Well, he couldn't expect the tree stay the same after years. He was relieved to see the tree wasn't cut down. He thought that it was incredibly stupid to use a tree as a landmark. The young man approached it when he froze in his tracks. The room was a trap, he didn't know if it was built by the ancient Chinese or the recent people, and he was worried if it was another trap.
What the hell, it wasn't like he would feel the effect of the green kryptonite anytime soon. Providing it was the trap, of course. He dug into the ground and quickly found himself staring at a piece of green kryptonite. This time it was carved into a statue shaped as a man riding a horse.
This was truly getting old.
He found himself 20 meters from the tree a second later. "Well…that went well," he muttered sarcastically. "That is sure as hell not one of the stones of knowledge," he turned to the hovering holo ball who kept quiet for so long. "Any idea?"
#It's indeed not a stone of knowledge, but what inside it, is# Harry whipped his head towards the hologram.
#You heard me. There is a stone of knowledge inside the statue. Destroy the statue!#
"How did you know there is a stone of knowledge inside, anyway?"
The hologram turned around and glared at his 'son'. #There was a reading of energy that matched the stone of knowledge.#
"And you didn't tell me about it because of this because?"
#Because you didn't ask. And no, you can't ask me to find the rest of the stones, because I can only get readings when it's nearby, 5 meters at least, the energy the stones emit is very faint#
Grumbling, Harry cut the statue cleanly with his wand. A medal fell out of the crack. Harry summoned the medal to his hand. It was banded by metal similar to his spaceship material and it also had the same insignia.
#One of the stones of knowledge. Well done, my son# Jor-El appeared to be mightily smug, but Harry didn't even glance at him. Harry put the stone of the box in his trunk that contained his photo album other important things to him like his parents' letter. He did the same thing to the Kryptonite statue as with the green kryptonite he found on the hidden room.
"Let's get the hell out of this place," he turned off the holo ball and ran out of the area as fast as he could when he saw some soldiers had exited the enormous building.
Harry didn't care if there was a camera catching his face anymore. The only thing he could think of this time was to escape.
A month later Harry was in his apartment in Rome, working on his computer. Months of staying in Japan gave him incentive to learn about this device and how to operate it. Jor-El also recommended it to him, telling him it might be a useful ability, no matter how primitive it was compared to the Kryptonian knowledge. Harry rolled his eyes when he heard that comment.
Right now he was working on a website he was trying to create. He had been working on this project for 3 weeks. He had to learn html, how to edit pictures, and how to transfer files to his account. Furthermore he didn't want to ignore his other studies.
He had put his baby photo with his twin, each of them wearing clothes with their family crest drawn on them. He had to finish 'aging' Kal's face and put it on the site to consider it done completely. Problem was all babies looked almost alike and it was difficult to say whether the result was accurate or not. It would be easier if he had Kal's photo as a teenage. The wizard almost gave up when another try was failed.
"It's not working," he snapped. Beside him the holo ball hovered. Jor's image was looking at the computer screen.
#Perhaps you shouldn't put your twin's possible face there# he muttered as he stared at the Kryptonian writings on the unfinished website.
Harry frowned. "Why?"
#You had put up your photo as babies, there are the Kryptonian alphabets, and of course our family crest. Kal was sent near the Kawatche cave, so he should've known about Krypton already, providing he entered the cave, of course. And his spaceship had El's family crest too like yours#
"…So?" he still didn't get it.
#So we should make the site to be understood only by your brother!# Jor stared at him as if he was an idiot for even asking about it. #We don't know if during all these years there is someone who find about Krypton or see our alphabets. And I don't plan to make it easier for people like them. If the photo of your brother is accurate, you'll just make his life difficult!#
"Gee, have anyone ever told you 'paranoid much'?" Harry grumbled. "Fine I won't put it up. But if we do that we're just relying in the hope that Kal finds out he's a Kryptonian."
#Just as the fact we rely on the hope that he will try to find about his origin via internet# Jor pointed out.
"Fine, you miserable old coot!" Harry gritted his teeth.
#Respect your father, Rei# the hologram's face was frowning.
"You're not my father, only his image. And just what kind of father trying to make his son conquer a planet anyway?"
Over a thousand miles away, Lionel Luthor sneezed right into Lex's face when they were just 'talking'. Lex glared at him for a moment before he took a handkerchief and wiped his face. The older man found it a bit funny, shrugging and smiling at his annoyed son, who gave him another glare and exited the office, slamming the door as hard as he could.
#A good father who wants the best for his son and the race of this primitive planet. They need guida—#
"Oh, no, no, no, no, we have talked and argue about it numerous times and I have heard enough," his hand grabbed the ball as he intended to turn it off.
#Just because not everything goes to your way, you can't—# the holo ball dropped to the floor with a clanging sound and the hologram dispersed. Harry sighed in relief and went back to his work.
0-0 0-0 0-0
Neville was staring at Hermione who was busy reading in the common room, oblivious to the chaos around her. People were shouting and panicking as they were packing for the end of term.
"Hermione, have you finished packing?" the girl looked up when she heard her name being called.
"I don't need to pack, Neville," she turned a page of her book and focused her attention back to it.
"What?" the shy boy was surprised.
"I'm staying in Hogwarts for another 2 weeks."
"Two weeks? What will you do here?"
"I have to pass my exam," she told him without looking at his face.
"…Your exam? But exams are finished?"
"Sixth year exams are, but my exams have just started," she said, adding to Neville's confusion.
"Huh? But you did the same exam with us."
"I'm sitting my NEWTs early."
"WHAT?" Ron who had been eavesdropping cried out, at the same time, but louder than Neville. Both Gryffindors turned their heads to Ron.
"What do you mean by that?" he asked frantically.
"Yes, Hermione. And is it really allowed?"
"It's allowed, Neville. And my reason is simple. I have the knowledge I need to complete my exams this year, so why waste another year if I can do other more important things? I want to be able to catch up with my muggle education. It's sadly lacking, and no matter how much I studied during my spare time and summer, I felt that it's not up to standard."
"My standard, Ron."
"But Hermione, you'll burn yourself out if you study all the time, just like what happened in third year!"
"Exactly. That's why I have to get out of Hogwarts and catch up with my muggle education. I don't want to fail when I enter a muggle university.
"B-But you don't need muggle education! You're the brightest Hogwarts student!" Neville nodded in agreement with the red head.
"Perhaps, Ron. But that isn't going to help me much when I try to find a job in wizarding world. You probably don't realize it, but muggleborns have difficulties acquiring work in Britain. There are still too many prejudices," she didn't tell him that with her marks, she would be able to get work easier. By now their conversation had attracted many spectators, half of which were muggleborns, who looked concerned and worried.
"What about halfbloods?" the three whipped their heads in surprise when Dean Thomas asked Hermione.
"Uh…well their situation isn't as bad as the muggleborns', especially now that there are more halfbloods and muggleborns than purebloods.
"B-but why do the muggleborns have harder time?" a second year girl asked her timidly.
"Well obviously halfbloods have more connections in the wizarding world. And because the system of Britain's magical government is practically controlled by purebloods and sadly many of them are purists." By now Hermione's mind was focused on answering the questions, Ron and Neville were forgotten.
"You said 'Britain's magical government'," a third year pointed out. "What about the other countries?"
"Well…I'm not really sure. I haven't really researched this yet. But I read that some European countries have the same systems as Britain.
"What about America? Australia?" a brown haired fifth year girl asked.
Hermione tapped her chin, her face was set in 'study' mode. "According to history, the current witches and wizards in those countries were descendants of British people and other Europeans who were fed up with this political system, so I guess…" she trailed off unsurely.
"Can we change schools?" the same girl asked. There were hushed whispers in the Gryffindor common room.
"..Um," Hermione was sweating. She didn't intend to make them trying to change their school or anything by having this conversation. And she surely didn't want to be blamed if an exodus of students happened. She better complete her exams quickly and get the hell out of Hogwarts as soon as possible.
It was bad enough it was awkward between her and McGonagall after Hermione refused the Professor's offer of apprenticeship and recommendation in exchange for Hermione continuing to her seventh year, but to actually being the one behind the muggleborns' decisions to change schools? She shuddered.
"Don't you like Hogwarts?" another girl asked.
"Well, I do, Tracy. But you have to understand, I have to start thinking of my future. It's not like I'm going to be married right after I graduate, and could rely on my husband's income," she reasoned. The crowd began debating with each other.
"Uh…I better get going," Hermione said to the students who were talking to each other now and took her books, exiting the room. None of the students except Ron and Neville noticed this as the other students were too busty arguing among themselves.
Ron looked at Neville and received a nod and a tap in the shoulder as encouragement from the teen. The red head quickly followed her.
"HERMIONE, WAIT UP!" Ron called. Hermione stopped walking and turned around.
"What is it, Ron?"
"Listen, I know that I'm not being a good friend to you this year," he ignored her snort. "But you can't go away just because of that!"
"Why do you think that it has anything to do with you?" she saw his sceptical look. "Alright, perhaps you have a part on my decision," he almost said something when she beat him to it. "But even if you're a good friend to me, I'll still go anyway." The Weasley male winced when she put an emphasis on the word 'if'.
The youngest male in the Weasley family was silent. "If Harry was here, would you go away?"
"Harry isn't with us. He's gone. And I think it's my time to leave too. Each of us has our separate paths."
"Yes, but our paths always crossed each other!" he said vehemently.
"You're right. But those were before this. It doesn't mean it will stay the same. Who knows what our future will bring?" She walked away.
"I won't be able to prevent you, will I?" She stopped.
"You're right, Ron," Ron gave her a bleak smile. "It's time for us to part."
"Only for a little while. We'll meet again. I'm sure of it."
"Don't hold your hopes too high or you'll plummet," she advised.
Ron grunted. "Tell Harry 'hi' for me, will you!" he smirked when she jerked.
"If you can have a secret, I think I can have it too, don't I?" he gave her a raised eyebrow. "Don't judge a book by its cover!"
Her open mouth changed into a smile. "I thought your book was all about Quidditch," she joked, earning a death glare.
Ron sighed and offered her a hand.
"What's with the hand?" Hermione broke the mood, making the red head roll his eyes.
"It's called shaking hands," he muttered irritably.
"I know that, Ron," she laughed and accepted his hand.
He snorted. "Well, I guess it's a good bye. The Gryffindor Trio is no more, but its members will meet again. Good luck, Hermione."
"Thanks. Good luck to you too, Ronald," the teen in question rolled his eyes at his name. "I think I'll need all the blessing with the whole Harry thing."
"Yeah, he can be handful sometimes," Ron chuckled.
"Only sometimes?" she inquired.
"Okay…most of the time," he admitted. "Take care of yourselves, will you? And don't forget to contact me!" He watched her walk away.
"I'll try, Ron. But no promises!" she shouted.
"That's all I need to hear!" Ron went back to the common room.
"She's leaving, isn't she?" Neville asked him.
Ron nodded. "She is. But it's not over yet. It's just a beginning," Ron patted his shoulder and walked to his dorm. "And it's also the beginning of my packing," he grunted, thinking of the mess of his bed.
Neville just laughed and shook his head.
About the whole Draco Malfoy thing, it will be explained in the next chap.