Wild Magic

Ranma 1/2, Slayers, Harry Potter, and any other series used in this fanfic are owned by their respective creators/publishers/whatever

Thanks to CyberSkaarj and the people of Fukufics for pre-reading.

"Speech"

'Thoughts'

Chapter 18

Ranma glanced around as she made her way down the stairs from the astronomy tower. Her body was hidden underneath the invisibility cloak, and her mind was centering on a thought. She realized that she didn't really need the cloak due to the stealth abilities that she already had, but a part of her found that having such an item in her -- temporary -- possession was too good of a chance to pass up. Besides, with the cloak, she didn't need to concentrate on pulling her energy inward like she did with the umisenken. 'I wonder how they create something like this. I'll have to ask Dumbledore about it sometime.' Ranma's mind had drifted off towards other things. 'Maybe I can have a little fun while I have this thing.'

With an invisible smirk at the idea of creating a bit of mischief to liven up everyone's lives a little more, Ranma silently crept along. Her feet were making no sound at all. She didn't really know what to do first, but decided to just walk around until something came to mind. The only things of interest were a bunch of snoring paintings and a yawning suit of armor. She even caught quick glimpses of a house elf here and there. It was more like a split second image before disappearing. It was also the same thing with a few of the ghosts that lived in the castle, except they lingered around for a couple of moments before moving through the next wall.

Ranma's ears suddenly twitched as she caught the faint sound of somebody talking from somewhere in the hallway that she was currently in. Following her ears, Ranma homed in on the speech and finally came to a closed door. Quietly, she phased through the door a little and caught sight of Professor Quirrell with a look of concentration on his face. "When do we strike, master?" The turban-wearing man wasn't stuttering at all. "I know you want to get rid of the Potter boy soon. Why can't we make it look like an accident of some kind?" The man's eyes seemed to glaze over, and after a moment, he gave a quick nod. "I agree with that. There's a possibility that he would be needed for your plans, and just outright killing him wouldn't be satisfying." The man's expression turned thoughtful. "You are also right that the Malfoy girl could be a problem. She just seems to know too much for her own good."

'You'd think this idiot would be more careful about talking out loud.' Ranma thought before a frown settled upon her lips. It sounded like they were attempting to plot something against her, and Ranma was curious about it all.

"But master, knocking her off of a railing wouldn't work because she could fly." Quirrell stated back with a face scrunched up in thought. "That would be hard to do as well. She's just too weird and freakish for normal means." That comment caused Ranma's eyes to narrow. Quirrell's mouth broke into a smirk. "True, that's something that could work really well on someone as beastly as her."

Ranma's fists clenched and almost caused her fingernails to dig into her palms. Was she just going to stand there and allow him to plot peoples' downfalls and talk about her behind her back? Before she could stop herself, a growl had escaped from her and alerted the turban-wearing man that there was something in the room with him. Quirrell cautiously pulled out his wand and scanned the room for any signs of a possible intruder. Seeing as how she probably wasn't going to find out anything else from the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher now, Ranma decided to go, although she didn't really want to leave without a little going away present. Raising her hand with her palm facing upwards, Ranma cast the lighting spell and creating a small ball of light that seemingly hovered in the air.

"W-- what's that?" Quirrell suddenly asked with a little nervousness behind his voice. Without answering, the small white ball seemed to slowly float towards the man until it was a few inches from his face. Quirrell was at a complete loss of what to do, and that was fine by Ranma. Upon willing it, the ball exploded into a sea of blinding light that caused Quirrell's eyes to sear with pain. "GAAAAAHH!!!" He shouted as he stumbled backwards. Ranma took that as her cue to leave the room before anybody came. She did, however, take one last look and watched as Quirrell rubbed his eyes and cursed about lights and his eyes.

'Well that made me feel better.' Ranma thought as she walked through the door. She had to jump out of the way because of the caretaker -- Mr. Filch -- almost plowing her down to open door. 'Jeez, that was close. He almost ran into me.' Ranma watched as Filch mentioned about how he was walking by and heard Quirrell's scream.

"It must have been that wretched Peeves!" Filch shouted with a clenched fist after learning of the floating orb of light. He wasn't sure how, but he was certain that it was most likely the apparition's fault. "If only I could get my hands on him!"

Feeling as if it would be a good time to leave, Ranma silently made her way away from the scene and started heading down the floors. It was only a few moments before Ranma felt the need to use the restroom. Since she was now on the second floor, she figured that a meeting with Moaning Myrtle was inevitable. Sure, she would sob and get uppity -- sometimes due to a little foot in mouth from the redhead, -- but the ghost wasn't really as bad as most said. If you could get past the constant wailing, that is. In fact, Ranma's ears were picking up the telltale sounds of whining at that very moment. 'Wonder what it is about this time.' Ranma thought with a slight frown as she entered into the restroom.

"Aww, poor widdle Moaning Myrtle." Ranma groaned inwardly when she heard the voice of Peeves. She then saw the poltergeist floating upside down and holding the door open to one of the stalls to taunt the ghost girl in the stall. "Always stuck in the restroom weeping your eyes out." Peeves proceeded to give off an evil little cackle. Myrtle's wailings only proceeded to get louder.

Sighing to herself, Ranma walked a little ways towards the two and stopped. The invisibility cloak was still wrapped around her as she glanced between the poltergeist and the sobbing and moaning ghost. An invisible smirk played across her lips as she decided to intervene. "So the freak likes to pester you as well, eh?" The two spiritual beings stopped what they were doing and glanced around. Myrtle wasn't sobbing or moaning anymore, but she was sniffling a little.

"How dare you, whoever you are, interrupt my late-night fun?" Peeves asked in annoyance as he attempted to locate the one who interrupted him. The voice sounded familiar, but he couldn't place it.

The voice ignored the poltergeist, and both specters were aware that the voice was directed towards Myrtle. "Would you like me to do something about him?"

"S-- sure." Myrtle replied with a little unease. She may have been a ghost, but even ghosts were a little unnerved to be spoken to by an unknown disembodied and invisible voice.

Peeves chuckled a little bit. "Whoever you are, what do you plan on do-- HEY!" The poltergeist soon found his nose grabbed by a hand. He then watched as Ranma lowered the cloak and gave him a catty smirk before turning him around, letting go of his nose, and giving him a swift kick -- charged with some electrical magic -- in the rear towards the door. "STAY OUT OF THE GIRLS' LOO, YA FREAK!" As Peeves made several curses on his trip through the door, Ranma clapped her hands together as if she was dusting them off. Turning around, Ranma was about to say something to Myrtle when she stopped. The bespectacled ghost had a fist to her mouth and was making several inaudible sounds as her body shook. After a moment, the inaudible sounds turned into giggles. Those giggles then turned into loud laughter. Ranma watched in silence as Myrtle floated on her back while figuratively laughing her ass off.

"Stay -- ha-ha -- out of the -- hee -- girls' loo!" Myrtle managed out through her laughter. "You just called -- ha-ha -- Peeves a troublemaking freak and -- ha -- kicked him out by the bum!" Ranma could only watch as the usually sad and distraught ghost girl let out her laughter. After what seemed like an eternity, Myrtle's roaring laughter lowered to small giggles before subsiding. "I haven't laughed like that in YEARS." She said after a moment of silence. "I have to thank you for that, Lina." The ghostly girl remembered the name from the last time they met a few months ago.

"You've been wallowing in self pity that long?" Ranma blurted out. This caused Myrtle to give her a small glare. "What, I'm only asking a simple question!" Ranma said as she waved her arms a little and cursed her foot-in-mouth issue. "I mean, jeez, without all that moaning, whining, and wailing, you're kind of cute." After saying that, Ranma internally grimaced, 'Where the hell did that come from?'

Myrtle's attention was soon fully onto the redheaded cat-girl. "Cute?" She asked in disbelief. "There is no way that poor MOANING Myrtle can be cute. If I was, nobody would have teased me when I was ALIVE." That thought caused Myrtle to fall into her usual moaning and sobbing.

"Aw c'mon, damn it. That was years ago when you were around all the snot-nosed brats who were in your year, right?" Myrtle gave a slow nod. "And you still have to deal with it from even more snot-nosed brats, right?" There was another nod. "They are just snot-nosed brats who don't have any clue at all. I also meant what I said a moment ago. You ARE cute." Ranma couldn't believe she was saying this, and hoped nothing bad would come of it. "I mean, those glasses frame your face nicely, and your hair looks good in pigtails." Ranma quickly pointed a finger. "You also have cute eyes."

Myrtle gave a small sniff. "You really mean that?"

"Of course!" Ranma answered back with a smile. "Don't listen to all the brats around here when they start spouting stuff about you." A smirk appeared on the redhead's lips. "If anybody really does start giving you a hard time, just tell me. I'll gladly give them a swift kick in the bum like I did to Peeves."

That caused Myrtle to bust out giggling at the memory. After she stopped giggling, Myrtle floated in front of Ranma and grabbed hold of the cat-girl's hand. Well, it was more like holding the ghostly hands near hers. "You know what? I like you. Nobody's ever been so kind to me before! You are most welcomed in my restroom anytime."

Ranma scratched the back of her head. "Thanks," she said simply. After a moment, she gave a small cough. "I, uh, need to use the restroom now."

"Oh, sorry about that!" Myrtle announced as she floated back to allow Ranma to enter one of the stalls. A second later, Myrtle floated up to the stall and phased her head through the door. "Say Lina, do you--"

"MYRTLE!" One could tell that there was a little embarrassment in Ranma's voice.

"Oops!" Myrtle stated with a hand near her cheek. One could tell, however, that the ghost wasn't the least bit ashamed of causing the redhead embarrassment. She then gave a giggle at how red Ranma's face had become. "The expression upon your face was just so adorable!" Myrtle commented to Ranma as the cat-girl exited the stall. The ghost then gave a small playful wink. This caused Ranma to sweat-drop at the ghost girl's antics.

'She can be really weird when she's happy.' Ranma thought to herself as she said a goodbye to Myrtle and tossed the invisibility cloak around her. She was starting to feel tired, and figured that heading to bed would be a good option for right now. 'I wonder what happened to Harry and Hermione since they forgot the invisibility cloak.' Ranma wondered as she exited the restroom and almost running into Dumbledore. 'Crap, what's he doing here?' She asked herself as she stood still and attempted to make no sound. When those eyes hidden behind half-moon spectacles glanced her way, the redhead was about ready to teleport away from the area incase the elderly wizard chose to check her position.

Dumbledore didn't say a word. All the elderly wizard did was glance in Ranma's direction for what seemed like an eternity before he diverted his eyes and started walking away. As soon as Dumbledore vanished from sight, Ranma let out a small sigh of relief. She was almost caught, and she didn't know what Dumbledore would do if he was the one who caught her. After a moment, Ranma slapped herself in the side of the head. 'I could have just phased away instead of stand there like an idiot.' Grumbling about forgetting important abilities, Ranma decided to just head on to bed and give the invisibility cloak back to Harry later on. 'I wonder whatever happened to Draco.' She thought before teleporting to the Slytherin common room. This was completed a second before the entrance to Slytherin was opened and allowed Draco to walk in. Ranma managed to hide the invisibility cloak before her brother noticed it. "I told you that you should have just stayed here."

Draco merely gave off that arrogant smirk that appeared on his face so many times. "It was worth it to see the look on Potter's face when McGonagall docked fifty points each from the Gryffindors because she believed that the whole dragon thing was a cock-and-bull story to get ME in trouble." The blond-haired boy finished with a chuckle.

"So Gryffindor is 100 points less? That's got to be a big blow to their morale." Ranma responded as she scratched the back of her head while yawning.

"150 points, sis." If possible, Draco's smirk became even smugger. At Ranma's puzzled look, he elaborated. "Longbottom was there as well. He wanted to try and warn Potter and Granger that I was going to try and get them in trouble." He rolled his pale eyes. "A lot of good that did, but it was hilarious to see Longbottom's reaction when he bought the story about the dragon being false, all part of a plot to get me in trouble for being out of bed!" Draco started to walk past the cat-girl. "It was worth getting caught." He added before bidding Ranma goodnight and making his way towards the dorms.

Ranma stood there and thought about the possible implications of Gryffindor being 150 points less, and what else could happen when they learnt that Harry had a part in it. After thinking about it, Ranma decided that she was glad she wasn't in his shoes. "At least I'm not the one with a whole bunch of people mad at me this time." She said with a shake of her head before the idea of going to sleep grabbed hold of her mind.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

"Well, well, well," Xellos stated before giving off a chuckle as he looked down upon the structure before him. From the outside, the building looked old and worn, but it was obvious that the look was just a cover. There was sign above the entrance which read Beauxbatons School of Magic. "So this is where her reincarnation is. I do wonder if she's still high-strung." Without another word, Xellos disappeared from his place above the school and reappeared within a bedroom chamber. Taking in the sight before him, the purple-haired Mazoku noticed that the room consisted of six large and comfy beds with blue covering. From the look of the sleeping individuals, it was apparent that Xellos was currently standing in the girls' dorm.

It was a fact that Xellos didn't care about as his eyes moved from one bed to the other. Finally, his eyes rested on a girl of around 14 with long blonde hair. Her ears also appeared to have slight points to them. She was sleeping comfortably with her blankets slightly tossed around her as a bit of drool trailed from her mouth. Any normal person would have refrained from trying to wake someone like that up. Sadly for this sleeping girl, Xellos wasn't normal, nor was he really a person.

Without even a sound, Xellos made his way towards the bed until he was floating right over it. He then reached out with a gloved hand and poked the sleeping girl in the nose. The only response from the girl was her moving her arm a little as her nose twitched. Xellos did it again, and this time the girl gave off a few inaudible mumbles. He then took his fingers and gave her a very hard flick against the forehead. "Ow!" The girl shouted as she opened her eyes and used her hand to rub the spot where she was attacked. It took a couple moments for her eyes -- deep blue with a slight slit to the pupil -- to adjust to the dark. When they finally did, she saw a smiling Xellos floating above her. Eyes wide in shock, she prepared to give off a shout. "Who are--" She soon found a gloved hand over her mouth with the stranger wagging a finger.

"Ah, we can't have any of that." Xellos chided softly to the young girl. "I just wanted to meet with you, Floresina." A thoughtful look appeared on the purple-haired priest's visage. "Or should I go and call you Filia?" The blonde girl's eyes looked at him in confusion before they started to blink as if some kind of realization came to her. This was drowned out, however, by another confused look. "Ah, I see you might be getting a few images in your mind of something you don't understand. That seems to be something that's happening to people a lot these days." After a second, he gave a small shrug. "Well, I think it's time I get a move on. Do try not to shout, little Filia." He then moved his gloved hand away from the girl's mouth.

"Who in the h--" Her mouth was covered again.

"My, you'd think that those who are part dragon would have more sense than their… more challenged full-blooded cousins." Floresina's eyes widened at that comment before something in her mind began to click. Reaching up, the blonde girl grabbed hold of Xellos's wrist, pulled it away, clenched her other fist, and proceeded to send the fist forward and connect it to the Mazoku's face. This rocketed him away, and before he could hit the wall, he vanished. "Still such a brute as ever, I see." Xellos voice softly around the room before every trace of the Mazoku vanished.

"Damn you Xellos!" Floresina shouted as a golden tail shot out from a special patched area on her pajamas. She didn't know how she knew that name, but she didn't care.

"Floresina," a voice said from the blonde's right. Looking in that direction, Floresina noted the girl who was rubbing her eyes. She had cyan-blue hair and dark blue eyes, and her clothing consisted of expensive silks. "Can you please shut up? I was in the middle of a good dream."

Floresina raised an eyebrow. "It wouldn't happen to be another one of those dreams that involve your imaginary friend, would it, Mika?"

The now named Mika gave the other girl a glare. "Zoamelgustar is NOT imaginary. He is the greatest of the gods, and none can ever hope to compete with the magnificent and cunning Zoamelgustar!" The two glared at each other for a moment before turning their heads and lying back down to go to sleep.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Ranma yawned as she made her way towards the Great Hall for breakfast. She honestly didn't want to get up because she was feeling a little dead on her feet. Ranma figured that it was probably because she didn't get to sleep until well after 2AM. She hated not getting enough sleep, but she hated the thought of missing a meal as well. So, in retrospect, she was glad that Nashigi and Gosaria had woken her up, but they didn't have to scream in her ear.

Even in her sleep-deprived state, Ranma could make out the three hourglasses that showed the points for each house. This also allowed her to see the Gryffindor hourglass, which, just as Draco had mentioned, was 150 points less. Her dual-colored eyes had also noted all of the students who wore shocked expressions as they glanced at the hourglasses. Some even did double-takes, and a few did triple-takes to make sure it wasn't part of some sleep induced hallucination. When they were certain it wasn't some odd hallucination, people started to try and figure out what had happened. The answer came from an unknown source -- probably Draco -- that Harry Potter and two other Gryffindors lost all those points in one go. Needless-to-say, nobody was the least bit pleased.

"Do you think this will turn out bad?" Gosaria asked as the three sat down at their table. "I mean, they're just points, right?"

"Well, the Gryffindors were hoping to finally beat Slytherin in the House Points this year." Nashigi answered with her arms crossed. "Hell, even Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff were rooting for Gryffindor to finally trounce Slytherin. Because of this, there will probably be a lot of anger, and I bet it will all be directed at the Potter boy."

"But there were two other people as well." The blonde girl stated.

"Harry will be the easiest target." Ranma responded suddenly. "Everyone knows him, they all know that he was part of the reason the points were lost. Because he was there, he is the easiest to scapegoat, and since he's widely known in this school, it'll fall almost completely onto him." Ranma knew the experience very well. How could one not know when they had a previous life where one small issue of foot-in-mouth, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time where it looked worse than it was? Oh yeah, she knew it very well. Hell, she could almost still remember the pain from those arguments with Akane.

A deep silence brought Ranma out of her thoughts. Looking around, the cat-girl noticed that nobody was making a sound. The reason for this was because of Harry. The bespectacled boy had walked into the Great Hall, and everyone's attention was on him. The tension of it all was so thick that you would need a high-powered chainsaw to cut through it. Harry looked positively nervous as he made his way towards a seat at the Gryffindor table, and a few of those at said table seemed to scoot away from the boy. The only ones who didn't were Ron, Hermione, Neville, and a couple others.

As soon as Harry had sat down, the Great Hall was back to the noise of people talking. This time, however, the talk was about Harry as all the tables seemed to pick up the art of gossiping. Ranma's ears twitched as she listened to most of it.

"Now there's no hope of anybody beating Slytherin. Potter really blew it." A boy from Ravenclaw growled out.

"That stupid git," a girl from Hufflepuff started. "I wanted to see Slytherin lose."

"Stupid--"

"No hope--"

"Just because he had to show off--"

As she listened to all of the comments people were making, Ranma's eye had started to gain a slight twitch. The only ones to notice this were Nashigi and Gosaria, and the two decided to remain quiet in hopes that they didn't spark anything that could lead to pain. Well, Nashigi decided to remain completely quiet. Gosaria decided to open her mouth. "Lina, are you ok? Your eye seems to be a little twitchy." The blonde stated as she waved a hand in front of Ranma's face. "Hellooooo..."

Luckily for Gosaria, Ranma managed to calm down. This caused Nashigi to let loose a breath that she didn't know she was holding. The dark-haired older girl also silently cheered that a crisis was avoided, and proceeded to give a mental laugh of victory. She figured that everyone would get over this problem within the week. 'After-all, it's only a bunch of points.'

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Later that night, several long miles away at a wizardry school known as Durmstrang, a 14-year-old boy with platinum, light purple hair felt a sudden chill run down his spine as he sat up in his bed. He had no clue as to why he was having an odd feeling, but whatever it was, it couldn't be good. 'Maybe it's nothing.' He thought to himself with a yawn. He then noticed a small piece of paper lay upon his blanket. Curiosity getting to him, the young boy picked the sheet up and glanced at it.

"Zelgadis the Stone Freak." He read out loud. Near the bottom of the paper was a drawing of a purple-haired man sticking his tongue out and holding two fingers in a 'V' formation. After sitting there for a few seconds, his eyes began to narrow. "Xellos," he said in a low growl. He didn't understand why, but he knew the name, and the name made him angry.

"What's gone and got you in a bind, Zephiros?" A boy with long black hair asked from a few beds away. The raven-haired boy was nose-deep in some kind of book.

"I'm not exactly sure, Zeke." Zephiros responded as he tore up the note that was in his hands. "All I know is that it is something that is pissing me off, and I have a feeling of foreboding."

Zeke turned a page in his book. "Well, maybe it's just nothing. You could just be worrying about something that doesn't even exist."

"Yeah, maybe you're right." The light-haired man said after a moment of silence. "Say, what is that book about?"

"Swords," Zeke responded simply, "I actually found it in the library. No clue why a book on swords would be in a library devoted to magic." He flipped another page. "I'm actually interested in seeing if there is a way to magically create a sword so that it can fire blasts of magic."

"That sounds interesting." Zephiros stated as he stroked his chin in thought. The strange note that was on his bed was completely forgotten in favor of the sword idea. "What would you call it?"

"I'm thinking of the name Howling Sword."

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Back at Hogwarts, the problem over the loss of points DID NOT fade as the week progressed. Everyone had still seemed to completely blame Harry for the points lost. Students ignored him, talked about him, talked behind his back, and various other things that seemed to make matters worse. This also had the effect of Ranma gaining a twitch in her eye that seemed to randomly come and go. Her hands would also occasionally clench and unclench, along with the fact that the fur on her ears and tail seemed to constantly stand up in annoyance.

Ranma became even more agitated when she learned how much the whole ordeal was also affecting Hermione. Her friend wasn't talked about as much as Harry was, but everyone was also ignoring her. Hell, the girl also seemed to stop raising her hand in class to answer questions, and preferred to keep quiet. That just wasn't like Hermione. Neville was also having a similar problem as well. After a few days of this, Ranma had finally had enough of it.

Four days after the loss of Gryffindor's 150 points, Ranma was quietly eating lunch and trying to drown out the constant gossip about Harry that had been going on for the past few days. She had managed to drown most of it out, but would occasionally hear bits and pieces. It was then that she heard a couple comments between a boy at the Hufflepuff table, and a girl at the Ravenclaw table.

"If it wasn't for 'the great' Potter, Slytherin would have lost. Now there's no chance of them being beaten."

"Yeah, and you'd think Slytherin winning seven years in a row would be enough. I thought this would be a great year, but Potter had to go and mess up."

A resounding 'thunk' was then heard throughout the Great Hall. The sound was loud enough that everyone -- regardless of the talking -- heard it, and they all turned towards the source. The source of the noise was Ranma. The cause of it was obviously the fork that was wedged deep into the wooden table with her hand clenched around the handle. Her head was lowered, but when she raised it up, everyone could see that her eyes began to glow the strange and eerie crimson that usually happened when she was pissed off. They all watched in silence as Ranma hopped up and stood on the bench she was sitting on. Her left foot was positioned on the table in front of her as the fork that was wedged into the table was held in her outstretched hand and pointed towards them.

"How about you all shut the hell up?" She asked in an icy tone that caused everyone -- even Dumbledore -- to shiver. "I don't give a damn about points, and I sure as hell don't give a damn about the so called house cup. All I can say is that you all should just go jump off a cliff and drown somewhere." Nobody said a word. It was almost like they could only sit, watch, and listen. "You people are just a bunch of lazy bastards who are too stupid to figure out anything on your own."

"Hey, how dare you say that to us?!" An older Ravenclaw demanded. He soon found a fork wedged deep into the wooden table right in front of him, centimeters from hitting him.

"I dare because it is obvious." Ranma responded with a growl. "You all want points to win? Well how about you get off your lazy asses and accomplish it? Oh, wait, I forgot," she said with a slight chuckle, "you want it done by other people because you lack the ability to do it yourself. Potter and a couple of others may have lost those points, but I'm sure they could be gained back if you tried." The cat-girl's ears twitched as she closed her eyes. "Then again, maybe Slytherin DESERVES to win. I mean, they seem to be able to get the job done -- even though many are self-absorbed and back-stabbing gits." There were a few glares directed towards her. "Still, they know how to go about things, unlike you idiots." After a momentary glare, Ranma's eyes changed back into her normal dual-color. Upon glancing around, she reached up and scratched the back of her head. "I lost control a little, didn't I?" She asked with a nervous chuckle at all the stares.

The sound of someone clearing their throat caused all heads to turn towards the staff table. Dumbledore stood up and was looking directly at Ranma. "First of all, Miss Malfoy," he began with an amused twinkle in his eye, "might I suggest lowering your leg off of the table and sitting down? You might be giving a few people an unwanted show of under your skirt." Ranma glanced at him, and then glanced around the Great Hall for a moment as she blinked. After a moment, her face turned a small shade of red before she quickly sat down.

"That could explain why I was feeling a slight draft." She mumbled. However, since the room was deathly silent, most people heard it. This caused multiple sweat-drops, and some older students had to hold their noses.

Dumbledore ignored the comment as he continued on, this time with a more serious look. "About your sudden outburst, Miss Malfoy," he gave a small pause, "I believe that it warrants a subtraction of about 30 points. I would like to talk with you after lunch is over with."

Ranma could only give a nod in response.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Ranma gave Fawkes the phoenix a pat on the head as she sat in a seat in Dumbledore's office. The elderly wizard figured that his office would be the best place to talk so they wouldn't be disturbed. As soon as the cat-girl entered and sat down, Fawkes hopped off its perch and onto the floor next to her and gave her a nudge on the arm. The fact that a phoenix liked her, when two other beings/things/whatever that had phoenix in their name didn't, was still something that caused her to think.

"Would you care for a lemon drop, Ranma?" Dumbledore asked as he pushed a small bowl of them forward. Just by the fact that he was using that name, Ranma could tell that the man wanted to be serious for the moment. Still, it was somewhat ruined by the whole 'lemon drop' thing.

Ranma shook her head. "No thank you, Dumbledore." Ranma decided to return the favor by acting civil as well. "This is probably about my outburst in the Great Hall, isn't it?" The elderly wizard ahead of her merely gave a smile and a nod. "I wasn't planning on doing that, but you have to admit, someone had to say something to them." There was a long silence that followed.

"That," Dumbledore finally began, "I will give you." He said as he leaned back in his chair. "And for such a display of putting a little sense into their heads, it would only make sense that 10 points could go to Slytherin. I also wonder if your show will actually entice the students to try and work for the trophy instead of attempting to rely on a few individuals."

"I think I have an idea, Dumbledore." Ranma said with a smile. At the headmaster's nod, she continued. "Why not have it so that if a teacher sees someone giving helpful advice or anything similar, they could add some points right there? I mean, aren't points supposed to be rewarded for doing GOOD?"

I'm sure we can find a better way with the whole point system. I do have to confess that the system is rather disjointed and odd. Maybe by your idea, there would be a higher sense of camaraderie among the students." A deep sigh came from the aged wizard. "I figured that the school wouldn't like it when they learned of the drop in points, but I never thought it would turn out like it has. I guess we all have too high of expectations sometimes." He finished softly

"Well, most are just snot-nosed little kids." Ranma interjected with a smirk.

"Isn't that, as the muggle saying goes, the pot calling the kettle black, Ranma?" The headmaster of Hogwarts asked with a twinkle in his eyes.

"Hey," Ranma said with a frown as she crossed her arms, "I'm not a little kid. I'm practically 28-years-old!" Just because she had the body of a kid, didn't mean she was one. "Well, maybe older if you take other things into account."

A soft chuckle escaped from Dumbledore's lips. "And yet you still have a child-like mind at times." Ranma gave off a small pout in indignation. "But I digress," Dumbledore began as he leaned forward gave the redhead a piercing look. "You may have had good intentions, but you still caused a disturbance through your anger; which, I might add, is something you were supposed to work on."

"But I HAVE been working on it. My temper isn't as unstable as before; but I guess it could be a little better. My glowing red eyes still probably spook the hell out of people when they see them though." The last part was added in a whisper, but the man in front of her still heard it.

Ignoring the amusing scenario of the thought, Dumbledore continued. "You have, and I will agree that have also come a long way with your temper. Still, you need to face the fact that you did cause a disturbance."

"Alright," Ranma said with a hand to her forehead, "Just tell me what my punishment is so I can get it over with."

The elderly wizard gave her a nod. "I think that having you help a teacher for the next couple of weeks from 7PM to midnight would be a proper punishment."

"Right, so which teacher will I help?" Ranma asked with a sigh.

"I'm thinking that Professor Quirrell might be--" He was interrupted when Ranma instantly stood up.

"What?!" When she realized that she yelled, she mumbled an apology and sat back down. "Sorry Dumbledore, but I have some odd suspicions about Quirrell. That turban keeps giving off a weird feeling to it, and he generally makes me feel uneasy whenever I'm around him. It also seems as if he gives off a smell of unicorn blood." Ranma watched as the silver-haired man gave her a look as he began to stroke his long beard. "It also doesn't help matters that Quirrell was talking about getting rid of people several nights ago after midnight."

"And how would you know of this?" Dumbledore asked with a raised eyebrow.

Ranma's face turned a small shade of pink as she rubbed the back of her neck. "Well, a few nights ago when Harry and Hermione were up at the Astronomy tower, I was already there. You see, I usually lay up there at nights and watch the sky. It usually serves as a kind of meditative state and allows me to relax."

"Go on"

"Right, well, after they both left, and ended up getting busted, I waited a few moments before making my way down myself. On the trip, my ears," Ranma twitched her higher appendages, "heard someone talking in a kind of excited way. My curiosity got the better of me, and I ended up listening in on Quirrell. I don't know if he was using some kind of telepathy or something, but he was talking to someone he called 'master'. He was also discussing plans regarding Harry. The discussion was something about attempting to make it look like an accident, but Quirrell also said that that they might need Harry for something. I'm not sure of any other details, because they started to talk about me. They mentioned about how I was a nuisance, but after Quirrell outright said that I was freakish, weird, and beastly…" She trailed off with a nervous chuckle.

"I heard Professor Quirrell mention something about a blinding light attacking him several nights ago. I take it that it was you who did it." Ranma's silence was all that he needed. "I've had some suspicions about Quirrell since he came back from his trip before the school year began." The elderly wizard stated as he sat back and began stroking his beard.

"Then why haven't you done anything yet?"

"The proof is lacking, Ranma. I can't exactly do anything until something leads back to him. It's not something you should worry about, though. Everything is completely under control. Now, I believe that I've held you up from your classes enough as it is. You are excused, and remember to also try and keep your temper in check."

Ranma nodded and stood up from her seat. As she was walking towards the door, she glanced back. "I still think you should do something. If he ends up doing whatever he's trying to do and takes over the wizarding world in a crazy megalomaniacal act, I am so going to kick your ass, old fart."

"Promise of harm to my posterior noted, Lina." Dumbledore responded with amusement dancing behind his half-moon spectacles. As the redhead made her way out the door, the elderly wizard shook his head. "You have nothing to worry about."

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

If it would have been somebody else, she wouldn't have had a problem with it. Hell, even Snape was tolerable in a way. He may have acted like he had a perpetual stick up the ass, but he didn't give her the 'fight or flight' feeling that Quirrell did. The turban-wearing stutter machine acted as if being around her wasn't a problem, but Ranma could sense the man's heart beating at a faster pace. All she had to do for the terribly long five hours she was there was help organize and clean things in his room. There were a few instances where she would swear that Quirrell was trying to kill her or something. Ranma felt that she couldn't really keep her back facing him, so she started to bring Laira to act as a lookout.

By the end of the second week, Ranma was feeling the need to strangle Quirrell for his annoying stuttering. There was just so much that one person could take of it, and she was sure that she was nearing the breaking point of keeping her calm around the suspicious teacher. She was really hoping that he would make a move of some kind, or at least something that wouldn't prove boring.

Her answer came the following day when she had stopped at Quirrell's office at 7PM. The jittery professor explained to her that their session wouldn't happen tonight. When Ranma had asked how come, Quirrel had told her that he had something important to do, and that her being around him would only bother him. Ranma nodded to that and walked away, only to go into hiding to watch him.

'He told me the same thing last week, and both times he's been more nervous than usual.' Ranma thought with narrowed eyes. 'I don't care what it is. I'm going to find out what he's doing.' Her eyes seemed to glow in the darkness as she watched to see if Quirrell was going to leave the room. Her patience was rewarded when the door opened and a cloaked figure poked its head out to see if anyone was around. Apparently not seeing anybody, he walked out and started down the hallway. Ranma followed him closely, but also at a safe enough distance within the shadows so she wouldn't be figured out. This proved to be beneficial as Quirrell looked back a few times.

Ranma continued to follow after the cloaked individual until they left the castle and headed towards the Forbidden Forest. As soon as she entered the forest, Ranma lost sight of Quirrell, but she still was still able to follow the scent. 'Why would he come here?' Ranma asked as she continued to keep to the darkest of areas. Even though the forest was as dark as it was, the possibility of her being seen was still high. A rustling in the bushes to Ranma's left put her on high alert. The bushes soon parted, and out came a rather ugly humanoid creature with long shaggy hair, bulging eyes, fangs, and sharp claws. 'Why do I always get into things like this?' Ranma asked herself in annoyance.

The thing -- Ranma decided that it must have been an ogre -- noticed the redhead crouching down in a ready stance and growled. The growl could have been compared to gargling water with rocks mixed in. It probably thought it had an easy meal of some kind, because it started to reach back with a clawed hand. A second later, it lunged at Ranma in an attempt to grab her head. Jumping out of the way and onto the tree, Ranma called forth her energy sword and positioned the edge against the area between the ogre's bulging eyes. The sudden sight of a glowing sword caused the creature to fully pause, and when it saw the red eyes of its so-called prey glowing eerily in the dark, it felt a little nervous.

"Go on and get out of here." Ranma finally said to the creature. Her voice had a cold edge to it. She was hoping that the ogre would just go about its merry way as. This hope was dashed to pieces when the creature -- in a moment of speed that seemed impossible for something so large -- stepped to the side and lunged for Ranma again. The cat-girl leapt off of the side of the tree and over the ogre as it crashed headfirst into the bark of the tree. This disoriented the ogre enough for Ranma to get in front of it and place her hand on its forehead. "Sleep!" She shouted as she pumped a sleep spell onto the creature. Its eyelids drooped shut just before it fell onto the ground with a loud crash. With one last look at the snoring ogre, Ranma shook her head and started walking off. "Stupid thing that attacked me for no reason. I never even knew there were ogres in this forest."

A larger rustling in the bushes caused the redhead to look. Her eyes widened considerably at the sight of a small group of ogres. The group looked towards the downed ogre, towards Ranma, back to the ogre, and then back to Ranma again. Then, as one, they gave off a loud roar before charging at Ranma.

'Well doesn't this just figure?'

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

"Damn it, what the hell is with this forest tonight?!" Ranma yelled as she stopped stepping on a whimpering and scorched werewolf that decided to attack her like everything else. Looking behind Ranma, one could see a path that was practically littered with the unconscious forms of dozens of forest beasts. It was almost three hours since she had entered the forest, and she was getting tired of everything jumping out at her. The next rustling in the bushes she heard would be eating a Mouko Takabisha. "I should have just stayed at the castle so I could crawl into my nice bed."

A sound in the bushes next to her caused her eye to develop a slight twitch. "That's it," Ranma stated softly before firing a ki blast into the brush. After the small explosion Ranma walked up and pulled apart the foliage. What she saw inside caused her to blink. "Huh, I thought he was somewhere else by now, or better yet, dead." Reaching into the center, Ranma pulled her arm back to reveal a scorched and unconscious Happosai. The aged pervert also seemed to pale, sickly, and jittery.

"Panties… need… panties…" The diminutive man said weakly before falling fully into unconsciousness. Ranma briefly wondered if she should just leave him there, put him out of his misery, or rescue him. She finally decided to go with her martial artist's duty and help the poor gnome.

"You owe me for this." Ranma whispered as she took out a rope and tied up the diminutive pervert with it. 'Maybe I'll drop him off somewhere far away where he'll be away from me and can recover.' With a slight nod to the idea, Ranma created a doppelganger and handed the tied up Happosai to her other self. Her other self gave a quick nod before vanishing.

"Thank you for finding and getting rid of that wretched thing. He was making a mess of this forest and putting various creatures on edge." The voice came from behind Ranma. Said redhead turned around quickly to see who was talking to her. What she saw was a rather young Centaur with white-blond hair and blue eyes. The centaur gazed at her for a long moment before smiling. "Ah, you are Lina Malfoy -- The Terror of the Forest." His sapphire blue eyes swept around the path they were on. "My, your reputation does precede you."

Ranma puffed up in indignation. "Hey, they were the ones who attacked me first."

"Firenze," the centaur simply said. When Ranma looked at him curiously, he continued. "My name is Firenze." He held out hand in greeting.

"Nice to meet you, Firenze." Ranma accepted the handshake and smirked. "At least I won't have to be forced to kick your ass like everything else tonight." Her smirk soon vanished completely. "Firenze, have you seen a suspicious figure come through this forest wearing a cloak?"

A thoughtful look flashed crossed the centaurs face after Ranma asked. "You know, I do believe that I caught sight of someone run in that direction." Firenze motioned his arm into the position he was mentioning. Ranma gave him a thankful nod and proceeded in that direction. When she noticed that the centaur was following her, she gave a questioning glance. "I believe that you already know of the dangers in this forest, and are probably tired of painfully beating all of the creatures you come across into the dirt." A tinge of pink surfaced on Ranma's face. "Since you are now walking with me, most creatures will stay away from us. Centaurs have that kind of pull in this forest."

"I appreciate it, Firenze." The cat-girl held up a pair of fingers that were only millimeters apart. "I was this close to almost destroying this part of the forest." Her companion sweat-dropped and silently thanked the stars that he had appeared when he did. At least the girl beside him only knocked the creatures unconscious and didn't kill any of them.

Minutes after moving in the direction that Firenze had pointed out, Ranma's nose started to twitch as the stench of blood began to assault her nose. She began to realize that the blood wasn't just normal blood, but had a faint scent to it that she could never properly place. The only thing that she knew was that the smell of blood was coming from a unicorn close by. Signaling to Firenze that they should be quiet, Ranma quietly made her way over and glanced through the underbrush. The first thing she saw was a unicorn collapsed onto the ground with silvery blood leaking from its neck. "Wonder what could have happened to it." Firenze whispered from his spot next to Ranma. "Oh look, a couple young boys walking up to the area."

Just as the centaur had said, two boys -- Ranma was able to identify them as Harry and Draco -- entered the area and stood with shocked expressions on their faces. A rustling from a different set of bushes alerted the cat-girl to another presence in the area. She noted that it was the cloaked figure of Quirrell who came out into the open and seemed to glide over to the unicorn. Ranma noticed that even though the unicorn had lost a lot of blood, it was still alive, but barely if the look of the very slow movement of its chest was any indication. When the man in the cloak leaned down and started to drink blood from the creature's neck, Ranma's eyes flashed red in rage. In just under a few seconds -- in which time Draco screamed and ran off like a baby, -- Ranma charged out from her hiding place and sent a punch that connected to the side of the man's face and sent him flying into a nearby tree.

Ranma's attention then turned to the downed unicorn. Kneeling down next to it, Ranma started to cast a healing spell in hopes of saving the poor creature. "C'mon, don't die on me ya danged horned horse!" The cat-girl watched as the unicorn's eyes had a slight glazed look as it stared weakly at her. "You're going to live and not face the same fate that others probably had in having their blood sucked out by a…" Ranma's voice trailed off as the unicorn's breathing stopped, and its eyes closed to show that it fell into a permanent sleep. Ranma sat there and stared at the now dead creature. A growl rumbled from her chest as her fist began to clench. A shout of pain from Harry's direction caused the cat-girl's head to turn. She noted that the bespectacled boy was holding his scar as the cloaked figure glanced in his direction. Said cloaked figure attempted to reach for the boy with his left hand.

A scream of pain soon erupted from the cloaked figure's lips when his lower arm suddenly started to sport a series of deep claw marks. Harry watched as Ranma appeared in front and had one of those strange glowing swords aimed towards the head of the cloaked figure. In a quick motion, the person in the cloak turned and fled towards the underbrush. He had to halt when a white-blond haired centaur blocked his path. With a spin, the figure charged off between the trees to the side of the clearing.

"Damn it," Ranma cursed as she punched the tree next to her, "I should have stopped him." With a sigh, her eyes changed back to normal as she turned around to look at Harry. Her expression turned into a grin as she decided to lighten the mood. "Draco sure as hell wasn't of any help, was he? This could probably provide some interesting blackmail material."

"What are you doing out here?" Harry asked curiously. "Not that I'm complaining. I mean, you did save me back there." Ever since that day she had made that outburst in the Great Hall, his respect for her had risen up a few notches. There were still some problems with people not being able to forget about the point drop, but they didn't act as mean spirited as before. 'How can she be Draco's sister and be in Slytherin?' Harry watched as a centaur walked up next to them. He saw a couple others earlier, but this one seemed to be much younger.

"I saw that cloaked freak sneaking around and decided to follow after him." It was merely a half-lie. Ranma thought about saying Quirrell, but then Harry would argue that it must have been Snape or someone. "I followed him into the Forbidden Forest at a little after 7PM."

"You've been in this forest for over three hours?!" Harry asked incredulously.

"It wouldn't have been over three hours if I wasn't constantly attacked by ogres, werewolves, and various other creatures. Hell, I left a trail of unconscious creatures quite a ways back there. "After I met with Firenze here, I didn't have a problem with all the random creatures trying to pop up and attempting to either suck out my guts or chew on my bones." She finished with a point to the centaur next to them.

Harry glanced up at the half-horse/half-man and felt a little nervous when the creature's eyes stared right down at him. He still felt woozy from his scar hurting, and the stare wasn't helping any. "You're the potter boy." Firenze finally stated once he saw the scar. "It would be best if you got back to Hagrid. It is a dangerous time to be in the forest, especially for you." Harry nodded and suddenly found himself being held up by Ranma.

"C'mon, I'll help you. You seem to be a little out of it for some reason." Harry didn't say a word. He was just happy that whatever that was back there didn't get him. It also pissed him off that Draco and Fang both bolted and left him alone. The trio soon found a couple other centaurs. Both of the newcomers were older than Firenze, and they had a kind of air about them that made Ranma want to slug them.

The two nodded to Firenze before looking towards Harry. When their gaze stopped at Ranma, their eyes widened. "The Terror of the Forest," the black-haired one stated with a frown. Harry glanced confusedly between Ranma and the centaurs. "What are you doing in this forest?"

"I'm here to try and take over the forest and place you all into slavery as regular mules." Ranma answered with a straight face. At the panicked looks upon both centaurs, she rolled her eyes. "I'm just here because I want to be, geniuses. You honestly thought I was serious?"

"Don't you realize who this is, Ronan, Bane?" Firenze interrupted as he pointed to Harry. "This is the Potter boy. You know that he needs to get out of this forest. Besides, I'm sure that you have seen the Unicorn."

"Have you been telling him anything?" Bane snapped with narrowed eyes. "Don't you remember that we have sworn to not set ourselves against the heavens? Have we not read what the movements of the planets have foretold for the future--?"

"So you can predict things by watching the sky." Ranma interrupted with a rolling of her eyes. "If you know what's going to happen, then wouldn't it make a lot more sense to, I don't' know, tell people what you know? Do you think it will save you if it foretold that the world would end?"

"Why you little--" Bane was stopped in his actions by a motion from Ronan.

"Calm yourself, Bane. It would not do for a centaur to lose their cool, especially against a young child such as the one before us." A ghost of a smile appeared on Ronan's lips. "Besides, don't you remember the importance of her role from what the heavens told us?"

The other centaur calmed down. "Ah yes, such an importance indeed."

"Wait, are you telling me that you know stuff about me?" Ranma demanded as her eyes grew wide. Ronan and Bane kept silent before turning around and walking off. "Hey, come back here, you damn half-mu--" The cat-girl found a hand in front of her mouth. She glared at Firenze for stopping her from yelling at the two.

"Firenze, why was Bane so angry?" Harry asked curiously as the trio made their way through the forest. "And what was that thing from earlier?"

"Damn unicorn killing bastard, that's what." Ranma grumbled in annoyance as she thought about the creature she couldn't save.

The Centaur with them ignored the mumblings of the redhead. "Harry Potter, do you know what unicorn blood is used for?"

"No, we've only used the horn and tail hair in potions class."

"That's because unicorn blood is cursed." Harry glanced towards Ranma with a questioning eye and waited for her to continue. "A unicorn is a pure and innocent creature, and the only kind of person who would slay one is a cruel individual. It's bad enough to kill a unicorn, but to kill it so you can drink its blood is a different matter."

"What do you mean?"

"She means," Firenze responded, "That the blood of a unicorn will curse the individual for their cruel deed. A unicorn's blood will keep you alive, even if you are an inch from death itself. However, to slay such an innocent creature just to stay alive will guarantee that the moment the blood touches your lips; you will be condemned to a half-life, a cursed life."

"But why would somebody be that desperate?" Harry asked as he stepped over a large root. "Wouldn't death be better than being cursed forever?" A smirk appeared on Ranma's lips at the question.

"It would," Firenze responded with a nod. "Unless that was all you needed until you drank something else-- something that would bring you back to full power and health-- something that will mean that you could never die. Do the both of you know what is hidden in the school at this very moment?"

"The Philosopher's Stone," Ranma stated before Harry could think. Internally, Ranma thought many times about finding the stone and just destroying it. The very thought of how many lives that were possibly put at risk just to create a portable item that could make you immortal was something that left a bitter taste in her mouth. There was a possibility that nobody experimented on people to create such a thing that would allow immortality. Still, the knowledge of it from Lina's memories of just how many people died for the sake of immortality was something that she didn't like.

"You mean," Harry asked in a voice that had a hint of nervousness behind it, "that was Volde--"

"Harry! Harry, are you alright?" The voice of Hermione yelled as said girl ran towards them. Hagrid was trying to keep up behind her. She then caught sight of Ranma and blinked. "Lina, what are you doing out here?"

"Harry's fine." Ranma responded, and Harry gave his voice of agreement. "And I'm here because I wanted to meet up with my friend Firenze." It was a blatant lie, but she didn't care. "I met him once before and we became quick friends. Right, Firenze?" The centaur hid a smirk as he nodded.

"The unicorn is back that way, Hagrid." Harry piped up with a point. "It's dead." Both Hagrid and Ranma's faces fell a little at the remark. The former because he was hoping it was just hurt, while the latter because she couldn't save the creature. Ranma's eyes then went wide as she just remembered something. She still had Harry's Invisibility cloak.

Feigning a yawn, the redhead cast a look at everyone. "Well, I think I should get going. I'm tired, and I want to get to sleep already so I don't feel dead tomorrow morning." With a wave, she vanished from the clearing.

"I wish I knew how she does that." Hermione stated as she stared at the spot that had Ranma a moment before.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Later that night when Harry was climbing into bed, he pulled back the covers and noticed that his invisibility cloak was folded with a note on top of it. Picking up the note, he began to read it.

'I don't know how, but I forgot to return this to you. Well, I did decide that since you lost it that night, then I could be free to use it as much as I like. After-all, the saying does go 'finders keepers, losers weepers'. Still, I guess that since you would need this more than I do, then you can have it back. If you lose it again, however, I might be less inclined to return it. Seriously though, forgetting something as important as this on the Astronomy tower that night is just wrong on so many levels.'

Harry glanced at the bottom of the note and saw that it said 'Lina' with a small drawing of the girl's head with her tongue out and her fingers in the 'peace' sign. There was also something else wrote at the bottom.

'P.S: As for how much trouble I caused while using this cloak, well, that's a secret.'

Harry just blinked as he read that last line. It also caused him to wonder exactly how much trouble the girl DID cause with his cloak. 'That girl is just weird.' He thought as he laid down to go to sleep. He completely missed the fact that his sudden worry over Voldemort was washed away, and instead was filled by wonderings of just WHAT trouble Ranma got into. 'I think I hate the phrase 'that's a secret.' He finally thought with a grumble before closing his eyes.

xxA.Nxx

After a slightly long but short break, I finally finished this chapter. Yay me!

'Book one' of this story SHOULD include just one more chapter. That chapter will combine the trapdoor and confrontation chapters together.