Harry Potter and the World Beneath
By: Tellemicus Sundance
Chapter 15—The Forbidden Fruit of Knowledge

27 November 1994
Sunday, morning

Harry sat upon the railing to Fleur's tree cave, listening to the voices of the two men. He knew that they were working on stabilizing the young woman's condition now that the poison was out of her system. He wasn't sure how long it would take for her to properly recover but unless the men knew ways to accelerate her healing, it would be likely that she'd be sick for several weeks. Harry knew this from personal experience, for as incredible as his healing power was, even he couldn't shrug off that kind of poisoning very quickly.

And that was the dilemma he was now seriously considering. He wanted these three to leave now, but he knew that Fleur was no longer in any condition to travel very far or quickly. The longer they remained here, the greater the danger grew, and the shorter Allie's tolerance of them became. He knew that the only reason she hadn't acted against them yet was simply because she was more concerned with feeding and nurturing her hatchlings. Unless Allie was able to accept a newcomer in her den as at least a nonthreatening entity, the danger of her climbing the tree to attack and/or kill them was considerable.

And while Harry didn't like their presences any more than she, his long-suppressed need for human company was slowly but steadily rising to the surface again, primarily due to Fleur. Sighing as he looked towards the river, Harry knew what needed to be done in order to speed up their departure.

Dropping off the balcony and gently sliding down the bark, he landed lightly in front of Allie who was lying upon the ground watching her hatchlings get into another free-for-all brawl. Barking softly with various chirps and clicks of his tongue, he gestured towards the river. These actions roughly translated into: I'm going hunting downriver, be back in a while. Please be good.

Allie snorted almost derisively at that before nuzzling her snout up against his chest with a quiet purr. Harry smiled at her unspoken farewell as he gently scratched the underside of her jawbone. Pulling back, he leapt up to the large root and sprinted for the river. Pulling out his spear, he dove headlong into the warm water and allowed the current to pull him downstream.

It would take some time to find that screaming egg, but he would do it to protect his jungle.

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Fleur was still in bed, sleeping. It seemed that whatever Harry had done to her had caused her to fall asleep. Bill had been hovering over her since the boy departed, constantly checking her vitals. According to him, her body was almost already completely recovered. What damage that remained from that yellow substance that Harry had extracted from her was quickly being repaired and likely to be gone within two hours.

To pass the time, Charlie had mounted his broom and drifted lazily through the air. He kept himself hovering in the air out of easy biting range of the mother Allosaurus, watching her and the hatchlings with considerable interest. At the moment, the mother was lazing off to the side of the clearing between the tree roots, though he knew she was keeping him under constant observation as well. The hatchlings were scampering about, exploring their little sanctuary much more thoroughly.

One of the hatchlings just so happened to pass through his hovering shadow and looked up at him in curiosity. Charlie couldn't help but smile he watched the little dinosaur stand up as high as its short body could allow it and start making barked chirps at him. Attracted by the noise, the other hatchlings quickly joined the first, rushing over to it, barking at him while occasionally jumping upwards and snapping their little maws at him. Chuckling again, Charlie glanced over at the mother Allosaurus. Seeing her watching his movements with a close and suspicious gaze, he just laughed awkwardly and rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. For some reason, that Allosaurus' stare reminded him of his own mother's whenever she caught her children misbehaving.

Floating over to the side, he set down atop one of the higher roots, still well out of reach of the hatchlings. Sitting down on the root, he dug in pants and pulled out a small strip of jerky he'd saved from breakfast. Taking one last bite to enjoy the flavor, he tossed the rest of it down to the baby dinosaurs. Like a pack of piranha, they instantly swarmed over the yummy smelling treat, snatching at it and tearing the tough meat to pieces in their strong little jaws. Within moments, the meat was gone and the babies gazing hungrily up at him with pleading eyes and cute chirping barks.

"Sorry, munchkins', that was my last piece," he called down to them. He started chuckling softly when he saw that they seemed to understand his words, if the unhappy barks at him were any indication.

Humming to himself as an idea came to him, Charlie pulled his wand out and began gently waving it in the air. Erupting from the end of his wand were five brilliantly-colored bubbles of magic. Charlie used his wand to control them like a puppeteer controls a puppet. A blue one drifted down in front of one of the hatchlings who curiously moved forward to sniff and inspect the strange thing before it. The little dinosaur's tongue snaked out to taste it, accidentally popping it. It burst like a bubble and sent little blue sparkles fluttering off through the air, fading as they fell. The other hatchlings, having seen this strange phenomenon, quickly decided that they liked this new game, leapt upwards for the rest of the floating bubbles, their little jaws snapping futilely as they tried to bite down on them.

"Nuh-uh, you have to be faster than that. I'm not going to just let you catch them that easily," Charlie called down to them playfully as a green bubble that actually looked like a bubble of some sort of radioactive goo danced around one particularly fierce hatchling's nose. The hatchling barked loudly as it lunged forward for the bubble but still missed the evasive green goop. The bubble bounced lightly off its snout and down its smooth back scales. In a burst of speed, the hatchling's tail snapped up and hit the bubble, popping it and splattering the little dinosaur with green sparkles. Standing erect as the last of the sparkles faded, the little dinosaur let a series of proud chirps at its accomplishment.

Charlie just laughed lightly as he continued to play with the little lizards. His attention was so focused on their little game that he didn't notice something of relatively high importance until a shadow fell over him and a potent stink of rotten meat and bad breath blew down his neck. Looking up, Charlie actually froze in surprise and fright when he found the mother Allosaurus standing over him, looking down at him with obvious intelligence in those eyes. If he hadn't been so unnerved, Charlie might've marveled at how she was able to sneak up on him so easily.

Leaning forward, the mother's nostrils flared softly as she closely inspected him, analyzing his strange smell and getting a very close look at his body and magic stick. Unknown to Charlie, Allie was easily able to smell the various scents of other creatures on him. The smells were so weak that they seemed to cover him like a faint fragrance or a slight dusting of perfume. He didn't smell too much of salty sweat like her partner did on occasion when he took the skins of the other animals off, but his full scent was something quite potent and irritating to her nose. It didn't come from her jungle home and that made it difficult for her to not to fear it out of instinct.

Then there was the fact that he could do many strange things with that little stick he was carrying. Drifting over to it, she eyed it closely, trying to determine just how much of a threat it would be to her babies. It certainly looked harmless, but appearances were always deceiving. Smelling it, she picked up the strong smell of wood oils, those creature scents, and a slight touch of sweat that had been soaked into it. How could something like that possibly be able to do such impossible things?

"Heh," Charlie grunted, torn between amused at her inspections and scared witless. "You must be a new mother; you're way too overprotective of those guys."

Allie of course didn't understand him, but she had grown rather skilled at reading a human's body language. At the moment, he was scared but trying not to let it affect him or her judgment of him. Good, he knew who the boss here was!

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Unnoticed by any of them, another redhead arrived on the scene. Bill carefully glanced around the little clearing. The babies were still busy playing the remaining bubbles and the mother dinosaur seemed to be standing over Charlie with the obvious intent of intimidating him. If Charlie wasn't such a great handler of Magical Beasts and dragons, Bill might've been much more worried for his brother than he was.

Crouching low, he moved as quickly and quietly into the dark and cool depths of the tree. He had to resist the urge to illuminate his wand to see where he was going. No point in drawing any unnecessary to himself after all. But it was because of this that he saw a faint blue and green glow in the air and filling the air with almost palpable raw magic. Rounding the final corner, he stopped dead in his tracks and stared at the beautiful sight before him. Thousands of blue and green gems embedded in the tree cavern's walls, glowing and sparkling softly in the darkness of the cave.

"'Cristaux ardents,' indeed," Bill muttered to himself in wonder.

Walking over to the nearest set of gems, he took out his wand and brought it up to examine the strange jewel. Just as he was about to begin the incantation of a basic diagnosis spell, the sparkling gem suddenly flared to a blinding blue light as the wand's tip neared it. Bill reflexively backed away, his wand at the read. Curiously, the unexpected reaction died away as he retreated.

"Wait a minute…" Moving forward cautiously, Bill lifted his wand towards the gem again. Just like previously, the gem began to grow increasingly brighter the closer the magical instrument approached it. "No bloody way," Bill uttered as he realized just what he was staring at. "Sunstones?!" Spinning around and staring at the vast collection around him, he gawked in disbelief, "All of them?!"

The gems went by many names in the magical world, but the most common for them was 'sunstones'. Sunstones were incredibly rare magical items. They were so rare that there were less than a dozen or so even registered in the various magical governments or under private ownerships. Sunstones were also as incredibly powerful as they were rare. There were many ancient myths and legends surrounding them and all of them claimed that one sunstone had the power of over a thousand wands. Whether that was true or not was irrelevant, but if he were to bring just one of these home and sell it…

A slightly greedy gleam filled his eyes at the thought of the wealth he could gain. Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, Bill waved his wand, his magic yanking several of the closest gems out of the wood and floating them towards him. Grabbing them out of the air, he suddenly felt himself awash with immeasurable power. It was so empowering and intoxicating that he almost didn't have the strength of will to shove the small fist-sized gems into his pockets. Waving his wand again, he cast a small disillusionment charm over his pockets to hide the bright glow that the sunstones were giving off through the fabric.

So distracted was he as he made a hasty retreat back out of the sunstone cavern, Bill didn't notice the strange discoloration that was sweeping through the wood from the spots where the gems had been forcefully yanked from their resting places.

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It was a scene that many would've called majestic, beautiful, and peaceful. A curtain of sparkling white water showering off the edge of a nearby cliff and dropping down into a narrow but deep canyon. Trees, vines, and shrubbery lined the sides of the river below and the cliff high above. The rocks of the canyon wall were blood red sandstone and jutting out in waving patterns, reminiscent of the ancient river that had carved its way through the rock over the millennia.

A small flock of pterosaurs were gliding through the air above. And there was a skittish juvenile Iguanodon that had lost its herd was drinking from the river, keeping an ever-present watch at the water before it and the vegetation around it. It was fearful for a very good reason since it was in unknown territory and had been lost for almost a week. For all it knew, it had a pack of hunters stalking it right now, just waiting for the chance to jump it when it let its guard down.

As it was taking a badly-needed drink of water, a strange light and sound attracted its attention. Lifting its head, the Iguanodon watched as the strange orb of light in the water ahead of it began to rise to the surface. As it did, the strange musical sounds that it could faintly hear grew ever louder. What was that? What was going on in the river? Whatever it was, it was unnatural. It didn't know what it was and that made it even more frightening.

Then, with an eruption of water and a horrendous shrieking sound that replaced the musical voices, a small, dark body appeared with a loud cry. If the juvenile dinosaur had waited just a moment longer before turning and fleeing the scene in terror, it would've seen the strange creature holding a strange golden object in its paws.

Still suspended slightly in the air from his frantic swim to the surface, Harry couldn't help taking a deep breath of the sweet jungle air. Quickly adjusting his grip on the screaming abomination tucked under his arm, Harry's free hand shot to his mouth and grabbed the dagger he'd held between his teeth as he glared down into the water below him. It was only his super-human reflexes, gained from years of survival in this very jungle, that allowed him to yank his dangling feet up to his chest as a maw of large, crushing fangs shot up after him.

Thanks to his positioning and the large Deinosuchus crocodile's angle, Harry was able to reach out and push against the snout. This act allowed him to pushing himself up and over the large crocodile's maw, his feet coming descending as gravity pulled him back down. Sliding down the croc's wet hide as it sprung out of the water at high-speeds, Harry let out a loud laugh as he pushed off the croc's back and leapt as high and far away as he could.

Approaching the canyon wall, he channeled his power into his dagger and jabbed it into the soft sandstone. This left him hanging a good four meters above the river's surface, trying to shut the accursed screaming atrocity under his arm before it alerted the entire jungle of his location. All the while the Deinosuchus made repeated attempts to jump out of the water and snatch him up in its jaws before splashing back down into the water.

Finally managing to close the damn egg and replacing the simple twist lock on the top, he hefted it back and hurled it up onto the cliff three meters above him. Seeing it land safely, he grabbed another dagger and began pulling himself up after the egg, ignoring the angry croc below as it ceased its futile attempts. The ancient crocodile resorted to floating on the surface and watching its midday snack swiftly climb the steep cliff wall, hoping that Harry would slip and fall back down into the water. No such luck though.

Reaching the top of the cliff, Harry easily hauled himself safely up it and sheathed his daggers. Letting out a heavy sigh of relief, he looked back down at the creature that had almost gotten the drop on him. He'd known that it would be dangerous searching the river for the egg and had kept close attention out for marine predators. But despite all his efforts, that croc had still snuck up on him and nearly eaten him. One thing was for certain, he was never going to do anything like that ever again!

But, in a rare flash of childish impudence, Harry arrogantly stuck his tongue out at the reptile below him. 'As if you could've managed to stomach me! I'd have torn you apart from the inside-out!' His self-confidence suitably rejuvenated from his near-death, Harry collected the discarded egg and made his way back to where he'd stashed his cloak, satchel, and weapons. Now all that was left was to escort his Fleur back upside and make sure that no one could ever follow him back down here again.

(Author's Note) I'm so sorry it's taken me this long to update this story! Though, to be honest, this isn't even where I wanted to end this chapter. But I felt that you guys had waited way too long and this particular chapter has been an elephant on my back for a while now. Let's hope that my next one will be out sooner and much longer in length!