A/N- Thank you for being patient! I'm still struggling with writer's block, but I managed to get this written. It's not my best chapter, but I felt like I really needed to get a chapter out. Review! –Phoenix
Draco cried out in pain as Hermione knocked him on his arse…again. Glaring, he pushed himself back to his feet and got in the basic fighting stance that Hermione was teaching him.
It had been a month since they returned to Hogwarts and they were keeping themselves terribly busy… just not with their schoolwork. They were busy making preparations for the upcoming war.
So far, the Heirs had managed to convince a few of their fellow classmates to join their cause. Susan and Hannah from Hufflepuff were more than willing to train to be a part of their army. Lisa Turpin, Terry Boot and Padma Patil joined them from Ravenclaw. Dean Thomas, Colin and Dennis Creevey and Seamus Finnigan joined from Gryffindor. The big surprises were Blaise Zabini and the Greengrass sisters, Daphne and Astroia from Slytherin. While their army didn't have many wizards and witches yet, they were optimistic that their numbers would soon grow.
Harry and Neville had split the numbers between their three lordships as wards so that Dumbledore couldn't touch them. The whole group moved into Potter Manor and only went to Hogwarts for classes. Blaise, Daphne and Astroia didn't feel safe returning to Slytherin because of what their housemates would do to them if they ever found out their allegiance. The new members of Unity Army actually enjoyed living at Potter Manor. There was plenty of room and they felt safer there than they did at Hogwarts.
Draco leaned back on his left leg and brought his arms up in a defensive position. In front of him, Hermione stood in her elven training clothes. She hadn't been exactly thrilled at training Draco, but he was a good student and therefore she wouldn't complain.
"You're still not putting enough weight on your back leg," she told him calmly. "It would only take a light sweep kick to take you down."
Faster than Draco's eyes could follow, Hermione ran forward and dropped to the ground to perform a sweep kick. Right as always, Hermione took Draco down with ease. Draco swore as he fell down again and this time he didn't push himself back up.
Hermione looked down at him with a small smile on her face. "You're improving," she said. "Now get up so that we can perfect that stance. You're the only human so far who's capable of the elven style. If we get more then I'll need your help to help train them."
Draco nodded and shakily stood up. "What if I became half-elf?" he asked. "Wouldn't I be even better then?"
Hermione immediately shook her head. "I was a special circumstance," she explained. "Not every human who's being trained in the elven style can become half-elf. Elear won't allow it."
"But if the true elves are a dying race, then wouldn't Elear want more of them walking the earth?" Draco continued.
Hermione shook her head, a small smile on her face. "Draco, the true elves aren't a dying race. They're hiding, there's a difference. They live separately from our world. I lived with just one village, it is hardly the only one in the world."
"Really?" Draco asked in surprise. He brushed off his pants and sighed heavily. "I just don't feel like I'm learning anything. There isn't enough time."
"Elven style is very difficult to learn," Hermione agreed. "Not that the other styles are easy. But, elven style relies on uniting magic and combat into one. Goblin style relies on either combat or magic, the two aren't combined. And centaur style relies solely on combat. One style isn't stronger than the other."
Draco furrowed his brows at that. "It sounds like the elven style is strongest," he pointed out.
Hermione nodded thoughtfully. "I can see why you would think that. But, like every style, elven style has its weakness. Elves can easily be overwhelmed by the centaur's strength and the brute force of the goblin's magic and swordsmanship. While we can merge magic and combat, our magic is combatively weaker than the goblin's and our swordsmanship isn't up to par with the centaurs. We rely on our grace and speed to take out our opponents. Remember this Draco, if you're caught in close combat with a goblin or centaur then you need to gain some distance. Fight with grace and take them out before they realize it. Almost like an assassin," she added dryly.
"I guess that makes sense," Draco acknowledged. "So, if I sparred with Neville and we got in a sword lock…"
"You would get your arse kicked," Hermione chuckled. "If only we had more time," she whispered to herself. Suddenly her brown eyes lit up. "Draco, I need to go talk to Harry. I want you to stay here and meditate until I get back. Feel for the natural magic that flows from this land."
After Draco agreed, Hermione dashed towards the house. When she got there, she quickly greeted a couple elves and continued moving towards the ballroom where Harry would train his new students. Cautiously, Hermione opened the door and stuck her head in.
Seamus, Lisa, Terry, and Astroia were Harry's students in the goblin style. Dean, Blaise, Daphne, and Colin were Neville's centaur style students and Padma and Dennis worked with Luna learning a little fairy magic and helping her strategize.
Harry turned his head at the sound of the door opening and his face brightened at the mere sight of her. At Hermione's inclining head, he gave his students a couple safe workouts to do and left the room.
"Hey Love, what's up?" he asked.
"Harry, we could be called into a major battle anytime and I don't know about you, but Draco won't be ready," Hermione whispered.
Harry's face darkened a bit and he nodded. "I agree, I had seven months with Master Zux and even then I still had a lot to learn after I got my sword. What do you propose?"
Hermione's eyes shone. "Training sessions in the trunk," she said excitedly. "You, me, and Neville can alternate weekends when we take our students into the trunk and train them under the time compression."
Harry gaped at her before he smiled proudly. "I wonder why we didn't think of that sooner. That sounds perfect, but why alternate?"
"That way we wouldn't have to arrange for space," Hermione explained. "Although, I suppose that Draco and I could just piggyback with yours or Neville's training since he is my only student."
"That would be four months of training in the trunk within four weeks for mine and Neville's students," Harry remarked. "That would be perfect! But, are you afraid of us continuing aging? Our bodies still changed as if we were going through regular time."
Hermione bit her lip in thought. "I could do research to see if we can stall the aging process," she said. "I'm sure that we could get a few elves to volunteer to help run things in the trunk."
Harry's eyes shone mischievously. "If you were there each time, I'm sure that they would."
Hermione giggled and kissed Harry swiftly on the lips. "I'm going to go ask Luna if she has any ideas for this. If we prioritize on this we might be ready by Friday afternoon which is in two days."
"You're amazing," Harry whispered lovingly as he played with her braid in his fingers. "Would you like me to train Draco for the rest of the day while you do this?"
"So you could confuse him with your savage goblin style?" Hermione gasped in a mock snobbish tone. "Never! Besides, he's going to be busy for a while with what I left him to do."
With one last kiss, Hermione bid farewell to Harry and dashed towards her favorite place in the world, the Potter Library.
Hermione groaned in frustration as she put yet another book on the table. She had been researching for hours and she hadn't found anything yet.
After she explained her plan to Luna, the blonde had suggested that Hermione look into runes as it was runes that powered the trunk. But, it was still like looking for a needle in a haystack.
An hour into the research process Hermione was joined by Draco who, to her embarrassment, she had forgotten about.
"Did you feel it?" she asked cheekily.
Draco scowled at her. "I was there forever and all I got out of it was a twinge in my neck. Do you need help?"
Hermione nodded and Draco pulled up a chair and a heavy text from her pile of potentials. She gave him a quick description of what they were looking for. They researched in silence for a couple hours.
"So," Draco said quietly, breaking the silence. "I wanted to ask you something."
Hermione lifted her eyes up from her book and gave Draco a small smile. "Ask away," she said.
Draco put down the book and looked away uneasily. "I was wondering if I could see Tel'Ranaemyn sometime. You told me that I would need to make my own blade and bow to fully master the elven style. I was hoping that I could do that in a true elven village."
"You would need your own blade," Hermione agreed. "But I don't think that you'll be able to forge it yourself. I'll show you how to sing to blades and you can assist in the making of your sword. Human fingers aren't nimble enough to forge elven blades. I couldn't make my own until after I became half-elf. When you are ready for your own blade, I will forge it for you and you will assist."
Draco nodded and looked back at the book.
They searched for another hour and just when Hermione was about to call it a day, Draco let out a small gasp.
"I think that we're over thinking this," he said as he pushed his book towards her. "The stasis rune is used to keep something motionless. Usually this would be used on a small scale like keeping a vase from falling off a shelf. But, if we added the rune for a person's age to it and combined the magic, it would keep the body from progressing in age, but not magic."
Hermione's eyes lit up. "That's so simple that it's brilliant. Here I was thinking that we had to find this extremely rare and difficult rune, but in fact it's just the matter of combining two well-known and simple runes. We would need to add another rune to prevent the rune cluster from feeding too much on our own magic, but that should be relatively simple. Draco, you just solved a huge problem for us!"
Draco shrugged in embarrassment, but he was obviously pleased.
They spent another thirty minutes creating the perfect rune cluster for their plan and making sure that the rune cluster wouldn't feed off of their magical cores. When they were satisfied, they were presented with another problem.
"The only way for this to work is to have the runes carved into our skin," Hermione sighed. "Blood will make the runes even more powerful and help to prevent them from failing."
"But that will also prevent the runes from being deactivated," Draco pointed out. "If it was written with ink that is enchanted and mixed with the person's blood, then that would still work and would be able to be spelled away."
Hermione beamed at Draco. "I'd expect nothing less from my student," she laughed. "Let's go, it's almost dinner and we can tell everyone at once."
They went to dinner and once everyone was done eating, Hermione explained her plan and hers and Draco's solution to keep them from aging. Some of them were confused at first, but after Hermione patiently explained, they got excited.
"Great job," Harry praised them. He turned to Neville and asked, "Would you like to take your group this weekend?"
Neville scratched the scar on his cheek. "It would be a little short notice," he said. "Would you mind if we went next week?"
Harry shook his head. "That's fine mate." He looked at each of his students. "Be prepared to leave Potter Manor for two months on Friday afternoon. Pack tonight and tomorrow, we'll enter the trunk right when we get back from Hogwarts on Friday."
Hermione looked at Draco. "We're going to piggyback every weekend since it's just you and me."
Draco nodded in understanding and went back to his meal.
After the meal was over, Harry and Hermione went to their room where the trunk resided. They went inside and started prepping the rooms to accommodate the extra people. They transfigured the beds in Hermione's, Luna's, and Neville's old rooms so that instead of one bid bed, there were two. Harry and Hermione would share Harry's old room while everyone else shared the others.
Once the rooms were ready, Harry and Hermione left the trunk. Harry went to gather the training weapons that he and Hermione would need while Hermione left to gather most of the books they would need from the library and to ask for a few house-elves to help.
By the time they were done prepping the trunk, it was after midnight and they were exhausted. They climbed into bed and Hermione immediately snuggled into Harry's bare chest while Harry ran his fingers through her hair.
"I'm sorry that I didn't talk to you, Luna and Neville about the solution before I announced it," Hermione said softly. "I was just so excited that it didn't occur to me that you would want us to discuss it further by ourselves."
Harry smiled and kissed Hermione on the forehead. "It's alright, and I don't think that Luna or Neville minded either. We aren't going to be like Dumbledore and keep secrets from those who fight with us. I already plan on telling the students about the horcruxes. By opening up to our allies, we take less on ourselves and we have a greater chance of succeeding."
Hermione beamed at Harry. "Speaking of horcruxes, has Ragnok come across any leads? The diary, the ring, the diadem, the cup and you are taken care of. If we're right about there being seven, then that means that there are two left."
"I don't think that Voldy used anything of Gryffindor's," Harry thought out loud. "The only known relic of Gryffindor is the sword and that obviously isn't a horcrux seeing as I stabbed a basilisk with it and got the thing covered with venom."
"The sword could destroy horcruxes then," Hermione said. "It's a good thing that Ragnok knew how to eliminate horcruxes without harming the host. I would hate to stab you with a basilisk venom infused blade."
That got Harry to chuckle. "I wouldn't care for that much either. As for leads, Ragnok told us that he heard that Slytherin had another heirloom beside the ring. Apparently it's a locket. But as for where it is, he has no idea. He has his best detection team on it though. Ragnok wants us to worry about training our army and for him to worry about the horcruxes. He also told me that King Zesd wants to start sending squads of goblin warriors to start training with us."
Hermione intertwined her fingers with Harry's. "Why don't you tell Ragnok that you can take a handful of goblins with you into the trunk? I don't think that we have enough room for a whole squad."
Harry brightened at that. "Love, I feel like we really stand a good chance at winning this war. Voldy isn't going to know what hit him, and neither will Dumbledore."
A/N- Review! -Phoenix