Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by J. K. Rowling. No money is being made.

Warnings: This story has Slash.

Chapter 18 – Different paths

Harry took a deep breath and fell on his bed. The year was almost over and the third task was only a few days away. Truthfully he was happy to be done with the year. It was true that he had accomplished a lot over the school year but he was tired.

All that had happened with Nacht was still on his mind. Not that he could forget it even if he wanted to, seeing as he received a letter from the man every week. Even though he didn't reply to any of them, they kept coming. And he just couldn't bring himself not to read them. And no matter how much he hated it the letters never failed to make him smile. Sometimes the letters were only small rants about the people Nacht had to deal with, venting about someone's incompetence, or just talking about how the week had gone. He kept every one of those letters.

And if the whole situation with Nacht wasn't enough, his magic was acting up.

He had no idea what was wrong with it, but it felt restless. The feeling got stronger every day and he was starting to go crazy. It was as if something was about to happen and his magic was eagerly waiting for it. Though he had no idea what it could be.

However he had the feeling that his Court members knew. Sometimes he would catch them watching him and they could barely hide the eagerness they were feeling.

He sighed again and closed his eyes.

Maybe a good night's sleep would help him clear his mind. At least he hoped it would, he didn't know how much longer he could stand it before he snapped.

He got out of bed and stretched. It was the day of the last task and Harry was rather relieved that the whole Tournament was coming to an end. He needed to be alone. He needed to think. Above all he needed to find out what was going on with his magic.

The Court was waiting for him in the common room and he smiled at them. He may be a little angry with them, he knew they were hiding something from him, but Luna had told him that everything would become clear soon. So he didn't remark on their behavior. He knew that they believed they were doing what was best for him, and they would always do what was best for him, even if that meant angering him. Their loyalty and dedication to him never ceased to marvel him, though it no longer surprised him. Now he almost expected it of them, part of him practically demanded their loyalty, their dedication. It was only natural after all. Shaking his head, putting those thoughts in the back of his mind, he smiled slightly at them.

"Let's go." he said, leading them out of the common room.

They spotted the twins and Neville sitting at the Gryffindor table, Neville sitting a little away from everyone else and the twins goofing around with their friend, Lee. He didn't like seeing how Neville was almost shunned inside his own House just because he didn't behave like the stereotypical Gryffindor. But the Lion was stubborn and refused to change his behavior to please them. He was proud of who he had become and even if he couldn't be with the Court out in the open, no matter what Harry said and how many times he told him that he didn't mind if everyone knew that he was part of the Court Neville wouldn't change his mind and Harry didn't want to order him to do it, he didn't want to join the group of fourth years Gryffindors if it meant bad talking Harry and the other Court members.

They sat in their usual places and started their breakfast.

It was obvious that everyone was anxiously waiting for the final task. Though it would only start in the afternoon, everyone was glancing at the Champions, whispering excitedly with their neighbors.

Harry ignored them all and went to his morning classes as usual. He had no doubt that he was going to win. Not even Moody's creepy staring was bothering him. Though he had noticed that the staring had increased as the year come to an end. Sometimes he even caught Moody muttering to himself and he was sure that he heard his name several times. In any other circumstances he would have been all over Moody's strange behavior, but he was honestly too tired to bother.

When it was lunch time he completely ignored the looks he was getting from everyone, even the other Champions were starting to look slightly frustrated with the way everyone was eying them. Aside from Harry, Viktor was the one that was dealing with the looks the best. Cedric was itching to curse a few girls that were practically throwing themselves at him and the only reason Fleur hadn't burned someone to a crisp yet was because the rest of the Court had intervened.

All in all he thought that most of them were quite happy to see the end of the school year.

All the students around them suddenly went silent and Harry glanced up, only to come face to face with Snape. Snape was glaring down at them, looking as if the last thing he wanted to do was to be near them. Though Harry did caught how his eyes glanced towards Draco every so often. He almost smiled when he saw the brief flicker of pain that appeared in Snape's eyes when Draco only looked at him coldly.

"Champions," he sneered at them, "Your families are waiting for you." he pointed towards a door at the back of the Hall and stalked away.

Cedric grimaced and the others threw him sympathetic looks.

"Stay calm," Harry told him, smiling a little, "We'll be there. Besides after you have used him, you'll never need to interact with them again."

Cedric shook his head.

"Till all of your objectives are accomplished it's best to keep them as happy as possible. My family is the only truly well connected Light family that you have on your side, since Neville's grandmother retired herself, and by extension the Longbottom family, from politics after Neville's parents were incapacitated. Their name still has weight but their connections are almost none-existing and their allies are shaky at best. My father on the other hand still has connections and allies, many of them from families that would never interact with Notts, or Malfoys, or anyone that has even the smallest leanings towards the Dark. You never know when that can be useful."

"Sometimes," Harry muttered shaking his head, "All of you seem to be thinking about my future plans much more than I am."

The Court chuckled.

"Well we can't wait for the future." Theo stated, smiling at him warmly and Harry smiled back.

He was happier than he had thought he would be that his relationship with Theo hadn't suffered even though he knew he had hurt him quite a bit. Theo meant a lot to him and he didn't know what he would have done if he had lost the closeness they shared. Though now that he knew what he was looking for it became almost impossible not to see the love in Theo's eyes when Theo so much as looked at him.

A part of him felt that he didn't deserve that love, but he knew that no matter what he said Theo wouldn't change his mind.

"Let's go. They're waiting." he said, standing up and following the other Champions to the room where the families were waiting. He wasn't looking forward to it. He didn't have family to wait for him. But he knew that if he didn't go then Snape would find a way to get him into trouble. Not that he cared all that much about it, but if he could avoid it then he would.

He looked around the room as soon as he entered.

Fleur's family was easy to identify. She looked exactly like her mother, only a few years younger. Her father was rather ordinary, it didn't surprise Harry all that much. From what he had found out Veela always mated for love. They didn't care about looks when looking for the perfect mate. All they cared about was if the mate was able to provide and protect the family. That was where so many rumors about Veela being gold-diggers came from. More often than not, their mates ended up being someone well connected, powerful, rich, or a mix of all three. Fleur's little sister, Gabrielle, looked like a younger version of her sister, though her hair was slightly darker, she was hugging Fleur as if her life depended on it and Harry almost chuckled.

Even so he noticed the way that Fleur's mother was looking at him. As if she was trying to solve a puzzle. He didn't particularly like it, especially because he had no idea what he had done to earn such a look from the Veela.

Next he saw Viktor's parents. Both of them were looking at Viktor with pride in their eyes. Though his father was glancing at Harry ever so often, something like fascination in his eyes.

He almost couldn't contain his sneer when he saw Cedric's parents. They looked so full of themselves that it almost made him sick. It really was no wonder Cedric couldn't stand them. They didn't love Cedric at all, it was clear as day. They loved the image they had of their son. Harry couldn't understand how they couldn't see just how much they were hurting their own son. Well, how does the saying go? Their loss, my gain.

His observations were cut short when he was engulfed in a hug.

The only thing that stopped him from gathering his magic and cursing whoever dared to touch him so was the softly spoken words near his ear.

"Missed you pup."

There was only one person he knew that would ever call him that.

"Sirius." there was only a small trace of the surprise he felt at seeing the man there.

"Hello cub."


This time the surprise must have been more pronounced because Sirius let him go and both men shared a somewhat pained smile.

"We couldn't pass up the opportunity to see you." Remus remarked.

"Yeah," Sirius said enthusiastically, "That's what family does."

Family... He had family now. It was such a strange thought. He hadn't gotten used to the idea of it yet.

"And we brought a gift." Sirius exclaimed. He turned around and almost dragged someone after him.

Harry couldn't help but chuckle when he saw Marcus' disgruntled expression, though it turned into a blinding smile when he saw Harry. He knew what was coming before it happened and in the blink of an eye he had Marcus' arms around him.

"I really missed you." Marcus whispered and Harry could do nothing but hug him back.

He knew it was hard for Marcus to be the only one that was away from the Court, from him. Marcus was the only one that was always alone. It showed just how loyal he was to Harry, to Ouroboros, that even being away from them didn't make him waver in his loyalty and belief in Harry.

"I wasn't expecting you."

"Sirius and Remus smuggled me in." there was a soft smile on his lips and Harry chuckled. He doubted there was much if any smuggling involved. It wouldn't surprise him, if McGonagall had allowed Marcus to join them. She did have a soft spot for him.

"Harry!" exclaimed Fleur excitedly, "Let me introduce you toma famille." then she spotted Marcus and her smile brightened, "Marcus! It's got to see you! Letters just aren't the same than talking face to face." she gave him a quick hug, which Marcus returned.

All the while her family was watching them. Her mother's eyes shining brightly, relief noticeable in their depths.

"Bonjour Madame, Monsieur. Enchanté, je suis Harry Potter." he gave them a small bow.

"Oh, Fleur nos na pas dis que vous parlez français." Fleur's mother said, a delighted smile on her flawless face.

"I'm afraid that my French skills don't go further than that. Though Fleur did say that she would be teaching us French as soon as all this excitement with the Tournament was over." he gave a charming smile.

"Maman, papa, let me introduce you to my friends." Fleur said, her smile brighter than Harry had ever seen it, "This is, as you know, Harry Potter. And this is Marcus Jugson. I'll introduce you to the others in a little bit. They seemed to be a little occupied." she glanced at the other two champions and saw that Viktor was having, what seemed like, a rather serious conversation with his father while Cedric seemed to be doing his best to prevent his parents from sneering at everyone else in the room. "Harry, Marcus, this are my parents; Apolline and Jean-Pierre."

Marcus gave them a little bow and Harry smiled at them. He knew how much Fleur loved her family, so the least he could do was be polite to them. Even if he did want to know what the looks had been about.

"Harry." he looked to his side and saw Viktor standing there, his parents beside him. "I would like to introduce you to my parents, my mother Nadia Krum," she was a beautiful women, long dark blond hair and deep blue eyes, with an aristocratic face. If Viktor hadn't told him that she was a first generation witch he would have thought that she was from an old pureblood family. "And Sergei Krum, my father." he was an older version of Viktor.

"It's a pleasure meeting both of you." Harry replied with a small bow, noticing both Marcus and Fleur standing a little straighter beside him.

"The pleasure is ours." Viktor's father replied his accent almost nonexistent, he was hardly able to mask the excitement, curiosity and awe in his eyes. Harry wondered what that was all about, though he knew that it wasn't a good idea to ask about it, at least not with so many unknowns around.

"Why don't we take a tour around the castle?" Sirius asked excitedly, extending the invitation to the two other families. They were all ignoring the Diggorys, since it was clear as day that they had no interest in interacting with them. Cedric looked at them longingly before dragging his parents away and out of the room.

Both Viktor and Fleur's parents agreed, they seemed happy to be able to spend time with their children and their friends.

Marcus, Fleur, Viktor and Harry lingered back, letting Sirius and Remus lead the adults around. They seemed to be getting along fine. Sirius and Remus telling them little known facts about Hogwarts, and little stories from when they went to school.

Harry was happy with just being with his Ouroboros. They didn't need to talk, he enjoyed the moments when they could be together. In the last few weeks he had been able to feel their magic almost constantly. It was strangely comforting. If this was how his Ouroboros felt then he could understand why they wanted to be near him. Though he still didn't understand why it was happening.

If he were anyone else he would have felt somewhat frightened about all the changes with his magic, more so because he couldn't understand why it was happening. He had searched the Hogwarts library thoroughly, he had even told Sirius to send him books that had anything about changes in magical cores or anything related to it, and even so he still couldn't find anything.

It was frustrating, especially because he had the feeling that his Court knew what was happening.

He contained a sigh and smiled when he saw Marcus, Fleur and Viktor immersed in a conversation. He had been rather happy when they hadn't excluded Marcus even though they hadn't met him before the Yule Ball. As soon as they learned that Marcus was part of the Court they had decided to write him, since it was the only way they could get to know him.

He was sure that this closeness that they all shared would make all the difference in the future. Though the difference in what he still didn't know.

Sirius led them to the grounds and Gabrielle ran towards the lake where she sat down and started throwing little pebbles. The adults joined her, conjuring a blanked and sitting near the shore, enjoining the weather.

They joined them and Harry saw how Fleur's mother's eyes filled with happiness every time Fleur laughed. She devoured every interaction they had with Fleur and her joy grew when she noticed the true happiness her daughter showed.

Harry remembered Fleur telling them how she never had true friends, how the boys would fall to her allure, how it tormented her mother knowing that it was her that had passed the Veela genes to her daughters. It was a constant fear for the half-Veela that she had doomed her daughters to a life of prejudice and unhappiness.

Seeing Fleur so happy, with friends that truly cared for her, must have taken a heavy burden of her shoulders.

He leaned against Viktor and relaxed, letting their chatter wash over him.

"Mister Potter." he opened his eyes and saw that Viktor's father was standing near them, "Would you mind if we talked?" he glanced at Viktor and saw his eyes darken, a warning in them. His father was ignoring said warning, his eyes never leaving Harry.

"Of course not." he replied, throwing a small smile at Viktor. He got up and followed Viktor's father a little away from the group, he could feel their eyes on them, though he paid them no mind. He had been curious about the look in the elder Krum's eyes and this was a rather good opportunity to find out.

"I have to ask," Krum started, as soon as they were far enough away from the others so that they wouldn't be able to hear them, looking part exhilarated and part apprehensive, "What are your goals?"

"My goals?" well, he certainly hadn't expected that, "What do you mean?"

"The Krums have always been a Neutral family. We never cared if our members were Dark or Light. Now though my son, the heir of the Krum family, follows a Dark Lord. He swore himself to a Dark Lord or at least a raising Dark Lord. My son is one of your followers and I know my son, he wouldn't have joined you if you had coerced him. He joined willingly. He wouldn't have done that if you weren't something different. He wouldn't have joined if you offered him power, or if you were a pureblood supremacist. So even though you are a Dark Lord, a raising Dark Lord, you are different from the ones that have risen to power the last few centuries. So again I ask, what are your goals? Why does my son follow you?" when he started he had looked slightly unsure, but as he went on he started sounding surer of himself, the wonder was back, but under all of that there was worry. Worry for his son and the path he was so willingly walking.

Even though he remained perfectly calm on the outside, his mind was racing.

"Why do you say that I am a raising Dark Lord?" his tone was even, though it was hard to keep it that way. He felt as if he was in the brink of finding out something, something important, something that would change everything.

"We are an old family. I can read the signs. I can't be certain, but if I were to guess I would say that you are two or three steps away from becoming a Dark Lord. From what I can feel your magic is more than ready for it."

"Can everyone feel that?" that would be a problem, a rather big problem actually.

"No. I imagine a lot of people would be able to feel your magic, but very few would actually be able to feel the underlying currents that show what you are. The Krum family can feel magic, as Viktor has no doubt told you, in a much deeper level. It's a gift left from our ancestors who mated with magical creatures such as Veela and Nymphs, who are especially sensitive to those things."

Harry hummed and briefly closed his eyes.

Was this why his magic had been acting so strange these last few months? Was he truly a rising Dark Lord? He opened his eyes and glanced at his Ouroboros, still sitting by the lake, now having been joined by a few of the others that had been in class previously. Was that why they deferred to him so? Did they see him as their Lord?

He contained a derisive chuckle and pinched the bridge of his nose. How could he have been so blind?

He had been so set on stating that he wasn't a Dark Lord that he failed to realize just how his actions contradicted his words. 'I am a Dark Lord.' he thought. Not a second later he felt his magic settle. Its constant buzzing stopped and it flowed through his body soothingly. As if it finally was at peace. As if it had finally found its purpose. He had known that his magic had been agitated but he hadn't truly realized just how much a difference it would make. He felt more in control, not only of his magic but of himself to. It was as if he had been hiding and now wasn't. He felt... free.

He glanced at his Court when he heard the sharp intake of breath. Marcus, Fleur, Viktor, Luna, Blaise, Theo and Draco were sitting straight; their eyes slightly glazed an expression of wonder and excitement on their faces.

He had a feeling that they had felt the change in his magic. It still surprised him just how in tune they were with his own magic.

He looked at Krum and saw that he was looking at them too, an almost awed expression on his face.

"My goals..." he started slowly, capturing Krum's attention, "I want Magic to be free. I don't care about blood, about Light or Dark. All I care about is Magic. I want it to be free. What we have been doing to Magic... It's killing her. Magic should never be contained, should never be bound by human rules and regulations. My goal is to change our world. My goal is to set Magic free." he smiled at the dumbstruck wizard and walked back to his Ouroboros, he sat in the middle of them and let their magic surround him. He closed his eyes and smiled. Finally he was starting to feel at peace.

They were getting ready for the third task. Their families had left them a few minutes ago and the four champions were in a tent near the pitch. There was still a little more than an hour till the beginning of the task, but their families had understood when they said that they wanted to be together and prepare for the task.

Truthfully there was nothing to prepare, they were as prepared as they could be, but they did want to spend time together. Their magic was almost demanding it.

The entrance to the tent was opened and the other Ouroboros started to pile in. Even Marcus was able to sneak back in with them.

They smiled and sprawled themselves on the available seats.

"Something changed." Theo stated, his eyes locking with Harry's and breaking the peaceful atmosphere.

The others looked at him too, their eyes far to knowing. He had suspected that they knew what had been happening but this was all the confirmation that he needed.

"I'm a Dark Lord."

He was expecting for a lot of reactions from his Court, however he hadn't expected the overwhelming relief and join in their eyes. Their magic surged forward, warping around him. It was joyous, exhilarated. He felt almost overwhelmed.

Theo stood then, the others following him swiftly, he took a few steps forward and knelt in front of the armchair that Harry was sprawled upon.

"I, Theodore Maximillian Nott, pledge my body, magic and soul to thee, Harry James Potter, my chosen Lord. I pledge to uphold your beliefs, to fight for your goals, to live and die by your word. So I pledge it, so mote it be."

Somehow it didn't surprise him that Theo was the first. Theo had always been the first; he would always be the first. He had always been his and he knew that he would always be.

He stood and took Theo's face between his hands, gently caressing his cheeks. He placed a gentle kiss on Theo's forehead and whispered, "So mote it be."

For a fraction of a second it felt as if the world itself had stopped spinning, then there was a rush of magic and Theo released a pained little whimper, clutching his left shoulder.

Gently Harry moved Theo's hand and with a whisper of magic cut open Theo's shirt.

There for all to see, black on flawless creamy skin, was his mark. The Ouroboros he had defined as their crest, though if one looked closely enough, one would see that the lines that outlined the Ouroboros were the words of Theo's pledge. Forever engraved in his skin, forever binding them.

Marcus, Draco, Blaise, Fred, George, Luna, Neville, Adrian, Graham, Fleur, Cedric, Wayne and Viktor followed suite. They knelt beside Theo and made their pledge.

"I, Marcus Anthony Jugson, pledge..."

"I, Draco Lucius Malfoy, pledge..."

"I, Blaise Mika Zabini, pledge..."

"I, Fred Gideon Weasley, pledge..."

"I, George Fabian Weasley, pledge..."

"I, Luna Artemise Lovegood, pledge..."

"I, Neville Frank Longbottom, pledge..."

"I, Adrian Matthew Pucey, pledge..."

"I, Graham Philipe Montague, pledge..."

"I, Fleur Isabel Delacour, pledge..."

"I, Cedric Benjamin Diggory, pledge..."

"I, Wayne Paul Hopkins, pledge..."

"I, Viktor Andrei Krum, pledge..."

They started in unison and ended in unison and Harry was sure that magic had to have been involved, how else would it have been possible. But at the moment he didn't care. The magic they had put in their pledges was dancing around him, waiting for the final words to be spoken, waiting to be bound. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath and in words no louder than a whisper he sealed their fate, "So mote it be."

The magic surged around them, sealing their pledge.

They grabbed their arms releasing slight whimpers, and then they rushed to uncover their shoulders, eager to see the proof of their pledge. And there it was, just like Theo's.

Neville was the first to break out of his awe. His shoulders shook and the he started laughing. It was full of delight and the others soon joined him. Harry could almost feel their giddiness.

Harry let them be, knowing that they needed this. He sat back on his seat and let them compose himself. He was sure that they had been waiting for this moment far longer than he could think.

Slowly they calmed down; they turned to face Harry again, still on their knees, and bowed their heads.

"We live to serve, my Lord." they chanted.

He had to stop the shiver that run down his spine. That had affected him far more than what he thought it would. He like it, he really like it.

Harry studied them. Part of him couldn't believe that he liked seeing his friends on their knees in front of him. No, they weren't only his friends, they were his followers. He had followers who would do anything to achieve his goals. He had followers who were loyal to him. He was a Dark Lord.

"Ouroboros," he addressed them, standing from his seat. He stood tall and proud in front of them, his magic flowing around him, caressing their bare shoulder where his mark was branded, "Today we set our path. All of us made our choices. We could have walked different paths; we could have made different choices. We could have been what everyone expected of us. But we didn't. We aren't. We chose to be Ouroboros." he could see the pride in their eyes and a small smile appeared on his lips, "In the years to come our choices, our path, will be criticized by those around us. They will call us evil, they will shun us. But we will stay true to our choices because we know that we are right. We know our cause is just. We will free Magic; we won't let human limitations define Magic's boundaries. We will change the world for the better even if we have to fight our own to achieve it. We are Ouroboros and soon every magical being on earth will know our name."

"Ouroboros!" his Court chanted, their heads held high and he smiled.

Yes, their path was set.

The crowd around them was cheering like crazy and Harry wanted nothing more than to go back to their tent or to his room and enjoy the time with his Ouroboros.

He could feel them now better than ever. Their magic was always reaching out to him, almost begging for his attention. It was slightly distracting, but he knew that it was worse for them, especially for Cedric, Viktor, and Fleur. They were still competing against each other but their magic made it almost uncomfortable for them. They would still do their best, but they felt almost compelled to not go against him. Though he had made it clear that he wanted them to do their best, he didn't want to win just because they hadn't tried hard enough. He wanted to win because he was better.

He was still a little stunned about what had happened just a little over an hour ago. He was officially a Dark Lord, there was no turning back.

Though that didn't mean he regretted it. He didn't. He felt better than he had in a while, since the beginning of the year as a matter of fact.

There was the sound of a canon firing and he walked towards the maze. Since he was in first place he was the first to walk in. He looked back at the other Champions one last time and went in.

As soon as he entered all the sound around him vanished, the night seemed darker and the hedges seemed to emit an almost oppressing feeling. He had suspected that they would have charmed the maze, but even he hadn't expected it to affect him so. It made him uncomfortable, he wanted to be out of the maze as soon as possible. He knew it was the charms influencing him, but he couldn't quite control it.

Taking a deep breath, trying to get over the charms around him, he took the first few steps inside the maze. He would win this, he had to. What kind of Dark Lord would he be if he couldn't overcome such a measly maze.

Right, left, left, left, straight ahead, right. He was ready to scream in frustration! He had no idea how long he had been in the damned maze, but he had expected to have run into something by now. However his path had remained empty. There was nothing but soundless darkness and the feeling of the hedges creeping closer as time passed.

Truthfully he would have preferred some sort of magical beast instead of this suffocating silence.

Almost as if answering his wish he saw a shadow emerging from the hedges.

For a second or two he could do nothing more than stare at the thing in front of him. An acrumantula? And not a young one either. What were they thinking? He knew that the Tournament would have some dangers, but acrumantula? Those weren't dangerous, they were deadly.

More than thankful for all the training he had gone through he dodge when the beast charged, casting a curse mid leap. It hit the animal, but did nothing more than blast it a few feet since it had only grazed it. It was far faster than what he had thought.

"Diffindo." he whispered, aiming at the creature's legs, overpowering the spell. A normal diffindo would never be able to pierce their skin, but magic was a matter of will and no matter how basic a spell was all that mattered was the power and will behind it.

The spell caught three of its legs and Harry couldn't stop the laugh that escaped him when it shrieked in pain. He so very rarely had the opportunity to indulge his more sadistic tendencies, he had missed it. Though he did his best to stifle it, he knew that they were being monitored; the crowd was watching them inside the maze. He didn't want to give them a reason to restart their whispers about him being a Dark Lord, especially now since it was actually true. He hoped Weasley never found out; otherwise he would never hear the end of it. He could picture it now, his ugly little face lit up by smugness and prancing around the castle as if he owned it telling whoever wanted to hear that he had been right. He was sure that he would ask his demons to get rid of the little bug before the day was out if something like that were to happen.

Seeing the creature trying to stand on its remaining legs brought Harry out of his thoughts, this wasn't the most opportune time to start daydreaming. He had a Tournament to win.

A well placed and overpowered bombarda blew part of the things head of and a small smug smile appeared on his lips. Simple and effective, and best of all no one could accuse him of using anything illegal.

He turned around and continued on his way, slightly more enthusiastically. However that quickly died down when the only thing he came across was a Confundos charm that made him believe that the world was upside-down, a Boggart and a Sphinx. Out of all of them the most interesting one was the Sphinx, even if the riddle hadn't been all that challenging.

He turned right again and stopped in his tracks.

That was it? Really?

In front of him was the Tri-Wizard Cup.

He looked around and spread his magic, trying to feel for anything more around him, some curse, or creatures, or even traps. But there was nothing, the only thing he felt was the same feeling of wanting to leave the maze.

He took a step forward.

He cursed.

The hedges rumbled and started collapsing in on him.

He sprinted towards the cup, since the way back was blocked by the hedges. He almost tripped when the hedges snagged his shirt, but a quick diffindo had that taken care of. When the hedges started to crumble faster and faster he almost tackled the Cup from its perch, knowing that it would be the only way to make it out of there, more like hoping that touching it would stop the collapsing of the hedges.

He felt a hook behind his navel and frowned slightly, no one had told him that the Cup would be a portkey. The last thing he saw was the hedges engulfing everything around him and he couldn't help but feel relieved that he was being taken away.

A.N.: I am really sorry. Sorry. Truly. I know it has been a long time since I updated, but my laptop broke and I haven't bought one yet. At the beginning of last month I've started using a friends iPad, but I can only use it a little every night and it takes me forever to write a chapter. So updates will be a little slower until I have a new laptop. But I will upload, I won't ever abandon the story. Even so, thanks for sticking with the story for so long. It makes me really happy and makes me want to finish it :)

This chapter was a little smaller, I know, but it's more of a bridge for the second part of the story. This is the end of the first part of the story, the part where Harry isn't a Dark Lord yet. After this chapter starts the rise of the Dark Lord. Things will become more serious, Tom will be back as the Dark Lord that he his. Plans will be made, the Order of the Phoenix will start up again, and the war will start in about two chapters. So... as you can see, things will start to happen.