Author's note: Yes, I know I'm updating after a long time. But I've my exams going on and I don't find that much time to write a chapter as I used to do. Anyways here's an update. Hope you guys like it.!
Cosmyk Angel: thank you for the reviews. Well those memories? You'll come to know about them in this chapter.
Legionary Prime: Ah ha! Yes! Thank you for the review.
DLalway: Thank you for the review. You'll come to know about these memories in this chapter. And Hermione will tell Draco real soon….
Harry felt his feet leaving the cold stone ground of the house as the darkness whirled around himself. He landed in an office that much he knew. The others landed beside him and looked as confused as he did. Suddenly a voice sounded from behind them.
"Oh dear Lord, it's time already? It flew by really fast." They all whirled around immediately and saw a man standing near a table surrounded by many students wearing Hogwarts robes.
The man had gingery blond moustache and his hair was thick and straw coloured. He had pudgy hands, fat thumbs and a vast forehead. He wore a maroon velvet jacket over lilac silk pyjamas.
"We are in Hogwarts." Hermione whispered as the students slowly filed out of the room thanking that man. They came to know him as someone called, 'Professor Slughorn.'
One particular student stayed behind. He was tall and handsome with pale skin, jet black hair and dark eyes.
The man called Slughorn shut the door and turned around. He gave a small yelp when he saw the boy standing near of the tables and inspecting an animal kept in an air tight container.
"Ah! Tom, you are still here?" Slughorn asked as he walked to a table and filled his glass with Firewhiskey.
"Sir, I wanted to ask you something."
"Oh! Sure Tom. Anything you would like to know. I'll be glad to help a student like you."
"Sir, hmm….I wondered if you knew anything about…Horcruxes?"
Slughorn's absent features stood out sharply as the word registered with his mind. He looked at Tom with narrowed eyes and backed away from him a bit.
"Why do you ask?" he asked, his voice a bit rough.
"I was doing some extra reading yesterday and came across this term. I didn't fully understand it." said Tom.
"Well…ummm…" Slughorn hesitated and turned his back on Tom. "Umm…its Dark stuff Tom, very Dark. It's almost equal to unspeakable."
"But you have some idea about them, don't you?" Tom asked taking a step towards Slughorn.
"Well…ummm….just to give you an overview Tom, mind you I'm not going to go into its depth. If headmaster comes to know about this…"
"He won't…" Tom said cutting Slughorn's sentence. Harry didn't miss how eager he sounded. "He won't come to know. I won't breathe a word of our discussion to anyone."
"Well then, a Horcrux is the word used for an object in which a person has concealed a part of their soul." By now Slughorn's hands were shaking, the Firewhiskey threatening to spill.
"Hmm, sir how do you do it?" Tom asked, excitement dancing like flames in his eyes.
"You split your soul. Really dreadful magic."
"How do you do that? Split you soul, I mean?" he looked even more excited as he asked.
"It's evil…very evil. You kill, murder you see. Killing rips the soul, don't ask me how. There's a spell for it and I don't know it." Slughorn turned around to face Tom, the Firewhiskey spilled a bit on his jacket as he turned but Slughorn had his eyes on Tom.
"I know sir, I understand. How does this Horcrux protect us? Can you do it only once?" Tom managed to put on a bored expression on his face but the longing that hid behind his questions were clearly visible through the fake mask.
"You hide a part of your soul in an object so that even if your body is attacked you soul or rather a part of it remains undamaged. That means you remain alive." Slughorn's face crumbled with disgust as he said.
"You didn't answer me. Is one enough? Or can we do it more than once? How about seven?"
"Merlin's beard, Tom." Slughorn's voice rose. "What have you been thinking? Seven? How could you even think of it? Kiiling one person is dreadful enough but seven? And more ripping your soul…" Slughorn stopped, he was breathing heavily and he looked troubled. He narrowed his eyes at Tom again, "It's just out of curiosity? Right Tom?"
"Of course sir." Tom replied.
They felt their feet being tugged and before they could realise all ten of them were standing in front of the pensieve again, in their dining room.
No one said anything but settled in various positions. Harry sat down in his chair, Ron slumping in beside him. Draco stood leaning against the kitchen counter, Blaise next to him. Theo and Daphne sat down opposite Harry and Ron. Ginny stood behind Harry's chair, her hand on his shoulder. Neville and Luna stood by the pensieve, their fingers intertwined. Hermione stood near the box of memories staring at it fixedly.
Everyone waited for Harry to speak. Finally Harry looked up at everyone.
"I think we all know who Tom is. It's Voldemort. Whereas Slughorn is concerned; I have no clue who he is." Harry's forehead was creased as he spoke.
"Horcruxes. Does anyone have any idea what they are?" Theo asked. "I have heard about them for the first time."
"No." Harry replied. "Dumbledore didn't say anything about them ever nor have I heard about them."
Everyone then turned to look at Hermione. She looked at everyone else and sighed. "No. I haven't read about it. I have no clue. Whatever Slughorn said is all I know."
"Alright." Ginny said, squeezing Harry's shoulder a bit. "All we know is, this Horcrux is a kind of Dark magic and is used to gain immortality. I mean, even if you die, your soul remains intact. So this means…."
"Voldemort has created Horcrux and I think I know who send these memories." Harry continued.
"Dumbledore." Ron whispered and Harry nodded.
"So Dumbledore is hinting us towards Voldemort's Horcruxes?" Draco asked his eyebrows rising as he spoke.
"Why would he send these memories otherwise?" Harry replied. "I think he wants us to go after Voldemort's horcruxes, without which he would never die. That is how he came back to his full form during Tri Wizard Tournament. He had created Horcruxes."
"And if we assume right…" Neville said. "…from what we heard right now, he created seven of them."
"Exactly." Daphne replied. "But still we don't know what they are. I mean in spite of our families being dark we haven't heard about it. It can only mean that it is very Dark Magic. Maybe darkest of all."
"So we have another goal now." Blaise said getting up from the kitchen counter. "Hunt the Death Eaters along with Horcruxes."
Harry nodded. "But before we begin with them, I think we should read this up. We have no clue and no lead. So it will be better if we have some basic knowledge about these."
"How are we going to do that?" Ron asked.
"Well I think we'll have to visit the public library then."
Hermione deposited six thick books on the table. Everyone had gathered around the table peering at the books.
"So thick?" Theo asked as he looked from Hermione to the books and back at her.
"Yes, these are all I could find." Hermione said and she looked at Harry.
"What are we waiting for then? C'mon get started." Harry said as he picked up the second book from the stack.
Hermione, Draco, Harry, Luna, Neville and Blaise were the ones who started reading the books. They were quite old and the pages looked like they hadn't been touched for years. Hermione actually had to beg the librarian to let her purchase those books. After several minutes of begging and an offer any sane man couldn't refuse Hermione had walked out of the library with the books shrunken in her pocket.
She was scared initially to go and purchase books on such Dark Arts but when she realised that she was the only one among the ten of them who could get away with it, she agreed.
Hermione was now sitting in an overstuffed chair near the fireplace, her nose buried in the thick book that rested on her lap. She turned the pages rapidly her eyes scanning the content in the books at high speed.
"I can't really find anything interesting in this book." Neville said as he closed the golden coloured book and put it aside on the table.
"What is in it?" Harry asked without looking up from his book.
"It's about Herpo – The Foul who created the first Horcrux." Neville said as he lifted his legs up and rested them against the small table in front of him.
"Anything else about him that would help us?" Draco asked a he lifted his glass of orange juice.
"Nothing. Just that he is one of the earliest known Greek Dark Wizards. He was the first wizard to hatch a Basilisk. He was a Parselmouth and he is said to have designed this Horcrux ritual himself." Neville said he rested his head back against the couch.
"At least we know the origins now." Luna said flipping the pages of her book in a bored way.
Half an hour later they were still immersed in their books. Ron and Theo were in the middle of an intense chess game with Daphne and Ginny, cheering and supporting them. Blaise suddenly got up from his chair, the book falling from his lap. Everyone looked up shocked as Blaise ran out of the room knocking off a few chairs in the process.
Everyone ran behind him as he shut the door of the washroom behind him. They pounded like mad on the door shouting out his name.
"Alohomora." Harry shouted and the door burst open. Harry rushed inside and saw Blaise leaning over the white basin, his face green and the tap water running. He patted Blaise's back as he got sick once again and Theo and Draco followed in.
"Mate are you alright?" Theo asked as he handed Blaise a towel.
Blaise nodded weakly.
"Let's get him downstairs." Ginny said and moved out of the small washroom.
They all seated in their regular chairs as Hermione poured a glass of warm water and handed it over to Blaise to drink. They all waited patiently till he drank.
"What happened?" Harry was the first one to speak among the lot.
"I can't…I can't read the book anymore." Blaise whispered in a small voice.
"What?" Draco asked, shocked.
"The book's horrible Potter. It's not written for humans. You know what you have to do to create a Horcrux?" Blaise gulped audibly. "I…can't. No. I won't. It's terrible and to know that someone had actually done everything written in this book is making me even more sick. Please Potter."
"Okay, alright." Harry said looking unsurely at Hermione. She nodded lightly at him.
"I think we should all get to bed. It's late anyways and we all need some rest. A lot has happened today." Hermione said as she picked up Blaise's glass of water and put in the sink.
"Yeah you are right." Ginny said and everyone got up.
Draco and Ron helped Blaise into bed as they went in their respective rooms to rest.