Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or the characters of his universe, I just play in that sandbox for fun and without pay or any form of remuneration other than reviews and private messages; which are fortunately non-taxable.
AN: Time for a little stress release. (Insert maniacal laughter here*)
AN 2: A list of perks, titles, and trophies is included at the bottom, thanks go to Dragonforce for taking the time to write it up so that I could focus on writing the chapter.
AN 3: Read the final Author's Note if you want to know what was up with this interminable wait for a new update.
AN 4: 7-7-16 updated some of the errors that readers caught. Thank you, folks!
'Thoughts are in italics'
"Things Said, or Things Written"
Chapter 12: Rage Against The Machine
"Waaaaaaaaahh" Harry's plummeting scream echoed into the darkness of the goblin tunnels as he missed jump number 456 for the 3rd time in what had been the equivalent of 24 hours of retrying the Like A Toad On The Tracks cart racing mission.
"You Bas," Harry hit the floor of the menu loading screen flat on his back, forcing him to wheeze out the remainder of his insult to the programmers, "tards."
"Ow." Hissed from his lips as he laid flat, looking up into the darkness with only the sounds of the theme for The Adventures of Harry Potter, The Video Game playing in the background in all of its electronic midi goodness.
Time didn't seem to mean anything in the menu screen, so Harry laid there staring up at the darkness as he contemplated exactly how he had screwed up on this run through the race mission for the goblins.
"Bloody hell, so bloody frustrating." Harry face palmed with a smack of his hand over his eyes while continuing to lay on his back as the obsidian floor and darkness stretched around him. "Ok, let's walk through the steps again." Harry mumbled to himself while trying to plot the racecourse in his head.
"I've got the first part memorized of up, up, drop down, then down, then left, then right, left, then right, then hit the button that looks like B to jump to a new track, followed immediately by the button that looks like an A, then I can start the rest of the race." Harry paused as he recalled the first part of the race that had only killed him about fifty times, minus a few thousand; but who was counting. "Now after that the cart drops down the long slope and picks up a whole lot of speed, making it hard to see through the tears that form in my eyes from the wind in my face, and even more difficult as I have to dodge through the stalactite forest and veer to the right so I can head down the path that doesn't dead end in the dragon pits before getting to the third straight away of jumps and ducks and dodges. But what comes next after jump four hundred and fifty?!"
Harry screamed the last part into the darkness while pounding his hands and feet on the solid floor in the perfect imitation of a toddler at the grocery store when they are told they can't have the uber sugar bomb cereal with the cool cartoon pictures.
"Grrrr! So frustrating!" Harry finished his miniature tantrum off with a huff and just sprawled out on the floor in the approximation of a boneless state, his fury not yet exhausted but in the midst of his rage he couldn't even think straight to try and remember what he had to do next.
Harry laid there, but his thoughts kept cycling through the steps of the race only to be interrupted time and time again by feelings of rage that continued to interrupt his train of thought.
"Damn it all, I need to be smarter about this." Harry glared at the ceiling, "But first, I need to work off some stress. Load game, Diagon Alley Entrance autosave."
At Harry's command, the darkness disappeared and Harry found himself crouched and disillusioned just inside the entrance to Diagon Alley, his back up against the brick pillar to the right of the entrance. Harry ignored the brief thought to wander the alley to gain back the 300+ XP that came from exploring the area, he could do that later.
Looking around the alley, Harry's eyes spotted the perfect target to release some stress: Gilderoy Lockhart.
Barely holding back the evil cackling that wanted to leak from his lips, Harry snuck silently and disillusioned through the crowd, careful to dodge the shoppers that moved past him as Harry fully utilized his Sneak skill and Ninja Vanish perk to make it up onto the raised area outside of Fortescue's Ice Cream where people could sit and eat their treat while watching the Alley; Harry ignored the message of discovering Fortescue's Ice Cream and Ollivander's nearby for +20XP. At the moment, the path into the ice cream store was being blocked by a well coifed Gilderoy Lockhart who had taken a break from shopping to pose for pictures and signing autographs for his fans.
Harry snuck through the crowd, hopped over the railing of the ice cream store's veranda, and snuck up behind the puffed up peacock of a man.
Chest puffed out, hands planted on his hips and head cocked to the side in an approximation of a heroic pose that made him look more than a little constipated, little did Gilderoy Lockhart know, but Harry was going to help the self-proclaimed celebrity make the front cover of the Daily Prophet.
'Mwa ha ha ha ha.' The invisible Harry mentally chuckled as he snuck right up behind Lockhart while arming his Pointed Stick; though it wasn't his most powerful weapon, it was perfectly formed for what Harry had planned next.
"Yes dear, take a picture of my right side, it's the most photogenic." Lockhart announced as girl raised her magical camera to capture a picture of her literary hero. It's at that moment that Lockhart heard a young boy's voice behind him.
"Up yours Lockhart!"
"Silent Takedown Utilized! Backstab! Critical Hit! Target is currently unkillable." Flashed across Harry's screen as he stood up from his crouch with all of his strength while simultaneously swinging the sharp end of the Pointy Stick up from underneath Lockhart, and perfectly orientated to make Lockhart do more than turn his head and cough.
The flash of the camera couldn't have been timed better as out of nowhere a stick appeared between Gilderoy's leg's and turned the man into a tripod; eyes widened to almost cartoonish extremes, and mouth open in a silent scream that would be immortalized on wizarding film for all to see in that next day's Daily Prophet.
"Ding! Title earned, "Amateur Proctologist." We're not sure we would want to go there, but you've sure shown your skill of wielding the Pointy Stick while performing a perfect backstab. Now you are certified as somebody who can help pull the stick out of someone's backside… well, at least you know how to put it there in the first place."
Lockhart screeched like a banshee as his Health bar dropped to one flashing unit, causing the fraud to drop to the ground and start flailing in agony. An agony that Harry decided to add to by prefacing his thoughts with kicks to Lockhart's soft and squishy bits.
"That's for making pretend to be a werewolf when you wouldn't know one if it came up and bit you on the arse!" The still invisible Harry kicked the man between the legs.
"This is for making Hermione's brains go to mush and ignore your obvious fraud." Harry growled as he planted his foot against the bottom of the pointed stick, making it go in deeper and dragged out a higher pitched keening from Lockhart.
"And this is for making me pose with you and sign autographs!" With that, Harry pulled his foot back as far as he could go, and used every ounce of his 32 points in strength to try and geld Gilderoy via brute force a'la combat boot.
"Critical Hit! Unarmed Skill +1," Flashed across Harry's screen. Lockhart's health bar dropped to 1 hit point and started to flash, but Harry was a bit too busy to pay attention to it.
All that the audience saw was Lockhart jerk off the ground as if a cord had been wrapped around his twig and berries and then tugged towards the sky as Harry's invisible boot picked Lockhart up off the ground and caused the man to rise a whole two feet into the air. Between the image of that, and the stick clearly planted in the perfect environment to grow Devils Snare, aka where the sun doesn't shine, caused the audience to join in the screaming and scatter in fear; but not before the wizarding camera had caught all of the fun in all of its animated black and white glory.
A sudden shout from out of the scattering crowd drew Harry's attention away from Harry's victim on the ground and towards Auror Dawlish just as the feeling of a broken egg slipped down Harry's body, and with it making Harry appear visible.
In the top right corner of Harry's screen, a bright white star appeared and started flashing, letting Harry know that he had earned himself a wanted level with the police/aurors.
"Stop Criminal!" The Auror shouted at Harry.
To which Harry had only one reply.
"Bwa ha ha ha ha! You'll never take me alive Copper! Cthu-Tibbles! I choose you!" Harry cackled with glee and pointed at Auror Dawlish as he used his summon perk, The Call of Cthu-Tibbles.
The entire Diagon alley shook for a moment before large green tentacles shot out of the ground in a circle around Auror Dawlish, each tentacle as thick around as an oil barrel and sticking out of the ground a good ten feet in the air before flailing down upon the helpless Auror and pulling him into the ground as the street underneath Dawlish disappeared into a hole in the ground.
There were two seconds of silence before the sound of a dainty burp echoed from hole in the middle of Diagon Alley, right before a pillar of stone shot from deep within the earth to present a cute white kitten that stepped off the stone pillar just as the street seemed to heal itself and close back up to present a seamless cobblestoned surface that the kitten could easily walk on.
"+ 250 XP for Defeat of Senior Auror!" Flashed in Harry's screen, along with an additional two flashing stars shining brightly in the corner of his vision.
"Mwa ha ha ha ha! To the bank my demented pet! Goblin pie awaits!" Harry cackled and pointed at the entrance to Gringott's bank the goblin guards in front of it.
Mr. Tibbles looked up at the bank as wizards and witches screamed and ran in fear hither and yon across the alley, trying to flee as several pops sounded.
"Stop Criminal!" "Stop Criminal!" "Stop Criminal!" repeated from three different throats as more Aurors apparated into the Alley and started moving towards Harry.
One second Mr. Tibbles was in front of Harry, the next thing Harry knew, the cuddly white kitten with the big bow was seated on the steps of Gringott's Bank and the two goblin guards were missing; the only evidence they had been there was Mr. Tibbles stopping for a moment to lick the blood off of his little dainty paw before heading into the bank.
"+ 500 XP for Defeat of Senior Goblin Guards! Gained 50 Gold Galleons!" Flashed again in the corner of Harry's vision, along with a little tutorial note.
"Using Minions for Wealth and Pleasure! Like a cold war in Asia, a puppet government in South America, or a famous British King, you've learned the time honored tradition of using a patsy or second party to gain you benefits without all of the hassles that go with oppressing the masses of autonomous communes. Sure, you're summon creature might have permanently decreased the number of Goblin Tellers available to help service you when you visit the bank, and we dare you not to imagine a Goblin "servicing you," but now you know how to gain loot and XP without the negatives of Status Gains or Losses. When you gain a Summons, or Minion character, you can send them out to do duties that affect the world around you and accomplish tasks, but please note that their actions may have impacts on your future game play. Congratulations you pint sized shadow broker you!"
Harry fast swiped at the floating message in his vision to get it out of his way; he didn't have the time to pay it attention and instead was busy using his dexterity for all that it was worth to dodge incoming spells from the three Aurors attacking him as the Dodge-This! red warning lights kept flicking in the corners of his vision, inspiring him to leap, dodge, or tumble out of the way of incoming spells.
Harry knew he couldn't face three Aurors, heck, one had been too many for his current level, but that didn't mean he was going to lay back and think of England while taking it from the Aurors. Oh no, not this time!
Last time Harry had tangoed with the Senior Auror Dwalish, Harry had been standing in the middle of the street out in the open. This time he had lots of protection that he could dive behind, namely the screaming and panicking shoppers.
Harry utilized every bit of his new Dodge-This! Perk to dive behind and then scrambled through the legs of the prodigious girth of a man who looked a lot like Greggory Goyle; a stunning spell dropping the man to the ground just as Harry completed his slide through the man's legs.
Harry mentally thanked his stunted-short boy sized body as he popped up from the ground like a jack-in-the-box and mentally equipping his HufflePuff Shovel. With a two handed swipe to the face of the nearest Auror, Harry made a reverberating "Thung!" sound echo through the air as the shovel left a dull impression on the Auror's mind.
"Head Shot! Critical Hit! Two-Handed Skill +1. Junior Auror defeated! +150 XP! Gained 1 Junior Grade Auror's cloak."
"Bwa Ha ha ha!" Harry cackled as the Auror dropped to his knees and then went face first into the ground faster than Lavender Brown went down in a broom closet during 5th year; not that Harry had ever experienced that in his first go round, but rumors spread.
"Goblin Defeated! Goblin Defeated! Goblin Guard Defeated! Cart Goblin Defeated! Goblin Guard Defeated! Senior Goblin Guard Defeated! Vault Troll Defeated! +4000 XP Gained! 3 Rubies, 100 Galleons and one Stained Troll Loin Cloth Gained!"
"Ding! Congratulations! You've earned a new Title! "Troll Slayer by Proxy." Though more impressive than sticking your wand up a troll's nose, you've somehow managed to slay a troll without casting a spell. We still think you're cheating." The game message petulantly informed Harry.
Along with the new title, one more stars popped up in Harry's vision, and now with three stars blinking in the corner of his screen, more popping sounds rang out across the length of Diagon Alley as more senior and junior Auror's arrived and started shooting spells at Harry.
Harry ducked and dived over incoming spells, weaving through the screaming civilians who did nothing to help themselves or their situation, but made good meat-shields if nothing else.
Shaking his head so as not to be distracted by the thoughts of Lavender Brown, the XP rolling in, or the new Title, Harry's movement of his head fortunately was enough to dodge a cutting curse that just nicked his cheek, dropping 3 hit points from his own meter and drawing his attention to the fact that it was high time Harry got the hell out of there.
Harry dived behind two screaming witches, only to watch them get blasted by a combination of spells from four different Aurors, as the blasting charms hit Harry's living cover and sent them flying into Harry. Subsequently the flying witches were forcefully blasted back into Harry, their arms and legs flailing through the air as if some sort of macabre fleshy crash dummies and sent Harry bouncing off of the cobbled streets and tumbling towards the storefront behind him.
Harry flew through the air a good couple meters, followed by a rolling tumble across the cobble stones and through the glass door of a store, carving off another 4 HP's. But for once things seemed to be looking up for Harry; despite the fact that he didn't feel like that at the moment as 10 more Hit Points disappeared from Harry's meter as a spell nicked his leg and added momentum to his tumble while a message telling him that Cthu-Tibbles had de-spawned also popped up in his vision as the world seemed to tumble over and over again.
Harry bounced through the doorway of Madam Malkin's Robes for all Occasions, ricocheted off of a rack of Hogwarts robes while trying to stand up, only for momentum and a student sized Hogwarts' robe to trip him up and cause him to fall backwards into the changing room of the store.
The notification of a tutorial message rang in his ears at the same time that Harry received notice that he had just gained 10XP for discovering Madam Malkin's store; it was starting to get confusing given the several resets from saved games. A message notifying Harry of a level up also appeared, but he was a bit busy, what with the Aurors hunting him and the tutorial message blocking most of his vision.
"Ding!" the Tutorial message popped up in front of Harry's face, floating in the air between Harry and the curtains of the changing room. "Now You're Styling! Congratulations, you've found a changing room. Certain stores sell clothing and armor and include the ability to try on outfits to see how you would look while enabling your ability to compare the benefits of different clothes and armor. These changing rooms also allow you to change your look, purchasing new outfits and, as a side effect, helping you shake off the ramifications of criminal behavior; namely changing outfits in a changing room will decrease your wanted level as long as you don't do anything to draw attention back towards yourself and your disguise."
Harry smiled to himself for a moment, only for the smile to drop from his face as he heard several hurried voices shout outside his changing room.
"Stop Criminal!" "Where is he?!" "I know he is around here somewhere…" The Aurors' voices loudly stated, without any pretense of being subtle.
It was then that a text box appeared floating in the air in front of Harry.
"You've found a "Basic Hogwarts Student's Robe," Costs 10 Galleons. Would you like to: 1. Try On and Compare? 2. Purchase? Or 3. Purchase and Equip?
Harry blinked, and then quickly mashed the third button on the text box. As Harry felt the weight of his armored leathers be replaced with the plain cotton of the Basic Hogwarts Student's Robe, the three stars in his vision started to blink a gray color and become almost ghostly in appearance, as if they were slowly disappearing.
"Well, must have been mistaken." One of the Auror's voices stated from outside the door of the changing room.
"Hmm, maybe he went this way?" Another announced, and Harry slowly poked his head, and then his whole body out of the changing room as he watched two Aurors move about the shop while the third one walked back out the door of the shop.
Harry just stood there, not sure whether to move of not, but when one of the Aurors walked right past Harry without any sort of recognition, Harry decided to slowly walk back into the store and look out the window into the Alley.
It was peaceful, shoppers once again exited shop buildings and entered the Wizarding shopping Ally to go about their business. It was as if the moment the fighting had finished and Harry's wanted level stopped driving the situation batty, that everything started to go back to normal… well as normal as could be for the Wizarding world and Harry's gamer life. As Harry stood there and his vision panned back and forth across the Alley outside the store, the damage that had come from cutting and blasting spells started to disappear as if a giant eraser was buffing out the damage or as if somebody was going through the streets casting repair. It was at this moment, the moment of peace after the battle, and the lack of stress from the repeated failures of the Toad on the Tracks mission that Harry realized that there was more game mechanics that he could take advantage of.
With an evil smirk on his face, Harry made a realization and called out for his options menu, "Save Game, label as Save Spamming One. Save Game, and label as Save Spamming Two." And then just to be safe, Harry repeated himself a third time, "Save Game and label as Save Spamming Three."
For once, everything was going right, or as right as it ever could in this chaos known as his gamer life.
And with that, Harry hit the flashing button that let him know he had leveled up.
AN: So, didn't get this beta read, but I'll update it with proper grammar once I get a chance. That said, Whew glad to have this done. Honestly, way too long since I got most of this chapter written till when it was posted. I have been seriously stuck at the section after Harry summoned Cthu-Tibbles and defeated the senior auror. You see, I do my best creative writing in the mornings after I've just woken up from a night of dreaming. I can churn through the story if I wake up and get right to writing, and stay with my muse for hours. Unfortunately, work and life have been kicking my arse so that I have to answer emails from the other side of the globe when I first get up in the morning, then work starts at 7 with meetings normally start at 7:30 AM or 8, and then I go through the whole day with my finally hitting the gym and heading home at about 8:30 at night, late dinner, then bed and rinse and repeat. If it wasn't for a lazy weekend and a dream about abusing the Grand Theft Auto's paint booths, this chapter wouldn't have been completed. I'd include the level up, but I have to figure out where he is and how many level's he gained first before I can do that, and don't want to drag this chapter out even further due to back-office stuff that doesn't concern the readers. To all of those people that were ticked off that Harry hadn't thought of abusing his saved games, well he's a kid and it's his life first, and a game second, so he has to freaking learn this in real time; he's not the narrator, nor programmer, nor a long time gamer playing while sitting in front of some videogame screen. It is a game to us and sort of to him, but first of all it's also his life and it's his first go through knowing it is a game. Suffice it to say, Harry's learned his lesson now, and he is going to abuse the hell out of this option from this point forward. That said, I'm not going to use Save and Load game to constantly retcon the story, because we would never get anywhere with that type of crap going on. After this point we break away from canon a bit and explore the wide range of the wizarding world. I'm a stealth completionist when I play video games. I'm constantly grinding every bit of XP, loot, and skills as I can before I move on, and Harry is going to do the same. If it's a cheap backstabby cheesy way of gaining advantage in the game, then I'm not too proud to take it and say screw the programmers, I win. Anyway, glad to be back, don't know when I will have more time to write but hope it is soon. Sorry for the short chapter, but anyway, Cheers and Happy Independence-From-The-United-Kingdom Day to the Americans; maybe the rest of the Scottish and Irish will have theirs soon due to the Brexit? See you next time.
Armor Wearing: 12 Barter: 100 Bulgarian Language: 25 Care of Magical Creatures: 20 Charms 13+(5) Criminal Contacts: 1 Dancing: 4 Dual-Wielding: 25 French language: 34 Flirting: 56 German Language: 25 Herbology: 74 Lock-Picking: 32 Parseltongue Language: 100 Magical Transportation: 6 Muggle subjects: 100 Pick-pocket: 26 Potioneering 10 Ranged 100 Russian Language: 25 Silent Takedown: 100 Sneak 100 Two-Handed 8 Unarmed: 10 Perks: Comprehending The Incomprehensible Arr, Yer A Pirate Dodge This I Have The Power It's an Adventurer's Life Are You Threatening Me?! Ninja Vanish! The Call of Cthu-Tibbles Run-Away! Me Tarzan, You Jane Silver Tongued Devil Studiously Studying Student Wiser is the Miser The Cunning Linguist The Merchant of Surrey Multi-Classing (Thief) Silky Slytherin Locks of Love Accidental Magic It was an accident Crafting: Cooking: Master Chef