First Task begins! I hope you guys are all super excited for this chapter, I really poured a lot into this chapter and I hope you guys really enjoy it. I did a lot of thinking on how the First Task would play out, and I really think the concept is awesome. Since I begun this fic I definitely didn't want to follow canon when it came to the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Readers have read 100's of stories probably of how Harry out flew a dragon and I believed that people didn't want to read how Hermione would get a golden egg from a dragon. And so this First Task is born. I'm not sure whether I'll make the other two Tasks as crazy as this, but I'm always thinking and brainstorming for the future. I have some interesting ideas that I'll be playing around with.

In other awesome news, LUCT has hit 250 reviews! Thank you to everyone who has reviewed and continues to support LUCT, I truly appreciate it and I do read every single review. Also LUCT has hit 400 FAVS!

Edit 1: Fixed some KEY mistakes (thanks texan muggle). Golem is 50 cm not 500 cm (ala 5m). Floor tile errors have been fixed as well.


Responses to a few reviewers:

RedRose: Absolutely! Hermione is a bloody strong independent woman. As this is a Soul-Bond fic, it's not just Harry vs Voldeshorts. It's Harry and Hermione against the world. Because they are completely linked. Also with the whole betrayal of Ron, I'm not 100 percent how I'll go about it. I have a few thoughts in mind, but I'm not one to bash characters much (besides Draco because I absolutely despise bullies).

Have a little Feith: Never heard of it, I'll have to check it out. Surprised that I've named my fanfic after a game!

Indecisive Bob: You asked a lot of excellent questions that made me double check the concept. Needless to say, hopefully I have explained it clearly enough on these contraptions.

Enough talk, let's begin.

O.o.O.o.O

Pacing furiously, Hermione paused in her strides as she felt Harry nearby and frowned in the tent. Only recently had she begun to actually notice that she was simply able to know where he was without looking for him. When one of the rare times that they were actually separated, she had the inkling, or rather the feeling that Harry was off visiting Hagrid for a quick chat. She hadn't even bothered checking any of the other common spots where Harry might have been such as the library, common room or even the guy's dormitory. Instead she had simply made the long walk to Hagrid's hut confidently, where she had found Harry sitting there, a giant cup of tea in his hand and a smiling Hagrid.

She felt this feeling again now. Hermione pushed the thought to the side as she shifted towards the edge of the tent where a small gap between the walls was present. She couldn't see the outline of Harry, but knew he was there.

"Hermione?" whispered Harry from his hiding place.

"Harry? What are you doing here?" asked Hermione, even though she was secretly thrilled to know he had come to see her before the task had begun.

"Checking on you" he said with a shrug, even though she couldn't see him. "How are you going? Are you feeling okay? Did you eat enough?"

"I'm fine Harry, thank you. The dreamless potion really helped."

"I'm glad. You have to be careful out there," stated Harry, rolling his eyes at how obvious he sounded. "Of course I have to sound ridiculously cliché right now don't I Hermione. Regardless, Madame Maxine and Igor were in an uproar recently, I think they know what the task is. I've also seen Victor and Fleur step up their training twofold since that night we observed the First Task. If they're taking it dead seriously, then it must be deadly."

"Thanks for the encouragement" deadpanned Hermione.

Harry shifted so he stepped into the tent, eyeing Hermione in her uniform. She wore what looked very similar to a Quidditch jersey, with Granger on the back. With red sleeves and a hood, she looked just like a qudditch player.

"You look good" he said with a smile, observing how the usual hair that hid parts of her face were now firmly wrapped behind in the ponytail.

Hermione just smiled shyly, brushing her foot in the sand.

"You'll be fine won't you?" asked Harry, moving and wrapping Hermione up in his arms, enjoying the feeling as she snaked her arms around his neck. "I feel so helpless knowing that I can't protect you."

Hermione snorted in his arms. "My knight, this damsel needs no help."

Harry chuckled at the reference as Hermione giggled at her own joke, feeling slightly better about the situation.

"Listen Hermione, I need to tell you something" said Harry, pulling back slightly but still holding Hermione tightly.

Hermione looked up into his emerald eyes and detected a strong emotion, but she was unable to decipher it. Harry began to speak.

"I...I lo-"

**FLASH**

The flash of a camera made the pair release each other as they looked to the left where the flash had come from. Strutting into the tent with a haughty look on her face was Rita Skeeter. She looked as horrendous as ever, the simpering smile attempting to be seductive yet made her look more like some kind of insect, with heavy eye shadow and powder on her face. The bright blonde curly hair just completed the look. She was also wearing a hideous green suit, which clashed with her bright hair. She was an absolute eyesore. Her camera man, a rather average looking man was seemingly rather impressed with himself as he had just taken a picture that would elevate his career. Rita was eyeing both Harry and Hermione like a dog looks at a bone.

"Why, it's Harry Potter, what an excellent surprise. Visiting your lady love before she fights for her life eh?" asked Rita, strutting up to them.

Harry looked Rita up and down with a look of disguised disgust, before glancing at Hermione as if to say 'this is the woman you were speaking of,' with Hermione replying with a subtle nod. Harry turned back to Rita.

"Do I know you?" he asked, a hint of challenge in his voice.

Rita looked almost offended as she held out a hand. "Rita Skeeter, Daily Prophet" she declared.

Harry eyed the manicured hand with scarlet nail polish and lightly took her hand, shaking it for only a moment. "Pleasure, I'm sure" he muttered.

"Do you have time for an interview Mr Potter? Many of my readers would love to hear what you have to say with your girlfriend competing in the Tri-Wizard Tournament" Rita said, battering her eyelids at him.

Harry shook his head. "Hermione isn't my girlfriend, so whatever trash you've been writing in the Daily Prophet is completely untrue. We're simply best friends...for now" replied Harry, muttering the last two words so quiet that Hermione and Rita missed it.

"I don't like your tone boy" replied Rita, her voice dripping with contempt, however she still eyed him like a fresh piece of meat. An interview with the boy would push her up the ranks in the Daily Prophet, and she was always out to get more accolades and readers.

Hermione's eyes flashed angrily as she stepped forward. "Then don't write lies about Harry, or about myself."

Rita just snorted at her haughtily. Hermione eyed the floating quill and notepad behind Rita which had continued writing throughout the conversation. Whipping out her wand, and with a quick flourish of her wand and the verbal incantation of 'Accio,' the notebook came zooming into Hermione's hand, where she glanced at it, while Rita's eyes widened in fear.

"They held each other desperately as they tried to catch a private moment together, and quickly pulled apart when caught?" asked Hermione, glancing at Rita who looked a hint embarrassed. "Harry Potter defended his girlfriend with a fervour of a man in love, and declared that he would duel anyone who dared to sully the name of the muggleborn that he loved? What the hell is this Rita?"

Harry glanced over. "My eyes were glistening with the ghosts of my past? What the f-"

"It's journalism!" snapped Rita in an attempt to regain the upper hand. "So what if I interpret things my own way." Rita flicked her hair behind her shoulder as she said this and Harry felt the growing desire to ram his fist into her face. "It sells well, I get the accolades, promotions and money I desire, and you both get excellent publicity."

"Publicity that is completely false," replied Hermione, frowning at the woman in front of her. "If I could I would-"

Albus entered into the tent, Ludo Bagman, Barty Crouch, Madame Maxine and Igor behind him. As Rita's back was to them, neither of them saw Rita's face fall as Hermione savagely destroyed the notebook with a reducto.

"Champions! Champions, please gather around!" said Dumbledore.

"Ah!" he exclaimed, spotting the trio by the corner. "Miss Skeeter, what may I ask are you doing here in the champions tent?"

"I am reporting on behalf of the Daily Prophet," spoke Rita, her voice quiet and broken, still staring in dismay at the pieces of notepad fluttering to the ground. "You needed someone to report on what happens here."

"That may be so Miss Skeeter. But I didn't ask for you to have access to the champions before the tasks start, so I would ask you to please leave."

Rita frowned, but motioning to her camera man they headed out the tent, too demoralized to fight. Albus watched her go, before turning his attention to Harry.

"Mr Potter, what do you happen to be doing in the Champion's tent may I ask?"

Albus's eyes were twinkling as Harry was put on the spot. Harry knew Albus was enjoying this, damn that old man.

"Well Professor, I was...you see...there was this insect! That was chasing Hermione. That I tried to get rid of. But then professor, it appears that you are super effective against bug types and it fled."

Albus seemed to be rather amused and nodded at Harry's explanation. "Excellent work Mr. Potter for keeping insects away from Miss Granger. I think it's time you take your seat and be gone."

Harry just smiled, gave Hermione a wink and headed out the tent. Albus's twinkling eyes of wonder were in full effect as he turned to Hermione.

"Ah, Miss Granger. I wish to speak to you for merely a moment before we start" said Albus, in which Hermione perked up in interest.

They moved away from the others to the side, where Albus turned to his student.

"I enjoy muggle takes Miss Granger. You see my dear, I enjoy the muggle story of the tortoise and the hare. You see I am often rather fond of the tortoise, especially at how slow and steady a pace it took to beat the hare. I am sure you are aware of this story?"

"Of course professor," nodded Hermione, "just about every muggle knows this story."

"Ah, excellent then," said Albus, nodding to himself, "then please gather around."

Hermione stepped into the semi-circle, taking the brief few moments to think deeply about Dumbledore's words. For some reason, she was sure that Dumbledore's words were super important to her, but she wasn't a hundred percent why. She ignored the initial shuffling of the champions as Barty manouvered them around to their own positions. Finally it was about to begin. Ludo Bagman carried a bag, in which Hermione was first to draw, drawing third. Breathing a sigh of relief, she saw that Cedric was scheduled to go first, Victor, her third and finally Fleur. The First task was about to begin.

"Champions! I shall explain to you the First Task. It is simple!" exclaimed Barty, in his scratchy grating voice. "All you must do is retrieve a cube at the end of a building."

"Zat is eet?" asked Krum gruffly.

Barty looked at Krum and nodded. "Why yes Mr Krum, that is exactly it. However, it is not as simple as you might think. There are...surprises waiting for you in that building. Indeed...many surprises."

Barty Crouch's eyes seemed to darken for a moment, before he brightened back up.

"Very well, Mr Diggory, you are first! When you hear the cannon..." began Albus, before Filch fired the cannon prematurely.

Albus just shook his head at Filch while Cedric breathed in deeply, before stepping out of the tent.

O.o.O.o.O

Harry winced slightly as he had seen Victor pull two three inch blade disbelieving out of his arm, having come unexpected from the contraption. Harry turned to see Igor leap to his feet, roaring for all his might for Victor to retreat and get out of there, even though Victor couldn't hear him. As if hearing his words however, Victor had immediately pulled back, sprinting for the exit, hand cupping his arm desperately to stop the blood flow. The contraption seemed to let him and lumbered back into the door from whence it came, obviously charmed not to hunt or chase a participant should they be set on escaping.

"Bloody hell" muttered Harry, while Neville cursed next to him.

He was already a bundle of nerves, and watching those two male teenagers get wrecked by those things, made Harry shudder. Both would be under the care of Madam Pomfrey for a few days to recover from their injuries. Cedric however had managed to retrieve the cube, Victor would also receive the cube as well, but with less points than Cedric for failing to grab the cube. Harry was sure Igor was swearing away at seeing his star pupil injured like that. The Bulgarian Quidditch Coach was probably doing the same.

"They weren't kidding when they said people had the potential to die" muttered Neville, seated next to him. "Maybe I was foolish in thinking it would be easy."

Harry shook his head. "The Ministry wants to show how powerful they are, it helps to keep the students, and the population in line. By showing their strong ties with the Asian Ministries of Magic, it's a show of power and strength."

Neville glanced over at Harry who was fidgeting with his hands.

"She'll be fine you know. Before you know it, she'll be back in your arms and you can go on with your loverboy routine."

Harry spun to Neville. "What?!" he exclaimed, staring at Neville with his eyes wide.

Several spectators looked at Harry strangely as Neville grinned, happy to have caught him off guard. "It's obvious you're madly in love with Hermione. No one has ever seen you this...happy. Sometimes you're brooding or angry, but since you and Hermione have been inseparable, you're far happier and much less broody."

"I'm not broody" muttered Harry bitterly, before frowning. "I'm not that obvious am I? What if she knows? What do I do?"

Neville snorted. "Anyone with a pair of eyes could see the way you both look at each other, we're all just waiting on when you'll both get together and get it done with."

"She looks at me the same way?" asked Harry, perking up brightly.

Neville shook his head at the density of his friend. "Isn't it obvious? The way she practically throws herself at you, the way she lavishes attention on you and how you respond. You don't see her leaning against any other male, ruffling their hair or letting them sleep in her lap. Only you have that special place in her heart. She adores you with every single fibre in her being. You can practically see the love pouring out of her eyes for you when she stares at you when you're not looking."

Harry just stared wide eyed at Neville. Then he glanced at the champions tent. Neville just grinned from beside him as Harry scratched his head.

"It's nice to be the smart one for once" he said happily, bringing a cup full of pumpkin juice to his mouth, about to swallow.

Harry glanced at Neville with a roguish grin, and timed his words perfectly.

"Then when are you going to stop making goo-goo eyes at Ginny and ask her out?"

Neville sprayed the pumpkin juice from his mouth onto the students in front of them, shrieks and groans erupting from the stands. Harry just sat back smugly, but internally his inner Harry was dancing.

'She loves me back!'

Harry sat there with a silly smile, while Neville frantically tried to help those he had just sprayed juice on.

O.o.O.o.O

The roars of the crowd were like a crescendo to Hermione, threatening to wash and overthrow her. She sat quietly on a chair, wringing her hands together. She waited almost an hour for Cedric to finish, and then another hour for Victor as well. During this time, she had kept calm, breathing slowly and steadily. Fleur however was slightly more frazzled. The lovely Veela had strands of hair escaping from her own tight ponytail and her face was clearly nervous. Hermione ignored the Veela as she paced back and forth, focusing on herself solely.

Finally, it was her turn as Ludo Bagman came in to collect Hermione. Hermione stood up and walked out of the tent, to cheers from the crowd. She saw a concrete structure in front of her, with thick concrete walls and one single entrance. Hermione gulped as she entered into the structure, adjusting her eyes to the slightly dimmer light. There was no ceiling, but rather the blue sky with the crowd surrounding her. She couldn't hear a thing, noting that the structure had silencing wards so that the champions could concentrate, but it wouldn't restrict the spectators of anyone with the tall walls, which were completely clear for the spectators to see into but to Hermione were solid. Hermione pulled out her wand and observed her surroundings.

Below her, ten large white marble tiles two by two meters spanned the horizontal floor, while the marbles stretched along the length of the building, Hermione analysed quickly and decided it was only about twenty tiles. Quickly calculating in her head, it was forty metres long, and ten metres wide. However, she observed the sides of the walls. Spanning the walls were two metre by two metre wooden doors. And then Hermione spotted her prize. Right at the end of the building was a pedestal, with what looked like a cube resting on top of it.

Hermione stretched, loosening her muscles and preparing to run. She scanned the doors whether they would open while she stood on the plain black tiles that seemed to be the entrance. Nodding to herself, Hermione breathed in deeply several times, and moved into a sprint position. With all the physical training she had done with Harry, a forty metre sprint for her would be simple, perhaps only five to six seconds. As she was about to dash and step onto the first tile, she paused as she repeated the words in her head.

"The tortoise...a slow and steady pace..." muttered Hermione to herself, looking at the white tiles ahead of her.

She held no qualms that they were booby trapped in some way, and that the doors held the sinister mechanisms at bay, but then she realised the purpose of the building, of why it was only one hundred metres long, and not longer. The ministry wanted them to think they could accomplish the task quickly, with only a short sprint to the cube. However Hermione suddenly realised the wise words of Albus Dumbledore.

"Slow and methodical" noted Hermione.

Hermione paced along the line, thinking of which tile to step on. Deciding on the fourth on the left, she stepped on it. Immediately, the other white tiles in the row faded to black, and the white tile she stood on flashed green several times. Immediately, Hermione whipped up her wand, scanning for danger. Her heartbeat thundered in her chest as she scanned around her, glancing upwards as well for any sign of danger. Seeing nothing she waited another thirty seconds, just in case. Behind her, she noticed that the floor stretched out backwards, giving her another thirty metres to run back towards the door, should she need the space. Hermione noted that thirty metres was enough for a witch or wizard to run to, and then decide whether to pull out if their life was in danger.

"Slow and methodical" chanted Hermione, staying alert. "Slow and methodical."

Seeing no danger, Hermione paced along the now blackened tiles, she scanned for which tile to take. Suddenly realising a way she could retrieve the cube, she flourished her wand.

"Accio cube!" she shouted.

Her spell fizzled against the shield that was in front of the pedestal and Hermione frowned.

"Worth a shot" she shrugged.

Thinking of another way, Hermione turned her wand on herself.

"Wingardium Leviosa!" she declared, as she began to levitate.

Using a wind charm, she tried to float past the tiles, but was stopped by an invisible barrier. Frowning and releasing the levitating charm, she landed on her feet and thought of any other way to quickly bypass the task.

"They really though this one out" muttered Hermione, staring at the tiles in front of her.

She briefly hesitated, before deciding on the second tile on the right. Tentatively, she stepped onto it, and it immediately flashed to red. The clicking of gears erupted into the room as at the far end of the building next to the cube, the left door creaked as it opened. Immediately, a clockwork golem emerged and Hermione gasped.

She had poured herself into researching what the contraptions were, and the clockwork golems were especially used by Magical Asia. China, Japan, Korea were the main three magical societies that had shifted from the predominantly 'archaic' form of magic, mixing both clockwork and steam into their society through the discoveries of the pioneer Zhuge Liang(1). Mechanical horses, steam engines and zeppelins were all part of the Asian culture. But what was most feared were the clockwork golems. Created with the unity of the three powerhouse Asian countries, clockwork golems featured the exquisite craftsmanship of the Koreans, the technical expertise of the Japanese and the ingenuity of the Chinese, in an effort to promote unity after World War II, and to prevent any more wars from occurring within the tightly contested nations.

They stood two metres tall, by fifty centimetres wide, constructed of thin silver alloy metals and run by steam and gears. Shaped as a body of a human, the various types of clockwork golems used either a combination of weaponry or the ability to cast minor hexes. However, it was their sheer size and vitality that was so feared, with witches and wizards having to put large amounts of magic into their spells to bring them down. Hermione gulped and instantly went on the offensive while it was far away.

"Reducto!" shouted Hermione, aiming for the left knee.

The clockwork golem seemed to instantly react to Hermione's spell, the clicking of its gears filling the room as it lumbered forward, a giant blade emerging from its hand. The ground vibrated as it took large booming steps, and then Hermione froze as it blocked the spell with its blade, the spell seemingly absorbing it. Hermione moved into action once again, quickly moving backwards a few steps to give her more time.

"Reducto! Bombardia!" shouted Hermione, purposely aiming the reducto at its leg, and the bombardia at the chest.

The reducto was blocked by the blade, but the blade had to be shifted towards the bottom of the golem to block the knee. Hermione had effectively distracted the golem, leaving it vunerable. The Bombardia unchecked, managed to do some damage, hitting the chest of the golem and opening the heavy alloys to reveal the running clockwork gears and the tubes of hot water that helped to run the golem. Hermione immediately aimed for the weak point. Several more bombardias flew towards the golem but were blocked as its blade covered the weak point at all costs. Hermione backed away slightly to give her more time as the golem neared, about twenty metres away now. Realising what she could do, Hermione flashed several more spells precisely.

The ground in front of the golem became a swamp, as the golem sunk down to its knees. Hermione had accounted for the sinking of the golem and her follow up spells slammed the submerged golem with several bludgeoner right to the face. She watched with satisfaction as it dented the hard metal of its face, damaging it heavily on the interior as well, damaging the fragile gears and hot water piping system. Steam and hot water began to spurt out of the golem's face, and Hermione watched as the golem began to shudder, slowing down in its movements. The loss of the steam and vital gears began to slow the golem, before halting and going silent completely.

Hermione breathed a sigh of relief, before a bright flash filled the room. Covering her eyes, in the next second the swamp and the golem was gone. She glanced around the room to see what had changed, and she noticed that nothing else had.

"Must have been a removal charm, to ensure that they clear the scene" muttered Hermione, wiping sweat from her forehead.

At this point in time, she had already spent five minutes in the First Task. And then she realised she still had 18 tiles to go. She spoke out loud what had happened.

"First tile was green. Nothing happened, most likely safety. Second tile was red, meaning danger."

Hermione stepped on the next tile, directly in front of her. Tensing, she found the tile flashing blue. Immediately on alert again, Hermione glanced around her for anything to come. Instead, the next five rows flashed green on several of the tiles. Hermione quickly memorized the layout and the tiles vanished. Taking the plunge, Hermione stepped onto a tile that had flashed green from the blue tile, and found to her delight that it was green.

"The blue tile shows the safe tiles five tiles ahead" muttered Hermione to herself, as she quickly moved through the next five tiles, having memorized where the safe tiles were.

At this point, she was eight tiles in, with twelve tiles to go. She wiped a hand across her brow, removing the sweat that had built up due to her exertions. She then paced the line again, scanning for which tile to step on. Stepping quickly on one tile to her right, near the right side of the building she stared as it flashed red. Hermione stepped back several times, to give her time and space should another of those clockwork golems emerge. A door at the far end opened, and out came three other contraptions.

These three clockwork golems were much smaller than the previous golem, being roughly the size of an average man and the average girth. However, they were all armed with arms, holding spinning blades that whirled at a dangerous speed. Instead of legs, they were balanced on a single wheel. Immediately they zipped forward at amazing pace, heading straight for Hermione.

Hermione stepped back a few more paces as her wand waved in the air, freezing the floor to ice beneath the golem's wheels. The effect was immediate, as all three crashed to the ground, skidding around uselessly. Hermione's eyes widened as the golems began to right themselves, hydralic arms pushing them back onto the wheel. However for the moment, they were vulnerable.

"Reducto!" she shouted, using the final flourish in her reducto to move into a cutting hex, just as Harry had taught her, no wasted movement.

The reducto smashed into the left golem's wheel, sending it tumbling to the ground and laying there uselessly as it's gears clicked furiously. Her cutting hex glanced off the armour of the golem and Hermione swore inwardly.

'Not enough power!'

The other golems were almost upon her and Hermione desperately took a gamble. With a large amount of magic, she conjured several large rocks around her, and with her magic, flung them at the golems. One golem took several shots to the body and head, damaging the alloy steel. The other golem was pierced by a heavy rock which was sharpened by Hermione to the shoulder, sending it toppling to the ground, hot water, steam and broken metal tumbling from the hole. Hermione focused on the last standing golem which was only a few metres away. As it zoomed at her, Hermione dove to her left, the blades barely missing her feet. Hermione got up quick as a cat, glancing back at the golem which was spinning around in a large turning circle to come for another attack. Hermione had enough time to try something different.

"Wingardium leviosa" she declared, hitting the golem with the levitating hex.

The hex worked, as the golem began to rise in the air helplessly, it's arms swinging desperately, as if it would bring the contraption closer to Hermione. Hermione simply took aim at the wheel and with a quick reducto, destroyed the only movement the golem had. Without a wheel, the arms were useless and the golems would only be able to drag themselves across the floor. The moment the last golem was released and crashed to the floor, the white light appeared again, clearing the ground. Hermione breathed a sigh of relief. She was lucky to have hit that first golem from so far out.

O.o.O.o.O

Hermione was shown to be the brightest witch in a generation, a title that was well earned with the sheer repertoire she had showed against the two rounds of golems. Additionally, for a Fourth year to even be able to use conjuration was a feat in itself as it was only taught in 6th year and above. Harry could see that reflected in the judges eyes, as Barty and Dumbledore were nodding, looking rather impressed. The crowd was as loud as ever, the action from this First Task far surpassing their expectations. Perhaps they were expecting the champions to duel a dragon and retrieve a golden egg. Harry just snorted at the thought.

"Golden egg and a dragon, if I was part of the tournament then I'll probably do something stupid like outfly it on a broom or something" said Harry, rolling his eyes.

"Oi, Potty!"

Harry turned to see a sneer on Malfoy's ugly mug, looking smug as he was looking at Hermione down in the arena.

"Your mudblood friend, 100 galleons says she doesn't make it. That she forfeits or dies" he laughed.

Harry grinned at Malfoy, ignoring the barb about Hermione being a mudblood.

"You're on Malfoy! 100 galleons it is. Loser has to present it to the winner in the great hall, and bow while he gives the galleons."

Malfoy sniggered. "Done Potty. As a pure-blood, I will of course keep my word, and will most certainly enjoy you humbling yourself before me."

Harry stared at Malfoy with a raised eyebrow. "Of course Malfoy. I too will keep my word. Mr. Longbottom here, as a pure-blood will ensure that the terms of this deal are carried out. I hope you shine my galleons nicely and prepare to humble yourself."

With that Harry turned back to watching Hermione.

"Are you sure about that?" asked Neville worriedly, glancing between Harry and Malfoy, who looked extremely pleased about the prospect of getting 100 galleons.

Harry turned to Neville and nodded.

"I helped train Hermione for this first task. Hermione's strength has always been theory. But now she's just as good with her practical, meaning that she is extremely well rounded now. Additionally, there's a tile out there that can change the way this entire task can go."

"You mean the silver tile that Cedric managed to get?"

Harry nodded in affirmation. "That one in particular I hope she gets."

"But then who would be the one..." Neville began, but trailed off as he saw the coin Harry held in his hand.

"You?"

Harry nodded. "I did some sneaky beaky reconnaissance, and all three headmasters and headmistresses were absolutely furious at Barty Crouch for what he had organised, then they grilled Ludo for not speaking up earlier about what the task was. The golems are banned in Asian countries, because they were uncontrollable"

"The golems?" asked Neville.

Harry nodded grimly. "I asked Sirius and Remus about the task, and they did some research about golems and any weaknesses. They couldn't find anything on what weaknesses it had, but they found miscellaneous information about them. Golems aren't just completely powered by clockwork gears and steam. For the golem to be able to work, and to think on their own, they had to find a way to make it alive. And in order for that to happen, the Asian ministry allowed for experimentations. The Asian Ministries allowed the inventors of the golems to abuse life itself."

Neville froze. "You mean to say that the golems are living?"

Harry turned to Neville, his face grim.

"More than that Nev, inside each golem is filled with the soul of criminals so hated, that their souls are the ones that allow the golem to move. And as such, these hardened criminals were sacrificed to power these contraptions. What they use to hold the soul and that allows the golem to move, I have no idea. And what happens to the soul after a golem is defeated, nobody knows except the Asian Ministry."

"But then, how are the criminals within the golems controlled?" asked Neville, frowning heavily.

"I don't know. The Asian authorities keep it very close." Harry then pointed at several prominent Asian officials, who were extremely businesslike in their dress, and several Asian scientists.

Each scientist held what looked like a muggle remote control with an antennae sticking out.

"I believe that's how they make the golems behave, and obey their will. Although Sirius said that when they first started testing these golems, they would go berserk. The golems broke free of the restraints, and tried to kill anyone and everyone in sight because of what was done to them. What Barty Crouch has done was to use everyone in this tournament as a guinea pig. To see whether the golems are actually able to be controlled properly. In return, he could get anything from the Asian ministry. Money, political power, even some of these golems themselves."

"But why would they add that silver tile in? It's only for champions to compete in this task."

Harry shook his head. "The headmasters and headmistress were adamant that if possible, the champion would have help. Otherwise, they would definitely die. You saw with Krum, he missed the silver tile, and he took a blade through the arm. I have no doubt that Krum did the right thing straight away by running. If he had stayed and continued to fight, I believe he would have died. As such, Albus and the rest of them made a deal with Barty. They couldn't stop the task, but they could make it easier for the champions. They added that special silver tile for a reason, to prevent the champions from dying. And well, we both know Professor Dumbledore and how much political sway he has. He would make Barty's life hell if he didn't agree, and Igor Karkaroff and Madame Maxime are just as formidable."

"You think Hermione will die?" asked Neville, suddenly fearful for the bushy haired bookworm.

Harry shook his head. "No, she won't die. I haven't told her I love her yet. And plus..." began Harry, as he watched Hermione catch her breath. "She's going to step onto that silver tile."

"How do you know she will though?" asked Neville.

Harry grinned. "Because Mr Longbottom, Hermione will use her instincts."

At Neville's stare, Harry shrugged nonchalantly. "And I may have snuck into the obstacle course just before it begun" said Harry with a roguish smile.

O.o.O.o.O

Hermione breathed in and out, catching her breath. After getting her breath back, she mentally prepared herself to be ready to tackle the next row. A tingling feeling filled Hermione, just the tiniest one that the tile, second from the right would be the one to step on. She had no idea how, and she cast her wand around, seeking if there were any traps or charms that would make her feel compelled to take that tile next. Hermione shook her head and paced back along the line, analysing her next move. However, her head glanced back at the tile she had just walked by, and she paused, before heading back over towards it. It was as if her soul itself was telling her to step on this particular tile. Hermione's sharp eyes spotted something carefully engraved at the corner of this tile, the only blemish in the entire course. She leaned forward, and her eyes widened. There, in a tiny inscription had 'Hogwarts: A History.'

"Harry!" she whispered excitedly.

Trusting her instincts and Harry, she stepped on it, watching as it turned silver. Stepping back several paces with her wand out, Hermione glanced around. And then, with a white flash filling the room, Hermione lowered her hands as the flash ended to see Harry Potter, standing on the tile in front of her.

Ten tiles remain...

O.o.O.o.O

The next chapter (which may take some time) is going to be bigger and even better. I hope you guys LOVED this chapter, I really tried to make it seem that Hermione was powerful and creative in the way she took down the golems, instead of just pure brute force. You could see that in the way she levitates a golem, aims for the weak points and also is creative enough to conjure rocks etc.

Other further notes is that I brainstormed pretty heavily how one could actually go through the building without doing anything. Needless to say besides using the summoning and levitating charm, I couldn't find any other way.

(1) Zhuge Liang was an actual real person, who was a brilliant strategist and inventor in Ancient China. Most popularised by the 'Romance of the Three Kingdoms,' he is said to have invented a primitive wheelbarrow, a semi-automatic crossbow and even land mines.