And here is the latest chapter of the Bloody Ashikabi! Merry Christmas everyone!
Stress relief and Weighing of the Wands
"STOP THEM! STOP THEM BEFORE THEY REACH THE CRY-"
The scream was abruptly cut off when the man screaming, a rather pale person clothed in what appeared to be Victorian Era clothing with frills and everything, had his head separated from his body by the blade of a nodachi. Whatever magic had been applied to make him more resistant to swords, the blade had gone through them like a knife through butter, blood erupting from the headless neck and staining the cold stone floor.
The entire place was a complete battlefield. The area was a giant hall with lavish decoration, torches burning happily on the walls and providing the only light, casting giant shadows against the aged stone walls. Two dozen people, all clad in clothing that wouldn't be out of place in history books, were currently battling against a small group of invaders, shrieking and hissing as they tried to cleave the offending group to pieces, with very little success. The most remarkable thing about the defenders were their skin, pale as snow, their traits, none of them being anything less than absolutely beautiful, and finally, their glowing crimson eyes, identifying them as vampires.
This particular coven was probably one of the most ancient and powerful ones, having lived through over eight centuries of bloodshed, each of its' members growing stronger with time. Of course, as was the norm in vampire society, the internal infighting for the highest places in the hierarchy had thinned their ranks, which had made them occasionally add new blood to the coven. Since Vampire society was pretty much ruled by the simple law of "survival of the fittest", the new additions either learnt quickly or died, leaving only the strongest, and most cunning vampires "alive".
Repeated often enough, this process all but guaranteed that the coven would only grow in strength with time, and after eight centuries, each member, even the relatively "recent" additions, were more than powerful enough to deal with large groups of wizards on their own, and with ridiculous ease. They were powerful, and they knew it. Everyone in the underground knew how powerful they were too, which meant that only a fool would dare attack them. Wizards had no way to defeat a coven as large as they were, not unless they managed to trap them in their castle and burn it down with them inside, something easily corrected by secret exits only usable by one of their kind.
As such, the sudden attack on the castle was all but incomprehensible: it was their fortress, where they were at their best, at their strongest, all but invincible. If the attack had been led by a group of a few hundred wizards, they would have understood things better, as safety in numbers tended to blind humans to their own mortality, yet the assault was led by four people, four very infamous ones. Each of the members of the group were incredibly powerful when compared to the average witch and wizard, even when taking into account foreign ones, showing either unnatural control over a branch of magic or plain superhuman physical skills. This alone made them dangerous, for vampires were not used to fight people who could match their strength, speed, or stamina.
The battle was already going downhill for the coven, as while they were putting up a good fight, several of their own were already dead, their corpses burnt to ashes to ensure that they didn't heal and returned to the fight. Even the decapitated were not spared, white hot flames burning their flesh to nothing. It was incomprehensible, for no mortal had ever been able to match any vampire, even newborns, either in strength or in speed, let alone in both! Strikes that should have cleaved heads from their shoulders were avoided almost lazily, hits that should shatter bones were parried with equally brutal strength. Worse, out of the four invaders, two of them were cackling with glee, as if the whole battle was nothing but a game!
Enraged guards flew towards the pair, only to be reduced to smears on the ground, or to see themselves cleaved in two, their remains promptly incinerated to avoid the risk of them healing themselves. For the first time in centuries, the members of the coven were pushed back, killed, and that with ridiculous ease. Yet there was still hope for the vampires.
Given the strict hierarchy governing the coven, the strongest out of them, the elders, were rarely woken, if only because they did not tolerate being bothered with anything but the most pressing emergencies. Their resting place, the crypt, was covered in protections that prevented anyone from harming them during their sleep, but no protection would be enough to resist Fiendfyre or any sufficiently powerful fire. They were just lucky that European wizards were so bad with elemental spells, which were much more used in other regions of the globe, otherwise their coven would likely never have lasted that long.
As the last guard was slain, Harry whipped his blade to the side, in a move Karasuba had taught him, destined to flick the blood off the blade. Granted, their swords were now enchanted to resist everything and absorb whatever they could from what they encountered in contact with, so long as it strengthened the blade, but you never knew when something as practical wouldn't be available. It was best to keep good habits.
The Boy-Who-Lived was grinning from ear to ear, blood covering most of his body and clothes, yet it was something that soothed him, something familiar and enjoyable. Even with the overpowering stench of blood, it didn't bother him, reminding him instead of all the good times he had enjoyed with his flock since they had started taking on missions as Hitwizards. Blood and death were reminders that he was in control, that he was alive and kicking. Death of others reminded him that he was strong, that he was powerful. That he was free.
"Nobody hurt?" he asked. Usually he wouldn't bother, but vampires were fast and strong, enough so cause damage to a Sekirei, and he didn't want to take chances.
"Ah…No, Harry-sama," dutifully answered Akitsu. The Ice Sekirei was busy looking around, ready to summon her ice at the slightest sound. Even Vampires could hardly regenerate when their bodies were frozen down to the last molecule and then shattered.
"Nothing serious, a few scratches, Harry," reported Homura, flames covering her arms.
"Who cares? The client said that the most powerful ones were in the crypt, right? What are we waiting for?" grinned Karasuba, the Sekirei already moving towards the stairs leading to place of rest of the coven's Elders.
The mission was hardly complicated, since it could be summed up by simply entering the castle, cause as much death and destruction as possible, and make sure to kill the coven's Elders, the most powerful vampires of the coven. It was simple, allowed for liberal use of violence, did not require the slightest subtlety, which made it perfect for Harry's purpose, allowing him to blow off the steam that had been steadily rising since he had been forced to live at Hogwarts. If he had really wanted to, he could have simply use his gravity powers to crush the castle to dust, after all no ward or magic protection was made to protect from that, but it would hardly be a challenge, and wouldn't allow him to slice people up.
So far, he was moderately happy with the resistance the coven put up, since they at least they were more dangerous than the Dark Wizards he had occasionally been hired to deal with, faster and stronger too. Of course, the downside of that was that they pretty much didn't expect either him or his Sekirei to be able to match them in terms of strength and speed, making most of the fights pretty one-sided. For all their experience, they were pitifully unprepared for opponents who could match their physical abilities, making it easy to exploit their overconfidence. By the time they realized that they had to fight at full power to be able to match Harry's group, they were already dead.
He grinned as he looked forward, Karasuba happily walking in front of him, an extra sway to her hips that emphasized her firm buttocks, barely covered by her usual mini-skirt. He could already tell that the moment they had finished the mission, she'd be jumping him, the blood and gore flipping her switch better than any kind of foreplay on his part. She was always much more lively when they were both covered in blood, biting, clawing at him, and the sex in such circumstances was the thing of legends, always leaving the both of them utterly spent, but very, very satisfied. Though he guessed that if other people knew that she had a blood fetish on top of being a psychopath, they'd be called for her immediate shipping to a mental institution.
"Ne, Harry-chan, do you think these Elders will give us a good fight? The underlings weren't bad, but if they're like the wizards with the ones in the highest positions being lazy slobs, won't they be pathetically weaker than those we already fought?" eventually asked the Black Sekirei, the thought clearly bothering her. Nothing angered her more than having high expectations for something only to find that it failed short of her idea of it, and that usually meant mass rampages or angry sex to compensate.
"Don't think so. Vampires get stronger the older they are and the more blood they drink, which means that the Elders should be a lot stronger than those wimps we had earlier. In fact, given how old this coven is, it wouldn't surprise me if we had to go all out for once. I mean, the reason we've been hired in the first place is that Hitwizards can't deal with them."
At that, the Sekirei's eyes seemed to sparkle with almost childlike glee, the prospect of facing enemies equal or perhaps even stronger than her making her all but run towards the crypt with the Elders' coffins, followed by Harry and his other two Sekirei.
Karasuba cackled, her nodachi cleaving another guard in two. As the two halves made to reattach and regenerate the guard, she used the momentary pause in her opponent's movements to shove her fist inside his ribcage and tear the heart out. As it turned out, the heart was one of the few weak points shared by all vampires, no matter their power or age, and destroying it meant the destruction of the owner of the heart. Of course, it didn't mean that it was easy to target, vampires being perfectly aware of this weakness, they usually fought using their superior physical skills, making it exceedingly hard for any wizard to target them accurately. And given the fact that the oldest ones could regenerate almost instantly, they were that much harder to kill, since the only other way to deal with them was to use powerful elemental spells, the only one widely known by European wizards having enough power to qualify being Fiendfyre.
Of course, given that Karasuba was not fighting using magic but rather raw physical power, it was much easier for her to target the heart, since all she needed was a split second lapse of attention to grab a heart and crush it in her fist, effectively ending the vampire. Her hand, at this point, was covered in blood and gore, but she hardly cared. She was in Nirvana, her blood singing to her, the adrenaline making the experience exhilarating, and she could already feel her arousal spiking, something that she fully intended to deal with once the Elders were dead. In her mind, nothing was better than wild sex in the middle of a battlefield, surrounded by the slowly cooling corpses of those she had slain. It made her feel alive more than anything else, and she considered herself blessed that her Harry-chan didn't mind her kink too much, since normal humans were so queasy about blood and guts. But he was hardly normal, wasn't he? Which was the precise reason she had chosen him.
She didn't care that she had reacted to him, though she admitted that it was a nice bonus. If he had been anything like those wimps that made up 99% of the world's population, she would have cut him down without hesitation. But he wasn't, and she was really glad for that. There was never a dull moment around him, be it his plans to protect the Sekirei, that he was enacting right under Minaka's nose, the vengeance he had planned against his birth family and the British wizards, or even his little pet project, Hermione. It made her incredibly proud to see him use the little bookworm to his own ends, showing a ruthlessness and a cunning that made her weak at the knees.
She only realized that they had exterminated the Elders' guards after distractedly noticing that there were no more moving targets anymore, something made easy by her bond to Harry, telling her that the only people alive left, were the Ashikabi and his flock.
"Whew, that was a nice warmup!" she grinned.
And she meant it, too. It was so rare for her to be able to actually enjoy fights with people on her level, there was only so much sparring she could do with either Harry, Akitsu or Homura before it got boring. While some free violence was something she welcomed, she only truly enjoyed fighting when her opponent was actually able to offer her a nice fight, something all too rare in recent times. Even the Goblins couldn't satisfy her anymore, not since she could literally kill a dozen of them if she went all out. These vampires were the first true challenge she had in a while, and she was eager for more. And with the Elders, she would be satisfied.
From what little she had listened, they were all over four centuries all, with power approaching Miya's, which meant that she might even get to go all out, no matter how much their client wished for the castle to be left standing. She wasn't about to pull her punches simply because a sissy cared for architecture, it wasn't as if it was written on their contract, so to her the castle didn't matter. And even better, there were four Elders, which meant that she had one all for herself!
She had to refrain from cackling in glee, though at this point, she doubted their prey were unaware of their arrival. Even if they slept most of the time, the ruckus they had made on their way there was audible to human ears, so to senses sharpened to the extreme such as the vampires'? It was as if they had announced their arrival!
As Harry pushed the door to the crypt, she grinned widely.
I'm sooo going to enjoy this!
Harry grunted as he parried another strike aiming to take off his head, retaliating with a vicious slash of his blade, the Elder he was facing, a woman, cackling as her wound closed almost immediately. Out of the four, she was certainly the most powerful, and the most vicious, though the man Karasuba was fighting was a close second.
The vampiress was clad in rather elaborate clothes, something he had pretty much expected since her age meant she had likely been around when nobility was still a thing, meaning that she would dress to show her status. Yet, for all their fanciness, he could not deny that her clothes offered surprisingly good liberty of movement, the main reason she was not yet dead.
Homura and Akitsu had already dealt with "their" Elders, moving away to leave them space to fight. Both Sekirei had easily dealt with the vampires, for the simple reason that unlike Harry or Karasuba, their strength mostly came from their elemental powers, something that even a vampire couldn't shrug off, unlike cuts from swords, which healed almost immediately. Homura had simply parried the first strike against herself, and promptly set the snarling man on fire, one that could likely rival Fiendfyre in how powerful it was, leaving her foe as nothing but cinders. Nothing could recover from that.
Akitsu too had easily dealt with the woman she had faced. In her case, a single touch from her opponent had frozen the vampire solid. That much wouldn't have been enough to kill it, but the Ice Sekirei had used her control to literally grind the vampire into dust, rising the density of her ice to the point it would have been hard even for her to lift the man-sized chunk of ice. And Homura had burnt the chunks of meat left until there was nothing left.
"You are surprisingly good with your sword, for a child wizard," mocked the dark-haired woman Harry was fighting, jumping back for a little breather, "You would make a great vampire with the right guidance."
"That guidance being yours, I suppose?" he deadpanned, flicking his blade to get rid of the blood on it, "Sorry, but I'm not interested, thank you."
"A pity," pouted the vampiress, before smirking and showing two elongating canines, "But even if you refuse, you shan't be given a choice. Too few have your potential to be allowed to waste it. YOU WILL BE MINE!"
With her shriek, she transformed into a cloud of red-eyed bats, swarming Harry, surrounding him in a tornado of mocking crimson eyes and swirling black bodies as he slashed at the cloud with little effect.
"Foolish child, you cannot harm me like this! I shall enjoy the taste of your blood as my mate makes your friends his!"
The voice seemed to be coming from everywhere at once, but Harry was hardly impressed. He knew that no matter how much the bats bit him, it wouldn't transform him into a vampire, since it required a bite from someone in their human form to work. And even then, it took a while before the person turned, unless the bite allowed the vampire to drain them of most of their blood. With how much magic was in his blood, he was pretty sure that if he wanted, he could nullify the agent that transformed a person's body before it could even affect him, but it was better to not take any chances. He was happy as he was, he didn't want to live eternally.
He felt a hand suddenly grip his wrist, crushing it with surprising strength, and he released his blade with a grunt of surprise as an arm snaked around his torso, restraining his movements. The vampires cooed as she held him pinned against her body, allowing him to feel her chest through her clothes.
"T'was not a bad fight, child. It was most impressive of you to reach our crypt with only your friends, you will certainly make fine additions to the coven, and who knows, I might teach you a few things," she purred, her hand snaking down his torso and towards his crotch, "It has been a long time since I last had an inexperienced lover, I shall make sure to…educate you in how to please me. Your friends will make delicious additions as well."
As she spoke, she moaned as her tongue traced a shining arc on his neck. Any other person would be either struggling frantically to free themselves, or already begging to be converted, but Harry hardly noticed her seduction. He had spent years with women whose beauty was far more impressive than the vampiress', explored their bodies until he knew every nook and cranny of them in two out of three cases, and had absolutely no doubt that they loved him. Even now, their bonds told him that they cared about him, and it was the reason he was willing to be so close to them. He would never allow someone whom he wasn't sure about to be close to him, not unless he had a way to control them.
"Do not fight, it shall be quick…" hissed the vampire, drawing her head back to bite him.
However, before she could do so, she found herself violently flung forwards, Harry having shrugged off her hold, and as she tried to right herself, she found her body being crushed by a force far superior to anything she had ever felt, the ground under her feet cracking, magically reinforced stone crushed like nothing.
Harry almost lazily flicked his hand, reducing the now struggling woman to a panting body unable to move, his index lazily moving down once more, the centuries old creature releasing a last, agonized shriek of both frustration and terror as her body was squeezed, her bones cracking and her muscles reduced to liquid by the sheer power of the gravity exerted on her body. The image was quite disturbing, as it was done progressively, her shriek turning to a gurgle as blood flowed from her throat while her insides liquefied, her head caving in as the pitch of the sounds she made rose.
Eventually, all that was left was a large, somewhat-human shaped stain on the ground. A lazy flick of his finger later and even that was gone, an elder vampire, a creature able to wipe out contingents of Aurors on its own, eliminated like it was little more than a common pest. To be honest, Harry was even a bit disappointed with the whole thing. Sure, she had been quite the challenge, but he would certainly have struggled a lot more if she had actually been fighting for her life instead of taunting him like she would any other wizard. Perhaps she had been a little cautious, since they had managed to reach the crypt and all, but she had still seen him as little more than a powerful wizard instead of a true threat, which was why she was now dead.
Vampires…So used to be the top dogs when their age reaches the three digits that they can't be bothered to realize when someone's able to kill them definitively…
He sighed and shook his head. At least the whole thing had allowed him to vent his frustration and anger, so now he shouldn't be flying off the handle every time someone bothered him. He had already made a lot of enemies, and while he wasn't about to go back on his words to please the Minister and his sycophants, he would have to tread carefully from then on. While he could claim he wasn't British anymore, that only worked so long as he didn't need to play the whole Lord thing, which, if he did use it, would see the Minister clamoring for him to remain firmly in Great Britain.
He didn't even bat an eye as the last vampire lunged at him, apparently choosing to avenge his mate instead of continuing to fight Karasuba. A lazy flick of his finger saw the last of the Elders of the coven coughing up blood from inside a two-feet deep crater, with a fuming Karasuba standing with her nodachi at the ready above him. He actually felt some pity for the fool given the look on her face, and what her mental link alluded to. She had been greatly enjoying herself, toying with him, and hadn't taken well to the fact that her "toy" wasn't willing to play anymore.
"How rude, to leave a lady like me like that! Men like you must be punished, here, poke!" pouted the Black Sekirei, her blade easily slicing through the vampire's skull and through his right eye, Karasuba lazily rotating it to inflict the maximum of damage and pain.
"Oh my, that was a nice scream! Let's see if we can replicate it! What about…here?" she smiled, withdrawing the shining blade from her prey's skull, allowing the eye to regenerate, before driving it through the man's knee.
"Oh, that was disappointing. Then, maybe…here?"
This time the man shrieked far louder, probably because instead of targeting his skull or legs, the Sekirei had happily driven her nodachi between his legs, precisely where his "family package" was. No matter the fact that he could likely regenerate it, it was likely the most painful wound he had gotten in his long un-life.
Karasuba continued poking her blade through the vampire's body for a good half-hour, Harry having decided to watch her as he leant against the wall, making sure that the man wouldn't be able to flee by increasing the gravity around his body to levels that would prevent an elephant from moving. With how much energy he was losing to regenerate his organs, he figured the poor sap wouldn't have enough to free himself with only that much. Not that he should try, Karasuba was pissed enough with him interrupting their fight to attack him once, if he tried to flee the Sekirei would torture him much worse.
Eventually, though, she seemed to grow bored, and with a quick slash of her sword, opened his chest, planting her blade in his heart. As the vampire shrieked, trying to withdraw it, she channeled some of her power in her blade, making it catch on fire and promptly incinerating his body, effectively killing him.
"Man, what a disappointment," she muttered, before shrugging, "Oh well, at least they offered some challenge…Now, on to the main course…"
As her head turned his way, he sighed upon seeing the flushed look on her face. Only she would get aroused by having sex in a crypt and surrounded by the remnants of dead vampires. Of course, when she started stalking his way while purposely rolling her hips, her tongue coming to wet her lips, he felt the familiar stirring in his loins and readied himself for what would probably be several hours of extremely passionate and violent sex.
He really didn't know if he should feel blessed or cursed to have someone like the Black Sekirei in his life.
Now that Harry had finally worked through his anger and frustration, it made it much easier for his Occlumency to work, and he had high hopes that he would no longer blow up without serious prompting by the British wizards. Of course, seeing that their very existence was a bother to him, it was already significantly easier for them to piss him off, something not helped by the prevalent attitude in their society.
Still, his relaxed state allowed him to snicker lightly as he reminisced the introduction of Mutsu to Hermione, and the ensuing reaction of the student population.
"My name is Mutsu, Sekirei number 05, and my life is yours, Ashikabi-sama," said Mutsu, who was kneeling in front of a very flustered Hermione, his sheathed blade laying on his knees.
Behind the blushing girl were a frustrated Harry, a grinning Karasuba, an impassive Akitsu and an embarrassed Homura. They had easily gotten Mutsu from the airport, and taken him straight to Hogwarts using a Portkey, a privilege only available due to the fact that as a Founder's heir, Harry had taken control of the castle's wards. Of course, so as to not tip off Dumbledore, so far he allowed the old man to have control on everything, but the moment he wanted to, he would be able to fully take control of the ancient castle. For the moment though, he'd use his control to filter the information relied to the old man.
"N-n-nice to meet you, M-M-Mutsu-san! M-M-My name is Hermione G-Granger, a pleasure to meet you!" nearly shrieked the young witch, bowing until her upper body was parallel to the ground.
If there ever was any doubt that the bookworm was indeed interested in men over books, they were squashed right at the moment she had met her future Sekirei, her face promptly glowing crimson as she not-so discreetly checked the "older" man out.
Of course, her interest was understandable, since she was mostly surrounded by wizards. Mutsu was quite fit, with a nice face and grey hair, giving him an exotic charm further enhanced by his solemn attitude. Comparing him to the people she was surrounded with on a daily basis, it was clear as day that he much more to interest her physically than any of her classmates. Adding to it Mutsu's interest in Earth's culture, Harry could easily see the both of them having debates on nearly any subject that caught their fancy.
"Oh for Kami's sake," grunted the artificial Pillar, pinching his nose to stave off the headache that had been growing ever since he had left Dumbledore's office, "Just kiss already, you'll have all the time to act like a virgin maiden when he'll be following you around!"
"Harry!" scowled Homura, "Take it easy on her, alright? Hermione, we'll leave you alone for now, so go ahead and see if you want to wing Mutsu, alright?"
Needless to say, when they had come back, a scarlet-faced Hermione was all but combusting in embarrassment as Mutsu stood behind her in a silent vigil, one hand ready to draw his blade. The witch's blush only increased when the Sekirei insisted to be lodged in the same room, or one adjacent to, the one Hermione slept in.
The students' reaction had been rather epic, though it had quickly subdued when Filius Flitwick, the Head of Ravenclaw, reminded the students that those with valid reasons to fear for their safety were allowed to have a bodyguard with them. Though his efforts in keep the uproar to a minimum were thwarted when he reluctantly admitted that the Sekirei-Ashikabi pair were now residing in one of the married quarters. No matter how much more practical it was for Mutsu to keep an eye on Hermione, and for the young witch to bring him up to speed on everything magic, teenagers were teenagers and the wildest rumors had started to circulate that the pair were in a relationship.
Of course, it was entirely true, but the nosy British teenagers hardly needed to know that. Nor did they need to learn that they were essentially married, and that Hermione was quite likely to start a more physical relationship sooner than later. Given the bond, Harry was pretty sure that his student would be getting rather horny as the year went on, since a Sekirei, being completely devoted to their Ashikabi, tended to "broadcast" their love across the link, something that tended to make a relationship advance far swifter than it would have, had it been between two humans. And given Hermione's reaction to Mutsu, she was quite affected already. Not that he cared either way, so long as neither of them got in the way of his plans.
Leaning back into bed, he groaned as Akitsu tightened her hold on him. It was the day following their return to Hogwarts after the successful extermination of the vampire coven, and their client had paid them handsomely for it. Harry and his Sekirei had then returned to the castle and gotten to bed, falling asleep almost immediately after their heads hit the mattress. Given that they had returned fairly late in the night, or rather early in the morning, they had slept in for once.
Of course, such a nice moment had to be ruined by the insistent knocking on the door and the very unwelcome voice of what sounded like one of the students. From the sounds of it, it was a boy, one with rather large balls if his words were to be believed. Harry didn't think that anyone with any degree of intelligence would call him "mate" when he had all but made clear that he considered British Wizards little more than Neanderthals. Though given the way people were acting, he was beginning to think that even that might have been too kind a ward to describe their idiocy.
"Mmmmm…" groaned Karasuba, snuggling into his side a bit more, "Shut up…"
As if he had heard her words but decided to do the exact contrary to what she wanted, the boy outside the room started knocking even louder, if it was possible, making the trio wince as he was now all but shouting.
Rolling off him, Karasuba fumbled for her sword, murder in her eyes, blearily looking around for her target. Akitsu's reaction was a bit more subdued, but the fact that the wall on her side had started freezing over made it clear that she too was quite unhappy with the rude disruption of their sleeping and cuddling time. Whoever was on the other side of the door had just managed to piss off two people who knew how to hold grudge and were not above using violence to get even.
While he quite agreed with his Sekirei, Harry didn't want to get into more trouble with the Ministry as of yet, especially not over something as stupid as being woken up rudely. Knowing Karasuba, she considered that a valid reason for murder, and he knew that most people didn't quite understand that, meaning that they usually got themselves killed without even knowing why. Even if the boy outside-and by Kami he was really starting to irritate him-was the epitome of rudeness, he would have to make sure he wasn't killed by a fuming Karasuba. Nobody had said anything about giving him a good scare, though.
With that in mind, he grabbed some a shirt and some pants, quickly putting them on, while using the bond to order Karasuba to not open the door. She shot him a glare, but once he showed her what he had in mind, she grudgingly relented, grumbling as she went to fetch her own clothes.
While she did so, he went for the door, wearing his most murderous expression, something made rather easy by the sheer irritation he was feeling towards the fool banging on the door, who was apparently so lacking in manners that he was even attempting to open the door without waiting for consent. Fortunately for him, the Room of Requirement couldn't be opened from outside if someone was already inside and didn't want to be disturbed. Harry had little doubt that if whoever was behind the door had entered their quarters without permission, Karasuba, Akitsu and Homura would had killed him. While the Fire Sekirei was much gentler than the other two members of his flock, she still had less qualms about killing than the average human, and hardly tolerated people without manners.
Wrenching the door open, Harry glared at the suddenly startled redhead standing in the corridor, a boy around his age with freckles, and, from what a quick examination told him, second-hand robes that didn't fit him. He actually remembered the teen from the few times he had been in the Great Hall during a meal, as the boy's table manners were atrocious (something further proved by the food stains at the top of his robes).
"What do you want?"
His tone was icy, and his glare could have made veteran warriors squeak and run for their mothers. He was quite satisfied to see the obnoxious boy pale drastically and fumbled with his words, squeaking weakly as he tried to form coherent words, all the while under Harry's glare.
Fantastic, grumbled Harry, they sent the castle's idiot.
"Well? I don't have all day. So take a deep breath, and speak. Don't waste my time fumbling around like an idiot."
The redhead proceeded to do just that, his face recovering some color.
"Hey Harry, the name's Ronald Weasley, but everyone calls me Ron. Dumbledore sent me here to tell you that they're holding the Weighing of the Wands, so the Champions have to attend. Mind following me, mate?"
He very barely refrained from gutting the redhead there. While he had calmed down compared to when he had first arrived at Hogwarts, he was still quick to anger, and Ronald's behavior was grating on his nerves. He had neither given the boy permission to call him by his name, nor had he allowed him to be so familiar with him. In fact, the more he saw, the less he was impressed with the teen. Everything seemed to point out towards the redhead being someone without the slightest hint of tact, and Hermione herself, now that he remembered, had called him an oaf more interested in stuffing his stomach, chess and Quidditch than any worthwhile pursuit. Apparently his student had quite understated how bad he was.
Yet as a Champion, he was indeed required to attend the Weighing, so he would have to make do. With one last glare towards the redhead, he closed the door.
"Wait a moment, I'll be clothing myself. And for the love of Kami, kindly cease speaking so loudly, we just woke up."
Ronald Bilius Weasley was the youngest son in a family of nine, and was thus often overlooked. He was the one who got things last in the family, robes worn by all his older brothers, a wand that had once belonged to his brother Charlie before he got one more fitted to him. Even at Hogwarts, he was nothing special, he was even almost at the bottom of his year grade-wise, because quite frankly, he couldn't be bothered to study. Who would study when they could play chess, or Quidditch?
So when Albus Dumbledore, the Leader of the Light himself, had called him to his office the day before, he had been quite nervous. But when the old man had asked him to try and befriend Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, he had been ecstatic. Ever since the teen's arrival at the castle, countless rumors were flying around, but nobody dared approach the rather volatile wizard, especially not when that crazy woman with a sword and a smile to match Bellatrix Lestrange's was around. If he managed to make friends with him, he'd be the talk of the castle, and plenty of people would come to him to hear about Harry.
Besides, Dumbledore had showed concern that the Boy-Who-Lived was going Dark, and that wouldn't do! It was up to him to steer Harry to the Light, because who even wanted to be Dark? All Dark Wizards ended in Azkaban, surrounded by Dementors! Not to mention that if he played his cards right, he might even get to benefit from some of the fame simply by associating with Harry, and he had seen what happened to famous wizards. They got discounts, better service, and all witches drooled after them, and he wanted that.
Of course, some people would say Dumbledore was overstepping his bounds, but Ronald, raised by one Molly Weasley, had been told repeatedly and firmly by his mother that the man was never wrong. When he made mistakes, it wasn't his fault, she had drilled that into his head, so if the man wanted him to make friends with Harry Potter, he'd do it! And if he got some benefits from it, all the better!
He frowned ever so slightly as he waited. Already, he could tell that Harry was clearly not from the Light, not when he showed open hatred towards Dumbledore, and even his own parents. Sure, the Headmaster had made a mistake, but everyone could have done the same, Merlin it wasn't as if the Boy-Who-Lived was dead. And his parents wanted him safe, so of course trusting Dumbledore made perfect sense, he's be happy himself if his mother had asked the Leader of the Light to provide him with protection. Instead, Harry seemed happy to keep to himself like a bloody Ravenclaw, heck the headmaster had told him he suspected that he was more a Slytherin than a Ravenclaw. The horror. The Boy-Who-Lived couldn't be a bloody snake, and it was up to Dumbledore, with his help, to put him straight.
Once Harry emerged, clad in his usual clothes, and Akitsu at his side, he had to snap the redhead out of his reverie as he stared at the displayed cleavage, while the Sekirei narrowed her eyes at him. He knew that his Sekirei was more than aware of the stares she drew with her attire, and didn't mind overly much when people looked, so long as they were being polite about it, glancing a bit. Ronald on the other hand, had shown no compunction to literally stare at the displayed valley, and it irked both Ashikabi and Sekirei.
Which was why it was with glee that Harry smacked the boy on the head, his superior strength sending the boy crashing down. He had restrained himself, of course, otherwise the little wizard would be a stain on the ground instead of simply groaning in pain, but the boy didn't know that.
"Ow, what the Hell mate?" groaned the redhead, only for his petulant glare to freeze at the twin glares sent his way.
Granted, Akitsu's glare was little more than a frown, but Harry's could have killed a weak-willed person easily. He did not appreciate people ogling his Sekirei, beautiful women wearing clothes that showed much of their body or not, there was a certain level of self-restraint that people should observe at all times. But already, Harry had the inkling that Ronald would be a pain in the ass, as Hermione had admitted that nothing short of force could get the message across to him when he didn't want to listen.
"Look at Akitsu like that one more time, Weasley, and I will castrate you myself, using the rustiest, dullest knife I can find in Britain. I don't know how you were raised, but from where I come from, you don't look at another man's woman like that, not even in a case like this.
And count yourself lucky. If you'd done the same before today, I would have castrated you."
"What the hell Harry!" screamed the redhead, who had gotten back to his feet, and was glaring at him, "What'd I do?"
With one last glare towards the fuming redhead, Harry left, Akitsu following him dutifully, though not before the Sekirei cast a little curse she had picked up at the annoying wizard. While her magic was mostly centered around her ice powers, it didn't mean that she couldn't cast other spells, and Harry had made sure that all his Sekirei were well-educated in all fields related to magic. "Poor" Ronald would spend the entire week tripping over himself at the most inconvenient of times, while landing in compromising positions with his female classmates, something that the creator of the spell had copied from an older curse cast around an old inn somewhere in Japan. An otherwise unremarkable place called the Hinata Sou…
Thanks to his control over the wards, Harry was well aware of all those present for the Weighing, as well as where it would be located. While he was not particularly enthused about having to spend time around Dumbledore, and his parents, who for some reason were also present, he could have done with it. What made him leery though was the presence of Rita Skeeter. While he had never met the woman, he was well aware of her reputation, and had little doubt that the woman would tripping over herself to get an interview with him. And while he wasn't too worried about his reputation, as he knew well enough how to redirect her attention to more interesting topics, there was always the risk of having her dig into matters he'd rather keep secret.
Though he wished her good luck if she hoped to get something out of Akitsu, the Ice Sekirei was someone difficult to read on her best of days, and even then that was only because he knew her very well. For someone with no knowledge of her history, there was very little to get from the usually blank face of the Sekirei.
He was also a bit curious as to how European Wizards would react to his custom-made wand, from what he heard, Ollivander sold ready-to-use wands. He could not fathom why, though. It was inconvenient, made people lose plenty of time before they find a wand properly matched, and basically destroyed the interest of having your own wand since one wand could work for other people with various degrees of power. At least in his case he knew that his wand was made to fit him and only him. But perhaps it was because Ollivander didn't want to risk people losing their connection to their wand? Maybe, with an already shaky connection, there was no need to worry about losing any more of it? While with a wand attuned to yourself there might be the need to have another one made at every major change of personality?
Oh well. He'd see once he was there.
Thanks to the wards, he knew where to go, as Dumbledore, as well as pretty much every other Champion, as well as their Headmasters and Headmistress, were in the same area of the castle, along with a few people he knew were related to the Tournament. Barty Crouch Sr. was the responsible of the Ministry in charge of the Tournament, though Harry was rather interested in the man because he was the father of one of Voldemort's top lieutenants, Barty Crouch Jr., who had died in Azkaban after his own father sent him there. It was quite interesting that a man as steely as the elder Crouch was responsible for the Tournament, but he guessed that at least with him in charge, things should be running mostly fine. Ludo Bagman though, he had no idea of who the man was, though he doubted he would be important enough to be truly of importance. The British Ministry of Magic had very few noteworthy people working for them, and most were either Unspeakables or members of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
He was quite glad to have ditched the earlier annoyance, as the corridors were mostly empty, allowing him savor a rare moment of peace when he wasn't in the Room of Requirements. With what he had seen, Ronald would likely have tried to talk his ear off, and he was liable to curse the idiot, or at best silence him, since he was in no mood to deal with the ramblings of a tactless child. He was a bit surprised that the redhead hadn't attempted to follow them after the episode with Akitsu, but he suspected that in addition to the curse destined to make a fool out of him, she had also cursed the idiot with a mild Confundus charm to have him run in the direction opposite to the one they were headed in. While quite silent, she did have a surprisingly devious mind, he knew that from experience.
Arriving at the door to the room where the Weighing would be held, he ran through a few Occlumency exercises. Now more than ever, he could not afford to let anything slip, not when a reporter was in the room, along with Ministry officials. He could feel Akitsu's calming thoughts through their bond, and he gave her a quick peck on the lips as thanks. At least now that his Sekirei had full control of their powers, he didn't need to fear the flare of power that would show her wings. It would have been quite hard to explain, though he firmly believed that with enough bullshit the idiotic Brits would disregard such a matter entirely.
With a deep breath, he pushed the door open.
Dumbledore smiled genially as Ludo Bagman droned on and one about how great it was that the lost Boy-Who-Lived had appeared for the Tournament. He had of course tuned the rotund man out, as while he had never been the brightest wand of the bunch, repeated Bludger hits to the head had apparently caused the man's intellect to deteriorate even further, until the Ministry official had roughly the same intelligence as a clever flobberworm. Even then, Albus felt he was insulting the flobberworms somehow.
The reason for his good humor was that he had just enacted another step in his plans to steer Harry further to the Light. It had been simplicity itself. Ronald Weasley came from Molly's family, and even through all the scandals to his name, the woman had been adamant in her support of him, something that her youngest son had clearly picked up. In addition to that pedigree, the teenager was the same age as Harry, which would undoubtedly make it easier for the two to become friends. Of course, it would take some effort, but he had carefully voiced his concerns of Harry going Dark to the gullible Gryffindor, and of course the boy had leaped to the occasion to steer the Boy-Who-Lived from the Dark. He of course knew that the boy hoped to also ride Harry's coattails, but he felt that it was a small price to pay to be able to influence the lost Potter child to the Light. Hopefully, once the pair had become friends, he'd be able to use the Weasley boy as a proxy to influence the Potter heir.
It was important that Harry was under his influence, as the results of an independent Boy-Who-Lived would be disastrous, especially if the boy had Tom's memories. Who knew what kind of effect all that knowledge and the piece of soul could have had one the Savior of the Wizardry World? If Harry's personality had been overridden by the Horcrux, then Britain may have to face two Voldemorts working together, which was terrifying enough that he did not wish to contemplate that idea.
If Harry was merely influenced though, that would mean that he might become a Dark Lord even worse than Voldemort, as he firmly believed that splitting his soul was the reason for the man's loss of intellect. He had no doubt that if Tom had kept his soul mostly whole, that he would have conquered Britain easily. In that case, Britain would have a budding Dark Lord, with the power, knowledge and skill of a man five times his age, and an already established reputation that would allow him to recruit followers easily.
The last option was that Harry was neither possessed nor influenced, which would mean his clear independence was his own trait, and that would be catastrophic. If he didn't want anything to do with the British Magical Society, who would save them from Voldemort? Who would accomplish the Prophecy?
No, Albus was confident that his plans would go smoothly. He had decades of experience in reading and manipulating people for the Greater Good, it would be only a little challenge to bring Harry to his side.
As the door opened, he smiled, expecting a smiling Harry accompanied by his Gryffindor guide. He was a bit surprised to see only Harry and his companion Akitsu standing there, looking rather irritated, though it was quickly hidden behind a blank mask.
Where is the Weasley boy?
Mentally checking the wards, he frowned as he realized that the Gryffindor was in a completely different part of the castle. What was the boy doing? He had given him a mission, a simple one at that, how could the boy fail so spectacularly? It wasn't as if he had gotten lost, he was nowhere near where he had expected him to be in such a case.
As Harry stepped him, he put up his benevolent smile once more, hoping to salvage what little he could from the situation.
Entering the room, Harry immediately catalogued those present inside, as he was now used to do almost unconsciously. One didn't become a mercenary for hire involving life-or-death situations without being able to assess a situation quickly, a habit that tended to translate into non-combat situations as well. Such a habit was heartily encouraged by Karasuba, both vocally and by the Black Sekirei's habit of attacking out of nowhere when she was in the mood for a fight. His other Sekirei had picked up the habit as well, Akitsu given how she was protective of him, and Homura because she wanted to keep as many people alive as she could, which would only be helped when she knew who to fight and who was a non-combatant.
Of course, the Headmasters and Headmistress were present, each reacting differently to his and Akitsu's presence. Karkaroff, the Headmaster of Durmstrang, was a rather tall man, similar to Dumbledore, with a thin body, though the man's cheer was clearly fake, as Harry could recognize the eyes of a killer anywhere. The man seemed rather intrigued and wary about him, not that he couldn't understand. The question was whether or not he would be an enemy, but given that he had earned his freedom by denouncing other Death Eaters in the war, he didn't think the man had grown a spine, so some intimidation should be enough to deal with him.
Madame Maxime was by far the most physically imposing of the three, dwarfing the two tall men at her sides easily. It was obvious that she had Giant blood in her veins, though the question was to what degree? Given her size, Harry didn't think that she could be more than once removed from her Giant parent, so at best she was a quarter-Giant. She too seemed wary, but he hardly cared as the French had no reason to work against him, unlike Karkaroff who might try something if paid enough.
The Ministry officials were also present, Harry recognizing Crouch and Bagman easily, the pair followed by a woman that couldn't be anyone other than Rita Skeeter. He now understood just how nasty the woman appeared, as her whole appearance was a horrid contradiction of flashy colors on a rather un-feminine body. Blonde hair was held in a ridiculously complicated hairstyle, while her glasses were shining with gems and her nails were painted crimson. Her very appearance was an attack to one's sense of view, and Harry found himself hoping that he'd be able to divert the horrid-looking, and unbelievably nasty woman's attention somewhere else, by force if needed. Though he could use her, with the information about Dumbledore he had, to tarnish the man's reputation even further, and perhaps even attack the Potters too.
His birth parents were there too, hiding in a corner, Lily looking torn between relieved to see him and sad that he didn't even bother acknowledging her, while James looked strangely conflicted. He didn't really care about their presence, to be honest, though it did spur a flash of anger, that fortunately he was able to smother rather quickly. Why bother? Besides, there was a reporter present, it wouldn't do for him to lose control there. He wisely chose to smother any and all traces of irritation of anger he felt, before continuing his inspection.
Finally, sitting or looking by the windows, were his competitors. The first he recognized as Viktor Krum, a burly-looking young man who had become famous as a Quidditch player. While the teen was hailed as a prodigy on a broom, Harry hoped for him that he was just as good with his wand, as the Tasks would clearly not all allow flying, if one even allowed such a thing.
The second champion was a young woman wearing Hogwarts' robes, with the colors of the House of the Brave. She was quite tall, though quite good-looking as well, and from what little he could tell from her stance and body, she seemed to be in better shape than most magic users he had seen so far in the British Isles. She had dark chocolate skin, something he was quite surprised about, as his impression of British wizards were that they weren't the most tolerating bunch, less so for people being visibly different. He guessed that she had proven herself skilled enough that her skin color wouldn't be a problem, but he guessed that a few of the Purebloods would still be sore about the whole thing.
The last Champion felt odd somehow. It took him but a moment to realize that the tall, statuesque blonde glaring at him was part-Veela, and he inwardly grinned at that. Either she had been present during his little incursion in the French Colony, or she had family who had been and had told her about it. He felt her Allure wash over him, and though Akitsu stiffened behind him, her mind clouding slightly with anger that the young woman would use her racial trait on her Ashikabi, he shrugged it off with ease. Superior Occlumency, strong willpower and unquestionable fidelity to his Sekirei were more than enough to prevent the slightest effect from the magical aura. Even if the strongest wizard could succumb to the Allure, it took effort on the Veela's part, and he prided himself on being better than a wizard in all aspects.
"Well then, now that the prodigal son is here, we can start!" beamed Bagman, in a cheery voice that Harry immediately came to dislike. The man was a complete fool, babbling about things that were clearly not of interest. How the idiot thought that stories about his carrier interested them was beyond him, though even more so was the question as to how an utter simpleton had managed to become a Head of Department in the British Ministry of Magic. Though perhaps it was the fact that it was the British Ministry that explained the man's position. More often than not they seemed to put completely incompetent people in seats of power, after all.
"Now, now, Ludo, maybe before all that bore about wands we could have an interview with our dear Boy-Who-Lived? The public is dying to know more about you, Harry dear, I'm sure you wouldn't mind spending a few minutes answering some questions, would you?" purred Rita, looking positively gleeful at the prospect of an interview with the Boy-Who-Lived, her eyes drifting momentarily to Akitsu.
"Of course, of course!" once again beamed Bagman, "Go on, Harry my boy, we can wait!"
The word was final, and the tone used to utter was quite clear that it suffered no arguing. At the flat rejection, Rita's lips thinned, her smile disappearing as she crossed her arms in front of her chest, while the former Quidditch player seemed at a loss of words, his mouth hanging open stupidly.
"Wha-" blinked Bagman, looking at a complete loss.
"I am not here to give interviews," was Harry's growl, though he managed to keep his voice somewhat polite, "I am here for the Weighing of the Wands. Anything related to the press can be sorted after that. And I have no wish to give interviews," he added, looking at Rita, before smirking slightly, "Though I have a few things that I'm sure you'll love to hear."
And he meant it too. He understood people like Rita, what with Minaka being the target of quite a few paparazzi due to his status as CEO of MBI. This kind of reporters only cared for the juiciest gossip, fighting over the tinniest scrap of information that could make them famous. While it was possible to deal with them, it usually involved legal teams and long legal procedures, things that most definitively didn't exist in the backwards British magical society. However, there was another way to deal with that kind of pests, one that happened to be quite convenient for him. Instead of fighting them, it was much simpler to give them what they wanted: information on scandals, the biggest the scandal the better. And given what he knew, he had quite a bit to bargain with.
He could see the gears turning the in blonde's head, as her angry frown was replaced with an almost manic look of glee. You could say what you wanted about the woman, she was vicious, deformed the truth, invented rumors, but she was nowhere near stupid, she recognized an olive branch when she saw one. He had no doubts that she'd still keep an eye on him until he gave her what she wanted, and if she deemed what he offered insufficient she'd turn on him, but he doubted that it would be the case. He had plenty to keep her occupied, thanks to Tom's memories and the careful investigations from Gringotts. The Goblins might not be able to bring things before Wizardry justice until it was asked of them, but if it was asked, they gleefully supplied everything needed to put as many magic users in trouble as possible.
"W…Well then," smiled Bagman, looking like he had regained his composure, "Ladies first then? Miss Delacour, if you wouldddd?"
The end of his words were slurred, as the weak-minded wizard was subjected to the pathetically low amount of Allure a part-Veela exuded at all times, the tiny amount still enough to render the man a drooling vegetable. The disgusted glare from the statuesque young woman told everyone just how badly she thought of those with such a weak will.
Almost as if he had appeared from the shadows, an old man with glassy eyes stepped out of a corner, making Harry glare at him, though inwardly he focused the entirety of his senses on the aged wizard currently examining the French Champion's wand. It was utterly abnormal that he was able to escape Harry's notice, as his enhanced senses could pick up pretty much everything needed to know when someone was present in a fifty-meter radius around him. While someone could quiet their breathing, calm the beating of their hearts, they were still there, indicating their presence. Even with a Silencing Charm cast on them, people left clues about their presence, and not even Invisibility Cloaks could completely hide someone searching for that kind of clues. Only a complex mix of several spells could allow someone to escape that kind of radar, and Harry was pretty sure that Ollivander hadn't cast those spells…
"Hmmm…Nine and a half inches, made of rosewood. Inflexible. Quite well cared for, Miss Delacour. And as a core…Of course, the hair of a Veela."
"Yes," curtly nodded the French witch, "My grandmozzer's."
"Yes, yes. Though I do not use such materials for my creations, as foci with Veela hair tend to be quite temperamental, it is a very fine wand. Orchideus!" smiled the wandmaker, waving the wand and conjuring a bouquet of flowers. "Everything seems to be in order. This wand will certainly serve you well in this Tournament."
With a curt nod, the blonde picked her wand back and returned to her seat, her eyes glancing towards Harry for a millisecond before looking away, making him grin inwardly. If he was right and she was aware of his excursion in the French Veela colony, she was probably the only one who realized just what she was competing against. It would certainly be interesting to see how well she fared, since she was selected to represent her country.
The next champion to have his wand examined was Viktor, the Quidditch prodigy staring broodily at the aged wizard who was scrutinizing his wand and looking it over for any kind of imperfection.
"Mmmmm…Ten and a quarter inches long, made of hornbeam wood. I would recognize this style everywhere…" muttered the wandmaker, making the teenager nod.
"Da, it vas made by Gregorovitch."
"Gregorovitch, of course. While not what I would pride myself on, their wands are quite well-made. And of course, a dragon heartstring as a core. Quite thick and fairly rigid. But well-cared for, and that is all that matters. Avis!"
A flock of small birds erupted from the tip of the wand, quickly flying out of the room as Ollivander, apparently satisfied, gave back the wand to the surly European wizard, who received it with a polite nod and went back to his seat.
The Hogwarts Champion, Angelina Johnson, glanced at Harry nervously, looking unsure of whether she should step forward or not. Apparently, his spectacular explosions in public had made people believe that he had a temper on him. Which was true, of course, but not to the point that he'd round on someone who hadn't done anything to him for no reason at all. He knew very little of the girl, but from what she had seen, she wasn't a bad person, and didn't seem all that irritation, so there was little reason for him to harbor any kind of ill feelings towards her.
Apparently reassured by his silence, the chocolate-skinned witch stepped forwards, presenting her own wand to Ollivander. Harry tuned the man out as he once again fawned over the piece of wood, finding the whole process dreadfully boring. Mind you, he was interested in wands, it was just that the way the aged wandmaker spoke grated on his nerves for some reason, and knowing that he too would have to let his wand in the man's hands didn't help his mood. His wand, while he didn't really need it, was something he was extremely possessive of, as it was quite literally the first thing that had truly belonged to him, marked him as his own individual. He had taken great care of it, though he did admit that he had forgotten it a bit lately, the Tournament being the occasion to use it again.
"-Ter? Mister Potter! May I see your wand?"
He blinked, looking up to see all the wizards and witches present looking at him expectantly. Obviously, he had been a bit too lost in his thoughts to notice that Ollivander was done checking the Hogwarts' Champion's wand. He could see the barely hidden curiosity in Dumbledore's eyes, the man no doubt expecting to learn more about him through his wand. After all, the wand had to be attuned to the wizard or witch, which could give a general idea of the owner's personality. He wondered what the old coot would make out of that knowledge.
With an unhappy frown, he placed his wand in the old wandmaker's eyes, not missing the look of wonder that appeared in his eyes, as well as the open interest the man was showing.
"Oh my…This is quite the unusual wand, Mister Potter…"
"Minaka," he corrected, more out of habit than anything else.
"Unusual? How so? Is it made of illegal materials?" grinned Rita, looking positively gleeful as a horrid, neon green quill wrote down things on a piece of parchment next to her. He wondered what the woman was doing, but assumed that she was collecting as much possible blackmail on him as she could, in case he didn't hold his side of their unspoken deal. "My, my, what does that say? The Boy-Who-Lived competes with an illegal wand! Think of all the rumors that could start!"
"My son's wand isn't illegal!" barked James, looking quite angry, "And nobody is going to write anything about it while I am around, am I clear?"
"My sincerest apologies, Lord Potter," simpered the blonde, not looking apologetic at all," But the public has a right to know. After all, the wand choses the wizard, or some tripe of this kind, am I not right, Ollivander?"
"Quite right, Miss Skeeter. Though it appears that this wand was custom made specifically for Mister Potter-"
"-here. I dare say that it is quite fascinating, and quite well done, as well. Japanese Cedar, eleven inches, with rune carvings to stabilize the cores," continued the wandmaker, as if he hadn't heard the interruption, his glassy eyes trailing over the wand almost like a lover's eyes. It was almost creepy, the way the man seemed to be fascinated by the slightest change in the wood's color, about every detail.
"Excuse me, cores?" asked Lily, looking quite curious, "I thought wands had only one core."
"Oh yes, a common misconception, though I suppose that I do not help it since I sell single-core wands. It is not uncommon for a wand to have two cores, but when that happens, the wand is always custom-made, since the second core is there to alter the primary core's leanings. Wands with multiple cores are always much more attuned to their owner than single-core wands, allowing for greater power, at the cost that they will never react to another as well as they do for those they were made for, making them all but useless to anyone who is not their owner."
By that point everyone was listening to the wandmaker with rapt attention, though Rita seemed to be hoping for more scandalous information. Even Bagman seemed interested, though Harry doubted that the oaf understood what was said, he already seemed to be barely able to understand a normal conversation, never mind something like the intricacies of wand-making.
"So multiple cores are a way to more precisely attune a wand to someone?" asked Lily, her interest clearly peaked.
"Yes, though in this particular case, I dare say that there are other reasons for multiple cores…Power, for example, I highly doubt a single core would be able to properly contain the same amount of magic it is actually used to channel. And of course, the rather conflicting nature of the wand herself."
"A conflicting nature?" asked Dumbledore, his eyes turning to look at Harry, who merely stared back blankly in response.
"Yes, this wand is able to channel incredible amounts of power, far more than the average witch of wizard may be able to produce, and is uniquely suited for wide-scale destruction, just as well as precise healing, as strange as it may sound. It is quite the rarity, something I have very rarely seen in my life, a wand just as attuned to destruction, as it is to protection."
"What are the cores, then?" asked Lily.
"I am afraid that I cannot say much more than one core is blood, while another is fur. I have never before encountered anything similar to them, so I cannot be more specific about what creatures they come from."
Seeing that the wandmaker couldn't answer, all those present turned to Harry, looking at him expectantly. Usually, he would have kept silent, after all his wand belonged to him alone, and if the British wandmaker wasn't knowledgeable enough to know, he wasn't going to answer. However, he was not stupid enough to believe that rumors wouldn't crop up if he didn't say anything, and he'd rather avoid having his name associated with a Dark Lord. He didn't care much about Dark or Light, but having the entire British magical population blindly believing he was a budding Dark Lord wouldn't serve him either.
"The fur is from a Kyubi, a nine-tailed fox of Japanese lore. And the blood is from a Yuki-Onna, a Snow Woman."
"Aaaah yes, I remember reading something about those," muttered Ollivander, "Fascinating indeed, I understand now why each core seems to be almost the complete opposite from the other. One is attuned to Fire, the other to ice. A fine work, clearly, to have been able to harmonize both. A most impressive wand, Mister Potter, the kind any good wandmaker would be happy to examine.
All that is left now is to check it is indeed in working condition, alas, as I have said, I cannot use it. Would you show us?"
The old man was already presenting the wand back to him, his glassy eyes full of mirth and curiosity, creeping him out more than a bit. Why did all wandmakers have to be this weird? The way they acted, it was as if they were in love with each and every wand they came across!
With a grunt, he picked up his wand, pointing it towards one of the windows, and picked one of the lesser elemental spells he knew, a relatively unknown, for European Wizards at least, spell that created a spear of ice, shooting a two-feet long, and quite sharp, piece of ice out of the open window. This earnt him awed reaction from a few of those present, as well as surprise from the others. From what he remembered, European wizards only started learning what little elemental spells were not considered "Dark" around their sixth year, so it must have surprised them.
On a side note, he felt a small burst of pride from Akitsu's bond. The Ice Sekirei had apparently quite appreciated the fact that he had chosen "her" element to demonstrate his magic.
"Marvelous," grinned the old man, clapping enthusiastically, "Simply marvelous! This wand will take you far, Mister Potter! Keep true to yourself, and I will be expecting great things of you!"
"Yes, yes. Now that we are done with the technicalities, perhaps a few photos, before I have a little chat with the champions?" smiled Rita, obviously at the end of her patience.
It was clear that the woman was what Mundanes would categorize as a paparazzi, and took much more interest in scandals and the like than she did on interesting magical mysteries. It was hardly a wonder, from what he knew, there were very few newspapers centered on magic research in Europe, most hardly read by more than a few people. It was quite logical, then, that their communities were so backwards, when nothing was done to encourage improvement and innovation.
Shaking his head, he waited. While he didn't trust Rita, the woman was someone who relished in exposing scandals, and while he didn't want his own life exposed, he had very little reason to not air a few of the secrets he was privy of. They would see how many Death Eaters would return to Voldemort's side willingly when they knew his true name and blood status…