19 Surprise Letter
Arth woke up in a familiar room. It was the hospital wing.
He groaned as he sat up, still feeling the pain from being possessed by a Dark Lord.
"Damn, It seems as though getting possessed by a dark lord is something I can't really defend against, at least not yet."
Professor Quirrell was in a bed next to him, still in a coma. However, it seemed as though he was in peace, his face no longer seemed to be haunted. Perhaps getting the ugly bruise off from the back of the head really did help in curing PTSD.
The door suddenly opened as a silver haired old man walked in. It was Dumbledore. Dumbledore smiles at watched Arth with a twinkle in his eyes.
"It seems you have woken up, Mr. Kingscrown. How was your little expedition to the chambers three days ago?"
"It was a little too exciting for my taste. So it's been three days already?"
"Yes, in fact, your friends have visited you many times."
"...I don't have any friends," said Arth his eyes narrowing.
"My child, I do not wish to barge into your business, however, isn't the definition of a friend someone who cares for you? Of course friends can be a little stone headed but it does not mean they are bad."
"... there are many definitions to friends."
"But most of them mean a companion doesn't it?"
Dumbledore walked towards the bed and sat down on a small chair next to Arth. He fixed his gold rimmed glasses before continuing.
"Well enough of the personal talk, what I'm here for is this."
Dumbledore took out a scroll from the air and opened it with a smile.
"I do say Mr. Kingscrown, I was quite surprised when a slightly oversized raven interrupted my flight back to the school. No sooner had I reached London than it became clear to me that the place I should be was the one I had just left."
"Hmmm, so how is Harry? He isn't hurt is he?"
"It seems that you still do consider them your friends."
"... it was just a moment of impulsiveness."
"I heard from Professor McGonagall that it was around the time Mr. Potter and Ms. Granger got detention, I reckon you were there with them on that night? Just to make things less complicated, I already knew that Hagrid raised a dragon in his hut if his."
"...I might have been out for a walk. Is the stone safe?"
"The stone is indeed safe, of course, it is still inside the mirror. My colleague wishes to meet you, in curiosity and as in thanks."
"I see, how about Quirrell? Is he ok?"
"He is alright. Although, he might want to go St. Mungo's to recover, having a dark lord in your head for an extended amount of time is probably not good for one's mental health."
Arth glanced at the floor before frowning at Dumbledore.
"The Dark lord is going to try other ways of coming back, isn't he? There are many other ways to recover a physical body other than the elixir of life."
"Yes, he has not. He is still out there somewhere, perhaps looking for another body to share... not being truly alive, he cannot be killed. Nevertheless, while you may only have delayed his return to power, it will merely take someone else who is prepared to
fight what seems a losing battle next time and if he is delayed again, and again, why, he may never return to power."
"It is better to prepare for the worst than tell sweet lies to provide baseless comfort."
"... now let's return to the main topic, I am interested in how you know so much about Quirrell and how exactly you had obtained it. This isn't exactly something from a textbook."
Arth glanced at the scroll In Dumbledore's hand.
"It was simple really, after Harry's accident at his first quidditch game, I started to suspect Professor Quirrell. So I asked the teachers about any information they had on Quirrell. What were his favorite hobbies, did he have any family left members, any close friends. If I found anyone who knew Quirrell on a personal level, I would send messages and ask them questions about his personality, mindset, dreams and aspirations. I would collect all of it and compile it together to create an understanding of the character that people call "Quirrell", or at least, the one before he got possessed. I spent many days in the library reading books about magical creatures and fantastic beasts, I spent some time on vampires too. However, none of those beasts showed the same symptoms as Quirrell, so I turned towards dark magic and curses."
"We're those books not in the restricted area?"
"Some rules can be broken."
Arth let out a sigh.
"It was very terrifying, descriptions of torture, best way to summon a devil, how to create an existence that lives yet nothing but alive. However, it paid off. In one of the books there was a spell, a mind possession spell that described similar symptoms. Change in personality, mind impairment, overall decrease in ability."
Arth started to smile with an expression that was dark and grim.
"However, this meant that something had possessed the mind of Quirrell, someone who had dabbled in the dark arts and had sufficient power in dealing with a, although timid, brilliant defense against the dark arts teacher. Someone like the Dark Lord."
Arth took out his wand and startled to swirl it.
"It all started to make sense from then on, the last place where Voldemort was sighted was in Albania, Quirrell had gotten traumatized in Abkhazia, Quirrell who never wore a turban started to wear one after his trip, his side effects, his different personality, his tendency to speak to himself. All of this confirmed my speculations."
"... why did you not tell any teacher?"
"Would they believe in a child? Would they believe me when I said the Dark lord was possessing one of the teachers? Even if they did, what would they do? Kill him? Arrest him? Make it so that Voldemort escapes and comes back with another person to carry out his duties? Plus, I didn't want to attract attention to myself."
"You do seem to escape attention very easily, maybe an inborn talent?"
"Probably, who knows? Magic is mysterious."
"My last question, how did you get past all the enchantments placed to guard the stone. I can't understand how you managed to get past all of them."
"I whistled my way past fluffy, quite a charming dog, I can see why Hagrid adores him. I burned the devils snare, grabbed the key using the broom. The chess board had missing pieces so I had to win using the pieces I had, I met Ron and Hermione along the way and told them to get out. I killed the troll which had woken up, and solved the riddle but the potion was already empty."
"So How did you get past it?"
"I casted a full body shield spell to somewhat protect me from the flames and endured my way through."
Silence ensued the hospital wing as Arth and Dumbledore stared at each other.
"Well, Mr. Kingscrown." Dumbledore got up from his seat. "I did enjoy the talk we had today, it was quite interesting, however, I must be off."
"Goodbye Mr. Kingscrown, and I do hope you get back together with Mr. Potter and his friends."
Arth watched Dumbledore leave with an emotionless face. When the door closed, Arth closed his eyes and went to sleep, he was tired and wanted to rest as much as he could before he couldn't.
He embraced the darkness.
Arth made his way down to the end-of-year feast alone that night. He had been held up by Madam Pomfrey's fussing about, insisting on giving him one last checkup, so the Great Hall was already full. It was decked out in the Slytherin colors of green and silver to celebrate Slytherin's winning the house cup for the seventh year in a row. A huge banner showing the Slytherin serpent covered the wall behind the High Table.
Seeing the sight only made him sigh. It had almost been Gryffindors, alas...
When Arth walked in, there was a sudden hush and then everybody started talking at once. He sat down at an empty seat at the Gryffindor table and tried to ignore the fact that people were staring at him.
Arth was uncomfortable and realized for once that maybe remaining inconspicuous was a good thing.
Fortunately, Dumbledore arrived moments later. The stares died away.
"Another year gone!" Dumbledore said cheerfully. "And I must trouble you with an old man's wheezing waffle before we sink our teeth into our delicious feast. What a year it has been! Hopefully your heads are all a little fuller than they were... you have the whole summer ahead to get them nice and empty before next year starts.... Now, as I understand it, the house cup here needs awarding, and the points stand thus: In fourth place, Gryffindor, with three hundred and twelve points; in third, Hufflepuff, with three hundred and fifty-two; Ravenclaw has four hundred and twenty-six and Slytherin, four hundred and seventy- two."
A storm of cheering and stamping broke out from the Slytherin table.
"Yes, Yes, well done, Slytherin," said Dumbledore. "However, recent events must be taken into account."
The room went very still. The Slytherins' smiles faded a little.
"Ahem," said Dumbledore. "I have a few last-minute points to dish out. Let me see. Yes...
"First - to Mr. Ronald Weasley..."
Ron went purple in the face; he looked like a radish with a bad sunburn.
"...for the best-played game of chess Hogwarts has seen in many years, I award Gryffindor house forty points."
Gryffindor cheers nearly raised the bewitched ceiling; the stars overhead seemed to quiver. Percy could be heard telling the other prefects,
"My brother, you know! My youngest brother! Got past McGonagall's giant chess set!"
At last there was silence again.
"Second, to Miss Hermione Granger... for the use of cool logic in the face of fire, I award Gryffindor house forty points."
Hermione buried her face in her arms, Gryffindors up and down the table were beside themselves, they were a hundred points up.
"Third, to Mr. Harry Potter..." said Dumbledore. The room went deadly quiet.
"For pure nerve and outstanding courage, I award Gryffindor house fifty points."
The din was deafening. Those who could add up while yelling themselves hoarse realized that they had went from lost to second, thirty points behind Slytherin.
Dumbledore raised his hand. The room gradually fell silent.
"There are all kinds of courage," said Dumbledore, smiling. "It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends. I therefore award ten points to Mr. Neville Longbottom."
They was another burst of applause, although they had not gotten first place, they were still happy with what they had got. Harry and Hermione looked relieved as everyone started to warm up on them.
Everyone started to prepare to feast when Dumbledore cleared his throat once more.
"I am not finished yet, we still have one more."
Slytherins started to become visibly worried and Arth started to have a weird feeling in his gut.
"There is another form of courage, when you know of every risk you will take, every danger you will face, every chance that might cause death. I award Mr. Arthur Kingscrown, fifty points, facing danger even when he knows everything about it for the sake of his friends is something not everyone can do."
Someone standing outside the Great Hall might well have thought some sort of explosion had taken place, so loud was the noise that erupted from the Gryffindor table. Everyone started to get up and cheer for Arth, however, his eyes where somewhere else.
Arth saw that Harry was staring at him from a couple seats down with a sad face. He gave a wry smile and gave a thumbs up to Arth before sitting back down.
Arth sighed not knowing what to do anymore.
"Which means," Dumbledore called over the storm of applause, for even Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff were celebrating the downfall of Slytherin, "we need a little change of decoration."
He clapped his hands. In an instant, the green hangings became scarlet and the silver became gold, the huge Slytherin serpent vanished and a towering Gryffindor lion took its place. Snape was shaking Professor McGonagall's hand, with a horrible, forced smile.
It was probably the most exiting day in the entire year.
The year ended fairly well, almost everyone had passed their exams, Hermione and Arth held the best grades among the first years.
Arth has finally received an apology from Harry on the way back to King's Cross.
He walked into Arth's compartment while looking all nervous, behind him were a nervous looking Hermione and Ron.
Harry took a deep breath before speaking.
"Hey Arth, I wanted to say I'm sorry. I've been an ass to you all year, I had ignored many of your warnings, I gave you hardships one after the other. That night we faced Quirrell, I realized how much you had actually done while I was playing around. I just want you to understand, I'm sorry. I truly am."
Arth kept his bland face for a few seconds before cracking a smile.
"I'm sorry too man, I should've kept my cool. It's mostly my fault for over reacting. I mean, I already knew that you wouldn't listen to me anyways, so I wasn't that angry. I just wanted to... How do you put it... scare you a little?"
Harry dropped his jaw while Ron tried to quiet the laughter he was holding back.
Hermione rushed into Arth and gave him a bug hug, her eyes red. Arth raised and eyebrow as he sent a questioning look at Ron and Harry. Both of them shrugged their shoulders in response.
They sat in the compartment just like old times and where having fun with every flavor beans when a tapping sound came from the window. It was King.
Arth opened the window and let the owl in, and saw that King had a letter attached to his leg. Arth opened it.
"Hello son, my boy Arthur,
This is your parents speaking, or is it writing? Our business that we had to finish during Christmas has not yet ended, so we were wondering if you could stay at a friends house? I'm really sorry but we've been holding out on a lot of things since we took you in and now all of that work is starting to catch up. It ok though, the work is quite enjoyable, do take care of yourself, we will come pick you sometime during the summer.
Arth read the letter with a dumbfounded look. He smiled wryly from the letter and glanced at his friends.
Arth scratched his head with a somewhat shy and embarrassed look, which made him look like an innocent child.
"Do any of you... happen to... umm... have a place I can stay at during the summer?"
Volume 1 End