Chapter 20: Heaven on Earth
Though this was wishful thinking. His son was far too excited to sleep properly.
The next morning Salazar, Sirius and Sylvia sat in the kitchen drinking some coffee and waiting for the Longbottoms to floo over so that they could take the portkey to China. However, none of them knew where exactly they would go and Salazar kept quiet about it. They sat there in silence drinking coffee and reading the newspapers which didn’t have anything interesting in them when the door opened, and a tired looking Hadrian entered.
“Mornin’,” he mumbled stifling a yawn.
“Good morning, I see there was someone too excited to sleep,” his dad greeted him giving him a hug. Hadrian blushed slightly.
Salazar could see that his son was nearly falling asleep. Smiling he stood up walked over to the fridge which in fact was a simple cupboard with strong cooling charms, took out the orange juice, poured some into a glass and added half a vial of a potion.
“Here drink this it will wake you up,” he held out the glass to his son who picked it up and drank it. In an instant he was awake.
“Wow, what was that?” Hadrian asked astonished about how much better he felt.
“I added a potion against fatigue. Normally I wouldn’t give it to you but we have to take a portkey to China, and I don’t want to lose you somewhere over Russia because you were too tired to hold the grip on it. Now eat some before we depart,” he pointed at the breakfast standing beside him.
Hadrian did as he was asked and dug in.
About half an hour later suddenly someone burst through the kitchen door with a loud bang startling everyone. Looking up Hadrian saw that Neville and his parents, who strode in behind the boy with more decorum, arrived.
“Neville,” he exclaimed running over. “How are you? I'm so excited since this is my first holiday…” he started to rattle on seemingly without taking a breath. They both walked over to the other side of the room excitedly talking about what they thought where they would go and what they would do.
The adults in the room shook their head over the antics of the children. How much a few days could change a child or in this case two children. No one could deny the fact that the two were good for each other. Neville helped Hadrian to get over his past and enjoy life again while Hadrian got Neville to overcome his shyness.
“Good morning everyone” Alice greeted them with a warm smile. “We’re ready when you are. Our luggage is in the drawing room, and everything else is taken care of.”
“Good. The elves will take the luggage and will teleport with it to our destination while we will take a portkey. Hadrian, Neville if you have to take care of anything now is the last opportunity before we leave.”
Both boys quickly left the room, Hadrian checking his room for things left behind and Neville to go to the toilet before ten minutes later everyone met in the drawing room. Salazar had done a last tour through the house to see if everything was alright and all the windows closed not that it would make any difference it was just for appearance sake. The house would shut down itself once they all left since no one would be there for the next fortnight. James already went after preparing the breakfast to see together with the local elves that the mansion in China was ready for them.
“Okay all hold tightly onto the portkey,” he said while holding out a silver chain for everyone to grab. “The travel will take about two minutes so don’t let go before I say so,” this was more a bit of advice for the children.
With that, they all were whisked away feeling a tug behind their navel. As Salazar said about two minutes later, they stood in front of a large building on a hill overseeing a village of maybe three or four hundred inhabitants. All in all, it was a sight to behold.
The building they stood in front of was in traditional Chinese style with curved roofs, red pillars and white walls interrupted by red wooden planks. It looked more like a Chinese palace or temple than a mansion. Towards the village led broad stone stairs lined with little stone lanterns and in midway on a landing was a huge metal bowel where a fire merrily burned.
The village was built in the same architectural style as the mansion with a small stream going right through it. A market place was located right next to it with the biggest tree in the middle Hadrian had ever seen, spending shadow. They could see people bustling through the streets, some of them obviously magical since they levitated goods and crates while others tried to sell their wares in shops. At the right edge of the village, a few fields and greenhouses were located where many different crops were growing while on the right side a vast forest spread along the mountain chain. Looking from one side to the other you could see that the village was located in a valley surrounded by high mountains covered in snow only the valley being free of it.
They all looked around the valley taking the sight before them in, when suddenly Alice took a sharp breath. “Is…is that…?”
“A dragon? Yes,” Salazar answered looking in the same direction as her.
On one of the spacious grasslands around the village lay a giant charcoal coloured creature. One might say it had the stature of a Pegasus only that it was a dragon. It had four legs, and the wings came from the shoulder blades and weren’t like it was with the dragons they knew combined with the forelegs.
“The one you see over there is Xuan. He is one of the oldest and wisest dragons alive with over 1300 years, and he belongs to the very rare celestial breed which you can see at the ruff and the whiskers he has. Don’t worry every creature you'll find here is very well behaved and as long as you treat them with the respect they deserve, you'll have no problem. They belong to this community as well as every magical and non-magical person human or non-human you find here. Welcome to Shangri-La the sanctuary for everyone who seeks peace and a friendly community without prejudice about who or what you or your ancestors are,” he introduced them.
“Wait, Shangri-La? I heard about it…it’s a myth,” Sylvia looked at him in disbelieve.
“You're right. For most people it is a myth since they wouldn’t be able to come here. The entire valley is heavily warded and on top of that comes sacrificial protection that prevents everyone who has ulterior motives from even seeing this valley. Besides that it is unplottable, so no one knows where exactly it is located,” Salazar explained. “Most newcomers here are either brought here by one of the people living here which is very rare or through sheer happenstance which is even rarer. The last person stumbling upon this place was a mundane woman who crash-landed with her aeroplane in 1937. Her name was Amelia Earhart,” he snickered remembering the young woman.
The whole world still wondered where she disappeared to assuming that she vanished over the Pacific Ocean. After crash-landing here, she decided that she wanted to stay because it turned out that she was the destined mate of a vampire. If nothing changed, they should still live in the village somewhere.
“Sacrificial protection?” Frank inquire watching as Neville and Hadrian, who found the entire conversation boring, trailed of exploring their surroundings.
Salazar sighed. “Yes. It was about seven hundred years ago that a fight erupted between those who were of the firm opinion that they should take advantage of what this valley has to offer and those who said that they should only take as much as they needed. It was a tough time, and it nearly ended in a small war when one of the dragons living here was deadly injured because he wanted to prevent the fight. With his last breath, he banned everyone from these lands who only wanted to take profit out of it and erected the strongest protection ward I've ever seen. It lets everyone who tries to find it with ulterior motives see only a snowy plane. In remembrance, the remaining inhabitants built the statue you can see over there.”
They all looked astonished down to the valley. It seemed that this was as the stories told some kind of paradise and they all had to admit that there was no better place to go for holidays.
“I think we should get settled and walk down to the village afterwards.”
“Sounds good,” Sirius said turning around when Hadrian and Neville came running.
“Look what we found,” Hadrian exclaimed excitedly followed by a fox-like creature though this one had three tails instead of one.
“A kitsune? Five minutes alone and you two already made a new friend?” he joked not even the slightest surprised to see a kitsune here but all the more that it came so close to humans not to mention letting them pet it like his son just did. They usually were quite shy, and it was a rare occurrence to get to see or touch one.
“Can we keep it, please?” Hadrian asked pleadingly.
“Hadrian the creatures that live here are not something you own or can keep. They all have their own free will and if it wants to leave you have to let it go, understood?” his son nodded. “Good, however, should it want to stay with you I have no objections. I also ask of you two to treat every living being here with the same respect you want to be treated with, okay?” the two children nodded, so Salazar turned around and walked towards the mansion after smiling fondly at them.
Together they all entered the building Hadrian followed by the kitsune he found earlier. When they stepped through the entrance door, the others all stopped in their track taking a look around the impressive entrance hall. Though calling it such would be wrong. They stood in a very short corridor that led to an open area. In the middle was a huge water biotope all together with a one feet high waterfall and several fishes swimming in the pond. Around that went a colonnade from which went on the right and left each another corridor as well as stairs to the first floor. Right on the other side of the atrium, they could see a large and open living room.
“The elves should already have sorted the bedrooms. Trixy, Blinky!” he called out and instantly the two elves appeared.
“What can we do for master?” they asked unison.
“I assume the bedrooms have been assigned?” he asked them.
“Yes, sir. On the right Mr Black and Ms Pye and on the left Master Salazar, Master Hadrian and Mr and Mrs Longbottom. Though wants Mr Neville an own room or share with Master Hadrian?” Blinky pointed out the room distribution.
Neville and Hadrian looked at each other for a few seconds before both shrugged. “Can we share a room please?” Hadrian finally asked.
“Sure, I see no problem with that. How about you?” he addressed the older Longbottoms who merely indicated that they also had no objections.
“Good, then Ms Pye, Mr Black follows me please,” Blinky said. “I show your rooms.”
“The rest follow me please,” Trixy added.
They all followed the elves to their rooms. Once Neville and Hadrian reached their room between the ones of their respective parents, Neville quickly ran over to his pile of luggage letting out his cat who sat on top of it in her transport box not really happy to be confined in it. Once the box was opened, she jumped out and stretched herself. When her view fell upon the kitsune that just rounded Hadrian and entered the room, she slowly and carefully strode over. After some sniffing each other Midnight poked the kitsune with a paw which was answered by being thrown over. Now both were rolling over the floor playing with each other.
Hadrian who observed this snickered before taking a look around. They were in a large room painted in beige colours with deep red accents. The furniture was a dark red-brown. On the right were large doors leading out on a small balcony from where you could oversee the valley while in the back right stood a few armchairs around a table. To his left were two large beds as well as the door to the bathroom and one to a dressing room.
“Which bed do you want?” Hadrian asked Neville.
“If you don’t mind the one next to the bathroom door,” Neville replied sheepishly.
Hadrian shrugged not even batting an eye that Neville had to get up at night. “I don’t care. However, I hope that I don’t have any nightmares…don't want to wake you up.”
“Even if you do don’t worry about it. At least I can help you then,” the other boy smiled upon which Hadrian blushed. He told Neville that he had nightmares from time to time and the other boy had been worried about it.
“Thank you,” he muttered.
With the bedding situation settled they both started unpacking their things. About half an hour later they were finished and walked to the living area followed by Midnight and the kitsune who seemed to have found a liking in Hadrian. Arriving in the living room, they saw that Sylvia, Alice and Frank were already there the only ones missing being Sirius and Salazar.
“Neville, I see you got changed,” his mother said.
The boy in question nodded. “It is quite warm here…”
“You're right, I wonder why. When you look at the surrounding mountains…it should be much colder,” Frank spoke up.
“This is a question even I can’t answer,” replied Salazar who entered at that moment. “Perhaps it is all the magic in the air that keeps this place warmer than its surroundings despite being over 6500 feet above sea level, I don’t know. What I know though is that this place has a constant clime all year and that even before I found and made it a safe haven for everyone who needs one.”
“It is fascinating what magic is able to do,” Sylvia mused.
Finally, Sirius arrived. “So, what do we do?” he asked eagerly.
“I thought about a walk through the village so that you get to know everything. That reminds me,” he walked over to a cupboard and picked up a wooden box. Opening it, he took out a few chains with a talisman attached to each. “Since I doubt that any of you is able to speak Chinese you should wear those. They have a translation charm embedded which lets you understand the people here and lets them understand you,” he gave everyone one of the talismans.
Hadrian looked a bit disappointed at the talisman. “That makes learning other languages unnecessary,” he liked learning new things though mostly so that no one could fool him.
“One might think so but no. The problem is that excessive use can result in massive headaches. For a holiday however it is perfectly fine to use them,” Salazar explained. “And with excessive use, I mean using them every day over several months,” he added after seeing the worried look on Sylvia's face but knowing that she was a healer he wasn’t surprised about it.
Now that all questions were answered for now they all stood up and just wanted to set out for the village when Hadrian felt something poking his lower leg. Looking down he saw the kitsune looking at him expectantly. He knelt down before it.
“Is something wrong?”
“Meow,” the kitsune cocked its head as if he was asking something.
Hadrian thought a bit about what the kitsune might want from him when an idea occurred to him. “Do you want to stay here?”
“Meow,” it made a movement that only could be a curt nod.
Hadrian smiled. “Sure, why not but why do you ask me? My father said that you have your own free will and that you can choose yourself what you want.”
The kitsune licked his hand once before brushing his head against it. After that, it ambled back to where Hadrian's and Neville's room were.
“Huh,” was all Hadrian could say looking questioningly at his father.
“This is truly a strange behaviour for a kitsune. It is as if…no that can’t be,” Salazar mused looking after it.
“What can’t be? It isn’t a danger for my godson is it?” Sirius asked concern and fear in his voice.
“What?” he asked confused ripped out of his thoughts when he caught up with what Sirius wanted. “No, no, kitsune are peaceful as long as you treat them with respect. Though they can be very vindictive should you anger them. Most of the time, however, they are playful and tend to trick you with their illusions for fun. It is really rare that they harm someone,” he explained. “Oh, and the more tails a kitsune has, the more powerful it is, they can have up to nine or at least it is the highest number ever seen. This one seems to be pretty young. Now let’s go, or we’ll still be here this evening.”
They all finally set into motion and walked down to the village. Astonished they didn’t know where to look first. It wasn’t the people who were bustling around no that was much like at home. What surprised them though was the number of different races that inhabited the streets. Dwarfs, goblins, dryads even centaurs all living side by side doing their designated work. And between all that walked dragons the size of dogs up to horse size ones carrying things as well as other creatures.
“Wow, I never saw so many different species living peacefully together,” Sylvia exclaimed.
“That is what this entire valley is for. No one has prejudice, no one is superior, and everyone works for the wellbeing of everyone. Each of them here has a job that fits their abilities and contributes their part to the community as a whole. As you can see even the older people who can’t do hard or long work anymore help and if it’s only with looking after the children,” Salazar just explained when a man in his middle ages walked up to them and bowed curtly before him.
“My Lord, why didn’t you inform me that you would come?” he asked taken aback of this.
Salazar also bowed curtly afore answering in perfect Chinese not needing the translation amulet. “And deny me the pleasure of surprising you?” he smiled which was answered with laughter. “No, the thing is that we decided only three days ago to go on a vacation. There was simply no time to inform you I'm afraid.”
“No problem I only came over to inform you that we celebrate the summer solstice this evening and that you and your guests are welcomed to attend it,” he joyfully exclaimed.
“Well, I can’t speak for my guests, but my son and I will gladly come. As it seems my guests will also attend,” he added after seeing the positive reactions.
“Very well, I have to go now…much to prepare,” with that he walked down the street.
“Who was that?” Sirius asked curiously.
“This was Shiyan. He is the planner of this village may it be for a new building to be constructed or feasts like the summer solstice celebration and before you ask he is a mundane.”
They went on when Hadrian saw a vendor stall laden with many different sorts of fruits. He walked over and took a closer look.
“Hello ma’am, what do the apples cost?” he asked a bit shyly because he didn’t know the proper behaviour around this village.
The woman sitting behind the stall snickered. “My boy, you're not from here are you?” Hadrian shook his head upon which she smiled fondly at him. “In this village, you don’t have to pay for anything, and we don’t even have money here. Go on take an apple.”
“Can I have a second one for my friend too?” he sheepishly asked which was answered by a gesture to proceed. “Thank you very much,” with that he quickly ran over to Neville giving him one of the apples.
“Dad, why doesn’t food cost anything here?” he asked afterwards used to the ways in England where you had to pay for everything.
“You don’t have to pay for anything here,” he replied unknowingly with the same words as the woman at the vendor stall. “This is how it works here. You do your share for the community and have access to everything you need or like.”
“It works? I somehow can’t believe that no one wants more than the others,” Sylvia scoffed.
“That is because everyone here knows that if they get greedy, they will have to leave. Either because the council decides it or in hard cases, the wards take care of it. Luckily both are very rare the second even more than the first.”
“But what about your house? Don’t they get envious that it is so much larger than the ones of everyone else?”
“Hardly since they were the ones to build it. Well, it was built about five generations back actually. At first, I was against it content with the house I had within the village, but they said that it was to honour me and what I did for them by providing them with a place to live in peace. What should I do? At least I could convince them to use the library and upper rooms for teaching purpose since I'm rarely here and therefore the mansion wouldn’t be used,” he explained everything patiently.
“How many people live here at the moment?” Frank grew curious.
Salazar hummed upon that. “I don’t know the exact number, but at the moment the entire population of this valley should be around 3500 give or take.”
Everyone stopped in their movement and looked at him in disbelieve.
He started to laugh. “This village is only a part of it. There is an entire colony of freshwater merpeople in the lake on the south end of the valley as well as a colony of centaurs in the forests. Then there are also the dwarfs and goblins who have their own towns underground in the mountains. Not to mention all the other intelligent creatures like dragons, kitsune and whatever else.”
Satisfied for now they continued to walk through the village talking about this and that looking at what the vendors had to offer. It was nearly lunchtime when Sirius saw that Hadrian was missing.
“Where is Hadrian?” he asked concern tainting his voice.
“Good question. He probably found something interesting and ambled away from us,” Salazar replied not really concerned that his son could get lost or hurt.
“Neville's missing too,” now Alice piped in worriedly after taking a look around.
“Don’t worry they will show up again. The worst thing that can happen here is that they found something interesting and forget the time over it,” Salazar replied.
“Your own son is missing, and you're not even the slightest little bit concerned?” Alice now slightly angered about Salazar's carelessness. “He is not even six years old.”
“Alice, please calm down. I know you don’t know this place here but I do. You can trust me when I say that this is possibly the safest place in the world. As long as they don’t do anything incredibly stupid, which I highly doubt since they are both pretty level-headed boys, they will be fine,” Salazar replied in a soothing tone.
Nonetheless, he took out his wand and cast a point-me charm to find them. A few streets away they finally found the two boys helping an older woman carrying her bags full of food by levitating them.
“Neville,” Alice exclaimed relieved running over and hugging him. This however disturbed his concentration and hadn’t Hadrian act quickly the bag would have fallen to the floor. Levitating both bags though was a bit too much, and so both slowly sank to the ground. “You can’t just run away without saying something. I was worried.”
Hadrian seeing this let his head hang feeling extremely guilty and walked over to his father. “I'm so sorry, we bumped into her and helped her collecting what fell out of her bags. After that, she wanted to leave, but it looked like she had trouble carrying so much, so we volunteered to help her carry it back to her home,” he nearly burst into tears.
The woman looked as if she wanted to say something to defend the boy’s actions, but Salazar shook her head. She had no idea what Hadrian went through, so it was better for him to handle it personally. He knew very well that Hadrian was send shopping for his relatives regularly despite his age, so it was no wonder to him that his son just went helping that woman without telling him.
Crouching before him Salazar took his son's hands and looked him straight into the face. “You did nothing wrong with helping the lady, Hadrian, quite on the contrary it was the right thing to do. What you should have done however is telling us. You see while I know this place well enough that I don’t get worried, the others don’t. Okay?” Hadrian nodded still looking a bit down. “Come here,” Salazar embraced him in a hug. “I'm proud of you I hope you know that,” now Hadrian beamed at him the last minutes forgotten.
He gave his father another hug. “Thank you, dad.” with that he let go and turned around to the others. “I'm sorry that we made you worry. Next time we will tell you.”
“You know Hadrian your father has every right to be proud of you with how well behaved you are. The same goes for you Neville,” the woman addressed the two boys. “My name is Ling by the way, and I have to apologise. I should have thought about letting you know where the boys were. It would be an honour to invite you all for lunch as a sort of reparation.”
They all looked at each other before Alice spoke up. “We would gladly accept if it isn’t too much a hassle for you and my name is Alice.”
After that everyone introduced himself.
“Nice to meet you all. It is no problem. I often have people around, so I'm pretty used to it,” she smiled.
Everyone set into motion Sylvia, with a flick of her wand, levitating the bags.
“May I help you with the preparations?” Hadrian who jogged up to Ling asked. He wanted to get to know how the food here differed from home and learn to cook it.
Ling threw a quick glance at Salazar who nodded. “Sure, why not.”
A few minutes later they reached Ling’s house. It was small but cosy with a small garden in the back, well small for their standard who were used to large townhouses or mansions but for Shangri-La it was standard, and they had to admit that it was enough to live comfortably without missing anything. Everyone quickly helped to put the food away before they sat in the garden with something to drink while Ling, Neville and Hadrian prepared lunch. Okay, Hadrian and Ling did the cooking while Neville asked Ling about certain herbs and how to grow them. Hadrian, on the other hand, was more interested in whether they might also be usable in potions.
Outside they were talking about Hadrian.
“Salazar, I don’t know how you can let your son run around unsupervised not to mention cook. He is not even six for Merlin’s sake,” Alice exclaimed exasperatedly.
Salazar sighed. “Alice, I know what your point is, and normally I would agree with you but not if it concerns Hadrian. You only know half of what he has been through. Being send out alone to buy things was a normal occurrence for him as well as having to cook daily thrice. You can’t expect him to change overnight and I’d prefer him to wander around alone here where I know that no harm can come to him. At home where he, in the best case, runs into someone concerned and in the worst case either a former Death Eater or Dumbledore, it is an entirely different story.”
“As much as I hate to admit it he is right. Hadrian isn’t used to people caring or worrying for him. His worst fear is that he disappoints his father and gets sent back to his other relatives. Have you seen how he reacted when you ran up to your son in concern? He instantly started to apologise in hope to sooth Salazar's anger fearing that he did something incredibly wrong.
“Do you know what happened the last time he got slightly scolded for something as minor as mumbling? He froze and expected to get beaten. I think the best thing you can do for him is not to display your worry that openly. It’s not that I tell you not to worry but not to show it around Hadrian as much.”
Sirius had seen first-hand what could happen if you made one wrong move with Hadrian and he had to admit that Salazar knew what he did as hard as this was and when it meant to give Hadrian some leeway from time to time so mote it be.
“Yes, Hadrian has a long way to go before those fears disappear or at least are on a level he can live with without being restricted by them,” Sylvia added.
With that, the conversation shifted to more pleasant topics like what they saw on their walk through the village. About half an hour later, Neville, Hadrian and Ling came out Ling carrying a large wok containing stir-fried vegetables with chicken. Talking about Shangri-La and how life here was they enjoyed lunch.
“Hadrian, you're really good in the kitchen I would never have used lemongrass in it, but I have to admit that it tastes delicious,” Ling said after a while.
Hadrian blushed upon the praise. “Thank you,” was all he replied.
Once everything was eaten up, he spoke up again this time with more confidence.
“May I explore the village a bit further, dad?” he asked not wanting to repeat his mistake of not informing them.
“As long as you behave yourself and be polite to the people I have nothing against it. Have fun but please be back at the mansion at six to get ready for the feast in the evening,” his father replied.
“Thank you, dad. Neville, do you want to come with me?”
Neville, however, looked at his hands and shook his head the situation from earlier still getting to him.
Frank sighed seeing it. “Go on Neville, have some fun together with Hadrian but be back in time,” he said despite earning a glare from his wife which he ignored.
“Really? Thank you, dad.” Neville eagerly jumped up, hugged his parents before both boys went to the door when Hadrian remembered something.
“Thank you, Ling, for your hospitality,” Hadrian bowed curtly, Neville quickly copying it.
“It was a pleasure, and I hope I see you again,” she waved them goodbye.
A bit later Alice and Frank also said goodbye as well as Sirius. The three of them weren’t back to full health yet, and they wanted to rest some at the manor.
“I will leave now too. Miss Ling, it was a pleasure, and the meal was delicious. Perhaps we see each other at the festival this evening again?” Sylvia said.
“Hopefully yes. I’ll be there.”
“Salazar, I saw something akin to an apothecary earlier, but I don’t remember the way,” she addressed the man.
“I’ll show you there on my way to Shiyan I want to ask whether I can help some. Is it still run by Feyla?” Ling nodded. “You'll like her she is one of the local healers though she can be a bit special sometimes. Miss Ling, thank you very much for the invitation and the delicious food,” he bowed curtly which Ling returned.
Ling showed them to the door and once they left Salazar showed Sylvia where to find the apothecary. When they entered, she stopped in her track and blinked several times. The shop was run by a dryad.
“I take a leave now, you're okay?” Salazar asked.
“Definitely, just remember what I told you about not using too much magic,” she smiled.
“I know…I know. See you later,” with that he left to see whether he could help some with the festival preparations.
In the meantime, on the other side of the world, a certain headmaster paced through his office. Severus and Minerva sitting in front of his desk observing him carefully. They just returned from America in hope to intercept this ominous John Smith and find out something about the whereabouts of one Harry James Potter. Severus, however, wasn’t that overly concerned about the boy if not for the oath Dumbledore made him swear.
At least not enough to take it on with the American ministry because that was what would have happened. Dumbledore found out the address of John Smith and send them both there, but instead of Mr Smith, they ran straight into Henrietta Coulson and four of the Americans best Hit-Wizards. Sure, Severus was one of the best duellists in the world even if he didn’t show it that openly but even he wasn’t stupid enough to try something with them around. Henrietta then asked them politely to leave before they would take actions against them for illegally entering the States as well as unlawfully entering the house of one of their citizens. She also gave them a message for Dumbledore that should he ever again put his crooked nose into something not his concern, he would have to bear the consequences. After that, she left with the comment that they wouldn’t have found Mr Smith here anyway since he is in Africa at the moment.
“You're sure that she said Africa?” Dumbledore inquired.
“Do you deem me deaf? Yes, she said Africa!” Severus snarled.
Dumbledore sighed not even reacting to the way Severus spoke to him. “This makes things infinitely more complicated,” he finally said.
The problem was that Africa didn’t have a Ministry like America or England. They only had more or less small communities mostly around tourist hot-spots. Finding someone there…let’s just say there was a higher possibility for a snowball to survive in hell.
“Thank you. This was all for now. I have to think things over,” Dumbledore dismissed them.
Fawkes let out a few trills before flashing away. He needed to get away from that old fool even if only for a few hours.
It was shortly before six when Hadrian and Neville entered the mansion. Sylvia who just came from the library on the first floor looked at them before shaking her head with a smile.
“What have you done that you look like that?” she inquired. Both boys looked like they robbed through the dirt. With a flick of her wand, they at least looked like boys again.
“Thank you, ma’am,” said Neville. “We found a few greenhouses where a dryad worked, and we were allowed to help her. It was so cool, she taught us so much about plants and how to grow them…” he rambled.
“Please don’t call me ma’am my name is Sylvia and as long as you had your fun everything is alright” she snickered.
“Well, I'm not that into gardening I was more interested in the plants themselves and how to use them” Hadrian confessed.
“Oh yes, I don’t know how you did it, but you ruined more plants than actually repotted them. Aylef, the dryad at some point only let him carry the earth and water for us,” Neville shook his head.
Hadrian sighed. “I don’t know either. With…with…them I always had to do the gardening. Perhaps without the pressure…” he let his shoulders hang tears welling up, but he stopped them from falling. He wouldn’t let his relatives ruin his holidays.
“Hadrian, I'm sorry I didn’t mean to…” Neville said sheepishly.
Hadrian shook his head adamantly to banish the thoughts. “It’s okay. They are my past, and I don’t let them dictate my future.”
“This is very mature of you, but take care that you don’t keep everything bottled up it won’t do you any good. If you want to talk about something…anything at all we are all there for you” Sylvia told him half tempted to give him a hug but the state he was in stopped her. She didn’t want to get dirty after all. “Now I think you should get a shower, in about half an hour we want to leave.”
Both boys nodded and bolted towards their room. Upon entering Hadrian who went first stopped Neville.
Hadrian just pointe towards his bed. On it were Midnight and the kitsune curled up around each other and sleeping. Neville seeing that smiled before walking into the room.
“You want to go in first?” he asked from over his bed.
“Nah, you look worse,” Hadrian replied.
Neville looked at himself before looking back at Hadrian and started to laugh. They both still looked horrible despite Sylvia's effort to clean them even a little bit. Getting rid of the dirty clothes they put them into the laundry basket for the elves to wash them.
“Hey, we also could have a bath together the bathtub is huge,” Neville exclaimed from the bathroom.
Hadrian came into the room to take a look at the bathtub and started to snicker. “You call this huge? Mine at home is even larger although not much. If you don’t mind, we can take a bath together.”
“I asked you so why would I mind?” Neville laughed while walking over to the tub to let water in when he stopped and looked confused. “Uhm, how are we supposed to get water in it?”
“Oh wait, I know how this works we have the same system at home,” he walked over and showed Neville some runes edged into the edge of the tub. “Look, here you can adjust which temperature the water shall have, and with this, you let water in,” he touched the rune in demonstration. “And the last one is to empty the thing afterwards.”
“Wicked,” Neville was astonished because they only had the regular mountings at home.
They both quickly got into the now full tub to get clean but promptly emerged in a water fight. Completely forgetting the time and their surroundings they didn’t notice that Salazar entered at some point. Only when he made a coughing noise, they became aware of him.
“I'm only here to inform you that we leave in ten minutes. It would be better to be ready by then,” he said with a smirk before leaving.
Both boys quickly washed before leaving and getting dressed. They both wore something elegant without being overdressed. Neville though had some problems with the buttons of his shirt.
“Come here I help you,” Hadrian said.
Neville quickly walked over and let Hadrian help him. “I'm sorry I haven’t got the hang of it yet, but you seem to know a lot about such things.”
Hadrian snickered when Neville's head went red upon catching up with what he just said. It was as he said earlier he didn’t want the memories to get the better of him.
“Don’t worry and yes I do because no one ever helped me. Here you go,” he just finished the last button. “It helps at the beginning to just look for the last button and the last hole, from there you work yourself upwards one by one. With this, you don’t come out askew.”
After finishing their dressing, they went to the entrance hall where everyone was already waiting.
“I see that this time the Kitsune wants to come with you,” Sirius grinned.
“Meow!” the kitsune gave him a glare as if to say that he couldn’t stop him.
“Be careful Sirius kitsune are known for being pranksters,” Salazar said, and just at that moment, a beautiful woman appeared behind Sirius.
“Hey sweety,” she said while laying an arm around the man’s shoulders.
Sirius whose Auror training jumped into action let him in his surprise draw his wand, turning around and in an instant shooting a stunner at her only to see that it was just an illusion. Everyone else laughed about this.
“Oh, ha…ha…very funny,” he tried to look grumpy but failed spectacularly by grinning himself.
With that Salazar lead them to the grassland where they earlier saw the dragon sleeping. Now however there stood large colourful tents as well as hundreds of small red paper lanterns floating in the air giving light. In the middle was a large area left free with a stage next to it. On the stage played a band consisting of dryads and dwarfs playing instruments while what seemed to be a Veela sang along to it. However, she suppressed her allure so that no one would get drawn to her. Everywhere were people either dancing, talking or eating from the large buffets placed in several of the tents. For the children, there was a playing area where they not only play games but also were entertained by a few wizards and witches with fireworks, games and the like.
Neville and Hadrian ran over to that area not even bothering to inform their parent. Alice looked after them shaking her head, but she didn’t say anything. It seemed that her husband talked to her which relaxed her a bit and didn’t instantly start to worry about her son and godson. Walking over to one of the areas where seats and tables were placed they enjoyed the celebrations themselves. They got to know many new people and even emerged themselves in a dance or two. Without noticing it the evening went by, and it was near eleven o’clock.
When Sirius noticed that, he wondered where the boys were and whether it wasn’t time for them to go to bed. Salazar and Alice agreeing with that searched them and quickly found them fast asleep with the giant dragon Xuan who had his wing spread over them to shield them from the other people and the noise.
“Xuan, how long has it been?” Salazar bowed before the dragon.
“Salazar Slytherin. To see you on this feast…it has been far too long that we last met. I hope you find the time to have a proper talk with me,” Xuan replied in a slow pace his voice deep and rumbling. “I assume you came for your fledgeling,” he lifted his wing to reveal the sleeping children leaning against each other and against the dragon the kitsune sleeping in Hadrian's lap. “It is nice to see that you found someone as smart as yourself and I don’t doubt that he will follow your way to greatness.”
“He is special and when I think back…how much changed already since he is with me,” Salazar sighed when a sad expression entered his face. “If only he hadn’t to endure what he had.”
Xuan suddenly started to laugh a deep rumbling laugh which woke the children up. “As long as you trust your heart and him he will stand by your side and might even be able to surprise you,” he replied chuckling ominously as if he knew something but Salazar knew better then to ask.
“Come on you two,” Alice finally spoke up.
Until now she only stood behind Salazar a bit scared of the size of the dragon. Its head was as large as she was tall, so it wasn’t that surprising. Seeing now that his son and godson nearly fell asleep again she acted. “We should go back to the mansion. Mr Xuan, it was nice to meet you, but we have to go,” she said with a smile.
“Good night you two and sleep well.”
“Good night,” Hadrian and Neville echoed before they were lead away by Alice and back to the mansion the kitsune trotting behind them.
“Salazar,…take good care of him,” Xuan added once they were out of hearing range.
“I will, Xuan, I will. Is it bad that I love him more than my first son?”
Xuen chuckled lowly hearing that. “That I highly doubt. It might seem that way because your first fledgeling is dead for such a long time now, but as long as you keep him in good memory there is nothing wrong. He was your first, and you loved him as you love Hadrian now. Don’t worry everything will turn out as it is supposed to be.”
“I can only hope that you're right,” he took a look on his watch and saw that it was even later than anticipated. “I'm truly sorry, Xuan, but I have to leave you now. In the next days, I surely will find the time to talk with you properly.”
“You better do,” Xuan smiled. “Go your guests shouldn’t be left alone for too long.”
Salazar bowed before Xuan then turned around and left the dragon alone to search for the others. He finally found them in one of the tents animatedly talking with a few dwarfs about the use of different metals in magical talismans. Salazar joined them, and they continued their talk until late after midnight. A beautiful and surprising day went to an end.
Unbeknown to them in the headmaster’s office of Hogwarts the day wasn’t as pleasant. Dumbledore was at the end with his knowledge. His search for Harry Potter either reached dead ends, or his efforts were sabotaged by bureaucracy. Nearly three weeks have passed now, and he wasn’t any closer to finding the boy than at the beginning. Sure he knew that Potter was adopted by a man called John Smith but about that man he knew next to nothing, only an address in the States and there he ran against Ms Coulson. It was infuriating.
Now they were supposed to be somewhere in Africa, and he couldn’t even reach Sirius to ask him where exactly they were since he was supposed to be with them. Unfortunately, every owl he tried to send just flew a few circles before returning to him as if they couldn’t determine the location Sirius was at. He could only hope that he was alive, not because he cared overly much about the man himself but because he was his only connection to Potter.
Not only that he had worries about Potter, no now Fawkes also disappeared and didn’t show up all day. It was as if the entire universe was against him. Deciding that he was too tired to get anything done because he had been awake all night he went to bed early. Perhaps tomorrow the world would be more cooperative.
In China, the next days practically flew by. They all relaxed sometimes helping with small things in the village but mostly enjoying their holidays and making new friends. The lunches they had at Ling’s house because the woman insisted on it. Hadrian liked her a lot, and he learned much about the Asian cuisine thanks to her.
Sylvia seemed to have found a friend in the dryad running the apothecary. They often talked about different healing techniques and how they differed for different species.
Most of the day Neville and Hadrian were found with Aylef helping him with the greenhouses and fields where he grew a lot of different plants that found use in healing, potions as well as spices for food and several other areas.
Though ever since the first day Hadrian was only allowed to help to carry things when it came to magical plants. They didn’t know why but as soon as he treated a plant with magical properties he ruined them except when it came to collecting parts of it for later use which was no problem. Normal plants on the other hand also were no problem. Hadrian nonetheless wasn’t overly sad about that fact. He was content learning about the magical properties of the plants and whether they were usable in potions much to Neville's amusement.
Neville, however, showed a great talent when it came to plants. It was as if he only needed to look at them and instantly knew what they needed. That was what brought Salazar to the idea he then proposed on Saturday afternoon.
“I wanted to ask you about something” he addressed Alice and Frank. “There is a ritual I wanted to perform with Hadrian, and I wanted to ask you for allowance to do it with Neville too.”
“A ritual?” Alice asked sceptically.
“Well, it is called the ‘Ritual of Insight’, but it is mostly meditation. We used it when we founded Hogwarts to determine in which house a student would go since we hadn’t the sorting hat yet. It shows in which subjects a person would excel and which he would be less suitable for,” he explained.
“How does this ritual work?” Sirius inquired carefully. He wouldn’t allow his godson to participate in a ritual if it was dangerous.
“It is quite simple. The person you want to know the inclination from meditates in a ritual circle to find and connect with his or her magical core. Once the person did so the ritual master speaks a small incantation to conjure a parchment with the reading of the core. Imagine it like a medical reading where you also get the results on parchment only that with this ritual you get the magical inclination.”
“And it isn’t dangerous?” Frank now spoke up.
Salazar shook his head. “We wouldn’t have performed it with thousands of students if this was the case.”
“What do you think?” Frank asked his wife.
Alice, however, was still unsure. Salazar seeing that elaborated this offer further. “It is only an offer so that you could see how to support your son best since you could focus on the things he would be good in and not try to teach him something he wouldn’t be able to do anyway. I'm going to do this with Hadrian, and it would be only a little more work to do it with Neville too, but in the end, it is your son and your decision.”
“And you can guarantee us that Neville won’t be hurt?” Alice questioned.
“I can ensure you that it never hurt anyone I performed it with. If you feel better, I can allow Sylvia to watch it the entire time though I have to ask you to stay out of the room during it. It is just that too many people, especially family, around can disturb the meditation and lead to incorrect results.”
“Okay, you can do it as long as Sylvia is with you and should anything happen to Neville, I’ll hold you responsible is that clear?” Alice exclaimed.
Salazar inclined his head in understanding. “I will do the ritual tomorrow morning after breakfast.”
As he said the next morning he, Sylvia and the two boys retreated to the study. Salazar prepared the ritual circle before breakfast so that it was ready now. It consisted of an eight-pointed star within a circle with four candles in turn with four runestones lying on the points. Inside the points were also runes painted. The centre was free.
“Good, who of you two wants to begin? The other one would have to stay silent for that time or leave the room because we don’t need any distraction,” Salazar asked the boys while Sylvia sat down in one of the chairs.
Neville and Hadrian looked at each other. Hadrian shrugged, and so Neville went to the centre of the circle while Hadrian walked over to Sylvia with a book which he instantly started to read.
“Okay Neville, this may take some time and perhaps more than one try so don’t worry if it doesn’t work instantly. I want you to sit or lay down in the middle of the star as comfortable as you can,” Neville nodded and lay down in the centre trying not to touch anything. “Perfect. Now I want you to meditate and find your magical core. Don’t worry I will guide you. Are you ready?” Neville nodded again and so Salazar began to instruct him how to meditate correctly and find his core.
Sylvia observed it all with interest. In England, rituals were forbidden because they were deemed dark, but from what he could see there was nothing dark about this ritual. Everything had to go on with the consent of the person this ritual was performed with. This let her think about what else might be banned only because certain persons thought it dark but which might save lives or at least would make the daily life more comfortable.
It took Neville three tries, but he finally managed to find his magical core and bring it to the forefront so that Salazar could perform a proper reading. Once he had the results, he continued. “Okay, I now want you to wake up again. I’ll count down from ten, and then you wake up,” he did as said, using a technique often used with hypnosis. A few seconds later Neville was fully awake again. “Very well done Neville,” the boy beamed upon that praise. “I want to do the ritual with Hadrian now before we discuss the results. You can stay here or go back to your parents.”
“I’ll stay here,” with that he sat down where Hadrian who already made himself comfortable in the ritual circle sat a minute ago.
Salazar repeated the entire procedure and again three tries later he also had his readings. He woke him up the same way he did with Neville. A few minutes later they sat together with the others in the living room the kitsune again sitting in Hadrian's lap being content with getting patted.
“Ah, you're back. May I see the result?” Alice asked instantly calming down now that she knew that her son was alright.
“Please help yourself,” Salazar answered snickering handing over the parchment with Neville's results.
Alice took a look at the parchment before looking at Salazar in disbelieve.
“I take it that you neither speak nor read Old Norse,” he smiled.
Sylvia who took a look at the parchment frowned in confusion. “I had ancient runes at Hogwarts, but this looks like mumbo-jumbo to me it makes no sense at all.”
“Please, what they call the study of the ancient runes is a rape of the actual language,” Salazar replied in distaste.
“Perhaps you should just tell us what the results are,” Frank handed back the parchment.
“Very well,” he pulled out two other parchments upon which the translation stood. “I just showed you the other since that was the parchment the ritual produced because the colours are important, but the translation doesn’t show them properly.”
They picked up the translated version and read it.
Earth Magic – plants (white)
Transfiguration (light red)
Healing Magic (middle orange)
Curse Breaking (light yellow-orange)
Offensive/Defensive Magic (dark yellow)
Runic and Ritual Magic (light yellow-green)
Spellcasting (deep blue-green)
Warding (middle blue)
Potions (deep blue-violet)
Special traits: Animagus
Offensive/Defensive Magic (light red)
Spellcasting (light red-orange)
Warding (middle orange)
Blood Magic (dark yellow)
Runic and Ritual Magic (light yellow-green)
Divination (middle green)
Transfiguration (middle blue-green)
Earth Magic – plants (deep blue)
Special traits: Animagus, Necromancy, Alpha Male
“And what does all that mean?” Frank asked.
“The list is sorted from most to least inclined. The colours tell you two things. For ones the colour itself says how much inclined he is towards the certain subject using a colour wheel beginning with red and ending with violet, red being the highest and violet the lowest rating. Then there is the partition into shades from dark to light. The darker a colour, the more he has to work for it to get it done while the lighter it is, the more natural it comes to him,” Salazar explicated.
“But what is the difference between a light blue and a deep red then? Wouldn’t both mean that he would have to work hard for the subject?” Sirius inquired.
“No, I'm sorry perhaps I didn’t make it clear enough. With a deep red in Spellcasting, for example, it would mean that someone would have to train hard and needs many tries before he would cast a spell properly but once he did it would be extremely powerful. A light blue, on the other hand, would mean that he probably could cast the spell first try but it would be quite weak. The original results are a bit more detailed since there are more shades and colours than I used in the translated version those are only to simplify things,” Salazar elaborated his first explanation.
“Then what does white mean?”
“Black which I didn’t use in the translation means that someone has no inclination towards the subject at all. For example, Neville would never have even the slightest premonition while Hadrian would fail in healing someone properly. He would more likely make things worse. So if you ever have a scratch do it the mundane way, put a patch on it and go to Neville,” he smiled at his son. “Though I left the black ones out because otherwise, the list would be endless. Now we come to white…white means the complete opposite, that they have a special connection towards that subject. It’s hard to explain…it is like magic itself is aiding and guiding them.”
“So this is it what I feel when I brew…I wondered what it was.” Sirius and the Longbottoms looked at him strangely. “It was like I could feel that the reaction between the ingredients wasn’t good, that it could be better. However, why did I then blow up my cauldron? Shouldn’t I have felt that this would happen?” he asked confused.
Salazar smiled. “You're not even six years old, and this was your…third try in brewing a potion? Potions are a very tricky and unforgiving subject. One wrong move, one grain too much and it blows up. Believe me even the most seasoned brewer and even you in fifty or sixty years will blow up a cauldron from time to time and I'm talking out of experience.”
Hadrian thought about it for a moment before he nodded. His father was right from what he read so far this was something even magic couldn’t help him with it was merely one’s own fault when doing something that didn’t sit well with the potion.
“Back to the results, I have to admit that they are astonishing, to say the least. Hadrian and Neville are magically complementary.”
“Magically complementary?” this was the first time Neville spoke up.
“Yes, that means that you and Hadrian complement one another. For example, while Hadrian is a magical prodigy in Potions, you are one in what today is called Herbology, but actually, it’s a bit more; however this is not what I want to get at. You see with this you can provide Hadrian with the ingredients he needs to for example provide you with potions you need for your plants. In short, he is good in those subjects you're not and the other way around.”
“Are you also a potions prodigy?” Sylvia was curious, with how good Salazar’s potions were she wouldn’t be surprised.
“One might think so but no,” Salazar replied with a smile. “It only came second for me with a very light red. However, you're right that I'm also magical exceptionally gifted but with warding.”
“Warding?” Sirius exclaimed surprised.
“Who do you think did the warding of Hogwarts? There is a reason why it is called the safest place on the British Isles next to Gringotts with which I also helped by the way,” Salazar snickered.
Sirius slumped back in his chair. This he definitely hadn’t expected. The two safest places in Britain and both warded by the same man.
“That put aside, back to the results and what the different subjects entail. The Earth Magic – Plants well, to be honest I'm the wrong person to explain this. As Helga once put it, it is the art of communicating with the flora of this planet and tending to its needs, but perhaps you should talk to Aylef for this he will be better suited to explain it.
“Offensive/Defensive Magic is quite self-explanatory. It is everything you use in battle for attacks and shielding, prodigies in this field are called battle-mages. Runic and Ritual Magic however go hand in hand because for rituals you use runic magic, but you also can use runic magic independently.
Spellcasting is probably what I should explain further. This contains nearly everything from charms to spells for your daily life, probably everything you can’t categorise otherwise. However not only that but what also falls in this category is spell-invention,” Salazar thought for a moment but came to the conclusion that he covered everything.
“What about subjects like Arithmancy or Astronomy?” Alice asked.
“The test only shows those subjects that include the use of magic. Those two, however, are purely theoretical and therefore don’t show up.”
“Uhm, what are those traits on Hadrian's results?” Sirius curiously inquired.
“Animagus, Necromancy and Alpha Male. Well, the first one simply states that he has the predisposition to become an Animagus. Necromancy…I know you think now about resurrecting dead or such things but not in this case because then it wouldn’t be a trait but appear in the list above. No, in this case, it can mean a lot. Actually, it can be anything from simply being able to see the impending death of someone, to being able to communicate with the dead,” Salazar helplessly shrugged. “I can’t tell you where it comes from or what it means only time can answer you that. What I can say however is that it is nothing dangerous,” he added upon seeing his son’s worried look.
“To the Alpha Male trait…to be honest, it is the best translation I could come up with. It means that magical creatures will feel attracted to Hadrian, he is some kind of natural leader to them.”
“So if we aren’t careful we’ll have a zoo at home sooner or later?” Sirius rose an eyebrow.
Salazar laughed upon that. “No, no, how to describe it? I think an example would do. Imagine that Hadrian meets a normally extremely dangerous creature. Where you would expect it to attack Hadrian probably manages to subdue it even going so far that the creature would protect him instead. I hope this makes it clearer because I don’t know how else to describe this trait.”
Sirius nodded thinking that he understood what Salazar meant.
“Any other questions?” Salazar asked but everyone stayed silent. “Good, since it is shortly after noon I’d say we go having lunch,” he said after a short look on the clock.
With everyone agreeing they walked down to the village and over to Ling’s house. The woman simply loved it to cook for them.
Time went on, and after relaxing most of the first week, they decided to visit some tourist sites on their second week in China. So they went to the Chinese wall as well as Hangzhou and Beijing. At the moment they were at the magical district of Hong Kong.
To say that it was different from what they were used to from England would be a colossal understatement. They were on a long and broad street lined with shops on both sides while in the middle were even more vendor stalls. Over that, ropes stretched with red paper-lanterns hanging from them spending light at night. Then it also was very loud not only because every vendor tried to sell his or her goods but also because it was full. Should someone decide to invite the entire magical population of England here without the local ones in this place, they doubted it would be even half as full as it was now and it was the middle of the week.
Salazar, Sirius, Sylvia and Hadrian walked down the street looking at vendors and shops here and there and even bought a few things that caught their attention. The Longbottoms decided to go on their own having some time together as a family.
Salazar was taking a look at potion ingredients he would hardly come by at home when Hadrian plucked at his sleeve to get his attention.
“Is there a problem, Hadrian?” he asked his son who looked sheepishly into another direction.
“Uhm dad…I…there…” he looked down not knowing how to word what he wanted fearing that his father would outright deny his request or worse get angry.
Salazar sighed. “Son, what is it that you fear?”
“That you get angry with me,” he replied after a minute of silence with a thin voice.
“Look at me,” his son did as asked. “There is only one thing on this planet that would possibly make me angry, and this is nothing you should worry about because it is nothing you could influence in any way, okay?” Hadrian nodded new found resolve radiating from him. “Good and now tell me what it is that you want.”
“When I walked with Sirius along the shops we found an apothecary that has rare and very good ingredients, but I don’t have enough money…” he finally told him. Sure his father gave him some pocket money for their trip here, but it wasn’t anywhere enough for what he wanted.
Salazar blinked a few times in surprise. This was why his son was frightened? Over whether he got the ingredients he wanted or not? He answered with a smile.
“Sure, why not, but I come with you because I want to see what they have in stock too. Next time don’t hesitate to ask me. As long as it is something for your studies, may it be a book or supplies, I’ll gladly buy it for you.”
The three of them walked to the apothecary leaving Sylvia behind who looked through some amulets. Salazar had to admit that his son was right and the ingredients sold here were far better than those sold at the stall. The booth outside probably sold the normal stuff while the real things were sold in the shop away from the average people. He got his son quite an amount of ingredients and another stack for himself. Even a few books were added to the purchases. Though Hadrian would have to learn Chinese to be able to read them properly.
A few hours later they were back at the mansion laden with things they bought. Unfortunately, they couldn’t shrink the potions ingredients because the magic would render them useless and they also couldn’t be delivered via owl post since the owls wouldn’t find them in Shangri-La.
They sat in the living room enjoying a tea and some pastries when the Longbottoms arrived about an hour later even more laden than they had been carrying what looked like an entire greenhouse worth of plants. In several wooden boxes were dozens of different plants as well as one with even more seeds.
“It seems I'm not the only one who can’t say no when it comes to the children,” Salazar joked when he helped them storing the plants in the back garden for now.
“Don’t ask…hadn’t we said no at some point I don’t doubt that he would have wanted to buy up the entire shop. I get from your statement that you also ended with a few galleons less?” Frank replied.
“I don’t doubt that the apothecary made the deal of his life today,” Salazar grinned.
“Well, two potion brewer on a shopping spree…I wouldn’t be surprised if you left even one ingredient back,” Frank laughed.
The rest of the day they sat together talked and played a few games in the evening having much fun.
The last few days went by and the, for everyone far too short holidays, went to an end. They all found a way to stay in contact with their new found friends. Salazar would craft a two-way portkey box in which he then would send the letters to Shiyan. The man then would distribute them and later send the box back to Salazar with the replies. It was a roundabout way to solve this problem, but there just was no other solution. They couldn’t send owls all the way to China and back. The poor animals would die of exhaustion.
Everyone they knew said goodbye to them even giving them some presents. Neville received quite a number of seeds from Aylef to grow at home. Hadrian received potion ingredients and spices from Ling and Aylef. Though the later warned him to stay away from Neville's plants half-jokingly half-seriously. The Longbottoms received a protection talisman each from the dwarfs they met the first evening and who they talked a lot with ever since. Sylvia who became a good friend with Feyla the apothecary received a few medical potions to see whether they might help some of the patients in the long-term wards at St. Mungos. Sirius received a small parcel, but none of them could say what it contained. The woman giving it to him, however, looked like she would break out in tears soon. Sirius whispered something in her ear and gave her a parcel himself which then let her smile and nod. Whatever it was she was happy now.
Salazar, on the other hand, received nothing because he was adamantly refusing any gift. In England, it was different there he would do nothing without being heftily repaid by those idiots there who didn’t deserve anything else, but not here. He created this place to provide security and peace to those creatures and people who otherwise might be persecuted and slaughtered. No, he wouldn’t accept anything from them. The happy and content faces of the people living here were enough for him, showing that he did the right thing.
A few minutes and several goodbyes’s later the seven of them went back to cold and dull England via portkey. What surprised them however was that the second they left a certain kitsune attached itself to Hadrian and left together with them.