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Tale of the Three Life Stone

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(Claire Vertas, third person POV)

Claire dimly felt that she had gotten herself into trouble.

She was only eleven years old, but she had already put on the dark robe of the death eater. Her left arm was bare of the Dark Mark, but it didn't mean that she wasn't trusted by her Lord.

She steadily strode along the wide hallway, donned on a mature demeanor unfitted for her young age. However, contrast to her calm countenance, her heart was in turmoil. Her Lord hadn't issued a summon like this for a long time, she only hoped it wasn't because he had become suspicious of her.

It had better be just about her work.

She grew up among the death eaters, and the way of the death eaters  definitely had a great influence on her. However, no one had better understanding of truth and lies than her. Therefore, no matter what concepts others tried to drill into her, she insisted using her own way to explore the world.

In the past eleven years, though her way couldn't be accepted by everyone, it was at least tolerated. She was still the most loyal subordinate under the Dark Lord, and she had never had any connections outside the death eaters. The world of the Dark Lord was her whole world, and she would never be disloyal to him, even after she learned the meaning of the dreams and hallucinations that had been plaguing her since she was a toddler...

Stop. She demanded herself. Stop.

Although she tried to control herself, the memory still washed over her like waves. About a year ago, she learned her story, and the goddess' words only revealed more memories. A few days later, she went to China alone, and the thing she found there only confirmed the responsibility she had to take.

A promise must be kept, and a vow could not be broken.

She stopped in front of a plain black door. Conflict thoughts filled her mind, arguing with each other. She closed her eyes, counting her breaths, until the thoughts faded into background noise. She was the only person whose mind couldn't be easily read by Lord Voldemort, and she wasn't about to let the talent go to waste.

She knocked the door, then twisted the knob.

The light was on, but the room was still dim. On a table, there were some opened books, which are full with spells invented by the Dark Lord written with a tattered feather pen laid aside. On the other side of the room was a bubbling cauldron, cooking some kind of dark green potion, emitting a pungent smell. The walls were painted with red eyed, green scaled Slytherin Serpent.

Voldemort stood in the middle of the room, dressed in a clean, simple dark robe. His face would scare off any children except Claire, and more than half of adults. It was a face with skin as white as wax, a disfigured nose, and snake-like red eyes. Claire really admired that horcrux experiment. Making seven horcruxes was definitely an unrivaled feat in the history of magic, but the consequence that the participator faced was just too horrible.

She raised her head and looked straight into Voldemort's frightening eyes. Claire was probably the only one who could — and the only one who dared to look into the Dark Lord's eyes. She had the courage to do so, while the action itself wouldn't be seen as offensive. Being young has its advantage, she mused. You just need to look at the other with wide eyes, and everyone will believe that you are naive and innocent — even the Dark Lord is no exception.

Moreover, even if she did stare into Voldemort's eyes, she still wouldn't be affected by legilimency, and she could even decide what to let him read.

Usually, she wouldn't have any secrets to hide from her Lord… but not in this few months.

Voldemort stared deeply into her heart. She stayed calm and cleared her mind, but carefully exposed some of her innermost emotion under the scrutiny of Voldemort, using it to hide that memory. Even though she hadn't made her final decision, the story alone was enough for the Dark Lord to doubt her loyalty.

"Come." He commanded.

Claire stepped forward and dropped on one knee, at the side of her master's robe. Head bowed. She was just a servant here.

"Have you heard the prophecy?" He asked.

"Yes, my Lord."

"You know your mission." He said.

Of course she knew her mission. She had been doing this job for over five years. Without her, those people wouldn't stand a chance, let alone challenge the trials set up to protect that thing.

Unless she gave her permission, they would never get what they want.

However,  "she" had also become a challenger. Without Claire, "she" would not go home alive.

But helping her would be a traitorous action against the Dark Lord.

Maybe, she could try to keep a balance…

"Yes, my Lord." She answered.

"You know what I want. Do it well, and then you will be rewarded."

She knew what the Dard Lord wanted. He wanted them to meet their death at the place she had been protecting for five years.

"Of course." She said.

"Make sure you understand it." He said slowly. " You can go now, Vertas. Don't forget where your loyalty lies."

Claire could feel her heart racing, but she tried hard to keep her countenance calm. She knew if she looked even a little bit alarmed, she would be killed within a month.

"Yes, my lord"

With her back to the door, she slowy walked out the room and closed the door gently. She forced herself to walk slowly to the first corner she met, and then she took flight. She ran and ran, until she saw room D09, which was always vacant. She pushed the door open, and then slammed it hard.

She slid down the wall. Her heart beated wildly, and her breath was labour. She rested her head against the wall and finally let the tears flew. Her Lord had begun to suspect her, and the goddess still asked her to make an impossible choice.

She slid her hand into her pocket, taking out the thing she found in China. Both the size and shape of the souvenir looked like a stone, but the colour was aquamarine. It looked as if it were made of water, changing colour under the light and giving an illusion of waving. Chill as water and smooth as silk, it symbolized the vow that had lasted a thousand years. Now, she had to choose whether to fufill it.

Goddess, dreams, and hallucinations. All of them seemed to hint the dillema she faced today.

Be a loyal servant, or a faithful friend?

She had to make a choice, and soon.