Harry Potter Natural

Milo, a genre-savvy D&D Wizard and Adventurer Extraordinaire is forced to attend Hogwarts, and soon finds himself plunged into a new adventure of magic, mad old Wizards, metagaming, misunderstandings, and munchkinry

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106 Chs

Chapter 06

"Myra, capital of the great Azel Empire!" he said proudly. "City of Light! City of Magic!" It was the city's motto, and the guards touted it endlessly. It was legally required to say it with exclamation marks and added emphasis on 'magic.' "A city where every tavern has an outlandishly-dressed man with a strange accent making mysterious requests, where the aging emperor's wicked, goatee-sporting advisor's power grows steadily every day, where the civic authorities are helplessly inept at dealing with local bandit problems yet still capable of preventing high-level Adventurers from robbing Magic Item stores at night, and where quest opportunities appear around every corner."

McGonagall looked at him somewhat askance. She was starting to grow concerned that the boy had been hit with a powerful Confundus charm at some point, and resolved to keep an eye out for any Missing Persons posters.

"I suppose," she said, "that we'll start with your uniform, then get your books, then drop by Ollivanders for your wand, leaving the cauldron for last."

"Works for me," he said as she steered him towards Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions. He was somewhat disappointed to find that the uniforms were, in fact, merely mundane black robes. After everything else, he'd half-hoped that they were some kind of magical stat-boosting outfit.

Madam Malkin was a squat, smiling NPC dressed all in mauve. Milo's brain barely registered her existence.

"Another for Hogwarts?" she asked McGonagall. "Isn't he a little late? Most of the students came through here a month ago."

"He's…something of a special case, Madam. I'm afraid this is coming out of our, erm special fund," McGonagall said. The technical term was 'The Destitute Orphan Fund,' but she decided to avoid the term in front of the poor boy. "So we can't, unfortunately, stretch for a custom job."

"Ah," she said sadly. "But, no matter! I have just the thing! Some unfitted display models, which I was just putting into storage, now that the back-to-school-rush is over." She ruffled through a few boxes before finding what she was looking for. "Here you are! A very nearly perfect fit!"

Madam Malkin's idea of a 'very nearly' was, Milo thought, a little far from the mark. Despite this, he shrugged and accepted the much-too-large robes happily. His perfectly serviceable explorer's outfit was getting somewhat worn, anyways. Probably something to do with all the pointy sticks and serrated teeth he dealt with on a regular basis. Besides, it wasn't like he was paying for them, or that too-big robes gave him a circumstance penalty to anything.

"Thank you, ma'am," he said respectfully. "I can hardly even remember the last time I got new clothes."

McGonagall's heart broke very slightly when she saw how the boy's face lit up at receiving hand-me-down robes. She passed the witch a few bronze knuts from her small supply before they headed out for books.

They left the bookstore with a small pile of very, very well-used (the clerk had described them as 'well-loved') books. Milo could hardly keep his hands off of them — especially The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1). He figured Grade 1 was probably analogous to Level 1, in which case there was a book of first-level spells practically within his reach — nothing to be sneezed at. He resolved, however, to read it later and, in the meantime, pocketed it in his extradimensional Belt. He was a little apprehensive about Magical Drafts and Potions, however. There was no place for Item Creation in his build, especially not for anything as suboptimal as Brew Potion.

"Er, Professor," he asked cautiously. "Do I really have to take potions class?"

"Yes, it's mandatory until fifth year, and extremely practical, besides."

"It's just that I'm not sure I have enough experience for potions," he said. Making magic items permanently drained Experience Points, so he'd always stayed away from it.

"Oh, don't worry, Professor Snape teaches from a beginner level," she said reassuringly. "No experience is necessary."

"Huh. How did you manage that? In any case, I don't have the proper feat for it," he explained.

"It appears you have two solid ones, as does nearly every student attending our school," McGonagall said. "Though we would make arrangements for the handicapped, of course."

"Like those who take Run and Endurance?" Milo laughed. "'Handicapped' is a good word for them. Also, I realize Eschew Materials is sub-optimal, but it really is very convenient. So I would say that I have three solid feats, including Improved Initiative and Spell Focus (Conjuration). But to each his own. I don't have any to spare for Brew Potion, however."

"Oh, you don't have to worry about that," McGonagall said. "None of Snape's students have lost feet—or hands for that matter—in years."

Milo laughed at what he thought was a pun.

"Well, as long as I don't have to worry about the feat and experience, I'm in. Potions could be a lot of fun, actually." Never hurts to show a little enthusiasm around educators.

"I'm glad you feel that way," she said. Not a lot of students looked forward to spending time in the dungeon with Severus.

They then entered Ollivanders. Milo had never understood how the sale of magical items in large-scale could be economically viable. The experience cost alone would reduce any mighty spellcaster to a novice in a few years. Still, he was glad someone was willing to do it, or he wouldn't have anywhere to spend his gold.

"Good afternoon," said a soft voice, presumably Ollivander. "Ah, Professor McGonagall. Nine-and-a-half inches, made of fir. Stiff, with a dragon heartstring core. Excellent for advanced Transfigurations. Made by my father... of course."

Again with the dragons, Milo thought, feeling slightly intimidated. What, do they have a farm of them somewhere?

"Hm. Well, yes. We're here to get a, er, preferably discount wand for our latest student here," she said. Ollivander peered closely at Milo, who jumped backwards slightly. Their noses had practically touched, and Milo was sure he hadn't seen him move…

"Er, before we, uh, um, start choosing one," Milo stammered awkwardly. "There's something I've been, ah, meaning to ask of you, Mr. Ollivander."

"Yes?" he said softly. Gods, but this guy is weird.

"Your store name—I mean, Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands Since 382 BC—well, it's just that, er…"


"Shouldn't—shouldn't Ollivanders have an apostrophe in it?" Milo said, and instantly regretted it.

Mr. Ollivander chuckled, slowly and irregularly. It was a disconcertingly unnatural sound.

"Not if it's plural," he said.

Milo swallowed nervously. Plural?

"Right, well," McGonagall, fortunately, interrupted their weird conversation. "While you find Milo here a wand, I'll go and fetch him his potions supplies."

"But of course. Right this way, Mr. Amastacia-Liadon." He led Milo through a row dusty aisles, each packed with small boxes. "Which is your wand arm?"

"My right," Milo said. Ollivander passed Milo a series of wands, each with more improbable ingredients than the last. Unicorn hair? Phoenix tail feathers? Dragon heartstring? Yeti fur? There were even some from creatures he'd never heard of, like Thestral tail. He waved them each about randomly in turn, with no effect.

"Look, I'm pretty sure this isn't how wands are supposed to work," he said to Ollivander, who was searching through a storeroom in the back. "I can't just wave them. I have to activate them. Very different thing."

"Oh? Young wizard, my family has been making wands since they were invented," said Ollivander, who had somehow gotten behind Milo. Right behind him.

"Gah!" he said, backing up into an aisle of wands, causing several to fall to the ground.

"I think we know a thing or two about how they are supposed to work," he said.

"Right, of course, sorry." Milo said, eager to do anything to get out of here. "So, what's supposed to happen when I wave my this stick around, assuming it's the, ah, right wand for me?"

"It varies. Sparks. Fire. Light. Once even a spurt of blood, cat's blood, I would say, judging by the distinct flavour."

"Oh, my gods." Milo had never been so scared in his life. "Detect Magic," he murmured quietly. Just like the broomstick earlier, there was no response. Either the wands were somehow hiding their magical auras, which was possible, or McGonagall had left him alone with a madman who could recognize the blood of kittens by taste and butchered dragons for their heartstrings. Maybe this was some sort of test, to see if he was worthy of their school? Milo frowned. Well, if it was a magical response Ollivander wanted, he'd bloody well get one.

Ollivander passed Milo another allegedly 'magic' wand, and as soon as Milo's hand touched it, he whispered "Silent Image." A swarm of illusory bats flew out of the wand, before bursting into varicoloured flames. As the flames began to disappear, the bat's skeletons continued flying, circling the interior of the store seven times each before assembling themselves into a floating, bony pentagram just below the ceiling. Upside-down, dark blue flames lit, one by one, at the vertices of the five-pointed star, and drops of water began to fall upwards from the floor to the ceiling. For added effect, hundreds of wholly imaginary insects crawled up the walls and cast themselves into the flames. Milo was sweating slightly, concentrating on the illusion, as he decided to go for the finish. The ceiling appeared to open up into a gateway to some unimaginable dimension in the dead-centre of the pentagram. The bony bats, still hovering in their star-pattern, flew as one into the gateway and vanished. Milo put out the fires and closed the imaginary portal, dispelling the illusion. Normally, the fact that a Silent Image can't create any noise was a handicap, but this time the dead silence actually added to the overall creepiness. All in all, Milo was rather proud of himself.








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