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Thread: But For a Sword (A Matou Shinji Series AU)

  1. #181
    [x]Splitting their efforts

  2. #182
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Skull Leader's Avatar
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    [X] Write in: Focus first on the Squib case. Go find the missing squib parents, and talk with them about their missing child to collect details. Investigate the sites that they gone missing. And compile the gathered information to look for trends so that they can predict where it might hunt next. Find/convince a family with a squib child to work with them to protect their child by having a potion de-aged Shinji to run around with their child so that Ras can be bait/protection so they can catch them in act and find their lair. The plan for the Black market investigation is to gain these parents trust, hopefully by find their children, so that maybe one of them could point our hero to the black market.

    That is my plan for our action. Open to input or changes.

  3. #183
    異星蛸 Cysero's Avatar
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    [X] Write in: Focus first on the Squib case. They go find the missing squib parents, and talk to them about their missing child and where they went missing. Investigate the sites where they've gone missing. And compile the information gathered to start finding trends in it, to predict where it might hunt next for a sting operation with a de-aged Ras as bait. Find/convince a family with a squib child to work with them to protect their child by having the de-aged Shinji run around with their child for the sting. The plan for the Black market investigation is to gain these parents trust, hopefully by finding their children, so that maybe one of them could point our hero to the black market.

  4. #184
    [X]Focus first on the Squib case. They go find the missing squib parents, and talk to them about their missing child and where they went missing. Investigate the sites where they've gone missing. And compile the information gathered to start finding trends in it, to predict where it might hunt next for a sting operation with a de-aged Ras as bait. Find/convince a family with a squib child to work with them to protect their child by having the de-aged Shinji run around with their child for the sting. The plan for the Black market investigation is to gain these parents trust, hopefully by finding their children, so that maybe one of them could point our hero to the black market.

  5. #185
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    [X]Focus first on the Squib case. They go find the missing squib parents, and talk to them about their missing child and where they went missing. Investigate the sites where they've gone missing. And compile the information gathered to start finding trends in it, to predict where it might hunt next for a sting operation with a de-aged Ras as bait. Find/convince a family with a squib child to work with them to protect their child by having the de-aged Shinji run around with their child for the sting. The plan for the Black market investigation is to gain these parents trust, hopefully by finding their children, so that maybe one of them could point our hero to the black market.




    Chapter 6. A More Civilized Age

    Alas, as fun – or awkward – as breakfast with Natsumi and Amber might have been, all good things came to an end, and soon enough, the trio found themselves headed to the dungeons for a double session of Potions with Professor Slughorn.

    “Why are you coming this way, Amber?” Shinji asked, frowning as he noticed that the copper-haired girl remined by their side instead of breaking off to head for another class. “Don’t you have another class to get to?”

    “No, Potions is with Gryffindor and Hufflepuff this time,” the young noblewoman replied, with Shinji blinking.

    “Huh. I thought it was Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw?” the boy said, confused.

    “That was last year – I think things have changed around a bit with the new Professors,” Natsumi supplied, with Shinji grunting at that.

    “Oh. Why change though – things seemed to work well enough, I thought…?”

    “Maybe they just wanted to see if there would be less trouble if they swapped people around,” the Japanese girl suggested.

    “Well, maybe,” Shinji allowed. On the bright side, that did mean that he wouldn’t have to deal with a potential judgmental Hermione Granger. Granted, the two of them seemed to get on a bit better since the challenge they’d been on together, but he still didn’t want to think about how she would react if she learned that his performance in potions largely hinged on two things: 1) what little he understood of the teachings of Sialim Sokaris, and 2) the notes and suggestions scribbled in the margins of the potions book he owned – a book which had once belonged to some half-blood prince.

    He glanced over at Amber, wondering what she would think if she knew.

    ‘Well, if she’s friends with Nats, I think she’ll be fine with it.’


    After all, the boy was quite sure by now that Nats had gotten herself into more trouble than he had ever managed, though he reluctantly granted that she probably also had a knack for getting herself out of trouble as well, something he lacked, by comparison.

    Still, he wondered what task Slughorn would set before them for the first class.

    ‘If it is something like last year, he’ll make us create a potion to test our skills – and depending on how we do, there might be a reward…’


    So it proved once class began, with the trio sliding into seats just before Slughorn emerged from his office.

    “Welcome, welcome,” the corpulent man greeted his class jovially, his eyes pausing slightly on Shinji, Natsumi, and Ernie – the three students who had done so well last year. “It is good to see you all after what was no doubt an enjoyable summer holiday.” He smiled genially as he took in the crop of students. “You may be wondering why I have changed the usual pairings of classes,” the Potions Master observed. “The reason for that is I want you all to have a chance to work with others you may not be used to. Perhaps you will make new friends. Perhaps you will learn a new technique. Perhaps you will even find that you have…chemistry with one of your partners.”

    The muggleborns in the class groaned at the terrible pun, while the purebloods merely looked confused, with Slughorn noting both sets of reactions accordingly.

    “I know that some of you have…preferred partners. Or groups,” he said meaningfully, once more looking to the area where Shinji and Natsumi sat. “But since it is the new year, let us try some new groups, shall we? For today’s purposes, I’d like each of you to work with someone from another House, if possible, as we learn to make the Grand Wiggenweld Potion – a much more potent variant of the basic potion you are used to.” He chuckled. “As you know, said potion is very effective at rousing someone from sleep, which is why we are brewing now. After all, rumor has it that the new History teacher would not appreciate people sleeping in his class, unlike my former colleague.”

    This comment startled a laugh out of most of the students, if a nervous one, as they were unaccustomed to hearing one of their professors joke like this.

    “In the next few minutes, choose a partner – but don’t take too long, since you will be graded on whatever you manage to complete during this lesson.”

    As the students looked about speculatively, Shinji glanced at Amber, giving her a tentative smile.

    “Be my partner?” he asked.

    “…sure,” she said, almost shyly. “I’d be glad to.”

    “…I should have known,” Natsumi grumbled, having turned around a moment too late. “Well, nothing to be done then,” she said, getting out of her chair and walking over to Phelan Noel. “I don’t really like you all that well,” she said plainly, “but I at least know you can do good work when you have to. Want to work together?”

    “I’ll pass, thanks,” the young noble said, shaking his head. “I’m going to work with good old Ern, if its all the same to you.”

    “…fine,” the Japanese girl grumbled, moving to the next Gryffindor she at least knew in passing, a certain Ronald Weasley. “You heard the offer. Interested?”

    “You any good at potions?” Ron questioned.

    “One of the best last year.”

    “…Noel’s loss then,” the Weasley noted.

    Phelan, as mentioned, went off to find Ernie and badger the poor Hufflepuff him into (reluctantly) agreeing to work with him, managing to succeed just as Slughorn put some instructions on the board, covering how this potion differed from the Wiggenweld but could be brewed with most of the same ingredients.

    “You’ll find a recipe you can reference in your potions book,” the man instructed. “You have until the end of class to prepare something.”

    With that he made his way to his desk and sat down, leaving Shinji thoughtful as he took out his annotated copy of Magical Drafts and Potions and placed it between him and Amber, opening it to the page for the Grand Wiggenweld.

    “…that isn’t your handwriting,” the copper-haired girl quietly noted as she glanced over the heavily annotated page.

    “It isn’t,” he admitted. “But it’s helped me anyway. Besides, it’s my book, so I have the right to use whatever is in it, right?”

    “…you really do sound like Nats sometimes,” Amber murmured. “These instructions are good, I hope?”

    “I’d bet a vial of Felix Felicis on it,” Shinji replied.

    The two quickly got to work, following the instructions in the Half-Blood Prince’s old potions book as they prepared ingredients, brewed, and such, creating – by the end – perhaps the best example of the Grand Wiggenweld Slughorn had seen in years.




    After double Potions came lunch, with most of the students going to the Great Hall – except Shinji, who received a summons to the Headmaster’s Office.

    ‘Well, Acting Headmistress’ Office
    ,’ he supposed, walking over to the gargoyle guarding the stairs up the office. ‘Hope this visit is better than the last…’

    He remembered quite well the circumstances that had brought him to the Headmaster’s Office last year, with Filch dying and his…adventure with Ernie and Phelan going south soon after. Then, he’d almost lost a friend. Now…

    ‘It’s different this time. I haven’t done anything wrong.’


    Or so he told himself as he approached the gargoyle.

    “Elphinstone,” he said, reciting the password that had been written on the invitation.

    The sentinel all but leapt aside, revealing the seemingly endless stairs, with Shinji climbing as quickly as he could, until he emerged in a much…cleaner, more organized office. Many of the old instruments and gadgets he had seen had been removed, leaving the room quite austere, save for a shelf full of old books, including a well-worn copy of the Bible.

    “Ah, Mister Matou, have a seat,” the Acting Headmistress, dressed in dour grey, instructed him, gesturing to the one chair she had for visitors.

    He did, finding it none too comfortable, though he was too polite to say so.

    “Do you know why I called you here?” Professor McGonagall asked, her expression stern.

    “...no, ma’am,” he replied. He couldn’t think of anything he’d done wrong in the day he’d been at Hogwarts, at least. Unless… “This isn’t about me turning into a mule, is it?”

    The Acting Headmistress just stared at him for a moment.

    “May I see your license and registration?” she said finally, with Shinji reaching into his robes and handing the documents over.
    Professor McGonagall took them and examined them closely, though what she was looking for, he wasn’t sure. Whatever it was, she seemed to find it, as she handed the documents back to the boy…as well as taking out a copy of the Daily Prophet from a desk drawer.

    …a copy of the Prophet with his picture on it, copies of the picture from the French paper, and a headline that read something like YOUNGEST ANIMAGUS IN BRITISH HISTORY : INTERNATIONAL MULE OF MYSTERY UNMASKED!

    “Have you seen this?” the Acting Headmistress inquired.

    “Um, no ma’am,” the boy replied. “When—”

    “It was the talk of the castle at breakfast this morning, with you conspicuously absent,” the Professor noted. “Might I ask where you were?”

    “I…” Shinji swallowed. “I was having breakfast in the Kitchens.”

    “Is that your usual habit, Mister Matou?”

    “Yes, Ma’am.”

    “I see.”

    A heavy silence hung in the air after that, with neither speaking until....

    “…am I in trouble?” the boy finally asked, with McGonagall just giving him a look that made him reel. “I…”

    “No,” the Acting Headmistress admitted. “You are not. There is no Hogwarts rule that says you may not speak to the press, and whatever your indiscretions in France, that was not here.”

    “Then why am I here?”

    “Because you, like myself, are an animagus, and I wanted to see what kind of person you are,” Professor McGonagall said quietly. “Becoming an animagus is not an easy thing, much less for one so young – and who has never shown an excess of talent at Transfiguration. Tell me, how did you do it?”

    The boy explained how he’d taken a class about the topic at Beauxbatons, one taught by a certain Aloysius Akingbade, an alumnus of Uagadou. Apparently, it was quite common for youths to become animagi at the African school, and the man had been happy to share a few tips.

    “…it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. I’d always heard it was this great ordeal, but it didn’t seem that troublesome,” he admitted, shaking his head. “He taught us the basics. Helped us meditate and get us in the right mindset. Even had someone brew the potion for us, with the ingredients we supplied. He said it was a bit different from the usual formula.”

    “I see.” Professor McGonagall took a deep breath, before exhaling. “It is true that Uagadou does things in its own way. In any case, since you are indeed an animagus – a registered animagus, at that, I suppose I should congratulate you.”

    “Thank you,” Shinji said, dipping his head. “It didn’t seem to be as big a deal as the Ministry is making it out to be…”

    “In every century, there are only a few of us who bother learning this aspect of the Craft,” the Assistant Headmistress noted. “At least, only a few who are recorded. There may be some unregistered animagi, but those are usually not particularly important.” She shook her head. “In any case, as you are an animagus, but one in obvious need of additional instruction, there is an old provision in the school code that is relevant to you.”

    “Oh?”

    “In the days of the Founders, particularly promising students were treated as apprentices by one of the Four, given additional, individualized training to help them develop their talents,” McGonagall explained. “Unlike those days, however, we cannot exempt you from coursework, given the requirements of the Ministry.”

    “I see,” Shinji noted, though he seemed rather confused. “What do you mean by developing my talents though? I’m already an animagus…or is there more to it than being able to transform into an animal at will?”

    “There is,” McGonagall agreed. “By unlocking the transformation, you have taken the first step that may lead you to become a powerful animagus, but that is all. To go further, you must become familiar with the limits of the form you have unlocked, until you can act as naturally as you would in your own skin. You must also become familiar with what characteristics of your animal form you retain when you are not transformed.”

    Shinji blinked.

    “Wait, that I retain when I’m not transformed?” he echoed. “How would that work?”

    “By becoming an animagus, you have bound another pattern to your soul,” Professor McGonagall stated, at the boy as if he was a particularly dull child. “Is it a surprise that this has other effects besides allowing you to become an animal at will?”

    “…no, I suppose not,” Shinji conceded. “Can you give me some examples of what this would look like?”

    “Using myself as an example, as a cat animagus, I gained better night vision and a better sense of balance when I am not transformed,” the stern witch explained.

    “You didn’t gain nine lives, like most cats?” the boy couldn’t help but joke, only to fall silent as the Acting Headmistress shot him an irritated glare.

    “Talk of additional lives or other frivolous things will not be tolerated, Mister Matou,” McGonagall rebuked him sharply. “There are few ways one may do such a thing, but they are dark and evil. Should you begin down that path, forever will it dominate your destiny.”

    Taking the rather ominous words at face value, Shinji simply nodded.

    “What would I stand to gain?” he asked, thinking that might be a safer topic to touch on.

    “Endurance, perhaps?” the Professor suggested. “Or perhaps a keen sense of smell. There is no set pattern in who gains what.”

    “I see,” the boy said. “And…will you be the one to teach me, then?”

    Truth be told, he didn’t relish the thought, as McGonagall had never been his favorite teacher. She’d always been rather strict and to the book, something which didn’t really mesh with his personality at all.

    “It would be either myself or Professor Lupin,” the Headmistress explained. “Though he is not an animagus himself, he does have some experience working with enhanced senses, given his nature as a werewolf.”

    “Could he teach anything else?”

    “I suppose since he is the Transfiguration Professor, he could help you learn more advanced transfiguration abilities, since you have proven yourself capable of using them,” McGonagall said after a moment. “Should you wish a different path, however, I believe Professor Kettleburn would agree to let you take Care of Magical Creatures, as that might be helpful should you wish to learn more about the animal you can transform into.”

    “I see.”

    “The choice is yours, Mister Matou.”

    “Could I choose more than one?”

    “What did you have in mind?”

    “If I could learn more about being an animagus from you, while learning more about transfiguration from Professor Lupin, that would be something I would really like.”

    “Well, I suppose a request from Britain’s youngest ever animagus is one I should at least take into account,” the Professor stated, closing her eyes. “You do realize that the more instruction you receive, the less free time you will have?”

    “Yes.”

    “Is there a reason you don’t care about free time?”

    “Because I have to get stronger – to be better – to reach senpai’s side,” the boy explained.

    “’Senpai’?” McGonagall repeated.

    “Oh, um, it’s a word in Japanese – it means an upperclassman I respect.”

    “You speak of Tsuji Miyuki then, the other one to be given special privileges?”

    Shinji nodded.

    “I will see what can be arranged.”

    With that, the boy was dismissed, leaving him just enough time to get to History of Magic, where a black-clad Professor Leonard Spencer Moon was just introducing himself to the class.




    “Mister…Matou,” the man spoke, as the boy walked through the door. “How wonderful that you could join us.”

    Shinji found himself sweating as every person in the room looked at him.

    “I trust you have an explanation for your tardiness,” the Professor said, looking at him expectantly.

    “I was meeting with the Acting Headmistress, sir,” the Japanese boy replied nervously, with the white-haired man regarding him for another long moment, before nodding.

    “Very well, take a seat, Mister Matou,” Spencer-Moon allowed, waving the boy towards a front row seat that had curiously remained empty.

    Shinji, not being a fool, quickly did as instructed.

    “For the benefit of Mister Matou, I suppose I will repeat myself,” the man stated, eliciting a few groans from the Hufflepuffs in the room – groans which were instantly silenced by a glare from the Professor. “I am Leonard Spencer-Moon, former Minister of Magic, British representative to the International Confederation, and until recently, the head of the ICW Task Force Directorate.”

    He paused to glance at the mostly blank faces of the students all around him, his lips pressing together into a thin line as he did.

    “As expected, none of you know what those titles mean, do you, save perhaps that of Minister,” the man continued. “Yet had I said that I had once been a chaser for the Chudley Cannons, you would all had a very strong reaction, I’m sure. For the record, I was not, and have never been on a professional Quidditch team, and as such, I will not be accepting Quidditch as a reason for why you have not finished an assignment. You do not come to Hogwarts to play Quidditch, you come here to learn.”

    His raptor gaze took in the expressions his audience as he sniffed.

    “By learn, of course, I do not mean to memorize the textbook as one of the Ravenclaws in the class before this believed was all that was necessary to impress me. Memorizing facts is not what you are here to do – understanding the import of such facts and how they are part of a bigger picture is. Do not let the first get in the way of the second, or you will find yourself regretting your choices.”

    He smiled.

    “After all, they say that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and while they did not mean this class…I do. I have been informed that your previous instructor did not care if you slept in class, when you arrived, or if you paid attention. Such practices will not be continuing under my term as professor.”

    Leonard Spencer-Moon paused, noting that a certain unfortunate student had indeed nodded off.

    “Mister Smith no doubt believes that I will do nothing to him, much as my ineffectual predecessor, but, he is wrong.”

    With an almost sinister smile, the man extended one arm toward the slumbering Zacharias Smith, with lightning flying from his fingertips and jolting the boy awake, with the Hufflepuff howling in agony as electricity coursed through him.

    “Ahhhh!”
    Zacharias screamed, thrashed, convulsed for several long seconds, before the Professor took pity on him and ceased his demonstration, leaving the boy’s still steaming body shuddering in his seat, with terror in his eyes.

    “Sleeping in class will not be permitted, unless you bring me a note from Madam Pomfrey stating that after an examination, you have been found to have a health condition. If you do not…” he glanced over at the nearly petrified form of the unfortunate Hufflepuff. “Then you will suffer far worse than Mister Smith did today. After all, you have the benefit of being warned.”

    He went on to explain that over the course of the year, they would have the chance to put what they learned in context, given that he would be running an interactive simulation of the Grindelwald Incident – a simulation in which every student had a role.

    “Each of you will be acting as an agent, ultimately acting either for the stability of the Wizarding World or for Grindelwald, in one of four spheres of influence: North America, Britain, Western Europe, and Eastern Europe,” the man stated. “You will have the chance to determine exactly what your perspective is and what you are capable of doing as an agent – but note that the challenges you face will be proportional to the strengths you claim.” He raised an eyebrow as one student raised her hand. “Yes, Miss Suzuki?”

    “Challenges, sir?”

    “Both written assignments – in the form of reports, suggested plans of action, letter, or the like, as well as scenarios that you will experience through the Book of Spells, which I am told you are familiar with.”

    Shinji’s eyes narrowed at this, as he was indeed, quite familiar with the Book of Spells from Quirrell’s Defense class.

    “By performing well, you will have the chance to participate in actions that may change the course of history. Capturing Grindelwald. Assassinating a Minister. Laying waste to a city. Stealing the plans of an army or faction for your own. Rooting out a rebel cell, toppling a government. All of these are possible – but only after much hard work,” the man stated grimly. “To reach a level where you are tasked with such duties, you must prove yourself capable of handling them. For those who side with Grindelwald, this means increasing his influence and undermining the efforts of existing wizarding governments. For those working for the Wizarding World, you must do what is necessary to maintain stability and root out the forces of rebellion. In order to succeed at either of these tasks, however, you must know the region you are working in, and what has historically happened there, as nothing you do happens in isolation.”

    He smiled then, an expression that was almost terrifying to behold.

    “As you may imagine, the goal of the Grindelwald faction is to have at least two of the spheres of influence (if Britain included, or three if not) fall under their Master's aegis, with the authority of the Ministries and the ICW being overthrown, while the goal of the Wizarding World faction is to prevent this by any means necessary, with bonus points if Grindelwald sympathizers and agents can be identified and eliminated,” Spencer-Moon explained. “Not that participating in this simulation is not optional. You will participate and you will do your best, or you will fail, no matter how rich you are, how you believe you may be, or how little interest you have in history.”

    The man chuckled, though it wasn’t a particularly friendly sound.

    “Let it not be said, however, that I am not…generous,” he continued. “At the end of the year, members of the winning faction will receive rewards, with every member getting an enchanted pocketwatch and a lottery ticket for a first edition Scamander book, and additional rewards being given out depending on individual performance. The top pair from each year, for example, will receive a chance to dine with Newt Scamander, one of the surviving heroes of the Grindelwald War, as well as the Minister. In addition, they will receive an exclusive opportunity to study abroad for a year at any of the other ten ICW certified institutions, free of charge, and will be granted a sizable living stipend for the time they are there. Those in the top five pairs of each year will be invited to the Minister’s Ball, with a stipend so that you may dress yourselves appropriately. Other than that, clothing, accessories, books, and other rewards may be earned – but only if you prove yourself worthy.”

    Spencer-Moon went silent for a moment, his gaze sweeping over each of the assembled students to ensure that they understood what was at stake, with each of them nodding, one after another.

    “Good. Since you understand what is at stake, let me tell you about the setting,” he declared. “The year is 1924, just three years since the Great War – what people all over the world are calling "the War to End All Wars" – formally came to an end. In its wake, Germany, has been held responsible for the death and destruction, with the victors saddling it with heavy handed reparations that could only be paid in gold or in foreign currencies. This assignment of responsibility, coupled with its inability to meet payment deadlines, has resulted in the crippling of the German economy, sowing the seeds of hatred and discontent that would eventually lead to the next World War. Outside of Germany, Eastern Europe itself has been thrown into turmoil, with political revolutions, the creations of new states, Russian interventionism, and civil wars creating a massive refugee crisis that had never before been seen in Europe.” He paused. “Yes, Mister Smith?”

    “…isn’t this all Muggle history? What do Muggles have to do with the History of Magic?” Zacharias Smith asked rebelliously, flinching away as the man raised his arm.

    “Much,” Spencer-Moon replied. “After all, it is this state of affairs that explains much of the discontent among the young wizards of Eastern Europe – especially the muggleborn – who by and large believe that it is the responsibility of those with magic to help their more unfortunate brethren, and to prevent the more unscrupulous among their number from taking advantage of the suffering of their fellow men.” The man took a deep breath, as if stilling himself. “Many of them chafed at the fact that the Ministries of Europe, following the advice of the Confederation, had forbidden their people from participating in the Great War, arguing that it risked violating the International Statute of Secrecy – even as friends or family were struck down by Muggle Weapons, or opportunistic dark wizards who took advantage of this interdict to ply their craft in other countries. Yes, there were wizarding heroes of this age, but they were the ones brave enough to defy their governments in order to protect that they cared about, to break the law to serve the greater good. After the War of course, those who went off were not condemned or sent to prisons for their acts, but thought of as heroes for doing what they could. Some were promoted. Some were given plum assignments. Most were revered for doing what was necessary – what was right, not just what was lawful. Of course, this only encouraged those who believed that the Ministries were out of touch with the will of the people, and that perhaps breaking the law – doing what others saw as wrong – was acceptable, if it was done in the name of the greater good.”

    Shinji leaned in as the Professor spoke, as he found the man’s words compelling.

    “It was a world like this that greeted Gellert Grindelwald when he proclaimed his desire to overthrow the Confederation's rule, to tear apart the International Statute of Secrecy – an obsolete, outmoded document that was holding wizards back from what they truly capable of – to do what was necessary for that very greater good so many believed in, like the many who had come before him,” Leonard Spencer-Moon concluded. “To the wizards of Eastern Europe, who had been forced to watch their brethren – their muggle families and friends – fall into ruin, lose their homes, and more, when they could have done something to stop it if not for the Ministries of their countries, Grindelwald's call to action rang true, and they pledged themselves to his service. After all, even if they were defying the law, defying the rulers of their nations, were they not justified?”

    Ernie frowned at this, even as he found this look at the mentality of those who had followed Grindelwald fascinating, for the notion of opposing what was lawful for what was good was something he hadn’t really considered before.

    “To the ICW, the first sign of trouble was one year ago, when the Ministry of Germany fell, with many of the Ministries of Eastern Europe falling thereafter in a blitzkrieg whose swiftness and ruthlessness took them by surprise,” Spencer-Moon went on to say. “Ministers who had ruled during the War and done nothing to help the people were executed – as the Secretaries and Department Heads who had been the enabler for their policies. Aurors and other forces at the disposal of the “reactionary” Ministries were poisoned, killed in their sleep to prevent them from being used against the new Order. The train networks were cut, anti-apparition jinxes were established, and defenses were raised against magical assault, with an iron curtain separating Western Europe from the East, creating an area impassible to ICW wizards.”

    Shinji raised his eyebrows. He hadn’t thought that practitioners could be so practical and efficient when it came to war, given how foolish and bumbling many seemed to be, but he supposed leadership was important.

    “For a time, the ICW debated what to do. Was it possible to negotiate? Could a strike of handpicked Aurors enter the East through Muggle means and capture Grindelwald? Could he be assassinated? Was it best simply to contain the spread of his movement, and leave things at that? But soon enough, the choice was no longer theirs, as infiltrators and rabble-rousers spilled into France and other Western nations. The French Ministry, having seen what happened in the East, was not willing to risk a coup, and so declared martial law, arresting and executing dissidents for the sake of civil stability – yet their actions only inflamed the public, as all of Western Europe was embroiled in war.” He smiled thinly. “All of Western Europe save for Britain that is, as the British Ministry did not really care about what happened on the continent. Even America, from which the Army of Light would come, remained utterly uninvolved, as it was an ocean away.”

    He smiled.

    “Your assignment for this week is to choose a partner, a side you will be on and a sphere of influence you would like to operate under, as well as creating a…profile for the characters you will play during this simulation, subject to my approval. Feel free to use whatever resources you can find, and to be as detailed as you like. Dismissed.”




    As Shinji staggered from History to Defense, he found himself relaxing a bit, because however harsh Professor Quirrel might be, he wasn’t as terrifying as Professor Spencer-Moon.

    And well, compared to a year-long simulation, even the prospect of facing Quirrell's Welcome Back Challenge, which casts students in the role of intrepid young mercenaries tasked with exploring the Archive, a great library of lore on different magical beasts and beings compiled by a mighty wizard, which has become theoretically the possession of the State, as it was unclaimed following the last owner's death – was a welcome one.

    …at least until the students learned that the Archive is not...uninhabited, as the last owner had apparently been a necromancer of some cunning, with the library being infested with many strange varieties of Inferi, whose bodies had been...twisted, with various tentacle structures coming out of necks, armpits, torsos, or with arms mutated into angular structures.

    Worse, Quirrell went on to explain that the necromancer appeared to have experimented with different ways of making inferi more efficiently, resulting in the creation of various spore-releasing pods, incubator inferi in which these spores grow, and swarms of creatures which could inject such spore directly into an unarmored individual, transforming them into an inferius.

    “Should a single one of these...infection forms escape into the world at large, the result would be an undead plague such as Britain has never seen, the beginning of a veritable flood that will sweep away the foundations of the world,” Quirrell declared. “For now, the perimeter has been sealed, with Aurors having orders to destroy any inferi on sight, should they emerge. Perhaps it would be wiser to simply destroy the Archive, yet, the knowledge gathered there is exceedingly valuable, as it contains records of different magical species, and all manner of research on things such as dementors, undead, curses, and more – invaluable for those trying to oppose them.”

    “So…we have to go in and kill all the inferi?” Ernie asked skeptically, not even trying to hide how uncomfortable the notion made him. “None of us…none of us have ever fought inferi before, and I don’t think we really know good combat spells.”

    “Fear not, Mister Macmillan,” Quirrell replied smoothly. “There is no need to kill all of them on our own, simply to reach the top floor of the Archive, where there is a weapon – a killswitch, if you will – that will destroy the inferi and render the plague inert.”

    Ernie took a moment to digest this piece of seeming good news.

    “…we’d still have to get to the top though, and inferi…”

    Quirrell only chuckled.

    “Do not worry, Mister Macmillan. As with one of the other scenarios you participated in last year, you will have access to a special armory, from which you – and a partner – may each choose three items to bolster your offensive capabilities, your defenses, or whatever it is you wish. The armory of course, will include things like Goblin-silver mail, longswords, staves, invisibility cloaks and more – even vials of bottled fiendfyre, so there is no need to worry about not having good enough spells.”

    “I see. Thanks,” Ernie said, trying not to show just how discomfited he was by the notion of something as volatile as bottled fiendfyre.

    “Of course,” the Professor replied. “It would not do for me to give you an impossible challenge for the very first test of the year, yes? That said, I would prefer it if you all partnered with people you have not worked with before, as I want to see how you do as individuals.” He raised an eyebrow at the sight of Matou Shinji with his hand raised. “Yes?”

    “Then why not have us go through the trial alone?” Shinji reasoned.

    “A good question. The answer is simply that Aurors and other like them tend to work in pairs, and so it would not be appropriate,” was the answer. “That, and I would not be able to test your leadership abilities.”

    “Our leadership abilities Professor?” Natsumi questioned.

    “Yes indeed, Miss Suzuki. This challenge is not merely a test of your abilities – it will determine your role in a trial to come, one in which one may earn very generous rewards, such as a full outfit wrought of basilisk hide.”

    “…and what would we have to do for that one?”

    “Oh, nothing much. Just assault Azkaban.”




    How does Shinji get the books he needs for History?

    [ ] From the Library - might as well beat everyone else to it
    [ ] Mail order - he has some galleons
    [ ] See if Granger has some she'd be willing to lend
    [ ] Check McGonagall's shelves during his sessions with her
    [ ] (write-in)

    When does Shinji want to take care of the Quirrell scenario?

    [ ] As soon as possible
    [ ] As late as possible
    [ ] Sometime in between
    "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." - A.A. Milne

  6. #186
    [x]Check McGonagall's shelves during his sessions with her
    [x]Write in: Ask McG for book references. And then go buy a collection of books covering the time period and the different fronts as well as important people, places etc. Buy just one copy of each book. Shinji will then copy them with the Gemino Curse and rent out the cloned copies to other students to make some money.
    [x]As late as possible

    We should keep the books we borrow from McGonagall to ourself not distributing any copies. Having some advantage is better than nothing and money from the other books should be enough.
    Last edited by Dracueri; February 11th, 2019 at 04:57 AM.

  7. #187
    [x] Check McGonagall's shelves during his sessions with her.
    [X] As late as possible.

    I assume that first vote implies that he has her permission. I could see him making copies of the relevant books, if she allows it, to study later.
    The library will be full of people so it's out (from first to seven years I expect). We could ask Hermione I guess. Save whatever galleons he can (each counts, right SL?)

    First time we went in too soon, we should be better prepared this time. Especially since we will have Phelan with us.
    Last edited by Daiki; February 11th, 2019 at 05:16 PM.

  8. #188
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Skull Leader's Avatar
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    I do not understand this picking McGonagall for a book source. At what level do you think that she likes Shinji well enough to loan her books to him that are not animagus related. He is not one of her Gryffindors. He does not have the rep with her to get away with this. At all.

    I am not wanting to spend the money, but it might be the best way to get books without others knowing about it. And we could buy the books and still go to the libarary to check out other books in a different area so that we throw people off as well as deny resources to others.

    [X] Mail Order Books but first go to the library to check out books about all the fronts as decoy
    [X] As late as possible
    Last edited by Skull Leader; February 11th, 2019 at 12:47 AM.

  9. #189
    [X] Write in: Ask McG for book references. And then go buy a collect of books, covering the time period and the different fronts as well as important people, places etc. Buy just one copy of each book. Shinji will then copy them with his copying spell and rent out the cloned copies to other students to make some money
    [X] As late as possible
    Last edited by shanagan; February 11th, 2019 at 01:14 AM.

  10. #190
    Shinji doesn't have to be a Gryffindor or be well liked by McGonagall to ask if he can borrow the books. By being respectful and asking is no trouble and he can increase his rep with her during their training sessions. She should be neutral to him since he's not a trouble maker and as acting headmistress of the school what reason does she have to reject a request from a talented transfiguration student.

    The books on the shelf most likely differ from the ones that a student will be able to get their hands on so that will give Shinji's team an advantage over others. By having access to these material plus whatever else they can get their hands on increases the chance of them doing well in the scenario.
    Last edited by Dracueri; February 9th, 2019 at 12:12 AM.

  11. #191
    Pretty sure she would be willing to allow it since it's for the sake of a school assignment, rather than, say, a personal project or side study.

    Besides, Shinji, only proves to her that he is a motivated student, by cutting down on his own free time for some more transfiguration lessons. He even used his summer holidays for extra studies. Think of how many kids his age would do that on average. If that's not dedication I don't know what is.

    On top of that, he was one the best students in potions and DADA last year, producing unexpected results when he went the extra mile by looking deeper into potioncraft lore.

    If he asks access to her documentation in order to get a better look into the Grindelwald issue, in order to perform better in a subject he showed no interest in the past, any teacher would encourage that. Sure, he might have had poor results and interest in History the former year, but McGonagall has little to no reason to doubt he can not perform well by applying himself seriously. On the contrary.

    I could imagine Minerva refusing him access to some dark studies and the likes, but that's not what he needs to look into (and likely wouldn't be stored in the office now that she is in (temporary) charge anyway). It's mostly political climates and different factions stances and actions regarding the whole war that he needs to delve into. Stuff that Dumbledore would have understandably kept close at hand.
    Last edited by Daiki; February 9th, 2019 at 01:21 AM.

  12. #192
    Would it be considered a sign of favoritism since the school assignment is a project that all students are required to participate in? And, if so, would it be a mark against her becoming the actual headmistress instead of acting headmistress?

  13. #193
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Skull Leader's Avatar
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    New plan.

    [X] Write in: Ask McG for book references. And then go buy a collect of books, covering the time period and the different fronts as well as important people, places etc. Buy just one copy of each book. Shinji will then copy them with his copying spell and rent out the cloned copies to other students to make some money.

    or in the fast version; Buy books, Copy books, Rent out books. Profit!

    We need money more than we need to horde, so might as well turn what money we have to at least earn a few more coins for the future. And since he can make a shit ton of books here and still keep the ones he actually needs with no one knowing what books he is actually reading here...

    I feel a bit stupid for not coming up with this one earlier. But we can just make copies of books, so buying books to 'rent' out seems like a good idea. He can even collect the books back, and rerent them. Or just destroy the copies without most students knowing what is going on. Sure we might arm other students more with knowledge but we can make some very needed money here.

    No reason to fight for books at the library, no reason to really have to raid McG's collection (thought it would not hurt to ask), not when we can spend a little money to make profits, and gain favors.
    Last edited by Skull Leader; February 11th, 2019 at 01:16 AM.

  14. #194
    異星蛸 Cysero's Avatar
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    Hard mode activated.

    [X] Write in: Ask McG for book references. And then go buy a collection of books covering the time period and the different fronts as well as important people, places etc. Buy just one copy of each book. Shinji will then copy them with the Gemino Curse and rent out the cloned copies to other students to make some money.
    [X] As late as possible

    This way Shinji has already won something regardless of the outcome of the challenge. While doing this makes it more difficult, we stand to gain enough for it to be a fair trade-off. We'll just have to bring our "A" game to every session.

  15. #195
    [X] Write in: Ask McG for book references. And then go buy a collect of books, covering the time period and the different fronts as well as important people, places etc. Buy just one copy of each book. Shinji will then copy them with his copying spell and rent out the cloned copies to other students to make some money.

  16. #196
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    [X] Write in: Ask McG for book references. And then go buy a collect of books, covering the time period and the different fronts as well as important people, places etc. Buy just one copy of each book. Shinji will then copy them with his copying spell and rent out the cloned copies to other students to make some money.

    [X] As late as possible




    I suppose I should ask...

    Take a dose of Felix Felicis before the challenge with Phelan?

    [ ] Yes
    [ ] No

    Offer him one?

    [ ] Yes
    [ ] No
    "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." - A.A. Milne

  17. #197
    [X] No - Shinji
    [X] No - Phelan

    Save it for the Grindelwald Incident simulation

  18. #198
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    [X] No -Shinji
    [X] Yes - Phelan

    I need Phelan to survive this so they can work as a darn team to do well. Phelan is going to need a bit of luck to ensure that he survives himself. Just hopefully Phelan will not use this to do even more crazy actions. I want shinji to do well so he is a leader and Phelan dying early will ruin that plan.

    But yes save the rest for the other scenario or later challenges.

  19. #199
    異星蛸 Cysero's Avatar
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    [X] No
    [X] No

    This is one of the main lessons we should have learnt from Q's past challenges, FF is not something to be relied on blindly. Also I think Phelan would be willing enough to listen to what we have to say and get serious when the situation calls for it without the need to drink it. Downing liquid luck would only make him more rash, unpredictable, and uncontrollable, "now that I have luck on my side, I could even slay a dragon!".

    We need all the help we can get on the simulation, let's save the potion for that or some emergency.

  20. #200
    [x]No-Shinji
    [x]No-Phelan

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