A Professor of Magic at Hogwarts - C.308: Horcruxes and the Tale of Harkiss

A Professor of Magic at Hogwarts

C.308: Horcruxes and the Tale of Harkiss

The golden pendant box suddenly ceased its trembling, and the wildly twisting golden chain lost all its strength, crashing onto the table. Immediately following, with a clear "clink" sound, its small golden lid popped open.

They saw the internal structure of the pendant box, behind each of the two small glass windows, there was a living eye blinking. They were black, shiny, and full of vitality. Harry felt that if the eyes' owner weren't sealed within the small box, they should belong to a living person.

A black mist permeated the air. From inside came a hoarse, chilling voice, "I see into your heart..." The pendant box addressed Felix, who was closest to it.

"Oh? Is that so?" Felix initiated Occlumency, his mind closing off.

"...Felix Harp, I know you. I can sense everything around me. What was in the book you looked at on your first day here? Don't deny it. I see your deepest desire, for power, immortality, to transcend deathyou want to become the next me."

"Who is this?" Harry exclaimed. Sirius, holding him, stepped back a few paces, saying with complexity, "It's Voldemort. I never thought he'd hide himself in a box the size of an egg."

Harry's mouth dropped open. This was the one he encountered in his first year? Compared to sticking on Cho's back, his days had become much more unfortunate.

The owner of the eyes inside the pendant box continued in a whisper, "You have this potential. Why don't we cooperate? Rule over wizards and Muggles together... and I, the greatest wizard of all time, am willing to share with you the secret of my immortalityHorcruxes."

Something like a soap bubble twisted and distorted, and a humanoid figure appeared, rising from above the pendant box. It was a rather handsome young man, with a lean face, jet-black and shiny hair, and a tall stature. He smiled warmly, spreading his arms as if wanting to embrace Felix.

Yet his feet were still in the pendant box, unable to step out. He smiled even more kindly, speaking in a gentle tone, "How about starting now, from this moment, on the path to immortality... Just a gentle wave of the wand, and there will be two insignificant sacrifices."

However, Felix replied calmly, "I thought you'd offer more ingenious insights, Tom. Close it, Harry."

"What?" A flicker of red light flashed and vanished in Voldemort's eyes. If one wasn't staring directly, they might think it was an illusion. He raised his tone, still attempting to persuade him steadily, "You don't know what you've missed. I've walked further on the path to immortality than anyone else, and together"

But Harry emitted a hissing sound. The next second, the lid of the pendant box closed, and the hate-filled black mist billowed and dissipated, Voldemort's image abruptly vanishing.

Harry's heart pounded intensely, his breath ragged. He really thought Voldemort was about to jump out and start a fight.

Felix retrieved the pendant box, knocking on it for a while before finally putting it in his pocket. "I'll give this to Dumbledore," he said with a sigh. "The headmaster hasn't gotten his hands on one yet. I've seen three."

They sat back down on the couch, neither speaking. Kreacher clung to the door, trembling, and said, "Mr. Harp, will you destroy it? This is Master Regulus' final command for old Kreacher."

"I promise you, Kreacher. The pendant box will be destroyed," Felix said.

"Thank you, thank you..." Kreacher choked and vanished with a "pop."

Harry calmed his emotions a bit, then asked curiously, "Voldemort mentioned a Horcrux just now. What is that?" His gaze shifted between Sirius and Felix, hoping for an answer. He felt he had delved deeply into Voldemort's secrets.

Sirius also looked at Felix.

"A Horcrux... a very dark kind of dark magic. It involves splitting the soul and storing the soul fragments in an object. This thing is called a Horcrux," Felix explained simply. "As long as the Horcrux exists, Voldemort won't die, although he'll be miserable. But there will come a day when he returns."

"So that's Voldemort's secret to immortality?" Harry said in shock. "No wonder he claims to have conquered death, actually splitting his soul. What a sinister practice."

"It's not just that, Harry. Splitting the soul is the result. The process requires a ritual, murder, to rip the soul apart through killing, and don't be fooled by my simplified explanation; it's far more complex than that," Felix said.

"So the thing inside the pendant box is just a fragment of Voldemort's soul?" Harry understood, realizing that the two Voldemorts he encountered weren't the same soul.


"So if we destroy the pendant box now, will Voldemort silently die in some dark corner?" Harry's thoughts wandered as he spoke, and the idea excited him immensely.

It's unlikely, Harry. He made more than one Horcrux. I've destroyed two Horcruxes I've seen, and Dumbledore is still seeking more information," Felix said.

Harry listened, baffled. "Have you all been doing this? Fighting Voldemort?" He had no knowledge of this.

It's been Dumbledore who's been doing this all along. He's been actively uncovering Voldemort's hidden past," Felix said, "and I've just coincidentally been involved."

"Harry, even when you're asleep, the world keeps turning. You just haven't seen it," Sirius added.

Harry nodded. He understood the professor's meaning; there was no need to shoulder all the blame himself. He had been a bit impulsive, not foolish. After all, the professor had explained the purpose of the Horcruxes to him. He wouldn't lose his perspective. He wouldn't try to confront Voldemort until all the Horcruxes were destroyed.

He felt invigorated, as if he had taken on an additional task in his life. If, by the time he graduated, Voldemort's Horcruxes still existed, he was prepared to spend his entire life seeking them.

Thinking about that future wasn't so bad, especially since this path wasn't a solitary one. There was Dumbledore, there was Professor Harp... and perhaps even more people. Images of individuals flashed through Harry's mind.

He posed a critical question, "If there's not just one Horcrux, well... I can see at least three now, or maybe four. Could there be more, like seventeen or eighteen?"

Felix chuckled, amused. "Are you treating souls like cookies? Break them apart at will, and they crumble?" He thought carefully for a moment and then said, "Honestly, I can't be sure. 'Secrets of Advanced Dark Magic' doesn't specify a limit on the number of Horcruxes. Maybe the person who wrote the book didn't anticipate that future generations would go this mad."

"Does ripping apart a soul hurt?" Harry asked.

"Hmm, an odd question," Felix tilted his head. "But the book says it's excruciatingly painful. I haven't tried it myself. Perhaps Voldemort doesn't mind much?"

"Alright," he stood up, "let's call it a day for now, Harry. We should head back." He looked at Sirius again, "Our appointment remains unchanged."

The two returned to Hogwarts. After bidding farewell to the inquisitive Harry, Felix made his way to Dumbledore's office.

Dumbledore was still poring over documents. Upon hearing Felix's account, he scrutinized the pendant box carefully.

After a long while, he took off his glasses wearily and wiped them with a small piece of velvet. "This conveniently confirms the speculation I acquired from Harkiss."


"I've told you about him, the poor house-elf."

"You returned late today because you went to..."

"Azkaban, yes."

Dumbledore recounted the story he had heard from Harkiss. The story itself was quite simple. Around fifty years ago, Voldemort, who was working as a clerk at Borgin and Burkes at the time, visited a very wealthy witch named Hepzibah Smith, who happened to be Harkiss's mistress. Two days later, she died suddenly.

"In this matter, two points are worth noting. First, following Hepzibah's death, her two most prized possessions vanished. Coincidentally, they were heirlooms of Hogwarts' four foundersSlytherin's locket and Hufflepuff's cup."

"Voldemort's doing," Felix said with certainty.

"Unfortunately, it took Hepzibah's family a long time to discover the treasures were missing because she had many secret hiding places and kept her collection meticulously guarded. By that time, Voldemort had already left Borgin and Burkes."

"You mentioned... Harkiss is in Azkaban?"

"Yes, she's an obvious scapegoat. However, Harkiss herself admitted to slipping something into her mistress's cocoaa substance that wasn't sugar, but a rare and deadly poison. The verdict was not premeditated murder, but rather failing eyesight due to old age."

"Her memories were tampered with?"

"Delighted we're on the same page," Dumbledore said. "Harkiss is currently not in a good state. I'm considering reopening an investigation into this long-standing case."

"However, after all these years, Harkiss's memories have become a mess, making it hard to ascertain whether she was involved. I can only point out inconsistencies in the case itself..."

Felix found it quite difficult too. There was no evidence now, everything was based on logical deduction. Nevertheless, just now, Fudge had been startled enough. Felix wondered if he had the courage to refuse Dumbledore again.

They moved on to discuss other matters

"Headmaster Dumbledore, how many Horcruxes do you think Voldemort actually made?"

"This is quite the headache. Based on what I know of him, Voldemort would choose a significant number. Three, seven, nine, thirteen, any of these could be possible. I need to determine his thought process and find some evidence. Aside from that, we're also unsure whether he actually fulfilled his planned goal on the night he went to the Potters'..."

In other words, the number is uncertain, and whether that number was achieved is uncertain. A number popped into Felix's mindsevenbut he didn't voice it. Speaking it out would be futile; Dumbledore had to explore and verify on his own.

However, a thought came to him. "The diadem of Ravenclaw, Slytherin's locket, Hufflepuff's cup... Dumbledore, could Gryffindor's sword also be a Horcrux?"

Dumbledore shook his head. "I happen to know where the sword is, and Voldemort didn't acquire it."

Leaving the office, a light rain had begun to fall. Felix walked on the damp earth, his mind still dwelling on the appearance of Hufflepuff's cup that Dumbledore had conjured.

Dumbledore said with a cheerful tone, "It's strange, but I feel you and Voldemort share a certain connection. Perhaps in the future, you might come across more Horcruxes. It would be best for you to know what the cup looks like."

Felix couldn't help but think cynically. You're the one with the connection to him, Dumbledore. Are you trying to hand over the task of dealing with Voldemort to me?

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