HP: A Magical Journey - Chapter 196

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Dolion and the luxuriously dressed middle-aged man sat in a room in a remote corner of Palazzo Abate. Nursing a glass of wine each in hand.
"Quinn West is more of a problem than I thought," said Dolion in Italian.
"Why?" asked his companion.
"When I first laid my eyes on him, it was evident that he was a practiced Legilimens, but the time he spent with the family made it clear that my initial impression of him was terribly lacking."
"I wasn't there. You'll have to see elaborate."
"He spent the entire meal reading minds of people who talked to him. He spread his senses to all those with the weaker minds — those who could scan without getting detected."
"Did he.. ."
"No, he didn't attempt to read mine and few others.. .. and in doing so has revealed the limits of what he can do without being detected."
"Will I be able to.. . ?"
"No, you don't meet the requirements."
"A pity," sighed the middle-aged man, but internally he was relieved. He didn't need to interact with the target, which he preferred as Dolion refused to tell him much. "Can you enter his mind?" he asked.
"I can," said Dolion with confidence, "but not without him knowing that I'm doing it. His Occlumency, if I detected correctly, is around the same level as his Legilimency. There are good chances that he will get a whiff of me if I try to get inside."
"He's that good?"
"No, not really. I have seen better," scoffed Dolion, then turned a bit severe, "but his detection is unusually perceptive. It's complicated.. . I would have a way to pass through it if I spent enough time with him."
"What's your next move?" he asked.
Dolion swirled the glass in hand and sighed deeply. "The next move, the next move.. .. I'll have to think about to proceed. I need something to ease the process along. I have thought of a few options; the question is which one to employ."
"Then you should hurry. Quinn West isn't here for long."
Dolion hummed in thought before his eyes lit up. "I know what will help me how to get through his mind."
"Really, how?"
"He's a tourist." The smile on Dolion's face indicated he had a plan.
- (Scene Break) -
"I must say, it's quite exciting to be standing right in the middle of so much history," said Quinn as he stood upon the Roman bridge, Ponte Sant'Angelo crafted from travertine marble, arching over the lifeline of Ancient Rome, the river Tiber.
His eyes were gazing upon the magnificence of towering Castel Sant'Angelo — a mausoleum for the Roman Emperor Hadrian and his family. The sight of the tomb with the angel statues standing on either side was a scenic sight to behold.
"I'm not that much of a history buff, but this is just great," he said without turning back to Aksel Thorn, the bodyguard standing just behind him, "I'm at the place where Latin turned into a magical force of nature and became what is it today, empowering so many magical cultures throughout the world."
Ancient Rome wasn't only important to non-magical history; it also held importance in the magical history with so much cultural antiquity that it made Quinn fill with excitement and enthusiasm for exploration.
The legend of the early establishment of Rome started with the legend of two twin brothers, Romulus and Remus. It was an ongoing debate among non-magical historians whether the twins' myth was an original part of Roman myth or later development, but the non-magical records provided a more apparent record of their existence.
Romulus and Remus were, without doubt, a pair of magicals who came from a long and rich line of magicals, being the descendants of the Trojan Aeneas and sons of the god Mars and princess Rhea Silvia. Aeneas was from the illustrious Troy clan and a descendant of Aphrodite, while Mars was, according to the historical records, just like Aphrodite, was a magical-turned-divinity.
But in the genealogy of the founding twins, Quinn was most fascinated by Rhea Silvia, the pitful princess who was raped by Mars. She was a vestal virgin, a priestess of magical-turned-divinity Vesta. The thing that interested Quinn was the magical significance of being a Vestal, as they were regarded as fundamental to the continuance and security of Rome. As the name suggested, Vestals were virgins, which Quinn was sure had to do with the sacred fire they collectively cultivated. Looking through the records, he was able to form a conjecture that the sacred fire was some sort of lost magic of the ritual branch, with the virginity of the priestesses being an essential aspect of it.
'There must have been some benefits to Romulus and Remus when the virginity tied up in a ritual was broken by Mars,' thought Quinn in tangential hypothesis.
It was a practice that, in most parts of the magical world, had become a thing of the past, but in ancient times, magical parents (usually mothers) would undergo treatments of various forms of magic to promote the chances of the baby being magical with a strong talent for magic. And while Rhea Silvia never went through such things because of her Vow of Chastity, her role as part of a state-wide ritual might have had similar effects.
"Mr. Thorn, did you know that Romulus and Remus' uncle had ordered the twins to be drowned after he usurped power from their grandfather. But the twins were secretly spared and drifted in the Tiber river in a basket where they were later discovered by a she-wolf who nursed the twins back to health.. .. Interestingly, I know someone named Remus, who also has an affinity for wolves."
"An interesting story Quinn," said the man, not sounding interested at all.
Quinn smiled but didn't point it out. Instead, he wondered about the she-wolf mentioned in the legends.
'Could she be the same species of wolf that I saw in the Forbidden Forest,' he thought about the wolves who were descendants of two werewolves conceiving on a full-moon night. It was a theory Quinn had no way of proving, but he liked it very much.
"Quiz time, Mr. Thorn," said Quinn with a beaming smile. "When Romulus and Remus founded their city, how do you think they decided which twin was going to be king? If you answer correctly, you'll get chocolate."
".. .. I don't know," said the voice lacking any enthusiasm.
"The records say the topic of king quickly became a matter of debate.. .. the debate that Romulus won by killing Remus. I must say, a move I wasn't expecting to see in a debate. Then Romulus went ahead to form the small city of Rome, which would eventually turn into the dominating empire of unparalleled power." In those days, there were no Secrecy Laws; as such, the magicals roamed in the open.
And while he enjoyed the story of the creation of Rome, he wasn't interested in Romulus and Remus. Throughout history, conflict has been a great motivator of growth and innovation — to improve in the harsh times, the human mind had shown itself and had come up with pretty fascinating stuff. On the other side of the coin, the times of peace and prosperity promoted elegance and intricacy.
"This country has a rich history, Mr. Thorn. They have seen glorious ups and disastrous downs. Let's see what that history can do for me," he said before turning to Aksel, "where's our guide?"
"This is Italy," was all Aksel said.
Quinn blinked a couple of times before it hit him, "Ah, Chronemics — the study of the use of time and the way that time is perceived and valued by individuals and cultures. Yes, I came across it during one of the short uneventful stints with the study of the larger subject — interestingly, chronemics means much more in the magical world than it does in the non-magical."
Italy was a Polychronic culture. Polychronic cultures have a less formal perception of time and are not ruled by specific calendars and schedules. Meaning in Italy, if the time to meet was decided to be at eleven, it wasn't strange to see the person arrive half an hour late.
"You guys are early." Quinn and Aksel turned to see the speaker. And speaking of the devil, it was their guide.
"Dolion, thank you for taking the time to show us around," said Quinn smiling, "I'm excited to know more about your homeland and am looking forward to using the Abate gateways. They are quite fascinating."
Dolion smiled as he fished out a blood-red skeletal key. It was different from the gold key that Aksel had with him. From what Quinn could speculate, the blood-red key was some sort of master-key only available to Abate family members, while the gold key was a guest key of types.
"Let's go then," smiled Dolion.
- (Scene Break) -
Dolion leaned against a pillar with bookshelves on both sides, watching Quinn running his finger through the spines of the rows upon rows of Latin magical books. They had already been through three different book stores in Rome, and from what Dolion knew, Quinn had plans to visit tons of bookstores all around the country.
He looked to the other side to see Aksel Thorn keeping an eye on everyone passing by. Dolion pushed himself on the pillar and walked towards the bodyguard.
"Is he really like this?" he asked, jutting his chin to Quinn.
Thorn watched a guy pass through before finally answering, "As you already know, I guided him through Denmark. In all that time, he went through any book shop I could take him to and others he somehow found on his own.. .. I will suggest that you be ready to translate for him; Quinn will make you talk to any person he finds interesting, and those he founds interesting can be a strange bunch."
Dolion looked back at Quinn to find that he had taken out a strange book with a protruding screaming face sticking out of the cover. The look on Quinn's book was of extreme fascination.
"So, he's bookish, studious."
"He's clever, cunning, quick.. . skilled," said Aksel in reply.
Dolion continued to stare at Quinn. Various thoughts went through his mind; he turned to Aksel and said, "Tell me more about him," he said.
.. .
Quinn made his way through the book store, his eyes reading the rich collections of Latin works. The Roman empire was the distributor of Latin through a wide area of European content, and after that, the British spread the magical language once again through the aggressive colonialism of the various colonies worldwide.
He had only browsed through some of the books here, but he already knew the works here were one of the most exquisitely written pieces of Latin he had seen in a while.
As he was perusing the titles on the spines of books, he found one that made him stop in his tracks. It was a non-suspecting brown tan book without any unique features, but its title interested him.
「The Theory Behind The Magic Of Constructs」
"Constructs?" he murmured as he picked it out of the row, "constructs, constructs, constructs." He opened the book and began reading.
As the book described them, magical constructs were tangible manifestations created through molding magic and turning it into a unique malleable material that could take on a wide variety of physical properties — in fact, the author went as far as to say that with enough expertise and knowledge about magic and physical matter, the user could give the material any physical property the desired.
The usage of the unique magical material was quite simple; it could be shaped into all sorts of forms — tools, objects, weapons, and other items.
The name that the book provided to the material was:
Quinn snapped the book close with a nonchalant expression. "I can conjure any object I like; there's no need for a modifiable material." He placed the book back into its place and began walking in search of something else that caught his eyes.
But not two steps later, his feet halted. Quinn stood in his place for a good half-minute before he turned back and gazed at the book. The previously ordinary book was now the center of his attention. Quinn walked towards the book, once again took it out, and stared at the cover for a good while.
His eyes went up at the row from which he had taken the book out, and contrary to his expectations, the book in his hand was the only one on its topic. He checked every other book in the row.. . shelf.. . section, but he couldn't find a single mention of magical constructs or Empyrean.
"Dolion!" he called out.
The third son who was engaged in conversation with Aksel looked towards Quinn to see his nephew beckoning him.
"Yeah, what is it?" asked Dolion, reaching Quinn.
Quinn handed him the book and spoke, "Ask the manager or owner of this place to tell me where I can find more books on this topic."
Quinn, Dolion, and Aksel made way to the manager, where Dolion asked him Quinn's question and acted as the translator. The manager looked at the book before going in deep in thought. She asked them to follow her, and they went to various spots in the store, but they went empty-handed.

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"The manager says that this must be the only book she has on magical constructs," said Dolion in translation.
"What about Empyrean; does she have anything on that?" said Quinn.
Dolion communicated. The manager turned to Quinn and shook her head.
"She says that she doesn't recognize the word," said Dolion.
Quinn looked down at the book in his hand before raising it to the manager, "Tell her I want to buy this."
A few minutes later, Quinn came out of the book store with 「The Theory Behind The Magic Of Constructs」 in his hands. His eyes were still on the book, and there was a feeling in his heart.
'This is it,' he thought, 'this is what I'm going to take home with me.'
Quinn didn't know why but the book in his hand called out to him. He had barely read a paragraph of the introduction, but despite that, he was sure that this was the discovery, the highlight of the trip.
"I have to find more of this," he murmured before turning to his two companions. "Gentlemen, we are going to be busy from now. It's time to go on a country-wide bookstore-crawl."
Aksel and Dolion looked at each other, and Aksel shrugged. The bodyguard turned to Quinn and took out a roll of parchment, "I have a list of prominent book stores," he had already prepared.
"Excellent work, Mr. Thorn. Let's get something to eat, then we will get to work."
Aksel once again nodded and told Quinn about the restaurant he had reservations at while Dolion stared at the duo.
- (Scene Break) -
A week passed, and despite his efforts to find books on magical constructs or Empyrean, Quinn could only find a couple of books after scrying Rome and the neighboring few cities. It was that either the topic was about to become a 'lost magic' or wasn't explored enough to gain enough attention from practitioners and authors.
"Another disappointing day," sighed Quinn as he walked through the corridors of Palazzo Abate. He stared out a window, and the bright moon hung, giving the stars its company, putting their collective shine in the canvas that was the night sky. His eyes absentmindedly roamed, and he had to say that the palace was absolutely massive — it was at least thrice the size of West manor in terms of square footage and was thrice as long in height.
He made his way through the memorized corridor and arrived at the place he had been visiting since the very first day. He arrived at a door that opened up to a terrace and stepped outside.
"Grandmother, I'm here," he said.
He turned, expecting to see Francesca, the sweet old lady with a mouth that could make even the most open people blush, sitting on the bench swing but was surprised to find that his maternal grandmother had company.
"Why are you standing there boy, come sit," said Francesca.
Quinn walked toward the covered mini-patio with his eyes fixed on the girl his age sitting beside Francesca. "You are Sara, right?" he knew the girl; she was Matteo Abate, the second son's daughter.
Sara Abate nodded. She was tall, had a brunette, long curly hair, which was different from the usual Abate black.
Quinn took out his wand and conjured a barstool to sit in front of Francesca and Sara.
"The girl wants to ask you some questions," said Francesca.
"Sure, I will answer anything I can," said Quinn in reply.
Sara remained silent for a while before she finally speaking up, "I want to become a teacher.. . ."
Quinn waited for her to continue, but Sara didn't and instead glanced towards Francesca, who didn't say anything. Quinn gazed at Sara thought for a minute before looking at Francesca, who nodded this time.
"You want to become a teacher, but Abate women don't work. That's it, right?" said Quinn.
Sara was surprised but nodded.
In the week Quinn had been here, he had noticed that all the women he had come across were housewives. As Quinn had been told, the Abates was a patriarchal family where the men worked, and the woman took care of the home. It would have been fine if that's what the woman wanted, but that wasn't the case, as seen in Sara's situation.
"She wanted to talk to someone her own age," said Francesca.
"And you don't have a problem with this?" asked Quinn.
"I don't," said the old grandmother, "I never had a problem with how things were, but the times have changed. If Sara wants to work, then she should be able to," then she smiles bitterly, "but I can't help her."
"I see," nodded Quinn before gazing at Sara, "are you serious about it?"
"Yes," said Sara firmly.
"Have you talked to your parents? Do they approve?"
"No, they don't."
"Alright then, that's that. You have to understand that you don't require your parents' approval. To begin with, the success of your goal is not contingent on your parents' approval. Unless your parents are cutting you off, like throwing you out of the house or cutting off your allowance.. . ."
"I have money saved!" said Sara.
"Fantastic," smiled Quinn. "Then the next step is all talk is pointless if there are no results. You have already tried talking, but your parents don't listen, it's time to devote yourself to your goal. Let your results speak for themselves. With each discouragement, use it as ammunition to spur yourself to achieve more results. You want your parents to trust you, so show them why you deserve their trust by bringing your plans to live.
"It's clear that you will have to move out, which would mean that your parents won't know the merits of your choice unless you show them. For example, when you get your first salary, show it to them — they will understand that the ball's in your court, and there is no need to worry about you."
Sara scoffed, "They don't care about me."
"I won't comment on that. I don't know what your parents think. It doesn't matter if they care about you or not. You can't control that," said Quinn. "The ultimate step to showing the merit of your path is when you indicate that you are still alive, day after day, despite doing what they thought would be immensely dangerous. Or better still, thrive in it. Being happy every day. Being in charge of your life and being clear on your goals and plans. Achieving financial success. Being recognized for your work. Making positive change. Showing that you are a wise adult who can now do well in her life without any intervention."
Quinn West - MC - Still hasn't got the chance to say, Mamma Mia!
Dolion Abate - Third son - He has some plans.
Aksel Thorn - Bodyguard - He's prepared this time.
Sara Abate - Has aspirations - Got an inspirational talk from Quinn.
FictionOnlyReader - Author - I just wanted to write the last section.
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