HP: A Magical Journey - Chapter 32

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In Snape's obstacle room, Quinn stood in front of the potion table that held seven potion vials.
The room had two handles; one entry and one exit. A purple fire covered the room's entrance, and jets of black fire blocked the exit.
This all was part of the room's defense, the enchanted fires trapped a person inside, and the potions on the table contained the antidotes to both fires.
Quinn looked at both the fires before shrugging and walking to the potion table, 'If I cannot solve the puzzle, then I would just try to undo the charms on the fires.'
Quinn was sure that he could figure out the charms on the fires. It would take time, but Quinn could do it, and a good puzzle was always welcome.
Quinn conjured a barstool in front of the table and sat on it while picking up the parchment. The parchment contained the riddle for the antidotes that allowed Quinn to pass the fires without harm.
The riddle read,
Danger lies before you, while safety lies behind,
Two of us will help you, whichever you would find,
One among us seven will let you move ahead,
Another will transport the drinker back instead,
Two among our number hold only nettle wine,
Three of us are killers, waiting hidden in line.
Choose, unless you wish to stay here forevermore,
To help you in your choice, we give you these clues four:
First, however slyly the poison tries to hide
You will always find some on nettle wine's left side;
Second, different are those who stand at either end,
But if you would move onward, neither is your friend;
Third, as you see clearly, all are different size,
Neither dwarf nor giant holds death in their insides;
Fourth, the second left and the second on the right
Are twins once you taste them, though different at first sight.
] [Image in the paragraph comment.]
From the first half of the riddle, Quinn deciphered that one bottle will move him ahead (line 3), one will send him back (line 4), two hold nettle wine (line 5), three hold poison (line 6).
"There are seven bottles: three are poison; two are wine; one will get me safely through the black fire, and one will get me back through the purple fire," said Quinn as he continued to decipher the riddle.
From lines nine and ten (9-10), Quinn deciphered,
"There is always poison to the left of nettle wine."
From lines eleven and twelve (11-12), Quinn cracked,
"The bottles on either end of the line contain different contents, but neither will move you forward."
The next two lines, thirteen and fourteen (13-14) revealed,
"The smallest (dwarf) and largest (giant) bottles do not contain poison."
The last two lines (15-16) spoke to Quinn,
"The second from the left and the second from the right is housed in different-sized bottles, but they hold the same contents."
Now, Quinn had all the clues from the riddle, and he could start solving the potion identities.
"First, let's set the with unchangeable constants," Quinn said as he numbered the positions from our left to right.
[1] - [2] - [3] - [4] - [5] - [6] - [7]
"Now, insert the constants: the elements second from the left and second from the right are identical, though in different-looking bottles, and poison will always be to the left of nettle wine," said Quinn, but he stopped just before marking things.
"There are two possible ways to arrange these bottles, depending on whether [to nettle wine bottle's left side] means from our left or from the wine bottle's left. But both arrangements ultimately lead to the same end solution of the puzzle," said Quinn as he finally marked the potions.
First combination,
[1 - Poison] - [2 - Wine] - [3 - x] - [4 - y] - [5 - Poison] - [6 - Wine] - [7 - z]
Second combination,
[1 - Wine] - [2 - Poison] - [3 - x] - [4 - y] - [5 - Wine] - [6 - Poison] - [7 - z]
Quinn smiled as he noted, "Whichever way I do it, I satisfy the requirement that the elements second from the end (Position 2 and Position 6) hold the same contents (2 - Wine, 6 - Wine; or 2 - Poison, 6 - Poison), and I also satisfy the requirement on either end. Poison will always appear to the left of the wine, depending on whose left I am using."
Quinn began swinging his legs as he continued to solve the riddle.
"Okay, so now that I have positioned the poison/wine sequences (the constants), we now have three bottles remaining. One is poison, one moves you backward, one moves you forward. Poison cannot be in either giant or dwarf bottle. The bottle on one end of the line cannot hold the same contents as the bottle on the opposite ends. And neither of the bottles on end will move you forward."
"Now, I am going to use that [nettle wine's left] means our left. Poison is always on nettle wine's left, so we can erase the second combination," noted Quinn from clue number one.
[1 - Poison] - [2 - Wine] - [3 - x] - [4 - y] - [5 - Poison] - [6 - Wine] - [7 - z]
"The second clue says that bottles at the ends have different contents and won't help me move forward, which means that it can't be poison and won't be the forward potion," said Quinn, so he noted. "That means it can only be the backward potions! Alright!"
[1 - Poison] - [2 - Wine] - [3 - x] - [4 - y] - [5 - Poison] - [6 - Wine] - [7 - Backward]
"Finally, (3 - x) and (4 - y) can either be poison or forward potion," clapped Quinn and finally used the third clue that says that dwarf and giant potions don't have poison.
While the books didn't show the readers the layout, but Quinn could see the layout, and (3 - x) was the shortest bottle and thus the dwarf bottle.
"If it isn't poison, then it is the forward potion, and the remaining (4 - y) is the remaining poison," solved Quinn, and the final result was as follows,
[1 - Poison] - [2 - Wine] - [3 - Forward] - [4 - Poison] - [5 - Poison] - [6 - Wine] - [7 - Backward]
Quinn folded the sheet of paper and pocketed it. He took out two vials and poured the contents of the forward and backward potions into them.
He placed the now empty vials back on the table and looked to see if they would fill themselves up, but nothing happened.
Quinn shrugged, "I will break one leg of the table, so it would seem that the potion drained when the table broke."
He walked to the black fire and chugged down the forward potion. He pocketed the bottle and walked forward; he braced himself, saw the black flames licking his body, but couldn't feel them — for a moment he could see nothing but dark fire — then he was on the other side, in the last chamber.
The chamber was empty, not unlike the previous one, and in the center of the room stood a mirror. The mirror was on the base level of the floor with steps leading down to it.
Quinn climbed down the steps and approached the mirror. The writing engraved on the frame of the mirror said,
「Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi.」
Quinn smiled softly and repeated, "I show not your face but your heart's desire."
Quinn's heart beat faster as he shifted his eyes from the frame to the mirror itself. He was a little nervous about what he would see in the mirror. Quinn closed his eyes before opening them to see what his heart desired.
In the mirror, a version of Quinn stared back at him. The mirror-Quinn was exuding a humongous amount of magic; the current Quinn had large magic reserves, but mirror-Quinn was on another level. To Quinn, it seemed that mirror-Quinn could never run out of magic.
Quinn also saw that mirror-Quinn's eyes were a deep-violet instead of his usual stone-grey eyes. Quinn found himself staring into the deep-violet eyes, wondering the reason behind the color change.
From what Quinn could decipher, the mirror-Quinn was a master at magic, a powerful magical at that. It had always been one of Quinn's top goals.
Quinn looked around the mirror-Quinn and saw his family, all smiling. He saw Lia, George, Elliot, Ms. Rosey, and Polly. Even Alan D. Baddeley, his mind arts teacher, was present in the mirror image. In the background, Quinn could see a globe turning slowly; it signified Quinn's desire to learn magic from all around the world.
Quinn finally looked at mirror-Quinn wanting the Philosopher's stone, but mirror-Quinn smiled apologetically and shook his head.
Quinn frowned and asked, "Why?"
Mirror-Quinn took out a ruby-red stone from his robes and showed it to Quinn; it was the Philosopher's stone. Then mirror-Quinn took out his fake wand and then stared at both of his hands. Quinn watched as the fake wand in mirror-Quinn's hand turned into gold. Mirror-Quinn didn't stop and took out a potion vial and put the stone on the vial, and Quinn saw the vial fill up with a crystal blue liquid; it was the Elixir of Life.
Quinn ruefully smiled and spoke, "If I get the stone, I will end up using it, aren't I?" Albus Dumbledore had charmed the mirror so that only those who wanted to 'find' it and not 'use' it for themselves.
The mirror-Quinn nodded in agreement, and that made Quinn sigh.
"All this work was for nothing?" exasperated Quinn and ran a hand through his hair. He backed away from the mirror and sat on the steps, sighing.
He looked up at the dark ceiling and pondered. Quinn had already thought about this outcome, but he still tried this, convincing himself that he only wanted to see the stone.
"I guess I can't fool my own heart?" Quinn said to himself and kept sitting there before deciding he had brooded enough and it was time to exit the stone's chambers.
Quinn climbed the steps but not before giving the Mirror of Erised one last time.
Quinn ran through the black fire and entered Snape's room, and noticed that the vials were against full. He walked to the table and muttered, "Maybe, it takes time to recharge." He shrugged and took the backward potion to pass the purple fire.
He groaned as the Troll's stench hit him and kicked the unconscious Troll to release some frustration. Then once again walked as he stepping on eggshells as he passed through McGonagall's chessboard, hurriedly walked through Flitwick's winged-key room, and reached Sprout's Devil's Snare.
Once again, multiple orbs of harsh light scared the vines away and used the Seize-and-pull spell (Carpus Retractum) to latch one end of the cord to just near the trapdoor and pulled himself up.
Just before he opened the trapdoor, Quinn conjured a violin, animated it to play a piece, and sent it out of the trapdoor so that when Quinn exited, Fluffy, the Cerberus would be fast asleep.
Quinn waited for half a minute before exiting the trapdoor to see a sleeping Fluffy and walked out the Underground chambers, but not before turning invisible and checking the surroundings in Recon.
When the Ravenclaw students returned, Quinn was waiting for Eddie and Marcus for them in the common room.
Quinn asked the moment Eddie and Marcus walked to him, "How was the game?"
Marcus looked excited and answered, "It was one exciting game; you should have seen Harry Potter on the broom. He was weaving through the Chasers, Beaters, Bludgers, and Quaffle."
Quinn turned to Eddie when he spoke, "He was pretty good. No, he was mad-good for his age. His broom did give him some problems during the game, but he still managed to snatch the snitch." He scoffed, "You would think that Nimbus would make good brooms."
Quinn absentmindedly nodded and thought, 'No change in this event.'
"I see."
- (Scene Break) -
A few days later, Quinn had an interesting conversation with someone he wasn't expecting to talk to. Quinn was walking from the Room Of Requirement to the Great Hall when he met Lily Potter. Quinn didn't want to talk to her after his passionate rant, but the Muggle studies professor called out to him.
"Mr. West," Lily called when she saw him.
Quinn groaned internally before turning to face her, "Evening, Professor Potter."
"A good evening to you as well, Mr. West. I assume you are going to the Great Hall," she asked, and when Quinn nodded, she asked, "Wonderful, walk with me."
Quinn fell in step with Lily and was wondering if he should make small talk, but Lily took care of that,
"I thought about the things you said to me when we first met," she said, and Quinn really didn't want to talk about that, but then she asked, "Tell me, Mr. West. When did you start visiting the muggle world?"
Quinn wondered why she was asking that but then shrugged and answered, "I have been in contact with the non-magical world as long as I can remember. I, with my sister, regularly spend our time together in the non-magical world. I have also been to various parts of the world and have experienced both their magical and non-magical parts."
Now that the conversation was on a roll, Quinn decided to ask, "What about you, Professor Potter; how did you raise the twins? Are they familiar with the non-magical world?"
"Yes, they are. Both of my children attended muggle schools before coming to Hogwarts," Lily smiled as she revealed.
Quinn nodded in appreciation, "Is that so? I never did that. I was homeschooled, but not in non-magical subjects. Maybe one day, I will study those subjects." He looked up towards her and asked, "What about you? Did you catch up with your non-magical studies?"
Lily shook her head while chuckling, "Oh, no. I was too busy with the twins, and now I am teaching here at Hogwarts."
She hesitated before asking, "May I ask how did you build such a good rapport with Professor Snape?"
Quinn quirked his brows and spoke in confusion, "Professor Potter, maybe you are misinformed; I barely talk to Professor Snape, much less have a good rapport with him."
"But, the other Professor said that you are his favorite student, so I wondered..." she sounded that she really wanted an answer.
"Professor, from what I have heard and observed, Professor Snape ..." he stopped before staring her dead in the eyes and asked, "I am going to tell you something in confidence, and anything I say wouldn't make its way to anyone else, can you keep this a secret. I don't want Professor Snape to hear this. Can you promise me that?"
Lily was confused but nodded, so Quinn continued, "Honestly speaking, Professor Snape doesn't enjoy teaching. Heck, Professor Snape doesn't know how to teach; compared to Professor Flitwick and Professor McGonagall, he seems like a poor novice." Snape was a master potioneer, but that mastery didn't convert to skill in teaching, and if Snape heard this, then Quinn's potion lessons would go from pleasantly calm to outright miserable.
"From his point of view, all the students are dunderheads, which is not really how a teacher should view his students, and the reason I am treated differently is that I follow his instructions without any mistakes, am not annoying, and keep out of his way. Plus, I am not sure about this, but I think he tolerates me because I am genuinely interested in Potions, but the jury is still out on the last one." Quinn looked proud as he continued, "I am proud to say that Professor Snape hasn't yelled at me or cut points from me even once. I only communicate with Professor Snape when he asks me to answer a question or during the roll call, except that he and I don't talk that much."
"But, don't you have questions for him; you just said that he is a master potioneer; don't you want to learn from someone of that level?" asked Lily. She had been the smartest witch of her generation, and not communicating with her teachers seemed absolutely strange to her.
Quinn hummed in thought before replying, "Professor, there are many types of learners. Some require another person to stand on their head to motivate them to learn, some need step-by-step guidance, some learn by doing, and some prefer to learn by themselves. I am of the last type; I prefer to learn at my own pace and at my own convenience. Books and other texts are my best friends; they have everything I need. I haven't felt the need to consult with a professor if I can learn it by myself. Of course, by this, I am not saying that there is no need for teachers; as I said, there are all kinds of learners, and teachers help all types of learners."
"But, why the sudden interest in Professor Snape," asked Quinn, who felt that the conversation was getting out of track and slowly becoming about him, so he brought it back to the original topic.
Lily ruefully smiled, hearing that, asked, "You see, Severus, is... was my friend, but we had a falling out, and I am thinking how to make up with him, but I have no idea how to approach that." She didn't know why she was asking a twelve for advice.
Quinn stayed silent for a moment, and Lily thought she had made him uncomfortable. She was about to say something when Quinn spoke, "I am not an authority on relationships, and I do not know how Professor Snape is in his personal life. But if I were to give advice, then I would say to be prepared, a broken relationship can have a lot of hidden emotions, and the message you are trying to convey might not go across, so choose your words wisely."
Quinn paused for just a second, "And if the other party is not willing to start the conversation, you must be the one to approach them. Take charge and show that your friendship means something. Explain why you felt hurt or angry. Ask about your friend's perspective. Keep an open mind as you listen to your friend speak. And, at last, be ready to walk away if you two can't resolve the issue."'
Quinn knew why Lily and Snape had a falling out, and while it was entirely Snape's fault, it wasn't weird that Lily had forgiven him after so many years, time heals wounds, and now she wanted to rebuild her friendship with her childhood friend, the one who introduced her to magic.
By the time Quinn finished giving his opinion, they had reached the Great Hall, and Quinn said before parting, "I hope you may be successful in your endeavor, Professor Potter. Now, please excuse me."
Quinn left without giving Lily a chance to reply, leaving her to think about what she just heard and what she needed to do.
Quinn West - MC - Solving riddles, giving advice, what can't he do?!
Quirrell's second Troll - Mountain Troll - *Grunt* *Ugh* [Troll sleepy]...
Lily Potter - Muggle studies professor - A kind woman.
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