HP: A Magical Journey - Chapter 7

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Like the first lesson, Quinn sat on a stool in front of Alan, who sat on a wing chair. A table in between separated them. The room's door was closed, and Alan allowed no one to enter the room unless it was an emergency or of utmost importance.
Alan, with a smile on his face, began his lessons, "Mr. West, before learning how to become an occlumens and learning occlumency, we would have to get you familiar with how Legilimency feels like. Last time, you weren't able to feel me using Ligilimency when I was inside your mind, but this time I will make my presence known loud and clear."
Even though Quinn knew Alan wouldn't divulge any information Alan saw in his mind, Quinn couldn't help but feel fear. After all, a secret remained a secret if only one person knew about it.
Quinn took in a deep yet shaky breath and acknowledged.
"Good, rest assured, I will only read your emotions, so don't worry, for now, that is. Let's begin," Alan assured Quinn.
Alan stared into Quinn's eyes, and Quinn clearly felt a strange pressure inside his brain. It wasn't like a headache but akin to a heaviness that spread throughout his head.
Quinn heard Alan speak in a calm and baritone voice, "Mr. West, can you describe to me how are you feeling?"
He nodded and replied, "There is a heaviness in my head that started out in the back of my head but soon spread out my entire head."
"Excellent, this is how it feels to have a Legilimens inside your head. But, keep this in mind, my current approach is a gentle one. If a Legilimens, who doesn't care about his approach, could cause pain and damage to the target's mind," There was a pause before Alan continued, "Would you like to tell me about your current emotions?"
Quinn froze but then nodded, so Alan complied, "You are currently feeling panic, fear, nervousness, and a bit of excitement. Am I correct?" Quinn nodded in agreement, and Alan spoke once again, "Excellent, your current emotions are perfectly normal. Now, I am going to retreat from your mind, understood?"
After getting a confirmation, Alan smoothly retreated from Quinn's brain, "I am out of your mind. You can calm down now."
Quinn released a breath he didn't know he was holding and relaxed his shoulders. Alan once again leaned back into the backrest of his chair and spoke, "How was it?"
Quinn closed his eyes and thought about his experience before speaking, "It wasn't what I had imagined. I thought it would hurt."
Alan chuckled and shook his head, "Mr. West, I have been doing this for a while now. I know how to teach without causing pain," Quinn breathed a sigh of relief, but he froze when Alan continued, "Of course, there will be a time when you have built your occlumency shields. At that time, I will introduce you to brute-force legilimency, which might hurt if you aren't able to defend properly."
Quinn glared at the shitty old man (Alan), to which Alan just laughed.
"Now that you know what Legilimency feels like. I would tell you what Occlumency can do for you. But, before I start, I would like to tell you that every teacher has a different way to teach Occlumency. So my method of teaching will be different from another teacher."
Quinn dropped his glare and intently listened to Alan, "There are three basic facets of occlumency. First is the defense aspect, which will help you protect your mind from external mental attacks."
With each point, Alan uncurled his fingers, "Second, emotional aspect, which will help you control your emotions. And, the third and final aspect is the aspect of efficiency, which will increase your brain's productivity."
Quinn remained silent as Alan continued, "Your grandfather hired me to help you with the first aspect, the aspect of defense. I will train you to build your occlumency defenses. The strength of your defenses will depend on your comprehension and hard work."
Quinn uncapped a pen and jotted down Alan's words. Seeing this, Alan waited before continuing.
"Now, let's finally teach you something. The first piece of your occlumency defense will be the outermost detection layer. This layer will help you detect a Legilimency attack. Let me explain how this detection layer would work. In our first meeting, I used Legilimency without you noticing, but in my previous demonstration, I made my presence know, right?"
Quinn affirmed, "I wasn't able to feel anything during our first meeting."
"This detection layer would make a Legilimens' presence know to you. You would feel that familiar heaviness in your head.
Eyes can provide a gateway to the mind, and many Legilimens like to use eye contact to enter your mind. Of course, some are powerful enough to directly enter the mind without needing eye contact.
If the attacker is using eye contact to enter your brain, immediately break eye contact and then pull up your defense shields. If they are proficient enough to not using eye contact and can use legilimency with it, then again pull up your defense shields and keep them out."
Quinn kept taking notes and asked a question that popped into his mind. "If someone is using eye contact, and I break eye contact, am I safe from the attack?"
Alan shook his head and answered, "No, sometimes just a split second of eye contact can give a trained Legilimens time to latch onto your mind. With that, they could keep on attacking you even after breaking eye contact. So, always activate your defenses no matter what the situation."
Quinn nodded and noted down the instructions and let Alan continue, "Now, keep those notes aside. It is time to build your shields. I will once again enter your mind and make my presence known. Next, you will concentrate on that heaviness, focus your magic, and create a layer over the manifestation of your mind. And, while building that layer, create with the intent of detection. Your intention should be clear that you want to feel the same heaviness when someone attacks your mind."
Quinn had another question for Alan, "Do I need to imagine feeling heaviness. Can't I imagine some other sensation?"
Alan clapped his hands and praised, "Another excellent question! The answer to your question is that you don't have to choose heaviness as the sensation of choice. You see, everyone feels a distinct sensation when facing mental attacks.
This sensation can range from your heaviness, burning sensation, freezing sensation, slight dizziness, pricking sensation, buzzing sensation, pain from a choice of various options.
When I was being taught, I felt a burning sensation. In my research, I found that even though it is not necessary to choose your natural sensation, it is easier to imagine when building your detection layer.
Like a person who feels pain when attacked, no matter how gentle of an attack would have to choose some other sensation.
So, because you felt heaviness, it is advisable to imagine heaviness as your detection signal. My detection layer makes me feel a subtle burning sensation on the inside of my head."
Quinn felt assured about Alan's capabilities as he was able to explain his query flawlessly.
"Ok, I will follow your advice and build my detection sensation to be the feeling of heaviness."
Alan nodded, and by Quinn's permission, he entered Quinn's mind and made his presence know. Quinn felt a heaviness throughout his head, showing that Alan was in his mind. He began imagining a layer over his mind and concentrated on the feeling of heaviness.
After failing to create a layer for a minute, Alan spoke up in the same calm and baritone he used while using Legilimency.
"Mr. West, calm down and stop concentrating on the feeling of heaviness." Quinn obeyed and stopped concentrating and soon felt Alan retreat from his brain.
Quinn furrowed his brows and looked at Alan, who started explaining. "We will try in another five minutes. Every attempt will be a minute long and a five-minute interval between each attempt. When you are successful, both you and I will feel a layer over your mind. Now, relax till your next attempt."
Quinn breathed out a sigh and thought back to his first attempt. He wasn't able to imagine a layer at all. He began contemplating how he could do it differently.
Alan silently watched Quinn thinking and said nothing to disturb Quinn. Building an occlumency defense was a slow and steady process. Each piece of the defense needed to be built one by one and then connected to close any loophole and complete a system that would protect your brain.
"Mr. West, five minutes are up. We are starting again.". Hearing that, Quinn once again felt the heaviness in his brain and concentrated his magic to construct a layer over his mind.
Another minute passed, and Quinn yet again failed to construct a detection layer. By the end of the lesson, Quinn still had not created a detection layer and felt frustrated. Even though it was only his first day of constructing a detection layer, he felt like this was the repeat of his first year when he didn't have access to his magic.
"Mr. West, please don't feel disheartened. Occlumency is a gradual process. It will take time to build each individual layer. I am sure that you will build one, eventually." In his mind, Alan assumed that it will take Quinn at least a couple of weeks to build the detection layer.
But that day, when Alan left, he failed to see Quinn's expression.
When it came to magic, Quinn was competitive to a fault.
- (Scene Break) -
Alan came to teach Quinn twice a week, once on Tuesday and next on Friday. Alan had left returned on the next Tuesday for their third lesson.
He sat in his chair in their designated room, waiting for Quinn to arrive. While he waited, Alan thought about Quinn's progress.
'If Mr. West perseveres with no complaints, it will take him at least another four lessons to construct that shield. If he loses motivation, it may take him an entire month to build the detection layer.'
He broke out from his thoughts when he heard the door open and saw Quinn enter the room. Alan immediately put on a smile, thinking about what kind of emotion Quinn would show when he would mess with him during the lessons.
As usual, Quinn sat on his stool and spoke, "Good morning, Mr. Baddeley."
"A good morning to you as well, Mr. West. Are you ready for another try at building your detection layer?" Alan saw Quinn nod his head, so he continued, "Excellent! Before we start. I will once again explain the process. I will use legilimency to enter your mind and make my presence known. When I enter your mind, you will feel a sensation of heaviness in your head, on which you will concentrate and try to build a layer over your mind with the intent of feeling the heaviness when faced with a mental attack."
Quinn once again nodded, "Please, start. I am ready."
Alan made clear eye contact with Quinn and then used Legilimency to enter his mind. The moment he entered Quinn's mind, he saw a thin layer over covering Quinn's mind. Alan's eyes widened when he saw the layer, and then he looked at Quinn's face, which had a smile plastered upon it.
"Detection Layer, constructed and ready to detect any mental attacks.", said Alan with a cheeky and smug smile on his face.
Alan was only reading Quinn's emotion right now because if he was reading his surface thoughts, then he would have heard, "Take that, you shitty old man."
Alan retreated from Quinn's brain and stared at him, surprised, "How did you manage to build that layer? Last time, you weren't even close to constructing the layer."
Quinn puffed his chest and explained,
"After you left, I wasn't happy with my performance, so I kept on practicing and failing, until yesterday when I was able to cover my entire mind with the detection layer.
I have to say, it wasn't easy to imagine the sensation of heaviness while trying to cover my brain without you constantly in my mind. It took me maybe a hundred tries to get that layer with the correct intent."
Alan kept staring at Quinn and felt an intense urge to dive into Quinn's mind and see how he did it, but restrained himself. One didn't live for more than a century and fail to build up some form of self-control.
"Now that I have this layer, what are we going to do next?" Inquired Quinn, excited to learn the next stage of Occlumency defense.
Alan snapped out of his thoughts and explained the next stage, "The next stage is to strengthen your detection layer. We need to improve your detection capabilities so that you could detect mental attacks from master Legilimens."
Quinn felt his excitement deflate as he asked, "Let me guess, you will attack me while masking your attack and then wait for me to pick up on the attack."
Alan had recovered from his surprise and was back to feeling joyous as he looked at Quinn's deflated figure.
"How very insightful of you, Mr. West. Let's start, shall we?"
Quinn groaned as he got ready for another day of rinse and repeat. He sighed and asked for the details, "So, how does the process of strengthening my detection layer work?"
"It is quite simple. You see, there are quite a few ways to attack the mind. What I will do is simply employ different ways to attack your mind.
For example, I can puncture a hole in your layer and then pass through it or treat your detection layer as a cloth or sieve and let my magic filter through your layer without damaging it at all.
Every Legilimens has their own unique way of attacking the mind. If I attack you with various methods, then with time and practice, your detection layer will become more and more robust, and in the future, your layer will know what kind of attack we are facing."
Alan explained the process to which Quinn asked a question, "What about a type of attack which I have never faced before. Will my detection layer still detect that attack?"
Alan nodded and answered the question, "Yes, it will. Mr. West, a major property of magic, is that it works on intent. If you want your layer to detect an intruder, it will. All we are doing is helping it along the way.
By having you face different methods, I am making you believe you can detect different attacking methods. And Mr. West, Intent simply is the belief that you can do what you want to accomplish."
Quinn wrote everything down and nodded to Alan. Then the new cycle of controlled mental attacks began. For the next three months, Alan would visit the West Manor twice a week and use various methods of attacking the mind.
Quinn's progress continued to surprise Alan. In twenty-four lessons, Quinn had learned to detect twenty-four different methods of breaking into the mind.
It was at that time when George asked Alan to give a report on Quinn's progress.
- (Scene Break) -
George and Alan sat in George's study to discuss Quinn's Occlumency progress.
"How is Quinn doing with his Occlumency lessons?" Asked George to Alan, who sat in the chair in front of the table.
Alan, with the usual smile on his face, reported. "Your grandson is extremely talented in Occlumency." Alan looked towards the table as he continued, "Your grandson isn't a natural occlumens, but I have seen no one who isn't a natural occlumens showcase this level of progress."
Natural Occlumens/Legilimens were people, who through pure instinct, learn how to perform Occlumency/Legilimency. If these people are taught mind arts, then their progress would be extremely fast. It was like teaching a Metamorphmagus how to do self-transfiguration. They would learn it without even trying it.
George tapped his fingers on the table and asked, "What are you implying?"
"I am currently teaching your grandson to detect mental attacks and am using different methods to attack his defenses. My original plan was to teach him to detect ten methods before moving forward to build his shields. But, in twenty-four lessons, he learned how to detect twenty-four different methods.
If he was a natural occlumens, he would have some kind of rudimentary defenses, but Quinn had no defense. I could walk into his mind like I was in the park."
Alan knew about this because he was a natural at both occlumency and legilimency. Before he even started learning both of these magic, he already had a rudimentary shield and could sense people's emotions when he looked into their eyes and concentrated. After he started learning, his progress was just as fast as Quinn's.
After hearing, George asked, "Then, what do you think is the reason for Quinn's quick progress."
Alan shrugged while giving his reason, "I have no idea. It just amazes me how quick he has progressed from scratch. He went from having no defenses to now being able to detect an intermediate Legilimens' attack with ease. I am quite excited to see his future progress."
[A/N: Novice < Intermediate < Master < Grandmaster(?)]
It would be a while before Alan would come to know the memories of Quinn's magical adventures and would think, 'Ah, this child is just good at magic.'
-*-*-*-*-*-
Quinn West - Eight years old - MC - Learning how to PROTECC his mind.
George West - Grandfather - Likes to spend time in his study.
Alan D. Baddeley - Teacher - Surprised to see Quinn's progress.
-*-*-*-*-*-
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