Tuesday 24 February 1998
Two days had passed since the Potters' visit to Britain. It was currently early Tuesday morning, and Harry was lying in his bed with a very attractive witch in his arms. Two years ago, he would not have believed he would be in this situation, yet now, he had a hard time seeing how he could live without her. He almost felt as though he could handle the return of Voldemort or another Dark Lord as long as he had her. This is why he was going to do what he was going to do today. It was the same as most other days the past eighteen months. To start with, they had done nothing but relax and enjoy the peace, but they both knew that at some point, a new Dark Lord would rise and that Harry would have no choice but to fight him. He may not have an as central role, but he could not let others suffer when he could work to stop it. Next time he would be prepared.
When Susan had insisted that she would train with him, he was initially against the idea. He did not want her to have to fight like he had. This was naturally a futile pursuit, as there really was no way of changing Susan's mind on the subject, so he had given in, saying that there was no harm in her learning how to fight and postponing the discussion of whether she should do it.
In the end, he was glad he had accepted. It was nice working with her. Along with giving him more opportunities to be near her, it also allowed him to see what his wife was like when she really put her mind to something. Harry thought it rather impressive, almost frightening. Then again, he was quite biased.
After a long, quite pleasurable shower and some breakfast, the couple was ready for the day ahead of them. They had hired the best private instructors they could get their hands on. It was expensive, but that really was not a problem, and most were more than willing to tutor The-Boy-Who-Won, even if it did mean moving to a tropical island and not telling anyone what they were doing. The secrecy was not strictly necessary, but it did give quite an advantage if your foe underestimated you. The plan was to let everyone think they were merely learning the Hogwarts curriculum though, in reality, they had finished that last Autumn. It was incredible how fast one could progress under the right circumstances. Hogwarts was by no means a bad school, but it really couldn't match one on one tutoring of the highest quality.
"Today, you won't be learning a new spell, instead, you'll be learning something new. Spell modifiers," Sgt. Craglaw told them. He was a veteran of the magical branch of the U.S Army. He had participated in countless Black Ops missions. How he had avoided some serious PTSD was anybody's guess. Many of these missions were deemed best kept from public knowledge, and it was only through some connections and pulling of favors that his services became available, but he was one of the best.
"You have probably already come across some of them, like in Lumos Maximus, But I doubt you've ever learned more than that."
Seeing both his students shake their heads, he continued.
"There is a reason for this. Modifiers require the user to be very comfortable with using the base spell and even then, they are difficult to do. When applying a modifier, it is almost as if you are subconsciously crafting a new spell. The only reason Lumos Maximus is so easy is that it has almost become its own spell, and so does not need to be created anew each time it is to be used." Sgt. Craglaw explained.
"Since you are already partially familiar with Maximus, I think that would be a good place to start," their tutor instructed, "I would like you to first cast the base spell Aguamenti."
Both Harry and Susan had mastered that spell long ago so it was easy to conjure the water.
"Now, I want you to add Maximus and its wand movement to the end of the spell while otherwise doing the exact same," he said before demonstrating it himself. A huge wave of water cascaded out of his wand. They were on the beach so it didn't damage anything.
"Before trying anything you should distance yourselves quite a bit. It can easily go wrong."
Neither wanting to get too wet, they walked roughly ten steps away before Susan nodded to Harry to let him try first.
"Aguamenti Maximus!" Harry shouted.
He got drenched. Instead of going outward in a wave, the water went in every direction and even splashed the others from 10 meters away. After less than a second the water stopped and violent sparks flew out of his wand. He quickly stopped the spell.
She knew she shouldn't as she would likely be in the same situation soon, but Susan could not keep herself from laughing. Harry sent her an evil glare though she could feel his amusement over the bond. Having seen it many times before, the veteran found it slightly less amusing.
"It might be funny with a water conjuring spell, but if that had been a cutting, blasting, or bombarding curse, we would likely be injured and Harry would be dead. This is why they don't teach it."
It took several hours before either of them got it right. Even then they did not dare try with an offensive spell.
"There is a major downside to this modifier that you may have felt already. Do you have any idea what it is?" the sergeant asked them. It was Susan who spoke first.
"The power drain. It's draining far more power than it is adding. I've never been drained this fast from conjuring water," she answered.
"Correct! Maximus increases the power of the spell, but it increases the power used far more. The extra power drain is in fact quadratically proportional to the power added. This makes it highly ineffective and as such should only be used when that extra power is absolutely necessary, even if you do have far greater reserves than are normal," their instructor explained, the last comment clearly pointed at Harry.
"Don't worry sir, I've learned my lesson," Harry assured him.
"Good. We're done for today. I know how tiring this is. Be ready for more of the same tomorrow."
"Can't wait," Susan said eagerly.
"See you then," Craglaw said as he walked away to his own living quarters.
"He wasn't lying when he said it was difficult. No wonder they don't teach this at Hogwarts," Susan commented on their way to their own room, "I don't know how I'll ever dare try an offensive spell."
"Me neither. I don't think I've ever been so grateful for the drying spell," Harry said.
"True," Susan agreed.
"Do you really believe he did all those things? Some of the things he did seem rather... dark," Harry asked Susan.
"And he doesn't seem like the type?"
"Exactly. He seems far too cheerful to have done those things."
"I see what you mean. You want to hear my theory?"
"Many people break down when they come home from that kind of thing. I don't think he was an exception, but that he somehow got through it and came out on the other side," Susan explained her theory.
"You mean he's mad," Harry asked.
"Pretty much," Susan replied, "Not that I mind. He seems highly competent."
"He does. With the way things are going now, any new Dark Lord will seem like a Squib. For now though, let's relax so we're ready for tomorrow."
"Am I correct in assuming the 'relaxation' you're talking about is a little more energetic than sleeping?" Susan asked playfully.
"Are you sure you can't read my mind?"
The next day they tried modifying Stupefy. It was dangerous, but at least with the stunner, the worst that could happen was that they were all blown away and knocked unconscious. This happened several times before they made any form of progress.
"Before we move on to modifying more dangerous spells, you should learn another modifier in order to get more experienced," Sgt. Craglaw said.
Both Harry and Susan agreed. They did not mind avoiding blowing themselves up.
"Normally a curse or hex is only useful at a maximum range of ten meters. This modifier is called Procul. It lets the spell be fired over a far greater distance and with far greater precision than otherwise. It lets you hit the enemy a long time before they can hit you. Despite its advantages, it is not nearly as useful as it sounds. It takes great concentration and some time to set up, and is more taxing to fire. This makes it best suited for situations where you have time. If you look over there you will see the targets I have set up. Because of the dangers, we will start with a singing jinx."
The instructor turned to the targets before continuing.
"To use, you must first set it up by saying the incantation followed by Procul while doing the following wand-movements," the sergeant explained while doing what looked like insanely complex wand-movements, "then all you need to do is cast the spell while holding the wand in position."
Seeing his pupils' expressions, he added: "Don't worry. I'll explain it all in more detail soon. But first, let me give you a demonstration."
Holding his wand in position, he silently cast the singing hex. What looked like a very small spell shot from his wand and, moving slightly slower than a normal spell, approached its target. It quickly sped up and started becoming brighter before flying at an incredible speed right into the center of the target. Which started to sing some song about llamas.
With the new wand-movements, this modifier was if possible even more difficult to learn than Maximus. Still, they could do it quite consistently by the end of the week. They still could not hit the furthest targets, but that could be practiced independently. They were given a book detailing many modifiers, what they did, and how to use them.
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