Conjoining of Paragons
Chapter 11: Spoiled Schemes
Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction based on the Harry Potter universe. All recognizable characters, plots, and settings are the exclusive property of J.K Rowling. I make no claim to ownership.
Acknowledgements: Thank you to my editor Athena Hope, as well as my betas 3CP, Fezzik, Luq707, Raven0900, Regress, and Yoshi89 for their work on this story.
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October 13, 1942
A Secret Passage on the Fourth Floor
Emily looked around one of her favourite rooms in the castle and remembered the days not all that long ago when the room had been barren and devoid of all decor. It was a spacious room with no windows, lit entirely by flickering torches and nestled in a secret passageway behind a massive, floor-to-ceiling mirror on the fourth floor. It had been near the end of her third year when Emily had discovered this passage. Not until some time into her fourth had she decorated it the way she liked.
Comfortable armchairs formed a ring around a central fire; neither of which existed when the room had been rediscovered. Emily had debated a long, oak table or something more formal, but she preferred the current layout. It was less intimidating and carried less gravitas, but it reminded her of the Slytherin common room, perhaps her favourite place in the world. She thought that might change soon if her current pursuit yielded the results she was hoping for.
Her closest companions were gathered around: Cassiopeia, Antonin, Felix, Silas, Augustus, and the others. Dolohov’s twisted face looked like a pale lantern in the darkness of the room, whilst a torch bracket nearby made Rosier’s elegant hair look like a roaring golden fire.
“One last thing before we all go back,” said Emily, allowing her gaze to shift to Mulciber, who had sat quietly for much of the meeting. “I don’t want any retaliatory action taken against Pavonis.”
“Why does it matter?” Mulciber snapped. “Why is he so important? He’s just a no-name mudblood.”
Emily felt a heat stir in her chest, but she allowed it to climb no further. “I don’t care what you think of him nor what you call him. I care that you don’t retaliate for your own incompetence.”
Mulciber didn’t reply this time. Her rebuke had been sharp and he knew better than to push her. Emily could sense that his words had stirred the others though, and she knew that they must share some of his skepticism.
There really was nothing remarkable about Hadrian Pavonis on the surface. No family name, no striking intellect, and no breathtaking charisma, but there certainly was something about him. Anyone who could cast a Patronus Charm at the age of fourteen had more going on than what met the eye. He also clearly had the favour of Slughorn in a way she wasn’t even sure she ever had. He must, for even she had not been pushed ahead a year in Defence Against the Dark Arts and he was no match for her. She knew that just from observing him. What exactly he had done to curry so much favour with their Head of House, she would learn eventually.
His ability was only a small part of it though, as was the regard Slughorn held for him. There was something very different about him. Pavonis seemed about the only boy within a few years of her age in the castle to not be caught in her orbit and pulled towards her waiting snares. For all the time they spent alone, he seemed fidgety and on guard, almost like he knew things the others didn’t. He could not, of course. He knew nothing about her and she knew that once the effort had been put in, he would dance to her tunes just like everyone else, but for now, he was an enigma.
Yet… someone had been lurking about the second floor. A very specific part of the second floor; the same part she had narrowed in on. The same part she was sure housed what she had been looking for for the better part of the last year.
She had first thought that perhaps it was a coincidence. It was hardly out of the question. Yet in all the time that had passed since she had narrowed down her search, never had she found such consistent signs of lurking in that area of the castle. There really was no reason to. The only thing of note nearby was that blasted bathroom that so often spewed water all across the corridor. It had been out-of-order ever since Emily had arrived at Hogwarts and long before. Hogwarts, A History stated that it had been that way for roughly two hundred years.
Yet every time she had explored those hallways as of late, there had been signs of another doing the same thing. She could not tell who, but she knew someone had been there. A phenomenon that had only started after she had begun spending more time with Pavonis — the only person in the entire school other than the damned Transfiguration Professor who seemed at all wary of her.
It was all too convenient to be anything other than connected. The question was how. He could not possibly know what she was planning — that was impossible — but he knew, or suspected, something. No other explanation could rationalize his strange, anomalous behaviour.
“I think it’s about time we begin heading back,” she told the assembled students. “Cassie, would you mind staying back to help me with something?”
“Of course not.” Emily did not need Legilimency nor even her eyes to know exactly how pleased the request made the young Black. Smugness practically exuded from her along with the obvious satisfaction that hung in her voice.
The others seemed less satisfied about leaving and some of them still glanced her way as they departed when they thought she wasn’t looking. Let them stare, she thought, and let them all talk, too. The more worked up about the Pavonis situation they all became, the more they would question her. That may have sounded like something unfavourable, but it meant she was unpredictable. Routines inspired confidence — she had learned by now that keeping all of them on their toes was the most effective way of ensuring the dynamic she most desired stayed firmly in place.
“You wanted my help with something?” Cassie asked once everyone had left the room.
Her voice sounded formal and prepared to take orders. It was hardly a surprise. Wanting help with something was usually a polite way of putting an order, but Emily also did not miss the traces of hope behind all of that. That was good; genuine emotion usually inspired stronger motivation, though she knew Cassie would be most displeased by this particular request.
“I did, yes. You know, there was a reason I asked for the rest of them to avoid making trouble with Pavonis.”
“The Patronus Charm?”
“No, I care very little about his magical ability.”
“I didn’t mean you were afraid of him. I know that you’re the better magician and have no reason to be wary of him. I just thought… it might have caught your interest.”
It was a hasty save, but Cassie was closer to being right than she had any right to be. “It did, but it has nothing to do with tonight. There is something different about Pavonis. Not knowing what that thing is vexes me.”
“Is this about me and what you want help with?”
“I’m… not sure what I could do to change that.”
“I don’t expect you to change that. You’re more than welcome to do so anyway if the opportunity presents itself, but I’m not terribly optimistic.”
There was suspicion in Cassie’s narrowed eyes. “What do you want me to do, then?”
Emily smiled thinly. “Distract an observant boy with an air of suspecting far too much.”
October 16, 1942
An Abandoned Classroom
“I’ve arranged your companion for the Slug Club gathering on Samhain.”
Harry had been in the middle of standing from his chair to leave his most recent lesson in Runes with Riddle, but he about fell back into it when she so casually threw that at him.
If truth was to be told, Harry had mostly forgotten about the Samhain gathering. He had been far more worried about the possibility of Riddle trying to open the Chamber of Secrets, petrifying a host of students, and killing Myrtle Warren.
“I have, yes. I did say I would.” There was something different about the curve of her smile this time. It seemed almost mischievous. “Surely you didn’t think I wouldn’t keep my word?”
“I-I didn’t mean that.”
“Good. I would have been offended if you had. All the work I’ve put into being kind and upstanding just for such a slight.”
This was a side of Riddle he had never seen before. Brilliant, charming, and charismatic were all things he had seen. This was an extension of the latter, but it was different. She was talking to him as if they were old friends who had known each other for years. The ease with which she spoke indicated a level of confidence and familiarity that Harry did not possess with anyone who wasn’t named Elena.
“I…” he spluttered and blushed, trying and failing to think of something to say.
Riddle laughed lightly. “Loosen up, Harry. You are allowed to quip back. It’s hardly as though I’m going to curse you for it.”
He actually thought the possibility of being cursed for saying the wrong thing around Riddle was quite high. Maybe not as much for him as her followers. She had not cowed him into submission; he was sure she knew that if she cursed him, she couldn’t be certain he wouldn’t go off to a professor or try and retaliate in his own way.
“Whatever,” he said, “who have you arranged, then?”
“Cassiopeia. She’s a friend of mine that you met on the train. Lovely girl, but I don’t think you’ve spoken with her much since that first day.”
“I haven’t, no.” Harry had not spoken with her at all, actually. He tried to speak as little with the Blacks as possible, sans Dorea. They all still reminded him of Sirius and he knew that many of them were involved with Riddle and some of the most evil facets of magic.
“Good. It will be nice for the two of you to become properly acquainted. I’m sure that Professor Slughorn has told you so, but connections really are important. Cassiopeia is a great one to have given her family background.”
“I… suppose so.” Harry had no idea how he was supposed to react. Riddle setting him up with one of her friends was really to be expected, but that was not what bothered him. He was far more concerned with the altogether more pressing question of why she had cared who attended him to the gathering in the first place.
She laughed lightly once more. “Give the night some thought. It would be a shame if you were so tongue-tied when the occasion finally came.”
Harry just nodded as he left. It was easier — Riddle had an infuriating talent of leaving him baffled and grasping for words; whether it was because of something she had done or something she might do in the future.
October 22, 1942
Harry’s stomach rumbled as he and Elena stepped out of the Slytherin common room that Thursday morning. It seemed as though he had been rising earlier and earlier with every day that passed. The closer it got to Samhain, the more restless his body had become and the less willing it was to stay asleep.
Dawn had not yet broken when he had retreated to the library that morning. Elena had barely been awake by the time Harry returned to the common room and she rose much earlier than the average person.
“You’re sure you’re all right?” she asked him. “You’ve seemed a bit off lately.”
Well, the prospect of attending a ball with a potentially dangerous member of Riddle’s inner circle who he didn’t know probably did have that effect on him. Not to mention his dread over what might happen if Riddle tried to open the Chamber of Secrets. Then, there was just Samhain in general. The death of his parents, the fight with the troll, the attack on Mrs. Norris, and Sirius breaking into the castle. Samhain was never anything but eventful, and usually not in any way that was at all favourable for Harry.
Yet how could he tell Elena any of that? It vexed him to think about how often that thought arose. So often he had to lie to her because he would never be able to tell her the truth. It was painful. Not being able to be honest with his one true friend crumpled up his gut like a discarded wrapper. Every fold felt like an iron-clad blow and it was happening more and more often as the year slowly passed.
“Yeah. I always used to wake up early. This is really just me getting back on schedule.”
It was so much more than his sleep and the both of them knew it, but Elena was too tactful to say so. Harry also knew that and was more than happy to have escaped the day’s unpleasant conversation.
Or, perhaps not.
Professor Slughorn had just stepped around a corner. His eyes were heavy with the signs of weariness and it could not be any clearer that the man had just rolled out of bed. He was incredibly alert considering how frazzled he still looked. Not that it was surprising to Harry. The man always looked rather alert when the two of them were in a room together.
“Good morning, Professor.”
“A good morning indeed, though I could do with a bit more sleep. No rest for the weary though, I suppose.” The man chuckled and hid a yawn behind his hand. “How have you been, Harry? Are your sessions with Emily going well?”
Harry could feel Elena tense beside him, but he did not spare her so much as a glance. “They have, sir. My grades in Runes have actually been getting a lot better.” That part was actually true. Professor Anderson had been quite impressed as of late. The grades were still abysmal, but the improvements were astonishing.
“Excellent, excellent! I’m sure she’s wonderful to work with. Brilliant mind, brilliant indeed. Must be a splendid teacher.”
“She’s been great, sir.” Annoyingly, even that was true — minus the setting him up with a dangerous female he didn’t know bit.
“I’m so glad, Harry.” The man chuckled once more as amusement danced in his dark, beady eyes. “While we’re on the topic of splendid women, have you arranged a companion for Samhain yet?”
Harry saw Elena’s head whip around from the corner of his eye. Oh, Merlin. What was he to tell her? That Riddle had outplayed him? That would only make her paranoid. That he had been too afraid to ask her? That would only make him look stupid and make her think that there was more to their friendship than there really was. There was no good way out of this, he decided, so he would just have to deal with it as it came.
“Yes, sir. I’m going with Cassiopeia Black.”
Harry expected to see a look of pride on Slughorn’s face. A pleased expression or a booming laugh and snide remark, at least. What he did not expect was what he saw. A flicker of something in the man’s eyes that Harry did not recognize for a moment, but that he puzzled out after a slight pause. It was the same expression Mrs. Weasley had worn the morning Harry arrived at the Burrow with her sons via flying Ford Anglia. The same expression Harry had seen Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon hiding from Dudley whenever he arrived home with an especially dismal grade.
But why? Cassiopeia was better than Harry should have been able to hope for. A talented and clever witch born to what was probably the most prestigious family in the nation. She was a year older than him, had endless connections, and had agreed to accompany him despite his lack of any prestige whatsoever. She would surely have been torn to shreds back home if her family ever found out what she had done. Perhaps they would even think she’d shamed them.
Yet… Slughorn looked displeased. It was almost as though he had hoped for Harry to do better, but how could he have? He could think of no one in the castle more suitable using the parameters Slughorn himself had laid out over the summer holidays. The man’s face was appropriately jovial by the time Harry had even finished that train of thought.
“An excellent catch indeed,” said Slughorn with a broad smile that looked awful tight on his lips. “I look forward to seeing you there. Good day, Harry. I will see you in class tomorrow.”
Elena always looked a bit put-out any time Slughorn completely ignored her, but she looked more annoyed than usual this morning. There was no way she would listen to his explanations now. They would have to come later.
“Uh… should we get to breakfast?”
Elena nodded curtly and the two of them moved off in awkward silence.
October 31, 1942
Horace Slughorn’s Office
Samhain had dawned with all the beautiful temperatures and vibrant sunlight one would expect from the most auspicious day of the year. In other words, the skies were dark and dreary, bringing with them the promise of fast-coming rain and the air outside was frigid and felt more like the beginning of December than it did the end of October.
Most in the castle bemoaned the bleak skies and bitter cold, but Harry was oddly grateful for all of it. Better this than to be lulled into a false sense of security by utopian landscapes and pleasant excursions. Something was surely bound to happen today. Best it not ruin an otherwise enjoyable one; just let the day be a wash as a whole.
It was quite the depressing mindset to carry, but Harry’s ten years on Privet Drive had taught him that when imminent doom approached, it was best to meet it with the lowest of expectations.
The day itself was wholly uneventful. Harry and Elena had moved past the quietly awkward stage brought on by the announcement of Harry’s partner to the Samhain festivities, but there was still an unspoken air of tension between them that made Harry want to rip his hair out of his head. It was maddening, truly maddening. What was he to do about it? There was no answer; he was sure of it; he had spent the better part of the last week pondering on it because it bothered him more than anything — his dread over tonight’s inevitabilities notwithstanding.
The time finally came for him to leave the common room and make his way down towards Slughorn’s office. Elena was nowhere to be found. She had needed air some time ago and fled the dungeons for a walk. Harry had wanted to follow but had sensed doing so would not be wise, though he had hoped she would return by now. He cast his eyes about the common room one final time before leaving it. He sensed that by the time he returned later this evening, much would be different in one way or another. It had to be after the measures he had taken weeks back. Now, he could only hope that they were enough to skive off what he knew would likely come tonight.
His footsteps seemed to echo louder than usual off the ancient stone floors as he descended deeper into the bowels of the castle. It was like how he thought criminals must feel while being led to their fast-approaching executions.
A bustling crowd was already waiting for him outside the doors to Slughorn’s chosen room. Some were filtering in but more still were waiting in the queue. Harry wondered how so many guests were possible. The Hogwarts population was definitely much larger now than it had been in his own time, but not by such an alarming degree as to make this expansive guest list possible. Then, he remembered all of Slughorn’s hints about important guests from outside the castle. Merlin, the man had not been kidding in the slightest. Harry had always wondered whether Slughorn frequently hyperbolized his never-ending list of connections. He certainly wasn’t wondering tonight; the turnout was nothing short of miraculous.
“Good evening, Harry.”
He almost jumped a foot in the air but somehow managed to compose himself and slowly turn around. It was Riddle and his companion for the evening.
Harry would have been lying if he said Cassiopeia looked anything short of gorgeous. She wore a long, sleeveless dress of midnight blue that matched the colour of her eyes to perfection. Her long black hair was done up in a single, elegant braid. It flowed down her back like a velvety black waterfall.
Riddle herself was much the opposite. She had not bothered with a dress, a gown, or any alterations whatsoever to her usual attire. She wore her plain black robes and trainers with the prefect’s badge pinned to her chest as always. Her hair cascaded down her back, but that was how she always wore it.
“Introductions are in order. Harry, this is my closest friend, Cassiopeia.”
“Nice to meet you,” said Harry, bowing his head, stepping forward, and taking her offered hand. Slughorn surely would have called the gesture clumsy, but it felt foreign at the best of times and his heart felt fit to burst straight out of his chest.
“A pleasure,” the girl responded in a cool and quiet voice. It was the sort of voice that pulled one in, but Harry also had no doubt it could cut like a knife. He had no difficulty at all imagining Cassiopeia as a feared black widow — much like the mother of one of his old Hogwarts classmates, Blaise Zabini.
Emily opened her mouth to speak, but another voice made itself known before she could.
“Ah, yes, there they are! The very two we were just discussing!”
Slughorn bustled through the crowd, wearing flowing dress robes of emerald green and a grin so broad his face seemed to burst. A tall man walked alongside him. His robes were elegant and as dark as his raven hair.
“Harry, Emily, I have so many wonderful people I would like you to meet. This is Wilbert Slinkhard. He’s the European Champion in open-class duelling from this past year. A very bright future on the circuits in front of him. One of many who would like to meet two of my most brightly shining stars. Come, come; so much to do, so many people to meet!”
Some time later…
Harry was beginning to realize why Riddle might have set him up with Cassiopeia. It actually might not have been for reasons as sinister as Harry might have feared, but of course, he still kept his guard high at all times. Despite her status and her family’s prestige, Cassiopeia just did not demand the same amount of attention from Slughorn. It was Harry and Emily who he most wanted to show off. They were paraded around like trophies.
Vexing and tiresome as it was, it had its benefits. Harry found himself not only meeting continental champions in duelling and high-ranking ministry officials, but lords and ladies of prestigious families, famous Quidditch stars, and successful entrepreneurs. An all star lineup of the most important and successful people in the country all shook Harry’s hand, greeted him politely, and asked him a bit about himself. They were more interested in Cassiopeia than Slughorn was and Harry wondered if Riddle had known that would be the case. It would actually have been quite the clever play if that was her goal, but Harry did not allow himself to hope. Not when the stakes were so incredibly high.
It was not until some time later that Cassiopeia asked for a break from it all. Her feet were apparently aching. Her footwear definitely suggested as much and Harry did not begrudge the break. Getting away from Riddle was always a plus. He would watch her, but keeping an eye on her wasn’t difficult. A procession followed her and Slughorn around; all he had to do was keep watchful eyes on all of them. Fatigue had also begun to set in. He had not been raised like this and he found the whole experience completely exhausting.
“Sorry about all this,” he muttered to Cassiopeia. “I’m sure you don’t mind the connections, but I didn’t want Slughorn to just ignore you the whole time.”
She shrugged. “Slughorn is just a gateway. It doesn’t matter if he pays attention to me. He has important connections, but he’s not important. It’s what they think that matters.”
“I suppose.” Harry had never quite thought that way. Especially not after Slughorn had forged him a new identity from scratch.
“May I have a glass of wine?” Harry heard Cassiopeia ask. She had already indulged in a number of them. Her pale skin had gained an edge of colour in the last hour or so, but Harry politely stood to oblige her nevertheless.
Finding wine in that room was hardly difficult. House elves were bustling in every direction, levitating beverage-ladened trays over their bobbing heads and flopping ears all the while. Getting the drink back to his companion proved far more difficult. She was far from the only one who was touched by the flavours of fine wine. A fair number of students and guests alike were dancing sporadically and some were just chatting in the middle of it all, showing absolutely no regard for any who came near.
Harry had almost made it back when a tall, thick-set boy slammed into him. The wine glass fell from his grasp and shattered on the floor. The din of the room was such that he barely heard the breaking glass, but he felt it pierce his arm when he followed its path to the floor a moment later with a loud curse.
“Sorry,” said the other boy. Harry could hear the disdain in his voice before he even looked up. Seeing Silas Mulciber came as no surprise.
“Shove off,” spat Harry when he retook his feet, pushing past Mulciber and heading for the nearest tray once more.
By the time he returned to the table, his robes were stained red and smelled of the tangy scent from which the stains had come from. He was in a storming mood as he handed Cassiopeia the wine and retook his seat with as much grace as he could muster, but his anger subsided a moment later, only to be replaced by numb shock and a crushing sense of sudden horror.
He had gone back to searching the room without thinking when he retook his seat, but this time, his target was nowhere to be found. Whilst searching for the wine, he had allowed his focus on Riddle to lapse. Harry had abandoned his tracking altogether after the incident with Mulciber and he suddenly wondered whether this whole thing had been planned, for Emily Riddle was nowhere to be seen.
All was lost on the front of monitoring her — now, all he could do was hope that his measures taken earlier in the month would be enough and that his newest friend had kept his word.
Meanwhile, on the second floor…
Emily had to resist the urge to break into a flat sprint as the door of that dreaded bathroom loomed near. Her heart was beating faster than she could ever remember. Faster than when she had scaled the cliffs as a young girl, faster than when that rabbit had hung from the rafters, and faster even than when Dumbledore had appeared at the orphanage all those years ago. Her entire abdomen felt like it was vibrating and her legs shook beneath her.
Yet still, she was diligent; recasting Homenum Revelio every few metres to ensure she was alone. Finally, she reached the door and allowed her Disillusionment Charm to fall as she stepped inside. Murky water rose up around her shoes, but she didn’t care; she couldn’t care about anything but what was ahead.
The sound of grinding stone roared throughout the room. Emily hastily cast Silencing Charms upon the door as the noise built and built like a revving jet engine. The engraved sink she had discovered not even a week ago was now sliding aside and her eyes were alight with a manic gleam as a filth-coated tube large enough to slide down protruded out from the darkness behind where the sink had been a moment earlier.
Not even the slimy grime covering the slide could deter Emily nor put a damper on what she thought must be the finest moment in her still-young life. The first of many, she thought as she climbed into the tube and allowed the feeling of weightlessness to take hold of her. It was addicting. The most addicting thing she had ever felt; there was nothing like it. She had never deigned to touch a broomstick and she thought them quite undignified, but if the feeling of soaring through the skies was anything like this, she would one day find another way to fly.
Walking through the tunnels was all a blur. Her footsteps must have echoed, but she never heard them. All she heard was the blood racing in her ears and the sound of her own heartbeat thundering so loud it was like someone had begun beating a mighty drum inside her skull.
Many would have shed their own skin at the sight of the massive green one that must have once belonged to the monstrous serpent she knew dwelled within this chamber’s depths, but not her. Emily’s heart soared and beat still faster — she was close, she knew she was close. Soon, the dream she had held for several years would be fulfilled.
And there it was — a set of massive stone doors with serpentine carvings almost as old as the castle itself.
“Open,” she hissed once again, more urgent than she had back up in the bathroom minutes earlier.
These doors parted more quietly than the sink had given way. Not that it mattered; Emily was through them before they had fully opened and her intense blue eyes swept across the fabled chamber, devouring it all like she had dreamed of doing for so long.
The room itself was beautiful. Carved from ancient stone, with elegant pillars reaching so high they touched a ceiling whose splendour was lost in an impenetrable pool of darkness. Sinister things seemed to crawl up the walls, dancing in the long, leaping shadows cast by flickering torches all about the room. Snakes were depicted everywhere and their likenesses made up tattered mosaics that lined the floor. A thin layer of dust coated the room, but it really wasn’t as thick as Emily might have expected.
That actually struck her as mightily odd. How had such a small amount of dust accumulated in such a long period of time? It had been a thousand years; surely this room should have been beyond repair, magic or not?
Then, she saw them — feet-shaped holes in the dust that could only be one thing.
Her heart’s beating redoubled.
No… it couldn’t be. This must be some kind of trickery. The rest of the room was so well-preserved — perhaps she was looking upon the footsteps of Salazar Slytherin himself.
Yet… there had been someone lurking in that corridor.
Emily forcefully cleared her mind and let a probe of magic flow from her wand. It found no one; she was alone, at least for now.
Irrational fear fought to overwhelm her as she marched purposefully towards the towering statue of Salazar Slytherin, but she held it at bay. It mattered not — only she had the power to do this and that was all that mattered.
“Speak to me, Slytherin, greatest of the Hogwarts four!”
Deafening silence greeted her words and for the first time in what felt like years, her Occlumency failed her as the reality of what must have happened bowled over her like a concussive blast. Emily Riddle fell to her knees, clawing at her chest as she screamed like a poisoned dagger had pierced her heart.
Well, this was a big one. I imagine a number of you have put together what actually happened. For those who are unsure, don’t worry, the truth will emerge in the next chapter.
Please read and review.
Thank you as always to my lovely Discord Editors Selth and SlytherinMuffin for their corrections/contributions on this chapter.
A massive thank you is also extended to my Psychic-level patron, ShadowWolf, for his incredibly generous support on that platform!
PS: The next chapter will be posted in exactly two weeks. It will be released for readers on FFN and AO3 on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021. It is available RIGHT NOW to anyone who joins my Discord server. Those who sign up to my P*T*E*N page will gain immediate access to THE NEXT FOUR CHAPTERS. I will be posting the next chapter — 17 — of this story on there tomorrow. Both of those links can be found on my profile. If you have trouble with either of them, a generic search of my pen name will bring up my website and direct links to both can be found via the home page.
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