269 The First Hunt

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The array of contorted lights and scenery flashed past Quinn's eyes.

His feet landed on the solid ground after apparating through the fabric of space. He stretched his extremities, relieving himself of the usual feeling of being stuffed through a narrow tube.

Quinn raised his face hidden behind the Noir mask to glance upon the majesty of the blazing summer sun. He blinked as his eyes adjusted to the new light.

He stood in a country lane bordered by high, tangled hedgerows, beneath a summer sky as bright and blue as a forget-me-not. Some ten feet in front of him walked a little girl with pigtails, skipping down the dusty road with a thing of flowers in hand. The girl passed by Quinn, seemingly oblivious to his masked and hooded presence under the anti-muggle charm covering him.

Quinn walked forward with deft steps on the path he had surveyed multiple times before during the initial scouting of his target destination. He stopped and stared at the wooden signpost that stuck out of the brambles on the left-hand side of the road. The wooden sign had two arms. The one pointing in the direction the little girl had walked toward read: GREAT HANGLETON, 5 MILES. The other arm, which pointed to the front, said, LITTLE HANGLETON, 1 MILE.

He walked the short path with grass on either side with nothing to see but the hedgerows, the vast blue sky overhead, and his own light footsteps. Then the lane curved to the left and fell away, sloping steeply down a hillside so that he had a sudden unexpected view of a whole valley laid out in front of him. Quinn could see a village, undoubtedly Little Hangleton, nestled between two steep hills, its church and graveyard clearly visible. Across the valley, set on the opposite hillside, was a once handsome manor house surrounded by a wide expanse of eerier weed-covered lawn.

Quinn looked down the downward sloping hill with a steep angle and considered if he should trot down but decided against it. He stepped forward, and the winds came sweeping in beneath Quinn's feet, lifting him a foot above the ground as he glided down the slope.

If he continued down to the base, he would have reached Little Hangleton; however, the village wasn't his final destination. He rounded right on a curve and entered upon a narrow dirt track bordered by higher and wilder hedgerows than those he had left behind. The path was crooked, rocky, and potholed, sloping downhill like the last one, and at the end of it was a patch of dark trees a little below him. The track soon opened up at the copse, and Quinn cut the gliding winds and came to a halt on the ground.

Despite the cloudless sky, the old trees ahead cast deep, dark, cool shadows, and despite having scouted the area before, it took a few seconds before he could discern the building half-hidden amongst the tangle of trunks.

It was a strange location to choose for a house, or else an odd decision to leave the trees growing nearby, blocking all light and the view of the valley below. It was clear from the moss growing on the walls and the broken-off tiles on the roof, which left the rafters exposed, that the place was inhabited. Nettles grew all around it, their tips reaching the windows, which were tiny and thick with grime.

'So this is it,' Quinn stared at the old cottage, 'The Gaunt Shack.'

The ancestral home of the Gaunt family, located in the woods just outside the village of Little Hangleton. It was a shabby little shack that once housed Marvolo Gaunt, his wife, their son Morfin, and daughter Merope. The father and the son being the other two Parseltongue residing in Britain other than Voldemort and Harry Potter.

Quinn walked to the decrepit door of the cottage and stared at the rotten door, which had bent out of its frame and only stood ajar because of its odd position. He waved a hand, and the door separated from its joint and flew to the side as Quinn stepped inside.

The house seemed to contain three tiny rooms. Two doors led off the main room, which served as kitchen and living room combined. A broken and filthy armchair sat beside a choked and dusty fireplace. The ceiling was thick with cobwebs, the floor beneath his boots coated in grime. The only light came from broken and boarded windows that received the sunlight filtering from the trees outside.

The floorboards under his feet creaked as he walked around the house, looking around. He stood in the middle of the cottage, and a light blue aura spread out from him in a dome shape, phasing through the broken furniture, pillars, walls, doors to cover the entire house. He got no response from the scan, so he tried it again. A red dome scanned the Gaunt Shack, then a green one, followed by a variety of detection charms looking for magical enchantments.

*Ping*

The voice came from the bedroom where a bed split down the middle lay broken on the floor. Quinn waved his hand, and the bed shrunk down to a matchbox, leaving the part of the room empty. He stared at the floorboards that were as patchy and grimy as any other piece of the floor in the cottage, but there was something magical in them.

The wooden boards creaked as rusted nails holding down them popped out, and the planks held down by the age-old glue came out apart easily. There was a patch of the earth beneath them, but Quinn wasn't fooled; he dug the mud out with magic and finally laid his eyes upon the motive of him coming here.

A golden box sat there buried in the foundation of the house.

Quinn bent his forearm up, and the box rose up. It was heavy. Quinn suspected it was genuine gold. If it was, then it would be fitting the nature of its owner and creator. Quinn blew on it, and the mud and dust were stripped away, bringing out the gleaming and inviting sheen of the gold box.

The box was set down on the floor, and Quinn kneeled beside it. His eyes and magic observing the enchantments keeping the box locked. He had to admit, they were powerful, despite the very long period of lack of care.

"Now, let's break them up."

Quinn's magic began its work and worked to dismantle the enchantments that made the box into a black box capable of surviving being blasted in the sky and dropping down the high altitude down to the ground in freefall.

"Magic from various cultures," commented Quinn, his eyes looking at the box a complicated and excited eyes. The amalgamation of different cultures of magic worked together to create something that even Quinn found tricky to solve, and yet it was the proof of concept that he wanted to accomplish.

*Click*

The box unlocked after an hour of effort.

Quinn took a deep breath and raised his gloved finger to lift up the lid, and sucked in a cold breath at the solitary ring that sat inside.

It was a gold ring etched with detailed designs and looked as if it had been just polished, gleaming like the rays of the sun itself.

Marvolo Gaunt's Ring.

On the top of the ring, fixed underneath the four gold fangs, was a black gemstone. Quinn's eyes remained fixed on the gemstone, on the design that was inscribed onto it — a line with a circle drawn from the top enclosed inside a triangle.

The signature of the Deathly Hallows.

And, the gemstone. . .

"Resurrection Stone," said Quinn sighing a cold breath in the mid-summer.

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He thought it was beautiful, enchanting, and something that would look great on his finger, where it belonged.

*Thud*

"Hmph," he smirked. His mental shields had effortlessly thwarted the mental curse.

Quinn looked down at his hand and saw the Gaunt Ring in his right with his left hand's fingers outstretched, obviously so that he could put on the ring. A cold sweat trickled down his temple beneath his mask, and his nap felt cold.

He had just nearly put the cursed ring on.

The ring. Gaunt's Ring. A terrible curse was cast upon it. A curse that would wither away the one who would put it on, leading to a swift and quick death to get them away from the ring. However, there was one more, another curse that made the ring more deadly than it was — it enticed those who gazed upon it to slip it on so that it could lead them to their death.

"Won't you look at that, the mighty Quinn West trembling in front of a measly magical ring?"

Quinn looked up from the ring and saw himself. . . 'him'. . . squatting in front of Quinn, matching eye levels. 'He' looked exactly the same as Quinn; the only difference was that 'he' was dressed in a suit while Quinn was dressed in the Noir transformative suit.

"It has been a while, hasn't it," 'Quinn' said, smirking. "The last time we met was in Lupin's class, and the Boggart took the form of yours truly," he said, touching up his tie with a confident smirk. [Ch. 79]

Quinn's eyes went to the 'Quinn's' hand and saw a wand — Acacia wood, fourteen inches, rigid.

"Oh, you notice this beaut," said 'Quinn,' holding the wand in both hands. "Of course, you'd notice it; it's the wand that chose you and the one you have been betraying for the past six years. I don't know what your problem is, but I quite like it," 'he' smirked, "I'm power incarnate with it in my hand."

Quinn stared at 'him,' "Why would you, my worst fear, be here to convince me to put on the ring? I would never do a thing you say."

'He' laughed loudly. It was wild, rambunctious, and louder than Quinn had ever laughed in his life.

"Me, your fear?" 'he' said between laughs. "Man, you can crack a joke or two from time to time." 'Quinn' leaned forward, put his face close to Quinn, and stared at him with 'his' glowing purple eyes. "I'm not your fear, Quinn. I am you. I'm you when your worthless Ego is eliminated, and the golden Id is given time to shine. I'm your Greed, Pride, Gluttony, Sloth, Envy, Wrath, and Lust.

"Speaking of Lust, you bagged Daphne; good job there. She's a total hottie. But why are you wasting time by just tasting her. . . when you can eat her up. . . I can imagine it, she'll taste heavenly," 'Sin-Quinn' cackled, "just ask her, she'll agree. . . you have noticed it, right? She never disagrees with you, always supportive like a good pureblood wife. . . such a good girl.

"I'm sure she won't refuse if you bring in the spicy redhead into the mix," said 'Sin-Quinn,' licking his lips. "A ménage-a-trio. . . just thinking about sends a shiver down my spine."

"Shut up!"

'Sin-Quinn' grinned and raised his hands in surrender. 'He' looked down at the ring and spoke, "But you have to agree with me when I say that they deserve some closure, don't they?"

"What the hell are you talking about?" asked Quinn.

"Come on, you know what I'm talking about, silly, I am you, after all," said 'Sin-Quinn,' placing a hand on his cheek and looked at Quinn as if he was a child. "Grandfather lost his young son before time; he was so young. And Lia lost both her parents at the tender of ten, leaving her to care for her younger brother of one. Don't you think they deserve to meet Adam and Aria West one last time to get some closure in their eyes. . . after they both only have each other in the name of family.

". . . After all, we took their precious grandson and brother away from them," 'he' said.

Quinn looked at his alter-ego, but instead of red rage, there was a look of stunned surprise on his face.

"Why do you make such a face?" he asked, looking at the guilty look on 'Sin-Quinn's face.'

'Sin-Quinn' looked down at the ring with a twisted wry smile, ". . . Why are you being silly again? Didn't I tell you? I am you. I'm the essence of your deepest and truest feelings. . . just like the worthless you, even I feel guilty about taking the child's life and taking over."

"Quinn died from falling from his window," Quinn bit back heatedly, clenching his empty trembling hand.

"Not according to our memory, he didn't," said 'Sin-Quinn.' "The bout of accidental magic made him bounce off the ground, and then we took over." 'Sin-Quinn' sighed again and shook 'his' head, "It doesn't matter what happened, you know," 'he' stared at Quinn, "as long as you believe that you killed Quinn, logic has no place in this argument."

Quinn had no rebuke to that. It made sense. . . Sin-Quinn was his everything multiplied and let out without a moral filter. Humans were inherently illogical beings, who ran on their emotions rather than logic, and if he believed certain things, then that was it.

"So, how about it, buddy?" said 'Sin-Quinn,' putting 'his' hand on Quinn's shoulder. "How about we put on the ring and let our beloved family meet their loved ones. . . maybe we can even try calling for the real Quinn and find the truth — if we didn't cannibalize his soul, then he would appear, and that would grant us some peace, don't you think."

"Y-Yes. . . Yes, we should do that," said Quinn. "Lia, grandfather, Uncle Elliot, and Ms. Rosey would be ha-a-ppy. . . w-we can call the Real-Quinn. . . ah, I-I-I can even call grandmother and-and let grandfather meet her. He would be so happy!"

'Sin-Quinn' nodded with a smile, a patent Quinn controlled-smile.

Quinn patted his chest once, and the mask disappeared — leaving behind an unamused expression on Quinn's face as he stuck out his tongue.

"Did you thought I would say that YOU FUCKING THIRD-GRADE FAKE OF A REPLICA?" Quinn said, rendering 'Sin-Quinn' stunned. "Come on, man, what kind of shitty curse is that? Hey Dark Lord, is this the best you can do with a soul attack? Hey, are you listening?"

"W-What?" asked 'Sin-Quinn.'

Quinn stood up from his kneel and took out a spherical glass container with a cloudy tint. "Are you really supposed to me? I was convinced that the soul attack got everything until you started to spout the bullshit about using the Resurrection Stone. Because I would never suggest no matter how delirious I was.

"Why would I willingly take on a life-ending curse which will kill me when I have a sure-fire method to destroy the curse?" said Quinn taking out a small vial with the same cloudy tint. "If I wanted to use the Resurrection Stone after I destroyed the retched object it's attached to."

He poured the deep-purple-almost black liquid from the vial into the sphere container.

"W-What are you doing?" asked 'Sin-Quinn' looking between Quinn's face and his hands. "What's that?"

"You don't know?" asked Quinn. "The curse must really depend upon the mental aspect that I blocked. And here I thought that the soul-splitting maniac would have better knowledge of the soul. But I'll give you the credit where it's deserved — you sure got a lot of memories that were connected deeply to my emotions despite the mental failure."

Quinn swivelled the liquid in the sphere container. "This my fake-me is Basilisk Venom," he smirked at 'Sin-Quinn,' whose eyes widened to the limit. "You guessed right, it's from the same Basilisk that you found in the Chamber of Secrets when you were in school — Tom Marvolo Riddle."

'Sin-Quinn's' face darkened at the mention of the name.

"You might not know because it wasn't in the book, but Basilisk Venom can destroy a. . . Horcrux," said Quinn, continuously enjoying the ugly expression on 'his' face. "I actually told the same thing to the Diary you — man, you have the best expressions — but both the Basilisk and Horcrux were created by Herpo The Foul. Quite ironic, don't you think? The man who created a magic of immortality also created the things that could destroy it."

A horrified expression and stark-white expression of fear appeared on 'Sin

Quinn's' face as 'he' raised 'his' hand to reach out to Quinn, but 'his' hands passed through Quinn.

Quinn held the ring between his index finger and thumb, showed it to 'Sin-Quinn,' grinned, and dropped the ring inside the sphere. "Bloop~!"

"No!!!" yelled 'Sin-Quinn.'

A violent sizzling sounded inside the glass sphere, with a black haze filling the inside of the sphere.

Quinn looked up at his likeliness started to melt and burn while letting out painful screams in his own voice. 'Sin-Quinn,' about to perish, looked at Quinn, who spoke some parting words.

"I wish I could say that you got close to enticing me, but I would be lying. . . sorry, Horcrux, but my wand is more tempting than you."

As Quinn's words ended, so did the life of Voldemort's Gaunt Ring Horcrux.

"Oh, shit!" Quinn hurriedly straightened his hands as the activated Basilisk Venom, which just had a violent reaction with the Horcrux, ate through the specially-made glass (Quinn's invention) which could hold Basilisk Venom for a couple of months.

Quinn goggled at the bubbling Basilisk Venom that ate through the wood and seeped into the ground below. His eyes went back to the sphere as he removed his hand from it and let it float. He transfigured a hole back open and let the blackened ring fly out of it.

A blob of water covered it, and it sizzled immediately because of the residual venom, which spent itself by eating away at the water, leaving the ring safe for Quinn to grab.

Quinn grabbed the ring with his gloved hands. He grabbed the ring-hoop with one and pulled out the gemstone with his other.

He stared at the gemstone, which, unlike the charred ring, looked untouched — the Basilisk Venom hadn't harmed it. . .

"Resurrection Stone. . . maybe because it's a soul artifact, the Horcrux couldn't attach itself to the stone and only stayed on the ring," said Quinn, but it was only speculation from his side.

". . . Soul Artifact."

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Quinn West - MC - The First Kill Of The Hunt

'Sin-Quinn' - Defense Mechanism Manifestation - Soul-based attack of Horcrux.

FictionOnlyReader - Author - Re-Read if it's not clear. And I will leave it up to you to think about where the truth of the 'Sin-Quinn' ended and where the lies began. . .

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