"Why didn’t the Wen Clan just move into the Manor?” Harry asked as Remus and Aunt Mei Ling guided him across the bridge toward the dining hall the next morning. Rose was afraid of heights, so she stayed back with Sean and Marie to work on the list of repairs for the Manor.
“They did when they came to visit at first,” Aunt Mei Ling said as they climbed the stairs. “But the Li family was known for their particular branch of magic back home and they wanted to bring that here. Ah – you stayed at the Edin Bathhouse in Edinburgh, right?” Harry nodded. “The founder of that was a member of the Li family – my great-aunt.”
“Really?” Harry asked in surprise.
“Yes, she combined the Li water magic with her husband’s Japanese healing magic.”
“Water magic?” Harry repeated as they crossed the great hall.
“That’s what the Li family is known for – magics dealing with water such as aquatic magical creatures and potions. Gong-gong built the Estate out here at the beginning of a water source that ran down to the loch to take advantage of the fresh and mineral water for his experiments.”
“Up here,” Remus said, guiding them up the staircase at the end of the hall. “You’ll be able to see the whole Estate from up here. Now, even though it’s called the Wen Estate, it’s not like the Manor. It wasn’t built just for one family.”
“It wasn’t?” Harry frowned as they exited the roof of the great hall and took a path up to the top of the mountain that was guarded with high wooden banisters.
“No,” Aunt Mei Ling explained. “Gong-gong built a siheyuan, and those affiliated with the Wen built other structures around it.”
“Courtyard house,” Remus translated.
“It’s operated more like an embassy these past few decades,” Aunt Mei Ling said. “A lot of Chinese travellers who visit Albion stayed there, even if they had business with the Minister.”
“It also has a schoolhouse for visiting Shangqing students,” Remus said as they reached the top finally. A clear stone square topped the mountain. On one side was a dais with a border wall behind it, half walls on the sides. On the other side was another dais, but with two small torii on either side of a steep stair up to a little tower with an altar on it.
“What’s that for?” Harry asked.
“Festivals,” Remus said. “They make offerings there like food and totems. Come on.” He walked them across the pavilion to the other side, where a wooden rail protected the edge, giving them something to lean on and look out like an outcrop.
It was truly beautiful. It was a cloudy day, so they could see all around easily without the sun blinding them. The loch was unsteady, lapping at the shores and cliffs. The forests were restless in the wind – pine and beech to the north and east, oak and bamboo to the west and south. The Manor rose like a black stain in the southern mountain, but to the southeast, there was a compound that must have been the Estate.
It was made up of many little pavilions separated by rock with a large waterway on the eastern side which made the pavilions seem like islands. On the west side was a sort of lower town with a raised central stone compound going down the middle, raising to the highest buildings right in the mountain face.
“Okay,” Remus said, standing behind Harry and leaning down to match his eye level. He pointed over Harry's shoulder toward the largest building in the middle. “That’s the great hall, and to the left in the corner, that’s the schoolhouse. To the right, that’s the guest yard down there with houses, hostels, and hotels. And up there, to the south, is the Li siheyuan. That’s where we’ll be staying.”
“That’s not so big,” Harry smiled. “The courtyard just makes it look big, but it has fewer rooms than Privet Drive, doesn’t it?”
“Correct,” Remus nodded. “It’s quite modest, especially compared to the Wen siheyuan back in Shanghai. And many of the families living here in Shéhú used to live out there but moved out when the Estate was evacuated for the war. They’ll probably move back once you move in. I have no doubt the Cho’s are packing. I know they used to live out there. Wei Jing ran the bathhouse there.”
“How long will it take to clean up?” Harry asked.
“Just a few days,” Aunt Mei Ling said. “Everyone who lives out there will take care of their own place and Gong-gong will take care of the public spaces when his entourage arrives – which reminds me! I got a letter from him this morning. He’ll be here this weekend. They got a good wind, and the ice is pretty clear because it’s summer. They’ve had a very smooth crossing, so it’s taking less time than expected.”
“Excellent!” Remus said. “Well, how about we go down and take a look? We can get the siheyuan cleaned up for him at least so that he can rest when he arrives.”
Harry nodded and they took a second staircase down that wrapped around the mountain and ended to the east at the end of the wall the stretched between the fertile fields and grassy tree groves and the rocky mountain slope, protecting the fields and villagers from landslides. The wall took them to the gate, where a bridge crossed the waterway that fed a wheel, which had been pulled up out of the water to protect it from damage while not in use. There was a lot of fish in the waterway, relishing the wide man-made channel, freely swimming out through the gates into different pools. Across the bridge was a pavilion with a stone archway that led to a bridge between two pools with walkways around it.
“This is the fresh water,” Remus said, looking down at the pipes running under the bridge, filtering and cleaning the mountain spring water. “And this feeds into the bathhouse right there.” They passed under an arch to a smaller version of the Edin Bathhouse to the left, the great hall across, the street continuing to the right. “This is where the stalls usually set up to sell wares, but the main shops are in Shéhú.”
“I think they’ve been using those shops as houses since there hasn’t been as much traffic these days,” Aunt Mei Ling said as they descended a wide staircase down and around the great hall. “The shopkeepers will be happy to be able to get back to business once the residents can move back into the lower town.”
“Down there leads to the residences,” Remus pointed at the staircase ahead of them, then to the bridge to the right, heading farther south. “This way to the house.”
“Everything looks to be in great shape,” Harry noted, looking at the rooftops and walls. “This should be easy to get back up and running. A quick dusting, some repairs where needed, and then they can just move back in. How is it in such good condition, though? It’s been empty a long time, right?”
“Gong-gong sends people to clean it every year,” Aunt Mei Ling reminded him. “I wondered why there were no magical creatures here, but it looks like they all went to the Manor instead.”
“The magic at the manor is feeding them, and that dragon, too,” Remus nodded as they climbed toward the estate. Aunt Mei Ling used blood magic to open the gate at the top, leading into a courtyard with buildings on all three sides and another gate in the right corner.
“These are the guest houses,” she said, “but since you’re family, you’ll stay inside. These are more for friends who come to visit.”
“So…Draco could stay here?” Harry asked timidly.
“Yes,” Remus sighed, “your darling Draco can stay with you if you want—”
“Would you stop that!?” Harry snapped, slapping him in the gut, making the man laugh.
Through the second gate, they were faced with a beautiful stone carving that Harry didn’t understand with a small work yard to the right and an entrance yard to the left. “This is the reception room,” Aunt Mei Ling said, referencing the room that overlooked the guest courtyard. They passed an inner gate into a garden with a covered gazebo in the middle and columned buildings on each side.
“This one is my room,” Aunt Mei Ling said, pointing out the right hall. “That one is Gong-gong’s,” she nodded to the central hall, “and this one used to be my mother’s.”
“Would this be Harry's?” Remus asked, pointing to the left hall. “This would be—”
“The East Hall is for the heir, so…wait, since my mother died, that would be mine.”
“Right,” Remus nodded.
“So, then the West Hall would be Xiao Gong.”
“Right, and then the South Hall—”
“Right,” she nodded, walking through a small yard between the Central and West Halls to a pass into a back courtyard. “And then this would be for your party.”
“Rose is directly related to Harry,” Remus reasoned, “so she would have the main South Hall, and then the rest of us would be in the ancillary rooms.”
“Is that…?” Harry asked. “This is about etiquette, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” Remus said. “In China, feng shui prescribes meaning to directions. North is for reputation, so it’s the public rooms. Centre is the strongest, so the head of the household resides there. South is for business, so guests go there. East is for the past and family, so the heir lives there, and west is for children and future, so the next in line would be there.”
“Muggles usually flip that around, actually,” Aunt Mei Ling said, “but mages order it this way for better coordination with the elements and magical passages. That’s how you can tell if a household is magical or not – which direction of feng shui they use.”
“Useful,” Harry said, looking into the South Hall, but all of the furniture was covered in white cloths to protect them from dust. “Alright, let’s get this cleaned. If we start now, we can sleep out here tonight.”
“Allow me,” Remus said, pulling out his wand. He flicked it and a paper bird fluttered out and flew off. “There, the others will get the message and come soon.”
“Let’s start in here,” Harry said. “Rose isn’t used to cleaning.”
It didn’t take long at to clean the Li siheyuan. They were finished by Saturday, by which time, the Cho’s and several other families had also made their way back to their historical houses in the lower town. The bathhouse needed repairs, and the great hall had a rotten beam that needed careful replacing, but the Estate was on the mend. The residents of Shéhú seemed ecstatic to have things back the way they were meant to, already preparing the former shop fronts and helping to clean the gate for easier passage between the two residential areas.
Harry was getting used to people treating him like the local young master, too. It was still uncomfortable, but he didn’t jump when people bowed to him anymore, and the nickname of Xiao Gong was growing on him. He was starting to prefer it over ‘Harry’, especially when he thought about how that was the name Petunia Dursley had given him because she thought ‘Henry’ was too noble for an orphan servant.
Rose’s expertise about household management combined with Remus’ stewardship provided a detailed plan for restoring the manor, aided by a floorplan that Aunt Mei Ling found in the library under the siheyuan where the rest of the Potter Healing Books were stored. Amelia Bones was to arrive Sunday and take Remus back with her to Edinburgh for a few days to find experts to help with the creature relocation and restoration.
The only thing that Harry was still struggling with was having his own bedroom, oddly enough. The bed was firm, so he was able to handle that, but having his own desk, dressing table, wardrobe, all full of things that were his and his alone – that was still a difficult change to adapt to. Bathing regularly and dressing in new clothes daily seemed luxurious after spending five years with just two sets of clothes and a wash basin.
It started to rain during lunch, but the piercing sound of a gong rang through the loch region, catching the attention of the residents, and Harry felt something just barely touch the wards before backing off again.
“They’re here,” Remus said, standing up.
“They’re not coming inside,” Harry said, concentrating. “Do I need to do something?”
“They’re probably waiting for permission,” he said. He pulled out his wand and a red light shot out of it through the window. A moment later, another gong, closer this time, rang out from Shéhú. Two more gongs chimed from farther away and Harry felt the wards opening and closing for a large party.
“Let’s go, let’s go!” Rose said excitedly.
They left the public room and dodged the rain as they passed around to the house’s gate. Remus guided them under the awnings of the guest wing to a staircase in the east part of the yard leading down and into the walls connecting the different pavilions of the Estate. An escape staircase took them down several levels to a square for fishers with docks into the east waterways, where they boarded the covered boat and floated out through two gates to the bridge over the waterfall. The boat fit perfectly under the bridge, shielding them from the rain and giving them a perfect view of the loch.
“Bloody hell,” Remus said in surprise. “They came by ship.”
“That’s…a ship?” Harry asked in awe.
Nestling against the shoreline between Shéhú and the Wen Estate was what appeared to be a giant turtle. Its shell was polished black, it’s flippers wooden. Its head lowered down onto the shore, opening its mouth, from which a parade of people emerged under umbrellas and in covered coaches with enchanted crawling legs instead of wheels.
Remus sent out another flash of light, and a few minutes later, a page boy a few years younger than Harry ran over to them through the rain and spoke in Mandarin to Aunt Mei Ling. She sent him back and turned to the party. “Gong-gong will meet us at the house. He doesn’t want us to get wet and catch cold.”
“Very kind of him,” Remus said, driving the boat backward toward the docks again.
By the time they returned to the house, it was already full of servants. Maids in blue hanfu and footmen in matching changshan were scurrying, cleaning the guest suites and public rooms while the luggage walked itself into chambers and down into the storeroom below the house. A short line of matching trunks was crawling across the courtyard to the central chamber where servants were patiently unpacking and arranging their master’s things as he wanted.
In the gazebo in the middle of the courtyard sat an elderly man with a long white beard and hair bound half back with a crown-like hair ring. His cream hanfu was subtly embroidered with maple leaves and a wide black hem, and it closed at the side of the collar for a clean front. This gave the impression to Harry that he was a no-nonsense type of person, making the teen hesitate before approaching, but as he reached the gazebo, he could see that the man was blind, his eyes cloudy silver.
“Gong-gong,” Aunt Mei Ling greeted, sitting down next to him. “Lao Lupin is here with your great-grandson, Wen Xu Gong, and his maternal cousin, Rose Evans.”
The ancient man looked toward the three, who bowed to him respectfully. “Lao Lupin,” he said in a surprisingly clear but slow voice, “you are good to bring my descendent to me. You must not think of leaving. Marry Mei Ling and join our family.”
“I must humbly refuse,” Remus said steadily. “I am not worthy of her hand.”
“So be it,” he said in an easy-going tone. “Does Xiao Gong look like his mother or father?”
“He looks very much like Ning-gege,” Aunt Mei Ling said. “But he has his mother’s green almond eyes, as does Xiao Rose.”
“And where are your parents, Xiao Rose?”
“They’re in Belfast, Ireland, sir,” she said.
“We’ve taken Rose in, Lao Li,” Remus explained. “Her family has no magic, but she does possess the gift.”
“Xiao Ling,” Grandfather Li said. “You will adopt Xiao Rose immediately. I will not hear any criticism or gossip of her. She will have the protection of the Li Clan and a good marriage.”
“I would be honoured,” Rose said happily. “May I keep my aunt Lily’s name? I wish to honour her with it.”
“You are a good girl,” Grandfather Li smiled. “Of course. This country will call you Rose Evans, but we shall find you a fine name so that Shanghai may celebrate its new daughter.”
Rose squealed in excitement, and he chuckled at her appreciatively. “Xiao Gong, how are your studies?” Harry winced guiltily and shrank into another bow.
“We were going to begin next week,” Remus said. “Xiao Gong has had a very rough month, and the move has been rather hard on him. His magic is still recovering from Hu Li Jing Poison.”
“Understandable,” Grandfather Li said patiently. “I have brought a tutor from Shanghai for you. She is a very kind girl, top of her year at Shangqing. Her mother is from here, so she knows your language well.”
“Thank you, sir,” Harry said.
“Sir? No. You are my grandson – my great-grandson – the only flesh I have left of my first marriage. You will call me tài yé.”
“T-tai…” Harry felt embarrassed about not being able to say something so simple in his father’s tongue.
“You have inherited your father’s shyness,” Grandfather Li said softly. “Then you may call me Gong-gong like he used to.”
“Gong-gong?” Harry repeated. The man smiled nostalgically toward him, and he timidly smiled back.
Grandfather Li was nearly one-hundred years old. As such, traveling down to Shéhú for him was out of the question except for special occasions. Instead, the Mayor and other notable families from the village came to him through the rest of the day, despite the rain, to pay tribute and greet him respectfully. He sat at the gazebo facing the gate and had Harry change into an exquisitely embroidered hanfu to sit by his side, Aunt Mei Ling seeing guests in and out from the gate.
Harry didn’t understand why he was being included in this ritual until he explained it that night at dinner. “I represent the Li Clan. You represent the Potter Clan. Even though you are my Great-Grandson, we are equal in rank because you are a Wen by blood.”
“But I don’t know anything about these rituals or ranks, Gong-gong,” Harry pleaded quietly. “What if I do something wrong again? What if I humiliate the family?”
“They won’t dare think ill of you while I am here,” Grandfather Li assured him. “It takes more than one cold day for a river to freeze a meter deep.”
“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” Aunt Mei Ling translated for him. “Have patience, Xiao Gong. All things are difficult at the start. It only takes hard work to grind an iron rod into a needle. You can’t get fat from just one mouthful.”
“I feel like I have so many things the learn in such a short time,” Harry admitted. “How will I catch up before school starts?”
“I worried as well of this,” Grandfather Li said. “When Lao Lupin left in the spring, I thought we would have more time. However, lessons needed to be learned, the money box had to be counted.”
Harry glanced subtly at Rose, realizing what he meant. The Dursleys had to be handled properly. “Don’t worry so much, Harry,” Rose said. “You can’t learn Chinese in a summer, and I don’t think anyone at Hogwarts will expect you to know it once they learn that you grew up in Ireland. What matters is that you know the things that they’ll know having grown up here. Draco will help with the rest.”
“Tell me about this boy,” Grandfather Li said, looking toward Harry with his sightless eyes.
“Draco Malfoy,” Harry said. “He…he’s my friend. We met in in Diagon Alley, at the Edin Bathhouse. He’s been kind to me, helping me figure out how to act around other people, how to dress, things like that. I made a deal with him that he’ll teach me in exchange for reading from the Potter Healing Books.”
“He desires to be a Healer?”
“Yes. His grandfather is a blood scholar.”
“Was his father with you at Hogwarts, Lao Lupin?”
“A few years older,” Remus nodded. “Lucius has a less than pristine reputation. He supported the Dark Wizard Voldemort who killed Harry's parents.”
“Was he arrested?” Grandfather Li asked.
“No,” Remus said. “He didn’t technically break the law and wasn’t confirmed to have committed any crimes with the other Death Eaters.”
“What of this grandfather of his?”
“Abraxas Malfoy is a well-respected blood scholar. He’s spent most of his career trying to prove the origins of Muggleborns. He wasn’t known to have anything to do with Voldemort.”
“Draco spoke very highly of him,” Harry added.
“Then we will have them here – Lord and heir,” Grandfather Li decided.
“If the father is a tiger,” Remus said quietly, “then the son will also be a tiger.”
“A state cannot have two monarchs, or a family two heads,” Grandfather Li argued. “The predecessors plant the tree, the descendants cool off in the shade. There is a skeleton in every house.”
“A tree does not grow in rocky terrain,” Remus retorted. “It must have soil.”
“I don’t know any fancy Chinese sayings,” Harry interjected. “However, I do know that a bountiful harvest can be followed by a harsh winter, and the hardest winters yield the brightest springs. One bad blizzard isn’t enough to destroy a strong house.”
Grandfather Li laughed merrily and patted Harry's forearm. “You have China in your soul, my child. Well said – very well said. Xiao Ling, invite this bright spring and bountiful autumn here, and kindly encourage this winter to stay in its burrow.”
“I’ll see to it,” Aunt Mei Ling promised.
“Lao Lupin, how long will you be away for?”
“I have to meet with Gringotts again about the Dursley house in Belfast, and to retrieve the vault content like you asked. Then between meetings and interviews and references…probably a week.”
“That will be long enough to repair the Estate,” Grandfather Li nodded, “and Xiao Gong and Xiao Rose will begin learning with their new Shifu.”
“Shifu?” Rose repeated.
“It means teacher,” Remus translated. Harry gulped nervously.
Remus left the next morning, and Harry and Rose dutifully reported to the North Hall for their first lesson with Zhu Zheng Shifu. Harry was extremely nervous as he was introduced to the plain-looking woman in a fitted cross-front short-sleeve shirt and long skirt.
However, he had nothing to be worried about, as Zhu-shifu turned out to be incredibly nice and very humorous. She tested the teens on Sunday for their mathematics, reading, writing, speaking, and history skills. She had a habit of using metaphors with animals, which Rose adored, and offered a range of artistic lessons. Harry decided to learn more about music while Rose focused on her singing.
The next week flew by as they dove into lessons in the north courtyard and hall. Zhu-shifu began to teach them some basic martial arts skills called baguazhang, which focused on breathing techniques and meditative qualities. She spent an hour each day teaching them about their anatomy to help them know what part of their bodies to focus on during their training.
Harry particularly liked that she used Irish myths and knew Irish Gaelic and Ogham so that he could hold onto those skills unlike his father, as well as teaching them some funny Chinese myths and stories. They learned English poetry and common Mandarin phrases and honorifics. Zhu-shifu walked them around the lake and told them the history of Scotland’s native people who lived there with Harry's ancestors. For the first time in a fortnight, Harry felt like he was finally able to understand what it meant to be multi-cultural and multi-ethnic, and it wasn’t quite as intimidating to come from three different heritages anymore.
The full moon was on Thursday, and according to Chinese tradition, the village prepared for the Mid-Autumn Festival as per the lunar calendar that Zhu-shifu had been teaching Harry and Rose.
“This is called the Moon Festival,” she explained as they walked into the great hall, which was being decorated with lanterns and streamers. “It is the celebration of the moon and the Autumnal Equinox.”
“But the equinox isn’t for another fortnight,” Rose pointed out. “Why do they celebrate it today?”
“Because it’s a full moon today. The old calendar is turned by the moon, not the sun, and so the equinox is celebrated when the moon is full, not when the sun is at its equilibrium.”
“So, what happens at the festival?” Harry asked, looking at the lanterns.
“The moon is ruled by the goddess Chang’e. Among mages, it is believed that Chang’e of China married the Japanese moon god, Tsukuyomi, stealing him away from his wife, the sun goddess, Amaterasu. However, their love was so pure and so kind that Amaterasu agreed to a divorce. Many disputing couples divorce or separate amicably during the Moon Festival and have one last night as a couple before starting their new separate lives afterward. In that spirit, many of the residents here have been waiting to fully move into the Estate until after this day to amicably separate from their old houses here in the town.
“Chang’e is said to be pregnant during the full moon and give birth during the new moon, so it’s also a celebration of pregnancy. The lanterns come from a myth about how Chang’e became immortal. It is said that, when she was mortal, she was married to a man who was greatly admired. Another goddess made an elixir of immortality for her husband, Hou Yi, but he loved his wife too much to drink it and become immortal without her. A sorcerer sought the elixir and tried to kill Hou Yi to take it, so Chang’e drank it instead, becoming immortal to save her husband. He began to worship her to stay in her heart, and when he died, the people worshiped her in sympathy for her lost love. They lit lanterns and sent them up into the sky as representations of Hou Yi’s love for her from the earth.”
“Were they real?” Harry asked. “I mean, long ago, were they mages? Was there really an elixir?”
“It was too long ago for anyone to know,” Zhu-shifu said. “The Moon Festival is affiliated with you because you were born on the Autumnal Equinox. Did you know that, for the past ten years, the people of Shéhú have lit the lanterns for you this day, writing well-wishes on them and sending them out toward the Manor every year to honour you?”
“Me?” he asked in shock. “They did that for me?”
“This will be the first Moon Festival with the beloved son returned,” she smiled. “I’m sure everyone is very excited to celebrate it with you, home at last, safe and sound.”
“It’s too bad Remus is missing this,” Rose said sadly.
“He never celebrates the Moon Festival,” Aunt Mei Ling said, joining them with a plate of flaky cakes. “I suppose it’s too sad for him to have to remember what happened to your family. But today is a great celebration. Here – these are mooncakes. They represent reunion – how fitting!”
Harry and Rose each took one and bit into the warm, flaky cakes to find a sweet paste centre. “It’s good!” Harry said, waving to Sean and Marie, who were enjoying a dish of the cakes at a table by the wall.
“These are the Shanghai-style ones,” Aunt Mei Ling said. “You’ll see all kinds of different cakes tonight at dinner. Just be careful. If those two girls offer you ones made of jelly—”
“I was here first!”
“Ugh,” Harry sighed. “And were having such a nice day.”
“Harry!” Xiang said, presenting him with a carved box with – sure enough – jelly mooncakes. “I made these myself—”
“They’re probably poisoned,” Elizabeth hissed, presenting her own plate of jellied cakes. “Try mine! They have some local bearberries in them – a Scottish recipe!”
“Mooncakes are Chinese,” Xiang snapped.
“Don’t be such a snob!” Elizabeth growled.
“Let me guess,” Harry said, catching their attention. “Jellied mooncakes have some romantic myth attached to them that signifies that you and your loved one will be together forever, right?”
“Yep,” Aunt Mei Ling smiled.
“Oops,” Rose said, mouth full of jellied mooncake that she’d swiped while they were arguing.
“Also avoid catching any handkerchiefs during the festival,” Aunt Mei Ling added.
“If you don’t want them, I’ll take them.”
“Draco!” Harry yelped in surprise as the blonde appeared next to him, threw an arm around his neck, and grabbed a mooncake from Elizabeth’s tray, much to her shock and disapproval. “When did you get here?” Harry laughed.
“Just now – I thought you would be able to tell my unique magical presence slipping inside of your wards,” he said suggestively.
“People have been coming and going all day, I’m not paying attention anymore,” Harry said, rolling his eyes at the flirtation.
“Ladies,” Draco said, smiling charmingly at them. “Draco Malfoy, at your service.”
“This is Xiang – sorry, Cho Xiang,” Rose introduced, “and Elizabeth Selwyn.”
“A Selwyn?” Draco grinned. “I hear you ladies are wild adventurers.”
“We are,” Elizabeth said proudly.
“I love your cakes,” he said, biting into it and holding her gaze, making her blush and look away.
“Honestly,” Harry said, shaking his head. “You flirt with everyone!”
“I’m a Malfoy,” he said through his food.
“Don’t speak with your mouth full, Draco.”
Draco turned around, dragging Harry with him, swallowing quickly. “Harry, may I introduce my grandfather, Lord Abraxas Malfoy.”
“Young Master Potter,” the man said, bowing lightly to Harry. He had a stern face with a wide mouth, but the same blonde hair as his grandson tied at the base of his neck like a colonial general.
“Lord Malfoy,” Harry said, bowing back as much as he could with Draco still around his neck. “This is my cousin, Miss Rose Evans.”
“Ah, Miss Evans,” he said taking her hand gently. “As beautiful as your aunt.”
“See?” Draco said, gesturing to his grandfather with the mooncake, “family trait.”
“Li Mei Ling,” Aunt Mei Ling introduced with a bow. “Has someone shown you to the guest wing?”
“Indeed, but I’ve not yet paid tribute to Lord Li,” Lord Malfoy said.
“This way,” Aunt Mei Ling said. They headed out of the hall and Draco swiped another cake from Elizabeth, winking at her disapproving glare. They climbed the stairs up to the estate and walked through the family gate into the courtyard of the siheyuan.
“Wow,” Draco commented. “This is really nice – I mean, not as big as Malfoy Manor, but just as impressive with the entire town here just for you.”
“They’re not here just for us,” Harry rolled his eyes.
“Lord Abraxas Malfoy, Young Master Draco Malfoy,” Aunt Mei Ling introduced at the threshold of the Central Hall. Harry walked around the desk to sit next to Grandfather Li, who turned toward the Malfoys.
“Describe them for me, Xiao Gong,” Grandfather Li requested.
“Lord Malfoy appears austere and proud, with a straight nose and blonde hair to his heart and silver eyes like freshly polished steel. Draco is a flirt, who is well aware of how handsome he is.”
“Oh, Harry,” the teen teased. “You think I’m handsome?”
“His features are softer, and his eyes are like grey fox fur with light blonde hair to his collarbones.”
“It is an honour to meet you, Lord Li,” Lord Malfoy bowed. “I’ve brought a gift of some Welsh cakes for you, our own sort of mooncake.”
“Very thoughtful,” Grandfather Li nodded. “I must thank your grandson for keeping such good care of my Xu Gong. He speaks highly of young Draco.”
“It’s my honour and pleasure to be graced with Harry's illustrious presence,” Draco said. “He is as sweet as a noble fawn, and as wise of as a great owl.”
“I see what you mean about his flirtatious tongue,” Grandfather Li chuckled. “Well, I’ll take no offense, nor guard for intention about it due to its ease, but you will do well to clarify any intent you might have with me concerning my great-grandson, should the need arise.”
“You have my word, Lord Li,” Draco bowed deeply.
“Do sit down,” Grandfather Li said as a pair of servants brought out chairs for the Welshmen. “Lord Malfoy, I understand that your research might be of use to my Xu Gong and little Rose.”
“I hope that I can be of some assistance,” Lord Malfoy nodded. “Master Snape briefed me on the matter of the Hu Ji Ling Poison, and I’ve brought samples of my research concerning the Potter family. I never met the late Lord James Potter, but I was able to borrow a sample of his blood that was kept in the archives of St. Mungo’s hospital in Edinburgh to compare. With Miss Evans here, I can isolate what genetic material is unique to Lady Lily Evans and then what might have evolved in Young Master Harry due to the curse. From there, the poison should be easy to isolate and fully eradicate.”
“Lao Lupin said that you’ve done research into Muggleborns,” Aunt Mei Ling said. “Have you researched transference before?”
“Never on this scale,” he admitted. “As you know, transference is not uncommon in our world. However, for a case of transference to incur to this degree – while not unprecedented, it has not happened in my lifetime. This case is complicated by the Killing Curse and its effects, which seem to have created a sort of infection of its own. This is completely unprecedented, as no mage has ever been known to survive the Killing Curse by a capable caster.”
“Research of this kind takes time,” Grandfather Li said. “How long would you say…?”
“Several months at the least, “Lord Malfoy estimated, “though access to any records about Potter and Wen genetic material that you have would be useful. I was hoping that there might be a lock of hair or even a blood relic that I could use.”
“I am unsure,” Grandfather Li said. “This, Lao Lupin would know better.”
“Well,” Draco said. “In the meantime, I’ll just keep Harry entertained and help him pick one of those charming girls competing over him.”
“Why do I have to pick one?” Harry asked. “Maybe I don’t want to be with either one.”
“Then I’ll help you tactfully reject them – either way, you can’t keep stringing them both along with your shy sweetness and tentative dismissals.”
“Love is for the young,” Grandfather Li chuckled. “Go, enjoy the festival, you three.”
“See you later, Gong-gong,” Rose said, kissing his cheek. Harry touched his wrist before leaving behind her with Draco throwing his arm around his shoulder once more.
I have found some issues while reviewing the work as a whole starting the Diagon Alley chapters. I have decided that it's best to deal with these issues now before they raise more issues later, so I will be editing the past 5 chapters or so over next week. Once I'm on that roll, it should be easy to whip out the next chapter, so I don't expect it to be late, but if you come back and see that the story is missing a bunch of chapters - that's why. I'm editing them and then I'll repost them.