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Albus Potter and the Path Left Untrodden by Gryffin_Duck
Chapter 26 : The Presuler
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 15


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Disclaimer-  I don't own Harry Potter.


   Professor Balladanis didn't say anything for a long time after he, Albus, and Malfoy returned to the Defense classroom.  Albus landed next to Malfoy, still confused as to how he managed to get out of the pensieve, in front of Balladanis's desk.  Balladanis landed behind his desk, facing the wall, and didn't turn around for a few minutes.

    Albus glanced nervously at his professor as he thought of questions he was just burning to ask.  In fact, there was nothing about the scene he had just witnessed that didn't make Albus curious.  Everything about it had been confusing.

    Malfoy looked just as confused.  They kept looking at each other and it was kind of strange.  They were on the same side.  Both of them wanted Balladanis to explain. 

    Balladanis finally turned around and looked at them.  He put his hands on his desk and leaned forward, looking both Albus and Malfoy in the eye. 

    It happened in a split second.  Albus looked at his professor and immediately thought back to the face of the boy in the scene.  That was why he looked familiar. The boy was Balladanis.  Then, Balladanis shifted slightly and the likeness was gone.  But Albus knew it.  That scene had been from Balladanis's childhood.

    “Sit down,”  Balladanis said.

    Albus and Malfoy sat down quickly at the table in front of Balladanis's desk. They were sitting right next to each other and Albus didn't care.  At the moment, finding out what that scene was was more important than staying away from Malfoy.

    “A few weeks ago you asked me what I did before I started teaching here, Mr. Potter,”  Balladanis began,  “I have always had the intention of telling you, of telling both of you.  I was merely waiting for the right moment.  I feel that that moment is now.”

    Balladanis paused and walked around to the front of his desk.  He began to pace in front of it. 

    “There is a reason why I am telling you this now.  Why I am not explaining to all of my classes what I did before teaching.  The reason is that you two are incredible duelers.  Both of you have skills beyond your years that I have never seen before, and believe me, I have seen plenty of exceptional duelers in my time. This may be a good time to tell you how rare it is to have two such skilled duelers in the same year at Hogwarts.”

    Albus turned to look at Malfoy.  What was Balladanis getting at?  It sounded like the start of some sort of house unity speech or something. 

    “I know the two of you aren't the best of friends,”  Balladanis continued, “But I must say how impressed I am that you seem to put the animosity behind you when you step into my classroom for your lessons.”

    The sole reason for that, at least for Albus, was because of Balladanis himself.  Albus doubted he would tolerate Albus and Malfoy bickering with each other during lessons.

    “Back to what I was going to tell you,”  Balladanis said,  “That scene that I just showed you, in case you have not figured it out yet, took place while I was a boy of only thirteen.  It was the summer before my third year at school.

    “I grew up in Greece, in that very house we just saw.  My parents, although they loved me deeply, were very poor and could barely afford to put food on the table.  I think they were grateful when I went away to school, the sole reason being that they wouldn't have to worry about me getting enough to eat.

    “I had two blissfully innocent and fun years at the Grecian School of Magic. I returned home during summers full of stories about my friends and all the mischief we'd gotten into.”

    Albus found it difficult to imagine Balladanis getting into trouble at school or doing anything fun in general.

    “Everything changed the summer before my third year.  It changed on the night you just witnessed.  A coven of vampires entered my house that night.  They attacked my parents and drank them dry.  I hid in a closet, too scared to do anything.  Then, once the vampires left, I fled.  I ran until I could not run anymore.  I wound up at the house of one of my friends.  His parents took me in, but things were obviously never the same.  I changed on that night.”
   
    Balladanis stopped talking and Albus sat in complete shock.  Balladanis's parents had been murdered by vampires?  That was one thing that had never crossed Albus's mind. 

    “I returned to school that September hardened.  Nothing was fun anymore. Nothing was funny.  It was then that I decided to devote my life to ridding the world of such evils.  Vampires, dark wizards, werewolves, anyone and anything that murders viciously.”

    Albus couldn't help but glare at Balladanis when he mentioned werewolves. Balladanis seemed to notice this and gave Albus the slightest of smiles.

    “However, I did realize that not all vampires, werewolves, giants, and other beings are inherently evil.  Not all of them want to kill.  It was for this reason that I did not wish to be employed by the Greek Ministry.  The Greek Ministry prefers to deal with magical creatures as a whole and not distinguish between them.  Perhaps this is because Greece has a very large population of vampires.

    “Thus, becoming an Auror was out of the question. Instead, I chose to enter a more secretive profession.  One that you will not find pamphlets on when you get career advice from your heads of house.  One that no one except me is going to suggest to you.  Yet it is one that I believe the two of you are quite suited for.”

    Albus's heart sped up at this.  Balladanis was going to give them career advice?  They were only thirteen.  But at the same time, Albus felt excited. Balladanis thought he was a good enough dueler for this career, whatever it was.

    “I am a Presuler,”  Balladanis said,  “I am sure neither of you have heard of one.  A Presuler is somewhat like an Auror, in that we seek out dark wizards and dark magic.  However, we not only seek out dark wizards and dark magic, we seek out dark and dangerous creatures as well.

    “The biggest difference is that Presulers are not employed by the Ministry. There are very few Presulers in the world and we are often sought out by various Ministries and hired on an as-needed basis.  We travel from country to country, whenever we are needed.  It is quite secretive.  I suppose Presulers are a combination of Aurors and private investigators.”

    Balladanis was right in that Albus had never heard of a Presuler before.  The idea intrigued him, though.  A secretive kind of Auror who did not work for the Ministry. 

    “I never caught the vampires who killed my parents.  I have met one vampire who knew them, but she is not like them.  I am still searching for them, however.”

    Balladanis stopped pacing and leaned up against the front of his desk.  He looked at Albus and Malfoy, but did not say anything else.

    “Why are you teaching here, then?”  Malfoy asked.

    “That is one thing that is between myself and Professor Kendrick,” Balladanis replied.

    “Are you coming back next year?”  Malfoy asked.

    “As of right now, I have no idea,”  Balladanis answered,  “It is getting late.  I've kept you here much longer than normal.  If you think of anymore questions, do not hesitate to see me.  I'll walk you back to your common rooms.”

    Albus walked alongside Balladanis in silence on his way back to the Gryffindor Tower.  His mind was racing with what he just learned.  He didn't know what to make of it.  It was just so much information at once.

    The common room was nearly empty when Albus climbed through the portrait hole.  It must have been really late, since it was Friday night.  Albus really didn't know what time it was.

    “There you are!”  Rose shouted,  “Merlin, you've been gone for hours!”

    “What did he have you doing?”  Matt asked.

    “I'll tell you tomorrow,”  Albus muttered, realizing that all he wanted to do was lay in his bed and think about what Balladanis had just said.

    Albus was vaguely aware of his friends sighs of disappointment as he went up to his dormitory, but he didn't feel like talking about it right then.  He was tired and his mind was racing at the same time. 

    Albus tossed and turned the entire night.  He alternated thinking about what he had seen in the pensieve and about becoming a Presuler himself.  Then he wound up thinking about Linda and what Balladanis thought of her.  He had said he didn't hold a grudge against vampires that didn't kill people, but who knew what he really thought.

    Was Linda the vampire he had met who knew the vampires who killed his parents?  It was possible since vampires never aged.  Or maybe she was a completely different vampire.  Albus wondered how many vampires Balladanis knew.

    Eventually Albus fell into a restless sleep, but his dreams were plagued by what he had seen in the pensieve. 

                        ******

    “Merlin, Albus, get up!”

    Albus rolled over in his bed and put his pillow over his head.  After waking up drenched in sweat at four in the morning after a nightmare in which his whole family had been killed by vampires, he had finally drifted off into a somewhat decent sleep.  One that he wished he was still in.

    “It's nearly one o'clock.”

    “He's like you are after full moons.”

    “Shut it.  Seriously, Albus, get up.”

    “Yeah, we want to know what happened last night.”

    Someone pulled the curtains open and took the pillow off Albus's head.  He looked up and saw John and Matt.

    “Did you lose to Malfoy or something?”  John asked,  “Because that would make me want to hole up in bed for the day.”

    “No, it's not that,”  Albus muttered,  “I'll tell you, but I'm only explaining it once, so one of you better find Rose, Amanda, and Kaden.  And I'll tell you in the Marauder's Den because there is no way Linda can be around to hear this.”

    The girls and Kaden met them in the Marauder's Den after Albus, John, and Matt had lunch.  John kept pestering Albus all through lunch, wanting to know why Linda couldn't hear about it, but Albus said nothing.  He wasn't even sure if he was allowed to tell his friends about this, but Balladanis hadn't really forbidden him.

    “Albus, what in the name of Merlin happened last night?”  Rose asked as soon as they were all in the Marauder's Den.

    “Balladanis told us what he did before he started teaching at Hogwarts,” Albus said quietly.

    “And you neglected to tell us until now?”  John gaped,  “I've been wanting to know for the entire year!”

    “I know, John,”  Albus snapped,  “But it's not anything what you'd think.”

    “Sorry,”  John muttered.

    “Balladanis took us into a pensieve last night,”  Albus began.

    “Really?”  Rose looked impressed,  “What was that like?”

    “Not that great, to be honest,”  Albus said,  “Probably would have been better if it was a better memory. 

    “Anyway, he took us without any explanation of what we were going to see.  He took us to this really old broken down house in Greece.  Kind of looked like a smaller more run-down version of the Shrieking Shack.”

    “In Greece?”  Kaden asked.

    “Yeah,”  Albus nodded,  “We watched the house for what seemed like hours and then these figures broke into it and we heard this awful screaming.  Then the figures left.  Then this bloke who was about our age came running out with this horrible scared look on his face.  Then we left.”

    “What does that have anything to do with what Balladanis does for a living?” John asked.

    “Everything,”  Albus sighed,  “That had been his house.  The screams were his parents.  The boy was him.  He told us this after.  His parents were killed by a coven of vampires.”

    Nobody said anything for a long time.  Albus looked at his friends and they all wore equal looks of shock.

    “And you watched it?”  Matt asked.

    “From a distance,”  Albus replied.

    “Merlin, no wonder Balladanis is so bloody insane,”  John let out a low whistle.

    “He decided to devote his life to ridding the world of evil, whether it be vampires, dark wizards, or other dark creatures,”  Albus continued.

    “So he's an Auror?”  Rose asked.

    “No,”  Albus shook his head,  “He's a Presuler.”

    “What is that?”  Kaden asked.

    “It's like an Auror, only they go after dark creatures, too.  And they aren't employed by the Ministry.  They're hired by Ministries all around the world. They're investigators as well.  Apparently it's all very secretive,”  Albus explained.

    “Wow,”  John said,  “I thought he was an Auror or something.”

    “Me, too,”  Matt agreed,  “Instead he just hunts down vampires.  And, werewolves.”

    “Only ones that kill people,”  Albus assured his lycanthropic friend.

    “All werewolves have the capability of killing people, Albus,”  Matt said quietly.

    “So does everyone,”  Albus replied.

    “Whatever his view on vampires and werewolves truly is, it's going to be interesting to see how he teaches us about them,”  Rose mused.

    “Guess this is why you didn't want Linda to hear about this,”  John said.

    “Yeah,”  Albus replied,  “Apparently he still hasn't found the vampires who killed his parents, but he knows a vampire who knows them.  That vampire doesn't kill people.  I wonder if it's Linda.”

    “Who knows?”  Rose shrugged,  “I doubt we'll ever find out.”

    “Oh, I've got to tell you what he said after he told us all of this,”  Albus took a deep breath,  “He thinks Malfoy and I should become Presulers.”

    “Seriously?”  Matt asked.
   
    “Yeah, because we're good duelers,”  Albus explained,  “But I don't know.”

    “You don't have to know.  You're only thirteen.  And Albus, don't decide anything until you've read about this.  Don't just go on what Balladanis is saying. I think we've finally discovered why he's so passionate about fighting the Dark Arts, but it might cloud his judgement sometimes,”  Rose warned.

    “I know, that's what I don't get,”  Albus said,  “Why is he telling us this now?”

    “Maybe because he doesn't plan on staying,”  Matt replied,  “Why would he stop searching for the vampires who killed his parents to teach here anyway?”

    “Malfoy asked,”  Albus told him,  “But he wouldn't tell us.  He said it's between him and Kendrick.”

    “Because that's not suspicious or anything,”  John rolled his eyes,  “There's still something funny about Balladanis.”

    “What are you going to do, Albus?”  Matt asked.

    “I'm not deciding anything now,”  Albus replied,  “I'm just not going to think about it.”

                        ******

    Not thinking about Presulers and what happened to Balladanis's parents proved to be easier said than done, especially since Defense class was soon devoted to learning about vampires.  Balladanis seemed to teach that particular unit with much more enthusiasm than usual, a feat that nobody thought possible.  Everyone speculated as to why Balladanis was more enthusiastic than usual, but most just attributed it to the fact that he was bloody insane.

    A lot of what Balladanis taught about vampires was stuff Albus already knew due to what Matt had told them earlier in the school year.  It was still fairly interesting, though.  Albus found that the more dangerous the creature they were learning about, the more interesting it was.  Not to mention the fact that they didn't use the anamatek anymore, a fact that nearly every student was grateful for.

    However, partway through their second week devoted to vampires, the anamatek's trunk reappeared in the Defense classroom.  There was an audible groan from every student who stepped into the room.

    “If that thing turns into a vampire, I think I'm going to get up and leave,”  John seethed as they took their seats.

    “Maybe we're moving onto another creature,”  Albus suggested even though he knew the chances were slim to none.

    “That wouldn't be any better.  We're doing werewolves next,”  John reminded him,  “And Matt said that thing couldn't turn into an actual werewolf.  Speaking of Matt, he's lucky he's missing this.”

    “I think he'd say otherwise,”  Albus replied.  The full moon had been the previous night. 

    “Quiet,”  Balladanis said,  “We'll be continuing our vampire lesson today. Today I wish to show you what a vampire looks like, which is why I have brought back the anamatek.  However, you will not be fighting it.  None of you have the skills necessary to fight a vampire.”

    “He's mental,”  John muttered.

    Balladanis drew his wand and pointed it at the trunk.  It snapped open and out stepped a very pale man with chiseled features.  He didn't move, but merely stared out at all the students.

    “Vampires are the perfect predator,”  Balladanis announced,  “They're incredibly fast,”  he pointed his wand at the vampire and it disappeared.

    It reappeared in the back of the classroom, but it had not Apparated.  The vampire had moved so fast that Albus had missed it in the blink of an eye.

    “They're agile,”  Balladanis continued,  “They're good looking.  They attract you in.  Then they kill, they suck you dry until you are dead.  The alternative is not great, either.  From the moment their teeth break your skin, you begin to transform into a vampire as well.  You will become one if they do not suck you dry. There is no way to stop it, no potion to counteract it.

    “Vampires hunt at night when their vision is still excellent, but when human vision is compromised.  However, that is not the only reason.  Does anyone know the other?”

    Rose raised her hand.  Linda did not.

    “Yes, Miss Weasley?”  Balladanis said.

    “Vampires are in essence allergic to the sun,”  Rose explained,  “When the sunlight hits them, it hurts them.  The sun gives them headaches and makes them feel sick.”

    “Precisely,”  Balladanis gave her a rare smile,  “There is no potion to counteract the effects of the sun on vampires.  Therefore they tend to inhabit areas that see less sun and areas of dense forest, such as the Northwestern and Northeastern United States, parts of Canada, and parts of Russia.  However there is also a significant vampire population in Greece.”

    Balladanis pointed his wand at the vampire again and it retreated back into the trunk.  Everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief.  The lesson continued until the bell rang.  Balladanis made no mention of moving onto the next unit, nor had he assigned the usual end of the unit essay.

    Albus and his friends went to visit Matt late that night after Albus got out of Quidditch practice.  They only had a half hour or so until curfew, but they hadn't visited at all yet.

    “You missed an excellent Defense lesson today,”  John said once Madam Pomfrey had gone back into her study after leaving to see who had entered her ward.

    “Was it any different from the usual ones?”  Matt asked tiredly.  He looked ready to fall asleep at any moment.

    “Balladanis brought back the anamatek,”  Albus told him.

    “He what?”  Matt shouted, although since his voice was hoarse it wasn't very loud,  “We're still doing vampires, aren't we?”

    “Yeah, he had it turn into a vampire,”  John said,  “We didn't have to fight it.  He just used it to show how fast vampires were and what they looked like.”

    “That is weird,”  Matt replied,  “He assign the vampire essay yet?”

    “Nope,”  John shook his head,  “I think we're in for a few more days of vampires.”

    “Well, the longer we spend on vampires, the more time we have before we start werewolves,”  Matt said quietly,  “I really hope he doesn't spend as much time on them as he has on vampires.”

    “I don't think he will,”  Albus said,  “His parents weren't killed by werewolves.”

    “Thank Merlin for that,”  Matt yawned.

    “You're tired,”  Rose said,  “We should leave.”

    “We'll be back tomorrow after lunch,”  Albus told him,  “Good night.”

    “'Night,”  Matt said.

    They left the ward just as Madam Pomfrey was coming out of her study, presumably to tell them to leave and give Matt more potions.  Albus and his friends headed straight for the common room, where they got started on all the homework that had been piled on them that day.


A/N:  Thanks to my beta, Dancer_of_Starlight, as well as all the awesome people who have read and reviewed this!


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