As days passed, Lili was sent back home, and Feli got more and more anxious about the next task without a clue on how to crack to egg’s code. “Have you even attempted to figure out that egg?!” Ludwig scolded Feliciano.
“How?” he asked. “If I open the egg, everyone looks at me like I’m a crazy person!”
He really was completely stumped. He had no idea, and apparently, neither did Harry. Ludwig and Hermione kept on urging them to figure it out as the days morphed into weeks. It wasn’t until February when Harry went up to Feli with somewhere to start. “Hey, Feliciano,” he called as the Italian froze and looked at the Gryffindor. “I just finished talking with Cedric.” he stated. “He told me he already figured out the egg!”
“What is it?!” he asked anxiously.
“He didn’t tell me that part,” Harry let down. “but, he did tell me how he got it.” They leaned in close to whisper lowly. “Take a bath with it.”
Feli jumped embarrassed. “What?”
As crazy as it sounded, he took Harry’s advice and took a bath with the egg on the rim. He looked at the egg, opened it for a split second, and then closed to in a haste, getting the exact same result as he got the night he bested the dragon, a painful scratch. Then, he thought for a moment. The phrase Harry used reminded Feliciano of his elder brother. “What would Big Brother France do?”
It clicked as he thought of the answer, France would literally take a bath with the egg. He put the egg physically in the water and opened it. Instead of a scratch, he heard the most seductive music he ever heard. He took a deep breath, and dunked his head under the water, listening to the words.
“Come seek us where our voices sound,
We cannot sing above the ground,
An hour long you’ll have to look,
To recover what we took.”
He coughed for air as the words replayed in his head and he gathered his clothes, redressing himself.
“Ludwig! Ludwig!” he called, running around the school. He found him with Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Lovino in the library. Seeing the other champion, he directed his attention to him instead. “Is the next task under water?”
“Wait!” Ludwig stopped as he walked over to Feli, put on one of his leather gloves, and had a death grip on his hand so hard, they heard his joints popping. “Go ahead.”
Harry simply nodded as Feli started to cry and run away, but popped his shoulder and stretched his arm painfully instead. “We’re trying to find some way for us to breath under water for an hour.” he stated exhaustedly.
A few hours later, they found nothing to help as Professor Moody came in the library. “Ms. Granger, Mr. Weasaly, Mr. Doitsu, please come with me.”
“Please professor,” Hermione urged. “the next task is only hours away and-“
“And Mr. Potter and Mr. Vargas need their rest.” he shot back.
“What’s going on?” Ludwig asked. “Why do you need us?”
Moody sighed. “I don’t need all of you, Professor McGonagall is gathering a handful of selected students for something.”
“Why am I not on this special list?” Lovino asked.
“Trust me, Mr. Vargas,” the professor growled. “take envy that you are not your brother nor friends.” He turned grumpily. “Now, Ms. Granger, Mr. Weasaly, Mr. Doitsu, this way please.” Feliciano, Harry, and Lovino didn’t see those three again that night.
As the three remaining students started shoving books back where they think they go, Nevil started to try and help them, talking about plants. “Get it through your head!” Lovino shouted in annoyance. “No one likes herbology at all, much less like you!”
“Is there something in that book that will help us breathe underwater for an hour?” Harry asked.
The herbal geek thought for a moment. “Well, there is Gilly Weed.”
Nevil went over everything they needed to know about Gilly Weed before the champions got ready for their next task on an artificial island in the middle of the Black Lake. “Welcome to the Second Task!” Dumbledore announced. “Last night, something was stolen from our champions! Now they must bring back their treasure with only one hour to do so, one hour only!”
“Where’s Ludwig?” Feli asked himself as Harry swallowed the Gilly Weed. Since the upperclassmen saw that as how to use it, Feliciano did the same thing and nearly choked. Lovino stood right behind him, sighing at his younger brother’s late reaction to the cannon and pushing him into the freezing water.
The splash itself sent Feli into shock as his fingers webbed, his feet turned into flippers, and gills appeared on his neck. Harry, who had the same changes, swam up to the first year, gesturing to the direction music came from. The Italian nodded as they both swam in the direction.
The two weaved past the seaweed as the voices sang. When they saw a shark tail, Feli was gone before Harry knew what happened. Even under water, he can disappear in the dust, or in this case, bubbles.
He had no idea where he was going but ended up at some underwater city full of people with fangs and shark tails. He had a feeling that this was where he was supposed to be as he cautiously approached the city. “You have found us,” the voices sang.
“That’s not sour,
But what’s almost over,
Is the hour.”
He ran into Harry, Cedric, and Victor in the city while searching for something of any value. Confused by the maze of a city, he simply followed Harry. He searched through the city to find a treasure of any kind until, to his horror, he found him.
In a straight line were five people, Flure’s little sister, Cedric’s date from the ball, Hermione, Ron…and Ludwig, all of which were unconscious and their ankles tied to the sea floor. It all clicked in Feli’s head as Victor’s magical shark head cut through Hermione’s bonds, Cedric whipped his wand and cast a spell to slice through his date’s bond, and Harry untied Ron’s ankle. This challenge was meant to put the closest friends in danger to motivate the champions to go through with it. The British called this entertainment? he asked himself. Just give me a plate of pasta, and a TV and I’ll be fine!
Feli sliced through Ludwig’s bond and started to swim to the surface, holding onto Ludwig’s arm, until he looked back at Harry. “Let’s go!” he yelled, his voice muffled from the water.
“Where’s Flure?” Harry asked as Feliciano looked around. The said champion was nowhere in sight, the hour was almost up, and her sister was still tied there. Harry sliced through the girl’s bonds and took her and Ron with him. “Let’s go.”
They were so close to the surface until Harry got dragged down. He pushed Ron and the girl to Feli and yelled, “Go! Get them out of here! I’ll be fine!”
The Italian took the two other victims and started to swim away. Looking back and seeing Harry get dragged, bitten, and cut, he knew he had to make a choice. He could either abandon Ludwig, Ron, and the girl to help Harry or leave him in the dust to get the others to safety. “I’ll be back!” he called as he pulled the others up.
The moment the clock chimed to tell everyone the hour was up, Ludwig, Ron, Feli, and the girl broke the surface and were brought to safety. “Feliciano, no!” was all Feli heard from Ludwig before he dived back in the water, trying his hardest to find Harry. When he did, he kicked all the little octopus things away from him until Harry cast a stunning spell, accidentally hitting Feli with the creatures. Seeing his mistake, he held onto him tightly and he pointed his wand up, cast a spell, and they flew through the water, diving on the deck. They coughed up water, and a little blood before their friends came with blankets and towels.
Ludwig walked over to help Feli off the ground, only to punch his jaw. Feliciano rubbed the spot painfully and saw the blood on his fingers. “Feli, you idiot!” Ludwig scolded. “Why would you dive back in the water?! You could’ve been killed!”
“Harry needed help!” he shot back. “Don’t you remember the whole reason we’re here?! Eng-Arthur sent us here to protect Harry, and that’s what I’m doing!”
“Dumcoff!” he snapped. “He sent ME here to do that! He only had you come because you’re just a useless Italian! You can’t hold your own against anyone, or anything!”
“Yet, who was the one who went back in the water to help him?” the Italian asked coldly. “I didn’t see you dive in to protect him! How is it you claim to have a job, but you refuse to do it?”
“I do NOT refuse to do it, there was just never any chance for me to!” he talked back. “It’s not like I can jump in the ring and help him defeat the dragon, or whatever was down there!”
Feli laughed at that. “Just admit it!”
“You would be nothing without me!” the Italian claimed. “The way I remember it, before I became your friend, you carried around a stick and called that branch a friend! If it weren’t for me, you’d still be wandering around the woods, crossing borders, and sharing sausage with Hestick!”
“Hestick was a more useful friend since the day I picked him up than you have been your whole life!”
“In fact, if it weren’t for me, you’d still be at the bottom of the lake, tied in that underwater city!”
“Correction, if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have been down there in the first place!” Feli just stared at him for a moment as Ludwig continued his harsh words. “You think that you saved me?! HA! If it weren’t for you, I’d simply be at my home, reading a good book, with no cares in the world! You’re not a savior like I said, you’re useless!”
“…Useless…” he repeated quietly.
Ludwig nodded as he continued his list of Italy flaws. “All you’re good for is making white flags, cooking, and running! All the decades we’ve been friends, you’ve yet to show me that you have any more of a use than that because you HAVE no other use! You’re not a battle strategist, a fighter, nor a survivor! All you do is just sit around all day waving white flags, and eating pasta! So, the way I see it, you would be nothing without me! Just a feminine boy who cowers to anyone with any type of weapon!”
The tension between them built as they stood in silence until the Italian turned away. “If I’m so useless,” he whispered. “then why did you even sign our alliance?” Ludwig didn’t get a chance to answer as Feliciano walked away. The pitter-patter of his wet feet fading in the distance.