You are currently viewing The Legacy of Merlin Chapter Twenty

The Legacy of Merlin Chapter Twenty

It had been a few days since the incident in the flying class, and the Hogwarts gossip mill had finally moved on to other topics, much to Harry’s relief.

Harry sat in the Great Hall, eating his breakfast before he set off for Diagon Alley. He had been looking forward to it ever since Andre told him about the messenger Hawks. 

He was just about to leave when the doors opened and Neville walked in. He had been in the hospital wing since the flying class.

It turned out that replacing broken bones was a lot easier than repairing torn muscles and ligaments.

“Neville,” Harry greeted, “How are you feeling?”

“I’m doing better,” Neville replied. “Madame Pomphrey said it could have been a lot worse if it wasn’t for you.”

“I’m just glad you’re ok,” Harry replied.

“… Can I ask you something, Harry?” Neville asked. “The stuff you told us in the common room about the exercise? Do you think it could help me, too?” He asked hopefully.

“You’re talking about what happened to you in flying class,” Harry realized. “You didn’t do anything wrong, Neville, and that broom you were on was one of the worst of the lot. Something bad was going to happen. It was just a matter of time.”

“… It… it’s not just the broom,” Neville confessed. “It’s everything. The cauldron in potions, my spell work in class. I can’t seem to do any of it right.”

Harry nodded, understanding how Neville felt. “I’m going to be back this evening. Why don’t you join me and Ron for a run?” He offered.

“Thanks Harry,” Neville smiled, sitting down to breakfast. 

“I have to head out now, but we can talk more about this later,” Harry offered as he stood up, making his way to the main entryway. He could use the Goblin Portkey to get Gringotts, then head to the owl emporium. 

“Harry! Hold on a second,” Andre said, running up to catch him at the door. 

“Hey Andre,” Harry greeted.

“I’m glad I caught you before you left,” Andre said. “I just wanted to see if you’d given any more thought to joining the study group.”

“Oh sorry,” Harry replied. In all honesty, he had been so focused on what he was learning from Merlin and tracking down the strange magical object that he hadn’t given it much thought. “I’ve been a little distracted the last few days,” Harry admitted. 

“I understand,” Andre nodded. “I was the same way my first year as well, too many things to learn and see. Sorry if I’m coming off a little pushy,” he said ruefully. “I guess I just see a lot of myself in you, Harry.” 

“You have the same drive to learn, and improve that I do, and I’m not saying this will happen to you, but in my case it isolated me a lot from the rest of my house, and made it really difficult for me to make friends. I don’t want that same thing to happen to you.”

“Thanks Andre, I promise I’ll think about it,” Harry smiled. “And thanks again for telling me about the messenger hawks.”

“Glad I could help,” Andre smiled, as he walked back into the great hall.

Harry stepped outside, activated his portkey, and appeared in the lobby of Gringotts.

“How can we help you, Harry Potter?” a goblin teller greeted him as soon as he appeared.

“Hello, I need to make a withdrawal,” Harry greeted him.

“I can help you at the counter,” The Goblin replied. “How much would you like to withdraw?”

“… I’ll need 100 galleons,” Harry said after thinking about it for a moment. It should be more than enough money for the hawk, and whatever else he needed to take care of it.

“Here you are Harry Potter,” the goblin said as he handed Harry a pouch. 

“Thanks,” Harry said as he took the pouch and walked to the owl emporium.

Harry stepped into the owl emporium, looking around. The shop was filled from floor to ceiling with owls of all shapes and sizes, screeching and hooting as he walked past them to the front desk.

“Hello,” the man behind the counter greeted Harry. “Is there something I can help you find?”

“Yes, a friend of mine said that you have messenger hawks for sale,” Harry replied, looking around.

“Hmm, a messenger hawk, you say,” the man replied. “Are you sure that’s what you’re looking for? Most kids your age just need a barn owl to write home.”

“I’m sure,” Harry replied. “I need it to fly back and forth between here and America.”

“Yeah, then a messenger hawk is what you’re looking for. Come on back,” he said, gesturing to the door behind him. “The name’s Oswald by the way, Oswald Eyelop.”

“Harry Potter, nice to meet you,” Harry replied as he followed him to the back room. 

“Harry Potter, eh? I thought you looked familiar. You’re the kid that solved Merlin’s cypher,” Oswald remembered.

“Yes,” Harry nodded. He was still getting used to being recognized, and wasn’t sure what to say about it most of the time.

“I’m glad it was you, instead of the Yanks,” Oswald replied. “English pride, and all that. Anyway, I’ve got a few Hawks for you to choose from,” Oswald said as he gestured to the larger cages in the backroom. “They scare the barnyard owls, so I can’t keep them with the rest.”

“That one there is a Goshawk,” Oswald said, gesturing to the gray and white hawk. “Tough bird, and it’ll get your letters where they need to go in a hurry. “She can make a round trip in three days.”

“This one’s a Red Tail,” he said, pointing to the left. “He’s a bit stubborn, hasn’t really got on with any of my other customers. Honestly, he could be more trouble than he’s worth, but if you can win him over, he’ll be loyal to a fault.”

“Last one’s the Regal. He doesn’t get along with other birds, so you can’t keep him around other post owls, but he’s definitely the fastest,” Oswald explained.

“Well, I guess the Regal’s out,” Harry said. “He would have to stay with the other owls at Hogwarts. What about the other two? Which would you recommend?”

“Well,” Oswald said, scratching his head. “I suppose the Red Tail is the one I’d go for. It’s faster than the Goshawk, and it can pretty much take care of itself.”

“What’s its name?” Harry asked, walking up to the red tail.

“Dermott,” Oswald replied.

“What do you think Dermott? Do you want to come with me?” Harry asked, reaching out to pet the hawk, but immediately pulled his fingers back when the hawk screeched at him and snapped his beak at his fingers.

“You’ll have to be careful with this one,” Oswald laughed. “He’ll carry your letters, but you’re going to have to work on building a bond with him.”

“… Alright, I’ll take him, I guess,” Harry replied, realizing he had his work cut out for him.

“Ok that’ll be 50 galleons, that’ll include the dragon skin glove for him to perch on.”

“What about food?” Harry asked.

“I wouldn’t worry about that. Red Tails are great hunters. He’ll take care of that part.”

Harry reached into his pouch, counting out the 50 galleons, handing it to Oswald.

“Alright, this looks good,” Oswald said, handing Harry a glove, then opened Dermott’s cage, letting the bird fly out. 

“Where’s he going?” Harry asked as the hawk flew out the open window. 

“Probably out for a snack. Don’t worry about him, he’ll be around. When you need him, just say his name, and he’ll find you,” Oswald explained.

Harry nodded, taking the glove with him as he went to meet Ted for lunch at the Leaky Cauldron.

Ron let out a sigh as he looked over at the Slytherin table. He had put this off as long as he could, but he knew he had to get it over with. He promised Harry he would speak with Sally Perks today. Pushing his doubts aside, he walked over to the Slytherin table.

“What are you doing over here, Weasley?” Draco asked suspiciously. “The Gryffindor table is over there,” he said, pointing back to where Ron came from.

“I’m here to talk to Sally,” Ron replied.

“What for?” Draco demanded.

“None of your business,” Ron snapped, taking issue with the interrogation Malfoy was putting him through. 

“Maybe I want to make it my business,” Draco said, standing up, quickly followed by Crabbe and Goyle. He may have had some reservations about starting something with Potter, but Weasley was another matter.

“Knock it off, both of you,” Sally interrupted, “and I can speak for myself just fine, Malfoy.”

Draco seethed at being talked down to by Perks of all people, but he knew enough to not start trouble with his own house in public. “Crabbe, Goyle, let’s go. Perks wants some private time with her boyfriend,” he added snidely.

Sally glared at Malfoy as he left the Great Hall. She would pay him back for that comment later.

“What did you want to talk to me about, Weasley?” Sally asked. 

“Harry,” Ron answered. “He said that we might have a few things in common.”

“Oh? Like what?” Sally asked, now curious.

“… To be honest, I’m not really sure,” Ron admitted. 

“… Well, I saw you playing chess with Harry the other day,” Sally said, thinking about it for a moment. “You’re really good, by the way,” she complimented.

“Oh, thanks,” Ron replied, surprised at the compliment. “Do you play?”

“A little,” Sally admitted. “My aunt taught me. She used to play with my mother when they were growing up.” 

“… Yeah, Harry mentioned what happened… I’m sorry for your loss,” Ron replied awkwardly.

“Thanks,” Sally nodded. “Do you want to play?” Sally asked as she pulled out her chess set from her bag. 

Ron looked down at the box. It was a muggle set, and obviously well taken care of. “Sure,” he said, sitting down across from her. He supposed it was as good a way as any to find out more about her.

Ron looked over the board and chess pieces as they set up the game. “This is a nice chess set. It looks pretty old as well. How long have you had it?”

“It belonged to my grandfather,” Sally smiled. “He used to play professionally.”

“That’s cool,” Ron said as he made the first move. “I’ve always wanted to see a professional game. It’s too bad they don’t have them in the wizarding world.”

“Why is that?” Sally asked. “It seems like it’s pretty popular here, too.”

“Quidditch,” Ron answered simply. “It gets all the attention, so there’s never been much interest in setting up a chess league.”

“… Well, there will be a tournament next summer in the muggle world,” Sally replied. “I can get you the date and address if you’d like.”

“Thanks,” Ron replied. “That would be great!” He said, forgetting for the moment that he was talking to a Slytherin.

“You spent most of your life in the wizarding world, right Ron?” Sally asked, making conversation. 

“Yeah,” Ron nodded. “I think I have a cousin that’s an accountant, but I’ve never met him.”

“What was it like?” Sally asked, “Growing up in the wizarding world?”

“It was ok,” Ron answered. “I have five older brothers and a younger sister. My two oldest brothers, Bill and Charlie, moved out, so we have a little more room at the house now.”

Ron and Sally continued to talk as they played. Ron’s earlier feelings of mistrust fading away as they talked about each other’s lives. 

Harry stepped into the Leaky Cauldron, greeting Tom as he went to an open table. “Hello Tom.”

“Oh… hello Harry,” Tom said distractedly, looking up from a set of papers at the bar.

“Is everything ok Tom?” Harry asked, quickly picking up on the fact that something was off. 

“Oh, it’s nothing Harry,” Tom said, shaking his head. “How is Hogwarts treating you? I read about your scholarship in the Prophet. It’s a real nice thing you’re doing,” he said, changing the subject.

“Thanks Tom,” Harry nodded. “Hogwarts is good.”

“Hmm… that’s usually not the response I get from first years,” Tom observed.

Harry sighed, not sure how much to reveal about his issues with the Headmaster and Potions professor. Especially with the reputation Dumbledore had cultivated over the years. He really didn’t want to risk offending Tom.

“The castle is amazing, there’s so many secret passageways and things to explore,” Harry replied.

“Yeah, but what’s bothering you?” Tom asked.

“I’ve just been having some issues with the Potions professor, Snape. I’m not sure why exactly, but I think he has it in for me,” Harry sighed.

“Yeah, you’re not the first one to tell me that,” Tom laughed. “Snape has been ‘terrorizing’ students since he first started teaching there, back in 81, I think.”

“For that long?” Harry asked. “How come no one’s ever done anything about it?”

“That’s the thing. A Potion’s Master is hard to find, and worst of all, he knows it,” Tom explained.

Harry nodded, “I see.” That at least explained his teaching methods and his general attitude.

“What else?” Tom asked. “I doubt it was just Snape that was bothering you.”

“There was also an incident recently with the school brooms. One student got hurt, but it could have been a lot worse. Those brooms should have been replaced a long time ago.” Harry explained.

“You would have to ask the Headmaster about that one,” Tom explained. “He and the Board of Governors set the school’s budget.”

That was Harry’s main problem, Dumbledore. The last thing he wanted was to spend any more time in the man’s presence that he absolutely had to.

“Hello Harry, Tom,” Ted greeted as he walked in. “Thanks for meeting me, Harry. I’ve got some great news for you about your investments,” he said, sitting down. “Remember when I was talking to you about investing in Nimbus? They went for it, but actually offered a bigger percentage for the same money.”

“A bigger percentage?” Harry asked. “Is that normal?” 

“Not usually,” Tom agreed. “They were only interested in giving a 5% ownership stake, but after I told them it was you that was interested, their marketing people jumped in. With all the good press you’ve been getting lately, they want you to endorse them. They’ll give you an additional 2% ownership for it.”

“What would I have to do?” Harry asked. 

“They’ll put out the advertising material, and take a few pictures of you with the broom they’re going to launch next year, standard advertising stuff. You won’t have to give any interviews or anything like that,” Ted explained. 

“Oh, ok, that sounds good,” Harry agreed.

“Great, I’ll speak with their solicitors and get the paperwork ready for you,” Ted explained. “It should be ready in the next couple of days.”

“Hey Tom, what do you have on special for lunch?” Ted asked.

“What? Oh sorry,” Tom replied, looking up from his papers again. “What was that you were saying, Ted?”

“… I was asking about lunch,” Ted replied, quickly picking up on how distracted the normally attentive bartender was. “… Is something wrong Tom?”

“No, no,” Tom forced a smile onto his face. “Just a bit distracted, is all. Lunch special is fish and chips.”

“… Ok,” Ted replied, looking at Harry for confirmation. “We’ll have two fish and chips.”

Tom nodded, going to the kitchen to fetch the food.

“He was acting like that when I came in as well,” Harry said, after Tom had left. “Is that normal for him?”

“No,” Ted said, with a frown on his face, “it’s not. He looked kind of worried to me.”

When Tom returned with the food, Ted couldn’t help himself. “Tom… what are those papers you were looking at earlier?”

“Oh those,” Tom said dismissively. “Just some inventory reports. You know how it is.”

“Tom, you’re a terrible liar,” Ted said flatly. “What’s really going on?”

“He wouldn’t tell me when I asked either,” Harry added.

“Alright,” Tom sighed. “But you have to promise to keep it quiet.”

“We promise Tom. Now, what’s going on?” Harry asked.

“My rent’s gone up,” Tom admitted. “I’ve been looking at the books, seeing what I can cut back on… but it’s not enough. I’d have to near double prices on most everything to make up the difference.”

“Is that normal? For the rent to go up that much?” Harry asked in surprise.

“Generally speaking, no,” Ted shook his head. “Rent increases are usually because of inflation, sometimes to offset the cost of maintenance. I suppose it could be that the property owner took a loss somewhere else, and is looking to recoup it through rental income.”

“Well, the owner’s never done any renovations. I can tell you that much. This place is the same as it’s always been for at least the last twenty years,” Tom added.

“Leave it with me Tom, I’ll look into it,” Ted promised.

“Look Ted, it’s not that I don’t appreciate the offer, but I can’t really afford that,” Ted replied. “I’m just going to have to move,” he decided. “Knockturn Alley usually has places to rent, so I’m sure I’ll land on my feet.”

“Forget about the cost Tom, it’s on me,” Ted denied. “When I was first starting out, you practically let me run my business out of the Cauldron. I owe you for that.”

“I want to help too,” Harry said firmly. “What do you need for the rent? I’ll cover it until we get this sorted out.”

“No, absolutely not Harry,” Tom shook his head. “I know a good chunk of your money is tied up with your scholarships program, and I reckon that’s just the start of your plans. I’m not going to get in the way of that.”

“It’s fine Tom,” Harry replied. “I’m sure Ted has that part covered. A couple of month’s rent won’t make much of a difference.”

Ted said back in his chair, “… that could work.”

“What?” Tom asked. “What are you on about? I’m not taking Harry’s money and that’s final!”  

“No, that’s not it, rental income,” Ted explained. “I’ve been looking at businesses in Hogsmeade to add to Harry’s investment portfolio. I never looked at Diagon Alley because none of the properties ever go up for sale, but if the owner raised prices this much, they’re probably open to selling.”

“I like that idea,” Harry said, wanting to help his friend. 

“I appreciate the offer, I really do, but I’m not looking for a handout,” Tom said stubbornly. “I’ll figure something out, I always do.”

“Handout? Are you crazy?” Ted laughed. “This is a great opportunity for Harry. I wouldn’t have proposed it otherwise. Harry gets a nice monthly income, and the Cauldron stays right here. Everybody wins.”

“You’re sure?” Tom asked.

“Positive. Give me some time to get in touch with the owner and I’ll get it all sorted out,” Ted promised.

“Thank you Ted, Harry, I won’t forget this,” Tom said sincerely.

“Oh, look at the time Harry,” Ted said as looked at the watch. “If we don’t hurry, we’re going to be late for your interview with the Prophet. Tom, we’ll be off. Thanks for lunch.”

Harry stood up, saying goodbye to Tom as they made their way to the Prophet.

“Thank you for coming. My name is Edward Limus,” a man in dark gray robes greeted Ted and Harry in the lobby of the Daily Prophet.    

“I remember you,” Harry realized. “You wrote the article about my scholarship program.”

“Hello Mr. Potter, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” Edward said, extending his hand.

“You too,” Harry said, shaking Edward’s hand. “Thanks for doing this on the weekend. I know it’s outside your normal work hours.”

“Think nothing of it,” Edward smiled. “I know your unique circumstances make it difficult to have these meetings on weekdays. Why don’t we go up to the boardroom? I can interview you there.”

Ted and Harry followed Edward up the stairs and into the large boardroom, sitting down across from him.

“Alright Mr. Potter, how has your first week at Hogwarts been?” Edward asked as pulled out a parchment and quill.

“You can call me Harry,” Harry replied, feeling uncomfortable with being associated with his father. “Things have been going pretty well. The castle is amazing, and I’ve learned a lot.”

“That’s certainly an understatement,” Edward replied. “From what I’ve found, you’re the top ranked student for your year, and by a rather comfortable margin as well.”

“… I wasn’t aware that it was public knowledge,” Harry replied in surprise. 

“Oh yes,” Edward replied. “It’s a matter of public record. The professors are required to provide it to the Ministry on a weekly basis, upon which anyone can request it. It’s actually how we select the students for our summer internships program.”

“What’s the secret to your success, Harry?” Edward asked. 

“Well, I took some time to read my Hogwarts textbooks before the start of term, and have a pretty good memory,” Harry replied modestly.

“Yes,” Edward said, making a note. “I remember from when you solved Merlin’s Cypher. It was a muggle science book that gave you the inspiration to solve it. Has this always been the case for you?”

“I’ve always enjoyed reading,” Harry agreed. “Potter Manor has a very large library of both magical and muggle books.”

“How are things going with your scholarship program?” Edward asked.

“Very well,” Ted interjected. “We already have a lot of interest from children that want to apply for the scholarship next year, and Mr. Oliver, Rivers, and Miss. Perks are all doing quite well in their studies.”

“They certainly have,” Edward agreed. “All three are within the top ten students for their year.”

“Have you had a chance to speak with them yet, Harry? What are your impressions of them?”

“I’ve spoken to them a few times,” Harry answered. “They’re all doing very well, and are already making plans to teach the students in the orphanage what they’ve learned, so it’s already exceeded what we hoped for.”

“What was it you hoped for?” Edward asked.

“When I heard about the situation, how there were kids my age that weren’t able to go to Hogwarts, I wanted to help. Everyone should have the same opportunity to learn.” Harry explained.

“I’m also very thankful to Minister Fudge. This all came together rather quickly, and the Minister made sure everything got approved before the start of term,” Harry added.

“Yes, Minister Fudge even agreed to offer a paid internship at the Ministry this summer for the scholarship students.” Ted added.

“You’ve become quite famous, not just here in Britain, but around the world as well,” Edward changed subjects. “You’re quite possibly the most famous wizard for your age. How has that affected you?”

“… It hasn’t been easy,” Harry admitted. “I’m not really used to getting this much attention, and it’s difficult to always know what the right thing to do is,” Harry admitted. “I’ve been lucky enough to meet some very smart people who have helped me a lot.”

“There have been rumors circulating about an altercation with your father, Lord James Potter. Is there any truth to this?” Edward asked. 

Harry looked at Ted, not sure how to respond, and how much he should reveal in an interview. He was much happier not having to think about them.

“That is not a topic that Mr. Potter will be discussing,” Ted interjected firmly. “That is a personal matter.”

“Of course,” Edward replied, not really expecting Harry to have answered for this kind of interview, anyway. “Does that also extend to Lord Potter’s upcoming trial in front of the Wizengamont?”

“I’m sure the Wizengamot will come to a fair, and just decision,” Harry offered.

“Well then, I think that covers everything I need for the article,” Edward smiled. “It was a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Potter. I look forward to hearing about more of your philanthropic endeavors.”

As Edward walked them out of the Daily Prophet buildings, Harry stopped to look at one of the paintings. The plaque read Charles Engwu Sr. ‘Andre’s father?’ Harry thought as he looked at the painting. The resemblance was certainly there.

“Edward?” Harry asked. “Why is this picture here?”

“Oh, that?” Edward asked. “That’s the current head of the Engwu family and one of the owners of the Prophet. There are portraits of all of them around the office.”

“I know his son, Andre,” Harry replied.

“Ah, yes. I assume you met him at school,” Edward replied. “Before he started at Hogwarts, he used to come in all the time with his father for the board meetings.”

“So you’ve met him as well?” Harry asked curiously.

“Yes, and his two brothers, even one of his cousins, I think,” Edward replied.

“Brothers?” Harry asked, confused. Andre told him he was an only child.

“Yes,” Edward replied, not noticing the look on Harry’s face. “Those three were terrors when they were younger. They treated the entire office like their personal playgrounds.”

“Oh… Edward never mentioned them,” Harry said in surprise. Why had Andre lied to him?

“Thanks again for making time for me,” Harry replied as he walked out of the door with Ted.

When they were off the property, Harry turned to Ted. “What do you know about the Engwu family?” He all but demanded.

“The Engwu’s?” Ted asked, startled by the question.  

“Yes,” Harry replied. “I need to know everything about them.”

“… Well, they’re a pretty influential family amongst the right circles,” Ted explained. “Wealthy too. They own 25% of the Daily Prophet, the single largest stake in the newspaper. They also own a lot of properties both here and in Hogsmeade,” he rattled off what he could remember. “Oh, and they also have a seat on the Wizengamot.”

“Why the sudden interest?” Ted asked curiously.

“I spoke to Andre a few times. He told me he was an only child,” Harry replied. “I don’t understand why he would lie about something like that.”

“That’s something you’re going to have to get used to, Harry,” Ted explained. “Learning to lie convincingly is practically a requirement for the purebloods.” 

“He wanted me to join his study group,” Harry realized. “He said all that to get close to me.”

“A study group?” Ted asked, “that hardly seems worth the effort.”

“According to Andre, the study group has been operating for a long time. When you were in Hogwarts, did anyone ever ask you to join?” Harry asked.

“Sorry Harry, I’ve never heard anything about them,” Ted replied. 

“Something isn’t right,” Merlin added his two cents. “First this strange magical object, and now a study group that no one’s ever heard of, even though they have been around since the founding of Hogwarts.”

Thanks for reading 🙂 I hope you enjoyed the double update to the story. What do you think of Andre and the study group so far? The next few chapters are going to get interesting as Harry learns more about them

Leave a Reply