You are currently viewing The Legacy of Merlin Chapter Twenty-One

The Legacy of Merlin Chapter Twenty-One

It was late afternoon by the time Harry returned to Hogwarts, his mind weighed heavily by what he had learned. 

He had really thought of Andre as a friend, but looking back at it now, he could see how easily he had been manipulated.

Andre used what he learned from the newspapers and the Hogwarts rumor mill to present himself as someone that understood him, a sympathetic figure that was just looking out for him.

He had to wonder, did the other members of the study group do the same thing with Ron, Hermione, and Draco? What exactly did they want? That was when he saw him, the last person he wanted to see.

Andre Engwu walked around the corner. “Hi Harry, how’d you make out in Diagon Alley? Were you able to get the Messenger Hawk?” He asked with a smile.

“Stay calm Harry,” Merlin warned. “Don’t let him know that you’re on to him.”

“… I did.” Harry forced a smile onto his face. “Thanks again for the idea.”

“Sure Harry, glad to help,” Andre smiled. “… Is something wrong?” He asked, immediately noticing the hesitation in Harry’s voice.

“… No, just a bit tired… It was a long day,” Harry replied. “I think I’ll head up to my dorm and take a quick nap,” Harry lied.

“Oh, ok… I’ll talk to you later Harry,” Andre replied, watching him leave.

“Talk to you later, Andre,” Harry said as he walked past him.

“Keep walking. Don’t look back,” Merlin instructed. 

“Why are we doing this?” Harry demanded. “He lied to me. We should find out what’s going on.” 

“We have nothing to gain by confronting him now,” Merlin replied. “We need a lot more information about him, and this study group of his. If we’re careful, and plan this out, he might let something slip.”

“How are we supposed to do that?” Harry asked. “Won’t they get suspicious if I ask them a bunch of questions?”

“Think Harry, Engwu said that he didn’t join them right away. There could have been other people who turned him down, too,” Merlin reminded him. “Think about what they look for in prospective members.”

“Let’s see… intelligence, good grades, that’s probably the most important thing,” Harry thought.

“That’s true of you, Granger, and Malfoy, but they also approached Weasley. His grades have improved, but are not high enough for them to take notice of,” Merlin replied.

“Andre played chess with him. It was after that Andre asked him to join,” Harry realized.

“Correct,” Merlin agreed. “It isn’t just intelligence, but also potential.”

“Ron’s brothers, Fred and George,” Harry guessed. “They’re both smart enough. They just don’t care about getting the grades.”

Andre watched after Harry as he walked past him. Something was definitely off. It seemed like Harry was trying to avoid him, which was odd, because until now, he was sure that Harry would join them.

He walked back towards the Great Hall where he had last seen Hermione and Draco. It was probably a good idea to have a chat with them. If Potter decided not to join, he couldn’t afford to lose them on top of it.

Andre caught the eye of both Hermione and Draco, motioning his head towards the door before he stepped out again.

A few minutes later, Hermione and Draco followed him out of the great hall.

“Hi Andre,” Hermione greeted. “Was there something you wanted to talk to us about?” She asked curiously.

“There is actually,” Andre smiled. “I just wanted to start by saying that I’m really happy you both decided to join the group. I can already tell you’re both a great fit.”

“Thank you,” Hermione gushed. “Beatrice has been great. She’s really good at explaining the things that aren’t covered in my textbooks. She even offered to proofread my essays for me before I submit them!”

“Glad to hear it,” Andre replied. “What about you Draco? I asked Lucian to help you out as well.”

“He offered to proofread my essays, too,” Draco replied. “I’m already pretty good at potions, so I didn’t need his help for that.”

“Good, good. I still remember how long it took me to adjust to Hogwarts. No where near as fast as you two,” Andre complimented. “If one of the older members hadn’t taken me under his wing, I would have had a much tougher time of it.”

“… There was something else I wanted to talk to you about as well,” Andre continued. “It’s about Harry.”

“Potter? What about him?” Draco asked curiously.

“I spoke to him earlier today… It seemed like something was bothering him, but he didn’t say what it was. Has he said anything to either of you?” Andre asked.

Hermione and Draco glanced at each other. It wasn’t exactly a secret, but neither one of them was a fan of Potter’s.

“… We don’t know him very well,” Hermione eventually replied.

“I see.. It sometimes takes time for new members to get to know each other,” Andre agreed. “I suppose it isn’t exactly a surprise to you, but after what Harry accomplished this summer, he had already made the shortlist of students who we wanted to invite.”

Hermione and Draco nodded. It was impossible to ignore how far ahead Potter was from everyone else in their year, and probably quite a few of the older years as well.

“Between us, I don’t think he really sees the value in what we can accomplish together,” Andre continued. “I’ve seen it a few times before. An otherwise brilliant witch or wizard thinks they can accomplish more if they don’t have someone looking over their shoulder or slowing them down.” 

“I can tell you from my own experience, it’s just not that case. It’s just arrogance, plain and simple. We need each other to look at things from a different perspective, to point out the mistakes we’ve missed, and to hold each other accountable. A single person can’t be brilliant at everything.” 

“More often than not, those types of people eventually fall behind, or cut corners to stay on top. That’s why this group exists, to help each other become greater.”

“… Sorry,” Andre said, plastering a rueful smile on his face. “I’m told I can sometimes get on a soapbox from time to time. I’ll talk to you later,” he said as he left, his task accomplished.

If Harry was going to leave the group like he suspected, he would try to convince Hermione and Draco to join him. Now that he added a little more strife to their existing relationship, it should be enough to hang onto them, at least. 

There was little point in having a similar discussion with Ron. He was already as thick as thieves with Harry, so there was no convincing him to stay if Harry didn’t.

He would have to keep an eye out for two more recruits. They couldn’t afford to make any mistakes now, not when they were so close.

When Harry walked back into the common room, he was lucky enough to find Fred and George already there, talking to Angelina Johnson and Alicia Spinnet.

“Hello Harry, looking for Ron?” George greeted him. “I think he’s in the Great Hall.”

“Thanks,” Harry replied. “… Can I ask you something? You too Fred?”

“Um… sure, if it’s quick, I guess,” Fred replied, glancing at Alicia and Angelina. He really wanted to go back to chatting them up.

“It’s kind of private,” Harry explained. “Can we talk over there?” He asked, pointed to the far corner of the common room.

When they were out of earshot of the girls, Harry turned to look at them. “Guys… have you ever heard of a study group? Engwu, Winger, and Bole are part of it.”

“Where did you find out about that?” Fred asked, suddenly serious. George had a similar look on his face as well.

“They asked me to join their group,” Harry replied. “What do you know about them? Why do you both look so worried?”

“Look, Harry,” Fred said, running his fingers through his hair. “This needs to stay between us. No one else can know about it… got it?”

“Ok,” Harry nodded. “I promise I won’t tell anyone else about it.”

“… We don’t know too much about them, nothing we can prove at any rate,” George added.

“What they said sounded good in the beginning, but something was just… off. I can’t explain it,” Fred answered.

“So you turned them down?” Harry asked.

“Yeah,” Fred replied. “We told them we don’t plan on working for the Ministry, that we wanted to open our own shop, so they couldn’t really help us.”

“How did they take that? When you said no?” Harry asked.

“They tried to convince us for a while, told us to take some more time to think about it, and that it was a really great opportunity we were wasting,” George answered. “After a few days, we thanked them for the offer, but said our decision was final.”

“We should have left it there,” Fred continued. “But we didn’t. We let our curiosity get the best of us. We started following them in secret, trying to find out what they were really up to.”

“We thought we were being careful, but a few days later, they cornered us in the hallway, all of them. They knew about everything we were doing. They also knew everything about our dad, where he worked, even who his boss was.”

“They said they could make things very difficult for us, that it wouldn’t take much to see our father out of a job, the same for our brother’s Bill and Charlie,” George said. 

“They told us to never breathe a word of them or their group to anyone, and that if we tried to follow them again, everything that happened after that would be on us,” Fred added.

“Did you believe them?” Harry asked.

“Yes,” Fred nodded. “When they were leaving, Engwu said something like, ‘it was a shame about the budget cuts at the Ministry.’ A few days later, we found out the department our dad worked for had their budget cut in half,” Fred explained.

“We can’t get involved in this, Harry,” George explained. “But whatever they’re up to, it isn’t good.”

“They asked me, Ron, Hermione, and Draco Malfoy to join them,” Harry confessed.

“Shit,” Fred and George said at the same time. 

“… We’ll talk to Ron,” George said.

“What about Hermione and Draco?” Harry asked. “What are we going to do about them?”

“WE aren’t going to do anything,” Fred answered.

“I can’t just let them go into this blind,” Harry denied. “We have to at least warn them.”

“You can try,” George replied. “But you should know. Beatrice, she used to be our friend, even before Hogwarts. She was right there with them when they told us to back off.”

“Thanks Fred, George,” Harry said as he walked past them and up to his dorm room.

Harry sat down at one of the desks in his dorm room and pulled out a bottle of ink and parchment. He could send a letter to Ben. He would know what to do.

Hi Ben,

It’s Harry. The Hawk’s name is Dermott. He can carry letters back and forth between us.

I just finished my first week at Hogwarts, and I’m keeping up with the exercise schedule you made for me. It’s been a big help, thanks.

I hired a solicitor, his name’s Ted. He sent a letter to Dumbledore about going to the Aurors(our version of police) if he tries something like that again, and it seems to have worked so far.

I wish I could come to the States as well, but Dumbledore has a pretty long reach. I have a much better chance against him here, but maybe I can come for a visit in summer?

I set up a scholarship fund to cover the cost of Hogwarts for three students this year, and if things go well, I think I can expand it to more students.

How was your flight? Did you get back to New York ok?

I hope to hear from you soon.


Harry looked down at his letter. He would try to find out more about Andre’s group before involving Ben. He didn’t want to worry him unnecessarily.

Ron was on his way to Gryffindor tower when Fred and George grabbed him. “Come on Ronnie, we need to talk,” George said as they practically dragged him down the hallway.

“Hey!” Ron said indignantly. “What’s the big idea?” 

“Not now,” Fred replied, more serious than Ron had ever seen him before. They dragged him down the corridor into an unused classroom and locked the door behind them. 

“What the heck is going on?” Ron demanded. This didn’t feel like one of the twin’s pranks anymore.

Fred held his finger to his lips, silencing him as George waved his wand around the room, muttering a spell under his breath.

“It’s clean,” George said, putting his wand away.

“Ron, we talked to Harry today,” Fred started. “He told us about this study group you joined.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Ron lied, knowing he wasn’t supposed to talk about it with other people. Was this some kind of test?

“Damn it, Ron!” Fred shouted. “This isn’t a game! We already know about it. Who approached you? Was it Bole? Haywood?”

Ron was taken aback. What the heck was going on? The twins had never acted this way before. “… It was Engwu, Andre Engwu,” he stuttered out. “What’s going on?”

“That guy is bad news, Ron,” George explained. “They asked us to join them too, when we were in our second year.”

“You turned them down. Why?” Ron asked.

“There’s just something off about them, Ron,” Fred explained. “They’re way too secretive for a study group. We tried looking into them to see what they were really about, but they found out.”

“What did they do?” Ron asked.

“Remember last year? When we didn’t get any Christmas presents?” Fred asked.

“Yeah, dad had to take a pay cut, but that’s just because they downsized his department,” Ron replied.

“No Ron,” George shook his head. “They found out we were looking into them. Engwu did that to dad as a warning. They said they could do the same thing to Bill and Charlie if they wanted.”

“So, what am I supposed to do?” Ron asked, worried about what would happen.

“You’re going to tell them you don’t want to join,” Fred replied. “Tell them you want to try out for the Quidditch team next year, and won’t have the extra time to study, and most of all, don’t talk about this with anyone.”

“What about Hermione?” Ron demanded. “If they’re as bad as you say they are, she could be in trouble, too.”

“Try to get her to quit,” George relented, “but don’t tell her what we told you.”

Harry took his finished letter to the window and called for Dermott. A few minutes later the Hawk arrived, landing on the windowsill. 

“I have a letter for you. Do you think you can deliver it to New York for me?” Harry asked.

Dermott lifted his leg, letting Harry tie the letter to it before he took off into the air.

Harry watched as Dermott quickly flew off into the distance. ‘wow,’ he thought. ‘Eyelope was right. He is fast.’

Harry looked down at his watch, realizing that if he didn’t hurry, he was going to be late. Ron and Neville were probably already waiting for him. He quickly changed and went outside to meet them.

When Harry arrived, he was surprised to not only find Ron and Neville waiting for him but also Sally.

“Hi guys,” Harry greeted them. “Hello Sally, I didn’t expect to see you here.”

“Ron invited me, I hope that’s ok?” Sally asked.

“Sure, the more the merrier,” Harry replied. “In the evenings, Ron and I usually start by doing sprints,” Harry explained. 

Soon after they started, both Sally and Neville lay on the ground gasping for breath, wondering what they had got themselves into, watching as Harry and Ron continued to sprint back and forth.

Another five minutes passed before Ron dropped to the ground beside them, out of breath as well. Over the last few days, Ron had come to realize it was an almost impossible task to keep up with Harry. He had a seemingly endless drive, a thirst to improve that was equal parts inspiring and intimidating. 

He could only wonder what drove him. What made him push himself this hard? The way he trained, it was like he was preparing himself for a war.

It was another grueling hour before they finished exercising. Both Neville’s and Sally’s legs felt like jelly as they slowly followed Harry and Ron back to the great hall for dinner.

“You two did good,” Harry complimented. 

“It doesn’t feel that way to me,” Sally groused. “How long have you been training like this, Harry?”

“… It’s been a few weeks now,” Harry replied, thinking about it for a minute.

“A few WEEKS!?” Neville asked in shock. He had thought Harry had been exercising like this for months, if not years. 

“I’m not going to lie to you. It isn’t easy, but if you stick with it, you’ll get the results,” Harry replied. “You just have to make sure you eat enough food and get enough sleep. Your magic will take care of the rest.”

When they entered the Great Hall, dinner had already started. Sally went to join her house while Neville, Harry, and Ron went to theirs.

After everyone had finished eating, Albus stood up, getting everyone’s attention. “Now that you have all eaten, I have an announcement to make.”

“I have come to realize that it is sometimes difficult to adjust to Hogwarts. It’s a big change, and I feel I have been remiss in my duties. My first priority should have been to make sure each of you is comfortable here and have everything you need to succeed,” Albus explained, as he looked out at all his students.

“To that end, I will schedule individual meetings with every first-year student. Your head of house will let you know the day and time. This is nothing to worry over. It will just be a casual discussion with you about your time at Hogwarts thus far.”

Harry looked up at the Headmaster, seeing through his ploy immediately. This had nothing to do with the wellbeing of the first years. This was an obvious attempt to get around the warning Ted had sent him. 

It was just his luck that he had already sent Dermott off with the letter to Ben. It would be at least a couple of days before he returned, and he wouldn’t put it past Dumbledore to intercept his mail if he used one of the school owls.

Albus sat down in his office with a smile on his face, congratulating himself on sidestepping Harry’s solicitor. 

He knew where he went wrong during their first meeting. It would take some effort on his part, but Harry would see reason in the end.

In the short time since the boy solved Merlin’s Cypher, he had managed to surround himself with surprisingly competent individuals. He knew about the solicitor, the muggle friend he had made, the goblins, but there was still the one person unaccounted for, the one who was training him.

Whoever it was, they needed to be found and dealt with before they disrupted any more of his work.

Albus heard a tap on his window, interrupting his planning. He opened it to find an owl waiting impatiently for him with a letter.

Albus took the letter, sending the owl on its way. It was addressed to one of his pseudonyms, Mr. Green, which was not unusual. He received letters like this all the time.

What was interesting was though, was who the letter was from. “Edward Tonks,” he read out loud, the troublesome solicitor that Harry had employed.

It was an offer to buy the property the Leaky Cauldron rented. All in all, it wasn’t a bad offer either. Ten percent above the market rate, and as Albus read further, a smile tugged his lips.

It was a bit presumptuous, and not terribly subtle, but Tonks seemed to believe that ‘Mr. Green’ was having money troubles, and that he was interested in closing the deal quickly, no doubt as an investment for Harry’s portfolio.

This was good. He knew that his patience would be rewarded. This would be the perfect olive branch to offer the boy.

Tonks would of course have to fail in acquiring the property first, no sense in wasting an opportunity to undermine him and subtly show Harry there were better, more competent people that he could depend on.

Then he could swoop in, using his ‘connections and influence’ to talk down Mr. Green and return Tom’s rent to its previous level. 

Harry looked around the stone room of his mind. There were some changes, but fairly minor at this point. 

He looked down at the desk, laden with books. Unlike before, when they were haphazardly dropped on the desk, they were in a neat pile now. 

“I think we’re ready for the next step,” Merlin said from beside him. “Just like before, I want you to reach out with your mind, but this time, instead of focusing on the walls, I want you to focus on the floor. Try to smooth it out in the same way you did the walls.”

Harry nodded as he closed his eyes. Focusing on the rough texture of the floor, how the fieldstone floor jutted out sharply in places, and dipped down in others.

He pushed out with his magic, pressing against the floor and forcing it to smooth out, just like he had done with the wall previously.

Harry felt the drain on his magic almost immediately, but he kept pushing as the floors slowly gave way and smoothed out.

Harry dropped to his knees, gasping for breath, as he looked at the changes to the room. The dips and waves on the floor had smoothed out more, matching the walls. 

“Well done Harry,” Merlin praised. “I think you’ll notice a difference tomorrow in your exercises.”

“What did it do?” Harry asked. 

“You’ve improved your overall stamina, so you should be able to run faster, and for longer, before you get tired. You should also see an increase in your overall strength as well.”

“I don’t really get the connection,” Harry admitted. “The books I get, but how does smoothing out the walls and floor help?”

“The walls and floors aren’t really here Harry, nothing is,” Merlin explained. “This is just what you have subconsciously chosen to represent them. As you learn and improve, you will move well beyond a single stone room.”

“There will be time to discuss that more later. For now, I think we should focus on learning,” Merlin said.

“Are you going to show me more of your history?” Harry asked.

“Yes,” Merlin replied as the room faded away.

When Harry could see again, Merlin was a few years older, looking to be around fifteen years old.

“I’m sorry mother, I have to leave,” Merlin said sadly. “The villagers are starting to suspect. It’s only a matter of time before they report me to the soldiers.”

“I know,” Hunith said sadly as she cupped her son’s face in her hands. “You have to be careful now, promise me. It won’t be like here in the village. The people in the city… they’re different.”

“I promise, mother, I’ll be careful,” Merlin promised. “I’ll find a job, I’ll send money home to you, everything will be ok.”

“I love you, my son,” Hunith said as she hugged Merlin tightly. “You’re a smart boy,” she said as she wiped her tears, “but you need to be more careful.”

“I will,” Merlin promised as he looked at his mother one last time before he stepped out of the hut. He knew he had to leave. It was the only way to keep her safe, but it didn’t make it any easier.

The town that bordered the village was two day’s walk. There were close to two thousand people that lived there. It would be easy for him to hide amongst all of them. 

Merlin patted the coin purse in his pocket, all the money he had saved over the last few years. It was expensive living in the city, and the coins would not last him long. He would need to find a job quickly.

Taking one last look at his home, Merlin turned and left, following the dirt path out of the village, and hopefully to a better life in town.

After two and a half days of walking, Merlin finally made it to the outskirts of the town. He was lucky to only run into a few farmers and merchants along the way, and none of the bandits that were known to camp out along the path, waiting for unsuspecting travelers.

He walked down the road, taking in the different shops and the sheer numbers of people that milled about the town, eventually finding himself in front of an apothecary.

When he walked inside to ask for a job, he was shown the door just as quickly. The second apothecary was no different. It seemed the healers in the city guarded their recipes jealously, afraid they would be stolen.

Finally, at dusk, Merlin happened upon an apothecary on the other side of the town. The building had seen better days, barely standing upright. He hoped he would have better luck here.

He walked inside to find an old man sitting behind the counter, preparing ingredients. “What do you want?” the man asked gruffly.

“I’m looking for a job,” Merlin replied. “My mother is a wood witch. She taught me about collecting ingredients, making poultices and remedies,” he explained.

“Be off with you,” the man replied. “I have no time for fools mucking about. This is a place for learned men, not boys.”

“I can see that you’re preparing blue mountain flowers,” Merlin observed.

“Aye, what of it?” the man asked impatiently. 

“That’s also a warbler egg, and ground wheat beside you. You’re making a poultice for someone,” Merlin observed.

“And the purpose of the poultice?” the man asked, surprised the boy even recognized the ingredients.

“It’s for inflamed, or sore muscles,” Merlin replied. His mother had prepared it countless times for the farmers and woodcutters in the village. 

“What did you say your name was, boy?” The man asked, now impressed.

“Merlin, my name is Merlin,” he replied.

“Well Merlin, I’m Gaius, the owner,” the man introduced himself. “You said your mother taught you?”

“Yes,” Merlin nodded. “Poultices, remedies, cures. She taught me everything she knew.”

“Alright, I pay three coppers a day. No more, no less. Be prepared to work. I don’t abide by slackers.” Gaius said.

“I just arrived in town,” Merlin explained. “Do you know of a place where I can stay?”

“Aye, in the back room I have a cot. You can sleep there, and it’ll be two coppers a day now.”

“Thank you,” Merlin smiled gratefully.

“You’ll start in the morning at dawn,” Gaius said as he went back to preparing the poultice.

I hope you enjoyed the latest chapter! What do you think so far? A lot of stuff happened in this chapter, what did you think about Harry’s latest conversation with Andre? And also what do you think about the training stuff and Merlin’s backstory?

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