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

The Legacy of Merlin Chapter Thirty-One

Harry stood just outside Knockturn Alley, glad to be out of the castle. It was nerve racking, constantly looking over his shoulder, wondering if Andre and the study group had figured out it was them in the forest.

The empowerment ritual the study group performed on Halloween still sent shivers down his spine. What they did to the Acromantula, how they somehow managed to sneak it into the castle without anyone noticing. Everything he found out about them just led to more and more questions.

He hoped this plan worked, and they could finally get some answers. With the last thought, he stepped into the alley, making his way to the potion shop Draco told him about, Shyverwretch’s.

Like everyone else, he heard the rumors about what went on in Knockturn alley, what was bought and sold, and how dangerous it was. He kept his ring on his finger to hide his identity, as well as the Gringott’s card, just in case he needed to make a quick escape.

He walked past the various shops, doing his best to avoid the attention of the witches and wizards milling about until he finally spotted the old wooden sign of the shop he was searching for.

He took a deep breath to prepare himself, then pushed open the door, and stepped inside.

The first thing he noticed was the pungent odor, a combination of multiple potion ingredients in various states of decay littering the shop.

On the walls, he could see jars of murky liquid containing both plants and animals. Most of which he couldn’t even identify, and the ones he could, made him want to turn around and leave as quickly as possible.

Under normal circumstances, he would never visit a place like this, but he didn’t have a choice. Brewing the potion on his own would take a month. It was time he didn’t have.

“Are you here to buy something or are you here to window shop?” A gravelly voice snidely called out from the back of the shop.

Harry looked forward in surprise. The man standing behind the counter who seemingly appearing out of nowhere. He wore a black hood that covered the top half of his face, and was hunched over, further obscuring his face.

“I was told you have polyjuice potion for sale,” Harry said, pushing down his growing unease as he walked further into the dimly lit shop.

“Really?” the man asked, studying him carefully. “Who told you that?”

“I’m here to make a purchase, not for gossip,” Harry said, keeping his voice calm and measured. Whoever this was, they were fishing for information. He couldn’t afford to let his guard down, not in a place like this. “Do you have the polyjuice or not?”

The man let out a raspy laugh, realizing he had been found out. “You heard right. I have a batch that was brewed just yesterday.”

“How many doses do you have left?” Harry asked.

“Twelve,” the man replied, reaching under the counter and pulling out a box.

“I’ll take all of them,” Harry decided. Depending on what they found out about the study group, they may need more.

The man didn’t bat an eye. “That’ll be $480 galleons, $40 galleons per dose.”

Harry nodded, knowing it was going to be expensive. “How long will each dose last?”

“About 2 hours, give or take,” the man replied.

Harry counted out the galleons, and placed them on the counter, watching as the man eagerly snatched them up. He took the shrunken box of vials from the man’s outstretched hand, and turned on his heel, glad to be done with him.

Looking down at his watch Harry realized he had a few minutes left before he was supposed to meet Ted at the Leaky Cauldron. He hoped he had some good news for Tom as well.

He arrived at the pub a few minutes later to find Ted already there waiting for him. “Harry,” Ted greeted, standing up. “Thanks for meeting me.”

“No problem,” Harry replied. “Did you get a response about the Leaky Cauldron?”

“…I did.. and it isn’t good news.” Tom sighed. “I’m not sure what’s going on yet, but they rejected the offer.”

“Rejected it?” Harry asked in surprise. “Are they asking for more money?”

“That’s what I’m still trying to find out,” Ted answered. “They haven’t replied to any of my follow up requests.”

“Is that normal?” Harry asked.

“No,” Ted shook his head. “Evergreen is a property management company. They have very specific criteria for this kind of thing. They would only rejected our offer if they got a better one, or if they could make more money long term by keeping it. Either way, they should have come back with a counteroffer,” he said, a hint of frustration creeping into his voice.

“So, what do we do now?” Harry asked, worried about what would happen to Tom if this dragged out much longer.

“I’ll keep working on it,” Ted promised. “I have a few associates I can reach out to. We’ll figure out what they’re up to and get this settled soon.”

“Tom,” Harry asked. “How are you handling this? I know it’s taking longer than we expected to get this sorted out.”

“I’m going through most of my savings to keep the place running,” Tom admitted reluctantly. “But I can hold out a little longer.”

“Ted, can you arrange for Tom’s monthly rent payments to come from my account?” Harry asked.

“We’ve already talked about this, Harry. I can’t take your money,” Tom denied.

“Ted and I are the ones that came up with this idea,” Harry replied. “You shouldn’t have to spend your life savings just so I can grow my investment portfolio.”

“I knew the risks going in,” Tom reminded him. “I was the one that decided to stay put, instead of moving the pub.”

“Alright,” Harry relented, knowing that Tom wouldn’t budge. “A zero interest loan, then. Just pay me back whenever you get the money.”

Tom looked at Harry, knowing he wasn’t going to drop it. He really was a good kid, and it would take a lot of pressure off of him too. “Thank you Harry, I promise I will pay back every knut.”

“I’ll make the arrangements with the goblins, Tom,” Ted added.

“Harry, we should get going. It’s almost time for the meeting with Nimbus,” Ted said.

“Alright,” Harry agreed. “We’ll get this worked out soon Tom, I promise.” He said as they left the pub.

“Ted, is there anything else we can do for Tom?” Harry asked as they walked to the Nimbus Broom Company.

“The only options left are to move the pub, or to get Evergreen to accept the purchase offer.” Ted explained, frustrated by his lack of progress on the purchase. “There’s so many shell companies involved it’s difficult to find out who’s in charge, or if they’ve even received our updated offers.”

“I’ll keep at it,” Ted promised. “If it takes much longer, I’ll help Tom find another location. It’s not ideal, but I’ll make sure he lands on his feet,” He said as they arrived at the Nimbus building.

When they stepped inside they found an older man waiting for them. “Hello, you must be Mr. Tonks, and Mr. Potter,” the man said as he held out his hand for them to shake. “My name is Devlin Whitehorn. I’m the owner of the Nimbus Broom Company.”

“It’s nice to meet you,” Harry said, shaking his hand first.

“And you as well,” Devlin replied with a smile. “I thought we could start with a tour of our research and development department, then get down to business.”

“That would be great,” Harry smiled, his eyes lighting up. His father had never allowed him to fly a broom, but he had always wondered what it would feel like, and how they stayed in the air.

“Right this way,” Devlin replied with another smile, glad that his new partner seemed to have a passion for flying as well.

Harry and Ted followed him down the hall and into a large, cavernous room. There were already people there, milling about, doing tests and examining various broom components.

Devlin led them to a large table with a broom resting on it. The sleek design immediately catching Harry’s attention as he took in every detail from the polish on the handle, to the arrangement of the bristles. It was like no other broom he had ever seen before.

Devlin caught the look in Harry’s eye, now positive that he had chosen the right investor to bring on. He picked up the broom, handing it to him. “What you have in your hands is the fastest production broom in the world, or at least it will be when we launch it next summer,” he explained, his eyes sparkling with pride.

“Wow,” Harry said, feeling the weight and balance of the broom in his hand, admiring how light it was.

“We’re finalizing the charms and enchantments now, with a goal of starting production in February,” Devlin continued.

“Are all of those applied to the bristles?” Harry asked, examining them.

“They used to be,” Devlin explained. “Before we launched the Nimbus 1000, that was the process everyone used. It was easy to design, easy to manufacture, but not built to last.”

“They became extremely unstable when the bristles take any kind of damage, which was almost guaranteed with the kind of Quidditch we played back then. It took a little longer with the production models, but eventually the same thing happened to them.”

“Now it’s the handle that carries all the charms and enchantments. It’s much more durable, and far less prone to failure,” Devlin finished.

Harry nodded. That explained what happened to Neville’s broom. It was a Cleansweep three, made well before the Nimbus 1000’s came out.

“So why would any of them use the bristle method if they were so dangerous?” Harry asked curiously.

“Cost,” Devlin explained. “When the handle holds all the spell work, it’s more complicated and time consuming to engineer. The charms and enchantments are packed into a very small surface area, and if you’re not careful with your design, they can interact with each other and become dangerous.” He said, pulling out a large wooden board. “That’s why we always start with this, and test and modify the spell work so that doesn’t happen.”

“So that board is in essence a Nimbus 2000?” Harry asked, staring at the unvarnished wooden board engraved with runes.

“Mostly,” Devlin agreed. “It doesn’t have the same refinements or efficiency the broom has, but even this test board will out fly any other broom on the market.”

“Sir?” one of Devlin’s barristers interrupted, holding out the paperwork, knowing that if he didn’t interrupt Mr. Whitehorn they would be here all day.

“What? Oh right,” Devlin chuckled ruefully. remembering why Harry was there in the first place.

Ted took the contract from the other barristers and looked them over before he handed it to Harry. “Everything’s in order Harry.”

Harry nodded, taking the quill the other barrister handed him and the contract from Ted and signed, then handed it to Devlin for him to do the same.

He caught a flash out of the corner of his eye as Devlin held up the contract, noticing the photographer from the Prophet standing in the back.

“How about one more?” He called out, holding up the camera.

Devlin put his arm on Harry’s shoulder as they held up the contract and posed for the picture.

“Mr. Devlin, can I ask a favor?” Harry asked, as he thought more about what happened with the school brooms.

“Absolutely, and please call me Devlin,” he said. “We’re business partners now, after all.”

“Then please call me Harry,” Harry agreed. “The school brooms at Hogwarts are in a bad state, and are getting worse every day. Are there any older model brooms you would consider selling? Something that would be good for first years to learn on?”

“Are they still using those Cleansweep three’s form back in my day?” Devlin asked curiously. They were barely functional when he was in Hogwarts. It was actually one of the reasons he founded Nimbus.

“They are,” Harry confirmed, “and after what you told me about the bristles, it explains a lot.”

“That’s an excellent idea, Mr. Potter,” one of the marketing people joined in. “It would be great advertising for when we launch the 2000. We have about 30 Nimbus 1500’s in the storeroom collecting dust, and we’re going to have a much harder time selling them after the 2000’s launch, anyway. We could even donate them.”

“I like it,” Devlin smiled. “We’ll have them packaged up and delivered to the school in the next few days.”

“It was a pleasure meeting you, Harry,” Devlin said, shaking his hand. “But if you’ll excuse me, there’s still a lot of work I have to do before the start of final production.”

“It was nice meeting you too,” Harry replied as he left with Ted.

“That was great Harry,” Ted praised. “I couldn’t have done it any better myself.”

“What do you mean?” Harry asked curiously. “I should be the one thanking you for getting the deal worked out.”

“The part about donating the brooms to the school,” Ted explained. “People love that kind of stuff. You probably pushed this article from somewhere on page four to the front page.”

“Oh,” Harry replied. It hadn’t been his intention to do that. “I just thought the school brooms were dangerous, and if I could purchase some replacements from Devlin, it would help.”

“You’ve got a good heart, Harry,” Ted said sincerely. “I wish more people acted the way you did,” he said, placing his hand on Harry’s shoulder.

“Thanks,” Harry replied, a little flustered, still having a difficult time dealing with compliments.

“You know, I just had an idea about Tom,” Ted said, changing the subject. “How would you feel about paying a visit to the Minister?”

“Sure, but why?” Harry asked curiously.

“With Evergreen stonewalling me, it might be better to take the offer directly to the property owner,” Ted explained. “And considering how helpful Fudge was with the scholarship, he might also help with this, too.”

“.. I’m not sure,” Harry replied, feeling uncomfortable. “Minister Fudge is a friend. I don’t like the idea of using him to turn a profit.”

“We’re not doing anything illegal, Harry,” Ted explained. “The owner of the company is supposed to be publicly available information, and they’re making it very difficult to find them. This isn’t the kind of thing the Ministry puts up with. Besides that, the Minister is a smart man. I’m sure he’ll be able to use the information to his advantage at some point down the road.”

“…Alright,” Harry finally agreed. He wanted to help Tom, and nothing else seemed to have worked so far.

Cornelius looked up from his newspaper when he heard a knock at the door. He wasn’t expecting guests. He sighed, putting down his newspaper and went to check who it was, leaving his fresh cup of tea on the table.

“Harry, Mr. Tonks?” he said in surprise when he opened the door. “Is everything alright?” He asked, wondering what Harry was doing out of Hogwarts.

“Sorry to drop in on you like this,” Harry apologized. “Do you have a few minutes? There’s something important we want to ask you.”

“Of course, of course. Please come in,” Cornelius said. “I was just having a cup of tea. Would you two care for a cup?”

“Thank you, that would be great,” Harry replied as he and Ted stepped inside the house.

As they drank their tea, Harry and Ted explained the situation with Evergreen and what it meant for Tom and the Leaky Cauldron.

“It’s strange, I’ll give you that,” Cornelius said as he finished his tea, keeping what he had learned about Evergreen to himself. “But not exactly illegal, more of a gray area really, but I’ll certainly look into it. Tom’s a good man, and it’s a travesty, what this Evergreen is doing. I’ll owl you with what I find out,” he promised.

“Thank you, Minister,” Harry replied, “and I’m sorry to bother you with this. I know you probably have more important things to deal with.”

“You don’t have to thank me, Harry,” Cornelius replied, “and I know you’re not doing this just to make a few galleons. If you run into another problem like this, let me know. I’ll do what I can to help.”

After Harry and Ted left, Cornelius threw a pinch of floo powder into the fireplace. “Rita, can you step through? There’s been a development.”

“What is it?” Rita asked, poking her head into the fireplace curiously.

“It’s about Evergreen,” Cornelius said.

Rita quickly stepped through the fireplace, eager for a new lead. Finding information about Evergreen had been next to impossible so far.

“What did you find out?” She all but demanded.

“Harry just paid me a visit,” Cornelius explained. “It seems Evergreen owns the Leaky Cauldron and are trying to force Tom out of business.”

Rita furrowed her brow, trying to make the connection, but came up short. “Why would Potter want to put Tom out of business?”

“I’m not sure either,” Cornelius admitted.

“What did Harry have to say about it?” Rita asked.

“I didn’t tell him,” Cornelius replied.

“What? Why?” Rita asked in surprise. Harry could have given them a lot of insight into what Potter was up to.

“I want him as far away from this as possible,” Cornelius explained. “If this goes sideways, our reputations may never recover, and if Harry is involved, his won’t either.”

Rita nodded reluctantly. In a strange way, she felt there was a debt she owed to Harry as well. It was because of him she went from a run-of-the-mill gossip columnist to a respected journalist.

“I doubt Potter would have told Harry about his business dealings anyway,” Cornelius dismissed.

“I don’t have a lot to work with here,” Rita admitted. “I’ve looked under every rock. There’s just isn’t anything to find.”

“Well, what have you found so far?” Cornelius asked.

Rita sighed as she looked at Fudge. She hated divulging information before her article was ready to print, but this investigation was especially challenging. Evergreen was a practically a ghost, and Potter’s link to it was tenuous at best. The same could be said for his school friends.

“Why is Sirius Black under house arrest?” Rita asked. It was her most promising lead, and her only real hope of moving the investigation forward.

“What?” Cornelius asked, confused by the question. “Black isn’t under house arrest.”

“Then why hasn’t he left his manor since Gloria Potter defeated the Dark Lord?” Rita asked.

Cornelius paused, thinking about the last time he had seen Black. The man had never been very interested in politics, so it was rare to see him in the Wizengamot, or the halls of the Ministry.

“…I’m not sure,” Cornelius admitted, realizing it had been a long time.

He went to the fireplace and placed a floo call to Amelia Bones. “Hello Amelia, sorry to bother you on the weekend, but something has just come to my attention, and I need an answer.”

“Certainly Minister,” Amelia replied.

“Sirius Black, is he under house arrest or confined to his home?” Cornelius asked.

“…Sirius Black?” Amelia asked.

Cornelius watched Amelia carefully. After working with her for so many years, he had picked up on quite a few of her tells, and something was off. He pretended not to notice the hesitation in her voice, or how her eyes widened slightly at the mention of Black.

“Yes,” Cornelius replied. “I just realized it’s been quite a few years since I last saw him, and before that he was in the paper on at least a monthly basis,” he said, referring to the man’s playboy lifestyle. “He hasn’t left the country, has he?”

“No, not to my knowledge, Minister,” Amelia replied without any hesitation this time.

Cornelius could tell Amelia was telling the truth this time, but it was still odd for the normally straight laced woman to be so evasive. “So Black, he’s not in any kind of trouble, is he?”

“No Minister. The DMLE have no warrants for his arrest, or any ongoing investigations concerning him,” Amelia replied.

“Alright Amelia,” Cornelius replied. “But all the same, I would appreciate if your office did a wellness check on him. Please let m know of your findings,” he said, ending the call.

“Well, that was interesting,” Rita said from her place just outside of Amelia’s view.

“Hmm,” Cornelius nodded in agreement. “She knows something, possibly Wizengamot business.”

“Amelia doesn’t neatly fit neatly into the political structure of the Ministry or the Wizengamot,” Cornelius continued. “Her brother Edgar died in the last war, survived by his daughter Susan Bones who will take up her father’s seat on the Wizengamot when she reaches her magical maturity, but until that time Amelia holds the seat, allowing her to participate in two of the three branches of government.

Rita nodded in agreement. “She was very careful with her words. She only answered in her capacity as the head of the DMLE.”

“Imprisonment or confinement is outside the scope of the Wizengamot,” Cornelius added. “They can pass judgment, but only the DMLE can enforce it.”

“Do you think the Wizengamot is circumventing the law?” Rita asked, curious about Fudge’s take. As Minister, he had access to information about the Wizengamot that wasn’t publicly available.

“No,” Cornelius shook his head. “They’re far too clever for that,” he said, sitting back down in his chair. “There could be a loophole their exploiting, or some legal gray area they’re operating in, but it’s a dead end either way. What else have you learned?”

“Potter’s school friends had a falling out soon after Gloria defeated the dark lord,” Rita answered.

“One of them returned to the muggle world. Finding him now would be next to impossible. The other disappeared without a trace. The DMLE conducted a search for him a few years ago, but couldn’t find anything,” Rita explained.

“I’ll help however I can with your investigation,” Cornelius promised. “But be careful. The scope of this has gone well beyond Potter, and considering what’s become of his friends, it could get dangerous.”

“You know, you’re the second person who’s told me that,” Rita said with a smirk. “I’ll tell you what I told them. I can handle myself.”

“I think we should involve Harry, though. He might have some more insight into this,” she added.

“Doubtful. All this happened when he was just over a year old. I doubt he even knows who his father’s friends are, much less have any idea what happened to them,” Cornelius replied.

Rita considered approaching Harry on her own for a moment, but quickly dismissed the idea. Fudge was a powerful ally to have, and this was something that would put them at odds. It wasn’t worth the risk, at least for the moment.

Andre sat in the library by himself, it was all but deserted on the weekends. It was the perfect place to go when he wanted to be alone.

He was close now, so close to achieving everything he had ever dreamed of. Recognition, respect, reverence. It was all within his grasp. He just had to keep pushing forward.

After the first ritual, he felt so powerful, he could practically feel his magic dancing in his veins, waiting for him to call upon it.

Even battling the Acromantula’s had been far easier than it should have been. Sure, they took a few hits, but that had more to do with the number of spiders, rather than any lack of magical power on their part.

In the beginning, he wondered why a ritual like this was kept locked away. Everyone could benefit from this. It was only after they completed it a second time that he understood. He could feel the strain now, a pressure constantly pushing against his chest.

The night of the ritual had been painful. It started the moment he absorbed the Thestral’s magic. Thankfully, the pain passed as the night went on, turning into a dull ache, and then finally into what he was feeling now.

He hoped that too, would fade away over the next few days, and the extra time they took before performing the ritual again would mitigate some of the side effects.

He heard through the Hogwarts gossip mill that Harry was gone for the day, more business meetings with his barrister.

He sighed, regretting how things ended with Harry. His reputation and achievements would have added another layer of legitimacy to their cause, allowing them to reach even more people.

He had been careless when he recruited him. Lying about being an only child was a costly mistake. If he approached it another way, things could have worked out differently, but it would have also taken longer, and time was something he didn’t have to spare. There was still far too much left to do.

Draco and Hermione were coming along well, though. He knew it was the right call to keep them at arm’s length, especially after both Harry and Ron left. There was just too much at stake, things they wouldn’t understand if he told them everything now.

He felt bad for them. While they would share in the achievement, they wouldn’t be thought of with the same level of respect, or given the same amount of credit as the rest of them.

Andre thought about his father and grandfather, and their old-fashioned ideas about hoarding power and influence. He would be different. He would share what he learned with everyone and be at the forefront of the new golden age of magic.

He glanced down at his hand, feeling a twinge of worry. His fingers were twitching again. He knew it was to be expected, a side effect of the ritual, but it was still disconcerting when it happened.

The others had mentioned similar issues. Lucian had a premature heart beat, and Talbot had mentioned lingering pain in his arms and legs. The others were a mixture of headaches and tiredness, but he was confident that it would all be worth it soon.

Thanks for reading and supporting me. I hop you enjoyed the new chapter.

With Harry’s trip to Knockturn Alley I wanted to establish that as a dangerous place, essentially the opposite of Diagon Alley. A place where you can get things that aren’t exactly legal.

What did you think of Harry’s meeting with Devlin? I wanted to introduce him early. He’ll eventually become a Lucius Fox type character that will create some of the tools Harry will use in the future.

Please let me know what you think in the comments, it helps a lot with figuring out what’s working, and what I need to change.


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