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

The Legacy of Merlin Chapter Thirty-Six

James stood in his living room with Lily and Dung, listening to what the man had to say. He did his best to maintain his composure, and not fly off the handle like he usually did, but he was at his absolute limit.

As Dung revealed more and more about what he had learned about Dalton & Moore, as well as whoever these Evergreen people were, it solidified his belief that he could manage his family fortune far better on his own.

“So that’s it,” Dung finished. “They’ve probably been stealing from you right from the start.”

“There has to be more to this,” James said, taking a deep breath to calm himself. He knew it wouldn’t do him any good to vent his frustrations on Dung.

“It’s alright James,” Lily said, putting a hand on his shoulder comfortingly. “At least we know what’s going on now. What do you plan to do next, Mungdungus?” she asked.

“That’s going to be difficult,” Dung admitted. “We don’t have any hard evidence of what they’re doing.”

“What do you mean?” James demanded. “Dalton admitted to everything. That’s all the proof we need.”

“He admitted it as part of an unauthorized interrogation,” Dung explained calmly. “If you go to the Ministry with that, the only thing they’ll do is put us in Azkaban for the next couple of years.”

“He’s right, James,” Lily agreed, cutting off James before he could say something they would both regret. “The DMLE is the only one allowed to perform interrogations, and only when there’s a clear and imminent danger to the general public.”

“I get it Lily, I get it,” James said, surprising her. It was the same rule that saved him during his trial. “But there has to be a way to get some proof the Ministry can’t just sweep under the rug.”

“I can keep digging,” Dung offered. “But it’s going to cost you.”

“We had a deal, Dung,” James replied, annoyed with the man for not keeping his word.

“That was before I found out what I did,” Dung replied. “This goes a hell of a lot deeper than you led me to believe. The amount of work that went into hiding the connection between Dalton & Moore, and whoever is in charge of Evergreen, only someone high up could have pulled that off.”

“Fudge?” James asked, considering the grudge the man had for him.

“No,” Dung replied, shaking his head. “Fudge is straight as an arrow. Hasn’t stepped one foot out of line legally, at least since he became minister.”

James nodded, agreeing with Dung’s conclusion. Fudge wanted revenge for his wife, but he wouldn’t do it from the shadows. He wanted it public. “Then who else?”

“That’s going to take some time,” Dung replied. “I have to chase down some more leads, but like I said, 4000 galleons ain’t gonna cut it, not for the risk I’m taking.”

“How much?” James asked, knowing he wouldn’t get much further without the man’s help.

“20,000,” Dung replied.

“You have to be joking,” Lily shook her head with a small laugh. “That’s way too much money and you know it,” she said, mentally counting out how many galleons they still had left. If they agreed to his price, they wouldn’t have anything left.

“Like I said,” Dung replied. “It’s way too much risk. If you don’t like it, find someone else.”

“It’s a risk for us too,” Lily pointed out. “What if you decide to run off with our money? Who are we going to do? Go to the Ministry? No,” she shook her head. “You’ll do it for 10,000 galleons, but only after we regain control of the Potter fortune.”

“And why would I do that?” Dung asked, bemused. After all, he was the one that held all the cards.

“Because this is the biggest payday you’ll ever see in your life,” Lily said, taking in Dung’s shabby appearance and unkempt hair. “Are you really gong to let one of your competitors take all those galleons, especially after all the heavy lifting you’ve already done?”

Dung looked between Lily and James and sighed internally. He had gotten greedy, and overplayed his hand. Now it was biting him in the ass. If he wasn’t so aggressive, he could have easily got them up to fifteen. “…Fine, but I’ll need the other 2000 galleons now to cover my expenses.”

“Good,” James said, tossing him the pouch, glad that he had Lily with him to help with the negotiation.

Lily watched as Dung left through the fireplace. ‘I’ll have to keep a closer eye on what James gets up to,’ she thought. ‘There may not be a Potter fortune left after he’s done.’

***

Andre watched as Draco and Hermione did their homework, doing his best to hide his growing frustration with them. He and the rest of the study group had been trying to pull them closer to the group, but they stubbornly kept themselves at arm’s length.

If he could just get Hermione and Draco on board, it would simplify things, and they could reduce the number of rituals they needed to perform.

He knew they were spending more time with Harry. Maybe that was the reason? He kicked himself mentally for not putting more effort into recruiting Harry the right way. Harry was by far the most powerful first year, and Ron was easily in the top five. If they were still part of the group, they would have everything they needed.

His latest letter from the alumni had not been good. They were obviously upset about the loss of the ritual book, and creating a new one was not the quick fix that he thought it would be. It would be at least another two or three months before it was ready, forcing him to move up his plan to deal with the thieves.

It had only been three days since they enacted the plan. He hoped they would take the bait tonight, and they could recover the book before they fell much further behind schedule.

Draco looked up from his homework, carefully studying each member of the study group. Something just didn’t feel right. They looked nervous, almost like they were waiting for something.

Draco’s eyes widened as realization dawned on him. It was a trap. They wanted Ron and Harry to search the rooms of the other study group members, knowing that it would be too tempting of a target with all of them attending the meeting tonight.

‘We can’t even warn them,’ he thought. ‘Not without tipping off the study group.’ He could only hope Potter and Weasley would see it for what it was and not take the bait.

Hermione bit her lip nervously, also noticing the change in the demeanor of the study group. She caught the subtle glances between Beatrice and Elspeth and knew they were waiting for something, but didn’t know what.

She let out a surprised yelp when all of them stood up and quickly gathered up their things.

“We have to go. Something important just came up,” Andre said as he and the rest of the study group quickly left the library, not even glancing back at them as they did.

“What’s going on?” Hermione asked, looking at Draco with a twinge of worry.

“I think they know Potter and Weasley are searching their dorms,” Draco explained, gathering up his things as well. “We should have seen this coming. Of course, they wouldn’t fall the same trick twice.”

“What?” Hermione asked, stopping dead in her tracks. “We have to warn them.”

“We can’t,” Draco pointed out, trying to think of a solution. “Not without the study group finding out the truth about us, too.”

“We have to do something,” Hermione said insistently.

“Like what?” Draco asked.

Hermione stopped mid thought, stumped by the question. The study group had taken off running. There was no way they were going to get to the Ravenclaw common room before them. “We can go help them!” she said desperately.

“If what Potter said about the ritual is true, we’re no match for them,” Draco pointed out logically.

“The twins!” Hermione said, latching onto another idea. “They know about the study group, too. They might know a way to at least distract them so Harry and Ron can get away.”

“Let’s go,” Draco said as they quickly left the library as well, earning a glare from Madam Pince as they ran past her.

Draco didn’t know how much help the twins would be, but he knew his odds of survival would go down without Potter watching his back.

***

Harry and Ron walked into the Ravenclaw common room, disguised with their polyjuice potions, and doing their best their best to blend in with the other students.

“There really wasn’t anyone else other than Lisa you could get a hair from?” Ron whispered to Harry, feeling self conscious.

“Not now,” Harry whispered back. “We have to hurry before they come back to the common room.”

“Too late,” Ron whispered, turning them around, so they were facing away from the door. “Turpin and Davies just walked in.”

Harry cursed under his breath. He had hoped for a little more time before they returned. “Walk to the staircase slowly. Don’t look back,” he said, walking forward.

When they turned the corner on the winding staircase, Ron let out a relieved breath. “That was too close.”

“It’s not over yet,” Harry reminded him. “We can’t go out the way we came in disguised like this.”

Ron nodded, acknowledging Harry’s point as they passed a couple of students on their way down the stairs.

They continued up the stairs, stopping in front of the 7th year dorm. Harry reached out with his senses to confirm no one was in the room before pushing open the door.  “Over here,” he said, walking up to the trunk with the most protection wards on it and pulling out his wand. “This one has to be Andre’s trunk.”

He scanned the trunk with his wand. ‘What do you think, Merlin?’ Harry thought.

“It’s warded much more heavily than the last one,” Merlin pointed out. “It’s going to take some work to get through.”

‘How long?’ Harry thought.

“A few more minutes at least,” Merlin said, studying the ward scheme carefully.

“Can you get in?” Ron asked, glancing back and forth between Harry and the door.

“It’s going to take some time,” Harry said without looking up.

“Should I try to find Winger’s trunk?” Ron asked, getting nervous.

“No,” Harry shook his head. “It’s warded too. We can’t risk setting it off.”

Ron nodded in agreement, staring tensely over Harry’s shoulder as he worked on opening the trunk.

“We have a problem,” Merlin said after a few moments. “The ward has two layers. I have to get through the first layer before I can get to the second, but as soon as I do, they’ll know you’re here.”

‘Is there another way?’ Harry thought, ‘Like you did with Professor McGonagall?’

“No,” Merlin replied. “It’s the only way.”

‘How long to get through?’ Harry thought.

“Another five or ten minutes after I break the first ward,” Merlin replied.

Harry let out a breath, feeling the pressure. He knew it was a risk, but they wouldn’t get a better opportunity than this.

“What is it?” Ron asked.

“The wards,” Harry replied. “They’re going to know when I break them.”

“Are you sure you’ll be able to get through?” Ron asked his friend.

Harry nodded. “Yeah, but it’s going to take a few minutes.”

“Do it,” Ron replied without hesitation. Whatever the study group was up to, they needed to be stopped.

Harry nodded. ‘Do it,’ he thought, watching as Merlin dismantled the first ward. He urged him to go faster as the minutes ticked by, beads of sweat dripping down his forehead as the pressure mounted.

“…Almost there,” Merlin said. “…Got it,” he said as an audible click sounded a moment later.

Harry let out the breath he had been holding as he pulled open the lid, only to stop and stare inside the trunk in shock.

“What’s inside?” Ron asked, looking over Harry’s shoulder, only to fall silent as well.

“It’s empty. How could it be empty?” Harry asked out loud. “Andre is their leader. There has to be something here,” he said, searching for a hidden compartment.

“Hello Lisa, Roger. What are you doing up here?” a voice asked, sending a chill down Harry’s and Ron’s spines as they immediately recognized the voice coming from behind them.

Harry and Ron turned around slowly to find Andre, Talbott, and Elspeth staring at them from across the room.

“And in my trunk. What were you looking for in there?” Andre asked, keeping a thin veneer of joviality in his tone, adding even more tension to the standoff.

“… I was looking for a quill,” Harry replied, saying the first thing that popped into his mind, and regretted it immediately. The lie sounded ridiculous, even to him. He cursed himself mentally for getting distracted and not realizing this was a trap from the beginning.

“I see,” Andre said in the same soft voice as he and Talbott took a step closer, while Elspeth stayed back, cutting off their escape route.

Harry eyed them carefully as they took another step. They hadn’t drawn their wands, but he could see the tension in their arms and legs. They were ready for a fight, and the polyjuice potion wasn’t fooling them.

A cold sweat formed on Ron’s face as Talbott and Andre stood in front of them, remembering what happened in the astronomy tower and especially in the forest.

“Are you alright… Lisa?” Talbott said, putting extra emphasis on the name. “You’re looking a little… pale.”

“I… I’m feeling a little ill. Maybe you could take me to see Madam Pomfrey, Roger,” Ron said nervously as he tried to walk around them.

“Hold on …Lisa,” Talbott said, putting a hand on his shoulder. “It’s almost after curfew… you wouldn’t want to get caught, would you?”

“.. No,” Ron said, taking a step back, shrugging off Talbott’s hand on his shoulder.

“Well, you’re in luck,” Andre said, a calculating smile breaking out on his face. “I always keep a few spares quills on top of my dresser.” He smoothly pulled his wand from its holster, never breaking eye contact with Harry as he did.

Harry held himself steady as he put his hand behind his back, letting his wand drop into the palm of his hand.

“Careful Harry,” Merlin warned. “He’s trying to read you again.”

’I know,’ Harry thought back. ‘Any ideas on what I can do about it?’

“Accio quill,” Andre called out, watching out of the corner of his eye as the quill flew into his open palm. “Here you are… Roger,” he said, holding it out.

Andre looked between the clearly nervous face of the one disguised as Lisa, and the calm face of the one disguised as Roger, deducing who had taken down the Acromantula.

“Thank you,” Harry said, taking the quill. “I’ll get it back to you soon.”

“He won’t attack,” Merlin observed. “At least while he’s trying to read you,” Merlin added.

“Keep it,” Andre replied, lowering his wand, as he stared between them. “I’m actually more interested in getting my book back. You still have it, don’t you… Roger?”

Harry stared back, knowing exactly what book he was referring to. “Oh… was that book important?” Harry asked. “Why do you need it back so urgently?” He asked, hoping to goad one of them into revealing something else.

Andre stopped himself before he lashed out, realizing what ‘Roger’ was trying to do. ‘A little amateurish, but not bad,’ he thought. ‘He wants me to lose my temper.’

A smirk formed on his face as he switched targets. “You know… Lisa. I thought for sure I saw you downstairs, but here you are.”

“That’s funny,” Talbott added. “I was going to say the same thing.”

“…No, it must have been someone else you saw,” Ron replied, trying to stay calm, but failing miserably.

Andre looked back and forth between them with a frown, realizing he would need a more direct approach to get anything useful out of them. “No, neither one of you are who you say you are, so let’s stop with the games, shall we?”

Harry carefully pulled in the magic around him, preparing a spell as he stared back and forth between Andre and Talbot wearily.

“You’ve impressed me you know,” Andre continued with a forced smile. “What you were able to pull off in the forest, how you found us in the first place, even your escapades in our dorm rooms.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Harry said, trying to buy more time as he channeled the magic he collected into his wand.

“I said stop with the games,” Andre said, the smile dropping from his face as he and Talbot aimed their wands at them. “There’s nowhere for you to run to this time, so make it easy on yourselves and tell me who you really are, who you’re working for, and what you’ve done with our book.”

‘Almost there,’ Harry thought. “You first. Why is the book so important to you?”

“That’s not how this works,” Andre said with a cold laugh, lighting up the tip of his wand with an angry yellow spell. “We ask the questions, and you answer them.”

“The book’s safe,” Harry replied, knowing that he would have to give him something to keep him distracted. “Looks pretty old too. Where did you get it?”

“I want it back,” Andre said, narrowing his eyes.

“And I want to hang onto it, maybe do that ritual of yours a couple more times,” Harry bluffed. “In our line of work, power boosts like this come in handy.”

“Who are you? Why are you getting in our way?” Talbott demanded angrily.

“Who we are doesn’t matter,” Harry replied. “You’re up to something, and we want to know what it is.”

“You don’t understand. We’re trying to save-” Talbot started to say before Andre cut him off. “No. Don’t say anything. Whoever they are, they’re not here to help us. We’ll let the alumni deal with them,” Andre said, raising his wand again.

Harry knew his time was up. Andre was done talking. He just hoped the spell would be enough to take them down. He whipped his wand out, surprising them with the pulsating ball of light on the tip of his wand as he shouted, “Depulso!”

Andre and Talbott only had a moment to widen their eyes in surprise as a wave of crackling blue light slammed into them, sending them, along with everything else in the spell’s path, crashing heavily into the wall.

Ron’s eyes widened in shock as he took in the amount of destruction Harry caused with only a single spell. ‘I didn’t even see his hand move,’ he thought. ‘It was just a blur.’

“We have to go!” Harry said urgently. “That won’t keep them down for long!” He added, knowing that after the rituals they went through, their magic would protect them from the worst of his spell.

When Ron didn’t react, Harry grabbed his shoulder, shaking him. “Ron!! Get out your broom. We have to go!” He said, watching as the rubble started to move and shift.

“Right,” Ron said shakily, nodding his head as he pulled out one of the shrunken brooms they took from the Quidditch equipment room and quickly mounted it, glad that Harry had the brooms replaced.

Harry turned, firing another Depulso at the window, sending the glass shattering outwards, and pulled out his own broom, mounting it as well.

“Get them!” Andre roared, emerging from the rubble. “Bombarda!” he shouted, sending an angry jet of crimson light towards them.

‘I hope this works,’ Harry thought as he caught the spell on his forearm at an angle, re-directing the spell back towards them. He felt his arm burn as the magic struck him, tearing through the magic he encased his arm with, but still managing to re-direct most of the spell’s power if only just.

The deflection took Andre, Talbott and Elspeth by surprise, sending them sprawling back to the ground, tearing at their clothes and leaving them winded and bloody. They slowly got to their feet again, just in time to see Harry and Ron fly out the window.

Ron glanced over his shoulder, thinking for a brief moment they escaped as he watched all three of them stare after them from the shattered window, only to see three brooms fly into their open hands. “Shit,” he muttered, trying to put as much distance as he could between them as Andre and Talbott followed after them.

***

Hermione burst into the Gryffindor common room, searching frantically for Fred and George.

“What’s going on? Are you alright Hermione?” Lavender asked, taking in the disheveled appearance and sweaty faced first year.

“Where are Fred and George?” Hermione demanded.

“Over here. What’s going on?” Fred asked from the fireplace, a confused look on his face.

Hermione marched up to them, grabbing them each by their sleeves and dragged them out of the common room.

“Oi!” George said indignantly. “What are you doing?!”

“Not now!” Hermione snapped, dragging them past the portrait, and slamming it shut behind her.

“Do they have the map?” Draco asked, urgently.

“Slow down, what the heck is going on?” Fred demanded, yanking his sleeve from Hermione’s grip.

“Harry and Ron are in trouble,” Hermione explained. “Use the map! We need to find out where they are right now!”

George fumbled through his pockets, quickly pulling out the map, and muttering the phrase to activate it, as they all looked through the map, searching for Harry and Ron.

“There,” Draco pointed to the Ravenclaw tower.

“Oh no,” Hermione said, watching as the dots for Andre, Talbott, and Elspeth walked up the stairs.

“What are they doing there?” George asked, his voice filled with dread.

“Ron and Harry went to search Andre and Talbott’s rooms,” Hermione answered.

“What?!” Fred hissed. “Ron promised us they were done with this, and they were going to stay out of their way!” Only to fall silent when he watched the study group stand in front of Harry and Ron.

A moment later, he watched the study group fly against the far wall, before Harry and Ron seemingly jumped out of the window. “Did they just-”

“No,” Draco interrupted. “They took brooms with them in case they couldn’t sneak back out through the door,” he said, watching them fly around the grounds, perused by the study group.

It was difficult to tell what was happening, based on the dots flying around the map, but they were clearly exchanging spell fire.

“Elspeth stopped,” Hermione pointed out, noticing that she wasn’t moving anymore.

“Andre and Talbott are still after them, and getting closer,” George replied as they watched them fly around the castle.

“Is there anything we can do to help them?” Hermione asked.

Fred and George looked at each other, silently communicating with each other as they went through their repertoire of spells and prank items, coming up empty, but before they could answer, Ron’s dot disappeared.

“What happened?” Hermione demanded, fearing the worst. “What does that mean?”

“…I don’t know,” Fred said, looking at the map in shock, willing Ron’s dot to appear again.

“Is he…” Draco asked, surprising himself with how difficult it was to ask the question.

“I don’t know!” Fred shouted, a mixture of anger and fear for his brother’s life. “…Nothing like this has happened before,” he finished quietly.

George remained quiet, looking at the map for a long moment before he spoke. “They’re just chasing after Harry now,” he pointed out.

“We have to tell the professors,” Hermione said, refusing to believe Ron was gone. “They’ll know what to do. They’ll find Ron, and everything will be ok.”

“…the map,” Draco said, looking down.

“Forget the map!” Hermione shouted, wiping her eyes. “Ron is ok, we just have to find where he is. The map is wrong!”

Fred and George looked at Hermione, latching onto her words, and the sliver of hope it provided.

“What are we supposed to tell the professors?” Draco asked quietly.

“…I don’t know,” Hermione said, trying to think how they could even explain all of this. “…They’re out after curfew.”

“It won’t be enough,” George shook his head. “At best, Professor McGonagall will go out there on her own, or send Filch. She won’t take it seriously, and on her own, she doesn’t stand a chance against them.”

“Peeves,” Fred said, as inspiration struck.

“What?” Draco asked, perplexed. “How is a ghost supposed to help them?”

“We need to draw the attention of all the professors,” Fred explained. “Who better than peeves to do that?”

“Where can we find him?” Hermione asked, latching onto the idea.

“The trophy room,” George replied, pointing to Peeve’s dot on the map.

“Alright, let’s go,” Hermione said, urgently.

“Just a second,” Fred said, rushing back into the common room.

“What?!” Hermione demanded as she watched him leave. “Fred, there’s no time for that!”

“We need something to bribe him with,” George explained.

A few seconds later Fred appeared, holding a crate. “Let’s go!” He said, running down the hallway as the others quickly following him in the search of Peeves.

“It’s all our fireworks,” Fred explained as they ran. “The professors won’t be able to ignore it once Peeves sets them all off.”

“There!” George shouted, spotting Peeves in the trophy room.

Peeves watched as the students ran towards them, a curious expression on his face. It was perhaps the first time in his existence that a student actually sought him out. It was the one thing that stopped him from re-acting the way he normally did, and get them in trouble.

“Looking for Peeves,” he said, a shrewd look in his eyes, recognizing the two fellow pranksters. “What game are we playing?” He asked, a slow smile forming on his face.

“We have a deal for you,” George said, catching his breath. “These are all our fireworks. We want you to set them off outside the school right now.”

“Make it big. We want the entire school to see it,” Fred added.

Peeves looked at the crate of fireworks, then back at the Weasley twins. “What’s the catch?”

“No catch,” Hermione interrupted. “In fact, if you set off the fireworks right now, we’ll get you twice as much this weekend!”

Peeves let out a delighted laugh as he thought about the possibilities before he snatched up the crate and took off, heading outside the castle.

Hermione, Draco, and the twins ran to the main hallway, looking out the door.

“I don’t see anything,” Draco said, peeking out the door.

George quickly pulled out the map and activated it. “They’re out there,” he confirmed, pointing at the dots.

They stared down at the map, worried looks etched on their faces. Andre, Talbott, and Elspeth surrounded Harry. He wasn’t moving, and there was still no sign of Ron.

“It’s worse than that,” Draco said, pointing out another section of the map. “The rest of them are coming this way,” he said, pointing to the dots for Ismelda, Lucian, and Beatrice.

Fred quickly cast a disillusionment charm on everyone as they stood against the wall, watching them all walk past.

“We have to do something,” Hermione insisted as the remaining members of the study group stepped outside.

“There’s nothing we can do,” Draco said, shaking his head. “None of us are a match for them. The only thing we’ll do by going out there is distract Potter, and probably get him and ourselves killed in the process.”

“He’s right,” George agreed. “We just have to hope Peeves keeps his word.”

Hermione looked back and forth between the twins and Draco for a moment before shaking her head. “No. Harry could have left me and Ron to die in the forest, but he didn’t abandon us, and I’m not going to abandon him!” she said, drawing her wand as she made her way outside, hoping she wasn’t too late.

Fred and George stared at each other intently, silently communicating with each other before they drew their own wands and followed Hermione.

“Damn it,” Draco said as he watched them walk off to their deaths before drawing his own wand and following them.

He knew the smart move was to return to his dorm room and write a letter to his father, asking to be transferred to another school where he could just forget about this whole mess, but he just couldn’t bring himself to walk away.


Hi, thanks for reading and supporting me. What did you think of the latest chapter? Any guesses on what happened to Ron or what’s going to happen to Harry?

Jumpin

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