Soon, the Christmas holiday at Hogwarts concluded, and as the students prepared to board the train for their return, Cassandra took the initiative to seek out Wentworth.

However, when they met in the library, Wentworth was taken aback by Cassandra’s appearance. “Cassandra! You look… different?”

The heavy dark circles under her eyes were evident despite Cassandra’s attempt to conceal it with light makeup.

At first glance, it seemed as if she had applied smoky eye makeup.

“Something the matter lately that keeps you up all night?” Concerned, Wentworth was about to inquire about her well-being when Cassandra handed him a thick notebook.

“This notebook contains a record of all the fireplaces connected to the Floo network in Hogsmeade Village. It includes the names of individuals using these fireplaces, detailing the wizards who entered and exited Hogsmeade through the Floo Network in recent times,” Cassandra explained.

Moved by Cassandra’s dedication, Wentworth grabbed her hands and expressed his gratitude, saying, “Thank you, Cassandra. I’ll take care of the matters from here on. You can take a good rest after this. You’ll need it the most than I do.”

Upon hearing Wentworth’s words, Cassandra calmly withdrew her hand from his, stating, “No, I have already screened it for you. I can confidently say that there is no wizard you are seeking among these individuals. Also, don’t worry about my well-being… It’s not like this will set me back.”

Wentworth furrowed his brow in response to Cassandra’s words, casting a contemplative glance at the thick notebook. After a prolonged silence, he inquired once more, “So, are there any fireplaces in Hogsmeade that are illegally connected to the Floo network?”

With the knowledge of knowing such things, Wentworth couldn’t possibly figure out how many possibilities out there of such ways for the mysterious person to access them.

This puts Wentworth in a tight spot, thinking about how little he knows about Hogsmeade on the surface.

Cassandra promptly shook her head and replied, “The term’ fireplaces illegally connected to the Floo network’ refers to those fireplaces that have not been reported to the Ministry of Magic but are magically connected. Unless unused, such fireplaces would undoubtedly be detected by the Ministry of Magic.”

“I cannot confirm if there are any fireplaces illegally connected to the Floo network in Hogsmeade. However, no wizard has entered Hogsmeade during this period through such an illegally connected Floo network fireplace.”

Upon hearing Cassandra’s response, Wentworth’s brows furrowed, and he muttered in disbelief, “It doesn’t make sense! Didn’t they come to Hogsmeade Village through the Floo network? Could it be Apparition?”

He quickly dismissed the idea, shaking his head and asserting, “Impossible. Hogsmeade is too remote, and with the presence of Hogwarts, Apparition is prohibited. Moreover, using Apparition in this area requires advanced Apparition skills and a significant amount of magical power.”

Lost in thought, Wentworth noticed Cassandra’s hesitation and apparent desire to speak. He inquired curiously, “Cassandra, what are you trying to tell me?”

After a moment of contemplation, Cassandra spoke slowly, “Wentworth, there is something I’m not sure if I should disclose.”

Wentworth smiled and waved his hand, saying nonchalantly, “Cassandra, if it’s inconvenient, you don’t have to tell me. Don’t force yourself.”

Cassandra shook her head slowly, then spoke, “Actually, it’s not something difficult to say. There is a somewhat unusual location in Hogsmeade where the Ministry of Magic doesn’t monitor the fireplace. Even my father doesn’t know how that particular fireplace is utilized.”

Her words stirred something in Wentworth’s heart. It felt as if a voice whispered to him, affirming his suspicions.

Despite the inner turmoil, Wentworth managed to steady himself and asked, “Oh? Hogsmeade Village has such a special place? You know, even the fireplaces on the Hogwarts campus, if they connect to the Floo network, are subject to the Ministry of Magic’s supervision. I’m quite intrigued. Who in Hogsmeade Village has the audacity to bypass the Ministry’s watchful eye so openly?”

Cassandra gazed into Wentworth’s eyes and then calmly uttered a name— a name that resonated deeply with Wentworth: “Gringotts!”

When Cassandra mentioned Gringotts, Wentworth was taken aback. The answer was unexpected, yet upon reflection, it made sense.

The revelation, while surprising, fell into place logically.

It’s a newly built branch on Hogsmeade that never happened in the original story. There must be some reason why it was suddenly built along the time the mysterious party wanted to have a rendezvous with Wentworth.

During the goblin rebellion, the goblins, as the defeated party, were compelled by human wizards to make significant concessions. One such restriction was the absolute prohibition on goblins possessing and using magic wands.

Wentworth reflected on the historical context by understanding the significance of wands in the wizarding world.

Before the invention of the wand, human wizards often found themselves at a disadvantage in duels against other magical creatures. They relied on numerical superiority to contend with these beings.

The transformative role of wands altered this dynamic. To ensure the exclusive control of magic wands by human wizards, the International Federation of Wizards enacted legislation known as the Magic Wand Legislation.

This legal framework officially deprived many intelligent magical creatures, including goblins, of the right to wield magic wands.

As soon as the Magic Wand Legislation was enacted, vehement opposition arose from various magical creatures, with fairies being the most vocal critics.

The dissent reached its peak during the massive goblin rebellion in the eighteenth century, which, despite its vigor, was eventually quelled by the wizarding community.

As the conflict approached its resolution, negotiations between wizards and goblins took place to expedite the end of the war and minimize wizard casualties.

In these negotiations, certain conditions were conceded, reflecting the dignity of magical creatures, particularly fairies. One significant agreement was that the Ministry of Magic in each country would refrain from monitoring the goblins’ fireplaces.

Recalling this crucial piece of information from his mandatory Hogwarts course, History of Magic, Wentworth connected the dots.

“Cassandra, if my hypothesis were all true… then we are fighting against a party with a big influence of power! This might even put the Alliance based on how daring they act. Showing the signs of being confident while making a move against me whose identity is already quite known, can only mean that they are not afraid of the repercussions because they have the power backing them!”

Additional memories flooded his mind, including the goblin encountered at the Hog’s Head bar and the unexpected appearance of Gringotts in Hogsmeade Village.

Armed with these revelations, Wentworth had a daring hypothesis. Turning to Cassandra, he issued a solemn plea, “Don’t disclose this information to anyone! It might bring more harm than good if the others learn of it. We need to prepare some things first.”

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Published On: February 11, 2024

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