Observing this unexpected turn of events, Wentworth found himself momentarily frozen, while the young goblin reveled in a triumphant expression, staring provocatively at Wentworth after the initial surprise.

Reacting swiftly, Wentworth raised his wand once more, casting the spell “Reducto!” The magical incantation shot forth, aiming directly at the adorned animal skin.

However, to Wentworth’s astonishment, the golden stripes on the skin instantaneously illuminated, absorbing the incoming spell like a sponge soaking up water.

Amidst the goblin’s gloating satisfaction, Rosier calmly stepped forward, seizing the animal’s skin.

With determination, she uttered the incantation, “Diffido!” Holding the magical artifact in both her hands, she exerted force, producing a crisp sound as the skin yielded and fractured.

The once-resplendent animal skin quickly dulled, rapidly aging as if the passage of a millennium occurred within seconds.

In a final act, Rosier blew lightly, reducing the entirety of the animal skin to dust within her grasp.

Disregarding the wide-eyed astonishment of the young goblin beside them, the elder goblin maintained an air of indifference, seemingly unsurprised by the unfolding events.

Addressing Wentworth, the chief goblin spoke deliberately, “I wonder, Mr. Grindelwald, if this response meets your satisfaction?”

Wentworth let out a sigh and gestured dismissively, saying, “You may leave now Elder… The Alliance will take our leave soon after.”

Without uttering a word, the goblin elder, leaning on his cane, proceeded to descend the steps of Gringotts slowly, disappearing from sight.

Observing the elder goblin’s departure, Wentworth’s expression shifted to a mix of frustration and embarrassment. As the goblin vanished before the eyes of the Alliance wizards, Wentworth muttered with a sense of disbelief, “Can I carry the weight after destroying one of the ground rules in the wizarding world? What exactly do Gringotts, or rather these goblins, intend to achieve?”

Despite having some conjectures, Wentworth found it challenging to believe that the goblins truly harbored such intentions.

After a moment of contemplative silence, Wentworth abruptly turned around and fixed his gaze on Lockhart, who had remained silent throughout. Extending a courteous smile, Wentworth motioned to the seat beside him and remarked, “Professor Lockhart, please take a seat!”

Observing Wentworth’s gesture, Lockhart, who had been attempting to fade into the background, instinctively sought to offer his signature smile.

However, a palpable undercurrent of bitterness tainted his usually charming expression this time.

Meanwhile, back inside Gringotts, the elder goblin escorted the young goblin away and then proceeded alone, utilizing crutches for support, down an unilluminated passageway beneath Gringotts.

Despite the impenetrable darkness, the goblin elder navigated the passage with ease, accompanied solely by the rhythmic echo of his crutches.

At the passage’s terminus stood a substantial iron door. The goblin elder extended his hand, running his fingers over it, and with a resounding “boom,” the door swung open.

Subsequently, the goblin elder forcefully struck his crutches against the ground, causing the once dim space to be illuminated abruptly.

Beyond the iron gate lay a ten-meter-square chamber. In this vacant expanse, four sturdy iron chains extended from the surrounding walls, each binding a goblin.

The goblin’s limbs hung suspended in the air, ensnared by the four chains, rendering him immobile. As the light illuminated the chamber, the goblin, who had previously hung his head and closed his eyes, slowly opened his eyes and lifted his head.

Despite superficial similarities with other goblins, a discerning human eye could swiftly identify the unique features of this particular goblin. The most striking distinction lay in his silver-white hair.

The elder goblin observed the restrained goblin before him in silence. A fleeting expression of anguish flickered across the elder’s eyes, disappearing almost as quickly as it had surfaced. He then spoke:

“Raphael, the Alliance infiltrated Gringotts just now. Not only did they cause chaos within our institution, but they also took the lives of many of our employees.”

Unperturbed, the goblin named Raphael responded casually, “Elder, when you sought my counsel earlier, I informed you that certain actions should either be left undone or carried out unequivocally.”

“Alternatively, you could have eliminated the Alliance forces, along with every other wizard and goblin present, and then sought someone to cast a powerful Obliviate spell on yourself. Perhaps that could have kept you hidden from the wizard’s scrutiny.”

“Or, you might have chosen to host a lavish feast, providing exquisite food and drink, and graciously escorted them out of Gringotts. But you didn’t heed my advice!”

Upon hearing Raphael’s words, the goblin elder lapsed into a contemplative silence before speaking slowly, “The leader of the Alliance, the successor of the Grindelwald family, implied that I should surrender you.”

At this revelation, Raphael, who had initially regarded the elder with disdain, suddenly showed renewed interest, fixing the elder with an intense gaze.

“I refused,” declared the Great Elder.

Raphael’s eyes dimmed instantly, and he inquired with a wry smile, “I assume your refusal comes at a cost?”

The goblin elder nodded and disclosed, “I surrendered that power of attorney.”

Upon hearing the Great Elder’s revelation, Raphael appeared momentarily bewildered.

Gradually, a realization seemed to dawn upon him, and he gazed at the elder goblin with a shocked expression. In disbelief, he uttered, “You… you handed over the power of attorney?! Great Elder, are you crazy!”

The goblin elder furrowed his brow and responded cryptically, “Raphael, I have always considered you the most astute among our goblins. Even if you were to make a significant blunder, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to have you executed. However, I refrained from such drastic measures simply because of your intellect.”

“Can’t you see that, even in the absence of that power of attorney, no one can challenge our standing at Gringotts? Even if the International Wizarding Federation were to attempt establishing a new bank, it would struggle to gain the trust of all wizards!”

“So, as of now, that power of attorney is nothing more than a worthless piece of paper for us!”

Upon hearing the words of the goblin elder, Raphael shook his head with a wry smile and stated:

“You are wrong, Great Elder, this time you are truly mistaken! It’s not like that! As long as there is that piece of paper, any wizard attempting to establish a new wizard bank will face punishment by the most formidable wizards and goblins, a curse so potent that not even Dumbledore could endure it!”

“And now, the sword hanging over the wizard’s head is gone!”

Stubbornly, the goblin elder argued, “The reputation of Gringotts for thousands of years is…”

However, before the Great Elder could finish speaking, Raphael forcefully interrupted, proclaiming:

“It doesn’t take a thousand years or even a hundred years! It only takes a few years, or just a war… All the old orders will be changed and the Alliance will be the center of it once more! The wizarding world will be swept away in chaos once again, Elder… I hope you found it worth the trouble to give the only power the Goblins had in the wizarding world…”


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Published On: March 24, 2024

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