Raphael’s words echoed through the room, casting a heavy silence upon the air. After a contemplative pause, the goblin elder spoke, “Raphael, do you truly hold such optimism for the Alliance?”

“I believe there is more to your reasoning than just a blind trust toward the Alliance. Enlighten me.” The goblin elder asked.

Raphael sighed with a wry smile, his response measured and thoughtful, “At first, I was hopeful about the Alliance concept itself, but your words have shifted my interest toward the new leader of the Alliance—the heir of the Grindelwald family. I fear we may not have another opportunity for what we failed to achieve in the past. We can only hope he remains unaware of the historical truths; otherwise, given the Alliance’s approach, our goblins might find themselves akin to the new House-elves.”

Meanwhile, in the Gringotts hall, Lockhart nervously settled beside Wentworth when Auston approached, leaning in with a soft voice, “My lord, the Aurors from the British Ministry of Magic have arrived. They are assembling in Diagon Alley and gradually surrounding Gringotts.”

Upon hearing Auston’s report, Wentworth’s surprise was palpable. He turned to Carrow, seeking answers, “Carrow, I thought you said you could hold Scrimgeour back in Scotland while we commence our assault? It seems like he is way ahead of our schedule.”

Carrow, equally puzzled, turned to Wentworth before responding promptly, “Impossible! Scrimgeour should still be in Scotland. There’s no way he could return so quickly!”

Auston interjected, attempting to clarify the situation, “I believe there is a misunderstanding my lord, Scrimgeour didn’t lead the Aurors this time. The team was led by Scrimgeour’s former Auror Office Director—Miss Cassandra’s father.”

Cassandra was visibly taken aback upon hearing her father was participating in this team. She swiftly rose from her seat, “Give me a moment; I’ll handle this.”

However, before Cassandra could leave, Wentworth held her back and turned to Auston, “Proceed and find a way to stall. If possible, bring in Mr. Vole alone.”

Following the urgent situation, Wentworth turned to Rosier, making a soft request, “Grandma Rosier, I’ll need your assistance in creating a few additional portkeys. We’ll use them for our departure.”

Afterward, Wentworth directed his attention towards Lockhart, sporting a friendly smile, “Professor Lockhart, aside from your role as the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts, would you be interested in taking on an extra job or a part-time position?”

Lockhart, exhibiting the intellectual prowess characteristic of Ravenclaw students, responded wisely at Wentworth’s question, “Mr. Wentworth Grindelwald, within the confines of Hogwarts, you may address me as Professor, but outside, you’re welcome to use my name. How may I be of assistance? Whatever you need, I’m at your service!”

Observing Lockhart’s amusing reaction, even Cedric, Cassandra, and others stood agape, their expressions frozen.

Wentworth, familiar with Lockhart’s reputation, couldn’t help but find the situation a bit peculiar. He sighed and remarked, “It appears that those involved in deception are indeed a clever bunch.”

Choosing not to delve further into the banter with Lockhart, Wentworth got straight to the point, “The Alliance is in the process of establishing its own bank, and we would like to extend an invitation to Mr. Lockhart to serve as the honorary president. What are your thoughts on this, Mr. Lockhart?”

Lockhart, caught off guard, remained silent for a prolonged moment. His delayed response left Wentworth with a hint of displeasure.

Finally, as Lockhart realized the situation, he vigorously nodded and eagerly replied, “No problem at all! It’s truly an honor for the Alliance to consider me. I am delighted!”

Observing Lockhart’s eager acceptance, Wentworth expressed his satisfaction before delving into the specifics, “I’ll give you three years. Our Bank of Alliance should surpass Gringotts and become the largest wizarding bank in London and the UK. Can you make it happen?”

In response, Lockhart’s confidence waned, and he shook his head with a wry smile, “Wentworth, I’m afraid that might not be feasible… You see, as a public figure myself, we need to consider lots of things befo—“

Undeterred, Wentworth locked eyes with Lockhart and asserted emphatically while he put his hands on Lockhart’s shoulder, “Don’t worry about it, it will work. I will guarantee it as the leader of the Alliance.”

Feeling the pressure, Lockhart attempted to explain, “Wentworth, in the current wizarding world, Gringotts is nearly synonymous with wizarding banks. Despite the power of attorney incident, it’s challenging to alter the ingrained perception of wizards. They won’t readily trust a newly established bank.”

Without challenging Lockhart’s reasoning, Wentworth nodded thoughtfully and calmly remarked, “That’s precisely why I’ve appointed you as the honorary president of the Bank of Alliance. Your influence, coupled with your remarkable ability to win others’ trust, is invaluable. The biggest currency for us, starting as a new bank, is trust. As a public figure yourself, you know how valued trust is in the face of the public.”

Without allowing Lockhart to interject, Wentworth pressed on, “Don’t worry; the entire Alliance will provide unwavering support. Furthermore, we’re not merely a bank—we’re going to be more progressive and open than Gringotts!”

He continued with enthusiasm, “As an example, for clients depositing money with our bank, not only will we forego storage fees, but we’ll even provide them with money, known as interest!”

Lockhart, initially perplexed, was taken aback for a moment, but he swiftly regained his composure.

Meanwhile, Cassandra, Cedric, and others gathered around, eager to hear more.

Wentworth elaborated, “Additionally, for wizards in need of quick funds, our Bank of Alliance will offer loan services. We’re more than willing to lend Galleons, although the interest rates will be steep.”

“Of course, if they choose to offer their own real estate or use valuable magical items or even rare magical creatures as collateral through our firm, the interest rates can be more favorable!”

Observing Cassandra immersed in detailed calculations, Lockhart appeared to have a sudden realization. Wentworth smiled slightly and continued, “As long as the interest rate on the Galleons we lend out is higher than the interest rate we offer to wizards for their deposits, we will make money—and we’ll make a lot of it!”

“Merlin’s beard, Wentworth… What makes you think of all this?! You better make sure to let me have a spot inside that bank of yours, or I hope that it will collapse in the first year after it opened.” Green intercepted with a joke after hearing Wentworth’s plan.

“Senior, you better watch that mouth of yours. If the Bank of Alliance went bankrupt the first year after opening, then I won’t even think twice about handing you over to them because you’ve jinxed it!” Cedric chimed in with a light tone.

Hearing their jokes, Wentworth couldn’t help but laugh along, “Don’t worry senior, I will make sure you have a spot as a janitor inside the Bank of Alliance.”

They laughed together after hearing Wentworth’s offer of Green’s position as a janitor.

Meanwhile, Lockhart was staring at them with a stiff expression, wondering how they could stay this relaxed when they had just forced one of the major forces in the wizarding world to kneel under their feet.


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Published On: March 25, 2024

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