Confronted with Rita in front of him, the smile on Lockhart’s face froze momentarily.

Having been interviewed by her in the past, Lockhart was well acquainted with Rita, and he knew that dealing with this formidable woman was no easy task.

In response to Rita’s request, Lockhart hastily replied, “Yes, you may, but… No, no! You shouldn’t interview me! You should interview them!” He extended his hand, pointing towards the wizards who were fervently cheering around him. “Why would you interview a person that has the fewest contribution to this ordeal rather than the crowd that pushes him forward?”

This gesture elicited even more enthusiastic cheers from the crowd.

Lockhart continued, “They provided me with the strength to persevere and not give up! I will never be afraid as long as I have their support!” Rita observed Lockhart, deeply immersed in the performance, resisting the urge to roll her eyes and pretending to attentively listen to Lockhart’s speech, all the while subtly patting her chest.

Shortly after, Lockhart, immersed in the surrounding cheers, noticed Rita’s movements.

He couldn’t help but freeze for a moment. Because of how close he is to Rita at the moment, Lockhart quickly recognizes the Deathly Hallows drawing on her chest.

Witnessing this, Lockhart was shocked. He never imagined that this well-known female reporter was actually a member of the Alliance!

Rita saw the shock that flashed through Lockhart’s eyes and understood that he had grasped the meaning behind her symbol. She proceeded to inquire, “Excuse me, Mr. Lockhart, how did you fend off the Alliance?”

The surrounding wizards fell silent upon hearing Rita’s question. They were also eager to hear Lockhart’s response to this crucial inquiry.

In response, Lockhart asserted with righteousness, “No, it’s not my own merit! In fact, this is primarily due to the credit of our British Ministry of Magic, especially the former head of the Auror Office of the British Ministry of Magic and now the head of the Floo Network Office, Mr. Thomas Vole. I played a supporting role!”

Upon hearing Lockhart’s response, Rita grasped that the Alliance’s influence seemed to have fully infiltrated the British Ministry of Magic, with Thomas Vole likely being affiliated with the Alliance.

Of course, Rita had no intention of exposing this information. After all, she was now considered a non-staff member of the Alliance.

Recalling the contents of the note she received earlier, Rita Skeeter smiled and continued the interview.

“Mr. Lockhart, you are truly humble! Now, let me ask you again: what motivated you to rush into Gringotts without hesitation in the first place? Is it your sense of justice?”

Upon Rita’s inquiry, Lockhart suddenly displayed an embarrassed expression, then calmly smiled and replied, “Actually, I didn’t think much about it at first. When I heard that someone was attacking Gringotts, my initial reaction was: Oh my God! All my money is stored in Gringotts! No, I must go in and stop them; my life savings are in there!”

Lockhart’s response elicited a burst of laughter from the onlookers at the scene.

“I, too, would run inside Gringotts if my money was on the line!” A wizard yelled from the crowd, but no one responded to his yelling.

Instead the others murmured at him, whispering words such as, “If he is not a man looking for attention, then why is he standing out here instead of up there?”

The wizard fell silent before he slowly walked away from the crowd, feeling dejected.

Not only were the surrounding wizards not disappointed by Lockhart’s answer, but many felt that his response was relatable. Consequently, prolonged applause and cheers echoed through the scene once again, although the acclaim was accompanied by some whistles this time.

After patiently waiting for the commotion to subside, Rita Skeeter resumed her interview, posing another question, “One more question, Mr. Lockhart. Do you have anything to say after such a thrilling day?”

As the surrounding wizards eagerly anticipated Lockhart’s response, to their surprise, he fell silent.

Lockhart’s sudden silence caused the atmosphere to gradually quiet down, leaving everyone perplexed as they exchanged uncertain glances, unsure of what had transpired.

After an extended pause, the sound of Lockhart’s sigh reached the ears of many wizards. He then spoke, breaking the silence, “Actually, my most profound realization right now is that perhaps, Gringotts is not as secure as we thought!”

Upon hearing Lockhart’s response, a clamor erupted in the scene, with wizards engaging in animated discussions.

As the conversation intensified, it became evident that many wizards were nodding in agreement with Lockhart’s particular viewpoint. Given the events of the day, his emphasis on Gringotts’ safety resonated with a growing number of individuals.

Observing that the surrounding discussion had reached a peak, Rita seamlessly continued her interview with Lockhart, “Mr. Lockhart, would you elaborate further on your plans of what you want to do now?”

In response, Lockhart donned a wistful smile and answered, “What I want to do most now is to start teaching at Hogwarts! After all, I have become the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts! There is nothing more exhilarating for me than teaching students. I can’t wait!”

Lockhart continued with enthusiasm, “You know, what awaits me at Hogwarts is the future of our wizarding world! I can’t let our junior wizards and witches waste any second without learning directly from me!”

Lockhart’s reply revitalized the previously somber atmosphere of the scene. Nearly all the wizards present, much like Mrs. Weasley, erupted into wild applause, expressing their wholehearted support for Lockhart’s aspirations.

Observing the scene, even Rita Skeeter couldn’t help but marvel at Lockhart’s ability to captivate the atmosphere.

At that moment, Lockhart extended his hand, signaling for everyone to quiet down. Though uncertain of Lockhart’s intentions, the audience instinctively complied with his command, and the atmosphere gradually settled.

Then, Lockhart spoke loudly, “Thank you for the applause just now. Thank you, everyone. I’m Lockhart, a recipient of the Third Class Medal of Merlin, an honorary member of the Anti-Dark Magic Alliance, and a five-time winner of the ‘Witcher Weekly’ Most Charming Smile Award!”

“Of course, I’m still a writer and have published numerous novels that are not worth mentioning! Moreover, I am now the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! Suffice it to say, I’ve achieved some modest successes now!”

Lockhart continued with humility, “However, everyone’s applause just now made me realize one thing—that is, without everyone’s support, I am nothing!”

Lockhart’s heartfelt speech prompted another round of warm applause from the audience, which continued for a considerable time.

As the applause gradually subsided and Lockhart signaled for quiet, he suddenly addressed the crowd with enthusiasm, “So, in order to repay everyone’s love and support for me, I have decided to dedicate my best efforts to all of you. I am committed to opening a bank that is even safer than Gringotts!”

 

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Published On: March 28, 2024

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