Lockhart’s proclamation hung in the air, casting a momentary hush over the crowd.

Even Rita found herself momentarily speechless, her mouth agape in surprise.

When Rita received the note, the Deathly Hallows logo on it unequivocally conveyed that Lockhart’s actions were aligned with the Alliance’s agenda.

Rita’s role was to cooperate with Lockhart, and the questions she posed during the interview were meticulously outlined in the note.

Yet, the extent of the Alliance’s elaborate plan had caught Rita off guard.

The atmosphere was charged with an unusual stillness in the aftermath of Lockhart’s declaration.

The expected cheers were conspicuously absent, and a murmur of whispers began to ripple through the crowd.

The anticipation in the air left Lockhart with a palpable sense of unease, a rhythmic drumbeat pounding in his chest.

At that moment, Mrs. Weasley abruptly rose from her seat, her voice echoing through the hall.

“Mr. Lockhart, there may be something you’re not aware of. Following the armistice agreement between our human wizards and goblins, we also signed a power of attorney when the goblins rebelled. This document authorized the goblins to establish the sole bank in the magical world, giving rise to Gringotts.”

Mrs. Weasley’s words resonated with a tone of caution. She continued, “Any violation of this power of attorney will trigger a joint curse cast by the most powerful wizards and goblins of that time. Mr. Lockhart, while we appreciate your intentions, it’s crucial for your safety—”

Interrupting Mrs. Weasley, Lockhart energetically waved his arms and interjected, “Thank you, thank you for the reminder, Madam. I’m well aware of this!”

A moment of silence hung in the air as Lockhart paused dramatically before unleashing a burst of anger, “But just moments ago, during the conflict at Gringotts, the Alliance destroyed this very power of attorney!”

Upon hearing this revelation, the wizards in attendance erupted into a chaotic buzz. Lockhart seized the moment to press on with his narrative.

“The reason behind the destruction of the power of attorney was the goblins themselves!” Lockhart declared passionately. “I witnessed the goblins of Gringotts retrieving the power of attorney and delivering it to the Alliance. The Alliance then callously destroyed it right before our eyes!”

A sad undertone crept into Lockhart’s voice as he continued, “Initially, I had hoped to preserve this power of attorney. It marked the beginning of my struggle against the Alliance, but my efforts fell short due to the goblins’ capitulation.”

With a touch of melancholy in his expression, Lockhart added, “Goblins and Gringotts couldn’t even safeguard something as crucial as their own authority. How can we entrust them with the protection of our possessions?”

In a resolute tone, Lockhart concluded, “So, I am determined to establish a new bank—the safest bank in the entire wizarding world! A bank that is exclusively for us wizards!”

As Lockhart’s resounding cries echoed, a wave of thunderous applause once again engulfed the entire scene.

The wizards present, moved by Lockhart’s fervor, erupted into heartfelt cheers and applause.

Amidst the jubilation, Lockhart gestured for silence, and as the crowd gradually hushed, he continued to unveil his plans, “Furthermore, the bank I am launching will not only forgo any charges on vaults but also, for every wizard who deposits Galleons, I will not levy any costs upon you!”

Lockhart’s revelation left the wizards in a state of bewilderment, but he wasn’t finished yet.

Continuing with his announcement, Lockhart declared, “Not only will there be no fees, but I will also reward wizards who deposit Galleons in my bank with what Muggles call interest! Deposit ten Galleons; after one year, you will receive eleven Galleons!”

The revelation left the crowd stunned, as the prospect of a bank offering such unprecedented terms seemed almost too good to be true.

Lockhart, however, reveled in the attention, basking in the awe-struck silence that followed his proclamation.

Upon hearing Lockhart’s bold promises, the initially stunned wizards began to react, with some, like Mrs. Weasley, lighting up with anticipation.

However, others harbored doubts, uncertain about Lockhart’s true intentions.

If it weren’t for Lockhart’s recent heroic actions at Gringotts, safeguarding everyone’s possessions during the perilous conflict, suspicions might have arisen regarding his motives.

Could Lockhart be plotting to claim everyone’s Galleons? After all, despite his successful book sales, it was doubtful that he possessed the substantial wealth required to fulfill such extravagant interest payments.

Lockhart, perceptive to the skepticism, swiftly addressed the concerns. After gesturing for silence once more, he reassured the crowd, “Do you think the benefits I offer are limited to interest alone? Certainly not! I will also gift you with Galleons! That’s right those golden Galleons will be yours for the taking if you trust your money on my bank!”

Acknowledging the financial challenges that wizards and their families might face, Lockhart continued, “I understand that wizards occasionally encounter financial constraints. In such times, you are welcome to approach my bank, and we will be more than happy to lend a lending hand!”

Upon hearing Lockhart’s elaborate promises, even Mrs. Weasley, an ardent supporter, found herself momentarily taken aback.

The grand vision Lockhart painted raised a sense of unease among the wizards, who were not easily fooled.

Recognizing the skepticism in the crowd, Lockhart tactfully shifted the tone, appearing slightly sheepish as he admitted, “Of course, while I’m more than happy to extend loans to you, I can’t work for free, can I? But there will be a fee for my services. However, I can assure you that I will offer a fair price. Every single wizard and witch of all classes will have the chance to enjoy what my bank has to offer.”

The collective exhale from the crowd suggested a mixture of relief and anticipation. Some wizards were quick to express their agreement, acknowledging that Lockhart deserved to be compensated for his services.

Curiosity filled the air as questions about the details of Lockhart’s proposed fees started to circulate.

Lockhart took a moment to contemplate and then stated his terms boldly, “If you borrow ten Galleons for a one-year loan period, you’ll need to leave one Galleon as the handling fee, and after one year, you must return thirteen Galleons!”

He went on to explain, “However, if you can provide real estate, a magic item of a certain value, as assessed by me, or even a magical creature as collateral, I can waive the handling fee for that Galleon.”

While most wizards were still trying to grasp the details of Lockhart’s proposal, some astute individuals began to see the potential benefits of the transaction.

Among them was Lucius, who had been observing the scene with keen interest.

With a hint of disbelief, Lucius muttered to himself, “This guy is surprisingly adept at business. This shouldn’t be…”


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Published On: March 29, 2024

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