After Lucius blurted out the location, he immediately realized that Barty Crouch Jr. must not be in Azkaban, or else Wentworth would not have asked him.

“This can’t be… that damned bastard has been avoiding the entire wizarding world by laying low in that way?” This realization left Lucius in a state of shock as he looked at Wentworth.

Seeing Lucius’ shocked expression, Wentworth casually remarked, “It seems you’ve grasped the situation. Indeed, Barty Crouch Jr. is not in Azkaban.”

Wentworth went on to reveal, “Back then, Barty Crouch Jr. received a life sentence in Azkaban, but it was his mother who took the punishment for him. She transformed into Barty Crouch Jr. with the help of Barty Crouch senior and entered Azkaban in his stead.”

Lucius and Narcissa, still processing this shocking information, exchanged bewildered glances. After a moment, Lucius asked in disbelief, “Then… where is the real Barty Crouch Jr. now?”

Wentworth didn’t hesitate to respond, stating, “In the ancestral home of the Crouch family, under the vigilant eye of Barty Crouch!”

Hearing Wentworth’s answer, Lucius fell into thoughtful silence for a prolonged moment.

Gradually, his eyes lit up, and he turned to Wentworth with excitement, suggesting, “Perhaps we don’t have to bring down Barty Crouch. Instead, we can use this information to threaten him, compelling him to work for us!”

Wentworth, scrutinizing Lucius’ eyes, maintained a stern gaze until Lucius, feeling a bit uneasy, looked away. Only then did Wentworth respond, emphasizing, “It’s for the Alliance’s sake, Mr. Malfoy!”

In agreement, Lucius nodded fervently, “Of course, of course! I misspoke earlier; it’s undoubtedly for the Alliance!”

Hearing how he mispoke again, Narcissa nudged him on the foot once again.

Wentworth continued, dismissing the triviality, “Alright, let’s not dwell on that. Frankly, I’m not concerned about your dealings with Barty Crouch. My sole interest lies in the outcome – ensuring that Mr. Vole becomes the new head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement at the British Ministry of Magic.”

Hearing Wentworth’s emphasis, Lucius immediately straightened his posture and responded without hesitation, “Rest assured! With the information you provided, I’ll ensure a satisfactory outcome for the Alliance!”

Observing Lucius’s unwavering determination, Wentworth nodded with satisfaction and then addressed Lucius with a reassuring smile, “Fear not, Mr. Malfoy. Unlike your Death Eaters, we of the Alliance are reasonable. This time, we won’t let your assistance go unrewarded!”

Upon hearing Wentworth’s words, Narcissa’s hand, beneath the table, gripped Lucius with a hint of excitement. “Thank you, thank you so much, Mr. Grindelwald. We, the Malfoy family, will gladly offer you any kind of assistance in the future for the sake of our relationship.”

Lucius, sporting a smile, responded, “No, no, you’re too polite. This is what we should do. Draco may have caused you trouble at Hogwarts, and I will inquire about…”

Before Lucius could finish, Wentworth waved his hand, signaling that Lucius needn’t trouble himself. He continued, “Draco is doing well, but this matter doesn’t involve him. It pertains to your Malfoy family. Draco can’t represent the Malfoy family now, can he? Besides, Draco is doing fine in Hogwarts.”

Upon hearing Wentworth’s words, Lucius and Narcissa were momentarily stunned, and Lucius swiftly responded, “Certainly, Draco can’t represent the Malfoy family at this moment. I’m not sure what you’re referring to?”

Wentworth smiled at Lucius, then gestured for Auston, standing behind him, to step forward.

Witnessing the once frail and pitiful figure at the old Greengrass funeral now standing confidently before him,

Lucius couldn’t help but be filled with emotions. Wentworth pointed to Auston Greenglass and addressed Lucius, “Allow me to introduce to you the core member of the younger generation in our Alliance. Similar to the Malfoy family, he hails from the Greengrass family of the 28th Sacred Twenty-Eight in the United Kingdom. He is also the current head of the Greengrass family, Auston Greengrass!”

Following Wentworth’s introduction, Auston extended his hand to Lucius, smiling as he said, “Long time no see, Mr. Malfoy!”

Lucius promptly extended his hand and spoke politely, “Indeed, it has been quite a while! Your father and I were old friends. Initially, I was concerned about the fate of the Greengrass family after your father’s passing, but seeing you now puts my worries to rest. Especially after seeing you are now a proud member of the Alliance.”

Wentworth interjected, redirecting the conversation, “Mr. Malfoy likely witnessed everything outside Gringotts today. Allow me to be direct. Our Alliance backs the new bank that Lockhart aims to establish. We have entrusted Auston to oversee this matter entirely.”

He continued, “Presumably, with Mr. Malfoy’s astuteness, you can recognize the substantial profits concealed behind this venture! As a gesture of gratitude to the Malfoy family, we extend an invitation for the Malfoys to participate and become shareholders in this new bank. Mr. Malfoy, what are your thoughts?”

Hearing Wentworth’s proposal, Lucius nodded without hesitation, stating, “Certainly, it is an honor for the Malfoy family! We are delighted to contribute to this venture.”

Upon hearing Lucius’ response, Wentworth nodded approvingly and then turned to Auston, instructing, “Since that’s settled, you and Mr. Malfoy can handle the remaining details. Depending on Mr. Malfoy’s contributions, we’ll allocate the corresponding shares to the Malfoy family.” Finally, he turned his head to Lucius, “Are you fine with our terms, Mr. Malfoy?”

Lucius nodded in reply, “Yes, I am fine with that term of yours.” He turned his head and found Narcissa to be smiling widely upon hearing Lucius accepting his offer.

Acknowledging Wentworth’s instructions, Auston respectfully expressed his understanding.

Finally, Wentworth finally addressed Lucius and Narcissa with a smile, “Mr. Lucius, you’ve made a wise decision. Perhaps decades, or even centuries from now, the descendants of the Malfoy family will be grateful for the choice you made today.”

With that, Wentworth rose and departed from Malfoy Manor, leaving behind the congratulatory smiles of Lucius and Narcissa.

Lucius continued to wear a bright smile until Wentworth’s departure.

Lucius understood that he and the Malfoy family had no right to refuse Wentworth’s request. Joining the central bank of the wizarding world, set up by Lockhart, was a complete and unexpected surprise.

However, Narcissa, who had remained silent since Wentworth’s departure, expressed her thoughts as her smile slowly faded away; she turned toward Lucius and put her hands on his shoulders, “Lucius, don’t you find the Alliance to be much more formidable than the Death Eaters?”

Hearing her question, Lucius only reached for her hand and gently caressed it, “Shh… don’t worry about it dear, don’t question their action further. For now we only need to think for our Draco’s sake.”

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Published On: April 4, 2024

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