As the officials of the British Ministry of Magic convened to discuss the establishment of Lockhart’s new bank, Auston, Lucius, and Lockhart gathered for afternoon tea at the Greenglass family’s manor.

However, Lockhart appeared visibly agitated. He set aside his teacup, produced a copy of the Daily Prophet from his pocket, and slapped it onto the table before impatiently stating, “Both of you, I informed you earlier about the news Bill Weasley shared with me. This afternoon, there will be a discussion and a vote on this matter at the British Ministry of Magic. Have you considered a strategy to approach this matter?”

Upon hearing Lockhart’s words, Auston set down his teacup and spoke calmly, “Mr. Lockhart, you must understand that I am as committed to this matter as you are. It’s the first time the young lord has entrusted such a crucial task to me. In Alliance, if one fails a task, there might not be a chance for redemption.”

With a horrified expression, Lockhart questioned, “I won’t be subject to Alliance rules, will I? Those rules won’t apply to me, right?”

Slowly shaking his head, Auston prompted a moment of relief for Lockhart. However, his reassurance was short-lived as Auston continued, “For a wizard of your caliber, the Alliance doesn’t bother with creating rules. It usually comes down to a quick Avada Kedavra! Oh, and you might want to pray that the Alliance wizard is in a good mood; otherwise, you might have to endure some rather unpleasant deboning as a warm-up to make sure you could survive as one of us.”

Upon hearing Auston’s words, Lockhart’s face was drenched in sweat, and Lucius, sensing the tension, intervened, “Alright, Auston, no need to frighten him. While Mr. Lockhart may be renowned, he doesn’t come from a pure-blood family, unlike our esteemed 28 Holy Families. It’s not surprising that he might be a bit flustered in these matters.”

Lucius’ words seemed to soothe Lockhart, who had considered protesting. Instead, Lockhart casually responded, “So, Mr. Malfoy, have you figured out what needs to be done?”

Lucius, displaying an air of superiority, replied with disdain, “Certainly. Let me demonstrate the conduct expected of our pure-blooded family! I had another task from Wentworth to attend to, but since I’m working for the Alliance, I don’t mind extending a helping hand.”

Lucius’ words brought relief to Lockhart, who promptly shifted from discomfort to flattery, eager for Lucius’ assistance. “I am expecting a lot working together with you, Mr. Malfoy.”

Shortly after, Lucius seized the “Daily Prophet” left by Lockhart, and promptly departed the Greengrass family manor, heading straight to the British Ministry of Magic.

Meanwhile, following Crouch’s remarks, a heavy silence engulfed the room.

Given Crouch’s standing and the reluctance of those present to incite conflict with goblins, the attendees remained silent. The scene descended into disarray once more, with Ministry officials forming small groups to engage in peaceful discussions.

“Crouch is right; if we agree with Lockhart, then the goblins will inevitably plan for another rebellion. We currently have too many problems on our side to be dealing with another rebellion!” A member of the Minister voiced his opinion.

A woman from the sitting opposite of him stood up and argued, “However, with the establishment of the new Central Bank that Lockhart proposed for us, then we won’t have to worry about the lower class in the wizarding world. The criminal rate will probably drop considering they have other options than committing a crime.”

Notably, several officials stood up to vocalize their support for Crouch’s stance.

Of significance was Scrimgeour, the head of the Auror Office, who stood and declared, “I concur with Chief Barty Crouch. We Aurors at the British Ministry of Magic are not opposed to a fight, but we abhor unnecessary conflicts. Especially now, when we are ill-prepared to handle the Alliance and the goblins simultaneously.”

Scrimgeour’s words acted as the catalyst, prompting many previously indecisive British Ministry of Magic officials to align with Crouch’s viewpoint firmly.

Observing this development, Barty Crouch maintained a calm composure in his seat, displaying an unexpected sense of assurance.

Meanwhile, Fudge, positioned at the apex, observed the tumultuous scene below. His gaze alternated between the agitated crowd and Crouch, a confidence evident in his demeanor.

Crouch, in Fudge’s eyes, represented a genuine contender for power.

Were it not for the scandal involving Barty Crouch Jr’s affiliation with the Death Eaters and his subsequent confession, which severely tarnished Crouch’s standing, Fudge might not have secured his position as the British Minister of Magic.

In a surprising turn, Crouch directed a blank expression towards Fudge and stated, “Minister Fudge, kindly issue an order to notify Lockhart that the establishment of the so-called Central Bank of the Magical World is ill-timed. The British Ministry of Magic will not permit such an endeavor.”

Observing Crouch’s composed demeanor, Fudge struggled to contain his simmering anger.

Just as Fudge contemplated questioning Crouch, the chairman of the British Ministry of Magic, Umbridge approached Fudge’s side. Leaning down, she whispered into Fudge’s ear, “Minister Fudge, Mr. Malfoy has made an unexpected visit and wishes to see you.”

Upon hearing Umbridge’s words, Fudge took a deep breath and declared, “I have pressing matters to attend to right now. Concerning Lockhart’s proposal for a new bank, let everyone contemplate it upon returning. We will make a decision tomorrow.”

Fudge stood up and exited the room without waiting for further discussion. Upon his return to his office, he forcefully pushed open the door, startling Lucius who was preparing to greet him.

Lucius, quick to respond with Fudge’s presence, he inquired with a smile, “Who dares to disturb the most benevolent Minister our Ministry of Magic has ever known?”

Upon hearing Lucius’ words, Fudge shook his head with a wry smile and said, “Lucius, spare me the mockery! Today… Forget it. It’s really hard to say! I’m furious, to say the least! Tell me, what brings you to me today?”

Lucius smiled and glanced at Umbridge, who was standing at the door.

Not waiting for Fudge to respond, Umbridge took the initiative to leave, closing the door behind him and leaving the two of them in privacy.

With Umbridge gone, Lucius retrieved a copy of the Daily Prophet from his handbag and handed it to Fudge. “Minister Fudge, I believe you need to read the current news before we get into a discussion.”

Fudge accepted the newspaper and, sensing the added weight and stiffness, remarked with a smile on his face, “Mr. Malfoy is truly someone I could trust deeply. I have an insatiable appetite for newspapers; they never cease to captivate me!”


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Published On: April 8, 2024

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