At last, the sorting ceremony’s twists and turns concluded, bringing a sigh of relief to Professor McGonagall, who then handed over the remaining proceedings to Professor Dumbledore.

“I believe you won’t add anymore trouble into this unordinary ceremony we just had, Albus.” Professor McGonagall squinted her eyes as she stared at Professor Dumbledore.

In his customary manner, Professor Dumbledore proceeded to introduce the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor for the year, Gilderoy Lockhart. Even without much elaboration, Lockhart was already the most renowned wizard in Britain.

Upon Professor Dumbledore’s conclusion, Lockhart stood, displaying his trademark smile, and greeted everyone.

Suddenly, he addressed the students, saying, “Dear students of the Hogwarts, as a recipient of the Merlin Order of Merlin’s Third Class Medal and an honorary member of the Anti-Dark Magic Alliance, I have always been committed to maintaining order and peace in the magical world.”

“But now, I find that achieving this is challenging alone. I need helpers, and the best helpers are you! Because each of you represents the future! I, myself know the struggle of living as a wizard Galeonless… You could lie to yourself and keep saying that money doesn’t buy happiness, but you certainly need it for your time to study at Hogwarts.”

“As you all know, the Central Bank of the Magical World that I founded is on the brink of opening! Here, I pledge to address the concerns of students from less privileged families. All future Hogwarts students can apply to my bank for a loan with no interest, a service I’m proud to call a ‘student loan.'”

Lockhart’s announcement prompted thunderous applause throughout the Hogwarts hall, and he reveled in the moment.

His eyes scanned the audience triumphantly, lingering on Wentworth’s gaze. Lockhart then gestured for silence and continued, “Moreover, the Central Bank of the Magical World will provide one Galleon annually, free of charge, to Hogwarts. We will establish a new fund to reward students with outstanding academic achievements during their time at Hogwarts!”

“Moreover, we are delighted to offer employment opportunities to students with exceptional grades during their studies at Hogwarts. Upon graduation, we guarantee that our bank’s salary will enable you to lead a decent life! I’ve seen a lot of wizards and witches that have their lives going nowhere right after they graduated from Hogwarts due to insufficient funding for their lifestyle or to chase their dreams.”

“I don’t want to see the day when one of my proud students to be begging for a Knut in the street, especially the ones who show great potential in becoming the prominent figures in the wizarding world.”

Lockhart’s words stirred discussions throughout the Hogwarts Great Hall. It was Wentworth who initiated the applause, triggering a wave of approval.

Observing the scene unfold, Professor Dumbledore, as the headmaster of Hogwarts, maintained a calm and steady gaze. However, a subtle depth appeared in his eyes as he observed Wentworth.

Cedric leaned over to Wentworth, whispering, “Wentworth, why invest so much? Professor Dumbledore won’t allow you to disrupt Hogwarts, no matter how generous you are.”

Wentworth, still applauding, responded calmly, “Cedric, do you know who supports Hogwarts with such a substantial annual expenditure?”

Cedric acknowledged, saying, “Yes, it’s the Hogwarts Board of Governors!”

Wentworth nodded, then turned to Cedric, speaking softly, “Indeed, it’s the school board. But remember, Hogwarts didn’t start with a board. Why can’t we become the Hogwarts board?”

Cedric had an epiphany upon hearing Wentworth’s words.

After the Sorting Ceremony and the Orientation Dinner, Hogwarts students dispersed to their house common rooms, engaging in lively discussions about the night’s events.

Meanwhile, Professor Dumbledore hastened to his office. Professor McGonagall caught up, intending to discuss Lockhart’s proposal, “Albus, I believe as a Professor, Lockhart shouldn’t be promoting his own business in the school! Especially when it’s a controversial topic that’s been stirring the wizarding world ever since it got announced.”

But Professor Dumbledore put his hands up with the palm facing her, and with a smile, he signed for her to stop before saying, “Minerva, I have matters to attend to tonight. Let’s discuss this tomorrow, alright?”

Hearing Professor Dumbledore’s words, Professor McGonagall reluctantly left. “What matters is more important than this? Sigh…”

After returning to his office, Professor Dumbledore summoned Fawkes, grabbed the latest “Daily Prophet,” and vanished into the headmaster’s office at Hogwarts.

Upon his reappearance, Dumbledore found himself at Nurmengard Castle in Austria, facing Gellert Grindelwald, who seemed unsurprised by the sudden visit.

“Please, have a seat. No need for formalities. What kind of news are you going to bring for me today?” Grindelwald gestured to the empty room.

“Why don’t you read it for yourself, Gellert,” Dumbledore complied and handed the newspaper to Grindelwald.

After scrutinizing it, Grindelwald, with a hint of skepticism, remarked, “Relying on just two wizards to repel my Alliance? I find it hard to believe that there are wizards capable of such a feat without the Alliance’s involvement. Am I correct?”

Professor Dumbledore nodded thoughtfully, then, finding a reasonably flat spot, performed a Cleaning spell and settled down.

“I can’t say for sure, but my inclination is that both are members of Wentworth’s newly formed Alliance,” Professor Dumbledore stated.

Grindelwald reacted with surprise, “Is he planning to abolish Gringotts?”

Dumbledore, spreading his hands, replied, “It goes beyond that; your grandson…”

Interrupting, Grindelwald expressed dissatisfaction, “Choose your words wisely, Albus. I don’t want to hear bad words from your mouth about my own grandson.”

Dumbledore corrected, “…your grandson has ambitious plans. Not only does he aim to undermine Gringotts’ influence, but he also aspires to infiltrate Hogwarts and replace the Board of Governors.”

Subsequently, Dumbledore recounted the events of the sorting ceremony and the welcome dinner. “It all started when Gringotts opened a branch in Hogsmeade…”

Concluding, he said, “Moreover, the wizard named Thomas Vole has become the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement at the British Ministry of Magic. If he’s indeed a member of Wentworth’s newly formed magical party, congratulations, Alliance seems to have taken control of nearly half of the British Ministry of Magic.”

Professor Dumbledore paused and added, “Incidentally, Thomas Vole’s daughter, Cassandra Vole, shows a subtle inclination toward becoming an Alliance sympathizer.”

Grindelwald fell silent for a moment but eventually spoke unexpectedly, “My grandson… I think you are taking the wrong path! This is not what the Alliance is meant for.”

Meanwhile, Dumbledore stares at Grindelwald, silently observing as he slowly starts to show an unexpected emotional outburst.


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Published On: April 22, 2024

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