After the old wizard’s words fell, a hushed silence descended upon the bar.
A brave voice from the crowd eventually broke the silence, as a wizard exclaimed, “What are you talking about? We have plenty of people here, what can you possibly do to us?”
The old wizard responded with a disdainful smile, not even bothering to look at the speaker. “A wizard with no wit like you doesn’t even merit an invitation from our Alliance! You see, your boss wouldn’t make such a mistake because he knows that the few here don’t represent all witches and wizards. It’s just a fraction of the Alliance.”
He continued, “So, have you given it some thought? Join us, for the greater good!”
Hearing the old wizard’s invitation, the bar owner, still wearing his top hat, appeared perplexed.
After a lengthy pause, he retrieved a key from his pocket and placed it on the bar, saying, “This is the key to the bar, and I’m willing to give it to you.”
With that, the bar owner removed his hat, bowing respectfully to the old wizard.
He scanned the room one last time, as if bidding farewell to the establishment he had run for many years, before walking directly out the door.
However, after taking just a few steps, the old wizard halted the bar owner.
“Stop, did I say you could leave?”
The bar owner’s steps froze, and he gritted his teeth. “Don’t push it too far! This is the UK, and the Alliance has no dominion here. Even at the height of your power, the UK was never within your sphere of influence!”
The old wizard didn’t lose his composure. He nodded in agreement and conceded, “You’re right. Although I hate to admit it, Dumbledore is indeed one of the most formidable wizards globally. Aside from our former leader, we couldn’t match him.”
“However,” he continued, “for our own safety, our former leader forbade us from acting within the UK. Nevertheless, despite that, numerous British wizarding families sought us out voluntarily and pledged their allegiance.”
The old wizard then cast a meaningful glance at Auston beside him.
Reasserting his resolve, the old wizard’s tone became resolute once more. “But now, our young master has selected the UK as the new foundation for the Alliance, and it’s our duty to remove all obstacles for our young master.”
He turned his attention back to the bar owner. “Owning an establishment like this in Knockturn Alley in the UK showcases your capability. Thus, our Alliance invites you to join us for the greater good.”
Hearing the invitation once again, the bar owner hesitated for a moment before asking, “And if I were to decline?”
The old wizard smiled gently, unperturbed. “You’ll agree. I’ve heard that you have a talented daughter. You refused Hogwarts’ invitation and sent her to Ilvermorny in the United States because you were concerned about her safety, weren’t you? Don’t worry; our people are already watching over her from a distance. Join us, and your worries will be left behind.”
Hearing the old wizard’s words, the bar owner’s face reddened. He wanted to say something but held back, ultimately sighing in resignation.
“How do you know I have a daughter? Almost no one should know about her.”
Curiously, the bar owner inquired further.
The old wizard chuckled meaningfully. “Do you think our Alliance has been idle all these years?”
Hearing this response, the bar owner nodded in silence. After a pause, he sighed and said slowly, “I’m willing to join the Alliance.”
Witnessing this, the old wizard’s lips curled slightly, revealing an unexpected smile. He requested, “Then, please make an unbreakable oath.”
Once all was settled, the bar owner politely ushered out the wizard guests present, leaving only the Alliance wizards and those under the bar owner’s command inside the bar.
The old wizard walked slowly to a private room in the bar and addressed it, “Are you content now? I’ll give you the opportunity to step forward and share everything you know. I can make it painless for you. When you get older, you’d rather not witness too many grim scenes.”
After a pause, a hoarse voice emanated from inside, replying, “We don’t know how we’ve offended you, and we’ve never harmed the Alliance. If you wish us dead, let us die with some understanding!”
The old wizard frowned and said, “Enough of the blather. Come out obediently. I’ll ask questions, and you’ll answer. Perhaps, before your end, I might satisfy your curiosity.”
However, after waiting for some time, there was no response from within the private room.
Observing this, the old wizard slowly shook his head and gestured to the bar owner standing beside him.
The bar owner, now a member of the Alliance by an unbreakable oath, didn’t hesitate.
He and his wizards rushed into the private room.
In an instant, a cascade of spells illuminated the private room, accompanied by explosions and cries of anguish.
The old wizard, however, remained impassive outside the door.
After a while, the bar owner emerged from the room looking slightly disheveled.
His top hat was missing, held by two of his wizards, each bearing a captive.
The old wizard approached and carefully examined the two captured wizards.
When he saw that one was bald and the other was cloaked, he displayed a satisfied smile.
“Auston, revive one of them,” he directed Auston.
Hearing this, Auston promptly approached the bar, retrieved a bottle of wine, and prepared to douse the bald wizard.
However, the old wizard stopped him.
“Don’t be wasteful. This is our establishment now; don’t squander it. Besides, you’re a wizard. Can’t you use your magic to awaken him?”
The old wizard instructed.
“Rennervate!” Auston chanted, and with a loud scream, the bald wizard awoke from his tormented state.
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