In the dead of night, Rita Skeeter returned to her home still brimming with excitement.
Her recent report on Dumbledore had sparked significant controversy within the wizarding world, resulting in a highly profitable issue of “Dumbledore” in The Daily Prophet.
Rita herself had been handsomely rewarded for her efforts.
While the Daily Prophet and Rita herself had received numerous complaints from readers, she remained unfazed.
To her, tangible money and silver were the only realities.
Substance was substance, whether black, powder, or red; these things had no bearing on her.
Upon entering her home, Rita, despite the late hour, couldn’t conceal her elation.
She opened the cabinet by her door, retrieved a bottle of red wine, poured herself a glass, and with a wave of her hand, instantly illuminated the room.
However, as the room flooded with light, Rita was horrified to discover an elderly wizard seated on her sofa.
He sat with his head bowed, engrossed in the silent manipulation of his wand.
Behind this wizard stood a younger sorcerer, his wand held at the ready, his gaze fixated on Rita.
These two individuals were none other than Abernathy and Auston, who had been waiting at Rita’s residence.
Unprepared for this sudden intrusion, Rita was taken aback upon returning home, her wine glass slipping from her grasp.
Seeing Rita Skeeter’s wine glass fall, Auston Greengrass, positioned behind Abernathy, gestured with a gentle wave.
The Levitation Charm acted swiftly, preventing a single drop of the red wine from spilling.
Rita Skeeter, a reporter for The Daily Prophet, considered herself well-informed.
In different circumstances, encountering a wizard who could cast such a delicate levitation spell and exhibit such control over magic might have earned her admiration.
However, in her own home, encountering unknown wizards late at night left her heart pounding with trepidation.
Particularly now, with one of the wizards silently observing her, she dared not even release a breath.
The room fell into an eerie silence.
After a brief period, the wizard seated on her sofa spoke slowly, “Rita Skeeter? You wrote the article about Albus Dumbledore in The Daily Prophet?”
Hearing the question, Rita Skeeter seemed to instantly grasp the purpose behind this late-night intrusion.
She hastily responded, “Yes, I did write that article, but it was merely for newspaper sales. If the Headmaster is dissatisfied, I can issue a correction immediately!”
In Rita Skeeter’s perspective, Abernathy was most likely sent by Dumbledore at this point, hence her initial reference to “Headmaster.”
To her surprise, Abernathy chuckled with disdain and replied casually, “Dumbledore’s fate does not concern me. However, your report has greatly displeased our young leader.”
This response confounded Rita Skeeter yet again. Unexpectedly, Abernathy was not associated with Dumbledore.
Rita Skeeter was at a loss as to who Abernathy referred to as the “young leader.”
Abernathy extended his hand, gestured to a sofa beside him, and motioned for Rita to take a seat.
Obligingly, Rita complied, and Auston, under precise control, caused her wine glass to float over and settle on the table beside her.
Seeing this, Rita swiftly expressed her gratitude, adopting the demeanor of a guest in Abernathy’s presence.
With Rita now seated, Abernathy wasted no time.
He produced a sheet of parchment and handed it to her. The paper contained a press release authored by Rozier, at Wentworth’s request.
“Would there be any issue with publishing the contents of this document in The Daily Prophet under your name?”
Rita accepted the manuscript from Abernathy, examining it closely.
However, after perusing the entire document, she shook her head repeatedly and responded bitterly, “This… My lord, it would be impossible to publish such a piece in The Daily Prophet, even with my name attached!”
Seeing Abernathy’s disapproval, Rita continued to explain, “My lord, I would love to help, but I am but a minor reporter, subject to the authority of the editors above me. This article is excessively complimentary and overly laudatory of the young wizard from Hogwarts. It even suggests that Dumbledore is merely his guardian.”
“The problem is,” she continued, “this young wizard is relatively unknown in the magical world. To dedicate so much attention to an obscure wizard in The Daily Prophet is simply unimaginable. The editor-in-chief would never approve. Unless… this young wizard possesses a special status, such as being Dumbledore’s illegitimate child?”
Rita glanced at Abernathy with a speculative tone.
Abernathy’s response, however, surprised her. He reacted with indignation, exclaiming, “Dumbledore? He deserves no such consideration!”
Rita, taken aback by his outburst, attempted to clarify, “Then what other option is there? Based on this report, Dumbledore appears to be a benevolent Headmaster who values student safety. This portrayal contrasts starkly with my previous article. The Daily Prophet will not endorse it, and Dumbledore is depicted as little more than the young wizard’s bodyguard.”
She continued, adding a hint of mystery, “Furthermore, I’ve heard that certain individuals within the Ministry of Magic harbor apprehensions toward Dumbledore. You must be aware that The Daily Prophet maintains close ties with the Ministry. I only dare to report such news because I had insider information. If the content sways so favorably toward Dumbledore, it will not pass.”
Abernathy’s reaction brought to light the intricacies of the newspaper industry, leaving him somewhat taken aback.
“So, you’re of no use then?” Abernathy remarked suddenly.
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