As the House-elf disappeared into thin air, Lucius Malfoy calmly turned around.
Nearly ten seconds later, over ten wizards from the Ministry of Magic openly broke into the manor.
“Oh, Arthur Weasley!” Mr. Malfoy looked at the leading wizard with a mocking sneer.
“Lucius!” the thin, somewhat flat wizard said coldly. Dressed in a green robe, he looked like a man of dust.
“It seems you’ve prepared yourself. We have a search warrant and an arrest warrant for your suspected involvement in a smuggling incident with severe consequences!” Mr. Weasley stared at Mr. Malfoy.
“Smuggling?” Mr. Malfoy scoffed, “My dear Arthur, please don’t let your imagination run wild about my finances. Do you think I need to resort to smuggling for such a paltry sum of money? But I suppose you might.”
Ignoring the taunts, Mr. Weasley gestured to the wizards behind him, “Search carefully!”
“Remember to be cautious,” Mr. Malfoy warned, eyeing the ferocious wizards entering the manor. “Don’t damage my property, or you’ll face the consequences!”
“You better worry about yourself, Lucius,” Mr. Weasley retorted coldly.
“The evidence is conclusive this time, and the suspects have already confessed. Perhaps you should contemplate a future in Azkaban.” Mr. Weasley sneered at Mr. Malfoy
“Late-night search, Arthur?” Mr. Malfoy changed the subject, disregarding the accusations. “I think they should pay you overtime, don’t you?”
As the search party returned empty-handed, Mr. Malfoy wore a triumphant smile.
“Cunning fellow,” murmured Mr. Weasley before giving the order, “Bring the suspect Lucius Malfoy back to the Ministry of Magic!”
The group confiscated Mr. Malfoy’s wand and escorted him out of Malfoy Manor.
Mr. Malfoy appeared cooperative and continued to mock Mr. Weasley, “You don’t really believe I’ll end up in Azkaban, Arthur, do you? Just one or two testimonies won’t be enough to convict me! I have smaller odds at going to Azkaban than you have of making a small fortune.”
Mr. Weasley seemed exasperated.
In a fit of emotion, he rushed over, knocked Mr. Malfoy to the ground, and delivered a punch to his eye.
“Mr. Malfoy just tripped,” Mr. Weasley announced breathlessly as he stood back up.
Mr. Malfoy was taken to the Ministry of Magic, but his chances of imprisonment were not high.
Naturally, he was not too worried.
But someone else should be worried.
That someone was the wizard who truly desired the box’s contents: Mr. Tom Gaunt.
Tom couldn’t contain his anger as he listened to the ugly House-elf’s stammering account of what happened.
He yelled, venting his frustrations on the House-elf, kicking it several yards away.
“This Lucius Malfoy!” Tom muttered, slamming his fist on the ground. “This is the second time in a row. Two consecutive failures have cost me so much energy and resources, yet I’ve gained nothing.”
“I shouldn’t have relied on a fool like Malfoy.”
Now that the second shipment had fallen into the hands of the Ministry of Magic, he couldn’t count on it anymore.
Tom felt he should focus on the lost book from a year ago.
After finishing their conversation, the House-elf disappeared into thin air.
Tom’s intense emotions made him conspicuous, attracting attention from passers-by who pointed at him.
Tom calmly left the noisy area to avoid further attention, walking a little further.
The passer-by turned their attention back to a candy store next to the “Honey Duke” candy shop, one of the UK’s most famous magic candy stores.
Tom remembered buying gifts at this candy store when he was studying at Hogwarts, but that was fifty years ago.
Yes, after graduating, Tom returned to Hogwarts half a century later.
He had been staying in Hogsmeade for the past six months.
Nine months ago, by chance, Tom accidentally discovered the book he had lost right at Hogwarts.
The book had been opened and used. This exciting news inspired Tom, as he alone understood the book’s true value!
So, Tom made a decisive decision to abandon his original stronghold and come to Hogwarts.
However, he didn’t dare to act or sneak in during his stay at Hogwarts.
Because he was afraid!
No one understood better than him the terror of the principal of Hogwarts, “Gellert Grindelwald!”
Grindelwald was powerful, cold-blooded, cunning, a natural conspirator, a ruthless executioner, and a strange seer.
In his youth, Tom had been tortured into an unrecognizable figure by Grindelwald after a minor trick!
Tom despised and feared him deeply.
So, he only dared to stay in Hogsmeade Village, waiting for the right moment.
He didn’t even dare to set foot in Hogwarts.
Half a year ago, Tom had hoped for an opportunity.
He sensed the power of the book in a young boy.
Tom followed the boy discreetly but eventually lost track of him near the entrance of Honey Duke’s shop.
After that, the boy never appeared in Hogsmeade again.
Tom had to continue waiting for the chance.
A few minutes later, he spotted the familiar sign with a Hog’s Head Inn.
Taking out a thick cloak from his pocket, Tom covered himself, nearly hiding his entire face.
He pushed open the door of the bar in front of him.
“Tom!” Mr. Percival’s strong voice called from inside the bar. “Where are you going? Come and boil the water!”
“I’m coming!” Tom replied calmly.
For now, he was the waiter at the Hog’s Head Inn.
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