Daphne raised her wand at Diagon Alley, near the Carriage Inn, emitting a bright frequency.
Soon, a luxurious carriage adorned with golden streams descended from the sky, guided by two Night Qis, and gracefully landed in the alley. Displaying the Greengrass family emblem, the carriage featured a Pegasus surrounded by a six-pointed star.
The curtain unveiled, revealing a well-dressed middle-aged man who descended. With a goatee, he approached them, bowing slightly. “Ladies and gentlemen, please.”
Daphne boarded first, followed by the remaining three.
“Our driver is Morgadon, our housekeeper for nearly 20 years. My father trusts him deeply,” Daphne briefly introduced.
Astoria added, “Since my mother’s early demise, it’s just the three of us — our father, us sisters, and Uncle Morgadon, who cared for us greatly in our youth.” They delved into discussions about life at Greengrass Manor.
Situated in the Cotswolds in western England, Green Grass Manor, also known as Green Manor, resided in an idyllic area.
The Cotswolds, stretching about 160 kilometers from south to north, was renowned for its preserved classic villages, known for their light colors, tranquility, elegance, and traditional charm.
Cotswolds, often dubbed as one of the “three most beautiful villages in the world” alongside Provence in France and Tuscany in Italy, attracted wealthy wizards due to its magical creatures and picturesque landscapes.
Notably, the area also served as inspiration for artists like the 18th-century Gendoline Olifant, a troll expert who met her end in 1799 while sketching a troll.
After half an hour, the carriage touched down, revealing the expansive Greengrass Manor.
The central mansion, ancient and solemn, rivaled Malfoy Manor in size but embraced a more understated and simple country style, contrasting with the grandeur of Malfoy Manor.
Upon entering the mansion, an esteemed middle-aged man warmly approached the group, extending a courteous greeting, “Hello, this must be Mr. Malfoy, right?”
Skyler, cognizant of the importance of etiquette in ancient families, introduced himself with due respect, “Skyler Malfoy greets you, Mr. Greengrass.”
Satisfied with Skyler’s etiquette and demeanor, the middle-aged man responded, “Welcome, Mr. Malfoy. I am Daphne and Astoria’s father, and Meredith’s godfather, Gareth Greengrass. Call me Uncle Gareth.”
The group proceeded to the living room, adorned with pristine unicorn leather sofas.
After being seated and served tea by two dignified young maids, Mr. Greengrass initiated conversation. “I’ve heard a lot about your exploits, Mr. Malfoy. I must say you’re an exceptional young man. Achieving those in your age is definitely something out of what we consider normal.”
“Please, uncle Gareth, it’s nothing much compared to what the Greengrass family is.” Skyler denied the compliment.
The discourse primarily circled around Skyler’s renowned achievements at Hogwarts over the past three years.
Initially harboring doubts about Skyler’s strength, Gareth witnessed firsthand the young man’s maturity, stability, and profound insights into the magical world.
Skyler’s unwavering confidence, forged through genuine experience and rigorous training, impressed Gareth, dispelling any reservations he might have had.
Gareth’s personal reception of Skyler was not solely based on family background but also on his three daughters’ favorable impressions about the young man.
Observing Skyler’s current performance, Gareth found himself content, acknowledging the daughters’ discerning judgment.
Contrary to the belief in the sacred 28 pure-blood families, many had dwindled over the past half-century, such as the Gunter family, the Black family, the Shafiq family, and the Crouch family, surviving only as a single heir.
The remaining pure-blood families primarily aligned with three factions: those advocating pure-blood supremacy, including Malfoy, Black, Carlo, and Lestrange, often linked to Death Eaters; those resisting Muggle-borns, exemplified by the Weasley, Prewett, and Longbottom, actively participating in the Order of the Phoenix against Death Eaters.
The Greengrass family aligns with the pure-blooded neutral faction, including families such as Macmillan, Eber, Crouch, Olivander, and Slughorn.
Remaining neutral during the First Wizarding War, most direct descendants sought refuge abroad, preserving their lives and strength.
Despite the inherent sense of pure-blood superiority, the neutral faction avoids oppressing or discriminating against Muggle-born wizards.
Personal talents, character, and etiquette hold more significance than lineage, as exemplified by Horace Slughorn, the potion professor.
Lucius Malfoy’s frequent visits in recent years aimed at forming a new interest group, yet Mr. Greengrass, familiar with the Malfoy character, maintained a polite distance.
The involvement of his daughters and the young Malfoy caused concern, fearing entanglement in the dispute between pure-blood supremacists and traitors.
Seeking to understand Skyler and his family’s stance, Mr. Greengrass listened as Skyler disapproved of pure-blood supremacy and recounted achievements in the Slytherin reform at Hogwarts.
This led him to believe that Skyler and the Malfoy family might not share the same camp.
Suspicious of Lucius’s motives, Gareth wondered if both sides were engaged in a strategic bet.
During their speculative conversation, Skyler steered the discussion toward the blood curse of the Greengrass family, prompting Gareth to candidly share a century-old tale.
Daphne’s grandmother, during a trip to Borneo, Southeast Asia, was targeted by dark wizards who sought to kidnap her.
Despite resisting, she fell victim to an unexpected blood curse passed down through generations in the family.
Skyler turned his attention to Borneo, a place of significance in magical lore. Mentioned in “Where are the Fantastic Beasts,” it’s known for the eight-eyed spider—a magical creation of black wizards—and served as the origin of Nagini, featured in the Magical Beast movie.
The revelation that the blood curse afflicting the Greengrass family also traces back to Borneo led Skyler to suspect an underground organization skilled in species modification and blood curses.
Upon sharing his research progress on blood curses and a potential solution for Astoria during the recent summer vacation, a stunned silence fell over the room.
Gareth rose with a grave expression, his voice resonating deeply, “Mr. Malfoy, this matter holds extraordinary significance for me and the Greengrass family. I hope your mention earlier was not a jest.” It was clear that had Skyler treated this matter lightly, he would have promptly been expelled from the manor.
Anticipating Gareth’s reaction, Skyler responded calmly, “Uncle Gareth, Astoria is a dear friend. They all know I don’t make light of such matters. If I assert, it’s with more than 90% certainty. Moreover, you know I wouldn’t attempt something without careful consideration. Even in failure, I assure you, she won’t be harmed in any way.”
Gareth’s expression revealed a mix of excitement and disbelief.
Taking the matter seriously, Gareth cautioned Skyler against making jokes about such a significant issue.
Skyler, assuring him of his sincerity, expressed confidence in his solution, emphasizing Astoria’s safety even in the event of failure.
Gareth’s initial disbelief transformed into excitement and hope.
Despite the family’s prolonged struggle against the blood curse, Skyler’s claim resonated, partly due to the unwavering support of his three daughters.
Looking at Skyler intently, Gareth asked the crucial question: “Mr. Malfoy, do you truly possess a method to address our family’s curse?”
Skyler, nodding in affirmation, clarified, “I can only seal it, not eradicate it. The only permanent solution lies in finding the caster or their heir in Borneo.”
“Even the seal itself is already good enough. It’s good enough…” Gareth visibly sighed in relief. He turned to Morgardun and instructed, “Notify everyone in the family. Treat this distinguished guest with care, and ensure the house elves are diligent. Prepare for tonight’s family dinner according to the top feast standards, and ready the most luxurious suite for our esteemed guest.”
In Gareth’s residence, there were two house elves: Tiva, a family heirloom from the Greengrass family, and Dino, brought by Meredith from the Shafik household.
Since Meredith resided at the Greengrass Manor, Dino assisted in managing the estate.
Gareth smiled kindly with all arrangements in place and said, “I have some matters to attend to at Ogden Winery. Recently, I received an 82-year limited edition Fire Whiskey from them. I plan to share it with you tonight.”
As dinner commenced, Skyler, accustomed to aristocratic living, marveled at the meal’s opulence.
Unfamiliar dishes adorned the table, a testament to Gareth’s culinary indulgence.
“Skyler, try this dragon steak made from Australian egg white-eyed fire dragon cubs,” Gareth suggested, pointing to a sizzling iron steak. “Dragon meat can be tough, but the pure Ujin stew from the Wizard Stew Company elevates it. I have a special relationship with them, and they’ve provided me with this unique saucepan. The seasoning is from the renowned Italian wizard chef Gulatillo Marchesi, who has sold me exclusive rights to his recipes.”
Gareth continued to introduce each dish, from phoenix chicken with guinea fowl mixed with phoenix blood to the newly cultivated crystal fire crab.
Skyler appreciated Gareth’s culinary enthusiasm, noting the contrast with Lucius, who was more focused on dark magic and his feud with Dumbledore and the Weasley family.
After the delightful dinner, Skyler retired to the VIP suite, having spent a day in Diagon Alley with the girls and engaging in conversations with his elders.
The well-deserved rest awaited him in the luxurious accommodation.
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