Upon hearing Umbridge’s words, Rufus instinctively furrowed his brow, preparing to respond.
He recognized that Dumbledore’s presence in London could significantly bolster the Ministry of Magic’s chances of victory.
More importantly, the arrival of the undisputed greatest wizard in the world would greatly boost the confidence of the Aurors under his command.
However, before Rufus could voice his thoughts, Fudge interjected enthusiastically, “Umbridge, how can you say that! I hold the utmost respect for Dumbledore as the greatest white wizard of all time. Nevertheless, I also believe it’s more crucial for Dumbledore to keep Grindelwald in check at Nurmengard. That’s where his priorities should lie, rather than coming to London.”
Fudge’s words caught Rufus off guard.
He had to suppress the words he was about to say.
On the other hand, Umbridge responded with a smile, “You speak the truth, Minister Fudge!”
Several owls flew from the British Ministry of Magic a short while later, spreading across Europe.
Meanwhile, at Hogwarts, Dumbledore had just seen off the professors in the Headmaster’s office.
He gazed at the letters and potion bottles before him, his eyes reflecting weariness.
“Somebody is in deep trouble,” Dumbledore remarked softly to the empty room, though he didn’t specify who he meant.
At that moment, an owl from the Ministry of Magic arrived, carrying a letter from Fudge.
As Dumbledore read the contents of the letter, his brow furrowed heavily.
Fudge’s description of the ongoing events in London troubled him deeply.
Yet, when Dumbledore came across Fudge’s final request in the letter, he couldn’t help but chuckle before turning to his phoenix companion, Fawkes.
“It seems that making Fudge the Minister of Magic was a good idea.”
Dumbledore wrote several letters and called upon Hagrid to send them via owl.
A short while later, as Fawkes let out a melodious cry, Dumbledore and the phoenix vanished from the Headmaster’s office at Hogwarts.
In Austria’s Nurmengard Castle, Grindelwald, his hair now white, regarded Dumbledore with a quizzical expression as he arrived.
“Albus, did my child get into trouble at school? Are you here for a visit?” Dumbledore remained silent for a moment, allowing Grindelwald to continue speaking.
“Regardless, Wentworth’s enrollment at Hogwarts has yielded one advantage. You visit more frequently.”
Hearing Grindelwald’s words, Dumbledore’s countenance held a tinge of apology.
Subsequently, Dumbledore relayed all the recent events concerning Wentworth at Hogwarts to Grindelwald.
After listening to Dumbledore’s account, Grindelwald suddenly laughed, a laughter tinged with disdain.
“Dumbledore, tell me, what have you achieved by upholding the old order’s ideals? I’m here, yet they dare not confront me directly. Instead, they frequently target an eleven-year-old child.”
Having said his piece, Grindelwald shook his head, expressing disappointment with the current state of the wizarding world.
Dumbledore chose not to respond to Grindelwald’s taunts but rather addressed the matter at hand, saying, “Gellert, I believe your followers have discerned the truth behind these actions and who is pulling the strings. With their zealotry, a significant war may engulf the wizarding world again.”
Grindelwald waved off the concern nonchalantly, remarking, “Don’t fret, Albus. Rosier is no ordinary witch. She observes silently and records everything. When the time is right, she will rectify matters. Not now. We must wait for Wentworth to mature.”
“And by then, perhaps you and I will have the opportunity to enjoy tea together at Merlin’s.”
Nevertheless, Dumbledore informed Grindelwald of the current situation in London.
Listening to Dumbledore’s account, Grindelwald remained silent, studying Dumbledore intently.
“So, why are you here now?” Grindelwald inquired.
Dumbledore adopted a solemn expression in response and stated, “As the Chairman of the International Confederation of Wizards, I have been invited by the British Minister of Magic to oversee this situation.”
The two locked eyes for a long moment then burst into laughter simultaneously.
After the laughter subsided, Grindelwald regarded Dumbledore and provocatively suggested, “It appears, Dumbledore, that you have become a subject of suspicion. The person who placed you in the position of British Minister of Magic is now casting doubt on you. Your judgment of people has always been rather fallible.”
In response, Dumbledore seated himself beside Grindelwald, gazing out at the scenery beyond Nurmengard. He said slowly, “Well, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, is it? We haven’t had the opportunity to sit down together and chat like this in quite some time.”
Grindelwald shifted his position and taunted, “Let me guess, you’ve sent one of your agents as a spy to the scene. Is it that creature breeder again?”
Facing Grindelwald’s queries, Dumbledore shook his head with a smile.
Grindelwald proceeded to guess several names, each of which Dumbledore rejected.
Ultimately, Dumbledore locked eyes with Grindelwald and playfully revealed, “Inspired by you, I once established a secret organization of my own. I named it the Order of the Phoenix.”
“Before arriving, I sent letters to several Order of the Phoenix members. Before the situation escalates, some of them will come to inform me.”
Grindelwald rolled his eyes and scoffed, “So you’ll arrive like a savior once more when the time comes? Much like you did with me back then?”
Despite the exchange, Grindelwald’s tone became sincere as he added, “Albus, I have always maintained that if we had joined forces in the past, the wizarding world would not be mired in so many conflicts today. Wait and see. The magical world, busy with its internal strife, will ultimately pay a heavy price for its obstinacy.”
Dumbledore gestured dismissively, saying, “No, Gellert, many of our ideas were not sufficiently developed, the timing was off, and we…”
Before Dumbledore could complete his sentence, Grindelwald interrupted him, stating, “I have no desire to revisit these discussions. They are fruitless.”
Grindelwald then changed the topic, scrutinizing Dumbledore closely, and asked, “Albus, we are both growing older, and one day, we will depart this world. Have you ever considered joining our forces together?”
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