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The Solution is Murder by Prefects
Chapter 1 : Chapter 1
 
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A/N: There are a lot of people to thank for their efforts in making this story happen. Linaewen, BJAuth and Haylie_Lupin all helped with the riddles (thank goodness!) JaxGranger was the brave soul who beta'd this monster for me! And of course the talented Jaydah made the amazing banner! Thank you all for your help...I would not have been able to make this story work without you!

A/N #2: To LogicalRaven: This story was just my little way of showing you what it is like to be on the other side of a riddle. :) I have so much fun with the competitions and the duels and I know that you work so hard on making them so much fun for us. I hope this story shows you even a little bit of how much you are loved and appreciated!



It had all started exactly 9 days ago. An anonymous envelope appeared at the offices of Kingsley Shacklebolt, Head Auror. Inside was a picture of a modestly decorated room, pale blue walls, gleaming hardwood floors and furniture that was obviously not new but looked well maintained. There was also a riddle. It had been seared into the thick rough parchment.

To the merry Jaspar:
You have been warned and have been told –
Heed me ere the next victim grows cold.
The words in here, they will suffice
And I'll repeat my riddle thrice.

To the merry Jaspar:
The Dark Lord hid behind his name
An appellation from one of shame.
Each victim's blood is on your hands –
Worse than the Dark Lord, as it stands.

To the merry Jaspar:
Though you use neither wand nor spell,
The blame is yours, as you know well;
Your fault that all I knew was lost
And now I shall exact the cost


The answer of the riddle stumped everyone. Each of the aurors had taken a crack at it and had come up empty handed. Harry himself had spent hours pouring over the enigmatic riddle but to no avail. No one had been overly concerned with it until the first victim had been found. In the very room that had been in the photograph that was with the riddle. There they discovered the new riddle, burned into the pale blue wall behind the victim.

Kxm o cbwwcm baoebfowbzf oft o xslbfpcbfe zi eckm,
Oft kxm wnm izcczvbfe qckmx - nmlm'x vnow wz tz.
Wnbfp zi o vzlt izl o xbfecm tmqmswbzf,
Ott wnm xmqzft zi wnm wvmfwr xby izl smlimqwbzf.
Wnmf wnbfp zi o vzlt izl xnzlw xksscr
Oft ott o gkmxwbzfbfe cmwwml ilza wnm abttcm zi wnm mrm
Fzv eckm bw wzemwnml, otdkxw wvz ibiwn'x, bi rzk slmiml


The blackened letters loomed ominously on the otherwise pristine pale blue wall. Harry ran a hand through his hair as he stared at the cryptic message that had been burned on the wall. At least they assumed it was a riddle. The letters had been scrambled or put into some sort of code.

Kingsley had sent an owl to the ministry to have their top code breaker join in the investigation. They were waiting for him now. They had been waiting for several hours now. Harry was getting more frustrated and infuriated with each passing minute. Colin Creevey poked his head in through the door and hollered “Oy, Harry, the code breaker is here!"

"About bloody time…" Harry snapped back "Does he think that the bloody killer will wait around? I want this solved so I can ..." His words died in his mouth as a tall beautiful woman walked into the room. Her long dark hair was swept up into a no nonsense bun and loose tendrils hung softly around her neck. Her long lean figure was encased in a businesslike set of deep blue robes – professional, yet elegant. Her dark eyes were like ebony set against her porcelain skin.

She strode purposefully across the room and held out her hand to shake his. Harry quickly regained his composure and gripped her hand in a brief handshake.

"Harry Potter! If you tell me you don't remember me then I will be deeply offended." As soon as he heard her soft lilting voice the memories flooded back to him.

"Cho?" He asked incredulously. "What… How…Wow it is wonderful to see you again!" he leaned in and gave her a warm hug. "How have you been?" Her slight frame fit perfectly in his arms he noticed.

"I've been good Harry. It is wonderful to see you again …I just wish it were under better circumstances." she nodded grimly towards the wall and the message burnt onto it. The young woman's body had been removed hours earlier by the Muggle police. Cho stepped forward to survey the message. "This seems to be a type of cryptogram. I can probably have this worked out for you in a few hours."

"The sooner, the better, Cho. This guy is taunting us. I want to stop him before anyone else gets hurt" Harry's green eyes showed the concern that he was feeling. "Let's head back to my office and I will get you set up with everything you need to solve this."

The two apparated to the Ministry, and, after Cho checked in, they headed to Harry's small, cluttered office. Newspaper clipping and photos cluttered the walls and the desk was covered in a small mountain of paperwork. Harry cleared off a chair for Cho before writing a quick note and with a wave of his wand; the paper flew from his office towards its destination.

"I just messaged Colin. He will send over the pictures of today's crime scene." There was brief awkward silence. Neither knew what to say. It had been almost 10 years since they had seen one another and they were uncertain of where to begin. Cho cleared her throat before starting small chat.

"So how have you been Harry? It is good to see you are doing what you always wanted." Cho smiled at her old friend. The warmth and sincerity was apparent in her eyes.

"Some days I wonder why I ever chose this profession." He said with a sad half grin. He shook his head briefly before looking up at her. "But what about you? This is definitely an interesting career choice. Code breaker?" Cho laughed softly.

"Actually I am an Epigraphist. I work in Egypt most of the time. I am back in London on a bit of a holiday."

"Epigraphist?"

"Yes, I help to decipher hieroglyphics, but I have also studied cryptography and ciphers extensively. So, I hope I will be able to help you." She paused for a moment before asking "So, how is everyone? Ron, Hermione...Ginny?" Her words hung in the air for only a moment. Harry seemed oblivious.

"Ron is great. He is now the new Flying instructor at Hogwarts, and happily married to Hermione. She is a healer at St Mungo's, well she usually is. Right now she is at home with their babies. They just had twin boys. Ron is absolutely terrified that they will be just like their uncles, Fred and George." He paused and took a deep breath. "And Ginny? Well last time I spoke to her she was doing okay. She is living in Scotland now with Dean and their daughter."

"You mean, you two aren't together?" Genuine surprise filled Cho's dark eyes. "I thought you two were meant to be together. I am sorry Harry"

Harry who was slouching on his chair, staring vacantly at the enormous mounds of papers, turned to look at her. He was touched by her concern. He just gave her a half grin and abruptly changed topics on her.

"So, it's great that you have been brought in on this. We are going to need the help. He is intelligent and arrogant. It's a deadly combination…" Harry grimly looked over the reports on his desk. He pulled a thick envelope out of the pile and withdrew the first riddle that had been sent to the offices. He handed it over to Cho. "This was the first riddle he sent to us. We have been unable to crack it yet. Maybe you will be able to make sense of it."

Cho lowered her eyes to the photo in her hands. The thick parchment reminded her of cardboard because of the weight of it. The writing seemed to be identical to the charred words on the wall of today's crime scene.

To the merry Jaspar:
You have been warned and have been told –
Heed me ere the next victim grows cold.
The words in here, they will suffice
And I'll repeat my riddle thrice.

To the merry Jaspar:
The Dark Lord hid behind his name
An appellation from one of shame.
Each victim's blood is on your hands –
Worse than the Dark Lord, as it stands.

To the merry Jaspar:
Though you use neither wand nor spell,
The blame is yours, as you know well;
Your fault that all I knew was lost
And now I shall exact the cost


Her dark eyes skimmed the words several times. The words made no sense at first. As if a fog lifting, her mind racing over the words, different ideas rushed in on her. The excitement that she felt when ever starting work on a new project swept over her.

A stray tendril of dark hair came loose from her bun and swept down to her face, she absently tucked the offending hair behind her ear and looked at Harry. "I need some parchment and a quill. And a quiet place to work." Cho spoke in a businesslike tone.

Harry escorted Cho to an unused interview room where she could work in private. After supplying her with the items she required, he headed back to his office to work through some of the paperwork that had been accumulating on his desk. The mind numbing paperwork would help him get through the agony of waiting impatiently for the answer he needed to start investigating this murder. He was anxious to find this killer and bring him to justice. That is the part of the job that made it all worthwhile.

Several hours later just as he finished filling out and filing about half of the papers that littered his inbox, his office door flew open. Cho stood in the doorway. Most of her hair had come loose from the bun and her face was abnormally pale. Her worried eyes bore into his.

"I figured it out." She whispered.


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