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Helene, Kimble, and the Philosopher's stoned. by Wizardora
Chapter 5 : Gringotts and goblins
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 3


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“Hang on tight!” Owen called back as he pressed down on the accelerator. Helene gripped tighter onto the first passenger seat (which there were magically two of), whereas Kim completely closed her eyes, almost more afraid of heights than she was of the prospect of riding through clouds on an airborne road vehicle.

“Wheeee!” Helene squealed in delight as the motorbike engine roared and they took off, speeding along the road until they were speeding along with nothing beneath the wheels, “This is so cool!” Helene shouted above the noise of the engine, “Where did you get this baby?”

“The ministry confiscated it from a convicted criminal. Its ministry property now.” Owen shouted back, his obvious passion for the machine shone through his rough exterior.

“This bike belonged to a criminal? Oh I feel so much better now.” Kim muttered to herself, still refusing to open her eyes.

“So it was you I saw on the way to the zoo? You were following us?” Helene asked Owen, telling him of her suspicions earlier that day, “Kim’s little sister even said she saw this thing flying!”

“Yes,” he admitted, “I was employed to keep tabs on you, follow you around, to see if you were suitable for a position at Hogwarts.”

“Right. So it was you with the boxes and the snake disappearance at the reptile house then?”

“What?” Owen asked with such blatant surprise that Helene believed he had nothing to do with the incident even though magic was the only explanation.

“Oh… er… nothing.” Helene shrugged it off.

“How long is this journey going to be?” Kim squirmed from the back seat. Throwing her hands around Helene’s waist and burying her heard in her friend’s back, thoroughly terrified.

“About four hours if we miss the traffic.” He yelled back as he put his foot down on the pedal, speeding up the bike although Kim didn’t understand how that was possible without the laws of friction.

“What traffic?!” She exclaimed, opening her eyes for a second and then regretting her decision to do so.

“Well there’s always the chance of a low-flying plane…”

“I don’t believe this…” Kim muttered to herself again, “… four hours…”

“Cheer up Kim! Positive energy! You promised you wouldn’t complain! You chose to come too!” Helene attempted to comfort her petrified companion.

“Mmmm, well this isn’t to do with my choices… it’s to do with my abilities and right now I don’t have the ability to loosen my grip on you or open my eyes because I’m scared!”

“Me too,” Helene admitted, but Kim had a feeling she wasn’t talking about the motorcycle ride, “but we’ve got each other.”

-

After parking on a double yellow line (much to the annoyance of Kim, but Owen assured her if the Muggle police tried to move it they’d have a tough time on their hands) the motorcycle driver led them to a dodgy looking pub called ‘The Leaky Cauldron’.

“Oh how apt.” Kim observed as she led the way through the dingy door and into the main room. It was almost all black other than the dark oak furniture and a bar. A hunched man was serving drinks as strangely dressed members of the magical public sat and drank, socialising with others. Helene was not intimidated by the odd gathering and went straight up to the barman,

“Lager and lime please!” She said loudly and casually, raising an eyebrow and pulling herself up onto a barstool like they do in films.

This request provoked a stunned silence from the stooped man, who looked questioningly at Owen as if asking what Helene just said.

“Err… come on now girls, you’re a bit young to be drinking…” Owen stammered an excuse and ushered them away from the gaping assembly, through a door out to the back of the tavern before explaining, “Girls, this is a different world out here. All those witches and wizards in there have never heard of a lager and lime!”

“Oh.” Said Helene, crestfallen, “What do they drink?”

“Butterbeer mostly. But, honestly! You shouldn’t be served anyway!” Owen insisted, walking over to the far wall.

“Yes Helene! That was very irresponsib… what are you doing?” Kim had started to reprimand Helene but had been distracted by Owen tapping a pattern onto the bricks in front of him.

Before she could get an answer; the wall melted away, opening the gateway into a hustling, bustling crowd of witches and wizards down an alley of unusual shops.

“Where are we?” Helene gasped.

“Diagon alley. The magical version of a shopping centre. We’re here to get your school supplies.” Owen revealed, beginning to make his way through the crowd. Helene and Kimble tried to keep up behind him.

“But Owen!” Helene called after him, “We haven’t got any money with us!”

“Not a problem.” Owen told her, “The ministry is funding your tuition. This includes full payment on all expenses. We’re off to Gringotts to collect that money right now.”

“Gringotts; that’s a bank, right?” Kim guessed, irritated that Owen was not more forthcoming when it came to giving them information about the wizarding world.

“Correct.”

-

Gringotts turned out to be a massive stone building directly central to Diagon alley. You’d be a fool to miss it with its strong marble pillars marking the entrance through a grand front bearing an odd inscription…

Enter, stranger, but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay most dearly in their turn.
So if you seek beneath our floors
A treasure that was never yours,
Thief, you have been warned, beware
Of finding more than treasure there.


“That’s creepy.” Helene commented as she followed Owen through the high doors into the bank, “WHOA!”

She had spotted a deformed miniature version of a person but with claw-like hands and viciously sharp teeth. Although dressed in a set of smart robes, the animal looked entirely inhuman. The creature snarled at the ignorant girl’s outburst before returning to business with a fellow colleague. Helene could see these sinister beings were not to be messed with. She would not like to meet one of them when it lost its temper!

“Those are the staff here?” Helene quizzed in a half-whisper, “They’re not dwarves are they? Because then I know I must be dreaming.”

“Goblins.” Owen answered, leading them across the echoing tiled floor to an available cashier as if the presence of these…beasts was completely normal in any society, not at least a magical one.

“Oh please Owen!” Kim huffed, “I think they prefer the term ‘vertically challenged individuals.’ I think ‘goblins’ is a little insensitive, don’t you?”

Owen ignored this remark and proceeded to business with the ‘vertically challenged individual',

“Good Morning, on behalf of the ministry I am here to collect funds from vault number 714 in the names of Helene Colis and Kimble Vue.” Owen said to the goblin. Helene swore she saw the bank employee scowl at the mention of the ministry, but she could have been mistaken because of the distorted facial features he possessed; a long crooked nose, pointed ears and beady black eyes. But this was nothing compared to the grimace Kimble formed at Owen’s use of her full name.

“Ah yes, a representative from the ministry” the goblin practically spat as he recognised the authority figure. His voice was eerie and his tone was sadistic, “We received your notification about the… special circumstances in which these two young ladies find themselves. The money, totalling fifty galleons, has been extracted from the vault beforehand for your convenience… GRIPHOOK!” The goblin called to a comrade nearby, “Do you have the ministry gold?”

“Of course.” The second goblin spoke with the same softy sarcastic intonation as he smiled in a menacing fashion. He produced a sack of black material and handed it to Owen a little reluctantly.

Owen opened the little bag and took out a round disk of gold. He then bit it hard between his teeth to check the validity. It was evident that wizards openly distrusted the goblin race. The cashier gave Owen a disgusted stare and snapped,

“Is the gold not to your taste, sir?”

“S’fine.” Owen replied, entirely unthreatened by the growing temper of the bank’s member of staff, his placed the coin back inside the bag.

“Aren’t you going to count it?” Helene asked, hinting that these goblins may have accidentally on purpose miscounting the gold they were handing over. The goblin scowled again.

“Per-lease! I’m sure the bank clerk knows how to do his job!” Kim told her associates, and she received a rare appraising look from the goblin serving them, “So lets stop wasting this goblin’s time!” she added and marched the trio around and towards the door. The cashier looked as if he couldn’t agree more and watched them off with his crooked smile.

“That was a nice bit of flattery there, wasn’t it?” Helene said to Kim, “I think that goblin likes you!”

“I for one was most impressed! Goblins are tricky creatures to please and are famed for their hate of the wizarding world and the power the ministry holds over them.”

Kimble looked pleased with herself. She was about to lecture the other two on equal rights for all oppressed creatures when an alarm went off; the second to occur in the last twenty-four hours...

WAH-WAH-WAH-WAH- WAH-WAH-WAH-WAH- WAH-WAH-WAH-WAH!

“Owen!”

“It’s not me!” he denied over the deafening ringing.

“FREEZE!” a strong male voice shouted from somewhere, but he needn’t have bothered because the trio found they couldn’t move. They were literally frozen to the spot, unable to shift a limb.

There must be some magic involved here, the two girls thought.


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