Chapter 9 : IX: The Master
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The Master had been living in the Loup for over twenty years, and as dismal as it was, he had eventually come to love the cold, forbidding hallways, the damp dungeons, the stormy weather. He had learned to enjoy the solid presence of the Proie that was beside him always, and the loneliness that had set in his heart from the day he’d left home.
The Master’s study was only a small part of his large suite. When he’d restored the crumbling, abandoned castle at his initial arrival, he’d made sure to create a comfortable living space for himself. His study was only the first stop on the spiral staircase that led to his living space, and above it was so much more. Next was a small kitchen, stocked with simple necessary items such as cutlery as well as extravagant luxuries, like his prized fondue set. Above the kitchen was a bedroom with a bed fit for a king, and above that a profligate bathroom. Further up still, the last stop, was a small observatory, from which the Master could see in all directions and admire his life’s work. The viewing room was equipped only with a small, comfortable couch and a coffee table to rest a mug of coffee or one’s feet on. The ceiling was all glass, so that the Master could occasionally view the heavens above.
As magnificent as the suite was, the study really was the main attraction. It was where the Master doled out punishments for the guilty and orders for Darcy’s batch; it was where he conducted his research and occasionally experiments; it was where he read, either from his extensive library or from his daily newspaper.
The Master lifted the paper again and reread the unsettling news. It was the twelfth birthday of a kidnap victim, who had yet to be found, and also the anniversary of his snatching from his home ten years before. The kidnapper had been sly; the boy had disappeared just after his own birthday party. The parents of the child, a wealthy family, had apparently asked for a small article to be published in the Prophet to remind the world that not all problems were solved, and sometimes there was no “happily ever after”. The Master snorted. There were thousands of kidnapped kids in the world who would never find their families again; the Master knew that well enough.
The child was the grandson of a famous wizard, and the Master remembered well the news that had plagued the Prophet after the kidnapping; headlines had declared “Famous Auror’s Grandson Gone!” and similar dramatic claims. The press could be so foolish.
But apparently that annoying famous Auror had funded a renewed search for the boy. It was absurd, of course. The boy would hardly resemble his two-year-old self, especially because no kidnapper was gentle. The boy would have been raised in harsh conditions, no doubt. He would look like a whole new person, ten years later. It was ridiculous that they were sending a search party out now.
But the article claimed that there were going to be searches all over the United Kingdom, especially in more remote areas, and that wouldn’t make things easy for the Master. There was a reason, after all, that he had trained the Knights to hide in the Proie whenever there was a hint of human life wandering up to the Loup.
The Master sighed again. The Loup’s grounds were too well maintained, the castle too well lit up at night to escape suspicion. Evacuating was a last resort, of course. But he would have to perform some powerful magic to create the illusion that the Loup was still abandoned. It would be similar to the spell that had been cast upon Hogwarts centuries ago. The Master wondered how Hogwarts was doing. Oh, how the professors there would gasp if they saw the school he was running!
The Master stuffed the newspaper into a filing cabinet and rubbed his temples. The kidnapped child’s name was Alex Potter.
A/N: A short chapter, I know, but necessary to move the plot along and to get a break from Devin and Rolf. The next one will be far more exciting.
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