Chapter 17 : The Setup
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Hermione’s first day back to work was not going well. She was able to get around in the wheelchair, but it still made her feel anxious, restless and uncomfortable. After an almost comical attempt to relocate to her desk chair, she realized that her upper body strength needed a great deal of improvement. She decided to reorganize her calendar to allow for an hour in the Ministry gym on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, which led to the next sobering revelation; With all of her hearings and most of her regular meetings canceled, her calendar was nearly empty.
Aside from the discouraging lack of projects to tackle, it became abundantly clear to her that something had changed in Magical Law. She had expected a warm if not exuberant welcome from her colleagues, and the smattering of manufactured smiles and mechanically delivered well-wishes that she received caught her by surprise. It felt like being at a political fundraiser, except nobody was asking for her support. Several people glanced nervously over their shoulders before greeting her, and whenever she rolled through any of the office’s public areas, they became improbably vacant.
As lunchtime drew near, Hermioine made up her mind to try to get to the bottom of whatever was happening around her. She pulled on her short winter coat and covered her legs with her cloak, then she rolled towards the Office for the Promulgation of Magical Rules and Regulations. After entering the office, she navigated the rows of neatly kept desks where paralegals processed judgments, rulings and orders issued by the Wizengamot and the Ministry’s other regulatory departments. She came to a stop in front of a slightly-built, red-headed woman who was perusing the new issue of Witch Weekly, which lay on top of a ruling on the allowable percentage of synthetic materials in brooms certified for flying.
“Hello, Lucy,” Hermione said, smiling warmly. The nervous smile on her niece’s face helped to reinforce her suspicions. Lucy had her father’s nose for office politics, and at the moment her career instincts appeared to be on high alert.
“Hi, Aunt Hermione,” Lucy chirped as her eyes shifted subtly from side to side. Many of her coworkers were already at lunch, and she seemed to be making careful note of who was still around to overhear the conversation. “I hadn’t heard that you were back at work. Are you feeling better?”
There were familiar notes of Audrey in her voice, Hermione thought, and it made her cringe on the inside. One of those in the family was enough. “Yes, I’m doing better,” Hermione replied. “I’m still trying to regain my strength, but I wanted to get back into the swing of things here. Has anything interesting happened while I was away?” She asked the question pointedly.
“Oh, no, things have been rather quiet, aside from all the chatter and speculation about this Blood Order business,” Lucy replied. She took another nervous look around. “Listen, I’d love to catch up, but I’m afraid I have a lot of rulings to process today. Are you and Uncle Ron planning to be at Nanna’s for Christmas Dinner?”
Hermione stared at her niece with a mix of amusement and disbelief. “Lucy, Christmas is over two months away. I hope we’ll find the time to catch up before then. Do you have any plans for lunch?”
Lucy was starting to look uncomfortable. She lowered her voice and said, “Aunt Hermione, I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t want it to look like I’m spending all my time socializing with family when I should be working. Perceptions are important in our department. You understand, right?”
Hermione turned her head slowly, surveying the large share of empty desks whose occupants were off at lunch. Then she turned back to face her niece, nodding her head slightly towards the magazine still lying open on the desk. She smiled cordially and lowered her voice to a hiss. “No, I do not understand. Now you listen to me. I helped you get this job. You can either take the time to explain why everyone in the whole bloody department is suddenly acting like I have Dragon Pox, or I will stop by every day at ten o’clock sharp to discuss the day’s events with you at length. Do I make myself clear?”
Lucy stared back in thinly veiled horror. “Now, dear,” Hermione continued, raising her voice back to a pleasant, conversational level, “how do you feel about that little French cafe near the Ministry entrance?”
Five minutes later, the two witches made their way down the sidewalk, turning slightly to avoid the edge of the chilly autumn breeze. “I can’t believe you did that!” Lucy was complaining loudly under the protective cover of her aunt’s muffliato charm. “There was no need to come into my personal workspace and threaten me like that. I really do have a lot to do today, you know?”
“And that’s the only reason you were so reluctant?” Hermione replied icily. “I doubt it. Somewhere along the way, I’ve become about as welcome as a mountain troll in the ladies’ loo. I wouldn’t have expected this from you.”
Lucy glared at her aunt, but Hermione returned the look with withering intensity. Lucy’s angry frown quickly melted away. “Please don’t be upset with me, Aunt Hermione. You know I appreciate everything that you’ve done for me. It’s just that things have gotten really tense in the office. It’s hard to explain.”
“Try me,” Hermione replied bluntly.
Lucy sighed and thought for a moment. “It all started after this Blood Order came along and started to attack people. At first, the talk was about how we should all be careful about identifying ourselves as Ministry employees, you know? Not draw attention to yourself. Then we started hearing that the Minister was losing the support of the pure bloods, and that everyone needed to be careful to avoid doing things that would antagonize them.
“The message kept changing, though,” she continued, looking somber. “Soon, it wasn’t just about not making the pure bloods upset, it was about how we could help the Minister win their support back. Some people started to say that anyone who was working on anything the pure bloods didn’t like was undermining the stability of the government. That they needed to be reassigned or even fired.”
Hermione’s mind was spinning in high gear. What she was hearing explained the reactions she’d been getting, but it didn’t make sense politically. “Lucy, why do you think the Minister is so worried? The pure bloods are such a small fraction of the population, and they get smaller with every generation.”
“But they’re loud,” Lucy replied. “And they’re well-connected. They stand up and speak their minds while most of the half-blood and muggle-born witches and wizards just assume that the Minister will do what’s best.”
“Well perhaps it’s time for us muggle-borns to speak more loudly,” Hermione said, feeling her righteous anger swell. If the pure bloods wanted a fight, it wouldn’t be the first time she’d obliged them.
Lucy stopped and turned to face her aunt. “Please, Aunt Hermione, don’t. It’s already a scary time to be a Weasley at the Ministry. Al, Hugo and I have all felt it. I mean, I think we’re all safe because of my dad and Uncle Harry, but it’s not like it used to be. Please don’t make this any more difficult.”
“You haven’t seen difficult yet,” Hermione replied with a grin. Lucy couldn’t help herself, and returned the smile. “Come on. As long as I’m ruining your career with my toxic influence, the least I can do is buy you lunch.”
Harry winced uncomfortably as the visiting nurse prodded his injured shoulder. She was an older witch, with a stern, uncompromising manner about her. She reminded Harry of Professor McGonagall when he was right on the cusp of receiving detention. He groaned as she scribbled down some measurements and retrieved yet another diagnostic instrument from the seemingly endless collection in her brown leather bag.
“My compliments to whoever put the Undetectable Extension Charm on that,” Harry said, trying to lighten the mood. “If you’ve got another nurse in there somewhere, maybe they could poke and prod while you keep the minutes?”
“If I had the room, I’d be stuffing you in there and dragging you right back to St. Mungo’s,” she retorted sharply. “Tell me, Mr. Potter, is there a single item on the list of restrictions given to you by the healer that you have followed?”
“Well, I haven’t apparated anywhere or ridden a broom,” Harry answered defensively.
“Oh, this should be good,” she replied, resting her chin on the heel of her hand and peering at him over the top of her horn-rim glasses. “How did you manage to dislodge three of the suturing spells holding your shoulder together without taking part in any high-speed broomstick crashes?”
Harry recalled tumbling out of the pensieve and landing squarely on his injured shoulder, but it wouldn’t do to tell the nurse about that. “It must have happened while I was fluffing my pillows,” he responded, trying to match the bite of her sarcasm. The way she rolled her eyes suggested that he’d come up short.
“Mr. Potter, I would readmit you on the spot if it weren’t for the fact that I’d be inviting back a whole contingent of your lot.”
“My lot?” Harry bristled.
“Yes, your lot.” she shot back. “Bloody Aurors! You all seem to fancy yourselves indestructible. Do you think we just sit around all day, waiting for one of you to be wheeled in?”
“I’ll be sure to let the next group of dark wizards who try to kill me know how much of your time they’ve been wasting,” Harry muttered. He sucked in a sharp breath through clenched teeth as she lifted his elbow with a little less care than he would have liked. She waved her wand around his shoulder, whispering incantations to herself. Then she made several more loops around the injury with her instruments.
“I’ve repaired the suturing spells,” she said, gently lowering his elbow back to his side. “But I’m warning you, Mr. Potter, if you don’t stop whatever it is you’ve been doing and rest this shoulder, you will find yourself right back in St. Mungo’s. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes,” Harry sighed. Since she was due back the next morning, there seemed to be no point in antagonizing her further.
She administered three potions and left five more with Hermys, giving the elf lengthy instructions on how and when they were to be taken, as well as some choice suggestions for what to do if Harry didn’t cooperate fully.
When she finally disappeared into the fireplace, Harry let out a long sigh of relief. He noticed Hermys staring at him nervously from the drawing room doorway.
“It’s alright, Hermys,” Harry said. “I’m not going to be difficult. Just let me know what to take and when.”
“And Master will rest?” the elf pressed gently.
“Yes, Hermys, I will,” Harry replied with a smile. “It doesn’t seem like I have any choice.”
That part was certainly true. After several futile attempts to get an update on the investigation of the attack over the M4, he learned that Ron had threatened anyone who allowed him to work with a month of overnight shifts walking the perimeter of Azkaban. He was frustrated, but impressed with Ron’s determination. And in spite of his desire to stay on top of the case, he found that the couch was calling out to him. As he gingerly eased himself into a reclining position, he wondered whether the visiting nurse had slipped some sleeping draught into his potions.
The next thing Harry knew, Hermys was calling softly from the doorway.
He opened his eyes slightly and was greeted by a dark, blurry world.
“Master is sleeping,” he heard the elf whisper. “Perhaps you could return at another time?”
“It’s OK, Hermys, I’m awake,” Harry said. He started to sit up and realized that there was a blanket on top of him. He silently summoned his glasses to his hand and slipped them onto his face. As the room came into focus, he found that the curtains had been drawn and a low fire was burning on the hearth. Strains of soft music emanated from somewhere in the room. Hermys had gone all out to promote his nap.
“Harry, I’m sorry to wake you,” came Neville’s voice from the doorway. “I can come back later if you’re resting.”
“No, that’s alright,” Harry yawned, suppressing a grimace as he pulled himself to a sitting position. “Just trying to follow the healer’s orders for a change.” He gestured towards the window and the curtains parted to reveal the early afternoon sun. Hermys muttered crossly under his breath as he stalked back towards the kitchen, reminding Harry of Kreacher.
“That’s a new one on you,” Neville smirked, lowering himself into an armchair across from Harry. “You aren’t going soft, are you?”
“No,” Harry replied with a grin, “just trying to live long enough to retire to this cushy teaching position I keep hearing about.”
They both enjoyed a chuckle, but the look on Neville’s face was troubled. Harry studied him for a moment. “It’s a school day, so I doubt this is just a social call.”
“No, it isn’t,” Neville admitted. “I’ve just come from a very disturbing meeting with the Board of Governors. I’m still trying to make sense of it all. If you don’t mind, I was hoping we might discuss it in your study.”
Harry was puzzled for a moment, then he thought of Dumbledore’s portrait. He nodded and very slowly made his way to a standing position, taking great care to keep his injured shoulder still. They walked silently down the hall to the study and Harry closed the door behind them.
“Harry, the Board of Governors voted down my proposal on the revised Muggle Studies curriculum,” Neville began. “Then they started asking a lot of very pointed questions about what’s currently being taught and about the number of muggle-born students attending Hogwarts. After a while, the whole thing became rather confrontational.”
Harry was not at all surprised that Dumbledore’s eyes were open and he was listening intently. “Neville, I don’t understand,” Harry began. “I spoke to the Deputy Minister just last week and he thought that your proposal would sail right through. He wasn’t even sure that you needed the Governors’ approval.”
Neville shook his head grimly. “Ordinarily, somebody would have warned me if the Governors were upset about something. You know, provided me at least a little time to prepare. Today I was caught completely by surprise.”
“Mr. Longbottom,” Dumbledore’s portrait chimed in, “am I correct in assuming there’s a reason that we are not discussing this in the pleasant confines of your office?”
Neville nodded somberly. “Yes, Professor. It has come to my attention that several monitoring spells have been woven into the castle’s protective enchantments, without my knowledge or approval. I’m pretty sure that the headmaster’s office hasn’t been compromised, but I didn’t want to take a chance until I had a better idea what’s going on.”
“The Aurors certainly weren’t involved,” Harry said, looking alarmed. He began to pace. “Something isn’t right. I can understand why the Minister wouldn’t want any controversial changes to the Muggle Studies curriculum right now. I’ve heard that he’s quietly making all sorts of small compromises to try to keep the pure blood faction of the Wizengamot from revolting. But spying on the school? Questioning the place of muggle-borns in the student body? It’s... unheard of.”
“Oh, I daresay I’ve heard of it once or twice,” Dumbledore replied with a mischievous twinkle in his eye.
Harry looked slightly embarrassed. “Well it’s unheard of since the end of the war, anyway.”
“So what do we do?” Neville asked. “I can deal with leaving the Muggle Studies curriculum as it is for a while, but we can’t have people spying on the students. Their futures are at stake.”
“I think Bill is back from the Middle East tomorrow,” Harry replied. “I’m sure he can remove the monitoring spells, and do it much more discreetly than anyone from our department.”
Harry paused for a moment. “While we’re on the subject of pulling in outside help, there’s something else I’ve been mulling over that I’d like your opinion on. Both of your opinions,” he added, nodding purposefully towards Dumbledore.
“A few weeks ago, Arthur Weasley pulled me aside and suggested that we reconvene the Order,” Harry began, carefully observing the portrait’s reaction. “I didn’t think much of it at the time because the attack on the Ministry and the breakout at Azkaban seemed like isolated incidents, even if they were related. Now the waters are getting really murky and I’m not so sure. I’d like to think we can count on every single Auror, but the truth is that outside of the core group from the D.A., I can’t predict how each individual will react if things take a turn for the worse. It would be good, I think, to have some extra eyes and ears that we trust in key places like Hogwarts and the Ministry.”
There was a long moment of silence as they all pondered what Harry was proposing. “Harry, you almost sound like you’re worried about another war,” Neville said slowly.
“I really, really hope not,” Harry answered grimly, still looking at Dumbledore, “but I refuse to be caught off guard if it comes to that.”
“I believe,” Dumbledore began, stroking his beard and staring into space, “that a great many lives could have been spared if wizards in positions of authority had taken such precautions fifty years ago. But we must exercise the utmost care that we do not provoke a war where none need occur.”
Harry stared at him thoughtfully for a moment. “Agreed. On both accounts. Neville?”
“Doing nothing doesn’t seem like an option, does it?” Neville replied. “How should we organize this?”
Harry walked to his desk and tapped the top of it with his wand. A small cabinet with a locked door rose smoothly out of the seamless surface. He opened the cabinet with his wand and pulled out an ordinary-looking galleon. “Shall we say Friday night upstairs at the Hog’s Head?”
There was an extra spring in Percy’s step as he strolled back towards the Ministry of Magic. After several days of exasperating schedule conflicts, he had finally managed to arrange lunch with Arabela. Granted, she had shown up late because the Minister’s weekly security briefing ran long and she had to rush off before dessert arrived to pick up the Minister’s official dress robes from the cleaner, but the brief time they spent together did wonders for his spirit. She had been thrilled to hear about the counseling he and Audrey were receiving, although she scolded him about the two sessions he had missed.
“Your work may seem important now, but if you neglect your home life, everything will suffer in the end!” she admonished. It was so true. He made a mental note to apologize to Audrey for the lapse in his commitment, perhaps in the form of flowers.
Percy found that his lunches with Arabela were always a sort of pleasant blur in his mind. Their conversations seemed to touch on a wide range of topics. Whether or not he could recall the specifics, he always walked away feeling better informed and reassured and just all-around happier. Arabela was very devoted to her work in the Minister’s office, but Percy often told her that she should have her own talk show. He was certain it would be a hit.
As he turned the corner onto Whitehall, he was struck by a peculiar feeling. At first, it was as though he’d forgotten something, something important that he very much needed to remember. He strained to think of what it might be. His calendar was actually relatively clear, now that all of the notifications had gone out to the other wizarding nations about the secrecy breach over the M4.
He took another couple of steps and the sensation began to change from preoccupation into panic. What was he forgetting, and why did it trouble him so? A plethora of possibilities rolled through his mind.
Had he promised to do something for the Minister? Was he missing a healer’s appointment? Had he just betrayed an important trust placed in him by those that he cared about most?
The last question popped into his mind unbidden from Merlin only knew where and it sent his anxiety skyrocketing. Percy came to a stop in the middle of the sidewalk, causing an irritable muggle businessman to bump into him and hurl a few choice curse words in Percy’s direction. He paid the man no mind. For some reason that he could not explain, he had to turn around. Whatever he had done wrong, the answer wasn’t inside the Ministry.
He started to march back up High Road. His heart was pounding in his ears and he stumbled slightly as he struggled to clear his racing mind. A muggle constable looked him up and down as he passed. Even though the charms on his robes made them look like a suit to the muggles, he was pretty sure they did nothing to hide his tottering swagger. Not only had he apparently ruined something vital with his forgetfulness, now he was going to end up getting arrested for looking drunk and disorderly.
He spied the Bell & Hare ahead and made a beeline for it. As he drew closer and heard the music coming from inside, salvation felt like it was within his reach. He ripped the door open and walked rapidly to the bar, taking a seat off to one side. After ordering a drink, he paused to enjoy the calming effect that the music had on his nerves. Slowly, his pulse returned to normal and the frenetic energy in his mind began to dissipate.
Percy tried to replay the events of the past five minutes in his head, hoping to finally figure out what had upset him so. You’ve done a terrible thing, Percy. They’re all in danger now. He started and sat bolt upright on his stool. His subconscious mind had offered him advice, made witty observations and occasionally even openly mocked him, but this was the first time it had ever issued a warning. What could he have done? He’d gotten up, gone to work, had a cordial meeting with the Greek ambassador and gone to lunch with Arabela. How could he possibly have endangered anyone?
Percy closed his eyes and focused on the music, imploring his subconscious mind to speak to him again, but it remained silent. He sighed and took a sip of his ale, completely at a loss for what to do next. He would have to go back to work soon. There were reports to be read, communiques to be reviewed and visa applications to accept or reject. Try as he might, he couldn’t shake the feeling that something terrible was about to happen.
Cepheus Black tried to concentrate on the script he was writing, but his eyes kept darting towards the window of his office. From the plushly appointed space on the eleventh floor of the offices of the Wizarding Wireless Network, he had a lovely view of the River Thames as it flowed past Waterloo Bridge. It still boggled his mind that some members of the staff got nostalgic about the network’s old offices in Hogsmeade Village. In the world of entertainment, London was the place to be.
But it wasn’t the view that was distracting him from his writing on this particular day. The latest communique from his secretive source inside the Ministry was several days overdue. It wasn’t the first time, but it always made him nervous. His job became a lot more difficult without the tips that his source provided, a point that was underscored by the blank sheet of parchment sitting on the desk in front of him.
There was a knock at his office door and he sat down his quill and waved his wand absentmindedly. The door opened to reveal his personal assistant, who was wearing her traveling cloak over a tight-fitting black dress that was one of his favorites. He stared shamelessly at her cleavage as she spoke. “Xerxes, I’m going out to grab lunch. Can I bring you something?”
“Livia, we’re not on the air,” he replied. “Just call me Ceph. And you can bring that body of yours right over to my desk if you please.”
Her chest quivered as she giggled coyly, and he wondered what sort of enchantments she used to achieve such lift and separation. “Ceph, honey, I’m starving. And I try not to end up bent over your desk more than three times a week.”
“There’s always the sofa,” he snickered, not ready to give up.
“You’re incorrigible,” she laughed airily. “But seriously, I have to eat or I’m gonna pass out. Do you want anything?”
“Yeah, just bring me a sandwich or something,” he answered. She blew him a kiss and turned to leave. “And Livia,” he said, catching her just before she closed the door, “don’t be long.”
He leaned over his desk, trying to catch one last glimpse of her backside as the door closed. Her visit hadn’t helped his writer’s block at all. In addition to feeling uninspired, he was now hungry and aroused. He thought about skiving off to the eighth floor and crashing the casting call for a new daytime drama the network was developing. There were sure to be some comely young witches vying for a part who were eager to get a leg up on the competition. All he had to do was introduce himself and drop the executive producer’s name once or twice and he was sure to find one gullible enough to believe that he had any say in the matter. Even if the talent wasn’t up to scratch, he could still raid the catering table.
At times, Ceph marveled that the secret life he’d managed to carve out for himself. He was the great-great-great-grandson of Phineas Nigellus Black, heir to a long line of pure blood ancestors and a modest family fortune. Like most of the old pure blood families, his parents had fallen on difficult times after the war. But unlike most of his cousins, he found a very lucrative career.
The contrast between pure-blooded, aristocratic Cepheus Black and the ranting, low-brow wireless personality Xerxes the Seer could hardly have been more stark. His parents probably would have disowned him if they’d known about his alter ego. He worked under a pseudonym and affected a cockney accent, but the truth was that his parents had little use for the wireless, anyway. As far as they knew, he was a diplomat, one of the few gainful occupations they considered worthy of his pedigree. It made it easy to explain the long stretches he went without speaking to them, and as long as he paid the bills for their villa on the French Riviera, they really didn’t ask many questions about his work.
Just as he was about to head to the lifts, there was a pecking noise at his window. His heart rose when he saw the familiar, nondescript brown owl waiting outside. After dismissing the bird, he unrolled the parchment and waved his wand over the Ministry of Magic seal at the top of the page. All messages from the Minister’s office carried an enciphering enchantment that proved their authenticity. Being able to validate his source was critical. As long as he could show that his information came from inside the Ministry -- and his ratings stayed high -- all of the complaints from his jealous, trifling colleagues about “standards” and “ethics” fell on deaf ears in the network’s senior management.
He began to read the message and his lips curled into a devilish smile. His source had come through in spades. According to what he was reading, even as the Minister was trying to soothe and mollify the angry pure bloods, he had tasked the Unspeakables with developing a potion that would give magical powers to the unborn child of a muggle. It was part of the Ministry’s secret plan to forge an alliance with the muggle government while breeding the pure bloods out of existence. When the potion was ready, it would be infused into muggle pre-natal vitamins and marketed through high-end health food stores around the world. He sat back down and began to jot notes in the margins of the page.
The question of whether the information was even remotely credible crossed his mind briefly. In the past, his source had been hit or miss with the accuracy of their hot tips. He hadn’t noticed any affect on his ratings, though, so he set his doubts aside. The script for his next show was all but complete. Over the years, he had developed a nose for the stories that played well with his audience, and this one smelled like a hit. He leaned back in his chair and smirked to himself as he thought about Livia’s dress and how pleasant it was going to look on the floor next to the sofa.
Lady Tenabra grimaced with frustration. What she had just learned would require a major revision to her timetable. Everything was in jeopardy now and she was going to need to move quickly in order to reclaim the advantage. She unrolled a long sheet of parchment on the table in front of her and began to rearrange the course of events with her wand.
The Head Auror was now in possession of information that could undermine everything she had put in place. She had confirmed that much. There was no way to know what else he might have learned, but given his reputation and the company he kept, she had to plan around the worst case. She would not underestimate his resourcefulness again.
It was clear that she needed him out of the way, but attempting to kill him had proven ineffective. None of her followers were up to the task, and another failed assassination attempt would be disastrous. Along with Potter, Ron and Hermione Weasley also had to go. It was a safe bet that whatever he knew, they knew. She felt pleased with herself for having had the foresight to try to frame them for the murder of Edwin Stoops. It was the one connection between the three that she could use to eliminate the lot of them.
She opened the cabinet door beneath the table and retrieved a thick manila folder from a pile that sat on the top shelf. Laying it on the tabletop, she began flipping through the documents until she found the one she was looking for, a wand signature analysis from the scene of a murder. She duplicated it and returned the original to the folder before setting it aside. Scanning the duplicated document, she mentally noted the items that would need to be altered. She reasoned that she could make the changes herself, since the forgery wouldn’t need to stand up to scrutiny for very long. As soon as she had seized control, the document would conveniently disappear, along with Potter and his meddling friends.
After she finished with the document, she took another look at her timetable. To avoid drawing any suspicion, she would need to plant the document with a lower level Ministry functionary and allow it time to percolate to the top. She slid the entire timeline back by twenty-four hours to compensate. Feeling satisfied with her revisions, she rolled the forged report up inside her timetable and slipped both documents into an inner pocket of her cloak.
Tenabra checked her watch and realized that a raiding party was due back at the warehouse soon. She had sent Nott, Gamp and several new recruits to pay a visit to the author of the popular book “How to Marry a Muggle: Twelve Foolproof Steps to Managing a Mixed-Magical Family”. The raid would help to spread fear among the progressives and stoke the anti-muggle fervor currently gripping the pure bloods. She was also eager to see whether Gamp finally snapped and killed Nott, eliminating one more loose end that she might otherwise have to deal with.
She pulled up her hood and checked her concealing enchantments in the mirror. Soon, she told herself, the games would be over and she would no longer need to lurk in the shadows. But there was much left to be done. Getting the Head Auror out of the way was going to be a major step forward. She placed the thick file back into the cabinet and secured the door and then apparated to the lower level of the warehouse.
Thank you for continuing to read Conspiracy of Blood. I appreciate any and all reviews, so please share your thoughts on the story so far. As always, a great deal of credit is due my beta reader, sophie_hatter. Please check out her story Evolution(M) if you haven't already.
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