She found herself standing in a dark corridor. The corridors led to a door. But that wasn’t the door she was supposed to take. She had to take the navy blue door off to the side of the corridor.
She opened the navy blue door and, this time, she found herself in a small dark chamber. A middle-aged witch was dosing off in her tiny table.
“Excuse me, madam. I am here for an appointment with an Indagator.”
“Do you have any identification?” droned the lady.
She gave the lady, her MoM ID card and a parchment that Potter told her to present with the identification.
“One moment please.”
After she got the clearance, a door appeared opposite the entrance. She entered the door and found herself in another dark corridor.
She searched for a door with the name plate: Indagator Dragon.
She opened the door, and found herself blinded by bright light.
Once her eyes adjusted, she surveyed the room and was amazed.
The room was gigantic, and filled with bright white light. There was a table that ran along the wall on her left hand side, topped with various Potions materials like cauldrons and jars of ingredients. A similar table was also present along the wall on the ride side. The right side table was filled with the most unusual things: various glass containers; some shaped like funnels, others were round-bottomed; some were cylindrical shaped; all contained colourful liquids in them. There were also a bunch of queer-looking equipments. In middle, the room had various benchtops placed here and there.
At the very centre of the room was a glass-cased chamber. Inside it was a tall man wearing white robes and a pair of goggles, looking down at a figure lying on a steel table. The man on the table was obviously dead, and could be identified as poor old Blishwick.
Astoria went over and knocked on the glass to get Mr. White Robe’s attention. Without even looking, he held his hand up, gesturing her to wait. He then removed his gloves, took his wand out of a slim wand-holder and flicked it. A glass door appeared on the wall adjacent to him.
“It is very rare to see Potter send someone else in here,” drawled Mr. White Robe, as soon as he exited the chamber.
“Well Mr. Potter had some urgent matters to deal with, and he had no other way,” replied she, defending her boss.
“Yes, I’m sure attending a pregnancy check-up with his hormone-induced wife is very ‘urgent’.”
Astoria decided that she did not like Mr. White Robe. He even had the nerves to talk to her with his back turned, doing some paperwork, as if she was not important.
“I do admit that it is refreshing to meet someone other than Potter, Miss, er,…”
“Greengrass. Astoria Greengrass.”
When he heard her name his body stilled, and he stopped writing. He, then removed his goggles, and combed his hair with his fingers.
“Interesting,” said he, seductively, as he turned to face her.
Astoria’s jaws dropped. Mr. White Robe was none other than Draco Malfoy.
“YOU!” she yelled, accusingly.
“Yes, me,” smirked he. “I wonder if Daphne or your parents know where you’ve currently been employed.”
“I am wondering the same about you,” she remarked, coldly.
“You don’t need to stress your pretty little head, Tori,” flirted he. “My job requires me to be in secrecy about its nature.”
“But I’m sure they’ll be happy to know that you are using ‘bloody mudblood’ technology in your job,” said she, triumphantly.
“Not as happy as your parents will be to know that their daughter is working for, none other than, Harry Potter, the boy who ruined the future of all Pureblood Slytherins.”
She replied with a ‘hurmf’.
“Well, enough of your childish squabbling. You are here to note down everything I have discovered.”
“I owe you one,” said a relieved Harry.
“I know,” replied Astoria. She gave him the detailed notes she made as well as the documents Malfoy gave.
“How come you didn’t tell me that Malfoy was the Indagator I was supposed to meet?”
“Did it matter?” asked Harry distractedly.
“No, not really.” But she was lying. There was something about him that got to her. She remembered meeting him the first time in King’s Cross station, when Daphne started her first year. He was a scrawny little child, with pale blonde hair sleeked to the side. Now he was the devil reincarnated in the form of a handsome fellow. With his untidy blond hair, a hint of tanned complexion (which was surprising as the Officinarum didn’t seem to offer much sun), and eyes that werent quite grey nor sky blue, he could charm any girl into being his slave.
“Astoria! Stop daydreaming. Brief me in.”
Astoria was startled into reality.
“Sorry, boss. Er, so Malfoy found everything you have been expecting. He was brutally tortured before dying. Had a few burn marks here and there that was the result of direct contact to fire. But he also said that the fire was not an ordinary fire. He apparently checked few samples of ashes left behind. He said that only Fire-making spell can make that fire. He also checked the air quantity in the room and found many traces of magic. Oh and he recalled Blishwick’s wand’s last spells and found out that he didn’t use any spell during the attack. ”
Harry thought for a while, said, “So someone could have apparated into his house, blasted his wand away, roped him to a chair, tortured him and killed stabbed several times to a painful death. Isn’t there a phenomenon that occurs when your life is in danger and you do accidental magic?”
Astoria's eyes twitched.
“Yes, but maybe he didn’t have enough strength or will to live. He was tortured cruelly before death.”
“True. Anyways, I’m calling it a night. You should too.”
Astoria was relieved. Now she can go home and sleep in her comfortable bed….
The world was a cruel, cruel place.
“No Daphne! Stop bothering me!” yelled Astoria, at the hovering head of her sister in the fireplace. She came home expecting peace and quiet, but then she was confronted by her annoying older sister.
“You aren’t going to attend your only sibling’s wedding?” she asked, outraged.
“I will attend. But I won’t be one of your bridesmaids. I will not!”
“Think of what the society will assume! That the only other Greengrass daughter is not given an honorary position in her sister’s wedding! Oh how cruel of her sister!” cried Daphne, melodramatically.
Astoria sighed. Ofcourse, that is what Daphne would be most worried about: what will society think?
“I have a question, do you even love Zabini, that you are marrying him?”
Daphne laughed, “Oh silly girl. Marriage is not about love, it’s about status! Of course, you will never understand that.”
“I don’t even want to understand you people’s backward ways,” snapped Astoria.
“Seriously, Tori. You don’t need to act like we are your enemies. She was just one mudblood who had died. You don’t have to sever ties with us for a bloody mudblood.”
“She was more of a mother to me than our own mother would ever be!” barked Astoria.
“Oh, boo hoo! Like I care for that old sod. You are going to be my bridesmaid and that’s final.”
“And if I say no?”
“I will force-feed you fire whiskey.”
Astoria stilled. “You wouldn’t!”
“Come to think of it. That would be a perfect entertainment idea for the wedding.”
Astoria did a facepalm. Fire whiskey always had the wrong effect on her.
“Okay fine,” sighed a resigned Astoria.
“Oh and you don’t need a plus one. I asked the best man to be you date.”
“YOU DID WHAT!”
But all the yelling was in vain, as Daphne had already left with a pop!