Chapter 3 : Tricked
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I yawned, stretching on my bed, remembering my really weird dream. Something to do with bright blue light? Rose, Lily, and Hugo were in it, and I remembered arguing with Rose. The dream was unusually vivid, not hazy like normal dreams.
And when I opened my eyes, the truth hit me. Everything that I remembered wasn’t a dream. I was not in my own bed, but in a cheap hotel in 1998. Lily was right beside me, still asleep. Rose and Hugo were in the hotel room across.
I mentally groaned, wishing that everything that had happened was just a nightmare. Why had I touched the orb? Why did this bizarre time-travel thing have to happen to me, of all people?
I sat up, not getting out of bed. We only had so much money—it wasn’t as if we could simply march into Gringott’s and withdraw some galleons and convert them to muggle money. Because in 1998, our bank accounts didn’t exist. We only had enough money to stay in this hotel for three nights. But what about after those three nights? Would we have to sleep on the streets?
The thought sent shivers down the spine, tension building up inside me. I had made a promise to myself that I would get us all out of this mess somehow. I figured that the best way to approach the issue was to take immediate action, and not waste the entire time planning and waiting for something to happen.
Someone knocked at our door, and I practically jumped over Lily to answer. I pulled it open and saw that it was Rose and Hugo. From the look on Rose’s face, I could tell that she was analyzing things just as I had.
“Is Lily up?” she asked immediately.
“Well good morning to you too.” I said irritably. No one seemed to have heard me though.
“I am now,” said Lily, stifling a yawn and getting out of bed.
“So, I haven’t been able to sleep so I’ve been thinking things over.” said Rose, sitting down onto the bed. “And unfortunately, there’s no one we can go to for help.”
“What about our parents?” asked Hugo.
Was he really that dim? Aunt Hermione’s smart genes obviously skipped over him.
“No, Hugo, they don’t know we exist.” Rose said irritably, thinking along the same lines as me. “Plus apart from Aunt Ginny, we don’t know where they are.”
“Okay, so looking for help is no good.” I said, trying to sound smart or helpful. “But maybe we can try looking for another time-traveling device?”
Rose’s face paled. “That’s the problem. In 1993 the Ministry destroyed every time-turner they had.”
“So maybe they don’t have any time-turners, but the orb is still around, isn’t it?” Lily said.
“Exactly. So I was thinking that we should figure out which places are most likely to have the orb. The only place I can think of right now is Hogwarts. Mum told me about a room in Hogwarts that had lots of lost treasures in it called the Room of Requirement. Maybe it’s there.” she suggested.
“I remember Dad telling me about a place called the Department of Mysteries. He said there were lots of orbs there!” I said excitedly. He had described shelves lines with orbs—the time-travel orb had to be somewhere there.
“Problem—the Ministry of Magic was extra secured during this time to keep Dad away. I don’t think four teenagers can simply waltz in there and look for an orb that can take people through time.” Lily said.
“Or we can look in Borgin and Burkes. I’ve heard that place had lots of creepy objects.” said Hugo. I had to admit, that was a good idea too. It seemed less risky than the other options. Borgin and Burkes was shut down shortly after the war ended; I’ve only read and heard about the shop.
“Great! We can head down there after breakfast.” I said, clapping my hands together. The other three looked at me with an odd expression.
“Al, we need to think things through first. Making rash actions won’t help.” said Rose, shaking her head.
“Neither will sitting around! We won’t be any more prepared if we waste a few days ‘thinking things through.’ You do realize we only have three days to search until we have to sleep on the streets?” I said, looking at each one of them with a hard expression.
There was silence until Lily spoke: “He’s right. The sooner we find the orb and get home, the better.”
“Glad that’s settled. Let’s get some breakfast.” I said. I was also surprised at how I was able to think clearly on an empty stomach.
The food in this hotel was terrible. The eggs tasted like plastic and the bacon was stale. The only thing that tasted good was the orange juice, which I must have had three tall glasses of. Hugo, on the other, hand, was devouring his food.
“You actually like the food?” I asked him disgustedly.
“Yeah, what’s wrong with it?” he said through a mouthful of eggs.
“Are we ready to go yet?” Rose asked impatiently, tapping her fingers on the table like she always did when she was stressed out.
“Where are you going?” asked the nosy lady from last night. She was once again chewing gum and looking at us with an accusing expression.
“Haven’t I already told you to mind your own business?” Rose snapped.
“I’m simply checking to see that you four aren’t criminals. Drug dealers, perhaps?” she said with a sly smile. “I’ll be checking on your hotel rooms…and I find anything suspicious I’m turning you in.”
“Go ahead. You’re not going to find anything.” Rose said, rolling her eyes.
The wind whipped at our faces as we walked down Charing Cross road, which wasn’t very far away from the hotel. The grey sky loomed over us, threatening rain. I didn’t like the fact that we had to go everywhere by foot—if only I knew how to apparate…
We walked into the Leaky Cauldron, which was completely empty. There was dust gathering onto the tables, and a rotten smell coming from the kitchens. We walked onwards, and Rose used her wand on the bricks to open up the doorway.
As I entered Diagon Alley, I felt knots in my stomach because of how gloomy it looked. It was just so wrong seeing it like this. I knew Diagon Alley as a cheerful, exciting place where you could buy broomsticks, gags, and books that taught you how to make James turn green. It wasn’t supposed to be full of creepy people begging for a wand…
“Knockturn is this way,” Rose said, turning a corner.
We followed her lead, entering a wide, dark alleyway. It was damp and not surprisingly even creepier than Diagon. And also unlike Diagon, it had a handful of people wandering around.
We passed by two men smoking, their bloodshot eyes staring at us. Next there was an old witch with a blindfold on one of her eyes, selling something that looked sickeningly like human fingers.
Hugo was practically whimpering, following Rose closely. For once, I couldn’t blame him for being scared…
Finally, we found a shop called Borgin and Burkes. It looked like it was in great condition compared to the other shops we had seen around here. The display showed a dragon skull and a blood-stained dagger.
“Ladies first,” I told Rose, and she rolled her eyes at me. (But I could just tell she was scared underneath.) Maybe the shop was owned by a Death Eater? Or worse, a vampire? Whoever owned the shop seemed to be really interested in the Dark Arts.
As I entered the shop, I realized that it was even creepier on the inside than it was on the outside. Their were realistic-looking skulls, glass phials full of purple, bubbling potion, swords with strange symbols on them, and various other magical objects that probably had a long and dark history.
I reached out to touch the hilt of one of the swords, but a voice made me jerk my hand away from it.
“OI! Don’t touch that!” said a man, stomping up towards us. He had lots of stubble on his face and bags under his eyes. And to be honest, he wasn’t exactly what I’d call a pretty sight.
“You must be Mr. Borgin!” said Rose in a fake, delighted manner.
“That’s right—and who the hell are you kids?” he asked us.
“Uh, none of us are really important. We just came here to ask about something you might have in your shop.” said Lily.
“Like hell you are.” he barked. “You look Hogwarts age…muggle borns, I expect. You must be a tricky lot, being able to evade the snatchers for so long…the four of you must be worth galleons!” he said delightedly, pulling out his wand.
“Wait!” I said urgently. I had heard about what happened to muggle-borns in this time…they were thrown into a prison full of dementors, stripped of their wands. And I couldn’t let that happen to us, if we were ever going to get back home.
“We’re not muggle-borns.” I said, trying to look as un-afraid and calm as I could. I had to convince him somehow. “The Carrows sent us here from Hogwarts to ask you about something that you might have in your shop. The Death Eaters need it for something—we don’t know what—but they looked really serious about it.”
Mr. Borgin lowered his wand, his eyes narrowed. “Then why didn’t the Carrows or some other Death Eaters come here themselves? Why send four kids?”
“The Dark Lord and the Death Eaters are busy planning something.” I replied, hoping that he was as dim as he looked.
“Hmph.” he said, scratching his nose for moment, thinking. I supposed he was afraid of the Death Eaters just like everyone else, even though he did business with them regularly. “Alright, alright. I’ll be right back—stay here.” he said, giving us one last suspicious look before going into the back room.
“What do you think he’s doing?” Lily whispered.
“I don’t know, it’s probably not important.” I said, trying to convince not only the other three but myself too.
When Mr. Borgin had returned, he looked rather pleased with himself, which I found rather unnerving.
“So. What is it the Death Eaters want to know?” he asked, sitting comfortably down onto a stool near the main desk.
“They want to know about an orb. It’s supposed to be medium-sized, with a gold pedestal that has Roman Numerals on it, just like on a time-turner. It glows blue and can take people through time, supposedly.” said Rose. “Do you have something like that in your shop?”
Mr. Borgin smiled, his yellow, crooked teeth showing. “Ah, yes. I know exactly what you’re talking about.”
My heart seemed to have done a back-flip—we were going to go home.
“Can you show us?” Lily asked excitedly.
“I can’t.” he said lazily.
“Why not?” Hugo asked.
“Because I already sold it last month.” Mr. Borgin replied.
I resisted the urge to punch him in the face out of frustration. “Who did you sell it to?” I demanded.
“I don’t know. The man preferred to buy it anonymously—never took his hooded cloak off. But he was offering a great price for it—probably even more than it was worth—so I didn’t ask any questions.”
A dead end. Here I was, thinking that we had finally got onto a good trail for finding the orb.
“Let’s go.” said Rose, storming off towards the door. “There’s no point staying here…”
I was just about to follow her out when Mr. Borgin jumped out his seat and blocked the door.
“Wait! I can tell you more about the orb!” he said, looking quite desperate for us to stay.
“Uh…okay.” Lily said, also noticing his desperation.
“I don’t know about this, guys. Something’s not right…” she said, looking at Mr. Borgin suspiciously.
“I simply don’t want to disappoint the Dark Lord!” he said. “I want to provide him with as much information as I can. Because I’m sure you know what happens when someone disappoints the Dark Lord.”
“Fine. But make it quick.” I said. I had to admit, I was intrigued…
“Wonderful.” he said, once again taking a seat onto the stool. “The orb you are referring to was made a long, long time ago, around Merlin's time." said Mr. Borgin mysteriously.
"That's old." Hugo breathed.
“This orb was created by one of Merlin’s apprentices. He was a clever young boy, and had an interest in time travel. He dreamed of one day seeing the future, hoping to see a time where people were not punished for performing magic, and where magic was widely accepted by both young and old. And at last, when he was in his mid-fifties, he had done it. He had created a magical device that could take people through time. However, a few days before he decided to test the device, he was killed. Ever since then, the orb has been passed down from owner to owner, sometimes being stolen, bought, or sold.” he said mysteriously, glancing at the window for a moment.
“But the orb works in a special way—a way that the young apprentice didn’t mean it to. The orb only works every twenty-five years. Because it’s so powerful, it needs that amount of time to recharge. So for example, if the orb were to work today, it would take you forward in time approximately twenty-five years, give or take a few months. You can’t travel back or forward fifteen or twenty years—it has to be twenty-five.”
I looked at the others, and saw that Rose was looking curiously out the window.
“What’s wrong Rose?” I asked her.
“Nothing.” she said. “But I think we should go. Now.”
“Wait! There’s more!” Mr. Borgin said, once again blocking the door. “You can’t leave!”
“And why not?” she demanded.
Crack. Two people wearing dark black robes and masks had apparated a few yards away from the shop.
Mr. Borgin grinned widely and raised his wand before answering. “That’s why.”
A/N: Dun Dun Dun Duuuun! Haha, did you know that Mr. Borgin was up to something?
Anyway, we finally found out more about the orb! Did you like its back-story? And I’m also quite proud of myself for making this story longer. :p the other ones have been rather short.
Please please please review, they mean the world to me! :D
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by Frumpy Carter