Chapter 15 : 14- Crystals and Dung
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Harry checked his watch. He had two more hours before Mundungus was due at Hogsmeade which meant he had time to make one more stop. “This way.” Harry said pointing further down the road.
“Where are we going?” Naomi asked as they started walking.
“Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.” Harry replied and Naomi understood immediately.
“You think George Weasley will know what that orb thing is?”
“I hope so.” And as Harry spoke, the large rainbow-coloured shop came into view.
As always, Diagon Alley was particularly busy around the shop and was now even more so now that the Hogwarts term had ended.
After pushing their way through the small crowd, they eventually made it inside the joke shop. “His office is upstairs!” Harry shouted over the crowd to Naomi and the two once more forced their way through a bigger crowd of shoppers that sampled from the sweets section and laughed loudly at the latest gag products.
When they reached the door marked ‘George Weasley: Manager’ Harry had to knock considerably harder then he would normally due to the noise of the crowded shop. When the door opened, Harry was greeted by a stocky, red haired, freckle faced man smiling at the sight of him and saying “There’s no need to knock the bloody door down, there is an Imperturbable Charm around it.” And George Weasley invited the two inside his office.
The entire room was full of either stacks of papers, products that Harry assumed to be new prototypes or cabinets and shelves that lined the entirety of all four walls leaving space only for the door. In the centre of the office resided a large desk that was also crammed with piles of paper and sitting at the desk was the muscular, tanned, also red headed figure of Charlie Weasley, the second eldest of the Weasley brothers and it was obvious that Charlie had stolen the seat as George answered the door.
As George closed the door behind him, the noise of the shop died out and was replaced by George saying “So, to what do I owe this great pleasure? I thought we were seeing you tonight and why are you covered in dust.” Harry looked at down at his robes and realised he hadn’t brushed himself down of the dust from the fight against Rowle.
“I’m here on business.” Harry said brushing himself off and George raised his eyebrows.
“Well in that case I'm going to need my managers’ chair.” He said glancing at Charlie, who just laughed. “Three, two, one.” George counted and Harry noticed that as George reached ‘one’, although Charlie’s smile stayed in place, his eyes looked fearfully at George.
“Why is the chair getting hot?” Charlie asked through his teeth and he got up quickly, backing away from the chair.
“I like to call it the Burglar's Bum Burning Curse.” George gloated, retaking his seat apparently unaffected by the heat. “I came up with it especially for your visit, Charles. I was beginning to think I wouldn’t have a chance to try it out to see if it worked.”
“Oh it works,” Charlie said as he rubbed his backside. “And it’s not that funny.” He said to Naomi who was laughing at Charlie’s attempt to sooth his bottom.
“It is when there’s a perfectly placed hole in the lower back of your robes.” She replied as coolly as she could and Charlie looked round quickly to review the damage. Charlie eventually and begrudgingly returned the smile that George was giving him before saying, a bit more seriously to Harry “Well, if you’re talking business I’ll get out of your hair. Unless you think I could be of any use?” Surprisingly, Charlie had directed this question at Naomi, who had covered her mouth with her hand to avoid the rest of her grins being seen while he smiled at her pleasantly. He held out a hand to her and Naomi’s eyes flickered from Charlie’s hand to his eyes before her face was forced to break into a small smile.
“Well, I suppose you shouldn’t have to leave on our account. And the more minds on this case the better.” Naomi said as she took his hand.
“Why thank you. Charlie. Charlie Weasley.”
“Naomi. Auror Naomi Pryce.” Harry could hardly ignore the emphasis that Naomi had put into her title.
“Junior Auror.” Harry corrected, trying to withhold a smile and Naomi seemed to turn slightly red at Harry’s comment.
He decided to redirect the conversation back towards why they were there in the first place and Harry took out, from the inside of his robes, the small spherical object and placed it on George’s cluttered desk. “I need you to tell me what this is.” George stared at it and after a while, a small smile began to etch its way onto his face.
“No way.” He said simply after a while and he picked it up and started examining it.
“So you know what it is then?” Harry asked as George started flicking it with a finger.
“This,” George started, excitement rising in his voice. “This is an Amethyst Orb.”
Harry stared at George. “A what?”
“An Amethyst Orb.” George repeated “It’s an orb made from a variety of crystals that allows the person holding it to be unaffected by magical barriers. For example, if I were to use say a Shield Charm, you wouldn’t be able to touch me, would you? But, if you were holding one of these, you’d be able to get through the barrier no problem. Well, your spells wouldn’t, but your physical being could.” Harry looked at George, unable to believe that the Death Eaters could possess such a powerful object.
“So, say you were within the boundaries of an Anti-Disapparition jinx..?”
“You’d be completely unaffected.” George answered still examining the small sphere.
“But how can an object like this exist and not be recognised by anyone in the Ministry?” Harry asked, slightly frustrated by the fact that despite how much the Ministry improved over the years, it still had its flaws.
“Well this is pretty old magic, Harry.” George stated. “I mean, the only time we use crystals and gemstones nowadays are in a few number of potions and even then, you’ve only got a slim chance that the stone you have actually works and this particular idea was never really more than a theory.” George was now eyeing the orb in the same way that Charlie was eyeing Naomi. “This was what gave me and Fred the idea of our Shield Clothing, though we used enchantments not stones, much more reliable.”
Though George seemed to be smiling reminiscently at the orb, there was a short silence at the mention of George's deceased twin until Naomi asked “So why wouldn’t this one work?”
It took George a few seconds to answer, though no one wanted to rush him. “Well like I said, it’s not easy to find a genuine magical crystal. It’s very possible that the person who made got a dodgy ingredient.”
“So,” Naomi started in an unexpectedly shaky voice. “Would crystals from, say, the Western Cape suffice as ingredients?”
George gave a bark of laughter. “You should be so lucky, even I struggle to bring any in and I do it by the book!”
“Harry, Fryloin was selling the man we chased crystals he claimed were from caves in the Western Cape. He wasn’t selling them an Orb, he was selling-”
“The ingredients.” Harry finished. As he said this, the thought of Bailey Miller fumbling around in concocting the Orb came to Harry’s mind. He had been, after all, a potions expert at Hogwarts. Was this the reason why Selwyn recruited him? To produce Amethyst Orbs?
George had pulled out his wand and, after tapping it in several different places, he got up and made his way towards one of the cabinets. “I swear it’s in here somewhere.” He said digging into one of the cabinets. “Ah ha!” He cried after a few moments and he pulled out a book that looked incredibly old, the cover was damaged and even scratched in places and the pages were of a dark gold colour. “The Oldest Guide to the Oldest Ideas of Magic.” He stated blowing a thick layer of dust off the book and opening it at a page that had been folded up in the corner.
“Although its fullest effects and powers may never be known due to the complexity of the object, it is thought that the Amethyst Orb would protect the carrier’s physical self from all magical barriers. The orb could be comprised of Citrine, Sodalite, Jasper and Bloodstone crystals melded together in a Fervens potion. This idea is derived from the separate magical properties and effects of the crystals used in the recipe.” After reading, George looked up from the book and placed it on his desk.
“It’s not normally the sort of thing I would’ve read at Hogwarts, I admit.” George said in answer to Charlie’s questioning look. “But it was during a time when we were looking for new ideas for the shop.”
“So, how do we stop it?” Harry asked.
“Stop it? Harry until today, I didn’t even know these could actually work.” And Harry felt his heart sink slightly. If they couldn’t stop it and the Death Eaters had one’s that worked, who knew what kind of carnage they could unleash?
“Harry, does this have anything to do with the Quidditch attack the other day?” Charlie asked, his eyes narrowing.
“It’s how the Death Eaters were able to flee the scene. Though the one who was carrying this orb couldn’t escape.” As Harry said this, George’s entire attitude seem to change.
“Give me time,” He said approaching Harry. “Give me time and I'm sure I can figure out a way to at least disable it.” Harry was a little taken aback by this, though accepted George’s offer nonetheless.
“Uh, of course, that’d be great.” Harry said and smiled at his brother-in-law.
“Well then,” George said smiling back at Harry. “If we happen to be late tonight, you’ll know why. I’ll need to keep this though, I can’t see the Death Eaters messing up on all the ingredients.” Harry nodded his approval and quickly checked his watch, remembering he still needed to talk to Mundungus. He now only had half an hour.
“Well if you’re fine to deal with that,” Harry said, referring to the Orb. “We should start to make a move.” He continued turning to Naomi. She nodded and turned to Charlie.
“Well, it was nice to meet you, Charlie.”
“You too, Auror Pryce.” Charlie replied, placing the same emphasis on the word ‘Auror’ as she had when she introduced herself and as they once again shook hands, Harry could have sworn he saw a small piece of parchment being left in Naomi’s hand once the hand shake broke.
“Alright then, I’ll see you guys tonight.” Harry said, though George, who was already re-examining the Orb, merely raised a hand in recognition and Charlie seemed too busy eyeing Naomi to notice Harry’s farewell. Knowing any more goodbyes would merely be wasted breath, Harry opened the door and the two Auror’s left the untidy office back into the crowded shop.
Once Harry and Naomi were out of range of the loud fans of the joke shop, Harry draw and raised his wand and his silver stag burst from the tip. “I’ve sent a message to Kingsley about the Amethyst Orb.” Harry said watching his stag vanish from sight. “When we get back we’ll have to-” But when Harry turned to Naomi, he noticed that Naomi was actually grinning despite herself. “Feeling better?” Harry asked smiling at her.
“Emily would never forgive me if I passed a chance like that up.” Although she was still grinning slightly, she brushed her eyes, looked back at Harry and changed the subject. “So what shop are we going to next?”
“Dervish and Banges, Fay’s going to meet us there.” And Harry placed a comforting hand on Naomi’s shoulder and, as he gripped tighter, turned on the spot, Disapparating.
When the two reappeared, they found themselves in the quiet, pristine village of Hogsmeade, just around the corner from the rickety looking shop of Dervish and Banges.
“Harry, Naomi.” Fay Dunbar was leaning against a wall, her wand drawn, on the opposite side of the street, the perfect place to peer around the corner to spy on the Dervish and Banges shop. Fay was a short, thin, flat faced Witch with long shiny blond hair that, at the moment was bunched up, though it still gleamed in the sunshine. “Mundungus should be here any minute.” She informed as Harry and Naomi joined her.
“So, are you going to tell me why I’ve been chasing after some petit criminal while the others hunt down Death Eaters?” Harry could hardly ignore the frustration in her voice.
“I need to talk to him about the Erumpent Horn at the Quidditch match.” This seemed to answer Fay’s question satisfactorily as she didn’t reply but, instead, turned her attention back to the shop.
Many minutes passed and Harry was just beginning to think that Fay might have been the victim of a false trail, but was instantly proven wrong by the sight of a short man that, despite the hot weather, had covered himself in a thick dirty coat. “That’s him.” Harry told the other two and, as Mundungus entered the shop, the three of them started forward.
“Silencio.” Fay whispered, pointing her wand at the small bell on top of the door and although the bell moved as the three of them entered the shop, no sound rang out. The shop was crammed with shelves that reached the ceiling, each shelf full of antique-like magical instruments that surrounded the trio as the moved forward. As they walked through the shop, Harry notice that the door at the back of the shop had just creaked shut.
“This way.” Harry ordered quietly and Fay and Naomi followed.
“Hang on.” Fay whispered when they reached the door and she pulled out an Extendable Ear and placed one end beneath the door and the other to her ear. After a few seconds Fay withdrew the ear and said “Both Dervish and Mundungus are in there.”
“Okay,” Harry said in contemplation. “Okay, Naomi, on my say, open the door. Fay, when the door opens, aim to disarm only.”
The two nodded their understanding of the plan and took their positions, Fay on the opposite side of the door to Harry and Naomi directly in front of the door. Naomi raised her wand before Harry gave her a single nod and the door blasted open. Harry and Fay aimed their wands, each crying “Expelliamus!” The entire back room was filled with red light and Mundungus’ wand flew out of his hand, into the air and was caught by Naomi. Dervish, whose wand had not been drawn, was knocked off of his feet by Fay’s spell into a mound of boxes that were behind him. Harry heard loud crunching sounds come from the boxes as the large, round man fell on them and Harry knew it could not have been a soft landing.
“I ain’t doin’ anythin’ illegal! I ain’t doin’ anythin’ illegal!” Mundungus cried, throwing his hands up in surrender, his bandy arms and legs shaking as he did so.
“We’re not here to arrest you today Dung, we just need to talk to you.” Harry said, though Mundungus seemed to be focusing on the two wands Naomi was now pointing at him.
“What is the meaning of this?” Dervish yelled, scrambling to stand back up.
“Auror business.” Fay replied flashing Dervish an Auror I.D card. “Now if you don’t mind, Mr Dervish, we’d quite like to question Mr Fletcher in privet.” Dervish was now on his feet and, though he looked as though he’d prefer to argue more about his assault, he left the room.
“You know, askin’ would’ve worked just as well.” Mundungus said bitterly, still glancing at his own wand being pointed at him.
“Yeah, like you wouldn’t have run at the first sign of an Auror.” Naomi retorted and Mundungus did not reply.
“Now Dung, and I want you to answer honestly when I ask you this, do you know of anyone who could be trading Erumpent Horns?” Harry pressed. Mundungus tore away his gaze from his own wand and stared at Harry through his long, tangled and dirty ginger hair and Harry thought he saw the faintest twitch of a grin on Mundungus’ face.
“Well ya know, my memory’s not what it used to be, maybe a certain arrangement would help me remember?” He said rubbing his middle finger and thumb together.
“Okay, how about you give us the information we need and we don’t give you antlers.” Naomi said and as she took a step forwards making Mundungus recoil.
“Arigh’, alrigh’, calm down, I was only jokin’!” Though Harry could tell he wasn’t.
“I ‘eard from Willy Widdershins that he helped Boris Headson move a couple of Erumpent Horns to his place. Don’t ask me where he got’em from, I don’t know.” He said seeing Harry’s raised eyebrows. “Apparently, he also had boxes full of fakes and that he’d show a real one as a sample ‘nd then he’d sell a customer a fake one for about three or four times the price of a real one.”
“You knew about this and you didn’t think to tell anyone in the Ministry.” Fay said sounding disgusted.
“I thought it was just old Willy tryin’ to show off his contact and knowhow by spreadin’ rumours.” He said, a little too defensively.
“Where is Boris Headson now?” Harry asked staring directly into Mundungus’ eyes.
“Now don’t try any of that mind reading palaver.” Mundungus said looking away from Harry’s eyes. “He’ll probably be at his home. It’s a nice little hiding place, not too in the way, ya know.”
“Take us there.” Naomi ordered giving Mundungus back his wand and gripping, a little too tightly Harry suspected, to Mundungus’ shoulder.
“Fine, but you heard nuffin from me, got it. I’ve got a reputation to maintain.” And without another word, Harry and Fay too gripped onto Mundungus as he Disapparated.
When they arrived, Harry was blinded slightly by a beam of sunlight that had caught him in the eye. From what he could see, they were outside of a mansion-like thatched cottage in the middle of a large, thick wood and Harry could now tell what Mundungus meant when he said the house wasn’t ‘too in the way’. But before Harry could say anything, he heard Mundungus give a wail of terror and heard the popping sound of Disapparition.
“Harry!” He heard Naomi cry. When he turned to her, he could just make out that that both she and Fay were staring directly above the cottage. When Harry looked, he too saw the glistening green skull that was the Dark Mark hovering in the sky.
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