Chapter 3 : Revealing the Mastermind
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Ron stood behind Hermione as they waited nervously for the reporters to gather in the Ministry’s Press Room. He knew she was anxious even if she appeared calm to everyone else. She had a habit of tapping her finger when she became agitated.
None of them had left Hermione’s safety to chance. Gawain had insisted that he also would be there to guard his second-in-command and took his place to her left. Harry had called his Aurors in for a short time and had promptly placed himself to Hermione’s right. None of them wanted to take a chance that the guilty party would attempt to silence Hermione. Thankfully, for their peace of minds, Hermione had not left their sight and had stayed within a Shield spell’s range of them. They held their wands, fingers slightly twitching, ready to use them in an instant’s notice.
There was only one thing that confused them. Hermione would whisper a spell under her breath before entering a room and would repeat the spell regularly.
Minister Kingsley had wanted to be on stage with Hermione for the conference since he believed that it would bring a measure of calm to the proceedings, but Harry had refused him, pointing out that they didn’t want him to be at risk for the moment. They had finally agreed that he would watch from a Sealed side room with his guards. Harry had exchanged a puzzled frown with Ron when Hermione had insisted on muttering another spell under her breath before Minister Kingsley was Sealed into the room by Harry.
They didn’t have much longer to wait. To the others, it appeared that Hermione had invited every reporter who had been clamoring for information concerning the Azkaban mass breakout, which was all of them. She promised each and every one that they would have a sensational scoop to print in their various papers and magazines. It was evident that not one reporter had dared to miss the chance of a lifetime story and had eagerly allowed the Security Wizard to tag and keep their wands. A brief shiver of anticipation struck each wizard or witch as they hurried into the gathering in the crowded Press Room.
Ron watched the reporters wait in varying states of impatience and nervousness, spending the time checking their Quick Quote Quills and magical notebooks. Some looked around taking notes on their surroundings to add in the heightened eagerness that swirled through the room. Finally, the last reporter entered the room. Two of Gawain and Hermione’s MLEPs nodded once as they closed the doors behind them with an unheard squish. They remained standing next to the doors, their wands held ready.
Hermione stood, aware that every eye focused on her as she walked confidently forward to the podium. She also knew that each reporter wondered why Gawain, Harry and Ron had stepped forward with her. For the first time since the defeat of Voldemort, it was unnecessary for her to request silence as the gathered waited with bated breath; their Quick Quote Quill’s poised to take notes on her speech.
She looked out into the crowd, noticing people she knew and many people she didn’t know. She saw Ginny standing near the back pretending to be one of the reporters, though she had insisted on being there to help protect Hermione instead of using her Press Pass for an unheard of scoop. Other MLEPs and Aurors were scattered throughout the room, also posing as reporters.
The anticipation grew thicker the longer Hermione waited to speak. She wasn’t surprised to see one hand with its long, red talons raised in the air with an acid green quill nearby. “Yes, Ms. Skeeter?” Hermione asked pleasantly, already expecting a rude question and a skewed answer.
“Why would you be placed in charge of this investigation?” Rita ignored the gasps of outrage from her fellow reporters. “Wouldn’t this fall under the purview of the Auror Department?” Her quill scribbled furiously as she asked questions. “How were you able to convince Minister Kingsley to replace Mr. Potter with you?”
Hermione waited until Rita stopped her barrage of scandalous questions before continuing. She allowed herself a small smile as she waved her hands for silence. There was no doubt that the three sharing the stage with her were not pleased with Rita’s insinuations for they were muttering under their breaths. “I promised each of you a story of a lifetime should you attend this conference today. I promise you that you will not be disappointed.”
Rita raised her hand again, interrupting Hermione. “What can you tell us about Minister Kingsley’s connections with subversive groups?”
“There is no evidence that Minister Kingsley is connected with any subversive group,” Hermione gave Rita a stern look. “Now, if I might continue?”
“Would you be able to tell us why Mr. Potter has not aided in this investigation? Was is because he was disturbed by being displaced by you?” Rita asked, choosing to ignore Hermione.
“Head Auror Potter has been involved in apprehending the escaped Death Eaters,” Hermione replied calmly, her smile quirking a bit at Harry’s mumbling. “This question brings us to the point of this conference. After a thorough investigation, I was able to conclude who orchestrated the mass breakout of Death Eaters from Azkaban.” She ignored Rita’s outstretched, waving hand. “The person responsible is in this very room.”
Every reporter stared at her in shock, their quills frozen in mid-sentence. She waited as one by one, each reporter began looking around, trying to figure out the puzzle for themselves. Unfortunately for their stories, none of them were able to guess who the guilty person was.
Hermione slowly raised her hand, waiting with a satisfied smile as her chosen MLEPs stopped next to Ms. Ina who stared back in complete surprise. The reporters closest to her drew away, not wanting to be near the person who had released a new terror into their peaceful lives.
“Ms. Libby T. Ina?” Hermione glowed with pleasure as the MLEPs trained their wands toward the culprit. “Or perhaps I ought to say, Ms. Skeeter?” For the first time since she had picked up her quill to write scandalous gossip about anyone and everyone, Rita Skeeter’s quill finally stopped writing as she realized she had been caught. When the look of surprise crossed Rita’s face, Hermione’s smile grew smug. “I’m afraid you won’t be able to change. Did you really believe I would confront you without taking precautions?”
Rita stared in shocked horror. Only three people knew of her special ability and Hermione was one of them. The other two stood next to her looking revolted.
A trembling reporter tentatively stepped forward with a raised hand, waiting for Hermione to call on her. “Deputy Head Weasley? I have several questions.”
“Yes, Ms. Callender?” Hermione asked, her eyes still dancing with delight.
“Would you be able to explain how Ms. Skeeter was able to break all those Death Eaters out of Azkaban? And why would she do so?” Ms. Callender looked around her nervously, taking heart that the others had begun taking notes once more.
Hermione nodded slightly before answering. “There wasn’t one clue as to who was responsible. I am certain that Ms. Skeeter used a false name, as you heard, to enter Azkaban. She then used Unforgiveable Curses during her venture to gain access to the Restricted Area where the Death Eaters were being kept and facilitated the murder of the Head of Security for Azkaban. She used her Animagus form to remain hidden until she was able to leave the facilities unnoticed.”
Hermione paused to let the furiously writing quills catch up with her. “She signed her alias in the visitor book, Ms. Libby T. Ina, which comes from Roman mythology.”
Another reporter raised their hand. “Why did she choose Libby T. Ina then?”
“Libby T. Ina, or rather Libitina, was a Roman goddess of death.” Hermione explained. “I suspect it struck her fancy as she had planned to release the Death Eaters.”
“How did you know it was Ms. Skeeter?” another reporter asked.
“She signed the book!” another reporter gasped before turning to the witch next to her. “She always signs her books!”
Hermione nodded, “Precisely.”
“I still don’t understand why she did this,” a wizard near the front groused.
“As I am certain each of you know, Ms. Skeeter thrives on sensation and scandal and is quite well-known for her articles.” Hermione stated. “She has not been able to write as she wished since the defeat of Voldemort and has grown tired of writing articles of substance, something for which she holds Mr. Potter, Mr. Weasley and me responsible.” She added a glare towards Rita Skeeter now securely Petrified. “Of one thing I am most positive. She wanted to show Mr. Potter deficient as Head Auror, which is the furthest from the truth.” She stepped back, grateful when Ron’s hand settled on her shoulder and he whispered in her ear.
Harry stepped forward. “I assure each and every one of you that the Auror department will work non-stop to capture each and every Death Eater.” He turned to Hermione, giving her a smile. “Without Mrs. Weasley’s clever deductions, we would not have caught our culprit as quickly as we have. You have the wizarding world’s appreciation.”
A/N: I enjoyed writing this short story about Hermione figuring out who masterminded the mass breakout from Azkaban as well as why and how.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please let me know what you think. Feedback is always welcome! Thank you!
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