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Published at 2nd of April 2024 01:23:56 PM


Chapter 136

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Who were we looking for first? It was an easy answer: The unlucky boys who fought against me in front of Dirmitis's door. Because their leader was still under my mind-controlling curse, summoning him out of class wasn't a hard thing to do. My new command was straightforward: arrange a secret meeting with them tonight at a nearby ruin. Of course, he would never arrive because we would be the ones waiting for them.

"Do you want them dead?" Quincy asked as we left school after giving our little puppet new orders.

"No. If we kill them, that could also scare Andrei. I want him to not even realize that he is being played! So we are going to place them under the same imperius curse."

"Ohohoho~ Are you planning for a time when he challenges you?"

"Something like that. Lucius was forced to fight me one-on-one; I don't think something similar would happen here. So I thought about going back to the basics and pulling an Umbridge on him."

"Too bad we don't have a basilisk's eye with us." She giggled, grabbing my hand and leaning against me as we approached the front gate, walking past Grindelwald's mark on the wall.

"Wait..."

"Hm? What is it?"

"Couldn't this be the last clue?"

"Shouldn't his memories come back then?" she hummed, thinking about it while watching the symbol. "He did look at it, even using magic to wipe it off the wall."

"Yes, but he just played along and didn't really fix it. He may need to properly dispel it. Isn't it worth a try? Even if not, he can remake it after. Nobody would know if he does it when it's late at night."

"Hmm... it is worth a shot. Should we tell him?"

"Yeah, let's capture the idiots first, and we can tell him about it afterward."

...
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......

"I see..." Krum murmured, leaning back on his chair and crossing his hands.

"Coming back was danger, Hermione Granger."

"Hermione is fine." She murmured, feeling tired from the long explanation and the way that Krum always called her by her full name.

"I see. You know I'm with Order, yes?"

"I know. What happened does not mean I think everyone in the Order is bad..." She said cautiously, looking around, being sure that everyone here was also part of it, "I just fear that there are bad apples within who are distorting their original purpose."

"Maybe." Krum answered, but deep down, he agreed with Hermione.

That was also one of the reasons he was here right now. This place was of low priority but not so obscure that he could argue against being positioned here. No prominent wizarding families lived in the region, nor die-hard supporters of either side.

The main targets for the Order were the Voldemort-supporting Sacred Families, those who made up the bulk of his closest Death Eaters. It was them whom they tried to ambush and assassinate, killing their leaders one by one while the Dark Lord was trying to locate the hundred different hiding places of the Order where Dumbledore may be hiding.

The city here was known to openly rebel and deal with the Death Eaters stationed here, but no actual retaliation has come yet because the place was simply not valuable enough. This showed that the Dark Lord's rule was not as strong as he or anyone else initially thought. His forces were being drawn thin, and the slightest sign of him possibly losing was enough for the oppressed to find hope and rise up. It was the sole reason why Krum was still with them, keeping his position within the Order and doing their bidding.

"There is someone I was looking for. Maybe you know him," Hermione continued, leaning closer and speaking more softly than before. "Andrew McCarthy."

"I know name, yes. But..."

"But? Is he... not here?"

"He is. But not friendly. Won't see you, I guarantee... he is... not well." He continued, trying his best to explain, tapping the side of his skull.

"Is he mad?"

"Mmh... Hard to say. Could. I only met man once, he was... gloom. Pessimism is a lot in McCarthy."

"Can you take me to him? I want to talk with him."

"It is about Conrad, yes?" Krum asked, and after she nodded, he told her everything he knew about the duo. All that happened in the tournament from his perspective, including how Conrad attacked the Beauxbatons' carriage when Quincy disappeared.

"They kidnapped his girlfriend?"

"Yes... and no. Her parent, Regulus Black, and uncle, Sirius Black. They kidnapped Quincy, held back, wanting her join the Order. But she was not a willing girl, she wanted return to Conrad."

"I could imagine... that was a terrible move; what were they thinking?"

"Sometimes, people no think. It is my opinion, but Conrad and Quincy are good but also... harmful. Dangerous."

"What do you mean?" She asked, a bit surprised, but somehow she couldn't deny it. The way Fleur died and the way they warned her, the pair could be deadly.

"They friendly, yes. Saved students, friends, but to enemies? People they do not agree? Mercy is never shown. That is what I feel. They are no afraid of unforgivable spells. So... they can be good people but they can be horrible people. Sorry... it is hard to put it into English words. I am still not okay with language."

"No, no, it is fine; I understand you and what you are trying to say. That is why I am here. I want to learn both sides and make my own decision! I could just sit back and watch from home... but I can't. I already got involved in it when I found them. My mind is restless, and I can't ignore it!"

"I understand. I say you rest today. I set up meeting with man, coming with you as guard and guarantee. People could be... suspective. Then what happens, happens, and then we will decide next step. Good?"

"Good for me!" She smiled, nodding her head, feeling she was taking significant steps toward her goal of learning the truth. For a moment, she even forgot about her constant headache. "Maybe I should become a journalist after all this blows over?" she asked herself, giggling a little, thinking that the idea was not that bad the more she thought about it.

...
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.....

It was already close to midnight when I stood hiding in the darkness within the old remains of a ruined tower. Even though it was hard to see anything, thanks to the clouds blocking the moonlight, I knew when our targets had finally arrived. It wasn't my blood that informed me, but Quincy's loud hooting while she was perched atop the highest point of the ruins in her owl form.

"Is this the place?" Asked a voice that I recognized as part of the first guy who wanted to stop me.

"It is... why do you think he wanted us to come out here?"

"Who knows... it could be another test from Professor Andrei because we screwed up..."

"You think? We were never punished... will this be our punishment?!"

Shit. Did they really start thinking about it right now? I couldn't help but curse within myself because I heard their steps stopping because of it. If I made a move now, I would betray my position, and there goes the genuine surprise...

"I... I don't think so." One of them argued, but his voice was not convincing. "We have been part of his circle; why would he start punishing us now? Wasn't it the new teacher who should be punished?"

"Yeah, but..."

Their conversation was cut short when Quincy swooped down from her position, transforming in mid-air. By the time her feet landed, her wand was already glowing in a reddish light, stunning two of them while I burst forth from my hiding spot, making the rest of the group fall face-first to the ground.

"That was... way too easy."

"Hmmm, it was." I agreed, looking down at one of them and seeing the guy's eye move left to right. They were all conscious, and their bodies were under a stunning spell, so it wasn't hard for them to put two and two together. "Before you get angry, your friend did not betray you. He is under our control, just as you will be in a moment."

"Oh... this one looks really angry now." Quincy giggled and nudged me, pointing the end of her wand at the man with whom I had dueled before.

"Let's unfreeze him," I suggested. "I want to hear what he has to say. In the best-case scenario, we will duel, and I will get to exercise before turning him into a puppet. In the worst-case scenario, he will die before I can do that."

Of course, I was mostly trying to scare them. I was trying to follow the teachings of my two new masters instead of choosing the easiest path every time and just slaughtering them. If fear grabs their heart, thinking we would truly end them, their minds would be even easier to influence. At least, that was my goal. When Quincy unfroze the guy, he wanted to hurriedly jump up, but seeing me move my hand, he became frozen again, without the use of magic this time.

"Slowly." I smiled amicably at him, "Stand up, and if you want to duel, I'm game. But please know that your leading pal tried to ambush us two with the killing curse. As you can see, we are fine, and he is under our control. Be mindful of the consequences of your subsequent actions, okay?"

"W-what do you want from us?" he stuttered, trying to recollect himself, his fingers twitching, wanting to move for his wand.

"Minions. For a short time. You see, we are not here to stay forever. We are just passersby and came for a simple, single reason. Soon enough, we will be gone, and when that happens, the school and the whole region will be scrambling to reorganize themselves."

"What do you... mean?" He asked, gulping, but I think he was slowly getting it.

"Your Andrei? He probably will die. Maybe not, but even if not, he will be out of the picture alongside everyone who is in cahoots with him, including the Headmaster."

"You are here to assassinate the Headmaster!" He shouted, and sure enough, it did click in his mind, "You are from the Order of the Phoenix, aren't you!"

Well, well, well... I wasn't about to correct his assumption because I was okay with such a rumor spreading after we were done here. After we take Durmstrang out of the picture, with this lingering in the minds of the new force that will replace Karkaroff, it will prevent them from allying themselves with the Order. The best case scenario would be that it makes them remain natural, completely withdraw from the war, and stop interfering with it.

"So..." I asked, ignoring his gaze. "What will it be? A duel to the death, or accepting the fact that for a few days, you are going to be our puppet?"

"Do you promise that it will be only for a few days?" He asked, looking into my eyes, making me smile.

"I can only promise that you won't die and regain your freedom once we are gone."

"Okay... so be it!" He sighed, closing his eyes, and to my surprise, I saw his body relax. He became calm, and I felt him to be a bit stronger than before. Maybe under different circumstances, I could have liked the guy... oh well. It was time to reprogram them to be the ones bringing Andrei to his knees. "Impero!"





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