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Published at 2nd of April 2024 01:23:51 PM


Chapter 139

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"Everything is ready?" Grindelwald asked, looking at us in his old family home.

"Yes, we are ready to go!"

He appeared shortly after we arrived, telling us that everything should be fine. After a brief rest, we were on the road again, this time heading to his secret stash, where we would recover the resources he finally remembered about. Our first stop would be in Germany, in a national park somewhere deep within the country. I had little to no knowledge of the language, and Quincy knew nothing about the place either. Not that it mattered; we would defer to any of Grindelwald's decisions anyway.

"Be mindful of your words when we arrive because wizards do not rule the area. This is going to be the territory of goblins, and their customs are a bit... different. To put it kindly."

"So we would have to speak Gobbledegook?" We asked, looking at each other with Quincy, "None of us knows a word..."

"I guessed so. Don't worry, I do speak it. Also, magic won't work translating it because they would take offense to the fact. So, I will be the one who speaks and translates. Follow me strictly and do what I say. Angering goblins in their own turf is not the same as angering them in a Gringotts!"

"It isn't?" Quincy asked, looking a bit lost. We did have a run-in with them when we fled, and... just after one refusal, our banker became pretty snarky, no longer keen on helping us.

"You know not much about goblins, huh?" He answered with a shrug, signaling for us to sit down. "Okay, then I am going to give you a quick summary of what you need to be aware of goblins. Listen well because I won't repeat myself!"

"Yes!" We answered, even getting quills and a notebook out, ready to take notes as if we were back in school.

"The place is an original goblin country, where wizarding laws mean nothing. What you must understand is that they are vastly different from us. First off, let me tell you about what they call a Profit Motive and Craftsmanship.

Goblins are a shrewd and entrepreneurial species known for their insatiable appetite for profit and exceptional metalwork and craftsmanship skills. Why do you think they run the one and only banking system in the wizarding world? They believe that accumulating wealth is the highest priority in life and view commerce as a sacred pursuit. However, they are also renowned for their expertise in creating magical artifacts and enchanted items—the side that we, wizards, are most familiar with."

"I do know that they look at artifacts differently, deeming that the maker of such an item is always the one who created it!" Quincy added, trying to show we were not a completely lost cause.

"Yes." Grindelwald nodded, and before I could ask a question, he already had the answer, "They sell their artifacts because of this rule. They make a profit from it, and when the wizard dies, the artifact returns to them. Sadly, the last part is usually lost in translation, and multiple issues have arisen from it."

"Like the goblin rebellions?" I asked, making him nod.

"There were a few of those, yes. They have something they call the Rules of Acquisition and their own Magical Laws. They adhere to a set of 'Rules of Enchantment' that dictate the principles of magical craftsmanship and the conduct of business dealings. These rules emphasize the importance of maximizing profit, protecting their property, and ensuring the quality and efficacy of magical artifacts. They guard their secrets of magical craftsmanship closely and are known to fiercely defend their rights. Even between their own goblin families, they rarely share secrets and blueprints. So, when we arrive, do not touch anything or buy anything. You could easily end up with a contract that binds you to a terrible fate!"

"Ugh... o-okay." We answered, feeling a bit troubled now. What the hell?

"Also, while we are there, do not try to look at them through the norms that you are used to. They have their own family structure, which is as strict as the rules of Azkaban. Familial relationships play a crucial role in both business and personal affairs. Family clans are organized hierarchically, with elder members holding significant influence and authority. Their society is patriarchal, and although both males and females are valued for their contributions to commerce and craftsmanship, male family members have the last say in important decisions. Female goblins are mostly respected for their expertise in magical arts and are often involved in creating enchanting magical items alongside their male counterparts but never included in important decisions."

"Now that I think about it, we never saw female goblins." I spoke up, making Grindelwald lean back and rub his chin.

"They are strong with magic. Goblins wielding magic always was a clashing point between wizards and their kind, so female goblins usually stayed away from us, back in their families. But you will see them now; they are not that different than normal goblins, only with more hair, wider hips, and larger bosom. Like us. Don't stare at them too much, especially if they are priestesses!"

"They have a religion?" Quincy asked, amazed.

"Yes. They worship a deity known as the 'Great Forge Master,' who embodies prosperity, craftsmanship, and the eternal pursuit of wealth. Their religious beliefs emphasize the importance of material wealth as a divine blessing and view the act of creating magical artifacts as a form of sacred craftsmanship. They hold elaborate ceremonies and rituals to honor the Great Forge Master and seek his favor in their business dealings, so never speak badly about anything they made while we are there. They have intricate rituals for forging magical contracts, enchanting artifacts, and conducting trade agreements... so once again. Do. Not. Touch. Anything!"

"I heard some stories when wizards broke their agreement with goblins... it usually didn't end well." Quincy whispered, shaking his head while I was taking notes, getting a bit too excited to see it for myself.

"Yes, fooling a goblin is not a good idea." Grindelwald agreed, "They place great importance on maintaining their reputation and honor within their community, and they take pride in their ability to negotiate lucrative deals and secure profitable partnerships. Just as much as they value the artifacts they create! Breaking a contract is like desecrating one of their relics."

"But isn't this also mean they are trustworthy partners?" I asked, making him nod with a smile.

"Yes, if you can navigate their contracts. Their deception and lies happen not in your face but when they present you with a written form. That is where the mental battle takes place. If you are not careful enough, you may sign away from your life and the lives of your future descendants. Dealing with goblin contracts is extremely dangerous if you are not versed in how they operate. But! Two can play that game, and you can also trap them in a binding contract, and they will obey it if they sign it. Just don't leave them a loophole to get out of it! Why do you think Godrick's sword was able to stay within Hogwarts for more than a millennium? They may have cried about it, but Godrick was smart enough to create and sign a contract that was beneficial to him."

"Got it. Don't touch anything, don't accept anything they offer, and most importantly, don't sign any papers!" I exclaimed after he was done, making him laugh.

"Pretty much! Well, let's get going then. Even if the goblin I made a pact with no longer lives, their family will be forced to adhere to it," he explained, pulling out an ancient contract from his inner pocket. "No matter if they like it or not."

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"Good morning, Hermione."

"Mhm... 'morning, Victor. Ah? Is that...?"

"For you, yes. Orange juice, egg, ham, bread." He nodded, welcoming Hermione to their inn's common room.

"Thank you..." She answered with a whisper, trying to hide her blush with her bushy hair.

It has been four days since their meeting with the drunken Irish wizard. Hermione tried to go back one time, but he never opened the door, no matter how long she waited. Since then, she has mostly been stuck in the local library, reading any news she could find or hanging inside the inn, talking with Victor, and getting to know him.

"Tomorrow." He said suddenly, making Hermione stop munching on her toast, thinking and finally realizing what he meant.

"You managed it?!"

"Sssh! Yes... I did. Can't say more. Tomorrow, early morning, we leave. Okay?"

"Yes! Of course!" She answered at once, beaming from excitement, looking forward to meeting the young wizard who may show her a side she didn't know about, one that was not distorted by either group's views.

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.......

"Ouch..."

In the countryside, in a tiny hamlet of wizards, Neville was looking at his own reflection in the bathroom mirror, pressing a bag of ice against his swollen left eye. Another day and another fight... He never could genuinely get along with Ron Weasely, but since the news of the death of his last relative, he has become even worse.

Just the fact that he was friends with Conrad was enough to blow Ron's fuse and attack him any time the topic resurfaced. He was what the muggles called a loose cannon, and Neville couldn't help but agree with the definition. The only reason he put up with his nonsense and constant provocations was because he could understand where it was coming from. He had also lost his parents and could sympathize with Ron's feelings, but... he was nearing a breaking point.

"What the hell happened?" He asked, but nobody could give him an answer.

Sirius was unhelpful just the same. Losing his brother made him stop breaking up their fights, letting it play out as if he was not there. Was he also blaming him? What nonsense. He knew the Anguines, and he knew Conrad. There had to be something else going on... the news that they killed Regulus and Charlie was a whole bag of nonsense. He did not doubt that they died, but to say it was Conrad and Quincy? That was way out of line! For example, Regulus was Quincy's father! Who would be able to kill her own father? No. Something else had to happen, and now they were the ones who it was pinned on.

"I may learn more tomorrow..." He whispered, going to his bed, lying down, looking at the ceiling, and pressing the ice to his eye.

He received a letter from Victor Krum. They had only met a few times, but now he was asking whether they could meet again. He also mentioned a girl coming from Beauxbatons, one who had met Conrad and Quincy. Finally, he may get some new news and learn what is going on outside that nobody wants to tell him.





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