The Goblin’s Amulet
Chapter 2: The Diagon Confrontation
Ginny and Mark agreed to go into Diagon Alley together for the books and sets for the new Hogwarts year half way through August. Mark had badly wanted to go because he wanted to pick up the inheritance money in his vault left to him by his parents. Mark wanted to get the money out because there was a new broomstick he had his eye on. He spent the Hogwarts year saving up half of the Firebolt 1100, while he’d pay a quarter and Harry would pay another quarter.
Albus had to feel envious. He knew full well his broom was outdated, so he spent all his pocket money he saved up for a year so he could buy himself a Lightning Bolt 250, and that was because Harry agreed to pay half of it provided Albus had good grades.
Albus, Mark, Harry and Ginny left to Diagon Alley then to pick up their desired objects. Harry and Ginny split with Albus and Mark to get the books. They were given the money they’d need to get the broomsticks so they could walk along Diagon if they so chose.
Mark looked over at Albus, considering him for a bit. Albus shrugged questioningly and Mark said, “Wanna grab an ice cream?”
Albus widened his eyes in surprise. Mark had never asked him to ice cream before but then again, they only recently developed a real friendship. Albus had no qualms. Smiling to himself, he nodded. Mark nodded happily and proceeded to pay for the both of them as Albus found a seat. Within five minutes, Mark came up with two ice creams, one chocolate for Albus and a strawberry for himself.
“We’re so not sitting here,” Mark complained and if Albus wasn’t mistaken, it was in a feminine way that he did it. Albus got up with him, licking the ice cream in his hand as they looked around. “The Quidditch shop is that way. We’ll ogle at broomsticks through the windows shall we? And then we’ll grab them when we’re done with our ice creams.”
Albus was worried at first that his broomstick was not going to be there, especially because a large crowd was gathering outside the shop. Albus thought the last broomstick was being taken. With the previous banking crisis solved, people were getting their money out and spending to catch up. If that meant buying the last broom…
But then Albus realized quickly what the gathering was for. A vaguely familiar man stood up at the front of the shop, blocking all access. Behind him, Albus could see the brooms they wanted on display still. He thought of pushing through the crowd to get it because he didn’t really care about any speech being made but Mark pushed him back, whispering, “Soto.”
“Where do you think I’ve been the past two years?” Mark questioned.
Soto was their old enemy. He caused direct trouble for Hogwarts over a year ago. Then again, he also modified their memories of an adventure beyond the forest mere months ago, but the modification failed to work on Albus, Mark and Lily in particular. Albus could not believe he was stabding there so casually, like he did it every day. Mark, it seemed could not understand it either.
Then, the meaning of the gathering hit Albus fully. Soto was not there alone. He privately hoped that the man entering his mind would not appear but he was mistaken. Soto had previously shown himself to Albus the previous year, merely eight months ago to threaten Harry to give up his position as Head of Aurors. He was the one who had kidnapped Albus, Mark, and a lot of other students in their second year. The man with him had terrified Albus and now… he was back, all air of terror around him.
The yellow-skinned Mors Incommodo stepped up and showed himself to all the people. Albus froze in fear again as Incommodo surveyed the small gathering. Soto was not the only one behind him this time but five others, forming a squad of seven. Close beside Soto, Albus laid eyes on a beautiful blonde woman. There was a green-haired man and a red-haired woman behind them too. Then, Incommodo smiled.
“Diagon Alley shoppers,” he said in a slow wispy voice Albus grew to fear. “We admit defeat. As we know, for the past two years, we’ve been campaigning restlessly to have our way. We were angry at the idea that five exchange students managed to get through without knowledge of the Educational department. It provoked a crisis with the Goblins as we campaigned with the help of Rita Skeeter to find proof within Gringotts that this was done illegally. It took a crime to prove a crime.
“Mere months ago, we lost our campaign to halt Mr. Phoenix in his tracks as he pursued a peek inside my vault in a bitter attempt to hit back, punish us for proving him criminal. His campaign may have failed to produce results for him simply because I have nothing to hide… and yet I confess myself disappointed. Him and his cronies have managed to bring Skeeter down and the Skeeter Scandal has been rendered useless. A perfect basis to bring those same exchange students back.
“I’m not happy!” he said angrily, all wispiness gone from his voice as power replaced it his hand rising and fists shaking threateningly and confrontationally. “I am astounded that corruption has managed to eat its way, like a cancer into the Ministry and media so that even our closest ally was found out to be imperfect!” Mors reverted back to his wispy voice then and went on, “This has indeed defeated us in our current state but it has not destroyed our resolve. It has proven to us that corruption exists indeed even within my own allies.”
Albus gave the smallest of snots so only Mark heard and understood. Did Incommodo even know that Soto was more involved in this than one could comprehend? Incommodo continued speaking, “That is why I have given permission to form a special squad for the sake of Hogwarts Education,” Mors said, and his voice changed against to a strong terrifying and paralyzing voice. “The Department of Education shall be reformed, transformed, into what we shall henceforth call an Arsenal of Education! An Arsenal inspired by our desires but going further… further to teaching the youth proper Wizarding values.
“This Arsenal will be headed by none other than Soto Lean!”
The crowd clapped and cheered loudly as Soto stepped up, putting himself in front of Incommodo. Mark looked closely at Soto as the man smiled widely. He was in front of Incommodo to the point that he was blocking him from view. Mark seemed interested in this, perhaps understanding more than Albus did.
“Wizarding world, I head this group, this Arsenal of Education not by wands but by popular protest,” he said almost assuredly, at a clear contrast from Mors’ confrontational words. Though he seemed allied to Mors, Soto spoke and acted differently. For one thing, his voice remained the same. “Proper Wizarding values embrace the idea of different kinds of bloods within our society. We spring out of the Department of Education to a matter concerned with the values being taught. Ideas that anyone can rule the Wizarding world regardless of the experience they possess are wrong and naïve. The concept of exchange students may one day grant foreign Wizards control over our Ministry. These values led to people like Phoenix taking control over Hogwarts and Blackberry sneaking students and vampires into our society. It leads not only to the death of the British Wizarding world, but to the eradication of Pure-bloods from our nation. This must be stopped.
“As the year goes on and nears its end, I shall reveal more of our creed so that you will all understand us better. If we can move on to”-
Before Soto could finish, a loud bang sounded and Mark pushed Albus down. Three Wizards robed in pure white appeared, their wands pointing at Incommodo threateningly. Incommodo backed away but looked fearless. Cracks sounded behind him and five figures robed in red appeared behind him, looking threatening, wands aloft and pointed at the white-robed figures who looked way too familiar to Albus.
“The reservation,” Mark whispered in deep surprise. The three surrounded Soto but their wands were not on him but on Incommodo. Jets of light fired out of their wands at the guards around Incommodo but a jet of black light zoomed through the audience at the first one. Everyone screamed as a familiar pale-faced figure ran through the crowd, behind him being none other than Lucius and Draco Malfoy. Jets of light were fired at the guards, who took positions in front of Incommodo to protect him from the battle.
Soto took the blonde and red-haired woman and disappeared, the man following. The other two behind him remained where they were; however, moving to protect Incommodo instead. A loud yell sounded then as someone screamed, “It’s the Head of Aurors!”
For one fleeting second, Albus thought that meant his father. But he had forgotten that Harry was removed from that post a year before. The Head was Ron, his uncle. A gangly red-haired figure appeared next and behind him, three Aurors one of whom was indeed Harry. Incommodo fixed Harry with a furious stare just before three Goblins entered the scene.
Ron led the three to quell the quickly evolving scene as the Goblins surrounded the white-robed figures. They looked furious for some reason as Incommodo looked at them next, speaking furiously. “Your object is gone. You know of what I speak and this crisis, though over in the public eye has just reached a climax!” He looked over at the fleeing crowd and had his wand on his throat, “See where the corruption has led to? Deterioration. Denial of the freedom of public speaking! This does not end here!” And with those final words, he disappeared from sight as more shots were fired from the white-robed figures.
The figures disappeared next, leaving only Otto Blackberry standing. With him was a man previously not noticed. Owen Cauldwell, Minister for Magic. “This gathering was illegal. Everyone return to your shopping. Malfoy, come with me.”
Before anyone could move, one woman in the crowd yelled hysterically, “Who granted Blackberry control over the streets?”
Then, there was a commotion. Blackberry was pushed aside and people started yelling. Visible in the crowd were red-robed figures, watching wordlessly as the riot evolved. Mark, it seemed was frightened of the situation and neither Ron nor Harry were to be seen. And Albus wished more and more they were until a loud bang erupted.
What came next was too fast for Albus to piece together. Mark spun around and beckoned for someone to come. Harry? Ron? Albus barely caught a glimpse of his Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Ernie Macmillan, Head of Hit Wizards and Head of Law Enforcement arrive at the scene. Beside him was someone Albus did not recognize and someone screamed.
People were stampeding and Mark held on to Albus tightly. Fright or to shield him? It did not matter. “AL!” Mark screamed.
Next thing Albus knew, he was knocked to the ground. Mark held a hand out to help him up but a stampede of feet crushed Albus’ hands from reaching out and Mark was swept away by the crowd. The riot was growing far out of control. Albus put his hands on the ground to help himself up but next thing he knew, he was kicked off by another misguided foot. No one seemed to notice that a fourteen year-old boy was on the ground, much less that the boy happened to be the son of Harry Potter.
It was Mark again. He managed to fight his way through the crowd and his wand was out. Albus could not reaxch for him though, and Mark seemed to know this. He pointed his wand on the ground and yelled something Albus could not comprehend. A fiery jet was expelled from the wand and hit the ground, exploding into shockwaves, keeping people at bay. Mark cast a spell over himself next and ran over to Albus.
“Blimey, Al, get up!” he complained.
Albus meant to ask where Professor Macmillan or their dad was but before he could finish, both were pushed to the ground. The fiery waves Mark cast were taken control of by an invisible caster and sent with an almighty force straight at Owen Cauldwell. As it was sent, a wave of cold overtook them all. Though Albus knew what it was, he could not believe they were here. An unbearable cold. Mark crouched down as if trying to hide himself and Albus started shivering in fear as terrible memories returned to him.
The near-death of Mark…
The terrible emotional damage his second year wrought on him…
His fights with Mark, Scorpius, Walter… duels, spells being fired, the meeting by the forest.
As the depressing cold took over, someone very nearby; yet very invisible, screamed in an indistinguishable voice an all-too-familiar incantation. “MORSMORDRE!”
Mark let out a high pitched scream as the familiar skull with a snake in its mouth appeared in the darkened sky. Mark held on tightly to Albus as people around them screamed in fear. People stopped running at Cauldwell and started running as far away from the scene as possible. Mark continued holding onto Albus, either as a shield or in fright.
Mark covered his eyes, shaking like he was having a seizure. Albus willed himself to look up once. The caster was hidden in the dark… but he was Harry’s son. And he was taught the spell by Harry himself. The last time he tried, back in his third year, it did not go so well. But he did not have the memory that would help back then. His second year’s damage brought memories of emotional carnage yet, also hope. The face of none other than Alexis Ackerly flashed into his mind, her hug, her consoling him in the Ravenclaw Common room, and her date with him the next year. Albus got up, wand raised and cried, “Expecto Patronum!”
It worked! A giant white snake was cast out and struck at an invisible being. Albus let out a sigh of relief and Mark did the same.
“Al, Mark!” a familiar voice called.
Albus raised his head a fraction. Harry Potter. Ron was beside him and they were making their way over. The area around them seemed to be calming and as Harry helped the two boys up, Professor Macmillan pushed a witch to the ground. “Got her!”
Ernie grabbed hold of what looked like a nine year-old old girl. She seemed frightened out of her wits and Harry widened his eyes in shock. Ernie seemed to realize the supposed caster was a child but before he could reconsider, a loud, rougher voice yelled: