Chapter 6 The Lion of Hogwarts

The Goblin’s Amulet

Chapter 6: The Lion of Hogwarts

Both Scorpius and Albus were in low spirits after that day. It certainly looked as if that was Trelawney’s intention, Albus mused as they walked towards the Great Hall for an early lunch. But how did she know of Lily? What did she mean that Albus had to look after her? Lily was safe, wasn’t she? Ah, a nasty, Soto-like voice reminded him in his ear. But she is not safe. She too was threatened by Soto. She’s in as much danger as you and Mark.

Albus did not have time to console Scorpius because he was too busy thinking carefully about Lily. The girl in question was few feet from the strange girl who hogged Mark to herself, deep in conversation with Hugo and seemingly nothing wrong with her. If Alus could keep it like that. Keep her happy and clueless to the bigger scheme of things. If Albus could just solve this problem. He remembered Trelawney had made a Prophecy before in his first year, so she had at least some credibility? A part of Albus just wanted to have a one-on-one with her but something told him that would only make it worst.

Albus took a different turn than Scorpius and went up the marble staircase. Scorpius looked up, “Oi!”

But Albus ignored him. It was still too early for lunch. Perhaps Phoenix was still in his office. Phoenix was who he needed to talk to. He was Headmaster and if Trelawney was being a dingbat, he needed to know. If not, then he still needed to know that one, perhaps three or even four of his students were in danger. He halted at the Griffon in the central tower and took a breath before hopefully guessing, “Mars Bar?”

Nothing happened. “Erm… Fizzing whizbee? Bertie Botts? No, erm… Snickers! Jelly Beans! Power! Slytherin rules! Uh… Shazzam!”

He may as well have insulted the griffon for all the good it did. He was about to go back downstairs when the griffon opened nd Headmaster Galadral Phoenix stood t the entrance, looking questioningly at Albus. Albus brightened up and walked over tentatively. He was suddenly unsure of Phoenix’s attitude. Would he consent to hear him out?

“Mr. Potter,” Phoenix acknowledged formally.

“P-Professor Phoenix,” Albus stuttered. “Look, I need to talk. It’s urgent.”

“More urgent than lunch, Mr. Potter?” Phoenix inquired. “I had a rather small breakfast…”

Nonetheless, Phoenix turned and led Albus up the stairs through the still open griffon. They ascended to the Headmaster’s office and Albus stepped aside for Phoenix to open the door. For the second time in his life, Albus was Phoenix’s guest in the Headmaster’s office, with it looking the same as last time. Portraits of the previous Headmasters, including Dumbledore and Snape. All were sleeping soundly in their portraits and Albus did as Phoenix indicated and took a seat.

“Yes, Mr. Potter, what’s the situation that is so tense that lunch can wait?” Phoenix asked calmly.

Albus was not sure where to begin. If he told it like a complaint, Phoenix would think Albus was wasting time. “Well… erm… Professor, my friend Scorpius and I were in Divination and…”

“Does this involve a wacky prediction made by Professor Trelawney?” Phoenix asked frankly.

“Professor, we’re used to false predictions,” Albus said honestly. “But this time…” And Albus launched into the story, from beginning to end, even including the mocking that him and Scorpius partook in. Phoenix listened with apt attention, even a couple of Headmasters opened their eyes to pay attention as Albus started explaining how Trelawney took mainly Albus aside and warned him to watch his sister’s back, despite the fact she was not in Divination to be subject to false predictions.

When Albus finished, Phoenix cleared his throat and Albus noted just how powerful his voice was, even when speaking calmly across a table. And from that angle, Phoenix truly looked like a lion, his blonde mane extending around his face into a beard. “Has it ever occurred to you, Mr. Potter, that perhaps Professor Trelawney was simply worrying you for starting the unacceptable commotion in her class?”

“I- yes, but- but something tells me that is not the case,” Albus said honestly.

“Have you seen or heard anything, especially considering the Diagon incident last summer, that makes you think such serious thoughts?” Phoenix asked, eyes piercing straight into Albus’. Albus noted that the portrait of his namesake, Dumbledore also gave him the same gaze, looking at him very significantly.

“N-No,” Albus said finally.

“Liar,” a voice sounded, making Albus jump. He looked over and it turned out to be Snape. He stared through his cold black eyes at Albus and said, “Tell the Headmaster the truth, Mr. Potter!” Albus cringed under Snape’s eyes. Snape knew. Dumbledore’s gaze continued piercing into him, as if staring directly into his mind, knowing full well that Albus was telling a lie and Phoenix did the same. “Mr. Potter,” Snape said again. “Yet another arrogant child who believes the entire world beneath him to the point of insolence, under the opinion that such trivial matters of student security need not be discussed with the Headmaster of Hogwarts!”

“Soto spoke with me last summer!” Albus blurted out, regretting his outburst immediately. Phoenix’s eyes widened nonetheless, mouth open slightly in shock. Dumbledore’s returned to feigning sleep but Snape continued judging his eyes. Albus knew. Snape would know if Albus was lying or not. There was no use lying. “Soto visited me after the incident and spoke to me, Mark, and Lily.” And Albus launched into more story of the meeting. He tried leaving out Soto’s direct threat but Snape called him out again and Albus was forced to backtrack and retell until the whole story was told.

Nevertheless, Albus could tell he was striking gold with the Headmaster. Phoenix was writing furiously on a piece of parchment as Albus detailed Soto’s words. How he promised Mark justice over his parent’s killer who Albus believed was Incommodo, how he warned Albus of the death of someone in that room, and how he warned Lily of the death of someone in her family.

Phoenix finished writing and looked up very seriously, “Well, Mr. Potter, you were right in sacrificing your diet to see me. Trelawney rarely makes a viable prediction, but the fact that she takes you into her office for this… coinciding perfectly with Soto’s threats. This man will be the death of the school. While I am convinced that Mr. Malfoy is in no immediate danger and was threatened mainly to drive her falsity across, I must ask you Mr. Potter, if Trelawney says anything else… anything strange that is out of the ordinary, even for her, you come tell me immediately. Do you understand?”

“Y-Yes, Professor Phoenix,” Albus stuttered again.

“You may leave under that promise,” Phoenix dismissed.

Albus got up, not at all reassured but somewhat relieved that Phoenix was taking him seriously. “Professor…”

“Potter?”

“You cannot tell Mark what I told you,” Albus pleaded. “Please. Or Lily.”

“I had no intention.”

“And not my father?”

Phoenix regarded Albus was a fraction of a second, Dumbledore shook his head in dissatisfaction and Snape scoffed. Phoenix shook his head, “I am sorry, Mr. Potter but that is precisely what I intend on doing. If you rather your father did not know, you should never have told me, particularly since you know of our… political alliance. Now, please leave.”

Albus had no choice. Snape’s gaze was starting to scare him. The door shut behind him of its own, (or Phoenix’s wand’s) accord and Albus returned to lunch which had just ended. He had Charms next and that was where he would be headed. Maybe if he took a seat next to Alexis, he might feel a tiny bit better about it all.

Alas, Alexis was sitting in the back with students on either side, copying off of her as Ackerly was in the middle of attendance. Albus was forced to take the seat Scorpius saved for him. And there, he was subject to Scorpius’ mild worry. He was clearly still bothered by Trelawney too.

Al, Scirpius wrote on a parchment when Ackerly’s back was turned. Do you think I’ll die?

While Ackerly was explaining the lesson, which Albus knew he’d regret missing, he ripped a small piece of parchment from his roll, and wrote a small message so Scorpius would feel better:

Scorps, honestly, you surprise me. You laughed about it last year, and she’s an old fraud, yet to make a real prediction. She’s just trying to get a rise out of you, and I consider this pathetic. Put a smile on, and let’s go back to our lives.

Albus passed it over to him, and out of the corner of his eye, watched. Scorpius gave the parchment a sad smile, as if this was the last time he’d see it, and wrote below Albus’ writing:

Al, if this was serious, Trelawney wouldn’t parade the fact around. But she told me to watch my back, almost fearfully. She never acted this way before. I’m this close to writing to your dad, and asking him if she ever acted that way before.

Albus widened his eyes at his persistence to be miserable, and wrote what he told himself would be the last:

Scorps, do you want to ask, ask away. I know Lorcan and Lysander are taking Divination this year themselves. Ask them if Trelawney said anything, and I’ll be surprised if she didn’t. Now, let’s pay attention, and get this off our minds. And maybe we’ll visit Hagrid after this.

Perhaps the thought of Hagrid cheered Scorpius up slightly because he gave more to the lesson, after which the two went down through a small drizzle to Hagrid’s hut. They heard his heavy footfalls coming towards the door before it opened. Their giant friend Hagrid greeted them heartily and Scorpius grinned uncertainly, “Hi Hagrid!”

“’Allo Scorpius,” Hagrid said cheerfully.

Scorpius however, only answered with a quiet and silent, solemn, “lo.”

Hagrid was for once not the only one in his hut. The Scamander twins were regular visitors to his hut and even Rose, Hugo, Mark and the twins were there. Rose rolled her eyes at Scorpius’lack of usual smiles. For once, Albus was in sync with her and he said almost conversationally, “Scorpius here is afraid he’s gonna die.”

“Die?” Hugo asked curiously.

“Trelawney predicted he would kill and be killed under the scythe and the grim at once,” Mark muttered, and by his tone, Albus could tell he too was a little annoyed by it.

“Well, what a (Eric said something vulgar enough for even Hagrid to glare at him threateningly) she is,” Eric said harshly. “If someone was really going to die, why’d she parade that fact around? Is she trying to create fear or something?”

“Eric, she’s a Professor, so call her by her proper and ‘propriate name,” Hagrid growled disapprovingly. “Further, I was just hearin’ steries by our twins here. ‘Parently, they had a fine fiasco just now.”

Albus looked over at the Scamander twins, who grinned rather guiltily. Lorcan looked at Lysander, smirked, and then said in his still-youthful voice, “She predicted Lysander’s death today.”

Scorpius, puzzled, looked up, “Are you serious?”

Lysander nodded solemnly and said as if it hardly mattered, “She actually took me aside at the end, and declared she wasn’t joking. But I told her that the fact I got blessings from the Snorkle Fairy last year proves my long life! If I didn’t know better, I’d think she was happy I was gonna die.”

“Snorkle Fairy,” Rose muttered to herself in disbelief.

“Where else did I get the Unicorn hair and Acromantula venom from?”

“I told you to turn them in to”-

“How can you tell she’s a fraud?” Scorpius asked, interrupting Rose’s complaints.

“Because she’s overly dramatic,” Lorcan said dirtily. “Eric was just saying…”

Laura stared at Scorpius quite solemnly, and when Scorpius turned his head to look into her eyes, she asked in a small, timid voice, “Umm… Do you think you’ll die?”

Scorpius shrugged, looking at Lysander, who shook his head an inch to each side. Scorpius shook his head, mirroring Lysander’s response, “No, not anymore. If she predicted everyone’s death that way…”

“Besides, yer supposed to kill and be killed,” Hagrid reminded. “Yeh killin is entirely up teh yeh, and yeh can’t be killed and then kill. Logically, yeh kill first, and that’s up to yeh.”

“Yeah, just don’t kill anyone,” Albus said happily. “Quite frankly, I’m in more danger than anyone, and chances are still pretty low. A Pure-blood fanatic who hates my father could decide to murder me. I know Soto has it against me and…” Albus stopped, remembering Lily as well. Did Phoenix write to his father? Was Harry taking some kind of action as they spoke?

“Or it could be a vengeful Muggle-born,” Scorpius shrugged.

“Look at what she did last year,” Alex said simply, surprisingly downplaying Trelawney when he usually enjoyed any plight Scorpius may have suffered. “She didn’t go this far till this year and that was after you mocked her and expressed doubt. If you were really going to die, she should’ve taken you aside ages ago. If you hadn’t mocked her, would she have taken you aside? She’s just trying to get your guard raised, and interest you in her subject.”

“Yeah, besides I see a lot of Slerpies around you anyway, so you’re secure for now,” Lysander said happily.

“Sander, that’s a drink and I see no drinks on Scorpius,” Lorcan said finally.

“No, it’s a group of fairies,” Lysander insisted. “And they are buzzing around his left ear.” In response, Scorpius smacked his left ear to Lysander’s great shock, “Don’t hurt them!”

Albus was hearing Alex’s points, but he was looking at Laura, because apparently oblivious to Mark, Laura had just given Scorpius a small hug. And by the hug, Albus felt a hard pang in his stomach. Albus looked away as Scorpius put a hand tentatively around her.

They had so much to think about that day that Albus was almost restless in bed. But Albus was woken up. A small pecking on his arm snapped him awake. Albus was about to yelp in fright but the crow that pecked him flew off and around his head. Everyone else was sound asleep and the crow was flapping around his head.

“Ok, ok, what do you want?” Albus demanded quietly.

The crow landed in response on his shoulder, letting loose a small green envelope. Just as Albus picked it up, the crow flapped off into the darkness. Albus had no idea how the crow got in the dormitory in the first place but he was too tired to think about it. A green envelope. Against his mind’s better judgment, he opened it up and read, eyes widening in shock the further down he read.

Dear Mr. Albus Severus Potter,

You may be surprised that I am writing to you in such a manner and am delivering at such a questionable time but it was the only way I could send you message away from prying eyes.

Prior to our little meeting last summer, I talked directly with your father about the unfortunate loss of his position. I had offered to help him back to the top but he turned it down and in response to my offers, resigned from his very job against what I am sure you know to be my interests.

To remind you, your family is still under threat. There are more parties at work than just the ones you know and these parties are a direct threat to those you hold dear. To give you a little picture, we have the Goblins on us, the Arsenal of Education run by Mors Incommodo, (though I am public leader and hold plenty of influence) the Purifier group I head, and the reservation beyond the forest. But in secret, there lies a greater shadow biding its time and waiting for the opportune moment to strike.

Both your father and the Headmaster refuse to see the calamity that the Wizarding world faces, convinced I am behind everything. My interests aside, yours lie with mine for the moment. We both have Hogwarts’ interests at heart. Your issues may lie more with your sister and brother and their safety and I am capable of extending my protection to them provided you do exactly as I ask when I ask.

There can be no cutting corners so do not respond to me unless you wish to help in whichever way you can, which will of course be well within your means. I must also warn you not to tell a soul of our correspondence. Though I am sure you may have told your father, mother, and whoever else about our meeting last summer, this particular correspondence must be kept secret for both our sakes. The consequences for not heeding such actions, will of course be the very life of either Wallader, young Miss Potter, or even yourself.

Think through this very carefully and keep this letter to memory. It is cursed to be incinerated well before morning, so do not think of showing it to anyone. In any case, enclosed is an item you may find of interest. It is the very item the Goblins are looking for. We are now assured they will never find it. It is your responsibility now. Keep it hidden.

Regards,

-Soto Lean
Head of the Purifiers
Head of the Arsenal of Education
Honorary Member of the Pure-blood Reservation

Albus took the envelope again and out of it fell a golden amulet. An amulet that shone even in the dark, with two swords crossed over each other as an insignia in the middle. It took everything inside him to hold back from yelling aloud. If the Goblin’s ever found out about this…

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