The Enchanter’s Princess
Chapter 2: The Angry Apprentice
Ministry, Wizarding world, I speak to you now, after numerous attempts on my life, numerous attempts against the betterment of the Wizarding world and numerous challenges to the system that has kept our Proper Wizarding Youth Values relevant. Only recently, I met up with the dissident Soto Lean. None will believe that he has betrayed us all but whilst he played our hero, our speaker, our hope for the future of the Wizarding world, in secret he was working to undermine the very Ministry he claimed to serve. Stealing the vast majority of the Arsenal of Education group for his own, his Purifier group grows ever larger and forces from within our gearing up for a final assault against the Ministry.
Despite frequent warnings to Minister Cauldwell, he has refused to listen. So, I hastened to circulate an immediate order of resignation. All but the Auror Department has signed on and it is the Auror Depaertment that shall go through a reshuffling as a result. I feel it my sworn duty to inform you all that Minister Cauldwell betrayed us. Minister Cauldwell has refused to see that his world was falling apart, refused to step up and defend Proper Youth Values for our young Witches and Wizards, proper values we had long held so dear. Cauldwell would seek only to destroy it all. But the Department of Education would not allow it. No, and with Cauldwell gone, the Ministry shall be reformed.
A list of new laws have become necessary to keep order in an otherwise chaotic world. Our first order of business is to seclude ourselves from the Muggles even more. No mingling is allowed from henceforth on. Any Witch or Wizard found mingling with Muggles will be arrested, tried and sent to Azkaban without a trial. This is an effort to keep our existence a secret while we deal with dissidents who would seek to destroy us. Dissidents in the form of Goblins and Purifiers as well as former Ministry members. A rebellion is in the brewing and your Ministry will set it right. A rebellion is in the brewing and until it is set right, all protections the Ministry had to offer before shall be revoked.
No more dealings with Gringotts are allowed. All Witches and Wizards are hereby required by law to move all their savings out of Gringotts and put trust in the Ministry run Norton Bank. Any Witch or Wizard caught making deals, deposits or withdrawals from Gringotts will be arrested, tried and sent to Azkaban without a trial. This is to ensure that the Goblins have no power over us, hold no leverage, and will serve to weaken them over time. For too long has the Ministry dealt softly where capital punishment must be used.
These are laws the Ministry can pass but cannot be enforced unless the Purifiers law down their arms. However, they have refused to. Therefore, any dwelling holding at least one Purifiers member will be eradicated, demolished and incinerated on sight, no questions asked. The Purifiers seek to undermine the Ministry and we will seek to destroy those who will attempt such a useless folly and those who associate themselves with such scum. This is to ensure that laws passed by th Ministry for the betterment of the Wizarding world remains relevant in today’s world.
It appears as well that Hogwarts itself, at first had chosen to ally itself with the likes of Soto Lean. Headmaster Phoenix had refused to accept the Ministry’s control over the situation. However, following the fortunate departure of his Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor Ernest Macmillan, and the unfortunate death of his gamekeeper Rubeus Hagrid, he has agreed to allow the Ministry a choice of staff to oversee the education of our youth, to make sure that they learn what is right and what is necessary. It is with this agreement, however small and meaningless it may be, that the Ministry has pushed for a new position open in Hogwarts. A position that will oversee the grades of the youth and inform the Ministry of the grades the youth get on these tests. This will give the Ministry direct oversight into how students perform for the first time ever, and we will be able to take action then. I can only hope Headmaster Phoenix is up to the task of making sure the youth perform up to Ministry standards.
This oversight will be reported directly to me by none other than the Ministry’s New Foot on the Ground Rojer Selwyn whose wife Daphnee has taken the Auror Department by storm with hopes to revitalize it completely. A Patrol will also be set up and headed by none other than my own personal choice Hogan Ridge to combat dissent within Hogwarts itself where you can be sure it will exist.
Though all is not going as I would prefer, though Purifiers resist at every turn, though they have taken up positions in Hogsmeade in an attempt to guard Hogwarts from the Ministry’s might, with these laws in place, the end is finally within our reach! Though Soto Lean has stolen my Arsenal of Education, the Ministry itself is now revitalized into the real Arsenal of Education! An arsenal of which none will survive.
Almost two months into the holidays, Harry switched off the wireless just as Albus Potter appeared in the room. Lily and James were already there, folding their arms, waiting. Harry sighed and said, “Take a seat, Al. Ginny and Mark will be back shortly. And then I’ll talk.”
They waited for five minutes, no one speaking to the other. A loud crack outside signaled Ginny’s arrival. The front door opened and in came Ginny followed by Mark. They had just come back from taking Hugo back home. They took their seats in the sitting room when Harry finally sighed, looking solemn. Harry rarely called them for something so serious.
“Is Hugo ok?” Lily asked innocently.
“Yeah, he’s fine,” Ginny said nonchalantly. “You called, Harry?”
“Yeah, I did,” Harry said glumly. Ginny stared at him as Harry looked down. She had in her eyes a blaze but it wasn’t as fierce as it usually was. It had the look of starting embers though, like she was expecting an argument. It made Albus feel on guard too. What on earth could his father have wanted them all to talk about? He was usually the cheerful one.
Albus looked from his mum to his dad and finally chanced a question, “Dad, what’s this about?”
Harry looked up at Albus. “Al,” Harry said after clearing his throat. “I don’t want you or your brothers or sister going to Hogwarts this year.”
Albus opened his mouth in shock, James and Mark looked on the point of protesting out loud and Lily folded her arms defiantly, as if saying ‘like hell we’re not.’ Before anyone could say anything though, Ginny shook her head and said, eyes blazing fire as they met Harry’s. “Harry, that is a horrible idea.”
Usually, Albus would expect Harry to give in and Ginny to win out. This time, no such thing happened. Harry shook his head angrily and turned on Ginny for the first time in living memory, it even took her aback initially. “You heard what happened! Sending them to Hogwarts, it’s like giving the Ministry four hostages. Four to use against me. I’m not letting it ha”-
“Keeping them away is giving them what they want!” Ginny said, anger equal with Harry’s but rising with every syllable. “You hav”-
“It doesn’t matt”-
“Don’t interrupt me, Harry!”
“This is important!” Harry yelled.
“Their education is even MORE important!” Ginny screamed. “Even Ron doesn’t have the bright idea of keeping his kids away.”
“Ron isn’t in the same position as me!” Harry reminded forcefully but voice lower, opting to take the calmer route.
“You’re in no position, Harry Potter,” Ginny said pointedly. “If it’s a problem either way, their education takes importance and precedence.”
“Ginny… they’re not going and that’s final!” Harry said with such forceful finality. “I will be damned before I see my children under the reign of the Ministry. It’s just like my fifth year. No, absolutely not. I forbid it!”
“Like hell we’re not!” Lily yelled surprisingly. She herself looked surprised at her own outburst. She bit her lip as James widened his eyes in surprise and Albus and Mark gave each other a quiet high five. Albus was ready to defend her if Harry stayed stubborn.
Ginny stared at him, now standing up and her hands in her pocket for her wand. She looked more dangerous than she ever looked, even more so than when she discovered that Albus had gone into Knockturn Alley three years prior. “That is your final word?” she whispered.
“Yes,” Harry said fearlessly, standing up too. “And I don’t really want to duel and your hands in your pocket are starting to scare me. Take them out, please?”
Ginny shrugged and took them out, wand in hand. Harry flinched as she pointed it at him. Before he had any time to react, his bogeys started acting up, attacking in the shape of bats. She smirked in a satisfied way as Harry yelped and performed the Counter-curse. Just after the counter-curse was performed, Ginny disarmed him. She breathed out, eyes blazing with anger. “Now, we’ll talk about this later. If you like, talk to Hermione. I’m almost positive she’ll be the one to put you in your place.”
Albus could not swear on it but he could remember no time when Harry and Ginny had ever rowed. He heard tense voices before but it always blew over by the next day. Never, did he expect Ginny to Hex him though. Harry threw her one glowering look and left, out the front door, crack signaling he had Apparated. Ginny was hailed in seconds.
“That was brilliant!” James yelled in glee, hugging his mother.
“Quiet, James, or you’ll be the one forbidden from Hogwarts,” Ginny said, going red. “Now, Al, Mark, Lily, dress up. We’re going to the Leaky Cauldron to meet Neville and Hannah there. Alice and Frank will be getting their new wands today and so shall you. Downstairs in five minutes Go!”
Within ten minutes, Ginny steered Albus, Mark and Lily through the cobbled street of Diagon Alley, hand tightly on the scruff of his shirt, her other hand on Lily’s. Mark walked beside Hannah Longbottom and Neville used both his hands to steer Alice and Frank, the Longbottom twins who were to start Hogwarts that year. Finally, the Leaky Cauldron vanished from view and Ollivander’s wand shop came into sights. Ginny sighed in relief as Hannah finally released Mark. It had been four years since Albus or Mark laid eyes on the shop and here they both were again, about to start their fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Ginny sighed again and pointed them inside, “Make it quick and kids go first.”
Behind the counter was a very wizened and grey old man and a young boy who had to be younger than even Lily. His dark hair fell in dreadlocks around his ears. The old man stood up and smiled at the entry of these three young kids. His long fingers were extended on the counter as they walked in. “Mr. Wallader and Mr. Potter. I’ve been expecting you both. Such a pity what happened to your wands. Your father hastened to tell me immediately. Well, we’ll have a look, shall we? My grandson, Melvin has opted to be my apprentice so he’ll deal with you. I need a rest.”
Albus was set to get his wand last. Alice and Frank picked first, Albus sitting in a chair behind them as they picked their wands. They may have been twins, he thought but they could not have been more different, even by looks. Alice had her father’s hair but her mother’s face. Her hair was long and it fell over her ears and tied in pigtails in a way that almost reminded Albus of his friend Alexis. Frank on the other hand had blonde hair but a plump face, almost reminding Albus of his father’s cousin Dudley. They both had good-natured faces and almost always wore smiles. He did not get to see them often since they were younger than the immediate group of friends and family.
After half an hour, the Longbottom twins had their wands picked and Mark let Lily go first. Albus was behind, quietly arguing with Mark about who would go next. Lily took a while to pick but in the end, a Cherry wood wand with Unicorn hair picked her and she walked off, happily brandishing her own wand. Mark won out and went next, taking about fifteen minutes before he got an Acacia wand with Phoenix tail feather inside. He sighed in relief, “I was hoping I’d get Phoenix tail feather again. You go, Al.”
The boy, Melvin fumbled with the measuring tape as he measured Albus up and down, his arm lengths and everything else. He was clearly not a trained Wizard yet so he did not know any spells. Still, he seemed rather forlorn and bored. He yawned greatly when he finished measuring, forcibly reminding Albus of his friend Riley. He stretched and shook his head, as if forcing the tiredness out. He sighed, “Alright,” he said a notch more enthusiastically. “Let’s get started.”
“Oak wood, fifteen inches, Unicorn hair, and rather supple,” he recited as if from textbook. “Try- guess not,” he said, snatching it from him. “Ok… Dragon heartstring, acacia, one foot and flexible. Try waving it this time, see if it- oh!” Albus waved it and the countertop smashed in two as if by an invisible Karate chop. The boy almost laughed. “Well, there goes the table. Ok, ok, once more. Let’s see… erm… Ok, let’s try this one. Aspen, Unicorn hair, eleven inches, and moderately flexible.”
Albus waved it and a window shattered. The boy took one look and shrugged, “Well, that’s being added to your pay.”
It did not get better either. Albus soon found himself waiting after half an hour for a wand to choose him, the boy getting more impatient by the second. “Congratulations,” he yawned. “You’re the most difficult person I’ve ever come across. Phoenix tail feather, Adler- aw, crap. Ok, Unicorn hair, supple- my God! Ok, fine, erm… well, what the hell was your old wand?” he demanded impatiently, almost making Albus laugh.
“Dragon heartstring,” Albus said simply.
“Ok, fine, we’ll try dragon then,” he rolled his eyes, his nerves clearly being tested.
If he thought that was going to help, it didn’t. Albus was still being tried after another ten minutes and Melvin looked on the point of calling his grandfather. “One last time. Dragon Heartstring, Aspen, thirteen inches and very, very flexible with a good hold and if it doesn’t work, you’re a Mugg”- he stopped, snatched the wand and set it down, thinking, gathering himself.
“I had Aspen before, if that helps,” Albus suggested.
“Yeah, no, the wand chooses the Wizard, not the other way around,” Melvin waved aside. “Ebony, Unicorn tail hair, supp- if you’re as difficult as the last one, so help me, Merlin- fine! Ash, Phoenix tail feather- ok, all of you are paying double the price if this goes longer than it needs to.”
“It’s not our fault!” Albus protested.
“You are the last one to talk!” he said pointedly as his latest wand exploded in his hand. The boy gaped in shock. “What? Make that triple the price. Ugh, fine! Ebony, Dragon Heartstring… and… no. Ok, Yew, Dragon Heartstring, twelve inches, insanely flexible and proof of your insanity if this doesn’t work.”
“It works!” Albus said happily as he felt the sudden warmth that came with holding the right wand. He felt more in tune with this one too. It felt better in his hand. “Hmph,” Melvin shrugged. “Yew. You in Slytherin?”
“Figures,” he yawned. “Well, ok. See you at Hogwarts. Three sickles each, please. Never come again.”
They walked out of the shop, feeling deeply relieved. “If we ever go again, it’ll be too soon,” Albus muttered as they left.
“Picked out your wands?” Ginny yawned. “I got your books but it took long enough. What held you up?”
“Al,” Mark said simply. “Nearly gave the poor boy a heart attack. I feel bad for future Potter kids when they deal with him. He’s more impatient than Aries! He’d better not end up in Gryffindor or I’ll have a heart attack.”
Ginny looked up and down nervously. “Ok, then. Back to the house.” Ginny looked immensely relieved. “We should be fine as long as the Ministry doesn’t… well, anyways… I’ll take Lily first. I’ll come back for the others. Just look after Al and Mark till I get back.”
“I hate being on the run,” Mark mused as Ginny disappeared with Lily.
Albus went with Ginny next and within minutes, Mark was back with them, wands and everything. Ginny shook her head in relief and turned, only to run straight into Harry. Albus held his breathm, anticipating another fight as she looked at Harry’s stony face. Albus never saw him like that before. Harry sighed regretfully, and looked up, “Ginny, call Ron over. I think it’s time we raise Dumbledore’s Army again.”
In the Ministry…
Incommodo read a small letter addressed to him. As before, a blonde witch stood behind him, waiting. Orgella, always beside Soto, now beside Incommodo, but sincere to only one of them. Incommodo cleared his throat and scribbled quickly on a piece of parchment. It took him the better part of half an hour to finish the writing he had before finishing it, rolling it up, and handing it to Orgella, “Send this to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. It is time, I think Harry Potter is placed under arrest.”