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Empire

 

Chapter 18

 

Avalon…five years later…

 

Harry put the sword back into the stone making sure none of his guardians were there to see. It was several days before his sixteenth birthday and he didn’t want them to know that he had figured out what they had been hiding.

 

But he did understand…being the heir to Arthur was a big deal…but that didn’t explain why Merlin was so stingy with the spells. Maybe he and Arthur had had a spat before they died. Harry wondered if he could find Arthur’s ghost in order to get him to soothe things over so that Harry could get some of the good spells. He was sure Merlin was holding out on him.

 

Not that they hadn’t been working on his education in other ways- swords, court etiquette, foreign languages, magical languages, music, dancing, the ability to mimic all the spells everyone in his year at school could do…

 

That last one always got him. They were always careful to limit what they suggested could be done with magic around him…as if that would stop him from experimenting on his own to figure out things.  Sometimes the frustration got to be a little much and he went out for a walk in the woods. Today, like all the other times, the sword had seemed to want to come out to play for just a little while, so he indulged it. Part of him was convinced it was alive.

 

Harry was certain that his guardians would tell him everything on his sixteenth birthday and then he would be able to take Excalibur with him all the time. Harry figured that he probably would ask everyone not to mention anything outside of the family since it wasn’t like England or Avalon needed a new medieval king. It would just be an interesting piece of family trivia passed down the generations.

 

*&^&&**

 

But Unbeknownst…

 

Sirius, Lucius, and Severus had spent several months planning Harry’s careful re-emergence into the wizarding world. It had been decided that a re-transfer to Hogwarts would need to be engineered. Harry had never made many friends in Avalon due to the fact that they either distrusted his muggleborn heritage or were jealous of having Merlin as a tutor.

 

Harry would probably have gone for a quiet transfer back, but it was time to start building his public image for the future so they had decided to make an event of it first. A Multi-school contest that would get Harry back to Hogwarts in style, and then after it was over, he would just stay.

 

First, they had considered the most prestigious of school tournaments: The Tri-Wizard Tournament, but the school on Avalon had never participated. Finally, they settled on the more academics based “Spell-ing Bee” contest that had been popular before WWI and WWII had broken out. In the contest, students were given a spell at random and they had to perform it perfectly or they lost that round. The rounds kept going until there was only one student left who had not missed any.

 

Harry was a shoe in as he could replicate any spell results…provided he remembered exactly which spells were which. Since the spells were somewhat unimportant to him, could be a little absent minded at times.

 

But win or lose, it would be a nice way to ease him back into Hogwarts. If it turned out that he hated it there they could just go back to Avalon once the Bee was over and they wouldn’t worry about Harry coming back just yet. It wasn’t like they were on any schedule.

 

Barty Crouch Jr., as a part of his work release program from Azkaban, had volunteered to go find the lost shade of Lord Voldemort. He succeeded in the summer before Harry’s fourth year and Voldemort was taken to St. Mungos, where, with the help of Nicholas Flamel, a new body was created giving him the new age and appearance of a 21-year old.

 

The mental damage and scarring they had found was extensive so he was still being healed in their long-term spell damage ward. After treatment began he showed significant drops in insanity showing that the theories about Dumbledore and his probable meddling were pretty accurate.

 

His followers had quietly visited one by one and explained that his situation and the political situation in general was caused by the potential Emperor coming back. They also apologized for the fact that many had family oaths that superseded the oaths they made to him.

 

It was a testament to how far he had recovered that these announcements were not met with rage. Instead the Dark Lord seemed almost giddy at the idea of the return of a magical Emperor…although he wasn’t telling his followers what he was thinking.  In any case, he released them from their vows and formally disbanded the Death Eaters. He was no longer a mad man, what need did he have for such an army?

 

Throughout all of this the positive publicity was overwhelming. The idea that arresting Dumbledore and healing Voldemort prevented an entire second war before it began without a drop of blood shed was amazing, if baffling. It was rapidly becoming clear that without Dumbledore the first war would never have happened either.

 

With that evidence and public sentiment, all the remaining work-release sentences of the Death Eaters were commuted to time served. Dumbledore was the guilty party and he was in jail and he was never getting out.

 

In addition, Lucius had passed several child welfare bills to check for children in abused homes. He had pressed for more funding at Hogwarts for more staff so that students didn’t slip through the cracks. No more mistakes like those made with Harry and Tom would be repeated.

 

Voldemort had even recovered to the point where he was using his original name again, but he wasn’t against keeping ‘Lord Voldemort’ for political purposes.

 

Indeed…nothing SEEMED to be going wrong…but there are always those loose ends someone forgets about.

 

*&^%$$

 

Dept. of Education, Ministry for Magic

(Lucius, out of kindness, offered Fudge and his closest advisor a job in his new administration since he hadn’t fought all that hard or well on the campaign trail.)

 

“Delores, are you sure this is a part of the contest?”

 

“Cornelius, I mean, Director Fudge…this is a proper Pureblood contest with a long and proud heritage. We cannot allow just anyone to participate. Think of the chaos. If we do not conduct lineage tests when they students enroll, then just think about what kind of riff raff might be let in.”

 

“I just can’t find it in the rules where it says that only Purebloods can participate.” Replied Cornelius coaxingly. He really didn’t want to open this kind of can of worms. 

 

“It is implied.” Delores said coldly.

 

“But Lucius…”

 

“Won’t care. He is a pureblood lord himself, or have you forgotten.”

 

Fudge sighed, “Fine, but if anything goes wrong, I am pointing the finger at you.”

 

“Nothing will go wrong. I don’t know why you worry so.

 

Fudge just sighed again.

 

*&^%$#@

 

Same Time, Minister Malfoy’s Office

 

“You may come in, young Mr. Diggory.”

 

Cedric entered the Minister’s office and shook the Minister’s hand. He tried to act calm, but he knew he must have a blush rising in his cheeks. There was just something about Minister Malfoy’s presence…

 

“Congratulations on your recent graduation from Hogwarts.”

 

“Thank you, Minister Malfoy.” Cedric replied.

 

“As you may have guessed, I summoned you here in regards to the job application you submitted to the Undersecretary’s office.  It happened to come quite timely.”

 

Cedric brightened. “So you have an opening?”

 

“Yes, but not exactly in the Undersecretary’s office. Have you heard that we are organizing a multi-school contest at Hogwarts this year?”

 

“Yes, the Spelling-Bee, right?”

 

“Exactly. We are inviting all of the schools in Great Britain to the event and I could use someone familiar with the school as an on-sight coordinator.” Lucius replied.

 

Cedric frowned, “Pardon me for asking, but shouldn’t the Department of Education or the Games and Sports Department be handling that? It seems like a little thing for the Minister to worry about.”

 

Lucius smiled, he was glad he had been correct in his assessment of Mr. Diggory’s intelligence. “Ordinarily enough you would be right…and you will not be there ‘officially’ for the contest. I am having you hired on as a sixth year counselor. You see—I need a pair of eyes and ears on the ground that report only to me.

 

“I know you have your eyes on a post in the Unspeakables office one day and I am sure you understand what I am getting at.”

 

“I do, but I don’t want to go in blind…let me be blunt, why do you need a spy at Hogwarts and why can’t you just ask your son?” Cedric knew he was risking a lot, but he didn’t want to go in and end up blindsided.

 

“You are a brave man, Mr. Diggory and I appreciate that.” Lucius answered.  “The reason I am not using my son is that he is not quite mature enough for this yet. He is still mad at me for allowing the house system to be dismantled even though it needed to be done for the students. As for why, that is classified unless you get under contract with me. Just know it is of vital national importance that this contest go smoothly.”

 

“It was the right choice.” Cedric answered in response to the unasked question. “We didn’t even realize how many students needed help until each year had dedicated councilors. The house rivalries didn’t help either. Now the sorting happens after we take our OWLS and the results are used to form study clubs. It takes what used to be a frankly petty rivalry situation and makes it into something fun.

 

“There were many who were unhappy with everything, however. Some who feel like their house imbued them with extra powers around the school.”

 

“And my son was probably one of the worst of them. His mother and I are to blame for that spoiling, I am afraid.” Lucius said with a wry grin. “But there are those who are not…enthusiastic to see the reforms succeed here in the ministry.

 

“Some may see the contest as an opportunity for sabotage, I’m afraid. Not to mention other classified issues I cannot tell you unless you are under oath not to repeat them.  Will you take the position? I promise you will not regret it.”

 

Cedric considered his options carefully. His father wouldn’t trust Malfoy, but everything Malfoy had done since the day he had taken office had been for the good of the wizarding world. His father would just need to learn how to let go of the past. “Yes, Minister Malfoy…I accept your offer.”

 

(*&^^%$$#@

 

AN- So Harry is growing older, wiser, more clueless. It is about time for him to make his grand re-entry into the world of HoggyWarts. He is also about to be old enough to get some love…so have you guessed it yet? An Emperor gets a Harem, of course! Pretty much the only people I know I would never consider is Ron, Ginny, Umbridge, Fudge, most of the deatheaters. Who will I consider? Are they pretty and halfway decent? Then yes.