The Highmore Chronicles: The Lost Kingpin

Diagon Alley

Eva woke with a jolt one morning at hearing the voice of a loud woman she recognized as her grandmother. It was two week before she would be leaving for Hogwarts and the preparation seemed like endless work. Gran Gracey, as Eva called her, appeared almost once a week to see how she was getting along. She constantly protested that Michael should teacher Eva some magic before she goes to school. To her dismay, Michael replied that he was not going to do anything illegal by telling Eva that she could do magic before her seventeenth birthday outside of school.

Lucy had long since gone to her own home but visited just as often as Gran. She, Lucy, was busy with the wedding plans since Markl, her fiancé, was still training with his quidditch team.

As Eva slowly got dress, she wondered why Gran was here so early in the morning. Walking slowly down stairs she could hear Michael and Gran arguing loudly. It seemed like they never stopped.

“Michael, I feel like we are sending her unprepared for school, especially with all the events going on. They still haven’t found—“

“Mother, I promise that she will be fine, there will be plenty of children at her level,” Michael said rather coolly from his previous tones.

“You mean level zero,” she said harshly, and Eva felt slightly put out by this, “I would have hoped that she would at least have some sort of knowledge.”

“Eva has been watching me intently, I am sure she has some knowledge, I have even been saying spells aloud for her to hear them.”

There was a slight pause and Eva took this time to enter the kitchen. She gave a smile to both of them, and they spun around surprised.

“Good morning, Gran,” she said as cheerfully as she could. Gran Gracey did as she normally would and embraced Eva. The clearly did not want her to know about their heated conversation.

“Oh dear, today is going to be so exciting don’t you agree?” Gracey asked in an overly enthusiastic tone.

Eva gave a sorrowful glance at her grandmother, “What are we doing today?”

Gracey looked completely shocked, “You mean you haven’t told her we are going to Diagon Alley.” She turned and stared at her son. Michael remained leaned against the counter with an amused expression.

“Diagonally?” Eva questioned grabbing a biscuit and proceeded to put honey on top of it.

“No, Diagon Alley, it is where we are getting all of your school supplies,” Gracey returned with a great smile.

“Oh, yes, school is coming I almost forgot.” To be truthful Eva quite enjoyed her days at the Highmore House and was not willing to give it up yet. This had been the best thing that ever happened to her, at least in the amount of time she could remember.

“I was hoping for it to be a surprised since we don’t have much more time for these events,” Michael said giving a wink to Eva. He clearly had realized that their time was short together as well. It was true that he had been working mainly nights in order to spend the days with her. When he did work he allowed Eva to go to Emmolt Books where she helped tidy up for Professor Emmolt, and he allowed her to read through many of his magical books. He even allowed her to take any book she wished to school with her if she wanted. Unfortunately all the books on her list were much newer than anything he had in his shop, so she would have to buy all of her school textbooks.

Professor Emmolt seemed to be warming up to Eva with every visit. He even asked if she would remain in Caterjunes Square and continue to help him in the shop.

“It seems like such a better place with ya here,” he said in his low growling voice to her one day when the topic of school came into conversation. Of course he rapidly said, “But a witch needs her education.” He seemed to be shaking back some tears but Eva didn’t press on the matter.

After finishing breakfast, Gracey urged Eva upstairs to change into her proper wizarding clothing. Eva had been wearing muggle clothing around the house and everyday robes at the shop so she didn’t get anything nice covered in dust.

After placing herself her nice set of light blue velvet robes, with stars on it she came down stairs. At the foot of the steps Gracey was standing with a gracious smile holding what looked to be a hat. It was a wide rimmed had with a pointy top. It was place with silver inlays all over it. It reminded the type of hat she would see children at the institute during Halloween when they dress up like witches, except it was incredibly ornate.

“This was my first witches hat as a girl, and I want you to have it dear,” Grace said with a wide grin and placed it on Eva’s head.

It felt strange wearing it, but at the same time she felt as though she was actually a witch and could actually do magic. But the first thing to leave her lips with quite opposite of how she was feeling. “Why didn’t you give it to Lucy?” she didn’t even know why she would ask such a question. Looking up she saw Gran’s face in a state of horror. “I mean, I really love it. Thank you Gran.”

Gracey’s face softened slightly and she made her way into the living room. Eva turned and saw Michael standing in the hallway. His arms were folded though he didn’t seem angry. In fact he was a proud grin on his face. Eva gave a sheepish smile and followed Gran into the living room. Michael arrived behind her, all three standing in front of the massive fireplace. She realized that it was completely spotless which was strange because it used to be covered in ashes.

“Now dear, we are going to use the floo network to travel. I assume that you have never used it,” Grace said noticing the questioning look on Eva’s face. “It is very simple, you will walk into the fire place say, very clearly, the place that you want to go—obviously Diagon Alley—and then release your powder. Here Michael will show you, it is very easy.”

Michael walked into the fireplace grabbing some powder which seemed be contained in a small vase on the side. He raised up the powder and spoke in a loud clear voice, “DIAGON ALLEY.” With that he threw the powder down and instantly burst into emerald flames. Eva was stuck in complete shock and was horrified that her new father had been killed by her grandmother. Unfortunately, Gran had ushered her into the fireplace and she stood absolutely shaking.

“Take the powder,” Gran snapped after nothing happened for a few moments. Eva quickly took the powder in her hand and held it in front of her like Michael had. This was it, she was going to burst into flames. The thought was making her quite sick but eventually she tried to calm herself convinced that Gran would never want her old hat destroyed. In the same confident loud voice as Michael, Eva burst out, “DIAGON ALLEY.”

In an instant Eva felt a rather unpleasant feeling of quick movement. She did not dare open her eyes or she would get sick. The only thing she could hear was a whooshing sound. Finally all the movement stopped and she could hear chattering voices. Suddenly, a hand grabbed her arm and pulled her forward. She quickly opened her eyes and found herself staring at Michael who was covered in black soot. She soon realized he was not the only one. Her light blue robes were now a grey dusty color.

“You made it, great job,” Michael said with a smile pulling out his wand. With a single flick every bit of soot was sucked up into his wand, leaving her in her clean robes. As he worked on his robes Eva turned to find herself in a quaint little pub filled with many happy customers. They all seemed to be families. Children, near her age were talking to one another and running around while being summoned by their parents. Everyone was dressed in similar outfits to her and Michael. Mugs and bottles were floating around on their own towards different wooden tables surrounded by eagerly chatting people. Soon, she was being led outside by Michael into a cobble stone alley way. It was filled with wizards and witches looking into the windows of many shops that lined the narrow walk way. She turned to get a glance at the shop she was just in. A small wooden sign hung above the dark green painted door reading The Vexed Veneridae. It didn’t seem to make any sense.

“What is a ven…er….ri…dae?” Eva asked as Michael led her down the strip.

“It is a clam. Place is called the confused clam,” he paused a moment still focusing on the shops, “I never understood it myself.” They walked street eyeing many of the glass windows. Suddenly Eva realized that Gran was not with them and looked around.

“Where is Granny Grace? Surely she would have gone after me in the…fireplace,” she asked as they stopped in front of a store that had several moving mannequins wearing black robes.

“Oh, mother doesn’t like to travel by floo. She says it is much too low class, but it was the only way that you could travel here,” he said brightly making his way towards the glass door. There was a loud yell from up the street and they looked down to see Granny Grace bustling towards them.

“Oh deary, you made it and not a synch on you. I just came from the bank and have all of your money for the day, of course provided by me.” She handed a small velvet bag over and Eva felt the weight of the coins fall into her hands. “Now don’t keep Malkin waiting.” Grace said pushing Eva up into the small shop.

Eva found herself in a small shop filled with fabric that lined the walls. Several children were in today looking at the many different robes around. A particular group of girls were staring at a very beautiful set of purple robes, but none of them would be receiving those since they were only there to get school robes, as Grace had told Eva. Several boys were looking grim as pins seemed to stick themselves into their robes. A boy had stepped down off the pedestal his pinned robes flying onto a mannequin in the corner. A thick bodied woman stood up slowly from a small seat that she must have been perched on while fitting the boy. She hobbled over towards Eva, Grace and Michael with a friendly smile.

“Ahh, Mrs. Gracey Highmore, how are you doing this fine day?” The woman said in a rather feeble tone.

“Doing just fine Madame Malkin. I would like you to meet my granddaughter Eva, she would like to be fitted for her school robes,” Grace said pushing Eva slightly forward.

“Granddaughter? I did realize you r son had a child,” she said pushing a monocle up to her eye and looking at Eva. Soon her monocle eye rose towards the ceiling as she stared up at Michael. “My goodness, this can’t be Michael. He is much too tall.”

Michael greeted the woman, whom he clearly knew from the many visits he had to get his school uniform adjusted. Eva figured he must have had a growth spurt halfway through his school years. Before Eva knew it, she was standing on the pedestal as tape measures and pins came flying at her. Michael had left halfway through, stating that he would go and buy Eva’s books. It took maybe a few minutes before her robes were being made by a sewing machine moving on its own. Michael had left halfway through, stating that he would go and buy Eva’s books.

“We will be back in an hour or so to pick them up. How much will it be?” Grace asked.

“Oh, 10 galleons for the robes, but 35 for the whole set. I’m running a special. Two robes with the self ironing and repairing charm, two vests – short and long sleeved—and the shoes, socks, scarf, tie—“

“That’s fine. Eva, pay the lady please,” Grace said looking down to Eva. She quickly opened up the bag and found several coins inside the bag. Eva began to count the coins but soon they lifted themselves out and landed on top of a counter near Madam Malkin. Granny Grace put her wand away and took Eva’s hand leading her back into the street.

It seemed to be even fuller of people than earlier. Eva had a squeeze tight to her grandmother in order to not get separated. From behind them Eva heard the sound of Michael. She turned slightly and saw that he was walking was several books stacked high being levitated by his wand. Grace pulled her to the side and waited for Michael to catch up. He was out of breath and seemed to be completely flustered.

“Well, did you get everything?” Grace said indignantly, wandering the book titles with her eyes.

Michael didn’t seem at all happy to answer this question. “Yes ma’am, even though it was incredibly difficult. But I managed to get the last copies of A History of Magic the revised addition and My Experiences with the Dark Arts. Hopefully this is all she will need.” Eva saw nearly a dozen large leather bounded books and felt nervous as to how much reading she would have.

“Well it looks like the cauldron and apothecary shops have lines out the doors. So you can go and get those items for Eva while I take her to get her wand,” Grace continued beginning to pull on Eva’s arm.

“Actually, mother, I was hoping to take Eva to get her wand. I mean, it is a very important moment,” Michael had placed a hand on Eva’s shoulder, and she felt very happy beneath his grip. Grace looked slightly taken aback, but soon nodded in contentment obviously realizing that it was the father’s duty after all. With that, the tall woman was off through the sea of pointed hat wizards.

Michael and Eva walked down the cobble stone path to an area that was nearly empty. It seemed that no one was at this end of town. “Now, I am quite sure that it is down here somewhere,” Michael said absently looking from shop to shop. “A while back many of these shops were burnt down and had to be rebuilt. This store is a lot newer and actually I have not been to it yet.”

“Is this the wand shop?” She pointed at a small sign that was meant to be hung above the door, carelessly lying next to the shops window. It said Mister and Madam Widald Wands in carved wood.

“Oh—yes this must be it,” he said walking towards the wooden door. As he opened it there was a small bell that tinged as they entered. The room was very small, with a bench near the window and a wide counter covered in papers and boxes. Large bookshelves lined the walls and practically any space left available.

There was a loud clang from the back of the room and soon two people began to form between the shelves. They were both muttering to themselves.

“VE VANT TO KEEP THE SHOP AS ALWAYS MR. PEABODY,” yelled a deep woman’s voice.

“No, it’s customers!” came a rather high pitched males voice.

“Customers Vera?” The woman called again, and then there seemed to be rumbling as two figures emerged from the mounds of boxes. Soon a rather short woman arrived and was followed by an equally short male. They were both quite large for being so short. Neither was too old nor too young, with speckled grays in their dirty blonde hair but no wrinkles on their face to show age.

“Hello and Velcome to Mister and Madam Vidald Vands. I am Vouter Vidald,” said the man.

“And I am Vera Vidald. And ve are the finest vand makers today,” the woman interrupted.

“Our uncle has taught us. And Merlin rest his soul for it,” the man continued.

“Vat can ve get ver you today.” It took Eva some time to understand their very heavy Russian accent. Michael had to eventually push her forward to speak.

“I need a wand, for Hogwarts.”

“Ah, Hogvarts…very good school. Many students have had our uncles vands,” said Wera Widald.

“I’ve got it,” said Wouter Widald as he ran back to the many bookshelves. He climbed a precarious ladder up the side and began to pull long thin boxes out of the shelves.

“No, I’ve got it,” cried Wera doing the same in another section of the store. As they walked the wooden ground shook beneath Eva’s feet. She turned back to Michael who had taken a seat on the bench behind her looking through one of the books Beastly Beasts of the Modern Era. Suddenly, the two were back standing in front of Eva was several boxes buried in their arms.

“You shall try this von first,” Wera said throwing a box at her.

“No this von first,” came Wouter throwing another box at her. Luckily she caught both and placed them on the counter in front of her. Not sure which person to choose she automatically opened each of them at the same time. Both people were incredibly interested in Eva’s opinion, drooling down at her.

The one on the left that Wouter had given her was red colored wood with a simple engraved handle. The one of the right from Wera was practically white and had no handle but instead a round ball at the end. Being naturally right handed she picked Wera’s and pulled it out of its velvet case. It was a lot heavier than she expected. Lifting it slowly, her fingers lost grip around it and the wand fell straight to the floor. As it smacked the wood, the wand shot out red sparks that hit the wall. The cracked plaster at the wall shattered showing the wooden innards of the wall. Eva quickly picked up the wand with apologies and placed it back in the box. Eva could have sworn she heard chuckling from behind her, but was too embarrassed to look at Michael.

“I told you it vouldn’t vork,” laughed Wouter, “Now try mine.”

More cautiously Eva picked up the red wand which was extremely light. Unfortunately as she pointed, instinctively at the wall again, the wand zoomed out of her hand and into the exposed wood of her previous mistake. By now Eva was complete discouraged, though the Widald’s continued to fling boxes at her. Several times did the wall get broken even more. Once a spell had been released in the shape of a fire ball that nearly hit Michael in the stomach if he hadn’t of moved. Finally they had no more boxes and stood pondering at her. They seemed to be concentrating hard on her, like there something wrong. Suddenly, with a jolt, they both zoomed off towards the shelves again. This time they ended in the same area and Wouter allowed Wera to climb up the ladder first.

As she reached for a box, Wouter cried out, “That vas the von I vas going to pick.” Instead of arguing Wera slid down the ladder and bustled towards Eva. Wouter was marching over with his arms folded in a rather childish manner. The box that Wera presented was quite dusty but very thin ornate marking could be made out on the dark leather. She pulled the top off and saw enveloped in blue velvet a pale brown wand with a beautifully constructed handle. Reaching for it she could feel all eyes on her in anticipation. It fell into her hand almost naturally and she felt a comfortable grip on it. She pointed at the broken, cracked, destroyed wall and moved it slightly. A tingling sensation flew through her arm which seemed to continue through the wand itself. A dim white light appeared from the tips of the wand which struck the wall. After several blinding moments, the light reverted back into the wand and the sensation dissipated. All four people looked at the wall which was completely fixed, and even looked better than the rest of the wall space.

“Villow vood, 10 inches, vith a Pegasus feather at the core,” came the voice of Wera after a moment of silence.

“I vas going to pick that von,” called Wouter’s voice after.

Eva looked at the wand curiously and then turned to look at Michael, who was smiling back at her. He stood up and gently took the wand from her and placed it back in the box. After talking price with the Widald’s they were heading out the door.

“And remember, the vand chooses the vitch.” “Or vizard.” The twins called from behind her.

Eva stared fixedly at the box in Michael’s hand. It was the strangest feeling, touching the wand. Like there was a rope of energy extending from her hand into the wand. All she wanted to do was hold her wand once again.

They walked side by side back down the streets of Diagon Alley. As they came closer to the main section of the street it became more crowded with families, even more than before it seemed. They all looked so strange together as if magic had been a part of their lives since the day they were born, which was probably true for most of them. Soon between the waves of people the tall figure of Gran came bustling through almost seeming to push others out of the way.

“Michael….Eva,” she called through the crowd as if they couldn’t see her. Michael waved and moved to a small sliver of street where only a few people lingered. Gran was carrying many things in her arms since levitating them would cause too many casualties. The cauldron that she had was filled with small things and Eva could not wait to fill it up like she always saw witches do in pictures before she knew about magic. Her hair that was once placed beautifully on top of her head beneath her hat was now frizzy and falling down. Clearly the shopping was not pleasant.

“Well, some people, I say,” she began but soon stopped from being out of breath. “Now, there is only one place left to go at that is the pet shop, and Michael my dear you know how much I have a distaste for that place, and that woman, so if you wouldn’t mind.”

“I would be happy to,” Michael began without hesitation.

“Now I will take all the things and return them to your home, and then I should go check on your father,” she said taking the other items into her arms, including the bag with the wand in it. After a goodbye she disappeared with a small crackle.

Michael glanced down at Eva with a smile. Taking her hand they began to make their way through the street once more. Magical Menageries was only a few stores down luckily, and they were able to walk straight in. No lines out the door must have been a good sign at this point. As soon as they entered Eva knew why it was not full of customers. The room was already full of things and it was extremely hot and smelled of incense. Cage were everywhere in the room and yet there were animals moving freely about the room. Every type of animal imaginable was in this room, at least the small ones. Rats, cats, birds and rabbits to amphibians, this place definitely was well stocked. There were several animals that Eva was not even sure were animals. Suddenly from behind a beaded door way an older woman walked out. She had long ragged grey hair that flowed down beneath her odd hat. On her face sat large black rimmed spectacles that made her face look rather small in comparison. She seemed slightly surprised yet grateful for the intrusion.

“Hello, hello, welcome! What are you looking for today?” She said in a cheerful voice and looked down at Eva with a wide grin. As she stood still Eva saw her hair moving, and soon realized a rat was perched on her shoulder that seemed to blend with her hair very well.

“Hello Madame, we are looking for a pet for school, nothing in particular,” Michael answered.

“Oh, an owl then, we have plenty in stock, not selling like they used to with all that new fangled magic, but they certainly aren’t daft animals,” she began but Michael interrupted.

“Actually we already have an owl at our disposal but thank you for the offer. I was thinking more along the lines of a cat or rat or rabbit.”

She stopped a moment with a slightly frown but then perked back up again. “Well dear?” she asked.

Eva stood still for moment. She definitely did not want a rat. She remembered she saw one of the Institute once and it was quite disgusting. A rabbit would be nice or a cat she thought.

“How about I just show you some of our products?” she interjected and began walking around the room looking at the cages. “Ah, what about this fella’?” She pulled down a cage which contained the ugliest looking rabbit she had ever seen. It had extremely long hair that was wiry and not at all soft like a rabbit was suppose to be. By seeing Eva’s look of concern the woman put the cage back and began sifting through the animals. She pointed at several other creatures including a white rat that Eva shivered at the sight of.

“I can see you are not easily pleased, follow me,” she walked to the beaded door way and disappeared behind it. Michael gave Eva a slight nudge and she began to follow suit. Behind the beads there was a long hallway filled with cages and loose animals. The woman was in the back looking in each cage. Eva walked slowly looking at each one. Soon she stopped at seeing a cage with nothing in it. She peered in farther and soon saw two shining dots in the back. It made her jump slightly as she squinted harder to see.

“Oh him,” the woman said startling Eva. She seemed to have appeared right next to her in an instant. “That one there is very peculiar. Not really a go getter if you know what I mean. Would you like to see him?” Without waiting for an answer, she pulled the cage out from the precarious stack. Setting it on the floor she opened it and they both waited in silence. After several seconds, nothing had happened.

“Well, that is strange normally all the animals walk right out. I would let all of them walk around free but think of the mess and people would just step on them.” She picked up the cage and looked in seeing that the animal was still at the back. She reached her hand in but it was almost as if the cat moved so quickly that she couldn’t grab it. In frustration she tipped the cage vertical where the hole was at the bottom. Still nothing came out. Eva slowly got on the floor and looked up in the box. She couldn’t see because there was a large furry mass blocking the way. It seemed that the creature did not want to come out. Amongst the fur she could see the eyes staring down through a crack.

“You can come out you know, I just want to see you,” Eva said softly. There was no movement and Eva stood up and shrugged. “Oh well, I guess he doesn’t want me.” The woman was about to put the cage back when suddenly something dropped from it. Eva looked down to see on the floor was a small cat sitting quite proper on the floor.

“Ah, there you are,” the woman said with a smile and put the box back.

Eva slowly got down to the floor and looked at the cat. She was afraid to touch it or it might snap at her. He was a very slender cat with sleek fur that was in many shades of brown. On his forehead there seemed a darker marking that seemed to be in the shape of an ‘M’. The cat’s eyes were a bright yellow that seemed incredibly large for its face. The cat didn’t seem to be looking at her at all, more like trying to avoid it.

“Yeah, poor thing. Found him about a year ago. Smallest of his litter, but sure cute. Tried to sell him off hoping people might think him a kitten, but no one seemed to want him. I guess people think in order to have a cat you have to have a tail.”

Eva’s eyes widened slightly and she looked closer at him and realized that he didn’t have a tail at all. Where his tail should have been instead was a little patch of fur that hung over slightly like a ducks tale. The cat must have realized Eva was looking at it intently that it made its way towards the pile of cages and began climbing with ease up to his cage.

“How did he lose his tail?” Eva asked watching him as he curled into a ball at the back once again.

“He was just born without it, tried everything, even transfiguration but it was just fall off after a little while,” she said with a sigh. “Well, I’ll keep looking.” She made her way off down the hall looking at the other cages. Eva stood there still looking into the cage watching the cat with pity.

“It’s alright, I’ll take him.”

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