HP: The Arcane Thief -
Chapter 4: The New Diagon Alley
Under Andromeda's urging, Axel really had no choice but to agree to let her accompany him to go shopping. After getting him to drink a bunch of horrifying potions, casting some spells, and fiddling with the gadgets connected to him, the busy Master Healer left to see her next patient.
He now realized that he was weak to kindness, having never encountered it before.
'Tell me system, are there many kind people in the world? How come I never got to meet one before?' He asked.
[Kind people are as rare as unicorns. There are many good people out there, but none would take their time to help out an orphan kid if they aren't getting anything out of it.
That being the case, the Host is recommended to stay alert. Currently, you are very easily winnable with just a few kind actions. You need to understand that for the other person, it is a very normal thing to do. Most children get unconditional love and kindness from their parents. You— being deprived of love and care—are very susceptible to change your goals due to one person. Currently, the fate of the world rests on your shoulder. You need to stay focused on recovering and becoming strong.]
Alex chuckled, 'Hey, are you done brainwashing me? If yes then quickly teach me how to do magic! I need to be strong!' He was beginning to find this robotic female voice cute. Though even if he didn't show it, he took the system's advice seriously.
[Host is advised to recover more before practicing magic. Also, beginners need a wand for practicing and the wand you possess is currently lying in the pouch which you hid outside so you can't cast any spells.]
Well, that was disappointing.
"Then, how the heck am I supposed to train?" He muttered but then heard a familiar ding sound.
[You have received the best Occlumency knowledge from the system.]
[Quest Activated: Learn Mind Arts
Mind Arts is a term given to Mental or Spiritual Magic. It is as important as any other powerful magic, if not more.
You can start with Occlumency.
A branch of Mind arts that deals with defending and organizing the mind, as well as controlling the emotions.
1)Beginner Stage Occlumency: Potion Recipe to cure the side effects of Cruciatus + 5% Approval
2)Intermediate Stage Occlumency: New Mind Art unlocked- Legilimency + ???
3)Advanced Stage Occlumency: Another Mind Art unlocked + ???
4)Master Stage Occlumency: Spiritual Arts unlocked + ???]
"S-System, am I not seeing things?" Asked Axel shakily. Occlumency sounds amazing and he can't wait to know about the other Mind Arts as well.
As someone who's always relied primarily on his mind, dexterity, and agility, Axel couldn't be more excited right now.
To top it all off, he can actually cure himself if he masters the first stage of Occlumency using the potion recipe.
[Host has a talent for mind magic. That's why the system is investing in it. You have to return the investment one day.]
'Alright sys, I'll do the tasks. But... if they
are too unreasonable or suicide missions, I swear I'm going to help in the world's destruction instead,' he promised.
The System didn't reply back. There was no need to.
Filled with anticipation, Alex accessed the knowledge of Occlumency which was stored in his head.
The first stage or the Beginner Stage meant building up shields around the mind. Even though it's just the beginner stage, many wizards can't even reach it due to their lack of talent, dedication, and most importantly, the lack of the right approach.
Occlumency is an obscure art, to begin with. Even those who do have the knowledge haven't reached past the intermediate stages due to improper and incomplete approaches. The knowledge given by the system is top-notch and complete.
[Host is advised to primarily focus on organizing your mind and mastering your emotions. The existence of shields in your mind will cause suspicion should anyone intrude into your mind. An 11-year-old orphan isn't supposed to possess the knowledge and skills to practice Occlumency. The host is advised to find someone to teach it to you to explain the existence of shields should anyone check your mind.]
Axel could understand that the system's words did have some truth to them. He'd experienced that kind of situation before when he was wearing a gold ring and some nosy idiots started demanding how a homeless kid could have them. But,
'Then, wouldn't my mind be defenseless without shields?'
[Host's mind is protected by the system. The system will conceal all the sensitive memories that have the potential to cause trouble including all the memories about the system.]
"...." Isn't that cheating?
"Well, that works," Axel commented as he began practicing Occlumency according to systems instructions.
That day, after her shift ended, Andromeda asked for the results of Axel's in-depth health checkup. With the report in hand, she went to Grimmauld Place.
After her husband got captured by the death eaters in the last war, she moved here with Bella. Sirius and Marlene had moved to a villa that their family-owned along with their goddaughter Rose.
Right now, the house was empty except for Creature, the house elf. Nymphadora was off to her Auror training and Bella comes late.
She sat at the dining table as creature prepared dinner and looked through Axel's report.
The preliminary check-up was only focused on damage dealt due to the Cruciatus. But the in-depth check-up report in her hands could reveal a lot more. Especially if you're a Master Healer.
She held the report in her hand. She knew that it was a bit wrong to check up on it since this was private information, but...
'There's a chance that I can find a way...'
That's why, she has to look through this. To find out any clues. She'll make sure to compensate Axel in the future.
Looking through the report, she grimaced. Her suspicions were indeed confirmed, though it was much worse than she'd expected.
Even though his body looks fine on the surface, the report reveals traces of multiple injuries, in almost all parts of the body. Physical injuries are passively cured with magic gradually for some wizards and thus she didn't find anything wrong in the beginning except for some signs of malnutrition and improper diet.
His hands have cuts and calluses. He must be using a knife often. Obviously not for cooking. His leg muscles are trained to the peak. Even quidditch players don't go this far since they only need to fly on brooms. He's had to run a lot.
Now came the truly harrowing details...
The duration of Cruciatus was estimated to be... 10 minutes.
'10 MINUTES! The assailant must be one powerful lunatic. Who does that to a child?! And how did Axel take it?! Poor child,'
Reading further, she found that his vocal cords were badly damaged, his jaw and shoulder dislocated.
Understanding the implications, Andromeda's eyes reddened. He was most likely paralyzed. He wasn't even allowed to move, to defend, or kill himself to stop the torture.
His body contains traces of the drug Exquisite Ecstasy. Damn it, what sick games was this torturer playing?!
While she was looking through the report. The fireplace blazed green and her sister Bella walked out, looking all prim and proper as always.
Minister Bellatrix Black was, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful women in Britain. She resembled Andromeda somewhat. But unlike Andromeda, Bellatrix has curly hair black instead of light brown and she puts a lot of effort into grooming herself and maintaining her youthfulness. She was wearing a pencil skirt, a white shirt, and a blazer. Yeah, the fashion in the Wizarding World has changed in the last decade.
"You came back early," Andromeda commented.
"Hmm, I ran away after it got too hectic. Kreature, bring my din—What's up with you, Andi? And what are those papers in your hands? " She asked suddenly, noticing that Andromeda seemed to be out of it.
"It's just a health report of one of my patients,"
Bellatrix quirked her eyebrows.
"Hmm... you don't do work-related things after your shift. You can't suddenly become an angel and start trying to help random people. So... spill. What is this about?"
Andromeda thought of arguing with her sister for a moment but then sighed, 'You can't hide things from Bella.'
"He was put through 5th-degree Cruciatus torture."
Bellatrix stopped eating her salad. Her attention was piqued, "Well, can he be sane again or is he a lost cause?"
Andromeda shook her head, "Neither."
Upon Bella's questioning look, Andromeda explained, "He didn't go insane. His mental state seems perfectly fine,"
There was a pause. Then Bellatrix scoffed, "...No way,"
"I know right? But it's true!"
Bellatrix realized that Andromeda was not kidding, "Who is it? Is it someone I know? How did he do it?! Show me the report." she said, peaking at the report.
Andromeda shook head, "You know I can't share the details. It's confidential,"
Bellatrix rolled her eyes, "Oh come on! Who follows the rules nowadays? And I'm your sister! I can help you!"
Andromeda still didn't budge, "I'm sure my patient would not appreciate it," She regretted telling her about this.
"Spoilsport," Bella pouted but then straightened up.
"You leave me no choice then. As the Minister of Magic, I hereby pass a new decree that one Andromeda Tonks né Black has to share everything with me," she announced imperiously.
Andromeda looked at her sister incredulously for a few seconds. No one would believe the childish woman in front of her is the Legendary Minister who's changed the magical Britain in the last decade.
Andromeda sighed, "You always have your way..."
The next day, Axel was feeling much better compared to yesterday, though the situation still wasn't too positive. Even walking normally was a struggle.
According to the system, walking won't cause any further damage but every movement would cause explosive pain and that's why he's unable to walk properly.
Axel looked at his trembling hands which once used to be incredibly stable and sighed. It's clear that he can't steal anything with this troll-like dexterity.
Oh, he knows what trolls are. The basic knowledge contained knowledge on some magical creatures as well. Though he still has trouble believing it all.
He wore his old clothes that had been cleaned and put near his bed.
While he was walking around, trying to get used to the pain, he heard a surprised exclamation from the door.
"Axel! Why did you get out of bed?!" Andromeda came hurrying in and sat him back on the bed.
"Moving would be extremely painful right now without the Pain Killing Potion. Didn't I tell you not to move?" She exclaimed, handing him the said potion along with a bunch of other potions.
Axel blinked, "It's not that bad," he said in confusion, thinking why she is overreacting. He has been through much worse.
Andromeda then realized that she wasn't talking to a child but someone who was able to retain perfect sanity after multiple Cruciatuses. So, she stopped fussing.
Axel downed the contents of the disgusting vials before they both left for the Diagon Alley.
They were going to use the floo network but Axel insisted on using Apparition since he was curious.
It was an instant regret as he had to struggle to contain the potions inside his stomach.
Andromeda put a finger on her chin, "So, first we have to get you some clothes and a haircut."
Axel instantly shot it down. "No need. They're not on the list."
"No way! You aren't going to Hogwarts looking like that. You have to make a good impression and make new friends," she declared as she dragged him to the entrance of the Diagon Alley.
'Friends?' Axel murmured. Having friends seems like a chore. He's always been a downright loner. He's a firm believer of Lonerism.
They walked a few paces and came to the forefront of a tall building with the name "The Diagon Alley." The store had lots of customers in different clothing coming and going.
Apparently, the building was a cosplay store but also the entrance to Diagon Alley. Muggle repellent charms and safety measures were there to ensure the secrecy, including a few obliviators.
"That's the entrance," said Andromeda, pointing at a conspicuous brick wall at the end of the store. Sure enough, Axel saw many people going through it.
Andromeda explained that a decade ago, this used to be nothing more than a dingy alley with the brick wall as the entrance.
"Come on, you're going to love it!" Somehow Andromeda seemed more excited than Axel. She was like a geek who's having her friend forcefully read the Harry Potter series.
Looking at the brick wall, Axel was really doubting reality.
[System, is it really safe? I won't get stuck, would I?]
If the system could sigh, it probably would have.
[No host, don't be a pussy.]
Without any hesitation whatsoever, Axel stepped through the wall in anger and an exclamation of wonder escaped from his mouth as soon as he saw everything.
Diagon Alley turned out to be a wonderful place. There were colorful buildings with all kinds of physically impossible structures all around with different magical gimmicks to attract the attention of the customers.
Andromeda, who had put on a veil that covered half of her face, looked at Axel who was looking all around with eyes and mouth wide and smiled proudly.
"This place used to be as shabby as a flea market a decade ago," she commented. "Those in power didn't want it to change."
Axel was confused, "Why?"
"Because they had the monopoly over specific things. They didn't want to lose it. Moreover, the ones who were coming up with much better versions of every product compared to the wizards were mostly from the muggle-borns or half-bloods. How could they accept it?
"The bastards even passed a law banning the use of things related to muggle, thus dooming us to further mediocrity, while the other magical communities made progress using muggle knowledge."
This time, Axel knew who muggle-borns and Half-bloods were and thanks to the basic knowledge from the system, he was able to understand everything.
"So, how did you do it? Make it like this." He asked, gesturing to the tall and colorful buildings around them.
Andromeda was glad to see that Axel was curious. She explained,
"After the war, with the Wizarding Britain in shambles and foreign communities eyeing us to pick up the loot, our main goal was to take away the power from unreasonable idiots and distribute it properly. Bella didn't spare any tricks whether it's immoral or shrewd or just pure reasoning. She used every tactic." She said while they walked.
"I can't tell you everything since we don't have the time, but one thing she did was to invest in some projects of muggle-born geniuses which she found potential in, provided them her backing, and voila, they became instant hits! And Bella just sat back and collected her money.
The Purebloods were like, 'Eh? You can do that too?!'
After that, they were scrambling to invest in their own muggle-born entrepreneurs. This was just one of the moves she played, and the easiest one.
Once there were products to spend money on, the coffers of these stingy Purebloods started opening. Britain was the richest to begin with, with the old families hoarding huge piles of gold in their accounts.
Once they brought it out, some did make it big while some lost it all. Overall, the economy took a huge leap and pave the way for the formation of what you see today,"
While Andromeda explained, Axel listened with great interest and even asked questions, surprising her. She had not expected him to understand this and even take interest in it.
Axel has always wanted to make it big, so of course, he's interested. He's a bit amazed to know how backward the Magical Britain a decade ago must have been...
'To not even know how entrepreneurship works... These people must be cavemen. I wish I was born a bit early...' he thought wistfully. That time must have been a golden opportunity and he's sure that many smart ones like him spotted it and took advantage of it.
But explaining up to here, Andromeda stopped since they had already reached the clothing shop. Axel looked at the shop's name which was written in moving letters.
Magical, Comfortable, and Stylish.
"This shop is currently the best for clothing. It's one of the very few shops that's managed to stay on top even after the great economic revolution. Their enchantments have been developed through generations for over a century so new bloods couldn't compare themselves to that. The old faction was of course going to prefer her over the new. And the woman who inherited the store has always had an eye for clothing. So as soon as she saw the muggle things being adapted, she copied muggle designs even before the newbloods could without hesitation. Later, she even shamelessly copied the new enchantment ideas of the new bloods!"
'Well, so not all Purebloods are stuck-up idiots,' thought Axel as he looked at the brands inside the store.
"'Nikey, Raza, Tommy Middlefinger, Louis Vuittoni, Chanell...'"
"...." he was speechless.
These are all muggle brands copied with a few letter changed.
Axel made a note to not go into the clothing business. He was already intimidated by this woman's boldness.
"Come on," said Andromeda, snapping him out of it. "Let's get you a total makeover. You'll be making new friends very soon so we have to make a good impression." She said mysteriously.
A.N: 3000+ words. Please Give me Powerstones!
This chapter took a bit of time since there are many important things hidden it. So if you've just skimmed through it, I'd recommend giving a proper read. I've put in a lot of effort and made many plans for this fic so tell me if you don't like something.
Anyways I've made a new brand: Tommy Middlefinger, dedicated to our respected Lord Voldemort.
Also, Axel is going to meet some important characters in the .
Pàtreon has upto Chapter 14 along with my other novel IHPM upto Chapter 176. Check it out.
This chapter upload first at NovelFire.net
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