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Chapter 23 ~ The Breeding-Mad Magistocracy
Warning: As we venture further into the Nightmare Reality our story becomes darker – and at times disturbing. But this is a reality ruled by Voldemort – how could it be otherwise? Dear reader, do not despair through these dark times. Remain staunch with our hero Rick, and have faith in him, as he struggles against the odds – and the might of Voldemort’s Evil Empire – to regain the wand of Godric Gryffindor and bring this Nightmare to an end. As Professor Barty Crouch junior accompanied him from the Headmaster’s office to Ravenclaw Tower, Rick found himself instinctively disliking him – although he was careful to hide it. Crouch was a wiry, pale-skinned wizard with a hard, cold, freckly face and fair hair. There was an air of malice and ruthlessness about him. Rick wondered how much of it was his natural pre-disposition, and how much was the result of all the evil deeds he had done as one of Voldemort’s Death Eaters. As they walked through the corridors, Crouch conducted an impromptu interrogation. First he tested Rick’s suitability to be in Ravenclaw. Satisfied with Rick’s magical knowledge, he asked about his background. Having probed Crouch’s mind, Rick realised that Crouch knew nothing about the magical community in New Zealand, so he was able to invent plausible answers to his questions, neatly avoiding the cunning traps he saw Crouch setting for him. Crouch asked him what he planned to do when he finished school. Rick said he wasn’t sure yet. He said he was thinking about further studies and, perhaps, eventually teaching. He didn’t want to appear eager to become a Death Eater. He decided to adopt a bookish guise – someone more interested in knowledge than power and politics. He hoped it might make people view him with less suspicion, and not as potentially dangerous. He’d let Couch come up with the idea of him becoming a Death Eater. He’d allow himself to be persuaded. “Nagini,” said Crouch, stopping before a huge oak door. The door swung outwards and Crouch entered a large room, motioning Rick to follow him. The Ravenclaw common room looked more like a library, with large bookshelves covering two of the walls. There were several comfortable-looking couches and armchairs around a blazing fire, but most of the room was given over to study tables, adding to the library-like atmosphere. “Weasley!” called Crouch to a redheaded boy, pouring over a book at one of the desks. “Come here.” Rick had to struggle to suppress a smile and his great happiness, as he recognised the familiar face of Ron Weasley. “Weasley, this is Godfry,” said Crouch. “He’s a new sixth-year student. He’ll be in your dormitory. Take him up and show him around, will you?” “Yes, Professor, certainly,” said Ron in a dull, obedient voice. Crouch turned and left, without another word. “Follow me,” said Ron in a neutral tone. There were quite a few students in the common room, as it was a Saturday afternoon. Most of them seemed to be studying. While Crouch was present, they had ignored Rick; but now he had left, some of them looked up at him, briefly, with guarded looks that gave nothing away. There was an atmosphere of wariness and suspicion, which you could almost cut with a knife. Rick noted that the layout of Ravenclaw Tower was quite similar to Gryffindor Tower, as Ron led him to the sixth-year boys’ dormitory. There were six beds in the dormitory, but only three of them looked occupied. “So who are the others in the dormitory besides you?” asked Rick, trying to engage Ron in friendly conversation. “Terry Boot and Theodore Nott,” replied Ron, dully. “Those are ours,” he said, flatly, indicating three of the beds. “Take your pick from the rest,” he added, turning to leave. “Err, R- ... Weasley,” said Rick. He’s almost said Ron’s first name before catching himself. Crouch hadn’t said it, and he wasn’t supposed to know it. “So which subjects are you taking?” he asked, trying to be friendly. “Just the standard ones, like everyone else,” replied Ron quickly, without turning, before he exited the dormitory. Rick picked a bed and lay down despondently. He contrasted his present depressed emotions with those of the happiness and euphoria he had felt, just a few months earlier, when he lay down for the first time on his bed in the Gryffindor sixth-year boys’ dormitory. But it wasn’t just a different dormitory; it was an entirely different world. He was shocked at how different Ron was in this world. His Legilimency abilities had revealed the true depth of the differences. Ron was full of fear and suspicion, he wasn’t about to trust Rick – or anyone else, for that matter. They could be spies, working for one of the Wizarding state’s secret surveillance organisations. Or they might just be stupid and careless, wanting to mouth off about all the terrible things that were wrong in their world. Ron knew, as well as anyone, all the things that were wrong, but he knew better than to talk about it – if he wanted to survive. There were spies everywhere, not to mention other magical surveillance devices. If you wanted to survive in this world, you kept your head down and your mouth shut – and you trusted no one. Rick decided to take a walk around the lake. He could pretend, for a while at least, that this was the wonderful Hogwarts of his own world. Maybe that would lift his spirits a little. Students he passed looked up at him curiously, but then immediately averted their eyes. No one was taking any risks. He recognised quite a few people, like Theodore Nott and Daphne Greengrass, both sixth-year Slytherins in his old reality. From her Slytherin uniform, Rick could tell that Daphne’s family were part the Magistocracy. But Nott’s family obviously weren’t, as he was a Ravenclaw. Rick wondered how many Slytherins from his old reality had missed the cut in this one, and been relegated to Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff. Then he began wondering about the Gryffindors. He thought about his dorm-mates. Ron, of course, was in Ravenclaw. Harry and Neville had been killed when they were a year old. Seamus was from a mixed-blood family, so he probably suffered the same fate, along with his family, thought Rick, shaking his head sadly. Dean Thomas, he recalled, was from a Muggle family. Rick wondered what this evil wizarding world did about Muggle-born witches and wizards. Do they seek them out and kill them – or are they left alone, to occasionally perform accidental magic? he wondered. Rick’s thoughts gravitated to Hermione. Was she alive in this world? If she was, what would she be doing? What would she be like? With all that had happened over the past few hours, Rick hadn’t thought about Hermione. But now he did; and his heart ached for her. Not the Hermione of this world, if there was one, but the Hermione of his world – his Hermione. Despite his plans to get his wand back and end this loathsome reality, it was all becoming more and more distant. The present terrible reality was becoming more real and solid in his mind. His old reality seemed so far away – and so too, did his Hermione. How was he going to find out what happened to the Muggle-born witches and wizards if everyone was too frightened to talk? How was he going to find out anything? Lost in his unhappy thoughts, Rick left the path which ran around the lake, and headed for the Forbidden Forest. As he entered it, he spotted some red hair, protruding from behind a large tree. Walking around the tree, he found Ginny Weasley, leaning against the trunk, her head in her arms, crying. “Excuse me,” he said softly. “What’s the matter? Why are you crying?” Ginny looked up at Rick, startled; she thought she was well-hidden, she hadn’t expected anyone to come upon her. She stayed silent, looking down at the ground. “Err ... allow me to introduce myself, I’m Rick Godfry. I’m a new sixth-year Ravenclaw student.” But Ginny remained silent. Rick decided to use his charm – perhaps he could get her to trust him. If she told him what was troubling her, he might even be able to help – and, he might be able to learn something about this strange, cruel world. “You can trust me,” he said to her gently. When she looked up at him, he managed to hold her gaze. “I’m from New Zealand, there’s no real wizarding community over there, so all of this is new to me. I just want to find out how things work around here, but no one seems to want to talk, or be friendly. So, err ... what’s your name?” “Ginny Weasley,” she said in a subdued voice, as she quickly wiped away her tears. “Judging from your name and red hair, you must be related to Ron. We’re in the same dormitory. Is he your brother?” asked Rick. “Yes,” said Ginny sadly, looking away. She wasn’t very talkative. “I see you’re in Ravenclaw as well. Which year are you in?” asked Rick. “My fifth ... and final year,” blurted Ginny, starting to cry once more. “Ginny, what’s the matter? Why is it your final year at Hogwarts? Why are you crying?” asked Rick, sending comforting feelings towards her. Ginny wiped her eyes again, and looked up at Rick. She seemed to be weighing things up in her mind. Rick realised that she wanted to confide in him, but she had been brought up to trust no one. Hogwarts, she knew, was full of spies, and you never knew who might report something you said, back to the Secret Security Service. But she really liked Rick, and felt she could trust him. Finally, she said, “I don’t know why I’m talking to you, my mother warned me never to trust anyone outside of the family….” she said, trailing off. “I’m so depressed right now; I really don’t care what happens to me. Maybe a quick painful death would be better than a long painful life,” she added, bitterly. “Ginny, I give you a Wizard’s Oath that I won’t betray your trust,” said Rick. “A fat lot of good that will do,” said Ginny. “They have ways of breaking a Wizard’s Oath ... and everything else that is decent and honourable. You really have no idea what it’s like here, do you?” Rick shook his head slowly. “No, none whatsoever – I was hoping that you might tell me. But I do know a lot of magic.” Drawing his wand, he cast an Imperturbable Charm and a Wizard Repelling Charm around them. “That was so we can’t be overheard, or noticed – just in case anyone should come this way.” Ginny realised that Rick must be a very powerful wizard, and it made her uneasy. Powerful wizards usually ended up becoming Death Eaters, or members of the Secret Security Service. But, deep inside, she felt there was something honest and trustworthy about this wizard, he seemed so unlike all those evil, dark wizards. “Do you know anything about the Wizarding Breeding and Purification Program?” asked Ginny, spitting out the words with loathing. Rick shook his head. Ginny took a deep breath to steady herself, and continued. “It all began about thirteen years ago, back in 1984. A few years earlier, when the war was over, all the enemies of the Eternal Emperor were killed: The Squibs, Muggle-borns and all of the mixed-blood witches and wizards. They were all put to death – in the most gruesome ways imaginable,” she added with a shudder. “All the Purebloods who had opposed the Eternal Emperor were also killed,” she added, as a tear ran down her cheek. “I’m sorry, Ginny, if it’s painful to talk —” “Many Pureblood witches and wizards died in the fighting – on both sides. My father was one of them,” Ginny continued, sobbing as she spoke. “I was less than a year old at the time, I don’t even remember him. I just know how hard it’s been for my poor mother. She was heartbroken when my father died, and she had to raise seven of us, all by herself.” Ginny dried her eyes – determined not to cry anymore. “When all the killing was over, the population of the wizarding world was only a fraction of what it had been before the war. There weren’t enough witches and wizards to do the work and keep things running, or to conquer the Muggles which is the Eternal Emperor’s Great Plan. So they decided they needed a breeding program. Not just to restore the wizarding world to its previous numbers, but to greatly exceed them. The Eternal Emperor’s Great Plan is to kill all the Muggles and have witches and wizards populate the entire world. The aim of the breeding program is to ultimately increase the wizarding population by a thousand-fold.” “What?” gasped Rick. “But surely that will take thousands of years?” “The longer, the better,” muttered Ginny, under her breath. “The idea isn’t just to increase the population, though – it’s to purify it,” she said darkly. “Purify it?” asked Rick, “How do you mean?” “Well, according to what they teach us it in Social Conformity and Obedience classes, few, if any, of the present-day Pureblood families have one hundred percent pure wizarding blood. They went back through all the ancient records and created a complete genealogy of the surviving wizarding families, ranking them according to the purity of their bloodlines. It’s all documented in a book called ‘Parkinson’s Pureblood Genealogy’. The ten percent of families with the purest blood are called the Magistocracy. Of course, families like mine, who fought against the Eternal Emperor, are excluded from the Magistocracy, even if their blood is pure enough. There are also rumours that some wealthy families bought their way into the Magistocracy, and that the rankings have more to do with gold, than purity of blood. Gold is more important here, than truth,” said Ginny, with disgust. Coming from an impoverished background, it was something she understood, all too well. “When they turn eleven, and come to Hogwarts, the children of the Magistocracy automatically go into Slytherin,” continued Ginny. “Only males of the Magistocracy are allowed to breed, all other wizards are magically sterilized.” Rick gulped. Are they planning on sterilizing me? he wondered. “But hang on,” he said. “How is that going to help the population to increase?” “Wizards of the Magistocracy must marry a witch from the Magistocracy as soon as they finish school. Neither witch nor wizard has any choice in who they marry. It’s all decided by their families, based upon how pure their blood is. They have to have at least five children, but preferably twice that number. In addition, the wizards have to keep a minimum of ten concubines, for breeding. Some of the very wealthy ones, like Lucius Malfoy, have over a hundred. The concubines are kept continuously producing children,” said Ginny, her voice trembling. “What? That’s appalling!” said Rick, horrified. “Do the witches have any choice in the matter?” “Of course not,” spat Ginny. “Most of the new students, who come to Hogwarts each year, get put in Hufflepuff. The brightest and most magical, go to Ravenclaw. Slytherin witches and wizards all stay at Hogwarts until seventh-year – no matter how thick they are. Hufflepuffs leave after fifth-year. The wizards are put to work in menial jobs. The witches are all forced to become concubines and start having babies immediately.” “That’s terrible,” gasped Rick, shocked at the cruelty and inhumanity of this world. “What about the Ravenclaws?” “The wizards stay until seventh year, and then they either join the Secret Security Service, work for the Ministry of Magic or work in trade and commerce. Most of the witches are forced to leave school after fifth-year, to become concubines, like the Hufflepuff witches. But those who do especially well in their exams are allowed to remain at school until seventh year. Then, they become concubines,” said Ginny, despondently. “What’s the point of the extra two years of school then?” asked Rick, feeling disgusted at the callous evil of this world. “After ten or fifteen years, when they are too old or unable to bear more children or no longer attractive, the wizards throw out their old concubines and replace them with young ones, just out of school. The ex-concubines are forbidden to contact their children or have anything to do with them. The children belong to the wizards; they’re not raised by their natural mothers or even allowed to know who they are. So the ex-concubines need to work, in order to survive. If you were a top Ravenclaw witch who did sixth and seventh year, you might be able to get a better job, such as teaching, or working at the Ministry of Magic. Otherwise, only menial jobs, such as raising the broods of the wizards of the Magistocracy, are available to you.” Rick was aghast. He expected a world ruled by Voldemort to be brutal and cruel – but never, could he have imagined anything as completely callous and inhumane as this. “It’s too horrible to contemplate,” he said, shuddering in disgust. “I know,” moaned Ginny. “The reason I was crying when you found me, is because I’m afraid that I’m not going to do well enough in my exams to stay on at Hogwarts, next year. In the end, it doesn’t make much difference ... it just forestalls the inevitable by two years.... Just think, this time next year I’ll probably be the concubine of some horrible old wizard who beats me and treats me like his slave. The only sunshine in my life will be when my babies are born – but as soon as they’re a few weeks old, they’ll be taken away from me, and I’ll never see them again.” Despite her best intentions, Ginny began crying again. Rick got up from where he was sitting and sat down next to Ginny, gently putting his arm around her, and sending her comforting feelings. He had no idea what to say to Ginny. He had no words to console her. He was now even more determined than ever to end this obscene reality, but he couldn’t tell Ginny that. So he just comforted her until she stopped crying. “So do the children of the concubines become part of the Magistocracy?” asked Rick. “No, only the children of their Pureblood wives are part of the Magistocracy. The children of concubines go into Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff, and the young witches will, themselves, become concubines when they leave school. After seven generations, the blood of those who are not in the Magistocracy, will be ninety-nine percent Magistocracy blood. They will never be allowed to join the Magistocracy, but their blood will be purified.” “There is also a hierarchy in the Magistocracy,” said Ginny, disdainfully. “Those at the top, like the Malfoys and Parkinsons are considered the elite. They get first pick of the witches leaving Hogwarts, each year. They prefer Ravenclaw witches, so that their offspring will be more intelligent and magically-powerful. When I leave Hogwarts, I will probably be chosen as the concubine of Lucius Malfoy or Cecil Parkinson – I don’t know which one of them I loathe the most,” she said, cringing with revulsion. “What about Vol — err, the Eternal Emperor?” asked Rick. “How many concubines does he have? Surely he must want to produce heirs.” “Heirs? Why on earth would he want heirs?” asked Ginny. “He’s supposed to be immortal. As far as I know, he has no wife, concubines, or children.” “No, I guess not,” said Rick, musing. “If he believes that he’s immortal, he wouldn’t want any heirs. They would only be a threat to his imperial throne – and his precious immortality!” Rick began thinking out loud about the mathematics of the breeding program. “Wizards can sire children to well past the age of one hundred, with the aid of potions and spells. They might be able to breed for a hundred years, after leaving school. That means the elite ones, who can afford a hundred concubines, could father ten thousand children in their lifetime – it’s staggering. Half the wizarding world will be Malfoys and Parkinsons!” said Rick, appalled at the thought of it. “That’s right,” said Ginny. “In fact, that’s exactly what’s intended. Except that the children born to their concubines do not take their name, exactly. They are called sib-Whatever. Sib stands for sired by. When you are in the Great Hall at mealtimes, you will notice that most of the students are first-years. They are the first wave of the children of concubines to enter Hogwarts. All the first-years, except for a handful of Slytherins, are sibs, since all other wizards were sterilized thirteen years ago. There are heaps of sib-Malfoys and sib-Parkinsons. And they all look so alike, it’s eerie. They’re a miserable bunch as well – just observe the ones in Ravenclaw, some time. They never knew their mothers; and their fathers have absolutely nothing to do with them. They’ve never known what it feels like to be loved. They’re raised in special institutions, with the children of other wizards. I suppose it’s something like the worst kind of Muggle orphanage,” she said, sighing sadly and shaking her head. “Err, Ginny,” said Rick. “I heard that Squibs are killed as soon as they’re born. But what about magical children who are born to Muggles? Do you know what happens to them?” “You’re right about the Squibs,” answered Ginny. “You wouldn’t expect many Squibs to be born now, given that their fathers are from the Magistocracy and have the purest blood. But I’ve heard that the percentage of Squibs has actually gone up, not down. There have also been more than a few witches of the Magistocracy giving birth to Squibs – although it’s all hushed up, of course. It makes you wonder how pure the Magistocracy really is. But I don’t think they bother about magical children born to Muggles. They don’t have the manpower to find them and deal with them. And anyway, they pose no threat. They’ll eventually be killed, along with all the other Muggles, I suppose, when the Eternal Emperor finally carries out his Great Plan,” said Ginny, shuddering at the thought. Rick couldn’t think of anything comforting to say to Ginny. This world was a nightmare, just as Snape had said. The only thing to do was to put an end to it, as quickly as possible. There wasn’t much he could do for the miserable Ginny in this terrible reality. His heart went out to her, but all he could do was send her comforting feelings. Ginny, meanwhile, was beginning to develop a rather large crush on Rick. The strange and unfamiliar emotions were wonderful ... but also, unsettling. Romance was a luxury in this world, the prerogative of the Magistocracy. It was something she had never experienced – nor expected to experience. She found herself inexplicably attracted to this charming wizard. He had somehow penetrated the protective shell she had learned to hide behind ... and touched her heart, with his warmth and sincerity. Ginny looked up at Rick, who, noticing the strange look she was giving him, quickly probed her mind. Ginny’s romantic feelings towards him became immediately obvious. Rick had been using his charm liberally, to gain her confidence, but clearly there were some unexpected side-effects – which he should have foreseen. Rick began thinking frantically of a way out of the situation he had got himself into, without hurting Ginny. She already had more than enough pain and suffering in her life. “Err ... Ginny,” said Rick. “Err ... I really like you, you’re a really lovely witch ... but, err ... the thing is, you see, err ... I have a girlfriend, back home and ... well ... I’m sorry, but ... I’d really like to be your friend, if you’d let me.” Ginny gave a sad, disappointed smile and looked downwards. She was all too used to life disappointing her. She knew better than to expect happiness from this world. “It’s OK, I understand,” she sighed sadly. “I’d like to be your friend, Rick, but it wouldn’t be a good idea to be open about it. There are spies everywhere, and the authorities discourage friendship. Our allegiance is supposed to be exclusively to the Eternal Emperor, and the Magistocracy. Friendship between witches, who will become someone’s concubine, and wizards, is particularly discouraged. So please be discrete.” Ginny sombrely rose to her feet; brushing some leaves and twigs from her robes. “I should really get going – I have heaps of homework to do. Please wait a few minutes, before coming out of the forest, someone may be watching. You really have to be very careful around here,” she said, smiling sadly at him, before walking off towards the castle. Rick felt terribly sad for Ginny. Just like the Ginny his old reality, she was a lovely person. But in this world she had no hope of happiness; she had nothing to look forward to but suffering and misery.... Rick sat lost in thought, trying to process all the terrible information he had learnt from Ginny. The more he got to know this world, the more he hated it. Rick contrasted this world with the little he knew of the future world of the year 2000, which he had visited with Harry. Voldemort was the undisputed master of both worlds. His enemies, plus all the Squibs and Muggle-born witches and wizards had been killed in both. But in this world, the mixed-blood witches and wizards had also been killed, not just enslaved. This world seemed better organised, and more insidious, with its Magistocracy and its Wizarding Breeding and Purification Program. Although Rick didn’t know as much about the future world of the year 2000, on the face of it, the two regimes were quite different. He wondered why that was. Maybe it was because Voldemort had ruled this world for fifteen years, whereas he had only ruled the future world of 2000 for three. Perhaps it was because this Voldemort had not suffered the dissolution of his body and the years of suffering, before the creation of a new one, in the graveyard at Little Hangleton. Perhaps it was because this Voldemort had destroyed Harry Potter as a baby and laid the Prophecy to rest, whereas the Prophecy still hung over the Voldemort of the future, who seemed obsessed with fear that Harry Potter would one day rob him of his precious immortality. Rick’s musing was interrupted by something moving on the ground. A large beetle crawled out from under the leaves at the base of the tree Ginny had been leaning against, and took flight. Could it be another Animagus spy? Rick asked himself. He closed his eyes and projected a magical map of the vicinity – a name jumped out at him: Rita Skeeter. It was obvious from her trajectory that she was heading for Hogsmeade, to transform and Apparate – and, almost certainly, to report on Rick’s conversation with Ginny. She had been well within the area enclosed by his Imperturbable Charm – she would have heard everything. She was already too far away for him to catch with a Summoning Charm. What could he do? He had to stop her. If she made it back to her handlers in the Secret Security Service, with her scoop, Rick’s plans for getting his wand back from Voldemort and ending this awful reality would be dashed – and Ginny Weasley was as good as dead! Rick transformed into a Peregrine Falcon and headed off at top speed in the direction Rita had taken. With his powerful falcon’s eyesight, he soon spotted her. He pulled in his wings and dived, neatly plucking the beetle out of the air with his powerful beak. Immediately, he soared up into the air, to discourage Rita from trying to escape from him, by transforming. If she did, she would plummet fifty metres to her death. Rick flew, with the beetle in his beak, into the Forbidden Forest, coming down in a small clearing. Hopping onto one foot he gripped the beetle in the claws of his other foot before transforming. Then he lifted his foot, and cast a spell on the beetle, forcing it to transform, immediately hitting the witch, who appeared before him, with an Immobulus Jinx. Standing before Rick, like a gaudy statue, was a furious blonde witch, dressed in garish purple robes, and wearing jewelled spectacles. She was heavy-jawed, with thickly-pencilled eyebrows; her hard face caked in thick make-up. She looked decidedly out of place, amongst the subdued harmony of greens and browns of the forest. Rick plucked the wand from her hand, which was adorned with lethal crimson-painted, two-inch long fingernails, and probed her mind. As he had expected, she was spying for Lucius Malfoy. It seemed that Voldemort had no use for a free press, or reporters. Rita’s flamboyant writing style wasn’t at all suited to state propaganda, which was the total content of the tightly-controlled wizarding media. So she had drawn on her Animagus skills to launch a successful career as a spy for the Secret Security Service. Rick probed her mind for anything she might know about other spies operating at Hogwarts, but it seemed that she knew very little, apart from the names of a few informers, which he carefully noted. Rick decided to deal with her the same way as he had dealt with Peter Pettigrew. “Squibbus, Finite Incantatum,” he said, throwing her wand back to her. “Crucio!” she screamed viciously. Rick just grinned at her. “Crucio!” she snarled again. “Squibs can’t cast spells, Rita,” said Rick. “You’re wasting your time. I just turned you into Squib – permanently. Go on, try casting some more spells – or transforming back into a beetle – I think you’ll find you can’t.” Rita tried every nasty spell she could think of, but nothing worked; and she couldn’t transform, either. She glared at Rick hatefully – then she lunged at him with her deadly fingernails. Rick threw up a barrier, which she hit so hard, she was knocked to the ground. As she lay, red-faced and winded, amongst the fallen leaves on the forest floor, she glared up at Rick with an expression or unmitigated malevolence. Rick was surprised that she was keeping silent; it didn’t seem her style, he had expected a torrent of abuse. He probed her mind again. She was furious at what Rick had done to her – turning her into a detestable Squib. She was seething with anger and hatred, and determined, at all costs, to get even with him. That was why she was keeping quiet. If she spoke, she would betray her vengeful intentions, and – she believed – be killed, before she could take her revenge. Unlike others, whom Rick had Squibbed, Rita’s immediate reaction was not one of fear, depression, and despair; it was one of unfettered fury and vindictiveness. All she could think about for the moment was vengeance. She was planning to go to Lucius Malfoy and report the conversation she had overheard between Rick and Ginny. She was going to tell him about all of Rick’s dangerous powers. She knew she’d be put death as a Squib, but she didn’t care. She didn’t want to live as a loathsome Squib anyway – but most of all, she wanted to destroy this beastly wizard, who had reduced her to this. “So, you’re planning to go to Malfoy, even though you know it means certain death for you?” asked Rick. “I’m sorry, Rita, but I can’t allow it. I’ll have to turn you into a beetle – permanently. I think you’ll find this forest a rather pleasant place, to live. Goodbye, Rita.” “You bloody little —” But she never finished her curse, because Rick had transformed her into a beetle. It was a perfectly normal beetle. It knew nothing about having been a witch named Rita Skeeter. It didn’t try to attack Rick, or to bite him. It just opened its wings and flew off, apparently quite content with its lot.
~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
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