Albus Dumbledore sat in his office, attempting to read through a very long and very boring report by Argus Filch. The most he managed to conclude from it was that the castle was clean enough for the students to arrive on September 1st.
Though the report was undoubtedly unpleasant to read, the real reason Dumbledore had trouble focusing was an entirely different matter. It was why when he heard shuffling outside the door, his nerves stood on end; when the clock chimed half-past, he nearly fell out of his chair; and when the knock he had been waiting for finally came, he stood up so abruptly that his chair fell over. The resulting crash involved Fawkes' perch falling painfully on his head and his favorite ink pot shattering on the floor.
He sighed mournfully, pulling out his long wand and waving it once. Everything returned to normal, except the ink was no longer usable. Pity, it was his prized magenta color that he'd received on his 110th birthday.
The knock on the door became more urgent, and he abandoned Filch's report and strode to the door, forgetting for a moment that he could simply wave his wand to open it.
Minerva McGonagall, deputy headmistress, stood on the other side of the door, her lips pressed into a thin line. For once, the normally calm Transfiguration teacher looked slightly concerned.
"Albus, it's here," she said quietly, and Dumbledore nodded once, his stomach bubbling nervously. He straightened the wizard's cap on his head, stowed his wand in his robes, and followed McGonagall down the stairs of his office to the entrance.
Seven envoys stood at the bottom of the stairs. They were lined up in two columns. The middle two were holding a glass box. The seventh stood front and center, his red robes glistening in the moonlight. He inclined his head to Dumbledore and pulled out a slightly weathered scroll with gold ends. To his amusement, Dumbledore noted that the supposed leader of the envoys was wearing a red wizard's cap with a tassel that ended past his waist.
The leader cleared his throat and gave Dumbledore a cordial smile before unfurling the scroll and reading directly from it.
"Good evening, Professor Dumbledore. I am Hampton Thistlewit, director of the Crown of Hogwarts division of the Ministry of Magic. Here I come with several proposals, each of them as compliant as the next:
"One: you shall house the Crown of Hogwarts within your castle using the proper security measures;
Two: you shall construct a place to house the Crown of Hogwarts that is surely inaccessible to those who wish to take it;
Three: you should report to the Ministry every week on the well being of the Crown of Hogwarts;
And Four: you shall allow four senior Aurors picked specifically by the Ministry to guard the Crown of Hogwarts 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
The envoy rolled up his scroll and gave Dumbledore an almost mocking smile. "The Ministry of Magic does not fool around with these kinds of things, sir."
Dumbledore nodded his head. "Of course, Mr. Thistlewit, of course. However, I fell inclined to remind you that the security of this castle is even better than the Ministry's. As a Ministry official, Mr. Thistlewit, you should know this. Do you suspect that a student or staff member might attempt to — ahem — steal the Crown of Hogwarts?"
Thistlewit gave an indignant sort of snort and adjusted his round glasses in an agitated sort of way. "Professor Dumbledore, the Crown of Hogwarts has remarkable historical and magical value —"
"I am well aware of that, Mr. Thistlewit," Dumbledore interrupted. "However, I do believe that I trust in my students. After all, what is that muggle military saying — ah — 'treat your men like your own sons, and they will follow you anywhere.' I trust each person who resides in this castle, and in return, I receive respect."
Thistlewit stuttered something unintelligible.
"I assure you, Mr. Thistlewit, that I will put what security measures that I deem necessary into place. No one will attempt to rob me, Mr. Thistlewit, I can tell you that."
Dumbledore gave Thistlewit a kind smile. "However, I do like some of your suggestions. How about — three Aurors? And it is a simply brilliant idea to report every week, so the Crown can be found quickly if I were to make a mistake."
"Albus, you won't make a mistake," McGonagall cut in sharply.
Dumbledore shrugged. "There's a large chance that I might. May I see the Crown, Mr. Thistlewit?"
Thistlewit looked utterly confused and disoriented. He adjusted his glasses once again and nodded slightly.
"Excellent," said Dumbledore happily, as the two men holding the glass box deposited it into Dumbledore's hands.
Dumbledore admired the great craftsmanship that graced the Crown. Each peak was perfectly identical to the others, excepting for the stones.
The gems seemed to glow with power, and Dumbledore nearly shivered, realizing that just a thin layer of glass and a red pillow separated him from holding the most powerful object ever known.
Thistlewit cleared his throat, and Dumbledore realized that he had been holding the Crown for quite a long time.
Dumbledore handed the Crown back to Thistlewit and declared, "I want it in the Great Hall. So the students can see the power of education."
"But — sir —"
"The Great Hall," Dumbledore repeated. "If it is to be displayed, then let everyone see it, am I right?"
McGonagall nodded slightly, and Thistlewit seemed to lose his nerve as she gave him a steely glare.
"That seems perfectly in order, Professor," said Thistlewit, bowing slightly (Dumbledore noticed it was more to McGonagall than to him), and turning to the other envoys.
Thistlewit muttered something to each of them before turning back to Dumbledore.
"You'll need to come with us, sir. We need you to construct the pedestal and place the proper enchantments upon it."
Dumbledore nodded slightly and beckoned McGonagall forward. But Thistlewit stopped him.
"Uh — Just you, Professor."
Dumbledore sighed. "What did I tell you about trust, Hampton?"
Thistlewit swallowed, then bobbed his head back and forth as if weighing his options. Finally he came to a decision. "Fine, fine. Lead the way, Headmaster."
And Professor Dumbledore strode off into the dark castle, followed by the rather stark procession of the Crown of Hogwarts.
YOU ARE READING
It's 1977. The Crown of Hogwarts is being installed for the first time at Hogwarts in a thousand years. And then someone comes along and steals it. This someone goes by White Fox and soon, they're killing too. So who is the mysterious White Fox? W...