Chapter 18 - Click

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∞ 18 ∞


Everyone made the connection between the Mercurus Shield's supposed high toxicity and Draco's dangerous blunder after evidently taking it. They also accepted that there was a strong correlation between the shield's supposed efficacy and features of Luna Lovegood's seemingly fanciful recent written testimony. For example: she claimed she had been struck on the head by a limestone beam that night in the Department of Mysteries Battle in 1996 and that through no Magical provision of her own, "it just bounced off like it was a giant marshmallow." However, members of the Wizengamot queried the significance of the medical paperwork, which didn't discount that the younger Malfoy had taken something that he thought would be beneficial to him (and also apparently made him very, very ill). It could have been the Mercurus Shield he had taken and that the rumours were true that the double-barrel Magical shield was indeed highly toxic if not performed correctly, or removed in good time, as Lawson's manuscript suggested. The Wizengamot also didn't doubt that something had occurred specifically involving Lucius and the two girls: Luna had mentioned a spell in her testimony and that he had made Avery leave, who she considered had touched and looked at her indecently after he stunned her. The Wizengamot understandably wondered why it was only hearing just then at that late stage about the remarkable detail of a potion that Hermione too had been present and that the same had happened to her. In any case, Hermione's paperwork did nothing to offer support to her theory that what Malfoy had given them was the Mercurus Shield.

Before Hermione could explain, Eustache Langeman on the Wizengamot jury made the connection. The details of Draco's illness, evidently caused by poisoning from an exotic protective potion, matched Hermione's visible appearance when she fell ill, after the Department of Mysteries Battle. He knew what her symptoms were at least in part, because as Joint-Secretary for the Department of Magical Complaints, he had taken her complaint against Lucius Malfoy a week or so after the event. He remembered the details quite clearly not only because he had an excellent memory and her claim was so sensational, but because of Hermione's shocking physical appearance: "I remember being startled when I asked Miss Granger's age (perhaps 16 at the time... yes I believe 16 years, as I noted she was the same age as my daughter) because the girl looked like a woman of 40 years at least – a very ill 40 year old. Huge patches of her hair were missing. It was a terrible sight. The other young Witch, Miss Lovegood was much the same – red, scaly sores on their arms... It isn't something one forgets."

Through a successful trade for Lucius's testimony against another Death Eater, on a much more crucial point, Elliott had stopped the prosecution presenting both records: Hermione's complaint and Luna's initial, supportive statement that followed (by then both three and a half years old). He impressed upon Luna Lovegood, who was actually fiercely more astute than most people realised, that if she felt Lucius was innocent –which she did– that it was best to avoid mentioning that he had physically touched her or that he had given both her and Hermione something together, without their consent. So that no one could ask her any inconvenient questions, Elliott then convinced the court to accept a written testimony from Luna, rather than force her to appear in court, on made-up grounds that she became flustered easily and was still shell-shocked from her war experiences. Throughout all the trials there was so much evidence against Lucius and so many startling testimonies for and against him (but mainly against) that the prosecution felt more than confident without the two young Witches' post Department of Mysteries Battle statements. They instead presented Granger's more general statement made immediately after the incident on the night: "He tried to kill us! He tried to kill us! Please don't let him hurt me again! Please don't let him hurt me ever again!" The Wizengamot had also heard that Hermione had been so shaken, she had seen a therapist for months, as well as damning statements from the other children present at the 1996 battle that he had threatened to kill them all that night.

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