Chapter 63 - Hurt Them

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Some days later: Lucius was finishing a Portcall with Elliott, when Socrates flew in with news that the girl was in some sort of distress. Lucius understood that someone was there and that the girl was in danger, but the problem was too complex to fully understand by vocal sounds and mental vibrations, so he took a tear from Socrates. Lucius could see through the Castlefinch's eyes that two thugs had been to Valentina's house: It seemed they had been once before, but this time they were angry. They wanted something. She didn't have whatever it was. They broke things. It was something to do with the little feck that had lived there. They threatened her. The girl pleaded with them. She seemed very strong when they were there, but she was very frightened. The men were coming back the next day. The girl was sick with worry.

Whatever it was, Lucius was too busy to deal with the problem. Elliott was arriving the next morning to go over contracts and he had a lot to do before then and once he arrived. He didn't have time to come to the girl's aid everyday with whatever nonsense she had gotten herself into. Socrates was clearly annoyed with Lucius for his callousness and after enduring several hours of her back turned to him on her perch, Lucius relented: "What am I supposed to do? She's not my responsibility. The girl has no one (which is no fault of mine). Am I supposed to run to her every time she has some dilemma?"

Socrates gave a little chirp and turned her tiny head away from Lucius in protest.

"Ugh! Alright, alright. Fine... bloody nuisance." Lucius grumbled. He was putting on a show. In actuality, he hadn't truly been able to concentrate since he had seen Socrates's tear.

Lucius called Sander: "The cottage, the one D'Estaing put the enchantments on."

"Yes My Lord."

"The Muggle girl – she is in some sort of trouble, with two Muggles. Scoundrels. I gather they want gold. Whatever it is, please could you go there tomorrow and... sort whatever it is out."

Sander nodded without showing any question as to why such an unusual request was being made of him. He knew his employer had a little pastime of checking on the girl when he went on his walks (which was his own business, if that's what he wanted to do). He supposed Lucius was fond of her since they met in the market –as much as he tried to mask it– but in any case his boss's private interests weren't everyone else's concern.

As Lucius had said, the girl wasn't their responsibility; she wasn't part of the household. Like Lucius, Sander was busy. He had many exceedingly important responsibilities in his role as Head of Household Security for the Malfoys. Looking after one of the neighbours, was not technically part of his job (and others in his position, might even take offence to be given the lowly task) but as he was fond of Lucius and enjoyed his job there (a very highly paid and challenging job) Sander viewed the request as a personal favour and did not question it.

"Sander. I am sure I do not have to say..."

Sander looked at Lucius, slightly affronted. Of course he would be discrete. Lucius frowned sheepishly before smiling.

"... And Sander," he said calling Sander back as he left, "hurt them."

Back at the little cottage Valentina was very scared. She was afraid to go to sleep in case they came in the night. Jerremee had given them the address and had arranged to meet them there the first time they had come, but of course left before they came. It hadn't concerned him that Valentina would be left on her own to face them. The first time they came, they had been more agreeable. By the second time, they were very angry about being made a fool of. At first Valentina thought she could handle the situation if she was just respectful and straight with the thugs. She had seen their type many times before around her ex Alexey. These sorts of people had a lot of life experience. They could read people. They would know she was being sincere that she didn't have anything to do with the matter and no longer had contact with Jerremee, or wanted any contact with him. (They had met him themselves, certainly they would understand that.) Valentina tried the honest approach, but it didn't work. She had overestimated the thugs in their ability to read people, because they assumed Valentina would call Jerremee and beg him to come and that if they were rough and aggressive enough, he would have no choice but to come and deal with the situation like a man. They were wrong on both accounts.

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