Chapter 10: Journey to Knockturn Alley
This is pretty decent. Charles thought as he looked at the cauldron of potion bubbling like syrup. He took out a portion and put it in an opaque wine bottle. The potion was black and thick, like a slowly bubbling slurry of mud.
“This is seriously disgusting!” Charles looked at it with disdain.
He then left home and entered a random alley. When he emerged, he had turned himself into French royalty around 20 years old, wearing luxurious wizard robes.
“This looks quite nice.” He murmured to himself in English accented by somewhat distinct French overtones. As for when he’d learned French, was this a problem beneath his two great skills of eidetic memory and fast learning abilities?
Of course not! And when he learned French, he also had the time to study the etiquette of French royalty. In conclusion, he was now urbanely genteel and was no different to French royalty who had come to tour the British magical world!
Walking into the Leaky Cauldron, he gracefully said to old Tom at the counter, “Pardon me, I’d like to borrow your fireplace!”
“Two sickles.” The old fellow took a glance and lowered his head to continue drinking, completely failing to recognize that his person in front of him was a small fellow who often frequented his bar.
Looks like my disguise is quite successful. Charles thought silently. He paid and grabbed a handful of Floo powder, throwing the powder onto the flames. After a loud bang, the flames turned jade green and began burning higher, slowly filling the entire fireplace.
At this moment, Charles walked into the flames with an air of familiarity and said, “Knockturn Alley”, vanishing afterwards.
He was then sucked into what seemed to be a large vortex, his body endlessly spinning at a high speed, spinning… the sound of the wind as it whistled past his ears was deafening…. Something crashed into his elbow, he tightly tucked it in front of his chest, but he continued to spin, spin… he now only felt that countless numbers of hands were slapping his face…
Finally, his feet felt solid ground. He steadied his body with a practiced air and maintained his good composure, casting a Scouring Charm over himself before walking out of the fireplace.
“It’s still difficult to get used to this topsy turvy feeling after using the Floo network so many times,” he murmured to himself.
He was now in a dark alleyway, and the shops on the sides seemed to be filled with goods for use in dark magics. He saw an old wooden sign above the roof of one of the stores selling poison candles, with the words: Knockturn Alley. The largest store in the middle was the renowned shop for selling dark magic ingredients, Borgin and Burkes (out of every 10 people, 9 would purchase dark magic ingredients here). There was a disgusting window display across from it with numerous shrivelled heads in it. A box filled with incomparably large black spiders were placed beneath the two doors, they were still alive!
Walking into Borgin and Burkes, he immediately saw a shriveled hand placed on a cushion in a glass box, a pack of playing cards stained with blood, and a glass eye that kept staring at people. The masks with frightening expressions on the wall seemed to look at people, and all sorts of human bones were placed on the counter. There were also strands of rusted, sharp instruments hanging from the ceiling.
It looked quite frightening, but Charles was mentally prepared and thus didn’t lose his composure. He strolled with leisurely steps and began to look at the items within the shop.
“Hello, what would you like to buy sir?” The store owner Mr. Borgin didn’t dare slight Charles in his royal get up.
Charles turned back to see a man bent over at the waist appear in front of the counter. He was using his hand to repeatedly comb the greasy hair out of his face.
Although the man in front of him looked like a petty, selfish, and ordinary merchant, but Charles didn’t dare discount him.
He specialized in selling dark artifacts, and a portion of his wares were exceedingly dangerous. In addition to this, he also collected all sorts of evil items when he did business, so he had an extensive collection of dark artifacts. Many years ago, Tom Riddle, Voldemort in other words, was an employee at Borgin and Burkes and had the opportunity to be close to many extraordinary items. Using his identity as an employee, he discovered that Hepzibah Smith had two priceless treasures: Hufflepuff’s cup and Slytherin’s locket. Tom killed Smith and framed the house elf Hokey, he resigned after stealing the two treasures and vanished.
Voldemort was a smart man, a far cry from the madman that some made him out to be, although the Horcruxes probably caused certain impact on his mental well being! A storefront that could draw his interest was sure to be uncommon. With the number of dark artifacts that Borgin and Burkes had possession of, Mr. Borgin could have spent a thousand years in Azkaban a long time ago. But the truth was that he remained in Knockturn Alley selling all sorts of dangerous dark magic artifacts with ease, and conveniently disposed of these items for the Malfoys and other nobles to deal with the Ministry of Magic. The power of this bloke was not ordinary! He could even be a super strong hidden boss!
So those children seeking to defeat Mr. Borgin and obtain the dark artifacts, were your minds screwed on properly?
After seeing the items within the shop, Charles was certain that Mr. Borgin didn’t even need to make a move. Just the dark artifacts in the shop alone was enough to cause no end of trouble for these children!
But it was a good thing that although Mr. Borgin may be extremely strong and had vast quantities of dangerous items, he was still a merchant at heart. He could still be bought with galleons and Charles happened to not have a shortage of galleons currently.
“Do you have any boomslang skin?” Charles asked.
“Sir, that is a prohibited good.”
“I’ve heard you sell prohibited goods.”
“Sir, those are all rumors.”
“My galleons believe you.”
“Sir, how much do you need?”
Thus, under the assault of Charles’ gold coins, Mr. Borgin quickly became acquainted with this “sucker”. But Charles had no choice. I’ll be a sucker then! I can’t fight you anyways right now.
After an hour, Charles placed these items back into the bag with the extension charm cast on it and left in satisfaction.
He’d be surely ripped off this time, but Charles was still happy.
Back home, he first took out the boomslang skin in limited qualities. This item was a requisite ingredient for preparing Polyjuice Potion, he would be sure to find much use for it in the future. Although he could get it from Julie right now, but to avoid suspicion he had to place it in a list of other magical ingredients to obscure his intentions. The other potions ingredients were also hard to get. Once or twice was fine, but it was sure to create much burden for Julie after a long time. Charles felt quite badly about it and had to purchase limited quantities from Borgin and Burkes to avoid being suspected. But although the Polyjuice potion was key, it wasn’t used much so it would still be enough if used sparingly.
He then took out a few books on dark magic, potions, and Occlumency. Charles flipped through them. These books were all of high quality and filled with generous amounts of dried ingredients. It looked like although Mr. Borgin was greedy, he was still a man of his word!
Finally, he took out the Hand of Glory (the hand in the glass box) and placed a candle in the hand. Its light would shine only for the holder. It was the best friend of thieves and plunderers, and would be quite useful in nightly wanderings around Hogwarts. There was an exceedingly good wand sheath. He could wear it on his arm and have his wand directly flick into his hand when needed. Complex magics had been cast on the place holding the wand. It would automatically maintain the wand when the wand was inserted. A summoning charm had been cast on the accompanying wand holder. It would cause the magic wand to automatically fly back when activated. There was also a large cabinet. Charles could only lift it out with a hovering charm. There was a boggart inside. Charles had also wanted to buy the Vanishing Cabinet. When he fixed the thing, he could use the connection between the Vanishing Cabinet to directly slip into Hogwarts. It sounded quite tempting!
However, there wasn’t any point to slipping into Hogwarts now. Charles’ strength was too weak and he would be easily revealed instead! He didn’t dare think of the consequences of being revealed!