Chapter 136 Shade And Future

Newmongad Castle.

After decades of shadowy imprisonment, the entire castle had long lost its luxury and glory.

The floor of the vestibule was covered by a thick layer of dust, and the original pattern of floor tiles underneath was not clearly distinguishable. The corners were covered with cobwebs and moss. The floor-to-ceiling windows that were once adorned with stained glass had turned into a mass of gray and broken air.

The carved bronze chandelier hanging from the ceiling had long been extinguished. Elena could barely pass the enormous dirty dining table in the center of the vestibule and the high-backed solid wooden chair with carved decorations. She imagined the immortal drive of Grindelwald that swept through the entire magical world.

"Come on, don't stand there gawking."

Dumbledore observed the ruined scene with a complicated expression, tapped Elena on the shoulder, and gestured for her to follow him.

The two climbed the stone steps on the left side of the castle hall, leading to the iconic outer tower of Newmongad. They finally arrived at a dilapidated wooden door, without any lock or magical protection, which could be opened with just a gentle push; here lay the cell that the most powerful dark wizard ever built for himself.

Without sensing any magical movement, the hidden wooden door opened silently, and an elderly voice was heard from behind the door.

"Albus, you're getting slower by the day. Even without a Phoenix, you're taking too much time along the way."

The room was not spacious; the only source of light came from the skylight, casting a dim light through the window, with tiny dust particles floating in the narrow, long strip of light.

Hidden behind the strip of light, the owner of the castle, Gellert Grindelwald, leaned against the cold wall. His gaze did not look at the door, but rather at the skylight above, concealing his expression.

"After all, after so many years, we are all old. You know, I am turning 110 this year."

Dumbledore shrugged graciously, acknowledging, and cast a deep look at the disheveled Grindelwald standing in a corner.

The prolonged confinement in Newmontgard Castle had greatly weakened Gellert Grindelwald's body.

The body of the elderly wizard was skinny and withered, resembling a skeleton, and his face was beginning to look like one too. His eyes were deeply sunken, and he was missing almost all his teeth.

Hardly anyone would have believed that the frail old wizard in front of him was the leader who had nearly bewitched half of the European magical world, Gellert Grindelwald, whether man or woman.

"Aging is not terrible; what is terrible is that the things I predicted are gradually becoming reality. You should be aware that the Ministry of Magic is becoming increasingly cowardly and incompetent, put it in our time, and there will never exist such farces and compromises."

Grindelwald shook his head and chuckled, his gaze shifting from the skylight to Dumbledore's form.

Elena, standing behind Dumbledore, keenly noticed that next to Grindelwald's bed were several spread newspapers and magazines. If she wasn't mistaken, the one on top seemed to be the latest edition of "Singing Opposition" that she had read that morning.

"But there are many things that differ from what you think, and the time we have left is quite sufficient. Fifty years later, the balance between the non-magical world and the magical world has not been broken, which means that wizards' countermeasures are still effective."

Dumbledore smiled gently, took a step forward, and picked up the spread "Singing Contrasts," carefully examining the poor caricature on the cover, raising his eyebrows, and smiled.

"As for this... perhaps I should send a Chocolate Frog card to Mr. Lovegood; to be honest, I hardly recognized myself. I have read the content of the article, and the contract itself has not been leaked, but it so happened that I guessed it in a few places."

"Oh, I hope it has nothing to do with me anyway."

Grindelwald looked evasively at Dumbledore and took the initiative to end the topic.

The eyes of the first Dark Lord crossed to Dumbledore and settled on the silver-haired witch standing by the door, revealing a hint of impatience and displeasure on his face without attempting to disguise it.

"Why does this unpleasant little girl come to my castle? I believe I was clear in my response; I refuse."

Grindelwald clearly felt no sympathy for Elena Caslana, whom he had already met for the second time. He had never seen such a young and disturbing witch before; the firmly negotiated dialogues from a month ago still tormented him like an unsplinterable thorn.

"Listen, Albus, I'll say it again."

Grindelwald took a deep breath, turned his head to look at Dumbledore, and said seriously, "What I hate most in this world is children. The second thing I hate is teaching those mediocre ones. The third thing I hate is repeating myself. Rejecting once again. Unfortunately, your previous request meets all these conditions."

"Rejected?! Professor Dumbledore, you are a big liar, and you simply don't want to...!" Upon hearing Grindelwald's response, Elena's eyes widened in disbelief and anger at the starry-robed school director.

She had never imagined that the headmaster of Hogwarts, a hundred years older than her, would behave so ignobly and deceive an ignorant girl.

"Cough..."

An uncomfortable look appeared on Dumbledore's face, and he turned to caress Elena's head, saying in a calm tone, "Elena, wait at the door for now. Let me talk to Gellert again. If it doesn't work out, we'll leave."

"Really?" Elena looked at the white-bearded grandfather before her with suspicion. According to her experience, the credibility of most white-bearded grandfathers did not seem very reliable.

"That's true. But don't go too far. After all, there may be some residual magical protection in the castle." Dumbledore nodded and gave additional instructions.

"Understood, just stay where you are."

Snap.

Dumbledore watched as the girl's figure disappeared behind the wooden door, drew his wand, and tapped it lightly. A magical glow flickered in the dim room, and an invisible soundproof barrier contained the sound within the room.

"It seems that you value this girl very much, don't you? This is not characteristic of the Albus Dumbledore I know. I am not surprised that you have come personally to Newmontgarde Castle after declining, if not because... I even have some doubts as to whether the girl is your illegitimate daughter or your granddaughter."

Witnessing Dumbledore's expression being very different from the usual, Gellert Grindelwald frowned in a complicated manner, and could clearly discern the added patience and concern that Dumbledore had just displayed, as if he had once faced his sister Ariana - something akin to a look between loved ones.

"Gellert, I..." Dumbledore turned apologetically, glancing around the narrow, dark room with only two remaining people ~ mtlnovel.me ~ and the disheveled Grindelwald, his lips slightly trembling.

"Enough. Whatever you want to say, it's not this!"

As if he knew what Dumbledore was about to say, Grindelwald briskly waved his hand and adjusted his sitting posture. "There's no need for you to apologize. Words of apologies. I've heard enough of them over the years. This has been my choice, and you should be the clearest. Now, let's talk directly about the girl."

The one that took place in 1945 and was called the greatest wizard's duel in history was just an opportunity. Long before that duel occurred, due to what he saw and heard, his views began to change.

Dumbledore knew very well that there was only one spell that truly defeated Grindelwald and imprisoned him in the tower of Newmontgarde Castle. The words etched at the entrance of the castle - for the greater good.

"Elena? Kaslana, that girl...I saw your shadow in her, and of course, mine as well, and something different from ours too."

Dumbledore paused for a moment, recalling the scene he had seen earlier with a perspicacious glance, and looked at Grindelwald solemnly, with a particularly resolute tone, "If there were only a few doubts before, now I am at least 90% sure. As long as the girl does not die halfway, then she is the future of the magical world, whether good or bad."

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Tomorrow ~ Qiu's monthly ticket will explode ~

.: :)