'So did the Dark Lord fall, then!' he laughed.

'Happy, are you?!' Lucius was mad. Here I am, worrying about what would happen to me and my family and this idiot is laughing!

'Not exactly, Lucius, you came close enough,' he sounded as if he was disappointed. 'I am revelling!' he laughed again. Austin Guard! What happened to you?

Lucius whipped his wand out, pointing at this idiot, 'have you gone mad?'

'I am the sanest person you'll ever meet, Malfoy! The Dark Lord was weak. If not, why would he fall? That too to a baby in a crib?' Guard asked.

Yes, why? Lucius heard his own voice whisper in his head. None knows what exactly happened. He chose not to reply. He lowered his wand a little.

Guard smiled. 'See? At least you understand. Every other one tried to kill me for saying that out aloud. I only said what was on everyone's mind, didn't I?'

The Malfoy Manor grew dark around them. Cold wind swept through the halls. Malfoy was never more uncomfortable and uncertain. Why should this happen to me at a time like this?

'What will you do now, Guard?' he found himself asking.

'Let me rephrase that question: What are you planning to do, Malfoy?'

I have no better choice. 'I . . . I plan to ask the Ministry to reconsider my situation. That the Dark Lord manipulated me and my family into helping him in his war against our world. Manipulated us by using the Imperius Cur-'

He was cut off by Guard. 'So you are going to beg them? Beg forgiveness from whom you considered filth all the time? I knew you were a man of pride but a hypocrite? O my! life is full of surprises!'

'One more word out of your filthy mouth and I am going to make sure you never open it again!' How dare this madman talk to me like that!

His face fell. 'And to think you had some sense . . . ' he trailed off. Lucius clenched his fist and said, 'Then what will you do? Will you tell them everything we did in the Dark Lord's name? They'll kill you and all of us!'

He definitely lost his mind. If I don't finish him off here, he'll get everyone killed.

'No. Why would I do that?' he frowned. 'I'll just go meet the headmaster.'

What? 'Dumbledore? Why would you meet him?' He was shocked, to say the least.

'Let's just say, he'll convince the new Minister to spare me after I spoke to him,' he said nonchalantly. Lucius lowered his wand again. 'How? Are you Dumbledore's spy?'

Guard burst out laughing. 'No, Malfoy!' he said between his laughter, 'I didn't speak to him once before! Gods, I don't even know how he looks like!' his old accent resurfaced.

Yes. Another thing that bothered him. When Guard joined their order, he claimed that he learned magic at Durmstrang but his accent isn't like one of those. It was a heavy accent. He never heard it before. It sounded odd.

'How will you convince Dumbledore?'

'Let's see: By talking. Smooth talking and truth talking,' he said. Who is this man?

'Time to go, Malfoy,' he said, looking outside. It was dark and clouds hid the moon and stars. Lucius was unsure of letting him go but, what can he do? Slowly, Guard faded. First he turned tranparent. He could look through him literally. Then he vanished. No usual crack he heard. No sound, as if he was a ghost.

Stop these thoughts! he thought to himself and took a deep breath, thinking of how he should tell the Ministry.