(1939-09-20) Nothing Ever Goes Smooth
Details for Nothing Ever Goes Smooth
Summary: Graham, Rena, and Katherine are tasked with investigating a factory's possible connection to the Vengal Clan. Morgana finds herself caught in the middle.
Date: 20 September, 1939
Location: Susanna's Super Smooth Lubricant Factory, Verdic Alley
Plot: Forgotten Shadows
Related: Rolo Gastley, Attack on the Alleys!

When Chief Worthington summoned Aurors Cohen, Sykes, and Lee…er, Odori…into his office, some couldn't help but notice the curious stare from Auror Esmeralda Abbott. Perhaps her concern was valid, as Worthington informed the three Aurors that they were in a briefing for their next mission in the Heart of Gold case.

Thanks to the discovery that a particular lubricant was applied in the devices used for the Diagon Alley combustion gas attacks, the Ministry has made a possible connection to a business known as Susanna's Super Smooth Lubricant, makers of a product of the same name. Most interestingly, it has been discovered that the lubricant is identical to Slicketyslip Lubricant, which was previously investigated but discovered to be out of business due to a fire that consumed the building. Apparently, Susanna Unger purchased the formula for the lubricant and quietly repackaged it as her own brand. Unger is an old woman, and leaves the running of the business to her son-in-law, Percival Patterson.

Given the discovery of the lubricant in footprints potentially left behind by a Vengal, the Aurors are being tasked with investigating a possible connection between the Vengals and the company. They are reminded of the difficulties presented by what is being referred to as the Forget-Me Hex — a brilliantly clever spell designed to rob any memory of seeing a Vengal the moment one is no longer observing them. But it seems to be limited to specific locations where a memory receptacle is stored. This means that if there are Vengals present at the factory, there will also likely be a Forget-Me Hex active.

The clock on the distant community hall strikes six as the three Aurors fly in and touch down outside the small building used as the lubricant factory. It is an unassuming structure, marked only by a small sign in one of the shuttered windows that reads the name of the company.

Rather than ride her exceptionally ornate and finely crafted work of art made by the loving hands of Laurence, Rena arrives on her less conspicuous Ministry Broom. Her flying really has improved greatly over the last year, and she sweeps in for a graceful landing outside of the small building. It isn't her job to take the lead. This is Graham's case, despite all of the hard work she has put into it since her first day as an Initiate in the office. However, she is known for lacking patience as much as confidence, and the small redhead fidgets rather impatiently for Kat and Graham to lead the way.

Graham touches down lightly dismounting from his broom he'll glance to the others. He will take a moment to glance about the area getting a better idea of what they are walking into here. "So beyond this special hex, the Vengals seem to specialize in memory charms in general." he says the young man glancing over the factory he'll begin moving towards the building he reaches into his sleeve and remove his wand but keeping it to his side "Did you see the side door on the way in?"

Kat can get on a broom and fly it. And that's about it. When she comes to a landing she hops, skips and runs a few steps before coming to a full stop. Afterwards she fussily rearranges her skirts, pretending she didn't look as clumsy as she did as she walks up to Graham and Rena. "Odori, Cohen." Putting her broom aside she follows Graham's lead and pulls her wand out of an inner pocket in her robes, "I did see it. I guess that is going to be our point of entry?"

Rena doesn't actually reply to Graham or Katherine other than to smile and nod in greeting. This isn't the time for chit-chat. Never has an investigation moved more like molasses in the winter - and she wants justice to be served - no matter how cold it may be at this point in time… and on the right people.

Moving toward the building, the redhead tilts her head to one side curiously, scanning the outside of the building before withdrawing her little Rowan wand. "Homenum Revelio…" She says softly, incanting the Human Revealing spell to try and see if anyone might be waiting for them to cause problems.

"Sykes, Odori." Graham greets them both but he nods towards the building "I think it would be best likely not to walk in the front door without at least trying it." He offers in return though he looks back as he hears the spell cast looking to Rena "Anything there?" he asks curiously to what the spell found but he'll take a few more steps towards the building though he'll wait to go too much further until Rena answers."

Katherine holding her wand at the ready Kat walks up to the mentioned side door, making almost no noise. Putting her hand on the handle she looks back to make sure that her companions are ready for the possibility of someone being at the door, paying special attention to Rena. She twists the handle to see if its locked but waits to make sure everyone is ready before opening the door.

For a long moment, Rena seems to hold her breath, staring intently at the building itself. One slim, gloved hand is raised for silence, before she finally answers in a low voice: "Nine… faint… they ain't so near as far. The walls make it 'ard for me to see any better than that. But I am pretty sure there may be nine inside…" The hand lowers to her side, and she moves quietly toward the door to join Katherine and Graham there. She wishes rather heavily that she could have managed to get a better fix on the goings on within the building, but there's nothing for it. They're Aurors, after all. This is what they do for a living - and she's ready to go in and face the music.

Graham nods in return to Rena "That's something at least." he says though he'll move towards the door now himself as it seems to be locked which isn't really surprising. The young man pauses to glance over the door checking for alarm runes but not finding anything he'll raise his wand to the ready but nods to Kat to do the honors in unlocking the door.

Katherine swishes her wands in a reverse 'S' movement and with a whispered "Alohomora" sends a blue spark jumping from the tip of her wand to the doorknob. Immediately after she turns the knob and opens the door in a brisk, controlled movement. Smiling slightly at Graham she motions at the open door with her free hand, "This is your case, Cohen. Will you do the honors?"

"This ain't some bloody ceremony. People've suffered and died from the injustices inflicted on 'em because of this whole mess of a case." Rena says in an irritable, albeit hushed voice, regarding both Graham and Katherine with some rather obvious irritation. Acting like it's some lark in the park where everyone takes turns and plays the situation as though it were a lighthearted outing will do nothing but put her on edge. However, she waits for Graham to pass the threshold. If she didn't have such good restraint, she would have pushed past and gone in herself.

The young man watches as the door is unlocked he'll reach with his wand tapping himself on the head "Homogenus." he casts the disillusionment charm and blends into the background. Graham reaches out and very slowly and carefully opens the door his wand held at the ready still he'll step inside and begin getting his surroundings.

Katherine arches an eyebrow at Rena and seems on the verge of responding back but instead just smirks ever so slightly and follows Graham through the door, moving as quietly as possible.

Still less than pleased with the momentary delay, Rena takes a deep breath and composes herself slightly before sneaking into the open door to follow Katherine and Graham.

As the Aurors enter, they finally get a look at the operation inside. Most of the building is one large, open room. It is filled with three long tables, where workers are busily grinding and preparing ingredients on one table, mixing them with their wands on the next, and finally bottling and sealing them on the third, where they are then set into crates. The crates are forming a rather large stack toward the back of the factory. Near the front of the factory is an office. On the wall directly across from the side entrance are two other doors, one near the front of the building and one near the back. The first is clearly marked as a privy, the second has "Supplies" painted on the door.

Percival Patterson scurries between the long tables where workers are hurriedly mixing ingredients and filling bottles with shimmery, rainbow-hued lubricant. "We're way, way, way behind schedule, people! Please, we've got to get this shipment ready. It's going to be picked up at five in the A.M.!" He tosses Morgana yet another look of half-hearted apology, shrugging and gesturing about as if to show just why he cannot spare her the time she needs.

"Look, I understand and apprciate that you are a busy man, however there is an arrangement between my boss, Madam Black, and you. If you are unable to honor that, that I will be more than happy to report back to you and we can mark you down as an unreliable supplier, and be more than happy to let all those that we also work with to know that information. Now, you are wasting my time, and in turn are going to cause me to be behind on my work, which does not make me a very pleasent person to be around." Morgana crosses her arms and stares Percival down as he keeps himself busy around the store.

Percival gives Morgana an incredulous scoff, his mouth gaping open. "I'm…I'm not unreliable! And we're not a supplier! We just happen to have what Madam Black needs. But we're terribly busy! Just…please, I won't be another minute." Which is the same thing he's said several times over the last hour.

"You're creating a product that you sell to businesses, you are a supplier." Morgana says dryly, and when he says that he's going to be another minute, she reaches into her robe and pulls out a pocket watch. Flicking it open, she begins to time him. "Fifty seconds left." She says dryly, obviously way past the time where patience is considered a virtue.

Percival pulls at his hair in frustration. "Not literally a minute, Miss Rashley. Just…please be patient!" The harried young man scurries along, his quill checking this off of a list in his hand as he inspects the work being done. He seems to be completely oblivious to the side door of the factory swinging open.

"You've been telling me one minute for over an hour, forgive me if I no lonver have any reson to be patient!" Morgana isn't yelling, but her tone is very clipped and she is still looking at her watch. Or, at least she was. When the side door opens, she turns her eyes toward the wall, raising her brow just a bit. She can see the two women, and one looks vaguely familiar, however it's that familiar shimmer that enters the room that really catches her eye. Her brow raises just a bit, and she isn't quite sure if she should tell Percy that he has guests. However with the amount of time he has left her waiting, she decides he can find out the fun way. "Thirty seconds." At this point, she's just trying to drive Percy insane.

Graham can at least at the moment see over the area but its so open this will be tough given this layout. He'll move back towards the others at the door though speaking a low spell once he's close enough. "Homogenus." he'll tap Rena on the head firstly "Hm I think we need to clear the floor to be able to search, but how?" his voice no more than a whisper.

After Graham goes in through the door Kat notices that there is really no way to make it into the building without being seen by the people inside. So she stays close to one side of the door. In response to Graham's question she asks in a whisper, "Smokescreen to mimic a fire? Unless we want to make arrests, then we probably just need to start slinging spells while we still have the element of surprise…"

Rena's brow furrows the moment she looks into the factory. Her dark eyes wander over the scene unfolding before them, and her lips part slightly. Under normal circumstances, she might utter some exclamation… but right now, she's silent. Discretion may well be the better part of valor. Rena immediately withdraws from sight and flattens back against the wall outside of the door because somebody decided to tap her on the head with his wand and make her all blendy-Wendy.

"Graham!" Rena whispers tensely. She's probably already been seen. "Arrests?!" She adds in exasperation: "We were supposed to investigate the place, not pull an American Speakeasy style raid! 'Ow about badges flashed and: 'ere now, let's 'ave a chat?!"

The six workers are focused on their tasks, having been whipped into a frenzy by the fidgety Percival. But as Percival himself is trying to be observant, while having his concentration repeatedly broken by the righteously impatient Morgana, he finally notices the open door. "What in the name of Merlin's blue boxers…" He moves to the door, grumbling about somebody leaving it unlocked, and starts to swing it shut.

Morgana notices that she's loosing her distraction ability, since the door has already been noticed as being open. For a moment she frets her lip, before she decides to stride over to him, and continue her role as annoyed patron. "Look, I'm beginning to believe you don't have what we're asking for. If that was the case why did I have to come all of the way down here? You're continuing to waste my time."

Graham finishes with this before the foot steps alert him to the approach. He taps himself on the head dispelling his casting so that he can reach to give a nod "Good Evening Sir, I'm Graham Cohen with the MLE Auror's Office." he'll reach to show his badge firstly.

Katherine stays out of sight and quiet, letting Graham handle things for the moment but keeping the element of surprise still on their side, in case its needed.

Rena, for her part, remains "Blendy-Wendy" - which is what she is now calling herself in her own mind. She stays put for the moment as she is embarrassingly NOT completely human looking and would frankly put anybody's back up in her current condition. She only hopes that Graham can manage to work things out amicably now that the whole entry has been rather botched.

The slender, weak-jawed Percival nearly leaps out of his shoes at the sudden appearance of Graham. "Great Gangly Nargles! You scares the dickens out of me! Wh-…Auror Office? Why in the world are you here?" He looks back at Morgana, clasping his hands. "Pleeeease don't leave. I promise, we have the slime you want. But…now this!" He gestures emphatically toward Graham, his latest distraction.

The workers have begun to take notice that something is amiss, which naturally slows their pace.

"This? I'm assuming this is another clever distraction you've set up so I look like a fool to my boss because you can't seem to produce the item that I need." However the Aurors are here, and she shakes her head. "Granted, this Auror showing up isn't putting a whole lot of faith in your business. I do hope this is a legit operation." Morgana says impatiently, crossing her arms as she waits for some sort of explanation.

"Apologies of course." He says about startling the man but he doesn't step back though standing where he'd been he glances to who the man speaks to before back to him. Graham nods "Yes, here just to ask some questions look over the factory, tie up some lose ends really." he will likely have something which gives him the right to do this and so reaches to his pocket and produces it to offer it over.

Katherine since Graham is showing warrants already at this point there really isn't much of a need for stealth so she takes a moment to pull her badge out of her pocket and place it visibly on her robes and steps around the doorframe. "We would appreciate your cooperation to make this process as quick and efficient as possible for everyone involved."

Rena remains silent - just another brick in the wall. However, the peppery little redhead only has so much patience, and it was wearing thin before they even tried to enter the factory. With all the noise inside, and the various people talking at once, she takes a risk on casting another Human Revealing spell.

Percival waves his hands frantically at Morgana. "No, nonononono! This is all a big misunderstanding, you'll see!" He takes the search authorisation papers from Graham, gulping a bit at the great bit M.L.E. stamp at the bottom with Gordon Worthington's name signed above it. "Yes…o-of course. But why in the world would you need to be here? You can see we're a perfectly legitimate business." He stresses the last for Morgana's benefit. "And we're extremely busy. Behind schedule, you see. So…please, ask your questions and then you can toddle along. We've so very much work to do."

Graham shakes his head slightly but still fairly friendly when he speaks once again. "Our business I'm afraid, but we'll be in and then out of your hair in no time. Just need to take a look around and perhaps ask a few questions. Other than that your workers can go about their business." he says watching him to see the reaction.

Morgana seems less than convinced, but good sense tells her that the Aurors may want to question her as well, so she stays put. Besides, she's got orders not to leave without the slime.

Katherine tilts her head a bit, looking Morgana up and down once before turning her attention to Percival, "If you could please point me to your office so I can examine your records while Auror Cohen asks you and your employees some questions." As she waits for Percival's answer she look curiously around her, taking in as much of the operations going on in the room as she can.

Rena gets a fix on the various people within the building once more, and her brow furrows rather sharply… not that anyone can see it. There is one less to be seen this time than before. How odd.

Graham and Katherine have the poor unnerved man quite busy and on his toes. He's harried enough with Morgana in the background making him more nervous. Time to take a gamble, she decides. And so, she slips through the doorway very slowly and very carefully, hoping not to make a scene.

Percival whimpers nervously. But he turns to his workers, putting his hands on his hips in an effort to look authoritative. "You heard the man. Keep up the pace! We'll be here all night if we must. Pay no attention to the Aurors. Work, work, work!"

If it wasn't for the direct order from her boss to not leave with out this slime, (and it had better be the best slime to ever have slimed or there are going to be words) Morgana would be gone. However she's stuck here, and seeing that Percy is being uppity still, even in the face of the Aurors she shakes her head. "You know, I hear positive reinforcement works better with your employees than negative, but what would I know." She mostly murmurs that, since she doesn't want to talk over the Aurors.

Graham will nod to the workers words and will step inside the factory as asked for. "So as my co-worker said we may need to take a look at the log book, see what sales have happened in the past few months. I am assuming a record is kept." Graham says before he begins starting with a simple closer look to see if anything stands out. The young man will be looking closer over everything he can though this is just a starter.

Rena creeps along very carefully. It's a relief that nobody can be troubled (thus far) to notice her movements as she slinks along the wall. Graham and Katherine ought to be able to handle anything that's going on in this wide open space. What interests her are those two closed doors marked Privy and Supplies… if only because they are closed, and she has the insatiable curiosity of an errant feline. The office? That could be problematic. Graham asked to see records, and they may well head in that direction. So, she moves on toward the Supply room door. Sliding up to it, she flattens her back against the wall and reaches out to turn the handle - or try to at least. It MAY be unlocked, after all.

"Sales records?" Percival gives a deflated sigh. "Mother Unger won't be pleased about this one bit." Giving Morgana a silent plea for more patience, he throws his hands in the air and marches toward the office at the front of the building, heading inside to retrieve the log book in question. He's out moments later, offering the meticulously maintained record for inspection. "I'm sure you'll find everything is in order. We keep very precise records of our transactions."

Silent plea ignored! Morgana crosses her arms again and shakes her head, giving out the most audible sigh she can muster. Once he comes back with the log books she'll look to Graham and raise her brows. "I'm sure you do keep every precise records in this log book, but are you sure there isn't another?" Though she holds up her hands to the Auror and smirks. "Not that I'm trying to step on any toes, but if they're hiding something, they wouldn't keep a log of it. But while you're in there, can you check for my slime? I'm starting to doubt it exists."

Graham turns back at his first glance over the place. He does look back to the workers perhaps spotting one who is taking an interest in their visit more so than the others are. He notes this, but will turn as the man moves to get the logbook. "Its quite necessary, but we'll be careful." he responds though he'll look at the man "We will still need to check the office I'm afraid but its appreciated." he looks up as he's spoken to and nods "No toe-stepping taken Miss?" he asks her name. It seems he'll move to a place where he can look over said logbook.

And the angels sing… The Supply room door is unlocked!

Rena cautiously slips her hand through the crack and nudges the door open so that she can peer into the room and see its contents. There isn't much to be seen, however. Brooms, mops, cleaning potions… nothing interesting to see here. What a let down.

She edges herself back against the wall and breathes a soft sigh. Closing her eyes, she focuses all of her energy on trying to find that missing person (person no. 9) once more.

Rena's eyes open, and she can see all of the markers for the people present once more. Ignoring those who are plainly in sight, she turns and looks behind her. Faint and indistinct, she sees one last glow in the wall she has been leaning on, all this time. For a moment, she is stunned - but the redemption of logic prevails and she realizes there must be some crawlspace between the rooms. Now it's a matter of finding the entry, if any. She opens the door slowly once more, and slips into the supply room. Might as well start there. If there is nothing, she'll move on to the privy afterward.

Percival lets out a defeated scoff. "Yes, fine! Of course! Tear my office apart!" His voice cracks with his exasperation. "It isn't as if I have work to do or deadlines to meet! This poor Miss Rushley here has been patiently waiting for far too long already, and now you're delaying me even further. But fine, fine, investigate away. It isn't as if I can stop you!"

The curious worker meets Graham's gaze for a moment, and doesn't look away as many people would. He just gives the Auror a little smirk as he swishes his wand, mixing together the ingredients for the lubricant.

"Well you have been the one providing delays and excuses for more than an hour, what is another thirty minutes for these fine people to do their jobs. Something I'm not sure you're doing." Turning back to Graham she nods her head. "Morgana Rashley, I work at Black Apothecary, and I am simply here to pick up some overstock that they claimed to have. However he's been micromanaging his staff for the last hour, instead of fulfilling his bargain." Morgana says bluntly. "So any information you find out would be fantastic, I have a feeling we will not be doing business with this company in the future."

Ponders a moment looking at the logbook. Graham will look to Percival nodding "We'll try to slow you down as little as possible." The auror catches the glance from the worker though and too much is the difference from his fellows. He looks back to Morgana "Good to meet you, I'm Graham Cohen." he introduces though the rest he hears he cant really speak to only giving a nod before he makes his way over towards the worker "Evening, Sir mind a couple questions?" he is looking him over close trying to see if he can place him anywhere in his memories.

Katherine for her part Kat heads on over to the office, giving Percival the smirk that, for her, substitutes what would be a polite smile on most other people. "Don't you worry, Sir. I will be as delicate as a mouse when I go through your office." Stepping into the same room Percival went into to get the first log book she starts looking around. Specifically looking around for hidden drawers or compartment in the desk, the wall, the floor, or the ceiling.

Rena tries dutifully and quietly to move through the supply room and check the walls from top to bottom. There has GOT to be an entry into that space between the rooms hidden somewhere. If only she could figure out the way. As there is no above, so there is no below - the entry must either be in this wall, or the wall of the privy. Logic tells her that… the voice of Arthur in her head, really. Whenever she's in doubt, she tries to think of what he would tell her to do.

Unfortunately, she doesn't find any indication of a door or a secret panel. Why can't things ever work out like the do in Muggle cinema?

With a small sigh, Rena moves back to the door and cautiously inches it open once more to slip outside in order to make her way to the Privy.

"Ah, excellent, so what's your name firstly? How long have you worked here at the factory?" Graham will ask to get some baseline on him though he notes where Sykes is going he doesn't exactly know where Rena went but she knows what they are after and can call if there's trouble. He still doesn't exactly care of the idea of the three being so split up given if the Vengals are involved they are quite dangerous etc. For now time to roll with it.

Katherine starts to carefully go through the office, first taking everything off the desk. As promised she piles items up in carefully organized pile that, while maintaining the office tidy, completely destroy any sense of actual organization. In on pile near the door she start putting any logbooks, paperwork, and items she thinks might be pertinent to the investigation. Then the drawers come all the way out the desk, taking a place on the desktop while the young Auror carefully checks for files or logbooks attached to the insides of the desk…

Into the privy Rena slips. She casts one backawrd glance in the direction of the workers, Graham and Katherine before edging her way in through the door. What she finds is a rather tiny little privy. Of course, it doesn't smell all that great in there, either. Just imagining how many people use it on a regular daily basis… well, she doesn't want to think about it.

Again, Rena begins to make a determined search of the room, looking for any sign of a hidden door to the room that must obviously be on the other side of the wall. The visible doors are far too far apart. There has to be an entry somewhere.

"Name's Dorian Shafiq, mate," the swarthy man answers Graham. "Been here…let's see…goin' on three years now. Hope that ain't a crime." He gives the Auror a chuckle, turning his attention momentarily to his work as he gets a look from Percival.

"I see, good to meet you Mr Shafiq and no of course not. Been here a while than." Graham ponders between the logbook and the worker "So, since your likely rather familiar with this potion by now how long does it remain good for if unused? The shelf-life I'd guess you would say?" he asks he's trying to test the facts and also if it is truth he'll know how far in the logbook to start.

Katherine moves on to the filing cabinets. Once again she pulls out all the papers stacks them up neatly and in complete lack of any cogent order, then pulls out the drawers to get a good look at the insides of the cabinet proper.

Dorian nods toward the cauldron he's just finished mixing, which he passes on to the next worker to add the final ingredient. "Should last years, long as it doesn't get contaminated. Once it's applied to something, it's usually good for…what would you say?" He looks to the worker next to him. "Six months to a year?" The worker nods his agreement. "Depending on usage, of course."

Now see here, there has got to be a way into that room she KNOWS has to be on the other side of that wall. Unfortunately, there's nothing to be found in this room either. Just the irritating knowledge that someone is on the other side of that wall… and for all she knows, they're in trouble. That's what has Rena's worry rising more than anything.

Out of the privy she slips, moving on to the outside of the rooms once more. If she weren't having to keep quiet, she'd be muttering to herself by now. Time to investigate the blatantly obvious wall between the two doors - but frankly, she doubts that anyone would put it in plain sight like that.

Graham internally winces this isn't really the answer he wanted to hear given the log-book could be next to impossible to go through all the way to find something though a part of him knows this is a long shot as it is unless he ponders a bit matching the two known usage dates to see if a name appears there twice or more matching the names. "Hm how does the usage effect the viability time? I mean in which ways would lower it versus making it last longer?"

Dorian gives a shrug. "It's a lubricant, isn't it. Eventually it'll wear off. Just depends how often the thing you put it on is used."

Percival is trying to convince Morgana to hold on "just a little longer", though he is constantly distracted by Graham interrogating his worker, his thin lips pinching irritably.

"If you're going to make me wait another few hours, the very least you could do is offer me a refreshment." Morgana finds something to lean on, crossing her arms over her chest and her feet at the ankles. While she is obviously listening to everything that is going on around her, she keeps that looming gaze on Percy.

Katherine interrupts her search to drag the chair out of the office and set it outside, offering it to Morgana with a smile, "Least you should have, if you're waiting, is somewhere to sit? So what's this slime you're waiting on being given?" She goes back into the office, leaving the door open so she can listen to the answer as she starts to go through the books on the shelves in the office, one by one.

The sight that meets with Rena's gaze when her eyes trail over the wall causes her to stop breathing momentarily. That sharp little startled intake of breath… and then nothing more for several seconds. She is staring at the wall, reading a message in her own handwriting: "Rena, look here." Next to the message an arrow has been drawn, pointing to the right.

Stunned, she does a double-take. Her glance falls to her hands, and she sees that her wand is in her off-hand, now - while her quill is in her right. The quill is quickly shoved into her pocket so that her wand returns to her right hand. What the bloody hell…

With a sinking feeling in her stomach, Rena trembles. Half of her wants to back off and run away, but the other half says: Do It!.

Swallowing hard, she dutifully does as the message commands and moves to the right to follow he arrow to the place indicated. She finds a door - plain as day. Not wasting a moment, she siezes the knob (probably a bad idea) and doesn't waste any time. Concentrating, she points her wand at the doorknob and silently casts the Unlocking Spell, hoping that it will work. Unfortunately, it doesn't. The knob remains tight. Think… think…

He isn't really getting anywhere so he will ponder a moment perhaps the direct route a bit when he speaks his voice is lowered "Hm, so Mr Shafiq not to say your in trouble or anything, but I couldn't help but notice unlike most of your fellows, you didn't seem surprised perhaps would be the word to see me and my colleague entering is there a reason for that? Really anything might be of help." Graham asks though he'll simply watch the worker to judge his reaction.

Dorian chuckles. "What, am I supposed to be quivering in my boots that the Aurors are here? Course I was surprised, mate. Doesn't mean I'm worried. If the bosses have been up to something shady, that's on them, not me." His fellow workers offer a few nods, his confidence becoming contagious.

Percival gives Katherine a withering look as she confiscates his chair. But as she's offering it to Morgana, he keeps his mouth shut about it. "Right…a drink. I can offer you some water? Just…just stay put and I'll get you some." He gives Morgana a weak smile and heads toward the privy.

"Thank you." Morgan says to Kat as she takes the chair, and adjusts her robes so they sit properly. "Oh, some water would be lovely." She says, folding her hands in her lap and giving Percy a knowing smirk. When he walks off to the privy though she opens her mouth to say a comment, but figures she's been rude enough today and should maybe stop.

"Indonesian dungworm slime." Morgana says to Katherine. "I was told by my employer that they had extra, and that she had already made arrangements for me to pick it up. That was hours ago." Yep she's not going to let him forget it!

Katherine pokes her head out of the office to peer at Percival, "So why is it taking so long to provide the slime? It doesn't sound like there's any special preparations to be made." Then she looks slightly over to Sharif and asks, "In your opinions as a professional in the making of 'Susanna's Super Smooth Lubricant'; why do you think the people that perpetrated the attacks in Diagon Alley might have needed your product?"

Determination - thy name is Rena. Persistence - thy name is Rena. Patience… thy name is NOT Rena!

"Portaberato!" She exclaims, not realizing that the unfortunate Percival is approaching from behind on his way to the privy. That poor man, he's had such a day already. What has he done to deserve this chaos?

The lock on the secret door shatters and is ripped clean out of the door. The noise is absolutely dreadful, but Rena is on a mission and she has utterly lost her cool. She makes a diving push through the door into the hidden room. So much for secrecy.

Rena's incantation and the ensuing ruckus draws every eye in the room. Quite suddenly, there is a door in the middle of the big, empty wall between the privy and the supply room. How did everyone miss such an obvious door? With the lock and knob ripped clean off of the door, it swings inward, revealing another room beyond.

Graham looks to the worker a moment nodding "I see, well I've taken up enough of you time. Thanks for answering my questions." Graham speaks nodding his head he'll walk away from the station he looks up towards Kat to see if it looks like shes' found anything before scanning the room looking for something or someone though he's not trying to be obvious about it walking and looking for now. The incantation and resulting chaos is a bit much of a marker. He'll be moving that direction is wand which was out anyway still is raised as he moves quickly to reach said new door.

Morgana looks to Percy as Kat brings up that great question of how hard would it be to get the slime. "That is a fantastic question." She's about to snark more when that noise bursts into the room. She jumps out of her chair and gets to her feet, following the Aurors, even tough she probably shouldn't. "What the devil?" She says, looking just a touch confused, but glad for some entertainment!

Mr. Shafiq give Katherine a look of confusion at her question. But there is no time to answer as Rena exposes the hidden room. At that moment, while most of his co-worker quail and cry, backing away or ducking in shock, Dorian and the fellow next to him raise their wands, Dorian's aimed at Graham's back, the other pointing his at Katherine.

Behind the hidden door is another room the runs about half the length of the building itself. There are a number of work tables set up in her, littered with tools, machine parts, bits of brass and steel, potion bottles, and so on. But the most eye-catching part of the room is in the center along the far wall. Attached to the wall is a gleaming golden object, about the size of a quaffle, in the shape of an ideographical heart. It is held in place by an iron harness that resembles spider legs wrapping around it from behind. The heart glows with a soft golden light that pulses steadily. Just looking upon it brings a sense of calm and warmth.

Within the room are four people. Two men clad in tattered black robes are already reaching for their wands. A similarly dressed woman already has hers in hand. The fourth is a short, nervous-looking older man with squarish, rubbery features. At the sight of wands coming out, he exclaims, "Merde!" and ducks under one of the tables, keeping low to the ground.

Katherine comes flying out of the office in reaction to the noise of breaking wood, wand already in hand and ready to go. As she sees the two men with wands threatening her and Graham she dives to the side and casts an "Expelliarmus!" at the man pointing his wand at Graham, hoping her dive will keep the other one from hitting her with his attack, "Cohen! Watch your back!"

This is something that Morgana did not expect to have to deal with today. She's just here for the slime, she's not here to get in the middle of some sort of back alley potions deal. Those are reserved for Thursdays. However the men inside of that room seem to be rather annoyed that their secret room is found, so she takes out her own wand, and finds something to hide behind.

Corinthia, the woman in the hidden room, curls her lip disdainfully at the open door. "We're found out," she growls. "Keep them busy!" She backs further into the room, out of direct line of sight of the door, as the two men with her move to obscure her as she brings her wand about in a complex series of gestures.

Rena's eyes go wide as she gazes into the room and finds herself faced with not only some terribly angry and sinister looking people… but the Heart of Gold. There it lies, not far away, mesmerizing in its strangeness. "I found it," she breathes. Only to immediately change tack and think to herself: "What have I done?!"

Unblinking, she backs away a couple of steps before raising her own wand as the others approach. Interrupting whatever the Vengals are doing seems like a good idea in her momentarily panicked state. If it works, the Deprimus charm might buy them precious moments of time. Her aim moves to the floor of the once hidden room beneath their feet then, and she cries out: "Deprimo!"

The young man doesn't have a chance to make it to the door as he hears the call from Kat and turns to see the man he'd been speaking to draws his wand as well as the one next to him since she attacks the first he'll level his wand taking quick aim at the second man while moving to find some sort of cover for himself. "Stupefy." Graham calls with a quick jab towards him. "Keep them in the room, until these two are down if you can." he calls without turning away hoping Rena can hear him.

The two men guarding Corinthia swing their wands low as Rena unleashes her Depriumus Charm, each shouting, "Protego!" A pair of Shield Charms flash out, deflecting her charm to the far corner of the room, where it booms and crashes, suddenly sinking a portion of the floor. The older man that ducked into hiding cries out, as the sinkhole appears none too far from his hiding spot. As Corinthia continues to cast her spell, her two protectors resume their defensive stance, ready to fend off any attack with their Shield Charms.

Dorian incants "Stupefy!" at Graham, only to be struck by the light from Katherine's wand, sending him crumpling to the floor. His co-worker grins in triumph as his own Stunning Spells finds its mark against Katherine, and he whirls to face Graham now, winding up another Stunner to put the Auror down.

Morgana has never been in a chaos like this before. So many spells are flying around and it's nothing like the Defense classes said it was going to be. Part of her is wanting to join in, but she knows better than that. So instead she raises her wand and prepares to cast a Shield Charm on herself if needed. Mostly, because spells are flying around the room with volatile potions just seems like a horrid idea.

Katherine's eyes widen as she realizes that her dive was not a good enough dodge. She tightens her grip on her wand and a split-second later a the stunner hits her and she finishes her dive in a boneless, unresisting mass and just lays there.

"Fiendfyre!" Rena cries out, loud enough for the others to all hear. She doesn't care if she's spotted or zeroed in on as a target now. Graham and Katherine have to know what the evil woman is trying to conjure in the background. "She's trying to make a Fiendfyre! GET PAST THEM - NOW!" Them, meaning the guards, of course… But now, Katherine is out of the picture. Great!

Gritting her teeth, Rena does something truly desperate and directs all her concentration and force on the lefthand Guard. If this works, she will hate herself for it later, come what may: "BOMBARDA!" She cries, trying to knock him out of the picture with the Cannon Curse.

Graham is forced to move quickly and likely sends his spell off course in the process. In the plus side he wasn't hit himself during this attack. He does spot Kat getting hit with a stunning spell but she hits her mark too, and he must deal with the second of the two still on the floor so he can help Rena with those into the room. He reacts this time to the offensive spell. "Protego." a parried movement made with his wand as he speaks the words. He hears Rena's words and nods in understanding he'll get there soon as possible.

Another boom is heard from the hidden workshop as Rena's unleashes a Cannon Curse upon one of Corinthia's guardians. The powerful spell shatters the Vengal's Shield Charm, striking him in the arm and right side of his chest with an audible crunch. He staggers back, but narrowly manages to avoid colliding with Corinthia. Still, he's left a brief window of exposure!

While Corinthia's guardians struggle to protect her just a little longer, the Vengal in the main factory doesn't let up on Graham. Frustrated with Graham's Shield Charm, he changes tactics to something not so easily deflected. He twists his wrist, jabbing the wand toward Graham and snarls, "CRUCIO!"

Everyone seems to be paying attention to everything else, but what Morgana is doing. At this point, she really should find her slime in leave, but she wants to know what that device is, and she knows as soon as this fight is over she's not going to get access to that room. So keeping herself low, she sneaks her way toward the door and the hidden room.

Through little twitches an muscle tremors Kat starts showing signs of an impending recovery from her stunned state.

They are running out of time. They are SO running out of time that it isn't a joke. Rena's in an absolute frenzy mentally. So much is going on around her, and she feels so completely small, alone and useless in the midst of all this. Try to think of everyone else if you can't think of yourself. Think of Diagon Alley… Think of Takeshi!

Something deep inside cries out in desperation, and it can be heard in Rena's voice as she directs her wand and all her strength into the spell this time: "Deprimo!"

He deflects the curse but it doesn't really help win this fight and indeed time is running out for the group. Graham knows that timing matters his eyes widen as the man casts the curse at him he'll move obviously trying to avoid the curse but this has to end and quickly even he can see that. "Diffindo!" he calls back slashing his wand at the figure.

Dorian groans as the Stunner wears off. He reaches for his fallen wand, but stays low at the moment, using the table for cover from Graham and the others. He eyes Graham's legs, but thinks better for the moment than to call attention to himself, preferring to take a defensive posture until he sees an opportunity.

His co-worker reels, stumbling back as Graham's Severing Charm nearly slashing him open! It tears up the sleeve of his robe instead, but the near-miss brings an angry grimace to his face. "I'll kill you, Auror!" He twirls his wand in the directly of Graham's stomach, shouting, "Exviscera!"

Meanwhile, Rena is keeping the three Vengals in the workshop busy, as her spells slams into the ground under their feet, sending Corinthia to the floor, and her defenders toppling this way and that (thought still on their feet).

The floor crushes down to create a crater in the floor that sends cracks up the walls all around…including the wall that the Heart of Gold is affixed to. The iron harness groans and there is a loud SNAP as one of the spider-leg fixtures breaks. The sharp edge of the broken iron piece appears to have penetrated the skin of the golden heart. From that fissure, shafts of bright light lance out, bathing the entire building in golden hues.

A warm sensation fills everyone, flooding their senses. Anger, hatred, and fear are muted and subdued, and there is an overwhelming feeling of…it can only be described as love.

Seems pleased when no one seems to notice her slipping off into the other room. However before she can react, that giant golden heart is damaged and that feeling of love pours out. It's a bit odd for Morgana to feel like that so rapidly and suddenly. SO her decision is a tough one, as much as she'd like to remove it, it looks firmly in place. So she lets her robe slip off of her shoulders to drape it over the damaged heart.

Katherine doesn't have a whole lot of 'nice' options in her arsenal. And she's pissed off enough about getting hit with a stunner that, feelings of love or not she wants payback. After all, we always hurt the ones we love, right? Taking advantage of the lull caused by the Heart's spell she places an Explosion Curse next to one of the factory tables, aiming to send it flying into both of the Auror's opponents in the larger outer room…

Rena is seemingly both bedazzled and dazed by the warmth and glow of the wounded golden heart. She leans against the door quite heavily, feeling the need to catch her breath and gain a second wind. What has she been doing all this time that was so tiring? And why? Everything's so calm and peaceful now…

Graham is lucky not to be hit, but his spell also doesnt strike it's target though. The magic which Rena does or whatever is happening there the room seems to change a warm and happy feeling spreads over him. He was rather angry a moment ago now instead of attacking while he's a bit confused he speaks "Protego." he tries to parry with his wand.

Another BOOM as Katherine's spell detonates, throwing one of the heavy factory tables into Dorian and his companion, pinning the two men down.

In the workshop, the Vengals regain their balance, Corinthia standing and brushing herself off. She looks at Rena with a mixed expression. "Well played, Auror," she admits…but then she raises her wand to point at Rena. "We'll be going now. Don't try to stop us, and I'll let you live." She nods to her two companions, and each places a hand on one of her arms.

Morgana notices that the harness isn't doing much to hold this artifact in place anymore. She isn't sure what this thing is, but she has a feeling that it does not need to be in the hands of who had it before. Not that she wants it for her own, but she figures she should at least get it out of here. Leaving it wrapped in her cloak she tries to move it free.

Katherine watches the two men struggle for a moment then decides that they're not going anywhere anytime soon with that table on them. So she spins around and sprints over to the entrance to the hidden workshop, wand at the ready. "Hello, hello. You know, may coworker here is a very nice person. I'm not very nice at all. I would suggest that all of you give yourselves up as being under arrest before things start to get truly nasty around here." And, influence of the Heart or not, she looks like she means it.

The affects of the heart remain fully upon Rena. She's known for having an absurdly (and dangerously) soft heart to begin with - and the Heart of Gold has made it a dozen times worse. She looks up at Corinthia, following the explosion with an expression that says plainly that she just doesn't understand why the other woman would even consider killing her. If anything, the notion hurts. And she can only watch as she and her companions make ready to leave the scene. Katherine's arrival is given an almost drowsy sort of stare. "But… why?" Rena murmurs, still very much lost.

Graham watches as the cannon spell goes off and is glad he's far enough back to avoid harm and that those two are down for the count for now. He can finally turn his attention in full towards the secret room. It isn't far away though he hears the words spoken by the woman in the room who has her wand drawn at Rena his still held at the ready, but the spell is lost for the moment while he thinks.

Corinthia smiles at Kat, twitching her wand which is pointed at Rena. "Ah-ah…careful now. You wouldn't want your friend to fall down and die." She tilts her head at Rena, pouting in mock sympathy. "Oh, sweetheart. It's nothing personal. You're an obstacle, that's all." Then, she and her two companions seem to turn on the spot, the space around them swallows them up with a CRACK, and they are gone.

Morgana has the heart and does her best to wrap it up in her robe, attempting to keep whatever love, puppies and happiness contained inside of it. Once the crazy lady makes her exit she'll shake her head. "Well this day has turned out for the worst." Walking over to Kat, she'll hand her the bundle. "If the cloak can be salvaged, send it back to the shop, otherwise, burn it." With that she's keen to get the hell out of dodge.

Near Morgana, a shuffling sound is heard as the rubbery-faced little man crawls out from under the workbench. "Merci! Merci! Vous m'avez sauvé!" He rises unsteadily, adjusting his spectacles. There is a drying trail of blood running down his cheek from a small cut.

Katherine turns to Morgana and takes her bundle, "Thank you" Smirking slightly she motions towards the factory with her wand and adds, "I think under the circumstances no one will miss the slime you came here for originally." Then she turns away and heads over to the pinned wizards to begin securing them for transport back to the Ministry passing the Heart over to Graham and Rena and leaving them to deal with the little man that just showed up.

Corinthia's rejection just seems to pile one last straw on Rena's already overburdened and overtired back. The moment the woman and her companions have gone, she feels her knees giving way beneath her. Sinking to the floor, she leans her head heavily against the nearest available object and just closes her eyes with a deep sigh. Never has she been put under so much pressure before. She may have been trained for this, but put in practice, it's an overwhelming experience.

"I…found it. The Heart…" She says weakly. "Supposed to be a good finder…Hufflepuff." And here she found the biggest treasure of all. She ought to be proud, but all she can feel is tired.

"Fuck the slime, I'm going home." Morgana says to Kat, having had enough of this entire factory for one day, and everything in it. "If she wants to fire me over this, than so be it."

He is loath to let them go, but its not worth anyone's life, especially not with the item retrieved. Graham only lowers his wand when they apparate away he turns and accepts the heart of gold from Kat "Thank you." he says to her looking at the item he cant help but feel emotions crashing over him. He's been looking for this for likely well over a year of his life been to Azkaban, wounded, endangered nearly killed more than once and twice tonight. He is silent and still a moment before coming back to the present. He will move over to where Rena is and reach out to her "Come on Rena lets get out of here hm?" he'll offer his hand and arm for support should she need it.

Katherine finishes securing the two thugs in the factory and comes back to peer down at the little man, "Who are you? Why are you here? And why shouldn't I stun you and toss you on the pile with the other two out there?" She's not a happy camper right now, having had to let a suspect she had the drop on just Disapparate out right under her nose.

The man holds up his hands in surprise at Katherine. "S-stun me? S'il vous plaît, non! You mean…you are not here to rescue me?" He sighs heavily. "Of course. It is the Heart you are after. I am Pierre Lefèvre. The Vengals, they have held me captive! I swear it is the truth!"

Graham's encouragement brings Rena's focus onto him after a moment, and she quietly rises to her feet. Seemingly silent and shaken by everything she's just done and been through, she looks dolefully at the little Frenchman as he approaches them. Her brows furrow as Katherine gives him a less than polite welcome, though Graham tries to make up for it. His words sink in and she finally speaks: "Mister Lefèvre!" she says in surprise, moving toward him with her hand outstretched kindly. "Are you alright?"

And this is why Aurors get partners. Katherine smirks slightly at Rena as she starts checking on the little man and then she turns to Graham, "Do the two of you have this under control? Rena's better at this kind of thing than I'll ever be so if you don't need me I'll go back to dealing with the prisoners and meet you back at Headquarters."

Graham looks to the man at his name and nods placing it in his memory easily enough "Our apologies we didn't know you or the heart was here, but we're glad if you were held captive to free you from it." he thinks a moment he'll wait for him to respond on how he is but turning to Kat "Yeah should be good Kat, thanks we'll meet you back there soon."

Lefèvre claps his hands together, smiling with such relief that tears well up in his eyes. "I am much better now. I cannot believe…but it must be true. You will protect me, yes? That woman, Corinthia, she tells me that they would kill me before letting me go."

Rena glances at Graham and Katherine with a look of concern as she moves over to take Mister Lefèvre's arm consolingly: "We'll look out for you from 'ere on, sir. You've got my promise. You're with friends, now." She says, trying to comfort him. Of all of them, she does have the sweetest, most genuine face - and she will hopefully not put him off by her forwardness. "But, we should get away from 'ere. We've got to take you and the Heart to the Ministry where you'll both be absolutely safe." Hopefully the Frenchman can understand her completely.

"Of course, though once your all settled perhaps we can speak further about your time here with the Vengals? Its possible we can use any information to find them so you wont have to have that fear at all." Graham glances to the heart in hands and takes a deep breath "Rena, lets get Mr Lefèvre back to the ministry and the heart too. We can work things out there hm?" he offers to see if this is agreeable.

Lefèvre is French. He is not remotely put off by a pretty young woman being forward with him. He gives Rena a smile that seems to mush up his face in an adorable old man sort of way. "The Ministry? But…surely you know that they have infiltrated it. Non, I will not be safe there. They will surely kill me. They…already have what they wanted from me."

Rena's brow furrows and she pauses to think for a moment. Then, an amused look comes into her gaze and she smirks at Graham: "Oh… well, shall I take 'im to Underground Central, then?" She asks before turning her attention to the older gentleman with a warm, but tired smile: "I 'ave a cottage in a place called Hogsmeade. It's many, many miles from the Ministry out in the country. Would you feel safe if I took you there?"

Graham will take a deep breath but look to the man as he speaks about the ministry not being safe. "We will be careful, you'll be safe." He looks to Rena and manages a small smile "Perhaps that's best, i'll be by soon as I can we still need to ask some questions especially on that last point. Once you've had time to recover only of course."

"It is protected? We can reach it by Floo?" Pierre fidgets with his hands. "They have eyes everywhere." He looks around nervously, then hurries to one of the workbenches and starts to gather up a number of portfolios. "I should bring my journals, and oui, we should leave immediately, before they return in force. Oh! There is an alcove, under there." He gestures to the harness where the Heart was attached to the wall. "There is a jar inside. Take it out and break it open. It is how they stay hidden. The people here do not remember seeing them, because their memories are kept in the jar."

"Right," Rena says firmly. "Do me a favor, leave word with Takeshi for me?" She asks of Graham with a pleading expression. "I expected to be 'ome tonight. I'd rather 'e didn't worry about me when I don't come in by a decent hour."

Turning her attention back to Pierre, Rena seems quite troubled again. "Yes, it's protected…" she answers quietly, following him. Going to the place indicated, she does indeed find the newly plastered spot in the wall: "Graham! I think you'd better take care of this bit." She would rather not be responsible for it… Instead, she helps Pierre gather his things hastily so that they can depart for her safe little cottage in the country.

"It will be afforded more protection if needed, we at least know some we can trust who will help us." Graham says though he nods to Rena "If you wan to to go ahead i'll take the heart back to the ministry see it gets where it needs to." The mans words gets a small wince another jar of memories at least hopefully this time none will be his own. "I'll send something to Takeshi." he will than move to find the spot where the jar is located just where the man said. He'll crack the wall open and indeed free the memories inside. Its only after he does this that he'll take the heart of gold and head back to the ministry likely right to Worthington's office for further orders. Though all have had a rather tough evening of it to be certain.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License