Part I can be found here: Card Game Omake
Part II Edit
Greengrass Manor’s front garden could support three Hogwarts Quidditch teams in a full match at the same time. Wards, designed by the most cunning minds of the extended Greengrass families had ever raised, protected the borders. While not the equal to protective enchantments maintained by Ancient and Noble families like the Blacks or Potters, they remained adaptable, raising impenetrable walls to all that meant harm. This had proven somewhat problematic after the Fall of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named; former members of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named had been repelled, until the barriers were dropped.
Not removed, Daphne corrected herself. Dropped. Able to be resurrected at any point.
Daphne gently brushed off the attentions of an overly-solicitous house elf. It meant well, but she had work to do. She approached her target at a lady-like pace, missing Freekey’s comforting weight on her shoulder. His presence in two places at once could not be explained without undue prevarication – drawing attention where it should not be. Ignoring the uncomfortable lack of sensation, she put on the expected hostess form as the target noticed her presence.
“Heiress Greengrass,” Draco Malfoy gave the situationally-correct bow, lowering his torso a bare fifteen degrees before returning upright. “I must say your invitation caught me by surprise. A little gathering during the Tournament? And the better class students? Well done.”
“Thank you,” her return gesture incorporated the minimum acknowledgement protocol demanded. “In turn however, my Lord Slytherin brought attention to the fact that not all could attend the Tournament itself. What better than to host an event for ourselves? A time like this should be enjoyed by all, should it not?”
A light smirk crossed Draco’s face. She doubted any of the Muggleborn would have seen it; masks did not limit themselves to cloth constructs after all. “Indeed. In the interests of maintaining the spirit of things, would you care for a small wager?”
Daphne kept her mask firmly in place. Standards needed to be maintained by someone. “I would be so inclined. What are your interests?” A long-suffering sigh emanated from her counterpart’s lungs, theatrical enough to ensure mockery, yet capable of claiming innocence if challenged. “Some of our classmates are becoming a touch -- overconfident. Despite numerous advantages, Lord Granger is greatly out of his depth. My wager is that he will be defeated by the second round.”
“Well-phrased,” Daphne cocked her head to one side. Hastily she corrected the position; she’d been spending too much time around Luna. “However, I believe he has a greater chance than you might expect.”
Draco relaxed, taking an easier stance. “Then we have terms. Now, the wager?”
Daphne beckoned to nothingness, gratified by the instantaneous response of the ever-watchful House Elves. A drink appeared in her hand, non-alcoholic as decreed by Lord Greengrass. “I would wager a small favour. And you?”
“Hmm,” Draco appeared disgruntled. “A small favour as well, I suppose.”
The utter lack of enthusiasm told Daphne everything she needed to know. Draco had clearly anticipated a more valuable stake, possibly information or odds on the various workings of the Gray, in itself providing insight to hidden workings. Logic tracking that thought through her mind suggested potential rewards beyond his pitiful imagination – and that lack of imagination made future earnings potentially even greater. If one were clever. Or imaginative. Better yet: both.
Lowering her eyes, Daphne allowed the second phase to begin. “Perhaps, if you were willing, to make a small adjustment to our wager?” Blonde hair flipping in the breeze, Draco turned a slightly more interested look on her. “What sort of change?”
She smiled. “Do you recall a parlay bet? I bet one small favour if Lord Granger wins the second round, and a second favour should he win the third round, and another for each successive rounds.”
White-blonde eyebrows nearly reached Draco’s hairline. “You would risk seven small favours on a muggle?”
She let her teeth show in a carnivorous fashion. “No. I would risk small favours on Heiress Granger’s father.” Draco’s complexion paled significantly. As host, she pretended to not notice. Or his ignorance of a true Parlay wager, and the exponential value therein.
Making the rounds netted Daphne more bets. The Crabbe and Goyle heirs had each matched Draco’s bet – not even asking the terms. It boggled her mind, how willingly the two surrendered independent thought to a single person. She trusted Lord Slytherin, but only after his proof, after he’d given evidence of his claims being true. Lord Malfoy may have offered such proof to the Lords Crabbe and Goyle, but their children? Useful information – the entire point of the Tournament, after all. One of them, at least.
The paper in her hand, legitimate OathWorks paper created by the same manufacturers as the Blood Quill group, gained another signature as the Notts heir made a wager. Gold, instead of favours; this young man held more intelligence than his fellows. Then Parkinson joined, doubling down on the Malfoy bet, smirking while drastically lowering Daphne’s opinion. Malfoy, whether he’d realized it or not, had increased what he potentially owed by over a hundred percent; Parkinson’s foolish mistake squared that error. Or was it a simple compounding? Daphne shook her head running the terminology over again; the art of the wager was not her strongest point, despite weeks of study.
Daphne avoided the urge to rub her temples. Truthfully, she wished to be far from the Manor, engaged in high-stakes risk and rewards. While the others were busy with their portions of the plan, here she rested, drinking mint tea and entertaining idiots. Shaking herself, she continued, offering a bright smile as the Finch-Fletchley scion tendered his greetings.
“And Lord Granger draws an Ace of Clubs,” Daphne politely listened as the announcer continued. Absently, she kept an eye on Draco’s face, seeing his customary smirk remain firm. “Combined with the pair of twos, he has the makings of a very strong hand indeed. Lord Granger is making this a very fine round, despite his unfortunate background.”
The party continued around her, adults congregating along the far side in their attempts to gain information while giving away none. Gatherings such as this were occurring all over Magical Britain, and the similar regions of other nations. It felt similar to what Hermione had described as football matches where, except for the United States for some reason, large multitudes of sports-fanatic muggles congregated. Celebrating the contesting of one group against another, national or international, appeared to transcend the magical divide.
Of course, she believed the Americans to be most sensible. What was the point of screaming at devious men battling over a small sphere, itself descended from a cow’s head? Ridiculous.
Her mother glided across the lawn, high-heeled shoes walking along the soft loam as if on a ballroom floor. Behind her, the circle now broken by her absence reformed, fragments integrating into new circles. Were one cynical, she would assume the changed focus to the newcomers might be some form of deliberate release of information, dispersing through organic means unmatched by muggle technology. A form of communication that not only competed with light-speed machinations, but elided them entirely: gossip. If one were cynical, of course.
Daphne turned back to her own charges, watching whilst the younger generation made their own respective plays for lesser forms of power. Small morsels to be certain, but the right tidbit could make even the mightiest tremble. It was the Slytherin way.
“You are doing well,” Lady Greengrass appeared next to her daughter. Every move she made fell within the proper expectations, down to the simple statements expected. “I am certain your friends are enjoying themselves.”
Daphne smiled. At least, the corners of her mouth bent upwards enough to technically make it count as such. “Yes, mother. I’m certain they are. Thank you for allowing us to host this party; I am certain the grown-ups are dying of boredom by now.”
“Somehow they will manage.” A knowing look exchanged between parent and offspring. The elder gave a slight nod, interpretable as an approving gesture. “I should return. I do not wish to miss the Third Round.”
“Of course,” Daphne gave the expected courtesy. “Our guests must not be abandoned for too long.”
Thirty seconds were required for Daphne to rejoin her guests. Clinical analysis demonstrated no new developments; Heiress Parkinson held Heir Malfoy’s elbow, the pair backed by Heirs Crabbe and Goyle. Opposing them, although admitting as such would be gauche in the highest order, Heir Zabini and Heiress Bones spoke together. At least, until Heir Potter approached, trailing a perturbed looking Virgo Malfoy and one of the Weasley’s. Ronald, she deduced. His reputation as a superb tactician was matched only by his appetite. Despite the neutral nature of their surroundings, she could already detect sparks flying between the multiple groupings.
Swiftly, she moved to intercept.
“Heir Potter,” she dipped her head. There seemed to be a discrepancy over which twin retained the honorific for the Potter Heir; ergo safety lay in artificial ignorance. On the other hand – “Miss Malfoy.”
“Heiress Greengrass,” if Daphne hadn’t known to look, she would have missed the minuscule tightening around Virgo’s eyes. “Thank you for the invitation.”
A touch of honest happiness entered her smile; admirable for the situation, to confuse and educate – for a split second, Virgo’s own visage appeared a touch confused. A thought went through Daphne’s mind; Alex could have played the role correctly, but chose a different place. Hermione would try, but could not embody the very essence of a Lady of the Manor – yet. Ginny would throw herself into the role, but would suffer in her mind, and Luna was … Luna. This … this … was where Daphne belonged.
“But of course,” Daphne’s eyes flicked to John Potter, so alike and so different from her Potter. “After all, a friend of the House of Light is a friend indeed. Would either of you care to make a minor wager? Nothing serious, just a few small favours.”
[ v ]Miscellanoeus
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