|Scene Title||Moon Frogs: Investigation|
|Synopsis||A chance meeting between a Ministry official and one Ms. Lovegood|
|Date||Jul 13, 1994|
|Watch For||The glaring admission of an army of Ministry-controlled leeches!|
|Logger||Young Ms. Lovegood|
A cacaphony of sounds comes from all corners of the room and from varying animals. On the sales counter by the door is a cage full of sleek black rats that insist upon skipping about and showing off. Odd colored toads occupy glass cases while nearby there are poisonous orange snails and tortoises with jewel encrusted shells in aquariums. Suspended from the ceiling is a cage of noisy ravens while cats of every color roam about the store or preen themselves in baskets.
Outside, it was a lovely sunshiney day. The horror of the Quidditch Cup that just recently happened seemed to have no bearing upon the weather. Nor the mood of one Ms. Lovegood. The mood of the owner of the Magical Menagerie, however, was a bit less buoyant. The owner of the shop raises his hands, and says, "We don't /have/ those sorts of animals already. Little girl, I've heard, and know of, all manner of toads, but I've never in my life heard of a Moon Frog." Luna, the target of the shop owner's exasperation, pauses a moment, a little frown pulling down the corner of her lips. Bringing a finger up to them, her brow creases in thought. "… I wonder where those moon frogs went after we interviewed that gentleman, then. Are you sure, sir?" she asks, to a quick response of, "Yes!"
Madeline missed the excessive excitement of the Quidditch Cup, thankfully. The broom demonstration that went so explosively was quite enough for her. But life goes on and she's back to the daily grind of Ministry life. At least today she's managed to get out of the office by volunteering for a routine run down to the Magical Menagerie, to pick up some various food supplies for those creatures they always seem to end up with in holding. So the door opens and lets in the quiet witch, carrying a rather long scroll of parchment that is in the process of coming unscrolled as she tries to reach it. One end hits the ground before she gathers it all up with a sheepish expression and steps up towards the counter. "Er, pardon me," she bids quietly, glancing between Luna and the agitated shopkeep. "…When you've a moment…"
The agitated shopkeep seemed more than happy for the interruption. "Excuse me, Miss." he tells Luna, who seems entirely unperturbed by the interruption. Turning about on her heels so that the chunks of vegetable she has attached to her earrings bounce against her face, her distant, faraway look is lifted up so she can look at the face of the much taller Ministry worker. The shopkeep was all happy smiles and friendliness as he says, "How can I help you today, ma'am?"
"Yes, thank you," Madeline replies politely, though it's with an awkward smile and a sidelong look at Luna, who seems to be peering up at her and putting her a little off her game. Such that she has any game. The parchment scroll, now more of a loose gathering of its length rather than a proper scroll, is set down onto the counter. "I've been sent by the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. We're in need of our monthly supply," she explains, gesturing down at the laundry list. "They said you could put it on the billing account; is that correct?" she asks, starting to feel a little flustered about this oh-so-important task.
The shopkeep smiles brightly, "It certainly is. Just so long as your order is signed by one of your department supervisors, and I can get you to sign a scroll saying you picked it up!" he says, plucking up the end of the scroll, and murmuring to himself as he looks over it. Luna, for her part, wasn't quite peering so much as staring, a vague little smile tugging up the corners of her lips. "Excuse me." she calls up to the woman, drawing a glance from the shopkeeper as well, (who was a bit glad that Luna's attention seemed to be on the newcomer, for a change.) "You wouldn't have happened to heard of Moon Frogs either, have you?"
"It should be in order," Madeline replies, though she starts to lean over to make sure that it is, indeed, signed by her supervisor. She's distracted from that by the voice beside her, and blinks before turning to look back at Luna again. "I - What? Moon Frogs? No, I'm … afraid that doesn't sound familiar. Are you sure you aren't thinking of Chocolate Frogs?" she offers, casting for the first thing to come to mind that a young person might be looking for.
"No, no." comes Luna's response, quickly enough. The girl had a faraway, dreamlike quality to her voice. "Chocolate frogs are a candy. You see, I read in my daddy's magazine about Moon Frogs, and I'd rather like to have a look at them myself." she says, her vague smile growing a bit bigger as she stares up at the woman. The shopkeep gives Luna a sidelong look, and then looks back towards Madeline, with a toothy grin. "It'll be a few minutes for me to get this in order, ma'am. Excuse me." he says, disappearing towards the back. Luna, however, gets a rather sudden look of thought. "I'd imagine with all the heliopaths in the Ministry, it might be a bit too dry for them, however."
Madeline just continues to stare at Luna as if she's speaking on some foreign tongue. "I-" she begins to respond, before giving up and looking back over at the shoopkeeper. "Of course. That's fine. I'm in no rush," she assures him - quite honestly, since it's back to the file room for her once she returns. Without the shopkeep to distract her though, her attention returns to Luna, brow furrowing. "Heliopaths? Pardon me?" Luna gets herself a few more blinks for that before Mads is glancing around, waiting to see if someone is going to step forward and explain what is going on here. "What are you talking about?" she ends up with, since there's no one else here to explain it for her.
"Heliopaths. Mr. Fudge keeps an army of them in the Ministry of Magic." Luna says, her tone of voice holding the same dreamy and distant quality that it started with. "And that would mean that the care of them falls under the department of magical creatures." she says, her serene smile only growing after she speaks the final word. "It's all in the Quibbler, you see."
"I'm sure if there were an entire army, I would have noticed," Madeline replies. While some adults might be saying that as if to logically prove their point that there are no heliopaths, Mads more has an air of wondering a bit herself. But no, an army she most definitely would have noticed. "The Quibbler? I thought that was made up," she notes, again sounding confused. It isn't something she reads regularly, and from hearing about it in passing, she'd assumed it was fiction.
"Well, that is why there is a coverup, you see." says Luna, with the quiet hopeful calm of someone who believes entirely in what they are saying. In Luna's case, what her dad was saying via the magazine. She pauses a moment, lips pursing as she regards Madeline again, her features a lot more thoughtful this time. "Perhaps you are a part of it." she says, continuing in that quiet, thoughtful tone. "The Quibbler is not made up at all. It is probably one of the few magazines anymore that dares to tell the truth." she says. With that defense, the dreamlike quality to her tone slips away, though it remained calm. She seemed to have a bit more focus now, entirely upon poor Madeline.
Madeline's eyebrows go up as she considers this, and she is beginning to come over entirely awkward - which might not help her case any. "A part of it? A cover up? No, I'm not a part of anything," she assures the strange girl, attempting a wan smile with that which seems to be more of a grimace in practice. "But I've spent a great deal of time around the department, and I've never seen anything like that." Why is she still talking? Her awkwardness only grows as Luna puts more focus on her. "I thought it was made up," she states simply, not quite apologetic about that.
A little huff leaves Luna's lips at the last thing Madeline says - a strange, calm-sounding huff. "A lot of what appears in the Quibbler are guesses, but we often have evidence that the Daily Prophet and even the Ministry do not dare to look at." she says. She pauses a moment, though. "Are you absolutely sure there's no heliopaths in the Ministry? Have you checked everywhere?" she asks, canting her head a touch to one side.
"The Ministry looks at a lot of evidence," Madeline replies, one detail she is quite certain on. She fills out far too many forms to make her doubt how much evidence the Ministry processes. It isn't meant to be argumentative, really, though there's something about the new tone that's getting her back up slightly, it would seem. "I haven't checked everywhere, no. But I know my department, and I've never seen anything like that there. And by that logic, you could say the Ministry is … I don't know, breeding deadly giant leeches, since no one's looked everywhere to prove that they aren't."
Luna pauses a moment, her eyes going to the door leading to the back, where the sounds of shoveling could be heard now. Breathing in through her nostrils, and out through her mouth, a faraway look slowly enters Luna's eyes, seemingly unfocusing them. "But they certainly cannot look at it all." she says, the dreamy quality in the little girl's voice returning, as she turns her attention back towards Madeline now.
"All the evidence? I would think they look at everything that is pertinent," Madeline replies, brow furrowing slightly as she also glances back over towards the door to the back, hoping, perhaps, that the shopkeep will not be too much longer. "There is a lot being done at the Ministry. Small details some wouldn't even think to look for. I think anything they don't look at probably isn't worth it."
Luna nods her head at that, a return of the smile gracing her lips. "Well, sometimes the greatest of things can be found in the smallest places." she says, trying to affect cheerful friendliness up towards the woman. From the back, the shopkeep steps out, setting a few bags upon the shelf. Giving Madeline a smile, he turns around to duck back past the door, to come back out a few seconds later, with a few more bags.
"Or sometimes the most banal and insignificant of things can be found there instead," Madeline points out wearily. Her life is lived in the banal and insignificant, after all. She's just a ray of sunshine on this joyful day. But she does brighten as the shopkeep returns with her bags. "There's nothing wrong with refusing to accept the answer you've been given," she states to Luna, though she's eyeing the bags - and her tone has changed a bit again. "But beware that you might not always like the truth." She frowns then. "My, that's quite a bit more bags than I was expecting."
"That was a long list, ma'am." says the shopkeeper. "The moon frogs must eat a lot of food, after all!" he says, breaking into an awkward peal of laughter. Luna, for her part, turns her attention momentarily to the shopkeeper, before looking back towards Madeline. "In my experience, oftentimes the most wonderful things are where no one else have looked yet." she says, seemingly unperturbed by the older woman.
"I assure you, there are no moon frogs," Madeline replies to the man, quite seriously. "Not to my knowledge." She doesn't seem to know what to do with his awkward laughter. She looks back over at Luna, considering that a moment. "Then your experiences must have been quite fortunate," she states evenly, intending it more just as a matter-of-fact. "In mine, looking where no one has looked only goes to show why no one looks there."
The shopkeeper clears his throat, looking rather apologetic. "Of course, ma'am. If I could have you sign this bit of parchment… do you need help getting that back to the Ministry?" he asks, sliding a quill and bit of paper with the total amount of food she was taking back. Luna, for her part, looks a bit stricken, and a bit sad on top of that, her head canting just a bit to one side again, "So you've stopped looking?" she asks.
Madeline leans in to sign the parchment where it's indicated, after giving the total a cursory glance to make sure she's not signing away her soul or the Ministry's army of heliopaths or something. "If there's some help handy, I would appreciate it. But please don't go out of your way." She'd hate to put him out, even if she's no idea how she'll manage otherwise. But magic is a handy thing and she's sure she can come up with something. A hover charm, perhaps, would do. She's distracted from this thinking by Luna's question, glancing sidelong at the girl before turning to face her properly. "I … suppose I have. There isn't much time for looking these days," she points out with a wan smile, as if it's silly to think otherwise.
The total was a usual amount that the Ministry had to pay to feed its charges. Perhaps a little more, but that was a long list. "I've a little cart." says the shopkeep, "And for the Ministry, well, nothing is going out of my way!" he exclaims. They were probably one of the biggest purchasers from his store, after all. Luna seems to ponder Madeline's reply for a long moment, before giving her a smile, "I think I'm going to go get some pudding from one of the stores. Goodbye, ma'am." she says, turning about and skipping down the aisle, away from the two, towards the door. The shopkeep gives Madeline a sympathetic look.