"Why are we here?" asked Ginny as the pair appeared in front of the Lovegood residence.
"Look at this." Hermione handed Ginny the note she had taken from Lucius. Ginny read aloud:
"Lucius, my Death Eater brother, they took Luna! I know you're high up in the ranks, tell the Dark Lord the truth! I had Potter, he was within my grasp! Please, Lucius! Signed, Xenophilius Lovegood. Well, this gets serious now!"
"We need to confront him and lock him up. I know he's our friend and he 'helped' us, but this is what we set out to do."
Ginny reluctantly agreed and the pair rasped three times on the door. The face that answered them was not the nervous, stressed man they had seen on their last visit, but a friendly, pleasant smile greeted them. "Come in, come in. Please, sit down. May I offer you some of my freshest Gurdyroot drink? No?" (as they politely declined) "Well then, what brings you here?"
Ginny looked nervous, but Hermione remained cool. She handed him the note and he gasped so harshly he nearly fell off his chair. "How?" he stammered. "H-how did y-you get this? My D-Death Eater p-past is over! P-please! Don't drag m-me back to A-Askaban! I-I've heard s-stories! P-please! N-NO!" And with a new power behind him, he hurled them back with a swooping motion of his wand. Luna came rushing down the stairs, wand out, and shouted "Protego!" and an invisible shield popped into existence between the duelists. "Hermoine! Ginny! Whatever is going on?" Ginny picked the note up off the floor and passed it to Luna. She gasped and fell backwards. She yelled "YOU MONSTER!" and knocked her father unconscious.
With Xenophilius slumped in a chair and his wand taken safely out of his reach, Luna muttered the counter-curse under her breath. The man woke with a start and looked dreary and confused. "Show us the Dark Mark then." Commanded Ginny, and before waiting for a answer, she ripped his left sleeve away from his arm and looked shocked at what awaited her. Where the mark had been, was now a bulking mass of scar tissue and tendons.
"I..." He tried to speak.
"What?" Ginny's voice still cool and commanding.
"I am a Death Eater..." His slow, rasping voice made it difficult to understand. "I made Ollivander made a wand with the same core as the Dark Lord's to protect him. He tortured me... said it was my fault Potter was still alive. This... insane, off his rocker persona I adopted... It was an act. I was - am - a servant of the Dark Lord. And now... I will complete his bidding and kill Harry Potter... take me to him!"
"But Daddy... I thought..."
"I'm sorry, Luna. My one true quest in life was to become the Dark Lord's next of kin. I would... kill the Dark Lord... and... take up his mantle. The Elder Wand would be mine and... I would continue... his rule... over... the world..." And with one, last, heaving breath, Xenophilius Lovegood died before their eyes.
The trio took his wand and gave it to the Minister, who was shocked to discover the greatest crack-pot in the whole wizarding world was a fraud. He gave the wand back and wondered aloud whether 'Minerva' would know. Hermione and Ginny took one look at each other and said "Thank you Minister, we shall be going now." The trio left together and Luna returned home to bury her father properly.