Professor McGonagall gave a brief account to Dumbledore of what had occurred outside the auditorium.
However, Dumbledore waved his hand before she could finish, cutting her off.
Unintentionally, Professor McGonagall’s voice carried, and the professors around Dumbledore overheard her, their eyes showing surprise.
Standing nearby, Ilona also caught wind of the conversation and smiled slightly.
Wentworth received a compliment from Professor McGonagall about understanding the importance of early fame.
He seemed to have learned how to establish his own image among the incoming students even before starting at Hogwarts, exceeding her expectations.
Professor Ilona lifted her wine glass, offering a satisfied sip to Wentworth.
“Professor McGonagall, let’s proceed with the sorting ceremony first. We can discuss other matters later,” Dumbledore intervened, halting any further conversation.
Professor McGonagall immediately commenced the Hogwarts sorting ceremony, acknowledging the unsuitability of further discussion.
As the ceremony began, many freshmen exhibited nervous expressions.
Wentworth, already familiar with the process, found it rather amusing to observe the tense atmosphere.
Cassandra appeared composed compared to other freshmen, though her cheeks seemed a bit paler than usual.
The Sorting Hat, having waited patiently, finally opened with a jovial song that caused many freshmen, including Wentworth, to instinctively cover their ears.
After the Sorting Hat concluded its tune, Professor McGonagall stepped forward with a long parchment containing the names of the new Hogwarts students.
One by one, the students were called to put on the Sorting Hat, which would determine their respective houses.
“Cassandra!” Professor McGonagall’s voice called out.
With graceful steps, Cassandra approached, gently stroking her long golden hair.
Sitting down with the Sorting Hat placed on her head.
“No doubt, Slytherin!” Cassandra was promptly sorted into Slytherin, resulting in enthusiastic cheers from the Slytherin table.
“Told you before, I belong to Slytherin.”
Passing by Wentworth, Cassandra teasingly reiterated her belief that she belonged to Slytherin.
Finally, after a prolonged wait, Wentworth heard his name called by Professor McGonagall.
As he made his way to the Sorting Hat, the eyes of many professors fixated on him from their chairs.
Seated with the Sorting Hat placed on his head, Wentworth received Professor McGonagall’s deep, contemplative look.
“It’s quite a challenge, indeed. To begin with, we eliminate Slytherin, lacking the necessary ambition,” the Sorting Hat seemed to mutter aloud, leading to Wentworth’s anxious realization.
“Then we should put you to Gryff—“
Anticipating that the Sorting Hat might assign him to Gryffindor, Wentworth employed his pre-learned Occlumency skills to influence the Sorting Hat’s decision.
The Sorting Hat, also sensing Wentworth’s thoughts, appeared to have its own grievances.
“How can you even think of doing such a thing! I think you should be assigned to Azkaban!”
It chastised him, voicing surprise at his audacity and even suggesting he belonged in Azkaban.
Amidst the muttering, only Wentworth and Professor McGonagall heard the Sorting Hat’s voice, leaving them both stunned.
To others, it seemed as if the Sorting Hat struggled to make a decision.
Although taken aback by the Sorting Hat’s words, Professor McGonagall subtly coughed with her responsibilities in mind, reminding them of the ongoing ceremony.
Realizing that further deliberation would not yield much, Professor McGonagall suggested the Sorting Hat, “How about Hufflepuff? I believe he would fit right it.”
Sensing no objection, the Sorting Hat announced with relief, “Hufflepuff!”
The name “Hufflepuff” prompted enthusiastic cheers from the house table, with one student cheering the loudest, who Wentworth soon recognized as Cedric.
Once Professor McGonagall removed the Sorting Hat, Wentworth promptly joined Hufflepuff’s table, where Cedric had saved him a seat.
Hugging Wentworth warmly, Cedric expressed disbelief, “I didn’t expect you to actually come to Hufflepuff!”
With a smile, Wentworth responded, “Hufflepuff has always been my dream!”
His words earned him admiration from fellow Hufflepuff students.
Curious about Wentworth’s choice, Cedric inquired why most freshmen preferred Gryffindor or Ravenclaw, and Slytherin was considered a dream for many pure-blood wizards, while Hufflepuff remained overlooked.
Wentworth playfully replied, “Because it’s close to the kitchen!”
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