Upon hearing Wentworth’s words, Snape didn’t hesitate this time. He asked directly, “State your terms, Wentworth.”

Observing this, Wentworth smiled with anticipation, having prepared for this moment since he first encountered Snape tonight.

With a smile on his face, Wentworth stated, “There’s going to be a troll in Hogwarts shortly after Halloween.”

Snape frowned upon hearing this, but Wentworth continued as if he hadn’t noticed, “At that time, I wish Professor Snape could—“

***

While Wentworth was negotiating with Snape on the sixth floor of Hogwarts Castle, in the Prefect’s bathroom, Cassandra, Cedric, and Green engaged in a spirited discussion.

“No! The name Lionheart is definitely not suitable! Wentworth was merely providing an example! Don’t forget, the lion is the symbol of Gryffindor. Do you want our organization to be associated with Gryffindors?” Cassandra asserted emphatically.

In response to Cassandra’s strong stance, Cedric and Green, recalling Gryffindor’s character, shook their heads with a sigh. Cedric added, “Cassandra, we’ve debated dozens of names, and at this rate, we’ll be discussing until dawn!”

Green chimed in reluctantly, “Yeah, Cassandra, since we’re establishing a secret organization at Hogwarts, the name doesn’t hold much significance. Who would utter the name of the secret organization at any time?”

“I think it’s fine to choose any name. Since Gellert’s group is called the Alliance, why not name ours the Secret Hallows?” suggested Greene.

In the aftermath of their discussion, Cassandra voiced her discontent, “How can you do this? The name is the face of the organization, and you… wait, what did you just say? Secret Hallows? This name sounds a bit high-end…”

Observing Cassandra lost in thought, Green quickly interjected, “I was talking about the secret… Forget it, the Secret Hallows is the Secret Hallows…”

Cedric also rushed to express his opinion, “Well, I think the name Secret Hallows is quite good!”

Upon hearing their unanimous agreement, Cassandra contemplated for a considerable time before finally nodding and affirming, “Alright then! Let’s call it the Secret Hallows! I hope that the Secret Hallows, in the future, can transcend the Alliance.”

Witnessing Cassandra’s excitement, Cedric and Green exchanged glances, both acknowledging the unmistakable Slytherin touch in her decision.

Promptly, Cedric stood up and attempted to conclude the meeting, “Cassandra, since the name has been decided, let’s wrap things up for tonight; it’s getting late…”

However, Cassandra cut in before Cedric could finish, stating, “That’s right, it’s already very late. Let’s fast-forward our progress! Since it’s a secret organization, our members can no longer use their original names. I propose we assign a code name for each of us!”

Hearing Cassandra’s proposal, Cedric and Green sighed simultaneously, with Cedric expressing his exasperation, “Oh, come on! We don’t need to be that formal!”

Green promptly retrieved a set of playing cards from his arms, meticulously prepared before their evening venture. He suggested with a casual tone, “I think, given the pace of our naming process, to prevent wasting time, we can play cards and brainstorm. Otherwise, I’m afraid I’ll genuinely doze off.”

Cedric chimed in with agreement, “Yes, I concur. Let’s do it. I’ll shuffle the cards!”

Just as Green was about to hand Cedric the playing cards, Cassandra impulsively snatched them away. Thinking Cassandra might be upset, Green quickly explained, “Hey Cassandra, we were just kidding. I…”

However, Green soon realized that things were not as he assumed. Cassandra was engrossed in playing with the cards, deep in thought. After a while, she inquired, “Is this the deck Wentworth brought to Hogwarts?”

Cedric and Green exchanged glances. Green nodded slowly, admitting, “Yeah, I teased Wentworth earlier, claiming this poker is not as engaging as wizard chess. However, it turns out, um, it’s ingenious!”

With a glint in her eyes, Cassandra declared, “I’ve figured it out!”

She flipped the playing cards in her hand upside down on the table and proposed, “We can each adopt one of the cards from this poker deck as our code name! Moreover, this will apply to the members who join our Secret Hallows in the future!”

“In due time, I’ll arrange for a custom set of playing cards. This way, even if future members don’t know one another, they’ll recognize their allies as long as they see the playing cards in each other’s hands. Brilliant, isn’t it?”

Upon hearing Cassandra’s proposal, Cedric and Green both fell into a momentary silence. Sensing their hesitation, Cassandra anxiously urged, “How about it? It’s a great idea right?” She stared at them with a somewhat proud look on her face, “Why are you guys silent?” She asked after noticing their stare.

Green sighed and responded slowly, “Cassandra, are Slytherin students born for this kind of thing?”

Cedric, nodding in agreement, added, “Cassandra, all I can say is, your idea is brilliant!”

Satisfied with their responses, Cassandra urged, “Okay, who’s going first? Choose a poker card!”

Green volunteered and reached out, saying, “I’ll go first! I’ll draw one at random. Let’s see which card I get!”

He tossed a randomly drawn card onto the table, revealing the king of spades. Green seemed content with his choice, remarking, “This card is quite majestic. I’ll go with this one!”

Cassandra approved, “Very good! The king of spades will be your identity card in the Secret Hallows! Now, Cedric, it’s your turn!”

Cedric selected a card from the top of the deck and placed it on the table—a king of clubs. Cassandra followed suit and drew a card—a king of hearts. Green, looking puzzled, remarked, “It’s strange. Why are they all kings?”

Cedric mused, “It seems we haven’t shuffled the cards this whole time, right? The top cards must be the ones you tossed earlier. They must be the same card, just different suits.”

Upon hearing Cedric’s observation, Green suddenly realized the oversight. Surprisingly, everyone seemed satisfied with this arrangement, not intending to change their identity cards.

However, Cedric raised a question, “Then what about Wentworth?”

Both Cassandra and Green looked at Cedric, “What about him?” Cassandra asked.

“Don’t you think he needs a card that’s linked to his identity as our Leader as well? I mean, yeah, he is the Leader of the Alliance, but he is also the Leader of the Secret Hallows, right?” Cedric continued.

Green put his palm on his face while taking a deep breath, “Oh boy, this is going to be a long night…”

While Green was grumbling, Cassandra was already in deep thought as she replied, “Yeah, you got a point.” She said with her fingers on her chin, trying to think about Wentworth’s position as a Leader of both the Alliance and the Secret Hallows, and what to do about his identification.

No one had a good rest that night. All of them entered their classes and continued their activity the morning after with a weary expressions…

That day, that night, Secret Hallows was born into the wizarding world without Wentworth knowing.

 

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Published On: January 20, 2024

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