The following morning, when Wentworth encountered Cedric and Green in the Great Hall of Hogwarts, he couldn’t help but be taken aback by their disheveled appearances.
“What happened to you two? Why do you look like you’ve been up all night? You appear as if you’ve been indulging in something!” Wentworth asked as he approached them to observe them carefully.
Cedric yawned before he responded, “Green dragged me into his room last night, and we played cards all night. Look at what he’s done! I am exhausted right now, and I don’t think I’ll even follow any lesson today with any focus on it.”
Frowning, Wentworth inquired curiously, “Who else could endure such a thing, aside from the two of you?”
In a moment of inadvertence, a still-dazed Cedric blurted out, “Cassandra.”
“Cassandra? The three of you?” Wentworth asked with a surprised look.
Cedric instantly woke up to the realization that he might have said too much.
Trying to redirect the conversation, he quickly glanced in the direction behind Wentworth and asked, “Why hasn’t Cassandra shown up this morning? I need to discuss something with her! Oh, by the way, Wentworth, what did you just ask me?”
Rolling his eyes in annoyance, Wentworth turned to look behind him. “Indeed, Cassandra, who usually sat not far away, was nowhere to be seen today.”
Noticing this, Wentworth furrowed his brow, waved in the direction of the Slytherin long table, and called out, “Draco!”
Draco, mid-bite in his breakfast, was startled by the sudden shout. The spoon in his hand almost toppled as he raised his head in irritation, only to find Wentworth as the one who had summoned him.
Draco swiftly put on a beaming smile, hastening over as he asked, “Senior Wentworth, what can I do for you?”
Cedric and Green, observing the scene with bewilderment, were puzzled when they realized that Wentworth had seemingly adopted the newly enrolled Hogwarts student as his own younger sibling. An unspoken understanding passed between them, recognizing the unique dynamic unfolding.
Unaware of the silent exchange, Wentworth proceeded with his question, “Draco, you know Cassandra, right? Have you seen her? Or do you have any idea where she might be?”
Draco’s cheerful demeanor faltered at Wentworth’s inquiry, morphing into a wry smile as he responded, “Senior Wentworth, you’ve indeed asked the right person to ask such a question! After being apprehended by Professor Snape last night—“
Draco halted mid-sentence, casting a glance at Green and Cedric beside Wentworth. Sensing the unspoken message, Wentworth impatiently urged, “Don’t look at them. Talk to me as if they don’t exist!”
Green and Cedric exchanged puzzled glances, uncertain of the dynamics at play. Now realizing the distinctive relationship between Wentworth and the two friends, Draco resumed his account, “This morning, Professor Snape summoned me to his office again. Good heavens, Senior Wentworth, you haven’t seen Professor Snape’s office—it’s downright eerie, filled with…”
Before Draco could elaborate, Wentworth interjected, “Get to the point! I don’t need to know the details of Professor Snape’s office. I spent several months in there last year!”
Draco, looking surprised, responded slowly, “Impressive…”
Draco swiftly redirected the conversation, delving back into his account, “While I was being trained in Professor Snape’s office this morning, Senior Cassandra came in and asked for a leave of absence.”
“Ask for leave?!” The surprise was evident not only on Wentworth’s face but also on Green and Cedric’s as their voices harmonized in near unison.
Draco nodded, providing further details, “Yes, ask for leave. Senior Cassandra mentioned that it seems her father’s previous injury has resurfaced, and she wishes to take a leave to visit him. Professor Snape granted Cassandra Sister leave and even supplied her with a few potion bottles.”
Listening to Draco’s narrative, Wentworth nodded in contemplation. He speculated that Cassandra might be concerned about her father’s lingering injuries, prompting her decision to return home for a closer look.
Cedric, however, interjected with a puzzled expression, “Nevertheless, how does Cassandra plan to leave Hogwarts? She hasn’t mastered apparating yet, and considering it’s forbidden at Hogwarts, plus the Hogwarts Express isn’t running exclusively for her!”
Upon hearing Cedric’s doubts, Draco promptly clarified, “I know, I know. Professor Snape mentioned that she could leave with him, but Senior Cassandra declined. She mentioned arranging with her father to temporarily open the Floo network at Hogwarts, allowing her to depart through it.”
Cedric, still puzzled, inquired further, “I heard from my father that the fireplace at Hogwarts is typically disconnected from the Floo network for the safety of the school. Opening the Floo network at Hogwarts requires complex procedures at the Ministry of Magic. How did she manage that?”
With a surprised look, Draco responded, “Don’t you know, Senior? My father once mentioned in a letter that Cassandra’s father, who was previously the head of the Auror Office at the Ministry of Magic, was missing for a while. Now, upon returning to the Ministry, he’s been reassigned to manage the Floo Network. So, the procedures that were once cumbersome are just a matter of one sentence for her father!”
Upon hearing this, Wentworth and Cedric suddenly understood. Wentworth then gestured for Draco to leave, but Draco lingered, wearing a persistent smile.
Observing Draco’s demeanor, Wentworth couldn’t help but be amused and asked, “What’s the matter?”
Draco, still smiling, inquired, “Senior Wentworth, you were the referee in last night’s duel. You haven’t declared the winner yet! How about another match between Harry and me?”
Wentworth dismissed the idea with a wave, “Forget it. Watching your duels is a waste of time. Occasionally, it is fine! It’s a tie! Now, you can go.”
As Draco returned to the Slytherin table with a disappointed expression, Cassandra entered Diagon Alley. However, her black veil covered her face, concealing her identity. In Diagon Alley, Cassandra appeared to be searching for something.
Upon reaching the entrance of a toy store, Cassandra paused. Observing a display of a thousand paper cranes in the window, she decided to enter the store without hesitation.
What is the reason for Cassandra’s visit to this particular store? Is it because of the paper crane that saved both her and Thomas Vole back when Christine abducted them has made its place inside her heart? Or is it for another purpose altogether while Thomas is plotting to do a vendetta from inside the Minister of Magic itself?
As time passes, each step rippled through the entire wizarding world is starting to generate a wave big enough to sweep everyone off their feet without even the cause of the ripple himself not knowing anything about it…
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