Professor Dumbledore’s words trailed off, and the room fell into a prolonged silence.
After a while, Grindelwald let out a derisive snort and spoke.
“Car accident? Albus, do you comprehend the potent bloodline protection charm I cast upon my brother when I sent him away? For at least five generations, he and his descendants were to be immune to ill fortune and ailments. Could a mere car accident claim their lives?”
Professor Dumbledore’s expression turned grave upon hearing Grindelwald’s words, “Are you suggesting that Wentworth’s parents perished due to the actions of a wizard?” Professor Dumbledore inquired.
Grindelwald’s sneer deepened as he replied, “Do I truly need to elucidate this matter? A group of cowardly individuals who lacked the courage to confront me directly decided to target them instead. The Grindelwald family shall not forget this transgression.”
Professor Dumbledore’s anxiety was evident in his voice as he asked, “Gellert, what do you intend to do?”
Grindelwald’s gaze bore into Professor Dumbledore’s, his tone cold and resolute.
“Do not concern yourself, Albus. I shall remain within Nurmengard. However, I hope you will disclose this to Wentworth at an opportune time. The Grindelwald lineage’s enmity shall not remain unavenged.”
Professor Dumbledore’s relief was palpable as he responded.
“Fear not, Gellert. When the time is right, I shall relay this information to him. Whether he faces adversaries within or beyond the magical world, Hogwarts and I shall stand by his side.”
However, Grindelwald did not express gratitude but cast a wary look toward Professor Dumbledore, prompting him to ask.
“Albus, I sense a deeper motive behind your actions. Initially, I thought you allowed Wentworth into Hogwarts as an alternative guardian. The wizarding world is far from tranquil, and it would indeed be safer by your side. Yet, your intentions appear more complex.”
Realizing his intentions were transparent, Professor Dumbledore smiled slightly and shared his conversation with Professor Snape from the previous night.
Grindelwald’s reaction was one of anger as he retorted.
“So, Albus, your essence remains unchanged even after all these years. You persist in manipulating others to further your own designs! However, remember that every boon from destiny comes with a clandestine cost.”
Professor Dumbledore nodded, acknowledging Grindelwald’s insight.
“Gellert, we are both aging. The future of the magical world rests in the hands of the younger generation. As for the covert cost exacted by fate, I have prepared a bargaining chip. I merely hope you can grant me one request.”
Grindelwald regarded his old friend across the room, sensing an underlying motive.
Although he refrained from speaking, the unspoken question was evident in his gaze.
Undeterred by Grindelwald’s silence, Professor Dumbledore maintained direct eye contact. After a prolonged pause, Grindelwald spoke coldly.
Professor Dumbledore’s chuckle was gentle as he replied.
“Gellert, should an unforeseen event befall me, our longstanding agreement will be nullified. Should that day come, I beseech you to assume the role of mentor to the younger generation. They require time to mature.”
As Professor Dumbledore’s words hung in the air, Nurmengard was consumed by the howling wind, and the two individuals exchanged no further dialogue.
The following morning, Wentworth emerged from his slumber, entering the school’s hall for breakfast alongside Cedric, who had been awaiting his arrival.
Subsequently, Wentworth bid farewell to Cedric, Cork, and the rest, proceeding to the classroom with his fellow Hufflepuff newcomers.
Their first lesson of the day was Defense Against the Dark Arts, which they shared with Slytherin students.
However, as they exited the auditorium, a contingent of Slytherin students dressed in dark green robes encircled them.
Leading this group was Waring, the Prefect of the Slytherin grade.
“Senior Waring, what is the matter?” Wentworth couldn’t help but inquire.
Yet, Waring merely shot Wentworth a disdainful glance without uttering a word, leaving Wentworth baffled.
“Senior Waring, if there is something you wish to convey, kindly do so. If not, please pardon us, for we must attend our classes,” Wentworth pressed on.
However, Waring retorted coldly, “Wait.”
With this statement, Wentworth was sure that they were in for some trouble.
Despite his youthful appearance, Wentworth’s mature soul would not tolerate such indignity.
Thus, he responded coldly, “If I tell you that I will not wait?”
At this juncture, Cedric, who had just exited the auditorium, appeared behind Wentworth, positioning himself as a barrier between Wentworth and the Slytherin students.
Brandishing his wand, Cedric made his stance clear.
“Senior Waring, what is your intention?” Cedric inquired.
Waring’s contemptuous smirk widened as he withdrew his wand.
Just then, Green’s voice emerged from the crowd of Hufflepuff students, his presence instantly noticeable.
Alongside a group of fellow Hufflepuffs, Green approached Wentworth and Cedric.
Waring’s companions followed suit, observing this development, encircling the Slytherins and Hufflepuffs.
The once-spacious corridor was now a battleground between Slytherin and Hufflepuff students, while onlookers from Gryffindor and Ravenclaw gathered at a distance, keenly observing the unfolding scenario.
As tensions escalated, Waring seemed somewhat uneasy, quickly attempting to extricate himself from the situation by speaking:
“Senior Green, it seems your actions in obstructing the Slytherin freshmen yesterday have brought us to this impasse today. Is it not equitable for us to obstruct your freshmen in turn?”
Cassandra, who had been eavesdropping behind the auditorium door, couldn’t help but bury her face in her hands at Waring’s feeble attempt at damage control.
Waring was attempting to save face, but his argument further tarnished Slytherin’s reputation.
Seizing the moment, Cassandra emerged from the auditorium, her posture exuding confidence.
As she made her way outside, she couldn’t help but notice Wentworth’s amused expression.
Slytherin certainly didn’t disappoint in the art of diplomacy.
Walking with her head held high, Cassandra did not acknowledge the curious stares of onlookers.
Her departure from the scene was a display of Slytherin poise.
Observing Cassandra’s confident departure, Wentworth couldn’t help but be amused.
Indeed, true to Slytherin’s nature, they never lost face.
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