The evening air at Hogwarts carried a sense of excitement and restlessness.

The Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom was filled with students and professors anticipating the upcoming duel between Slytherin and Hufflepuff.

“The ‘Portable Magnifying Glass’! See every spell up close! If it’s from the Weasley twins, you know it’s top-notch!”

The Weasley twins were even selling their own magnifying glasses inside the classroom.

Without some way to see the action amidst the crowd, it would be difficult to follow the duel.

Professor Snape, leading the Slytherin students, had been waiting there, ready for the Hufflepuff contingent to arrive.

However, the other key participants in the duel, the Hufflepuff students, were nowhere to be seen.

“They wouldn’t dare to bail out, would they?”

Prefect Waring, standing behind Professor Snape, muttered with a discontented expression.

Meanwhile, just outside the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom door, Wentworth, Cedric, and others stood ready.

“Wentworth, should we enter now?” Prefect Green approached and inquired.

With a calm demeanor, Wentworth responded, “Senior Green, no need to rush. The protagonists are usually the last to appear. Let them wait a bit longer. It’s better if they’re a little impatient. It’ll make our entrance more impactful.”

As the agreed-upon time drew nearer, some agitation began to ripple through the Slytherin students.

A few were even pacing back and forth, while others huddled in small groups to chat.

Prefect Waring finally couldn’t hold back his impatience.

He approached the three professors serving as referees that night and asked anxiously, “Professors, if Hufflepuff doesn’t show up at the appointed time, does that mean Slytherin wins?”

Professors Flitwick, McGonagall, and Ilona exchanged glances before answering, “Certainly, if the designated time passes and Hufflepuff is absent, according to the duel’s rules, Slytherin would be declared the winner.”

Hearing this, Welling found himself in a dilemma.

On the one hand, he wanted Hufflepuff to show up so he could teach them a lesson.

On the other hand, he secretly hoped they wouldn’t, as it would lead to an effortless victory for Slytherin.

As Prefect Waring and his fellow Slytherins were grappling with their mixed feelings, the agreed-upon time was fast approaching.

Outside the classroom door, Wentworth checked the time once more, then turned to the Hufflepuff students behind him and announced, “It’s time for us to make our entrance. We’re the stars of the show tonight!”

Prefect Waring’s gaze was fixed expectantly on the classroom door as the clock neared six o’clock.

Suddenly, the door swung open from the outside.

Wentworth led the way, pushing the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom door open and entering.

Behind him, Cedric and Prefect Green followed suit.

Wentworth initially wanted Prefect Green to lead, but Prefect Green had declined.

Once Prefect Green understood Wentworth’s detailed plan, he was fully onboard, thus insisting that Wentworth lead the way.

Behind them, the entire Hufflepuff student body lined up neatly in two rows, donning their clean yellow uniforms and walking in with heads held high.

In contrast, the well-organized Hufflepuffs presented a sharp contrast to the disheveled Slytherins, and even Gryffindor, who rarely held Slytherin in high regard, offered a friendly wave under the Weasley twins’ influence.

This scene pleased all the professors, with the exception of Professor Snape.

Among them, Professor Sprout and Professor Ilona displayed the most pride.

“Did you Hufflepuffs get lost in Hogwarts?” Prefect Waring, who had been waiting impatiently, jeered sarcastically.

Without giving Wentworth a chance to respond, Prefect Green quipped, “It’s quite odd. People grab food, they grab seats, but I’ve never seen people grab a beating before!”

The brewing verbal showdown was quelled by Professor McGonagall’s stern cough. “Alright, that’s enough! Do you two want to provide entertainment for the other houses? Remember, you’re representing Slytherin and Hufflepuff!”

Prefect Waring and Green fell silent at her reprimand.

Seeing this, Professor Flitwick stood and stated, “Alright, as agreed upon, provide your lists of duel participants to Professor Ilona first. I’ll also reiterate the duel rules.”

“Firstly, it’s not permitted…”

Just as Professor Flitwick explained the rules, Prefect Waring swiftly handed over the Slytherin list to Professor Ilona, casting a venomous glance at Green in the process.

In response, Welling also handed over the Hufflepuff list to Professor Ilona and returned a knowing smile to Prefect Waring.

For some reason, that smile unsettled Prefect Waring.

Prefect Green’s smile seemed to hold a hidden conspiracy, concealing something beneath its surface.

As Professor Ilona studied the submitted lists, her brow furrowed as if she’d noticed something amiss.

But after a moment, her expression cleared, a subtle smile forming as if she’d reached some realization.

Following Professor Flitwick’s review of the duel’s rules, Dumbledore stood up and spoke modestly, “Students, tonight we are reopening the Dueling Club at Hogwarts. This is an opportunity for friendly interaction without the intent to harm or decide life and death. Let’s hope tonight’s duel won’t hurt anyone.”

“So, are the duel participants from both sides ready?”

“Ready!” Both Prefect Waring and Wentworth responded simultaneously.

Seeing this, Dumbledore raised his hands and declared, “Then, I hereby announce that the duel between Slytherin and Hufflepuff is officially underway!”

As Dumbledore’s voice trailed off, enthusiastic cheers erupted.

A closer look revealed that most of the cheers came from Gryffindor and Ravenclaw students. In contrast, the Slytherin and Hufflepuff students anxiously watched the center of the arena, where the representatives of their respective houses stood.

Amidst the cheers, Professor Ilona, the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, walked to the center of the duel area and announced, “For the first duel, Slytherin’s representative is Prefect Waring!”

Slytherin cheered, Hufflepuff jeered, and Welling stepped forward to the duel area.

Professor Ilona continued as Prefect Waring stood ready, “Representing Hufflepuff, Wentworth!”

The mention of Wentworth’s name silenced the scene.

All eyes were fixed on him as he stepped onto the duel area.

Even Dumbledore and Snape appeared surprised and intrigued.

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Published On: September 12, 2023

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