Upon seeing Wentworth take his place at the center, standing across from Prefect Waring, the crowd finally confirmed that Hufflepuff’s first representative was indeed Wentworth.
A murmur of excitement broke out among the students from Gryffindor and Ravenclaw.
Some were incredulous, some sneered, while others pondered.
“Prefect Green! What are you playing at? I’ve been clear about it for ages—I was supposed to be the first up! The order for Slytherin was supposed to go from the fifth year down to the first year. Yet you allowed a first-year to replace you?! Are you scared?”
Seeing that he was facing a new Hufflepuff opponent rather than his traditional rival, Prefect Green, Prefect Waring felt a pang of humiliation.
He directed his words loudly towards the Hufflepuff side.
On the other hand, Prefect Green seemed unfazed and engrossed in a conversation with Cedric, disregarding Prefect Waring’s comments.
At this point, Professor McGonagall noticed the deviation from the planned order and kindly reminded, “Prefect Green, did the Hufflepuffs reverse the order? You were meant to start with fifth year and go down to first year. If so, I can make an exception and allow you to adjust the order.”
Though he could ignore Prefect Waring’s remarks, Professor McGonagall’s suggestions required a response.
Prefect Green turned around to address Professor McGonagall with respect, “Professor McGonagall, there’s no need. According to our prior agreement, it can’t be changed once the list is submitted to Professor Ilona. This rule was suggested by Hufflepuff and we should adhere to it. That way, there won’t be any disputes over the outcome.”
As Prefect Green spoke, he rolled his eyes in Prefect Waring’s direction, a gesture that further tickled Prefect Waring’s annoyance.
Still, he had no option but to turn to his house’s Head, Professor Snape.
However, Professor Snape appeared utterly indifferent to Prefect Waring’s gaze.
He was deeply engrossed in what seemed like a flirtatious exchange with Dumbledore.
Professor Snape exclaimed, “Dumbledore, is Wentworth confident that his spellcasting has surpassed the fifth-year level? Impossible! Even with a magical technique, he’s just an eleven-year-old with limited magical power.”
Professor Dumbledore replied, “What am I, a mind reader? How could I possibly know?”
Professor Snape asked uneasily, “Can’t you use Legilimency?”
Professor Dumbledore replied, “If I had that ability, I would’ve already done it! Remember, Wentworth is skilled in Occlumency.”
Professor Snape stared silently for a few seconds before finally replying, “…He’s only eleven. I’ve been underestimating him despite my attempts to understand him better.”
Professor Dumbledore calmly persuaded, “Let’s just see how it unfolds, Severus.”
Meanwhile, Prefect Waring, seeing Professor Snape utterly ignoring him, turned around to look at the tall, slender wizard beside him.
Professor Snape had chosen this wizard to represent the third year of Slytherin.
“Hey, it seems like Hufflepuff messed up the order. Your third-year team might just be the key to our victory or defeat. Are you confident?”
The wizard glanced toward the Hufflepuff’s side with an air of arrogance and replied confidently, “Don’t worry, Senior. Besides a few Ravenclaw peers, I’m certain none of the third years can match my skill. As for Hufflepuff—well, they’re hardly a challenge!”
Prefect Waring finally felt relieved upon receiving such an assurance from his teammate.
He turned to Wentworth and smirked, “Wentworth, you’re unlucky today. Don’t worry, I won’t use a curse on a freshman. But if you happen to get injured due to the magical backlash from my spell, don’t blame me!”
Wentworth responded indifferently, “Senior Waring, do your best, and by all means, give it your shot. Just make sure you can hit me!”
Seeing both sides content with the duel’s lineup, Professor Ilona positioned herself at the center of the arena and announced, “With both teams prepared, the duel officially commences! Both sides, bow!”
In response, Wentworth and Prefect Waring bowed to each other.
Then, simultaneously lifting their wands to their faces, they held them vertically in front before releasing them, allowing the wands to drop.
After lowering their wands, Wentworth and Prefect Waring turned and walked to their respective spots, awaiting Professor Ilona’s next instructions.
As tension filled the air, even the normally exuberant Gryffindor Weasley twins held their breath, their gazes fixed on the dueling area.
Professor Dumbledore, Professor Snape, and even Professor McGonagall stared intently at Wentworth, observing his every move.
As Prefect Waring and Wentworth reached their positions at the top of the arena, Professor Ilona declared, “Begin!”
With Professor Ilona’s command, Prefect Waring swiftly turned, raising his wand in the process.
He pointed it at Wentworth, ready to unleash a spell. “Expell—“
However, Wentworth’s response was far from typical.
Unperturbed, he raised his hand calmly and said, “I surrender.”
The scene erupted into chaos—Gryffindor and Slytherin students expressed a mix of boos and disbelief.
Professor Dumbledore and Professor Snape exchanged glances, sharing an unspoken acknowledgment of their mutual surprise.
In that instant, both were thinking the same thing: Even in this situation, Wentworth still refrains from revealing his true capabilities.
It only underscores how many secrets he’s harboring.
Meanwhile, Prefect Waring, who had just dueled Wentworth, nearly choked on his own saliva.
Though he had won the duel, he felt an odd sense of emptiness.
Seeing Wentworth about to leave the arena, Prefect Waring clenched his teeth.
Although he had halted his spell midway, he decided to continue anyway.
In a flash, another spell intercepted Prefect Waring’s disarming spell in mid-air.
It was Professor Ilona, one of the duel’s referees.
Upon hearing the interruption, Wentworth half-turned calmly, looking back at Prefect Waring with a mocking smile.
“I told you, Senior Waring, you’d have to hit me.”
With that, Wentworth turned and walked back to Hufflepuff’s side, leaving Prefect Waring startled.
Unlike the boos from Gryffindor and Slytherin, Wentworth’s return was met with cheers from the Hufflepuff students.
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