Kirk’s excitement led him to embrace Wentworth, while Cedric offered a high five, and the rest of the Hufflepuff students applauded for Wentworth’s performance.
“Wentworth, as long as you’re not hurt.”
“Great job, Wentworth! Your surrender call was spot on!”
Uninformed spectators might have believed that Wentworth had emerged victorious in the duel.
Unlike the warm reception Wentworth received upon returning to Hufflepuff, Prefect Waring, who had technically won the duel, felt a bit embarrassed at this moment.
This was because Professor Ilona, one of the duel’s judges and a Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts, was glaring at Prefect Waring with visible anger.
“In the presence of a duel, when your opponent declares surrender, you should cease your spell,” she reprimanded.
She then turned her ire to Prefect Waring, adding, “And when facing your fellow student, you still cast a spell after they’ve announced surrender—without even looking. Are you disregarding my authority?”
Witnessing this, Prefect Waring quickly lowered his wand and explained, “Professor Ilona, you’ve misunderstood. I didn’t mean to—I just couldn’t stop!”
Professor Ilona sneered, unimpressed with Prefect Waring’s explanation, “Slytherin, deduct ten points! You’ve treated our professor like a fool!”
As Professor Ilona’s words pierced the air, Prefect Waring froze in place upon hearing her impose a point deduction on Slytherin.
Meanwhile, Wentworth was surrounded by Cedric, Prefect Green, and others who gave him supportive looks and smiles.
The truth was, Wentworth had the confidence to turn his back on Prefect Waring and boldly announce his surrender because he trusted the Hogwarts professors implicitly.
Examining the panel of judges for the night—Professor McGonagall, Hogwarts’ Headmistress; Professor Flitwick, the Charms Professor and Dueling Tournament Champion; and an experienced professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts—it was clear that any foul play in front of them would tarnish Hogwarts’ reputation.
Considering that Prefect Waring had dared to attempt some trickery before this formidable panel, Wentworth couldn’t help but sigh inwardly, “What a mischievous child.”
In the midst of this, Prefect Waring, facing the wrath of Professor Ilona, felt like a tiny ship battling a stormy sea, his magical energy stirred involuntarily.
Fortunately, Snape intervened at this point, addressing the situation, “Professor Ilona, the fault lies with Waring. I will handle his punishment after the duel.”
At the sound of his head of house defending him, Welling heaved a sigh of relief.
Typically, when Snape spoke, the other professors followed his lead.
However, Professor Ilona didn’t relent this time, stating directly, “Since Professor Snape has spoken, we’ll go by his suggestion. But let me handle the punishment without bothering Professor Snape. Prefect Waring will come to my office every night for the next month and assist me in preparing teaching materials for the following day’s classes. This will serve as his punishment.”
Without allowing Snape to comment further, Professor Ilona continued, “Furthermore, let me reiterate: if anyone attempts foul play here in the Dueling Club, blatantly continuing an attack when the opponent has surrendered, the caster’s spell will be met with the same curse if the caster’s spell can cancel mine, well and good. If not, they’ll face the spell’s backlash as their punishment. Is that clear?”
Hearing Professor Ilona’s firm words and seeing Dumbledore’s non-opposition, the assembled students acknowledged their understanding.
Seeing no one protested further, Professor Ilona nodded slowly, then proclaimed, “With that, I declare the first duel between Hufflepuff and Slytherin concluded—Slytherin wins.”
Slytherin students, who had worried Professor Ilona might seize the opportunity to invalidate Prefect Waring’s victory, calmed down, erupting into enthusiastic cheers.
However, the students seemed unfazed on the Hufflepuff side, with some offering symbolic applause.
As the cheers subsided, Professor Ilona proceeded, “Next, we move on to the second duel between Hufflepuff and Slytherin.”
“For the second duel, Slytherin’s representative is Mike from the fourth year.”
“And Hufflepuff’s representative is their prefect, Prefect Green from the fifth year.”
Upon hearing the announcement of the participants for the second duel, the crowd burst into louder chatter, discussions rampant.
Amidst the discussions, there were also a few distinct rounds of applause.
These applause sounds originated from the Ravenclaw section, as students reacted with astonishment and excitement.
In another direction, the Hogwarts professors comprehended Hufflepuff’s strategy.
Slytherin’s head of the house, Professor Snape, suddenly sat up straight, his eyes wide as he stared intently at Hufflepuff’s area.
Unfortunately, no one on the Hufflepuff side paid attention to Professor Snape’s gaze, as all eyes were on Prefect Green, applauding him.
Snape then shifted his gaze back to Dumbledore, noting the Headmaster’s expression of admiration for Wentworth.
However, even Professor Dumbledore’s gaze didn’t fall on Snape.
After scanning the scene momentarily, Professor Snape realized no one was paying him any heed.
With a last, resentful glance in Wentworth’s direction, Snape finally sat down with a gloomy expression.
During this time, the Ravenclaw students who applauded first explained the strategic aspect of Hufflepuff’s plan, which gradually spread among the students.
Soon, the Slytherins understood—they had been outmaneuvered by Hufflepuff deliberately!
Hufflepuff intentionally conceded this round by pitting Wentworth, a first-year, against Prefect Waring, a fifth-year, in the first duel.
However, in the subsequent four duels, Hufflepuff could capitalize on their upperclassmen’s experience against younger Slytherins.
Despite the overall strength disparity between Hufflepuff and Slytherin, this strategy effectively considered the students’ varying levels of magical growth during this critical period at Hogwarts.
Realizing this, Prefect Waring and his fellow Slytherins were left feeling rushed and tense!
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