However, as Cassandra departed, the flying lesson carried on. Mrs. Hooch provided Wentworth with a replacement broom, given that the previous one had been utterly wrecked in the collision with Cassandra.

Even Cassandra’s broom bore a lengthy crack.

Although Mrs. Hooch mentioned it could be fixed with a repairing spell, the performance of the mended broom would inevitably be compromised.

Gazing at Cassandra’s damaged broom, Wentworth couldn’t help but feel a twinge of embarrassment.

Upon her return, he resolved to inform Cassandra that he intended to purchase a new broom for her from Diagon Alley as compensation during the holidays.

However, Cassandra didn’t reappear in the class until the flying lesson concluded.

This absence stirred up a flurry of conversations among the freshmen and added to Wentworth’s growing unease.

Later that evening, as Wentworth and Cedric and others gathered in the Hogwarts auditorium for dinner, he noticed that Cassandra was missing once more from Slytherin’s long table.

At this point, Wentworth was certain something was amiss.

After dinner, Wentworth adhered to his usual routine and went to Professor Snape’s office.

After all, Professor Snape had mentioned that he would be providing “special guidance” for the next month during their evening sessions.

Upon entering, Professor Snape was already awaiting him.

But instead of launching into his customary sneer, Professor Snape immediately began, “Today, I shall instruct you in preparing a rejuvenating potion. Crafting a rejuvenating potion entails…”

Noting that Professor Snape didn’t initially employ his usual sarcasm, Wentworth found himself surprised by this departure from Professor Snape’s typical behavior.

However, his concerns were centered on a more pressing matter.

“Professor Snape, I wanted to ask if you know what’s happened to Cassandra. She was called away by Professor Dumbledore during the afternoon’s flight lesson and hasn’t returned. I’m worried about her!” Wentworth interjected, momentarily halting Professor Snape’s lecture.

“I believe no one has informed you that when others are speaking, you ought to listen quietly. If you must interrupt, do so after they’ve finished,” Professor Snape responded with a hint of irritation.

His expression shifted, however, when he continued, “And I’m curious, why are you so concerned about Cassandra?”

As Professor Snape’s expression underwent a change, Wentworth was taken aback.

Keen to avoid any misunderstandings, Wentworth quickly clarified, “Of course, Professor. Please remember, I’m a Hufflepuff. While Cassandra and I might have had our differences, they’re internal conflicts. If she’s facing trouble, I’m willing to assist.”

Professor Snape regarded Wentworth with a sardonic smile and asked disdainfully, “Beyond being clever, what else can you offer? How could you help?”

After pondering the question, Wentworth replied thoughtfully, “I have money. A considerable amount, in fact.”

Seemingly caught off guard by Wentworth’s response, Professor Snape remained silent for some time.

Eventually, he waved his hand dismissively and said, “Your task is to focus on your studies. Allow the professors to handle the rest. Set aside your curiosity and excessive sympathy for now, and let’s continue with the lesson.”

Recognizing Professor Snape’s dismissal, Wentworth refrained from pursuing the topic further.

However, he managed to confirm one thing: Whatever had happened to Cassandra was no trivial matter.

Clearly, any issue that money couldn’t solve must be significant.

After concluding the training session with Professor Snape, Wentworth returned to the Hufflepuff common room.

Along the way, he couldn’t shake the feeling that Professor Snape had acted somewhat peculiarly tonight.

No longer relegating himself to a mere taskmaster, Professor Snape had genuinely taught him valuable potion knowledge.

Although Wentworth didn’t comprehend the reason behind this change, learning non-textbook information was undoubtedly beneficial.

Upon entering the Hufflepuff common room, Wentworth initially intended to sneak into the Room of Requirement after everyone had gone to their dormitories to practice spells.

However, shortly after he returned, a fellow Hufflepuff student rushed in and approached Wentworth, saying, “Wentworth, Cassandra from Slytherin is waiting for you outside our common room. She asked to meet you!”

Amidst the strange exclamations from the surrounding Hufflepuffs, Wentworth felt embarrassed.

The Hufflepuff continued, “Be cautious, Wentworth. I sense Cassandra isn’t quite herself. Her eyes seem red with anger!”

Wentworth stands there in silent momentarily…

As Wentworth stepped out of the Hufflepuff common room, he assumed Cassandra’s eyes were red with anger, probably due to her broom breaking during the afternoon’s flying lesson.

Hence, upon seeing Cassandra a short distance away, he quickly began, “Cassandra, I deeply apologize for the incident this afternoon. I broke your broom, but I’ll make it right by purchasing a new one…”

However, as he spoke, his voice dwindled.

Cassandra had turned around, revealing tear-reddened eyes.

Her redness was evident from crying, not the fury he had initially assumed.

“Cassandra, are you okay? Shall we reschedule our duel?” Wentworth inquired cautiously, sensing that something was amiss.

Cassandra firmly shook her head and declared, “No need. Today is just fine.”

With that, she turned around and started walking away.

Wentworth hastened to catch up, prompting him to remark, “Cassandra, if you’re facing any difficulties or troubles, you can talk to me. Maybe I can help.”

“Our family has a housekeeper over a century old. Do you know the secret to his longevity?”

“Is it due to some special health preservation technique in your family?”

“No, it’s because he never minds others’ business!”

Wentworth went silent at Cassandra’s remark.

Upon reaching the first floor of Hogwarts, Cassandra suddenly stopped, leaving Wentworth puzzled.

With a hint of embarrassment, Cassandra inquired, “Do you have any thoughts about where the ideal place for our duel might be?”

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Published On: September 21, 2023

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