Wentworth’s life fell into a calm and regular routine during the subsequent period.
He attended classes, participated in Hufflepuff Quidditch team practices, and even snuck into the Room of Requirement at night for additional training.
It’s worth noting that after one of his late-night special training sessions in Professor Snape’s office, Wentworth had offered to assist Professor Snape by becoming his deputy and helping him manage some of the required potion ingredients for the next day’s classes.
Despite his reservations, Wentworth admired Professor Snape as an exceptional wizard and Potions master, aside from his abrasive demeanor.
Ignoring Professor Snape’s often cynical remarks, Wentworth recognized there was much to learn from him.
Professor Snape was taken aback by Wentworth’s voluntary offer.
No student had lingered in his office like this for many years. He responded to Wentworth’s request in his typical style.
As Halloween approached, Hogwarts underwent festive decorations. Hagrid, the gamekeeper and key keeper, arrived early with a multitude of pumpkins.
“It’s not magical at all,” Wentworth and Cedric grumbled as they handled the pumpkins.
Prefect Green explained, “This is a Hufflepuff tradition. While other houses’ jack-o’-lanterns are handled by House-elves, Hufflepuffs create their own.”
Wentworth still didn’t grasp the significance. Cedric guessed, “Maybe because each one we make is unique.”
Wentworth was intrigued by this year’s Halloween, knowing that the following Halloweens would be fraught with fear.
However, he soon realized that Halloween at Hogwarts was mundane while the wizarding world was magical.
The only distinction was an extended curfew for the night.
After a festive dinner in the Great Hall, Wentworth, Cedric, and others returned to the Hufflepuff common room.
Prefect Green couldn’t wait to ask, “What’s our plan for tonight?”
“You’ve got the poker deck out already. Do you really need to ask?” Wentworth retorted, pointing at the deck of cards in Prefect Green’s hand.
Since Wentworth introduced poker to the Hufflepuff common room, it had become more popular than even wizard chess, thanks to its combination of strategy and luck.
As participation grew, Wentworth gradually handed over management of the games to the others.
The most favored game was Texas Hold’em.
Unable to use money for bets, students wagered various snacks instead.
A lively game ensued.
As Wentworth observed the game, he was reminded of his life before, watching elderly men play cards in a park.
Unfortunately, his luck tonight was less than stellar, and he was one of the first to be eliminated.
Standing up, Wentworth made way for the others.
Prefect Green cheekily seized the chocolate frog Wentworth had bet, looking triumphant.
Determined to improve his luck, Wentworth decided that from now on, he would introduce mahjong, confident he wouldn’t lose at this national pastime.
Feeling homesick, he found a seat on a vacant sofa in the Hufflepuff lounge.
Tiredness soon overwhelmed him, and his eyes drooped shut.
“Hey, daydreaming? Return to the dorm and sleep!” Cedric’s voice roused Wentworth from his light slumber.
Confused, Wentworth looked around, noticing that only a few people remained in the common room, most having retired for the night.
With a yawn, Wentworth said his goodnights, greeted Prefect Green and headed to his bedroom.
On his bed lay a pumpkin head, perhaps due to Halloween. Inside, two candles flickered, but rather than warmth, they exuded a melancholy air that gave Wentworth shivers.
“The ambiance is perfect, but it’s too unsettling for a good night’s sleep here,” Wentworth muttered, removing the jack-o’-lantern from his bed.
He sighed, “Halloween’s just around the corner, and it’s already getting boring.”
As Wentworth reached out to grab the jack-o’-lantern, an unexpected force yanked him by the navel.
Suddenly, he found himself somewhere else, with his wand not at the ready.
Before he could react, someone else acted faster.
Wentworth stared in despair as he realized the gravity of the situation.
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