When Professor Dumbledore led Wentworth and Green into the Hufflepuff common room, they were met with cheers from the Hufflepuff students.
Professor Dumbledore smiled and distributed candy as he walked through the room, surrounded by a jubilant atmosphere.
Fortunately, Professor Snape accompanied them, which likely prevented any enthusiastic inquiries from impeding their progress.
Wentworth doubted whether Professor Dumbledore alone would have managed to extricate himself from the crowd’s fervent curiosity.
In Wentworth’s dormitory, Cedric was still present, and he quickly greeted Professor Dumbledore upon his entrance.
Approaching Wentworth’s bed, Professor Dumbledore examined the pumpkin with a measured gaze.
Professor Snape joined them, scrutinizing the pumpkin, before turning to Professor Dumbledore with uncertainty in his voice.
“Professor Dumbledore, is this truly a Portkey?”
Professor Dumbledore responded calmly, “I am uncertain.”
Professor Snape’s expression remained puzzled as he contemplated Professor Dumbledore’s words.
Just then, word spread that Professor Sprout had heard of Professor Dumbledore’s presence and hurried over, followed closely by Professor Ilona.
After greetings were exchanged, Professor Dumbledore prompted Wentworth to recount his dream and the subsequent events.
Professor Sprout examined the pumpkin on Wentworth’s bed closely and exclaimed, “This pumpkin has indeed been tampered with!”
Professor Dumbledore, Professor Snape, and the others were taken aback by her assertion.
Ilona’s gaze at the pumpkin already carried a hint of aggression.
“The jack-o’-lanterns on each student’s bed were arranged by me, and they used the jack-o’-lanterns they crafted themselves. I remember the ones on Wentworth’s bed, and I also coordinated with the house-elves. It seems that Wentworth isn’t particularly skilled at crafting.”
Wentworth cringed, feeling like a bystander to his own critique.
Professor Sprout ignored his discomfort, “I distinctly recall that Wentworth’s jack-o’-lantern wasn’t as intricate as this one.”
Professor Dumbledore nodded thoughtfully in response to Professor Sprout’s assessment, then elaborated, “One thing I wish to clarify for the professors: Wentworth is indeed one of the few students displaying a talent for Divination.”
“You may have heard rumors regarding Professor Trelawney’s opinions on Wentworth. Let me confirm, those rumors hold truth; Wentworth does possess a natural aptitude for dream Divination.”
Nods and knowing glances were exchanged among the professors.
Cedric and Green, however, exchanged surprised looks, having not anticipated such a candid affirmation of Wentworth’s Divination ability by Professor Dumbledore.
Continuing, Professor Dumbledore said, “Through Wentworth’s unconscious dream Divination and Professor Sprout’s assessment, we can reasonably deduce that the jack-o’-lantern before us has been manipulated. Furthermore, it is highly likely it has been transformed into a Portkey.”
According to the content of Wentworth’s dream, the location linked to the Portkey likely held a wizard skilled in dark magic, Professor Dumbledore explained.
After this explanation, Professor Dumbledore paused, fixing his gaze on Wentworth. “Wentworth, what is your decision regarding this pumpkin?”
Before Wentworth could respond, Professor Sprout, Hufflepuff’s head of house, chimed in, “It goes without saying, we should destroy it!”
However, Professor Ilona opposed, saying, “That won’t do. We still don’t know who is behind this. Headmaster Professor Dumbledore, I volunteer to inspect the pumpkin. Let’s uncover who is trying to provoke us at Hogwarts.”
Unexpectedly, Professor Snape supported Professor Ilona’s proposition, stating, “This time, I agree with Professor Ilona.”
Professor Sprout hesitated, voicing her concerns about potential harm to the professors during the investigation.
As a dispute seemed imminent among the Professors, Professor Dumbledore intervened with a couple of coughs, redirecting their focus back to Wentworth.
“Let Wentworth decide in this matter.”
The Professors fell silent, turning their attention to Wentworth.
After a contemplative silence, Wentworth spoke up, “Professor Dumbledore, I am eager to uncover the responsible party, but I am also worried about the safety of the professors. I don’t want anyone to be harmed because of this investigation.”
Professor Dumbledore smiled kindly at Wentworth and responded, “Wentworth, you are an honorable young man. It’s important that you heed this command.”
Wentworth’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion. “Are you saying… I am going?”
His disbelief was palpable.
Several other professors also seemed surprised by Professor Dumbledore’s decision to have Wentworth participate in such a dangerous undertaking.
Professor Dumbledore took Wentworth’s hand and reached for the jack-o’-lantern, only to be blocked by a figure suddenly stepping in front of him.
“Professor Ilona, do you have something to add?” Professor Dumbledore regarded Ilona calmly.
Professor Ilona’s presence didn’t appear to surprise Professor Dumbledore.
She responded, her expression stern, “Professor Dumbledore, I find this situation to be too perilous. Wentworth is only a first-year student; it’s better for him to remain at Hogwarts. Allow me to accompany you instead.”
The two maintained an unyielding gaze, engaging in an unspoken standoff.
After a moment, Professor Dumbledore broke the silence. “I seem to recall during your interview that you advocated hands-on training.”
“I was referring to training between wizards of equal skill.”
“Ilona, do we face an opponent of equal skill every time?”
Professor Ilona’s counterpoint faltered, leaving her temporarily speechless.
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