Matthew entered the auditorium at two o’clock on Sunday afternoon to find a remarkable change.
The four long dining tables and chairs had vanished, making way for an expansive open space.
A sizable stage had suddenly emerged along one wall.
Nearly fifty or sixty students from various grades, excluding the first years, stood in the open space, their wands held with eager anticipation.
The Duel Club was evidently a popular choice at Hogwarts.
Considering the school’s total student population, having over fifty participants was a significant turnout for any club.
“Matthew!” Draco and Theodore called out his name as they trotted over.
However, there was no sign of Vincent and Gregory.
It seemed they preferred physical brawls to wand duels.
While exchanging greetings with his two roommates, Matthew had a sudden realization.
After the start of the new semester, his interactions with the four roommates had significantly dwindled.
It was as if their relationship had grown distant after the summer break.
Toward the previous semester’s end, the roommates treated him as a leader. Still, at the beginning of the new semester, an air of intentional alienation seemed to permeate their interactions.
Matthew shook his head, deciding to let these complicated matters go.
Perhaps Draco and the others were busy discussing how to deal with Mr. Pringle and recover the confiscated broomstick.
He dismissed these thoughts, choosing to focus on the stage before him.
After a brief wait, the “Instructor” of the Duel Club made his entrance.
Professor Flitwick, in his elegant black attire, stood shorter than most, but his presence commanded respect as the students parted to make way for him.
“Quiet down. Can everyone hear me?” he called, and the auditorium hushed.
Professor Flitwick gracefully ascended the platform with a flick of his wand at his feet. This vantage point allowed him to oversee the students below.
“I’m pleased to see some new faces,” he began gently and instructively.
“Dueling, a time-honored tradition, has been mostly phased out. However, Professor Rosier believes that reviving this course can uphold our wizarding heritage and enhance your defense against the Dark Arts. You may need these skills to protect yourselves one day.”
“In traditional dueling, each participant requires an assistant. Their primary role is that of a witness, though there are instances where an assistant might continue the duel if the primary dueler is incapacitated or unwilling to continue.”
“Several rules govern the termination of a duel, determined by the challenger. A duel ends if one party sustains any injury or if they’re rendered unable to fight further. If a participant is severely injured or unable to continue, the duel concludes. Naturally, we adhere to the first rule, prohibiting more severe outcomes.”
“Upon bowing to one another, both parties take twelve paces back. The assistants then call out the start of the duel thrice, after which both participants can turn around and raise their wands.”
“However, I must emphasize that we discourage initiating duels with other wizards. This class is designed to prepare you for self-defense scenarios. Now, let’s delve into the subject.”
With these introductory remarks, Professor Flitwick paused and cleared his throat. “I believe many of you are already acquainted with the Disarming Charm?”
Most of the students nodded, though some juniors and newcomers to the Duel Club shook their heads.
“One of the simplest protective spells, yet it’s remarkably effective. The Disarming Charm forces your opponent to relinquish their weapon. Executed skillfully, it can disarm them and even send them airborne, causing more substantial damage.”
Professor Flitwick proceeded to explain the spell to those unfamiliar with it.
Over the following minutes, the senior students began to practice in pairs.
His diminutive form darting amongst the younger students, Professor Flitwick offered instructions on employing the Disarming Charm.
He also shared some tactical insights for dueling:
“Speed is crucial—raising your wand swiftly increases your chance of taking the initiative…”
“Precision matters. Quickly aim your wand at the target to avoid wasting an opportunity due to an off-target spell…”
“Lastly, choose your spell based on your opponent’s traits.”
As Matthew listened and observed, he raised his wand and executed the spell with a graceful flourish:
After nearly half an hour of practice, another Professor arrived, albeit belatedly.
It was the Transfiguration teacher, Professor “Severus Snape,” clad in a vibrant red robe.
“Alright, my assistant has arrived,” Professor Flitwick motioned for everyone to make way for Professor Snape. “Welcome, Severus!”
Professor “Snape” offered a nod and a polite smile.
“Professor Snape has kindly agreed to assist me by providing a demonstration. I suggest you all pay close attention,” Professor Flitwick signaled for Professor Snape to join him, and together, they ascended the stage.
It was evident that Professor Flitwick spoke with unwavering confidence.
This came as no surprise, as he was once a champion of numerous duels in his youth.
Moreover, as a half-blooded fairy, his inherent “racial talent” was optimally suited for dueling.
Two tall and the other short figures converged on the stage.
They initiated the ritual with a bow, each turning around while brandishing their wands like drawn swords.
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