Once the group had ventured beyond the tents adorned with Jerry’s images, they reached the bustling heart of the camp.
A delightful array of magic performances, wizardly cuisine, and enchanted items from various countries awaited here.
Having risen early and skipped breakfast, everyone’s stomach growled upon seeing the culinary delights on offer.
With their mouths watering each second upon seeing the magical delicacies before their very eyes, they can’t help but have their mind wandering around, imagining consuming each of them.
Aware of his companions’ limited funds of Galleons, Jerry generously declared, “Choose what you’d like to eat today; it’s on me!”
Their eyes widened upon hearing his declaration.
Enthusiastically, they cheered and flocked to the stalls, knowing that Jerry’s wealth made this a trivial expense.
It was intriguing that Jerry had once been the least affluent among them.
Born in a Muggle orphanage, he faced financial struggles throughout his school years.
Graduation meant years of repayment for his tuition.
But look at him now!
Jerry is one of the most envied figures in the wizarding world, whether it’s for his knowledge or his wealth.
As the only person in history to join the National Quidditch team during his school years and the author of a successful magic book, Jerry’s monthly earnings and publishing royalties had filled his Gringotts vault beyond the lifetime savings of most adult wizards.
While watching everyone disperse to sample their favorite treats, Jerry smiled and led Hermione on a stroll past various food stalls.
In no time, they had amassed a collection of magical foods they’d never encountered before.
“These sweet and sour ones are delicious, Jerry. You have to try them!”
Hermione took a bite of a “Candied Hawthorn” she’d purchased from the Chinese wizard.
Her eyes sparkled with delight, and she promptly offered one to Jerry.
He accepted the candied hawthorn and savored it. “It’s really delicious!”
With one piece for Hermione and one for Jerry, they now had just one left in the bunch.
Hermione reached for the last hawthorn, still skewered on its small wooden stick, but then her foot slipped, and she tumbled backward.
Jerry, possessing exceptional reflexes, caught her before she hit the ground, his hand firmly around her waist.
Leaning down, he asked, “Are you okay? Did you hurt yourself?”
Hermione’s heart raced as she gazed into Jerry’s face, less than twenty centimeters from her own.
She couldn’t help but lean in closer.
However, due to the candied hawthorn still in her mouth, their near-kiss became an unintentional collision with the hawthorn.
Eyes wide, Jerry bit off the remaining half of the hawthorn, uncertain of how to react.
At that moment, he hadn’t evaded Hermione’s proximity as he easily could have.
“It’s quite sour. Let’s finish the last one!” Jerry tried to regain control of the situation while smiling awkwardly with a blush.
Hermione eventually regained her composure, hastily removed the candied hawthorn from her mouth, and stood up.
She wished she could disappear into thin air. In truth, the situation wouldn’t have been bad had they actually kissed.
At the very least, it might have occurred had Jerry not refused.
Yet, the odd obstacle of the candied hawthorn had turned a potential romantic moment into an awkward exchange.
“It’s a bit too sour; let’s try something else!” Hermione replied while averting her gaze from Jerry, trying to look at the other stalls.
Upon recognizing Hermione’s flushed cheeks, Jerry couldn’t help but smile, although he played it cool and kept his amusement to himself.
He decided to act as if he genuinely believed Hermione’s explanation about the candy’s effect, easing her embarrassment.
“Jerry, Hermione, we’ve found some goodies!”
Harry, Ron, and Ginny approached, each carrying magical delicacies they had never seen before.
Upon seeing Jerry and Hermione’s reddened faces, Ginny couldn’t help but smile with a sly expression.
As Hermione’s close friend, she had a hunch about Hermione’s feelings and had a fair guess about the situation.
“Why are your faces so red? Are you feeling unwell or something?” asked Harry and Ron with concern.
Ginny rolled her eyes at their ability to pick up such romantic cues badly…
“No wonder you guys don’t have anything going on with your life,” Ginny muttered while rolling her eyes.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
Clearly, Harry and Ron, her crush and her soon-to-be fourth-year brother, were quite clueless about the budding romance.
Hearing the banter between them made the situation less awkward than before.
“No, it’s just that we ate some Chinese blushing candied haws, and they make your face turn red,” Jerry explained with a smile, noticing Hermione’s embarrassment.
Harry and Ron appeared surprised, but Ginny remained skeptical.
“By the way, what did you buy that’s easy for me to eat? I need to recover my energy, you know!” Jerry quickly changed the subject to save Hermione from further embarrassment.
Harry and Ron eagerly began describing the various exotic delicacies they’d sampled, including Indian fire-breathing curry, Japanese seafood sushi rolls that briefly transformed their heads into different seafood, and American “Boom Chicka” popcorn that continued to pop inside their mouths.
After exploring the enchanting world of magical foods, they shifted their attention to the myriad of magical items with a variety of functions.
Around noon, they returned to Weasley’s magical tent, where Mrs. Weasley had prepared a sumptuous lunch.
Since the Burrow was located in Devon, not too far from the camp, Mrs. Weasley could Apparate over without the need for a Portkey.
After a hearty meal, they joined the other wizards in front of the tent for conversation. Mrs. Weasley returned home to tend to the animals.
Not far from Weasley’s tent, there was a road leading to the Quidditch pitch, and they often witnessed Ministry of Magic officials briskly passing by.
When they met Arthur, many would stop to greet him warmly, and he would take the opportunity to introduce Jerry, Hermione, and Harry to them, providing details about their current positions at the Ministry of Magic.
“Hey there, my old friend Arthur! Look at this lovely weather. Would you be interested in placing some bets on the game?” A man called out to Arthur from the crowd.
Around four or five in the afternoon, a rotund middle-aged wizard wearing bright yellow boots and carrying a large bag filled with Galleons approached Arthur as he hopped along.
This was Ludo Bagman, England’s finest Seeker a decade ago, who had now ventured into the world of betting.
What is such a man doing here in this place?
Perhaps after getting old, doing such things is the only way for him to find a source of happiness.
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