Armand lay motionless on the ground, seemingly in a deep coma. The black energy gradually dissipated from his body, leaving only the Patriarch Ring on his left index finger, emitting a peculiar black light.

The battle had proven to be quite challenging, yet Skyler reaped substantial gains. Facing an adversary well-versed in ancient black magic, possessing a magic level approaching that of a quasi-mage— even with the constraints imposed by Draco’s body and his compassionate intentions regarding taking over Armand’s body—Skyler managed to secure victory through strategic planning, clever maneuvers, and the deployment of his trump card.

Beyond gaining valuable practical experience, this encounter deepened Skyler’s understanding of his true combat capabilities.

Confidently, he believed that now, even if confronted by Voldemort in his prime or other formidable magisters. At the same time, defeat might still be likely, he could endure several attacks and potentially pose a challenge to his opponents.

Moreover, with the troubled times on the horizon, Skyler recognized there was ample time for further growth and development before he faced more formidable adversaries.

Skyler approached Draco, leaning down to lightly prick Draco’s palm with the wand. A small wound appeared, from which Skyler extracted a blood droplet, manipulating it to float in mid-air before depositing it into a special container.

Draco’s eyelashes fluttered after stowing away the container and wand, and he slowly opened his eyes, revealing a somewhat bewildered expression. The once eerie red pupils had now transformed into a more subdued gray.

Upon seeing Skyler’s concerned expression, Draco’s countenance shifted into a complex mixture of emotions.

“Skyler…” Draco, sitting up with his upper body on the ground, hesitated for a prolonged moment before finally speaking with a trembling voice, “I’m sorry…”

“My dear brother!” Skyler smiled warmly, “What are you apologizing for? Remember, we are family!”

Draco pursed his lips, seemingly struggling to express something. Ultimately, he shook his head, removed the Patriarch Ring, and placed it into Skyler’s hand. “It’s better if you keep this. You’re the most fitting heir to the family.”

Skyler smiled, locking eyes with Draco, and spoke softly, “You and your father have overthought things.”

“I am ambitious and have ideals, but assuming the role of the patriarch has never been part of my plans,” Skyler remarked casually, as though discussing a trivial matter. “If the world I envision cannot be realized within the confines of the family… don’t worry! You can confidently embrace the position of patriarch. As your brother, I’ll wholeheartedly support you, maintaining your grandeur and status within our family. I can assure you that, despite our differing philosophies, I believe that both of us, on our distinct paths, can bring new glory to the family.”

“I pledge to refrain from actions that jeopardize your interests or undermine the family’s well-being,” Skyler asserted, looking directly into Draco’s eyes with solemnity. “As long as you also commit not to become adversaries to me. Beyond my family, there are many people and things I hold dear in this world. They represent my moral boundaries, and anyone who harms them will be considered my adversary!”

Draco lapsed into silence. Initially shaking his head, he then nodded, the ancestral nightmare having profoundly altered his perspectives on the family.

“As long as you comprehend this, I believe I can provide you with greater reassurance,” Skyler remarked.

Draco’s eyes brightened slightly. “What’s the plan?”

Skyler spoke slowly, “Blood Pact between us, Draco!”

“The Blood Pact is a potent magical contract, much like the Unbreakable Vow. Each of us contributes a drop of blood, merging them together. Subsequently, we become incapable of causing harm to each other. This means you can continue upholding the family’s glory your way, and I can pursue my ideals without hindrance. Through this process, we’ll be magically bound, preventing any conflict between us. As a result, we no longer need to fret about sibling rivalry, and you won’t have to delve into dark magic to seek power…”

Draco readily nodded. “Alright.”

However, Skyler harbored unspoken reservations. What he omitted was that the Blood Pact’s effect specifically stipulates that “cannot inflict harm on the other party with magic.” In this world, harm can extend beyond the realm of magic.

Before Skyler embarked on his time-traveling journey, only the first two installments of the Fantastic Beasts series had been released.

Despite engaging in a few discussions with Rowling, the scriptwriter, he possessed no more knowledge than other readers did, aside from some inside information regarding various magic schools.

He was aware that Dumbledore, in the early days of the Alliance’s Uprising, couldn’t confront Grindelwald due to the Blood Pact. Still, the details of how Dumbledore ultimately broke the pact and triumphed over Grindelwald in 1945 remained a mystery.

Was the highly touted battle of the century between the two renowned wizards actually a close-quarters, hand-to-hand combat? A wizarding melee?

Realizing the improbability of such a scenario, Skyler promptly dismissed these musings and retrieved his wand.

He gently tapped the palms of the two individuals with his wand. Two tiny red blood droplets danced around each other, ascending into the air before converging in mid-air. The merging blood formed an exquisitely shaped container resembling a diamond pendant with a round bead embedded in its center.

“It’s done,” Skyler placed the container into the suitcase space, observed Draco’s hesitant demeanor, and then reassured, “What’s troubling you? Don’t worry, this blood pact container is not easily destroyed. Even if someone attempts to force it, there will be a consequential backlash. Regarding the Patriarch Ring, feel free to reclaim it. It is, after all, entrusted to you by your father, and its transfer to others should not be done casually. In any case, Armand has been severely weakened by my actions, and it will likely take him centuries to regain enough strength to attempt seizing my body.”

“No, I absolutely trust you. That’s not what I want to say…” Draco shook his head, “Actually… the reason I will be taken away is not because I desire to vie with you for the position of the head of the family.”

Certainly, I am envious of your talent. I covet the attention effortlessly bestowed upon you by our parents. I yearn for the admiration and support you receive from countless others. However, these sentiments can only be considered catalysts at best. The real reason—”

“Okay! Enough of that!” Skyler interrupted Draco, “Some things don’t need to be explicitly stated.”

Skyler’s eyes gleamed and softly promised, “I assure you, I will cherish her.”

Draco was taken aback, a hint of bitterness creeping into his heart. He remained silent, but Skyler was already aware of everything. Was the disparity between them truly so substantial?

Draco nodded, unable to suppress a sigh. “I truly envy you, brother…”

“Envy?” Skyler beamed and remarked, “Just observe the world carefully, and you’ll realize how fortunate you are—”

“Muggles live shrouded in a daily fog, toiling away and engrossed in their studies, work, and family. Yet, what they labor to attain here might only require a simple Transfiguration spell… Squibs fare even worse. They’re aware of the existence of magic but can only observe from a distance, never having the chance to grasp it… Muggle-born wizards may seem heaven-blessed, gaining entry to the magical world, yet upon graduation, they start fretting about employment and making a living…”

“As for us, born into pure-blood nobility, perhaps destined to bear the responsibility and honor of our families. Simultaneously, we’ve been bestowed with the family’s abundant resources, sparing us the woes faced by those aforementioned. Yet, in turn, we find ourselves ensnared by new chains.”

“People are scarce in this world, and thus, they should live authentically and courageously, embodying their true selves without concern for others’ opinions or engaging in futile comparisons. Consider Potter and Weasley. Despite one lacking parents and the other facing financial constraints, they never demean themselves because of these challenges…”

Draco nodded, then shook his head. He appeared to have grasped something fleetingly, but the comprehension slipped away again. “You mean… everyone has their own destiny?”

Skyler couldn’t help but smile. “Let’s not use such a mystical term as destiny. Instead, think of it this way: everyone should have a purpose for existence, the ability to find their place in this world, and the determination to fulfill the responsibilities they’ve assigned themselves. This will make our journey in this world worthwhile, living it to the fullest.”

Observing Draco’s hesitancy, Skyler remarked, “Don’t seek answers from me about what you should do or the meaning of your existence; that’s a quest you must undertake on your own.”

Draco, seemingly resolved, inquired, “And you? What is your mission? If you see the role of the patriarch as expendable, and it’s evident you won’t become the Minister of Magic or ruler of the magical world, what do you pursue?”

Skyler smiled without directly answering, stating instead, “Draco, perhaps you might find it hard to believe, but this world is not as straightforward as we imagine. Each of us shapes our own reality based on our knowledge and perceptions, allowing these to bind us. Yet, the concept of reality is elusive. What we perceive as real might merely be an illusion—”

“There’s a type of fungus that blooms at sunrise, living and perishing with the sunset, unaware of night and dawn throughout its life. The cicada exists in spring and departs in summer, oblivious to autumn and winter. Muggles, living decades in mediocrity, may amass wealth and power, but they remain blissfully unaware of the existence of magic, wizards, and the truth…”

“Why do we, as wizards, confine ourselves to a reality that aligns with our imagination?”

“Are we, the proclaimed most powerful beings, being overly arrogant?”

“We’ve quelled numerous goblin rebellions, yet why haven’t we managed to unveil the secret of their metal forging?”

“True, house-elves obediently follow our commands, unable even to leave the houses to which they’re bound under our wizarding orders. How do they reproduce?”

(Note: Draco can comprehend this as it’s common knowledge in the wizarding world that each family has only one house-elf, as seen with Malfoy, Crouch, and Black.)

“Neither goblins nor house-elves are permitted to wield wands, and there’s nothing akin to Hogwarts where they can acquire knowledge. So, how have they mastered their magic?”

“We’ve learned in astronomy class that the Earth we inhabit is just a speck in the vast expanse of stars. Is it possible that life exists on other planets? What about beings more powerful than wizards?”

“I delved into space magic at one point. Beyond our familiar space, we’re connected to a void space in a chaotic state. What lies on the other side of this void space? Could it be that our space is just one among many? Do those alien spaces harbor a power greater than magic?”

“In my perspective, whether it’s Grindelwald’s claim of wizard supremacy or the Dark Lord’s advocacy of pure-blood supremacy, they’re merely grounded in their own understanding… and I—”

A glint appeared in Skyler’s eyes. “The path I aspire to tread involves nothing more than dispelling the illusions of wizards…”


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Published On: March 16, 2024

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