“Now you comprehend, don’t you?” Skyler lifted the corner of his mouth, “Harry has consistently been under Dumbledore’s protection, whether at Hogwarts or at his Muggle relatives’ home. He’s shielded by formidable protective magic. If you aim to capture Potter, the Triwizard Tournament provides the optimal opportunity!”

“So that’s the plan! I get it now!” No matter how slow Karkaroff may be, he has pieced together Voldemort’s overall scheme, “This is why Dumbledore hired the old Moody as a professor. This is why Potter was chosen as a champion. This is why there was such a strong reaction from old Moody when Potter was selected as a champion… I finally understand now…”

“We must prevent Potter from participating in the competition! Let’s go! We need to inform Dumbledore about this!” Karkaroff urged.

“It’s not that simple…” Snape shook his head, “The Goblet of Fire is bound by contract magic that dates back centuries. It’s extremely potent. Once chosen as a champion, you can’t withdraw midway. You must partake in all the tasks until the end.”

“Then what do we do? Let the villain’s plot succeed? I am pretty sure there is something we can do rather than staying silent and waiting for his return!” Karkaroff was somewhat frantic. He finally grasped the key, but being unable to thwart it left him feeling powerless.

Snape fell silent and shifted his attention to Skyler.

“So—” Skyler smiled, his confidence radiating through his expression, “Didn’t I also enter the competition? Do you think Potter stands a chance?”

“Apparition is forbidden at Hogwarts, and the flying network requires prior approval from the headmaster to connect to the Floo network,” Skyler explained thoughtfully. “So, unless he orchestrates a large-scale attack on Hogwarts, the only option left to transport Harry out is—”


Karkaroff initially nodded, then shook his head. “You’re mistaken; the Ministry of Magic closely monitors the casting of the Portkey spell. Forget about the location; in a heavily guarded place like Hogwarts, the Ministry of Magic wouldn’t make any oversights.”

Skyler nodded, “You’re correct. If I were to use Portkey at Hogwarts, it would indeed be impossible. But when did I say I needed to use Portkey?”

Karkaroff pondered for a moment, realizing that he had conjured up the concept of Portkey in his mind.

A hint of embarrassment crossed his face, feeling intellectually inferior in the presence of this exceptionally powerful young man. Though unspoken, he harbored a deep conviction and a subtle admiration for Skyler.

“As far as I know, the first two events of each Triwizard Tournament are different, but the final event remains the same, correct?” Skyler inquired.

Snape and Karkaroff exchanged glances and nodded slowly.

“Then I can safely assume that this year is no exception. The concluding event must involve the champions navigating through a maze, reaching the endpoint, and touching the Goblet of Fire placed there.” Skyler’s eyes gleamed with intensity. “Anyone touching the Goblet of Fire will be instantly transported to the judge’s seat, and the panel will declare their victory!”

In essence, the Goblet of Fire functions as a door key,” Skyler grinned slyly. “The Man Who Shall Not Be Named’s accomplice, whoever they may be, only needs to cast a confusion charm on the Goblet of Fire and alter the teleportation destination to the mysterious man’s location. There’s no need to use Portkey at all!”

Unmentioned by Skyler is the fact that, based on the events in the original storyline, the man’s magical prowess might not be sufficient to change the destination of the Portkey entirely entirely. Before reaching the referee’s seat, he can only introduce an additional program to teleport to Little Hangleton’s cemetery.

The command initially directed to the referee’s table is not substituted or eliminated; instead, it is relocated to become the destination for the second command.

This explains why, when Harry touched the Goblet of Fire for the second time, he was teleported back to Hogwarts, narrowly evading death. It also clarifies why Harry didn’t reappear at the center of the maze but rather in front of the referee’s seat and the audience stands.

Karkaroff and Snape were left astounded, marveling at Skyler’s exceptionally precise deduction. In comparison to Skyler, they felt as if they had lived their lives in ignorance.

“Malfoy, I will put my trust in you for this one. I will try my best to assist you from outside.” Snape said calmly.

Seeing Snape offering his assistance to Skyler, Karkaroff was taken aback. “And how do you plan on doing so? Severus, we need to be careful!”

They looked at Karkaroff after he warned them, and Snape scoffed at him.

Skyler’s inference proved flawless and exceedingly accurate.

The rationale behind Potter’s unexpected participation in the Triwizard Tournament had been meticulously elucidated. Moody’s earlier speculation, pointing to a powerful confusion spell cast on the Goblet of Fire, had mistakenly identified Potter as the fourth contender from the magic school—also the lone school champion applicant.

This ensured Potter’s selection as a participant in the tournament.

Given that the mysterious figure’s agents had successfully employed a confusion spell to influence the Goblet of Fire during the registration, it was logical to assume that they could use the same technique to manipulate the Goblet once again.

Snape and Karkaroff fell into a contemplative silence, attempting to process the weight of Skyler’s revelations.

After a prolonged moment, Snape cautiously inquired, “Skyler, do you know who is responsible for placing Potter’s name in the Goblet of Fire?”

Skyler nonchalantly shrugged, “I don’t know who it is, but what I do know…” He flashed a sly smile, “It must be you, Professor Karkaroff, the prime suspects in Dumbledore and Moody’s eyes.”

“It’s a mistake! I had nothing to do with this!” Karkaroff realized the severity of the situation and pleaded urgently, “Severus, you believe me, right? You know I’m innocent, right? You must help me!”

Snape clenched his lips, maintaining a stern expression. After a prolonged silence, he spoke, “Veritaserum and Legilimency hold little sway over wizards of our level, yet simultaneously, they are inadequate in proving your innocence. I will attempt to converse with Dumbledore on your behalf, but you should prepare for the worst outcome.”

“Worst outcome?” Karkaroff’s complexion drained of color, panic settling in. “Are you suggesting I go into hiding? Where could I possibly escape to?”

Snape shifted his gaze towards Skyler, his implication clear.

Inwardly amused, Skyler thought, “He truly lives up to the moniker of an old bat, swiftly offering his assistance.”

“Professor Karkaroff,” Skyler’s eyes glinted with assurance, “If you find my capabilities impressive, how about aligning yourself with me? I can ensure your personal safety.”

Karkaroff finally grasped the true intention behind Skyler’s extended conversation today. What was his motive in staying and discussing matters with them?

A hint of bitterness welled up within him, yet he acknowledged that he had no superior alternatives. Frankly, he envied Snape for being embraced by Dumbledore’s protective canopy, sheltered from concerns about personal safety.

In his position, although outwardly the esteemed headmaster of a renowned magical institution with boundless prestige, in reality, he was not well-liked by the directors and professors at the school. Despite instilling fear in students, he commanded little respect. In the event of any adversity, the support he could expect from Durmstrang would likely be negligible.

Little did he realize that Snape had already pledged his allegiance to Sherrin.


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Published On: March 24, 2024

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