After their class, Skyler and Daphne strolled cheerfully toward the Great Hall for lunch.
However, their merriment was interrupted when they spotted a commotion on the other side of the corridor.
A group of students had Meredith surrounded in pairs and threes, and through the gap in the crowd, Skyler could see Meredith standing alone against the wall.
Pansy and a few other Slytherin girls were the ones responsible for this siege.
Daphne, noticing the predicament Meredith was in, whispered to Skyler with a tone of concern, “Oh, Merlin… She’s in for a rough time with the Parkinson’s group.”
Skyler was somewhat puzzled, “Isn’t Meredith from the Shafiq family, one of the Sacred 28 pure-blood families?”
Daphne replied, “Skyler, you may excel in magic, but your knowledge of the current wizarding world is somewhat lacking. The Sacred 28 pure-blood families list was penned by Cantantrus Nott back in the 1930s. There has been a second Wizarding War in the past six decades, and many wizarding families have been entangled in conflicts. Many pure-blood families have waned, and their glory has faded. The Shafiq family is one such case. It was once illustrious, with numerous branches, but now only a single descendant remains.”
Daphne’s voice grew somber as she spoke, “To my knowledge, the Crouch family is in a similar predicament. After Barty Crouch Jr. was imprisoned, Barty Sr.’s wife couldn’t bear it and died of a severe illness. Following Barty Sr.’s demise, it won’t be long before the Crouch family collapses. The Goyle and Crabbe families are also in decline. Some lesser families are trying to seek refuge under the protection of prominent pure-blood families like the Malfoys to preserve their bloodlines and prestige.”
Skyler understood, “I see. As far as I know, Hannah Abbott from Hufflepuff is a half-blood witch. Perhaps the Abbott family had to relinquish their pure-blood status due to circumstances. But it’s still different from Meredith’s situation…”
Moved by Meredith’s plight, Skyler let out a sigh and approached.
Although he didn’t want to draw attention to himself, he couldn’t stand by while so many people bullied a young girl. Daphne followed closely behind him.
They walked toward Pansy and her group, and they could hear Pansy’s mocking voice as she pointed her finger at Meredith, who was pinned against the damp stone wall, “Miss Shafiq? Really? I can hardly believe it!” Pansy declared dramatically, “But just look at the potion you brewed! It’s absolutely dreadful! It almost makes me pity Professor Snape for having to scold you!”
By the time Skyler and Daphne approached, Pansy was about to get even closer to Meredith’s face, sneering and saying, “Look at that defiant look on your face, Miss Shafiq! Haha, you’re the only Shafiq left now!”
Skyler’s voice, though not loud, carried clearly to everyone’s ears, “Pansy, we’re all Slytherins here. Is it really enjoyable to have so many people ganging up on one girl? Isn’t it better to save this energy for our studies, compete for academic excellence, and bring glory to our house? Don’t you think that’s a better use of our time?”
Pansy, recognizing that it was Skyler intervening, didn’t want to engage in a conflict with him, a fellow noble and talented wizard.
She simply snorted and led her group of girls away.
Once Pansy and her gang had departed, the corridor fell into an awkward silence.
Meredith had prepared herself to endure Pansy and others’ humiliation, as she had no friends in the school and knew that no one would come to her aid.
With the Shafiq family reduced to a single heir, she carried the weight of her family’s honor and expectations on her shoulders.
Even when she had wished to have fun and be like other children her age, the burden of upholding her family’s honor had always held her back.
Over time, she had become isolated and gradually lost the ability to connect with her peers.
As Skyler and Daphne stood before her, tears welled up uncontrollably.
She hadn’t cried like this after hearing of her mother’s death. She gritted her teeth, desperately trying to stop the tears from falling.
She held her head high, maintaining her peculiar sense of pride. She didn’t want these two people to see her cry for some inexplicable reason.
“Um… would you like to join us for lunch?” Skyler scratched his head and asked Meredith softly, feeling a bit embarrassed.
He wasn’t sure what to say.
Daphne, too, looked at her childhood playmate with a hopeful smile, displaying a rare sincerity.
Meredith’s face turned even redder than before.
She tilted her head up, still avoiding eye contact with Skyler and Daphne.
Her hands remained clenched as if she were holding something precious that she couldn’t let go of.
Her body trembled, but she was evidently trying to restrain her emotions.
She opened her mouth, her voice quivering, as if she were trying to hide her tears, “You’re, you’re really, so… meddlesome!” After a long pause, she finally couldn’t hold back the last word, which nearly burst forth with tears.
After uttering it, she clutched her textbook tightly, pushed past Skyler and Daphne, and rushed up the stairs, her eyes brimming with tears.
And so, life at Hogwarts resumed its routine of monotonous school days.
Skyler had already set his sights on his future path and decided to concentrate on specific subjects.
Practical Potions, Spells, and Transfiguration courses took precedence, while classes like Astronomy, Professor Quirrell’s Defense Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, and Flying were met with indifference.
The only exception was the History of Magic, a subject he studied purely out of personal interest.
As for OWL and NEWT exams and future career prospects? Well, Skyler had a more pressing mission—to defeat the Dark Lord.
The exams could wait!
One of the advantages of being a Headmaster’s son is that it comes with certain privileges.
For instance, you’re exempt from doing homework, which left Draco quite envious. Furthermore, having classmates admire you is a major perk.
Establishing a good rapport with your peers can be quite significant.
While working on assignments, Skyler would often find himself approached by classmates seeking guidance.
He would readily offer assistance when time allowed, but when it came to sharing his homework, he only entrusted it to Daphne.
This left Daphne feeling rather smug, though it also irked Draco.
However, Skyler managed to placate his brother with a few words, explaining that this was done to uphold the honor of the Malfoy family.
He insisted it was a way to toughen Draco up and help him grow stronger faster, which made Draco surprisingly content.
Simultaneously, Skyler faced challenges from some of his classmates – most notably, a young, lion-hearted student with unruly hair.
Hermione seemed to have recognized that Skyler was her biggest obstacle in becoming the top student in their year.
She was determined to surpass him by actively participating in class and secretly observing his study habits after hours.
However, her efforts proved futile.
Skyler’s theoretical knowledge was already quite comprehensive.
What he needed was practical experience and sufficient magical power to cast more powerful spells.
These two elements could only accumulate with time and couldn’t be rushed.
As for Meredith, Skyler occasionally invited her to dine and do homework together since the previous incident.
Meredith was genuinely taken aback by this, assuming that Skyler and Daphne would no longer care about her after her initial rejection.
Ultimately, Meredith simply responded, “Fine, let’s eat if you want.” Skyler and Daphne welcomed Meredith into their small circle, adding her to their group.
Even though Meredith maintained her typically cold demeanor, her lips would unconsciously twitch into a faint smile, and when she noticed, she’d quickly suppress it.
Daphne couldn’t help but tease her on more than one occasion.
Flying lessons were set to begin on Thursday, and this class would be shared with Gryffindor.
The flight instructor was Madame Hooch, a woman with short gray hair and piercing yellow eyes resembling those of an eagle.
Once everyone had their broomsticks, she barked, “When I blow the whistle, kick off the ground, hard! Grip your broom tightly, rise a few feet, and then slightly lean forward before descending vertically. Now, listen for my whistle, three, two…”
However, Neville’s nervousness got the better of him.
Anxious to prove himself, he kicked off before Madame Hooch’s whistle had even reached her lips, soaring upwards.
“Come back, boy!” Madame Hooch shouted, but Neville continued to ascend, shooting up like a cork released from a bottle.
Twelve feet, twenty feet – Neville gazed downward with a terrified expression.
He gasped, his mouth wide open, feeling utterly drained of strength.
Sliding off the side of his broomstick, he plummeted…
Skyler promptly cast a Levitation Charm, halting Neville’s descent just before he hit the ground.
Neville let out a breathless “wow.” His broomstick, however, continued to ascend higher and higher, slowly drifting toward the Forbidden Forest.
Madame Hooch bent over, her face as pale as Neville’s, and addressed the rest of the class, “I’ll take this student to the hospital wing for an examination. None of you are to move! Return the broomsticks to their original positions. Failure to do so will result in expulsion from Hogwarts before you can say ‘Quidditch.’ And thanks to Mr. Malfoy’s quick thinking, Slytherin gains twenty points. Now, off we go, dear.”
After Madame Hooch and Neville had left, Draco picked up Neville’s Remembrall from the grass.
He raised it, and it glinted in the sunlight.
“Give it to me, Malfoy!” Harry whispered.
The others fell silent, watching.
Draco’s grin turned sinister. “How about I put it somewhere high for Longbottom to fetch – maybe in a tree?”
“Come here!” Harry shouted, but Draco had already taken to his broomstick and was ascending.
Draco proved to be a competent flyer, hovering at a height level with the treetops. He taunted, “Come and get it, Potter!”
Harry seized his broomstick. Uproarious cheers echoed around them.
“No!” Hermione protested, “Madame Hooch explicitly told us not to move. You’ll get us all into trouble.”
Harry paid her no mind. Adrenaline coursed through his veins as he kicked off from the ground.
He ascended, the wind rushing through his hair, robes billowing behind him.
There was an exhilarating sense of freedom, and he realized that he had found something he could excel at – a skill that didn’t require a teacher, something so effortless and delightful.
Just as Harry was about to race toward Draco, a cry rang out, “Neville’s Remembrall is flying!” Somehow, the Remembrall in Draco’s hand had ended up in Skyler’s.
Skyler nonchalantly remarked, “Who’s Neville’s roommate? Could you help me return this to him?”
Ron rose angrily, saying, “I am. Harry and I share a room with Neville.”
Skyler tossed the Remembrall gently, catching Ron by surprise.
He fumbled to catch it, his face turning beet red.
Skyler paid no mind to Ron’s embarrassment, instead looking up at the two still flying in the air.
He said calmly, “Aren’t you two coming down? I see Professor McGonagall heading this way…”
After learning about Draco and Harry’s unsanctioned flight, Professor McGonagall arrived and docked ten points from Gryffindor and Slytherin each.
However, after hearing about how Skyler had handled the situation, she added ten points to Slytherin.
This left the young Gryffindors – especially Hermione, who was a stickler for rules – disgruntled with Harry’s actions.
In contrast to the original story, no one knew that Harry had missed the chance to become the youngest Quidditch seeker in Hogwarts history.
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