The notice displayed in the entrance hall had a profound impact on the castle’s inhabitants.

Over the following week, it seemed that no matter where Skyler went, the only topic of conversation was the Triwizard Tournament.

Rumors circulated rapidly among the students like an infectious contagion—discussions about who would compete as a champion for Hogwarts, the nature of the events in the competition, and the distinctions among the students from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang.

Skyler also observed a thorough cleaning underway throughout the castle. Numerous grimy portraits were vigorously scrubbed, much to the discontent of the subjects.

They huddled in their frames, grumbling with irritation, wincing every time the scrubbing revealed pink, tender flesh on their faces. Even the suits of armor underwent a transformation, now gleaming and no longer emitting a cacophony of sounds as they moved.

Filch erupted in a fury at the sight of a student who had forgotten to clean their shoes, terrifying two first-year girls into hysterics.

The other faculty members appeared equally on edge.

“Goyle, Crabbe, give it your all! Don’t embarrass yourselves in front of the Durmstrang guests. Show them that you can at least master a simple transfiguration spell!” Professor McGonagall’s sharp rebuke rang out as the class was drawing to a close, leaving the young wizards and witches with ears aching from her stern words.

Finally, October 30th arrived. As they descended for breakfast that morning, the students discovered that the Great Hall had undergone a remarkable overnight transformation.

Gigantic silk banners adorned the walls, each representing a Hogwarts house: Gryffindor with a red background and a majestic golden lion, Ravenclaw with a blue background and a regal bronze eagle, Hufflepuff featuring a yellow background and a determined black badger, and Slytherin showcasing a green background with a sleek silver serpent.

Above the faculty desk hung the largest banner, displaying the Hogwarts school badge—a unified emblem featuring the lion, eagle, badger, and snake, encircled by a prominent letter H.

Throughout the entire day, no academic lessons took place, the anticipation of the impending Triwizard Tournament overshadowing all other activities.

As the afternoon waned, students hastily donned their robes and assembled in the hall. While chaos reigned among the other three houses, Slytherin’s young wizards had already formed orderly queues.

Descending the steps, the students lined up before the castle as the chilly evening set in. The night loomed, and a pristine moon cast its glow over the Forbidden Forest.

Following the predetermined schedule, the students from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang were expected to arrive promptly at six o’clock.

A minute before the appointed time, Dumbledore’s voice resonated from behind the crowd, “If I’m not mistaken, the representatives from Beauxbatons have arrived!”

A colossal object, much larger than a flying broomstick—indeed, larger than a hundred flying broomsticks—soared through the deep blue sky towards the castle, gradually growing in size.

As the black behemoth passed over the treetops of the Forbidden Forest and came into view beneath the castle’s illuminated windows, onlookers beheld a massive pink-and-blue carriage approaching. This colossal vehicle, resembling a house in size, was drawn by twelve winged horses.

All these horses boasted silver manes and were each the size of an elephant.

These horses were known as Abraxans, the other version of Pegasus as we know it. The difference between an Abraxan and a Pegasus would be their massive size.

The carriage descended rapidly, hurtling toward the ground with astonishing speed. The students positioned in the initial three rows hastily retreated as a resounding crash reverberated. The horses’ hooves thundered upon impact, sending vegetables flying from the massive plates they carried.

In an instant, the carriage settled on the ground, its colossal wheels quivering, while the golden horses vigorously shook their colossal heads, their large red eyes whirling.

Adorning the carriage door was the emblem of Beauxbatons School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: two golden crossed wands, each adorned with three stars.

Stepping out of the carriage was a woman, roughly the same height as Hagrid—Ms. Olympe Maxime is the Headmistress of Beauxbatons School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Following her, twelve young male and female students disembarked, arranging themselves behind Ms. Maxim. By their appearance, they seemed to be around eighteen or nineteen years old, and a subtle tremor ran through them.

This was hardly surprising, given the delicate silk robes they wore without any cloaks. Some students had wrapped their heads in scarves or turbans, all gazing up at Hogwarts with quivering expressions.

Skyler couldn’t help but sigh. Checking the local climate and temperature before embarking on a journey is common sense, isn’t it? The intelligence of this group of wizards is indeed concerning!

Even if you purposely opt for silk robes to showcase your French fashion taste, you could include a thermostat function! Constant temperature clothing isn’t a high-end and expensive item.

As a representative of a school, every action and mannerism reflects the image and prestige of the institution.

Shivering in the cold for the sake of a stylish dress won’t leave a positive impression. Is there an issue with the delegation’s representative?

Dumbledore and Maxim exchanged quiet words for a while, and then directed the Hogwarts students to create a pathway, allowing Beauxbatons’ delegation to enter the castle first.

After another half-hour, even the Hogwarts students began to shiver from the cold. Skyler, Daphne, and Astoria observed the trembling crowd nonchalantly.

The two sisters had already donned the thermostatic robes that Skyler purchased for them. These robes boasted numerous functions. Though not on the level of supreme wizard’s robes, they were still unique high-end items.

Of course, Morag, part of the Ravenclaw team, also possessed a set, making her the envied individual among Ravenclaw.

Draco withdrew his wand and swiftly cast the “Flame Freezing Charm” on those around him, offering them some relief.

Skyler narrowed his eyes slightly. The “Flame Freezing Charm” wasn’t challenging to learn, but it was an uncommon spell.

In the original book, even with Hermione’s erudition, she didn’t master it, opting for the “Incendio” spell with few modifications to stay warm. The principle involved transforming a small blue flame into a bottle, providing warmth.

Draco’s actions left Skyler increasingly perplexed. At times, Skyler felt as if Draco was an entirely different person. Whether it was his cunning or strength, he harbored this impression.

Yet, Draco would occasionally revert to the naive, impulsive, trouble-seeking, and seemingly normal strength persona.

At that moment, an eerie and resonant noise emanated from the darkness, a muffled rumbling and suction, akin to a colossal submarine gliding along the shore.

The students stood on the grassy knoll, their gaze fixed on the expansive field, and a surreal scene unfolded before them. The Black Lake’s once placid and shadowy surface began to ripple, evolving into a sudden upheaval that sent massive waves crashing along the damp lakeshore.

A colossal whirlpool materialized at the lake’s center, as if a gigantic plug had been abruptly removed from the lake’s depths. A black mast emerged slowly from the whirlpool, followed by the sail rigging…

Gradually, a magnificent ship ascended from the water, illuminated by the moonlight. Its appearance was otherworldly, resembling a skeletal structure, as if it were the remnants of a sunken ship freshly salvaged.

The portholes emitted a dim, misty light, resembling ghostly eyes. Finally, with the sound of splashing water, the grand vessel fully emerged, gently riding the undulating water surface as it set course for the lake’s shore.

This was the fabled Ghost Ship.

The Ghost Ship, a legendary alchemical creation with a storied reputation, stood alongside the Deathly Hallows, the Philosopher’s Stone, and Eris’s Magic Mirror in magical lore.

Skyler scrutinized the ship intently. To his knowledge, the Ghost Ship was a highly sophisticated alchemical product. Only two such vessels existed in the wizarding world—besides Durmstrang, the other sailed the Caribbean Sea under the moniker “Flying Dutchman.”

This isn’t merely a conventional mode of transportation; it boasts formidable and all-encompassing combat capabilities, essentially functioning as a mobile fortress.

Skyler had once come across a tale from the early nineteenth century where the “Flying Dutchman” had earned favor from a senior member of the Magical Congress of the United States.

Leading a group of exceptional Aurors in a sea ambush, they were unable to lay eyes on the adversary, as a single shot from the opponent’s magical cannon instilled enough fear to force a hasty retreat.

Fueling Skyler’s suspicion was the ship’s nomenclature—”Flying Dutchman.” He speculated that the ghost ship might possess the ability to soar through the skies. Even if his conjecture was incorrect, the Ghost Ship’s inability to take flight didn’t diminish its brilliance.

Take the Durmstrang Ghost Ship as an example; it could alter its form while traversing vast distances by utilizing the water surface as a medium. Drawing on Skyler’s understanding of space magic, he deduced a principle akin to the Floo Network, except the medium transitioned from fire to water.

This feat alone was no small accomplishment. Given that a significant portion of the Earth is covered by water, the ship could navigate any water surface, expanding the breadth of its destinations.

It could also transport large objects across expansive water bodies, such as a freshwater lake—an undertaking that the Floo Network might not even be capable of accomplishing with someone as large as Hagrid!

Indeed, this seemed like an intriguing avenue for research. Skyler pondered, recalling that in the original narrative, Hagrid had only made mention of flying motorcycles and Knight Buses.

Could it be that Hagrid was entirely inept when it came to utilizing the Floo Network?

Disregarding the convenience factor, the “Flying Dutchman” enjoyed the liberty of unrestricted movement at sea for an extended period, employing a method beyond the Ministry of Magic’s scrutiny.

In this context, the Ghost Ship’s shape-shifting capabilities were evidently superior to the Floo Network. Hence, apart from convenience, the Ghost Ship also held the advantage of concealment.

This explained why, even in the present day, the magical authorities of various nations remained powerless against the “Flying Dutchman,” and the identity of its owner remained an enigma.

On the flip side, Karkaroff’s approach appeared rather obtuse—he possessed a veritable treasure but failed to leverage its potential.

If he could cultivate loyal followers among the students and rely on the Ghost Ship solely for escape, evading Voldemort’s pursuit, who could trace the Dark Mark, would be a more formidable challenge.

Karkaroff seldom displayed strategic prowess, and rare were the occasions when he took the top-tier students abroad to engage with other magical schools.

The opportunity to forge stronger teacher-student relationships presented itself, yet he chose to indulge in the cabin, relegating the students to serve as mere laborers aboard the ship.

It was no wonder that no student felt a twinge of sympathy for him following his demise.

Indeed, it could be asserted that the primary challenge with the Ghost Ship lay in its operational complexity. Evidently, this was not an alchemical item designed for solo operation.

Judging from the Durmstrang scenario, a minimum of twelve individuals was required to manipulate it effectively.

As the Ghost Ship dropped anchor and came to a halt, thirteen Durmstrang representatives, clad in thick fur cloaks, strolled out of the cabin.

At the forefront was an elderly man with white hair and a goatee, warmly exchanging handshakes with Dumbledore—evidently, the headmaster Igor Karkaroff.

The arrival of the Durmstrang students triggered a mild sensation within the Hogwarts crowd. It was apparent that some individuals recognized the Durmstrang student positioned behind Karkaroff as none other than the renowned Chaser Viktor Krum of the Bulgarian national team.

After the exchange of pleasantries between Dumbledore and Karkaroff concluded, the weary young wizards, who had endured the chilly wait, could finally retreat to the welcoming warmth of the hall.

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Published On: February 1, 2024

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