After Halloween, November arrived, bringing with it the start of the Quidditch season.
The first match featured Gryffindor facing Slytherin.
Unlike the original book, Harry wasn’t a seeker, Quirrell didn’t attempt to curse Harry on the Quidditch pitch, and Snape’s attempt to help Harry was misunderstood by the trio.
Slytherin emerged victorious in this game, thanks to their Seeker, Terence Higgs, who caught the Golden Snitch.
However, these events had no bearing on Skyler’s life.
He continued to lead a fulfilling existence, balancing his daily studies and homework with participation in the Charm Club and the Transformation Club.
Engaging in these two clubs exposed him to more advanced and challenging magical knowledge, benefiting him greatly.
Additionally, Skyler began to formulate a plan for his future years at Hogwarts.
With his mastery of Occlumency, Skyler possessed the ability to conceal his thoughts.
It was time to set his three major pre-Voldemort’s-return goals into motion:
First, he aimed to enhance his own power.
Skyler planned to learn more potent spells, delve into silent and wandless spellcasting, and address his limitation in magical power.
Due to the constraints of his magical reserves, he couldn’t learn many powerful spells, despite his desire.
He hoped to gather legendary artifacts that could amplify his combat abilities by delving into magical history.
Historical documents hinted that Grindelwald, the first Dark Lord, derived much of his strength from the Elder Wand.
Skyler’s research extended to bloodline power, a long-lost area of magic that intrigued him.
Second, he intended to build a loyal force, an organization akin to the Death Eaters or the Order of the Phoenix.
Skyler recognized that school was the place where the largest number of wizards congregated, making it the ideal environment to amass power, whether to become the next Dark Lord or restore his family’s honor.
Third, he harbored a deep curiosity about Hogwarts.
The ancient castle held numerous secrets, and Skyler pondered whether the other three founders had left behind hidden legacies similar to Slytherin’s secret chamber.
Skyler devoted significant daily time to practicing silent and wandless spellcasting and studying the magic of the Malfoy, Black, Lestrange, and Rosier families.
An intriguing pattern emerged.
Each of these four pure-blood families gravitated toward distinct magical specializations.
The Malfoy family leaned toward spirit magic, the Black family emphasized soul and transfiguration magic, and the Lestrange family had a penchant for curses and torture. In contrast, the Rosier family’s magic revolves around elemental control.
Skyler’s thoughts took an interesting turn. He wondered whether these magical inclinations mirrored hidden powers within the blood of each family.
His awakening of the Malfoy family’s blood power in the spirit magic realm sparked this thinking.
Notably, Tonks of the Black family exhibited her family’s affinity for transformation magic.
The Lestranges’ proficiency in the bone-cutting curse suggested a bloodline talent for dark curses.
As for the Rosier family, Grindelwald’s mastery of elemental magic hinted at their bloodline’s influence.
With approximately a quarter of Black and Rosier’s blood in him and possible Lestrange lineage from his grandmother, Skyler contemplated the potential for awakening these additional bloodline powers.
He could only dream of how his strength would skyrocket if he could unlock these latent abilities.
Skyler’s relentless pursuit of family magic and spellcasting skills continued until the second week of December.
At this point, he was brimming with self-confidence, every move exuding pride in the hard-earned strength he had developed.
He had reached a point where he could proficiently and effortlessly cast spells silently and without a wand.
The wand had transformed from a necessity to a mere tool. Additionally, Skyler concluded his combat training with Dobby.
The House-elf was no longer a match for him and couldn’t withstand his full magical prowess.
Comparing his abilities to senior students, Skyler felt confident in defeating anyone except the top few individuals in the senior class.
Skyler contemplated his next steps, including his plan to explore Hogwarts.
However, before embarking on this adventure, he had to prepare for the upcoming two-week Christmas holiday.
Originally, Skyler had intended to use this time to explore the mysteries of Hogwarts, but Narcissa had sent a letter a month ago urging her two sons to come home for Christmas.
It was the first time her two sons had been away from home for such an extended period, and Narcissa understandably missed them deeply.
On the day before Christmas, as Skyler returned the library books he had borrowed to Madam Pince, Hermione intercepted him at the library’s entrance.
Hermione’s expression was somewhat apprehensive. To be honest, she had to muster quite a bit of courage to approach Skyler this time.
Influenced by Harry and Ron, her impression of Slytherin had never been particularly positive.
If it weren’t for Skyler’s assistance during the troll incident, she doubted they would have crossed paths at all.
So, stopping Skyler now, she began with a mix of anticipation and trepidation, saying, “Hello, Mr. Malfoy. I never had the chance to properly thank you for your help with the troll last time, so I’ve come to express my gratitude.”
Skyler regarded the girl before him, who played the role of the intellectual powerhouse within the Harry trio.
At this moment, Hermione still retained her youthful appearance, complete with her bushy hair and noticeable front teeth.
She looked like an ordinary, wholesome girl next door, although she would undergo a significant transformation by her fourth year.
While Skyler had no shortage of attractive classmates in Slytherin, including the charming Daphne and the graceful Meredith, Hermione still left a positive impression on him.
Her principled, determined, and intelligent nature had been evident throughout their adventures in the search for Horcruxes in the world of Harry Potter.
Even when Ron couldn’t endure the journey and left, Hermione remained steadfastly by Harry’s side until the end.
Skyler responded kindly, “You’re welcome, Miss Granger. Despite our different houses, we’re all Hogwarts classmates, so I merely did what I thought was right.”
Hermione’s eyes lit up, and she smiled. “Yes, we are classmates. I hope we can assist each other in the future.”
Skyler nodded and began to leave, but Hermione halted him once more. “Um… do you know who Nicolas Flamel is?”
Skyler raised an eyebrow, recognizing that the Harry trio was already progressing toward the events involving the Philosopher’s Stone. “Nicolas Flamel is considered the greatest alchemist of all time. He’s known for creating the Philosopher’s Stone, which is also called the Sorcerer’s Stone. It can produce the Elixir of Life and turn any metal into gold. He’s also a good friend of Professor Dumbledore. Is that enough?”
“I see, it must be the Philosopher’s Stone!” Hermione suddenly realized, her excitement evident.
She explained to Skyler, “We suspect that there’s a Philosopher’s Stone hidden in the restricted area on the fourth floor. The three-headed dog is guarding it. Hagrid mentioned that it was an agreement between Dumbledore and Nicolas Flamel.”
Skyler chuckled. “And then? Knowing there’s a Philosopher’s Stone, what’s next?”
Hermione hesitated, then continued, “Well, we suspect Professor Snape wants to steal the Philosopher’s Stone. Harry saw him with a bitten leg when passing the three-headed dog.”
Skyler studied Hermione closely for a moment before finally speaking. “Listen, suspecting a professor, or worse, accusing them, could lead to serious consequences. More importantly, Professor Snape has been teaching at Hogwarts for over a decade, and his position as head of Slytherin House indicates the trust he enjoys from Professor Dumbledore. I don’t think someone could misbehave under Professor Dumbledore’s watchful eye for so long. While Professor Snape’s classroom behavior may seem unfair, except for us Slytherin students, I know that students from other houses, especially Gryffindor, don’t like him. But—I don’t believe he should be unjustly accused.”
Hermione still wanted to argue, but Skyler continued, “Listen if you can think of these things, others can as well.”
He looked into Hermione’s eyes and said, “Do you really believe that Professor Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, Professor Flitwick, and Professor Sprout are unaware of Professor Snape’s leg injury? I think we should end this discussion here. Regardless of how much Slytherin bias you think I have, I’m here to help, not to accuse without evidence. Tomorrow is the start of the Christmas holiday, and I haven’t even begun packing, so I must take my leave. I wish you a Merry Christmas.”
He turned and departed with a wave, leaving Hermione standing in the corridor.
Not far away, Daphne and Meredith observed the exchange with curiosity, waiting for Skyler to return with them to the Slytherin dormitory.
As Hermione watched Skyler’s retreating figure, she couldn’t help but feel a pang of inexplicable sadness.
Was it possible that she, Harry, and Ron had been unjustly prejudiced against Snape?
Could the divide between Slytherin and Gryffindor truly be insurmountable?
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