The two-week Christmas holiday passed quickly, and Skyler and Draco returned to Hogwarts.
During these weeks, Skyler enjoyed a leisurely life.
Aside from occasionally helping Draco with his homework, he ventured into the Muggle world for some exploration.
Skyler didn’t plan to confine himself to the wizarding world for his entire life; he found it somewhat dull.
In his free time, Skyler didn’t forget to delve into the first-year spells.
He believed that what the school taught was just the most basic and straightforward application, whether it was the Lumos spell, Sonorus, or any other.
There was untapped potential if these spells were stripped down and traced back to their roots.
Skyler firmly believed that the power of a spell lay in the caster, not just the spell itself. Instead of pursuing spells with raw power and high energy consumption, choosing the most suitable spells for various situations was better.
Mastering refined basic magic was efficient in conserving mana and led to unexpected results.
In essence, fire is a state of gaseous combustion.
The principle behind fire curses is converting magical energy into energy that ignites the air.
The power of a fire curse depended on the size and temperature of the flame produced, and it consumed more magical power to achieve greater flames.
In the original books, Dumbledore had unleashed a massive sea of fire to repel thousands of Inferius, a rare form of magic that inflicted area damage in the wizarding world.
While Skyler couldn’t replicate Dumbledore’s sea of fire due to his limited magical power, he found other ways to achieve similar effects from different angles.
Skyler’s first idea was to use potions.
Drawing knowledge from Muggle chemistry textbooks, he understood the principles of fire and combustion.
He sought to create a magical potion resembling a combustion accelerator capable of causing rapid and widespread ignition.
After conducting multiple experiments in the family’s potion laboratory and enduring several reprimands from an angry Narcissa, Skyler finally concocted his first potion—the Ice Potion.
As the name suggested, it raised the flame’s temperature to a blue hue and expanded its size to that of a classroom.
This potion became Skyler’s most practical magic combination for handling group battles, even before he began studying the Inferius.
The enjoyable holiday quickly slipped by, and Skyler and Draco returned to Hogwarts.
Walking through the corridors, the Christmas spirit still lingered, with silver frost adorning the walls of the Great Hall.
Since the end of the holiday, Skyler noticed that the workload assigned by the professors had become increasingly burdensome.
Many professors were emphasizing the upcoming exams, signaling that the exam dates were approaching.
Even with Skyler’s capabilities, he started feeling the pressure.
Skyler decided to organize a study group with Daphne and Meredith to share notes and discuss potential exam questions.
While Daphne and Meredith had decent grades, they couldn’t match Skyler’s performance.
Thus, the study group largely revolved around Skyler, who tutored and guided the two girls in their homework and exam preparation.
Skyler didn’t keep this effort a secret, and news of it spread quickly.
Daphne and Meredith became the envy of many.
Throughout the semester, Slytherin students and some from Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff had heard of Skyler’s reputation as a “study god.”
Those who borrowed Skyler’s notes or sought his assistance with homework regarded his notes as legendary study aids.
Many students attempted to approach Daphne and Meredith to learn more about Skyler’s study habits and possibly obtain his notes.
Coincidentally, Hermione was also assisting Harry and Ron with their homework and exam preparations.
After hearing about Skyler’s actions, she was inspired to intensify her efforts.
It was as if an invisible competition had ignited as she pushed Harry and Ron relentlessly, applying pressure that made them uncomfortable.
One morning, as Skyler enjoyed his breakfast and skimmed through the latest issue of the Daily Prophet, a small piece of news tucked away in a corner caught his attention.
It was a story about a smuggler who was wanted for smuggling dragon eggs into the UK.
Currently, the smuggler had disappeared, with witnesses confirming his last presence at the Hog’s Head Inn in Hogsmeade.
Skyler had a hunch that Professor Quirrell had already acquired the dragon egg and would soon come into contact with Hagrid.
After a week of preparations, Skyler chose a moment when Professor Quirrell was teaching senior students and sneaked into his office using a Disillusionment Charm.
Skyler didn’t think Professor Quirrell would dare cast defensive and monitoring spells on his office under Dumbledore’s nose. Such actions would only raise suspicions.
Indeed, apart from a locked door that Skyler easily opened with a Muggle lock-picking tool, he encountered no other obstacles as he entered the office.
Wearing Muggle fingerprint-proof gloves, Skyler searched Professor Quirrell’s office.
Professor Quirrell’s lecture lasted for two full hours, giving Skyler ample time, but he remained cautious, speeding up his search to locate his target quickly.
After some exploration, Skyler finally found a large, dark egg hidden in a compartment within a drawer.
Ah, this must be the secret dragon egg Quirrell intended to use to coax information out of Hagrid.
Skyler grinned. As he was about to reach for the dragon egg, he noticed a well-kept diary lying next to it.
Skyler’s magical senses detected no magical fluctuations in the diary.
It appeared to be an ordinary journal—perhaps Professor Quirrell still kept a diary?
Skyler picked up the diary, along with the dragon egg, as he continued his search.
Quirrell’s diary was successfully obtained!
Skyler now had possession of a dragon egg, and while the Magic Eye confirmed that there were no tracking spells attached to the diary and the egg, Skyler decided to take extra precautions.
He enlisted Dobby’s assistance in hiding these two items deep within a cave in the Forbidden Forest.
At the entrance of the cave, he cast a unique elven warning spell.
This enchantment would alert Dobby if anyone attempted to breach the cave, allowing Skyler to be quickly informed.
Two more weeks passed, and March arrived.
Skyler couldn’t help but notice that Professor Quirrell’s appearance had deteriorated, his complexion growing paler and his voice weakening.
Skyler deduced that Quirrell had likely faced repercussions from Voldemort for losing the Dragon egg.
The lack of any warnings from the Forbidden Forest Cave’s protective magic indicated that Quirrell was now trapped and unable to bypass the three-headed dog.
Skyler couldn’t help but privately revel in Quirrell’s predicament as he saw Voldemort’s grip tightening on his reluctant servant.
The Malfoy family wasn’t actually staunch supporters of pure-blood supremacy.
A closer examination would reveal that the Malfoy family’s ancestors had a history of intermarriage with Muggle nobility.
Their promotion of pure-blood supremacy was largely a facade used to influence the Ministry of Magic into passing legislation that favored pure-blood families, allowing them to exploit Muggles economically.
Initially, Lucius and other pure-blood families supported Voldemort, thinking he could bring their kind even more benefits.
They believed that they could seize vast resources and wealth in a society where wizards ruled over Muggles.
However, after creating Horcruxes, they hadn’t anticipated that Voldemort would become increasingly radical and unhinged.
Instead of being their puppet, Voldemort intended to become their master, which left these declining families powerless against his overwhelming ambition.
Skyler could relate to this situation.
In the magical world, strength was paramount.
Each wizard’s magical abilities rendered laws and rules insignificant, setting it apart from the Muggle world.
No matter how skilled a Muggle martial artist might be, they couldn’t contend with well-equipped law enforcement agencies.
Characters like James Bond only existed in movies.
Wizards, on the other hand, were different. A master-level wizard-like Grindelwald or Voldemort could easily overpower more than ten Aurors.
Even after fresh recruits from Hogwarts every year, the total number of Aurors in the UK had never exceeded 30 when considering retirements and casualties in service.
The Ministry of Magic’s Second World War Reconnaissance Team was still insufficient for Voldemort. In the original books, Minister Fudge believed that sending the Reconnaissance Team to handle Sirius Black alone was necessary.
Elite “hit-wizards” were skilled, indicating that the average Reconnaissance Team member was significantly less capable.
This made Skyler realize that the magical world’s wealth, resources, reputation, and influence were all transient.
Here, an individual’s strength was the ultimate currency.
Only by developing the strength to protect oneself could one truly secure those aforementioned assets.
This heightened Skyler’s sense of urgency.
If the Malfoy family were to navigate the impending turmoil successfully, he needed to bolster his strength substantially.
He aimed to delay Voldemort’s return as much as possible, allowing him to accumulate more power.
Though according to the original plot, Harry would eventually defeat Voldemort, that wasn’t the outcome Skyler desired.
Lucius would end up in Azkaban, Draco would be coerced into killing Dumbledore, and the Malfoy family would be ruined.
If given the choice, Skyler preferred to confront Voldemort on his own terms and rely on his own strength, not just follow the script from the original books.
During this semester, there were no incidents involving Hagrid hatching a Dragon egg.
This meant no point deductions for Harry, Hermione, and Neville due to their nighttime adventures or for later entering the Forbidden Forest.
However, since Harry wasn’t a part of the Quidditch team this year, Slytherin still dominated the Quidditch games with the highest scores.
Additionally, Skyler’s presence significantly contributed to Slytherin’s performance.
In every class, whether it was Spells, Transfiguration, or Potions, Skyler earned a substantial number of points for Slytherin.
With Skyler’s influence, Draco, Daphne, and Meredith had also become diligent in their studies.
While they couldn’t surpass Hermione’s academic prowess, they easily outperformed other Gryffindor students.
Skyler even authored a paper at a Transfiguration Club gathering, responding to Professor McGonagall’s request.
The paper focused on the use of transfiguration to create structures capable of flight. Skyler detailed various practical applications, such as using these structures to navigate unknown tunnels or explore deep caves, eliminating the need to cast Lumos spells, and ensuring wizards were ready for combat.
This paper earned Skyler the “Most Promising Newcomer Award” from “Transfiguration Today.”
Even Professor McGonagall, who was known for her sternness, couldn’t help but smile and awarded Slytherin an extra 50 points.
With Skyler’s help, Slytherin led in house points with a comfortable 50-point margin over second-place Ravenclaw.
Meanwhile, Gryffindor, lagging far behind, was trailing by a whopping 150 points.
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