As the Triwizard Tournament draws near, the primary topic of conversation among the young wizards revolves around the anticipation of the upcoming second event. The impact of the initial challenge had left them astonished, further heightening their curiosity about what the subsequent trials might entail.

The eve of the second event arrived on February 23rd, casting an air of excitement throughout the wizarding community.

Within the common room, Skyler engaged in lively conversation with fellow Slytherin students, predominantly members of the Serpentis Vigil Club.

However, there were also some who had merely gathered to partake in the festivities. Beyond expressing their support for Skyler, the group eagerly awaited any insights he could share about magical learning experiences. Even the slightest tidbit of information held value for these aspiring young wizards.

In the midst of the camaraderie, Hector, the seventh-grade prefect, entered the room and addressed Daphne, “Daphne, Professor Snape has requested your presence in his office. Please come with me.”

A silent exchange of glances occurred between Daphne and Skyler. Without uttering a word, they intuitively grasped each other’s thoughts. Daphne rose from her seat with graceful poise, discreetly adjusting her sleeves.

Unnoticed by everyone but Skyler, her wrists were adorned with more than five bracelets, concealing her delicate white jade hands.

The bracelet, meticulously crafted by Skyler specifically for this critical moment, bore significance beyond its aesthetic appeal.

Adorned with an ancient rune no larger than a fly, the bracelet employed the same engraving technique as the anti-sickness bracelet.

However, the inscriptions on this particular piece held powerful enchantments such as “Divine Aegis,” “Eihwaz,” and other minor protective spells along with charms, each awaiting the invocation of Skyler.

Skyler’s confidence in its potency extended to the belief that even formidable entities like the Ghost Society or Voldemort himself would find it impossible to employ Legilimency on Daphne, implant an Imperius Curse, or seize control of her body without her vigilant awareness.

As Fawley led Daphne out of the common room, Skyler discreetly observed a concealed gleam in his eyes. The absence of any deviation in the second phase of the plan reassured him; it was a logical progression.

Professor Moody, portrayed by Crouch, was constrained by his role as the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor and lacked the authority or capability to manipulate dark arts in this international competition.

The following day arrived, and at nine o’clock in the morning, students who had completed their breakfast departed the auditorium in small clusters, making their way to the competition venue by the Black Lake.

The seating arrangement, once surrounding the fire dragon enclosure in November, had shifted to the opposite side of the lake. Already filled to capacity, the seats reflected in the still waters below, setting the stage for the awaited events.

On the opposing side of the lake, a table draped in a golden tablecloth took center stage. Five judges were seated behind this regal setting: Dumbledore, Maxim, Karkaroff, Bagman, and Percy Weasley, with Percy representing Crouch.

Adjacent to the referee’s table, two formidable female Champions stood poised. Skyler couldn’t help but curl his lips in disapproval as he observed their tightly fitted robes, silently lamenting the departure from the more revealing attire he remembered from the movie world – where such Champions often donned low-cut clothing or even swimsuits.

Skyler had taken a seat while also stationed at the referee’s table, conjuring a chair through a transfiguration spell. He lounged comfortably, fine-tuning his state of readiness.

Eleanor and Catalina, arriving early like Skyler, awaited the commencement of the competition. The only delay came from Harry, who arrived a mere two minutes before the start of the game.

Without allowing Harry a moment to catch his breath, Bagman approached and declared, “You should all be well aware of your duties by now, correct?”

Observing each Champion nod in affirmation, Bagman expressed satisfaction. With a wave of his wand, he cast a sound amplification spell on himself and announced, “Listen up, everyone! Our Champions are now in position. The second project will commence the moment I blow the whistle. They have a full hour to reclaim what was taken from them. I’ll count to three. One… two… three!”

A sharp whistle pierced the frigid, silent air, triggering an eruption of cheers and applause from the stands. While the other Champions’ actions were of little concern to Harry, he remained focused on his own preparations. He swiftly removed his shoes and socks three times and extracted a handful of gillyweed from his pocket, promptly stuffing it into his mouth before wading into the lake.

Observing this, a shrewd glint flickered in Skyler’s eyes. He knew that under his influence, Dobby could not have provided Harry with the gillyweed without disclosing the act.

Additionally, Ron and Hermione, who occupied the library the previous night, were unlikely to have shared the information on breathing underwater. The source of this knowledge had been members of the Serpentis Vigil Society, whom Skyler trusted implicitly. Thus, the only plausible explanation was that Crouch employed an unforeseen method to aid Harry.

It became evident that Crouch’s rise to becoming Voldemort’s right-hand man stemmed not solely from his near-fanatical loyalty but also from his thoughtful and astute nature. Despite Skyler’s intricate plans, Crouch had not only mastered magic but had also, perhaps unwittingly, assisted Harry in unlocking the secret of the golden egg and delivering the gillyweed.

Harry stood motionless in the lake, the water reaching up to his knees, and his soaked robes hanging heavily. Skyler couldn’t help but cringe at the sight. This was the same guy who had parted ways with Hermione; did he not even know how to cast the Impervius Charm on his robes?

On the opposite side of the lake, the audience erupted in jeers, closely scrutinizing every move of the Champions through panoramic binoculars.

Eleanor’s performance proved satisfactory, employing the head-soaking spell previously used by Krum and Cedric in the original book. A colossal bubble formed on her head, distorting her features in a comical and elongated manner.

Catalina, on the other hand, opted for an unconventional transfiguration spell – she transfigured a part of her lungs to become as big as a whale’s lung; by enhancing her lung capacity to rival that of a whale, she is ready to dive deep.

Having completed their spells, the two female Champions wasted no time and plunged into the water.

Meanwhile, two long and narrow gills sprouted under Harry’s ears, and webs developed between his fingers and toes. Seizing the opportunity, he dove to the lake’s bottom.

Skyler rose from his chair as the three Champions disappeared underwater, strolling leisurely toward the water. His steps were deliberate and slow, and yet exuded a sense of unwavering power. Each movement subtly altered his demeanor.

At the referee’s table, Bagman diligently explained the Bubble Head Charm, Whale Lung Charm, and Gillyweed to the fellow Champions. However, his attention was abruptly drawn to Skyler’s peculiar behavior. In Bagman’s eyes, Skyler appeared clueless, devoid of spell incantations or the presence of his wand. Instead, he simply ambled aimlessly toward the Black Lake.

“Did he fail to find a method to breathe underwater and give up?” Bagman pondered, his confusion evident.

But was that truly the case?

Beside the referee’s seat, Professor McGonagall covered her mouth, her eyes brimming with excitement.

Dumbledore rose from his seat, the sunlight casting a bright luster on his half-moon lenses as he assumed Bagman’s narration responsibilities.

True to Dumbledore’s capabilities, he didn’t need any incantations to make his voice carry the effect of an amplifying spell.

“Wonderful… truly wonderful…” Dumbledore remarked. Only those intimately acquainted with him would discern the subtle tremor in his tone, revealing an underlying uneasiness. “Hogwarts’ Champion, Mr. Malfoy, employs magic akin to human transfiguration but diverges in certain details. This is a form of transfiguration unprecedented in history, indeed…” Dumbledore’s voice slightly lowered, “I must confess, even I cannot discern the nature of this magic.”

What? Magic that even Dumbledore cannot decipher!?

The remaining four referees seated on the bench were no longer able to contain themselves.

Simultaneously, they shot up from their seats, fixating their gaze on Skyler’s back, attempting to unravel the intricacies of the magic he employed.

“I once believed that Animagus was the pinnacle of transfiguration in the wizarding world, the highest attainment a master of transfiguration could achieve,” Dumbledore continued, his voice resonating across the arena. “It appears I must concede that I am growing old. My perspectives on magic are no longer in sync with the contemporary wizarding world. Today, Mr. Malfoy has revealed to us an alternate panorama on this peak!”

He paused, contemplating, “Nevertheless, deducing that this involves a form of Animagus, utilizing skin for breathing through the alteration of the human body, is not challenging. Yet, I have a distinct feeling that the purpose and function of this magic extend beyond mere simplicity. Now, let us revel in Mr. Malfoy’s performance!”

The auditorium erupted into a cacophony. Cheers cascaded like the surging waves of the sea, each wave surpassing the previous one in intensity.

Madame Maxime shook her head in disbelief, her attention now turned to Dumbledore for a congratulatory exchange. With Skyler’s entrance, the prospect of Hogwarts earning the title of the “Best Educational School in Europe,” as designated by the “European Magical Education Assessment” in the coming years, seemed not only plausible but inevitable.

Hogwarts had, without a doubt, ascended to a league of its own.

Karkaroff’s countenance instantly paled, though he secretly rejoiced in having declined Skyler’s challenge on that fateful day. It appeared that the likelihood of being bested by Skyler was not insignificant.

This was no longer merely a contest among Champions; it had transcended into a revolution for the entire magical realm. Skyler’s actions, seemingly a small step, marked the initiation of a new era in magic—a realm of boundless possibilities.

What Skyler undertook was more than a game; it symbolized the dawn of an innovative age for the entire magical world.


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Published On: February 24, 2024

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