On the opposite side of the room, Eleanor and Lucinda engaged in their own battle.

The two wizards exchanged blows, but Eleanor appeared remarkably composed, indicating she had conserved her strength.

Lucinda, on the other hand, wore a serious expression, focusing on each move with utmost concentration, allowing no room for error.

Skyler materialized, directing his gaze at Catalina. A mischievous smile played on his lips as he remarked, “I’ve always had a soft spot for beautiful women. Are you certain you want to face me?”

Catalina recognized the precarious situation she was in. Even if she couldn’t defeat Skyler, it was impossible to contend with both brothers simultaneously. Moreover, once Eleanor dealt with Lucinda, escape would be futile.

Wearing a wry smile, she asked, “What happens if I surrender?”

“Just leave! I have no interest in fighting you,” Skyler dismissed, “But forget about holding any hostages; just abandon this endeavor!”

While Skyler was confident in capturing her, he didn’t want to expose too much of his strength, especially in front of Draco and Eleanor.

Additionally, he was certain that Catalina, as a scion of France’s premier family, likely possessed unique skills she hadn’t utilized. After all, this confrontation wasn’t part of his original plan; he had come solely to participate in the Triwizard Tournament.

Catalina cast a brief glance at Lucinda, still in her struggle, and with determined resolve, she swung her fish tail, swiftly swimming towards the surface. Simultaneously, Eleanor uttered an incantation, employing a sealing magic that confined Lucinda within a container resembling a crystal coffin.

Skyler approached Draco and Eleanor, harboring suspicions but seeking confirmation, he inquired, “Brother, can you make your way back to the surface on your own?”

Draco affirmed with a nod. Skyler proceeded to employ the stone statue transformation technique, turning Hector, Lucinda, Irina, Miles, and Gallup into stone statues, safely placing them within the confines of a suitcase.

Addressing Eleanor, Skyler urged, “There’s no time for small chats now; we’re running out of time. Let’s prioritize rescuing the hostages.” Eleanor concurred with a nod.

Skyler utilized a cutting spell to sever the ropes binding the hostages. He then cradled Daphne in his arms. Even in her slumber, Daphne wore a serene expression, with a gentle and peaceful smile adorning her lips—resembling the sleeping princess of a fairy tale, eliciting a sense of care and concern.

Subsequently, Skyler secured Daphne with one arm while freeing the Beauxbatons female student, who was Catalina’s hostage, with the other. Rumored to be a disciple of a subsidiary family of the Moreau family, her standing paralleled that of Goyle and Crabbe as loyal followers of Catalina, akin to Draco.

With a not-so-gentle shake, Skyler tossed her behind him. Extending his arm, he enveloped her slim waist, carrying her on his back. Though her visage might not match the standard set by many of Skyler’s acquaintances, she held her own allure, comparable to Audrey and Tracy.

Her figure, however, stood out, and the sensation of two plump and soft mounds pressed firmly against his back did not escape notice.

Observing Poliarco, Eleanor couldn’t help but express her discontent at Skyler’s choice of this stout individual as her hostage. Nevertheless, she reluctantly secured Poliarco with both hands, swaying her fish tail vigorously.

Waving to Draco, the two of them bid their farewell, leaving Draco behind. As they departed, Draco directed his attention to Skyler and simply remarked, “Come find me in my dormitory someday,” gesturing for them to leave promptly.

The mermaid tribe was situated a considerable distance from the lake. Despite carrying two hostages, the weight of the two girls was negligible for Skyler.

Moreover, Skyler’s physical strength, coupled with the enhanced water-based skills in his demon dragon state, allowed him to swim significantly faster than Lenore.

He reached the shore ahead of Lenore.

Upon surfacing, both Daphne and the Beauxbatons female students opened their eyes, waking up from their ordeal. The Beauxbatons student, finding herself in the arms of Skyler instead of Catalina, appeared a bit frightened and confused.

“I knew you would definitely rescue me,” Daphne expressed with a gentle smile upon seeing Skyler.

However, her smile faded as she glanced at the female student who clung tightly to Skyler. Frowning, she questioned with a somewhat unkind tone, “Who is she? And why is she in your arms?”

Skyler swiftly responded, “She’s Moreau’s hostage. A lot of things happened down there. I’ll explain it all to you later.”

The stands erupted with people shouting and cheering, everyone seemingly rising to their feet.

During this time, Eleanor surfaced, trailing Skyler by only about a quarter of an hour. Having discarded her mermaid costume, she had reverted to the Bubble Charm costume she wore before plunging into the water.

Exerting all her strength, she managed to drag the stout Poliarco to the shore. Poliarco, appearing as though he had just awakened from a pleasant dream, yawned widely, only to receive a stern reprimand from Eleanor.

Wading towards the shore, they approached where the judges stood. Dumbledore was crouched near the water, engaged in an earnest conversation with a particularly rough and fierce-looking mermaid. Skyler speculated that this mermaid’s memory might have been altered long ago.

Dumbledore emitted the high-pitched, piercing sounds that mermaids use to communicate in the water, evidently fluent in their language. Eventually, he straightened up, turned to the other judges, and declared, “Let’s convene for a meeting first, and then we’ll proceed with scoring.”

Madam Pomfrey warmly received Skyler, Daphne, Eleanor, Poliarco, and the Beauxbatons female students. Each person was supplied with a thick blanket and a cup of hot refreshment to recover from the ordeal.

At that moment, Harry, Ron, and Catalina were already present, wrapped in blankets. The trio sat together, engaging in low conversations. Harry and Ron, with expressions of excitement, exchanged words intermittently, while Catalina remained seated with a stoic expression, offering no words.

Suddenly, Bagman’s magically amplified voice resonated in their ears, and the audience in the stands hushed in anticipation.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached our decision. Merkus, the female mermaid leader, provided us with a detailed account of the events beneath the lake. We have decided to assign ratings to the participants based on a maximum score of fifty points…”

“Despite Miss Catalina’s impressive utilization of the Whale Lung Charm, she encountered an attack by Grindylow as she approached her target and failed to rescue the hostages. We award her twenty-five points.”

“Harry Potter employed gillyweed with remarkable success. He was the first to return with the hostages but exceeded the allocated time by one minute. Consequently, he earns forty-seven points.”

“Eleanor von Hohenheim effectively used the Bubble Charm, but she was the last to return. As per the mermaid’s account, she unfortunately got entangled by a giant squid underwater, consuming a considerable amount of time. Therefore, we award her forty points.”

“The final contestant, Skyler Malfoy, employed an original human transformation technique to enter the water effectively,” Bagman continued, “He was the second to return, but the duration considerably exceeded the allocated one-hour time limit. However, the mermaid leader informed us that Mr. Malfoy could have returned earlier. He delayed his return to ensure the safe return of all hostages, prioritizing their well-being over personal gain.”

“Most referees,” Bagman added, casting a dissatisfied glance at Karkaroff, “believe that this truly exemplifies noble conduct. However… Mr. Malfoy’s score is forty-two points.”

A subtle smile played on the corners of Skyler’s mouth, and his gaze seemed to casually sweep over Catalina’s position. However, Catalina remained unmoved, maintaining her expressionless demeanor.

It became evident that each word uttered by the mermaid was likely orchestrated by Catalina. After this confrontation, Catalina had evidently conceded. With the complete annihilation of the Ghost Society and a family of comparable size and strength, she could no longer envision any possibility of turning the tides in her favor.

Her goodwill gesture seemed to be a plea for mercy from Skyler, hoping that if he emerged victorious in the Triwizard Tournament, he would spare her and cease pursuing her relentlessly.

As for Walpurgis, Catalina realized the urgent need to notify her family promptly for a strategic response. While she was not fully aware of the extent of Walpurgis’ concealed powers, she understood that Walpurgis was unlikely to let her off lightly as a defeated adversary.

Since her birth, Catalina had been the cherished gem of her family, basking in the glow of two bloodline talents. She was the pride of the entire family, and their unwavering support had paved the way for a seemingly smooth journey, creating an illusion of control.

However, this defeat shattered her illusions with brutal force. The current situation had spiraled out of her control, leaving her feeling profoundly powerless. Whether the Malfoy family sought revenge or not, and whether Walpurgis decided to mete out punishment, these two looming threats had transformed into heavy burdens weighing on her heart.

Despite Skyler securing the second position in this particular event, he claimed the top spot overall. His total score in the two events amounted to an impressive 92 points. Meanwhile, Harry and Eleanor shared the second position with 85 points each, leaving Catalina at the bottom with a meager 70 points.

Harry’s heart raced with excitement, and he exchanged a triumphant high-five with Ron, erupting into laughter. In the previous event, he had languished at the bottom, but now he had not only overtaken Ron but also secured the coveted second place.

Who would dare to dismiss his chances of victory now?

Daphne gazed at Skyler with a half-smile, teasingly remarking in a voice audible only to the two of them, “So, you’re not taking advantage of girls – you’re displaying immorality!”

“Uh…” Skyler found himself at a loss for words, unsure of how to respond.

He intended to vehemently defend his innocence, but the recent intimate encounter left him momentarily speechless.

Bagman interjected, “The third and final project will unfold on the evening of June 24th. Warriors will receive the specifics of the project one month in advance. Thank you all for your unwavering support for the participants.”

 

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Published On: March 1, 2024

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