“Tsk, tsk,” Armand’s countenance shifted slightly. He relinquished his air of disdain, adopting a more serious demeanor. “It appears you’ve harbored doubts within. Were you prepared for this tonight?”

“Hmph. Even so,” he snorted twice, his tone abruptly turning chilly. “Are you truly that confident with your power? Aren’t you afraid of tumbling into the gutter?”

“Draco must also realize that the moment I became the Triwizard Tournament champion, he lost any chance…” Skyler’s voice carried a weight, “That signifies the logical conclusion of the ideological struggle between us as brothers. Considering my father’s disposition, I comprehend that, despite his support for pure-blood supremacy, he is unlikely to take actions detrimental to the family’s interests. So—”

“It’s time for me to unravel your goals and motives. From my perspective, my understanding of Draco, the purported pursuit of pure-blood supremacy, and family glory will not be the cause for our fraternal strife. There must be a deeper motivation. To fathom this…” Skyler spoke calmly, “I believe it’s worth the risk, even at the peril of oneself.”

“Besides,” Skyler showcased a confident smile, “I don’t believe a truly formidable individual spends all their time immersed in books or concealing themselves. Strength is honed through the study of magic—”

“You possess considerable strength; I can sense it,” Skyler’s tone remained resolute and composed, his eyes reflecting an unprecedented determination, “But until now, you haven’t even wielded a wand. Do you genuinely believe I am at your mercy when you don’t even possess a wand? Don’t make me laugh, ancestor.” The edge of his lips lifted a bit as he mocked Armand.

“Interesting…” Armand slowly raised his left hand, “I see it in your eyes. You’ve come here with the resolve to fight to the death… Are you treating me as a whetstone to sharpen yourself? Are you using the pressure of a formidable foe to push yourself to the limit? The audacity of youth is truly frightening.”

“As a reward for your courage and strategic approach, let me reveal this to you.” Armand’s left index finger emerged slowly from the void, bearing a ring engraved with the black dragon logo. Skyler displayed no interest in this ring. Oddly, it was the same ring Lucius used to wear—the emblem of the head of the Malfoy family, known as the “patriarch ring” within the family!

“I see…” Skyler narrowed his eyes slightly, instantly grasping several crucial points.

For instance, during his initial encounter with Lucius’s magical disturbance, he observed black energy, a phenomenon not present in other family members.

Initially attributing it to the Dark Mark of the Death Eater, shared by Narcissa and Bellatrix, he overlooked the fact that Snape, also bearing the Dark Mark, exhibited no such anomalies.

Reflecting on it now, if the source of this black energy is the patriarch ring, it aligns everything coherently.

Similarly, he questioned the sudden change in his father’s and Draco’s attitudes toward him.

Pondering over the dispute of ideas, he found it implausible for Draco to resort to practicing black magic to bolster his strength. Given Draco’s age and temperament, such an approach seemed excessive.

“So, Draco has been anointed as the next head of the family by our father. No wonder… haha…” Skyler offered a bitter smile, a mingling of emotions in his current state. “They underestimate me too much. How could my vision and ambition be confined to just one family… Family, family, family…”

To be fair, Skyler has never aspired to the role of the family head. From his perspective, as the elder son, the historical tradition of pure-blood families dictates that Draco should assume the position unless he is disowned due to committing intolerable mistakes.

The act of making Draco the next patriarch in line without Skyler knowing is the reason for him feeling this way; his heart right now has been crushed as he tries to cope after knowing that a major event inside the Malfoy family has taken place without him knowing about it the slightest.

Considering Skyler’s personal inclinations, he is not drawn to positions of power. Having to consistently ponder the family’s interests, development, and survival does not align with his character.

Skyler only wanted to enjoy his life in the wizarding world while protecting the ones close to him.

While the Malfoy family possesses ancestral legacies that can sustain its prosperity for another century or two, these resources will eventually diminish.

Moreover, even pure-blood families cannot exhaust all their wealth, as evident in the tales of the pure-blood characters in the original novel.

Hughes, for instance, was willing to buy a Firebolt for his only son. To lead the family toward continued prosperity as its head, one must possess vision, leadership, and long-term planning and execution capabilities.

It’s not a matter of whether Skyler is capable; he simply chooses not to shoulder such a weighty responsibility in this lifetime.

Living a life where you receive passive income from well-invested industries every day, waking up naturally, embarking on adventures in your free time, studying magic at your leisure, and indulging in time-killing hobbies, all while shamelessly sharing life with a few companions—doesn’t that sound appealing? That’s the true purpose of Skyler’s life…

“If my father simply desires Draco to take over as the head of the family, he could inform me directly. There’s no need for secrecy since I have no interest in such a role,” Skyler’s tone grew colder. “However, you—”

“How audacious!” Skyler’s gaze turned piercing. “Daring to reveal the location of your Horcrux in front of me. Do you truly hold me in such low regard?”

If the container housing Armand’s remnant soul is damaged, regardless of his power, his soul will scatter. How reckless it is to casually expose the existence and location of the Horcrux, as Armand seems to be doing!

Armand paid no heed to Skyler’s words. He appeared to be exerting the full power of the patriarch’s ring, with black light flashing on its surface, akin to dark lightning arcs.

The crackling electric tongues splashed and sizzled, each flash on the surface of the ring causing Armand’s surrounding black energy to thicken visibly. Skyler understood that the Horcrux was absorbing Draco’s life force, bringing Armand closer to a state of resurrection.

The principle behind a Horcrux involves sealing a portion of the caster’s remnant soul in a magical container through a malevolent ritual. This anchors the caster’s soul in the present world, ensuring that even if the caster’s physical body succumbs to death, the soul can evade the clutches of the “god of death” by existing as a remnant soul.

This prevents it from being forcibly consigned to the netherworld and the realm of the deceased.

Creating a Horcrux is an exceedingly malevolent and challenging process. Throughout history, only a handful of wizards have successfully achieved it. Even if they manage to create one, most wizards limit themselves to a single Horcrux, as splitting the soul multiple times renders it extremely unstable.

This instability distorts a person’s appearance, character, and reason, essentially causing the individual to lose a part of their humanity. In simple terms, like Voldemort, those who split their soul more than once can hardly be referred to as “human” anymore.

Supposing that Armand created only one Horcrux, the most plausible scenario upon the demise of his physical body would be his soul forcefully transiting directly into the designated Horcrux. This differs from Voldemort’s fate, who, as a remnant soul, roamed freely in the wilderness, detached from a physical form.

For a disembodied remnant soul seeking resurrection, the most straightforward path is to allure someone familiar with Horcruxes. The soul can breach the individual’s mental defenses by manipulating and deceiving.

Subsequently, it can insidiously corrode the person’s soul, eventually assuming control of their body. This process mirrors what Tom Riddle executed on Ginny Weasley in her second year at Hogwarts.

Contemplating this, Skyler couldn’t help but lament Lucius’s lack of foresight. Having matured into adulthood during his tenure as the head of the family and endured the First Wizarding War, Lucius possessed ample strength and willpower to resist the corrosive effects of Horcruxes.

However, Draco, being a mere 14-year-old at present, paled in comparison to his father in every aspect, making him significantly more vulnerable to the insidious influence of a Horcrux.

Draco undeniably lacks the strength and mental fortitude necessary to withstand the influence of a Horcrux. From Skyler’s perspective, Draco, to a large extent, is still just a child. Entrusting something as dark and perilous as a Horcrux to a child seems inconceivable.

However, a revelation strikes Skyler—what if Lucius was oblivious to the true nature of the artifact?

Perhaps Lucius considered it merely a symbol affirming the head of the family’s identity, or at best, a magical tool aiding in the understanding and harnessing of black magic. This alternative perspective presents a new and intriguing angle, suggesting that Lucius might be ignorant of the nefarious potential harbored by the object.

A glint of realization gleams in Skyler’s eyes, signaling that he may have unraveled a pivotal detail. This revelation holds the potential to be the linchpin in determining the success or failure of the events unfolding tonight.

The patriarch ring where Horcrux of Armand Malfoy resides must be destroyed at all costs! Not only will he take Draco’s life if left alone by himself, but the current situation in the wizarding world’s stability will once again be at risk with the presence of such an evil individual.

Gripping his wand tighter, Skyler showed the sign of anger as he sneered at Armand, “How dare you try to ruin my family!”

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Published On: March 12, 2024

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