The Easter holiday had ended, and the final exams were approaching.
The results were posted on the university bulletin boards a week after the tests.
Skyler excelled in the spells, transformation, potions, and magic history exams and performed admirably in other subjects.
Draco, Daphne, and Meredith also had decent results.
However, the young wizards in Gryffindor didn’t fare as well, except for Hermione, who was a true scholar.
Harry and Ron’s performances were, at best, subpar, and for students like Neville and Seamus, their results were nothing short of terrible.
In summary, Skyler secured the first position in the entire year, Hermione came in second, Meredith was third, followed by a Ravenclaw girl named Murray in fourth place, Daphne in fifth, and Draco in sixth.
This achievement thrilled the Slytherin students, while Gryffindor, often at odds with Slytherin, became the target of mockery from students in other houses, shrouded in a gloomy mist.
Skyler, Hermione, and Meredith were well-rounded students who excelled in both written exams and practical skills.
Daphne leaned more towards practical classes, with strong skills in spells and transformation but slightly weaker in subjects like the History of Magic, Astronomy, and Herbology.
Draco had exceptional talent in Potions, earning a perfect score on the Potions exam.
His scores in spells and transformation were commendable, securing him the sixth place.
This success allowed him to boast proudly to Knott, Blaise, Goyle, Crabbe, and others.
Meanwhile, the trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione were anxiously waiting for their exam results.
Before the results were released, they grew suspicious of Professor Snape’s activities and deduced that he intended to steal the Philosopher’s Stone.
One night, the three of them ventured into the forbidden area on the fourth-floor corridor. They found a pool of blood and the lifeless bodies of three guard dogs, reinforcing their belief that Professor Snape had breached the Philosopher’s Stone’s location.
They had already conquered the devil’s snare, the flying keys, and the giant chessboard.
Ron was incapacitated during the chess match, leaving Harry and Hermione to carry on.
They bypassed a giant monster’s corpse and then faced Professor Snape’s logic puzzles.
Hermione swiftly deduced the effects of the various potions, and Harry instructed Hermione to report back while he drank the potion that could get him past the black flames.
In the final room, Harry encountered Quirrell, who stood before the Mirror of Erised.
Just as in the original storyline, Quirrell revealed the true face of Voldemort, who was parasitically attached to the back of his head.
Voldemort’s visage was horrific, with chalk-white skin and sinister red eyes, while two serpentine nostrils were below.
Voldemort used Harry to retrieve the Philosopher’s Stone from the mirror.
When Harry attempted to escape, Quirrell grabbed his hand.
However, in a twist of fate, it was Quirrell who was overtaken by Harry.
The residual protective magic of Harry’s mother surged within him and rebounded against Quirrell.
Quirrell met a tragic end in a fierce battle, and Harry fell into a three-day coma.
When Harry finally woke, it was time for the final banquet.
At the dinner, Dumbledore awarded 50 points to Ron, 50 points to Hermione, and an astonishing 60 points to Harry, allowing Gryffindor to stage an impressive comeback.
The Gryffindor table erupted with cheers, while the Slytherin table was filled with disappointment and frustration.
Draco repeatedly uttered curses and declared that his father, a member of Hogwarts’ board of directors, would seek justice for Slytherin in this matter.
Skyler, however, remained unfazed.
The House Cup held little significance for him. His goals and aspirations extended far beyond that.
At first, Daphne and Meredith had unhappy expressions, deeming Dumbledore’s actions unfair.
Skyler had earned only 20 points for saving a classmate’s life by defeating a troll, while Ron’s victory in chess and Hermione’s solution to a logic problem added 50 points to Gryffindor.
But when they saw Skyler’s calm demeanor and remembered their shared adventures, they quickly came to understand what truly mattered.
Observing the change in the girls’ expressions, Skyler smiled with satisfaction. “I’m glad to see you regain your composure so swiftly. Remember, the House Cup is an abstract concept. It doesn’t bring us real honor or tangible value. It can’t be eaten or exchanged for money.”
He continued with a hint of humor, “The truly important things lie in the knowledge we’ve gained and the strength we’ve developed here. Only these are genuinely valuable.”
These words resonated with the two girls, and Draco, Pansy, and others nearby listened with great interest.
Unspoken but clear in Skyler’s mind was the fact that the greatest reward of this adventure—the Philosopher’s Stone—was now in his possession.
The House Cup? He didn’t place much importance on it.
The banquet concluded, and students from various houses began to disperse.
Skyler was about to return to the dormitory when Professor McGonagall stopped him.
Her expression bore a hint of perplexity. “Mr. Malfoy, Professor Dumbledore is waiting for you in his office. It seems he has some questions regarding the final exams.”
“Of course, Professor McGonagall,” Skyler replied.
“By the way, the password for the Headmaster’s office is ‘pile of cockroaches,'” she added.
Despite her reservations about Slytherin, Professor McGonagall couldn’t help but be fond of Skyler, a stellar student who was both humble and respectful.
He was the kind of student any teacher would be proud to have. Professor McGonagall looked at him and said, “Regarding the House Cup, I hope you won’t harbor any ill feelings toward the school for the way things were handled. I have high hopes for you, Mr. Malfoy. You’re the most gifted student I’ve ever had the pleasure of teaching.”
Hearing Professor McGonagall, who was usually unsmiling, addressing him as Skyler rather than “Mr. Malfoy,” Skyler felt the genuine concern in her tone, warming his heart.
He nodded in acknowledgment and replied, “I understand, Professor. You can rest assured.”
They soon arrived at Hogwarts’ Headmaster’s Office, a spacious and beautifully round room adorned with numerous windows and portraits of past Hogwarts Headmasters.
The sleeping Headmasters were depicted in their respective frames.
In the office, a variety of silver instruments were placed on delicate desks, emitting peculiar noises and spouting smoke.
Dumbledore’s pet phoenix, a vibrant crimson, and gold-feathered bird, perched on a tall gilded stand behind the door, while the Sorting Hat rested crumpled on a shelf near the desk.
To Skyler’s surprise, another guest was already present—a well-dressed elderly man with a youthful face.
The man sported a fashionable wizard robe trimmed to perfection.
Skyler immediately sensed the robe’s subtle magical resonance, detecting over 50 different magical attributes—a priceless artifact.
The man had an affable and lively demeanor despite his advanced age. It was hard not to notice his impeccable sense of style and fashion.
“Hello, Professor Dumbledore, sir,” Skyler greeted the two elderly gentlemen.
Skyler observed the well-dressed man studying him with interest. The man smiled warmly and introduced himself, “Hello, young man. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Nicolas Flamel.”
Skyler couldn’t help but be taken aback upon hearing the man’s name.
Nicolas spoke with a friendly tone, assuring Skyler, “There’s no need to be nervous. I’ve come here today regarding the Philosopher’s Stone. I had previously entrusted the stone to Dumbledore to safeguard, but somehow, it ended up within Hogwarts. It seems Dumbledore requested me to perform a crystal ball divination about the stone. Little did we know that you would appear in the crystal ball’s vision, so I’ve come to Hogwarts to meet you. I promise I’m not here for any other reason.”
This revelation was quite astonishing to Skyler.
Despite his mental preparation, he was taken by surprise.
Divination was an area of magic that required significant blood talent.
A true Seer with the Sight was exceedingly rare in the wizarding world.
Nicolas happened to be one of them.
Understanding that he couldn’t conceal the stone’s existence from these two knowledgeable individuals, Skyler decided to be forthright.
With a wry smile, he admitted, “Mr. Flamel, your divination skills are indeed remarkable. I don’t intend to play coy here. The Philosopher’s Stone is in Hogwarts. I ventured into the restricted area of the fourth-floor corridor during the Easter holiday, progressing step by step and eventually reaching a mirror. Initially, I was unaware that this stone was the renowned Philosopher’s Stone. Out of curiosity, I created a duplicate and placed it in the mirror. It was only after conducting extensive research through books and materials that I realized the significance of this stone. I have some knowledge of alchemy, and I recognized it as a legendary work symbolizing the pinnacle of alchemy. My aspiration is to gain alchemical knowledge from this stone. Through my abilities, I hope to create my own Philosopher’s Stone someday.”
Skyler inadvertently met Dumbledore’s eyes behind the half-moon glasses as he explained this.
What he saw left him in a state of momentary shock, a feeling of strangeness washing over him.
He realized that he was inside Dumbledore’s mind.
In that instant, Skyler’s spirit was consumed by an unexpected daze.
He quickly regained clarity but now fully understood Dumbledore’s Legilimency.
Skyler was incensed by this breach of privacy.
Dumbledore’s actions were a violation of his mind without his consent, a serious breach of boundaries, especially considering that Skyler was his student.
His anger blazed, and he resolved to use Occlumency to forcefully expel Dumbledore’s intrusion.
As his eyes turned cold, he spoke with a hint of annoyance, “Professor Dumbledore, it’s considered rude to delve into someone’s mind without their consent, especially when that person is your student. Is this an appropriate conduct?”
Professor Dumbledore, looking slightly embarrassed, adjusted his glasses.
But it was Nicolas who rushed in to mediate. “Young Mr. Malfoy—perhaps I should call you Skyler instead. I hope you don’t hold this against your Headmaster. It involves important matters related to the Philosopher’s Stone. I believe he was left with no alternative…”
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