The duel had reached a point of chaos, and both Snape and Lockhart knew it had to come to an end.

Lockhart suggested that Neville and Justin step onto the stage for a demonstration.

“This isn’t a good idea, Professor Lockhart,” Snape, with his usual gloom, smoothly glided across the stage. “Longbottom’s simple spells can still cause significant damage. We’ll use Finlay. We’ll send the wreckage back to the hospital ward.” He grinned and added, “How about Malfoy and Potter?”

Lockhart enthusiastically agreed, motioning for Harry and Draco to take the center stage.

The audience stepped back to provide them with space.

But then, Snape shook his head and said, “Not you, the other Malfoy. Skyler, come here!”

Skyler was surprised to be called onto the stage.

He walked up with a shrug, secretly wondering about the unexpected request.

He couldn’t help but feel a glimmer of expectation, thinking, “Alright, let’s see how capable the so-called savior Harry is at this moment. Snape must have noticed my easy victory over Ron and wants to use me to challenge Harry.”

On the other hand, Harry was not pleased with this turn of events. Although Skyler had been low-key in the previous semester, his outstanding academic performance, especially in Transfiguration and Conjuration, had been highly praised by Professors Flitwick and McGonagall.

Harry couldn’t help but recall the saying “still waters run deep” from the Muggle world, which seemed to fit Skyler perfectly.

Skyler and Harry stood on opposite sides of the stage.

Lockhart whispered some combat techniques to Harry, but Snape remained silent, allowing Skyler to act freely.

This caused some Slytherins in the audience to express their discontent with muttered complaints about favoritism.

Skyler offered Harry a polite smile and initiated a formal duel ceremony.

This ceremony differed significantly from Lockhart’s flashy routines.

Skyler’s movements flowed gracefully and carried an aura of solemnity.

Not many people knew that this was an ancient dueling etiquette only found in the archives of ancient wizarding families.

Unaccustomed to such traditional dueling etiquette due to his Muggle upbringing, Harry appeared bewildered.

Skyler kindly said, “Don’t be nervous, Harry. This is just a learning duel with no personal grievances involved. We’ll agree to avoid causing intentional harm to each other. Is that acceptable?”

Harry nodded, his thoughts hidden from Skyler.

The duel began, and Harry cast “Petrificus Totalus!”

However, Skyler observed that Harry’s spellcasting was rough and unfamiliar.

The spell’s trajectory was too straightforward, and its speed too sluggish.

Skyler effortlessly dodged the attack with a slight lean to the left. Simultaneously, Skyler raised his wand and shouted, “Protego!”

The transparent magical barrier surrounded Harry on all sides, sealing him within. This spell was casted in an unorthodox way by Skyler because a spell meant for protecting is now sealing the movement of Harry’s

It was a Barrier Curse, a spell Skyler had learned from his family’s collection and not from any Hogwarts professor.

Unaware of how to dispel it, Harry frantically fired “Incendio!” repeatedly toward the barrier.

Skyler recognized Harry’s determination but found it lacking due to Harry’s low magical power.

The feeble flames struck the barrier but disintegrated into scattered sparks without affecting the barrier in the slightest.

In his heart, Skyler thought, “It’s over,” and promptly drew a small curve in the air with his wand.

Before even uttering an incantation, a faint white light shot toward Harry’s face.

The audience gasped, and several girls screamed, with Hermione and Ginny screaming the loudest.

Even Snape’s expression appeared disturbed as he reached for his wand to intervene. But then, something unexpected happened.

The white light disappeared abruptly just centimeters from Harry’s forehead.

While Skyler felt he was unlikely to use lethal magic in public, the experience induced fear in Harry, who was left in shock and uncertainty.

Seemingly unaffected by the audience’s reaction, Skyler graciously returned to the formal dueling ceremony, then bowed politely to the two professors on the platform.

With graceful steps, he left the stage without looking back.

The audience was in shock!

Despite Skyler’s renowned academic achievements in his first year, the fact remained that his opponent had once vanquished Voldemort in his weaker form.

Furthermore, the previous year had seen Harry and his friends trespass into the restricted section on the fourth-floor corridor, challenging the numerous obstacles set by the professors and ultimately defeating the dark wizard Quirrell, who had infiltrated Hogwarts disguised as a professor.

These well-known tales were backed by concrete evidence, exemplified by Dumbledore awarding an astonishing 170 points to Gryffindor.

Before this duel, none of the young wizards and witches, except for Draco, Daphne, and Meredith, would have believed that a fellow student could soundly defeat the illustrious Harry Potter, especially not in such a spectacular fashion.

As Skyler left the stage, the audience was left in stunned silence, captivated by his incredible display of power.

The audience remained stunned until Skyler had left the auditorium for some time.

Finally, someone inquired about Skyler’s identity.

The girls, especially those with a penchant for mysterious attributes, sighed about his appearance and strength.

Born into the noble Malfoy family, Skyler exuded an air of aristocracy and aloofness.

His already noble and cold demeanor was amplified by his superlative abilities, and his performance during the duel only enhanced his charm.

It was no wonder he had won the admiration of many girls present.

Draco was bursting with pride as he eagerly revealed who Skyler was to everyone.

He couldn’t resist adding that Skyler had been practicing magic at home as if implying that Skyler’s prowess was all thanks to Draco.

Hermione couldn’t contain her astonishment as she covered her mouth with her hands and exclaimed, “Oh my goodness! Silent spellcasting! That’s NEWT-level magic, and it’s one of the more challenging parts of it. They say that not all seniors can master it, and he’s only in his second year! How did he do it?”

Ron, who was slightly skeptical, was reminded of Harry’s defeat.

Even though he had his doubts, he couldn’t argue with the overwhelming evidence of Skyler’s victory.

Harry’s face was filled with bitterness as he faced the crowd.

For the first time, he was acutely aware of his own ordinariness.

He had always considered himself different, and even when he was misjudged as a descendant of Slytherin, it had brought both anger and a hidden sense of distinction.

However, this duel had stripped away the illusion of his uniqueness, and he realized that he had often been noticed merely because of the scar on his forehead.

On the stage, Lockhart continued to boast about how he could break Skyler’s magic, but only a handful of young girls were left in the audience.

Most had been captivated by the duel between Harry and Skyler. Recognizing the gap between their own skills and the highest level, they felt a newfound desire for strength.

As a result, they were engrossed in analyzing the intricacies of the duel and no longer paid attention to Lockhart’s incessant chatter.

Snape maintained his poker face, standing quietly, revealing nothing of his thoughts.

Among the senior students in the audience, such as Cedric Diggory from Hufflepuff and Penelope Clearwater from Ravenclaw, those with an in-depth understanding of dueling were amazed by the rapid spellcasting and curved shots demonstrated by Skyler.

They were now eager to apply these techniques to their own combat skills.

Three days later marked the halfway point of the semester.

As for the third attack, it hadn’t unfolded according to the original book.

Skyler realized it was the result of the butterfly effect he had triggered.

By replacing Draco and Harry in the duel, he had prevented the incident involving Draco’s snake from attacking Justin, and Harry speaking Parseltongue to deter the snake.

Consequently, Justin didn’t hide alone on the fifth floor and wasn’t attacked by a basilisk.

Given the situation at Hogwarts, most of the young wizards and witches chose to return home for Christmas.

The castle was blanketed in silence, much like the snow covering the grounds.

Before the holiday, Daphne and Meredith had successfully persuaded Skyler to share his spellcasting technique notes.

These notes included both Voldemort’s spell techniques and some of Skyler’s unique fast-casting skills, curved shots, and other abilities.

The two girls were under family orders to spend Christmas at home and intended to use the holiday to learn Skyler’s spell techniques to enhance their skills.

On Christmas morning, Skyler awoke to find his bed overflowing with gifts.

As he unwrapped them, he realized his popularity was even greater than he had imagined.

Draco had given him a notebook, Daphne and Meredith presented a magical tome from their family collection, Dobby gifted him a fresh set of socks, and Kreacher remembered to offer a bag of homemade preserved snacks.

However, what surprised him the most was a set of wide-shouldered black and silvery cloaks from his mother, Narcissa.

These cloaks were a romantic combination of ancient Dragon hide dyed black.

The silver shimmer on the cloak was achieved through a process where a renowned ancient alchemist fused magic crystal powder with the Dragon skin.

This gave the cloak exceptional physical defense and anti-magic properties, a craftsmanship lost to modern times, making the cloak exceedingly rare.

Skyler’s heart was deeply moved.

He realized that his mother was concerned for his safety due to his involvement in the Chamber of Secrets incident and had sent him this life-saving equipment.

He couldn’t help but think that he might be the safest student at Hogwarts in his mother’s eyes.

Skyler also made sure to give his friends thoughtful presents.

He presented Draco with a set of broomstick maintenance tools, crafted a stylishly designed sleeve with a wand pocket for Daphne, and gave Meredith a unique deformed lizard leather suitcase that expanded its interior using a non-marking stretching curse.

In addition to these gifts, there were more than forty others from female classmates he hardly knew.

Most of the gifts were from lower-grade Slytherin students, with a few from other houses.

They included chocolates, gloves, scarves, and more.

Skyler couldn’t help but realize how popular he had become among the girls at Hogwarts.

His remarkable performance in the Duel Club had left a lasting, positive impression on his classmates. Even with his naturally calm personality, he couldn’t help but feel a bit flattered.

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Published On: December 1, 2023

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