The Christmas banquet transformed the auditorium into a magnificent sight, with over a dozen Christmas trees adorned with silver frost and an array of mistletoe and holly ribbons gracefully hanging from the ceiling.
The room was enchanted, and warm, dry snowflakes gently descended from above, adding to the enchanting atmosphere.
The luxurious cuisine left everyone relishing their meal with gusto.
Post-dinner, Skyler, surprisingly relaxed, took a leisurely walk through the corridor before making his way toward the Slytherin common room.
At the entrance to the lounge, Skyler noticed Goyle and Crabbe pacing anxiously, seemingly unable to enter due to a forgotten entrance signal.
A sly smile tugged at the corners of Skyler’s mouth as he recognized the unfolding plot.
With his keen magical insight, he discerned that the magical energy emanating from the two individuals before him was much more concentrated than the real Goyle and Crabbe.
Following the plot’s script, it became clear that these were Harry and Ron in disguise, using Polyjuice Potion to uncover the Chamber of Secrets from Draco.
Another intriguing observation was that the Polyjuice Potion replicated their physical appearance but not their souls or magical abilities.
This was reasonable; otherwise, it would have resulted in a chaotic duel between thirty Voldemorts and thirty Dumbledores.
Skyler approached them and, following the protocol of saying “purebred,” assisted in getting them into the lounge, joining in for a thoughtful chat as they waited for Draco.
Harry and Ron had contemplated inquiring directly from Skyler but had been deterred by his enigmatic demeanor.
Before long, Draco returned from outside, clutching what appeared to be a newspaper clipping.
With a peculiar expression, he approached the trio.
Skyler and the other two hadn’t shared the warmest of friendships with Draco, particularly Skyler, who always appeared as an enigmatic figure in Slytherin.
Despite his surface-level friendliness and politeness, there was an invisible sense of detachment felt by most classmates, especially pure-bloods like Draco.
Despite the situation’s strangeness, Draco enthusiastically handed the clipping to Crabbe, promising, “You’ll have a good laugh.”
Crabbe opened his eyes wide in astonishment, quickly scanned the newspaper clipping, chuckled somewhat reluctantly, and then passed it on to Goyle.
The newspaper clipping was a piece from the Daily Prophet. It read: “Arthur Weasley, Director of the Office for the Prohibition of Muggle Artifacts, Fined Fifty Galleons for Enchanting Muggle Vehicle.”
It went on to describe the enchanted car incident at Hogwarts and Mr. Lucius Malfoy’s call for Mr. Weasley’s resignation.
Subsequent dialogues mirrored the original book, so they need not be recounted.
Goyle eventually prompted Draco, “Forget about Weasley; let’s talk about the Chamber of Secrets and the Heir of Slytherin. You must have some idea of what’s happening.”
Frustrated, Draco retorted, “You know I don’t know, Goyle. How many times do I have to tell you? My dad never told me anything about the last time the Chamber was opened. But I know one thing: when the Chamber was last opened, a Mudblood died. So, I’m pretty sure a Mudblood will die this time. It’s just a matter of time… I hope it’s Granger.”
Skyler, looking displeased, intervened, “Draco, Hermione is my friend. And remember, it’s important to choose your words carefully. The term ‘Mudblood’ isn’t appropriate at Hogwarts, or anywhere, for that matter.”
Draco, slightly embarrassed, mumbled an acknowledgment.
He understood Lucius had instructed him to learn from Skyler, although his heart wasn’t entirely in it.
The deeply ingrained pure-blood beliefs instilled in him since childhood were hard to change.
Seeing the tension, Crabbe clenched his fist while Goyle shot him a warning glare.
Goyle continued, “Do you know if the person who opened the Chamber the last time was caught?”
Draco replied, “It’s said he was caught and then expelled. You can check the list of students from fifty years ago. Whoever it was, they’re probably still in Azkaban.”
Growing restless in his chair, he added, “My father warned me not to draw attention and let the Slytherin heirs continue their work. He said the school should rid itself of Mudbloods and not get involved. But there’s something else you should know—last week, the Ministry of Magic conducted a surprise search at our manor. Luckily, they didn’t find anything. My father has some valuable magical artifacts. Fortunately, we stored them in our secret room located in—”
At this point, Skyler coughed twice, causing Draco to appear concerned.
He had nearly disclosed family secrets that were best kept hidden.
In jest, Draco turned to Skyler, a hint of a sly grin on his face, and said, “Skyler, my dear brother, you wouldn’t report me to my father, would you?”
Suddenly, Crabbe groaned, “Ho!” as he felt the transformation taking its toll.
His hair turned red, and his nose elongated as the Polyjuice Potion’s effects wore off.
Ron was reverting to his true appearance, and Harry knew that he must be going through the same process.
In a swift, synchronized move, they both sprang to their feet, realizing they needed to escape the Slytherin common room quickly.
Preoccupied with his thoughts, Draco hadn’t reacted to the sudden transformation.
In contrast, Skyler’s reflexes were sharp. He quickly summoned his wand, which had been concealed up his sleeve, and gracefully intercepted Harry and Ron’s path.
He assumed an air of authority, demonstrating his superb acting skills, and addressed them with a stern tone, “What are two Gryffindor students doing sneaking into our common room and impersonating Slytherins? Do you plan to leave without explaining yourselves?”
Harry and Ron, cornered and exposed, exchanged quick glances. Harry made a quick decision and lunged at Skyler, intending to use his taller and more robust frame to wrestle the wand for a potential melee.
Ron, although a bit slower to react, soon followed suit by rushing toward Draco.
Skyler sneered with his wand in hand. Despite Harry’s swift reaction, he was still no match for Skyler’s spellcasting skills honed through diligent practice.
As Harry’s outstretched hand reached Skyler, a well-executed Full Body-Bind Curse sent him tumbling to the floor.
Draco’s reaction time might not be as quick as Skyler’s, but his resilience was not one of the things lacking.
Ron was pinned to the ground without a chance to retrieve his wand.
Despite Draco’s added physical strength from Quidditch, he was still no match for Crabbe’s robust physique.
Skyler sighed inwardly as he watched the events unfold.
Draco’s reaction was slow, and his ability to counterattack was limited.
Skyler, on the other hand, had numerous strategies for turning the tables even if pinned to the ground.
Thinking quickly, Skyler used Transfiguration to transform a nearby stool into a rope, which automatically wound around Ron, immobilizing him.
Draco was only released after this, but his face bore several bruises, his prized wizard robes were tattered, and his hair was disheveled.
Luckily, with most Slytherins gone for the Christmas holidays, few witnessed Draco’s embarrassing situation.
Nevertheless, he was burning with humiliation, his face flushed with shame, anger seething within him.
As he drew his wand, his eyes reflected madness and hatred.
Draco cast an evil curse at Ron. God knows what kind of effect it would have on Ron if the spell successfully hit him…
However, the curse was intercepted by a transparent barrier just before reaching Ron.
Draco turned to Skyler, his eyes ablaze with anger, “Skyler! If you still consider me your brother, release me now!”
Skyler stood protectively in front of Harry and Ron, watching Draco closely.
He shook his head and replied, “Draco, calm down. I’ve already subdued them; they pose no threat. Casting dark curses at them will only lead to consequences imposed by the school, and I won’t allow it.”
Draco’s hand trembled, his wand still pointed at Skyler and the two individuals behind him.
He knew that, rationally, his brother was right. But emotionally, he struggled to let go of his anger and frustration.
The onlookers in the lounge remained uncertain about their next course of action.
Breaking the silence, Skyler calmly addressed them, “Could one of you senior students please seek Professors McGonagall and Snape? There are unauthorized intruders in our common room.”
One of the girls hurriedly left the lounge to find the professors. Soon enough, Professor McGonagall and Professor Snape arrived.
Still bewildered, they discovered Goyle and Crabbe in the corner of the hall.
After a full explanation, Professor McGonagall’s face turned pale with anger.
She exclaimed, “This is unbelievable! Potter and Weasley, you brewed illegal potions, stupefied classmates, impersonated other students, and infiltrated another house. You even had malicious intentions to harm the Malfoy brothers. Gryffindor loses 100 points, and you will join me to see the Headmaster!”
Since Draco’s intention to harm Ron wasn’t realized, and he had initially tried to separate the combatants, he wasn’t subjected to punishment.
Professor McGonagall even expressed her gratitude for his quick resolution of the conflict and awarded Slytherin fifty points.
In the end, Professor Dumbledore made the final decision.
Despite Professor Snape’s vehement demand for the expulsion of Harry and Ron, Professor McGonagall strongly argued against it.
Dumbledore chose to spare the two from expulsion but sentenced them to two weeks of confinement.
He also promised Professor Snape a form of compensation for Slytherin in exchange for an end to the conflict.
As a result, the matter was resolved, but Professor Snape left the room, visibly disgruntled.
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