Skyler’s world was disrupted on one sunny day during the Easter holiday when an owl arrived with a duel challenge in its talons.

At first, he was perplexed by the unexpected challenge, but through diligent inquiry, he began to unravel the intricate web of Slytherin’s inner politics.

“It turns out that Slytherin holds secrets and plots not found in the original books,” he mused.

It ignited a newfound fascination with the complexity of campus life, and a cheerful smile graced Skyler’s lips, akin to someone who had discovered a hidden treasure.

Two challengers emerged from the shadows, each with a unique grievance. A former Slytherin Seeker, Terrence Higgs found himself ousted by Draco’s financial maneuvering.

Feeling wronged and unappreciated, he sought to challenge Skyler to a duel, hoping to regain his position, and, if victorious, have Draco reinstate him as Seeker.

The other challenger, Gallup Lestrange, harbored resentment towards the Malfoy family for their self-preservation tactics after Voldemort’s fall.

He believed that this approach betrayed the principles of pure-blooded wizardry.

For him, the Malfoy children’s easy rise to popularity in Slytherin was unacceptable.

Skyler, cautious and deliberate, sought Daphne’s assistance in assessing the strengths and backgrounds of these challengers.

Ultimately, he decided to accept their challenge.

For Skyler, this opportunity transcended a mere duel; it was a chance to establish his presence and vision in Slytherin.

He aspired to break free from the confines of narrow, pure-blooded perspectives that had plagued the house.

His aim was to create a meritocracy that valued individuals for their character, temperament, strength, and talent over their bloodline.

Skyler envisioned a future where Slytherin’s house would be united, enabling him to recruit talent from other houses with confidence.

The news of this challenge quickly spread, thanks to a deliberate campaign to make it widely known.

As Skyler affixed his signature to accept the challenge, the atmosphere among the young wizards who gathered in the common room was palpably charged.

Their anticipation and excitement for the upcoming duel were evident, with some even going as far as to extend an invitation to Professor Snape, the Deputy Headmaster, to serve as the referee.

The duel was scheduled to take place two nights later, right within the confines of the Slytherin common room.

When Skyler made his entrance on the night of the duel, the common room fell into an eerie and hushed silence.

The room was crowded, and all eyes were fixated on the figure of Professor Snape, who stood impassive at the center.

Draco bore a worried expression as he gazed at Skyler.

After all, Skyler’s challengers were students several grades ahead of him.

Daphne and Meredith, on the other hand, radiated unwavering faith in Skyler, brimming with excitement as they fixed their gaze on him.

Just as Snape was poised to begin the proceedings, Skyler preemptively addressed the room, “I’m sorry, Professor, but I’d like to share a few words before the duel commences.”

Snape’s inscrutable demeanor didn’t waver, and Skyler interpreted his silence as tacit approval.

With Sonorus, he projected his voice to the entire assembly, “Good evening, fellow Slytherins. I’m sure you’re all aware of the significance of tonight’s duel. But before we get into that, there’s something I’d like to clarify. Today’s duel is my personal choice, and it bears no connection to the Malfoy family, to which I belong.”

Skyler’s words ignited a tumultuous reaction, with the young Slytherins conversing among themselves, creating a cacophony akin to a bustling marketplace.

In the ensuing silence, Skyler continued with a resolute voice, “On the day I was sorted into Slytherin, I was proud and ambitious, cherishing honor, shrewd in judgment, and I strove for success. These were my principles. However, I never looked down upon students from other houses – Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff. Yet today, I’ve realized that Slytherin House is far from perfection.”

Skyler’s bold proclamation stunned the audience.

Except for Snape, who remained an unreadable enigma, everyone was taken aback by his unexpected words, and the atmosphere in the room turned tense.

Skyler’s eyes bore into his fellow Slytherins as he declared, “Do you know the true purpose of Salazar Slytherin when he founded Hogwarts? Do you understand why he championed the cause of pure-blood wizardry? It’s about strength, unity, and unwavering resolve. And, undoubtedly, it’s about the interplay of interests!”

With piercing clarity, he continued, “A genuine Slytherin comprises outstanding students, not merely schemers. The proper narrative is one of solidarity, mutual assistance, and collective accomplishment. True Slytherins prioritize talent, strength, and excellence over blood status. Resourcefulness, to us, is a tool, not an end. We aim to cultivate an atmosphere of dignity, not deceit. True Slytherins don’t claim superiority through lineage or petty machinations.”

He concluded with fervor, “So, I hope that, for tonight, you can set aside my Malfoy lineage and remember only that I am of a Slytherin’s House.”

Skyler’s impassioned speech left a profound impact, stirring the hearts of many young wizards in the room.

“Look, I’ve entered the finest college in the wizarding world. And on the day they leave, they should bow to the Slytherin badge and thank themselves for the journey every single day.”

Skyler continued with a challenge, “Look around you, and consider what you’re doing today. While some are indulging in self-proclaimed aristocracy, Gryffindor is diligently honing their dark magic defense. You may take pride in your conspiracies and trickery, but Ravenclaw is mastering more spells than we can count. And when you’re busy squabbling over minor gains, the diligent Hufflepuff has reaped the harvest of their unwavering efforts. Do you truly believe that your bloodline alone makes you superior? That your petty schemes set you apart?”

With determination in his voice, Skyler concluded, “So tonight, I once again urge you all to forget that I am a Malfoy and remember that I am a Slytherin.”

Skyler’s impassioned words stirred the audience.

Prefect Gemma Farley was the first to rise, applauding fervently. Draco, Pansy, Daphne, Meredith, and many more followed suit, joining in the applause.

The majority of the students, especially those from less prestigious or mixed backgrounds, resonated deeply with Skyler’s vision.

They had long felt marginalized within Slytherin and found hope in his words.

Even Terence, as his opponent, couldn’t help but be moved.

A Slytherin from a modest, mixed-blood family, he had earned his place through his flying skills and connections but was overlooked for the seeker position.

Forced into this challenge, he felt a glimmer of inspiration in Skyler’s words.

However, Gallup responded with a sneer, questioning Skyler’s ability to bring about change.

Skyler, undeterred, challenged Terence Higgs to their duel with confidence.

Deeply moved by Skyler’s words, Terence chose to abstain from the duel, leaving Skyler unopposed.

Finally, despite his disdain, Gallup recognized Skyler’s competence and stood ready for their duel after the ancient ceremony.

Snape initiated the duel, and the battle began.

Gallup was well aware of Skyler’s prowess and took the initiative, firing off three rapid spells in succession: “Expelliarmus,” “Stupefy,” and “Petrificus Totalus.”

His quick casting technique allowed him to execute the spells in a split second, effectively blocking all possible paths for Skyler.

Seeing that he couldn’t compete in terms of speed, Skyler countered with a well-aimed spell that sent a red-tinged stunner straight at Gallup.

Astonishingly, the three spells clashed, not negating each other but rebounding with tremendous force, each heading in opposite directions.

The Expelliarmus deflected the Stupefyto the left while the Petrificus Totalus veered off the attack trajectory, all neutralized by a single spell from Skyler.

His response required immense courage and unwavering confidence in his spellcasting precision.

Before Gallup could appreciate Skyler’s skill, Skyler had quickly moved and circled around him with remarkable agility.

As he reached Skyler’s left rear, he unleashed the same trio of spells in rapid succession.

In the face of the same attack, Skyler adapted his tactics.

Employing his rapid spellcasting abilities, he released two deflection charms in succession, “Finite Incantatem,” successfully countering Gallup’s two spells.

Simultaneously, Skyler nimbly rolled on the ground to evade the final spell, unleashing a faint white light from bottom to top, directed at Gallup as he continued to run.

Gallup, in the midst of evasive maneuvers, attempted to sidestep the incoming spell. Still, the dim white light followed an unpredictable path, striking his chest and sending him into the air before crashing to the ground.

The impact was deafening, accompanied by the sound of bones breaking and Gallup’s agonized screams.

Snape rushed to the scene, administering a restorative potion to Gallup before initiating basic first aid.

Another student assisted in transporting Gallup to the school hospital. Snape’s gaze fixed on Skyler, and his normally icy demeanor darkened considerably.

Though it was a sanctioned duel, causing such severe harm to a fellow student with a curse was a breach of school regulations.

Skyler’s lightning-fast attack had caught even Snape off guard; otherwise, he could have prevented Gallup’s grave injury with a well-timed counter-spell. As the referee, Snape couldn’t escape bearing some responsibility for the outcome.

During the duel, Skyler employed silent spellcasting, concealing the red and white lights he emitted from view.

Among the spectators, only Snape identified the white light as an advanced application of Wingardium Leviosa,a modification by Skyler known as the Rapid Fall Charm.

This spell rapidly elevated its target before causing it to plummet to the ground, resulting in injury upon impact.

However, not even Snape could discern the nature of Skyler’s red glow or how he manipulated the curse after its release.

Skyler’s enigmatic abilities had become a prevailing mystery for those present, overshadowed only by his primary preoccupation—Harry Potter, the son of his arch-nemesis.

In fairness, Gallup exhibited considerable strength, and his rapid three-spell sequence with one hand left most spectators in awe.

Yet Skyler’s swift defeat of him in just two rounds profoundly impacted those watching.

Skyler’s image transformed from strong and ruthless to deeply respected in the hearts of Slytherin students.

Terrence Higgs, who had chosen to abstain, felt vindicated by his decision, while those who had previously been critical of the Malfoy family now held them in higher regard.

Students who had already admired Skyler expressed even greater reverence and devotion.

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Published On: December 3, 2023

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