The first week of school had just concluded, and Hogwarts entered its first weekend.
Skyler had meticulously studied the Forbidden Forest Map, planned various routes, and prepared for various scenarios.
This preparation included crafting numerous potions and poisons that might come in handy.
In the early morning, Skyler cast the Invisible Phantom Charm on himself and ventured alone into the Forbidden Forest.
The Forbidden Forest at Hogwarts sprawled out as a vast, untouched woodland inhabited by various creatures, including species that had become extinct beyond its borders.
It was, in essence, an untamed wilderness.
No wizard had ever successfully explored the entire expanse, partly due to its sheer size and partly because of the inherent danger it posed.
Throughout history, students have disappeared within its depths.
The trees within were towering, reaching heights of over tens of meters, casting a perpetual shadow overhead.
Only creatures native to the Forbidden Forest adapted to this perpetual darkness, possessing the ability to see in such conditions, heightened senses, or exceptional night vision.
The forest’s periphery was relatively safer well-maintained by Hagrid, the gamekeeper.
Skyler crossed this outer zone with ease, leaving behind the active area of the twelve eagles and horses under Hagrid’s care, and continued to venture deeper.
After thorough research, Skyler had identified the two most perilous regions within the Forbidden Forest, the Eight-Eyed Spider Nest and the Centaur Tribal Area.
Maintaining a watchful eye, Skyler advanced cautiously, constantly cross-referencing with the map to ensure he steered clear of these dangerous zones.
Strange roars echoed in the darkness, and malicious eyes occasionally gleamed from the shadows.
As he passed through certain areas, which were likely gathering spots for social creatures, a noxious odor assaulted his senses.
Gripping his wand tightly, Skyler surveyed his surroundings and abruptly stopped to inspect the footprints on the ground.
He recognized them as wolf prints, several times larger than those of ordinary wolves, likely belonging to a giant wolf roughly the same size as Fluffy, the three-headed dog.
Skyler knew that while there weren’t actual werewolves in the Forbidden Forest, there was a pack of wolves with intelligence akin to humans.
There was an intriguing backstory behind the origins of this wolf pack.
Legend had it that on a full moon night, two werewolves in wolf form had mated beneath the moon’s glow.
The pregnant she-wolf, instead of bearing other werewolves, had given birth to pure wolf cubs.
This unusual occurrence had only transpired twice in history.
One of those instances had taken place within the Forbidden Forest at Hogwarts.
During that time, Dumbledore held the position of Headmaster.
He had allowed the two wolf-shaped werewolves to raise their wolf cubs in the Forbidden Forest.
As the young wolves matured, they became a silver wolf pack, distinguished by their stunning silver-white fur and remarkable intelligence.
Aside from their cleverness and insight, these silver wolves displayed typical wolf behaviors and did not possess the bloodlust and hunger for human flesh that plagued traditional werewolves.
Therefore, they were not much more dangerous than ordinary wild wolves.
Through Dumbledore’s deliberate efforts, rumors of werewolves in the Forbidden Forest began circulating among the students.
The intent behind these rumors was to discourage students from venturing into the Forbidden Forest.
To this day, these rumors still persisted among the students, a narrative Skyler had heard from more than one person, including Draco.
Skyler wasn’t particularly frightened by a giant wolf, but wolves are social animals, and he wasn’t sure if he could handle a large pack.
To ensure safety, he decided to deviate slightly from the planned route and continue deeper into the Forbidden Forest.
His journey took him to a group of red caps.
These dwarf-like creatures resembled grotesque fairies, were bloodthirsty, and enjoyed smearing their hats with the blood of their victims, hence the name “red cap.”
Red caps possessed no magical abilities, but their strength and speed made them dangerous for Muggles and young wizards who were new to magic.
However, Skyler easily dealt with them.
Using Transfiguration, he summoned a thick vine to ensnare the red caps, then used the Severing Charm to decapitate them.
The blood-stained skulls were valuable materials for dark magical items, and Skyler didn’t let them go to waste.
Red cap skulls collected!
Continuing on, Skyler encountered a blood-sucking phantom bear spirit.
This variant of the Bogart was an embodiment of fear and adept at shapeshifting. It typically assumed the form of an Australian koala but had sharp fangs and slender claws.
The blood-sucking phantom bear spirit was the most ferocious variant, often attacking poultry, causing frequent problems for Hagrid.
However, in the presence of Skyler, who was skilled in Occlumency, the creature posed no threat.
Skyler used the “Riddikulus” spell to repel it.
Skyler proceeded onward and eventually encountered the primary challenge of this adventure: an eight-eyed spider with the combined intellect of two adult wizards.
Thankfully, Skyler remained under the cloak of invisibility, or he would have been an easy target for the enormous spider.
He was well aware that creatures residing in such darkness typically feared fire.
So, without hesitation, he cast the Flame-Freezing Charm on the surface of the spider’s body, as it was a well-known weakness of the eight-eyed spider, which Skyler had studied beforehand.
Once the spider’s abdomen ignited, it let out a piercing scream and writhed in agony.
To avoid being affected, Skyler aimed at the spider’s last two legs and cast the Leg-Locker Curse.
The spider, now immobilized, helplessly rolled forward, succumbing to the flames.
Skyler quickly retrieved a vial and began collecting the spider’s venom.
A pint of this venom was worth 100 gold Galleons, and Skyler collected three pints before departing contentedly.
Cautious of encountering more eight-eyed spiders, he decided to exit the Forbidden Forest and retrace his steps.
Eight-eyed spider venom was successfully collected!
Luckily, Skyler had collected a fair number of Beating Toadstools along his way.
Beating Toadstools were rare potion ingredients with bright red caps adorned with white spots.
They possessed a keen sense of their surroundings and would leap to escape when someone attempted to pick them.
To handle the situation, Skyler first used Transfiguration to create a makeshift lid, which he carefully used to cover the Beating Toadstools.
He then gathered them one by one and placed them into a specialized container.
Each toadstool held a value of 3 golden Galleons, and Skyler had collected 20 at once, resulting in a morning’s harvest worth 360 golden Galleons.
This was a substantial sum, considering that the monthly salaries of most individuals in the wizarding world ranged between 25 and 50 Galleons!
Beating Toadstools successfully collected!
The Forbidden Forest, it seemed, was indeed a profitable place.
While it had consumed a significant portion of his time, Skyler had clearly relished the experience.
Suddenly, he halted in his tracks, witnessing an unexpected sight before him.
A massive eight-eyed spider and an even larger giant wolf lay motionless on the ground, resembling corpses.
Approaching cautiously, Skyler noticed that the venom from the eight-eyed spider had completely dried up and couldn’t be collected.
The creature had died some time ago.
The giant wolf, on the other hand, still emitted subtle body warmth.
He contemplated the idea of skinning the wolf to obtain its beautiful fur. Although the fur lacked medicinal or alchemical value, it could be sold as a decoration for a good price.
With a sterling silver dagger in hand, Skyler was about to start the skinning process when he felt an unusual movement beneath his hand. His brow furrowed as he suddenly realized there might be…
His hunch was correct.
Skyler carefully sliced open the wolf’s belly and gently reached inside without dirtying his hands. To his amazement, he pulled out three wolf pups!
Skyler surmised that the pregnant female wolf had been waiting with the pack.
Tragically, the wolves were attacked by an unknown number of eight-eyed spiders. As a result, the female wolf had become separated from the pack and fought valiantly with one of the eight-eyed spiders.
In the end, they all perished.
Regrettably, the remaining vitality of the she-wolf was insufficient to sustain the lives of the little wolf pups, and two of the pups had already perished shortly after being retrieved.
Moved by compassion, Skyler removed several bottles of valuable nutrients from his pocket, fed the last remaining wolf pup with care, and swaddled it in a cloak embroidered with night stars to keep it warm.
The pup, in Skyler’s care, opened its eyes and let out its first feeble howl.
Although the sound was weak, Skyler had witnessed the birth of a life with his own eyes.
It touched a tender corner of his heart, evoking indescribable emotions.
A hint of moisture welled up in the corners of his eyes without him realizing it.
Students at Hogwarts were allowed to bring their own pets, with the only restriction being that first-year students were limited to owls, toads, and cats as their pets.
Beyond this rule, there were no restrictions on the types of pets for students in other grades.
For example, Ron owned a spotted hamster, and Lee Jordan from Gryffindor had a pet tarantula.
It was important to note, however, that creatures as highly dangerous as eight-eyed spiders or three-headed dogs were only entrusted to Hagrid; no other students would consider such dangerous creatures as pets.
Skyler had made up his mind to take the little wolf cub back to Hogwarts as his pet.
The emotional bond he shared with the wolf, having witnessed its birth, was far stronger than the typical relationship between pet owners and their animals.
Moreover, he possessed Newt’s suitcase, which meant he could have the little wolf pup with him at all times, whether during classes or while residing in the castle, without the risk of being discovered.
Given that Dobby was not currently in the UK, Skyler had to personally visit the Owlery, borrow a school owl, and place multiple orders for pet food through mail order from the pet shop in Diagon Alley.
He also took care of the still fragile young wolf himself.
He named the little wolf “Silver Paw.”
As time passed, the pet food from Diagon Alley was delivered, bringing Skyler a sense of relief.
Without it, he would have been constantly feeding nutrient medicine to poor Silver Paw.
Skyler, occupied with caring for the wolf, had little time to spare for Harry’s ongoing adventures, even forcing the postponement of the Patronus Charm exchange event until the following month.
Slytherin students had already learned of Skyler’s beloved pet wolf, and it was a common sight to see Skyler and Silver Paw inseparable all over the campus.
Daphne, Meredith, and Astoria were equally taken with the little wolf and often took the opportunity to approach Skyler, trying to find moments to play with Silver Paw.
Despite the wolf’s fragility, it displayed remarkable intelligence and knew how to charm people.
It never failed to bring smiles and laughter to the girls, further endearing Silver Paw to them.
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