Upon their return from Diagon Alley, there were still two months left before the start of school.
Skyler had already committed a vast amount of magical spells and potion knowledge to memory.
With a wand and a cauldron in hand, he was ready to start practicing spellcasting and potion-making.
All that was required was to translate the knowledge in his mind into practical skills through diligent practice.
Skyler dedicated himself to daily spellcasting exercises, ensuring that every incantation became second nature and reached his desired proficiency level.
Mr. Ollivander had been right; this wand was exceptionally compatible with Skyler.
When it rested in his hand, there was a sense of harmony between his magical power and the wand itself.
Regardless of the type of magic he cast, it felt effortless and fluid.
Interestingly, Skyler had secretly observed that this wand seemed to enhance the power of dark magic, making his dark spells consistently stronger than other incantations.
Two weeks later, Skyler joyfully received the wizard’s robe from Mrs. Malkin.
He examined it with admiration a few times before carefully packing it into his luggage for Hogwarts.
September 1st arrived swiftly.
The Malfoys arrived at King’s Cross Station.
After passing through Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, Skyler spotted a crimson steam locomotive waiting on the platform with a sign that read: “Hogwarts Express, 11 o’clock.”
Thick plumes of steam wafted from the locomotive into the bustling crowd below, where various colors of cats weaved between people’s legs, and owls screeched from their cages.
The station was abuzz with parents bidding farewell to their children and students excitedly exchanging stories of their summer holidays.
The two brothers parted from their parents, who weren’t entirely pleased with the idea and boarded the Hogwarts Express.
Skyler and Draco shared a compartment.
Skyler took out that day’s issue of the Daily Prophet, ready to read it attentively.
However, Crabbe and Goyle barged into the compartment with excitement. “Draco, Skyler, do you know?”
They spoke eagerly, “It’s Potter, Harry Potter! He’s on this train, and everyone’s talking about it.”
“Hmph, I’ve known that for a month already,” Draco responded, trying to maintain his elder brother’s demeanor. “I met him in Diagon Alley a month ago. Since you mentioned it, I’ll take you to meet him. How about it, Skyler?”
The four children strolled down the corridor, with Crabbe and Goyle serving as Draco’s loyal bodyguards.
Skyler couldn’t help but feel that Draco was playing the role of an older brother, introducing his little brother to someone.
As they approached a compartment, Goyle announced, “This is it.” Draco promptly opened the door.
Inside, they found Harry Potter seated across from a red-haired boy with freckles, who was tall and lanky with a smudge on his nose—Skyler recognized him as Ron.
“Hey, Harry, how was your summer break?” Draco asked loudly. “Everyone in the carriage is saying you’re here.”
Harry responded vaguely, having learned some concerning things about the Malfoys from Hagrid and preferring to keep his distance.
Draco, oblivious to Harry’s unease, continued, “This is Crabbe, this is Goyle. They’re eager to meet you.”
Finally, Draco noticed the boy beside Harry and said, “I believe you must be from the Weasley family, judging by your red hair and the number of children—”
Skyler cleared his throat, prompting Draco to halt.
Skyler then looked at Ron, who appeared somewhat flustered and said, “Hello, I’m Skyler Malfoy, and this is my brother Draco. His earlier remarks weren’t intentional, and I apologize on his behalf.”
Unfortunately, the unfavorable impression had already been made, and both Harry and Ron wore displeased expressions.
At that moment, a little girl and a round-faced boy approached the compartment door, looking somewhat apprehensive.
“Has anyone seen a toad?” the girl asked.
“Neville’s lost his toad.” The little girl had long, thick brown hair and prominent front teeth.
Skyler spoke up, saying, “I’ve heard of you, Neville. Are you from the Longbottom family? Your parents are both renowned Aurors. I’m Skyler Malfoy, and this is my brother Draco.”
“Really?” Neville, who had been keeping his head down, suddenly looked up with a different light in his eyes.
It was the first time he had heard someone speak positively about him, even if it was just a reference to his parents.
Skyler continued, “I didn’t see your toad, but I believe I can help you find it.”
Hermione appeared curious and inquired, “How do you plan to find it?”
With a confident smile, Skyler retrieved his wand and whispered, “Neville’s toad is coming here.”
After a brief moment, a toad flew in through the window.
“Neville!” Neville eagerly reached out to protect his flying toad, his excitement palpable.
Hermione widened her eyes and remarked, “Was that a Levitation Charm? Why did a toad fly in through the window?”
“The toad flew in from another compartment,” Skyler explained to Neville. “If you don’t want to lose it again, keeping it in a cage might be best.”
Having assisted Neville, Skyler saw Draco’s interactions with Harry and Ron were strained, so he decided to escort Draco away.
An eager Draco wasn’t one to stay idle, and he ventured into other compartments to meet fellow first-years.
Skyler returned to his compartment, taking out some sandwiches and the newspaper to enjoy his meal and read.
Suddenly, the compartment door swung open once more, revealing two tall, blonde girls.
The one in front scrutinized Skyler before entering the compartment, followed closely by her companion.
After returning to his compartment, Skyler encountered two unfamiliar faces.
However, Skyler’s observant nature allowed him to deduce their backgrounds from the family crests adorning their robes.
The first girl to step into the compartment hailed from the Greengrass family, and the one following her was a member of the Shafiq family.
Both of them came from the sacred 28 pure-blood families, much like themselves.
In the original series, the Greengrass family was notable for Draco’s future wife, Astoria Greengrass.
The women in this family were plagued by a hereditary curse, leading to a shortened lifespan.
In the original book, Astoria passed away at the age of 37. This Bloodline Curse was an advanced and rare form of dark magic, afflicting an entire bloodline with various curses.
Some curses reduced lifespans, while others brought misfortune, and some even transformed individuals into beasts.
Without breaking the curse or severing the bloodline, it persisted for generations.
In addition to the Greengrass family, the only other known bearer of such a curse in the wizarding world was the giant snake Nagini, who served Voldemort and underwent a different mutation due to the curse.
Skyler ransacked his memory, and while the Shafiq family had no mention in the original series, Skyler had read extensive collections from the Malfoy and Blake libraries.
His knowledge of the magical world far surpassed that of the original readers from his previous life.
It was documented in the book “Born and Noble: Wizarding Genealogy” that the Shafiq family was descended from Merlin’s mortal enemy and King Arthur’s half-sister, Morgan Le Fay—a branch of the dark witch’s lineage.
In history, the Shafiq family has produced a powerful figure known as the “Dark Witch” by the world.
The Muggle fairy tale villain Maleficent was said to be inspired by the Shafiq family’s Dark Witch.
Taking the initiative, Skyler greeted them, saying, “Two lovely ladies, I’m Skyler Malfoy, pleased to meet you. Is there anything I can assist you with?”
The girl who entered the compartment responded warmly, “Hello, Mr. Malfoy. This is Daphne Greengrass, and this is my friend Meredith Shafiq. We were just with your brother in another compartment, but…” Her face flushed, and she struggled to find the right words to continue.
Compared to Daphne’s friendly demeanor, Meredith was a bit cold and responded with a hint of mockery, “Your brother and Pansy Parkinson…seem to share similar interests…”
Skyler smiled amicably, “I assume my foolish brother may have unintentionally offended you both. Allow me to make amends on his behalf. Please accept these small gifts as a token of our apology.”
Skyler produced his wand and tapped a cup on the table with that.
The cup split into two, transforming into a golden auspicious flower for Daphne and a purple dahlia for Meredith.
He continued, “This golden flower, Miss Daphne, is in honor of your name, meaning ‘auspicious and beautiful.’ And this dahlia is for the elegant and noble Miss Meredith, symbolizing your exquisite and refined temperament.”
While Skyler’s display might have raised suspicions of him trying to charm the ladies, his exceptional Transfiguration skills genuinely astonished the two women.
As their journey continued, the way they looked at him shifted, and their conversations became more enthusiastic.
The two of them bombarded Skyler with questions about various magical topics, discovering that he possessed extensive knowledge of Spells, Transfiguration, and Potions.
Their admiration for him grew evident.
Nightfall came as the train reached its destination.
The platform where the first-year students disembarked was small and dimly lit, casting an eerie atmosphere.
The cold wind rustled their robes, emitting an eerie howl. Fortunately, they didn’t have to wait long.
A lamp swung silently above their heads, and a gruff voice echoed, “First-year students! First-year students, gather here!”
Hagrid, who towered over the first-years, held a magical lantern in his massive hand and sported a friendly smile beneath his bushy beard. “Come on, follow me. Any first-year students here? Mind your step! Alright, single-file, follow me!”
The first-years trailed behind Hagrid along a rugged path, and soon, gasps of admiration filled the air.
A vast black lake sprawled before them at the path’s end, its waters shimmering in the moonlight.
On the far hillside stood a towering castle cloaked in an aura of profound darkness.
The castle boasted numerous spires, and its windows glittered against the starry sky.
Boats rested at the lake’s edge, gently swaying with the ripples. Hagrid exclaimed, “Hop on the boats! No more than four to a boat!”
More than a dozen small boats carried them across the tranquil lake to the other side.
The students fell into a contemplative silence, their gazes fixed on the towering castle that loomed above.
At the castle gates, Professor McGonagall led the first-years into the Great Hall, where the Sorting Hat awaited.
As expected, Skyler, a pure-blood with ambitions and a well-thought-out plan, was sorted into Slytherin by the Sorting Hat.
After dinner, their house prefects led students to their respective common rooms.
Slytherin’s common room, located in the castle’s dungeon, was spacious and bathed in green light.
The walls and ceiling were constructed from black Gothic marble, while the windows offered glimpses of the depths of the Black Lake and the occasional sightings of Grindylows and the giant squid.
Unlike other houses, the noble Serpents enjoyed private rooms and bathrooms, each with more personal space and no need for roommates.
Skyler was pleased with this arrangement, as it suited his plans for Hogwarts.
The fewer people who knew, the better. Skyler chose a secluded room.
After locking the door, he snapped his fingers, summoning a House-elf into the room.
It was Dobby.
House-elves and wizards practiced entirely different magical systems.
House-elves could Apparatefreely within Hogwarts, and as one of Dobby’s masters, Skyler had a soul-bound contract that allowed him to summon Dobby whenever he needed.
It was a remarkable ability, and Skyler couldn’t help but sigh in awe.
Dobby would prove indispensable to him during the school year, helping him with various errands.
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