Early the next morning, within the side hall of Greengrass Manor.
After a night of rest, Skyler stood resolutely, flanked by Gareth, Daphne, Meredith, and Astoria.
Morgadun and the House-elf Tiva stationed themselves outside the hall, ensuring no interference.
Skyler directed Astoria to recline comfortably on the sofa, actively summoning the curse marks as per his instructions.
Gareth Greengrass closed his eyes, visibly distressed, while Skyler took a steadying breath.
Dark marks adorned Astoria’s arms, neck, and even her face, their profound hue hinting at a blood-red undertone resembling an abyss.
Daphne shut her eyes, unable to witness her sister’s anguish, and Meredith, with reddened eyes, covered her mouth.
“Brother Skyler, I hope I didn’t scare you,” Astoria’s face turned instantly pale, yet she resisted discomfort and forced a smile.
Despite a year of acquaintance with Astoria, Skyler had never seen her in such a state.
At this moment, she resembled a porcelain doll marred by cracks, fragile and pitiful.
Astoria had presented herself as an innocent, lively little sister before Skyler for a long time, occasionally displaying a playful demeanor.
He never fathomed the weight she carried on her shoulders.
Merely glimpsing these marks hinted at the pain she endured—an ominous spectacle devouring her blood, a silent carnival.
“Astoria… I never knew…” Skyler, realizing he had never truly understood this girl, felt a mixture of admiration for Astoria’s strength and a trace of pity for her vulnerability. “Don’t worry! Put your trust in me; your pain will end today!”
Suddenly, a surge of magical power emanated from Astoria, saturating the hall with a violent aura.
Unable to bear the pain any longer, Astoria bit her lower lip and softly exhaled in agony.
Skyler’s eyes gleamed with determination as he swiftly grasped his wand, whispering, “Colloportus! May the evil spirit residing in this body be sealed and gone forever!”
The wand quivered slightly in his hand as a majority of his magical power surged forth with the incantation.
A beam of white light erupted from the wand’s end, resembling a flexible rope as Skyler encircled Astoria seated on the sofa with a wave of the wand.
Skyler drew in a deep breath, tapped his magic wand, and the beam of light surged toward Astoria’s body.
Watching from the sidelines, Gareth Greengrass clenched his fists while Daphne and Meredith held their breath involuntarily.
The black marks on Astoria’s body seemed to come alive, emitting a burst of black energy that coalesced into a snake-headed apparition reminiscent of Nagini.
Still conscious of the curse, the creature lunged towards Skyler, prepared to retaliate.
Simultaneously maintaining the magic output from his wand, Skyler swiftly traced a Gurunis magic talisman in the air with his index finger, targeting the snake-shaped black energy.
The symbol represented the word “Guardian” (Eihwaz).
A Guruni magic talisman materialized in mid-air, surrounded by a blue halo.
Despite Gareth’s concern for his daughter’s safety, he couldn’t help but be astonished by Skyler’s displayed strength, uttering in disbelief, “Gurunis spellcasting?”
Who were these individuals? Dual casting, wandless spells, and the lost Gurunis spells! Has the Malfoy family become this formidable?
At that moment, the azure blue runes clashed fiercely with the snake-shaped black energy!
An invisible wave of force radiated around the impact point, toppling ornaments in the hall one by one, creating a series of clattering sounds.
Seizing the opportunity, Skyler increased the magic output of his wand, accompanied by a faintly audible neighing in his ears.
A sensation of soulful blessing enveloped him, as his magic and an unknown energy within the wand melded seamlessly.
The wand’s end erupted in a dazzling light, instantly disorienting, as the light beam forcefully pressed into the curse marks.
The curse marks emitted a hissing sound, resembling boiling liquid, and white smoke emerged.
Everyone present witnessed the curse marks retracting from Astoria’s body, ultimately concentrating on the back of her neck, transforming into a double-headed tailless snake figure.
“Astoria! Hold on!” Skyler’s eyes flared with bright red light, abruptly shifting to azure blue pupils with the Eihwaz talisman faintly visible.
This was the crucial final step—no room for error.
Skyler’s magical power erupted instantly.
Despite his magical level being that of a senior student, his powerful mental control maximized every ounce of his magical potential, pushing it to 200%!
The magic wand clicked on the double-headed snake figure, emitting a scorching odor that wafted across Astoria’s skin.
Astoria bit her lip tightly, suppressing any sound.
Eventually, the curse marks vanished, leaving only a hexagonal scar on the snow-white skin behind her neck.
“It’s done!” Skyler exclaimed, only to realize that his face and palms were drenched in sweat.
A sudden dizziness clouded his consciousness, and the magic within his body became unsustainable.
Skyler’s body trembled momentarily, nearly collapsing to the ground.
Daphne and Meredith rushed forward, guiding Skyler to sit on the sofa.
Daphne carefully wiped the sweat from Skyler’s forehead with a handkerchief.
Gareth hastily handed over a bottle of magic restoration potion, instructing Daphne to administer it to Skyler.
Feeling a significant improvement in his health, Skyler confidently declared, “Success.”
In the night sky, stars shimmered in the sea, and gentle waves surged onto the Milky Way.
Skyler awoke on a luxurious and comfortable bed.
Checking the time, ten hours had passed since he had exhausted himself and fallen asleep after casting the spell.
It was evident that the ordeal had taken a toll on him.
Examining himself, Skyler found his magical power fully restored, not only returning to its peak state but even making subtle breakthroughs.
His magic power had increased by an almost imperceptible margin.
Reflecting on the spellcasting process, he wondered if this was a result of absorbing the unknown energy in the wand.
A plate of steaming food and a glass of juice awaited him on the small table beside the bed.
It seemed the staff changed them regularly, considering they didn’t know when Skyler would wake.
Feeling a slight hunger upon waking, he quickly consumed the meal.
A sudden knock on the door interrupted his thoughts.
Opening it, Skyler found Astoria standing there, now back to her innocent and lovely appearance.
“Brother Skyler, how are you feeling?” The concern in the girl’s tone was evident.
“What can I do? It’s just a drain on magical power,” Skyler smiled, “On the contrary, it’s you. You must have experienced quite a bit of pain today. Why not take more rest? If Uncle Gareth or Daphne find out, they won’t be angry yet…”
Astoria remained silent, her eyes burning as if searching for something in Skyler’s gaze.
“Brother Skyler, I like you.”
“I know you, sister Daphne and sister Meredith are all getting along…” Astoria shook her head gently, “but I don’t mind. Sister loves me the most, and she will definitely not blame me. Do you know? Both Edward Harper and Frank Urquhart pursued me in school, but I didn’t accept it. In my heart, no other boy can compare to you, Brother Skyler…”
What? Is this a confession? Skyler had initially thought she was here to express gratitude, rendering the long, carefully crafted polite words in his mind useless.
“Brother Skyler… Do you like me?”
“Well,” Skyler stared into her dark brown pupils and nodded slowly, “My Astoria is so cute. How can I not like her?”
Skyler felt a warm, sweet, and soft body embrace him without reservation. Astoria raised her head vigorously, eyes filled with joyful mist. “Brother Skyler… ” She looked directly into Skyler’s eyes. “Kiss me…”
Ten minutes later, the two reluctantly ended their passionate moment.
The manor was exceptionally quiet at night.
Astoria took Skyler’s hand, nestling closely against him as they strolled around the manor.
The girl’s hand felt delicate and soft. Skyler caught a faint fragrance from her body.
In the silent night, their hearts beat fiercely.
They walked aimlessly, and at this moment, time belonged only to the two of them.
Astoria hoped this time would never end.
Astoria reached a classical oak door and said, “Daddy said you can enter and exit anywhere in the manor except for the owner’s secret room.”
Astoria led him into the family library.
Skyler’s appetite for books was no longer unwilling.
He had assembled the complete knowledge bases of Malfoy, Black, and Ravenclaw, along with books from his grandmother.
Describing it as the vastness of the sea was not an exaggeration.
Since Astoria remained silent, Skyler decided not to pry into her thoughts.
He wandered around the library, hoping to find the next fragment of Abatel, but this time, his efforts ended in disappointment. The library yielded little for him.
The following morning’s family breakfast brought a formal expression of gratitude from Gareth.
He applauded, summoning Morgaddon, who approached holding a long gift box.
“This is a small token of my appreciation; please accept it,” Gareth said sincerely.
Understanding the genuine sentiment behind the gift, Skyler graciously accepted it without hesitation.
“You can open it and take a look,” Gareth suggested with a smile. “See if you recognize what it is?”
Three exquisite bottles were revealed upon opening the gift box, emanating potent magical fluctuations.
Gareth provided explanations: “The first bottle contains Phoenix tears. Its healing properties can mend any severe injury and even bring someone back to life as long as a breath remains. I acquired it from Dumbledore, agreeing to an old man Moody’s price. I want to express my gratitude by giving you something like this…”
Skyler examined the second bottle, noticing a fine layer of frost on the cap.
“This is…” Even with Skyler’s extensive knowledge, identifying this substance proved challenging.
“This is the blood of the Tibetan snowman, capable of healing mental or soul damage. It’s highly valuable… The Chinese Ministry of Magic considers it a national treasure. In the past, the British Ministry of Magic attempted to introduce it for treating Aurors with spiritual and soul damage, but negotiations failed. I managed to obtain it during my global travels, establishing a friendship with the pure-blooded Ji family there…”
Skyler, intrigued by the mysteries of the foreign magical world, inquired, “Are there pure-blood families in Eastern countries as well?”
“Of course there is. The heritage of the wizarding world in the East is longer than that in Europe. As early as BC, a wizard named Zou Yan appeared in China and founded a school called the Yin-Yang family. It seems to be related to a Confucianism movement of a certain Chinese Muggle emperor, and the wizards gradually faded out of sight. The inheritance of wizards in the East is very mysterious, and there are various sayings that the inheritance is not passed from the inside to the outside, the son is not passed to the daughter, and the son is not passed to the concubine. As for their pure-blood families, my knowledge is limited. What I have seen is probably only the tip of the iceberg.”
“Well, you should take a look at the third bottle!”
Skyler touched the bottle lightly, feeling a tingling sensation in his fingertips. This time, he recognized the object. “This is Thunderbird’s tears, right?”
“Yes, Thunderbird is extremely sensitive to supernatural dangers. The wand made from its tail feathers is said to be the first to launch spells. Its tears are filled with the power of violent thunder and lightning and can also enhance the spiritual sense of the user. For some, the hidden power or crisis will be more acutely sensed.”
[Phoenix Tears, Snowman Blood, and Thunderbird Tears have been obtained!]
Having accepted the gift, the conversation between Skyler and Gareth shifted to a different topic.
Gareth was very satisfied with the young man in front of him, akin to how a mother-in-law and an old father-in-law look at their son-in-law.
Whether it was appearance, family background, strength, personality, or resourcefulness, Skyler was impeccable.
Coupled with the significant favor the young man had just granted him (in his opinion, nothing was more important than the safety and health of his daughter), the alliance between the two became a natural progression.
This marked a stark contrast to the family’s goodwill toward Skyler two years ago.
This time, the Greengrass family would become his genuine allies, firmly standing in his camp, and providing unreserved support in all aspects.
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