On Friday, Slytherin had their Potions class with Gryffindor, taught by Professor Snape.
Skyler and Draco arrived early in the cold and gloomy dungeon classroom, where glass jars lined the walls, each containing various eerie animal specimens.
Potions class required students to work in pairs.
Slytherin and Gryffindor students sat separately, with Skyler and Draco, Goyle and Crabbe, Harry and Ron, and Daphne and Pansy under Skyler’s guidance.
Skyler noticed Meredith sitting alone at the back of the Slytherin row, looking somewhat embarrassed as nobody seemed willing to partner with her.
He also realized that he hadn’t seen much of Meredith outside of class during this time, indicating that she might not have made any friends yet.
“Meredith is too cold and arrogant, always wearing a stern expression as if the whole world offends her. That’s why no one likes her,” Daphne whispered.
Curious, Skyler couldn’t help but ask Daphne at the next table, “Aren’t you friends with her?”
“We used to play together when we were young,” Daphne replied with a nostalgic look. “But as she’s grown up, her personality seems to have changed, and now she’s developed this bad temper.”
Eventually, under Professor Snape’s strict distribution, Pansy was paired with Meredith, and Skyler filled in for Pansy, joining Daphne.
To everyone’s surprise, Draco was partnered with Hermione, a Muggle-born wizard.
Draco felt uneasy about working with a Muggle-born, but Skyler reassured him, stating that it was a great opportunity to demonstrate the strength of pure-blooded wizards.
Deceived by Skyler’s words, Draco reluctantly teamed up with Hermione.
Once the assignments were settled, Professor Snape began his lecture. “You are here to learn the precise science and meticulous craftsmanship of potion-making,” he said, his voice barely louder than a whisper yet perfectly audible to everyone.
Much like Professor McGonagall, Professor Snape had an aura of authority that effortlessly maintained order in the classroom.
“This is not about waving wands wildly; many of you won’t even believe this is magic. I don’t expect you to fully appreciate the art of simmering cauldrons, producing white smoke, and releasing delightful aromas. Nor do I expect you to grasp the magic that flows into the veins, bewildering hearts, and minds… but I can teach you how to enhance your reputation, brew glory, and even cheat death. There’s one thing, however, I won’t tolerate the type of idiocy I often encounter.” He continued.
“Potter!” Professor Snape suddenly called out. “What will you get if you add powdered Bicorn horn to an infusion of wormwood?”
Harry glanced at Ron, and both of them were bewildered. Hermione’s hand shot up eagerly.
“I don’t know, sir,” Harry admitted.
Professor Snape sneered, “Tsk tsk, it seems fame isn’t everything.”
Snape deliberately ignored Hermione’s raised hand and continued, “Let’s try again. Potter, where would you find it if I asked you to procure a bezoar?”
Hermione struggled to keep her hand up, but Harry didn’t even know what a bezoar was.
He tried to avoid looking at Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle, who were snickering.
“I don’t know, sir.”
“I believe you haven’t cracked a book before coming to school, Potter,” Snape remarked. “Alright, Potter, how about this: what is the difference between Aconitum napellus and Aconitum lycoctonum?”
“I don’t know,” Harry whispered. “But I think Hermione knows the answer. Why not ask her?” Several students chuckled.
“Sit down,” Snape snapped at Hermione. “Skyler, you can provide the answer.”
Skyler was slightly exasperated; was Snape trying to make trouble for Harry?
But under Professor Snape’s piercing gaze, he had no choice but to stand and explain, “Powdered bicorn horn added to an infusion of wormwood creates the powerful Draught of Living Death. A bezoar is a stone from the stomach of a goat that possesses strong antidotal properties. As for Aconitum napellus and Aconitum lycoctonum, they are both names for the same plant, commonly referred to as wolfsbane.”
“Slytherin, ten points,” Professor Snape announced loudly. “Why haven’t you all been taking notes?”
A rustling sound filled the classroom as students hurriedly reached for quills and parchment.
Amid the commotion, Professor Snape continued, “Potter, for contradicting your teacher, Gryffindor will lose one point.”
Professor Snape spent the next half of the class instructing the two groups of students to work in pairs and brew one of the simplest magical potions for treating boils.
While it was deemed simple, both the ingredients and the process appeared quite intricate.
Following his instructions, Skyler retrieved various materials like dried nettles, snake fangs, and porcupine quills from the potion’s cabinet while Daphne prepared the fire and placed her cauldron over it.
Throughout their brewing process, Professor Snape moved around the classroom like a bat in a long black cloak, observing their steps meticulously.
Most Gryffindor students received his sharp criticism, and even several Slytherins weren’t spared.
Returning to his seat, Skyler worked swiftly.
Before the school year started, he had practiced the basic grinding, dissolving, and boiling steps.
“Why are you grinding the porcupine quills?” Daphne asked in puzzlement. “The book says we should chop them up and add them to the snake fangs.”
“Fools should know that grinding them into a powder makes it dissolve more easily than leaving them in chunks!” Skyler replied, shrugging, and continued to grind.
Daphne furrowed her brow and proceeded to break the snake’s fangs into smaller pieces with a hammer.
“Could you assist me by placing the nettles in the cauldron and roasting them for a brief period, allowing the water content to evaporate? Thank you!” Skyler meticulously blended the powdered porcupine quills with the crushed snake venom fangs, giving out instructions.
Daphne hesitated for a moment but carried out Skyler’s orders.
During this process, Snape passed by their workstation multiple times, observing their actions closely, even noting the small dish of powdered porcupine quills.
However, he refrained from interfering, merely scrutinizing Skyler with a few sharp glances.
Once the nettles, porcupine quills, and snake venom fangs were added to the cauldron, Daphne reminded, consulting “Magical Potions and Potion” in her hand, “It needs to be boiled for five minutes.”
Skyler nodded, keeping an eye on his watch, and slightly increased the flame.
When the mixture turned yellow, he lowered the heat to prevent excessive boiling.
Daphne still appeared uneasy, but Skyler remained confident.
After all, the Hogwarts potions textbook wasn’t always accurate; even something as simple as bean squeezing or chopping could lead to inconsistencies.
This should be no different.
Suddenly, Skyler detected an unusual odor.
He turned to see thick, acrid green smoke billowing from the dungeon classroom, accompanied by a loud hissing sound.
Neville had somehow managed to turn Seamus’s cauldron into a twisted mess, and the potion had spilled onto the stone floor.
Fortunately, Skyler cast a spell to clean it up before any harm was done.
“Slytherin, plus five points,” Snape declared.
He then glared at Neville and scolded, “Are you an imbecile? I suspect you left the cauldron over the fire while stirring the porcupine quills. Off to the infirmary with you.” Neville, his nose red with irritation, departed with Seamus’ assistance.
Half an hour later, Snape moved methodically between the desks, examining each cauldron and its results.
Upon seeing the unsightly blue concoction prepared by Harry and Ron, Snape couldn’t help but smirk, “Do you believe you can actually drink this potion, Potter and Weasley? I dare say you’d poison yourselves before curing your boils with this brew.” Snape waved his wand, vanishing the contents of the cauldron.
Almost every student’s work fell victim to Snape’s critiques, followed by his ridicule.
Gryffindor bore the brunt of his scolding, but some Slytherin students weren’t spared either, particularly Pansy, Goyle, and Meredith.
The combination of Draco and Hermione received praise from Snape as their teamwork produced a commendable result.
However, Snape only awarded Slytherin five points, completely disregarding Hermione’s contributions, causing many Gryffindors to suppress their resentment and direct it towards Draco.
On the other hand, Skyler and Daphne’s work garnered Snape’s admiration as he deemed it a flawless potion.
He awarded Slytherin an additional ten points.
Skyler didn’t think much of it, but Daphne’s gaze toward him intensified.
While other students might not have realized, Daphne understood Skyler’s achievement—he had improved numerous potion-making steps without authorization, ultimately crafting a perfect final product.
To her, this was a rare and exceptional potion-making talent, one that was almost one in a million.
Even with the Greengrass family’s influential background, they couldn’t readily employ a master potion-maker for their service.
Hermione cast a dissatisfied look at Skyler.
She had meticulously followed the book’s instructions to brew the potion, so why had Skyler achieved a superior result?
Her competitive spirit ignited, and she vowed to invest more time in honing her potion-making skills.
Hermione was determined to become the top first-year student in all subjects.
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