August 19, a day has elapsed since the conclusion of the Quidditch World Cup.
Skyler gently lowered the “Daily Prophet” from his grasp.
The front page of the “Daily Prophet” showcased a flickering black and white photograph, capturing the chilling Dark Mark suspended from the treetops.
The headline screamed: “Horror Scene at the Quidditch World Cup.”
This article bore the signature sensational style of Rita Skeeter, replete with unsubstantiated and ominous speculations such as “There are rumors…” and “It is rumored to be…” strategically placed throughout.
“The reappearance of the black mark… the Ministry of Magic in disarray… the culprits eluding capture… law and order in disarray… the black wizard on the loose… bringing disgrace to the nation… wizards outside the woods anxiously awaiting Ministry of Magic assistance and solace. Unfortunately, their hopes were dashed. Shortly after the Dark Mark materialized, a Ministry official arrived, asserting that no harm befell anyone but refused to divulge further details. Whether his words sufficed to quell the burgeoning conspiracy remains uncertain. The persistent rumor of several bodies being extracted from the woods within hours remains under scrutiny.”
The second article delves into the speculations surrounding the Dark Mark and the elves of the Crouch family.
It is noteworthy how Rita Skeeter, with her adept skills, managed to fashion a narrative that closely mirrored the undisclosed incident in the woods known only to a select few Ministry of Magic officials.
“It is rumored that the Dark Mark was conjured by a House-elf… No House-elf appears on the Ministry of Magic’s Death Eater list… Coincidentally, the Crouch family’s house elf was gifted clothing on the same day and subsequently dismissed. Now… As we are aware, Barty Crouch Sr.’s son was a Death Eater and committed egregious crimes…”
The third article, albeit brief, touches upon the disappearance of Meredith Shafiq, a scion of the Shafiq family.
While it refrains from mentioning the “Shadow Dragon,” it does not spare the Ministry of Magic from criticism, highlighting their incompetence, which resulted in the ancient family’s last bloodline suffering the consequences.
The fourth article proved to be particularly intriguing, addressing the presence of werewolves at the World Cup and their suspected connection to the Death Eater disturbances.
Historically, werewolves had been under the command of enigmatic figures during the first wizarding war.
However, this time, the werewolves targeted the Lestrange family’s camp, brutally killing over a dozen attendees who had come to witness the World Cup, with only one survivor.
Unfortunately, Gallup Lestrange, still a Hogwarts student, was bitten and subsequently transformed into a werewolf.
Upon reading this, Skyler couldn’t help but sneer, recognizing his own handiwork.
The memory of Gemma’s attack lingered, and though he adhered strictly to Lucius’ instructions of refraining from directly harming pure-blood families, it didn’t mean he couldn’t orchestrate behind the scenes.
The assault had been meticulously planned. Bathory and Annis took the initiative, capturing Werewolves individually in Knockturn Alley.
With Annis’s inherent ability as a sworn enemy of Werewolves, she could easily identify them even when they were in their human form.
Subsequently, Annis employed the unique mind control magic of the [censored] to command the Werewolves to attack the Lestrange camp.
The nocturnal assault included skilled individuals from the blood-sucking royal family and the dominatrix, all disguised as werewolves.
Special care was taken to leave distinctive paw prints and traces, purposefully framing the werewolves for the incident.
Given the close ties between the Werewolf clan and the Rohr family among pure-blooded families, this orchestrated attack aimed to fuel discord and suspicion between the Rosier and Lestrange families.
Moreover, the werewolf clan’s involvement in this atrocity would be exposed through news reports, garnering public disdain and simultaneously curbing the arrogance of the Rosier family.
It was, in essence, a well-crafted plan to achieve three objectives in one stroke.
With a snap of his fingers, Skyler summoned Dobby.
Aware of Dobby’s acquaintance with Shining, he requested Dobby to bring her to him. Having followed Skyler for an extended period, Dobby had become increasingly adept, bringing Shining to Skyler within a few hours.
Shining, seeking solace in alcohol due to her recent dismissal, still bore the signs of intoxication. Her eyes reflected the remnants of drunkenness as she sat on the ground, murmuring to herself in comfort.
“Shiny, gaze into my eyes!” Skyler commanded sternly.
Shining, already halfway lost in intoxication, unwittingly locked eyes with Skyler. His pupils resembled a bottomless black hole, and Shining felt her entire consciousness being uncontrollably drawn into that abyss.
“Shiny, keep staring into my eyes, and answer my questions truthfully.”
“Look into your eyes… answer the question…”
“Are you originally a House-elf from the Crouch family?”
“Yes…I am the House-elf of the Crouch family. I have served three generations of Crouch masters…”
“You defy the will of Barty Crouch! You are a traitorous elf who betrayed your master!”
“No…I am not…I am not…” Shining’s voice carried a painful cry, and her entire body began to tremble.
“Tell me—whether Barty Crouch Jr. is still alive! Was it he who released the Dark Mark that night?”
“Ah—” Shining let out a heart-piercing scream, pinching her neck and repeatedly hitting the floor.
However, the Cushioning Charm had long been cast on the floor, preventing any harm.
“Don’t resist my will! You treacherous elf! It’s because of you—you influenced Barty to bring his son to the World Cup! You neglected Barty and allowed him to escape! You recklessly grabbed a magic wand! You subjected Crouch to investigation by the Ministry of Magic! You brought shame to the Crouch family!”
“Ah-I am not-I don’t… I swear… I…”
“Don’t resist! Recall Mrs. Crouch’s appearance before her death! Remember her hopes! Recall her expression!”
Shining’s expression suddenly shifted to fear and alarm, and her tremors intensified.
“If fear and shame engulf you, you are a sinful being. No one will have use for a treacherous elf like you… Except me. I can help you, liberate you from this guilt, as long as you become my servant!”
“Yes… Shining is a sinner… Shining is a servant…”
“Remember the name of your new master. I’m Skyler Malfoy!”
Shining fell to her knees, crawling towards Skyler’s feet, and uttered with a trembling voice: “Skyler Malfoy…my master…please accept Shining…please accept your humble servant… Shining is willing to follow you, willing to sacrifice for you, and willing to do anything for you!”
“Really?” Skyler’s gaze suddenly sharpened. “Even if it means you must kill Crouch?”
Shining shuddered, yet she affirmed, “Yes, my only master, even if it means ending Crouch…” After uttering these words, Shining’s guilt and fear dissipated, replaced by a sudden surge of joy, as if she had been granted a new lease on life. Her gaze towards Skyler became frenzied, eager to capture the elder Barty’s family in front of her master and demonstrate her loyalty through their demise.
“Very well, you will be my third servant from today!”
(New servant “Shining” has been obtained!)
Since Meredith’s disappearance, Skyler noticed a remarkable increase in his magical power, achieving overnight mastery of soul magic.
The surging magic in his hands was now intertwined with looming black energy.
Is this a result of my growing malevolence? Am I heading down a dark path after all? Skyler leaned more towards treating elves kindly to win their loyalty in his previous self.
Now, his belief in the power of magic had grown, making him resemble Voldemort in some ways.
I just hope I never reach that point…
Skyler sighed, recalling the faces of Lucius, Narcissa, Draco, Daphne, Meredith, and Astoria flashing through his mind. The final image lingered on a twisted glyph on the last page of “Abatel Volume III.
On “The Soul” – To increase the power of the soul, the fastest and most effective way is to extinguish love in the heart with your own hands…
So that’s it, is this the root of Dumbledore’s power…
Skyler wrote a letter to his family, deciding to spend the summer holidays at the Greengrass Manor before the start of school.
He enlisted Dobby to run errands to Diagon Alley, purchasing all the necessary textbooks and potions for the upcoming term.
Additionally, he ordered a set of robes for the Yule Ball – yes, Skyler had chosen to participate in the Triwizard Tournament.
Using the competition as a cover, it not only exempted him from final exams but also allowed him to openly study advanced magic from the professors.
Harry, in the original book, experienced significant advancements in spellcasting and combat skills after the Triwizard Tournament’s challenges.
Winning the Goblet of Fire would further elevate his reputation, especially on an international scale.
Following this example, Skyler also leveraged Quidditch World Cup victory strategically.
Having lived in the Muggle world during his previous life, Skyler recognized the hidden profits within the beauty market and had long considered entering the realm of beauty potions.
Currently, the beauty potion market in the United Kingdom is dominated by Ms. Pripinall from Diagon Alley, renowned for wart medicines, and the Tugwood family, famous for their pimple remedies.
Zygmund Budge, the author of “The Book of Potions,” introduced a potion called the “Charm Potion” that enhances charm temporarily but doesn’t alter physical appearance.
The Tugwood family, monopolizing beauty potions, inherited formulas from the renowned painter Sacharissa Tugwood over thirty years ago.
However, lacking her potion talent, her descendants made no improvements, leading to the termination of the formula’s patent right over a decade ago.
Through Gareth’s connections, Skyler acquired the Tugwood family’s beauty potion research notes for 2000 Galleons.
The Tugwood family was content with the unexpected windfall, oblivious to the value behind this knowledge.
Recognizing the significance of appearance for women, Skyler understood that aging posed the most formidable challenge.
Skyler aimed to develop a potion that prevents aging, anticipating unprecedented business potential if successful.
[Acquired the potion research notes of the Tugwood family!]
Skyler engaged in practical combat training with Daphne and Astoria during this period.
Recognizing the need for increased strength to share the burden of their missing boyfriend, the two sisters dedicated themselves to rigorous training.
They both experienced substantial and noticeable improvements in magical theory or spellcasting.
Skyler also shared his plan for the upcoming semester with the sisters. He aimed to formally establish a student organization under his leadership, naming it “Serpentis Vigil.”
Leveraging the Greengrass family’s influence, Daphne and Astoria would recruit lower-grade students, selecting and nurturing the best to strengthen their ranks.
To avoid drawing Dumbledore’s attention, Skyler planned for Daphne to be the public leader, while he operated discreetly behind the scenes.
The sisters, devoted and desperate to support Skyler, willingly agreed to cooperate with any plan he devised.
The trio frequently discussed and refined the plan throughout the vacation, addressing various details until the entire strategy was thoroughly developed.
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