Grindelwald, dressed in a casual smoking shirt, strolled in as if entering his living room.
Indeed, Nurmengard was essentially his private castle, but Sean wondered if Grindelwald still smoked.
“Good day, sir,” Sean greeted calmly, unfazed by Grindelwald’s sudden appearance.
“Good morning, Sean,” Grindelwald stretched.
“It’s lunchtime now, sir.”
“Please, today is a day for rest. Even us elderly need our sleep,” Grindelwald replied, appearing as though he had just woken up.
Sean, feeling a bit awkward, sat up from the cushion.
Grindelwald, seemingly oblivious, stood nonchalantly in front of Sean. “So, what’s your Animagus form, Sean? A Hungarian Horntail? A Phoenix? Perhaps a Unicorn?”
Sean nodded, somewhat surprised. “Yes, a Hungarian Horntail. But, sir, shouldn’t you know it beforehand because you are a Seer?”
“No, Sean, you’ve misunderstood the abilities of a Seer,” Grindelwald dismissed.
“The future remains uncertain, and even I cannot see it clearly. However, we can make educated guesses.”
Grindelwald went on to explain, “Most wizards who possess both transformation and magical animal talents will experience a subtle choice during their first Animagus transformation.”
“This choice is incredibly nuanced, and wizards instinctively know how to make it. However, very few opt for a magical animal, Animagus, as it can lead to unpredictable consequences.”
Sean furrowed his brow in suspicion, as he didn’t feel this so-called “natural choice” during his transformation.
Grindelwald chuckled upon seeing Sean’s expression. “You are a unique case. You have a close affinity to magical creatures, and your luck is exceptional.”
“Luck?” Sean asked with his brows raised.
“Yes,” Grindelwald touched his velvet smoking shirt, and it morphed into a high-collared overcoat he often wore.
“The Transfiguration struck so quickly that the Animagus spell prioritized creatures with sufficient power. By the time you sensed your second heartbeat, there wasn’t enough time for an ordinary creature’s heartbeat.”
“So,” he concluded, “you had no choice but to become a magical animal.”
Ah, so that’s how it happened.
“But I sensed other heartbeats too; why didn’t I have a choice among the Fantastic Beasts?” Sean thought.
Before Sean could pose this question, Grindelwald added, “As long as the transfiguration is successful, it’s fine. A Hungarian Horntail is truly enviable.”
“Sir, as long as you wish, you could transform as well, right?” Sean didn’t understand why Grindelwald would be envious.
With his deep knowledge of magic, a Dragon should be nothing special.
Was it merely a pet to him?
“I despise Magical Creatures,” Grindelwald frowned. “But let’s not dwell on this. Sean, I’ve come to ask for your assistance.”
“Please, sir, tell me how I can help. I’m more than willing,” Sean replied, understanding that favors must be reciprocated.
Grindelwald grinned triumphantly. “Have you heard of Nurmengard Day?”
Nurmengard Day fell on the fourth Saturday in January each year, just a week away.
Grindelwald had established this event, during which the castle hosted various activities and competitions, all determined by Grindelwald himself.
It could range from a grand Quidditch game to a food festival held throughout the castle.
Of course, among the festivities, wizarding competitions like the Transfiguration Contest and Potion Contest were the most common.
The top performers in these competitions received substantial rewards.
“Nurmengard Day is approaching, and we must hold the competition,” Grindelwald began.
His tone took on a sly turn as a mischievous smile appeared on his face.
“Unfortunately, the Headmaster of this castle—myself—has encountered a minor issue.”
He blinked theatrically as if feigning innocence. “The prizes are somewhat lacking…”
“Huh?” Sean responded, puzzled.
Grindelwald had lived for many years and should have a substantial private fortune.
He could teach some spells or contribute to the prize pool if necessary.
However, the elderly wizard was evasive, hinting at certain complications.
The elderly man twirled his short beard with a cunning smile. “To be precise, there’s only one physical prize left. Oh, Sean, don’t look at me like that. As the principal, I’ve already shared a considerable number of spells, and the remaining ones, either the students aren’t ready for them yet or…”
He continued his rambling, “Or, they require considerable effort on my part, and I’m reluctant to teach them in a mere game. Moreover, I’m not quite satisfied with the students’ recent performance—look at you, Sean. Your exceptional performance as a sophomore puts the others to shame. It’s time to scale back the rewards.”
Grindelwald concluded with a smirk, “You’ve brought this upon yourself, Sean.”
“What do you want me to do, sir?” Sean inquired once again with a curious expression.
Sean is curious about where this conversation is going, considering how much Grindelwald has been turning and spewing his words nonstop.
Sean raised an eyebrow, surprised at the unexpected appraisal.
The wizard across from him continued, “Oh, and there’s one more thing—I still need to reward the second and third-place finishers. I also introduced achievement-based awards earlier. Hell, I must have been overthinking it. And these youngsters have grown a bit complacent lately, so I need a reason to cut down on their leisure time during weekends. Perhaps some training camp or confinement is in order…”
“So, I came up with a plan… one that ensures no one gets a ranking…”
Sean suddenly had a foreboding feeling.
“Haha!” Grindelwald burst into wild laughter. “I’ve already come up with a name for this competition: ‘My Love and Hate with the Hungarian Horntail.’ What do you think?”
“What?! There must be something wrong with this old man’s head…” Sean thought.
With a bitter smile, he could only reply, “Yes, sir.”
A week later, on Saturday, Nurmengard was abuzz with excitement.
Nurmengard Day had arrived, and the atmosphere was electric.
The castle was adorned with fiery red decorations, and even the students’ uniforms had been enchanted to match the theme.
Dragons and Phoenixes soared around the Deathly Hallows, and the school crest gleamed brightly.
“Shouldn’t Hogwarts have a school anniversary or a similar celebration?” Hermione mused as they made their way to the square, taking in the festive atmosphere.
“I heard it’s a competition event, and many people will receive rewards,” Daisy chimed in.
“Sean, you should give it a try. Mr. Grindelwald seems quite generous. Perhaps he’ll reward you with rare alchemical items or powerful spells—of course, I’d participate too if it’s suitable. I want to gauge my current abilities,” Hermione said enthusiastically, her competitive spirit ignited.
Sean smiled wryly.
He had already decided to participate in the competition, but not as a contestant.
Instead, he would be orchestrating the competition event itself.
“Sean, be bold. You’re a Fire Dragon with a human mind!” This was Grindelwald’s encouragement—at least, something resembling encouragement.
Yes, he would be the mastermind behind this Nurmengard Day competition.
Grindelwald’s task for Sean was to defeat all challengers to ensure they wouldn’t receive any prizes—even though Grindelwald hadn’t prepared any prizes to begin with.
As for Sean’s physical body after transforming into a fire dragon, Grindelwald had his own plans.
They arrived at the enormous square in front of the castle, which had been transformed for the occasion.
The massive dueling arena had been conjured by magic, adorned with Nurmengard’s flags.
The fiery red symbolized power and rebirth, while the jet black symbolized death.
The two-color flags fluttered in the wind, creating a mesmerizing interplay of colors.
Nurmengard boasted more students than Hogwarts, with attendees from across Europe and beyond.
The diverse crowd gathered with a sense of pride and confidence.
Everyone took their seats around the arena, and Grindelwald, resplendent in his robe, emerged from a high platform.
The crowd erupted in cheers and applause, a testament to the headmaster’s prestige at Nurmengard.
Grindelwald smiled and raised his hand to hush the audience.
Silence descended upon the vast dueling field within moments, as the students stared at him with fanatical devotion.
“My children,” he began, spreading his arms wide, “Nurmengard Day has come once again, and today, I have something special in store for you.”
In the center of the dueling field, a wooden box ascended from the ground and slowly opened, revealing several golden eggs of varying sizes.
“Allow me to keep the exact details a secret,” Grindelwald’s resonant voice filled the dueling field.
“These are your prizes for today. The larger the golden egg, the more valuable the rewards it contains.”
“Could it be a masterpiece by a master alchemist? A potent spell? Or perhaps some extraordinarily magical materials?” His voice tantalized, making everyone hang on to his every word.
“Only the ultimate victor will discover the true nature of the prize.”
Sean cursed inwardly.
Those golden eggs were placed there by himself.
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