After Professor Goodman made the announcement, Sean found himself at a loss for a moment. His own body had become a competition event, and the organizer had assumed his appearance to secure his championship. It hadn’t been a mock duel, and he couldn’t help feeling somewhat worthless for those players who had been rendered unconscious by his actions. The Hungarian Horntail gazed up at the sky, unleashed one final dragon roar, and retreated into the cave. ‘Sean’ waved to the astonished students in the stands, who could barely applaud due to their astonishment, and followed Sean into the cave. As they ventured deeper into the cave, Sean turned to find Grindelwald had returned to his original appearance. “Well done, Sean. Your control over your strength was impeccable, indicating your full understanding of your new body. You’ve only been an Animagus for a week, and it’s truly an exceptional talent,” Grindelwald commented, adopting his usual pose with hands behind his waist and head slightly raised. Sean reverted to his human form, straightening his disheveled wizard robes. He replied with a touch of helplessness, “Thank you for your kind words, sir.” Grindelwald, however, decided to tease him, saying, “Don’t always act so grown-up. After all, you’re just a second-year student. Even if you disregard other factors, today’s experience is remarkable and should make you feel proud.” Sean couldn’t help but retort, “But I doubt the other contestants found it remarkable…” Grindelwald raised an eyebrow noncommittally and said, “I thought they might achieve more, but in the end, not a single one realized that this dragon’s thought process differed from that of regular dragons. After several years of education, they were all duped by a simple disillusionment spell. It’s disappointing.” “Sir, you can’t really blame them,” Sean began to defend the unfortunate participants. He imagined himself in their shoes and wasn’t sure he would have done any better. However, Grindelwald’s raised brows and slightly lowered eyes indicated his displeasure. Sean had spent enough time with him to recognize that this was a sign of the older wizard’s irritation. Deciding to avoid further trouble, Sean wisely held his tongue and stopped arguing. Grindelwald, still somewhat vexed, huffed through his nostrils. “Impulsivity, recklessness, and even infighting during moments of danger… I’ve always acknowledged that my educational philosophy is rather radical. How many true friendships can a wizard forge in a lifetime worth putting trust in? Ultimately, the most dependable aspect is your own strength.” He paced slowly, his mood evident. “So, competition, selfishness, these were all within my expectations, and, in a way, what I instilled in them. But I never taught them to be foolish.” Grindelwald sighed in disappointment and said in a low voice, “Sean, if you ever become a Headmaster in the future, remember this: foolish and reckless students will always test your decades-long patience.” “But I’m just a second-year student, one of those foolish and reckless brats you mentioned…” “Okay, now it’s time to award the winners,” Grindelwald’s mood shifted like the weather in the Scottish Highlands, becoming amiable once more. “Go ahead and fetch the rewards yourself; I need to go back and contemplate how to train those little rascals better.” Sean regarded the wooden box with suspicion. Could there really be no reward in it? He had placed the golden egg in there himself, and it seemed empty now. He approached the box, picked up the largest golden egg, and opened it, finding it empty as expected. Grindelwald’s voice faded as he departed, “That is your reward; use your wits, young one.” Sean gazed down at the massive golden egg he held with both hands. Did he have to immerse it in water like the golden egg from the Triwizard Tournament to discover its secret? Strangely, there hadn’t been an ear-piercing scream when he opened it earlier… Puzzled, he decided to head out and contemplate it further later. Sean exited the cave, cradling the golden egg, and as he emerged into the sunlight, a warm wave of applause and cheers greeted him like a tsunami. Hogwarts students, in particular, were exuberant. A student from their own school had clinched the final prize in a competition against a rival school. It was as if they were celebrating the school’s anniversary, and it felt even more refreshing than iced pumpkin juice on a hot summer’s day. Applause from Nurmengard’s side was less enthusiastic but still sincere. Sean hadn’t defeated the dragon head-on, instead relying on the Dragon Whisperer title and a clever approach, but it showcased Sean’s remarkable abilities. Being a natural Magus was exceptionally rare, and becoming a Dragon Language Magus was a talent unseen for centuries. As Sean accepted the cheers and applause with grace, he couldn’t help but reflect on how his time with Grindelwald had thickened his skin considerably. Once back on the field and in the midst of the crowd, the Weasley twins, Fred and George, rushed forward, cheering and hugging him. “No, Fred, George, don’t…” Sean began, but before he could finish, the Weasley brothers lifted him high. Other Hogwarts students also rushed forward enthusiastically, and Sean, up and down in the air, had no choice but to accept this celebratory experience. Winning an award as the central figure of the competition was an unusual experience, perhaps once in a lifetime. The celebration continued for a long time, and Hermione and Daisy attempted to squeeze in to speak with Sean but couldn’t find an opening. The students kept surrounding Sean as they walked back, with excited individuals frequently touching the golden egg he held. As they reached the castle’s entrance, the crowd parted, creating a path, and a girl stood in the center, looking at Sean with a mix of curiosity and a hint of remorse. She was a fifth-year student from Nurmengard, with platinum blonde hair and smooth, lengthy locks, a pretty girl. Sean, however, was perplexed. He didn’t recognize the girl before him and wondered why the crowd had given way to her. Fred and George were wearing smug “I told you so” expressions. Did this mean that Grindelwald, disguised as Sean, had done something while in the form of a dragon underground? “Who is she…” Sean bumped into Fred beside him, maintaining a composed expression, and inquired in a low voice. “Ah, the little magical prince of Hogwarts, Sean, you truly live up to your reputation!” Fred sighed. The nickname “Little Magical Prince” had been playfully bestowed upon him by the Weasley twins. Sean had declined it thirteen times, but these persistent rascals had used it more than twenty times. “Wallup,” the girl blinked, “it was an accident, and I failed to look after Mirren properly. I came here to inform you that you needn’t reimburse me for a new toad— compensation? Toad?” Sean couldn’t help but feel a twitch at the corner of his mouth. What exactly had Grindelwald done while impersonating him?! After successfully deceiving her, Sean shook off the others and made his way to the underground practice room. As expected, Hermione and Daisy were already waiting inside. “Hey, so, the weather today is quite nice, isn’t it?” Sean said as he panted slightly, straightening his rumpled robes and greeting them. The expressions on the two girls’ faces made it clear that they realized the Hungarian Horntail’s body was actually Sean’s. “Sean,” Hermione began in her usual inquisitive tone. “What’s going on?” Sean tried to play innocent, but the only way out seemed to be to confess. After struggling for a moment, Sean decided to be honest and straightforward. “Okay, let me explain…” While omitting some details and the secret of Grindelwald’s transformation, Sean recounted his involvement. “No wonder you didn’t participate in the last round… It was Mr. Grindelwald’s illusion spell… Oh my goodness, Sean, you’re quite daring…” Hermione exclaimed. “I told you, if something annoying happens at the Hungarian Horntail, it’s got to be Sean.” Daisy raised her head proudly. “Hey, don’t think I’ll compliment you just because you called me annoying.” Sean playfully flicked Daisy’s smooth forehead. Daisy stuck out her tongue and stood behind Hermione with a grin. “So, because there weren’t enough prizes, you had to resort to cheating? Mr. Grindelwald, really… really…” Hermione hesitated for a while before finally saying, “He really lets you do whatever you want…” “Indeed, he’s like that, but I owed him a favor, and I had to repay it,” Sean shrugged, holding up the golden egg. “And there’s a reward, although the specifics are unclear…” Hermione and Daisy leaned in with curiosity, and the three of them repeatedly opened the golden egg to examine it closely, but they still couldn’t uncover its secret. Later, Sean took the golden egg to the bathroom, but whether he submerged it in water or used flame spells, it remained unchanged. Sean strained his eyes, searching for any hidden writing or symbols, but found none. Having no other option, Sean reluctantly stashed the golden egg in his pocket and headed to the auditorium for the evening’s dinner. However, due to the wipeout of the entire student team, many were still in the infirmary receiving treatment, which cast a somber mood over the auditorium. This situation intensified when the usually expressionless Grindelwald took his seat at the head table. “The dinner commences.” With those words, the food appeared on the long table, but the Nurmengard students didn’t find it as delicious in their mouths. “Oh, Mr. Grindelwald doesn’t seem very pleased?” Hermione observed the teacher’s table as she cut her steak. Seated in the center, Grindelwald conversed with Professor Rosier and Professor Goodman. Sean, who had expended a considerable amount of energy, struggled to keep up with his elegant eating storm. “What did you say?” Sean swallowed his mouthful of food and replied, “I said he’s genuinely unhappy. The performance of the Nurmengard students didn’t meet his expectations.” “But,” Hermione looked around discreetly and lowered her voice, “wasn’t that part of the plan between you two?” “That’s true, but Mr. Grindelwald is very demanding, and…” Sean shrugged, “He’s never been a reasonable person.” “But he usually appears like Professor Dumbledore…” “Well, maybe it’s just an appearance…” “Why do you say that?” Hermione’s doubts were soon validated. After dinner, the students hastily indulged in a few bites of pudding and cake, causing the desserts on the table to vanish in no time. Then, Grindelwald rose from his seat with deliberate slowness. His opening remarks compelled all the Nurmengard students to lower their heads. “I’m embarrassed, truly embarrassed for all of you.” Grindelwald’s voice carried a tinge of regret and frustration. “Look at yourselves, students of Nurmengard. Look at the badges on your chests. Look at the wands in your hands. With this performance, how dare you call yourselves elites?” “You’ve disappointed me greatly,” Grindelwald’s words were sharp and unapologetic, devoid of any sugarcoating. “I don’t indulge in idle chatter. Every single Nurmengard student here, listen to me, memorize my words, and convey them verbatim to your comrades in the hospital,” He leaned forward. He had a stern gaze before he continued, “Every choice you make baffles me. Every mistake you commit makes me frown. Each of you must write a paper on the habits and techniques of dragons, a minimum of two feet long, and you must master the spells mentioned.” “Then,” he straightened up, surveying the entire auditorium, “Starting from today, you will only have half a day off on Sunday afternoons. The rest of your time will be dedicated to study!” Grindelwald’s penetrating eyes scanned the entire auditorium, causing everyone to bow their heads even lower. “Dinner is concluded,” he suddenly softened his tone as he glanced at the Hogwarts students. “Our esteemed guests have come from afar and deserve our appreciation. You can engage in your own tutoring during your rest days, and attendance is optional. As for the winner—” He stretched the word out: “Sean Wallup, with an additional fifty personal points. Furthermore, you’ll be granted your very own exclusive classroom. I hereby authorize you to establish your own magical club, open for applications from all, and you will set admission criteria.” “Hopefully, we can learn from one another and progress together.” Grindelwald finished his speech and walked out of the auditorium with determined steps. Meanwhile, the students gazed at Sean, who was bewildered by the sudden turn of events. I’m happy to earn extra points, but why establish a magical club? Sean peered in the direction Grindelwald had departed, already sensing the curious and admiring gazes from those around him. Now, there would likely be many Nurmengard students openly approaching him, wouldn’t there?
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