Fabian had little recollection of the fifth-grade student with the peculiar tattoo.
Nurmengard was such a vast place, teeming with thousands of students from all corners of the world.
The absence of any impression on Fabian’s part implied that the individual had been inconspicuous, likely one of those half-blood wizards deemed unremarkable.
He reserved his keen memory for the talented, pure-blooded, and influential wizards, who he sought to befriend or subdue.
A person’s forgettability only indicated their lack of value.
Frowning, Fabian glanced at the dirt on the fifth-grader’s arm, showing his impatience as he absentmindedly petted his cat, Lisa.
Meanwhile, on the other side, Terrell had concluded negotiations with the person and signaled Fabian with a nod.
The Nurmengard fifth-grader, wearing a hood that obscured half of his face, appeared somber.
He halted his movements when he heard approaching footsteps.
Fabian impatiently turned his head to see a Hogwarts student, a fifth-year.
The Nurmengard fifth-grader, hidden beneath the hood, displayed a hint of uncertainty on his pale face.
“Ernie MacMillan? What’s he doing here?” Sean mumbled to himself.
Indeed, this fifth-grader from Nurmengard was none other than the person he was impersonating, with Fabian as his target.
Previously, the purple props included Nymphadora Tonks’s mask, which still had a significant duration remaining.
Sean had disguised himself as a fifth-year Nurmengard student, a character usually overlooked by others.
This individual was currently serving detention due to a Potions class mishap.
Fabian had planned to cause trouble later, and this fellow offered a perfect alibi.
However, Sean didn’t anticipate encountering Ernie McMillan, a classmate from Hogwarts. Ernie was in the same year, a Hufflepuff student, and generally considered amiable.
To Sean’s surprise, Fabian was the first to speak and seemed acquainted with Ernie.
“Ernie McMillan, what a coincidence,” Fabian remarked, offering a friendly smile.
Ernie, who appeared unfamiliar with this Nurmengard seventh-grader, asked in puzzlement, “Have we met before?”
“No, but I know you,” Fabian continued. “The McMillan family is one of the most orthodox pure-blood families. It’s well-known throughout the wizarding world.”
Clearly proud of his lineage and family, Ernie raised his head proudly at the mention.
While not an extreme blood purist, he took great pride in his ancestry.
“Thank you. What’s your name?” Ernie inquired.
“I’m Fabian Aiken, from France.”
“The Aiken family…” Ernie’s eyelids drooped slightly upon hearing the surname, hinting that the family’s reputation might not be stellar.
Nevertheless, Ernie extended his hand for a handshake as a goodwill gesture.
Sean, who had been stationary for a while, sported a peculiar expression.
Fabian had conducted thorough preparations, seemingly familiar with pure-blood students from various schools.
Fabian shook hands with Ernie, maintaining a friendly demeanor. “I recall that one of your grandparents married a Mr. Black, correct?”
Ernie responded, “Yes, but that was a long time ago. How did you know?”
“I’ve heard that the Aiken and Black families have always had good relations.”
“Really? However, our families haven’t had much contact over the past decade or so…”
Fabian appeared amicable and talkative, making Ernie slightly uncomfortable.
Although Ernie took pride in his pure-blood heritage, he held no prejudice against wizards of other blood statuses.
He was also on good terms with Sean.
While making friends with pure-blood wizards was not bad, Fabian’s approach seemed perplexing to Ernie.
The dwindling connection between their family and the Black family stemmed from the latter’s radicalism, as the Blacks held strong, prejudiced views as a pure-blooded family.
Clearly, Fabian had conducted an inquiry about Ernie, and he responded with a friendly smile, casually draping his arm around Ernie’s shoulders. “No need to worry, my friend,” he assured Ernie. “I’m just interested in getting to know you better. I always appreciate outstanding wizards like yourself.”
He didn’t pay attention to the other side’s demeanor.
After all, the McMillan he faced was merely a second-year student, and he was confident that he could influence and guide him, ultimately forging a strong alliance—a noble and pure-blood wizard.
Fabian was about to engage Ernie in further conversation when he noticed Sean, who had been standing idle.
“This one,” he hinted, suggesting that Sean should make himself scarce after collecting his fee.
Sean departed without uttering many words, leaving the greenhouse.
On his way to the castle, he contemplated what he had just overheard.
“Is the Aiken family from France connected to the Black family in England?” Sean pondered as he made his way back to Nurmengard Castle.
He couldn’t help but recall his encounters with the Malfoy and Lestrange families in Diagon Alley.
At the time, he had wondered whether any of them had become Death Eaters.
If the Death Eaters remained intact, the French Association for the Protection of Wizards’ Rights and Interests might become even more significant.
It could potentially harbor old acquaintances from the past.
However, he didn’t react strangely when Fabian saw the Dark Mark he had displayed earlier.
Sean felt it was something he needed to consider.
Lost in thought, Sean arrived back at Nurmengard Castle.
He swiftly made his way to the end of the second-floor corridor, where the prefects’ bathroom was located.
A construction sign stood before the bathroom entrance.
Sean had placed it there while Nurmengard students were in class that morning to ensure no one else would be present.
Although the chances of someone taking a bath during the day were minimal, precautions were necessary.
Sean removed the sign and slipped into the prefects’ bathroom.
Back in the flower greenhouse, Fabian engaged in a brief conversation with Ernie.
However, Ernie didn’t seem inclined to engage deeply with him.
After a few words, he plucked a flower and left promptly.
Observing Ernie’s departure, Terrell, who had been standing by, remarked, “It seems the little fellow doesn’t trust you much.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Fabian replied. “The McMillan family is different from the Weasley family. They still take pride in their blood, unlike the Weasleys, who’ve forgotten their heritage.”
“Most importantly, Ernie McMillan is their family’s only child. He’s just a second-year boy. His character and values have yet to fully develop. With some effort, he’ll find his way back to the right path sooner or later. When Ernie is older, I can introduce pure-blood witches from my circle to him. In twenty or thirty years, will the McMillan family become our friends again?”
Fabian turned his gaze to the vibrant flowers in the greenhouse.
One of the buds was tilting, almost brushing against a small green sprout emerging from the nearby soil.
Rather than using his hand, Fabian extended his wand.
The bud gracefully lifted away from the green sprout, then slowly blossomed.
“You see, a flower is always a flower; it doesn’t turn into one of those mean, lowly weeds. If there’s a mishap in the flower’s growth and it just needs a little help, it can return to its natural state.”
“As for the weeds…” Fabian narrowed his eyes, waved his wand, and uprooted the grass, which disappeared into the flames. “Just clean them up.”
Having completed these actions, Fabian appeared quite satisfied, glancing at his follower. “See, it’s quite simple, isn’t it?”
Before he could finish his sentence, the soil from which the grass had been pulled exploded with a loud “bang”!
Soil and fertilizer erupted violently, showering Fabian with stinking Dragon dung and sticky soil.
His previously immaculate hairstyle, well-groomed uniform, and cheerful countenance were all smeared with filth, emanating a pungent odor unique to Dragon’s dung.
“…Who…Who did this?” Fabian twisted his face in disgust.
He contemplated using his hand to remove the mess but feared further contamination.
Frozen in place, Fabian’s hands trembled slightly, and his once handsome face turned shades of blue and purple.
Terrell was taken aback and promptly cast Protego.
However, the explosion had occurred too quickly, and the curse provided limited protection from the dirt.
Terrell looked down and noted, “It seems to be excitable dung. It’s not a magical spell and poses no harm, so your magical items didn’t react.”
Gritting his teeth, Fabian almost growled, “Then do something—clean it off me!”
“It’s just a bit of Dragon dung and dirt…” Terrell mumbled as he waved his wand, causing the filthy substances on Fabian’s body to vanish, leaving him clean once more.
Though the dirt disappeared, Fabian couldn’t shake the feeling that the stench lingered on his body.
The scent of Dragon dung seemed to permeate his clothing and skin.
“Who was responsible for this…” He clenched his teeth, his composure gone, and he no longer exuded the elegance he had moments before.
“I can’t salvage these clothes… can’t salvage these accessories… can’t salvage any of it!” Fabian stormed off towards the castle, his face contorted in fury.
“Hey, aren’t you going to admire the flowers?” Terrell called after him.
“Farewell to flower admiration!” Fabian retorted without turning back.
Terrell quickly caught up, saying, “Well, at least you’re clean now.”
“Shut up! Go to the dormitory and fetch me an entirely new outfit. I need to take a shower. Also, that fifth-grade student from earlier—gather all his information for me! And find someone to investigate those Hogwarts brats, find out where they were this morning!”
“I… I will,” Fabian seemed on the verge of saying something harsh, but as he opened his mouth, the stench overwhelmed him, and he refrained.
Walking down the road, Fabian couldn’t shake the feeling that people were looking at him with judgment.
He hastened his steps growing increasingly sensitive until he reached the second-floor prefect’s bathroom.
Stepping through the door with his right foot, he turned back and instructed, “After you fetch the clothes, wait here for me, and ensure no one else enters.”
“No one usually showers during the day…” Terrell remarked.
“Alright, I understand,” Terrell sighed, thinking Fabian was making quite a fuss.
Nevertheless, Fabian was his employer, so he reluctantly agreed.
Fabian entered the bathroom with a furious expression, promptly removing all his clothes and magic bracelets and amulets.
He planned to write a letter to request his father purchase a new set of belongings for him.
As for his pet cat, Lisa, it was left behind long ago, covered in Dragon dung, when he stormed out.
In the end, the only thing left on him was a gemstone necklace around his neck, which he kept as he quickly immersed himself in the pool.
After vigorously scrubbing his skin, applying half a bottle of magical shower gel, and activating all the water-changing faucets to replace the water in the pool, Fabian’s expression finally began to relax.
He submerged himself halfway into the water, releasing a sigh of relief.
Finally, he felt the stench on his body had dissipated.
“You better hope I don’t discover who did this to me; otherwise, I’ll teach you an unforgettable lesson,” Fabian muttered, still wearing an unpleasant expression, as he contemplated the suspects.
“That fifth-grader is highly suspicious, and the Weasley twins I confronted, That mudblood could also be involved…”
Beside the bathroom sink, the air seemed to waver slightly, but in the dimly lit room, Fabian failed to notice anything amiss.
He was already deep in thought about strategies for future protection.
“I need more magical items to counter curses,” he mused, touching the gemstone necklace hanging around his neck.
His father had commissioned an alchemist to create it at great expense.
This necklace could shield against most malevolent spells and boasted quite a few protective enchantments.
The necklace could trigger a powerful Protego at the owner’s command when necessary.
“Still not enough… I’ll need magical items that can defend against non-magical threats. This necklace cost more than the living expenses of those Mudbloods for several years, and it couldn’t even protect me from a Dragon dung egg!” Fabian pinched the necklace in frustration.
He had no intention of removing the necklace, though.
While Dragon dung was disgusting, it was never fatal, but the other curses and charms from a hidden assailant could be much more dangerous.
“Is the water temperature too high? Why do I feel a bit dizzy…” Fabian shook his head, his entire body feeling weak.
Attempting to stand, he realized he had lost control over his limbs—or, to be precise, his body.
Fabian’s panic surged as he witnessed a peculiar figure materializing and twisting through the air on the opposite side of the pool.
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