Skyler’s first class this school year was Herbology, and he stepped into the Hogwarts greenhouse after enjoying a hearty breakfast.
There, he joined Daphne and Meredith.
“Two mischievous students caused significant damage to a valuable Whomping Willow. I’ve been tending to it all morning,” Professor Sprout’s tone was gentle as she spoke, “I hope we can avoid such incidents in the future.”
“Alright, follow me to the third greenhouse now,” she led the way, with second-year students from Slytherin and Ravenclaw following behind.
The plants in this third greenhouse proved to be more intriguing than those in the first, but they also carried greater risks.
In the middle of the greenhouse, Professor Sprout stood beside a workbench and clapped her hands to gather everyone’s attention.
She continued, “Today, we’ll be repotting Mandrake plants. Who can tell me about Mandrakes and the characteristics of handling them?”
She posed a question about Mandrake characteristics, to which a Ravenclaw student named Murray McDoug provided an accurate answer, mentioning their polymorphic properties.
“Very well, Miss MacDoug, your answer is excellent,” Professor Sprout nodded with satisfaction.
She then turned her attention to the pile of furry earplugs stacked in the corner.
This time, she selected Skyler from Slytherin to provide an answer.
Typically, Slytherin students aren’t known for excelling in Herbology, as some consider such work beneath them.
However, Skyler was an exception. His magical philosophy encompassed all available tools – from spells and transformations to potions, herbs, magical creatures, and even Muggle tools.
He responded, “The cry of mature Mandrake plants can be lethal. Former Minister of Magic Venusia Crickerly accidentally handled mature Mandrakes in his garden, and it led to his immediate death. Consequently, the Ministry of Magic established strict regulations for this plant, requiring wizarding families to obtain special approval for its cultivation. Of course, young Mandrakes will only induce temporary unconsciousness for a few hours.”
“Exactly right. This adds a valuable layer to the already significant danger Mandrakes pose. Well done, Slytherin and Mr. Malfoy, your insight is appreciated. Slytherin earns an extra 15 points for this. As Mr. Malfoy mentioned, while Mandrakes can be deadly, the ones we have here are still quite young, and at most, their cries will only cause a few hours of unconsciousness,” Professor Sprout calmly acknowledged.
Following her demonstration, the students were divided into groups of four to change the Mandrakes’ pots.
Skyler had intended to partner with Draco, the most reliable teammate in Slytherin, but Pansy had already enlisted Draco for her group.
In the end, Skyler joined forces with Daphne, Meredith, and Murray McDoug, who accepted his invitation.
Repotting the Mandrakes turned out to be more challenging than anticipated.
Daphne struggled for over half an hour, with Murray ultimately assisting her.
One of the Mandrakes was particularly uncooperative, making Daphne’s task even more difficult.
Skyler, who had focused on physical exercise during the summer, had been given a strength-enhancing potion by Lucius.
As a result, he was able to effortlessly extract an entire Mandrake with a single pull.
Murray, unfamiliar with Skyler but aware of his approachability, found herself in need of help.
Skyler gallantly offered his assistance.
Although the Mandrake escaped her grasp, Skyler expertly recaptured it, ultimately ensuring their success.
Covered in mud, they shared a laugh as Skyler cast a cleaning spell to remove the dirt and sweat.
At that moment, both Skyler and Murray were splattered with mud, and they shared a hearty laugh, which shattered the initial sense of distance between them.
Skyler then used his wand to perform a cleansing charm, swiftly removing the mud and even the faint odor of sweat.
Murray couldn’t help but exclaim, “Your spellwork is incredible. Even among Ravenclaws, known for their skill in charms, I’ve never seen anyone master a cleansing charm so thoroughly. I couldn’t even imagine getting rid of the dirt so effectively, let alone the dust!”
With a modest smile, Skyler responded, “Miss McDoug, I appreciate your kind words, but it’s just a matter of practice and dedication. When it comes to theoretical knowledge of spells, Ravenclaw students surely excel.”
Murray raised an eyebrow and said, “You’re being a bit too modest, it comes off as insincere! And please, don’t call me Miss McDoug anymore; just call me Murray!”
Their group was the first to complete the task, earning 5 points each for their respective houses.
The rest of the students, particularly the students in Ravenclaw, continued to struggle with the Mandrakes, leading to disheveled, muddy appearances.
After lunch, it was time for Defense Against the Dark Arts, which, for some reason, was combined with Gryffindor this year.
Much like the Potions class, the classroom was divided between the two rival houses, Slytherin and Gryffindor, who had a history of disliking each other.
The students sat on opposite sides, the tension palpable as they eagerly anticipated Professor Lockhart’s class.
However, Harry and Skyler were the exceptions to the heightened anticipation.
“Good day, students!” Lockhart, dressed in a turquoise robe, entered with impeccable grace.
Almost all the girls instinctively straightened their posture and looked up. “Gilderoy Lockhart, holder of the Merlin Third-Class Medal, an esteemed Defense Against the Dark Arts League member, and a five-time recipient of the ‘Witcher Weekly’ Most Charming Smile Award – but we won’t dwell on that. My talents extend far beyond charming smiles to ward off Banshees!”
Lockhart presented a stack of parchment and continued, “I see you’ve all acquired my complete set of books – excellent. Let’s begin with a quiz to gauge your comprehension…”
He completed the statement, returned to the lectern, and declared, “You have 30 minutes; commence now!”
Lockhart then distributed a stack of parchment to the students, acknowledging their ownership of his full set of books.
He announced that they would begin with a quiz to gauge their understanding.
The quiz contained questions about his personal preferences, which proved effortless for Skyler, who never forgot these details.
Skyler and Hermione swiftly filled out their papers, but the rest of the students, including Harry, Ron, Draco, Nott, Gore, and Crabbe, were bewildered or disgusted, while some appeared to be in a daze.
After 30 minutes, Lockhart collected the papers and began reviewing them in front of the class. Most answers seemed far from what he expected, leading to frequent “tsk tsk” noises.
“It’s splendid, Mr. Skyler! Malfoy, you’ve actually remembered that my favorite color is lilac,” Lockhart exclaimed with excitement.
“This paper deserves a perfect score of 100… Slytherin, you gain an additional 10 points!” He then turned his attention to Hermione’s test paper. “Miss Granger knew of my secret ambition – to vanquish evil in the world and introduce my own line of hair conditioners. This paper is equally worthy of 100 points… Gryffindor, you earn an extra 10 points!”
He revealed a sizable, cloth-covered cage on the table. “Now, be cautious! My mission is to instruct you on resisting the darkest forces in the magical world! You’ll encounter the most dreadful creatures in this classroom. But rest assured, with me present, you will be unharmed. I simply request that you remain composed.”
As Lockhart continued, Harry reached out from behind a pile of books to get a better view of the cage. Neville withdrew, and Pansy inched closer to Draco.
Daphne and Meredith, who had faced Acromantulas and Trolls alongside Skyler’s leadership last year, had developed the courage to confront actual combat and were eager to proceed.
Lockhart lowered his voice. “I must implore you not to scream; it will agitate them.” He then lifted the cover.
“Yes,” he added as if performing, “the diminutive Cornish green fairies we’ve just captured.”
These little green fairies weren’t exclusive to Cornwall, primarily found in Cornwall and South West England.
Devon’s green fairies were known for their mischief – Cornwall’s sported bright electric blue, while Devon’s had a plain steel-blue hue.
Skyler observed the cage closely, noting that these little green fairies stood at around eight inches tall, possessed small, pointed faces, and emitted harsh, shrill cries.
They bounced about, rocking the cage and making a variety of bizarre expressions.
One male student couldn’t help but snicker, prompting an indignant Lockhart to retort, “This is serious business! These cunning little tricksters are as mischievous as devils!” With that declaration, he opened the cage door.
Then came a pivotal moment in the class when Lockhart unveiled a large cage covered with cloth, which created an air of anticipation.
He warned the students about facing the most terrifying creatures in the classroom and emphasized the importance of keeping calm.
Despite his warning, the creatures turned out to be little Cornish green fairies. Lockhart opened the cage, and chaos ensued as the mischievous fairies darted around the room.
Some students, like Neville, found themselves in humorous yet precarious situations. Harry, Ron, and Hermione struggled to control the fairies, with Hermione impressively using a holding spell to corral two of them.
Half of the class sought refuge under the tables a few minutes later, with poor Neville hanging precariously from the chandelier.
Skyler observed that it was nearly over, winked at Daphne and Meredith, and declared, “This is the first lesson Professor Lockhart has imparted to us: never underestimate any adversary. Now, Slytherin, follow me!”
Skyler took the lead, casting a fierce fire spell to corral the little green fairies, coercing them into a corner.
Daphne and Meredith stood on either side of Skyler, wordlessly using a comprehensive restraining charm to immobilize one fairy after another.
The flying fairies dropped stiffly to the ground, and their numbers visibly dwindled.
At this point, Draco, Pansy, Nott, and Shabini stepped in to assist, their spells flying through the air.
All the little green fairies were herded back into the cage in just a few minutes.
Meanwhile, the chandelier fell from its fixture due to its energy loss.
Skyler cast a levitation spell to gently retrieve the fallen Neville.
Subsequently, he proceeded to employ repair charms to fix the damaged windows, tables, chairs, and chandeliers one by one.
Finally, he turned to Lockhart and said respectfully, “Professor, we’ve comprehended your message. You’ve emphasized the importance of cautiously approaching even the most seemingly insignificant adversaries. You’ve also given us a valuable opportunity to practice. I have no doubt that if we prove incapable, you’ll be there to demonstrate your true skills. This lesson, I must say, is rare and precious.”
Lockhart stood up with great enthusiasm. “Indeed, Mr. Malfoy has understood my message perfectly – a truly outstanding young wizard! Slytherin, all of you performed exceptionally well. So, let me think… 60 points to Slytherin!”
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