“They say untold treasures lie within Artefact Room,” Rowan said, excited that we got to search for the dueling book. Luckily, our Prefect Angelica agreed to teach me how to duel, but in order to prepare properly, I need to find a book which contains valuable dueling knowledge.
“Along with untold odors...” I replied, repulsed a bit by several strange smells radiating from the room. “Let’s hurry up and find that dueling book...”
“I’ll fight the urge to catalogue every single amazing thing in this room. I’ll probably fail, but at least I’m good at multitasking,” he replied, eager to find all the things hidden within the room.
“Dylan...” I suddenly heard the voice addressing me.
“What?” I looked at Rowan, curious if it was him.
“What, what?” He answered confusingly.
“You said my name,” I replied as I looked around to make sure that no one else is in the room.
“No, I didn’t,” he said. I had a feeling he is more confused than before. But if it wasn’t Rowan, who was it?
“I heard a voice,” I tried to explain it to him.
“It wasn’t me...” he answered with a weird look.
“It must have been my imagination. Let’s just find that book...”
Could I be hearing things in my head? Am I going crazy? The last few days were quite stressful indeed, but never before have I experienced something like this. Those thoughts occupied my head as I was searching through the shelves. It wasn’t long until I stumbled upon a dusty old book, labeled “Secret Dueling Book”. I guess that’s the one we were looking for.
“I found the book!” I announced my discovery with excitement.
“Brilliant!” Rowan replied. “Now we can learn a dueling spell, so our Prefect can train us to stand up to Merula.”
Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, I found myself in an icy corridor. There were icy stairs near the end of it. Then I saw a walking suit of armor, radiating with cold mist, slowly approaching me. Now long after, I saw an image of the entire castle, slowly getting encased in ice. Before I had a chance to react, I saw Rowan’s face staring at me, worriedly.
“Dylan! Are you all right?” He asked with a concerned tone.
“I saw something. In my mind...” I replied, still trying to recall the vision I experienced. “A walking suit of armor. A staircase shrouded in mist. Ice encasing Hogwarts, spreading faster and faster.”
“Ice?” He asked.
“And I heard that voice again. It said, ‘The ice is here. The vault will open.’” I tried to describe it to him.
“I still don’t think you’re mad, but I wonder if your brother saw these same visions...”
“Let’s just get back to the Gryffindor Common Room, and get some sleep...” I suggested. It was pretty late and I could definitely use some rest after everything that happened today.
“Excuse me, Professor Flitwick. I have a question for you,” I said as I was approaching him in the courtyard. If the information Rowan found in the book is correct, I might be able to ask the Professor to teach me some useful spell that could give me the upper hand against Merula.
“What can I do for you, Mister Edwards?” He asked politely.
“Professor, is it true that you were a dueling champion before you taught at Hogwarts?” I went straight to the point, hoping he’ll be willing to help me.
“It’s true,” he replied with a big smile. “I can Stupefy and Protego with the best of them. I have a shelf full of trophies to boot.”
Yes! I thought to myself. It is true! Let’s see if he’ll agree to teach me.
“Do you think you could teach me some of what you know?” I kindly asked, trying to hide the excitement.
“The Hogwarts curriculum includes lessons on many defensive spells, Mister Edwards,” he answered, this time with a serious tone.
“I… need some advanced instructions, Professor.”
“Hmm. Tell me...Why do you want to duel?” He asked, curious to know my motivations.
“I’ve been attacked before. I want to be able to defend myself.” I wanted to be completely honest with the Professor. Perhaps then, he will understand my reasons.
“That’s understandable,” he replied, “but dueling should always be your last resort.”
“Teach me, Professor. I won’t let you down.”
I could see that he was considering it, but wasn’t sure if it would be a good idea.
“Please. I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important.” I practically begged him to teach me. After thinking for a while, he finally gave in.
“I was afraid things might be difficult for you here at Hogwarts given your brother’s reputation… I may be able to teach you the finest self-defense spell I know… I will teach you one spell. The dueler’s most essential spell. Expelliarmus. It is intended to disarm your opponent without causing them injury...” He explained.
He then started showing me everything important about this spell. His instructions were very precise and exact while keeping it lighthearted and interesting. He took great patience in tutoring me, correcting my mistakes and making sure that I do everything correctly.
“Good, you have the hang of it. Now let’s see you cast the Disarming Charm on me,” he said after he was certain I can do it.
“On you?” I asked, still a bit confused. He really wants me to use the spell on him?
“Now!” His voice changed to a more demanding tone.
Here goes nothing. I waved my wand the way he showed me and I uttered the word - “Expelliarmus!” The spell worked and Professor Flitwick’s wand got knocked off his hand.
“You’ve done it!” He said with a cheerful voice. “You truly do have a gift for Charms.”
“Thank you so much, Professor Flitwick. This will be a huge help,” I replied.
“You might also consider practicing with Mr. Copper. He’s hesitant but very skilled,” he suggested.
“I will. I’ve always thought that Ben is better at Charms than he lets on.”
“Promise me that you will only duel if you have no other choice, Mister Edwards,” he asked.
“I promise I’ll only duel to defend myself, Professor,” I replied honestly.
“Good. I believe you have great potential, and I would hate to see you ruin it by breaking school rules. Dueling is not allowed on school grounds without permission, Mr. Edwards,” he reminded me. “If you use this spell for anything except self-defense, I will be forced to recommend your expulsion.”
Shortly after, we parted ways as I went back to my Common Room. It’s getting late and I am pretty tired after all. I really hope I won’t need to duel Merula, but if it comes to that, at least I’ll be able to properly defend myself this time.
“I think you’ve learned the Tickling Charm, Dylan! Try it out,” Rowan said after we were done with practicing the spell he found in the dueling book.
“On you?” I asked curiously. Does he really intend to be the test subject for this spell?
“I might not be the strongest, but tree farmers are resilient folk. I will withstand your hilarious spell,” he answered confidently. “Don’t you think you should test the spell before dueling Merula?”
“I don’t want to hurt you, but I do need to make sure I can cast this spell before dueling Merula,” I said, still concerned about my friend’s well being. “Brace yourself for intense tickling, I suppose?”
I took out my wand and started waving it as instructed in the dueling book. Then I uttered the word - “Rictusempra!” Shortly after, the effects of the spell were quite evident.
“AH! HA-HA-HA! I can’t stop laughing...” Rowan said as he was struggling to breathe. “It hurts… HA-HA… so bad… HA-HA...”
“I’m sorry, Rowan!” I probably shouldn’t have tested it on him… It looks like he’s really in pain.
“Don’t be... HA-HA… sorry. It’ll be worth it to see… HA-HA… look on Merula’s face when you… HA-HA use it on her in a duel!” He replied.
Not long after that, the spell effect wore off and Rowan was as good as new. Now I know two spells that could come in handy against Merula.
“We should be heading to the Potions Classroom, the class will start soon,” Rowan reminded me.
“You’re right, we’d better get there soon.”
Will she try to do something again? Does she have some wicked plan for today’s lesson? I should better keep my eyes open. The last thing I need is losing more House Points.
As I approached my table, I noticed her sitting right next to my spot. What is she planning to do this time, I wonder…
“Welcome back to Potions, Dylan. You have another opportunity to prove you’re a failure,” she said as soon as she saw me approaching.
“I’ll keep an eye on Merula to make sure she doesn’t mess with your potion again, Dylan,” Rowan kindly said to me as we were taking our seats.
“Today you will learn to brew the Wiggenweld Potion,” the Professor addressed the class. “It is a powerful healing potion that can be used to heal injuries or reverse the effects of a Sleeping Draught. Be especially careful with the Sloth Brain Mucus.”
“Yeah, Edwards. You don’t have any brains to spare,” Merula rudely commented.
“This time, I’ll get it right. This time I won’t make a mistake.” I thought to myself as I was opening my notebook to write down all of Snape’s instructions.
After I turned a couple of pages, I noticed that my notebook is glowing slightly for some reason. It was a faint, golden glow, but it certainly drew my attention. Did she jinx it somehow, I wonder… I couldn’t help but open the page that was shining. On it, there were several sentences, each written with golden letters.
Dylan, if you are reading this, it means that my spell was a success. Dark times lie ahead and I am writing this to give you a warning. You have to protect Merula, she is the key to our salvation. She cannot fall into darkness, if she does, the entire world will be in danger. Endure every hardship that comes your way, but you mustn’t give up! Also, this warning is for you and you alone. Don’t speak to anyone about it as the consequences could be disastrous. I wish I could tell you more, but I am limited by the boundaries of this spell. Do what you have to do and make sure that Merula is safe and away from the darkness’ reach. Endure!
I sat there, completely stunned, staring at the notebook. The weirdest thing about it was the handwriting… It was… my own. But that doesn’t make any sense, how is it even possible?
Before I could place my thoughts together, I felt a sudden impact on the back of my head.
“Stop doodling, you sniveling little maggot. Next time I catch you, you’ll wish that the House Points are the only thing you’ll lose.”
I turned around and noticed the Professor standing behind me.
“I’m sorry Professor Snape...” I instantly apologized.
“Save your apologies for someone else and better make sure that your potion is flawless by the end of the class.”
As soon as he went the other way, Merula turned to me. “Poor Edwards, staring blankly at the empty notebook. You truly are as mad as they say...”
Wait, she can’t see the writing?! Am I the only one who can notice it? Regardless, I should focus to brew this potion, I don’t want to lose any more House Points…
I then followed the instructions carefully and somehow managed to finish my potion just before the class ended.
“Wow, Dylan! Your potion looks perfect,” Rowan praised me.
“It appears to be passable.” I heard Snape’s voice as he was checking it out. “Miss Snyde’s concoction, however, is flawless.”
“Thank you, Professor Snape,” Merula said with a huge smile on her face. I guess she likes being praised for doing things correctly.
Not long after that, the class was dismissed. As I was returning back to my Common Room, I couldn’t help but wonder about the meaning of that message. Did I really send it to myself somehow? Perhaps Merula had something to do with it since she is the one mentioned in the text. Or was the handwriting just a product of my imagination and I am slowly becoming mad? I wish I could talk to someone about it without sounding completely insane. I’ll have to think about it and consider my options. For now, I’d best stay silent about it and see how the things turn out.