Step, step, step,
Sounds of heals reverberated in the quiet and empty hospital wing as a woman walked towards a particular bed.
The occupant of the said bed, who was constantly moaning in pain, perked up as soon as he saw the woman.
"Mother!" He called out, almost forgetting to keep up his injured act.
The woman, Professor Narcissa, frowned looking at her son. Seeing her son's acting, she wasn't at all moved.
"Draco, stop being so pathetic," she said, looking at her son in distaste. "You're not fooling anyone by pretending to be injured."
"But mother! He—He attacked me for no reason at all! And he didn't even get punished! Please punish him?"
Draco Malfoy was terribly frustrated right now. He had wanted to get back at Axel ever since that humiliating duel. Too bad he didn't have the guts to face him last year.
But, he had thought that this year would be different. This year, he had his mother teaching at Hogwarts and his magic had also improved. He had even trained a lot to be a seeker. So, he had naturally thought that he would be the center of attention at Hogwarts and also teach that cripple a lesson.
Too bad, he got humiliated at the start of the year. Now he could only depend on his mother to seek revenge for him.
Contrary to his expectations though, Narcissa's frown only deepened. "Lucius has spoiled you rotten. Did I not tell you that I'm not your mother here? You will not be getting any special treatment. Stop making a fool out of yourself and stop acting so spoiled. I didn't come here to see you whining like a child."
"Mother—" Tried Draco once again, but Narcissa cut him off.
"Mr. Malfoy," she said, her tone becoming stricter, "Do not expect any help from me. From now on, you will stop these childish actions which your father has instilled into you and conduct yourself with the way you have been taught by your etiquette tutor."
Draco look pitifuly at his mother. When he was younger, she used to give him whatever he wanted but slowly, she has changed. She no longer even pays attention to him, let alone fulfilling his demands. Draco sighed pitifuly, "Yes Mother,"
"Come with us."
"Patricia wants to see you."
Hearing the two Slytherin students, Daphne's brows furrowed at the mention of Patricia's name. Unlike Axel, she didn't have the tendency to be ignorant about everything. So, she knew quite well who Patricia Afonso was. The Brazilian beauty was quite popular at Hogwarts due to her looks and being at the top of her year. But, her popularity was now at its peak since her father was now the Minister of Magic of Magical Brazil. And that girl wants to see Axel.
'What would that girl want with Axel?' She thought as Axel left her with a simple wave. As Axel left, her Ravenclaw friends came to her side, all looking at Axel's back.
"Has he become more handsome?" Asked Lisa Turpin.
Daphne frowned. All these friends of hers like to do is talk about useless things and gossip. That's why she finds their company a bit undesirable.
"His hairstyle has changed and he's gotten even taller." observed Padma Patil. "And yeah, his skin looks quite good."
Mandy Brocklehurst sighed. "No wonder Martina couldn't wait yesterday night." she muttered, and the other girls had affirming responses. But, Daphne grew puzzled.
"What are you talking about?"
Su Li looked at Daphne in surprise, "You don't know? It's all over the forums."
Daphne had to roll her eyes on that.
"Of course I don't."
It would seem like Axel's indifference was becoming contagious. Now she no longer wasted her time on her magi-mirror.
Seeing this, her friends looked at each other with a 'Who's gonna tell her' look.
Eventually, Mandy Brocklehurst was the one to speak first, "Not long after the dinner was over, Martina and Axel were found going into the broom closet together. They were totally shagging in there."
"Yeah, people even heard Martina's moan before they put up the privacy charms."
"And the RM (recorded memory) of the time they left together? Did you see how tired Axel looked? And Martina was smiling."
Daphne was actually well aware of the fact that her friends were jealous of her friendly relationship with Axel. And she knew better than to trust them. But still, she was indubitably perturbed.
'Martina! It's Martina again.'
Axel ate the breakfast calmly as he sifted through the minds of first years. Yep, Legilimency wasn't as difficult as one would imagine. At least not for him. Currently, he had only learnt reading the surface thoughts but it was good progress, as far as he was considered.
This skill, he was simply learning because of its high utility, not because of any urgency or reward like the time with Occlumency.
Legilimency, as he found out through the system knowledge, wasn't simply reading someone's mind as he'd believed. It's far more complex than that. He already knew from his insights into Occlumency that mind is quite a complex, many-layered mess. And Legilimency…. Is an art of delving into this mess, understanding it, interpreting it and, under certain conditions, even influencing it.
With the system's knowledge, if he is talented and proficient enough, no mind is inaccessible to him. Not even the most protected ones.
Good for him, he already has the talent in droves, if the system's claims were to be believed. And he just needed to gain the proficiency. Which is why, as he sat at the Slytherin table during lunch, he was practicing the skill on unsuspecting first years. But while he was busy, a girl came to stand in front of him, attracting the attention of a number of students.
"Ah…Mr. Hunt?" A faltering voice was heard, disturbing him.
Axel scowled as soon as he saw who the person was. "Did I not tell you to stop bothering me?" He asked, his voice containing danger.
Patricia bit her lips upon his hostile response. She really did regret threatening him. But how could she have known this guy would turn out to be a godly seeker?
"Mr. Hunt, I sincerely apologize for my earlier transgressions. But could you give me a chance to speak?"
"What is it?" Asked Axel in irritation. He didn't know what she wanted but her eyes looking at him were a bit strange. It was similar to how one would look at a delicious meal.
Patricia put up a privacy charm around them as she quickly sat in front of him,
"As you demanded, your punishment for breaking rules has already been waived off. Furthermore, I have a very attractive offer for you," she said, leaning closer on the table.
Axel didn't stop eating his lunch, "Go on." He was a bit perplexed with her sudden change in attitude. Just a while ago, she was quite rude and threatening. But now she couldn't be more polite and simpering. He didn't think intimidating her would result into this.
Patricia straightened, putting her hands on the table. "Mr. Hunt, what you did with the snitch, it was such an impressive display of skill that it has me absolutely convinced of your qualifications!"
"So, I would like to ask, would you be interested in joining the Slytherin Quidditch team?" She asked with a charming smile. She didn't think Axel would reject her. After all, who can reject such an attractive offer?
"No. Is there anything else?"
"...?" Patricia's momentum crumpled. She couldn't understand why Axel refused without any fluctuations in his mood. Heck, the guy didn't even pause chewing his food, as if her offer was nothing but air to him.
"What the f— ahm... Pardon me... but I don't understand. Are you actually rejecting the seeker position in the Slytherin Quidditch team?" She asked, understandably flummoxed.
Axel paused in his eating of system recommended food as his eyes once again glinted dangerously. "Yeah, is that a problem?"
Patricia realized that perhaps, she had moved too soon. Clearly, saying anything more right now would only irritate this demon more. So, putting on a flattering smile, she said, "No-No, not at all! I can only ask you to think about it. The offer will always be there in case you change your mind," saying so, she canceled the privacy charms and left quickly.
But while leaving, her mind only had one thought: Not giving up.
Not long after she left though, another girl came to stand in front of Axel. And this time, the number of eyes gathering on him increased a lot.
"So, how is Luna doing?" Asked Martina.
Axel furrowed his eyebrows, "Not bad, but not good either. The house is trying to change this year so it's not as dangerous, but she's not making friends."
Martina pursed her lips. "Please try to keep an eye on her. I'll try to help her in making friends."
Axel shrugged, "Good luck with that," he muttered, thinking of it as a daunting task. Even though Luna was quite different, he had one thing in common with her: They don't fit in.
Meanwhile, sitting at the Ravenclaw table, Daphne looked at the scene of beautiful and powerful girls meeting Axel one after another and her knife savagely dug itself into the food she was having, scaring those who were sitting around her.
She was feeling a burning hostility towards these girls. They're only approaching him now when he's healed. They're only realizing his awesomeness now.
'Such superficial girls! Hmph!'
After Lunch Axel went to attend his very first History of Magic class. Thinking of who the teacher was, he couldn't say that he wasn't worried. The professor whose class he was going to attend was the mother of Draco, the boy whose bones he had freshly broken this morning for no big reason.
'Is there any Black sister left with whom I haven't gotten into conflict yet?' He muttered in annoyance.
Entering the class, he naturally sat beside Daphne at the last seat since they had History of Magic together.
But today, Daphne's mood didn't seem good. Her mouth was forming into a slight pout that happens when she's unhappy and she didn't smile even at him like she usually does.
"What's up with you?"
"... Nothing." she replied. Still, the pout didn't go away and neither did she smile.
Axel shrugged. He decided that he couldn't be bothered. After all, he had other things to worry about, like the mother of Draco burning him down. He hoped it wouldn't be a similar case as Umbridge. It wouldn't be anything he can't handle but it'll definitely be troublesome.
They sat in silence while Axel practiced his Legilimency and Daphne fidgeted restlessly. Finally, Daphne couldn't hold it in and opened her mouth. But at that moment, the door opened.
Professor Narcissa had already arrived into the class walking in gracefully. She was wearing a fashionable but conservative Black dress and designer robes. She had a pair of glasses on her eyes and her expression was dignified. Overall, she gave off the impression of a strict teacher. Some olders students had called her a milf for some reason though.
As a habit engraved by Umbridge, the whole class greeted her with a "Good Afternoon," to which she nodded.
"Good Afternoon. My name is Narcissa Malfoy and I'll be teaching you the History of Magic this year."
Axel was a bit relieved that she hadn't targeted him yet though he wondered why she specifically said 'this year'. Come to think of it, why did she even have to teach?
Professor Narcissa continued. "This year, we'll be focusing mainly on History of Magical Britain and History of Magical Japan. This year, since we're going to be having classes with Japan, the Ministry has provided some important information about the Japanese Magical History, culture, and education that are Mandatory for all of you to learn beforehand."
"Since we have only limited days before the Delegation arrives, let's first focus on Magical Japan rather than Britain." She said, opening up her notes.
Finding the topic interesting, Axel focused the Lecture finding his worries unfounded. Daphne's pout also faded away as she also focused on the Lecture.
"Magical Japan is a powerful magical country that's famous in Japan. It's relatively unknown here in Europe due to the large distance, but since Magical Portals can now be developed quite safely between the countries, they, like the other Asian Superpowers like Magical China and Magical India, have began to actively participate in the worldly affairs, like the Dueling Championship and Quidditch World Cup and thus getting popular throughout the world."
"The Japanese have their own way of casting Magic. It involves Hand Seals and incantation, but, it doesn't necessarily need a magical conduit like a wand. Technically, we can also learn to do it, but it needs a ridiculous amount of practice to learn and the hand seals need to be very accurate, lest you harm your hands. That's why, the Japanese also learn to use Wands magic alongside their Hand Seal Magic."
Axel looked down at his hands.
'System, would it be worthwhile me for me to learn Hand Seal magic?'
[Affirmative. The main component needed for that magic is dexterity. The more dextrous and faster you are, the better you would be forming the Heal Seals.]
'....That so?' Axel suppressed a grin. Then this magic seems tailor made for him. He was now looking forward to the arrival of this School. Smiling lightly, he focused his attention back on the class.
After the Lecture, Axel looked at the pouting Daphne. He didn't know what was bothering her, but he needed her help with something.
Daphne glanced at him before she looked away. Assured that she was listening, he continued, "There are two things I need your help with."
Hearing that, Daphne paid full attention to him as she put away her sullenness. "What is it?" She asked. No matter what the case, she'll always be there to help.
"I got an offer from Patricia to play as the seeker for the Slytherin Quidditch team."
That managed to shock her enough to stop her cold behavior.
"Well, it's like this…" He said as he summarized the events.
Daphne fell into a daze after listening to him. "So… it actually was about this…" she muttered in realization.
"?What did you say?"
Axel shrugged, "Anyways I refused. But—
Daphne was stunned, "The fuck?! You actually refused?!"
"Yeah. But...I want to know what would happen if I had accepted? Would it have been good or troublesome?" He asked.
Actually, he had no idea what it meant to be a Quidditch player. So, he thought he might as well ask his Quidditch fanatic friend. Daphne knew him well enough to know if he'd find something troublesome or not. His first choice was, of course, rejection, but Patricia's reaction, as if she found it absurd that he'd even consider refusing made him rethink his decision and wonder if there was something he was missing.
As the shock subsided, Daphne realized that it was Axel they were talking about. So, refusing kinda is actually the better choice.
"Hm… On second thought, I think you made the right decision. You would have found it quite troublesome." She muttered.
"Yeah. The fame and publicity gained from it is just too high. Especially if the player is as absurd as you."
That made him pause. Fame? It reminded of a mission he had half given up upon. "Really?" He had only watched one Quidditch match in his life. So of course he didn't know it was this big.
Daphne nodded, "Of course. I'm afraid if you played, not only Britain, you'd be famous even in the foreign countries once the videos of your play are uploaded to the Magi-Hive. You have both the looks and skills so you'll get viral pretty quick. Since you want to keep a low profile, it would be too troublesome for you."
That was the past him. The current him needed all the attention he could get for an absurd mission of his since he had no other choice. He needs to know how to use this pendant of his which is supposedly going to be very helpful against Voldemort. If Voldy comes next year, he'd helplessly have to see this world being conquered. And that's unacceptable unless the conqueror was Axel himself.
"So, what was the other matter?"
Daphne, who thought that she couldn't provide much help for his first problem, Asked for the second problem, bringing Axel out of his thoughts. Though, she still sounded quite sulky, showing her unhappiness.
"Huh? Yeah well, I wanted to know if you can have a way to help Luna make friends," he said, forgoing the thoughts of Quidditch for the moment.
Why did he ask her? Because as it was, he could clearly see that little rabbit Luna being eaten alive by the Slytherin snakes. He can't always keep an eye on her and Martina being the awkward introvert she is, can't do shit in helping her make friends. Daphne on the other hand, has loads of friends and she even has a little sister. So he thought she'd be the best person to ask.
"Why... are you so concerned about her?" She asked casually, but her eyes were sharp.
Axel rolled his eyes. "I couldn't care less. But this Martina somehow does. Absurdly so. She is so desperate that she dragged me to the broom closet yesterday to ask my help."
"....So, that's what it was about…" she muttered.
"Of course. She even came to my table in front of everyone today, making me quite irritated. I can't let this keep going."
'....So, that's what that was about,' she repeated.
..... Then, weren't here worries all useless?
Axel waved his hand front of the dazed Daphne. "The hell is wrong with you? Why are you suddenly smiling now?" He asked, looking at the goofy smile stretching on her lips.
Daphne coughed as she suppressed her smile. "Nothing. Leave this matter to me!" She said in a bright mood. "I'll make Luna so many friends that no one would bully her!"
"....Luna—tic." muttered Axel, looking at her weird behaviour throughout the day. Is it that time of the month for her? According to the system's general knowledge, sometimes witches get quite temperamental during that time.