A Professor of Magic at Hogwarts - C.347: Dissent

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Before dawn, a chilly, pale light began to pierce through the mist in the forest, bringing an end to the secretive conversation that had taken place.

"Master, the newspaper reports that the Lumbatons have recovered and they might accuse me..." the figure on the ground murmured softly.

"Time erases all traces, my servants have also forgotten my authority, haven't they? How many of them used to bow before me, kissing my robes?" Voldemort spoke softly.

Barty Crouch Jr. suddenly shivered as if an invisible whip had struck him.

However, Voldemort paid him no mind, lazily continuing, "I want to share an insight with you: magic is power. Do you know why memories extracted and Veritaserum cannot be used as evidence in court? It's because they're unreliable, capable of being deceived by skilled wizards. Let me ask youwere you caught red-handed?"

"No, no I wasn't," Barty Crouch Jr. replied in a hushed voice.

Voldemort chuckled coldly, "Exactly. There are numerous ways to refute their accusationsPolyjuice Potion, Memory Charms, Confundus Charms... What matters is having a weighty enough witness!"

"But if Dumbledore were to step forward and identify you, that would be troublesome. However, an ordinary couple like the Lumbatons? Remember, their own memories were tampered with, how credible are they?"

Barty Crouch Jr.'s face flushed with excitement.

"Ideally, as planned, I successfully resurrect and gather my old followers in secret, accumulating power. After you dispose of Moody, you inherit the reputation and connections of old Crouch, entering the Ministry... By then," he whispered, "you will achieve immeasurable glory, the position of Minister of Magic, just a modest reward."

"Your will is my mission, Master."

...

Finally, the sun emerged, dispersing the mist completely, leaving no trace behind. The camp came alive.

Felix hadn't slept long, feeling that Barty Crouch Jr.'s purpose was unclear. He had pondered for a while but had made no progress. When it was dimly bright outside, he saw Clementine emerging from her compartment, holding a cup of hot cocoa, and another hand carrying a thin blanket. She squinted, yawning continuously.

"What's the matter? Couldn't sleep?"

Clementine blinked, finally noticing Felix sitting on the couch. "Professor, why isn't the light on?" Walking to the table where they had dined yesterday, she tapped a bronze eagle-shaped magic lamp. It flapped its wings, releasing a sphere of light into the air, illuminating the tent instantly.

She sat opposite Felix, covered herself with the blanket, and couldn't help but yawn again. "I, I really can't sleep. I'm planning to endure a bit longer and then head back to the office to sleep. When are we leaving?"

"We can leave whenever you want," Felix said gently. "We don't need a Portkey. We can Disapparate directly. Just wait for Lymes and Alek."

Clementine held the thin blanket, sipped her warm cocoa, and chatted casually.

"After the vacation, I need to go to Gringotts again to handle the handover... It's a shame, I made quite a few friends in Egypt." She gestured with her fingers, recounting some interesting things. "By the way," she suddenly asked with great interest, "Professor, did Bill ever call you the nickname 'Wandering Sphinx' to your face?"

"...No."

"That nickname is quite interesting. Why doesn't anyone use it?" Clementine appeared regretful. "I've heard some people in the company secretly call you the Serpent King. I don't think it's appropriate, as it easily invokes thoughts of a basilisk..."

"Is that so? I can't really control what others say." Felix prepared a cup of tea for himself, leisurely responding.

Unconsciously, Clementine finished her hot cocoa, staring at Felix's tea. "Do you want to try it?" Felix asked, and Clementine hesitated, "I heard that it might keep you awake..."

At that moment, a deep female voice came from outside the door, "Is this Mr. Felix Harp? I am Olime Maxim, from Beauxbatons Academy in France."

Felix looked surprised, "Wait a moment, Madam." He stood up and headed for the door, simultaneously extending his hand, "Whoosh!" A coat flew out of the room, draping over him, and he deftly buttoned it.

Clementine slipped back into her room with her blanket and empty cup.

Stepping outside the tent, Felix faced a tall woman. Unlike the hurried glimpse from last night, she had clearly dressed up. From head to toe, she was wrapped in a blue satin gown, her hair coiled into a glossy black bun at the back, and a moonstone necklace adorned her neck.

"Madam Maxim?" Felix cautiously mentioned the title he had overheard.

Madam Maxim broke into an elegant smile, extending her hand. Felix hesitated for a moment before lightly gripping it, his lips brushing against the back of her hand.

"Mr. Harp," Madam Maxim said, "Please forgive my audacious visit, but we are leaving during the day and I didn't want to miss the chance to meet the new Chairman."

"Has Beauxbatons already received news?"

"The Headmaster's office has a list of the new Board members. When Mr. Nicolas Flamel passed away, I saw your name on the list," Madam Maxim said with a touch of melancholy.

"So, you are the headmistress of Beauxbatons."

They entered the tent, where Madam Maxim occupied Clementine's spot. She alone took up the entire sofa, having to tuck her legs to the side.

Felix brought out an empty tea cup and placed it before the two of them. As he poured tea from the teapot, he said, "Actually, I've been considering a visit to Beauxbatons for some time. It's just that I heard the finer details of the Triwizard Tournament weren't settled yet. There were many objections, so I refrained from leaving to avoid suspicion."

Madam Maxim said, "Every Triwizard Tournament is a massive ordeal, and now with two additional schools. The Ministry isn't too pleased..."

Felix knew she was referring to the French Ministry of Magic.

"At the very least, the general direction should have been decided. Are there any indecisions?"

Madam Maxim sipped her tea and casually said, "The general direction is set, but the details mustn't be rushed, for if we agree to 'unfair' rules this time, they might become the precedent for the next tournament."

"Each school has its own ideas, and each Ministry as well. Before the Goblet of Fire is lit, all the rules need to be confirmed."

"Did the unacceptable conditions come from the United States and Africa?" Felix inquired.

Indeed, he hadn't paid much attention to the progress of the Triwizard Tournament, but when he was on his way to the Hungarian Horntail reservation, Charlie Weasley, the team captain, had mentioned it in passing. It was said that Fudge had made many compromises to spread the influence of the event beyond Europe.

"The tournament's location was determined first, still in Europe. According to rotation, it's Hogwarts' turn this time," Madam Maxim said. "Ilvermorny and Uagadou will have to wait their turn."

Felix nodded. He knew that the Triwizard Tournament had been rotating among the schools before it was discontinued.

"As for the specific tasks of the tournament, the Ministry of the host country decides, in this case, the British Ministry of Magic. They keep everything secret from us." At this point, she paused, giving a dismissive snort, "Dumbledore is certainly aware, but I believe in his character..."

"A few of us headmasters can participate in the decisions, focusing on the finer points, such as the number of participants, age limits, and restrictions on magic usage. The controversies arise here."

"For example?"

"Uagadou requested an increase in the number of participants, reasoning that they have four houses and each house should have at least one champion."

Felix chuckled in disbelief, "Isn't choosing champions the job of the Goblet of Fire? They want to do it themselves?"

Madam Maxim nodded, saying, "They did indeed have that idea, but Beauxbatons, Hogwarts, and Durmstrang strongly disagreed, so they dropped the idea."

"And then there's Uagadou's self-transfiguration," she pursed her lips, sounding slightly shocked. "I only found out about this later. They've managed to master human transfiguration magic that's quite similar to Animagus transformation. Nearly one-third of Uagadou's older students can transform into leopards and elephants, not to mention the elite students who can do even more..."

"Self-transfiguration? I've heard of that magic, but it shouldn't upset the balance of the tournament, right?"

"It depends on how you view it," Madam Maxim explained. "Certain advantages of animals aren't possessed by humans. For instance, if a challenge revolves around speed, Uagadou's students naturally have the upper hand."

"But that doesn't prove anything. It only shows that Uagadou's students are showcasing their unique talents." Felix didn't see a problem.

"But do you know how much time Uagadou's students invest in this magic?" Madam Maxim asked.

"You mean it takes a long time?" Felix guessed.

"At least three to five years of study." Madam Maxim said, "They enter at ten years old, and after a year of observation, they choose their preferred fields of study, usually focusing on two or three main subjects and three or four as minor subjects. By the time they reach higher grades, they devote all their efforts to their primary subjects."

"For example, a young wizard can start learning about self-transfiguration in their second year and begin practicing and preparing. They then spend several uninterrupted years practicing until they've mastered it. Those with spare capacity can even choose a second form, a third form."

"That's indeed quite distinctive." Felix nodded. The Headmaster of Uagadou must consider this knowledge essential for students, which is why they structured their curriculum this way. It was somewhat similar to the suggestion he had given Dumbledore, though, upon closer analysis, there were significant differences.

"Where's the controversy?"

"If we look at it alone, there's no issue. But when comparing Uagadou and Durmstrang, the problem arises. Uagadou students enter the tournament with several years of practice in this magic, with no limitations, while Durmstrang students must restrain themselves from using their best Dark magic. Karkaroff certainly disagreed. They've lost too many times in the past and don't want to suffer embarrassment again."

Felix understood. This was the crux of the problem. The Triwizard Tournament symbolized honor, and an unprecedented Five Wizard Tournament represented an unprecedented honor. The champion would undoubtedly be etched into history, remembered for years to come.

In the face of immense honor, every slight advantage needed to be considered, especially given such a huge gap. No one wanted to dance with shackles on.

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