Harry Potter and the Perversion of Purity
Book 1: The Fracturing of Foundations
Chapter 10: Of Dragons and Deceit
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Harry Potter and the Perversion of Purity
Book 1: The Fracturing of Foundations
Chapter 10: Of Dragons and Deceit
April 24, 1992
The Slytherin Common Room
It was the Friday before classes would resume after the Easter holiday break and Harry, along with most of his friends, was sitting around a table in the Slytherin common room. Theodore was playing chess against Pansy whilst Crabbe and Goyle munched on some sweets and Harry read his book on intermediate magical theory.
Draco was out doing… something. Harry wasn’t exactly sure what; his friend had been odd as of late.
He seemed to have developed a sort of fixation with Ron Weasley. Ever since Gryffindor’s Quidditch win all the way back in February, Draco’s disdain of the boy seemed to have reignited anew. His taunts had grown more frequent and he spoke more about Weasley in the company of his friends. The vitriol didn’t quite match that which Draco had spouted after the first game between Gryffindor and Slytherin, but it was by far the worst Harry had heard since that match had taken place.
Harry had quietly cut in once when Draco’s incessant criticism of Weasley’s character had just become too much to bear.
It wasn’t that Harry had any attachment to Weasley. He didn’t know the boy nor did he care about him one way or the other. He hadn’t been among the bitter contingent of Gryffindors who had been subtly jinxing him in the hallway, but he hadn’t stopped them either. Harry had seen him shooting a glare or two in the days immediately following the sorting, but they really hadn’t interacted much beyond that.
He understood the concept of a blood traitor and he didn’t completely disagree with the stance. The magical world was infinitely superior to the muggle one in every way Harry could conceive. It made no sense to him why anyone would choose to associate with the mundane world, but he didn’t quite see why purebloods got all up in arms about it. Perhaps they thought these blood traitors were implicitly saying the muggle world was superior. Harry hadn’t really interpreted it that way. The disregarding of customs was a tad disrespectful in his opinion, but it wasn’t really something he thought worth holding centuries of prejudice over.
None of that really mattered to Harry. While he thought Hogwarts celebrating Halloween and Christmas instead of Samhain and Yule was a touch disrespectful, he couldn’t really blame the Weasleys or other families for not following traditions to the letter.
He didn’t care about Ron Weasley in the slightest. It was just that he didn’t care at all about Draco’s hatred for the boy.
The youngest member of the Malfoy family had been surprisingly quiet about his distaste of Weasley ever since, at least in the presence of Harry. His hateful streak hadn’t stopped though. Recently, he had even cursed Neville Longbottom in the hallway. Though Harry knew Draco disliked Neville due to their families’ disagreements, he thought it had as much to do with Longbottom’s association with Draco’s red-headed rival. Draco had even been saying that Weasley was ‘up to something.’ He didn’t know what that ‘something’ was, but he was insistent that he was going to find out and somehow use it against Weasley.
None of his friends had taken him seriously until that night, but that all changed when a frantic and breathless Draco Malfoy exploded into the common room, rushing over to his friends with a demented-looking smile.
“What’s got you so excited?” asked Theodore, looking up from the chess game and unmistakably stalling for time to think.
Draco then immediately wiped all notions of chess from their minds. “That oaf Hagrid is raising a dragon in his hut.”
Harry felt a painful jolt in his stomach. “A… dragon?” he asked. Draco nodded eagerly. “There aren’t dragons in Britain, are there?”
“Not many,” said Pansy, “but they do exist. You wouldn’t have heard about them in the muggle world. When muggles come across them… well, they usually don’t live to tell the story.”
“And even if they did,” said Theodore, “they would be obliviated.” Harry looked puzzled, so the boy elaborated. “Obliviated is another word for taking away someone’s memories of something. There’s an entire squadron in the Ministry that takes care of that. Usually, it has to do with making sure the muggles don’t find out about us.”
To Harry, that sounded like the most dangerous spell in the world. He knew exactly the damage not clearly remembering something could cause. His failed remembrance of exactly how his parents had died had been what forced him to live in ignorance for ten long years. Had it not been for Hagrid’s intervention, he might have never learned the truth.
The potential for things like that to be artificially inflicted upon others through the wave of a wand… it made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up and his heartbeat quicken.
He did not like the sound of that spell, even if he could see it was necessary for maintaining the Statute of Secrecy. If there was a way of defending oneself against it though, Harry was one day going to master it.
“Owning them is illegal though,” Draco spat with vicious satisfaction. “I’ll get the oaf thrown out for this.”
“Why?” All of Harry’s friends looked towards him with various degrees of confusion evident upon their faces. “Why do you want Hagrid gone? He hasn’t done anything to you, has he?”
“Well… no,” Draco sputters, blushing.
“It would be a right shock to Weasley though,” Theodore said with a vicious grin. “Bet he’d love that, eh Draco?”
Draco’s malicious expression returned with vigour. “Exactly. It’s not about the oaf. I mean, it is illegal and he should really be charged for breaking the law, but I don’t much care about him. It’s about Weasley. He was there, you know? Him and Granger. Probably Longbottom too, but I couldn’t see through the curtains. If that idiot gets caught for raising a dragon, maybe he’ll take those three twats down with him.”
Harry felt very torn.
Draco was probably his best friend, but he did like Hagrid. They exchanged letters every couple of weeks and he was probably the only adult Harry had ever trusted. For Draco to casually talk about getting him arrested just to hurt Weasley hit Harry in a way that made him unsure of what to do next.
For now, he would remain quiet. It seemed best to let the situation evolve. After all, there was a very real possibility that Draco would be unable to follow through on his threats. If Harry stayed neutral and this prospect came to light, he could remain on
the best of terms with both Draco and Hagrid without risking himself in the process.
Yes, neutrality really was best, at least for now.
Meanwhile, in the Gryffindor common room…
“He’ll have to get rid of it,” Hermione was saying. “Now that Malfoy knows Hagrid is raising the dragon, there really is no way he can keep it.”
Ron snorted. “Yeah, because raising it in a wooden hut would have gone so well.” He rolled his eyes in an exasperated manner. “Honestly, I don’t know what Hagrid was thinking. I doubt even Fred and George would think that was a good idea and those two are lunatics.”
“Getting rid of it isn’t going to be easy though,” put in Neville. “Not now that Malfoy knows. I doubt he’ll just let it go. Some of his friends, too. Potter’s one of the best in the year and if Nott’s anything like his father—”
“Well, it’s not exactly like we’re planning for them to find out, is it?” Ron asked rhetorically. “That’d just be stupid. We’ll convince Hagrid to get the dragon off the grounds and just make sure Malfoy and his group of gits never figure out what we’re doing.”
Neville glanced at Hermione, but she could do little more than shrug. “It’s probably the best idea we’ll be able to come up with,” she admitted. “Obviously, we need to work out the details and make sure we’re clever about the whole thing, but I don’t really see any other option.”
Reluctantly, the three of them got to work.
April 30, 1992
An Abandoned Classroom
“That’s really all we can cover for the first-year material,” Jemma was telling Harry. “You’ll ace your wanded subjects with no issue. I wouldn’t be surprised if you got an O+ in at least one of them. The theory-based subjects will really just come down to how much you study. You know all of the material, it will just be about remembering all of it on the day.”
“Thanks, Jemma,” said Harry. “This has actually been really helpful.” He hesitated. “If we’re done with the first-year material and you don’t think we can do much more preparing for the exams, does that mean these sessions are over?”
There was a note of hope in Harry’s voice. Not for the sessions to be over, but for the prospect of them continuing. He had truly enjoyed them and had learned a great deal. His absolute highlight of these sessions had been when Jemma had taught him the Knockback Jinx. He had mastered it in no time, something that had impressed her greatly. He felt as though she could teach him a great many more things, so a part of him hoped this wasn’t the end of these sessions.
Jemma frowned. “It technically should be,” she said slowly. “I was meant to help you prepare for the exams and I’ve done that.” She paused, taking in the openly nervous expression her younger counterpart wore. “I’m not all that worried about my N.E.W.Ts, though. I know I’ll get the necessary marks and this is only an hour a week anyway. I… could continue if you’d like; there just really isn’t any need.”
Harry had a difficult time asking people for things. It was something that had been trained out of him by years of living with the Dursleys. It took a great deal of effort at that moment to overcome the impulse to stay quiet, but he managed it. He knew that if he didn’t speak up now, his request would never be met.
Jemma blinked. “Come again?”
Harry flushed. His question had come out rushed and garbled. He took a deep breath. “What about teaching me some of the second-year stuff? Maybe even just some useful spells for duelling like the Knockback Jinx? I’m really interested in Defence and that was really fun.”
Jemma considered him for a moment. “Okay,” she agreed. “I’ll teach you, so long as you’re willing to learn anything I ask of you without questioning it.”
Grinning, Harry nodded hastily, happy that they had come to an accord so easily.
May 2, 1992
The Grounds of Hogwarts
Ron, Hermione and Neville left Hagrid’s hut that night with very mixed emotions.
On one hand, they had finally managed to convince their giant of a friend to transport the dragon off of the grounds.
Hagrid had always gotten on well with Ron ever since the boy had arrived at the castle back in September. The Gamekeeper had greatly enjoyed his brother Charlie and he had invited the Gryffindor trio into his hut for tea after Ron caught the snitch in Gryffindor’s opening match of the season. After they had realized what he was raising, entered his hut, called him out on it and still kept his secret, a deep bond of trust had been formed.
Ever since the egg had hatched and Draco Malfoy of all people had become aware of it, the trio had been doing their best to convince Hagrid the dragon needed to be moved. He had been more than a little bit resistant to the idea at first, but tonight, they had finally made him see sense.
Though they had come to several other revelations.
Apparently, the three-headed monstrosity in the third-floor corridor belonged to Hagrid. Hermione still hadn’t been able to learn anything about cerberuses, but this one was also named Fluffy. That fact had been slipped when the Gamekeeper told them how it had been his tale of owning a three-headed dog that had first gotten the attention of a hooded man in a bar. A hooded man who then gave Hagrid a dragon’s egg after a game of cards, but not before Hagrid had told him exactly how to get past Fluffy.
Ron, Hermione and Neville were reasonably worried this man had nefarious goals in mind. They had been sure for months that the dog was in the castle for the sole purpose of protecting whatever lay below that trapdoor.
“That ain’t none o’ yer business,” Hagrid had told them when they had inquired. “Tha’s between Professor Dumbledore and Nicholas Flamel.” He had then frozen with the look of someone who had just had a bucket of ice-cold water dumped over their head, snapping them brutally out of whatever trance they had been in. “I should not o’ told ya that,’” Hagrid had said. “I should definitely not o’ told ya that.”
But he had, and the trio had a new goal.
Or, at least they had.
It had taken only minutes for them to solve the question of exactly who Nicholas Flamel was. Not through any brilliance on any of their parts, but through a pure stroke of luck.
Neville had removed a chocolate frog from his pocket on the way back up to the castle. Its card had been one of Albus Dumbledore and there on its back was the name Nicholas Flamel.
“He’s in a book I have up at the castle,” breathed Hermione, hardly being able to believe their good fortune. “Come on, I’ll get it when we’re back in the common room.”
Ron had the most peculiar feeling that whatever Nicholas Flamel was involved with, it was only going to make this whole situation all the more complicated.
May 7, 1992
The Slytherin Common Room
“So let me get this straight,” said Theodore. “Weasley was bit by the dragon and went to the hospital wing?” Draco nodded eagerly. “Then, he was stupid enough to take a letter from his brother with him? Or to leave it out on the table, depending on when he got it?”
“Yes,” said Draco, sounding extremely smug about the whole thing. “But it’s even worse. The letter basically explains exactly how they plan to sneak the dragon out of the castle. I’m going to tell the professors and watch the idiots get caught. They’ll be punished — hopefully, the weasel too — and the oaf will be gone.”
Harry had thus far stayed quiet, but as Draco explained his plan, he came to the unfortunate conclusion that it would work.
Which meant neutrality was no longer an option.
He liked Draco and his friends immensely. He liked them more than Hagrid if truth was to be told, but he knew this wasn’t right. Hagrid might have broken the law, but he shouldn’t be used as some pawn to get at Weasley over something as childish as jealousy born from Quidditch success. It was stupid and Hagrid was one of the few people Harry liked. He had never thought about it before, but he supposed this proved to him he would happily break the law for people who he viewed in a favourable light.
That… was, as it happened, a significant revelation, and it was one that he would need to think on later.
Harry pulled Draco aside some minutes later. “What is it?” the blond asked, still very much high on his preemptive victory.
“Can I ask a favour?”
Draco’s eyebrows knit together. “Of course.”
“Drop the whole business with the dragon.”
Draco’s eyes narrowed. “Why would you want me to do that of all things?”
“Because Hagrid doesn’t deserve to be thrown in prison.”
“Harry, he’s breaking the law. He’ll be tried just like anyone else who breaks the law.”
“I don’t care about the law.” And he realized it was largely true. Probably due to years of harsh rules imposed upon him by the Dursleys. It had given him an unorthodox outlook on things. Actions didn’t matter to him so much as intentions. “Hagrid’s a good person. That’s all that matters in the end, right?”
“I don’t care about Hagrid,” Draco said, the Gamekeeper’s name spoken with obvious distaste.
“Well, I do.”
Draco frowned. “Why on earth would you care about him?”
“He was the person who introduced me to the magical world, Draco. I know he isn’t perfect and that he’s… not what you would call put together. But… that first day, it means something to me. You know I lived with muggles and you know how much I hated them. Hagrid was the one who helped me get away. If not for him, I might not be here. That’s important to me. And who really cares about Weasley? He’s just some kid, at the end of the day. Is some fight in school really worth what you’re going to put someone through?”
Draco seemed to think about that very deeply. “Fine,” Draco said with a blank expression. “I won’t go through with my plan.”
Harry had the oddest sense that Draco was lying. Something seemed to tingle within him, but he ignored it. Draco had never lied to him before, nor had he ever led Harry astray. The Slytherin youth couldn’t imagine his best friend doing anything of the sort over something as important to him as this.
He smiled in obvious relief, ignoring the odd feeling that persisted even now. “Thanks, Draco. I appreciate it.”
His friend’s blank mask didn’t change. “Don’t mention it, Harry.”
May 9, 1992
Rubeus Hagrid was dreaming.
In this dream, he imagined watching the dragon he had recently let go of soaring high in the sky, fully grown and at its majestic best. Fire spewed from the creature’s mouth as it let out roars that tore across the land. He also thought he heard a great banging sound, but that was most out-of-place for this dream.
Moments later, he felt as though something was… stinging him, but he could not for the life of him understand why. It wasn’t a sensation he had felt before in a dream and it was one that greatly confused him. The stinging actually grew intense enough that, with a jolt, Hagrid woke from his deep slumber.
He awoke to the sight of a cluster of men in auror uniforms gathered around his bed, all of them with their wands levelled and hard, stony expressions upon their faces.
“Wha… wha’s goin’ on ‘ere!?”
“Mr. Hagrid,” boomed a deep, baritone voice belonging to a dark-skinned man who stepped forward, wearing a badge that marked him as a Senior Auror. “We are here to inform you that you are under arrest for the illegal breeding, ownership, and potential smuggling of a several-week-old Norwegian Ridgeback.”
Hagrid’s eyes bulged as the blood drained from his face, and his skin lost all colour.
About thirty minutes earlier…
The moon was bright on this night, nearing close to the end of its lunar cycle and shining mostly full in the dark, velvety sky. Its light shone and cast the massive, black outline of Hogwarts castle into sharp relief, making its shadowy form look both ominous and sinister.
Inside this castle, something ominous really was taking place. Something that was dangerous and not exactly legal, at the very least, and something that felt ominous to those carrying out the deed in question.
“Time check,” ordered Hermione in a hasty whisper.
“Sixteen minutes to eleven,” answered Neville in the same tone of voice.
“Perfect,” said Hermione. “There won’t be any prefects for the rest of the way. We’re in the clear as long as none of the ghosts are waiting for us.”
Sneaking through the castle at night and trying to get a crate containing a live dragon up to the astronomy tower was more than a little bit challenging. Ron — still currently in the hospital and recovering from the dragon’s bite — and come up with a stroke of inspiration. It, along with an unreasonable amount of luck, was the only reason the two first-year Gryffindor had yet to be caught.
He had seen how his brother, Percy, had a schedule detailing at what time each of the prefects were to patrol each floor of the castle after curfew. The plan had been simple. Steal one of those schedules and plan their trek up to the astronomy tower around the patrol times. It wasn’t a perfect course of action by any means, but seeing as they couldn’t exactly become invisible, it was the best thing they had.
And thus far, it had worked, with only a short distance left to traverse before they would arrive on top of the tower.
The two of them stepped out from their hiding place — a small space behind one of the many suits of armour that was cast into dark shadow by the lowly-lit torches flickering in their brackets all along the corridor — and made their way towards a tapestry across the way. Pushing it aside, they revealed a long staircase; one that led straight up to the astronomy tower.
They ascended carefully, hearts racing in their chests as they did so.
They had made it.
No patrols were set to be atop the astronomy tower for the next number of hours. They had actually done it; they made it through the entire castle without being stopped!
The dry air of the night hit them as soon as they stepped back outside, the breeze seeming stronger now, so high they were above the ground below. The two of them actually took the time to exchange victorious glances, so disbelieving they were that their plan had actually worked.
“And what exactly are the two of you doing at such an ungodly hour of the night?”
The cold, silky drawl of a voice made both Gryffindors’ blood run cold.
From out of the darkness near the edge of the tower stepped the Hogwarts Potions Master, his eyes glinting ominously in the night as he loomed towards them; eyes that fell on the crate in their arms.
“Oh dear,” he said in barely more than a whisper. “I do hope the rumours of what is in that crate turn out to be inaccurate. If they don’t, I fear that a number of people are in a great deal of trouble.”
Meanwhile, in the headmaster’s office…
Neville shakily finished retelling his side of the story, adding to what Draco Malfoy — who sat in a third chair across from the Headmaster alongside him and Hermione — had already stated. Draco was looking more annoyingly smug than Neville had ever seen him and Hermione had been quietly crying for the duration of the meeting.
Dumbledore sat back in his chair and sighed whilst Professors Snape and McGonagall — both of whom stood nearby — remained still and silent.
“I hope the both of you, as well as Master Weasley, understand just how serious this transgression really is.” Hermione’s crying became deep sobs at that and Neville was looking anywhere but at the wizened man sat across from him. “I would have expected better from the both of you. You, in particular, Miss Granger. You are an immensely talented witch and I had hoped the events of October the 31st had taught you a very valuable lesson.”
“I-I’m s-s-so sorry, P-P-Professor,” sobbed Hermione. “It’s a-all my f-f-fault. I should never have d-done it and now I’m g-going t-to be exp-p-pelled.”
Her voice broke on the last word and she began shaking uncontrollably, sobbing heavier than ever, and looking altogether like she was having a complete and total breakdown.
“Miss Granger,” said Dumbledore in a voice that was surprisingly soft and kind given the situation at hand. “Please do cease the more extreme bits of your reaction. I can tell that you are most upset and this is indeed a very serious matter. I can, however, assure you that on this night, you are not going to be expelled from this institution.”
“I’m not?” asked an awe-struck Hermione just as an incredulously furious Draco exclaimed “WHAT?!”
“Do calm yourself, Master Malfoy,” Dumbledore chided gently. “I won’t have such shouting at this time of the night.” Draco snapped his mouth shut, though his glare did not waver. If Dumbledore noticed, he didn’t show it, choosing instead to let his stare fall on Hermione and Neville once more. “No, Miss Granger,” he said, “you are not being expelled tonight. Neither is Master Weasley nor is Heir Longbottom.”
“But… we broke the law.” Neville stomped painfully on Hermione’s foot in an attempt to get her to shut up. He was hardly going to complain about not being expelled; his gran might have actually killed him if that event had come to pass.
It was in Hermione’s nature to speak on such things, though. It wasn’t that she was arguing with Dumbledore and stating that she wanted to be expelled. It was that, according to the rules, she should have been. She was simply trying to understand why they weren’t being followed to the letter.”
“You did,” agreed Dumbledore. “You broke both law and curfew tonight and under the rule of many men, you likely would not be permitted to continue studying here. I, however, have a habit of seeing the best in people and situations alike, as my many critics will happily tell you.” He looked towards Draco with complete and total innocence. “Why, young Draco here has surely heard his father harp on that quirk of mine many a time. Isn’t that right, Master Malfoy?”
Draco spluttered, obviously having no idea how best to answer that question. Dumbledore was merciful enough to continue the conversation as if nothing had happened, though Neville did notice the corners of the old man’s lips threatening to tug upwards.
“I believe in second chances, Miss Granger. While what you did tonight was very serious and something that is undoubtedly wrong, it is not something I can categorize as horrible. I have never expelled a student from this castle, and the first time I do so will not be for three first-year students going out of their way to help a good-hearted man out of a most unfortunate position. Whilst the actions themselves are flawed, the intent was good and pure.
“Oftentimes, actions are merely the manifestations of poorly thought out ideas and the results of flawed execution. An action can spark from a great many things, not all of which accurately reflect the person who carried them out. Intentions are pure, undiluted, and quintessentially reflective of whomever it is that has them. In my humble opinion, it is intent, not actions, which define a person. Actions are in many ways the brain meddling in things it sometimes shouldn’t. Intentions are, in the purest form, the purest picture of a person their heart can possibly paint.
“I will not have either of you nor your friend, Master Weasley, expelled for acting on such pure intent. Of course, you did break both the rules and the law, so these actions cannot go entirely unpunished. Gryffindor will lose 450 points — 150 from the both of you and Master Weasley — and you will all serve detentions once a week until the end of the school year.”
Malfoy looked livid at this, clearly unable to believe they were getting off — in his opinion — so easily. “What about Hagrid?” he spat.
Dumbledore suddenly looked very old indeed. “I have no power over what happens to poor Rubeus. I can only hope the authorities are merciful and advise him the way I think is best going forward.” Dumbledore glanced up at the clock on his wall. “On the note of Rubeus, I would look to depart for the Ministry of Magic as soon as possible to see if the Department of Magical Law Enforcement might just hear my take on things. It is already quite late, all things told, so I think I best be on my way if nobody has anything else to add to this late-night meeting.”
“Very good. Minerva, Severus, please escort your charges back to their respective common rooms. Master Malfoy, we thank you for your courage in coming forward. You did what was right instead of what was easy, which is an admirable quality in any young wizard. For your courage and upstanding acts, take twenty-five points for Slytherin.” Dumbledore clambered to his feet. “And with that,” he said, striding over to a nearby table, taking a handful of floo powder and throwing it into the fire. “I must be off. A good night to all of you.”
He stepped into the roaring flames and vanished, leaving a very tense silence behind him.
May 9, 1992
The Great Hall
HOGWARTS GAMEKEEPER ARRESTED FOR THE BREADING, OWNING, AND ATTEMPTED SMUGGLING OF A LIVE DRAGON!
By Rita Skeeter
Harry’s hands shook as he held Pansy’s copy of the Daily Prophet and read the lurid headline.
Draco had been looking extremely smug up until that moment. When Harry took note of the massive decrease in rubies filling the Gryffindor’s hourglass and then saw the newspaper, Draco’s face had paled and all swagger was gone.
As for Harry himself, he was furious.
Not only was one of his few genuine friends in the world now in serious trouble with the law solely because of another of that same, exclusive group, but Draco had lied to him. He had done it to his face and without showing even a smidge of guilt.
The worst part was, Harry had known it.
He had almost always known when he was being lied to as a child and he had felt it that day speaking with Draco. The sense that the boy’s words hadn’t been honest, but he hadn’t wanted to believe it.
He had wanted to believe that his new friends were different and that they wouldn’t lie to him with the same cruel callousness deployed by the Dursleys for ten long years.
The newspaper in Harry’s hands burst into flames, causing several screams from nearby as it curled into ash on the table in front of him. He looked up to meet Draco’s eyes and suddenly felt an odd sensation of panic that was most definitely not his own.
It did nothing to quell his rage.
Draco’s glass exploded, spraying his morning tea this way and that, scalding those unfortunate enough to be in its path.
Harry didn’t care.
He had gotten to his feet before the glass had fully exploded and before any of his friends knew what was happening, had stormed straight out of the Great Hall.
Still sitting transfixed and frozen in his wake, Draco Malfoy wasn’t sure what worried him more.
The painful burns that now coated his hands and face, or the livid look his sister was levelling him with. A look that screamed of how, this time, he might truly have ruined everything.
Well, this one ended up being longer than I had planned, but I’m actually quite happy with it. I’ve personally never seen Hagrid actually take the fall for the dragon, which baffles me, so I thought I would switch things up a bit with this story.
If you can’t tell, the ripple effects to what might seem like a minor change will be quite substantial.
Two more chapters left to go, so I hope you’re already for the climax of first year!
Please read and review.
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