Harry looked down at the letter which had been delivered to Sirius by owl.
Dear Esteemed Parent,
I hope you are holding up well in these hard times, and have been able to keep yourself safe.
I am certain that by now, you have heard of the attack on the Hogwarts Express, and are no doubt worried for the safety of your children. Fear not, for we were able to evacuate every single student at Hogwarts in time to get them to a safe location which will remain undisclosed for security reasons.
Hogwarts would like to take a moment of silence to honor all 37 peacekeepers and 23 aurors who lost their lives in the defense of the Express.
In lieu of this incident, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Magic, has decided to offer board for all students over the summer. As you know, Hogwarts is one of the safest locations in Britain, and if The Dark Lord is truly committed to striking the children of the Wizarding World, which he seems to be, then we need to keep our children as safe as we possibly can.
Therefore, we will be portkeying all students back to Hogwarts, where they will reside over the summer.
If you wish to withdraw your student from Hogwarts over the summer, you will have to send a letter requesting such, and a member of staff will apparate you just outside of Hogwarts' gates, where you may retrieve your child, however, we implore you to let your child remain at Hogwarts, as it is undoubtedly the safest place for them to be,
Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore
Headmaster of Hogwarts
Harry put down the letter.
He had wanted to stay with Sirius over the summer, but Albus had told him that he too had to return to Hogwarts along with the rest of the students.
Not only did they not want it to seem like he was getting special treatment, the Headmaster had said that they could continue his training far more easily inside of Hogwarts, as at least one of the Headmaster, Arcturus, or Nicholas would be inside the walls of the ancient castle at all times, as they couldn't leave the school without at least one wizard who could stand up to the Dark Lord at any time.
All the students were being port-keyed one by one, a member of staff, and one student going at a time so that they wouldn't all be in danger if a single portkey was hijacked.
It was a boring if necessary process, as the Hogwarts staff spent the afternoon transporting Hogwarts students back to the famed castle.
As he watched the students being evacuated from his window, Harry heard a knock on his door.
An Auror who Harry was not familiar with walked into the room, "C'mon Potter, it's your turn"
Iliad cleared his throat in front of the Defence class that he had hastily been assigned to lead, "So year three-"
A student raised his hand.
"Yes, Mr Zag?"
"We graduated third year like three days ago"
"Well then, Welcome back, newly christened fourth years-" He started again, before being interrupted by the same student.
"Fourth year doesn't start for another two..." The student pointed out unhelpfully, once more before being scared into silence by the deathly glare being sent in his direction by the irritated makeshift Defence Professor.
"Year three and a half," Iliad began, more forcefully this time with an implied warning in his voice, "While this is an unexpected lesson, and therefore I do not have any sort of lesson plan prepared for you, I think that all of you are sorely in need of some rudimentary battle training, considering our circumstances."
The class quieted down, the reminder of their situation bringing them down from the buzz that the pointless interruptions had brought them.
"So Imma pair you kids off into pairs and let you spar."
Iliad looked down at his class, which consisted of Gryffindors and Slytherins, the two houses which were far too volatile to be trusted with sparring each other in such an exercise.
He paired them up within their houses until he came across the issue of the fact that both houses had an odd number of students, leaving him requiring at least one inter-house pair.
With a little bit of reluctance, he looked at the two houses, which brought a relief, as he was able to pair up his own daughter with Harry.
Both houses looked upon the pair with thinly veiled interest, as Daphne, with a flicker of surprise quickly passing over her face, put on a sneer as she faced Harry, her wand casually flicking up to face the young Potter boy.
Harry had a small frown on his face, as he too held up his wand, the end of it glowing slightly as he faced Daphne.
The two had a barely perceptible conversation between themselves, before both started their duel flashily, not quite going all out, but putting a lot more power into their attacks than one would have thought they would considering their situation.
As their duel became steadily more intense, most of the other students stopped their own duels, to stare upon the large duel occurring right in the middle of the room, which had become so intense that Iliad had put up small wards around them to protect the other students.
As the two houses began to take sides, Draco sneeringly jeering at Harry, while Ron and the other Gryffindors put down the young Potter's Slytherin opponent, Iliad began to frown further, wondering as to the purpose of the two contestants.
With spell-chains and elements flying in all directions, Harry and Daphne were both putting each other through the paces.
The two contestants were looking at each other, Harry was signaling her with his eyes to lose, to show in front of the entire grade, that the light would win over the dark.
Daphne looked back, her eyes unyielding and unwilling to lose.
Harry went all out for the first time, putting his full force into a final attack.
Daphne stared him down and raised her wand to defend.
*** End of Chapter