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”You girls can change first, I will wait outside.” He closed the door behind as they got to wear the school’s clothing. Soon they would arrive at their destination.

Promptly, they were outside the train, waiting for the keeper to arrive and take them to the castle.

”All the first years! First years, follow me!” A man with regular height and a messy beard came out from the treeline with hundreds of children following closely behind.

Why are there so many of them? He asked himself.

Noah focused his eyes on where they came from, only then perceiving another station with 3 bustling trains.

”From where did those come from?” He pointed at the other railroads.

”They came from all around Europe! San Petersburg, Russia, Paris in France and Ankara in Turkey. Did you know? Those railways were built 10 years ago, due to the overflow of students. I’ve read it in Hogwarts: The History!” Sophia enthusiastically said.

You remind me of someone... He glanced at her before continuing on his walk.

”Alright, I hope everyone is here. We will be using the boats to cross the Black Lake. Consider yourselves warned though, DO NOT under any circumstances touch the water. The consequences won’t be something you’d like to experience... are we understood?” He asked in a loud voice.

”Yes!” They nodded in unison.

”Good. Now, you can leave your luggage here, it will be delivered to your rooms later.” He gestured to his side, where boxes were pilled one on top of the other. 

”Shrink.” Noah whispered and his trunk shortened enough to fit inside his pockets.

Pecking over his shoulder, Sophia exclaimed at his tricks. ”How did you do that?”

”It’s a trunk with a charm, Sophia.” Juniper deadpanned at her.

”Well, how would I know?” She shrugged innocently.

”Let’s go so we can stay in the first boats to arrive.” He interrupted them before they could start their bickering, his hands were trembling with excitement after waiting so much. He just couldn't hold himself anymore, the excitement was unstoppable. 

As they sailed through the waters, he admired the scenery. Noah considered the Black Lake a mysterious piece of art, hiding its secrets under the moonlight reflection. It sure was a mesmerizing sight, one he would never forget. It was moments like this when he recalled all that happened to him so far, the impossible becoming the undeniable and his new daily life becoming that of a young wizard.

 "Beautiful, don't you think?" Juniper for the first time since they met started a conversation. 

"Yeah without a doubt, both of you are really beautiful." He teased her.

"Wha-" She blurted, reddening like a tomato. 

"Hey! Look at the water, there is movement under it!" Sophia said as she stared at the lake, trying to discern what was beneath it.

Before Juniper could make any more complaints about him, Noah took the opportunity and changed the topic. "Those are probably mermaids. I've heard that the Black Lake had creatures such as them living in it." Noah answered. As they crossed, a great castle overlooking the lands came into view. During these coming months, Noah would come to hate and love it at the same time. 

Hogwarts, I am finally here!  Disembarking, they arrived at the castle after following a long stone pathway.

"Rise those stairs and you will arrive at the main hall. Professor McGonagall is waiting for you there." The keeper grumbled as he walked away.

Such a nice guy isn't he?

At the top of the staircase, which seemed endless, Minerva waited for the new students. She narrowed her eyes and stared at each one of them, analyzing every movement they made; an intimidating teacher through and through. 

”Very well... tonight, you will be sorted into your houses, which will be your family and home from now on. There are 4 houses: Gryffindor, for those with a valiant heart. Hufflepuff, where just the loyal enter. Ravenclaw, for those thirsty for knowledge. And finally, Slytherin, where the most cunning and determined individuals find their place.” 

As she finished her speech, she spared a glance at Noah before opening the great hall’s doors. Entering, they crossed lengthy tables where the houses sat, which closely evaluated the freshman. 

Where are the older students? He couldn't find anyone older than 15 (5th graders).

Maybe they stay somewhere else... it would make sense, as Hogwarts is literally overloaded with pupils. 

Haha! How ironic... Voldemort brought fame to Hogwarts with his petty war; the school which he and his death eaters legion were defeated, and by none less than the scholars themselves. 

 "Before we get to the sorting, I would like to say a few words." The headmistress said.

What? When did she sit in the main chair? She was behind just seconds ago... Once more, the possibilities of magic amazed him.

"First, as all of you know, the Forbidden Forest is restricted for those behind the 6th grade... which means everyone in this room. Not only death is guaranteed for any unprepared fool who wanders those woods, but if you survive and are caught, then expulsion is certain. Other than that, make sure to achieve the required grades and respect your masters, or you will be expelled in either situation." There was the reason for the older one’s absence. Noah just needed to link the dots.

What?! I didn't remember this from the books. When did grades expel students? It must be recent... maybe related to the overcapacity problem? Hum... by doing that, they can solve the problem while selecting the best students. Smart and devious, hitting two birds with one stone.

Also, the reason why I don't see 6th graders and beyond, together with the restriction to the Forbidden Forest... I can only conclude one thing, and it scares me. 

They are studying there! Did the teachers go mad? They can't be serious, is too dangerous for untrained teenagers to go in there... unless... unless... they are prepared to enter into those woods by themselves.

What are they creating in here? An army? 

"That's all, I will be calling one at a time, so just come when you are called." She instructed as they made a line.

"Mavis Longbottom!" A black-haired girl with emerald green eyes came out sheepishly from behind the crowd. Before the hat could even be putten on her head, it screamed:

"Gryffindor!" Various applauses rang through the Gryffindor's table. Dozens of students were sorted similarly, going towards their table to meet their new companions. 

"Sophia Daartel!" She walked disoriented towards the chair, but this time around the hat didn't have an immediate response. 

"Curious... never seen a case such as yours. Even though you want great power, a Slytherin by heart, you don't want to use it for yourself, no... you want to protect others; a strong Hufflepuff trait indeed. Uhmm... where to put you?" He wondered. 

"Please, not Slytherin!" She hissed at him.

"And why not? There you can achieve what you want... greatness! Take it with your own hands." After long seconds of silence, during which they argued by telepathy, he finally abdicated. 

"Hufflepuff!" She went smiling like a fool to her new house.

"Juniper Hutt!" She walked with confident steps, not even sparing a glance at the crowd as she sat in the chair, her eyes were somewhere else.

"Ravenclaw!" She stared at her new house instead.

Where did that shy girl go to? Noah stared in disbelief at her back as she strolled past him. 

"Noah!" 

Turning fast his head around, he stepped nervously towards the hat as everyone watched him. He hoped with all his strengths that his theory was correct. After all, he preferred if his past life couldn't be seen by the magical artifact. 

"Strange, there are memories of yours which are clouded, out of my grasp..." The hat mumbled. 

Noah sighed out of relief, letting go of his tension.

"It doesn't matter anyway, your house is the reason we are here. Something of everything, quite unique if I do have to say myself. I can see your potential and willingness to achieve more; the thirst for knowledge but also a heart filled with courage. Not much loyalty, but it can be developed..."

What do I want then? Firstly, not Gryffindor, that's for sure. I don't think they will push me past my limits... which leaves me with Slytherin and Ravenclaw.

If I go to Slytherin though, I will be in the house with the less reputation of them all... which means it will be troublesome. 

But Ravenclaw, that could be the perfect house for me. There I will find people just like me, resourceful and researchers by nature. They will push me towards more than I could ever hope to accomplish alone.

"Then Ravenclaw it is!" The hat declared.

Wait, already? Noah stood up stiffly, surprised by the abruptness of the decision. A round of applause went in the Ravenclaw's table as they got to welcome their new member, which had a mix of emotions going through his facial expressions.

Joy for being sorted into where he wanted, fear for almost being discovered by the hat, and relief for not revealing his secrets. 

If I even thought about my previous life, then it would have discovered. 

He thought before coming back to reality. He sat right besides Juniper, which gave him an indecipherable smile. After 30 lasting minutes, everyone was sorted and just as much hungry. 

"Let the feast begin right away! Nitwit, Blubber, Oddment, Tweak!" Minerva exclaimed with a silly smile covered her face. 

"I always love to do this!" She commented with a nearby teacher, who looked at her as if she had grown 2 heads. 

Huh, the old woman stays the same. He thought before eating the most greasy foods he could find. 

Juniper stared sadly at it for a moment before going for the healthy plates, maintaining fitness wasn't easy after all.

Noah stared back, confused by her choice of food.

"Today you were sorted into your house, enjoy it at least. It only happens one time, you know?" He tempted her with his plate.

Her conflict was evident, but before she could refuse, he pushed her plate away while giving his instead.

"Just give in." 

She finally surrendered. 

 

 

 

 

 

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A note from Hardcore Score

Rewriting the dialogues with some tricks I've learned yesterday. Hope it makes it more natural and impactful. Would like to know what do you think about it, you are the readers after all. I don't want to waste a lot of your time though, just saying: it's better or not is enough already. Thx anyway. 


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Hardcore Score

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