Upon seeing the envelope, Wentworth’s heart stirred, and as he unfolded it, the familiar handwriting adorned the paper:
“Three days later, Hogsmeade Village!”
The handwriting unmistakably matched the previous anonymous letter, the one that warned him, “I’ve been found, be careful!!!” in the Gringotts Grindelwald family treasure vault. Holding this new letter, Wentworth found himself lost in contemplation.
Was this mysterious person, who had eluded capture, seeking a meeting with him? Alternatively, could it be a ploy by some unknown force intending to use him as bait in Hogsmeade?
With all of the questions in his head but no answers to be found from it, Wentworth started to feel a bit dizzy as he contemplated the meaning of all this.
After prolonged reflection, unable to unravel the enigma, Wentworth decided to take the straightforward route: report to the teachers.
Entering the headmaster’s office at Hogwarts, Wentworth found Professor Dumbledore donned in festive attire, indulging in an unidentified candy.
Upon Wentworth’s entrance, Professor Dumbledore greeted him with a nonchalant air. “Wentworth! Fancy meeting you here.”
“Come here and sit with me, will you? An old man like me could always use a company in lonely times like these.” A smile played on Professor Dumbledore’s lips as he invited Wentworth to join him in sampling a variety of candies sent by a former student from around the world.
“These are all the candies given to me as Christmas presents from all of my former students from all over the world. This one right here might be arguably better than the ones they sell in Honeyduke!” He spoke with a pride that was challenging to articulate.
In the guise of seeking assistance, Wentworth showcased his acting skills, echoing Professor Dumbledore’s sentiments with praises:
“Ah, Professor, you are amazing!”
“The seniors must have been thinking of you, Professor Dumbledore, as the one they cherished the most from their times in Hogwarts.”
“I wish I could be a Professor at Hogwarts in the future so I could get these kinds of gifts as well!”
Professor Dumbledore, visibly delighted by these words, suddenly narrowed his eyes after Wentworth finished the last sentence.
With a smile, he inquired, “Wentworth, do you genuinely want to become a Professor and start teaching in Hogwarts one day?”
Caught off guard, Wentworth hesitated for a moment, wearing an embarrassed smile, yet refrained from responding.
On the other hand, Professor Dumbledore offered a penetrating gaze and remarked, “It might be good to stay at Hogwarts, Wentworth.”
Subsequently, Professor Dumbledore indulged in a candy, opting not to press Wentworth, who was evidently a bit self-conscious. Instead, he inquired, “Wentworth, what brings you here to see me?”
Responding to Professor Dumbledore’s question, Wentworth swiftly adjusted his expression and said, “Yes, Professor, the purpose for my visit today is because I received a special gift today, the prophecy skull that I believe belongs to my Grandfather!” After a brief pause, he added, “There are no words that can describe how thankful I am for your kindness; thank you, Professor!”
Upon hearing Wentworth’s words, Professor Dumbledore fell into silence for a moment.
Then, he cast a profound gaze at Wentworth.
Without probing into how Wentworth deduced the gift’s origin, Professor Dumbledore candidly admitted, “Don’t thank me; that item originally belonged to your family. I’m merely returning it to its rightful owner! Besides, your grandfather asked me to give it to you!”
Dumbfounded by Professor Dumbledore’s revelation, Wentworth stood still, his mind inundated with a cascade of thoughts.
The question of how the prophecy skull managed to find its way to Professor Dumbledore’s hand still remains in his head, though he chooses not to pry any further, considering this might not be the right time and there is a better question to be asked.
Before Wentworth could fully comprehend, Professor Dumbledore continued, “Wentworth, I’ve been contemplating whether to entrust you with this prophecy skull. Despite your unmatched talent in prophecy, grasping the past, present, and future is an entirely different matter.”
“The crucial point here is that the past is immutable, the present is within your control, and the future can be altered!” Professor Dumbledore explained
Upon hearing Professor Dumbledore’s words, Wentworth took a moment to reflect before nodding emphatically, signifying his understanding.
Observing Wentworth’s reaction, Professor Dumbledore nodded with approval. A hint of reminiscence crossed his face as he shared, “I’ve witnessed numerous wizards who, upon overhearing a prophecy about their future, strive tirelessly to prevent it from unfolding. Yet, they fail to recognize that the prophecy itself is the bait fate has laid out for them, and they unwittingly take the bite.”
Intrigued by this revelation, Wentworth inquired thoughtfully, “Is that person perhaps, Tom Riddle?”
Professor Dumbledore gazed at Wentworth, nodding affirmatively yet also shaking his head slightly. “Though he is one of them, many others even met a worse fate than him…”
Subsequently, the room descended into silence, a contemplative atmosphere lingering for a while. Eventually, Wentworth set aside the prophecy skull.
While this magical item might be an invaluable treasure in the hands of others, in Wentworth’s possession, it seemed somewhat redundant.
As a traverser, he was already well-versed in the major events unfolding in the future, barring any significant and irreversible alterations to the timeline.
“Professor, this is the reason for my visit by the way. You perhaps might want to take a look at this, because I believe this is the same person that we’ve met in the vault back then.” Wentworth then retrieved the anonymous letter from his belongings and delicately placed it on Professor Dumbledore’s desk.
Observing this, Professor Dumbledore picked up the letter with curiosity. However, even after scrutinizing the brief message for an extended period, Professor Dumbledore seemed perplexed.
When Professor Dumbledore eventually set the letter back on the table, he remarked, “Indeed, it’s the same person who left the note in Gringotts. Wentworth, what are your thoughts on this?”
Wentworth responded promptly, “Professor Dumbledore, I believe there may be significant issues and potential dangers involved.”
Upon hearing Wentworth’s assessment, Professor Dumbledore nodded approvingly and added, “It’s commendable that you refrained from blindly following the instructions in the letter. This correspondence is indeed peculiar. The initial choice to leave a message in your vault at Gringotts suggested a reluctance to meet you directly. However, the sudden request for a meeting in Hogsmeade Village is rather impulsive.”
Professor Dumbledore paused momentarily, a subtle smile playing on his lips as he continued, “Wentworth, you must understand that Hogsmeade Village is in close proximity to Hogwarts. Many wizards with distinctive identities tend to avoid approaching the village.”
Addressing the timing of the meeting, Professor Dumbledore remarked, “Furthermore, the chosen moment coincides with the Christmas holiday. Not only do students vacate Hogwarts for Christmas, but a significant number of professors also return to their homes during this time. It’s a period when Hogwarts is at its most vulnerable.”
Locking eyes with Wentworth, Professor Dumbledore conveyed a meaningful message, “There is a reason why the perpetrator is choosing this particular time for the meeting; we must carry forward with caution.”
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