When Professor Snape’s words reached Wentworth’s ears, he couldn’t help but inwardly sigh.
Without delay, Wentworth picked up the remaining half bag of Sopophorous Beans from the table and held it out in front of Professor Snape.
This time, Professor Snape’s stoic expression faltered, replaced by various colors that played across his face.
After a moment, it seemed that Professor Snape registered what had occurred and inquired, “Wentworth, it appears you employed some unique methods. How did you manage it?”
Professor Snape’s tone was less cynical and more genuinely curious this time.
“How did I do it? Naturally, I found my own way!” thought Wentworth, but he had no intention of revealing his secret so quickly.
Professor Snape might guess that Wentworth had obtained his notes.
Observing Wentworth pick up the sterling silver knife on the table, Professor Snape assumed Wentworth was about to demonstrate.
Consequently, Professor Snape approached, intending to closely observe Wentworth’s technique.
Under Professor Snape’s surprised gaze, however, Wentworth returned the knife to Professor Snape and said, “I apologize, Professor Snape. This method is a family secret, and I’m afraid I cannot disclose it.”
Professor Snape fell silent at Wentworth’s words and finally commented, “It seems your family indeed has a history in potion-making. That explains your skill with cauldron cooking. For a skilled potion master, spending several days brewing potions is commonplace, and using a cauldron is an ideal choice for cooking.”
Hearing Professor Snape’s words, Wentworth couldn’t help but inwardly chuckle.
Professor Snape’s imagination was rich—no wonder he invented so many spells independently.
Outwardly, Wentworth nodded with a measured agreement.
Upon seeing this, Professor Snape waved his hand dismissively and said, “Very well, you may leave for the night. Remember to continue tomorrow evening. Make sure you don’t lose your way and miss curfew.”
Hearing that he was being let go, Wentworth didn’t waste any time.
He picked up his old textbook, bowed to Professor Snape, then turned and left the office.
“Just a moment!”
Suddenly, Professor Snape’s voice halted Wentworth’s departure.
Wentworth paused, his thoughts racing.
Did Professor Snape realize he had the notes?
“Since I bestowed that bag of Sopophorous Beans upon you, it now belongs to you. I shan’t be demanding its return. Go on, take it with you,” Professor Snape said impatiently from behind Wentworth.
A wave of relief washed over Wentworth.
Professor Snape was indeed rewarding him with the remaining Sopophorous Beans.
Grateful, he turned around, and with half a bag of Sopophorous Beans in tow, he hastened his exit.
Even long after Wentworth had left, Professor Snape’s gaze remained fixed upon the 10 grams of Sopophorous Bean juice left behind on the table, his thoughts a mystery.
Suddenly, Professor Snape’s hand darted toward his waist and his wand. His movements were deft and rapid.
However, someone was quicker than Professor Snape.
Before his hand could even reach his wand, a Petrification spell hit him from behind.
Professor Snape’s body instantly froze, rendering him immobile.
In his own office at Hogwarts, Professor Snape could never have anticipated an attack.
His heart pounded with fear.
Could it be the person he dared not name?
Then, from behind Professor Snape, an androgynous voice spoke.
“As expected of a Hogwarts Potions Master—your instincts are remarkably acute. Even an invisibility charm as sophisticated as mine is difficult for the average Auror to discern. Yet, you managed to locate me so promptly.”
“But fear not—I don’t intend to harm you. However, you must be penalized for your lack of respect today.”
Hearing this, Professor Snape hesitated momentarily.
He hadn’t shown much respect for anyone except Dumbledore.
He couldn’t recall any instance of such treatment before, except for earlier today.
It didn’t take long for Wentworth’s image to surface in his mind.
Sure enough, the inaudible voice continued.
“You’ve probably guessed—it’s Wentworth. He’s not someone you can command. You should be thankful he showed leniency before departing, or else you might need a substitute professor for tomorrow’s potions class.”
“Just stay put for now. In about two hours, the spell will dissipate on its own. It’s a minor punishment.”
“Also, I trust you won’t let Wentworth in on this. Otherwise, my next surprise won’t be as gentle as a Petrification spell.”
Silence followed, and as Professor Snape sighed with relief, no further sounds came from behind him.
Yet, Professor Snape couldn’t shake the unease that had taken root.
This was Hogwarts, after all. It boasted countless defensive enchantments, and Dumbledore, one of the greatest white wizards of all time, was here.
Despite all this, someone had infiltrated without detection.
It was unthinkable, even during Voldemort’s peak and the rule of the Death Eaters.
Simultaneously, Professor Snape found himself questioning Wentworth’s identity.
It was clear that Wentworth hailed from no ordinary wizarding family.
A memory resurfaced—Dumbledore’s words. Could Wentworth, in fact, be a disguised Voldemort?
After all, when Voldemort was Tom Riddle, he possessed the same grace that Wentworth now did.
He excelled in every class, garnering affection from both students and professors.
Had he arrived early, considering Lily’s child would attend Hogwarts next year, and therefore made preparations?
The thought left Professor Snape feeling restless.
He hoped the Petrification spell’s effect would subside quickly so that he could immediately inform Dumbledore.
As Professor Snape “endured” his spell-induced paralysis, Wentworth returned to the Hufflepuff common room.
As soon as he entered, he was greeted by Cedric and others, who were waiting for him.
They ushered Wentworth to a comfortable sofa, where fruit and desserts awaited him.
The array of delicacies was overwhelming.
Wentworth felt touched by their kindness and expressed his gratitude repeatedly.
Perfect Green, however, added, “You deserve it. For our entire house of Hufflepuff, you’ve borne the brunt of Professor Snape’s ire. Hufflepuff never forgets those who help us, especially those who bring us good food!”
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