Cedric and Prefect Green exchanged a glance as they observed Wentworth’s reaction.
Prefect Green seated himself next to Wentworth, wrapping an arm around his shoulders, and reassured him, “Don’t worry, Wentworth. I doubt anyone at Hogwarts will take those newspaper claims seriously.”
Wentworth, however, persisted with his concerns, asking, “What about people outside of Hogwarts? I don’t want Professor Dumbledore to face criticism due to this. After all, he was protecting me last night when we encountered the door key.”
Quickly, Cedric chimed in, his voice urgent, “Wentworth, remember what the professors said last night. We must keep what happened a secret to avoid causing panic among the students. You can’t share the details of yesterday.”
Acknowledging Cedric’s advice, Wentworth nodded and asserted, “Of course, I understand what to disclose and what not to. I believe I can find another way to persuade Rita Skeeter to correct the mistakes in her report.”
Without wasting any time, Wentworth retrieved his quill and parchment, immediately composing a letter.
Intrigued, Cedric inquired, “Wentworth, what are you doing? Writing a letter to Rita Skeeter? I’d caution against that approach. My father spoke about this reporter who’s built her reputation on such articles. She’s unlikely to listen to your explanations.”
Unperturbed, Wentworth responded without looking up, “I wasn’t planning to write to her. I’m penning a letter to my family, requesting the elder members to engage with Rita Skeeter.”
Meanwhile, in the village of Hogsmeade not far from Hogwarts, Rosier, disguised as Professor Ilona and donning a black veil, entered the Hog’s Head Bar.
Surveying the rather dingy establishment, Rosier’s gaze swept across the patrons before settling on a masked man in a secluded corner.
Approaching the table, Rosier took a seat next to the masked individual. “Abernathy, why pick such a grimy place? I can hardly bear being here for a moment.”
The person Rosier referred to as Abernathy procured a glass and butterbeer from the bar, then offered it to Rosier, explaining, “It’s for discretion, of course. Concealing our faces is common in this bar, helping us blend in.”
Rosier sighed, took a sip of the butterbeer, and Abernathy questioned, “We read your letter last night. How’s Wentworth?”
Ensuring no one was eavesdropping, Rosier shared, “Dumbledore and Wentworth touched the door key together. They returned in the middle of the night. Wentworth seems to be mostly unharmed, albeit a bit tired.”
Abernathy breathed a sigh of relief and nodded, saying, “That’s a relief. Did you discover who left the door key on Wentworth’s bed? Also, where did they go last night, and what transpired?”
Rosier hesitated for a moment before shaking his head.
Abernathy began to inquire further, but he refrained and clenched his teeth, saying, “We can’t let this matter rest. Targeting Wentworth is declaring war against the Alliance. It’s been too long since we’ve taken action. Do they believe we’ve forgotten how to wield our wands?”
As Abernathy’s frustration mounted, he looked up and noticed Rosier’s attention had shifted.
Turning his head, Abernathy followed Rosier’s gaze and saw someone holding the latest issue of the Daily Prophet with a prominent image of Dumbledore and Wentworth on the front page.
Abernthathy rose and approached the person, snatching the newspaper from their hand.
The person seemed surprised but quickly retreated, causing a galleon to slip from their hand onto the table.
The person hurriedly retrieved the galleon and left the bar without a word.
Abernathy returned to his seat, holding the Daily Prophet.
Rosier and Abernathy reviewed Rita Skeeter’s article, although their focus diverged.
Abernathy was drawn to the photograph, while Rosier scrutinized the text.
Pointing to the photo, Abernathy whispered to Rosier, “Look at this picture. The burnt area behind Dumbledore and Wentworth indicates a conflict, suggesting that the other party wasn’t an ordinary wizard.”
Meanwhile, Rosier directed Abernathy’s attention to the last paragraph of the article, expressing his displeasure.
“I appreciate the questions about Dumbledore, but it’s wrong to involve Wentworth in the inquiry. He’s meant to lead the Umrah Party in the future. I don’t want any suggestions of romantic involvement between him and Dumbledore to tarnish his reputation.”
The two continued discussing their observations.
Abernathy contemplated infiltrating the Ministry of Magic to locate the surviving wizard and ascertain their connections, but Rosier advised against it.
“I’ll find a way to gather information from Wentworth. If necessary, I’ll reveal my identity to gain his cooperation.”
Ultimately, Rosier made the final decision, instructing Abernathy to inform the party members to be prepared.
No one would challenge the Alliance without facing consequences.
Just as the two left the Hog’s Head Bar, an owl arrived bearing a letter.
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