In this way, Matthew Wickfield continued his stay at Lihen Bookstore, where he would spend over two months.
During the day, he worked as an employee in the bookstore, and at night, he took on the accounting work in a small, damp room in the basement.
The room was simple, with just a bed, a desk, and an oil lamp, and the basement environment was humid, filled with mosquitoes and occasional spiders.
However, Matthew’s pet, the black-eyed toad, proved helpful in eliminating the pests.
The bugs quickly disappeared as Matthew opened the toad’s cage, and many bread worms were saved.
Matthew appreciated the benefits of having such a unique pet.
Although life was challenging, Matthew didn’t mind.
After all, he was just a “homeless” young wizard, so he didn’t pay much attention to the difficulties.
Lihen Bookstore was relatively quiet.
Despite having many shop assistants, there were few customers.
Most of the guests were Hogwarts students and their parents.
Matthew’s role was to determine their grade level and hand them cardboard boxes containing their packed textbooks.
The night accounting work was relatively simple since, apart from Hogwarts textbooks, Lihen Bookstore typically sold only 20 to 30 books daily.
Hogwarts students had already purchased the textbooks, so there was no need to keep records for them.
The remaining work could be completed for Matthew in just fifteen to thirty minutes.
The shop assistants were generally polite to Matthew, especially Mr. Shafiq, the store manager, who rarely assigned him laborious tasks.
Perhaps he feared that Matthew might deliberately miscalculate the accounts, resulting in significant losses.
Matthew had no intention of doing such a thing. He faithfully fulfilled his duties every day.
However, Matthew was surprised to discover that book prices were higher than he had imagined.
Random paperback books started at 2-3 galleons, while hardcover books ranged from 5-10 galleons.
He even came across a large leather-bound book priced at 50 galleons, which exceeded the monthly salary of an adult wizard.
Suddenly, Matthew understood why the Weasley family in another world struggled financially.
A set of random textbooks could amount to thirty or fifty galleons, which would strain a single-income family.
Mr. Weasley’s salary at the Ministry of Magic was likely low, and the book fees alone could equal half a year’s income for their family.
Of course, Hogwarts in this world didn’t require families to bear such high costs.
Matthew had chosen to work at Lihen Bookstore with a specific purpose in mind—to uncover the origin of the book that had been with him for almost a year.
After all, he had first discovered the book at the bottom of a bookshelf in Lihen Bookstore, implying a potential connection to the store.
Unfortunately, despite his efforts, Matthew found no leads after nearly a week of searching, inspecting, and conducting unannounced visits.
As the sales clerk he had encountered the previous year had mentioned (although Matthew hadn’t seen him during this time), Lihen Bookstore didn’t deal in second-hand books.
They only sold new books and lacked any record of purchasing used ones.
This made Matthew doubt himself for a moment.
Could it be that the book’s origin had no connection to Lihen Bookstore? Was its appearance at the bottom of the bookshelf merely a coincidence?
Time passed, and the weather grew increasingly hot and muggy.
Matthew encountered familiar faces from Hogwarts numerous times at the bookstore.
They expressed surprise that Matthew Wickfield was working as a clerk during the summer vacation.
Matthew explained that he preferred being surrounded by books and that working at Lihen Bookstore allowed him ample time to read those interesting texts.
This explanation only elevated his acquaintances’ admiration for him.
In reality, it was a complete lie.
Lichen Bookstore was different from Xinhua Bookstore, where young wizards could freely peruse expensive books.
Even customers who lingered too long were met with lukewarm attitudes from the clerks.
Matthew himself hadn’t encountered any of his “friends” from Hogwarts.
Then, one mid-July day, the weather was exceptionally muggy.
Matthew sought refuge under a bookshelf to enjoy the coolness.
Suddenly, he heard a familiar voice.
“Dad, I invited Matthew Wickfield to my house before…” It was Draco’s voice.
He had entered the store accompanied by another man—his father.
The pale, pointed-faced man with the same indifferent gray eyes could only be Lucius Malfoy.
“You’ve mentioned Matthew Wickfield at least ten times, Matthew this, Matthew that!” Mr. Malfoy interrupted his son.
He glanced at Draco and warned, “I want to remind you how talented and charming he is. But if he’s a mudblood, then he’s not one of us!”
Matthew blinked, reconsidering his plan to greet Draco.
He quickly hid behind the bookshelf to avoid being spotted by the father and son.
“I’m not allowed to say that word on campus,” Draco Malfoy whispered.
“Then say it in your heart,” Mr. Malfoy responded coldly. “You must remember, Draco, the conflict between our noble pure-blood families and the mud blood group is irreconcilable.”
At that moment, Mr. Shafiq, the bookstore manager, approached the two.
“Mr. Malfoy, what a rare guest!” Mr. Shafiq greeted him in an oily tone. “I still remember when you came to me a year ago; you brought me quite a deal.”
“Yes, Shafiq, you certainly earned a lot from it!” Lucius Malfoy lowered his voice and said menacingly. “But you also lost something vital… those books.”
Behind the bookshelf, Matthew couldn’t help but blink.
He felt like he might have stumbled upon a clue.
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