“By Merlin’s beard! Mr. Malfoy, you can’t make baseless accusations with your eyes wide open. A small person like me cannot bear such a responsibility!” Mr. Shafiq, the manager of Lihen Bookstore, pleaded, his voice sounding pitiful.
“You must know what you wanted a year ago. I did my best to obtain it for you. Moreover, the intact magical seal on it is evidence that I haven’t tampered with them in any way…”
“…So, Mr. Malfoy, you can’t hold me accountable for something I didn’t do!”
If an outsider had overheard and witnessed this conversation, they would undoubtedly feel deep sympathy for poor Mr. Shafiq, as if he had been wronged.
“Humph!” Mr. Lucius Malfoy snorted dismissively, lacking any sympathy.
At that moment, Mr. Shafiq put on a pair of gold glasses and scrutinized the boy behind Mr. Malfoy—Draco.
He smiled and said, “I believe you must be Master Malfoy. Welcome! I’m honored to have you here. Is there anything you need? My prices here are very fair!”
“I need a set of second-grade Hogwarts textbooks,” Draco replied.
“Ah, yes,” Mr. Shafiq’s smile waned slightly.
He tentatively added in a soft voice, “Don’t you plan on purchasing a few reference books? These days, textbooks alone won’t teach you everything…”
“You don’t need to worry about it, Shafiq,” Mr. Malfoy coldly interjected. “We have plenty of books at our manor.”
“Of course, naturally,” Mr. Shafiq quickly nodded.
While speaking, he turned around and retrieved a second-grade bookcase from a corner of the wall.
Matthew subtly adjusted his position behind the bookshelf to avoid being detected by Mr. Shafiq, who was eavesdropping on the conversation.
The small bookcase was handed to Draco.
Then, unexpectedly, Mr. Malfoy commanded, “Draco, go outside!”
Draco gave his father a suspicious look.
“Go to the Quality Quidditch Supply and wait for me,” Mr. Malfoy added. “I’ll buy you the latest Smooth Wheel 2001 broomstick. I remember you mentioned that your current Cleansweep Seven is a bit outdated.”
Holding the bookcase joyfully, Draco obediently left Lihen Bookstore.
Now, excluding Matthew hiding behind the bookshelf, only Mr. Shafiq and Mr. Malfoy remained in the store.
Matthew sensed that the forthcoming discussion between them would be of great importance, so he perked up his ears to listen carefully.
“You’re truly a kind father, Mr. Malfoy,” Shafiq complimented. “I should learn more from you. My daughter has always despised me…”
“Enough of this useless talk, Shafiq!” Mr. Malfoy cut him off with a cold tone.
His voice is solemn. “You came here, just as you did a year ago, for a significant transaction. You can expect to earn at least three thousand galleons from this deal!”
“Listen closely,” Mr. Malfoy whispered.
Mr. Malfoy deliberately lowered his voice, making it difficult for Matthew to catch the entire dialogue:
“There’s another batch of goods this time… I’ll leave the task of receiving them to you… I’ll send the house-Elves to…”
Mr. Shafiq remained silent, nodding along.
“Remember, don’t mess it up this time!” Mr. Malfoy urged finally.
“You can expect good news from me at the manor, Mr. Malfoy,” Mr. Shafiq softly bowed.
“I hope so!” Mr. Malfoy departed.
Mr. Shafiq hummed happily, clearly in a good mood.
Hiding behind the bookshelf, Matthew also wanted to hum along.
Choosing to work as a “summer temporary worker” at Lihen Bookstore was the right decision.
Soon, noon arrived, marking the hottest time of the day.
At this point, the door of Lihen Bookstore remained quiet, and all the shop assistants sought refuge in the corners, too lethargic to move.
Matthew stood up calmly and walked toward the counter.
“What’s the matter, Wickfield?” Mr. Shafiq lazily inquired from behind the counter.
“There’s nothing urgent, Mr. Shafiq,” Matthew replied with an innocent expression, his voice full of enthusiasm.
“I thought I could help proofread last month’s bills. Perhaps there might be some errors. I’m quite bored, so it would help pass the time.” Matthew added.
“You’re such a diligent boy, Wickfield,” Mr. Shafiq praised hurriedly. “Being the top student at Hogwarts, you truly deserve it.”
While adjusting his position, Mr. Shafiq pointed to the ledgers in the cupboard. “The ledgers are all there. Take your time proofreading them. Don’t rush.”
“Hmm,” Matthew nodded. “I’ll do my best!”
Throughout the afternoon, Matthew sat at the counter, meticulously counting Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts.
Mr. Shafiq had no reason to object to such a willing volunteer.
Furthermore, after Matthew pointed out a few mistakes in the June bills, helping the bookstore recover some losses, Mr. Shafiq repeatedly praised him.
Of course, the compliments only flowed one way, and salary increases were never mentioned.
Matthew pretended to be oblivious to the concept of money, acting as though it held no importance to him.
As evening approached, the store grew darker.
When Lihen Bookstore was about to close in the middle of the night, Matthew suddenly picked up two ledgers and said to Mr. Shafiq, “Mr. Shafiq, I think I’ll take these two ledgers to my room and continue proofreading and organizing them in the evening.”
Naturally, Mr. Shafiq had no objections.
“Thank you, Wickfield.”
“It’s just a small gesture,” Matthew replied generously, clutching the two books, and returned to his dark and damp room in the basement.
Matthew had no idea that his temporary plan had proceeded so smoothly.
But it was to be expected. After all, he was only a twelve or thirteen-year-old child.
Even with some peculiar behavior, it was challenging to arouse much suspicion.
In the basement room, Matthew slowly opened one of the ledgers.
He had found this ledger secretly hidden in the cupboard in the afternoon.
The records within documented Lihen Bookstore’s revenue in August of the previous year…
In August, the same month, Matthew discovered the book at the bottom of a crate in Lihen Bookstore.
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