Matthew only felt the cool night breeze gently blowing through his hair as he sat on the flying broomstick.
However, he couldn’t help but compare the experience to riding on the back of an eagle, finding it less comfortable.
“Sitting on a broomstick is quite ordinary; it’s nothing compared to riding on the back of a majestic eagle,” Matthew thought.
As they soared higher, the city streets of London gradually shrank below them, resembling a shining blackboard.
Mr. Shafiq directed their flight, guiding them through ascents and descents, and the cold night air made Matthew’s eyes water.
“The cold wind is really getting to me. Even my eyes are tearing up,” Matthew thought.
He checked his watch to gauge how long they’d been flying. It had been almost an hour.
“We’ve been up here for quite some time,” he remarked to himself, judging from the darkening ground below, indicating their departure from London.
“It should be right here!” Mr. Shafiq issued an order: “Let’s land.”
The two broomsticks began to descend, and Matthew quickly gripped the broomstick tightly.
As they descended, the familiar cityscape of London reappeared – car lights, street lights, and the towering chimneys by the roadside.
Finally, they landed on a messy, barren grass in a small square.
Matthew looked around and realized they were in a remote Muggle town far away from London.
Mr. Shafiq rechecked his watch, reassuring the group, “It’s only 12:10. We’re five minutes early.”
He sat on the grass, catching his breath from the long flight.
Matthew, however, was more curious and observant, looking around the unfamiliar surroundings.
Soon, several dark shadows appeared in the sky.
Four foreigners on flying broomsticks approached them, with a mysterious chained box suspended in the air between them.
The box wasn’t large, but it seemed heavy enough for two people to lift.
The foreigners landed, and one of them, struggling with English, stammered, “Who… is… Shafiq?”
Mr. Shafiq quickly stood up, replying, “I am!”
The foreign wizard then entrusted the box to Mr. Shafiq, using his wand to remove the chains that bound it to the broomsticks.
He warned them, “Be careful!” before they swiftly took off again as if evading something.
Mr. Shafiq secured the box by tying the chains to their broomsticks.
“Let’s take a break,” Matthew suggested.
At Matthew’s suggestion, they decided to take a break and examine the mysterious box containing something shaking inside.
His idea was supported by the timid and taciturn Clerk who weakly said, “Yes, wait, let’s take a break!”
Mr. Shafiq agreed, and they patiently sat on the grass for a minute or two.
Matthew looked at the Clerk and asked, “Actually, I don’t quite understand…”
“What don’t you understand?” The Clerk replied.
Matthew honestly replied, “I’m waiting for the Auror. What are you waiting for?”
“Waiting for the Aurors?”
Both the Clerk and Mr. Shafiq were surprised by Matthew’s question.
Before they could grasp the situation, a series of “puff,” “puff,” and “puff” sounds echoed.
Almost a dozen wizards descended from the sky and surrounded them, wands aimed at the three of them.
Feeling threatened, Matthew Apparated through the ground, watching the chaos unfold.
“Stupefy!” a dozen voices roared almost simultaneously, followed by dazzling flashes of red lights.
In the midst of the chaos, the wizards caught Mr. Shafiq and his Clerk off guard, leaving them stunned on the grass.
One stern voice ordered, “Catch them all back! And the guys on the flying broomsticks before, don’t let them run away… There is the box; take it back, but don’t touch it!”
Matthew felt his chest restricted from all directions as he struggled to breathe.
Suddenly, everything went dark for Matthew, just like when he first picked up the letter from Hogwarts.
Six wizards with their wands taken away were imprisoned in a small dark cell.
Mr. Shafiq was there, pleading with embarrassment, “Mr. Scrimgeour… Please, help me… I’m only doing this for the first time, and I don’t know what it is… I also have a daughter who just reached the age to go to Hogwarts this year…”
“If you have anything to say, say it at Wizengamot!” Mr. Scrimgeour shouted.
Meanwhile, Matthew found himself lying on the bed.
A gentle voice reassured him, “The first time I Apparated, I felt uncomfortable as well.”
Matthew softly responded, “Minister…”
Indeed, standing by his bedside was Minister Bagnold, the new middle-aged woman whom he had just met.
Minister Bagnold praised, “Mr. Wickfield, you are courageous!”
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