The latest website, Flourish & Blotts Bookstore, had been closed down, and everything inside was removed by the Department of Magical Law Enforcement staff for detailed investigation; now, there is an Auror guarding it at the door.

With the store closed, Matthew Wickfield could finally leave the basement’s dark, damp, mosquito-infested cabin.

Matthew himself had no strong opinions on the matter, but he couldn’t help but wonder how his pet toad felt about their newfound freedom.

In any case, he no longer needed to find a shop to work as a “temporary worker” during the summer, as he already had a substantial amount of money in his pocket.

His pocket contained some money Draco gave him last semester, which made him feel slightly guilty when he mentioned the name Lucius Malfoy in front of Minister Bagnold.

Additionally, he had received a salary advance from Mr. Shafiq, the manager of Flourish & Blotts Bookstore, as well as the “stolen money” from participating in smuggling (which the Ministry of Magic failed to recover).

Moreover, Minister Bagnold rewarded him on behalf of the Ministry of Magic with almost fifty galleons.

With this sum of money, Matthew had more than enough to live comfortably in Diagon Alley for the next two months until he returned to Hogwarts in September.

Quickly, Matthew grew accustomed to his newfound freedom.

He could wake up whenever he pleased, go wherever he wanted, and eat whatever he desired.

As long as he obeyed the wizarding world’s restrictions on minor Muggle wizards like him, refrained from venturing into Knockturn Alley and engaging with Muggles, he had the freedom to do anything.

During this time, Matthew resided in the Leaky Cauldron, specifically in Room 13, where he had lived a year ago.

He enjoyed breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron Bar each morning while observing other customers.

A peculiar-looking witch from the country, a noisy little man, and a group engaged in a heated debate about an article titled “Today’s Curse.”

Occasionally, he would return to Room 13 to read a book or venture into the backyard to use his magic wand to open the gate of Diagon Alley.

Among the fascinating shops in Diagon Alley, Matthew found interest in the “Forbidden Journey” wizard travel agency at No. 59. They offered adventurous trips, including renting the Transylvanian Vampire Castle.

Chasing the “zombie trail” journey and facing the living dead, all at a “good quality and low price.”

However, the agency was not responsible for accidental death or personal injury.

He also explored the “Gambol and Japes Wizarding Joke Shop,” where he encountered the Weasley brothers purchasing a magic firecracker called “Fireworks” that ignited with just a little water.

The most popular store, however, was “Quality Quidditch Supplies,” showcasing the latest version of the fastest “Light Wheel 2001” flying broom.

Matthew briefly considered buying a flying broom for transportation, but the prices were beyond his reach. Even the cheapest “Comet 260” had a price tag of 150 galleons.

Enjoying the sunny days, Matthew wandered through Diagon Alley, except for the forbidden Knockturn Alley.

He often read a book while savoring ice cream outside the “Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour” under a brightly colored sun umbrella, relishing Mr. Florean Fortescue’s sugar-free and delicious ice cream.

During these days, he secretly eavesdropped on wizards eagerly discussing the two recent big cases: the “Flourish & Blotts Bookstore Smuggling Case” and the “Azkaban Prison Escape Case.”

The talk of Shafiq and his potential involvement in smuggling and the fate of Hogwarts students buying their textbooks at the closed Flourish & Blotts Bookstore filled the air.

As the days passed, Matthew’s galleons in his wallet slowly diminished.

More and more Hogwarts students appeared in Diagon Alley, getting ready for the new school year.

Matthew observed Vincent and Gregory admiring the “Light Wheel 2001” broom at the Quidditch store.

He also saw Harry Evans, the actual Harry Potter, standing alone outside the sealed Flourish & Blotts Bookstore, looking puzzled.

With only a few days left before the end of summer vacation, Matthew packed his suitcases and prepared to leave Room 13 at the Leaky Cauldron Bar.

As he descended the stairs, he contemplated what to eat for lunch.

But just as he was lost in thought, someone called out his name, “Matthew! Matthew!”

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Published On: September 22, 2023

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