Hermione tried to offer a handshake to the new boy, but he simply stared at it and looked away again.
Matthew looking at it, feels second-hand embarrassment… He tried to look at the boy again, but the boy seemed to be tranced by the moon’s reflection on the lake.
He was silent all the time.
Eleven boats pierced the calm lake. Among them, Professor Kettleburn was sitting in a boat alone in front, leading the other boats.
The boats are driven by magic, so without anyone paddling them, the boat would still make its way through the lake.
The children can’t help but awe at the colossal castle towering above the cliff.
Thousand years ago, the four founders of Hogwarts came to Hogwarts by rowing a small boat together at this lake. So, following the tradition, every Hogwarts first-year must do the same before stepping foot into Hogwarts.
The whole journey took about fifteen minutes.
When they land, they step on the cobblestone path, and then Professor Kettleburn guides them with his light coming from his prosthetic limbs through the steep trail. Till finally, they reached flat land filled with grass.
They could finally see the castle from up close, then everyone gathered around to climb up a step waiting in front of a massive oak door.
“Is everyone still here?” Professor Kettleburn counted the students, “Very good.”
He then knocked on the door with his prosthetic hand.
They didn’t wait long before the door was opened; a witch with a black robe and a black pointed hat appeared.
She had a severe look on her face, making people uncomfortable when looking at her.
“The freshmen, Professor Rosier.” Professor Kettleburn said while pointing at the students.
“Okay, thank you, Silvanus; leave the rest to me.” The Professor replied.
She waved her hand gently, and the door opened by itself. The students suddenly formed a line of two under the influence of a magical power.
Matthew and Neville were in a row; behind them were Hermione and the quiet kid with glasses.
“Follow me, kids!” The Professor said with a stern expression on her face.
She walked in front of the kids elegantly, leading the way for the students. The students can simply feel in awe, looking at her elegance.
“Is she the Vice Principal?” Hermione asked while lowering her voice, “Gosh, she looks really young. She can’t be more than thirty years old.”
Neville turned his head and whispered, “Don’t be deceived by her appearance. Professor Rosier is older than my grandmother!”
“What kind of magic she uses… Amazing…” Hermione said in awe.
“Stop whispering!” Principal Rosier said with a firm voice; she glared at Neville and Hermione, locking eyes with them for a moment.
Hermione and Neville immediately bowed their heads, feeling frightened.
They walked along the marble floor. They could faintly hear a humming sound behind the wall on their right. Presumably, other students had already arrived before them at the auditorium. Professor Rosier leads them to a small empty room.
The crowds could be seen touching their shoulders because of how small the room is compared to their numbers.
“Welcome to Hogwarts!” Principal Rosier said while looking at the students, she looked at the group before finally continuing, “It is an honor to have you all here, and it will be an honor to be the one by your side seeing you grow for seven years in Hogwarts. Hogwarts will be responsible for all of you; Hogwarts will act like a home and be the one that guides all of you for seven years; we hope for your cooperation to fulfill your duty and obligations as a Hogwarts student.”
Principal Rosier’s voice was very clear, but most students had their minds wandering somewhere. Perhaps only Matthew and Hermione pay close attention to her.
“The Great Feast is about to begin, but before you enter the auditorium, all of you will be assigned to one of the four houses. The four houses are Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin. Each house has glorious tales and history, with many great wizards graduating from each.” The Principal explained.
“I will be back to pick you up for the Sorting Ceremony, so please be quiet while waiting for me!” She left the room after saying that.
Hermione can finally be seen taking a deep breath after the Principal leaves; she seems relieved.
The students around were talking about the Sorting Ceremony.
“Don’t worry, just wear the hat, and it will do the rest for you.” Neville whispered to Matthew and Hermione, “Very simple steps.” He added.
“Thank you!” Matthew replied with a smile.
Hermione could be seen muttering words while looking all tensed up, “Please don’t go to Gryffindor… please not Gryffindor…”
Professor Rosier returned to the room and said, “Follow me!”
The students walked out of the room, through the hall, and finally entered a gorgeous auditorium.
Matthew felt magnified looking at the Hogwarts auditorium first-hand.
At least a thousand lamps and candles light the auditorium on both sides of the walls. Starlight shines on the ceiling, and four long tables are neatly lined in the auditorium’s center. Hundreds of other students sat on it, and golden tableware was placed on it.
There is another long table on the upper stage separated from the student’s table; it was the table of the teachers. Matthew looked at them, trying to find the face he had saw on the card from the chocolate frog before. Alas, he was nowhere to be found.
Professor Rosier waved her wand, and then a small stool appeared in front of the first-years with a pointy wizard hat on top of it.
The hat was covered with patches; it looked dirty and ragged.
The hat started to sing, “Welcome to Hogwarts; I hope you don’t regret coming here; you may spend seven years romantically in this castle, Or maybe just rotting under the light and shadow, But please don’t forget about your duties, a long time ago Hogwarts hadn’t been built yet, Under the oppression of Muggles, The four founders gathered here.”
“Who is better at fighting than the brave Gryffindor? Maybe only his true friend Slytherin, Who is more Proficient in spells than the wise Ravenclaw? Probably only the inseparable Hufflepuff, The same goal unites them, Which is to work hard for the future of the wizarding world; they pass their knowledge down to the young wizards, but eventually, the sincere friendship of the founders comes to an end.”
“The four great wizards parted ways, But their legacy lives on, The outside is changing dramatically, No one can tell the future, and perhaps the most dangerous moment is nigh, The dawn before us may be the last, To maintain the wizarding world, Keep the magical mystery, Guard everything around, Maintain the warmth of this world.”
“They need to rely on us, I rely on you, In the end, it depends on you! I want you to divide into four houses; my responsibilities cannot be changed; I have to say a few more words, Live in harmony and unity; let’s start sorting!”
After the Sorting Hat finally finished singing, the whole hall applauded.
Principal Rosier took a few steps forward, holding a piece of parchment in her hand, “Whoever I call by name now put on the hat, sit on the stool, and wait for their house to be assigned.”
“Susan Bones!” She read the name loudly.
A little brunette girl with some baby fat on her cheek stumbled out of the queue; she put the hat on, then sat on the stool.
“Hufflepuff!” The hat shouted.
The people at the far-right table applauded and cheered on Susan, welcoming her to their table.
“Terry Bout!” She reads again.
“Ravenclaw!” The hat shouted.
Terry quickly ran to the second long table on the left. All the Ravenclaw students were applauding, and when Terry joined them, several seniors shook hands with him.
Millison Bulstrode became the first Slytherin freshman.
Gryffindor’s first freshman was Harry Evans.
The kid with glasses from the boat with them.
The sorting ceremony continued, and Matthew realized that some specific students participating in this ceremony had changed.
For example, the well-known Miss Hannah Abbot, who ranked first, was nowhere to be seen.
There are also new faces, such as the boy from earlier, Harry Evans.
“Hermione Grange!” Principal Rosier shouted.
Hermione hurriedly to the stool and buckled the hat on her head.
Silent for a few moments for the Sorting Hat, after waiting for around three minutes, the hat shouted, “Ravenclaw!”
“Daphne Greengrass!” Principal Rosier shouted.
It was the girl beside the rude girl from earlier…
She walked to the stool, picked up the hat, and as soon as it touched her hair, the hat already shouted, “Slytherin!”
“Agnes Lestrange!” Principal Rosier shouted.
The girl who was rude to Neville goes to the hat, and as soon as the hat touches her hair, the hat shouts, “Slytherin!”
Immediately after, Neville’s name got called.
Neville stepped forward nervously; he put on the hat and sat on the stool. It took the hat some seconds before it finally shouted, “Gryffindor!”
A smile could be seen on Neville’s face.
The Sorting Ceremony continues with the other students’ names Matthew could recognize, such as Malfoy and Weasley.
There were few students left; Matthew looked left and right. Finally, his name got called.
Matthew took a deep breath and walked over to the stool; he picked up the hat and put it on his head.
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