In the end, Matthew decided to forgo visiting Draco.

Professor Slughorn’s dinner was rapidly approaching, and he recalled that today was Sunday when he was obligated to attend the Slug Club dinner. and he recalled that today was Sunday when he was obligated to attend the Slug Club dinner.

Failing to show up on time would be seen as an insult to Professor Slughorn.

After exiting the auditorium, he hurried back to the common room to freshen up before going to Professor Slughorn’s office.

However, as Matthew ascended the stairs on the second floor, a familiar sight caught his eye.

Ginger fur, a flat face, and a bushy tail that puffed out at the tip.

It was Hermione’s pet Crookshanks, although Matthew would never admit it due to its unmistakable appearance.

It had unexpectedly ventured out of the Ravenclaw Tower, a rarity considering that aside from owls, other pets rarely left their respective common rooms.

“Crookshanks!” Matthew called out.

The large, feline creature appeared oblivious to Matthew’s voice, continuing to move forward before vanishing.

A few minutes later, Matthew arrived at his destination.

This marked his second time attending Slug Club party, even though the previous experience had some unpleasant moments.

Professor Slughorn’s office retained its extravagant appearance, appearing significantly more spacious than the average teacher’s quarters, adorned with an opulent décor.

Emerald green, crimson, and gold curtains adorned the walls, and the entire room was bathed in a reddish hue emanating from a golden lantern suspended in the center of the ceiling.

In a distant corner, intermittent sounds resembling a man’s melodious humming blended with the ambiance.

“Oh, Matthew!” Slytherin’s head of house emerged to greet Matthew personally. “I knew you wouldn’t miss this!”

Slughorn warmly patted Matthew on the shoulder before realizing something. “Oh, right, where’s Draco? Isn’t he accompanying you?”

“I don’t believe Draco will be able to attend your dinner, Professor Slughorn,” Matthew replied, carefully choosing his words. “A few hours ago, we had a Duel Club practice in the auditorium. During the practice, Draco had a minor incident… He was struck by a Disarming Charm, collided with the wall, suffered a head injury, and was taken to the school hospital…”

“Is that so,” Slughorn sighed. “What a pity!”

“Yes,” Matthew quickly agreed. He was relieved that Professor Slughorn didn’t inquire about the circumstances surrounding Draco Malfoy’s injury.

Professor Slughorn gestured for Matthew to enter the office, leading the way.

The turnout was smaller than the previous semester, primarily due to the graduation of the seventh-year students.

Professor Slughorn promptly attended to the other students, and Matthew took the opportunity to take in the opulence of the office.

“Matthew, over here!” Neville beckoned eagerly, prompting Matthew to join him.

Matthew hurried over and took a seat beside Neville.

“Word is you gave Malfoy a bit of a rough time?” Neville inquired with evident excitement.

“Yes,” Matthew replied, helpless.

The news of the incident seemed to spread faster than he anticipated, reaching even Neville in Gryffindor.

“Good on you,” Neville chuckled. “I’ve never had much fondness for that bloke. Always thought he was up to no good!”

“It appears there are fewer Slug Club members compared to last semester?” Matthew quickly changed the subject.

“Indeed,” Neville confirmed. “I’ve heard that among the first-year newcomers, hardly any have caught Professor Slughorn’s attention… Originally, Professor Slughorn intended to extend invitations to those with notable lineage, like my dad and them. However, Professor Rosier put a stop to it…”

The guests soon arrived, and Professor Slughorn returned to his office.

Dressed in a velvet robe, his rotund figure was adorned with shiny golden buttons.

“At last, after nearly a year, the Slug Club members are reunited!” Professor Slughorn exuded excitement. “It’s a cause for celebration!”

He raised a glass of mead. “To our gathering!”

“To our gathering!” Matthew raised his glass in a symbolic salute.

“I’m absolutely thrilled…” Professor Slughorn continued, “In addition to the joy of reuniting, we also have the pleasure of welcoming two new members—”

“Firstly, let’s warmly welcome Miss Hermione Granger, a second-year Ravenclaw!”

“Hermione?” Matthew couldn’t help but be surprised.

Upon reflection, however, it made sense.

Given Hermione’s talent and dedication, it wasn’t unusual for Slughorn to extend an invitation after her first year at Hogwarts.

Hermione shyly emerged from behind Professor Slughorn, though she seemed different from the Hermione Matthew remembered.

Gone was the unruly hair; in its place was a soft and glossy ponytail.

Her overall demeanor had shifted as well, likely due to not carrying around her heavy schoolbag.

All in all, she seemed significantly improved.

The existing members of the Slug Club applauded her entrance.

Both Matthew and Neville clapped enthusiastically.

Hermione blushed slightly.

“Find yourself a seat at that table, Miss Granger,” Professor Slughorn gestured, pointing towards the long table where Matthew and Neville sat among the lower years.

Hermione happily complied.

“Hermione, over here!” Neville whispered, waving her over while subtly moving his stool aside to make room for her.

He wanted Hermione to sit between them.

With a smile, Hermione took her seat.

“How’s it going?” She looked at Matthew triumphantly.

“It looks nice,” Matthew responded casually.

Hermione seemed taken aback for a moment, her cheeks turning even redder.

“I… I mean… I finally made it into Slughorn’s private club… and it wasn’t because of you,” she stammered.

“Right,” Matthew replied nonchalantly, though his gaze wasn’t really focused on Hermione.

He had noticed another figure behind Professor Slughorn.

A very familiar figure.

As Slughorn continued his enthusiastic address:

“Additionally, let us warmly welcome our first-year Slytherin, Miss Elaine Shafiq!”

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Published On: October 9, 2023

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