Matthew observed the four figures before him with a steady demeanor.

In truth, Draco, Theodore, Vincent, and Gregory were never truly his “friends” in this world.

Unlike Hermione and Neville, who had accepted Matthew as a friend from the moment they met on the Hogwarts Express, Draco and the others had treated him as an outsider since he joined Slytherin a year ago.

Their attitude towards him had improved only until the incident involving the book’s attack on them.

Their connection wasn’t driven by friendship but rather by fear or some form of vested interest.

Thus, when Draco confessed his wrongdoing, Matthew felt a mild surprise but wasn’t shocked.

What truly astonished him was not Draco’s actions but rather the book’s earlier revelation.

Draco, Theodore, Vincent, and Gregory stared back at Matthew in a mix of terror and uncertainty, their expressions echoing a chaotic mess of emotions.

Matthew’s mood remained unswayed as he coldly instructed, “Come in and close the door.”

Matthew was uncertain how he was perceived by his four roommates.

He might appear terrifying to them.

But he wasn’t concerned; he didn’t mind leaving a more profound impression on them.

“Let’s get to the point,” he stated impassively. “Tell me about that plan of yours.”

He withdrew his wand and idly toyed with it as he spoke, maintaining an air of nonchalance.

Draco and Theodore exchanged a glance, their eyes betraying their intense fear.

“It was Draco who proposed the idea!” After a brief hesitation, Theodore opted to disclose the truth.

“At the end of the summer break, Draco devised the plan. He suggested that, as noble pure-blood wizards, we couldn’t allow someone… someone… to hold authority over us within the dormitory. It was a disgrace.”

Theodore refrained from uttering the term outright.

“Let’s stick to the details of your plan,” Matthew said casually. “I’m not interested in your justifications or discussions.”

“We…” Theodore hesitated momentarily.

Draco, however, jumped in to provide an answer, “We planned to break into Professor Slughorn’s office and steal the Draught of Living Death Potion…”

Draught of Living Death was a potent sleeping potion. It was an advanced potion usually reserved for sixth-year students and above.

Matthew’s brow furrowed slightly, but he remained silent.

“…We would then choose a night, originally tonight,” Draco continued, “during dinner when you weren’t paying attention, we’d spike your pumpkin juice with the Draught of Living Death. While the potion took effect, we’d convince you to enter the prize room. After the potion rendered you unconscious, we’d hide you in a corner of the prize room.”

Draco’s voice grew increasingly shaky.

“Based on the dosage of the Draught of Living Death, you’d sleep until the lights were out, at which point we would proceed,” he went on. “We’d inform Mr. Pringle in secret. He’d rush over to the prize room after lights out, discovering you violating school rules—roaming the castle after curfew. And then…”

He trailed off, unable to continue.

Vincent followed up, “This week, Draco has been trying to gain Mr. Pringle’s favor. He brought him a few exquisite gifts from home and even his 2001 broomstick as a present. Mr. Pringle is a Quidditch enthusiast.”

“Quite the generous gesture, Draco,” Matthew quipped with a sneer.

Vincent, too frightened to speak further, remained silent.

Gregory glanced around timidly. “After concealing you in the prize room, we’d notify Mr. Pringle. He’d arrive after lights out, catch you, breaking school rules by wandering the castle in the dark… and then…”

He paused before continuing, “…we’d use that as evidence that you frequently remain outside the dormitory past curfew.”

“Mr. Pringle could petition Professor Rosier to expel you from Hogwarts on those grounds… or, at the very least, impose a lengthy confinement.”

Gregory’s voice wavered as he finished, and he gasped for breath.

The quartet lowered their heads, occasionally darting cautious glances at Matthew.

The plan was overly simplistic, with a touch of naivety in the execution, clearly the concoction of twelve-year-old “youngsters.”

Even if the book hadn’t interfered and thwarted their scheme, they might not have been successful in their initial objective.

Matthew didn’t believe that Mr. Pringle alone could expel him from Hogwarts.

He still held onto a sliver of confidence.

However, should he be caught blatantly violating school rules, he’d undoubtedly face severe consequences.

“Draco!” Matthew ignored the others, his gaze fixed on Draco.

It was clear that Draco was the instigator, with the rest serving as accomplices.

“You deem my actions worthy of such retaliation? I fail to see how I’ve wronged you to such an extent,” Matthew’s voice carried a biting edge.

With a casual flick of his left hand, his wand assumed a poised position, almost as if ready to cast a spell.

“After all, care to explain?” Matthew prodded.

Draco’s complexion turned pallid and unsightly, his expression a mixture of guilt and apprehension.

“It was foolish of me… Matthew… my mistake… Forgive me…” he stammered.

Matthew then pointed his wand at Draco, asking, “Tell me, who suggested this idea?”

Draco hesitated momentarily before replying softly, “It was my father. He gave me the idea…”

A heavy silence settled in.

The other four awaited Matthew’s response, their anxiety palpable.

Finally, Matthew broke the silence. “Where’s the Draught of Living Death you stole? Hand it over. It’s far too dangerous to carry something like that.”

After a brief hesitation, Draco retrieved a small glass bottle from his pocket…

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Published On: October 14, 2023

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