The minor “incident” that occurred on the first Sunday after the commencement of the second year didn’t significantly affect Matthew’s demeanor.

He continued to behave as usual, giving the impression that he had forgotten all about the previous night’s events.

He still addressed his roommates by name and readily shared his homework.

At least in the eyes of his roommates, Matthew appeared to bear no grudge.

However, these were merely outward appearances.

In reality, Matthew had become more cautious than before.

He endeavored to minimize his time spent in the dormitory, even keeping his wand within reach when he went to bed at night.

While he didn’t believe that his dorm mates would dare to attack him within the confines of their shared bedroom, he saw no harm in taking extra precautions.

On the other hand, due to Professor Slughorn’s “request,” Matthew interacted more frequently with Miss Shafiq and actively extended his help to her.

The innocent Miss Shafiq had faced numerous difficulties during her time at Hogwarts, but Matthew’s enthusiastic support significantly impacted her.

Their relationship had grown strong, and Matthew believed he was now a “trusted friend” in Miss Shafiq’s eyes.

Shafiq was currently the most valuable lead that Matthew had.

If his hunch was correct, her father, Mr. Shafiq, who managed Flourish & Blotts Bookstore, had inadvertently shipped the book from Italy to England a year ago, only for it to fall into Matthew’s possession later.

If he could follow Miss Shafiq’s trail and uncover the true origins and nature of the book, it could finally put his mind at ease.

While the minor incident on that first Sunday of the school year had aided Matthew to some extent, he also viewed it as a warning.

The book demonstrated its capacity to spontaneously manipulate magic, point its wand at others, and cast spells seemingly beyond its normal capabilities.

This suggested that it might also have the ability to manipulate itself and, consequently, cast a spell like “Avada Kedavra.”

Their power levels were worlds apart, leaving no room for negotiation.

If the book harbored any malicious intent towards him, he knew he had to feign “trust” and “reliance” on it as much as possible.

Ultimately, given the book’s previous behavior, it couldn’t possibly discern his innermost thoughts.

The rainy September days gradually came to an end.

The weather began to clear as the dark clouds dispersed, even though temperatures plummeted.

The past month resembled the period after Morgana’s defeat by Professor Grindelwald last year.

The school environment was tranquil, and everything proceeded smoothly.

The on-campus Aurors maintained a low profile and avoided disturbing teachers and students.

The Dementors, for their part, seemed unwilling to venture within the castle’s walls.

Academic pursuits continued as usual.

Transfiguration class had emerged as a popular favorite.

Professor “Snape” possessed a delightful temperament, delivered his lectures with humor, and exhibited profound knowledge of Transfiguration.

He proved to be more well-received than the previous year’s Professor Trocar, even though Matthew held an intuition-based aversion towards him.

Matthew had to admit that the lessons in his Transfiguration class were intriguing.

Transforming white rabbits into pairs of slippers, mice into cups, and teapots into tortoises.

The Transfiguration hinged on whether the spout remained a tail spewing steam and whether the transfigured turtle retained a wicker pattern on its shell.

Professor “Snape” often rewarded students making significant progress with small gifts.

The majority of students held a positive view of Professor “Snape.”

Except for one individual…

That person was Evans from Gryffindor.

Due to a series of accidents last semester, he performed poorly in his final exams and became the sole second-year student to repeat a grade.

An outcome is uncommon even for students like Vincent and Gregory, who rarely put effort into studying.

However, Evans had performed well in the new semester, excelling in all subjects except Transfiguration.

Matthew inquired about it and learned that Evans was struggling in Transfiguration class.

Professor “Snape” was unusually strict and demanding with him, a marked difference from his gentle demeanor towards the rest of the students.

Some speculated that Professor “Snape” harbored an inherent disdain for repeating students.

Meanwhile, the Herbology class was becoming a chaotic endeavor.

The growth rate of the Venomous Tentaculas was becoming uncontrollable; they grew more extensive and more aggressive.

Numerous spikes lined their stems, capable of piercing the skin on contact. The spiked vesicles contained a potent venom.

Though wearing dragon-hide gloves protected the hands from their spikes, the rest of the body was vulnerable.

The spikes could easily puncture wizards’ robes, allowing the venom to seep into their bodies.

Madam Pomfrey found herself inundated with work.

After each Herbology class, she attended to one or two “poisoned” students sent to the school hospital.

While the toxicity wasn’t severe, it added an extra layer of difficulty to her duties.

Professor Sprout was at a loss.

Despite her repeated emphasis on handling the Venomous Tentaculas carefully, students would frequently disregard her warnings and end up poisoned.

Matthew had learned privately from Professor Sprout that she intended to request Professor Rosier to provide Dragon-hide protective clothing for all students participating in Herbology class next semester.

The rest of the courses remained largely trouble-free.

Matthew received a notice on the last Saturday of September when he returned to the Slytherin common room.

“The following day, Sunday, students in second year and above would have the opportunity to visit Hogsmeade Village.”

For first-year students, visits to Hogsmeade were reserved only for the Christmas and Easter holidays.

Students in the second year and above had more occasions to experience the wider magical world.

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Published On: October 15, 2023

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