Enormous in stature, with a mane of fluffy hair and intense eyes, the dog that materialized seemed like a fiend freshly escaped from the depths of hell.
Leaping high into the air, it made a beeline towards their location.
Draco horrified scream pierced the air as he reacted quickest, bolting away from the scene…
Theodore, spotting the menacing canine first, moved with a lifeless desperation to flee the forest’s depths.
The “brave” Vincent hurled a chilled quail towards the advancing dog, hoping to divert its attention with the morsel.
Yet, the dog remained undeterred, paying the frozen quail no heed. Instead, it bared its teeth in a sinister grin, its sharp canines radiating terror.
Vincent scream joined the chorus of panic, propelling him to flee behind Goyle.
Matthew, though slower than Draci in reacting, was already in full sprint.
Only Evans stood momentarily bewildered before he scrambled to his feet…
The six of them scattered in different directions, each in frantic flight.
Yet, Matthew had an edge over his companions, particularly in his composure.
His escape path was more deliberate, and he purposely ran towards Hogwarts Castle.
The others, less poised, fled deeper into the Forbidden Forest…
Could that immense dog be the animagus form of Sirius Black?
Certainly, it wasn’t implausible that it could be a creature resembling Black.
Matthew sprinted while pondering—
He had no reason to rush, as his speed didn’t need to surpass the dog’s to ensure his safety.
He only needed to outpace his companions, considering Vincent and Gregory’s lack of fitness, and Evans slender build.
From behind, the dog didn’t seem to be pursuing him.
However, Matthew couldn’t shake his curiosity. If the dog was Black, why would he reveal himself so recklessly?
With so many students, he couldn’t hope to capture them all.
Some would inevitably escape and spread the word of a strange dog in Hogwarts’ Forbidden Forest.
Considering Principal Rosier’s and the Aurors’ shrewdness, they might link the large black dog to the Azkaban escapees.
So, why take such a risk by exposing himself?
Could it involve Harry Evans?
Running along the forest’s edge, he effortlessly exited the dense foliage, the surroundings brightening.
Before Professor Kettleburn’s cabin not far away, Professor Snape, emerged carrying a large pot.
Spotting Matthew’s hasty exit from the Forbidden Forest, he approached.
“What’s the matter, Mr. Wickfield…” the Professor inquired, his expression grave.
“A fearsome dog, Professor… Terrifying… Could have been a wolf. I’m sorry; I didn’t get a clear look. It attacked us suddenly. We got separated during the chase, and I don’t know where the others went…”
Matthew recounted the scene to Professor Snape as thoroughly as he could.
The professor’s frown deepened, and he placed the cauldron on the ground. “I’ll investigate the Forbidden Forest now. Take this to Professor Kettleburn and inform him. Ask him to notify Professor Rosier…”
He then headed into the heart of the forest.
Observing Professor Snape’s departure, Matthew squinted—
The professor’s calmness seemed oddly calculated for the situation.
As if he had anticipated it all.
With calm resolve, Matthew lifted the cauldron.
The vessel was heavy, and an enticing aroma wafted from it… Resembling the “rock cake” Matthew once tasted in Professor Kettleburn’s class.
His hunger grew.
A quarter of an hour later.
Seated before Professor Kettleburn’s office, Matthew indulged in a piece of rock cake while glancing towards the Forbidden Forest.
A meager snack hardly satisfied his appetite; warmth would be far more gratifying.
Having received Matthew’s report, Professor Kettleburn hurried to the castle.
Within five minutes, Hogwarts seemed to spring into action.
Countless dark shapes filled the sky—nearly a hundred Dementors, all stationed around Hogwarts!
Their chilling aura was palpable even from afar, and the Aurors residing at Hogwarts swiftly penetrated the Forbidden Forest.
Principal Vita Rosier arrived, engaged in conversation with Professor Kettleburn and Mr. Longbottom.
They reacted with unparalleled swiftness, almost as if they had been anticipating it…
This made Matthew concerned for Sirius Black’s safety, assuming the dog was indeed him…
“Wickfield!” Professor Rosier approached, prompting Matthew to set down the rock cake and stand respectfully.
It seemed she sought details from the eyewitness—the client.
Matthew held nothing back, recounting everything to Professor Rosier.
Her expression remained unchanged initially, as if she were deep in thought—
Then, in a matter of seconds, her demeanor shifted.
“Longbottom, oversee the situation here!” she ordered, rushing towards the Hogwarts castle.
Watching her depart, Matthew was taken aback.
“May I return to the castle, Professor Kettleburn, Mr. Longbottom?” he asked softly.
Mr. Longbottom remained silent.
Yet, Professor Kettleburn smiled kindly at Matthew. “Of course. I believe Professor Snape’s after-school session might conclude early today…”
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