Matthew slept peacefully that night.
The creatures of the Black Lake swam past the window from time to time, accompanied by the soft sound of waves echoing in his ears.
There were no strange dreams that night.
The following morning, at six o’clock, Matthew rose from his bed.
Before leaving the room, he fed his Toad with a few worms and secured his suitcase with a lock.
Matthew had heard stories about the complex staircase at Hogwarts, where some stairs would change positions independently. The ghosts and the portraits would also mislead the students, making them lost in the labyrinth of stairs.
To familiarize himself with the castle’s layout and avoid getting lost in the labyrinth corridors, Matthew woke up early to explore and get acquainted with the castle’s paths.
To his surprise, the stairs were not perplexing as he had imagined. Detailed signs marked the entrances to each staircase, and portraits adorned each floor, offering the first-year students directions.
Everything was meticulously arranged.
Feeling at ease, Matthew made his way to the Great Hall.
The Great Hall served as the main gathering place for the students. It was where they would have their meals, receive mail packages, and participate in school events.
Though it was still early, several students were already enjoying breakfast.
In true British fashion, the breakfast at Hogwarts was still rich and bountiful, like the previous night’s feast.
The Muggle proverb said, “Eat breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince, and Dinner like a Pauper.”
Although not as lavish as the previous evening, the breakfast was still sumptuous. Bacon, sausages, eggs, vegetables, mushrooms, toast, baked beans, potatoes, croissants, Danish rolls, cereals, milk, and even black pudding!
Matthew got his sight on the black pudding as he was curious about the taste.
When Matthew finished the pudding, his plate vanished magically.
As he made his way to the exit of the Great Hall, he spotted a familiar face standing there.
“Mr. Wickfield.” Penelope Clearwater greeted him.
“Miss Clearwater!” Matthew replied with a smile and nod.
“I didn’t expect you to be sorted into the house of Slytherin.” Miss Penelope said with concern, “There are only a few Muggle-born wizards there…” She continued.
“I’m just as confused as you are, Miss.” Matthew replied, gesturing the confused sign.
“Well, I can only hope you have a pleasant stay at Hogwarts!” Miss Penelope said while cheering Matthew.
“Thank you, Miss!” After exchanging pleasantries, Matthew said goodbye to Miss Penelope.
Matthew continued his way when he met with the other first-year Slytherin student, the girl from the night before, Lestrange.
Matthew saw no need to offer a greeting to her because they hadn’t been too familiar with each other.
The first class of the day was Transfiguration.
Matthew arrived at the classroom half an hour earlier.
Transfiguration class is a joint class between the students of Slytherin and Hufflepuff. As Matthew entered the room, he noticed a few Hufflepuff first-years were present there.
Matthew found a seat in the front row; Matthew observed the atmosphere of the classroom and found out that it had an unusual atmosphere. The windows were covered with black curtains, although the outside was still broad daylight. Yet, the room was well-lit by several flickering candles.
Matthew then put his copy of “A Beginner’s Guide to Transfiguration” on the desk alongside his black walnut wand.
Soon, the first-years from both houses filled the classroom. Given Professor Grindelwald’s warning the previous night, no one wanted to risk being late.
Sitting next to Matthew was a tall, sturdy girl whom he vaguely recalls the name from the Sorting Ceremony “Millicent Bulstrode.”
Shortly after, Professor Trocar entered the classroom.
Although he appeared better than last night, his complexion remained pale, and fatigue was etched on his face.
He picked up the class roster and started calling the attendance.
“Frankly,” Professor Trocar spoke with a hoarse voice as if he hadn’t talked for a long time, “when Professor Grindelwald approached me and asked me to become the Transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts, I was both honored and surprised.” He continued in a raspy voice.
“I questioned myself whether I was worthy of this position or not. Now that I am here, I promise I’ll do my best to share my knowledge with you.” As he glanced at the assembly of students.
Draco Malfoy sneered at the back of the classroom; accompanied by his posse, they made fun of Professor Trocar’s disheveled appearance.
Unfazed by it, Professor Trocar continued, “Transfiguration is undoubtedly the most intricate and dangerous form of magic. In this course, I will teach you how to alter the shape and appearance of objects and even transform their essence.” As he spoke, he waved his wand.
The podium in front of him gradually shrank until it transformed into a lively badger dog, which scurried around the classroom, leaving small paw prints on the desks.
Then, with another wave of his wand, the badger dog expanded and grew into a giant snake.
Draco Malfoy let out a horrified scream and clung tightly to Crabbe at the sight of the giant snake.
The entire class burst into laughter at their comical reaction.
The giant snake then slithered back toward Professor Trocar and transformed back into the podium.
Many students were captivated by the sight of it; their eyes were eager to learn about the transfiguration magic.
“If you want to excel in Transfiguration, two qualities are crucial.” Professor Trocar explains with a smile forming on his face, “First, decisiveness. Transfiguration differs from ordinary spells. It is a rigorous and precise form of magic. The slightest hesitation and distraction can result in an incomplete transformation. Even unnecessary movements or wand rotations leads to failure.”
“Second, cautiousness. Each transformation process is perilous. A failed transformation could lead to irreversible consequences and potentially bring disasters!” Professor Trocar explained, with his tone slowly changing to an aggressive manner.
“Throughout the world, dozens of wizards die or become permanently disabled each year due to failed transfiguration attempts. Keep these facts in mind and jot them down in your notebooks.”
Matthew listened attentively, his curiosity piqued by the complexities and dangers of Transfiguration.
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