Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew, two Azkaban fugitives, fell swiftly before Grindelwald’s minions, ultimately facing their arrests.

There was no denying the exceptional competence of Mr. Pringle and Kettleburn in completing their missions.

The unfolding events bore an unexpected twist.

Clearly, Grindelwald had long prepared and orchestrated this large-scale “rebellion.”

It hinted at his deeper motives, possibly aiming to exploit the situation for his own goals.

Meanwhile, in the castle’s basement—

A furtive figure moved swiftly through the corridors, seemingly undeterred by the nearby House-elves rebellion.

His rapid pace brought him to a stone door adorned with a prominent green snake, serving as the entrance to the Slytherin common room.

The mysterious figure revealed his true identity: the Auror known as Dawlish. He gently touched the stone gate’s snake head and uttered the password, “Pandora’s Box.”

The colossal snake on the stone gate began to stir, causing the door to slowly open.

It was undeniable that Dawlish had provided the correct password to enter the Slytherin common room.

Once a bustling common room, it now lay deserted.

Nearly all Slytherin students had been frightened away.

The younger ones had left the castle, while the middle and upper grades were trapped on the second and third floors.

Dawlish, filled with urgency, appeared to be searching for something within the common room.

Suddenly, he froze.

Not far from him, a wizard sat in an armchair near the fireplace, seemingly concealed by an Illusion Charm that had concealed his presence.

But now, he had revealed himself, wand drawn and aimed at Dawlish.

The wizard who had appeared so unexpectedly was none other than Severus Snape, Hogwarts’ Transfiguration Professor.

“Mr. Dawlish, care to explain yourself?” Snape inquired calmly. “At a time like this, you should be with your fellow Aurors and those dementors in Aberdeen.”

His wand remained steadfastly trained on Dawlish’s chest, never waning in its vigilance.

“Yes, well,” Dawlish responded, appearing quite composed, “I realized something was amiss, so I returned to Hogwarts ahead of schedule.”

“I see,” Snape suddenly realized, offering a sardonic smile. “Then I have another question: Why are you here? This is the Slytherin common room. If I recall correctly, you graduated from Ravenclaw…”

“Because the entire castle has been seized by those Dark Wizards,” Dawlish explained further, “I needed to find a somewhat safer location and await Grindelwald’s return.”

“It sounds like a reasonable explanation,” Snape remarked. “However, under ordinary circumstances, we do not directly contact Lord Grindelwald.”

Dawlish’s countenance shifted slightly, indicating that he had been thoroughly seen through.

It was clear that his counterpart had been prepared and waiting for him.

While scanning his surroundings for an escape route, Dawlish continued to engage Snape in conversation.

“What exactly are you searching for?” Snape inquired coldly.

“I don’t understand…” Dawlish feigned ignorance.

“I am asking…” Snape raised his voice sharply, “You, a member of the Order of the Phoenix, have occupied the castle. What is it that you seek to find here?”

At this moment, Dawlish finally realized that their plan had been entirely foiled.

Grindelwald had foreseen far more than they had anticipated.

He remained cautious as he replied, “I won’t answer your question, I think you already know…”

He shrugged and added, “Remus?”

This prompted an immediate change in Snape’s expression.

“It appears my identity has also been uncovered,” he acknowledged calmly, “James!”

The two individuals, having unveiled each other’s true selves, now faced one another directly.

“Originally, I couldn’t be certain,” James Potter’s expression conveyed sadness. “I was never sure who the traitor was fifteen years ago. I suspected Snape, but I knew this Snape at Hogwarts wasn’t real. I even suspected Sirius and Peter. It’s just that I never expected it to be you, Remus. I thought we were best friends.”

“Yes, it was me,” Remus Lupin nodded, maintaining his composure.

“Too much evidence piled up before me,” James expressed emotionally. “I never wanted to believe it. Every time the full moon arrived, you vanished from the Hogwarts grounds for various reasons, Remus. My friend, you haven’t changed a bit. After all, you’re a Werewolf.”

“That’s correct,” Lupin nodded. “But in the past year, whenever I had to leave Hogwarts due to my transformations, there were always small incidents surrounding me. This provided me with a natural alibi without arousing suspicion.”

If Matthew were present, he might have suddenly understood why he encountered Professor Snape at St. Mungo’s Hospital and why Professor Snape had seemed so flustered when discovered.

“Snape” was a Werewolf, and he had visited Saint Mungo’s Hospital to consult with a healer for medications to alleviate the pain during his Transfiguration.

Remus kept his wand poised, not letting his guard down.

He continued, “I’m sorry for fifteen years ago, but no matter how many choices I make, that choice will never change.”

“Can you tell me why?” James inquired sadly. “I doubted everyone, but from start to finish, I couldn’t understand why you betrayed us, Remus.”

Remus seemed silent for a moment…

After a brief pause, he finally spoke:

“Because of Lord Grindelwald.”

“You didn’t want to betray Grindelwald?” James scoffed.

“Yes,” Remus nodded. “For you, Grindelwald… Whether it’s you, Peter, Sirius… or Severus and Lily, they were all pawns to me. To be more precise, a disguise. I believed in that Hogwarts represented.”

“…But I’m different,” Remus’s expression revealed anguish. “Almost a new lease on life is what Lord Grindelwald means to me.”

James sneered, devoid of sarcasm.

Remus still didn’t lower his wand, insisting, “I’m sorry, James… I know you won’t accept my apologies.”

“Then you returned to Hogwarts?” James questioned. “After we escaped from Hogwarts, you’ve returned once more, impersonating Severus to capture us and earn credit with your master?”

“No,” Lupin shook his head, then nodded. “I heard of your escape from prison. My return to Hogwarts was indeed at my own request. Hogwarts needed a Transfiguration Professor…”

“…But James, I am certainly not here to apprehend you. I simply want to persuade you to give up, to persuade you to leave Hogwarts…”

James shook his head with disdain, “I thought you’d understand me, Remus. Do you think I would act like such a coward?”

“It’s not about cowardice; it’s an impossible task…” Remus earnestly explained. “With your limited strength, you cannot oppose Lord Grindelwald. Any resistance from you would be in vain. Give up, James…”

“…Turn around now and leave, seek refuge in a quiet place, and start a free life anew… I won’t stop you, and I’ll even help you escape Hogwarts.”

James appeared lost in thought, exhibiting hesitation.

He finally spoke softly, “I agree to your suggestion, Remus. Give me ten minutes, allow me to stay in the Slytherin common room for ten minutes. After that, I’ll depart and never return to Hogwarts.”

“It’s still for that, isn’t it?” Remus asked, his voice filled with sadness. “Let it go, James…”

“It appears our negotiations have broken down, Remus,” James’s expression suddenly solidified.

His body began to transform rapidly, and a massive stag materialized out of thin air, replacing the previous wizard.

The stag moved swiftly away from Remus, searching for cover.

“Stupefy!” Remus shouted forcefully.

With a burst of red light, the battle was underway!

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Published On: November 30, 2023

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