Such an explanation appeared rather feeble.

After several of the Alliance members exchanged glances, the doubt in their eyes not only persisted but seemed to intensify.

Judging by the current circumstances, the Hog’s Head Bar, the supposed “stronghold” of the Order of the Phoenix, had unmistakably been compromised.

Mr. Percival might be apprehended, or perhaps he had escaped…

The reason the Alliance hadn’t revealed this information was that they were “baiting the hook,” hoping to ensnare any leftover from the Order of the Phoenix.

As for Matthew himself, he seemed to be a “straggler” ensnared in their trap.

Matthew struggled to keep calm, all the while hoping that their prior arrangements would yield some results…

“Gentlemen, I was just… having a butterbeer,” he explained rapidly, his voice quivering. “I have a butterbeer every night after my routine. Usually, I go to the Three Broomsticks Bar, but tonight they’re closed. It was Madam Rosmerta who recommended this place to me…”

He strained to make his voice sound as innocent as possible.

The countenance of the disguised Mr. Percival showed a hint of uncertainty.

Perhaps it was because Matthew appeared so young or because his voice carried an air of truth mixed with fear.

“I think we may have made an error,” he tentatively told his four companions after a moment of contemplation.

In that moment, Matthew almost believed he had been saved.

However, before long, the leader of the Alliance spoke in an icy tone, “Regardless of whether we made a mistake, suspicion lingers… In these extraordinary times, we cannot afford to let any ‘bugs’ escape.”

He exuded an aura of cold determination.

“I am truly innocent, gentlemen!” Matthew exclaimed, terror etching his face.

He lowered himself to the ground, almost on the brink of tears. “I’m just a Hogwarts student… I know nothing… I know nothing…”

As he feigned vulnerability, his eyes darted around the Hog’s Head Bar.

There was no way he could go to Azkaban, not with all the secrets he harbored.

Who knew what he might reveal under the oppressive influence of the Dementors?

Moreover, these Alliance seemed to have somewhat relaxed, likely due to his youth and obvious distress.

This might present an opportunity to exploit any vulnerabilities, incapacitate them, and then make his escape.

Though a third-year student wouldn’t possess the strength to instantly incapacitate five adult wizards, Matthew hadn’t forgotten about the book.

In this dire situation, the book should be willing to lend him its power… it should…

He just needed to find the right moment to act!

Matthew could feel a potent surge of magic gathering in his hands.

Now, he needed to locate the opportunity to draw his wand from his waist!

“No need for further explanations! Come with us immediately!” Who seems like the leader of the Alliance group declared menacingly. “Given the circumstances, we can’t afford to let any potential threats slip away!”

He waved Matthew over and, at the same time, turned to leave—

This was his chance!

Just as Matthew was about to seize the opening, draw his wand, and deliver a decisive blow to his captors…

“What’s going on?” a cold voice suddenly resonated from outside the door!

Matthew felt his heart turn cold.

The powerful magic energy he had been gathering in his hands dissipated instantly.

He didn’t draw his wand, but allowed the Alliance to keep their grip on him.

However, right before they Disapparated, a young woman’s figure burst into the Hog’s Head Bar.

Her high heels clacked on the dusty floor.

Her earlier voice was so familiar, and Matthew felt a rush of relief…

“Lady Rosier, we’ve apprehended a suspect… He infiltrated this Order of the Phoenix hideout, and we were about to take him to Azkaban!”

As the attention of the Alliance focused on the young woman—

Matthew leaped up and wriggled free from their grasp!

His efforts to keep up his exercise routine in recent days had evidently paid off.

“Professor Rosier… Professor Rosier…” he cried out, rushing over and clinging to Rosier’s trench coat.

Professor Rosier appeared to recognize Matthew almost immediately.

She didn’t react strangely but allowed him to clutch the hem of her coat.

“Wickfield?”

“What’s happening?” she asked coldly, looking at the people in the bar.

Before anyone else could respond, Matthew hastily explained in a rapid tone, “That’s— Professor Rosier… I was just here for a glass of butterbeer…”

“…Yes, it’s true,” he added swiftly, “I have a glass of butterbeer every night after my works. Usually, I go to the Three Broomsticks, but tonight they’re closed. Madam Rosmerta recommended this place to me…”

“…Then these gentlemen suddenly accused me of being a suspect and wanted to take me to Azkaban… I haven’t done anything, I swear.” Matthew said, his voice trembling, “I’m innocent, I swear in Merlin’s name… I beg you, please save me…”

“There’s no doubt,” Professor Rosier’s voice seemed to soften a bit.

“He is a suspect, Lady Rosier!” the Alliance member argued reluctantly. “He couldn’t be a mere innocent person entering here at this hour!”

“He’s my student,” Professor Rosier stated coldly, “A Hogwarts student… It’s clear that he’s innocent.”

“But—” he tried to argue further.

“Let’s go!” Rosier waved them away. “I don’t believe your clumsy setup could catch the remnants of the Order of the Phoenix… The few who remain have long since become skittish, and it’s impossible for them to walk into such an obvious trap. You’re only endangering innocent people!”

She gestured for Matthew to follow her.

“But… I sent word to Azkaban…” one of the Alliance said, looking embarrassed. “The Dementor is already on its way…”

“Then kindly request them to return,” Rosier said coldly.

With that, she walked away from the Hog’s Head Bar.

Matthew quickly followed her, eager to leave this perilous place.

Read up to 40 Chapters ahead on my Patreon page!

Published On: December 7, 2023

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