As soon as Professor Slughorn finished speaking, he gently opened a cauldron in his right hand, revealing a pot of faint pink potion emitting white smoke. Many students leaned forward, trying to catch a glimpse of the mysterious concoction.

Matthew furrowed his brow, contemplating the potion’s identity. After learning about Professor Slughorn’s preference for students with prominent family backgrounds or outstanding talents.

He had done some extra preparation. He had been diligently studying the Potions textbook and researching related materials in the library, aiming to be a student that caught Professor Slughorn’s eyes.

After a few seconds, Matthew raised his hands, catching the Professor’s attention. Encouraged by the Professor’s gesture, he stood up.

“That potion is the Draught of the Living Death.” Matthew said with a steady voice, “It is a powerful potion that sends the drinker into a deathlike slumber.”

“Very good! Excellent!” Professor Slughorn nodded enthusiastically, clearly impressed, “Tell me, what is your name?” He gazed at Matthew with admiration.

“Matthew Wickfield, sir.” Matthew replied with a mix of pride and excitement in his voice.

“Very well, Mr. Wickfield. Please have a seat.” Professor Slughorn said while moving on to the next cauldron, presenting a dim yellow potion with a pleasant aroma.

Matthew once again raised his hand. Professor Slughorn called him, and Matthew confidently answered, “I believe this is the Elixir to Induce Euphoria. It can temporarily bring happiness and delight to the drinker, although the effect doesn’t last long.”

“Very correct, Mr. Wickfield!” Professor Slughorn exclaimed. With excitement in his voice, he asked Matthew, “Tell me which house you belong to, Mr. Wickfield?”

“The house of Slytherin, sir!” Matthew replied.

The Professor’s praise flowed freely, and he continued to the next cauldron, which was the last one.

Matthew found himself stumped at the potion before him; it was transparent and seemed undisturbed by the heat, emitting a funky scent. Matthew had the inside of his head turned upside-down, searching for any information about the particular potion before him. He had no recollection of such a potion in the “Magical Drafts and Potions” being mentioned.

A fellow student raised her hand before he could dwell on his lack of knowledge. Professor Slughorn’s face lit up with delight, “It is the Alihotsy Draught, sir.” Agnes confidently answered.

“If drunk, the potion will give the drinker a light-headed effect and bring the drinker akin to a feeling of high.” Agnes explained calmly.

“Very good young lady! Tell me, what’s your name?” Professor Slughorn asked.

“Agnes Lestrange, sir.” Agnes replied.

“Lestrange?” His expression went sour upon hearing Agnes’ surname, “Okay, please sit down.”

With little acknowledgment given to Agnes, Professor Slughorn moved on to the final cauldron and opened it. He called Matthew’s name, “Mr. Wickfield, can you tell me what kind of potion this is?”

Matthew wasn’t expecting his name to be called. Caught off guard by the Professor’s expectation for an answer.

Matthew stood up and examined the cauldron, “I believe this thick and mud-like potion would be the Polyjuice Potion.” Matthew answered uncertainly.

“Drinking it after adding something from the person you wish to transform into would turn you into that person for an hour.”

“Excellent!” Professor Slughorn applauded Matthew, followed by the other students hesitantly clapping. Clearly impressed by it, he commended Matthew’s knowledge and understanding of the Potions, “What an excellent first-year you are, Mr. Wickfield!”

With the opening remarks concluded, the Potions class officially began. Professor Slughorn divided the students into a pair of two and instructed them to make a simple potion for treating scabies.

Matthew got paired with Neville.

“Matthew, I didn’t expect you to be very smart!” Neville admired him.

“I just read some books, that’s all.” Matthew replied modestly.

“It’s just a shame that you were assigned to Slytherin.” Neville said while showing a sad expression.

Matthew couldn’t help but praise Neville for taking care of the ingredients, such as the dried nettle, snake fangs, and slugs.

Everything was going well; they were the first to finish, and Professor Slughorn complimented them.

An acidic green smoke filled the classroom, accompanied by a loud hissing sound. Harry Evans, the timid boy they were with at the boat. It had somehow caused Ron Weasley’s cauldron to explode, resulting in the potion spilling all over the floor.

Harry was drenched in the potion, his arms and legs covered in painful red and swollen scabies, causing him to scream in agony.

“Oh boy, what have you done!” Professor Slughorn exclaimed; he waved his wand swiftly, clearing the spilled potion, and attended to Harry, carrying him on his back.

“This class ends early. I’ll take this child to the Hospital Wing,” Professor Slughorn announced, his voice filled with concern.

“By the way, Mr. Wickfield. Please stay here for the time being. There are matters I would like to discuss with you once I return.” Professor Slughorn said to Matthew before he hurriedly brought Harry into the hospital.

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Published On: June 20, 2023

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