Early the following day, Matthew woke up very early.
He could barely close his eyes the night before.
“Many things in my mind right now, magic, Hogwarts, and the world I’m currently in. Obviously, this world is exactly the magical Harry Potter world, but many differences are occurring as I speak right now.” Matthew said to himself with a curious expression.
According to Miss Penelope Clearwater’s explanation yesterday, as an underage wizard from the Muggle’s world, he is already bound by the laws of the wizarding world, and there is no way out.
He thought, “I can only take this one step at a time.”
While having those thoughts, Matthew got himself out of the bed. Breakfast was already served on the wooden table: cereal, toast, and grilled sausages.
A few bites in, and although it feels weird, it’s not unnecessarily inedible.
He knew last night the room he was in was at Leaky Cauldron Bar, Room 13.
A very famous place in the wizarding world.
“Probably a Muggle-born Hogwarts freshman should be assigned here?” Matthew said to himself.
“Mr. Wickfield, awoke yet?” Miss Penelope’s voice came from the other side of the door as Matthew finished his breakfast.
“Yes, I just finished my breakfast, Miss Clearwater.” Matthew replied as he walked to the door to open it.
“Then chop-chop now, let’s go buy Hogwarts freshman necessities. We have a whole day ahead of us and a long list to buy.” Miss Penelope said while giving Matthew a parchment of a to-buy list
“Yes, ma’am!” Matthew glanced at the list and put it in his pocket.
Perhaps because it’s still early in the morning, there are few customers in the Leaky Cauldron.
Several old women were sitting in the corner of the house drinking sherry with small glasses; one of them was smoking a long pipe; a man in a top hat was chatting with a barkeeper who was quite bald and resembled a toothless walnut.
“Good morning, Ms. Clearwater.” The barkeeper looked at Penelope and Matthew walking downstairs, smiling at them, showing his rotten tooth.
“Good morning, Mr. Tom.” Penelope nodded politely at him. “I’m taking a freshman to Diagon Alley to buy the Hogwarts first-year necessities.”
“I wish you all the best then.” Tom replied while smiling.
“Thank you, Mr. Tom.” Penelope returned Tom’s wishes with a smile.
They just walked through the bar of the Leaky Cauldron and came to a small patio surrounded by walls. There is nothing here except some weeds.
“Remember this brick in particular, Mr. Wickfield.” Penelope took a small wooden wand out of nowhere.
She looked at the wall and said, “Three ups, two across. Remember not to get it wrong, Mr. Wickfield. Otherwise, the consequence would be quite bad….”
Then she taps the brick three times.
The brick she knocked shakes and then begins to move. A hole appeared, and soon, it became bigger and bigger. Wide archways start to form just enough for two people to walk through. Revealing winding roads of cobblestones with the end nowhere near visible.
“Welcome to Diagon Alley, Mr. Wickfield! The largest wizarding alley and shopping area in the entire United Kingdom!” Miss Penelope said with a cheerful tone.
Matthew then followed Miss Penelope and walked through the archway; as they stepped into the cobblestone road and moved further, the archway gradually narrowed, then finally, it turned back into a solid brick wall.
They may have come very early, but Matthew imagined Diagon Alley could be more lively.
There are few witches and wizards on the roadside; they go in a hurry, and most shops haven’t even opened yet.
Seeing Matthew’s eyes somehow disappointedly looking around, Miss Penelope misunderstood his thoughts.
“Oh dear, don’t worry about the money Mr. Wickfield. Hogwarts will cover each student’s expenses during their seven years of studies. Especially Muggle-born students. Let’s go to Mr. Ollivander Wand Shop first.” Miss Penelope said while trying to comfort Matthew.
“Okay, I’ll follow you, Miss Clearwater.” Matthew nodded obediently.
As the two continued walking through the alley, they saw an imposing snow-white multi-storeyed marble building towering above the other shops in Diagon Alley.
“This is Gringotts, the Wizarding Bank. The safest place in the world for anything you want to keep safe. Of course, you won’t be needing it anytime sooner, Mr. Wickfield.” Penelope introduced Gringotts to Matthew.
Matthew glanced at the gorgeous bank, then his gaze moved to a ghastly side road.
The road is dark; nothing can be seen. A crooked brass sign hung at the fork in the road and had a big X cross on it.
“This is…” Matthew frowned and walked over curiously
He saw the name written on the sign “Knockturn Alley.”
“This is the Knockturn Alley.” Miss Penelope walked over and explained to Matthew. “Unusual, sinister, and sometimes dangerous individuals walked around and shops here. Around ten years ago, this alley was forcibly closed by the Ministry of Magic. The owners of the shops were also imprisoned.”
Seeing how the dark mist broods over the alley while it’s broad daylight, Matthew couldn’t help but take a step back.
“Was the Knockturn Alley closed?” Matthew said to himself.
Matthew thought deeply, thinking, then turning around and hitting something, or perhaps someone…
“I’m really sorry!” Matthew apologized.
He could see the face of the man he just hit. It’s an old man, skinny, wearing dirty pajamas, gauze wrapped in his hands, and the shoes were old and cracked. His whole body is in tatters, which is a contrasting look compared to Diagon Alley and the wizards and witches with their fancy robes.
“Young sir, please spare a knut… this poor old Umbridge hasn’t eaten for days…” The old man couldn’t even lift his broken bowl without trembling.
Matthew was surprised.
A knut was thrown into the beggar’s bowl, then Penelope pulled Matthew’s cloth and motioned for him to leave quickly.
“Thank you, beautiful lady…Thank you, young sir…” The beggar bowed to them from behind.
“He is…” After walking a few steps away, Matthew asked Miss Penelope.
Hard to imagine in a world filled with magic, beggars would still exist…
“Don’t mind him for a bit.” Miss Penelope said calmly. “Just as a child in the Muggle world has a tiny chance of becoming a wizard, vice versa, a child in this world also has a tiny chance of becoming a Muggle.” Miss Penelope explained with a bit of annoyance on her face.
“Why don’t you send him to the Muggle world?” Matthew couldn’t help asking.
“Because they have learned so many secrets about the wizarding world since they were young, it is impossible to let them leave.” Miss Penelope replied.
“Okay, here we are.” Miss Penelope said with an enthusiastic tone.
The shop in front of them is small and broken, but the golden sign on the door is new; it says:
“Wands by Gregorovitch, Well made wands since 473 B.C.”
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