The dinner turned out much better than Matthew anticipated.
One of the involved parties, Theodore Knott, had returned from the school hospital, taking the spotlight away from Matthew.
His injuries were less severe than the others, so he only spent a night in the hospital before gradually recovering. Although he had no recollection of what happened during the attack, Madam Pomfrey deemed his condition stable enough to be discharged.
Similar to Matthew’s previous experience, other students approached Knott to inquire about the incident. Knott seemed to revel in the attention and enthusiastically shared his vague account of the events.
Unfortunately, the situation for the other three was not as promising. Crabbe and Goyle would remain in the school hospital for two weeks, and Draco Malfoy was expected to spend Halloween there.
Professor Rozier had sought the assistance of a skilled magician in Dark Arts to expedite Malfoy’s recovery.
Despite this, Matthew was satisfied with the outcome since he no longer had to be bombarded with questions during and after meal times.
The Hogwarts dinner consisted of a relatively simple fare—Welsh lamb, baked potatoes, and boiled carrots.
This classic combination has remained popular for centuries. Matthew had a spoonful of the creamy mushroom soup but found it peculiar… he decided to skip dinner.
Returning to the Slytherin common room, Matthew gently touched the giant snake’s head on the door and murmured, “Pure Blood is thicker than Muggle’s blood.”
The room was filled with students sitting on plush armchairs. Just as Matthew was about to head back to the boy’s dorm, someone called his name.
“Wickfield!” it was Pansy Parkinson, a fellow student in the same year. She hurriedly approached Matthew and handed him a piece of parchment, “I’ve been looking for you since noon. This is your after-school practice schedule.” She said.
Confused, Matthew accepted the parchment and asked for an explanation, “After school practice? Can you please explain?”
“This is a new course starting from the second week. It will be conducted every Saturday, once every two weeks.” Parkinson impatiently clarified.
“Is it a flying lesson? Perhaps Quidditch?” When Matthew suggested it might be flying lessons, Parkinson seemed bewildered by the idea.
“Quidditch as a formal lesson? Are you out of your mind, Wickfield?” She replied with a puzzled expression.
“So, what does this after-school practice mean then?” Matthew smiled awkwardly.
“I have already said it’s a new class! It’s held once every two weeks on Saturday!” She exasperatedly replied, “We will be grouped with the other students from the other houses as well, that’s it. Stop asking; I still need to get my dinner.” Parkinson replied with an annoyed expression.
“Please pass this to the others in your room as well; I can only tell you because they are still in the hospital.” She said before taking her leave.
Matthew stood there, bewildered, with the blank parchment in his hand. He scrutinized it but found no clues. Realizing he needed more information, he sought the perfect Gemma Farley, which had been helpful ever since coming to Hogwarts.
However, Agnes Lestrange entered the common room before he could act on his plan. After a moment of hesitation, Matthew approached her. “Miss Lestrange?” he called out.
Agnes paused and looked at Matthew suspiciously before responding, “What do you want?”
“I’m sorry for bothering you,” Matthew said, “I wanted to inquire about the after-school practice…”
“So,” Agnes’ speech gradually slowed down, “After school practice is a new class at Hogwarts for the first-year students that started fifty years ago, replacing the Broom Flight Class.”
Matthew realized there was a reason for Parkinson’s exasperation; it was because she lacked knowledge about this class.
“Grouped with the different houses, the students are divided into two groups. The male and the female students, then they will follow different Professors with their lessons accordingly on Saturday. Depending on the Professor, it might take a day, half a day, an hour, or even half an hour.” She explained calmly.
Matthew further inquire her, “To be specific, what are we doing in this class?”
“It won’t be particularly difficult,” Agnes replied. “For example, if you’re assigned to Professor Sprout’s group, she might have you pick some mushrooms. If it’s Professor Slughorn’s group, you’ll likely be working with medicinal materials. And, of course, if you end up in Mr. Pringle’s group, there’s a high probability you’ll spend the day cleaning the castle.”
Matthew couldn’t resist making a jest. “Is there a chance we’ll help him look after Mr. Donald or clean his lice?”
Agnes replied quickly without even cracking a smile, “Perhaps!”
Curiosity piqued, Matthew continued his questioning. “How do we find out which group we’re assigned to?”
Agnes pointed to the parchment in his hand. “Every Friday, it will be updated with the Professor’s name, location, and the main activities. Each practice session will have a different professor and content.”
“Thank you, Miss Lestrange.” Matthew expressed his gratitude sincerely.
“You’re welcome.” Agnes replied, turning to leave.
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