Matthew never imagined that he would find himself venturing into the depths of the Forbidden Forest, experiencing it in only the second week of school.
Despite being accompanied by a teacher, Professor Kettleburn didn’t seem much more reliable than Hagrid.
“You seem well-prepared.” commented Professor Kettleburn, eyeing Matthew’s long-sleeved wizard robe, leather boots, and dragon leather gloves.
“Very wise; I recall a Ravenclaw girl who wore a short skirt to an after-school practice last semester. Merlin’s beard, she cried for nearly half an hour afterward.” The Professor chuckled.
“Um… Professor Kettleburn,” Matthew softly inquired, “What exactly is a Vampire?”
“A vicious and magical creature,” Professor Kettleburn responded. “About the size of a fox, light gray with a tinge of blue, egg-sized eyes, long fangs, and spines running along their head and back. They sneak up on domestic and small animals, sucking their blood…”
“…Although, in reality, vampires are rather weak magical creatures. They rarely attack Muggles or wizards. But these pests in the Forbidden Forest killed a whole brood of my chickens and attacked the rabbits I released three weeks ago. It’s an unforgivable offense.” The Professor explained with a hint of annoyance on his face.
“Chickens… rabbits…” Matthew thought to himself.
These vampires sound pretty weak! It seems there might not be much danger on this “Expedition.”
“Take this.” Professor Kettleburn suddenly handed Matthew a delicate teapot.
“What’s this?” Matthew was taken aback. It was the same teapot he had seen on the round table earlier.
As Matthew took hold of the teapot, he felt it was surprisingly heavy, as if something alive resided within it.
“If you are in danger, smash this teapot; the little creature inside will protect you!” Professor Kettleburn explained. “Now, Wickfield, let’s go!”
Matthew glanced at the teapot skeptically. It didn’t seem very reliable.
The sky had yet to brighten fully, and Professor Kettleburn carried a lantern as they entered the Forbidden Forest.
He led the way, with Matthew following closely behind, until they reached the forest’s edge. From there, they ventured into a narrow path hidden deep within the dark woods.
The Forbidden Forest was eerie and silent, with the sound of flowing water in the distance indicating the presence of a nearby stream. Every so often, Professor Kettleburn would break the silence with his whistling.
Since entering the Forbidden Forest, Professor Kettleburn had been whistling in a rather tuneless and unattractive manner. Unfortunately, Matthew couldn’t cover his ears because he was still holding the teapot.
After enduring the whistling for nearly five minutes…
“Meow!” A cat’s cry echoed from up ahead.
“Ah, little Tom, you’ve finally come!” Professor Kettleburn stopped whistling, crouching down to greet the cat affectionately.
Emerging from the bushes was not an ordinary cat but a feline-like creature—a bit larger than a typical domestic cat, with various spots on its fur, large ears, and sharp teeth. It resembled a small tiger to some extent.
“Come on, Tom!” Professor Kettleburn produced a ham seemingly out of thin air and threw it to the cat.
Tom sniffed the ham, grabbed it with his mouth, and swaggered deeper into the Forbidden Forest.
Professor Kettleburn motioned for Matthew to follow, explaining, “Tom is a Kneazle. He’s very clever and familiar with the Forbidden Forest. He’ll help us find the nest of the blood vampires.”
They continued their journey with Tom leading the way, and the path seemed smoother with his guidance.
As they walked deeper into the Forbidden Forest, Matthew couldn’t help but be captivated by the peculiar flora and fauna surrounding them. Occasionally, morning light rays filtered through the leaves above, casting an alluring glow.
Suddenly, Matthew’s attention was drawn to a fallen leaf. He could have sworn he saw a faint silver-blue stain resembling blood. He blinked and rubbed his eyes, but the peculiar sight vanished as quickly as it had appeared.
“Hurry up, Wickfield! Don’t fall behind. Remember, werewolves inhabit the Forbidden Forest!” Professor Kettleburn urged from the front.
Reluctantly tearing his gaze away from the mysterious leaf, Matthew quickened his pace to catch up.
As they passed a moss-covered tree stump, Tom abruptly halted, causing Professor Kettleburn to stop as well.
Something was rustling in the bushes ahead, which seemed large in size and number.
Professor Kettleburn’s earlier jovial demeanor gave way to seriousness. He raised his wand, and with a few swift motions, ropes shot out and snaked into the bushes.
A deep, masculine voice bellowed, followed by the sound of someone tumbling out of the undergrowth. After a tense moment, a creature emerged—a Centaur. Its upper body sported a mane of black hair and a beard, while its lower half possessed the form of a majestic horse, complete with a long, flowing tail.
The Centaur, tightly bound by Professor Kettleburn’s ropes, lay sprawled on the forest floor.
Professor Kettleburn paid little attention to the captured Centaur, and his gaze fixed on the bushes.
His voice resonated with authority. “Horses, you have violated the agreement signed with Professor Grindelwald. How dare you stray from your designated habitat!”
Matthew noticed Professor Kettleburn had transferred his wand from his left hand to his prosthetic right arm.
Read up to 40 Chapters ahead on my Patreon page!