The Griffin extended its majestic wings, spanning almost twelve feet in length, resembling a small airplane.
Matthew could only stoop down and try his best to hug its neck, feeling uncomfortable as the wings constantly flapped. He feared being thrown off the bird’s back, as his legs occasionally stumbled due to the violent shaking caused by the beast’s wing movements.
Despite his unease, he gently ran his fingers over the smooth feathers, cautious not to pull too hard and provoke the giant bird. The landscape below started shrinking rapidly, visible to the naked eye, as the wind rushed past his ears, tousling his hair and fluttering his robes.
Straining to keep his eyes open, Matthew looks at his surroundings. The sun had not fully risen, yet the sky was already bright. A strange sensation overcame him as if he had gained control over everything he saw. Is this what it feels like to fly?
Finally, the Gryffin descended in front of Professor Kettleburn’s cabin, and Matthew’s legs trembled slightly. “Wickfield, your after-school practice is over!” Professor Kettleburn announced as he dismounted the creature.
He put down the unicorn’s corpse and retrieved a plucked pheasant from the roof beam of the hut.
“Now, kid!” He tossed the pheasant to the eagle-headed horse-winged beast, which leaped high to catch it. The creature then began tearing into its breakfast with its sharp claws.
“Professor Kettleburn!” Matthew suddenly remembered something, hastily handing the teapot back to the professor.
“Oh, damn, I nearly forgot about it!” Professor Kettleburn smacked his forehead, swiftly taking the teapot from Matthew’s hands and placing it carefully on a wooden table outside the cabin.
“I should have brought it back when we left the Forbidden Forest. Dropping it while flying would have been disastrous!” He said to himself.
With his legs steady again, Matthew brushed the feathers on his robe and asked, “Professor Kettleburn, now that the practice is over, can I head back?”
“Of course,” Professor Kettleburn nodded. “There was a minor incident today, and I need to return to the castle to inform Vice-principal Rosier about the unicorn…”
As he spoke, Professor Kettleburn shouldered the unicorn’s body once more.
“That’s great!” Matthew thought to himself. It was only a quarter past six in the morning, and if he returned to the castle now, he wouldn’t have wasted any of his weekends.
“We can go back to the castle together…” Professor Kettleburn began, but his voice trailed off as his gaze fixated on the Forbidden Forest. His expression grew serious.
At that very moment, a figure emerged from the forest, stealthily making its way toward them.
Professor Kettleburn drew his wand and advanced cautiously. “Who goes there?” he called out sharply.
After covering several yards, he recognized the figure emerging from the Forbidden Forest—it was Professor Trocar, the Transfiguration teacher.
“Good morning, Professor Kettleburn.” Professor Trocar stammered, appearing slightly startled.
Professor Kettleburn’s relief was palpable. “Oh, it’s you, Professor Trocar. I thought it might be a student sneaking into the Forbidden Forest…”
Indeed, it was Professor Trocar, looking healthier than before, no longer as pale and haggard.
“I heard that you can find shrivel figs in the Forbidden Forest at Hogwarts,” Professor Trocar explained in a somewhat anxious manner, glancing at the rising sun. “So I came here to search…”
“Was it necessary to come so early?” Professor Kettleburn continued to eye Professor Trocar suspiciously.
“It’s barely past six o’clock,” Professor Kettleburn remarked skeptically. “Besides, did you find any?”
“Yes,” Professor Trocar nodded at first, then quickly shook his head. “I—I mean no, I haven’t found any yet…”
“Well, next time I venture into the Forbidden Forest, I’ll help you search for them.” Professor Kettleburn responded coldly.
“Thank you so much,” Professor Trocar replied hurriedly, visibly anxious. He cast another glance at the sky and added, “I must return to the castle, Professor Kettleburn. Let’s talk another time.”
With that, he briskly walked away toward the castle, without looking back.
Professor Kettleburn watched Professor Trocar’s departing figure and then shifted his attention to the unicorn’s lifeless body. He furrowed his brow.
“Let’s make our way to the castle as well, Wickfield.” Professor Kettleburn said, realizing Matthew had already left.
“Youngsters these days!” he muttered helplessly to himself before making his way toward Hogwarts Castle.
On the second floor of Hogwarts Castle, in the office of Vice Headmistress Professor Vinda Rosier.
Professor Rosier had risen early and was sipping black tea in her office when a knock came at the door.
Frowning, she set down her tea and closed the lid. “Please come in.” she called out.
Professor Kettleburn entered, limping slightly, and placed the unicorn’s corpse on the ground. “Professor Rosier, something has happened!” he said urgently.
“What’s the matter, Silvanus?” Professor Rosier inquired softly, her gaze fixed on the lifeless body before her.
“This unicorn was murdered less than an hour ago,” Professor Kettleburn explained rapidly, “When I discovered it, the body was still warm.”
Professor Rosier knelt and examined the corpse. “The blood has been drained.” She murmured.
“Yes, exactly!” Professor Kettleburn affirmed.
Professor Rosier appeared lost in thought for a few minutes before speaking again, “I see, Silvanus. Leave the body here, and I will conduct further investigation.”
“Very well.” Professor Kettleburn replied, ceasing his explanation.
“Is there anything else?” Professor Rozier inquired, raising her eyes to meet his.
“Yes… shortly after I found the unicorn’s corpse, I encountered Professor Trocar on the edge of the Forbidden Forest. He seemed rather suspicious.” Professor Kettleburn said in a hushed tone.
“Professor Trocar…” Professor Rozier echoed, her expression remaining unchanged as she nodded. “I understand, Silvanus.”
“Then, excuse me, Miss.” Professor Kettleburn bid his farewell and promptly exited the office.
Once alone, Professor Rosier waved her wand, causing a nearby cabinet to open automatically. The unicorn’s body levitated into the cabinet before Professor Rosier returned to her seat.
Picking up her cup of black tea once more, she took a sip, but a drop accidentally fell to the floor.
The liquid’s color was peculiar, a deep red reminiscent of blood.
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