Neville Longbottom, carrying the lightest load, led the way as they approached Professor Rosier’s office. He knocked softly on the door, and her slightly indifferent voice responded from within, “Please come in.”

Neville opened the door, and the three of them entered, carrying an assortment of cleaning supplies.

“Professor Rosier,” Neville spoke nervously, his voice faltering, “Mr. Pringle sent us… to clean your office.”

Professor Rosier, seated behind her desk, raised her head. “Alright, let me know if you need any assistance.”

She promptly returned her attention to reviewing the students’ after-school essays.

Neville visibly relaxed, feeling the weight of Professor Rosier’s imposing presence. Even Matthew couldn’t help but feel its impact. Harry Evans, standing beside them, appeared even more frightened and pale.

Professor Rosier’s office had a minimalist appearance. The furniture consisted of a bookshelf filled with books, an unidentified cupboard, and the desk and chair where she worked. There was nothing else in the room, making it easy to clean.

It seemed that their luck was better than Crabbe and Goyle’s. They divided the cleaning duties among themselves—Neville swept the floor with a broom, Evans cleaned the windows, and Matthew wiped the bookshelf with a rag.

They moved cautiously, trying not to disturb Professor Rosier. Matthew’s gaze wandered over the book covers as he dusted the shelf.

He noticed titles like “Advanced Defence Against the Dark Arts” and “A Guide to Advanced Transfiguration.” If it weren’t for Professor Rosier’s presence, he might have been tempted to take a closer look.

For now, he focused on his cleaning tasks, stealing glances at Professor Rosier as she sipped black tea and corrected papers. When she suddenly looked up, Matthew quickly averted his eyes, fearing he had been caught observing her. With the bookshelf cleaned, he moved on to the cupboard.

A peculiar smell emanated from the cabinet, Matthew is vaguely familiar with the smell but can’t pinpoint it.

Time passed, and Neville meticulously swept the room, while Evans polished the windows. Matthew completed his task and proceeded to mop the floor, dragging the mop from the inside to the outside.

Neville collected the soiled rags in a basin and headed to the bathroom, while Evans prepared to assist Matthew. However, Professor Rosier interrupted him.

“Mr. Evans!” she called, pointing to a thick stack of waste paper on the table. “Please take these to Mr. Pringle.”

“O—Okay!” Harry Evans stammered, struggling with the tall pile of waste paper before leaving Professor Rosier’s office.

Now, only Matthew remained in the room with Professor Rosier. He felt a palpable stillness as he continued mopping the floor.

Soon, he approached Professor Rosier hesitantly. “Professor Rosier,” he softly requested, “May I have a moment?”

Professor Rosier abruptly stood up, her gaze scrutinizing Matthew from head to toe. He felt a chill run through his body. Thankfully, the scrutiny was short-lived, as Professor Rosier left her position and exited the office.

Matthew couldn’t believe his eyes—Professor Rosier had left without a care. With Neville and Evans already gone, he was now alone in her office. His eyes wandered to the bookshelf, but he quickly dismissed any thoughts of snooping.

Perhaps Professor Rosier had only gone to the bathroom. If he were caught meddling with her belongings, it could have dire consequences.

Matthew reminded himself of Mr. Pringle’s warning, urging him to refrain from disturbing Professor Rosier’s belongings. He removed the bench from her desk and prepared to mop the floor, but his movement halted momentarily.

Before him, a small droplet of bright red liquid caught his attention. It appeared like blood, vivid and slightly unsettling. Considering its location, it seemed that Professor Rosier had accidentally spilled something while sitting on the bench—most likely from her tea cup.

Matthew’s gaze shifted toward the covered teacup on the table. While he felt tempted to uncover it and peek inside, Mr. Pringle’s warning echoed in his mind, “Remember, Professor Rosier dislikes others meddling with her things. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!”

Without hesitation, he lowered his head and swiped the mop across the floor, erasing all traces of the liquid.

Shortly after Matthew finished mopping the entire room, Neville returned with a basin and a few rags in hand. “I believe we’re done.” Matthew whispered.

“Okay, thank you so much, Matthew,” Neville replied quickly. “Great job!.”

Just as they conversed, Harry Evans reappeared, looking breathless. Carrying such a weighty load had clearly exhausted him.

However, Professor Rosier still hadn’t returned. The boys exchanged uncertain glances. According to common sense, they should gather their cleaning supplies and return to Mr. Pringle, but they hesitated—should they inform Professor Rosier separately?

At that moment, a commotion erupted in the corridor downstairs. It was Mr. Donald, the golden retriever, barking like there is no tomorrow. Even though he barks when there are few rule-breakers caught in action, somehow this bark feels different… as if he is scared of something…

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Published On: July 9, 2023

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