To be honest, Matthew didn’t like someone as “snobbish” as Professor Slughorn.

It didn’t help that Professor Slughorn was a teacher and the head of the Slytherin’s house.

For now, Matthew had to choose to temporarily lower his head.

It was another Potions class on Wednesday afternoon.

Harry Evans had burned his crucible again, making it the third one he had burned this semester. Even Professor Slughorn couldn’t understand how this kid managed to do it.

“Evans… you actually…” the bald, walrus-like old man sighed, then shook his head, “Hey, forget it!”

With a tinge of heartache, he retrieved a new crucible from the cabinet and handed it to Harry.

“A cauldron is worth five galleons, which is very expensive! This is definitely the last time!” He warned loudly. “If you dare to break it again…”

Terrified, poor Evans curled up into a ball, shivering and sobbing with tears.

Professor Slughorn didn’t even say anything cruel; he just dropped the cauldron, turned, and left.

Matthew and Neville witnessed everything that had just happened.

They were diligently preparing Manegro Potion, the new content taught by Professor Slughorn in this lesson.

Matthew couldn’t fathom the practical value of this potion that made the user’s hair overgrow.

Matthew casually placed the newly cut mouse tail into the cauldron and asked Neville, “Doesn’t Evans seem like a girl?”

Neville quickly shook his head, “How is that possible? I live in the same bedroom with him day and night.”

“I mean his character,” Matthew clarified. “The first impression he gives off is kind of feminine.”

“He’s really introverted and rarely talks to people,” Neville replied. “Or rather, he never initiates conversations. We ask him questions, and he answers, but his voice is always very soft.”

“Do you know who Evans’ parents are?” Matthew suddenly asked.

“I only know that they’re both wizards. He refuses to tell us anything about them,” Neville said.

“I remember Professor Rozier mentioned in the first Defense Against the Dark Arts class that there was a dark wizard… named Evans, I think?”

“Probably a relative,” Neville replied casually, stirring the cauldron. “It’s quite common among pure-blood wizards.”

The potion in the cauldron slowly turned into a dark gray.

“Oh, my favorite students!” Professor Slughorn’s voice suddenly came from behind them, startling Neville. “I see you are chatting happily. I’m afraid you were not joking around and not taking this class seriously?”

The chubby walrus man appeared behind them, placing his hands on their shoulders.

“Yes, Professor,” Matthew calmly replied. “We’re done!”

“Oh, Merlin’s beard!” Professor Slughorn exclaimed, looking at the potion in the cauldron with exaggerated awe.

“It’s perfect… absolutely perfect! I’ve never seen a freshman formulate such a flawless Manegro Potion!” He continued.

“Well done, Mr. Longbottom and Mr. Wickfield!” Slughorn laughed. “If Hogwarts hadn’t done away with house points 40 years ago, I would have added 20 points each to Gryffindor and Slytherin!”

“It’s all Matthew’s credit,” Neville quickly explained. “I was just in charge of stirring.”

“There’s no denying that humility is a virtue.” Professor Slughorn nodded.

“No, no, no!” Neville shook his head vigorously. “Matthew did it all by himself!”

“Mr. Wickfield, is this true?” Professor Slughorn’s gaze shifted to Matthew. “Can you tell me how you managed to create such a perfect hair-lifting agent?”

The truth was that Matthew had learned about the contents of this potions class from Hermione two days ago.

Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff had their potions class on Monday afternoon.

Over the next two days, he searched through almost all the books related to this potion in the Room of Requirement’s library. With the available time, he also conducted several trial runs.

At the beginning of this potions class, he told Neville he wanted to try brewing the potion alone.

Neville, always easy-going and having already established a good relationship with Matthew through their joint essay in Transfiguration class, was happy to oblige.

And now, the results were evident.

“It’s actually quite simple,” Matthew calmly replied. “Just follow the instructions…”

“…But I suddenly felt that it might be better to add the dried nettle when the cauldron is slightly cooled rather than when it’s at its hottest. So, I tried it that way…”

This method had been mentioned in a book called “Advanced Potions Making” that Matthew had found in the Room of Requirement, but he certainly wasn’t going to say that now.

“What a brilliant idea!” Professor Slughorn’s expression became even more exaggerated.

He grabbed Matthew’s hand. “Absolutely brilliant… Creativity is the source of advancement in potions… You’ve done a marvelous job, Mr. Wickfield.”

“Thank you, Professor,” Matthew quickly responded.

After a few more exchanges, Professor Slughorn shifted his gaze away from Matthew’s cauldron.

Half an hour later, the potions class came to an end. As Neville packed up his things, Matthew “accidentally” dropped his box of crystal bottles, causing them to roll all over the ground, with a few even breaking.

“Oops!” Matthew exclaimed loudly.

“It’s alright; I’ll help you clean up!” Neville offered enthusiastically.

As the other students left the potions classroom one by one, Matthew and Neville began clearing the crystal bottles scattered on the floor.

“I’ll assist as well, my dear boys!” Professor Slughorn approached them, waving his wand, causing the broken crystal bottles to immediately repair themselves.

“Thank you very much!” Matthew quickly bowed to him.

Just as Professor Slughorn turned to leave, Matthew suddenly spoke up, “Professor Slughorn, I heard Draco mention before that you hold a gathering of students interested in potions every week at Hogwarts, where you exchange knowledge about the subject…”

Of course, Slug Club wasn’t limited to discussing Potions class content, but Matthew was deliberately playing dumb at this moment.

“…I’ve always had a keen interest in potions, so I was wondering if there might be a chance for me to join?” Matthew asked directly, wearing a cheeky expression.

Professor Slughorn paused for a moment, observing Matthew up and down as if assessing the boy’s qualifications.

After a brief pause.

“Of course, Mr. Wickfield!” Professor Slughorn’s face suddenly turned into a smile. “Welcome to the Slug Club!

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Published On: July 15, 2023

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