Matthew Wickfield’s mood could only be described as terrible.

He had anticipated that the book might be scary, but he didn’t expect it to be this terrifying.

Professor Slughorn’s words aligned perfectly with his previous experiences.

Hogwarts did have precautions against black magic items and strict rules regarding space. The book had found its way into the “Room of Requirement,” which, according to his previous knowledge, was not bound by many Hogwarts rules.

It seemed the book had successfully escaped their search and arrest by hiding in that place.

However, Professor Slughorn’s judgment that the item attacking Malfoy was an extremely weak mysterious black magic item might be opposite to reality.

The book’s power could be the reason it had eluded their discovery and made its way to the “Room of Requirement.” Matthew wondered what he should do in such a situation.

Originally, he had planned to seek help from Professor Slughorn, hoping that the Potions teacher could assist him in eliminating this threat, but Professor Slughorn’s words made him hesitate.

Did it mean he should allow the head of Slytherin to kill him? Professor Slughorn’s tone filled Matthew with despair. If the book was truly that terrifying, wouldn’t he be doomed to die or face a fate even worse than death, as Professor Slughorn had mentioned?

“No… no… no,” Matthew desperately reassured himself. He hadn’t reached that point yet. He recalled Professor Slughorn’s earlier words, “You can only pray that you will never encounter something like that unless you are a powerful wizard like Professor Grindelwald.”

Did that imply that if he became a powerful wizard like Grindelwald, he wouldn’t have to fear the book? It should mean that… so his fate wasn’t entirely sealed.


Matthew shook his head, refusing to delve further into those thoughts. Glancing at his watch, he realized it was late, almost past ten o’clock, exceeding the curfew and violating school rules.

He descended the marble steps and entered the basement corridor. The dimly lit and eerie hallway stretched ahead of him.

Strange sounds occasionally echoed, though they might be mere illusions caused by the wind. The torches on the stone walls provided feeble illumination, barely enough to light his path.

Drawing his black walnut wand from his waist, Matthew raised it with his left hand and softly incanted, “Lumos!” a faint light emitted from his wand, illuminating the path ahead. The simple spell he had learned from Professor Flitwick in the spell class two weeks ago proved practical in such situations.

Just as Matthew passed by the door of the Potions class, he sensed a sound. He strained his ears, confirming that it was indeed coming from the Potions classroom.

It wasn’t a mere illusion caused by the wind. Who could it be? It couldn’t be Horace Professor Slughorn, as the old man had just bid him farewell in his office.

There was no reason for him to suddenly appear in the potions classroom.

Could it be another teacher with Professor Slughorn’s permission to retrieve something?

Or was someone stealing something inside?

Perhaps it was the same attacker who had attacked Ronald Weasley before.

Despite the sound, Matthew continued walking forward calmly, as if he hadn’t heard anything. Whoever was in the Potions classroom, had nothing to do with him.

He listened intently, relieved when the sound abruptly ceased. Just as he passed through the corridor and turned into the next passage, a stern voice called out from behind him, “Who is it?”


The voice brimmed with alertness. Matthew recognized the voice as the one he least wanted to hear—Professor Vinda Rosier, the Headmistress of Hogwarts.

He turned around and stammered, “It’s me… Matthew Wickfield! Professor Rosier…”

Approaching from behind, Professor Rosier walked with a limp, as if she had sustained an injury. Her disheveled hair and uncertain expression stripped away her usual grace.

“Wickfield?” Professor Rosier snapped, “Why are you here again?”

Matthew also wondered why he kept encountering her inexplicably, considering he tried his best to avoid her.

“I—” Matthew tried to open explain.

To his shock, Professor Rosier advanced menacingly toward him. Her once-beautiful face is twisted and even appeared somewhat hideous.

Matthew took a few steps back, pressing against the wall, fearing that she might attack him. He contemplated his options.

His wand in his right hand was the only means of offense, with the Petrification Spell being the sole offensive spell he knew. He doubted it would work against her now.

Professor Rosier drew nearer, and her distorted face became more distinct. Matthew noticed a faint red light, reminiscent of blood, flickering in her eyes.

He had no time to ponder its meaning. Reciting the petrification incantation in his mind, “Petrificus Totalus!” he prepared to cast the spell.

However, before he could utter the incantation aloud, another familiar voice interrupted them. “Is Professor Rosier there?”


The red light vanished from Professor Rosier’s eyes, and she turned away, ignoring Matthew. Emerging from the darkness, a familiar figure slowly came into view.

“Oh, and Wickfield!” Professor Edward Trocar blinked and looked at Matthew, his face appearing better than usual, not as pale or haggard as before. It might be due to the weak lights in the aisles at night.

“I’m very curious, Wickfield, why are you here?” Professor Trocar asked with interest, noticing that he had his wand in his hand.

“I am also very curious about this, so I am asking this question to Wickfield!” Professor Rosier said coldly, her twisted and hideous look of anger fading, replaced by her usual coldness.

Professor Trocar’s appearance relieved Matthew. It seemed that no matter what the situation was, he would be fine tonight.

“I just attended Professor Slughorn’s Slug Club dinner…” Matthew quickly explained.

“The Slug Club dinner usually ends before nine o’clock in the evening!” Professor Rosier said coldly, her eyes glaring at Matthew once again, and he thought he saw the blood-like red light in her eyes.

“That’s it,” Matthew continued, “Because I forgot my watch in Professor Slughorn’s office, when I went back to retrieve it, I remembered some interesting things and sought Professor Slughorn’s advice, which made me run a bit late.”

“So that’s it!” Professor Trocar said, looking at Matthew with a praising gaze. “It seems, Wickfield, you are very fortunate. I’ve heard that Horace has always had a keen eye for talent.”

“I hope you haven’t lied!” Professor Rosier interjected coldly. “Because I will find out soon enough!”

After speaking, she pulled out her wand from her waist and swiftly waved it, causing a silver-white cloak-like object to pass by Matthew.


Silence returned to the corridor. Professor Rosier still maintained her position, cornering Matthew against the wall, but he turned his head and closed his eyes.

Matthew felt a little embarrassed and dared not move, as any slight movement could lead him to encounter Professor Rosier.

Professor Trocar suddenly winked at Matthew, who realized that he was still pointing his fluorescent wand directly at Professor Rosier’s chest. He quickly lowered his wand.

They waited for only two or three minutes when they heard anxious footsteps approaching. The portly potions teacher, Horace Professor Slughorn, waddled over, acting quite comical.

“What… is happening…” He arrived in front of the three of them, panting heavily and visibly tired. He stuttered, “What… what is… happening?”

“We’ll discuss it later,” Professor Rosier said, still coldly. “Let’s address the matter of Wickfield first!”

“Oh, Matthew!” Professor Slughorn seemed to have just noticed Matthew and appeared visibly relieved.

“Wickfield told me he was in your office earlier, engaged in a conversation with you,” Professor Rosier first glanced at Matthew, then at Professor Slughorn.

“Yes, that’s correct,” Professor Slughorn nodded. “We were discussing… well, some extracurricular knowledge!”

But Professor Rosier seemed uninterested in the specifics of their conversation.

“So, when did Wickfield leave your presence?” Professor Rosier continued to inquire.

“About ten minutes ago… not too long,” Professor Slughorn replied.

“He was with you all this time?” Professor Rosier squinted her eyes.

“Of course!” Professor Slughorn replied instantly.

Professor Rosier fell silent for a moment, then took a few steps forward, allowing Matthew some freedom.

“Well, you may go now, Wickfield,” she said coldly. “But remember, wandering around Hogwarts Castle after lights-out is a violation of the rules. Mr. Pringle will inform you of the details and duration of your confinement.”

Matthew was at a loss for words. How did he end up being confined?

“I disagree, Headmistress Rosier,” Professor Trocar spoke up. “I believe it wasn’t yet ten o’clock when Wickfield was in the corridor. If you hadn’t intercepted him, there was a high chance he would have returned to the Slytherin common room before lights out.”

Professor Slughorn next to them nodded in agreement.

Professor Rosier closed her eyes again and said, “You’re right, the confinement is canceled.”

Matthew still couldn’t comprehend what was happening. How did the confinement get canceled so easily?

“Go back to the Slytherin common room, Matthew!” Professor Slughorn gestured for him to leave.

Professor Trocar walked up to Matthew, lightly patting his shoulder, and said, “Yes, go back quickly, Wickfield… don’t be afraid, don’t worry. But please remember, avoid walking around Hogwarts Castle at night for now.”

This time, Matthew caught a whiff of the familiar scent of blood.

Matthew nodded without fully understanding what was going on. What were they hinting at?

Unwilling to ask any further questions, he bid farewell to the three teachers and hurried back to the Slytherin common room, without engaging in any further conversation. Exhausted, he fell onto his bed and drifted off to sleep.


The following day, during Monday’s breakfast, Matthew Wickfield entered the Great Hall as usual to have his meal. As he spread jam on his sausage, an excited voice called out to him from a distance.

“Matthew!” Neville Longbottom’s voice rang out, and he crossed several long tables to reach Matthew, embracing him tightly.

“What’s the matter?” Matthew was taken aback.

“It’s incredible… you’re alive…” Neville said tearfully.

“I am alive?” Matthew grew more confused.

“I thought… you were already…” Neville wiped tears from the corner of his eyes and released his grip.

“What’s going on, Neville?” Matthew asked urgently.

Neville’s voice was low as he shook his head. “Seventh-year Slytherin Maria Adams and fourth-year Rico Carlo… they’re both dead. It happened last night.”

The news hit Matthew like a thunderbolt, leaving him stunned. Maria Adams from the seventh year and Rico Carlo from the fourth year… those names vaguely rang a bell.

They were both members of the Slug Club, along with Matthew, representing Slytherin House.

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Published On: July 20, 2023

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