The weather outside could only be described as terrible.

Even though it wasn’t too late after class, it was already dark, as if ink had been splashed across the sky.

The rain continued to pour relentlessly, and the basement floor of Hogwarts seemed to have become slightly damp.

Matthew couldn’t help but wonder if his bedroom would be flooded.

Thankfully, it appeared to be safe from the water’s intrusion.

As he arrived at the entrance of the Slytherin common room, Matthew reached out and touched the head of the giant green snake.

He whispered the password, “Noble Glory!” The giant snake released its tail from its mouth, wriggled slightly, and opened the door to the common room.

Unlike the darkness outside, the common room was bright and lively.

The soft armchairs were bathed in the green glow of the fireplace, and students sat in them, engrossed in reading, chatting, and doing homework.

“Good evening, Matthew!” someone greeted him as he entered.

Having been in Slytherin for almost a month and a half, Matthew had become familiar with some senior students.

He replied, “Good evening!” as he returned to his bedroom.

To his surprise, quite a few people were in the room, which was unusual since Crabbe and Goyle rarely stayed there.

Ignoring them, Matthew went straight to his seat and opened the parchment containing information about the “after-school practice.”

The note indicated that they were supposed to participate in the after-school practice with the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and Professor Rosier on the following day, Saturday.

However, the practice had been temporarily canceled due to Professor Rosier’s illness.

Matthew considered it good news, especially considering the terrible weather outside.

Participating in outdoor activities in such conditions would undoubtedly result in discomfort, if not worse.

There was also a letter from Professor Slughorn on the table.

Matthew opened it and read that the Slug Club’s Sunday night gathering had been indefinitely canceled.

Professor Slughorn would notify them separately when it would resume. It was understandable, given that two Slytherin students were attacked after the last club meeting.

Even with Headmaster Grindelwald’s assurance that there would be no more attacks, Professor Slughorn didn’t want to take any more risks.

Matthew crumpled the note and tossed it aside.

Just then, someone in the room whispered his name. “Wickfield…”

“Huh?” Matthew blinked and looked up. The voice was unmistakably Draco Malfoy’s.

Malfoy, his last roommate in the dormitory, had returned earlier while Matthew wasn’t paying attention.

On the first school weekend, Malfoy is taken to the school hospital after being attacked by a mysterious magical object.

In mid-August, he was finally discharged and could resume his “normal” life.

“Hello!” Matthew glanced at Draco and spoke softly.

Draco appeared paler than before; his ordeal had taken a toll on him.

At first sight, Matthew saw a reflection of Professor Trocar in Draco’s eyes—an emotion of fear.

Matthew had seen a similar fear in the eyes of Crabbe, Goyle, and Nott before, but Draco’s fear didn’t seem as “deep.” The two boys stared at each other in silence.

“What’s the matter, Malfoy?” Matthew asked, his tone lacking warmth.

He didn’t show Malfoy any kindness, even though the other had spent over a month in the hospital, partly due to him.

Matthew hadn’t forgotten what Malfoy and his friends had done before Malfoy ended up in the hospital.

Malfoy seemed to struggle momentarily before softly apologizing, “Sorry…”

Matthew’s turn to be surprised came. “Oh? What for?”

Matthew would have considered it normal if Draco Malfoy were now clenching his fist, seeking revenge.

Now, Matthew wasn’t afraid of him. He could draw his wand at any moment and petrify Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle with ease.

A student who hardly attended classes, paired with two infamous lackeys, posed no threat to him.

“I—I’m sorry…” Malfoy stammered, clearly nervous.

“I’m very sorry…” Malfoy continued almost to the sound of whispering, repeating himself.

Crabbe and Goyle were also there, bowing their head down and looking at the floor.

While this was happening, Nott couldn’t stand the situation and soon joined the three, begging for apologies.

Matthew’s demeanor remained calm. “Is that so? I already knew.” He didn’t display any excitement or sentimentality.

“So… can you forgive us?” Draco asked, his eyes filled with hope.

“Before that, I think I have the right to know what happened that day. Can you please tell me?” Matthew inquired Malfoy.

“I—I don’t know…” Malfoy shook his head, “Everything was blurry; I can only describe what happened as terrible… horrifying…” Malfoy said with a grim expression.

“Does that incident have anything to do with you?” Matthew asked, catching Malfoy off guard.

Malfoy startled for a bit before replying, “M—maybe… I don’t know for sure…”

“Does that incident have anything to do with you, Wickfield?” Malfoy returned the question nervously.

Matthew didn’t provide a direct answer. “Let bygones be bygones. Well, I need to work on my Transfiguration homework.”

The other four boys retreated, leaving Matthew alone to focus on his tasks.

……

As Matthew took out his parchment, ink, and quill pen, he couldn’t help but reflect.

Pedigree theories were nothing more than a facade, he thought.

Judging the situation, respecting strength, and following the powerful—that was the true ambition of Slytherin.

Suddenly, he understood how Tom Riddle, a child born in an orphanage and a half-blood, eventually became the “Dark Lord.”

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Published On: July 23, 2023

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