The dynamic between the roommates had improved, at least on the surface.

Matthew, Crabbe, Goyle, and Malfoy had started addressing each other by their first names instead of their last names.

From an outsider’s perspective, they appeared to be “friends” with a strong bond.

They sat together during class, shared candies and treats when Draco received packages from home and even borrowed Matthew’s homework and papers for inspiration.

However, Matthew could sense that his “friends” often spoke with a slight tremble in their voices when interacting with him.

Clearly, they were afraid of him, their actions more motivated by a desire to please him.

Perhaps they didn’t fully understand the reason for this fear, as it seemed to stem from their subconscious.

Matthew recognized that this fear was likely influenced by the book he possessed, but he didn’t halt the development of their relationship.

Initially, he worried that too much interaction with his roommates might trigger another episode of Theodore Nott’s “morbidity.”

However, he realized he had been overly concerned, as his roommates seemed in good condition.

……

Time flew by, and Matthew couldn’t believe he had already spent two months at Hogwarts.

The castle felt more and more like home to him each day, a sentiment he had never experienced in his previous residence on Witton Road in Northampton.

He gradually gained control over basic knowledge and began experimenting with slightly more complex magic.

October brought continuous and unpredictable weather. The days were plagued by either drizzles or downpours, seemingly unending.

Fortunately, the first-year students only had to venture outside for Herbology classes, although these classes became quite challenging due to the weather conditions.

Matthew couldn’t help but worry about potential flooding if Hogwarts were in a low-lying area instead of the Scottish Highlands.

……

On Halloween Eve, the enticing aroma of roasted pumpkin filled the air as they entered the auditorium.

In their morning Transfiguration class, Professor Trocar allowed them to practice transforming animals, starting with simple tasks like turning a mouse into a snuff box.

Despite the difficulty, Matthew’s snuff box transformation bore an obvious rat tail.

The afternoon class was canceled, allowing Matthew to spend the afternoon in the library, delving into books related to Transfiguration and pondering his mistake in the class.

……

As Matthew entered the auditorium for dinner, he was greeted by a stunning sight.

Lights, colorful decorations, and candlelit pumpkin lanterns adorned the space, reminiscent of a grand school banquet.

Thousands of magically created bats fluttered across the ceiling and walls, occasionally swooping down.

Matthew reached out and lightly touched a bat, watching it turn to ashes, a testament to their magical creation.

Countless pumpkin lanterns illuminated the auditorium, their candle flames dancing in the company of low-hanging dark clouds, adding an ethereal ambiance to the dining tables.

Seated between Draco Malfoy and Theodore Nott, Matthew glanced toward the main guest seat and was surprised to see Professor Rosier sitting there, looking well.

She conversed with Professor Sprout, causing Matthew to wonder if her recovery had been faster than anticipated.

Professor Grindelwald was also present at the Halloween dinner, though he appeared somewhat fatigued, tilting his head as if on the verge of dozing off.

The dinner commenced, and a feast of delicious food materialized on the golden plates before them, rivaling the grandeur of a school banquet.

The flavors were exceptional, surpassing the usual dinners in richness and taste.

“You should try this lamb chop, Matthew!” Draco recommended a lamb chop to Matthew, who nodded in gratitude.

However, his momentary joy was interrupted by a distant, ominous sound that reached his ears.

The auditorium doors burst open with a loud bang, revealing an extremely disheveled and drenched Professor Silvanus Kettleburn.

The Professor of Magical Creatures and Guardian of the Forbidden Forest appeared embarrassed and anxious, his wand held tightly in his prosthetic limb.

His face reflected a mixture of dignity, weariness, and urgency.

Silence fell upon the entire auditorium as all eyes turned toward Professor Kettleburn.

Even Headmaster Grindelwald, seated in the main guest seat, realized something was amiss and stood up.

The professor hurriedly made his way to the main guest table, leaning on it for support, panting as he whispered urgent information to Professor Grindelwald.

Matthew couldn’t help but notice the significant change in Grindelwald’s expression.

“The dinner is over; guide the students back to their dorms.” Professor Grindelwald said in a low voice.

As Grindelwald finished speaking, a familiar light blue smoke emerged from the center of the main guest seat.

As the smoke dissipated, Professor Grindelwald and Professor Kettleburn vanished from sight, leaving a bewildered audience behind.

……

“First-year students, follow me!” Slytherin Prefect Gemma Farley’s voice broke the silence, and she forcefully pulled Crabbe and Goyle, who were still enjoying their lamb chops, to their feet.

She led a group of students, including Matthew, in a hurried rush toward the basement.

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Published On: July 24, 2023

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