“What are you doing?” the grim-faced old man glared at the boy standing at the door, his voice dripping with malice.
Matthew was taken aback and stammered in response, “Sir… I heard… You have… Butterbeer?”
The disfigured old man scrutinized Matthew for what seemed like an eternity before finally saying in a cold tone, “Come in.”
He opened the door to the cabin, allowing Matthew to enter the Hog’s Head Inn.
Matthew could finally take in the establishment’s interior as he stepped inside. It was a small, dark, and filthy room.
Thick layers of dirt covered the bay windows, making it almost impossible for light to penetrate. Only a few candle heads on a rough wooden table provided minimal illumination.
The floor was even messier. Initially, it appeared compacted mud, but when Matthew stepped on it, he realized it was a stone floor that had accumulated dirt over centuries.
There was no doubt that this bar was far from a decent place.
“What are you looking at?” the old man asked suspiciously, noticing Matthew’s curious gaze.
“I was just reading about this place in Professor Bathilda Bagshot’s ‘History of Magic’ class… your bar was once the headquarters of the Goblin Rebellion in 1612.” Matthew said slowly, glancing at the old man’s eyes.
However, the old man’s expression remained unchanged when Matthew mentioned Bathilda Bagshot’s name, and his eyes were not the sky blue he had expected.
“That all happened centuries ago!” the old man said disdainfully. “What do you need, butterbeer or flame whiskey?”
“Butterbeer.” Matthew replied.
The old man turned and left while Matthew took the opportunity to look around curiously.
Without a doubt, the patrons in the bar were old people. There were only a few guests, three to five at most, and the atmosphere was relatively quiet.
There was a witch with a thick black scarf that hung down to her feet and another witch whose head was almost entirely covered by a thick cloak. None of them seemed particularly serious.
As Matthew observed the disfigured old man’s back, he couldn’t help but think to himself.
According to the original book, the male host at the Hog’s Head Inn was Aberforth Dumbledore, the younger brother of Albus Dumbledore. He maintained an incognito identity, collecting information for his brother in this bar.
But this disfigured old man looked nothing like Aberforth in Matthew’s memory. His appearance was completely different.
Just as Matthew pondered this, the hostess approached, carrying a glass of butterbeer at a leisurely pace.
Butterbeer was not actually beer but a drink made of cream, butter, and brown sugar. It was trendy among Hogwarts students.
“Sir, what can I call you?” Matthew asked the host when he put his butterbeer before him.
“Percival,” the host replied coldly.
The name wasn’t uncommon. Percival was one of the most famous knights of the Round Table in the legend of King Arthur.
He was known as one of the Three Knights of the Holy Grail, along with Galahad and Bors. He had garnered significant fame in Wales and throughout England.
Matthew furrowed his brow slightly before continuing his inquiry, “Then, Mr. Percival, how long have you been in charge of this bar?”
This time, Matthew received no response. With his grotesque face, the host suddenly stared at Matthew coldly and asked viciously, “Are you interrogating me, kid?”
“No, no! I’m just… a Hogwarts first-year student…” Matthew quickly defended himself
Just as Matthew stuttered through his explanation, a familiar voice broke the tension.
The Hog’s Head Inn door swung open, and a bald old man as fat as a sea elephant, Professor Slughorn, stood at the entrance with a friendly smile.
He glanced at the filthy floor with disdain before walking in. “Why are you here?” Professor Slughorn asked loudly, his gaze fixed on Matthew.
The host, who had previously been vicious, had already holstered his wand, no longer showing any signs of aggression.
“I… I just heard that this bar used to be the headquarters of the Goblin Rebellion in 1612, so I came to take a look…” Matthew explained, feeling relieved that Professor Slughorn had arrived.
“Oh, alright!” Slughorn grabbed Matthew’s hand, speaking wittily. “Historical records often deviate from reality, you know…”
“Yes, sir!” Matthew nodded.
“Let’s go; this place isn’t for us!” Slughorn shook his head at Matthew. “Thanks to the fact that I was passing by the window and saw you…”
Matthew was pulled away from the table by Professor Slughorn.
“A glass of butterbeer, three sickles!” the host shouted roughly.
Matthew reached into his pocket to pay, but Professor Slughorn had already produced several silver coins and placed them on the dirty table.
“Let’s get out of here quickly!” Professor Slughorn urged, and Matthew followed him, hastily leaving the Hog’s Head Inn.
They returned to the bustling Central Avenue once again.
“Professor,” Matthew asked hurriedly, “Why did you say that the Hog’s Head Inn isn’t a place for us to stay?”
“Of course!” Professor Slughorn explained. “That kind of place isn’t suitable for respectable individuals. A little guy like you would have been in trouble if I hadn’t passed by. Let me tell you…”
“…If you want to drink some butterbeer, I recommend the Two Broomsticks. The environment and the taste are much better!” Professor Slughorn said enthusiastically. “Come, let’s have a drink there together.”
“Of course, Professor,” Matthew agreed.
Meanwhile, Matthew and Professor Slughorn left the Hog’s Head Inn.
A witch with a long black scarf quickly settled her bill and quietly followed their steps from a distance.
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