A brief silence enveloped the three of them in the magic history classroom.
Neville looked down at the ground as if something on the floor had captivated his attention.
Hermione sat quietly, her hands folded in her lap.
As for Matthew, he appeared deep in thought, unable to fight off the weight of the situation.
“We must do something!” Neville finally took the initiative to speak.
“I don’t understand,” Matthew shrugged. “What do you mean?”
“This is already the fourth attack!” Neville spoke with a solemn voice. “Everything indicates that Hogwarts is not safe. It can even be considered highly dangerous.”
“…Professor Grindelwald’s threats have no effect on the lurking murderer within Hogwarts. Judging from Justin’s disappearance, the culprit’s behaviour is unscrupulous. Our lives are at risk.”
“But the teachers at Hogwarts don’t seem to care at all. They will only futilely cover up the truth until they can no longer hide it,” Neville continued passionately.
“We must save ourselves! We need to use our own strength to find the culprit behind these attacks and expose them.” Neville said with a serious expression.
“Please allow me to interject, Neville,” Matthew spoke softly. “The culprit already targeted Maria Adams, a seventh-year Slytherin, around Halloween. Let’s not forget that we are just three first-year students. Even if we catch the culprit, we won’t be able to overpower them.”
Matthew’s words were sincere, and his voice carried conviction.
Neville frowned, clearly not having considered this aspect.
“At the very least, we can go to the teachers,” Hermione interjected, taking over the conversation. “If we discover the true culprit, we can inform the teachers immediately. I believe Professor Flitwick won’t stand idly by.”
“Yes,” Neville nodded eagerly. “And neither will Professor Sinistra.”
Matthew’s expression turned troubled. “Well… I think Professor Slughorn probably won’t get involved.”
“That’s fine!” Neville exclaimed triumphantly.
Matthew felt the need to dampen their spirits.
“Even so,” he said softly, “we don’t have any leads, do we?”
“Of course, I don’t have any leads,” Neville replied, lowering his head slightly ashamedly. “I’m not stupid, but my mind doesn’t work that way.”
He looked at Hermione and Matthew, his eyes filled with hope. “But I know, Hermione, Matthew… you are both smarter than me. You must have leads and a plan, right? Please help me.”
Matthew didn’t know how to respond.
But Hermione spoke up, “Yes, I already have a suspicion.”
“Who is it?” Neville asked excitedly.
“I mentioned it to Matthew once before, but he didn’t believe me at the time,” Hermione narrowed her eyes at Matthew before continuing.
“When Ron Weasley was attacked, the blood on his body was nearly drained. Professor Flitwick also told me that on the second Saturday of school and the eve of Halloween, a unicorn in the Forbidden Forest had its blood drained. The school decided to temporarily relocate all the unicorns to Austria.”
“I have studied the literature on vampires. Many vampires have a habit of sucking the blood of powerful magical creatures, and the blood of unicorns is particularly magical. The appearance of Ron after the attack is highly reminiscent of vampire encounters with Muggles.” Hermione said solemnly.
“You mean there is a vampire in Hogwarts?” Neville’s expression turned fearful, and he shivered involuntarily.
“That’s right!” Hermione affirmed with a determined look. “And I suspect it’s our Transfiguration teacher, Professor Trocar.”
“Professor Trocar?” Neville’s expression shifted to confusion. “How could…”
“Do you remember what Professor Rosier mentioned about vampires in our first Defense Against the Dark Arts class? They have the same appearance as Muggles and wizards but with pale faces that can’t tolerate sunlight,” Hermione explained quickly.
“Now think about Professor Trocar’s behavior…”
“That’s it!” Neville suddenly realized. “No wonder I always found Professor Trocar strange…”
“Wait a minute, wait a minute!” Matthew interjected helplessly. “Did you forget that creatures other than vampires can drink blood? Moreover, we don’t have any evidence that proves Professor Trocar is a vampire… And even if he is, we can’t assume he’s responsible for these incidents.”
Matthew paused and continued, “Professor Trocar is a teacher at Hogwarts, after all.”
“Matthew, you’re being naive,” Hermione retorted, looking at him with a severe expression. “You always believe that all teachers are saints, but all the evidence so far points to Professor Trocar being the prime suspect…”
Being labeled as “naive,” Matthew found himself momentarily speechless.
“Well then,” Neville seemed to have decided, “From today onwards, we’ll quietly follow Professor Trocar until he slips up.”
Matthew felt the need to interject before things took a turn for the worse.
“Actually,” Matthew cleared his throat and spoke seriously, “I believe there is someone even more suspicious than Professor Trocar.”
“Who?” Hermione and Neville asked in unison.
“Our Headmistress, Professor Rosier.” Matthew replied, leaving the atmosphere in the lonely, dark classroom even heavier.
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