“Professor Rosier?” Matthew’s voice trailed off, prompting simultaneous exclamations from Neville and Hermione.

“Yes!” Matthew nodded firmly.

Hermione appeared hesitant, her voice filled with disbelief. “Professor Rosier… how could she…”

Matthew turned to Neville, ready to provide an explanation. “Neville, do you recall our second after-school practice this semester, when the first-year students from both our houses were together? Mr. Pringle instructed us to clean up Professor Rosier’s office.”

Neville nodded, memories flooding back. “Of course, I remember. It was you, me, Evans, and the three of us… that was also the day Ron was attacked.”

“On that day, while you and Evans were absent, I was alone, mopping the floor in Professor Rosier’s office,” Matthew recounted calmly. “To my surprise, I discovered a drop of blood-like liquid under Headmistress Rosier’s desk. Furthermore, there was a distinct smell of a decaying unicorn coming from the cupboard.”

Hermione and Neville exchanged incredulous glances, their murmurs filled with astonishment.

“It’s true,” Matthew continued, his voice steady. “Moreover, Principal Rosier appeared on the scene immediately during the second attack in the potions classroom.”

Hermione pondered with lowered head, considering the information. “But on Halloween, when the unicorn was attacked, and Professor Kettleburn burst into the auditorium, Professor Rosier was seated in the main guest seat…”

Matthew anticipated this question. “The time when the unicorn was attacked and when Professor Kettleburn found its body may not have been simultaneous. It’s possible that someone initially attacked the unicorn and then returned to the auditorium, leading to Professor Kettleburn’s discovery.”

Hermione’s expression remained hesitant, still grappling with doubt.

However, having been persuaded by Matthew’s account, Neville spoke solemnly. “I’ve always had suspicions about Professor Rosier. Why did she suppress news of these attacks? Why didn’t she cure Ron Weasley’s poisoning? Why hasn’t she declared a state of emergency at Hogwarts despite the numerous incidents?”

“I couldn’t figure it out before, but now it’s starting to make sense,” Neville continued resolutely. “If she is the real culprit, it all falls into place.”

Observing Neville’s conviction, Matthew nodded, somewhat satisfied.

But Hermione, regretfully, remained unconvinced. “Professor Rosier, as the principal… She has dedicated almost fifty years of her life to Hogwarts… Why would she do this? What could be her motive for attacking students?”

“Who knows,” Matthew shrugged, echoing Hermione’s earlier words. “But Hermione, you’re being too naive. You always assume that the vice-principal of Hogwarts must be virtuous. However, all the evidence points to Professor Rosier as the most suspicious candidate…”

Hermione bowed her head, appearing lost in her thoughts.

After about half a minute, she raised her head again.

“I still believe Professor Trocar is more suspicious,” she stated thoughtfully.

Matthew felt a bit dizzy.

His intention in revealing the information about Professor Rosier was to divert the attention of his two friends and prevent them from focusing too much on Professor Trocar’s affairs.

However, Hermione seemed to be more stubborn than he had anticipated.

“Let’s split up!” Neville decided. “Both Professor Trocar and Professor Rosier raise great suspicions. Hermione, you’ll be responsible for following Professor Trocar, and I’ll take charge of tracking Professor Rosier. We’ll surely uncover any evidence they may have left behind!”

Upon hearing Neville’s words, Matthew felt a sense of overwhelm.

Hermione Granger, a clever young girl, could potentially expose any findings to the public, affecting the overall situation.

I must prevent them from doing this!

Neville’s gaze turned to Hermione. “Hermione, if you happen to be caught by a teacher while tracking, shift all the blame onto me. Say that I instructed you to do it!”

“And you, Matthew…” Neville’s gaze shifted to Matthew once again.

His expression turned serious, devoid of any humor. “…Matthew, I know you’re a good kid who follows the rules and doesn’t want to break any school regulations. Unlike us, Hermione and I both have an adventurous spirit. But don’t worry. Leave the investigation to us. Even if we get caught by a teacher during our pursuit, we won’t implicate you! Thank you for providing us with such crucial information.”

Being unexpectedly called a “good kid” by Neville, Matthew couldn’t help but feel a bit flattered.

“What about you, Neville?” Hermione asked in a hushed voice.

The gazes of Matthew and Hermione naturally focused on Neville.

Neville smiled and replied, “Don’t worry about me. My parents have some connections with the Ministry of Magic. Even if something goes wrong, I won’t be expelled. At most, I might be punished for a few days…”

“…Actually, I’m used to it.” He lowered his head and examined the marks left by the shackles on his wrists. “Besides, you all come from Muggle families so the punishments would be stricter for you. My constitution is sturdier than yours. In short, no matter what happens, put all the blame on me!”

His speech seemed intended to reassure them, and Matthew felt it would be inappropriate to shy away from it.

“Neville, leave me the task of following Professor Trocar,” Matthew replied calmly.

“Matthew?” Neville and Hermione looked at him in surprise.

“I’m the student Professor Trocar favours the most in Transfiguration class… It’s the safest choice for me to approach him,” Matthew explained. “You two should follow Principal Rosier. Be cautious, as I believe your task will undoubtedly be more challenging than mine!”

Neville cast a grateful look at Matthew and then clasped his hand.

“Let’s work together to apprehend the true mastermind behind these incidents!” Neville declared with determination.

“Yes!” Hermione chimed in, leaning forward.

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Published On: August 16, 2023

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