In the classroom of the History of Magic, a brief silence fell.

Although Matthew and Hermione hadn’t witnessed the injured Finch-Fletchley themselves, Neville’s description was enough to evoke a sense of tragedy.

Furthermore, the Headmistress had exposed their secrets, and continuing to follow her would put them at risk of expulsion from Hogwarts.

“What should we do?” Neville asked in confusion, looking to Matthew for help.

“Let’s not act impulsively,” Matthew said solemnly.

“What did you find?” Hermione’s eyes lit up, and she looked directly at Matthew.

“Nothing,” Matthew quickly shook his head. “I just have a feeling that things are going to get very dangerous… very, very dangerous.”

Neville, in his Gryffindor bravery, stood up boldly. “Then we should put an end to all of this!”

To be honest, Matthew couldn’t fully comprehend Neville’s logic. Perhaps that’s why he ended up in Slytherin while Neville became a Gryffindor.

Matthew feared he would never possess the same courage.

“How do we stop it, then?” Matthew asked calmly, looking at Neville.

Neville opened his mouth but couldn’t find the words.

“We continue to follow…” Hermione hesitantly suggested.

“If Professor Rosier found you once, she’ll surely find you again!” Matthew’s voice turned cold. “If she catches you a second time, she will definitely follow through with her threat to expel you… She always keeps her word!”

Both Neville and Hermione wore expressions of fear. For them, being expelled from Hogwarts was more terrifying than death itself.

“Should we go to the Hospital Wing?” Neville tentatively asked.

“Never go there!” Matthew said firmly. “Never!”

“What could happen there?” Hermione’s curiosity got the better of her.

Matthew tried to explain in a matter-of-fact tone, “Going there is useless. Madam Pomfrey will certainly drive us out, and we won’t be able to see anything.”

Obviously, this reason didn’t convince Hermione, and her brown eyes continued to wander, seeking answers.

“What the heck are we supposed to do, Matthew?” Neville asked again. “We’ll listen to you.”

“I suggest the two of you behave well for now and return to the common room obediently to avoid further suspicion from Professor Rosier,” Matthew advised. “As for me, I’ll continue to follow… Professor Rosier. I’ll also think of a plan!”

“Understood,” Neville nodded. “Hermione?”

“I get it,” Hermione replied, turning away with a slight pout.

The three of them returned to the Great Hall, but their appetites were non-existent, especially for Neville and Hermione.

Meanwhile, Finch-Fletchley’s situation became a topic of discussion throughout the entire hall.

His sudden appearance by the garden fountain, with a condition resembling Ron Weasley’s attack at the beginning of the school year, spread like wildfire.

Matthew patted the fat man, Vincent, on the shoulder and whispered, “Vincent, did you not go to Professor Trocar’s class today?”

“No,” Vincent shook his head and grinned. “We had Herbology in the morning, but Gregory and I will attend after lunch!”

While talking, he stuffed a giant chicken leg into his mouth.

“Don’t attend today,” Matthew said with a severe expression.

“Really?” Vincent looked somewhat pleased. “What about after that?”

“We’ll figure that out later,” Matthew said casually. “Don’t forget to contact Gregory.”

“No problem!” Vincent made an OK gesture.

After lunch, Matthew left the auditorium early and headed back to the Slytherin common room.

Hermione and Neville lost in thought, left much later. By the time they were about to leave, it was already past one in the afternoon, and few students remained in the auditorium.

Hermione, in particular, felt a sense of unease.

Perhaps Neville couldn’t tell, but she could see it clearly: Matthew knew more about these attacks than he let on, but he hadn’t shared the information with her or Neville.

“Did he look down on me or think I couldn’t handle secrets? Does he never trust me?” Hermione thought.

The more Hermione thought about it, the angrier and more uncomfortable she felt.

“Hermione!” Neville called out her name from behind, but she didn’t hear.

Only when Neville tapped her on the shoulder she snapped back to reality.

“Sorry, Neville, I was lost in thought,” she quickly apologized. “Did you finish lunch so late?”

“Yeah, I was lost in thought, too,” Neville smiled. “Let’s go back to the common room… It’s lunch break now, and a few people are in the hallway. It might be dangerous to linger here.”

About to nod, Hermione’s eyes suddenly lit up.

She quickly winked at Neville and hid behind the auditorium’s gate.

At the same time, they heard hurried footsteps approaching. A figure passed through the corridor and disappeared from their sight.

“Professor Trocar!” Neville whispered.

Excitement and nervousness filled Hermione’s expression. “The direction he’s heading… it seems to be towards the Hospital Wing!”

“Hermione…” Neville hesitated, understanding the implications of her words. “But Matthew warned us not to act rashly today… not to go there…”

“He also said he would follow Professor Trocar himself. Isn’t that being rash too?” Hermione whispered. “We have to follow. It’s a favor for Matthew.”

Neville continued to hesitate, but Hermione had already grabbed his arm.

“Let’s go, or we’ll lose them!” Hermione exclaimed.

And so, they ran towards the Hospital Wing.

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Published On: August 20, 2023

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