Professor Slughorn turned and left, and Matthew walked into the Slytherin common room alone.
The stone door behind him quickly closed on its own.
Inside the common room, many students from different grades filled the soft armchairs by the fireplace.
Many stood around, their expressions filled with worry about the past few days’ events.
For some couples, this might be the worst Valentine’s Day they have ever experienced.
Matthew spotted the only prefect he knew, Miss Gemma, in the crowd.
He pulled her aside to a remote corner and relayed what Professor Slughorn had told him.
“Do we need a password to leave the common room?” Miss Farley exclaimed, taken aback. “Okay, thank you, Matthew. I will inform the other prefects about this… and please remember, do not share the password with anyone else!”
“Of course,” Matthew nodded in agreement.
He then returned to his bedroom, where Draco, Vincent, Gregory, and Theodore were all present, looking lifeless.
The prospect of being confined to the common room for two and a half days was particularly harsh for these mischievous first-year students.
“Let’s play wizard chess!” Theodore suggested, and the proposal was quickly approved by the others.
“Matthew, are you joining us?” Draco called out.
“No, I’ll pass,” Matthew shook his head and instead sat down at his desk.
While the other four boys enthusiastically played wizard chess, Draco complained about his pieces not performing as well as they used to.
The bedroom was soon filled with a lively atmosphere.
However, Matthew lay his head on the desk, deep in thought.
Hermione and Neville had suddenly disappeared, which was completely unexpected.
He wondered what had happened after lunch—were they genuinely investigating the truth, or had they become involved in an accident? Or perhaps, they had become entangled in the fact because of an accident?
Matthew became increasingly anxious. The storm seemed to be coming to an end, but now this unexpected situation had arisen.
“Ronald Weasley isn’t dead… Adams and Carlo aren’t dead… Even Finch-Fletchley won’t die…” Matthew mumbled to himself.
“But now it’s Hermione and Neville’s turn, which might be different. If nothing happens to me now, then by tomorrow morning, Hermione and Neville might appear alive in front of us… or perhaps, we’re about to witness two corpses.” Matthew said with a grim expression.
Matthew closed his eyes. He couldn’t bear the thought of watching the two children walk toward their deaths. He couldn’t be so callous.
After all, they genuinely considered him their friend. He made up his mind.
Suddenly, a breeze swept through the room. Matthew’s drawer was affected by a mysterious force and opened independently.
“What’s the matter? Why do I feel a draft in the room?” Draco exclaimed, a bit flustered.
“It’s just your imagination, Draco,” Theodore replied, glancing at him with a puzzled expression. “Why would there be a draft in the room? Keep playing chess—my elephant is going to eat your horse!”
Matthew looked at the opened drawer and knew who was responsible.
Calmly, he retrieved the ancient book from the drawer and slowly opened it.
A large green line was written on the page that appeared: “Do not go!”
Matthew blinked, surprised that the book seemed to “care” about him. Usually, it wouldn’t be such a wise book, tempting him to join the adventure, potentially risking his life.
He took a quill pen from the holder, dipped it in ink, and calmly wrote: “I must go!”
After a moment, the book’s page displayed the words: “You don’t know what you’ll face!”
Matthew wrote back calmly, “Of course, I know.”
The book seemed to be agitated, with hurried scribbles on its pages: “Then why would you make such a dangerous choice? She is powerful, perhaps even stronger than your headmaster!”
Matthew smiled and replied: “But do you know who she is?”
The book fell into a brief silence, then replied: “I don’t know!”
Matthew became resolute and wrote, “I know… if it weren’t true, who would risk their life for it?”
The book fell silent again, and its words appeared on the page: “I don’t understand. Where does your confidence come from?”
Matthew wrote slowly, “If you could truly perceive the surrounding situation, then you would know right away!”
Pausing momentarily, he continued: “For a truly powerful wizard, their strength lies not only in their magic but also in their wisdom!”
Mockingly, the book questioned: “Do you consider yourself a powerful wizard?”
Matthew smiled once more and responded, “Of course not!”
He was about to close the book and put it back in the drawer. However, all the previous writing vanished at that moment, replaced by a neatly written line: “Take me!”
Matthew hesitated momentarily, then wrote, “That’s not necessary.”
He added another sentence, “Remember not to harm my roommate!”
Finally, he carefully closed the book and returned it to the drawer.
Nearly an hour later, the house-Elves delivered food to each bedroom, which Professor Slughorn had mentioned earlier as dinner.
The students, who had crowded the common room, retreated to their dormitories to eat.
Draco and Theodore enjoyed their cold quail while continuing their game of wizard chess, their spirits high.
Meanwhile, Matthew quietly left the common room, which now appeared deserted.
He approached the stone door and whispered the password while no one was watching, “Merlin!”
The stone gate opened slowly, and Matthew quickly slipped out, taking in the fresh air outside.
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