There was a short silence in the bathroom.

Evans stood there, her backlit so that her expression remained hidden.

“Go on!” she said coldly.

“If I wanted to blend in at Hogwarts with a believable identity, I would naturally choose to pretend to be a first-year student,” Matthew continued calmly. “After all, older students already have established social relationships, and any slight abnormality in behavior would attract attention. In many cases, that can be fatal…”

“And among the first-year students, those from wizarding or half-wizarding families would frequently communicate with their families and go home for holidays. If anything were amiss with the child, the parents might write to the school, which would undoubtedly expose the deception…”

“So initially, I thought the true culprit behind the series of incidents might be disguised as a Muggle-born student. But soon, I found a more suitable candidate for the disguise—”

Matthew’s tone turned cold. “Harry Evans, the child of a wanted criminal… His wanted mother would naturally never write to Hogwarts, and even if she didn’t return for Christmas or Easter holidays, she wouldn’t dare come to Hogwarts to inquire, would she?”

Harry Evans suddenly smiled.

Although she still had the face of a young boy, her smile carried a cunning air.

“Yes, you’re right!” she said with a smile.

“I suspect you caught sight of the real Harry Evans long ago and attacked him before he boarded the Hogwarts Express. After all, his mother wouldn’t dare come to King’s Cross to see him off. Once you obtained a hair sample, you used Polyjuice Potion to assume his appearance.”

“To minimize attention, you created Harry Evans as an extremely introverted child who avoids social interaction,” Matthew continued. “But it was too deliberate, and the loopholes were too obvious—”

“Like when we were on the boat heading to the castle, Hermione greeted you, but you didn’t even reply. That was too calculated! At that moment, I started to have some doubts.”

“During the Sorting Ceremony, you used Occlumency to deceive the Sorting Hat, and Harry Evans was sorted into Gryffindor, just like his mother. Everything seemed to be going smoothly…”

“But as we arrived at Hogwarts, more loopholes started to emerge—”

“Firstly, if you were too timid to speak up, why would the Sorting Hat place you in Gryffindor? Gryffindor is known for its bravery!”

“Secondly, an extremely introverted ‘autistic child’ wandering around the castle daily. I can’t count how many times I bumped into you in strange places in the castle in the weeks leading up to the start of school…”

“It’s undoubtedly abnormal. If you were that introverted, shouldn’t you stay in the Gryffindor common room all day? Your personality and behavior simply don’t match!”

“So, at that time, I had a vague feeling that you were searching for something on campus…”

“Then came the Potions class. I do not believe in pureblood supremacy, but Harry Evans’ mother, Lily Evans, was Professor Slughorn’s exceptional student, a true potions genius! No matter who his father is, would their child perform so poorly in Potions class? Frankly, I find it hard to believe.”

“And when you repeatedly burned cauldrons, it deepened my suspicion… How could something like a cauldron burn so easily? I tried it myself a few times and couldn’t replicate it. Your skill level… That’s when I formed a daring hypothesis—”

“The theft from Professor Slughorn’s storage room later confirmed my initial theory!”

“You had stolen ingredients from Professor Slughorn‘s storage and started secretly brewing potions, preparing to stay at Hogwarts disguised as Harry Evans for a long time.”

“But the small pewter cauldrons we first-year students use couldn’t withstand the production of such advanced potions. After a few days of burning, they would leave traces on the cauldron…”

“As an experienced potion-maker, Professor Slughorn would easily notice the traces on your cauldron, coupled with the theft of two valuable ingredients—African tree snakeskin and a two-horned beast’s horn—from his own storage. It would be quite easy for him to connect the dots…”

“So, on the one hand, you deliberately appeared inept in Potions class, and on the other hand, when the traces appeared on the cauldron, you would intentionally burn them off… That way, even if someone caught on to your activities, no one would suspect you.”

“After all, who would think that Mr. Harry Evans, who struggled in Potions class and frequently burned cauldrons, could secretly brew advanced potions?”

Matthew paused for a moment before continuing:

“All of the above could be considered minor loopholes if considered individually… But the loopholes become too glaring when all the evidence is concentrated on Harry Evans.”

“So when I saw you show up in places you shouldn’t have been on Halloween and heard your flimsy excuse, I knew you were the culprit behind all these incidents!”

“Is that so…” Harry Evans blinked, her eyes filled with allure and desire.

Matthew didn’t look into her eyes and continued speaking. “So, the various attacks at Hogwarts can be easily explained—”

“Neville once told me that Ronald Weasley had a heated argument with you before the attack and made you cry. I believe he had spent enough time with you to discover your secret.”

“Vincent and Gregory mentioned that Weasley left the trophy room before the attack. And before the attack, while we were cleaning Professor Rosier’s office with Neville, we saw you taking a stack of documents to Mr. Pringle’s office…”

“I suspect we bumped into Weasley near Mr. Pringle’s office then. Worried he would reveal your secret, you impulsively decided to attack!”

“As for Miss Adams and Mr. Carlo, when they returned from the Slug Club to the Slytherin common room, they probably stumbled upon you stealing ingredients in the Potions classroom… So you had to attack them.”

“And Justin Finch-Fletchley.” Matthew smiled. “When Justin was in Hogsmeade, he was approached by a mysterious woman who questioned him and then wiped his memory… That mysterious woman was probably Harry Evans’ mother, Lily Evans!”

“As a wanted criminal, she couldn’t contact Hogwarts. After a long time without your news, she had to take the risk and sneak into Hogsmeade.”

“She approached the first-year students of Hogwarts in Hogsmeade, hoping to learn about your well-being and safety from their mouths… If I hadn’t been quick-witted, she would have almost been caught for interrogation!”

“But Lily Evans’ memory-modifying charm wasn’t very clever and would gradually fade over time. Justin Finch-Fletchley seemed to be regaining his memories from that day… You were concerned that his recollection of events would work against you, so you seized the opportunity while he was in the Forbidden Forest and captured him.”

“Another interesting detail is that Neville Longbottom, who was confined with Justin, emerged unharmed. Based on the attacks on Miss Adams and Mr. Caro, the perpetrator didn’t seem to have a problem attacking one or two individuals. But Justin went missing, and Neville remained unscathed…”

“There’s only one reason I can think of for that: the attacker and Neville’s relationship were good.” Matthew finished his deduction while wiping the sweat off his temple.

“Mr. Wickfield, you’ve said too much. Remember, all the problems started because of a bloodsucking monster.” Evans replied.

“Did Hogwarts ever have any bloodsucking monsters?” Matthew inquired.

“Perhaps there is a monster inside all of us, Mr. Wickfield.” Evans replied with a mysterious smile.

Read up to 40 Chapters ahead on my Patreon page!

Published On: August 28, 2023

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