Professor Trocar’s figure disappeared from their sight.
The sound of approaching footsteps echoed from below the tower.
“Thank you for your efforts, Vinda,” Minister of Magic Millicent Bagnold’s voice resonated. “It’s impressive how quickly Hogwarts apprehended the culprit…”
“We simply did what was necessary,” Professor Rosier replied coldly.
“Vampires, oh, Merlin’s beard…” Minister Bagnold continued. “I hope this creature ceases to pose a threat to our wizarding world!”
The footsteps drew closer.
“Professor?” Matthew glanced at Professor Grindelwald and whispered softly.
Professor Grindelwald gestured for him not to worry.
With a loud bang, the room’s door swung open.
A group of individuals ascended the narrow spiral staircase.
Matthew’s eyes first landed on Professor Rosier’s, followed by Minister Bagnold and two burly men dressed in proud Auror attire.
“Professor Grindelwald!” Minister Bagnold exclaimed, her eyes darting around the room and fixating on the broken window.
She uttered in bewilderment, “Wait, where is that Vampire?”
The Headmistress’s gaze lingered on Matthew for a brief moment, a hint of confusion apparent in her expression.
“I share your doubts, Millicent,” regretfully explained Gellert Grindelwald. “Mr. Wickfield and I arrived half a minute earlier than you… and when we arrived, this room appeared as you see it now!”
“Unbelievable!” the minister exclaimed, her spirit deflated. “That damned Vampire… he escaped…”
She seemed like an ant on a hot plate, her irritation palpable as she scanned her surroundings.
However, Minister Bagnold didn’t suspect Grindelwald was up to mischief.
One of the tall, bald, dark-skinned Aurors, out of the corner of his eye, subtly glanced at the Hogwarts Headmaster before quickly averting his gaze.
The Auror bent down to carefully examine a room.
Suddenly, he spoke, his deep, slow voice carrying a magnetic quality. “Minister, I believe the Vampire Trocar hasn’t gotten far!”
“You’re right, Shacklebolt,” Minister Bagnold regained her composure upon hearing his voice.
“Hurry, you and Dawlish, track him down… That Vampire will leave traces along his escape route…” Minister Bagnold ordered the Aurors.
“Don’t worry, Minister,” Grindelwald reassured gently. “Hogwarts will cooperate fully with your investigation.”
“Thank goodness, Headmaster Grindelwald!” Minister Barnold crossed her hands in gratitude.
The two Aurors descended the spiral staircase once more.
“My apologies for the commotion,” Minister Bagnold apologized to the Hogwarts Headmaster and Headmistress. “Damn it, I don’t know how I’ll face the Daily Prophet reporters now… we’ve become a laughingstock…”
The minister swiftly departed.
Professor Rosier looked at Professor Grindelwald, her voice as cold as ever. “The curse on Mr. Weasley and Mr. Finch-Fletchley has lifted, and they have regained consciousness.”
“Furthermore, we found Mr. Longbottom and Miss Granger in an abandoned bathroom adjacent to Professor Slughorn’s office.”
“There was also a weakened Mr. Evans, who appeared to have been detained for at least half a year. They have all been sent to the school hospital!”
“Additionally, we discovered a petrified ghost that had been missing for quite some time…”
The Headmistress concluded her report without a change in her expression.
“You’ve done an exceptional job, Vinda!” Headmaster Grindelwald praised. “The storm at Hogwarts has finally subsided.”
He then turned to Matthew and inquired, “Mr. Wickfield, would you like to accompany me to the school hospital to visit your two rescued friends?”
“Of course!” Matthew nodded eagerly.
The door to the school hospital gently creaked open.
Professor Grindelwald, Professor Rosier, and Matthew entered.
Chaos reigned in the ward.
On the one hand, there were numerous “patients” in need of care.
On the other hand, Madam Pomfrey, who was supposed to be in charge, lay unconscious on a hospital bed.
Professor Slughorn, the Potions Professor, had temporarily assumed the “school doctor” role and hurried about the ward.
“Matthew!” Neville and Hermione rushed over.
Both appeared “unscathed.”
Hermione seemed like she wanted to embrace him but stopped herself in time…
Matthew couldn’t help but feel relieved.
He extended his hand and shook hands with Hermione, somewhat perfunctorily.
Neville lowered his head, shame etched on his face. “I’m so sorry, Matthew… It’s our fault; we should have listened to you… like fools, we followed the Vampire…”
Matthew sighed and earnestly patted Neville’s shoulder. “It’s alright, just remember the lesson from today and refrain from such recklessness in the future.”
“It’s my fault!” Hermione’s voice is barely audible. “I insisted on dragging Neville along… I’m sorry…”
“It’s all in the past now!” Matthew reassured quickly.
A sudden scream interrupted their conversation.
“It’s Trocar!” Ronald Weasley, who had regained consciousness, sprang out of bed and shouted, “He’s a Vampire… he drank my blood… it hurts…”
“Boy, that was nearly half a year ago!” Professor Slughorn approached, a helpless expression on his face.
Laughter erupted throughout the ward.
Neville and Hermione returned to their beds, and Professor Slughorn suggested that they drink another bottle of “Restoration Potion.”
Matthew saw the real Harry Evans, now thin and emaciated… He hoped he would recover soon.
Behind him, Professor Grindelwald conversed with Professor Rosier—
Matthew noticed that Grindelwald produced an item wrapped in oil paper, which he handed to Rosier.
“Well, I must say, the little Curse you placed on the stone proved quite useful and was a great help to me just now!”
Matthew suddenly felt a sense of familiarity with the oil paper covering the Philosopher’s Stone…
“Well, I must take my leave now, and I entrust Hogwarts to your care,” Professor Grindelwald remarked.
He turned and met Matthew’s gaze.
Walking over, he waved to Matthew. “Until we meet again, Mr. Wickfield!”
“Goodbye, Professor Grindelwald!” Matthew nodded.
Then, a thought occurred to him.
He whispered, “By the way, Happy Valentine’s Day!”
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