“Death Eaters…” Sean’s eyes flickered several times as he processed the information.

He had suspected it after witnessing Parseltongue in the infirmary, but hearing Professor Dumbledore confirm it still made his breathing heavy.

Noticing Sean’s anxiety, Professor Dumbledore patted his hand reassuringly. “Don’t worry, I have informed the Ministry of Magic, and if necessary, I will take action myself.”

In his mind, Sean silently urged himself to surpass Grindelwald’s level. He wished he could beat him to death for causing all this trouble.

Professor Dumbledore continued, “You have done an exceptional job, Sean. I admire you, no matter what.”

Glancing at the old man’s satisfied smile, Sean couldn’t help but glance at his mouth secretly.

“If it weren’t for you at school, none of this would have happened, and I wouldn’t have to fight for my life.” Sean thought.

However, the memory of Quirrell resurfaced in Sean’s mind.

After sharing the details of that night with Professor Dumbledore pushed his glasses up and said, “Ah, yes, I am aware. You needn’t worry about it. Your task now is to rest and recover.”

Sean sighed in relief, knowing that nothing could escape Professor Dumbledore’s mind. The old man was always a step ahead.

Rubbing his head, Sean slowly got up from the cushion, “Professor, may I take my leave if I have no more thing to do?”

Professor Dumbledore looked at him in surprise and asked curiously, “Aren’t you curious about something else?”

How did that mysterious man infiltrate? And why weren’t you at the castle? He wanted to know so much, and Sean knew that asking wouldn’t yield any answers.

Straightening his robes and fixing his composed appearance again, Sean replied, “Professor Dumbledore, if you could tell me, you would have already done so. And if you can’t tell me, there’s no point in me asking, is there?”

He turned his head and winked at Dumbledore. “It’s like you have a little secret of your own over everything, isn’t it?”

Dumbledore was momentarily taken aback before his smile grew wider. He burst into laughter, saying, “Sean, I have to say it once again. You have mastered the art of speaking like that old man.”

“Thank you for your kind words,” Sean replied with a slight bow, maintaining his composure and politeness. “Then, with your permission, Professor Dumbledore, I shall take my leave.”

Professor Dumbledore smiled and nodded. Before leaving, Sean glanced towards the door, where the phoenix perch stood empty.

“It’s a shame I didn’t get to see Fawkes…” Sean descended the spiral staircase.

He had admired the magnificent creature for a long time, but his intentions were pure. He had no ulterior motives. He had no desire to test if his affinity with magical beasts would be helpful to Fawkes.

As Sean walked out through the crack in the stone wall, the stone gargoyle returned to its place on the wall.

Professor Dumbledore remained seated in the Headmaster’s office, maintaining a smile. Eventually, he shook his head and stood up.

“It has been three years, six months, five days, twelve hours, five minutes, and thirty-two seconds since you last put me on. The Sorting Hat warmly welcomes your return. Let me introduce the latest services the Sorting Hat has prepared for the upcoming school year.”

“I am quite interested, but I have an urgent matter to attend to. Can I contact your clone first?” Dumbledore interrupted the Sorting Hat with a smile.

“Of course, of course. Please wait a moment,” the Sorting Hat replied regretfully.

It didn’t take long before Dumbledore heard a voice in his head. The eccentric tone of the Sorting Hat remained, but it carried a joy and wildness that no one else could imitate.

“Albus, you actually took the initiative to contact me. Please allow me to give you an assortment of things. I must have a few more drinks this evening.”

“Gellert, you will eventually succumb to what Muggles call alcohol poisoning,” Dumbledore replied with a deep voice.

“Oh?” The voice on the other end sounded even more delighted. “Can I take it as a sign that you care about me?”

Dumbledore interrupted and sputtered, “Voldemort, have you discovered who it is?”

“It’s not an easy task, Albus. You want to uncover a cowardly mole spread all over Europe and even the entire planet. With all due respect, old friend, it’s not easy.”

“You didn’t say that before.”

“But you already have a suspect, don’t you?”

“But I have no evidence,” Professor Dumbledore earnestly explained, “I can’t accuse someone based solely on my intuition.”

“Your intuition has always been accurate,” Grindelwald laughed heartily, “But, as I said, I will help you.”

As if unable to contain his warmth, Professor Dumbledore furrowed his brow. “Let’s return to another topic, Gellert. You do not like to abide by rules but must adhere to our agreement.”

“I understand what you mean, Albus. But I must admit, your trust in me is disappointingly low.” Grindelwald pretended to sound regretful.

“The fire was unusual for such a person to have.”

Grindelwald exclaimed in surprise, “That’s quite an accusation, Albus.”

“Gellert,” Professor Dumbledore’s voice turned serious. “I must remind you that some battles are fought only between us, and there are people you must not cross.”

“Such as you?” Grindelwald responded rhetorically.

“Yes, such as me.” Dumbledore calmly replied.

“Haha,” Grindelwald let out a low laugh, his tone once again filled with enthusiasm. “Alright, Albus, I promise you, I won’t intervene directly.”

Hearing the implications of his words, Professor Dumbledore shook his head. “You should understand that, Gellert.”

“Correct your mistake, old friend. I have always understood.”

In the tower of Nurmengard, Grindelwald removed the Hat from his head, rubbing his fingers together, igniting a blue flame.

“Interesting, let’s have some fun for Albus,” he said gleefully. Blue flames flickered, and a dark mist twisted and rose as if being pulled by an invisible hand.

In a village in Albania, in a dark room, a man dressed in a black robe opened his eyes. He let out a long sigh that carried a mix of pleasure and pain.

“As expected, Grindelwald. It won’t be long now.” His eyes turned cold and determined.

“I will never give up…”

“For eternity—and longevity!” The man roared like an insane person.

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Published On: July 20, 2023

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