Chapter 2 – Manfred's Mysterious Outing

Over the next few days Marcus adjusted to life at Hogwarts. He proved to be naturally gifted at magic, and the talented Hermione helped him overcome his weaknesses and catch up to the rest of the students. But just as Marcus was getting used to his new life Manfred decided to cause trouble.

Marcus, Harry, Ron and Hermione were just leaving the Great Hall after dinner when Manfred, Draco, Crabbe and Goyle brushed past them. "Out of my way, losers!" said Manfred as he pushed Marcus to the ground. Hermione helped Marcus up while Ron and Harry shoved back at Manfred and his cronies, but just then Snape walked by and broke up the fight.

"Starting a fight in the halls?" sneered Snape. "Ten points from Gryffindor from each of you. And I'll see you all in detention tonight." Snape glided off, and Manfred and the rest followed him, laughing all the while.

"I can't stand him," said Harry.

"Which one?" asked Ron.

"Does it matter?" asked Harry. He and Ron laughed, but Hermione was unamused.

"I can't believe I got detention because of you guys!" she complained.

"Sorry Hermione," said Marcus.

"Oh, never mind." She blushed and smiled. "Come on, we might as well go now and get it over with.

Snape made the foursome write lines for hours before he let them go. By the time they got out their wrists were aching and the castle was dark and empty.

"I've never written so many lines in my life!" groaned Ron. "What a git that Snape is."

"Come on, let's get to bed," said Hermione. "I'm exhausted."

They began the long walk back to the Gryffindor tower. But they hadn't made it far before they saw a cloaked figure run by in the distance.

"Who was that?" asked Harry. "Nobody is supposed to be awake at this hour."

"We should tell a teacher," said Hermione.

"By the time we find one he'll have gotten far away," pointed out Marcus. "Maybe we should follow him."

"Aw, but I want to go to bed!" complained Ron. "How important can one mysterious guy sneaking around the castle in the dead of night be?"

The other three glared at him. "Alright, alright," said Ron. "Let's go then!"

The foursome snuck quietly after the figure as he took them all around Hogwarts. Once or twice he glanced back, and Marcus thought he saw a flash of crimson. Could it be they were following Manfred?

They turned a corner and reached a dead end. Their target was at the end of the hall. He passed by a single lit torch, and in the light they could see that it was indeed Manfred.

"What's he doing out this late?" whispered Harry.

"I don't know," said Marcus. "But whatever he's doing, it can't be good!"

Manfred pulled on the torch, and appeared to vanish into the wall. They ran up to where he had been standing, but found no evidence of a door. Harry tried pulling on the torch, but nothing happened.

"Where did he go?" Ron asked as he scratched his head.

"It must be some sort of secret passageway, but why can't we get in, too?" Even Hermione was confused.

"Manfred is definitely up to something," said Harry. "And we need to find out what it is!"