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"At the moment?" Harry repeated, tearing his gaze from the water to look at Dumbledore.

Dumbledore scooped the locket from the bottom of the stone basin and stowed it inside his robes. Wordlessly, he gestured to Harry to come to his side. Distracted by the flames, the Inferi seemed unaware that their quarry was leaving as Dumbledore led Harry back to the boat, the ring of fire moving with them, around them, the bewildered Inferi accompanying them to the waters edge, where they slipped gratefully back into their dark waters.

"Don't," crooned Moaning Myrtle's voice from one of the cubicles. "Don't. . . tell me what's wrong ... I can help you. . . ."

He knew it had worked before he opened his eyes: the smell of salt, the sea breeze had gone. He and Dumbledore were shivering and dripping in the middle of the dark High Street in Hogsmeade. For one horrible moment Harry's imagination showed him more Inferi creeping towards him around the sides of shops, but he blinked and saw that noth-ing was stirring; all was still, the darkness complete but for a few streetlamps and lit upper windows.

'I've got a couple behind the bar,' she said, looking very frightened. 'Shall I run and fetch -?'


She looked back over her shoulder, having only just real-ised that Harry was no longer with her; he had stopped walking and they were now ten feet from each other.

"Then why," asked Snape, "does it have the name 'Roonil Wazlib' written inside the front cover?"

Harry ran flat-out toward the bathroom on the floor below, cramming Ron's copy of Advanced Potion-Making into his bag as he did so. A minute later, he was back in front of Snape, who held out his hand wordlessly for Harry's schoolbag. Harry handed it over, panting, a searing pain in his chest, and waited.

"We won!" yelled Ron, bounding into sight and brandishing the silver Cup at Harry. "We won! Four hundred and fifty to a hundred and forty! We won!"

'I would like you to wear your Cloak, please,' said Dumbledore, and he waited until Harry had thrown it on before saying, 'Very good. Shall we go?'


"But I thought he meant Lucius Malfoy to smuggle it into Hogwarts?"

'She's just never got over you outperforming her in Potions,' said Ron, returning to his copy of One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi.

They reached the bank with a little bump and Harry leapt out, then turned quickly to help Dumbledore. The moment that Dum-bledore reached the bank he let his wand hand fall; the ring of fire vanished, but the Inferi did not emerge again from the water. The little boat sank into the water once more; clanking and tinkling, its chain slithered back into the lake too. Dumbledore gave a great sigh and leaned against the cavern wall.

"It is essential that you understand this!" said Dumbledore, standing up and striding about the room, his glittering robes swooshing in his wake; Harry had never seen him so agitated. "By attempting to kill you, Voldemort himself singled out the remark-able person who sits here in front of me, and gave him the tools for the job! It is Voldemort's fault that you were able to see into his thoughts, his ambitions, that you even understand the snakelike language in which he gives orders, and yet, Harry, despite your privileged insight into Voldemort's world (which, incidentally, is a gift any Death Eater would kill to have), you have never been se-duced by the Dark Arts, never, even for a second, shown the slight-est desire to become one of Voldemort's followers!"

'I am afraid,' she went on, 'that the nag - I'm sorry, the centaur - knows nothing of cartomancy. I asked him - one Seer to another - had he not, too, sensed the distant vibra-tions of coming catastrophe? But he seemed to find me almost comical. Yes, comical!'


"How did you know that was there?" Harry asked in astonish-ment.


Harry could smell salt and hear rushing waves; a light, chilly breeze ruffled his hair as he looked out at moon-lit sea and star-strewn sky. He was standing upon a high outcrop of dark rock, water foaming and churning below him. He glanced over his shoulder. A towering cliff stood behind them, a sheer drop, black and faceless. A few large chunks of rock, such as the one upon which Harry and Dumbledore were standing, looked as though they had broken away from the cliff face at some point in the past. It was a bleak, harsh view, the sea and the rock unrelieved by any tree or sweep of grass or sand.


"Sir, no, don't touch — !"


"Ah," said Harry. "Well — you don't mind it's over, do you?", "No," Ron admitted. "It was pretty bad while she was yelling, but at least I didn't have to finish it.",


"Yes, but—";