Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Chapter 20 The First Task

nark got up on Sunday morning and garbed so inat liveively that it was a date sooner he accomplished he was extending to pull his hat onto his foot quite of his sock. When hed at perish got to each one his clothes on the right parts of his body, he travel stumble to find Hermi one, locating her at the Gryffindor table in the with child(p) H in each(prenominal) in all(a) in all, w present she was eating breakfast with Ginny. Feeling also qu motiveless to eat, rag waited until Hermione had swal littleed her last spoonful of porridge, consequentlyce dragged her generate forth onto the dirts. thither, he told her all well-nigh the tophuss, and ab by alwaysy topic Sirius had verbalise, while they be looksk a nonher long walk just ab reveal the lake.Alarmed as she was by Siriuss warnings ab come bulge reveal Karkaroff, Hermione still survey that the calculuss were the to a greater extent pressing problem.Lets nonwith stand try and nourishment you alive u ntil Tuesday even so soing, she say desperately, and then we can rag about Karkaroff.They walked three sequences well-nigh the lake, nerve-racking all the path to calculate of a simple good turn that would subdue a dragon. goose musket ball whatso ever occurred to them, so they retired to the library instead. Here, rile pulled plenty e actually earmark he could find on dragons, and both of them come out to work meddling by dint of the large pile.Talon-clipping by charmstreating scale-rot This is no good, this is for nutters like Hagrid who compulsion to keep them healthyDragons atomic add up 18 extremely rugged to slay, owing to the ancient conjuring that imbues their thick hides, which none merely the much or less powerful spells can lay out absolute precisely Sirius verbalize a simple one would do itLets try near simple spell defys, then, verbalize hassle, throwing aside Men Who Love Dragons as well Much.He re dour to the table with a pile of spel lbooks, set them blue, and began to flick through each in turn, Hermione whispering nons decease at his elbow.Well, in that location argon Switching Spells totally when whats the point of Switching it? Un little you swapped its fangs for wine-gums or almostthing that would make it less dangerous.The trouble is, like that book state, not often is breathing out to get through a dragons hide.Id say Trans go through it, barely something that big, you real gravelnt got a hope, I doubt even professor McGonagallunless youre sibylline to go down the spell on yourself? Maybe to feed yourself extra powers? still theyre not simple spells, I taut, we havent make either of those in class, I totally k presently about them because Ive been doing O.W.L. practice papers.Hermione, chivvy give tongue to, through gritted teeth, go forth you shut up for a bit, please? I m trying to concentrate. that all that fadeed, when Hermione fell silent, was that devils brain subscribe upe d with a sort of blank buzzing, which didnt bet to allow means for concentration. He stared dispiritedly down the index of Basic Hexes for the Busy and Vexed. Instant scalping except dragons had no h oxygenizepepper breaththat would probably increase a dragons set uppower thrust tongue only when what he lacked, to give it an extra weaponOh no, hes blanket again, why cant he read on his stupid ship? verbalise Hermione irritably as Viktor Krum slouched in, cast a surly disc everywhere all over at the p way of them, and settled himself in a distant shoetree with a pile of books. Come on, molest, well go back to the common roomhis fan clubll be here in a moment, twittering away(predicate).And genuine enough, as they left the library, a gang of girls tiptoed ago them, one of them corroding a Bulgaria scarf tie some her waist. beset barely slept that night. When he awoke on Monday morning, he seriously considered for the prototypal while ever just running away from Ho gwarts. But as he waited somewhat the big(p) Hall at breakfast time, and thought about what leaving the go would mean, he knew he couldnt do it. It was the only place he had ever been keenwell, he theorised he must have been happy with his parents as well as, but he couldnt remember that.Somehow, the experienceledge that he would rather be here and facing a dragon than back on Privet chock up with Dudley was good to k promptly it made him smelling more or less calmer. He finished his bacon with difficulty (his throat wasnt working too well), and as he and Hermione got up, he dictum Cedric Diggory leaving the Hufflepuff table.Cedric still didnt k flat about the dragonsthe only represent who didnt, if Harry was right in thinking that Maxime and Karkaroff would have told Fleur and Krum.Hermione, Ill see you in the greenhouses, Harry said, coming to his decision as he piqueted Cedric leaving the Hall. Go on, Ill catch you up.Harry, youll be late, the bells about to ring -I ll catch you up, okay?By the time Harry reached the bottom of the marble staircase, Cedric was at the top. He was with a load of sixth-year friends. Harry didnt want to talk to Cedric in take care of them they were among those who had been quoting Rita Skeeters expression at him every time he went near them. He followed Cedric at a distance and cut that he was transfering toward the Charms corridor. This gave Harry an idea. Pausing at a distance from them, he pulled out his wand, and took careful aim.DiffindoCedrics base split. Parchment, quills, and books spilled out of it onto the floor. Several bottles of ink smashed.Dont bother, said Cedric in an exasperated verbalize as his friends bent down to help him. Tell Flitwick Im coming, go onThis was barely what Harry had been hoping for. He slipped his wand back into his robes, waited until Cedrics friends had disappeared into their classroom, and hurried up the corridor, which was now empty of everyone but himself and Cedric.H i, said Cedric, picking up a replica of A Guide to Advanced Transfiguration that was now splattered with ink. My bag just splitbrand-new and allCedric, said Harry, the first lying-in is dragons.What? said Cedric, encountering up.Dragons, said Harry, speaking quickly, in case professor Flitwick came out to see where Cedric had got to. Theyve got four, one for each of us, and weve got to get past them.Cedric stared at him. Harry saw some of the fright hed been tactual sensation since Saturday night move back and forth in Cedrics gray eyes.Are you sure? Cedric said in a hushed voice.Dead sure, said Harry. Ive seen them.But how did you find out? Were not supposed to know.never take care, said Harry quickly he knew Hagrid would be in trouble if he told the truth. But Im not the only one who knows. Fleur and Krum will know by now Maxime and Karkaroff both saw the dragons too.Cedric dead on targetened up, his arms full of inky quills, parchment, and books, his ripped bag danglin g off one bring up. He stared at Harry, and there was a puzzled, almost suspicious look in his eyes.Why are you telling me? he asked.Harry looked at him in disbelief. He was sure Cedric wouldnt have asked that if he had seen the dragons himself. Harry wouldnt have let his worst enemy type those monsters unprepared well, perhaps Malfoy or Snape.Its justfair, isnt it? he said to Cedric. We all know nowwere on an even footing, arent we?Cedric was still hooking at him in a slightly suspicious way when Harry heard a familiar clunking racquet behind him. He sullen around and saw Mad-Eye chaseged emerging from a nearby classroom.Come with me, tamper, he growled. Diggory, off you go.Harry stared uneasily at dingy. Had he overheard them?Er prof, Im supposed to be in Herbology -Never brainiac that, Potter. In my bit, pleaseHarry followed him, wondering what was exit to happen to him now. What if ill-natured wanted to know how hed constitute out about the dragons? Would Moody go to Dumbledore and tell on Hagrid, or just turn Harry into a ferret? Well, it might be easier to get past a dragon if he were a ferret, Harry thought dully, hed be smaller, much less easy to see from a height of fifty feet.He followed Moody into his office. Moody closed the door behind them and turned to look at Harry, his magical eye fixed upon him as well as the normal one.That was a very decent thing you just did, Potter, Moody said quietly.Harry didnt know what to say this wasnt the reaction he had anticipate at all.Sit down, said Moody, and Harry sat, looking around.He had visited this office down the stairs both of its previous occupants. In Professor Lockharts day, the walls had been plastered with glad, bloody(a) pictures of Professor Lockhart himself. When Lupin had lived here, you were more likely to deign across a specimen of some fascinating new Dark creature he had procured for them to study in class. Now, however, the office was full of a number of exceptionall y odd objects that Harry supposed Moody had used in the eld when he had been an Auror.On his desk stood what looked hike a large, cracked, glass spinning top Harry recognized it at once as a Sneakoscope, because he owned one himself, though it was much smaller than Moodys. In the corner on a small table stood an object that looked something like an extra-squiggly, palmy television aerial. It was humming slightly. What appeared to be a mirror hung opposite Harry on the wall, but it was not reflecting the room. Shadowy figures were moving around inwardly it, none of them all the way in focus.Like my Dark Detectors, do you? said Moody, who was observance Harry closely.Whats that? Harry asked, pointing at the squiggly golden aerial. concealing Sensor. Vibrates when it detects concealment and liesno use here, of course, too much interference students in every direction lying about why they havent done their homework. Been humming ever since I got here. I had to disable my Sneako scope because it wouldnt stop whistling. Its extra-sensitive, picks up immobilise about a mile around. Of course, it could be picking up more than kid stuff, he added in a growl.And whats the mirror for?Oh thats my Foe-Glass. See them out there, skulking around? Im not genuinely in trouble until I see the snowys of their eyes. Thats when I open my trunk.He let out a short, harsh laugh, and pointed to the large trunk under the window. It had seven keyholes in a row. Harry wondered what was in there, until Moodys next question brought him sharply back to earth.Sofound out about the dragons, have you?Harry hesitated. Hed been afraid of this but he hadnt told Cedric, and he certainly wasnt spill to tell Moody, that Hagrid had broken the rules.Its all right, said Moody, sit down and stretching out his wooden pin with a groan. Cheatings a traditional part of the Triwizard Tournament and always has been.I didnt cheat, said Harry sharply. It was a sort of accident that I found out.M oody grinned. I wasnt accusing you, laddie. Ive been telling Dumbledore from the start, he can be as senior high-minded as he likes, but you can roleplay old Karkaroff and Maxime wont be. Theyll have told their champions everything they can. They want to win. They want to beat Dumbledore. Theyd like to canvas hes only human.Moody gave another(prenominal) harsh laugh, and his magical eye swiveled around so fast it made Harry feel queasy to watch it.Sogot any ideas how youre outlet to get past your dragon withal? said Moody.No, said Harry.Well, Im not going to tell you, said Moody gruffly. I dont show favoritism, me. Im just going to give you some good, familiar advice. And the first bit is play to your strengths.I havent got any, said Harry, before he could stop himself.Excuse me, growled Moody, youve got strengths if I say youve got them. Think now. What are you vanquish at?Harry act to concentrate. What was he better at? Well, that was easy, really Quidditch, he said dully , and a fat lot of help -Thats right, said Moody, staring at him very grievous, his magical eye barely moving at all. Youre a damn good flier from what Ive heard.Yeah, but Harry stared at him. Im not allowed a broom, Ive only got my wandMy second segment of general advice, said Moody loudly, interrupting him, is to use a nice, simple spell that will enable you to get what you need.Harry looked at him blankly. What did he need?Come on, boy whispered Moody. Put them togetherits not that difficultAnd it clicked. He was best at flying. He needed to pass the dragon in the air. For that, he needed his Firebolt. And for his Fire-bolt, he needed Hermione, Harry whispered, when he had sped into greenhouse three minutes subsequent, uttering a hurried apology to Professor Sprout as he passed her. Hermione I need you to help me.What dyou think Ive been trying to do, Harry? she whispered back, her eyes round with anxiety over the top of the quivering Flutterby Bush she was pruning.Hermione, I need to learn how to do a summon Charm right by tomorrow afterwardsnoon.And so they practiced. They didnt have luncheon, but headed for a free classroom, where Harry tried with all his might to make various objects fly across the room toward him. He was still having problems. The books and quills kept losing marrow squash halfway across the room and displace hike stones to the floor.Concentrate, Harry, concentrate.What dyou think Im trying to do? said Harry angrily. A great big dragon keeps popping up in my head for some reasonOkay, try againHe wanted to skip Divination to keep practicing, but Hermione refused point-blank to skive off Arithmancy, and there was no point in staying without her. He therefore had to play over an instant of Professor Trelawney, who spent half the lesson telling everyone that the sic of Mars with relation to Saturn at that moment meant that citizenry born in July were in great danger of sudden, violent deaths.Well, thats good, said Harry loudl y, his annoying getting the better of him, just as long as its not drawn-out. I dont want to suffer.Ron looked for a moment as though he was going to laugh he certainly caught Harrys eye for the first time in days, but Harry was still feeling too fidgety toward Ron to care. He spent the rest of the lesson trying to attract small objects toward him under the table with his wand. He managed to make a fly zoom straight into his hap, though he wasnt entirely sure that was his prowess at Summoning Charms perhaps the fly was just stupid.He forced down some dinner after Divination, then returned to the empty classroom with Hermione, using the invisibleness Cloak to avoid the teachers. They kept practicing until past midnight. They would have stayed longer, but Peeves turned up and, pretending to think that Harry wanted things thrown at him, started chucking chairs across the room. Harry and Hermione left in a hurry before the resound attracted Filch, and went back to the Gryffindor c ommon room, which was now mercifully empty.At two oclock in the morning, Harry stood near the fireplace, surrounded by heaps of objects books, quills, several(prenominal) upturned chairs, an old set of Gobstones, and Nevilles toad, Trevor. Only in the last hour had Harry really got the hang of the Summoning Charm.Thats better, Harry, thats loads better, Hermione said, looking irresolute but very merry.Well, now we know what to do next time I cant manage a spell, Harry said, throwing a rune dictionary back to Hermione, so he could try again, braten me with a dragon. proper He embossed his wand once more. Accio DictionaryThe heavy book soared out of Hermiones run, flew across the room, and Harry caught it.Harry, I really think youve got it said Hermione delightedly.Just as long as it works tomorrow, Harry said. The Firebolts going to be much farther away than the stuff in here, its going to be in the castle, and Im going to be out there on the groundsThat doesnt matter, said He rmione firmly. Just as long as youre concentrating really, really hard on it, itll come. Harry, wed better get some sleepyoure going to need it.Harry had been focusing so hard on information the Summoning Charm that evening that some of his blind panic had pant him. It returned in full measure, however, on the following morning. The atmosphere in the take aim was one of great tension and excitement. Lessons were to stop at midday, giving all the students time to get down to the dragons enclosure though of course, they didnt yet know what they would find there.Harry felt oddly separate from everyone around him, whether they were wishing him good luck or hissing Well have a lash of tissues ready, Potter as he passed. It was a state of nervousness so advanced that he wondered whether he mightnt just lose his head when they tried to lead him out to his dragon, and start trying to curse everyone in sight. measure was behaving in a more peculiar fashion than ever, rushing past in g reat dollops, so that one moment he seemed to be sitting down in his first lesson, History of Magic, and the next, move into lunchand then (where had the morning gone? the last of the dragon-free hours?), Professor McGonagall was hurrying over to him in the Great Hall. Lots of people were watching.Potter, the champions have to come down onto the grounds now.You have to get ready for your first depute.Okay, said Harry, standing up, his fork falling onto his plate with a clatter. bully luck, Harry, Hermione whispered. Youll be fineYeah, said Harry in a voice that was most unlike his own.He heft the Great Hall with Professor McGonagall. She didnt seem herself either in fact, she looked nearly as anxious as Hermione. As she walked him down the stone steps and out into the cold November afternoon, she put her hand on his shoulder.Now, dont panic, she said, just keep a cool head.Weve got wizards standing by to control the situation if it gets out of hand.The main thing is just to do you r best, and nobody will think any the worse of you.Are you all right?Yes, Harry heard himself say. Yes, Im fine.She was leading him toward the place where the dragons were, around the edge of the forest, but when they approached the clump of trees behind which the enclosure would be clearly visible, Harry saw that a tent had been erected, its entrance facing them, masking piece the dragons from view.Youre to go in here with the other champions, said Professor McGonagall, in a rather shaky sort of voice, and wait for your turn, Potter. Mr. bagman is in therehell be telling you the the procedure. Good luck.Thanks, said Harry, in a flat, distant voice. She left him at the entrance of the tent. Harry went inside.Fleur Delacour was sitting in a corner on a how wooden stool. She didnt look nearly as composed as usual, but rather ditch(p) and clammy. Viktor Krum looked even surlier than usual, which Harry supposed was his way of showing nerves. Cedric was pacing up and down. When Har ry entered, Cedric gave him a small smile, which Harry returned, feeling the muscles in his face working rather hard, as though they had forgotten how to do it.Harry Good-o said travelling salesman happily, looking around at him. Come in, come in, make yourself at home commercial traveler looked somehow like a slightly overblown cartoon figure, standing amid all the pale-faced champions. He was corrosion his old Wasp robes again.Well, now were all here time to fill you in said Bagman brightly. When the audience has assembled, Im going to be oblation each of you this bag he held up a small rape of purple silk and shook it at them from which you will each select a small model of the thing you are about to face There are dissimilar er varieties, you see. And I have to tell you something else tooah, yesyour task is to collect the golden eggHarry glanced around. Cedric had nodded once, to show that he understood Bagmans passwords, and then started pacing around the tent again he looked slightly green. Fleur Delacour and Krum hadnt reacted at all. Perhaps they thought they might be sick if they clear their sings that was certainly how Harry felt. But they, at least, had volunteered for thisAnd in no time at all, hundreds upon hundreds of pairs of feet could be heard passing the tent, their owners lecture excitedly, laughing, jocose.Harry felt as separate from the crowd as though they were a different species. And then it seemed like about a second later to Harry Bagman was opening the sleep with of the purple silk sack.Ladies first, he said, offering it to Fleur Delacour.She put a shaking hand inside the bag and pull out a tiny, perfect model of a dragon a Welsh Green. It had the number two around its neck And Harry knew, by the fact that Fleur showed no sign of surprise, but rather a unflinching resignation, that he had been right Madame Maxime had told her what was coming.The said(prenominal) held true for Krum. He pulled out the rubicund Ch inese Fireball. It had a number three around its neck. He didnt even blink, just sat back down and stared at the ground.Cedric put his hand into the bag, and out came the blueish-gray Swedish Short-Snout, the number one tied around its neck. cognize what was left, Harry put his hand into the silk bag and pulled out the Hungarian Horntail, and the number four. It stretched its wings as he looked down at it, and bared its humble fangs.Well, there you are said Bagman. You have each pulled out the dragon you will face, and the numbers refer to the order in which you are to take on the dragons, do you see? Now, Im going to have to leave you in a moment, because Im commentating. Mr. Diggory, youre first, just go out into the enclosure when you hear a whistle, all right? NowHarrycould I have a quick word? Outside?Eryes, said Harry blankly, and he got up and went out of the tent with Bagman, who walked him a short distance away, into the trees, and then turned to him with a fatherly expre ssion on his face.Feeling all right, Harry? Anything I can get you?What? said Harry. I no, nothing.Got a plan? said Bagman, lowering his voice conspiratorially. Because I dont mind sharing a a couple of(prenominal) pointers, if youd like them, you know. I mean, Bagman continued, lowering his voice still further, youre the underdog here, Harry.Anything I can do to helpNo, said Harry so quickly he knew he had sounded rude, no I I know what Im going to do, thanks.Nobody would know, Harry, said Bagman, winking at him.No, Im fine, said Harry, wondering why he kept telling people this, and wondering whether he had ever been less fine. Ive got a plan worked out, I -A whistle had blown somewhere.Good lord, Ive got to run said Bagman in alarm, and he hurried off.Harry walked back to the tent and saw Cedric emerging from it, greener than ever. Harry tried to wish him luck as he walked past, but all that came out of his rima oris was a sort of ill-humoured grunt.Harry went back inside t o Fleur and Krum. Seconds hater, they heard the roar of the crowd, which meant Cedric had entered the enclosure and was now face-to-face with the living counterpart of his model.It was worse than Harry could ever have imagined, sitting there and listening. The crowd screamedyelledgasped like a single many-headed entity, as Cedric did whatever he was doing to get past the Swedish Short-Snout. Krum was still staring at the ground. Fleur had now taken to retracing Cedrics steps, around and around the tent. And Bagmans commentary made everything much, much worse.Horrible pictures formed in Harrys mind as he heard Oooh, squeeze miss there, very narrow Hes taking risks, this oneClever move pity it didnt workAnd then, after about fifteen minutes, Harry heard the deafening roar that could mean only one thing Cedric had gotten past his dragon and captured the golden egg. precise good indeed Bagman was shouting. And now the marks from the adjudicateBut he didnt shout out the marks Harry su pposed the judges were holding them up and showing them to the crowd.One down, three to go Bagman yelled as the whistle blew again. Miss Delacour, if you pleaseFleur was trembling from head to foot Harry felt more warmly toward her than he had done so far as she heft the tent with her head held high and her hand clutching her wand. He and Krum were left alone, at opposite sides of the tent, avoiding each others gaze.The same process started again.Oh Im not sure that was wise they could hear Bagman shouting gleefully. Ohnearly Careful nowgood lord, I thought shed had it thenTen minutes later, Harry heard the crowd fire up into applause once more.Fleur must have been successful too. A pause, while Fleurs marks were being shownmore clappingthen, for the third time, the whistle.And here comes Mr. Krum cried Bagman, and Krum slouched out, leaving Harry quite alone.He felt much more aware of his body than usual very aware of the way his heart was pumping fast, and his fingers tingling wi th fearyet at the same time, he seemed to be outside himself, seeing the walls of the tent, and hearing the crowd, as though from far away. truly daring Bagman was yelling, and Harry heard the Chinese Fireball send a horrible, roaring shriek, while the crowd drew its collective breath. Thats some nerve hes showing and yes, hes got the eggApplause shattered the wintery air like breaking glass Krum had finished it would be Harrys turn any moment.He stood up, noticing dimly that his legs seemed to be made of marshmallow. He waited. And then he heard the whistle blow. He walked out through the entrance of the tent, the panic rising into a crescendo inside him. And now he was walking past the trees, through a gap in the enclosure fence.He saw everything in front of him as though it was a very highly colored dream. There were hundreds and hundreds of faces staring down at him from stands that had been magicked there since hed last stood on this spot. And there was the Horntail, at the other end of the enclosure, crouched low over her clutch of eggs, her wings half-furled, her evil, yellow eyes upon him, a monstrous, scaly, scorch lizard, thrashing her spiked tail, heaving yard-long gouge marks in the hard ground. The crowd was making a great deal of noise, but whether hospitable or not, Harry didnt know or care. It was time to do what he had to doto focus his mind, entirely and absolutely, upon the thing that was his only chance.He give rised his wand.Accio Firebolt he shouted.Harry waited, every fiber of him hoping, praying.If it hadnt workedif it wasnt comingHe seemed to be looking at everything around him through some sort of shimmering, vaporish barrier, like a heat haze, which made the enclosure and the hundreds of faces around him locomote strangely.And then he heard it, speeding through the air behind him he turned and saw his Firebolt hurtling toward him around the edge of the woods, go up into the enclosure, and stopping dead in midair beside him , waiting for him to mount. The crowd was making even more noise.Bagman was shouting somethingbut Harrys ears were not working properly anymorelistening wasnt important.He swung his leg over the broom and kicked off from the ground. And a second later, something miraculous happened.As he soared upward, as the wind rushed through his hair, as the crowds faces became mere flesh-colored pinpnicks below, and the Horntail shrank to the size of a dog, he realized that he had left not only the ground behind, but also his fear.He was back where he belonged.This was just another Quidditch match, that was alljust another Quidditch match, and that Horntail was just another ugly oppose team.He looked down at the clutch of eggs and spotted the gold one, gleaming against its cement-colored fellows, residing safely between the dragons front legs. Okay, Harry told himself, diversionary tacticslets goHe dived. The Horntails head followed him he knew what it was going to do and pulled out of the di ve just in time a outflow of fire had been released exactly where he would have been had he not swerved awaybut Harry didnt carethat was no more than dodging a Bludger.Great Scott, he can fly yelled Bagman as the crowd shrieked and gasped. Are you watching this, Mr. Krum?Harry soared higher in a circle the Horntail was still following his progress its head revolving on its long neck if he kept this up, it would be nicely modify but better not push it too long, or it would be breathing fire again Harry plummeted just as the Horntail loose its mouth, but this time he was less lucky he mazed the flames, but the tail came whipping up to meet him instead, and as he swerved to the left, one of the long spikes grazed his shoulder, ripping his robes He could feel it stinging, he could hear screaming and groans from the crowd, but the cut didnt seem to be recently.Now he zoomed around the back of the Horntail, and a possibility occurred to him.The Horntail didnt seem to want to take off, she was too protective of her eggs. Though she writhed and twisted, furling and unfurling her wings and charge those fearsome yellow eyes on Harry, she was afraid to move too far from thembut he had to persuade her to do it, or hed never get near them.The trick was to do it carefully, gradually.He began to fly, first this way, then the other, not near enough to make her breathe fire to stave him off, but still posing a sufficient threat to ensure she kept her eyes on him. Her head swayed this way and that, watching him out of those vertical pupils, her fangs bared.He flew higher. The Horntails head rose with him, her neck now stretched to its fullest extent, still swaying, hike a snake before its smoothy.Harry rose a few more feet, and she let out a roar of exasperation. He was like a fly to her, a fly she was longing to swat her tail thrashed again, but he was too high to reach now.She chap fire into the air, which he dodged.Her jaws opened wide.Come on, Harry hissed, swerv ing tantalizingly above her, come on, come and get meup you get nowAnd then she reared, banquet her great, black, leathery wings at last, as wide as those of a small airplane and Harry dived. Before the dragon knew what he had done, or where he had disappeared to, he was speeding toward the ground as fast as he could go, toward the eggs now unprotected by her clawed front legs he had taken his hands off his Firebolt he had seized the golden egg And with a huge spurt of speed, he was off, he was soaring out over the stands, the heavy egg safely under his uninjure arm, and it was as though somebody had just turned the volume back up for the first time, he became properly aware of the noise of the crowd, which was screaming and applauding as loudly as the Irish supporters at the World Cup way at that Bagman was yelling. Will you look at that Our youngest champion is fastest to get his egg Well, this is going to shorten the odds on Mr. PotterHarry saw the dragon keepers rushing forward to subdue the Horntail, and, over at the entrance to the enclosure, Professor McGonagall, Professor Moody, and Hagrid hurrying to meet him, all of them waving him toward them, their smiles evident even from this distance. He flew back over the stands, the noise of the crowd pounding his eardrums, and came in smoothly to land, his heart lighter than it had been in weeks.He had got through the first task, he had survived.That was excellent, Potter cried Professor McGonagall as he got off the Firebolt which from her was extravagant praise. He noticed that her hand shook as she pointed at his shoulder. Youll need to see Madam Pomfrey before the judges give out your score.Over there, shes had to mop up Diggory already.Yeh did it, Harry said Hagrid hoarsely. Yeh did it An agains the Horntail an all, an yeh know Charlie said that was the wors -Thanks, Hagrid, said Harry loudly, so that Hagrid wouldnt blunder on and reveal that he had shown Harry the dragons beforehand.Professor Mo ody looked very pleased too his magical eye was dancing in its socket.Nice and easy does the trick, Potter, he growled.Right then, Potter, the first aid tent, please said Professor McGonagall.Harry walked out of the enclosure, still panting, and saw Madam Pomfrey standing at the mouth of a second tent, looking worried.Dragons she said, in a stir tone, pulling Harry inside. The tent was divided into cubicles he could make out Cedrics shadow through the canvas, but Cedric didnt seem to be badly injured he was sitting up, at least. Madam Pomfrey examined Harrys shoulder, talking furiously all the while. Last year dementors, this year dragons, what are they going to bring into this inform next? Youre very luckythis is quite shallowitll need cleanup before I heal it up, though.She cleaned the cut with a splatter of some purple liquid that smoked and stung, but then poked his shoulder with her wand, and he felt it heal instantly.Now, just sit quietly for a minute sit And then you can go and get your score.She bustled out of the tent and he heard her go next door and say, How does it feel now, Diggory?Harry didnt want to sit still. He was too full of adrenaline. He got to his feet, wanting to see what was going on outside, but before hed reached the mouth of the tent, two people had come darting inside Hermione, followed closely by Ron.Harry, you were promising Hermione said squeakily. There were fingernail marks on her face where she had been clutching it in fear. You were nasty You really wereBut Harry was looking at Ron, who was very white and staring at Harry as though he were a ghost.Harry, he said, very seriously, whoever put your name in that goblet I I reckon theyre trying to do you inIt was as though the last few weeks had never happened as though Harry were coming together Ron for the first time, right after hed been made champion.Caught on, have you? said Harry coldly. Took you long enough.Hermione stood nervously between them, looking from one to the other. Ron opened his mouth uncertainly. Harry knew Ron was about to apologize and suddenly he found he didnt need to hear it.Its okay, he said, before Ron could get the words out. barricade it.No, said Ron, I shouldntve -Forget it, Harry said.Ron grinned nervously at him, and Harry grinned back.Hermione burst into tears.Theres nothing to cry about Harry told her, bewildered.You two are so stupid she shouted, stamping her foot on the ground, tears splashing down her front. Then, before either of them could stop her, she had given both of them a hug and dashed away, now positively howling.Barking mad, said Ron, shaking his head. Harry, cmon, theyll be put up your scores.Picking up the golden egg and his Firebolt, feeling more elated than he would have believed possible an hour ago, Harry ducked out of the tent, Ron by his side, talking fast.You were the best, you know, no competition. Cedric did this weird thing where he Transfigured a rock on the groundturned it into a dog he was trying to make the dragon go for the dog instead of him. Well, it was a pretty cool bit of Transfiguration, and it sort of worked, because he did get the egg, but he got burned as well the dragon changed its mind halfway through and decided it would rather have him than the Labrador he only just got away. And that Fleur girl tried this sort of charm, I think she was trying to put it into a trance well, that kind of worked too, it went all sleepy, but then it snored, and this great jet of flame shot out, and her skirt caught fire she put it out with a bit of water out of her wand. And Krum you wont believe this, but he didnt even think of flying He was probably the best after you, though. Hit it with some sort of spell right in the eye. Only thing is, it went trampling around in agony and crush half the real eggs they took marks off for that, he wasnt supposed to do any damage to them.Ron drew breath as he and Harry reached the edge of the enclosure. Now that the Horntai l had been taken away, Harry could see where the quintuplet judges were sitting right at the other end, in raised seats draped in gold.Its marks out of ten from each one, Ron said, and Harry squinting up the field, saw the first judge Madame Maxime raise her wand in the air. What hooked like a long silvern ribbon shot out of it, which twisted itself into a large figure eight.Not bad said Ron as the crowd applauded. I suppose she took marks off for your shoulderMr. Crouch came next. He shot a number nine into the air.Looking good Ron yelled, thumping Harry on the back.Next, Dumbledore. He too put up a nine. The crowd was square harder than ever.Ludo Bagman ten.Ten? said Harry in disbelief. ButI got hurt.Whats he playing at?Harry, dont complain Ron yelled excitedly.And now Karkaroff raised his wand. He paused for a moment, and then a number shot out of his wand too four.What? Ron bellowed furiously. Four? You lousy, biased scum-bag, you gave Krum tenBut Harry didnt care, he wo uldnt have cared if Karkaroff had given him zero Rons indignation on his behalf was worth about a hundred points to him. He didnt tell Ron this, of course, but his heart felt lighter than air as he turned to leave the enclosure. And it wasnt just Ronthose werent only Gryffindors cheering in the crowd. When it had come to it, when they had seen what he was facing, most of the school had been on his side as well as Cedrics.He didnt care about the Slytherins, he could stand whatever they threw at him now.Youre tied in first place, Harry You and Krum said Charlie Weasley, hurrying to meet them as they set off back toward the school. Listen, Ive got to run, Ive got to go and send Mum an owl, I swore Id tell her what happened but that was unbelievable Oh yeah and they told me to tell you youve got to hang around for a few more minutes.Bagman wants a word, back in the champions tent.Ron said he would wait, so Harry reentered the tent, which somehow looked quite different now friendly and welcoming. He thought back to how hed felt while dodging the Horntail, and compared it to the long wait before hed walked out to face it.There was no comparison the wait had been immeasurably worse.Fleur, Cedric, and Krum all came in together. One side of Cedrics face was covered in a thick orange paste, which was presumably mending his burn. He grinned at Harry when he saw him.Good one, Harry.And you, said Harry, grinning back.Well done, all of you said Ludo Bagman, bouncing into the tent and looking as pleased as though he in person had just got past a dragon. Now, just a quick few words. Youve got a nice long break before the second task, which will take place at half past nine on the morning of February the twenty-fourth but were giving you something to think about in the meantime If you look down at those golden eggs youre all holding, you will see that they opensee the hinges there? You need to elucidate the clue inside the egg because it will tell you what the second task is, and enable you to prepare for it All clear? Sure? Well, off you go, thenHarry left the tent, rejoined Ron, and they started to walk back around the edge of the forest, talking hard Harry wanted to hear what the other champions had done in more detail. Then, as they rounded the clump of trees behind which Harry had first heard the dragons roar, a witch leapt out from behind them.It was Rita Skeeter. She was wearing acid-green robes today the Quick-Quotes Quill in her hand blended perfectly against them.Congratulations, Harry she said, beaming at him. I wonder if you could give me a quick word? How you felt facing that dragon? How you feel now, about the fairness of the win?Yeah, you can have a word, said Harry savagely. Good-bye.And he set off back to the castle with Ron.

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