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'We need to return to the castle at once,' said Dumbledore. 'Rosmerta,' and though he staggered a little, he seemed wholly in command of the situation, 'we need transport - brooms -'

I need a place to hide my book. . . . I need a place to hide my book. . . . I need a place to hide my book. ...

Quickly he told them where he was going, and why. He did not pause either for Hermione's gasps of horror or for Ron's hasty questions; they could work out the finer details for themselves later.

"What is it?" asked Harry quietly.

Harry picked up the crumbling piece of paper and stared at the moving photograph, yellowed with age; Ron leaned over for a look, too. The picture showed a skinny girl of around fifteen. She was not pretty; she looked simultaneously cross and sullen, with heavy brows and a long, pallid face. Under-neath the photograph was the caption: Eileen Prince, Captain of the Hogwarts Gobstones Team.


"We couldn't... we couldn't just try a Summoning Charm?" Harry said, sure that it was a stupid suggestion. But he was much keener than he was prepared to admit on getting out of this place as soon as possible.

He must have got a lot of good quality venom from Aragog, Harry thought, for Slughorn wore a satisfied smirk as he stepped up to the rim of the pit and said, in a slow, impressive voice, "Farewell, Aragog, king of arachnids, whose long and faithful friendship those who knew you won't forget! Though your body will decay, your spirit lingers on in the quiet, web-spun places of your forest home. May your many-eyed descendants ever flourish and your human friends find solace for the loss they have sustained."

But Harry was already hurtling back along the corridor and within minutes, he was saying "toffee eclairs" to Dumbledore's gar-goyle, which leapt aside, permitting Harry entrance onto the spiral staircase.

"No!" shouted Harry, who had stood to refill the goblet again; instead he dropped the cup into the basin, flung himself down beside Dumbledore, and heaved him over onto his back; Dumbledore's glasses were askew, his mouth agape, his eyes closed. "No." said Harry, shaking Dumbledore, "no, you're not dead, you said it wasn't poison, wake up, wake up — Rennervate!" he cried, his wand pointing at Dumbledores chest; there was a flash of red light but nothing happened. "Rennervate — sir — please —"

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.


"You definitely went into the bathroom, then?" said Hermione.

"I won't say a word, sir," said Riddle, and he left, but not before Harry had glimpsed his face, which was full of that same wild hap-piness it had worn when he had first found out that he was a wiz-ard, the sort of happiness that did not enhance his handsome features, but made them, somehow, less human. . . .

'You filthy hypocrite! What about you and Lavender, thrash-ing around like a pair of eels all over the place?' demanded Ginny.

Her expression was unreadable as she replied, "You'll see."

"I didn't mean it to happen," said Harry at once. His voice echoed in the cold, watery space. "I didn't know what that spell did."


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.


'Very good. Then I wish you to go and fetch your Cloak and meet me in the Entrance Hall in five minutes' time.'


He felt it best to be honest; what if he spoiled everything by turning up a hundred miles from where he was supposed to go?


'When did you find out about this?' he asked at last.,


"Professor?" he said finally. "Do you think the Horcrux is here?";