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Chapter 2 : The Sound of the Forest
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"Yeah, Harry's got a point. Where are we?"
Harry turned around. Ginny was standing behind him, massaging her head and looking around with mingled curiosity and apprehension. Ron, Luna, and Neville were beside her, looking at Hermione expectantly, who had apparently just removed their bonds. Hermione, surprisingly, seemed to be at loss for words as she examined their surroundings. However, it seemed that Ron was not to be kept waiting.
"Well?" he demanded. "Are you going to tell us where we are or not?"
"Um," Hermione began hesitantly. "We're in some sort of rainforest, I think."
"What d'you mean, you think?" said Ron disbelievingly. "You know everything, Hermione! Hurry up and tell me, because I'm getting soaked!" Ginny frowned at him.
"I know where we are," piped up Luna suddenly. "Daddy told me in a letter that the ministry is creating another continent in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, to keep their crumple-horned snorkacks. He says that they've found some and are training them to be dentists. You never know when there might be a shortage of dentists," she finished dreamily.
"That's complete rubbish!" snapped Hermione. "There are no such thing as crumple-horned snorkacks! Can we please be sensible here?"
"Hermione-," began Ginny, but Harry cut her off.
"This is no time for argueing," he told them firmly. "We need to concentrate on getting out of here. Sirius is in trouble!"
"Oh, for heaven's sake!" shouted Hermione. "Can we just forget about Sirius? We are in the middle of nowhere, with no possible way of going back to Hogwarts, and even if we did, it wouldn't make any difference. We've been expelled!" She collapsed onto the ground, sobbing uncontrollably.
Harry and Ron exchanged glances. It was only natural that Hermione would be upset - after all, she was the top student of their year and loved learning more than anything else. Ron, not being the most sympathetic person of their group, would have liked to let someone else comfort Hermione, but the others were determinedly staring at the ground. Cautiously, Ron knelt down on the ground beside Hermione and nervously patted her on the back in a reassuring sort of way. Hermione, who had been crying so loudly that the birds perched in nearby trees had flown away, stopped for a minute and looked in surprise at Ron, who turned slightly red.
"Don't worry, Hermione," Ron said awkwardly, giving her another pat."I'm sure that Dumbledore will be back soon, and when he does, he'll overrule that old bat (Hermione gave a choked sort of giggle) and we can go back to school and get out of ... this place. Until then ... well, I'll take care of you."
"Oh Ron!" Hermione turned around and gave him a hug. Ginny giggled as Ron turned tomato red.
"Anyway..." Harry cleared his throat."Since it doesn't look like ...no,wait!" His eyes had rested on the portkey, lying several feet away from him. He hurriedly ran toward it, but it was too late; the portkey had vanished into thin air.
"How did that happen?" asked Luna with mild curiousity.
"Honestly, don't any of you read?" asked Hermione, wiping her eyes and beginning to regain some of her former bossiness. "Umbridge obviously bewitched it so that we can't go back."
There was silence. For a minute they all just listened to the sounds echoeing through the surrounding forest. Oddly, it seemed to have a calming effect on each of them, making them forget their worries and troubles. Luna wondered if she would be able to tame any crumpled-horned snorkacks if she found them. Hermione mentally reviewed all the books she had every read on rainforests (all 57 of them) and wondered which of the magical forests she had learned about was their "vacation" spot. Neville hoped there would be some interesting plants for him to study. Ron daydreamed of himself and Hermione holding hands as a bonfire crackled and danced, she leaning her head against his shoulder. Harry, though at first slightly angry at himself for forgetting about Sirius, felt comforted at the thought that Voldemort himself would have trouble finding him here. As for Ginny ...
"Let's go exploring."
Her companions looked up, startled out of their many pleasant reveries. From the looks on their faces, Ginny knew that most of them would rather stay where they were, and for good reason - who would willing venture out into a jungle most likely filled with carnivorous plants and poisonous bugs, besides herself? Then Harry spoke.
"Sure, why don't we? There's nothing else to do here besides waiting to be eaten by wild animals. We should try to find some food and shelter, too."
Ron, Hermione,Luna,and Neville all nodded in agreement, though reluctantly. Ginny beamed at him.
"Well, what are we waiting for, let's go!"
It was not pleasant for Harry and his friends as they struggled through the rainforest on their little "adventure". Harry and Ginny were the leaders and tried to be brave, but the others weren't as good at hiding their emotions. Every now and then they heard "Are we there yet? My feet are killing me!" or "Aaaahhh! What was that???" or "Oh, did I just see a crumpled-horned snorkack?" or "Damn, I stepped on a thorn again!". Harry was getting tired himself, and was just about to propose a break when he saw an amazing sight through the trees.
There lay a river, a gigantic muddy-brown river that seemed to be quite deep as well. To Harry, it seemed like more like a lake. He could see the opposite river bank in the distance, no, it was just an island in the middle! Harry had never seen anything so spectacular in his life. Beside him, Hermione was gazing at the same sight, her mouth open.
"I take it you know where we are, then?" Harry asked her hopefully.
Hermione could barely speak. "Yes!" she gasped. "Oh, I can't believe it! This is amazing, I've wanted to come here since I was seven! We're in the Amazon Rainforest!"
AN: Please review!
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