Chapter 6 : Day Four: Part 2, Broomsticks
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It'd been about half an hour since we decided to try and solve the clues, but so far, the hardest part was proving to be finding the clues. The egg remained solid, closed and unhelpful.
"Too bad I never listened in History of Magic. I'm sure Binns mentioned this whole 'egg' business before." Rob sighed, and I couldn't help but agree.
"Hey, at least you're not related to one of the champions. I mean, Uncle Harry must've mentioned something..." I said, plonking myself down on a log and resting my chin in my hand.
"Well, we know the first task was where they got the egg." Liam said, clearly going into 'smart, stragetic Ravenclaw' mode.
"And the second task was in the lake, and that's what the clue in the egg told them about."
He started pacing, and I half expected him to shout 'Aha! I got it!" at any moment, but he didn't.
Merlin, they don't make this easy, do they?
I bet stupid, sodding Malfoy will know what do to with the egg.
Either that or he's chosen the other route, sabotaging and what-not. Certainly his style.
Stupid bloody competition.
"Wait!" Taylor cried, appearing from behind a bush.
Yeah, don't ask. She said she needed to think, and dived behind a bush. Weird.
"I remember! The eggs told the champions that they had to rescue a loved one in the lake, right?" Taylor asked, looking at Liam and completely disregarding Rob and I.
Fair enough, I suppose. We were sort of useless in this situation, a Gryffindor and a Hufflepuff, a fired Mediwizard and...I'm not sure what Rob does, but you get my drift.
Whilst Liam and Taylor were having some intense discussion involving the champions, golden eggs and mermaids and no doubt solving the mystery of the egg, I turned to Rob.
"So, Rob, what do you do for a living?" I asked conversationally.
"I'm an apprentice at Ollivanders." He said, and I stared at him in disbelief.
"Really? Wow. I don't think I know of anyone who's worked there, besides Ollivander of course." I said, and he laughed.
"Yeah, it's pretty cool. Not that any of the stuff I've learnt comes in handy here." He replied, and I smiled wryly.
"I know how you feel." I said.
"Do you know any of the other competitors?" I asked, mainly to fill time whilst Taylor and Liam debated.
"Oh, well, Willa Tonington, you know her, she was in Hufflepuff with me, same year. I don't think we ever spoke though. I doubt she remembers me, she's not the sharpest quill in the draw."
I laughed slightly at that. Willa, one of the girls who hung around Mia, certainly wasn't smart in any way.
"My money's on her to be the first out, actually." He said, and I considered this.
I hadn't really thought much about who'd go, but the reality was, tomorrow night, one of us would be eliminated.
"That's it!" Liam cried, and, grabbing the egg, he and Taylor ran full pelt out of the clearing.
Rob and I looked at each other, before pushing ourselves up and running after them.
I'm going to be really, really fit by the end of all this.
"Where the hell are we going?" I asked Rob, carefully maintaining the levitation charm I'd put on the backpack as we left the clearing.
Yes, I'm lazy and can't be bothered carrying it.
"No idea." He panted back at me, and we continued following Taylor and Liam's backs.
Eventually, we came to a halt in front of a stream. The spot we'd stopped at was wide enough, and probably deep enough, to swim in, and that's exactly what Liam was doing.
He'd ripped his shirt off, and was wading into the pool, the egg with him.
I walked forward to stand next to Taylor.
"What's he doing?" I asked, watching as Liam dived down under the water, taking the egg with him.
"The champions had to open the egg underwater to understand it. Therefore, for us to open it, we must have to put it in the water. It's not exactly the same as what the champions had to do, but obviously MagiScreen didn't want to copy. It's similar enough, though, that knowledge of the Triwizard Tournament helps us a lot." She said, smiling to herself.
I just nodded along, pretending to understand. I'm sure Rob was too.
I might have the smartest witch of the generation for a mother, but I'm just not a logical, riddle solving person.
"Got the first clue." Liam says, rising out of the water, clutching the (now open) egg.
"What is it?" I asked, ever the curious one.
He laid the egg down on the ground, open, so we could all see inside it. Etched onto the inside of the golden metal, was:
In the year 1050,
I lived next to a marsh
I wrote something down,
That today has become legend.
Who am I?
There was a place,
Where flying rocks,
And a leather ball
Find a place like this.
When you find it,
Win the game,
Use the name.
And the second clue is yours.
"Quidditch." I said with a smile.
Rob, Taylor and Liam all looked at me.
"What?" Liam asked, confused.
"You don't know what this means, do you?" I asked him, smiling still.
It felt good to know something Ravenclaws don't.
They all shook their heads, so I continued.
"I come from a family of Quidditch fanatics. I'm one myself, I was a Chaser for Gryffindor."
"I know this, Rose. What's your point?" Liam said.
Well, of course he knew that. He was in my year.
"My point is that the name we need is Gertie Keddle. The place has to look like Queerditch Marsh, so that shouldn't be too hard to find on an island. And the game we have to win is Quidditch, with only four people. So I'm hoping one of you can seek and someone's a decent keeper."
They all gaped at me.
It feels good to know things.
"I used to be a keeper." Rob says, and I nod at him.
"Liam, didn't you play reserve seeker for a while?" I ask him.
"Yeah, but only because Hodge had dragon pox." He said.
"That's fine. Taylor, have you played?" I ask, turning towards her.
She shook her head.
"No, not really." She replies.
"Well, that's alright I guess. Three out of four ain't bad." I said, grinning now.
Wow, being the person who knows things is getting to my head.
"Wow." I exclaimed, staring across the marsh infront of me.
It had taken us an hour, but we'd found the marsh. It was pretty big, so it was hard to miss.
And there were four broomsticks hovering in front of us, another four flying around of their own accord, rock-like bludgers zooming around, one swooping over our heads, a Quaffle sitting just in front of me, and a snitch flickering about, I caught a glimpse of it before.
Looks like we were playing Quidditch against broomsticks.
I saw one hit a bludger before.
That's right, a broomstick hit a bludger.
This keeps getting weirder and weirder.
I wonder how a broomstick will catch the Snitch?
As soon as that thought occured to me, the broomstick hovering to my left morphed so that it's handle ended in a hand, yes, a hand, rather than the normal rounded end.
But imagine if all the professional Quidditch teams had a set of these broomsticks? The training possibilities would be endless...especially if you could program them to play, I don't know, brutally or in the style of the Russian teams...
"Rose?" Rob calls my name, snapping his fingers in front of my face.
Right. Zoning out into Quidditch land isn't a good idea when in a competition.
"Alright, guys!" I said, channeling the Quidditch captain side in me.
Actually, I was just remembering James' awful pep talks that tended to send me to sleep, but the inspiration was still there.
"Let's go! Liam, catch the snitch as fast as you can. We'll keep everything else under control."
And with that, we mounted the brooms, and the strangest match I've ever played in, or seen, began.
I must say, it's very, very odd to be stealing the Quaffle from a broom.
The two 'chaser' brooms tended to just hit it back and forth between them, which makes it easier to steal.
Which was good for us, after twenty minutes we were up by 40 points with very little effort.
We don't have a beater, and neither to the 'Sticks' as Rob keeps calling them. The bludgers are roaming free, Taylor only narrowly avoided one before.
We scored a few more times, ducked a few more bludgers, the 'Sticks scored once (Rob really was doing a superb job blocking their attempts) and the Snitch seems to have disappeared.
"LIAM!" I screamed, spotting a gleam of gold to my right.
"It's here!" I pointed to the Snitch, almost falling off my broom in excitement.
That's the advantage of having non-human opponents, they don't understand when you point to something and scream.
Within a matter of seconds, Liam had caught the Snitch and it was all over.
Now all we had to do is figure out how to recieve the next clue using the name Gertie Keddle, and then we were all set.
"Good job, guys!" I said as I landed, clapping Liam on the back.
"How do we get the next clue?" Rob asks, turning to Liam and Taylor as per usual.
We all look around us, but nothing jumps out as a place to shout a name and recieve a clue.
I grab the Snitch out of Liam's palm, and examine it for something to do whilst the Ravenclaws do what they do best.
"Gertie Keddle." I mumble, turning the words over on my tongue.
I whisper the name a few more times, and to my surprise, the snitch falls open, into two perfect halves.
Like an idiot, I stare at it in complete shock. Rob's gaping at it too, but Liam and Taylor are too caught up in their intelligent discussion to notice.
"Um, guys?" I say, holding the Snitch out, revealing the scrap of parchment incased within.
Liam grabs the clue, and reads it out.
I know only what you tell me,
The only way I learn is with the help of others.
I hold things that are not my own,
And live in the past, never the present.
What am I?
Scrawled at the bottom, in a different script, was;
Once you have the answer, report back to base camp to recieve the final clue.
Well, at least that's a bit simpler than a Quidditch game.
Out of the corner of my eye, I could already see Liam and Taylor deep in thought. Rob shrugs at me, and we both simultaneously plop down on the grass, waiting, once again, for the Ravenclaws to figure everything out.
I was really starting to like Rob. He was like me, though clearly not as Quidditch obsessed.
And male. You know, minor detail, that one.
Oh, and he doesn't have stupid red hair...
I fiddled with the backpack's straps, one hand twisting them around and around, the other pulling at my hair as the sound of Liam and Taylor's soft chatter carried on in the background.
"So, why'd you enter this thing?" I asked Rob absentmindedly, my gaze still on the backpack.
He was silent for a minute, thinking.
"I don't really know. Seemed like a good idea at the time, a bit of fun and worst case scenario, I lost a month of my life. Big deal. Plus, I could win some money. That'd be nice, being a wandmaker's apprentice isn't exactly flashy."
I laughed slightly, looking up at him.
"Fair enough." I grinned, moving to play with the zip on the backpack, instead of the straps.
"Why'd you enter?" He asks me, and I give the classic response, and eye-roll accompanied by a groan.
"My cousins and brother entered me. Apparently they thought it'd be a good idea." I said, my eyes narrowing at the mere thought of the traitorous quartet.
"Really? But you don't hate it now you're here, right?" He asked.
"I mean, you're not doing badly. You rocked that last clue." He grinned at me.
I considered that.
"I don't know. There's not much I can do about it now, and I might as well make the most of this opportunity. I guess the money helps." I grinned widely at him, and we both laughed lightly, before settling into a comfortable silence, waiting for the trusty Ravenclaws to figure out the clue.
I honestly had no idea how I would've survived these clues without Ravenclaws. Despite being a loyal Gryffie, I had to appreciate all Ravenclaw had to offer.
I mean, daring and chivalry were hardly helpful qualities in these sorts of situations. Brains, however? Pretty much essential.
Even Slytherin (as much as I hate to say it), would be able to put something on the table. Cunning, and what not. They were made for competition like this.
At least being a Gryffindor was better than being a Hufflepuff, though.
They'd probably hand their backpack over to someone if they asked. Bless them.
Rob and I looked up, to see a triumphant Ravenclaw duo grinning at us.
"Time to make a trip back to base camp."
A/N: Not the most thrilling chapter, I know, but stuff will happen soon! It will, I swear!