Chapter 5 : A Pearly Clue
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'Don't you see?' came a raspy voice, hidden deeply in the shadows thrown all across the pillared room.. 'I am death...'
Piddel held his breath, weary, buying into the little man's terrifying performance.
The little form moved into the patch of light. A pale, eerie glow hit his grey flesh, exposing what his face had become. His once smooth, standard skin had turned a hauntingly pale grey, accentuating his dripping, fanged mouth, and his burning, red eyes. His ears had grown into long, batlike extentions which twitched at the slightest noise, their hearing prowess increased ten-fold. The satyr's gaze kept returning to the little man's eyes. Those eyes, pulsing with pure hatred.
Muo had drank from the small bassin, not actually devouring the souls trapped inside, but had drank enough to sample a sweet taste of the power to be delivered. His features had contorted, changing the once cantankerous, tiny thief into a vile, foul creature, seething with hatred.
The two intruders had moved to a gazebo on the castle grounds when the little man had started to transform. Muo had writhed in pain, screaming and cursing. Fearing they would be caught, the satyr had taken the two outside, where they had waited for the last of the shapes to appear in the small bassin.
'Soon the last two will be mine, my own...' Muo repeated, staring into the bassin. 'Tell me where they are my, thief....my...my....precious' the little man finished darkly.
The satyr shifted his body away from the dark little figure. Fearing what would come next.
'Ahh yes....' Muo said, turning to the satyr. 'I belive it is time once again to extend your useless role.' he said with an terribly evil grin.
The satyr sighed, withdrawing a set of panpipes from his belt pouch. The wooden, weather beaten, magical pipes were a tradition for people of his kind, carrying powerful charms. He placed the pipes to his lips and started to play a sorrel melody, the tune washing over the castle grounds.
reside amidst the dewy chagrin,
O! take but not a tittle out from thy'n own conscience Delphian,
a lamb of legs, or meat of peace.
then return to me, lest ye feel weary once more.'
Soon the castle would spell, the satyr thought to himself as he finished his song. He heard the wind whisper in response to his call, and felt guilty. No, he felt pity for the next poor souls who appeared in that terrible bassin.
* * * * *
Hermione shook, still weeping over her fallen friends. Her and Harry had waited inside the hospital room, the time seeming bittersweet to them both. She had been cradled in Harry's arms as they both felt the pang of loss deeply. Even though Ron and Ginny had only been petrified, the two friends felt his body had been emptied. They sat, remorseful and answerless.
It was Harry who spoke first.
'Hermione, there's no point in staying here. We need to find out who did this,' he told her softly. 'and stop them.'
She looked up at him, pale and teary eyed. 'You're right, Harry.' she said, rubbing her eyes.
With one last look at the immobile Ron, Harry and Hermione left the room. They walked quickly down the hallway, talking hurriedly. After reaching the main floor, they came to the door of the Great Hall, where the Valse had begun.
'Oh, I totally forgot about it.' Hermione said, sounding slightly disappointed.
'Me too.' Harry replied. 'Well, we can at least see what it looks like.' he said.
The two walked into the Great Hall looking around in amazement.
The hall had been bedecked with luscious spring colours. Every inch of the walls had been draped with ribbons, bows, and flowers of pink, pale purple and soft green. The ceiling had been bewitched to take on a bluish-purple hue, dotted with great pink splashes. The ceiling appeared to be raining, but it was petals that fell gently to the floor, emitting a soft smell of strawberry. Students milled about, dancing and swaying in each others arms to the slow waltz played by an invisible band. The scene was almost impossible to leave, but Harry knew they had to leave. Hermione must have shared the thought, as she turned to leave at exactly the same time.
Their heads knocked together, their lips nearly touching each others. Their eyes met, and they both turned away, blushing. 'Come on, we should get going.' Harry said, still rather red in the face.
Harry and Hermione left the Great Hall, quite unwillingly headed for the dungeon, hoping the intruders would have left the tiniest shred of evidence in their wake. Since the Laundry Room was at the bottom of the dungeon, the two had figured that would be the best place to look.
They crept down the stairs, aware that the stealthy measures were unnessecary, but keeping quiet all the same. After passing what must have been the thousandth mouldy step, Harry and Hermione arrived at the corridor leading to the Laundry Room.
Turning the corner, Harry collided with something running hurriedly along the corner. At first, Harry saw nothing, but a squeak from below him drew his gaze downwards.
'Professor Flitwick!' said Harry suprisedly, bending down to pick up the small Charms teacher.
Reajusting his hat, Flitwick looked up. 'Oh! Young Mister Potter! And Miss Granger!' he added, seeing Hermione. 'What are you two doing down here this night? Shouldn't you be up making merry? '
'Umm, we were, Professor, but you see...'Harry started, stammering.
'Harry and I went to the Valse together.' Hermione said, promtly grabbing Harry's arm. 'I needed to use the toilet so we came down here, that's all.'
'I see, I see!' Flitwick said, still looking mildly curious. 'But why didn't you use the toilet upstairs?' he asked cheerily.
'Oh, because it's absolutely terrible going about your buisness with Moaning Myrtle there!' Hermione said, with an empathetic expression on her face.
'Oh, quite right you are!' Flitwick said bouncily. 'Well, do try and hurry, we'll be missing you at the dance!' he said as he scampered up the stairs.
'What do you think he was doing down here?' asked Harry, still holding Hermione's hand.
'I don't know,' she replied, still clutching Harry's.
The two started back down the hallway, then realizing their hands remained locked, quickly withdrew them.
'Sorry.' Harry mumbled, looking down.
'It's alright.' Hermione said, equally embarassed.
The two walked in silence until they reached a doorway. This doorway was quite normal, despite the fact that it was splattered with a pearl coloured liquid. The liquid covered the floor under the doorframe, and most of the floor inside the room as well.
Walking up to the doorway, Hermione bent down for a closer look. Harry stood silent. He had seen the liquid before, but where? He had been so distracted by himself and Hermione that his memory had been pushed back somehow, crammed at the back of his head. If only he could take his thoughts out...
'That's it!' cried Harry aloud.
'That's what?' asked Hermione, not understanding.
'The liquid, I know where I've seen it before!' Harry told her, looking at the pearly grey gloss that splattered he floor. 'Dumbledore's office. When I was taken in for a talk with Dumbledore about the Goblet of Fire, he had a bowl there. A Penseive he called it. I touched it and got sucked inside.'
'Harry! You know you should never touch anything magical if you don't know what it does!' Hermione scolded.
'The liquid, it looks like the liquid from the Pensieve.' he repeated, ignoring her.
'Wait, Pensieve....I've heard that word before.' Hermione muttered, thinking hard. 'Think Bowl, right?' she asked him.
'Exactly.' Harry said, marvelling a how much studying Hermione had actually done in her four years at Hogwarts.
'Pensieve.' she repeated. 'If this is anything like the liquid found in a Pensieve, then it needs...' Hermione said, thinking deeply.
'Moonlight!' she said, snapping her fingers.
'Harry, I know where the intruders might be!' she cried, taking him by the hand once more and dashing up the stairs.
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