Chapter 6 : The Gazebo
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'Harry, you said that the goop on the dungeon floor looked like the liquid from a Penseive, right?' she asked him with a knowing expression on her face.
'Yes...' he answered. '..but what does that have to do with us running outside?'
'Listen, Penseive liquid needs moonlight to take on that glossy colour. I read it in the book about my Time Turner.' she told him hastily. 'So, that means whoever is using this thing needs to be out here in the moonlight.'
'I see...' said Harry, marvelling at her speed of mind.
Hermione led Harry out around the edge of the lake, nearing a cast off grove on the outside of the Forbidden Forest. As they hurried along the castle grounds, Harry noticed the normally green grass had been scattered with rose petals. When he looked around, he saw that all of the trees had sprouted luscious, pink rose petals. Even Hagrid's tiny hut had grown a few roses, which sat fluttering on his walls.
As the two ran over the grounds Harry caught sight of a few wilted, and blackened flowers strewn about the ground. The closer to the grove they ran, the more the dead petals appeared, contrasting darkly with their pink counterparts. The trees around them started to appear dead, and the clouds broke casting an eerie glow on the two.
They stopped, standing in the cold night air with puffs of steam coming forth from their mouthes. 'It's freezing out here.' Hermione said, shivering.
'Here, take this.' Harry said as he wrapped her in his robes.
'Thanks...' Hermione said shyly, staring down at the dead leaves which littered the ground.
The two walked closer to the grove where, Harry knew, a small gazebo stood hidden. Harry doubted he would meet any shouldering students, as the gazebo was often used by couples to snog in the late hours of the night, but he had a feeling they would not be the only ones here.
The small opening to the grove appeared, the trees framing the harrowed entrance hung, blackened and decaying. The long tree branches had spread like horrid tendrils, wrapping the small gazebo in a thick shell. A narrow path had been created between the tangled mass of branches, like a doomed hallway leading to the ruined steps.
Harry could see a faint glow emenating from the inside of the gazebo, dully shining out between the surrounding pillars. Harry crept closer.
'Harry, be careful.' Hermione whispered, withdrawing her wand.
The two moved closer to the entrance, trying to move as silently as possible. As they reached the openeing, they saw a small bassin, shimmering silver in the moonlight. The bowl sat atop a throne of branches, which had broken through the floor boards of the gazebo and cupped the bassin like a deathly hand. Behind the bassin stood an incredibly tiny man, with his hooded back towards the two. A low wheezing sound escaped the small figure, as if he struggled to draw every breath.
Harry and Hermione stood, staring at the tiny figure in the middle of the room when their gaze was taken away by the sight of a hulking form standing in the shadows of the back wall. The massive figure, at least seven feet tall, stood against the dead branches, silent and unmoving.
'Aha, visitors.' said the little man, laughing wheezily.
He turned slowly, drawing a slender wand from his robes. 'I can't have students spying on my every activity,' he said darkly. 'You understand.'
Harry started to move backwards when the little man pointed his wand and muttered 'Imperio'.
Instantly Harry and Hermione felt their bodies stiffen as Muo's spell tore into their minds. Hermione screamed and dropped to the ground, trying desperately to fight off the evil curse. Harry stood unmoving, hearing a small voice in his head, 'Drop, boy!'
'But why?' asked a second voice inside Harry's head.
'Do as I say! Drop!' the voice commanded, growing weaker.
'I don't think I will, thanks.' the other voice said, stronger.
Harry's body did an awkward lurch as the voices in his head faded out entirely, leaving him lightheaded and his vision blurry. Harry looked up to see the little man coming into focus, lifting his wand in Harry's direction. Harry did a barrel roll, narrowly avoiding a white jet of spraks which shot from the little man's wand, scorching the boards where Harry had been.
Harry stood up and drew his wand. He pointed it as treateningly at Muo's head. A horrid, fanged grin broke over the little man's face as he waved his wand. 'Now, young lad, I would think twice about something like this.' he said with a mocking tone.
Harry stood with his wand outstretched. To be honest, he hadn't though about what he was going to do to the little man. The little man's power was clearly much greater than his, and he didn't have a clue what he could use against him.
'Aha, you have come unprepared, I see.' Muo said with an evil grin. 'Foolish boy.'
He lashed his wand around and screeched something at the exact same time as Harry pointed his wand and bellowed 'Expelliarmus!'
The two beams collided, bursting in a spray of sparks. Muo's beam overpowered Harry's easily, smacking Harry head on. Harry fell back as wave after painful wave barrelled through his psyche, shooting inside his head and burning more than Harry's had thought possible. Harry felt like his very mind was going to explode.
Harry fell back, screaming. Muo stopped the assault, chuckling nastily. 'Now, young fool, you will die.'
Muo raised his wand once more, his eyes turning the colour of red hot metal. He pointed it directly at Harry's forehead and muttered, 'Goodbye, foolish boy.'
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