Chapter 1 : Facing a dragon
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They all had to face a dragon and steal one of its egg. The three first contestants had all succeeded and there was only one left. Only their very much underage friend left. Everybody was scared for him now and no one cared whether he had put his name in the goblet himself or not. This task was clearly out of range and anyone could recognize that.
When Harry stepped into the arena, the group of fourth year Gryffindors were on the edge of their seats. Of all the spells and tricks the other champions had used, hardly any of them were of their level. They had not learned how to transfigure inanimate objects into living things like Cedric had done, none of them had a clue what kind of spell Krum had sent to give his dragon conjunctivitis and it was a fact that none of them had the ability to send their dragon into a magical trance.
Hermione, Lavender and Dean were biting their nails, Parvati and Seamus had their hands over their mouth and eyes wide in fear; Ron was so white, he looked like an extra freckly ghost, and Neville was frozen on his seat, fighting the urge to hide his eyes. He had always supported Harry and believed him when he said he had not put his name in the goblet and to imagine that he still had to go through with this no matter what was pure madness.
“This is crazy, are they really going to let him compete?” Lavender suddenly shrieked when Harry reached the center of the arena, trying to spot the golden egg he had to steal.
“Magical contract,” Seamus muttered.
“Who cares about that! He’ll get killed, what is he supposed to do exactly?” Lavender went on in a slightly hysterical voice.
“It’s Harry, Lavender, he’s got loads of resources; he’ll find something, he has to,” Neville said in a shaky voice. No matter how terrified he was for his friend, he still had faith in him. Harry had never deceived him apart for that one time in first year which, ironically, involved a dragon as well.
“He’s doing better than expected,” Dean says and the rest of the group all look at him as though he’s gone mad, “I personally would have died just by seeing the dragon and Harry is still standing. Hasn’t even fainted; that’s pretty good, right?”
“That’s true,” Parvati nodded, “I almost fainted just by seeing Blast-Ended Skrewts so I can’t imagine being that close to a dragon.”
Neville wanted to agree; he really wasn’t a fan of the Blast-Ended Skrewts either but Harry was going through so much more at the moment that he would have gladly faced a dozen of Hagrid’s beast rather than switch place with his friend.
“What is he doing?” Ron shouted when Harry made a mad dash for the eggs and almost got hit by the dragon’s tail. “Hungarian Horntails are the worst dragons to confront! You never attack it from the front like that!”
“And how would you know that?” Hermione spat angrily, speaking for the first time in what seemed like hours. Harry had only been in the arena for about two minutes but it felt like an hour to his friends.
“You can’t live 10 years under the same roof as Charlie and not know about dragons, Hermione,” Ron answered dismissively, keeping his eyes on Harry. It was quite clear to everyone that no matter what had happened between the two boys during the past weeks was all gone now and that Ron was really scared for his best friend right now.
“What makes this one worst than the others then? They all look equally scary to me,” Neville asked. He figured that keeping him talking would help distract the red-headed boy from the horror of the scene in front of them.
“The tail has these spikes that can hurt you just as much as their talons or teeth, none of the others had that,” Ron pointed at the dragon’s tail. “The one that Cedric faced, the Swedish Short-Snout, you saw its blue flame, well, it’s much hotter than the other dragon’s breath. Fleur faced the Welsh Green and it’s by far the easiest, apart from the fact that it can control precisely where its fiery breath is going. As for Krum, the Chinese Fireball he faced is very fast and can send flames on a very large area.”
“Whoa, you really do have knowledge Ron,” Seamus smirked before giving his attention back at Harry.
“What is he doing now?” Neville asked when Harry took out his wand and pointed it in the air. “Did any of you catch what that spell was?”
“Accio,” Hermione murmured, looking anxiously in the castle’s direction, as if expecting something.
“Accio?” Dean asked, “What is he trying to summon? A fire extinguisher?”
“A what?” Seamus asked.
“But he can’t do it!” Neville shrieked, cutting short to Dean’s answer, “we were the only ones that didn’t manage it during class!”
“Looks like he practiced on his own, look!” Lavender jumped to her feet, pointing at an indistinct form coming their way.
“What is that? Is it even allowed?” Parvati asked getting to her feet as well as the rest of the group.
“His Firebolt!” Neville shouted excitedly when he recognized the broomstick. “Is he planning to out fly the dragon?”
“Why not? He’s a brilliant flyer, he could do it!” Ron answered with a mad laugh.
“No, I think he just wants the dragon to leave the eggs alone for a moment, just long enough so he can grab the golden egg; it’s brilliant!” Seamus shook his head when Harry jumped onto his broomstick.
“Definitely brilliant,” Hermione smiled when Harry began flying from one side of the dragon’s head to the other.
“Looks like the dragon understands the plan as well though; doesn’t look like she has any interest in going for Harry,” Lavender pointed at the dragon who didn’t look very much interested at following Harry into the air.
“Give it a minute, he’ll drive her crazy for and she won’t be able to resist going for it. Just like us with mosquitoes,” Neville explained. He watched in awe as Harry tried to get the dragon’s attention and get it to leave ground just for a couple seconds. Neville couldn’t help but smile at this; Harry really was full of ideas all the time. He could get himself out of any situation and Neville wished he had that same ability as his friend.
“What are you on about?” Seamus asked him, clearly questioning his sanity.
“You know, when you try to shoo away a mosquito,” Neville began before pointing happily at the arena. “Look, it worked!”
“I would die if a dragon charged at me like that,” Lavender muttered and Neville nodded; he would most likely have died as well.
When Harry pointed his broomstick down and pushed it to the ground, the crowd went silent, hoping that this plan would work and that Harry would not be crushed between the dragon and its eggs. When the dragon got back to the ground though, Harry came back out with a huge grin in his face, flying with the golden egg tucked under his good arm. He had done it.
“This was brilliant!” Ron shouted over the crowd’s cheering. Neville was jumping up and down between hugging Lavender and Parvati. Harry had not deceived him once again and Neville’s faith in his friend kept growing. There was nothing out of Harry’s reach, that was certain and Neville knew he would follow his friend though whatever life threw at them. Harry would always win and being behind him meant being on the winning side.
This story was written for the First Task of the House Cup 2012. The prompt included are as follow :
Features the Gryffindor House champion, Neville Longbottom
Mentions a Blast-Ended Skrewt
Features a dragon
Mentions as least 4 specific breeds of dragon
Mentions 2 of the following types of magic : a transfiguration spell, the summoning charm and the conjunctivitis curse