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Chapter 21 : CHAPTER 18: TOUCHED MOVE
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“In exchange for stopping all hostilities, for driving away the nightmarish creatures they have set up us, they have demanded our complete surrender.” Glaslow Broderick spoke during a press conference. “It is with grim tidings that I inform all of you that I and the rest of your Government have accepted the terms as demanded by these so-called ‘magical’ beings.” He raised his hands as reporters shouted questions at him. “They have promised that their takeover will not affect our society; that they will help us achieve prosperity and I will remain…”
“Damn it!” Neville threw the Daily Prophet away. The articles spoke of the Dark Lord’s ascension in the muggle Government. There has been sporadic uprising against his take over but those were easily suppressed and dealt with by his horde of Death Eaters now augmented by the muggle police that are now forced to assist their conquerors. He spat as the wind carried it away into the direction of the Great Lake. “The world is going crazy and I still hadn’t found out who the stupid snitch is.”
He had delved into Hannah’s dream as well, as careful and as sneakily as he can, and he found no tentative answer that his partner is the snitch in his rebel group.
“If not her, then who?” He muttered as he passed at the parapet of the top of the astronomy tower where he was sure no one could spy on him except the students who are gawking at him from the school’s ground.
“Her?” Hannah asked as she entered the top of the tower.
“You, I mean.” Neville said unabashedly. “None of the students is the snitch so I thought it could only be you but honestly, I am glad it isn’t.”
“I never even noticed you were testing me.” Hannah raised a brow as she leaned against the door. “Because if had then you wouldn’t be able to pace right now with the numerous hex I would have subjected you into.”
“I know.” Neville laughed. “But it brings us back to where we were before. We don’t know who the snitch is.”
“It could be you for all I know.” Hannah shrugged.
“Yes, it could be me and I have been wracking my mind all this time searching for the snitch just to keep you from suspecting me.” Neville rolled his eyes. “Perhaps…” His expression darkened when he remembered one other person who knows about the DA. “It couldn’t be him…”
“Who…?” Hannah asked.
“Slughorn…” Neville spat as he stepped down from the parapet. “I think it is time we talk to him.”
“If he is the last suspect then we need to prepare.” Hannah nodded. “We can’t do this by just the two of us. We need to be very careful. He could cart us off to the Dark Lord who could destroy Hogwarts just like he destroyed Gringott’s yesterday.”
“Then we need our students back.”
Jake was walking toward his transfiguration class when she heard the shrill voice. He turned to see everyone giving way as Princess Adams stormed toward him, her long raven hair streaming at her wake.
“Princess…” Jake managed to utter before Princess slammed him against the hallway. “What in…?”
“What is this I am hearing?” Princess whispered heatedly as she kept pushing him back against the wall every time he tries to straighten up. “It is starting to spread like wildfire. One of the new ghosts has been spreading rumors about you and knowing you I am inclined to believe it.”
“How I wish we were back to old times when we only had to worry about Peeves and the four house ghost. Now, we have to contend with dozens other ghost of the slain during the Siege of Hogwarts.” Jake sighed exaggeratedly.
Princess only glared at him.
Jake raised his hand in surrender.
“All right…geez…can’t I guy make a joke or something.” He smirked. “Pray tell me what this rumor that is spreading like wildfire.”
“You very well know what I am talking about.” Princess hissed. “You and Raj! A Gryffindor and a Slytherin…of all the blasted stunt you could do, you do something that would catch the attention of the whole school and you do it just when they are looking for a secret group!”
“Well, how about this scene you are making here?” Jake smirked. “A Gryffindor and a Ravenclaw that rarely talk except for when I tried wooing you are suddenly so chummy in the corridor.”
“Well, I wouldn’t be on your ass if you weren’t such…”
“Princess, is Jake here bothering you?” Selena asked calmly even as she stopped in front of them. “Jake, I thought you have already learned your lesson during your fourth year when Princess painfully said no to you.”
“Bother this.” Princess muttered before walking away.
“Don’t worry about her.” Selena smiled at Jake. “Like the rest of the school, she is shocked that you would dare ask a Slytherin. The fact that the Slytherin happens to be the tomboyish Raj makes it more shocking and surprising. What is even more shocking is that she said yes.”
“And you? I am sensing that you are not including yourself when you say ‘the rest of the school’ is shock.”
“I am more interested if you can rise up to Raj’s challenge of not dating anyone else until the next Hogsmeade visit.”
“Does everyone know about that too?” Jake asked.
“Yes…the ghosts were very specific.”
“The ghosts…” Jake muttered as something clicked within him as if the last piece of the puzzle fell into place. “The ghosts can be everywhere without really being seen…”
“Yes, they can. Now, what are you…?”
“I don’t know how you do it but get everyone into the Room of Requirement.” Jake whispered, his mind still whirling with the idea that hit him. “Do it discretely. I’ll meet you there after I talked to Professor Neville.”
“No time to explain.” Jake whispered before walking away hurriedly. Selena turned around to see Professor Alecto Carrow walking menacing toward her.
“Since when did you become so chummy with the Roberts kid?” Alecto growled as she pushed an enveloped toward Selena.
“Since I am Head Girl and I was telling him off for annoying Princess Adams.” Selena replied calmly as she took the envelope from her professor. “And what is this?”
“A letter from your father.” Alecto grumbled before walking passed Selena, muttering all the time. “Who does he think he is, ordering me to directly handover a bloody letter?”
“This better be good, Roberts.” Neville and Hannah glared at Jake as one by one the DA members entered the Room of Requirement. They were planning their interrogation of the Headmaster when Jake used his gold galleon, a relic from the original DA, to call the two of them. “We specifically warned you not to use the coin while the Carrows are on the lookout. You risk a lot of things by calling this meeting.”
“And don’t tell me you called all of us here just to profess your undying love to Raj.” Scott smirked before Raj elbowed him hard.
“Ignore them.” Diana told Jake even as her hair changed into neon red color. She hopes that Raj would be able to tame Jake’s wild side, something she hadn’t able to do despite much effort on her part. “Just tell us why you called this meeting so that we can disperse at once. The longer we are here the more in danger we are.”
“Well, I called this meeting because I finally figured it out.” Jake smiled triumphantly. “I know who the snitch is.”
“Who?” Neville raised a brow even as the other DA stared in shock at Jake.
“I am going to kill you if you point that finger at me.” Majah glared at Jake though Diana noted that the glare didn’t have much venom in it.
“Actually none of us is the snitch.” Jake smiled at Raj, trying to build suspense before his big reveal.
“Just tell us, damn it!” Princess almost growled from where she is sitting. “You tell or I’ll go there and smack you hard you won’t even know what hit you.”
“Princess…” Hannah admonished. “Now, Jake why don’t you just spill it before Professor Neville and I lose our patience.”
“The ghosts…they are the snitches we have been looking for.” Jake said proudly.
“Are you nuts?” Princess asked, shaking her head in disgust. “This is a waste…”
“Actually, I think Jake is on to something here.” Matt raised both hands to calm Princess. “We have been very carefully during our gatherings. We took multiple precautions to ensure that no one sees us when we meet here. We ensured no professors or students see us but we didn’t consider the ghosts.”
“And there more ghosts here than before.” Selena spoke up. Princess frowned, noticing the worried look that hunts her friend’s eyes. “Who to say one of them was not lurking behind a wall or inside an armor every time we came here?”
“At least it merits looking into.” Neville muttered, his mind already working over time. “And if your theory is right, Jake, you have just put us in an awful hard situation.”
“Why…?” Jake asked confused.
“Who to say there was no ghost spying on us when we all came here tonight?” Hannah murmured. “We will just have to take precaution. We must ask the room to provide us with a different exit point.”
“The room could do that?” Scott asked
“Yes and more.” Neville was still deep in thought. “You need to go one by one. In the meantime, nobody uses the galleon to call for a meeting. All of you will wait for my call.”
“And the ghosts?” Jake asked.
“We’ll look into it.” Neville muttered as he stared at the ceiling. He wonders whether ghost could enter the room by simply passing the wall or ceiling. He was about to speak when Peeves barreled into the room.
“Oohh…you are in trouble…” The poltergeist crooned as he floated above them.
That answers my question. Neville sighed as his students pulled out wands.
“What are you talking about, Peeves?” Jake asked. Peeves only smirked at the Gryffindor student. Jake was about to say something when the room shook followed by a loud boom.
“Here they come…” Peeves cackled. “The wee new ghosts got a little bit loose with their tongue…”
“Which ghost?” Princess asked even as the room shook more.
“I am guessing that since they found no loophole in my defenses, they are now trying to break in using brute force.” Neville walked toward the other side of the room.
“Which ghost?” Princess asked insistently.
“A slytherin ghost…” Peeves wiggled an eyebrow before floating pass through the ceiling.
“This is it then. We fight!” Scott raised his wand toward the door. “We can’t just run back to our dorms, professor. If they have found out about this room then they would surely already found out about all of us.”
“The Carrow will not be lenient even to me.” Raj muttered. “I am already getting flack about the Jake and me rumors spreading. Perhaps they would spare you, Mitchell.”
“Professor Alecto seems to be put out with me these days.” Selena sighed as she too stood up.
“Can the door hold against their barrage, sir?” Matt asked, his mind already working on a strategy.
“Perhaps…” Neville shrugged. “All I know is we can’t fight in this room if ever the door is breached. I will ask the room to provide as a back door here and we sneaked out and join forces with Hagrid in the Forbidden Forest.”
“I am sorry, boys and girls. Your student days are over.” Hannah told the lot of them. “Now, you start growing up. Welcome to the big league.” Her words were punctuated with a large boom and the room shaking.
“Does this mean I don’t have to wait for a month before I could visit Hogsmeade?” Jake asked with a dead pan expression while Raj and the others rolled their eyes.
“This means you might not even be alive before we reach the safety of the Forest.” Neville replied seriously.
NEXT CHAPTER: REBELLION!
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