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"Oh . . . right. . ." said Harry quickly. He turned his head to look at the greenish glow toward which the boat was still inexorably sailing. He could not pretend now that he was not scared. The great black lake, teeming with the dead ... It seemed hours and hours ago that he had met Professor Trelawney, that he had given Ron and Hermione Felix Felicis. . . . He suddenly wished he had said a better good-bye to them . . . and he hadn't seen Ginny at all. . .
"Where've you — ? Why are you soaking — ? Is that blood." Ron was standing at the top of the stairs, looking bewildered at , the sight of Harry.
In the midst of all his preoccupations, Harry had not forgotten his other ambition: finding out what Malfoy was up to in the Room of Requirement. He was still checking the Marauder's Map, and as he was unable to locate Malfoy on it, deduced that Malfoy was still spending plenty of time within the room. Although Harry was losing hope that he would ever succeed in getting inside the Room of Requirement, he attempted it whenever he was in the vicinity, but no matter how he reworded his request, the wall remained firmly doorless.
"Not the Bloody Baron — Dumbledore!"
'Oh, not again,' he groaned. 'Will you please drop it?'
'No, it did not,' she said. 'Everything went pitch black and the next thing I knew, I was being hurled headfirst out of the Room!'
And pulling Dumbledore's uninjured arm around his shoulders, Harry guided his headmaster back around the lake, bearing most of his weight.
"Tom, Tom, if I knew I couldn't tell you," said Slughorn, wag-ging his finger reprovingly at Riddle, though winking at the same time. "I must say, I'd like to know where you get your information, boy, more knowledgeable than half the staff, you are."
"Tour permission",' scoffed Ginny. 'Since when did you give me permission to do anything? Anyway, you said yourself you'd rather it was Harry than Michael or Dean.'
Dumbledore set off at once down the stone steps, his own travelling cloak barely stirring in the still summer air. Harry hurried alongside him under the Invisibility Cloak, still pant-ing and sweating rather a lot.
"Got to?" said Dumbledore. "Of course you've got to! But not because of the prophecy! Because you, yourself, will never rest until you've tried! We both know it! Imagine, please, just for a moment,
"Well, you split your soul, you see," said Slughorn, "and hide part of it in an object outside the body. Then, even if one's body is attacked or destroyed, one cannot die, for part of the soul remains earthbound and undamaged. But of course, existence in such a form ..."
Chapter 25: The Seer Overheard
"The archway will have sealed again. . . . My knife ..." '
"Yes," said Harry, with a touch more defiance.
"Ah, Potter," said Snape, when Harry had knocked on his door and entered the unpleasantly familiar office that Snape, despite teaching floors above now, had not vacated; it was as dimly lit as ever and the same slimy dead objects were suspended in colored potions all around the walls. Ominously, there were many cob-webbed boxes piled on a table where Harry was clearly supposed to sit; they had an aura of tedious, hard, and pointless work about them.
But then, through the darkness, fire erupted: crimson and gold, a ring of fire that surrounded the rock so that the Inferi holding Harry so tightly stumbled and faltered; they did not dare pass through the flames to get to the water. They dropped Harry; he hit the ground, slipped on the rock, and fell, grazing his arms, then scrambled back up, raising his wand and staring around.;
But Ron's tolerance was not to be tested much as they moved into June, for Harry and Ginny's time together was becoming increasingly restricted. Ginny's O.W.L.s were approaching and she was therefore forced to revise for hours into the night. On one such evening, when Ginny had retired to the library and Harry was sitting beside the window in the common room, supposedly finishing his Herbology home-work but in reality reliving a particularly happy hour he had spent down by the lake with Ginny at lunch-time, Hermione dropped into the seat between him and Ron with an unpleasantly purposeful look on her face.？