And something vast, green, and glittering erupted from the patch of darkness Harrys eyes had been struggling to penetrate; it flew up over the treetops and into the sky.

What the? gasped Ron as he sprang to his feet again, staring up at the thing that had appeared.

For a split second, Harry thought it was another leprechaun formation. Then he realized that it was a colossal skull, comprised of what looked like emerald stars, with a serpent protruding from its mouth like a tongue. As they watched, it rose higher and higher, blazing in a haze of greenish smoke, etched against the black sky like a new constellation.

Suddenly, the wood all around them erupted with screams. Harry didnt understand why, but the only possible cause was the sudden appearance of the skull, which had now risen high enough to illuminate the entire wood like some grisly neon sign. He scanned the darkness for the person who had conjured the skull, but he couldnt see anyone.

Whos there? he called again.

Harry, come on, move! Hermione had seized the collar of his jacket and was tugging him backward.

Whats the matter? Harry said, startled to see her face so white and terrified.

Its the Dark Mark, Harry! Hermione moaned, pulling him as hard as she could. You-Know-Whos sign!


Harry, come on!

Harry turnedRon was hurriedly scooping up his miniature Krumthe three of them started across the clearingbut before they had taken a few hurried steps, a series of popping noises announced the arrival of twenty wizards, appearing from thin air, surrounding them.

Harry whirled around, and in an instant, he registered one fact: Each of these wizards had his wand out, and every wand was pointing right at himself, Ron, and Hermione.

Without pausing to think, he yelled, DUCK! He seized the other two and pulled them down onto the ground.

STUPEFY! roared twenty voicesthere was a blinding series of flashes and Harry felt the hair on his head ripple as though a powerful wind had swept the clearing. Raising his head a fraction of an inch he saw jets of fiery red light flying over them from the wizards wands, crossing one another, bouncing off tree trunks, rebounding into the darkness

Stop! yelled a voice he recognized. STOP! Thats my son!

Harrys hair stopped blowing about. He raised his head a little higher. The wizard in front of him had lowered his wand. He rolled over and saw Mr. Weasley striding toward them, looking terrified.

RonHarryhis voice sounded shakyHermioneare you all right?

Out of the way, Arthur, said a cold, curt voice.


  1. A chill that had nothing to do with the iced champagne was stealing through Harrys chest.
  2. A hand had appeared amongst the flames, groping as though to catch hold of something; a stubby, short-fingered hand covered in ugly old-fashioned rings.
  3. A vivid image of the shrieking, spitting portrait of Siriuss mother that hung in the hall of number twelve, Grimmauld Place flashed into Harrys mind. I bet there has, he said.
  4. A whistling in Harrys ear told him the Bludger had just missed him again; he turned right over and sped in the opposite direction.
  5. After a few minutes progress up the dark tunnel, a distant sound of slowly shifting rock reached Harrys ears.
  6. And Harrys feet left the floor to fall, seconds later, back onto the rug in front of Dumbledores desk.
  7. And then the tunnel began to rise; moments later it twisted, and Crookshanks had gone. Instead, Harry could see a patch of dim light through a small opening.
  8. And to Harrys horror, a voice answered, and the voice seemed to come from Quirrell himself.
  9. And to Harrys horror, she withdrew from her pocket the list of names that had been pinned upon the Room of Requirements wall and handed it to Fudge.
  10. And to Harrys horror, Slughorn threw out an arm and seemed to scoop Snape out of thin air toward them.
  11. And when the creature spoke, it used Harrys mouth, so that in his agony he felt his jaw move.

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The words were hardly out of his mouth, when Ludo Bagman emerged from behind a tree right ahead of them. | It was Mr. Crouch. He and the other Ministry wizards were closing in on them. Harry got to his feet to face them. Mr. Crouchs face was taut with rage.

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