Voldemort was dwelling endlessly on the unknown youth with the gleeful face, whose name and whereabouts, Harry felt sure, Voldemort knew no better than he did. As Harry’s scar continued to burn and the merry, blond-haired boy swam tantalizingly in his memory, he learned to suppress any sign of pain or discomfort, for the other two showed nothing but impatience at the mention of the thief. He could not entirely blame them, when they were so desperate for a lean on the Horcruxes. As the days stretched into weeks, Harry began to suspect that Ron and Hermione were having conversations without, and about, him. Several times they stopped talking abruptly when Harry entered the tent, and twice he came accidentally upon them, huddled a little distance away, heads together and talking fast; both times they fell silent when they realized he was approaching them and hastened to appear busy collecting wood or w Air Max 2011 ater. Harry could not help wondering whether they had only agreed to come on what now felt like a pointless and rambling journey because they thought he had some secret plan that they would learn in due course. Ton was making no effort to hide his bad mood, and Harry was starting to fear that Hermione too was disappointed by his poor leadership. In desperation he tried to think of further Horcrux locations, but the only one that continued to occur to him was Hogwarts, and as neither of the others thought this at all likely, he stopped suggesting it. Autumn rolled over the countryside as they moved through it. They were now pitching the tent on mulches of fallen leaves. Natural mists joined those cast by the dementors; wind and rain added to their troubles. The fact that Hermione was getting better at identifying edible fungi could not altogether compensate for their continuing isolation, the lack of other people’s company, or their total ignorance of what was going on in the war against Voldemort. “My mother,” said Ron on night, as they sat in the tent on a riverbank in Wales, “can make good food appear out of thin air.” He prodded moodily at the lumps of charred gray fish on his plate. Harry glanced automatically at Ron’s neck and saw, as he has expected, the golden chain of the Horcrux glinting there. nike air max trainers He managed to fight down the impulse to swear at Ron, whose attitude would, he knew, improve slightly when the time came to take off the locket. “Your mother can’t produce food out of thin air,” said Hermione. “no one can. Food is the first of the five Principal Exceptions to Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfigura—” “Oh, speak English, can’t you?” Ron said, prising a fish out from between his teeth. “It’s impossible to make good food out of nothing! You can Summon it if you know where it is, you can transform it, you can increase the quantity if you’ve already got some—” “Well, don’t bother increasing this, it’s disgusting,” said Ron. “Harry caught the fish and I did my best with it! I notice I’m always the one who ends up sorting out the food, because I’m a girl, I suppose!” “No, it’s because you’re cheap nike air max supposed to be the best at magic!” shot back Ron. Hermione jumped up and bits of roast pike slid off her tin plate onto the floor. “You can do the cooking tomorrow, Ron, you can find the ingredients and try and charm them into something worth eating, and I’ll sit here and pull faces and moan and you can see you—” “Shut up!,” said Harry, leaping to his feet and holding up both hands. “Shut up now!” Hermione looked outraged. “How can you side with him, he hardly ever does the cook—” replica nike “Hermione, be quiet, I can hear someone!” He was listening hard, his hands still raised, warning them not to talk. Then, over the rush and gush of the dark river beside them, he heard voices again. He looked around at the Sneakoscope. It was not moving. “You cast the Muffliato charm over us, right?” he whispered to Hermione. “I did everything,” she whispered back, “Muffliato, Muggle-Repelling and Disillusionment Charms, all of it. They shouldn’t be able to hear of see us, whoever they are.” Heavy scuffing and scraping noises, plus the sound of dislodged stones and twigs, told them that several people were clambering down the steep, wooded slope that descended to the narrow bank where they had pitched the tent. They drew their wands nike air max 1 , waiting. The enchantments they had cast around themselves ought to be sufficient, in the near total darkness, to shield them from the notice of Muggles and normal witches and wizards. If these were Death Eaters, then perhaps their defenses were about to be tested by Dark Magic for the first time. The voices became louder but no more intelligible as the group of men reached the bank. Harry estimated that their owners were fewer than twenty feet away, but the cascading river made it impossible to tell for sure. Hermione snatched up the beaded bag and started to rummage; after a moment she drew out three Extendible Ears and threw one each to Harry and Ron, who hastily inserted the ends of the flesh-colored strings into their ears and fed the other ends out of the tent entrance. Within seconds Harry heard a weary male voice. “There ought to be a few salmon in here, or d’you reckon it’s too early in the season? Accio Salmon!” There were several distinct splashe nike air max light s and then the slapping sounds of fish against flesh. Somebody grunted appreciatively. Harry pressed the Extendable ear deeper into his own: Over the murmur of the river he could make out more voices, but they were not speaking English or any human language he had ever heard. It was a rough and unmelodious tongue copies nike , a string of rattling, guttural noises, and there seemed to be two speakers, one with a slightly lower, slower voice than the other. A fire danced into life on the other side of the canvas, large shadows passed between tent and flames. The delicious smell of baking salmon wafted tantalizingly in their direction. Then came the clinking of cutlery on plates, and the first man spoke again. “Here, Griphook, Gornuk.” Goblins! Hermione mouthed at Harry, who nodded. “Thank you,” said the goblins together in English. “So, you three have been on the run how long?” asked a new, mellow, and pleasant voice; it was vaguely familiar to Harry, who pictured a round-bellied, cheerful- faced man. “Six weeks . . . Seven . . . I forget,” said the tired man. “Met up with Griphook in the first couple of days and joined forces with Gornuk not long after. Nice to have a but of company.” There was a pause, while knives scraped plates and tin mugs were picked up and replaced on the ground. “What made you leave, Ted?” continued th nike air max plus e man. “Knew they were coming for me,” replied mellow-voiced Ted, and Harry suddenly knew who he was: Tonks’s father. “Heard Death Eaters were in the area last week and decided I’d better run for it. Refused to register as a Muggle-born on principle, see, so I knew it was a matter of time, knew I’d have to leave in the end. My wife should be okay, she’s pure-blood. And then I net Dean here, what, a few days ago, son?” “Yeah,” said another voice, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione stared at each other, silent but besides themselves with excitement, sure they recognized the voice of Dean Thomas, their fellow Gryffindor. “Muggle-born, eh?” asked the first man. “Not sure ,” said Dean. “My dad left my mum when I was a kid. I’ve got no proof he was a wizard, though.” There Fake nike was silence for a while, except for the sounds of munching; then Ted spoke again. “I’ve got to say, Dirk, I’m surprised to run into you. Pleased, but surprised. Word was that you’d been caught.” “I was,” said Dirk. “I was halfway to Azkaban when I made a break for it. Stunned Dawlish, and nicked his broom. nike air max light It was easier than you’d think; I don’t reckon he’s quite right at the moment .Might be Confunded. If so, I’d like to shake the hand of the witch or wizard who did it, probably saved my life.” There was another pause in which the fire crackled and the river rushed on. The Ted said, “And where do you two fit in? I, er, had the impression the goblins were for You-Know-Who, on the whole.” “You had a false impression,” said the higher-voiced of the goblins. “We take no sides. This is a wizards’ war.” “How come you’re in hiding, then?” “I deemed in prudent,” said the deeper-voiced goblin. “Having refused what I considered an impertinent request, I could see that my person safety was in jeopardy.” “What did they ask you to do?” asked Ted. “Duties ill-befitting the dignity of my race,” replied the goblin, his voice rougher and less human as he said it. “I am not a nike air max 87 house-elf.” “What about you, Griphook?” “Similar reasons,” said the higher voiced goblin. “Gringotts is no longer under the sole control of my race. I recognize no Wizarding master.” He added something under his breath in Gobbledegook, and Gornuk laughed. “What’s the joke?” asked Dean. “He said,” replied Dirk, “that there are things wizards don’t recognize, either.” There was a short pause. “I don’t get it,” said Dean. “I had my small revenge before I left,,” said Griphook in English. “Good man—goblin, I should say,” amended Ted hastily. “Didn’t manage to lock a Death Eater up in one of the old high-security vaults, I suppose?” “If I had, the sword would not have helped him break out,” replied Griphook. Gornuk laughed again and even Dirk gave nike air max 90 a dry chuckle. “Dean and I are still missing something here,” said Ted. “So is Severus Snape, though he does not know it,” said Griphook, and the two goblins roared with malicious laughter. Inside the tent Harry’s breathing was shallow with excitement: He and Hermione stared at each other, listening as hard as they could. “Didn’t you hear nike air max light about that, Ted?” asked Dirk. “About the kids who tried to steal Gryffindor’s sword out of Snape’s office at Hogwarts?” An electric current seemed to course through Harry, jangling his every nerve as he

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