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As they followed Hermione and Leanne up the road, Harry was thinking furiously. They had just entered the grounds when he spoke, unable to keep his thoughts to himself any longer.

"We'll need to show this to Madam Pomfrey," he said.

"All in good time," said Dumbledore. "I think there is something trying to get out of your wardrobe."

"The Half-Blood Prince, he was called," Harry said. "How many girls have been Princes?"

"If you don't open the door, we'll blast it open!" Harry said, pulling out his wand.


Harry groaned. Meanwhile, Ron, who was attempting to burst the pod in the bowl by putting both hands on it, standing up, and squashing it as hard as he could, said angrily, "And this is another party just for Slughorn's favorites, is it?"

As Harry had expected, the trials took most of the morning. Half of Gryffindor House seemed to have turned up, from first years who were nervously clutching a selection of the dreadful old school brooms, to seventh years who towered over the rest, looking coolly intimidating. The latter included a large, wiry-haired boy Harry recognized immediately from the Hogwarts Express.

"Yes," said Hermione angrily. "But obviously if you'd rather 1 hooked up with McLaggen ..."

"I'm starving," said Harry, once the door had closed behind them and they were hurrying through the dark and deserted grounds; he had abandoned the rock cake after an ominous crack-ing noise from one of his back teeth. "And I've got that detention with Snape tonight, I haven't got much time for dinner. ..."

"Well, I've had Quidditch practice, Professor," said Harry, who had indeed been scheduling practices every time Slughorn had sent him a little, violet ribbon-adorned invitation. This strategy meant that Ron was not left out, and they usually had a laugh with Ginny, imagining Hermione shut up with McLaggen and Zabini.


"Let's go to the Three Broomsticks," said Harry. "It'll be warm."

Harry suddenly wished the pod had flown a little farther, so that he need not have been sitting here with the pair of them. Unno-ticed by either, he seized the bowl that contained the pod and be-gan to try and open it by the noisiest and most energetic means he could think of; unfortunately, he could still hear every word of their conversation.

"From all that I have been able to discover, he never mentioned her name or existence from that time forth. The shock of her de-sertion may have contributed to his early death — or perhaps he had simply never learned to feed himself. Azkaban had greatly weakened Marvolo, and he did not live to see Morfin return to the cottage."

"What happened when Katie touched the necklace?"

"Oh, all right then, I did it," she whispered. "But you should have heard the way he was talking about Ron and Ginny! Any-way, he's got a nasty temper, you saw how he reacted when he didn't get in — you wouldn't have wanted someone like that on the team."


Ron ignored this jibe, sipping his drink in what he evidently considered to be a dignified silence. Harry was thinking about Sirius, and how he had hated those silver goblets anyway. Hermione drummed her fingers on the table, her eyes flickering between Ron and the bar. The moment Harry drained the last drops in his bot-tle she said, "Shall we call it a day and go back to school, then?"


"His powers, as you heard, were surprisingly well-developed for such a young wizard and ?most interestingly and ominously of all ?he had already discovered that he had some measure of control over them, and begun to use them consciously. And as you saw, they were not the random experiments typical of young wizards: He was already using magic against other people, to frighten, to punish, to control. The little stories of the strangled rabbit and the young boy and girl he lured into a cave were most suggestive. . . . 'I can make them hurt if I want to. . . .'"


"'Professor'?" repeated Riddle. He looked wary. "Is that like 'doctor'? What are you here for? Did she get you in to have a look at me?"


"I have arranged with Professor Snape that you will do your de-tention next Saturday instead.",


The sopophorous bean was proving very difficult to cut up. Harry turned to Hermione.;