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How long would it be before Voldemort knew that they had broken into the Lestrangesâ€™ vault? How soon would the goblins of Gringotts notify Bellatrix? How quickly would they realize what had been taken? And then, when they discovered that the golden cup was missing? Voldemort would know, at last, that they were hunting Horcruxes..cartier juste un clou replica.
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The sun slipped lower in the sky, which was turning indigo; and still the dragon flew, cities and towns gliding out of sight beneath them, its enormous shadow sliding over the earth like a giant dark cloud. Every part of Harry ached with the effort of holding on to the dragonâ€™s back..cheap christian louboutin replica.
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He slithered over the side of the dragon and plummeted feetfirst toward the surface of the lake; the drop was greater than he had estimated and he hit the water hard, plunging like a stone into a freezing, green, reed-filled world. He kicked toward the surface and emerged, panting, to see enormous ripples emanating in circles from the places where Ron and Hermione had fallen. The dragon did not seem to have noticed anything; it was already fifty feet away, swooping low over the lake to scoop up water in its scarred snout. As Ron and Hermione emerged, spluttering and gasping, from the depths of the lake, the dragon flew on, its wings beating hard, and landed at last on a distant bank..cartier love bracelet replica.
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Hermione collapsed, coughing and shuddering. Though Harry could have happily lain down and slept, he staggered to his feet, drew out his wand, and started casting the usual protective spells around them.
When he had finished, he joined the others. It was the first time that he had seen them properly since escaping from the vault. Both had angry red burns all over their faces and arms, and their clothing was singed away in places. They were wincing as they dabbed essence of dittany onto their many injuries. Hermione handed Harry the bottle, then pulled out three bottles of pumpkin juice she had brought from Shell Cottage and clean, dry robes for all of them. They changes and then gulped down the juice.
â€œWell, on the upside,â€ said Ron finally, who was sitting watching the skin on his hands regrow, â€œwe got the Horcrux. On the downside-â€
â€œâ€“ no sword,â€ said Harry through gritted teeth, as he dripped dittany through the singed hole in his jeans onto the angry burn beneath.
â€œNo sword,â€ repeated Ron. â€œThat double-crossing little scabâ€¦â€
Harry pulled the Horcrux from the pocket of the wet jacket he had just taken off and set it down on the grass in front of them. Glinting in the sun, it drew their eyes as they swigged their bottles of juice.
â€œAt least we canâ€™t wear it this time, thatâ€™d look a bit weird hanging around our necks,â€ said Ron, wiping his mouth on the back of his hand.
Hermione looked across the lake to the far bank where the dragon was still drinking.
â€œWhatâ€™ll happen to it, do you think?â€ she asked, â€œWill it be alright?â€
â€œYou sound like Hagrid,â€ said Ron, â€œItâ€™s a dragon, Hermione, it can look after itself. Itâ€™s us we need to worry about.â€
â€œWhat do you mean?â€
â€œWell I donâ€™t know how to break this to you,â€ said Ron, â€œbut I think they might have noticed we broke into Gringotts.â€
All three of them started to laugh, and once started, it was difficult to stop. Harryâ€™s ribs ached, he felt lightheaded with hunger, but he lay back on the grass beneath the reddening sky and laughed until his throat was raw.
â€œWhat are we going to do, though?â€ said Hermione finally, hiccuping herself back to seriousness. â€œHeâ€™ll know, wonâ€™t he? You-Know-Who will know we know about his Horcruxes!â€
â€œMaybe theyâ€™ll be too scared to tell him!â€ said Ron hopefully, â€œMaybe theyâ€™ll cover up â€“â€
The sky, the smell of the lake water, the sound of Ronâ€™s voice were extinguished. Pain cleaved Harryâ€™s head like a sword stroke.
He was standing in a dimly lit room, and a semicircle of wizards faced him, and on the floor at his feet knelt a small, quaking figure.
â€œWhat did you say to me?â€ His voice was high and cold, but fury and fear burned inside him. The one thing that he had dreaded â€“ but it could not be true, he could not see howâ€¦
The goblin was trembling, unable to meet the red eyes high above his.
â€œSay it again!â€ murmured Voldemort. â€œSay it again!â€
â€œM-my Lord,â€ stammered the goblin, its black eyes wide with terror, â€œm-my Lordâ€¦ we t-tried to st-stop themâ€¦ Im-impostors, my Lordâ€¦ broke -broke into the â€“ into the Lestrangesâ€™ vaultâ€¦â€
â€œImpostors? What impostors? I thought Gringotts had ways of revealing impostors? Who were they?â€
â€œIt wasâ€¦ it wasâ€¦ the P-Potter b-boy and the t-two accomplicesâ€¦â€
â€œAnd they took?â€ he said, his voice rising, a terrible fear gripping him, â€œTell me! What did they take?â€
â€œAâ€¦ a s-small golden c-cup m-my Lordâ€¦â€
The scream of rage, of denial left him as if it were a strangerâ€™s. He was crazed, frenzied, it could not be true, it was impossible, nobody had known. How was it possible that the boy could have discovered his secret?
The Elder Wand slashed through the air and green light erupted through the room; the kneeling goblin rolled over dead; the watching wizards scattered before him, terrified. Bellatrix and Lucius Malfoy threw others behind them in their race for the door, and again and again his wand fell, and those who were left were slain, all of them, for bringing him this news, for hearing about the golden cup - Alone amongst the dead he stomped up and down, and they passed before him in vision: his treasures, his safeguards, his anchors to immortality â€“ the diary was destroyed and the cup was stolen. What if, what if, the boy knew about the others? Could he know, had he already acted, had he traced more of them? Was Dumbledore at the root of this? Dumbledore, who had always suspected him; Dumbledore, dead on his orders; Dumbledore, whose wand was his now, yet who reached out from the ignominy of death through the boy, the boy -
But surely if the boy had destroyed any of his Horcruxes, he, Lord Voldemort, would have known, would have felt it? He, the greatest wizard of them all; he, the most powerful; he, the killer of Dumbledore and of how many other worthless, nameless men. How could Lord Voldemort not have known, if he, himself, most important and precious, had been attacked, mutilated?
True, he had not felt it when the diary had been destroyed, but he had thought that was because he had no body to fell, being less than ghostâ€¦ No, surely, the rest were safeâ€¦ The other Horcruxes must be intactâ€¦
But he must know, he must be sureâ€¦ He paced the room, kicking aside the goblinâ€™s corpse as he passed, and the pictures blurred and burned in his boiling brain: the lake, the shack, and Hogwarts -
A modicum of calm cooled his rage now. How could the boy know that he had hidden the ring in the Gaunt shack? No one had ever known him to be related to the Gaunts, he had hidden the connection, the killings had never been traced to him. The ring, surely, was safe.
And how could the boy, or anybody else, know about the cave or penetrate its protection? The idea of the locket being stolen was absurdâ€¦
As for the school: He alone knew where in Hogwarts he had stowed the Horcrux, because he alone had plumed the deepest secrets of that placeâ€¦
And there was still Nagini, who must remain close now, no longer sent to do his bidding, under his protectionâ€¦
But to be sure, to be utterly sure, he must return to each of his hiding places, he must redouble protection around each of his Horcruxesâ€¦ A job, like the quest for the Elder Wand, that he must undertake aloneâ€¦
Which should he visit first, which was in most danger? An old unease flickered inside him. Dumbledore had known his middle nameâ€¦ Dumbledore might have made the connection with the Gauntsâ€¦ Their abandoned home was, perhaps, the least secure of his hiding places, it was there that he would go firstâ€¦
The lake, surely impossibleâ€¦ though was there a slight possibility that Dumbledore might have known some of his past misdeeds, through the orphanage.
And Hogwartsâ€¦ but he knew the his Horcrux there was safe; it would be impossible for Potter to enter Hogsmeade without detection, let alone the school. Nevertheless, it would be prudent to alert Snape to the fact that the boy might try to reenter the castleâ€¦. To tell Snape why the boy might return would be foolish, of course; it had been a grave mistake to trust Bellatrix and Malfoy. Didnâ€™t their stupidity and carelessness prove how unwise it was ever to trust?
He would visit the Gaunt shack first, then, and take Nagini with him. He would not be parted from the snake anymoreâ€¦ and he strode from the room, through the hall, and out into the dark garden where the fountain played; he called the snake in Parseltongue and it slithered out to join him like a long shadowâ€¦.
Harryâ€™s eyes flew open as he wrenched himself back to the present. He was lying on the bank of the lake in the setting sun, and Ron and Hermione were looking down at him. Judging by their worried looks, and by the continued pounding of his scar, his sudden excursion into Voldemortâ€™s mind had not passed unnoticed. He struggled up, shivering, vaguely surprised that he was still wet to his skin, and saw the cup lying innocently in the grass before him, and the lake, deep blue shot with gold in the falling sun.
â€œHe knows.â€ His own voice sounded strange and low after Voldemortâ€™s high screams. â€œHe knows and heâ€™s going to check where the others are, and the last one,â€ he was already on his feet, â€œis at Hogwarts. I knew it. I knew it.â€
Ron was gaping at him; Hermione sat up, looking worried.
â€œBut what did you see? How do you know?â€
â€œI saw him find out about the cup, I â€“ I was in his head, heâ€™sâ€ â€“ Harry remembered the killings â€“ â€œheâ€™s seriously angry, and scared too, he canâ€™t understand how we knew, and now heâ€™s going to check the others are safe, the ring first. He things the Hogwarts one is safest, because Snapeâ€™s there, because itâ€™ll be so hard not to be seen getting in. I think heâ€™ll check that one last, but he could still be there within hours â€“ â€
â€œDid you see where in Hogwarts it is?â€ asked Ron, now scrambling to his feet too.
â€œNo, he was concentrating on warning Snape, he didnâ€™t think about exactly where it is â€“ â€
â€œWait, wait!â€ cried Hermione as Ron caught up to the Horcrux and Harry pulled out the Invisibility Cloak again. â€œWe canâ€™t just go, we havenâ€™t got a plan, we need to â€“ â€
â€œWe need to get going,â€ said Harry firmly. He had been hoping to sleep, looking forward to getting into the new tent, but that was impossible now, â€œCan you imagine what heâ€™s going to do once he realizes the ring and the locket are gone? What if he moves the Hogwarts Horcrux, decides it isnâ€™t safe enough?â€
â€œBut how are we going to get in?â€
â€œWeâ€™ll go to Hogsmeade,â€ said Harry, â€œand try to work something out once we see what the protection around the schoolâ€™s like. Get under the Cloak, Hermione, I want to stick together this time.â€
â€œBut we donâ€™t really fit â€“ â€
â€œItâ€™ll be dark, no oneâ€™s going to notice our feet.â€
The flapping of enormous wings echoed across the black water. The dragon had drunk its fill and risen into the air. They paused in their preparations to watch it climb higher and higher, now black against the rapidly darkening sky, until it vanished over a nearby mountain. Then Hermione walked forward and took her place between the other two, Harry pulled the Cloak down as far as it would go, and together they turned on the spot into the crushing darkness.
The Deathly Hallows
. . . . . . . . . .