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Today he had managed to capture two unicorn foals. Unlike full-grown unicorns, they were pure gold. Parvati and Lavender went into transports of delight at the sight of them, and even Pansy Parkinson had to work hard to conceal how much she liked them.

"Weekend after next," whispered Hermione, who had read the note over Harrys shoulder.

But Mr. Crouch, Harry suddenly realized, was not there. The fifth seat at the table was occupied by Percy Weasley.

Blowed if I can see where she's got to ... she doesn't seem the type to elope, for instance . . . but still. . . . What are we doing, talking about goblins and Bertha Jorkins? I really wanted to ask you" - he lowered his voice - "how are you getting on with your golden egg?"

"Worrying about poor 'ickle goblins, now, are you?" Ron asked Hermione. "Thinking of starting up S.P.U.G. or something? Society for the Protection of Ugly Goblins?"


By the evening before the second task. Harry felt as though he were trapped in a nightmare. He was fully aware that even if, by some miracle, he managed to find a suitable spell, he'd have a real job mastering it overnight. How could he have let this happen? Why hadn't he got to work on the egg's clue sooner? Why had he ever let his mind wander in class - what if a teacher had once mentioned how to breathe underwater?

It was so deep that his feet barely touched the bottom, and he actually did a couple of lengths before swimming back to the side and treading water, staring at the egg. Highly enjoyable though it was to swim in hot and foamy water with clouds of different-colored steam wafting all around him, no stroke of brilliance came to him, no sudden burst of understanding.

By eight o'clock. Madam Pince had extinguished all the lamps and came to chivvy Harry out of the library. Staggering under the weight of as many books as he could carry, Harry returned to the Gryffindor common room, pulled a table into a corner, and continued to search. There was nothing in Madcap Magic for Wacky Warlocks. . . nothing in A Guide to Medieval Sorcery . . . not one mention of underwater exploits in An Anthology of Eighteenth-Century Charms, or in Dreadful Denizens of the Deep, or Powers You Never Knew You Had and What to Do with Them Now Youve Wised Up.

Dobby plucked at the shrunken maroon sweater he was now wearing over his shorts.

"Where have you been?" said a bossy, disapproving voice. "The task's about to start!"


Hagrid was sitting at his table, where there were two large mugs of tea. He looked a real mess. His face was blotchy, his eyes swollen, and he had gone to the other extreme where his hair was concerned; far from trying to make it behave, it now looked like a wig of tangled wire.

"There you go. Harry!" Ron shouted over the noise. "You weren't being thick after all -you were showing moral fiber!"

Bagman led Harry along the bar to the end furthest from Madam Rosmerta.

"No, he's just too ashamed to show his big, ugly face."

"Next time there's a ball, ask me before someone else does, and not as a last resort!"


"Harry Potter must wake up, sir!"


"Prowl away," said Moody, but his voice was full of menace. "I look forward to meeting you in a dark corridor some time.... You've dropped something, by the way. ..."


"Why didn't he come?" Harry asked. He wasn't looking forward to being lectured on cauldron bottoms all through dinner.


"We weren't trying to hear him!" said Ron indignantly. "We didn't have any choice! The stupid prat, talking about his giantess mother where anyone could have heard him!",


"Looking for you," said George. "McGonagall wants you, Ron. And you, Hermione.";