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'It will not be necessary for us to enter,' muttered Dumbledore, glancing around. 'As long as nobody sees us go ... now place your hand upon my arm, Harry. There is no need to grip too hard, I am merely guiding you. On the count of three - one ... two ... three ...'
"Yes," said Dumbledore, smiling, "I would be prepared to bet — perhaps not my other hand — but a couple of fingers, that they be-came Horcruxes three and four. The remaining two, assuming again that he created a total of six, are more of a problem, but I will hazard a guess that, having secured objects from Hufflepuff and Slytherin, he set out to track down objects owned by Gryffindor or Ravenclaw. Four objects from the four founders would, I am sure, have exerted a powerful pull over Voldemort's imagination. I can-not answer for whether he ever managed to find anything of Ravenclaw's. I am confident, however, that the only known relic of Gryffindor remains safe."
"Don't say that," he whispered. "It isn't a question ... If it were to help you, of course . . . but no purpose can be served . . ."
"Of course, this puts you in a bit of a dilemma, doesn't it?" said Hermione.
With a noise like an explosion, something very large and pale erupted out of the dark water some twenty feet away; before Harry could see what it was, it had vanished again with a crashing splash that made great, deep ripples on the mirrored surface. Harry leapt backward in shock and hit the wall; his heart was still thundering as he turned to Dumbledore.
He had to put the question to her at once; his curiosity even drove Ginny temporarily from his brain. He dropped his voice as Katie's friends started gathering up their things; apparently they were late for Transfiguration.
Chapter 27: The Lightning-Struck Tower
"Petrificus Totalus!" Harry bellowed again, backing away as he swiped his wand through the air; six or seven of them crumpled, but more were coming toward him. "Impedimenta! Incarcerous!" A few of them stumbled, one or two of them bound in ropes, but those climbing onto the rock behind them merely stepped over or on the fallen bodies. Still slashing at the air with his wand, Harry yelled, "Sectumsempra! SECTUMSEMPRA!" But though gashes appeared in their sodden rags and their icy skin, they had no blood to spill: They walked on, unfeeling, their shrunken hands outstretched toward him, and as he backed away still farther, he felt arms enclose him from behind, thin, fleshlcv. arms cold as death, and his feet left the ground as they lifted him and began to carry him, slowly and surely, back to the water, anil he knew there would be no release, that he would be drowned, and become one more dead guardian of a fragment of Voldemorts shattered soul...
Hagrid's face darkened and Harry knew why: Tom Riddle had contrived to have Hagrid thrown out of school, blamed for opening the Chamber of Secrets. Slughorn, however, did not seem to be listening; he was looking up at the ceiling, from which a number of brass pots hung, and also a long, silky skein of bright white hair.
'We've been through this,' said Harry crossly. 'Prince, Hermione, Prince!'
"Quite understandable," murmured Dumbledore. Harry was alarmed to hear how faint his voice was.
"And they could be anything?" said Harry. "They could be oh, in tin cans or, I dunno, empty potion bottles. . . ."
"Not exactly, sir," said Riddle. "I came across the term while reading and I didn't fully understand it."
"So he's made himself impossible to kill by murdering other people?" said Harry. "Why couldn't he make a Sorcerer's Stone, or steal one, if he was so interested in immortality?"
They turned out of the gates into the twilit, deserted lane to Hogsmeade. Darkness descended fast as they walked and by the time they reached the High Street night was falling in earnest. Lights twinkled from windows over shops and as they neared the Three Broomsticks they heard raucous shouting.