Chapter 12: The Precious Antidote
“We’ll go out this week-end”, said Hermione as she entered Harry’s room. “At St Mungo’s Hospital they found the trace of the patient who had been bitten by a werewolf and who was in the same room with Mr Weasley. He agreed to test the potion. As the full moon is getting near, the healers would like to give the patient his potion a bit before so as to give it time to work out its effects.”
“Quite logical !” replied Harry.
“You’ve some clues for the fifth Horcrux ?”
“No !” replied Harry, looking thoughtful. ‘As I have no idea how it looks like, I saw again Gaunt’s house yesterday, but that concerned the ring. I also saw the cave where I was with Dumbledore, so those are Horcruxes that we have already destroyed. I don’t know whether I could simply ask Nagini ‘aloud’ in my dream where the fifth Horcrux is, it’s a bit risky. Until now, I think that Nagini doesn’t know that I broke into its head. Well, I had rather proceed slowly, undetected.”
“We can’t do anything to help you, we are very sorry, Harry”, said Hermione, looking sad.
The A.D.’s members began to come.
“Good evening, Harry ! They spoke of Inferi in the Daily Prophet today. What are they exactly ?” asked a Hufflepuff member.
“Well”, said Harry, remembering the images he had seen in the cave and Dumbledore’s words. ‘They are corpses, dead bodies, that the wizard revives by a Dark Magic curse so that they do the work the wizard asked for.
“Since they are already dead, how can we kill them ? How can we defeat them ?” asked another D.A. member.
“Well”, Harry replied, and Dumbledore’s voice was echoing in his mind. “Like all creatures who live in the dark, and the cold, they fear light and heat : the fire’, Harry repeated automatically without knowing it.
“You explain better than Snape last year” said Neville. “He didn’t tell us how to fight them.”
“Normal !” burst out Ron. “He wouldn’t teach us how to defeat his master’s army ! He always calls him and refers to him as the Dark Lord !” added Ron in a mocking tone.
“Talking of Snape”, said Harry, “I’ll show you a curse he said he had invented himself. Well, we can pay him back in his own coin. It’s a curse that is meant for enemies. It’s a very powerful curse. But facing opponents who don’t hesitate at casting you the killing curse, they deserve that we use curses that could eliminate them from the combat. You should cast it and pronounce the formula in a clear and determined voice: ‘SEC-tum-SEM-pra’. I wounded Greyback with this curse. He was already half way on his incantation of “Avada Kedavra”.
“He deserved a thousand times the killing curse” many voices said.
“And…”, Harry resumed, “it also has the advantage of the short incantations. ‘Sectusempra’ has only four syllables to pronounce, while ‘Avada Kedavra’ has six. Well, the wave of the hand must always be fluid, smooth. The suppleness is the relaxation of the body; it frees the spirit, allowing you to concentrate on the effect of the curse you want to reach. Aim well and end the curse with a snap. Now, place youselves facing the wall, and cast the curse ‘SEC tum SEM pra’. Remember that’s a curse for Death Eaters only”.
All the members placed themselves facing the wall and shouted the incantation. Harry passed behind them to watch their way of pronouncing the formula and the movement of the wands and arms. Neville concentrated hard, his face was red, but he aimed in the bad way.
“No ! Neville, you must aim straight, facing your opponent, and end up the curse with a snap.
Neville cast the curse again, and this time he did it well.
“Very well, Neville” Harry encouraged him.
“We learn better with you than in class”, said Neville looking happy.
“In class, it’s the syllabus. You must follow the syllabus if you want to pass your N.E.W.T.”
“You’ll sit for the N.E.W.T. exams ?” asked Neville.
“I … don’t think so”, replied Harry. “I have others priorities. And then, apart from D.A.D.A., there are also Herbology, Charms, Transfigurations and Potions and so on… I regret nothing… I’ve made my choice” added Harry, smiling.
“Harry, you see the time ?” Hermione reminded him.
“You won’t go in for the exams ?” asked Hermione, looking worried, when all the D.A. members had left.
“It was the only way to cut short all embarrassing questions. It worries me to tell lies to friends, but nobody will now put any question concerning me.”
“We got very good news through the Owl Post this morning”, said Hermione.
The three friends were going for a walk by the lake near the White Tomb.
“Yes ?” said Harry, “it was the full moon, yesterday, wasn’t it ?
“Yes, the boy didn’t transform yesterday at St Mungo’s, nor the adult patient”, replied Hermione. It seemed that the boy’s parents have promised a substantial donation to St Mungo’s Hospital, a very substantial one. Lupin hopes hard. He said that since the death of Greyback, the underground community had somehow calmed a lot. Only about four or five of them were still virulent and aggressive. These werewolves are not only inclined to side with Voldemort but are true Allies for him. These are somewhat the leaders of the underground community; they replaced Greyback.
“How many of them are there in the whole ?”
“Lupin said they are about a dozen. Lupin intends to bring one five-litre cask of anti-werewolf mead potion to the underground, for, let’s say, to celebrate his engagement … sometime next week”, Hermione related.
“Five litres ? How much blood will you need, you’ll not drain Bill off all his blood !” burst out Harry, panic stricken.
“Shh ! Don’t shout ! Only some fifty cc (cubic centimetre) will do, no need of any more,’ replied Hermione. ‘In each litre of potion, the healers add only ten cc. I know, I’ve noted down the exact proportions of all the ingredients. Mead remains the largest part, eight hundred cc per litre, alcohol makes it easier for the transport of the potion’s elements to spread them throughout the body. I’ve looked at the healers while they prepared the potion. The question will be discussed tomorrow at the meeting whether we’ll ask the Hospital to prepare it for us or we’ll do it ourselves discreetly. All we have to do is to ask them to supply us with their herbal syrup, because it’s a magisterial preparation, we won’t find it in Diagon Alley, and also the Blood-Replenishing potion. At least the hospital owes us that, don’t you think so ?”
“Since there are only about a dozen of the werewolves, I wonder why the Ministry can’t exterminate them all ? Moreover, they all gather in the underground. It would be quite easy, no ?” asked Ron.
"We don’t care for what the Ministry does or does not !” Hermione snaped back. Moreover, I don’t think that the Ministry knows where the werewolves congregate. And the policy of the Order is not to exterminate them, but, up till now, is to persuade them, to convert them to a new way of living, and to try to minimize and prevent the damages they may cause when they transform. Lupin said they have shunned normal society and live on the margin, stealing – and sometimes killing – to eat ! Now that we’ve found an antidote, it’s brilliant ! But Voldemort should not know that we’ve got it.”
“Yes, I understand better now” said Ron. “Poor Lupin, what a cheerful engagement party in prospect !”
“Lupin goes there alone, let’s us say … between mates, and then, as it’s not the full moon, they won’t transform !”
“I received a letter from Percy” said Harry, changing the subject, “yesterday, brought by his owl Hermes, which entered my room through the window.
“What ?” cried Ron. “What did he say ?”
“He wanted to see me. Of course, he doesn’t know where I am, but he trusted his owl to find me out, and it found me indeed. He wants to meet me at the Leaky Cauldron, next Saturday.”
“We’ll come with you”, Hermione proposed.
“We’ll go out this weekend, but I’ll go to the Leaky Cauldron alone. The tension between Percy and his family is such that the presence of Ron might prevent him from speaking freely. It would be better this way, I think”, Harry suggested.
“He hasn’t said anything else ?” asked Ron.
“He said he wished to help the Ministry ! Nothing else”, said Harry.
“Do you progress in the research for the fifth Horcrux, Harry ?” asked Hermione, after a moment of silence, as each one of them followed his own thoughts.
“I stagnate …. I’ve made many dreams. Apart from the cave and Gaunt’s house, Lucius Malfoy, the sewer, which are dreams that were related to the Horcruxes we have already destroyed. I have another dream that I can’t yet make out the significance of it. I dreamed of Voldemort. I saw him in an underground room, or something like that, the light was dim. He roared with laughter triumphantly, but it was a young Voldemort, the Voldemort of the Dairy. I didn’t see him exactly, I saw only his reflection in a kind of mirror, or a glass door. As for him, I only saw his back”
The three friends came to the White Tomb.
“A young Voldemort roaring with laughter triumphantly !” repeated Hermione slowly in emphasizing each syllable as if to visualize the scene better. What can it mean ! Perhaps, it’s a clue. Perhaps Voldemort created that Horcrux when he was young, still at Hogwarts ?”
“Yes ! We know that when he killed his father and grandparents, he was still at Hogwarts. He has killed three persons, but he only made two horcruxes to our knowledge, the ring and the diary. He still had one bit of soul free ! He must have created that third horcrux with that bit of ‘muck soul’ while he was still at Hogwarts !”, Ron suggested.
“Yes, you must persevere and work on this clue,” Hermione added.
“Yes, of course”, replied Harry sadly, putting a hand on the white marble of the tomb as he often did each time he came here. And again, Harry felt a flow spreading from the cold marble through all his body, and again he heard the familiar phoenix song from somewhere, unreal… as if it came from his own heart. He thought : ‘You said that help would be given to anyone who asked for it …’ Then suddenly he heard echoing in his mind Dumbledore’s soft voice : ‘So … back again, Harry ?’ Then he felt a warm stream of blood slowly flowing through his heart and a comforting sensation flooded his mind.
“Who spoke ?” asked Harry after a moment of silence.
“No, Nobody did”, replied Hermione. “We saw that you were meditating, so we kept silent. Why ?” added Hermione.
“Nothing” replied Harry. But, apart himself, he wondered at which moment, and on what occasion Dumbledore had asked him that question.
“Lupin’s evening among the werewolves was a real success”, said Hermione.
The three friends were in their living room at Wulfric.
“They all had drunk the anti werewolf potion, without any suspicion, for Lupin drank with them too. They asked Lupin to bring more next time”, added Hermione.
“All we have to do now is to wait for the results. All the merit is for you, Hermione, it was you who prepared the potion”, said Harry.
“Yes”, Hermione replied. “The healers always showed themselves very indulgent towards me. They looked upon me as an inquisitive innocent girl and they explained every thing to me. I told them that I would like to become a healer myself later on and they all were very pleased with me and they didn’t hide anything from me … Lupin has the conviction that the werewolves were planning to station themselves on the next full moon in front of the orphanage in Liverpool. Members of the Order will be there to intervene if need be.
“Brilliant !” said Ron. “Since the boy and the other patient were cured, there’s no reason now why the werewolves would not be cured too. We’ll be able to claim victory !”
“Yes,” said Harry, then he added, turning to Hermione, changing the subject, “Could you get me the books ‘History of Hogwarts’ and ‘A revised history of Hogwarts’ ?”
“Why ?” Hermione asked looking startled.
“I would like to make sure of something, whether there are any objects that belonged to the Hogwarts founders are mentioned in those books.”
“You’ve got new clues ?”
“I don’t know, I’m not very sure. When I was on the White Tomb the other day, one of Dumbledore’s sentence suddenly came back to my mind: “So - back again, Harry ?” And since I searched in my memory to know on which occasion he had asked me that. During the first year, I’ve discovered the Mirror of Erised. I was in front of the mirror, it was the third time, the previous times I had been with Ron. I saw my parents and I was very glad to see their visages, and to see them together full of life and love. And then Dumbledore asked me “So - back again, Harry ?”, I didn’t know he was there, behind me. And then he explained to me that the mirror showed us neither knowledge, nor truth, but only the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts, and that we should not dwell in dreams and forget to live.”
“But, of course !” Hermione burst out, particularly happy, after a moment’s silence. “Everything is clear ! Voldemort in front of the mirror should have seen himself as the greatest wizard, venerated by everybody, immortal, indestructible. That was why he roared with laughter triumphantly. He must have been very glad and turned the mirror into one of his Horcruxes. And what was the better place to hide a Horcrux ? At Hogwarts, the second place, after Gringotts, the most secure in the world, out of reach of possible thieves and under Dumbledore’s very nose . Who could think it were a Horcrux ? It’s brilliant. You’ve solved the mystery !”
“Yes,’ Ron said, “a Chinese old proverb says “if you want to hide something from your enemy, hide it in his own house !”
“We still have to verify whether it’s a Horcrux !” replied Harry.
“How can you verify ? The only way to verify is to destroy it and see whether there is a bit of ‘dung smoke’ escaping from it !
“OK ! But how could we know whether the mirror belonged to Ravenclaw of Gryffindor ?”
“I don’t remember having seen the mirror mentioned in the books of Hogwarts”, said Hermione. “We can always read them again and control. But Dumbledore might have been wrong when he thought that the fifth Horcrux should be something that had belonged to Ravenclaw or Gryffindor. In my opinion, it’s your dream, which is important. You have no reason to see Voldemort roaring with laughter in front of the mirror. And if you saw it, it means that Voldemort’s soul in Nagini showed it to you while you were looking for the Horcrux. I see things that way.”
“But if Voldemort made it a Horcrux, why Dumbledore didn’t know, why he didn’t feel the magic mark which Voldemort left on it when he hid the philosopher’s stone in it ?”
“That’s a very good question”, replied Hermione. “But I’m convinced that the mirror is one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes, because you had no raison to see Voldemort roaring with laughter in front of it. It’s the bit of Voldemort’s soul in Nagini that showed you the scene. Don’t you think so ?”
“Yes ! Your argument is quite sensible, but I’m not entirely convinced. In the cave when we went to fetch the locket, Dumbledore showed he had a very ‘good nose’, to detect the faintest trace of magic.”
“Yes ! But perhaps, because the mirror was in itself a piece of high magic, Dumbledore couldn’t detect the faint magic trace that Voldemort might have left on it when he hid the philosopher’s stone in the mirror. We could explain it that way ?” said Hermione.
“Yes, what you say is quite sensible,” Harry admitted.
“You are right, Hermione, you are always our brain !” Ron said.
“If you like; I’ll read the book for you. That’s the least we could do to help you.”
“Thank you” said Harry, feeling relieved of a great weight.
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