Chapter 2 - 2
Back to the Burrow - 2nd part
“Morning Hagrid ! Thank you for the gift. It was brilliant”.
“Happy birthday, Harry. I’ve made it myself. The bow is made of thousand-year-old willow wood and the string is of plaited unicorn hair. Did it please you ?”
“Yes, it was great.”
“I couldn’t come yesterday. I’ve found a wounded baby unicorn in the forest and I had to tend him urgently, because he has lost a lot of blood. He’s much better now, and I think I’ll be able to release him by tomorrow, in trying to go as far as possible into the Forbidden Forest.”
They divided into two groups, Mr and Mrs Weasley for the wedding purchases, Hagrid to accompany Ginny, Gabrielle, Harry, Ron and Hermione in their Diagon Alley walk. Only Ron and Harry had to buy their new robes. Hermione had had hers bought in a High fashioned Muggle shop in London. Ginny wanted to show to Gabrielle the joke shop Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes run by Fred and George.
“We’ll meet in two hours at Fred and George’s, OK ?” said Mr Weasley. “And you won’t give Hagrid the slip, you three !” he added pointing with his finger Harry, Ron and Hermione, then pulling on Mrs Weasley’s sleeve, he left in the direction of the shops for furniture and decoration.
Diagon Alley was no longer as attractive as in the old days since Voldemort was back and operated in the open. It seemed even gloomier since Dumbledore’s death. People seemed to be in haste, they didn’t any more linger before the shop windows. Once they had bought their robes at Madam Malkin’s (Harry’s a dark green one, and Ron’s a chocolate maroon one, all proposed by the three girls) they went directly to Fred and George’s. Their shop was always packed with young customers. Parents often left their children there, and did their shopping quietly on their own.
“I’ll stand guard outside, all right ? And don’t give me the slip, you three !”, said Hagrid in winking and smiling at Harry, Ron and Hermione, when they arrived in front of the joke shop.
Mr and Mrs Weasley were not yet there. Ginny, at once pulled Gabrielle towards the Wonder Witch products shelves. George and Fred led Harry, Ron and Hermione to the back of the shop after asking their assistants not to disturb them.
“Well, will you show us the Misleading Cloak ?” Ron asked when the door separating the two parts of the shop was closed.
“Yes !” reinforced Harry. “I found your invention ingenious, and I have an idea. Who else does know about your inventions ?”
“Nobody, why this question ?”, replied George. “As long as we haven’t deposited our invention for a patent, it’s top secret. We don’t want people to steal our idea !”
“And if we keep that secret for us, I mean for our camp side”, suggested Harry. “I mean, your invention is really brilliant. The enemy cannot aim correctly at you. But … it’s your Darkness powder that gave me that idea. You might have known that thanks to your powder Draco succeeded in smuggling the Death Eaters into Hogwarts last year. Ron and Ginny were there but they couldn’t do anything. I think that for the products, which may be used as combat weapons, we should not sell them to anybody. And what about speaking of your invention at the meeting of the Order ?”
“We regret very much for having sold that Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder to Malfoy, Ron taught us a long lesson about that”, replied George, “I’ll go and fetch the Cloak”, and he darted away to the staircase.
“Stay here, Harry”, suggested Fred, “near Ron, on that line. And Hermione, stay against the window. The distance between Ron and the window is about five yards. Ah, yes, here is George. Harry ! Put on the Cloak. Yes, now, Hermione ! How do you see Harry and Ron ?”
“Er… they are no longer on the same line. Ron is always on the line, but Harry appears to be nearer er… he is about four yards away from me or a little more ? But … Harry’s image is weird, it’s floating, changing, it’s unreal… Oh ! It gives me sort of headache, no, it makes me rather dizzy !!!”
“Yes, that’s why our invention is not quite ready yet. We still don’t know how to remove that floating effect. But it’s double edged. On one hand it makes it too evident and the enemy knows at once that the image is unreal, but on the other hand, it makes the target more difficult to aim at. You see what I mean ? Try and cast him a spell, Hermione !”
“Nooo !”, cried out Harry. “Let me see”, said Harry while removing the cloak and giving it to Hermione. “Take my place”. Then Harry and Hermione swapped around.
“Yes, it’s right ! It’s brilliant” said Harry. “Er … No ! … Yes ! … Not only Hermione is no longer on the same line as Ron, but also it seems to me that she has drifted a little to the right. If I close my eyes, I have her image in my mind more to the left, nearer to Ron … Remove the Cloak, Hermione, so that I see you without it first. Stay on the intersection of the two lines, yes, like that. When I close my eyes, you put on the Cloak. Now, put on the Cloak”, said Harry, staying with his eyes closed, and facing Hermione. Then he opened his eyes: ‘Yes, it’s exactly as I thought, Hermione has drifted a little to the right, well about three or four inches far from the intersection of the two lines. It’s brilliant !”
“Yes, this drifting effect, we’ve just succeeded in working out. And the farther we are from the enemy, the more important this gap becomes, and I’m glad that you’ve noticed it too”.
“Stay in my place’, said Ron to Harry, “I would like to see it for myself too”.
“Woouawh ! It’s really ingenious”, Ron burst out after a moment, “and how do you see me, Hermione ?”
“But normal. You don’t have the Cloak, you fool ! Well, your right elbow is about four inches from the frame of the window.”
Ron turned aside, trying to keep his elbow in place and measured the space between his right elbow and the window frame with his other hand.
“If you stay within the maximum efficient range of a spell casting, the enemy will aim at you too short, but you always can reach him, you see ? We are thinking of creating a misleading cloak in two ways, that is to say, which gives an image of you either closer or farther as you want by mean of an incantation. It’s but an idea”, said George…
“It’s great ! The inventions are always born from ideas. Have many ideas”, encouraged Harry, while giving a friendly pat on Fred’s shoulder.
At that moment, some one knocked at the door and Mr Weasley’s voice came from the other side:
“Children ! It’s time to go.”
“Yes, Dad, we are coming”, replied George.
“We’ll talk again about it. Bye !” said Harry.
“Bye everybody”, Fred and George replied in chorus.
“Woouaawh ! We’ll have a wonderful day for dreaming !” said Ron as he opened the window, flooding the room with the bright morning sun.
“We are not daydreaming !” answered Hermione who just came into the room, already dressed, with a piece of parchment in her hand. “We’ll work !”
“You are a real killjoy ! Tomorrow is the wedding, we’ll not start working today !”
Harry, amused as he saw his two best friends started bickering once more, remained silent, pursuing his thoughts.
“Drop it”, said Hermione, weary of discussing. “I’ve made a list of interesting and important spells, and of high level, we could look together and choose which ones are the most interesting for us. I have ordered from Flourish & Blotts high-level books of Defence Against the Dark Arts”.
“Great minds think alike”, thought Harry holding out his hand to take the parchment from Hermione. He read it in silence, then pointed with his finger:
“Yes, this is interesting, I’ve done it, and this too, and I’ve done this too…
“But ! …”, Hermione looked up at Harry in astonishment.
“One, two, three’ … Harry continued counting … ‘twenty, twenty-one, said Harry, “I’ve done twenty-one among the list. During the last month, at Privet Drive, I’ve done nothing else all day long, with no eating, no sleeping, well … nearly so !”
Hermione looked at Harry half admiringly half with compassion:
“Then you can show us how to do ! It’s always easier when some one shows us how to do things than to read in the book and grope one’s ways alone.”
“No wonder you have but the skin on the bones !” said Ron from the window.
“I’ve a better idea”, proposed Harry. “We’ll go down to the garden and try to Apparate from one end to the other. Because tomorrow is the test for Ron and me. We’ll choose specific places and cross mark them with branches, because accuracy counts too. Your garden from one end to the other may be about one mile long, no ?” Then Harry thought that the Apparition licence was really important for their projects and that it would be very annoying if Ron failed the test. He would have to wait months and months again.
“Oh ! you’ll have no problem”, said Ron, leaving the window. “You’ve already Apparated and succeeded !”
“Exactly, we’ll then see whether you’ll still have both your eyebrows ! And also I would like to sit in the shade of a tree, I miss the open air badly”, added Harry.
At the bottom of the staircase, Fleur intercepted:
“Hermione ! Could you give me a hand, or rather an eye, for the decoration ? We are really lucky to have the two elves in the house.”
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