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Díl 6. Princ dvojí krve

Ukázka z knihy: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Chapter 7
The Slug Club
Harry spent a lot of the last week of the holidays pondering the meaning of Malfoy's behavior in Knockturn Alley. What disturbed him most was the satisfied look on Malfoy's face as he had left the shop. Nothing that made Malfoy look that happy could be good news. To his slight annoyance, however, neither Ron nor Hermione seemed quite as curious about Malfoy's activities as he was; or at least, they seemed to get bored of discussing it after a few days.
"Yes, I've already agreed it was fishy, Harry," said Hermione a little impatiently. She was sitting on the windowsill in Fred and George's room with her feet up on one of the cardboard boxes and had only grudgingly looked up from her new copy of Advanced Rune Translation. "But haven't we agreed there could be a lot of explanations?"
"Maybe he's broken his Hand of Glory" said Ron vaguely, as he attempted to straighten his broomstick's bent tail twigs. "Remember that shriveled-up arm Malfoy had?"
"But what about when he said, 'Don't forget to keep that one safe'?" asked Harry for the umpteenth time. "That sounded to me like Borgin's got another one of the broken objects, and Malfoy wants both."
"You reckon?" said Ron, now trying to scrape some dirt off his broom handle.
"Yeah, I do," said Harry. When neither Ron nor Hermione answered, he said, "Malfoy's father's in Azkaban. Don't you think Malfoy’d like revenge?"
Ron looked up, blinking.
"Malfoy, revenge? What can he do about it?"
"That's my point, I don't know!" said Harry, frustrated. "But he's up to something and I think we should take it seriously. His father's a Death Eater and …"
Harry broke off, his eyes fixed on the window behind Hermione, his mouth open. A startling thought had just occurred to him.
"Harry?" said Hermione in an anxious voice. "What's wrong?"
"Your scar's not hurting again, is it?" asked Ron nervously.
"He's a Death Eater," said Harry slowly. "He's replaced his father as a Death Eater!"
There was a silence; then Ron erupted in laughter. "Malfoy? He's sixteen, Harry! You think You-Know-Who would let Malfoy join?"
"It seems very unlikely, Harry," said Hermione in a repressive sort of voice. "What makes you think … ?"
"In Madam Malkin's. She didn't touch him, but he yelled and jerked his arm away from her when she went to roll up his sleeve. It was his left arm. He's been branded with the Dark Mark."
Ron and Hermione looked at each other.
"Well…" said Ron, sounding thoroughly unconvinced.
"I think he just wanted to get out of there, Harry," said Hermione.
"He showed Borgin something we couldn't see," Harry pressed on stubbornly. "Something that seriously scared Borgin. It was the Mark, I know it… he was showing Borgin who he was dealing with, you saw how seriously Borgin took him!"
Ron and Hermione exchanged another look.
"I'm not sure, Harry…"
"Yeah, I still don't reckon You-Know-Who would let Malfoy join…"
Annoyed, but absolutely convinced he was right, Harry snatched up a pile of filthy Quidditch robes and left the room; Mrs. Weasley had been urging them for days not to leave their washing and packing until the last moment. On the landing he bumped into Ginny, who was returning to her room carrying a pile of freshly laundered clothes.
"I wouldn't go in the kitchen just now," she warned him. "There's a lot of Phlegm around."
"I'll be careful not to slip in it." Harry smiled.
Sure enough, when he entered the kitchen it was to find Fleur sitting at the kitchen table, in full flow about plans for her wedding to Bill, while Mrs. Weasley kept watch over a pile of self-peeling sprouts, looking bad-tempered.
"… Bill and I 'ave almost decided on only two bridesmaids, Ginny and Gabrielle will look very sweet togezzer. I am theenking of dressing zem in pale gold, pink would of course be 'orrible with Ginny's 'air!"
"Ah, Harry!" said Mrs. Weasley loudly, cutting across Fleur's monologue. "Good, I wanted to explain about the security arrangements for the journey to Hogwarts tomorrow. We've got Ministry cars again, and there will be Aurors waiting at the station."
"Is Tonks going to be there?" asked Harry, handing over his Quidditch things.
"No, I don't think so, she's been stationed somewhere else from what Arthur said."
"She has let 'erself go, zat Tonks," Fleur mused, examining her own stunning reflection in the back of a teaspoon. "A big mistake if you ask."
"Yes, thank you," said Mrs. Weasley tartly, cutting across Fleur again. "You'd better get on, Harry, I want the trunks ready tonight, if possible, so we don't have the usual last-minute scramble."
And in fact, their departure the following morning was smoother than usual. The Ministry cars glided up to the front of the Burrow to find them waiting, trunks packed; Hermione's cat, Crookshanks, safely enclosed in his traveling basket; and Hedwig; Ron's owl, Pig-widgeon; and Ginny's new purple Pygmy Puff, Arnold, in cages.
"Au revoir, 'Any," said Fleur throatily, kissing him good-bye. Ron hurried forward, looking hopeful, but Ginny stuck out her foot and Ron fell, sprawling in the dust at Fleur's feet. Furious, red-faced, and dirt-spattered, he hurried into the car without saying good-bye.
There was no cheerful Hagrid waiting for them at King's Cross Station. Instead, two grim-faced, bearded Aurors in dark Muggle suits moved forward the moment the cars stopped and, flanking the party, marched them into the station without speaking.
"Quick, quick, through the barrier," said Mrs. Weasley, who seemed a little flustered by this austere efficiency. "Harry had better go first, with…"
She looked inquiringly at one of the Aurors, who nodded briefly, seized Harry's upper arm, and attempted to steer him toward the barrier between platforms nine and ten.
"I can walk, thanks," said Harry irritably, jerking his arm out of the Auror's grip. He pushed his trolley directly at the solid barrier, ignoring his silent companion, and found himself, a second later, standing on platform nine and three-quarters, where the scarlet Hogwarts Express stood belching steam over the crowd.
Hermione and the Weasleys joined him within seconds. Without waiting to consult his grim-faced Auror, Harry motioned to Ron and Hermione to follow him up the platform, looking for an empty compartment.
"We can't, Harry," said Hermione, looking apologetic. "Ron and I've got to go to the prefects' carriage first and then patrol the corridors for a bit."
"Oh yeah, I forgot," said Harry.
"You'd better get straight on the train, all of you, you've only got a few minutes to go," said Mrs. Weasley, consulting her watch. "Well, have a lovely term, Ron…"
"Mr. Weasley, can I have a quick word?" said Harry, making up his mind on the spur of the moment.
"Of course," said Mr. Weasley, who looked slightly surprised, but followed Harry out of earshot of the others nevertheless.
Harry had thought it through carefully and come to the conclusion that, if he was to tell anyone, Mr. Weasley was the right person; firstly, because he worked at the Ministry and was therefore in the best position to make further investigations, and secondly, because he thought that there was not too much risk of Mr. Weasley exploding with anger.
He could see Mrs. Weasley and the grim-faced Auror casting the pair of them suspicious looks as they moved away.
"When we were in Diagon Alley," Harry began, but Mr. Weasley forestalled him with a grimace.
"Am I about to discover where you, Ron, and Hermione disappeared to while you were supposed to be in the back room of Fred and George's shop?"
"How did you…?"
"Harry, please. You're talking to the man who raised Fred and George."
"Er… yeah, all right, we weren't in the back room." "Very well, then, let's hear the worst."
"Well, we followed Draco Malfoy. We used my Invisibility Cloak."
"Did you have any particular reason for doing so, or was it a mere whim?"
"Because I thought Malfoy was up to something," said Harry, disregarding Mr. Weasley's look of mingled exasperation and amusement. "He'd given his mother the slip and I wanted to know why."
"Of course you did," said Mr. Weasley, sounding resigned. "Well? Did you find out why?"
"He went into Borgin and Burkes," said Harry, "and started bullying the bloke in there, Borgin, to help him fix something. And he said he wanted Borgin to keep something else for him. He made it sound like it was the same kind of thing that needed fixing. Like they were a pair. And…"
Harry took a deep breath.
"There's something else. We saw Malfoy jump about a mile when Madam Malkin tried to touch his left arm. I think he's been branded with the Dark Mark. 1 think he's replaced his father as a Death Eater."
Mr. Weasley looked taken aback. After a moment he said, "Harry, I doubt whether You-Know-Who would allow a sixteen-year-old…"
"Does anyone really know what You-Know-Who would or wouldn't do?" asked Harry angrily. "Mr. Weasley, I'm sorry, but isn't it worth investigating? If Malfoy wants something fixing, and he needs to threaten Borgin to get it done, it's probably something Dark or dangerous, isn't it?"
"I doubt it, to be honest, Harry," said Mr. Weasley slowly. "You see, when Lucius Malfoy was arrested, we raided his house. We took away everything that might have been dangerous." "I think you missed something," said Harry stubbornly. "Well, maybe," said Mr. Weasley, but Harry could tell that Mr. Weasley was humoring him.
There was a whistle behind them; nearly everyone had boarded the train and the doors were closing.
"You'd better hurry!' said Mr. Weasley, as Mrs. Weasley cried, "Harry, quickly!"
He hurried forward and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley helped him load his trunk onto the train.
"Now, dear, you're coming to us for Christmas, it's all fixed with Dumbledore, so we'll see you quite soon," said Mrs. Weasley through the window, as Harry slammed the door shut behind him and the train began to move. "You make sure you look after yourself and…"
The train was gathering speed.
"…be good and…" , She was jogging to keep up now.
"…stay safe!"
Harry waved until the train had turned a corner and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were lost to view, then turned to see where the others had got to. He supposed Ron and Hermione were cloistered in the prefects' carriage, but Ginny was a little way along the corridor, chatting to some friends. He made his way toward her, dragging his trunk.
People stared shamelessly as he approached. They even pressed their faces against the windows of their compartments to get a look at him. He had expected an upswing in the amount of gaping and gawping he would have to endure this term after all the "Chosen One" rumors in the Daily Prophet, but he did not enjoy the sensation of standing in a very bright spotlight. He tapped Ginny on the shoulder.
"Fancy trying to find a compartment?"
"I can't, Harry, I said I'd meet Dean," said Ginny brightly. "See you later."
"Right," said Harry. He felt a strange twinge of annoyance as she walked away, her long red hair dancing behind her; he had become so used to her presence over the summer that he had almost forgotten that Ginny did not hang around with him, Ron, and Hermione while at school. Then he blinked and looked around: He was surrounded by mesmerized girls.
"Hi, Harry!" said a familiar voice from behind him.
"Neville!" said Harry in relief, turning to see a round-faced boy struggling toward him.
"Hello, Harry," said a girl with long hair and large misty eyes, who was just behind Neville.
"Luna, hi, how are you?"
"Very well, thank you," said Luna. She was clutching a magazine to her chest; large letters on the front announced that there was a pair of free Spectrespecs inside.
"Quibbler still going strong, then?" asked Harry, who felt a certain fondness for the magazine, having given it an exclusive interview the previous year.
"Oh yes, circulation's well up," said Luna happily.
"Let's find seats," said Harry, and the three of them set off along the train through hordes of silently staring students. At last they found an empty compartment, and Harry hurried inside gratefully.
"They're even staring at us? said Neville, indicating himself and Luna. "Because we're with you!"
"They're staring at you because you were at the Ministry too," said Harry, as he hoisted his trunk into the luggage rack. "Our little adventure there was all over the Daily Prophet, you must've seen it."
"Yes, I thought Gran would be angry about all the publicity," said Neville, "but she was really pleased. Says I'm starting to live up to my dad at long last. She bought me a new wand, look!"
He pulled it out and showed it to Harry.
"Cherry and unicorn hair," he said proudly. "We think it was one of the last Ollivander ever sold, he vanished next day … oi, come back here, Trevor!"
And he dived under the seat to retrieve his toad as it made one of its frequent bids for freedom.
"Are we still doing D.A. meetings this year, Harry?" asked Luna, who was detaching a pair of psychedelic spectacles from the middle of The Quibbler.
"No point now we've got rid of Umbridge, is there?" said Harry, sitting down. Neville bumped his head against the seat as he emerged from under it. He looked most disappointed.
"I liked the D.A.! I learned loads with you!"
"I enjoyed the meetings too," said Luna serenely. "It was like having friends."
This was one of those uncomfortable things Luna often said and which made Harry feel a squirming mixture of pity and embarrassment. Before he could respond, however, there was a disturbance outside their compartment door; a group of fourth-year girls was whispering and giggling together on the other side of the glass.
"You ask him!"
No, you!
"I'll do it!"
And one of them, a bold-looking girl with large dark eyes, a prominent chin, and long black hair pushed her way through the door.
"Hi, Harry, I'm Romilda, Romilda Vane," she said loudly and confidently. "Why don't you join us in our compartment? You don't have to sit with them," she added in a stage whisper, indicating Neville's bottom, which was sticking out from under the seat again as he groped around for Trevor, and Luna, who was now wearing her free Spectrespecs, which gave her the look of a demented, multicolored owl.
"They're friends of mine," said Harry coldly.
"Oh," said the girl, looking very surprised. "Oh. Okay."
And she withdrew, sliding the door closed behind her.
"People expect you 10 have cooler friends than us," said Luna, once again displaying her knack for embarrassing honesty.
"You are cool," said Harry shortly. "None of them was at the Ministry. They didn't fight with me."
"That's a very nice thing to say," beamed Luna. Then she pushed her Spectrespecs farther up her nose and settled down to read The
Quibbler.
"We didn't face him, though," said Neville, emerging from under the seat with fluff and dust in his hair and a resigned-looking Trevor in his hand. "You did. You should hear my gran talk about you. 'That Harry Potter's got more backbone than the whole Ministry of Magic put together!' She'd give anything to have you as a grand-son…
Harry laughed uncomfortably and changed the subject to O.W.L. results as soon as he could. While Neville recited his grades and wondered aloud whether he would be allowed to take a Transfiguration NEWT, with only an "Acceptable," Harry watched him without really listening.
Neville's childhood had been blighted by Voldemort just as much as Harry's had, but Neville had no idea how close he had come to having Harry's destiny. The prophecy could have referred to either of them, yet, for his own inscrutable reasons, Voldemort had chosen to believe that Harry was the one meant.
Had Voldemort chosen Neville, it would be Neville sitting opposite Harry bearing the lightning-shaped scar and the weight of the prophecy… Or would it? Would Neville’s mother have died to save him, as Lily had died for Harry? Surely she would… But what if she had been unable to stand between her son and Voldemort? Would there then have been no "Chosen One" at all? An empty seat where Neville now sat and a scarless Harry who would have been kissed good-bye by his own mother, not Ron's?
"You all right, Harry? You look funny," said Neville.
Harry started. "Sorry … I …"

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