Ron hastened to obey.
He turned to face the open front doors, through which night mist was now drifting. Harry heard hooves. There was a shocked murmur around the Hall and those nearest the doors hastily moved even further backwards, some of them tripping over in their haste to clear a path for the newcomer.
'Did Hagrid breed you, like the Thestrals?' asked Dean eagerly.
Harry raised his own wand.
'It's him!' she said jubilantly at the sight of Harry on the floor, 'Excellent, Draco, excellent, oh, very good - fifty points to Slytherin! I'll take him from here . . . stand up, Potter!'
The classroom floor had become springily mossy and trees were growing out of it; their leafy branches fanned across the ceiling and windows, so that the room was full of slanting shafts of soft, dappled, green light. The students who had already arrived were sitting on the earthy floor with their backs resting against tree trunks or boulders, arms wrapped around their knees or folded tightly across their chests, and all looking rather nervous. In the middle of the clearing, where there were no trees, stood Firenze.
Comprehension dawned on her face. 'There are more of you?' she said, stunned.
There was a pause during which Harry stared fixedly at a large dead frog suspended in a jar of purple liquid.
'Will you stop acting like a maniac so I can get you out of here!'
'Hagrid has recently rendered me a great service,' said Firenze, 'and he has long since earned my respect for the care he shows all living creatures. I shall not betray his secret. But he must be brought to his senses. The attempt is not working. Tell him, Harry Potter. Good-day to you.'
looked as though he had just been getting ready for bed; one arm was out of his robes.
The teachers were of course forbidden from mentioning I ie interview by Educational Decree Number Twenty-six, but they found ways to express their feelings about it all the same. Professor Sprout awarded Gryffindor twenty points when Harry passed her a watering can; a beaming Professor Flitwick pressed a box of squeaking sugar mice on him at the end of Charms, said, 'Shh!' and hurried away; and Professor Trelawney broke into hysterical sobs during Divination and announced to the startled class, and a very disapproving Umbridge, that Harry was not going to suffer an early death after all, but would live to a ripe old age, become Minister for Magic and have twelve children.
'No - no, I'll g - go, Dumbledore! I sh - shall - leave Hogwarts and s - seek my fortune elsewhere - '
'Centaurs are not the servants or playthings of humans,' said Firenze quietly. There was a pause, then Parvati raised her hand again.
Left alone in the dark room, Harry turned towards the wall. A cracked, age-spotted mirror hung on the wall in the shadows. Harry moved towards it. His reflection grew larger and clearer in the darkness . . . a face whiter than a skull . . . red eyes with slits ior pupils . . .
Hermione's Patronus, a shining silver otter, was gambolling around her.
Ron wrenched the hangings apart and Harry stared up at him in the moonlight, flat on his back, his scar searing with pain. Ron
Thank you, Harry Potter!' squeaked Dobby, and he streaked off. Harry glanced left and right, the others were all moving so fast he :aught only glimpses of flying heels at either end of the corridor before they vanished; he started to run right; there was a boys' bathroom up ahead, he could pretend he'd been in there all the time if he could just reach it - '