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"— because she was a house-elf," said Harry. He had rarely felt more in sympathy with the society Hermione had set up, S.P.E.W. "Precisely," said Dumbledore. "She was old, she admitted to having tampered with the drink, and nobody at the Ministry bothered to inquire further. As in the case of Morfin, by the time I traced her and managed to extract this memory, her life was almost over — but her memory, of course, proves nothing except that Voldemort knew of the existence of the cup and the locket.
"No," said Dumbledore, "Divination is turning out to be much more trouble than I could have foreseen, never having studied the subject myself. I cannot ask Firenze to return to the forest, where he is now an outcast, nor can I ask Sybill Trelawney to leave. Between ourselves, she has no idea of the danger she would be in outside the castle. She does not know — and I think it would be unwise to enlighten her — that she made the prophecy about you and Voldemort, you see."
"Oh, he definitely wanted the Defense Against the Dark Arts job," said Dumbledore. "The aftermath of our little meeting proved that. You see, we have never been able to keep a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher for longer than a year since I refused the post to Lord Voldemort."
"I'm a ruddy teacher, aren' I, yeh sneakin' Squib!" said Hagrid, firing up at once.
"He — he just failed," whispered Hermione, as Ron came slouching into the room looking most morose. "It was really unlucky, a tiny thing, the examiner just spotted that he'd left half an eyebrow behind. . . How did it go with Slughorn?"
Chapter 19: Elf Tails
Ron and Hermione returned in the late afternoon.
'They'd fallen off my bed, all right? Let me go!'
On the morning of the Quidditch match against Hufflepuff, Harry dropped in on the hospital wing before heading down to the pitch. Ron was very agitated; Madam Pomfrey would not let him go down to watch the match, feeling it would overexcite him.
They shook their heads.
"Trust me," he said. "I know what I'm doing ... or at least" he strolled confidently to the door— "Felix does."
Harry tapped the map with his wand, muttered, 'Mischief managed,' though it hadn't been, and got dressed, thinking hard. There had to be an explanation for Malfoy's periodic disappearances, but he simply could not think what it could be. The best way of finding out would be to tail him, bur even with the Invisibility Cloak this was an impractical idea; he had lessons, Quidditch practice, homework and Apparition; he could not follow Malfoy around school all day wilhout his absence being remarked upon,
Ron burst through the door into Slughorn's overheated, crowded study, tripped over a tasselled footstool, regained his balance by seizing Harry around the neck and muttered, 'She didn't see that, did she?'
It took Harry a few moments to realize what McLaggen was talking about.
'There!' said Ron, after a minute or so. 'He's in the Slytherin common room, look ... with Parkinson and Zabini and Crabbe and Goyle ..."
"That's the one," said Harry, foreseeing a great danger and determining to prevent it immediately. "And you're forbidden to tip him off, Kreacher, or to show him what you're up to, or to talk to him at all, or to write him messages or ... or to contact him in any way. Got it?";
"Magnificent," said Slughorn, approaching the spiders head, where eight milky eyes stared blankly at the sky and two huge, curved pincers shone, motionless, in the moonlight. Harry thougln he heard the tinkle of bottles as Slughorn bent over the pincers, apparently examining the enormous hairy head.。
He closed his eyes as he approached the place where the Room of Requirement's door was concealed. He knew what he had to do; he had become most accomplished at it last year. Concentrating with all his might he thought, “I need to see what Malfoy's doing in here... I need to see what Malfoy's doing in here... I need to see what Malfoy's doing in here...”？