Things couldn't have been worse. Filch took them down to Professor McGonagall's study on thefirst floor, where they sat and waited without saying a word to eachother. Hermione was trembling. Excuses, alibis, and wild cover- upstories chased each other around Harry's brain, each more feeblethan the last. He couldn't see how they were going to get out oftrouble this time. They were cornered. How could they have been sostupid as to forget the cloak? There was no reason on earth thatProfessor McGonagall would accept for their being out of bed andcreeping around the school in the dead of night, let alone beingup the tallest astronomy tower, which was out-of-bounds except forclasses. Add Norbert and the invisibility cloak, and they might aswell be packing their bags already. Had Harry thought that things couldn't have been worse? He waswrong. When Professor McGonagall appeared, she was leading Neville. "Harry!" Neville burst Out, the moment he saw the other two. "Iwas trying to find you to warn you, I heard Malfoy saying he wasgoing to catch you, he said you had a drag --" Harry shook his head violently to shut Neville up, but ProfessorMcGonagall had seen. She looked more likely to breathe fire thanNorbert as she towered over the three of them. "I would never have believed it of any of you. Mr. Filchsays you were up in the astronomy tower. It's one o'clock in themorning. Explain yourselves." It was the first time Hermione had ever failed to answer ateacher's question. She was staring at her slippers, as still asa statue. "I think I've got a good idea of what's been going on," saidProfessor McGonagall. "It doesn't take a genius to work it out. Youfed Draco Malfoy some cock-and-bull story about a dragon, tryingto get him out of bed and into trouble. I've already caught him. Isuppose you think it's funny that Longbottom here heard the storyand believed it, too?" Harry caught Neville's eye and tried to tell him without wordsthat this wasn't true, because Neville was looking stunned andhurt. Poor, blundering Neville -- Harry knew what it must have costhim to try and find them in the dark, to warn them. "I'm disgusted," said Professor McGonagall. "Four students outof bed in one night! I've never heard of such a thing before! You,Miss Granger, I thought you had more sense. As for you, Mr. Potter,I thought Gryffindor meant more to you than this. All three of youwill receive detentions -- yes, you too, Mr. Longbottom, nothinggives you the right to walk around school at night, especiallythese days, it's very dangerous -- and fifty points will be takenfrom Gryffindor." "Fifty?" Harry gasped -- they would lose the lead, the leadhe'd won in the last Quidditch match. "Fifty points each," said Professor McGonagall, breathingheavily through her long, pointed nose. "Professor -- please "You can't --" "Don't tell me what I can and can't do, Potter. Now get backto bed, all of you. I've never been more ashamed of Gryffindorstudents." A hundred and fifty points lost. That put Gryffindor in lastplace. In one night, they'd ruined any chance Gryffindor had hadfor the house cup. Harry felt as though the bottom had dropped outof his stomach. How could they ever make up for this? Harry didn't sleep all night. He could hear Neville sobbinginto his pillow for what seemed like hours. Harry couldn't thinkof anything to say to comfort him. He knew Neville, like himself,was dreading the dawn. What would happen when the rest of Gryffindorfound out what they'd done? At first, Gryffindors passing the giant hourglasses that recordedthe house points the next day thought there'd been a mistake. Howcould they suddenly have a hundred and fifty points fewer thanyesterday? And then the story started to spread: Harry Potter, thefamous Harry Potter, their hero of two Quidditch matches, had lo stthem all those points, him and a couple of other stupid first years. From being one of the most popular and admired people at theschool, Harry was suddenly the most hated. Even Ravenclaws andHufflepuffs turned on him, because everyone had been longing tosee Slytherin lose the house cup. Everywhere Harry went, peoplepointed and didn't trouble to lower their voices as they insultedhim. Slytherins, on the other hand, clapped as he walked past them,whistling and cheering, "Thanks Potter, we owe you one!" Only Ron stood by him. "They'll all forget this in a few weeks. Fred and George havelost loads of points in all the time they've been here, and peoplestill like them." "They've never lost a hundred and fifty points in one go,though, have they?" said Harry miserably. "Well -- no," Ron admitted. It was a bit late to repair the damage, but Harry swore tohimself not to meddle in things that weren't his business fromnow on. He'd had it with sneaking around and spying. He felt soashamed of himself that he went to Wood and offered to resign fromthe Quidditch team. "Resign?" Wood thundered. "What good'll that do? How are wegoing to get any points back if we can't win at Quidditch?" But even Quidditch had lost its fun. The rest of the teamwouldn't speak to Harry during practice, and if they had to speakabout him, they called him "the Seeker." Hermione and Neville were suffering, too. They didn't have asbad a time as Harry, because they weren't as well-known, but nobodywould speak to them, either. Hermione had stopped drawing attentionto herself in class, keeping her head down and working in silence. Harry was almost glad that the exams weren't far away. All thestudying he had to do kept his mind off his misery. He, Ron, andHermione kept to themselves, working late into the night, tryingto remember the ingredients in complicated potions, learn charmsand spells by heart, memorize the dates of magical discoveries andgoblin rebellions.... Then, about a week before the exams were due to start, Harry'snew resolution not to interfere in anything that didn't concern himwas put to an unexpected test. Walking back from the library on hisown one afternoon, he heard somebody whimpering from a classroomup ahead. As he drew closer, he heard Quirrell's voice. "No -- no -- not again, please --" It sounded as though someone was threatening him. Harry movedcloser. "All right -- all right --" he heard Quirrell sob. Next second, Quirrell came hurrying out of the classroomstraightening his turban. He was pale and looked as though he wasabout to cry. He strode out of sight; Harry didn't think Quirrellhad even noticed him. He waited until Quirrell's footsteps haddisappeared, then peered into the classroom. It was empty, buta door stood ajar at the other end. Harry was halfway toward itbefore he remembered what he'd promised himself about not meddling. All the same, he'd have gambled twelve Sorcerer's Stones thatSnape had just left the room, and from what Harry had just heard,Snape would be walking with a new spring in his step -- Quirrellseemed to have given in at last. Harry went back to the library, where Hermione was testing Ronon Astronomy. Harry told them what he'd heard. "Snape's done it, then!" said Ron. "If Quirrell's told him howto break his Anti-Dark Force spell --" "There's still Fluffy, though," said Hermione. "Maybe Snape's found out how to get past him without askingHagrid," said Ron, looking up at the thousands of books surroundingthem. "I bet there's a book somewhere in here telling you how toget past a giant three-headed dog. So what do we do, Harry?" The light of adventure was kindling again in Ron's eyes, butHermione answered before Harry could. "Go to Dumbledore. That's what we should have done ages ago. Ifwe try anything ourselves we'll be thrown out for sure." "But we've got no proof!" said Harry. "Quirrell's too scared toback us up. Snape's only got to say he doesn't know how the trollgot in at Halloween and that he was nowhere near the third floor --who do you think they'll believe, him or us? It's not exactly asecret we hate him, Dumbledore'll think we made it up to get himsacked. Filch wouldn't help us if his life depended on it, he'stoo friendly with Snape, and the more students get thrown out,the better, he'll think. And don't forget, we're not supposed toknow about the Stone or Fluffy. That'll take a lot of explaining." Hermione looked convinced, but Ron didn't. "If we just do a bit of poking around --" "No," said Harry flatly, "we've done enough poking around." He pulled a map of Jupiter toward him and started to learn thenames of its moons. The following morning, notes were delivered to Harry, Hermione,and Neville at the breakfast table. They were all the same: Your detention will take place at eleven o'clock tonight. MeetMr. Filch in the entrance hall. Professor McGonagall Harry had forgotten they still haddetentions to do in the furor over the points they'd lost. He halfexpected Hermione to complain that this was a whole night of studyinglost, but she didn't say a word. Like Harry, she felt they deservedwhat they'd got. At eleven o'clock that night, they said good-bye to Ron in thecommon room and went down to the entrance hall with Neville. Filchwas already there -- and so was Malfoy. Harry had also forgottenthat Malfoy had gotten a detention, too. "Follow me," said Filch, lighting a lamp and leading themoutside. I bet you'll think twice about breaking a school rule again,won't you, eh?" he said, leering at them. "Oh yes... hard work andpain are the best teachers if you ask me.... It's just a pity theylet the old punishments die out... hang you by your wrists from theceiling for a few days, I've got the chains still in my office, keep'em well oiled in case they're ever needed.... Right, off we go, anddon't think of running off, now, it'll be worse for you if you do." They marched off across the dark grounds. Neville keptsniffing. Harry wondered what their punishment was going to be. Itmust be something really horrible, or Filch wouldn't be soundingso delighted. The moon was bright, but clouds scudding across it kept throwingthem into darkness. Ahead, Harry could see the lighted windows ofHagrid's hut. Then they heard a distant shout. "Is that you, Filch? Hurry up, I want ter get started." Harry's heart rose; if they were going to be working with Hagridit wouldn't be so bad. His relief must have showed in his -face,because Filch said, "I suppose you think you'll be enjoying yourselfwith that oaf? Well, think again, boy -- it's into the forest you'regoing and I'm much mistaken if you'll all come out in one piece." At this, Neville let out a little moan, and Malfoy stopped deadin his tracks. "The forest?" he repeated, and he didn't sound quite as coolas usual. "We can't go in there at night -- there's all sorts ofthings in there -- werewolves, I heard." Neville clutched the sleeve of Harry's robe and made a chokingnoise. "That's your problem, isn't it?" said Filch, his voice crackingwith glee. "Should've thought of them werewolves before you got introuble, shouldn't you?" Hagrid came striding toward them out of the dark, Fang at hisheel. He was carrying his large crossbow, and a quiver of arrowshung over his shoulder. "Abou' time," he said. "I bin waitin' fer half an houralready. All right, Harry, Hermione?" "I shouldn't be too friendly to them, Hagrid," said Filch coldly,they're here to be punished, after all." "That's why yer late, is it?" said Hagrid, frowning atFilch. "Bin lecturin' them, eh? 'Snot your place ter do that. Yeh'vedone yer bit, I'll take over from here." "I'll be back at dawn," said Filch, "for what's left of them,"he added nastily, and he turned and started back toward the castle,his lamp bobbing away in the darkness. Malfoy now turned to Hagrid. "I'm not going in that forest, he said, and Harry was pleasedto hear the note of panic in his voice. "Yeh are if yeh want ter stay at Hogwarts," said Hagridfiercely. "Yeh've done wrong an' now yehve got ter pay fer it." "But this is servant stuff, it's not for students to do. Ithought we'd be copying lines or something, if my father knew Iwas doing this, he'd tell yer that's how it is at Hogwarts," Hagrid growled. "Copyin'lines! What good's that ter anyone? Yeh'll do summat useful orYeh'll get out. If yeh think yer father'd rather you were expelled,then get back off ter the castle an' pack. Go on"' Malfoy didn't move. He looked at Hagrid furiously, but thendropped his gaze. "Right then," said Hagrid, "now, listen carefully, 'cause it'sdangerous what we're gonna do tonight, an' I don' want no one takin'risks. Follow me over here a moment." He led them to the very edge of the forest. Holding his lamp uphigh, he pointed down a narrow, winding earth track that disappearedinto the thick black trees. A light breeze lifted their hair asthey looked into the forest. "Look there," said Hagrid, "see that stuff shinin' on theground? Silvery stuff? That's unicorn blood. There's a unicornin there bin hurt badly by summat. This is the second time in aweek. I found one dead last Wednesday. We're gonna try an' findthe poor thing. We might have ter put it out of its misery." "And what if whatever hurt the unicorn finds us first?" saidMalfoy, unable to keep the fear out of his voice. "There's nothin' that lives in the forest that'll hurt yeh ifyer with me or Fang," said Hagrid. "An' keep ter the path. Right,now, we're gonna split inter two parties an' follow the trail indiff'rent directions. There's blood all over the place, it must'vebin staggerin' around since last night at least." "I want Fang," said Malfoy quickly, looking at Fang's long teeth. "All right, but I warn yeh, he's a coward," said Hagrid. "So me, Harry, an' Hermione'll go one way an' Draco, Neville, an'Fang'll go the other. Now, if any of us finds the unicorn, we'llsend up green sparks, right? Get yer wands out an' practice now --that's it -- an' if anyone gets in trouble, send up red sparks,an' we'll all come an' find yeh -- so, be careful -- let's go." The forest was black and silent. A little way into it theyreached a fork in the earth path, and Harry, Hermione, and Hagridtook the left path while Malfoy, Neville, and Fang took the right. They walked in silence, their eyes on the ground. Every nowand then a ray of moonlight through the branches above lit a spotof silver-blue blood on the fallen leaves. Harry saw that Hagrid looked very worried. "Could a werewolf be killing the unicorns?" Harry asked. "Not fast enough," said Hagrid. "It's not easy ter catch aunicorn, they're powerful magic creatures. I never knew one ter behurt before." They walked past a mossy tree stump. Harry could hear runningwater; there must be a stream somewhere close by. There were stillspots of unicorn blood here and there along the winding path. "You all right, Hermione?" Hagrid whispered. "Don' worry, itcan't've gone far if it's this badly hurt, an' then we'll be ableter -- GET BEHIND THAT TREE!" Hagrid seized Harry and Hermione and hoisted them off thepath behind a towering oak. He pulled out an arrow and fitted itinto his crossbow, raising it, ready to fire. The three of themlistened. Something was slithering over dead leaves nearby: itsounded like a cloak trailing along the ground. Hagrid was squintingup the dark path, but after a few seconds, the sound faded away. "I knew it, " he murmured. "There's summat in here that shouldn'be." "A werewolf?" Harry suggested. "That wasn' no werewolf an' it wasn' no unicorn, neither,"said Hagrid grimly. "Right, follow me, but careful, now." They walked more slowly, ears straining for the faintestsound. Suddenly, in a clearing ahead, something definitely moved. "Who's there?" Hagrid called. "Show yerself -- I'm armed!" And into the clearing came -- was it a man, or a horse? Tothe waist, a man, with red hair and beard, but below that was ahorse's gleaming chestnut body with a long, reddish tail. Harryand Hermione's jaws dropped. "Oh, it's you, Ronan," said Hagrid in relief. "How are yeh?" He walked forward and shook the centaur's hand. "Good evening to you, Hagrid," said Ronan. He had a deep,sorrowful voice. "Were you going to shoot me?" "Can't be too careful, Ronan," said Hagrid, patting hiscrossbow. "There's summat bad loose in this forest. This isHarry Potter an' Hermione Granger, by the way. Students up at theschool. An' this is Ronan, you two. He's a centaur.)) "We'd noticed," said Hermione faintly. "Good evening," said Ronan. "Students, are you? And do youlearn much, up at the school?" "Erm --" "A bit," said Hermione timidly. "A bit. Well, that's something." Ronan sighed. He flung backhis head and stared at the sky. "Mars is bright tonight." "Yeah," said Hagrid, glancing up, too. "Listen, I'm gladwe've run inter yeh, Ronan, 'cause there's a unicorn bin hurt --you seen anythin'?" Ronan didn't answer immediately. He stared unblinkingly upward,then sighed again. "Always the innocent are the first victims," he said. "So ithas been for ages past, so it is now." "Yeah," said Hagrid, "but have yeh seen anythin', Ronan? Anythin'unusual?" "Mars is bright tonight," Ronan repeated, while Hagrid watchedhim impatiently. "Unusually bright." "Yeah, but I was meanin' anythin' unusual a bit nearer home,said Hagrid. "So yeh haven't noticed anythin' strange?" Yet again, Ronan took a while to answer. At last, he said,"The forest hides many secrets." A movement in the trees behind Ronan made Hagrid raise his bowagain, but it was only a second centaur, black-haired and -bodiedand wilder-looking than Ronan. "Hullo, Bane," said Hagrid. "All right?" "Good evening, Hagrid, I hope you are well?" "Well enough. Look, I've jus' bin askin' Ronan, you seen anythin'odd in here lately? There's a unicorn bin injured -- would yeh knowanythin' about it?" Bane walked over to stand next to Ronan. He looked skyward. "Marsis bright tonight," he said simply. "We've heard," said Hagrid grumpily. "Well, if either of youdo see anythin', let me know, won't yeh? We'll be off, then." Harry and Hermione followed him out of the clearing, staring overtheir shoulders at Ronan and Bane until the trees blocked their view. "Never," said Hagrid irritably, "try an' get a straight answerout of a centaur. Ruddy stargazers. Not interested in anythin'closer'n the moon." "Are there many of them in here?" asked Hermione. "Oh, a fair few... Keep themselves to themselves mostly, butthey're good enough about turnin' up if ever I want a word. They'redeep, mind, centaurs... they know things... jus' don' let on much." "D'you think that was a centaur we heard earlier?" said Harry. "Did that sound like hooves to you? Nah, if yeh ask me, thatwas what's bin killin' the unicorns -- never heard anythin' likeit before." They walked on through the dense, dark trees. Harry kept lookingnervously over his shoulder. He had the nasty feeling they werebeing watched. He was very glad they had Hagrid and his crossbowwith them. They had just passed a bend in the path when Hermionegrabbed Hagrid's arm. "Hagrid! Look! Red sparks, the others are in trouble!" "You two wait here!" Hagrid shouted. "Stay on the path, I'llcome back for yeh!" They heard him crashing away through the undergrowth and stoodlooking at each other, very scared, until they couldn't hear anythingbut the rustling of leaves around them. "You don't think they've been hurt, do you?" whispered Hermione. "I don't care if Malfoy has, but if something's gotNeville... it's our fault he's here in the first place." The minutes dragged by. Their ears seemed sharper thanusual. Harry's seemed to be picking up every sigh of the wind,every cracking twig. What was going on? Where were the others? At last, a great crunching noise announced Hagrid'sreturn. Malfoy, Neville, and Fang were with him. Hagrid wasfuming. Malfoy, it seemed, had sneaked up behind Neville and grabbedhim as a joke. Neville had panicked and sent up the sparks. "We'll be lucky ter catch anythin' now, with the racket you twowere makin'. Right, we're changin' groups -- Neville, you stay withme an' Hermione, Harry, you go with Fang an' this idiot. I'm sorry,"Hagrid added in a whisper to Harry, "but he'll have a harder timefrightenin' you, an' we've gotta get this done." So Harry set off into the heart of the forest with Malfoy andFang. They walked for nearly half an hour, deeper and deeper into theforest, until the path became almost impossible to follow because thetrees were so thick. Harry thought the blood seemed to be gettingthicker. There were splashes on the roots of a tree, as though thepoor creature had been thrashing around in pain close by. Harry couldsee a clearing ahead, through the tangled branches of an ancient oak. "Look --" he murmured, holding out his arm to stop Malfoy. Something bright white was gleaming on the ground. They inchedcloser. It was the unicorn all right, and it was dead. Harry had neverseen anything so beautiful and sad. Its long, slender legs werestuck out at odd angles where it had fallen and its mane was spreadpearly-white on the dark leaves. Harry had taken one step toward it when a slithering soundmade him freeze where he stood. A bush on the edge of the clearingquivered.... Then, out of the shadows, a hooded figure came crawlingacross the ground like some stalking beast. Harry, Malfoy, and Fangstood transfixed. The cloaked figure reached the unicorn, loweredits head over the wound in the animal's side, and began to drinkits blood. "AAAAAAAAAARGH!" Malfoy let out a terrible scream and bolted -- so did Fang. Thehooded figure raised its head and looked right at Harry -- unicornblood was dribbling down its front. It got to its feet and cameswiftly toward Harry -- he couldn't move for fear. Then a pain like he'd never felt before pierced his head; itwas as though his scar were on fire. Half blinded, he staggeredbackward. He heard hooves behind him, galloping, and somethingjumped clean over Harry, charging at the figure. The pain in Harry's head was so bad he fell to his knees. Ittook a minute or two to pass. When he looked up, the figure hadgone. A centaur was standing over him, not Ronan or Bane; this onelooked younger; he had white-blond hair and a palomino body. "Are you all right?" said the centaur, pulling Harry to his feet. "Yes -- thank you -- what was that?" The centaur didn't answer. He had astonishingly blue eyes, likepale sapphires. He looked carefully at Harry, his eyes lingeringon the scar that stood out, livid, on Harry's forehead. "You are the Potter boy," he said. "You had better get backto Hagrid. The forest is not safe at this time -- especially foryou. Can you ride? It will be quicker this way. "My name is Firenze," he added, as he lowered himself on tohis front legs so that Harry could clamber onto his back. There was suddenly a sound of more galloping from the other sideof the clearing. Ronan and Bane came bursting through the trees,their flanks heaving and sweaty. "Firenze!" Bane thundered. "What are you doing? You have ahuman on your back! Have you no shame? Are you a common mule?" "Do you realize who this is?" said Firenze. "This is the Potterboy. The quicker he leaves this forest, the better." "What have you been telling him?" growled Bane. "Remember,Firenze, we are sworn not to set ourselves against the heavens. Havewe not read what is to come in the movements of the planets?" Ronan pawed the ground nervously. "I'm sure Firenze thought hewas acting for the best, " he said in his gloomy voice. Bane kicked his back legs in anger. "For the best! What is that to do with us? Centaurs are concernedwith what has been foretold! It is not our business to run aroundlike donkeys after stray humans in our forest!" Firenze suddenly reared on to his hind legs in anger, so thatHarry had to grab his shoulders to stay on. "Do you not see that unicorn?" Firenze bellowed at Bane. "Doyou not understand why it was killed? Or have the planets not letyou in on that secret? I set myself against what is lurking in thisforest, Bane, yes, with humans alongside me if I must." And Firenze whisked around; with Harry clutching on as besthe could, they plunged off into the trees, leaving Ronan and Banebehind them. Harry didn't have a clue what was going on. "Why's Bane so angry?" he asked. "What was that thing you savedme from, anyway?" Firenze slowed to a walk, warned Harry to keep his headbowed in case of low-hanging branches, but did not answer Harry'squestion. They made their way through the trees in silence forso long that Harry thought Firenze didn't want to talk to himanymore. They were passing through a particularly dense patch oftrees, however, when Firenze suddenly stopped. "Harry Potter, do you know what unicorn blood is used -for?" "No," said Harry, startled by the odd question. "We've onlyused the horn and tail hair in Potions." "That is because it is a monstrous thing, to slay a unicorn,"said Firenze. "Only one who has nothing to lose, and everythingto gain, would commit such a crime. The blood of a unicorn willkeep you alive, even if you are an inch from death, but at aterrible price. You have slain something pure and defenseless tosave yourself, and you will have but a half-life, a cursed life,from the moment the blood touches your lips." Harry stared at the back of Firenze's head, which was dappledsilver in the moonlight. "But who'd be that desperate?" he wondered aloud. "If you'regoing to be cursed forever, deaths better, isn't it?" "It is," Firenze agreed, "unless all you need is to stay alivelong enough to drink something else -- something that will bringyou back to full strength and power -- something that will meanyou can never die. Mr. Potter, do you know what is hidden in theschool at this very moment?" "The Sorcerer's Stone! Of course -- the Elixir of Life! But Idon't understand who --" "Can you think of nobody who has waited many years to returnto power, who has clung to life, awaiting their chance?" It was as though an iron fist had clenched suddenly aroundHarry's heart. Over the rustling of the trees, he seemed to hearonce more what Hagrid had told him on the night they had met:"Some say he died. Codswallop, in my opinion. Dunno if he had enoughhuman left in him to die." "Do you mean," Harry croaked, "that was Vol-" "Harry! Harry, are you all right?" Hermione was running toward them down the path, Hagrid puffingalong behind her. "I'm fine," said Harry, hardly knowing what he was saying. "Theunicorn's dead, Hagrid, it's in that clearing back there." "This is where I leave you," Firenze murmured as Hagrid hurriedoff to examine the unicorn. "You are safe now." Harry slid off his back. "Good luck, Harry Potter," said Firenze. "The planets have beenread wrongly before now, even by centaurs. I hope this is one ofthose times." He turned and cantered back into the depths of the forest,leaving Harry shivering behind him. Ron had fallen asleep in the dark common room, waiting forthem to return. He shouted something about Quidditch fouls whenHarry roughly shook him awake. In a matter of seconds, though,he was wide-eyed as Harry began to tell him and Hermione what hadhappened in the forest. Harry couldn't sit down. He paced up and down in front of thefire. He was still shaking. "Snape wants the stone for Voldemort... and Voldemort's waitingin the forest... and all this time we thought Snape just wanted toget rich...." "Stop saying the name!" said Ron in a terrified whisper, as ifhe thought Voldemort could hear them. Harry wasn't listening. "Firenze saved me, but he shouldn't have done so.... Bane wasfurious... he was talking about interfering with what the planetssay is going to happen.... They must show that Voldemort's comingback.... Bane thinks Firenze should have let Voldemort kill me.... Isuppose that's written in the stars as well." "Will you stop saying the name!" Ron hissed. "So all I've got to wait for now is Snape to steal the Stone,"Harry went on feverishly, "then Voldemort will be able to come andfinish me off... Well, I suppose Bane'll be happy." Hermione looked very frightened, but she had a word of comfort. "Harry, everyone says Dumbledore's the only one You-Know-Whowas ever afraid of With Dumbledore around, You-Know-Who won'ttouch you. Anyway, who says the centaurs are right? It sounds likefortune-telling to me, and Professor McGonagall says that's a veryimprecise branch of magic." The sky had turned light before they stopped talking. They wentto bed exhausted, their throats sore. But the night's surprisesweren't over. When Harry pulled back his sheets, he found his invisibilitycloak folded neatly underneath them. There was a note pinned to it: Just in case.