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He carried Errol to a perch just inside the back door and tried to stand him on it, but Errol flopped straight off again so Ron lay him on the draining board instead, muttering, "Pathetic." Then he ripped open Hermione's letter and read it out loud:
Dean Thomas, who had been sitting with his mouth hanging open, gazing out of the window, jerked out of his trance; Lavender Brown's head came up off her arms and Neville Longbottom's elbow slipped off his desk.
They had barely turned around, however, when a little man swooped suddenly from under the table and came to a halt in midair before them.
"My muscles have all seized up," he groaned, sinking on his bed. "Fourteen times he made me buff up that Quidditch cup before he was satisfied. And then I had another slug attack all over a Special Award for Services to the School. Took ages to get the slime off... How was it with Lockhart?"
"Almost," said the ghost sadly, and he drifted away.
Harry told Ron about Justin Finch-Fletchley running away from him.
"Aren't you Lucius Malfoy's son?" said Fred, looking at Malfoy with dislike.
"You have heard, of course, that the Ministry is conducting more raids," said Mr. Malfoy, taking a roll of parchment from his inside pocket and unraveling it for Mr. Borgin to read. "I have a few - ah - items at home that might embarrass me, if the Ministry were to call ......"
Harry didn't know how to get rid of him. It was like having an extremely talkative shadow.
"'Course I do," said Ron quickly. "But -you must admit it's weird ......
"No," said Harry. "Not unless you know where we can get seven free Nimbus Two Thousand and Ones for our match against Sly -"
Ten minutes later, Snape returned, and sure enough it was Professor McGonagall who accompanied him. Harry had seen Professor McGonagall angry on several occasions, but either he had forgotten just how thin her mouth could go, or he had never seen her this angry before. She raised her wand the moment she entered; Harry and Ron both flinched, but she merely pointed it at the empty fireplace, where flames suddenly erupted.,
Professor Sprout was a squat little witch who wore a patched hat over her flyaway hair; there was usually a large amount of earth on her clothes and her fingernails would have made Aunt Petunia faint. Gilderoy Lockhart, however, was immaculate in sweeping robes of turquoise, his golden hair shining under a perfectly positioned turquoise hat with gold trimming.;
It would have been better if he had shouted. Harry hated the disappointment in his voice. For some reason, he was unable to look Dumbledore in the eyes, and spoke instead to his knees. He told Dumbledore everything except that Mr. Weasley owned the bewitched car, making it sound as though he and Ron had happened to find a flying car parked outside the station. He knew Dumbledore would see through this at once, but Dumbledore asked no questions about the car. When Harry had finished, he merely continued to peer at them through his spectacles.？
The man who followed could only be Draco's father. He had the same pale, pointed face and identical cold, gray eyes. Mr. Malfoy crossed the shop, looking lazily at the items on display, and rang a bell on the counter before turning to his son and saying, "Touch nothing, Draco."。
"Silence!" said Snape coldly. "What have you done with the car?" Ron gulped. This wasn't the first time Snape had given Harry the impression of being able to read minds. But a moment later, he un derstood, as Snape unrolled today's issue of the Evening Prophet. "You were seen," he hissed, showing them the headline: FLY ING FORD ANGLIA MYSTIFIES MUGGLES. He began to read aloud: "Two Muggles in London, convinced they saw an old car flying over the Post Office tower ... at noon in Norfolk, Mrs. Hetty Bayliss, while hanging out her washing ... Mr. Angus Fleet, of Peebles, reported to police ... Six or seven Muggles in all. I be lieve your father works in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office?" he said, looking up at Ron and smiling still more nastily. "Dear, dear ... his own son. . . " Harry felt as though he'd just been walloped in the stomach by one of the mad tree's larger branches. If anyone found out Mr. Weasley had bewitched the car ... he hadn't thought of that .... "I noticed, in my search of the park, that considerable damage seems to have been done to a very valuable Whomping Willow," Snape went on. "That tree did more damage to us than we -" Ron blurted out. "Silence!" snapped Snape again. "Most unfortunately, you are not in my House and the decision to expel you does not rest with me. I shall go and fetch the people who do have that happy power. You will wait here." Harry and Ron stared at each other, white-faced. Harry didn't feel hungry any more. He now felt extremely sick. He tried not to look at a large, slimy something suspended in green liquid on a。