9 Third-floor Corridor
They flitted along corridors striped with bars of moonlight from the high windows. Arth seemed to be extraordinarily good at finding the way that wouldn't get them caught. In about five minutes, they had arrived at the third floor and tiptoed toward the trophy room.
Malfoy and Crabbe weren't there yet. The crystal trophy cases glimmered where the moonlight caught them. Cups, shields, plates, and statues winked silver and gold in the darkness. They edged along the walls, keeping their eyes on the doors at either end of the room. Harry took out his wand while Arth walked around admiring and reading off of the trophies. The minutes crept by.
"He's late, maybe he's chickened out," Ron whispered.
"We've been had, it's a trap.
Sure enough, someone started to speak In the next room.
"Sniff around, my sweet, they might be lurking in a corner."
It was Filch speaking to Mrs. Norris. Harry waved madly at the other four to follow him as quickly as possible; they scurried silently toward the door. Neville's robes had barely whipped round the corner when they heard Filch enter the trophy room.
"They're in here somewhere," they heard him mutter, "probably hiding."
"This way!" Harry mouthed to the others and, petrified, they began to creep down a long gallery full of suits of armor. They could hear Filch getting nearer.
Neville suddenly let out a frightened squeak and broke into a run -he tripped, grabbed Ron around the waist, who poked Arth in the eye, before crashing into a suit of armor.
The clanging and crashing were enough to wake the whole castle.
"RUN!" Harry yelled, and the five of them sprinted down the gallery, not looking back to see whether Filch was following. They swung around the doorpost and galloped down one corridor then another, Harry in the lead, due to Arth still experience pain and partial blindness.
They ripped through a tapestry and found themselves in a hidden passageway, hurtled along it and came out near their Charms classroom, which they knew was miles from the trophy room.
"I think we've lost him," Harry panted, leaning against the cold wall and wiping his forehead. Neville was bent double, wheezing and spluttering.
"I really want to hit you once, just once. Hard enough to hurt." Glared Arth.
Hermione felt the same way.
I - told -you," Hermione gasped, struggling for air, "I -- told -- you."
"We've got to get back to Gryffindor tower," said Ron, "quickly as possible."
"You don't say?" Arth said with a voice dripping sarcasm.
"You were right..." said Harry a bit dejected. "It was a trap."
"You realize that now, don't you? He was never going to meet you. Filch knew someone was going to be in the trophy room, Malfoy must have tipped him off," said Hermione, to much of their displeasure.
"Let's go," said Arth, all the while still glaring at Harry and Ron.
It wasn't going to be that simple. Harry had managed to lead them somewhere Arth had never seen. They hadn't gone past more than a few rooms when a doorknob rattled and something came shooting out of a classroom in front of them.
"Whatever you do, don't provoke him. Especially you Ron."
"What do you mean-"
It was Peeves. He caught sight of them and gave a squeal of delight.
"Shut up, Peeves. Please, you'll get us thrown out," whispered Harry.
"Wandering around at midnight, Ickle Firsties. Tut, tut, tut. Naughty, naughty, you'll get caughty."
"Not if you don't give us away, Peeves, please."
"Should tell Filch, I should," said Peeves in a saintly voice, but his eyes glittered wickedly.
"It's for your own good, you know."
"Get out-," snapped Ron, and was about to take a swipe at Peeves when a hand held him back.
"Ron, shut the hell up. I am this close to punching you in the face, so before I snap, be quiet and stay put," said Arth with bone chattering cold voice.
Arth turned to Peeves.
"Hey Peeves, we meet again."
Peeves cackled with delight.
"You're the little boy who told me to throw mud all over the second floor. You were right, the old git did indeed despise that."
"It was you!"
Arth just dismissed it with a wave. "Don't mind it, it is just a small harmless prank."
Peeves narrowed his eyes.
"So what do you want smarty warty Arthy?"
Everyone had put on a weird face as they discovered a new side of Arth, one that was very mischeivious.
"Well, I know that you aren't going to let us go quietly, but instead of getting us in trouble, imagine if you pulled a fast one on Filch."
Interested, Peeves let out a nasty grin.
"How do you propose that?"
Arth returned the grin, "You give us time to run, attract Filch by yelling that we're here, and then..."
"Tell him nothing."
Everyone stared at Arth with surprised looks. Indeed this would make Filch very aggravated.
Peeves narrowed his eyes in deep though before holding up five fingers which slowly went down one by one. Immediately understanding his intention, Arth signaled for them to run. Sure enough, a few second later, they heard a yell.
"STUDENTS OUT OF BED!" Peeves bellowed, "STUDENTS OUT OF BED DOWN THE
They ran for their lives, right to the end of the corridor where they slammed into a door - and it was locked.
Hermione snarled. "I am SO going to tell your brother after all of this - Alohomora!"
The lock clicked and the door swung open -- they piled through it, shut it quickly, and pressed their ears against it, listening.
"Which way did they go, Peeves?" Filch was saying. "Quick, tell me."
"Don't mess with me, Peeves, now where did they go?"
"Shan't say nothing if you don't say please," said Peeves in his annoying singsong voice.
"All right -please."
"NOTHING! Ha haaa! Told you I wouldn't say nothing if you didn't say please! Ha ha! Haaaaaa!" And they heard the sound of Peeves whooshing away and Filch cursing in rage.
"Worked like a charm," said Arth, before turning around to inspect the room.
"You reckon he'll, check this room?" Asked Ron with a worried expression.
"He thinks this door is locked," Harry whispered. "I think we'll be okay - get off, Neville! What do you want?"
However, they heard the somewhat grim voice of Arthur answer instead.
"Well... it seems that we had made a mistake..."
"What do you mean-"
Harry turned around and saw, quite clearly, what. The others soon followed. They were looking straight into the eyes of a monstrous dog, a dog that filled the whole space between ceiling and floor.
It had three heads, three pairs of rolling, mad eyes, three noses, twitching and quivering in their direction, three drooling mouths, saliva hanging in slippery ropes from yellowish fangs.
It was standing quite still, all six eyes staring at them, and Arth knew that the only reason they weren't already dead was that their sudden appearance had taken it by surprise.
"Everyone don't move, or scream, or do anything that might make it attack us."
"HOW ARE WE-"
A mysterious force took hold of Ron's vocal cords rendering him incapable of speech.
Arth had enough of Ron's bullshit, especially when his life was at stake.
"Everyone, starting with Harry, exit the door one by one, slowly. No sudden movements, please. I don't want to die quiet yet you see."
Harry slowly opened the door and walked outside, and so did Hermione. Neville, who was a bit too tense, ended up tripping. The dog immediately went to action as it lunged for Arth.
Arth bent backwards to make a ninety degree angle between his heels and the back of his head, miraculously dodging the snap of the dog's middle head, before he led it into a back handspring out of the door.
Harry slammed the door shut, and they ran, they almost flew, back down the corridor. Filch must have hurried off to look for them somewhere else, because they didn't see him anywhere, but they hardly cared - all they wanted to do was put as much space as possible between them and that monster.
They didn't stop running until they reached the portrait of the Fat Lady on the seventh floor.
"Where on earth have you all been?" she asked, looking at their bathrobes hanging off their shoulders and their flushed, sweaty faces.
"Never mind that - pig snout, pig snout," panted Harry, and the portrait swung forward. They scrambled into the common room and collapsed, trembling, into armchairs.
It was a while before any of them said anything. Neville, indeed, looked as if he'd never speak again.
"What do they think they're doing, keeping a thing like that locked up in a school?" said Ron finally. "If any dog needs exercise, that one does."
Arth just coldly glared at Ron and Harry before walking up the stairs to his bed.
He could hear Hermione berating them as he left. He got in his bed and closed his eyes, still fuming with anger.