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Harry Potter and the Prince Hidden in the Shadows
Author :CrossArk
© Webnovel

43 Petrification

Before Arth could say another word, Dumbledore arrived and rushed into the crowd.

"Argus!"

Dumbledore had arrived on the scene, followed by a number of other teachers. In seconds, he had swept past Arthur and Hermione and detached Mrs. Norris from the torch bracket.

"Come with me, Argus," he said to Filch.

"You, too, Mr. Kingscrown, Miss Granger."

Lockhart stepped forward eagerly.

"My office is nearest, Headmaster — just upstairs — please feel free—"

"Thank you, Gilderoy," said Dumbledore.

The silent crowd parted to let them pass. Lockhart, looking excited and important, hurried after Dumbledore; so did Professors McGonagall and Snape.

As they entered Lockhart's darkened office there was a flurry of movement across the walls; Arth saw several of the Lockharts in the pictures dodging out of sight, their hair in rollers.

Arth sighed.

How narcissistic did a man have to be to have this many pictures of himself?

The real Lockhart lit the candles on his desk and stood back. Dumbledore lay Mrs. Norris on the polished surface and began to examine her.

The tip of Dumbledore's long, crooked nose was barely an inch from Mrs. Norris's fur. He was looking at her closely through his half-moon spectacles, his long fingers gently prodding and poking. Professor McGonagall was bent almost as close, her eyes narrowed. Snape loomed behind them, half in shadow, wearing a most peculiar expression: It was as though he was trying hard not to smile. And Lockhart was hovering around all of them, making suggestions.

"It was definitely a curse that killed her — probably the Transmogrifian Torture — I've seen it used many times, so unlucky I wasn't there, I know the very countercurse that would have saved her..."

Lockhart's comments were punctuated by Filch's frowns.

"My cat is petrified, not dead."

"What?"

Lockhart had a face filled with confusion when he heard the words.

"Impossible," he exclaimed as he stared at Filch who looked tired.

Filch was slumped in a chair by the desk, unable to look at Mrs. Norris, his face in his hands.

Dumbledore was now muttering strange words under his breath and tapping Mrs. Norris with his wand but nothing happened. She continued to look as though she had been recently stuffed.

"This all reminds me of very similar happening in Ouagadogou," said Lockhart, "a series of attacks, the full story's in my autobiography, I was able to provide the townsfolk with various amulets, which cleared the matter up at once, however, please understand that your car is indeed dead."

The photographs of Lockhart on the walls were all nodding in agreement as he talked. One of them had forgotten to remove his hair net.


Filch flinched upon hearing these words and glanced at Arth with a pitiful gaze that said a simple message.

Why did you lie to me.

At last Dumbledore straightened up.

"You were right. She's not dead, Argus," he said softly.

Lockhart stopped abruptly in the middle of counting the number of murders he had prevented.

"Not dead?" choked Filch, looking through his fingers at Mrs. Norris. "Oh god! Oh god! I wanted to hope, but I had my suspicions that... she had passed."

Filch sent a grateful look at Arth.

"She has been Petrified," said Dumbledore-

"Ah! I thought so!" said Lockhart, however, he was majorly ignored.

Arth frowned once more.

This teacher has no sense of dignity and shame.

"But how, I cannot say..."

Ask him!" Muttered Filch, turning his blotched and tearstained face to Arth.

"No second year could have done this," said Dumbledore firmly. "it would take Dark Magic of the most advanced —"

"Oh, I'm not saying that he did it, I'm saying that he might know a few clues. He is the one who told me that Mrs Norris was still alive," Filch mumbled.

Dumbledore froze before turning towards Arth.

"Ah yes, I was planning on speaking with you. Mister Kingscrown, Do you know anything, anything that might have been the cause of this? That is the reason why I called you here. I'm sure you have some brilliant ideas in that head of yours."

Arth gave a wry smile.

"I only have guesses, but sadly, and fortunately, I wasn't there at the scene when Mrs. Norris was attacked. I had only arrived after hearing a scream."

"Can I hear your guesses on this matter?" Dumbledore asked with a twinkle in his eye.

"Well, we know that the cats been petrified but how? The cat was found hanging on a torch while looking at the ground. The first thing we need to find out is whether she was petrified by a spell or by some other means."

Arth took a few steps forward before turning around and staring at the professors.

"First case, if it was a spell, then it is likely one of the older students that casted it on the poor cat."

Arth gave Filch a sympathetic look.

"I'm not trying to be rude but there are some students who particularity dislike Mr. Filch. However, I do not think this is the case. Mrs. Norris is a well trained cat that can detect mischievous behavior from a mile away, I find it hard to believe that Mrs. Norris would get stunned by a student. Especially without getting noticing the student."

Professor McGonagall raised her brow.

"And why do you think the cat was attacked unexpectedly?"

"It was because of the manner she was found." Arth answered immediately. "Mrs. Norris was found staring at the floor."

Arth suddenly pointed to the right and everyone followed.

"See," Arth said with a smile as the heads that turned to the right slowly focused back into Arth.

"All it takes is a slight moment and you will be instinctively be drawn towards the source of origin. If it is a spell, then there would be sound and Mrs. Norris would glance towards where the sound came from. But she didn't, which leads me to believe that she was attacked by something other than a student."

Arth suddenly changed as his face became emotionless and cold. He stared at Dumbledore with an emotionless expression.

"Enemies of the heir beware. Chamber of secrets. We both know what that means don't we Dumbledore."

All of the teachers frowned as they started to give Arth a second look.

"I know you know what I'm talking about. And I do hope that this is some cleverly hidden prank by a student or else..."

Arth let out a sigh that made him seem like an old man.

"Hogwarts is in grave danger."

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