110 The fat Knigh
Hagrid entered the Great Hall wearing his long moleskin overcoat and was absentmindedly swinging a dead
polecat from one enormous hand.
"All righ'?" he said eagerly, pausing on the way to the staff table. "Yer in my firs' ever lesson! Right after lunch! Bin up since five gettin' everythin' ready... Hope it's okay... Me, a teacher... hones'ly..."
He grinned broadly at them and headed off to the staff table, still swinging the polecat.
"Wonder what he's been getting ready?" said Ron, a note of anxiety in his voice.
"Probably something interesting." Arth said with a hint of excitement in his eyes.
"Well Hagrid's And your definition of interesting is different from people like us." Ron said with a grumble.
"We all remember what happened last time Hagrid said something was cute. A three headed dog, a dragon, and a giant talking spider."
"Oh come on, the dragon was cute."
"The dragon attempted to burn down Hagrid's hit. And that's not the point. The point is all of them had a potential risk to kill someone."
The hall was starting to empty as people headed off toward their first lesson. Ron checked his course schedule.
"We'd better go, look, Divination's at the top of North Tower. It'll take us ten minutes to get there..."
They finished their breakfasts hastily, said goodbye to Fred and George, and walked back through the hall. As they passed the Slytherin table, Malfoy did yet another impression of a fainting fit. The shouts of laughter followed them into the entrance hall.
The journey through the castle to North Tower was a long one. Two years at Hogwarts hadn't taught them everything about the castle, and they had never been inside North Tower before.
"There's — got — to — be — a — shortcut," Ron panted as they climbed their seventh long staircase and emerged on an unfamiliar landing, where there was nothing but a large painting of a bare stretch of grass hanging on the stone wall.
Arth let out a grin.
"I know a short cut. Y'all want to take it?"
The last time arth said he had a shortcut, they ended up exciting out of a closet covered in dust.
"Come on, I swear it will work this time. This one is slightly less random then the last one."
"Never. We are already late, a few more won't cause any harm."
Harry was watching the painting. A fat, dapple-gray pony had just ambled onto the grass and was grazing nonchalantly. A moment later, a short, squat knight in a suit of armor clanked into the picture after his pony. By the look of the grass stains on his metal knees, he had just fallen off.
"Aha!" he yelled, seeing them. "What villains are these, that trespass upon my private lands! Come to scorn at my fall, perchance? Draw, you knaves, you dogs!"
They watched in astonishment as the little knight tugged his sword out of its scabbard and began brandishing it violently, hop- ping up and down in rage. But the sword was too long for him; a particularly wild swing made him overbalance, and he landed face- down in the grass.
"Are you all right?" asked Hermione, moving closer to the picture.
"Get back, you scurvy braggart! Back, you rogue!"
The knight seized his sword again and used it to push himself back up, but the blade sank deeply into the grass and, though he pulled with all his might, he couldn't get it out again. Finally, he had to flop back down onto the grass and push up his visor to mop his sweating face.
"Listen," said Arthur, taking advantage of the knight's exhaustion, "we're looking for the North Tower. You don't know the way, do you?"
"A quest!" The knight's rage seemed to vanish instantly. He clanked to his feet and shouted, "Come follow me, dear friends, and we shall find our goal, or else shall perish bravely in the charge!"
He gave the sword another fruitless tug, tried and failed to mount the fat pony, gave up, and cried, "On foot then, good sirs and gentle lady! On! On!"
And he ran, clanking loudly, into the left side of the frame and out of sight.
"Are y'all seriously going to trust this guy more than me? I'm pretty sure that my predictable random shortcut is more accurate that this Knight."
"We don't know that do we? Plus, we have nothing to lose anyway."