The Bribe

IfKreachercouldescapealakefullofInferi,HarrywasconfidentthatthecaptureofMundunguswouldtakeafewhoursatmost,andheprowledthehouseallmorninginastateofhighanticipation.However,Kreacherdidnotreturnthatmorningoreventhatafternoon.Bynightfall,Harryfeltdiscouragedandanxious,andasuppercomposedlargelyofmoldybread,uponwhichHermionehadtriedavarietyofunsuccessfulTransfigurations,didnothingtohelp.

Kreacherdidnotreturnthefollowingday,northedayafterthat.However,twocloakedmenhadappearedinthesquareoutsidenumbertwelve,andtheyremainedthereintothenight,gazinginthedirectionofthehousethattheycouldnotsee.

"DeathEaters,forsure,"saidRon,ashe,Harry,andHermionewatchedfromthedrawingroomwindows."Reckontheyknowwe’reinhere?"

"Idon’tthinkso,"saidHermione,thoughshelookedfrightened,"orthey’dhavesentSnapeinafterus,wouldn’tthey?"

"D’youreckonhe’sbeeninhereandhadhistonguetiedbyMoody’scurse?"askedRon.

"Yes,"saidHermione,"otherwisehe’dhavebeenabletotellthatlothowtogetin,wouldn’the?Butthey’reprobablywatchingtoseewhetherweturnup.TheyknowthatHarryownsthehouse,afterall."

"Howdothey?"beganHarry.

"WizardingwillsareexaminedbytheMinistry,remember?They’llknowSiriusleftyoutheplace."

ThepresenceoftheDeathEatersoutsideincreasedtheominousmoodinsidenumbertwelve.

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