The Lost Diadem

“Neville—whatthe—how—?”

ButNevillehadspottedRonandHermione,andwithyellsofdelightwashuggingthemtoo.ThelongerHarrylookedatNeville,theworseheappeared:Oneofhiseyeswasswollenyellowandpurple,thereweregougemarksonhisface,andhisgeneralairofunkemptnesssuggestedthathehadbeenlivingenough.Nevertheless,hisbatteredvisageshonewithhappinessasheletgoofHermioneandsaidagain,“Iknewyou’dcome!KepttellingSeamusitwasamatteroftime!”

“Neville,what’shappenedtoyou?”

“What?This?”Nevilledismissedhisinjurieswithashakeofthehead.“Thisisnothing,Seamusisworse.You’llsee.Shallwegetgoingthen?Oh,”heturnedtoAberforth,“Ab,theremightbeacouplemorepeopleontheway.”

“Couplemore?”repeatedAberforthominously.“Whatd’youmean,acouplemore,Longbottom?There’sacurfewandaCamwauldingCharmonthewholevillage!”

“Iknow,that’swhythey’llbeApparatingdirectlyintothebar,”saidNeville.“Justsendthemdownthepassagewhentheygethere,willyou?Thanksalot.”

NevilleheldouthishandtoHermioneandhelpedhertoclimbupontothemantelpieceandintothetunnel;Ronfollowed,thenNeville.HarryaddressedAberforth.

“Idon’tknowhowtothankyou.You’vesavedourlivestwice.”

“Lookafter’em,then,”saidAberforthgruffly.“Imightnotbeabletosave’emathirdtime.”

HarryclamberedupontothemantelpieceandthroughtheholebehindAriana’sportrait.

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