'Hem, hem . . . "Educational Decree Number Twenty-five".'
'Walking,' Ron mumbled. He was still wearing his Quidditch things.
'No problem,' he said. 'He was the biggest, the ugliest an1 the laziest. Sittin' there waitin' ter be brought food by the others. Dead goats an' such like. Name o' Karkus. I'd put him at twenty-two, twenty-three feet an' the weight o' a couple o' bull elephants. Skin like rhino hide an' all.'
Hagrid glared at them, then snorted, threw the steak back on to the table and strode over to the kettle, which was now whistling.
Fred and George had realised what Malfoy was talking about. Halfway through shaking Harry's hand, they stiffened, looking round at Malfoy.
'But you've just said there was no way you could go back!'
'How could you tell which ones they were?' asked Ron.
'How did you get out of that!' asked Harry.
Hermione told him the full story; Harry could not bear to tell it again. When she had finished, Ron looked more anguished than ever.
'I'm going to bed,' said Angelina, getting slowly to her feet. 'Maybe this will all turn out to have been a bad dream . . . maybe I'll wake up tomorrow and find we haven't played yet . . .'
'We chanced a bit o' magic after that an' it wasn' a bad journey. Ran inter a couple o' mad trolls on the Polish border an' I had a sligh' disagreement with a vampire in a pub in Minsk, bu' apart from tha' couldn't'a bin smoother.
They beamed at each other under the Cloak; they could tell by Hagrid's voice that he was pleased. 'Bin home three seconds . . . out the way, Fang . . . out the way, yeh dozy dog . . .'
'But unfortunately,' she said, with an attempt at a reciprocal smile that made her look as though she had lockjaw, 'it is what I think that counts, as they are in my House, Dolores.'
'What for?' said Harry.
'We're bein' watched, Ron,' he said gruffly.
'Per the las' time, it's nuthin'!' said Hagrid firmly.
' - it was that song that wound me up - '
They crept through the portrait hole and covered themselves hastily in the Cloak - Ron had grown so much he now needed to crouch to prevent his feet showing - then, moving slowly and cautiously, they proceeded down the many staircases, pausing at intervals to check on the map for signs of Filch or Mrs Morris. They were lucky; they saw nobody but Nearly Headless Nick, who was gliding along absent-mindedly humming something that sounded horribly like 'Weasley is our King'. They crept across the Entrance Hall and out into the silent, snowy grounds. With a great leap of his heart, Harry saw little golden squares of light ahead and smoke coiling up from Hagrid's chimney. He set off at a quick march, the other two jostling and bumping along behind him. They crunched excitedly through the thickening snow until at last they reached the wooden front door. When Harry raised his fist and knocked three times, a dog started barking frantically inside.
Harry and George both wheeled round. Dolores Umbridge was standing in the doorway wrapped in a green tweed cloak that greatly enhanced her resemblance to a giant toad, and was smiling in the horrible, sickly, ominous way that Harry had come to associate with imminent misery.