The Sugar Quill
Author: zzzFF Prakrithy  Story: All that glitters is not gold  Chapter: Default
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Harry and Ron were relaxing in the Gryffindor common room

All That Glitters is Not Gold

Prakrithy

 

One evening as Harry and Ron were relaxing in the Gryffindor common room, Harry picked up the Marauders Map and tapped on it. On the map, something suddenly caught Harry’s eye – a dot marked Mundungus Fletcher that was moving rapidly out of Hogwarts castle.

Harry said to Ron, “Hey Ron. Mundungus is on the Marauders Map. What is he doing here at Hogwarts? He doesn’t need to keep an eye on me here!”

Ron lazily said, “I dunno. Maybe he is up to some new money making scheme as usual.”

“Let us follow him and see what he is up to. Come on Ron, let’s go.”

“Now? I am so comfortable on this couch, I don’t feel like getting up.”

“Come on Ron. I am sure something is happening. Maybe it is some news of Voldemort and the Order is meeting. We need to find out.”

“I don’t think we should, Harry. But my curiosity has been piqued. Ok let’s go.”

 


Harry and Ron slipped out of the Gryffindor common room and followed Mundungus Fletcher. To Ron’s alarm, the dot marked Mundungus was heading towards the Forbidden Forest.

Ron said, “Harry! It looks like Dung is offering himself as dinner to something in the Forbidden Forest. I did not know he was that generous and self-sacrificing.”

“Shh! We don’t want Filch to hear us. Maybe he is just heading towards Hagrid’s hut.”

Harry and Ron increased their pace to catch up with Mundungus, at the same time keeping an eye on the map. The dot kept moving towards the forest and not Hagrid’s hut. Soon it disappeared to the path leading into the forest. A few minutes later, Harry and Ron found themselves at the edge of the forest as well.

“Now what do we do? You don’t want to go in there, do you, Harry? Who knows what we may run into? Centaurs, Grawp or even Aragog!”

“I am going in, Ron. Dung wouldn’t have gone inside too far if he is meeting with someone from the Order. Maybe you should wait here for me and keep a lookout.”

“All right. You better get back quickly.”

Ron waited for ten minutes and there was no sign of either Harry or Mundungus. Reluctantly and with great trepidation, Ron followed their footsteps into the Forbidden Forest.

 


As it grew darker, Ron said “Lumos.” His wand lit up and he could see the path. Several minutes passed by and he saw nothing and heard nothing. Suddenly, the path forked into two. The left fork appeared to be the main path going further into the forest while the right fork looked less travelled. A small piece of Harry’s sweater that was stuck to a thorny branch sticking out into the right path caught Ron’s eye. Ron recognized it as the green sweater his Mum had sent Harry for Christmas.

The right fork was excruciatingly hard to navigate. It was very narrow at places with thorny bushes and closely spaced trees. The deafening silence in the forest was suddenly broken by a terrifying scream. Ron could not make out who was screaming and charged with his wand held forward. As he rushed past a slimy part of the path almost slipping, he suddenly burst into a clearing. The sight that awaited him almost left him stunned. In the clearing was a beast he had never seen before. It looked like a small dragon or a huge serpent with two legs and beautifully colored, feathered wings. Mundungus was pinned under its legs while Harry lay on the ground motionless. A bright silver oval object lay on the ground. The beast seemed indifferent to Harry and raised its head to strike at Mundungus with its fangs. Without thinking, Ron waved his hand and said “Impedimenta.” The beast gave a screech as the blast hit it, but turned towards Ron, obviously not affected by the impediment curse. Ron noticed a huge branch dangling from a nearby tree and tried to summon it to perhaps use it as a weapon. However, instead of the summoning charm Accio, Ron croaked “Avis” as the beast swung towards him. Several small birds erupted from his wand and flew at the beast. Apparently distracted, the beast rose off the ground and advanced at the birds.

Immediately, Mundungus got up, pocketed the silver object, picked up Harry and said “Run.” Ron and Mundungus ran back on the path as fast as they could. They heard a screech of anger behind them, but they did not look back. They fled as fast as their legs could carry them till they reached Hogwarts.

 


 “I am surprised you did not recognize an Occamy when you saw one,” said Hermione. “It is a beast from India that is highly protective of its eggs made of pure silver.  And thank heavens, it prefers eating birds to humans.”

“Why was Dung after the Occamy’s egg?” asked Harry as he sat up on the bed sipping the potion that Madam Pomfrey had made for him.

“He wasn’t. Some joker had palmed a fake parchment to Dung for a galleon. The parchment apparently mentioned some buried gold in the Forbidden Forest. So, Dung got a Niffler to dig for the gold and headed off into the forest. The Niffler led him all right, but dug for the shiny silver egg of the Occamy. Needless to say, the Occamy was not pleased,” grinned Ron.

Harry continued, “When I reached the clearing, Dung already had the Occamy’s egg in his hand, but he looked puzzled. I was about to ask him what he was up to when the Occamy attacked me from behind. My head hit the ground and I passed out. Well, it was a lucky escape. I wonder what Dung was doing inside the castle in the first place”.

“Ah! He couldn’t read the parchment. So he came here and asked me to read it for him. Even though I told him it was a fake, Dung went ahead with the Niffler,” Dumbledore walked in with a smile. “Yes, Ron and Harry. It is our choices that make us what we are.”

//
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