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"What?" said Hermione.
"House-elves is not paid, sir!" she said in a muffled squeak. "No, no, no. I says to Dobby, I says, go find yourself a nice family and settle down, Dobby. He is getting up to all sorts of high jinks, sir, what is unbecoming to a house-elf. You goes racketing around like this, Dobby, I says, and next thing I hear you's up in front of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, like some common goblin."
Harry had been on the Gryffindor House Quidditch team ever since his first year at Hogwarts and owned one of the best racing brooms in the world, a Firebolt. Flying came more naturally to Harry than anything else in the magical world, and he played in the position of Seeker on the Gryffindor House team.
However, at the bottom of the report there were a few well-chosen comments from the school nurse that not even Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia could explain away. No matter how much Aunt Petunia wailed that Dudley was big-boned, and that his poundage was really puppy fat, and that he was a growing boy who needed plenty of food, the fact remained that the school outfitters didn't stock knickerbockers big enough for him anymore. The school nurse had seen what Aunt Petunia's eyes - so sharp when it came to spotting fingerprints on her gleaming walls, and in observing the comings and goings of the neighbors - simply refused to see: that far from needing extra nourishment, Dudley had reached roughly the size and weight of a young killer whale.
Fred and George came back into the room carrying Harry's school trunk. They glanced around as they entered and spotted Dudley. Their faces cracked into identical evil grins.
She had trodden on the giant slug, which burst. Her scolding carried after them on the still air, mingling with the little boy's yells - "You bust slug! You bust slug!"
"Invite him inside, Wormtail. Where are your manners?"
"Merlin's beard," said Amos Diggory, his eyes widening. "Harry? Harry Potter?"
"R-really, My Lord? What -- ?" Wormtail sounded terrified again.
There was a loud hammering of fists on the boards behind the electric fire.
"We're eating out in the garden," she said when they came in. "There's just not room for eleven people in here. Could you take the plates outside, girls? Bill and Charlie are setting up the tables. Knives and forks, please, you two," she said to Ron and Harry, pointing her wand a little more vigorously than she had intended at a pile of potatoes in the sink, which shot out of their skins so fast that they ricocheted off the walls and ceiling.
"'Spect they go to some foreign school," said Ron. "I know there are others. Never met anyone who went to one, though. Bill had a penfriend at a school in Brazil ... this was years and years ago ... and he wanted to go on an exchange trip but Mum and Dad couldn't afford it. His penfriend got all offended when he said he wasn't going and sent him a cursed hat. It made his ears shrivel up."
"He looks really grumpy," said Hermione, looking around at the many Krums blinking and scowling at them.
CHAPTER SIX - THE PORTKEY
Harry would have dearly loved to have said, "So what?" but he didn't feel that Uncle Vernon's temper should be tested this early in the morning, especially when it was already under severe strain from lack of food. He therefore settled for looking politely puzzled.
It wasn't just Ron's eyes. They had walked into a patch of tents that were all covered with a thick growth of shamrocks, so that it looked as though small, oddly shaped hillocks had sprouted out of the earth. Grinning faces could be seen under those that had their flaps open. Then, from behind them, they heard their names.