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"Who's there?" he called again.
Nearly Headless Nick watched mournfully as Harry, Ron, and Hermione loaded their own plates.
"Eurgh!" squealed Lavender Brown, jumping backward. "Eurgh" just about summed up the Blast-Ended Skrewts in Harry's opinion. They looked like deformed, shell-less lobsters, horribly pale and slimy-looking, with legs sticking out in very odd places and no visible heads. There were about a hundred of them in each crate, each about six inches long, crawling over one another, bumping blindly into the sides of the boxes. They were giving off a very powerful smell of rotting fish. Every now and then, sparks would fly out of the end of a skrewt, and with a small phut, it would be propelled forward several inches.
CHAPTER TEN - MAYHEM AT THE MINISTRY
"It is Uranus, my dear," said Professor Trelawney, peering down at the chart.
"Why are they all sending Howlers?" asked Ginny, who was mending her copy of One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi with Spellotape on the rug in front of the living room fire.
said Ron, grinning slyly at her.
Neither Mr. Weasley nor Percy was at home much over the following week. Both left the house each morning before the rest of the family got up, and returned well after dinner every night.
The Hogwarts Express, a gleaming scarlet steam engine, was already there, clouds of steam billowing from it, through which the many Hogwarts students and parents on the platform appeared like dark ghosts. Pigwidgeon became noisier than ever in response to the hooting of many owls through the mist. Harry, Ron, and Hermione set off to find seats, and were soon stowing their luggage in a compartment halfway along the train. They then hopped back down onto the platform to say good-bye to Mrs. Weasley, Bill, and Charlie.
"I am not joking, Mr. Weasley," he said, "though now that you mention it, I did hear an excellent one over the summer about a troll, a hag, and a leprechaun who all go into a bar.
"He was very brave, wasn't he?" Hermione said, leaning forward to watch Krum land as a swarm of mediwizards blasted a path through the battling leprechauns and veela to get to him. "He looks a terrible mess. . ."
"Certainly," said Nearly Headless Nick, looking surprised at her reaction. "The largest number in any dwelling in Britain, I believe. Over a hundred."
There was a terrified silence in the entrance hall. Nobody but Moody was moving a muscle. Moody turned to look at Harry -- at least, his normal eye was looking at Harry; the other one was pointing into the back of his head.
"Well, nobody knows, do they?" said Hermione, raising her eyebrows.
"And I trust you remember the many proofs I have given, over a long career, that I despise and detest the Dark Arts and those who practice them?" Mr. Crouch shouted, his eyes bulging again.