Chapter: 9 Through the Trapdoor and End of the First Year
"Wh- What? Trap...door? What trapdoor?" asked Theodore bewildered.
Then Ron explained to him all about the Sorcerer's Stone, the three-headed dog, the human wizard chess and other protective enchantments put by other professors.
"Okay. Wait. So the Sorcerer's Stone is inside the school? Guarded by the three-headed dog and other professor's enchantments?" asked Theodore.
"And the trapdoor is located in the restricted corridor on the third floor?"
"So you want to steal the Sorcerer's Stone?"
"What? NO!" exclaimed Ron.
"Then why do you want to go inside the trapdoor?" asked Theodore hotly.
Ron groaned. Then he tells him about his suspicion of Professor Snape stealing the Sorcerer's Stone for Voldemort. Theodore is shocked with this new revelation.
"How do you know?" asked Theodore.
"I promise, Theo, once all of this is over, I will tell to everything," reassured Ron.
"Okay. So why do you need a flute?"
"I think we need it to get past the dog."
"I don't know."
"Ron this is mental."
Ron sighed. "I know, but we need to do this, but I can understand if you don't want to join me."
"No. It is not like that. We will go inside the trapdoor together. It is just that this is quite dangerous. We can be seriously hurt."
Theodore gave a long sigh. "Why don't we inform professors and let them handle this."
"We can not explain to them how come we know about the Sorcerer's Stone in the first place and no one will believe that Professor Snape is trying to steal it."
Both the first year boys are silent for a long moment. Both are deep in their thoughts. Finally, Theodore is the one to break the silence.
"Okay. So we need a flute."
"Okay, I will order it from a shop I know in Diagon Alley. Hopefully, we get it within one week."
Ron nodded. "Thanks."
"You are mental."
Both boys grinned at each other before joining the Great Hall for breakfast.
In one week, Ron and Theodore planned everything for their trip inside the trapdoor.
"Meet me at eleven and don't forget to sneak a broomstick from a cupboard."
"Yes," replied Theodore.
So that's why Ron found himself at third-floor corridor waiting for Theodore impatiently. After ten more agonizing minutes, Theodore finally arrived.
"Where have you been?" asked Ron harshly.
"Mrs. Norris saw me when I was coming," said Theodore. "I think she went to look for Filch. And I am not able to sneak a broomstick."
"Then let's go, right now."
"Remember we both have to start playing the flute immediately once we were inside the room."
They both reach the room where the three-headed dog is guarding the stone. Ron tries to unlock the door but to no avail.
"Move aside," hissed Theodore and raised his wand and pointed towards door's lock. "Alohomora," he whispered, and the door gets unlocked.
"Brilliant," said Ron. Then he takes a deep breath. "Remember to start playing the flute immediately," Theodore nodded.
Ron pushes the door just enough to enter and close it immediately. Once inside the room, both of them heard a low growl. Ron turned around instantly and noticed that the dog in sniffing in their direction madly with all his three noses. Both Ron and Theodore let out a terrific shriek and jump towards the opposite side of the wall.
"Flute," shouted Ron and both boys started playing the flute.
After five long minutes, the dog finally drifted into the sleep. When the dog is fully asleep, Ron let go of his flute and started shifting dog's leg from the trapdoor. He could feel his warm breath on the back of his neck sending an eerie chill down his spine. Surely, if the bloody dog wakes up at any moment, it can tear them from limb to limb.
"Do not stop playing the flute Theo," Ron motioned towards Theodore.
He opened the door and peeked inside.
"Nothing in there Theo... just darkness," said Ron.
"Okay, I am going first, you keep playing and if anything happens to me, do not follow. Bring the professors. Okay?" Ron finished nervously.
Theodore nodded as he continued to play the flute.
Ron jumped inside the trapdoor and then landed on what seemed like a huge cushion.
He yelled for Theodore that it is safe to jump and he followed suit. A few seconds later Theodore also landed beside Ron.
"We must be miles below the school," said Theodore.
"If we had a soft landing, thanks to this-" before Ron could finish his sentence the plant begin to move.
"What is this?" yelled Ron as Devil's Snare wrapped around them quickly.
"Stop moving!" said Theodore. "I know what it is. It is Devil's Snare."
"Thanks, Theo... now I know what it's named, I think I will plant it in the garden of my house."
"SHUT UP!" yelled Theodore. "I am trying to remember how to killed it."
"Well, hurry up, I cannot breathe!"
"Lumos!" yelled Theodore as the plant begin to move away from its victims.
"Thanks," said Ron once both of them are entirely free from the plant. Now Ron was able to connect dots between a rope chocking Longbottom's neck and the bright light. He is glad that he take Theodore with him otherwise he was dead right now.
As they walk through the dark corridor the only thing they could hear besides, their footsteps were the trickle of water on the walls.
"Do you hear something?" Ron whispered. Theodore listened to the sound.
"What do you think it is?"
"They look like wings."
"Look there is another door," pointed Theodore.
They try to open it but to no avail.
"These birds look like keys," noticed Ron.
"What do you think?"
Again Ron manages to connect dots between the flying keys and the broom.
"It looks like we need to catch the correct key. Look there is a broom," pointed Ron.
"Go get it then."
"You are a better flyer, Theo," said Ron.
"Go Theo and look for the oldest key."
After some time Theodore manages to catch the oldest key, and now both boys are on the other side of the door.
The next chamber was so dark that both boys are not able to see a bloody thing. But the moment they stepped into it, the white light shone out of nowhere and lit the room. They were standing on the edge of a huge chessboard, behind the black chessman. Across the chamber were the white pieces.
Now Ron was in his field. If there was something he had always been good at, it was playing chess. The main reason he decided to come inside the trapdoor because Hermione was not able to win the chess match, which means the Trio were not able to save the Sorcerer's Stone.
"What do we do now?" asked Theodore.
"We have to play to cross the room."
"We have to take the place of some of the black pieces and win to be able to cross," said Ron. "I think the best thing is I should play."
"Theo, you can take the place of the bishop."
"And what about you?" asked Theodore.
"I will be a knight."
Ron started directing the black pieces. They move silently on his instructions. The game went on, and it seemed as if the white side were slaughtering them with no mercy. On several occasions, he had to save Theodore. The black pieces were in the piles on the edge of the chessboard lying like the fallen soldiers. At one moment, he was in a position of winning the match, but he has to sacrifice himself for that and he does not fancy a shot on his head. He remembers the unconscious form of Hermione from his vision when she got hit by the white queen.
But now he is again in the same situation. They will win the match, but Ron has to sacrifice himself. And this time Ron knows it is their best chance otherwise, they are not able to win this game. He avoided it before because they have enough black pieces alive to make the next move and the plenty of time. But now they have no other choice. He has to sacrifice himself to win the game.
"We are nearly there," said Ron.
Ron gave a resigned sigh.
"Right," said Ron. "It is the only way."
Theodore also sensed what Ron was up too.
"NO!" he shouted.
"I have got to be taken down, Theo."
"There must be another way?"
"We already lost most of our pieces, Theo."
"This is our best chance."
"Ron, please do not do it," said Theodore angrily.
"This is chess," said Ron quietly. "We have to make some sacrifices." He looked towards the white king. "That will free you to checkmate the king."
"It is the only way, Theo," said Ron confidently.
Theodore now seemed to understand that there was no other solution and he nodded dejectedly.
"Ready?" asked Ron determinedly. "There I go," he looked back at Theodore again. "Do not stay once we have won."
As he stepped forward, the white queen plunged towards Ron. He held out his breathe waiting for the blow. It hit him hard on the head with its stone arm. He let out a scream from the agonizing pain.
As Ron immersed himself in the unconsciousness, he heard a scream from Theodore. After only darkness.
Ron found himself in the middle of the Great Hall. The walls of the halls are all covered in the sparkling silver frost, with hundred of garlands of mistletoe and ivy crossing the starry black ceiling. The house tables had vanished; instead, there was about a hundred smaller, lantern-lit ones, each seating about a dozen people.
He looks around and saw many students and professors are also present in the Great Hall wearing party dress robes. Ron is also wearing a cerulean blue dress robe. He felt hungry and looks around and found an empty table. He is halfway down towards the table when someone called him.
He turned around, and he caught his breath and his jaw-dropped as he saw a beautiful, pretty girl in her periwinkle-blue dress with straps that stopped at her knees making her way towards him. She looks gorgeous. Breathtaking. Beautiful. Fantastic. Words are not enough to describe the way her silky blue robes fluttered down her body, the way her hair framed her beautiful face. She is still coming towards him, and he wondered why this angelic looking girl is searching for him.
He soon realized that he is staring at her open-mouthed and closed his mouth. Unable to resist himself, he too made his way towards her not caring about anybody else and his previous desire to eat is all forgotten.
"Ron," the beautiful girl said again once they meet. Ron thinks that he heard that voice before, but he was not able to recognize it.
"Do you want to dance?" Ron asked boldly.
She looked up at him surprised. He held out his right hand for her to take but she was still staring at him strangely. Ron is getting quite apprehensive and decided to bring his hand down to his sides, but before he does that she takes his hand with her small ones. He looks up at her beautiful face and saw a small smile on her lips. Beautiful, soft lips.
"Sure," she said, and both hands in hand move towards the dance floor.
She quickly slide into his arms, and he soon had his arms around her waist and his hand on the small of her back. He was sure that she would be able to hear his heart pounding through his chest. They danced together for a while. Now Ron is staring at her beautiful, soft lips and wonders how it feels to kiss those lips. Slowly he is starting to lean down.
"Ron!" she said her voice barely above a whisper.
"Ron!" someone calls him. He groaned.
"Ron, are you awake?" someone called him again.
"What?" he said a bit harshly, certainly put off to be disturbed from his sleep and opened his eyes.
"Umm... Hermione," he said in a soft voice this time.
"I heard that you are in the hospital wing, so I thought to pay you a visit," said Hermione.
"Thanks," said Ron as she sat in a chair next to his bed.
"Did I disturb you? Were you asleep?" she asked anxiously.
"Err... no. It's okay," reassured Ron and she visibly relaxed.
"How do you end you here?" asked Hermione, concern visible on her face.
"I slip from the stairs," lied Ron.
"Third-floor corridor," said Ron. "Thanks, Theo is with me otherwise I will be on my own."
Hermione eyed him suspiciously, apparently not believing his story.
He cannot blame her though. This story seemed too far-fetched to believe. He glanced outside the window. The sun is at its peak. Hermione is visiting him during the lunch break. He is allowed to leave the hospital wing at evening before the dinner. He lost a considerable amount of blood, and Madam Pomfrey insists him to skip today's classes.
After he hit by the white queen, Theodore tells him that he went to the next door, but he has to fight the troll. Assuredly, he is not skilled enough to defeat a troll alone, so he decided to retreat and help Ron. He also suffers from some bruises on his way back from the Devil's Snare and the three-headed dog. But he was released in the morning by Madam Pomfrey.
He was quite put-off that they are not able to retrieve the Sorcerer's Stone. But his mind was somewhere else. He was still thinking about the beautiful girl whom he was about to kiss in his dream when he was unconscious. He felt very giddy all day that someday that beautiful girl will be his girlfriend.
Ron also told Theodore about his Seer ability and how he was able to know so many things. To say that Theodore is astounded is an understatement. Theodore also assured Ron that his secret is safe with him.
"You know, fifty points are given to both Gryffindor and Slytherin overnight, and I thought both you and your friend has some part on it," said Hermione.
Theodore also told him about the increase in point of both Gryffindor and Slytherin. But no professors talk to any of them, so they do not know the actual reason behind the rise in the points. But he never thought that Hermione is thinking about this in this way.
"Umm... I don't know. I don't think that falling from the stairs will award me fifty points," she nodded.
"When will you be released from here?" asked Hermione.
"Before the dinner, I suppose."
"Well, I think I should go now and do not worry about the classes. I will bring you your homework," said Hermione.
"Thanks, Hermione," Ron said with a smile.
"Your Welcome," said Hermione and left the chair by his bedside.
When she was about to leave the hospital wing, she abruptly turned around and said: "Take care."
"I am going inside the trapdoor tonight?"
"What?" said Hermione.
"I am going with you," said Neville. Hermione nodded.
"Don't be stupid Harry, we all are going together," concluded Hermione.
Harry was pretty sure that today in the absence of Professor Dumbledore, Snape tries to steal the Sorcerer's Stone.
Harry, Neville, and Hermione are moving quickly towards the third-floor corridor under Harry's invisibility cloak. Once they reach there, Harry immediately started playing the flute. Once the dog was asleep again, they quickly jumped inside the trapdoor. Their landing is soft, but they landed straight into Devil's Snare which started wrapping around them. Hermione's fast thinking save them from the Devil's Snare. In the next chamber, Harry quickly catches the correct keys with his excellent seeker skills and all three of them proceeds to the next room.
"What is this?" said Harry once they were inside the room.
"It is chess, but it is already solved," said Hermione. "See, there is the next door," pointed Hermione.
"Already solved, that means we need to hurry up," said Neville.
"There is also some blood there," pointed Hermione at the edge of the chessboard.
"Snape is already there," said Harry.
"What do you reckon?" asked Harry to Hermione.
"We already had Sprout's, that was the Devil's Snare. Flitwick must have put charms on the keys. McGonagall transfigured the chessman. That leaves Quirrell's spell and Snape's," said Hermione.
They all reached the next door.
"Ready?" asked Harry.
Both Harry and Hermione nodded.
Once they were inside the next room, their nostrils are full with a disgusting smell. They saw, flat on the floor, a troll already knocked down in front of them.
"I am glad we don't have to fight this one," said Neville.
The next room contains Snape's puzzle. Hermione solved it quite comfortably, but the potion is available for only one person to continue. Harry proceeds towards the next door while both Hermione and Neville decided to go to the owlery to write a letter to Dumbledore.
Harry enters the last chamber, but someone is already present there. It wasn't Snape. It wasn't even Voldemort.
It was Quirrell.
"You?" gasped Harry.
"Me," said Quirrell smiling slightly. "I wondered whether I'd be meeting you here, Harry Potter."
"When I saw that the chess is already solved, I thought you already got the stone, so in a hurry, I forget to rearrange the chessmen," said Quirrell.
"But I should know better you first-years are not able to defeat the troll."
'What?' Harry thought. 'Quirrell does not solve the chess. Then who?'
After some time Harry was finally able to defeat Quirrell and exhausted himself to unconsciousness.
Ron was staring outside the window from his compartment on the Hogwarts Express. From the rumors at the end of the year, he was quite sure that Potter, Longbottom, and Hermione already save the Sorcerer's Stone. But he was surprised to found that Professors Quirrell is dead and Professor Snape is still a professor. Then with Theodore, he concluded that it must be Quirrell who was trying to steal the Sorcerer's Stone for Voldemort, not Snape. He does not know how to feel about it. He was so sure that it was Snape who was trying to steal the Sorcerer's Stone for Voldemort.
He looks at the sleeping form of Theodore whom he was sharing a compartment. After Ron told everything about his Seer ability both of them becomes very close friends. Ron also shows him his dream journal. Both boys spend the first half of the journey playing chess and exploding snap. At one point Hermione also joins him and the three of them spend an enjoyable hour playing exploding snap. Both boys were quite surprised to know that Hermione only played a couple of times before throughout the whole year.
Soon he also drifted into sleep thinking about the same beautiful girl and wishing to continue his dream.
Meanwhile, in another compartment, Harry was revealing his conversation with Quirrell to Neville and Hermione. He told them that it was not Quirrell who solve the chess.
"What do you think Harry?" asked Neville.
"The blood we saw at the edge of the chessboard was dried. So that blood must be from days ago," concluded Hermione.
"Days ago?" asked Neville.
"Yes," said Hermione. "The chess is solved by someone before Quirrell."
"Do you mean-"
"Someone besides Quirrell is also trying to steal the Sorcerer's Stone," concluded Harry.
Thanks for reading. I hope you like Ron and Theo's journey through the trapdoor. Please let me know from the review.
Finally, I was able to complete the first year. Thank You every reader for their support. If you like this story, I'd be honoured if you'd share them with your friends.