After the Sorting, the students at Hogwarts began to make their way to the entrance hall. While it had been exciting to receive new housemates after the Sorting, the announcement of the Triwizzard tournament had been the highlight of the night, and as Harry, Ron, Fred, and George made their way to the entrance hall they found that it was all they could talk about. Fred and George were debating the ways Dumbledore might prevent those who were under seventeen from entering the tournament.

"Who's this impartial judge who's going to decide who the champions are?" Harry asked.

Fred shrugged. "Dunno, but it's them we'll have to fool. I reckon a couple of drops of Aging Potion might do it, George. . . "

"But Dumbledore knows you're not of age." Ron said.

"Yeah, but he's not the one who decides who the champion is, is he?" Fred said as he smirked confidently, "Sounds to me like once this judge knows who wants to enter, he'll choose the best from each school and never mind how old they are. Dumbledore's trying to stop us giving our names. "

Fred's confident smirk soon turned into a frown.

"What's wrong?" Harry asked.

Fred looked around the entrance hall, as though he was searching for someone, before he turned back to Harry and Ron. "Where did Granger go?"

"What are you talking about?" Ron asked, "She's right here-"

Ron's words died in his throat as he noticed that Hermione wasn't with them.

"That's weird," Harry said, "I thought she was following us..."

Harry didn't know why, but the fact that Hermione wasn't here made him feel a bit lost and unsure of what to say next. He felt like an actor who suddenly realized that the script they'd been given was missing a few lines, forcing them to have to improvise. It was clear that Fred, George, and Ron felt the same way as Harry, the four of them found themselves standing in the entrance hall staring awkwardly at each other.

George coughed into his fist, breaking the silence. "Well wherever Granger is, I'm sure she's fine."




In the dark, damp dungeons of a castle that was far from prying eyes, Hermione Granger was hunched over, vomiting as the realization of what she had done began to sink in. Slumped against the wall across from her was what was once a living, breathing human being named Pansy Parkinson. Now it was nothing more than a lump of meat. A thick butcher's knife was plunged deep into her chest, blood had gotten onto the handle when Pansy had tried to pull the knife out of her chest, but the blood had made it difficult for her to get a good grip on the knife. Pansy's wide-open eyes stared accusingly at Hermione; their gaze burned a hole into her soul.

"It isn't my fault." Hermione said. "If you had just surrendered then I-"

Pansy's body shimmered for a brief second, illuminating the dungeon. Hermione shielded her eyes from the bright light as Pansy's body faded away.

"Congratulations Number Six!" Hermione heard a computerized voice say inside her mind, "By killing Number Eight, you have earned one point, increasing your total points to two!"

Hermione's right hand began to burn, the foundation she had used to cover the top of her hand flaked away and revealed a large, red '1' that rolled up to a '2'

"You are now seven points away from earning your freedom." The voice said, "We hope to see more from you in the future!"

The voice fell silent and Hermione shakily rose to her feet. She then made her way up the stairs. Luckily, she didn't run into anyone else in the dungeon which left her alone to her thoughts.

'One down, seven to go...'