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Chapter 8

The next day during the divination class they were working with bowls of water in which each student dropped a drop of ink. Each student told what they saw, and the professor smiled. Then it was Longbottom's turn. He put in his drop and seemed transfixed. Everybody waited for him to say something.
"Mr. Longbottom?" the teacher asked.
Neville shook himself. "I saw fighting," he explained, "here, at Hogwarts. We were driving attackers through the corridors out into the grounds! Harry and Hermione went off against one of them while the rest of us battled the others! That's all!"
"That is enough!" Mrs. Potter remarked, putting her hand on Neville's shoulder. "Students," she remarked "do not mention what Mr. Longbottom has seen. Do not worry the other students."
Everyone understood. But Harry felt something. He knew Neville wasn't telling everything. When they got to the defense against the dark arts class this time Professor Potter was there.
"I have reports," he announced, "that you did very well the first day! Evil has one weakness. No matter how much they try, they cannot combine their powers, even when they try to attack as one there are slight delays in their discharges. However good can work as one. Because all of you trust each other enough to link your minds so your discharges can come as one. This gives you a distinct advantage! There is also a way of increasing your power. Some might say you're too young for it, but in these circumstances we have to use every weapon at our disposal.
Mr. Longbottom has seen something that I have also seen. Some time during this year Voldemort and the death eaters will attack Hogwarts, and the other schools of magic. We're not particularly sure which one they will attack first, or when. But the students at the other schools are being trained to defend them as you are being trained. We will simply not stand our ground, when the attack comes we will meet it with a swift and sudden counter attack! If they want battle we will give them battle! If any of you wish to withdraw, wish to leave Hogwarts at this time and not face this danger, you are at liberty to do so, without any incrimination and as soon as the danger is passed you may return and continue your education. We will put no one in harm's way without their consent!"
There were several moments of awkward silence and then Longbottom remarked "We're waiting for our lesson, professor!"
The professor smiled. "I'm going to split you into teams," he explained, "we're going to learn to work in groups, two girls and two boys in a group. The others will attack while you practice. Harry, Miss Granger, Mr. Weasley, Miss Tarbati Patil! Girls, I do not want you to do any counter attacking, I want you to maintain shields. Use the spell 'protectis allus.' Keep the shields around your companions. Everyone else attack! Now!" The girls brought up their shields. The others attacked, and their attackers were warded off. Harry and Ron were able to strike the others and drive them back. After a few minutes the professor had everyone switch around and four more people were the defenders. It seemed to go on forever, but Harry kept catching glimpses of the teachers who were nodding to each other with happy smiles. Finally the professor called a halt.
"That's enough for today!" he announced. "Very good! You're learning very fast! But I don't want you practicing by yourselves, not in groups. You have a little bit more to learn yet, before you do that Now, let's go enjoy a few minutes before you go to your studies and it's time for supper."
"Professor!" Neville spoke up, "I've never seen you with a wand. Don't you have one?"
"Oh, no, Neville!" the professor remarked. "I'm far too powerful for a wand. I can control their power." He looked around. "Perhaps," he remarked, "I should give a demonstration so you will understand. Come along!"
They went out into the grounds. Some distance from Hagrid's house was a large rock sitting on top of another one. "This should do!" the professor remarked. "Form a half circle right around here so Hagrid's house is shielded and Hogwarts is shielded. Professor Lupin, would you be so kind as to tell the new people to move away from this area?"
"Certainly!" Professor Lupin answered and hurried off.
"Now," Professor Potter continued, "Hermione, would you be so kind as to levitate that rock?"
Hermione took out her wand and commanded "Wingardiam leviosa!" The rock floated a few inches into the air, rotated a bit, and settled back down.
"Impressive!" Professor Potter muttered. "Everyone bring up shields. Make them as strong as you can. Harry, may I borrow your wand?"
"Certainly professor!" Harry agreed, handing him his wand.
The professor pointed it at the rock and cried "Wingardiam leviosa!" The rock shot skyward. "Shields, Harry!" the professor commented, handing Harry back his wand. The professor looked skyward. "Get ready!" he commented, "Intensify your shields now!"
A blazing light descended from the sky and slammed into the rock. There was a bright flash and thousands of tiny blazing particles struck their shields, were deflected, and headed out into the lake to land with thousands of little hisses! When the smoke cleared there was a large hole in the ground where glowing rock was cooling!
Neville looked to the professor and remarked. "Don't ever touch a wand!"
The professor laughed. "Very good advice, Neville! As you can see," he told the other students, "I have to be very careful about using my power. I can do far more harm than I do good!"

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