Harry disentangled himself from Ron and got to his feet. They had arrived on what appeared to be a deserted stretch of misty moor. In front of them was a pair of tired and grumpy-looking wizards, one of whom was holding a large gold watch, the other a thick roll of parchment and a quill. Both were dressed as Muggles, though very inexpertly: The man with the watch wore a tweed suit with thigh-length galoshes; his colleague, a kilt and a poncho. .hermes bracelet replica.
â€œMorning, Basil,â€ said Mr. Weasley, picking up the boot and handing it to the kilted wizard, who threw it into a large box of used Portkeys beside him; Harry could see an old newspaper, an empty drinks can, and a punctured football. .moncler outlet.
â€œHello there, Arthur,â€ said Basil wearily. â€œNot on duty, eh? It's all right for someâ€¦.We've been here all nightâ€¦.You'd better get out of the way, we've got a big party coming in from the Black Forest at five fifteen. Hang on, I'll find your campsiteâ€¦.Weasleyâ€¦Weasleyâ€¦.â€ He consulted his parchment list. â€œAbout a quarter of a mile's walk over there, first field you come to. Site manager's called Mr. Roberts. Diggoryâ€¦second fieldâ€¦ask for Mr. Payne.â€ .www.ideafutura.co.uk.
â€œThanks, Basil,â€ said Mr. Weasley, and he beckoned everyone to follow him. .http://www.titelhelden.eu.
They set off across the deserted moor, unable to make out much through the mist. After about twenty minutes, a small stone cottage next to a gate swam into view. Beyond it, Harry could just make out the ghostly shapes of hundreds and hundreds of tents, rising up the gentle slope of a large field toward a dark wood on the horizon. They said good-bye to the Diggory's and approached the cottage door. .www.sebby.cc.
A man was standing in the doorway, looking out at the tents. Harry knew at a glance that this was the only real Muggle for several acres. When he heard their footsteps, he turned his head to look at them. .cartier love bracelet replica.
â€œMorning!â€ said Mr. Weasley brightly. .http://www.hopeonthestreet.co.uk.
â€œMorning,â€ said the Muggle. .http://www.panchro.co.uk.
â€œWould you be Mr. Roberts?â€ .http://www.sebby.cc.
â€œAye, I would,â€ said Mr. Roberts. â€œAnd who're you?â€ .http://www.titelhelden.eu.
â€œWeasley - two tents, booked a couple of days ago?â€ .www.sigmund-freud.co.uk.
â€œAye,â€ said Mr. Roberts, consulting a list tacked to the door. â€œYou've got a space up by the wood there. Just the one night?â€ .Cartier love bracelet replica.
â€œThat's it,â€ said Mr. Weasley. .cartier love bracelet replica.
â€œYou'll be paying now, then?â€ said Mr. Roberts. .www.ideafutura.co.uk.
â€œAh - right - certainly -â€ said Mr. Weasley. He retreated a short distance from the cottage and beckoned Harry toward him. â€œHelp me, Harry,â€ he muttered, pulling a roll of Muggle money from his pocket and starting to peel the notes apart. â€œThis one's a - a - a ten? Ah yes, I see the little number on it nowâ€¦So this is a five?â€ .cartier love braclet replica.
â€œA twenty,â€ Harry corrected him in an undertone, uncomfortably aware of Mr. Roberts trying to catch every word.
â€œAh yes, so it isâ€¦.I don't know, these little bits of paperâ€¦â€
â€œYou foreign?â€ said Mr. Roberts as Mr. Weasley returned with the correct notes.
â€œForeign?â€ repeated Mr. Weasley, puzzled.
â€œYou're not the first one who's had trouble with money,â€ said Mr. Roberts, scrutinizing Mr. Weasley closely. â€œI had two try and pay me with great gold coins the size of hubcaps ten minutes ago.â€
â€œDid you really?â€ said Mr. Weasley nervously.
Mr. Roberts rummaged around in a tin for some change.
â€œNever been this crowded,â€ he said suddenly, looking out over the misty field again. â€œHundreds of pre-bookings. People usually just turn upâ€¦.â€
â€œIs that right?â€ said Mr. Weasley, his hand held out for his change, but Mr. Roberts didn't give it to him.
â€œAye,â€ he said thoughtfully. â€œPeople from all over. Loads of foreigners. And not just foreigners. Weirdos, you know? There's a bloke walking â€˜round in a kilt and a poncho.â€
â€œShouldn't he?â€ said Mr. Weasley anxiously.
â€œIt's like some sort ofâ€¦I dunnoâ€¦like some sort of rally,â€ said Mr. Roberts. â€œThey all seem to know each other. Like a big party.â€
At that moment, a wizard in plus-fours appeared out of thin air next to Mr. Roberts's front door.
â€œObliviate!â€ he said sharply, pointing his wand at Mr. Roberts.
Instantly, Mr. Roberts's eyes slid out of focus, his brows unknitted, and a took of dreamy unconcern fell over his face. Harry recognized the symptoms of one who had just had his memory modified.
â€œA map of the campsite for you,â€ Mr. Roberts said placidly to Mr. Weasley. â€œAnd your change.â€
â€œThanks very much,â€ said Mr. Weasley.
The wizard in plus-fours accompanied them toward the gate to the campsite. He looked exhausted: His chin was blue with stubble and there were deep purple shadows under his eyes. Once out of earshot of Mr. Roberts, he muttered to Mr. Weasley, â€œBeen having a lot of trouble with him. Needs a Memory Charm ten times a day to keep him happy. And Ludo Bagman's not helping. Trotting around talking about Bludgers and Quaffles at the top of his voice, not a worry about anti-Muggle security Blimey, I'll be glad when this is over. See you later, Arthur.â€
â€œI thought Mr. Bagman was Head of Magical Games and Sports,â€ said Ginny, looking surprised. â€œHe should know better than to talk about Bludgers near Muggles, shouldn't he?â€
â€œHe should,â€ said Mr. Weasley, smiling, and leading them through the gates into the campsite, â€œbut Ludo's always been a bitâ€¦wellâ€¦lax about security. You couldn't wish for a more enthusiastic head of the sports department though. He played Quidditch for England himself, you know. And he was the best Beater the Wimbourne Wasps ever had.â€
They trudged up the misty field between long rows of tents. Most looked almost ordinary; their owners had clearly tried to make them as Muggle-like as possible, but had slipped up by adding chimneys, or bellpulls, or weather vanes. However, here and there was a tent so obviously magical that Harry could hardly be surprised that Mr. Roberts was getting suspicious. Halfway up the field stood an extravagant confection of striped silk like a miniature palace, with several live peacocks tethered at the entrance. A little farther on they passed a tent that had three floors and several turrets; and a short way beyond that was a tent that had a front garden attached, complete with birdbath, sundial, and fountain.
â€œAlways the same,â€ said Mr. Weasley, smiling. â€œWe can't resist showing off when we get together. Ah, here we are, look, this is us.â€
They had reached the very edge of the wood at the top of the field, and here was an empty space, with a small sign hammered into the ground that read WEEZLY.
â€œCouldn't have a better spot!â€ said Mr. Weasley happily. â€œThe field is just on the other side of the wood there, we're as close as we could be.â€ He hoisted his backpack from his shoulders. â€œRight,â€ he said excitedly, â€œno magic allowed, strictly speaking, not when we're out in these numbers on Muggle land. We'll be putting these tents up by hand! Shouldn't be too difficultâ€¦.Muggles do it all the timeâ€¦.Here, Harry, where do you reckon we should start?â€
Harry had never been camping in his life; the Dursleys had never taken him on any kind of holiday, preferring to leave him with Mrs. Figg, an old neighbor. However, he and Hermione worked out where most of the poles and pegs should go, and though Mr. Weasley was more of a hindrance than a help, because he got thoroughly overexcited when it came to using the mallet, they finally managed to erect a pair of shabby two-man tents.
All of them stood back to admire their handiwork. Nobody looking at these tents would guess they belonged to wizards, Harry thought, but the trouble was that once Bill, Charlie, and Percy arrived, they would be a party of ten. Hermione seemed to have spotted this problem too; she gave Harry a quizzical look as Mr. Weasley dropped to his hands and knees and entered the first tent.
â€œWe'll be a bit cramped,â€ he called, â€œbut I think we'll all squeeze in. Come and have a look.â€
Harry bent down, ducked under the tent flap, and felt his jaw drop. He had walked into what looked like an old-fashioned, three room flat, complete with bathroom and kitchen. Oddly enough, it was furnished in exactly the same sort of style as Mrs. Figg's house: There were crocheted covers on the mismatched chairs and a strong smell of cats.
â€œWell, it's not for long,â€ said Mr. Weasley, mopping his bald patch with a handkerchief and peering in at the four bunk beds that stood in the bedroom. I borrowed this from Perkins at the office. Doesn't camp much anymore, poor fellow, he's got lumbago.â€
He picked up the dusty kettle and peered inside it. â€œWe'll need waterâ€¦.â€
â€œThere's a tap marked on this map the Muggle gave us,â€ said Ron, who had followed Harry inside the tent and seemed completely unimpressed by its extraordinary inner proportions. â€œIt's on the other side of the field.â€
â€œWell, why don't you, Harry, and Hermione go and get us some water then -â€ Mr. Weasley handed over the kettle and a couple of saucepans â€œ- and the rest of us will get some wood for a fire?â€
â€œBut we've got an oven,â€ said Ron. â€œWhy can't we just -â€
â€œRon, anti-Muggle security!â€ said Mr. Weasley, his face shining with anticipation. â€œWhen real Muggles camp, they cook on fires outdoors. I've seen them at it!â€
After a quick tour of the girlsâ€™ tent, which was slightly smaller than the boys', though without the smell of cats, Harry, Ron, and Hermione set off across the campsite with the kettle and saucepans.
Now, with the sun newly risen and the mist lifting, they could see the city of tents that stretched in every direction. They made their way slowly through the rows, staring eagerly around. It was only just dawning on Harry how many witches and wizards there must be in the world; he had never really thought much about those in other countries.
Their fellow campers were starting to wake up. First to stir were the families with small children; Harry had never seen witches and wizards this young before. A tiny boy no older than two was crouched outside a large pyramid-shaped tent, holding a wand and poking happily at a slug in the grass, which was swelling slowly to the size of a salami. As they drew level with him, his mother came hurrying out of the tent.
â€œHow many times, Kevin? You don't - touch - Daddy's - wand - yecchh!â€
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 â€œYou bust slug! You bust slug!â€
A short way farther on, they saw two little witches, barely older than Kevin, who were riding toy broomsticks that rose only high enough for the girlsâ€™ toes to skim the dewy grass. A Ministry wizard had already spotted them; as he hurried past Harry, Ron, and Hermione he muttered distractedly, â€œIn broad daylight! Parents having a lie-in, I suppose -â€
Here and there adult wizards and witches were emerging from their tents and starting to cook breakfast. Some, with furtive looks around them, conjured fires with their wands; others were striking matches with dubious looks on their faces, as though sure this couldn't work. Three African wizards sat in serious conversation, all of them wearing long white robes and roasting what looked like a rabbit on a bright purple fire, while a group of middle-aged American witches sat gossiping happily beneath a spangled banner stretched between their tents that read: THE SALEM WITCHESâ€™ INSTITUTE. Harry caught snatches of conversation in strange languages from the inside of tents they passed, and though he couldn't understand a word, the tone of every single voice was excited.
â€œEr - is it my eyes, or has everything gone green?â€ said Ron.
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.
â€œHarry! Ron! Hermione!â€
It was Seamus Finnigan, their fellow Gryffindor fourth year. He was sitting in front of his own shamrock-covered tent, with a sandy-haired woman who had to be his mother, and his best friend, Dean Thomas, also of Gryffindor.
â€œLike the decorations?â€ said Seamus, grinning. â€œThe Ministry's not too happy.â€
â€œAh, why shouldn't we show our colors?â€ said Mrs. Finnigan. â€œYou should see what the Bulgarians have got dangling all over their tents. You'll be supporting Ireland, of course?â€ she added, eyeing Harry, Ron, and Hermione beadily. When they had assured her that they were indeed supporting Ireland, they set off again, though, as Ron said, â€œLike we'd say anything else surrounded by that lot.â€
â€œI wonder what the Bulgarians have got dangling all over their tents?â€ said Hermione.
â€œLet's go and have a look,â€ said Harry, pointing to a large patch of tents upfield, where the Bulgarian flag - white, green, and red - was fluttering in the breeze.
The tents here had not been bedecked with plant life, but each and every one of them had the same poster attached to it, a poster of a very surly face with heavy black eyebrows. The picture was, of course, moving, but all it did was blink and scowl.
â€œKrum,â€ said Ron quietly.
â€œWhat?â€ said Hermione.
â€œKrum!â€ said Ron. â€œViktor Krum, the Bulgarian Seeker!â€
â€œHe looks really grumpy,â€ said Hermione, looking around at the many Krum's blinking and scowling at them.
â€œ'Really grumpy?â€ Ron raised his eyes to the heavens. â€œWho cares what he looks like? He's unbelievable. He's really young too. Only just eighteen or something. He's a genius, you wait until tonight, you'll see.â€
There was already a small queue for the tap in the corner of the field. Harry, Ron, and Hermione joined it, right behind a pair of men who were having a heated argument. One of them was a very old wizard who was wearing a long flowery nightgown. The other was clearly a Ministry wizard; he was holding out a pair of pinstriped trousers and almost crying with exasperation.
â€œJust put them on, Archie, there's a good chap. You can't walk around like that, the Muggle at the gate's already getting suspicious -â€
â€œI bought this in a Muggle shop,â€ said the old wizard stubbornly. â€œMuggles wear them.â€
â€œMuggle women wear them, Archie, not the men, they wear these,â€ said the Ministry wizard, and he brandished the pinstriped trousers.
â€œI'm not putting them on,â€ said old Archie in indignation. â€œI like a healthy breeze â€˜round my privates, thanks.â€
Hermione was overcome with such a strong fit of the giggles at this point that she had to duck out of the queue and only returned when Archie had collected his water and moved away.
Walking more slowly now, because of the weight of the water, they made their way back through the campsite. Here and there, they saw more familiar faces: other Hogwarts students with their families. Oliver Wood, the old captain of Harry's House Quidditch team, who had just left Hogwarts, dragged Harry over to his parentsâ€™ tent to introduce him, and told him excitedly that he had just been signed to the Puddlemere United reserve team. Next they were hailed by Ernie Macmillan, a Hufflepuff fourth year, and a little farther on they saw Cho Chang, a very pretty girl who played Seeker on the Ravenclaw team. She waved and smiled at Harry, who slopped quite a lot of water down his front as he waved back. More to stop Ron from smirking than anything, Harry hurriedly pointed out a large group of teenagers whom he had never seen before.
â€œWho d'you reckon they are?â€ he said. â€œThey don't go to Hogwarts, do they?â€
â€œ'Spect they go to some foreign school,â€ said Ron. â€œI know there are others. Never met anyone who went to one, though. Bill had a penfriend at a school in Brazilâ€¦this was years and years agoâ€¦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.â€
Harry laughed but didn't voice the amazement he felt at hearing about other wizarding schools. He supposed, now that he saw representatives of so many nationalities in the campsite, that he had been stupid never to realize that Hogwarts couldn't be the only one. He glanced at Hermione, who looked utterly unsurprised by the information. No doubt she had run across the news about other wizarding schools in some book or other.
â€œYou've been ages,â€ said George when they finally got back to the Weasleysâ€™ tents.
â€œMet a few people,â€ said Ron, setting the water down. â€œYou've not got that fire started yet?â€
â€œDad's having fun with the matches,â€ said Fred.
Mr. Weasley was having no success at all in lighting the fire, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Splintered matches littered the ground around him, but he looked as though he was having the time of his life.
â€œOops!â€ he said as he managed to light a match and promptly dropped it in surprise.
â€œCome here, Mr. Weasley,â€ said Hermione kindly, taking the box from him, and showing him how to do it properly.
At last they got the fire lit, though it was at least another hour before it was hot enough to cook anything. There was plenty to watch while they waited, however. Their tent seemed to be pitched right alongside a kind of thoroughfare to the field, and Ministry members kept hurrying up and down it, greeting Mr. Weasley cordially as they passed. Mr. Weasley kept up a running commentary, mainly for Harry's and Hermione's benefit; his own children knew too much about the Ministry to be greatly interested.
â€œThat was Cuthbert Mockridge, Head of the Goblin Liaison Officeâ€¦.Here comes Gilbert Wimple; he's with the Committee on Experimental Charms; he's had those horns for a while nowâ€¦Hello, Arnieâ€¦Arnold Peasegood, he's an Obliviator - member of the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad, you knowâ€¦and that's Bode and Croakerâ€¦they're Unspeakablesâ€¦.â€
â€œFrom the Department of Mysteries, top secret, no idea what they get up toâ€¦.â€
At last, the fire was ready, and they had just started cooking eggs and sausages when Bill, Charlie, and Percy came strolling out of the woods toward them.
â€œJust Apparated, Dad,â€ said Percy loudly. â€œAh, excellent, lunch!â€
They were halfway through their plates of eggs and sausages when Mr. Weasley jumped to his feet, waving and grinning at a man who was striding toward them. â€œAha!â€ he said. â€œThe man of the moment! Ludo!â€
Ludo Bagman was easily the most noticeable person Harry had seen so far, even including old Archie in his flowered nightdress. He was wearing long Quidditch robes in thick horizontal stripes of bright yellow and black. An enormous picture of a wasp was splashed across his chest. He had the look of a powerfully built man gone slightly to seed; the robes were stretched tightly across a large belly he surely had not had in the days when he had played Quidditch for England. His nose was squashed (probably broken by a stray Bludger, Harry thought), but his round blue eyes, short blond hair, and rosy complexion made him look like a very overgrown schoolboy.
â€œAhoy there!â€ Bagman called happily. He was walking as though he had springs attached to the balls of his feet and was plainly in a state of wild excitement.
â€œArthur, old man,â€ he puffed as he reached the campfire, â€œwhat a day, eh? What a day! Could we have asked for more perfect weather? A cloudless night comingâ€¦and hardly a hiccough in the arrangementsâ€¦.Not much for me to do!â€
Behind him, a group of haggard-looking Ministry wizards rushed past, pointing at the distant evidence of some sort of a magical fire that was sending violet sparks twenty feet into the air.
Percy hurried forward with his hand outstretched. Apparently his disapproval of the way Ludo Bagman ran his department did not prevent him from wanting to make a good impression.
â€œAh - yes,â€ said Mr. Weasley, grinning, â€œthis is my son Percy. He's just started at the Ministry - and this is Fred - no, George, sorry - that's Fred - Bill, Charlie, Ron - my daughter, Ginny and Ron's friends, Hermione Granger and Harry Potter.â€
Bagman did the smallest of double takes when he heard Harry's name, and his eyes performed the familiar flick upward to the scar on Harry's forehead.
â€œEveryone,â€ Mr. Weasley continued, â€œthis is Ludo Bagman, you know who he is, it's thanks to him we've got such good tickets -â€
Bagman beamed and waved his hand as if to say it had been nothing.
â€œFancy a flutter on the match, Arthur?â€ he said eagerly, jingling what seemed to be a large amount of gold in the pockets of his yellow-and-black robes. â€œI've already got Roddy Pontner betting me Bulgaria will score first - I offered him nice odds, considering Ireland's front three are the strongest I've seen in years - and little Agatha Timms has put up half shares in her eel farm on a weeklong match.â€
â€œOhâ€¦go on then,â€ said Mr. Weasley. â€œLet's seeâ€¦a Galleon on Ireland to win?â€
â€œA Galleon?â€ Ludo Bagman looked slightly disappointed, but recovered himself. â€œVery well, very wellâ€¦any other takers?â€
â€œThey're a bit young to be gambling,â€ said Mr. Weasley. â€œMolly wouldn't like -â€
â€œWe'll bet thirty-seven Galleons, fifteen Sickles, three Knuts,â€ said Fred as he and George quickly pooled all their money, â€œthat Ireland wins - but Viktor Krum gets the Snitch. Oh and we'll throw in a fake wand.â€
â€œYou don't want to go showing Mr. Bagman rubbish like that,â€ Percy hissed, but Bagman didn't seem to think the wand was rubbish at all; on the contrary, his boyish face shone with excitement as he took it from Fred, and when the wand gave a loud squawk and turned into a rubber chicken, Bagman roared with laughter.
â€œExcellent! I haven't seen one that convincing in years! I'd pay five Galleons for that!â€
Percy froze in an attitude of stunned disapproval.
â€œBoys,â€ said Mr. Weasley under his breath, â€œI don't want you bettingâ€¦.That's all your savingsâ€¦.Your mother -â€
â€œDon't be a spoilsport, Arthur!â€ boomed Ludo Bagman, rattling his pockets excitedly. â€œThey're old enough to know what they want! You reckon Ireland will win but Krum'll get the Snitch? Not a chance, boys, not a chanceâ€¦.I'll give you excellent odds on that oneâ€¦.We'll add five Galleons for the funny wand, then, shall weâ€¦.â€
Mr. Weasley looked on helplessly as Ludo Bagman whipped out a notebook and quill and began jotting down the twinsâ€™ names.
â€œCheers,â€ said George, taking the slip of parchment Bagman handed him and tucking it away into the front of his robes. Bagman turned most cheerfully back to Mr. Weasley.
â€œCouldn't do me a brew, I suppose? I'm keeping an eye out for Barty Crouch. My Bulgarian opposite number's making difficulties, and I can't understand a word he's saying. Barty'll be able to sort it out. He speaks about a hundred and fifty languages.â€
â€œMr. Crouch?â€ said Percy, suddenly abandoning his look of poker-stiff disapproval and positively writhing with excitement. â€œHe speaks over two hundred! Mermish and Gobbledegook and Troll.â€¦â€
â€œAnyone can speak Troll,â€ said Fred dismissively. â€œAll you have to do is point and grunt.â€
Percy threw Fred an extremely nasty look and stoked the fire vigorously to bring the kettle back to the boil.
â€œAny news of Bertha Jorkins yet, Ludo?â€ Mr. Weasley asked as Bagman settled himself down on the grass beside them all.
â€œNot a dicky bird,â€ said Bagman comfortably. â€œBut she'll turn up. Poor old Berthaâ€¦memory like a leaky cauldron and no sense of direction. Lost, you take my word for it. She'll wander back into the office sometime in October, thinking it's still July.â€
â€œYou don't think it might be time to send someone to look for her?â€ Mr. Weasley suggested tentatively as Percy handed Bagman his tea.
â€œBarty Crouch keeps saying that,â€ said Bagman, his round eyes widening innocently, â€œbut we really can't spare anyone at the moment. Oh - talk of the devil! Barty!â€
A wizard had just Apparated at their fireside, and he could not have made more of a contrast with Ludo Bagman, sprawled on the grass in his old Wasp robes. Barty Crouch was a stiff, upright, elderly man, dressed in an impeccably crisp suit and tie. The parting in his short gray hair was almost unnaturally straight, and his narrow toothbrush mustache looked as though he trimmed it using a slide rule. His shoes were very highly polished. Harry could see at once why Percy idolized him. Percy was a great believer in rigidly following rules, and Mr. Crouch had complied with the rule about Muggle dressing so thoroughly that he could have passed for a bank manager; Harry doubted even Uncle Vernon would have spotted him for what he really was.
â€œPull up a bit of grass, Barry,â€ said Ludo brightly, patting the ground beside him.
â€œNo thank you, Ludo,â€ said Crouch, and there was a bite of impatience in his voice. â€œI've been looking for you everywhere. The Bulgarians are insisting we add another twelve seats to the Top Box.â€
â€œOh is that what they're after?â€ said Bagman. I thought the chap was asking to borrow a pair of tweezers. Bit of a strong accent.â€
â€œMr. Crouch!â€ said Percy breathlessly, sunk into a kind of halfbow that made him look like a hunchback. â€œWould you like a cup of tea?â€
â€œOh,â€ said Mr. Crouch, looking over at Percy in mild surprise. â€œYes - thank you, Weatherby.â€
Fred and George choked into their own cups. Percy, very pink around the ears, busied himself with the kettle.
â€œOh and I've been wanting a word with you too, Arthur,â€ said Mr. Crouch, his sharp eyes falling upon Mr. Weasley. â€œAli Bashir's on the warpath. He wants a word with you about your embargo on flying carpets.â€
Mr. Weasley heaved a deep sigh.
â€œI sent him an owl about that just last week. If I've told him once I've told him a hundred times: Carpets are defined as a Muggle Artifact by the Registry of Proscribed Charmable Objects, but will he listen?â€
â€œI doubt it,â€ said Mr. Crouch, accepting a cup from Percy. â€œHe's desperate to export here.â€
â€œWell, they'll never replace brooms in Britain, will they?â€ said Bagman.
â€œAli thinks there's a niche in the market for a family vehicle, said Mr. Crouch. â€œI remember my grandfather had an Axminster that could seat twelve - but that was before carpets were banned, of course.â€
He spoke as though he wanted to leave nobody in any doubt that all his ancestors had abided strictly by the law.
â€œSo, been keeping busy, Barty?â€ said Bagman breezily.
â€œFairly,â€ said Mr. Crouch dryly. â€œOrganizing Portkeys across five continents is no mean feat, Ludo.â€
â€œI expect you'll both be glad when this is over?â€ said Mr. Weasley.
Ludo Bagman looked shocked.
â€œGlad! Don't know when I've had more funâ€¦.Still, it's not as though we haven't got anything to took forward to, eh, Barty? Eh? Plenty left to organize, eh?â€
Mr. Crouch raised his eyebrows at Bagman.
â€œWe agreed not to make the announcement until all the details -â€
â€œOh details!â€ said Bagman, waving the word away like a cloud of midges. â€œThey've signed, haven't they? They've agreed, haven't they? I bet you anything these kids'll know soon enough anyway. I mean, it's happening at Hogwarts -â€
â€œLudo, we need to meet the Bulgarians, you know,â€ said Mr. Crouch sharply, cutting Bagman's remarks short. â€œThank you for the tea, Weatherby.â€
He pushed his undrunk tea back at Percy and waited for Ludo to rise; Bagman struggled to his feet, swigging down the last of his tea, the gold in his pockets chinking merrily.
â€œSee you all later!â€ he said. â€œYou'll be up in the Top Box with me - I'm commentating!â€ He waved, Barty Crouch nodded curtly, and both of them Disapparated.
â€œWhat's happening at Hogwarts, Dad?â€ said Fred at once. â€œWhat were they talking about?â€
â€œYou'll find out soon enough,â€ said Mr.Weasley, smiling.
â€œIt's classified information, until such time as the Ministry decides to release it,â€ said Percy stiffly. â€œMr. Crouch was quite right not to disclose it.â€
â€œOh shut up, Weatherby,â€ said Fred.
A sense of excitement rose like a palpable cloud over the campsite as the afternoon wore on. By dusk, the still summer air itself seemed to be quivering with anticipation, and as darkness spread like a curtain over the thousands of waiting wizards, the last vestiges of pretence disappeared: the Ministry seemed to have bowed to the inevitable and stopped fighting the signs of blatant magic now breaking out everywhere.
Salesmen were Apparating every few feet, carrying trays and pushing carts full of extraordinary merchandise. There were luminous rosettes - green for Ireland, red for Bulgaria - which were squealing the names of the players, pointed green hats bedecked with dancing shamrocks, Bulgarian scarves adorned with lions that really roared, flags from both countries that played their national anthems as they were waved; there were tiny models of Firebolts that really flew, and collectible figures of famous players, which strolled across the palm of your hand, preening themselves.
â€œBeen saving my pocket money all summer for this,â€ Ron told Harry as they and Hermione strolled through the salesmen, buying souvenirs. Though Ron purchased a dancing shamrock hat and a large green rosette, he also bought a small figure of Viktor Krum, the Bulgarian Seeker. The miniature Krum walked backward and forward over Ron's hand, scowling up at the green rosette above him.
â€œWow, look at these!â€ said Harry, hurrying over to a cart piled high with what looked like brass binoculars, except that they were covered with all sorts of weird knobs and dials.
â€œOmnioculars,â€ said the saleswizard eagerly. â€œYou can replay actionâ€¦slow everything downâ€¦and they flash up a play-by-play breakdown if you need it. Bargain - ten Galleons each.â€
â€œWish I hadn't bought this now,â€ said Ron, gesturing at his dancing shamrock hat and gazing longingly at the Omnioculars.
â€œThree pairs,â€ said Harry firmly to the wizard.
â€œNo - don't bother,â€ said Ron, going red. He was always touchy about the fact that Harry, who had inherited a small fortune from his parents, had much more money than he did.
â€œYou won't be getting anything for Christmas,â€ Harry told him, thrusting Omnioculars into his and Hermione's hands. â€œFor about ten years, mind.â€
â€œFair enough,â€ said Ron, grinning.
â€œOooh, thanks, Harry,â€ said Hermione. â€œAnd I'll get us some programs, look -â€
Their money bags considerably lighter, they went back to the tents. Bill, Charlie, and Ginny were all sporting green rosettes too, and Mr. Weasley was carrying an Irish flag. Fred and George had no souvenirs as they had given Bagman all their gold.
And then a deep, booming gong sounded somewhere beyond the woods, and at once, green and red lanterns blazed into life in the trees, lighting a path to the field.
â€œIt's time!â€ said Mr. Weasley, looking as excited as any of them. â€œCome on, let's go!â€
The Goblet Of Fire
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