The Goblin’s Amulet
Chapter 12: The One-sided Game
Jennifer insisted on holding the match up for an hour to give the team a bit of a last-minute talk. It seemed Herald, on Malcolm’s behalf, had discovered something about the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Jennifer was pacing back and forth, lecturing them nonstop on different formations, to be changed each time a goal is blocked.
“Apparently, the Gryffindors have a secret weapon,” Malcolm shrugged. “And they look forward to throwing this weapon at us first.”
“Weapon in the form of… a technique or a student… or will they be riding on dragons?” Lorcan said casually, laying back against the wall. When Jennifer stared at him incredulously, Lorcan put his hands up, “Cause I’m fine with that. I’ll take dragons any day.”
“Listen, you lot, we begin with formation A,” Jennifer said loudly. “Mold maneuvers around a Chaser with the Quaffle and take his attention, Scamander rams the opposing broom and Potter steals the Quaffle and makes a shot.”
“Kinda dirty, don’t you think?” Lorcan said pointedly.
“We play dirty,” Jennifer told him simply. “If it becomes clear that you’re going to be overrun, switch to Formation Cerberus. That should”-
“We haven’t even tested that yet!” Scorpius yelped.
Even Malcolm seemed in agreement, “Yeah, and Potter is a wuss. It’ll never work.”
“Potter will have to put aside his reservations and go for it,” Jennifer said warningly, eyes on Albus. “If the Gryffindors have a secret weapon, we are to expect the worst.”
“We still got Scamander though,” Albus said pointedly.
That quieted everyone down. The match was about to start and Jennifer led her team out. Cantharis, the flying instructor and Quidditch referee stood beside the Gryffindor team and that was when Albus gasped. He remembered that the Gryffindors chaser lineup was Tulip, James and Jerry Wood. James and Jerry were still there and so was Tulip but with them was a red-headed someone standing close beside James, clutching his new broom. Replaced with none other than Albus’ cousin, Hugo Weasley.
“Hugo,” Albus said under his breath.
“Know him?” Jennifer asked under her breath.
“Haven’t seen him play in a long time but if he’s been practicing since then…” Albus recalled a distant memory of Hugo trouncing him in a Quidditch game they had at the Burrow years back. There was also a Quidditch board game they liked to play occasionally. “He’s got good strategy.”
“We’re dead, Cerberus or no Cerberus,” Albus sighed.
“Hello and welcome, welcome one and all to the much anticipated first game of the season!” Alex Wallaby screamed enthusiastically from the megaphone.
“Captains, shake hands!” Cantharis yelled.
“Welcome to the first Quidditch game of the seasonal Hogwarts Quidditch Cup!” Alex announced to loud hoots and cheers and jeers. “As usual, the game starts between Slytherin and Gryffindor, both sides looking to reclaim their bit of glory; Slytherin for their abysmal performance last year and Gryffindor for their honor of House champions! Both teams stare each other down as Master Cantharis opens the box, and readies the balls for releasing! A quick note for our fans on the team lineup though. Gryffindor has a done a bit of reshuffling. Jerry Wood, once a Chaser now a Keeper, replaced with none other than Potter cousin and Alex Wallaby’s dear brother, Hugo Weasley.”
The Gryffindor crowd roared and cheered as Hugo’s name was mentioned. The bludgers are released, the snitch… and here we go! Slytherin starts possession of the Quaffle! Lorcan Scamander passes it to Albus Potter. Albus swerves…”
Albus dodged narrowly around James, and threw it over to Malcolm. Malcolm made to catch it but Hugo zipped right up and intercepted it, shooting a quick smirk at Albus. Still with a sour look on his face, Malcolm propelled himself forward, avoiding a tackle by James and attacking Hugo.
Hugo barrel-rolled out of the way right into Lorcan Scamander who robbed him of possession. “Keeper Jerry Wood attempts to block the Quaffle. He takes the left hoop… her left of course… Weasley defended. Guys, that’s my brother up there!”
Alex’s statement made Hugo go bright red as he threw up the Quaffle and let his broom to do the kicking all the way to the other side of the field where Tulip Restcamp waited. “A GOAL!” Alex yelled enthusiastically. “Incredible! Gryffindor turned a threat into a blessing in a matter of seconds. Slytherin has a run for their money as Jennifer furiously throws the Quaffle for Malcolm to catch. Ten-zero to Gryffindor!”
“Tail Weasley!” Malcolm yelled to Alus as he zoomed past with the Quaffle, maneuvering out of James’ reach. Albus got the message but Hugo was not easily tailed. He kept dodging around Albus and every time Albus managed to make it over to him, a Bludger attack conveniently occurred and even James tackled.
“Wood saves it!” Alex yelled. “Will he give it to Weasley? No, Weasley takes the other side. We can see what’s happening now… Wood passes it to James Potter. James passes it to Restcamp, Potter, Restcamp… intercepted by Scamander. Mold takes the Quaffle. Passes it to Potter Number Two. Potter number One steals it from his brother, passes it to Hugo Weasley… SCORE! Twenty-zero to Gryffindor and the lions take a good first standing. Is that the snitch?”
Mark and Scorpius were neck in neck, hands outstretched. The snitch was inches from Scorpius’ hand when Mark pushed it out the way. At first, it seemed that Mark would win but he didn’t even try. He took the front and blocked Scorpius’ way forward.
“Mark Wallader blocks Malfoy and the game goes on… what’s this, a goal already?”
While Alex’s attention was on Mark and Scorpius, it seemed Lorcan had finally scored a goal. His job done, Mark zoomed off and yelled something to Hugo. Hugo nodded and swerved over to tail Lorcan. Albus tried getting Hugo off him, even tried tempting him with the Quaffle but Hugo did not budge and James came in for another goal. Jennifer hovered in his way readily as Albus and Malcolm dealt with Hugo. Then…
“Frederick McLaggen hits Jennifer down!” Alex screamed so loudly, Albus nearly lost hold and Hugo barrel-rolled out of the way from Malcolm. “James makes a shot and it goes through easily. Jennifer, it seems has taken a hit! Thirty-ten to Gryffindor.”
The match was on pause as Cantharis checked Jennifer’s head. The bludger, it seemed had taken her skull. Madam Pomfrey rushed out onto the pitch and the match was held up for five minutes. Five minutes Hugo spent to fix Albus’ eye, “You know tailing me won’t work. You’ve tried that before.”
“Worth a try,” Albus muttered.
“Look where it got you,” Hugo cheeked, attitude very different in the air than on the ground. On the ground, Hugo was jumpy and enthusiastic. He loved conversing with Albus about the league because they were fans of the same team. But in the air, they were on opposing sides. Hugo looked down at Jennifer, “If you played defense where you’re better at…”
“Salsty is out of commission!” Alex yelled dramatically. “Salsty is out of the game. Slytherins are without a Keeper.”
Albus stared in shock as Jennifer was carried, semi-conscious off the pitch. The whistle blew and the Gryffindor invaded. Albus turned to Lorcan, “Lay off Hugo. You’re sole offender!” Albus said, taking charge at once. “Malcolm…”
Malcolm turned to Albus and their eyes met. The two hated each other and Malcolm would hate taking orders from Albus. But the loss of a Keeper meant drastic measures. “I’ll steal. And pass it to Scamander. If he’s not in…”
“Take the shot,” Albus said as he zoomed up to the goalposts.
“Potter takes charge and defends the goal posts,” Alex yells. “The question is will he hold them? The Slytherins are one-player short either way and the Gryffindors have them outnumbered! Will Potter give Weasley a run for his money?”
Albus could not. As heroic as his actions were, he was not Keeper material. Half an hour into the game and Hugo already made ten shots compared to one shot from Macolm and another from Lorcan. With Gryffindor’s points in the hundreds, Slytherin was taking a beating and Mark continued blocking Scorpius’ every attempt at catching the snitch. It became apparent that Gryffindor not only wanted to win, they wanted to humiliate. And they were about to get their wish.
“Mold intercepts the Quaffle. Passes it to Scamander. I do wonder how Scamander plans to fool the enemy once more after his first heroic shot when the Gryffindors were obviously not on their guar- HE SCORES!” he yelled to everyone’s surprise. “He scores! One-hundred and thirty to thirty. Gryffindor a hundred points up, will Mark keep the match going?”
Albus clapped hard as the crowd on the Slytherin end whooped and cheered. Gryffindors were booing as Mark zoomed past Albus. Albus looked around for Scorpius, wondering if he was aware that Mark was alerted to something. Alex didn’t say anything, and Scorpius was swerving in another direction. Albus placed his eyes back on the game one second too late. A bludger hit him square in the chest, and Albus lost control of his broom, falling twenty feet to the sandy pitch below.
As Albus fell, the Slytherin end booed their discontent and rain poured. “Weasley scores again! 140-30 to Gryffindor!”
As the game continued, Albus was turned over. Thankfully, his eyes were open, and he was breathing heavily. Madam Pomfrey muttered an incantation to heal his cracked ribs, and patched him up. Albus hated he was missing the game and the goals were open. Lorcan had taken the goal posts instead as Spock McMack hit a Bludger straight at Hugo. Lorcan had meanwhile intercepted the Quaffle twice and scored one more goal in the commotion.
Albus reentered the game, a little dazed and winded, but all around well. Scorpius had zoomed up to him concernedly, “You alright, Al?”
“Yeah, great, get back to the snitch!” Albus yelled over the rain and wind now rushing through the stadium. He was surprised the rain started pouring now. The sun was half shining earlier. Now, it was pouring hard. It was amazing at how fast the weather changed.
“Potter takes possession of the Quaffle! It seems Scamander is taking the posts now. Weasley steals it. Potter is outdone. Passes it to Miss Tulip Restcamp who passes it further. James spun his broom around in a complete circle, hitting the Quaffle in once again. “150-40 to Gryffindor. Fuelled by the goal, Mark Wallader zooms forward, Malfoy well behind.”
Lorcan motioned to Albus a finger up, and Albus turned to the nearest Beater, “Stop him! Scorps is too far!”
Phillip zoomed away, alerting Spock the same way. Albus hurried his broom to stop James and Tulip, but the two worked so well. Passing it one to another over and over, and when Tulip was there, she threw it in, making a second goal.
“The snitch is lost!” Alex announced. “Thanks to a spectacular save by Spock McMack, Mark is thrown off course and the snitch gets away. Tulip and James make great teamwork, and scores a second goal! Restcamp, fueled by her last goal, steals the Quaffle from Potter. It seems Gryffindor has gone up a great deal. Potter makes a goal! 160-40 to Gryffindor!”
Malcolm had harshly snatched a bat from Philip, and hit a Bludger straight at Hugo Weasley. Taking it to the chest, he blacked barely managed to hold on until Malcolm threw the bat straight at him. Albus yelled in shock, gaping open-mouthed at Malcolm’s savagery. “Do it right next time!” Malcolm yelled, summoning the bat back up and throwing it back to Philip.
“The… Chaser is out!” Alex announced, a little saddened. “What, Cantharis, no foul?”
The crowd was silent as Madam Pomfrey took Hugo off. Cantharis looked at Hugo, up at Malcolm and then took the megaphone, “Warning to Gryffindor. The game’s too one-sided. Let it slide with a warning!”
The crowd booed and hurled insults at Cantharis. His cocker spaniel barked threateningly but to no avail at the crowd and Alex was beside with himself with rage even Redgrow stayed silent in shock. “A vicious attack by Malcolm Mold renders him immobile for the game, and the obviously-better Gryffindor team is left with two Chasers! And no foul?”
“Detention Wallaby, for biased commentating!” Cantharis called angrily.
Silence, then Alex called in, “Mold… Hey, Mold! I’m talking to you!” The game was on pause as Malcolm turned to the podium. Alex went on, “Yeah, you! That’s my brother you hit! Sorry, all, but I’m taking sides after that horrid beating. Mold, I’m gonna kill you when this game is over! Yeah, me and my twin, and my guts… all three of us are gonna kill you so badly…”
“Wallaby!” Redgrow’s voice sounded as Hugo ran back to the pitch and took to the skies once again, visibly better.
“Well… oh whatever, leave it for the after the game,” Alex pushed it aside. “Anyhoo, Weasley back in commission and nothing went wrong thanks mainly to my stalling the game. Scamander passes the Quaffle to Potter. Swerves, barrel-rolls… passes it to Scamander. Scamander shoots… HE SCORES! 160-50 to Gryffindor and guys… I’m getting bored. So wrap this up already.”
The crowd laughed and even Redgrow stayed quiet. It was Lorcan’s goal, but the Gryffindors made two more within twenty minutes, by which time the rain stopped. “180-50 to Gryffindor. Scamander attempts a next goal for his record, but Hugo Weasley is on to him now.”
Hugo changed tactic within five minutes though and played offense the second Scamander tried rushing for the goal posts Wood was protecting. With Lorcan away from the Slytherin goal posts, Hugo intercepted a Quaffle and made another goal. “190-50! Gryffindor is pushing for a massacre this game. Is Mark catches the snitch, it is highly doubtful Slytherin can recover.”
The Slytherin ranks were spread out, Lorcan to the far end where he could make an immediate goal if passed to. Albus swerved past James, and dodged Tulip, only to meet Hugo once again. He passed hard and far to Malcolm, who kicked it to Lorcan. Lorcan caught it, and with the Gryffindor Chasers far behind, did a maneuver to feign middle hoop, going for the right. It seemed he would make it when Wood blocked it.
Albus zoomed in for more when Alex got excited again, “The snitch! Malfoy is on it! Mark Wallader close behind. Guys, this is a close one, it’s anyone’s game… Seekers are going for it! It’s anyone’s game! Anyone can win, and Gryffindor are one hundred and forty points in the lead. If Malfoy… SLYTHERIN WINS! Scorpius catches the snitch! After a great game, Slytherin wins!”
And they did. Scorpius landed, hand stretched up in the air, grinning complacently over his proud face. Mark skidded to a halt and slapped his thigh in frustration. Hugo landed and shook his head as if to get a headache out. Albus landed in front, “You ok?”
“Yeah, but can you make sure Alex does kill Malcolm for me?” Hugo asked, holding his head in place as if it threatened to wobble off like Nearly-Headless Nick.
“The least I could do,” Albus shrugged.
“Guys, this was a great game!” Alex was still saying. “Hugo Weasley was a super Chaser, he dwarfed the Slytherins by far. It is incredible that Slytherin managed to win, making their fallen Keeper proud… if she lives that is. In any case, Slytherin takes the game! MOLD I’M KILLING YOU!”
Sounds of scuffling as the megaphone dropped and Alex presumably ran down, Eric beside him. Hugo went a little red as Malcolm looked up in anticipation. His gang was not there.
“Merlin!” Malcolm yelped and, pitifully, he scampered away.
Mark looked over as he landed and pat Scorpius’ shoulder, “Good game, Scorps. We’ll exchange… dealings later. See ya!” and Mark ran after Malcolm, far out of sight of the teachers. Soon after, the Wallaby twins were on them too.
“Gordon and Jared are coming,” Albus muttered to Hugo.
Hugo looked up, cringing a little as he saw their sizes. And the twins behind them, Herald and Gerald were not to be messed with either. Hugo ran to his team mates as Malcolm’s gang came running up. Albus blocked their path. “Quick, they went to the castle! If you hurry you can still catch them!”
And they stupidly ran off, completely the wrong way. Then again, Albus thought. They won the game. Helping Hugo out of that spot was the least he could do. Then, Albus’ sister Lily ran up to embrace Hugo tightly, even kissed his cheek making him go redder than ever. Albus eased up. Lily was fine, still. And in Hogwarts, she was safe. Now, if they could get past the Christmas holidays and Albus could try to convince Lily to stay at Hogwarts…