The next morning, I felt sick to my stomach as today was my first Qudditch match and it was against Slytherin. I forced myself to eat a bit of toast and drink some pumpkin juice, but the others kept telling me to eat more and relax.
"I'm really not hungry," I said, as I pushed my food away.
"Good luck today, Potter," said Snape, startling me. "Now that you've proven yourself against a troll, a little game of Quidditch should be easy work for you, even if it is against Slytherin." He started limping away before I could reply and I narrowed my eyes at him.
"That explains the blood," I murmured.
"Blood?" Hermione repeated. "What blood?"
"Listen, I'm guessing Snape let that troll in as a diversion so he could get past that Cerberus," I explained.
"No one in the right mind would go near that thing," said Ron. "Why would Snape?"
"Because the day I was at Gringotts, Hagrid took something out of one the vaults. He said it was Hogwarts business, very secret," I explained.
"So you're saying that whatever's in that package is what's under the trapdoor and that's what Snape's after," said Cedric.
"But what is it?" asked Hermione.
"I don't know," I admitted.
"Well, we don't have time to think about now," said Cedric. "You've got to get down to the pitch. The game's in half an hour."
I nodded and then went down to get changed into my scarlet and gold Quidditch robes. I walked beside the rest of my teammates, trying to ignore the butterflies in my stomach. I'd been practicing and preparing for this for weeks. I should've been fine. But I felt like I was going to vomit.
We stepped into the bright sunlight and flew around the pitch. Everyone was cheering us on and Lee Jordan a friend of the twins was the commentator. "Hello, welcome to first game of the season. Today's game, Slytherin vs. Gryffindor! The crowd falls silent as Madame Hooch steps out onto the field to begin the game."
"Now, I want a nice clean game," she said, sternly. "From all of you."
"The Bludgers are released, followed by the Golden Snitch. Remember the Snitch is worth one hundred and fifty points. The Seeker who catches the Snitch ends the game. The Quaffle is released and the game begins!" said Lee Jordan.
Gryffindor and Slytherin Chasers immediately began squabbling for it. Angelina managed to grab it and narrowly avoided Slytherin's Keeper as she scored a goal, giving Gryffindor ten points. Slytherin's Chasers tried again to score a goal, but Wood stopped them twice and then Alicia won Gryffindor another ten points. I kept flying around and clapping, hoping for some sign of the Snitch and that the odds of the game would be in our favor, but no such luck.
Slytherin scored two goals, knocked out both Wood and Katie—that was two fouls and two penalties to Gryffindor—and made me so mad I was about ready to punch Slytherin's cheating Captain Malcolm in the face. Then I saw the Snitch. I chased after it, but no sooner had I done this than my broom began trying to throw me off. It jerked and bucked and spun until I was hanging off the handle trying not to fall to my death. After a few more moments, the broom went still and I managed to swing back on and chased after the Snitch again.
Slytherin's Seeker, Warrington, went alongside me, trying to grab it before me. We went all over, including down below the seats and kept hitting each other in the side before Warrington went back up to avoid collision with the wall. I turned slightly and dodged it and got nearer to the Snitch. I had a crazy idea as it was nearly out of my reach. Slowly, I stood on my broom and tried to grab it, but then I tripped and my broom fell to the ground and then I felt like I was going to be sick. After a few moments, I spat out the Snitch and it fell into my hands.
"She's got the Snitch! Helena Potter wins one hundred and fifty points for catching the Snitch!" said Lee Jordan. "Gryffindor wins!"
The crowd burst into applause and cheers. I held up the Snitch proudly as my team cheered me on and then I joined Ron, Hermione and Cedric at Hagrid's hut for tea and sweets to celebrate.
"You did great, Helena! What'd I tell you?" said Hagrid.
"You should've heard Flint. He says you didn't catch it, you nearly swallowed it," said Ron, roaring in laughter. "Jealous moron."
I laughed. "What I want to know why my broom was acting up like that?"
"We think we can explain that," said Cedric. "We saw Snape jinxing it. Hermione stopped him though."
"He did what?" I said, stunned. I knew Snape didn't like me, but murder?
"Nonsense!" said Hagrid. "Why would Snape put a curse on Helena's broom?"
"Probably for the same reason he was trying to get past that Cerebus on Halloween," I said, deciding to tell him.
Hagrid's eyes widened. "Who told you about Fluffy?"
"Fluffy?" said Ron, incredibly.
"That thing has a name?" said Hermione.
"Of course he's got a name, he's mine," said Hagrid. "I bought him off a Greek chappie I met down at the pub last year. Then I lent him to Dumbledore to the guard the—"
"Go on," said Cedric.
"I shouldn't have said that. No more questions. Don't ask anymore questions. That's top-secret, that is."
"But Hagrid, whatever Fluffy's guarding, Snape's trying to steal it!" I protested. "He nearly killed me, for heaven's sake!"
"Codswallop. Professor Snape is a Hogwarts teacher!"
"Hogwarts teacher or not, I know a spell when I see one," said Hermione. "I know a spell when I see one. I've read all about them. You've got to keep eye contact and Snape wasn't blinking."
Hagrid sighed. "Then you listen to me, all four of you. You're meddling in stuff that ought not to be meddled in. What that dog's guarding is strictly between Professor Dumbledore and Nicholas Flamel."
"Nicholas Flamel?" said Ron. "Who's Nicholas Flamel?"
But Hagrid refused to say anything more on the subject.