Harper stared up at the flying keys, trying to spot the one they needed to get through the doors. She couldn't help but think this was a rather stupid challenge. The Devil's Snare had been too.
These obstacles felt more like a test than protection.
If they wanted to keep the Philosopher's Stone safe, then why was it possible to get to?
Wouldn't it have made much more sense to just get rid of the Devil's Snare? That way, anyone who dropped unawares would just go splat. Of course, that wouldn't really help here. Snape knew all about the protections and would have had a way to get down safely.
But then it comes to this room, with the winged keys. That was completely insane to Harper. If you had a locked door, impossible to get through with any magically means, then why on earth would you actually put the key in the room with it? Even if it was hidden among others.
Wouldn't it have been better for Dumbledore to keep the key on him at all times, that way only he had access to the Stone?
Or better yet, why didn't Dumbledore just keep the Stone itself in his pocket? Or in a hidden location only he knew?
Telling the entire school that a corridor was forbidden was no better than issuing a written invitation to anyone powerful enough to steal the Stone. They'd know exactly where it was as well as if there had been glowing neon arrows leading the way.
And these protections really weren't up to much, at least so far. Fluffy was pretty good, Harper had to admit, as long as no one knew how to put him to sleep. The Devil's Snare was stupid though. The bluebottle fire spell that Hermione used was pretty advanced but the Incendio spell was taught just before Christmas.
That would enable any first year that could recognise Devil's Snare to get by unscathed.
And they keys! The keys were ridiculous!
I'll say it again, thought Harper, if you have a locked door, impervious to all magical means of opening then why put the key actually in the room? Decoys were fine but the real thing? And to even leave brooms to help catch it!
Harper froze and slowly repeated the last thing she'd thought.
'Impervious to all magic means...' She mumbled to herself, looking over at the door. The wooden door.
'Can either of you pick locks?' she asked suddenly. Her friends turned to look at her in surprise.
'I can,' said Ron sounding confused. 'Dad thought it would be a useful skill to know in case there was a time I couldn't use magic.'
Harper was impressed, that was the first logical thing she'd heard since coming into the Wizarding world.
'Why do you ask, Harper?'
Harper looked over at Hermione.
'Isn't it obvious?' She asked, looking between her friends and the door. 'If the door can't be opened with magic then it needs the key but what are the chances it will magically recognise a lock pick instead of the real thing?'
Hermione looked excited now.
'That's true, most wizards don't even know about lock picking, they've never needed to. How come your dad knows, Ron?'
'He's fascinated with Muggles,' the redhead shrugged. 'Thinks it's impressive, all the stuff they can do without magic to help.'
Harper personally thought it was a miracle wizards could do the things they did, even with the help of magic. She wisely kept that thought to herself, though Hermione probably agreed.
'Do you have what you need with you, to pick the lock?' She asked instead.
Ron shrugged again.
'I only started learning this last summer, I can only do it with a hair slide, do either of you have one?'
Hermione looked miserable as she shook her head. Harper didn't have one either.
'We'll have to catch the key then.' Said Hermione, staring at the brooms with deep trepidation. Ron, however, looked a little bit gleeful.
'Or not,' Harper said, making her friends look at her again. 'What do you want to bet that the magic on this door is only concentrated on the lock? To stop it being unlocked? It's a shame the hinges are on the other side or we could have just unscrewed it. Do you think the magic stops the door from being knocked down?'
'Probably,' Hermione nodded. 'Using force would be the next logical conclusion if you couldn't find the key, there's probably something to prevent it.'
Again, Harper kept her opinions to herself about wizard's logical conclusions. She knew her teachers were not unintelligent people, it just seemed that everyone relied a bit too much on magic.
'Well, how about this then?' Harper said and, before anyone had a chance to react, she pointed her wand at the wooden door and cried, 'Incendio!'
The door immediately burst into flames.
Hermione gasped and quickly used the bubblehead charm to protect her and her friends from the thick black smoke being produced as the magical fire ate away at the old wooden door.
It was less than a minute later that there was nothing barring their way other than some charred and slightly smoking pieces of wood. Her friends were speechless.
Harper thought about her teachers again. They weren't unintelligent people. She glanced over her shoulder at the flying keys.
Maybe the real key isn't actually there? Maybe that's the point of this trap.
But somehow, Harper highly doubted it.