Hello everybody. Thanks to my great beta, I can post the next chapter today. Thanks to everybody who left a review. I really love reading them. Any suggestions for the next tasks are welcome and I have taken up some of your suggestions for this chapter again. Happy reading.
Battle Royal Part II
The audience looked at the screens and saw the next obstacle that was in front of the three champions. George had been first to reach a field of tiles that had runes engraved on them. The tiles seemed to float on a field of water with some water lilies in between them. The problem was that if you didn't solve the clues that were given to you correctly, and stepped onto the wrong tile, you were caught by vines that the water lilies shot out and it drained a bit of your magic. Not to mention that you had to keep your balance. By now, Viktor and Rosalie had also reached the field and had tried to knock the others out, only to find out that they couldn't. Once they tried, they all saw a sign that declared the water field a zone where you could only use two spells. One was a featherweight charm and the other an impervius charm; One so that you didn't sink the tiles, and the other so that if you did fall, you didn't get drenched.
Each of the three champions had got a starting point at one side of the field, marked by the colours of their school; similar to how the armchairs had been in the Great Hall, when the election of the overall twenty one champions had taken place. To the left was George, in the middle was Rosalie and to the right was Viktor. In front of each champion was a floating board on which a question was written. The question could be answered with a rune or a combination of them. You had to answer the questions on your board correctly to get across the field. The questions were the same for all champions, but the boards made sure to not be readable by the others on the field.
An additional difficulty was to keep the featherweight charm working all the time. Casting it on a person tended to let it fail after a while, contrary to it being placed on an object. Viktor seemed to have the biggest problems with this task. He had so far missed two questions and was now trying for the third time to get the right rune to continue forward. He was down to two options now. As he guessed wrong again, a pink seahorse jumped out of the water and blew him back to the starting point with a powerful stream of water, before diving under the surface again. The runes on the tiles in front of the Durmstrang starting tile changed and a new question was shown.
Now everybody understood the second reason for the impervius charm being one of the two charms that were allowed on the field.
The Hogwarts champions watched how George was fairing. They could see the questions on the board and the possible runes on the tiles.
"Which creature was let go by the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Magical Creatures in 1296 despite being proven guilty of being dangerous?" Daphne read out, "That's definitely a tricky one."
"A manticore," Harry answered to the surprise of the others.
"How do you know that, Harry?" Cedric asked.
"You remember how last year Draco Malfoy tried to get Hagrid sacked for the 'attack' of Buckbeak that I protected him from?" Harry asked.
"Yes, Malfoy was ranting about the 'monster' and sulked for weeks after his mother couldn't get the committee to follow his wishes," Daphne commented.
"Well, my friends and I looked up similar cases to have more arguments to help Hagrid win for Buckbeak. One of those we looked at was that one. A Manticore savaged someone in 1296 and got off because nobody was brave enough to get close to it," Harry explained.
"Ah, yes, something like that would be something you remembered then," Cedric agreed.
"Hey, George got it in his second attempt. And Krum just got hit by the pink seahorse again. He really doesn't seem to have too much luck with either reading the runes or answering the questions," Christopher spoke up.
"Yes, but Rosalie seems to be really good at this. She's about four tiles in the lead to George," Fred stated.
"Well, they both still not past the half way mark. Anything can happen," Daphne said and the others nodded.
George had just renewed his featherweight charm on himself. No need to take a risk and fall into the water. It had happened to Viktor some minutes ago and the seahorse had shot him back to the starting point. The next question was shown. Which part of wolfsbane was used in the equally named potion? The runes on the tiles in front of him were root, leaves, petals and seeds. Thankfully, he knew that it was the petals and stepped onto the tile that flashed white for the correct answer. This really required a good all-around knowledge and the ability to read the runes correctly. Definitely a tricky obstacle, even if it wasn't really dangerous. He definitely preferred this to the fire geysers. He had a suspicion that the seahorse was great comic relief for the spectators as well.
Just three more tiles and he could go after Rosalie. She had finished with minimal problems, only getting hit by the plants three times overall. He concentrated on the last few questions and then he was on solid ground again. He started running along the path. The star had to be close by now. He could only hope that Rosalie hadn't got it yet. He jumped over two traps on the ground and thanks to his habit of using a spell to detect magic on the path ahead of him, he avoided two spells that he suspected Rosalie had put there to delay her opponents. After all, he would have done the same had he been in her position. He saw the tell-tale golden field for the next star. But over the golden field was also a violet triangle. A magic free zone. The organisers definitely wanted to make this one more interesting.
The obstacle to get to the star seemed to be climbing some kind of water-themed climbing frame. There were poles you could use to hold onto, walls with handles, some paths that could only be passed balancing on a rope while at the same time bucket loads of water fell on you, but also slides with water that would be tricky to overcome. He saw how Rosalie was just pushed back down such a slide. The water pressure was also too strong to be able to resist without magic. So either you played it by hoping to get lucky and not be on the slide when the water came, never a good plan while pranking, or you found a way around the slide. He looked at the whole frame walking around it. There were many ways up, but Rosalie seemed to have chosen the one that seemingly reached the star first. But the direct way wasn't always the best and fastest way. Sometimes taking a detour got you to your goal faster. For example, taking the other side of the frame, climbing higher than the slide's end, even if you would be far away from the star by doing that, and then sliding down and timing it right to grab the star.
So he tried just that. While each pole and hold on the climbing frame was wet and made climbing up more difficult, he had been in worse places while preparing a prank. After all, you were never too sure that one of your prank items didn't go off prematurely and trapped you instead of your intended victims. Oh, the beginner mistakes he and Fred had made in their first year at Hogwarts. But they put it aside as learning experiences. Now he slowly, but surely, climbed up and he reached the top of the frame, just when Rosalie screamed in frustration for being hit with another wave of water on the slide, even though she had taken a different path than before. Not that he was dry. The impervius charm didn't work here, so he was drenched by now. He looked at the position of the star. It was about halfway down the slide and he would have to time things right to get it. Otherwise he would have to try again and he suspected that Rosalie would then get the idea and be up before him. And that would mean he lost this star. So he went onto the slide and let go. It went faster than he had expected and he barely managed to control his arms from being thrown around in the slide to grab the star and put it into his bag.
He had the suspicion that this kind of climbing frame would be a hit with small children. He landed at the bottom of the slide where Rosalie looked at him in disbelief. Then she stomped away and wrung out her hair angrily. There was still one star that she could get and she was determined to not be shown up by him again.
"I want to try that frame as well!" Harry exclaimed with a gleam in his eyes, "That looks like it would be really cool."
"Me too," Fred agreed, "Can you ask your father if the thing could be set up at Hogwarts after the task is over?"
"Sure," Harry agreed eagerly.
Daphne and Jennifer looked at the boys incredulously. And Cedric and Christopher seemed to be eager to try it as well. Well, that was probably a boy thing. They didn't see the fun in getting drenched in such a climbing frame.
George and Rosalie were racing for the next obstacle while refraining from shooting too many spells at each other, realising that they didn't know if their reserves would suffice for the last star's obstacles. It was smarter to wait and see what they would face before exhausting themselves. George already felt how the constant use of magic plus the drain from the water lilies made him more tired. And he didn't have any pepper up potion or something like that to counter it. So he wouldn't waste any more magic before he knew what was coming. And Rosalie had proven to be a hard opponent. He would have suspected Viktor being more difficult to deal with, but thanks to the weight prank in the beginning, he had been weakened a lot.
They reached the next area and this was very clearly an obstacle in the air. Thinking back, they had encountered an obstacle that was mixed air and earth with the crag, fire with the geysers, water with the tiles and the climbing frame, and mostly earth with the way to the potions. The organisers really took the elemental theme as far as they could. Now in front of them was a canyon with some hovering boulders here and there and the only way to get across it seemed to be a hover board with the crest of your school. George could see some magical creatures that were all connected to the air element. There was a beehive, nasty to avoid if you angered them, then a swarm of Cornish pixies, some occamies and he saw a glimpse of a storm crow. This wouldn't be easy.
He stepped onto the board and it started going into a certain direction. He couldn't influence it. Rosalie was taken onto another course. It seemed that for this part they would be going past the creatures in the air and had to deal with them one by one. It wasn't a violet zone, so they would be able to use magic, but honestly, seeing that it was a good five metres fall into the water down in the canyon, he didn't want to start this, especially as the star wasn't in sight yet. His first obstacle was the field of pixies. Listening to the story from Harry about how Lockhart had set a cage of these pests loose in the DADA classroom two years ago, he took a page from Hermione's book and temporarily froze them.
He could easily pass them this way. The board stopped at a boulder and disappeared. That seemed to mean that he had to do something at the boulder before he got a new board. He looked around and found three symbols carved into the stone. One was a crow, one a bee and one some kind of plant. He considered what this could mean. The crow and the bee were obstacles that he would have to face soon. So perhaps there was something here that would help him with one obstacle and he could choose? Or could he get help for them all? Well, it wasn't clear, but the one obstacle that promised to be worst was the storm crow so far. He needed something to feed it with. He had just forgotten what that was. Well, no matter what, if he could get it here, he would take it. He tapped the crow with his wand and a lid burst open. There were some small black peas under it.
George took the peas and stored them in his normal pocket. A second attempt proved useless, no more lids would open. Well, at least he could pacify the storm crow now. That one was much more dangerous than the beehive as long as he was silent and didn't anger them. A look over to Rosalie showed that she had to deal with the occamies right now. He walked forward and found a small stone with the symbol that looked like the hover board he had used before. He tapped it with his wand and a new board appeared. He stepped onto the board and let it take him to the next part. It seemed the beehive was the next obstacle on the course. Just how could he ensure that the bees didn't attack?
Molly Weasley held her husband's hand tightly. Her son was doing great so far and he had already ensured that Hogwarts would gain the most points from the stars in the battle royal. There was only one star left, but now he had to deal with some nasty creatures in the air and could easily be pushed from the board he was on into the water down in the canyon. The pixies had been dealt with easily and competently. But the bee hive could be a problem. She had recognised the kind of hive it was, as she had once come across this type as a child. They weren't normal bees, they were Welsh Saline Bees. They didn't collect pollen and nectar from flowers, they collected small amounts of saltwater and built it into a saline.
The one way to not get stung when in close proximity to them was offering them something salty. She had seen how George had chosen the crow symbol and got black peas from under the lid. She only hoped he would recognise the type of bees he had to deal with. You could conjure saltwater magically after all, so with a little smart conjuring, he could get past them without getting injured. And their stings hurt massively.
"Don't worry, he will manage," Arthur assured her, "He chose smartly when he had to decide for which creature he got help."
"I know, but I was stung by a Welsh Saline Bee as a child and I know how much that hurts," Molly replied, "I don't want my son to experience that."
"Well, he seems to have a plan. He has just transfigured a small pebble into a small bowl and filled it with water," Arthur pointed out the actions of George.
Molly nodded and continued watching.
George was relieved that he had remembered his mother's story correctly. He had noticed, when he got closer to the hive, that the bees were diving down to the water for some reason and that there was something looking like a hill next to the hive. A hill that the bees put water on top of. He knew that his mother had warned them all when they were children to not go close to a hive of Welsh Saline Bees and how to identify their hives. This was one. If you accidentally came too close to a hive like that, you had to offer them something salty. Well, he could conjure saltwater. He thankfully had some pebbles in his pocket, an easy medium to carry around for on the fly transfigurations, and turned one into a small bowl. Some saltwater into it and he should be able to avoid getting stung as long as he didn't anger the bees.
When he got too close to the hive, an angry buzzing could be heard and a group of bees flew at him. He held out the bowl with the saltwater and hoped it would work. Thankfully the bees actually considered the bowl more interesting than him and dipped into it, taking some water with them to put onto their small saline. George had to refill the small bowl twice until he had been taken past the hive by the board. He also had to stay still when some of the bees collected his sweat that was on his face and neck. That had been really unpleasant, but he didn't dare react. When he reached the next hovering boulder, he shuddered. He didn't want to do that again. He calmed himself down after a few seconds and got the next board by tapping some runes to form the Hogwarts school motto. Never tickle a sleeping dragon. Let's not say that the organisers didn't have a strange sense of humour.
Cedric couldn't keep from chuckling seeing the runes George had to tap to get the next board.
"They should have changed it there to 'Never annoy angry bees'. That would have fit the task more," he cackled.
"Man, I'd never have thought that in this task Mum's tales when we were children would become this useful," Fred commented, "Honestly, Welsh Saline Bees?"
"What makes them so special?" Harry asked, not knowing about them.
"Contrary to normal bees that like sweet things, Saline bees like salty things. They also sting quicker than others. A normal bee, if you don't attack it or the hive, won't bother you, as after stinging it dies. A saline bee doesn't die and the sting hurts more, at least according to Mum. She accidentally came too close to one of their hives as a child and got stung. You can recognise the hive by the miniature saline next to it. They use the salt crystals that they gain from the saline to build up their hive and feed their larvae," Fred explained.
"Yes, he was lucky to identify them correctly. Imagine if he had offered them sugar water," Jennifer shuddered.
"Oh yes, that would have been very bad," Daphne agreed "They would have attacked, thinking he was trying to poison them."
The others were happy to see that George was spared that part.
George and Rosalie were now hovering next to each other while George was on the way to the occamies and Rosalie to the bees.
"Be careful, those are Welsh Saline Bees," George warned her.
"Why are you warning me?" She asked surprised.
"Nobody deserves to be stung by them," George answered flatly.
By now Viktor had finally caught up with them and was drifting towards the pixie swarm. He froze them easily and landed on the stone with the three symbols that George had already passed. George looked at the flying snakes. He needed to avoid being bitten by them. They were poisonous after all. Well, they, like most snakes, liked music and could be put into a trance by it. He conjured a flute and let it play by itself. The occamies swayed in the air and didn't bother him while he hovered past them. Now he was really glad that they had covered as many creatures that could come up for the elements as possible. Their preparation for the whole team was really paying off.
The last creature he would have to pass was the storm crow. He thankfully had the peas for it. That one was probably the most dangerous creature among the assortment that they were facing here. When he reached it, his board disappeared and he had to walk past the resting place of the crow on a narrow path. He took out the black peas and put them in front of the crow. He anxiously waited for the crow to start eating the peas and after about twenty seconds of suspiciously inspecting the peas, the crow started picking them up with its beak and eating them. George quickly, but without any hasty movements, walked past the crow and found another stone he had to tap with his wand to get the board that would hopefully take him to the other side of the canyon.
When he was about there, he saw that Rosalie was also coming closer, just a little behind him. Well, they had started at the same time and it was logical that they would have finished around the same time if they didn't have too many problems with the obstacles here. Though when it were only about five metres to the other side, he noticed that there were some kind of vines hanging from a number of branches over the edge. He didn't recognise them, but knowing the organisers they were nasty things that would either throw them from the boards or hold them up in a way. They reached to about halfway down his shins, so simply lying flat on the board wouldn't help him avoiding them. He had to think quickly. Better to not take any risk with them.
He lay down on his board and then turned it around in the air, as if he was flying on his broom upside down. He had to hold on tight, as the board wasn't as easy to hold onto as a broom this way, but somehow he managed. He waited until he was over the solid ground of the other side of the canyon and then let go of the board. One look to the left showed him that Rosalie had tried to lie flat on her board and was now fighting against the vines that had latched onto her and kept her stuck in her position. They didn't do anything else, but they didn't budge and cutting charms didn't seem to work on them. Now he was really glad that he hadn't risked anything with them. He continued on and was faced with a sand field surrounding the last star in a golden mist field.
He shot a detection spell onto the field and it came back negative for any kind of creatures. That in itself was worrisome. He threw two of the small rocks at the shore of the sand in the middle and they were sucked down into small pits. So you could be reasonably sure that if you stepped onto the sand, you would get sucked in as well. Summoning the star didn't work either. He tried conjuring a rope to balance over to get to the star, but it was grabbed by a hand of sand and pulled down. Anything he levitated over the sand also got grabbed. What was the trick to this? Then he heard footsteps behind him and had to shield against the attack of Viktor. How he had the strength left, he didn't know, but he was fighting fiercely. Probably because this star was the last one he could get.
He hadn't done that well in the battle royal so far. As George didn't have time for two things right now, he decided to play possum and make it look as if a stunner hit him. He could try to figure out the sand pit's secret easier while not being attacked by Viktor. So he 'fell' to a stunner after a good battle and pretended to be out for now. Viktor now attempted to get over the sand, but his attempts so far weren't any more successful than George's had been. Then Rosalie appeared sneaking up to Viktor and she stunned him in the back. She tied him up in ropes and then turned her wand against George, who was forced to reveal that he had been faking being knocked out to not get tied up as well. Sadly he stumbled and was this time really hit with a stunner. When he woke up again, he was tied up and could only continue observing while trying to get out of the ropes without her noticing.
Anything that was above the sand got grabbed and stuck to the sand. Nothing that got caught by the sand could move at all. It took a while, during which Viktor woke up again and was stunned by Rosalie another time, George could only hope that she wouldn't do that with him just to make sure, and then he noticed a small peculiarity.
A small stone that fell onto a number of larger stones that were stuck in the sand, rolled down from them until it got stuck in the sand itself. Was that the solution? George watched how Rosalie tried getting across the sand, but was thwarted again and again. There was also another fact. Anything that was pushed over the sand with magic was grabbed by sand hands. Anything done without magic only got stuck once it hit the sand. That was interesting. The problem was that the ropes were holding up too well for his liking. And he hadn't found a way out of them. And Rosalie seemed to have noticed that he was awake.
She walked over to him.
"Thank you for the hint with the bees, I would have otherwise tried to lure them with sugar," she said.
"As I said, I wouldn't want anybody to be stung by them," George replied, knowing that he couldn't get out of the ropes.
"Well, I really appreciate it, but I won't let that stop me from winning this star. Hm, why don't I at least give you a consolation price as a thank you?" She said grinning wickedly.
George didn't know what she meant and was surprised when she kissed him again. He had really not expected that.
"You're really handsome, George Weasley, and once the task is over, I would really like to get to know you better. What do you say? Would you go on a date with me?" She asked before shooting a stunner at Viktor again, who had twitched on the ground.
George was surprised about the question, but he had to admit, she was fascinating.
"Sure, why not? Hogsmeade next weekend?" He suggested, thinking about the surrealism of arranging a date during a battle royal.
She smiled, kissed him again, not that he minded it, and then walked back to the sand. She took a number of pebbles from the ground and enlarged them into big boulders. So she had come to the same conclusion as him. Then she levitated them over the field and predictably they were grabbed by the sand hands. In an attempt to find out if her theory was correct, she levitated the second boulder directly over the other and then past it and it was only grabbed as soon as nothing was under it anymore. Now knowing the trick to this obstacle for sure, she started making her own path with the boulders, making sure to put one after the other until she had a solid path to the star. She tested if the stones held her weight and was encouraged when it worked. She walked over the stones, making sure to not touch the sand and finally, after a minute of climbing over the stones, she reached the star and grabbed it. When she put it into her bag, George felt a pull behind his navel, telling him that a portkey had activated.
When the spinning stopped, he was back at the entrance of the arena, free of the ropes, with the students of Hogwarts and Beauxbatons cheering loudly for him and Rosalie. Viktor was also free and seemed to wake up from being stunned. Well, George thought that he had done very well. Three stars out of five were a very impressive result. Good that being a prankster had really paid off in this thing. And he was also looking forward to his date with the beautiful French girl.
Sirius laughed heartily seeing how Rosalie got a date with George.
"I never would have thought that somebody would have the guts to use the task for arranging a date, Moony," he laughed.
"Me neither, Padfoot. But the end results for Hogwarts are really promising. Now the only thing missing is the last distribution of points by the judges. I don't think that Durmstrang will get too many. Krum didn't perform spectacularly. Richard and George meanwhile did quite well," Remus commented.
"I know. Hogwarts should overall have won the task with Beauxbatons coming in second. But I have to inform the audience about the exception on the point rule for this round. The judges have two categories to judge and can give five points each at most. Sonorus," Sirius said and stood.
"Congratulations to the three champions that faced the battle royal. Their impressive demonstrations of ingenuity and magical skills deserve another round of applause!" Sirius announced and the audience followed the request. "Now we have a few points that are clear already, thanks to the number of caught stars. Hogwarts got three stars and Beauxbatons got two!"
A new round of cheers and whistles sounded though the Colosseum.
"As we know, in this round the stars count double, that means six points for Hogwarts and four for Beauxbatons. Now it is up to our judges to give out the last set of points. But there is one addition compared with the last six rounds. Each judge has to give five points each for two categories. One is overall performance like in all the rounds before, including the automatic deduction of a point for being injured during the round. The second category is how well the champion in question dealt with his competitors. Did he or she find ways to take them out for a number of obstacles? Did the champion show good judgement in when to attack his opponents or not? For that category another five points can be won by our champions. Of course the way how a champion dealt with the attacks against him or her will also be taken into consideration," Sirius informed everybody.
Another round of cheers went through the Colosseum. Bagman, who had commentated on the performance before, now took over again from Sirius, who sat down.
"Now let's see how our judges decided on overall performance for Miss Richard!" Bagman shouted.
Madame Maxime gave a four, a fair assessment over the whole obstacle course, Dumbledore joined her giving the same mark, Rissof went for a three, Scrimgeour added a four and Madam Marchbanks gave a three. That made eighteen points for that category.
"Not bad. Overall eighteen points, considering her problems with the flowers and at the beginning, a more than acceptable result. Now for Mr Krum," Bagman called out.
The marks were a lot lower. Madame Maxime gave a two, Dumbledore a three, Rissof got booed for giving a four, he had to take a point for an injury from a geyser, Scrimgeour gave another two and Madam Marchbanks a three again.
"Seems like this round wasn't that good for Mr Krum. Overall he got fourteen points. Now, last but not least, Mr Weasley," Bagman commented.
George got a four from Madame Maxime, four from Dumbledore, four from Scrimgeour, three from Rissof and four from Madam Marchbanks. Considering that he was the champion who had performed best in the task, the only reason he didn't get more points was that he got injured by the geysers. Still, he had one point more than Rosalie.
"Nineteen points in total. Too bad he got injured, or it would have been more, but those are the rules," Bagman said. "Now let's see what our judges think about how our champions dealt with their competitors."
Rosalie was first again. Five from Madame Maxime, well a bit of favouritism there, but not too unfair. Dumbledore gave a four, Rissof a three. Scrimgeour gave a four and Madam Marchbanks a five as well. Meant overall twenty one points.
"A fair result. Miss Richard certainly did well in keeping her opponents out of the way whenever possible and managed to win two stars by doing so," Bagman declared.
Then it was Viktor's turn again. Like before his marks weren't that high. Not that surprising as George's first prank attack had basically thrown him out of the competition for most of the time and in the end he didn't take precautions to at least use his chance for the last star.
Madame Maxime gave a two, Dumbledore a two, Rissof a three, Scrimgeour a two and Marchbanks a three. Overall twelve points.
"Yes, we had expected something like this, as nearly all the times when there was a chance to take a competitor out, he was the one to be taken out," Bagman stated after the result was known.
Last was George's result. He got a four from Scrimgeour, Maxime and Marchbanks, a five from Dumbledore and a three from Rissof.
"Seems like the judges decided that the times he took out an opponent and was taken out balanced each other out. I guess Professor Dumbledore honoured his decision to not leave Miss Richard in the field of flowers, which would have taken her a long time to overcome to his favour to balance out the blunders in the rope garden and the sand pit obstacles. And there are the other eighteen champions!"
The champions that were already done had entered the arena to join their comrades and now they stood as groups for their schools.
"I guess most of you have noted the results down, but here are the totals!" Bagman exclaimed and pointed at the score board.
In a short 'best-off' video, the performance of each champion was shown together with their total points and number of stars next to the picture. Once a champion was done, the picture went to the upper left corner of the screen, where it stayed as a reminder of the results of a school. Cheers and applause accompanied this show.
Then the points and stars were drawn from the pictures of the champions, that now were lined up at the top of three screens that had shown the videos and results, one for each school, to the middle where in an optical explosion, when they came together, the total points and star points were shown with an end result under them.
"Durmstrang has 132 points from the judges and 22 from the stars, making a total of 154 points, leaving them in third place," Bagman continued. "Beauxbatons got 148 points from our judges and could capture twenty four points in stars, giving them second place with totally 172 points."
Each announcement was accompanied by cheers and applause from the schools and other spectators.
"And in first place with 164 points from our judges and sensational 32 points from the stars collected, is Hogwarts, coming out with 196 in total. Congratulations to you all," Bagman said.
The noise was tremendous. Nearly half of the audience seemed to be on their feet. The champions waved, some blushing at the attention they got, but all smiling. At least that was true for the Hogwarts and Beauxbatons groups. The Durmstrang contingent wasn't as happy as them obviously. Bagman waited until some semblance of order was back.
"Now, for the next task, it will take place at the 24th of February. The groups of champions will get a number of clues depending on how well they performed in this task. For every five points that you managed to win here, you'll get a piece of a puzzle that will give you a picture of the next challenge. You can prepare accordingly. For those whose brains have already been overloaded, that means that Hogwarts will have thirty nine pieces, Beauxbatons gets thirty four pieces and Durmstrang gets thirty pieces. Now Professor Dumbledore wants to add some information for all schools in general," Bagman said and deactivated his sonorus charm.
"I'm very happy with the great performances of all champions today. And, as they say, anything is possible until the last minute. So none of you should rest on your achievements, but also do not despair. Now I have the pleasure to inform all of you that on Christmas Eve Hogwarts will host a Yule Ball," there were many excited, mainly female, exclamations hearing that. Dumbledore chuckled. "Yes, it will be a great ball, for which those students in fourth year and above are invited. Younger students may attend if they are the date of an older student. Concerning the dress code: you'll be required to appear in dress robes. Our champions will also have the honour to open the ball with their dates, so perhaps you might want to brush up on your dancing skills before that. I hope that everybody had a good time today and invite you all to the feast that has been prepared in the tent that was set up next to our Colosseum. Please use the time to reconnect with old friends and classmates and learn what exciting changes have happened at our beloved Hogwarts since you were students here. Thank you."
The spectators applauded and left their seats to go to the tent. Nobody really felt like leaving yet.
In the tent for the champions, Gillian Polaris was now handing over the sacks with the puzzle pieces to the three teams.
"The puzzle pieces will give you an idea what the next task is about. Preparation will be completely up to you. One thing you need to know is that you can only put the pieces together when you're all there and nobody else is present. That's to ensure that you can't cheat and get help from teachers. There is a spell in the pieces that prevents that you ask specific questions from your teachers about the things that are shown on the pieces, general questions are okay. The task will take place at eleven in the morning on the 24th of February. Use the time until then well," she advised them and then left the tent.
"Well, showering and then party?" Fred suggested and got agreeing nods from his fellow champions.
Okay, that was the Battle Royal. Till next time. And I really would appreciate some ideas of what the next tasks could be.