Chapter 3

"Is the plan to make us bored or anxious through waiting, Mr. Potter?" joked Cedric. The Hufflepuff house team and six of Harry's first year team were scattered around the center of the pitch. With nothing better to do, some were chatting among themselves, others were maintaining or doing tricks on their brooms. Only Hermione was missing, and Cedric had been keeping an eye out for her, in case she was setting up part of Harry's scheme.

"Nope. Our seventh player is just really really busy. Oh, there he is." A hunched figure shambled onto the pitch. Maybe he was late because he had been dragging his feet the whole way from his office. Harry sighed. "And this cost me a lot of Quirrell points."

Harry walked over then stopped short, tossing Professor Quirrell the broom instead of handing it to him. The zombie made a weak attempt to catch the broom but missed, and it flopped onto the wet grass.

Harry sighed again. "A lot of points." Turning to Cedric, he asked, "Shall we get started?"

Cedric considered. Zombie Quirrell might just be an act, since Harry and Professor Quirrell together must have come up with something diabolical. "Was today's scheme your idea or Professor Quirrell's or both?"

"Oh no, I brought it to Professor Quirrell but needed his help to carry it off. Professor Quirrell would have charged me ten times as many points if he had to come up with the idea as well. Up!" The last remark was directed at Harry's borrowed broom, which leaped eagerly into his hand.

"All right, Mr. Potter." Cedric mounted his broom. Without glancing over his shoulder, he knew his team had done the same.

Harry waited until the keepers had reached their respective ends of the pitch and waved that they were ready. snap

Cedric kicked off hard and pushed his Cleansweep Seven to maximum acceleration. But as he alternated scanning the skies and checking he wasn't about to hit anyone, Cedric realized he couldn't see Harry or Professor Quirrell. Going into full scan mode, he saw Harry already heading for the ground where Professor Quirrell stood. It looked like Professor Quirrell hadn't even picked up the broom.

As Cedric touched down nearby, Professor Quirrell -- standing upright and no longer a zombie -- said with a tired tone, "Will that be all, Mr. Potter?" In his right hand was the golden snitch, flapping in vain.

"Yes, thank you for your time, Professor." The Battle Magic professor's jaw went slack, as did his hand, allowing the snitch to flutter off. Zombie Professor Quirrell shuffled back in the direction of the castle.

---===tvtropeswillruinyourlife===---

The two teams, minus Quirrell and Hermione, settled into the bleachers. Once again, Harry pulled butterbeers out of his pouch and handed them around.

"You know, it's good manners to tell the other team who is playing which position," commented Cedric. "Since you were seeker both previous games, I assumed you were still seeker and Professor Quirrell was filling in for your missing chaser."

"Then I apologize." Harry handed Cedric a chilled bottle while trying to look sufficiently contrite. "Being muggle-raised and not growing up playing quidditch, I was unaware."

"It's all right." Cedric popped open his bottle with stylish flick of his wand. "The thing is, Professor Quirrell knows so much magic that we could sit here all afternoon and still not guess what the trick was."

"The search space is rather large," agreed Harry, "So here's a clue: all he used was a fourth-year spell." One of the Hufflepuffs coughed when some butterbeer went down the wrong pipe.

"Just a fourth-year spell?" asked Cedric, confused. "Then why did you need Professor Quirrell to pull it off?"

"Actually, I needed him for something else. Clearly, Professor Quirrell used some magic to cheat that is illegal under the rules of quidditch. If this were an official game, what would then happen?" At that moment, Harry looked remarkably like Professor McGonagall cold calling a student in class with a question.

"Well..." Cedric riffled through the stories of infamous quidditch matches he had heard about. "I guess cast prior incantato on his wand."

"Right. Of course, Professor Quirrell wouldn't just hand over his wand and leave himself exposed like that. But let's say he did allow it and prior incantato showed nothing incriminating, such as a scouring charm or something."

Cedric knew this one from reading auror procedural novels. "Then he cast the scouring charm sometime between catching the snitch and giving up his wand to throw people off. But there are ways to extend the reverse spell effect to see more of the wand's history."

"And what if that also turned up nothing?" Cedric's brow wrinkled. "Remember, this is why I needed Professor Quirrell and not just any fourth year."

"So you needed Professor Quirrell," thought Cedric aloud, "But not for him to use his wand. But why would you need a powerful wizard and all the spells at his disposal but not his wand?"

Anthony, one of the Hufflepuff beaters, suggested, "He got Professor Quirrell to intimidate the snitch?"

"No, Harry did say a fourth-year spell was involved." Cedric clapped his gloved hands together. "I got it! Wandless magic!"

Harry grinned. "It would have been a bit of a giveaway if I started waving my wand around during the game. Professor Quirrell also cast it wordlessly too, in case someone overheard him. And have you guessed what spell I suggested Professor Quirrell use?"

"It's in the fourth year curriculum?" asked Cedric. Harry nodded. "It's most likely a charm. So that means... Ah! Accio!"

Harry applauded Cedric's deduction. "May I demonstrate?" Harry pulled his wand from his wrist holster. After Professor Quirrell had released the snitch, no one had caught the snitch, so it was still flitting about the stadium. Harry made a circle then a downward motion. "Accio!"

Seconds passed but nothing happened. Harry shrugged and adopted the tone of a lecturer. "The summoning charm is a very versatile spell. For example, I read that a couple seventh years summoned their brooms through a locked door but then got the brooms to navigate through the hallways of Hogwarts." Harry took a deep breath, gathering his magic again. He pointed to a different part of the stadium. "Accio!"

Still nothing happened, though Harry was breathing more heavily now. "But the story that really got me thinking was about this book thief. She suspected that some rare books were hidden in an office, but she didn't know where in the office or even if they were there. But she cast accio and, sure enough, the books came floating out. And that is why anti-summoning charms should be standard in anti-burglary wards. Accio!"

Still no snitch. "Bottom line, accio doesn't just summon objects, it also searches for objects. Of course, the more precisely you know the location of the object, the easier it is to cast. Professor Quirrell, even wandless, can search more efficiently than I am doing. But searching a quidditch pitch is just a matter of time. Accio!" A streak of gold flew into Harry's palm. "Just because it isn't an OWL- or NEWT-level spell doesn't mean it's not useful."


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