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"This will make it stop, Professor," Harry said, his voice crack-ing as he tipped the seventh glass of potion into Dumbledore's mouth.
Chapter 27: The Lightning-Struck Tower
Harry made to speak again, but this time Dumbledore raised his hand for silence, frowning slightly at the emerald liquid, evidently thinking hard. "Undoubtedly," he said, finally, "this potion must act in a way that will prevent me taking the Horcrux. It might paralyze me, cause me to forget what I am here for, create so much pain I am dis-tracted, or render me incapable in some other way. This being the case, Harry, it will be your job to make sure I keep drinking, even if you have to tip the potion into my protesting mouth. You understand?"
Harry bowed obediently over the Pensieve and felt his feet leave the office floor. . . . Once again he fell through darkness and landed in Horace Slughorn's office many years before. There was the much younger Slughorn, with his thick, shiny, straw-colored hair and his gingery-blond mustache, sitting again in the comfortable winged armchair in his office, his feet resting upon a velvet pouffe, a small glass of wine in one hand, the other rummaging in a box of crystallized pineapple. And there were the half dozen teenage boys sitting around Slughorn with Tom Riddle in the midst of them, Marvolo's gold-and-black ring gleaming on his finger.
"Don't talk now," said Harry, fearing how slurred Dumbledore's voice had become, how much his feet dragged. "Save your energy, sir. . . . We'll soon be out of here. . . ."
'No, it did not,' she said. 'Everything went pitch black and the next thing I knew, I was being hurled headfirst out of the Room!'
"Yes, he did, years ago, when he was sure he would be able to create more Horcruxes, but still Lucius was supposed to wait for Voldemorts say-so, and he never received it, for Voldemort van-ished shortly after giving him the diary. No doubt he thought that Lucius would not dare do anything with the Horcrux other than guard it carefully, but he was counting too much upon Lucius’s fear of a master who had been gone for years and whom Lucius believed dead. Of course, Lucius did not know what the diary really was. I understand that Voldemort had told him the diary would cause the Chamber of Secrets to reopen because it was cleverly enchanted. Had Lucius known he held a portion of his mas-ters soul in his hands, he would undoubtedly have treated it with more reverence — but instead he went ahead and carried out the old plan for his own ends. By planting the diary upon Arthur Weasleys daughter, he hoped to discredit Arthur and get rid of a highly incrim-inating magical object in one stroke. Ah, poor Lucius . . . what with Voldemorts fury about the fact that he threw away the Horcrux for his own gain, and the fiasco at the Ministry last year, I would not be sur-prised if he is not secretly glad to be safe in Azkaban at the moment."
"I am glad to see you appreciate the magnitude of the problem," said Dumbledore calmly. "But firstly, no, Harry, not seven Hor-cruxes: six. The seventh part of his soul, however maimed, resides inside his regenerated body. That was the part of him that lived a spectral existence for so many years during his exile; without that, he has no self at all. That seventh piece of soul will be the last that anybody wishing to kill Voldemort must attack — the piece that lives in his body."
Harry looked around; there was Ginny running toward him; she had a hard, blazing look in her face as she threw her arms around him. And without thinking, without planning it, without worrying about the fact that fifty people were watching, Harry kissed her.
"Well, although I did not see the Riddle who came out of the di-ary, what you described to me was a phenomenon I had never wit-nessed. A mere memory starting to act and think for itself? A mere memory, sapping the life out of the girl into whose hands it had fallen? No, something much more sinister had lived inside that book. ... a fragment of soul, I was almost sure of it. The diary had been a Horcrux. But this raised as many questions as it answered. What intrigued and alarmed me most was that that diary had been intended as a weapon as much as a safeguard."
"No — I didn't —"
"Be brave like my mother, Professor. . . ."
There was a loud bang and the bin behind Harry exploded; Harry attempted a Leg-Locker Curse that backfired off the wall be-hind Malfoy's ear and smashed the cistern beneath Moaning Myr-tle, who screamed loudly; water poured everywhere and Harry slipped as Malfoy, his face contorted, cried, "Cruci —"
'Was it male or female?'
"Quite understandable," murmured Dumbledore. Harry was alarmed to hear how faint his voice was.