“…. Tough call.” Ron and Harry answered. Gohan rolled his eyes humorously.
Over the next couple of days things went by very smoothly and normally (as it could get then). Teachers were having students practice and review for their exams, kids were nervous over what grades they were getting, and Gohan, Harry and Ron talked about Gohan’s heritage a lot. Gohan had to repeat some answers many times, but he didn’t care… his friends trusted him. It felt like a weight that had been in him was lifted somewhat, and even if it wasn’t a lot it had given him more freedom than he had remembered in months. He didn’t have to hide when he was going out to train now, and could rely on Harry and Ron to keep quiet about it. They hadn’t asked him about anything new yet, probably because he hadn’t told them about his Super Saiyan abilities or his adventures. He was especially surprised when they never mentioned Piccolo again; he thought that would have been a big thought in their minds, seeing as he was the one that got them further snooping in his life. But regrettably they still hadn’t talked with Myrtle yet, and probably couldn’t until the teachers stopped walking them everywhere and there was less caution in the halls.
Three days passed since then, and something happened that was the talk of the whole school. Professor McGonagall told the whole school at breakfast that the people who were petrified would be cured very soon with the Mandrakes by later that night. After she said this, the whole school burst into cheering and applause. Gohan and the others being included in it, and were probably the loudest of anyone. Gohan turned to look towards the Slytherin table, and wasn’t surprised that hardly any of the Slytherins were applauding or cheering; only a few (first years) did. Malfoy looked the unhappiest of all, a frown appearing on his face.
Gohan glared in his direction with pure hatred and dislike that would make Vegeta pretty nervous, knowing unfortunately that Malfoy didn’t notice. Gohan caught Harry looking at him, who was also looking at the Slytherin table.
“You know,” Gohan started, “If I wasn’t worried that people would be scared of me, I’d immediately attack Malfoy without even hesitating.”
Harry nodded, “I don’t blame you.”
Ron then started talking to them that it wouldn’t matter they hadn’t talked to Myrtle before since Hermione would probably be able to tell them what’s been happening, and something about exams and her going crazy (Gohan wasn’t paying attention that much). Gohan was watching Ginny Weasley while Ron was talking, noticing that for the first time in what was probably months came anywhere near them. She slowly walked over to them, sitting next to Ron. She looked very nervous and pale; Gohan saw her hands were twisting in her lap.
The others noticed this too, cause they also brought their attention to the First Year girl.
“What’s up?” Ron asked her, reaching forward for the porridge.
Ginny didn’t reply, she only looked the Gryffindor table up and down, her face showing signs of distress and fright.
“Spit it out.” Ron said, looking at her.
Gohan then saw her rocking her chair up and down, with her face showing signs of fear still. At the same time, Gohan heard a slight noise, and turned his head to see Harry with a look of… recognition and understanding on his face. Gohan was confused at this; what was Harry thinking at that moment (though he wouldn’t read his mind, that would be distrustful)?
He lost this thought when he heard Ginny speak softly, “I’ve got something to tell you.”
“What is it?” Harry asked kindly, knowing how shy she always was.
Ginny paused, as though trying to figure out how to phrase what she should say.
“What already?” Ron said.
She still wouldn’t speak, her face showing more emotion than any time Gohan had seen her. Suddenly, a thought struck Gohan immediately. He motioned for Harry and Ron to scoot in a little more, and leaned his head forward.
“Is it something about the Chamber of Secrets Ginny?” Gohan whispered. “Has anyone been acting out of the ordinary?”
Harry and Ron’s eyes widened, realizing what he was getting at. Then she closed her eyes and breathed deeply, and was about to say something when her other older brother Percy Weasley came over with a tired expression on his pale face.
“If you’ve finished eating, I’ll take that seat, Ginny. I’m starving; I’ve only just come off patrol duty.”
Ginny scrambled out of the seat as though it were on fire, gave them all a terrified quick look and left the table. Percy didn’t look after her, only sitting down and taking a mug for a drink.
“What the heck Percy?!” Ron shouted furiously. “Ginny was just about to tell us something important!”
Gohan and the others saw Percy choke while drinking his tea.
“What was she going to say?” he asked nervously, coughing between breathes.
“Well,” Gohan started, his voice sounding sarcastic and angry, “I would have told you had you not interrupted her from saying anything! Why the hell would you-”
“Gohan only asked her if she’s seen anything odd lately Percy, that’s all.” Harry cut in.
“Oh.” Percy looked relieved. He then added quickly, “that doesn’t have anything to do with the Chamber of Secrets though.”
“How would you know?” Ron questioned suspiciously.
“Well, er, if you must know, Ginny, er, walked in on me the other day when I was - well, never mind - the point is she spotted me doing something and I, um, I asked her not to mention it to anybody. I must say, I did think she’d keep her word. It’s nothing, really, I’d just rather -”
Gohan never saw Percy look so uncomfortable before, and it was highly amusing to watch, especially these days.
“What were you doing, Percy?” Gohan said, grinning.
“Go on; tell us, we won’t laugh.” Ron added.
Percy didn’t smile back to them. “Pass me those rolls, Harry, I’m starving.”
After breakfast, Gohan dragged them off away from everyone else.
“What?” Ron asked irritably.
“I want to find out what Ginny knows. I think she knows something about the Chamber, I know it.”
Harry raised an eyebrow, “How?”
“…. I can read minds. I’ve been able to for almost a year.” Gohan replied.
“It’s a long story, but I know she knows something about it. I only wanted to confirm it after I asked her. I don’t know specifically what, that would have taken more concentration and (possibly) eye contact.”
“She’ll just tell us another time though, won’t she?” Ron said.
Gohan shook his head, “I don’t think so. Remember how she looked so scared before she left? I’m willing to bet that she had to muster up all of her confidence to try and confide in us, and she got so scared when Percy stopped her that she’s not going to talk again.”
“So what do we do?” Harry asked.
“You do nothing. She won’t say anything to us directly, so when I see her again I’ll try to distract her with something else and read her mind.”
Ron rolled his eyes, “Great. Anything else you haven’t told us yet?”
“Maybe,” Gohan smiled, “but just relax. It’s probably nothing, but I’ll find out anything Ginny knows. I’m the fastest person in this school; it won’t be hard tracking her down.”
Unfortunately for him, it was. He hadn’t seen any trace of Ginny ever since breakfast, which made it difficult to find her. He asked some of the other First Years she hung out with occasionally, and the ones who didn’t freeze up at him told him that she was at all of her classes and she was very quiet. All of the students were still being led to their classes by teachers, so he couldn’t ask her then. But what was very peculiar was that her ki sometimes faded in and out. It was either there or completely gone; sometimes it was just barely hanging in there. And when this happened was during classes, so he knew she wasn’t dead. Gohan couldn’t figure out how her ki could become gone and then reappear; only people who’ve mastered their ki could hide it so well, so how could she do it.
But other things were happening too. Harry talked with him and Ron, telling them that they should still talk with Moaning Myrtle regardless of what would happen tomorrow. Gohan agreed, they should get all of the facts as soon as possible so that whatever was going on in the castle would stop, and everything could go back to normal. And just luckily enough, they were going to b escorted to History of Magic by the only person in the school oblivious enough to let them out of sight… Gilderoy Lockhart. It was common knowledge that he hated the fact that he had to usher students to class; his hair wasn’t as sleek as it usually was as proof. As they walked through the halls, Lockhart started droning on about how Hagrid was the Heir and such, and Harry and Ron and Gohan played up to him, and eventually suggested that they take themselves to class, which Lockhart readily agreed to, saying he should prepare for his class.
“Prepare for his class my tail,” Gohan scorned, watching him leave, “More like get out his curling iron and put on his makeup.”
They allowed everyone else to go in front of them, and after no one could see them they steered down a side passage, making their way to Myrtle’s bathroom. As they made their way, feeling confident in themselves and their plan, they were halted by someone.
“Potter! Son! Weasley! What are you doing here?”
It was Professor McGonagall, and in Gohan’s opinion she did not look pleased.
“We were- we were-” Ron was stammering. “We were going to- to go see-”
“Hermione.” Harry finished, Ron and Professor McGonagall looked at him strangely. Gohan on the other hand, understood where Harry was going with this.
“Yeah.” Gohan added, sincerity in his voice. “You see Professor, we haven’t seen Hermione at all for ages, so we decided to sneak away from class so we could see her in the Hospital Wing, you know? We wanted to tell her the Mandrakes would be ready soon and,” he paused for dramatic effect, “tell her not to worry and we’ll… see her soon.”
If Gohan hadn’t had to look really sad and miserable at the moment, he would have been grinning very much. He looked to Ron and Harry, nodding his head slightly so they would go along with it. They looked up to Professor McGonagall and nodded feverously. Gohan thought his ploy hadn’t worked though, because he thought she looked like she might explode. But then, her expression softened, and spoke in a tone that he had never heard her use before.
“Of course.” She said, and what amazed the three boys even more was that a tear was sliding down her face! “Of course, I realize this has all been hardest on the friends of those who have been… I quite understand. Yes; Son, Potter, of course you may all visit Miss Granger. I will inform Professor Binns where you’ve gone. Tell Madam Pomfrey I have given you my permission.”
Gohan’s eyes shined, “Thank you very much Professor.”
And without a second glance, turned around and started walking towards the Hospital Wing. He saw out of the corner of his eye Ron and Harry following him fast, eager to get away from their teacher. As they got farther away, Gohan distinctly heard Professor McGonagall blow her nose. Once his head was turned, he took a deep breath of relief; his expression was a combination of exhaustion and shock. He had just evaded the likelihood of a detention by one of the strictest teachers in the whole school (Snape being easily the most)! After a few seconds Harry and Ron were on either side of him, there expressions as shocked as his was.
“That was the best story you’ve ever come up with.” Ron whispered to Harry. “And you were good too Gohan, adding on and making her soft. Can you believe that we got caught and came out of that without a scratch… from McGonagall!”
Harry nodded, “I know, I’ve never seen her that lenient with anyone, especially us.”
“It’s all about timing.” Gohan muttered as they walked towards the Hospital Wing (seeing as McGonagall would have checked with Madam Pomfrey). “If you hadn’t come up with that excuse Harry, we would have been in a lot more trouble than we realize. We’re just lucky you ( he nudged to Ron) didn’t ruin it from the beginning with your imitation of your ex DADA teacher Ron.”
“Who’re you to talk?” Ron hissed. “You weren’t here last year to use that as an insult.”
“But I can,” Harry grinned, “And he’s right.”
Gohan and Harry laughed as they saw Ron fuming and his face go red. About a minute later they arrived outside the Hospital Wing and told Madam Pomfrey they had Professor McGonagall’s permission, and she let them in… reluctantly though.
“There’s just no point talking to a Petrified person,” she said, leading them to Hermione’s bed.
Gohan rolled his eyes, “There may be no point, but to those who have emotions and can feel at the moment do care. Besides, how are we bothering you? Petrified people aren’t that hard to take care of.”
Madam Pomfrey glared at the young boy, silently stunned at his attitude towards her.
“I’m going to pretend that was the sadness and anger for the victims talking.” She replied to him.
She then left the room, going into her office and leaving open the door behind her.
“I think she likes me.” Gohan said cheerfully. “She and I are going to get along great in the future.”
“What makes you think you’ll see her in the future?” Harry asked.
“I’m a Saiyan. I live to fight. It’s not that hard to figure out I’ll be hurt at this place eventually.” Gohan answered.
Seconds passed before Ron spoke up.
“Wonder if she did see the attacker, though?” Ron stated, staring at Hermione’s motionless figure. “Cause if he sneaked up on them all, no one will ever know….”
Gohan nodded, looking at Hermione intently with his eyes. They held sadness and misery in them as he studied every feature of her frozen body. The way her eyes were glassy and held terror in them, the way her facial features were rigid and her clothes were rumpled and creased, the way her left hand was ball up and-
Gohan snapped out of it; why was her hand balled up? If she was holding a mirror to look at herself she would have had either hand to part hair or whatever girls do. He bent closer to it, and saw a piece of paper crushed in a ball in her hand. He got up and saw Harry noticed it to.
“What is it guys?” Ron asked.
Making sure Madam Pomfrey wouldn’t have overheard them, they pointed out what was in her hand.
“Try and get it out.” Ron whispered.
Gohan reached out for her hand, and then immediately jerked his hand back from her.
“What’s wrong?” Harry said.
Gohan grinned sheepishly, “I might break a couple of her fingers (if not break them off) if I overestimate her grip. You get it out Harry.”
They gave him some amused looks and Harry nodded in agreement, reaching out to grab her hand. Ron and Gohan blocked Madam Pomfrey’s view of Harry as he got it out. It wasn’t a simple charge from Gohan’s point of view; apparently Hermione had a grip so tight on it Harry almost ripped the paper. As Gohan was going to volunteer to get it, Harry managed to finally get it out without ripping it. Harry started unfolding it from its form, smoothing it out into a somewhat flat paper. Ron and Gohan got up and went to his side, leaning in to read the paper.
Of the many fearsome beasts and monsters that roam our land,
there is none more curious or more deadly than the Basilisk,
known also as the King of Serpents. This snake, which may
reach gigantic size, and live many hundreds of years, is born
from a chicken's egg, hatched beneath a toad. Its methods of
killing are most wondrous, for aside from its deadly and ven-
omous fangs, the Basilisk has a murderous stare, and all who
are fixed with the beam of its eye shall suffer instant death.
Spiders flee before the Basilisk, for it is their mortal enemy,
and the Basilisk flees only from the crowing of the rooster,
which is fatal to it.
And beneath this passage only one word was written (in what Gohan could only imagine as Hermione’s handwriting): Pipes.
Harry then started talking in an eager voice, but Gohan wasn’t listening. This is what he had been looking for. THE SNAKE WAS A BASILISK! That explained why the spiders hated it, how it could survive for hundreds of years, why the roosters were being strangled, and it was a snake. It all fit! The answer he had been searching for was right in front of him now! But something made Gohan frown; why had none of the victims died?
“Gohan, are you listening?” someone asked distantly.
Gohan came back to reality from his thoughts, seeing that Ron and Harry were looking at him strangely.
“I’m sorry, what?” Gohan asked, still partly lost in his thoughts.
“I was saying that Hermione figured it out. This is the reason you and I can only hear it. We’re Parseltongues and the monster, the Basilisk, is a snake.” Harry said excitedly.
“That’s not news at all,” Gohan replied, his thoughts still distant from them, “I’ve known that for months.”
It was as if time had ceased moving. Everyone’s eyes were shocked and wide with shock, not believing what they had just heard.
“WHAT?!” Harry and Ron whisper shouted so Madam Pomfrey couldn’t hear them.
Gohan sighed, “I guess I should have said something earlier. You see, I kind of figured it out with the help of my friend a while back.” He added hastily, “I only knew it was a snake since you and I could only hear it Harry, I had no idea it was a Basilisk. If I did I would have told someone straight away.”
“Why didn’t you say anything before?!” Ron said angrily, “You willingly allowed people, allowed Hermione to become like this, to leave them at risk. You caused so many more of these people to-”
Gohan grabbed Ron by the color of his robes, bringing him up off the ground. Gohan’s eyes showed fury and pain in them, and Harry could have sworn they turned deep green for a moment.
“Do not say this is my fault.” Gohan hissed coldly, “I admit, I should have been more open to you all from the beginning, but don’t blame me. I did what I thought was right so my friends and family wouldn’t be sought out by those who would want to harm them. I only wanted to be accepted by you all, and I didn’t think you’d accept me if you knew the truth. Think what you want of what I did, but don’t you start saying why I did it.”
Gohan then snapped out of his current state, and realized what he was doing. He dropped Ron, who landed abruptly on his feet, almost falling on his knees. Gohan gasped, dropping on his knees, taking deep breathes.
“Sorry about that. Please forgive me Ron, I have… low self esteem issues.”
Ron stopped shaking, nodding, “It’s okay, I don’t have the right to say what I did. I was just surprised, that’s all.”
“Well, now that that’s all settled, maybe I could get back to what I was say?” Ron and Gohan nodded. “Good.”
He then went on to explain what must have happened to all of the victims, including Mrs. Norris, why the roosters were strangled, the spiders, and concluding that it must have been getting around by traveling in the plumbing in the walls, hence Pipes. Then Ron brought up something important.
“The entrance to the Chamber of Secrets! What if it’s in a bathroom? What if it’s in-”
“Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom!” Gohan and Harry said immediately.
All three boys were more excited and full of energy than they had been in a long time.
“This means that we can’t be the only Parselmouths in the school Gohan. The Heir of Slytherin is one too. That’s gotta be how he’s controlling the basilisk.”
“And we already know how to take care of it!” Ron exclaimed excitedly.
“We do?” Gohan asked curiously.
“You! If you could take care of all those spiders without even trying, just think about how fast you can take care of one giant worm!”
“You know you’re right!” Gohan said excitedly, “I don’t even have to look at it to try and see it, I can just sense and hear it! But what are we going to do? Should we go and tell McGonagall now or what?”
“Yeah, let’s go to the staff room,” Harry decided. “She’ll be there in about ten minutes, it’s nearly break time.”
They all ran down the stairs. They immediately went into the empty staffroom so that no one would see them hanging outside in the corridors. It was very dark in the room, with wooden chairs everywhere; they were all too excited to sit down so they just stood and walked around. But strangely, the bell for break never came. In its place, the magically magnified voice of Professor McGonagall echoed throughout the halls.
“All students return to their House dormitories at once. All teachers return to the staffroom. Immediately, please.”
Everyone stopped moving, and turned to face one another.
“What the heck is going on?” Ron asked.
“Not another attack? Not now?” Harry complained
“What’ll we do?” Ron asked, horrified. “Do we go back to the dormitory?”
Gohan shook his head, “I didn’t come all this way for nothing. I’ve got an idea.”
There was an old wardrobe behind him, and Gohan opened it up. There were several large cloaks inside for teachers.
“Let’s get in here. That way we can here what’s going on and tell them what we know.”
Gohan heard some grumbling from the two boys, though they eagerly jumped into it and shut the door, listening to what would be going on outside. They immediately heard hundreds of footsteps coming towards the room, along with voices of concern growing louder and louder, and then the door banging open, and through a crack in the door they saw wizards and witches filing toward the center in groups. Some of the teachers looked confused, others looked frightened and nervous. And then Professor McGonagall arrived. She looked gravely pale, and was shaking slightly.
“It has happened,” she informed the staffs, which were all silent listening to her. “A student has been taken by the monster. Right into the Chamber itself.”
Almost all of the teachers made some sort of notion of hysterics; Professor Flitwick let out a squeal, Professor Sprout clapped her hands over her mouth, and Snape’s grip on his chair became very tight, almost making marks in it. Gohan’s expression darkened while Harry and Ron looked very troubled by this news.
“How can you be sure?” Snape asked, his eyes for the first time showed an emotion apart from those associated with anger and smugness.
“The Heir of Slytherin… has left another message. Right underneath the first one. ‘Her skeleton will lie in the Chamber forever’.” Professor McGonagall said, her voice quavering with every word.
Many teachers now broke into panic and sobs, particularly Professor Flitwick, who was crying uncontrollably. Madam Hooch’s knees gave in, causing her to sink deep into her chair. Professor McGonagall silenced them immediately, as to have their attention again.
“Who is it? Which student?” Madam Hooch asked, her voice almost a whisper.