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1. The Other Minister 2. Spinner's End 3. Will and Won't 4. Horace Slughorn 5. An Excess of Phlegm 6. Draco's Detour 7. The Slug Club 8. Snape Victorious 9. The Half-Blood Prince 10. The House of Gaunt 11. Hermione's Helping Hand 12. Silver and Opals 13. The Secret Riddle 14. Felix Felicis 15. The Unbreakable Vow 16. A Very Frosty Christmas 17. A Sluggish Memory 18. Birthday Surprises 19. Elf Tails 20. Lord Voldemort's Request 21. The Unknowable Room 22. After the Burial 23. Horcruxes 24. Sectumsempra 25. The Seer Overheard 26. The Cave 27. The Lightning-Struck Tower 28. Flight of the Prince 29. The Phoenix Lament 30. The White Tomb

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Chapter four: Horace Slughorn

Slughorn said, half-irritably, half-proudly, ‘Two. Didn’t hear my Intruder Charm go off, I was taking a bath. Still,’ he added sternly, seeming to pull himself back together again, ‘the fact remains that I’m an old man, Albus. A tired old man who’s earned the right to a quiet life and a few creature comforts.’

He certainly had those, thought Harry, looking around the room. It was stuffy and cluttered, yet nobody could say it was uncomfortable; there were soft chairs and footstools, drinks and books, boxes of chocolates and plump cushions. If Harry had not known who lived there, he would have guessed at a rich, fussy old lady.

‘You’re not yet as old as I am, Horace,’ said Dumbledore.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Chapter eight: Snape Victorious

He reached across Ron for a couple of chicken legs and a handful of chips, but before he could take them they vanished, to be replaced with puddings.

‘You missed the Sorting, anyway,’ said Hermione, as Ron dived for a large chocolate gateau.

‘Hat say anything interesting?’ asked Harry, taking a piece of treacle tart.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Chapter fifteen: The Unbreakable Vow

‘No thanks,’ said Harry quickly. ‘I don’t like it much.’

‘Well, take these anyway,’ said Romilda, thrusting a box into his hands. ‘Chocolate Cauldrons, they’ve got Firewhisky in them. My gran sent them to me, but I don’t like them.’

‘Oh – right – thanks a lot,’ said Harry, who could not think what else to say. ‘Er – I’m just going over here with …’

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Chapter eighteen: Birthday Surprises

‘Cool,’ muttered Harry, sparing the watch a glance before peering more closely at the map. Where was Malfoy? He did not seem to be at the Slytherin table in the Great Hall, eating breakfast … he was nowhere near Snape, who was sitting in his study … he wasn’t in any of the bathrooms or in the hospital wing …

‘Want one?’ said Ron thickly, holding out a box of Chocolate Cauldrons.

‘No thanks,’ said Harry, looking up. ‘Malfoy’s gone again!’

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Chapter eighteen: Birthday Surprises

‘Can’t have done,’ said Ron, stuffing a second Cauldron into his mouth as he slid out of bed to get dressed. ‘Come on, if you don’t hurry up you’ll have to Apparate on an empty stomach … might make it easier, I suppose …’

Ron looked thoughtfully at the box of Chocolate Cauldrons, then shrugged and helped himself to a third.

Harry tapped the map with his wand, muttered, ‘Mischief managed,’ though it hadn’t been, and got dressed, thinking hard. There had to be an explanation for Malfoy’s periodic disappearances, but he simply could not think what it could be. The best way of finding out would be to tail him, but even with the Invisibility Cloak this was an impractical idea; he had lessons, Quidditch practice, homework and Apparition; he could not follow Malfoy around school all day without his absence being remarked upon.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Chapter eighteen: Birthday Surprises

Harry scrutinised him suspiciously.

‘You’ve just eaten half a box of Chocolate Cauldrons, haven’t you?’

‘It’s not that,’ Ron sighed again. ‘You … you wouldn’t understand.’

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Chapter eighteen: Birthday Surprises

And then he saw the box lying open on Ron’s bed and the truth hit him with the force of a stampeding troll.

‘Where did you get those Chocolate Cauldrons?’

‘They were a birthday present!’ shouted Ron, revolving slowly in midair as he struggled to get free. ‘I offered you one, didn’t I?’

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Chapter eighteen: Birthday Surprises

‘They’d fallen off my bed, all right? Let me go!’

‘They didn’t fall off your bed, you prat, don’t you understand? They were mine, I chucked them out of my trunk when I was looking for the map. They’re the Chocolate Cauldrons Romilda gave me before Christmas and they’re all spiked with love potion!’

But only one word of this seemed to have registered with Ron.