When I thought about this dung-beetle, the bile came up to me, but it was useful. My parents were gone and I knelt in front of my Hogwarts wardrobe and opened it expectantly. I reached for a preserving jar filled with a branch and different leaves. The green, iridescent, ugly beetle was clearly seen, sitting on a small branch, and its eyes fixed on me rigidly.
Oh yes, this beetle was the animagus form of this lovely journalist, who had the task of telling lies about Harry and me last year. Something that now cost her dearly. Her slanderous, haggard articles in the daily prophet had driven me to white heat, but revenge, as we all know, should be cold. I looked at the greenish iridescent beetle with a scornful grin on my lips. To deal with me you should think twice, if not three times. I was not an opponent to be underestimated, if one wanted me as an enemy, one could have that gladly, only it won't do well for the other person. See Miss Skeeter!
She could probably sing a song of it now; after all, she had been sitting in this glass for more than a month, and would only be free if I allowed it. I had hit the sneaky bitch when she had also been with Harry and us in the hospital wing, after the disaster of the tournament, as a small beetle. I long had the guess that the reporter could have gotten at the partly true but totally distorted statements in the daily prophet only by espionage, since I or Ron had never told anyone anything, thanks to Sirius and the story of the Marauders, I quite quickly came up with the idea that we could be dealing with an unregistered animagus.
It was only the question in which form?
It had to be something small that fit well into one hand and had wings. How else could she have been listening to Harry at divination, so high in the tower? And Malfoy's strange behavior, which Harry remembered at the time of using a walkie-talkie, was well suited to this conclusion.
In the following time I had observed my surroundings carefully, and when I had seen a slightly green-eyed beetle sitting on the windowsill in the white surroundings of the hospital, I put one and one together. So I quickly and unobtrusively conjured a preserving jar from the kitchen, quietly putting some spells on it, for example, unbreakability - not that she could turn back into a human being - as well as air permeability. After all, I did not want to suffocate her, because she being dead did not help me.
Then, in a fluid motion, I had placed the glass on the windowsill and slipped it over the beetle. And tada, I had screamed out a jubilant jubilee. I had made Miss Skeeter my prisoner! Oh, it had been a wonderful feeling to have shown it to this arrogant goat. Harry and Ron had looked at me as if I wasn't quite alright. I had smiled at them apologetically while I had screwed the glass shut quickly, then I had smacked it mockingly back and forth. The two had still stared at me blankly, but I had not planned to reveal my catch.
"Oh, nothing, just wanted to take this dung-beetle away. Something that has nothing to do in the hospital." I said to the guys and rolled my eyes.
One should leave them their naivety, because Harry would have heard my explanations just like through cotton balls, just as he had been beside the track, which was understandable, as Cedric was murdered before his eyes and he witnessed the Dark Lord rising again. Why did I leave them in the dark for so long?
No, not only because it was satisfying for me and she deserved punishment for the journalistic crap she had spread. I wanted to get something from her and I had not found any time to do so, I also worked out my list according to importance and the beetle was definitely important, but everything else I had done so far seemed more important to me. I smirked at her.
"So, Miss Skeeter, I'll soon release you from your custody, if everything goes as planned, cross your fingers!" I promised her with a malicious expression and put her back into my dark suitcase.
Tonight I would once again leave a little trip into the shelter of darkness behind me. It was already after ten o'clock, when I was preparing to leave. I put my daggers around my waist, put on my black coat, and was once again Minna Cale. Then I Apparated into a dark damp alley near the Diagon Alley. Thanks to extensive research and some money flowing, I had been able to get Rita Skeeter's address from one of her colleagues in the Daily Prophet. Her colleague's breach of confidence was not really surprising, as the dung beetle had "made a lot of friends" over the years. It should be alright, as long as I find out what I wanted to know.
She lived in a tenement house near the Prophet, to get to her job quickly. It was not the first time I'd break in, but the first time outside of Hogwarts, in the real world somehow? And that was exciting. My heart beat a little faster as I scuttled along the walls of the buildings like a dark shadow, anxious to be invisible and as quiet as possible. Quickly I directed my wand to the main door. As I suspected, it was quick to open with a simple Alohomora. Silently, avoiding any unnecessary noise, I snuck into the house. What I wouldn’t give for Harry’s invisibility cloak now, but more and more adrenaline shot through my veins, despite the fact that I had not done anything forbidden, nevertheless, the feeling was exhilarating.
On the top floor was a single door, the name Skeeter graced it and that was my goal. I had reached my goal unintentionally, so I stopped briefly to calm down my heartbeat, and only then did I dare to break the spells that lay over the apartment.
A first scan showed that she had five spells on the door! That was laughable! A delighted smile lay on my features as I began to work. A few minutes later I closed the door behind me and leaned against it. I could no longer fight against my laughter and let myself go, whilst I barely got any air and finally had to wipe the tears of laughter out of my eyes.
I do not know what I was expecting, but not that!
When, in the second year, I had taken Professor Snape's ingredients from his storage room, I had also had to break his protective charms, which he had laid on the door. I had really gotten a good sweat, and had to break up to twelve spells and then was still afraid to have overlooked one, but I had managed it, even today I was still incredibly proud of myself when I thought of it. But now this was a joke! Did Skeeter only protect her flat that lazily or did everyone do this, because then I did not have to worry anymore, as then it wouldn’t be long before I was a master thief.
‘Pull yourself together Hermione, you are not here for pleasure,’ I called myself to reason. ‘Get to work.’ I scrutinized the apartment meticulously. It showed me that I had correctly estimated Skeeter. She lived only with, for, and solely because of her work, and she was not even bad at what she did, if only she stayed with the truth. The decor was minimalist and cold, in predominantly dark colors. She was not here often, but I was looking for information that might be important to me. I had thought that this woman, as I judged her, had a definite book about every person of the magical world who played an important role, and could have come to some sort of relevant information through her animagus form. I did not believe that she always chipped everything out immediately or should I say wrote.
After nearly two hours I found it. Miss Skeeter was very predictable in my eyes. I held a thick book in my hands that contained all the secrets she could find. It was more than hard to find since she had shown creativity here, but the book itself was frighteningly easy to crack. While I was reading, I was disappointed by this woman from page to page. She had wonderful material about many important people here, but she had almost everything not followed up at all!! Yes, there would be some effort to prove everything, but minimal, considering what secrets one would come to. Despite all my disappointment, this book would serve me well next time, since I had to start not only at zero, but needed to be relatively targeting.
So thank you, Rita, I grinned maliciously as I shrunk the book and put it in my coat pocket. I Apparated right from room to room. That saved me time and her apartment was also badly secured. Only once I returned to my bed, did I then devoted myself to my new reading, for some of it was too amusing, but more about that later!