Home of Happily Ever Afters

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The book of charms in Zelda Ravensdale's lap lay unread, her head too full of excitement to read

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The book of charms in Zelda Ravensdale's lap lay unread, her head too full of excitement to read. She tried to let the gentle sway of the train soothe her frayed nerves, but the nervous knot in her stomach grew tighter with every passing mountain peak and little village. She didn't know why she felt nervous; she had been waiting for this day since the end of spring term. And the previous three years at Madame LeBleu's School for Fairy Godmothers had fulfilled their promise of magic and adventure. Why would this year be any different?

Zelda turned from the window and scanned the other passengers. A white-haired woman with kind and crinkled eyes gave her a wide grin from across the aisle.

"Are you from Erimount?" the woman asked. She wore a pair of dark-rimmed glasses that made her green eyes look enormous compared to the rest of her features.

Zelda returned the smile as she watched the woman's bulging eyes cut to the powder blue trunks in the rack above her head. "I go to school there."

The woman's face lit up. She had an old film camera in her lap which she periodically lifted to the window to snap photos of the quaint villages they passed in the rolling countryside of Olisand. The country was a small one in western Europe and not one that was easily found. It was tucked between mountains and was really only known to those who had been there before. This woman was undoubtedly one of the lucky tourists who had stumbled upon the hidden gem.

"Are you a..." she began to ask but stopped short. Her lips pressed into a smile that deepened the lines on her cheeks.

"I go to Madame LeBleu's," Zelda replied kindly. "I'm only a fairy godmother in training, my last year actually." It was common knowledge that fairy godmothers and their magic of legend had lasted into the 21st century, but few knew where to actually find them.

"Well, good luck then." The woman gave Zelda a wink before the train entered a tunnel, and the car plunged into darkness. Zelda closed her book and felt for her bag to replace it along with the others. The tunnel was the last landmark before they reached the city of Erimount and Zelda practically shook with anticipation at thought of finally getting back to school.

When the train emerged from the belly of the mountain, light streamed in from all directions. The old woman had gone, most likely to her sleeper car to collect her belongings as the train would reach Barrois Station shortly.

A static crackling interrupted her thoughts and the conductor's voice came over the loudspeaker to announce they would be arriving at Erimount shortly. With all her belongings stowed, Zelda turned to the window and watched the first of the old city buildings pass: a delightful assemblage of stone, brick and wood facades built over Europe's storied history – no two of Erimount's streets looked alike. The train slowed as they neared the station and Zelda caught a glimpse of the royal family's castle which loomed over the ancient and crooked streets of the national capital. One look at the familiar skyline and a lump formed in her throat. It was good to be back.

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