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With the first day behind her, Zelda found a new sense of clarity as she readied for the second day

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With the first day behind her, Zelda found a new sense of clarity as she readied for the second day. While she had wondered whether things would change forever between Dante and herself, she had her answer now. A part of her still ached for something to fill the space he had left behind. Love had changed her, made her see things in a new light, and it took a piece of her when it left. But putting Dante firmly in her past would give her the momentum to move forward.

Imogen tossed Zelda a muffin from the dining hall as they met in the quad. She looked concerned as they headed for the academic building.

"I'm fine," Zelda said cheerily before Imogen could even ask.

"I didn't say anything."

"Really," Zelda insisted. "Last night was good for me. I've been dreading running into Dante since I arrived in Erimount, and now I'm cured."

"Good," Imogen said with a grunt as she had to use her full body weight to pull open the heavy wooden door to the building. "So you'll go on a blind date with me and Fletcher?"

"Who's Fletcher," Zelda asked as they ascended the stairs to the second floor.

"The guy we saw at St. Germain's. I've been texting him"

"No blind dates!" Zelda said emphatically as she recalled the well-groomed, preppy boy from the shoe store.

They turned into the charms classroom. "You don't know what you're missing," Imogen said wistfully.

The class was gathered around the practice area at the back of the room. Zelda set her bag down and pulled out the wand she had purchased for her first year at Madame LeBleu's. It was a long, sleek, blackwood wand. The wandmaker had selected it carefully for her, remarking that her magic was stronger than the usual fairy and would likely be prone to surges. The Blackwood would mitigate these slight fluctuations, the wandmaker had insisted. It had served Zelda well over the past three years. She gripped the wand in her left hand, relishing the familiarity of the hard, inflexible wood in her palm. It represented everything she wanted to be: strong and consistent.

"Attention, ladies," Professor Hildebrandt sang from the center of the practice area. "Attention."

The hushed conversations stopped. Professor Hildebrandt had on a pink wool skirt suit today, her white hair still in a French twist. "Let's get those wands in the air. I trust you all remember how to make snow?"

Zelda raised her arm, wand ready to perform the spell.

"Neiger," the girls recited in unison, then the room fell quiet again. The air filled with a sudden chill and a flurry of snowflakes from twenty-three wands. Zelda's stomach sank and she gripped her wand tighter, trying to coax snow from her wand. She whispered the charm again, picturing icy blizzards and snow drifts in her mind. But again, nothing.

"Miss Ravensdale, is there a problem?" Professor Hildebrandt asked from the center of the circle.

Zelda felt a surge of warmth to her cheeks. "N-no," she said with a shiver, but not from the cold. She could feel the gentle tingle of magic tracing the line of her arm.

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