Volatility

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Zelda walked into the dining hall a little taller

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Zelda walked into the dining hall a little taller. For whatever reason, she had been chosen for a special mission and it was up to her alone to make sure Leo didn't give up his crown. With her objective in mind, she began to ponder just how to convince him to keep his crown. She had only just met the boy when she'd left abruptly without giving him any hope for a happily ever after. That fact didn't seem to bother Professor Weymouth so Zelda let her mind wander away from the "how" to dwell on the "why" Professor Weymouth refused to give her.

Zelda joined a large group of fourth years at their table for dinner. "Where have you been?" Ava exclaimed.

"Naomi said you were the last to be sent into the field," Iris said, leaning around Ava.

"I was out on assignment. When I got back, I had to fill out a request to give to Madame LeBleu since I can't use my magic." That answer seemed to account well enough for her absence.

Between bites of spaghetti, the girls traded stories of their first field experiences. Both Ava and Iris had gone to the homes of children to grant wishes for toys, a common occurrence they were told. It was an easy wish for beginning godmothers. When asked about her own experience, Zelda lied and said the woman had wished to be famous.

After dinner, Zelda hunkered down in their dorm room to start on her first batch of assignments. Imogen soon returned from her dinner with Fletcher, bubbly and beaming. She too began her homework but kept her attention on her phone which buzzed on the minute with texts from her new romantic interest. Zelda watched the silly grin spread across Imogen's lips as she read each message. Zelda looked at her own phone. She had missed a call from her mom, and her oldest sister had sent a group text to the whole family with a picture of her one-year-old with cake frosting smeared across her face.

"Cute," she replied, making sure to add the baby, cake, and heart eyes emojis.

Zelda turned back to her homework assignment, but her thoughts drifted to the tabloid stashed in her desk. She wasn't sure why, but she felt guilty for having it. It had been strange to see the prince in real life. Surreal enough that now, only hours after their meeting, it seemed like it hadn't even happened. But it had — he'd held her hand for goodness sake! She wondered if this was what being starstruck felt like.

Imogen went to bed with her phone next to her pillow, while Zelda read the rest of the week's reading assignments; she was going to be awake anyway. Her mind buzzed with excitement long after she finished reading without so much as a yawn. To clear her mind, she recorded the day's events in her journal, and eventually found a few hours of sleep.

The following afternoon, on Professor Hildebrandt's suggestion, she set off to a wand maker's shop in a quiet corner of the city. Perhaps a new wand would help coax the magic out of her. After another miserable performance in charms class, she was willing to try anything rather than fall behind.

The shop was in a darkened alley, far from prying eyes, and not easy to find if one hadn't been there before. Zelda pushed open the door and entered the dim room. A bell tinkled above the door, but she wondered momentarily if the shop was even open. The room was dark and she appeared to be the only one there. A variety of unattended wands sat in dusty display cases along the walls. She was about to turn and leave when a voice floated from somewhere deep within the shop.

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