Unknown Female

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Zelda awoke the following morning, groggy and bleary eyed. She almost wondered if everything had been a dream, but with a quick peek under the covers, the sight of the gown she was still wearing confirmed it all. While Imogen was in the shower, Zelda took her chance to stash the dress in the back of her bureaux.

Still, she couldn't stop grinning as she readied for class.

"What's up with you, Miss Smiles?" Imogen asked knowingly.

Zelda gave her a casual tilt of the head. "Don't know. Woke up on the right side of the bed, I guess."

Imogen just shook hers and gave Zelda the impression she didn't fully believe her.

When they arrived at Charms class, they found Susan sitting alone in the room with a pout on her lips. In the days after her tour with the prince she had recounted the tale in great detail, and volume, to anyone she could get her hands on. As time and gossip quickly moved on, she seemed to sour as the prince never pursued anything further with her. Zelda had hardly wondered whether anything happened between Dante and Susan and she didn't care to.

The classroom filled quickly as the other girls hurried in to take their seats and class began in its usual fashion. Professor Hildebrandt droned on about mood enhancement charms, but today Zelda's mind only wondered what Leo was up to and whether he was thinking about her.

She probably wouldn't have paid any attention in class if a shriek hadn't pierced through the air. Before Professor Hildebrandt could scold the class, Willa Bradford jumped from her chair with phone in hand.

"Prince Leopold Barrois was photographed outside Madame LeBleu's late last night," Willa exclaimed, waving her phone through the air.

Susan immediately perked up in her seat at the mention of the the prince. "Let me see," she commanded, snatching the phone from Willa. "Prince Leo shares intimate moment..." she paused reading the caption of the photo that a gossip site had posted. Her eyes darkened. "With unknown female?"

She thrust the phone back into Willa's hand, obviously unimpressed with the headline.

Zelda fumbled through her bag for her phone.

"Decorum, ladies. Please!" Professor Hildebrandt urged from the front of the class, but she had clearly lost the room.

"Who do you think it is?" called out Maud Woods.

"Is it one of the Gits?" Miranda Harrington asked, turning around from her seat in the front row.

"She looks too old!" another chimed in, but Zelda wasn't listening. She didn't have to look long to find the photo. It was on the front page of every regional news outlet.

"How can you tell? Her back is to the camera."

"She has big hips," Zelda heard Susan remark. A few voices objected.

"That dress is gorgeous."

"LADIES! DEMERITS!" Professor Hildebrandt hollered, tapping her wand on the desk to draw the girls back to attention. Threatening them with demerits silenced the room enough for the lesson to continue, but all day long the professors had difficulty keeping the girls in order as speculations about the mystery girl and the prince were passed around on folded pieces of paper and in furtive whispers.

Zelda couldn't avoid discussing the news without drawing suspicion, so she nodded enthusiastically as Imogen and Ava swapped theories about who the girl was around the lunch table. Even Specs sent them texts asking if they had heard the news over at Madame LeBleu's. Apparently there was a pool going on over at Lord Scarlet's Academy and Zelda was one of the top bets.

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