Heartstone

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Seeing Susan St. Germain stumble over complicated charms and potions was like seeing a fairy with one wing: slightly disturbing. Zelda hadn't spoken to Susan since she pushed her into the fountain, and Zelda wasn't eager for that to change. Still, the dark circles under Susan's eyes gave her slight cause for concern, but less concerning than when midterm marks came out, Zelda had pulled ahead of her in the class rank.

There wasn't time to rejoice as the Wishmaker Festival approached. Between classes and added homework, Zelda focused on brewing a perfect shrinking potion so they wouldn't terrify the elves if they found them. It only took one lonely Friday evening to find the time when Imogen had a night shift at St. Germain's and Ava was at the movies with Indiana."

A knot turned in her stomach. If she could brew the potion right, she would have just enough time to run down to St. Germain's before Imogen closed up the shop. Merlin watched nervously from the windowsill as Zelda brought the delicate potion to a simmer. The last three times she'd done this, she'd heated it to a boil and the result was a shattered beaker which had sent Merlin shooting under the bed in fright.

"You can relax," Zelda said to the wide-eyed cat. The clear liquid bubbled slowly in the jar then turned to a shimmering lilac as it hit the exact right temperature. She snatched it off the hotplate before it could explode. She swirled the liquid in the beaker to cool it then poured it into two vials, one for herself, and one for Imogen. St. Germains closed at nine so Zelda had a half an hour to get to the alley behind Founder's Square to wait for Imogen to let her in the back door. She threw on her coat to keep out the March cold, and filled a pocket with the brass buttons they hoped would attract the elves.

She signed out with the matron, but was warned to return before curfew. The city was quiet on cold evenings after dark, but these were some of the times Zelda liked best to meander through the city streets. It felt like the city was all hers, but that night she didn't have time to dawdle. She arrived outside the staff entrance to St. Germain's Shoe Emporium at five till nine.

Soon after, the door opened and a few girls in matching gold skirt suits sauntered down the alley. Zelda clung to the shadows. Another girl appeared, but held the door ajar. Zelda quickly recognized Imogen with her slicked-down high pony and golden eyeliner to match her work uniform.

"I'm so getting fired if we're caught." Imogen giggled as Zelda slipped through the door.

They were in a darkened hallway somewhere in the back of the store. There was a security camera above the door, but they made sure to stay firmly out of its view. Zelda emptied the contents of her coat pockets into Imogen's waiting hands. "You didn't even need this job, you took it so we could have a spy inside St. Germain's."

"Zelda, I get a fifty percent discount. Fifty percent," she moaned.

"Yes. On shoes made with slave labor." Zelda unstoppered her vial and held it to her lips.

Imogen gave a little whimper. "Fine. Just take your shrinking potion."

Zelda tipped back the vial and swallowed the bitter, purple liquid. She hoped she'd brewed it correctly as suddenly her legs began to tremble. The room pitched before her eyes to a dizzying effect. Once her brain seemed to catch up to her quaking limbs, she was looking right at the buckle of Imogen's five inch heels.

"Bloody blazes, you're tiny!" Imogen's voice boomed overhead. She crouched down so she could get a better look at her.

Zelda tried to slow the pounding of her heart as she gathered her mind around the fact that she was about six inches tall. It wasn't happening. "I know! Now put me in you pocket so you can do your last round through the store and get back here to shrink down. We only have an hour before curfew.

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