23 The Start of Something

Well, a lot of things were stopping them. Things they didn't know yet, and things they didn't consider.

Emma wasn't even informed that she was even in an arranged marriage, which she wasn't meant to know until a much later time.

Having a particular liking for James even considering dating him also posed the threat of a furious Courtney, who held a position of power, especially in the hierarchy of ZALE.

As the two tried to resist that small urge beneath them, Lily continued with her task. It was to be known that Courtney wasn't the only one who had ill intentions in the school.

As Lily shined and polished the trophies, she suddenly felt lightheaded, and nauseated.

She coughed and grasped her chest as she had difficulty breathing. She tried breathing in and out, trying her best to stay conscious before trying to go to Emma and warn her, but her body gave in, and her eyes closed.

She passed out, falling to the ground with a loud thud as she did. At that moment, Lily was lucky the library had carpeted floors, or she would've suffered a head injury.

The library being the quiet place it was, Emma and James heard the noise, which interested Emma and grabbed her attention.

"What was that?" She asked as she looked up from what she was previously arranging. She walked in the direction the unconscious Lily was at. She was only moments from finding out when James stopped her.

James rolled his eyes.

"It could be anything. We can check it out AFTER we're done with tidying everything up. Keep up. At this pace, we'll never finish. It's probably just a book, anyway," James said, offering quite the reasonable explanation.

Emma sighed in defeat. Her curiosity would have to wait for the moment. What James said had a grain of truth in it, since Emma had that particular weakness, which sometimes proved an advantage. She got distracted by the smaller details much more easily.

An hour or so later, they were done with their punishment, James and Emma went their separate ways, thinking it'd be better that way. As James went searching for a compendium to read, Emma decided to gather some books to read and gather information from.

As she was gathering books, Emma noticed Professor Celine Bailey scouring the library for some books.

Instinctively, she approached her professor, coming to greet her.

"Hello, professor," Emma greeted.

Her professor nodded.

"Emma," she said in return, her being the only teacher who called Emma by her first name, and not 'Ms Grey'.

"What are you doing here, Emma? Shouldn't you be eating dinner with the other students?" Professor Celine asked curiously.

Emma's smile faltered.

There goes her good student facade.

She had nothing else to do but tell the truth

"I was late for my first class and was given a punishment here by Dean Fleur," she admitted to the curious professor.

Professor Celine nodded, looking around suspiciously. Her behaviour was odd, to the point where the oblivious Emma noticed.

"I need your help," she told her student nervously.

"Of course, professor, what do you need?" Emma asked, wondering whatever could her professor ask of her.

As Professor Celine told her student some details of what she needed from her, Emma's eyes lit up.

"I know the perfect book, professor," Emma said as she took out a book from the huge pile of books she was carrying.

"I was going to read this for a bit of light reading to study before class, but this is probably what you were looking for," Emma explained, still not being able to wrap her head around the fact that Professor Celine had asked her for help instead of the librarian. She felt honoured, yet slightly creeped out.

Professor Celine nodded, taking the book from her grasp.

She didn't seem satisfied, but she definitely put up an act.

"Yes. Yes, it was. Thank you for your help, Emma, you really are one of my class' brightest students, even when I've known you for one day," Professor Celine noted.

Emma grinned proudly, but looked away from her professor's gaze, trying not to seem arrogant.

"It's nothing, professor," she said, as her gaze returned to the spot Professor Celine was just standing at.

The weird thing was, she was gone.

Emma furrowed her brows, wondering how someone could leave so quickly.

One minute she was here, at the next, she wasn't.

"How odd," she said as she continued on her way to the nearest study table for a quick study session. Emma being the ambitious woman she was, was willing to sacrifice a meal just for good grades. She really was different.

She looked around, only to see Professor Celine nowhere in sight.

Emma thought nothing of it, remembering James' previous words.

As she sat down on a study table, she suddenly thought of something.

'Why do I feel like I'm forgetting something?' Emma asked herself as she scratched her head, searching for any answers.

Her question was answered, when her gaze landed on the tools Lily used to shine the ZALE library's trophies on top of the table.

"Lily!" She exclaimed.

She had forgotten all about her.

She looked around her, only then noticing an odd scent in the air.

"What's that smell?" Emma asked as she looked around.

As she got up and looked around the library, she found a glass cabinet where all the trophies were stored.

If not for her best friend's disappearance, she would've read every plaque and award stored there.

What caught her attention instead was how the cabinet was unlocked and one of its glass doors was open.

From the corner of her eye, she noticed something and looked down.

Emma screamed. Her scream echoing throughout the entire library, grabbing the attention in a mile radius.

Emma slapped her hand on her mouth, suppressing her next scream.

She froze in her spot, as she stared below her in disbelief and fear.

Below her, was the unconscious body of her best friend. Lily Carmichael, laying on the ground.

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