Broadway Legend / MdN Veteran
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:17 pm
Current Obsession: Writing
Main Role: Fan
Wicked Rises Again Chapter 5
I was able to sense at once that I had been sprayed with sleeping gas, bound, gagged, and stuffed into a closet in an unknown location before I had even opened my eyes. Not that it would have helped matters, for it was pitch black in the cramped environment I had been placed in against my free will. I spit out the cloth in my mouth and tried to figure out exactly where the exit was without untying the ropes around my wrists. I sighed and sat further toward what seemed to be somewhat of a solid surface, perhaps a wall. I thought this might be a good time to reflect on what happened recently, and the first thing that came to mind was when I had found Nessa’s shoes, only to discover they were useless to me. I regretted lobbing them further into the desert; now they will never be seen again. I have to contact Glinda, I thought desperately as I struggled with the rough ropes that were scraping against my skin. They suddenly gave way with a snap, and I was able to blindly search for the exit. I came across a lever, and I pulled it without any hesitation. The floor opened out under me, and before I could think about it, I was falling into the earth. I sucked in a breath and tried not to scream my head off. The fall was over within a few minutes, and I took a moment to gather my bearings. I was in an emerald mine, far below the surface of Oz.
“What are you doing here, Elphaba? You’re going to get caught!” I turned around to come face-to-face with Boq. He put down his mining pick and came to greet me.
“I didn’t show up by choice,” I responded, pointing to the hole above me. He looked to where I mentioned, and saw the open trapdoor high above us.
“You came from up there?” he asked, peering up into the trapdoor. The door slammed shut, and he changed his gaze back down to me. I just shrugged, not even sure myself what happened. I heard people approaching where we were located.
“Boq, I need to ask you a favor,” I said quickly, trying not to panic. The voices were getting closer. It seemed that the miners were back from their lunch break. A scream came from a distance; my head snapped up. Someone had seen me. Boq shifted in front of me instinctively.
“All right, what do you want me to do? We don’t have much time. They’re getting close enough to see you!”
“I need you to hide me.” Boq looked over at the miners, then back at me, and then over at the crowd of workers again. He shoved me behind a particularly large rock coated with emeralds and ran off. I remained crouched in my hiding spot for seemed like an immeasurable amount of time. At one point, the trapdoor opened again to admit my broomstick. I snagged it from the air and ducked behind the boulder again before anyone could catch sight of me and call for the police. Unfortunately, this did not go unseen by Boq, and he trotted back over to me, looking very annoyed with me.
“Elphaba, what do you think you’re doing? How can I expect to do favors for you if you don’t even do something as simple as staying hidden? Why did you jump out from behind the rock like that? I had to tell my friend over there that you were a giant frog. I don’t think I convinced him; here he comes. You better disappear pretty soon if you want to stay under cover. Wait, he stopped, we still have some time left to talk. Have you heard from Glinda? She disappeared a few days ago and I just wanted to know if she was safe. Have you two been keeping in contact? I’d really like to know, I have been staying up half the night searching for her. So far, there has been no sign of her except for a single shoe that was found just within the Emerald City limits.”
“I was retrieving my broom. For some reason, it had fallen out of nowhere. I couldn’t let anyone see it. It would be proof for the Ozians I wasn’t really dead. As for Glinda, I spoke to her recently and she is perfectly fine, she’s just worried sick about you.” I turned to leave, but then I heard a shriek of terror off to the side. I gave Boq a shocked look; he sprinted to the Ozian in need. I listened in on their conversation.
“Randall, what is it? Haven’t you heard the recent news about the Wicked Witch?”
“What are you talking about, of course I have! No, the trouble is something different entirely. My pick broke, and I just discovered the reason! You see that emerald right there? For whatever reason, it was the cause of the pick to shatter and it kind of scared me. You’re a good friend; do you think you could lend me your pick for the day?”
A few minutes of silence, and then I heard a muttered thanks from the man I presumed was called Randall. I took this moment to search through my duffel bag for the Grimmerie, my trusted spell book that has both helped and harmed over the past months of use. I caressed the large volume of magic absently for a minute, letting the moment of when I last used it hang in the air temporarily before finally opening it. I teleported to my castle, the whole time wondering what I would find happening there right now.
“Fiyero, be careful! She could be tricking us!” I warned him. He ignored me, and kept his focus on Lexi.
“What is our first move? I think we should get started right away, unless you think we should wait until morning. You are the boss, what do you think is best?”
“We should probably get a good night’s rest first. See you bright and early, my fellow accomplices,” Lexi said before vanishing. During this conversation, I noticed Elphaba showed up behind her, but I couldn’t say anything earlier because we were still under the act of being against her. Now that she was gone, I could point Elphaba out to Fiyero.
“Elphaba! How did you get here?” Fiyero went to hug her, but Elphaba stopped him before he could get any closer.
“What in the name of Oz is going on? I thought I trusted you two! And now, I find out you have been going behind my back making deals with the enemy! So, who are you going to choose, me or her? It is your choice, Fiyero; since I know Glinda will make the same one, no matter what.”
“Don’t get me involved in this,” I called out boldly to them.
It really irritated me when I was either was a third wheel in Elphaba’s love relationship or suddenly involved in a fight between them. These things are meant for two people, not three! It made me want to scream out “Sweet Oz!” because it frustrated me so much. Yet I say nothing, because they expect me to be happy all the time, but I just don’t feel that way as often as I used to. Perhaps I have changed since my days at Shiz. Sometimes I still feel like my old self, but she feels so different from which I am now it’s hard to believe she was me at one point. Elphaba and Fiyero continued their argument in a whisper, slowly walking away from me. I finally had enough of their pretending I didn’t exist and followed them.
“How can you not believe me? I’m telling you the truth!”
“I need to think for a little while. Good night.” Elphaba started to head down the hallway, but I snuck after her, keeping to the shadows. The torches burned dimly close to her bedroom, making it easier to stay hidden. I waited until she removed her duffel bag and left it unattended, and dove for the spell book. I did something I had never, ever done before; I stole it. Not steal, borrow, I told myself firmly as I left the room.
I came out close to the dining area where I thought it would be safe to open it. The Grimmerie fell open with a loud thump. The page flipped on their own accord to a love charm I had never seen used before. On the very next page was the reverse spell, hopefully used to fall out of love? In my desperation, I was able to pronounce all of the words correctly and in no time I had completed my necessary task. I replaced the spell book and curled up on the provided air mattress before falling asleep.
The next morning I found out exactly how successful the spell was. Fiyero came into the room and lifted Elphaba in one of his romantic hugs that lasted over a minute, and I didn’t feel the least bit jealous. I found myself able to be happy for who Fiyero had chosen to spend the rest of his life with. I grinned and went to Elphaba’s closet to see if there were any dresses provided for me. Fortunately, a pink ruffled dress in the very back had belonged to Nessarose lay innocently in the closet for the taking. I took the dress into the bathroom which was the door next to the secret passage to shower and change. When I had finished, I discovered that Nessa and I are the same size in dresses. I found a brush, and picked it up. I ran it quickly through my hair, and nearly dropped it when I heard Elphaba and Fiyero talking about me. I put it back down on the porcelain counter and eavesdropped by the door.
“I noticed that she was actually happy to see us like this in front of her for the first time since she knew I had picked you to be my wife. Did you do something to change her, Elphaba?”
“No, actually, I didn’t. This time, I didn’t try to get involved. I probably should have, though. She always seemed so, well-“
“Upset? Jealous?” Fiyero interrupted.
“Yes. That is possible. I think it was rude to ignore her. I’m sorry about last night; I should have believed you right away.” Elphaba sighed. I heard her stand up and head for the bathroom door. There was a loud knock moments later.
“Glinda? Are you in there? I need to change.” I unlocked the door, and it swung open to reveal a surprised Elphaba and Fiyero.
“Hey, didn’t you know I was even in there? Or have you two been ignoring me again, like the other times?”
“Glinda, wait-“Elphaba made to grab my arm, but I shrugged out of her grasp.
“No! Elphie, I am sick and tired of pretending to be happy when I know I’m not. I loved him, and then, last night, I knew I just could not take it anymore. I snuck into your room and took your spell book to fix things at last.”
“What happened next?” Elphaba whispered. I turned around and saw she wasn’t angry, not afraid, but an emotion that seemed fairly close to it.
“Well, as you can see, I don’t love him anymore,” I finished quietly.
I crossed the bedroom and sat on Elphaba’s bed. She followed me, but did not sit down. I looked up at her, and crawled to where she left her duffel bag. I opened it to the spell I used last night.
“I used that,” I said, unable to keep my eyes on it for long.
For some irrational reason, I was afraid of it now. I shoved it away from me and sat up, hugging my knees. Elphaba studied the spell for several long moments before joining me once more.
“So, I guess this means we won’t be leaving yet, Glinda?” Fiyero asked me. I turned around and stuck my tongue out at him.
“How are you feeling?” Elphaba questioned me.
“We really need to go, before Lexi shows up,” I said, hopping to my feet and avoiding her question.
Fiyero grasped my hand, and we vanished before Elphaba’s eyes. She did not seem the least bit surprised in the last moments I saw her. Magic was an unavoidable and necessary part of our lives now. The image of Kiamo Ko blurred before my eyes and faded to nothingness.
Lexi’s elusive cadence was the first thing I registered when the East Castle swam into my vision.
“It’s about time you two showed up! What took so long? I said first thing in the morning and now it is nearly noon. This is not a good start to our mutual agreements. If you wish to work for me, I at least expect for you to be punctual.”
Her hands were on her hips and her stance suggested that she was extremely annoyed with us. My eyes moved to the floor and faux shame, trying my best to play the part of the other side.
“So sorry, we had business to attend to. We had to make sure that Elphaba really believed our intentions of leaving Kaimo Ko before we could get anywhere. I hope you understand, your Wickedness,” I bowed to my knees and looked up at her face hopefully. Lexi frowned in disapproval, but seemed to accept my story.
“You may rise, Fiyero,” she said.
I rose to my feet and took the chance to observe my surroundings. We were in a large dining hall, with a long banquet table stretching from ten feet behind her to very near the far wall. Draped gracefully over it was a blood red tablecloth decorated with burning scented candles. I registered the wonderful mixed scent of vanilla and pine. Lexi wore an emerald green dress that was complementary with the elegant tablecloth and made her eyes seem brighter than usual. Her hair fell to her shoulders and seemed to glow in the low lighting of the extravagant room. Hanging on the ceiling and coming down to several feet above the table was an enormous glass chandelier covered in more candles made of the same material. The glass gleamed and shone in the candlelight like one huge star dangling above us.
“What are you staring at, you fools? Let’s get to work. Follow me to my hidden lair.”
She turned and walked to the end of the dining hall without waiting for us. I followed her without question. I heard Glinda’s tentative steps behind me, but I said nothing to her. The Wicked Witch of the East made several complicated turns that made it difficult to keep up with her, and son we were so deep in the castle I wondered if there was any hope of getting out. Eventually, we came to the end yet another endless hallway, but instead of a crossroads of more corridors, there was only a door. Lexi turned the brass handle. The door creaked open. A dark stairway was revealed, and the light only reached the third stair. Beyond that, nothing but darkness added to the mystery.
“After you, Fiyero,” Lexi said to me, motioning to the darkness below. I slowly descended into the pitch black stairwell, keeping a tight grip on the rail by the wall. Not far down, I slipped on some moss and lost my footing. I tripped and nearly landed on my face in an unexpected fall. As I was getting to my feet, I heard Glinda start to climb down the stairs after me.
“Are you all right?” she called out tentatively. I groped in the direction of her voice and felt her against me. It took me a minute to realize that she was hugging me. I responded, and could sense she was afraid.
“She’s coming,” I whispered, and we broke apart.
“Move along now, you two. We are behind schedule.” Lexi’s voice said. We continued down the stairs until we reached the bottom with no further interruptions. We were in a small room with a cramped wooden desk and a tiny chair to match. The desk was covered in papers with words that seemed to be in another language entirely. A few sheets contained diagrams of wand and broom designs, and other still had drawings of winged monkeys and the castles of Oz. I rushed forward to examine the notes on the desk and discovered they were attempts at spells and charms, dozens of failed attempts, slashes all over the page, line after line, word after word…my eyes drifted to a sketch of one of the castles. The top of the page read, “Kaimo Ko,” I recognized Elphaba’s castle, because she drew a small witch in the sky on a broom that looked similar to her.
“Yes, these are the things I have been planning for the past few years. Look if you dare at what I have attempted to achieve. Now I can succeed with you two at my side. Hopefully, my goals will be the same as yours in this operation. Of course, you’ll be needing places to stay. The master bedroom is through that door, not too difficult to find. Lunch will be ready soon. My monkeys are preparing something right now,” She skirted up the stairs in a whirlwind of emerald velvet. I sighed and sagged into the chair.
“What are we going to do?” Glinda whimpered, looking about in fear. Her eyes widened in fright in such a way that melted my heart. I took her hand in mine to reassure her.
“Don’t worry, Glinda. We’ll find a way through this,” I quietly told her. I smiled up at her, and she smiled back, looking more like she used to. Suddenly, she gasped and a thought seemed to return that spark in her eyes. She pulled out her spell book and started muttering words under her breath, barely stopping to turn the page. A few minutes later, she completed the spell successfully. Nothing happened. I stared at the book in confusion.
“I just remembered Boq, and decided to reverse the enchantment placed on him. He should be happy now,” Glinda explained.
I let go of her hand and took a closer look at the spell book. The title was so faded it was impossible to make it out. The cover was pink, of course, but the words were not in our language, but a tongue of another world, one far away from here. I heard a door slam above us, and brisk footsteps down the stairs. Glinda slammed the book shut and shoved it into her messenger bag just as Lexi came into view behind her.
“Lunch is served,” she announced.
We followed her up the stairs and through the complicated maze-like path
back to the dining hall. Several winged monkeys were bustling about and setting the table with covered silver platters and silverware. One monkey was pouring some wine into a cup while the other held it steady. A few other flying creatures were folding napkins into birds before placing them on the table and leaving the room. In unison, the remaining monkeys lifted the covered dishes to reveal bread, fruit, cheese, soup, pork, and beef. We started the meal in complete silence, giving the creatures around us signal to leave, and they did. After a while, the silence weighed to heavy on me and I wished someone would say something. I didn’t want to be the first to talk, and the silence continued. I looked up in a near panic at Glinda for help, but her eyes seemed far away and did not meet mine. I switched my gaze to Lexi, who seemed to read my mind and obeyed my silent request.
“I have the perfect plan for what we’ll do. Glinda, you can remain here for today, but then tomorrow, I want you to return to the Emerald City. Fiyero, I have a special arrangement for you. Now, let’s get to work on those notes I laid out for both of you. I’ll be in my bedroom if either of you need me.”
Together, Glinda and I did our best to find our meandering way back to the small study room at the bottom of the stairwell, making many wrong turns and dead ends along the way. Eventually we found the small desk and chair with the mess of notes and diagrams littering the floor, desk, and chair. We looked at each other and set to work.
“I will try to make sense of these notes while you study those drawings,” I suggested. I picked up a sheet of paper, cleared the chair, and sat down. The paper I held seemed to have some sort of spell on it. I strained to make sense of the garbled tongue, without much success. I set it aside and took another look at the Kaimo Ko castle. I turned it over to see if there was anything on the other side. What I discovered was a well-detailed map of the fortress, with many small notes scribbled here and there. It appeared that Lexi knew the stronghold even better than Elphaba. Trapdoors I had never even seen before were revealed. Many secret passages that seemed to have never been used by Elphaba before looked to have long since existed before this moment, twisting and wandering like confused snakes under the castle and off the map.
“Glinda, come look at this,” I whispered hoarsely after hours of gaping in horror at the map. She leaned over my shouder and gasped in astonishment.
“What is that?” she cried.
“It’s Kiamo Ko,” I responded in disbelief.