Curses and Emeralds
by Maureen Lilith Hart
After four months of deep mourning for the loss of her best friend and her former fiancee, Glinda's life was finally returning to some manner of normalcy. She did have responsibilities in the Emerald City, ones that were sometimes more than she wanted to bear. But she took them seriously. After banishing the wizard, Glinda had quickly set about repealing the Animal Bans and reinstating the rights of the Munchkins. It had also fallen to her to name the new governor of Munchkinland, which had been done quickly. The position had gone to a native of the region. Glinda hoped this would help relieve some of the tensions created during Nessa's reign. Those things were small comfort for all the pain caused to everyone involved, and there were some wrongs that would never be righted. Glinda knew she had to do her best; It felt sometimes as if the weight of the world rested on her shoulders.
Now, though, it was very late, and the rest of the city was asleep. This was the only time Glinda had completely to herself, and her habit was to stay awake until the wee hours of the morning, thinking and remembering. Sometimes, it made her laugh at herself when she remembered the days she believed thinking was the worst thing she could do. How very young and foolish she must have sounded to everyone!
The most unexpected source of comfort in Glinda's life now was Elphaba's crystal ball, which Glinda had ordered removed and brought to her own house soon after her friend's death. She had seen the confused looks on everyone's faces as the large object was delivered and carried up to her private rooms. At the time, even Glinda hadn't known exactly why she had wanted it. She only knew that it had seemed to call out to her somehow, and in the end she couldn't bear to leave it in the now-deserted castle.
Glinda found herself wondering why Elphaba would need such a thing, since she was gifted with natural powers of second sight. But then, she supposed that sometimes that vision had not worked as Elphaba wished, and she had used the crystal instead. For Glinda, who had no such powers at all, the large orb was quite useless. It stood on the right hand side of the room, near one of the large windows, looking like a grossly oversized knickknack. Glinda spent hours staring into it, but knew enough about herself to realize she hadn't the talent to use it. Madame Morrible had not lied about Glinda's lack of aptitude for magic. Even with years of practice, she doubted she would have even a fraction of the ablilty with which Elphaba had been blessed.
Glinda knew that Elphaba had never believed her magical powers to be any sort of blessing at all. At first, it had been because they were an embarrassment to her family. Later, because of everything that had happened with the wizard, Elphaba had been even more ashamed, though the feelings of shame should not have rested with her. The wizard was the one who should have regretted himself. He had felt no sorrow over anything until he had realized Elphaba was in fact his daughter. By then it was far too late for repentance.
Glinda was shaken from her musings when the large crystal suddenly flickered, a moving image coming to life inside it. For a few seconds, Glinda stared at her hands, as if expecting to find answers there. She knew that she hadn't done anything to turn the crystal on... or however it worked. She stared, transfixed, as the image clarified. There was no sound accompanying it, and Glinda couldn't guess whether there was supposed to be or not. But the visual was quite enough to hold her attention.
Elphaba was there, entering a small run-down house somewhere Glinda did not recognize.
She was dressed as she had been when Glinda had last seen her, though now she looked extremely tired. It was only then that Glinda noticed the... being... walking beside Elphaba. His eyes were so familiar, and Glinda knew there could only be one person that would be with her best friend. Still, it took a few moments of watching before she could reconcile herself to the idea that it must really be Fiyero. So that was what Elphaba had meant by "seeing his face for the last time."
Once Elphaba and Fiyero entered the small house together and the door closed behind them, the image in the crystal disappeared, going out like a light being switched off. Glinda still had no clue how those images of the present were delivered to her, but she didn't care. What mattered was that Elphaba and Fiyero were alive! The problem now was going to be finding out where they were. With this knowledge, it would make it easier for Glinda to make sure they stayed safe. Even if she had to do that without one bit of help. It would be worth all the effort and time spent, just to know they were safe. What made Glinda happiest was to think that wherever they were, at least Elphaba and Fiyero were there together.