"The Midsummer Massacres were well called for! The enemies of the Revolution must die, and good on the revolutionists who have helped our cause. While we sit and twiddle our thumbs uselessly (except the brave individuals who participated in the uprising months ago) our 'priceless' Queen Glinda spends mountains on herself and (dare we imply it?) female courtesans! Yes, people of this great nation, even lovely Lady Glinda has a price and it's on our heads to pay for it. Take a look outside. Do you see the starving poor in the streets? No my friends, those aren't Munchkins. Those are children! Queen Glinda would let children, our beautiful legacy of Oz, starve in the streets, begging for scraps and selling themselves for money to support their sickly brethren. Have we no hearts? Can we not help the precious children who are so defenseless, left to be run over by Queen Glinda's carriage wheels? I ask you honestly, from the bottom of my heart, can you not give something to the cause? Find your nearest pitchfork, find your musket, your torch, your bayonet, your fighting spirit. Let Queen Glinda, the foreigner, know that she is no longer wanted!"
Elphaba spat six times on the article in The Friend of the People. It was all a load of tripe. Fiyero Tiggular knew nothing, but his persuasion skills were second to none. Of course there were blazing faults in his essay, for who in the Emerald City was not a foreigner? Hell, the precious Wizard, whom Elphaba detested, was from a different land entirely, not just an upperclass province. But the Ozians were idiots, she knew. They would lap up Tiggular's speeches and essays like cats drinking milk. He pandered to their furies, the way he talked about their children. He knew exactly how to get under their skin. Of course he was linked to the most radical revolutionaries though he never claimed association with them. He was madly loyal to their leader, Shell Thropp. Elphaba's own brother, of course, but that hardly mattered in these times. Elphaba, however, chose the more subdued group, the Animals, who had given up on their plight when Queen Glinda came into power. Glinda had promised them equal rights, but in her eagerness to spend as much of the money in the royal coffers as possible, she had conveniently forgotten the Banns.
"Useless, aren't they?" Elphaba spoke to the cat (she had hoped it was a Cat and was trying to coax him into speech which he firmly refused) on the windowsill. He, for his part, looked smartly at her and squeezed his eyes shut. "Everyone knows the Animals are the smartest. Or rather, we know it." She laughed humorlessly and turned the page of the biased periodical.
"How much did we spend on my birthday?" The very subject of Elphaba's newspaper, Glinda, picked up the pile of cards that was waiting for her on the table.
"At least one million barters, dear." Chuffrey blinked several times as Glinda broke into a silvery laugh.
"Good show! And that was over a period of three days alone?" Chuffrey nodded dumbly. "Yes, very good. Was that all on poker? Goodness, I knew Pfannee was bad at cards, but really!" Her laughter tinkled around the room and several other tables picked it up. Pfannee frowned good-naturedly at her cards.
"We shall see how badly I do at cards when I am against you, Glinda," Pfannee retorted, and the game began.
"But Glinda," Chuffrey started.
"No, no, go away," Glinda shooed him, giggling. "I shan't hear any of this right now. Tell me later."
"Yes, alright Glinda," Chuffrey sighed and slunk away to consult with the treasurers.
"Your Majesty, should we continue to send our extra money to Floria for their revolt?" Pressuring treasurers rested deceiving hands on Chuffrey's shoulders. "We mustn't back down in the face of Fliaan. They would see it as weakness on our part."
"Send them money then." Chuffrey crumbled under the influence of the many well-trained money handlers. "We can't back down now."
"I win again!" Pfannee gleefully pulled Glinda's glass chips toward herself, patting Glinda's hand and tossing her a small chip. "Go buy yourself a cake, little Munchkin." Glinda squawked and the table burst into laughter. Glinda joined, tossing the chip back at Pfannee.
"Here, you're the real Munchkin."
"Oh don't be bitter now. Dear, tell us how you became Glinda again." Shenshen leaned forward and smiled sycophantically.
"Oh really? Again?" Glinda giggled demurely and agreed, to the smattered cheers of the poker crowd.
"Well it was nearly five years ago now," she began dramatically, as she always did. "And I was new to the City. Just came from Shiz you see, a school in my home province, Gillikin. Very high honors, Shiz. So I came to the City as Galinda and saw the Wizard. He said I was pure goodness," she glowed, "and that I must move here immediately. Madame Morrible agreed wholeheartedly, and sent me money for an apartment. Naturally I began work for the Wizard and he suggested I become Glinda to fit in with the metropolitan life. Thus, I am Glinda."
The small group at the table applauded and agreed that this was their favorite story.
"Mr. Tiggular." A young boy knocked on the door to Fiyero's bathroom. "Mr. Tiggular, we have received word of a young woman who would like to meet with you."
"Who is it?" Fiyero called back, penning a new article for The Friend of the People. "Tell her I haven't time."
"Yes, sir." The boy rushed away to apologize insincerely and send Elphaba away. "He's very busy you see."
"But I have--" The door slammed in Elphaba's face before she could elaborate. "Dammit." The sun was high over the sparkling green city. Elphaba settled her knife back into her boot and stomped away. There was always time to try later.
"Malky," Elphaba cooed to the cat. He pittered over to receive a cut of meat Elphaba had stolen from the butcher's stall down the road. As she rubbed his luminous coat, Elphaba noticed the open page of The Friend of the People, covered with spit marks. Just underneath the Midsummer Massacre article was a call for all Animal rebels to be killed, especially those who were planning the robbery of the stores.
"Malky, we're in." Malky arched his back luxuriously and purred.
"Sir, the woman is back," the boy called into Fiyero's bathroom.
"I haven't the time, I've told you!" Fiyero called back, and returned to his article. "Send her away."
"Sir, she says she knows where the Animals are going to attack," the boy called back.
"What?!" Fiyero nearly upset his quill and ink. "Send her in!" The boy showed Elphaba in and pointed to the closed bathroom door.
"Mr. Tiggular?" She called through the wood. Surreptitiously, she folded another piece of cloth over her knife.
"Yes, yes, come in." Fiyero straightened up the cloth that covered his body as he soaked. "Now, you have information on the Ani--" Before the entire sentence was done, Elphaba had whipped out the knife and plunged it into Fiyero's chest. His eyes bulged with shock, then fell shut. His limp body lolled on the side of the tub and Elphaba stepped back a little.
She nearly tripped over a crate of "Friend of the People"s and clung to the curtain by the window, staring in awe at her own deed.
"Mr. Tiggular? Miss?" The boy was back, no doubt having heard the crash Elphaba made tripping. She flung open the door and raced out, not stopping to hear the boy's high-pitched scream as he discovered his master.
"Oh tsah," Glinda dismissed airily. "So another rebel died, so what?" The advisor looked troubled.
"This was a very important rebel, Your Highness," he explained. "The people are calling for King Chuffrey's head." This did not seem to get through to Glinda, who waved the advisor off.
"My liege," the advisor bowed in front of King Chuffrey, "I suggest you flee the City at once."
"Chuffrey" Glinda whined, holding her suitcase dejectedly. "Where are we going?"
"Glinda, please, stop talking for a minute," Chuffrey snapped irritably. His tone was so strained and harsh that Glinda stopped entirely.
"Malky, I'm dead." Elphaba was desperately shoving her clothing into a cloth bag. The small white cat looked at her critically, like he was evaluating her decision. "You're right." She dropped the bag. "They won't know where to find me."
And so she resigned herself to a life of hiding, as she had done before. There was enough food in the cupboards for a day, she saw. Grimacing, she decided she could stretch it as long as she needed.
"Is that her?" A Radical pointed to Elphaba, swathed in black, who had been avoiding capture for three days. His partner nodded silently and they slipped into the crowd.
"What the hell?" Elphaba tried to pull her arms out of the grip of two men, but they did not yield, instead knocking off her hood and forcing her to the ground. They made quite the spectacle, shouting "Murderer! Murderer!" and pressing her face into the cobbled street.
"We're taking you to Thropp," one Radical hissed in her ear. She attempted to whip herself around, to free herself.
"I'm his sister!" She protested. The Radicals only laughed. "I'm his sister!"
"Of course you are."
"Sir, we need to stop." The carriage driver turned and spoke to Chuffrey, who looked pale and drawn. Glinda stared out the window, held Chuffrey's hand, and then held her breath as they slowed and stopped. They exited the carriage and Glinda was hardly pleased to be dressed in shabby noble's clothing, disguising themselves as Second Estate Ozians fleeing the Reign of Terror.
"Hey, ain't that the King?" A greasy barman poked his friend in the side. "Gimme a barter."
"We ain't bet on seeing the King," his friend groused, but passed over a barter anyway. The barman held it up, comparing the profiles, and whooped.
"Hey! King man!" Chuffrey turned and blanched. A few of the patrons lifted their heads and some stood, moving outside.
"Dammit. Glinda, get in the carriage." Glinda opened the door and began to climb in, but the Radicals in the bar had already seized her around the waist and dragged her from the seat. Chuffrey stood solidly as they put him in handcuffs and only winced as Glinda began to sob. The Radicals were unmoved as they packed them both into a smaller, stuffy carriage and rode them away to be imprisoned.
"Dammit Fabala! You killed Tiggular!" Shell pounded his fist on the wooden bench where Elphaba was sitting.
"Shut up, Shell! Don't you call me that!" She shot back, rattling the chains that kept her in place. "You're going to be killed someday, Shell, you're a bully and a tyrant. The monarchy won't stand for this, you know that."
"I don't need your lectures, Elphaba," he snarled. "I'm not the one about to be executed." Did she blanch? He studied her sharp, unmoving features and decided that she was scared, at least a little.
When she spoke, her voice was stony and cold. "I'm your sister."
"For the crime of murder," Shell read from a scroll, forcing himself to stay calm. It was only Elphaba. They weren't close. Blood didn't matter, not in these times. "For the crime of murder, we find Elphaba Thropp guilty, to be executed by guillotine." Elphaba closed her eyes and bowed her head, her hastily shorn hair swinging and irritating the back of her neck.
"Kill the murderer!" Someone in the crowd shouted, and the mob of people roared their approval. Elphaba was forced downward and she knelt on the hard wood. Her head was shoved roughly into the headrest and someone cheered. Shell leaned down and whispered against her ear, "Ma sœur, je t'aimais." Elphaba rotated her head and spat at his feet.
"Now!" He yanked the rope himself and Elphaba heard a high-pitched whistle from above her head, and then it was black.
"They're going to behead Chuffrey." Glinda spoke, practically conversationally, with the guard at her cell. She had not been allowed a cell with Chuffrey, which was just as well.
"Yes, they are." The guard rocked back and forth on his heels, wishing Glinda would be quiet for a while. She seemed to read his annoyance and sat back down on her hard wooden chair.
"They're going to behead me," she said quietly. The guard didn't hear.
"Cut off her hair," a bossy voice ordered. Two guards entered Glinda's cell and yanked at her matted curls. They were not careful with their knives and Glinda earned a good few cuts on her neck for it. "Bind her hands." The rope was rough, it scratched her wrists and chafed them. She felt her eyes fill with tears, but did not shed them. Today she would be strong. Today, of all the days in her life, she would be brave.
Glinda was brave as the guards loaded her onto the cart. She was brave as they paraded her around the City. She was brave as townspeople, her people, threw stones, rotten fruit, pointed guns and knives at her. She was brave as she was led to the guillotine. She was brave up until the point where she stepped on her executioner's foot. Though her face was sincerely unaffected, her voice shook.
"Forgive me sir, I did not mean to do it."