A/N: sorry for the lack of updates :( Life is hectic. But since I live in SoCal and can barely go outside since the ash is so thick from the fires, I have a chance to update. After this there will be a short summary and short epilogue. Thanks for everyone who's been reading :)
Glinda woke up early the next day. She slowly got out of bed and changed back into her dress. After taking time to fix her hair and wash her face, she left Avery's room and proceeded into the living room.
Reed and Fiyero were still fast asleep. Glinda quietly sneaked into the room and glanced out the window. She suppressed a pleasant gasp. The whole forest and clearing was covered in a white blanket of snow. Glinda smiled in quiet awe at the scene. She suddenly wanted to go walk in it. Ever since she had taken power, Glinda had rarely had time to enjoy the marvels of winter.
Still taking care to remain silent, she slipped on Elphaba's boots. They were big, but the only other shoes she had were her heels, so the boots would have to do. Glinda silently slipped out of the house.
Reed was woken up by his mother aggressively shaking him. His eyes fluttered open to find her frantically trying to wake him up.
"What?" he asked, yawning.
"Get up NOW!" His mother hissed.
Reed sat up, sensing the urgency in his mother's voice. "What is it?"
"I just went for a walk and found members of the Gale Force about 20 minutes away. We have to leave…now!"
Reed sprang up from the couch without another thought. He landed on Fiyero, who had been sleeping on the floor next to the couch. Fiyero now sat up with a yelp, causing Reed to lose balance and land on the floor with a crash.
"What in Oz's name are you doing?!" Fiyero asked, obviously annoyed with Reed for the rather rude awakening.
Reed collected himself and stood up. "The Gale Force is coming! We need to go!"
Elphaba and Avery entered the room just in time to hear Reed's statement.
Elphaba's emerald complexion paled. Without a word, Avery went to her room and began to hurriedly pack her bags.
Fiyero stood up. "Right. Glinda, Reed; get ready to leave. You have nothing to pack so it shouldn't take you much time. Elphaba, stay calm. We will have them out of here in 5 minutes. As soon as they run into the Gale Force, they will call off the search and we won't have to worry about being found."
Elphaba forced a smile. Though she was aware that Fiyero was trying to be brave and comforting, she could tell that he was just as scared as she was. But they both knew that it was time to act not to panic.
Avery emerged from her room with a packed bag. "Alright, let's go!"
Glinda turned to Fiyero and Elphaba. "Right. Thank you for your hospitality my friends. It made me so happy to see you again." She swiftly hugged both of them. "I'll write to you soon."
Avery and Reed quickly made their goodbyes as well. The three were just about to leave when Elphaba stopped them.
"Glinda!! You're wearing my boots!"
"What?" Glinda looked down and realized she had forgotten to remove Elphaba's boots after her walk. "Oh...right. Um, one moment."
Glinda sat down and began to unlace the boots. Several minutes passed and she still was not done unlacing them. Finally the stress became too much for Elphaba.
"Lurline Glinda! It takes me 30 seconds to do it! Move your hands!" She sat down in front of Glinda and quickly began to unlace the boots. She had them off of Glinda's feet within 20 seconds.
Glinda quickly put her heels back on. "Thank you Elphie."
Elphaba forgot her panic for a moment and smirked. "Well if I had allowed you to continue at that pace, the Gale Force would have arrived and imprisoned us all before you were even finished with one boot."
Glinda huffed. "Don't exaggerate. In any case, we have to go. Goodbye."
Glinda turned to leave, but Elphaba grabbed her wrist and turned her around to face her.
"What is it Elphie?"
Elphaba didn't respond, but merely hugged Glinda fiercely. After a few seconds she let go. "Sorry. I just wanted to hug you once more before you left…I can't wait to see you again."
Glinda smiled. "Me too. But now we've better go. C'mon Avery, Reed."
The three quickly left the cottage and began to trudge through the snow as quickly as they could. Within 5 minutes they spotted members of the Gale Force. Glinda cleared her voice.
"My good men, after some diligent work you have found us! I thank you from the bottom of my heart!"
There was a pause before a gruff voice called out, "Lady Glinda? Is that you?"
Glinda appeared with Avery and Reed in tow. The young couple hung their heads in mock shame. "It is."
The man who spoke quickly bowed to her. "Milady! I can't tell you how happy we are to see you! We have been searching for you for almost two days now! All of Oz is in a panic."
Glinda put on the fake smile that she had mastered over the years. "Yes, my good officer, I am aware. And I am touched by your efforts. I apologize for my short, albeit sudden, absence. My son and his girlfriend ran off without a word of notice to anyone. And as his mother, I saw it as my maternal duty to see to the matter personally. I'll be making a public appearance later today, to thank Oz and apologize to them."
The apparent leader of the search group smiled and bowed again. "No need for apologies Lady Glinda. We are just glad to know you're safe and Oz can rest their worries. But we should be getting you back now…wait, what's that?" The man pointed over Glinda's shoulder.
Glinda tensed, and dearly hoped that Elphaba's cottage wasn't still in sight. Instead of turning around she continued to smile pleasantly. The smile was so forced, that her cheeks were beginning to cramp. "What's what?"
The man squinted, straining to clearly see what he was pointing at. "It looks…like a cottage of some sort."
Glinda turned around slowly. Yes. He was pointing to Elphaba's cottage. "It's nothing, just some abandoned house." She said, hoping he would drop the matter.
He didn't. "Maybe we should go check it out. Seems like the perfect place for bandits or crooks to hide out."
Glinda's cheeks became so strained by her smiling she began to worry she wouldn't be able to get rid of the grin. "Oh, please just leave it. We really need to return to the Emerald City."
The man smiled at her sympathetically. "Now Lady Glinda, I know you're tired, but this will only take a few minutes. You stay here, we'll be right back."
The search party began to proceed to the cottage. Glinda panicked, she had to think of something…and fast. Suddenly a thought struck her. "Oh my…I'm just so hungry…I think I may…" and without another word Glinda pretended to faint. She dropped into the snow with a soft thud.
The Gale Force immediately stopped and ran to her side. Reed joined them and propped his mother up. "Mother? Mother? Are you alright!?"
Glinda's eyes fluttered open. "Is that you Boq dear? Will you fetch me something to eat?"
Reed then caught on. His mother was not that dramatic, and was definitely not hungry enough to be delusional. The Gale Force on the other hand, was terrified.
Their leader stood up. "Quick! You two!" he commanded, pointing to two of his officers. "Pick the lady up! And be careful! We have to get her back to the Emerald City and quick!"
Immediately the two soldiers obeyed their commanding officer and within minutes the small party was heading back to the Emerald City.
A slight smile appeared on Glinda's supposedly unconscious face. She couldn't help but grin over how successful her plan had turned out to be. Not only had she saved Elphaba from being discovered, but now she would no longer have to walk to the Emerald City.