Glinda the Good was having trouble thinking about herself. She had only started noticing it recently, in the wake of the severely complimentary comments she began to receive as Empress of Oz (or whatever she was. No one had made anything official, people just tended to listen to her in the Wizard's absence, possibly owing to the fact that what she said made sense). Someone would tell her how smart she was and instead of basking in how smart she was, she would reflect on her days at Shiz in which she became smart or how so many children among the Vinkus didn't have the opportunity to become smart. Delicious food would prompt her to think of those who had none and so on.
Frustratingly, there existed neither the resources nor the will to address these glaring deficiencies, at least not as directly as she would've liked. So she was forced to be sinister and clever, building new schools and raising new crops and almost outwitting the people into having better lives. Sometimes they were adamant, but oft-times they gave in once they caught her drift. It reminded her of how Elphaba had tutored her, so very long ago, and she liked to think that the Wicked Witch would be proud of her.
Although, knowing Elphaba, she would probably take more pride in the effigies of her that were burned every Lurlinmas. Their smoke never failed to bring a tear to Glinda's eyes. Especially the white, wizened smoke that erupted when the flames were doused with water.
Even more distressing than her extroverted thinking was her clothes. All of Oz was demanding things from her, presenting problems to be solved, and no sooner had her assistants (she had assistants now, as befitted her status. The old Galinda would've been thrilled) begun to clothe her than she stumbled upon a solution and rushed to implement it. Her days were so busy that she had begun to wear the same dress throughout, not changing in the mornings or evenings. It sparked a fashion craze and the dress-makers were furious about their orders dropping by two-thirds. One more problem to solve.
"My liege!" one of the guards barked. Glinda gestured for him to bring it down and he switched to his indoor voice. "My liege," he said softly, "the Clock of the Time Dragon had been spotted approaching the city."
Glinda flipped her hair behind her shoulder. She'd just changed into a dowdy, comfortable nightgown that was thankfully much less elaborate than the whalebone and frills of her daytime costume. "Where is it now?"
"It's stopped in Elysa Field," the guard reported.
Glinda threw on a coat over her white shift, belting it at the waist and jamming her stocking-clad feet into the nearest slippers. "Take me there."
"My liege," the guard said weakly.
"Before it leaves, if you don't mind," said Glinda shortly
In no time at all she was passing outside the city limits, an army of Gale Force behind her like a large and cumbersome tail to her singular lifeform. It was a fair walk and the crisp night air inundated her lungs. She wasn't as young as she had once been, which was so plain yet true that it demanded a quotation to be notable. Glinda resolved to think of one later. Thankfully her joints remained obedient and her breath stayed with her; the complaints of aged Amas were not yet hers to bear.
The guards came to a stop. Perhaps it was the public nature of the venture, perhaps it was the Wizard's old intolerance still striking fear into them, but none wanted to approach the Time Dragon too closely. Glinda drew her wand, the star on the pommel hopefully potent in the company of the night sky, and approached the Clock. It was silent and cold, leaden, dead. No elves accompanied it, which did not jibe with Elphaba's description of it from her readings.
With a roll of her eyes, Glinda tapped it with her wand. It instantly sprung to life, the eponymous dragon croaking like a frog in what might have been a rusty attempt at a roar.
"Is Elphaba still alive?" Glinda demanded of it. Silly question, but she needed a definitive answer. Melted by a bucket of water? That's the sort of thing Elphaba would've scolded her for believing.
The dragon looked upon her, its eyes screwing up with what might have been some sort of emotion, before rubbing its belly. Like a children's toy, portions of the dragon-masted tower opened up and let out tiny figures as if they were toy trains. They swirled and danced around each other, bouncing against each other like billiard balls before two locked together. Glinda bent down to look at them, fetching her reading glasses from a chain around her neck. One of them was rosy-cheeked and voluptuous, imprisoned in a cast-iron dress as large and unwieldy as a wedding cake. The other was green-skinned, small breasted, its features modest compared to the rather detailed make-up of the pink one.
They circled one another as the other figurines melted away, back inside the tower. The dragon made a chuckling noise deep in its throat. The black shift the green one was wearing flipped inside-out, becoming as pink as the rest of her. The wedding cake dress of the pink one split open, revealing small red dots of paint on the molded chest and a glimmer of gold between the legs. Green and pink hit each other with a violence that could be either passion or rage, flying about until they tumbled to the ground and laid still, one atop the other.
Glinda frowned and, with a howl of protest from the dragon, broke off the green figurine. The tower closed back up as Glinda flipped the black shift back down. It was Elphaba, in a way. The hair was particularly genuine. As it of its own accord, the clock began to pull backwards. The hour-hand wavered back and forth as it went, as if mocking her, and Glinda caught a glimpse of the elves pulling it as the Clock of the Time Dragon turned at a fork in the road.
There was, and still is, a pile of teddy bears in Glinda's room. She brought them to Shiz, although she never unpacked them. She had intended to sell them or incorporate them into a homework assignment. When she moved to the Emerald City she intended to give them to some orphaned children. Now, she uses them to hide the tiny green figurine in. She takes more comfort in that small toy than she does in all the portraits of past rulers that adorn the palace walls, stretching off for miles in lonely silence... save for the clatter of footsteps and the rustle of the occasional shift.