PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU GO ONTO THE CHAPTER.
A/N: I'm so, so, so, so, so, so, so sorry for disappearing on you all. I know it doesn't even begin to cut it whatsoever. All I can say is no, I haven't died, yes, I somehow managed to graduate with both my advanced high school and IB diplomas, yes, I'm at college and loving it, and no, none of these are excuses for abandoning you all. However, I have no intentions whatsoever to let this story die, so I hope you'll all stick with me. Hopefully it won't be another eight and a half months before the next upload. I've been active roleplaying so there's no excuse I can't force myself into writing this as well.
All right. This chapter is short, I'm so sorry, but I couldn't write anything else. Please let me know if it made no sense whatsoever. It's still sort of filler-y, but it also gives some information as to what's going on. If anyone's still sticking with this, I love you all and apologise... again xD.
Blows Nobody Good
Synnove Leta was beside herself in excitement.
It was the kind of scoop every reporter dreamed about but never occurred. Sure, it was terrible, of course, but it was so deliciously wonderful that she could not help but feel thrilled at all the potential ways this could play out.
"A potential kidnapping plot, you say?" Leta asked, trying hard to mask the ecstasy in her voice; she was not too sure that the Captain of the Gale Force would take it too kindly if it appeared she was actually happy about the disappearance of Oz's leader. Without a second thought, she whipped her trusty pad and pen out of her overcoat. "Any suspects? Motive?"
The Gale Force officer looked edgy, as if he was hardly sure that this particular reporter was the best choice; however, options were limited with the entire palace and city being searched. The Palace's head advisor had instructed him to let Miss Leta know about the situation and have the two come up with a way to calmly inform the public without creating a mass panic. "Only two at the moment," Captain Aurel Jaylin admitted. "We've been too busy trying to contain the breakou-" He cut himself off, paling, but the damage had been done.
"Breakout?" Leta repeated, brown eyes glinting in the low light of the stone corridor. "From Southstairs?"
Jaylin sighed and rubbed his face. "Yes, but you can't publish that. The Palace won't allow it."
One eyebrow arched dangerously. "Surely you don't mean to keep such an important bit of information from the public? They deserve to know if a horde of dangerous criminals is on the loose; wouldn't you agree, Captain?"
"Deserving or not," he said warily, "we can't inform the public at this time. It's bad enough that Lady Glinda is missing; if we add in a mass breakout, there's no way it can be said without causing a panic."
"I thought it was contained," Leta said coolly, jotting notes on her pad of paper. "Certainly there's nothing to worry about, then?"
Jaylin did not answer right away, answering her question without words.
"Captain?" she prodded. When he failed to respond, she continued. "Well, you said you had two suspects. May I know which two they are?"
Jaylin nodded, his mouth a grim line. "One is an escaped prisoner that no one has mentioned seeing." He paused in hesitation before elaborating. "Eldreda Morrible, former Headmistress of Shiz and Press Secretary to the Wizard."
"Isn't Lady Glinda the one who put her in Southstairs in the first place?" Leta asked. Her face had apparently abandoned all attempts to stay stoic and was now positively glowing. This was excellent.
"Yes," Jaylin confirmed, "which gives Morrible motive. Also, Lady Glinda was reported to have visited Morrible the day before her disappearance."
"Who's the other suspect?" Leta queried, not giving the man a moment's rest as she furiously scribbled on her notepad.
The Captain's face darkened considerably. "One of Lady Glinda's maids also told us about another visitor Lady Glinda had on the eve of her disappearance. Apparently they had a rather heated disagreement that nearly resulted in the guest needing to be escorted out."
"The Tin Man."
Spring had not always been Glinda's favourite time of year.
She remembered quite vividly a time when it had been fall, in her pre-schooling days, as fall was when her father would come home from his month-long business trips with a smile, a glimmer in his eye, and tales and a sweetie from the Emerald City or the Glikkus or wherever his destination had been that summer, for her to listen to and to suck on if she behaved like a young lady ought to.
Not long after she started finishing school, her favourite season was summer, as it was the only time Galinda had been able to act like her flirty, carefree self and not 'Miss Upland', the fine, upstanding young woman she was to become, heiress and all. Summer meant wild days and muggy nights, bathing outfits, dips into the lake with her girlfriends, and occasional giggle-fits when they would catch a boy peeking through the reeds, not cutlery, dinner parties, and betrothal offers.
At Shiz, it had been winter: before she and Elphaba had become friends, winter was the perfect reason to cuddle up with a boy or a cup of hot chocolate and watch the flurries whip against her cheeks to give her the perfectly rosy complexion- not to mention, snowy escapades were always fun, albeit messy. After she had become friends with her recluse of a roommate, the wet snow had been an excuse for the two to feign illness and sit in their dormitory all day, becoming surer friends slowly and sweetly.
After Galinda became Glinda and her whole life slowly unravelled before her eyes, thread by thread, piece by piece, Glinda enjoyed spring, especially the mornings in early spring where she would get up before the Palace awoke, throw her dressing robe across her shoulders in a frenzied heap, and run off to the courtyard's famed rose gardens. The combination of the frosty dew at her ankles and the occasional snag of thorns on her dressing gown was harsh, but exhilarating, the adrenaline, chill, and stray drops of blood reminding her that she was still alive. She would climb up to the roof of her favourite greenhouse, the one that housed all the exotic plants, feeling like a young girl again, rebellious and lonely. The rising morning sun, striking against the patterns of emerald to create a kaleidoscope of rainbow, would blind her with its harsh angles in all its beauty and abhorrence, reminding her of crushed hope, failed promises, and bittersweet tomorrows, often leaving her breathless with awe and tears.
The singing birds, tinted through the pervasive green glass that her city, the city, was made of, reminded her of Elphaba, the notes singing in sorrow, in ecstasy, in pain, in love, emerald feathers rustling in the wind, soaring off to a far-off place where she should not, would not, could not join.
But now, spring was coming, and Glinda was looking forward to it in an odd mixture of trepidation and glee.
Spring meant the visit to the Emerald City, and she could not dread that any more. But oddly, she was waiting for it in a way that she ought not to be, almost with anticipation, for their visit meant the deciding of their fate, and that meant freedom. It was almost time for them to grasp their own destiny in their own palm, out of Morrible's manipulating grasp.
It was terrifyingly exhilarating, the thought of finally putting their plan into action.
They were finally taking fate into their own hands.
"Okay, tell me again."
The five of them were crammed into Elphaba and Glinda's room, going over the last details of their foolhardy plan.
"Galinda, for goodness' sake, I think we've got it by now," Fiyero said in exasperation, immediately shutting up when the other four gave him a sharp look.
"This isn't a game, Fiyero," Elphaba snapped. "I thought you'd have understood that by now."
Stung, he clenched his jaw before responding. "I do understand that. Oz, do you think I'm incompetent or something?"
Seeing Elphaba scowl and open her mouth to shoot off what would surely be a nasty response, Glinda interrupted with an, "Okay, okay, let's just calm down." Ignoring her roommate's huff, she continued. "Now, please, can we please make sure that we've got this? I don't want anything going wrong."
Nessa was the first to speak up. "You and Elphaba will write once you get to the Emerald City. If your cover's blown, you'll use the word 'red' somewhere in the letter. If all is safe up until that point you'll use 'blue'."
"You will meet the Wizard as planned," Boq continued, "and try to stay on his good side. Then you will send us another letter when it's done. If something goes wrong and you can't say, but you're still able to send letters, you'll say something about the weather in it. If we don't get a second letter from you, we wait three days before doing anything."
Glinda breathed out a sigh of relief. She was sure they would have it down by now (they had only been going over this for the past hour or so, figuring out what to do and whether or not it would work), but it was still reassuring to hear it again. "All right. If Madame Morrible returns without us and we haven't written anything…"
"We're not just going to sit on our hands and do nothing, I hope you realise," Fiyero finally interjected. His sentiment was echoed on the satisfied looks on Boq and Nessa's faces.
Glinda and Elphaba shared an accepting, knowing grimace. "As much as I dislike the idea of you confronting Morrible," she said once they had turned to look at their friends once more, "I wouldn't expect you to."
"Just… don't do anything incredibly stupid," Elphaba said, the tone of her voice scarily close to a plea.
"Like going to see the Wizard isn't incredibly stupid?" Fiyero said with a cheeky grin.
Glinda laughed weakly. "I wish I knew what to tell you to do, but so many things could happen."
Nessa smiled at her before gently saying, "You can't always tell what's going to happen. We'll be fine."
"Just promise me you won't do anything without thinking it through at least," Glinda asked, her voice close to a murmur.
She glanced over at Elphaba, biting her lip as she saw her roommate clutch the green glass bottle, knowing that the plan that they had in mind was decidedly not what the others thought it was.
The plan was in set. All they could do now was wait.
Three weeks was going to seem impossibly long.
Thanks so, so much to everyone who read, alerted, reviewed, favourited, or just even glimpsed these past chapters and thank you even more to those who read this chapter. You all are far better people than me.
As always, love, respect, admiration, and non-poisoned strawberry cake go to danderson, elphieT, PhantomPenguin, Tiggy the Hopeless Romantic, Riti the Dragon Knight, Love That Wicked, musicfan1207, Ember Nickel, Defying Gravity 728, Embers of Twilight, Curlycurlz, Sale, lotrelves, Kennedy Leigh Morgan, bloodymary2, Amythista, yerosmyhero, Rose DiVerona, Mirsha, SimpleNClean92, ennaxor, Fiyero's Girl-Elphaba, mornir-brightflame, prancer, Gijinka Renamon, jasfaerydust09, xXetceteraXx, Tovath, ReallyObsessiveWriter, Elizabeth, Syous99, KaiserDrgn, nathan-p, Elle, and whatthepho. You're all so incredibly amazing.