Elphaba was pacing the room adjacent to where she had set Dorothy to scrubbing. Occasionally she would go in and making a stinging comment about the girl, her shoes, her questionable parentage, or some other insult. She wanted the farm girl good and riled when the time came. Yet just as the hour approached for Fiyero and the others to rush in and "kill" her, a familiar noise filled the air, like a hundred tinkling bells.
It was Glinda.
Suddenly she knew what had to be done.
Fiyero heard dim music coming through the door as they rushed up the stairs to Elphaba's observatory and a familiar voice. For a moment he hesitated but Boq, the Lion, and Dorothy were only a few steps behind him and he was forced forward. Dorothy was struggling as she ran with the heavy bucket of water that she had been using to scrub the foors. In truth Elphie had only set her to scrubbing the day before, else the placement of the water pail would have been suspicious. Dorothy's blue and white checkered dress was splattered with the sudsy water that had spilled over the edge and her face was flushed with the exertion of carrying the pail. But it had to be this way. Even Boq had grudgingly admitted that that the task had been given to Dorothy.
The Scarecrow reached the top of the stairs first and was about to throw open the latch on the door when he heard a frantic whisper of voices on the other side. Glinda? What was she doing here?
Listening closer he was able to decipher over the tramping footsteps a general meaning.
Elphie was saying goodbye.
Holding up his hand for silence he halted his companions before they could barge in.
"This is it," he whispered, "On the count of three we have to rush in there. Boq, Lion, and I will distract her," he indicated the pikes that were part of the guard uniform, "Dorothy will throw the water. Once we're done we're going to have to be quick to escape, there's no telling what kind of traps she laid across the castle," and the last thing he needed was them poking around her "body" and finding the trap door.
They all nodded in agreement, Dorothy and the Lion shakily as they were white faced and quivering with fear.
Fiyero heard the swish of fabric from within and praying that it meant Glinda's departure, he held up his fingers, counted to three and threw the door open. She was standing by a curtain that obscured a corner of the room. She turned and gave started as if she was surprised at their arrival. Fiyero darted forward, pike in hand and "forced" her over the trap door. Boq was only a step behind while the Lion used his bulk to block the door.
"Scarecrow, Tin Man," she held her broom in front of her in a mirror image to their pikes, as if the old thing could fend off the sharp metal spikes.
"It's the end of the line, Witch," said Boq, "Your reign of wickedness is over."
"Perhaps it is, perhaps it is," Elphaba said with a little smile, "But do you really have what it takes to kill me?" she eyed their pikes contemptuously. Had the Scarecrow not known the plan beforehand he knew he would have been completely fooled by her bravado in the face of the steel. Grasping the tail of her broom sparks flew from her fingertips and lit it on fire and brandished the now burning weapon towards Dorothy, who was huddling between Fiyero and Boq, too frightened to move.
"Dorothy, now!" shouted Boq and squinching her eyes shut she lofted the bucket of water and threw its contents into Elphaba's face.
For a moment the Witch blinked as if surprised then she let out a dreadful shriek. "You cursed brat, look what you've done," had the situation not been so dire, Fiyero would have burst out laughing at the expression on Elphie's sodden face. "I'm melting, melting!" She stomped on the ground with one pointed black shoe and slowly began to drift downward as the trapdoor mechanism kicked in. Her dress fell all around her, covering up the door as it dropped her down and smoke began to rise from beneath her, as if she really was dissolving into steam.
"Oh what a world, what a world! Who would have thought a little girl like you could destroy me like this!" her voice was becoming higher pitch as she finished her drop. With one last shriek she disappeared and the her hat fell neatly on top of the pile and the trap door closed quietly above her.
"Grab the broom, we need to get out of here!" shouted the Scarecrow before they could paw around the pile of discarded clothes. Boq snatched up the broom and they all ran for the door. They fled down the stairs, Boq practically dragging Dorothy, who was white faced and sluggish. Poor girl, Fiyero thought, as far as she knows, she just took part in an assassination.
They had almost reached the gate when a pair of arms wrapped around Fiyero, who had been lagging to the back and dragged him backwards.
"Scarecrow!" shrieked Dorothy as he was attacked by a hoard of guards and pulled away from his companions.
"Forget me! Tin Man, get Dorothy to safety!" he shouted after them. For a moment Boq hesitated then nodded. In truth there was little love lost between the the two, especially now that their quest had been completed. The guards rushed towards them and the three fled into the night, leaving Fiyero behind in the castle.
The guards dragged him back from the door and into the main hall where they had kept their mess hall. They kept up the clamor and rattle of spears until they were certain that the Tin Man and the others had gone beyond an earshot of the castle.
Fiyero stood and dusted himself off, removing in chunks the guard armor that he had been wearing for the past few days. He frowned at the dents it had made in his body and shaking them out returned it to its original shape.
"Prince Fiyero, your orders?" said one of the guards, the notches on his armor proclaiming him a lieutenant.
"Take what gold you want from the coffers. You're free men, I have only one task left for you," standing up on one of the benches he addressed the crowd, "Spread the word as far and wide as you can that the Wicked Witch of the West is dead. Don't let there be any suspicion on the matter or it will mean out deaths. I'm not telling you where we are going, and you're better off not knowing but I'm going to be gone for a long time, too long for you to remain guarding Kiamo Ko. I may never come back," said Fiyero, "I can not thank you enough for your help but you must excuse me, there's a young lady I have to let out of a very small room," with a smile and a jaunty salute he leapt down. The guards all smiled and patted him on the back as he went, a few of them even shouting advice of what he should do with said young lady.
He climbed the stairs back to the observatory and hesitated at the door. It was finally over. Soon news would spread of Elphaba's death. For the first time they were free to do as they wanted, to live their lives.
He opened the door to where his love waited. The curtain and been thrown back revealing the rest of the room and the flying monkeys were nowhere to be seen. The Grimmerie sat on a stand in the corner and he tucked it inside his shirt. It would not do to have it fall into the wrong hands.
Pushing the discarded robe and hat to the side he beat his fist against the door and whispered down, "It worked!"
After a moment the trap door slid to the slide and Elphie rose out like a plant springing from the rocky soil.
"It's over, isn't it," Fiyero nodded and held her hand as she stepped out of the hole. She looked down at the discarded pile of clothes after a moment of contemplation she picked up the peaked hat and held it in front of her. "Where do we go from here?"
Taking the hat from her hand, Fiyero placed it on her head then leaned down to kiss her. Her lips met his hesitantly at first and then with passionate fervor she wrapped his arms around his neck. He supposed it was a strange sensation for her, her lips against the dried fabric of his face and after a moment he pulled away.
"This…you don't mind this?" he said, suddenly self-conscious of his only partially human form.
Her fierce dark eyes traced his face as if she was seriously considering the question and he felt as if he were being stripped naked, weighed, and measured. "Of course not, you're just as handsome as you've ever been."
"I'm not sure if I should take that as a compliment," he said wryly but he was cut off as she kissed him again.
"It's just another way of looking at things," she said.
He smiled back at her and remarked casually, as if commenting on the weather, "I've heard Ix is lovely at this time of year."
"Isn't that the other side of the Impassable Desert?"
"It's not impassable if you can fly," he pointed out.
"Well we both won't fit on a broom," she said, "Perhaps something more comfortable this time, maybe a carpet?"
"You're the magician," he wrapped his arms around her and drew her close.
"Maybe we can even stop over Gillikin Country. Glinda will be worried…"
Fiyero shook his head, "Nobody can know that we're still alive. It would only be painful for her anyway."
"I suppose you're right," she said a bit sadly. But in truth she wasn't worried. Glinda would take up the legacy she had been forced to abandon. Loved by the populace, she would make much more headway than Elphaba ever could. It would not be easy work, it never was and perhaps the hard work would be enough to ease the grief. She suspected all of Oz would be in for a shock when their blonde "flake" of a good witch revealed the very cunning mind that had been hidden under those curls all these years.
"Ix for now then?" asked Fiyero.
"For now. There's a whole world out there to explore. Maybe we'll even find that strange land that farmgirl came from," a sudden rush of love for Fiyero washed over her. Even altered he was the man she loved and reaching up kissed him again.
"Fiyero, my hero."
Thank you for reading, and hopefully enjoying, my little story. If you are so inclined, please leave a review. I have no other way of knowing what you thought, and it would be much appreciated.