Darev: I've wanted to do another Winx fic for a while now. This idea came to my while thinking up plot ideas. Ever since I finished "The Fall of Domino" I became very interested in exploring the story behind the Company of Light – in particular, Miss Faragonda and Miss Griffin. Came out a little longer than I had planned, but you guys know me by now…once my fingers start typing the story writes itself. It's in control, not me.
Disclaimer: I not own Winx. It is a property of Rai Television. All characters belong to them. The names Elphaba, Galinda and Fiyero are property of Gregory McGuire, author of "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. All other original characters are mine and mine alone.
Another year had come and gone at Alfea and once again the entire school was celebrating the triumph of one of its finest students. (1) Miss Faragonda beamed with pride whenever she spoke of Bloom. In many ways, the young fairy reminded the headmistress of herself when she was a student. While she always had the support of a loving mother and father, not to mention many friends, Miss Faragonda, or Miss F as the girls called her, was a bit…well, different.
She too had a destiny that set her apart from all the other fairies at Alfea and when the time came she answered the call. Of course she wasn't the only one. Being a member of the Company of Light meant she had to get used to being around others with as much to prove as she did. Faragonda, whose first name was Galinda, or Glinda for short, was the sole fairy on the team and as such met with ridicule. Fairies, her comrades mused, were meant to grant wishes and fly around on their little wings. She proved them wrong of course, but that didn't mean that Glinda didn't carry her own prejudices.
Her most notable bias was against a powerful witch named Elphaba Griffin. The two butted heads from the first moment they met and it was that rivalry that became the stuff of humor for their fellows. Never mind two hot young women going at it over the smallest excuse to fight, watching them throw magic around was cause for spectacle.
Glinda could recall Saladin, a member of the Company of Light and the current headmaster of Red Fountain, reminiscing on how easy things were when they were young. Back then, he mused, young heroes did not have the same restrictions and could achieve their full potential based on skill and merit, not courses and tests. Experience and sheer guts always won the day and when it was all over the gang would hit the nearest pub for a pint.
Glinda remembered those days warmly. She missed the times she and Fiyero, that's Saladin's first name, would play tricks on Rienhlocke, the mighty but arrogant elf paladin who fancied himself the leader of the group. Prince Atmos, the future king of Eraklyon, would spend hours regaling them with stories. The man could weave a tail as skillfully as the blade. Baltor, that dark wizard whose knowledge of the dark arts was surpassed only by his cynicism. Ameryl, that sweet and lovely druid who shared a love interest with Fiyero. And Palladium…ah, how she loved that elf! No better healer or minstrel or bard lived in all the realms put together. How fortunate he was also a teacher at Alfea; they'd spend untold hours talking about the good old days. (2)
Funny she should be thinking about them at a time like this. Seeing Bloom with all her friends just brought the memories gushing forward. She was happy for them, she truly was.
"Daydreaming?" A familiar voice asked her.
Glinda turned to find Elphaba walking toward her, hands behind her back, chin up, and with an imperious glint to her eyes. She joined Glinda by the lake overlooking Alfea. The fireworks lit up the evening sky and all those present danced the night away to the music.
"It isn't day, old friend."
"It's a figure of speech," Elphaba said as she looked out onto the lake. "You always did take things too literally."
At this, Glinda laughed. "I always had a sense of humor. You, on the other hand, used to be so serious. You still are."
"I'm a witch. We don't do humor."
"Oh poppycock! I've heard you laugh before, Elphie, and don't try to deny it."
Elphaba leered over at the fairy. "How many times must I tell you that I do not like being called Elphie?"
"To date?" Glinda thought it over. "Four thousand-eight-hundred and thirty six times."
The witch turned dumfounded. "You actually kept count?"
But Glinda laughed. "You see? You are too serious! Of course I haven't been keeping count you old fool."
"Watch who you're calling old!" Elphaba warned.
"And what about the fool part?"
"I have to be one if I have you as a friend."
The remark stung Glinda. "Elphaba, that hurt."
"Good." She turned back to the lake. "Means I'm doing my job."
Glinda then smiled. "Oh Elphie."
Miss Griffin scowled back. "What did I just say?"
"I can't help it. It's how I know you."
"Well stop it! Word caught on, that name will make me the laughing stock of the Wiccan World."
"You love to exaggerate."
"It's a witch-eat-witch world I live in, Glinda. I can't be allowed to show weakness!"
"You'll never be weak in my eyes."
"That's nice. Oh and by the way, nice is something we don't do either."
The fairy sighed. "There were a lot of things you used to not do when we were younger. Do you remember?"
Elphaba suddenly found herself looking back in time and seeing the woman she once was. "Of course I do." She gazed over the lake as if she could see the past reflected on its surface. "I remember everything."
A loud cheer came from the crowd and both headmistresses took a look back. A group of students were hoisting Bloom into the air, catching her, and throwing her back up. The redheaded fairy squealed in delight.
Glinda smiled. "So young," she said.
"Like us, once upon a time," said the witch.
All this thinking caused Glinda's glasses to fog up from tears of happiness. She removed them, wiped her eyes, and then proceeded to un-fog the glasses using a handkerchief she pulled out of her vest pocket. A thought occurred to her. "Do you remember the day we first met?"
Miss Griffin bit her lip. "I try not to."
Miss Faragonda put her glasses back on and put the hanky away. "I do. With marvelous clarity."
Miss F regarded her longtime friend with large eyes. "That was one of the most important days of my life."
"Glad you enjoyed it."
"What was that spell you used again?" Glinda tried to recall.
Elphaba crossed her arms, glaring at Galinda with her dark-yellow eyes. "It was a transformus spell."
"That's right!" Glinda exclaimed. "Boy was that a day I will never forget."
"Of course not." The witch smiled. "It had you and your fairy friends running scared."
"That was before the spell turned on you," Glinda countered.
Elphaba conceited the parry with a nod. "True."
"Elphaba, were you ever scared?"
She seemed hesitant to answer but finally admitted, "Out of my mind."
"Well that's good to hear," she said and Elphaba turned to her as if daring her to explain. "That is, I take comfort in knowing I wasn't alone. We almost did not survive."
"But we did."
Glinda nodded. "That's true. We did."
The Black Mud Swamp was much larger then – having yet to be deforested to make room for a new road. Hence it was only a short walk from Alfea's main gate and the new freshmen class strolled out in a single line as they made for their nature training. Leading the class was Miss Petunia, a nature lover and die-hard environmentalist. The instructor had a short orange hair in an afro, as well as tanned skin and green eyes. She was tall and thin, but with muscular legs. Like her students, Miss Petunia wore outback clothing, high sandy-colored shorts with a short-sleeved shirt and hat. She carried a pad at her side and strode with the strides of a woman who was happy to get where she was going.
"Buck up, girls. We're almost there. Next stop, Black Mud Swamp!"
Behind her, a group of about fifteen girls dragged their feet. A good third of them were princesses and none of them wanted to spend the day rummaging through a dirty, smelly, and bug-infested swamp. You could tell who the royals were by the way they complained about absolutely anything; from the humidity to the sun's affects on their delicate skin, to the tightness of their boots and the sweat beading on their faces. If it wasn't one thing it was another. The instructor didn't seem to mind or care. She was just happy spending time around nature.
"This bites," said a white-haired fairy at the back. She had blue eyes the color of midnight.
"Please don't start complaining, Farore." A fairy with braided blonde hair and pink eyes, said next to her. "It's going to be a long time before we get back to Alfea so we're going to learn to have to deal. You especially."
Turing on her, the white-haired fairy, slapped her hand. "I meant these bugs! They're eating me alive!" She slapped herself again.
"Oh. Well just soldier on. These bugs are in their natural habitat and we're intruding upon their space."
"I'd like to send these little vampires into space!" She spat and slapped her thigh. "That's not even exposed. How the hell are they getting down there?"
"Should have used bug spray. I offered you back at the quad but did you take me up on my offer? No."
"Don't get on my case, Trinity. I'd rather be a five-course buffet that put that gunk all over my body. You have any idea what they put in those preservatives?"
"All natural ingredients. In fact, many of them can be found in this very swamp."
"I feel better already." Farore slapped her neck before looking back. "Hey, Glinda, how come these things are eating you alive?"
Pink-haired Galinda Faragonda just shrugged her tiny shoulders. "Guess they just don't like white meat."
"Maybe they just like Farore."
"Maybe you should shut your mouth before I pinch you!"
Trinity was taken aback. "Goodness! What hostility."
"Stow it, you spoiled brat," Farore began to scratch herself. "All the bug spray in the world isn't going to protect you from the other things that live here. I heard there are mud monsters, fairy-eating vines, and even trolls."
"All rumors, I'm sure."
"Nuh-uh! I got it from a good source saying there are a lot of things here that can kill you."
"Farore, you'll believe anything the janitor says about this place. What makes you think he is an expert on the wildlife, natural or no, in Black Mud Swamp?"
"Hm? How about him living here for the past twenty-five years? Or better yet, how about that half of the animals and plants in our science labs were captured by him – all in Black Mud Swamp?"
Farore looked back. "Glinda, honey. Can you tell this girl something before I kick her butt back to Dreamland?"
Trinity crossed her arms. "The Realm of Dreams is not Dreamland. It is demeaning to even refer to it so."
"Really? Well add another clip to my ammunition because I'm gonna remember that from now on."
The blonde fairy turned her chin up and turned away. "Childish."
Behind them, Glinda chuckled. Farore and Trinity may fight a lot, but they really liked each other. They were the first friends she made at Alfea and what a pair they were. Trinity was the Fairy of Dreams and can manipulate what people thought about in their heads. Farore was the Fairy of Air; you won't find anyone in all of Magix who can fly faster or turn harder than her. The girl was a rocket! As for Galinda, she was the Fairy of Light. Not too shabby but if there was ever a blackout, you can guess who was Miss Popular. (3)
Once they were a good deal inside the swamp, Miss Petunia turned to her girls. "All right, ladies, we're going to split up into groups of three. Now I do not care who you partner with so long as you three can work together. Remember this is a team effort. You're to listen to the Voice of Nature to find your way back to Alfea." Once all the girls found their partners, Glinda, Farore, and Trinity becoming an obvious trio, Miss Petunia regarded each group. "Now remember, no magic. You're to use your own skills and nothing more. Any use of magic will result in an F for the day."
Farore leaned toward her friends and whispered. "This is easy. I memorized the way here from Alfea. We'll have no problem finding our way back." At that, the other girls nodded.
Raising her hands above her head, Miss Petunia closed her eyes. "Okay, girls!" Then she opened them. "Good luck to each of you." A gust of wind fluttered through the foliage and increased to immense speeds. The girls were forced to cover their eyes and hold onto their hats. "I'm sending each of you to different parts of the swamp. Stay together and remember, no magic!" Petunia opened her hands and clapped, the magic gathered sending each fairy team to an alternate part of Black Mud Swamp.
When Glinda and the girls could open their eyes again, the trio found themselves in a completely different place. "Well," began Farore. "This sucks."
"Tell me about it," said Trinity as she watched her shoes sink into mud. "It really does!"
"Guess Miss Petunia's not going to make it as easy as we hoped." Glinda took a look around. "Well, let's pick a direction and start walking."
"That's a sure-fire way to get lost," Farore said.
Trinity struggled to pull one foot out and then the other – only to have the first foot sink back into the mud as she used it for leverage. The mud was already past her ankles and she could feel it seeping into her boots and wetting her socks. "Having a little trouble there?" Farore asked, always in the mood to have fun at her friend's expense.
"If I am, you will be the last to know."
Farore smiled. "Okay. Glinda and I will see you back at Alfea. Have fun." She followed Glinda, the two seeming to have little difficulty trudging through the myriad of thick goo that constituted the swamp mud. Seeing them receding out of her sight, the blonde began to panic and she kicked madly while trying to keep up. "Hey you guys!" she nearly lost her balance. "Wait for me!" Like some newborn child standing on her own two feet for the first time, Trinity waddled after Glinda and Farore.
Not far away, another young woman was making her way through the swamp. The girl's attire and demeanor, however, suggested she was anything but a fairy. Clad in a black miniskirt that showed off her pale legs, the witch stalked through the thick foliage on leather boots with silver zippers. She wore a tight red shirt that exposed her midriff and a short leather vest. Her hair was plum-colored and her eyes were a fiery torch yellow.
The witch moved more like a predator than a person, her enhanced senses enabling her to see the world in a far more vivid picture than regular humans can comprehend. Her long flowing hair whipped about her like a cape, shadowing her every move as she turned her head this way and that. Rearing back her head, the witch smelled the air. She was close, she knew. Her target was not far from here.
Hailing from Cloud Tower, the witch was a freshman student. From the very beginning, witches fought for prestige and she knew that completing this mission would gain her prestige among her older sisters.
Using her nose as a guide, the witch narrowed her vision to a target deep in the brush. "Aha." She moved in with catlike grace, her footsteps hardly audible among the cacophony of insects and amphibians. Brushing aside a branch the size of her arm, she spotted what she had been looking for. "There you are, my dear."
Leaning down, the witch reached out to pluck the exotic purple flower from the soil. She admired it in the dim lightning. The canopy was so thick that only shards of light managed to seep through but her heightened sense of vision, which allowed witches to see in the dark, she observed its splendor as if holding it under a lamp.
"With this I'll be able to make a hundred boil spells. That should score me some points with the big girls." Smiling, the witch shoved the flower inside a big brown bag she carried with her. It had one sling which she had over her shoulder, the bag hanging by her hip. She had spent the better part of the day collecting specimens for her Hexing Spells Course. She was quite good with flowers, having worked in a florist store back home, so her knowledge of the things gave her an edge when it came to figuring out which ones were good for what potions.
Satisfied she'd gathered enough, the witch readied herself to go home. She stopped. Her ears picked up something far away. They were voices – female voices.
Again her natural stealth allowed her to wean her way quietly through the dense swamp with barely a sound. When she reached a small opening in the foliage she gently pushed a few leaves out of her way and took a peek. There she saw not one or two, but three fairies.
Fairies? What could they be doing here? Are they…Alfea girls? She had never met them, but the witch, as had all students at Cloud Tower, had heard of the annoying and oh so self-righteous bimbos of Alfea. Fairies were a witch's natural enemy. No one could remember why – only that they hated one another. The witch had encountered a few of them in her time and just hearing one speak made her want to jab her boot down her throat. They were imperiously obnoxious, thinking the world revolved around them. It was a witch's civic duty, not to mention her very nature, to take a fairy down a peg before she hurts somebody with that ego.
They are probably lost, she concluded. No fairy in her right mind would be out in Black Mud Swamp for any reason. They were too prissy to get their expensive shoes dirty. Though by the looks of their attire they had prepared somewhat for the voyage so maybe they were here on purpose. The question is why?
Then it hit her…they must be on some sort of assignment. Back at CT, the freshman had learned that one of the favored hobbies of the witches was to spoil the fairies' training. In fact, a certain part of their curriculum called for them to make their lives absolutely miserable. If that was the case, the witch had stumbled upon a golden opportunity. She would spoil their fun and have some of her own. That will really score her points with her peers.
A smile creeping across her pretty face, the witch disappeared into the brush.
It took several moments traversing the swamp before the fairies realized they were totally lost. Glinda, leading the way, soldiered on like any good leader should. While the girls had never established a clear hierarchy, Glinda often wound up being the voice of reason which in turn placed her in the position of leader. Trinity would whine too much while Farore treated everything like it was a joke. Glinda was smaller and physically frailer than her companions but that didn't mean she wasn't tough. Often enough, it was her spirit which shone through, often quite literally, that inspired others to follow.
Right now that spirit was as frustrated as she was and Glinda could feel her heart grow heavy.
"We're lost," Farore said. "Didn't I say this would happen? I told you just going in one direction without a sense of direction would get us lost and look where we are now. We're smack dab in the middle of a swamp with no idea on how we're getting out. We'll be lost forever at this rate."
"The shortest distance between two points is a straight line," Glinda said in hopes that would shut her up.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means," Trinity began. "That Black Mud Swamp is not endless. If we keep going in one direction we will eventually find our way out of here."
"And what if that means we wind up on the other side of the swamp, the one furthest from Alfea?"
"Then at least we made it out."
"Yeah but our job was to find our way back to Alfea by listening to the Voice of Nature." Farore turned back to Glinda. "And unless I've grown deaf over the past couple of minutes, I don't think the broad is talking."
Galinda rested herself against a tree. She was tired and it was so very hot. "I don't hear anything either."
Farore looked from one girl to the next before sighing. "We're doomed."
Not liking defeatist talk, Glinda glared at her. "Don't talk like that. We can do this! I know we can. All we have to do is tighten our belts, hold our chins high and keep moving. We can take whatever this stupid swam throws at us."
Something wet smacked into Glinda's head from behind. "What in the world was that?" she asked turning around.
"Guess the swamp didn't appreciate you calling it stupid," Farore said.
Reaching back, Glinda removed some sort of spongy thing from her head. It as green and gooey. "Ewe!" Another one hit her right in the face.
Farore stood up as Trinity came to her side. Soon even they were being bombarded. It was coming from all around them – in the trees!
"What is going on?!" Trinity asked while she shielded herself with her hands.
"Hell should I know? Yo Glinda, you hanging in there?"
"Trying to." Glinda peered through the attack and saw something moving in the trees. It was green and had six legs, using two of those legs to keep it balanced on a tree branch while it peppered the fairies with goo. "It's some kind of frog-monkey!" She said.
"They're all around us. I think we stumbled onto their turf."
A very heavy goo pelted Farore in the head. "Dammit! That's it! I'm blowing these monkey boys out of the trees!"
"Farore no! We're not supposed to use magic!"
"Petunia said if we use magic we'll get an F. She'll know if we did or not," Trinity said.
"Then what the hell are we supposed to do?"
"Run!" Glinda cried. The fairies made a mad dash for safety, tripping over rocks and vines as they did so. Once they were clear of the bizarre attack zone, the trio hunched over, gasping for air. "That was weird."
"And icky," Trinity said while removing globs of whatever it was that clung to her clothes. She wailed. "I want to get out of this place!"
"Join the club." Farore approached Glinda with a stern face. "Glinda, if we don't figure out something soon we're going to be here all night. If you think the swamp is crazy enough as it is now, just wait until dark. Our janitor told me that's when the big things come out – hungry things – things that eat things like us. Now I want to pass this thing as much as anyone but if it comes down to surviving then I'm all for winxin' and getting the hell out of here?"
"Winxin'?" Glinda's face contorted. She never heard that before.
"Sprouting wings. Needlessly long transformations. Pretty colors. You know. Winxin'."
"That has to be the most ridiculous remark I have ever heard. Farore, stop butchering our language and just say transform. Fairies don't 'winx' anything."
Farore turned on Trinity with hands on her hips. "I'll call it whatever I want. Sides, it's my winx, not yours so butt out!"
The blonde rolled her eyes.
"We should get going. I'm pretty sure we'll run into a landmark sooner or later."
"That's right. Hey, Trinity, keep a lookout for a really big tree. That's our landmark," Farore joked even though neither of her friends were in the joking sort of mood. Once they were on their way again, the trio walked through a thick mud and grass that resembled barbed wire. So twisted were the trees that their branches looked like claws. As a matter of fact, some of them were. The girls had to run through a gauntlet of grabbing, stinging trees that were somehow alive. Then a giant snake-thing nearly snatched Glinda and they were attacked by a swarm of ravenous bug-things when they happened among their nest. All this in just the past half hour and already the girls looked like they'd been traveling for months.
Trinity neatly collapsed on the ground in a clearing. "Can't…go…on…must…carry…me…"
"In…your…dreams," Farore said – though she wouldn't mind be carried herself.
Glinda knew they were getting nowhere fast. If Miss Petunia were here she could say in all confidence that the girls would receive a solid F for the course. This was hard. Glinda never realized how much she relied on her magic until now. Things were real easy for magical beings. Perhaps this course was more an exercise in toughening the girls up should a time come when they would not have use of their winx. She had greater respect for those specialists at Red Fountain now. They may be chauvinistic but at least they had a point. (4)
Farore suddenly picked up. "Hey! I think I hear something." Farore's ears were much sharper than the other girls. Since sound was carried by air, she heard what she thought was rushing water. "I think there's a river near here. Come on!" She rushed off before the girls could ask her questions. She led the fairies to a mound overlooking a river. They recognized it immediately as that was the river that split the swamp in half. It was the halfway point! Question is: which side were they on? If they were on the side closest to Alfea then they were going the wrong way…if not, then all they had to do was cross and keep going.
"Nice work, Farore," Glinda complimented her.
"Yeah," Trinity said. "But do we cross or what?"
"Give me a minute," The white-haired fairy closed her eyes and listened to the wind. She could hear voices in the distance. Several voices actually – all of them female. "I hear the other girls," she announced. "Sounds to me they're all moving in the same direction – toward Alfea!"
"Figures Miss Petunia would send us further away than anyone else. She's had it in for me ever since I accidentally revealed her greatest fear to the class on the first day of school." Trinity brought up a mental image of the afro-haired teacher. How she hated her at this moment. "This weed-whacker's going to make your life a living hell when she gets back."
Farore puffed out her chest heroically. "Who needs the Voice of Nature when the Voice of Air is so much more dependable?"
"Air is a part of Nature," Trinity pointed out.
All three made their way to the river. A series of rocks jutted up from the surface of the water flat enough so that they could use them to get across. (5) The water looked awfully fast, though. Still, Galinda led on. She would lead by example and take the first foray into that raging river. With grace honed by years of ballet, the petite fairy hopped onto one rock and then the next. "See. We can do this." She moved onto the next stepping stone.
Back at shore, Trinity wearily stepped onto a rock. "Is this safe?"
"T, we're about to cross a raging river over slippery rocks. Nothing is safe here. It's a swamp!"
"Thanks for the assurance, Farore."
"It's why I'm here."
Slowly, much slower than Glinda, Trinity made her way across. Farore was about to do the same when she heard something. Looking back, her eyes scanned the trees and the plants for the source. A million things called this place home and she wasn't sure if what she heard constituted a threat. It could just as easily been a rodent foraging or a branch blown by the wind. She listened for many seconds before deciding it was best to get going.
The witch had been trailing the Alfea girls in silence. Save for the white-haired one, who seemed to have the sharpest ears, they never noticed her tracking them. She remained in the shadows and waited for the most opportune time to strike. That time was nearly upon her. Once they had reached the halfway point of the river is when they would be most vulnerable. Just imagine what it would be like – three fairies all at once. This was just too good…no…too evil to be true.
Apparently their assignment prevented them from using their winx. The witch now salivated at her chances. She knew if she attacked them they would, in self-defense, transform and three fairies could prove a bit of a match. She would have to find a more cunning way to have her fun.
The swamp was full of creepy and slimy things. All she had to do was take her pick. There! Up in the trees…a spider? Nah, too cliché. A serpent had been done to death. Perhaps something with claws or many legs but they usually proved too feisty and the witch didn't want the trouble. One look at a decaying log and she found her answer. A green slug the size of her forefinger worked its way up the ancient bark. With a casual flick she picked it up, feeling its grotesque pores sucking on her skin.
The witch removed some purple dust from her bag. Sprinkling it over the slug, she muttered "Transforumus Gargantus" and waited for the green thing to flash purple. Once it returned to its original color, the witch reared back and flung the slug into the river. It was an easy spell…just add water.
Glinda was almost to the other end when she heard Trinity scream. It was followed shortly but a gurgling roar so deep that it sent ripples through the water. The fairy stopped just two rocks short of the shore and turned around. There, just behind Farore and many times her height and girth, was a giant, green slug. Easily the size of a bus, the slug had a mouth that could swallow Farore whole. Trinity had been the first to spot it because she had been in the middle of answering back one of Farore's comments when she saw the thing emerge.
Now Farore was in danger.
"Farore run!" Glinda cried.
Her friend did a quick about-face before she too screamed and made a mad dash across the rocks. Unfortunately, Trinity was in the way and she could only go so far before she had to stop. "Trinity move!" She told her. Even with a fairy-eating slug at her back, Trinity could hardly go any faster than she already was. The slug, however, had no such difficulty circumventing the wet rocks.
Glinda could only watch in horror as the massive invertebrate closed in on her friends. She could do little on this side of the river and their only hope of survival was outrunning the thing. That looked impossible. Farore could easily outpace the slug on or off the ground but she would never leave Trinity behind. It was hopeless unless…
Galinda knew what she had to do. "Guys, hang on!" She told them. Gathering up her magic, Galinda transformed. Her clothes shriveled away and disappeared to be replaced by a form-fitting light blue mini-skirt with a slit on the right side. Her shirt was also blue and sleeveless, exposing her midriff. Her pink hair formed into two buns above her head and her wings were a mix of blue, pink, and lavender. Light-blue pumps adorned her feet.
Glinda charged the giant slug. "Get away from them!" She fired off a blast that stunned the creature. "Farore! Get Trinity out of here!"
"I'd love to!" Farore stopped just short of bumping into Trinity who was struggling to regain her balance when she almost slipped, flailing her arms around madly, her body hunched over. "Eek!"
"I'm falling! She cried but managed to regain her balance. Just then, Farore gave her a swift kick in the butt which sent her skipping over two rocks. "Farore!"
"Dammit, girl, move!"
Glinda meanwhile battled the giant slug. It recovered from her initial attack and Glinda pounded it some more. The attacks didn't have the same affect as it seemed to shrug them off. The slug opened its mouth and unleashed a glob of spit at the fairy. Glinda barely had time to dodge. "That is so rude." Glinda went up higher. "Geez, you stink! Time for you to take a bath." She raised her palm upward. "Light Shower!" streams of pure light emitted from her palm and pelted the slug mercilessly. The creature groaned beneath the bombardment.
But it wasn't done yet. The slug opened its mouth and several slimy tentacles shot upward like missiles. Glinda had time to doge five or six, but one managed to ensnare her leg and pull her down. The fairy screamed. The slug pulled her toward its maw when two distinctive blasts, one purple, the other white, shot it in the gut. Glinda spotted her two friends who had just transformed on the other side of the river. "Put her down!" Trinity commanded. "Before we make you stew!"
"That's telling it, T." Farore prepared another blast. The slug turned is massive head toward them and opened its mouth. "What? You gonna blow us a kiss now?"
"Farore! Trinity! Watch out!" But Glinda's warning came too late and a thick layer of spit engulfed the two fairies, planting them firmly against a tree. "You guys okay?" She asked only to recall it was she who was really in danger. Pulling her down, the slug prepared to have its meal.
The witch giggled with delight as she watched the struggling fairy. It was almost too much to bear.
The witch cringed when she heard that voice. It was the voice of her headmistress, Miss Chimera. The head witch had apparently been scrying her from Cloud Tower. "Yes, headmistress?"
"What do you think you doing?"
"Er…collecting specimens for my potions class, headmistress."
"I'm talking about the fairies you fool! That slug will devour her!"
Elphaba scratched her head. "That's…kind of the point…headmistress."
"A dead fairy will bring bad PR to Cloud Tower. Our reputation is already hanging by a thread as it is. Witches are allowed to trouble fairies but never kill them. If you let that slug eat the pixie then consider yourself expelled from the school!"
"You heard me. Stop that slug!"
"Y-Yes, ma'am." Elphaba abandoned her hiding place and rushed toward the river. So much for being a spectator.
Glinda squirmed in the monster's grasp. She gagged as she smelled its foul breath. This is bad, she thought.
Suddenly she caught sight of someone on the opposing shore. Is that a witch? Galinda could not believe it – there was a witch rushing toward the slug. Was this all her doing? It would explain the slug's sudden appearance. Now that she thought about it, the slug was emitting a large amount of dark magic. It had to have been spelled…and who else better than a witch?
Elphaba pranced over the rocks as easily as Glinda did though with more emphasis on getting where she was going. "Hey!" She called to the beast. "Knock it off! Do you hear me?" She stopped three rocks away, attempting to get the slug's attention. "I order you to release her!"
"Is this thing yours?" Glinda asked.
"Kind of. Look just shut up and let me do this." Elphaba raised her hand. "Release the fairy now or face my wrath." The slug ignored her, pulling Glinda ever close. "Are you deaf?"
"It doesn't have ears," Glinda pointed out.
"Oh right." Gathering energy into her hand, Elphaba blasted the creature from behind. Now it regarded her. "I order you to…" The slug's massive behind came up, sending a wave of water knocking the witch back to land. Coughing, Elphaba was soaked from head to toe. What's worse, her bag was wet too, as were its contents. Enraged, the CT students got back up. "That's it!" She fired a series of blasts at the slug which didn't harm it in the least. "Pay attention to me, dammit!"
"That's not working," Glinda said. "Speaking of which, can you work a little faster? This thing's about to eat me."
"Fine. I'll just reverse the spell." Elphaba raised her hands and paused. "Um…how did that go again?"
The witch pondered. "Oh damn. I knew I should have paid more attention in hexes class. Oh well. The spell should wear off soon enough."
"That may not be soon enough. Fine!" Elphaba levitated her boy into the air and approached the fairy. "Grab my hand," she told Glinda. The fairy did so and she pulled. With all her might, Elphaba could not release the fairy from the slug's vice-like grip. "Dammit! That spell should have worn off by now."
"How strong was it?"
"Not too strong. It was only meant to hold long enough to scare the hell out of you fairies."
"Well it's done a great job. Congratulations."
"And shame on you!"
Elphaba grumbled. A tentacle wrapped around her leg and pulled. Now they were both dangling precariously over the gaping maw. "No! Let me go you stupid slug!"
"It can't hear you."
"It can hear this." Elphaba fired an energy blast into its mouth. The creature roiled in pain.
"Wait a minute. It felt that." Glinda turned to Elphaba. "How about we fire at the same time. You and me. Okay?"
"Whatever." Elphaba was already charged for another attack when Glinda did the same. "Fire!" They unleashed a combined attack that burned the slug's insides – releasing them at the same time. Fairy and witch climbed far out of range. "Whew," Glinda said. "That was close."
It appeared the beast had forgotten all about all about them and instead headed towards shore – where Trinity and Farore were still trapped. "Oh no!" Glinda turned to Elphaba. "We have to help my friends!"
"Wonderful," She said drolly. The two rushed down and pelted the slug with numerous blasts making sure to say clear of its head. Its massive head turned, retaliating with globs of spit. This is getting us nowhere. Elphaba prepared to cast her most powerful spell. Her hands glowed purple. She closed them together before muttering in a language strange to Glinda. Releasing her hands the energy spiraled toward the slug where it then formed into a giant cage, trapping the slug within. "There."
"Nice." Glinda then turned sour. "But it is still all your fault."
"That's the thanks I get for saving you?"
"If you hadn't created that thing in the first place…"
"If you had only been stronger and more competent…"
"If only you witches…"
"If only you fairies…"
The insults went back and forth. "Seeing" its chance, the slug enlarged its body and shattered the cage. Elphaba and Glinda looked just in time to see a wall of spit heading their way. Both fairy and witch were ensnared in the sticky substance and fell towards the river. Gasping, Glinda's head poked out first. The water had dissolved the spit somewhat but it was difficult to keep her head above water. Searching she didn't find Elphaba. "Oh no!" Finally freeing her arms, Glinda ducked back down. She found the witch kicking madly as she was carried away by the current. Apparently, she could not swim.
Glinda could and she went after her. Elphaba scrambled her way to the surface and gasped for air. She tried and failed to grab a few rocks along the way, just managing to hook herself onto the last one. "Hold on!" Glinda cried as she swam like mad.
Holding on is exactly what Elphaba did. For the first time in her life she was truly terrified. After bringing so much misery to others, the witch was getting a taste of what it meant to feel helpless in the face of danger. Only this time she was trapped in a situation of her own doing. Now more than ever she wished she had never met this fairy. It was her fault she was in this predicament. Had she been able to defeat the slug or at the least escape, Elphaba wouldn't be in this mess. Now she was on the verge of drowning for trying to help this ungrateful pixie safe her pixie friends.
Glinda could not believe what was happening. As if passing Miss Petunia's irritating course wasn't enough, now she was fighting a strong current to save a witch – one who not so long ago had set a giant slug on them. Part of her wanted to leave the witch behind and go save her friends. Afterall, it was her fault they were in this mess. Witches were nothing but trouble. Glinda should just count her blessings and get out of here. Were things reversed, she knew the witch would abandon her to her fate. So why was she risking her life for her?
Because I'm a fairy and saving lives is what we do.
Geez that sounded like something a specialist would think. Maybe it was a trait inherent in all goodly beings. A witch or a slug would never understand what it means to risk one's life for another. Theirs was a selfish lot only concerned with self-preservation. That was why fairies were better – because they thought of others. No one was saying they were perfect, but at least they knew how to care.
"I'm almost there!" She told the witch and kicked with all her might.
Watching her approach, Elphaba had half a mind to let go. Maybe she could have the fairy drown herself in a foolish attempt at rescuing her. The only problem with that was that she'd drown too and that conflicted with her survivalist nature. In the name of Fralhalla! She did not want to be indebted to a fairy for saving her life. She'd be the laughing stock of Cloud Tower!
Elphaba continued to hold on. She saw something moving behind the fairy and gasped. The giant slug had taken to the water and was now right behind her. "Look out!" The fairy was swimming too fast to hear her. If she didn't do something fast then she would be eaten alive! Miss Chimera would have her head if that happened.
Glinda was almost to her when she heard a roar. Looking back, she cried out when she saw the gaping mouth of the slug coming down on her. Fortunately, a blast from Elphaba into the slug's mouth had it retching its head away. Glinda could not believe it. Not half a moment ago she was criticizing the witch and her kind for being selfish jerks and now she had just been saved by that same girl. Of course had the witch not aided her, she would have to face the strong current all on her own so it was much a self-beneficial action as anything else. Still, that was too close!
Glinda reached Elphaba, placing her arm around her waist for support. "Thanks," She said a bit hesitantly.
"Looks like we're even," said the witch.
But the slug wasn't through just yet. It renewed its assault with a vengeance, coming down on them like some massive torpedo. Neither of them knew whether slugs were very good swimmers but with magic anything is possible. It wouldn't surprise them if the thing eventually learned to fly, at which case they had to get out of here fast!
Holding onto Elphaba, Glinda tried to fly, but her wings were too wet and she couldn't get find something with good enough leverage to elevate them above the water. Holding Elphaba there was no way she could outswim the slug and she was already too tired to even try. Best thing they can do is make for shore. "We have to get out of the water. Witch, you have to help me paddle. I don't think I can get us there alone."
Elphaba turned to her with matted hair. "I'm not much of a swimmer."
"Just paddle! Between the two of us we just might make it. And kick your legs as if your life depends on it. Like it does now!" As they let go of the rock, both began to swim as hard as they could toward the shoreline. The giant slug enveloped the rock they were just on and went after them. It may have been the adrenaline, but somehow they managed to get to land. Exhausted, both fairy and witch crawled out of the river, gasping, soaked, their clothes heavy from the water. Glinda turned when she heard the ominous roar of the slug. The creature was nearly on them and they were helpless.
"Get up! We have to…" but Elphaba was already on her feet and stumbling away. Galinda had done most of the swimming and she was smaller than Elphaba. Carrying her while battling the current drained the fairy far more than it had done the witch. Elphaba realized that she would need time to recuperate her strength and for that she needed a moment's reprieve. "Hey! Where are you going?"
Elphaba looked back. Glinda was still on the ground and the slug was nearly there. "Sorry."
Elphaba collapsed near a tree and watched the slug converge on Glinda. The maw opened. "Help!"
Then it came to Elphaba. Funny how adrenaline affected the mind as well as the body. Raising her hands, the witch began her spell. "Transformus Negatus!" Magic flew from her fingertips. Just as the massive head fell on Glinda, the spell Elphaba used to turn the invertebrate into a monster was negated. Glinda was found to be shivering mass beneath the slug but was otherwise unharmed. The fairy looked up, expecting to be digested – instead, she saw Elphaba giving her a victorious grin.
Feeling something on her head, Glinda reached up. The slug had reverted back to its normal size. Squealing, the fairy threw it away, not caring where it landed. Standing up, Glinda glared daggers at Elphaba. "Y-You left me!"
"I needed time to think."
"You abandoned me!"
"You're alive aren't you?"
Growling, Glinda resisted the urge to attack the witch head on. "This was all your fault."
"Let's not point fingers, fairy. What's done is done." Elphaba felt her side and gasped. Looking down, she found the bag which held all her belongings was gone, probably swept away by the river. "No!" She looked around frantically. Rushing toward the river, Elphaba searched in vain for her missing specimens. "I spent hours in this swamp. All that work – wasted!"
"What are you talking about?"
Elphaba turned on Glinda. "This is all your fault!"
"If you hadn't distracted me then the slug never would have broken out of my cage spell and I wouldn't have lost my specimens."
"And what about me? Thanks to you, I had to transform. That's an automatic F." Her ire rising, Glinda clenched her fists. Her eyes became slits. "I saved your life."
"And I saved yours…twice!"
Glinda glared even harder.
"So how's this going to go down, fairy?"
"Bring it on."
"Elphaba!" Came Chimera's harsh tone, causing the witch to shiver.
Glinda looked around, unable to hear Chimera's voice.
"Return to Cloud Tower immediately. You have a lot to answer for."
"Who are you talking to?" Glinda asked.
Sighing, Elphaba looked at Glinda and said, "My executioner." Then her face turned grim again. "This isn't over, fairy. Not by a long shot." Clapping her hands together, Elphaba vanished, teleporting back to Cloud Tower.
Glinda was at a lost for words. She had no idea how much trouble the witch was in but she didn't care. All that mattered was that she was gone. Now she had to help her friends. Rushing upriver, Glinda hurried to where Trinity and Farore were still trapped…their eyes lighting up when they saw her.
"Did you like your F?" Miss Griffin asked.
"Actually, when I told Miss Petunia about the ordeal, she decided to let us retake the exam. C-."
The headmistress scowled. "Your instructors were far too lenient. Miss Chimera berated me for hours. I wasn't allowed off the school premises for two weeks and forced to do menial tasks while the other girls watched. It was degrading. I was never so humiliated in all my life."
Miss Faragonda's face became sympathetic. "I'm so sorry."
"Don't be. I learned a valuable lesson then. Performing devious acts under the pretense of villainy is okay, so long as you don't get caught." She turned to Galinda. "It's the very lesson I try to instill in my girls to this day." She turned away. "Besides, the burgeoning hatred I had for you helped me through the ordeal. I plotted my revenge. One day I knew I would meet you again and on that day I swore I would make you suffer for the humiliation I had to endure."
"You realize of course it was your fault the slug got out of control."
"And you realize, dear Glinda, that I am a witch. It's what I do."
The fairy laughed.
"You haven't called me that in a long time. Not since the day we became friends."
"Associates more like it."
Glinda smirked. "Call it what you like. You cannot deny the special relationship between us."
Elphaba glanced at her. "What special relationship?
"Why that you and I were the first fairy and witch to look past our differences and join forces in a very long time. Our people have been enemies for centuries, Elphaba. It wasn't easy, but we managed to see one another as more than the opposing side, we saw a person, someone we grew to respect…and care about. Our students may not know about it now and they probably never will – but you and I made history the day we joined the Company of Light. That is something I will cherish the rest of my days."
For once, Elphaba smiled. "Yes. I suppose we did make history, didn't we?"
Glinda nodded. "In more ways than one."
Elphaba regarded the students who were still in celebration. "But now it is their time. The good old days are gone, Glinda. Soon we will no longer be needed."
"I beg to differ, Elphie," Glinda said and received a warning glare from the witch. "While I do agree the torch has been passed to a new generation, we must never forget that our legacy will remain long after we are dust. In a sense, we've gained something no amount of study or hard work could ever obtain."
"And what is that?"
Elphaba smiled at that. "That is…pleasing."
"I thought you would."
The two friends returned to silence as they looked out over the lake…taking comfort in the other's company and the notion that what they accomplished together would live on through those that came after…
1-At the beginning, the students are celebrating a victory against an unknown enemy. This story does not take place in the canon series.
2-As Miss F describes the Company of Light, you'll notice they're based off the group from my short story "The Fall of Domino." Hence, Baltor, Rienhlocke, Atmos and Ameryl are mentioned.
3-Trinity and Farore were originally meant to be fairies for another Winx fic. Trinity hails from the Realm of Dreams (haven't thought of a name) which makes her a master of illusion, projections, and mind-reading. Farore (don't have a realm for her) can manipulate the air around her. This makes her very fast and difficult to hit. Miss F, or rather Galinda, is the Fairy of Light. You can guess what she does.
4-I say the Voice of Nature test brought up a good point. Fairies rely on their magic too much. They're lost without it. This, as Glinda considered, is a good way for them to toughen up and become resourceful.
5-The river the girls cross here is the same one the Winx Club and the specialists crossed during "The Voice of Nature" many years later.