Elphaba huddled close to Fiyero as the guards herded them in the direction of the throne room. His hand found hers and gave it a comforting squeeze as they walked through the large double doors.
Glinda stood to the right of the throne, still clothed in her wedding dress, her face pale and strained with worry. As the guards moved back from the prisoners, the king lifted his head.
"The two of you are the ones responsible for the loss of the king of Munchkinland and the disruption of my daughter's wedding," he said wearily. As he cleared his throat, he noticed Fiyero's arm had wrapped around Elphaba's waist, and he said, "And, it seems that you've also broken Glinda's heart."
Elphaba's cheeks darkened with embarrassment, and she attempted to separate herself from Fiyero, but he only held onto her tighter.
"Your Majesty, Elphaba did help your prisoner escape, but she did it because he is her father. She was concerned for his life, and she acted rashly. I ask you do not judge her too harshly," Fiyero said bravely, locking eyes with the older man.
"A disobedient slave is useless," the king replied, waving his hand dismissively. "I will not tolerate for her to live any longer."
Fiyero stepped forward, shielding Elphaba from view. "Then, I ask that I might take her place and allow her to return to Munchkinland."
"I will not risk offending your father," the king snapped.
"My father does not matter," Fiyero shot back. "He is the one responsible for your illness. He's been poisoning you."
"How do you know this?" the king asked distrustfully.
"He told me himself," Fiyero said. "In fact, he has fled from Gillikin in fear of your wrath."
"Then, how has he managed to curse me with this sickness?" the king asked. "Magic?"
"Poison," Fiyero responded. "I believe that if you stop taking your medicine, you will find that it is poisoning you. Your doctors have been bribed by my father."
"For your honesty, I will grant you immunity and allow you to return to the Vinkus with my goodwill," the king said after a moment of consideration. "However, if this information proves false, rest assured that I will have you hunted down and killed."
Fiyero sighed in relief. "And, Elphaba? May I take her into my custody when I leave for the Vinkus?"
The king shook his head. "No. She is still a slave and a prisoner of war. She has broken the law and betrayed her mistress. The penalty for her crimes is death."
"Then, I ask once again that I might take her place," Fiyero pleaded. "I was the one who seduced her and enabled her to help her father escape."
Glinda placed her hand on her father's shoulder and said softly, "Father, listen to him. Show them mercy, if only for my sake."
He turned to look at her. "Why should I spare her? She has wounded you. Why do you want to forgive her?"
Glinda met Elphaba's steady gaze as she replied, "She's my friend. Please, spare her and allow her to leave."
"No," the king said, his expression stony. "There is no mercy under the law. Fiyero, you must leave my kingdom immediately. That is my decision, and it is final."
"Let me stay with her until her execution," Fiyero said quietly, his throat closing with emotion.
"If you insist on staying, then you will share in her punishment," the king replied.
Elphaba looked up at Fiyero's face and recoiled in horror. "No, please, just leave me alone."
"I'm making a choice, and I choose you," he told her as the guards began to move towards them.
"Your execution will be in the morning," the king said firmly. "Take them away."
"No," Elphaba begged, tears running down her cheeks. "Fiyero, please, don't do this."
The guards ignored her pleas as they dragged the two from the throne room. Glinda shuddered when the doors swung shut, and she fled to her room.
Elphaba shivered as she huddled close to the bars of her cell. Fiyero was slumped nearby, just out of reach; he glanced at her when he heard her quiet sniffles.
"Are you cold?" he asked, concern lining his face.
She shook her head. "No, I'm fine."
He scooted closer to her, reaching his hand past the bars to trace her cheek. "I'm sorry that I couldn't save you from this."
"This isn't your fault," she murmured, shrinking away from his tender touch. "Why did you stay to die with me? I lied to you."
"You were protecting your father," he replied. "And, you were protecting me. If I wasn't aware of who you are, then I couldn't be held responsible. Besides, I love you. I couldn't leave you behind."
"You're wasting your life," she snapped, her eyes growing hard. "You're useless dead."
"I'm nothing without you," he countered patiently. "I chose to stay because I love you."
"I wish you hadn't," she whispered, her eyes welling up with tears. "Oz, I love you too much, Fiyero."
"Shh, it's all right," he said softly, intertwining his fingers with hers. "I'm here."
"Do you believe in eternity?" she asked as he brushed a kiss against her hand.
He looked into her eyes, a slight smile on his face. "Yes."
Glinda sat on the edge of her bed, her eyes fixed on the sunrise outside her window. It was a glorious display of oranges and reds, the warmth enveloping the sleeping land below. Her fingers curled protectively around the letter Elphaba had left on her pillow as tears coursed down her frozen cheeks. There was nothing she could do for them anymore, so she stared out the window as her heart broke.