"What are you doing?" Glinda demanded. "That's what started this whole mess in the first place; that horrible levitation spell!"
Elphaba's fervent chanting didn't stop. The magic was ballooning inside her like a chamber of seething, molten lava. It seared at her fingertips, begging to be unleashed. Unfortunately fragments of the green woman's attention, and consequently her power, were being plucked away by Glinda's distracting exclamations.
The blonde, totally unaware of her effect on Elphaba's magic, continued to fuss. A pair of flawless, cream colored hands clenched in acute worry. At any moment Glinda expected painful, leathery appendages to sprout from her best friend's back.
"Stop!" the petite woman shouted, finally unable to stand it any longer.
Elphaba's mantra ceased, but only because her spell was completed. For a moment the two girls stood in anticipatory silence. When nothing happened Glinda slowly began to relax.
"Well, where are your wings?" she whispered. "Maybe you aren't as powerful as you think you-Ahh!"
The blonde's question was cut off by an ear splitting shriek of pain. She crumpled backwards onto the splintery wooden floor. Contortions tumbled through Glinda's body and she screamed again. It felt as though every bone in her back was painfully crunching itself into an unnatural position.
"Glinda!" Elphaba cried. She ran to her friend's side, hands jerking about with the need to do something. "What's wrong?"
"My shoulders!" Glinda shrieked in response. "It feels like…Ahh!" She arched against the floor in agony.
"Oh my Oz," the green woman murmured in bewildered panic. For all her knowledge Elphaba was totally clueless.
"Elphie make it stop!" the petite woman begged hoarsely. "Please make it stop." She rolled miserably, excruciatingly onto her stomach.
Just then a massive pair of golden, feathery wings ripped free from the skin of Glinda's back. A prolonged screech clawed free of the blonde's mouth before she succumbed to this new, overwhelming pain and went limp.
Elphaba, eyes wide and with tears pouring down her stricken face, remained frozen in horrified shock. How could she have done such an unspeakable thing to her best friend? How had the gift that had brought her to meet the Wizard, to what was meant to be the happiest day of her life, caused so much pain?
Two trembling, viridian hands gently touched the wings. They were a little longer than Glinda was tall and patterned with splotches of scarlet blood, like afterbirth on a baby animal. Before Elphaba's icy shock could melt away a pair of palace guards smashed down the attic door.
They saw the mysterious, supposedly threatening, green girl they were ordered to find standing over an innocent young woman with blood on her hands. The wings, they reasoned, were probably an evil enchantment that the witch had visited upon her victim. One man seized Elphaba's unresisting arms and slammed her against a wall.
Madame Morrible, in her opulent, lime green dress, swept in behind the armed men. "Bring that wretched creature to the Throne Room," she commanded imperiously.
"What about the other girl ma'am?"
"Carry her in too. This is a matter to be handled by the Wizard."
By the time Elphaba had been forced to kneel before the Wizard's throne her stunned silence was beginning to evaporate into guilt and anger. The guard not occupied with manhandling her dropped Glinda's prone body unceremoniously onto the polished, granite floor.
"Be careful with her," the green woman snarled. "She's not a sack of flour you oaf!" Heedless that such an action might be perceived as hostile to her overseers she slid towards Glinda. The blonde's face showed no evidence of pain; she was still peacefully oblivious.
"Leave us!" the Wizard's mechanical head commanded in a voice that sounded like copper pans smashing together. His guards marched out obediently. As soon as they were gone the real Wizard, the cheery old man who looked more equipped to be a barber than the ruler of Oz, appeared. His round, jolly features were creased with worry.
"What happened?" he demanded, apparently unconcerned that Elphaba would turn on him.
"It was an accident," she all but wailed. "I meant to cast the spell on me, not on Glinda. I didn't mean to hurt her." Madame Morrible chose that moment to arrive.
"Be careful your Wizardship," she warned. "You saw what the Witch did to her friend when she tried to stop her…"
"Madame I have no need of your services at present," the Wizard interrupted. Elphaba noted, with a fair amount of suspicious mystification, that he looked almost protective of her and Glinda. Morrible, flustered and unsure whether arguing would get her anywhere, twittered about for a moment before finally exiting.
"What do you want with me?" the emerald witch demanded.
"I want to help you," Oz's unimpressive ruler replied gently. "Miss Upland seems to be in need of a medical once over and you look absolutely exhausted." Elphaba's eyes narrowed. What in Oz was he playing at?
The Wizard clapped twice and a personal servant, not Chistery this time but a young munchkin woman, emerged briskly. "Please escort Miss Thropp to my personal chambers and see to it that her friend is immediately taken to the medical wing."
"I'm not leaving Glinda," Elphaba deadpanned.
"Alright then, take them both to the medical wing," Oz's ruler exclaimed, totally undeterred. "If Miss Glinda doesn't require any immediate attention these girls should be allowed one of our finest guest suites in which to rest the night."
"Very good your Wizardship," the maidservant responded.