AN: Hey, look! I'm posting this the day after the prologue, how about that! Hahahaha! And you guys thought I was serious when I said I was going to torture you by making you wait. Don't you know me by know? lmao! Seriously, though, how many of you actually believed me when I said that? Just curious.

Ok, so once again, a big shout out to Bree for being an awesome beta! And don't worry, I can tell you right now that we will be seeing more of Nessa and Kumbricia in the near future. Trust me, Kumbricia especially has a very big part in this and is important to the story. Probably more so than you'd think...

Anyway, I was looking at my story traffic yesterday, and guess what? WRH has the most hits out of all my stories! It has exactly 4,855 hits, 51 reviews, 22 faves, and 19 alerts, with Chapter One in the lead for hits at a total of 1,430 and the last chapter in the lead for reviews at a total of 10. I just thought that was really cool, so I'm setting a goal for myself on this story: Get even more hits than WRH.

Oh, and speaking of reviews for WRH, I got one from an anonymous reviewer for the last chapter, someone going by the name "Shockheaded Peter's Sister," and she asked about the Arjiki tribal language. Shockhead, you have no idea. Sometimes I'll sit there for like thirty minutes trying to come up with an Arjiki word.

Also, regarding your question about how long it took me to put it all together: It's still not done, believe it or not. I'm constantly adding new words and phrases, making changes, etc., etc. Fiyero's native language is constantly evolving and being added to.

It's very complex, and yet in she picked up on it almost instantly. In one story that still needs to be transferred from paper to computer, she's trying to calm down their fussy baby girl and she's speaking in the tribal language, then he sneaks into the room and makes her jump when he says, "You speak that language so fluidly, it's like star-woven silk."

So, anyway, yeah. In case anybody was wondering about that, now you know. Shockhead, I hop that answers your question. Okay, so, um...I guess I'll shut up now. Enjoy!

-Maggie the Mad Majesty of Muchness, who is also quickly becoming the Mistress of Cliff Hanger Endings

"This is your moment of judgment. Which path will you choose?"

"I...I choose..." Dorothy's chest tightened. She closed her eyes tightly, feeling as if she couldn't breathe, then opened them again, a million things whirling through her mind. She couldn't keep her eyes closed, otherwise the pictures would drive her insane.

But she closed them anyway, watching as hundreds of images danced across the back of her eyelids in blurred flashes of colors, faces, and sounds.

She saw Glinda, gracefully stepping out of her bubble to greet her with smile on her face.

She saw Fiyero, up on his pole in the cornfield, then his smiling face as he laughed at his own clumsiness, shoving spilled straw back into his shirt after tripping over his own feet, only to stumble and nearly fall right back down upon getting up.

She saw the giant metal head inside the Wizard's palace, smoke and sparks shooting up out of the floor around it.

She saw Boq, the thirst for vengeance that she had once been blind to now so obvious upon looking back that she wondered how in the world she'd missed it before.

She saw Brr smiling shyly, looking at her from the corners of his eyes as he sat with them around the fire on his first night with the group.

And finally, she saw Elphaba; first at the site of her sister's death, a pained look in her eyes as the angry glare she was directing at Glinda turned to a look of shock upon seeing her sister's shoes on Dorothy. Next, she saw her on the roof of an old shack, broom in hand as she screamed in fury and launched a fireball in the group's direction, narrowly missing Fiyero by just a few inches.

Then she saw her again, this time from above as Chistery carried her to the window of Elphaba's tower room. She saw the way Elphaba had looked while telling Dorothy about the night Glinda had tried to make her popular; tired, but with a smile on her face as she relived the memory.

She also saw the look on her face as she told her about the day she'd fallen head-over-heels in love with Fiyero and all about what an amazing person he was. That had been the first time Dorothy had seen even the faintest glimmer in her eyes. There had been a small spark in her dark, exhausted eyes that drew attention away from the heavy circles underneath them. For the first time since Chistery had taken her to the castle, Dorothy saw the intense emotion in Elphaba's words appear on her face.

Just from her expression, the look in her eyes, she'd been able to tell the green girl had meant everything she said from the very bottom of her heart and she'd seen for herself just how much Fiyero really meant to her.

Looking back, Dorothy realized it must have been in that moment that she truly let all the negative prejudice against Elphaba that she had so far been exposed to melt away and opened her heart completely to the misunderstood woman, inviting her in, ready and willing to listen to everything she had to say.

Wanting to give her a friend.

Dorothy opened her eyes. "I know my path," she said. Elphaba gave her a calm nod, indicating to the girl to go on. She looked her straight in the eye and said without hesitation, "I choose to stay."

AN: Can you honestly tell me you weren't expecting that? No. Didn't think so. Haha! Alright, just so you know, I'm still giving points to anybody who can tell me where the story's title came from, as well as a free cookie to anyone who can give me an accurate quote directly from that source. Remember, I have chocolate chip, gingersnaps, chocolate oatmeal rasin, and gingerbread in the shape of your choice. Or, if you're not in a cookie mood, giant cinnamon pretzels like they sell at the mall.

Oof. Okay, this was a pretty short chapter. I'll try to make the next few longer to make up for the shortness of this one and the prologue. Oh, and speaking of the prologue, since I forgot to do it both at the beginning of this chapter and in the prologue, I'm goind it now:

Disclaimer: What's that? You wanna know if I own Wicked? Just a clock-tick, let me consult with my lawyers on that. *picks up green phone that's sitting on desk and dials* Yes, Hannah? Hi, this is Maggie, I'm a friend of Nancy's...Yes, THAT Maggie, that would be me...Well, I was wondering, would Nancy's dad happen to be available?...He is?...Great, can I talk to him?...Thank you...*waits*...Hello, Carson, it's me. Listen, can you do me a favor and check on something please?...Go through the company's ledger for me and see if I own Wicked yet, would you please?...Thanks...*waits*...Oh...Really?...Uh-huh...Yeah...I see...*sighs* Okay, thanks for looking. *hangs up* Bad news, everybody: Gregory Maguire still refuses to sell me the ownership rights, so I guess I DON'T own it.