CHAPTER 47 - PART 4 – Elphaba
“Are you dead? Oh Goddess, I never should have let you go, Your Majesty!”
Cass barreled into the treasure room at top speed, pausing only to see me in Steele’s arms.
“She is dead!” Cass wailed, giant tears gathering on her impossibly long lashes.
“For goodness sake, Cass,” I grumbled, pushing myself out of Steele’s arms. Just as my feet hit the floor, my knees buckled, and he had to grab me before I fell onto the hard floor of the cavern.
“You are hurt, it was my job to protect you! Your Majesty, I am beside myself with grief!”
“Enough, Cass, I am fine.”
Her tear stained face peered up at me from behind her purple gloves, “Really?”
Steele cleared his throat, “She has a large contusion on the back of her skull. I am fairly confident she is suffering from a concussion as well.”
“Could you heal her?” he asked patiently.
“Heal? What is Steele talking about?”
Cass flushed, “Some pixies have healing abilities. I would like to try and heal you, Your Majesty, if you would like.”
“I would like,” I would damn well love it. “But magic doesn’t work on the Winkie Land.”
Cass shook her head, “The land is loyal to whom it feels is the alpha. From the looks of things, Steele is most likely that person.”
“What do I need to do?” Steele answered sharply.
“Just grant me the rights, I will take it from there,” Cass replied.
Steele did as she asked and then Cass took off her purple gloves. Her hands were hot to the touch, and I flinched away from them. But Cass persisted, and Steele held me in a vice-like grip. I felt something different and foreign enter my body.
My first impulse was to pull away, but I couldn’t do anything as it wrapped and coiled around my body.
The ache in my head started to dissipate. It was then that I stopped fighting. Anything would be better than what I had been suffering. As her magic wove into the very fabric of my soul, I felt her connecting on a fundamental level.
I knew her thoughts and dreams, her childhood, her beliefs.
She pulled her hands away, and I immediately felt the loss, but as I took an assessment of my body, I realized that I had never felt better.
Cass looked pale and tired.
“Are you alright?” I wrapped an arm around her as Steele picked up her gloves.
She smiled wanly, “I will be in a minute or two. Losing so much lifeforce is difficult. They hurt you much worse than you could imagine. Your brain had started to bleed, Your Majesty, you were hours away from a stroke.”
“I don’t know what to say,” I wrapped her in my arms, “Thank you, Cass, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I owe you my life!”
Cass shook her head, “Your father gave me the responsibility to watch over you, and I failed him.”
“I can’t say any more, Your Majesty. Only that I will not fail you again.”
“Please,” I turned to face her, “Call me El, we should not stand on formality any longer.”
A bit of color returned to her face, “Yes, Your Majesty, I mean, yes, El.”
“I feel different somehow,” I moved my arms and legs tentatively.
“Some of my magic mixed with yours,” Cass explained. “You may have different powers than you did before, some things might be enhanced, and others could be lost. It was a risk that I had to take.”
I nodded as I took her now gloved hand, “Thank you, Cass.”
We loaded up one of the mining carts with gold and gems. Once it was full, Steele pulled it along the tunnels and corridors as we made our way slowly up out of Winkie Hell.
Once we hit fresh air, I let out a sigh I hadn’t known I had been holding. We did it, we actually got the treasure and we are still alive.
Indy and Scarecrow met us at the base of the tree where this had all started. With them they had several Munchkins and a few Pixies. After debriefing them of our adventure, we slip on backpacks, each filled with treasures.
Dorothy's treachery had affected each of the volunteers differently. They were more than happy to face the danger to be rid of her forever.
I was nervous casting the spell to change them into flying monkeys, but it went perfectly.
We found that we needed more monkeys than we had initially thought. The treasure was heavy, throwing off our numbers.
“I just wish to hell I could fly!” I waved my hand angrily.
Suddenly, my feet began to leave the ground as my body lifted in the air.
My eyes flew to Steele’s in alarm.
He grabbed my hand and I stopped rising, but I hadn’t settled back on the floor.
“It would seem, Your Majesty, that you now have the ability to fly,” Cass flushed.
Bloody hell, this was awesome. Without having to worry about me, we had enough monkeys to carry our group.
“We are headed to the Unicorners, correct?” Indy asked.
“Yes,” I called back to her, “You and Scarecrow lead on.”
We all rose in the air. I still didn’t have excellent control over my new power and smacked into the tree next to me.
I heard Indy snickering.
“Don’t make me hex you!” I grumbled.
“I love you too, El!” she called back happily.
We followed Indy and Scarecrow as they rose above the forest trees and flew toward Munchkin Land. It was a few hours before we saw Mount Munch in the distance.
“How much further do we have before we get to the Unicorners?” I asked.
“Look for the pool of water,” Steele called out, “Do you see it up there on the left? The blue Dwarfs should be making us aware of their presence at any moment.”
Arrows shot out of the trees, narrowly missing us.
“I believe we are there,” Scarecrow said dryly.
We began our descent. Cass was waving a sizeable white flag
The attack stopped and there was silence as the flying monkey’s set us on our feet.
“Stay here and rest,” Scarecrow advised them. "There is a stream just to the south, maybe three or four minutes’ walk. Wait for us there.”
The monkey’s bowed to him as if he were their leader.
“Why are you here?” a blue Dwarf stepped forward, raising his high voice. “These lands are reserved for the Unicorners.”
“We only wish to pass above your land,” Indy’s voice was calm and assured. “We wish you and the Unicorns every blessing.”
“You have come to steal their apples,” another Dwarf argued. “You are not the first ones to try and fool us. You want eternal life.”
Scarecrow coughed, “I’ve had my fill of it actually.”
The first Dwarf moved forward. Scarecrow stood still as the Dwarf circled him. He touched his hands and sniffed at his fingertips.
“Who did this to you?” the Dwarf demanded.
Scarecrow seemed frozen.
“Who did what?” Indy stepped forward, taking Scarecrow’s hand.
The blue Dwarf stamped his foot impatiently, “What Witch is responsible for trapping this Unicorn in a man’s body?”
“Holy shit,” Steele breathed.
Holy shit, indeed.