So I'm going to post the next chapter both here, in a post, post. But I'm also going to update the original message with chapter two.
I'm also going to update the poll, but I don't know whether it will let you vote again? I don't know how the polls work. We'll see.
So without further ado, here is Chapter Two - An Enemy Appears
TELL HER TO TAKE THE SHOES. You don't want to be rude to this woman. She obviously has some sort of magical powers, and she also seems a little unbalanced. If you don't take the shoes, she might even be dangerous. It'd be better to just take them and make her happy. And they are pretty freaking fabulous shoes.
“What do I do, Liam?” Dorothy whispered.
Liam leaned close to Dorothy, keeping an eye on the sparkly woman before them, “Just take them.” He hissed. “Dorothy, she can fly. Who knows what else she can do, and she looks like she’s getting mad.”
Slowly, Dorothy raised her hands and took the shoes. She looked at them for a long moment and then back at the woman in white who was smiling benevolently at Dorothy - as though she hadn’t just robbed a dead woman for her shoes.
“This is so messed up.” Dorothy whispered to Liam. She bent down, placed the shoes on the ground and stepped into them.
The woman clapped her hands in glee, “Oh, this is perfect!” She let out a small giggle.
Just then Liam and Dorothy heard a voice from the distance shouting. “Nooooo!”
The two of them turned to look for the source of the sound, and Liam spotted another woman descending from the sky.
What was it with this place?
This one was riding what appeared to be a broomstick. She came in fast. Where the woman in white had alighted from her bubble gracefully, this one - dressed all in black - came to a skidding halt to stand in front of Dorothy. Now that Liam could see her properly, he realized that her skin was green. She extended one long green finger towards Dorothy. “Take them off!” She shrieked. “Take them off! Those shoes are mine.” Then she stopped, blinked several times and shook her head. “No.” She said firmly. “They’re cursed. They’re cursed, and it might not be too late if you take them off right now.”
The woman in white approached, “I’m afraid you’ve arrived too late.” She spun in a circle around the newcomer twirling and waving her wand leaving a stream of bubbles in its wake. “Better luck next time!” She sang out.
“How did you get here before me?”
“Oops, got the news a bit late, did we? It’s possible that I saw some of your little flying rats on the way over.”
The woman ground her teeth, “They’re monkeys. What did you do?”
“Those… abominations were never meant to fly. I just fixed the problem.” She swept the wand over head creating a rainbow of multi-colored bubbles over the other woman’s head and nodded with satisfaction as the multicolored bubbles began to descend and pop on the other woman’s pointy blank hat. “It’s unfortunate that they were in mid-air when I got rid of their wings for them, but you have to admit, it worked out really well for me.”
The woman’s green face twisted, “You horrible… evil…”
“Ah. Ah. Ah.” Sang the woman in white, “You’re the wicked witch, remember? I’m the good witch. Oz voted. I won. You lost. I’m the Grand Sorceress of Oz, and you are an unemployed crackpot who lives in a dank castle experimenting on animals.” She laughed again - a sweet light sound made utterly creepy by her admission that she had murdered some sort of creatures on the way over here just so she could get here first. “By the way, did you see my new tiara?” She pointed at her head with her wand. “Isn’t it just the best? Aren’t you just green with envy?”
Then the strangest thing happened. The woman stepped away from Dorothy and stepped toward the woman in white with her hand outstretched toward the tiara as though she wanted to take it off the other woman’s head.
The woman in white smiled triumphantly, “Just stop fighting it. Honestly, you’ll be so much happier if you just give in.”
The woman in black seemed to come back to herself and pulled her hand back down to her side in a fist, “Never. I will fight the curse until my last breath.”
“I’m sure that can be arranged, dear. Well, I believe my work here is done. I hope you like your new shoes, little girl, they’re quite well made. They lasted their previous owner’s entire lifetime.”
She turned around and nearly tripped over one of the little people that had been edging closer to the drama unfolding. He wore a top hat and a sash across his chest, “Oh!” She squeaked. “Oh dear. I am sorry. I didn’t see you, there.”
The man glared at her, “Glinda.” He said in greeting. His tone was sharp. “Is this an official visit?”
She thought for a moment, “In a manner of speaking, Yes, I suppose it was.”
The smaller man’s lips pressed together in a thin line, “Then in my official capacity as Mayor of Munchkinland, I greet you to our humble town, Madame Sorceress - although in the future, some prior notice would be nice. Will you be leaving soon?” The last sentence was ground out, leaving little doubt that the man did not want her to stay.
“Oh yes, yes. I’ve quite accomplished what I set out to do.” With one more wave of her wand, the woman in white conjured another adult-sized bubble around herself and began a graceful ascent into the sky.
The green woman moved to stand in front of Dorothy again. “You have to believe me. Those shoes are trouble, and you need to get rid of them right now. It might already be too late.
Liam looked at Dorothy, “The other one’s gone, now. Maybe you should take them off.” Liam suggested.
Dorothy looked at Liam in surprise, “But you’re the one that said to put them on in the first place! Now you’re saying take them off? Make up your mind!”
“I just said that because there was a scary magic woman insisting you put them on, but now she’s gone and there’s a different scary magic woman telling you they’re cursed and to take them off, so take off the dead woman’s cursed shoes!”
Dorothy rolled her eyes at Liam, “Oh please. You heard the first thing she said. She’s just jealous. She wishes she had the shoes. Besides…” She cocked her head to the side as she lifted one leg to look at the shoes on her feet. “I like them. They’re sparkly. And they look amazing on me.”
Liam stared at his best friend in disbelief. This was a woman who owned precisely four pairs of shoes, because according to Dorothy, sneakers, flip flops, boots, and one pair of dress shoes are all anyone ever needs.
“Oh Gods.” Said the woman in black. “It’s already too late.”
“What?” Liam asked.
The woman rounded on the Mayor, “Ojo, how could you just stand there and let her do this? Those shoes could have been mine! I mean… I could have studied them to figure out how to break the curses once and for all. Or at the very least, I could have found a way to destroy them - one less cursed object for that bubble blowing bimbo to use against us.”
“What was I going to do, El? She’s the Grand Sorceress! She has magic! I’m Mayor, not The Wizard! Maybe if you hadn’t blown the election, we wouldn’t all be in this mess, but no. Gods forbid that the great and powerful El compromise her precious principles and pander to the people of Oz!”
She pointed one long finger at the man, “I’m going to let that go, because I know it’s the sash talking, but you watch yourself or someday someone is going to turn you into a frog.”
“Uh… excuse me?” Liam said.
Both of their heads snapped to him, and he wished that he’d kept his mouth shut. “Can you tell us what’s going on?”
“Are you an idiot?” The Ojo asked.
El rolled her eyes, “Stuff it Mister Mayor. If we need someone insulted, you’ll be the first person we call.”
She turned to Liam and sighed, “There are a handful of items here in Oz that have been cursed. Somehow, Glinda came across one after she was elected Grand Sorceress five years ago. I suspect that the item was the wand that she uses. I’ve done a lot of reading and it seems that each item takes away a specific virtue. Glinda’s wand has taken away her integrity, and ever since she lost that, she’s been collecting the others and using them against anyone who threatens her position. She’s the most powerful person in Oz right now other than The Wizard, but no one’s seen him for ages. Some say he’s gone into hiding. Some say she’s gotten rid of him.”
“So her wand made her lose her integrity. What are the others?”
“Ojo’s sash took away his kindness. You might have noticed he’s a bit…”
“Mean?” Liam offered.
“Exactly. This God-awful hat is trying to make me envious of everyone and everything, but so far I’m… managing it. There are a few others that were used to take away courage, intelligence, and love from some citizens that spoke up against her a bit too loudly.”
“What is the shoes’ curse?”
“They take away the owner’s humility. They used to belong to my sister."
"That's your sister?" Liam asked. "Oh my God, I'm so sorry."
El waved him off, "I lost my sister the moment she put on those shoes. Overnight she went from being a sweet, level-headed woman to a vain, self-obsessed narcissist.”
Liam looked at Dorothy, who had pulled out her phone and was using it as a mirror and was fussing with her hair. “How do we reverse it? Dorothy can’t stay like this.”
“I don’t know what to tell you, kid. I’ve been trying for the last couple years, but I haven’t gotten anywhere. The election was… rough. People in Oz don’t exactly like me. The whole reason I haven’t had my place burned down with torches and pitchforks is that I’m a very powerful witch. Even Glinda won’t fight me directly. She just ruined my reputation, so that I can’t do anything against her.”
“But you said there’s someone that’s more powerful than her?”
“The Wizard, but no one’s seen him in years.”
“So what? If that’s all we’ve got, then that’s what we have to do. We have to go find this wizard person and get him to help change Dorothy back.”
“Well, you can’t go alone.” Ojo stepped in front of Liam. “You seem like you’re a complete ding dong, and without a guide, you’ll probably kill some other citizen of Oz and cause a national incident.”
“He’s right.” El said.
“Hey!” Liam shouted.
“About not going alone. I don’t know you well enough to know whether you’re a ding dong or not. One of the two of us should probably go with you.”
WHAT SHOULD LIAM DO?
TAKE EL - sure, at any moment she might lose her battle with the curse and turn into a spiteful, envious - very powerful - crazy person, but she is very powerful. She could protect you if you encounter Glinda again.
TAKE OJO - He’s mean, and he’ll probably insult you the entire way there, and he has no way to protect himself, but despite his utter lack of kindness, people don’t actually seem to dislike him. He’s apparently quite popular with the Emerald City crowd. He might be able to make connections and introductions you couldn’t get without him - if you can get there safely.
YOU DON’T NEED ANYONE - It’s you and Dorothy against the world. Sure, you can’t protect yourself against witches and you don’t have the in with the ‘it’ crowd, but you don’t need a witch on the edge of losing her grip on sanity, and you don’t need a puffed up Mayor picking on you the entire time. You and Dorothy got into this mess on your own, and you’ll get out of it on your own, thank you very much.