Ozma had forgotten what freedom felt like.
The sunshine was warm. The rocking of the cart she and Jack Pumpkinhead had hitched a ride on had been lulling her into a doze. Her creation was humming as he sat next to her. Her body still ached.
She, transformed into a boy named Tip, had stepped into the guest room. Then she had gone through the painful transformation. It had been a miracle nobody had walked in during it. She didn't need the people to remember the Pastorias. She didn't need her head cut off.
She had remembered.
Being the cruel princess of a bloody fae born bloodline. Of being pulled away from the burning embers of her family falling to the anger of the people. Of iron chains pulled onto her wrists as she was forced to slave away for Mombi, what had been her ancestors' poison being a painful allergy for her. She rubbed at the marks those chains had left. A hundred years being trapped in a mirror, losing any sense of self she had, had never worn them away completely. Then Momni had freed her from that mirror and then transformed her into a boy.
She had worked until a week ago.
Now she remembered.
"Won't Scarecrow get worried when he can't find us?"
Ozma shook her head. "Nah. Here, let's…" They jumped off the cart. She readjusted the cap on her head- it was easier if people believed she was a boy. So, she had decided pulling her hair back into a bun and tucking it under a hat would help. It hid any dark green streaks in dark hair. "He might. But he'll get over it." She had been lucky that the new king of Oz had been kind to what he and what she had thought to be a lonely enslaved orphan and had kept Glinda away. The good witch would've probably recognized her if they spent any longer in each other's company.
"Besides, we're free!"
She extended her arms. Her wrists felt light with no chains. Her head was released from the pressure of a future crown. Her mind was clear.
Jack stared at his mother.
A smile crossed his pumpkin face.
"Yes, we are."
Meanwhile, back in Emerald City…
"HOW THE HECK DID I LOSE A KID?!"
Note: Poor Scarecrow.
Ozma's characterization never made much sense to me- the news of she's actually a girl and queen of Oz is received way too calmly in the way it was written. So, here's my version. Years of trauma, including seeing the execution of her family who inherited fae cruelness, being trapped in a mirror and losing all sense of self for a century, and then being turned into a boy and having her memory erased has really worn away the cruel and proud aristocrat she was. Now, she's a much quieter but snarky teenager who has no interest in ruling Oz and now wanders around Oz with their trusty creation Jack Pumpkinhead.
The Pastorias also made sure that the fact they ruled Oz clear in their appearance, breeding emerald green eyes and emerald green streaks in their dark hair.