This is it, guys. This is the end. (hold your breath and count to ten.)
After 37 chapters and something around 120k words, The Loved and the Wicked is coming to an end.
I just want to say thank you to every single one of my readers. It's so wonderful to know that there are people out there who read my story and actually enjoy it. Thank you to everyone who wrote a review-means the world to me. I just hope that you're all good and healthy (and that you'll stay that way) and that I was able to brighten up your days a bit in these crazy times.
I don't know how long it's going to take me to write the sequel because I'll be going back to school on Monday, so...
I guess I'll have to say goodbye for now.
Reviews are still absolutely appreciated (I read every single one with a huge smile on my face:).
Stay safe and stay healthy.
And remember; We're all in this together and we've always been in everything together but it's only now that we start to notice these things.
Started writing: 10.03.2020
Finished writing: 15.03.2020
It was raining in Munchkinland. Or rather, it was pouring with rain, wind blowing through the streets of Rush Margins. The sky was grey and the clouds hung low. The corn bent under the weight of water on their heads, the sheep hid beneath the trees, the people hid inside their houses.
Although it was morning, looking outside, Elphaba felt as though it was already late afternoon.
"This weather is really getting me down," Momma just said, pulling Elphaba from her thoughts.
The green girl nodded. "It's not my favourite either."
"But it's good for the fields," mused Father aloud. "The farmers were so worried it wouldn't rain."
"Well," Galinda tilted her head to one side. "Good for the farmers, but what about Fiyero and I? I thought we were going to go out; do something fun."
Elphaba grinned. "Oh, poor Galinda; now you won't see all the various cornfields and windmills you so desperately wanted to visit."
The blonde stuck her tongue out at her friend but chuckled.
She popped a grape into her mouth and crossed her arms. "I'm just not a fan of rain, you know? I like sun much better."
"Understandable," Fiyero leant against the backrest of his chair and closed his eyes for a second. "I'm missing the Vinkun summer."
Beside them, Elphaba rolled her eyes. "Guys, you're absolutely exaggerating. It's been a day without sun, not a month."
"And in the newspapers, they said it should stop by midday," said Momma, throwing another glance out the window. "If we're lucky, we'll get a few hours of sun around noon."
For a moment, it was completely quiet at the table; everyone indulging in the thoughts of what they would do in the few hours without rain.
Then, there was a sudden knock on the door that made them all flinch.
"Who is it?" asked Father, exchanging a questioning look with Momma.
The door opened and-
"Sir, I'm very sorry for interrupting you like this-"
"Mr Vimming!" exclaimed Father and he looked ready to jump to his feet.
Mr Vimming had been his helping hand ever since Elphaba's birth; a secretary if that's what you want to call it.
"There's some kind of an emergency at the Broken Windmill."
With a sigh, Father put down his napkin. "I'm coming, Mr Vimming."
He threw a grim look out the window and murmured, "At least the rain has stopped."
He turned to press a quick kiss on Momma's temple. "I'll be back soon, Melena."
She arched an eyebrow at Elphaba and Elphaba snorted with laughter, watching how her father left the room.
"Um," Fiyero had his brows knit in confusion. "Shouldn't you all be a little more concerned about an emergency?"
Elphaba's lips curled into an involuntary grin as she shook her head.
"Not in Rush Margins," she explained. "The only emergencies Father is called to, are the ones that concern two angry farmers, a quarter of a cornfield and a flock of sheep."
Momma chuckled quietly. "Or two nagging old women and a couple of kittens."
She let her gaze wander over the table. "Has everyone finished? I'd like to do the dishes now, and you could take the opportunity and go for a walk, now that it's not raining anymore."
Elphaba gave her friends and sister a questioning look. "I could certainly need some fresh air."
"You could show us some fancy places," Galinda beamed at her, jumping up. "I'm in."
"This is Rush Margins, Glin, not an amusement park."
But Galinda seemed not to mind that at all, and so, Elphaba ended up with her arm linked with Galinda's as the blonde skipped excitedly down the way.
"Can you believe it?" cried Galinda happily, turning around and walking backwards in front of Elphaba. "We're all here now, and in two weeks we'll be at Shiz again for our second year."
"I know, doesn't it seem surreal?" said Elphaba with a grin.
She squeezed Fiyero's hand and he smiled at her.
"I bet my parents are still suspecting I faked the results and everything," he nudged her shoulder with his. "They would never have thought that I'd eventually get myself together."
"But you did!" Galinda squealed, skipping along the way, impressing everyone (including herself) by not tripping over a root. "And it's going to be so amazing!"
She turned around again and for once actually looked at the landscape.
"You know," the blonde suddenly knit her brows as if deep in thought. "I kinda always imagined you'd live in a flat. I know, it's silly of me, because your father is governor, so why would you live in a flat? But I thought you'd fit well in a flat in the city…"
Elphaba arched an eyebrow at her friend. "I'd fit well in a flat? Wow, you're the only one who could've conceived that."
They turned left into the field path and Elphaba had to let go of Fiyero's hand, so she could help Nessa with her wheelchair.
"I always imagined you'd live in the library and sleep on a bookshelf with nothing more than a pillow," Fiyero teased her and she rolled her eyes at him.
Having paid no attention to where she was going, Elphaba almost bumped into Galinda who'd shuddered to a halt and was staring at something beside the field path with narrowed eyes.
"What's that?" murmured Galinda and Elphaba turned around.
The blonde pointed at the post of a fence. "Over there, don't you see?"
She wrinkled her nose. "Is that a- a hat?"
Quickly, she hobbled across the few metres of field, picked the thing up from the post and made her way back, knitting her brows at the strange thing in her hands.
"It is a hat," Galinda said when she stopped next to Elphaba. "And a strange one, at that."
She lifted the hat up a little bit, so everyone could have a better look at it.
It was a black, pointed hat with a broad brim and a thin ribbon wrapped around the tip. Nessa scrunched up her face. "What a weird shape for a hat."
Fiyero shrugged. "I never went into shapes for hats more closely."
A grin began to form on Galinda's painted lips. "Oh, Elphie, you have to try it on!"
"Me?" Elphaba knit her brows in a frown. "Why should I try that thing on?"
The blonde was already bouncing up and down in excitement, handing the hat over to Elphaba. "Because it would look hi-la-ri-ous," she drew out every single syllable of her last word, beaming at her friend. "Please, Elphie, it would be so funny."
"You're crazy, Galinda."
But she took the hat from her friend anyway, and slowly placed it on her head, peeking out from under the brim somewhat shyly. "Well?"
She was met by silence. Nessa and Fiyero just stared at her with wide eyes and Galinda opened and closed her mouth like a goldfish. Elphaba was just about to rip the hat off her before her cheeks could flush in embarrassment when the blonde finally managed to say something.
"I- This-," Galinda turned helplessly to Fiyero and Nessa. "Am I the only one who thinks that this does actually look…?"
She stopped, not knowing what to say.
"Yeah," Fiyero tilted his head to one side. "It does look…"
Nessa nodded. "It looks…"
"Swankified," breathed Galinda.
A grin formed on her lips and she clapped her hands. "Oh Elphie, it looks gorgeous!"
She snapped with her fingers against the broad brim of the hat. "It makes you look… I don't know, strong."
Elphaba arched an eyebrow at her. "It's a hat, Galinda, how could it possibly make me look strong?"
"No, Galinda's right," Fiyero said, stepping closer to Elphaba.
He tugged a strand of hair behind her ear (which was considerably hard with the hat perched on the crown of her head) and smiled. "Everyone else would probably look like a fool with it, but you… you look amazing."
Elphaba snorted, though her voice was wavering slightly to reveal uncertainty. "Again; it's a hat; what difference could it make?"
But neither Fiyero, Galinda nor her sister seemed any less convinced.
"Okay," the green girl said after a second, shifting uncomfortably under their intense looks. "Let's go home, I need to see for myself."
And she whirled around and began to stride away, further and further down the field path. With her long legs she was fast and the rushed feeling she had only added up to her speed. The only one who could keep up with her was Fiyero and even he had some difficulty with it.
"Fae," she heard him pant. "No need to run like this."
He tried to take her hand and hold her back but Elphaba only picked up pace. She didn't even know what made her hurry like she did and it was only when she let herself fall breathlessly against the bars of the gate that she noticed how fast she had been.
For a second, she allowed herself to rest against the cool metal, then she pushed away from it and opened the gate. The pebbles scrunched underneath her feet and covered the sound of her quiet panting.
Momma seemed to be close to a heart attack when Elphaba wrenched the door open and stormed upstairs; a whirlwind of green thundering past her on the stairs.
"Fabala, what-," she heard her mother say, but she ignored her. Fiyero would explain. She knew he would.
Panting, Elphaba opened the door to her room and stumbled inside, shuddering to a halt in front of the mirror. She almost couldn't bring herself to look up, but when she did, her mouth fell open in shock.
The woman that was staring at her from the mirror almost didn't look like herself. The shadow the brim of the hat cast on her face made her eyes look so incredibly dark; her lips so full. It made some parts of her face look so very sharp, so prominent, whilst some parts seemed much softer than they normally did.
With a long inhale, Elphaba stroked the hair out of her forehead, looking at her reflection more closely. The young woman looked… good -no, great. She looked sincere, and powerful, and… mature.
The others had been right; she did look strong.
The door to her room was pushed open and Elphaba whirled around.
She smiled. She stopped smiling. She smiled again.
And then she was right in front of him, closing the gap between them, pressing her body against his as she ripped the hat off her head and covered his lips with hers. Heat was swirling through her body, making her almost dizzy. Her lips on his, her hands in his hair, on his back, on his shoulders.
Gasping for air, she stepped back. Fiyero's eyes were glowing in a dark blue, his hair was tousled and his cheeks were flushed just like hers.
"Don't say a word," Elphaba warned him, picking up the hat from the floor.
She looked at it for a second and, ignoring Fiyero's amused snort, she placed it on one of her bookshelves.
"You were right," she said after a second, turning around to look at him. "It makes a difference."
She took his hand and pulled him with her, out of her room and down the stairs. Nessa and Galinda were just closing the front door and the blonde raised her brows at Elphaba, eyes sparkling.
"So?" she asked with a grin. "I was right, wasn't I?"
"Yes, you were," Elphaba rolled her eyes but she couldn't suppress the smile forming on her lips.
Galinda playfully nudged her side. "I knew it."
Then her brows knit together in a faint frown. "Why does Fiyero seem right out of it?"
Elphaba turned around, taking the prince's appearance in. Well, his hair was a little tousled (a lot, actually) and his eyes were still wide and dark, but 'right out of it'? No, that was not what he looked like.
"Exhausted from the race, are you?" she mocked him and he raised an eyebrow at her.
"And you? Exhausted from the arrival?"
Elphaba almost blushed. Almost. Instead, she simply rolled her eyes and made her way into the living room, waving at the rest to follow her. Fiyero pulled her on his lap when they sat down on the sofa, and Elphaba turned her head to whisper into his ear.
He tilted his head to one side. "I don't know what you're talking about."
Elphaba simply slapped his arm. She was just about to say something when suddenly the door to the living room opened, and her father stepped inside, shrugging off his raincoat.
"You're home early," said Nessa with a smile. "I thought it would take much longer."
Elphaba rested her crossed arms on the backrest of the sofa, tilting her head to one side. "So, what was all the fuss about?"
Father waved a hand dismissively and dropped into a chair, wiping the raindrops off his forehead.
"One of the farmers thought the miller's dog had killed one of his sheep," he sighed deeply. "But it turned out that it had been a wolf."
Elphaba sat up straight. "Which farmer?"
The green girl grinned broadly. "I knew it."
With a look of complete satisfaction, she turned around again. "Chances are always fifty-fifty that it's either Benneton or Helms."
Galinda looked slightly frightened. "A wolf?"
Elphaba waved a hand dismissively. "They don't do anything. Apart from killing sheep, obviously."
"Elphaba, I almost forgot," the green girl turned around as her father's voice sounded again. "There's a letter for you."
He reached into the pocket of his coat and pulled out an envelope. A green envelope with a golden seal on it.
She felt her heart beat faster.
"A letter?" asked Nessa curiously. "Who could've written it?"
Quickly, Elphaba took the envelope from her father's hands and settled on the empty spot next to Fiyero. She turned the letter in her hands, once, twice, to find the return address. And when she did, her heart skipped a beat.
"It's from the Wizard."
"What?!" screeched Galinda and jolted up.
Green fingers broke the golden seal, fumbling with green paper and eventually unfolding the letter.
"What does it read?" whispered Nessa and Elphaba hissed at her so she would be quiet.
Dear Miss Elphaba Thropp,
It was a few weeks ago that I received a letter from Headshiztress Madame Morrible concerning one of her student's major talents. She seemed very confident that her student would be able to live up to my demands, and she managed to convince me to let said student prove herself to me.
Which is why I'm very happy to invite you, Miss Elphaba, to the Emerald City -and furthermore the Emerald Palace- to meet with me and show me why you'd be the one worthy enough to serve as my helping hand.
In a few months, when spring will still be new, you're going to come to the City of Emeralds, so that you can convince me of your talent, Miss Elphaba.
I'll be looking forward to that day.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Elphaba's heart was pounding with such speed and such intensity that she thought it was going to jump out of her chest at any second. The hand that held the letter sank down into her lap as she looked up into the excited faces of her friends.
"He- I-," she stammered. "He invites me to the Emerald Palace" -a gasp- "So I can prove myself worthy of working… with him."
Galinda screeched, jumping up from her seat to fall into Elphaba's arms. "The Wizard, Elphie, the Wizard!"
"I know!" Elphaba laughed happily, disbelievingly maybe. "Oz, I know."
It was much later that day when Elphaba eventually had some time for herself. Her mother and her sister were in the kitchen, preparing dinner, her father was in his study, working on some papers, and Galinda and Fiyero had found an old photo album that kept them occupied. Which, under normal circumstances, would have bothered Elphaba endlessly. But she recognised now, this was far away from normal; she was far away from normal.
And that was fine with her. She had decided for herself that she didn't have to be normal, that she maybe even didn't want to be normal anymore.
For what would being normal have given her? Where would she be if she was normal?
Not in the same situation that she found herself in right now, for sure.
With a sigh -a happy, satisfied sigh- Elphaba leant back against the house wall. The sun was shining again and Elphaba was perfectly happy, sitting outside on the terrace, turning the green envelope in her hands over and over again.
Life could not be better, she decided at that exact moment. She was at home with those she loved; summer holidays were almost over and soon they would all go back to Shiz University. Though, this time, Nessa and Boq would be there too. And they would all have a wonderful schoolyear, and she would study so hard that she'd think her head would explode. She would learn every single spell there was, she would impress them all; her fellow students, Madame Morrible, and then the Wizard. She would go to the Emerald City and live her dream, and no one would be able to stop her.
Laughter echoed through the house behind her and a smile formed on her lips. She hadn't known how much she could miss someone until she'd had to leave Galinda and Fiyero behind. And now that they were both here, she never wanted it to be any different again.
Opening her eyes, Elphaba stopped turning the letter in her hands, but instead pressed it close to her chest for a second before putting it down in her lap.
She picked up her hat from beside her; that strange, black, pointed hat that made her feel so incredibly different; so incredibly like herself.
And then, with the hat perched on the crown of her head, the green girl turned her face towards the setting sun.
It was raining in the distance, she noticed, and, peeking out from under the brim of her hat, the raindrops seemed to shine in an almost emerald green.
And Elphaba smiled, and clutched the letter in her lap.
Yes, she thought, life could not be better.