The only time the uneasiness lifted off her chest was when they entered Scarecrow’s home. Dorothy felt so much safer in the cluttered room, and when Toto hurried to her side, her worries vanished.
Toto had a very good nose and Dorothy knew he could smell the cookies and candies. So, she pulled out a special treat from the sack for the dog. This cookie was in the shape of a bone and on its wrapper was a label that read ‘Toto’. It was a cookie only Toto could have and when she fed it to him, he chomped it down in a hurry.
Once all the crumbs on the floor were licked up, Toto obediently sat at Dorothy’s side. He knew well enough not to ask for another, because when it came to this cookie, one was enough.
“We should wait for the tiny fairy before we do anything,” Scarecrow said, as he sat on an old worn out armchair.
Dorothy nodded in reply. She wanted to save Glinda but she knew it was wiser to wait for Glinda’s orders. Oz was now an unknown territory and something felt very wrong. Even though she knew so little of the state of this world, she could sense the danger.
When evening finally arrived and the tiny fairy had not returned, Scarecrow offered Dorothy and Toto some fruits. He apologized for the lack of food but Dorothy did not blame him. He was a scarecrow after all, and he did not need to eat.
After the two of them had their bellies filled, Scarecrow made his bed for Dorothy and told her to rest. They had not done much that day, so it was definitely not easy falling asleep. But after a few hours of watching the lit candles melt and Scarecrow reading his books, Dorothy shut her eyes and did not open them till morning came.
As the sun made an arrival the following day, it was not alone. At first, Dorothy thought she was dreaming as the stomping of feet and Toto’s bark fused in a horrible melody. But when her eyes shot open at the noise, she immediately knew it was no dream.
Toto was barking loudly and Scarecrow had just woken up to the sound as well. He hurried to a window to find the source and was in a state of panic at what he saw.
“Oh no, this is not good,” Scarecrow said.
“What is?” Dorothy quickly asked.
“We need to go,” Scarecrow replied.
He swiftly grabbed a leather bound book and headed for the door. Dorothy wanted to see what he saw, but he waved her over in a hurry.
“What’s going on?” Dorothy asked as they hurried down the steps. Toto had taken the lead and he soon disappeared ahead of them.
“There are soldiers below, soldiers I have not seen before. That’s bad news.”
“How many are there?”
Dorothy unhooked her whip from her corset and was ready to defend herself. As they neared the bottom of the tower, they heard Toto barking and growling. There was no need to question his behaviour as they soon found themselves surrounded by bird-like soldiers at the bottom of the tower.
“Dorothy, the New Queen has ordered your arrest,” one of the soldiers said.
She did not know how they knew her name but she did know she was in big trouble. Releasing the string of her whip, Dorothy said, “I don’t think so.”
Toto made the first move by leaping onto the chest of a soldier and biting down on his beak. The soldier yanked him off and threw him against a wall. Dorothy heard a loud thud followed by an angry growl. Maybe Dorothy gave Toto the cookie too soon because his eyes were turning from black to red.
“No, Toto! Run!” Dorothy ordered. She did not want them to know what Toto could do, especially when they were in a losing situation.
Toto hesitated at the order but when Dorothy repeated her words, the little dog ran. He took off in the opposite direction and disappeared through a crack in a wall.
With Toto out of sight, Dorothy swung her whip at a soldier. It looped around his neck, and with a pull he fell forward. She then made a strong slash across three soldiers, cutting through their feathers and leaving a thin, sharp cut on their cheeks. As she attempted another swing, one of the soldiers painfully caught the string of her whip and yanked it forward. She underestimated his strength and sprawled onto the ground.
When Dorothy propped herself up, she immediately found a dozen blades pointing at her. She also saw Scarecrow with his hands up in the air in surrender. It was too bad he only knew how to do magic but did not have any.
The soldiers wasted no time in tying their hands with ropes and throwing them into a metal cage. They also took her whip and sack, and Scarecrow’s magic book.
As the horse started pulling their cage down the bumpy road, Scarecrow whispered a question, “Where did Toto go?”
Dorothy looked up at the sky and then with a small tight-lipped smile she said, “Right above us.”
Scarecrow did not have to look as he saw a shadow of a bird flying across the floor of the cage. Toto was now a bird, uncaught but still by their side.
When they finally reached Emerald City, Dorothy and Scarecrow finally got to see the change. As their cage pulled into the streets, the citizens quickly made way. They did not say anything, but watched with pleading eyes. They knew who she was and their expressions showed a mixture of fear and hope. Dorothy had the urge to reassure them that everything would be alright, but she bit her tongue at the thought of putting them in danger.
Finally reaching the palace, Dorothy and Scarecrow were separated. Scarecrow was taken straight to the dungeons while Dorothy was brought to the great hall. There, she found herself face to face with the New Queen.
The New Queen was seated on a giant gold and red throne, with two muttbits by her side. Dorothy immediately noticed the ugly creatures, the New Queen’s sly smile, and the massive change done to the great hall. Big lanterns hung from the ceiling, a giant rose was painted on the marble floor, and the pillars were wrapped with red silk.
“Welcome to the new Oz, Dorothy,” the New Queen said.
“I prefer the old one,” Dorothy boldly replied.
The New Queen gave a false laugh and asked, “Really? I thought it was too green for my liking.”
“Oz is not yours to decide.”
“It is mine now,” the New Queen said with a shrug.
“What have you done to Queen Ozma and Glinda?” Dorothy demanded as she locked her gaze on the New Queen’s eyes.
Not at all feeling threatened, the New Queen got up from her seat and walked towards Dorothy. She kept their eye contact as she said, “I’ll tell you if you tell me one thing.”
“Where are you from?”
Dorothy wondered why such a strange question was asked, but she did not hesitate a reply.
“I’m from Earth.”
At the sound of Dorothy’s home, the New Queen’s eyes widened. The New Queen attempted to suppress her hatred for that place, but she failed to do so.
“Get this earthling out of my sight!” the New Queen ordered.
“Wait, you haven’t answered me!” Dorothy shouted as the soldiers took her by the arms.
“You’ll find out soon enough,” the New Queen simply replied.
Dorothy tried to free herself from the soldiers’ strong grip, but she was too weak. As they dragged her down to the dungeons, all Dorothy could think about was the New Queen’s reaction to earth.
Why did she hate it? And why was she afraid?