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chapter 8

The dungeons had a low ceiling and two long rows of cells facing each other. Almost all of them were empty except for the ones at the far end. The furthest cell was the biggest and it was facing the long walkway. It was also occupied.

In that cell was a floating cage wrapped in thorns, but the dim flickering torches made it hard for Dorothy to see who was in it. It was only when she was thrown into the cell next to it that she recognized the figure.

“Glinda!” Dorothy called in shock. “Glinda, are you alright?”

“She’s alright,” Scarecrow replied from the cell across Dorothy’s.

Dorothy was slightly relieved to see Scarecrow, but the sight of Glinda being locked up in such a horrible way was troubling.

“Why are you locked up like that? Where is Queen Ozma?” Dorothy quickly asked.

“The thorns are meant to weaken her,” Scarecrow answered her first question. 

“I… do not know where Queen Ozma is,”Glinda answered the second. The strain in her voice was definitely not because of old age.

“We need to get out of here,” Dorothy said and began thinking of a way.

As she weighed out all her options, her thoughts led her straight to the tiny fairy. “Glinda, where’s the tiny fairy? Didn’t she come to see you?”

There was a short moment of silence, and when Glinda did not answer Scarecrow did it on her behalf, “She never came.”

“She never came?” Dorothy had to repeat his words before it sunk in. And when it did, Dorothy could only imagine the worst.

As her mind started picturing of all the possible reasons for the tiny fairy’s disappearance, a wave of uneasiness swept over her. The New Queen had a very strong grip on Oz and Dorothy was afraid she could not fight her. At that moment, all she wanted to do was escape.

Pushing the tiny fairy out of her thoughts, Dorothy looked around her cell for something she could use. When she found nothing, she knelt by the lock and examined it.

Just then, Scarecrow asked a very important question, “Dorothy, where’s Toto?”

The question shifted her focus immediately and fear caught her attention.

“Wasn’t he with you?” Dorothy asked in return.

“No,” Scarecrow answered, and then he added, “don’t worry. Toto is a smart dog, he’ll be alright. 

Not worrying was easier said than done. Dorothy gave Scarecrow an assuring nod, but she silent scolded herself for not looking out for Toto. She knew he was a smart dog and his special ability would protect him, but she could not shake off the heaviness in her chest. All she could do was hope for his return.

When night arrived, Toto had not made an appearance and Glinda had not said a word. Glinda was probably too weak and tired, and Dorothy hesitated over and over again on asking for her advice. What were they going to do now? How were they going to escape? Scarecrow had no ideas and Dorothy was clueless herself.

All the thinking must have tired Dorothy out as she found herself drifting into dream world. Her imaginations and worries collided to form strange images in her head, and one of them was Toto’s curious looking face. When Dorothy did not respond to Toto, he licked her. He licked her until she had to wipe her face and gently push him back. That was when she realized she was no longer dreaming.

Toto was on her lap looking up at her and Dorothy felt so relieved. When she reached out for him to be sure she wasn’t dreaming, he leaped off and picked up a shiny thin piece of metal from the ground. Taking it from him, she knew what it could be used for. Toto was smart indeed, and Dorothy gave Toto a quick kiss.

Heading to the lock, Dorothy whispered, “Scarecrow.”

Scarecrow did not sleep the entire night, and when he heard his name he hurried to the bars of his cell.

“This will get us out,” Dorothy said as she showed him the metal piece.

But just as Scarecrow responded with a thumbs-up, Glinda spoke. Her voice was soft but her word was clear. It was the clearest ‘no’ Dorothy had ever heard, and she could not deny hearing it.

“Why?” Dorothy immediately asked.

“You go, but we stay,” Glinda replied.

“No, I won’t leave you two behind,” Dorothy said.

“She’s right, Dorothy. You can escape easier by yourself,” Scarecrow said.

“But I need you two. I don’t know what to do,” Dorothy pointed out, and turned to Glinda for an answer.

“There is a book in my secret library. It will tell you what you need to do,” Glindasaid. There seemed to be more energy in her voice, and Dorothy decided to wait on her instructions.

“Listen carefully, Dorothy. In my chamber there’s a fireplace. Turn the orb south and it will reveal a passageway. That passageway will lead you to my secret library.”

Glinda took a deep breath and shut her eyes. The few seconds of silence felt like hours but neither Dorothy nor Scarecrow said a word. Even Toto did not make a sound.

With her eyes still shut, Glinda continued, “The book you need is the twelfth book on the firstrow ofthe second shelf. It will give you all the answers. And if you need anything else, my library has it.”

Dorothy did not know what she would need at that moment, but Glinda’s instructions were clear. Dorothy was also glad she had some form of direction, as she hated feeling unsure.

“I know what to do,” Dorothy finally said. She hesitated to bring up the topic of escaping together, but she soon decided that they were right. She was better off alone.

Quickly, Dorothy began picking the lock of her cell. It took her a few attempts, but the lock finally clicked and the door swung open. Dorothy used to pick locks back home when shemisplaced the keys, and that day her lock picking skill proved useful.

When Dorothy was finally out of her cell, she hurried up to Scarecrow and said, “I’m worried they might hurt you, Scarecrow.”

“Don’t worry about me. We will both be fine,” Scarecrow assured. He then reached into his pocket and pulled out his matchbox. Handing it to Dorothy he said, “You’ll need this. Be careful alright?”

Dorothy nodded and promised, “I’ll be back for both of you.”

As she and Toto quietly walked down the empty walkway, Dorothy replayed Glinda’s words in her head. She could not afford to forget any of her words, and by the time they reached the corner of the walkway, Dorothy had them embedded in her brain.

“Now, Toto. Do your thing,” Dorothy whispered, and Toto disappeared around the corner.

This time, Dorothy knew where he was and there was nothing to worry about. Toto was a smart dog after all.

Next Chapter: chapter 9