Tin Man: Dragons and Ninjas

Chapter Thirty-Two

DG wasn't angry, well not completely angry. Mostly she felt disappointed in her mother, and that made her angry. One, they saved the O.Z. again and that deserved a pat on the back at least. Two, she could've died and her mother didn't even give a shit. Maybe Galinda thought she deserved it since she refused to be a good little princess. Three, oh she couldn't think of a third point because she was there.

She thrust open the double doors in the center of the hallway filled with offices and file rooms. Her mother sat at the head of the long table, seeing her as soon as she entered. Talking died. Twelve male heads of various ages turned to see who it was. "Hello, Mother, we need to talk."

Galinda smiled, but her lavender eyes looked warily at the three friends behind DG. "Welcome back, my Angel. Why don't you go clean up from your trip and we will talk after I'm done here?"

"No, this is Zone business."

The lord standing at his seat near the center of the table turned to her with an angry, flushed face and she realized she had interrupted Lord Livestock. "We are handling the business of the Zone right now. You can share the details of your tour later." He turned his attention back to Galinda. "Now the situation in the Black Mountains needs prompt attention."

He did restrain from adding "run along and play little girl" out loud, which is why DG kept her anger in check when the dark blue energy surged from her. She pushed Lord Livestock back in his seat, and then pushed all the chairs but her mother's a good three feet from the table. Galinda's face blanched at the display of power, but DG ignored her. In her best you-are-an-asshole-but-I'm-humoring-you-so-I-don't-lose-my-job voice, she said, "I'm sorry but that wasn't a request. I am going to talk to my mother right now in private. Take a break."

The Council members looked to Galinda who had to nod slightly before they stood up and left the room. Cain and Glitch trailed after them and shut the double doors while DG pulled a chair to talk to her mother comfortably. Her mother's lavender eyes stared at her with a hint of dismay. "Your magic," she finally managed to say. "You've accessed your dark magic."

DG sighed. "Will you stop looking at me like mobats sprouted from my forehead? It's dark magic, yang magic, and it's my magic. I'm not evil." Her mother didn't look reassured as she glanced down at the Emerald and back up at DG's face. "If I was evil, why would I keep saving the O.Z.?"

Galinda swallowed before speaking. "My Angel, you don't understand. Dark magic as strong as you have…."

"Has only been seen in evil witches of the darkness?" DG snapped. "Oh come on, like what you call them isn't a big clue? And I don't appreciate you having my lessons curtailed so I couldn't figure out how to use it."

Lavender eyes gained a spark. "That was to protect you and the O.Z. from the dark magic!"

"Evil comes from people, not what magic they use. I'm sorry you don't like the color, but it suits me."

"You have no idea what you are talking about, Dorothy Gale!" Galinda blanched again. "You cannot be Queen with dark magic; it has never happened before in the history of the Zone."

"Maybe the Zone needs something different now," Cain said quietly behind DG as he rested his left hand on her shoulder.

"A Tin Man would be an authority in what the Zone needs from its ruler?" Her mother got her regal airs back when not addressing DG, but she hadn't considered the effect it would have on DG. Galinda looked confused and unsure when her gaze went back to DG's face.

"Don't ever speak to my husband like that again." DG felt a little surge of triumph with Galinda's jaw drop, but she squashed it to move onto her next point. "And Ozma's pact doesn't seem to have a problem with my magic." Galinda's narrowed eyes shot up to Glitch. "Don't give him a dirty look. He only explained it after the Fae said I was Queen of the O.Z. and have been since you gave up your light."

"My Angel, you don't understand," Galinda said softly, turning even paler.

DG really hoped she wasn't having a heart attack or something. Things couldn't end that way between them. "You're right. I don't understand why the savvy Queen everybody tells me you were before the witch would endanger the O.Z. and everyone living here. I don't understand why you wanted to make me afraid of my magic, but I'm willing to blame it on post traumatic stress disorder. I don't understand why you think hiding from me or sending me to my rooms or giving me lousy lessons with Tutor is going to turn me into Az when I'm obviously not made the same way."

"My Angel," Galinda's voice trembled.

"And I really don't understand why you still think I'm seven annuals old!" DG snapped. "I have a name, and you barely use it. It's always My Angel or Dorothy Gale when you're mad at me. DG isn't that hard to say. I do have one memory of you using it before." Galinda looked rather helpless from DG to the men standing behind her. She flinched from Cain's gaze. "Start explaining to me like the twenty-two annuals old adult I am, or I'm out of here. I'll find some way to help the O.Z. without the formalities."

"You aren't ready to be Queen!" Galinda finally snapped. "You don't understand anything about the Outer Zone. Not even your father tried to introduce as many Other Side peculiarities as you want to. And I will not lose you to a civil war because you didn't know how to stop it!"

"Did you get the report from General Olson?" DG asked.

"He said you were bringing the new Lord Gillikin here and that you had found the Longcoats support base and Captain Cain's force neutralized the threat." A little anger sparked in her lavender eyes.

"Well, that's creative suppression of the facts," Glitch said. Before DG could hush him, he continued. "Lord Quelala was leading the Longcoats and magically controlled a wizard in the shape of a dragon using blood magic. He planned on marrying DG to secure the throne, and captured Cain and myself to make her agree to it. Then he threatened to unleash his forces on the O.Z. and win the throne by war. DG escaped, planned the assault, got Captain Cain's assistance, healed the vapor-addled Fae, compelled them to help, and stopped a war before it had a chance to start." He took a deep breath. "You do her a grave injustice, your Majesty, not trusting her abilities or her judgment."

Galinda looked at DG again with a different appraisal in her eyes. "You did all that?"

"I don't know why you sound so surprised. You're the one who sent me after the witch. He was killing Fae to keep control over the wizard. And I wasn't going to marry him to put a stop to it, even without the whole bigamy thing." Cain's hand squeezed her shoulder. "It can't stay like this, Mother. Not only does the magic have a problem with it and I don't trust you, the Fae and the Viewers see me as the rightful Queen. They won't support you if another noble decides you're too weak to rule."

"It was only until the realm was stable, that's all." Galinda's face was filled with hurt, and she clasped her hands in her lap. "You no longer trust your own mother because of politics?"

"Politics have nothing to do with it." DG could feel her hot anger boiling up again, and she struggled to keep her voice calm. "Treating me like a child, not telling what the hell was going on, trying to get Wyatt killed, that's why I don't trust you." Galinda's bewildered gaze shot from DG to Cain to Glitch before coming back to DG still completely unenlightened. Now DG's voice cracked and rose higher. "You don't even remember telling the Generals not to tell him and Jeb that Zero had escaped?"

Galinda winced as she recoiled. She leaned forward as soon as she touched the back of the chair. "No, My… DG, no. That wasn't why. By the gods, no." She held out her hands, but DG didn't close the gap between them. "I knew how much he means to you and I didn't want you to lose him if he went after Zero for revenge."

DG could only stare mutely at her mother. "With all due respect, your Majesty, but that wasn't your decision to make," Cain said quietly.

Galinda leaned back, withdrawing from trying to touch DG. "Hence the eloping. I guess that's what Azkadellia's emergency trip to Finaqua was all about." She sighed, "Your father is going to be disappointed he missed it."

"Would that be after he tries to ground me for getting married in the first place?" DG crossed her arms.

"I guess we are both having trouble adjusting to everything. What do you want to do now, DG?"

Cain's fingers tightened on her shoulder. "I'm going to have to become Queen formally." Galinda nodded sadly. "And I promised Az you guys could go all out on a wedding reception ball thingy, and there's no way we can stand to have both at the same time. But first, I want a Longcoat free honeymoon!" DG looked up to see Cain's lips twitch before she glanced at Glitch. "What's the normal time a princess gets for a honeymoon?"

Glitch smiled. "I think the O.Z. can survive without you for a month."

Galinda smiled tentatively, "Which Palace do you want, DG?"

"None of them. We're going to spend it on the Other Side."