Dorothy Must Die Page 110

’’Please!’’ the Tin Woodman wheezed. He was powerless now his weapons gone, his arms pinned to his sides. His metal face looked frightened and pathetic. ’’Please,’’ he repeated. ’’I know what I\ve done. I know I\ve betrayed the people of Oz. I only did it for her.’’

A single tear rolled down his cheek.

I remembered what the Wizard said earlier. Dorothy\s loyal companions are not quite what they used to be. Whether or not the rest of what he was telling me was a lie, that part was pretty obvious, and now, it seemed oddly relevant. The Tin Woodman\s love had been twisted and perverted. It had turned into something ugly and evil.

That doesn\ just happen. Something had done it to him. I\d assumed it was Dorothy.

But what if it was his heart itself?

Well, maybe it was and maybe it wasn\ . It didn\ matter whose fault it was. It didn\ matter about the why of it all. Life isn\ fair. And I wasn\ doing this for myself. I was doing it for Indigo, and for Maude, and for Jellia, and for everyone else who had suffered because of Dorothy. People like Dorothy couldn\ be allowed to run things. They didn\ deserve a place like Oz.

My knife crackled with blue energy as I plunged it down. It sank into the Tin Woodman like a needle puncturing a balloon.

As I did it, his face collapsed in agony. He started to cry in earnest sobbing really, his body heaving in pain. He began to look strangely human.

’’Please,’’ he managed to spit out. ’’Please take pity on me.’’

It was too late. I sliced diagonally across his chest and then drew the knife out only to plunge it right back in, drawing an X along his left side with the blade. It made a satisfying hissing noise, and met with almost no resistance. It was as simple as popping the top on a can of soda. In the end, he was only made of tin.

His jaw continued to open and close, but he wasn\ speaking anymore.

I reached into the hole I\d just made and found his heart. It was soft and velvety but a little slimy, too. I yanked it, and there was a snapping sound as it came free of the threads of artificial muscle that had held it in place.

The Tin Woodman stopped moving entirely. His eyes were wide and bulging, his face frozen in place, now a record of his fear and pain. It reminded me of the statues in the sculpture garden in the palace.

I held the heart in front of me. I had done it. It was glowing and glittering, pulsing in my palm.

’’Give it here, little dear,’’ a voice said. ’’Don\ you worry. Everything will be all right as long as you hand it over.’’

I spun my head around in surprise and saw Glinda standing right behind me in her frilly pink gown. The only thing that suggested everything was less than perfect was the smeared crimson around her mouth it could\ve been messily applied lipstick, but it looked an awful lot like blood.

I jumped to my feet, still clutching the heart, and prepared to fight again. But before I could attack, a bolt of green lightning snapped through the air and hit Glinda right in the stomach. As she lurched backward, she pulled a wand tipped with a glowing star from her bodice.

’’Amy!’’ the Wizard shouted. ’’I\ll hold off Glinda. Take Ozma! Ollie and Maude will take you to the rest of the monkeys.’’

I whirled around. Ozma?

And then I saw. The green bubble that the Wizard had built around Pete to protect him was dissolving, and as it did, his body began to dissolve, too. Where the mysterious gardener who was my friend had been just a moment ago, Oz\s One True Princess now stood. She blinked.

’’Amy,’’ she said. ’’Amy Amy Amy Amy.’’

Just like I\d been hiding behind Astrid\s face, Ozma had been hiding behind Pete\s.

’’Duck!’’ the Wizard screamed, and I reflexively followed his instructions just as a neon-pink beam of magical energy crackled above my head.

’’How . . . ,’’ I started to say, staring at Ozma, but then the Wizard sent another one of his bolts shooting for Glinda just as Ollie swooped down from out of the sky and scooped me into his arms, carrying me up and away. I looked over my shoulder and saw Maude, carrying Ozma, right behind us. On the ground, the Wizard was locked in battle with Glinda.

In the distance, the Emerald Palace was burning, alight with flames.

I wondered if Nox was still in there. I wondered where Mombi and Glamora were.

But what I really wanted to know as we soared into the clouds, the jeweled city burning below us and the Tin Woodman\s evil heart still pulsing in my hand, was where Dorothy was. I didn\ know what was going on or where I was going, but I knew one thing: this wasn\ over. Even if I had failed tonight, at least I was one step closer. No matter how long it took no matter who I had to destroy first Dorothy was going to die.

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