"No, you don't understand!" Elphaba rasped, eyes wild with desperation. "I destroyed Fiyero with my powers! I didn't just fail to keep him alive, I completely and utterly obliterated him! But you weren't there, you didn't see it, how could you possibly hope to understand?" although this last remark from her seemed rather patronizing, her tone was anything but. Although the last thing she ever expected to do in her life was to reveal her entire tragic tale to a horned stranger who was also a fellow witch, that was exactly what she was doing and she was getting very into it, recounting every detail she could and trying her best to get this stranger, who called herself Maleficent, to see just how evil and wicked she was.
"Bah! Of course I could!" Maleficent replied with an amused scoff. "In fact, I've done it myself many times before! Maybe not so much now anymore, but that's because I've had years and years and years and years and years of practice! I didn't become the malevolent mage that I am today over night! It takes time, but you'll get there one day. You'll practice!"
"W-w-wait, what?" Elphaba stuttered, face twisting from despair to confusion. Of all the reactions she had expected from her guest, humor was not one of them. And not only that, but the remark itself had left her speechless.
"It's not always easy, keeping them alive when you torture them with such strong magic," Maleficent replied calmly. "I, myself, have accidentally killed a great number of my foes just because my powers sometimes spiraled out of control. But that's ok, not to worry, it happens! We all make mistakes! The important thing is to keep trying and practicing until the number of mistakes goes down!" her voice was eerily chipper as she said this and, in that very moment, Elphaba realized two things. The first was that this woman had entirely misunderstood Elphaba's story. Instead of seeing it as a tragic tale of a monster who never wanted to hurt anyone yet did anyway, she was seeing it as a frustrating list of mess-ups that a wicked-witch-in-training had committed and could not understand how to remedy.
Maleficent did not see Fiyero's death the way Elphaba did, she did not see it as a tragic accident, as the story of a woman failing to save her lover, Maleficent saw it as Elphaba accidentally causing him to die too soon. She did not realize that Elphaba had never meant to hurt Fiyero at all. She thought that hurting Fiyero had been Elphaba's goal and she thought that Elphaba's dismay over Fiyero's death was not the sign of a grieving lover, but of a tormentor upset that her quarry had escaped into death's clutches before she was finished with him.
The second thing Elphaba realized was that she was in the presence of a madwoman, perhaps a monster even more malevolent than she was. Although maybe that should've been obvious, what with the name and the horns and the black-and-purple aesthetic, she had seemed so genuinely empathetic to Elphaba's suffering that, at first, Elphaba had assumed that she was a fellow misunderstood witch. Why else would she have turned up lost, wandering the western plains alone and stumbling into Elphaba's castle quite on accident? Elphaba knew all too well about being branded as a monster and then ostracized from society just because she was born looking the wrong way. She had assumed that Maleficent had the same issue. Now, though, she was starting to realize that maybe Maleficent's evil appearance was a bit more intentional than her own. Her misunderstanding of why Elphaba was grieving certainly made that seem like a plausible theory.
But before Elphaba could try to clear the air and explain to Maleficent that she had the story all wrong, Maleficent continued to speak.
"I was once like you, my child!" she cried dramatically, giving an exaggerated look of pain. "I was slightly insecure… But I put my heart aside and I used my head! Now I think it's time you learn, for what your magic's meant!" then she stood up and gestured for Elphaba to follow. The pair had been chatting in the castle's kitchen, bonding over a small meal, but now Maleficent wanted to show Elphaba more, so off they went, Elphaba essentially becoming a guest in her own home as Maleficent led her around.
They explored every nook and cranny of the castle, Maleficent giving very… enthusiastic commentary about all of the wonderful things that Elphaba had in her possession here at the castle. And even beyond the material goods that Elphaba had, Maleficent continued to praise and point out all of the internal things that Elphaba had ought to have been proud of, the biggest of those traits being her natural skill at magic. She went on and on about how proud and powerful Elphaba should've been, what with such a vast array of magic at her disposal. She shamelessly rooted through all of Elphaba's things, poking and prodding every item and commentating on it as she saw fit, totally oblivious to the fact that Elphaba didn't exactly like having a weird stranger rooting through all of her stuff, even if that stranger wasn't doing directly harmful… at the moment.
But Elphaba just couldn't think of what to say or do to get this strange woman to stop! It had been so long since she'd interacted with another person, after all. Her social skills weren't exactly up to snuff. But even if she had known how to tell this stranger to stop, it was something else that kept Elphaba silent as well. It was a strange sense of familiarity. Perhaps it was fact that they were both witches, but for some reason, Elphaba had the most uncanny sense of déjà vu around Maleficent. Even though she knew that they had never met before, Maleficent having come from another world outside of Oz called "Auradon", she reminded Elphaba so very much of someone she knew long, long ago… They even sounded similar, as well as sharing that rather annoying trait of being quite commandeering over her and how they perceived she ought to behave.
But just like with that other person, Elphaba just didn't know how to say stop. And perhaps that was why Elphaba had invited Maleficent in at all. Aside from the loneliness, mixed with the bond they shared as fellow witches, perhaps it was that old sense of familiarity that compelled Elphaba to invite Maleficent in, even if only for a short while, just to vent and talk a little. It was kind of nice to see another human after so long, after all. Even if this human wasn't exactly the most normal or kind…
"Potions, spells, crystals, charms, enchantments, flying broomsticks and… flying monkeys?!" Maleficent continued to crow, pausing to admire Chistery, who was presently de-lousing himself. "Ah! How marvelous! All I ever had was a crow and a band of idiotic hobgoblins! But you, my dear," she paused to turn around and face Elphaba again, eyes unsettlingly excited, "You, my dear, have all the makings and trappings of a perfect wicked witch!" and once again, Elphaba felt her stomach jerk unsettlingly.
"I really don't want-" she began, finally trying to protest her disinterest and explain to Maleficent that she had it all wrong about Elphaba, although Elphaba had done terrible things with her magic, none of it was intentional. She did not want to be evil, contrary to Maleficent's slanted perception. But she didn't get far before Maleficent was off again, rambling about all the reasons why Elphaba would make an excellent evil enchantress.
"Oh! Your whole life is about to change, and all because of me!" Maleficent continued. "I've decided to make you my new project!"
"You really don't have to do that…" Elphaba cringed, this time too nervous to realize what she had just said.
"Well, don't you wanna be evil, like me? Don't you wanna be mean?" Maleficent asked, starting to hum as she took Elphaba's hands in her own and swayed them both side to side in the start of what would soon become a very dark dance. "I simply have to take over because I know exactly what you need! And trust me, your case is not the toughest case I've yet to face. You're already on a great path to true villainy. Just follow my lead and yes, indeed, you will be ruthless and rotten and mad! I'll teach you how to be very, very good at being bad!" she continued, stepping away from Elphaba briefly to twirl her large wooden staff like a baton. Once again, Elphaba was struck by the similarity between this witch and another, but just like always, before she could say or do anything else, Maleficent picked up where she left off and left no room for Elphaba to protest at all.
The two continued this strange little dance as Maleficent continued to explain to Elphaba how to be evil and why she should do it and all Elphaba could do was take a passive role and watch it all unfold. But during this strange time where Maleficent "taught" Elphaba how to be wicked, Elphaba found her mind drifting to something that Maleficent had said at the start of her twisted little song. "Your case is not the toughest case I've yet to face." What did that mean? Who was it that had come before Elphaba? And maybe that was why Maleficent was so insistent with her? To compensate for whoever it was that Maleficent had failed to turn before? Elphaba found herself silently congratulating that person and hoping on all of Oz that whoever and wherever they were, they were happy now that Maleficent was no longer anywhere near them…
But Elphaba was drawn out of her worried thoughts when she felt her arms begin to tingle. She looked right into Maleficent's eyes and nearly recoiled. They were no longer just blue. They were bright, glowing green. And when Elphaba looked down at her arms and hands, she could see that glowing green magic pulsating and running from Maleficent's veins into her own. As that glowing green magic continued to flow from Maleficent to Elphaba, her entire skin lit up and became even greener than normal and it felt almost like… fire. But it didn't hurt! It just felt warm, flickering and flowing, filling her up to the brim, but it caused her no pain. As that dark magic continued to flow from one witch to the other, that second witch felt herself becoming… twisted. It was like her body and mind were both literally bending to Maleficent's will and shaping themselves into whatever it was she had in mind. She was still singing, but now it sounded distant and echoey, as if Elphaba were listening to her while underwater, or behind a thick pane of glass.
"And when you grab that book that's when your reign begins," Maleficent cocked her horned head towards the Grimmerie, which was resting on its pedestal in the corner of the tower they were currently standing in. "Who wants an evil queen without a sack of sins?" she continued, finally releasing Elphaba, but even though the glowing green ceased on Maleficent's end, it continued to swirl through Elphaba's body as if her very blood was now forever stained a bright emerald. Maleficent grabbed the ancient tome off of its stand and tossed it to Elphaba and Elphaba, on reflexes alone, caught it easily. That was where another tingling rush of energy surged through her body, this time starting from her fingers and going from there. It was like the book was also connecting to her, also sharing its power with her. It was a feeling she'd never felt before and she had never been quite so connected to the Grimmerie before as she had been in this very moment, feeling its essence radiate through her body just like Maleficent's magic had done only seconds ago.
"This is not for us to ponder, this was preordained," Maleficent continued, returning to Elphaba's side. "You will someday rule forever, renown soon regained, mistress of all wickedness, powerful and strong! Darling, hear me, help me, join, won't you sing along?!" she offered a hand to Elphaba and, this time, Elphaba took it willingly. Even though she was still half out of it, Maleficent's spell was finishing up. The glow on her skin was dying down and she felt some of her control returning to her, but even though some of her autonomy had been restored, Elphaba's very way of thinking had been shifted and now she actually wanted to go along with what Maleficent was saying. This time, when she took Maleficent's hand, even though it was of her own free will, her free will had been twisted such that this was the path she was now choosing. She was choosing wickedness and sin, evil and malevolence. Now she was going to be evil and she wasn't going to think twice about it!
"Why Ms. Elphaba, look at you!" Maleficent crowed, sounding quite proud of both herself and the newly-turned wicked witch standing before her. "You're absolutely perfect! You're downright evil and mean! Why, you're practically malevolent! You're… you're…"
"I'm wicked!" Elphaba finished for her, voice much lower and raspier now than it had ever been before. "Through and through!"
Maleficent's eyes lit up when she heard this tonal change in Elphaba's voice. This was the exact moment she'd been waiting for from the very second she first stumbled upon Elphaba's lonely old castle in the west and knocked on its large wooden door. Although Maleficent was sincere in her desire to turn Elphaba evil, there was an ulterior motive to her scheming. She wanted a way back home. As Elphaba knew, she used to live in a place called Auradon. Or rather, she lived in its island prison: the Isle of the Lost. After spending roughly 16 years there, she had made a bid for freedom and revenge through her daughter, but that daughter betrayed her and began to fight against her, exiling her out of Auradon altogether.
This was where she had ended up, right in the heart of this place that Elphaba called the Vinkus. After days of just wandering through the wilderness, she stumbled upon Elphaba's castle and saw the flying monkeys. That had been the first sign to her that someone of great power lived within the castle's stony walls. In that very instant, she knew she had found a way back home. All she had to do was to first get into the castle owner's good graces, and now she had done it! Now all that was left was to get that castle owner to help her back to Auradon… and to revenge!
Together, the wicked witch and malevolent mage flipped through the Grimmerie in attempt to find a spell to send Maleficent back home. Along the way, they came across a sleeping spell that would put its victims into a death-like sleep.
"Ah! I recognize it because I've used it myself before!" Maleficent said. "Though I confess that it didn't work very well…" she added with a reluctant grumble. She related the tale to Elphaba as they continued to skim the book. Elphaba listened to it and thought. A spell that could induce a death-like sleep would be very useful, but if what Maleficent said was true, it was a tricky spell to pull off correctly. Perhaps if she could somehow channel the magic into something that would keep itself going, whomever she put under the spell would remain asleep because they would constantly be under the spell's direct effects.
The green witch paused to look out her tower's window. In the very far off distance she could see a large field of poppies. Hmmmm. Maybe she could enchant that entire field to carry the sleeping spell and anyone whom she decided to actively curse would fall asleep right then and there, kept locked away in the dreamworld by the flowers continuing to spray the spell instead of pollen. Perhaps that could work! Poppies…
Not too long after that, the two witches found what they were looking for: a spell to send Maleficent home. Turning the book eagerly to the green witch, Maleficent commanded her to read the spell.
"In exchange for all the help I have given you today, I want something in return!" she insisted and Elphaba was all too happy to comply. The two of them began to chant together and, in a matter of seconds, Maleficent was gone. While she was spirited back to the Isle of the Lost in Auradon, left to pick up the pieces and move on from there, Elphaba remained alone in Kiamo Ko, though she did not feel quite as lonely anymore. Even if Maleficent was gone physically, the magical traces she left within Elphaba's blood made it feel as if she were still there in spirit. It would explain why Elphaba suddenly felt far more… aggressive than ever before, and it would explain why (and how) her skin had managed to become even greener than before. It was no longer glowing, but it looked a different shade than before.
But even beyond bodily changes like that, Elphaba also underwent some minor magical changes. Her prowess in sorcery had already been phenomenal, but after Maleficent had given her some of her own power and strength, that talent had been amplified. Elphaba found it easier to do magic now than ever before and she even managed to develop quite the skill in pyromancy. As a literal Dragon Queen, Maleficent had great power over fire, and now Elphaba was seeing the same effect manifest in her own life. She could not shapeshift into a dragon the way Maleficent had, but she was now able to conjure up large and powerful fireballs with just a wave of the hand. It was an ability that had not come so easily to her before Maleficent shared some of her power with her. Now the mark of that Dragon Queen was forever embedded within Elphaba's fire powers.
But with every gain came a cost. Elphaba's newfound wickedness did not come for free. She may have been blessed by the Dragon Queen, but even the mightiest of dragons had a weakness. A very common one was water. It was not necessarily Maleficent's own personal weakness, but there was a reason the Isle of the Lost was separated from Auradon by a very large body of water (as well as a magical forcefield). And even if it was not necessarily Maleficent's own personal weakness, it would definitely become Elphaba's, but by the time she would come to this realization, it would be far too late to reverse the damage…
But witches do not stay dead. Maleficent came to learn this after her own first death at the hands of that blasted Prince Phillip! And it would be a lesson Elphaba learned as well when her own tower was invaded by an insufferable young hero looking to save the day by slaying the evil witch. And just like with Maleficent's story, Elphaba would come back once again. Maybe not soon, but eventually. Evil never truly died. So one day, the wicked would rise and the malevolent would return and upon that day, it would be a reunion and revenge plot unlike anything any world had ever seen! But for today, Elphaba was still very much alive and very much ready to take up her title as a sinful sorceress. She was twisted, maleficent, evil… wicked!