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Excerpt from Easterly

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“Really, Stazia. I could get you a dress. Your hair is lifeless. Lay off the conditioner. Black tank top? Black tutu? Black and white striped tights and red shoes? Seriously? You can make those a different color, you know? Come to the mansion, and I can make you look presentable. Pink would look good on you. Maybe a pixie cut?” Glinda said.

Stazia shuddered. Pink.

“You shouldn’t go, Stazia,” Ezmerelda said. “This is your duty, too, you know. With Mother gone…”

Stazia knew it was true. The Witches of Oz should be working together to fix the realm. She cared about Spot, she cared about the innocent people of Oz, and she wanted to help them. But so much had been said lately about how wicked she and her sister, Ezmerelda were. So many lies.

“The people of Oz hate everything we do, so why bother?” Stazia said.

“They don’t hate me,” Glinda said with a sugary smile.

“They hate Ezmerelda and me,” Stazia countered. “I can barely go into the villages anymore. There’s so much vitriol.”

“They’re just jealous of your powers,” Glinda said. “Your magic.” She eyed Stazia up and down, her gaze resting on the ruby shoes.

“They can have it. I don’t need it. I don’t do anything of significance with it. I pop here and there. That’s about it. If they hate me so much because of it—”

“Don’t be so foolish!” Ezmerelda said. “Your magic is your strength. Don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed of it.”

“I mean it, Ezmerelda. I hate it. I can go without it. It doesn’t help me in the least. I’d much rather have no magic and just live a quiet life in a cottage in the woods. Find a place far away on the other side of the prismatic arch with no magic at all,” Stazia said, wafting over to the window and gazing outside.

She touched her fingers in opposite corners of the crystal plane and pulled them in closer together. The scenery outside got smaller, and her range of vision stretched farther out. She did it again, zooming out until very little of Oz was recognizable, and she felt like she was looking down from the stars at an entire unknown world. She pointed to a place on the outer edge.

“There! I wonder if they have magic. I wonder if they’ve heard about the ‘Wicked Witch of the East.’”

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