This be the final version of the strip, and boy is Emerald City a pain to draw and color! But it’s done! Yay! In all its shiny emerald glory… I absolutely love the contrast of Red’s hair to all the green:)
If you didn’t see it, check out the new button which I put up to replace the top bar of Project Wonderful ads:)
Also, because of such a long wait, I thought we were overdue for another narrative. Here you go!
The Land of Oz… Not her favorite place but this wasn’t a social visit.
“SCAN COMPLETE. ENTRY GRANTED, RIDEENA HOOD.”
Red straightened from her stoop and readjusted the tattered hood she often wore like a second skin. Not feeling the need to respond to the mechanical voice, she waited for the huge emerald gates to swing open with a grating krie krie krie and strode in. After two steps, the Guardian of the Gate marched beside her. He wore a green top hat adorned with emeralds, a feather stuck into it just to make it over the top, a green waistcoat with tails, and even green gloves similarly bejeweled with the city’s namesake gem. None of this impressed Red. What did impress her was the Guardian’s ability to keep pace with her, given that the Ozian was half her height.
Hands behind his back, the little man wiggled a pale green mustache which matched the rest of his ample hair covering everything but his nose, mouth, and ears in sweeping curls. “He appreciates you sending word ahead of time. He’ll see you in the war room. I shall escort–”
“I know where he is.”
Her cut-in surprised the Guardian of the Gate. “Ah-hrm… Very well.” Without further prodding, he seemed to get the hint and left her to return to his gate duty.
True, she could have simply slipped in through any window after utilizing the camouflage embedded in her outfit. But this wasn’t a recon mission or an assault. This was negotiation and diplomacy. The front door approach was needed.
She had, of course, sent the more stealthy Icharus to locate the Wizard’s whereabouts so she knew precisely where he hid. It wasn’t in the war room. Red also knew she had to play nice, play by the rules, and let the humbug have his charlatan game. Again, necessary, if she were to get what she wanted.