Llana Skye has been on track to go to Shiz her whole life, taking all the preparatory programs. Her rich family helped, but she is a genuinely hard worker. Meanwhile, Mia Fey is only at the school because her aunt Morgan, who is the headmistress, wanted her there to take care of her cousin Dahlia. Morgan has taken care of Mia since her own mother disappeared (she never knew her father beyond a small green bottle). Mia wants to learn how to use her gift for magic, but is already sick of being stared at so much for her green skin. She has high hopes for meeting the Wizard.
As you may have gathered, Dahlia is Nessarose. She genuinely has some of Iris’s personality traits — Mia has to want to protect her, after all. Not sure if she’s in a wheelchair or has some other disability, or whether her condition can be blamed on Mia’s verdigris (the way Nessa’s mother was made to eat milkflowers when pregnant). Maybe rather than her legs, she faints very easily, and the wheelchair is to prevent overexertion.
Madame Morgan assigns Mia to Llana’s room, making a comment about how maybe Llana’s studiousness can set an example. So Llana’s first impression of Mia is someone who only got into the school by family connections, who’s rude (okay, Mia may be a little snappy about her skin. And may have grabbed a student or two by the lapels), and who makes some strange feeling rise up in her guts. It must be loathing.
Meanwhile, Mia sees Llana surrounded by friends like Jake, Neil, Bruce, and Angel, and comes to the conclusion that she’s faking all her friendliness and concern, and that’s how she has this cadre always agreeing with her and praising her. She’s also pretty sure that Llana’s led a charmed life that led her to Shiz. And her face feels red whenever she looks at her — this feeling has got to have a name!
(Yeah, they’re gay for each other)
Dr. Grossberg talks about, like the scent of fresh lemon, the days of his youth a lot, when a Goat like him would not be the only talking animal on campus. Mia makes a good impression on him, and they start talking to each other a lot about Ozian politics and law. He always pronounces Llana’s name as Lana.
Before I start talking about Phoenix, I just want to point out @thisllendpoorly’s observation that Fiyero Tiggular sounds a lot like Furio Tigre. What Could It Mean. Also two-line wonder Avaric is Larry Butz.
So Phoenix is a new student who’s not expecting to last long at this school. He’s brainless, after all, everyone tells him he only gets by on bluffs and luck. So why not embrace that about himself! Also he’s a prince I guess?
And now we start shuffling around the love triangles. Diego is really into Mia, always calling her kitten. Llana’s noticed that Mia does not really reciprocate, so even if they have their differences she’s gonna be on this girl’s side. So she’s been subtly intercepting Diego whenever he tries to get closer than Mia is comfortable with. When he’s about to ask Mia to the ball, Llana gets him to agree to taking Dahlia out for a fun night before he even gets near the other Fey. (If they’re both students, ages are probably changed so he’s not eight years older than Dahlia. Still, there’s never even a pretense of a romantic relationship between them, bc that would creep me out.) Dahlia enjoys having someone around who’s so concerned with making her happy, and also likes seeing what she can do and how he’ll react.
Phoenix immediately gets along with both Llana and Mia, and learns about their rivalry. He invites Llana to the Ozdust Ballroom, then invites Mia. However, when the two get to the ballroom, they find themselves dancing with each other! And they start realizing that maybe their assumptions about each other were wrong, and they could be friends after all. (And wow, under these lights Mia’s eyes are really pretty, and Llana is so graceful of a dancer…)
(Phoenix: “All according to keikaku”)
So Llana and Mia get along now, though they still haven’t admitted their feelings. And Llana decides to teach Mia how to be popular (which does involve some complying with trends and putting on an act, but Mia learns that Llana really does care about her friends, and she really is pretty dang smart. She just is more concerned about image than Mia is.)
Dr. Grossberg is forbidden to teach. His replacement is *spins wheel* Robert Hammond? *continues spinning wheel* Manfred von Karma? Blaise Debeste? … You know what, lets just call the new professor “Bob”.
Bob brings in a Lion cub in a cage and talks about how he can prevent her from ever learning how to speak. Mia casts a spell in agitation that incapacitates most of the people in the room, Phoenix breaks the cage door and runs off with the cub, and Llana can’t believe she’s going along with them but… but this is wrong. Llana surprises herself by saying she’ll take care of the cub. The little lion currently only knows how to say her name: Ema.
Somehow Llana becomes convinced that Mia and Phoenix love each other. (They do not. They are very good friends.) She also decides to go by “Lana” in honor of Grossberg (and so that the author doesn’t have to keep going back and adding an extra L to her name).
Madame Morgan arranges for Mia to go to Oz and talk to the Wizard after her agitation over Grossberg. (No one knows about Ema.) Mia asks Lana to come with her because “she knows how to talk to people” (because she feels better about everything when Lana is near). Meanwhile, Diego’s getting agitated at having to spend so much time with Dahlia, who insists that they are “the best of friends!” He says that he can’t do this anymore and storms off.
Lana and Mia have a gay time in the Emerald City. Then it’s time to meet the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz…
Yeah, this is gonna end well.
Gant is delighted to meet Mia and Lana! He brings out a Monkey and gives Mia the Grimmerie, telling her to cast a levitation spell as a show of her powers. Mia complies, but is horrified when the Monkey starts screaming in pain. And then Press Secretary Morgan tells her that spells are irreversible, other caged Monkeys begin growing wings, and Gant goes on about how these spies, I mean scouts, can report subversive animal activities…
Mia runs off. Lana chases her, and Gant calls for guards to go after them both.
Lana says that Mia shouldn’t have run off, that yes what she was just made to do was horrible, but Gant has power and is offering them a chance to work with him! They can talk to him, influence him, direct that power where it can do some good! Mia is being impulsive to run off instead of trying to work with what they’ve got.
Mia is done playing by the rules of someone else’s game, however. She asks Lana to come with her, to follow their dreams, just the two of them.
… Lana hopes she’s happy.
The guards burst through the door, and Mia puts on a show. She’s the Wicked Witch, she’s going to take down the Wizard, Lana definitely tried to stop her but failed! No one’s going to bring her down!