The group meet the Scrow tribe, who aren't so bad or scary really.
They are run by a super old and fat princess named Princess Nastoya. She doesn't sound like she'd qualify for Disney status.
Princess Nastoya invites Elphie, Oatsie, the rafiqi, an old dude named Igo, and an adventurer named Pinchweed to dine with her.
They meet the Princess by a cluster of trees.
The Princess then reveals herself to be an Elephant in disguise. That's one heck of a disguise; magic was probably involved.
Princess Nastoya asks the travelers why they are here. Everyone answers honestly. Pinchweed has come to make money, Igo has come to die, Oatsie has come to get away from the city and men, and Elphaba has come for a very interesting reason:
"To retire from the world after making sure of the safety of the survivors of my lover. To face his widow, Sarima, in guild and responsibility, and then to remove myself from the darkening world." (126.96.36.199)
Nastoya sends everyone but Elphaba and the rafiqi away. The rafiqi acts as her translator.
The Elephant explains that both she and Elphaba are under a spell and hints that Elphaba still has important work to do.
She gives Elphaba some crows as familiars and tells her that she's now in disguise as a Witch.
Nice twist, novel!
Elphaba doesn't want to be a witch. Nastoya insists that it's a good thing, and that Elphaba has been doing magic subconsciously.
The Elephant tells Elphaba that no one controls her destiny and sends her on her way