Song I listened to for this chapter: When They Come for Me by Linkin Park
It’s funny how people always overlook those that put their lives on the line every day for thousands of years for freedom. They all remember the Oyster named Alice that stood up to the Queen. However, those that kept the Great Library hidden and offered a place for the refugees to stay out of the Queen’s power? Nobody has even said thank you. Or, at least that’s one way to look at what has happened. And, as everyone knows there is more than one view of every event.
Dodo growls to himself. He happens to be one of those that is not thinking straight. His dislike of Hatter had blossomed into hate after he and that Oyster had taken away the chance for Dodo to right what is wrong with his world. Dodo does try to do right by Wonderland. He knows his world is hurting and all he can understand is that the Oysters are the one doing the damage thanks to the Queen of Hearts.
However, to his mind, everything is either black or white. If the Oysters were causing harm to his beloved world, then the Oysters must go. It doesn’t matter if Wonderland needs them, either they can be here, or gone. Either Hatter works for the Hearts or he is a Resistance member. Only the fact that they needed the food Hatter got for them made it possible for Dodo to stomach the man.
Today, Dodo is in a mood worse than any other time since he started to try to protect his world. Duck and Owl have long since given up placating him and scurried away to hide in the stacks days ago. Even there, everyone can hear him ranting and raving over the injustice of Hatter and Alice being called the “Heroes of Wonderland”. In addition, for them to be named the Champions of Wonderland as well? That was insult to injury. No one has risked his ire to tell him about the two of them being Bonded and named King and Queen of the Kingdom of Knights. No one was that stupid.
At least that’s what they thought, hoped. However, one brave soul let it slip that Hatter was King, and now he’s lucky to be alive. Currently he is on his way to the new kingdom in hopes that Dodo’s arm couldn’t reach him there. He will throw himself on the mercy of Queen Alice if need be. She took the Ten of Clubs; maybe she’d take him too.
In his office, Dodo is seething in his chair, unable to contain the rage this new piece of information instills. Now, everyone is a bit mad in Wonderland, you have to be to survive the world. However, Dodo is really starting to lose it. He starts raving in his chair, “Hatter, who couldn’t ever do anything more than risk himself to feed the rabble, is now a King? I don’t really care who his parents are, or what he has supposedly done. He is a rat who played both sides.” There is no one there to hear Dodo rant.
Or at least that is what Dodo thinks. A knock sounds on his door. It opens before he could even say anything; a tall person comes in. The stranger is hidden from view in a concealing black cloak.
Standing up, Dodo grabs his pistol from his back. He demands of the stranger, “Who are you and why are you here?”
The cloaked figure stands there, not moving. After a couple of minutes, that have Dodo fidgeting and his finger slowly tightening on the trigger, the figure deigns to answer him. “I am the one who can help you get revenge.”
Dodo pauses, this sounds interesting. Curious as to what this stranger could offer him, he cautiously asks, “Revenge against what?”
The shrouded person studies Dodo. He’s not happy with whom he has to work with, but they have to start somewhere. No one else is quite in position to begin, but this opportunity is not one to pass by. To have the new Champions of Wonderland separated, in different worlds – nothing can be more crippling to either. So, they are moving a little early. It is pure luck that Dodo and his hatred of Alice and Hatter was even remembered. This, hopefully, is something they can work with.
Finally, the hidden visitor speaks to Dodo. “Hatter. Are you interested, or do you want to stay here ranting and raving against him instead?”
Dodo straightens in anger as he spits out, “I’m listening…”
The taller of the only two men in the room starts talking and Dodo takes in every word. When the plan is laid out, Dodo grins. This will be perfect and will also make Wonderland safe from the Oysters.
It seems that the underbelly of Wonderland is getting sicker.
Alice and Tarrant finish with their explanation to Carol. She just stares at the two of them. This is just too much to take in. Alice has been to another world, fallen in love, and gotten engaged. And, the man she is engaged to is the son of the man with Alice. To top it all off, the two are Bonded. She’s not sure what that means, but by the way they both acted, it’s something huge.
Moreover, Carol cannot forget the claims that Alice is now a Queen. Her fiancé is the son of a Queen, and she and Tarrant have passed their rule onto him and Alice. Carol thought they would have to be married for this, but Tarrant assured her that this Bonding thing is similar to marriage. Bonding is just more than the concept of marriage, so much more, literally binding on both Alice and Hatter for the rest of their lives. Alice had smiled as she thought of her mate. Carol saw this and marveled that her daughter is able to trust a man this much. She would have thought that the only thing Alice could have accepted to be this happy would be the ability to know the person inside and out.
Tarrant also told Carol, that even without the Bonding Alice would still be Queen. Wonderland quite simply wanted her to be.
That was the next to last shock to Carol. Her father’s stories were real. There really is a Wonderland. And not only are the stories true, but her father was from there. Wonderland is alive. It even wants Alice to be queen. If this Hatter person didn’t love her or wasn’t bonded to her, it seems Wonderland would have simply made a new kingdom for her.
The one piece of information that has Carol completely reeling, sitting there staring at her daughter and Alice’s future father in law, is that Robert is alive and is from Wonderland. He was kidnapped, his memories stripped from him, but thanks to Alice and her fiancé, he is now fully functional and remembers everything. He is back in their home world, waiting for Alice and herself to come to him.
Robert is a native of Wonderland. So is Carol’s father. Alice’s talents, which so worried Robert when he was here, are all from being descended from Wonderlanders. Her aptitude for chess, her knack for learning martial arts, are all from being of Wonderland descent. Now, with her believing in Wonderland, all her abilities are coming to the fore.
Worried, Alice just stares at her mother. She is feeling the pain from being separated from Hatter and waiting for her mother to take everything in is not helping. Her mother’s doubts are understandable – she’s having to absorb in a manner of minutes what Alice herself had almost a week to do – but all Alice wants to do is get back to Wonderland and her mate.
Tarrant watches Alice carefully. His own pain at being separated from his mate is beyond description. But, he is drawing from his past and the strength from when his Alice left him. He is also being strong for his daughter. He is aware that Alice and David are in immense torture during this separation. They do need to find out if her mother wishes to come to Wonderland. He does not doubt when Alice says she will be closing the Looking Glass for a while. Tarrant remembers the separation from his son and is very happy that Alice and Hatter are trying to prevent the same emotions for Carol.
Alice finally has had enough. She looks at her mother and tells her, “Mom, I’m sorry, but I need an answer. We don’t have much time before Hatter’s deadline. I can’t explain this very well, but, believe me when I say this not only will be a mistake for Hatter to be here, but you have no idea how painful it is for me to be here. I am only here to give you an explanation and a choice. I’m closing the Looking Glass. You can stay here in this world, or come to Wonderland. If you do come, you need to believe in it, or I will have to send you back .” Alice reaches out and touches her mom’s knee and says bluntly, “Mom. I need to go home.”
This finally brings Carol out of her shock. Her daughter just told her that she needs to go home. And for the first time in Alice’s life, this is not home to her. “Alice, I want to believe you, but think of what you have been telling me. Would you believe this if our roles were reversed?”
Tarrant sighs. He stands up and asks Carol, “If I show you how I normally look, will that help?”
Alice closes her eyes. “Tarrant that is unnecessary. I know you don’t really want to.” She knows how much it bothers him when others treat him differently. There’s no reason for him to have to deal with that while they are here. Not for her sake.
Looking at his daughter, he tells her, “It will help her believe.” He smiles at Alice, touched by her concern.
Before Alice could answer, a voice sounds from her that is not hers. “Oh bother, Tarrant. I will do this.” And to Carol’s astonished eyes, Chess appears. Or to be more accurate, his head appears and his tail wrapped underneath. He looks at Carol and disappears.
Carol gasps, and jumps, when Chess appears in front of her upside down.
Grinning as only a Cheshire Cat can, he introduces himself. “Good morning. I am Chessur the Cheshire Cat.”
Tarrant can’t help but be amused by Carol’s look on her face and a giggle escapes. This causes Alice to smile slightly. Tarrant’s giggles are infectious.
Hearing his giggle, Carol shoots him an amused look. She then turns her attention back to Chess. Her hand reaches up, then drops.
Seeing this, Chess makes a decision. While to date, David and Alice are the only two he has allowed to touch him, the need for Alice to be back home, and a sense he gets from Wonderland that they need to be home now, overrides his preferences. He moves under her hand to allow her to touch him.
Carol needs to touch. She always has been a sensual person, trusting her senses more than her brain. Chess’s decision is the one that tips the scale. Petting him, she looks up at her daughter and tells her, “I’ll come with you.”
Alice nods and relaxes minutely. “Gather what you wish and we need to leave.”
When Carol opens her mouth, Tarrant steps in. “The Looking Glass will return you to this time and place. If you need something, we will get it for you, but your daughter and I need to be back in Wonderland.” Tarrant is feeling the lack of magic in this world and it makes his bones ache. He is a creature of Wonderland. Mirana’s potion is helping, but he needs to get back. This is the other reason David was not to come. He is more steeped in the magic of Wonderland than even his father. No one knows why for sure, but Tarrant suspects it is because of what he and Alice are destined to do.
Carol nods and stands up. Everyone starts preparing to leave, three of them eager to return home, one eager to start her new life with her long lost love.
Hatter is back in his and Alice’s rooms counting down the time to when she will be back. He knows that his time in Wonderland does not correspond to hers, but he wishes his mate was back where she belongs – by his side.
Hatter sighs and slowly moves to their balcony. Wonderland and the Kingdom really outdid themselves when they restored the Kingdom. His mum mentioned it is much prettier and more functional than when she had visited last.
Hatter had not been aware that she had visited before it was destroyed. Realizing this, his mother had sat down and told him the stories. The city he is in now was present when she won the Queen position. The Knights were here as well, though not as many as there were to be later. She had frowned and told him that while she did not remember Charlie, she remembered his mentor. She has some very fond memories of him defending her. When Hatter had asked who he had defended her from, his mother had frowned and said the Red Knight. Her look clearly let her son know not to press the issue.
Hatter stares into the night. The pain of being separated from Alice is beyond description. Hatter really wishes for Alice to hurry back. He closes his eyes, and leans his head down to balustrade, trying to center himself.
As he stands there, he hears a noise that is abnormal. Remembering how nervous Absolem has been, he drops into a defensive mode. He is not taking any chances. He’s not sure what will travel on the Bond, but he does not want to worry Alice.
Before he can think anything else, he feels a sharp jab in his side as an arrow pierces him. He gasps and then turns to defend himself from his attacker. Hatter pushes the sensation away to make sure he can protect himself.
A man drops from the roof above dressed all in dark browns with green material breaking it up. The man waves something and the doors to the balcony slam shut and shimmer. The swarthy man turns to Hatter and grins crookedly. Believing this to be easy now that he has prevented any help from coming to the kingling, he plans to help himself to the Kingdom of the Knights.
As the man draws his sword, Hatter drops his hand down to his own. He has taken to wearing it at all times, and when he is unable to, he has quite a few knives on his person. Hatter has never believed in taking chances. He has a vested interest in making sure he doesn’t get hurt. Alice will feel it. And the consequences of him dying were not to be looked at too closely.
Seeing the naked sword in Hatter’s hand, the man attacks Hatter. He unleashes his skills, hoping that he will overwhelm his opponent and end this before any help can come for the kingling. Plus the poison on the arrowhead should be making it’s way through the young man in front of him.
Hatter defends himself from the attack of the assassin. Upon realizing he is facing a moderate swordsman, he quickly decides to end this. It isn’t helping that the pain from the wound on his side is getting worse, a sign that he needs to get medical attention soon. Hatter unleashes a small portion of his training to deal with the hired killer. Once he is in the position to do so, Hatter forces a series of attacks to incapacitate the man, so they can question him.
The man quickly finds himself outclassed by the young king. He is completely surprised; nothing they have on him says that he is a swordsman. Realizing that he was about to have his weapon stripped from him, he makes a snap decision. He knows what is awaiting him if he is captured. To Hatter’s shock, his opponent deliberately steps into Hatter’s sword.
Hatter swears as the man kills himself. He lets him slide off of his sword, as he curses the man to hell and back. Then the pain from the arrow wound hits him, and he sinks to his knees as his mum and guard come up beside him. The last thing he sees is his mum bending over him and Chess…
Alice, her mother, Tarrant, and Chess are almost to the Looking Glass when Alice grabs her side and drops to the ground. Tarrant is there by her side in seconds. “Alice! What is it?”
Alice opens her eyes, and shakily raises her hand that is holding her side. She fully expects to see her hand covered in blood. When it is not, she gasps, “Chess! Hatter… please?”
Chess appears and tells her, “Alice, David wanted-” Chess is very aware of what Alice is wanting him to do. Nevertheless, he also knows what will occur if anything happens to Alice and he is not here to help her.
Alice shakes her head and interrupts Chess, “Please. As soon as I can move, we will be through the Looking Glass. Stay with him until then.”
Chess nods reluctantly and evaporates.
Carol is beside her daughter, and she asks frantically, “What’s happening, Alice?”
Tarrant stares into Alice’s eyes and she into his. The markings that Hatter has around his eyes are becoming more and more prominent, as was Tarrant’s eye color. Alice can’t calm him down since she is as angry as he is.
Tarrant furiously spits out, “Wha’ happ’n, Alice?” His brogue is out in full force.
Neither hears Carol’s gasp as she sees the two of them. They are too busy trying to figure out what happened. Finally, Alice answers her father, “I think something happened to Hatter. I felt a sharp pain in my side. No, that is not right; I feel a pain in my side.”
Tarrant nods, his anger and madness held back only for Alice. She needs him whole. He asks, “How et you ‘urt, Alice?”
She thinks and tells him, holding her hand over the wound in her side, “Stabbing, in through my skin, inside me.” Then as another stab shoots through her she gasps out, “And it burns, Tarrant.”
Seething, Tarrant swears, “Slurking urpal slackush scrum.” He gets his temper under control and tells Alice and her mother, “David es been shot and poisoned.”
Alice closes her eyes. When she opens them, she tells them both, “Help me up. I need to get home and make sure Hatter is fine. Then I need to kill whomever thinks they can hurt my mate.” Her voice grows harder and fiercer as she speaks.
Tarrant nods and he jumps to his feet, then helps Alice up. Carol has risen by herself. She is confused, but can see she will not get any answers until Alice is back in Wonderland.
They move towards the Looking Glass. As they enter the warehouse, the three of them hear some odd noises. Looking at each other, Alice and Tarrant start to hurry. They have a bad feeling. As they near the Looking Glass, the noises get louder.
Carol hears something sounding like it was being thrown, and asks, “What is that noise?”
Neither Alice nor Tarrant answer as Tarrant pulls Alice behind him. Alice is still panting from the pain in her side. Even though it is Hatter’s wound and the Bond between them is weak, she can feel the wound as though it is her own.
They round the corner and Tarrant yanks Alice down as something is hurled past their heads. Tarrant’s mind flashes to Thackery’s need to throw things, and how lucky that he is used to things being hurled at him. Then he looks to see who threw the projectile at them.
What the threesome find is surprising to say the least. There are miscellaneous objects scattered all over the place. As they watch, an armchair is tossed from the mirror.
Tarrant is trying to figure out what is happening when all of the sudden, they hear a dud sound then the Looking Glass bulges and goes back to its normal shape. He realizes what has happened about the same time as Alice.
Alice drops to her knees screaming, “No! Hatter!!” She can barely feel the Bond, it is weaker than ever. Her heart and soul are ready to break.
Carol stares at her daughter shocked. She looks over at Tarrant, trying to find an answer.
Tarrant stares at her, his eyes a grey color. He tells her, “The Looking Glass is closed.”