Song I listened to for this chapter: I Will Not Bow by Breaking Benjamin
The Mad Hatter is angry, lost, and in severe pain. The pain is from the separation of the Bond to his soul mate, his will to live. He is lost, since he is not sure how to get he and his daughter back to Wonderland, much less Carol Hamilton.
But, more than anything else, Tarrant is angry that someone planned all of this. The fact that his son was attacked, and the Looking Glass closed after that, shows that these were premeditated actions. He is wonders if whoever did this knows that David and Alice are Bonded since the Bond will act in odd situations, always to give the couple who are Bonded an edge.
In addition, there is Wonderland herself. She has made it very clear that once Alice made the decision to stay, Alice belongs to her. David and Alice both do. Messing with Wonderland’s will is not done lightly. Tarrant will not be surprised to find that Wonderland herself will work to get them back.
Tarrant’s Madness is trying to take over, but he knows if he takes that path, it would at best lead to nothing. The alternative would be much worse. Tarrant grits his teeth and works to control his Madness. He thinks of his daughter and uses that to center himself.
Alice looks up at her mother, taking in her concern and worry. She closes her eyes, not wanting to get into this now. However, she can see an explanation is needed. ‘Hatter! What is happening with you?’
The pain of the wound, while muted with the fading of the Bond, is still there. The additional torture of her soul being torn further apart with her forced separation from Hatter is also taking its toll.
Then something starts to bug her. She can understand that the closing of the Looking Glass further strains the Bond. However, there is something about that fact that bothers her. She needs to talk it out. Alice winces in pain again from the wound. As she watches her father-in-law control himself, she decides explaining things to her mother is the best place to start. “Mom, the Bonding process is more than you think. From what I understand, it binds the two of us to each other; we feel each other’s emotions. And, as you can see, we can also feel the pain.” Then something clicks and she cannot wait for Tarrant anymore. She needs answers and he is the only one with the knowledge of Wonderland that she needs to put this together.
Thinking quickly, Alice asks him, “Tarrant, I didn’t feel it when Hatter was tortured.”
Tarrant answers her, grateful for the distraction, “Neither of you had acknowledged the Bond. But you probably had a sense that something was wrong.”
Alice nods, remembering the franticness of that time as she tries to think. She finally blurts, “Tarrant, I need to talk. I need to ask.” She is trying to get her thoughts together, but the need to know is causing her to not be able to form full sentences.
Staring at her quizzically, Tarrant is trying to make sense of what she is asking.
Seeing his confusion, Carol intercedes, “She needs to talk out whatever is bothering her. Robert said it was one of her talents.”
Understanding dawns on the Mad Hatter and he quickly tells her, “Please do, Alice. Talk, chat, converse, speak, discuss, natter, deliberate, consult-”
Remembering what Hatter had told her once about his father, Alice quickly touches him, while quietly saying, “Tarrant.”
“…parley, fez.” Taking a breath, Tarrant tells her, “Thank you. We need to hurry. The potion is wearing off faster than Mirana thought it would. I only have one more dose.”
Alice nods and her brain marks it as part of the problem and stores it with the other facts. She growls at herself. Why can she not just think of the answer? Why this need to talk?
Carol crouches in front of her daughter, telling her, “Alice, honey. Calm down. Talk it out and you will think of what your head has already answered. Just start at the beginning.”
Hatter’s phrase jolts her out of her anger. With the memory of them sitting at the fire in the Manor and him saying the same thing to her, has her thinking, ‘Hatter! What is happening to you? You better be okay!’
Alice quickly gathers her thoughts, and looking at Tarrant she tells him, “The Bond got weaker when the Looking Glass closed. The potion is wearing off faster. But, you and I can still feel our Bonds.”
Tarrant nods and comments, “You feel the Bond more than I, Alice. The fact you felt Hatter’s wound shows that.” He is trying to help her Talent figure out what is wrong.
Alice shakes her head as she thinks. Concentrating on the problem that is insistent, she negligently tells him, “Feels, Tarrant. I still feel his-” And just like that, it all falls into place for her. Much faster than normal, but she makes a mental note to talk with Hatter more about that later, right now she has her answers.
Alice turns to Tarrant. “I am still feeling the pain, not as bad as before, but I can feel it. The poison is still burning in my veins. The potions are still working. Our Bonds are still there. My talent is working; your eyes and skin are still reacting.”
Tarrant quickly follows her thought process, and tells her the secret of his clan, “And I am still here. I am deeply steeped in the magic of Wonderland. David is more so, even though he is a half-blood. Without the magic, we will die.”
Alice works to add this information to her revelation. However, hearing Tarrant’s puzzlement over his son, she answers Tarrant’s statement, “He has always been bonded to Wonderland and both of his parents are part of Wonderland. Wonderland altered Alice when she came there.”
Shocked, Tarrant just stares at his daughter. What no one had figured out in centuries, she does in seconds? Her talents are working; she will be awe-inspiring when they come into full force. He cannot help but think how this will be good not only for herself and Hatter but for their kingdom and Wonderland as a whole.
Carol watches the two of them, amused at Tarrant’s reaction. Alice’s ability to solve problems has always overwhelmed her parents. Alice is quicker now, but she has steadily been getting stronger over the past years.
Alice is sitting there trying to figure out what is bothering her so much. She glances at Tarrant, thinking of how much she just hurts from being away from Hatter. She can’t imagine how he dealt with this for the months it would have taken Alice to sail to China and back. Then it starts to make sense, Alice… Tarrant…the White Rabbit…Late…Magical…Underland now is Wonderland due to Alice… and realizes the answer. She looks up at Tarrant and asks, “How did Alice come to Wonderland? Was it like the book says?”
Thinking back, Tarrant tells her, “I am not sure about the book, but she came down the Rabbit Holes.” With that simple statement, understanding dawns, Tarrant breathes out, “The Rabbit Holes. But, are you where she is from, here in Aboveland?”
Shaking her head, Alice answers her father, “No. We can get to England but, I have no idea where to go from there!” She stares back at him frustrated that they are so close to the answer.
Thinking back to the stories her father wrote, Carol tries to find a solution. She knows more since he told her the stories as bedtime stories. Remembering, she tells them, “The Ascot Manor. The rabbit hole is located there. But, it closed when Alice went back.”
Grinning, Tarrant answers the two of them, “Wonderland will reopen the hole and it controls those. The Looking Glass is built, a construct that requires the Stone of Wonderland to power it, Wonderland has very little control over it. Chess could have returned us, but he will have a hard time coming here and going back. Magic is so weak in this world.” As he is unfortunately being reminded in twinges in his bones.
Alice grows upset. She could have been home with Hatter, if she had not sent Chess to Hatter. However, she had been concerned, and she somehow knew Chess has been needed. Besides, she had wanted to bring her mother to Wonderland, not just leave Tarrant to do so.
Seeing her face, Tarrant tells her, “You did fine, Alice. Chess might be able to help save David. His evaporating skills are unparalleled in Wonderland. He will be able to remove whatever caused the wound in David’s side without any other damage. Chess can purify most poisons. You probably saved David’s life with that action.” He didn’t want to tell her Chess may have had problems taking more than her home. Moreover, knowing about Tarrant, Chess would have told her that Tarrant needed to go home first.
Looking at her father, Alice nods. But internally she is screaming, ‘I could have been there with Chess healing Hatter!’ The strain of the Bond is getting to Alice. She is feeling the need to do something, anything to get back to Hatter, now.
Carol watches Alice, seeing the tension in her face. She is completely amazed by the changes that have taken place in her daughter. She knows that for Alice, a lifetime happened in the week she was in Wonderland, but to Carol it truly has only been a couple of minutes. The changes were good for her daughter; she seems to have healed from everything that happened to her in the past. She has found a place she belongs and people who obviously love her for herself.
The most obvious of this is the love she has for this Hatter. There is no question that she loves this man. Carol is actually quite looking forward to meeting the man who finally has shown Alice what love is all about.
However, for now, they need to get Alice home to her Hatter. Carol gently tells her daughter, “Let’s go back to our apartment, and I will see what I can do.”
Alice glances at her mom. Then a thought occurs to her, “Tarrant doesn’t have a passport!”
Tarrant clears his throat, correcting Alice, “Jack gave me paperwork for here, saying that just in case something happens, we can take whatever measures we need.” His lisp is becoming more evident as the potion fades, when his skin and hair start to change is when he will take the last potion.
Alice just watches her father-in-law as he reaches into the jacket he is wearing and hands her a packet. She looks down at it and then back to him. When he gestures to it, indicating that she is to open it, she complies. Looking inside, she relaxes as she sees the red color of England’s passport. Then she realizes that he has credit cards and cash in there. She looks quickly up and asks, “Tarrant, do you know what all is in here?”
Giving her a quick look, Tarrant asks, “Did Jack not cover everything?” ‘What has the Knave of Hearts messed up now?’
Carol walks over and glances in the envelope that Alice is holding. Her mouth drops open in shock as she sees the black credit card in Tarrant’s name. Then she looks closer and asks before she thinks it completely through, “Are you a Lord, Tarrant?” Then she realizes her filter is not working at all; too many shocks to her system in a short while.
Alice couldn’t help it, she starts laughing, gripping her side hard where the pain is located. Even though Tarrant and Alice told her about Wonderland, that her own daughter is a Queen; Tarrant being a Lord shocks her?
Tarrant smiles at his daughter’s appealing laughter as he answers Carol, “My clan originally came from this world. We were Lords in some place called Scotland and according to Jack’s research; we still retain the titles and lands. Why do you ask?”
Alice gasps for air, knowing the stress of everything going on is causing her to react this way and answers him, “Your black card in there has no limit and is made out to a Lord Tarrant Hightopp.” She grits her teeth as her pain suddenly increases.
Tarrant just looked blankly at them, not understanding. Carol takes pity on him and tells him, “It means we will have no problem getting to England.”
Alice shakes her head, forgetting again that her new family would have no idea what a black credit card means, or anything really to do with this world. Just as she needs Hatter and Wonderland to explain to her about her new home, they need her to explain the nuances of this world.
The three of them make the trip back to the apartment. Carol goes around pulling Alice’s and her passports, getting things ready for them. Alice sits down; her hand still grasping Hatter’s wound. She is worried it is still hurting after all this time. Tarrant sits down opposite her, worrying about the same thing. After a while, Alice curls up on the couch, and closes her eyes, concentrating on the Bond.
Carol finally comes back to the room and informs them they need to leave, there is a flight leaving in a few hours. They all collect the bags that they are taking with them. The group heads out to the car that Carol had called for them while making the plane reservations, and hurry to JFK airport.
Carol watches her daughter carefully thinking about earlier. Knowing that there is no reason to skimp on their seats, Tarrant had asked that she get the most comfortable ride to their destination. When Carol had commented about how expensive it would be, he had indicated her daughter curled up. When she looked at him puzzled, he indicated that they move their conversation to another room.
When they were both in the kitchen, Tarrant told her softly, “She needs not to be thinking on anything but the Bond. It is very important that she not give up hope, fade away, or break. If she were to do any of that, it will make it harder on them both. My wife is with David doing the same. I know you don’t understand the Bond, but it is very important for Alice and David.”
Carol had agreed to his wishes and got them first class tickets to England. When they arrive at the airport, she is glad she did so, since they get checked in and settle in the first class lounge quickly. She sits down to wait, after watching Tarrant help her daughter to a seat. As she had packed, Carol had realized that she needs to know as much as possible about her new world. The best way to do that would be to read about it in her father’s stories. She had packed all of them, even his journals, planning to read as many of them before she gets to Wonderland as possible. While reaching into her carry-on to start reading on, Carol glances at Tarrant, her eyes widening, a gasp escaping her.
After making sure Alice is settled, Tarrant is worried. She is retreating more and more into herself. The last time she had been normal was the laughter that had been surprised out of her. He is trying to think what they can be doing to help her when he hears Carol gasp. Looking up quickly, he notices that she is staring at him.
Handing Tarrant her mirror, Carol tries to rationalize what is happening. She truly is starting to believe. Tarrant’s healthy looking skin has been bleaching white as she watches. His hair is getting curly, and turning a vibrant orange as well. He glances at himself and quickly reaches into his pocket. Pulling out a crystal bottle containing a bright red liquid, he drinks all of it quickly. The bleaching effect stops and slowly his face and hair begin to turn back into the colors she is familiar with.
During all of this, Alice doesn’t register anything. She is too busy concentrating on her Bond with Hatter. She can still feel his pain – the burning sensation is still there, and getting worse. Honestly, Alice is getting more and more worried. She doesn’t want to worry Tarrant, but her body is feeling weaker.
Soon their flight is called and they get ready to stand. Tarrant has turned towards Alice and is alarmed to see her try to stand, only to fall back into her seat. He moves to her side as quickly as he is able and helps her stand. Once she is upright, he hears her whimper and asks, “Alice?”
Carol turns quickly at the sound from her daughter. She realizes there is something wrong and grabs everything she can, indicating to Tarrant to help Alice.
Alice grits her teeth, and with help from Tarrant, they move to the plane and are seated. Tarrant sits beside her, and he leans close, asking, “Alice, what is wrong?” His eyes are turning yellow with worry.
Steeling herself, she says to him, “Not now, Tarrant. There’s nothing you can do, nor is there any way I’ll tell you anything that may drain the magic from the potion faster.”
Tarrant rocks back in his seat. How is she doing this? Alice’s talents are working and her powers are growing. With his body aching more and more, he knows that they are not close to a source of Wonderland Magic for her to draw on.
Staring out the window, Alice enlightens him, “Concentrate on the Bond. It will help, Tarrant.” She knows that is what is making this bearable. The magic that is inherent in the Bond is stronger when they concentrate on it but they need to make it quickly to Ascot Manor. She is also happy she has distracted the Mad Hatter from his earlier questions.
The plane ride is long, and Alice barely manages to keep it together. The absolute agony she is suffering from, between the Bond being so thin and Hatter’s wounds are overwhelming her. She is feeling the need to be back with Hatter.
Carol watches the two Wonderlanders suffer across the aisle from her. She had managed to pull some favors to allow them on to the Ascot Manor when they arrive. Since all they need to do is walk the grounds, the current Lord and Lady had no issue with the visit. Even though they are away, they were willing to accommodate the daughter of Lewis Carroll and a Lord.
Once through customs, they grab the few bags that contain items Alice and Carol wanted to keep with them in Wonderland. Exiting the airport, there is a driver holding a card for Lord Hightopp.
Carol moves them towards the man, asking, “Are you from the Ascots?”
The older man nods and imparts to them, “They instructed me to pick you up and to take you to the Manor. But, ma’am they did not instruct me any further.” He is clearly confused, but will follow his Lord and Lady’s instructions.
Carol smiles, glad that some people still believe. “It’s fine. We have an alternate mode of transportation available once we get there just no way to get to the Manor. Lord Hamish and Lady Rose were gracious enough to arrange this.” She had laughed when she had heard the name of the current Lord of Ascot. Fate is stepping in a lot on this trip, it seems.
Alice is panting from the pain and mutters, “Mom.” She is growing weaker and weaker. The only reason she is still on her feet, is the hope she feels in getting back to Hatter.
Looking quickly at her daughter, Carol tells the driver, “We need to get to the Manor as soon as possible, please.”
Tarrant is gritting his teeth in pain as he assists his daughter to the car. He refuses to give in to the aches and the separation from his mate. His daughter needs him too much. Because of that, and the Bond, he also knows his son needs him. It has been a long time since David has needed his fa.
They settle quickly in the car and once they start moving, Carol asks, “Alice, what is happening? You’re getting worse…”
Alice pushes the pain away as she was taught in the dojo and conveys to her mom, “It’s getting worse. I need to get to Wonderland.” Alice is finding that even meditation is not helping. She refuses to cry, she will not give in. ‘I will survive!’ She works to shut the world away.
Tarrant nods next to her, expanding, “We need to get back. Carol, listen to me. This is important. If nothing else, you need to push us both into the Rabbit Hole. Once in Wonderland, yell for Chess and Absolem. Absolem is a-”
Her eyes wide, she finishes his sentence, “A Blue butterfly, or caterpillar. Why am I yelling for them?” She remembers the description from her father’s book. Absolem is also called a Guardian. Of what, is not mentioned yet.
Closing his eyes, Tarrant tells her, “They will come for us. In addition, they can take us to the Kingdom of Knights quickly. Alice and Hatter need to be by each other.”
Before anyone could say anything else, they pull in front of a large manor. Tarrant helps Alice up, not giving in to his pain and suffering as he concentrates on her.
Carol quickly looks around, remembering as a child being here and being shown the Rabbit Hole. She grabs their bags and indicates the direction they need to head.
The threesome head into the maze and after awhile, they reach a dead tree. Carol walks around it trying to find the Rabbit Hole. Alice falls to the ground gasping, Tarrant beside her.
Feeling panicky, Carol walks around the tree two more times. She feels like crying, seeing the two on the ground in obvious pain and not able to find the Rabbit Hole. She hears the birds singing and wants to scream at the peacefulness surrounding them.
Alice looks up at her mother and, seeing the hopeless look on her face, closes her eyes. She reaches for the Bond, feeling it and then pushes for her land Bond. She feels it faintly and screams into both Bonds, “Let me, HOME!” Then she collapses, blood trickling out of her nose.
Tarrant looks at her shocked; she had screamed aloud. He then glances at Carol and they stare at each other, worried over Alice. Carol moves to her, reaching her to pull her into her arms. She is very frightened, not knowing what to do. It’s now obvious to them both what Alice has been hiding from them. Alice is dying.
Then they hear a sound of earth moving under the three of them and the Hole reopens. As soon as they fall through, the Hole closes and there is no sign of it ever having been there. Birds are quiet for little while and then start singing again.
Carol screams as she falls down the hole. There are items flying past her face, never hitting her, but coming close. She tries to find Alice and Tarrant, but cannot find either as she falls. A bed rushes up to her, and she bounces on it, falling even faster as it bounces her into the hole. Now, she is staring up, and sees a grand piano rushing out of nowhere, playing by itself heading straight at her.
Carol flings her arms in front of her, trying to protect herself. When nothing happens, she opens her eyes and arms to find the piano mere inches from her. Before she can react to it, it falls… upwards?
Carol flips herself over and sees the floor seconds before she hits it. Crashing thought it; she also hears two other crashes.
Sitting up, she sees Tarrant lying on the floor and further from him Alice in the same position. Then she remembers from her father’s books what happens next, and before she can say anything, they fall to the true floor.
Stunned, Carol lies there for a couple of seconds. Then remembering her daughter is dying, she stands up and checks on Alice.
Alice is slightly cold and barely breathing. When Carol glances at Tarrant, she sees him in the same circumstance. She remembers what Tarrant had told her and yells, “Chessur, Absolem! Help!!”
There was a faint pop noise and both the Cheshire Cat and the Guardian of the Oraculum are in front of her.
Chess looks at her, and asks quickly, “Where is Alice?”
Carol shakily points her finger at her daughter and Chess turns quickly. Seeing Alice, he breathes, “No…” Going to her, he touches her and disappears with Alice.
Carol blinks and then hears a sarcastic voice say, “Stupid cat! He leaves me with Tarrant and Alice’s mother!”
Turning around she observes the blue butterfly in front of her. Arching an eyebrow, she gives the Guardian the ‘mom look’.
Absolem stares at Carol, chuckling to himself. “Go touch Tarrant and I will take you both back to the Kingdom. Luckily for all of us, Wonderland played with time in the Rabbit Hole. Hatter was hurt just an hour ago.”
Carol nods, and moves over to Tarrant, touching him. As Absolem flies over to her, she looks around the room, noticing that her father’s stories were right on again. On the table was a drink that said, “Drink Me” and she can see the tiny box on the floor that she had no doubt said “Eat Me”. But, where is the key?
Absolem flies over to her and, before she can register what is happening, they all disappear.
In the Kingdom of the Knights, there seems to be hardly any activity going on, unless you look closely at the Palace. There is some bustle going on there, but still not enough for any outsider to tell that something is wrong. That is one of the benefits of having friends with evaporating skills, there are no frantic movements or anything to give away the severity of what is actually going on.
Hatter lies on the bed. When the Looking Glass closed, he had awakened in a panic, before the pain of the Bond weakening and his wounds overwhelmed him. Even then, he fought to stay awake until the Kingdom and Wonderland forced him under.
Alice sits there staring at her son, her pain from the Bond almost overwhelming. Mirana is across from her, checking David. Chess had removed the arrow as soon as they saw it. However, David is still not responding, and Chess could not chase down the poison in his system. None of the potions Mirana has tried are working on David.
Mirana looks up at her Champion, seeing the pain of being a mother not able to help her child in her eyes. She tells her, “We need Alice. Whatever happened to the Looking Glass is making him worse. Once I can get Alice here, we can find out from her what hurts.
Alice of Legend just stared at her son, feeling like everything is going wrong in a short amount of time. David and Alice should be enjoying their Bond and time together. Yes, they have a Kingdom to organize plus whatever Wonderland has been warning them all of. But this?
Suddenly, Alice gasps. ‘Tarrant! Her mate!’ She can feel him. Then she doubles over in agony. Everything aches. Her bones, muscles, even her skin aches. She would have fallen out of her chair if it hadn’t been for Mirana steadying her.
She looks up and informs Mirana, “They are back. But Tarrant is in complete pain. What happened?”
They look at each other then they hear Chess evaporate, yelling, “Mirana! Alice is also hurt!! She is…” He chokes off what he is about to say.
The White Queen and her Champion turn to face him. Before they can do anything but look in shock at Alice, Hatter is beside her. His eyes and skin are black as he holds her, dismissing his own pain, feeling hers. He carefully wipes away the blood from her face.
Hatter woke up when Alice returned to Wonderland, he had felt like his veins were on fire. He needed his mate, now! Then, he had felt Alice close and realized when he heard a pop that Chess must have brought her here. Before he knew what was happening, he was moving to her.
Moving over to the couple, Mirana, drops to her knees before Alice. Seeing Alice, the pale skin and the blood from her nose and ears, she quickly looks at Hatter, and demands from him, “How do you feel?”
Looking up from Alice for a second, pulling her closer to him, he asks, “Really?” How could she ask him at this time? Couldn’t she see that Alice needed medical attention? ‘Alice, what is wrong?’
Not having a second to spare, Mirana tells him, “You feel what she feels, she feels what you feel. How do you feel?”
Dark eyes widen as Hatter takes in her words and he quickly divulges to her, “My veins are on fire, weak, barely able to keep myself together. My head is killing me.”
Stopping in shock, she asks, “How long?” How long has Alice been there?
Hatter mistakes her words and tells her, “Just moments, I felt her return and then this.”
Shaking her head, Mirana clarifies to him, “Same poison as you, but farther along. How long has she been suffering?”
A pop sounds and they hear Absolem answer her, “Maybe they can help you, Mirana.”
Before he can finish, Alice K. runs to her mate. Before anything more can be said or done, Mirana looks over her oldest friend. She tells Absolem and Alice K., “He is feeling the effects of the Above World. Take him to your room and stay with him, Alice.”
Alice K. looks at her friend, and then her eyes flick to David and Alice. Mirana correctly translates her meaning, and tells her, “I will take care of them with Chess. Go.”
Hearing the pop signaling the move to their rooms, Mirana turns her attention to the lady standing there, who must be Carol. “My name is Mirana, the White Queen. I need to know, how long Alice has been feeling this way?”
Carol is standing there bewildered, seeing her daughter lying in a man’s arms. Part of her notes the way the man holds her to him, protectively and lovingly as if his whole world is there in his arms and he will do whatever it takes to keep her safe. Since she agrees wholeheartedly, Hatter won over his mother-in-law in seconds.
Hearing Mirana’s words, she turns in shock, “The White Queen? But…” Then Carol snaps out of it and quickly answers, “About a day, almost 2 days.” She hopes the stories about the White Queen are accurate.
Hatter pales as he takes in her words. He says in shock, “But…it has been only an hour.” And if it wasn’t for the pain that he is feeling from Alice, he’s not too sure he would be moving. Nevertheless, Alice always takes precedence. She is his forever, and his forever cannot die.
Mirana calls softly, “Chess.” When the Cheshire Cat appears, she tells him and David, “This will be painful, David. However, I know now what was used; I can remove it from you. Then, we can see if that helps Alice.”
Hatter flexes his arms, feeling his life being held in them, and tells Mirana, “I will do anything for her. I need her. Chess, please.”
Chess looks to Mirana after staring at Alice. He should have never left her in the world Above. He should have brought her with him, and then she would not be so bad. But, David’s plea to him brings him out of his thoughts, and he is now just waiting for Mirana to tell him what poison he is chasing.
Mirana takes a deep breath and advises Chess, “Bandersnatch and Botulinum mixed together. That is why they resisted your earlier attempts.
Chess nods and says, “I will need something to deposit the poison into.” He then turns to David. “David, you need to lie Alice down. Then lie down yourself. It will be faster and easier for you.”
Hatter wants to protest, but the poisons are deadly, he knows this. He complies, hoping this will help his Alice.
Chess hesitates and softly says, “I am sorry, David.” Then he dives into David’s body. Working quickly, he moves to the bottom of David’s body. Chess then stretches his body to fit David’s, and moves up, straining David’s body with his own. Chess was the only living being known to be able to do this, the only one to have ever done it. He had perfected the process on Tarrant, actually. The two of them had worked out how to remove the mercury from Tarrant’s body to prevent his madness from going any further.
Hatter can barely keep from screaming. The pain of what Chess is doing is excruciating but is nothing compared to what he had felt when Alice left. This is physical that had been soul deep.
Chess lifts out of David’s body, the poison laying on top of him. Mirana holds a jar out and Chess forms his body to let the poison run off into the jar, careful not to spill a drop anywhere.
Hatter is lying on the ground gasping for a couple of seconds. His hand reaches out and grabs Alice’s, his thumb caressing her engagement ring. Closing his eyes, he fights the pain and moves to sit up and have her back in his arms. Looking up at Carol, he asks, “How did you return to Wonderland?”
With awe on her face for this man, she answers, “Through the original Rabbit Hole. It had been closed, but Alice screamed she wanted to go home and it opened.”
Hatter closes his eyes and murmurs, “Thank you.” Carol doesn’t understand, but everyone else knows that he is thanking Wonderland.
Wonderland lets him know he is more than welcome, but they need to get both Alice and Hatter somewhere to rest. Alice is not out of the woods yet, but with some rest and Hatter by her side, she will survive.
Confused, Hatter looks at Mirana and Chess. He tells them, “We need to be in bed resting. Alice should be fine tomorrow if I am healed. But, why is Alice like this?”
Mirana walks over and grabs a purple and two light blue potions. She hands the light blue one to Hatter to drink as she pours the purple one on the gash on his side. Seeing it heal, she relaxes. Taking the bottle from him, she hands him the other one, indicating Alice. While the two of them work to get her to drink it, Mirana is still worried about the blood on her face.
Once they are done, she answers David, “Your Bond. You two are so strong in your Bond, that she felt when you were injured. That is how she knew to send Chess back. However, she also had the effects from the poison going through her. Since it would have been a paradox for her not to progress as though you were not healed, she went through the poisoning as you would have had there been no way to heal you. However, once Wonderland acted and moved her back in time, we could find out what happened. We removed the poison and the Bond will remove the effects from her.”
Chess quietly moves them both back to their bed. He is still upset. Chess is very close to both of them that is why he left with Alice. But to see the handiwork of what happened when he left her is distressing.
Hatter nods his thanks to Chess. Seeing his friend in pain, he makes a mental note to talk to him later. Hatter then asks Mirana, “But she will be fine? Mirana, I-”
Mirana laughs and tells him, “Sleep, David. See what tomorrow brings. I will settle Alice’s mom in another room and notify Carpenter that she is here. Call for help if you need it. Moreover, for all our sakes, do not go out to the balcony and leave the doors closed. There is a pair of stone Knights in the rooms now so they cannot be blocked again.” Charlie had been quite upset about that, fixing it as soon as he could. He felt like he failed his Queen in keeping her mate unhurt.
Hatter nods, holding Alice to him. As they all leave the room, he strokes her face tenderly. She is his life, his everything. Once she is well – he knows her well enough and had a faint sense of her feelings when he was attacked – they will both want revenge on his attackers. Alice will, for them daring to hurt him, Hatter, for them hurting Alice through him. Whomever dared to do this, will be paying for it soon.