March 16th, 18–
“Richard? Bonejangles? Dr. Finklestein?”
Emily ran down the street, searching desperately for a face she knew. Her feet slapped against the cobbles – she’d lost her heels running from one of those strange screaming ghosts. She found she really didn’t mourn the loss of the shoes – while beautiful, they’d made trying to escape the monsters a bit of a pain. Granted, so does the train on my dress, she thought, looking at the fabric she’d draped over her arm. But I’ll be damned if I let my mother’s wedding dress get more ruined than it already is. Either it all goes at once or not at all.
She shivered as she stopped to rest around a corner. What in God’s name was going on? The day had started out so normally – she’d been happily going to visit Richard, wondering if she dared bring up the idea that they make it so she wore her wedding dress for a better reason than nostalgia – and then, there were tentacles in the street and some woman claiming to be the new Queen of Secundus and she’d found herself running for her unlife from a Jabberspawn and a banshee. And once she’d lost them, she’d found that the entire city was infested with terrifying beasts! She couldn’t make heads or tails of it. Why would this Queen person send out monsters to destroy a city she wanted to take over?
You ask this when you’ve lived in this city ever since your resurrection, she scolded herself. Obviously the Queen’s Touched, or more conventionally insane. Those sort of people don’t think clearly when it comes to conquering cities. Otherwise she might have realized the citizens of Secundus would fight back with everything they’ve got.
That was the one heartening thing about all this – while she’d found monsters everywhere she looked, she’d also found people fighting them. The entire city had come alive to defend their freedom. The only problem was, she had yet to find Richard or any of her friends from the castle doing their bit. She was sure they were, but she’d feel so much calmer and safer with one of them by her side. Particularly Richard and his explosive tea, she said, blinking back sudden tears. Oh, please God, let my Richard be all right. . . .
Emily started, then turned back around the corner. “Victoria!”
“Emily!” The two girls ran and embraced each other. “Oh, am I glad to see you! It’s been h-horrible, Emily, just horrible!”
“I know, I know,” Emily said, rubbing circles on Victoria’s back with her skeleton hand. “Are you all right? Where’s your family?”
“I’ve lost track of them,” Victoria said, pulling back. The poor girl was a complete mess – her hair was escaping her usually-neat bun, hanging in limp strands around her face, and her dress was dirty and torn – one sleeve was hanging by mere threads, and her skirt was missing a ruffle from the bottom. “They were arguing with me about how I ought to pack my things even if we weren’t heading home that day, when suddenly there was the most terrible scream from downstairs, and – and before we knew it, we were being attacked by these horrible ghosts!”
“I saw them too! Grey skull faces over red robes?” Emily asked.
“Yes, them! They were chasing people and screaming at everything and somehow they were shaking apart the walls! We had to flee for our lives before we got crushed by a collapsing ceiling! And then we got caught up in a mob of people trying to escape, and I got pulled away first from my parents, then from Hildegarde! I tried to double back and find them once I got free of the crowd, but then what looked like a fish with legs and horrible teeth nearly took my feet off!” She pointed to the missing ruffle. “I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off ever since.”
“That’s pretty much what happened to me,” Emily nodded. “I was on my way to visit Richard when the insanity started. Have you seen him, by the by?”
“I’m afraid not,” Victoria shook her head. “You haven’t seen Christopher, have you?”
“I can’t says I have,” Emily sighed. “And I would definitely like to. Your sweetheart didn’t get such a prestigious knighthood from the Queen – the proper Queen, I mean – for nothing.”
“I know, but there’s so many monsters here – oh, I do hope he’s all right,” Victoria whispered, wringing her hands. “Why on earth does this Queen of Hearts want Secundus?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea, and I don’t think it really matters in the long run,” Emily said, looking around. “Come on, you stick with me. I’ll feel so much safer with – AAAHHH!”
Emily’s head snapped down so fast her loose eye nearly popped out. A pink tentacle, much like the ones she’d seen before during the Queen’s announcement, was wrapping around her bone leg. “Get off!” she shrieked, slapping at it wildly.
The tentacle took no notice of her attempts to dislodge it and instead yanked back sharply. Emily half-hoped her leg would break, but the knee annoyingly held. More tentacles appeared, curling up from a cross street. They snatched her around the waist and neck and started to tow her away. “No! No! Help!” Emily screamed, struggling to get away and only getting sucked further back down the street.
“Emily!” Victoria raced after her and grabbed her outstretched hand, pulling against the unshakeable grip of the tentacles. Before Emily could tell her to run, the tentacles enveloped her too. The two young women were pulled down the street and into a hole, still holding onto each other’s hands.
Moments later, the tentacles vanished, and the street was quiet – except for one tiny lime-green maggot, who promptly started inching his way out of there.
Flint Lockwood smirked as he drowned yet another surprised Snark. “You know, I kind of wonder how they taste,” he remarked to Sam, swiveling the FLDSMDFR Version 2.1 around to find a new target. “We’ve dumped enough condiments and sauces on them.”
“I don’t want to know,” Sam said, grimacing as she adjusted her glasses. “They look disgusting enough. I didn’t think Snarks could be worse than they already were.”
“Me either,” Flint said, making a face. “Hey, Manny, how are things up there?”
“They could be worse,” Manny remarked blandly. “I’m providing cover against the screaming banshee ghosts for Gromit. Incidentally, the next upgrade I want to this vehicle is a porridge gun.”
“I’ll talk to Wallace about it after we’ve told this Queen we’re not accepting any new monarchs,” Flint promised. “Keep yourself safe up there!”
“As long as I don’t have to deal with any gummy bears, I’ll be fine.”
“Gummy bears!” Steve cried, leaping around on their carriage “base.”
“No! It’s not dire enough to risk them yet!” Flint scolded the monkey. “Some days I want to track down the man who invented gummy candy and – and give him a stern lecture!”
Sam giggled. “You’re too cute, Flint.”
Flint found himself blushing. Why was it that, after two – coming up on three, wow – years of knowing each other, she could still make him blush? Then again, he could do the same to her, so it all balanced out. “I try to be,” he replied. “Even when someone’s trying to destroy the world.” He spotted a fresh pack of zombie Card Guards approaching, chasing after some unfortunate child. “Speaking of which, Sam, what do you think? Giant pancake?”
“Maybe, though I’m getting some unusual readings--”
A group of tentacles suddenly burst through the buildings next to them, cutting off Sam’s statement in a scream. Before Flint could react, one had wrapped itself around her waist. “Hey! Get off me!” Sam yelled, hitting it with her weather tracker.
Flint saw red. How dare this Queen threaten to hurt his Sam? His brain suddenly buzzing with ideas, he performed a quick recalibration of his machine and punched in a new code. “NACHOS!” the FLDSMDFR announced, shooting sharp triangles of crunchy bread covered in hot cheese at the tentacle.
Hot, somewhat acidic cheese, the tentacle quickly found out. There was a long-off scream as the nachos sliced messily through the flesh, freeing Sam. Flint quickly pulled her behind him. “Yeah, that’s what you get!” he yelled, Creativity coloring his tones as he worked to make more dangerous food. “You are not getting my city or my lady!”
The tentacles seemed to pause for a moment, as if studying him. Then one snapped out faster than he could have expected and slapped him hard across his head. Flint stumbled, dazed – then another one repeated the action on the other side, knocking him out.
The last thing he heard was Sam screaming as something damp and slightly slimy grabbed his waist and dragged him away.
“There! That’s the epicenter!”
“What the hell? Isn’t that Lewis Carroll’s house?” Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III commented as he and his fellow dragon riders did a slow circle over what Fishlegs had just declared to be the source of the infestation.
“Guy who owns this park? Yeah,” Astrid nodded, flying close to him on the right. “Never guessed him to go completely off the deep end.”
“Maybe one of his experiments turned on him,” Fishlegs commented atop Horrorcow, on Hiccup’s left. “You know, like the theory that that monster dragon we fought ate the guy who made the dragons in the first place.”
“I can believe it,” Hiccup said, reflecting on that particular battle with a wince. Thinking about it always seemed to give him phantom pains in his missing leg. “At any rate, I think we’re in a position to stop this bitch once and for all.”
“So what’s the plan, cousin?” Snotlout said, flying in front of him. “Firewyrm here wants to see some real action.” Firewyrm agreed with a loud roar.
“Yeah, can we get to some serious exploding now?” Ruffnut added as she and Tuffnut brought up the rear on Fart and Belch.
“I’d say so,” Hiccup said with a grin. “All right, everybody, we’re playing to our strengths! Ruffnut, Tuffnut, you keep this Queen off-balance. Fly around and explode stuff at random.”
“Born to do it!” Tuffnut yelled, as Belch snapped his jaws.
“Snotlout, you and Firewyrm keep up with setting those tentacles on fire,” Hiccup continued. “You’re doing a great job with that.”
“Of course I am,” Snotlout preened.
“Fishlegs, you’re with Ruff and Tuff – load up Horrorcow and try to add a little extra kick to their explosions.”
“Can do!” Fishlegs said with a little salute. “Horrorcow’s got a +10 to her range, after all!” Horrorcow burped.
“And a +2 to her breath,” Ruffnut said, waving her hand. “Fart doesn’t stink that much.”
“Good, maybe that’ll throw the Queen off guard too. Astrid, you and Yellowspike stick anything that looks like it’s going to hit someone.”
“Shouldn’t be too hard,” Astrid grinned at him. “What about you, what are you going to do?”
In response, Hiccup smiled down at his dragon. “What we do best, right Toothless?”
Toothless huffed and flicked his ears, smirking back up at him. “Damn straight. All right people, let’s move!”
Snoutlout, Ruffnut, Tuffnut, and Fishlegs immediately flew off to start on their assigned roles. Astrid lingered a moment, flying as close as she could and leaning over to kiss Hiccup’s cheek. “Stay safe,” she told him. “I don’t want this to end with you missing any more limbs.”
“Aw, come on, you don’t want me to look just like Gobber?” Hiccup teased.
“No, I just don’t want you to end up smelling like him,” Astrid teased back. Then her expression became serious. “But really – don’t get yourself hurt.”
Hiccup looked deep into her eyes. “You either.”
Astrid nodded, then flew off. Hiccup patted Toothless’s neck as he adjusted the prosthetic fin. “Ready to cause this Queen of Hearts a world of hurt?”
Toothless gave him a look which Hiccup interpreted as Always. “All right. Let’s do this, bud.” He and his best friend shot high into the sky.
Looking down, he saw his group of friends performing their tasks admirably – Ruff and Tuff exploding things with the help of Fishlegs, Snotlout drenching tentacles in fire, and Astrid swooping around, sending sharp spines into anything that threatened to hit any of the others. Hiccup shook his head. When had they become so willing to listen to him? When had he become a leader?
Don’t dwell on it, he told himself. You’ve got a job to do. He and Toothless turned around, hovered a moment, then shot down toward the mass of tentacles. Hiccup let out a little whoop as they rocketed down – he’d never get tired of this adrenaline rush. Nor of the delighted shriek that invariably accompanied it – “NIGHT FURY! GET DOWN!”
Toothless took his cue and shot his fire, pulling out of the dive and zipping them back up into the air. An explosion followed in their wake, along with an intense cry of pain. Hiccup grinned. “Think we got her good, bud!”
Toothless agreed with a bark, and they turned around for another pass. A second blast left the so-called Queen reeling. “Yeah! What do you think of that?!” Astrid yelled, flying low over the injured tentacles. Yellowspike shrieked something that Hiccup guessed was very rude in dragonese.
Unfortunately, the Queen was only too ready to show what she thought of that. A huge tentacle reared up, whipping in all directions. Yellowspike shot a fresh row of spines at it – but then had to weave crazily to avoid the errant limb’s flailing. “Careful!” Hiccup yelled, as he and Toothless pumped the sky to ready another shot.
“We’re Vikings!” Snotlout protested, as Firewyrm bit the tentacle. “Careful isn’t in our vocabulary!”
“Well, learn! I’m not bringing anyone home in a casket!”
“You won’t!” Astrid promised, swooping around another tentacle. “We’ve got this under–”
And then, out of nowhere, one pink monstrosity hit Yellowspike’s underbelly. The dragon screamed and tilted crazily, threatening to throw Astrid off. “ASTRID!” Hiccup yelled, eyes going wide.
Toothless saw the danger too, and immediately went into his dive. He hit the offending tentacle with a third blast, then evened out with Hiccup’s help and went to lend his assistance to the injured pair. Yellowspike seemed to be stabilizing, but Astrid was still hanging on rather precariously. “Easy, easy--”
“Look out! It’s one of the screamies!” Ruff yelled behind him.
“+100 to voice strength!” Fishlegs added.
Sure enough, one of those weird screaming ghost-creatures appeared on the scene, apparently seeing Astrid as a free meal. “Oh no you don’t!” Hiccup hissed. “Get him, Toothless!”
Toothless obligingly let loose a stream of flame as he circled around the pair again. The ghost thing caught fire almost immediately – but in a final defiance, it aimed its death howl straight at Astrid. The Viking girl did her best to hold on, but the force of the blast was too much. Her grip failed her, and she dropped.
Hiccup saw her fall in slow motion. Frantically he worked the pedal that controlled Toothless’s fake tail. Toothless responded with his usual swiftness, turning and diving so that Hiccup could reach out to her. Their hands were almost touching when –
Another, smaller tentacle burst out of the bunch and wrapped itself around Astrid’s waist. Astrid let out a half-terrified, half-frustrated yell as it whipped her about, out of Hiccup’s reach. Hiccup swore and prepared to turn again –
When a small red plane suddenly zoomed past him, and a brown furry hand grasped one of Astrid’s pale ones. Hiccup and Toothless stopped dead, surprised. “What – Gromit?”
It was indeed Wallace Park’s dog, eyes narrowed in determination behind his goggles as he pulled against the tentacle holding Astrid, flying in a small circle. Astrid held the dog’s hand tightly as she worked with her free arm to get her axe out of its holster on her back. For a moment, Hiccup let himself hope that everything would turn out all right.
The next moment saw another tentacle (where were they all coming from? Did the Queen have an infinite number of the damn things?) reach up and smash Gromit’s plane. Before Hiccup’s and Toothless’s horrified eyes, both Astrid and Gromit were sucked below the roiling, coiling mass of horrible pink.
Yellowspike’s screaming disguised their own.
And that of the bald, big-eared, big-mouthed man watching from far below.
“I didn’t know you knew how to play croquet!”
Victor couldn’t help shooting a glare at his smirking girlfriend. “I don’t!” he yelled. “This is swinging wildly!”
“Well, whatever it is, it is effective,” Alice said, bashing the Snark one last time over the head with her hobby unicorn. The fish finally gave up the ghost and fell over. Behind her, Cheshire clawed another Card Guard. Victor himself was facing off against some roses, avoiding thorns and sharp leaves while he hit the stems over and over. One had already fallen to his assault, while the other seemed on the verge of collapsing. Victor pulled back and swung with all his might, nearly breaking the flower in half. It let out a death shriek and slumped over, harmless. “I’m glad you can defend yourself when need be.”
“I don’t want to d-die any more than the next person,” Victor said, joining her as Cheshire finished off his Guard. “I’m just glad that none of these c-creatures seem to be poisonous.”
“I suspect we simply haven’t run into those that are yet,” Alice muttered, looking around. “But I’m certainly not complaining. Any good luck is welcome in situations like these.” She glanced down at his leg. “How are you doing?”
“It’s just a scratch, I’m f-fine,” Victor said. “How about you?”
“None of this blood is mine, I assure you.” Alice smiled at him. “I meant what I said, you know. You’re doing quite well.”
Victor felt a warmth deep inside. “Anything to protect this p-park – and you,” he said, risking a brief kiss. “Though I know you hardly need protecting. . . .”
“It’s the thought that counts.” Alice looked around at the field dotted with holes. “Well, at least we’ve established neither Rabbit nor Hare are in the burrows. They might be deeper underground, but I doubt it.” She looked at Cheshire, then winced. “You’ve got to stop letting yourself get all scratched up like that.”
“I don’t particularly allow it, girl, it just happens,” Cheshire snapped grumpily, ears down and tail flicking. “I don’t enjoy finding out how many ways one can skin a cat any more than you do.”
“Excuse me for being worried about you, puss.”
“Save the f-fighting for the monsters,” Victor said. “I’m sure more will pop up soon.” He turned in a slow circle, gripping the croquet mallet so hard he was sure the grain of the wood was permanently imprinting itself onto his palms. “God, w-what she’s done to this place. . . .”
“Why do I get the feeling you wouldn’t hate her quite so much if she hadn’t come from Wonderland Park?” Alice said, catching his elbow. “Not that I blame you – I hate her all the more for ruining the site of so many childhood memories.” She glared at the corpses of the flowers. “I’ve never liked roses much, but after today I think I’ll despise them.”
“Their manners have always left something to be desired,” Cheshire agreed. “But we’d best keep moving if we want to find Rabbit. Before he ends up in a stew for one of these monsters.”
“Yes, of course,” Victor agreed. “Where should we check next?”
“We’re closest to the hedge maze, but I’m not sure I--”
Something white suddenly came bounding along at top speed over a hill near them. Victor spun and raised his mallet, ready to strike if need be – then lowered it. “Rabbit!”
“There you are!” Alice said, running to meet him. “We’ve been looking for you all over! Have you seen--”
“No time, no time!” Rabbit screamed, racing past them. “He’s coming! If we’re late now, we’ll be late forever!”
“He?” Victor repeated.
“The Executioner?” Alice repeated. “The Knave of Spades? Has the Queen really twisted him--”
As if summoned by Rabbit’s words, a large shape loomed over the hill. Victor’s jaw dropped. Chasing after Rabbit was – was the most monstrous Card Guard of them all. His body seemed to be a stitched up-mess of a number of other cards, all with a different suit displaying. One foot and hand were black, their mates red. The head appeared to be styled after what you saw on the Joker card, covered by a hat sporting two red and black-striped horns. What little of the face that could be seen under it was dull brown and skull-like. But the worst part was that the creature seemed to be infested with some of the Queen’s tentacles. They curled and wriggled out of his shoulders and back, one wrapping itself around his neck like a ruff. He even had two little ones extending out of the eye holes of the mask. And I thought the small undead ones were horrible, Victor thought, backing up a few steps. This one – this one’s definitely the evillest of them all.
The Executioner seemed to spot them down below, despite his lack of eyes (perhaps he could smell them, like Jabberspawn?). He let out a loud, deep cry and lifted the scythe he carried high. Alice immediately grabbed her teapot cannon. “I’m not afraid of you!” she roared. She charged the cannon to its maximum power, jerking back as it finally fired a pocket watch grenade filled with Kaboom Tea. Even before the missile had landed, she had changed cannon for pepper grinder and was pelting the monster with rapid-fired pepper corns.
The Executioner barely seemed to notice her assault, stomping over the ground like he was an Automaton clothed in iron. Alice stepped backward, eyes widening, as her grinder overheated. Quickly she pulled her cards and threw a few – they just stuck, unnoticed, in his flesh. A toss of some jacks produced much the same result. “Oh – I’m an idiot!” she said, turning to run after Rabbit. “Don Quixote had a better chance with his windmills! And with less risk of decapitation!”
“A prudent exit is no less so for being hasty!” Cheshire declared, racing ahead of them and just keeping pace with the terrified Rabbit.
Victor managed to tear his eyes away from the Executioner and follow after, panting. He heard the evil creature behind them laugh, then a strange sound like – like something sharp whistling through the air, and tearing through dirt. He risked a look back. The Executioner was following after them at a steady pace, now spinning his terrible scythe in his hands. Perhaps he’d been inspired by Alice’s windmill comment. “Go, go, go!” he urged his friends.
Not that they needed much urging. They’d all heard the sound, and if they didn’t know exactly what it was, they sure as hell knew the source. Everyone poured on more speed, regardless of weariness or injury. Victor tried desperately to think of a safe place they could hide. Not the forest – that scythe could probably chop down trees as easily as a farmer’s scythe cut wheat. Not the Pool of Tears – the Snarks would make quick work of them even if the Executioner couldn’t swim. Not Looking-Glass House – that was where all the trouble was coming from, if he understood Cheshire correctly. Could they possibly get underground? Were the mining gnomes that lived below being ravaged by the Queen too?
He was distracted by his thoughts by Alice suddenly spinning around and whipping off her backpack. “Alice?” he gasped.
“Trust me!” Alice said, wrenching the pack open and emptying its contents on the ground. “Better yet, help me get these wound up!”
Victor looked up at the approaching Executioner. “Do you think we’ll have time?” he said, hurrying over and grabbing a Jackbomb.
“I don’t care – this has to do something to him,” Alice growled, winding up Clockwork Bombs (which looked oddly like little versions of the White Rabbit) and dropping them on the ground in a line. “Just wind as many as you can, then run like the fires of Hell are at your heels!”
“What do you think I’ve been doing?!” Victor wound his Jackbomb, then picked up another –
Just as the twirling blade of the scythe knocked the various explosives aside. Moments later, the blunt end hit Alice, knocking her back with a cry. Victor felt his heart skip a beat. “Alice!”
The Executioner stopped his twirling and laughed again. Then he raised the scythe high and swung. Alice just barely evaded the sharp blade, looking a little dazed. The Executioner moved to the side a little and readied to swing again –
And the bombs went off in the various bits of land they’d been knocked into, distracting him. Victor grabbed Alice’s arm and thrust her behind him. His eyes took in with growing anger the developing bruise across her temple. Before he even knew what he was doing, he wound the Jackbomb he still held, then threw it with all his might at the Executioner’s face. “Hey!”
The Executioner turned to him just as the Jackbomb popped, and got a face full of flame for his trouble. He roared in anger and swatted the bomb away in a stream of fire. Victor took advantage of the distraction to grab his croquet mallet and a rock. He tossed the rock like a croquet ball, and hit it as hard as he could. It sailed up and landed with a soft “splat” in the monster’s leg. Victor searched for another rock, hoping to cripple it further.
Alice grabbed his arm. “Victor! What say we take advantage of the opportunity to escape with our lives?” she said, forcing him to look up at her.
Victor blinked. Then sense came rushing back in, reminding him that it would take a lot more than one Jackbomb and some rocks to take down this creature. The damn thing’s face wasn’t even burnt. He’d just been so angry when this thing had hurt his Alice. . . . “Right, sorry, let’s--”
One huge red hand reached down and seized him about the waist. Victor screamed as he was torn away from his girlfriend, and the ground in general. “AAHHH! NO! NO! ALICE! ALICE!”
The Executioner turned him around and glared at him with sightless eyes. Victor felt a gradually increasing pressure around his middle. He squirmed, wondering if the creature intended to see if he’d pop, or if he was just interested in crushing him. Either way was a horrible death. No no not now please God help–
The Executioner suddenly went still except for the endlessly-writing tentacles. He turned his head, as if listening to some unseen call. Then, sparing one last one-handed swing for Alice (who was attempting to assault his foot with her Vorpal Blade – she just managed to leap out of the way, and fell over her own feet in doing so), he turned and started making his way toward the front of the park.
Toward Looking-Glass House, Victor realized with horror. “No! No, I don’t want to go there!” he cried, pounding ineffectively on the fingers imprisoning him. “Put me down!”
The Executioner just laughed, then transferred him to one of the tentacles extending from its shoulder. It wrapped around him from the feet up in a vise grip, offering no chance for escape. Victor sent one terrified look back, to see Alice getting slowly to her feet, looking lost and afraid.
Then there was nothing but suffocating, blinding pink.
Alice watched the Executioner stomp off through watery eyes. “No,” she whispered, reaching out a hand. This couldn’t be. Victor couldn’t be trapped by that – that thing. Any moment now he’d come running back to her saying how he’d managed to get away and they’d kiss and despite all the horror around them everything would be all right –
“Alice?” The Cheshire Cat and the White Rabbit came up beside her, having finally noticed their humans’ absence. “If you want any chance at saving him, you can’t just stand there like a statue.”
“Let’s get out of the park, gather all our friends,” Rabbit agreed, shifting from foot to foot as if standing still physically hurt. “We’ll storm the house, kill the Queen. . . .”
And by then Victor could be dead, Alice thought, ignoring the rest. She blinked, feeling the tears trickle down her face. I’ll have lost him. Like I lost Mother and Father. Everyone I love dies violently – unnaturally. Why go on? I’ll just hurt others!
Cheshire nudged her leg hard. “No time for self-pity,” he scolded her. “Nothing was ever solved with tears. Evade these savage soldiers, and find your allies!”
Alice barely heard him. She just couldn’t take her eyes away from the receding form of the Executioner. And Victor, trapped in that pink tentacle, being taken from her, and – and –
The tears dried up as her eyes narrowed. No, it would not happen. The Queen would not have her beloved. She would not steal the best thing to happen to her in God knew how many years! She whipped around, causing Cheshire and Rabbit to start back. “You find the others,” she said, voice low and dangerous. “Gather everyone you can find at Looking-Glass House. We are taking her down.”
“All right, but – w-what will you be doing?” Rabbit stammered.
“I’ll be back shortly. There’s an errand I need to run.” With that, she turned and ran back toward the gates. Oh yes – she was going to show this Queen a thing or two. And all it would take was that little surprise back in her room. The one that she’d hesitated to bring, if only because she thought the collateral damage it would cause would be too great, even for this war.
It wasn’t too great now. Hold on, Victor. I’m coming for you.