Continuing Tales

One Promise Kept: Book 3

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by Manniness

Part 1 of 22

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Hmmmgh,” Alice sighs, stretches, and sniffs.

The scent of morning reaches her an instant before a rather curious series of sensations does. Scratched and callused skin – warm and familiar – caresses her right knee. Soft strands of hair – no doubt long, richly hued, wavy and disarrayed – brush against her thighs. Lips press sensually against her kneecap.

“Tarrant?” she murmurs, finally opening her eyes.

“Hm?” He licks daintily at a small indentation before pressing a sucking kiss upon the very spot.

“What...? My knees?” she asks, befuddled, as his thumb begins brushing over her left knee.

“Aye, yer knees’re ver’special,” he informs her and the soft burr makes her body tingle. “One o’yer mos’expressive features...”

“How’s that?” she manages, struggling to follow his thoughts. It’s far too soon after waking and far too long before her first cup of tea for Alice to be able to find her way out of Sleep and into his Mind.

He nuzzles her right knee and explains, his lips brushing against her skin. “Whene’er ye fight in earnest, ye bruise... Here...” he continues, placing a butterfly kiss against the jut of a bone. “An’ here...” Another location, another kiss. “An’ here...”

Realizing that this could go on for a very Long Time, indeed, Alice reaches down and tugs on a lock of her husband’s long hair.

He giggles, coming back to his original thought and concludes, “Yer knees tell me when ye’re safe, when ye’re home, when ye’re mine.”

“I’m always yours,” she reminds him, curling the strands of soft, auburn hair around her finger. Once, this hair had been much shorter, wilder, brighter... but the years since that time have lengthened it past his shoulders, tamed it with the help of her fingers and the occasional leather cord, darkened it with the slow release of the mercury his body had hoarded for so long.

He looks up and grins. “Bu’yer knees tell me tha’ – at th’ moment – ye are’nae a Champion an’ tha’means ye’re Mine.”

Alice smiles at the significant capitalization she hears in his tone. After a moment, his grin fades and he reapplies his mouth to her bare knee. Slowly, he kisses his way up until he’s brushing his lips over the flesh between her hipbones. Her heart stumbles a bit and sputters as he closes his eyes, cradles her hips in his hands, and smoothes his cheek over her lower belly.

“I worry, Alice,” he says simply.

She pushes his hair back over his shoulder so she can see his eyelashes where they lie against his cheekbones, the line of his nose, the curve of his lips. She marvels at the color that has come back to his skin since she’d rejoined the tea party that Griblig Day ten years ago. He’s still pale – he’ll always be pale – but the mercury stains have faded with his growing happiness and the unnatural pallor has been conquered by contentment.

She worries, too. She worries that these concerns he bears will change him again, hurt him again. Starve him into mercury-marked deathly whiteness again.

“Everything’s fine,” she replies, petting his hair to keep it from obscuring her view of his beloved and unpredictable expressions.

Tarrant lifts his head and concentrates very deliberately on kissing a meandering path from one hipbone to the other. Each and every gentle touch feels like the ghost of a worry against her skin. Not for the first time, Alice wonders if she and Tarrant are really ready for this – this unstoppable adventure.

We’ve still over six months to become accustomed to it... she reminds herself. And then she wonders, yet again, if the child will be a girl or a boy.

“We ought to think of names,” she says when he softly presses his forehead against her and takes a deep breath against her skin.

“Wha’ d’ye think th’littlin’ wou’like?”

Alice contemplates that, slowly tangling and untangling his hair around her fingers. “Your father’s name was Eaim and mine was Charles. How about one of those... if it’s a boy?”

“As much as I wou’like teh,” he murmurs, “’tis th’worst luck teh name a littlin’ fer sommun who’s passed.”

“Oh... Well, then I’m out of ideas for boys.”

Tarrant nuzzles her stomach again.

“What about girls’ names?” she muses, in no hurry to rush out of bed and into another day despite her responsibilities and the tasks awaiting both of them. “Mirana has named her eldest girls for us... and we might not be here, like this, if not for her...” Alice recalls that terrifying moment aboard the sinking ship: Tarrant reaching for her through the looking glass in the queen’s office and the bottle of Pishsalver being offered by the White Queen’s hand... “Should we...?”

He sighs, looks up, and smiles. “I d’nae mind, if tha’s wha’ye’d like.”

Endeared and frustrated, Alice replies, “You have no opinion on this at all?”

“I do,” he answers, his smile changing into one that makes Alice’s heart beat faster. “I’d prefer ye teh think on it... later.”

“Oh?” she replies playfully. “And what ought I be thinking of now?”

Pushing himself up, Tarrant crawls up her body, caging her on the bed with his limbs. He brushes his cheek, jaw, then chin over her nipple. Then, drawing an invisible line with the tip of his nose up to her ear, he whispers, “Us.

Alice smoothes her palms up his chest and turns her head toward him for a kiss. She has no trouble whatsoever granting his request. After all, over the years, she’s had quite a lot of practice at it. And, if she does say so herself, she’s quite the expert by now!

Us,” she agrees and allows herself to contemplate only that single word.


“Miss Alicibeth, if you don’t pick up your feet, you’ll be picking yourself up off the ground,” Alice says for perhaps the dozenth time today.

The princess pouts. “But I don’t want to fight.”

Alice bites back an exasperated sigh.

“I do!” Alicibeth’s twin sister asserts. “Is it my turn, Alice?”

“Not yet, Tarra,” Alice replies firmly. “And you’ve ten more repetitions to finish.”

“I didn’t forget!” Tarra replies, lifting her short, wooden sword and practicing the block-block-lunge-turn-thrust! maneuver Alice had shown her. As usual, it had only taken Tarra two demonstrations to grasp the basic movements. Her sister, on the other hand...

“I wanna go talk to the roses!” Alicibeth whines.

Dear Fates, she is her mother’s daughter.

“No,” Alice tells her. Firmly. “This is important. Now, once more...” Alice narrates the movements and demonstrates with her own wooden sword, following Alicibeth’s reluctant movements like the Jubjub bird intent on its prey.

Please, she begs whomever or whatever may be listening. Please do not let our child follow this example.

Alicibeth suffers and whines through her exercises – correctly! Thank the Fates... – and Alice feels no compulsion whatsoever to keep her from her date with the flora.

Now is it my turn?”

Biting back a laugh, Alice nods and turns toward the much muchier twin sister of the crown princess. “Do you best!” Alice invites and the clanking and clapping of wooden swords echoes across the pitch.

Blocking a slash and knocking away a thrust easily, Alice marvels at how two sisters can be so completely different and yet so inherently good in their own ways. Despite Bethie’s aversion to sports, there is no kinder or gentler child in all of Mamoreal. And despite Tarra’s fiery temper, there is no braver or more persistent six-year-old.

Tarra’s attacks are uncontrolled and sometimes completely wild, but Alice knows that, someday – when Tarra is no longer so small and her body so undisciplined – this girl will be a frighteningly good fighter, indeed. That is, if her interest in the sport doesn’t wane in the meantime.

“No, no, no,” Tarrant had replied when she’d mentioned the possibility, however slight, of Tarra growing up to be a proper lady. “She’s got a Leif to impress!”

Alice has to resist rolling her eyes at the memory. For the love of squealing mome raths, that man is stubborn when it comes to his ideas! In fact, his namesake is nearly as obstinate as he is!

Face flushed and scowling with determination, Tarra continues her advance and Alice gives ground. Yes, she could easily defeat a small girl, but that is not what these lessons are about! When Tarra manages a rather good cutting attack, Alice lets her sword be knocked wide and Tarra takes advantage, rushing her. A spike of alarm bursts from her heart as the dullish point of the wooden sword thrusts toward her belly.


She grabs the blade reflexively with her left hand and, using the force Tarra is exerting on it, pushes herself back another step until there’s sufficient distance between the tip of the weapon and Tarrant’s child.

Alice lets out a breath in relief; all is fine; everyone is safe. If only she could get her heart to stop pounding, now...

A tendril of worry whispers beneath her skin, over her heart, and Alice struggles with the adrenaline for a moment. Before he can send a more urgent inquiry, she replies to Tarrant’s initial hesitant connection – oh, how he hates to interrupt her when she’s working! – with reassurance.

And he’s not the only one who needs it. In front of her, Tarra looks severely peeved at Alice’s maneuver, which the girl no doubt feels is cheating.

“Excellent attack, Tarra!” Alice enthuses, still a bit breathless from the close call. She doubts anything serious would have happened had Tarra managed to ram her stomach with the practice blade. Still, it’s the idea... Alice tells her, releasing the sword and reaching out to ruffle the girl’s untidy hair, “Well done.”

Grinning, Tarra races around Alice toward the castle. “Did you see me, Mumma? I beats Alice today!!”

Turning, Alice regards the queen, seated comfortably next to the pitch. Her usual attendants are present and currently minding Amallya, who is playing peek-a-boo behind an ever-blossoming cherry tree, and Thacie who is flailing happily on her nurse’s lap, trying her hardest to run just like her elder sisters can.

“Yes, I saw you, squimkin! You were wonderful!”

Alice wanders closer. “Tarra’s got a strong arm, Your Majesty,” she informs her, using the honorific in the presence of their audience.

“Hear that, Mumma? I’m strong! Can I fight Leif next? He’s strong! And big! But I’m small and fast and I can fight him, can’t I, Mumma?”

Alice merely raises her brows and lets the queen handle that one. She glances over at the pair of white bassinets placed next to Mirana on the quilt. She can see that newborn Prince Dalerian is fast asleep. His twin brother, however, is staring up at the sky with wide, dark eyes, his small mouth opening and closing again and again.

“Hello, again, Leivlan.” Alice glances over at the queen as she tickles her squirming squimkin. When Tarra races off, swinging her wooden sword with more enthusiasm than intent, Alice inquires, “Are you calling them Ian and Lanny yet?”

Mirana smiles at the twin boys in the bassinets. “Not yet!”

“You look well today. Childbirth agrees with you.” It’s hard to believe the woman is up and about so soon afterward. Alice dares to hope she’ll be at least half as strong when her time comes...

The queen smiles. “It seems to. I was quite lucky, I think,” she replies, reaching out a finger to tickle Leivlan’s nearly bald head. Alice watches his little hands curl into fists and his dark eyes dart about as if looking for the source of the sensation, but unable to focus properly enough to find it.

“You are lucky, Mirana,” Alice whispers. The nurse holding Thacie has wandered over to where Amallya is trying to climb a cherry tree in defiance of her minder’s warnings. Alice glances at the king’s First Claw, which Mirana still wears around her neck. “The Soul Bond is truly an amazing thing. Seven children and all of them are so...”

Mirana replies, “How is it the magic of Underland still surprises you, Alice? You’ve experienced it for yourself time and time again!”

Alice shakes her head. “I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the idea that two people can provide a... a moral compass for their children. Through a Soul Bond, I mean. That’s just...”

“Necessary in a powerful family,” the queen finishes gently. “If only my parents had taken such measures, perhaps Iracebeth wouldn’t have...”

Alice nods, understanding. Yes, if the previous king and queen had initiated a Soul Bond between them, then cruelty and callousness never would have gotten a foothold in Iracebeth’s heart. The Soul Bond would have subtly bound their children to their sense of morality, which – from the occasional stories Mirana has told her – Alice believes had been of the purest and kindest sort. She doesn’t ask how Dale and Mirana’s children will carry on the tradition without a First Claw, for none of them resemble their lion-father; there are many rites in Underland that will bind two souls.

“Still,” the queen continues, “I can understand why my parents had not chosen that path...” She frowns as she watches Tarra raise her sword and wave it at the rose bush her sister is conversing with. Immediately, Bethie puts herself between them, protecting the flowers. “Is it right to take away even that much of someone’s will?” Mirana whispers wonderingly. “I’m still not sure...”

“But it’s necessary,” Alice reminds her, knowing another Red Queen must never be permitted to rise to power again. Ever. “So... let’s talk of something else.”

“Yes,” Mirana agrees whole-heartedly. “Let us discuss your plans to start a family.”

Alice winces. “Well, you know...”

“I’ve told you time and time again, Alice, the Oraculum has shown nothing to discourage...”

“But it can change so suddenly,” she rebuts.

“Is that why you and Tarrant haven’t...? Well, I assume you’ve spoken to him about it. He seems... more thoughtful and... cheerful? Recently,” the queen murmurs.

“Yes, we spoke,” Alice says simply.

Mirana pats her hand. “Well, when the time is right for both of you, you will take that last step.”

Already taken, Alice thinks but does not say. This child is their secret. For now. For as long as they can manage it. Alice’s experiences years ago with Stayne and then later with Jaspien, Valereth, and Oshtyer have taught her to always keep her most treasured of treasures close, secret, hidden. Alice knows she won’t be able to conceal her condition indefinitely. In fact, it’s mostly thanks to Mirana’s off-handed speculation about how Underlandian pregnancy remedies might have to be adjusted to suit Alice’s Uplander biology that Alice has managed to keep the nausea and exhaustion at bay at all.

Thank the Fates Mirana likes to talk to herself about alchemy, Alice thinks, and speculate on my private life. Luckily, the dosage recommendation the queen had whimsically muttered about during her pregnancy with Amallya had stuck in Alice’s memory... and it had also worked when Alice had found the need to try it.

Still, this deception won’t be possible forever. At best, she’ll be able to manage only two more months of it.

And then what?

Alice sighs and admits the answer she already knows: And then she’ll have to let Tarrant look after her, take up her sword if necessary. Once upon a time, she would have asked Chessur, but with hisown responsibilities taking up so much of his time, Alice knows she can’t ask the Cheshire Cat to step in for her as the Queen’s Champion.

No, it will have to be Tarrant.

She gazes out across the pitch and frowns.

Dear Fates, I hope he and Leif don’t end up killing each other during training practice...

Despite the years – and the possessive tendencies of a certain six-year-old princess – that have mellowed Leif’s heroic nature into an easy-going friendliness, and despite Tarrant’s ever-increasing self-control, they’re still males, after all...

“Males with pointy sticks,” she mutters darkly.

“I’m sorry, what was that, Alice?”

“Hm? Oh, nothing. A wandering mind,” she replies, noticing that the queen had lifted Leivlan from his bassinet and is nursing him beneath a shawl thrown over her shoulder and across her chest.

“Are you looking forward to the Clan Gathering?” the queen asks.

“I think so,” Alice tells her. “Sometimes I am. Sometimes I’m... not sure. The Irondirks are coming, so... sometimes I don’t know what to think about that.”

Mirana frowns. “But... Davon, isn’t it?”

Alice nods.

“He looked out for you in Causwick, did he not?”

“He did. For the most part he managed to keep the other mercenaries in line. And both Tarrant and I appreciate that. Still, seeing him will bring back memories.”

“Not happy ones,” the queen adds sadly.

“We survived,” Alice says with a wry smile, thinking of Davon’s attempt to kill her during the Champions’ Duel. She doubts Tarrant has forgotten that, either... “The Clan Gathering will be fine,” she declares and does her best to wish it into being.

“You’ve quite the task ahead of you, Alice, what with the Hightopp clan hosting the Gathering this year... and there just being the two of you to manage it. Are you sure I can’t persuade you to borrow Thackery or the Tweedles or...?”

“If a small contingent of your guard could bring and erect the tents and also deliver the provisions we’d discussed, that will be more than sufficient. But thank you for the offer.” Alice once again glances around her, checking on the children and their minders. “I think this is something Tarrant needs to do himself...”

“Yes, of course,” Mirana replies, laying her son down and buttoning her bodice. “When will you be leaving?”

“Tomorrow morning, I think. That’ll give us nearly two days before the clans start arriving.” Alice considers that event and the number of guests they’re expecting. “I’m actually surprised so many are coming given the location and its... history.”

Mirana pats Alice’s arm. “That Hightopps are one of the most respected families amongst the Outlanders.”

“Tarrant said they’d always been employed at court. Would that be why?”

The queen smiles. “I shall let Tarrant tell you that story, perhaps...”

Alice laughs. “Yes, thank you. After seven years, it’s getting harder and harder to find new topics to discuss. We’re lucky you and the king have so many exuberant children or I fear our evenings would be woefully silent, for the most part.” She winks.

Mirana’s gape is brief but genuine. “Don’t tell me you gossip about my children to pass the time!”

“That and when you’ll be producing the next one,” Alice admits, only half-joking.

The queen sighs and shakes her head. “Those days are at an end, I think, dear Alice. Five births and seven children in as many years is...”

“Yes,” Alice replies, smiling in hopes of chasing away the faint sadness in the queen’s face. “Yes, it is. They are. Most definitely.”

And the queen’s smile returns. “They’re wonderful, aren’t they?” she asks with genuine curiosity. “Those aren’t just the words of a mother, are they?”

“No. Your children are...” Alice searches her ever-expanding vocabulary and chooses the terms in Outlandish she hopes convey the meaning she’s seeking: “Wonderfulously beautrific, callaycious, callouryin’–

Mirana laughs. “I suppose that’s the other thing you and Tarrant do with your not-quite-silent evenings together? Outlandish?”

Alice feels herself blush. “Um, something like that.”

The queen laughs, reading Alice’s unspoken admission easily: Alice doesn’t try to learn, nor does Tarrant try to teach her. In moments of passion, when she asks him to speak Outlandish... well, can she help it if she remembers some of his more creative and distinctive phrases? No, of course not.

Glancing at the sun, Alice decides she ought to get moving. She and Tarrant have a lot of preparations to make before they can leave on the morrow. She bids the queen a good day and wanders into the castle, stopping at the small weapons closet long enough to put away the equipment for the day’s lesson (with the exception of the wooden sword Tarra is probably going to try to keep with her for the rest of the day... again!) before heading toward the hat workshop.

She makes a brief detour toward the kitchen to ask Thackery for a lunch tray and, just on the other side of the kitchen door, she spots an old friend hovering in the hall, contemplating the entrance.

“Chessur! What are you doing here? I thought...”

The cat gives her a typical grin. “Oh, just thought I’d come by and–”

“Ye’ll no’be taken all m’Thrambleberries, Chessur!” Thackery hollers from inside the kitchen.

Alice Looks at Chessur whose grin curves wider with embarrassment. “The hatchlings do love those berries,” he muses by way of explanation.

She bites her lip and hums noncommittally. She still marvels that Chessur had ended up being part of the solution to the impossible thing the Jabberwocky had alluded to in Iplam.

“As the last of my kind,” it had confided to her one summer afternoon when she and Tarrant had returned to Iplam to start rebuilding his family’s ancestral home. “It falls upon me to bring my fellows back into Underland. Underland is far too large for one jabberwocky to manage all on its own,” Krystoval had said. “And yet even one hatchling is far too much for one jabberwocky to manage...”

And that had been the moment when Alice had thought of a shape-shifting cat with evaporating skills who had been undoubtedly smitten with the Jabberwocky for some time.

It’s an unlikely alliance, but – clearly – an advantageous one.

“And how is everyone?” Alice asks, still finding it hard to think of Chessur as the sort to watch over four juvenile jabberwockies while their... mother? father? parent? creator? is out and about looking for dinner.

“Oh, fine, fine...”

“And... has Maevyn spoken yet?” Alice hates asking but she can’t stop herself from hoping...

Chessur sighs. “No. No, not as yet. Rest assured, Alice, either I or Krystoval will notify you immediately should Maevyn acquire the ability to identify the one who...”

Alice nods. She doesn’t say that she regrets not being able to give the baby jabberwocky and its parent the justice they deserve. She would only be repeating herself and she’s well aware that both Krystoval and Chessur know she would do anything to hunt down the beast that had injured Maevyn.

“Are they flying yet?” she asks instead.

“Just fluttering a bit here and there,” the cat admits proudly, as if he’s a parent himself. Well, in a way, Alice supposes he is. Chessur has no closer friend, no dearer companion, than Krystoval. Kindred spirits, those two: droll, witty, wry, and often times snobbishly exclusive and patronizing kindred spirits.

Narrowing her eyes in speculation, Alice asks, “Well, they’re certainly mobile enough to go forage for their own Thrambleberries. Why are you always elected to the task?”

“Oh, the leaves are poisonous, you know. To jabberwockies. Makes their scales break out in a terrible rash.”

“Is that so? I’d hate to see an itchy jabberwocky.”

“As would I. Hence, I do the Thrambleberry fetching.”

“Wait... have you ever actually seen one of the jabberwockies contract this rash?”

“Well... no...” Chessur gives Alice his undivided attention and grins. “What are you suggesting now, Uplander?”

Alice replies with a smile that feels rather... mysterious. At least from her side of it. “Well, everyone knows there’s no better Thrambleberry harvester than a March Hare and, I believe, Thackery is the reigning champion of the Pick-a-Therry Festival?”


“Well, if you wanted the very best berries, then where would you find them?”

“With the reigning champion, in the White Queen’s kitchens, naturally.”

“And would a jabberwocky be able to get into the White Queen’s kitchens?”

“Well, of course... not... Oooh...”

Alice bites back a laugh as understanding lights Chessur’s furry face.

“Why those devious, slithy, tove-ish excuses for jabberwockies,” he muses looking far too delighted for the words themselves. “That, my dear Alice, is a strategy worthy of a cat.”

“I’m sure a Cheshire Cat could do one better,” she muses.

The grin Chessur gives her... well, she’s never seen a smile so wide from him. “If you’ll excuse me, I’ve a bit of recompense to contemplate.”

“You’re excused,” Alice says to the suddenly empty air. Chuckling she steps into the kitchen, ducks a wooden bowl, and greets the March Hare. “Hello, Thackery. How are you?”

He twitches. “Thramble thieves!” he exclaims worriedly.

“Chessur’s gone,” she assures him. “Your berries are safe.”

“Ar, ye think so? A mahn can ne’er be tae careful wi’his berries!”

Biting back a smile, Alice nods in whole-hearted agreement.

“An’ ye’ll be wantin’ sommat teh lunch on?” he says, convulsing a bit next to the stove as he seems to debate the contents of each pot.

“That would be nice. Can you spare...?”

“Spares? No, no spares teh be had, but I made a bit fer ye an’ yer lad.”

“A rhyme,” she congratulates him, then holds the plates and bowls while he flings the bread and stew at her. She considers this another form of Champion training and today only a small splatter manages to spot her shirt cuff.

“Not bad,” she tells herself as she continues on her way to Tarrant’s workshop. It’s a measure of how busy he is that he doesn’t meet her somewhere between his workshop and the kitchen; the man has a sixth (or would this be the seventh?) sense as to when Alice is balancing their lunch plates on a heavy tray in the castle hallways. In fact, she’s a bit surprised to arrive at his workroom and find herself facing a closed door.

Wondering what in all the realms of Underland he could be doing in there that would require privacy, she taps her toe against the door, rapping out the distinctive beat to the Waltz of the Tumtum Tree. She makes it to the first stanza before the door swings open.

Alice smiles. “Oooh, now I see why you had the door closed.”

In the midst of reaching for the lunch tray, Tarrant glances at her sheepishly and blushes. “Jus’ checkin’ teh see if ‘twould need alterin’...”

“Uhm hmm...” she muses, kicking the door shut behind her. She follows him to the small tea table, her gaze focused on the kilt he’s wearing. “It looks as if it fits you just... fine.” Of course, she could have reminded him that he hasn’t gained an ounce of weight in all the years she’s known him. In fact, he hasn’t even gained a wrinkle. Actually, sometimes – like now, for instance – he looks younger than she can ever remember him being.

“Raven...” she wonders aloud as he sets their lunch down on the table. Stepping closer to him, she gives into temptation and ghosts her fingers over the tartan wrapped around his hips. “What do Outlander lads wear under their kilts?”

His blush deepens. Alice marvels. She teases him about this very thing every time she sees him in his kilt – which is admittedly rare, but still memorable, she thinks! – yet she still manages to fluster him.

“If’n yer askin’ ‘bout all Outlandish lads, I’m afraid I cannae help ye, Alice,” he replies gamely.

“Not all; just one.” Alice is sure she’s grinning madly as she pushes him into his chair and leans over him. She rephrases: “What does an Outlander hatter wear under his kilt, Raven?”

He gulps. “Tha’s a question only tha’ particular hatter’s wife wou’ge’an answer teh.”

“I believe I’m this hatter’s wife...” She settles her palms over his bare knees which peep out above his mismatched socks. (Of course his socks are mismatched – how boring would it be to wear two of the same kind when one has the chance to model a variety! And at the same time, no less!)

“Aye,” Tarrant agrees, giggling. She tries not to tickle his knees too badly. “Tha’ ye are...”

“And has the answer to my question changed since I last asked?” Her hands slide up to his lap and disappear beneath the Hightopp colors.

Tarrant giggles a bit hysterically. “Wha’ was th’answer las’time?”

Alice encounters wonderfully bare skin as she pushes her palms up his thighs. “Hm...” Arriving at her destination, she feels her grin turn a bit... manic. “The same as it is this time, if I’m not mistaken,” she replies, exploring.

“I... cannae recall... jus’ nauw,” he whispers, his thimbled fingers thrusting gently into her hair. “Alice...?”


“Ye ken I... try ver’hard no’teh interfere wi’yer work...”

“Oh, am I interfering?”

“Um, ah...”

“Shall I stop?”

He groans softly. “Stop wha’, Alice?”

“What I’m doing.”

“Wha’t’are ye doin’?”

“Interfering with your work.”

“Ahem! Oh, yes. Yes! I believe you... are. That’s... very... very... ngh!... a ver’bad habit! ... Alice...?


“Jus’ a wee bit...”


“... aye...”

Needless to say, the stew is a bit cooler than it ought to be when they finally get around to eating it.

One Promise Kept: Book 3

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by Manniness

Part 1 of 22

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