Continuing Tales

Bonkers To Be Late

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by RosieLilyIce93

Part 18 of 48

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Alice met the Queen in the throne room the next morning.

"What does the day hold for us my lady?" She couldn't keep the smile out of her voice. Mirana noticed and raised her eyebrows.

"The usual my unusually cheerful friend. Meetings, letters, exercise, mayhaps a bit of embroidery at tea time…"

Alice made a face the embroidery comment and Mirana giggled.

"I think I'll distance myself from your needle and thread Majesty." She said, shaking her head.

"And just where will my protector happen to be while I stab cloth?" She asked in fake incredulity.

"Careful Majesty, you're not to harm a living thing!" Alice quipped.

"Now Alice, you know cloth isn't actually alive!"

"Could have fooled me, the way the door knob yelled at me this morning …" Alice muttered. Mirana grinned in amusement.

"Fair point, but now answer my question. Where will you be?" Although softly spoken, the order was still there. Alice didn't miss it.

"I – well I was – oh bollocks, I was going to have tea with Tarrant!" She shouted the last bit. After rubbing her poor ears, Mirana gazed at her friend in amazement.

"So you two are back to normal then?" Alice stared at the White Queen before slumping heavily onto a window seat.

"Yes and no. We are friends, as we have always been. But I'm nervous to be around him on my own." She sighed in defeat.

Mirana sat down gently beside the young woman and took her hands in her own.

"You have no need to fear Tarrant Alice dear. He wouldn't dream of hurting you." Mirana gently chided.

Alice stared blankly at her monarch. She blinked her eyes rapidly and pursed her lips before bowing her head.

"I don't fear him Majesty. I fear myself." She whispered. Mirana let loose a soft gasp. Alice looked up to gaze steadily at her. Mirana's heart constricted at the despair in those blue eyes.

"I fear my feelings. Should … her … name come up, my jealousy will make itself known. I'll lash out at him and hurt him. And Lord help me, I never want to hurt Tarrant again. Not after last time. Not after the consequences that came upon us all." Her eyes were bright with unshed tears. Mirana leaned forward and gathered Alice into her arms. She stroked her hair but said nothing. Eventually they leaned back and Mirana tilted Alice's chin up so she could see her eyes when she spoke.

"Have him come to tea with us both then. I'll invite Chessur too. We'll figure out the rest later, alright?"

Alice nodded weakly and gave the Queen a shaky smile. They both stood up. Mirana brushed off her skirts while Alice straightened her tunic and then they both moved into position. Mirana sat straight on her throne and Alice stood at attention at her side. Mirana nodded to Nivens who opened the door to the first petitioner of the day. It was back to work for them both.

The day seemed to drag on to Alice. She kept looking at the clock, praying that brillig would hurry up and get here. Time though seemed to be no more her friend than Hatter's!

The thought caused Alice to smile.

"What's so amusing Alice?" Bayard's deep woof brought her back to the lunch table.

"The Riddle of Time my friend. Nothing more."

Bayard shook his head at her, making his ears flap. He bent his head down and continued to lap at his soup. Alice looked to Mirana who sent her a small smile and a wink. Alice grinned again and turned her mind back to her soup. Although she appeared to be completely absorbed in the deliciousness of the warm broth, her ears were still at work.

"I heard Lady Adriana was with …"

"My poor grandmother has …"

"Oh really! Well I'll show …"

Alice sighed to herself. It appeared that gossip was just as prevalent in Underland society as it was in London society. Thank heaven she was above it all. At least for now.

"So Miss Alice, who will be your sponsor for the ritual tomorrow?" A young courtier asked her from down the table. Alice froze and turned to gape at the Queen who turned a rather alarming shade of pink.

"Oh botheration!" She exclaimed. "I'm so sorry Alice! I seemed to be most forgetful lately. You'll need an already citizen of Underland to sponsor you tomorrow." Alice raised an eyebrow.

"Can't you since I'll be in your service?" Mirana shook her head.

"No, unfortunately I cannot, seeing as I am the one conducting the ceremony. You'll have to ask someone else."

Alice bent her head to think. Eventually she looked back up at the White Queen and nodded.

"I'll let you know who I choose before I retire tonight my lady." The Queen smiled politely and nodded. She stood gracefully and made a gesture to the glass door opening onto the courtyard.

"Shall we go for a walk dear one?" Alice stood and bowed to the table, then followed Mirana outside.

They didn't say a word as they walked along the hedgerows. It gave Mirana time to reflect and plan. The ceremony wouldn't take place until tomorrow at sunset. The throne room would be decorated in the same lace that Tarrant and (hopefully!) Celeste were preparing, along with Alice's favorite flowers. When Mirana had asked her which ones she would prefer, Alice had looked taken aback. Obviously the young woman was under the impression that all of Underland's flowers were alive like those in Tulgey Wood and wouldn't take kindly to being plucked from the ground. After allaying her fears that only those flowers were gifted with life and speech, Alice had requested geraniums, white carnations, and red poppies.

Mirana had been surprised at the last request, but eventually she had realized that they held special meaning for Alice. Poppies were rumored to bring dreams. Alice had always thought that this place was a dream and now her dream had come true, so poppies were an obvious choice to represent that!

The entire White Court would be present along with Mirana's favorites from the Outlands. She had sent Bayard and Chess to collect the water from the river that morning and it was now being guarded by the Bandersnatch.

All that was left to be completed were the veil and the dress. Mirana had no doubt that Tarrant was doing his utmost to make sure Alice's headwear was perfect. The dress however … well … she had put a plan into action to make sure it was taken care of as well.

After concluding their stroll, the two women headed into Mirana's study. Once again, the Queen set to answering letters and Alice attempted to read. She was fidgety though and kept glancing at the clock. Finally a few minutes before brillig, Alice jumped out of her seat with the question in her eye. Mirana stood gracefully.

"I'll see you both in my parlor." Was all she said before Alice took off at full tilt toward Tarrant's workshop.

In record time she was sticking her head in the door. Tarrant was at the table snipping away at some fabric. Alice wrapped gently on the door frame, causing him to jump and drop his work. He whipped around, eyes flashing in annoyance, but at the sight of her he broke out into a smile and hurried forward to greet her.

"Would you care to take tea with the Queen, Chess and I this afternoon?" She asked breathlessly. Tarrant nodded happily and stepped out into the hall with her. After locking the door to the work shop, they quickly walked through the corridors.

Tea turned out to be a pleasurable experience. Tarrant told amusing stories about customers, Chess made snide remarks about said customers, and Alice regaled them with tales of her travels. All in all, a successful tea time!

Just as they were drinking the last drops from their cups a note arrived for Alice.

"The seam—Celeste wants to meet with me to get some additional measurements. I better go see her." Alice rose reluctantly from the table as Tarrant pulled back her chair.

"Come see me when you've finished with her. We'll do the final fitting on your veil!" He smiled brightly at her. Alice gave a small smile back and swept from the room.

At her departure, Chess turned to look at the Queen. She nodded to him and he evaporated before Tarrant had turned around. The Hatter looked a bit confused at everyone's sudden disappearances but moved to do the same.

"Stay a moment Tarrant." Mirana's voice halted his motions.

She gestured for him to retake his seat. He did so and watched her expectantly.

"I need your help with something." He nodded and she continued. "Tensions are high between Celeste and Alice as I'm sure you've seen. I will be completely honest with you Tarrant. Celeste does not want Alice here in Underland. Now that you're back to your normal self, she has no use for her. She will try to keep Alice from staying."

Tarrant's looked at her aghast. He opened his mouth once or twice before any actual sound came out.

"Your Majesty must be mistaken. Celeste is a good woman and knows what Alice means to me!"

"But that's exactly the problem Tarrant! She knows how much Alice means to you and she can't stand it! Alice is her rival in Celeste's mind, whether you realize it or not. You know who and what she is. Do not underestimate her!" Mirana, although not shouting, was quite firm.

Tarrant however still didn't believe her. She may be the Queen but to insult someone he cared for was simply unacceptable!

And yet …

He had noticed the chill between Celeste and Alice. It was true that Celeste and her ancestors had less than savory reputations but she couldn't possibly act on it.

Could she?

"I still disagree Highness, but what could I possibly do?" He finally asked. Mirana sighed and sat back in her chair. Her dark eyes were tired and she seemed far wearier than he had ever seen her.

"What would you do to Celeste if she did try to sabotage Alice?" The question caught him off guard and he answered without thinking.

"Banish her from my sight. Never speak to her again." His voice held a hint of already brewing anger. Thankfully his eyes only yellowed slightly.

"Then tell her that. Make her know what the consequences of her actions will be. Fate knows she's not taking my threats seriously." Mirana ran a hand over her eyes.

"Your Majesty threatened Celeste?" Tarrant was flabbergasted. Mirana of Marmoreal had never raised a voice or hand to anyone in a direct attack. Even as a child she had been quiet and polite. She hadn't even shouted at the Bloody Big Head when the mad one had pulled the head off her doll when they were younger.

Mirana looked up at him. Those dark eyes were hard and unforgiving.

"Yes Tarrant. For Alice, I would threaten Fate itself. We all, not just you and I, need her. That much has always been clear to me."

Tarrant swallowed audibly in fear at the expression on her face. Here was the monarch that could lead men into battle. Here was the Queen willing to do anything for her people. Even at the risk of her own conscience

"I will do as your Majesty asks." He bowed to her. Mirana sent him a tired smile.

"Thank you Hatter. I think I will retire early tonight. Let Nivens and the others know please on your way back to the work shop. I'm sure Alice will join you once she is done with Celeste."

"Yes my Queen." He bowed again and left the room. At the door, he looked back at the White Queen.

Mirana had closed her eyes and leaned her head back in her chair, clearly already entering the realm of dreams.

Tarrant made it a point to close the door softly.

Bonkers To Be Late

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by RosieLilyIce93

Part 18 of 48

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