Continuing Tales

Bonkers To Be Late

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by RosieLilyIce93

Part 32 of 48

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Alice stood with the others outside the cold metal doors of Marmoreal's dungeons. She had never explored this part of the castle and was coming to understand why Mirana and Tarrant had not shown it to her.

The place was surprisingly dark. The walls were a foreboding grey and the only slivers of sunlight were coming in through the open door behind them. The place had an air of neglect and depression. Alice had to repress a shudder, hoping that this place wasn't nearly as bad as the dungeons of Salazen Grum. The thought of Tarrant, her bright and remarkably colorful Hatter, in a dark place such as this brought bile to her mouth.

"What's that smell?" She asked Mirana quietly. The Queen paused her search for the proper key and looked up at Alice sadly.

"Despair, sorrow, regret, and anger. They have been holed up in these rooms since before even my father was born. We've never had cause to use them until now …"

Mirana's voice faded away into agonized silence. Alice tried to follow her thoughts, although they seemed to slip away just as quietly as Mirana often did.

She suspected however, that this pained the White Queen to have to open this dark place up to house her sister. As different as they might be, they were still bound by blood. Alice imagined having to trap Margaret in a place like this and had to resist the urge to cry.

Family was family and nothing would ever change that.

The Queen eventually found the right key (a large black thing that looked more like a weapon than a key!) and fit it into the lock on the nearest door. With a loud clank, the door swung open and the small party stepped inside.

Tarrant had been carrying a torch and had to lift it high so that they could see the expanse of the space. In the far corner was a cot and on this cot was a bedraggled looking Iracebeth. Upon their entrance, Iracebeth's eyes had been glazed over as if she was looking into a fog. When she saw Alice though her eyes hardened and something like a growl escaped her throat.

The deposed Red Queen sprang up and rushed at Alice. In shock, Alice stumbled back into Tarrant while pushing Mirana to safety and fumbled to release her dagger. His hands caught her shoulders and held her steady. She felt his breath on her ear and relaxed slightly.

"Steady lass. She can't get to you." Tarrant nodded to Iracebeth's wrist and Alice finally noticed the shackle there. She sighed in relief but still drew out the dagger. Moving slowly, she got within a foot of Iracebeth, who was still tugging at the chain.

"Iracebeth of Crims, we're here so that you may answer for your challenge."

Iracebeth spat at her and glared.

"Wasn't my challenge now was it? That dirty little flower challenged Miwana here."

"Don't you dare insult my daughter!" Mirana's voice was shrill and Alice saw the flash of white beside her. She held out a placating hand, hoping to calm her monarch before turning back to the sister.

"True as that may be, you were also bound to the rules because of your stake in the challenge. Now, tell us everything you know." Alice kept her voice sweet and calm, but the dagger found its way up to the Bloody Big Head's neck.

Iracebeth stepped back and eyed the weapon with distaste. She turned abruptly and flounced back to the cot. She sat and smoothed out her skirts. She looked at them imperiously, as though she was still holding court!

Alice swallowed a giggle at the ridiculousness of the situation and tried to focus.

"Where shall I begin?" Iracebeth demanded.

"The beginning is usually a good start unless of course you are an end trying to reach the beginning." Chess appeared out of thin air and stuck his tongue out at Red Queen. She batted at him and he retreated to resting on top of Tarrant's hat.

Alice heard Tarrant crumble about "pesky kitty hairs" on his hat but she shushed him.

"We got to the Outlands and spent the better part of a year not speaking. Eventually he apologized and realized his love for me was genuine." Alice rolled her eyes discreetly. "He then unlocked our shackles and –"

"How did Stayne –"

"Don't you dare! You're not fit to speak his name!" Iracebeth screeched at her, tears spilling down her cheeks. Alice rubbed her ears but nodded.

"Fine, how did the Knave unlock you both?" Alice asked curiously. Iracebeth smiled evilly and looked past Alice to Tarrant.

"Why with the pin your demented lover here struck him with!" Alice heard Tarrant groan behind her but she didn't comment. She simply nodded for Iracebeth to continue.

"We wandered about until we found the Duchess who I had given the brat to. As you well know, we got her to believe we were her parents and taught her to hate all of you. Finally we got to the border of the Outlands and snuck back into the kingdom. We tried to gather allies but you, "She glared at Mirana. "obviously turned my subjects against me!

"We didn't know what to do at that point until my darling knight stumbled upon someone who could help us. She told us of the right to challenge and even guaranteed us a way into the White Kingdom! We got here and you know the rest of the story."

Iracebeth was pouting but Alice hardly noticed.

They had had an ally with connections to Tulgey Wood and the court. Alice opened every drawer in her brain trying to think of someone with those sort of connections but no one came to mind!

"Who was your source Iracebeth?" Mirana's voice wavered with fear.

Iracebeth smiled a small, vile smile before answering.

"Why one of your very own employees sister mine. She has quite an eye for style and is good with a needle. Why I was hoping she design my coronation gown."

Alice felt her stomach drop out. She turned quickly to look at Tarrant. She briefly caught the flash of red madness in his eyes before he disappeared out the door.

She sprinted after him, cursing her own predictions and instincts.


Tarrant burst through the door to Celeste's sewing room at full speed.

Find and kill. Find the wench and kill her!

His mind's shouts drove him on and he looked about for the offending woman. The room was empty of life, but there! The next door was open!

Tarrant raced toward it, throwing aside bolts of fabric and mannequins in his haste. He exploded into the room and found his prey. Celeste was cowering in the far corner, face white and eyes wide with fear. Tarrant didn't pause in his pursuit, didn't think past the guilt he saw coming from her.

In two quick strides he had his hands wrapped around her throat. He slowly tightened his grip, watching with savage pleasure as her pale face gradually turned blue.

"Hatter stop!" A distant voice called out to him but Tarrant ignored it. He couldn't stop now! He would never again allow this … creature to hurt his Alice! He would never give her the chance to tear them apart again!

Celeste clawed at his hands but he didn't register the pain.

"Tarrant." Alice's voice was clear and firm, but he struggled to focus on it. The madness was making his vision red and it felt like someone was plugging his ears with cotton.

"Tarrant. That's enough. Release her." This was the voice of the Champion of Underland. It was cold and unyielding and so completely unlike the soft pleadings of the Alice he once knew. The muchness that colored her tone made his hands unclench and Celeste dropped to the floor, gasping for breath.

As his vision cleared and his sanity (or what was left of it) came back to him, Alice pushed past him signaling to those who had come with her. She knelt before Celeste, her eyes dark with a hint of regret. Tarrant noticed the two white chess pieces take position beside him and pushed down the feeling of shame.

He would not regret protecting Alice, albeit a little too late.

Alice reached out hesitatingly towards Celeste and Tarrant finally saw the sickly purple bruises his fingers had left. There was a grim sort of satisfaction in seeing them blossom.

Alice's hand stopped and then dropped to Celeste's wrists. He saw a flash of metal and the seamstress was then clasped in irons. How quickly Alice was able to move!

Alice sat back on her heels and didn't let her emotions show as she began her questioning.

"When did you contact the traitors?"

"After you brought Tarrant back." Celeste's voice was strained.

"Was it you who told them about the challenge?"

Celeste paused and looked quickly at the White Queen. She found no assurances there, only a critical eye.

"Yes." She sighed.

"Did you think of Underland at all?" Alice's voice was harsh and Celeste flinched at the implications behind her tone.

"No. I only thought of Tarrant."

Alice nodded.

"What did you think you would gain from this? Surely you realize that the second the Knave and the Red Queen took power they would have killed us all?" Alice was incredulous. The naivety of this woman!

"They promised me that they would let me have Tarrant! They promised me peace! Tarrant I love you!" Celeste's cry was hoarse and she turned pleading eyes to him.

He glowered and attempted to step toward her but the guards held him back.

"They would have killed Alice." He spat. "And if dies I follow her. I will always follow her. No one for me but me Alice!" He raged.

Celeste broke down in sobs on the floor. Alice's expression was closed off as she rose and moved back to him. She waved the guards away and stood next to him. She didn't touch him though and he felt a sudden fear.

What if Alice hated him for the violence? But no, Alice had seen this before. He recalled her easy acceptance and ability to handle the madness. She was simply in control right now. Like he needed to be. Like he could be.

He came back to the present.

Alice was staring at Mirana expectantly. Actually everyone was staring at her. Tarrant considered words with the letter 'S' as the Queen made her decision.

Stare, sight, spectacle, scene, see, spot …

"Celeste van Pano. You are hereby banished to the ruins of Salazen Grum. You will from this day forward wear a burnt dress to signify your traitorous ways. You will never again be allowed to touch the cloth you once worked with and you are to never set foot in the White Castle again."

Tarrant had never heard Mirana's voice be so cold. She turned frighteningly dark eyes on him and Alice. Her expression softened slightly which he as thankful for.

"Take Tarrant back Champion. Please." Alice nodded and Tarrant wanted to weep for joy when her hand slipped into his.

She tugged him along, but he still heard Celeste's shouts as they left.

"Tarrant no! Please Tarrant! No! She's not the one! Tarrant by Fate no! I love you! Please!"

Tarrant ignored her and focused on the warmth of Alice's hand in his. The back of her glorious blonde head and the square set of her shoulders was the most wonderful sight to him in that moment.

To think they had almost been taken from him!

Alice always seemed to be on the precipice of being stolen from him.

This had to end.

He needed her to be permanently and officially his, so that she could never leave him again.

He had to work faster on that damn hat!

Bonkers To Be Late

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by RosieLilyIce93

Part 32 of 48

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