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Astra

Wonderful Objects

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((Fayt is in cat form at the moment))

Fayt sat in the alleyway licking her wounds clean. They were painful, but most of the bleeding had stopped. She yawned. It was late, and she was tired, but she was still in quite a bit of danger as long as she was in Donau.

 

Fayt stretched carefully, and walked through the city. She was trying to find an exit, or at least a tree, but this city didn't seem to be built around the greenery of the area. Fayt peered through the darkness, and strained her more sensitive cat ears to see if she could hear anyone... or anything... coming. Fayt heard slow and heavy footsteps coming from the street in front of her.

 

Backing into the shadows, Fayt noticed that it was one of the monsters that had attacked her when she had attacked the guards. Gross. She had remembered how little her whip had done to them, and she wasn't in the best shape right now. Fayt leaped onto a large container, and then onto a few more boxes. She was finally able to climb to the roof using some ivy. She peered down at the monster, hoping that it couldn't climb.

 

((I'm leaving for a week starting tomorrow, so I'm posting only for Fayt because I think that Malli doing anything right now would require a lot more interaction. I'm not going to have an internet connection, so I'm not going to post.))

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{Alright, so, got a shinee (yes, I said shinee and not shiny on purpose) new laptop.... Which is a paint to get used to typing on- and ima be moving soon.... which is scary.... And I've been busy busy.... So I haven't had time to post...}

 

The Hatter continued to sip the tea his plate had created even after the new tea had arrived; he much preferred his own... The stuff at the castle was simply too.... sweet.... Though the queen did not very much like his tea, she never had... So perhaps it was that since the cup was in his posession it made tea that he preferred... Who knew? It was an interesting concept to consider though.

 

Still, what with how irritated the queen already was with his tardiness, the Hatter knew it wasn't the time to be dwelling on concepts, no matter how interesting they were, if they did not pertain to what she said.... He very much doubted she'd be very forgiving if she asked what they'd talked about earlier and he wasn't able to give a decent summary- the excuse of being mad only got him so far....

 

So the Hatter listened patiently, taking the time to consider the Queens words and for the most part keeping his mind from wandering too far... Which would have been much easier to do if he had a leash of some sort.... And then...

 

"I don't suppose you would have any idea why Clubs would attack Spades, rather than forming an alliance? Other than the fact that Clubs are brutal war lovers, of course."

 

There it was. One of the reasons why he served the Queen of Hearts... she might have had a temper, but she was a good leader, and she was sharp- sharp enough to cut herself if she wasn't careful. Hmmm... Perhaps he should have stopped her when she ran off to the training room.... But he didn't.... As her leaving gave him means to avoid the question-temporarily anyways.... The Hatter hated questions that he didn't have a direct answer to.... And although his answers were not always honest... In fact, they were commonly dishonst... They were always straightfoward answers at least.

 

The only way he could get a straightfoward answer however, was to investigate, and investigation would require returning to Spades.... Unless.... Well, there had been some Clubs in Heart territory awhile ago that he'd disposed of- he'd kept the uniforms they'd stolen and returned them to the castle.... Perhaps...?

 

The Hatter abruptly rose to his feet and headed for the door, pausing for only a moment to tell someone he passed to clean up the tea. He meanwhile, tossed the cup he held over his shoulder, which, because it was now empty, simply dissappeared.... So his part of the cleaning duty was done.

He had more important things to do about then anyways.

 

 

--------------------------------------------

 

 

--------------------------------------------

 

The King of clubs studied his map carefully, watching the newly charted out city of Donau intently. There were few of his soldiers left, and many Spades running about... But it looked much calmer than it had a short while ago... And he'd even eyed the Hatter on the map earlier.... Which of course, gave him an idea.... A wonderfully awful idea.

 

"Sylph." He watched as the dog twitched his ears and looked at him, or more or less 'glared' at him- obviously he had a good idea that what was coming was something he wouldn't like. "I want you to go and give the Spade Queen a visit."

 

The dog's ears lowered, and his glare, if possible, became more glum, "Hey, I thought you said that she 'wasn't important'!" He demanded, sarcasm oozing out of the last part (she was the dang QUEEN of SPADES after all- how was that not important?!)"So why the hell are ya sendin' me to do all the dog's work!"

 

The King chuckled in reply, "Well, if the shoe fits..." He pulled his hand away quickly when Sylph nipped at it in reply. "Use that little pea sized brian of yours, furball-" He added in a more businesslike tone, "-I have more important things to do with my day than chewing on anything that moves, and you can get there much faster with your jar."

 

The prospect of the jar only made the task seem that much more unnappealing.... Sylph carried the jar on his back, strapped on like a backpack, and really, all it did was just sit there and collect dust and dirt- but when combined with the map, it could transport the dog to a place that had been charted on the map- like the newly charted city of Donau for example.... Of course, even with it being magical, it was still an uncomfortably tight squeeze for a large dog to fit into the dang thing.

Still, from the glare the Club King gave him, Sylph knew that arguing- even for the sake of fun- wasn't an option, so, with a lot of grumpling and exasperated sighs, he worked the jar off of his back and onto the floor... And with a lot more exxagerated grumbles and cussing, worked his way into the jar.

 

It was like a really really tight tunnel that he had to struggle through, and eventually, even though he'd crawled in nose first, his nose popped out of the jar again, and Sylph struggled out of the jar, now in the center of Donau.

 

"Oooh." He stretched, "Screw the King's message, I gotta talk to that lady about passing some animal protection laws- I swear I pulled a muscle doing that." And what if he was claustrophobic?! He coulda had a seizure and died or something, and then what?! A gravestone would be plotted somewhere that read 'here lies the dumbass that died in a jar'.... What a way to go....That King really needed to consider him more!

 

Sylph worked the jar back onto his back and trotted through the city towards the castle, mostly unchallenged- which was saying something, as he was a pretty unordinary looking dog.... But hey, if the Spades were cool with it, then he was cool with not doin' his buisness on any of 'em.

 

Eventually though, at the castle gates, the guards refused to let him through. At first they just sorta tried to coax him into going away, obviously thinking he was just an ordinary animal... What an insult! He worked for the dang King of Clubs! And sure, it was sad that the best right hand man that the King could get was a dog, but he deserved respect!

 

"Seriously, metalheads. Step aside- I gotta talk to your Queen- uhh... I mean... Woof Woofy Woof... I'm not a talking dog... Dang, they were pretty stone faced... And they still didn't move.

 

"No talking dogs are allowed into the castle!" One insisted, waving the weapon he held clumsily in what was perhaps supposed to be a threatening manner.

 

"Wow, so if I was a mute we'd be all hunky dory?" The dog raised an eyebrow, "I gotta say, that's pretty racist on your part buddy. Look-" He heaved a sigh, and jerked his head towards a street, "What say you just march right on down that way and I 'sneak' into the castle, would that work for ya?" Okay... From the look on their faces that suggestion didn't look like it was gonna fly... "I mean, I saw a bunch of pretty looking humans down there-" He quickly added, "-All female by the way... And uhh... They haven't seen a man in ages! So uhh.. They're not picky at all... They don't care if you're an ugly guard who's been standing around sweating all day... And... uhh... Just go, would ya?" No reaction... Man, what the heck did the Spade Queen do to them? They were pretty darn dedicated.

 

"Ah well." Sylph shrugged, "Let it be known that I tried to be civil." He trotted over to the guards and barreled into one, knocking him over easily into the other and sending them both toppling over, then he turned around in a way so they'd both get hit over the head with his jar and get knocked out.

 

"Just so ya know- I'm not liable if you guys lose your jobs due to braindamage-" He said, glancing at them as he trotted through the gates into the castle, "that's a side effect of getting hit over the head by a giant jar." Hey, at least they didn't have to crawl inside the dang thing.

 

{alright, was gonna post more, but ran out of time. o-o Haha, doggy broke into the castle apparently.}

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Fayt the cat may have nothing in common with the girl Beast fought earlier, in terms of appearance; but they have the same scent, which was more than enough for the marionettes to track and chase it. However, they stopped when they reached a dead-end. The cat had been able to climb the roofs using the ivy, but the marionettes weren't so agile. Slowly, they moved away and returned to their master.

 

Beast, of course, was not at all pleased to see them come back empty handed. The pain on his arm had subsided, and for a reason, it had left him in a foul mood. "Where is she? Don't you dare tell me you lost her" he snarled angrily. The Marionettes spoke wordlessly, but Beast was is no mood to try to comprehend what they were trying to say, so Awnya relayed their message to him instead.

 

The anger etched on the half-demon's expression slightly faded, as he heard what had actually happened, but his posture became rigid. So the girl could turn into a cat. Huh. Beast scoffed, and with Awnya's guidance, turned to chase at the werecat, climbing walls and leaping from roof to roof as he did so.

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((Has everyone been really busy or something?))

 

Bryony stood panting, her sword hanging from one hand at her side. Sweat rolled down her face, and she used a handkerchief to wipe it away. She was not used to fighting in full dress- whenever she had practiced before she had always been in lighter training clothes.

 

She frowned, looking down at her voluminous skirts. She couldn't get away with shorter skirts, and pants were definitely out of the question. There was really no simple solution. Besides, even if she were to change her wardrobe, it would cost money she dared not spend while on the brink of war.

 

Bryony lifted her sword again, this time going through the two-handed drills. She kept at it, cursing her skirts all the while. It was not until the sunlight hit her eyes that she realized it was morning.

 

She left the training room, calling for a bath and tea to be brought to her chambers.

 

((Do do do... rather pointless post... but yeah. I'm guessing Queenie is going to be in a foul mood later in the day, not getting any sleep.

 

Also... *pokes tei* Chess is still waiting for a response. XD))

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((maeve: ...why on earth do you think i use a rapier, bryony? XD))

 

"Mmm...you haven't finished them off yet?"

 

Maeve whipped around, her hand on the hilt of her rapier.

 

"Hell of a time to be appearing out of nowhere like that, Chess," she chuckled darkly, relaxing. "I could have killed you. What brings you here, besides boredom and in-between?"

 

***

 

Mousie?

 

Well, that was something Masahiro had never been called before. Admittedly, he had been "Mouse" in high school to the people who didn't like him, but being called "Mousie" by a young demon was quite new. He chuckled. Yue looked quite exasperated.

 

Masahiro smiled when he saw that Mikhaiel had turned around at the "Mousie" comment as well. "Which one of us were you talking to, Tai?" he asked.

 

"Me, I would imagine," Masahiro said. "How in the world do you get "Mousie" out of "Mikhaiel?""

 

Mikhaiel shrugged. "Well, I've described myself as having "mousy brown hair". Aside that, I respond to practically anything, remember?"

 

Masahiro nodded. "I suppose." He reached into his shirt collar and drew out a silver medallion. He held it in both his hands, speaking softly. The red gem began to glow faintly. It had always been a subtle item--being an assassin called for non-flashy magic--but effective nonetheless.

 

"You should be feeling considerably better, Tai," Masahiro said, dropping the medallion back under his shirt. "I'd get some more sleep if I were you."

 

Masahiro left quietly, knowing that if there weren't knaveish things to be done now, there certainly would be shortly.

 

 

((okay, a deux ex machina masahiro healing moment XD))

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Fayt sat on the rooftop waiting for the monsters to clear out. They had come all the way to the ivy, and found her. She cursed quietly- it sucked to be found. She looked down, and saw that the monsters were moving away. That was better for her. She hoped that they would just go back to the castle and stay there.

 

A few moments later, Fayt lay down, hoping that she could get a bit more sleep before morning. Of course, she couldn't. Fayt heard the tell tale sound of footsteps of roofs. She peered over the roof, and she suppressed a hiss. That demon was coming across the roofs, most likely to find her! She shook her head and climbed down, an idea blossoming in her mind.

 

Hiding in the shadows and still in cat form, she ran through the city to the castle gates. She suspected that she had been seen, but didn't bother to look behind her, as a large dog was beating up some guards. Fayt smiled as much as she could and let out a low chuckle. She walked around the back- there were monsters here, and she didn't want to be in another fight right away. She ran a little farther, and tried to find a gap in the wall that she could squeeze through. There was a small hole that seemed to go beneath the wall- it must have been made by some kind of rabbit or other strange animal. Fayt squeezed through, almost getting stuck. She had a large scrape on her back, but was on the other side of the wall, quite a distance from the front doors.

 

---------

 

Malli woke with a start. She had somehow drifted off to sleep beside the Hearts castle. She shook her head and peered through the bush she was sitting in. There were no guards. She stood, and stretched. The sun was rising, and it looked like it would be an eventful day, for her, anyways.

 

Malli crept along the perimeter of the castle, seeing no easy way to get in. There were no low windows, and she didn't want to risk waking a guard by jumping up to a window, or by teleporting right in front of them. Malli walked up to the doors of the castle, and knocked. She was fairly sure that there would be guards waiting on the other side, so she readied her trident.

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((@Yuffie: Beast's Marionettes do not track their 'prey' by sight, but other senses. So if you don't want them to chase Fayt again, please find another route to get into the castle and don't deliberately run into them, even though she is hidden behind bushes. And don't forget that Awnya is guiding Beast, and he can easily find you by her same method of tracking

 

@Astra: By the way, if you're breaking in the Castle of Spades, make sure it is not the same entrance with the one Fayt tried to break into, because she already knocked out the guards over there- not to mention that Beast's Marionettes are still there as well))

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Moving as swiftly as his legs could take him, Beast ran after the cat. It was difficult to see such a small, agile creature in the dark, but Awnya guided him, so that he didn't lose track. After several minutes of chasing, Beast came to abrupt halt when he reached a dead end in the backyard of the castle walls. There was a small gap there, and he suspected that the cat had gone in through the hole. Awnya confirmed his suspiscion.

 

Snarling, Beast had to supress the desire to smash through the wall to go after the cat. He managed to stop himself in time, however; as even though he would be doing so to stop an intruder, the Queen certainly will not be pleased if he destroyed her property. He instinctively made a self-reminder to reprimand the builders for not fixing that hole. Hell, even if there were no cat intruders, vermins like rats and insects could easily come in and infiltrate the palace.

 

Not wishing to waste time, Beast searched for the closest entrance- the back door which leads to the kitchens, and barged in- startling the cooks and kitchen staffs. He looked round, saw that the hole did NOT lead to the kitchen then darted towards the wooden exit which connects the scullery with the castle halls. Beast swore he could hear the kitchen workers mutter curses as he slammed the door behind him.

 

Running through the hallways as quickly as he could (with Awnya whispering directions to him, of course; or he will be running around in circles), the half-demon assasin finally spotted the cat intruder. Drawing his weapon, he extended his chains and laced it around the intruder's torso and pulled her towards him.

 

Having captured the cat, Beast wasted no time to interrogate her. "State your purpose here, intruder!" he demanded.

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{Sorry I didn't post sooner. o-o This site does not work so well for me lately, and I got a bajillion things on my mind... plus I'm having severe drawing withdrawals XD Which, although a seemingly funny concept, is actually very very very VERY distracting.... -glares at mountain of unfinished work-

 

Aaaanyways, here's a post~}

 

The Hatter had to admit to himself that, elegant a man as he was, even he probably looked ridiculous sitting on a chair in a lonely and dusty unused room in Castle Hearts while staring at an ordinary looking uniform as if his life depended on it... Maybe not as ridiculous as some people would... But still pretty silly.... He hadn't been able to find the exact uniforms that the Clubs had been wearing though, so he'd been forced to look over all of the damaged uniforms laying about in the castle.... Every. Single. God forsaken. One.

He'd never realized how bland the colors of them were until then, and he'd never considered how incompetant Heart soldiers were before then- he coudlnt' fathom, despite his vivid imagination- how so many of those men managed to ruin their uniforms!

 

"Stupidity of the level these men appear to have should not be legal." The Hatter muttered as he tossed the uniform he'd been holding aside and grabbed another, "They make the March Hare look smart!" And that was not something that was easy to do.

 

He fell silent again as he proceeded to closely examine the uniform at hand- turning out the pockets, and looking over every inch inside and out- searching for any sort of abnormality.... And then he found it... Right on the inside of one of the sleeve cuffs, sewn in so that even when discovered it could be easily overlooked if one was not specifically looking.... But the Hatter was specifically looking, and as such, his gaze narrowed thoughtfully at the sight.

Then he abruptly reached into his pocket and pulled out his pocketwatch, holding it near the strange piece of paper... To anyone else, it would appear as if such created absolutely no effect.... But the Hatter's gaze only became more grim as he slowly began piecing things together... The image he was creating was not appealing...

 

A glance out the window showed he'd been staring at fabric like a maniac all night, as he could see morning beginning... It would have been wise to sleep, considering he hadn't in awhile, and he was rather exhausted... But he brushed the thought aside and decided that work was more important- as any thoroughly mad man would- and decided to find the Queen.... She would likely be asleep, but this report coudln't wait.

 

 

--------------------------------------------

 

Tai grumbled something incoherent in response to Masahiro's words about feeling better.... And not because he was tired... but because he actually was feeling better, and now he had to put together a reason to still not trust the upper world guy who'd helped him.... Which was getting awfully hard to do....

 

....But that was just because he was tired!

 

....At least, that's what he told himself... And so, after some debate over whether he'd be falling into some horrid human made trap (and much insisting in various languages on Yue's part), Tai decided it would be best to go to sleep.... Since his sis had told him to.

 

Yue meanwhile continued to glare at Tai's form until he finally became still, then she looked down at her tea and became very thoughtful for a moment, as if concentrating on something.... and after a moment or so of this, in which it was clear she was trying- and failing- to figure something out, she finally said aloud, to no one in particular, "I believe for a human to realize how important they are, they should have a dog to worship them and a cat to ignore them...." Another thoughtful moment, then she looked at Mikhaiel and asked, "... Did the Queen feel so unimportant that she got... pets?" The thought baffled her, as the Queen often had much much more important things to do than 'pet' things, but... "I can feel the energy of a doggie... and kitty... in the castle."

 

{she's talking about Chess and Sylph, if there's any confusion. XD}

 

 

--------------------------------------------

 

Once inside the castle, nobody made an effort to stop Sylph's advance... Actually, he didnt even see anyone around at all.... Which was probably pretty good, considering he was breaking and entering into the castle of one of the most devious females in all of Wonderland... But it was kinda dissappointing.... It wasn't like he had a good sense of direction, and while he enjoyed looking at the intricate architecture and artwork, it soon got very frustrating that he coudln't figure out where the throne room was... He was making about as much progress as he would have had he been standing in one place chasing his tail! And dangit! All the fancy shmancy architecture looked the same! Where were the landmarks!?

 

Sylph was on a roll after a short while more of walking, and in between his incoherent rantings he muttered something along the lines of, "I swear the next time I see the King I'm gonna take my jar and shove it right up-" before being cut off by the sight of an elaborate door he could only assume.... or more accurately hope... led to the throne room.

"Ha!" He exclaimed, immediately brightening, "I knew I was getting close- the old sniffer ain't never led me wrong!" Okay... maybe it had... quite often.... But hey- at least he'd found the right place!

 

He trotted towards the door until he was standing directly outside; it was slightly ajar, as if inviting him inside, but Sylph hesitated... Sure, knocking out a few guards and barging through the doors was easy enough, but it probably wasn't so smart on his part to go barging in on the Queen uninvited... What if she didn't like dogs? Sylph sighed... but after going through a lot of things in his head, he couldn't come up with any better solution.

"Well, I've thought of everything else, time to be stupid."

 

He marched through the doors and shook some dirt off of himself.... Well, he had the stupid part down... it probably would have made a better impression if he'd done that outside the door... Oh well, too late now... And hey, wasn't there an old saying to just 'be yourself'?

 

"Riiight... Uh... Well, I realize there ain't no animal protection laws 'round here..." He finally said slowly, "... But if you pull that shiny rapier on me I'm gonna get some of them upper world bozos on you!" He wagged his tail a bit and coughed, "So no killing the incredibly good looking doggie- even when that incredibly good looking and irreplacable to the world dog tells you that he's here on behalf of the Club king...." Dang... Well, he coulda made that smoother... Hopefully she didn't try to kill him... Sylph didn't think he could squeeze into his jar that quickly without losing his tail or something....

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(("what if she didn't like dogs?" XD you know me too well XP))

 

"Pets?" Mikhaiel repeated in confusion. "Er...no...I don't think so. No more than the bats and stuff that we keep around..."

 

He frowned. Maeve liked cats, sure, but as a general rule, she did not like dogs. Cats in the castle made sense compared to a dog. He bid Yue a hasty farewell and dashed after Masahiro.

 

***

 

Maeve spun around for the umpteenth time that night and found herself staring at a large dog

 

"Is this a castle or a menagerie?" she muttered.

 

"Riiigh...uh...well, I realize there ain't no animal protection laws 'round here... ...But if you pull that shiny rapier on me I'm gonna get some of them upper world bozos on you! So no killing the incredibly good-looking doggie--even when that increadibly good-looking and irreplacable to the world dog tells you that he's here on behalf of the Club king..."

 

Maeve raised her eyebrows and drew her rapier. She didn't intend to attack the creature, of course, but one could never be too careful.

 

"I fear no man from the Upper World," she said. "Now, what is it that your Club King wants that he would send you before the sun has risen?" She paused. "And what in the world did he think there was to gain by attempting to ambush Spades blaring battle horns?"

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"Hell of a time to be appearing out of nowhere like that, Chess," Maeve chuckled darkly. "I could have killed you. What brings you here, besides boredom and in-between?"

 

Cheshire grinned. "I've been visiting your sister. She's gone even further round the bend. With all of the head-removing going on in Hearts, I'm quite glad mine is already separated." With that, his body vanished and his head hung in the air. He tilted his head to the side, ears twitching.

 

"Is this a castle or a menagerie?"

 

The dog that appeared was one he wasn't unfamiliar with. While the dog spoke, Chess rolled his eyes. However, this could be entertaining. While the queen was busy, he decided that he should get the best seat in the house, and promptly curled up on the queens throne.

 

"Now, what is it that your Club King wants that he would send you before the sun has risen?" said the Queen of Spades. "And what in the world did he think there was to gain by attempting to ambush Spades blaring battle horns?"

 

Chess purred deep in his throat. Hmm... Yes, this could be interesting.

 

:.:.:

 

The Queen of Hearts sat in her morning chamber, the remains of her breakfast on the table in front of her. She drained the rest of her tea, before picking up the reports that had came in with her tea.

 

She was tired. She did not want to spend all day listening to the complaints of the populace. There were other things she could be doing- like making sure her armies were well supplied- that sounded much more appealing.

 

A knock on the door made her snarl out an angry "What!?" A guard peaked his head in.

 

"Pardon me, my queen, but it seems we have an intruder inside the palace walls." The guard gulped. "She knocked on the door, your Majesty. We do have her contained now, your Majesty..."

 

The Queen's eye twitched. The audacity of it! She stood, retrieving her longsword from where she had set it in her chambers. "Show me." She commanded the guard. She would deal with the fact that none of her guards saw the intruder until she had knocked on the door later.

 

The guard nodded, and with a gulp lead the queen to the door.

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Fayt saw the demon coming, but it was too late to run again. She wouldn't be able to hide anywhere. She snarled as he caught her around the middle. Fayt struggled a little, but realized that her attempts were futile in this form.

 

"State your purpose here, intruder!" he demanded.

 

Fayt hissed, and changed into her human form. The chains that had her around her middle were too tight- they gave a bit, but they were crushing her. "You mind loosening these a bit? I'm not very good at speaking under pressure." she laughed at her joke.

 

"I just wanted to see the castle, and I didn't think that there was any way I would get in. So I attacked the guards." Fayt said calmly. She was lying, of course. She wouldn't say why she was really here unless her life depended on it.

 

Fayt looked around, trying to think of an escape route if she needed one.

 

----------------

 

As Malli knocked on the door, the guards opened it. There were two at the door. Malli had her trident in her hands, and when one of the guards tried to take it, she knocked the blunt end on his head. He fell down. Malli couldn't tell if he was knocked out or dead from where she was standing.

 

The second guard took one of her arms. Malli, curious, as to what the guards would do, let him lead her to a room. As they walked through the halls, she noticed that a third guard seemed to be running to tell someone when he saw the two of them. Malli raised her eyebrows, and contemplated ways to kill the other guard.

 

The guard opened the door to a room. It had a table, two chairs and a window with bars.

 

"Your weapon, miss?" he said, putting a hand on the weapon. "Sure." Malli said, handing it over. The guard shuddered- the weapon was demon-made, and the steel was cold to the touch. He left the room, and Malli sat down in one of the chairs.

 

One of the folds in her dress was covering a knife. She had one in her non-magic boot. She would be able to hurt someone, or kill, if need be. Malli raised her head as she heard footsteps. He couldn't tell who's they were, but the uneven ones seemed to belong to a guard. She wasn't sure who the other pair of feet belonged to.

 

The door opened, and Malli saw the guard. Behind him, she saw someone regal looking- it appeared to be the queen! Malli's mouth opened a little as a strong feeling of hate bubbled up from somewhere inside her.

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"You mind loosening these a bit? I'm not very good at speaking under pressure."

 

Beast narrowed his eyes at the intruder, who had now changed back to her human form; wondering if she would escape once he losened her bonds. He decided to truss the girl's arms and ankles first before releasing the chains on her torso.

 

"I just wanted to see the castle, and I didn't think that there was any way I would get in. So I attacked the guards."

 

The half-demon furrowed his brows as he listened to the girl's rambling. Frankly, he didn't believe it. After all, who would? The reason was too stupid to be even considered. Deciding that it was not his job to question intruders, Beast tugged at the chains and headed to the throne room- where the Queen was speaking to a... dog?

 

"Pardon my intrusion, Your Majesty, but I caught this intruder- apparently an assassin from the Kingdom of Hearts. She was the one who lit up that light. I have tried questioning her, but to no avail. Perhaps, you, though, might be more successful." shoving his prisoner inside the room, Beast then bowed respectfully and left, leaving the Queen to deal with the cat girl.

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"Another cat," Maeve muttered. "The question still stands--castle or menagerie? And no snide comments from either of you," she added furiously in the direction of Chess and Slyph.

 

"Trouble, my queen?" Masahiro's voice asked from the doorway. Maeve didn't turn.

 

"Merely wondering why everyone and their dog seems to think that the wee hours of the morning is the best time to conduct business," she replied, her eyes still locked on Beast's prisoner. "But we seem to have found the idiot with the light."

 

"Now merely to find the source," Masahiro agreed, advancing toward the captive. "For a girl of this age to have given Beast so much trouble, she must be trained," he mused, circling her lazily. "I've never met anyone who can give a Spade difficulty without having been trained by Spades themselves... ...female...cat...with a whip..." Masahiro smirked when a dangerous smile appeared on Maeve's black lips.

 

"Hello again, Fayt."

 

((i hope you don't find that too omnipitent, but Maeve knows her assassins--past and present. let me know if you want me to change it.))

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Fayt bit her lip as the queen called her an idiot. Fayt knew better than to say something to the queen about it, though. She narrowed her eyes, instead.

 

"For a girl of this age to have given Beast so much trouble, she must be trained," he mused, circling her lazily. "I've never met anyone who can give a Spade difficulty without having been trained by Spades themselves... ...female...cat...with a whip..." a man who was in the throne room said.

 

Fayt twitched uncomfortably as he circled her. "Yes, female, cat, whip. Nice of you to notice." Fayt said smoothly. She wasn't going to be very nice to this guy, she decided, even though she didn't like being mean.

 

"Hello again, Fayt."

 

"Hi!" Fayt said, a little too enthusiastically. She stared at the queen, not knowing if it was good or bad that the queen recognized her. She continued, "Don't worry about me giving information about your lovely city to anyone. I'm no Hearts lackey!" She shot an angry look at the door that the demon had left through.

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{Oookay, so I haven't posted in awhile.... my life has gotten pretty crazy. o-o What with college and family business and such I don't have much free time.... So uhh.... Yeeah.... I'm sorry I haven't posted and here's one!

 

... Also, forgive the typos here and there, if any, my brian is fried after my day today ^^;}

 

Upon making his realization, the Hatter's first course of action was to proceed to the Queen's morning chambers...

It was morning.... technically.... even if he felt like he'd been hit by a rampaging jabberwock who'd promptly decided to use him as a chew toy... Utterly exhausted was putting it too mildly....

 

He knew that the Queen was usually finishing her breakfast right around then too, so her chambers was the logical place to go.... thus the surpise of finding a shivering guard instead, who stated the obvious: that the Queen wasn't there, was all the more unpleasant a way to start the morning.... Worse still, was that he said there had been an intruder in the castle that the Queen was speaking to, and she'd taken her sword along in case negotiations got aggressive.... Now of course it wasn't the fact that there was an intruder that bothered the Hatter- he knew the Queen was perfectly capable of determining the person in question's usefulness and disposing them if they weren't... it was more of the fact that said situation had obviously put the Queen in a sour mood that put the Hatter on edge.... Mad as he was, even he didn't fancy the idea of bringing her bad news when she was already in a bad mood.

 

Still, his fancies were less important than his duty.... at least in this case anyways.... So he made an exception to his usual 'ignoring duty unless directly ordered' policy, and order the guard to lead him to where the Queen and the mysterious prisoner were.... The poor guy began trembling further at the thought, but the thought of defying an order from the Hatter was equally as scary as disturbing the Queen, and so he caved, and began dragging his feet down the hall.

 

As they moved, the Hatter took the time to gather more information on the situation- what the intruder had looked like, how she had acted, and how the guards had handled the situation.... Which was unsurprisingly in a pitiful manner.

 

"-And you say she gave you her weapons?"

 

The man nodded vigorously in response, as if he'd done something right.... which he hadn't, of course.... But the Hatter had learned after a night of examening destroyed uniforms not to expect better.

 

"...And did you check her for more weapons?"

 

"Uhh..." The guard gulped, having picked up the note of frustration in the Hatter's voice and fearing anger was soon to follow. It was fairly obvious from how much he began fidgeting that he was terrified.

"Well..." He said slowly "She gave us her weapons willingly.... And if a prisoner is willing to cooperate, we shouldn't treat them brutishly... And frisking a woman...." His voice trailed off on that note, and his gaze traveled to the floor, but he still flinched visibly when the Hatter heaved a sigh in response.

 

Yes yes, it was all good and well not to want to invade a woman's space... Maybe he just didn't think the reasoning was sound because that was something he did quite often... Still, this situation was different- far less pleasant. The point was that the guards had failed to properly investigate and disarm their prisoner before letting said person speak face to face with the most important person in the entire country!

And there was no doubt in the Hatter's mind that the girl would have more weapons- she wouldn't have allowed herself to be captured so easily, nor would she have willingly given up her weapons if she hadn't had some other means of weaponry on her.

 

The Hatter shooed the guard away wordlessly when they reached the door to the investigation room, having lost his patience with the man's incompetance- at the very least the guard could scurry away quickly without being told twice... That was a sign of skill, right?

 

Someone needed to fire those people. Be it literal or not.

 

Entering the room where the Queen was, the Hatter gave her a nod, and though he said nothing to her, his eyes made it clear that he had something he had to tell her- something that was actually relevant and beyond his usual rantings about tea.... but of course he knew it would have to wait, and so he instead turned his attention to the prisoner, taking in her appearance carefully.

 

Unlike the guards, he didn't particularly care about invading privacy, or the fact that he undoubtedly looked like a creeper staring like that.... She wasn't fitting for his tastes anyways... But he could tell by looking carefully that she likely had a weapon in her shoe, because it bulged, ever so slightly... and he surmised she could have had more in her clothes- though it was impossible to tell how many or of which type exactly... He also noted the way the prisoner stared at the Queen- with a hatred.... And of course hatred plus weapons was not a combination that was good in this situation....

 

...Still, attacking her with no reason besides the fact she was armed was illogical. He'd allow the Queen to talk... and if things got lively.... Well... he'd make them get deadly.

 

 

--------------------------------------------

 

 

--------------------------------------------

 

Sylph had opened his mouth to reply to the Queen's questions, but was distracted by the sight of a cat floating over and sitting on the throne.... So it was okay for the dang floating creepily smiling pussycat to make itself at home, but the charming and fluffy doggie was treated like something the cat dragged in?!

 

Dang, what was up with people hating dogs?

 

As this train of thought rolled through Sylph's head, the doors of the throneroom burst open again (man, that Spade Queen was a hot commodity- next time he'd be sure to schedule a meeting ahead of time!) and a weird looking human marched in with a prisoner.... Dang, that weird looking human was pretty crazy looking.... Like some sort of beast...

 

"For a girl of this age to have given Beast so much trouble, she must be trained,"

 

Oh. So the guy's name actually was Beast? Well dang, his parents were spot on.... poor guy...

 

"I've never met anyone who can give a Spade difficulty without having been trained by Spades themselves... ...female...cat...with a whip..."

 

Sylph shifted his attention to the speaker.... From the way the guy moved, he was obviously trained as well.... And he knew the Queen.... He must have been her new Knave!

Actually, as soon as the dog thought of it, he became certain of it; he'd heard this guy had a lot of similiar skills to notorious Hatter... And there was no denying that 'pretty boy' face of his- the Hatter had one too... Used it to his advantage a lot.... Why was it that women never realized the best looking men were always the most dangerous? Why couldn't they just stay with the equally as charming dog?!

 

Ah well, it wasn't surprising that there were crazy people in Wonderland.

 

Sylph's ears twitched and he focused again on the topic when the Queen and 'Fayt' exchanged greetings.... Okay, he knew he wasn't supposed to make 'snide comments', and he had respect enough for the Queen to want to listen.... That said, Sylph knew full well that he wasn't really capable of speaking without making it colorful, and he wasn't about to keep his mouth shut having come all the way to the Spade kingdom in the dead of night.

 

"So it's great to see the new Knave in person-" He nodded in Masahiro's direction, "- and prisoners 'fated' to get themselves in bad situations is all good and fun-" He glanced at Fayt before returning his gaze to Maeve, "-And I really do hate to interrupt this disfunctional family reunion your Spadliness, but the King of Clubs is not a patient man... In fact, he's an impatient man, if you will... So I'm gonna cut to the chase, skip the reunion formalities, and get right to tellin' ya that the attack tonight was only the beginning."

He then paused for a moment, pondering how to explain this- more or less how to explain it without making any snide comments... dang, that Queen didn't make her orders easy!

 

Ah well, Sylph decided to just give up on trying to be formal- if the Queen lobbed off his head for being rude.... Well, at least it was worth showing to people.

 

"Now I'm not sayin the King of Clubs has style- ambushing with battle horns blaring is downright sad, even from a dog's point of view- but he's not a fool. That attack was a success on his part whether you believe it or not.... Put bluntly, the King of Clubs is currently holding all the cards, and they're all full houses..." He coughed, "...Never played cards... been meaning to learn...."

 

"Aaanyways, the point is that your kingdom is in danger, and your sister's kingdom that Pussycat here mentioned-" He jerked his head at Chess, "-is in the same danger.... Maybe a bit more so, since the King intends to attack them first." He paused for another moment, looking thoughful, and then he added slowly, "I can't tell you what the manner of attack will be, as Mr. Whacked in the Head hasn't clearly told me.... but I can tell you that it's either going to hurt a lot of people.... or kill them.... dead."

 

"Now with this information, it is possible to warn the Queen of Hearts and perhaps save some of her people.... But the King's a pretty crazy guy... So if you decide to save the kingdom of Hearts, he'll instead destroy your kingdom."

 

{Okay, so he can't destroy an entire kingdom, more or less just attack the city- but Sylph didn't mention that... cuz I thought that talking about kingdoms being destroyed maded the plot twist sound better XD

 

uuugh.... gotta stop doing this before I go to bed....}

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The Queen of Hearts slowly twirled her sword in a circle at her side. She really was not in the mood for this. She stared at the girl before her. The girl glared at her, making the Queen raise her brows. It would be so easy to dispose of this chit. Ah, but then she would have to bathe again to get the blood off, and really that was quite a hassle...

 

It was as the Queen was mulling this over that the Hatter arrived. She spared him a glance, and saw him give her a look. She knew what the look meant. He had news. Knowing the way things were going this morning, whatever he had to tell her wouldn't be good news. Still, that had to wait for the moment. Right now, she had to deal with this girl.

 

Looking at the girl, it was easy to tell she was full of hate. Probably at something the Queen herself had done, though she couldn't think of what. The Queen smiled. Oh, how she loved to kill people with kindness.

 

Using the flat side of her blade, she rapped on the door. A guard poked his head in, obviously nervous. "Yes, My Queen?"

 

The Queen of Hearts smiled wider. "Have the kitchens bring up tea for our prisoner."

 

The guard nodded. His eyes were wide. He thought she was going to poison the girl. How silly. The Queen of Hearts was much more straight forward than that.

 

"Make sure they bring two cups. You are dismissed." She cast a glance at the Hatter. "I know how much you dislike our morning blend. I will not subject you to it this morning."

 

Now then. What else? The Queen pondered, almost twirling her sword again before stopping herself. Sword twirling wouldn't be nice. She looked the girl up and down. She saw no visible weapons, but she wouldn't be surprised if the guards hadn't looked for hidden ones. She really had to speak to the Captain.

 

The tea arrived, and the servant who brought it in was as quick as decency allowed. The Queen pointed to the two filled teacups. "Take whichever one you like." She said with a smile. "And then you could perhaps tell me what you are doing in the Hearts Castle."

 

:.:.:

 

"Now with this information, it is possible to warn the Queen of Hearts and perhaps save some of her people.... But the King's a pretty crazy guy... So if you decide to save the kingdom of Hearts, he'll instead destroy your kingdom."

 

 

Chess purred a laugh. Oh what fun this would be. "My my my. How interesting. The King is betting quite a bit on the love of the sisters of Heart." His tail twitched, and he half closed his eyes. Lazily, he drawled, "But, tell me, Poochy... How much would you love a sister who quite possibly wants you dead?"

 

Chess stretched. He hopped down from the Queens throne, and padded across the floor. He eyed Fayt. "Sloppy work, my dear. If you spent more time as a cat, you might not be getting caught."

 

He walked on, right to the wall- and then seemingly walked through it. And he had vanished. For the moment.

 

((Chess just likes to stir up trouble, doesn't he? XD))

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{Maybe, but I lurrves him. If Yue had been there she'd have petted him or hugged him.... hee hee. She's like me when it comes to animals.... a sucker. XD}

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Malli stopped staring at the queen as a man walked into the small room. He must be the Hatter, Malli decided. She had known about him, and what he looked like, of course. He looked at the queen, who seemed to understand the look that he gave her. Malli raised an eyebrow, but lowered it again as the Hatter stared at her. She felt an odd urge to call him a weirdo, but decided against it.

 

He looked at her foot, and Malli realized that he either knew she had a weapon, or had recognized his own work. She crossed her legs, putting that foot under the table and out of sight.

 

"Take whichever one you like." the Queen said with a smile. "And then you could perhaps tell me what you are doing in the Hearts Castle."

 

Malli took the cup and saucer on the left, and started to stir it with the spoon. It looked very warm, and Malli wasn't entirely certain that it wasn't poisoned. She also had a handful of lies that she could spout, but she doubted they would believe most of them.

 

"I'm sure you know where I'm from, so I won't bore you with the details. I, of course, am here to assess the number of magical objects that the Hatter here has created. I would so love to take one, however useless, to the Duchess. She had seemed a little antsy, lately." Malli said. She might as well tell the truth- it could sometimes seem more preposterous than a lie, but her story would probably seem normal enough. "Your guards aren't very good at their jobs, are they? I've been on the palace grounds since midnight, at least, y'know."

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((Well, I was waiting for other people to reply... But I'll post again. Everyone is so busy, it seems.))

((Also, about the Hearts castle being 'easy' to get in to... I never mentioned that the place is covered in guards. The Queen is paranoid, you know. So Yuffie's chara got a free pass. Anyone else planning to storm Heart's castle should know that it shouldn't be so easy.))

 

The Queen raised her brows. The girl seemed dreadfully uninformed. She thought that Hearts still had the majority of the Objects? The Queen knew the Territory of Broken Hearts was out of touch with the times, but for the girl to be so naive... Well, it was preposterous!

 

The Queen couldn't help it. She started to laugh. "Oh my!" she said between bursts of laughter. She covered her mouth with a gloved hand. "I'm sorry, do go on." She said with a barely stifled chortle.

"Your guards aren't very good at their jobs, are they? I've been on the palace grounds since midnight, at least, y'know."

 

Ah. So that explained it. She must have arrived during the changing of the guards. Probably found some place to hide, out of sight. Hmm... The Queen thought, tugging at her lower lip. I thought I told the guards to stagger the shift changes... I suppose I shall have to be more forceful in my suggestions.

 

Standing, the Queen again smiled at the girl. The smile was decidedly less friendly than anything else the Queen had done. "If you haven't noticed, the kingdoms are preparing for war. Why do you think that is?" She gestured with her sword.

 

"Even Broken Hearts should have heard by now. But if it hasn't, the Duchess and her informants are even more pathetic than I even imagined." The Queen leaned closer to the girl. "Or... Perhaps the Duchess doesn't think you are worth telling."

 

Stepping back, the Queen raised her sword. She looked down as if to inspect it. As if she was doing nothing more than commenting on the weather, she said, "Did you know the sisters of Heart were trained in the ways of the sword?" She tilted the blade, letting the light catch it. The metal shone. "Tell your Duchess that I've kept in practice, and my blade is still sharp."

 

She glanced at the girl. "I have more important things to do at the moment." Her gaze moved to the Hatter. "If you would, have the girl locked in the dungeon. Then, please join me in the throne room."

 

The Queen stepped out of the room. She paused and turned. "Oh, but first, Hatter... Make sure she drinks her tea. It would be such a waste if she didn't."

 

The Queen left, the door swinging shut behind her.

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Dawn was just breaking, but the newly risen sun had sent waves of scorching heat all over the Desert of Ante- much to the displeasure of the line of Red Army travelling across the horizon.

 

Many of the troops were scowling, while some whispered silent complaints and grumbles. Not surprisingly though, the one who showed the most displeasure was their commander- Vorpal Slayer. It wasn't that the young leader took the heat worse than his men, he merely did not conceal his feelings enough, and he saw no reason to do so.

 

Several of the braver soldiers who actually dared to question the Red Queen had tried to suggest other alternatives, all of which were bluntly declined by the latter. Queen Cassandra had stated that they would not be riding the Jubjub birds, as those large, brightly colored avians are likely to attract attention, while obstinately rejecting the idea of borrowing some ships from the White Queen to travel through the Blitz Sea from the ports of Celes. "I will NEVER ask any favour- or be indebted- to that upstart sister of mine!" she had said.

 

"I can't believe this! Of all the routes we could have taken, she just HAD to sent us through the worst one!" the Dark Avenger complained with a hoarse whisper to his mount, the Bandersnatch. The animal in question just gave a soft growl in acknowledgement, although it neither agreed nor care. The journey had lasted for several hours by now, but the soldiers are not anywhere near their destination. Either these people have to learn to adapt to the heat of the desert, or tire themselves by complaining for another 24 hours or so. For the frumious Bandersnatch, it does not matter eitherway.

 

((I planned to wait for Mira's response before RP-ing as Vorpal again, but until she actually shows sign of activity here, I'll just consider her 'gone'))

(Hmm, which reminds me, I wonder when can I post Aidan... But I guess I'll have to decide what role will he playing first)

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"A single card can't be a full house," Masahiro pointed out in Slyph's direction, his many years of card-dealing backing him up. "But I suppose that you may find it a wee bit difficult to play cards while lacking thumbs..." He turned back to Maeve and Fayt. "What are your orders, my queen?"

 

Maeve looked at Fayt for another long moment. "You say that you're no Hearts lackey--but I wasn't going to ask you about Hearts. Why so paranoid?" She began to smirk, then looked at Masahiro.

 

"Have Mikhaiel prepare a room for her," she said. "She must be quite tired to be deluded into thinking that breaking into Castle Spades was a viable or wise plan..."

 

"Yes, your Majesty," Mikhaiel's voice said from the doorway to the throne room, where he stood with a candelabra. "Come, Lady Fayt."

 

Maeve then turned to Slyph. "Now then, as for you..." She advanced toward the dog. "If tonight was "only the beginning," as you say, then I almost look forward to seeing what tricks Clubs will try next." She paused. "And then you give me a choice--sacrifice my own queendom's safety to protect my sister's." She raised her eyebrows. "Is that all?"

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{Okay, so, first post in a century… or two… Blah, me and Tei are gonna get internet on Wednesday! So we’ll be back in the game then! Tho by the time I take this from a word document and post it… It’ll probably already be Wedesday… oAo}

 

The Hatter watched in silence when the tea was brought into the room- he himself was already sipping on his own by this point, as when one had it so easily accessible it became habit to do so… At least, that was his excuse- it might have been stress that led him to consume such a large amount of tea- but since it was really difficult to tell when the Hatter was stressed, even he himself wasn’t too sure as to the motive… Perhaps it was just that poisoning tea was generally a very clean and simple way to complete some of his dirtier missions…. He really did hate getting his good clothes dirty.

Speaking of poison tea, the girl seemed uncertain as to the safety of her own, for she simply stirred it and stared at it with distaste rather than drinking it… The Hatter was surprised she had such uncertainty since she had chosen her own cup; sure, the Queen was immune to most poisons, but it wasn’t like this child knew that, and under normal circumstances, being given a choice gives the illusion of safety…. But in all honesty, the Hatter didn’t think that the Queen would ever give him the satisfaction of knowing she’d used one of his stunts to get a job done. No, what she was doing was deterring the intruder with a demeanor of kindness…. What was the phrase? Kill them with kindness? Ha, his job would have been a lot cleaner if that statement was literal, but at the very least it provided him with some amusement in this situation- it seemed as if the intruder was taken aback by the Queen’s actions. She considered her words carefully while swirling around her tea, and eventually stated her reasons for being there:

 

"I'm sure you know where I'm from, so I won't bore you with the details. I, of course, am here to assess the number of magical objects that the Hatter here has created. I would so love to take one, however useless, to the Duchess. She had seemed a little antsy, lately."

 

Had the Hatter not witnessed the confession himself he’d have not believed it to be honest- everyone in Wonderland knew that the objects were essentially scattered since the room of creation had been robbed on the day of Alice’s trial! All that was left in Hearts- besides the objects certain people carried on their person- were a couple objects that were dormant and had yet to reveal any power... And of course, it was rather pointless to steal any of them, since there was the chance they would never awaken, and if they did, their powers would likely be useless…. Really, it seemed like a ludicrous thing- even for someone as mad as the Hatter- to risk one’s life sneaking into Castle Hearts just for that…. But he could tell from her gaze that she was being honest, crazy as her proposal was.

The Hatter couldn’t help but chuckle a bit at that, but the Queen burst into laughter… Which he was rather impressed by… The intruder had quite a bit of skill to amuse her majesty so much… He considered informing her that a change in occupation might be wise- because working for the Duchess clearly wasn’t getting her very far…. But he remained perfectly silent instead, as he had been, and let the Queen continue to talk. The faster this interview got over and done with, the faster he could inform the queen of what he’d discovered, and that meant he had to refrain from interrupting…. Which was not overly difficult, as he was thoroughly enjoying the show.

 

 

Eventually however, the Queen swept out of the room, giving him some swift orders and heading for the throne room to wait for him- which of course meant he couldn’t take his time in completing said orders… Not that he could anyways, with what he’d discovered…. The Hatter sighed, and looked at the intruder. His gaze clearly stated that he was not in the mood for games.

”The tea is not poisoned child- you chose your own cup.” He stated, as if it was obvious- really, he had little patience for stupidity after talking with some of the guards as of late, ”You don’t have to believe me, however, if you don’t drink that tea, you instead be drinking my brand of tea… And let us say that… well, it won’t be as pleasant.” War was already on the horizon, and the Duchess, with her hatred of Hearts, would surely attack eventually anyways- so the Hatter had no qualms in giving her a reason to do so…. He had a lot of patience, but on the rare occasion, such as right then, when he was impatient, he had a short temper.

 

Still, when the time came to escort the girl to the dungeons, the Hatter was careful enough not to leave the task to the guards; with war on the horizon they were all on edge, which was leading to a frustratingly annoying amount of amateur mistakes. The girl was armed still, and could probably overpower the guards enough to at least escape… Which he couldn’t chance right then, as he had more important matters to attend to. Thus he was thorough in taking care to have her placed in one of the more secure cages- with no windows, and bars and walls that were too strong to break through- the door even had a special lock- courtesy of the Queen’s… paranoia… That was practically impossible to pick. Considering that she had been resourceful enough to break into the castle, the Hatter didn’t doubt that she’d eventually discover a way out of that cage… But it’d take her awhile, and right then that was all he really cared about- he needed time to talk to the queen without worrying about flies buzzing about.

And so, with the job done, he left the dungeons and took the keys with him- because the guards probably would have lost it if he’d left it with them- and proceeded up towards the throne room.

 

He was unsurprised to find the doors open and awaiting him, but he made sure to have them closed, and that he and The Queen were left alone. He only had a theory on what was happening, and although he knew for sure that there was danger, he couldn’t know what kind and of what level- it wouldn’t due to have unnecessary ears peeping in and getting panicked just then…. That, or he was just feeling particularly paranoid…. Which was logical… if his theory was true…

 

 

--------------------------------------------

 

Yue had stayed with Tai when Mikhaiel and Masahiro both ran off- partly because she was cold and she wanted him to share the blankets, but mostly because now that she wasn’t hearing all the horrible music from clubs invading she was certain that the Queen must have taken care of it, and it was okay to sleep now…. But she could still feel the unfamiliar energy coming from the throne room, and if she really strained her ears, could hear vague voices she didn’t recognize…. She was usually a horrid insomniac as it was because she often stayed up thinking - and she was awfully curious about what sort of party the Queen was having in the throne room without her…. Maybe Brandy was there…. Ohhh…. Now she really wanted to see…

Yue glanced at Tai, but he was still sleeping… That boy could sleep through anything. Maybe he’d taken all of her ability to sleep and that’s why she always had so much trouble with it! She made a face, then poked him in the ribs.

”Brother, wake up!” She hissed, poking him again when all he did was moan and roll over. ”I think the Queen is having some sort of party!”

 

”A party?” His head popped up pretty quickly at that prospect, apparently even bedtime didn’t stop his eyes from shining with excitement when it came to wild fun. ”With…cake?” And then he became conscious enough to blink and add, almost accusingly,”How come you’re not in your own bed, Sis? … Was someone mean to you?” It was pretty clear names were already running through his head.

 

”I do not know if it has cake because you won’t move, Brother!” Was the initial snappy reply, but she was quick to continue- since she saw the look on his face, “And no one was mean to me! You’re the one who’s always mean to them! It’s just that… your bed was warmer…” She added the last part a bit sheepishly, but it always took a long time for her to get warm under the blankets, and his was already there…. And she was tired…. ”Anyways-“ She changed the topic so that he wouldn’t insist that he was right, ”-We should go see what’s happening! There might not be much cake left! And I wanna meet Sir Brandy if he is there.”

Tai did not look nearly as enthused by this last statement, but the thought of food and fun coaxed him out from under the warm blankets and towards the door, where Yue waited for him. He muttered something about how ‘Brandy’ was probably mean too the whole while, but it wasn’t long before the two of them were pattering down the hall in bare feet. Yue led the way, and he didn’t question where it was that she was leading him until she came to a stop outside of a door that was most certainly not the throne room…

 

”Hey! This is that big ‘ol grumpy bird’s room!” He exclaimed when he recognized it, ”Aww, C’mon Sis, we don’t need him- he’ll eat all the cake- and he’ll probably be mean to you again! Because of course, he had concluded it must have been the mean birdie who was mean to Yue earlier, since everyone else was too busy.

 

Yue sighed. ”He wasn’t mean to me- he was asleep the whole time, and he sleeps more like a rock than you do!” She explained, ”Besides, the Queen will just send us back to bed if we don’t bring someone important along to distract people…” And so, despite her brother’s protests, she opened the door and skipped into the room.

 

She smiled at the sight that met her eyes. Really. Her birdie always slept in the oddest manners… She couldn’t fathom how sleeping on one’s stomach with their head and arms hanging over the edge of the bed was comfortable, but that was how he had slept, and he was pretty thoroughly asleep…. She walked over and poked him a couple of times, but didn’t get much of a response. Yep. Definitely asleep.

”Naesaaaalla…” She poked him again, ”Birrrdiee….”, but when that didn’t work she decided to jump to drastic measures and hop onto his back with all her weight-which was not very much at all- and exclaim, ”You’re sleeping like a nestling-“ because he had once told her that nestlings had to sleep a lot, and when he slept, he slept hard- so he must have been a nestling even though he said he wasn’t. ”Stop being a nestling and wake up! The Queen is having a party in the throne room that you should probably go to!” She climbed off of his back and attempted to push him off the bed, but that proved hard since he was a lot bigger than her and she wasn’t the strongest. ”C’mon!” She made a face as she continued to berate him.

 

--------------------------------------------

 

Sylph twitched his ears and glanced at his paws when the knave pointed out his lack of thumbs…. He could probably still learn… somehow… if the other person blindfolded themselves the entire time or something… Damn. Why in the world would he crush a dog’s dreams? It wasn’t like dogs dreams were less worthwhile than human ones, yeesh! There really needed to be some doggy protection laws, because he felt like he was getting the short end of the stick…. Which, being a dog who often played with sticks, was something he particularly hated.

Of course, when the Queen marched over to him and began speaking, any such thoughts about card playing were pushed from Sylph’s mind… she still had her really pointy rapier on her and she wasn’t speaking very happily with him… And since none of those doggy protections laws had come about yet (someone really had to get on that before he got himself killed) he had to be careful… He hoped at least he had the protection of that old moral of ‘don’t shoot the messenger’. Man, it wasn’t like he was asking for a biscuit for being the bearer of bad news, but when you worked for a psychopath good news didn’t often roll around…

”Uhh… Yeah, that’s pretty much it, your Spadliness.” He replied after a moment of wracking his brain for anything he had forgotten, ”Said he’d wait a couple of days before attacking… but… well… you remember what I said about him being impatient…” He hoped she didn’t try and attack him- fur didn’t make good armor and his lack of thumbs made a lot more things than just cards difficult…. At least he had a jar of dirt…

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As the sun rose higher towards the sky, a lone figure emerged, prowling through the higher terrains of the Ante Desert- the sandy mountains that borders the barren lands from the Kingdom of Diamonds. Her hackles suddenly raised as her heightened hearing and smell detected movements and speech of large bodies.

 

Turning sharply towards the sounds, Genesis suppressed a snarl when she saw a red army, bearing the crest of the Territory of Chess, marching towards Diamonds. There were quite a number of them, and their leader, rode on a Bandersnatch.

 

Her hand tentatively moved towards the bow-gun that hung on her belt, and took aim at the commander of the army.

 

But before the assassin could fire, the Bandersnatch growled and turned towards her direction, and its confused rider started follow its gaze. Cursing silently, Genesis pulled back her weapon and slipped away before the rest of the army noticed her presence. As strong as she is, she could not take down a whole army. The best decision would be to gather reinforcements to defend the Kingdom.

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