Alice's Fight For Hatter
When Duchess awoke the next morning, she found that Jack was not lying beside her as he usually was. In fact, he was not even in their room. So, Duchess got up and got dressed in order to go out to find him.
As she walked through the palace corridors and into the throne room where she expected to find her husband, she saw him talking to several suits. Duchess came up to him as they walked away and kissed Jack on his lips. Then, she saw he was packing a bag and looked up at him questioningly.
"Jack, what's going on?" she asked. "Have you received word about Dodo's whereabouts?"
"No, not yet," he replied. "But I can no longer just sit around and wait for word to come. I trust you to be able to run things. I have to find Alice and help her and the other to find Dodo."
Duchess nodded her head and responded, "I will take care of things from here, but are you sure that you should do this? I mean, will you be safe out there?"
Jack wrapped his arms around her and answered, "I will be perfectly fine, I assure you. My men will keep me safe."
A knock on the door interrupted them. After Jack told them to enter, two of his men walked in, along with another man, whom Jack did not recognize. They walked over and bowed before the King and Queen.
"Please forgive the interruption, Your Majesties," one of Jack's men said. "This man said that he had a very important message meant for the King and refused to tell anyone else."
"What can I do for you, ah…?" Jack asked.
The stranger replied, "My name is of no importance. I have a message for you from my employer, Mad March."
Jack stood taller as he stared at the man before him and responded, "Mad March was killed the day my mother was overthrown. How can he be your employer?"
"Hatter did manage to kill him back then," the man replied. "However, thanks to Doctors Dee and Dum, he is once again alive."
"What is your message?" Jack asked angrily.
"March asked me to tell you that he and the doctors have taken Alice, Hatter, the knight, and your advisor hostage. Hatter and the others will die, but if you want to save Alice's life, you must release the Queen of Hearts and give her the Stone of Wonderland. If you refuse, March will kill Alice as well."
Jack tensed and answered, "I will never release my mother or give up the Stone of Wonderland. Four of Diamonds, go and find Ten of Spades. I must speak with him."
March's messenger chuckled and responded, "Your advisor won't be working for you anymore. Mad March is your advisor. Ten of Spades died when the casino burnt down. Dee and Dum found his body, as well as Mad March's and after hard work and science, two became one."
Jack replied, "You lie. Ten of Clubs has been working for me all these years. I would know if he were Mad March."
"He did what he had to do in order to get what he wanted," the man responded. "Who do you think could have gotten ahold of the Stone of Wonderland in order to help Dodo into the oysters' world?"
"Speaking of Dodo, where does he fit in to all of this?" Jack asked.
The stranger answered, "Dodo is dead. He was no longer needed. March only wanted him to travel to the oysters' world to shoot Hatter, in order to lure Alice of legend back here. Dodo was only too pleased to accept after Hatter humiliated him and made his life even worse than what it was before. He had no idea about Mad March or what his plans were. Now, I suggest you meet his demands and release you mother and the Stone of Wonderland, or Wonderland's hero will die. It's your choice."
Before Jack could answer, the doors to the room suddenly banged open to reveal one of his men as he ran over to Jack and Duchess and cried, "Your Highness, one of the men you sent with Alice and the others just came back badly wounded. He said that they were attacked by the Jabberwocky in the forest. He and the rest of your men held off the beast while Alice, Hatter, the knight, and Ten of Clubs escaped. He does not know what happened to them."
The stranger turned back to Jack and said, "Now you know that I speak the truth. What do you say?"
"I want proof of what you say," Jack answered. "You will take me and my men to Alice and the others. I want to see them for my own eyes before I make any decision."
March's man bowed before the King and followed his men out of the room while Jack finished preparing for his trip. Duchess tried to convince him that he shouldn't go because she was afraid that March would kill him once he received what he wanted, but he assured her that he needed to go and do what he could to make sure Alice would be safe.
Back in the underground bunker…
After allowing Alice to stay with Hatter for a few minutes, Mad March ordered Dee and Dum to hold her while he beat on Hatter some more. March walked behind Hatter and cut through the ropes binding him to them chair. After doing so, he shoved Hatter onto the floor. Hatter quickly raised his head and glared at Mad March as he struggled to get up off the floor.
Once Hatter stood, Mad March circled around him and said, "I will give you a chance to defend yourself. What do you say? Are you up to fighting me?"
Alice struggled in the twins' grip as she cried, "Leave him alone, please! This isn't fair, he's sick. Hatter!"
"That's the fun of it," March responded.
"Don't worry, Alice," Hatter said as he watched Mad March closely. "I still have some strength left in me. I'll be fine."
The doctors laughed menacingly as they watched Mad March continue to circle around Hatter like a vulture. Hatter was in pain, but he mustered up all the strength he had left and waited for Mad March to make the first move.