Difficulties Gaining Momentum
Pitch groaned when he felt a gentle shaking, sitting up and rubbing his head.
"You must come quickly." Elsa said, hurrying as she glided down the transparent stairs. He saw her form move across the lower level, planting his feet on the floor to follow her. When he reached the entrance to their ice castle, he saw her wave a hand, an ice bridge extending to the mainland as she began to meet someone halfway. Pitch narrowed his eyes warily upon seeing Jack, blinking a bit in surprise when he was carrying Alice. Elsa helped him , all of them approaching and passing him. Pitch would have been lying if he said he was shocked at her condition; the cloth covering her face was quite bloody, and Jack was an emotional mess. It was then he saw others coming. Ralph approached with an exhausted Vanellope on his shoulder, and behind them, Bunny helping a weakened Emily as his arm was like a support around her waist. As he strode towards them, they stopped, Ralph continuing past him as Emily glared at him darkly.
"Step aside. It is degrading enough that we require your assistance." Emily said.
Pitch said nothing as they walked past him, remaining idle for several moments as he shut his eyes.
"Thank you for this." Jack said quietly, Elsa wincing for a moment when she lifted the cloth off of Alice's face. She began to dab it with a damp cloth, exhaling slowly.
"Jack, I'm so sorry about all of this... about everything." Elsa replied, shaking her head. "We should have been there."
"I know you didn't mean anything against us." Jack said as she gently cleaned Alice's face. "Sandy is still there... they captured Tooth, and... we have no idea if she's even going to make it. Eliza's been brainwashed, she's working for them now."
"Eliza?" Elsa gasped. "That means..." She gasped louder, her hands covering her mouth as her heart sunk. "No... Anna..." She shut her eyes tightly.
"We have no idea what state it's in. I'm sorry, Elsa, but... it's like everything we tried meant nothing. Everything is so messed up..." Jack hung his head.
"We will bring them down, Jack." Elsa said, her expression serious now. "If even one thing happened to my sister... either way, they're going to suffer the consequences for what they've done."
"We can't do a thing with Alice like this, Sandy left behind and Emily still trying to get her strength back." Jack said. "We dealt a few good blows on their end also, so... hopefully that will buy us enough time to muster something."
Elsa nodded. "Alright." Elsa said, squeezing the now bloody cloth and wringing the water out into a clear bowl. "These herbs Emily made will definitely help... as for her..." Elsa sighed, shaking her head.
Jack bit his lip, nodding. "Okay. Thanks again, Elsa."
The young woman rose, walking out of the room to allow Jack and Alice some peace. She stopped when she saw Ralph and Vanellope, clearing her throat as she approached. "Hello Ralph... Vanellope. How are you feeling?"
"Doing okay, thanks." Ralph smiled lightly at her, giving her a nod. "Thanks for lending your place."
"It's no trouble at all." Elsa replied, glancing over at Vanellope. "Vanellope? Are you doing alright?"
The child glanced at her warily before looking away. "Yeah, just peachy; I was just in a high speed car chase and nearly suffered a 'game over' last night, but other than that, I'm-"
"Vanellope, come on..." Ralph sighed.
"What? What do they care how we are, we're just a bunch of misfits to them!" She waved her hands.
Elsa frowned, approaching the girl and kneeling down in front of her despite her protests. "Vanellope... I'm so sorry about all of this. I never wanted any of this to happen, and... Pitch and I have each made some terrible mistakes. But... the family I have back in Arendelle... they may be gone forever now. I wasn't there to protect them." Tears began to well up in her eyes. "I don't want the same thing to happen to you. Please... even if you do hate me, I just... want to keep you safe now."
Vanellope sighed, feeling a bit bad for her now. "So... is your family gone?"
"I don't know." Elsa sighed lightly. "But it would console me somewhat if I knew I had a family here."
The raven haired child smiled lightly, hopping off her seat. When Elsa drew her into a hug, she didn't resist at all, hugging her back. Ralph smiled, relieved that Vanellope had given her another chance.
Emily was curled up in a small basin of water, attempting to rejuvenate after the prior night's events. Bunny sat near her, watching over her when his ears perked up a bit. They pinned back down defensively when he saw Pitch standing there, baring his teeth.
"What do YOU want?" Bunny spat.
"... I want to thank you." Pitch started. "For taking care of my daughter."
Bunny glared. "Trust me, I didn't do it for you. So if you have the nerve to think that-"
"I know that." Pitch interrupted. "You owe me nothing, that is plain. However, I'm still thankful nonetheless." He took a step closer. "I have taken more than what can be measured in any sort of value. Even if I could attempt to repay you, I could not. I have made poor choices, even to this day. But we have a common enemy now. I realize I cannot run away from everything which causes me discomfort anymore."
"Congratulations, Sherlock. So you'll help us out now because you've got no other choice. I won't trust you if you bet your life on it. I know you would stab me in the back any chance you got." Bunny growled.
"Understandable. But when the time comes, I will help you to destroy the Queen." Pitch said.
"Why? Because she actually hurt someone you cared about now, is it? It didn't matter that half of us were on the bloody chopping block, and that Alice practically got her eyes gouged out!" His voice cracked as he shouted.
"What happened to Alice was unfortunate. My actions have caused harm to many. The least I can do now is help you to finish what you all started." Pitch replied.
"I would rather be skinned alive than accept your help now. You can sod off for all I care! Neither one of us need this, just leave us alone!" Bunny shouted, turning around to resume crouching near Emily. Pitch lingered for another moment before taking his leave.
Deep down, he knew that it wasn't going to be sunshine and rainbows between him and Bunnymund. He also knew that he had a surmountable amount of making up to do, if that was even possible. It may very well take an eternity to do so, to make amends for all of the harm he had caused, directly or indirectly, to others. As he passed Elsa, he glanced over to see her speaking to Ralph and Vanellope. She was far better at this than he was, he deduced.
Despite how much he had tried to convince her that he would only give her a cursed life if she stayed, he knew there was no changing her mind at this point. His heart pained by the thought of all the suffering she would have to endure. He walked onto the front balcony of the ice castle, looking out at the ice bridge she had formed leading now to the barren wasteland that was once his daughter's majestic forest. He sighed deeply; there was no option now, he had to push any lingering wavering for the Queen out of his heart. If he was going to fall back into darkness, he could not do so with her. If that was his fate, he would do so of his own accord.
Merida gritted her teeth as she was about to slice another card guard's neck, North stopping her.
"No. Leave one alive for questioning." He said, Merida nodding firmly as she shoved the horrid creature to the ground. She emitted a cry as she sliced another behind her, stabbing it a second time once it went down.
Hiccup and Gustav gave each other a firm nod, joining Eugene, Kristoff and Rapunzel as they gathered.
"Well, Toothless and Fanghook finished off the Executioner with Wick." Hiccup said. "So as far as we know, we've reclaimed Arendelle."
"This is very good. Now, we must leave several here to help clean up and keep an eye on things." North said, taking the two crystal necklaces and returning them to Hiccup and Merida. "If anything suspicious happens, use these to call on me to help from the workshop."
"Aye." Merida said, taking the necklace along with Hiccup.
"I can help clean! Just throw them all in a big pile and I can burn them!" Wick beamed.
Just then, a Yeti appeared out of a portal that popped up, running up to North and exclaiming in his language. North's eyes widened, staggering back a bit. "No..." He breathed.
"North? What's wrong?" Rapunzel asked, concerned.
He turned to them, his expression filled with alarm. "I must go back to the workshop. Those of you who are coming, hurry!"
He rushed into the portal with the Yeti, Rapunzel, Kristoff, Eugene and Gustav. When he returned, Olaf waddled up to them, appearing sad.
"None of them will wake up..." Olaf frowned, looking behind him.
North gently ushered them out of the way, gasping when he saw Pascal squeaking mournfully as he sobbed. The little chameleon gently nudged at Baby Tooth with his nose, but the tiny fairy remained motionless as she lay in a curled up position. All over the workshop, where the fairies had taken up residence after Tooth's capture, they lay scattered all over, none of them moving a muscle. North fell to his knees, shaking his head as he exhaled shakily.
"This can only mean one thing..." He spoke barely above a whisper, Rapunzel furrowing her brows as she tried to console her little reptilian friend.
Anna came into the room then, tears running down her cheeks. "North, I... I tried to help them... all of a sudden they just fell, one by one... I couldn't stop it."
"No, you would not have been able to." North said, rising back up to plop down into a chair. "Tooth is dead."
Everyone gasped, glancing at one another. "How do you know?" Kristoff asked, confused.
"Survival of fairies depend on survival of Tooth. If they have perished..." North held his head in his hands, the normally tough-as-brass guardian choking a sob. "I'm so sorry, Tooth..." He whispered.
Wick hung his head, everyone's expression matching his forlorn one. Gustav shook his head, picking up an axe then. "First Eliza, then they tried to kill Merida, now another one! We can't let them get away with this!"
"What we must do, is try to keep the spirit of the guardians alive." North said. "Jack, Alice, Bunny and Sandy are out there, if we do not help to keep the children believing in us, they will all perish, and Wick and I will perish." He sighs. "But... who will collect the teeth in her place...?"
"Uh, what are we, chopped liver?" Gustav asked. "We have dragons, we have keen eyes, why can't we do it?" He hopped up on the table. "We just beat a whole army of those guards, we can get a few teeth, can't we? Can't we?" He shouted louder.
"Yes we can!" Olaf exclaimed happily. "Just, how are we doing this again?"
North perked up, smiling sadly as he approached Gustav and pat his shoulder. "Tooth would be proud, Gustav." He handed him a satchel. "Wick shall help you in your travels."
"I'll go!" Rapunzel beamed. "Pascal, you're going to help, right?" The chameleon looked up at her sadly, squeaking at her a bit. "I know... it's heartbreaking about these poor little fairies... but maybe if we do their job good enough, we can at least help the other guardians." Pascal nodded, finally agreeing as she scooped him up on her shoulder.
"Be careful out there." North nodded to them. "I will never forget this."
As they all left, he turned to see Anna gently placing the dead fairies on the table. She glanced at him, sighing lightly as she sat down. She hoped for a miracle, the absence of little wings fluttering about creating a somber atmosphere in the workshop.
Night fell over the land, Jack sitting in the window of the ice castle as he looked out. He glanced over at Alice, sighing as he hoped she would wake up soon. As Emily was recovering, she had helped make more herbal salve to put on Alice's face, and it was already proving to heal her skin nicely. He blinked when he thought he saw something in the distance, squinting his eyes as he grabbed his staff. He floated out the window, touching down on the mainland when he gasped upon realizing who was approaching.
"Sandy!" He cried, hurrying towards his friend. When he got close enough, he slowed to a stop, furrowing his brows when he saw Sandy carrying someone. "Sandy, is that... is that Tooth? Why does she look different...?"
The dream guardian didn't reply- not that he could verbally anyhow- he simply looked up at Jack with agony and despair in his features, exhaling inaudibly. Jack looked down at Tooth, her wings missing and her feathers dark and dull. A terrible thought crossed Jack's mind then, his head shooting up to meet Sandy's gaze.
"Sandy, she's not... is she...?" When Sandy closed his eyes, nodding once, Jack lowered to his knees as his heart sunk. "Oh no..." He breathed, his chest tightening as he placed a gentle hand on her. "I'm sorry." After a few moments, he got back to his feet. "We should bring her inside." He motioned to the castle. "Everyone else is in there... Pitch and Elsa included."
Sandy nodded, Jack helping him to bring Tooth inside. They set her down gently, Jack taking a blanket to drape over her. He sighed, biting his lip as he sat back against the wall. Sandy remained knelt by her, his head bowed as he took her hand from under the blanket, holding it in his.
"I'm going to let the others know you're here." Jack said, Sandy nodding once before Jack got up, sighing as he wiped a few tears from his eyes. He first went to see Bunny, who was watching over Emily as she slept. "Hey... how's she doing?"
"Better, thanks." Bunny replied. "What's going on?"
"Sandy came back." Jack replied.
Bunny hopped to his feet then. "What?!"
He was about to dash out of the room when Jack stopped him. "Bunny, don't act too excited around him, he's-"
"Jack, I wasn't sure if I was ever going to see him again, get out of my way!" Bunny exclaimed.
"Tooth is dead, Bunny!" Jack cried, the Pooka standing perfectly still for a moment.
"I- I'm sorry, what?" Bunny tilted his head, his voice quieting. "I know I heard you wrong."
"You didn't." Jack said, hanging his head as he wiped at his face. "Sandy brought her back here... he couldn't save her in time. Just... take it easy with him."
Bunny's breath hitched. Tooth had been Bunny's friend for almost the longest, his heart breaking as he nudged Jack out of his way. He burst into the room where Sandy was, looking upon the scene as he fell to his knees. "Come on Tooth, don't..." His voice cracked, and sobs ripped from his chest as he let his head fall forward, his ears pinned back as he hugged himself. One hand rested on Sandy's shoulder, squeezing it lightly as they both mourned for their fellow guardian. Jack eventually wandered into the room, sitting on the floor on the other side of Bunny. They each placed an arm around each other, the three guardians not believing that their beautiful, beloved friend was truly gone.
"You are all blithering IDIOTS!" The Queen screeched at her card guards. "I leave you simpletons with one task, one MEASELY task and you manage to mess it up anyhow!"
Maharaja growled lowly; though he had the satisfaction of knowing Tooth had endured a long, painful death, he still wanted to claim her head. He was similar to the Queen in this way, that was for certain.
"It seems that their vertically challenged friend stayed behind and took her." Hans said as he noted some golden sand scattered about the open cage. "I was wondering why he was absent from the group earlier. Either way, it will make no difference being she already perished."
"I don't care if she had perished or not, I will not tolerate another prisoner breaking away from our captivity!" She winced suddenly, groaning as she used the wall for support.
"Woah, hey!" Turbo skittered over to help keep her up. "You okay there, sister?"
"I'm leaving you in charge... I'm retiring to my dwelling." She strained. "No one disturb me for the remainder of the evening, is that understood?" She hissed as she slowly made her way into the darkness.
Hans shot a glare at Turbo, not happy that she placed the cybrid in charge over him. Whatever was bothering the Queen must have been affecting her judgment as well; he wondered why she had been remaining so close to the gargantuan buffoon lately, but Hans was one to not like being shown up.
Once under the veil of darkness, the Queen fell to her knees as her breathing quickened. She did not want it to be true, but as pain surged through her body, she covered her mouth as she muffled a cry. She was a fool to deny that her one night of negligence and vulnerability had come to this, knowing that the result was nothing she had wanted or was geared for. She was in agonizing pain for several hours until she felt something wriggling about her feet, lifting her gown to take a step back. She blinked, perplexed by the creature writhing before her. It seemed to have ivory skin like her, and short, dark hair that clung to its face from being soaked with bodily fluids. Its arms were jointed, its upper body more human like and its lower body insect like, almost similar to a spider. It whimpered as it attempted to stand on its legs shakily, staggering a bit as its eyes reflected in the low light, turning to look at her. As it made its way over, the Queen furrowed her brows lightly, her heart skipping a beat as she took a step back. A tidal wave of different feelings washed over her; confusion, curiosity, emotional resistance and awe, to name a few. However, as she realized what she was to this creature, and it to her, she could not fight the urge to make some sort of connection with it. This connection was solidified the moment it uttered its first word:
The Queen inhaled sharply at the hushed whisper, the creature staring at her in the darkness. She shifted her weight a bit as she swallowed thickly.
"Yes, child. I am." She responded. "You need not fear me." She froze when the thing skittered over to her, clinging to the hem of her dress. She saw that its face was human like as well, holding her hands up for a moment before cautiously reaching one out, firmly patting it on the head. It was then she realized that the child was female. "You must heed my words now, child. You are to remain here in the shadows. There is only one you may make yourself known to, and no others. You are a great risk to me."
The small creature tilted her head, and the Queen understood that others would capture her scent in this state. She briefly told the creature to follow her, and it obeyed as it continued to cling to her dress and some of her tentacles. She hid her away in a small space before seeking out a cybug skittering about. "Fetch Turbo and bring him here." She said quietly, glancing up at him when he came to her several minutes later. "It is done."
He rolled his eyes. "Fantastic, I had to deal with snot-nosed brats for a decade and now I have to deal with-"
"And you think I wanted this?!" The Queen hissed. "This is the last thing I need at this moment! Fetch water so that I can clean off its afterbirth; I don't want anyone to know about it!"
"Hey, it takes two to tango, sister!" Turbo growled. "Why not just get rid of the stupid thing?"
"Because it is an extension of me. Any extension of me shall be treated the same as I would my own physical form. She shall be protected until I can make other arrangements." The Queen said.
"She?" Turbo raised a brow.
The Queen hissed. "Just do as I say!"
Turbo rolled his eyes, turning to bark at some of his cybugs. The Queen turned away from him, sighing as she frowned deeply, never having such an overwhelming sense of uncertainty in her existence.
The following morning, Jack blinked his eyes open as he felt stirring beside him. Over the course of the night, he had wandered back to where Alice was, everything a blur. He glanced over, becoming more alert as he sat up quickly.
"Alice?" Jack called her name quietly, taking her hand. "Hey... are you okay?"
"Oh... I feel like I collided head first into a train..." Alice groaned, sitting up to hold her head when she stopped. "Why is there a cloth on my face?"
Jack took a deep breath, slowly reaching over to undo it. When he removed it, he sighed with relief that at least her face appeared relatively back to normal, even her eyes had healed up... but appearances was all her eyes were going to improve in, Alice furrowing a brow.
"You were hurt pretty badly." Jack said softly.
"I can imagine... is it night already? You could have at least taken me somewhere with windows..." Alice said.
Jack exhaled slowly, biting his lip. "Actually, it's morning." He said, pausing for a moment. "We found Elsa and Pitch, she made an ice castle on the water just off the mainland. That's where we are right now."
"Then why in bloody hell..." Alice's voice faded, and everything from the day before started to come back to her. When she remembered the last thing before going unconscious, she frowned deeply, touching her face lightly. "... he blinded me." She spoke barely above a whisper.
Jack nodded, a lump forming in his throat as he took Alice's hands in his. "I'm so sorry, Alice." His voice cracked.
Alice took in a shaky breath, nodding as she allowed this to sink in. A million thoughts were running through her brain at once. "How did everyone else fare? Did we all make it?"
Jack hung his head, squeezing her hands. "Well... everyone in the kart made it back here in one piece. A little banged up, but..." He looked up at her then. "... Sandy... came back last night."
"Oh... good." A thought came to her then, gasping to herself lightly. She pondered further upon it for a moment. "Can you bring him here? I would like to ask him something."
"That's going to be a bit hard right now." Jack replied.
"Why? He isn't in that bad of a state, is he?" Alice asked, concerned.
"... He doesn't want to leave her side." Jack replied.
"Whose? Not Emily I hope, surely she must be alright..." Alice asked.
"No. He... he tried to save her..." Jack wiped at his face as tears began to well up in his eyes again. "Tooth is gone."
Alice's spine visibly slacked, the young woman closing her eyes tightly for a moment. "Oh..." She breathed. "Oh Jack, I... I'm sorry."
Just then, Jack's head turned when he noticed Sandy floating in the doorway. "Sandy..." He stood, the dream guardian floating up to Alice. He was also well aware Alice had been blinded, the young woman turning to face his general direction.
"Sandy... I'm so sorry for your loss." She sighed. "I wish I could have done something more."
Sandy nodded, patting her arm lightly to convey that he understood. Alice glanced up then, clearing her throat.
"Jack, would you mind giving Sandy and me a moment?" She asked.
"Sure." Jack leaned over to plant a brief kiss on her cheek, getting up and heading out of the room. As he wandered about the castle, he stopped as he noticed Pitch leaning against the balcony, looking out. He slowly approached him, leaning on the balcony's railing beside him. Pitch regarded him with a glance, the two silent for some time. "It was good of Elsa to let us stay here." He started, Pitch glancing at him a second time.
"Indeed, it was." Pitch replied. "She has a better heart than I."
"She has a heart, period." Jack responded, looking at the Nightmare King. "I'm not the brightest bulb on the tree, Pitch, we both know that."
"What of it?" Pitch asked.
"You must have seen her." Jack became a bit emotional then, shaking his head. "When you went to make that- that bizarre deal with the Queen, you... you must have seen Tooth there... Eliza too... and you just walked RIGHT by them. You could have DONE something." Jack clenched his teeth, standing up straight as turned to face him fully. Pitch remained as he was, looking at Jack with little emotion. "Answer me, damn it! My friend is DEAD, my sister is... is brainwashed! The least you owe me is an answer!"
Pitch stood up straight then, turning to face Jack. While Jack was becoming tenser by the second, Pitch remained poised and refined. "You should know by now that I am not a very merciful person, Jack." He replied.
"That's NO excuse!" Jack growled. "You see one of my friends dying, my family being TORTURED and you just LEAVE them there?! Wh- What if it was Elsa, huh? What if it was her dying in that cage?! What if it was Emily's mind being squeezed like some- some rag?"
"All of your points are quite valid. But Jack, I already know your nature. You would help someone in need, you would even help someone as despicable as myself." Pitch replied.
"Ohhh no. No... if I saw you rotting somewhere I would walk right past you." Jack said lowly, shaking his head.
"I don't blame you. But that is simply not my nature, Jack. I have an objective in mind, everything I do benefits myself and the few I hold dear to me. I know it is wrong. I was like you, once. Valiant, generous, heroic. I would have offered my hand to the lowest of the low and rise them above their toils. This darkness that has festered in me for so long... it would take so much time to undo it, Jack. And the harder I try, the more persistent in dragging me further into the shadows it becomes. I will address the accusations you have claimed against me. I speak the truth when I say I was not aware of your sister's presence, the Queen kept her concealed from me when I had visited. I did see Toothiana... she was already in a very poor state." Pitch explained.
Jack scowled. "I hope that you're miserable." Jack says. "You deserve nothing good. NOTHING." He jabbed a finger at his chest.
"No, Jack. Do not be as hateful as I am. It is not who you are. I already know I am undeserving of happiness and love. I have caused harm to those I do love. I must live with it each day of my life." Pitch replied.
"Why did you even try to join our side, Pitch? Why not just try to kill us all from the very beginning?" Jack asked.
"Because I began this journey with good intentions. But that is what paves the road to darkness Jack, and I am already well along that path. The true test of change came, and I failed. I do not expect to be forgiven for all the evil I have done in my lifetime. Any good I had done before I was changed could never amount to it." Pitch said.
Jack glared at him. "You know, Pitch... in the beginning of all this... I actually felt bad for you. I wanted to HELP you. What an idiot I was. You know why you can't be helped? Why you can't change? Because deep down, you don't WANT to. Everyone around you has suffered because of it. So do yourself a favor and go back to the space under the bed where you came from." Jack spat, turning around and storming back into the castle.
Sandy glanced up at Alice, patting her hand lightly. He gently reached up to place his hand on her forehead, the young woman falling asleep moments later after they finished their discussion. He had tied the cloth back around her eyes, and after she fell into a deep sleep, he closed his eyes as he concentrated, dissolving into golden sand and entered into her mind.
Once there, he opened his eyes to take in his surroundings, realizing he had made it successfully into Wonderland. He was quite impressed by the beautifully surreal scenery, smiling lightly as he floated forward.
'Follow your way forward until you reach a waterfall, the stone carved into my image. There, you will find what you need. Take the bottle placed nearby and collect the nectar from one of the violet flowers there. Collect only from the flowers; the violet water in the lake has a side effect that shall make me vertically challenged; I mean no offense, but I desire to remain more than three inches high.'
Sandy located the small bottle, emitting a light aura as he took it into his hand. He then saw various large, violet flowers emitting their own aura, about to approach them when someone appeared in his path, stopping him. The Cheshire cat grinned, swishing his tail as he did so.
"Well, you must be the Sandman. I was expecting your arrival. Such a pity Alice's eyes were nearly gouged out, she could barely see anything clearly as it was. Luckily, the nectar from those flowers only show the bare minimum; only what is most important. It is subtle, sometimes cryptic, but effective nonetheless in showing one the right path." He said to Sandy. "You are much like someone else I know; short in stature, but noble and wise beyond their years. Luckily you don't seem to lecture as much as the caterpillar though; I rather like your muteness. Easy on the ears, and I didn't have to be the one to exert effort in getting your tongue. Isn't it lovely when things work in your favor without having to actually working for it?" He chuckled. "I cannot say the same for your situation, Sandman. You must understand something very critical between Alice and the Queen. Their connection runs quite deep into the root, you see. A connection that intertwined is nearly impossible to separate. Even if you do manage to murder the Queen in cold blood... her influence upon Alice may continue long after that. In truth, it may be fated for the two to always be a curse to each other, even in death."
Sandy exhaled sharply, giving Cheshire a firm nod. As he turned to leave, the Cheshire Cat made one last remark.
"Alice's life was fated for much suffering. I have a feeling it shall only continue even if you ensure the Queen's downfall. If not Alice herself, then those who carry her bloodline shall. The Queen is an extension of Alice's mental psyche; so as long as she remains, so shall the suffering between them."
The dream guardian shut his eyes tightly for a moment, nodding. As he collected the nectar before taking his leave, he felt a twinge of pity for Alice; was she always meant to live such a wretched life?
Jack had returned to Alice's bedroom, sitting by her side. When Sandy began to emerge from her mind, he jumped a bit in surprise, raising his brows when golden sand began to extract itself from Alice's forehead. When Sandy fully materialized, he shook his head a bit, his hand ruffling through his own hair until a couple pocket watches clattered to the floor. Jack blinked, snickering a bit.
"So... you experienced Wonderland, huh?" Jack asked. "Did you meet any of her... friends?"
Sandy nodded, heaving an exasperated sigh. He then produced the small bottle containing the purple liquid, motioning to Jack to wake her.
"What is that, Sandy?" Jack asked. When Sandy gave him a flat look, he held his hands up. "Okay, okay, jeez..." He leaned over, shaking Alice gently. "Hey... Alice. Sandy needs you to wake up..." As she shifted a bit, Jack gently kissed her forehead, helping her to sit up. Sandy motioned for him to take the bottle and have her drink its contents.
"Did you find it, Sandy?" She asked sleepily. When she felt the cool surface of smooth glass being placed in her hand, she straightened up a bit. "Thank you. I'm hoping this works or else my ability to fight will be no longer." She took in a deep breath, unstopping the bottle to drink. When she finished it off, she held her hand out to the side, Jack taking it before holding her hand.
"Alice, what... what did you just drink? What's going on?" Jack asked.
"If this goes as planned, I'll be able to tell you in a moment." Alice said, sitting in silence for a minute or two. "Remove the blindfold."
Sandy did so, Alice's eyes closed once he took the cloth off her face. She slowly opened her eyes, her pupils dilated and reflective with a bit of a purple hue. She looked all around, taking in her surroundings as she was now able to see in her "shrink vision." Everything was a shade of purple, outlines of people, objects, and enclosed space shown in a white, chalky quality visual. Her eyes gravitated towards Jack, who was staring at her with shock when she looked directly into his own.
"Alice... can you-... can you see me?" Jack breathed.
"So to speak... but yes." She smiled lightly, briefly giving Sandy a nod of thanks.
Jack beamed then, his eyes lighting up as he embraced her. Alice smiled as she returned it, Sandy smiling sadly as he looked upon the scene. Alice noticed this after a few moments, turning to take his hands.
"Sandy, I'm going to find a way to restore Toothiana." She said. "I know that can be possible once we destroy the Queen."
The dream guardian nodded, the two sharing a brief hug. "We must all rest now, we need to regain our strength. I suppose Pitch and Elsa are fighting alongside us again, that should help. Perhaps we can use Pitch as a sacrifice."
"Pfft yeah, I wish." Jack rolled his eyes. "I'll never forgive him for this."
As the three of them bid each other goodnight, they did not realize that not far off in the distance, opposing forces were arriving to set up for initiating battle the next morning.