“His name is Kier Lycanthrope,” Alexander explained as stared at the beast on the shore. “The Moon Goddess firstborn, the father of the wolves. Shit.”
Just faintly his howls breached the sky. It sounded almost pitiful.
“He’s your brother,” I noted wide-eyed. “He killed my mother--he’s the reason I came to Wonderland!”
Maybe he could tell what I was planning because Cain wrapped a stern arm around my waist to keep me in place. A smart choice considering I was about to throw myself overboard.
A grin takes over half my face. “I’m going to kill him.”
“No, we’re here to find Alice.” Alexander chastises, he turns and calls out for Smee. “Change of plans! We’ll be loading the cannons.” He looks at our group again, “Cain and little miss crazy will be going down. Given our current predicament, they seem to be the only ones who won’t be ripped to shreds. Hatter put that baby down and sword up, you used to be a Knight back in the day, is what I heard. Luka, you’ll be helping Smee with reloading.
“We can get you just enough time to land, as soon as you do, stay hiding. If Kier catches your scents he’ll give chase. His army is small but they’re all Lycans. So watch yourselves.” Alexander is so authoritative. I would think it was hot if I wasn’t itching for vengeance. “Right now the important thing is saving Alice and living to tell the tale. You’ll jump on my signal.”
“This isn’t--” Cain places his hand over my mouth before I can protest.
“You can have your revenge after we get Alice back,” Cain tells me. He nods towards Alexander, “Thanks, Captain.”
With a smirk, Alexander climbs up onto the rail of the ship holding tightly to the ropes of the sail. He places a hand over his mouth and shouts.
“Kier Lycanthrope!” The red-eyed monster looks up at him and growls. “Nice to see you again brother. Let's end this now.”
From below the ship, there is a rumbling sound. Smee has loaded the cannons.
Alexander laughs, “Ready! Aim!
Wonderland is as desolate as I can remember.
“There's where the doctors used a metal prod to keep me walking,” I tell Cain as we slink through the halls. “And oooh that’s where Alice and I had our first tea party! Such memories.”
"Hold my hand before you go off and do something stupid." He snaps. "We definitely don't need your insane ass running around unattended."
How rude. As if I'd do something to jeopardize finding Alice. She is top priority.
"Wait. Do you hear that?" Cain grabs my hand we stand quietly. My ears strain until I can hear what I guess he heard too.
We start running.
Eventually, when we are close enough so that the screams are reverberating everywhere around us, we run into a man.
He's tall, silver hair peeking out from behind his rabbit mask which covers the top half of his face.
"This is..." Cain trails off. He doesn't need me to tell him, it's obvious who he is.
"Welcome back Cheshire." He cocks his head. "I see you've brought a friend. No matter. You're late late late."
"Is she safe?" I ask him.
"She killed jabberwocky, all on her own." His lips tilt into a smile "I was so proud of her."
Even I can't fight off the grin. She'd gotten rid of one of our biggest roadblocks to her. She'd done it.
"You know I can't let you pass."
"Get the fuck out of the way," Cain growls taking a step towards him. Rabbit seemed to study him.
"You're the prince? I'd heard of you, of course, I never imagined you'd come on your own." Rabbit shakes his head. "Sorry, but you won't be able to kill me. And you'll have to if you want to make it to Alice. She's in labor you know."
Cain's harsh growl ricocheted through the hall. It was my turn to stop him from lunging.
"What were your orders? The bloody queen, what did she tell you?" I ask.
"She said she wants to kill you herself. She left me no orders for the boy there beside you." Rabbit confesses. "Alice is with them now."
"She can't bloody her hands. Can't kill a soul." Rabbit answers. He studies Cain. "My contract forbids me from hurting her, but she was killed before. If it's you, it can be done again."
I'd ripped the red queen's skin from her face before I left. What that revealed was a pool of maggots and rotting skin beneath. She was the living dead, brought back by Azrael's power. Reborn to serve Duchess's schemes.
"You and I will need to fight long enough for him to kill her. If you let up even a second before I'll kill you and then him." He further explains.
"Wait. You're on our side?" Cain narrows his eyes. "Why even fight us?"
"My kind has the ability to forge blood contracts with people of our choosing. A millennia ago one was formed between me and the Queen. It binds us for life, so until she is dead I must do her every bidding." Rabbit raises his hand for me to take. "You must go down the right hallway, there's another entrance that way. When you find the right opportunity you kill her. Only then can I truly be on your side."
I take his hand and he begins to lead me into the throne room. "Listen to what he says Cain." I grin. "Tonight we get Alice back. And she's finally going home."
Cain is gone before the doors open.
As we step inside I see Alice on a cot, her dirty blonde hair matted to her skin from sweat. Her teeth clenched in pain. The blood at the edge of her dress an indicator as to what she is going through.
"Chessie!" A cheerful voice calls and the Red Queen steps out from the shadows. "Welcome home."
And as she throws her hands into the air, I can't help but grin.
"Good to be back."