Chapter One

A New Reign

It is a time of peace and prosperity in Underland since the Frabjeous Day when the Jabberwocky had been slain by Alice. Iracebeth, the Red Queen, the former ruler of Underland and Ilosovic Stayne, the Knave of Hearts have been banished to the Outlands for their crimes of treason and murder.

The young Rose Queen, Mirana II, has declined the crown and requested to learn more about ruling Underland. Her mother, Mirana I, the White Queen, has began her daughter's lessons in governing Underland while secretly planning the official coronation for her young daughter.

Underland eagerly await their new Queen's reign…

However, there are dangers that threaten the Royals that many remain unaware of…a disturbance in the West stirs…whispers of vengeance and war...

She stood in the garden, staring at her mother, all dressed in white and pearls, her white shiny curls glowing in the sunlight.

"Mummy!" called the girl's voice.

She got closer to her mother and she turned around and saw a huge hole in her mother's chest, blue blood gushing out. She screamed and caught her mother, holding her in her arms, coughing up blood, grasping her with bloody hands, staring at her…dying…

"Mirana…" she whispered, painfully.

Mirana sat up in bed, sweating and screaming loudly. It was the nightmare again. It was always the same ever since. Nivens entered the royal bedchamber, concerned. He was worried about the young Queen for she had been acting strange for a long time.

"Your Highness," he said. "Are you alright?"

"Fine," she replied. "Just another nightmare."

"Well, Your Highness, you need to get up. We have lessons to do."

She knew the routine: get up, wash, dress, Queen lessons with mother, visiting the poor and political meetings. As much as she loved being Queen, it was hard. There was much for her to learn. Though her mother believed she was ready to rule Underland, Mirana didn't think so. She insisted that she needed more time. Her mother agreed, but she couldn't rule unless she completed her lessons. She bestowed the title 'young Queen' on her daughter. She would not wear the crown until her coronation. She was given a diadem while the crown was locked away until the right time.

Since the fall of the Red Queen, Underland was restored to its glorious beauty, peacefulness and prosperity. The sky was much brighter, the grass was greener, flowers bloomed brightly and the trees were full of blossoms, the animals and people were happier. Everyone was happy, except for the Young Queen.

She missed her best friend, Alice Kingsleigh, who had returned to Aboveland since she had unfinished business there. She wished she could see her again. Life in Underland was lonely. Who knows how many years had gone by in Aboveland? She wondered if Alice had forgotten about Underland and her.

Mirana sat outside in the garden, waiting for her mother to begin Queen lessons, staring at the cherry blossom trees, who were whispering with joy whenever the Young Queen stood in their presence.

"Are you ready to begin your lesson today?" asked the White Queen, gliding through the garden, her arms up like she was dancing.

"Yes," Mirana replied.

During the lesson, she felt distracted and worried. The dream that she had was disturbing her. While her mother spoke, the words sounded like mumbles and jibberish to Mirana.

"Darling?" said the White Queen, which was full of light and spoke softly like a whispering wind. "Is everything alright? You seemed a bit distracted today."

Mirana twirled a lock of her pink hair and looked at her mother's inky eyes.

"I'm worried, Mother," she said. "I had the dream again. Lately, it has been the same for many days. I'm always dreaming about you. I'm five-years-old again…and I'm running to you in this garden…and you're bleeding…dying…"

"Oh, darling," said the White Queen. "I promise you that I won't be dying any time soon."

"I know it will happen someday," Mirana said. "I need you very much. I've been away from Underland for so long that I barely know you and I still want to get to know you."

"Understandable." She paused. "Come now, shall we continue our lessons?"

She nodded and attempted to push the dream out of her mind and focus on her lesson for the day.

Underland had been anxiously waiting for the coronation of the Young Queen, which would be soon. She did everything that she needed to know in order to be Queen, yet she still didn't feel ready. She wished she could delay just a little longer, but she knew she had a responsibility.

Mirana's favorite course was the Warrior Class: training to fight with a sword in case her guards were unable to protect her. She loved the feel of steel in her hands, the feel of armor, tumbling and swishing about…it felt glorious and free, much better than wearing a gown. Mirana's instructors were pleased with her agility, strength, and fierceness.

The White Queen stood watching as her daughter continued her Warrior lessons, smiling, very proud. Her daughter was kind, fair and beautiful, yet fierce and brave. Mirana's heart lied with Military Strategy and Tactics along with Diplomacy: commanding a strong military and being a excellent reliable leader, the art of war, politics, peaceful negotiations with domestic and foreign affairs, and justice.

Mirana's plans as Queen were to strengthen the military so Underland's defenses would be ready in times of war. She would command her armies with strong leadership, even if it meant fighting on the battlefield with her soldiers. She was willing to die for Underland for she saw herself as not a ruler, but an equal to her soldiers.

The White Queen sighed, still disturbed over her daughter's dream during their lessons. Though she would not be dying any time soon, she did not tell her the biggest secret of all...

"Have you not told her?" said the smooth voice of Absolem, a beautiful blue butterfly.

"In time, Absolem," sighed the White Queen.

"When is the right time, Your Majesty? Your daughter needs to know the truth. I think it is unwise to tell her on the day of her coronation."

"I know."

"And perhaps she should know...about her origins?"

The White Queen felt sick. Ever since Rex of Crims had done a despicable act to the White Queen, which resulted in her pregnancy and her daughter's birth. She watched as her daughter kept fighting.

"What does the Oraculum say...of her rule? Does it speak of...death?"

"Come and see for yourself, Your Majesty," he said.

Absolem flitted towards the palace where the Oraculum was kept. It had been rescued once the Red Queen's downfall from Crims. The Kingdom of Crims lay in ruin and abandonment, the knights of the Red Queen had become knights of Marmoreal.

"Her rule will be peaceful and prosperous," he said. "There is a dark cloud that hangs over the Rose Queen's rule...I suspect that is an indication of something dark is coming to plague Underland...though the answer is still unclear."

Tarrant watched as the Young Queen fought with such fierceness. He had been made First Knight to the Queen, commander of the military. How long ago this young woman was when he first remembered her as a princess. She had grown up.

"Your Highness," said Tarrant, bowing.

"Rise, Sir Tarrant," Mirana said, removing her helmet, wiping the sweat off.

"I was wondering if I might take you somewhere...on horseback...a place you'd like to see."

Mirana smiled. "I'd like that, Sir Tarrant. I deserve a pause from a long day of fighting."

She removed her armor, dressed in only a thin shirt and tights. Tying her hair in a leather binding, she mounted her horse along with Tarrant and they took off riding, her pink hair flying behind her, staring at Tarrant. Mirana and Tarrant rode their horses until they came to the Clearing in the Woods. It was the place where the grand battle of the Frabjeous Day had occurred: Alice slew the Jabberwocky. She found its skull still there, now a skeleton.

Mirana stared at the crumbling ruins of a castle that once stood there many years ago. She wondered what had happened to this place. She envisioned Kings and Queens who had lived there for many generations. She got off her horse and touched one of the columns, which was blackened.

"Why have you brought me to this place?" she asked Tarrant, dismounting. "Reminiscing for old time sake, I suppose."

Tarrant stared at the ruins. "I suppose," he said, quietly. "But there's more history than you think besides the Frabjeous Day, Your Highness. This was once a glorious home to your grandparents and many of the Royals of Underland. This was your mother's original home. This is where the Royals lived and reigned."

"What happened to it?"

"The Red Queen destroyed it on the day your mother was crowned Queen of Underland, she murdered your grandparents out of vengeance for they chose your mother to be Queen. It's a shame you never met them. They would've been very proud of you."

"Perhaps we could restore this place to its former glory one day," she said. "I would like to honor in memory your clan, Tarrant."

"I'm honored, your Highness."

Mirana stared at her friend, worried. Were there any more of his people besides him? She knew that Tarrant's Hightopp clan was massacred on the day Mirana was sent away from Underland.

"Are there any others like you, Tarrant?"

He looked sad, recalling his memories. "'Fraid not," he said in a Scottish accent. She knew he was recalling the past. Tarrant looked at Mirana. He couldn't help but feel adoration for the young Queen. He had always loved her ever since...yet, they were friends and she was of royal blood.

"Who knows? I may board the ship leaving for the Immortal Lands," he said.

"The Immortal Lands?"

"Yes. It's a place across the Crimson Sea...all those who are...well, let's just say their time has come...board the ship and sail across the sea, disappearing forever."

"But Tarrant, you are my First Knight. You cannot leave."

"I know, your Highness. I am the last of my kind. I don't think I will have long to live."

Mirana was sad. "I don't want you to go, Tarrant. But if you feel your time has come. At least stay for the coronation."

"Thank you, Your Majesty."

Mirana smiled. She knew she wasn't Queen, but was nice to hear sometimes.

The Outlands

There were a decrepit group of men with lank hair and darkened skin from the hot sun, covered in scars and wounds, some missing eyes and limbs. This group was known as The Spades: assassins, murderers, thieves...the banished folk of Underland who were never to return. They had gathered around a stone table with two figures sitting across from them.

"Why is it you come to us?" asked the leader.

"It is time, gentlemen," said the woman, "to end the reign of the Royal Family. I need you to murder Princess…pardon me, Queen Mirana II. Her coronation is very soon. The White Queen's time is over. It is our chance to strike."

"What's in it for us?" asked the leader.

"All the fortunes you can imagine. I will gladly rule as your Queen."

"Tell us what you need to know," the leader said.

"Everyone will be at the coronation," said the woman's voice in the dark. "Marmoreal doesn't have very high walls. It will be easy to assassinate the Rose Queen." She pointed to a high tree that overlooked the courtyard on the map. "This is where the coronation will take place. Your man can station himself there. Once the Rose Queen is dead, your army can invade Underland. Then, we will execute the White Queen on grounds of treason. The Banished can rule Underland with me as its Queen. After all, the crown is mine…and that Rose Bitch stole it from me."

"So it is agreed," said the leader. "The Banished shall rise to their former glory. Underland will be ours."

"Indeed. Whatever lands you want, you may have."

The woman smiled, her faded red heart widened on her dry, cracked lips…