Title: Gino's Wonderland

Series: Gaia Online

Genre: Fantasy / Humour

Summary: Gino falls into Wonderland and meets up with various characters from the very same book he's reading.

Disclaimer: Gaia Online and Gino Gambino are copyright to the admins of Gaia Online and Alice in Wonderland is copyright to Lewis Carroll.

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Capitolo Uno

A pale blue, sunlit sky passed overhead, fluffy white clouds dotting the hues of blue. It was around midday, thus creating a serene, peaceful afternoon with bright sunlight and the cheerful songs of birds harmonising. A few birds twittered a gentle song to one another as they fluttered along the updrafts above the large, multi-wing mansion.

The mansion was fairly plain looking, though with a somewhat intricate floor plan. There was three floors, as well as an attic atop, which hardly anyone went into. From the perspective of the birds floating along the updrafts, it looked like three rectangles had been pasted together, two laid out with the longer sides creating the width of the mansion, and the third laid between the two facing the opposite direction, creating an "H" shape.

Surrounding the plain white walls of the large building were rafters of white wood, though the paint had been sun-bleached down and worn off over the years to a pale greyish tint. The rafters were wrapped with overgrown ivy and other such foliage, though for the most part, it was kept somewhat tame by those who pruned on a weekly basis. Though, the ivy seemed to always stray away from the area of windows or doors. It leapt along balconies, though fell to a stop at a point around ten centimetres from the top edging.

Outside the building, to one side, lay out a large maze-like garden, with perfectly pruned hedges and a large fountain at the centre. Flowers were scattered along the maze, and surrounding it in large circular patterns, separated from one another by stone-lined paths or thin rivers inhabited by large koi.

Beyond the maze and the remainder of the building lay a simple grass field, spotted with deciduous trees of all sorts, some fruit bearing, others bearing flowers, some simply placed strategically for optimal shade.

Under one of these particular trees, one bearing small pink buds, lay a young man. His face was hidden by an open book positioned to hide any rogue sunlight from his eyes and awaken him from his delectable slumber. His thin arms, covered in a sheer white material for his sleeves, were crossed over his chest loosely, while his legs were straight out from the base of the tree he lay against.

He was wearing a plain white button down shirt, with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. Normally the sleeves were cuffed off at his wrists by a set of slender gold cufflinks, but today, it was much too warm to wear everything he did on a normal day. Thus, he was clad in the button down shirt and a simple pair of crimson pants. His purple vest was cast off to one side; he'd thrown it off after realising just how warm it was. He was barefoot, hence the legs on his pants were left hanging; his shoes left beside the vest. The gold belt with a large golden "G", for his surname, Gambino, was left beside the other articles of discarded clothing, as he felt it was just too formal for a plain day in the shade with a good book.

The young man stirred slightly, the book falling off his face, collapsing on the grass upon it's spine, closing to reveal the front cover of the book. Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll. His mouth was opened slightly, to allow the sleep-slowed breath to escape; his eyes still closed, albeit with fluttering eyelashes. A stray lock of blonde hair fell into his eyes, causing one to open slowly, revealing the violet shade, followed shortly by the other. Uncrossing his arms, he rubbed his eyes with both hands, trying to shove the thicker than most blonde eyebrows he had inherited most unfortunately from his father.

He ran one hand through his hair, slicking it back slightly for a moment or two as he lifted the book from where it lay beside him and made sure none of the pages were bent. Closing the classic piece of literature, he lay it on his lap and folded his hands over it. His eyes traced the outline of his home, then wandered over to the maze, tracing the outline of it as well. He had been through it so many times he knew exactly where to go and when to turn, and could probably complete it with his eyes closed.

Cracking the hardcover of the book open again, he read the note scrawled on the first empty page over.

Dear Gino;

This was a favourite book of your mother's. Unfortunately, it's not the copy she owned personally, but I hope it still would hold sentimental value to you in later years. Have a happy birthday, son.

Love from your father, Johnny.

Gino smiled slightly at the note. His father wasn't usually much for sentiment, but the simple gift of the book had been one of his favourite presents for years to come, and the note was always as heart-warming, no matter how many times he reread it. He snapped the book shut again, and settled it back into his lap along with folded hands. Tilting his head back against the tree, he watched the birds flutter along in the sky, twittering to each other, bringing a musical melody to his ears and a smile to his full lips.

Another sound came to his ears, drawing his attention away, his eyes drifting past the high, wrought-iron fencing surrounding the Gambino property, past the sidewalks and onto the road, where a young-looking female with large twitching white rabbit ears poking from between locks of her short blue hair ran.

"I'm late, I'm late…oh no, the Queen is going to be mad at me again! I'm late for her tea party!" Hearing the loud voice, he stood up quickly, almost dropping the book but recovering it quickly. Pulling on his shoes, though leaving the other articles of clothing, he began running down the gradually steeping hill to the fence, picking up speed as he ran. His feet pounded against the soft grass as he attempted to keep the book clamped tightly to his chest. Finally running into the fence, his hands slowed him down just enough that he didn't hurt himself. Gino pressed himself against the fence, watching the female, and moving down the length of the cold iron as she moved, until he finally reached the gate, and slid through.

Tugging the backs of his shoes further up his Achilles' heels, and tying them the best he could while trying not to lose sight of the female, Gino watched as she ran further down the street of his hometown, Isle de Gambino. Though the street was lined with homes and a few shops, there was little noise on this particular day. His violet eyes were glued to the shape of the girl though, thus leaving little room for noticing small details.

"Late, late, late…" The female shook her head, ears bouncing from side to side, turning a sudden corner as Gino's head was down, making sure he was tying the laces properly on his shoes. Not to say he doesn't know how, but between holding the book under his chin as he did so and actually tying them, he had no idea she had turned the corner.

Lifting his head as he pulled the book from the crook of his neck, he blinked, mouth open slightly in wonder as he glanced around looking for the girl. Hearing her retreating voice from the right, just around the corner, he quickly resumed his chase. Turning the corner, the young blonde man caught a slight glimpse of the girl's poufy white skirt disappearing into nothing. Slowing to a leisurely walk, he looked around from side to side, turning in a few circles, trying to find the girl.

Scuffed soles met hard metal, and Gino began a timely plunge into an open manhole, his hands grasping at nothing but air as he fell. Somehow, he expected it to be a little colder, damper, and possibly less airy. Somehow, he was floating through the air slowly in a downwards descent. It didn't even seem like a manhole anymore. More like some sort of drugged up amusement park ride.

As the air passed by him, things went with it that hadn't been there prior to his noticing of his floating. Things like portable rainbows, cheque books and the latest operating system from Macintosh. Things like stuffed rabbits with bear traps for mouths, giant medals for slowest runner in a race, and pounding techno remixes of slow jazzy melodies. It was a very weird place, Gino decided.

"Laaaaaaateeeeee…"

Gino knew he was headed in the right direction as he heard the softly echoing voice of the female moaning about how late she would be. Although it seemed like it was longer, it was only another few seconds before Gino's feet landed on the hard ground, displacing particles of dirt and dust. The female was no where in sight, though a loud click was heard from a slamming door to the right. To the left was a short table with a small cookie upon it, a bright red ribbon tied about it with a card reading 'eat me'.

"Eat me. Why? What if you're poisoned? Or too old and stale to eat?" Gino asked no one in particular, ignoring the fact that no one was around. Weirder things were in here already, who was to say he wouldn't receive an answer?

"It's fine. Just eat it."

"Eeh?" The blonde gasped slightly, jumping a few inches from the ground as his eyes darted around the room looking for the source of the reply.

"Down here, idiot."

Gino's eyes dropped to the floor, to a small door painted entirely black, in contrast to the stark white walls that he just noticed. The door appeared to be a normal door, with a small gold knob, until of course his eyes adjusted enough to it to spot the beady little eyes staring up at him.

"Idiot."

"What the hell!" He jumped again, never knowing a door to have either beady little eyes or vocal cords. Staring at the door warily as he crouched down to almost it's level, he kept his eyes on it, hardly blinking.

"I'm not going to eat you. Eat the cookie."

Gino continued to warily stare at the door, almost as though it was going to suddenly jump at him and eat his face. "Why do you want me to eat it so badly?"

"Because I don't want to have to deal with you hanging around here scaring the littler things." The door replied boredly, rolling it's beady little eyes.

"What?"

"Eat the cookie."

"…fine." Gino stood up, reaching down to pick up the cookie, lifting it to his lips. Stopping suddenly, he crouched back down to the door. "What's this going to do to me, door?"

"Miss door, to you. Eat it and find out."

He shook his head, loose locks of blonde hair flipping into his face, then took a small nibble of one edge of the cookie. Feeling a tug behind his stomach, he pulled the cookie from his mouth and stared at it, then noticed the walls moving in an odd upwards direction. Glancing up when the feeling behind his stomach had dissipated, Gino almost jumped the height of the door. The table, previously fairly short, even compared to his own 4 foot 11 stature, was now at least a foot or two taller than him.

"Wha-what happened!" Gino demanded, looking the door straight in the eyes, as he was now at perfect eye level with it.

"You shrunk."

"What!"

"Perfectly normal thing."

"WHAT!"

The door ignored him, swinging open on it's hinges to let him through. Sunlight shone through the small arching doorway, revealing a large forest surrounding a clearing with a thin pathway leading through it. Gino stepped through onto the soft, plush grass, much like that of his own mansion's lawns. A slam resounded behind him, and he whipped to face the space where the door had been no more than five seconds ago. All that was there now, however, was a tree. An impossibly tall tree, littering leaves all around him.

"Where am I…?"

"Wonderland, naturally. Where else?" A soft, sweet-sounding voice came to his ears, causing him to glance about in surprise and wonder again. A giggle was heard from somewhere, though the source was unknown, and Gino was sure it was a very mocking giggle.

"I'm up here, silly." The voice was distinctly female, sounding almost like a purr of a cat. Gino glanced up to a low branch of the tree littering leaves upon him, and spotted a cute, toothy smile. Blinking his violet orbs in surprise, he stared open-mouthed at the singular mouth in mid-air.

"Oh…sorry! Just a moment!" The smile widened, and disappeared suddenly. Gino stared at the spot it had been previously blankly, until a pair of feet began became visible, clad in a pair of tight black boots, fastened with many belts. Gino hated to stare at a lady's legs like that, but when it was all there was of her, and they were appearing in a fairly quick manner, his eyes simply trailed after what came into his line of vision.

Shortly after her legs had appeared, her full-bodied skirt with many petticoats beneath it came into view, bouncing as the only half-visible female swung her flower-lace clad legs, revealing the garter belts for split seconds each time, but nothing above – not that Gino noticed, at least. An over-bust corset materialised above the skirt, followed by a pair of lacy sleeves and finally a head, full of neon blue hair tumbling down the female's back.

"I'm the Cheshire Cat. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance." After memorising the details of the female's outfit, Gino promptly noticed the gently swaying tail and twitching ears upon her head. She was indeed, as she said, a cat. "You can call me Rychi." The cat-girl, Rychi, purred, swinging down from the branch by her tail, then pulling herself back up. For a moment, Gino almost thought that she had revealed her panties, but he wasn't sure, and he wasn't about to look further into the matter. He wasn't a pervert or anything.

"I-it's a pleasure to meet you, Miss Rychi-Cheshire-Cat, ma'am." He responded shyly, watching as she shook her head, her smile having faded to a pout.

"No, not 'miss Rychi-Cheshire-Cat, ma'am. Rychi. Rychi-Rychi-Rychi." She repeated, hoping her words would get through the shy male's head. When she'd first spotted him, she hadn't expected at all that he'd be so shy. She almost wanted him to flirt shamelessly with her, just so she could disappear at various intervals without feeling bad. But this guy was so…something. Something she couldn't put to words. But she was sure the Queen would love him.

"We're going to the Queen's place, okay?" She asked from her spot, lounging upon the branch. Gino's mouth had fallen open slightly as she stated the words.

"There's a Queen here?" He asked, flipping through his Alice in Wonderland novel. Maybe this was a dream. Some weird dream induced by that crack-filled book he'd been reading. Everything was the same! Alice – or, in this case, himself – falling into Wonderland; the Cheshire Cat; the White Rabbit; the Queen of Hearts…but the Queen chopped people's heads off and played crochet with flamingos. He hoped for his head's sake that this Queen was different.

"Well. Ariusa is going to the party, so you should find her. Her house is that-a way!" Rychi grinned, pointing with one long finger towards the only path leading away from the large leaf-dropping tree. Of course, it had to be through a thick forest in which light seemed to disappear from the earth completely. Gino moaned in frustration and turned back to the Cheshire Cat.

"Well, get moving. Or you'll be late!" A giggling accompanied a wide grin, and Gino noticed that she was disappearing. His violet eyes widened to dinner plates and his face fell as she departed.

"You're not coming with me? I'll get lost for sure in that forest!" He cried out, as she vanished completely, leaving only her grin. He was getting entirely upset by this world's weird set of morals, and didn't like it too much. Too weird for such a small-town rich-boy like himself.

"If you need help, you won't be alone in there. Plenty of things to ask for directions." She giggled cryptically, poofing out of temporary existence. He sighed deeply again, then began walking to the forest. If he was going to get to that Queen's palace, or whatever it was, on time for whatever he was going to, the blonde needed to get moving.

capitolo uno di conclusione