A/N: Not as many as the first chapter, but I still treasure all the reviews I got! Plus a crapload of story alerts. Anywho, on with the story. I'm afraid I'm operating on no sleep so the story is more resembling Carroll's actual style rather than mine or the movie's. AKA loopy as all get out. Enjoy. PS I took some liberties with word creating because lack of sleep makes me entirely too lazy to look up terms that will fit perfectly when it's likely that they do not even exist!

Alice and McTwisp decided together that they should find the Mad Hatter and the others before they headed to Marmoreal and therefore set off towards the Red Queen former castle. They walked the path quite cautiously as if it might pull out from under them like a rug if they weren't alert, and they slipped into the ditch to the side of it whenever they saw a shadow so much as twitch, which was quite often considering how dark the place was as of late. This method worked until they were about halfway there, which, ironically, was when it started to get brighter.

The sun was directly ahead, casting their shadows longer and longer behind them the closer they got. It was awfully high and seemed to be quite content to rest in the exact same spot and even float higher the closer they got, despite the Rabbit's repeated comment on how it hadn't seen the sun since the darkness took over and by his watch (which he checked at least twice every minute) shouldn't it have set hours before? It was rather late…

That was when they got close enough to make out the long pole suspending the sun in the air, and wait, the sun looked an awful like a lantern. Granted, a very large lantern, but a lantern nonetheless.

McTwisp suddenly jerked and whimpered, and Alice was puzzled as to why until she turned and followed his gaze to their shadows. Hers was especially long, stretching back at least fifty feet back down the path…and it was moving.

"McTwisp?" she whispered.

The Rabbit's eyes did not waver from the shadow. "…Yes, Alice?"

"Why is it that my shadow is moving…even if I am not?"

It stood fully, towering over them, and morphed into a terrifying black monster, its fingers tapering off to form claws, its hair wrapping around its face, and a huge, heart-shaped hole appearing in its torso. It raised its claw, preparing to strike, which prompted Alice to raise her arms in front of her face to protect herself.

A light blinded her for a moment, and suddenly she was holding something in her hands.

Refined, said a voice in her mind. More powerful than ever before.

"The Vorpal sword!" the rabbit cried and, in the next second, shrieked, "Look out!"

Down came the monster's claw, and she easily sliced through it with her weapon, completely severing it at the wrist. The claw faded into black mist.

The second claw, however, broke through her defenses and slammed into her side. She went flying and hit a tree with a loud jankle (1) of metal on wood. Alice looked down and saw that her armor had also magically appeared, protecting her from what would have likely been a fatal blow.

"This is rather convenient," Alice gasped huskily as she struggled to stand upright. "Where have you been off to?"

Vorpal sword. Words again found their way into her mind uninvited and, most peculiarly, unthought.

"Yes, I know that I know what it is called," she replied.

"Alice!" screeched the Rabbit. "Pay attention!"

She shook her head and looked up just in time to dive as the monster slammed its claw into the ground. Darkness spilled out of it, and from that crawled the tiny little fiends she'd first met upon reentering this world. She sliced through them easily on her way to the monster's arm and jumped, slicing half its forearm off. It fell to the ground in agony and she ran through the mist its lost appendage created to leap onto its arm and run up to its shoulder. There she was granted the perfect vantage point to neatly cleave its head from its shoulders. The entire thing turned into black vapor, leaving her suspended in the air, twenty-five feet up. She fell, rolled, and eventually ended up on her back with the breath knocked out of her. From there she watched as the black mist faded to nothing.

The Rabbit bounded over to her and looked down into her face. "Alice, are you all right?" he asked with concern.

She took a deep breath and sat up, letting it out with a cough. "Quite," she replied stiffly.

"That was quite impressive. On par with your fight with the Jabberwocky to be sure."

"Thank you." Alice stood, brushed her armor off, and reached for her sword. Before she could so much as touch it, the weapon disappeared in a burst of light, as did her armor. "Wait!"

"Perhaps it will reappear when you need it next," the White Rabbit suggested.

"That does sound reasonable," Alice responded. "I shan't ask for too much of its time; I rather like to think that the Vorpal sword is off slaying other monsters whilst I am not using it."

She took a moment to imagine this before continuing on, the rabbit right on her heels, chattering about how late they were to the celebration and Alice merely imagining wondrous things. As it were, they soon came upon the Red Queen's castle, and both the White Rabbit and Alice's imagination were momentarily rendered silent. The entire place was aflame, and amidst the ruin was a very tall, slongy-like fellow juggling flaming pins. Creatures ran to and fro in terror, occasionally getting swallowed by darkness or ripped apart by evil shadows. The hearts of the latter floated upwards into the perpetual night sky like little pink stars.

"Oh, how dreadfully horrible and interesting this monster is! At any rate, it is a terrible host for a party," said Alice.

"Quite," the Rabbit responded in trembling tones before gulping. "Alice, you don't suppose he has…killed…our friends, do you?"

"I should hope not," she responded, now quite worried. "However, there is only one way to find out!"