THE ROSE PRINCESS

Chapter 1

From Princess to Playmate

Once upon a time in a far away land called Underland, there was a king and a queen. They had two daughters: the eldest was named Iracebeth: vain, cruel, selfish, and temperamental, and the youngest was named Mirana: humble, kind, and loving.

When it came time to choose the next ruler of Underland, the King and Queen chose Mirana, who later was named the White Queen, since they feared that if their eldest daughter ruled, there would be tyranny and terror throughout the Kingdom.

Iracebeth was angry that her sister had been chosen to rule Underland. She was the oldest and the throne was rightfully hers. Why her sister was chosen to rule, she didn't know nor care. She was jealous of her sister since her parents had loved her the most.

In order to appease their angry eldest, they arranged a marriage to a king of a small, independent city in Salazen Grum. Iracebeth married the Red King, Rex of Crims and was named the Red Queen. Though she was ruling a small kingdom with her husband, it wasn't enough. She wanted to rule all of Underland. She plotted to take over her sister's throne one day and regain what was rightfully hers.

Since she became Queen of Crims, she eventually made the decisions and whoever didn't agree with her or displeased her lost their head. The Red King was weak and afraid of his wife: she constantly emasculated him and he was afraid to say the wrong thing for fear he would lose his own head. Slowly, the Red Queen's head began to swell until it was three times larger than her body. Nobody knew why it swelled up, but nobody dared to say anything for fear they would anger her. A healer of Underland told her that a growth was pressing on her brain and that was what caused her head to swell, but it was fatal to remove it. The Red Queen became angrier and more temperamental that everyone was afraid of her. She would demand a mirror that would make her head smaller.

The White Queen, who lived in the Kingdom of Marmoreal, was often afraid of becoming like her sister that she made a solemn vow to never harm a living thing. She wanted to make peace with her older sister by throwing parties. Though the Red Queen hated her sister, she came to them anyway with her husband. When the Red King first laid eyes on the White Queen, he was awestruck by her beauty and kindness. Needless to say, the more they went to the parties, the more he developed feelings for her.

One particular night, the Red King asked to speak to the White Queen, claiming to want to ask advice and ask if they could speak alone in the garden. As they walked, admiring the flowers and trees, the Red King couldn't hide his feelings for her and told her.

"I'm flattered, Rex," she replied. "But I cannot betray my sister."

The Red King was disappointed, frowning.

"I understand. But no one can please her, let alone win her love," he replied. "Her heart is cold and hard as stone."

The White Queen felt sorry for him, but she knew it was wrong to be consorting with her sister's husband.

He wanted her so much. He couldn't explain it but there was something powerful about the White Queen's eyes that had made him fall in love with her. He felt fire in his body, a passion so powerful that he couldn't resist it. He wanted her and he would do whatever it took. He snuck into the White Queen's private kitchen and stole a vial of a potent love potion.

He took the White Queen aside to apologize for his behavior, which she kindly forgave him. He stealthily poured it into her drink. When she drank her punch, the potion took its effect and she couldn't resist him. They ended up making love in the garden. By the end of the night, she couldn't remember what had happened.

As the weeks went by, the Red King was consumed with guilt for what he had done. How could he do such a wicked act? He distanced himself away from everyone, unable to eat or sleep. He often would hide in the garden. He kept seeing the act that he had done that night playing over and over again in his head. He deserved to lose his head.

The Red Queen eventually became suspicious of her husband. He seemed distant and cold towards her. She assumed that he would leave her for her sister. She had him executed immediately and she alone ruled Crims, raining terror over her tiny kingdom.

Her assumption was wrong. She wasn't aware that her husband had forced himself on her sister. And she didn't know what had happened between her sister and husband had gotten her pregnant. The White Queen didn't know how it happened nor could she remember, but was worried: should the news of her pregnancy get out, it would reach her sister that she was pregnant with a child. Since she was the reigning monarch, the child would be the next queen. She asked all her servants and subjects to keep the pregnancy within the palace walls.

Upon discovering her pregnancy, the White Queen had felt wrong inside. How did she get pregnant? She had no memory of what happened last night. She sobbed, collapsing, knowing someone had done something wicked to her, taken advantage of her. Yet, she promised herself to love the child, no matter what.

Absolem consorted the Oraculum and it showed the birth of the White Queen's daughter.

"Your Majesty," Absolem said "Your child will be a girl, but be warned for the Oraculum states: The one born on the eve of Horovendush, two monarchs will fall."

The White Queen was aware what the prediction meant, yet she wasn't worried. She didn't care about the prediction. She touched her belly that was swollen with child, continuing her promise to love it.

On the eve of Horunvendush, the White Queen was ready to give birth. Drenched in sweat, gripping the white ropes and biting hard down on a clothed wooden spoon, she pushed the life force out of her until she heard the screams of the baby taking its first breath. It was a little girl, as predicted. The baby opened its eyes and smiled immediately at its mother. The baby had her mother's inky eyes and white skin, but what stood out the most was her pink hair.

"What shall the child's name be, Your Majesty?" asked one of her ladies in waiting.

"Princess Mirana II," she replied.

"All hail Her Royal Highness, Princess Mirana II!" cried the courtiers.

"HAIL, PRINCESS MIRANA II!" cried everyone in the kingdom.

She loved the child very much. The White Queen was afraid that the child would turn out like she did since her parents had spoiled her that she vowed to raise the child to be kind and humble.

When Princess Mirana II grew up, she was a beautiful child, yet polite and kind like her mother. The animals and people of Underland adored her; even the trees and flowers loved her. They called her the Rose Princess.

But sooner or later, the Red Queen would discover the existence of a princess.

When her trusted right hand man, Ilosovic Stayne, the Knave of Hearts, was out riding past White Queen's palace, he spied a little girl with pink hair, playing in the garden, chasing the bread-and-butterflies, laughing. He watched as the little girl ran calling 'Mummy!' and the White Queen came out and picked her up, hugging and kissing her.

He rode back and reported what he had seen. The Red Queen's white face turned red and she let out a blood-curdling scream that echoed throughout Underland.

"My sister always got everything!" she screamed. "She got Mummy and Daddy's love, new toys, the bloody throne of Underland, and now she gets a baby! All I got was a tiny kingdom to rule and a growth on my brain that makes my head bigger. It's just not fair!" She threw her tray of tarts across the room.

Breathing heavily after her tantrum, she paused for a moment. "I would like to see this new blessing of my sister's. Call up my coach!"

The Red Queen was escorted on a coach that was escorted by Red Knights that carried heart-shaped tipped spears. When they arrived at Marmoreal, the trumpets blared outside the white castle of Marmoreal.

"Her Royal Majesty, Iracebeth, Queen of Crims," said the page, which was a frog.

The White Queen came down the steps, smiling in her dreamy face. Though her sister hated her, the White Queen was always happy to see her since it was rare she came to visit.

"Sister, what brings you here on this fine afternoon?" she asked.

"I heard you have a new addition to your family," the Red Queen replied. "Since I am family, I would like to meet this little blessing of yours."

"Of course." The White Queen turned to her servants. "Bring my daughter if you would please." Her lady-in-waiting curtsied and left.

A little four-year-old girl, dressed in white that matched her mother's dress, was carried by her lady-in-waiting. Her pink hair made her stand out with her entire white attire. The White Queen took her out of her nanny's arms and gave her a kiss and hug, to which she smiled. She placed her on the ground next to her and the little girl turned towards the Red Queen, staring with her inky eyes with curiosity.

"Darling, this is your dear aunt, Iracebeth," said the White Queen. "She's Queen of Crims, a small kingdom in Underland."

"I'm pleased to meet you, milady," the little girl replied, curtsying so gracefully.

She stared at her face: the shape of her nose and her eyes looked like someone she knew, but wasn't too sure. She felt her hate and jealousy boiling inside her blood. The child was an exact copy of her mother with the exception of her pink hair.

"Such a lovely child," said the Red Queen, smiling a fake smile. "Such interesting hair."

Though Princess Mirana had been taught to be polite, she couldn't help but stare at her aunt's giant head. "Why is your head so big, Aunt Racie?" the child asked, not thinking.

"Mirana!" cried the White Queen, clearly horrified by the child's inquisitiveness. "That was very rude! We don't ask questions like that! Apologize at once!"

Humble, Princess Mirana blushed, ashamed. "I'm very sorry, milady. I hope you can forgive me for being impolite."

"You're forgiven, dear," the Red Queen replied, holding back the urge to choke the life out of this child. How dare she talk about her head! "How old are you?"

"I'm going to be five soon, Aunt 'Racie," she said. "Since you are my aunt, I do hope you come to my party. It's at Hightopp village. In the afternoon."

The Red Queen continued to smile forcefully. "I would be delighted to come to your birthday party."

On her ride back to Crims, she began to think. Since her sister had a child, it was obvious that she would be the next queen of Underland. The law said that a ruling monarch who had a child was immediately the next heir of the throne. She grinned evilly when she heard the tiny voice of her niece:

I do hope you come to my party.

Oh, I'll have a surprise for you alright for your birthday party, the Red Queen though evilly. She turned to Stayne:

"The child is a threat my throne, Stayne. Kill her. Bring her head as proof she is dead."

He nodded.

On the afternoon of the Princess's fifth birthday, the White Queen had thrown a lavish party for her in Hightopp village, the home of Tarrant Hightopp, the Mad Hatter. The entire Hightopp clan had come to the party—adults and children, festive in their shiny new top hats, dancing around a maypole as music played. The Hatter, Thackery Earwicket, the March Hare, and Mallymkun, the Dormouse, brought tea and cakes, a lavish pink cake that was in the shape of a pink castle was baked for her. The White Queen and the Rose Princess sat on a white horse, enjoying the party.

"Your Highness," said Tarrant. "In honor of your fifth birthday, I have a gift for you."

He held up the most beautiful pink dress with puffed short sleeves with ruffles, a corset and stomacher with stays up the front with a poufy, large skirt. The Rose Princess smiled delightfully.

"Mummy, may I put it on? Please!" the child begged.

"Sure, darling," she replied. "But come right back. Go with Hatter."

Tarrant helped her off the horse and led her inside his cottage so she could wear her new party dress. Once she came out in her new dress, the Hatter saw how beautiful she was.

"Thank you, Hatter!" she said. "I love it!"

"You're very welcome, Your Highness," said Tarrant, his green eyes sparkled beneath his mass of long orange hair. "You look very beautiful, Your Highness. Like a queen." She smiled. He took her hand to bring her back to the party.

"Your Highness," said Mallymkun. "In honor of your fifth birthday, we would like to sing for you."

Tarrant, Thackery, and Mallymkun sang in an awkward chorus while the Rose Princess clapped delightfully:

Twinkle, twinkle little bat

How I wonder where you're at

Up above the world so high

Like a tea tray in the sky

The Rose Princess clapped delightfully. When the song was over, she saw the children playing at the maypole.

"Mummy, can I go play?" she asked.

"Sure, darling. Don't go too far."

"I promise."

She laughed and joined the children, who curtsied and bowed before the princess and she played with them, laughing delightfully.

Soon, the sky turned black and the music came to an abrupt halt. Everyone turned to see the source of darkness. Giant leathery wings blocked out the sun. All the upturned faces were feared with awe and horror for they had never seen such a beast.

It took only a moment for panic to seep through the crowd. Before anyone could react, the Jabberwocky blew a purple electric fire, blazing over everyone's heads. The guests were screaming and ran off in all direction, pushing and trampling anyone in the way. The White guards were burning. The little princess stared as she watched the fire destroy everything in its path, hearing the screams of those burning, the smell of smoke. Soon a tall figure in black approached Princess Mirana II. She stared at him, terrified until she lost her footing and fell backward; the man with a heart-shaped eye patch with a huge scar stared down at the terrified child, who was crying and whimpering. Never in her life had she been so scared. Pinning her down, he raised his dagger ready to kill her when the brave White Knight stepped in, brandishing his sword.

"Run, Your Highness!" he yelled beneath his helmet.

The White Queen gathered her daughter, dropping her crown in the confusion. They ran to the edge of the woods. Tarrant took a hold of the White Queen's horse and led them out of the burning chaos.

"Tarrant, get my daughter out of Underland!" the White Queen said.

"Mummy, I don't want to go!" the princess protested, crying, scared.

"You have to. Listen to me. They'll kill you if you stay. Once you're out of Underland, find someplace safe and stay there. Understand?"

"But, I don't want to go, Mummy! I don't want to leave you!"

"I know, darling. But, remember that you are Underland's future. We depend on your survival to be the next queen."

"Will I ever see you again, Mummy?" she said, tears streaming down her face.

"Someday," she said. "When the time is right, we'll bring you back. And know that I'll always be with you. Every second that goes by, I will think of you and miss you because I love you very much." She hugged her daughter tightly. Tears streamed down the White Queen's eyes: she didn't want to let her daughter leave. It was too soon. She would miss her.

"Now, go!"

Tarrant took her to the edge of Underland and handed her a vial of purple liquid.

"Jabberwocky blood," said the Hatter. "Your mother instructed me to tell you that should your life ever be in danger and you had to leave Underland, I had to give you this. Now, drink this and wish to travel to Aboveland."

"I'll miss you, Hatter," she said tearfully.

"And I you, Your Highness."

She hugged her friend for one last time and drank the Jabberwocky blood and watched as Hatter and Underland turned to smoke until all she saw was his eyes turn a sad blue color.

XXX

Stayne returned, carrying the Vorpal Sword and the White Queen's crown.

"Some gifts for you, Your Majesty," said Stayne. "The Vorpal Sword, the only sword forged to slay the Jabberwocky."

"Lock it away with the Bandersnatch," she said. "Make sure no one can get it."

"And a crown for the rightful queen," he held a silver crown with large opal jewels and placed it upon the Red Queen's head. The crown transformed into a golden one with red rubies and hearts. The Red Queen smiled at herself in the mirror, feeling happier already.

"Where is the princess, Stayne?" demanded the Red Queen.

"She's gone, Your Majesty," said Stayne.

"You mean she escaped?" her voice was rising.

"Majesty, I tried to kill her…"

"You're lucky to have your head, Stayne. I want you to find the princess. Don't stop until you've found her. I don't care if it takes years to find the little brat. I want her dead."

"Yes, Your Majesty."

XXX

The White Queen returned to Marmoreal, saddened. Her crown and the Vorpal Sword were gone. Her sister had stolen the throne of Underland and had banished the White Queen to Marmoreal, forbidden to set foot outside of Marmoreal. But the greatest treasure to her in all of Underland was gone. She would never see her child grow up to be a fine young lady. She would never be able to teach her the important things in life about becoming Queen, let alone a princess. Her daughter was far away in a strange land where she was alone and scared. Yet, what mattered most was that she was safe.

The White Queen had learned that the White Knight who had the Vorpal Sword had saved her daughter and was killed by the Jabberwocky's fire. In honor of the White Knight, she gave him an elaborate funeral and sent gifts to his family with a medal of bravery. Tarrant Hightopp's village was burned and his people were all gone, leaving him the only survivor. The White Queen offered a memorial for his people that he accepted gratefully.

Marmoreal was once a happy place filled with laughter and joy was now silent and dark. She sat upon her throne, staring at the tiny one that the princess once sat in. Her subjects were silent and saddened that the princess was gone.

"What will become of the Princess, Your Majesty?" asked Mallymkun.

"I don't know," said the White Queen, worried.

"Your Majesty," said the White Rabbit. "If you would like, I will find your daughter and watch her to make sure she is safe."

"Do so, Nivens," she said. "But keep your distance. We don't want her returning here at any time soon."

"When should we have her return, Your Majesty?"

"When she is ready."

XXX

Princess Mirana woke up inside a hole under a tree. She looked up and saw the dark, cloudy sky. Suddenly it began to thunder and lightning, which scared her. Then, it poured rain, soaking her party dress, once so beautiful was now charred black from the smoke and ashes, torn and filthy from the earth. She decided to stay in the rabbit hole until it stopped raining. She curled up on the earth and laid her head on a tree root, sleeping soundly, dreaming about her party, wondering where her mother was.

"Oy!" said a voice.

Princess Mirana blinked her eyes and saw a face peering down the hole. It was a man dressed in filthy clothes and an unshaven face and a weather-worn hat.

"What are you doing down there?"

"Is this Aboveland?" she asked.

"What are you talking about?"

"Aboveland."

"Well, if you're down there and I'm up here, then I suppose I am above land."

"Good. Mother told me I would be safe here."

"Your mother?"

"Yes, she's Queen of Underland. I'm a princess and heir to the throne."

The man raised his eyebrows but decided to humor her, believing that she was just a child with an active imagination.

"Are you hungry?" asked the man.

"Yes, indeed, good sir," replied Princess Mirana.

"Let me help you out of there." He reached out a filthy hand and pulled the girl out of the rabbit hole and set her feet on the ground. Princess Mirana looked around at Aboveland. It was nothing like her home: the flowers and trees were silent, the colors were boring green and brown and blue, the animals didn't speak and were naked!

The man stared at her strange colored hair. Never in his life had he seen pink hair before.

"How did you get such hair?"

"I don't know. I was born with it. What's your name?" asked Princess Mirana.

"Morris," he replied.

"I'm Princess Mirana the Second, the daughter of Queen Mirana the First, the White Queen and ruler of Underland."

He continued to humor the girl since she was a child with such an active imagination. He brought her to an immense mansion to which she stared in awe.

"Is this your castle? It's lovely," she said.

If only the world could see through her eyes, Morris thought. "You could say it is, but I live in this castle," he said.

Morris went through a door where it led into an immense kitchen. The little girl smelled the food and was hungry. A large cook dressed in a filthy outfit looked up from her cooking at the little girl in a tattered pink dress and the pink hair. She had never seen anything like it: she looked like she had stepped out of a fairy tale book.

"What's all this?" asked the cook.

"Found her outside," said Morris. "Fix her some tea and something to eat."

"What will the missus say if she sees a stray in here, Morris?"

"Imelda, I'll handle this," said Morris. "Just give her something to eat."

Morris rang the bell and a brown haired woman came in dressed in a black dress and a white apron and maid's cap came in. He whispered something to her and she nodded.

"I'll talk to the missus," said the maid. She disappeared into the next room.

The cook, Imelda, served Princess Mirana a slice of buttered cheese bread and tea. She set up a plate on the worn wooden table and chair. Imelda was surprised how polite she was when she thanked her. The family that Imelda had served was not polite: they failed to acknowledge her presence when she served them food and didn't even thank her.

"No!" said a stern voice in the back room where the maid went. "Absolutely not! This is not an orphanage! We don't just pick up stray children and let them stay."

"Oh, couldn't she stay, missus? Morris and I would care for her," said the voice. "We have no children and we have always wanted one!"

A stern woman entered the kitchen and stared at the child. She had her hair up in a bun and had cold eyes. She wore an elegant green dress that covered her neck and arms. She looked her up and down. She wrinkled her nose when she saw the child's pink hair.

"What's your name?"

"Princess Mirana the Second," she replied.

She grunted. "A name as ridiculous as that hair of yours," she replied. "Well, since the head maid insists on taking care of you, I will let you stay, but you will work to earn your room and board. You will be the scullery maid. My last one was incompetent. I'll find you a dress. Winifred, give this child a haircut and throw that dress away."

"Oh! Please don't throw my dress away! It was a birthday present."

"It's filthy and tattered," laughed the stern woman. "Why would a child want to keep something like that?"

The woman handed the maid, Winifred, an old black dress with elbow-length sleeves. Princess Mirana changed out of her party dress and into the new one. Winifred led the girl into another room and sat her down on a chair. With a pair of gold scissors, she began to snip off Princess Mirana's hair, which fell into a pile around her. It pained her to cut this child's hair, strange as it was, but it was beautiful to her.

"Oh! Please don't cut my hair!" the child wailed while she watched her beautiful hair fall.

"I'm sorry, darling," she said. "The missus insists. But don't worry, I'll cut it short enough so she can't see it and we'll cover your head with a kerchief."

Once she was finished, most of her pink hair laid on a pile around the stool. She touched the short strands, missing her hair. Winifred placed a kerchief on her head, covering up her short hair.

"You look much better," said Winifred. "But, listen to me, child: you are beautiful no matter what anyone says."

Mirana smiled.

"Let's get you to bed, Mary Anne," said Winifred.

"It's Mirana," she corrected her.

"It's a lovely name," said Winifred. "I'll call you that from now on. But not in front of the missus."

"What can I call you?" she asked.

"My name is Winifred, but you can call me Mummy, if you would like."

Princess Mirana's bed was in the servant quarters with Winifred and Morris, who were husband and wife. Mirana still cried that night, missing her home, her mother, and her friends. Winifred and Morris comforted her and assured her that as long as she did as she was told, she would be fine.

XXX

Mirana was woken at five in the morning and had to perform chores to which she did obediently and the best she could. She cleaned the fireplaces of the Ascots and their spoiled son, Hamish. He was about her age and he was horrid. He called her names and threw stuff at her. Of course, his mother was no different than him. Mirana was slapped and beaten by Lady Ascot and often went hungry as punishment for disobedience. She had never realized how cruel the people were in Aboveland. Lord Ascot was usually never around, yet he wasn't as cruel as his wife. Lord Ascot happened to hear the girl telling stories to Imelda, the cook and was impressed. He asked her to tell bedtime stories to Hamish every night, promising to make Lady Ascot leave her alone. Lady Ascot was jealous of the child and often made sure she was miserable.

Yet, everyone in the Ascots' household adored Mirana: her adopted parents and the servants, especially her active imagination. She would tell the servants stories at night and they would ask to hear more.

One day while Princess Mirana scrubbed the floor, she overheard Lady Ascot talking to another woman.

"So, the engagement is arranged?"

"Yes."

She shut out their talking like it was nothing more than noise.

"Mummy, I'm bored."

"Go play in the garden, Alice," said a voice.

"But I've got no one to play with."

"One moment," said Lady Ascot. "Mary Anne!"

Mirana knew that she was calling her and she got up off her hands and knees and came into the other room. The girl was blonde and wore a blue dress and a white pinafore with black shoes and white stockings standing next to her blonde mother in a white dress.

"Curtsy to the girl," Lady Ascot ordered to which she obeyed. "Alice, this will be your new playmate, Mary Anne." To Mirana, she said, "Go play with Alice, Mary Anne. From now on, you will be Alice's playmate while she is here, understood?"

Mirana nodded silently. She led Alice outside to the gardens.

"Why do you wear that over your head, Mary Anne?" asked Alice.

"My name's not Mary Anne," she replied, irritable. "It's Mirana."

"Ooh! Such a pretty name!"

"But you can call me that when Lady Ascot isn't around, Miss Alice. She'll box my ears if she hears anyone use my real name."

"You don't have to call me 'Miss Alice'."

"Very well."

"You still didn't answer my question: why do you wear a kerchief on your head? Most of the maids wear caps."

"Promise you won't laugh?"

"I promise."

Mirana untied the kerchief and revealed her hacked off remains of her pink hair. Alice stared, but she didn't laugh.

"I've never seen anyone with pink hair before," said Alice. "How did you get pink hair?"

"I was born with it. Lady Ascot doesn't want me to have long hair because she thinks it's ridiculous. But Winifred and Morris have been kind to me and let me keep my hair hidden underneath this. As long as she doesn't see it, she's happy. It was much longer when I came here."

"Where did you come from?"

"Underland. I'm actually a princess there."

Alice's eyes widened with interest. "Wonderland? I've never heard of a place like that. And you're a princess? But why are you working as a maid?"

"I guess nobody believes me here in Aboveland."

"Aboveland?"

"It's where we are, aren't we?"

Alice didn't say anything. "Tell me more about this Wonderland."

Mirana told Alice all about Underland: how animals walked, talked, and dressed like humans, how flowers could speak, the cakes that made you grow as tall as the towers and drinks made you shrink as small as a mouse. Alice sat and listened intently.

"It all sounds impossible," said Alice. "But it sounds like a place I would like to live."

"It is lovely there…at least, I think it is now," she said, sadly.

"Why? Has something happened?"

"My birthday party was cut short and this monster burned everything down and I had to leave there."

"Couldn't you just go back?"

"No. My mother, the Queen, said I'm not to come back until they summon me. But, I'm afraid that I'll never see my home again."

Alice felt sorry for Mirana. She felt she could relate to her new playmate: she was lonely and scared in a world she didn't understand and she didn't have many friends.

"Come, let's play!" suggested Alice. "It'll cheer you up."

"What shall we do?"

"How about we pretend this is Wonderland so you'll feel more at home?"

Mirana felt better. "I suppose. We could play Queen and Princess: I'll be the princess and you'll be the queen."

"Why do I get to be queen?"

"Queens have more power than a princess. Besides, I need to train in order to become a queen."

Alice liked her new best friend. Mirana wove a crown out of daisies and placed it on Alice's head.

"You are the White Queen, Mirana I of Marmoreal," said Mirana.

Alice giggled and already felt like a queen with her daisy crown.

"What must I do to be the White Queen?"

"Well, you cannot harm any living thing…it's against your vows. And you have to teach me how to be the next queen."

The two girls played Queen and Princess, pretending the Ascots' garden was Wonderland with the animals as their subjects. For the two of them became the best of friends.

One day, Alice was having her lesson with her older sister, Margaret on the Ascots' property. Lady Ascot forbid Mirana from disturb their lesson. She saw Alice walk away from Margaret, following what looked like a white rabbit in a waistcoat. Mirana followed Alice and witnessed her fall down a hole at the base of a large tree. Mirana screamed and ran to get help.

Alice was found later that night by Morris at the bottom of the hole, asleep, but safe.

"Oh, Alice," said Mirana. "I thought you were lost down there."

"No," said Alice. "I'm fine. In fact, I had a dream that was in Wonderland. It's just as you described it."

XXX

After her accident, Alice had nightmares about Underland. Her mother blamed Mirana for Alice's nightmares and demanded that she be punished. Lady Ascot was cruel to the girl and forbid her to tell her any stories. Yet, the girls remained the best of friends and continued to play together whenever she came over.

Slowly, as the years passed, the long and torturous labor and cruelty caused Princess Mirana to lose her memory of Underland…