Author Note: I am working on the next chapter for Went Galumphing Back. It is my primary objective as of this moment, and should be up soon, but not immediately. Also, I am working on one of my Yu-Gi-Oh fics, (for once) but heaven knows went that is going to be completed. In any case, please bear with me.

-Imperfect Paradise (Yamiko)


Bread Crumbs
By Imperfect Paradise


Chapter 2
Sea of Tears


8 years later

"Are you sure about this, my queen?"

Hearing her former title spoken with oily cynicism, Iracabeth's fingers literally impaled the supplies she held in her hand, and dropped them into the bowl before any more work could be done. The tall man behind her groaned while running his hands through his raven locks, while the former red queen pointed at him and snapped, "Look what you made me do!"

Ilosovic Stayne, not sure for how much longer he could put up with this, clenched his fist tightly in his worn glove. It had been a full year in Under-land since they were taken from the height of their power. A full year since the Jabberwocky was defeated and a full year since Alice returned home.

Alice.

His grip tightened, his nails piercing through the leather of his glove. That little harlot, he thought bitterly, How dare sheMake a fool out of me?

His thoughts were interrupted when Iracabeth snapped, "Stayne! Hand me that sea salt!"
Looking at her skeptically, he muttered something fowl under his breath before tossing the salt into her hand.

There was only one reason why he was cooperating with this hag. Only one. Though he hated her, wanted to kill her, strangle her with his bare hands until she ceased to breathe, in truth, they were both driven by a common desire.

That desire was revenge. And unfortunately, and even though he hated to admit it, their chances were exceedingly better if they worked together. For there was something beneficial while working with Iracabeth. After all, those courtiers and brown noses were sucking up to her not only to keep there status or lives in check, but also for one fundamental want and that was power. That was why they put up with her silly croquet matches. That was why they purposely adorned themselves with false disfigurements.

And that was why she now had a good thousand warriors on their side, waiting on the outside of their tent ready to go to war with Under land in the name of the so-stated "true" queen (Ilosovic had coughed out the word 'fraud' sometime within her encouragementspeech during one of their rallies some days ago—which luckily for him went unnoticed). Stayne hardly cared whether she won or not. But he had his objective and if it meant working with the hag, it was completely worthwhile for him to do so.

Their goal was the same, but their targets were different. She wanted to take out her hostilities on and destroy the cause of her fall from power. She wanted Alice to return so she could torture her until the moment the champion of Under-land ceased to breathe. If the girl resisted, or failed to lose hope a death could be arranged another way. With her out of the way, she would then seize the crown during Underland's time of mourning for their champion.

Stayne on the other hand, couldn't care less of the girl's fate. But he needed her as well, but for an entirely different purpose.

Here he was, formerly the most powerful warrior in Under-land—an Assassin of caliber and a knight of high-ranking authority—a title that was no longer the case as he suffered defeat, and from the worst possible opponent he could have ever conceived in his darkest fantasies. Victory could have bee his, would have been his, should have been his—if not for the single little bobby pin that the orange haired lunatic had randomly wedged into his eye-lid at the very last minute of their confrontation. Screaming in high-pitched pain (something he was debating whether he had actually done afterwards during his exile) as something smashed into his kneecaps. Complete humiliation consumed him as he was knocked backwards on to the ground.

But perhaps the thing that most irritated him… was the fact that the blasted clown never finished the job.

That was why retrieving Alice from above was so important. If he kidnapped her, the hatter would surely hear of her peril, and would not doubt come to rescue her.

And when he did, by god he would squeeze the life out of him.

But such a thing couldn't be done alone. If he could—he already be twirling his sword, hilt on the ground, tip covered with blood with Tarrant Hightop's head wedged within the middle of his blade. But he hadn't the skills, nor the knowledge of possibly conjuring the spell to lure Alice back. That was where the bloody big head came in to play.

Before the separation of the two kingdoms, Iracabeth and Mirana were actually the byproduct of the former king of under-land, and an enchantress that eventually became her royal majesty the former queen. And throughout her wisdom, she passed on her knowledge to both of her daughters.

But it wasn't as simple as that.

While Mirana's cranium practically swarmed with the knowledge and producing spell after spell Iracabeth didn't nearly absorb as much as her younger sister had. And while Mirana could create potions and brews with precise and accurate precision, Iracabeth couldn't mince a mushroom. In addition, after living on a golden thrown in an ivory castle throughout her life and after years of be waded on hand and foot by her numerous servants, she was pretty much now incapable of gathering the wood under their feet.

And here she was, a complete alliterate possibly even an illiterate, trying to make sense of the complex and rather wordy spell described in her old spell book given to her by her mother (the tea and frosting stains telling everyone who saw her reading it that the bound material had seen better days).

After a while of pacing, he slapped himself in the face. Who was he kidding? This was never going to work.

Peering over her shoulder, and looking at the recipe himself (while the queen poured the contents generously in) he slowly narrowed his eyes and asked, "You do know the metric amount is for a cup, right?"

Filling a dinner glass to the rim with sea salt she snapped, "Of courser I do! Believe me, Alice will be ours within hours." She then tossed her hair in an aggravated fasion and continued, "Besides, if that twat Mirana can do it—then so can I!"

Beginning to realize that this was a very bad idea, Ilosovic tried to reason with her, "Ira—" (the former queen cast a glare in his direction) "…your majesty. Let's—be honest here; The former queen gave your sister the advanced spell-book for a reason—you can't brew potions to save your life.

Iracabeth's lip quivered before she dropped the glass, contents and all into the kettle (Ilosovic staring in horror as the glass melted into the brew) before he wailed in a sobbing voice, "You just wait! I'll get Alice back, she'll lure the hatter here and you'll be begging for forgiveness for doubting me!"

Stayne sat down and buried his head into his hands.


"I got your h~at! I got your h~at!"

"Give that back you bastard!"

The captain's son was smashed against the deck, as a girl with golden curls tackled him, by his shins and slammed him into the weight of the ship, just as Alice looked up from her documents, scorning her daughter, "Abby! For goodness sake! Language, please!"

Abigail ignored her mother, clad in boots and an makeshift eye patch as she continued to wrestle with the boy (William Bloom—dressed as a British naval officer), while trying to her retrieve her play-fashioned pirate hat away from his hands while the sailors on the ship laughed heartedly at the (otherwise) endearing scene.

Sitting besides Alice was the captain of the Ship, Captain Bloom, who watched affectionately as the children played roughly. He chuckled and said, "She's your daughter all right. Got that same spunk and spirit you and your father had."

Alice smiled in spite of this, her daughter screaming, "Well Captain, Time to walk the plank!" in the background. Seeing that her daughter's play time was becoming quite rough, she stood up from her chair and said, "Abby—lets have your history lesson now!"

Letting go on William, Abigail Kingsley moaned in disappointment, "But mother—"

Alice gave Abby a stern look, before her daughter reluctantly gave in. She then passed by, peeling off her pretend eye-patch and leaving it on the ground, while grumbling, "Stupid book, completely boring and no pictures at all…"

Watching her daughter march forth into their stateroom, Alice shook her head and made a move to follow her, before the captain halted her.

The captain smiled warmly, before turning towards William (who finally dusted himself off) and said, "Will! Go down to the cellar and bring us a kettle. We'll have some tea!"

As William went on his way, Alice shook her head and explained, "I am awfully sorry for the trouble sir. I have told her time and time again about basic manners and all—"

"Oh, don't worry about that at all, dear—" the captain reassured her. He then winked and said, "It builds character—I wouldn't deny it for the world!"

Alice smiled, and went back to her documents. The captain then cleared his throat and said, "Although, I must be frank. I am most concerned with is you Miss Kingsley."
Alice looked at the captain and asked, "Sorry?"

Captain Bloom looked off to starboard, watching as the port came into view before them. He said, "Its been eight years, Miss Kingsley since your have entered the service of the company. I am grateful, as is Lord Ascot and my colleagues alike—and my men, well, they never tire of Abby and her many adventures! I just wanted to say, we will set sail for Paris after Morocco—and I am sure there is a connecting passage to bring you home if you wish—"

Believing she understood the implications of Bloom's words, Alice stared into space and asked in confusion, "I-I don't understand… If I am working so hard and doing such a good job, why do you think I should resign from the company—"

"No Alice."

Alice looked back at the captain, just as William brought forth the steaming kettle. He took the kettle and poured her a cup of tea, before leaning forward, and clarifying. "I am just saying… you should settle down for a while, with your daughter. Let her enjoy herself for a year or so without being bound on a ship, heading for a new destination… She doesn't need to travel with you every single second of her life.

Alice accepted her cup, staring into the reddish golden liquid. Watching as the remnants of the spices swirled in the water, she thought about her options.

She knew very well was the captain was saying. He wanted her to enjoy their own lives, and not be bound by the weight of the ship. She wished for that too, but was too afraid.

Afraid that Under-Land would find them again and lure her and her daughter back down into its depths. While part of her really wished that they could, to see her friends again, and join them for tea—there were other elements waiting down there that she couldn't control—one in particular—that Alice vowed never to expose Abby too.

Inhaling the smell of cloves and liquorish, she sighed slightly, and murmured a quiet, "I know that," before nonchalantly taking a sip from her cup.


TO BE CONTINUED


Random Note: Sorry for my use of these OCs. Well, they aren't quite OCs; These two characters William and Captain Bloom are actually fashioned from the motion picture Big Fish, also directed by Tim Burton. But this is not a cross-over fiction by any means.