The Duchess, at Alice's first impression, was a very cute and kind little girl who was famous for her smiles.

With her lithe figure, polite disposition and a natural talent for hospitality, she is the very epitome of a young lady in training. Her small, round face, pinkish hair and her neat, bobbed haircut finely complemented her black and white striped dress. For, of course, she is the Duchess; any unruly style would be unbefitting for a girl her rank. Living in her enormous mansion fit for many guests and inhabitants to live in, this little girl lives all by herself, along with the dark entity hidden from the eyes of her guests. Smiling an eternal smile, she entertains her guests and lives as if she hasn't got a care in the entire world of Wonderland. Pretty things were gathered all around her abode, the pretty roses, the wonderful tapestries and the way her mansion was designed could even rival a king's palace. She wasn't like most children, spoilt beyond belief and selfish.

But beneath that smiling face and perfect exterior lies a cruel task she must carry out for the rest of her life.

Many Alices came and went, and after eighty-eight times, she has been posted the eighty-eighth Duchess to become the next Alice's replacement, patiently waiting for the eighty-ninth Alice to arrive in Wonderland. Like a patient mother, the Duchess waited and endured the pain this duty had set on her, which was to tolerate the black ink which contained the regrets of everyone in Wonderland. Acting as Alice's decoy was to distract the black ink, which frequently abused her, pained her body and dealt her a great deal of damage. But she still endured it all with a smile, even reaching out to the black ink with bloodied, outstretched arms, saying words of comfort. It broke her, it hurt, her, but she smiled, she still smiled to endure her never-ending pain.

"Don't worry," she frequently said. "I will be here, I am Alice. I will always be here."

But one thing which never changed was her expression when she was asleep. She would frequently cry at night, or sleep talk excessively, which is the only time when she vented her depression and unhappiness. Deep down, she only wanted to escape from this insufferable fate which bound her along with the title of the Duchess of Wonderland, but duty had become her judgement as time passed by. She realized that she would've just went along with her duty, that is to wait for Alice and hold back the black ink of regrets for the safety of Wonderland. Her mask was properly donned, even in front of her lovely pet, the Cheshire Cat. Even to the pet she loved, she had to veil her true feelings and display a different side to him, which pained her heart deeply.

Then one day, Alice arrived.

The Duchess didn't expect a kind Alice, for the rest of the Alices only wanted to have the story of Alice in Wonderland all to themselves. Those selfish girls who only wanted fame, recognition, fortune, those selfish girls who weren't worth anything at all weren't like the eighty-ninth Alice. He was caring towards her and actually appreciated her hospitality, showing her an ounce of kindness. She was happy, this little Duchess, for her task was finally complete, but she was saddened at the same time.

Once Alice arrives, the Duchess is no longer needed.

The cruel reality has yet, struck her once again.


The Duchess had contemplated about her life, and how she had lived it before she went off to see the benevolent Queen of Hearts. She didn't do anything she liked during her life as the Duchess, and the mask had latched on her as soon as it was donned. She found that she could do nothing more about her life but regret, regret and regret the things she could never do in her life. Remembering her cute little pet, she smiled wistfully as she looked out of the window to see a man waiting for her with a smile. She equally smiled too, dressed herself and daintily walked outside.

He beckoned her to enter the lavish carriage, and she looked at him in return.

"You don't have to go through the trouble," she spoke. The man bowed down his head in remorse, wishing to apologize to the Duchess for his wrong actions. Surprised, she looked at him with a puzzled look, and patted his head gently.

"Don't apologize," she smiled. "I shouldn't be in Wonderland, because useless people aren't supposed to go in Alice's way. So, my turn as the Duchess is finally over."

As she muttered these words, she felt a sense of relief wash upon her. Climbing up the carriage, she gave the man one last look and smiled her last farce smile.

"A new Duchess will become Alice's replacement."


Eighty-ninth Alice…

Will you be able to finish this story?

My pet, Cheshire Cat…

Please…..help Alice…..


Facing the scythe of the Queen, the Duchess knelt down and clasped her petite hands together, giving a last look at the Queen of Wonderland. The Queen was ready to annihilate her, simply waiting for any last words which will be uttered by the Duchess before her death. The Duchess did have something to say, and as if she was worshipping a deity, she requested most respectfully of her wishes.

"Your Majesty, could you please tell this to my lovely pet?"

The Queen looked at her with a placid smile. "Even if he's unnecessarily tormented by it?"

"Well….I wasn't able to become Alice."

I didn't want to trouble him, so I endured. I endured everything until the end….

But….

"I….should've been more jealous…..I should've acted more spoilt…." The Duchess finally let her bottled up tears fall, those years of holding back her sorrows finally let loose at that very moment. She still maintained her smile as she cried, regretting everything she never did. Remembering the times when she never could do what she wanted, act as she wanted or even have the freedom to speak what she wanted, she let her emotions loose in front of the Queen. The Queen, understanding her wishes, raised the scythe and quietly spoke to the Duchess.

"I'll make sure to tell him."

With a little curtsy, the Duchess bowed down her head to conceal her face and spoke.

"...Thank you very much, Your Majesty."

Cheshire Cat….

I love you…

Smiling her last smile, her true smile, the eighty-ninth Duchess of Wonderland has met her end.


A/N: Are You Alice is one of the most awesome manga I've ever read! And the Duchess is just so cute and...d'awww...I couldn't get to read the full story of the Duchess, but this is just my thoughts upon the little cute thing...What a job to put on a cute girl like her.

Please review! It's very much appreciated!

[I don't own Are You Alice. Credits to its respective owners.]