Yeah, okay. I'll tell you now. I might as well – it'll save surprising you in the middle of my story and losing your attention. My surname is Doppelganger. Heard that name before? Yes, it's the name of Wonderland's most successful army general: logically, General Doppelganger.
It's a common belief that "Doppelganger" is his first name, probably due to the names Doppel and Ganger attributed to his split personalities. Wrong. They're only called that because it's handy. Of course, his actual given name is totally classified, so don't come asking me to tell you.
Anyway, you're wondering who in Wonderland I am. Good question. I'm General Doppelganger's younger sister, Millicent. Personally, I think that name is far too sweet and docile-sounding for me, and I'm sure the extensive list of grown men I've sent home crying for their mothers will agree.
I've opted for the general nickname Cook. And yes, dumbasses, that's because I cook. For the whole of the frigging Alyssian camp. And for your information, my recipes are widely appreciated – not only because I'd beat anyone who insulted my cooking senseless.
When Redd stormed Heart Palace and usurped the throne of Wonderland, I was barely six years old. I came uncomfortably close to death, and to give him credit, it was my brother who saved my life.
Even when I was born, he had long since left home. To this day I don't actually know the age difference between us. I was brought up like an only child, pretty much, in Wondertropolis We – my father, my mother and I – weren't fabulously rich. We were just regular middle-class citizens, we got on okay in monetary matters, my father a member of the Palace Guard and my mother working part time in a small local café (run by a family friend named Gwynyth). We were always a happy family, no harms befalling us, and my parents would be at rest knowing that my brother was doing well in life.
Of course, that peaceful, idle life was never going to last, was it? Life's like that.
On Princess Alyss' (may she rest in peace) birthday, Father was late coming home from work. But Mother and I supposed that he was participating in festivities, something easily forgiven. However, half an hour later, there was still no sign of him. Even if there were problems in the Crystal Continuum, he should have returned long ago. Mother fidgeted.
"Millicent, sweetheart, stay here," she said, I recall, "I'm popping over to Gwynyth's to check up on any news from the Palace. I will be home in a minute."
I waited. Five minutes passed. From my seat facing the clock, I could see out the window – there was commotion on the street. But I obediently remained seated. Ten minutes... Twenty. I was beginning to get worried, but having been so sheltered my whole childhood, I was imagining that my two parents were having lots of tarty tarts at a party and had forgotten all about me.
Chessmen marched down the street, but it was a panicked march, bordering on a frenzied mob. One man stood out – their leader – calm and stoney-faced as he gave them orders. He turned and seemed to find what he was looking for. Before I knew what was going on, the door had been broken down and my brother stood before me.
Five minutes later, Card Soldiers under Redd's command raided the entire street, every house included. Most caught in the midst of the raid died.
General Doppelganger set up the Alyssian camp. I lived there most of my life, I knew the drills off by heart. Despite being refugees, it wasn't a terrible life. Not at all. Well – for some little smart-alecs, having me around might have ruined their o-so-important lives, but on the grand scale of things, we lived pretty pleasantly.