Author Note: Yeah, I deleted Crossing the Board once and for all. For a couple reasons. Why? It had become a cliché in itself. I'll be honest with you. It was basically going to become a Mary Sue Nightmare. But, I came up with another plot (with similar elements, so you guys won't be disappointed) but with an entire new story. With similar themes and dark elements but with a twist I haven't seen yet on this website. So be prepared for a much better story, and enjoy!
-Beth/Yamiko (Imperfect Paradise)
Through the Looking Glass
By Imperfect Paradise
Crossing the Board
The Frabjous day had come, and in what seemed like only a few hours, it had come to a close. There were no regrets. Nor any pain or suffering. And it did not stop Underland from relishing in complete celebration, throughout all corners of its territories. As the wretched bloody-big head and her unscrupulous partner in crime were hauled away, kicking and screaming in the process, everywhere almost at once, wine bottles were popped, glasses were filled, and joyous shouts echoes through the air simultaneously.
The red guard returned to Salazar Grum and without hesitation, they freed all the remaining prisoners of the red queen. The former courtiers of the said monarch (who up until now had been fearfully contemplating their pending fates for well over twenty-four hours) were released from their confines, and all took the news in their own special way. Lady Large Ears was at a loss, Lady Long Nose hesitated, but after reflecting on it for only a mere moment, Lord big belly looked upon his fellow courtiers, and could not help the big toothy smile that spread across his lips. Within that moment, he tore off the padding of his fake disfigurement, lit a match, and wasted no time setting it aflame. While watching the ashes of his former burden sink into the earth he bellowed in happy laughter, "Callou Cal-lay!"
One by one, his counterparts joined him serendipitously, while all former staff members tore off the many portraits covering the walls, ripping them apart into confetti or painting over them in a playful manner (devil horns and mustaches were quite popular in this practice). Trays and candles were dropped, as the crows, monkeys, pigs and platypuses dropped the symbols of their enslavement and ran (or flew) for the door cheering with mirth.
Outside, family members and staff reclaimed the heads of their loved ones, taking it upon themselves to give them the proper burials and provide the necessary services they required. Assisted by the frogs, (who had a fair share of their own allies floating in the midst) they fished out the many heads with relish (using the very same nets that had once been used to catch them), until the blood red river ran clear.
For that moment, everything was it should have bee in Underland. Wonderfully Mad and proud of it all!
"Oi, Willard! What d'ye think ye doin'?" A frog asked his friend, who was seemingly struggling with his net. Seeing the stress his companion had with pulling it out of the bog, he inquired, "Have eh't caught on somethin', have-ye?"
"I say, Billum!" Said Willard. "I think eh't be anoth'a head!"
"Anotha' ye say?"
"Aye, but I'm havin' trouble prying e't out! It's like eht's bein' wa'ed down I says!"
"Well come alon' then," said Billium, "We gotta' burry every unfortunate bloke who met that horrible fate of the red queen."
Willard nodded, and gave a rather sharp tug, but failed to to get it out. Together, the frogs pulled and tugged, and after one sudden burst of energy, they finally secured the head from underneath the rocks that practically held it down. It was tossed up into the sky, its image being blocked by the sun, though it's silhouette flew over the mighty hedge of the red's queen abode.
Billium rolled his eyes and commented, "Rather graceful of ye! It went clear over' the cliff!"
With that, the frogs wasted no time hoping over the fortress, passing by a few other frogs (who were presently inebriated on brandy-tea), twirling their old uniforms as if they were sporty flags. Once they landed, they approached the severed re-haired head that lay right next to the croquet bushes, its expression forever paralyzed in fear and decade old suimberry juice leaking from his lips.
To say the late Queen Iracabeth was consumed with anger and rage as the red cards led her and her knave away, was a mere understatement. Rosy face and hoarse in the voice, she howled with unscrupulous hate and unadulterated spite, "You wait till I regain power! All you idiotic blokes will wish you killed the little bitch as I said you should have!"
The cards paid her no mind, (the leader rolling his eyes for what seemed like the eighth time that day) as they once more followed the bloodhound Bayard into the wilderness; confident the queen's faithful servant would lead them back to safety.
Number ten lead the lot, his spear held tightly and proudly in hand. Behind him, followed by nine and eight who had Iracabeth and Stayne bound before them, along with seven who picked up the rear. Nine was chattering enthusiastically with Bayard, asking him inumerous silly questions. "I say, it is so WONDERFUL to be free from these morons!" He gave a swift kick to Stayne, who moaned shortly afterwards. "Now I can be the hand I want to be! Say Bayard! You should join us for Bridge sometime! You could win big!"
Bayard sniffed the ground (continuing to keep their trail on record) and murmured, "No, I haven't the hands to play."
"Oh of course! Right you are. Sorry, I forget the faults of other creatures of Underland. Not that I am doubting your talents, Sir!"
"By the way, Bayard—"
The card shuffled nervously and inquired, "I trust no hard feelings linger amongst us. I was just, well... you see, I..."
"Afraid, I know," Bayard finished for him. The card nodded in shame.
"Don't get me wrong. I still have them, because of what you and your men did to my wife and pups, yet because of my own actions, I have no right to criticize you."
The card nodded, knowing this well, before looking at the knave, who hadn't looked up since his fate was delivered. He thought bitterly, I never 'wanted' to hurt them. But because of this inhuman monster, I had very little choice.
They continued to travel through the outlands, Bayard faithfully keeping track of their progress, none took as much as a single notice of something that would have seemed quite strange. Ilosovic Stayne had stopped struggling a long time ago. Now, from anyone who looked upon him, they would have expected denial, and why wouldn't have they? Here was the man who almost puppeteer the queen to his own will and interests, the one who signaled the execution to chop off her enemy's heads, without a single drop of remorse in his blood … Now, he was an empty shell, who had lost everything, and had earned a fate worse than death itself, and he had all of eternity to contemplate upon it.
But how wrong they were to assume his look had been of self-pity—
and not one of them took notice of the subtle hint that he was waiting for something to happen.
Having not traveled more than a day into the outlands, Bayard suddenly stopped in his tracks, and stayed still. The number ten took notice this, stopped and raised his hand, signaling his men to stop.
"What're we..." Number seven began ask, but Number ten raised his hand further, signaling silence. The cards looked oddly at one another, wondering what was going on, as Bayard lay focused on the spot he remained upon, smelling it intently and almost obsessively.
Before they could utter another word, Bayard stopped abruptly, and stood rigid. Number nine regarded the situation, and asked in a confused stance, "Lord Bayard—what on earth-?"
Ten suddenly looked off to the left, not even taking notice of the smirk that had slowly crawled upon Stayne's hidden features within the past few minutes, and held it itself intact with triumph, nor even noticing that Bayard tore off back in the direction they had come from.
Ten turned around, and informed the men, "Hold steady, you blokes! There's something else—"
His words were interrupted as a spear suddenly tore through his armor, and pierced right through the center of his pattern. Though he bore no blood, the black spear glinted in the remaining sun of the former Frabjous Day. The cards had little time to react, as more spears came out of nowhere and piercing through their thick red armor. Iracabeth looked around, completely bewildered, as Stayne stood up straight and grinned, appearing like he had expected this for some time.
As each card fell to the ground and disintegrated into red sparks, behind them stood knights fashioned in chess pieces—not unlike the guards of Marmoreal. Though not entirely identical, as they bore a metallic ivory black instead of the rustic pantheon-white as seen on the White Queen's royal guard.
Then, who was most likely the leader of this interception, a knight shaped warrior stepped forward, and knelt before the chained pair, and bowed before them honorably. "You're majesty," he proclaimed, "Our forces have reconvened, and we have returned to fight for you. Our army is nearly complete and we await your orders!"
Iracabeth smugly smiled, knowing that her reign couldn't have possibly ended as Mirana had said, there had to be some people still loyal to her after all. But before she could utter a single word,
"Wonderful, lieutenant. Is it safe to assume our headquarters are up and running once more?"
Iracabeth blinked unsurely for a moment, and slowly looked towards the man beside her, who was none other than her former faithful knave.
The chess piece hesitated, before Ilosovic pressed on, "Soldier, I asked, is our headquarters up and running?"
"Yes! The castle is fully restored but our land is still in decay..."
"We'll worry about such problems later, soldier. We must journey back as soon as possible."
Iracabeth stared confused, at the situation unraveling before her, completely lost for words. Stayne no longer appeared seedy and cunning, as she once knew him as. Now he stood before her, majestic, fearless and almost… kingly! She did not understand this one bit!
"Ilosovic, love," she began, "What on earth—"
Stayne suddenly looked back on her and gave her a look of pure anger and wasted no time slapping the red queen brutally across the face. As her head snapped behind her, she remained there, in shock while not understanding what had just happened. She then looked to meet the eyes of her once favorite and faithful servant— and stared completely paralyzed in fear at the vile look he gave her.
"Exhiled hag," he seethed, "You have no right to call me your love!" He then suddenly tugged up her upwards, and commanded, "Release me from this woman immediately! It is degrading to be so close to a pawn as herself." The knight nodded, handed off his spear to a rook, who immediately cut them free. As he tore his hand away, he stood up straight in a dignified manner, removing his eyepatch and switching it with his favored black patch. "Gag her as well," he commanded,"I will not hear another word from that fowl childish mouth of hers."
Iracabeth was then wrenched away, being bound and gagged by the mysterious soldiers, right when Ilosovic's armored stallion came out of the bushes. It's heart armor had vanished, and it now bore pure colbalt armor complete with spikes. Ilosovic smirked, and greeted him as he would a companion. "Hello old friend," he drawled,"Laying low I see?"
His steed snorted while saying, "They brought me away to change my armor shortly after the fight began, I couldn't be seen until then. And thank goodness for that. Do you know how silly I felt wearing red armor?"
Ilosovic stared at the red eye patch in his hand, before crushing it like a slip of paper. "I quite agree."
"So, are you sure you want to continue with this plan then?"
Ilosovic shrugged and admitted, "White always moves first. I was hoping for that." He then hopped upon his steed and proclaimed to his servants. "We will gather our forces at Ebonous! Soon, Underland will bear the weight of the rightful kingdom!"
He then tore off in a groundbreaking gallop, his loyal subjects following right behind him, while dragging Iracabeth in the dirt like a trailer cart.
"We are still missing a crucial piece my lord." the horse grunted out of the blue.
Stayne looked up and added thoughtfully. "I am well aware of that Bestial."
The horse looked behind him, watching the red headed witch being dragged face down on the ground. "Tell me it's not going to be her!"
Stayne scoffed, "Our course not. She's weak as a newborn baby! Completely useless, and ugly to boot. We will need someone much... stronger, more fair, for the role we need to be fill."
The horse whined, while chuckling, "Oh you mean?"
Stayne smirked, as they continued off to their abode, thinking about the candidate he had already selected. Images of a beautiful young woman clad in silver armor, her face red with stored energy from her previous battle, with her tangled golden hair falling from the front of her face as she watched the head of wonderland's previous harbinger bounce towards the bottom of the ruins. The most beautiful warrior he had ever seen who had no idea that her fight was far from over.
All in good time, he thought. ALL in good time.
It was an hour later, when Mirana heard the news from Bayard who shortly after hearing it, stared appalled at the news. "You sure," she inquired, "Men dressed in black uniforms?"
Bayard nodded, "Aye! They were indeed-clad in armor identical to your soldiers, though they were painted stark black as the night."
Mirana stat down upon her throne, and shook her head, almost in denial. "That cannot be." she stated, almost mindlessly. Bayard nodded regretfully, and added, "My nose and eyes never lie, your majesty, there is no doubt that he has returned."
Mirana argued, "But the Black king has been missing for decades! He has been gone since Alice left from her second venture here!"
"You mean the one before the slaying of the Jabberwocky," Bayard confirmed.
"Indeed!" Mirana leant back and added, "That was the first time when Alice saved our kingdom! Yet when offered, she refused to take upon her role as the blue queen!" She then shook her head, and contemplated, "Curious—why on earth would they chose to appear now!"
Before Bayard could voice his thoughts on the matter, a gracefully gust of blue smoke appeared, followed by the slick form of a rather familiar feline. Chess happily circled around the queen in a playful manner, his grin omnipresent yet provided very little comfort due to the present circumstances. "Enjoying your rule, once more, magesty?" He asked, his unearthly smiled wreathed in delight.
Mirana regarded him briefly, but before she could speak a word, Cheshire added, "I wouldn't get to comfortable if I were you. I was just informed that the former staff of Iracabeth found the head a... rather familiar face."
Mirana heard this, and asked, "Familiar, you say? However for?"
Chess took the opportunity to appear right behind her. "Oh, yes indeed." He nonchalantly added. "According to Absolum the wise, it is none other than the head of the real knave of hearts, who has been dead for nearly a decade or so."
TO BE CONTINUED
Author Note 1: Taking from the names Ebony (as it black) and Mount Olympus as the kingdom of the Greek gods.
(will be edited after my last final)—which is tomorrow) Review please! Tell me how I am doing story wise!