Maka waltzed through the rich growth of the forest, throughly turned around and confused to bits, she wouldn't even be able to find her way back to the beach and Ox's boat if she wanted to! A horsefly buzzed past, which was literally a horse with wings, just reminding her of the strange thing she had witnessed so far. She had wandered into a particularly rude patch of flowers, who sung her a song against her own will and then proceeded to call her a weed. She was very insulted by that, to be called a dandelion fluff, though it was not the worst name to be called, she supposed. After that she had been turned around by a slow turtle, that wished to do nothing but talk about itself, and now, she was finally in the middle of a very small field, a clearing perhaps, wading in the shin-high grass towards the log that rested in the middle. Sighing, Maka rested wearily on the old dead piece of wood, wondering what on earth to do next.
'I guess I could try to find my way back to the beach. But would the boat even be there? Would Kim and Ox still be on ship?' Maka thought. Sighing once again, which she seemed to be doing an awful lot these days, she settled back on the log, letting the giggly sun warm her skin, shutting her eyes. What would she do indeed? She was sitting on a log in a clearing in her undergarments, a problem she would have to soon fix, she realized. She was thoroughly startled and snapped from her meandering thoughts when a cheerful and familiar voice surprised her. "Hey Alice? What on earth are you doing here?"
Maka's eyes opened wide as she stared up at Kirikou, who was smiling as bright as ever, frames sliding down his nose, and Pot of Thunder and Pot of Lightning on either side of him, small faces beaming up at her. They were all wearing matching outfits, bright yellow tailcoats and red pants, the two pots wearing funny little hats. "A-ah, Kirikou? Thunder? Lightning?" Maka asked, leaning forward, eyes alight in curious wonder and relief. Finally! Someone who could help her! "I'm sorry?Who's Kirikou? I am Shouldn't-Be-Kirikou, this is Definitely-Not-Lightining and Definitely-Not-Thunder! We're the Pot brothers!" They exclaimed enthusiastically. Maka wondered what on earth was up with everyone's names here. So bizarre, and they definitely made Maka suspicious. She ignored this fact for a moment, and instead leaned forward and grasped Kirikou by the shoulders, shaking him with her relief. "Thank Shinigami it's you! I've been lost and wandering these woods for hours!" she exclaimed, "Could you show-"
"Would you like to hear a story?" Kirikou asked, cutting off Maka's plea for help. Puzzled, Maka released his shoulders, " A stor-?" only to be cut off again,as Kirikou launched off into a wild and confusing story.
"O once a morning there were three children,
Decidedly-Not-Eibon, Positively-Not-Arachne, And Shall-Not-Be-Death!
Three very powerful children, not enemies, not yet!
Decidedly-Not-Eibon approached Shall-Not-Be-Death one day,
Opened his small mouth,only for him to say,
"I'll be a builder, a designer, an inventor, at that!
I'll be famous world-wide, why I bet my hat!"
He announced with a crafty grin, issuing his bet, and expecting to win!
Shall-Not-Be-Death was not the type to back down from a challenge,
Dug through his pockets, and pulled out any change he could salvage.
"I'll take you to that, we'll see if you make fame!"
He scoffed loudly, expecting a win, accomplishment, a gain!
The two friends, now rivals, went their separate ways,
Unaware and unfeeling a certain spider's gaze!
Now Ms. Positively-Not was not a fair child to say,
She was sly and sneaky, and thought the world was a toy for her play!
And with a smirk she snuck into the shadows in a way only evil can,
And started evolving her evil, downright devious plan!
And years later, Mr. Decidedly-Not,
approached Shall-Not-Be-Death, unaware of a certain spider's plot!
Through the many years, through multiple beings with eight eyes,
Ms. Positively-Not-Arachne had fed Shall-Not-Be rumors and lies!
And with a glare, Shall-Not-Be challenged Decidedly-Not's greet,
Only seeing the poor confused man tinged with hate and deceit.
And the friends fell apart, seething in confusion and hate,
Unaware that their story's end was not decided through fate!
And machines stopped working, Death no longer struck,
The world was covered in spiders till the rotation stuck!
And everyone was mad, downright insane!
And you could say Wonderland has never been the same!"
Kirikou finished the story with flourish, almost comically exaggerating his sweeping bow. The pots which had been doing strange little dances throughout the story, finally stopped and grinned up at the hopelessly confused girl, as if awaiting applause, hats in their hands. Maka's head was cocked to the side, a position she had assumed while trying to follow the long and winding story, trying to make sense of the tale, when there was obviously none to be found. It was only a second later that it sunk in that the three would be absolutely useless in helping her find her way out of this maddeningly twisting and spun forest. With a whispered goodbye to her friends, who had already gone off on another rant, Maka silently slid of the rough dead bark of the log and slipped into the thick colorful hues of the surrounding forest. She wandered for a couple of hours more, occasionally stopping to lean against the gaudy coloring of the trees.
When Maka saw a small cottage up ahead, she was surprised but relieved, maybe there was someone there who would make a speckling of sense? However when Maka opened the door to the small and seemingly peaceful cottage, she had to duck to avoid a flying sauce pan.
Yes, inside the small house it was chaos, a fire roared loudly in the mantlepiece, cats roamed everywhere, food splattered the walls, and dishes were being tossed about in an unruly manner by a blonde woman who had her back turned so Maka could not see her face. And in the midst of it was Blair, sitting atop a chair in the middle of the room, rocking a bundle of blankets and crooning softly to it, avoiding the thrown food and eating ware as if it was the usual and not strange at all. Blair's eyes alit when she laid sights on Maka. "Alice! It's about time you've come to visit me!" she laughed loudly, rivaling the fire and shattering dishes and cats in noise. Maka, staring, ducked again, avoiding a plate that came hurtling towards her head. A cat clawed at her bare foot. Noticing her stare, Blair looked towards the ceiling. "Oh yes, you didn't meet me last time you visited Wonderland did you? I am Certainly-Isn't-Blair, but my formal title is the Duchess-Isn't!" she reintroduced, as if Maka and her had never met before. "And this is my cook, Indeed-Not-Marie!"
At this minute exactly, Marie chose to spin around and throw a carving knife at Maka. "Blast! Not enough pepper in the stew! Supper is ruined!" she wailed, not noticing Maka's yelp or just barely dodging the sharp knife, which thumped into the door, sticking into the wood. Unsteadily making her way towards Blair, who seemed to be at the safest point in the room at the moment, she stood at the base of Blair's chair, which was risen from the ground. "Um, Blair, I mean, Certainly-Isn't-Blair?" Maka asked, correcting herself at Blair's insulted look, " Do you know how to get back to the beach?The one that meets the Sea of Sinking Sands?" Maka asked, feeling foolish asking such a thing. She wasn't surprised, however, when Blair ignored her question, as it seemed everyone seemed to be doing such of the late. Instead, Blair shoved the baby she had been rocking into Maka's face. "Isn't he just purrfect?" she squealed, bringing the infant closer to Maka.
Maka blinked at the toddler, who's blue eyes and curly blonde hair looked familiar. When she saw the earbuds though, Maka's eyes widened. "J-justin?" she asked the baby. It cooed at her in reply. Blair cuddled the small boy into her chest again, gushing over him. "Is he yours?" Blair asked Maka, holding the baby out to her. Justin gurgled and reached for a lock of her hair, which was still down from earlier. "You mean he's not yours?" Maka asked tiredly.
Back when things had made sense, Blair had always brought home what she thought were stray cats, and Maka and Soul often had to deal with angry and upset cat owners. The baby was shoved into her hands however, as the door flew open, rattling on its rusty hinges. A frog hopped in, big eyes bulging as a butcher knife almsot cleaved its head off. "U-um, message for the Duchess-Isn't!" it croaked, voice high and quavering with the shock off a knife just barely brushing against its slimy skin. Blair frowned and accepted the letter from the whimpering frog as a glass shattered behind its head, oblivious to its fear.
Maka peeked over Blair's shoulder, skillfully dodging the shattering dishes, and keeping the twirls of her hair from Justin's grabby hands. The envelope was pure black, the wax seal shaped like a coiled snake. "The Snake queen," Blair hissed under her breath, ears laying back in anger. The surrounding cats seemed to sense her anger and hissed at Maka, as if she was the cause of her cat fit. Blair shot an annoyed looked at the spitting cats. "Calm down, it's not her. Sorry Alice, they can be a bit..Catty." she giggled, relishing in her pun. The cats that had circled Maka, gradually slipped away, shooting her wary glances that belonged to anything other than cats.
Blair opened the letter, now in higher spirits. Scanning it quickly, she frowned. "Oh dear…" she sighed, brow crinkling in concern, she turned to Maka quickly and said, "Alice, darling, I'll have to leave now, the Queen is calling me to court. And she's absolutely no fun!" Brushing past her, she grabbed her coat off a hook and was out the door in a wave of tabby cats before Maka could even ask what to do with baby Justin. Looking down at the baby, Maka sighed, as things were most definitely not going her way today. Baby Justin started fussing, and fell from Maka's arms, before crawling out the door. Maka wanted to chase after him, but didn't trust herself to not get turned about in the maze-like forest. When a spoon chipped at the remaining food-stained paint on the door, Maka was reminded there was another person she could possibly ask for directions. "Um, Ms. Indeed-Not-Marie?" Maka asked hesitantly, wondering if the eye-patched woman would even answer to such a name. "Yes?" Marie asked, momentarily stopping her hail of silverware.
"Do you know how to get out of this place?" she asked, assuming Marie would know what she meant. The other blonde woman was always good with understanding her. However, it seemed she was Indeed-Not-Marie because she tilted her head in confusion. "I'm sorry Miss Alice, get out of where?"
Maka wanted to stomp her feet and scream like a small child she was so irritated. She was so very annoyed, absolutely frustrated! Nothing made sense, in fact, it wasn't farfetched to even call it nonsense! Yes, that word described this world very well, Maka thought, storming out of the cottage, giving a noncommittal grunt to Marie's cries of, "Say hello to Mr. Absolutely for me!" and off into the forest, sick of people now and happy to get lost and turned around away from insane people who resembled her friends.
Maka was relieved when she saw the signs from a distance, though abashed when she came closer and realized all the signs were decorated and dressed in irrational directions, some simply pointing at the sky and somehow suggesting she go up. The path she had been following forked, a large tree resting in the middle of it, both paths leading back into suspicious looking shadows. Try as she might, no matter how hard Maka peered in either direction she couldn't break through the unrelenting darkness. And she certainly wasn't going to charge headfirst into such worrying gloom!
"Beware the Kishin, my son!
The foolish face that grins, eyes wide with malice,
Beware the Queen that can hiss, no best to shun!
Until happened upon Wonderland is Alice!"
A jeering tone sang slightly off-key, the smirk in their voice echoing through the silent woods. Maka froze at the voice so known to her ears, searching widely for its source, yet not braving the blackness down the two paths. "P-professor?" she asked the abyss, and in such a maddening place as she was in now, she would hardly be surprised if such a madman appeared. That didn't stop her from jumping though when the voice appeared over her shoulder, jaunting and teasing with a slight musical tone.
"One two! One two! Went Alice's scythe!
She left him dead, and rode off with her knight!
And the madness left, the Kishin dead!
And the Snake queen was offed! Just like her head!"
The voice she was so intimate with in her everyday life, chilling her to the bone as it laughed along with the childish tune yet such a gory song was sung in place of one appropriate for children. She squealed in surprise when a large grin appeared in front of her nose, stumbling back as she watched in fascination as a gray cat appeared before her very eyes. If that was not enough, surely the fact that the cat was covered in stitches that wormed and wriggled its way across its fur, and the hole gaping through the side of its head was the selling factor. It peered over flashing circular glasses that somehow balance on the bridge of it's nose. "'Ello, Alice," it greeted, as they were simply old friends happening upon each other once again. And in a way, Maka supposed, it was true.
"Professer Stein? I-is that really you?" she questioned, looking gobsmacked at the strange beast that seemed to be lounging mid-air. The cat glanced above her head, as if in thought before answering, "Well, I've been nobody else but me for as long as I can remember, though I've forgotten a bit, and I hope I've never been someone else beside myself, because I'd hate to be anyone else other than me. So yes, you can say I am me, I am Absolutely-Stein, to be straight, and I've been nobody else since I was I can't recall how long I have been myself and not me."
Maka stared at the cat in wonder, simply trying to make sense of his long and confusing reply. Finally she decided that yes, that was most definitely her professor. "Have I discombobulated you? Terribly sorry Alice, you don't seem as bright as you used to be." he apologized, in a rather offensive and offhanded manner. Flushing angrily, Maka grit out, "Can you tell me the way out of this bloody forest?" keeping her tongue and manners in check. Once again, Stein peered over her shoulder, before suddenly snapping back to reality, same cheeky grin as ever.
"Well I simply couldn't but perhaps I could send you off towards a couple of mad fellows, who would be delighted to give you proper directions, hmm?" Stein purred, stitches dancing across his nose. Maka sweat dropped. "Oh no, I can't deal with anymore of this insanity, is there anyone normal around here?" she questioned, glad at least someone had answered her question, even if they weren't entirely helpful. Stein simply gave her his signature maniacal laugh, stitches seeming to squirm even more jubilantly. Olive green eyes reflected the same insane amusement she so often associated with the mad doctor. "Oh no, I'm afraid everyone's mad here." he said, not sounding a bit sorry. "Though it wasn't always this way," he said thoughtfully, gazing over Maka's shoulder once again, as if remembering something. Maka frowned at him, the last stanza of Kirikou's poem replaying through her head.
'And machines stopped working, Death no longer struck,
The world was covered with spiders till the rotation stuck!
And everyone was mad, downright insane!
And you could say Wonderland has never been the same!'
Maka glanced at the cat, who was staring off into the distance, seemingly lost in memory, and that was when she realized the mad doctor was no longer sporting his screw, now a gaping hole through the side of his head, just beneath his pointed feline ears. "U-um, Professor Stein? Where's your screw?" she asked, tapping the side of her head as if indicating where the screw would be if it was any other day. She would've questioned the detail of why he was a cat, but it didn't seem as important at the moment. Stein glanced at her before scowling slightly, small nose scrunching up as if he had caught scent of something distasteful. "That wretched Snake queen stole it from me and hid it somewhere in the forest, I've been looking for it ever since. It was my only way of fighting the Kishin's madness, though it wasn't very useful, but still helped to collect my thoughts!" he said, seemingly arguing with himself. Feeling sorry for the old cat, but still wanting answers, Maka sighed and said, "If you could just point me to those guys you mentioned…" she said, sentence dwindling to nothing. Stein looked up from his one-sided argument with himself, grinning at the young girl.
"Of course, Alice, why just had that way, the left path there." he said, flicking his tail lazily down the path that went to the left of the tree. The sutures on his tail flew off and danced down the path, before dissolving gradually and disappearing midair. Maka blinked before dismissing it; far stranger things had happened today. With a relieved smile Maka thanked him before starting down the path. Suddenly Crona flashed through her mind and she stopped, spinning around. Stein raised an eyebrow. "Oh! Have you seen Crona?" she asked the cat, who had disappeared briefly and was now lounging on the lowest branch of the tree. Stein flicked his tail and batted at the floating fastens, amusing himself.
"Oh, I don't know a Crona, but I do know of a rabbit by the name of Doesn't-Seem-To-Be-Crona. Is that who you're talking about?" he said disinterestedly, no longer amused with the poor girl yet still wearing a smile. Maka shrugged her shoulders, "I guess so," she said.
"Well the foolish rabbit went that way." Stein said, smirking as he gestured down the opposite path, stitches flying. "He did?" Maka said enthusiastically, pumped to finally have the chance to catch Crona.
"He did what?"
Tilting her head in confusion Maka said,"He went that way!"
With a grin and a tilt of the head to match her own, the sarcastic cat said, "Who did?"
"The rabbit, Crona, he went that way…?" she said uncertainly. Giggling gleefully, Stein asked, "What rabbit?"
With a scowl, Maka chose not to answer the tricky feline, and instead spun on her heels, marching down the left path. As she disappeared down the path, Stein finally let the smile he had been wearing the whole time, big or small, disappear. His eyes widened as his breathing labored, the small furry body on the branch twitching and spasming till it almost fell off. When Maka was finally far away enough for her to not hear, only then did, did Stein let out a loud, screaming laugh, one of pure insanity. One of a Kishin's madness. One of absolute pain.
For Wonderland was not as wonderful as it used to be.
A/N: And yet another installment of MakaChan in Wonderland! I hope you guys like it, and your reviews motivate me to write more! If anyone has any questions or suggestions for the story, feel free to message me, and I'll guarantee that you'll get a reply.
See you next time,