Before I begin weaving this tale of… whatever, I'll have you know that this particular story is not quite a Bridget Jones, nor is it remotely anything of the sort. I can already guess this, as I'm currently tumbling down a seemingly endless hole found in the backyard of a lovely Victorian-styled mansion in England; kudos to my dad's friend for letting us rent out the place for the break, but it would've been kinda nice if he'd warned us of a ridiculously large hole on the estate.
I can't really tell if this is real or if I've tripped and fallen, but in any case, I probably deserve this weird twist of fate and ankle. I did ask for an adventure on my trip, so maybe I'm to blame?
Allow me to make myself clear! My awesome father (adopted, but that was like right after I was born) was raised in England. He moved from Europe to the states, and when he was a grade schooler, he finally settled in the lovely state of Indiana. He met my mom some years later, they hooked up, and we became a family. Since I was little, he told me how he would take the entire family on a trip to his hometown in England, and he would show us the 'house' he grew up in (I later learned it was not his house, it was merely his nanny's residence).
Just under a month ago, he proposed an idea to my mom, and suddenly I found myself in little old England, in a quaint little back road village, where the buildings were either tiny and creaky or very, very large. They were still creaky, though. The first few days were strange, but interesting, as he drove us all around town and told us of his memories and experiences.
Finally we found his old house, looking abandoned, but I felt welcome, like I was coming across an old friend. I felt I was unnaturally drawn to the old building, but at the time, I couldn't have guessed the reason why... but it was also haunted, or so I told myself. I knew once we arrived, my mission was to seek out a summer adventure, and hopefully find evidence of the paranormal at this new location.
You see, I'm very into the supernatural and strange. I grew up watching shows and movies of the subject with my two brothers, Jake and Tay, and became fascinated with the things unseen; I enjoy hearing stories of strange creatures and odd happenings.
Ergo, as large as the house was, I was more interested in its landscape. I went exploring the day we arrived and I discovered the glorious, blooming garden out back, as well as a tiny hedge maze. I successfully navigated through the maze only to find a girl about my age passed out in the grass.
She had long, gorgeous chocolate-brown hair, a precious bow on her head, and an azure colored Lolita dress, with gold trimmings and a cute white apron-looking thing that was held together by a bow that covered up most of her lower back. Her stockings were blue and white, just rising above her knees, and her shoes were a dull red. Despite her undeniably cute face, something was off about this girl (and, believe me, it wasn't just the fact that she was snoozing on the lawn of a supposed forsaken property).
I finally decided to stop being such a suspicious on-comer and I came to my reality. She lay still on the grass, almost lifeless. Alarmed, I desperately tried to wake the girl from her comatose, but the second my skin came in contact with her hand, her eyes snapped open and I was awestruck.
They were a brilliant color, like some sort of turquoise, but shades of cerulean were apparent. Her eyes were also wide, like a child's, and I couldn't help but stare for a few moments. While in my shocked position, I couldn't hear her trying to talk to me. Right off the bat I recognized a suspiciously faint English accent, so I assumed she was from around the area.
"Hello," she murmured, looking rather dazed. Her eyes flickered back and forth, observing the maze around us. Obviously, she must be have been entirely confused, but I was more concerned with how she came about the mansion in the first place. "Can you hear me?"
I shook my head fervently by accident and stuttered out, "Sorry... who are you, and why are you here?" She slowly stood up and brushed the dirt off of her dress, frowning at me.
"I should be asking the same thing! Where's Edith run off to now? I swear, was just looking after her children…" She gasped as her gaze swept over her outfit. "Oh, no... what's going on? I have to find Edith, quick, and ask her what happened." I cocked my head, wondering what she was rambling on about.
"Sorry again but do you live here? I thought this place was supposed to be unoccupied."
"No...? I'm not sure. Just give me a moment," she stated, unsure. "Wait. Who are you, again?"
I made a face and scratched my head, a little lost. "Well, my mom said to never introduce myself to strangers, so..."
She set her hands on her small hips. "Then why are you talking to me? In this case, you're more the stranger than I." I waved my hands in an embarrassed manner, jumping to my own defense.
"But I'm trying to figure out why you're here, so there's a difference! You're trespassing. For all I know, you could have escaped from some penitentiary or something." The girl stuck out her bottom lip.
"That's called being a hypocrite. I've never seen you before, so how do I know you yourself aren't a trespasser?"
I throw back my head, giving an exasperated sigh. "Well, that's a good point. In any case, this is getting nowhere. Can I at least ask for your name?"
"Alice. Alice Liddell." She said, still frowning. The name sounded unbelievably familiar, yet nothing in particular came to mind. I'm getting a very strange Disney-equse vibe from this girl.
"Alright. It's nice to meet you," I put out my hand for her to shake, and she tentatively took it. "Now, let's try this again. Do you live here, or are you a neighbor or something?" I gestured towards the large estate behind us, just barely visible over the hedges. Her eyes widened, as though she just noticed the manor, but she nodded.
"I... I am a resident of this place..." she answered dreamily. I scratched my chin, still recalling my step-father's earlier statement of how it had been abandoned for years.
"Well, come with me and we'll see what exactly is going on here." I lightly nudged her forward and we walked in silence back to the house. I conjured up theories in my head, only to have them shot down. Maybe she has amnesia? Also, she never explained why she was sleeping in the garden… all she said was she was babysitting for some girl named Edith. She also said she lived here, but that's not possible... this is kind of a weird situation.
Disappointed and perturbed, I took Alice inside and shocked the rest of my family. My brother Jake seemed to be the only one who approved of me bringing in this lost, strange girl, but my parents allowed her to stay inside and ease her nerves. I had yet to explain the situation to them, so they assumed it was a friend I met. We entered the living room and I plopped onto the couch while she chose a love seat. Absentmindedly, I swished the liquid in my cup and looked into the reflection, my face blurred.
"Um, lovely family you have! They're very friendly.." Alice droned on slightly, trying to break the silence filling the air. I swallowed dryly as my mom hurried past the doorway, phone in hand. She must have been talking to any of my sisters back at home, judging by the look that was forming on her baby face, 'cause she was obviously in distress. Finally she ended the call and left, shouting to my dad the results of the call. I paid no mind, having gotten used to my sister's antics. Alice twirled her fingers into her dress, isolated in some sort of daydream. I puffed out a cheek, feeling somewhat dejected.
I never was a great conversationalist when it came to speaking with other people my age except for my siblings, for some odd reason. Whoever I was bothering often went to someone else to speak with, ultimately replacing me. Not to say I never had friends, but I never got too in depth with them. I didn't mind so much anymore, but I still felt bad; if Alice really was lost and frightened, the very least I could do was try to help her out with some comforting conversation.
"You must have a really great gene pool in your family, because you're really pretty." Wow. Smooth. She shot me a sort of warning glance to shut up and I quickly downed my drink, mortified.
"Thank you, I suppose."
"... so, who is Edith? Er, if you don't mind my asking."
"Edith would be my younger sister. We aren't exactly close, but she asks me to babysit her. That's what I was doing before all this occurred." I pointed at her with my empty cup, shaking it.
"I hope you don't mind me saying this, but you don't seem old enough to have a niece or nephew..." She said nothing in response, and only looked away again.
"So do you have a job of some sort?" I inquired, still trying to make small talk. Amused by my attempts, she decided to join the conversation in it's entirety.
"No..." she answered carefully, readjusting herself on the seat. "Why? Do you have one?"
"Nah, but I want to be a lawyer or scientist of some sort. I mean, that'd be pretty nice. I don't really know what to do... I also need to decide what college I'll be attending." I went on rambling about my life so far, and she listened, genuinely interested. It was nice, to be completely honest. Finally, once I'd ran out of energy, she took the time to speak for herself.
While she drank her hot chocolate, she kept sputtering out a strange story, of people in another land where they all loved her, and obsessed over her. Usually I'm a great listener, but at that time I couldn't find the means to stay focused on the conversation at hand. Embarrassed once more, every so often I would nod or hum in agreement and shift around on the couch so she knew I wasn't completely out of it.
"The tower," she mumbled, "is where I stayed when I first arrived. Julius was always too concentrated on his work to spend time with me, but he was a good friend. I wonder how he's faring…? Oh, but this is all wrong! I have to figure out what's going on here, because the hole is still open..."
I sipped at my own drink, eyeing her cautiously. However, I soon began to feel tired and she kept on and on. I was relatively attentive when she was speaking of her personal life with her sisters and, what I guessed, detached father. She made no mention of her mother, leaving me curious as to what happened, but afraid I might get too personal, I just stayed quiet. However once I got around to asking about her older sibling, she paused and ended the family talk, then moving onto again her bizarre story of the other world she traveled to.
Despite the incredible stories of the distant world, her voice was soothing, allowing me to nestle into the couch and close my eyes. This time I actually listened to her story, but few details remained in my mind. All I could think about was her name. Alice Liddell. Where on Earth have I heard that name before? It sounds really familiar.
"… Oh, how I miss Wonderland. Despite all that's happened, I really loved it there. I should have never left." Those last words echoed in my head as I fell asleep.
I woke up hours later, expecting to see Alice still beside me, gazing into the fireplace, yet the whole room was empty. It was also dark, with the dim fire being my only light source. I stretched and saw a small note on the table before me. I snatched it up and struggled to see the cursive in the dark. My vision finally adjusted to the darkness and I read aloud:
"I took Alice to the guest bedroom and mom and dad are already asleep. By the time you wake up, if you ever wake up, I'll probably be snoozing, too. Don't make too much noise if you decide to go party or something, 'kay? I don't want to be the one who gets in trouble.
Without love, Jake"
I huffed and dropped the note, jogging up the stairs. I inched past Alice's room, fearful of my loud parading throughout the house, and snuck into my room to get changed to go to bed. That's when the real trouble started.
After changing, I looked out my window and saw some ominous, black thing looming in the maze where I'd discovered the unconscious Alice earlier. Excited that it could be the supernatural being I was searching for, I grabbed my homemade drawstring bag and slung it onto my shoulder. Forever it was lazily equipped with: a camera, my notebook that I recorded findings in, my cell phone, my MP3, and a chocolate bar (I get hungry pretty easily).
Still in my pajamas and slippers, I hurried downstairs and quietly slipped out the front door. I glanced up at my room, and then Alice's, momentarily wondering if I'd seen her lurking at the window. Suddenly, rustling behind me stopped my progress for a short amount of time. I promptly dove into a recycling bin, eternally grateful for the fact that it was cleaned and emptied the day before. Peering from under the lid, I saw one of the nearby farmers placing some furniture out on the front porch.
Dad said he wanted to get some more furniture for the house, to make it more cozy. I internally snorted. It's not like we'll be here for much longer... Once the man finished his midnight duties, I crawled out of the recycling bin, almost tripping and scraping my bare knee, and dashed for the backyard.
Once more entering the maze, I saw nothing. No beast hiding behind a corner, and certainly no more people lying in a cataleptic state on the ground. However, I did find a massive hole just behind a large Oak tree, around the site of my meeting with Alice. I rubbed my chin, wondering if it'd been there earlier, and if it had, how I had missed it. The rest of the maze was deserted and lackluster, so I honestly didn't know what was with the huge opening in the ground.
"Whoa... did someone bury something here?" I went up to inspect the fault, not intending to go diving in it when I was pushed, hard, into the burrow.
Which, I guess, brings the story to the present?
My throat hurts from screaming, but I can't seem to stop, and this ticking noise echoing in the hole of doom I'm falling in won't stop either. My sight becomes blurry with tears from the fateful fall and I briefly contemplate my life's choices. This is no way to die... this is seriously no way to die. Ugh, ugh, I should have just gone to sleep!
Not yet ready to enter the afterlife, I close my eyes, bite my lips together, and duck my head between my knees, wanting for it all to be over already. My prayers are answered as I hit the ground with a yelp. Almost instantly, and somehow uninjured, I stand up and look about very frantically.
It's sunny and warm, and it has trees and dirt, and ground, obviously. I look up and see the sky and clouds, gently rolling by. Dazed and confused, I sort of wonder around in circles.
Did I really just fall? What's going on? I swallow the feeling of astonishment slowly coursing through my veins. Theories pop up in my mind and I stagger around, scientifically trying to solve this process of falling through a hole into another land. Finding no apparent explanation, I give up in my search. I warily tap my foot on the ground, as if the area I've landed at is so fragile that it will break under pressure, yet nothing seems to happen.
The humidity lowers and I breathe in and out, standing unhappily in the spot I've stopped at. Due to my shock wearing off, I have no choice but to finally explore and look for some sort of path. I start to wonder how I landed without severely injuring myself.
"Okay, so what is this place?" I ask the still air, expecting a reply. Instead I hear a shrill scream and I jump, running to the nearest tree for cover. Immediately I suspect someone's in trouble, but I brush away my childish imagination for the time being. Peering out behind the bark, I see nobody on the path before me, but I could still hear faint talking from nearby. At first it didn't occur to me that it might have come from the incredibly tall building just beyond the trees, but as I lumber over the dirt path, I finally see said building.
"Ah!" I shout, slamming a fist onto the palm of my other hand. "Since there's probably someone living in this tower, I'll just see if they can help me get back to the house!"
I jog up to the large set of doors leading into the tower, not minding the ominous estate surrounding them, and rub my hands together before I start knocking.
No answer. I try again, waiting for the people inside to come and greet me, yet there's still no answer. I pout, hearing someone moving about inside.
They're literally right inside, I think, so I'm not sure if they're ignoring me or my knocking is too soft. After a few more tries, I become impatient, so I stupidly grab the doorknob and push the doors wide open. (Really, who keeps their doors unlocked? Then again, who marches up to large buildings and barges in?)
"Excuse me for intruding? I'm trying to look for some help here!" I call into the room. In front of me I see a grown man, crawling weakly on his knees. He looks as though he's panting, like he just ran a mile. From upstairs somewhere I hear some more shouting, but this man doesn't reply. Instead he glances up, his eye locking onto my own curious gaze. It's freakishly silent, and I'm too afraid to move, so I stand petrified in the doorway, discreetly inspecting the dude.
He finally stands up and I can see he's much taller than I am. He also looks much calmer now, and yet a mysterious glint shines through his silver eye, as though he could see right through me. His other eye is hidden behind an eye patch for some odd reason, but I'm not sure I want to find out why. His hair is a soft-edged silver, and falls just above his shoulders. His outfit is also really weird; with the frill-things lacing his shirt and the fancy jacket (and the eye patch) he looks like a refined, modern day pirate that are portrayed in movies.
In any case, the mister glares at me a moment and steps forward, crossing his arms. "Hey, you... do you always barge into buildings like that?"
"Well I wouldn't say always..." I answer in a sarcastically polite manner, stepping back outside. Still curious, however, I keep the doors open to talk. "I'll leave if you want me to."
He came forward again, not giving me a chance to escape, even if I wanted to. "Why don't you introduce yourself first?" I shake my head and wave my hand in disagreement.
"I really shouldn't. I don't know if you heard me just now, but I only came to see if you could give me directions to get back to the mansion I'm staying at? I don't think it should be too far." Things become rather uncomfortable as he leans in and inspects me. His eye narrows, and I can almost feel him digging into my soul, like I'm something to be picked apart. "Er... do you mind?" I ask gruffly, now feeling incredibly self-aware. He makes a humming noise and taps his finger against his lips.
"You're awfully calm for a lost girl. How did you get here?" I sigh, understanding his ignorance to my own question.
"I walked in through this threshold, you see?" I knock on the frame of the door.
The man sends me a pointed look. "I meant how did you come to this..." He stops and rephrases his question. "Just how did you come to this tower?"
I push past him, but not before closing the door, to enter the mysterious domain. I grab the nearest chair and haul it to the middle of the room. "I'll tell you exactly how I got here, if it'll get you to help me out. Every detail!" I let the words flow from my mouth as I recount my short tale. I leave out (almost) no details in hope that he can help me get back.
"My father decided to bring my family to the town he grew up in, and at the house we're renting out for the time being, there's this garden out back: really lovely, very fragrant. I was kind of waddling through it when I found this girl, passed out on the ground by the pavilion. She introduced herself as Alice, and I tried to interrogate her a bit, because the entire property is off limits to anyone other than guests and neighbors." He raises his head a little while I continue on.
"Unfortunately, she never really explained how she got onto the property, or why she was out cold, so I brought her inside for the night. We talked a bit and I learned about her life and family. It was actually pretty interesting. Then she went off on this story of some..." I pause, momentarily forgetting what came after. "Her adventures in..." The man patiently waits out my hesitation, but I never get my point across.
"I don't remember. Anyway, I fell asleep and woke up. Everyone else went to bed, y'know, but when I was about to go to bed I saw something in the maze. I couldn't quite make out what it was, but I went to go investigate. That's when I found this huge breach in the ground near where I found Alice sleeping before. When I went to get a closer look, I was shoved down it and then when I landed, for lack of a better word, I was right outside this tower." His expression does not waver once throughout my explanation, but I can tell that underneath his collected guise, he's terribly confused. After finishing, I give him time to say anything. It's silent for a moment or two, but he finally speaks.
"That's certainly interesting. Well then, allow me to explain to you the mess you've got yourself in." I flinch, feeling as though he were angry with me for coming here. It's not my fault someone pushed me into a gaping chasm, but I still eagerly await his elucidation, hoping he might enlighten me on a few things.
"This world you've landed in is called Wonderland," he begins grandly, but I almost choke on my own spit when he utters this first statement. I'm in another world? Wait... Wonderland... Alice Liddell. Alice... in Wonderland? "Ahem. You, my good lady, are what we call a foreigner. However, it is curious that you weren't pushed here, rather than lured here by that white rabbit, or elsewise... I'm also afraid I can't tell you much else. We need to get you home as soon as possible," his voice trails off, and he sounds oddly irate. I nod, not really understanding a word he just spoke.
Fiddling my fingers into the hem of my shirt, I return to my train of thought from before. I've landed in another world called Wonderland? That can't be right, though... maybe I've watched the movie way too much lately. Demurely, I take a peek at the man again and suspect that he may be telling the truth. Well, if I can believe in ghosts, I guess it won't do me any harm to believe in a dream. I wonder what this dream-Wonderland is like... I kind of want him to tell me more. He smiles, breaking me from my thoughts.
"Is that so?" I blink a few times at him and try to speak but he cuts me off. "I never did introduce myself, did I? I am Nightmare Gottschalk, the lord of Clover Tower, which you've so gracefully entered." He bows, and his eye twinkles as he looks up at me again. "If you're wondering how I seemed to have read your thoughts a moment ago, it's because I am reading your thoughts. I am a dream demon, or rather an incubus of sorts." I absorb the knowledge before making a funny face.
"Uh… this might sound dumb but," I breathe, moving back a bit shyly.
"I hope I don't offend you, but I've kinda heard some folklore about incubus before... the whole 'sex' thing isn't true, is it? I m-mean..." I stare at my hands as though they're remotely interesting while Nightmare freezes up and turns a bit red in the cheeks.
"N-no, I do not do such things! What I meant was I enter people's dreams, but I don't…"
"R-right. Sorry, but I just wanted to make sure. Anyway, since you already know my thoughts, can you just entertain me a bit? What's Wonderland like?" Nightmare chuckles and begins where he left off.
"Here in Wonderland are territories, such as the Clover Tower, the Hatter Mansion, Heart Castle, and the Amusement Park." He frowns, looking mindful. "Well, there is also the Joker's Circus, but I'd rather you not know about that." I want to object, but I figure he's already doing enough by telling me the basics. "This Tower is neutral territory, as well as the Circus, while the Hatter's Mansion, the Castle, and the Amusement Park are at war with each other." I raise my hand and he lets me interrogate him a bit.
"So they're in a power struggle or something? Who are the leaders of each group?"
"As I said, I rule over this tower. Julius Monrey, the Clockmaker, and Gray Ringmarc, my assistant, reside here. The mansion consists of Blood Dupre, Elliot March, and the twins, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum."
Mr. Incubus must've discarded my thoughts on the bizarre but familiar Wonderland-themed names each person bears as he went on. "Blood is the leader of the mafia. Elliot is second-in-command and the twins are the gatekeepers. A violent group, they are... then again, what else would one expect from the mafia?" He chuckles and I smile awkwardly.
"What about the Castle and Amusement Park?"
"Right. At the Heart Castle lives the Queen, Vivaldi. The Prime Minister is Peter White, and the Knight of Hearts is Ace. And to finish off, at the Amusement Park is Ma—er, Gowland. He's the owner. Boris Airay and Pierce Villiers are usually seen lurking around the area. I would say more, but I suspect you'd rather find out yourself?" I nod sheepishly and yawn, almost falling out of my chair from exhaustion. I immediately laugh and apologize.
"I just took a nap, but I guess I'm still tired? It's kind of weird, feeling sleepy in a dream..."
"Would you like to stay the night then?" Glancing out the window I see it's nighttime, although I could've sworn it was daylight when I entered the tower.
Shaking my head, I drawl on. "Yeah... how about no? This was fun and all, but if I really am awake and sane, I need to get back home.. to the real world. I've spent enough time dawdling with you... not that you're bad company."
"Really, just stay a night. I'm afraid it'd be much too dangerous for you to travel on your own at this hour."
I deadpan, "Then why don't you just escort me?"
After a slightly hilarious silence, he persuades me a bit more and I finally (read: reluctantly) agree. I mean, what's the harm in staying the night at a mysterious tower in a dream-like 'world' you've just fallen into, where the first person you've met is a self-proclaimed Lord of said tower and also an incubus?
"I suppose I will finish explaining everything to you in the morning. Here, let me show you to your room." He gently pulls me up from my sleepy stance and grabs hold of my wrist, taking me up a nearby staircase. It's weird and winding, but I'm proud of myself because normally I don't do well with stairs. I start spacing out as he leads me to the room I'll be sleeping in for the night, so when he bids good night and closes the door, I feel paranoia creeping upon me.
Was this really a good idea? "After all, I could just go home… or in this case, wake up." I sigh and flop onto the bed, not bothering to take off my mini backpack or get under the covers.
As I fall asleep, an endless amount of questions bombard my brain and perplex it. I only wish I could have the answers right away.
"It's best not to think too much," I tell myself. "It's probably nothing but a dream. Same as all the others you've had before."
( Nightmare's POV )
I drum my fingers against my desk as Gray looks on in amusement. "A penny for your thoughts?" he offers, and I wonder if I should tell him of the girl sleeping in the guest room, but decide against it. It'll make for an interesting morning. After all, from what I can tell, she's one to make a grand entrance.
"I just don't feel like doing this work," I state lamely. Gray sighs and leaves the room, mumbling to himself about my laziness. As he leaves I lower my head, for once completely bewildered.
"She's a foreigner and she knows—met, Alice, but she came here on her own accord. Something must've drawn her here, and yet…" I press my hand to my forehead.
"Somehow, she doesn't have the Medicine of Hearts?"
AN: (Deep thoughts are in italics) This is based off the Bad Ending/Truth Ending where Alice finds out she could have gone home at any time. Here, she grows up in the real world and she's taking care of (her sister) Edith's children when something crazy happens when she appears in the present day at her old home.
For the first 23~ chapters, most of the events will not be influenced by the actual game Joker no Kuni no Alice, but around Chapter 24, it will become heavily influenced by the game! Otherwise, I've not played any of the games nor have I read most of the translations. All characterization is heavily based off fanfiction and the manga and what I've tried to research into, but if anything is wrong, please tell me!
This OC is almost entirely based off a very good friend of mine so I hope you all grow to love her and I hope you enjoy this story in general. Thank you for reading!