Okay, so first off I hate explaining my reasoning behind what I do in my stories but I wanted to say that I know there are some that don't care much for Jack but although the first bit of this is from Mr Heart's POV this is a Hatter/Alice tale and will be from their POV shortly. I was just using Jack, which I found fitting. So yeah just bare with me as I am learning the site. Thanks:)
Jack Heart was adjusting his tie as he was working out his plan on how to free himself and Alice from the Casino. Getting out of his room and slipping the guards and Duchess will be easy, but getting Alice from the Doctors and iut of the Truth Room is the issue. Ge moved to fixing cuff links when the noise of a Flamingo made him glance towards his window. He is both surprised and amused to see the rider "A Knight?" he lets out a short laugh, then he is shocked and steps closer when another Flamingo shoots past "Alice?" and who is that man she is riding with and how did she get out of the Truth Room?
Jack is upset. It will not be easy to find her now, but at least she is out of the Casino and the location of the ring he assumes is still kept from his mother. Now he just needs to make his escape and go see Caterpillar. Then he can find Alice and get on with the plan to save his kingdom.
Caterpillar hung up the phone. The receptionist had just informed him that the Prince was here and Caterpillar took another draw of his hookah as he sat at his desk in his boat. The call he had received shortly before this last one was a bit disturbing and he knew he needed Jack to handle the problem.
"How was your reunion with your family Jack?" Caterpillar asked just as the Prince stepped into the room.
"Eventful as always, but family discord aside for the moment, we have a problem. Alice followed me to Wonderland with the ring and was taken to the Casino-"
"Yes," Caterpillar interrupted. "But she escaped with some help."
"Was this your doing?"
Caterpillar took another draw and set his hookah aside as he exhaled trying to decide how much he should reveal to the (hopefully) future ruler of Wonderland.
"I did not order her rescue, I was leaving that in your capable hands. But I did receive a call shortly before you got here."
"From whom?" Jack asked interested.
"From a man I talked to yesterday as well. He keeps on eye on Dodo and the others who protect the Great Library. See yesterday he said that one of their smugglers, had brought an Oyster in. A girl named Alice looking for her boyfriend Jack Chase and that the smuggler, who works for your family running a Tea Shoppe offered Dodo a deal, her ring for the Resistances help. Dodo apparently recognized the ring."
"What happened? Jack asked, knowing Dodo's reputation and dreading Caterpillar's answer.
"He tried to kill Alice, but the smuggler took the bullet instead. Amazingly enough both escaped and now I hear from my contact again that the smuggler has contacted Dodo thru another source and that they want to make a deal for the ring."
"So we know how to find Alice and the ring." Jack said smiling. This was working out rather well. He assumes the smuggler must have been then man she was riding with on the flamingo.
"Yes, and I plan on sending you to them Jack, but we have a bigger issue then just getting Alice and the ring."
Jack looked at Caterpillar. "Do you mean getting Carpenter out of the Casino? I thought that was all set and our agents were just waiting for the word?"
"No Jack, I am talking about something vastly more important but that I don't think you are ready to hear yet."
"What do you mean?"
"Horizons Jack, great new Horizons."
"I don't understand."
Caterpillar grabbed a book out of a pile, he always knew where this one was and then tossed the rope over to Jack to pull him over to the edge as he flipped thru it. "Have you ever read the Oysters story of Alice in Wonderland?" he asked as he found the illustration he was looking for.
"Yes, I read it while in Alice's world. I also watched some films made from it as well."
"And what did you think of how our world is depicted?"
Jack laughed a little "It was really a childish version of Wonderland. Talking animals and such. Magic running wild and nonsense to the point of silliness."
Caterpillar nodded but sighed inwardly knowing that Jack was not ready to know the truth, but that he at least could grasp some of what Caterpillar needed to tell him so as he left the boat for the poolside he handed to book to Jack pointing at the picture. "Do you remember this part?"
"The Mad Tea Party?"
"Yes, but more importantly the Hatter."
Jack looked at the illustration of the short man with the ridiculous hat and the large nose, trying to figure what Caterpillar could be getting to.
"The Hatter had more of a role in the Alice of Legend's journey then both the Oysters story, or even our own history tells. I won't go into the tale as it is long and time is important but I am going to ask you this, how many similarities have you seen between the Alice of Legend's tale and this time here in Wonderland?"
"I can think of a few but how does this connect with my Alice and what we are trying to accomplish?"
"The smuggler who took the bullet for Alice, do you know what his name is?" Caterpillar asked then answered before the Prince could speak. "His name is Hatter and he is our problem Jack."
"the Hatter, like the Hatter in the story?"
"Just Hatter, it is a nickname. I have been keeping on eye on him since he started helping to smuggle food to the refugees for us and I saw a man just playing both sides, staying on your family's good side selling tea while doing what he can to help feed our people. Not a great man, but not a bad man either, then all of a sudden he decides to risk his life by standing in front of a gun for some oyster he just met, then breaking into the Casino to rescue her."
Jack was puzzled. "He is showing some chivalry, I am not sure I am understanding the problem." Jack was used to being confused when talking to Caterpillar but this was worse then usual.
"I will make it simple then. I am sending you to meet with Alice and the smuggler. Bring Alice and the ring here, but under no circumstances may the smuggler come with you. You must separate Hatter from Alice before she can affect him anymore then she has."
Jack stopped. "Affect him? How is she affecting him?"
Caterpillar sighed. He had no good way to explain this to the Prince without revealing all but Jack was not ready to know the truth. He would just have to settle for some half truths for awhile.
"The Oysters who used to come to Wonderland before your Mother commissioned the Casino were like flames and we were the moths. There was no science to the process, but Wonderlanders found that when we were around them for long periods of time, we were changed. The emotions pouring thru the oysters were seeping into us. The Hatter from legend is an example. The time he spent with the Alice of Legend changed him, they say he went mad, one of the first poisoned by oyster emotions and betrayed all of Wonderland in his madness. His sentence was one of the most severe"But I was in their world for months and wasn't affected, and none of the oysters that come thru now seem to affect anyone until we make the emotions into teas and they are consumed."
"That is because some of us are more sensitive then others, this Hatter that is with your Alice now is one of the sensitive." Caterpillar replied."How do you know this Caterpillar, because he risked his life for Alice? Maybe he just didn't want to see a women shot, or the ring back into my mothers hands." Jack asked, still confused and searching for logical answers. "Because I have been watching him for a long while, I have an interest in him and I will talk no more of it now as you need to hurry. Get Alice and the ring and whatever you do, keep Hatter from Alice, I cannot express the importance of this enough.""Will you ever explain to me why Caterpillar?" Jack asked. "When we reach the new horizons."