By the time they reached the shore an odd assortment of creatures had gotten there too, the displaced creatures of Wonderland. Leveret had wanted them to get removed from their homes so he could trick them into thinking it was all Victoria Redd's fault. Their plan was going just as planned then, perfect.
"Mouse! Mouse what has happened!? Who's did this?! Who's that?!" Every creature seemed to have a question for the Mouse. Alice released his tail as they reached the shallows and walked the remainder of the way.
"You should be asking Do Do these questions." Mouse said, his nose twitching in irritation as he climbed up out of the water. He cast a distrustful look towards Alice who had made her way over to the Lory and the Eaglet.
Alice glanced over at the Mouse. "Yes, that's exactly what we should be doing. I have a need to meet the bloody bird myself." She said in as grownup a voice as she could manage, using the phrase Leveret had when talking about Do Do.
The Lory let out a huff. "A child shouldn't be talking to Do Do. Children only have pointless things to talk about." She said, annoyed.
"I am no child." Alice said, resisting the urge to stamp her foot knowing that it would just disprove her point. Something in the Lory's tone reminded her very much of her older sister who was probably still unaware of Alice's absence. The idea that she wasn't even missed made Alice furious and her glare became ever more deadly. "You better mind your tone or I'll be feeding you to Dinah!" She snapped at the bird.
That made the Lory pause. "Dinah? What's a Dinah?" The bird asked.
"We have no time for that!" The Mouse shouted, quickly interrupting before Alice could terrify the Lory. "We must be talking to Do Do." The Mouse said.
Alice, suddenly remembering why she was there in the first place, nodded enthusiastically. "Yes, where is this Do Do? I simply must speak to him." She said, looking about. She barely noticed that the sky above her was now blue, that the ground was now sand, and that the room she had been in earlier was no longer there.
"I am here!" A solemn yet somehow bubbly voice said from behind Alice. The young girl spun around and found herself staring up at a dumpy man wearing a Navy uniform. He had feathery, all over the place, grayish blue hair that looked like it desperately needed a combing. His eyes were black, beady, and filled with a buffoonish light. His nose was what interested Alice though, it was so long and bulbous and it ended in a sharp little point. It was an oddity to say the least.
The man bounced up and down on the balls of his feet, drawing attention to how short his legs were. "I have emerged from the depths of my abode to see what ails this large bodacious gaggle that so loudly complains upon the seashore." Alice blinked at his use of words, thinking that he was trying much too hard to sound smart. He wouldn't have sounded smart anyways with that voice, it was about as odd as his nose. How can you be solemn and excited at the same time?
"Something has happened Do Do!" The Mouse said, rushing to the man's side.
The man looked out at the sea made of tears. "Obviously my fine whiskered friend! Why, it seems we've all moved to the sea!" He said. A wistful look appeared on his face. "It has been many years since I've seen the sea. The last time I was near it was when I worked as Victoria Redd's finest naval officer." He said sadly.
"Why do they call you Do Do? Other than your appearance of course." Alice asked the man. She would normally have let the man spend a few minutes reminiscing but her curiosity had beaten her manners down.
Do Do looked down at her in surprise, as if he had never seen a human girl before. Or, rather, like he hadn't seen one in a very long time. "Well child," the strange man began awkwardly, "my name was originally Dominic Dockson. A good friend of mine called me crazier than a cuckoo bird but many people said that since both my first and last name started with Do I would better be suited as a dodo bird. So from then on I was known as Do Do."
Alice was confused by that story but she didn't want to seem stupid so she just nodded like she got it. She crossed her arms over her chest in an attempt to look tougher. "Tell me Do Do, have you any idea what a Caucus Race is?" She asked him.
There was a startled gasp from a few of the creatures and some mumblings from others. The Mouse began to tremble, as if Alice had mentioned Dinah again. Only Do Do seemed to find the question interesting instead of scary. "Have human children become so mean? Last I remember they didn't take interest in such nefarious things but, then again, I haven't spent time among humans in such a long time. I'm afraid I've become leader of the gaggle." Do Do let out a honk like laugh that nearly sent Alice into giggles.
Alice forced herself to look impatient though she was still amused. "Come on you bloody bird, tell me what you know of Caucus Races." She told him angrily.
Do Do puffed out his chest angrily and shook slightly, his hair moving about as he did. Alice thought that if he actually was a bird that he'd be ruffling his feathers in anger right then and it made her grin evilly when she thought about it. Of course her grin only made Do Do all the madder.
"Rude mini wretch. Pompous little girl. Insolent pup. Cuckoo bird!" Do Do raved, seeming to privately enjoy his choice of insults. Alice just stared at him as if none of what he said affected her, which it didn't since she didn't understand some of them. Cuckoo bird was rather clear though and seemed to be the biggest insult Do Do could think of. When Alice seemed unaffected by it he let out a great huff. "A Caucus Race is where many parties or just two try to make it to a finish line. You don't need to know the rules because there aren't any, save for the fact that you must know that everyone must win." Do Do said in one breathe, as if he thought it would be difficult to go on if he paused.
Alice stared at him in confusion. "Everyone must win? How does that work?" She asked him.
Do Do puffed up with a smile, as if he was glad the little girl didn't know something. "Everyone must win so even if I lose I must feel like I won. A treat of some sort would be in order if I lost. Now, if someone ties that's a whole other narrative." Do Do told her. Alice stared up at him with interested, Leveret had wanted her to tie with Do Do. "In the case of a tie the persons concerned must exchange secrets and these secrets do not have to be of equivalent worth. I, fortuitously, never tie in a race for I only know no more than one secrets and I'm sure he would not welcome me telling it." The bloody bird said.
"He being the caterpillar." Alice said, as if she was explaining it to someone else and it hadn't only just occurred to her.
Do Do turned very pale. "How do you know about him?" He asked in a hushed voice, as if saying it loudly would condemn him to some terrible fate.
A wicked cold hearted grin spread across Alice's face. "That is my secret, Do Do. Perhaps I'll tell you when we tie because I challenge you to a Caucus Race!" The little girl said it so theatrically with such a wave of the hand that some of the birds didn't know whether to laugh or be horrified.
The Mouse looked back and forth between Alice and Do Do. His beady eyes were huge and Alice wondered if they would fall out. Do Do on the other hand had become exceedingly calm, unnaturally calm. He stared off at Alice's pool of tears with an unfocused look in his eyes. "Do you know," Do Do said slowly, "how long it's been since I participated in a Caucus Race where the other person actually wanted to tie?" A slow grin spread across his face and he turned to Alice. "It was Leveret Hare right after he got enslaved. One of the last things I ever did under Victoria Redd was defeat that poor insane rabbit." Do Do told her.
Alice's interest peaked at the mention of Leveret but she didn't say anything. She had a very strong feeling that if Do Do started talking about something other than the Caucus Race he would forget it altogether. So, vowing to ask Leveret later, Alice waited for Do Do to accept her challenge.
Do Do laughed loudly, startling the Eaglet. Alice couldn't help smirking at the creature's fear and Do Do's obvious insanity. "Fine human child, I accept your challenge. Let's Caucus Race!" He said excitedly, bouncing on the balls of his feet. He grabbed Alice's arm and threw her in front of a dark red line on the sand. Do Do stood beside her in front of the line and stared at the Mouse expectantly. The little creature scurried over, fear and worry on his face.
"Follow the line." The Mouse told them, pointing to a faint red line that started at the line they were at and ended somewhere Alice couldn't see. With that, he stepped back, watching nervously.
Do Do didn't move for some time so neither did Alice. She had a feeling that she was supposed to stay at his side the whole time. Alice watched him carefully and when he finally did take a step over the line she stepped at the exact same time as him. He took off, probably at top speed, but Alice was able to match him stride for stride. His short legs couldn't stretch very far and he was awfully fat. It was easy for short legged little Alice to keep up with him and match his every step as they followed the line.
The line went in all sorts of directions, twisting and turning like a snake. Sometimes it would make them run in awkward shapes for a while before finally going off in another direction. It was all very confusing and Alice had a hard time concentrating on Do Do with the line so messed up. But she managed it, afraid that if she didn't stay perfectly paced with him she would end up losing or, perhaps worse, disappointing Leveret.
After a while though Alice was starting to get terribly bored and a bit tired. She watched Do Do's face, her body now able to match his without thinking, and saw that he was rather flustered looking. He seemed to think that she was actually going to tie with him and Alice could tell he was about to do something out of panic. She watched him carefully and when he opened his mouth Alice seemed to know immediately what he was going to say.
"Finished!" They shouted simultaneously, stopping so suddenly that they both nearly fell over. A collective gasp filled the air but the racers didn't notice, they were too busy regaining their breath and staring at each other coldly.
An evil and proud smile appeared on Alice's face. "We tied, Do Do you bloody bird." She said once she had regained her breath. She stood a little taller as she stared at the man who's mouth was hanging open in shock. "You owe me a secret." Alice told him, still smiling away.
Do Do stared at her in disbelief. "You…you tied with me!" He said incredulously. Alice simply nodded and smiled a little wider, her smile become a bit more wild and proud as her ego grew. "But no one's ever done that." Do Do said. Alice shrugged like it was no big deal, like it was common for her to beat people at things and that it was just something he had to get over. Once again, Alice thought that Do Do would be ruffling his feathers as his disbelief turned to outrage. "Fine! Evil child! I'll tell you the secret!" He said furiously.
The man reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a tiny metal thimble. He held it up to his mouth and whispered into it, his voice to low for Alice to hear. Do Do then held the thimble out to her, obviously expecting her to take it so she did. But Alice didn't know what to do with it so she just held it in her palm and looked up at Do Do in confusion. The stout man sighed but once again looked pleased that Alice didn't seem to know something.
"Secrets are kept in thimbles, human child. When you wear one on your finger you know the secret it contains, though the second you take it off you forget again." Do Do explained. Alice nodded, gently touching the thimble in her hand. "Also, don't try giving it to someone else because only the people who participated in the Caucus Race can use the thimble." He added quickly, as if he expected her to try and really didn't want her too. "And don't go putting it on until you've told me your secret!" Do Do shouted when she went to put on the thimble.
Alice searched her pockets for a thimble with her free hand, wondering what would happen if she didn't have one. But, luckily, she had one in her apron pocket. Quickly, she whispered her secret into the thimble before handing it over to Do Do. He took it eagerly and jammed it onto his finger just as Alice slipped her own onto her pointer finger.
Instantly, the location of the caterpillar became known to her. He was in some place called the Grove of Wisdom, which you could only enter if you knew that it existed. Alice knew it existed now so it would be easy finding and entering the place. The little girl smiled, delighted that she knew something many others did not. But Do Do didn't seem as pleased with his secret as Alice did with hers.
"Leveret Hare told you?!" Do Do shouted shrilly.
Something dropped from the sky rather suddenly, making them all jump. It was a fan, a very gorgeous one that Alice had seen many noble ladies carry, and the word "Grow" was sown in golden thread across it. A tiny paper was pinned to it as well and only one little word was written in very beautiful cursive, "Alice."
Alice snatched up the fan before Do Do could grab it. "Yes you bloody bird, Leveret told me. Oh and by the way, it was Victoria Redd that destroyed all your homes with that water." She told them. Thinking quickly, Alice fanned herself a few times with the fan. Instantly she shot up, growing until she was her normal size. She smiled down at Do Do the entire time, enjoying his fury.