The King was not the only thing guarding the sword. Technically, he had not even been guarding it on purpose; the Jesters had just shown up at a time when he happened to be there. The real danger was the invisible Bandersnatch he had raised since it was a cub and now kept in his room. Fortunately, the Jesters had come up with an ingenious plan to at least make it visible: spray-paint. Not-so-fortunately, the Jesters had also decided that the best plan was to flee from the area as soon as possible. Hatter, however, stopped them.

"Hold it," she said, blocking their path with her hands on her hips. "You're the ones that got us into this mess, you're the reason why Ginger is probably now being tortured to insanity- a greater level of insanity, anyway—so you could at least see this mission through to the end. Paint, please?"

The Jesters glanced at each other, then tossed both her and Ches a can of bright purple spray paint, as apparently bright purple is the best colour for not dying these days.

"You two first," commanded Ches.

Yin and Yang inched towards the door to the King's bedchamber, and then flung it open. The inside of his room was rather less elaborately decorated than any of them had assumed it would be, at least in terms of common decoration. The heads of the King and Queen of Spades had been mounted above his bed, along with the head of what seemed to be his mother.

Human eyeballs had been stuck to the edges of his bed, which was made entirely out of the bones of his enemies. Blood covered the walls, floor, and ceiling—yes, the ceiling—and a small stuffed teddy bear sat in the corner. Deep, heavy breathing could be heard from the same corner; the teddy bear did, apparently, belong to the Bandersnatch.

"Ok, 3…2…1… spray!" whispered Ches. The four of them aimed their cans at the Bandersnatch and began painting it, the creature slowly becoming visible. They only stopped when the beast rose up from its slumber with a mighty roar. Yin was knocked across the room by what must have been its tail, which was yet to be painted. She slammed against the wall, then crumpled to the floor, unconscious.

The Bandersnatch growled, showing its teeth—or at least that's what it seemed to be doing, as its teeth were still invisible. Ches managed to use this opportunity to send an arrow sailing straight into its snout. It launched itself at him, claws presumably out, as it left a gash in his shoulder five inches long.

"Hatter, get the sword, Yang and I will distract it!" he shouted, struggling out from underneath the Jabberwocky as Yang jumped on top of it, a katana in his hand.

Ches drove an arrow into the place where the Bandersnatch's heart ought to have been, but it had no effect. Perhaps it was just too fluffy. Yang wielded the katana with the skill of someone who was well accustomed to using it, but only succeeded in chopping off what felt like fur.

"I've got the sword!" Hatter called.

"Excellent! Out of here, this beast is too big to fit through the door," Ches told her. "Yang, you bring Yin. I'll hold the Bandersnatch off until you two are out." To emphasize his point, Ches threw a knife into its right eye.

"You don't think it could break down the wall, do you?" Yang asked as he and Hatter rushed out the door, carrying Yin and the vorpal sword respectively.

"Let's not find out," replied Hatter. "Come on, Ches!"

Ches dashed out of the King's bedchamber, the Bandersnatch attempting to follow him. "Go, go, the stones are starting to crumble!"

They rushed up the stairs, running straight into a lump of guards who had heard the commotion. Hatter and Ches took them out easily, but the King seemed to have heard as well, and was moving towards them at the speed of lighting.

"Time to go," Yang said. The three of them rushed towards the door, but the King had gotten there first.

"Not today," he hissed.

"I could kill you right now," Hatter spat, moving in front of him.

"I'd like to see you try, honey." replied the King. "Along with your emo ninjas and… a knave of the Diamond Kingdom? Looks like I'll be declaring war on them as well."

"You are despicable," growled Hatter.

"Careful, you know how it turns me on when you're angry," cooed the King. "I wonder just how livid you'll be when I destroy your transport..." He opened the door and threw his sword at the Jabberwocky. The dragon-loch-ness-monster-thing cried out in agony as the blade pierced its heart.

Having had enough, Hatter thrust the vorpal sword forward. The King blocked it easily.

"Run!" she called to Ches and Yang as she and the King proceeded to duel. Even with his superhuman abilities, the leader of the Club Kingdom wasn't about to take chances with his bonkers ex-lover wielding the only thing that could end his life, so he had no choice but to let them go.

"I hope you know you're not coming with us," snapped Yang, standing in front of the orb protectively, Yin still cradled in his arms.

"The Jabberwocky is dead," argued Ches. "We have no other way to get home."

"You injured my twin," roared Yang. "You can walk."

"Through what, the forest?"


"No one's ever gone in to come out of there alive!"

"Not my problem." Yang disappeared into the orb, which then floated away.

"Are you kidding me," Ches asked the air.

"A little help, Cheshire!" Hatter cried; the King had backed her against the doorframe and was trying to wrestle the sword from her grasp.

"I'll get him," said Ches, who then sent an arrow straight into the King's eye, and he released Hatter with a howl of pain. The two knaves then shot for the forest as fast as they could, knowing that they wouldn't be followed there by the King; although he couldn't die, he wouldn't want to risk being injured further.

He knew what awaited them within. They would be dead within the week, and therefore were not his problem.