Pride was the one thing Lizzie Hearts had left. She had lost her home, her mother, and now, her destiny. Raven was just like her mother; thoughtless, callous, and without remorse for any of her actions.

The apple never falls far from the tree. Wasn't that the saying in Ever After?

When Lizzie had heard of Raven's reluctance to follow her story, she was furious. There were students who had sympathized with the future evil queen; there were students who rose with her against the idea of destiny. All Lizzie saw was another attempt at taking away what belonged to so many people. Just like her mother had stolen away Lizzie's home, Raven was now trying to steal away her destiny.

Growing up, Lizzie learned that a firm hand was the only way to keep control. Her mother never let her forget that.

"Always remember my daughter, never allow anyone to question you or your skills. When they question they begin to doubt."

Her destiny was to rule over Wonderland with a rugged eye and a steel heart. Her job was to ensure Wonderland. Her purpose was to keep its grounds pure.

Pride was what kept her head high, and pride was what kept her spirit strong after her home was poisoned. She ran through the castle halls, guards by her side every step. She could not look back, she could not waver. Those were her mother's words.

"But can't you come with me mother?" She asked. The land was becoming too dangerous; surely a queen should not be subjected to-

"No my daughter. I shall remain here in my kingdom with my subjects."

Lizzie felt a small cry rise into her throat, but she swallowed hard and kept her lips tightened. A queen must not show weakness. "W-why?"

Pride.

Her mother had taught her that trait since she was small, too small to remember, too small to understand. Pride. A queen must not run, that is the mark of the coward. A queen must not waver, that is the sign of a weak heart. A queen must not regret, for that is the sign of a foolish decision. Her mother held herself with all the grace of a flamingo, tall and strong.

"Remember my daughter, a queen must not show weakness. This madness has come to claim our home, but I shall not bow down to it. I shall not allow it to run its muck within our borders. We shall show our pride this day."

Pride in a world that embraced its own madness.

"Mother, come with me. You'll be safe."

Pride in a home that knew no limitations.

"My sweet flower." Her mother smiled and placed a gentle hand against her shoulder. "One day, you shall return to this land, and you shall reclaim it." Her mother squeezed her shoulder. "Now go, and never look back."

Pride in a destiny that was no longer certain.

Lizzie found her way back home. A small house on the outskirts of town. Many of the Wonderland citizens had to find refuge wherever they could. In tea houses, in trees, or in small abandoned cottages that looked too cramp for even a child. This was her life now, this was her home. A small cottage, away from the wondrous croquet games, and red flowers that dotted her mother's gardens. Away from the singing dandelions and dancing birds. Away from the splendor of the castle and the warmth of the Wonderland sun.

Lizzie hated the evil queen for what she had done, and now, she hated her daughter for what she had not done. Through one act, Raven had forced Lizzie and the entire school to question everything they knew about themselves. Ever since Lizzie had escaped the Wonderland madness her one goal was to return to it and restore Wonderland to its rightful wonderlandiful self. That's what a queen did.

But…how could she follow a destiny that was no longer set in stone? Was it even possible that she could become the next red queen? Had Raven hated Wonderland that much? Or was she simply too cold to even care at all?

Lizzie closed her eyes; she felt her throat close up. She felt her eyes grow blind with water.

"No…" she shook her head. A queen must never show weakness. A queen must never show doubt. She would retake Wonderland. She would become the next red queen. She would stop Raven's horrid arrangements where the stood. For her mother, for all of them. She would find a way to defeat the queen's cure. She would find a way to reunite with her mother. She held her head high, pride swelling through her like blood. A queen must never show doubt.

"Raven Queen will be stopped."

And Wonderland would be free.