My Queen, the Princess has returned to Wonderland.''
Narcissa's sharp souless grey eyes snapped to the soldier who stood infront of her.
"I have seen her with Edgar Valenshire and the rebels.''
"The Princess has returned to wonderland....'' She repeated, slowly. "Well then, we must welcome the duchess home, shouldn't we? Take the soldiers and give her a proper homecoming, won't you, Mikelo?''
Mikelo bowed and stepped out of the dark chamber.
"Well Princess.'' Narcissa said, smiling manically as she looked into the Black Pearl at Tatiana's reflection. "Welcome home.''
Throwing back her head she laughed, her crazy laughter ringing through the castle.
Tatiana took it all in; the strange scenery, the wonderous creatures and the different types of flowers who conversed with her and some of which bow to her as she walked past. Never before had she been regarded so nicely and it made it even more dreamlike. It was all nice....save for Edgar, that is.
He was so uptight and stern. Not to mention stubborn.
Tatiana didn't like him at all and made a note that if she was the Princess her first order was to make him do something foolish to make up for his mean attitude......Like dancing half naked in the square or something.
"Would you stop lagging behind?" he snapped over his shoulder as she bent over to talk to a daisy. "We need to hurry!"
"Cool you're jets, pretty boy, I'm coming.'' she said, as she straightened and hurried to catch up with them. "And is that anyway to talk to your Princess?"
Edgar turned and smirked at her. "So you think I'm pretty, then, Princess?"
Tatiana felt her face grow warm and scoffed.
They came to a barren, dried out wasteland of red sand and Mctwisp sniffed the air uneasily.
"We're close.'' he said. "The Mordre Clock is just on the other side of the red desert.''
Tatiana tucked her hair behind her hair. She couldn't see a foot infront of her through the swirls of dusty wind. She suddenly felt uneasy; she didn't like this place at all.
They started across it and were not even halfway through when they heard a voice behind them.
"You're highness, Welcome home!"
She swung around and saw a very tall malicious man walking through the wind towards them. She stepped back beside Edgar.
"What do you want, Mikelo.'' Edgar said flatly.
"Just wanted to give the Princess a fair warning.'' Mikelo said, smirking at Edgar. He turned his attention to Tatiana and she didn't like the look he was giving her one bit. "Narcissa knows you are hear. You won't obtain the Sword or the clock at this rate. She will stop at nothing to make sure that you are killed along with your parents.''
"You tell that crackpot old hag that we're ready for whatever she's got.'' Edgar said. Mikelo laughed.
"Silly silly Edgar. You've always been an idiot.''
Edgar started towards him but Mikelo vanished and a vortex appeared where he was standing.
Three black soldiers emerged from the vortex, armed with swords.
"Who are they?"
"Black gaurds. Narcissa's men. Hide, Princess! Hide now!"
She ran and crouched behind a fallen pillar; peeking out and watching Edgar fight two soldiers and then felt a vice grip on her shoulder, picking her up and carrying her to the vortex.
"Edgar!" She screamed, trying to free herself as she came closer to the vortex. "Please help me! Don't let them take me away!"
Edgar finished off the soldier he was fighting and sprinted to where she was. The soldier pulled her into the vortex but Tatiana grabbed hold of the edge, trying her hardest to hold on. Edgar grabbed her hand and, after a moment of struggle, pulled her out just as the vortex disapeared. They sit there for a moment, panting.
"Thank you.'' she breathed, getting up.
"Yes, well...." He said getting up and looking up her. "You're welcome. And the next time I tell you to hide you better. Or else I won't save you next time.''
"And what would the King and Queen say when you have to galumph back to the White Palace and tell them you let their daughter be captured and killed and how you let Wonderland fall to nine thousand years of darkness and decay because you were too busy trying to teach the princess a lesson.''
Rolling his eyes, Edgar rolled his eyes. "You know what you are?"
"A very loud mouthed Princess. If you were anything like the Queen you'd be soft spoken and gracious. You, madam, are neither. and I am now started to feel a prick of doubt that I have been correct all this time in believing that you are the right girl.''
Tatiana crossed her arms, glaring at Edgar. "And you sir, are a stuck up, rude, arrogant prod that doesn't even know how to be kind to a lady.''
They fell into a stiff silence and continued on their journey, neither making eye contact with the other.
"There! There in that sand dune I knew it was here!"
Mctwisp hopped over to a large red sand dune where a very large clock sat half buried. Tatiana came up behind him and bent down to examine it. Reaching out she prepared to pull it out but found it rather difficult as it was fairly snug in the stiff red sand that formed like a rock around it. She then tried to scrape away the sand using her fingernails and failed yet again. Straightening, she put her hands on her hips, frowning.
"Why won't the stupid thing come out? It's only sand after all!" she exclaimed exasperatedly as she stared at the clock.
"We'll need something to dig it out.'' Malyupkin said, knocking on the clock. "Mctwisp, you don't have something? Like a shovel?"
Mctwisp shook his head sadly and the mouse's head sunk.
"We're not going to have to go and find a shovel, are we? That would take ages! And by then Narcissa would have already found a way to get it out of here.'' Malyupkin said.
Tatiana bit her lip, brow furrowed in concentration.
"Do we have any water?"
"In the desert, Princess, sure we have lots of water here.''
She shot Edgar a dirty look and he shrugged.
"Well then we'll just have to use saliva. Anything wet enough to dampen the sand around the clock to loosen it. What say you, Mctwisp?"
"Well, I suppose it could work.''
"So what are we suppose to do, just spit onto the sand until it breaks away?"
"Do you have any ideas?"
Edgar shook his head and, after closing his mouth for a moment, spat onto the sand. It turned a deeper red and then crumbled away from the clock. Tatiana beamed at him and they all began spitting and soon the clock fell freely to Tatiana's feet. She bent down to pick it up, holding it up and admiring it.
It was a fantastic clock; five hands and weird symbols instead of numbers all around the perimeter, it's shell a lovely silver and blue. As she stared into it, it began spinning very very fast and suddenly all the hands stopped directly on the symbol that would have been a twelve. Tatiana looked to Mctwisp.
"Is it supposed to do that?"
Mctwisp nodded, wringing his hands. "Now we just need the vorpal sword and we'll be all set. It's located in...in the caves of Avengardial. On the other side of Wonderland.''
Tatiana tucked the clock under her arm and nodded firmly.
"We best be going, shouldn't we?" she said, looking at Edgar. "Which way to Avengardial?"
As it turned out, days in Wonderland didn't have a time limit. The sun set and rose in strange times and Tatiana had a strange feeling that she had been there for days. She wondered if anyone missed her, and if Marly had noticed that she wasn't at school or meeting at their usual coffee shop.
"You seem troubled.''
She looked up to see Edgar taking a spot across from her.
"Oh....It's just that...." she sighed, staring into the fire that they had made in a small cave near Avengardial. Mctwisp, Malyupkin, Dee and Dum were already asleep; leaving Tatiana and Edgar alone together. "This is all so strange.''
"In what way? I imagine you've been dreaming of this for a long time.''
Tatiana shrugged, frowning. "Why can't I remember this? (she gestured to the sleeping group) Why can't I remember them or Wonderland? All I've been having are dreams and figments....''
"That's what happens when you leave-" he stopped. "That's what happens when you are sent away from Wonderland, you forget certain things. Not completely though, they stay with you and you remember really little things, like the ones you've mentioned before."
There was a pause as they both looked into the dancing flames.
"Did I know you?"
His blue eyes darted up to meet her startlingly green ones and he felt a small pang at the look in her eyes; interested and just the least bit confused. And once again he was reminded of how fantastically resembling she was of the King.
"We were friends, I guess you could say. We knew each other. I suppose you were too young to remember.''
There was a pause.
"You should get some rest, Princess. We have a long journey ahead of us and a good rest would be advisable. I'll stay up and keep guard and if anything happens I'll awake you.''
Tatiana nodded once, getting up and heading over a space near the others. She turned back and looked at him.
He looked at her. "Yes, Princess?"
"I'm sorry. For what I said.''
He tried a faltering smile. "I am to, Princess.''
"Likewise, your highness.''
A silence settled over him as he watched the fire, hands folded over the hilt of his sword as he listened for any sign of a surprise attack. But his mind wouldn't let him settle on it as his thoughts kept back tracking to the lost Princess who slept in the corner. The delightfully stubborn young girl he'd been searching for for over seventeen years. His eyes drifted over to her sleeping form; her neon orange hair splayed behind her like some magnificent banner. Try as he may to deny it, he was falling for her.
Yes, Princess. I've found you at last and now I'll take you home and you'll be safe and happy....And I'll go back to being a guard for the King.
Despite the fact that up until now Edgar's life have revolved around combat, protecting the royal family and finding the lost daughter of Wonderland. They had trained him profusely and, the day he turned fifteen, sent him out on his merry way to the mortal world where he searched over twenty cities and all of London twice. Until that fateful day that he saw her walking down the sidewalk. Although he wanted to be the Kings guard more than anything he couldn't help but feel a small twinge of sadness. They'd both be at the palace and would see each other quite a bit, but their statuses were completely different. She was the Princess for goodness sake. And him? well he was just a guard.
And everyone knew that Princesses married Princes, not guards.
Heaving a heavy sigh, Edgar rubbed his eyes and leaned against the cave wall.
Perhaps it was enough to know that she was happy and safe and back at home. He could convince himself in time that she really was better off without him in her life and that he could get by with seeing her every so often.
He closed his eyes, falling into dreams he didn't doubt that she'd be in.
Tatiana walked through a lush field of gorgeous flowers; a breeze tousling her long hair. She reached up, taking a small Lilly from her hair and smiling when it turned itself into a butterfly and fluttered off. She wore a beautiful dress in the color of dark lavender with a bow tied loosely under her breast.
She looked up and saw two figures standing a few feet away; their kind loving faces smiling at her; beckoning her to come closer. She smiled.
the King held out his arms, mouth open in a smile. "Come to us, Sunshine!" he called, his voice echoing strangely. "Come on.'' she ran into his warm embrace. Everything felt so perfect, so fantastic. But suddenly she was shoved violently away from her fathers embrace as she fell back painfully onto hard, burnt grass; her mouth opened in a scream as she saw her parents vanish in a blaze of fire and black lightning.
Tatiana jerked awake; eyes searching around. She saw the almost dead fire and the people sleeping around her and her heart slowly returned to its normal pace as she lay back down. That dream....That dream had felt so...So real
She couldn't wait for this to be over. She couldn't wait to just find that stupid sword and to use it to defeat Narcissa and finally, finally be able to have a real home like she'd been dreaming of.