My Ranking Points
Chapter Twenty-One: A Rabbit’s Reply
Cass woke up the next morning, feeling excited. At first she couldn’t remember why, until she looked over at Alisha, still sleeping peacefully in her bed.
After so many weeks of being away from home, they would play croquet. And although Cass knew it wouldn’t be the same as playing with flamingo mallets and hedgehog ***** at her mother’s palace, she was desperately ready for a taste of home.
With similar thoughts in mind, Cass made it through the first four classes in high spirits, even managing two first ranks as well as a third. The morning seemed to fly by, and before she knew it it was time for lunch.
Alisha was waiting in the clearing with the wooden box. Cass hurried over to her with eager excitement.
“Ready?” Alisha asked with a grin.
“Definitely,” Cass replied readily.
Alisha put the box on the ground and the two girls worked together to set it up. Curious looks were thrown their way, but both girls ignored them.
When the hoops were set up, Cass took the red mallet and ball, Alisha took the blue. Emmeline came over and, as promised, Alisha quickly taught her the rules.
The game quickly summoned a crowd of Evers. Ace joined the game eagerly. He was pretty evenly matched with Cass and Alisha, but both girls were slightly better. Emmeline was several hoops behind all of them, but she was still enjoying herself anyway.
Cass won, but it was a narrow victory. Alisha had been right behind her.
As soon as they were done, a swarm of eager Evers crowded in for a chance to play. Laughing, Cass handed off her mallet to a dark haired Everboy with broad shoulders and blue eyes.
The next day was almost the same. Cass performed exceptionally well in her classes, then joined Alisha at lunch for more croquet. This time, however, the crowd of onlookers included Nevers. In fact, almost every student stood watching, with the exception of a Tiana, glowering from across the clearing, and Ches.
When Cass handed her mallet off to a surly Nevergirl with vibrant purple hair, she left the clearing and went back to her dorm to grab her Good Deeds textbook. She picked it up off her nightstand and was heading back out when she noticed two envelopes peeking out from under the door.
Stooping to pick them up, Cass opened the first on, containing a note from Professor Dovey that read,
“Sorry for the wait. It took some time for me to find a way of posting your letter, and then some more until the reply came. Hope it wasn’t too long. Signed, Dean Dovey of the School for Good.”
Heart beating, Cass tore open the next letter and grinned. The White Rabbit had responded at last.
Dearest Royal Crown Princess Cassandra Rose Hearts,
I am so pleased to hear from you at last. Your mother has been worried sick. As for the Jabberwocky, there hasn’t been one for centuries, as you said. But what you didn’t know is that there was an egg, left behind by the last one to be slayed. The egg was guarded carefully, and your mother was on constant watch for danger. Or, her court was. She mostly just played croquet.
Anyway, the egg was safely kept in a small cave in Wonderland. It never hatched, at least back then. A few years after the egg was found, the School Master paid a visit to Wonderland. His interest in the Jabberwocky was rather unusual, and when he left, the guards reported the egg missing.
Crown Princess, you must remember how dangerous a Jabberwocky can be. If you have discovered something up there, be careful and steer clear. The last Jabberwock is long gone, and Wonderland is safe. The affairs of that school have nothing to do with your people here, so I advise you to stay out of it. Your mother is working on a way to bring you back from that horrid place, but until then, stay strong.
Sincerely, your Royal Advisor, the White Rabbit
Cass read through the letter eagerly. When she finished, she tucked it into her bag and went to Good Deeds. Her mind whirled with what she had just read.
It didn’t make any sense. How had the egg disappeared without anyone questioning where it had gone? And if the School Master had taken it… well, that would explain how it had gotten here, but why? What could a School Master want with a Jabberwocky? It didn’t make sense.
Cass was desperate for a chance to speak to Ace and Alisha, but she barely made it to Good Deeds on time and therefore couldn’t speak to them until after class.
As Dovey taught, Cass found herself drifting in and out of the lesson. Scolding herself, Cass forced herself to pay attention, pinching her arm every time her thoughts drifted elsewhere.
When Dovey’s class was finally over, Cass stood up and spun to Ace and Alisha.
“We need to talk,” she said.
As she led them out of the classroom, she was stopped by Dovey. “Did you get your letter?” the dean asked.
“Yes,” Cass said. “Thank you.”
Dovey smiled and let them pass to go to their final class, Surviving Fairytales. As soon as the trio was outside, Cass pulled the letter from her back and ****** it at them.
“Read it,” she ordered.
Ace and Alisha obeyed. They read it over twice before they stared at Cass.
“Do you think the School Master-” Alisha started.
“I don’t know,” Cass said. “But it sounds like it.”
Ace slowly nodded. “That would explain the Jabberwocky in the Blue Forest-”
“But what would he want with a Jabberwock?” Alisha asked.
The trio fell silent when no one had an answer. Then Alisha said, “Whatever it was, he never did it because he’s gone now.”
“But Jabberwockies are destructive and mean,” Alisha continued. “You can’t control them. So what would he want with one?”
“Maybe they’re different when you hatch one yourself?” Ace shrugged. “I’m not sure.”
“Where do we look next?” Alisha asked.
“Back at the cave,” Ace suggested firmly.
“We’ll be killed!” Alisha protested.
“You won’t,” Ace said. “You’ll stay back in the dorms again.”
“Ace, you can’t keep-”
“Alisha, don’t argue. It’s for your own good,” Ace said.
Alisha rolled her eyes. “Fine. But you owe me a certain Snow Ball. Just you and me, no sneaking out.” With that, Alisha stalked off to her Forest Group.
Ace glanced at Cass. “We’re going to figure this out. Tonight.”