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    ladyguinevere posted an update in the group RP Level 0: The Clearing 4 months, 2 weeks ago

    Chapter Twenty-Three: The Purpose of a Jabberwock

    “Cass, wait.”
    Ace’s voice stopped her at the base of the Charity tower. She turned around, watching as he jogged to catch up to her.
    “What is it?” she asked, glancing around.
    “Just-” Ace paused. “Well, we didn’t get the alone time I was hoping for, but I thought we could take a couple minutes before going back.”
    Cass smiled, but shook her head. “We have to get this to Alisha. What this scroll contains-”
    Ace pressed a finger against her lips. “Tell me up there,” he said, nodding towards the Purity tower.
    “Then let’s go,” Cass said. She darted out of the shadows of the Charity tower to the darkness at the base of the Purity tower. She shot a red flare through the window of her dorm.
    Ace caught up and took her hand. She looked at him silently. He leaned towards her, lips almost touching-
    A rope fell on their heads. Cass tore her attention away from Ace and grabbed the rope, climbing up to the window. Ace sighed as he followed. They tumbled in through the window, and Alisha yanked the rope back up.
    “So, what did you find?” Alisha asked as she pulled Cass to her feet.
    “Much, much more than we expected to,” Cass said before launching into detail of Ches’s appearance in the Blue Forest, the secret passage in the Evil castle, and the scroll they found behind the painted Jabberwock’s egg.
    “What did it say?” Alisha breathed.
    Cass looked at Ace, who returned her stare curiously. She pulled the piece of parchment from her pocket, unfurled it, and began to read.
    When she finished, both Ace and Alisha were staring in shock. Cass stared back, waiting.
    “That’s-” Alisha stopped, unable to find the right words. “So he did steal the egg after all.”
    “And he was planning to use it to destroy the Ever kingdoms,” Cass said with a nod.
    “But why didn’t he?” Alisha asked. What went wrong?”
    “Well, think about what we’ve been learning in History,” Ace said. “The School Master tried to use true love to evil’s advantage to rewrite the endings and destroy good. But he was killed before he could succeed.”
    “Yeah, but what does that have to do with the Jabberwocky?” Alisha asked impatiently.
    “The Evers didn’t fight against him; they just tried to defend their kingdoms from where they were. In the end, it was the students who fought against him,” Ace explained. “And the School Master was trying to ensure Evil’s victory first. My guess is that he would have used the Jabberwock after he succeeded in that final battle to destroy the rest of the Ever kingdoms, but he didn’t get to since he didn’t win.”
    Cass considered his words and nodded slowly. “That makes sense,” she said, “because only the vorpal sword can kill it. And the sword is hidden somewhere in Wonderland, so once he unleashed it on the Ever kingdoms, it would be unstoppable.”
    “Unless you used a sleeping potion, or controlled it,” Alisha realized, peering at the scroll. “And he says here that he found a way to control it with magic, and had a sleeping powder in case it got out of control.”
    “That School Master sure was smart,” Ace said. “But not smart enough. He didn’t anticipate his death.”
    “The Jabberwocky can’t get out of the cave, right?” Alisha looked between Cass and Ace.
    “I don’t think so,” Cass said slowly. “Why?”
    “Because if the School Master is dead, no one can control it, which means it could cause all sorts of destruction if it got out!” Alisha explained.
    “It can’t get out,” Ace said firmly, “but we’ll keep a watch on it just in case.”
    “Should we tell someone?” Alisha asked.
    “Maybe Dovey,” Cass said. “But I think that what we need to do now is get some sleep. We can worry about who we tell tomorrow.”
    Ace nodded. Alisha hesitated for a moment, but eventually she nodded too.
    Glancing between her two new friends, Cass finally held the scroll out to Alisha. “Why don’t you hold on to this? Keep it safe.”
    Alisha’s eyes widened. “Me? Shouldn’t you-”
    “I trust you,” Cass answered, taking Alisha’s hand and pressing the scroll into it. “Keep it safe.”
    Alisha nodded and turned to put it safely in her trunk. Cass looked at Ace. He glanced at Alisha and, making sure her back was turned, leaned in and quickly kissed Cass.
    Cass smiled slyly at him. “Get out of here,” she said, shoving him towards the door as Alisha turned around.
    “‘Night! ” he called over his shoulder to the girls.
    “Goodnight!” Alisha called back as Cass shut the door. The latter turned around and collapsed against the door.
    Alisha caught Cass’s eye and snickered. “You were in a hurry to get him out,” she said.
    “It’s bedtime,” Cass said primly.
    Alisha just shook her head. “You just don’t change, do you? Still a stiff loner even with new friends.”
    Cass bit her lip, guilt clawing at her. She hastened to get ready to bed, promising herself that she’d sort things out with Ace later. He would tell Alisha when he was ready. But until then, their relationship would stay their little secret.
    She laid awake for a long while after Alisha’s soft breathing filled the room. Her thoughts churned as she reflected on all they’d discovered that day. What would happen if the Jabberwock broke free?
    It won’t, she chided herself. With that thought, she drifted into an uneasy sleep.
    Once again, Cass was plagued by nightmares. Only this time, after she fell through the rabbit hole, she landed in a Jabberwock’s cave. The vorpal sword stuck out of the ground before her. Cass scrambled to grab it, but each time she got close, the Jabberwock dragged her away. No matter how hard she fought, the monster was too strong.
    The beast, tired of pulling her back, opened its mouth and swallowed her whole. She screamed, but was helpless to do anything.
    Inside the monster’s stomach, Cass could make out hundereds of figures, lining the space around her. She shuddered and weaved her way through them towards three silhouettes at the end. Nearing them, she identified Ches, Ace, and Alisha.
    Breaking into a run, Cass reached for them. Her fingers brushed Ace’s, but he was ripped away and vanished. Cass tried to scream, but no sound came out. Alisha and Ches each grabbed her wrist, clinging on, but they too were pulled away.
    Cass spun around, looking between the Jabberwocky’s other victims. Their tortured gaze sought hers as she realized they were her subject, the ones she was supposed to protect. Slowly, one by one, they too vanished as a woman’s laugh echoed through the monster’s belly, high and coying. Cass tried to cover her ears, but her arms were bound to her sides. She writhed as a silhouetted figure stepped out of the darkness before her.
    Silver eyes flashing, the figure cackled. “You failed,” she said. “You will always fail.”
    Cass woke in a cold sweat, panting and terrified. She glanced at the sleeping forms of Alisha and Emmeline as silver moonlight poured in through the window.
    With a sigh, Cass turned over and tried to fall back asleep, haunted by silver eyes and four simple words.
    You will always fail.


        effie replied 4 months, 2 weeks ago

        That’s really good! Have you read Heartless by Marissa Meyer? It’s about how the Queen of Hearts became the Queen of Hearts, and it’s all about wonderland! If you haven’t read it, you should.

          ladyguinevere replied 4 months, 2 weeks ago

          Yes, I read it a while ago and absolutely loved it.

        agathafourlife replied 4 months, 2 weeks ago

        I honestly want Alisha to see Cass and Ace kissing, it sounds evil ik but I was t it in the next chapter please!!

          ladyguinevere replied 4 months, 2 weeks ago

          I’ll keep that in mind as I write the next few chapters.

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