Alice in the Massacre - Chapter 37
“Jack and… Phil did that…?”
Alice woke up and pressed her mouth in disbelief as the doctor explained. It had been three days since she had defeated the White Knight when she awakened. Although there didn’t seem to be any nightmare assault, she was informed that Jack and Philrain had vanquished the enemy… and then collapsed and had yet to wake up.
Grabbing the blanket, she gritted her teeth. It was something she never dreamed would have occurred while she was asleep.
“Lady Iberis has been awake for a little while now. If you would be so kind as to accompany me to the bishop’s room after a while, Master Alice?”
Alice lifted her head as he said this.
“She and Lady Iberis have something to discuss with you.”
“I understand… I will head over.” Alice nodded and caught her breath. The doctor left the room after explaining a couple of details and saying that he would check on her later. Raffi, who was at her feet, sat up and opened his mouth.
“Are you okay? Do you feel anything wrong with your body?”
Alice shook her head and pressed her head. Her body felt dull all over, and the stitches on her chest hurt, but nothing else was amiss. Watching Alice’s condition, Raffi took a breath before continuing.
“It’s just that… Jack and Philrain have been temporarily drained of their life force by the usage of the White Knight’s sword… the Dáinsleif, and are in a coma. With a little more rest, they will wake up. They won’t die. You can rest assured.”
“Raffi… teach me.” Alice regarded the black cat and spoke firmly. “Tell me how to control the Bandersnatch within me. How can I combat it? I want to know that.”
Her voice was faint. But they were strong words with an overwhelming depth. Raffi pondered briefly and then sighed.
“I understand. I’ll teach you. However, you are probably an ‘Exceptional Individual’. So I am uncertain to what extent my explanation will be applicable to you.”
After hearing the unfamiliar word, Alice asked suspiciously. Raffi was about to open his mouth to respond… when his eyes narrowed and he glared at the corner of the room.
At the sight of the sudden change in the black cat’s behavior, Alice opened her mouth… and stiffened. In the corner of the room, at some point, there was a shadow. Within the darkness, “something” was standing.
The silhouette reminded her of the Hatter’s, with an eccentric shape. The head was unnaturally large and covered with ugly toad-like bumps. A hat; a shirt; and jeans.
The two similarly dressed “youths” were watching Alice with the same hunched posture and glittering eyes that threatened to bulge out. One of them was moving his mouth as if he was chewing gum; the other was sucking on a stick of candy in his mouth.
They were hideous twins with brown hair.
She yelled involuntarily as she lifted her hips off the bed. Raffi stilled her.
“Wait, Alice. I don’t feel any presence.”
“That’s Tweedledee and Tweedledum. They are the Original Nightmares. I think they’re using the Seventh to transmit their spirits’ bodies over here.”
The ugly men known as Tweedledee and Tweedledum opened their mouths to Alice and cackled.
“There’s another one, isn’t there?”
“Yes, there is another one.”
“What shall we do, Tweedledee?”
“What shall we do, Tweedledum?”
The two start talking in a voice that kinked and stung her ears. Alice was stunned, but they didn’t draw closer, but rather stared at her as if they were licking her. Feeling a chill, she grabbed the blanket and pulled it closer to her body. Smirking at her terrified look, they reached into their pockets and said provocatively.
“This Alice is my favorite.”
“Yes, this Alice has more sex appeal.”
“And the one who killed the Hatter and the White Knight is probably this one.”
“The stronger one or the… more mysterious one.”
The gum-chewing one, called… Tweedledee, bowed graciously to Alice. Then he continued with an upturned glance and a sickening smile.
“Alice… I would like to invite you.”
Alice stiffened as she was told something nonsensical. The rainbow-colored fluctuations of the Bandersnatch slowly flowed out of her mouth.
“This evening, at seventeen o’clock, you will come alone to the ruin outside… this shelter.”
“It’s in the forest, five kilometers to the north-northeast.”
“Do you honestly believe she’ll be going to follow through with that… obvious threat?”
Raffi’s tense voice was interrupted by a chuckle from both of them.
“She’ll come, this girl,” Tweedledee affirmed. “After all, she doesn’t know who she is.”
Disregarding Raffi’s gnashing of teeth, Tweedledum continued. “I’ll reveal everything about you. I’ll remind you of what you’ve forgotten. I shall honor my promise. But if you don’t come…”
He put his hand into his pocket and pulled out an apple with a slipping motion. It began to vibrate in his hand, and poof! Then it exploded. Dripping with apple juice, Tweedledum licked it off.
“One by one, I will kill the people in this shelter. Like this apple, slowly, slowly crushing their heads.”
“Come alone. And leave that black cat behind. I honor my word. So you’ll keep your promise, okay? Alice.”
They both burst into a fit of laughter.
“Don’t be provoked, Alice!”
The instant Raffi shouted, Alice’s Bandersnatch changed its shape like a whip. Then a high-density “space” struck the place where the twins were. There was a fierce noise and a shock; then a cloud of smoke rose up.
“Alice!” Raffi exclaimed. Along with the sound of a siren, an alert announcement came out, warning of the intrusion of the outside air. There was a gigantic hole in the wall of the room.
Alice and the others were a dozen meters high above the ground. Nearing the hole, Alice regarded Raffi with sad eyes.
“Don’t go! It’s a trap!”
Raffi panicked and tried to prevent her from doing so…
Alice muttered and leaped into the air, the Bandersnatch clinging to her body.
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