Alice in the Massacre - Chapter 44
“Each and every one of you is such idiots!”
The Red Queen screamed in a hysterical raspy voice. In the same dimly lit room were Humpty and Jabberwock. The lion-headed monster, who was leaning against the wall with his arms crossed, quietly opened his mouth.
“… I guess we’ll have to snatch back their cores.”
“I didn’t anticipate that the Twins would be eliminated. It might be challenging to deal with two ‘Alice’ after all.” Humpty continued, exhaling from his cigar. “One of the Bandersnatch seems to be close to awakening. We’ll have to destroy it before it fully awakens.”
“I’ll go. There are no objections, right?” The Red Queen said through clenched teeth. Humpty and Jabberwock exchanged glances. When Jabberwock shrugged his shoulders, the egg beast regarded the Red Queen and spoke up.
“Red. Once you leave, there won’t be a trace of you.”
“In terms of order, it ought to be my turn! After failing to kill her twice, you have no right to interfere!”
Pointing her finger and yelling at him, Humpty sighed. “Well… do as you please. But Jabberwock and I will not be cooperating.”
“I don’t need your cooperation!” The Red Queen scoffed in a murderous voice and her back arched.
Drool dripped from her mouth. Without any reaction, the drool caused a round hole to form in the floor. From there, white smoke rose. The Red Queen glared at Humpty, her pupils dilated.
“I alone shall be more than enough…”
The dark, muttering voice trailed off into the stagnant room and then disappeared.
She couldn’t breathe; her head hurt.
Alice thought and opened her eyes sluggishly. She was in a dimly lit intensive care unit. A blanket was draped over her body as she lay on her back. Her arms were covered with IV drips, and her mouth was attached to an oxygen respirator.
With a slow movement of her hand, she removed the respirator. Then she breathed in and out several times. As she sat up and looked around, she noticed that there were no nurses around, probably because it was the middle of the night. She coughed slightly and pressed her head down.
–That dream was…
What was that? A young man with a mosaic face… Raffi, had his neck snapped and dumped by a nightmare named… Jabberwock.
I was the one who was buried in the hole.
No, not me.
The “real” Alice.
–I’m a “fake”.
At that very thought, nausea crept up on her. She curled her body up in discomfort.
“Are you awake?”
A voice called out, at which point Alice lifted her face. A few feet away, on the floor, sat Raffi, the black cat. Alice glanced away from the cat, grabbed the blanket and turned over.
“What happened to me…?”
“You shouldn’t make any unnecessary movement yet. Your brain has been overloaded. You shouldn’t even be able to walk.”
“Did I lose…? I…”
Raffi considered and nodded.
“Ah. Iberis saved you. You were nearly killed by Tweedledee and Tweedledum’s Seventh.”
“That girl did…?”
“Yeah. You can thank her in the morning.”
Alice’s face contorted in pain, and she muttered quietly.
“It would have been nice if you’d abandoned me…”
Raffi didn’t say a word in response, but approached Alice and settled down on the side of the bed.
“Tell me… Tell me what you know.”
When Alice said that, Raffi nodded.
“I understand. If you’re ready for that, I’ll tell you what I know.”
When Alice stared down at him with a haggard face, Raffi spoke silently.
“The Nightmare uses a kind of psychic power called the ‘Seventh’. One per creature. The Originals possess the Seventh.”
Alice’s mind flashed back to the Hatter and Humpty Dumpty.
“The Original Nightmare has the core that composes it. Remember when we pulled out the Hatter’s?”
“As for why did we remove the core? The reason for that is that the original can be regenerated infinitely over and over again as long as the core is intact.”
Alice gasped and exclaimed at the sheer cruelty of the revelation that Raffi had mentioned. Then, as if she had been played, she cast a glance at the Nightmare’s core, which should have been in the cupboard. Seeing this, Raffi shook his head.
“It’s okay. A proper ceremony is required to revive it. As long as we have it, it will not regenerate.”
“And here’s the thing. Listen carefully. Alice.” Raffi raised his eyes to the girl and added in a quiet voice. “You have the Seventh. You know what that… means, don’t you?”
Alice’s eyes widened. She clutched her chest and tried to speak, but failed. After a while, she lowered her head again and spoke in a small voice.
“I’m also a… Nightmare…”
Raffi gazed up at Alice for a few moments, but then nodded and continued.
“Yes, you are. You are a Nightmare. The Bandersnatch within you is also a Nightmare. You, the Alice possess the Seventh, which allows you to control the Bandersnatch.”
“Why didn’t you let me know before…?”
Raffi was silent briefly before answering indifferently. “You lost your memory. In other words, you didn’t know the premise that you were Nightmare copies of the original ‘Primordial Alice’. I was dazzled by it.”
“In most cases, these copies are born with a sense of resignation and a sense of philosophy. But you are different. You can be terrified, you can despair, and you can be… happy. I wanted to protect you. That’s why I stayed with you.”
“It was as if I was looking at Archi-Alice.”
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