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Day Forty.

Heartless Suppression Mission:
A large number of Heartless are congregating in Wonderland. Their numbers must be thinned by at least ninety percent to be within safe parameters.

The Lane Between spits Eden, Luso, and Adelle out into a -- a hedge thing? Eden thinks it’s a maze, but if it is, then they’re at the center of it, surrounded by giant, anthropomorphised cards, while a young blond girl stands facing a woman in black and red, raised up high above the rest of the proceedings.

Freyra flicks open her Text, trailing her fingers over it as she brings up the pages on Wonderland. “That’s the Queen of Hearts. Local ruler, nothing to worry about.”

“The small one or the high-up one?” Eden asks.

“High-up one,” Freyra says, showing him the page.

Eden glances at it, and the sketch of a woman in a poofy dress, and back up at the figure overseeing the -- the whatever this is. Something that involves everyone looking very nervous.

“Read the charges!” The Queen of Hearts calls, prompting a rather harried looking rabbit to start shuffling through some papers.

“The, er, the accused, Alice, is charged with breaking and entering, assault, and the attempted theft of Her Majesty’s heart,” the Rabbit says.

“Exactly so! Now,” the Queen says, leaning forward in obvious glee. “Are you ready to hear your sentence?”

Eden feels a weight on his head as Chirithy appears, digging his paws in slightly to get a good grip on Eden’s hair.

“This is called a trial,” Chirithy whispers, slowly and carefully. “It’s a process by which a person accused of breaking the rules has their guilt ascertained and a punishment decided upon.”

“It’s an excuse to argue about stuff while sounding important,” Adelle mutters to Eden’s right, standing on tiptoes to reach his ear.

“Still, the negative emotions that an execution would cause would risk the creation of more Heartless,” Chirithy says, prodding a paw at Eden’s forehead. “One of you should speak up.”

“I agree,” Luso’s Chirithy adds, materialising on his shoulder.

“You would, you’re all the same person anyway,” Eden mutters.

“The culprit behind the attempted theft was most certainly a Heartless,” Adelle’s Chirithy adds, materialising next to her. “We’d be remiss in letting someone else take the blame for it.”

Eden pauses, stroking his chin thoughtfully. “Hey, do you guys do this on every mission? Just run errands and stuff instead of hunting Heartless? You -- you ever think that might be why we’re the lowest ranked -- …”

Sentence?” Alice asks. “But there must be a verdict first!”

“Sentence first!” The Queen snaps, slamming a fist down. “Verdict later.”

“But that just isn’t the way!”

Always …” The Queen starts, voice rising, turning red in the face.

“-- Your way, of course,” Alice interjects quickly, holding up her hands placatingly.

The Queen relaxes instantly, smiling benevolently. “Yes, my child. Off with her -- …

“Oh, fine,” Eden mutters, before taking several steps forward. “Hey! Queen Person!”

The court goes deathly silent, as Eden laces his fingers behind his head, giving the Queen of Hearts his biggest, sunniest grin.

“Ahem,” Chirithy says, a little irritably. “Forgive the boy, Your Majesty. We come with a request from Daybreak Town.”

The Queen leans forward, tapping the tip of her scepter (is that made out of cardboard?) against her podium. “Well, spit it out.”

“If it pleases Your Majesty, we’d like to attempt to prove this young girl’s innocence,” Chirithy says. “While she is most certainly an ill-mannered rogue and a degenerate, as Your Majesty has so keenly noticed, we think there may be another culprit behind the shameful attempt to steal your royal heart.”

A rather small man pokes his head out from behind the Queen’s podium. “It would be nice to have some witness testimonies, my dear!”

“If you must, then,” the Queen says, clearly long suffering. “And then afterwards, off with her head!

Eden raises a hand, waving it slightly to catch the Queen’s attention.

“Maybe, if she didn’t do it, she should get to keep her head. She can lose something else,” he says. “Like a foot.”

Off with her foot!

Eden can practically feel Chirithy’s withering glare burning into the top of his head. “I helped,” he chirps, vaguely up in Chirithy’s direction, but gets no response.


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Eden Llyx

August 2017

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