The Last Rabbit, the only True White Rabbit, stood in the shadows and watched them enter. They were here, in the Queen of Hearts’ personal sanctum, for reasons he could only guess at, but their presence was no problem. The fact was that she’d have revealed the truth soon enough.
He fingered a dagger, considering bursting free of the alcove now, killing them where they stood. But oh, their faces when they realized the truth! The anticipation alone was enough to warrant their extended lifespans.
Ace was there, and Drei, and Zes, and finally Tera, the little girl bringing up the rear. Her face, especially, the Last Rabbit awaited.
It came soon enough, the curse that let him know they’d made it far enough. Zes was the dangerous one, so he targeted the boy, sliding the dagger around his young throat before the boy could react. The others froze.
They stood in the Queen’s sitting room, barely through the doorway. That was as far as they’d had to go to see her, sitting there like her namesake, lounged across a daybed. The Rabbit supposed she could be beautiful, or maybe she had been? He really had no interest in such things, however, so he really couldn’t tell.
But it wasn’t the sight of the Queen that made the fools squeal. It was her trophy, the trophy the Rabbit had given to her. The last imposter. Or, considering that he’d been the White Rabbit for longer than the Last One, maybe he wasn’t the imposter…
Either way, he was the Rabbit now, and the poor boy lying by the Queen’s feel, well, he was lucky he hadn’t been killed yet. Though, considering what they had planned for him, maybe death would have been kinder.
“Deuce!” Ace yelled, though no one moved. A knife at one of your friend’s throats does that. Still, the Rabbit was irritated that Ace would think first of his friend, who’d been stripped and bound beside the Queen, and leave him as almost an afterthought.
Though Deuce really did make quite a sight. He was even wearing a collar with a chain wrapped around the Queen’s wrist, like the tame house-pet he was. Eyes glazed, he stared unseeingly at the very boy he’d done everything to protect.
“Anyone moves, Zes gets a new smile,” the Rabbit threatened, tightening his hold. The boy was no match for him, not when his hands were virtually useless.
The Queen stood, yanking the chain. It knocked Deuce out of his stupor and he staggered forward, falling to the ground once more. “Ah, my son. Good of you to come see me. And look, you brought the half-wit, the cripple, and the bastard child to see me too!”
“Mother, what’s going on?” Wow, Ace really was stupid. How someone like that could be Ace, the Rabbit didn’t understand. But he’d be Ace soon enough. The Queen had promised, after all.
“Well, my son, I have captured one of the traitors for you. You see?” she smiled, cruel and evil and twisted. “He really didn’t want you to know, but I think it’s time you heard the truth about your father’s death, don’t you?
“This boy, who’s called you friend for years, is the one who stole your father from you.”
Silence, dead, cold silence. Quiet like a grave.
And then another voice joined them, coming from behind the White Rabbit. A voice he’d never have expected to hear, especially not now, not with open hatred in it.
His brother’s voice.
“Wyth, what the hell are you doing?”