Oct 16, 2019 4:29 PM
Sadde in Wonderland
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Sadde's dawdling. That's what she's doing. But that's what she does every day, anyway, and she's sure her father doesn't want to see her any more than she wants to see him.

So she dawdles, and makes her way down London's city streets.

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London isn't generally the sort of place one might expect to see a rabbit wandering around, let alone one wearing a bonnet and apron. And yet, there it is. The rabbit is white and fluffy, and dressed in blue and pink. It is also hopping on its hind legs, with apparent urgency, across Sadde's path. 

This is a relatively quiet street, and the few other people around don't seem to have noticed the rabbit. However, if anyone happened to be paying attention, and to be in the habit of seeing and hearing what was there, rather than what they expected, one might hear a small voice repeating, "Oh no! Oh dear! I'm going to be late!" 

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What.

She follows the rabbit.

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The rabbit doesn't seem to be aware that she's following. It bounds away down a side street, fishing a large golden pocket-watch out of its apron and gasping in horror when it sees the time. "Oh dear oh dear oh dear!" it squeaks, speeding up a little. 

It is in such a hurry, in fact, that when its bonnet flies right off its head, it doesn't even seem to notice, let alone go back for it. 

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Okay she'll grab it and continue running after it.

(What.)

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Then she'll see the rabbit, now hatless, reach the alley it's looking for and jump down a fairly large hole in the ground. It's almost manhole-sized, but seems to have been dug by animals rather than humans. Sadde could almost certainly fit down it if she wanted to. 

The stream of nervous babble fades away as the rabbit falls out of hearing range. 

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She walks up to it and looks down into it.

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And trips over an uneven patch at the edge of the hole, stumbling straight in before she has a chance to catch herself. 

On the plus side, she doesn't land in a sewer. On the other hand, she doesn't seem to be landing any time soon. The hole she's sliding down becomes a spiral, allowing an occasional glimpse of the rabbit somewhere below. Strangely, it doesn't seem to be particularly dark.

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Okay fuck it. "Hey! Rabbit! What the fuck!" she calls.

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The rabbit doesn't appear to answer, but it might be hard to tell, because the slide-like spiral abruptly drops her into freefall. She's not falling very fast, and has plenty of time to look around and notice that the hole is opening out into something wider.

The rabbit takes a parasol from...somewhere...and opens it, slowing its own fall to let Sadde catch up.

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"Erm. Hi."

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"Hello," it says, clinging nervously to the handle of its parasol. "How did you - oh, is that my bonnet? Thank you!" The voice, now she's hearing it up close, sounds distinctly feminine. "Oh, I'm so sorry! Were you trying to give it back? That's so thoughtful..."

This does not seem to be a happy thought. In fact, if anything, the rabbit seems more distressed than it did a minute ago.

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She hands her the bonnet. "Where are we, why aren't we accelerating further, this is nowhere near terminal velocity and we should be turned to mush by the heat."

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"Um. What?" The rabbit blinks her pink eyes several times. "You were...expecting to be somewhere else? That would turn you to mush? Is this a surface-worlder thing?"

She gestures around them with the paw now holding her bonnet. "This is Wonderland. Well, an entrance to it, really. And...I don't really understand the rest of your questions. I'm sorry!" 

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"When we fall we're subjected to a constant acceleration, which means we should be speeding up, even with your little parasol, until the air pressure below us and the friction with the air around us was enough to counter this acceleration and we reached a constant speed. As for heat, the Earth is a ball of rock with magma at its core, if we fell this much for this long we should be reaching it soon. And. We aren't. Instead we're going to a place you called Wonderland."

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"That sounds uncomfortable!" the rabbit exclaims. "And dangerous. It's probably a good thing you're here instead."

She gasps. "Oh, but the Queen might not think so! That could be bad." The next few sentences are unintelligible muttering, of which the only audible word is "heart". 

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"I'm sorry, I didn't catch that."

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"Oh! It, um, it was nothing. Not important."

That is one nervous rabbit. "Oh look we're almost there."

She points downwards, where they are indeed rapidly approaching something like solid ground. It looks like a giant chessboard, with alternating darker and lighter squares. In the centre of the board rises a shining palace, surrounded by a dense labyrinth. As they get closer, the borders between squares resolve into hedges, fences and ditches, while the squares themselves reveal more variation. They seem to be landing closer to the middle than to the edge, but well outside the labyrinth. 

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"...okay so are we going to die when we reach the ground or...?"

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The rabbit giggles. "Of course not! Oh, but you'll have to be careful once we land." Her ears twitch.

"The Queen doesn't like intruders, and if her guards found you - " She cuts herself off, shivering. "You're too nice for that. You were just trying to give me back my bonnet and it's all my fault!" The bunny sniffles, nose twitching. 

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"To be fair, I was mostly trying to figure out why there was a talking rabbit and where she was going. And I think I hardly count as an intruder, given that there was a hole in the middle of a street without any signs near it."

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"Oh, I know that! But rules are rules as far as the Hearts are concerned." She winces a little at the word hearts. "You aren't supposed to be here, so you must be an intruder." This seems to make her terribly sad for some reason. 

"Will you tell me your name? Just in case - " She breaks off again and starts to sob. The ground is steadily approaching.

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"- I'm Sadde Baldwin. Hey, what's wrong?"

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"Oh, no, don't worry about me." The rabbit pulls a frilly handkerchief out of her apron pocket and blows her nose loudly. "We - we need to make sure the Queen's guards don't see you, which means you can't come with me." 

They are now getting quite close to the ground. Sadde's feet are just above the tops of the trees. 

"If you want to get home again, you'll need to ask the Raven, or maybe the Wandering Seer, to tell you the way. But I'm afraid I don't know where to look for either of them." She twists the handkerchief between her paws. "Oh, I'm so sorry to have landed you in this mess!"

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"- yeah I think I might want to overthrow your Queen. Good luck with whatever?"

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The rabbit stares at her in shock as they drift the last few metres to the ground. "...Um. You should be careful who you tell that to," she says at last. "I won't tell anyone! You should definitely talk to the Raven - I have to go now - good luck - goodbye!" 

As soon as her feet touch the floor, a few seconds after Sadde's, the little rabbit snaps her parasol shut and dashes off in the direction of the palace. 

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