Dec 08, 2019 4:14 PM
Sadde in Wonderland
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"How do you know these directions?" she wonders.

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"How do you know where your feet are in relation to your head?" the cat responds.

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"Because of nerves connecting them to my head plus several years of constant, continuous feedback that turns into a subconscious body map and proprioception - although this has been in slight disarray these past few years because adolescence sorta messes with body plan and it takes a while for the brain to get used to it again."

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"...Fair enough. Anyway, it feels like I know how to find people in Wonderland the same way I know how to find my tail." Chess waves said tail illustratively. 

"So, do you wish to meet the Mad Hatter, or to find Everless? Or perhaps someone else?"

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"I wish to join their little merry band. I do not know the Hatter, and Everless has left a less-than-stellar impression of her executive skills after disappearing when she was supposed to be leading me."

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"No, Everless isn't cut out to be a leader," the cat agrees, "which is why she isn't. I'm afraid I cannot give a very detailed recommendation of the Hatter," he continues, "other than to confirm that he is indeed mad. But then again, so is anyone else you'll meet in Wonderland." 

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"I am coming to the same conclusion, yes, which does leave me in a bit of a pickle. The Hatter does seem to be my best bet but if you have suggestions..."

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"I do not," he says. "But that's probably because I'm mad, too." He doesn't seem overly upset by this, but he no longer appears to be smiling. 

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"I wonder if that's curable."

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"I'm not sure I'd like to be cured," Chess muses. "I'd be a different person, you see."

He shakes himself. "Have you decided which way to go yet?"

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"I'll go look for the Hatter."

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"Then you want - hm, that direction," he tells her, pointing a completely different way to where he first indicated. "Good luck."

He's beginning to fade away again, in stripes this time.

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...well then. In that direction she goes.

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And she walks through perfectly normal woods, meeting nobody and hearing nothing except the rustle of leaves and the trill of distant birdsong, until she comes upon a small house sitting all by itself in a clearing. 

The roof is in the vague shape of a hat, and handwritten signs in the windows advertise the prices of various items of headgear. 

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Oh this must be it.

She walks up to the door and knocks.

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"Just a minute!" calls a distant voice from inside the house.

And indeed, a minute later the door opens to reveal the first human-looking person Sadde has met since she arrived, unless one counts the helmeted guards. He's holding a teacup rather carelessly in one hand, and some of his tea sloshes over the brim as he moves.

"Good afternoon. How may I help you...miss?"

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"I was told by a raven I should find you."

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"Ah." He sighs. "A raven. Of course it was a raven."

The Hatter peers at her. "Do you know," he asks, in a perfectly serious tone, "why a raven is like a writing-desk?"

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"I'm pretty sure it's not."

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"Is that so?" He laughs. "That's one I haven't heard before. Come in, come in!"

He turns and heads back into the house, spilling more tea in the process.

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She walks in, avoiding the spilt tea. "Are you quite certain you don't mind spilling all this tea?"

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He seems to finally notice what's going on. "Ah, my tea! Thank you."

Inside, the house seems relatively normal, if old-fashioned, apart from the large and varied collection of hats hanging from everything that could conceivably hold one, stacked at least three deep on every flat surface, and piled in heaps on the floor. 

"I do apologise for the mess; it's my work, you see."

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"Yes, I see," she says, smiling wryly.

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Setting his tea down carefully on a clear patch of an end-table, the Hatter goes darting this way and that through the house. 

"Now where did I see... Ah, here we are!" 

He returns, triumphant, bearing a large, salmon-pink top hat. It's decorated with an oversized bow, a fluffy white feather, and, inexplicably, a peach. It's probably made of wax rather than actual fruit. 

He holds it above Sadde's head, experimentally. "What do you think?"

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She sporfles. "Oh my god this is gorgeous I love it!"

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