HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
I love Wonderland. It's simply the most nonsensical, riddle-tastic, wonderland-iful place ever after. It's also my home. And I miss it dearly.
If I were home I would be privately tutored to be the perfect Royal that Wonderland needs. For you see, my destiny is to be the next Queen of Hearts. Instead I'm at Ever After High, taking classes like General Villainy. Can you imagine? Me, a villain? I'm not a villain! People believe I'm a few cards short of a full deck because I often yell "OFF WITH YOUR HEAD!" But where I come from that phrase is simply a common courtesy. If someone brings you tea, you thank them by saying "OFF WITH YOUR HEAD!" If they win at cards, you congratulate them with an "OFF WITH YOUR HEAD!" You see? People shouldn't take it so literally. I don't understand this place. Everyone sees things in black and red. But I'm trying to fit in,
because I fear I may never see Wonderland again.
Fairy many years ago, my mother agreed to co-rule Wonderland with the White Queen. My family home, Card Castle, was down the famous rabbit hole. Through-the-looking-glass side of Wonderland, the White Queen ruled her Queendom from the Rooks. She is now my Princessology teacher, and I respectfully refer to her as 'Ms. Her Majesty the White Queen'. However, when she said I had to meet her after class, I was quite upset, "Am I in trouble... again?"
The White Queen elegantly took her seat, ever so slowly tilted her head and began to raise an eyebrow. Some find her deliberate mannerisms odd, but I know this lesson well - a queen's time is only valuable if people are willing to wait for it. Her eyebrow finally reached its peak, "You are not in trouble. However, I noticed you've had trouble making new friends. Perhaps you should stop shouting OFF WITH YOUR HEAD so much? Your classmates take it quite literally."
"What a bunch of Alices," I mumbled under my breath.
The White Queen sternly stood to her full height,"I know you're angry because you had to leave Wonderland, however you must respect-"
"Where's my respect?" I yelled back, "I am the next Queen of Hearts, co-ruler of Wonderland!"
Co-ruler? We cannot even return to Wonderland!" The White Queen uncharacteristically shouted back, "The sooner you realize that, the better!" she cleared her throat to regian her composure, "Lizzie, please, this is home now."
"Home? I have no home," I slammed the door behind me as hard as I could.
Even though it's my destiny to be angry, I'm usually quite calm. In fact, ever since I was 3-of-hearts old, I spent hours working on my non-anger management. It was difficult at times, but mother was always supportive. She wanted me to have the best childhood ever after. I had so many friends, so many tea parties and I was always happy. That is until "she" arrived.
A few years ago, a hooded crone knocked on our door looking for a place to rest. As thanks, the old woman offered mother the shiniest apples anyone had ever seen. It wasn't long before this stranger became close with mother, always whispering poison into her ear.
Over time, mother became suspiciously fearful of everyone. When friends invited me to tea parties, they were told, "Go Away!" My tutors were fired. The guards were unshuffled. All the joy...the grandeur...the muchness of being a Royal disappeared from Card Castle, replaced by slow-ticking clocks and lonely shadows. I was ordered to my room, and my door was locked behind me.
Then one day I heard loud shouting. I screamed for help, but nobody answered. That is until I heard the familiar POOF! of a Cheshire Cat appearing from thin air. Kitty Cheshire has been my best friend forever after since nursery rhyme school, and I had never been happier to see her, "Kitty, what's happening?"
With tears in her eyes, she hugged me, "We're leaving Wonderland." We POOFED out of the castle, and traveled up the rabbit hole into the land of Ever After. The rabbit hole was sealed, and a wishing well built over it. That was the last time I saw Wonderland.
Every day I would visit the wishing well. I watched water drip wonderlandiful madness into the wild grove below, and felt homesick. Everyone at Ever After High means well, but there are just so many differences between normal fairytales and Wonderlandians.
Some – like Madeline Hatter – embrace those differences. Of course she has her father, the Mad Hatter, who owns a very popular tea shoppe in the Village of Book End. No matter how many times the deck is reshuffled, Madeline acts like she's never dealt a losing hand.
Then there's Kitty Cheshire. People assume she's just a wicked trickster, but it's her destiny to be a Rebel. Kitty is meant to fade in from nowhere and riddle advice with a smile. As if on cue, a Cheshire grin appeared,
"A coin, a lock, alone, a clock sitting on top of a swing.*"
"A coin, a cat, a card, a hat, a bird in a nest with no wing.*" I sighed.
Kitty turned fully visible, "This is all just part of the story."
"Not my story," I sat next to Kitty, "I can't be myself here. Everyone thinks I'm mad."
"Lizzie, we're all mad," Kitty giggled, "We make the impossible possible. We answer riddles that can't be answered. We're from Wonderland. Madness makes us special, especially here."
"But there's no Wonderland here. How can we follow our destinies? Won't our stories disappear?" I started walking back towards the school.
POOF! Kitty disappeared behind me. Poof! She reappeared in front of me, "I know just what you need to feel better." POOF
In an instant, we appeared at the school's playing field. Kitty vanished, then reappeared carrying a large sack, "Since you miss home so much, we could bring a little bit of home here." She turned the sack upside down...
I couldn't believe my eyes! Flamingos! Hedgehogs! That meant one thing, "Wonderland croquet! Wicked awesome, Kitty!" I reached into my purse for my cards, and dealt them into wickets and pegs to complete the playing field.
Suddenly I noticed two figures in the distance step through the bushes. Kitty disappeared as one of the figures skipped forward. The clinking of teacups put a smile on my face. Madeline was chipper as ever, "Crowns and kettles, together again*."
"Clubs, spades, hearts and diamonds, all ten*," I politely responded.
Madeline pointed to the other figure who stepped through the bushes with her. It was Cedar Wood, daughter of Pinocchio. According to Madeline, Cedar needed help finding her voice as an artist. This was my chance to not only practice my destiny, but help someone who is lost. For a brief moment, Cedar was my new Alice.
I presented her with a riddle... "Paint the roses red"... meaning, take time to search your heart for what truly inspires you. When Cedar eventually figured out the riddle, we shared a smile. She found her answer, and I realized so did I. It just took me a while to realize it. Clever Kitty & Madeline... Cedar and I had the same riddle.
Usually I don't get nervous. When I knocked on the White Queen's office door, however, that's exactly how I felt. "Please do enter with grace and... oh, it's you," she immediately turned cold, "My door suffered greatly after your last visit."
I bowed my head, "I'm sorry, Ms. Your Majesty the White Queen. I was angry, which is my destiny, but no excuse for losing my manners. Ever since we fled our home, I've been so focused on my sadness, I never considered yours. We have both lost so much, but you have done so with dignity and class. I have much to learn, but I promise you, I can be the Queen of Hearts our Wonderlandians need."
Slowly the White Queen smiled, "Please have a seat, Ms. Hearts."
I sat in front of her desk, "I haven't felt much like myself. I finally know why. And it is... important."
After I explained my concern, she rose from her chair, "That is... important. We should go immediately."
As we entered the headmaster's waiting room, I felt determined. I knew though he would never take appointments from a student, he would from a teacher. "I wish to speak with Headmaster Grimm," the White Queen politely requested.
The assistant grunted in annoyance, and pressed a button underneath her desk. I followed the White Queen through the library corridor into his enormous office.
The stern headmaster quickly glanced at me, "What is Ms. Hearts doing here? I have no time to listen to Riddlish nonsense from Wonderland students. Now, if you please." He dismissively pointed to the door.
"Sir," I insisted, "With the gate to the rabbit hole sealed, myself and all Wonderlandians are cut off from the unique magic that makes us special. Some might call it madness. We call it wonder. Whatever the name, without it, our destinies are in danger."
That got his attention, "...Continue."
I took a deep breath, "With no Wonderland, we would disappear once we leave Ever After High. That is unless we link Wonderland to Ever After. I've noticed the wishing well over the rabbit hole overflows into a grove. In this grove, wonderlandiful magic grows wild. We can tend the grove, and create a small piece of Wonderland for our future destinies."
Headmaster Grimm stared in a large, ornate floor mirror, "Very well, Ms. Hearts. For the sake of destiny, I'll allow this Wonderland Grove."
I felt like my old self. Just because I couldn't go back to Wonderland doesn't mean I can't make Ever After High my new home. After all, the Queen of Hearts is the heart of Wonderland. And home is where the heart is.