Something flashed in Khamet as he felt his body skewered in the mouth of the Jabberwock. It was akin to when he had died in Yonderland. In a second he was suddenly on the Island and at the reflecting pool, then on the wharf with the old man, on the muddy streets, then back in the palace. It felt as if he were searching for something. A body perhaps, but he had no body to return to.

In the next instant he was assaulted by an explosive serge of pain. His body lay discarded and again he felt himself move and heal, but with the healing came power unlike anything he imagined. He rolled over and stood as the Jabberwock screamed and fell on his back trying to dislodge the blade in his chest.

A clawed hoof-heal was trying to dislodge the blade and finally wedged beneath the hilt and pushed. The blade came forth and illuminated the area again. The Jabberwock raged in pain and fury as it rolled looking for the Jack. He found him standing behind a tree and began moving forward.

“Brother,” Khamet called.

The Jabberwock stopped. Its enormous head swiveled around towards the cat. “No. Who? You have a name?”

“I must.”

The Jack came from behind the tree to grab the sword again.

“What is your name?” The Jabberwock said.

Khamet was just about to answer, but knew what he was thinking wasn’t his name any longer. The Popularopinion had now heard and he did indeed have a name. Something felt very different now. He was no longer a resident of Yonderland, he was Heere in… he stopped. Wonderland, the thought came to him suddenly. The land had been renamed. “I don’t know.” He said finally, “But I know that we have to be here. We can’t kill each other.” Khamet stepped forward. “You must remain in the Tulgey Wood. And leave everything else alone.”

The Jabberwock chittered in rage and brought his great head down to the cat to stare with its sharp grin. “No brother, I think not, I think…” but the Jabberwock got no further. The Jack had a firm grip on the sword and brought it down on the great long neck before the Jabberwock could finish.

There was a flash of light and the Jack found himself standing in the field of tomatoes, apples and roses holding the sword and standing beside Khamet. “What happened?” the Jack asked. “The beast,” the Jack said looking down at himself. He had been soaked in black ooze from the Jabberwock, but he was now clean.

“Well I believe what I said to him would be enough so…” he leapt up to the tree and knocked an apple down. The Jack caught it. He looked for a moment and bit into it famished.

“So?” the Jack said.

“Let’s just say things are as they should be.”

“I see,” the Jack said.

“Ay, ay now what’s going on there?” The apple screamed in his hand. The Jack dropped the apple as a small pink face popped out. “Oh, now where do you get off? Chewing up me home?” The thing peered around. “The backroom’s is all gone love. A serpent ate it up.”

“Well I didn’t…”

“Of course not. You great oaf, thinking you’re the ruler. The Queen shall ere of this.”

“Excuse me sir,” Khamet said. “That was my fault I gave him the apple.”

“Well bless my soul.” The pink faced worm said. “Love, come on up and see who it is.”

A second pink face poked out the side if the apple and said, “Oh my.” The worm shot back down and came up wiping around the side of the apple that suddenly glowed cleanly, and then it wiped the other worm down. “Must be presentable. Sir it is an honor to have our home ravaged by the likes of you.”

“No, let’s um… Let’s find you a new home.” Khamet said and hopped over to another branch.

“Who do you think he is?” the Jack of all Trades asked.

“That there is the one what saved the Queen of Hearts. That there’s the Cheshire Cat.” The first worm said.

The Jack stood up, “Well now. It seems you do have a name.”

“What?” Khamet said from the tree.

“It seems Popularopinion has named you King or at the very least ruler of the land. Che meaning warlord and shire meaning land of the people. Therefore Warlord of the People. That is quite a name sir Cheshire.”

“Stop that.”

“Can’t. You have been named.”

The Cheshire Cat touched an apple that would not fall very soon and leapt down and touched the other apple. The two worms vanished. From the other apple two pink heads popped out. “Oh it’s wonderful. Thank you so much.”

Khamet gave them a grin and leapt down to the ground. “Time to see your lady.” he said to the Jack and scratched the tree. They both walked through the passage that opened up before them.

 

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