Story 3: Wonderland Walker Alice
A large crowd had gathered in the center courtyard of Aibo Academy. Everyone was staring up at the rooftop, murmuring and wondering what was going on.
“Emma! Come out and show yo ur face! The great Alice has honored you with a visit!”
At the center of the crowd was the blonde young woman who had identified herself as “Alice”. She had made her way to the edge of the rooftop terrace and started shouting in a voice that echoed across the academy.
Alice’s conspicuous actions made the rabbit eared young boy standing at
her side raise his voice in a tearful plea.
“Mistress Allliiice, let’s search for her a little more quietly, pleeease?”
“Silence! Right now, I can’t afford to waste a minute or a second. I have no time to comb the area for her.”
“But if anything goes wrong, I’m the one who’s going to be scolded by the Queen…again…”
“If that happens, I’ll take care of it. So Henry, you just stay quiet and keep your eyes open!”
When Henry realized that Alice had no intention of backing down, he sighed quietly and decided not to resist any further. Incidentally, in Henry’s experience, Alice was never able to keep her promises to “take care of things” when they went wrong.
“Emma! I know that you’re here!” Her voice echoed through the academy grounds. Alice continued to shout, believing without a doubt that her words would reach her.
“I would like to read some books in the library today, as usual.”
“I hope you’ll find some wonderful worlds to explore there!”
The school day had ended.
Mel Yumegatari was walking down a hallway in Aibo Academy with her Buddy, [Red Riding Hood, Emma]. For Mel, her after-school reading time was an essential part of her daily routine.
As Mel and Emma went by the center courtyard, they noticed that there was a large gathering of students. As Mel was uncomfortable in crowds, she tried to walk past without getting involved, but…
“Emma! I know that you’re here!”
Mel paused, as she heard someone calling out a familiar name.
“Huh? That voice…” Emma herself seemed to recognize the owner of the voice. “Sorry Mel, wait here for a bit!”
With those words, Emma ran into the center courtyard. As she followed the gazes of the gathered crowd to the rooftop of the school building, Emma saw the very person she had expected to see.
“Alice?! What are you doing here?”
As Emma cried out in surprise, Alice heard her voice and leapt down from the rooftop. For a moment, everyone who saw her plummet screamed in alarm.
But right before Alice was about to collide with the ground, she floated up as if defying gravity, and landed gently.
“Emma, I’ve been looking all over for you.”
“Alice, shouldn’t you be in Dungeon World…?”
“I can explain that part.”
“Henry, you’re here too?!”
“Yes. It’s good to see you again, Mistress Emma.”
The rabbit-eared young man, Henry, stepped out from behind Alice. Henry coughed theatrically, and began to tell his tale.
“Ever since Mistress Emma allowed her curiosity to lead her to Earth, Mistress Alice, who was left behind, worried about Mistress Emma every day.”
“It wasn’t like it was every single day or anything.”
“…However, as you well know, Mistress Emma, Mistress Alice’s duty is to protect our land. So for the longest time, all she could do was talk about her concerns. She could not come to see you.”
“It’s not like I talked about it that much.”
“…One day, Princess Stef awoke from her long slumber. Mistress Alice seized her chance and begged Princess Stef for a favor. As a result, Princess Stef said, ‘All right. I’ll take your place for just one day,’ and agreed to take over Mistress Alice’s duties.”
“I didn’t actually beg her or anything.”
“…And so, Mistress Alice gained permission from our Queen to depart Dungeon World for just one day, and came here to Earth, to seek you out, Mistress Emma.”
As Henry finished his story, he stepped behind Alice once more.
“Well, that’s about the long and short of it.”
“Emma, I’m going to cut to the chase. Come back to Dungeon World. Christa and Stef and…and m-me, we’re all worried about you wandering around in this strange land.”
As she met Alice’s gaze, Emma found herself at a loss for words. She could tell that Alice meant what she said from the bottom of her heart, with all sincerity.
At that moment…
“…Emma, is that person an acquaintance of yours?”
Mel, who had been shyly observing from the shadows, spoke out. When Emma heard her voice, she felt the confusion in her heart fade as calmness was restored. She knew what it was that she wanted to do. Her mind had been made up long ago.
“…I’m sorry, Alice. I can’t go back to Dungeon World.”
Emma dashed to Mel’s side as soon as she had finished speaking.
“Mel! That girl is Alice. She’s been my best friend since we were little.”
After introducing Alice, Emma went on to introduce Mel to Alice.
“Alice! This girl is Mel. She’s my Buddy.”
“…Um, my name is Mel Yumegatari.”
Mel attempted to introduce herself, but Alice’s only response was a fierce glare that made the shy girl shrink away.
Emma was about to criticize Alice for her bad attitude, but before she could…
“Are you the pretty girl that everyone in the academy is talking about?” A young man wearing an eyepatch over one eye pushed his way through the crowd to approach Alice.
“Who are you?” Alice transferred her gaze to the young man.
“I’m the great Da Dan! Super-popular handsome charismatic PalTuber extraordinaire!”
Da Dan grinned proudly as he struck his signature pose, but Alice’s response showed her lack of interest.
“Pal…too…burr? I don’t have time to deal with you right now. Go away.”
“Now now, don’t be like that. What’s your name, cutie?”
“It’s Alice, so what of it?”
“Alice-honey, are you interested in starring in a PalTube video with me and becoming super-popular?”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold on, hold on, hold on! If you and I join forces, we can be the top dogs in the realm of PalTube, no mistake! Better still, we can be the King and Queen! Don’t you want that kind of glory?”
“Aw, come on! Tch, if you’re going to be like that, I’ll have you star in my video even if I have to use force! Bloody-Eyes!”
The moment Da Dan called his name, his Buddy monster [Bloody-Eyes] appeared from behind him. He was a humanoid dragon with crimson wings, wrapped in a long black coat.
“Feel the full force of my power.”
Bloody-Eyes moved his right hand to strike Alice.
Alice was caught off-guard by the unexpected assault.
Emma leaped in front of Alice, and took Bloody-Eyes’s attack instead.
The force of the blow sent Emma reeling, and she collapsed on the spot.
“Hey hey, don’t get in my way! Weaklings like you should mind their own business.”
Da Dan’s underhanded actions and words made Alice’s blood boil. She clenched her fist, ready to strike back, when…
“Emma is not a weakling at all! She’s the strongest and kindest and Mel’s best friend in the whole wide world!!”
The little girl who had been watching from the shadows until a moment ago…
The little girl who had spoken fearfully with her soft voice until a moment ago…
She was raising her voice in righteous anger on behalf of her Buddy, on behalf of Emma.
The force of Mel’s anger overwhelmed even hot-headed Alice, leaving her speechless.
“Wh-Who the heck are you?” Da Dan retorted, despite feeling slightly intimidated.
“Mel is Mel!”
“Oh yeah, I remember someone with a name like that in the ABC Cup…”
“I insist that you apologize.”
“I insist that you apologize to Emma!”
“H-Hmph! I don’t wanna! If we’re talking about strong Buddies, my Bloody-Eyes is the strongest in the world! Besides, it’s her fault for jumping out unexpectedly!”
“I challenge you.”
“I challenge you to a Buddyfight! If Mel and Emma win, then you will offer a complete apology for everything that you’ve done!”
Alice had been taken aback by all of this, but she spoke up at this point.
“I’ll take part in this battle. I’m part of this mess, so you don’t mind, do you?”
Da Dan thought for a moment, and an evil grin crept across his face as he was struck by inspiration.
“All right. But if we win, then Alice-honey will make an appearance on the Da Dan Channel. How does that sound?”
“Fine by me,” Alice retorted, but Mel questioned her, her voice heavy with apology and guilt.
“Oh, are you certain? But Mel is the one who challenged him…”
“It’s okay, Mel. I’m ticked off at him too. I won’t be satisfied until I’ve kicked his butt. And by the way, Emma, how long are you going to pretend that you’ve actually taken damage? There’s no way you’d be immobilized by a weak attack like that.”
“Tee-hee, I guess there’s no fooling you…” Emma had been collapsed on the ground, but she sprang up and scratched her cheek in embarrassment.
“Emma, are you quite all right?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. To be honest, I could have gotten up earlier, but you two were so serious that I couldn’t help myself. You know?”
“I’m so very glad…”
Mel seemed deeply relieved.
“Then let’s do it, Emma! Mel!”
At Alice’s shout, all three turned to Da Dan.
“I’m ready to fight too. Check it out!”
Da Dan and Mel activated the Buddyfight System. The Fight Stage rose up before their eyes, and V-Boards appeared near each combatant’s hand.
“Once upon a time, in a distant land, there was a wonderful story. Luminize…Once Upon a Fairy Tale!”
“Dragonblood Sect! Appear with a big Da-Dan! Luminize, Bloody Nightmare!”
“Buddy…fight! Raise the flag!”
Mel turned her flag face up. “Dungeon World!”
Da Dan followed suit and turned his flag face up. “Dragon World!”
And so the Buddyfight began.
“It’s the great Da Dan’s turn! Draw! Charge and draw! Here I go, I’m paying 2 gauge to Buddycall [† Dragonblood Eyes † Bloody-Eyes] to the center!”
Da Dan’s Life: 10 → 11
“Don’t speak the ‘Dragonblood Eyes’ part out loud. It is forbidden.”
“Oh yeah, sorry about that, pal. Now, let’s turn that frown upside-down and attack the fighter!”
“I strike at you from the bottom of my soul. Take this!”
Mel took a direct hit from Bloody-Eyes’s attack.
Mel’s Life: 10 → 8
“And that’s it for the great Da Dan’s turn!”
“Now it’s Mel’s turn! Draw! Charge and draw! I equip [Illusions Folktale, Echt Biblio]!”
Mel held a thick, oddly-shaped tome in her hand.
“I pay 1 life and cast [Grimm Asche]! I check the top four cards in my deck, and add [Man-Eating Wolf, Wolff], [Trump Soldier, Team Klyne], and [Wonderland Walker, Alice] to Echt Biblio’s soul!”
Mel’s Life: 8 → 7
“I pay 1 gauge, and call [Hurrying White Rabbit, Henry] to the center!”
“It’s my turn to fight! Here, you should put this to your hand cards!”
Henry appeared in the center. As Henry waved his finger, a card from Mel’s deck added itself to her hand cards.
“Thank you so much. I cast and set [Happiness Wonderland]! Here we go!”
“You dummy! Bloody-Eyes’s ability, activate! Let’s nullify Henry’s ability and force him to attack!”
“Oh nooooo! My body’s moving on its own!”
Henry attacked Bloody-Eyes against his will. Although he pounded at him furiously with his fists, his attack was unable to damage Bloody-Eyes at all.
Da Dan: “Bloody-Eyes, time for a counter-attack!”
Bloody-Eyes: “Fall into darkness.”
Bloody-Eyes swung his arm, easily destroying Henry.
“Echt Biblio’s ability! Henry, come back into the book!”
“Thank you for the rescuuue…”
Mel’s Life: 7 → 6
The recently-destroyed Henry turned into a shimmer of light and entered the soul of Mel’s equipped Echt Biblio.
“And that’s not all, folks! Whenever Bloody-Eyes destroys an enemy monster with his effect, my opponent takes 1 damage!”
Mel’s Life: 6 → 5
“Mel isn’t finished yet! Fairy Tale Panic, activate! From Echt Biblio’s soul, I call [Man-eating Wolf, Wolff] to the left, [Trump Soldier, Team Klyne] to the center, and [Wonderland Walker, Alice] to the right!”
As Mel opened Echt Biblio, Alice, Team Klyne and Wolff leapt out from the pages.
Alice: “Are you ready? I’m going to kick your butt!”
Team Klyne: “Aye-aye, sir!”
Wolff: “I’ll eat you all up!”
Da Dan looked at the monsters that had emerged and snorted derisively. “Bloody-Eyes has 8000 defense! Those weaklings are no match for him!”
“I now activate Alice’s ability! I put [Team Klyne] to [Happiness Wonderland]’s soul! By its effect, I draw two cards!”
“Yeah? So what?”
“For every card in [Happiness Wonderland]’s soul, each Folktale card has its attack increased by 5000!”
“Now, Wolff, please attack Bloody-Eyes!”
“Leave it to me! Hunh!”
“This pain will add to my power…”
Even as Wolff’s powerful attack destroyed Bloody-Eyes, Bloody-Eyes used Soulguard to withstand the blow, and then used Counterattack to destroy Wolff in return.
Mel: “When Wolff is destroyed, he also destroys the enemy monster!”
Wolff: “I’m taking you down with me!”
Bloody-Eyes: “My soul is not yet emptied…!”
Mel’s Life: 5 → 4
Although Bloody-Eyes was destroyed, he once again used Soulguard to remain on the field, and used his effect to further reduce Mel’s life.
Mel paid no heed to the damage, and lifted the book in her hand.
“I insist that you take this!”
Mel threw Echt Biblio at Bloody-Eyes. Echt Biblio’s corner hit Bloody-Eyes squarely in the head. Although Bloody-Eyes was sent reeling, he stayed on the field using Soulguard.
Mel picked up Echt Biblio as it bounced back to her, and raised one of her hand cards high in the air.
“I hereby activate Alice’s other ability! I Buddycall [Moonlight Fleur, Emma] to the center!”
Mel’s Life: 4 → 5
“Let’s do this, Emma!”
“Of course, Alice!”
Emma and Alice stood side by side.
Before them, Bloody-Eyes stood with 0 soul cards remaining. Perhaps Da Dan realized the precarious position he was in, for he suddenly began to visibly panic.
“Hey, hey, Bloody-Eyes, do something, will you, pal?”
“There is naught that I can do…”
“A Buddy is supposed to have your back at a time like this! You’re the worst!”
Da Dan and Bloody-Eyes began to argue, but Mel’s words interrupted them.
“This will finish it! Emma, attack Bloody-Eyes! Emma’s effect puts one card from the drop zone to [Happiness Wonderland]’s soul!”
“Consider this payback for earlier!”
Emma’s kick landed on Bloody-Eyes, and he was finally completely destroyed. And with that, Da Dan had nothing left to protect him.
“Emma! Double Attack! Emma’s effect increases [Happiness Wonderland]’s soul to three cards, and all Folktale cards gain 2 critical! ”
“Here, you can have some payback too!”
Da Dan’s Life: 11 → 8
“Alice, please help!”
“I’m gonna send him flying!”
Alice swung the hammer in her hand and used it to strike Da Dan with all her might.
Da Dan’s Life: 8 → 4
“Alice’s ability! I put Emma to [Happiness Wonderland]’s soul and Stand Alice!”
“Alice, the rest is up to you!”
“You know you can count on me!”
As Emma and Alice hi-fived each other, they leapt in opposite directions, with Emma going into [Happiness Wonderland]’s soul and Alice turning to Da Dan for her second attack.
“This will end you!”
“Not yet! I cast Green Dragon Shield!”
Although Alice swung her hammer again, the shield that materialized from Da Dan’s hand blocked the attack.
Da Dan’s Life: 4 → 5
“Whew, that was a close one. But now you have no more cards that can attack! I’ll finish you off in my next turn!”
“Are you sure about that?”
“I haven’t even begun to get serious!” As Alice spoke these words, Mel selected one of her hand cards.
“I destroy Alice and call [Wanderer Alicedragon] to the center!”
The card in Mel’s hand glowed, and at that moment Alice’s long blonde hair began to defy gravity and float upwards. Gradually, Alice herself began to drift away from the ground, and when her body was completely suspended in mid-air, the golden light enveloped her form.
The light was so dazzling that Da Dan was forced to squeeze his eyes shut. When he next opened them, a beautiful blue winged dragon was beating her wings in front of him.
“What the heck is this?”
“This is the form I take when I get serious, [Alicedragon]!”
“Dragon? That looks more like a gryphon!”
“Oh, shut up! I’m going to kick your butt!”
“Ahhh!” Da Dan collapsed in terror as the intimidating dragon yelled at him.
“Alicedragon’s critical increases by 1 for each Team Klyne in [Happiness Wonderland]’s soul. Right now, there are two Team Klyne in the soul. Combined with [Happiness Wonderland]’s effect, that’s a critical of 4! Alicedragon, attack the fighter!
“Feel the full force of my power!”
“S-Save me! Green Dragon Shield!”
Da Dan’s Life: 5 → 6
Da Dan used Green Dragon Shield once more to block the attack, but…
The second tackle hit Da Dan hard.
Da Dan’s Life: 6 → 2
“This is gonna end you!”
Alicedragon circled around, set Da Dan in her sights, and charged at him with great vigor.
“Nooooooo!!” Da Dan screamed, and in the next instant [Alicedragon]’s massive form sent him flying.
Da Dan’s Life: 2 → 0
Alice: “…So you have someone who gets angry on your behalf, too.”
Emma: “Huh? What’s that?”
Alice: “It’s nothing!”
Emma: “Aww, tell me what you said?”
Alice: “Oh, shut up. If you keep pestering me, I’ll kick your butt!”
Henry: “Very well, I shall speak on behalf of Mistress Alice– Owwwww!”
Mel: “These rabbit ears are certainly amazing! They’re really real!”
Henry: “Please don’t pull on themmm!”
Alice: “Serves you right.”
Alice, Henry, Emma and Mel were heading home. The moment that Da Dan had lost the Buddyfight, he fled in a panic. Mel seemed dissatisfied that she hadn’t been able to make him apologize, but Emma herself was happy with the outcome and so all was well that ended well.
The sunset cast a red glow over the four of them, as though it was announcing the end of the day.
“Well, we’re going to go back to Dungeon World.”
“Alice, I was so happy to see you again.”
“I-I was happy too.” Alice bashfully shifted her gaze away.
Emma felt a little guilty at Alice’s honest admission, but felt that she had to express her honest feelings as well.
“…I’m sorry. But I still want to stay with Mel.”
“Never mind that.”
“My fears were groundless. I know that now.” There was no hesitation in Alice’s words. “Mel, take good care of Emma for me.”
“Yes, I shall. Mel and Emma are friends forever.”
Mel’s words made Alice feel happy, but at the same time she felt somewhat forlorn. Perhaps Mel knew what was going through Alice’s mind; perhaps not. She took Alice’s hand.
“From this day forth, Alice and Henry are also Mel’s dear friends.”
“Wha—? F-Fine. I suppose I’d be willing to honor you with my friendship.” Alice was caught off-guard, and her voice cracked as she tried to maintain a tough attitude. She turned around abruptly, as if to hide her expression.
“W-Well, it’s time to go home, Henry!”
“Then I bid you farewell, Mistress Emma, Mistress Mel.”
“Let us play together again!”
‘Again’. That word made Alice pause.
“Yes, I’ll come again. And when I do, I’d be willing to do you the honor of having afternoon tea! …Just the three of us.”
Mel and Emma looked at each other and smiled.
Meanwhile, Henry puffed his cheeks in a full pout. “Hey, you’re definitely excluding me, aren’t you…”
“Oh, shut up! Are you really planning on tagging along again?!”
“Of course! It’s my job to watch over you, Mistress Alice, and keep you out of trouble.”
“Then the next time we meet, let’s have a tea party for four!”
“Emma, no, I didn’t agree to that…!”
And so Alice’s long long day came to an end.