Servants: Yes, but can we really do this to your brother... -
Minamoto no Yoshihira: Cut the nonsense. Just fulfill your duties!
Minamoto no Yoshihira: As long as he dies, father would let me succeed him as the general of the clan!
Minamoto no Yoshihira: The princess would also be mine!
Yoshihira left with a soft hum. However, Yoshitune, who was leaning against the wall on the other corner, had already heard his brother’s plan. He did not understand why his brother, who had always been gentle and friendly, would ever plot against him. He could not figure out whether it was because he and the princess loved each other, or their father favored him over his brother. He set foot on the garden as his tear shed in silence. It was when he suddenly recalled the words of a certain person.
???: ‘Being gentle to the others means being cruel to yourself, boy!’
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: ‘So is it wrong to treat the others well?’
???: ‘Don’t be such a fool!
???: If he’s goin’ to harm you, why on earth would you treat him well?’
???: ‘Just do what he did to you on him! Even if he’s your family!’
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: ‘Then what should I do?’
???: ‘Be strong! Only the strong ones are given the power to suppress anything!’
???: ‘Drink this!’
The man threw him a bottle of burgundy liquid which Yoshitsune glugged down. He squinted at Yoshitsune with a cunning glance.
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: ‘I don’t feel a thing.’
???: ‘Explore it yourself! I’ll see you later boy!’
All Yoshitsune could recall about the man was that he left in an impudent laughter. He was confused, thinking whether he was being a fool.
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: I can run away if brother wants to be the general of the clan.
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: But I must bring Snowdrop along with me. This is the only thing I can’t give in!
After making up his mind, Yoshitsune sneaked into the palace in the middle of a night, yet was spotted by the guards when he was about to reach the princess’ palace.
Guards: How dare you trespass the palace in the middle of a night!
Yoshitsune killed the last guard with a single slash. From the battle just now, he knew that he was getting stronger, but he could not come up with the reason. Was it for the bottle of liquid given by that man? He wondered but decided not to dwell on it. All the guards in the palace had already been alerted. He trotted into the bedroom of the princess. She was shocked to see him fully stained by blood, but then she became worried.
Princess Snowdrop: Yoshitsune, what happened?
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: Come with me!
Princess Snowdrop: What’s going on?
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: My brother’s going to kill me. I must go, but I can’t leave you behind!
Princess Snowdrop: Why would he?
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: I don’t know! I can’t figure out!
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: I just want to take you with me, anywhere will do!
Princess Snowdrop thrust herself into his arms.
Princess Snowdrop: I will follow you wherever you go, Yoshitsune...
Yoshitsune ran away from the palace with Princess Snowdrop, but was stopped by his father and brother along the way. Yoshitsune knocked her unconscious and sent her away on a horse, yet he was killed by his father. The samurai buried his body and followed their sorrowful master back to the palace. At the moment, someone was staying in the forest, looking closely at the departing troop.
Knight of Dead Spirits: Sir, what should we do about the woman?
???: Bring her back to the Wonderland. I’ll come back later.
Knight of Dead Spirits: Yes sir!
The samurai carried Princess Snowdrop, who had passed out, with them on their way back. The man then walked to Yoshitsune’s grave. He laughed as he squatted down and stretched out his hand. He let out a mauve light shining over the grave. Soon the man stood and a pale hand stuck out from the soil. Minamoto no Yoshitsune, who was deathly pale, climbed out from his grave. With a pair of hollow eyes, he flashed an enigmatic smile and bowed to the man.
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: Sire!
???: Haha! Kid, I told ya we’ll meet again someday!
???: C’mon kid! Let me see how you’re doin’?
Lü Bu the Warlord: C’mon!
They fought for several rounds. After the sparring, Yoshitsune sheathed his katana and knelt to Lü Bu.
Lü Bu the Warlord: You’re good, kid! You really are the right guy!
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: I must express my gratitude to you, sire.
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: Without you, I can never be as strong as I am now!
Lü Bu the Warlord: Great! Do you remember what I told ya?
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: Yes! Power means everything!
Lü Bu the Warlord: Right.
Lü Bu the Warlord: Are you going to join me to become the strongest warrior and hegemon?
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: Your wish is my command.
A gleam of light flashed in Yoshitsune’s empty eyes. Though his ego was retained, but since he had drunk the liquid given by Lü Bu, he was brought under Lü Bu’s control. He still nursed a grudge, but the power Lü Bu gave him was impressive, therefore he complied with Lü Bu’s orders. He was also looking forward to a revenge on his brother with the help of the power. However, Lü Bu, who had been watching over Yoshitsune, had already caught the glimpse in Yoshitsune’s eyes.
Lü Bu brought Yoshitsune to the castle of the Queen of Hearts in the Wonderland. The Queen of Hearts welcomed Lü Bu back, and dragged him to the bedroom, leaving Yoshitsune behind. As he changed, she took his clothes for him and asked from his back.
The Queen of Hearts: Would it really be safe to use him?
Lü Bu the Warlord: Ya don’t believe me?
The Queen of Hearts: Of course I do. But I’m afraid he could be a variable to your plan!
Lü Bu the Warlord: Everything’s under control. No worries.
Lü Bu the Warlord: When everything’s settled, I will take you from the Wonderland.
Lü Bu the Warlord: At the time, the realm will be ours!
Lü Bu went to the grand hall after changing. He sat on his throne, with the Queen of Hearts sitting beside him. Looking at Yoshitsune, who was standing down the stairs, Lü Bu schemed in his mind. At last, he smiled.
Lü Bu the Warlord: There’s no reason for me to treat you badly if you will come with me.
Lü Bu the Warlord: But you must let go of your past. As for your vengeance, I’ll help.
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: Thank you, sir.
Yoshitsune knew what Lü Bu was attempting to do - to bribe him so that he would be loyal. Yoshitsune understood that it was pointless to resist as long as he could seek revenge. Besides, though his body was prone to Lü Bu’s control, he did obtain great power from him. Obeying Lü Bu could be a way to go.
Lü Bu the Warlord: Forget everything of yourself, including your name!
Lü Bu the Warlord: I shall call you - The King of Shana!
As time elapsed, the King of Shana had been staying in the Wonderland for quite some time. To ameliorate himself, he had been learning martial arts from Lu Bu, whom he had been fighting. He then returned to the realm with Lü Bu to carry out his revenge in his home country. In the last battle, Lü Bu and he even crushed the army of the Gods, but Lü Bu then asked him to return to the Wonderland.
At the moment the King of Shana returned returned to the Wonderland, he knew the place had the power to control him. And that was the only thing that allowed Lü Bu to manipulate him. He had been looking for ways to reduce its influence, but he could not come up with any.
Until one day when he was wandering in the Wonderland, he found a white castle. He had a peculiar feeling for he had never seen the castle. Alice, the creator of the Wonderland, and the Queen of Hearts were the only ones who had their own castles in the wonderland. He stepped into the castle, and he was blinded by the dim room. Suddenly, a cold gleam flashed and the King of Shana instinctively dodged. Several figures then approached to stopped him from proceeding.
???: Who is trespassing the Palace of the Agitator?
The King of Shana: I am the King of Shana, vassal of Lü Bu. I mean no offence!
Under the dull light, the figures emerged could finally be seen. The King of Shana had never expected them to be a dormouse and a few pawns.
The King of Shana beat the dormouse and the pawns on to the ground. When he was about to kill the dormouse, a velvety voice flowed down the stairs. The King of Shana looked to where the voice sounded only to find a beautiful figure coming down. Her beauty was made more convincing by the dreary light, and the King of Shana was overwhelmed for the memories that should have faded came back to him. The lady in front of him was identical to his lover, except for the hair color.
The King of Shana: Snowdrop, is that you?
Agitator - The White Queen: Who are you?
The King of Shana: It’s me! I’m Yoshi -
The White Queen had already found the pale face familiar at the instance. After the King of Shana called her name, she knew he was her lover whom she had been missing day and night, yet she was not sure of his identity. The dormouse, seeing the King of Shana lost in his thoughts, pierced his heart with its fork without hesitation. The King of Shana fell before he could finish his sentence. The White Queen, burst into tears, ran to hold him in her arms.
Agitator - The White Queen: Yoshitsune! What you have done, dormouse?
Dormouse of the Round Table: Your Majesty, I was -
Agitator - The White Queen: Go away! I don’t want to see you at all!
Dormouse of the Round Table: Yes, Your Majesty.
The White Queen drove the dormouse and the pawns away in a black mood. Holding the “body” of the King of Shana, she kept crying over and over. Suddenly, the “body” in her arms moved, and held her in his arms as well. She was astonished at first, then her astonishment became joy by the next second.
Agitator - The White Queen: Yoshitsune! Are you alright?
Yoshitune did not reply, as he could sense the power controlling him was weakened. He jumped joyfully with the White Queen in his arms for he suddenly realised the way to free himself from the power. It was then he saw the White Queen looking at him with a teary face. He embraced her tightly.
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: Is it really you, Snowdrop?
Agitator - The White Queen: Yes!
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: Why are you here?
On the day of Yoshitsune’s death, Lü Bu ordered Princess Snowdrop to be brought to Wonderland. The Queen of Hearts wanted to kill her, but she was stopped by Alice, who later granted the princess a palace and the title of “The White Queen”. Princess Snowdrop was instructed by Alice in the mastering of Wonderland’s power, so she could control the pawns. After listening to her story, Yoshitsune wanted to bring the White Queen away from the wonderland, yet she refused.
Agitator - The White Queen: I owe Alice too much. Without her, I’ll be dead.
Agitator - The White Queen: I can’t leave her by herself. The Queen of Hearts may harm her!
A plan came to Yoshitsune once he heard the White Queen’s explanation. He told the White Queen about his plan. He knew that he had wanted to fled because he had not thought it through. The priority should be getting out from under Lü Bu’s control, so he could take revenge on that evil lord who compelled his dog-like obedience. With the help of the White Queen, he left the Wonderland to look for different ways to die, so that he could be freed from Lü Bu’s influence...
Looking at Yoshitsune, who was lying on the ground, Lü Bu laughed arrogantly as he murmured to himself.
Lü Bu the Warlord: Kid, I have seen through your little plan from the very beginning.
Lü Bu the Warlord: You aren’t cunning enough to play with me.
Lü Bu the Warlord: Do you know?
Lü Bu the Warlord: If you’ve listened to me, I’ll give you a share once I’ve taken the realm.
Lü Bu the Warlord: It’s such a pity that you chose to go against me!
Lü Bu the Warlord: The last blow was cursed.
Lü Bu the Warlord: Even the immortal wouldn’t be able to rise from the curse. So long, kid!
Lü Bu left as he turned his back against Yoshitsune. However, he overlooked Yoshitsune’s clenching hand. After Lü Bu had gone too far to be seen, Yoshitsune climbed up from the ground and laughed. His skin and armor shattered as if they were made by sand. Yoshitsune was clean without blood on his body.
From the beginning had Yoshitsune known, once Lü Bu knew aboout his betrayal, Lü Bu would do anything to get rid of him forever. There must be a way to prevent immortals like him to revive; therefore he prepared a cocoon. At the moment, a strange man wearing a top hat showed up from the dark.
Strange Man: Sir, Her Majesty’s pawns are ready for battle!
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: Thank you, Mad Hatter.
The Lost Mad Hatter: How dare the hateful Queen of Hearts try to harm Miss Alice!
The Lost Mad Hatter: I’ll never forgive her!
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: Once that Lü Bu has left the wonderland,
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: it’s the end of the Queen of Hearts!
Soon, Lü Bu, ignorant of Yoshitsune’s plot, led army of the Queen of Hearts to conquer the realm. Yoshitsune readied his army once he had heard about Lü Bu’s departure, and marched to the Castle of Hearts. The guards informed the Queen of Hearts as they saw the invading army. The Queen of Hearts was furious — she could not accept that she and Lü Bu had fallen for the scheme. She went outside with her guards and yelled madly to the pawns champing at the bit.
Tyrant - The Queen of Hearts: Shouldn’t you be dead, the King of Shana?
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: I’m still alive. Thanks!
Looking at Yoshitsune’s mocking eyes, the Queen of Hearts could not be angrier. She then looked at the Hatter, who was standing beside Yoshitsune.
Tyrant - The Queen of Hearts: Mad Hatter, how dare you betray me?
The Lost Mad Hatter: Shut up, you hag! I accept only Miss Alice's authority!
Tyrant - The Queen of Hearts: You! Kill them all!
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: Be careful, Hatter. Alright?
The Lost Mad Hatter: Yes sir!
Tyrant - The Queen of Hearts: I’ll kill you all!
Yoshitsune smiled as he cast his eyes on the heavily wounded Queen of Hearts. She could no longer bear his taunting gaze. She stared at him unblinkingly.
Tyrant - The Queen of Hearts: Just kill me, but Lü Bu will not forgive you.
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: Will he? It’s his fault, thinking I’m already dead.
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: He will never know even if I kill you.
Yoshitsune thrust his katana at the Queen of Hearts, but before the blow landed, someone had beaten Yoshitsune to the punch, saving the Queen with a bellowing cry. The Queen of Hearts was in the embrace of a halberd-wielding man.
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: Lü Bu! That’s impossible! You’re supposed to be gone!
Lü Bu the Warlord: Don’t you know the time runs differently here in the Wonderland?
In fact, Yoshitsune was unaware of how time elapsed in the Wonderland and the realm. Neither any of the residents of the Wonderland, for instance, the Mad Hatter, could tell. Only Alice, the creator of the Wonderland, and Lü Bu, who had been commuting between the two places knew the difference.
Lü Bu the Warlord: I know you’re still alive!
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: But then? You still have the power to fight my army?
Lü Bu the Warlord: There’s no way a few thousands of pawns can stop me!
Lü Bu the Warlord: Just take a look at the outside!
Soldiers were everywhere. Yoshitsune knew even if Lü Bu was weak, the pawns may not be able to defeat him, and there was still myriad soldiers around. He had no choice but to retreat.
Lü Bu was so much relieved when Yoshitsune left, as he was too weak to meet him with force. Though his army seemed to have surrounded Yoshitsune’s, it was no more than sheer bravado as there were only some three hundred soldiers in his army, a tenth of Yoshitsune’s. It was not a wise decision to confront Yoshitsune at the moment; the sagacious course of action should be reassembling his forces. Lü Bu returned to the castle, holding the Queen of Hearts in his arms.
The two men were plotting against each other, not knowing that there was a little girl watching them from the behind.