My babies!!! Here we have Coco, Mocha and someone I promised to show off, Daisy!!! Daisy was originally named that because of her cottage core look, but recently I’ve had a dear family friend pass who’s name happened to be Miss Daisy.
So now, her name is Miss Daisy Harrison! Or Daisy Harrison. Her text tags will be Miss Daisy or Daisy Harrison!
Summary: We continue to follow tiny Rapunzel as she journeys through the Tulgey Woods on a quest for "Phooga" mushrooms. Stuck at a literal crossroads, she meets a very intriguing cat...
Side note: This Rapunzel is based on Tangled and the ideas of my muse (@buckyshattergirl) over the course of several years. This isn't the canon Rapunzel we see in OUAT. Being that this is an AU, some characters involved in the show may not present the same way in this story.
Word Count: 1,742
Contains: A lot of Cheshire being cryptic.
A/N: Because it's Spooktober, I've decided to theme this chapter around Fall and Halloween. I know my writing is slow (for now) but you can count on a quality chapter every month, usually around the full moon. Writing has been really helping me find my voice lately. Please enjoy this next installment of "Palace of Dreams".
Two rows of sharp incisors gleamed in the dark. When Rapunzel spotted those pearlescent little daggers, the maw they belonged to opened wide, and grinned at her. Next, came a glowing pair of slit orbs, followed by keen claws, and a long tail that swished back and forth excitedly. These disparate parts-ghostly, floating free as if born from smoke-assembled themselves quite suddenly into the body of a "cat".
At least, Rapunzel thought the creature was a cat...or trying really hard to be.
The "cat" lounged upon the gnarled branch of an oak tree, cleaning it's neon-striped fur, and pale whiskers. Attending to itself with meticulous care. Typical behavior for your average feline on any day. But then, it paused mid-lick, sighed impatiently, and addressed Rapunzel in a deep (albeit pleasant) voice.
"It would appear that /the cat/ has stolen your tongue. How terribly boring."
And that was not typical behavior for a cat at all! Not even in Wonderland. Wracking her brain, she tried remembering anything relevant that would illuminate this mystery. Mrs. Rabbit had taught her many useful tidbits about the world outside The Burrow; from Hunnywert Day to performing the fabled Futterwacken. But nothing particular came to mind. So Rapunzel gazed up at the "cat" and searched it with her curious eyes, hoping that a clue would surface in the process (also hoping it would be easier than finding Phooga mushrooms).
'Those paws, ears, nose, and round, fuzzy belly...' the little rabbit-girl mused, 'Hmmm, plus there's that very mysterious grin it's wearing...'
That mysterious grin...
"You're a Cheshire!" Rapunzel proclaimed aloud, clasping her hands together.
"Indeed," the Cat replied, "one of many. But every Cheshire is one in the same."
While Rapunzel contemplated the likely number of Cheshires populating Wonderland, that odd grin stretched wider across the creature's face. It seemed pleased (for whatever reason) that she was thinking hard on what truths it had told her. And doubly pleased that the truth was confusing enough to cause her head to tilt. On that note, the feline vanished in a cloud of cerulean smoke, then inexplicably reappeared; this time, however, only it's noggin was visible. Where the rest of it had gone was anyone's guess...
"By the way, are all girls rabbits?" the Cheshire continued speaking, as if being a phantom head was par for the course.
This question vexed Rapunzel even more.
"Girls?" she echoed hesitantly, "...What is a girl?"
Delighted that she'd asked, the Cheshire replied in a smooth, reverberating purr:
"Why, you are, my dear."
Her face instantly scrunched up.
"Well, I'm a rabbit. Not a 'girl'. I'm certainly NOT a deer either!" Rapunzel huffed, crossing her arms.
Upon hearing the youth's snippy response, the creature's pointed ears flattened, and drew back.
"Clearly, that much is true." the Cheshire sniffed, "If you were a rabbit or even a deer, you would have found those mushrooms by now. But since you're neither, I'd be surprised if you found them at all..."
"Y-you know where the Phoogas grow?!" She exclaimed, her bad attitude dissolving as fast as it'd come.
Instead of answering her, the Cheshire cat began making a weird, chattering noise. The space around the creature wavered for a split-second. Enough time to catch a glimpse of it's true form materialize, dart through the air, and pounce upon an unsuspecting victim (a bluebottle moth) before it melted back into invisibility once again. Rapunzel witnessed the poor insect struggle, fighting for it's life, while pinned to the ground by an unseen predator. She winced but couldn't easily blame the Cheshire. It was a cat. Hunting prey ran deep within it's nature.
After batting the moth around a few times and crushing it's delicate wings, the Cheshire finally re-apparated.
"I know their abode." it said to Rapunzel, "All true Cheshires do..."
Her eyes grew wide. The rabbit-girl stared at the cat (???) in vivid fascination.
"Really?" she asked, wondering how it'd acquired such knowledge.
"Oh yes, we all have very sharp senses. More so than any animal you'll meet. And we can perceive things that others in Wonderland cannot."
Faster than quicksilver, the Cheshire blipped out of sight, then appeared mere inches away from Rapunzel's face. It's jewel-bright optics were focused upon her in the same, intent way it had fixated upon the moth just moments ago.
"I am curious about something before I show you where the Phoogas hide themselves..." the Cat spoke.
That grin it owned became wider. More crazed. Any other being might've been alarmed seeing so many jagged teeth displayed so blatantly towards them. Any other being would've run for the hills. But not Rapunzel. Guarded by the purity and innocence of a good childhood, she only saw a welcoming smile, and a new friend who wanted to help her find those pesky, elusive mushrooms. Besides, Mrs. Rabbit always told her that judging a creature on their appearance was wrong.
Indulging the Cheshire cat, Rapunzel stayed put, and inquired with a cheerful eagerness, "What is it you would like to know?"
It's attention shifted onto her pink bonnet.
"What do you call that hat you're wearing?"
Immediately, her hands reached up, and covered her head. Displeasure was scrawled all over her face.
"Hat?!" Rapunzel balked at the notion, "These are my RABBIT EARS!!!"
The Cheshire wasn't phased in the slightest.
"What a /marvelous/ thing..." It replied, keeping it's vision peeled on the object of it's desire, "May I borrow your ears then?"
Rapunzel clung even tighter to her bonnet.
"B-But Mommy says I shouldn't take my ears off outside!!" She said anxiously, her displeasure evolving into mortification, "Or else the goons might spirit me away!!"
"...Even for a second?"
The cat joined both paws together as if praying. It's large eyes widened, pupils dilated, and cyan irises sparkled hopefully. A purr began rumbling inside it's chest. Such charm would be hard for anyone to refuse! However, Rapunzel seemed weirdly immune, and denied the creature's request with a firm (and resolute) shake of her head. She took a few steps back, introducing space in-between herself, and the Cheshire. Her small hands never stopped protecting her "ears".
It's grin fell a little.
"Shame, that. It would've matched his essence purrrrfectly." the Cheshire let loose a wistful sigh, "I suppose I'll wait for you to grow new ears then. It won't be long and I have plenty of time..."
Leaving that cryptic statement hanging in the air, it vanished. Rapunzel was abandoned on the crossroads. It took her a second to realize that the cat (???) had disappeared without telling her where the mushrooms grew.
"Cheshire?! Puss??" she called out while looking for signs of the creature's presence, "Cheshire cat!! Y-you forgot to say where the Phoogas are! Oooh, cat, where did you go?!"
Midnight smoke wreathed around the rabbit-girl and coalesced upon a fallen log nearby her. From deep within the smoke, she made out a silhouette; the distinctive form of the Cheshire and it's crescent moon grin.
"And as for your missing fungi," the cat's outline drawled, "they're what some folks call "shy caps". It helps to find them if you first put their worries at ease..."
"How am I supposed to do that?" She asked, looking clueless.
"You could always try standing upon your head."
Both whirling smoke and grinning Cheshire evaporated into nothing again. Rapunzel waited for a while afterwards, hoping the creature might return, and offer her more advice...but it didn't. She was officially on her own. Fortunately for Rapunzel though, Peter Rabbit had taught her how to do a handstand (amongst other tricks) last Kalsinvong Day. She hadn't been very good at the trick initially. Given time and ample practice, however, she'd become sufficient. Now, the rabbit-girl prayed that she'd perform it well enough to coax the nervous mushrooms out of hiding.
Taking in a steadying breath, Rapunzel raised her hands high above her head, and fell into a lunge. She pushed off her back leg, then kicked hard with her second. Using that momentum, the rabbit-girl propelled her body skywards, while keeping herself balanced on the ground with her hands, and spent those precious moments upside-down searching for Phoogas.
The Cheshire cat's suggestion was an absolutely mad idea! 'Totally bonkers', a reasonable person might say! But as little Rapunzel "stood upon her head" and peered at the world from a different view, the crossroads around her transformed like a magic wand had been waved over it...
She could finally see the mushrooms.
Their stems were lavender. Their gills were dark, amethyst purple. The scales littered across their bell-shaped tops; ivory dots against a backdrop of celestial lazuli, aquatic teal, and other various shades of blue. Each Phooga emitted a vibrant, supernatural glow that mimicked foxfire. And they grew in abundant clusters everywhere the eye could see.
Rapunzel landed onto her feet and cheered, "It worked!! It actually worked, hooray!!"
Prancing towards the nearest mycelia crop, the rabbit-girl began stuffing her dress pockets with as many Phoogas as (physically) possible. When her pockets were completely full, she decided to pick the one she'd eat! They all looked delicious... especially the periwinkle and turquoise caps which had frilly, scalloped rings encircling their stems. Despite these options, the shroom that captured her interest the most was a Robin's egg one jutting out from the hollow of a dying maple. It glowed brighter than all the rest.
Very delicately, Rapunzel plucked the Robin's egg Phooga, and poised the fungus above her opened, salivating mouth. She could already imagine how it tasted. Something akin to vanilla bourbon or white chocolate peppermint-
Three gunshots shattered the peace, quickly proceeded by irate shouting:
"Marrrtha!! It's those goddamn, fuckin' varmints tearin' through our garden again!! I told yew to buy talcum powder this month but oooohhhh no!! Martha needs a new set of crystal party platters to keep up with Mrs. Fancy Britches down the road!!"
Rapunzel stopped what she was doing. Icy fear turned her face paler than any apparition while she began shaking like an autumn leaf. The honorary rabbit who dwelt inside her (currently) pounding heart whispered a sinister name...
And suddenly, she knew Peter and Mopsy were both in grave danger... If Rapunzel didn't act fast, her siblings would be in Martha McGregor's next stew for dinnertime!
So forgetting about Cheshires and Phoogas and whether or not she was something called a "girl", Rapunzel ran out of the Tulgey Woods, towards the garden.
Please reblog, heart this, leave a comment, or search for #Palaceofdreams for all the other chapters in this project that I've done.
And to the people who are reading? Thank you. You make writing more rewarding.
#i haven’t made it through all of the books i want to on this yet #so I’d be interested to find out if anyone taking azt like the drs wanted them to at the start is still alive today #i know peter only took it for a short time but it was so toxic he couldn’t keep taking it #magic only took it for a short time before stopping #lucky them bc they’re still alive today #& fauci was out there telling ppl it was the only drug that had been scientifically tested and was deemed safe #deemed safe! you’re a motherfucking liar #even the dude that developed the drug knew of it’s problems #hence it’s original use was stopped in cancer patients #OHHH what he really meant was it was the only drug that was available FOR SALE AND COULD MAKE A PROFIT? #but it all is just so sinister and of course there’s rabbit holes in it #y’all think i’m gonna leave duesberg alone? HAHAHA 🤪 #truth is stranger than fiction #i am hyperfixating #word