Merch & Short Story: Well, Not Teatime

Happy Halloween! Two special treats for everyone tonight.

First off, I'd like mention that Who is the Red Queen? now has merch thanks to our publisher Studio Élan's Bellhouse wing. They were announced earlier this month during Élan Festival 2023 along with all sorts of other cool projects and progress.

Have you been wanting to carry Alice and Hatter and the White Queen around with you physically? Well, now you can!

Check out these super cute keychains of the girls!

chibis of hatter and alice plus white queen and alice

Available for purchase:

Next, as voted on, I’ve written a short side story for Who is the Red Queen? for my newsletter. (Subscribe to get this content straight to your email inbox). I hope you enjoy!

Please note that this short story takes place after the Red Queen ending and may be considered non-canon. As it takes place after a major ending, it will contain spoilers.



Well, Not Teatime

This world was a wonderful world; someone once said. 

A land more wonderful than the past, a wonderland formed of dreams, that person said; that person promised. That person wished for this world and left before she could see it.

Yet to its inhabitants, nothing seemed to have changed at all.

Sleepy days, fantastical days, the same days continued forever onward and onward. Although time passed as time was wont to do, today as well, the denizens of the realm stirred and spoke and supped and slept.

Today as well, in a corner of the forest, three sat around a table for afternoon tea.

The Hatter and the March Hare were having tea at a long table covered with tea things, and the Dormouse slumbered between them, her snout dipping in and out of a cup of tea before her. As it was no longer tea time, the Hatter simply stirred a small spoon in her cup and glanced upward at the morning sunlight filtering through the foliage.

"What day of the month is it?" asked she to the two.

As the Dormouse's head dipped once more, a splash of tea fell upon her eyelids. Letting out a yawn, she mumbled out a response, "Thursday the 40th? Waiting for a guest?"

The Hatter shook her head. "Surely you jest. A guest?" 

No, there was no guest. Yet she found herself seeking someone, perhaps a flash of blonde or a flash of red.

"We've not the space for another!" The March Hare's voice interrupted her thoughts.

Then, the Hatter shook her head again, squinting her mismatched eyes toward the red, red armchair unclaimed across the table. "No, I'm only forgetting something, not a guest."

Or perhaps it was someone. The Hatter could not remember, for that was what it meant to forget.

At that moment, the table that they had crowded around one small corner of seemed terribly large. They had always been three, no more no less. Certainly three should have been enough, but she couldn't help but feel that one more wouldn't have hurt.

"The breadcrumbs on the butter knife?" continued the March Hare, "Or maybe the butter in Dormouse's tea. Oh, no, no, no, having tea without butter! Dormouse, Dormouse, taste the tea?"

"Dormouse is asleep again." The Hatter remarked.

The Dormouse stirred. "...And awake I am again. Must I have butter in my tea, March?" 

"I prefer it without as well, truth be told," said the Hatter in addition.

The March Hare could not help but exclaim, "Yet you haven't touched your tea today!" 

"Well, it's not teatime," said the Hatter.

The Dormouse responded, "Then where you should be is not here."

"You've best find the thing you forgot so we can have tea again." said the March Hare in agreement. "If it's in that great treacle-well of Dormouse's, then bring some back for us as well."

"...But I'm happy here with you," said the Hatter to the two, a flicker of sadness across her two colored eyes.

Now it was the Dormouse's turn to shake her head. "But you mustn't forget what you forgot."

The March Hare prodded the Hatter to her feet, following the Dormouse's cue. "Off you go." 

"Will you be here when I return?" asked the Hatter.

"Of course!" said the March Hare.

"Of course we will, but this seems to be rather important so don't be in too much of a rush... I'll sleep and breathe and wait for you to return with what you forgot..." said the Dormouse.

"Don't return till you've found your butter!"

Thus, the Hatter set off on her search.

She could not return till she finished her task, not that she quite knew who or what she was searching for.

Oh, what terrible friends.

Walking, walking, she walked for a very long time.

The Hatter searched and discovered a ladder into the sky. She found such a sight certainly strange so began to ascend its rungs. Up and up she went, but the ladder seemed to have no end. Up and up she went, all the way above the clouds.

Then she lost her grip on the ladder and began to fall. Falling, falling, the Hatter fell for not a very long time.

She closed her eyes and braced herself for pain but instead hit the ground soft like a feather.

When she opened her eyes and tilted her head to see where she laid, she met a field of white. Patting the white, she found it neither cold nor hot, neither wet nor dry.

The Hatter stumbled to her feet and reached a hand to her head.

Her hat was gone.

She looked above her head. She looked to the sides, to the front and back, and finally below. Yet her hat was nowhere to be seen.

Pulling her jacket lapels closer to herself, the Hatter lamented. She lost her hat. Would she next lose her head? Already she had lost her memories. 

How could the Hatter be a hatter without the hat to hat?

What she had lost, she could no longer see. However, of course, she knew that she had lost her hat. What she had forgotten, she could no longer remember. However, of course, she knew that she had forgotten something very important.

The unforgettable feeling of forgetting tugged at her heart and made the little cuts on her hands beneath her gloves ache.

She wanted to ask what such an important thing could be.

Alas, she did not even know if the thing was so important.

It had killed the mood for tea.

She loved it; she hated it. She yearned for it—and if it would go well with afternoon teatime, then she would be happy enough.

Thus the Hatter continued on her unmerry way.

White gave way to white till she reached a white gazebo in the middle of a faded garden. Within the gazebo sat a white woman with pale hair and gentle eyes.

Perhaps once upon a time, the woman had a name, but the Hatter no longer knew her name. The Hatter only knew that this woman was not whom she sought.

Nonetheless, the Hatter approached.

"Hello there," said the Hatter.

"...Hello, Mad Hatter. Please, have a seat. You must have many questions. I didn't think that you would come here so soon," said the woman. "Would you like some tea?"

"No, it's not tea time." The Hatter shook her head as she took a seat, peering at the woman's face that she could not remember. "You are—"

"A person who no longer exists, for my other half is long gone."

"And I seem to be searching for mine. Or something? My hat? It's a bit confusing, having forgotten what I'm searching for. It seems to be something red and something yellow, not treacle nor butter. Do you happen to know?"

"...It is already reflected in your eyes."

The Hatter's eyes contorted, red and gold, as she let out a laugh. "Ahaha, not you, I don't suppose?"

"No, the one you seek is a person who both of us held dear."

"She must not be very dear if I can't remember."

"Yet you can't forget. She chose you, and you chose her."

Still, the Hatter could not remember her red and yellow, pursing her lips into the slightest frown. 

"...An annoying person," said the Hatter.

"...Yes. Hehe, she can be, but she is so very alone," said the woman in response.

"Do you know where she is?"

"Yes and no."

"How so?"

"She is... in a place that I can no longer reach, a place further than here. She will be where you search for her as long as you seek. Continue walking with her in your heart, and you will find her," said the woman who seemed content to finish there, but the Hatter waited for her to continue, so she concluded, "That is all I can say."

The Hatter thus rose from her seat. "Then I might as well be off."


"Auf Wiedersehen."

"I don't believe we will meet again." The woman paused before speaking terribly softly,  "...But tell her goodbye for me."

"Well," said the Hatter. "You should do that yourself, don't you think?"

With that, the Hatter left the woman without a name.

She walked a bit. Then she gazed back over her shoulder, but the white woman and her garden had already disappeared, so without another choice, the Hatter continued onward.

Knowing not how long she had walked, a yawn escaped her lips.

These days she slept restlessly; she slept better, having forgotten why she might struggle to sleep. In that sense, to forget seemed to be all well. 

However, it was not well. She wanted to remember and to know why a sudden hole in her heart had appeared without her realizing.

Walking, walking, she walked till she reached the edge of the white world

This was a place with no one, so she turned to leave.

Then a sudden soft darkness covered the top half of her vision. It was her hat, placed upon her head over her eyes by another whose face was blocked. The Hatter could not see well, but before she could move her hat up, she stopped.

Red redder than madder red filled her lower field of view.

She stopped.

Hands shaking as they reached for the brim of the hat, the Hatter's breath hitched and her heart seemed to pause, almost afraid that this mirage would disappear. She was afraid even though she did not know why. She was afraid, not for fear.

Perhaps, this was what others called love.

"Hello," said a voice, a girl's voice.

The Hatter knew the voice, which brought a surge of memories through her body.

At that moment, she remembered everything: a painful hate, a painful love, bitter and sweet. She wondered if this was the girl she had tea with, the girl she danced with, the girl who had at some point claimed that old red armchair, accompanying her many days and many nights. 

She hated and loved that woman, that girl.

And certainly, she was not just a little annoyed.

But so be it.

The Hatter had, without knowing, already decided that she would drag the girl back for tea as promised to her two friends. It felt like teatime now, the Hatter's throat a tad parched.

The Hatter shifted the hat to see the girl's face for she needed to know.

So asked the Hatter, "Are you Alice?"

Get Who is the Red Queen?

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