Chapter Three

Madness is but a demon, a cannibal, an unruly tyrant that claws at the mind of both innocent and guilty men with fear and doubt. Many people have been led to believe that merely being the least bit mid would inevitably lead to evil and violence. However, in some form of truth, this may only happen if left unchecked.

Madness and paranoia linger around every corner, every shadow, every choice and decision. That's where certain heroes like the caped crusader himself usually have the upper hand. They know where madness is, but it never always know for absolute sure when they're coming...

Going up against the Walrus would normally be tough enough, but having to square off against Tweedledee and Tweedledum as well at the same time was a whole other challenge.

The Walrus engaged the Batman up close in hand-to-hand combat, delivering kicks and punches to each other, every next attack slightly more bruising than the previous. Taking advantage of this distraction, Tweedledum stepped on Batman's cape, causing the knight to nearly slip up literally. To force him down, Tweedledee threw in a few kicks at Batman.

Looking up, Batman managed to see the Walrus standing over him with the Twins beside him, all starting down at him with scowling eyes and cruel grins.

"Today, I've learnt something," the Walrus spoke, slightly muffled by his mask but still audible nonetheless. "Something I never fully understood before now, and am willing to share." The Walrus squatted down, getting close to Batman's face. "It's madness that truly makes us feel alive. Think about how it would feel to embrace the anarchy, and in turn be embraced by it, to release our inner primal impulses. Do you wish for that feeling? That sense of liberation?"

The Batman didn't even bother to reply at all, not even a sound uttered from his split lips.

"He's not wrong, Batsy," Tweedledee added. "It keeps on coming, and always will be. A world full of people like us, who are just starting to wake. Even if there aren't too many of us right now, there soon will be more and more. Those who truly embrace the madness will be able to inherit it all".

"If you had really lived, you wouldn't have to be so weak, afraid, and mimsy like a borogove," Tweedledum continued. "What say you, tulgey knight?"

"I say..." Batman briefly spoke before spitting out a bit of blood. "You really need to lay off the cactus juice".

With that, Batman delivered a roundhouse kick to Tweedledum, forcing him back and nearly off his feet as the foe tumbled into a nearby wall. He then grabbing the Walrus by the tusks and kneeing him in the face. Tweedledee sent a few hits the Batman's way, but he too would send a couple back. From his belt, he pulled out a spray and fired at the thug's face, stinging him for a time.

Quickly turning around, Batman got his head butted by the Walrus, causing a strike pain and a disorienting sight that lasted for but a brief moment or two. A high-pitched buzz rang relentless in his ears. He got down to one knee until he could get himself together again.

However, as soon as he recovered, the dastardly trio had already jumped ship and got away out of sight. Batman tried to seek out and chase them down, but all he came across was a wide blasted hole through a thick metallic wall and into the outside world.

Meanwhile, as the Batman was distracted by the lumbering foes, two other rogues were still in their own cell each, Jade Nyugen and Jenna Duffy, the Carpenter and the Cheshire Cat respectively. Hearing the distant noises, they got up to see what it was exactly. Just then, their cell doors suddenly shut down and moved open, letting out the two rogues. As they stepped out, they spotted something or someone strutting from the shadows. The white rabbit appeared before them, somewhat familiar, and posed against a wall.

"Jade and Jenna?" the white rabbit asked.

"Yes?" Jade questioned.

"This is a getaway," the rabbit stated the obvious.

"We can see that," Jenna replied.

"What do you say we hop on outta here?" the White Rabbit suggested with a lingering finger. "Don't wanna be late now, do we?"

With that, the white rabbit skipped along on her way down the corridors as the Cheshire Cat and the Carpenter followed close behind.

"Did you figure out a way to escape?" the Carpenter asked.

"Already did, sweetie," the Rabbit answered heartily, seductively winking at the Carpenter.

"And what would that be...?" the Cheshire Cat questioned.

"You'll see..." the White Rabbit continued to tease with a cheeky grin.

Location: Gotham City Police HQ

Some time later, atop the head building, the Commissioner Jim Gordon stood close to the edge, breathing in the cool yet imperfect air.

Soon enough, he found the Batman crouching on the rail, waiting as well.

"Thankfully, we've no legit casualties so far, and those injured are sent to the hospital for recovery," Jim Gordon explained with relief. "However, while we managed to recontain most of the inmates, roughly about thirty have managed to escape. We're still on the pursuit for them".

"My team shall assist in that, of course," Batman assured.

"Plus, some of the security at Arkham claimed to have seen a white rabbit," Jim further said.

"A white rabbit?"

"Apparently a common visual motif among victims of abduction," Jim explained. "Who would've known? If it turns out that one of the scientists or security guards in Arkham Asylum had been behind the breakout on my watch-"

"It was an outside job," Batman corrected. "Someone got in".

"Mm-hmm," Jim nodded. "To be honest, either possibility won't exactly pad out my resume any better. I'm starting to wonder if any of this is even worth it. There's a guy named Forbes who's been on my back like a vulture. I've got a temporary reinstatement mostly because this whole process of appeals is often seen as a mere dinosaur. Even some of the people I trusted and worked with, people who trusted me and depended on me, are starting to look at me sideways as of late. It's just my luck that the one person I can depend on dresses up like a bat so he can find and beat down some equally strangely-clothed crooks. You're the only true friend I feel like I have left right now..."

As soon as Jim finished his long-winded speech, he turned back to see where the Batman stood, only the find he already vanished.

"Batdick," Jim muttered with a clear huff.

Location: The Batcave

Meanwhile, in the lair of the caped knight, the butler sat and pondered, tapping quietly on the armchair as he stared through the various monitors upon the the desk of the bat-computer. His face and body bathed in the bluish glow of the monitors.

"Alfred, give me a report," a familiar gruff voice called on the intercom.

"You'll no doubt be excited various reports of rogue supervillains running rampant in the city, Master Bruce," Alfred replied with his usual dry English tone. "Most of them near your current location, no less. We're coordinating efforts, as are the police".

"Who do we get to thank for this?" Batman asked. "Ragdoll? The Penguin? Penny Plunderer?"

"Oh let's hope so, sir," Alfred lightly shrugged. "There's nothing better than assisting one's employer in tracking down a bunch of homicidal maniacs. It makes one feel quite young in a way".

"Have you seen anything about a white rabbit yet?" Batman questioned.

"White rabbit, you say?" One of Alfred's brows had cocked upward.

"A woman who seems to be wearing some sort of white leotard and rabbit ears," Batman further explained as briefly as possible.

"A half-naked girl in a white leotard?" Alfred took in the vague yet odd description. "Well I'll check the world wide web, but I don't think there are many of those on there".

And so with a crack of knuckles, the butler typed down on the keyboard, taking his usual time in tapping the keys.

Back in the Batmobile, Batman smirked at the clear sarcasm in Alfred's otherwise usually calm tone as he carried driving his way through the dusty Gotham streets. A few instances had passed before Alfred's voice emitted from the radio once more.

"In the meantime, there happen to be a small amount of matters that require your attention, Master Wayne," the butler listed off in the comm. "A luncheon with the MP Stricker?"

"Regrets," Batman said. "My regards to his wife and mother".

"Tickets to the Cricket World Cup?"

"Regrets, with gratitude".

"Dinner with Miss Jaina Hudson?"

"Regre- Wait, accept," Batman stopped himself as soon as he properly processed what Alfred just said, still driving forth. "Anything else?"

"Well apart from the impending riots, I do believe we're covered," Alfred paused for a moment. "Though do give a ring if we receive any word from our younger associates of any criminal activity".

With that, the caped crusader nodded, and the communication had closed for now. Soon enough, Batman looked through the front window and noticed a distant blaze of red and blue lights straight ahead, and slowed down the Mobile to within a few metres from such.

Ahead was a blockade of police vehicles, with various officers gathered about and aiming at some unseen threat ahead of them. Soon enough, the Batman put his Batmobile to a halt with a few metres of the police blockade and soon exited the vehicle, to see what was it that they were blocking exactly.

Much, much far ahead stood the main Gotham bank, within the muffled sounds of brutal conflict had emitted, smashing and clashing. Just then, blasting down the front doors, an abrupt flash of light and a cloud of dust streamed out and through into the streets outward. Flung right through the window, one of the Robins landed on the outside pavement with a hard thud. He rolled and groaned with a few fresh bruises on the exposed parts of his body.

Out of the building soon came out the other three of the quartet of dynamic heroes: Nightwing, Red Hood, Red Robin, and Robin. Each of the four sharing a few bruises and grunts of gritting combative pain. Soon enough, each of the four groaned as they managed to heave themselves back up onto their feet before looking back at the infiltrated bank and striking into some kind of pose together.

Then, marching out of the bank itself came three individual foes all mostly donned and dressed in royal garb and uniform, all in mostly deep blood-red: The Red King, the Red Queen, and the Red Knight. Staring down at the Boys Wonder, the tyrannical trio all huffed and stood off against the heroes.

"It looks like the Robins aren't having much of a frabjous day..." the Red King spoke.

"Gotta keep running in order to stay in one place..." the Red Queen added.

"Or it's off with their heads!" the Red Knight called as he pulled out his sharp clean sword with ease. The red Wonderland gangsters cackled as they slowly moved forth.

"Well, Damien, still think we don't need backup?" the Red Robin spoke to the youngest Robin in a deadpan and almost sarcastic manner.

The youngest Robin, Damien, looked at him with wide eyes and furrowed brows before turning back at the dreadful trio before shifting his face into a more stern expression.

To be continued...