Excruciating pain. That was the first thought. The memory that she would be reanimated before long shot from her mind as she squeaked in pain as the first wave hit her. The last thing she heard over her anguished cries was him shouting her name.
It was a lesson every mouse learned early. Just because you don't DIE, per se, doesn't mean that taking on an Anvil snake isn't going to hurt like the blazes, and that falling or being shot away will cause you intense pain. Drowning is scary as all get out, and the occasional crushing is obviously painful. Easy answer: avoid falling, drowning, getting squashed, and any moving thing NOT another mouse. Not as easy in practice, however, as everyone knew. A few minutes later, she opened her eyes.
"Well, that was a stupid move." Kai sat up. Kite walked over, even as forest green markings darkened into his fur.
Kai waved a hand and stood up, adjusting her green scarf and aviator helmet. "Yeah. Just gotta remember I'm not Suza or Last." She crossed her gold eyes and giggled. The two more experienced mice turned at the mention of their names.
"Bootcamp. Corner jumping's a pain to learn alone." Lastcall said.
Suzakuuu nodded in agreement before chuckling. "Gotta give you points for trying though." He looked around the hole before looking at Kite. "Ready?"
Kite nodded before turning back to Kai. "Here." He held out her lollipop, the one she'd asked him to hold for her as she'd made her death-revealing leap.
She smiled and popped it back into her mouth before heading toward the hole. "Let's do this."
No one knew how the hole transported around to various places in their world, but it never ceased to surprise. Recently, more and more areas never seen before became their destinations. A couple of the younger mice coughed in the toxic atmosphere. No one could survive more than a couple of minutes outside of the hole. If you didn't move around, the toxin took hold quicker, causing timid or distracted mice to be forced to reanimate. The magic power of the shaman could be sacrificed to give everyone precious few seconds to make it back to the safety of the hole in extreme situations, but that was only a last-ditch effort. Being chosen as shaman already drained the power of the one chosen, but add on top of that the recovery from sacrifice and it became almost impossible for everyone to perform at their peak when chosen.
The hole guardian, Chaz, peeked his head out, then indicated to the other hole helpers. They hurried to the wall, pulling down numerous thin, pink, stretchy bands. They ran around at random, attaching the bands to every mouse's waist. Everyone followed their bands to find their soulmate. Soulmates were necessary sometimes when it was impossible or exceptionally difficult to survive alone. Last and Suza had wound up partnered together. Kai looked down and followed her band over, under and around everyone else, straight to a green marked Kite. She smiled. "We've got this." Everyone stepped out of the hole.
The scene before them was familiar. A stretch of raised red ground, known as lava, stood in their path to the cheese. While touching the lava didn't hurt, touch it too hard and it would explode without warning, shooting mice every which way, killing many. The skillful could halt themselves, staving off death. A few of the more experienced mice ran toward the lava and hopped on. Mice began to fly everywhere. Kai caught sight of a handful of the skilled managing to land on the other side. Most of the mice awaited Kite's guidance. Kite moved toward the lava, Kai keeping pace with him, stopping a few feet away. Kite raised his hands and everyone could feel the rush of power. A large black anvil appeared, creating a stepping stone onto the lava. Some of the mice, emboldened, rushed toward the lava. Mice cringed as the terrified squeaks of young mice and some guests to the region filled the air, punctuated by the soft snapping sound of the pink bands. Amid the chaos, Suza and Last flew past and dove toward the hole, Chaz catching a flying Suza and hauling him inside, pulling Last right behind. Kite jumped up onto the anvil, ready to build a bridge across the dangerous ground when the unthinkable happened. He slipped on the slick metal, his foot slamming into the lava. He shot past, the pink tether dragging Kai along for the ride. She started running even as the line started pulling her away. They flew off the edge of the cliff. Kai timed her reaction and jumped. She slammed into the ground and immediately dug her claws into the dirt, pulling toward the lava again. She heard a muffled grunt as Kite slammed into the side of the cliff, now held up only by the thin pink cord. Kai dug in and waited. A second later, Kite climbed over the edge. They didn't hesitate though, hurrying back toward the lava. Kite managed to conjure a plank, anchored to the edge of the lava before Kai messed up. Feeling the effects of the toxin and knowing time was short, she rushed forward. She recognized her mistake as she felt the lava erupt beneath her, propelling her upwards. Kite, thinking quickly, managed to get them both back to solid ground, but, by then, it was too late. Suza and Last cringed as they watched the mice that remained fall to the ground, doubled over in pain. A second later, the bodies disappeared in a haze of bubbles.