I dared to peek out of the mousehole, and heard a snicker from behind me. I turned and saw my best friend, Italyness, standing behind me. He was mostly hidden by shadow, but I could make out the shape of his odd hat and cracked glasses.

"What are you laughing at?" I snapped, my golden earrings jingling as my ears twitched.

He shook his head. "Nothing." He squeaked, and looked like he was about to say something else when I heard the countdown, and his words were lost in the noise of thirty mice around us squealing and suqeaking with excitement.

The sounds used to hurt my ears, but by now, I was used to it. It didn't bother me. I just shrugged and waited for it...


Twenty-seven mice squealed.


The small, dark cavern was packed with furry bodies, everyone jumping or pacing or shaking.


The squeals grew louder, and I fought my way closer to Italy, looking for comfort in all the noise.


Everyone ran, bursting out into the bright sunlight at once.

I was momentarilly lost in the fray, but I could pick out my other best friend easily from the crowd. He was the Shaman.

The glowing blue marks over his fur gave him away, that and he was slightly taller than every other mouse. He had long brown fur that he only grew out on his head, so that it fell around his face and his ears barely peeked out from under it. His fur was a light brown, but then at his waist it turned white so that he looked like a cookie that had only been half-dipped in milk.

"You've got to cut your fur, Red." I squeaked as I neared Petralote.

"I know," He said, not looking at me, but I could tell he was talking to me.

I looked around and was greeted by familiar surroundings. We all sat on a stretch of bright green grass, the sun high over our heads and shining down on us. There was a small floe of tightly-packed dirt that floated about four mice above the ground, and I could see a chunk of cheese that sat atop it.

"Hurry up!" I growled, watching as Petralote (It felt weird to think of him as 'Petralote'. He's always been 'Red' to me.) conjured up a large wooden board. All of the mice, all thirty of us, scrambled to find a place on the board as the Shaman put a blinking blue arrow above it, pointing downwards and signaling for us to get on.

He raised his paws and I watched, mesmerized as always, as shimmering pale blue sparks fell from his paws. A second large board appeared below us, right on the other one. This second one had a motor on it, making it spin, and raising the other board up off of the ground.

The mice who were sitting on the board leaped excitedly, and just as one of the boards was high enough for it, they began to jump onto the little floe of ground. I followed a bit hesitantly, grabbing a piece off of the large cheese slice and then looking behind me to see if Italy had kept up.

He was right behind me, and he grabbed a piece of cheese as soon as he could reach. We both jumped off of the floe, and when we reached the mousehole, he gestured for me to go in.

"Ladies first." He squeaked, smiling.

I smiled at him and blew him a kiss before I ran into the mousehole.