It being a fair and ‘ladylike’ colour, you select the yellow hedgehog. He wriggles in your hands but makes an adorable squeak when you manage to tickle the soft fur beneath his spikes. Animals have always been your good friends.
The meringue-lady gives you a nod and then introduces herself as the Duchess. She tells you no more about the game or your opponents, but it’s clear who they are: whoever own one of the brightly coloured hedgehogs moving about the ‘pitch’, you are up against.
The Duchess walks away and announces into the microphone that has suddenly appeared in her hands:
“We have all our contestants. We are ready to begin!”
You frown and look over to where you last saw the blue hedgehog. It’s gone. In fact, in its place, is a Tweedle, your Tweedle.
Instantly, you have a bad feeling about this croquet game. You feel betrayed.
“What?” you stutter, looking at the Tweedle who seems to have betrayed you.
“Need I remind you,” the Duchess barks, “that this is a game to the death? Whoever gets the lowest score in each round is eliminated.”
You frown; the last time you played croquet, you don’t remember those being the rules.
“Let’s play!” the Duchess screams into the mic.