Quartz squints at the little mouse perched with great dignity on the chair opposite him.
Quartz: So you’re the mouse queen. (mutters under his breath) Another ruddy queen. At least this one is tiny.
Madam Mousenip: (letting out a fierce chitter of disapproval) Be more respectful, dwarf. With just one nip, I can transform that hideous countenance of yours into one of stunning beauty.
Quartz: Eh? (blinks) Was that supposed to be a threat? (His beard bristles) And who are you calling hideous?!
Madam Mousenip: Or I could increase your ugliness a thousandfold. It’s your choice.
Quartz: Ugliness!? (He smooths his beard into place, fussing his whiskers.) I’ll have you know some find my face quite…fun. (He paused, wrinkles his nose at his own words.) Gah, I’ve been spending too much time with Nimmie Not.
Madam Mousenip: What was that? Did you just claim to have a fun face?
Quartz: Some think so. Anyway that was rude. Calling me ugly like that.
Madam Mousenip: And looking down at me, muttering under your breath wasn’t rude?
Quartz: Right. Guess I’ve got issues with queens, particularly ones with magic. Worked out of some of them, but I guess they still prick.
Madam Mousenip: And I happen to have issues with human faces.
Quartz: I’m not human. I’m a dwarf.
Madam Mousenip: That’s close enough to human. Human faces strike me as being quite hideous. I’m getting used to them, but they’re still a shock.
Quartz: That so? And what’s a beautiful face?
Madam Mousenip: A handsome muzzle, a strong pair of teeth, expressive whiskers, and above all, a fine pelt of fur.
Quartz: I’ve got a fine pair of whiskers. (Once again he fusses with them.)
Madam Mousenip: (sniffing) They’re just not expressive enough. Curling or twirling your whiskers is an art. (She sighs, her own whiskers drooping.) My Mousetrick was so adept at twirling his whiskers. Cheesecurd said it was sinister, but I thought it quite charming.
Quartz: You say he was adept at it. Did he tangle his whiskers or something?
Madam Mousenip: Indeed he did not! (drawing herself up with haughty offense) He’s just not around to twirl his whiskers any more.
Quartz: He didn’t die, did he? Wouldn’t put it past that scribbler to kill the main character, though I doubt she’d do it in a romance.
Madam Mousenip: No, he didn’t! Mousetrick got a happy ending in Seven Tricks. And I’m happy for him, though he deserved better.
Quartz: Did he now?
Madam Mousenip: (fur bristling) Are you trying to trick me into giving away a spoiler?
Quartz: No, ma’am. This talk isn’t supposed to be about Mousetrick at all. This blog is for secondary characters.
Mouse Mousenip: (chitters in a fury) How dare you call me secondary? I am a queen!
Quartz: So was Oriana, yet she was a secondary character. In both Fairest and Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystal Coffins.
Madam Mousenip: I marvel that a queen would tolerate being treated as a secondary character.
Quartz: (mutters) Right. I was more a secondary character than Oriana in Fairest.
Madam Mousenip: I suppose one can only expect so much from a human queen. This Oriana was a human queen, wasn’t she?
Quartz: She thought she was. I had my doubts. She had magic, too, magic she wasted on curses.
Madam Mousenip: You seem to dislike this Queen Oriana intensely. Is that why you’re being so rude? I remind you of her?
Quartz: Aye, a bit.
Madam Mousenip: And how exactly am I like this human?
Quartz: You put on airs when someone frightens you.
Madam Mousenip: Are you suggesting that your frighten me, dwarf?
Quartz: Aye. You wouldn’t have threatened to bite me otherwise.
For a moment the mouse queen quivers with fury before slumping, all anger running out her.
Madam Mousenip: Can you blame me? You’re much bigger. And you put out traps for my kind.
Quartz: Aye, I can see what you’re saying. No, I don’t blame you for being frightened.
Madam Mousenip: Well. I suppose that’s as close to an apology as I can expect from you. In return, I’ll conceed that you had a point. I shouldn’t have called you ugly. Or hideous. Or threatened to bite you when we first met.
Quartz: Suppose that’s as close to a peace offering as I can expect from you.
Madam Mousenip: Good. (flicking her tail) I feel like we’re finally establishing a dialogue. Maybe you won’t set out traps.
Quartz: Maybe you won’t steal food.
Madam Mousenip: Hmmph! As if the humans deserved that sausage. Or that cheese.
Quartz: Now who’s giving away spoilers?
Madam Mousenip: It’s not as if I’m giving away much. Honestly, I don’t understand my prince. Why fall for a human? Even if that human could assume a smaller, more attractive shape?
Quartz: That was definitely a spoiler.
Madam Mousenip: Squeak! I’d better run before I reveal any more!
(She leaps off the chair and scampers away.)
To read more about Madam Mousenip (and Mousetrick’s) misadventures, go to…
Nine Star Press:
Barnes & Noble: