A thunderous growl came from behind him and, spinning around, saw the Thing getting closer. I'm running out of time. Oh where could it be? I was sure it was around here somewhere. Oh God, where is it?
Stumbling into the closest room and locking the door firmly, Italy slid down and curled up, sobbing uncontrollably into his knees. He couldn't stop: he had seen far too many deaths, far too many times. First it was Japan; then it was France, China and Russia; then Canada, England and America; and then Prussia and...
'Oh Germany, everyone,' he wailed, his slight figure shaking in grief. 'I'm sorry. I have failed again - and again - and again!'
Lifting his head, his breathing shaky, Italy took a quick glace of his surroundings and gasped as his eyes fell on an object sitting in a darkened part of the space. He began to laugh in relief.
'Oh, thank goodness! I found it!' he yelled, getting to his feet. He was staring at a handsome grandfather clock that was situated in a corner of the dimly lit room. The fine hands on its face were silver and the numbers were shimmering in a substance that would have made England shiver in delight. Italy reached out a hand, about to pull back the glass in front of the mechanics when a pounding on the other side of the door made him pause.
'Oh no,' he sighed dejectedly. 'It found me. Now, turn it back Italy. You can still save them! It's not too late!'
But before he could do so, he noticed another object: a large towering mirror with a golden frame and clawed feet. That was never there in the previous time loops, Italy thought as he walked towards it and stood in front of it. The words Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi were carved into the border. Confused, he looked at his reflection and nearly screamed in shock. He whirled around, not daring to believe his eyes and saw nothing but the empty space behind him.
Turning slowly back, a new wave of tears fell out of the corners of his eyes. In the centre of the reflection was he, battered, bruised; his clothes bloody and torn; his hair matted and knotted; the journal clutched in his scratched hands. And standing behind him, his gloved hands on Italy's shoulders with a rare smile on his face was -
Looking closer, he saw that all of his friends were there, all smiling, all with happy expressions on their faces. Italy's heart began to hammer and ache, and he felt the corners of his mouth begin to twitch and before he knew it, his usual smile was back in place. He felt for the first time in an age happy, content.
'Germany, what are you doing in the mirror, silly?' he asked, searching his friend's face. 'You need me to break the mirror so you can all get out, yeah?'
Germany, however, did not reply. Instead, he jabbed his thumb over his shoulder and Italy saw in the background the mansion that they had all entered. Italy suddenly realised that all his friends looked like he did: like they had been through a long and tiring battle.
'Oh, I get it now!' he declared. 'No - I don't get it. We all escaped, yeah? So... this is a portal - thing? I don't understand, Germany. What is it that you want me do to? Why are you in the mirror? WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO SAVE YOU ALL?'
He wanted to stay there forever, staring at his friend's faces. Italy had never felt more alone. He wanted to help them; he wanted to save them; he wanted to escape from this treacherous house and go home with all of them. But there was nothing he could do because they were all dead. He had seen them die himself, had held their hands as they passed and he was sick of it.
Suddenly, the door behind him smashed into pieces and the room seemed to shrink in size. The Thing, horrifying than ever, its eyes dark and cold, was standing in the doorway. Italy was frozen on the spot. His palms were against the smooth glass of the mirror, the journal on the floor, having been dropped in the spur of the moment.
In his mind's eye, he could still see their faces: Germany, Japan, Prussia, Russia, France, Canada, England, America and China, all smiling, all finally out of the mansion, all with a bright and shining future ahead of them.
Italy then understood. He knew what he needed to do, what he wanted to do more than anything. The mirror had shown him the light.
'Hey you - monster!' he yelled, picking the journal up from the ground and edging towards the clock. 'You have put me in this situation once more. You have murdered my friends over and over again. Well, I have news for you!'
With that, Italy threw back the glass of the clock face and seized the hands, moving them in the opposite direction then when they ticked.
'I am going back and this time,' he said, turning back to the creature with a determined look on his face. 'I am taking them home.'
The monster roared and the room started to dissolve. I will not fail. I will not fail. I will NOT FAIL. I am going to save you all... I am taking you home!
"A deserted house in a mountain, about three hours on foot from the world summit place,
No one knows how long it has been there or who used to live in it.
Rumours had it that it was haunted"
Never enter the mansion.