An Uninvited Guest

Master Hu was still thinking about the duality of perception and reality when he walked into his office and his secretary Tula told him he had a guest. Tula was a flower that was alive in more ways than flowers usually were. She could think and talk and organize better than Master Hu thought was possible, in this world or any other. It was a necessary impossibility, what she did, and yet she did it anyway.

"You have a guest" was how she told him.

"Who?" Master Hu asked. He sniffed the air. It had an unusual smell, something he couldn't place. It smelled a bit like sulfur. He hated elusive smells like that because the source was often difficult to discover, and then it was difficult to remove the smell entirely. Still, something was familiar about that scent. It was something he had smelled before.

Tula shrugged. "He wouldn't give me his name."

"What did he look like?"

"Big, red, giant wings and firey breath."

Master Hu furrowed his feathery brow. "Why would Lord Cinderbottom be visiting me?" He didn't like the sound of this. Not one bit. Lord Cinderbottom was the patron of the Peggle Institute, but he rarely dropped by. His interests were of a more carnal nature than education.

No, something was wrong. Master Hu was sure of it. Lord Cinderbottom meant trouble.

But at least that explained the smell.