A Tournament So Soon

Master Hu shook his head. "It's impossible. Not so soon after the last!"

"Yes, I know," Lord Cinderbottom said. He snorted, and two little flames bobbed out of his nostrils, then receded back inside. "But, nevertheless, we have been challenged."

"The entire state?"


"For what?"

"For everything."

"What do you mean, for everything?"

"For all of it. For the whole shebang. Our best man against their best man for King and Country. Winner takes all."

"By whom?! Who could wager such a thing? Who could match your dominions, or our reserves of talent? We have the entire alumni body for the Peggle Academy on our side!"

Lord Cinderbottom sat for a moment, looking regal and powerful and contemplative, before he answered the Master's question. "I'm afraid the challenge was issued by Kat Tut."

"Oh, no," Master Hu replied. "Oh, no."

"Yes, I'm afraid so. She, of course, has the lands with which to wager."

"Yes," Master Hu said, nodding. "Of course. But..."

"Yes?" Lord Cindebottom said.

"Why does she think he possesses talent to match our own? Surely, she would be easily beaten in standard play by you or me, and dozens others, as well." Master Hu chuckled. "I believe even my secretary Tula could defeat him, and she only played in Tournament once!"

"Well," Lord Cinderbottom said, "that is the problem. You see, she has placed an additional constraint upon the match: no one who has previously participatd in the Tournament can play."

Master Hu's eyes widened. "Even one match?"

Lord Cinderbottom shook his head. "Even one."

Master Hu buried his head in his wings. "Who? Who? Who could we find to meet this challenge?"