Ordinal Numbers

After a several minutes of wandering around the large building staring at signs he could not read, the well-dressed gentleman was happy to see the information desk, and he approached the dark-skinned woman standing behind the counter.

“I’m sorry.” He began, speaking slowly. “Could you help me with something?”

“Of course. “ The woman replied with a smile. “This is the information desk. What do you need?”

“I need to know who is on to speak at the mathematics conference today.”

“Do you not have a program?”
“I do, but it’s in Korean.”

“You are in Korea, sir.”

“I know that, but I don’t read Korean.”

“That could be a problem. I do not think I have an English program here at the desk though.”

“Oh, that’s fine, I just need to know who is on to speak today, so I can plan my attendance.”

“Oh, well, that is easy enough. Hu is on first. Watt is on second, and Idano is on third.”

“I’m sorry, who is on first?”

“That’s right.”

“What’s right?”

“No, he is on second.”


“No, Hu is on first.”

“I don’t know?”

“He is on third.”

“Who is?”

“No, Hu is on first.”

The man rubbed his head for a moment, wondering how the woman’s English could be so good and yet make so little sense.

“Okay.” He said, trying to get past his frustration. “Let’s start over.”

“If you would prefer.” She replied happily.

“Now, who is speaking first today?”

“That is right.”

“What’s right?”

“No. Hu.”



He sighed. “Okay, let’s assume I’m not interested at all in the first speaker. What is the name of the second speaker?

“Yes, that is right.”

“What’s right?”

“Yes, Watt is the second speaker.”

“I don’t know?”

“He speaks third.”

“Who does?”

“No, who speaks first.”

“Um…I don’t know?”

“He is the third speaker, but if schedule runs long he may have to present on day two of the conference.”


“Yes, Tomarra had a conflict for day two, so he has to speak on day one, as such he may bump other people to day two so that he can present.”

“Wait, this is day one of the conference, right?”

“Yes, we are just getting started.”

“But there is a conflict for tomorrow?”

“Possibly, yes, but only if today runs late.”

“But if it doesn’t run late, you’ll have tomorrow today?”

“Yes. Tomarra has to be today, as he has a conflict tomorrow.”

“Wait…tomorrow will happen today?”

“We are hoping so, yes.”

“Because tomorrow has a conflict on day two?”

“Yes, in fact he is so busy he’ll have to leave as soon as he is done.”

“Who will?”

“No, Hu is scheduled to be here all weekend.”

“I don’t know?”

“Yes, he will be here all weekend too.”

“Who will?”

“Yes, I already told you that.”


“Him too.”

“Who too?”


He’d been warned about the chaos the Dragon so relished, but he felt his training would prepare him to look it in the face. Now. He wasn’t so sure, but he decided to persevere.

He cleared his throat. “Okay, let’s not worry any more about today’s schedule. Let’s talk about tomorrow.”

“Okay, but Tomarra has to be today, or the schedule will not work.”

Something inside his head broke loose and began to rattle around. The noise began to bother him.

“So unless tomorrow is today the schedule won’t work? Is that what you’re telling me?”

“Well, we might be able to make it work, but there will be no Tomarra, and a lot of people will miss that.”

“Yes, I’d imagine most of the world would notice that.”

“Oh, he is known mostly among professional mathematicians. I do not know that his fame is that big.”


“I’m sure Hu’s not that well known, which is why he is going first on day one. Still, he has some interesting ideas that are worth paying attention to.”

“Oh? Like what?”

“No, Watt works in a different branch of things entirely. He is a very nice fellow though, and quite the gentleman. Have you met him before?”

“I…don’t know.”

“No, not him. He is a bit gruff. He is Spanish, you know.”


“No, Hu is Chinese.”

“Who is?


The program dropped out of his and, his fingers refusing to hold onto it. He looked down at the program on the floor, wondering if the fact that it was in a language he couldn’t read was actually some sort of blessing.

“Do you have a bar in this hotel?” he finally asked.

“Oh, certainly. Right down that hall, turn left at the third door.”

He nodded and started to say something, but fearing the answer, just waved and headed up the hall.

Once he was out of sight, Nizu stepped around the corner and looked at Souhi, who gave her a wink. Nizu looked at he English translation of the schedule that was sitting behind the counter and smiled.

“Was this entire conference set up so that you could do that to some poor Templar agent who got assigned to infiltrate it?” Nizu asked.

Souhi grinned broadly. “That would require a huge amount of work. Who would devote that kind of effort to such a thing?”

“Yes.” Nizu said with a knowing wink. “I’m sure he would. He’s just that sort of guy.”

“Hu is?”


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