Edmund had only turned a few corners when he saw Googoltha standing in the center of the hallway. Her hands were behind her back and her grin glittered in the light, exactly as it had the day she stood outside his bedroom door. He stopped, and stared at her. She stared back
“I’m taking Lunch to cousin Kolb,” Edmund said, as politely as he could. Googoltha didn’t respond; she simply smiled her toothy smile. “Would you like to walk with me?” he tried again.
She didn’t say anything.
Edmund shifted uncomfortably for a few moments as they looked at each other, before he slowly turned around and decided to take a different route to Kolb’s room. He thought that he could feel Googoltha’s gaze on his back as he walked away.
“Of course!” Kolb opened his door wide, ushering Edmund inside. “How kind of you to bring me my meal! You must come inside and share lunch with me–I would love to spend time with the future Patron of Moulde Hall! It’s always a pleasure to see you, master Edmund!”
Kolb’s room was huge. At least, it looked huge, full as it was with posters, paintings, and statues scattered about the walls. The floor, chairs, even the bed was covered with pamphlets, rolled up posters, scraps of papers, and what looked like expedition diaries. Kolb strode into the center of the room, neatly dodging the piles of paper, and brought his arm up like a butler, sticking his leg out at an odd angle in front of him, as he looked away and up from Edmund.
“Are you alright?” Edmund asked, after a moment. Kolb looked down at him.
“Indeed I am!” He laughed, breaking his pose and ushering Edmund to a large upholstered chair. “I am filled with the awe of adventure! How can I not be absolutely appreciative of the abundant accoutrement in this apartment? Observe!”
Kolb spun about, his arms wide, encompassing the entire room. As Edmund looked closer, he saw the posters and pictures were all of distant lands, and faraway jungles and palaces. The statues looked a bit like Kolb, each one gripping a different weapon, tool, or piece of clothing. Some of the posters proclaimed daring feats or wondrous tales performed by Kolberman Popomus, gentleman extraordinary. The room was covered in a massive patchwork of bright greens, reds, yellows, and blues, and from each and every image of Kolb, his eyes peered out like glittering jewels, following Edmund wherever he stood.
The posters boasted of massive climbing expeditions up dangerous and impossible summits, and terrible journeys into dark forests with monstrous beasts and forgotten tribes. The paintings were covered with images of Kolb standing astride slain elephants, crossing mighty rivers, and shaking hands with bedecked kings and queens. The statues were lovely and tall, and so detailed that it took a moment to realize that one of them was Kolb himself, who had struck another pose.