As we approached the clearing we saw that eight of them were already there, sitting in silence. The ninth chair appeared to be empty, though to a mere mortal they all did. So it was that two of them, probably, were fake members, pretending to be us, and claiming the opposite: that we were the fake ones. Given this situation we would have to be careful, for merely stating that we were who we were did not prove anything, to them. But what would he say, the one we seemed to be all waiting for? Was he already aware, or would he only discover the trick when he came in?
We stood behind the chairs we normally occupied, and tried to sense who was sitting there, in our place. There was no clue, perhaps only a faint hint of remote telepathic activity: were they talking to their master, away from the table, maybe receiving instructions? Finally he arrived, and occupied the vacant chair. His tone when he spoke was not angry, but somehow sad.
“How can it be that in this most distinguished gathering we find now two imposters? Just tell me now, even if it is obvious: who was late at the table?”