"And now," the Lord Darkblood boomed over the hero's bloodied-but-not-quite-dead form. "Your time has come!"

While the heroine, tied up in a corner, started to cry hysterically, Lord Darkblood, the vilest creature to step the earth since the guy that invented taxes, prepared to sacrifice his nemesis to the demon Err-M'rtag-Tuttvy'murrsh.

He never got around to it, however, because a swirly purple portal openned just behind him and a vaguely female creature came out of it.

She took a tattered scroll out of the bag slung over her shoulder (or something close enough to be called a shoulder). In a monotonous and slightly nasal voice, she called out what might have been the hero's only salvation.

"'Ello. I have mail here for a Lord Elmo Dankbloom."

The villain stared incredulously. The hero blinked. The heroine snickered ("Elmo?").

"It's DARKBLOOD!" he boomed again.

The female-or-close-enough looked at the scribbling on the scroll again, with little to no enthusiasm.

"Oh. Yeah. S'Darkblood. Listen, Elmo, you have a message from your mother."

Lord Darkblood ran a hand over his face in frustration, trying to block the heroine's snickers out ("Elmo? His name is ELMO?")

"Can't this wait?" He gritted, giving the messanger his best Evil Glare. "I'm kind of busy here!"

She tutted, "If I were your mother, I'd be quite upset that you value a little demon sacrifice more than a letter from me!"

The Dark Lord's eye twitched.

"It's marked urgent!"

Sighing in defeat, he accepted the scroll and signed the wretched document that attested he'd gotten it.

"Now that's more like it!" the messanger creature grinned and saluted. "Great doing business with you! Remember, 'Bamfhoppers Deliveries! The only thing faster than the speed of rumors!'"

She jumped through her purple swirly portal, just in time for the villain to notice that, while he was distracted, the heroine had chewed through her ropes, saved her counterpart and locked the Dark Lord in the sacrificial chamber.

But this story isn't about Elmo's-- er, Lord Darkblood's bad day, but about Mildred.

Mildred had been born on a dark night, when a klutzy wizard accidentally spilled his beer all over his experiments. Due to this and a highly obscure and rare astral event, the result was a species of vaguely humanoid looking creatures, so outlandish in appearance that no one could ever find the words to describe them.

Though at first they were used as part-time bogmonsters, many outgrew this stage of moaning and scaring travellers and discovered the world and all the possibilities it presented.

Mildred, against the wishes of her parents, got a job with Bamfhoppers Deliveries, the only mail service that transcended space and time (and bad weather).

As she was currently sitting in front of her boss' desk, she couldn't help but wonder if she should have listened to her parents and gone to college.

"No new assignments for you, Mildred," Mr. Orgue dismissed her. "We have everything covered."

Mildred sighed.

"But sir, I need the overtime." Which she did. Rent didn't pay for itself and that ogre of a landlady made it very clear.

He sighed and pulled a small box out of the drawer. Placing it on the desk gingerly, the black box shook, as if trying to shimmy away.

"Here's the adress. Don't step on anyone."

Passing her the box and a slip of paper, Mr. Orgue got back to building his toothpick models.

Mildred was near ecstatic. She shoved the box in her bag and ran off to the portal chamber.

The portal chamber was in a secluded part of Bamfhoppers HQ. It wasn't just because strange things sometimes leaked out of the portals, but summoning portals demanded a sacrifice, which could get messy.

Mildred found no portal. She realised, just a bit annoyed, that she'd have to create one. Sighing again, she got to the job.

First, there were a number of invocations to be spoken.

"In the name of Mortimer the Avenger, Transludgar, God of Safe Passage and Bob the Checkout Clerk," Mildred invoked, almost boring herself to sleep "I humbly ask, so I may receive, now, not another time, sooner than later, but whenever it's convenient for Mortimer the Avenger, Transludgar, God of Safe Passage and Bob the Checkout Clerk, I humbly ask for a door, a portal, from this place, not another, from this very chamber... in front of me... to take me to the following adress."

She took out the paper with the adress, spit on it, folded it and threw it in a trash can.

"I offer, in return, this humble sacrifice!"

She took out an aloe vera plant, placed it on the floor and started doing a funky dance around it. The dance ended with the ritualistic sacrifice of the plant, by crushing it with a rock (Mildred had heard Bob the Checkout Clerk once had human sacrifices in his honor, and she was glad those days were over. Bones were a bugger to smash when using only a small rock).

A purple portal openned over the smushed plant and Mildred happily jumped through it, ready to deliver the small black box.

And that's how Merryl the Slinky got the rabid squirell that helped him win the Glitterville High/Dampster Academy prank wars.