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“This is the most fucked-up place I’ve ever been,” Rani muttered. “Okay, I think I’ve got someb-- oh, dammit, it’s Hu again.”
“It’s who?” said Marty eagerly.
“You, dorkboy.” The paladin’s right hand waved at him, and he screamed and tried to hide behind Mina. “Lemme try again.”
“I thought you couldn’t psionically control other people,” frowned Mina, an uncharacteristic wariness in her large blue eyes.
“I only wish.” Rani concentrated, a thin trickle of sweat running down her face. “No, I can physically meld into things I touch, and then I can move ‘em around like any other part of my body. In here it’s like I’m fucking touching everything anyway, so I can make contact remotely if I can isolate what I’m looking for in my mind. That’s how I found him in the first place.”
“That would suggest the Hotel is some sort of mysto-spatial nexus,” mused the young sorceress. “Existing outside of physical reality the way the Time Dome exists outside of temporality, maybe?”
“You’re asking me? How about we call it the nexus of Pain In Rani’s Ass?”
“Whoa,” said Marty, “so wait, are you saying my hand is, like, part of you now?”
“This does not mean we’re dating, Marty.”
“No,” he said, “I mean are you, like, possessing me? Because I told you I was immune to that back in the Remnant plot. Remember?”
“Yeah, I wouldn’t want to screw up the continuity or anything,” Rani sighed. “I’m not possessing anyone. Can we get back to the plot?”
“Trying to use your psychometric powers to locate our missing friends,” Mina reminded.
“Oh yeah.” Rani concentrated again. “All right, how about I’m perpetually horny, I’m a decent person and I’m extremely dangerous but I like to pretend I’m neither, and I don’t really give a crap about anyone who isn’t related to me.” The room started to distort weirdly. “Oh, except for Khyrisse, who I’m still secretly in love with.” The distortion resolved itself with a snap into a baroque ballroom. Rani leaned heavily into the crushed-velvet wall, catching her breath from the exertion of it, as the nobleman on his way down the stairs came to a startled stop. “Well, there you are!” he said, in a disconcertingly familiar voice. “Where the hell did the rest of the troops go?”
“Uncle Asinus?” gasped Mina.
“What’s the matter, kid, you never seen a man with a mustache before?”
“You look like a middle-aged queen,” wheezed Rani.
“Bite me, chippie.” The ex-donkey lit himself a new cigar, grinning. She was only half-joking; his slightly graying chest hair was visible through the deep v of his Tobrinese leisure shirt. “So does somebody have a plan, or are we winging this one too?”
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