The Librarian had seen many weird things in his time, but that had to be the 57th strangest. [footnote: he had a tidy mind]
"Woof bloody woof."
No-one would have believed, in the final years of the Century of the Fruitbat, that Discworld affairs were being watched keenly and impatiently by intelligences greater than Man's, or at least much nastier; that their affairs were being scrutinised and studied as a man with a three-day appetite might study the All-You-Can-Gobble-For-A-Dollar menu outside Harga's House of Ribs...
It was the sort of thing you expected in the Street of Alchemists. The neighbours preferred explosions, which were at least identifiable and soon over. They were better than the smells, which crept up on you.
"Meat pies! Hot sausages! Inna bun! So fresh the pig h'an't noticed they're gone!"
The Archchancellor's most important job, as the Bursar saw it, was to sign things, preferably, from the Bursar's point of view, without reading them first.
By and large, the only skill the alchemists of Ankh-Morpork had discovered so far was the ability to turn gold into less gold.
Most alchemists were nervous, in any case; it came from not knowing what the crucible of bubbling stuff they were experimenting with was going to do next.
"If you put butter and salt on it, it tastes like salty butter."
"Students?" barked the Archchancellor. "Yes, Master. You know? They're the thinner ones with the pale faces? Because we're a university? They come with the whole thing, like rats --"
Of course, it is very important to be sober when you take an exam. Many worthwhile careers in the street-cleansing, fruit-picking and subway-guitar-playing industries have been founded on a lack of understanding of this simple fact.
And then you bit onto them, and learned once again that Cut-me-own-Throat Dibbler could find a use for bits of an animal that the animal didn't know it had got. Dibbler had worked out that with enough fried onions and mustard people would eat anything.
"The thing is that Mr. Dibbler can even sell sausages to people who have bought them off him before."
- "You pay for it before you eat it? What happens if it's dreadful?"
- "That's why."
"One minute I'm just another rabbit and happy about it, next minute whazaam, I'm thinking. That's a major drawback if you're looking for happiness as a rabbit, let me tell you. You want grass and sex, not thoughts like 'What's it all about, when you get right down to it?'"
"I'm a cat person, myself," she said, vaguely. A low-level voice said: "Yeah? Yeah? Wash in your own spit, do you?"
"Why's it called Ming?" said the Archchancellor, on cue. The Bursar tapped the pot. It went ming.
- "I thought swords had to be straight."
- "Perhaps they start out straight and go bendy with use. A lot of things
Azhural raised his staff. "It's fifteen hundred miles to Ankh-Morpork," he said. "We've got three hundred and sixty-three elephants, fifty carts of forage, the monsoon's about to break and we're wearing... we're wearing... sort of things, like glass, only dark... dark glass things on our eyes..."
People who used magic without knowing what they were doing usually came to a sticky end. All over the entire room, sometimes.
"He's in love," said Gaspode. "It's very tricky." "Yeah, I know how it is," said the cat sympathetically. "People throwing old boots and things at you."
"In a word -- im-possible!" "That's two words," said Dibbler.
"I'm vice-president of Throwing Out People Mr Dibbler Doesn't like the Face of."
- "It looks worse than you can imagine!"
- "I can imagine some pretty bad things!"
- "That's why I said worse!"
"Could have bin worse, mister. I could have said 'miaow'."
"Worlds only harmonica-playing dog. Tuppence."
"Seems I can't get me 'ead down these days without rescuin' people or foilin' robbers or sunnink."
"How's he in the mysterious senses department?"
"Walk a mile on these paws and call me a liar."
"Woof. In tones of low menace."
"There's nothin' wrong with bein' a son of a bitch."
"I thought it was going to be bucket-of-water time myself."
"I can explain it in Dog, but you only listen in Human."
"I mean are we talking Thicko City here or what?"
"I wouldn't give it to a dog, and I am one."
"Does that look like ten per cent to you, Victor?"
"... Percy the Pup here with a cold nose, bright eyes, glossy coat and the brains of a stunned herring."
"Maybe you should loosen her clothing or something."
"I could send you a bone with a file in it, only you'd eat it."
"Well, 'scuse me. I was jus' tryin' to save the world."
"If gharstely creatures from before the Dawna Time starts wavin' at you from under your bed, jus' you don't come complainin' to me,"
"Idiot I may be, but tied up I ain't."
"And Howondaland Smith, Balrog Hunter, practic'ly eats the dark for his tea."
"Messin' around with girls in thrall to Creatures from the Void never works out, take my word for it."
"I can bite your leg if you like."
"I expect I've saved the day, right?"
"Can't sing. Can't dance. Can handle a sword a little."
"Did I hear things, or can that little dog speak?" said Dibbler. "He says he can't," said Victor. Dibbler hesitated. "Well," he said, "I suppose he should know."
In retrospect, Victor was always a little unclear about those next few minutes. That's the way it goes. The moments that change your life are the ones that happen suddenly, like the one where you die.
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