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I left, going to the next room around the ring, which was empty.
As I approached the next room, a man entered it before I reached the entry. I paused outside, but could hear a loud woman's voice yell through the open door "AGAIN?! YOU CLUELESS DUNG SACK!"
I could barely hear the man's reply. "Yes, mistress..."
"Take THIS!!" The woman said, followed by the sound of a blow.
"And THIS!!" She said, followed by the sound of another blow.
"AND DON'T COME BACK, YOU PITIFUL EXCUSE OF A MAN!!" was yelled.
Another barely heard reply. "Thank you... mistress."
I heard footsteps approaching the door. The gentleman leaving was unremarkable save in that he had a black eye, as if he'd been struck in the face. He bowed slightly as I approached him. "Greetings, sir."
Curious, I asked him, "How'd you get the black eye?"
He smirked. "Oh, this? A long story, sir. One you would not be interested in."
Morte said, "Oooh, no you've *got* to tell us, now."
I concurred. "Yes please, sir: do tell."
The man sighed, rolling his eyes. "Very well... but I shan't be made to divulge the details. Despite my earlier remark upon the tale's length, I might sum it up in two words: Kimasxi Addertongue."
"I have heard the name "
"Ah, you have not yet spoken to her, I see. I will tell you no more of the most delightful treat that is Kimasxi, good sir... instead, I would insist that you speak to her yourself. She is one of the prostitutes here, and Lady Grace's most fascinating student." He smiled at me.
I went into the room to meet the object of his affection, wondering if Morte and Dak'kon were sufficient protection. The wild-looking tiefling girl met my gaze with an angry scowl. Her tattooed body was practically naked, covered by only a narrow leather thong, a black cloth brassier and armored shoulder pads that appeared to serve more as decoration rather than actual protection. Her spiked hair - as well as the thin fur that covered her goat-like legs - was brassy white, and numerous silver rings dangled from her ears, nostrils, lips and brow. She wore a leather collar around her throat with the inscription "Kimasxi Addertongue." To my greeting Kimasxi bared her teeth at me.
"And just what are *you* looking at, you banged-up sod?" Morte replied for me.
"My friend thought you were attractive, but *whoah!* was he ever horribly mistaken!" She sneered at Morte, then looked below him, where a body would normally be.
"Sharp tongue... for a stemless deader." Morte kept at it.
"Like I'd let mine anywhere near if I had one! What, did you hear the word 'brothel' and think you could make some jink here, you flea-bitten gutter-whore? Hah! Can't believe they even let you in the door, what with all those ticks hopping off your shaggy legs!"
"Ticks?! The only annoying insect around here is *you!*" She suddenly turned to me. "Hey! You here to talk to me, or what?"
"'Or what?' What else can I do with you?" I asked, amused by her inventive invective.
"What did you have in mind, you sodding jawbox? Go ahead; give me a reason to say 'no' to you."
"What do you usually do for patrons?"
"I'm a practitioner of abuse." I wondered how literally to take that.
"What's that mean?"
"I'll show you." Her hand lashed out to slap my face, but I managed to barely dodge the blow. Kimasxi pouted visibly, then scowled. "Oh, well."
"I would've thought something half-animal would have faster reflexes." I noted, willing to match her insults. She gave me a skeptical look.
"You can *think*? Huh. You know, *I* would've thought something half-zombie would have *slower* reflexes."
"Well you thought wrong I imagine it happens a lot."
"You must *imagine* a lot: imagine you're not so thrice-damned hideous, imagine women take you seriously... and stop staring at my breasts!" Her last words came as a surprise - because I wasn't. I was momentarily confused, trying to find some hidden meaning behind her words.
"What are you talking about?"
"Oh, sure; you weren't looking, huh? You hulking, lecherous corpse... what's the matter with you? Haven't you even seen a pair of teats before?" Smiling slightly at my own over-analysis, I replied to her insult.
"Is *that* what those are? I figured them for some sort of tiny, knobby cancerous growths." She raised an eyebrow.
"Look, if you can't identify a pair of breasts as nice as mine, you *obviously* haven't spent much time in the company of women..."
"Are you implying that you're female? Isn't that stretching the definition?"
Kimasxi looked at a loss for something to say. For an instant, a smile threatened to crack the grimacing mask of her face - then she became more of a basilisk than ever. "All right, what do you want of me?"
I questioned her about the missing items, but she had nothing to add. I did wonder about one thing, though, which I thought Morte might appreciate, although I might later regret it.
"Say can you teach Morte here to be more abusive?" She raised her eyebrows.
"Now *that's* an unusual request. I don't know, it seems pretty foul-mouthed already..."
Morte broke in. "*He!* That's '*HE* seems pretty foul-mouthed,' Kimasxi 'Bladderdung'... you scruffy, goat-gammed harlot!"
"You *wish* you had legs like mine, you pitiful wretch of a bone-box! I can walk, run, dance... what do you do? Bob around wishing you *had* a pair, goat's or otherwise!"
The two of them laid into one another, exchanging barbed, blistering insults and clashing with razor-edged tongues...
At last the two stopped their bickering, and eerie silence settled over them as they eyed one another hatefully. Finally, the tiefling made a grudging admission to Morte: "You're not bad, really. Not bad at all."
"Better than you, perhaps?" Morte waggled his eyes at her. "Eh? Eh?"
Kimasxi narrowed her eyes at Morte. "Don't push it, *skull.*"
"I won't, *tiefling.* I will admit I might have learned a thing or two, though..."
Kimasxi turned to me. "So was that all you wanted? I'm not spending any more time near you than I have to."
It was time to move on. "I feel the same way. Farewell."
Kimasxi called out as we left the room, "Why don't you go wander around Baator a bit, you meandering arse." I very much doubted there was any chance I would end up in Baator.
Annah rejoined us after we left the room, although she was
silent and kept giving me venomous looks.
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