It was difficult for the uninitiated to tell when Vetinari was publicly annoyed. In fact, the more annoyed he was with someone, the more polite his demeanour towards that person. It was only in a fit of anger that he would use irony or, in extreme cases, sarcasm. This quirk of his personality often led to rather Darwinian comments, most beginning with, "I'm so glad I caught you in a good mood, because..."
J's response, for example, would have implied that Vetinari was the sort who enjoyed surprise parties that featured exotic dancers. Fortunately, Vimes was quicker.
"This woman was going to kill you, sir," he said.
"Indeed?" asked Vetinari, raising an inquisitive eyebrow, "And what, pray, would have been the method of my demise?"
J stepped forward. "Coronary overexertion, sir," he said without thinking.
Silences are, of course, creatures unto themselves, and they can move in many ways to fill a space. Some ripple outward from a central focus, others sidle in, and still others simply drift into place like fog.
The silence that followed J's statement, for example, fell into the room with all the grace and finality of a very large boulder falling on a coyote. It was interrupted only by the shuffling of several pairs of sandals moving away from J.
"That didn't come out right, did it?" J asked finally. Vimes put his hand over his eyes.
"Well, I thought it went well," J said defensively as they left the Palace with the shapeshifter, "He let us go, didn't he?"
"I believe that was so we wouldn't see him laughing," said Vimes sourly, "I can't believe you actually said--"
"I was trying to be as discreet as possible!"
"'She secretes a venom through her lips that acts as an aphrodisiac but if it's paired with strenuous aerobic activity causes a heart attack'? Do you call that discreet?!"
"That is discreet for him," said L.
"At least I said 'strenuous aerobic activity' and not--"
"That's enough!" Vimes shouted, "You have your damned fugitive, now go home!"
"Um," said L, "That may be a problem."
Vimes looked hard at her. "Make it not a problem."
"Okay," said J, "Do you know anything about interdimensional travel?"
Rincewind slowly raised his hand. Everyone looked at him.
"I might know someone who can help you. But we need to stop by the produce market first."
"Produce market?" asked J, confused, "Why?"
The agents looked at the orangutan. The orangutan looked at the agents.
"This is the head librarian?" J asked, trying not to laugh.
"There was a slight mishap," Rincewind said, simply.
The Librarian ooked at length, indicating each of the agents and the shapeshifter.
"He says, one banana for each traveler, double for 'Miss Octarine' because she messed about with the dimensions in the first place."
"Sounds fair," said L, who knew at least that one should not argue with a 300-pound ape.
"Of course," Rincewind added, "He wouldn't be taking people through L-Space if they weren't in the wrong universe to begin with."
"Just doing our job," said L.
The Librarian unfolded his arm and pointed to Rincewind. "Oook."
"He says to give the bananas to me and follow him," Rincewind translated.
"All that in one 'ook'?" asked J.
"You'd be surprised."
The Librarian beckoned and started to knuckle away into the stacks.
"Hold on a sec. Say, Rincewind?" J took out the Neuralyzer from his inside pocket. "Do you know what this is?"
Rincewind looked at it. "No."
"This is a device for making pictures. You know, like a group of people standing together and smiling while another guy points this at them--"
"An iconograph? I know what those are. I just thought they were bigger. You know, to accomodate the imp."
"Well," said J, "This is an iconograph from our world.."
"And I just want to commemorate this visit to your world by taking a picture of you and a couple other wizards we've met who've helped us along. One of em is Ridcully, and the other guy, I don't know his name, but he looks like a beach ball in a robe. Big guy. Shortish beard."
"The Dean?" Rincewind offered.
"That's him!" J said, "Do you think you could go an get them for us before we go?" He tightened his grip on the shapeshifter's arm as she tried to pull away. "Hey, hey, cool it." Rincewind nodded and left.
"You want to take a picture to commemorate?" asked L, sardonically.
"Just covering all the bases, in case they try to collect that donation we promised them and which we do not currently have." He set the Neuralyzer for 24 hours.
When Rincewind returned several minutes later with the Dean and Ridcully, J and L both had their Ray-Bans on.
"Ah, Mordred," said Ridcully, "I trust Rincewind served you well?"
"Yessir," said J, "As you can see, we've caught our little exhibitionist."
"Good. And as for that donation you promised--"
"Already taken care of. I just wanted to have a picture of the fine wizards of this institute to take home with us so all our friends will know what noble wizards we have the pleasure of working with." He displayed the Neuralyzer. "So if you all could stand right over there... good... squeeze in a bit... okay, now look into this little light here and say 'octarine!'"