Attic. Aftermath. Phoebe scries fruitlessly for Piper as Raige strides in from the stairwell with an icepack for Phoebe's neck and apologies for not returning to the Manor sooner. She glances over at the enclosure to note that Tongue Boy has fallen asleep. The Doltine Psycho's empty gaze creeps her out as much as it does me, so she quickly continues across the room to pass the ice pack to the Feebs. Phoebe opines that the thing now in possession of Piper was "more beast-like" than your average Manticore, but neither of the gals can figure out why he squiggled into the attic as soon as Tongue Boy unleashed the Manticore shriek. Raige crosses to a low table and proceeds to putter around with the potion ingredients. As she tosses a pinch of something into the pot, she muses that the non-Manticore beast likely has Piper locked away somewhere "magically cloaked" and intends to use her as "leverage" in subsequent negotiations for Tongue Boy. Big Gay Chris and the Dolt finally orb in from the bridge, and the four engage in a hushed conversation regarding their current predicament. Why hushed? They don't want Tongue Boy to wake up and alert "half the Manticores in San Francisco" to his presence in the Manor, of course. Pay attention. "I am not convinced that baby is inherently evil," Raige contends, "which means he's probably not even responsible for any of this." "Come on!" Big Chris wails, turning to the Dolt for support. The Dolt heaves a sigh and approaches Raige with, "Not everyone is born morally neutral, especially not demons. They're predisposed to evil." "Predisposed, yeah," Raige pffts, "but it doesn't mean they can't be raised to overcome it. You can't predict whether a kid is going to be good or evil based on his genetics." "You guys?" Phoebe interrupts. "This is all irrelevant. We need the baby to find Piper, so let's just focus on that." The Dolt dolts across the room to orb his bloodthirsty little lunatic up to Whitelighterland. Phoebe and Raige fret that, should Tongue Boy awaken and find The Doltine Psycho gone, they'll be in a horrible position, what with Manticores pouring in through every window and such. They eventually relent, though, and the Dolt and Big Gay Chris orb upwards through the ceiling with The Doltine Psycho. Phoebe and Raige hustle over to the table to complete whatever damn potion it is they're concocting this time.
The camera cuts away to pan across the ruins of the interior of some random house elsewhere in the city. Furniture's either overturned or stacked haphazardly, and many of the windows appear to be broken. Over at the foot of the staircase, Piper sits with her hands tied behind her back, evidently secured to the lowest part of the banister. The Hunchback Of Not!re Lame darts around in the shadows, watching her. Piper catches sight of him in the corner of her eye, and rather calmly calls out, "Hello? Who's there?" "I want the child!" The H Of Not! growls from the darkness. Piper mildly replies that she sort of figured that one out herself. The H Of Not! scuttles to another corner of the house and warns, "I don't want to hurt you, but I will if you don't do as I ask." Piper, who's been surreptitiously futzing with the ropes binding her wrists, smirks, "Who are you kidding? You need me, otherwise I'd already be dead." "Don't mock me!" The H Of Not! snarls, emerging into the general gloom of the main room, and now that we've seen his whole head, I can safely say I've seen grosser-looking creatures on Star Trek. The Shatner version of Star Trek. A scattering of wispy white hair sprouts from the top of his head, and his scalp is rather lopsidedly ridged. His skin has a greenish cast to it, but that's more likely an effect of the low lighting than anything else. All in all, not too scary. They are, however, funneling Seth Peterson's voice through a processor during all of this, so he does sound appropriately menacing. Anyway, Piper soothes, "Easy!" before wondering, "You're not a Manticore, so why do you want the kid?" "How'd you get him away from his mother, anyway?" The H Of Not! counters, not answering her question. "We vanquished her," Piper casually confirms, still working at those ropes behind her back. "You have no idea what you've done," he groans, taking a few steps towards her. She replies that they saved a baby from one demon, and she'll be damned if she's handing it over to another. "Then you'll die," he rasps. "The hell I will," Piper retorts with cocked brow. She finally unleashes a couple of Fingers of Discontent on her bonds, and they snap apart. She then flings both Hands in The H Of Not!'s direction, detonating something behind him that unleashes a smothering cloud of dust. Thus temporarily veiled from his sight, Piper scrambles to the front door, but the moment she gets within a couple of inches of the knob, an invisible shield sparks up and hurls her backwards through the air. She shrieks and scampers into the next room over to crouch behind something large. What? I have no idea what it is. It's too goddamned dark in there. Leave me alone.