Actions

Work Header

Fool Me Once, Fool Me Thrice

Chapter Text

Briefing the princess goes much more smoothly than it did with Mario. Years of dealing with Bowser’s grandiose abductions left her with nerves of steel, so she hardly batted an eye when informed of their precarious predicament. Peach was also remarkably better than Mario and Luigi at controlling her expressions—a life skill undoubtedly obtained from her royal upbringing. 

She did, however, share Mario’s obliviousness. 

“You didn’t notice either, princess?” Luigi asks with mild exasperation. 

Peach’s carefully schooled features slip for the briefest of moments to reveal her embarrassment. Luigi would have thought he’d imagined the whole thing if the picture they took hadn’t just captured it. 

“I was distracted by the architecture and interior design,” she confesses, sweeping a delicate hand behind her. “It’s absolutely gorgeous! I’m ashamed to admit it, but I hardly paid the staff a second glance.” 

Luigi silently wonders if Mario and Peach would have ever noticed if he hadn’t said anything. He wants to give them the benefit of the doubt and say yes, but he’s honestly at a loss. Whatever the case, what matters is that they know now, and right now they need a plan to get out of here without raising the alarm. A plan which…wasn’t being very forthcoming at the moment. If only the professor were here; he may not have a wealth of common sense, but the man was quick to find solutions for even the trickiest of problems.

Luigi’s eyes drift to his phone still clasped in his brother’s hands. An idea abruptly strikes him, and he immediately feels foolish for not thinking of it sooner. E. Gadd may not be here to offer advice in person, but there was nothing stopping Luigi from giving the old scientist a call.

“Hey Mario, you’ve got your phone on you, right?" 

Mario blinks up at him, thrown by the shift in conversation. 

“Uh, yeah, but why…?” 

Luigi gently takes his phone back from Mario and brandishes it with purpose. 

“I’m going to call the professor and fill him in. Maybe there’s something he can do to help us. In the meantime, you and Peach take pictures of the lobby. If all else fails, we’ll look through them later and see if there’s anything here we can make use of.” 

Mario nods his understanding, and with that, the three split off to complete their tasks. Luigi walks to the opposite side of the lobby and halts at the other lavishly decorated table. He looks up at the majestic swan ice sculpture glittering in the afternoon sun. It’s starting to melt a little. 

Luigi takes a deep, composing breath and pulls up E. Gadd’s contact information. He absently prods at one of the neatly wrapped presents while the call goes through. He can’t help noticing how light the box is—it’s probably empty. Luigi’s plastered-on smile wavers minutely with each drawn-out ring, and he has to make a conscious effort not to begin pacing.  

Finally, there is a click on the other end of the line.  

[“Joe’s Pool Hall, how may I help you?”]  

Luigi blinks, pulling his phone away from his ear for a brief moment to check the screen. The professor's phone number glows back at him. It wasn’t a misdial. Now that he gave it more thought, the speaker’s voice had a ghostly quality to it—definitely a spectral entity. One of the scientist's mischievous helpers must have answered. 

“Uh…is professor Elvin Gadd around—” 

{“Hey! What're you doing with the old coot's phone?”}  

Luigi’s brows pinch at the second voice. It sounded more distant, but just as ethereal as the first—another spirit in the room, perhaps? 

[“Relax, I’m just messing around,”]  the first voice replies, not bothering to cover the receiver.  [“Some nerd is trying to contact the professor. I think they’re a telemarketer. Probably trying to sell him one of those Old People Buttons mortals use when they fall down and break.”]  

{“Well, hang up on them! Mistress Gravely will be bringing those mortals up from the lobby any minute now, and we’re not supposed to be on this floor. Do you want to make her angry?!”}  

The bickering continues for a few short moments before the call abruptly ends, but Luigi has long stopped listening. Mortals? Lobby? Mistress...Gravely? Why does that name sound so familiar? The gold embossed lettering of Luigi’s invitation suddenly flashes in his mind. He reaches into his pocket with his free hand, retrieves the fancy slip of paper, and holds it up for careful scrutiny. There, at the cardstock’s bottom right corner, a signature so elaborate and curvy it’s almost illegible. 

Hellen Gravely. 

The phone nearly slips from Luigi’s lax grip as he stares, unseeing, at the table before him. E. Gadd was here?  At this hotel? And if what Luigi gleaned from that exchange is correct, the old scientist was already in the spirit’s clutches. 

No...no no no no—!  This can’t be happening! When Luigi said he wished the professor was here, this is not  what he meant! 

“Sir? Are you alright?” 

Luigi whirls around to his left, coming face-to-mask with one of the hotel employees. He can feel his heart beating wildly in his chest. 

“I...what?” he replies dumbly. 

“Are you alright?” the spirit repeats. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” 

Oh, very  funny. 

“I-I’m fine. Just had a little mini emergency, is all.” Luigi’s eyes dart frantically around him, as if searching for an explanation for his apparently alarmed appearance. A flower arrangement on one of the nearby tables gives him an idea. “I have a very delicate plant at home, and in all the excitement, I completely forgot to ask someone to look after it while I’m gone. But we’re good now!” He waves his phone in emphasis. “I got ahold of a friend and they agreed to help. Crisis averted.” 

The hotel employee stares quietly back at him, and somehow Luigi knows  their concealed face is as blank and emotionless as their mask. 

“You and Dr. Potter would get along like two peas in a pod,” they mutter to themselves. 

“What?” 

“Oh, nothing. Glad everything’s okay!  Let me know if you need anything!” 

The spirit turns and hastily departs. Luigi watches them go, eyes flitting between the mask’s plainly visible head-strap and the ungainly shuffle of their feet along the floor. Now that they’re moving, the gap between their slacks and their shoes has become glaringly obvious. He quickly averts his gaze, slaps on a fake smile, and makes a bee-line for Mario and Peach over by the buffet table. The two are smiling and taking turns pointing to something on Mario’s phone. If Luigi didn’t know any better, he’d think their mirth was genuine. They both look up when he draws near. 

“Hey, Luigi!” Mario says jovially. “Come look at this! The princess and I were just working on an itinerary.” 

Luigi robotically steps up to his brother’s side and feigns interest in the images on the phone’s screen. Mario and Peach subtly move closer to him, the former beginning to speak in a hushed tone. 

“Alright bro, we got the lobby all digitally mapped out. How did things go on your end? Can the professor do anything to help us escape?" 

Luigi feels his pseudo smile become strained. 

“Nope.” 

Mario and Peach's cheery expressions falter imperceptibly. 

“Oh…” Peach says quietly. “Are we too far away for him to reach us?” 

Luigi’s smile turns into a grin that borders on manic. 

“Nope! E. Gadd is actually really close by,” he replies with a hint of hysteria. “In fact, he’s on one of the floors above us.” 

Horror briefly flashes across their faces, and Luigi has to give them both kudos for not dropping their cheerful charade altogether. 

“He’s here?!” Mario whisper-yells while somehow maintaining a smile. “Does he know it’s a trap?” 

Luigi has to bite down on his tongue to keep himself from laughing nervously. 

“Oh, I’m sure he does. A ghost was the one who answered his phone—thank the Stars  they didn’t check the caller ID. They thought I was a telemarketer.” 

“How do you know it’s one of the ghosts in this hotel?” Peach asks. 

“Sheer dumb luck,” Luigi admits. “I heard one of the ghosts in the background mention a woman they referred to as mistress Gravely.” When all he gets are blank looks, he holds up his invitation. “Look at the signature.” 

They wordlessly comply, and Luigi sees the exact moment realization flashes in their eyes. 

“Stars above...” Peach whispers. “They really thought this through.” 

“Yeah,” Mario agrees, “targeting the guy with the ghost-capturing equipment first? That’s...actually really good foresight.” He chances a glance at one of the meandering staff members. “If they had put as much thought and effort into their disguises, we probably would have fallen for their ruse completely.” 

“I guess we should be grateful they’re not fully  competent,” Luigi sighs. 

The trio fall into a brief silence, struggling to maintain their jovial charade. 

“What do we do now?” Peach asks quietly. “We can’t just leave the professor behind.” 

“And we won’t,” Luigi agrees. “I’m going to stay here and find him while the rest of you escape.” 

“What?! Absolutely not!” Mario protests, only just keeping his voice down. “I’m not leaving you to fight all these ghosts on your own, bro, no way!” 

Luigi expects the objection, and though he is touched by his brother’s vehemence, he knows he can’t back down. 

“Mario, I’ve fought ghosts and spirits on my own since the start of my paranormal career. This is my area of expertise, bro, not yours,” he replies firmly, but not unkindly. “Besides, if something goes wrong and we all  get caught, who will save us then?” 

The red-clad plumber opens his mouth to argue, but bites back the words at the last moment. He clearly doesn’t like it, but Mario knows his brother has a point.  

“You’re not abandoning me, Mario,” Luigi continues, sensing his brother’s reluctance. “You’re my back-up. When you get everyone home safely, I need you to go to my house and get my spare Poltergust. Then you can come back and help me finish the job.” 

“Wouldn’t it be safer to come back with us and then return with the Poltergust yourself?” Peach asks. 

“Probably,” Luigi admits, “but there’s no guarantee that the spirits will stay here if we all go. If they pack up shop and leave before we return, we may never be able to find E. Gadd.” 

Neither Peach nor Mario look pleased with this turn of events, but they eventually concede. With a jarring suddenness, they recall they’re supposed to look like excited vacationers, and slap on beaming grins. 

“Alright, what’s the plan, then?” Mario asks. 

“Good question." Luigi points to Mario’s phone. “Let’s look through the pictures you took and see what we can come up with." 

Mario nods and flips back to the beginning of his phone’s gallery. As he slowly cycles through the photos, Luigi quietly commends his brother and Peach on their thoroughness. Mario hadn’t been kidding when he said they “mapped out" the lobby. There were pictures of the front desk, the staircases, the hotel entrance, the lounge, and just about every area in between. Luigi frowns when he sees the picture of the elevator on the far side of the lobby. The lift and the door leading (presumably) to the stairwell are blocked by idling spirits.  

“That could be a problem," Luigi mutters. 

“I don’t see an easy way to slip around them," Mario agrees. “Your best bet is to get them to abandon their post." 

They continue to swipe through the gallery, pausing occasionally for a more detailed inspection of the images. As the fruitless scrolling drags on, Luigi starts to lose hope that they’ll find anything of use. He’s about to call it quits until his brother flips to a picture of one of the tables piled high with bouquets and (empty) presents. 

“Wait! Let me get a better look at that picture." 

The red-clad plumber obediently halts their browsing. Mario and Peach watch patiently as Luigi stares down at the excessive stack of gifts. An idea slowly begins to form in his mind. The flowers...all that paper and cardboard... 

It would make excellent kindling. 

The pseudo smile on Luigi’s face abruptly turns genuine. Mario immediately picks up on his shift in demeanor. 

“I take it you thought of something?” Mario asks knowingly. 

“I have,” Luigi affirms. “It will give all of you a reason to leave the hotel without rousing suspicion, and should divert enough attention to allow me to sneak into the elevator.” He gestures to the pile of gifts in the picture. “Mario, I’m going to need you to find a way to start a fire without being seen.” 

Despite the grimness of their predicament, Mario looks decidedly thrilled with the idea. 

“Oh, it would be my pleasure.” 

Peach is considerably less thrilled. 

“Isn’t that dangerous? And don’t elevators lock down during fires as a safety precaution?” 

“Everything about our situation is dangerous,” Luigi sighs wearily, “and something tells me this place isn’t up to code in the safety department, so the elevator should still function. Even if it doesn’t, I’ll just take the stairs.” 

The princess nods softly, conceding the point. 

“Alright...how do you intend to find the professor?” 

Luigi hadn’t thought that far ahead. He is fumbling to find something to say to placate the others when he feels something nudge insistently at his leg. Luigi looks down to find his loyal canine watching him almost expectantly. He blinks dumbly at the spirit. In all the, err, excitement, the Polterpup had completely slipped his mind. 

“Pepper will lead me to him,” Luigi answers confidently. He leans over and scratches the pup’s head. “Good timing, boy.” 

The Polterpup has an unusual knack for that sort of thing, he’s noticed. 

The conversation becomes a bit circular after that, the trio going over the plan several times to make sure everyone knew their part. Peach was going to call the Toads over to the center of the lobby so they had a clear shot to the exit. Mario was going to walk around the lavish present pile and create a spark somewhere out of the hotel staff’s line of sight. Meanwhile, Luigi and Pepper will be over in the lounge area by the elevator doing...something. Admiring the décor? Doesn’t matter as long as he doesn’t draw attention to himself. 

Eventually, the group starts to split-off—doing so gradually so as to not rouse suspicion. Peach is the first to leave. She offers Luigi a quick hug and wishes him luck before daintily making her way over to the meandering Toads. The brothers chat quietly about arbitrary things for several minutes. When Luigi deems that he’s waited long enough, he bids his brother goodbye, but not without the two sharing a bone-crushing hug. 

“Be careful, Luigi,” Mario says quietly as they pull apart. 

“You too, bro. We’ll make it through this; I know we will.” 

Mario nods, struggling to keep his expression from becoming grave. 

“I’ll be back to get you as soon as I can.” 

And with that, Luigi departs. The walk to the lounge area feels far too long, and Luigi swears every single staff member is watching him with intense scrutiny. He reinforces his feigned smile and offers a friendly wave to one of employees as he passes. Luigi stops at a console table topped with tea cups and two pitchers of what he assumes is more tea. The green-clad plumber absently pours himself a cup, hyper aware of the disguised spirit idling a few paces to his right. He can feel their gaze boring into him. Steaming cup in hand, Luigi steps back and pretends to admire the painting on the wall above the console table.  

“Everything to your liking so far, sir?” 

Luigi flinches imperceptibly at the question. He turns to the employee with a smile. The spirit is holding a tray loaded with refreshments. 

“Yes, thank you,” he replies. Then, unable to help himself, “It’s almost too good to be true.” 

The hotel staff member chuckles to themselves. 

“You have no idea,” they murmur, and Luigi is pretty sure he wasn’t meant to hear that. 

“No,”  he retorts mentally. You have no idea.”  

“What was that?” Luigi asks aloud, feigning ignorance. 

“Nothing!” the spirit says quickly. “Uh, I mean...would you like to try our selection of beverages?” 

Luigi slowly blinks back at them. Then, without breaking eye contact, takes a long swig of his tea. He feels a modicum of satisfaction when the staff member’s confident posture begins to waiver. 

“Sure,” he says at last. “What do you have?” 

Oddly enough, the disguised spirit seems taken aback by his question. Did they not expect anyone to take them up on their offer? 

“We...uh...we have...coffee?” They look down at their tray, as if searching for answers (or a script). “and...uh...tea?”  

Luigi, almost pointedly, takes another sip of his tea. The spirit cringes. 

“...water...?” they finish weakly. 

A small part of Luigi actually feels a little bad for making the spirit uncomfortable, but then he remembers their malevolent intentions for bringing him here. Still, he grants the staff member a sliver of mercy. 

“What kind of tea?” 

Luigi realizes too late that his question actually made things more  difficult. If spirits could perspire, the staff member would undoubtedly be sweating bullets.  

“Err..." They look between Luigi, their tray, and the staircase by the front desk. “Let me go check..." 

Luigi watches them awkwardly hobble away to (presumably) the kitchen. Any guilt he feels for harassing the employee is dwarfed by the giddy realization that he had inadvertently reduced the number of staff members in the lobby. It could very well make a positive difference in his plan with Mario and Peach. 

Speaking of... 

The green-clad plumber turns toward the stack of gifts on the other side of the lobby. Sure enough, he sees his brother walking away from the future bonfire with a distinctly pleased look on their face. Mario glances Luigi’s way as he casually strolls back to the buffet table. When their eyes meet, Mario smiles and offers his brother a thumbs up. Luigi nods in acknowledgement. He takes a sip of his tea, finishing off his beverage as he spares the Princess a subtle glance. She is currently chatting with the Toads beneath the lobby’s extravagant chandelier. Everyone is in position. 

Well, almost everyone.  

Luigi partially refills his cup and moves over to the sitting area, Pepper trailing happily behind him. He plops down on a purple, chesterfield-esque couch, sitting so he is looking out into the lobby. Luigi sighs with thinly veiled dread, but with how his body sinks into the plush cushions, it probably sounds more like relief. The green-clad plumber takes a half-hearted sip of his drink and turns his head back toward his brother. Mario is munching on a slice of cake as he nonchalantly peers about the room. Their eyes meet yet again. Luigi nods lightly for a final time. 

He was ready. 

Mario returns the nod. The red-clad plumber quickly finishes the rest of his cake and turns back to the table, pretending to peruse it for another treat. Luigi watches as his brother feigns to grab a pastry, only to turn the action into what could be described as a coaxing gesture. Unseen, the fledgling flame Mario had planted under the assortment of packages begins to respond to their call. 

Luigi knows what’s about to come next, but he still finds himself recoiling when the stack of packages and flowers violently erupt into flames.  In seconds, the decorative assortment has become a towering inferno. 

Mario might have gone a tad  overboard.  

Luigi isn’t sure who sounds the alarm, but the response is near-instantaneous. Suddenly all available staff are rushing around the lobby, flailing in their efforts to find something to put out the blaze. Luigi slides off the sofa and crouches behind it as the spirits blocking the elevator dash away from their posts. He peers over the cushions, making sure all attention is on the unfolding catastrophe. His eyes catch a flash of red by the front entrance. Luigi watches, relieved, as Mario ushers Peach and the Toads out the massive double doors. The red-clad plumber pauses in the threshold, looking back and spotting Luigi’s partially hidden head peeking out at him. He shoots Luigi a determined nod, and without further hesitation, disappears out the door. 

Luigi feels a weight lift from his shoulders when the door shuts behind his brother. They were out of harm’s way—now he can focus on his daunting rescue mission. With one last (admittedly longing) look at the hotel’s front entrance, the green-clad plumber turns and darts out from his hiding place—making a bee line for the elevator. 

“Sir! Where are you going?!” 

Luigi nearly trips as he comes to a startled halt. He whips around to find none other than the bellhop heading his way. 

Oh, come on! 

Steward’s shouted inquiry finally registers. Panicked, he yells back the first excuse he can think of. 

“Bathroom!” 

Nailed it. 

Luigi doesn’t wait for any response. He turns and sprints after the Polterpup, watching as the latter leaps through the closed elevator doors. Luigi is frantically pressing the lift’s call button when he feels something grab his free arm—the bellhop has caught up with him. 

“Sir, there is a fire  in the lobby!” the spirit informs him redundantly. “The elevator isn’t safe!” 

“Oh, like you actually care about my well-being,”  Luigi thinks sardonically. 

His irritation turns to panic as Steward starts to pull him away from the elevator. Luigi’s panic only increases when the lift’s doors part with a quiet whoosh. He looks between the insistent spirit and the awaiting cabin with an openly frantic expression. What can he do to make the bellhop go away?! He needs to say something! Anything! 

“Your mask is terrifying!” 

Not that!  

It was an incredibly stupid thing to say, and Luigi can feel his carefully constructed façade crumble around him. Still, the thoughtless exclamation has the desired effect. Steward recoils as if struck, releasing the plumber’s arm in complete shock. On some bizarre impulse, Luigi leaps up and tears off the bellhop’s mask, revealing Steward’s startled face underneath. As he suspected, they are indeed a ghost, and infinitely less scary than their disguise. Following another strange impulse, Luigi reels back and chucks the mask as hard as he can across the room. 

“Never wear it again!” he shouts, somewhat manically. 

And with that, the momentary madness is flushed from Luigi’s system. He turns and leaps the rest of the distance into the awaiting elevator, stumbling into a roll as he lands. Luigi gracelessly rights himself and slams the “close door" button with more force than what is entirely necessary. The last thing Luigi sees before the elevator doors shut is the slack-jawed expression of the bellhop staring after him. Then, all is quiet, the distant sound of panicking spirits replaced by atmospheric music pumping gently through the cabin’s old speakers. 

Luigi heaves a deep sigh of relief. That could have gone...better, but it also could have gone infinitely worse.   

The plumber startles when the elevator begins to move. Belatedly, he realizes he never selected a floor. Luigi looks over to the array of buttons and spies Pepper sitting below a single, glowing button—B1, it reads. The Polterpup had selected the basement?  

“Pepper! What are you doing?!” he exclaims, rushing over to the panel. “The professor is on one of the floors above us!” 

Luigi’s hands hover over the buttons with panic, but are stilled by uncertainty. There are over a dozen floors to choose from. Which one could the professor possibly  be on? Now that he thought about it, how did he even expect Pepper to track the old scientist through the elevator? By smelling the buttons?  

He really didn’t think this through. 

Before Luigi can blindly select another floor, the elevator reaches the basement, announcing its arrival with a soft ding. Luigi quickly presses up against the wall as the doors slide open, trying to keep hidden in case there were any other “employees” meandering about. After waiting a couple beats, the plumber dares to take a peek outside of the cabin. 

It’s dark, the basement, but not so much Luigi can’t get a gist of his surroundings. Sparse furniture and potted plants line the walls, their details blurred by shadows and faintly greyed with dust. Two dull light fixtures hang from the ceiling. Judging by the plethora of cobwebs coating the glass casings, Luigi has a feeling the chandeliers haven’t seen much use beyond offering shelter to creeping arachnids. It’s all a stark contrast to the lavish lobby he had just come from. He supposes it would be rather superfluous to tidy up the place when no mortals were supposed to see it. 

Luigi’s surveillance is cut short by his spectral canine when they casually trot past him and out into the gloom. The plumber hesitantly follows, quietly wishing he had his flashlight (and distantly lamenting the loss of his luggage altogether). Pepper leads him down a dreary hallway lined with paintings and the occasional flickering light fixture. Dusty piping and air vents trail along the ceiling like rusty metal veins. Spiders and rats skitter among them, the scraping of rodent claws causing Luigi to flinch more than once during his slow trek through the basement. A cacophonous crash to his right has the plumber nearly leaping out of his skin. He is relieved (though mildly embarrassed) to see it was only a painting that had fallen off its hook.  

In a haunted hotel... 

Luigi increases his pace, suddenly paranoid. Surely, if it had been a ghost’s doing, they would have revealed themselves by now? The plumber isn’t given the chance to over-think it. Pepper abruptly leaps through the wall at his right, and for a brief moment, Luigi is afraid the pup has gotten side-tracked by one of the many pests infesting the shabby hallway. That’s when he sees a metal door just a few paces ahead of where the canine disappeared. He cautiously approaches it, giving the door a quick inspection for any ghostly traps. Finding none, he gingerly tests the handle, sighing with relief when it gives with no resistance. Luigi thanks the Stars that it’s unlocked. With a hint of trepidation, he quietly eases open the door.  

And finds himself in a parking garage. 

The plumber doesn’t know what he was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t this. Why has Pepper led him here of all places? Somehow, he doubts this is where the spirits are keeping E. Gadd. 

An excited bark draws Luigi’s attention to the right, and he turns just in time to glimpse a flash of white dashing down the lot. Luigi wastes no time in following, quietly thankful that the garage is significantly more illuminated than the hallway. As he goes, Luigi can’t help but notice all the suitcases strewn about the pavement and the occasional parked vehicle. Did these belong to the spirits? Or were there more mortals being held captive? Luigi desperately hopes it’s the former.  

The plumber quickly reaches the end of the lot, and it is only then that he realizes he had lost track of Pepper. Fortunately, the issue is short lived, as a moment later, Luigi hears a muffled bark coming from a faded red antique car. A really familiar  antique car. 

Is that...? 

Luigi nearly sprints the remaining distance. Spoked wheels? Open carriage? There is no doubt about it—it’s the professor's car. He skids to a stop by the vehicle’s hood, where the barking seems to be emanating from, and reaches to open it. Before he can so much as lay a finger on the finish, Pepper leaps out from their hiding place and knocks him to the floor with an excited bark.  

The plumber groans tiredly as the spectral canine nudges him back to his feet and darts back to the car. Luigi watches, gobsmacked, as the pup very clearly points at the car’s hood with their tail. He steps up to the vehicle and carefully opens the hood. Any sort of reprimand for the pup’s hyper behavior dies in the man’s throat when he sees what’s inside. 

The Poltergust. 

Well, a  Poltergust, anyway. Luigi doesn’t recognize the model—it must be new—but that didn’t matter to the plumber in the slightest. He has the very tool he needs to protect himself and save the professor from the conniving spirits that lured them to this hotel. Things were finally looking up. 

Luigi slides his arms through the capturing device’s shoulder straps, the Poltergust settling easily onto his back. Luigi nearly sighs with relief at the familiar weight—its presence a tremendous comfort after the blind uncertainty he’s felt since he first laid eyes on the bellhop’s creepy mask. A sudden giddiness has the plumber dancing in place. He punctuates his little celebration by striking a pose, not caring in the least how silly he must look. The man had just been given hope in a seemingly hopeless situation—he was allowed to be a dork for a moment. 

“Alright, Pepper," Luigi says, brandishing the Poltergust’s nozzle, “let’s test this baby out."