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Sleight of Hand (6/10)

Title: Sleight of Hand
Characters: Seven, Ace, Romana, Original
Word Count: 1674
Rating: PG
Summary: The Doctor, Ace and Jenna continue to search for the Key to Time
FollowsCuriouser and Curiouser
Notes: OK, this is yet another story version of a sim done by "Dr Who & Co". This follows "Curiouser and Curiouser". This one is a bit long, but you can blame the same folks : ) Enjoy!. This was first posted on FFN on 3/26/02

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five



Sleight of Hand



VI

Alan looked at Adam and then at Trav. "So he's the genuine article, huh?"

Trav nodded. "It sure would explain a lot of things."

The Doctor rested his chin on his umbrella. "Indeed, but perhaps he can explain more...like what happened to him?"

A rat scampered out from under the king's tattered robes and across the dirty dungeon. Adam watched it without emotion. "Hm?" He looked at the Doctor.

"He doesn't look in too good a shape, Professor," said Ace as she held out a cup of water for the king.

Adam slowly sipped more water and smiled tiredly at Ace. "Thank you."

The Doctor looked over the King. "Dehydration, malnutrition," he frowned, "and it looks like some fiend has been asking questions that he wouldn't answer."

"Oh, no worries," said Trav as she looked at the Doctor and smiled. "He's a strong guy. He'll be fine.. if we can get out of here." She turned to her friend. "Adam, do you have any idea who that guy is down there that's taken your place? He looks just like you, a twin brother, perhaps?"

"No. You know how high we hold the value of hospitality. He was a traveler and he was invited in for a meal. He seemed rather nice, talkative, and we drank some wonderful local wines..." He smiled at the memory.

"So he wasn't your twin."

"Must be a majorly good disguise to have fooled everyone, man," commented Alan.

"Somehow, when my back was turned, he must have put something in it. I woke up here."

"Creep. He drugged you and stuffed you up here?" Ace was disgusted.

"Never the less..." The Doctor patted through his pockets, pulling out a yo-yo, a recorder, handing all to Ace. Finally, he pulled out a small jar. He opened the jar and applied ointment to the King's wounds.

"Can you tell me what he looked like? Before you ended up here?" questioned Trav. She listened as Adam described his visitor.

Alan listened also. Once the king finished the description, he turned to Trav. "That guy sounds like that dude that's made a lot of trouble for you."

Trav held her head in her hands. "Oh man. Arcanus. Just what we need."

The Doctor finished applying the ointment. "There, that should do it." He took his items back from Ace. "Thank you Ace." He replaced them all except for the yo-yo, which he began to use.

"Professor?" Ace stared at the yo-yo accusingly. "Go on. Just ignore him. Sometimes the Doctor has his own weird way of doing things," she told the others.

"Ah, still works. Definitely positive gravity." The Doctor smiled. The smile vanished as he looked at the King. "And where is your other guest?"

"The princess? She is in one of the best rooms and always with servants. They know she is here for her safety."

"That's probably why the bilge bag abducted you. To get the princess."

"Hypnosis, drugs...any number of ways," commented the Doctor. He turned to Trav. "You know this Arcanus, what do you think he's used?"

"Probably a bit of both hypnosis and drugs. He's got the ability to alter people's perceptions."

"He must have brought in some men of his own, or told them that I was an imposter. Why else would my people leave me here?"

"I'm sure they do sire. But do they know you aren't you, eh?"

"The Shadow knows," said Jenna in a spooky voice. She looked around embarrassed when no one else got the reference.

Trav smiled at Jenna's comment before continuing the discussion. "For all I know, they probably think that the king here looks like Arcanus, and Arcanus as Adam sent him up here for trying to poison the king. My, that sounded convoluted."

"Hmm..." The Doctor put up the yo-yo. "It would seem the first order of business is to discover how Arcanus has deceived the King's subjects, then a way to counteract it."

"Grab Arcanus and stick him up here in chains, I say," put in Ace.

"It's not like he grabs someone and says, 'I'm Arcanus, and you will obey me'. He's more subtle and conniving," commented Trav.

"'I am the Master, you will obey me,'" muttered the Doctor.

"Don't even joke about that, Professor."

The Doctor flipped his hat down his arm and smiled. "Sorry, Ace, not joking. But don't see why I can't try a page from my old Nemesis's book."

"You say this man is here to get the princess and that the two of you have a history?" questioned Adam. "Does he know who she is or is he doing this because of you?"

Ace looked to Trav for an answer.

"My guess is he's solely looking for the princess. However, I made it a bit more convenient for him... blast my mind."

"So why is he after the princess?" questioned Ace.

"Why didn't I think of the fact that his TARDIS could have tracked the segment to the Key to Time?" Trav sighed.

"The key to what?" Alan felt very out of the loop.

Ace feigned superiority. "The Key to Time, silly. Aren't you listening?"

Jenna was startled to hear Trav remark about the Key. "What do you know about that?"

"Yeah. This weird guy visited me. Dressed all in white sitting in a deck chair drinking a Piña Colada. Weird dude. Wanted me to save the princess at all costs. He said I should never suffer letting the princess get into evil hands."

"Were you trippin' Trav?"

"Alan, I wasn't 'tripping' as you so eloquently call it."

The Doctor was startled. "The Key?" A smile soon spread across his face. "The key to the key is a key. If we can get the jailor to come to the door, I could try a little mesmerism and perhaps undo this Arcanus's control."

"Sounds cool, Theta. My hypnosis is a bit rusty."

"Haven't practiced a lot myself, but it did work at the school when we ran across the Daleks."

"I've seen Holmes do it a few times so perhaps you use a different method," put in Jenna.

Adam slumped back against the wall. "Whatever we can do must be done quickly. We have to save my people and the princess."

"One thing," whispered Trav mostly to herself, "Arcanus hasn't seen me since I regenerated. I may have the advantage of looking like a harmless putz."

Ace went to the door. "Leave it to me, Professor. I'll get the guard in here." She banged on the door. "Oi! Guard! Yeah, you. You better get in here! Your prisoner is about to take a leap out the window!"

Alan joined in. "Yeah, man! He's goin' postal!"

They heard footsteps as the guard approached the cell. The Doctor pinched his nose then walked to the grating. "Hello." He stared. "Can you see the problem?"

He peered through the grate in the door to see a little man staring back at him. "No, I don't see anything. Pipe that girl down in here."

"Look closely, don't let the shadows confuse you," the Doctor whispered softly.

"If she doesn't keep quiet... I'll... I'll..." He lost his train of thought in little man's dark eyes.

"You did it Professor," whispered Ace.

The Doctor knew it was just the beginning. "That's it. See clearly."

"Good going, Doctor," whispered Trav.

The guard began to sway, his vision blurred then slowly refocused. He blinked then spotted his king inside the dungeon. "Your Majesty!"

The Doctor rubbed eyes. "I wonder how the Master does that without getting a headache."

Trav got up. "Um...may I ask why you have imprisoned King Adam of Caravel, along with his most trusted friend? And any friends of mine are friends of his." She smiled.

Adam tried to stand by leaning against the wall. Jenna and Roderan rushed over to help him. Trav strode over. "Hang on, Adam. I think things are starting to work out."

"Yeah man. Open the door, now. Chop chop, dude," declared Alan.

The guard hurriedly unlocked and opened the door, sword drawn on the others. "Hold you there!" He kept Alan at bay with his sword.

"Put your sword down, man! These good people are here to help us," Adam told him.

The Doctor hooked the sword blade with his umbrella and lowered it. "Really my good man, don't threaten the King's friends."

"Your majesty, how did these people get you up here? I was on guard the whole time."

"We didn't. In case you didn't notice, we were on that side of the door as well.

"Help you, my liege? You told us these people were traitors."

"The man downstairs is an imposter and has used some magics to make everyone think he is me," Adam informed the guard.

"No," said Trav, "the Imposter king, who was controlling your minds, did."

"He tricked you," added Ace.

"Nay, I am loyal servant. I can't be deceived so easily."

"Now you can help us break his...spell on everyone else," said Jenna.

"And his name's Arcanus," said Trav. She turned to Adam. "He comes from the same place I come from. And him," she said with a nod in the Doctor's direction.

"Then he must be a formidable opponent. Perhaps we should work on the guards and servants before facing him."

The guard nodded in understanding. "What will you have me do, sire?"

The Doctor took the guard's hand and shook it. "Call me the Doctor." The guard stared at the Doctor's hand pumping his as if it is the weirdest gesture he'd ever seen.

Trav waved. "And I'm Trav, and this is Alan."

"Hey," said Alan by way of greeting.

"Oi, Lancelot!" called Ace to get his attention. "I'm Ace."

"This piece of chopped liver over here is Jenna. And the king's other crutch is called Roderan." Roderan nodded.

The guard took in all the names of his king's allies.

"Hmmm, let's cross that drawbridge as we come to it." The Doctor raised his umbrella like a sword. "First, let's save the Princess."

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