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Sleight of Hand (8/10)

Title: Sleight of Hand
Characters: Seven, Ace, Romana, Original
Word Count: 2361
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
Part Six
Part Seven



Sleight of Hand


VIII

Three guards escorted Vivien and Morgaine to the tower cells, one on either side, one in back. The one in the rear forced their prisoners along with his swordpoint. "C'mon you two! Get moving!"

Morgaine walked between the guards to the cell. As soon as we see the Princess I'll take care of these fools.

Vivien walked up the steps to the tower dungeon, glaring back at the guard that prodded her. She glanced over at Morgaine. That may be a bit difficult, seeing as the Princess isn't in the tower. Now what?

The first guard went to open the door to the cells but it opened on its own. He rushed in and ssaw the cells were empty. A second guard raised the cry. "Alarm! Alarm! Prisoners have escaped!"

Vivien reached the top of the stairs and crossed into the dungeon just as the guard found there was no one in the cells. "So much for King Adam's flawless guard," she said with a smirk.

"I wonder who has escaped?"

The guard in charge of prisoner detail looked about. "Where is the sentry posted here?" he demanded.

"I don't know. I've not seen him since this morning," answered one of the other guards.

"He will most likely be dismissed for abandonning his post. Don't let that happen to you. Keep an eye on these two and make sure the cell is securely locked. I will inform the captain and His Majesty." He left for the stairs.

Vivien and Morgaine were shoved into the cells by the remaining guards. Prepare to fly away, Morgaine warned Vivien as she smiled and palmed a crystal.

Arcanus burst into the dungeon from the opposite side just after the soldiers left, Moriarty following. The latter looked about and mumbled to himself, "Never really liked these places."

Arcanus searched the cells with his eyes but saw no one other than Vivien and Morgaine. "Where did the others go?" he asked the guard who remained as sentry.

"They were empty when we arrived with these two, Majesty," he answered humbly.

In the cell, the crystal in Morgaine's hand shattered and sent up heavy yellow smoke causing Morgaine and Vivien to take on the appearances of two Mind Candies. Come on, if Moriarty has escaped the Romana probably has as well. Quick, to the TARDIS

Arcanus cried out in rage which was mirrored in his eyes. "I nearly had her!" He soon looked a bit perplexed. "What's that sound?"

Moriarty looked into the cell. "What are those things?"

Arcanus looked into the cell. "They look like hornets or bees of some sort. Where did the two crones go?"

"Morgaine is talented in the art of illusion, sire," Moriarty told him.

Arcanus raised an eyebrow. "Oh, is that so?"

The guard saw the insects in the cell. "Mind Candies! Very dangerous and deadly!"

Morgaine laughed. Well we are dangerous and deadly.

Arcanus approached the bees and caught one. "Sire, no!" cried the guard.

Arcanus held the bee in his hand by its legs. "Ha ha ha. Nice trick...crone."

Morgaine stung Arcanus. Now that interferring fool will see this is no mere illusion.

Arcanus remains unaffected. "Nice try."

What? Why isn't this mortal affected? We have real poison.

Moriarty looked between Arcanus and Morgaine. "Can you bypass this illusion? Counteract it or something?"

Arcanus put Morgaine in a jar and tightened the lid. "I'm sure she'll enjoy this. When she decides to DNA transmute back, She'll find it a tight squeeze."

Moriarty grinned. "Very...fitting."

Arcanus put the jar on the table then turned to Vivien. "I assume you don't wish the same to happen to you. Find those escaped prisoners, especially the woman Trav, or your friend here will be given a dose of a new invention called Raid."

Vivien thought on the proposition. I don't care about Morgaine, but I need her tracking ability to find the segments. if she gets killed... She flew in a circular motion signifying agreement. Morgaine read Vivien's thoughts and filed them away for later.

"Very good. Very good."

"You understand that?" questioned Moriarty.

"I understand plenty, Moriarty. Plenty."

Morgaine realized that he thought much too much for any mere mortal.

Vivien changed back to human form. "I will do as you say. just do not harm my.. friend."

"Good move. Smart one, too. Go then. Find Trav.. Kill the others any way you wish but bring back Trav alive." Vivien nodded and left the tower. Arcanus picked up the jar and stared at the little purple bee. "What do you want to bet? 10 gil says that she tries to betray me...and you? Hm? Well, either way, you better hope she doesn't."

Perceptive little human... no, definitely not human thought Morgaine.

Arcanus handed the jar to Moriarty. "Don't break it, all right? It's my insurance."

Moriarty wondered if he hadn't traded one type of servitude for another. He peered into bottle. "So, how do you like it?" He held the jar at arm's length. "Not lettin' you out of my sight." He then followed Arcanus.

Arcanus started to leave the room, passing by the purturbed sentry who saw the whole thing. He stopped and looked into the sentry's eyes. "You saw nothing unusual here. Everything apart from the missing prisoners is as it should be. Understood?"

The guard nodded blankly. "Understood King Adam, my leige."

"You are good at that. I need to work on some finesse," commented Moriarty.

"Now, let's go to do some planning, my friend," he said as he put a friendly arm around Moriarty.

"As you wish, majesty." The two left the tower.

**************************************************************************

Chenny swatted at the bees with his halberd then threw it down, grabbed the King and ran. Ace abandoned her spot by the cart and ran after the others.

Jenna caught up to the Doctor. "A TARDIS, hunh? What's that, a new defence mechanism?"

"That's not funny." The Doctor looked over his shoulder. "I wonder if they have the same weaknesses as bees..."

"No time, there's too many to fight here. Stupid me. Stupid." Trav ran.

"Man, we can't outrun these," said Alan as he flicked one off his leather jacket before it could sting him. "We're done for, man!"

"Wish I had a can of bug spray on me," muttered Ace.

Chenny, seeing that Adam had passed out, wrapped a cloak about him. Trav pulled her jacker up over her head.

"So, soldier man," asked Ace, "how do we stop these things? Just swat at them with rolled up newspapers?"

"Bees hate water. Any water nearby, Chenney?" panted Jenna.

"I remember a stream somewhere,"put in Trav. "I don't know right now. It's kind of hard to think clearly when you're running from angry bees."

Chenny answered between pants. "Creek...over...hill. It runs... into a fish pond."

"Lead on," declared the Doctor. "We just need to be able to submerge to let them pass over."

"Sounds good enough. Just point the direction," added Ace.

"Follow...me." Chenny blazed a trail through the bush

The Doctor and Jenna picked up speed and followed Chenney. Ace, Roderan, and Alan followed with Trav taking up the rear, not knowing that a bee got under her jacket.

Unaware of the many Mind Candies clinging to the chainmail on his back, Chenney splashed into the creek. "This way... towards the pond."

"Hey you!" called Ace. "You've got somethin' nasty on your back!"

Alan knocked them off Chenny with his jacket sleeve. "Damn, these things are like killer bees or something..

"Forget tryin' to define them, we're almost there!" called Ace.

"Hurry! I must save the King." Chenney could feel the stingers penetrating the links in his mail. "The pond."

Alan knocked more off Chenney.

"Alan, take Adam and let Chenney go under," directed the Doctor. "The water should kill them!"

Chenney turned over protection of the King to Alan then turned to see giants beating him with maces. He splashed about, swinging an imaginary halberd at his "giants". "Die, beastiess, die!"

As Alan took him, Adam slowly came 'round and looked about. "Good. The pond. Use the mud."

"Of course!" exclaimed the Doctor. "As soon as you can, smear yourself with the mud."

Ace came to the pond, put on a burst of speed, and did a cannon ball into the water. "First one in!"

Jenna lept into the water and stayed under until her lungs were about to burst.

Trav brought up the rear. "Hurry!" She was stung several times by the same bee. "Oww Ow Ooooowww! Dammit!" She jumped into the water, hopefully drowning the bee in the process. She sat on the bottom of the pond in a daze, her respitory Bypass engaged.

Alan, who had been smearing mud on Adam looked up at Trav's cry. "Trav? Oh man, she's been stung too!" Once he saw that Adam was taken care of, he dove underwater holding his breath.

The Doctor slowly submerged and watched as the swarm soon passed over. Once it was clear, he signaled the others.

Jenna splashed quickly to the surface and took deep breaths of air. Ace resurfaced enough for her eyes to show above the water, looked around and stood up. She spit out a mouthful of water then took a deep breath.

Chenney was feeling the effects of the Mind Candies. He splashed onto land and tried to strangle a tree. "You'll never harm the King while I live!" He slid down the trunk. Falling back on his back, he saw the trees dance around him before it all faded to black.

Trav came up and took a breath. "Times like this I'm glad I'm a hy-.. Chenny!" She splashed out of the water quickly, and strode soggily towards Chenny.

The Doctor saw Chenney. "We need to get him treated quickly before it advances. How long does he have, Trav?" He emerged from the pond and, except for being wet, his outfit looked the same.

A little peeved at being ignored Jenna took on a sarcastic tone. "I'm fine, thanks. How about you, Ace?"

"Nothing that a good dry clean wouldn't fix. Now, how's that soldier bloke doing?"

Alan rose from the pond, stopped to help Adam and the two joined the others as they stood over Chenney. "How is he?"

"He's unconsious now," said Trav. "He'll be ok, if he got stung by one or two. How many stung him?"

"I think we'll need to get his mail off to find out," said Jenna.

"Trav, man.. there were over 10 on his back."

Trav looked worried. "Ok, let's remove his mail." She helped to turn Chenny over and unlace his mail. She pulled it away from his back. "Oh crap."

"It shouldn't look all red like that, right?" queried Ace.

Trav just shook her head, lost for words.

Jenna knelt beside Trav. "Let me see. We need something to draw out the poison."

"How? Looks like he's got over 20 of those red spots," commented Ace.

Chenney, face down in the dirt could smell wet leaves and remembered his father taking him fishing. He also heard distorted voices in the distance and wondered what they were talking about.

"Are there any stingers still lodged in his skin?"

Alan ran his hand over Chenny's feverish skin. "No, I don't feel any."

"Damn! I was never good with herbal remedies and poultices."

"We have to get him to a TARDIS. I could probably come up with an antivemom," said Trav. She absently rubbed the places she was stung.

"But where is the damn thing? That's what we came in here to find in the first place!" Alan couldn't contain himself.

"If only it were that easy every time," said the Doctor.

Trav leaned against a tree to think. "What to do... We've got roughly 2 hours before Chenny passes the point of no return. We can't even find the blasted TARDIS we set out to look for, and my barings have been completely lost. Any suggestions, Theta?"

The Doctor thought for a moment. "We could risk returning to the castle for an antivenom but that would lead us right back to the cells."

"Yeah," said Alan, "and that dude won't be the easiest to carry stealthily."

"And of course they've discovered we're gone at this point," added Jenna.

"So, sounds like we'll hafta find somewhere else to hole up," said Ace. "Doesn't look like this place has any convenience stores anywhere nearby."

"Stupid! Stupid! It was me that caused all this. I thought that that tree was the TARDIS. Stupid!" Trav hit the tree in frustration. "Ow."

"I wouldn't continue abusing the trees right now, Trav," said the Doctor dryly.

Trav gave the Doctor a sideways glare.

What if we send in a raiding party?" suggested Jenna. "Only two or three to get the stuff."

"If we send in a raiding party, I'm going, as I got poor Chenney into this," declared Trav

"I'm going too," said Alan.

"You'll need some muscle, so I'll join you, too." Ace would not be left out of a raid.

Trav scratched her stings. "Weird, I'm not tripping."

Adam turned to Trav. "You know where the stillroom is, Trav, and the apothocary?"

Trav nodded. "I know where most of the places in the Castle are. I've visited you enough times over the years."

The Doctor felt better about that. "Good. And Ace? Don't blow up anything."

"Aww..." Ace kicked a stone. "I...won't, Professor. Unless I need to," she muttered.

'Well.. we've got around 2 hours. So.. We'd better get busy.'

"We'll try and keep Chenney comfortable and cool," said Jenna. "Perhaps that mud'll help."

Trav reached into her pants pockets. "Here's some aspirin. I can't take it myself, but maybe It'll lessen his fever." She tossed them to Jenna.

Jenna caught them one-handed. "Thanks."

Alan looked at Trav in surprise. "You can't take aspirin?"

"Nope, gripes my stomach something awful." She winked. "Let's go, you two." She started off. "We'll see you all later," she called back over her shoulder.

"Be careful!" warned the Doctor.

"Take care. Don't bring back any unexpected guests!" shouted Jenna.

"Godspeed," Adam called.

"You be careful as well," said Trav with a wave.

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