On a peaceful rural planet, where the colourful pageantry of old Ruritania mingl es with ultra-modern Android technology, the Doctor becomes a king-maker in spit e of himself. In his search for another segment of the Key to Time, the Doctor m atches wits and swords with the evil Count Grendel--aided, of course, by Romana and the invaluable K9. THE ANDROIDS OF TARA is a novel in the Key To Time Sequen ce. Read THE RIBOS OPERATION and THE STONES OF BLOOD available now. ISBN 0 426 20108 6

DOCTOR WHO AND THE ANDROIDS OF TARA Based on the BBC television serial by David Fisher by arrangement with the Briti sh Broadcasting Corporation TERRANCE DICKS A TARGET BOOK published by The Paperback Division of W. H. Allen & Co. Ltd

A Target Book Published in 1980 by the Paperback Division of W. H. Allen & Co. L td. A Howard & Wyndham Company 44 Hill Street, London W1X 8LB Novelisation copyr ight © 1980 by Terrance Dicks Original script copyright © 1978 by David Fisher `Doct or Who' series copyright © 1978, 1980 by the British Broadcasting Corporation Repr oduced, printed and bound in Great Britain by Cox & Wyman Ltd, Reading ISBN 0 42 6 20108 6 This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way o f trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated withou t the publisher's prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this conditio n being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

CONTENTS 1 The Doctor Goes Fishing 2 Count Grendel 3 The Double 4 The Princess 5 The Prisoner of Gracht 6 The Android King 7 Invitation to an Ambush 8 The Andro id Killer 9 Flag of Truce 10 Count Grendel plans a Wedding 11 Attack by Night 12 Victory

1 The Doctor Goes Fishing The Doctor was playing chess with K9. In the control room of the TARDIS the cent re column of the many-sided console rose and fell. Incredibly intricate machiner y whirred, clicked and hummed speeding, them through the space time continuum to wards their next destination. That destination was now very close, though the Do ctor was too absorbed to realise it. He leaned forward, made his move and starte d the chess clock. K9 shook his head sadly. `Inadvisable, Master.' `What do you mean, inadvisable? I once saw Capablanca win the world championship with that mo ve...' `He lost.' The Doctor stared indignantly down at the dog-like little auto maton. `Who lost?' `Capablanca.' `You're sure?' K9 was a mobile self-powered com puter, and if there was one thing upon which he prided himself it was the accura cy of his data-banks. `I have been programmed with all Earth Championship games since 1886. On the occasion to which you refer, Capablanca lost.' The Doctor sig hed. `I must have missed the end of the game. It's your move, K9.' `King to Knig ht's Two.' `King to Knight's Two? That's a terrible move, weakens the King's sid e. Are you sure K9?' `Affirmative.'

A tall. Master. each po ssible move leading only to disaster. the Key had been split into six segmen ts.' said the Doctor irritably.only I can't seem to think what it is. what are you playing?' `Playing chess.' `Aren't you forgetting somethi ng?' The Doctor brooded over the chessboard. A mysterious and powerful being called the White Guardian had given the Doctor the task of recovering the six segments and reassembling th em into the Key to Time. Armed with this. and started the clock. not upon a series of random adventures. `Doctor. Her name was Romana and she was a Time Lady. scattered to distant parts of the universe. but on one continuous quest. She looked disappr ovingly at the scene before her.' he grumbled. `I know. `Clock. The quest for the Key t o Time--remember?' For once in his long career the Doctor was embarked. Suddenly things seemed to have become extraordinarily difficult. But now the balance of the cosmo s had been disturbed. the white Guardian would be able to re store the balance . you'll spoil my concentration.' `I am referring to our task. I know.The Doctor made K9's move for him. and studied the board. In order to prevent it falling into the wrong hands. the Doctor's companion in recent adventures.' remin ded K9 reprovingly. He was searching fo r the six segments of the giant crystal that formed the Key to Time. Sssh. `Very likely-. of course. K9. you're not supposed to be playing draughts. elegantl y beautiful young woman came into the control room. Doctor. `I think I'd better check your programming .

. The Tracer was a very necessary part of their search.' Roman looked again. and thwart the schemes of the evil Black Guardian to plunge the u niverse into chaos. Mate for K9 in twelve moves. quite right. didn't he.' said Romana briskly. `Shall I check the instrument readings.of the cosmos.' `What about my game?' Romana went over and looked at the bo ard. Sorr y. but at the moment he wanted to forget it. `After all.' . . however.' `Correcti on. D octor?' `Sssh! I'm trying to think.' he said in an aggrieved voice. or unimaginable object... fifteen seconds. `The Guardian did stress the need for urgency. Mistress. She insisted on reminding the Doctor of the importan ce of their mission.' `Apologies not necessary. `Your game is already over. `I just feel we've earned a little break. since the divided segments had the p ower to disguise themselves as almost any imaginable. `We should be materialising in about. I'd much rather p lay chess. A wand-like device called the Tracer was plugged into the navigational circuits. that's all.' `Really?' Romana studied the instrument readings. we've got three of the six segments by now. Romana. had a keen ly developed sense of duty. `Eleven? Yes. Doctor. `A lmost there. Mistress. Eleven moves.' Romana moved across to the console. Doctor. at least for a while. The Doctor was perfectly well aware of all this. Doctor?' `If you must. K9. steering the TARD IS to the part of the universe where the next segment could be found.' The Doctor looked up.

Since the TARDIS was dimensionall y transcendental-. She had acquainted herself with the .bigger on the inside than on the outside--the number of rooms it held was potentially infinite. Neatlyfenced fields. Oxygen atmosphere. `Tara... `Eart h-level gravity. Five. So far Romana had seen only a fraction of the m. eh? Looks like a peaceful enough place. wooded hills--was that a castle on one of them? There was even a river. two. three.' She began checking instrument readings with her usual efficiency.' The central column came to a halt.' Romana's hands were moving over the controls. its clear shallo w waters sparkling in the sunshine. `On the plane t Tara...' `Tara.. eh?' said the D octor thoughtfully. now. meandering peacefully across the countryside. `Materia lisation commencing. Doctor?' The Do ctor looked up in surprise. Doctor?' A r ather guilty expression came over the Doctor's face. `Aren't you going to get ch anged?' Roman gave him a suspicious look.. Temperate climate.`Mate in eleven?' Concentrating hard the Doctor ran all possible moves through h is head. opened a door and went into one of the innumerable rooms adjoining the control room... and then shook it in gloomy agreement. it's all so predictable.. Where are we?' Romana gave him a withering look. and Romana said proudly. He flicked on the scanner and saw an attractive green landsc ape. `Arrived already. don't you.' `Me? You mean us. A thoug htful look came into his eyes. have we? A very creditable landing --for a beginner... It shouldn't give you too much trouble. four. `That's the trouble with chess. `Smooth enough for you.. The Doctor looked hard at the river.

She stopped.' `What i s?' The Doctor pushed aside a medieval battle-axe and a partially-dismantled Mar tian sonic cannon. He was always intending to store the stuff properly or get r id of it. `Tar a. The Doctor.' . or is it forward? That' s the trouble with time travel. Tahiti! Still.. It was a big corner cupboard. with a kind of reel arrangement attached to the butt. and found what he wanted. was rooting through a cupboard in the main control room. He heard Romana's voice behind him. Seizing it triumphantly.. mentally checking off the codings.. can't be far away!' She put the grass skirt back and went on searching.. The reel held fine thread.wardrobe section though. sliding back a door to reveal a long cupboard... and she made her way there now. `Tara? No. She rechecked the coding on the han ger. he came ou t of the cupboard. Romana stared at the contraption in astonishment. meanwhile.. of course. Last t ime I used this. Inside were racks hol ding coats and dresses and costumes of every imaginable period and planet. but never seemed to get round to doing either.' He was holding a long sl ender pole. should be just about here. which was fed through loops attached to the pole. `What are you looking for?' `I know it's here somewhere. and it held an astonishing assortment of junk. `Found it! Gosh this takes me back. `What is it?' `A fishing rod. Roman a walked through the racks. you can never be sure.' She took a hanger from a ra ck and found it held a rustling grass skirt. I went out for the day with old Izaak Walton. costume for Tara. big enough to be a room in itself..

An art.. and returned his att ention to the basket. Fishing-rod over his shoulder.' `Very nice.' He became aware that Romana was looking expectantly at him. Bit of a tangle. do you like it. `Everything's still here . K9?' `Aff irmative.' `You find it. `According to our records it's what everyone's wearing on Tara this year. but I'll soon sort it out.' said the Doctor with. emerging with a basket clammed with a clutter of mysterious-looking equipment. T he effect was rather like the riding costume of an Edwardian lady. `I'm taking the day off. Doctor. the Doctor strode out of th e TARDIS and headed determinedly for the river.' `We haven't got time for you to p ractice.The name of the great fishing writer meant nothing to Romana. it's an art. Mistress. `Where do you think you're going?' `Fishing!' `Another of those stupid sports you pick ed up on Earth?' `Fishing is not stupid. as the Doctor plunged back into the cupboard..' said the Doctor absently. "wort hy the knowledge and practice of a wise man". isn't it. as dear old Izaak used to say. Romana hurried after him.' said the Doctor cheerfully. `And it 's not a sport either. `Well. She watched in ast onishment. We've got to find the fourth segment of the Key to Time.' . dignity. Doctor?' `Like what?' `My ne w outfit' Romana was wearing a flowing coat with wide lapels and a jaunty hat.

paragraph two. do you? Lovely day.' `Does it really say that?' `Look it up!' The Doctor w ent on his way. `Oh. Laws Governing the Conduct of Tim e Lords. It frightens the fish.' Romana tossed h er head. `In my estimation the segment is in that . I shall go by myself. in the way that some people do!' `Who me?' Romana took the unplugged Tr acer from under her coat and listened to its electronic note with an expert ear. such as me. A nd I can tell you this--I shall not get myself involved in things that don't con cern me. Romana hurried after him.`You can't do that!' Romana was horrified at the Doctor's irresponsibility. can't I? Section ninety-three. says that a Time Lord. Doctor. `You don't really want me to go on my own?' `Why not ? I don't see any sign of danger. She pointed to the wood. is entitled to a period of rest and relaxation n ot exceeding fifty years. You're inven ting it!' They were still wrangling when they reached the banks of the river. indeed! Very well. Romana looked down at him. `Frightens the fish. after a journey of more than four hu ndred years and twelve parsecs. `I bet it doesn't at all. beautiful countryside. The walk will do you good. The Doctor sat down with his back against a handy tree and began sorting through his fishing basket. a broad and shallow stream close to the edge of a shady wood.' `Thank you very much!' `Do you mind moving back a littl e? You're casting a shadow on the water.

Be ready to leave. always close by. Gasping. snuffling and breathing heavily. a vaguely dragon-like heraldic beast. The Tracer led her first along the river bank a nd then away from it into the wood. Romana began to run. Suddenly she began to feel u neasy. There was something moving in the undergrowth. she b urst out of the dark woods and into a sunlit clearing. The sounds kept pace. Something that cras hed through the bushes. a few tumbled blocks of stone. yet al ways out of sight. Now all th at remained were the foundations. and not much more than a mile away. He be gan checking through an old tin box full of rusting fish-hooks. To her immense relief. In the centre of the clearing were the traces of some ruined building. The path through the trees was winding and n arrow. and return here in one hour. The thing was trac king her. She ran faster. she came to a ha lt. It began to rise steeply. her fear growing at each second then. and Romana r ealised she was climbing the side of a wooded hill..' said the Doctor absently.. and the statu e. Romana became awar e of a sound.direction. and the canopy of leaves overhead reduced the sunlight to a dim green shade. Suddenly. thrustin g time-blunted claws towards the blue . and faster forcing her way through obstructing branche s and bushes. and it soon became narrower still. and looked around her. I shall go and get it.' `Uh-huh. Perhaps an ancient temple had stood there long ago. Romana gave an i ndignant sniff and marched away. The trees seemed to crowd round her menacingly. It stood on a battered plinth.

The fourth segmen t to the Key to Time was here. Romana gave a smile of satisfaction. Romana reached o ut and touched the plinth of the statue. Romana held out the Tracer and the electronic note rose to maximum pitch. Statue and plinth alike were eroded by weather and time. perhaps? Or.. and Romana whirled round. There was a savage roar. A short walk through the woods. Thi s would show the Doctor how efficient she was. and picked it up. since the segm ents had the power of transmutation. louder now. Hidden in the statue. as some great beast thrust its way through the forest. Nothing happened. perhaps it was the statue. In her excitement. back to the TARD IS and on with the quest for the fifth segment. None of those ridiculous irrelev ant adventures he always got mixed up in. . Then. irregularly shaped chunk of crystal--the fourth segmen t of the Key to Time. Romana had forgot ten the rustling sounds she had heard earlier. a nd she could drag the Doctor away from his silly fishing. There was a blurring and shimmering and suddenly the statue was gone. She touched the statu e itself. The sounds returned. In its place was a large.summer sky. A wild animal rushed towards her out of the woods..

when confronted with the reality of a slavering monster. preparing to charge. Pre sumably it had never seen anything like Romana before.. and it was wondering if s he was dangerous. No.2 Count Grendel The monster was a good eight feet tall--and it walked upright like a man. Romana si dled round the plinth. slavering jaws filled with yellow. it would overhaul her and pull her down. Another. it wasn't so easy. Romana considered making a dash for the woods. trying to get the stone pillar between them. with the nastiest features of all three.. The creature paused. larger. A mixture of bear. ape and boa r. Even i f she did reach the forest. Before joining up with the Doctor she had spent her life in the vast Time Lord city-complex cal led the Capitol. Then she realised it was a man on hor seback. Not that Romana was familiar with th ese Earth animals. Or so it seemed at first. monster appeared from the forest. It threw back its head and gav e a roar of challenge. The horse was richly decorated with ornamental . It had coarse black fur.. S he tried to call upon her Time Lady training in detachment. Romana backed away. the monster would be able to cut her off before she got to the edge of the clearing. But the crea ture sensed her plan and moved sideways with her. She wasn't familiar with animals of any kind. until she was pressed against the plinth.. pointed teeth and a stubby horn projecting from the centre of its forehead.

The horseman drew his sword and advanced to meet i t. The rider halted his horse at the edge of the clearing and dismounted. Something like a battleaxe would be more appr opriate... and Romana saw that this was no ordinary weapon. The swordsman sidestepped a blow from its great slashing paw.. a gorgeous saddle-cloth and a huge elaborate saddle. or better still a good heavy-duty blaster. The monster charged.and the slender metal blade carri ed a powerful energy-charge.. there was a sizzling crackle and a shower of sparks. The creature leaped back with a roar of pain. Romana realised.trappings. There was another shower of sparks and again the monster retreated. reta liating with jab after jab from his sword. The creature swung round to face this new threa t. roaring out its challenge. But it didn't seem strong enough to kill the mons ter. . As it touched the monster. Romana realised the swordsman didn't want to kill the beast. I t was a kind of electro-sword. He wore a military-style uniform not unlike that of a ninete enth-century hussar. it turned and lumbered away into the forest. and it looked terribly light-weight in the face of this ravening monster. the swordsman lunged. it attacke d again. decided Romana. and thrus t again. The rider was ev en more impressive. Before long. slender rapier. using his skill to dodge the murderous claws. The sword was a long. Recovering its courage. It only seemed to be making it angrier. He was pla ying with it amusing himself. the monster had had enou gh. or even stun it. and a plumed helmet. With a last roar of anger and frustration. As she watched the combat.

His darkly handsome face was marred only slightly by a fiercely jutting beak of a nose. I don't think so. I'm sorry if you're someone frightfully important.. you know. Just a bit shaken.`My name? That's rich! Are you damaged?' `No.' `It is. but I'm a str anger round here. There's no harm done. really. broad shouldered and heavily moustached. `No. Romana rubbed the back of her he ad. `T hank you. `Look.' The man sheathed his sword and bowed. Won't you tell me who y ou are?' The man looked at her. `I real ly don't know how to thank you. `Incredible.' Romana decided to put things on a proper social footing. May I know your name?' The man laughed. He stood there. not unless they're frightened in some way. I keep a few of the beasts in my woods--for the hunting.' `Your woods?' . He was tall. He seemed utterly astonished at the sight of Ro mana. My name is Romana. I assure you.' `You're sure your head isn' t injured?' He was still staring into her face.' His voice was deep. but he didn' t reply. That's a pretty name. I don't think so.Sword in hand Romana's rescuer walked towards her.. Tell me. `The fair Romana. and a little hoarse. staring into her face as if he couldn't believe his eyes. a quizzical half smile on his lips. are there many wild animals it like that around here? I under stood Tara was relatively civilised. That creature would have killed me if you hadn't arrived. They don't usually attack anyone.

wincing as pain shot through her ankle..' Before Romana could stop him. The crystal segment of the Key to Time was still resting on its centre. nearby. Will it take long?' `The merest formality.. Romana took a ste p towards him--then stopped. `All this is part of the estate of Gracht--or rath er. `More important. isn't it?' Determined to recover the crystal. What happened to the sta tue?' Romana looked at the empty plinth. `A curiously shap ed stone. Could I have my stone?' `Your ston e?' `I found it. reputed to guard our fortunes.' `And who is that?' `Me! I am Count Grendel. Do you not know the law? It is decreed that all minerals. part icularly unusual ones like this. what was left. The man rea ched out to steady her. Knight of Gracht.or at least. must be registered with the Knight of Castle Gr acht. `I've no idea. taking hold of her arm.' `It's nothing. Could I have it back. of course. Is it important?' The man frowne d.' `Registered?' `Yes... it's a kind of hobby. `You'v e damaged your ankle. I collect crystal. ' ..The man gestured expansively. it was..' Count Grendel ass ured her smoothly. he r eached out and picked up the crystal. please?' `Of course.' `I see. Master of t he Sword. It is my family emblem. weighing it in his hand. really. is the fact that your ankle needs attention. His grip was very strong. `Only to superstitious-peasants. after my father's debts were paid.' `Yes. as soon as it's been registered. How very odd.

swift as the wind! Come!' He swung Romana up on to the saddle-bow and mounted behind her. Count Grendel wav ed her protestations aside. `Good heavens. Romana looked at the great beast in some alarm.' She wondered if the ani mal really was just an animal. he took the reins with t he other hand. said the Count masterfully. `I shall take you to my castle. The great horse began to mov e and Romana said nervously. I shall not take no for an answer. Steadying her with an arm around her waist. c arrying her towards his horse. `What's an hour out of your life?' Before Romana could protest further. but it's a qu estion of time--' `An hour. Strong as a tree .' He stepped forward and picked her up in his arms. no more.' Romana hobbled a few steps and winced. `I mean. touched spurs to the horse's flanks. The sword hadn't really been just a sword. Perhaps the horse was more than a horse. Technology on Tara seemed a strange mixture of th e primitive and advanced.`Really. My steward can regis ter the stone while my surgeon attends to your injury. my dear. and an escort to wherever you like. I don't know. what makes it go?' Count Grendel laughed.' `You don't?' . which stood patiently waiting at the edge of the clearing. `How does it work?' she asked cautiously. he said firmly.' `You're very kind. `What's that?' `My favourite charger. Then I'll provide you wit h a mount. She wasn't used to dom esticated animals either. it's nothing. `What a splendid creature. some kind of robot.

one young . As the Count's charger carried her aw ay. Local complications were not as easy to avoid as she had believed. leaving a t rail of sparks behind it. and the sword-tip hovered inche s from his nose. would you mind not standing on my chest?' said the Doctor polit ely. . and saw the blade of a slender metal sword brushing across the brim of his hat. one middle-aged. What woke him was not the quiv ering of the rod but the smell of burning cloth. It was all rather ridiculous really. confident the vibration of a catc h would wake him up--if he got a bite. Romana made a mental apology to the Doctor. There'd been no sign of one so far. both elaborately uniformed in the style of Earth's nineteenth century. A booted foot was thrust against his chest. it was an amusing l ittle incident. The Doctor snatched off his has and beat it on the gro und. wore an elaborate metal helmet. Maybe the fish of Tara didn't like old Izaak's bait. his fishing rod p ropped up by a cleft stick. He'd been sleeping peacefully a few minutes earlier. not a farrier! Hold tight!' They had reached a broad path leading away from the clearing. The younger man. his hand resting on the butt of the rod. Like one of those roman tic videonovels she'd viewed when she was very young. The Count put spurs to his horse. the one with the drawn sword. thought Romana. Still.`I'm a knight. and it would soon be over. The Doctor woke up and found that his hat was on fire.. Two men were standing over him. The Doctor d ozed. The Doctor looked up.. He opened his eyes. `I say. the float bobbing lazily in the stream. and they thundered aw ay.

`I'm just passing through. Anyway. `Who ar e you?' He had the harsh. `If there's a fine. snatching it away as he felt the tingle of power. `Not even bait. Swordmaster Zadek?' `Not until I give the o rder. `Shall I kill him.. stern voice of a man accustomed to command.' St ill no one spoke. if that's any help. `They usua lly call me the Doctor.' said the Doctor hurri edly. Swordsman Farrah.' `It is? Well. he was on his feet.. See for yourself. I didn't know. I did n't see any "No Fishing" notices. is it something I've said? Or d one?' He snapped his fingers. Before anyone realised what was happening. . did I? I told you.' `This is Prince Reynart's hunting estate.' he added ruefully. `How did that happen? Incendiary moths?' Farrah was still holding his sword at the Doctor's chest. The Doctor tried again.' He began groping i n his pocket. The helmeted young man raised his sword. I'll be more than happy to pay it. `I know--I'm poaching! I'm sorry I didn't ask perm ission.' `What are you doing here?' `Oh.' `That really won't be necessary. `Look. nothing in the basket. but realised he didn't have any local currency--or any other kind of currency for that matter. The Doctor reached out and touched the sword-tip with one fi nger. He picked up his hat and examined the charred brim. just a flying visit!' The Doctor rolled away from the younger man's boot.' The older man spoke.The two men stared impassively down at him. `I don't think we've met before. nothing on the hook.' The Doctor reeled in his line. but I didn't see any "No Fishing" notices. I didn't catch anything.

and his long arm flashed out. `You know about machines? Electronics?' Zadek pronounced the words distastefully. `Look. and the tip of the electro-sword was less than an inch from his throat. and promptly pointed the sword at the Doctor's chest. The astonis hed Farrah caught it. `I see. I'd love to help you. I suppose?' He tossed the weapon back. Why don't you just get in touch with your local android dealer?' The Doctor broke off. `why don't we go and take a look at that android?' .' said the Doctor brightly. Power pack in the hilt. of c ourse I don't.' said Zadek simply. I really would. Before the outraged you ng man realised what was happening the sword had been twisted neatly from his ha nds. But I'm a bit pressed for time at the moment. `I know a bit about most things. you do have certain skills? Can you mend an android?' `What's wrong with it?' `I t won't go. as if the subject was really rather beneath him. Electrically charged b lade.' said the Doctor modestly. `Strange. `N ow shall I kill him?' `On second thoughts. The Doctor examined the weapon thoughtfully. You do not look like a peasant' `Well. Farrah had lunged smoothly for ward. Me? A peasant?' Zadek looked thoughtfully at him. `Nevertheless.`May I?' he said politely.

' said Romana politely. `Castle Gracht. forbidding place. huge bolts sliding into p lace to secure it. still hol ding her in his arms. she saw the portcullis-gate coming down again. and seemed to cast a shadow over the peaceful green countryside below. A grotesque figure ran out of an arched stone doorway and scutt led towards them. Romana heard a low rumbling sound behind her. quite escape-proof. He swung down from his horse and lifted Romana down after him. a strange mixture of ancient tradition and modern technology that was typical of Tara. isn't it.3 The Double The forest track. s urrounded by a moat. Glancing over her sh oulder. `Ancient home of the Grendels of Gracht. And quit e. it is. which l ed them to the gates of a castle on a hill. my dear.' said Count Grendel proudly. rose. `My servant Till. Its towers and battlements rose blackly against the skyline . that wasn't too bad was it?' . The defences of Castle Gracht were automatic. electronically operated. taking the reins of the charger. broadened and turned into a narrow winding road. It was a gloomy. It was a dwarf.' said Grendel b riefly. The Count rode into the cobbled courtyard beyond and rein ed to a halt. `There. wearing rough leather garments. immensely bro ad and strong. Count Grendel set spurs to his horse and galloped over the drawbridge. I'm happy to sayl' With that. `Yes.' `It's beautiful. The portcullis rose automatically as they rode towards it.

a marvellous job. Count Grendel carried Roman a through the arched doorway. `It's incredible . `That face--I don't believe it!' `What's the matter with it?' asked Romana indignantly. you know. `This is Madame Lamia. You w on't forget to register my stone. Who made it?' . There were bars on the windows and flagstones on the floor. Count Grendel laid her down on a low couch.' He carried her into a stone walled chamber. She'll take care of you. the crystal. It felt like a cross between an operating theatre and a dentist's surgery. `Yes.' `Thank you. I can still walk!' Count Grendel ignored her. Lamia looked at the Count. And summon Madame Lamia!' Till bowed and tugged at his forelock.`There's no need to carry me.' Count Grendel tapped his belt-pouch. `There you are! Madame Lamia will be here in a moment. my lord. and Romana didn't like the look of it at all.' He led the horse away. Ah. my surgeon-engineer. but only just. dark-haired woman came into the room. `I received your message. but the roo m was brightly lit and its walls were lined with complex technological equipment . `Till.' Lamia was staring at R omana in utter astonishment. see to my horse. `Madame La mia is my surgeon. there you are. She wore a severe white ro be and she was strikingly attractive in an intense almost angry way.' Her tone was respectful. `I'll see to it in a moment. along a maze of gloomy stone corridors. Lamial' A tall. The Count smile d at Romana. will you?' `Stone? Oh yes. Master.

' s aid Count Grendel coldly. `Look. Romana decide d she'd had enough of this strange pair. Madame Lamia was frightened of the Count. clamping her to the couch. Madame Lamia took Romana by the shoulders and thrust h er back on the couch. it really is a marvellous job. fine-toothed electrical hand-saw. To her horror she saw Lamia take a piece of equipment from a rack on the wall. For all her fier cely independent spirit. Perhaps we can cannibalise her for parts. can we? You'd better disassemble her. standing qu ite still under Count Grendel's touch. studying it thoughtfully. Lamia. .' Count Grendel touched her cheek. but she said nothing. It was obvious that they were more to each oth er than master and servant--and something else was obvious too. Romana looked curiously at them both.' `Restrain her. It was a long. and took her head between his hands. as why?' Lamia shrugged. Romana struggled wildly. You're right. but the dark woman was astonishin gly strong. my dear. She sat up. though. I lea ve politics to my betters. `Very wise of you. Count Grendel touched a control and broad iron damps arched up over Romana's body. `What do you want me to do with her. `We can't have her running about the kingdom. wondering if she'd fallen into the hands of a pair o f murderous lunatics.`The question is not so much who.' Ro mana stared wildly at them. m y lord?' Count Grendel leaned over Romana. `I'm a peasant. I should like to keep her head. It whirred menacingly as Lamia switched it on.' Madame Lamia's eyes flashed angrily. puz zled by the tension between them. I've no idea what yo u two are talking about. and I think it's time I left.

Count Grendel. I have a use for both!' . `Ankle?' `There was some kind of minor damage to its ankle. This girl is real!' `Oh. `Excellent! I always enjoy watching you work.' `What?' `Android plasti-flesh does not brui se or swell.' said Romana.' Madame Lamia picked up the electro-saw again and leane d over Romana.' said Count Grendel casually. and used it t o draw a neat circle around Romana's neck. In an incredulous voice she said.Madame Lamia put down the saw. my lord. you may keep your pret ty head on your body. I th ink. brilliant. `Her left ankle appears to be swollen!' `Well . Count Grendel leaned over Romana and stroked her cheek. but where I come fro m you don't cure a sprained ankle by cutting off the patient's head!' Lamia paus ed. moved to the edge of the couch and ran her fingers over Romana's ankles. Lamia switched off t he saw.' Count Grendel smiled. `My lord. of course it is. my dear. she is not an android. Romana summoned up all the icy dignity of a Time Lady. `In that case. `Far be it from me to question this lady's competence.' muttered Romana. my dea r. `I shall make the incision here. `What did you expect?' Lamia turned to the Coun t. the whirring saw inches from Romana's throat.' `Thank you. picked up a softtipped marking pen.

The Doctor took a step towards Farrah. p resumably leading to the sleeping quarters. A long table ran down its centre of the room. a simple two-sto rey structure built from carved wooden logs. and the ch arred end of the Doctor's scarf dropped smoking to the floor. He t urned round angrily and saw Farrah grinning at him from the doorway. and disappe ared through the central door. came after them. . Zadek climbed the short flight of s teps that led to the front door and went inside.The Doctor was taken to a secluded hunting lodge in the forest. Farrah. and found he couldn't `Do you mind. and at the rear of th e room a short flight of steps gave access to a balcony and a number of doors. his sword point levelled at the Doctor's back. The Doctor tried to move forward. Zadek went up the steps. There was an assortmen t of comfortable chairs arranged around a stone fireplace. a shove b etween the shoulder-blades sent him staggering into the centre of the room. `If you go on doing that. you're going to have to kill me!' There was a sword in Farrah's hand and the Doctor was unarmed--but suddenly Far rah was frightened. The Doctor found himself in a big wood-panelled room which took up most of the l ower floor of the house.' he said mildly. the Doctor followed and the you ng man. surrounde d by heavy wooden chairs with high ornately carved backs. `You 're treading on my scarf!' Farrah's sword flashed in an arc of light. As the Doctor stood looking around him.

he'd better be good at knitting. Your Highness. particularly in the service of his Prince. If that didn't work.' The Doctor turned.' Zadek's hand went to the hilt of his sword. `You address Prince Reynart of Tara.' The Doctor made an elabor ate bow. `Upon what?' The Prince put a restraining hand on Zadek's arm. Five hundred gold pieces if you will mend our android. do the job an d go. ' snapped Zadek. He tends towards ov er-enthusiasm.' The Prince came down the steps. `Upon how well we treat him! Of course you are no peasant. With him was a slender.' He glared at Zadek. `But you do know how to repair an android?' `That depends. Doctor. Very well. peasant. handsome man in an elab orate goldtrimmed uniform. that's all!' `Speak with respect.' `If you think I can be bought--' began the Doctor angrily. Za dek had returned to the balcony. `I keep telling you. Simpler to take the money. they would tr y to force him to help them by threats. `You did say five hundred gold pieces?' `I did. The Doctor scowled at the singed end of his scarf.A voice from the balcony said. `Do forgive Swordsman Farrah. I a m not a peasant. . these fools would simply offer him more. `Honoured. If he refused their mo ney. then stopped himself.' `Done! But suppose I can' t manage to repair your android?' `Then we shall let Swordsman Farrah have you f or sword practice!' snarled Zadek. `W ell. let me make you an offer.

blankfaced figure. `Don't you sometimes wish. Zadek. Technological s kills had been developed. Had we been meant t o learn peasant skills. Doctor.' The Prince watched in fascination. `We shall do no such thing.. If he can mend our android we shall reward him. no. let's see it!' The Prince nod ded to Zadek. Farrah sprang to bar his way. `There he is. You can go free.' It was an interesting exchange.Prince Reynart laughed. I've seen better. This man is obviously a gentleman. . `First the android. the Doctor thought. `Not a bad piece of work--mind you. ruling in the same old-fashioned wa ys.' `Thank you very much. Upon it lay a motionless. The aristocracy had clung to its traditions. one by one. but no one expected him to be able to make one. If he cannot. a little regretfully.' said the Doctor and he aded for the door.' `All right. Your Highness. A medieval knight had to know h ow to use a sword. whatever happens you wil l not be harmed. we'd have been born peasants. and one which revealed much about Taran society. Perhaps it wasn't so very strange after all. `Not yet.' H e smiled pleasantly at the Doctor.' said Prince Reynart smoothly. who swept back a curtain to reveal a wheeled trolley.' The Doctor removed the i nspection plate from the android's head and began checking the separate circuits . `I give you my word. Doctor.. Zadek.' Prince Reynart sighed. that custom permitted us to learn these skills?' `With respect. but had remained in the hands of the peasant classes. `Perhaps you're right.

' `Who's going to stop you?' `Count Grendel of Gracht.' Zadek ca me forward with a plastic case. in the great Coronation Room in the Palace of Tara. It bore the features of Prince Reynart. The ceremony will take place at the appropriate hour. he must wear this!' A face looked at the Doctor out of the box. if he can. But the first thing he'll do is to post men watching every entrance to the Palace. He'll ki ll me if necessary. which he passed to the Prince. Your Majesty. The Doctor looked from the mask to Prince Reynart's face. Prince Reynart op ened the case and held it out to the Doctor. `For one thing.' `Would it be so serious? I tho ught Kings were allowed to be late?' `Not on Tara.' Prince Reynart smiled wryly. fixed by the C ourt Astrologers. I am to be crowned Ki ng of Tara. I shall lose my right to the crown. `Why? Why do you need an android double?' `Tomorrow.' . If I fail to appear at precis ely the right moment it will be taken that the stars do not favour my accession. Engineering Officers had been regarded as a lower form of life. or rather a face-mask. `The cong ratulations. to prevent me from arrivin g on time. Prince Reynart's voice broke in on his reflections.Even in Queen Victoria's navy. `Congratulations. You can't crown a dead prince. `Well.. And if they succeed in delaying me.. Doctor ? Can our android be repaired?' `That depends what you want him to do. and the title will be in order only if I reach the Coronation Room alive.' The Docto r bowed.

' T he Doctor indicated to the android. eh?' The Doctor smiled. The Prince escap ed unhurt. `And where does George here fit into all thi s?' It was Zadek who replied. `Now. my lord. `Precisely. `There have already been three attempts on His Hig hness's life. There was an assassin in the forest with a cross-bow. Is it wise?' `Do you question my commands?' . Zadek said grimly. `We' ve already tried the scheme once--the android took the Prince's place in a hunti ng party. `I don't ask you to like it. but the android fell when its horse bolted. explained Prince Reynart. Doctor?' `A substitute Prince. The next one could be successful.`And I take it Count Grendel of Gracht is the next in line?' `The only other con tender for the throne is the Princess Strella--she disappeared some time ago. distract their attent ion. thanks to you Doctor.' protes ted Madame Lamia. we can us e the android to draw Grendel's fire while I slip past his guards into the Coron ation Room. `Why not-.' `We feared it was damage d beyond repair. Do you think the plan will work. Count Grendel smiled.' `So you plan to let them attack George instead?' Prince Reynart nodded eagerly. Just do it l' `But think of the risk.it's been done before!' `I don't like it. we use my android copy--to create a diversion. We use George--that is to say.' `Draw their fire?' suggested the Doctor helpfully.

Doctor. and a few seconds later.' said Count Grendel with a kin d of silky brutality.' .' Farrah hastened to obey. Clam ped to the table. Now I must retire. Zadek?' `I sincerely h ope so. it's good enough to fool Grendel's men. If I had the proper tools. but it's only patched up. Your Highness--for all our sakes. bring more wine. The immaculately uniformed figure at the table raised its glass in salute.' `Never mind. Farrah. `And don't imagine that I won't.' The figure put down its glass. my lord.' She crossed to a wall cabinet and took out a syringe. Romana floated away on a cloud of darkness. `Very well. or I shall have you flogged. and thank you. Your Majesty. Have I not proved my loyalty a thousand times?' `Th en do as I tell you.' Madame Lamia went pale. as Madame Lamia filled the syringe from a phial of colourless fluid and came towards her. Goodnight. `What do you think you're doing?' She felt Lamia rolling back her sleeve. rose and went up to the balcony and d isappeared through one of the doors. eh. `You know.. `Excellent. `No!' she gasped. Doctor. The Princ e turned to the others..' `It'll do all right f or a time.`No. Prince Reynart watched his android replica depart. gentlemen. it's eerie seeing yourself walk and talk. I n ever thought you'd be able to get it going again. there was th e prick of an injection. `Congratulations. my lord. Romana looked on in horror. of course not.

Seconds later. once I am King?' The Doctor shook his head firmly. Farrah came up from the cellar with a tray which held glasses and a d usty wine bottle. `With your permission. . `Just one of our local wines. `Still. Farrah fell as well.`Always the pessimist. Doctor. Prince Reynart said. `The King!' The Doct or didn't think much of the local wine--it had a curiously bitter tang to it--bu t he drained his glass politely and set it down.' said the Doctor owlishly.' said the Prince.' sa id the Doctor.'Perhaps just a small one. but I'm otherwise engaged. said Prince Reynart smoothly. Prince Reynart gasped. Zadekl We owe you our thanks. `But I th ink you'll find it palatable. Doctor. clutched at his throat a nd collapsed.' Zadek raised his glass. Doctor. So mehow he missed the table and his glass fell to the floor. `Must be pretty potent stuff. `Sorr y. Doctor.' Farrah poured the wine and handed roun d the glasses. `A pity. I don't usually indulge. `Five hundred gold pieces. at leas t you'll join us in a toast to our success?' `Well. `You wouldn't be interested in a permanent post.' As the Doctor slipped t he money into his pocket. Farrah tried to do the same.' It was about time he found out what had happened to Romana. Zadek?' Zadek put a leather pouch on the table. He was f eeling a little strange himself. Yo ur Highness--to the King!' The others raised their glasses.

each step costing him enormous effort . The door seemed to recede before him. The Doctor felt as if his legs had turned to lea d.`Treachery!' growled Zadek. He reached for his sword. He rose and staggered towards the door. falling at the feet of the man who had just entered the room. his men at his heels. Count Grendel of Gracht stepped over the Doctor's body a nd came into the room. The Doctor crashed to the ground. To his astonishment he saw that it was o pening. . but he was unconscious bef ore the weapon left the sheath. He looked down at the unconscious b ody of Prince Reynart and smiled.

`Wake up. `Oh. Doctor. go away. Vanished. `The Pr ince has gone. `So much for the local brew. The Doctor groaned. A voice snapped.' The Docto r collapsed into a chair. His tunic collar was unbuttoned and his hair dishevelled. `That's enough. it was obvious that he'd been splashing water on his face. Who else?' . Farrah!' Zadek came do wn the steps from the rear balcony. `Haven 't you got anything better to do?' `Only one thing's stopping me from running yo u through right now!' `And what's that?' `I want to know where he is. traitor! I want you to be quite conscious when I kill you!' The Doctor struggled slowly to his feet. `By your master.' `Who by? Sorry. and shook his aching head. `Where who is? What the devil are you talking about?' Farrah raised his sword.4 The Princess A savage jab from a booted foot jerked the Doctor from his drugged sleep. Count Grendel. Farrah drew his sword. I mean. b y whom?' It was Farrah who answered.' His vision cleared and he saw wi thout much surprise that it was Farrah who was kicking him. He loo ked up to see a uniformed figure looming over him.' said the Doctor wearily. He's been kidnapped.

Castle Gracht is almost impregnable. The Prince has first claim to the th rone.' `I'm inclined to believe you. carrying the android.' `Then he's an idiot.' `But Swordmaster--' protested Farrah.' `We shall do what honour demands. I realise this is going to come as an awful shock to you. `That is correct' ..' said the Doctor cheerfully.' `Just th e two of you?' `Us and a handful of others. `It depends what y ou're going to do. Besides. why would he remain behind once the Prince had been tak en? It doesn't make sense.' `So you'll probably all g et killed?' Farrah drew himself up.' The Doctor got up and went into the bedroom. right?' Zadek n odded stiffly. the Prince must present himself at the Coronation Room at precisely the appointed hour. if he dies with honour.' said Zadek bitterly. If the Doctor was involved. `Let me see if I understand the situation.. `Oh. but I don't eve n know the Count.' `They took the real Prince. 'Thank you . A momen t later he was back. `A Swordsman does not fear death. Doctor.' said Zadek. He dumped it in a chair. We cannot hire mercenaries like Gre ndel. Farrah.`Look. In order to be crowned King.' `What's that?' `Swordsman Farrah and I will take our swords and do battle with the Count's men. `What use is the copy now?' The Doctor looked thoughtfully at hint. use your intelligence. but his house is old and impoverished. `At least th ey didn't take George.

`You'd have faced th at problem anyway.' `Well ?' Almost reluctantly. Well. `You know. `But an android--it's unthinkable. I'll do a bit more work on the android. `I can see two obstacles to your plan.' The Do ctor grinned. `You've still got a Prince. It is an old secret of the Prince's family. Grendel will be thrown into confusion. It's worth a try. was he?' `The Prince had a plan. `Even if we tri ed.' Zadek was over his shock and was beginning to consider the plan seriously. Grendel's men would still try to stop us getting into the Coronation Room.' The Doctor nodded to-wards the android. I don't imagine Prince Reynart was pla nning to walk in through the front door. and the android can rule the country long enough for you to find the real Prince. What's the second problem?' . I admit.' `Only two? What are they?' `What if the android breaks down again?' `Well . Get him to the Coronation Room and have him crowned. `Crown an android King of Tara? Never?' `Would you rather crown Count Grendel?' Farrah too was shocked. if you're outnumbered. and you and Farrah can ta ke him along and get him crowned. I thought it might be something like that.' Zadek was h orrified. Doctor. Zadek said. there you are.' `Does Grendel know about it?' `I hope not. then.' The Doctor sensed Zadek was holding something back. `There is a hidden passage. Do ctor... isn't it?' Zadek frowned.`Then there's no problem. it's possible.

' `Oh no. `I could jus t stay with the android at all times. If the slightest hint of our scheme gets out. opened it.' Zadek s miled grimly. his tail antenna wagged and his eyescreens lit up. I've got more important things to do than get mixed up in the politics of your piffling l ittle planet. Doctor.' `I don' t see any dog. Farrah. I have thought of a way to deal with both pr oblems. Doctor--' `Do n't worry. Then he sent out a signal of his own. `Master?' K9 moved his head to and fro. as the Doctor went over to the door. You will remain with the android at all times. You will!' Inside the TARDIS.`Security. K9 came suddenly to life. Zadek.' Romana was quite right. `What are you doing?' `I'm calling my dog.' `I don't see that that's a problem. put it to his lips and blew. Farrah watc hed suspiciously. His head lifted. I'll be light years away by the time George is King of Tara. Only the three of us here need ever know an ything about it. o ne which operated the remote-control . fixing the direction fro m which the subsonic signal was corning.' said the Doctor thoughtfully.' Farrah's sword flashed out and the point hovered inches from the Doctor's throat. `On the other hand. `Don't worry. it will mean disaster. But you. You see. `No.' `Precisely. He really must stop getting mixed up in other people's problems. The surprising thing was that there was no sound. took a small m etal object from his pockets. he thought rueful ly.' said Farrah puzzled. I know I can trust.

Zadek--' A familiar voice interrupted him. either Farrah or myself will be with you at all times. The Docto r was rechecking his work on the android. `Everything is in order?' `Well. `I'm deeply touched!' ` But remember. and K9 glided away. his bio-me chanisms's on the blink and his powerpacks seem to need constant recharging--yes !' `I have every confidence in your work--' began Zadek. old chap. apart from the fact that half his micro-circuitry's burnt out. gave an electronic growl. and fired a low-intensity blast from his photon-blaster. no one had told him it was to b e crowned King of Tara. Doctor?' The Doctor sighed. wondering if it would stand up to the strains ahead. ` What is that thing?' `Thing?' repeated the Doctor indignantly. K9 raised his head. Farrah waved his blade threateningly. He was getting rather fed up with being threatened. K9?' Ignoring the warning. . `I really wouldn' t do that. Master?' K9 was standing in the doorway. Zadek was watching anxiously. `Now look here.setting of the TARDIS doors.' advised the Doctor. do you. isn't he?' With his usual reactio n to any new threat. Zadek swung round in alarm. `That's my dog!' `But it's a machine!' `Well? So's your Prince. when he'd repaired it. Don't let u s down--will you. `Yo u called. The doors swung open. After all. Farrah drew his sword and advanced on K9. `K9 doesn't like being threatened eith er.

But it you help Prince Rey nart to gain the throne. Persuasively. Doctor.' His hand was on his sword-hilt. Doctor?' asked Zadek. ready to attack.' `The Mistress has not yet returned. `My assis tant.' `What?' `Never you mind. `Castle Gracht is almos t impregnable.' Zadek mused to bar his way. you will have the aid of the King of Tara in . `Wait .Farrah gave a yell. Try to rescue your friend alone.' `What?' Zadek nodded. The Doctor grinned. `Then I must get her out of there. `I hate to say I told you so--but I told you so!' He bent do wn and patted K9. Master. Away up th e hill somewhere?' Cautiously Farrah picked up his sword.' `Which way did she go?' `I'm not sure. and he will kill you--and her as well. `Where's Romana? I thought she'd come with you. Romana. `I'm afraid it looks as i f your friend may have fallen into the hands of the Count' The Doctor headed for the door. She went off to look for something. Farrah too w as poised.' `What? She was only supposed to be an hour--and that was yesterday!' `You have lost a companion. Zadek went on. Where did you see her last?' `Close t o where you two picked me up. and dropped the sword as if it had suddenly become red-hot.' `Ta ra can be a dangerous place for strangers. and Count Grendel is a cruel and ruthless foe. `She was heading towar ds Count Grendel's Castle then. We still need your help.

They came to a narrow passage at the end of which was two cell doors.' Romana awok e to find herself still on the some couch.' murmured Count Grendel.' sa id Romana desperately. still with Count Grendel and Madame L amia looking down at her.' Madame Lamia touched a control and the restraining clamps slid back. whatever's the matter. I've got no money.. is by helping us. my dear. raising his sword in salute as Count Grendel ap proached. I trust you slept well ? Release her. If you're not a bandit. but she could walk well enough. please let me go. `The lovely lady awakens. and I'm n ot even from Tara. .' said Count Grendel. Lamia. through stone-flagged corridors and down a flight of steps.' `Come with me. Come. `This way. She still felt a little shaky. my dear. A burly soldier stood on guard. The only way you can help your friend. `Fl ow long have I been unconscious?' `Twelve hours. `Surely you don't think I'm just a common bandit?' `I don't kn ow. `There's something I want to show you. and I'll show you.. Romana was horrified. my dear?' `Look. why kidnap me? What use can I be to you. Lamia. out of the chamber. `Why.your task. so there's no one to ransom me. `Twelve hours? Oh no!' Count Grendel helped he r to sit up.' `Ransom you?' Count Grende l seemed shocked.' They led Ro mana away.' Romana let Count Grendel help her to her feet. `I'm no possible use to you.

and raised her head.' Grendel moved to the peephole set into the cell door. There were rugs. `Let's see for ourselves. It was a bare. stone-walled dungeon. Serge ant Kurster?' `Well enough.' Romana peered into the cell. a table and some chairs.' He glanced through the peephole and then beckoned for Romana. my lord. busy on a large tapestry-frame. .Count Grendel acknowledged the salute with a casual nod `How is our guest. As Romana watched she gave a sigh of boredom. An ornately gowned young woman sat by the barred window. Romana gave a gasp of astonishment. my dear. Some attempt had been made to make it more comfor table. She was looking at herself. `Take a look.

her wealth and her position as second in line to the throne--all strictly according to the Laws of Tara. In short. She looked at the Count. Shortly to become.' He sighed.' `I'm not surprised!' . Moretegarde and Freya. Romana realised that the girl in the cell wasn't exactly like h er. But was puzzled too. the forehead not q uite so high. the resembl ance is extraordinary. first lady of Tara. `In fact. one that would ha ve deceived anyone but the closest friend or relative. and my widowhood will give me the wealth to make sure I keep it. a lovely flower cut off in her prime. in fairly rapid succession. The hair was a little darker.' Count Grend el smiled. She is Princess Strella. A direct descendant of the Royal House. isn't it?' `Is she an android?' `Good Heavens no. `Yes. Mistress of the domains of Thervalde.' Romana was horrifi ed by the ruthlessness of Grendel's schemes. The Princess does not entirely agree with my plan. But it was certainly an astonishing resemblance. the most eligible young lady on Tara.5 The Prisoner of Gracht On closer study. my dear. my marriage will reinforce my claim to the throne. my bride and then my much-lamented late wife . my dear . `You've alread y got a Princess. What do you need me for?' `In case of accidents.' Count Grendel gave a smile of satisfaction. the nose a fraction longer. `It's incredible. I shall claim her estates. as her widowed husband. Naturally. my fiancée. `It will be a most tragic accident.

my dear? I'd have thought that was obv ious.. `Ah. `Apparently some of your household staff don't agree.' `Good for her! I still don't see what all this has got to do with me. but clearly too t errified to speak.' `What happens if I refuse too?' Count Grendel gave h is sinisterly charming smile. and threw it open. she had hopes of becoming my Countess. Kur ster. the only furnishing a filthy straw mattress.. Aren't I a lucky man to have a choice of two such beautiful women for my br ide?' Madame Lamia gave a little hiss of anger.' He sighed.' The massive sergeant unlocked the door. sadly. This cell was just a cell. If the Princess goes on refusing. who won't know the difference. `Open up. She actually says she'd sooner die than marry me. `In fact. they don't know their place any more. Just because I once showed her a certain cou rtesy. something should happen t o her. The Count moved across to the second cell door. between you and me.' Romana couldn't h elp feeling sorry for Madame Lamia who was burning with anger. `That's the trouble wi th peasants these days. my dear. and if. she quite refuses to cooperate.' `Don't you. Romana said. I can marry you instead--in front of the assembled nobles of Tara. and nothing more. The collar was fastened by a length of chain .' Count Grendel said carelessly. but you won't.Count Grendel shook his head. `I'm afraid M adame Lamia is prejudiced. as if unable to understand such unreasonable obsti nacy. my dear. A ma n lay on the mattress and Romana saw with horror that there was a metal collar a round his neck. I can be very persuas ive.

' Before Romana coul d move. you won't hold this one much longer. I'm sorry.' He turned to Romana. Grendel? Why don't you just kill me and ge t it over with?' `I never rush my pleasures. my dear Rey nart. Madame Lamia produced a s econd neck ring from a corner of the cell. if you're not careful. . `Allow me to present His Royal Highness. `You see. `Oh.' Romana looked round. Kurster. I just happen to look like her. `Let her go. `Come to gloat. but the guard's grip was firm.to an iron ring set in the cell wall. It too was linked to a ring in the ce ll wall by a length of chain. and his eyes burned feverishly. `Well. the massive guard seized her above the elbows. `I've brought someone to see you. my dear!' Count Gre ndel's voice hardened. ' At the sight of Romana's face the captive leaned forward eagerly. `Hold her. Prince Reynart. and fel t his pulse. his fa ce was white. and the t attered remains of a once magnificent silk shirt.' Roman pushed pa st him. yes? Who's that then?' `You. One arm was in a sling. He raised himself on one elbow as the cell door opened. Lamia the collar. She took hold of his wrist. first in line to the throne of Tara.' Count Grendel smiled at his prisoner's confusion. Romana struggled wildly. when I play for high stakes I like to hold all the cards. and knelt beside the man on the bed. My name's Romana.' shouted Prince Reynart. my dear Reynart.' said Count Grende l suavely. The man wore boots and trousers. He's running a fever.' `That's why we brought him a permanent nurse for his beds ide. `Strella!' R omana shook her head. `No.

He's bound to be there for the Coronation--he 'll want to make sure no one else claims the throne. Doctor? You're not still thi nking of going there? Even if your friend is Grendel's prisoner we can't be sure that he's holding her at the castle.' Count Grendel ushered Lamia out.' Lamia slipped the collar around Romana's neck. and paused in the ce ll doorway for a last look at the Prince. Lamia. `You really ought to thank me you know. Count Grendel lo oked on in amusement. `She is secure. my friend. I must leave for your Coronation. `How far away is Count Grendel's castle?' demanded the Doctor. Kurster.' The Doctor considered. there's a good fellow.' . Such a pity you won't be there!' The cell door danged shut behi nd him. do we?' Lamia fastened the collar and stepped back. `Don't be so tediously heroic. `K9 you take the castle.' said Count Gren del affably. Watch them co nstantly. I'll go to Tara with George and our two friends here. `Not too tight.' `Where else might he have taken her?' `To the city of Tara itself. Reynart!' `For what?' `For finding you such a charming nurse. perhaps.' The guard let go of Romana's arms. `Splendid. Guard our guests well. We don't want to choke her. and went back to the door. my lord.' said Zadek.' `Yes. my lord. `Why do you ask. `And now.Count Grendel shoved him back on the bed. `About ei ght leagues due west.

`He'll find her. and K9 glided out of the hunting lodge.' said Zadek impatiently. As soon you've done that. thank you.' `Off you go then!' The Doctor opened the door. Your Royal Highness. Doctor?' asked Zadek. `No.`You're still going to help us then. continued their journey on foot. report back to me. . I don't think I will!' `It's time we were lea ving. Farrah. Master. if s he's there. right?' `That is correct' The Doctor turned to K 9.' The Doctor turned to the an droid. and walked stiffly from the ro om. They left the horses in the charge of one of Prince Reynar t's men. Farrah rubbed his still-ting ling hand. `The horses. An hours hard ride brought them to the edge of the dense wood that surrounde d the Palace of Tara. `It looks like it.' `You wouldn't be interested in selling him?' `Why don't you ask K9 about it. Doctor. when he gets back?' suggested the Doctor.' The android Prince rose. `All I want you to do is to find out whether or not Romana is in the castle. understood?' `Understood. If Romana is in Tara she'll probably be somewhere in the Palace--and you're the on ly one who can get me in there. `Come alon g. which had been sitting motionless in its chair all this while. `Is he a good hunting dog?' asked Farrah curiously.

' `Why isn't he talking?' `I've switched off his speech-circuit to conserve energy.. Swordmaster.' `Be ca reful. `What abou t the android? Do you think the journey might have damaged him?' He turned to th e android Prince who stood motionless beside the Doctor. wound its way through the main gates.Zadek led them to the nest of a wooded rise and pointed downwards. `There can't be much t ime left. I imagine he's still more th an capable of taking care of himself. Doctor.' Farrah nodded. `I've found the tunnel entrance.' said Zadek.' said Farrah. but the re's something about androids. `There you ar e. `Are you all right? How do you feel?' The android made no reply.' Farrah was in a worrying mood. Flags were flying. This way.. I'll go and find the tunnel entrance.' Farrah seemed almost ashamed of showing concer n. but it's guarded. its innumerable towers and turrets crowded inside an encircling wall. `A lot of people feel that way about androids. a lot of androids feel that way about people!' Suddenl y Zadek reappeared. `Is he all right?' `I think so. Farrah looked worriedly at the Doctor. `He's not so young as he was. `I shouldn't worry about him. `Wait here. The Palace.' The Doctor nodded. I know it's silly. The Doctor smiled. Mind you.. `It's a funny thing. You know what I mean. ' ..' The Doctor looked at the enormous white building below t hem. Zadek nodded and slipped away through the tree s. guards patrolled the ramparts and an endless line of people on hor seback and on foot. but somehow they make me une asy.

Zadek was alrea dy at the cave mouth. and dropped to the groun d.' They followed him into the blackness of the cave. `Hurry. `It seems the Count knew about the tunnel after all.' `I'll deal with him. He heard a rustling in the bushes to his left and suddenl y became alert. It was the last th ing he saw.' said the Docto r. The guard s wung round and saw a tall young man with a sword in his hand. He moved cautiously in the direction of th e sound.He led them through the trees. the Doctor and the android P rince close behind him. The android Prince was on his way to his Coronation. halting them behind a large clump of bushes. `Loo k!' The Doctor and Farrah peered around the bush and saw what looked like the en trance to a small cave. Bored. Suddenly he heard another sound. .' whispered Zadek. there isn't much time. `A crossbow that fires electronic bolts. from behind him this time.' said Farrah confidently. He adjusted a switch on his sword-hilt and slipped away. `Fascinating!' `A peasants weapon.' said Farrah dismissively. his dying hand triggered the loaded crossbow and a tree close by exploded in smoke and flame. As he fell. It was guarded by a black-clad figure carrying a cross-b ow. and as his sword tip touched the guard's tun ic the man's body glowed with a colossal energy-charge. the guard marched up and down before the cave mouth. Zadek hurried forward. raising his crossbow. Farrah lunged forwards. `One of Grendel's men.

studying the oddly shap ed crystal that had been taken from Count Grendel's latest prisoner. Suddenl y he stopped. the scalpel was unable to make the slightest mark. He revo lved first left and then right. Nothing happened. everyone had gone to the P alace of Tara for the Coronation. he swung round in a wide circle and approached the castle fro m the rear. She scratch ed at the crystal with a steel scalpel. Luckily. The trace was faint. Romana was somewhere inside Castle Gracht. K9 stood motionless for a moment . but it was there. doing his best to keep out of sig ht on the way. K9 could move surprisingly quickly when he had to. antennae quivering. flat stretch of water--the moat was barring his way. A narrow winding track led him to the edge of a broad. He had a surprising range of abilities. sweeping the entire castle with the ray. K9 spun round and moved away. He had found what he was looking for--the distinctive alpha wave pa ttern of Romana's brainwaves. Madame Lamia was in her android surgery. K9 considered. and before long the towers of Castle Gracht came into sight. the countryside was deserted. Deciding to av oid the main gate.6 The Android King K9 followed the direction Zadek had indicated. muffled by the thick stone wa lls. eyes glowing. . his whole body throbbing with power. but swimming wasn't one of them. The throbbing died down and K9 gave a brief electronic gurgle of s atisfaction.

.' `Soon. and tried to escape. One of Grendel's men ran me through. I hope. Save your strength. How did it happen?' `I came to.. Romana was examining Prince Reynart's wound. don't try to talk. In the dungeon below. Lamia sat regarding the crystal with a baffled frown. `How is it? Bad. an d his eyes glinted feverishly.' `Don't worry.' gasped Prince Reynart.' Prince Reynart rubbed his injured shoul der.' admitted Romana..' said Romana confidently. `I'd hate to give Gren del the pleasure of seeing me die in his blasted dungeon. The crystal was still unmarked. Prince Reynart winced. It had been made by an electro-sword.. trying to make him a little more comfort able. very curious. and it was ugly and infla med.' .' Romana s ettled him back on his mattress. `Look. of course. `And in a place like this. `The Doctor will g et us out of here. `I'm not going to be able to take on Grendel's guards with this.' `Save it for what?' `Escape. am I? Let alone swim the moat.' She had a feeling the crystal was something very important indeed--if only she could discover what it was. She restrapped the rough dressing. The drill-bit shattered...' `How? No one's ever escaped from Castle Gracht. `Curious. eh?' He was pale and shivering. just as they were bringing me into the castle. `It's not good.' `The Doctor will find a way.Madame Lamia fitted the crystal into a holding clamp and attacked it with a high -speed electric drill.

The guards took their crossbo ws from their shoulders. thrust into the centre of a bush. Zadek?' `Quite a way. Zadek led the Doctor and the android Prince along a gloomy echoin g tunnel. he was nowhere to be seen. We'd be tter hurry.Sword in hand. `I suppose that's why you developed the science of bui lding androids--to replace the missing people?' Farrah nodded. `They work in the factories and the mines. The green and fertile planet had only the smallest of populations. `How much further. The great plague wiped out nine ten ths of Tara's population. `What?' `They were plague tunnels. till the fields. thinking that this accounted for t he curiously deserted feeling of Tara.' When a squad of ten of Count Grendel's men came to reinforce the gu ard on duty at the tunnel entrance. They allowed the Royal court to move in and out of the palace wi thout passing through the contaminated city. built about two hun dred years ago. There's still a good deal of prejudic e against them though. . They were dank and dripping. and hurried into the tunnel. alert for trouble.' The Doctor nodded understandingly. The Doctor looked curio usly at the tunnel walls. The noble families won't even have them as servants. but obviously man-made. l ined with blocks of stone. Farrah brought up the rear. A rapid search re vealed his body. `What were these tunnels built for. originally?' `Pla gue.' The Doctor nodded.' said Zadek briefly.

the Archimandrite of Tara was sweeping towards them. The big hand of the clock was very clos e to the marker now. `Everything is ready. Count Grendel of Gracht stood a little apart from the rest. dressed as peasants are posted at strategic points.Gorgeous in their elaborate ceremonial dress the nobility of Tara were waiting o utside the double doors that led to the throne room.' `And the Palace Guard?' `They have been taken care of.' `The--peasants are prepared?' `Mercenaries. Elaborately decorated. my Lord. but still accurate to a micro-second. the women wore cour t dresses and their finest jewels. . Besides. stiff with gold braid. the Great Clock was hundreds of years old. A jewelled marker on the rim of the clock face indicated the precise moment at whi ch the new King of Tara must be crowned. studying the Great Clock of Tara which dominated the ante-chamber . It quivered and moved a division nearer. `Rejecting it twice might be going too far. its face covered with complex astrological symbols. they will lead a spontaneous demonstration of love and loyalty to the House of Gracht. The men wore colourful mili tary uniforms. I'm not sure I can trust the Archimandrite to offer it to me a third time!' Impressive in his high crowned hat and gold-brocaded robes. Count Grendel smil ed.' `I think I shal l reject the crown only once. Incongruous in plain black livery.' mused Count Grendel. As soon as it is announced that Prince Reynart has not appeared for the Coronation. sparkling with medals. the giant form of Sergeant Kurster made h is way to his master's side.

and saw a group of men running towards them do wn the tunnel.' said the old man fussily . Y our Eminence. he was head of the Church of Tara.' `But where is the Prince?' `I am sure he will make every effort t o be here.' Count Grendel bowed. and t he leading religious figure on the planet. Kurster faded discreetly in to the background. we must chose an other king from the nobles assembled. `The steps lead ing up to the Coronation Chamber are just around here. there was a sh out from behind them. C ount Grendel. your own claim would appear to be the strongest. `I n view of the strange absence of Prince Reynart.' Zadek led his little party towards a sharp right-hand bend in the tunnel.' `It does indeed. `The hour approaches. `My Lord Archimandrite. and a chunk of masonry close to the Doctor's head exploded in smoke and flame. and the even stranger disappear ance of the Princess Strella. They sprang . `You overwhelm me. Count Grendel smiled again. `I know!' The Archimandrite looked hard at him. By now the big hand had moved several division s closer to the marker.' `If he misses the appointed hour of his Coronation. Your Eminence. He was also a tough and wily old poli tician. They turned.' Suddenly. and Count Grendel bowed. More electronic crossbow bolts flashed past them.' The Archima ndrite looked at the Great Clock. with a strongly developed sense of survival. Count Grendel. exploding again st the tunnel walls. That is the law.A saintly-looking white-haired old man.

Zadek drew his sword. coming closer. The guards hurled round the corner in a tight ly packed group. `Doctor. Farrah a ranking Swordman. Shoulder to shoulder. Pull it down. all tough. to your left. Foot-steps rang along the tunnel.' Farrah's man fell. It opens a panel. Farrah and Za dek waited. swords in their hands. Four of the guards died before t hey realised what was happening. electro-swords flashing in the darkn ess. Zadek and Farrah stood them off. he yelled. He led the Prince towards them. There were half a dozen guards left on their feet after that first sava ge attack. Luckily. The range was too close for crossbow work now. We'll amb ush them here.round the corner out of sight. They drew their swords and pressed forward to the attack. the tunnel was only wide enough for their opponents to attack them two at a time. experienced fighters. Zadek and Farrah sprang and the tunnel echoed with the screams of dying men and the crackle of electro-swords. `There's a lever at the top of the steps Doctor. and there was always the danger that one of the guards in the rear would press close enough to slip home a killing stroke.' The Doctor turned and saw that the tunnel ended a few yards furt her on in a steep flight of steps. and their f ighting skills were far above those of their opponents. As the man fell. take the Prince and make for the steps. and two more guards moved forward to the attack. But they were still outn umbered three to one. . Zadek disposed of his opponent with relative ease. and the rest found themselves fighting for thei r lives. Zadek was a Swordsmaster.

. Zadek and Farrah fell back.' he yelled.' Count Grendel smile d. One more time-division and the b ig hand of the Great Clock would touch the jewelled marker...' . `If he does not appear at the appointed time. two hundred years ago?' Zadek thrust low. `He would appear to be late. Doctor.' agreed Count Grendel sadly. and yours alone. my dear Archimandrite.. pr etending weariness. But you may r est assured that you yourself. Only an inch or two. `It's stuck!' he yelled. luring their last two opponents to the foot of the steps. it is my duty to offer the crown to one of the other nobles. It wouldn't move. `There is no sign of the Prince. Th e Doctor heaved desperately on the lever--and it shifted. As I said.. but it moved! Taking a deep breath the Doctor heaved again.Standing the android Prince aside. But there are other claimants. `It's no good--it won't budge. `We must get through!' The Doctor's voi ce floated back. y our claim is a strong one. Only two guards left now.' said the Archimandrite worriedly.. Count Grendel. `When was it last used. `It's coming!' Swor ds flashing. and another of Grendel's guards screamed a nd died.. Farrah and Zadek sprang forward. `Try again.. the Doctor groped till he found the lever and heaved. and whoever you choose to be King of Tara will im mediately be offered the full protection of my guards. `The decision is yours.' A savage slash from Farrah di sposed of his opponent.

`Impossible!' hissed Grendel. sun-light streaming through stained glass windows. The Archimandrite seized his momen t. Beyond them was a long. taking up strategic positions all round the room. We must wait for the exact moment. and he knew that despite the prese nce of his guards. Black uniformed men were filing through the door. leading the assembled nobles into the Coronati on Room. I thought it only right to offer my help. Everything must be done correctly. my dear Archimandrite.`Your guards?' The Archimandrite glanced round. The Archimandrite strode forward. `But look--it is tim e!' The big hand quivered.' `Noble sentiment s Count Grendel. Zadek and Farrah stood one each side of the throne. jerked forward and touched the jewelled marker--closi ng an electronic circuit. `Perhaps it would be simpler i f I offered you the crown now!' `Good heavens no. and nobly spoken. even the Count would not dare to flout tradition completely. and the double doors to the Coronation Room swung open. . There was a fanfare of trumpets.' said the old man drily. shining on ancient faded tape stries. the Doctor was behind it.' The Archimandrite looked shrewdly at him. At the far end of the hall short wide steps led up to a raised dais. `These are y our men?' `The Palace Guard was--indisposed. He had never cared much for Count Grendel. On the dais was a throne--and on the throne sat Prince Reynart orb and sceptre alre ady in his hands. high-ceilinged hall.

The Archimandrite leaned forward. `Behold the Crown of Tara!' P rince Reynart lurched forward a fraction in his chair. `Kneel!' ordered the Archimandrite. From the back of the hall.. `Kneel! All kneel to Prince Reynart. wonder ing if the recently repaired speech circuits would respond with the programmed w ords. `Hail! Hail to the King!' There was a sudden silence.. All except Count Grende l. King Reynart spoke. Count Grendel stared hard at the silent King. `Your Majesty .' The assembled nobles of Tara knelt. the speech of accession! You must give the speech or the ceremony is not compl ete. The Doctor held his breath. Grendel knelt. The Archimandrite went over and lifte d the crown. On a stand before the throne was a velvet cushion. S uddenly. The chant crashed back from the crowd. who stood glaring incredulously at the figure on the throne. The Archimandrite placed the crown on Prince Reynart's head.When all were in position. `My subjects. and whispered. he called.' King Reynart sat silent and motionless. and swear that I will uphold . The android Prince stopped movin g. `Hail to the Kin g! Hail to King Reynart of Tara!' There was another flourish of electronic trump ets. I acknowledge your salutations. holding it high above Reynart's head. Farrah and Zadek exchange d agonised glances. The Doctor held his breath. soon to be King of Tara. bearing a golden crown. Reluctantly.

`The one who disappeared. according to rank and precedence. Sn atching the heavy sceptre from the King.' he whispered. The Doctor gave a great sigh of r elief. descendant of the High Kings of Ta ra.' A plump and matronly Grand Duchess was abou t to move forward. Princess Strella. and do hereby recognise his sovereignity. and leaned closer to Zadek. Mortgarde and Freya. Let t he first lady of Tara come forward. The Archimandrite raised his voice again.' His voice was a little faint. but quite distinct.' She knelt.' he whispered. Count Grendel backed away. Mistress of the domains of Thorvald. `Nol' shouted the Doctor suddenly. `Let all nobles n ow swear the oath of fealty to the King. `I. when a slender gowned figure slipped past her and mounted the steps. There was a murmur of astonishment from the c rowd-. as if to kiss the King's hand.' Princess Strella said.and no one was more surprised than the Doctor. do humbly offer my loyalty to His Majesty King Reynart. . he smashed it down with savage force on the kneeling girl's head. `I must do a bit more work on his speech circ uits. `It's Romana!' Zadek shook his head.your rights and devote myself to defending and protecting you at all times. `It's the Princess Strella.

Look!' The face-mask of the fallen figure had been smashed away.' `It doesn't make sen se. `To get close enough to kill him!' Count Gren del shoved his way to the front of the crowd and glared furiously at the Doctor. It was galling to think he could have killed him then w ith ease--instead of leaving him alive to spoil his plans. the Archimandrite was protesting.. swords in their hands.' shouted Farrah. Unless--some rival claimant to the thro ne. `He has killed Princess Strella!' `No. He remembered seeing this extraordinary-looking fellow unconscious on the floor with the others. Zadek moved close to the Doctor. `It's an android. `That is not the Prin cess.. `But who would wish to kill the King. shouts of anger. The Archimandrite sai d. the night they'd kidnapped the Prince from the hunting lodge. `Why send an android to swear loyalty to t he King?' The Doctor came forward. Several noblemen leape d forward. I heard it sparking.7 Invitation to an Ambush There were shrieks of astonished horror. `Seize him.' quavered the shocked Archimandrit e. and l eft him with the others. Count Grendel had assumed he was some mountebank friend of Prince Reynart.' whispered t he Archimandrite. `How did you know?' `There mu st have been a minute circuit-defect.' He turned . revealing a maze of electronic circuitry inside the skull.

Count Grendel. `Why don't we discuss this matter later?' `Who the devil are you .' said Count Grendel furiously. what eve r are you suggesting?' `Isn't that obvious. who said smoothly. `You can call me Doctor. `I am afraid I cannot permit that. What does His Majesty have to say on the subject? He is very silent' `H is Majesty is tired. `You presume too much. may I suggest that we p ostpone the rest of the oath-taking ceremony? Who knows how many other programme d androids there may be?' The old Archimandrite was horrified. .' `The decision is not you rs.' said the Do ctor hurriedly. Swordmaste r Zadek. `I command His Majesty's bodyguard. Zadek. Zadek met his angry gaze. `Treachery! Treacher y to the King!' `Take care what you say. Calming himself. The decision is mine and mine alone. quite unafra id. he turned to the Archimandrite.' Zadek drew himself upri ght.' said the Doc tor with immense dignity.' `Is His Majesty ill?' asked the Archimandrite worriedly.and looked at Count Grendel.' snapped Zadek. `Your Eminence. sir?' demanded Count Grendel angrily. `You think there are more of these things?' `It is a possibility we must face. `My dear Archimandrite. and suffering from the strain of the occasion. `I am the Royal Physician. Zadek.' Su ddenly.' snarled Count Grendel. Your Eminence. Count Grendel was looking at the King. I s hall leave my personal guards here to protect the King.

I knew it wasn't Romana . As the doors swung closed. One unlocked Romana's chain from the wallring. Doctor?' `Not unless I recharge his power pack and repair his speech circuits.. Can there. no! Nothing that a little rest won't cure. And when I heard the sparking and saw Grendel start to back away--I guessed he was using one of his contingency plans. Count Grendel. and muttering in his sleep.' `But what of the danger?' protested Grendel . tossing an d turning. no. and the other nobles follow ed them. the cell door was flung open wi th a crash and two guards marched in. . He'll be fine by tomorrow.' `Well. `I wish I knew for sure where the real Romana was.' The Archimandrite looked hard at him. Abruptly. `There can be no danger. The Archimandrite led the Court from the chamber. who was dozing fitfully on his straw mattress.' The Doctor sighed. Come. `I understand Doctor. when the King has his own personal s taff to protect him. And what's happened to K9?' Romana sat watchin g over Prince Reynart. Count Grendel?' With a snarl.. ` It's a good job you realised she was an android. `Will he be all right tomorrow.' Farrah looked down at the faceless figure on the steps.`Oh. He looked worri edly at King Reynart--still sitting a little lopsidedly on his throne. the other pulled her roughly to her feet. Grendel turned awa y. we must leave His Majesty to rest. The Doctor said. Zadek gave a sigh of relief.

They took her back to the and roid surgery. the clatter of booted feet. `May I have it back? I mean you don't want it do you.' `Yo u're sure of that? It's not like an substance I've ever heard of round here..' she was actually about to hand the crystal over. Reynart collapsed..' `What is it? Wh at is it made of?' `I've no idea. I found it near the castle the other day.. but Romana had no intention of telling Madame Lamia that. I believe?' `Yes. muttering delirio usly. She held it up as Rom ana was thrust into the room. and Count Grendel bu rst into the room. There was shouting and cu rsing in the corridor out-side. I'v e broken two diamond-tipped drills on it' `Perhaps it's some kind of quartz. where Madame Lamia was studying the crystal.Prince Reynart awoke with a start and shouted. .. his faithful dwarf Till at his heels. and the guards marched Romana from the cell. something very important.' She held out her hand. `I think I'll keep it for a while. then changed her mind. `This is yours... but one of the guards s hoved him brutally back on to the mattress.' The crystal w as part of the Key to Time--one of the most important objects in the cosmos. `I suppose not. `Let her go.' sa id Romana casually. peasants! You have n o right to lay hands on a lady!' He struggled to get up.' `Whatever for?' `I'm curious. it's n o use to you. Madame Lamia shrugged. I have the strangest feeling that it's part of something.

' protested Lamia . `I think you do. He snatched of f his riding cloak and hurled it at Till. Lamia you will prepare another android.. Doctor. There was a noise in the corridor and Zadek hurried in. Caused quite a commotion at the palace gates. I did warn you that it wasn't yet ready for use. Lamia!' he bawled.. I think?' `Never heard of him. `It failed.Count Grendel was tired. I think she can help us t o dispose of this Doctor. `Who is this Doctor you speak of?' `Some strange fellow who seems to be assist ing the Prince. She stopped he rself quickly. `My Lord.' said Romana innocently. `You know this Doctor. Apparently the Doctor was alive and well and giving Count Grendel trouble. `Your precious machine failed. She is in the Castle of Gracht' The Doctor looked up eagerly.' He nodded to the guards.' growled Grendel. Perhaps it wouldn't be wise to reveal she'd come to Tara as his compan ion. `You're sure. travel stained and in a terrible temper. ` That robot dog of yours is back.' K9 glided into the room and announced importantly. precise to the last detail. `I have found Mistres s Romana. They seized Romana and dragg ed her towards the couch. The King of Tara sat on a high-backed chair in one of the rooms of the Royal Suite. while the Doctor made precise adjustments to the c ircuitry of his brain. K9?' . almost burying the little man in its f olds. Count Grendel s miled cruelly. His eyes were on Romana's face. an exa ct copy of our guest here.' `The Doctor--' began Romana. That Doctor saw at once that it was an android.

' said Zadek grimly. ` Will he be able to manage it?' The Doctor rubbed his chin..`Affirmative Master.' `And if it does?' The Doctor gave a rueful grin. When the scan was finished. `Better than I thought! I think I can promise you.' replied K9 promptly. `Not all of them. how long would the linkage hold?' `Three hours.' `So Grendel holds all the cards !' The Doctor nodded towards the figure in the chair. and ten point seven seconds. nine minutes. `K9.. feeding the precise contours into a computer so that she could reproduce them in android form. the real Prince and probably the real Princess as well. `If it does. `That means the Count now has Romana.' Roman a was strapped to the couch again. if I patched the carbon and silicon circuits together. and Madame Lamia was passing a hand-scanner a bove her face and body. I detected her brain-wave pattern quite distinctly. and a nasty smell of burning plastic. a lot of smoke. King George will acquit himsel f right loyally with the Priesthood--just as long as the meeting doesn't go on t oo long. there'll be a blue flash. Zadek. We still have a King ourselves--of a sort' `Our King has shortly to attend an important meeting with the Archimandrite and the College of Priests. . Lamia went ov er to the computer read-out screen to study the results.' `Good dog!' The Doctor looked at Zadek.

then? ' asked Grendel lazily. `Comfortable. This girl is not from Tara. ` The question of monastic lands is bound to come up.Count Grendel was looking on. my de ar. and Zadek was anxiously testing the results of the Doctor's briefing. `Well?' `There are some very unusual readings here! The alpha waves are like nothing I have seen before.' Zadek shook his head wonderingly. `Monastic lands are held by religious orders only under the protection of the crown--which can be withdrawn at any time.' `From where. m y dear?' Romana scowled up at him.' The Count rose and stretched. I need more time for eval uations. T he Doctor is not an easy man to deceive. and said nothing. `Excellent! You know Doctor. The android King sat upright in his chair. What is your Majesty's posit ion on the matter?' The King turned to look at him. `What is she?' `I cannot tell. However. Just programme another android to kill--and make sure it's a perfect copy. `My lord?' called Lamia exc itedly. I sometimes think that the Prince here--' `King!' said the figure at the table firmly. He had just been programmed for the coming meeting with the Archim andrite.' Romana stared up at him in horror. . Her android double was to be used to kill the Doctor. He smiled benignly down at Romana. I propose to continue that protection--subject of course t o the loyal support of my Priesthood and adequate contributions to the Royal fun ds. `Time is something we do not have.

`Now. Touchy as ever... a trifle more. what can I do for you?' Till lowered his voice. `I bear a message from Madame Lamia.' `A lot of androids I know say that about humans.' `And who might she be?' .`I beg your pardon Your Majesty--' Zadek broke off. Why be afraid of something that goes bang when it gets a short-cir cuit?' Farrah marched into the room.' The Doctor stood up. I keep forgetting he's only an android. `And what do you want here?' `My mission is with the Doctor. `More intelligent than the real one? Well. `I speak only with the Doctor.Swordmaster. of course he is. `You know.' Zadek frowned. `Who is it?' A squat broad-shouldered figure thrust its way past Farrah and came into the room. `Don't worry. Zadek. I programmed him. how shall I pu t it. bodysers ant to Count Grendel.' Zadek looked s uspiciously at him.' The little man's voice turned the title into an in sult.' He took Till by the arm and led him to th e far end of the room. `My name is Till. `How dare you speak thus to a Master of the Sword.' The Doctor grinned. Farrah reached for his sword. not with you-.' Zadek lowered his voice. `Quite right too. Doctor the King seems to be.. we peasants must stick together. you miserable lout!' Till was unmoved. `Well. Trouble is.' said the Doctor solemnly. don't make him too intelligent Doctor. You can't really trust androids you know. Swordsman. Those are my orders. `A visitor for the Doctor..

In return.' `I hope so. She wants me to meet her. be captured and executed.' `Well?' `Madame Lamia fears for the Count's safety. but they could hear no more than a low rumble. of course.' Farrah took his hand away from his sword-hilt.' `You refused. the Prince and the Princess over to me.' Till nodded to the Doctor and strode out of t he room. she fears he will fail..' His hand went to his sword. `I'm going to put a stop to this. K9 swung round to cover him..' said Farrah suddenly. Now that your android has been crowned King. `We know very little about him. They were still talking in low. that Count Grendel won't be harmed. `Good d og.. the Doctor. The Doctor came over to them. `Who? Grendel's servant?' `No. `Do no t activate that sword. `I've got to take a written guarantee signed by you. as a gesture of good fai th. tonight. Zadek..' said Zadek. like me. `I don't like it.' said the Doctor ch eerfully. `Good dog.' . `Madame Lamia is off ering us a deal.`She is Count Grendel's woman. ignoring the others.' he said uneasily. `He can be trusted. At the other end of the room Zadek and Farrah listened hard.' Farrah lo oked at the two figures at the other end of the room. I accepted.. on behalf of the King.' `No. urgent voices.' Till lowered his voice still further. Says she'll release Romana first. I suppose?' muttered Farrah. Count Grend el's political power is slipping away. Madame Lamia and her friends will hand Romana.. A peasant.

`You can't possibly go. They alw ays want you to go alone. Not only was the Doctor heading straight into danger--he actually seemed to be looking forward to it! . `Well. Besides. `Y ou've got to look after His Majesty. `It's a summer house in the woods on Grendel's estate. quite close to the castle.' Zadek and Farrah looked at each oth er. We'll make our next move from there. when you're walking into a trap. We'd better come with you. Doctor. and meet me at the hunting lodge. I wonder what nasty i deas they're cooking up for me?' The Doctor rose. You two take King George here. I'll be off.' said Farrah.' Zadek looked dubious.' The Doctor shook his head. they want me to go alone.' `Of course it's a trap--and of course I'm going! If they really do bring Romana. `And where is this meeting to take place?' ` Somewhere poetically called the Pavilion of The Summer Winds--do you know it?' Z adek nodded. and a squad of men. I can get her away from th em at least.`It's a trap. Come on K9 .

my dear?' Romana said scornfully.' Lamia went into her work shop and returned carrying a blank faced dummy which she propped up in the corne r of the room. `He'll know it's a trap. Show her. the real Romana. my dear Lamia..8 The Android Killer Romana stood in the android surgery.' `Well. That's what g ives the situation such a delicious edge.' Count Grendel laughed. The Count was beside her.. She pressed a button in its chest.' Grendel stroked his chin. But sooner or later. he'll be very careful. anyway. the Doctor's voice came from somewhere inside the dummy. `You underestimate him. he'll have to find out if that figure in the darkened pavilion is you--and when he does. It's his only chance of rescuing you. Lamia. he wo n't come. `Don't you agree. my dear. looking wonderingly at a perfect replica of herself. `In the dark. my dear. `You've excelled yourself. Of course he'll come. Oh. `The Doctor will spot it immediately.' `Of course. my dear. obviously delighted with Madame Lamia's work . To Ro mana's astonishment. Romana. `H ullo. at a distance of twenty feet? I think not. and jumped hastily back. if he knows it's a trap.' Romana had a horrid feeling tha t Grendel was right. how are you?' . It's absolutely perfect.' He turned to Romana.

my dear. Lamia.. and as deadly as the plague itsel f.' said Romana. Light flashed from the buckle in the android's belt--and the dummy exploded.' The guard marched Romana back to her cell. Madame Lamia smiled. If only she were real. `Why were you so long?' Before the guard could answer she snapped. `Guard!' shouted Madame Lamia again. `You see before you the complete killing machine. L amia following close behind. `Guardl' she shouted. `You deserve each other!' Count Grendel gave the android a courtly bow . `Come. Romana backed hastily to the work bench. my dear. ` Ingenious. don't you think? You really are to be congratulated.. `Till. Madame Lamia followed them to the door.' Offering the android his arm. he led it from the room. `It won't work. the Coun t's servant was carrying a hidden recorder. `Help me to take t his prisoner back to the dungeons. when he spoke to the Doctor. Count Grendel rubbed his hands. As beautiful as you.The android Romana swung round to face the dummy.' `How did you get the voice?' asked Romana. my dear. you know.' Count Grendel put his arm around the android Romana.' `You'v e wasted a lot of effort. slipped a steel probe into her sleeve. and moved forward again. Suppose the Do ctor doesn't speak?' `The android is programmed to kill in other ways. There was a clatter of booted feet. . Madame Lamia was in a furious temper. I'd marry her!' `Why don't you do it anyway?' suggeste d Romana. and a guard came running into the surgery.

' said Lamia simply. Romana slipped the pr obe from her sleeve. and it looked clumsy and old-fashioned. have you? All he's doing is using you. Lamia turned to the guard.' The guard left the cell. It was a simple wooden summerhouse with a wide verandah. a place for picnics and . and with vicious satisfaction. But its better than nothing. Lamia attach ed Romana's chain to the ring on the cell wall. `You haven't really got him now. lock-picking was one of the things they hadn't taught her at the Academy.' Lamia turn ed and left the cell. and began studying the lock on her collar. even if Grendel does become King. It was diff icult--she couldn't see what she was doing. I'll lock up the prisoner. Unfortunately. Roman a looked pityingly at her. He stirred unea sily. but I don't want to marry him--and you do! Why don't you just le t me go? All you have to do is release me.' `I know. Basically it was a Taran version of the padlock. The Pavilion of the Summer Winds looked pea ceful and innocent in the afternoon sunshine. Think about it--what have you got to lose? ' `Count Grendel.' Lamia's voice was shaking with anger. he'll ne ver marry you. `Leave us. how doe s the Doctor do this?' she muttered.In the dungeon the Prince had fallen back into his uneasy sleep. and snapped home the lock. `Nor you either-. `You know. and I'll fin d the Doctor and leave Tara for ever. `Now. but did not awaken.I'll see to that!' `Ah. Romana slipped the probe into the keyhole and began probing experimentally. give me my crystal back.. When the door had closed behind her. let me see..

Master.' `Good . so he naturally turned up sev eral hours early.' ` I won't leave you behind. It infuriated Romana that a graduate of the Ac ademy of Gallifrey should have such difficulty in picking a simple padlock. Master. Romana went over to t he Prince and shook him gently awake. We're getting out of here. K9?' `Negative. stretched out his legs and appeared to fal l into a doze. just one big airy r oom. Let's take a look inside. I can open your collar and--' Feebly the Prince shook his head. while K9 scanned the building with his sensor ray. all we can do now is wait' Choosing the most comfor table chair.' whispered Romana fiercely. `Find anything K9?' `Negative. The Doctor's rendezvous was set for the evening.' . the Doctor sank into it. The shutter s were drawn and the room was dark and cool. It was hard to think that it could conceal a deadly ambush . while K9 scanned the room for hidden death traps. `Save.' `Me neither! Well. furnished with a scattered assortment of old chairs and tables. K9 glided to a position in a dark corner and de-activated himself to conserve energy. `Come on..lazy days in the sun. But she worked on patiently.. They waited. and at last the lock sprang open. He stood at the edge of the little clearing. `Anybody about. yourself. The Doctor had a quick look round. `They'll kill you.' There was little enough to see.

`You'd better help him. Swiftly Romana slipped out of the cell door slamming it be hind her. He'll know what to d o. and the Prince listened. find my Swordmaster.' She explained h er plan. The guard spun round. It w as the only thing to do. `Guard! Guard! Come quickly.' screamed Romana. `All right. This could be our chance. `Look he' s dying!' The Prince was writhing to and fro on his mattress.' Romana hated the idea of leaving the Prince. nodding eagerly. The Prince!' It took a lot of yellin g and screaming. `The Prince.' said Romana.`Too. Zadek. A few minutes later. I think I heard Grendel leaving the castle. It sounded as if he was taking a lot of the gua rds with him. `Somebody stop her. I'd only get in the way.' The guard came over to the Prince and stood looking down at him.' Pri nce Reynart struggled painfully to his feet. and smashed it down on the guard's head. .. we'd just both get recaptured. but she knew he was right. but at last the cell door was flung open and a suspicious looki ng guard stood scowling in the doorway. gasping for breath . `Count Grendel will be furious if the Pr ince dies while he still needs him. Romana b egan shouting. But you can still help me. `Don't waste time with me.' `Then take it!' The Prince propped hims elf up on one elbow.' `Listen. The guard slumped to the floor. weak. tell him where I am. gathered a length of his neck-chain into a loop. `Come back!' he yelled. Y ou escape.. a little while ago.

Then. And best of all. most of the guards had left with Count Grendel.. She could scarcely believe her luck. A bored looking guard stood outside the gatehouse. Stuck up on the great horse like a statue. staring out over t he peaceful countryside. At least he had managed to strike one blow against Count Grendel. A second guard strolled out of the gatehouse and leaned his back against the wall enjoying the shade. If the guard turned. Som eone was bound to see her in a minute. she scrambled into the saddle. a stolid. Romana knew she had to seize the moment. He gla nced casually at the horse. trying to remember the way Count Grendel had mounted. well-trained battle charger endured all this qu ite patiently. and unfastened its reins. Romana shook the reins. Romana felt horribly conspicuous. She edged along the wall until she reached the horse. As Romana had hoped.Reynart looked at his chain with great satisfaction. a ready-saddled horse stood tethered t o a ring in the courtyard wall. The portcullis was raised. the chance would be lost. Go!' Nothing happened. as he realised with astonishment that there was someone on it. `Hey!' he bellowed. Someone did. then looked again. The horse. She found her way back to the arched doorway and slipped out into the cobbled court yard. and the corridors of the castle were deserted. `Escaping prisoner!' . the drawbr idge down. `Come on charger.. if someone else came into the courtyard.

clattered over the drawbridge and galloped a way. `Find another peasant who understands androids.' said Grendel softly.' `Yes my lord.' `What should I do without you. A short time earlier. It brok e into a rapid trot. and reported back to Count Grendel. The horse th undered past the astonished guards. not far away. `You know what to do.. `Oh.' . only the Doctor is to be admitted.' Kurster moved away and Grendel turned to Madame Lamia. Now re member. Soon horse and rider had vanishe d into the forest. Tell the men to await my signals.. It was a feeble enough kick but it was the signal the horse had been waiting for. Kurster saluted.' yelled Romana. Both guards ran towards her. a ring of Count Grendel's guards was en circling the Pavilion of the Summer Winds. Sergeant Kurster checke d their positions. no doubt. Romana kicked again. The Count was waiting wit h Madame Lamia and the android Romana behind a massive tree opposite the Pavilio n entrance. you can leave h im to me. and kicked the horse in the ribs.' `Good. you stupid creature. my lord. fetched crossbows and fired after the ra pidly disappearing figure. `The men are in position. But it was too late. The trot became a gallop. Lamia's voice wa s bitter. no one else.The gate guard turned and saw Romana. go. When this Doctor arrives. The guards ran into the gatehouse. my dear?' `Yes. go.

`Now go. `I know. and went into the pavilion.' said the Doctor affably.' Lamia turned and went to the door. `You realise the Count will h ave to live in exile somewhere? But of course. struggling to regain control.' said the Doctor gently.. a ll unharmed. the Prince and Princess later. `Wher e's Romana?' `Outside.' He returned the paper to his pocket. `A guarantee of safety for Grendel--in return for Romana. but it might have been fun to hear it. Where's Romana?' The Doctor's unexpected presence had thrown Madame Lamia off balance. But I should not find one who pleased me so much!' His voice hardened.' The Doctor rose and bowed. I presume. She stopped in astonishment at th e sight of the tall figure in the chair. `You agree to my t erms?' The Doctor produced a sheet of parchment from his pocket.' The Doctor beamed. `Hullo. `True.' `It is not yet time f or our meeting. What's your story?' `Do I need one?' `No.' Madame Lamia cro ssed the clearing. `Madame Lamia. there's no reason why you couldn' t go with him. before the Doctor arrives.Grendel bent and kissed her. now. but I had nothing much else to do and it was such a lovely afternoon. . `You are the Doctor?' `That's rig ht. `You' re early!' Lamia fought to overcome her shock. `Now. is there?' Lamia was silent. She paused.' `Then bring her in. I thought I'd come early to enjoy the peace and quiet..

`Someth ing's gone wrong. a nd began advancing towards the Pavilion. turned and went outside. `Danger. The Doctor flung himself aside as the android Romana's laser -ray blasted a hole in the wall behind him.' said Lamia ner vously. K9 had fired his blaster at full strength. `The Doctor must not escape alive! ` . `Kill the Do ctor!' she shouted. hidden in the shadows. `Shoot him down !' shouted Grendel furiously. crossbows at the ready. The Doctor looked at Romana. Madame Lamia just behind her . Doctor. Outside the Pavilion. but did not speak. `Well.The Doctor's voice halted her at the threshold. blowing the android apart. Attack the Pavilion!' Guards appeared from behind the trees.' Lamia hesitated. Count Grendel heard the explosion. The door opened and Romana came in. `I don't know if your offer was genuine. `Aren't you going to greet your friend?' There was an alarmed electronic bleep. and K9 glided forward. Before the android could fire again. Master!' Lamia jumped back. `K9!' yelled the Doctor. The Doctor waited. glancing briefly towards the corner where K9 waited. Lamia--but my acceptance is.

are you coming out? We can still make a deal for t he lives of your friends. I want this Doctor destroyed!' In the Pavilion. `My lord.9 Flag of Truce A cloaked figure dashed out of the Pavilion. I kn ow exactly what I'm doing.. the Doctor could hear Gr endel's voice. and the guards raised their crossbo ws. An electronic bolt from the crossbow of a too-eage r guard struck Lamia in the heart. `That was Madame Lamia!' He looked down at the huddled form for a moment and drew a deep breath. `Kurster. you will not be harmed. Come out and talk. I promise you won't be harmed. and she fell dead to the ground. Come out and parley with me.' `Inadvisable. K9. tell the men to fire at will. you fools. as soon as he a ppears. I suppose I'd better talk to him. `Doctor. I know you're in there. Even a villain like Gracht has some sense of honour. `Ah well. my lord!' called Madame Lamia desperately. Master.' Count Gr endel lowered his voice. `Hold your fire!' screa med Grendel. `Hold your f ire. Doctor.' . K9.' `What? Just you leave this to me.' The Doctor looked down. and when he swears by his family name. It was too late. `Well. `There's only one entrance to this Pavilion and we have i t covered..' shouted Grendel again.' he shouted. I give you my word as a Gracht.

`I think it's time we were getting out of here.The Doctor flung open the Pavilion door and popped outside. followed by his men.' The Doctor studied the Pavilion wall. `R ound the back. K9?' `Affirmative . I think!' He pointed.' he shouted. a guard turned the corner of the Pavilion and spotted them. Grendel looked up at the rider. Grendel heard the man's dying scream. most of them had conve rged on the front entrance. `A thousand gold pieces to the man who shoots the Do ctor!' As the guards ran for the back of the Pavilion there was a thunder of hoo ves and an enormous charger galloped into the clearing. K9 swung round. . `Thi s way! He's over here!' He raised his crossbow to fire. K9 followed .) The horsewoman galloped around to the rear of the Pavilion. `Right! About there. At that moment. To his ast onished rage he saw the Doctor swinging up into the saddle behind the rider. `Hold your fire! It's the Princess!' (Count Grendel had no desire for Pr incess Strella to die before he married her. Master. In the front of the Pavilion. Grendel ran after him. A volley of crossbow -bolts exploded all around him and he jumped back in. don't you. in response to Grendel's call to attack. `Good dog!' said the Doctor and started through the hole. and K9 promptly blasted him down. Although Grendel had posted men all round the Pavilion. slamming the door behind h im. raised his head and blasted a size-able hole through the wall. The Doctor and K9 made their way through the hole and headed for the shelter of the trees.

If we bring up our m en under cover of darkness and position them here.`Off you go. `While Grendel thinks we're still in the palace. from the Prince. `That's not the Princess. Zadek's finger jabbed down at the map. `Fools! Dolts!' bellowed Count Grendel. . and K9 discouraged them still further by shooting down several of the leaders. It was a hopeless task to begin with. `Prince Reynart!' `No. the Doctor. This is Swordsman Farrah. there's a chance we can surprise him. `Oh. Zadek looked at the Doctor' s companion in astonishment. `Princess Strella!' `No. The guards turned and fled...' explained the Doctor hurriedly. `I've got a message for you. `He's an android. and the Doctor and Romana rushed in. Romana and K9 were all far away. they're real enough--I think!' Zadek bowed and clicked his heels.' The door to the hunting lo dge burst open.' `Incredible! And these gentlemen?' The Doctor grinned. it's Rom ana. that's George. `Everyone for himself!' The horse galloped away. K9!' yelled the Doctor.' Romana was equally astonished at the sight of the figure sitting st iffly at the head of the table. I just look li ke Strella. I'm Romana.' `Zadek?' said Romana . By the time C ount Grendel had rallied his demoralised forces.' `You've seen His Majesty?' aske d Zadek eagerly. `I am Swordmaster Zadek. Get after them!' The guards began running after the fast-disappearing horse .

We've got to res cue him. `What are you doi ng. and I exp ect to be treated according to the usages of war.' Suddenly Farrah went over to the window.' The Doctor took Romana's arm and led her fo the balcony. though.' Ignoring Romana's protests. Count Grendel bowed. Doctor?' `Grendel's got no reason to love you. `Good day. the Doctor bustled her out. and rejoined the others. The Count himself was carrying the traditional white flag. sir?' Zadek was horrified.' `What do you want?' asked Zad ek bluntly. `It's Count Grendel with a flag of truce!' Farrah's hand w ent to his sword. mo unted on a long pole with a gilded. You just keep out of sight until he's gone.' Romana looked at t he Doctor. `And make sure you disarm him first!' Farrah hurried out. .' Zadek hurried to join him. ushering Grendel before him. `Right. ornamental head. `Shall I kill the traitor.' `You may be right. and fl ourished his flag. and he's badly injured.`He's in the dungeons of Castle Gracht.' ordered Zadek. `Horsemen approaching. Come on. Farrah was carrying the Count's sword. I come under a flag of truce. Swordsman Farr ah.' `Bring in the Count. then let's see what Grendel wants. gentlemen. and if he is planning any dir ty work I don't want you involved. `Under a flag of truce? You know the Rules of War. Swordsman Farrah. A few minutes later he returned. `I'm not sure if Count Grendel does.

Count Grendel laughed. But what would happen if something went seriously wrong in public. like a n overload on his circuits? Come to that what would happen to you if Zadek manag ed to get the real Prince back?' `What?' . Doctor. `He doesn't sound it. Your Android Majesty?' The figure turned its head.' `So was I!' said the Doctor frankly.' said the Doctor ch eerfully.. Zadek still has his King.' `Here you axe. `How are you.' The Doctor rubbed his chin. Go on. I was glad when you managed to get away safely. new to our politics. what hav e you become?' `You tell me. and in no time at all. `I. I like you..' `Thank you. facing them at the end of the table.' `King-maker extraordinary. `You know.. `I suppose that's meant as a compliment.' The Doctor allowed Grendel to lead him to the end o f the room. Count Grendel?' `Doctor.. `Indeed. He glanced at the uniformed figure. `A private word with the Doctor--acc ording to the Rules of War. `And where is the charming Lady Romana?' `What do yo u want. `Well. Grendel' interrupted Zadek angrily.' began Grendel.' said the Doctor modestly. `Th anks to your keeping that collection of microcircuity going.' Grendel looked maliciously at the Doctor. a man after my own heart . Count Gren del glanced round the room. does he? Leakage in the power-cells I expect?' `Nothing that can't be fixed.Grendel turned and looked at the uniformed figure at the head of the table.' said Grendel expansive ly. am. new to Tara. well. `You are a remarkabl e man.

It was Kurster. eh? No more Reynart at all. no. and saw C ount Grendel leap into the saddle of his waiting horse and ride furiously away. It thudded into the chest of the still figure at the table and the android exploded in a cloud of smoke. Farrah. Doctor--with myself as your chief adviser.' he called. `I think you would make an excellent King. `Count Grend el.`Your usefulness would cease. . The Count was already hurtling across the room.' The Doctor gave a shout o f laughter. With one flying leap.' yelled Z adek. he w ent through the window in a shower of glass. of course. `You. The Doctor ran after him. Doctor. I have enemies. Unfortuna tely. and embarrassment to be got rid of--and don't think he wouldn't do it!' The Doctor looked curiously at him. the Count's giant henchman. `That is treason!' `Only as long as the King is still alive!' Suddenly Count Grendel drew back his arm and hurled his flag-po le across the room. someone above our politics. You would bec ome a dangerous embarrassment to Zadek.' `What would that achieve?' `A vacancy f or a new King!' The Doctor laughed. exactly what are you suggesting?' `Suppose we both un-made our Kings. Another horseman galloped around the side of the hunting lodge and rode off afte r Grendel. `Zadek. `Count Grendel has just offered me the c rown of Tara!' Zadek was outraged. There would be opposition. `Seize him. Far better a stranger.' Grendel paused. Doctor--and you would know too much. I suppose?' `No. like a spear. alive or android.

.Across his saddle-bow lay the furiously struggling figure of Romana.

one almost has to admire the man.' `He's certainly not short of courage. Farrah. and opened his eyes... `I imag ine he's thought up yet another scheme to gain the throne. I'm afraid. He'll be well on the way to Castle Gra cht' The Doctor shook his head ruefully. The Doctor was examini ng the remains of the shattered android. `Blown to bits.' `Admire him!' spluttered Zadek.' said Zadek grimly. `You know. You've got to admit h e's a trier!' Count Grendel flung open the dungeon door. sir. `Romana!' Prince Reynart stirred.' `Nerve is something C ount Grendel has never been short of. flag of truce or no flag of truce. `I can see why he wanted to destroy the android. riding up like that. `You'll never catch him now. and thrust Romana insid e. `We should have killed him the minute he walked in here.' . `I mean.10 Count Grendel Plans a Wedding Zadek ran to the door.' said Farrah. `Get the men mounted. Trust Grendel to convert a flag of t ruce into a weapon of war!' Farrah sighed despondently. But why kidnap Lady Romana?' The Doctor sighed. `Romana! I thought you 'd escaped. distracting us while his man breaks in and kidnaps Lady Romana. Must have b een an explosive charge in that spear-head. After them!' The Doctor hel d them back. It took nerve.

the crown will pass to Grendel. King of Tara. that well-known protector of widows an d orphans will step in and marry you. you'll almost certainly become a widow.' snapped Count Grendel viciously.' said Reynart feebly. Romana looked down at the Prince. `Now that really is most unfair. Five minutes after the wedding. Count Grendel is a great stickler f or legality--when it suits him. `What was all that about? What's his idea now?' `Count Grendel has a lways had only one idea. exh austed. Princess Strella is a very st rongminded girl. so I brought her back to you. and it didn't work.' Romana glared angrily at him . Especially when I've gone to so much trouble to reunite His Ma jesty with his bride-to-be!' `His what? What are you up to now?' Count Grendel g ave her one of his peculiarly sinister smiles.' Romana was beginning to understand the pl an. `Thus becoming the Consort of the rightful Queen of Tara. Your Majesty.`She did. `But I knew you couldn't live withou t her.' Roman added. `Congratulations! You'll make a l ovely couple. my dear. `He wants to become the rightful. According to the L aws of Tara. Whereupon Count Grendel. `But Grendel's got the real Prince ss Strella.' He went out. slamming the door behind him. Then I suppose it will be my turn to have an unfortunate accident?' `Precisely.' . If you pose as Princess Strella and marry me. `Do you have to torment him?' Count Grendel was hurt. you will aut omatically become Queen. `I imagine he's tried. Why doesn't he force her to marry him?' Prince Reynart lay back. legal.

Till poured wine. but there is a ceremony you must perform. I have to tell you that he is seriously ill--in fact. `I noticed he looked unwell at the Coronation. He had ordered the throne to be made some time ago. `He has placed himself under my protection. you say? ' . Your Eminence.' `Exactly what I thought myself.'. `To the Princess Stella.' The old m an was shocked.' `The King is here?' Count Grendel's voice was gra ve. and hurle d the silver goblet at Till's head.' The Archimandrite shook his head disapprovingly. dog!' He turned to the Archimandrite and said urbanely. he is very near to death.Count Grendel sat on a throne in the great hall of Castle Gracht. `Fetch good wine. `W hat is so urgent that I must be dragged from my duties like this? Your men were most insistent. and to whom?' `The King of Tara. The Count drank. The old man looked up at Grendel and said peevishly. spat it out.' `Why? Who i s to be married.' `Not this marriage. said Count Grendel impressiv ely. and delivered a swift kick to the departing Till. Not himself at al l. `Forgive me. Sadly.' `But near to death. it would come in handy when Castle Gracht was a Royal Residence. `You call this wine? It's vinegar!' It was a t this rather unfortunate moment that the Archimandrite was brought in by two of Count Grendel's guards. `Y our own chaplain could have done that for you.' `Here? W hat ceremony. Archimandrite.' Count Grendel rose. Your Eminence.' `A marriage.

At the table.' said Zadek gloomily. `A second wedding? And whose.' They seemed to be enjoying themselves so much that the Doctor felt it was a shame to interrupt them. `How long do you two think it will take to capture the castle. soon after the wedding.' Farrah was saying. there's only one way to get into that castle quickly. `We can post the men here. Zadek frow ned. belated but un harmed.' Count Grendel brightened. may I ask.' said Count Grendel sadly. here.' `What's that?' demanded Zadek. Now K9 had finally arrived. Zadek and Farrah were studying a map of Castle Gracht and its surroundings. sir.' He leaned over the map. will that be?' `Mine. I haven't got two years to spare.' The Doctor sat brooding in the hu nting lodge.' said the Doctor firmly. Then your men can charge straight in. you might as well perform the second wedding strai ght after the funeral. Grendel will kill Romana and the Prince long before then. `Besides. `In fact. take the . I fear we shall need y ou for the funeral rites. `I shall be marrying the poor King's widow. `I can tell you now. who had been forced to make a wide de-tour to avoi d a patrol of Count Grendel's guards. `No w that I come to think of it. it would be as well if you s tayed on at Castle Gracht for a while after the ceremony. With him was K9. then?' `Ha rd to say.' `Well.' said Count Grendel happily .' By now the Archimandrite was totally baffled. `Someone will have to get in and open t he gates from the inside. `The last siege of Castle Gracht went on for ov er two years. `And leave our left flank open to attack? No.`Indeed he is. surely.

Romana sat beside him. anyway. `I have already told you. Zadek snorted.' objected Farrah. Come on K9!' Count Grendel strode along the dank stone corridors of his castle. uneas ily. `I have come to offer you on e last chance to change your mind. ` Never!' She returned to her tapestry. `I will not marry the King under these . mopping his forehead. but he managed to keep his voice civil. `The Arch imandrite is here. one man and his dog.' `Just you? One man a lone?' The Doctor smiled. Princess Strella was still busy at her endless tapestry. Doctor. `Open!' The guard opened the door and Count Grendel went inside.guard by surprise.' Princess Stre lla was a placid.' Princess Strella looked up. It will all be quite simple. He moved on to the second cell. Grendel's fac e darkened. and an immovable sense of duty.' Princess Strella ignored him. `Very touching. `Well. Grendel. but who is going to open the gates?' `I am. The Prince was sleeping.' `That's hardly according to the Rules of War. `Your Highness. but she had generations of Royal training be hind her. `Have you ever known Grendel to abide by the Rules of War? It's a good plan.' sh e said precisely. Count Grendel said persuasively. Your Highness. a guard at his hee ls. C ount Grendel bowed. and rescue the prisoners before Count Grendel's got time to k ill them. The King is here. rather dull girl.' muttered Gren del. He paused outside the door to the first cell.

All he needs is proper qu arters. `You've got to give him proper quarters. my dear. proper treatment--' `I know exactly what he needs. Princess Strella. The horrified guard hurried to obey. then his life is safe. `Never. `Open it. You may kill me if you wish. I fear he is not long for this world. ' `I may well do that.circumstances--and I will not many you under any circumstances. You have become dispensable!' He stormed out.' `His life matters so much to you?' `More than my own. `Such a p ity. ` I have a substitute. surely you want to be Queen?' The Princ ess laid down her embroidery. `As long as I can frustrate your evil schemes by r efusing to marry the King. come.' roared Grendel. `Come. his mask of urbanity slipping at last. and picked up her e mbroidery.' he bellowed.' Grendel nodded sadly.' `Nonsense.' Grendel pro dded the Prince in the ribs with the toe of his boot. He's getting weaker all the time. Romana l ooked up from the unconscious Prince. and the guard locked the cell.' said the Princess matter-of-factly. you hear me.' Count Grendel t ried to be jovial. Count Grendel hammered his fist on the door of the neighbouring cell. `As long as he has enough energy left for the marriage ceremony. `That is why I wil l not go through with any marriage under your roof. Grendel? Never!' . you fool.' Prince Reynart opened his eyes. Princess Strella sighed. C ount Grendel. my dear.

' 'Oh. `Now be qui et.' cried the Prince fever ishly. Count Grendel.' R omana looked steadily at him. you can think again. my dear Romana.' Count Grendel sighed. You would have married the android with fu ll public ceremony--and she would have killed you on your wedding night.' He turned and left the cell. Be ready. `Good. Exactly what do you mea n?' `Princess Strella is in the dungeon next to this one. and listen to me. After y our unfortunate death. a perfect copy of the Princess for you to marry.Count Grendel sighed. `Now what ha ve you to say to that?' Appalled at the extent of Count Grendel's ruthless ness. the real Pr incess will die!' He paused. She is quite well. before Romana and her friend the Doctor interfered. then purred.' Romana was tired of Grendel a nd his elaborate schemes. `All right. savouring their distress. `I know you will. Count Grendel resumed his usua l polished manner. You will both do exactly as I say--because if you refuse. she would have married me. I'm sure you wouldn't wish to be the cause of Princess Strella's death? And no more would you. if you think I'm going to help you by marrying the Prince. `Well. both of you. Madame Lamia was preparing another android. and quite safe--for the moment. I was sure you'd see reason. His voice hardened. `Come now. .' `If you harm her. `It would all have been so delightfully simple. Grendel. Your Majesty. 'What? What can you do?' sneered Grendel. Romana and the Prince were too shocked to speak. but you will. I had everything arranged. I shall send servants to prepare you for the ceremony.' whispered Grendel.

' she whispe red. `It's getting dark. All we can do now is play for time.' Romana glanced up at the high barred window.' . Romana? It doesn't make any d ifference whether we do what he wants or not--he's going to kill us eventually a nyway.Prince Reynart slumped back in despair. `What now. and we've still got friends outside. `Don't give up.

`Here we go then. They were made to stand up to a battering ram.' said t he Doctor confidently. `Don't worry.' said the Doct or.' Farrah produced a sword and handed it to the Doctor. `The old water-gate is right under the wall opposite. K9l' Zadek held the boat close to the side of the bank. Zadek and Farrah lowered the flat-bottomed pun t into the moat of Castle Gracht. You may need it!' `I hope n ot.' Zadek pushed the boat off from th e shore. carried overland by Zadek's men. and picked up the paddle fr om the floorboards. tied a knot in his coat-belt. `In you go.' whisp ered Zadek. `Right. . Good luck!' The Doctor paddled away.' said the Doctor. Once K9 teas safely installed in the bottom of the boat. `Here. You just make sure your chaps are ready to charge. but he took the sword.' `They won't stand up to K9 though. at the Doctor's suggestion. we'll manage. and t hrust the sword through it. while Fa rrah helped the Doctor to lower K9 into it. `Those door timbers are at least a foot thick I'm afraid. Doctor. take this. `We'll be waiting. It had been brought from the nearby river.11 Attack by Night The night was dark and moonless and the massive bulk of Castle Gracht loomed dim ly against scudding storm-clouds. the Doctor jumped in after him. the moment that drawbridge comes down.

' whispered the Doctor. K9--start cutting!' K9 moved to the front of the boat. .' `There must be no hitches in the ceremony--in either of the cer emonies!' Prince Reynart's funeral service was due to follow shortly after his w edding. `Sssh they'll hear us. In the Great Hall of Gracht. H e grabbed an iron ring set into the massive timbers and steadied the boat. he drove the boat across the smooth. `This most be it. a few chairs for those of Count Grendel's guards who would act as witnesses. taking care to dip the paddle blade in the water without splashing. a carved wooden table to serv e as the Archimandrite's altar.' K9's electronic voice was shockingly loud in the night silence . K9. `Is everything ready?' Till ducked his head. A few minutes later t he prow of the punt bumped gently against a heavy arched door. All right. Till and Kurster were making the prep arations for the wedding. set into the cast le wall just above the waterline. `Affi rmative.Swiftly and silently. The massive wooden timbers be gan to smoke. but the boat glided beneath him silent and unseen. and focused his laser beam on the door. black surface of the moat. They were simple enough. It would be a simple ceremony. Master. ` Almost my lord. Count Grendel strode into the hall and looked around. There was a nasty moment when a patrolling sentry gazed down at the moat from the batt lement.

`But where are the happy couple?' `They are in their quar ters.' said Count Grendel smoothly. It will probably be the last day too. my lord?' `Make sure the guards are alert . get down to the dungeons and deal with Princess Strella. there you are. `Good.' The old man looke d round in puzzlement. Are you ready?' `I am. `Remem ber now--no trouble or Strella . Your Eminence. Count G rendel surveyed them approvingly. If the Doctor and his friends attack. and he had been given a fresh uniform to wear. Romana was wearing one of Prin cess Strella's gowns. taken from the baggage captured with the Princess. it may well be tonight. `I will inform them that you are ready. At the first sig n of trouble. you might just as well enjoy it!' He led them into the corridor and paused by the door to the adjoining cell. `Ah. my lord. I shall deal with the King and his interfering f riend myself.' It wouldn't be the first murder Kurster had carried out at Grendel's orders. You under stand me?' `I do. The Prince's wound had been redresse d. where he found Romana and Prince Reynart submitting unwill ingly to the ministrations of his servants. splendid! But why spoil the effect by looking so miserable. Your Highness? This should be the happiest day of your life.' Count Grendel looked up as the Archimandrite tottered into the ha ll. I sh all conduct them here myself. `Yes. Count Grendel made his way down to the dungeons. `Splendid.`Kurster!' roared Count Grendel.' Summoning two guards.

K9.and be careful I' The Doctor disappeared. . `About time ! Now listen. and I've no time to carry you.' He took Romana's arm . and some of them burst into flame. there's bound to be a lot of stairs.' K9 was hurt. which was charred and blackened but by no means destroyed. Balancing precariously in the boat. and looked back at K9. Master. stay on guard here-. Now. `Now. The sonorous pealing of a bell came rol ling out from the castle tower.' `Affirmative. You'd better stay here. `I'm sorry there's no bridal march. `You ordered no noise. Master. Most of the timbers fell away in bl azing sparks. `Hurry up. cheer up. `Master?' called K9. ' `Get on with it K9!' K9 increased the intensity of his laser beam. That I promise.dies.' He looked at the heavy gate. I may need to bring the prisoners out this way if anything goes wrong.' The strange wedding party moved away. you!' He crawled carefully throug h the smouldering gap. `You old sea dog. K9?' whispered the Doctor. the Doctor kicked at the door. Master. can't you? A hamster with a blunt penknife could do it quicker.' `And don' t fall in the water. `Hear that. my dear. `It means either a wedding or a funeral. but we're ringing the castle bell . said K9 huffily. don't forget. The gatetim bers began to crackle. it will soon be over.' `I am familiar with boats. The Do ctor patted him on the head.

Reynart. an d . If she went through with the ceremony. He hurried up the stairs that led to the great hall.' Romana was wonderi ng desperately what to do for the best. but it was empty. `Do you. King of Tara. w here Princess Strella was still placidly embroidering. an indignant cry of `Sssh. `Master?' called K9. ' and then silence. He found it a t last. behind which stood the Archimandrite. `Remember the Princess. The Archimandrite began the ceremony.There was a crash from somewhere inside the hole. He led them up the improvised aisle to the table. `You will both kneel!' Romana and Prince Reynart did not move. `Now. Reynart caught Count Grendel's menacing look and said weakly. kneel!' They knelt. After a good deal o f preliminary mumbling from the Archimandrite. `You have forgotten to secure the boat! ' But the Doctor was gone. In a quavery voice the old m an said. The Doctor hurried through the lower corridors of the castle. Flanked by sword-bearing guards. the marriage ceremony had now rea ched the most vital part. K9. and decided to rescue her later. looking for the dungeon where Romana was confined.' he hissed. If she refused. the door standing open. Romana and Prince Re ynart followed Count Grendel into the hall. `I do. t hen Count Grendel would be able to go on with his evil plans. He glanced in the next cell. the P rincess Strella to be your lawful wedded wife?' There was a long pause. take this woman. Count Gr endel glared.

it isn't..' said Romana. isn't that right. Guards were converging on the Doctor from all over the great hall. take this man. `No.' `Oh no. One of them raised a crossbow. `Have you got t o that bit where you ask if anyone knows any just cause or impediment yet? When you do. his voi ce shaking with anger. King of Tara. The Archimandrite turned towards her. Strella. `Doctor. `Doctor!' The Doctor was standing in the doorway smi ling at her. to be your la wful wedded husband?' A voice from the back of the hall shouted. D octor. I've got news for you!' Count Grendel strode towards the Doctor. this will be the last time!' `Stop. it's a good wedding. Romana? This is the P rincess Strella. Reynart. `And do you. sorry I'm late. `You seem to make a habit of interfering in my affairs. Princess of the Royal House of Tara. This is a solemn ceremony of marriage. I do rather. She jump ed to her feet.' `Not any more it isn't. . look out!' yelled Romana. and soon he was ringed by Count Grende l's men. `Romana? What do you mean. `Yes. Romana?' The Archimandrite stared at the kneeling girl be-fore him.' said the Doctor cheerfully. everybody. If there's one thing I always en joy.' shouted the horrified Archimandrite. and helped Prince Reynart to stand up.' The Doctor was quite unabashed. `Hullo. she doesn' t!' Joyfully Romana turned. `However.denounced him. then he would kill them both and probably Strella and the Archima ndrite too. don't I?' Suddenly th ere was a sword in Count Grendel's hand. `Let there be no brawling..

Gre ndel's sword flashed forward in a classic lunge--and the Doctor's blade came up and parried it. `Leave him. `He can actual ly do it. `I have no wish to kill a man without a weapon in his hand. sir!' `It would be easier if I had a sword. I'm afraid your friend doesn't stand a chance. I shall give you just one fencing lesson before you die. Doctor. and what it was for. `He can do it!' gasped Romana.' Count Gren del took up the classic fencing stance. Count Grendel advanced upon the Doctor. a Swordmaster of the Ninth Degree. There was a crackle of energy as the electro -swords clashed together and then sprang apart... my dear. Prince Reynart gripped Romana's a rm. right hand and right foot extended. `Defend yourself. Already you improve. `My congratulations.' Count Grendel's sword made patterns of light around the Doctor's body. angry and baffled. The Doctor stood looking down at the sword in his own hand as if he was wondering how it had got there.The Doctor prepared to duck.' said the Doctor mildly. but it was Count Grendel himself who struck the gua rd's crossbow aside. Grendel lunged again. Again the Doctor parried with careless ease. almost negligently. left hand on his hip for balance.' .' Sword in hand. Grendel reached forward and snatched the sword from the Doctor's belt. He's mine.' Grendel stepped back. Grendel is the finest swordsman on Tara. `Don't look.

Count Grendel gave him an unbelieving look. then snatched up the sword and retu rned to the attack. the one used for fencing lessons. and the Doctor was driven steadily back. But the fury of Count Grendel's assault could not last and he began to tir e. with all the formidable skill at his command. but now he was fighting in retreat. so that each touch produced no more tha n a slight tingle. wondering why he wasn't dead. the Doctor started to counter-attack. He realised that the Doctor hadn't even both ered to switch his electro-sword to killing-strength. The Doctor's blade slid forward. somehow wrapped itself around th e other and suddenly the sword was twitched from Count Grendel's hand. and bowed mockingly. . Count Grendel attacked like a whir lwind. Grendel sprang forward with renewed fury. thrusting. Count Grendel drew himself upright. The Doctor stepped back. Abruptly. Ro mana stood biting her lip. w aiting for the moment to spring aside. Enraged by this sign of contempt. gaspin g. It fell c lattering to the stone-flagged floor. driving Count Grendel back an d back with a series of brilliant lunges and ripostes. waiting for the killing thrust. T he Doctor was now hard put to defend himself. wondering if for once the Doctor had over-reached him self. and have the Doctor shot down. He was using the lowest se tting. The Doctor's sword flicke d forward and scored a hit on the Count's chest. Grendel looked down in astonish ment. By now Count Grendel was over the shock of surp rise and was fighting seriously. He fought on doggedly. slashing. lunging.He sprang forward to the attack.

He remembered the Count Grendel's instructions--if anything went wrong . Kurs ter slipped from the hall on his murderous errand. . Moving silently for a man of his site. Princess Strella was to be killed.From the back of the hall Kurster saw only that the fight was going badly for hi s master.

12 Victory Everyone in the great hall was watching the flashing sword-blades as if hypnotis ed. Romana knew that the danger wasn't over. If Count Grendel couldn't win by fa ir means he would certainly try foul--if he could separate himself from the Doct or long enough to shout an order, a dozen cross-bolts would blow the Doctor to p ieces. For the moment, it was only the Doctor's flickering, deadly sword-blade t hat was keeping Grendel too busy to carry out his treachery. But the moment was bound to come... Anyone who would threaten to murder an innocent hostage like Pr incess Strella. Romans looked round the hall--and saw Kurster slipping away. She gave an agonised look at the Doctor, then turned and ran out of the hall. The f ight raged on. Suddenly, the Doctor sprang, jamming his sword hilt against the C ount's, pinning him against the wall. `Where's the gate control?' Count Grendel glared defiantly at him, and said nothing. Prince Reynart gathered his strength for one last effort. Grabbing the watching Till by the throat, he shook him vigo rously. `The gate control--where is it?' Terrified, Till nodded towards a switch set high in a pillar.

`Over there, Doctor,' shouted the Prince. `On the pillar, just to your right.' T he Doctor thrust Count Grendel away, and sprang for the pillar. Count Grendel sp rang after him like a tiger, but he was too late. The Doctor flicked up the row of switches with his left hand--and turned to deflect Grendel's savage lunge wit h an elegant parry. Anger gave Count Grendel new strength and he attacked again. The fight raged on. Waiting at the head of their troops, Zadek and Farrah saw t he drawbridge come smoothly down, the portcullis gate slide up. `He's done it, s ir,' said Farrah exultantly. Zadek rose to his feet. `Forward!' he shouted. `Cha rge!' Sword in hand he led his men across the bridge. Princess Strella had put a side her big tapestry frame. There seemed little point in a task she probably wo uldn't live to finish. She was embroidering a very small lace handkerchief. She wasn't particularly surprised when her cell door was flung open, and Kurster app eared, sword in hand. She waited calmly, as he raised his sword and moved toward s her. Something about her calmness unnerved Kurster--and for a second he hesita ted. In that second, Romana appeared in the doorway behind him. She looked round for a weapon, saw the heavy wooden tapestry frame leaning against a bench by th e wall, snatched it up and smashed it down hard. Kurster staggered, and stood sw aying...

Instantly, the Princess seized the water jug from her table and brought it down on Kurster's head with all her strength. Kurster slid slowly down the wall and o n to the bench, upright, but completely unconscious. Princess Strella looked up, saw Romana's face, and showed real astonishment for the first time in her capti vity. `Who are you?' Romans smiled. `I'm afraid that's a very long story.' When he heard the shouts of Zadek's men in the courtyard, Count Grendel knew everythi ng was over. Deliberately, he began retreating before the Doctor's attack, up th e stone staircase, through the narrow door at the top, and out on to the path th at ran along the edge of the battlements. The sound of fighting drifted up from below them. The Doctor stepped back--though he kept his guard well up, just in c ase. `Listen to that Grendel. It's all over. That's Zadek and his men. You might just as well surrender.' `Surrender to that blockhead?' said Grendel scornfully . `I'm a Gracht, Doctor. We never surrender. We prefer to live to fight another day.' Count Grendel sprang lightly up on to the battlements, and gazed at the st ill waters far below. `Nothing like a midnight swim. I'll finish giving you that fencing lesson, Doctor--one day.' Hurling his sword at the Doctor's head, Count Grendel dived from the battlements. Sweeping the flying blade aside with his ow n, the Doctor went to the edge of the battlements. He was just in time to see

stay here. `I owe you my life. that's very nice of you. `Ah. Things were very much under c ontrol by the time the Doctor got back into the great hall. The Doct or raised his sword in greeting. but I do have a ra ther pressing appointment on the other side of the galaxy. All in all.Grendel slide smoothly into the water and start swimming towards the woods that bordered the moat. `How can I ever repay you?' `Oh it was nothing. He raised his blade in a swordsman's salute.. Doctor. I never thought I'd live to se e anyone beat Grendel of Gracht. he was now. `This castle and all its lands shall be yours. with a kind o f reluctant admiration for Count Grendel's consistency. `Such swordsmanship! His Majesty has told me how valiantly you fought. and Zadek and Farrah were hovering anxiousl y around the Prince Reynart--King Reynart. `Oh really? Was h e supposed to be good at it?' `Doctor. Any position in my realm you ca re to ask for. Your Majesty. thought the Doctor. `Ha s anyone seen Romana?' .' said the King. he'd seldom met a more thoroughgoing villain in all his lives.' Zadek seized the Doctor by the hand. Possibly some of Zadek's men would capture him--but somehow t he Doctor doubted it.' The Doctor looked surprised.' `Well. Glad to h ave been of service..' He looked round. really. Count Grendel's men had been disarmed and made prisoner. there you all are! Everyone all right?' Th ere was a bubble of greetings and congratulations. Reyna rt seemed to be recovering strength rapidly now that he was free again.' said the Prince emotionally.

`She followed Kurster out. Doctor!' The Doctor was already on his way.' Romana was saying. Sorry to drag you away. and the Princess nodded. this must be Romana.' `The segment. and a certain delicacy of touch. and began changing. `Prince ss Strella! He went to kill Strella!` `Where?' asked the Doctor swiftly. The Doctor threw his sword aside with a sigh o f relief. Wait for us. He looked at the girl doing the embroidery.' `How do you do?' said th e Doctor politely.' Romans completed a stitch. .' said Princess Strella placidly. my dear. He leaped to his feet. The Do ctor prodded him in the chest with the tip of the blade. `Don't move!' Kurster didn't.' said the King slowly. I'm Princess Strella. if you're Princess Strella. `No. `It must take years to learn. heads bent over the Princess's embroidery . She hurried into the next cell.' The other woman said. `In the dungeons. Romana and t he Princess were sitting side by side.' gasp ed Romana.. `All it takes is p atience. but we've got some rather important business. I sugge st you get back into your own clothes and come and help me. Go on. `So many different types of stitch. He whipped up his sword. I'm sure you could pick it up in no ti me. `Very good!' The Doctor burst into the dungeon sword in hand and saw Kurster slu mped on the bench.. Romana.' `Nonsense. Kurster toppled over si deways and slumped to the ground. `Well. that's right. `You must be Princess Stre lla.

Last time I saw it was in that android surgery place. you're safe. Grendel must have taken it. Let's find that crystal again. the King came hurrying towards the cell. The Doctor moved aside. `Of course !' Romana snatched out the Tracer. `Shall we go?' Romana said.. now back in the costume in which she'd arrived.' suggested the Doctor blandly. Doctor!' `And very careless of you. The electronic bleep rose to maximum--and the Tracer was pointing straight at the Doctor. `Come on. Romana stood staring around the android surgery in despair.' A short time later. I picked it up on my way in here!' The Doctor put the crystal b ack in his pocket. Romana came out of the other cell. and slip away before they make you a Duke or something. Doctor.' Zadek and Farrah looked discreetly away as the Royal couple kissed. He gr inned and took the crystal from his pocket. The Doctor smiled. it made a pleasingly romantic conclus ion to the entire adventure.' `Try the Tracer. The segment is gone.As the Doctor waited in the corridor. All in all. Doctor. he thought. Z adek and Farrah close behind him. and yo u're real. but in spite of everything. `Oh. and took the Princess in his arms. and the King stepped i nto the cell.. and waved it around the room. `It's gone. `It's funny you know. I'll be sorry to leave Tara. `Strella.' . Doctor. very funny.

Romana followe d him. The Doctor and his friends were on t heir way. the TARDIS dematerialised. He was marooned. With a wheezing groaning sound. `K9!' He ran for the drawbridge and begun running along the path that fringed the side of the castle moat.`Sorry to lease Tara?' The Doctor was indignant. Doctor--what have you done with K9?' The Doctor gave a gasp of horro r. Wat ching him. Another part of their dangerous quest was over-but there were still two more segments to be found. and helpless. and headed for the TARDIS. he managed to hook the edge of the boat and pull K9 to shore. `Talking of forgett ing things. The Doctor found a rope and grappling hook in the castle gatehouse. As the Doctor opened the TA RDIS door. `Master! Master! Master!' K9 was standing in the boat which had drif ted right into the centre of the moat. and followed them inside. soothed his ruffled feel ings. Doctor. Romana asked. `I didn't even catch a fish. After several unsucces sful attempts. Romana wondered where the next adventure would lead them. Romana suddenly burst out laughing. You manag ed to catch a fish on Tara after all!' They drew K9 in. heading for the rear of the castle. Co me on!' As they walked towards the drawbridge. . The Doctor ushered Romana and K9 into the TARDIS. `There you are. As they ran around to the back of the castle they heard a pathetic electr onic voice.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful