Chapter Two

“And here we are, place with castles,” the Doctor said, as the TARDIS powered down, “just as you requested.”

He reached into his trouser pocket, turned on his protective force field and stuck it down deep inside.

“Come along,” he said, with a twinkle in his eyes.

“This better not be some weird planet with tons of monsters everywhere you look.”

“Rose, I’m offended. You speak as though I enjoy going to a place like that.”

He sniggered when Rose rolled her eyes.

“Nah, it’s not some strange planet. It’s Earth, approximately…Oooo….early 17th century. That way the castles are newer looking and more impressive. And…we won’t be running into any pissed off vampires that may have survived our little communal barbecue. However, we may be running into non-pissed off vampires that just happen to be hanging around, but that can’t be helped.”

“So, this place you’re taking me to, it’s filled with vampires, is it?”

The Doctor paused.

“Eeeeeeeeeeeeh, yeeeeees, but that could be any place; vampires exist all over the world in most cultures. So, that still doesn’t tell you where we’re at, now does it?”


The Doctor froze. He quickly adopted a nonchalant air.

“What makes you say that, Rose?” he said.

“Because I know you and your weird sense of humor. You’ve taken me to see Count Dracula in Transylvania, haven’t you?”

“Um…Noooooo. Because, funnily enough, Count Dracula doesn’t exist. He’s a character in a gothic novel. See, I know this might come as a shock to you, but not everything you see on TV or at the movies is real. There is an interesting concept that has been floating around almost from the time man came down from the trees. It’s called making up stories for the amusement of others. Now, I realize that Dracula is based on Vlad Tsepish, otherwise known as Vlad the Impaler, and perhaps you got confused and thought Vlad was really Count Dracula and yes, Dracula was his nickname, but he wasn’t a vampire. He was a certifiable loon who loved to shove sharp sticks up people’s arses and eat supper while he watched them slide down them. Nothing to do with vampires in any way, shape, or form. Now, I hope that’s cleared up the confusion and shed a little more light on the culture of my people.”

“Yes, thanks for clearing everything up,” Rose said, dryly.

He patted her on the head.

“Anytime, my little air breather. Now that I’ve got that out of the way, you’re right, this is Transylvania.”

“I knew it! I knew you couldn’t resist taking me to vampire central.”

“Now, wait just a moment, the only reason Transylvania is known as vampire central, as you call it, is because of the Dracula novel. This place isn’t swarming with bloodsuckers. It has just as many vampires per capita as other countries do. Trust me, when we step outside, giant vampire bats will not come swooping down and attach themselves to us, and the undead will not jump out from behind buildings and immediately put you in their power. I admit I did bring you here partly because I couldn’t resist the whole Transylvania gag, but there are also beautiful castles here, not to mention the scenery is breathtaking and the people are extremely friendly. I think you’ll love it here, Rose, which is the most important thing for me. But, if you want to go somewhere else…”

“No, this is fine, really. I’d love to see Transylvania.”

“You sure? Because I want you to enjoy yourself and not freak out and think it’s a vampire every time you see a strange shadow or hear a weird noise.”

“Nah, I won’t do that. ‘Sides, you can sense vampires before they get a chance to attack us, so I’m not worried.”

“Good. Then will you accompany me outside?”

“I would love to.”

He took her hand and they walked towards the door.

Rose soon regretted her decision to step outside wearing her everyday clothes. As they walked through the village, everyone stopped and stared at her and the Doctor. The Doctor, naturally, paid no attention to them, but Rose was painfully aware of how abnormal she looked to them in her jeans and t-shirt. She considered telling the Doctor she was going back to the TARDIS to change when he suddenly pulled her into a building. Once they were inside, she looked around and determined it was an inn. The Doctor headed up to the front desk, ignoring the surprised look on the clerk’s face.

“Excuse me, my friend and I are visiting here and we were wondering where the nearest castle was?” the Doctor said.

The clerk glared at him.

“Are you gypsies?” he said, pointing to their outfits.

The Doctor rolled his eyes.

“Yes, I am. I was born in the wagon of a travelling show. My mama used to dance for the money they’d throw. Papa would do whatever he could. Preach a little gospel; sell a couple bottles of Doctor Good. Now that we got that out of the way, can you please tell us where the nearest castle is?”

“We don’t allow gypsies in here.”

The Doctor sighed.

“We’re not looking for lodging. All I want to know is where are the castles? Hunedoara Castle, Bran Castle, Poenari Castle, you know, the castles in your country? Where are they?”

The clerk frowned.

“There are no castles by those names in Magyarország.”

The Doctor did a double take.

“We’re in Magyarország?”

“Yes, you are.”

Rose glanced at the Doctor.

“Where is…whatever you just said?” she asked.

The Doctor gave her a sheepish look.

“Um… Magyarország is the Hungarian name for their country,” he said.

“Hungary? Transylvania’s not in Hungary, right?”

The clerk snorted.

“Of course not, you stupid girl. Transylvania is in Romania. Idiot gypsy. If you are looking to meet up with more of your kind, then I will gladly point the way back to Transylvania, so we won’t have to put up with you here.”

“Look, buddy, just tell us where the nearest castle is and we’ll leave your fine establishment.”

“Why do you want to know? Are you gonna cause trouble?”

“Well…um…not on purpose, I suppose. Trouble does have a way of following us around, but that’s beside the point. No, the reason we want to see a castle is because we are sightseeing. We decided to come to your beautiful country and marvel at your castles. We won’t make trouble, we just want to see a castle and leave, now…I will ask one more time, do you know of any castles nearby?”

The clerk sighed.

“Fine, anything to get you out of my inn. The nearest one is Csejte Castle, but you would be wise to stay away from it.”

“Why? Afraid we might get gypsy germs all over the battlements?”

“The castle has a bad reputation. People go in and never come out.”

He smirked.

“Although, I suppose in your case that would be a good thing.”

The Doctor narrowed his eyes.

“I’ll just overlook that snide remark, give you polite thanks that you don’t deserve and we’ll be on our way. I would hate for potential customers to be scared away because a couple of scary looking gypsies were standing in the lobby asking questions. Come along, Rose, perhaps we can find the village square and do sword swallowing and fortune telling for souvenir money. Maybe read some tealeaves and do a bit of phrenology on the side. You know how we gypsies like to put on a show for the public.”

He put his hand on the small of her back and led her outside. The clerk shook his head, muttered under his breath about gypsy scum mixing with normal people, and went back to work.

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