Chapter Six

Rose floated inside the bubble, looking up out of the trench. The water around them was dark and she couldn't see a thing. But suddenly, there was a bright glow and the three mermen guards were wearing glowing balls around their necks. It provided some illumination and Rose noticed that Circady was now with them. The three mermen said nothing to her but she could tell they were guards by the bulk of their muscular bodies and the hardened looks in their eyes. She couldn't open her mouth to speak to her and she wondered if they could speak underwater. The trench was deep but no one was moving and Rose remembered that the trench was close to shore and the kidnappings didn't happen until the people of Seashell started fishing further out to sea. She remembered the fishing boat they saw, a speck on the horizon, and she prayed that they weren't going to travel that far out into the ocean.

She could see a glimmer of light far above and knew it was the suns' reflections off the top but it was so far away, she could barely make it out. Was the Doctor still up there with River, negotiating for her release. They hadn't killed her so she took that as a sign that perhaps she was meant to be a bargaining chip between the merpeople and the humans. Or maybe this was a way to make sure the Doctor complied with whatever demands Circady's people might have. If that was their intention, she knew the Doctor wouldn't go along with it.

She felt a twinge of panic being down this far under the ocean but she suppressed it. The Doctor had taught her too well for her to go berserk and beg and plead for mercy. She forced herself to concentrate on the problem at hand which was escaping without being crushed by the intense pressure. Somehow the bubble was preventing that but she felt sure if she found a way to pop the bubble, the protection the bubble offered would be gone and she would dead long before she reached the surface.

She wondered if this was what happened to the others who were kidnapped. Were they put somewhere perhaps as hostages or were they killed? She hoped they were alive somewhere so they could rescue them.

The water around them was dark and it shocked Rose when Circady suddenly swam into the light. He looked at his buddies, not speaking but giving them all pointed looks, holding their gazes for a moment. The guards were nodding so Rose guessed telepathy was being used between them. Then Circady looked at her and just stared. Rose felt a buzzing in her head and she thought she could hear words in the buzzing. Rose shook her head and shrugged her shoulders since she couldn't open her mouth to speak. Circady had an annoyed look but he turned his attention back to one of his guards who handed him another of the glow balls. He shook it and the ball illuminated. He put it around his neck and nodded at the guards who followed him out of the trench. Once they were out, they turned to the left and began to swim away deeper into the ocean while the Rose alternated thinking up strategies with hoping that the Doctor and her friends would find her.


"Um…is this a good idea?" Rory said to his wife as they followed Tania into the center of Seashell.

Some of the townspeople had seen them coming in and word spread fast and now there was a crowd dogging their every step as Tania led them to the council house where the elders met. The buildings were simple wooden houses that wouldn't have looked out of place in Elizabethan England. And the people all dressed simply as well. Colorful dresses for the women and mainly white shirts and trousers for the men with leather boots on most of the feet, although Rory noticed a few men were barefoot. Their bathing suits were gawked at and they could hear the townspeople commenting on their near nakedness with scorn and scoffing.

"What's wrong, don't people wear swimsuits here?" Amy finally asked Tania.

"Not like yours," Tania said, glancing over her shoulder. "Women have swimming dresses and the men wear shorter trousers and shirts. No one is as naked as you are when they go into the ocean. When…they went into the ocean," she corrected herself.

"The people here won't lynch us for being nearly naked, will they?" Rory said, glancing nervously at the people who were now making a closed circle around them as they walked.

"No. They might kill you if they think you're spies," Tania said.

"Well, we're not so they can put away their guns if they have them," Amy said.

"They don't have guns…except for the very rich. They'd use swords if they were gonna kill you," Tania said.

"Well, that makes me feel so much better," Amy said, rolling her eyes.

They stopped at the largest building in the village. It was near the center of town, the center of town being occupied by a plaza and a large fountain in the center of it. The fountain had a statue of a man and woman shaking hands in the center of it and a circle of fountains spritzed up around them into a circular pool of water just below. When they turned towards the house, they were shocked to see a large sheet of metal nailed to the front of the house just above the door. The rest of the house was made of dark wood and the suns' light made the metal glow. When Rory asked about the metal, Tania shrugged.

"Metal is rare on our planet, having it is a sign of wealth. So people nail it to their houses to show off how rich they are," she said.

"Rory, remind me to find a planet with lots of cheap diamonds so I can decorate our house with them when we get back to Leadworth," Amy said to Rory.

By now, the crowd filled the plaza and watched while Tania, Amy and Rory walked up to the front door of the council house. There was a knocker on the door, a large seashell with a ring running through the bottom of it. Tania used the knocker and rapped on the door three times before standing back and waiting. The crowd was murmuring to each other behind them and Amy sighed angrily when she caught snippets of conversation about her and her husband being indecent in town.

Finally the door opened and Amy took a step back when she saw an old Asian man. He had snow white hair pulled back in a ponytail and a wizened face. His entire face was also tattooed with complicated swirls and lines. The black ink had faded to blue with time and the weather and he looked odd to Amy, like some old yob who retired and settled down on a different planet. The man was wearing a long white robe and he had a large walking stick in his right hand. His eyes widened a bit when he saw Amy and Rory's clothes but he kept silence about it and stepped outside.

"Who are you and what do you want?" he said to Tania with a slight Japanese accent.

"I am Tania, elder. This is Amy and Rory, they have come to help fix the problem with the ocean."

The man raised his eyebrow and gave Amy and Rory a bemused look as he sized them up.

"Are you warriors?" he said to them.

"Yes," Amy said.

There was more murmuring from the crowd but it ceased when the man held up his free hand.

"You do not look like warriors. You look naked," the man said.

"I am known as The Last Centurion," Rory said. "I have fought people on many worlds with my wife at my side," he added, gesturing to Amy. "But there are more. We have our daughter with us, our best friend and a man who is more than an army when it comes to fighting. We met Tania when we landed by the ocean and she told us about the kidnappings."

There were several gasps from the crowd while the elder glared silently at Tania. Tania shifted uneasily under his angry gaze.

"You are forbidden to go near the ocean. It is the law!" the man said to Tania.

"I stay far enough away from the ocean so I'm not threatened," Tania said. "But listen, I saw something flashing under the water and their friends went to see what it was. They wanted Amy and Rory to come back with me to talk to you."

"Talk to us about what?" the man said, shifting his attention to the Ponds.

"About making peace with the creatures who live in the water," Rory said.

"How do you know what they are?" the man said, his eyes narrowing.

"We don't," Amy said. "But we can guess. Whatever they are, we think they started attacking your people when your fishing boats invaded their territory. Tania said the trouble didn't start until the boats went further out into the ocean, is that right?"

Rory noticed the man hesitated a moment before speaking and seemed uneasy.

"It's true that the kidnappings started when the boats went further out," he finally said. "But that doesn't mean that there is something out there taking our people in revenge. This is just speculation!"

"Perhaps," Amy said. "But I'm willing to be our speculation is bang on. Something out there is unfriendly towards all of you and staying away from the water and pretending it'll go away won't solve anything. Our daughter and our friends want to try to find whatever or whoever it is and see if we can speak to it so we can come to an agreement. That why both your people and theirs can live together in peace. So can we speak to you and the rest of the elders?"

The man thought that over.

"Let them try, elder," a man in the crowd yelled out. "Maybe they can help us."

"Very well, come inside, all of you," he said, nodding at Tania. "We will try to find out what's going on and find a solution. Besides, you need to put some clothes on and quit parading around the town naked."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Amy muttered as she, Rory and Tania followed him inside the house.

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