There were days when Rose questioned her own sanity and today was one of those days.

She couldn't believe she was pretending to be a sacrifice for some nutty alien cult while the Doctor tried to undermine what they were doing. A few years ago she was a shopgirl struggling to make ends meet and thinking she'd never be something more than that. And now she was in a skimpy outfit being led up stone steps to a stone alter by weirdoes wearing black monk's robes and hoods. Each monk had a black mask over his face that was fitted to their faces. The overall effect was extremely creepy, especially since the masks had no facial features on them. The Doctor had asked her to do this and she had agreed to do it, although looking back she couldn't think why she readily volunteered for this. Her only explanation was that she loved him deeply and she knew she would do anything for him. The fact that she was willing to risk being sacrificed proved that.

The problem was the Doctor had left her after she agreed to all this and she hadn't seen him since. She hoped to God that he was planning something or he was somewhere nearby because she was getting nervous. She trusted the Doctor completely but sometimes he seemed to show up only at the last minute.

Besides, she was getting cold. The only thing she was wearing was a sheer, see-through purple skirt. She was topless which was extremely embarrassing. She wondered if the reason why the cult members had their faces covered was because they could leer at her without her knowing. Anyway, she was glad she couldn't see their faces.

Two of the monks were on either side of her, pulling her up the steps by her arms. She pretended to be frightened and resist a bit even though she felt like knocking the monks down and stomping on their faces. They had learned about this cult during a visit to Saturna Six when local villagers told her and the Doctor and women being kidnapped and sacrificed to some nutter god.

"Just another day travelin' with the Doctor," Rose muttered to herself.

She grunted when the monks forced her to her knees. She looked up when a monk wearing a silver robe and mask came around the monks holding her captive and faced her.

"I am Shalzak the Magnificent," he said in a deep voice. "I am a god and you must be sacrificed to me."

Guess again, wanker, Rose thought to herself.

She kept up the ruse of being afraid and struggled against the monks holding her. She was aware that the movement was making her breasts jiggle and she imagined that Shalzak was getting off on her being half naked and afraid, not to mention having her in a submissive position.

God, where is the Doctor? Rose thought, looking around.

"You are beautiful," Shalzak said, running his hand down her hair. "You will make a pleasing sacrifice for me. Put her on the altar and bind her to it."

Now Rose's fear was genuine. She looked around while the monks forced her to lay on the altar and held her there while two others brought over ropes. Shalzak stood by and watched and Rose wondered if he really was getting off on all this. The monks stretched out her arms and legs, tied the wrists and ankles and tied the ropes to metal pipes sticking out of the sides of the altar.

"You won't get away with this!" Rose said, trying to keep calm.

Her heart began to race when another monk handed Shalzak a long dagger with a gold hilt. The hilt was encrusted with emeralds that flashed in the firelight from the torches all around the room. Rose flinched when Shalzak ran his finger down her cheek.

"So beautiful, you are pleasing to my sight," he said.

"I wish I could say the same thing about you," Rose said, trying not to show her fear.

She looked around but still no sign of the Doctor. She jerked her head back towards Shalzak when he laid his hand on her stomach and held the tip of the dagger directly above his hand.

"I cut right here," he said to her. "And reach under your ribcage and pull out your beating heart."

By now, Rose was feeling real fear. Normally, the Doctor would be here to rescue her but she couldn't see him. She wondered if someone had done something to him to stop him from coming. What if he was lying unconscious somewhere and by the time he woke up it would be too late. She jerked on the ropes but they were tied tightly. She looked at Shalzak who was watching her distress in silence.

"You fear dying?" Shalzak said to her.

"Yes," Rose said, being truthful.

"There is nothing to fear. All creatures die."

"Yeah? Well, not every creature gets a hand thrust under her ribcage and gets her heart pulled out of her body."

"It is Shalzak's will. I am merely a vessel for the gods," Shalzak said, raising his free hand to the sky. "I am the one that controls life and death and now I and I alone will determine your fate. Do you wish to live or to die?"

"L…live," Rose stammered as her heart beat out of her chest.

"What will you give me in exchange for your life?"

Rose was taken aback by that question.

"Um…if you mean will I be your slave for life, I think I'd rather die," she said.

"No, I want your Elton John CD."

Rose stared at him in silent shock.

"Excuse me?" she said, not sure she heard him correctly.

"I will accept your Elton John autographed CD in return for your life."

"How do you know I have an Elton…"

She trailed off and gave "Shalzak" a suspicious look. She suddenly had a theory about where the Doctor went.

"What if I don't want to give you my Elton John CD?" she said, hope rising inside her that she wouldn't die after all.

"Then you shall suffer death at my hands, so says Shalzak."

Rose frowned. It didn't sound like the Doctor, not even remotely like him. But she knew the Doctor was good at imitating voices and besides, how else did he know about her Elton John CD. She decided to trust her theory and play along.

"Kill me but you won't get my CD," she said airily.

"Do you know that one nipple is lower than the other?"

Rose raised her eyebrow. Shalzak pointed to her right nipple.

"This one is slightly lower than the other. It must be a genetic flaw," he said. "Pity, I thought you were perfectly proportioned. I guess you aren't suitable for sacrifice."

Rose actually tried to look at her nipples to see if her right nipple really was lower than the other.

"You doubt the words of Shalzak concerning thy nipples?" Shalzak said. "Thou art a harlot and thou shall die a harlot's death, so sayeth the lord."

Now Rose was certain it wasn't Shalzak. Especially when Shalzak walked out from behind the altar and raised his arms.

"My brethren, we are doing wrong here. We must not kill. It is not pleasing to my sight. Not to mention it's incredibly bloody and there's a lot of mess to clean up afters. Let us have peace and love and nice things instead."

Rose decided in that moment to be a bit bold since she figured Shalzak was really the Doctor in disguise.

"And cover up the sacrifice because she's getting cold," she said.

"Oh I don't know about that, your chest is pretty pleasing to me."

That time the Doctor spoke in his own voice when he looked over his shoulder at her. But when he looked at the monks, he once again used the Shalzak voice.

"So, I command you to go away from this place or better yet, turn yourselves in to the nearest authorities and pay for your crimes. So says Shalzak, lord of all!"

"I don't think that worked, Shalzak," Rose said when the monks stared at him.

"Well, we can't stay here all day then, can we?" the Doctor said in his own voice before turning and cutting the ropes.

"What was that rubbish about one nipple higher than the other?" Rose said.

"It is. Your right one is a few inches lower than your left. Have a look when we get back to the TARDIS," he said as he cut the ropes.

"Whatever, Doctor. There's nothing I can do about it."

"Au contraire, I know a little shop that specializes in nipple plastic surgery. Will have you anatomically correct in no time. There. That's sorted," the Doctor said when he finished cutting the last rope.

To Rose's surprise, the monks didn't move or try to stop the Doctor. When Rose pointed it out, the Doctor shrugged.

"Brainwashed, what'd you expect?" he said. "I'm supposed to be the leader. You honestly think they're gonna defy me? Having said that…come here…"

Rose got off the altar and the Doctor pulled her to him. Rose noticed that a few of the monks seemed to wake up and realize something wasn't right because they were now heading towards them. She watched while the Doctor hitched up the robe until he reached his trouser pocket. She heard an angry yell from one of the monks and now all of them were rushing to stop them. The Doctor pulled a large metal ball out of his pocket, pushed a red button on the top of it and threw it at the monks. Then he reached inside and pulled out a smaller black ball and pushed a black button on the top of it. Instantly, the Doctor and Rose were surrounded by a blue force field. A few of the monks tried to get at them but the force field repelled them.

Then electricity came out of the metal ball and shot around the room, shocking the monks. The electricity bounced off the walls and sizzled around them but they were protected by the force field. The monks convulsed as the electricity hit their bodies and a minute later, they were all lying on the ground. The electricity stopped and the Doctor turned off the force field.

"Are they dead?" Rose said, looking around at the monks.

"Dead? No. They're all unconscious and probably will be for some time. That was a lightning bomb. Designed to shock everything inside a room and render them unconscious. I felt it was one way of bringing them all down with minimal effort. I just had to infiltrate and get them all in one room and get close enough to set it off. That's where you came in. I'm sorry you had to go through the indignity of being near naked but it was all part of the plan. Here," he said, taking off the monk's robe.

Rose thanked him and put it on. She was watching the Doctor while she was pulling it over her body and she swore she could see disappointment on his face. She decided not to say anything about it since she wanted to get out of the room and back to the TARDIS.

"Well, I think the cult is at an end," the Doctor said as they walked down the steps. "I believe I shall alert the village authorities to come and collect our friends."

"What about Shalzak?" Rose said.

"Oh, I already took care of him. He's imprisoned in a cell on the TARDIS. Actually, he was easy to take care of. I just snuck up behind him and knocked him out. For an all powerful cult leader, he's a bit dim."

"So, we're finished here?" Rose said.

"Well, we could go looking for more trouble if you want? Sort out more evildoers?"

"Actually, I want a shower and my bed before we sort out more evildoers."

"You humans, ruining all the fun with your hygiene and sleeping habits," the Doctor said, rolling his eyes.

Rose chuckled and the Doctor put his arm around her while they walked out of the room.


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