Chapter Ten

Rose's heart raced as they followed the guards down the corridor. She kept thinking why they were being escorted by armed guards and she finally concluded that it must be Thutmose the Third. He must have told them that she spoke to him out of turn or the Doctor refused his advances and now they were being punished for it.

They were led to the throne room which confirmed Rose's suspicions. She glanced at the Doctor who looked calm at usual. She wondered if anything ever fazed him. She took his hand and he looked at her and smiled as he gave her hand a reassuring squeeze. When they entered, Hatshepsut and Thutmose the Third were sitting on their thrones waiting for them. The guards followed them as they walked towards the thrones and both she and the Doctor prostrated themselves before the royals, waiting for the signal to get up. When it was given, Rose stood and stayed near to the Doctor in case they had to fight their way back out.

"My nephew has told me a few things about last night," Hatshepsut said to them.

Oh God, here it comes, Rose thought. We're about to be sentenced to death or enslavement.

But to her surprise, Hatshepsut informed them that her nephew wanted her and the Doctor to be promoted and become their personal servants. Rose was stunned but the Doctor acted like he knew it all along and bowed deeply. Rose quickly did the same and thanked them.

"Apparently, my nephew was impressed by you last night," Hatshepsut said to them. "And you have done an excellent job in your duties," she said to Rose.

"Thank you, Your Majesty," Rose said.

"This is a great honor for you both," Hatshepsut said.

The Doctor and Rose both thanked her.

"And now I wish both of you to accompany us on an expedition to Punt," Hatshepsut said. "I wish to learn more about the land and to visit with King Parahu and Queen Ati and receive tribute from them. My vizier and advisors will watch over Khemet in my absence. Please prepare for it will be a long journey. That is all I have to say. Meet us in here in one hour."

Both the Doctor and Rose bowed deeply before leaving the room with the guards. Rose was thrilled that the Doctor would be with her again and they could share the adventure as a team. The Doctor seemed a bit sad though.

"I wish I could get a message to Meritamun and his family," he said while they walked.

Rose realized this was the reason for his melancholy. She hadn't known them as long as he did, only staying one night at the house but she missed Nut and hoped she'd be treated well. The Doctor looked at the guard to his right and asked about sending a message to the foreman to give to Meritamun.

"You have one hour if you wish to visit him and give him a message," the guard said to him.

"I'm going to do that, Rose, so he knows where I went. I'll meet you in the throne room.

Rose nodded and the Doctor gave her hand a squeeze before he went a separate way. Rose went back to the servant quarters and found Tawaret there. She told her what happened and she could tell her friend was envious.

"She said to prepare for the trip so what do I take?" Rose said to her. "I only have this dress and my sandals."

"Take your blanket and headrest," Tawaret said, pointing to the small box under her bed. "Most servants sleep on the deck of the ship, you will need them for comfort."

Rose nodded and pulled the box out from under her bed. Tawaret went to her bed and pulled out her box. She took a linen dress out of it and gave it to her.

"You might need this," Tawaret said, giving it to her. "Sometimes they require you to dress for formal occasions and you need a proper dress for that."

Rose was glad they required her to dress in something that would cover her breasts, even though going topless now felt natural to her and no longer gave her any concern. Tawaret hugged her and wished her luck. Rose did the same, hoping her new friend would fare well after she left both the country and the time period. Tawaret helped her reapply her makeup and after one more hug, she walked back to the throne room to wait for the Doctor.


After reuniting with the Doctor who was carrying a small wooden box of his own, they followed the royals and their retinue out of the palace. They went out the back down another short causeway to a short dock on the Nile. There was a huge wooden ship docked there. The trim of the ship was painted gold and there was a protective Eye of Horus painted on the front of the ship. On the deck was a large linen canopy with two small thrones underneath it. There were several crewman on the deck, waiting for them, all of them wearing heavy linen kilts and white skullcaps. There was a long section cut out in the side of the ship and long oars protruded from it. Rose quickly counted twenty oars on their side as a gangplank was lowered to the dock. Before they boarded some slaves spread flower petals down on the gangplank and dock and made a path from them up to the thrones. Hatshepsut and Thutmose ignored them while they stepped regally up the gangplank. The crew on the deck prostrated themselves as they went past and didn't get up again until they were seated.

"Ready the ship and set sail," Hatshepsut commanded them.

"Yes, Your Majesty," a middle aged man said before he barked orders to the rest of the crew.

The crew scrambled to pull up the gangplank and get the boat moving. Most of the servants went below and the slaves picked up fans and began fanning the royals. Rose looked at the Doctor.

"What do we do?" she asked him.

"We go below for the moment, I imagine," he said with a shrug.

They started to go over to the hatch that led down to the lower levels when Hatshepsut called them over.

"Stay with us," she said to them.

"Yes, Your Majesty," the Doctor and Rose said in unison.

Hatshepsut commanded a few slaves to fetch some pillows for them from below deck. By now the boat had left the dock and the rowers on either side guided it down the river. It was a hot day but there was a light breeze and the spot under the shaded canopy made being on the deck bearable. Hatshepsut asked them a few questions about Greece and Rose let the Doctor answer. She remembered a few things from school but the Doctor knew more detailed things she didn't so she let him talk while she watched the desert pass by. She could see a few stone mortuary temples far out in the desert as they passed by. She was aware that the Doctor had finished speaking and had come up beside her, putting his hand on her back. Rose glanced at him and he smiled lovingly.

"Enjoying the view, Apet?" he said to her.

"Not really, it's mainly sand," Rose said.

"Yes, but there are a few tombs to break up the monotony of sand," the Doctor teased.

"Where is Punt anyway?" Rose said. "I've never heard of it."

"I believe it's in the area of Saudi Arabia," the Doctor said.

"So we're going from sand to more sand then," Rose said.

"Well," the Doctor sniffed, "that's a bit de rigueur around here. Sand, tombs and camels. See, not everyplace can be like Coventry."

"And that's a bad thing?" Rose said while the Doctor giggled.

"I'm just trying to broaden your horizons, Apet," the Doctor said, putting his arm around her. "Come with me."

Rose walked with him to the side of the ship.

"This," he said dramatically, "is Egypt."

"No, really?" Rose said.

"Yeah," the Doctor said. "Bye now."

Rose laughed when he turned and started to walk away from her.

"No, come back and tell me more about Egypt," Rose said.

She laughed when the Doctor froze and jerked his head around.

"You want to hear more information?" he said, coming back to her side.

"Will you drone on and on?" Rose teased.

"Well, you have a choice. Listen to me or watch sand."

"Good point, carry on."

"Sand," the Doctor said, pointing to the desert. "Water," he said, pointing down.

Rose giggled when he froze with his mouth open while he pretended to think of something else.

"Blast, Egypt is rubbish," he said, walking away while Rose bent over the side of the ship laughing.

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