"So this is the sort of thing you get up to when I'm not around to make sure you behave?" Amy asked.
River rolled her eyes. "Mother, I'm a big girl. I can take care of myself."
"Of course you can." Amy shone her torch around the chamber again. There was still only one doorway, and it was still completely blocked by a solid mass of stone. "That's why we're currently trapped in the burial chamber of King Ar-Keralmir or whoever it was."
"I'm not trapped, mum, I'm considering my exit strategy."
"Suit yourself." Amy perched on a block of stone. "Let me know when you've finished considering it."
River licked her finger and held it up. "Air," she said. "The air isn't getting stale. So there must be a ventilation shaft..." She paced across the burial chamber, clambered up a turtle-headed statue, and examined an area of the wall. "OK, got it."
"So you can get us out of here?"
"No, it's about ten centimetres wide." River jumped down again. "The guys who built this obviously weren't stupid."
"River," Amy said patiently. "It's only a suggestion, but perhaps if you're going to take your mum exploring an ancient tomb, from a kingdom famous for its architectural skill... perhaps you should've wondered if the people who built it were stupid before swaggering in through the main door."
"I wasn't swaggering, I was sauntering."
"I think you were showing off." Amy scowled. "So now what do we do? Starve to death?"
"I could do some archaeology, if you'd like." River knelt by one of the elaborately carved stone chests that lined the room. "Fourth Dynasty. I'd know that style anywhere."
"Really? Because ten minutes ago you said this King Whoever was Third Dynasty. So what's he doing with grave goods from years and years later?"
"OK. Fine." River jumped to her feet. "You want to see some proper archaeology?"
She drew her gun, spun round, and fired it at an apparently random spot in the domed roof of the chamber. Rubble, sand, and lumps of what looked like solidified tar rained down.
"Sealed shaft pointing six degrees East of North," River said, looking up at the ragged hole she'd just blown in the ceiling. "Common feature of all these tombs — no-one knows why they built them like that. Have to remember to pop back and ask someone, next time I borrow the TARDIS."
"You borrow the TARDIS?" Amy repeated.
River raised a finger to her lips. "Not a word!"
"You mean you borrow it without asking." Amy frowned. "That is so you. So what's at the other end of this shaft?"
"Don't know yet, but that's what archaeology's all about." River gestured to a vulture-headed statue. "Help me to shift this thing."
River sighed. "Please, mother, if I promise to be a good girl, will you help me get that statue underneath the hole?"
"You wouldn't keep a promise like that." Amy stood. "But I'll help you anyway."
With much labour, they dragged the statue to the right place. River climbed up it, reached for the edges of the hole, and was gone.
Almost at once, a dim light appeared in mid-air, waxing and waning to the accompaniment of a faint rustling noise. Fascinated, Amy watched as the sound grew louder, the light grew brighter, and the familiar shape of the TARDIS thickened into existence below it. No sooner had it attained final solidity than the door opened, revealing River. She'd changed out of her overalls into a blue and gold trouser suit, with matching earrings.
"So what was up there?" Amy asked, pointing.
"Just the usual. Spikes, poisonous arachnids, lots of skulls, and some sort of idol with glowing red eyes." River stepped out into the burial chamber. "Do you want to take a look?"
"I'll pass on that, thanks."
"OK." River was pacing round the room, sizing up the various artefacts. "I'm about to do something inadvisable. You might want to wait in the TARDIS."
Amy shook her head. "I'm not letting you out of my sight again."
"Have it your own way." River was crouching by one of the stone chests; as she pushed its lid back, water began to flow out, spreading rapidly across the floor. She rummaged in the chest for a moment, then hurried back towards where Amy was standing. "OK, I've got the goods. Let's get out of here."
"It's just a bit of water," Amy said. "It'd take weeks to get deep enough to—"
The floor surrounding the chest crumbled, leaving a water-filled hole.
"Ah, that's how they did it," River said. "Dissolving floor. Clever." She jumped back as another segment of floor disintegrated. "Time to go, I think."
She dived into the TARDIS. Amy lost no time in following her and slamming the door behind her.
"And there we are." River threw the dematerialisation lever. The TARDIS, which had been rocking as the floor collapsed beneath it, steadied. "Just another day at work."
"You said you'd got the goods," Amy said. "What goods?"
River held up an elaborately decorated malachite rod. "The staff of the cult of Manesh." She tossed it to Amy. "Take a look."
Amy turned the rod over in her hands. "It's part of something," she said. "A machine, I mean." She peered at it more closely. "That writing... is it Gallifreyan?"
"Might be. Can I have it back?" River took the rod and looked it over. "Maybe. It's something the TARDIS can't translate, anyway. I wonder."
"What are you wondering?"
"If it's more valuable than that little sneak Yuviotl made it out to be. I'm tempted to take it to the Vagabond Market and see if I can get a better price."
Amy grinned. "Sounds like a plan."
"Except Yuviotl won't be too pleased when he finds out."
"Does he have to?"
River's hands were once more darting over the TARDIS controls. "Mother," she said, "did anyone ever tell you what a bad influence you are?"
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