It's torture, holding a guilty secret in. But the Doctor shouldn't have worried, he thinks. To the Master, it's all a game.
The first part of the game is the anticipation. Waiting it out, writing the letter, picking out the perfect place. Castrovalva. The Doctor's fifth life started here, and the two of them very nearly formed an alliance over it. Very nearly.
The Dwellings of Simplicity.
He climbs up the thick vines and maneuvers around heavy shrubbery until he makes it to the back door. This is all planned, so the Master would be expecting him to go to the front, just introduce himself. A bit more is on the line than just a few harsh words. If Lucy's been poisoned, then she doesn't have a lot of time.
And he thinks that there's not going to be a cure for Lucy at the end of this game. He knows the Master, and if Lucy is destined in his mind to die, it'll take a lot more than winning to have him reverse whatever he's done.
Why did she have to go back?
The Doctor knows why. He doesn't want to know why, but he does.
Stupid bloody woman.
He pulls out the sonic and waves it against the back door lock. It opens easily. He gives it a push and steps inside.
The Dwellings are darker than he remembers. The endless rows of crumbling paradoxes seem to platform upwards into the further darkness. The Doctor's so wrapped up in looking upwards, he very nearly fails to notice he's walked into a sign.
Level One: Start
The Doctor gives it a slight pull and the Dwellings seem to come to life. The lights turn on, the platforms begin to move, and music begins swelling throughout the hall.
So much for a stealthy entrance. A sign dangles from the ceiling saying "Lives: 3". Clever.
He hears a scream and it sounds familiar, but it's up there, up high.
The platforms. All part of the Master's game? Of course. The Doctor grabs onto one and feels the paradox of it burn his fingertips, but he pulls himself up. Two walls are slammed in front of him like a giant crusher. The Doctor times it and leaps through, only to just miss the next platform and land painfully back at the bottom.
Tinny failure music sounds throughout the hall.
His ankle hurts from the fall, but he scrambles back to his feet and tries again. He gets past the crusher and onto the next platform, where jets of fire shoot out at intervals. He darts through it, but his trouser leg catches fire when a blast hits him. He leaps to the next platform and bats it out.
"I rather liked this suit, you know."
He moves to get up, ducking low to avoid the next set of whatever might leap out at him. It takes a moment before he realizes, it's not out, it's up, and spikes shoot out of the platform, catching his foot and stabbing his hand. He swears, and the music plays a failure noise again.
He times it and leaps to the next platform, just missing it. He catches one side with his hand and (moment of weakness) looks down. He won't survive this fall without a regeneration. And he's just gotten to really liking the regeneration he's in, thank you very much. With a deep breath, he pulls with his one good hand and struggles to get a grip with the other. The blood makes the platform slick and he slips as he tries to hook a leg over.
He knows how block computations work, but he can't control the Dwellings. He can't change this platform. All he can do is climb. Back on his feet, he leaps from one platform to a moving platform, then back to another solid one. It starts to crumble from his weight and he leaps to another.
It's at some point after he started running away from the giant chain balls with teeth that he realized the Master must really be mad. He must be mad to find all of this fun. He hides behind another platform until the creature turns back.
There's an arrow on the wall. "To Princess Lucy", pointing towards a hallway. The Doctor tilts his head and looks down it. Long, dark, covered in portraits of the Master and Lucy in their happier days. The entire hallway is blanketed in a deep red carpet and a golden door is at the very far end.
"Ominous," he says, aloud. The music agrees.
One, two, three. He darts down the hall, full run. As fast as he can with the injured ankle. He hears a crash and a crumble and dares a look behind himself. The walls are collapsing in on itself, crushing the portraits, the carpet, and anything in its way. The Doctor doesn't stop. He runs faster, pushes harder. He's far enough ahead now, it won't catch---
He turns his head to the left when he sees it. A portrait of two young Time Lords in red and orange robes, standing next to each other. It's jarring, something so different than the false, smiling pictures before. It's almost enough to make him stop.
But not quite. He makes it to a full run just as the walls crush the portrait into nothing. He leaps to the door, but the hallways keeps collapsing. It keeps collapsing! It---
Stops, just short of the door. A wild ball of dirt and furniture sits inches from him. He pats it with his hand and turns back to the door. No, not a door. A painting of a door, on the wall.
"Sorry, Doctor!" The Doctor leaps and turns to face the Master, leaning cheerily against the wall.
"Our Princess, I'm afraid, is in another castle." With that, the Master leans backwards into the wall.
The Doctor steps forward and presses his hand against the wall. It's an illusion. Everything here is an illusion.
On to level two.
Muse: The Doctor (Ten)
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 1,008
Based on RP with savagestime, shatteredqueen, and handysparehand, among others!