“No,” Marion decided. “I’m not going to sit here meekly while Kristoph is handed a ransom demand. Lily, we have to try to escape.” She pulled at the chain but to no avail.

“Marion,” Lily told her. “Sit down. You must rest. Think of the baby.”

“I am thinking of her, Lily,” Marion answered. “Paula… She was so cruel and cold. I think she would easily stick a knife through me and… and my baby. I’m scared of her. And the men she is with… they’re all thugs.”

“Even so, as long as they think they can get money they won’t do anything. So come and lie down for a minute. Let me make sure your little girl is all right.”

She did so. The mattress was old and lumpy and unpleasant but it was better than the bare floorboards. Lily sat beside her and put a hand on her stomach and gently put her mind into the mind of the baby. Kristoph did that all the time, of course. But it was just as nice to have Lily do it. She felt the baby relax and go quiet, soothed by her gentleness.

And she thought of something.

“You’ve got telepathy like all Gallifreyans….”

“Yes. Though I am not quite so accomplished as the Time Lords with their academy training.”

“Even so… Lily, can you contact Li with it?”

“I’ve never done it from a distance,” she admitted. “When we make love, we join our minds and share each other’s pleasure. But from a distance… not able to touch him physically…”

“Could you try?”

“Of course I can try,” she answered. “But be patient with me. I must concentrate.”

Lily sat upright, very straight-backed. She looked dazed as she closed her mind to everything around her, the sounds from outside, the sounds from downstairs as the kidnappers continued to argue and tried to find the mind of her lover somewhere across the city. The fact that they joined so often in their love-making was a help. She knew the shape and feel of Li’s mind. She knew what she was looking for.

But she had to search through so many thousands of Human minds with all of their emotions. There were some very highly charged ones close by that were especially distracting. But all over a busy city on a Saturday afternoon every emotion, every sensation possible was being experienced by somebody. It felt like she was searching in an ocean of Human consciousness for that one non-Human mind she needed to reach.

Then she felt it. Her hearts raced as she touched on the bright, sharp mind of her lover. She mentally closed in on it. She called out to him. She felt him answer, his feelings were surprise, then worry as he sensed her distress. Then anger.

“Do you know where you are?” Li asked her as he held onto her mind tightly and words as well as sensations were possible. “I’m coming for you, don’t worry. But I need to know where to start looking.”

“I don’t know,” Lily admitted. “I only know a small part of this city. We don’t do an awful lot of sight-seeing, you and I!” Li laughed gently at that very true fact. But the problem remained.

Then both of them felt another voice in their heads.

“Which football team has a match on today?”

“Marion?” Li expressed his surprise. “Oh, my dear… of course. You’re carrying a Time Lord child. Some of the telepathic ability is transferred to you. But don’t overdo it. What was that you said again…”

“Football. It’s Saturday. We can hear the crowd, very close. We’re either near Anfield or Goodison Park. Check which team is playing at home and that’s where we are.”

“Well done, my dear,” Li told her. “Now, both of you, sit tight. I will be with you as quickly as I can.”

“Li, there are four men. With knives. And Paula…”

“I am a Time Lord,” Li reminded her. “And a Master of Shaolin. Do not fear.”

They both felt him withdraw from them. They felt empty and alone afterwards. Lily turned and hugged Marion. The physical closeness replaced the mental connection that had been so reassuring.

“I didn’t know you could do that,” Lily said.

“I didn’t, either. Is Li right… it’s because of the baby?”

“Yes, I think so. So few non-Gallifreyans marry Time Lords that I don’t think anyone really knows what effect it might have. But your baby has Kristoph’s blood, and that’s mingling with yours.”

“It felt strange. But rather wonderful. Oh, but Lily… asking Li to help us… he’s an old man…”

“He’s an old Time Lord. A strong, vigorous one. But the fact that people judge what they see, not what is, may be to his advantage. Meanwhile, we must be patient. Let’s… try to see how strong your ability is. Li will know the general direction to come, but let’s both try to concentrate on the window and try to see beyond the boards. You know this city. There may be something we can see that will help guide him to us.”

Lily held Marion in a close embrace as she reached gently and connected with Marion’s thoughts. Then they both concentrated on the boarded up window. They didn’t look at it with their eyes. They visualised it in their minds. Then they visualised the board falling away, the yard outside, the alleyway behind it, and what lay beyond that.

“Yes,” Marion said. “Yes, I know where we are. We’re in the street right next to the football stadium. See the floodlights, Lily. It must have been a four o’clock kick off. They’re playing under floodlights on a winter evening.”

“There are thousands of people there,” Lily said. “I felt them when I was trying to communicate with Li. Tens of thousands, just a few hundred yards away, but they don’t know we’re prisoners here.”

“If they did, they’d help us,” Marion said with absolute certainty. She reached out, using her new-found ability, using Lily’s stronger ability to give her mind the freedom her body didn’t have. She felt those thousands of minds, too. She could see in her mind’s eye the inside of the stadium and the crowds in the stands, the players on the pitch. “It’s the derby game,” she said. “Liverpool versus Everton. Yes, we’d be all right if we were there.” She let her mind pull back from the inside of the stadium. She found something comfortingly familiar outside. The black wrought iron gate with the crest above with that bird she herself had brought to Gallifrey, which was now woven into the carpets and rugs of Mount Lœng House.

“You’ll Never Walk Alone?” Lily queried as she saw through Marion’s eyes the motto beneath the crest.

“It’s the anthem of the football club. A song…”

“It’s a comforting thought,” Lily said.

“Yes, it is,” Marion agreed. “It’s about believing in God… the Christian God that people believe in on Earth. I don’t know about Gallifreyans…”

“We tend to believe in each other. Li certainly won’t let us walk alone. Or anything else. We can trust in him.”

“Yes, we can,” Marion agreed. “I’m glad of that. You know, the first time I met him… he kidnapped me. But after that, when he and Kristoph were reconciled, he became a trusted friend. If Kristoph can’t come for me, because he’s on Gallifrey and he doesn’t know what’s happening, then I am glad Li is coming.”

How long would he take? They wondered that as the minutes ticked away. They reluctantly left the comfort of the Shankley Gates because it was too mentally exhausting. The dark room was as comfortless as it was possible to be in contrast. They didn’t bother with the bread or the water, though Marion did have need of the bucket from time to time. They heard noises in the room below sometimes. They several times heard an increase in noise from the football stadium and guessed that a goal had been scored.

“I think the match is over,” Marion said after they had sat there for a long time. There had been an even bigger surge in the noise, then a different kind of noise as the fans came out of the stadium, singing, cheering, shouting. They would be surging around Anfield Road now, heading for car parks and buses or to the pubs or towards the housing estates where many of them lived. They would be going for a drink or for their tea, and none of them knew there were two women trapped in an empty house close by them.

“Li is near,” Lily whispered after they had been listening to the post match noise for a while. “He’s coming for us. I can feel him. He’s very close. He just needs to find the right house.”

He found it. They held each other tightly as they listened to a sound that had to be the front door being broken down. There were shouts and running feet. One set of footsteps came up the stairs in a hurry. Paula crashed through the door. She had a long knife in her hand and she rushed towards Marion.

“No!” Lily stepped in front of her, raising her arms defensively. The knife sliced into her shoulder with a sickening sound. Marion screamed. Lily gave an astonished cry.

Paula screamed as she saw Lily’s blood pouring from the wound. Not because the blood was a light orange colour, different from Human, but simply because there was blood. Paula was an angry woman, a greedy woman. But she was not ready to be a killer. She gasped and backed away, clutching the knife, but clearly unlikely to use it again.

Then a hand reached out and squeezed a pressure point on her shoulder. Paula collapsed onto one of the mattresses whimpering and complaining that she could not feel her legs.

“The paralysis is temporary,” Li told her. “Be quiet you foolish woman, and be thankful that my code of honour would not permit me to inflict further hurt upon one of your sex.” He turned and looked at Marion and Lily. Lily was in a near faint. Marion was holding her. Li looked at the wound and pressed his hand over it.

“Calm, Lily, my dear one. Let your body mend as it should. The wound is deep but it is clean.”

Lily looked at him gratefully and as she did so, the wound did, indeed, start to heal. Marion sighed with relief as she held onto her friend. Li looked at the chains that bound them and drew the Shaolin sword that was sheathed at his waist. He raised it above his head and then brought it swiftly down. The two chains were both sheared in half as if they were made of plastic.

“What about the others?” Marion asked. “There were other men…” But now there were sounds of other footsteps on the stairs. The male kidnappers were bundled into the room by three Chinamen. Marion and Lily recognised them as the manager and staff of the restaurant where they so often dined, Li’s friends.

“Not Shaolin trained,” Li said. “For that holy place was taken over by the communists. But masters of gung fu, nonetheless. A man who learns such arts has no fear of thugs with knives.”

The thugs certainly feared them. They knelt on the bare floor and looked up fearfully at Li with his sword still held in his hand. He raised it and they cowered back.

“You’ve heard stories about Chinese Triads?” he asked possibly Billy Stett as he cringed away from him. “About what they do to those who offend them?”

Possibly Billy Stett managed to nod.

“These women are under my protection,” he said. “Remember that. And remember this.”

He swung the sword again. Billy Stett whimpered as the blade passed close by his ear and lopped off a swathe of his hair.

“Next time, it will be your head.” He sheathed the sword as Billy made a distressing puddle on the floorboards. “Marion, Lily, your jewels and possessions are in the room downstairs. You will want them back. This woman seems to be wearing your coat, Lily.”

Paula squealed as Li stepped close.

“Let her have it,” Lily said. “I don’t wish to wear it again after she has tainted it. She wanted a fur coat. Let her enjoy it, if she can.”

Lily turned away, taking Marion by the arm. They heard Li repeat that they were under his protection before he and his Chinese friends walked downstairs with them and out into the quiet street that was rather eerily lit by the football floodlights that had not yet been turned out. Two cars waited. Lily and Marion sat in the back of one, with Li in the passenger seat as the restaurant manager drove. His staff followed behind. They made slow progress at first, because a lot of the football fans were still holding up the traffic, but then they gained speed. Within a very short time Marion and Lily were being escorted by Li to a private table in the restaurant whose name meant Welcome, traveller. The manager served them the best meal and his finest wine. The nightmare melted away in the warmth and light and pleasant atmosphere.

“Should we have handed them over to the police?” Marion wondered as she ate. “What if they…”

“They believe you to be under the protection of a Triad Lord,” Li answered. “They would not dare.”

“You lied to them,” Lily said. “I have never heard you lie, Li dear.”

“I did not lie. I asked them if they had heard of the Triads. Then I said you were under my protection. The made the connection between the question and the statement themselves.” He smiled as they replayed his words back in their heads and realised he was right. “They believe themselves to be marked, even though it is not so. They are mere thugs. They are unworthy of my attentions. But the terrors they will make for themselves in their imaginations, will be far worse than any real punishment.”

“Devious,” Marion said. “I hope Paula realises how foolish she has been. She should get away from that sort of life and try to do better for herself.”

“Only she can do that for herself,” Lily told her. “And if she does or not is not your concern, my dear. You did not make her problems.” Then Lily looked behind her and smiled widely. Marion turned and exclaimed joyfully as Kristoph came to the table. He said nothing at first as he embraced and kissed her. He sat with them and heard the tale from start to finish.

“Li contacted me, of course,” he said. “But I was hearing a case and could not leave. I came as soon as I could. I am thankful to Li and his Chinese friends for their intervention. When I think what could have happened…”

“It’s all over now,” Marion said. “And please… don’t stop me from visiting here again. Really, Liverpool is no more dangerous than the Capitol most of the time…”

“Of course I won’t stop you,” he said. “Not when you have such protection here. But I shall bring you home later by TARDIS. I take it Lily will be staying with Li for the night.”

“We decided she would be joining us for breakfast,” Marion answered, thinking it seemed so long ago now that they had talked about that. Kristoph smiled at his two oldest friends and agreed that it sounded an excellent idea.