'I hope the Teller is getting all this,' the Doctor said, watching Beol's progress.
'I think he must be.' Rory pointed at the pile in front of them, which was working as a receiver.
Beol's image appeared above it, and Rory was able to watch both transmission and real event, as the King came towards them.
When Beol reached the pile of treasure, he stopped. He raised his hand and the cortege halted behind him. The carriers lowered the biers and the dragon to the ground.
'Enough,' Beol said simply. 'It is not worth the price. It is not worth it.'
He stripped off his dragon armour and added it to the pile. He placed the helmet on top and took a step back. He looked no less extraordinary without it.
Then he bowed his head to his fallen knights.
'Ratings winner,' Amy said sombrely.
The King had barely finished his small ritual, when the people of Geath began to converge upon the plaza, carrying their Enamoured possessions with them. A little girl staggered under the weight of four huge candlesticks. Beside her, her grandmother brought a golden bedpan, which she placed like a cap on the top of the dragon helmet.
Soon Beol's armour disappeared from sight, completely covered with the riches that the city was relinquishing. A team was despatched to strip 204
THE KING’S DRAGON
the veneer from the dome of the council chamber.
Throughout the rest of the night, as the full and distant moon passed across the sky, the people of Geath stripped their city bare.
At last, a massive heap of golden metal, as big as an earthwork, dominated the main plaza. The whole city had come to see what would happen next, no longer able to watch the images the Teller had steadfastly transmitted or hear Hilthe's firm and friendly
remaining space in the plaza, backing onto the stone stairways that led up the hill. Others hung out of the windows of those grand houses that overlooked the council buildings.
The moon set. A brief chill descended upon the city; a still silent moment before the dawn.
Then came the distant whine of engines and the unmistakable makings of the Regulator's howl.
The crowd shivered, en masse. The two gunships soared across the valley, beautiful and lethal. In the very centre of the plaza, right beside the dragon, the Regulator started to take shape.
From his vantage point on the steps leading up to the council chamber, the Doctor watched its appearance with a cold eye. 'I do hate being coerced,' he said. Then he went forward to hear the Regulator's claim.