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Xena: Choose Your own Adventure #2
|CHAPTER #20 ----- THE CHARADE||
H = 13, X = 18
"Where's Xena?" Gabrielle asked boldly, turning around to face Danaka. Danaka stared at Gabrielle.
"Oh, she's around somewhere around here," Danaka grinned. Gabrielle returned the comment with a disgusted look on her face. She ran over to Danaka and held her staff at the warrior's neck.
"Tell me where she is without your stupid riddles," Gabrielle ordered. Danaka grinned. "Would you kill me?" she kept a smile on her face as she lifted up her neck. "Go ahead, in front of my army. You'd be the leader of your *sister's* army."
Gabrielle returned a frustrated grunt and shoved the staff in Danaka's stomach.
The wind was knocked out of the warrior, and she toppled over, still managing to stay on her horse. Her army held their weapons near Gabrielle. Danaka ordered them to back up.
"Stop! If she really is my sister... she'll forget this incident and move on," Danaka said, still breathless.
Gabrielle sighed, relieved that she wouldn't have to deal with Danaka for a while. She was surprised at herself for speaking out like that. There *was* an entire army right behind her.
Gabrielle moved on, following the path between the valley.
"I'm thirsty, tired, hot, and hungry. Let's stop here to rest for awhile," Gabrielle suggested. Danaka nodded, dismounting her horse. Gabrielle let out another sigh. Maybe she could sneak around to the woods. It wasn't very far back where she realized that Xena was missing. Maybe she could go back and look around quickly.
Gabrielle sat on a rock, pretending to eat a piece of bread. A few soldiers passed her, chuckling at their own jokes.
As soon as they had their backs turned towards her, she sneaked behind the high, thick bushes. She looked around for anyone else, then started toward the woods in which they had come from. It wasn't long before she came upon something that told her that she was on the right track.
Half buried in the leaves, Gabrielle bent down and picked up the deadly weapon. She carried it carefully, shaking her head to get the terrible thoughts out of her mind. Xena was so careful... it's not like she would just have dropped her sword.
Gabrielle heard a grunt come from below. The sound was only a few feet away.
"Xena?" Gabrielle jogged over to the place where the sound was coming from.
"Gabrielle! Keep it down!" Xena hissed. "How did you get back this far? This is Horde land!"
Gabrielle dropped her jaw.
"See that whip near the edge of the pit?" Xena asked. "I got out of this mess earlier, but I was pushed back in as soon as I got out."
"Danaka did it, I know it," Gabrielle informed her best friend, lowering the whip down to the warrior.
"Tie the whip to my chakrum, it's up there too, probably underneath the leaves," Xena prepared the whip.
Gabrielle fished around the dried leaves and found the round weapon. She tied one end of the whip to the chakrum.
"How did you get this far without Danaka noticing?" Xena asked, tugging the makeshift rope. "I get the feeling that she doesn't like me very much," she joked.
"I asked for a break. She has probably already noticed I'm missing. We have to hurry," Gabrielle urged as her best friend scaled the pit quickly.
"I know, I know," Xena said, getting frustrated.
"Xena, how much longer until we get to Cirra?" Gabrielle asked.
"About two more miles from where you are now, about. You haven't gotten far, I know that much. We have to pass a huge mound of rocks, it will be on the left. As soon as you see that, keep going, and Cirra will be on the edge of a huge plain," Xena hoisted herself up onto the edge and whistled for Argo.
He came trotting to its owner.
"I will never understand that," Gabrielle announced, amazed at the loyalty the horse showed Xena. "Here's your sword," Gabrielle gave Xena her sword.
They grinned at each other. "How'd you drop it?" Gabrielle asked.
"The Horde was going to take it, but they noticed it was me, the one who defeated their leader," Xena answered, chuckling.
Xena grinned and got on the horse. "Get on," she said to Gabrielle.
Both traveling on Argo, they got back to the army and Danaka in no time.
"You go first, so she doesn't get suspicious," Xena directed.
Gabrielle nodded, got off Argo, and headed into the army cluster.
"Where were you?" Danaka narrowed her eyes.
"Hey! When ya gotta go, ya gotta go," Gabrielle lied. A few soldiers chuckled. They were silenced when Danaka threw them a look. In just a few minutes, they were back up on their feet and about to continue their journey. Gabrielle got nervous. Where was Xena? Was the Horde back?
"What? You were thinking of leaving without me?" Xena spoke up, gloating on Argo. Danaka's eyes flared.
"How did you-" she stopped.
"How did I get out of that pit you pushed me into? Was that what you were going to ask me? Well, let's put it this way-I have many skills," Xena exclaimed. Gabrielle smiled victoriously.
Danaka flounced back to her horse, mounted it, and moved her army behind her. "I travel behind everyone," Xena corrected as Danaka offered her the front of the army. Xena moved Argo behind the group.
It was not long before they came to a mound of stones. Gabrielle smiled, knowing that she was in the right place.
A couple of miles later, a village could be seen in the distance near the edge of the plain. Xena stopped Argo and stood still, her eyes glazing over. Danaka put her horse to a gallop, moving into her home valley. Gabrielle stood still, sighing over the long, pointless trip. She thought of running away right now.
Danaka circled the village once and returned to her army and Gabrielle. Xena still sat a ways away from everyone.
"So you really are my sister. Welcome home," Danaka hugged Gabrielle. Gabrielle felt like shaking her off. It was like an insect that you wanted off *now*. She looked back at Xena. A tear streamed down her best friend's face. Gabrielle pulled herself from the embrace and just stared at Xena. Gabrielle knew what she had to do.
If Gabrielle plays along with the charade for a little while longer, go to chapter #40.
If Gabrielle tells Danaka the truth now, go to chapter #41.