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Xena: Choose Your own Adventure #2
|CHAPTER #31 ----- THE LIE||
H = 30 & 33, X = 8 & 9
"Fine. I’m on trial," Xena said in a monotone voice.
The next morning, when Gabrielle woke up, she wasn’t worried about where Xena was.
"That dream of hers is starting to bother me," the bard muttered to herself. She gathered her things and walked outside the inn. The sight she saw was amazing.
At least fifty of the villagers were gathered around a platform. The platform had Xena, Kaleipus, and a judge on it. Xena was tied to a pole, and she did not look happy.
Gabrielle put her all of her things aside except for her staff, and held it in fighting position.
"Hey!" she cut through the crowd and hopped up onto the stage. "What is it this time, Xena?" the bard hissed to the warrior.
"Gabrielle, leave here now. Solan is missing and these people think I kidnapped him," Xena informed the girl. Gabrielle looked confused.
"Haven’t we gone through this blackmail stuff before?" she hissed. "Anyway, if she took Solan, then where is he now?" Gabrielle pointed out loudly.
Villagers shouted random taunts at the two: "She killed him!"
"Sent him away with her army!"
Gabrielle took a deep breath. "Xena, we have to find—"
"Gabrielle, get out of here. Get out of here now. Find Solan, and keep him somewhere safe for a while. I’ll get out of this on my own," Xena stared at the mob. Callisto’s words came back to her from long ago:
"Have you ever been handed over to a mob that wanted your blood?"
"Have you ever been tried for all your crimes?"
A shiver ran down the warrior’s spine. Was this what she deserved? She thought about escaping, but then again, she would be running forever. The villagers weren’t experienced enough to know to take the sword out of reach of Xena. Xena knew that she could easily escape - if it weren’t for Kaleipus in her way.
"The trial of Kaleipus versus Xena will now start. It will end when I think there’s enough evidence to convict the accused," the judge announced. "Great. So I’m already guilty, you’re just waiting for the right time to kill me," Xena murmured sarcastically. Kaleipus threw her a disgusted look. Xena still didn’t understand. It wasn’t like Kaleipus to just turn against Xena all of a sudden... unless he had a very good reason.
Gabrielle still stood in the front of the crowd.
"Get out of here, murderer sidekick!" one woman called out to the bard. Gabrielle was surprised at this and slipped out of the crowd. Still walking, she found herself in the woods. Her stomach flip-flopped, and she didn’t know how to make it without Xena.
Gabrielle walked for a little while, mainly in circles. She wanted to go back and get her things that she left, but she didn’t know how to sneak back. They might have things to help Xena escape.
After a little while of searching, she found a back way where she could sneak in the back door of the inn through some woods. She walked quietly through the path that the weeds had taken over.
"Explain your case, Kaleipus," the judge rubbed his chin.
"I awoke to a sound in my son’s bedroom, and I walked in to find this woman in his bedroom - but by son was not there! The window was wide open, and in his bed were pillows. She wanted me to think that he was under his blanket. She’s a liar along with a murderer!" the centaur pointed to the warrior. The crowd gasped and talked quietly with each other.
The judge looked at Xena. "Your turn," he said.
"I don’t know where Solan is. I did not kidnap him, though! He’s my—" she stopped herself as Kaleipus flinched. She noticed that he hadn’t told anyone about his real mother. "He’s my friend. I wouldn’t do anything to hurt him—" she continued, not looking back at the centaur. She could tell he was relieved, though. Xena didn’t know if that worked for her or against her.
"That’s enough!" the judge interrupted. "I find you guilty!" the judge yawned. Xena narrowed her eyes at the judge and then at the centaur.
Kaleipus walked over and stared at Xena.
"You are a lying son of a—" Xena began.
"Cut her loose and tie her to the execution chair!" the judge ordered. Xena’s eyes went wide. Was this how her life was going to end?
"Help me!" a voice called a few feet above Gabrielle.
Gabrielle looked up to see a blond child look down at her.
"Solan?" Gabrielle asked happily.
"Gabrielle! Help me, please!" the boy was close to tears. "I feel myself slipping!"
With those words, there was a ripping sound as the rope that held him up came crashing to the ground.
Gabrielle caught the boy. "How’d you get up there?" she asked.
"A hunter’s trap. Thanks for helping me," he said breathlessly. "Where’s Xena?" he asked, brushing himself off.
"On trial. The village thinks that she kidnapped you," Gabrielle grabbed his hand and walked briskly through the woods.
"Why would they think—" he asked.
"Long story," she said, not wanting to go into details. It was just minutes until they approached the back door of the inn. Gabrielle didn’t bother with being secretive, she just broke in to get to the mob faster.
"Get the ax ready," the judge ordered the masked executioner. They placed Xena’s head on a chair and raised an ax above her. The ropes that held her hands together cut into her skin. The executioner turned to the crowd and signed that the execution was now. He made sure the ax was lined up with the Warrior Princess’ neck, and raised it above his head.
"No!" Gabrielle cried, pulling Solan along behind her.
The executioner stopped and looked up. The crowd stared at Gabrielle. Xena took the opportunity to kick the man in the stomach, sending him flying into the crowd. With a simple flip of her breast dagger, her hands her free and she was staring at who Gabrielle had arrived with.
"Solan!" Kaleipus ran up to the child and hugged him. "Where in Zeus’ name were you?" Gabrielle looked at Xena.
"A hunter’s trap..." Solan explained his small adventure.
"Thanks, even though you cut it a little close for a second," Xena smiled at the bard.
Gabrielle smiled back. "Hey, you’ve done the same to me," she laughed. Then she turned serious.
"Are you going to tell Solan the truth?" Gabrielle asked.
"No. Things should be the way they are," Xena said sadly as she started walking towards the stables. The crowd looked at her sheepishly.
"I suggest you should get a different judicial system," Xena yelled. Only a few people nodded.