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Xena: Choose Your own Adventure #2
|CHAPTER #46 ----- THE CHASE||
H = 8, X = 29
Danaka grabbed her sword and nodded to Callisto. Callisto grinned and lunged at Xena.
Xena was expecting this and leapt out of the way. Gabrielle looked on helplessly.
"Kill Xena, and I’ll believe you," Callisto reminded Danaka.
Xena grabbed Gabrielle’s arm and started to run. Gabrielle had no idea where they were going, but Xena seemed like she was running in a certain direction.
Danaka and Callisto followed, on the other two’s heels.
Gabrielle was breathless, using her stick to pump her along. Xena had gone into a rhythm, running as fast as she could. Gabrielle slowly started to fall behind.
"Gabrielle! Hold on! We’re almost there!" Xena screamed.
"Where?" Gabrielle cried.
"Are you crazy?"
"Yeah!" Xena and Gabrielle finally reached the outside of the woods. In front of them was a village. To Xena, it was vaguely familiar, but to Gabrielle, this place was unknown.
"Xena, why are we—" Gabrielle was cut short by a screech. Xena looked over her shoulder. Callisto and Danaka were coming straight for the two, each had a sword.
"Get inside the village!" Xena yelled to Gabrielle.
Dreading the race again, Gabrielle ran slightly slower than Xena, trying her best to keep up. They reached the closed gates. Xena stopped short and grabbed the bars, shaking them violently. Callisto and Danaka were only yards away.
"Xena!" Gabrielle said, terrified. She pressed herself against the bars.
"Hold on!" Xena said. She hoisted Gabrielle up on her shoulders and pushed her over the gate. Standing a little ways away from the gate, Xena followed, flipping gracefully over the gate. Gabrielle hit the ground, landing on her stomach. She sat up and groaned. Xena landed on her feet, facing the outside.
Callisto and Danaka arrived at the gate, rattling the lock.
"How did you get in here?" a villager came up from behind Xena.
"Tell everyone to go in their homes and board up their houses! There are people here that are dangerous!" Xena yelled, ignoring the question.
The man opened his eyes wide when he saw the women who stood outside and ran off. A few seconds later, the village was in panic, racing to board up their homes and protect their children.
By now, Callisto was inside the gate, a shoulder touching her sister.
"How—" Xena narrowed her eyes.
"I’m a goddess. You forget," was Callisto’s only response. She shrieked and flipped over Xena’s head. Xena watched her as she raced over to a pile of straw and hay.
Callisto pulled out an unlit torch. Xena’s eyes went wide.
"Gabrielle! Unlock the gates!" Xena screamed to the bard. Gabrielle immediately started to look for the key.
Callisto struck two rocks together and produced a spark. She looked up at Xena with a huge grin on her face. Xena had a look of fear on hers.
Callisto struck the rocks again, this time lighting the torch. Xena started to walk slowly toward the goddess.
"Callisto... stop this... this is your own village..." Xena said slowly.
"They are making no move to help me!" the goddess retorted.
"Because you aren’t giving them a reason to!" Xena said loudly. Callisto thought about this shortly before lighting the nearby hay on fire.
"No!" Gabrielle said, looking back at the soon-raging fire. "Xena! I can’t find the keys!"
"Right here!" a villager tossed the ring of rusty keys through the air as she locked herself in her home. Gabrielle reached out for the keys, but they fell into Callisto’s hands. Gabrielle cowered back.
"Get out of your homes! Your homes are wood and the village is on fire!" Xena yelled to the town. No one came out.
"Xena, you’re gonna die just like my family," Callisto said, rocking slowly side to side, staring through Xena.
"Callisto! Let me out!" Now Danaka was screaming at the gate.
Callisto walked to the gate. She held the keys as if she were going to throw them over the side wall. She stared at Xena and then at the fire. The fire was covering almost all the town, and coming to the four women quickly. Callisto looked at her crying sister.
Danaka wiped a tear from her face.
"Mother would have not wanted you to do—" Danaka was silent as she watched what Callisto did next.
She unlocked the gate.
The goddess just stood there, looking out. Then she glanced back at the fire. She slowly strolled over to it as Xena, Gabrielle, and Danaka ran out of the village. Xena and Gabrielle kept running farther away from the woods, but Danaka stood in the doorway.
"Callisto!" she screamed as the goddess laughed, walking into the fire itself.
It was quiet except for the crackling of the burning.
"All of those villagers..." Gabrielle said to Xena, walking around the village.
"What? Us? We’re all right," a voice called out. Each villager was standing, watching Cirra burn.
"How did you—" Gabrielle was astonished. Xena felt relieved, having an idea of what had happened.
"A while back, there was a warrior named Xena. She set fire to our village. Once we rebuilt, we built back doors for an escape route in case of any other emergencies. Many of our ancestors died, we don’t want the same. Looks like that work building was worthwhile," the man smiled softly. He looked like he was in his teens.
Xena stood, expressionless. It was her fault, but she could also take credit for saving the lives of the villagers.