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by The Red Phoenix
Note: Xena, Gabrielle and all other characters except Jeanre Black(so far) are property of MCA television and are copyrighted. This stroy is also copyrighted by the author. Thank you for reading, you can pay attention to the story now.
25 years ago...
Outside a temple of Ares, a young woman sits outside waiting for a messenger. She is holding a dagger with a design of a skull on its hilt and was spinning it like a top. It was a warm, sunny summer day and the sky was clear except for a few clouds. Obviously, the gods were somewhat in a good mood today, but the woman was getting impatient and got up to leave.
"Hmmph, pathetic. I was hoping that "the best messenger in the world" would at least be here on time. I guess weíll just have to conduct business another way."
As she started to walk away, a man suddenly appeared out of nowhere and stood in the doorway of the temple.
The woman turned around to see the man in the doorway. He had light blond hair, hazel eyes and was wearing nothing but a toga made of leather. He was armed with a crossbow and his wings were in rest position. It was obviously the god of desire, Cupid.
"Oh, itís you. No wonder your late. I was expecting Hermes, I thought he was the one that the gods used as the messenger boy. At least he would be here on time!"
"Yes, he is, but Hades has kept him busy after that incident in Thebes, and you know how Hades is. Anyway, sorry Iím late, I was busy setting up a marriage betweenó"
"Save it for someone who cares! Letís just get this over with."
Cupid went inside Aresí temple and the woman followed suit. The temple was full of artifacts and gifts to the god and the front had a statue that wasnít really a resemblance of him but she guessed that if it was close enough to resemble Ares, it was good enough.
"Well, at least you had the common courtesy and the sense enough to meet in of your fatherís temples."
"But Ares isnít my father, Hephaestus is."
"Right,"she said sarcastically, "care to materialize any chairs?"
Cupid nodded and two chairs and a table with two goblets and a pitcher on it appeared. He noticed that the woman had fiery red hair, deep bluish-green eyes and was wearing a lightly armored suit with what looked like big bands on her wrists. She was wearing a necklace of a dragon claw held on by a leather strap. She also had two tattoos on her body; one of a black dragon on her left hip and a bladed ankh on the inside of her right ankle. She wasnít really beautiful but she wasnít ugly either and she certainly had Heraís charm.
"Please, sit down."
She walked up to the table and took a seat. She eyed the god with a cautious yet curious look and wondered what he was up to. The motives of the gods are tricky but she at least had to pretend to keep a open mind.
"Do you want some ale? You know that the bestó"
"No thanks, if its one thing that Iíve learned is never to accept anything from the gods."
"Oh, well. Anyway, as I was sayingó"
"Look, donít stall, just get to the message and to the point."
"Okay, okay. But wouldnít you ratheró"
"Cupid! Donít waste my time!"
"Alright, alright. Zeus says that if you stop now that heíll make you a goddess and will give you whatever else you desire."
"Is that all?"
"No, he says that if you accept his offer, you can marry any god you choose, including myself. Thatís it."
"Cupid, you of all people know that I canít feel love or desire. Itís a part of who I am."
"Yeah, I know. Just think of it though, not only will you live forever but you could help rule the world and not only that, youíll have people sucking up to you 24 hours a day! How about that?"
"Ahhh...now I know why."
"Know why? About what?"
"Now I know why Zeus sent you instead of Hermes. He sent you to charm me. Kind of ironic, isnít it? The god of desire trying to charm me."
"What makes you say that?"
"Donít play dumb with me. Youíre not that good."
At that moment, the look that Cupid used to try to please her disappeared and he knew from that moment on, things were not going to work according to plan.
"How did you guess?"
"Well, it wasnít hard. Messengers donít stall."
She got up and started to walk out of the temple when he reappeared right in front of her, blocking her way out.
"You know, Iíd wish you guys would stop doing that. It gets annoying after a little while."
"Did it work? Did I succeed?"
The woman turned around, laughed and walked back into the temple.
"Oh, please. Hades is five times more charming than you are. All you are to me is skin deep beauty and no brains."
"I thought you liked men and gods like that."
"Yeah, because it easier to kill them. All you are is a mistake with wings."
Cupid started to breath heavily in furious anger and picked up his crossbow.
"No one insults me, especially my wings!"
He loaded his crossbow and charged at her. The woman quickly drew out a sword, turned around, kicked the crossbow out of his hand, gave him a sweep kick and knocked him on his knees. He looked up and saw her sword pointed at his neck.
"Now, I have a message for the gods, including you as well. Tell them that why would I want to be a god when Iím just as if not more powerful than them; and tell Zeus that his offer is ridiculous and I reject it."
"He doesnít care about that, he just wants the killing to stop."
"Then also tell him this: what goes around, comes around. Heíll understand. Now get out and take whatever you brought with you."
She put the sword back in its sheath and turned around and started to head out the door. Cupid got up and picked up his crossbow.
"Hey, Iíll give Zeus your message, but I hope I never see you again."
"Oh, donít worry. Youíll see me again, whether you like it or not."
And with that Cupid, the chairs and the table disappeared and the woman walked out of the temple with her head up high and a smile on her face.
To Be Continued...
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