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Missing: Have You Seen Me?

A Hercules-Xena Crossover with Surprise Guests from Previous Episodes ... Depending on Whether or Not You Choose the Path that Will Lead to a "Happy Ending" ...

by Allison

©1997 Allison. All works remain the © copyright of the original author. These may not be republished without the author's consent.

Chapter 14: The Underworld

(Herc Soundtrack 28 and then 30, or Xena Soundtrack 19)

"Callisto -- send me to the Underworld," Xena commanded boldly.

"Xena, Xena, Xena," Callisto chided.



"Why not? I'll be where you have always wanted me to be. Dead."

"Not really. First, I wanted to kill your loved ones while you watch, and then kill you slowly and painfully."

"Callisto, if you send me to the Underworld, I won't ask you to send me back up to earth."

"How can I trust you?"

"Who gave you ambrosia?"


"Then don't you owe her?"

"Owe her what? Her life back? You killed my family? Don't you owe me?" Callisto spit out in a fury.

Xena was silent.

"Oh, Xena, I shut you up. Good. Maybe you're right. You out of my life would be great. No one to stand in the way while I'm destroying villages and conquering them in the name of you!"

Callisto raised her hand, palm side facing Xena as a bright light and explosion threw Xena off her feet.

As Xena stood up, she realized where she was. The Underworld.

Xena walked down the stairs and found herself at the River Styx.

"Hello, Charon," Xena said as a boat approached the side of the river.

"You again? I'm gett'n sick of this! 'Hi, I'm not dead, but I'd like to be'! I can fix it for you! Geez, if you kinda people know you're coming down, wanna carry a few gold coins to pay the toll? Huh?" Charon complained.

"Nice to see you, too," Xena replied.

"Too bad you don't have any coins -- you can't pass. Sorry."

"How do you know I don't?"

"Hand 'em over in advance."

"No, you haven't done your job."

"I don't have a choice!"

"Charon, let me on the boat," she said. The boat was an inch out of Xena's reach.

"Look, Charon, over on that seat behind you -- a gold coin!" Xena faked Charon out, and as he turned around, she grabbed a sturdy vine from the ceiling, threw it onto the boat, and it wound itself around Charon's oar. Xena pulled the boat nearer.

"Hey! What in Hades --" Charon lost his balance and had to sit down on the boat.

"You're going to get in big trouble for this!" he screamed.

"Do you realize how long you've stalled me?" Xena asked.

It was a matter of seconds before the boat reached the opposite end of the river.

Xena got off without saying anything, thinking about how she was going to convince Hades to bring back Gabrielle.

She approached the huge, dark castle with her sword ready. The last time she came here she had a problem with some Harpies -- she wanted to be prepared.

She opened the first set of massive doors and shut them quietly behind her. She knocked on the main doors when she heard fighting.

"I don't care! My mother is driving me crazy! You're her brother -- put some sense into her! I can't make Ares fall in love! Just because she thinks that'll make her job a lot easier doesn't mean I have to go back to doing her dirty work for her!" a male voice shouted.

"I can't do anything! You know your mother as well as I do -- once she has her mind set on something, she won't go back on her decision. That's the goddess of love for you!" the doors were opened by Hades.

"Xena! Can you come back later? I'm kind of busy," Hades frowned as he saw who had knocked.

"No, I need help now," Xena demanded.

"Xena, I told you -- I'm busy."

Xena pushed him aside and walked into his castle. The place was huge, and would be gorgeous if he'd get a housekeeper and buy some more candles.

Sitting on a chair was a young man with blond hair and wings.

Xena looked at Hades, raising her eyebrows.

"Is this Aphrodite's son?" she asked.

"Yes, I am," the boy answered for Hades.

"Cupid, I'm sorry, but we'll have to finish this conversation some other time," Hades massaged his temples. Xena stared at him.

"What? Gods get headaches, too," he said.

"Sit down and press down hard on your fingernails," Xena instructed.

"Hades, I have to talk to you now -- there's no time, my mother will start shooting arrows at anyone to get Ares to fall in love with someone now!"

"Cupid, go sit in the room opposite the kitchen, I'll be there in a few minutes," Hades sighed.

Cupid stomped off.

"Xena, I have your friend in the den, she must have been sent here on accident, but when I pulled her out of the Elysian Fields, she didn't want to leave a man named Perdicus. To make a long story short, she's in the room opposite Cupid's," Hades finished.

"What! Why didn't you tell me ten minutes ago?" Xena's eyes were wide as she jogged through Cupid's room to get to the den.

"Gabrielle!" Xena screamed as she ran up to her and gave her an enormous hug.

Gabrielle didn't hug back.

"Gabrielle?" Xena asked, concerned.

"Why? Why do I have to leave?" she asked, not waiting for Xena to tell her when it was time to leave.

"I made a deal with her. Besides, I love him," Gabrielle's eyes still stared straight ahead.

Xena was horrified.

"You could have saved him. I could have saved him," she continued in a monotone voice.

Gabrielle ran out of the room.

Cupid came in.

"I know this won't be much of a help, but it sounds like she needs to get her mind off things, right?" he asked.

"Yeah," Xena said, but she wasn't really paying attention.

"She needs to love someone else to make her forget about that guy. I could make Ares and her fall in love with each other. That sounds like it would satisfy my mother and that girl."

"What?" Xena gave him a Look.

"What? Don't you think that's a good idea? You won't have to worry about inviting him to dinner or anything -- you're not related to her," he said.

"Practically, I am."

"Geez. The only kind of people who would turn down the idea of a friend of theirs being in love with a god and a god loving them back are people who have something against Ares."

"You could say that."

"What's your name?"


"Oops. Sorry about that. Well, how about just a mortal and her fall in love with each other?"

"No. Keep the gods out of this."

"It looks like they're already in it."

"Gabrielle! Let's go!" Xena shouted.

Gabrielle was pushed into the room by Hades.

"Good! Take her! Inventory is coming up -- I don't want to mess up this year," Hades said, "I'll send you both back up the easy way."

Before they could say anything else, there was an explosion and a bright light again as Xena and Gabrielle found themselves back where Xena had left her horse. The sun was setting, and Xena saw no one around.

"Let's set up camp here," she said.

Gabrielle nodded, spread out a blanket.

Xena heard someone in the bushes. She turned around to face the person.

She saw a dark-haired man get on Argo and scream: "Yah!"

If you want Xena to chase the man, go to chapter 27

If you want Xena not to chase him, go to chapter 28

If you want to start the story over again, go back to the beginning

Chapter 15: The Fates' Decision

(Herc Soundtrack 22, or Xena Soundtrack 8)

"I am choosing to go with the Fates. Ares, you can't make me side with you," Xena said.

"Very well. You will be mine someday, though, when you come crying to me about missing your powers," Ares said, knowing that he was defeated.

"I'd marry Joxer before I'd do that," Xena said, shivering.

"Are you ready, Xena?" asked the youngest Fate.

"Yes," Xena responded.

With a powerful explosion and a feeling like she was being spun around in circles, Xena found herself on the ground in the temple, everything looking normal again.

The Fates were gone. Ares was gone. Gabrielle was standing beside her.

"Xena! Are you all right?" Gabrielle hoisted Xena back on her feet.

"I'm ... fine ..." Xena said slowly, still dizzy.

"There's fighting outside. I think a battle has advanced over this river. We have to leave now," Gabrielle said, eyes wide.

"Gabrielle, are you really here?" Xena asked as the roof started to crumble.

"They have started using catapults!" Gabrielle screamed over the rumbling. "Let's get out of here!"

Xena grabbed her sword from her back holder and stood in the doorway to the temple as three men ran up and tried to attack her. Xena swung her sword and missed. She noticed it was extremely heavy.

"Ahhh!" Xena found it was her who was screaming.

She dodged the men's swords and ran down the stairs, four more men running up to her, swinging their swords.

She fell to the ground.

The pain was too great.

She closed her eyes.

"Xena!" Gabrielle ran up to her.

"Gabrielle ... leave me ... I did it for you ... to be happy ..." Xena was delirious.

"What? No, don't talk Xena, I'll bring you to that man again, what's his name -- Nicklio?" Gabrielle got nervous. The men were still running around her, killing off each other quickly.

Xena had passed out from the pain as Gabrielle was dressing her wounds.

It was an hour until Gabrielle got Xena onto something like the one they used last visit to Nicklio. Gabrielle didn't want to go through this again.

If you want Gabrielle to take Xena to a cave without going to Nicklio, go to chapter 29

If you want Gabrielle to take Xena to Nicklio, go to chapter 30

If you want to start the story over again, go back to the beginning

Chapter 16: Ares' Decision

(Herc Soundtrack 3, or Xena Soundtrack 2)

"Ares, do it. Bring her back, I'll fight with you," Xena answered hesitantly.

"Xena, wow, I'm proud of you -- not thinking clearly, are you? Good choice, good choice," Ares smirked.

There was a bright light as Gabrielle appeared.

"Gabrielle!" Xena ran up to her and they hugged each other.

"Your choice, not ours ..." the Fates echoed as they disappeared.

Xena knew what she was doing was wrong. But she knew she would get out of it as soon as she could.

"Gabrielle! Are you okay?" Xena asked.

"I'm fine, I'm fine, when do we fight?" as Xena looked in Gabrielle's eyes, she recognized a fire that used to be in her own.

"No," Xena whispered as Ares laughed.

"No going back on it now, Xena! You'd have to fight me first!" Ares grinned evilly. "But don't worry, Xena, I'm having Hephaestus work on a powerful new weapon that can kill even gods. I plan to get rid of my father first. I'm next in line, you know."

"I'm sure that there are many gods who would fight for that position," Xena pointed out.

"But only one who deserves it. Xena, don't argue unless you want to fight it out."

If you want Xena to fight Ares, go to chapter 31

If you want Xena to go along with her original plan (to get out of the deal as soon as she can), go to chapter 32

If you want to start the story over again, go back to the beginning

Chapter 17: Joxer the Mighty

(Herc Soundtrack 15, or Xena Soundtrack 26)

"All right, Joxer, you can come with us -- just don't get in the way," Xena sighed.

"I won't," Joxer whined.

The next day on the road, Iolaus told Joxer to take up the rear.

"No! I wanna stay up here and talk," Joxer answered.

"You know what? You're right. You're not brave enough, anyway," Iolaus said.

"Of course I am!"

"Prove it."

"I'll take up the rear! I'll show you!"

"Fine." Iolaus caught up with Xena. "Hopefully, we'll lose him." Iolaus and Xena chuckled.

Back near Joxer, he was prepared to defend his friends and himself.

"Joxer," a voice whispered.

"Huh?" Joxer stopped and looked around.

"Joxer, you're so brave ..."

"Huh? I mean, yeah, I know," Joxer grinned.

"How would you like to become a greater warrior than Xena?"

"I already am!"

"No, now you're a joke."

"I am not! Iolaus! This isn't funny throwing your voice like that!" Joxer turned around in a circle looking at the sky.

"This isn't Iolaus. This is Ares."

"Wow! The god of war?"

"Answer my original question."

"What? Oh, yeah, of course I'd like to be better than Xena. Can you do that?"

"Yes. But you have to promise me one thing."


"Good. You'll kill her."

"What? I can't do that!"

"Then good-bye, Joxer."

"No! Wait! Okay! I'll do it!" Joxer was surprised at his own answer.

"Here you go!"

A branch of thorns with blood on them appeared in Joxer's hand as he felt a surge run through his body.

"Wow! I feel more powerful already! Hey guys! Wait up!"

If you want Joxer to continue his search with Xena and Iolaus, go to chapter 33

If you want Joxer to go ahead to try to kill Xena and prove himself to Ares, go to chapter 34

If you want to start the story over again, go back to the beginning

Chapter 18: The Deal

(Herc Soundtrack 21, then 24, or Xena Soundtrack 3 and then 16, then if needed, 27)

"No, Joxer. Forget it. You're not coming," Xena said.

"Fine. I'll just go off and look for Gabby by myself!" Joxer stuck out his lower lip and pouted.

That night, Joxer stayed with Iolaus and Xena. At dawn, Joxer got up, gathered his things, and left.

Within a matter of minutes, he came up to a cave.

"Arghhhhh!!!!" Joxer heard as he passed the cave.

"What the -- ?" he asked himself out loud.

"No! You won't get me to work for that monster! I have heard of so many terrible things she has done! She even killed my family!" the voice screamed.

"Echidna -- you don't have a choice. You are going to work for Callisto. And look who's talking -- you're the monster!" another female voice spoke up.

"Nooooo!!!!" Echidna yelled.

"I gotta warn Xena!" Joxer said.

As he ran back to the camp, he realized that Xena and Iolaus were already awake, cooking something over the fire.

"Xena! Xena! There's a monster!" he yelled as he approached the two.

Xena drew her sword. "Where?" she asked.

"In that cave! It's Echidna, the Mother of all Monsters! There's someone else in there arguing with her, too!" Joxer ran out of breath.

"Calm down. Joxer, stay here with Iolaus. Iolaus, gather up our stuff and follow Joxer down to this cave of his. We'll see what's in there," Xena directed.

Xena crept through the forest, ready to fight, not knowing if it was true or not that Echidna had turned good.

When she arrived at the cave, she immediately went in.

"STOP!" a voice echoed as a tall figure rose out of the shadows.

"The Sphinx," Xena recalled her last near-disaster incident with her. Atalanta had nearly killed children when leading them into a trap headed by the Sphinx. The Sphinx was a giant monster, with a woman's head and a lion's body. She was famous for riddles -- if you answered the riddle correctly, you could pass. If you were wrong, she ate you.

The Sphinx squinted. "You again?" she greeted Xena.

"I'm not here to harm you, I was just wondering who you were arguing with," Xena said slowly.

"That's none of your business! I should eat you for eavesdropping!"

"Let me pass, Sphinx."

"No. Not unless you can solve one of my riddles. I see your little friend isn't with you this time. I do know where she is, though. Solve my riddle, and you may pass."

Xena hated riddles. This was Gabrielle's subject.

"Fine," Xena said. She knew that she had to get Gabrielle back. If the Sphinx was talking to another monster, there was no telling where Gabrielle was.

What is bigger than the universe,

the dead eat it,

but if the living ate it, they too would be dead?

"Let's go in the cave so I can think about it," Xena said after a few minutes.

"Fine," the Sphinx agreed.

"So do you have the answer?" the Sphinx got pushy.

Xena stood there, having no clue what the answer was.

Just then, she heard a rustle come from around the corner of the cave.

"Who is it?" the Sphinx roared.

"Have more respect for an Amazon Queen," laughed a blond, muscular woman as she stepped into view with a bow and arrow in her hand.

"Ephiny!" Xena called.

"Xena! Where's --"

"Hush!" screamed the Sphinx. "Answer the riddle before I eat you!"

"What's the riddle?" asked Ephiny.

"You are no part of this!" called the Sphinx.

"I'll tell her the riddle if you don't," Xena said.

"If you do, I will eat you."

"No you won't -- that's not part of the deal."

The Sphinx was quiet.

"All right. I'll tell her. But she is not to give you the answer, and she can't help you," the Sphinx decided. She repeated the riddle.

"Gosh, that's a tough one," Ephiny said. Xena couldn't tell if she really knew the answer or not, though.

"Give me a hint, Ephiny," Xena said daringly.

"I said no hints!" reminded the Sphinx.

"Sorry, Xena, I have nothing to say to you," Ephiny emphasized the word "nothing".

Xena's eyes went wide and Ephiny discretely put her finger up to her lips.

"Let me think about this one for a while," Xena told the Sphinx.

"Hurry up. You have until the sun is high in the sky, noon time," the Sphinx demanded.

At near noon, Xena spoke up. "I have the answer."

"What is it?" the Sphinx raised her head.

"Nothing. The answer is nothing. Nothing is bigger than the universe. The dead eat nothing, and if the living ate nothing, they would die," Xena explained.

"Augghhhh!!!" the Sphinx roared in defeat. "Get out of here before I change my mind and eat you both!"

Xena and Ephiny ran out of the cave with the Sphinx screaming behind them.

"How did you know?" Xena asked, out of breath.

"She used that one on the last Amazon that tried to kill her," Ephiny answered, equally breathless.

"She's immortal, you know."

"We are always looking for a challenge. Where is Gabrielle?"

"I don't know. That's who I was looking for when I went in that cave. Someone I know came to me and said he heard Echidna and another monster arguing, so I went to the cave thinking that Gabrielle might be there."

"Wow, I take it your friend didn't hear the part about Callisto?"

"What? Why?"

"I was in the cave during that entire conversation this morning at dawn. I managed to sneak out after they talked about Callisto. The Sphinx works for Callisto -- she guards her fort. Callisto wanted Echidna to work for her, too. Later in the morning, a bunch of soldiers from Callisto's army came and kidnapped Echidna while she was sleeping. I think they kidnapped a bunch of villagers. Maybe we could look for Gabrielle there."

"Good idea. I'm going to head out right now."

"I'll get the other Amazons and meet you there. It's the cave where the Amazon village used to be."

"All right, see you there," Xena waved goodbye and thanked Ephiny.

"Xena! Are you all right?" Joxer ran up to her. "We kind of got lost. Iolaus was busy talking, and I insisted that we were going the wrong way, but he ignored me. Did you kill Echidna?"

"That's funny, Joxer, I don't remember it that way," Iolaus came up behind him.

"Oh ... uh ... well ... you know me! Pure entertainment! Oh boy ..." Joxer blushed and turned away.

"Xena, what happened?" Iolaus turned to Xena.

"The other monster Joxer heard was the Sphinx. I had to answer one of her riddles, and to shorten up the story, Ephiny came in at just the right time. We are going to Callisto's fort. You and Joxer can leave -- this isn't your fight," Xena said.

"No -- Hercules might be there," Iolaus said.

"Yeah! And ... I can ... help," Joxer stretched out.

"No. Neither of you are coming with me. This woman is very powerful. She's a goddess now," Xena argued.

"All right. We'll meet you in Amphipolis in a few days, all right?" Iolaus asked.

"Okay. Thanks, Iolaus. Tell Hercules hello for me," Xena said.

"See you soon, take care of yourself, and let me know what happened."


"Hey! Iolaus! Wait up! I just got an idea! You can be my sidekick! We can have adventures without Hercules! We can slay Hydras and beat up bad guys!" Joxer called after Iolaus.

Xena got on Argo and trotted off into the woods.

When she came to the mouth of the cave, she heard many voices inside.

"Please! No! Leave us in peace!"

"What have we done to deserve this?"

"Xena will save us! Help!"

Xena raced in, only to be captured by a handful of soldiers who knocked her unconscious.

"Xena," a taunting voice called, "I know you can hear me. How did you like those fake distress calls? Not bad, huh? Looking for Gabrielle? I'll give you a hint -- this cave leads to the Underworld. I bet you already knew that, right?"

Xena opened her eyes.

"Callisto," Xena murmured under her breath.

"Missed me, didn't you?" Callisto laughed.

"I missed you like I miss a hole in the head," Xena shot back.

"That can be arranged," Callisto untied Xena's tied up hands. "Okay, you can leave, now."

"What?" Xena was confused.

"Leave. I have already shown you to Gabrielle while you were knocked out. She thinks you're dead. She had me kill her so that she could be with you. Don't worry -- she's in the Elysian Fields," Callisto explained.

"No! Send me to the Elysian Fields right now, Callisto!" Xena screamed.

"Have it your way."

With a flash and a burst, Xena was in the Elysian Fields.

But if it weren't for the trees and the river, she would have thought it was Tartarus.

The people were dressed in black, and walking around like they were all depressed. A few were even crying.

"Excuse me, but why is everyone crying?" Xena asked a man who had his backed turned to Xena.

He turned around.

"Perdicus?" she asked. "Perdicus? It really is you! I have to tell Gabrielle, she'll be thrilled!" Then she realized that he had been crying.

"Perdicus? What's wrong?" Xena asked.

"I don't know," Perdicus answered.

Then Perdicus walked off, without saying another word.

She asked the same question to other people, but got the same answer. No one seemed to know why they were upset.

"Great. I guess this means I have to go talk to Hades," she said out loud.

Once inside the castle, she found Hades almost immediately.

"Hades! What is going on and where is Gabrielle?" she demanded.

"Gabrielle? She's in the Elysian Fields. I know you were there, why did you come back to the Underworld? I told you not to come ever again! This is a crisis, and we don't need you to come and tell us what to do," Hades went on, "Callisto's really working us hard and inventory is constantly switching around."

"What can I do to help?" Xena asked.

"Nothing! Leave!"

"I was offering assistance! It may not be much, but it looks like I'm all you've got. Your Harpies were even at the door crying! What is going on?"

"Callisto is killing people and somehow managing to take a few back from the dead. You would think it all evens out, but this is even confusing Charon."

"It doesn't take much for that."

"Yeah, well, anyway, here's a list of only a few people she's killed and then brought back."

"Killed: Gabrielle of Poteidaia --" Xena stopped reading out loud and stood there, stunned. "So she really did kill her?" she asked.

"Obviously. And you won't believe who she brought back. Remember that guy that tried to rape Deianeira? Nessus?"

"Yeah, Hercules told me about him. He was a centaur, right?"

"Is a centaur. Along with him, Callisto brought back minotaurs, Theodorus, Hydras, even Mezentius and Krykus the warlords. It's not a pretty sight."

"Oh, no ... and Gabrielle ... where is she?"

"Who knows? I've even lost track of Persephone."

"I'll make you a deal. I'll set things right on two conditions."

"Name it. Anything for Persephone."

"Once this is over, you will bring all the innocent people Callisto has killed back to life, and you will convince Zeus and the Fates to set Gabrielle's life straight, including bringing back Perdicus."


If you want Xena to go directly back to earth to deal with Callisto right away, go to chapter 35

If you want Xena to stay in the Underworld to look for Gabrielle, go to chapter 36

If you want to start the story over again, go back to the beginning

Chapter 19: Looking for Gabrielle

(Herc Soundtrack 21, or Xena Soundtrack 1 and then 2)

Xena rode off on Argo, and they trotted through smooth terrain until they came to a cave.

A huge green monster with many arms guarded the entrance. Xena heard it crying.

"Hey!" Xena yelled up to it.

"What do you want?" the monster roared, wiping away a tear with a long tentacle.

"Why are you standing here? Any hunter with good aim would happily shoot you with an arrow to get your hind. You're Echidna, aren't you?" Xena said.

"I don't care if they shoot me. Yes, I am Echidna. How did you know?"

"I'm a friend of Hercules."

"He helped save my baby. Now my baby, Obie, is dead. So is Typhon, my husband. This terrible warlord killed them both. Get out of here! I am supposed to kill anyone who tries to pass! You are Hercules' friend, so I'll let you pass. Run far away, and warn others not to come near here!"

"No! I'm here to help. Let me by."

"I can't do that."

"Why not? I'll tell Callisto I hit you hard. She'll believe it."

"No!!!" Echidna waved her tentacles.

Xena drew her chakrum. Echidna took one look at it and cringed.

"Okay -- be careful," Echidna said after much hesitation.

Xena passed Echidna and crept in the cave, not making a sound.

"Xena, Xena, Xena," a voice chanted. "How are you?"

Callisto stepped out into the lighter side of the cave.

"Where is Gabrielle?" Xena asked as she looked around the cave.

"The irritating blond? Right there," Callisto said, pointing to the side of the cave.

Gabrielle was tied up to a huge piece of wood, and she looked as if she had been drugged.

"Why have you been driving Hades crazy?" Xena asked, referring to her chat with Petracles.

"Oh, so how is Petracles? Yes, I know he is Hades' messenger lately. I'm not sure why, though. He was a bad boy in the Underworld. Tsk, tsk, tsk," Callisto said.

"What do you mean? He went to Tartarus?" Xena's eyes went wide.

"Of course. His files got mixed up with someone else's, if you know what I mean. Ha, ha, ha!"

"Let Gabrielle go and I won't fight you, Callisto."

"Is that supposed to be a threat or a promise?"


"Go ahead. Try to kill me."

"Yiyiyiyiyi!" Xena screamed as she front flipped over Callisto's head to land directly in front of Gabrielle.

"Don't worry, Gabrielle, I'm gonna get you out of this," Xena said to the dizzy Gabrielle.

"Perdicus ... Perdicus ..." Gabrielle muttered.

"It'll be all right," Xena comforted Gabrielle as she tossed Gabrielle's arm around her shoulders.

"No, no, no, Xena!" Callisto called. "Leaving so soon? I'll miss you."

Xena started to drag Gabrielle out of the cave when she heard a loud noise behind her.

The cave was collapsing.

"I had this happen just for you!" Callisto cried gleefully.

"Thanks tons," Xena murmured under her breath.

They managed to escape just in time.

"They" included Callisto.

"Xena, why are you doing this?" Callisto asked.

"Doing what?" Xena asked, confused.

"Why are you torturing your friend? She was just about to be sent to Perdicus, why are you taking that chance from her?"

Xena looked at Gabrielle who had dragged herself to a nearby boulder for support.

She had dark circles under her eyes, and marks on her wrists and neck from the rope.

Gabrielle looked up at Xena. She looked so sad that Xena had to stop and stare.

That gave Callisto the perfect chance.

"Ahhhh!" Callisto shrieked as she threw her arms around Xena's neck.

Xena was pushed to the ground and then rolled over Callisto. They flipped over each other and Xena grabbed her chakrum.

"No, no, Xena! We've already had this discussion! I'll just catch it and throw right back," Callisto wagged her finger at Xena.

Xena thought about this for half a second and put it back on her belt.

"Yiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyi!" Xena screamed her battlecry while flipping over Callisto to land in front of Gabrielle. Callisto laughed and ran back into the collapsing cave.

A few minutes later, the cave at fallen in, and a triumphant laugh echoed through the valley.

Xena frowned. It was true. Callisto was definitely a goddess. No one would be able to survive that.

"Gabrielle, are you all right?" Xena turned to Gabrielle.

"Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine," Gabrielle stuttered.

"You're sure?" Xena looked for Gabrielle's recent attitude, but it wasn't there.

"I was nearly hung, and almost burnt again, but other than that, I'm okay," Gabrielle insisted. "I'm ... so sorry, Xena. This really woke me up. I didn't understand why I was acting like that until Callisto captured me."

"What do you mean? Grieving? You can do that, I was worried about your attitude, though," Xena said slowly.

"I know. Have you come up to any other people who have lost friends or family who acted like me?"

"Echidna came close."

"I know why. Callisto, Hades, and Ares had this big discussion in the cave while they thought I was drugged and unconscious, but I was awake. Callisto asked Ares to ask Hades to bring back some of her best warriors that died in battle, plus some other bad warlords, monsters, and fighters, too. Hades refused, but then, in an attempt to win Callisto for his side, Ares blackmailed Hades. Ares said that he would tell Zeus that the Underworld was very unorganized and that Hades wasn't responsible enough to keep Persephone any longer. The part about the Underworld being unorganized was true, I was there. I didn't open my mouth during this conversation, though. What Ares said got Hades really mad. They fought for a while, and Callisto stood and watched, laughing the entire time, handing Ares his sword when he dropped it once. She really got a kick out of this. Hades finally agreed to Callisto's plan, and to make matters worse, Ares pulled some strings to make it so that the happy people in the Elysian Fields were upset -- about nothing. His plan worked. Hades gave back Nessus, Theodorus, a Hydra, Mezentius, and even Krykus, let alone a hundred other soldiers. Now, Hades is scared half to death, so to speak, about Zeus finding out what's going on in the Underworld. He's even more scared, though, of losing Persephone," Gabrielle paused.

"Now, Callisto can't do anything without me. She was going to use me as bait. If she can get a dead person out of the Elysian Fields, then she can practically rule the world. I don't understand that whole story, though. She was going to use me as bait to Perdicus. Now, it will be harder for her to do that, at least for now," she stopped. "I saw Perdicus there. He was crying, and when I approached him, he acted like he didn't know me," Gabrielle looked like she was going to cry.

"It's for the best, Gabrielle. If he saw you there, it might make him even more upset," Xena said carefully. "Which reminds me -- how did you 'die' anyway?"

"They gave me a lot of drugged food. They insisted it wasn't drugged, but I wasn't paying attention. I think by some miracle, after I died, I came back."

"Gabrielle, I missed you. I'm glad that you're all right now."

"Me too."

"I promised Iolaus that I would meet him and Joxer tomorrow at Amphipolis," Xena changed the subject.

"When did you talk to them?"

"Yesterday. They were going to go help Hercules. Alcmene, his mother, is missing."

"Poor Hercules. Xena -- is this going to be hard for you?" Gabrielle asked sympathetically.

"Yes," Xena answered truthfully.

Xena and Gabrielle silently untied Argo and started off on their trip to Amphipolis.

If you want Xena and Gabrielle to go into the woods (the shortcut) to Amphipolis, go to chapter 37

If you want Xena and Gabrielle to take the main road that has merchants on the way, go to chapter 38

If you want to start the story over again, go back to the beginning

Chapter 20: Hades' Request

(Herc Soundtrack 2 and then 15, or Xena Soundtrack 16)

"I'm leaving for the Underworld now," Xena decided.

"Good luck," Petracles said as he faded away.

Xena packed up Argo and headed towards the familiar lake.

She took off her armor, tied up Argo, and dove in.

When she reached the other side, Hades was waiting for her.

"Xena, I'm glad you decided to show up. I need your help," the handsome god said seriously.

"I heard the brief version of the story," Xena said.

"Yes, I was listening. All you need to know is one more thing: If you find Callisto and bring her to me, I will give you Gabrielle back."

Xena opened her mouth to say something, but was interrupted.

"I know what happened to her. She went off for a walk, and was lured into Callisto's cave which at the time was her hideout, and then was sent to the Underworld without being killed. Callisto wants you out of her way while she tries to destroy the world, so she figured sending Gabrielle down here would work. It's making me mad -- inventory is coming up and I don't need this!" Hades finished, throwing his hands up in the air.

"Why don't you just give me Gabrielle, then?" Xena asked.

"No can do. By rule of the gods, I have to have a pretty good reason to do that."

"Obviously, helping yourselves is more to your tastes."

"Xena, there is nothing else I can do. Callisto has really messed up the Underworld. Ares is working by her side, now. Rumor is, Hephaestus helped him out with a weapon -- it is a branch of thorns with the Golden Hind's blood on them -- it can kill a god. You have to help, Xena," Hades practically begged.

"I'll set things right. But not because I want to help you, but because I want to save Gabrielle."

"Then go."

With a burst of light, Xena found herself floating back to the top of the lake.

She gasped for air when she reached the surface.

"Thanks," she said sarcastically as she swam to the side of the lake.

She untied Argo and lead him off the rocky coast through the trees and onto a dirt pathway.

"Hey! Traveler! Would you like to sell that horse to a wagon driver that needs another one?" a voice brought Xena back to reality.

"Salmoneus?" Xena asked, remembering the fast-talking man who would try to get you out of a dinar at any chance.

"I knew it was you, Xena!" Salmoneus stopped his wagon and got off.

"What are you doing here?" Xena asked.

"I've quit trying to make the fast dinar."

Xena raised an eyebrow.

"Well, not really," Salmoneus said with a laugh. "I drive wagons now. Steady pay, so that's good. My new motto is 'As long as there are travelers, there will be Salmoneus'! Like it?"

"Uh ... yeah, Salmoneus. Whatever floats your boat."

"You mean 'drives your wagon'!"

"Yeah, that too. Anyway, you didn't answer my question. What are you doing here? This isn't a well traveled road."

"Exactly! That's why I figure, I'll be the only driver, the only choice the few travelers have! I can hike my prices up really high, and they either ride or walk! Brilliant, huh?" Salmoneus grinned.

"Yeah, brilliant," Xena rolled her eyes as she continued walking, with Salmoneus walking behind her.

"So, you want a ride?" Salmoneus encouraged.

"Not really. I have a horse," Xena chuckled.

"I know, but he could follow us, he's trained, right?"

"Salmoneus -- forget it."

"All right, all right, I can take the hint. I guess you wouldn't care that I'm going to meet up with Hercules anyway."

"Nope. Not one bit."

"Oh, come on, Xena! Please? Business is slow today, to tell you the truth."

"No. That's the last time I'm saying that."

Salmoneus took that as his goodbye, walked back to his wagon, sat in the driver's seat, and started towards the road Xena was turning onto.

"Hey, Xena, where's Gabby?" Salmoneus asked sincerely.

"I don't know. She just disappeared, sort of. Hades claims that she's in the Underworld. Now, if you'll excuse me, Salmoneus, I turn here --"

"Wait a minute! Wait a minute! I'm getting a bright idea!"

"One of your many, I bet," Xena said under her breath.

"I'll ignore that," Salmoneus tried to act offended. "Do you think Charon would like a partner? I bet he gets paid a lot of money to cart around dead people!"

"No, he doesn't, and besides, Salmoneus, I know you, and you'll be disappointed to know that there are no vacations."

"Oh. Well, do you think staying on this road is a good idea, or should I go to the road a few miles from Corinth? Now that's a wagon driver's dream come true."

"You'd have to drop your prices."

"Xena! I'm so proud of you -- spoken like a real salesman -- saleswoman -- salesperson, whatever."

Xena rolled her eyes and turned Argo onto another road.

"Goodbye, Xena!" she heard Salmoneus call behind her.

Xena waved without turning around.

In the middle of a forest on a dark, moon-less night makes the forest look even darker.

Xena regretting not thinking of that the following evening. She knew that, somehow, Callisto knew where she was.

Every sound that night made Xena jump. She couldn't fall asleep until very late.

A snap of a twig woke her up right before dawn.

She picked up her sword and held Argo by the reins. She neighed loudly.

"You heard it too?" she asked it.

"Heard what?" Hades stepped out from behind a tree.

"What do you want? Come to give me a time limit?" Xena asked.

"Yes, in fact, I did. You have one hour. It can't be done, just forget about it," he answered, and then disappeared.

Xena was skeptical. This didn't seem like Hades. Her eyes were drawn to something red beside the tree. It had a feather on one end of it. It was a dart. A dart with tolmic poison on the tip.

"Oh, no," Xena said, frustrated.

If you want Xena to take the dart, pack up Argo, and go back to Hades, go to chapter 39

If you want Xena to take the dart, pack up Argo, and continue her search for Callisto, ignoring "Hades", go to chapter 40

If you want to start the story over again, go back to the beginning

Chapter 21: Another Mistake?

(Herc Soundtrack 33, or Xena Soundtrack 15)

Xena looked at the girl.

"Contact the messenger -- cancel it," Xena ordered her.

She looked at Hercules.

"I'll be fine," he insisted.

"I'm coming with you," Xena decided.

"No, you have to go find Gabrielle."

"But --"

"I'll be careful. I can hobble home. It's only a mile or two."

"I'll make you crutches."

As she was leaving to go to the forest to find wood, Hercules grabbed her arm.

"Can this heal by itself?" he asked.

Xena looked down at the ground.

"Slim chance," she said. He let go of her arm.

Hercules sighed.

A few hours later, the crutches were finished, and Xena was packing Hercules food and water.

"Those crutches are temporary. Don't depend on them forever -- they won't last that long. And here's some food. I also put two kinds of medicines in there. One if --"

"Xena, I'll be fine. Thanks," Hercules accepted the pack.

"I'm so sorry," Xena's voice cracked. All the time she was wondering why this was happening. Her mind had gone blank when she hit Hercules. It was almost as if she had a fight with Callisto, or as if she were sneaking up on the enemy.

Xena shook her head. Maybe she was just in shock.

Then they both heard a screech.

"What was that?" Xena asked.

"Hera," Hercules answered, frowning.

Maybe that's what happened. If Hera's involved, there's no telling what could have happened, Xena thought.

"Goodbye, Xena," Hercules said as he hopped to the door with his crutches.

"Hercules- what now? How will you help people? Why did this have to happen to you? Why not me? The world needs you, the world doesn't --"

"Don't talk like that. I still have a lot to do. Iphicles, my half-brother is coming to visit, and we are going to free Echidna. She was captured by some goddess named Callisto. I can still do this, Xena," Hercules said convincingly. "Maybe I didn't get hurt as much as we thought I did. I can start moving my toes now."

"Liar," Xena managed a small smile. "I'll be down to visit soon. Please -- wait until I come to free Echidna, you don't know Callisto like I do."

"Goodbye, Xena," Hercules said for the second time.

"Goodbye, Hercules," Xena whispered. She watched him for the ten minutes it took him to crawl over the hill.

If you want Xena to follow Hercules now, go to chapter 41

If you want Xena to wait for 2 days to go to Hercules' house, go to chapter 42

If you want to start the story over again, go back to the beginning

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