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Continues from here
Details of Chin
Ares was very pleased with what was going on. He remained invisible while watching the emperor discuss with Gabrielle what Xenaís fate would be. He smiled at Gabrielleís sudden panic when she realized her friend was going to be executed. Strife stood next to him, also invisible, not quite understanding what Ares planned to happen next.
"What are you going to do now, Unc? You know, if Xena gets executed she wonít be able to fight for you."
Ares rolled his eyes. "Strife, do you seriously think I would allow Xena to actually be executed? Xena will probably figure out a way to escape by herself, and if she doesnít, I will use my powers to get her out. But I think it is unlikely that this will be necessary.
"When Xena was a warrior, she always managed to amaze me with her ability to escape from what seemed like the most difficult situations. There is one incident in particular which I remember from a battle in which Xena led her army into a situation in which they were greatly outnumbered. Exhausted from fighting, Xena was captured and taken into the enemy camp. Later, having regained her strength, Xena not only was able to escape her captors, but she also obtained written copies of their future battle plans. By analyzing the enemyís plans, she was able to better prepare her armies for future battles with this enemy. I was very proud to have a warrior such as she in my service."
"Was there ever a time when you needed to rescue Xena from a tricky situation she was in?" inquired Strife.
"Yes, but only once. It was a situation that she could not have anticipated, however, so it was not really her fault. The enemy had set an elaborate trap that would enable them to surround her army. The fighting was fierce. One of the soldiers was about to kill Xena when I intervened. I stopped him by using my powers to knock him down, so Xena was able to escape. This small action was the only thing I ever had to do to save Xena. In every other situation, she has been able to escape without my help.
"Well, anyway, enough of the memories. Gabrielle is with Xena now, trying to talk with her. Iím sure Xena isnít too pleased at that. It does make me so happy when the annoying little blonde is upset, and especially when Xena is upset with her. Which reminds me, now would be a good time to freeze the scene and make Gabrielle feel bad about what she did to Xena."
Strife asked, "Can I go too and listen in on the fun? Youíre as good at creating mischief as I am!"
"Why of course, Strife. But I want you to remain invisible while I talk to her."
"All right, Unc. Whatever you say."
"Good, now letís go."
"Xena," pleaded Gabrielle as she was crying, "please talk to me. Tell me something about how you are feeling. I didnít expect this to happen, Xena. I thought I was saving you from returning to your cycle of violence."
Xena looked at her but remained silent. She was just too hurt by what Gabrielle had done to talk with her. As far as she was concerned at this moment, she didnít care what Gabrielle was thinking or if she didnít know this was going to happen. She just knew that the person most important in the world to her had betrayed her. Gabrielle looked away and started crying again.
Ares suddenly appeared in front of the tearful young blonde, making all other objects and people stop except for her.
"You are a foolish one," said Ares. "You are so naïve. Did you seriously think that a vicious tyrant such as the emperor was going to let Xena go? Or was your jealousy so strong that it was interfering too much with your reasoning? The emotions you mortals have really do obscure your rational thought process, you know."
"Itís your fault Ares! You taunted me, you wanted me to go here and betray Xena," yelled Gabrielle.
"Hey, Unc didnít make you come here, he just gave you the idea and made your travel easier."
Gabrielle looked around but didnít see anyone. "Who said that?"
"I thought I told you not to say anything, Strife."
"Correction. You told me to remain invisible, which I have."
Ares returned to his conversation with Gabrielle. "You know, Xena will never forgive you after she escapes this. And even if she does, she will never trust you again. You might as well say goodbye and go home."
"Thatís what you want, isnít it Ares," mentioned Gabrielle. "You want me away from Xena. You know that will make her even weaker. Iím not an idiot. I know you think that Xena will be vulnerable and you can talk her into fighting for you again, but thatís not going to happen. Xena is stronger than that, and our friendship is stronger than that. She will forgive me. We will go back to Greece together after this and resume our normal life. I have forgiven Xena for her past sins, and she can forgive mine against her."
"Why am I even bothering to talk with the annoying little brat," thought Ares, who then disappeared and resumed time. He had been hoping to make Gabrielle even more upset, but his words had just made her feel stronger. Even worse, she had gotten him to start thinking that maybe Gabrielle was right, maybe Xena was going to forgive her. He was a little worried, but all he could really do now was just watch the situation play out. He knew Xena was going to escape, and it seemed as if Gabrielle did too.
Gabrielle turned to Xena and tried to talk to her again. "Xena," said Gabrielle, "I know you donít want to talk to me, but please listen to a few things I have to say. I really feel terrible about what I have done to you. You know this is not what I wanted to happen, and I know you are going find a way to escape. There have been other situations, remember Xena, when it looked like there was no way out for us, but you used your incredible abilities to escape? This time is not going to be the exception Xena. Xena! Please talk to me!"
"Visiting time is over!" yelled a guard, who told Gabrielle to return to her chambers. Gabrielle complied.
Gabrielle, for obvious reasons, did not sleep well that night. She laid on the bed, thinking about what was going to happen to Xena. She knew in her heart that Xena would escape, but a part of her was worried that something would go wrong and Xena would die. Gabrielle knew she could not change the past, so she would just have to watch things play out.
"Do you think Xenaís powers will allow her to escape, Unc?" asked Strife.
Ares and Strife were invisible, sitting in the room where Xena was, using their godly powers to listen to her thoughts.
"Definitely," Ares said confidently.
"Well, then why hasnít she used them before when she was in Greece?"
"The powers work best under the conditions which are present here in China. I am pleased that she has remembered them. Although she has not used them for some time, I think that in an emergency situation they will work very well for her. She will use her powers to escape, and then kill Ming Tíien. Then I will easily be able to persuade her to return to the way of the warlord."
"Excellent!" said Strife, smiling.
Ming Tíien had everything set up for Xenaís execution. He wasnít going to take any chances. He had guards posted all around in case Xena tried to escape. He also knew Gabrielle would try to interfere. To deal with this, he had several guards on duty that were supposed to grab Gabrielle if she tried to stop them from executing Xena. Ares and Strife were also present, although they could not be seen by mortals.
Gabrielle had never felt as panicked, helpless and scared as she did at this moment. She knew the guards would stop her if she tried to save Xena. She had never felt such a sense of powerlessness. If there was a time for Xena to escape, it would have to be in the next few minutes.
Ares and Strife were also anxious to find out what was going to happen. They, however were not nervous since they knew that Xena would be able to use her powers to escape. This was in contrast to Gabrielle, who did not even know that Xena had learned any special powers when she was in China. Besides, if Xenaís powers failed, Ares could always use his powers to save her.
The executioner walked up to the table Xena was chained to. At that moment Xena decided to use her telekinetic powers to save herself. Everyone stared as she broke the chains confining her. When she was free, she continued to use her powers. She managed to knock many items down which distracted the guards and caused them to run away. She then began destroying parts of the castle. Many of the innocent people living in the castle began to flee from the castle in fear.
Gabrielle was now also free from the guards who had been restraining her. She was overjoyed at Xenaís success. She knew Xena had many skills, but did not know that telekinesis was one of them. She was incredibly relieved that Xena was okay. She had confidence that Xena would forgive her betrayal. The most immediate thing she needed to take care of now, however, was protecting the innocent people who were in the castle and directing them to the outside.
Strife stared, amazed at what had happened. "This isnít exactly what I expected when you said that Xena would use her powers."
"What did you expect her to do?"
"Well, I didnít expect her to destroy quite so much of the castle," said Strife. "I thought she would just knock down a few vases to distract the guards so she could escape."
"Thatís how Xena is with everything. When she does something, she does it all the way."
Ares and Strife turned their attention to the only two people remaining in the room, Ming Tíien and Xena. They were discussing Lao Maís execution.
They listened for awhile, until Strife said, "So Ming Tíien personally killed Lao Ma. Thatís going to get Xena mad."
"Did he know that Lao Ma was his mother?"
"Iím not sure. Although I do not think it would have affected his decision to execute her even if he did. He is a tyrant, after all."
"I guess so," said Strife, at which point they resumed watching Xena and Ming Tien.
"Whatís that thing he is giving her?" asked Strife.
"That is Lao Maís hairpin. It was her last request that Ming Tíien give it to Xena. She knew that Xena would know what to do with it."
"What can she do with it?"
"Just watch and you will find out."
Xena was full of anger. She looked at the emperor as he sat on his throne. She put the hairpin in her hand and focused her powers carefully. She used her powers to make the hairpin fly through the air and hit Ming Tíien in the head, killing him instantly. Xena quickly wiped up the blood which had dripped on his head and propped him up so he would look as though he was still alive. When Gabrielle came into the room, Xena said a few words to him to make sure Gabrielle took in the illusion.
"Oh, Xena," said Gabrielle, "Iím so glad you decided to not take the path of violence. I love you Xena."
"I love you too, Gabrielle."
"Well I guess thatís that," sighed Strife.
"Not really," explained Ares.
"Why do you say that?" asked Strife.
"Because now they each have a secret from the other one which they lied about. Gabrielleís secret from Xena is that she did not kill Hope. Xenaís secret from Gabrielle, of course, is that she just killed Ming Tíien even though she says that she did not."
"And you think this will lead to future conflict, at which time you will get Xena back?"
"Yes Strife, and I donít think it will be long, either. For now, however, letís go back to Greece. I have some wars which I need to keep going. We will worry more about Xena later." With that Ares and his nephew disappeared and returned to Greece.
"This is going to be a long journey home," remarked Gabrielle.
"It wonít be as long as it was coming here, since I am with you now," said Xena.
"When you were there in the dungeon, Xena, did you ever think that maybe, well, that you wouldnít be able to get away?"
"There was a point in time when I was so hurt by your betrayal that I started to feel like there was nothing that I could do to get away, until I remembered the powers that Lao Ma had taught me when I was here. I then felt the strength I needed that would allow me to use the special powers to escape."
"You know, Xena, I really want to apologize again for what I did to you. I really thought I was saving you in some way, but I think my emotions got in the way of my thinking rationally. I would never do anything that I thought was going to hurt you."
"I know, Gabrielle. You meant well, and I am still alive and here to be with you when we return to Greece. As far as I am concerned, it is all in the past. Let us continue with our life and forget about what happened in the Kingdom of Chin."
"Thank you so much Xena."
Xena gave Gabrielle a hug and they walked together onto the ship which would take them back to Greece.
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