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DisClaimers:

Violence: Of course there is violence in this, its Xena Warrior Princess. *L To sum it up, there is sum gun shooting, weapon slinging, lightning bolts, flying daggers, deaths, and some blood.

CopyRight: Xena, Gabrielle, Melinda Pappas, Janice Covington, Argo, Velasca, Lysia, and the Amazons all are owned by Universal/MCA and Renaissance Pictures, not mine, I wish though. But, the story line is all mine Mwahaha as well as the characters; Starling, Teresa, Sylvia, Hellenes, Vanessa, so donít "borrow" them.

Sex/Subtext: Yeah there is defiantly both of those. There is love between two women which if offends you, then donít read this story. But for now on in my stories, there is no female sex! Sorry guys! Otherwise enjoy yourself.

If anybody has comments about my story please let me know at: Red_Hope@yahoo.com

~*The Return*~

Written by: Red Hope


Section One Section Two Section Three Section Four

 

Section Three

~*Part 7*~

A slim figure gazed around at her surroundings; it was dark, cold, and plain disgusting surroundings. Looking to her right she noticed the outlines in the darkness a torch and she padded over to it. Reaching down she grasped two flint stones and knocked them together above the torch creating sparks. Immediately the torch came to life, burning brightly. Looking around the woman spotted three other torches along the cavern walls. Going to each one she easily ignited each one, now the small room could be seen. All the figure could see were the four torches and rock walls and ceiling, she could hear the sounds of dripping water far off in the background. She was angry, she wasn't successful with her revenge only making her more mad. Suddenly a bright light flashed in front of her announcing the arrival of a god. Once the lightning bolts disappeared, the strong woman looked back to see a dark leather-clad man staring back at her. She gritted her teeth at the person before her, not him again.

"Velasca it is ashame you didn't kill Gabrielle" Velasca glared at the god, annoyed at the way he stood there. Just gloating with his arms crossed against his chest with a smirk on his face. She wanted to tear him apart, but knew she had no chances of that happening any time soon.

"Yes it seems your little Warrior Princess got in the way as always, I understand" Ares narrowed his eyes at the woman, then quickly turned on his heels walking to the cavern wall. Turning back around the god leaned back against the wall then spread his arms out.

"Nice place you are living in now. Hmmm I heard you also lost your godly powers but are still immortal. That sucks huh?" Part of Velasca's upper right lip twitched up at that remark, she held her temper.

"So what did you come here for Ares? To bother me for all of eternity?" Ares dropped his arms to his side and grinned at the ex-Amazon.

"No, I have better things to do then that. We still have a pack, Gabrielle's death for your lava pit release" The dark woman crossed her arms against her chest and continued to glare at the god.

"And how do you expect me to do that now that I am trapped in here? I take it that Artemis confronted you about your little scheme" Ares lightly nodded his head and brought up his right hand to rest on the hilt of his sword.

"Yes my charming sister was quite upset with what I tried to pull over so is my loving father. Seems as if no god is aloud to release you from here. Otherwise Zeus will imprison the person in a tomb till they are released. So as much as I would love to free you, I can't" Velasca began to grin and slowly walked up to the god of war.

"Well why don't you get one of your little warlords to come here and dig me out?" Ares stood up straight, off the cold stone wall and looked directly at Velasca.

"I could possible do that, my men are busy, can't always work out so nicely. But if it happens you that you are stuck in here I am sure some time in the future you'll be released, but you still will owe me" Velasca was now a few paces from the leather-clad man, with her arms against her side.

"And what happens if I am released in the future when Xena and Gabrielle are both long dead?" Now the god's lips formed into an evil grin as he leaned once more against the stone cavern side.

"Thatís the interesting part, you have to seek out Xena and Gabrielle's remains. Once done so you must read this scroll" Reaching to his belt side, Ares unhooked a scroll handing it to Velasca. Velasca unrolled the scroll and began to read some of the words then stopped looking back to Ares.

"And what does this do?" Ares looked at the scroll for a moment, feeling proud of himself.

"The scroll once read in front of Xena's remains, will bring Xena's spirit back to me. Upon doing so I will be able to reborn Xena, but with her under my power and command" Velasca nodded and rolled the scroll back up and hooked it to her belt side.

"And whatís in it for me Ares? Gabrielle will be dead and more then likely the Amazon Nation will be long gone, itís falling now. So that leaves me with nothing to do" Ares didn't respond and stared at Velasca as she thought about it and noticed something came to the woman. "Gabrielle wonít have Xena with her down in the underworld. And I might just have some fun with an eternity of destroying Gabrielle's descendants" Ares grinned and felt content that once Velasca was free she would do his bidding. He knew that with Xena's spirit in his hands in the future he would be able to conquer the world. This excited him to no end. Not only would he have Xena reborn under his control, but also he would own her soul. The god could repeatedly reborn her into the world under his power and be able to conquer the known world. Ares would have Xena forever.

"Well Velasca seems as if we both will be satisfied. Thatís the arrangement then. I will try to send one of my men to free you, if possible. Once Xena and Gabrielle are dead, you are to read that scroll over Xena's coffin" The woman nodded in understanding and watched as Ares disappeared in a bolt of lightning.

~*~*~*~*~ *~

An early sun slowly began to rise sending different arrays of color through the sky. The calm lake reflected these colors along with the towering mountains. The night before was cool with a slight breeze blowing through out the night. Now the breeze seemed to die leaving behind a warm atmosphere as the sun warmed the new day. Along the lake's edge were two forms, snuggled tightly together from the coolness of the night. A pair of sharp blue eyes enjoyed the beginnings of the sun and the soft rising and falling of her soulmate's breathing. Looking down at the small strawberry-blond, the woman grinned, enjoying the warmth and her own feel of security at holding the younger woman. She knew she would pay any price to be able to always have this. The warrior would never change anything about her life if this were where she ended up. Xena would go through all those painful hard years if it meant she would find her soulmate, find her other half. She wondered if her soulmate even r! ealized that, probably did. But the tall woman made a mental note to tell Gabrielle later on. Taking a deep breath, Xena looked back to the rising sun, letting it calm her senses for once, something she rarely ever did. These were the moments she would log into her head forever, moments she'd hold tight in her heart forever.

The warrior was though very worried about her soulmate. She didn't want to see the destruction of Poteidaia also be the destruction of Gabrielle, of her goodness. Xena blamed herself more then anything for this. If Gabrielle had never met the ex-warlord then this would probably never happen, never met Velasca. Xena just hoped that Gabrielle never would turn to the darkness within her that was tempting her, the same darkness that had tempted Xena and she had willing accepted. The warrior believed though no she knew that the bard had a stongier will then what Xena ever did. Gabrielle wouldn't be so easy to give in to the darkness, into the hatred and evil. Xena also knew that as long as she stood beside the Amazon Queen's side that she would never give in to the darkness. Love, the strongest force in the known world, can conquer anybody and anything, which Xena knew all to well. It had certainly conquered Xena, something the warrior doesn't regret, at least right now. Xena wa! s concerned about her bard, but she knew Gabrielle would survive this in due time, she had high hopes and confidence.

As she gazed at the sun, watching it make its way over the mountains' peaks, a small form was slowly coming to. Feeling a stir in her arms, the warrior looked down to see sleepy green eyes gazing back up at her. Xena smiled and got a very tired smile in return. Leaning down, the tall woman kissed the bard on the forehead. This quickly brought Gabrielle out of her sleepy state, making her grin. Using her arms, the bard pushed herself up and more into Xena's arms. The warrior automatically tightens her strong arms more securely around the small blond.

"So how did you sleep Xena?" The warrior stared across into sea green eyes while smiling.

"Pretty well, how did you sleep?" Gabrielle grinned some and brought her right hand over to Xena's leg, caressing the warrior's leg gently. This sent a few shivers down Xena's spine as her body melted to the light touch.

"I slept quiet well amazingly. Was a bit cold for awhile but then this big warm thing seemed to pull me in closer, made my world nice and cozy" The tall form began to grin at the small woman.

"Yeah thought you were a bit cold last night. Nightmares at all? Felt you shiver a few times tensing up and then some heavy breathing" Gabrielle looked down but still ran her fingers up and down Xena's thigh lightly.

"Yeah I had one, wasn't as bad as the ones from the first night. I'll get use to them, they'll probably never go away" The bard shrugged her shoulders and kept her head down, remembering the dreams she has had for the past couple of nights. Gabrielle had yet to describe them to the warrior, but Xena didn't want to press it because she knew in time her bard would tell her. Xena just tried her hardest to be patient and let Gabrielle organize her thoughts.

Xena slowly reached for the bard's chin, lifting it and looking deep into the young woman's eyes.

"They will stop my bard" Gabrielle didn't respond, but the warrior knew the blond believed her. It was held in her pale green eyes, the trust and love. Leaning forward, Xena captured her soulmate's lips, kissing her gently. Resting her back on the rock once more, Xena smiled. Gabrielle just grinned back while resting one hand on the warrior's left and the other on the tall woman's muscular stomach.

"I love you Xena" Xena grinned at the whispered affection. Bringing her powerful hands up from the ground, Xena began to caress Gabrielle's sides. The bard shivered in reaction to the warm hands running up and down her sides. The young woman closed her eyes relishing in the feel, her breathing picking up some. Now the soft hands moved to her lower back and her mid back, making her shiver again.

"Gabrielle?" The Amazon Queen didn't respond and continued to focus on her soulmate's touch. "Gabrielle?" Hearing the deep tone, Gabrielle slowly opened her eyes peering into brilliant blue eyes filled with love. "We need to go before Ephiny freaks" Gabrielle laughed a little then sighed while still enjoying the light pattern touches on her back.

"Not before I massage your back Xena, after sleeping against that rock" The warrior grinned and dropped her hands to her legs. Gabrielle rose up from the ground and Xena. The taller woman then stood up and picked her sword in sheath up from the ground. Grabbing Xena's shoulders, Gabrielle turned Xena around, facing her back. The ex-warlord grinned as she felt small but powerful hands touch her back. First the hands worked lightly at the warrior's lower back and muscles. It felt wonderful to have her soulmate working them out. Finally reaching Xena's wide shoulders, Gabrielle massaged them after pushing the armor out of the way. Putting the shoulder armor back in place, small hands kneaded Xena's neck. The bard could hear a few bones pop in place, making Gabrielle wince. Feeling all the sore spots become less in intensity, Xena reached up grasping Gabrielle's left hand. Turning back around the warrior kissed each of her bard's fingers gently. Gabrielle's hear rate picked up ! as Xena did this. After kissing the blond's thumb the warrior clipped her sword on her back with her free hand while grinning. The older woman then moved Gabrielle's arm behind her tall form.

Letting go, the ex-warlord pulled Gabrielle in, hugging her tightly. The Amazon Queen returned the hug back in equal force, making her smile. Pulling back, the Warrior Princess held the bard in her arms.

"What was the hug for?" Xena grinned and held Gabrielle tightly in her arms.

"Can't I hug my own bard?" Now Gabrielle grinned and lightly laughed.

"Oh you can, anytime you'd like to" The leather-clad woman leaned in, kissing Gabrielle on the forehead.

"Besides I'll have to go back to that village full of rough and tough Amazons. I can't act all soft around them, bad for my reputation" Xena released the blond and both started heading towards the Amazon Village. Gabrielle looked over at her grinning warrior, then back to the trail.

"Xena, whatever, you know damn well they admire you and know what you're capable of. Mmmmm but I am sure they know about us" The warrior looked at her bard as she walked, Gabrielle caught the twinkle in her soulmate's baby blue eyes. 'Uh oh' was the first thing to come to Gabrielle's mind.

"So you wonít mind or care if I kiss you in the middle of the entire Amazon Nation?" Gabrielle laughed as she stepped over a large root.

"Depends on what kinda kiss. But I bet the Amazons are wondering why we haven't yet" The tall warrior didn't respond right away, but continued to walk along the path, ducking under a few low branches. Then she walked closer to the small woman, Gabrielle easily noticed this.

"A deep, searing, tongue kind of kiss in a tight embrace" The bard's world went into a blur at those words, she quickly lost her footing to a large rock. Gabrielle prepared herself to hit the ground but quickly two strong hands grabbed a hold of her waist. The Warrior Princess carefully lifted her partner back up on her feet. Xena's hold lingered on Gabrielle's torso, as the blond looked to the other woman. The dark-haired woman looked back at the wide-eyed bard, her mouth slightly hanging open.

"The kinda of kiss huh?" The ex-warlord grinned and slightly nodded as her thumbs lightly rubbed the bard's stomach. "I don't know there Xena. You think all those Amazons can handle something like that?" Xena chuckled deeply, then released one arm and slid her other arm around Gabrielle. The two soulmates continued on their trek back to the Amazons.

"They might be able to, find out" Gabrielle looked at her soulmate raising an eyebrow at her as she slipped an arm around the tall figure.

"Xena I am sure there is a...nicer way of breaking to the Amazon Nation we are lovers" The warrior kept her eyes on the small foot path through the Amazon woods, but let a devilish grin form on her lips.

"I am sure there is too, but it wouldn't be nearly as fun as this" The bard shook her head some and noticed the beginnings of the Amazon village.

"Xena, we really..." The warrior quickly stopped in her tracks and turned her partner to face her. Leaning in, Xena furiously kissed the bard, making Gabrielle's legs weaken, Xena easily holding her. Finally breaking the erotic kiss for air, Xena evilly grinned at her lover. Xena stared down into desire filled eyes, Gabrielle was clenching the warrior tightly. The bard's breathing had picked up and she could feel Xena's warmth encircling her. Waves of desire and passion shot through Gabrielle, making her hot. The warrior continued to grin then released the bard and started power walking towards the village. Xena noticed Gabrielle wasn't moving and just stood there in bit of shock. She stopped walking and gazed back at the bard who was still fighting with her emotions.

"You coming Gabrielle" The smaller woman turned her head to look at the beautiful leather clad dark beauty before her, she couldn't help but grin. Gabrielle shook her head some and then starts walking towards Xena. The small woman noticed a few patrol Amazons ahead towards them. The bard walked up close to the warrior and whispered up to her.

"Xena, you are evil...in a good way" Xena smirked down at her soulmate and saw the three Amazons in the corner of her eye.

"So I've been told" The Amazon Queen raised an eyebrow at her partner and saw how near the Amazons were. 'Perfect timing' the bard started to muse. Reaching behind, Gabrielle quickly pinched Xena's butt. The Warrior Princess jumped out of surprised and watched as her bard jogged off towards the three Amazons. The warrior chuckled some and started walking to her bard and the Amazons with a grin forming on her lips. 'Oh boy what have her and I started?' Xena had to laugh inwardly at that as she neared the four women.

"Hello Xena" The ex-warlord nodded to the Amazon and then smiled to her.

"How are you this morning, Solari?" Solari smiled back and felt the other two Amazons focus on them intently. The other two Amazons, Solari knew had never met the famous Warrior Princess. They were new to their tribe and heard many tales of the Warrior Princess but never believe in her existence. Solari defined the two Amazons as flat out chickens when it came to the ex-Destroyer of Nations. The two new Amazons were very scared of the warrior, of her reputation. That had made Solari laugh the first time, not too many people truly knew the Warrior Princess like she did.

"I am quite well" Solari then looked to both Xena and Gabrielle, directing her words to both women.

"Ephiny sent us three out to check up on you two, since you mysteriously disappeared last night" Xena slightly grinned and Gabrielle stepped up closer to Xena, this didn't go unnoticed.

"Well Gabrielle wanted to get out of the village for awhile. So we made our way down to the lake and just happened to fall asleep there" Solari raised an eyebrow at the end part of the explanation. The tall warrior in response crossed her arms against her chest, daring Solari to question her. The other two Amazons prepared to see a small fight to start. But the leader Amazon just grinned at Xena and looked to Gabrielle.

"My Queen, I would like you to meet two of our Amazons, newly joined to us from another village" Gabrielle smiled to each of them and held her hand out, each briskly shaking in return. Solari put her arm out to the Amazon to her right. "This is Teresa" Then Solari dropped her arm and looked to the other Amazon to her left. "This is Lysia " The bard nodded and looked both of them over. Teresa was a little taller then Gabrielle with short blond hair that shimmered in the early sun. Teresa was skinny but muscular more in her arms with brown eyes, standing tall. Her leathers covering very little, feathers hung from her hair as she smiled. Lysia on the other hand was taller, probably would reach to Xena's chin, her body was big built. Her dark brown hair was straight, reaching just below her shoulders. Gabrielle easily noticed that Lysia looked exactly like her soulmate, with the exception of her brown hair and hazel eyes. Her long arms lay on her hips as she gazed at Gabrielle ! and her soulmate. Her hazel eyes boring more into Gabrielle's Warrior Princess, nerving Gabrielle.

"So what Amazon villages do you come from Lysia and Teresa?" Lysia tore her gaze from Xena and looked to Gabrielle with a small smile. Gabrielle shivered some; something about Lysia bothered the bard. It seemed as if Xena caught this and stepped closer to Gabrielle and little more in front of her.

"My Queen I came from a village north of here, more on the borders of Greece" Gabrielle nodded and looked to Teresa who had a warm smile crossing her lips.

"I am from a village to the southwest from here, my Queen" Gabrielle thought about that for a moment.

"You mean near Thessaloniki?" Teresa nodded and continued to smile.

"Yes my Queen, we are relatively close to them" Gabrielle nodded mentally picturing the distance. Then she looked to the two new Amazons.

"Please Teresa and Lysia, just call me Gabrielle. Save all that formal stuff for more needed times" Both woman nodded and smile.

"We will Gabrielle, Thank you. Its great to meet the well known Amazon Queen Gabrielle" The bard smiled warmly to Teresa, surprised that her name is that well known.

"Thank You Teresa. Its great to have you two both here" Solari looked to Gabrielle with an expressionless face.

"Gabrielle, Teresa, Lysia and I need to be finish up our patrol. If you'll please excuse us" The blond looked to Solari.

"Of course, and Xena and I better get back to the village" Now a grin started to form on brown haired Amazon's lips.

"Yeah or Ephiny will have your heads" Both Xena and Gabrielle grinned to each other then back to Solari. Gabrielle sidesteps to her left with Xena following behind.

"Bye" Solari smiled to her Amazon Queen and nodded to her two Amazons. The three continued on their trek. Lysia gave the Warrior Princess one last look then concentrated on where she was headed.

"So that was the Warrior Princess?" Solari looked to the taller Amazon with a stern face.

"Yup, thatís Xena former Destroyer of Nations" Lysia slowly began to smirk as she walked along the trail through the woods.

"She doesn't look as hmmm dangerous as the stories make her out to be" Solari shook her head lightly. 'Another doubter, ah she'll find out sooner or later' The lead Amazon grin inwardly at that.

"Well if I were you I wouldn't underestimate Xena, she is dangerous even more then the stories make her out to be" The tall dark Amazon grunted some, not believing it.

"I thought the Queen was really nice" Lysia looked over at Teresa then back to the path.

"Yeah she is nice, if you like a non-Amazon Queens that are weak" Teresa frowned and felt a bit of her temper rise as did Solari's.

"Trust me Lysia, you don't know the Queen, nor her partner. They both are dangerous in their own ways. You are messing with fire, you'll get burned bad" Lysia didn't respond right away and just walked along the trail, admiring the area.

"Maybe, but did either of you noticed how close they stood to each other?" Solari grinned to herself while Teresa raised an eyebrow.

"Yeah I noticed that too. Are they..." Solari chuckled some and stepped over a large rock that looked a little out of place.

"Some think so, but they have never said anything about it. Everybody but them knows their in-love with each other" All three Amazons laughed some then took a right onto another trail away from the lake, circling around the village.

"And Lysia that is even more reason not to mess with either of them. They are very protective about the other. As nice and sweet as the Queen is she has a very bad temper on her hands" Lysia nodded some and didn't say anything but continued along the trail.

 

~*Part 8*~

"There you two are!" The tall warrior looked to her right to spot a bit angry regent. Ephiny quickly stomped over to the two women, face expressionless.

"Hey Eph, worry for the disappearing, but I had to get out with Xena" Looking a little to her right, the Amazon smiled some.

"Its all right Gabrielle. I know you were with Xena, safest place. Was just a bit worried with whatís been going on" The small woman smiled in return.

"Thanks Ephiny. And you know what?" The bard looked at Ephiny then at Xena, whom raised an eyebrow in question. Gabrielle began to grin some. "We made it just in time for breakfast, all that walking made me hungry" The warrior rolled her eyes, Ephiny grinning.

"I am surprised your stomach didn't speak its mind earlier this morning" Gabrielle complete turned to face Xena, the warrior turning to her bard. The Amazon Queen grinned with her hands on her hips, Ephiny watching intently.

"Yes well my stomach wasn't necessarily hungry for food this morning" The curly-haired Amazon's eyes widen at this submission, in public, she couldn't believe it. The two soulmates stole a quick glance at their surroundings. Many of the Amazons in the village had stop their duties and watched the pair. Then two pair of passionate filled eyes met once more. Gabrielle saw that twinkle in her warrior's eye again. 'Already my warrior? Well can't and don't want to argue about a passionate kiss' Slowly the tall warrior closed in the distance between her and her soulmate. All eyes stood on them in amazement. Both women wrapped their arms around the other tightly, Gabrielle drowning in Xena's intense blue eyes. The bard for her part couldn't believe she was doing this in front of all her Amazons, by the Gods she is their Queen. Well at least theyíll know who is her soulmate for eternity. Xena released one hand bring it p to caress the bard's cheek which she noticed were a bit red, ! probably from the crowd. Looking directly into each other's eyes, the world around them disappeared, leaving just the two of them, all sound drowned out. Moving her hand to the back of her lover's head, Xena began to lean in. As their lips met, both women closed their eyes. The kiss at first was gentle, and then Gabrielle ran her tongue across Xena's teeth, the warrior quickly opening her mouth. Tongues intertwined in a dance, tasting each other, soulmates wanting to consume the other. Xena and Gabrielle both felt warm, and shivers running up and down their back. The bard felt her knees go weak yet again as she tingled all over. The warrior felt her partner knee's trembling some and tightened her arm around Gabrielle's waist to support her. Xena could feel the passion and desires course through her body, she had to end the kiss. Pulling back, emerald eyes and sapphire eyes met once more. Theyíre breathing heavy, their hearts both pounding at the same fast speed. Then the reali! zation came to the two women, where they were. Tearing their gaze they looked around to see their audiences different expressions. Some Amazons were shocked, mouths hanging open, wide eyed. Others Amazons that knew the pair well were grinning. Ephiny for her part was standing in non-shock, arms on her hips, feeling quite warm.

"Are you two finished? I am quite hungry" The warrior looked to Ephiny then Gabrielle did as well, both still in each other's embrace. They both slyly grinned at the regent, the Amazon intripiting the looks. "For food that is" Gabrielle started to giggle, Xena continued to grin as she held her bard tightly and protectively. The regent dropped her arms to her side and shook her head lightly. The strawberry-blond dropped her embrace from Xena, the warrior doing the same. Gabrielle was about to step up beside Ephiny, but felt a warm hand grasp her left hand. She looked to her tall partner who was grinning, this surprised the bard. She didn't expect her warrior to show affection in public beyond the single kiss. Ephiny smiled and then turned to the food hut, heading in its direction with soulmates following behind, hand in hand. Walking inside the smell of good food hit the three women, making Gabrielle's stomach growled in happiness. Xena and Ephiny both laugh together, the ba! rd scolding them with a look. The warrior leaned down and kissed the Amazon Queen on her forehead, making Gabrielle grin back. The regent turned to the two women with a serious expression covering her face. "I need to talk to you and Xena in the privacy of my hut. How about we have our breakfast there while we talk" Xena nodded, and Gabrielle had no problem with it either.

"Sounds fine by me Ephiny" The Amazon smiled to the bard and power walked over to the cook's area. Xena and Gabrielle looked to each other, Gabrielle shrugging her shoulders. The warrior then looked back to Ephiny who was headed back to them. Silently the three women walked to Ephiny's hut, Gabrielle was a bit nervous as to what the regent might need. Making their way into the regentís hut, the muscular Amazon signaled to the table and chairs to the one side of her hut.

"Sit down, the food should be here pretty soon" Xena broke her hand contact with her companion and went to sit down, with Gabrielle right beside her. Ephiny retrieved a scroll from her desk and walked back to the table sitting to face the other women.

"So what is up Ephiny?" The Amazon sighed and relaxed back into her chair, slightly grinning.

"Well I figured since you and Xena made it...public with your relationship you might want to consider a joining" The smaller woman let out her breath that she didn't even knew she was holding, Xena catching this making her grin.

"I don't know, Xena and I would have to talk about it" The bard looked to her soulmate who was staring at the regent, Xena then looked to Gabrielle.

"Yeah we should, even though I think I know the answer" The small blond shook her head while Xena just grinned back.

"Well you guys talk about it. There are requirements that the Queen's future consort has to meet in order for there to be a joining" Xena and her lover both looked back to Ephiny in questioning. As the regent was about to speak a bright light flashed with in the hut, sounds of a lightning bolt. All three women looked away from the lightning, shielding their eyes. Once the bolts were gone they gazed back at a tall beautiful woman. Ephiny quickly got to one knee before the goddess. Xena and her bard sat in the chairs, expressionless faces. The warrior almost had to laugh, Gabrielle was getting use to these gods always dropping in on them.

"Please sit down Ephiny" The curly haired Amazon nodded and sat back in her seat, staring in awe at the goddess of Amazons. The goddess looked to Gabrielle and the warrior with a serious expression, arms crossed against her chest.

"It seems we have a problem with Velasca" Gabrielle dropped her eyes contact from Artemis to the floor, a shiver coursed through her back. The warrior sighed and grasped Gabrielle's hand, holding it tight.

"What happened?" Artemis looked from her Amazon Queen to the dark warrior.

"Ares is what happened yet again. He has a plan to free Velasca" Xena raised a single eyebrow at the goddess, Gabrielle looking back to Artemis.

"So he hasn't freed her yet?" Artemis took a few paces closer shaking her head some.

"No he hasn't. He has two plans; one he'll try to send one of his men to dig her out. The alternate plan is just to let her wait till she is freed by somebody else, maybe somebody far in the future" Artemis sighed and looked directly at Xena and partner. "If he does manage to free Velasca with one of his men, Zeus will in-tomb him for his defiance till he can be set free. But that will not matter, either way Ares wins" Then finally Ephiny spoke up in a serious tone.

"How is that? If Ares is in-tomb then it'll be doing the world a favor" The goddess looked to Ephiny dropping her arms to her side.

"Ares has made up an enchanted scroll" Xena could feel her gut turning now, she didn't like this one bit. Artemis sensed this and looked back to the warrior with a sadden face. "Supposedly once Velasca reads this scroll over your remains Xena, your soul will be owned by Ares. He'll have the power to reborn you in the world as many times as he likes and you'll be under his control" Xena felt herself sink some, but a small hand fell on Xena's left leg trying to relax her. The ex-warlord then gazed at Artemis once more.

"Is there any way to stop Ares?" Artemis slightly grinned as she heard somebody reappear behind her, stepping up to her side.

"Hey Sis, I believe this is my department" Artemis looked to the Goddess of Love smiling and nodded to her.

"Its all yours Dity" Aphrodite smiled back and turned towards the three women smiling at them.

"Well you see, Art and I decided to help you two out here, since you are Art's chosen and mine as well" Gabrielle looked at the goddess in surprise, Aphrodite grinning back. "Well you and Xena are the best two that represent the purest of love, duh" Aphrodite paused then brushed some of her hair back. "Any way Art and I came up with our own...little enchanted scroll thingy" The goddess reached to Artemis' side unhooking a scroll, handing it to Xena. The Goddess of the Amazon's then took over Aphrodite's explanation.

"If the scroll is read once you two have past away it will bring you back to life during the time you were in your prime, pretty much now. But if Xena's soul is already in Ares' hands only Gabrielle will come back" Aphrodite raised her hand to silence her sister, who did it with a bit of anger.

"Gabrielle babes, if thatís the case you have to use your love stuff to win Xena's soul back. Only your love for each other can free Xena's soul from Ares" Gabrielle slightly nodded while her companion continued to listen in silence. Then the bard thought about the scroll wondering who would bring her or Xena back.

"Who will read the scroll in the future, or be sure some one will?" Artemis grinned some, as did Aphrodite, Artemis was the one to speak with a bit of pride.

"There will be two women, soulmates, in the future who will be determined to seek out your remains, they'll be the ones to bring you back. You need to hide the scroll in plain site where it will be waiting for them in the future" First Gabrielle looked to her partner, who turned her blue eyes to her. The small blond saw Xena held worry in her eyes, making Gabrielle's heart ache. Xena's soul in Ares' control, that is dangerous and they both know it.


The blond closed her eyes, letting the light wind brush her bangs back, she sighed. She felt so exhilarated by the adventure, she was so excited it started butterflies in her stomach. Slowly opening her green eyes she felt a tall warm presence behind her, making her grin. Now long arms wrapped around the archeologist's waist.

"Well love we just get down this last mountain side and will be in the old Amazon territory" Janice nodded some and gazed at the trees below at the base of the mountains. The small woman believed that the once village lay in the center of the forest, she hoped. Mel agreed with her, they knew they would find the village not matter what.

"Hmmm get down this last mountain side just in time for lunch" The tall belle chuckled behind her, rocking Janice's frame some. Mel dropped her chin ontop of her archeologist's head, feeling the brim of the hat against her neck.

"Your stomach sure does work on a schedule" Janice grinned and let Mel's warmth surrounds her, making the blond tingle all over.

"Oh yeah it does, I think we'll be in the village or find the coffins by dinnertime hopefully" The tall woman laughed some and lightly shook her head as she tightened her arms around the small woman. "Come on, we better get moven, enough all this staring at the scenery stuff" Melinda lightly nodded and released her soulmate, both started on their trek down the mountain side. As the two women made their way down, three figures gazed at each other in questioning.

"You think they'll find the coffins?" The form in the middle shook their head in a no response. Then the figure to the right looked to the person in the middle as well.

"They seem pretty determined" The person in the middle sighed and gazed back at the two women walking down the foot path, their eyes narrowing.

"It doesn't matter, we have a duty here, no one is to find the tombs" Then the form to the left shook their head some.

"But what if their the ones from..." The figure in the center held up their hand for silence.

"They are not the ones, not after all these years" The person tore their gaze from their companion to their left and back at the soulmates. "Letís go, we have a job to do" Quickly the lead form rushed off with the other two figures right behind the leader.

~*~*~*~*~ *~

Mel side stepped a few large rocks carefully and kept an eye on her lover ahead of her. The tall beauty could tell that they would make it to the bottom of the mountain by noon. She was glad too, she was getting fairly hungry herself from all the walking. Gazing head the translator could see better the woods that lay ahead, she was quite excited. They were so near to finding the tomb, the tomb of the greatest warrior and bard known in history. Mel had high hopes that the Amazon village contained the tombs, it had to. Where else could the remains be located? Taking a few more steps, the tall female hit the bottom of the base of the mountain. Her soulmate turned around to grin at Mel, she grinned back at Janice. Then turning back to the forest, Janice looked around for a place to sit, quickly spotting a log to sit on. Ambling over to it, the archeologist sat down, stretching her legs out. Looking up the blond caught a grinning female, whom moved to sit beside her.

"Well we made it in one piece Mel. Now we just need to get to the village, wherever that is" The southerner sighed some and removed her pack from her back, placing it on the ground beside her. Janice mimicked her soulmate's movements but also removed her hat letting the sun warm her face. Reaching in her pack, the blond pulled out a trail bar and a canteen, Mel doing the same. After finishing her bar and taking a few sips from the canteen, the belle felt pretty content. Looking to her soulmate, Mel saw her just finish her bar up as well. Janice looked at her translator, slightly grinning making Mel raise an eyebrow at her lover.

"I am still kinda hungry and I know I shouldn't eat any more food. There is just enough food for us to get back" Melinda began to grin, predictable Janice the belle had to think. Pushing her black glass back on the bridge of her nose the tall woman stood.

"Be right back Janice" Before the archeologist could say anything, her partner disappeared into the woods. Melinda walked through the woods, searching for something. Trekking more and more away from Janice, Mel kept searching. Looking to her right the southerner belle spotted her prize. She quickly padded over to the tree and reached up pulling a branch down. Mel easily removed three red medium size apples from the tree. Finding her way back to her soulmate easily, Janice saw what Mel contained in her arms. The blond grinned and hugged Mel tightly.

"Thanks Mel, you didn't have to do that" The tall woman grinned and handed an apple to Janice.

"I did not mind, wanted to any way" Both females grabbed their packs, throwing their canteens filled with water back in the bags. Mel also deposited her two remaining apples into her sack and then threw the leather bag over her shoulders. Janice turned to her companion and began to walk into the forest while munching on the apple. As they walked through the woods, they took in their surroundings; tall green lush trees, the sent of pine in the air with a tint of fig. The breeze continued to blow, ruffling the leaves and small branches. The ground was covered in green grass and a few acorns here and there along with dead leaves. The atmosphere calmed the two women's senses, it felt good and peaceful. Janice finished her apple, throwing the remains off to the side. Then the archeologist thought she heard some branches break, she quickly stopped, grabbing Mel's arm.

"Whatís wrong Janice?" Janice didn't respond and continued to gaze around the forest. She heard the sound again, but it wasn't from the ground it was from above her. Quickly looking up Janice spotted three forms up in the tree staring back at them with detailed masks on. Mel followed her soulmate's gaze seeing the three figures, she gasped in surprise. The blond released Mel's arm and straightened her back up. The three forms dropped from the tree, one landing then the other two directly behind. Slowly the three forms walked up to the archeologist and southerner, Mel and Janice gazed at them. They wore very little, leather covering just below their mid-drift and breasts, arm bands and wrist guards. What surprised Janice more were they had swords sheathed on their backs with what seemed like a bird as the hilt of the sword. The masks were detailed with feathers hanging from the back that went down to their legs. If Janice didn't know any better, would have guessed them to be! Amazons by Gabrielle's scrolls. 'Amazons in this day of age, thatís crazy' Janice shook her head at that thought. 'They must be some weirdo's or something' but the blond couldn't help but notice how much they looked like Amazons, perfect representation of them. Now the three women pulled their masks back, revealing their faces. The leader was beautiful; she had curly dirty blond hair that hung down to her shoulders. Her eyes were amber, her face-harden with confidence. The female to the left was a little taller, straight dark brown hair that went just a little lower then her shoulders. Then the other woman to the right had a strong built, her face-harden as well from time, she cared no fear in her brown eyes. Her hair was dark black reaching far down to her back. Janice turned her gaze back the leader of the three females. The archeologist then began to reach inside of her leather jacket, nerving the two of the women, whom drew their swords quickly. The curly-blond held her h! and up, making the two women drop their swords by their sides. The small blond pulled her hand back out of her jacket with a cigar and matches. She quickly lit her cigar and began to take a few drags on it after placing the matches back in her jacket. Slowly the leader walked up to the small blond, Janice took a few steps in front of her silent soulmate. Mel for her part was in shock about the three women. She couldn't believe how much they looked like Amazons. The leader reminded Mel of one of the Amazons that Gabrielle had mentioned many times in her scrolls. But the belle couldn't recall who it was. Now the leader was only a couple of paces from Janice. The archeologist held the cigar in her mouth tightly as she spoke out of the corner of her mouth.

"Was wondering when you and your little followers were going to show your faces" The curly-blond's eyes narrowed as she glared at the smaller blond.

"Whatís your business here?" Janice pulled the cigar out of her mouth blowing smoke out of her mouth.

"What does it matter to you?" The leader took another step closer to the smaller woman, trying to stare her down.

"This is our territory, it concerns us. What do you want?" Janice placed the cigar back in her mouth, taking a few more drags from it. She then finally responded through the cigar and smoke.

"I want Xena and Gabrielle's remains. I am assuming you know who I am talking about" The small blond looked beyond the leader to see the other two women had raised their swords in defensive stance. Then she gazed back at the curly-blond before her, she was anger, and Janice could easily see that.

"And what the hell would you know about Xena and Gabrielle little girl?" The archeologist's eyes narrowed, she wanted to slug this woman badly. Mel caught Janice's anger and stepped up beside Janice.

"We know a lot about the Warrior Princess and the Amazon Queen" The leader looked up at Mel, still glaring.

"I doubt it very much, thatís what they all claim. We can do this the easy way and you can walk out here or the hard way and we'll help you get out of this land" The curly haired woman turned around slowly walking with a strong gate back to her companions. Janice's eyes narrowed as she took another drag on her cigar. The gun or not? Mel caught her partner's hand movement to her gun, Mel quickly came up with something to say.

"Yes well I am sure you wouldn't mind showing the descendants of Xena and Gabrielle their tombs" The leader stopped in mid stride as Janice dropped her arm to her side away from her gun. The amber-eyed woman turned back around walking back to them.

"What did you say?" Mel gulp some, the archeologist was ready to stop the other woman at any cost.

"Xena and Gabrielle are our ancestors" The female's amber eyes widen as she took a few steps back away from the new comers. Then the two women from behind joined their leader standing beside her. The one to the right quietly whispered to her leader something in response she nodded to her follower. The lead female then grabbed the brown haired woman and they both went to the side talking argumentatively. The third woman stood guard watching Janice and Mel. Mel looked down at her lover, she could tell Janice was trying to be patient by the way she stood and the way she smoked her cigar. The belle knew that sometimes Janice smoked her cigar to calm herself, this was defiantly one of the times. The southerner leaned down to Janice some, whispering to her. "Janice you think that did it?" The archeologist took another drag and blew out the smoke.

"Mmmm either it saved us or is going to get us killed" Janice stared at the leader female debating something with the brown haired woman. The small blond could tell the brown haired woman was winning by the way the amber eyed woman was sighing and dropping her head some. Then the two women joined the third all talking while eyeing Janice and Melinda. After seeing an agreement, they all walked up to Janice and Mel, the two followers sheathing their swords. The curly-blond walked up closes to Janice, whom took her last drag on the cigar and dropping the remains on the ground, smothering it with her boot.

"We will take you to the tombs of Xena and Gabrielle, follow us" Janice wasn't about to move she continued to glare hard at the leader.

"Before you take us any where, you better explain all this" The amber-eyed female crossed her arms against her chest, slightly grinning.

"Well I am guessing you believe us three to be Amazons, we are" Janice brought her arms up to her sides, Mel listening intently.

"How can that be, the Amazons died out a long time ago" The leader grinned at the small blond's words.

"Not exactly, some still remain through out the world. These two women and myself live here in the Amazon territory watching over the once Amazon Nation's land. The other Amazons that are located through out the world let us know if there are ever any people headed to these areas. If there is then they get word to us and we hunt them down and run them out of the territory. Now its a long trek to the once Amazon village, I suggest we walk and talk" Janice nodded and slowly all five women started their journey the died village of the Amazons. Mel stood beside Janice whom stood beside the leader, then the other two Amazons beside curly haired female. Mel looked at the three Amazons, not believing that Amazons still lived in the 1940's. Taking a breath the belle looked to the leader asking in her best southerner accent.

"So what are your names?" Amber eyes looked up to the tall woman, gleaming at her.

"My name is Starling, I am the Queen of the Amazons. This woman next to me is Sylvia" Both Mel and Janice looked to the brown haired woman who stared back and then nodded. "And the woman beside Sylvia is Hellenes, she is quite good with her weapons" Janice looked at Hellenes then to Starling with a questioning face.

"Interesting names they have, Sylvia Greek for woods and Hellenes is the name that the ancient Greeks called themselves" The Amazon Queen grinned at Janice then retorted to her comment.

"Yes those names are Doctor Covington, you are good with your Greek names" Both the archeologist and translator's faces were in a bit of shock, then it clicked in with Janice.

"So how long have you kept tabs on Mel and I?" Starling sighed some and looked back ahead.

"For quite awhile now. We were watching your father first, Harry Convington, then you took over his prosuite in finding the scrolls. Then of course Melinda Pappas steps into the scene, which actually worried us more. With her help we knew Janice that you would move faster with Mel's talent in translating that she learned from her father. We thought you two would never make it this far or even escape from Ares' tomb. But you have and with as much information you have discovered on Xena and Gabrielle there is no way the Amazons can cover up their existence any longer" The tall southerner looked to the leader Amazon, raising an eyebrow.

"Why would you want to cover up Xena and Gabrielle's existence?" Janice also looked to Starling with the same question covering her features. Starling sighed and gazed at the two women briefly then looking back ahead.

"Because there is a legend handed down from generation to generation, that says there once was an immortal name Velasca. One day she would be freed from her cave imprisonment. Once she is freed she would seek out Xena's remains and cast a spell. Supposedly the spell would let Ares the God of War control her soul, he would own her soul. He would be able to reborn her into the world as many times as he wished and she would be under his control. If Ares had Xena's soul, which would mean war would break out through the world. Ares only wants to..." Mel broke in, quietly finishing the Amazon Queen's words.

"conquer the world in bloodshed" Starling sighed shaking her head in agreement, Janice though was still not satisfied.

"But that doesn't explain why you decided to take us to Xena and Gabrielle's tomb" Starling grinned at Janice for a second then gazed back ahead, stepping over some fallen branches.

"Well the legend continues to say that sometime in the future that two women that are soulmates will come seeking the Warrior Princess and bard's coffins. And that will be quite determined to find them" The curly-blond sighed and shook her head some as a confused expression crossed her face. "But the rest of the story is a bit mixed up. There is one version saying that one of the soulmates will either set free Xena's soul, free Xena and Gabrielle, or bring back Gabrielle. We are not sure which one is true, but either way they will have the power to stop the bloodshed" Mel's face took on a questioning face as she pushed her glass back up and replied to the Queen.

"And exactly how are Janice and I suppose to free Xena and or Gabrielle?" The amber eyes continued to gaze ahead as Starling recognized familiar area close to the died Amazon village.

"Supposedly there is a scroll located within one of the tombs of Xena and Gabrielle, that will bring them or one of them back" Janice quickly looked at the Queen Amazon with angered.

"One of the tombs? What the hell do you mean one of the tombs? You saying you don't know if the tomb in the Amazon village is theirs?" Starling gazed down at the small blond with a stern face and replied in a deep tone.

"We don't know which tomb is theirs. There could be hundreds for all we know to throw off people. All we know is one of them contains the enchanted scroll that will bring them back" Starling paused then turned back to the woods. "We only still exist because we are to protect the knowledge and tombs of Xena and her bard" Janice took a few breaths calming herself, then she felt a warm hand grasp her left hand. Looking over to Mel, the archeologist saw her soulmate smiling down at her, which made Janice melt into. Then she looked back to the strong Amazon Queen.

"So why haven't any of the Amazons just found the scroll and read it?" Starling sighed trying to calm herself as well.

"Because the scroll can only be read by one of the two women in the legend. It wont work otherwise, if it did we would have done it a long time ago" Janice took a few deep breaths finally feeling relief flood her senses.

"Okay well just show Mel and I this tomb and we'll figure this out" Starling nodded lightly and noticed smoke ahead, recognizing their destination.

"Well we are almost there now" The curly-blond pointed ahead to where there was a beginnings of a hut and an area in the woods that was clear of trees. Both soulmates looked ahead to see the hut with smoke flowing freely from the top. Mel then questioned the Queen in her deep accent.

"Who lives in the hut?" Starling smiled as she admired her small home.

"Sylvia, Hellenes, and I all live in there. Thatís our home since we were around twenty" Mel look at Starling with a confused eyes. "You see there are actually about thirty of the few hundred Amazons in the world that actually can fight. Us three were brought here when we were young and learned about this land, our duties, and how to fight by the three Amazons before" Starling paused as they all began to climb down a small hill into the dead village. "Probably within ten years or so we'll have three young Amazons brought here to take over our jobs once we teach them. Once done so we'll return to civilization" The belle nodded in understanding, intrigued by todayís Amazons.

"So are all the Amazons direct descendents of the ancient Greek Amazons?" Starling nodded some as they walked closer to the village.

"Yes we all are, we all work together over distance to tell get status on people looking for anything on Xena and Gabrielle. It works out well our system, nobody other then you two know of our existence" As the five women stepped into the dead village, Starling gazed around searching for something. She quickly spotted the small hillside. "This way" The Amazon Queen stepped ahead walking towards the hill with the other women following behind. Mel began to release Janice's hand, but felt the small hand tighten its grip, making the tall woman grin. Once reaching the hillside, Starling began to move branches out of the way, revealing a gray stone door. The Amazon Queen began to push on it, but the door wouldn't budge. Then quickly Sylvia and Hellenes both helped their Queen. The door slowly began to jar open but not enough, the Amazons continued to push with their strength. Mel then joined in reaching high above the Amazons. The tall belle pushed hard and the stone door began t! o move more. Finally all four females managed to push the door back. As soon as the door was open a strong musty sent enclosed around the women. The archeologist couldn't help but grin, she always loved that smell. The women walked inside and ducked their heads down at hearing a loud snap. Quickly seven torches within self lit, making it easier to see within. Janice almost laughed at the memory the torches brought, Greek fire again. Janice gazed around inside of the tomb, her eyes widen as she looked around. This couldn't be, could it? Mel stepped up beside her soulmate gripping the blond's shoulder.

"Mel please tell me I am not seeing this?" The translator sighed feeling what Janice was in her gut. The three Amazons for their part stood behind the soulmates gazing around. "This is not real Mel, there has to be something in here. Why the hell would they put that big door out front for this?" The southerner didn't know what to say to her partner. She just continued to stare in the tomb. There was nothing inside, not one thing to be found except dirt. Mel didn't want to believe this either, after all their work and traveling. Reaching behind, the dark haired woman rubbed Janice's back trying to sooth her soulmate. Janice just stared in disbelief, this wasn't happening to her. She had never had such a large sinking feeling before. Mel continued to search the room with her eyes, hoping to find something. Then she spotted something that seemed random to her. Moving to the wall next to her, the translator grabbed a torch and walked over to the thing she spotted earlier. Janic! e caught this and followed her soulmate to the wall in front of them. Mel ran her right hand over an "X" marked on a square stone in the wall. Janice gazed at it in questioning. Both women looked at each other and knew something, what the other was feeling. They both were feeling some kind of deja vu with this stone. Janice looked harder at the stone, seeing that it looked like it could be removed by the cracks around it. Reaching into her leather jacket, the small woman pulled her knife out. She easily wedged it into the crack and began to jiggle it. Finally pulling it out enough, Janice put her knife back in her leather jacket pocket. Mel grasped the stone and pulled it out of the wall and dropped the gray stone to the floor. Reaching in, the tall female felt something made of paper and wood. Quickly she pulled it out, revealing a scroll in her large hand. Both woman stared at it wide eyed, Mel gulped while Janice felt the excitement burn through her. Green eyes gazed at the! scroll intensely as the belle unrolled it before them. Janice stared at the scroll trying to make it out but couldn't, Mel doing the same with no luck. Mel moved the torch away and looked to her lover.

"Janice we need to go outside to read this thing" Janice nodded and Mel placed the torch back on the wall heading outside with the scroll. The other four women following behind feeling ecstatic. Starling had to grin, the legend might just be true and she was beginning to believe it. Once stepping outside Mel stood in the middle as her soulmate was to her right, Starling to her left and the other two Amazons directly behind. "Well this isn't Gabrielle's hand writing thatís for sure" Janice looked up at Mel.

"What does it say Mel?" The tall woman moved her glasses back up in place and gazed down at the scroll. Slowly the Greek letters began to translate to the southerner belle.

"Okay it says;

 

The power of Artemis and Aphrodite will bring the two greatest heroes back into

the world to stop the evil that is trying to conquer the known world. No force

can stop these two, they are protected by Artemis and Aphrodite, the chosen.

On this day the mightiest warrior in the known world, Xena Warrior Princess and

the legendary Amazon Queen, Gabrielle, will be reborn once more"

 

As Mel spoke the last word, nobody said anything, taking in the meaning. Then looking up they all watched as the white clouds above began to swirl around in a circle. The wind began to pick up, making Janice reach up to hold her hat down on her head. Now the swirling clouds separated leaving an opening in the center while the wind picked up more. Then lighting bolts began to crash down into the ground from the opening, creating a dust cloud. The women all stared in amazement as the bolt continued to hit the ground, the wind blowing with the swirling clouds and dirty flying in the air making it hard to see. Now the lighting bolts began to cease going back up into the sky. The clouds enclosed the center and began to slowly stop swirling. Looking in front of them, the females began to notice two forms; one tall the other small. Janice could only make out the outlines, not the faces or bodies. It was too hard to see with the dirt still in the air, but the wind was dying. As the! two figures neared, the dirt began to settle to the ground once more. Janice was beginning to make the two people out better, it looked like the small form was carrying some kind of walking stick in her right hand. Finally the dust and dirt settled leaving the five women to gaze at the two new comers. Mel gasped in surprised, dropping the scroll to the ground. Janice just stared in shock, as did the three Amazons. The two figures gazed at each other with confused and questioning eyes. Then they walked up closer to the five females, only leaving a couple of paces between them all.

"Mel I think I am going crazy" The tall belle shook her head some and continued to stare at the two new people.

"Hun I think I am going crazy with you, we are soulmates" Starling walked up closer to Janice and Mel.

"Well we are going crazy with you two also" Janice looked at Starling with stunned face and nodded then looked back to the two figures. The archeologist took in her view, their faces, bodies, and clothes. The taller one had dark hair reaching below her shoulders and bangs. She could easily see the blue eyes from here along with her strong composure, brown leather and bronze armor. On her back was a hilt of a sword with a blue gem and on her side was a round weapon that gleamed in the late sun. The tall woman looked exactly like Mel, but with a stronger essence to her. To the tall woman's left was her smaller companion, she had long strawberry-blond hair, sparkling green eyes, a wood staff in hand that looked worn. Her clothes were simple, dark green halter top with a brown skirt and brown boots. She seemed to hold herself with a strong composure too, her features telling of years of experience. What Janice couldn't believe about the small woman the most, was that she look e! xactly like her, a mirror image. It almost scared Janice about the exactness of the two women before her. Janice finally shook her head out of the trance and took a step towards them and closer to Mel in defense.

"So I take it you two must be Xena and Gabrielle?" The tall warrior herself took a step forward in front of her companion defensively.

"I am Xena and that is Gabrielle" Janice could feel a shiver run down her back at the deep voice reminding her of Mel. 'The voices were even the same, this is amazing. We are like carbon copies of Xena and Gabrielle' Janice looked back up into intense strong blue eyes.

"I am Doctor Janice Covington" The archeologist looked to Gabrielle briefly who was gazing back at her intently. Her green eyes contained surprise in them, probably because of the similarities. The small northerner then looked back to the tall woman before her. "I am Gabrielle's descendent...not like you couldn't tell or anything" Janice lightly grunted to herself and saw as the warrior's lips formed into a small grin. Now a tall form walked up behind Janice, the small blond automatically knowing whom it was. Janice turned to her soulmate. "And of course this is your descendent, Melinda Pappas" The taller warrior turned her hard gaze on Mel, looking deep into blue eyes. Slowly Xena began to grin and both tall women grasped arms, shaking. Now the small blond behind Xena walked up beside the tall warrior. Xena looked down at her soulmate and smiled. Then she looked back up first to Janice.

"Gabrielle this Janice Covington" The bard smiled and took Janice's hand shaking it tightly.

"Just call me Janice" Gabrielle nodded and continued to smile. Then the ex-warlord looked to the tall belle smiling at her.

"And this is Melinda Pappas" The small bard also took Mel's hand shaking it as she gazed into intense blue eyes.

"And you can just call me Mel" Gabrielle grinned some and released the tall woman's hand. Then she finally spoke to everybody.

"Well this is certainly amazing. Didn't expect the two women to bring us back to be our descendents Xena" The warrior looked to her soulmate smiling at her.

"Yup, neither did I, kinda caught be off guard" Gabrielle rolled her eyes and spoke to the warrior in a teasing tone.

"Nothing catches you off guard Warrior Princess" The warrior grunted and looked back to the descendents, with a straight face. She then looked behind them, seeing three women dressed as Amazons. Janice quickly caught where the warrior's eyes went too. Turning around the archeologist called the Amazons over to join. Both Xena and Gabrielle stared again as the three Amazons approached. "By the gods, Xena they look just like..." Xena looked at her bard then back at the three Amazons as they stood before them. Then the warrior finished her bard's words

"Ephiny, Solari, and Epinion. This is really amazing how much their just like them too" After Xena said the names, the three Amazons looked at each other in questioning then back to Xena and Gabrielle. Then Hellenes spoke in a bit of a confused tone to the warrior.

"You must have us mistaken, I am Hellenes and our Queen..." The dark-haired Amazon nodded to Starling. "Is Starling and Sylvia is second in command" The bard looked to Starling, who was Ephiny's duplicate.

"So you are the Queen of the Amazons today?" The curly-blond smiled and then nodded.

"But you are Gabrielle, the greatest Amazon Queen ever?" Gabrielle stared at the other woman for a second then at her warrior who just grinned back.

"I suppose so, didn't think I was so great or anything" After the small blond's words, the three Amazons fell to their knees and bowed their head to Gabrielle. The small blond sighed and shook her head, Xena just continued to grin.

"Whatís the grin about?" The tall warrior bit her lower lip to keep from laughing.

"Love, their your Amazons" The bard didn't respond at first but lightly glared at her soulmate, then she began to grin as well.

"And you're my Amazon too" Slowly the warrior's grin turned more devilishly and quietly whispered something into the bard's ear.

"I am and so much more of yours" Gabrielle's eyes widen and a deep red began to creep up her neck to the top of her head. The bard then lightly coughed and noticed all eyes were on her.

"I'll remember that Xena, good idea" The bard could feel everybody staring at her so she quickly changed the subject. "Please Starling, Sylvia, and Hellenes stand and as always just call me Gabrielle, none of that formal stuff" Slowly the three Amazons rose to their feet smiling to Gabrielle. Both Mel and Janice looked at each other in questioning. Neither could believe who stood before them, it had to be a dream. The bard then looked to Janice and Mel with a serious face. "So exactly what is going on here?" The archeologist was the first to come out of her daze as she looked back to her ancestor.

"What do you mean? Mel and I have been researching Xena and your history for a few years now" The bard arched an eyebrow and Xena quickly intervened.

"What we want to know Janice, is have you dealt with Velasca or Ares by any chance?" The small leather jacketed blond looked to Mel who grinned down at her then look to the tall warrior.

"Well we had a run in with Ares about a year ago. But not with anybody by the name of Velasca. Who is she might I ask?" The bard dropped her gaze from the descendents, but felt a warm arm come around her shoulders, the warmth and strength comforting her. Deep blue eyes stared back at Mel and the northerner with a serious face.

"Velasca was an Amazon at one time who wanted to be Queen. She lost the right of caste to be Queen by Gabrielle. She challenged Gabrielle and failed, but in the process she got a hold of some ambrosia. Once she became a god, she sought out revenge on Gabrielle and the Amazons, but only ended up getting trapped in a cavern. Since then we don't know what has become of her. We are assuming she is free by now and needs to be stopped" Janice dropped her gaze and stared at the ground, Mel could tell her soulmate was thinking. Then she slowly looked back up at the strong warrior.

"She is after your remains right?" Xena nodded in answer and the archeologist began to slightly grin. "Do you know where your tomb and remains are located?" The warrior nodded again as everybody listened to the small archeologist's words.

"They are not located far from here, in an out of way place. We had many dummy tombs made up to throw people of. The on in Amphiplois is the only one to contain our belongings" The small blond nodded remembering the tomb that her and Mel had discovered a few months back.

"Well what if we headed to your tombs? I mean think about it, more then likely this Velasca person has been stalking Mel and I" Janice tore her gaze from Xena to the curly blond Amazon Queen. "Starling you said yourself that you had been keeping records on Mel and I because we were making such progress" Starling slightly nodded and continued to listen to the small blonde. Janice then looked back to the ex-warlord and her bard. "So I am sure Velasca has been watching us, as soon as we make it known that we discovered Xena and Gabrielle's remains, she'll come after them" Xena looked down at her partner whom the warrior could tell was thinking by the way the bard's face was constructed. The bard felt her soulmate's intense blue eyes on her and she looked up to meet a serious face.

"What you think Xena?" The warrior sighed and looked up for a brief moment then back at her partner.

"I just wish we knew whether Velasca is freed or not, that would help things out more. But I think its a good plan over all, I just hope we can keep an immortal from our coffin" Gabrielle sighed some and then nodded faintly then she looked to her descendant.

"Letís try it" The blond then looked back to her soulmate. "Xena, did Artemis say if we had a time limit or no on how long we are aloud to be alive?" The Warrior Princess thought about that for a few moments recalling the goddess's words from so long ago.

"No she didn't Gabrielle, only till we are done our mission" Janice smiled at the tall warrior and her, her min still in a bit of shock. Then she looked to Xena with a questioning face.

"So exactly where is the tomb?" The warrior looked down at her soulmate's descendant with a small grin forming on her lips.

"Its within the Amazonian Mountains on the western side, a bit more north" The small blond's expression dropped, temper rising.

"God damn it, are you serious?" Xena's face went serious as she nodded and crossed her arms against her chest. The archeologist then felt a warm presence step closer to her, calming her senses. "Well gee I can't wait" Janice then turned her head to look up at the translator "to go over those funtastic mountains mountains...again" One dark eyebrow raised at the small blond. Janice just grinned back at her soulmate, then looked back to Xena and Gabrielle. "What about food? Mel and I only have enough for each other" The small bard grinned to her descendant and playfully jabbed her soulmate in the stomach with her elbow. Xena quickly looked down at her partner with a curious face.

"Xena can hunt something down for us, not a problem" Janice merely nodded her understanding and then looked to Starling. The curly blond easily caught the gaze and knew what the unspoken question was.

"Janice, as much as we would like to help out, the Amazons have a job to carry out" The archeologist kept a straight stoic face and nodded. Then she put her hand out, Starling tightly grasped it.

"Thanks Starling for all your help. Mel and I will have to come visit. Would love to learn more about the Amazons" The Amazon Queen nodded and smiled brightly at her.

"Would be happy to tell you about the Amazons" Starling then reached into a pouched hooked to her side. Carefully she pulled out a small golden bird, the same bird on the Amazon's sword hilts. The Amazon Queen gazed at it in admiration then handed it to the small archeologist. "Keep a hold of this. All Amazons wear a necklace with this bird. Show that small gold bird to them and they'll know you're friends. The Amazon will then help you with all their power" The small blond looked down at the article in her hand, watching it glisten in the sun. She then slipped it inside of her leather jacket, smiling at the Amazons.

"Thanks again Starling. Let Mel and I know if you ever need anything" The curly-blond Amazon smiled again and nodded, then she turned to her two friends. All three Amazons then walked into the woods, disappearing into it among the trees. Now four pairs of eyes turned back to each other. Xena looked to Janice and Mel with a stern face. She then spoke to both women in a deep rich tone.

"Lets go" The small blond nodded under her hat. Both Janice and her soulmate adjusted their leather packs on their backs. Xena and Gabrielle turned around to face the mountains and stared walking. Janice quickly followed behind, but saw her soulmate wasn't moving. Looking back the small blond spotted her partner grab the scroll of the ground she had dropped earlier. Mel then jogged up behind her lover and placed the scroll in Janice's pack. After placing the scroll in the bag, the belle patted the pack and evilly grinned to Janice. The northerner's face turned to curious over the grin she was receiving. The dark tall woman leaned down to Janice and whispered to her in her strongest southerner accent.

"I can't wait to hike over those fucking mountains" The belle grinned again and jogged off to catch up with her ancestors. Janice stood in a bit of shock over her soulmate's words, not expecting them. Then she started to job up to the three other women while yelling to her lover.

"Melinda Pappas, I can't believe you said that! What happened to my polite southern belle?" Finally catching up, Janice walked beside Mel, whom walked beside Gabrielle, the bard next to her soulmate. The translator looked to her archeologist with an innocent face.

"Whatever do you talk about Doctor Covington?" Both Gabrielle and Xena looked at each other with a grin. The warrior then quietly reached over grasping the bard's hand. Xena then looked up from loving green eyes to her descendents and Janice. The warrior almost had to laugh at the archeologist's face, which was a mix of still shock and devilishness. 'Just like Gabrielle' the warrior began to muse to herself. The ex-warlord continued to watch them as Mel leaned down to kiss Janice on her forehead just under her hat. The blond smiled to the tall translator and wrapped her arm around the tall dorm's waist. The belle then brought her left arm around to the archeologist's shoulder securely. Janice then looked to her descendents, catching blue eyes already looking back at her. The blond smiled at the leather-clad woman and spoke in a deep voice.

"So Xena what is Velasca like exactly?" The warrior looked ahead, she then looked down at her bard. Gabrielle looked up and quickly understood the look on her lover's face. 'Time to do that bard thing' The small bard then looked to Janice with a small hint of anger touching her features.

"Velasca was one of the Amazons originally. She was really anger stricken and wanted to rule the Amazons. Bad attitude and will do anything to get what she wants" The archeologist just simple nodded and looked back ahead as they made their way through the woods. The tall warrior's anger shot up from this, Janice is disrespecting Gabrielle. Gabrielle caught this by Xena's jaw tightening in control over her anger emotions. The bard tightened her grip on Xena's hand briefly, then loosened it. The warrior looked down to loving emerald eyes, making Xena smile. The warrior knew that her bard probably wanted to give Janice to get to know her first. Otherwise the warrior knew this wasn't going to be a pleasant trek.

For awhile the pairs walked in silence, Xena and Gabrielle close to each other, hand in hand, Mel and Janice wrapped up in each other's arms. Mel for her part liked it being quiet once in awhile, but this was nerving to her. She then finally decided to break the silence and spoke with her best southern drawl.

"So where are we stopping for the night?" The warrior was the one to retort to the question, somewhat glad of it.

At the foot of the mountains we should make it there close to sunset" Mel nodded and removed her dark glasses, then gazed at the western sun. She guessed it would be another hour or so till it hit dusk. Mel then placed her glasses inside of her shirt pocket, feeling the weight of them on her nose from earlier. Reaching up with her free hand, the belle rubber her temples.

"What are we doing for our dinner?" The warrior grinned and looked to her bard, who spotted the small twinkle in her blue eyes.

"Well thatís Chief Gabrielle's department" The bard grunted and lightly slapped the warrior in her stomach. "Hmmm and I think we'll make it there just in time for dinner" Gabrielle rolled her eyes while Mel chuckled some.

"You have that problem too? Now I defiantly know where Janice gets it from" The small archeologist looked up to meet loving sky blue eyes, she had to grin. Gabrielle herself looked up to meet another set of intense blue eyes. The small bard melted in them, she smiled up getting a smile in return. The Amazon Queen then looked back ahead, gazing at the woods. Then she decided to continue with the subject at hand.

"Xena we are going to be near a stream right?" The warrior nodded as she watched her surroundings. "How about you catch us some fish and I'll cook" The Warrior Princess nodded and let a small grin play on her lips. Mel thought about that liking the idea of fresh food for once. Then it occurred to her that more then likely that her soulmate would still be hungry afterwards. The belle then began to grin as an idea came to her.

"I'll take care of desert for us'all" The small bard looked to her left at Xena's decedent with a curious face. Mel caught those green eyes and looked to the small blond as Gabrielle spoke to her.

"What are you going to make?" The tall belle smirked at the bard, a twinkle entered her pale blue eyes. Then Mel spoke in her southerner drawl.

"Yíall will just have to wait till later" The blond archeologist had to chuckle some, she loved it when her soulmate did surprises. Janice would never tell Mel that though, but she knew Melinda knew her secret. The small blond was the first to retort to the dark-haired belle as she tipped her hat back some.

"Come on Mel, give" the belle turned her head to her left to looked down at a smirking soulmate.

"Oh no Janice Covington you can wait. Yíall like this surprise" The small archeologist began to evilly grin back to her lover. She retorted to the southerner in a low husky voice.

"Oh I always am intrigued by your surprises" Mel devilishly grinned back to her soulmate and briefly squeezed Janiceís shoulder in response. Both the warrior and her bard heard the conversation clearly, making Gabrielle grin to Xena. The warrior just rolled her eyes then looked back to the path in the woods. The bard giggled a few times and felt a warm hand tighten, Gabrielle grinned to herself.

As the four women walked over a small hill in the forest, the tall warrior recognized their destination. The archeologist looked around spotting a stream off to the right and an open area to the left of the stream. To Janice it seemed like a perfect spot, which amazed her, how the warrior knew of it. The blond bard quickly recognized the area she should have guessed. Xena looked down to her bard, Gabrielle was gazing at the spot. The Warrior Princess saw her soulmate, whom was grinning as the memories flashed across Gabrielleís face.

This is where they confessed their love for each other.

Slowly the two pairs made their way down the hill to the open circular spot. The bard looked to her soulmate, evilly grinning to her. Brilliant sky blue eyes turned towards the bard, both women became lost in the others loving eyes. The memories flooded their minds, both remembering that special night, the night everything changed. The night when the warriorís walls came crashing down and made both women complete. 

As the two soulmates became lost, Janice and Mel watched with intent. They both knew this was a special spot to the warrior and her bard. Xena was the first to come out of the trance. She looked to her decedents, Gabrielle doing the same afterwards. The leather-clad woman was the one to speak in her hard commanding tone.

"Why donít you two collect the fire wood and make the fire pit, get it going. Gabrielle and I will take care of the fish" Janice nodded then smiled slightly to the ex-warlord. Xena didnít smile back, but rather her blue eyes went cold at the small blond. The archeologist could feel the hairs on her beck stand up. Both Mel and Gabrielle took quick noticed of Xenaís cold look. The southerner moved closer to Janice, protective insticts coming to life. Gabrielle though reached for Xenaís arm, grasping it tightly, feeling Xenaís muscles tense. Then Gabrielle spoke in a low quiet and soothing tone.

"Come on love" The ex-warlord looked down at her partner and nodded. The two strong soulmates turned around and padded down to the stream, out of site.

"What the hell was that about?" The translator raised an eyebrow and reach into her shirt pocket. Pulling out her dark glasses, Mel started walking back into the woods with her partner. Mel looked to her soulmate as the blond straightened up with a log in her arms. Putting her glasses on, the belle spoke in a serious tone.

"Janice, donít you know what youíve been doing?" The small archeologist furrowed her

brows trying to figure it out. "Love youíve been really mean to Gabrielle" The small woman shot her head towards her soulmate quickly.

"What? Hell, I havenít said a god damn word to her" The belle sighed as she picked up a few branches from the ground.

"Exactly Janice you have been ignoring her which is angering Xena real fast. You have no right to be disrespecting Gabrielle hun" The archeologist frowned as she collected a few large pieces of wood.

"But..." The belle straightened up and turned to her soulmate with a serious and stern face.

"But what? Love you know you have no right to be ride to Gabrielle. You need to give her a chance. Remember when you first met me you thought I was some spoiled brat, living on my fatherís reputation. Well look at where you and I are now together. Give her a chance Janice, you know I am right" The small blond sighed, feeling herself beat. Slowly she raised her emerald eyes from the ground to meet her soulmateís. The small blond slightly grinned, Mel mirroring it back.

"Youíre right Mel, Iíll give Gabrielle a chance" The southerner smiled and stepped up closer to her soulmate and leaned down. Mel gentle kissed her other half, feeling some of the branches press into her. The translator lightly chuckled in the middle of the kiss, making the blond laugh some. Ending the kiss over the laughs, the two soulmates rested their foreheads against the others. The belle was the one to break the silence with her slightly husky voice.

"Come on love, we better get that fire started"

~*To Be Continued in Section Four*~


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