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Winged Horse

by Scott Daugherty (a.k.a. Lord Bowler)

Note: This story occurs between 'Fistful of Dinars' and 'Warrior...Princess.'

Xena, Gabrielle and Argo traveled along the road to Pittheus, Xena astride Argo, with Gabrielle walking along side, or rather, trying to walk along side. Since Argo's gait was fairly quick Gabrielle had to run every few steps to keep pace.

Xena had noticed this of course and for the last mile had been trying not to raise the topic she was about to with the simple comment, "Maybe its time for us to get you a horse."

"What is with you and horses?" Gabrielle responded, "I've told you before, I'll get a horse when they start making them closer to the ground."

"You had a pony when you were five."

"Ever seen a tall pony?"

"Fine. I'm sorry I brought it up." said Xena truly meaning it.

"Look if you think I'm slowing you down feel free to ride ahead to Pittheus. I'll meet you there."

"It was just a thought. But, if your going to be like this, I think I will." And with that Xena urged Argo to a gallop and quickly vanished around a turn in the road.

"Way to go Gabrielle," she said to herself, "get her to leave you behind. What will that prove? That you can always arrive on foot hours behind her." Just then an impish grin came to her face. "Unless... I were to get to Pittheus before Xena. But, the only way I could do that would be to cheat." And with that Gabrielle dashed from the road, taking off cross-country toward Pittheus.

The road to Pittheus was long and twisted. Gabrielle was sure she could beat Xena by taking this shortcut. Xena had once told her that 'shortcuts make for long roads,' but that had never made any sense to her.

It wasn't that bad an idea. On most days, at most times, Gabrielle could have passed through the woods without incident. On this particular day, at this particular time however, the Fates were conspiring to show Gabrielle exactly what Xena meant by that comment about 'long roads.'

Gabrielle had been traveling through the woods for about twenty minutes, when she reached a clearing, and stopped dead in her tracks. In front of her was the most incredible sight she had ever seen. A magnificent white horse with tremendous wings, it nearly glowed with raw power. Around its neck were a pair of ropes, and at the ends of the ropes were a pair of scruffy men trying to restrain the beast while a third even scruffier man tried to work in close enough to put a net over the animal and bring it down. And something else, even to Gabrielle's untrained eye it was obvious that something was wrong with one of the horse's wings.

The three scruffy gents, who's names by the way are Iobates, Hippolochus, and Isander, were exhausted they had been struggling with the beast all morning. The job really called for five men, but Iobates unwilling to share the bounty five ways, had convinced the others they could do it with only three.

Had they brought two others with them, they might have been long gone when Gabrielle reached the clearing, or at the very least there would have been someone with a free eye to warn them of Gabrielle's approach. But of course there were only three of them, so Iobates had no warning when the hawk-headed Amazon fighting staff came down on the back of his neck causing him to drop his rope. Hippolochus, had only slightly more warning when the staff knocked first the wind out of him, and then the legs out from under him, and he too dropped his rope.

By this time of course, Isander had plenty of warning and was well prepared for the girl, having drawn a rather wicked looking knife. Unfortunately, he was totally unprepared for an assault from the horse, which kicked him in, well... in the most sensitive area of the male anatomy.

Unprepared to fight a battle on two fronts, the three men ran from the clearing in the direction of Pittheus. (Actually, Isander sort of waddled in the direction of Pittheus.) Leaving the amazed girl alone in the clearing with the pegasus.

"Here let me get those ropes off you." said Gabrielle moving toward the horse.

But as she did so the horse reared up, ready to bring its fore hooves down on the unprotected head of the young girl.

"Woah, Woah girl. I'm not going to hurt you." said Gabrielle who quickly took a few steps back just in case.

The horse relaxed but still regarded the girl warily.

"That's right nothing to get excited about. Maybe you'd like a nice juicy apple?" Gabrielle asked remembering the dwindling supplies in her bag. She took out an apple and offered it to the horse. The horse made no move toward the piece of fruit.

"This is going to be more difficult than I though" murmured Gabrielle. Then in a moment of inspiration she stuck the apple onto the point of the hawk's beak, and held the apple out to the horse on the end of her staff.

The horse sniffed at the apple a few times, before finally nibbling it off the end of the staff. Gabrielle put down the staff and slowly approached holding out her last apple. This time the horse allowed Gabby to approach and quickly ate the apple out of her hand, while she stroked the beast's proud neck.

"My name's Gabrielle," she said, "Do you have a name? Of course not why would a pegasus need a name, and even if you had one how could you tell me. You can't talk. Can you?"

The horse just looked at her.

"No of course not. Still I can't just go around calling you 'horse'. Now let's see what's a good name for a pegasus. When I was five, I had a pony named Timpani. But you don't look like a Timpani. You need something majestic like... Skymane. How 'bout it would you like to be called Skymane?" Gabrielle asked.

The horse whinnied it consent.

"All right, Skymane it is. Now let's get those ropes off you." she said reaching for the ropes. As she did so Skymane stuck its nose into Gabrielle's bag in search of more apples.

"What are you doing?" Gabrielle asked as she removed the ropes. "There aren't any more apples, so just what are you trying to eat?"

She raised Skymane's head to see that what she was trying to eat was a piece of cloth Gabrielle has once made a rather lethal hat from.

"Give me that." she said yanking the cloth from the horse's mouth. "Now let's take a look at that wing of yours."

The wing in question was the left one, and it had an arrow with blue fletching shot clean through it.

"I wish Xena were here. She knows all about medicine, arrow wounds and the like. I just hope I've picked up enough." Gabrielle said as she snapped off the end of the arrow and pulled it out. The horse cried out but held still perhaps sensing that the pain was necessary. Once the arrow was out Gabrielle bound the wound with her 'hat.'

"There, I guess that will have to do. Now then we'd better get out of here before those guys come back with some friends." said Gabrielle as she led Skymane into the woods and away from Pittheus.

"WHERE IS THE MARE?" Bellerophon roared at the three quivering men.

"We don't have her yet." answered Iobates.

"I can see that. Why not?"

"Well we almost had her." offered Iobates.

"Yeah, we almost had her" added Hippolochus.

"If she hadn't intervened." Isander finished before his friends could stop him.

"She? Are you telling me some girl stopped you from getting me my pegasus?" asked Bellerophon.

"No no, not a girl, a Warrior Woman" lied Iobates.

"Clad all in leather" embellished Hippolochus.

"Like one of the Furies themselves" added Isander.

"I think the real reason you failed is that there are only three of you instead of five like I specified" Bellerophon challenged.

"There were five. She uh... killed the other two." answered Iobates.

"I see," said Bellerophon not believing a word of it, "You seem to have all the answers today, so perhaps you can tell me. How am I supposed to breed trainable pegasus with a stallion and NO MARE?"

"Isn't the plural of pegasus, pegasuses?" asked Isander.

"Actually I think its pegasi." replied Hippolochus.

"Who cares!" interrupted Bellerophon, "Now get out there and get me that horse."

"Y-y-es Sir." the three answered and scrambled over each other trying to leave the room.

"Warrior woman indeed, it's a wonder I get anything done with those three... stooges, for help." mumbled Bellerophon to himself as he looked out the window at the bustling metropolis of Pittheus.

Just at that moment, Xena entered the city passing under the window of Bellerophon.

"Well, well there really was a warrior woman. No less than Xena herself." observed Bellerophon "Hmmmm... Glaucus!!!"

Bellerophon's assistant, Glaucus, a small nervous man in an ill-fitting toga rushed into the room.

"Yes sir, how may I serve you." Glaucus groveled.

"The Warrior Princess, Xena, is in Pittheus. Seek her out and get her here." ordered Bellerophon.

"Yes Sir" answered Glaucus. "Sir..?"


"Exactly, how am I supposed to get Xena here sir?" asked Glaucus.

"Tell her anything that will get her here, except the truth." answered Bellerophon quickly growing annoyed with the simpering worm.

"Yes Sir. What exactly *is* the truth?"

"GO!" screamed Bellerophon. The force of his voice alone almost enough to throw the small man from the room.

"You just can't get good help these days" Bellerophon observed.

Xena stabled Argo, and went to look for a suitable place to wait for Gabrielle. She decided on a small restaurant Hercules had once mentioned.

Xena wondered if it had been such a good idea to leave Gabrielle alone. She was getting quite good at taking care of herself, and besides how much trouble could she get into in a few hours. Ok, a lot. Fortunately the area around Pittheus was exquisitely lacking in trouble of any kind. She'd be fine.

Epicurius was delighted to see the warrior woman enter. Warriors always had full purses and hearty appetites. On the other hand they could be very hard on the crockery, he remembered and began moving some of the more expensive pieces under the counter.

Xena walked over to a corner table, which magically cleared of customers, and took a seat. Even as she did so Glaucus entered and spotting the Warrior Princess rushed over to her table.

"Oh great Warrior Princess," Glaucus gushed "Scourge of..."

"Get to the point." Xena interrupted.

"Ah. Yes. My master Bellerophon the horse trader requests a few minutes of your time, if you could just accompany me..."

"Why would I want to talk to a horse trader? I already have a horse."

"Err... Of Course!" Glaucus said brightly, "My master wishes to breed your horse. Think of it 'War Horses sired by Xena's own charger.' it will make a fortune."

Neat trick considering Argo is a mare, Xena thought to herself.

Glaucus complimented himself on the plausibility of the lie. Too plausible. What if it's the truth? Before he could go any further down that line of thought Xena interrupted him.

"I'm not interested. Tell your boss the answer is NO."

"Oh certainly, the problem is he won't accept it. He'll just fire me, or kill me, then send someone else. He'll keep pestering you about this until you give in and see him."

"I know the type." said Xena wearily "Very well I'll see him."

"Excellent, if you'll just come with me." Glaucus said, and led her toward the entrance.

"Excuse me miss." Epicurius asked "Didn't you want something to eat? I have a delightful sauced duck..."

"Maybe later. Right now I have to see a man about a horse." Xena replied.

"Certainly, out back and to the left."

What was that about? Xena wondered behind an arched brow.

Gabrielle and Skymane sloshed through a swiftly flowing creek. "This ought to throw off anyone who's following us." Gabrielle comment "It's an old hunter's trick a friend told me about."

"It's kind of an interesting story how we met. It all began when Prometheus was chained by Hera and..."

Gabrielle noticing Skymane is no longer with her turns to see that she has stopped.

"Ok I can take a hint. No more stories. Come on." Gabrielle urged but Skymane stayed where she was.

"What is the matter with you..." Gabrielle trailed off as a large shadow fell across her.

Gabrielle turned and looked up and up to the face of a cyclops with the distinguishing feature that in place of it's one eye was a large scar.

"This just isn't my day." Gabrielle said to herself. Brightly to the monster "There you are. I've been looking everywhere for you. Why did you move?"

"People stopped using the bridge." the monster answered.

"Imagine that." Gabrielle whispered.

"So have you brought me Xena's eyes and leg? I don't smell any rotting flesh."

"Not yet, she's much slipperier that I though. But I figured you must be very hungry by now so I... brought this tender young Pegasus for you to snack on."

"Well... I really prefer human flesh, but am very hungry, and I hear Pegasus is a real delicacy. But hurry up and bring me Xena."

"Oh right away."

As the Cyclops walked past Gabrielle for his dinner. She hit him on his toes with her staff. The monster bellowed in pain, holding his injured foot in his hands. As he hopped on one leg, Gabrielle struck him in the back of the knee, causing him to fall back into the stream knocking himself unconscious on a rock.

"Well he hasn't gotten any smarter," Gabrielle observed "Come on Skymane."

As they left Gabrielle said to Skymane "If you knew he was there why didn't you say anything."

Glaucus lead Xena to Bellerophon's stables where his master was waiting for them.

"Ahh. Xena so good of you to accept my invitation." Bellerophon said in his best approximation of sincerity.

"I didn't seem to have a choice. Glaucus told me you'd just be a pest until I came." Xena replied.

"A Pest." said Bellerophon glaring at Glaucus.

"I can explain. You told me to say whatever it took to get her here. And look she's here."

"Which is the only reason you're still breathing. Now go."

"Yes Sir." said Glaucus turning to leave.

As he left Glaucus muttered to himself. "I could have gone in on that pre-owned chariot lot with cousin Salmoneus. But no I had to go into middle management."

Once Glaucus was gone Xena asked Bellerophon "Now, what's all this about breeding Argo?"


"My war horse."

"Ahh. While I'm sure your charger is a fine animal I have no interest in it. Although my offer does involve breeding."

"Well it better also include horses or there will be another gelding in your stables." Xena said, fingering her sword.

"No no, nothing like that. Maybe I'd better just show you to save time."

With that Bellerophon led Xena down to one end of stables and pair of padlocked double-doors. Producing the key Bellerophon opened the doors and escorted Xena into the chamber beyond. Within stood a pegasus chained to the floor. The pegasus was white as snow and yet appeared almost grey.

"A pegasus stallion. I almost had the mare to go with it. But, my men report being driven off by a warrior woman this morning."

"Gabrielle." Xena whispered to herself.

"By now you've learned that a wild pegasus can never be broken. But if you had a mated pair..."

"You could train the young and sell them for a fortune."


"If you were just going to come right out and tell me this why did Glaucus feed me that line about Argo?"

"Pittheus is a very dull town if word leaked out I had a pegasus, I wouldn't be able to reach my own stables for the crowds. Now about my proposal if you still have the mare maybe we can make a deal. You do still have her?"

"I can get her. What sort of deal?"

"The first born as your personal mount, and say twenty-five percent of the profits on the rest."

"Say fifty percent and you've got yourself a deal." Xena lied.

"Very well fifty." Bellerophon lied back, "Where's the horse?"

"I'll bring it." said Xena turning to leave.

The sun was high in the afternoon sky as Skymane thundered down the trail. Iobates, Hippolochus and Isander now three abreast on horse back followed close behind. They were relieved to see the horse had abandoned its protector. However, as they pasted under a low hanging branch Gabrielle, hanging by her knees, swung down striking the three men in the jaws with her staff. Knocking them both from their horses and from consciousness.

"I can't believe that worked." Gabrielle said "Now how do I get down from here?"

Xena stood in the clearing examining a broken and bloody arrow. Around her were scattered several ropes and a net. Judging by the footprints Gabrielle had been here all right, and left with the horse deeper into the woods. Was she all right? If she was hurt Bellerophon was a dead man. And why hadn't the horse just flown away? Trust Gabrielle to find trouble in the most boring province in Greece.

Gabrielle sat in the shade of a tree eating the last of her meager rations, a few yards away Skymane nibbled at some tall grass.

When she had finished Gabrielle said to Skymane, "Hope you had a good dinner, because we should get moving. I don't think those three are going to give up."

Skymane, however, who had just found a particularly tasty clump of clover, was in no hurry to leave.

"Come on." Gabrielle urged the horse. "All right you win, I guess a few more minutes won't hurt, it'll give me a chance to take another look at that wing of yours."

"Wow!" Gabrielle exclaimed upon lifting the bandage. "You sure heal fast. At this rate you should be ready to fly in another day. Good thing too taking care of you is a full time job."

Skymane finished her dinner and looked back at Gabrielle.

"Oh. Are we ready to leave _now_. Well let's get moving."

This time Iobates wasn't taking any chances. He'd brought along five men to deal with the horse and three more to deal with the girl.

He'd tracked the two since they'd left the trail until he was sure he knew where they were headed. The girl had made a critical mistake she was headed straight for the ridge, and with the arrow in its wing the horse could hardly fly her down.

Xena led Argo along the creek-bed. There was no water in the bed, but the rocks were still damp, as if the stream had recently been dammed.

Xena quickly found the 'dam'. An unconscious blind cyclops of dubious personal hygiene. After suitable preparation, Xena splashed some water on his face to wake him.

"Hi. Remember me?" Xena asked while laying her sword across the monster's throat.

"Xena! When I get my hands on you you'll suffer as no human ever has." the cyclops bellowed.

"I try to control my terror." Xena said dryly. "I'm looking for a friend of mine. Young girl, may be traveling with a pegasus. Sound familiar?"

"Friend of yours. I might have known. Treacherous little b..."

"Ah-ah, Be nice." Xena said pressing the sword down a little more firmly.

"Yeah she was here. What do you think I'm doing in this stream?"

"I had hoped you were taking a bath. Was she all right?"

"She smelled fine to me."

With that Xena sheathed her sword and started to mount Argo. As she did so the cyclops got to his feet and rushed at her. Unfortunately he failed to notice that his sandles were tied together, tripped and crashed back down in the stream.

Behind a thin smile Xena thought 'Well he hasn't gotten any smarter.'

Gabrielle stood at the edge of the ridge, examining the steep drop off. "Just great. It will take hours to find a way down from up here."

"To bad you only have minutes left, I suggest you use them to make your peace with the gods." Iobates said as he Hippolochus and Isander emerged from the woods.

"Why don't you guys just turn around and go home? There's no way I'll let you have her." Gabrielle said stepping in front of Skymane and giving her staff a spin.

"Do you really think you can stop us?" Iobates asked.

"I did it before." Gabrielle responded.

"Which is why I brought along some extra help." As Iobates said this, five more men stepped out of the woods surrounding Gabrielle and Skymane.

"I don't suppose we can talk about his?" Gabrielle asked.

"Kill her, then let's get the horse and get out of here" Iobates ordered.

Gabrielle didn't know what to do. She was backed up against the cliff and could not retreat. She might be able to knock down one of the men and break loose, but that would mean abandoning Skymane.

One of the men drew a knife and began to move in on Gabrielle. Gabrielle jabbed at him with her staff and he jumped back grinning and untouched. It was obvious they were playing with her.

Several of other men drew their knives and began to move in. As they did so Skymane rushed up to Gabrielle put her head between Gabrielle's legs, then raising her head threw Gabrielle onto her back. Gabrielle sat up as Skymane thundered toward the cliff. As Gabrielle threw her arms around Skymane's neck yelling "Skymane! Nooo...", Skymane ran right off the edge of the cliff.

The eight men ran to the edge of the cliff to see the pegasus and the terrified girl awkwardly gliding toward the forest below. One of the men produced a crossbow and aimed it at the pair.

Iobates pulled it from his hands reminding him "The horse is no good to us dead."

"I thought you said the horse couldn't fly?" Hippolochus asked.

"That wasn't flying, that was just gliding." Iobates responded "But if we don't get them in the next day or two it will be flying. Come on let's find a way down."

Bellerophon sat it the pegasus' stall and watched the workmen's progress. He was angry at himself for agreeing too quickly to Xena's demands. She would know he planned to betray her. She would try to take the stallion for herself. But to do that she would use the mare as bait, and once inside she would find him well prepared even for the Warrior Princess.

Xena stood on the ridge holding Gabrielle's staff. She had been examining the tracks for several minutes now but none of it made any sense. Gabrielle and the horse had faced off against at least eight men, and had responded by flying off the cliff. But if the horse could fly why hadn't it done so sooner, and why had Gabrielle dropped her staff? It looked like the men were heading down to the base of the cliff. All she could do was follow them and hope they would lead her to Gabrielle.

It was a crisp clear night, the moon hung in the sky a thin silvery crescent. In the forest below, Gabrielle and Skymane had made camp in a thicket of trees.

"I'm sorry its so cold." said the shivering girl. The horse didn't seem to notice the weather. "I could start a fire, but I'm afraid it would lead them right to us."

Gabrielle sat down on the ground rubbing her arms to keep warm. After a minute Skymane knelt down next to her and covered Gabrielle with her good wing.

"Thank you." Gabrielle said, but she was asleep even as the words left her mouth.

If Gabrielle had been afraid to start a fire the men following her had no such qualms. They sat around their campfire drinking and talking, making it easy for Xena to catch up with them in the dark.

The next morning when they awoke, late and hungover, Xena had long since picked up Gabrielle and Skymane's trail.

Xena led Argo through the woods concentrating on the ground in front of her. She was getting close. She had already found the thicket where Gabrielle and the horse had spent the night. Suddenly a heavy branch came swinging out from behind a tree. Xena easily caught the branch and swinging it around sent the wielder flying to the ground.

"Xena! Am I glad to see you!" Gabrielle exclaimed.

"Really." Xena said examining the improvised weapon "What would you have done if you hadn't wanted to see me?"

"Oh that. Well with all that's been happening I sort of adopted a hit first and run like Hades policy." Gabrielle explained.

"Well this might work a little better." Xena said as she returned Gabrielle's Amazon fighting staff.

"I thought I had lost this."

"Now then where's the horse?"

As Xena asked, Skymane came out of the bushes and started to nuzzle Gabrielle. Gabrielle responded by stroking the horse's nose affectionately.

"You know when I suggested you get a horse this isn't what I had in mind." Xena observed.

"Hey, a horse is a horse. Besides I'm not keeping Skymane just taking care of her until her wing heals."

"Skymane?" Xena said from behind an arched brow.

"Well I probably should have named her after a boat or something, but I though it was appropriate."

"Ok truce. So her wing is hurt that explains a lot."

"Yeah, but she heals very fast. She'll probably be flying again in another day or two and then she'll be safe.

"I don't think so." Xena responded and quickly told Gabrielle about Bellerophon, the other pegasus and his plans for the two.

"He's not going to give up as long as he has one of them. Is he?" Gabrielle asked. "What are we going to do?"

"Would die in a pool of your own blood be too dramatic?" Iobates offered as his men came out of the woods surrounding the trio.

Xena drew her sword and prepared to met their rush. But it didn't come. Something was wrong Xena realized. Just then a pair of arrows streaked at her from the bushes. Iobates had a pair of archers in hiding.

Much to the surprise of the men, Xena caught the arrows out of the air. But in doing so she was forced to drop her sword, and had no time to recover it before the men charged her.

As the first man charged her trying to run her through with his sword Xena spun out of his way, jabbing one of her captured arrows through his sword arm, while simultaneously kicking another in the face.

As this was happening the two archers dropped their crossbows, drew their swords and joined a third man in attacking the young Amazon who was standing defensively in front of the horse.

One came from the front while the other two came at her from the sides. The one in front swung at Gabrielle, and she parried his blow to one side and spun away behind him and out from in between the two men rushing her from the sides.

The three men formed up in front of Gabrielle, and quickly swung their swords down at her. As she caught their blows on her staff Isander, who was one of the three, realized he had forgotten something very important. But, as he turned to check on the horse behind him, Skymane charged to her friends aid knocking the three men from their feet. Once they were on the ground Gabrielle's staff and Skymane's hooves quickly made sure they would be staying there for quite a while.

While this was going on, Xena dealt with the other men. The one with the arrow in his arm had quickly fled, the other four approached her a little more warily this time. Xena feinted at them with the other arrow, causing them to hesitate for a split second. Which was all the time Xena needed to grab her chakram and fling it at one of them. As she expected, he had time to duck, allowing the first the chakram, and then a second later a back flipping Xena to pass over him.

Xena landed behind the four men, bringing her foot down on the handle of her sword and flipping it into her hand. Moments later her chakram returned to her other hand.

Xena smiled. She had been angry and worried about Gabrielle all night. Now she had someone to take out her frustrations on.

With her battle cry of "Yiyiyiyiyiyiyiyi!" on her lips she wadded into the four men. Instantly one was one the ground, followed a second later by another. The last two tried to break and run. As Xena brought one down the other, Iobates broke from the battle almost escaping before Xena used her Chakram to drop a branch on him.

Once she was sure Gabrielle was safe, she whistled for Argo, and the two women and two horses started toward Pittheus.

"When get to Pittheus, this is what we're going to do..." Xena said to Gabrielle as they walked.

Glaucus sat at the counter in Epicurius' restaurant drinking a rather potent red wine, trying to decide how to tell Bellerophon he was leaving.

"Hello Glaucus." Xena said menacingly.

Glaucus bolted for the door, but Xena grabbed him by the arm and flipped him onto the counter top, breaking the counter and the crockery Epicurius had hidden there earlier. (Didn't you just know that was going to happen?)

"You weren't thinking of leaving were you?" Xena asked.

"No not at all I just thought you might want my stool. I would never try to run out on..."

"Be quite, and listen closely, I have a job for you."

The fire began around midnight, in less than a minute one of the stable boys had noticed the fire and raised the alarm. Withing two minutes Bellerophon and all his men were at the stables battling the blaze, while the stable boys led the horses to safety. By five minutes the fire was out. And Bellerophon's men started to put the stables back in order. Within a half an hour Bellerophon was back in bed after having checked to see that his pegasus was secure.

But in all the confusion no one notice the strawberry-blonde girl who slipped into the stables and secreted herself under a pile of straw near the pegasus stall.

It was just before dawn, the sky just beginning to lighten as Xena led Skymane through the city gates past the sleeping guard. She went straight to Bellerophon's and pounded loudly on the door.

"What Is It Now?" an annoyed Bellerophon asked as he opened the door. "Ah! Forgive me. I didn't get much sleep last night."

"Whatever, let's get the horse put away before someone sees it." Xena replied.

"No one saw you come in?"

"No. The guard was asleep. Wonderful security you have around here."

"Well as I said Pittheus is a very dull place." Bellerophon explained as he led Xena to the stables. "Please excuse the mess we had a small fire last night, but don't worry the stallion is safe."

Bellerophon took the key from around his neck and unlocked the pegasus stall. "Well shall we introduce the happy couple?" he joked as he opened the door leading Xena in.

As they entered, Bellerophon went to hang the keys on a hook while Xena drew her weapons.

"Is there no one you can trust anymore?" Bellerophon asked as his hand hit the hook, causing a net to drop on Xena from above.

As the net fell, Xena flung her chakram, which severed the chain holding the stallion. But as she brought up her sword to cut the net she was stunned when it hit the net with a clank. The 'net' was made of chains, and hit her full on trapping her.

Bellerophon quickly rushed to close the stable doors, but as he left the pegasus stall, Gabrielle leapt from her hiding place, and struck him from behind with her staff.

Before he could get up the two pegasus were thru the door. Bellerophon got up and raced out the door after them. When he got outside, he hit a wall of bodies. The entire town was in the street surrounding the horses.

Xena, now free of the net, and Gabrielle emerged from the stables, a few moments later.

"What are all these people doing here?" Bellerophon asked confused.

"We had a friend spread the word to come here just after dawn." Xena explained

"A friend? Who?" Bellerophon asked just as Glaucus emerged from the crowd. "You!" Bellerophon screamed going for the small man's throat, but Xena easily tripped him.

"In case you didn't figure it out I quit." Glaucus said departing.

Dusting himself off, Bellerophon glared at Xena, "You may have won this time..."

"...but one day you'll have the last laugh? Believe it or not I have heard that before." Xena said.

Bellerophon stormed off, as Xena and Gabrielle worked thru the crowd to the horses.

As soon as Xena removed its manacle the stallion leapt to the air. Now glowing as brightly as Skymane, he fluttered above the delighted crowd.

When Gabrielle removed the bandage, as she expected the wing was healed. Skymane started to take off but then stopped and looked at Gabrielle.

"Well what are you waiting for? Go on!" Gabrielle urged.

With that Skymane joined the stallion in the sky and the two danced and played together as they flew away.

"I don't suppose you've warmed to the idea of getting a horse?" Xena asked.

"I'll get a horse," Gabrielle answered watching the two pegasus fly away, "when they stop making them so close to the ground."

the end


No Pegasus, Pegasi, Pegasuses (whatever...) were harmed during the writing of this story.

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