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the debit, part one
ext. great wall of china - day
Xena and Gabrielle are painting their names on the great wall when a man stumbles toward them, bleeding and dying.
Xena cradles him in her arms.
('not this again')
I'm Xena. Who sent you?
I... I'm a messenger. The Quiet One Who Shushes With First Finger sent me...
You must... go to the Land Of Rus...
The man dies.
Huh? No way, Xena! We just blew a year's worth of budget here in Chin. We don't have any left for more epics! One-set comedies, that's all we can handle.
Then we'll have to save on your salary and I'll go alone.
Oh, now there's a fine solution.
I'm sorry, Gabrielle, but I have to go. I owe a great deal to The Librarian and if she needs me...
Better tell me the whole torrid, horrifying story so that I can be disgusted and betray you.
Sorry, just thinking ahead. So who's this Librarian?
ext. russian steppes - day
Xena and Gabrielle are the only two people for miles, walking through the Russian steppes.
...no, Gabrielle, this isn't about periodicals. It's about scrolls.
So what happened after you and this guy Dewey did the deed on top of the card catalogue?
That's when I met her. The Librarian. She was no stranger to numbers, but she wasn't obsessed with them, like Dewey. No, she was a different sort. Wild and free, putting fiction next to non, biographies with reference, the j's next to the w's -- nothing phased her. Structure, she said, was for the rest of the world. When you can get beyond logical organization, you can perform miracles. Then she zipped through the room two feet off the ground, tossing scrolls onto the shelves. Said it was easier than hauling a ladder around.
Suddenly, a cloud of dust can be seen in the distance. They watch as a weary traveler approaches. Xena strips off her clothes and jumps in a nearby mudhole. Finally, he pulls up his horse.
Most nice greetings to you, Stranger.
Uh... howdy. Hang on a sec.
Gabrielle leans her head into the mud and attempts to pass air to Xena. Unfortunately, Xena is several feet away breathing through a hollow reed. Gabrielle finishes locking lips with a mud turtle and returns her attention to the traveler.
Must get that turtle's number...
May I help you?
I heard Xena had entered the Land of Rus.
Yeah. I'll sell her to you for thirty dinars.
Okay, twenty-five. But that's my best offer.
Um... I be here to return bracer Quiet One Who Shushes With First Finger borrow ten winters ago. I am not needing to be buying her.
Oh. Okay, I'll pass it on.
The traveler hands Gabrielle the bracer and turns around. Xena slowly rises out of the mud, the hollow reed between her teeth, her blue eyes the only color on her filth-covered face.
Uh... Xena? I can explain...
Xena walks right up to Gabrielle, removes the reed and smiles.
Did you know that if you blow just right into these things they play a little tune? Listen!
Xena blows into her hollow reed, playing Proud Mary.
I take it you didn't hear what went on with the traveler?
No, I had mud in my ears. What did he want?
He came to give you this bracer. Said it was from that quiet person.
Xena looks at it, her expression intense.
What is it? What's wrong?
C'mon, we have to hurry.
Xena starts jogging ahead, while Gabrielle gathers up the warrior's discarded clothing.
Don't you want to get dressed first?
No time. I'll just be naked until half-way through part two. It's sweeps month.
Gabrielle checks the velcro that fastens her clothes to her body, sighing happily.
Thank the gods she's willing to do all the naked stuff. Gotta love that woman.
(checking out Xena from behind)
And gotta love those shoulders and that back!
I'll just wait here!
int. library - night
Xena slips silently through the stacks, library card in her mouth. She gets on all fours and creeps toward the front desk. Slowly she rises, the card held high when the librarian turns around and -- it's Gabrielle!
to be continued...
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