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Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle, Melinda Pappas, Janice Covington and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess, together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must include all disclaimers and copyright notices.

NOTE: All works remain the (c) copyright of the original author. These may not be republished without the author's consent.


This story depicts scenes of graphic violence and/or their aftermath. Readers who are disturbed by or sensitive to this type of depiction may wish to read something other than this story.

This story depicts a love/sexual relationship between two consenting adult women. If you are under 18 years of age or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it. If depictions of this nature disturb you, you may wish to read something other than this story.


You may find it useful to read my other story "Vengeance Springs Eternal" before reading this one. It will explain more thoroughly the presence of one of the characters found herein, as well as certain other events mentioned along the way.

As always, I appreciate comments on my stories. Let me know what you think.

Xena: Warrior Princess


By: Fu Bard

Ch. 1-9 Ch. 10-17 Ch. 18-28


They finished undressing each other slowly, laying their clothes beside the hot tub, while they explored their borrowed bodies with hands, tongues, and lips. In a few moments, both women stepped into the warm water, then sat down against the edge, side by side. Xena leaned over and once again thrust her tongue into the bard's willing, hungry mouth and they exchanged a long, sensuous kiss. Xena pulled Gabrielle into her lap smoothly - never breaking their passionate embrace. The bard settled onto her lover's hips, pressing her bobbing breasts against the warrior's own full, firm pair, as the warm steam swirled around them...

In the tree over their heads, a small pair of hands parted the thick leaves to get a better view of the tub below. Hanging on to the limber branch with both rear 'hands' and his tail, Rick watched as the two women continued their lovemaking, oblivious to the spying eyes above them.

"Oh, wow!" he thought. "A bird's eye view of every subtexter's dream - Xena and Gabrielle making out in a hot tub! Maybe being a monkey for a while has its advantages." He continued watching the women below, but then felt a slight twinge of guilt, as the lovers beneath him began to move deeper into their throes of passion. "This isn't right. They deserve to make love in private, especially after all those years apart. I should go..."

He debated it for about two more seconds.

"Nah - what fan wouldn't stay and watch?" He shifted his position slightly, to get around an annoying leaf that was blocking his view of a particularly intriguing piece of Gabrielle's anatomy - then he kept on watching.

Below him, Gabrielle began sliding her hips back and forth across her lover's own, as Xena pushed up to meet the bard's rhythmic motion. They continued this for some time, each emitting moans of pleasure and sounds of intensifying ecstasy. Gabrielle leaned back and moved her hands to the tub's floor behind her, bracing against it as they intertwined their legs, allowing them to press their yearning bodies together in that most intimate of ways. As they ground against each other, Gabrielle began to moan loudly, her body twitching in anticipation of what was to come. Xena leaned back against the side of the tub, raising her arms to lie on the edge of the patio for support.

Xena arched her back, pressing against Gabrielle - then she suddenly grabbed the chakram and hurled it upward. The razor sharp circle sliced right through the branch that Rick was holding on to. Caught completely by surprise, he was unable to even attempt to grab anything and plummeted down from the canopy!

As Gabrielle backed out of the way, Xena reached out with her right hand - knocking the branch aside and catching the monkey by the tail, inches before he smacked into the wooden deck at the edge of the tub! Seconds later, she caught the returning chakram with her left hand. She held the furry peeping tom in front of her face, upside down - giving him that famous Xena stare...

"Just what do you think you were doing?" she asked.

He saw an inverted, stone-faced, and definitely peeved Warrior Princess, just inches from his tiny body. He gulped involuntarily - rubbing his hands together nervously as he swung back and forth in a small arc. "I uh... I was... That is to say, I mean..."

"Shame on you!" Gabrielle said. "What would Ephiny think?"

Xena continued to stare at him. "That's a good question. What WOULD Ephiny say about this?"

Rick, even though his face was totally covered in fur, managed to give the distinct impression of blushing beet red. "Knowing her - I think she'd probably make me take the Amazon trial by fire, for this one," he said. "You're not gonna tell her, are you?" He tried really hard to look as cute and innocent as possible...

Xena looked at Gabrielle - raising an eyebrow as she did. "What do you think?"

Rick turned his head to stare at the naked bard - careful to look ONLY at her face. He smiled broadly, with his oversized teeth, and gave her the most charming monkey look he could manage.

The bard tried her best to imitate her lover's serious, warrior scowl - without dying laughing, as she felt like doing. "Well, I guess if he apologizes and promises never to do it again..."

"I swear!" Rick said. "I'm sorry I was spying on you. I know it was wrong, but I just couldn't resist..."

Xena set him down on the edge of the deck. "Get out of here and don't let me catch you watching us again - or I'LL light the pit myself at the trial!"

They watched as the monkey scampered up the nearest tree, leapt onto the house and continued on - jumping from branch to branch until they lost sight of him. He stopped in the crown of a huge, gnarled tree - about two hundred yards from the house. "Whew! That was definitely a close one," he said to himself, as he settled into the fork of a large limb. "I won't be doing THAT again any time soon." Leaning back, he broke into a huge grin. "But it sure was WORTH it!"

Xena and Gabrielle watched the monkey as it disappeared, then looked at each other across the steaming water and began laughing hysterically!

"I think you really scared him," the bard said, as she snuggled up to the warrior once more, "the poor thing."

"Well, he deserved it," Xena replied, with a smile. She lay down her chakram, put her arm around her lover, and pulled her close, turning Gabrielle to face her.

"Now - where were we?" she asked, as she bent down toward her lover's waiting mouth. They began kissing again, Xena once more lifting Gabrielle onto her lap and allowing the bard to straddle her hips. This time, the warrior ran her hand along her lover's thigh, then slowly slid two fingers inside the girl's shuddering body. Gabrielle involuntarily clenched her thighs together as Xena's fingers began to tease the delicate membrane deep within the bard's body. Moaning in delight, Gabrielle arched backwards and Xena took advantage of the movement. She leaned forward and sucked a tender, pink nipple into her mouth while kneading the soft fullness of the other breast with her free hand. Xena continued sucking and squeezing, as she slid another finger inside and began to probe deeper, flexing her fingers and curling them up - finally touching the spot she sought. The bard's body tensed and she sat upright, unintentionally pulling her breast from Xena's mouth. The warrior merely shifted her attention to another spot - now beginning to suck on her young lover's neck while she continued to move her fingers in a rhythmic motion.

Gabrielle ran her hands over Xena's back, slid them around her ribcage, and up the sides of the warrior's breasts. She began to squeeze the firm softness under her hands, lightly pinching each nipple in time to the motion of Xena's fingers inside her body. As the need inside her built toward its inevitable climax, Gabrielle's squeezing grew rougher and she pinched Xena's breasts with more relish - knowing that the warrior enjoyed a little pain at times. Xena gasped out her pleasure and started biting the young girl's neck in addition to sucking - the bard sometimes enjoyed a little roughness too. When her lover's teeth nipped her in that tender spot beneath her ear, Gabrielle could hold back no more. She suddenly bent backwards, shouting out her pleasure! Xena took advantage of the position and once again began sucking the bard's breasts, alternating between them as Gabrielle trembled, moaned, and screamed out her lover's name! For the bard, the orgasm seemed to go on and on forever...

Finally, she relaxed, leaning forward and allowing her head to rest on Xena's shoulder. The warrior removed her fingers and pulled her lover close - holding and caressing her as her breathing slowed and she returned from the heights of ecstasy inside of which she'd been lost.

"That was worth waiting two thousand years for," Gabrielle said quietly.

"I'm glad you thought so," Xena replied, smiling with satisfaction. She could think of nothing that meant more to her than pleasing her lover, in any way she could.

Gabrielle leaned back and looked into her soul mate's eyes, giving her a pleading look. "Can we go to bed now?"

Xena was a little disappointed, but she could understand that her lover was probably very tired by their travels and now from her intense orgasm. "Sure we can. Let's get out of here, go find the bedroom, and get some sleep." She slid the bard off of her lap, then stood up and grabbed her chakram.

After she'd turned around, Xena suddenly felt her lover's teeth nip her muscular behind. Gabrielle slid her hand between the warrior's thighs and began rubbing her obviously swollen cleft, as she continued to nibble the warm, soft skin of Xena's shapely bottom. "I never said that I wanted to go to sleep. I just don't think I can hold my breath long enough for what I have in mind."

Xena laughed softly. "You managed pretty well that time we were 'fishing' by the waterfall - remember?"

Gabrielle raised up and put her arms around her lover, pressing her breasts into Xena's back. "Yeah, but I wanna do it much longer this time - we have two millennia to make up for."


They got out of the tub, dried off with some towels from the bath house, and grabbed their clothes. Arm in arm and wrapped in the towels, they walked inside the house - remembering to leave the door ajar to allow Rick back inside, when he returned. Xena put her chakram back into the pack beside the couch on their way to the stairs. They went up and opened the first door that they saw. It was very dark inside and they couldn't see anything. "How did Salamon make that room light up before?" Gabrielle asked.

"I think he pushed on the wall," Xena replied. "He did something near the door and the room lit up when that candelabra on the ceiling started glowing - like those lighted gauge things on the airplane and in the car, remember?"

"Well, let's see." Gabrielle began pushing on the wall inside the doorframe. "Nope, nothing is happening, maybe you have to..." Her hand bumped against the light switch on the wall, flipping it up and turning the light on.

"You did it." Xena said, as she looked at the switch. She flipped it back down and the lights went off once more. She toggled it back up and they came on again. "Instant light - how convenient."

Gabrielle walked inside the room, closing the door and tugging Xena behind her toward the large canopied bed she saw in the corner. "Enough of the magic light though. I have more important things in mind." She tossed her clothes into a chair, then took Xena's from her and added them to the pile. "The bed looks very comfortable. How about we find out?" She grinned mischievously, yanked off her and Xena's towels, and then fell back onto the feather mattress, pulling her lover with her as she did.

"By the gods!" she said, looking up above her.

Xena turned her head and looked up as well - to see she and Gabrielle's image reflected back toward her. The top of the canopy was covered with mirrors.

"Why do you suppose someone would put mirrors on the top of their bed?" Gabrielle asked. "Maybe so they could brush their hair without getting up?"

Xena just smiled and then gave her beautiful, if somewhat naïve lover a kiss. She pulled back and then lay over on her side, running her hands up and down the bard's body and watching her reflection do the same thing in the mirrors overhead. "Think about it, Gabrielle."

The bard continued to look into the mirror for a few seconds, before realization finally struck her. "Oooh - I see. It's so you can watch..." She stopped talking and her face began to turn red. "I don't know if I like that or not. It seems kinda kinky doesn't it?"

Xena laughed as she continued to rub her lover's body and watch the mirrors overhead. "I think I do like it. I guess it must be the bad girl in me."

"You're just trying to corrupt me, aren't you?" Gabrielle asked, as she smiled playfully at her soul mate.

Xena pulled her close. "Definitely," she said, before she pressed her mouth to Gabrielle's. They kissed passionately, pressing their hungry bodies together. Finally, the bard pulled away, changing her position so that she was able to begin planting kisses all over Xena's naked belly. The Warrior Princess squirmed as her lover continued kissing and licking, working her way down toward Xena's wet folds. Once there, she immediately plunged her tongue inside, tasting the salty sweetness she found within. Gabrielle began rubbing Xena's swollen womanhood between her thumb and finger, gently, as she licked and probed the warrior's wetness.

Xena had almost forgotten how good her bard was at this oral lovemaking. Though the warrior had taken many lovers in the past, both male and female, she'd never had one who could equal Gabrielle in this way. Her body jerked and twisted as the young girl worked her magic with that incredible tongue, causing Xena to become lost in the ecstasy she was experiencing. She loved Gabrielle so much for many reasons. She loved her kindness, her love of life, her beauty - but she had to admit that her soul mate's lovemaking skills were definitely another reason. Xena suddenly had an overwhelming impulse to share her love with Gabrielle in this most intimate of ways. She pulled the bard's head up, albeit reluctantly.

"Let me do this for you too," she begged. "Turn around so that I can reach you - please?"

Gabrielle just smiled, then rotated her body around so that her hips were over her lover's face. She immediately slipped her hands under Xena's behind and began to pleasure her once more.

Xena grabbed the bard's firm, muscular bottom, pulling the girl's hips to her face. She began licking the outside of Gabrielle's warm, moist opening, before sliding her fingers inside as well. She saw a ripple of pleasure pass through the thighs on either side of her face, and then Xena closed her eyes and lost herself in her lover's body.

Both women continued sucking and licking, using their tongues and lips to give the other pleasure. Fingers slipped inside bodies, remaining covered with warm, sticky wetness when they were withdrawn. Hands caressed tender, soft skin. Both women gave themselves over completely to desire, and to pleasing the other's desire. They were both trying to see who could make the other wait the longest, hoping to prolong the act as much as possible - a game Gabrielle had taught the impatient warrior. Xena used to prefer fast paced, very physical lovemaking, but the bard had shown her how exquisite a slow and gentle style could be. Now, they each struggled to make it last...

Xena couldn't hold out any more. Gabrielle's earlier orgasm must've bought her some time, because she held out the longest. The Warrior Princess suddenly stiffened, then she began convulsing with wave after wave of incredible delight as a shuddering orgasm ran through her body! Seconds later, Gabrielle did the same, her body arching as she came much harder than she had before! Each of them continued to give the other pleasure, however. Even through the haze of overpowering nerve impulses they were experiencing, the desire to please their lover shone through...

Then, in the middle of this overload of sexual sensation, both of them were surrounded with the emerald glow of the stone of Seti...

Melinda was overwhelmed by the sudden transition from the void inside the stone to her body - which was in the middle of a wracking, mind-numbing orgasm. She had never felt anything so powerful and she just gave in to the overload as her body continued to spasm and squirm.

Janice felt much the same thing. One minute, she felt nothing and the next, her nerves were filled with incredible, wonderful sensations as her body moved and shifted, reveling in the feelings.

In a few moments, both women's bodies were drained of energy from the powerful orgasms. Jan collapsed on top of Mel and lay there, breathing heavily. Melinda was utterly exhausted too and both were still trying to comprehend what was happening. Shortly, they recovered enough to think about what had occurred...

Jan raised her head from between her friend's thighs, finally aware of what had been going on. She rolled to the side and got up from the bed quickly, looking down at Mel's naked body before her. So many times she'd fantasized about this and now it had happened. She'd had Melinda at last, if only through Xena and Gabrielle's efforts. It hit her then, like a bolt of lightning! "They truly were lovers," she thought.

Melinda watched as Janice leapt from the bed. "My, god - Ah was right!" she thought, as she licked her lips, sampling the musky residue that she found there. "Xena and Gabrielle WERE lovers - and they were usin our bodies to..." She watched Janice as her friend began picking up the clothes that lay on the chair beside her.

"I'm sorry, Mel," Jan said. "You were right about them and I was wrong - I just wish that we hadn't found out this way." She slipped her underwear on and began putting on her bra. "I know that you must be embarrassed by this, but I hope it won't hurt our friendship." She turned her back and started putting her shirt on. "I don't know where we are, but I'll go find somewhere else to sleep and..." She stopped talking as a pair of warm hands reached around her, pulling her up against an equally warm body.

Mel gave her friend a squeeze, her voice shaky as she spoke. "Ya don't have to leave, if ya don't want to, Janice. To tell ya the truth, Ah'd really like it if ya'd stay." She couldn't believe that she'd said it, but Melinda was glad to finally be able to tell her friend how she felt - no matter what the outcome.

Jan turned around inside Melinda's embrace, looking up into those beautiful, blue eyes. She couldn't believe what she'd just heard. After all this time, was her dream finally going to be realized? "You mean you want me to stay and... and sleep with you?"

Mel's lip was quivering now. "It's too late to turn back now," she thought. "Either she thinks Ah'm disgustin or she'll stay." She forced herself to speak. "Yes, Janice - Ah'd very much like ya to sleep with me. Ah've wanted ya to for a long, long time." She continued staring into Jan's green eyes, trying to see what was behind them.

Jan didn't speak. She just pulled Melinda down to her and pressed her lips against the beautiful southern belle's own, trembling pair. They held each other and exchanged a sweet, gentle kiss that went on and on. Finally, their faces moved apart, though they continued to stare into each other's eyes.

A hesitant grin slowly spread across Mel's face. She spoke, softly, as a tear ran from the corner of her eye. "Ah take it that means ya'd like to stay?"

Janice reached up and kissed the tear away, then smiled warmly as she caressed her friend's face. "It most definitely does. Mel, I've wanted you since the day you walked into my tent in Macedonia. I've never met a more beautiful, wonderful woman in my life and..." Damn it - she was going to tell it all and let the chips fall where they may! "...and I'm in love with you, Melinda Pappas."

The most beautiful smile Jan had ever seen lit up Mel's face. "Oh, Janice - Ah'm in love with you too!" she replied - more tears falling from her eyes now.

They each wrapped their arms around the other, holding on tightly, as if they were afraid that somehow letting go could make them lose the truth that had finally been spoken between them. After many minutes, Jan pulled away and began removing her shirt. "So what do you say we get to bed, before Xena and Gabrielle come back?"

Melinda nodded her head as she wiped away her tears of joy. Janice took her hand, leading her back to the bed they'd shared - and yet not shared - just minutes before...


They made love, hesitantly at first, but with increasing gusto as the night wore on. Jan was much more accomplished at lovemaking, but lacked experience in the tender side of physical love. She'd had many women in her past, but little in the way of relationships. Her encounters had been mostly swift, furious sexual liaisons and she was unused to the gentle, highly emotional lovemaking that Melinda wanted.

Melinda, on the other hand, had no experience with women, and truthfully, not too much with men - her former boyfriend hadn't exactly been a great lover. She was unsure of her abilities and Jan had to teach her many of the purely physical aspects of making love to another woman. Melinda was a very adept and eager student, however, so it didn't take her long to master many of the basics and Janice was soon experiencing pleasure like she'd never known. Mel was a very emotional person and expressive with her desires and feelings - unlike her partner, who tended to keep everything inside. She was able to help Jan enjoy many of the sublime aspects of sex, which the brash adventuress had missed out on in the past.

Throughout the night, they each used the skills and abilities they both had, teaching the other what they knew and learning how to please each other in the process. They made love until the wee hours of the morning, reveling in their newfound relationship and not wanting to quit, but finally being forced to give in to exhaustion. Just before sunrise, they fell asleep - wrapped in each other's arms on top of the warm, damp sheets...

Rick awoke to the sound of clanking metal. He opened his eyes and looked around, taking a moment to figure out that he was still in the tree he'd fallen asleep in last night. He yawned, stretching his hairy arms behind his head, then looked down to see what had wakened him.

"Oh, fuck!" he thought, as he saw a line of German armored half-tracks pass by on the road beneath him - headed for the stone house. He jumped up and began leaping from branch to branch and tree to tree, making his way toward the back door on the patio. He reached it just as the first soldiers began to dismount, moving through the gate and fanning out to encircle to building.

Rick scampered through the door, heading for the stairs to go wake the girls, when suddenly, he heard a voice, obviously being amplified through a loudspeaker. "Doctor Covington, Ms. Pappas - ve haf you surrounded. Come out at once, or ve vill have to come in and get you. Zis is Colonel Khali Schtowe speaking. You haf ten seconds to decide..."

Rick stopped in his tracks. "Khali - oh hell! If she gets her hands on the stone..." He scurried over to the small backpack that Gabrielle had set on the floor. He shoved the Thompson across the floor and it skidded far underneath the heavy, wooden bar. Quickly, he tossed the whip after it, then grabbed the backpack containing Xena's chakram and the emerald. Suddenly, he heard the sound of splintering wood as the soldiers began hacking the front door open with an axe. He looked around frantically, trying to think of someplace that he could hide...

Jan jerked awake when she heard the voice over the bullhorn. She shook Melinda then jumped from the bed, grabbing her clothes. "Mel get up and get dressed - quick! The damn Germans are outside!" Jan silently cursed herself. How could she be so stupid? Allowing herself to get distracted by her desires and letting them be trapped like this.

Mel got up quickly. She grabbed her glasses from her shirt pocket and began getting dressed. Just as she finished, they heard the door being forced below them. Janice reached inside her jacket pocket, grabbing her pistol. With the Thompson and her whip downstairs, this was all she had to defend herself and her friend. No, not just her friend - her lover. Even as she heard the sound of hobnailed boots coming up the stairs, she took comfort in the knowledge that she'd at least made love with Mel, before the end came. She reached over and grabbed Melinda, pushing over a stout wooden table and pulling her lover behind it with her. "THE FIRST NAZI BASTARD THROUGH THAT DOOR GETS A BULLET IN HIS BRAIN!" she shouted.

Khali's voice came through the door from the hallway beyond. "Doctor Covington - be reasonable. I haf an entire company of vell-armed men vis me. Don't allow yourself and your friend to be killed, just to protect an ancient stone. Surrender your veapons, give me ze emerald, and ve vill zen talk about your future."

Jan was taken aback by that statement. Surely they'd already seen the backpack holding the stone. It was in plain sight just inside the door - unless Rick had managed to hide it somehow...

"How do I know you won't just kill us anyway?" she asked.

"You must trust me Dr. Covington," Khali replied, smiling grimly as she did so. "At any rate, you haf little choice. Come out and give us ze stone - or die along vis your friend. Zhink of her as vell, before you decide."

Jan looked Mel in the eyes, then took her hand, kissing it gently. "I'm gonna give up," she said. "If it were just me, I'd go down fighting, but..."

"No, Janice," Mel replied, "we're in this together. If we're gonna die, then we do it side by side. I love you." She pulled Jan to her and kissed her passionately.

Jan responded in kind, then drew back, standing to face the door. "I love you too, Mel. That's why I've got to give up. If there is a way out of this, I'll find it - and I can't just watch you die." She walked over to the door and turned the knob, opening it slowly. Tossing her gun out into the corridor, she said "Alright, Colonel - you win."

Several soldiers pushed the door open and ran into the room, grabbing Jan's arms and pinning them behind her. Several more surrounded Melinda as Khali walked into the room. "A vize choice, Dr. Covington. You vill find zat ve Nazi's are not as brutal as many haf made us out to be." She suddenly raised her pistol and slammed it into the side of Jan's head, grinning evilly as she did so!

"JANICE!" Mel screamed. She struggled to get to her lover, but the soldiers held her back.

As Jan slumped to the floor, Khali kicked her in the side several times! "You vill find zat ve are MUCH MORE brutal zan you've heard!" She spoke in German to her subordinate. "Take them away - and search the house. We must have that stone!"

"At once, Colonel," her second in command replied, motioning to his men to get started.

Mel tried to bend down and touch Janice, as they hustled her toward the door, but the men wouldn't let her. She looked back with tears in her eyes. "Janice... Janice - are you OK?" Then the men had her out in the hall and took her downstairs where she was lead outside to the waiting vehicles. Two men dragged Jan's unconscious body between them and took her to join her friend.

An hour later, Khali's second in command came to report to her as she sat in the den. "We have searched the entire house, Colonel, and found no trace of the stone."

"They must have hidden it before getting here," she replied. "Very well - recall your men. Let us go back to the castle. We Will find out where they hid it - one way or another." She got up and walked outside, getting into the half-track parked beside the gate. It started up, then began making its way back down the mountain road, followed by all the other vehicles...

The morning sun came out from behind the clouds, birds began singing, and hungry squirrels darted among the tree, looking for their breakfast of nuts. Unless they'd happened to see the broken door of the house, a casual passer-by would never have known what happened here just a short time ago.

An hour later, a single car could be heard driving slowly up the road. It came into view as it neared the house, then pulled up to the gate and parked. A solitary, balding man got out and walked up to the splintered door.

Salamon looked at the broken wood and then he stepped inside to see the ransacked den. "Oh, no... The boss is not gonna be happy about this," he whispered, as he walked around the room, surveying the devastation. He moved to the base of the stairs, calling out as he did. "Xena, Gabrielle - are you here?"

"Salamon - is that you?" a faint voice called from somewhere.

"Who is that?" he asked, as he walked back toward the far side of the room. He had heard a faint scrambling sound, but couldn't figure out where it came from. He bent down and looked under the couch. "Hello?" he said quietly.

Suddenly, a loud crash came from behind him!

"AHHHHHHHH! I GIVE UP!" he yelled, as he stood upright and raised his hands.

"Salamon - chill out. It's me," he heard a voice answer. He turned his head to look behind him - and saw the monkey sitting in the fireplace. The animal was covered in soot and ashes and he sat on a filthy green backpack.

"When those damn Nazis broke in, I had to grab the pack and climb up the chimney to keep 'em from getting the stone," Rick said, as he tried to brush off the worst of the soot. "I would've climbed on out, but the builders put a grate over the top, so I couldn't. I'm just glad nobody decided to start a fire. Anyway, the Nazi's captured Mel and Jan and said that they were taking them to some castle. Do you know what they meant?"

"I thought their names were Xena and Gabrielle." Salamon said, as he scratched his head.

"Well, they are, but... Look, It's a long story and I'll tell you later," Rick replied. "What about the castle?"

Salamon tugged at his beard as he thought. "Hmmmm. They must've meant the old castle near Corleone. The Nazis have been using it as a base for months now."

"Well, we've got to go see if we can find them," Rick replied. "Maybe we can find some way of getting them out?" He scampered over to the bar and crawled far underneath it. After a few seconds, he came back out, dragging the Thompson and whip with him. "At least they didn't find these."

"We can't get them out of that castle," Salamon said. "It's impregnable. It sits on top of a five hundred foot cliff. Why do you think the Nazis picked it for a headquarters?"

"Well, we'd better think of a way," Rick replied, as he scratched at the pesky flee once more. This time, he got it. before he realized what he was doing, he had automatically put it in his mouth and 'Crunch!'

"YUUCCCKK!" He spat and spluttered for a second, then jumped up onto Salamon's back. "Look - the longer I stay in this body, the more monkey-like I seem to be getting. The only way I can get my old body back is to get this damn stone to that volcano - and the same goes for Xena and Gabrielle . I am NOT staying in this body and eating fleas for the rest of my life! Besides, if we don't alter this timeline, the Nazis will rule the entire world - including Sicily. So either you help me, or kiss your business and lifestyle goodbye! Also - they know you were involved with us, or will soon enough. So if they take over the world, it's just a matter of time before they find you and then..." He made the motion of a knife cutting across his throat with his paw.

Salamon quickly grabbed the Thompson and the backpack from the floor and then he reached up and began rubbing his neck. "I see your point." He turned and walked out the door, heading for his car...


Melinda held Jan's head in her lap, as she sat on the cold, stone bench. They had been moved from the truck and then dumped unceremoniously into this dungeon cell several hours ago. In that time, she'd seen no one and Jan had not awakened. She glanced around the room, which was illuminated only by the light from two tiny, barred windows - one in the thick, metal door and one in the wall opposite the door. Melinda had looked outside and seen only an unfamiliar valley, far below her. The castle they'd been brought to was apparently situated on the edge of a very high cliff. As Mel rubbed her lover's head, the unconscious blond began to stir, moaning softly.

"Janice, are ya OK?" Melinda asked. She gently squeezed the hand she'd been holding for so long.

"I think so," Jan replied. "Where are we?" She sat up slowly, looking around the room while reaching inside her jacket pocket.

"Ah'm afraid they took your cigars and your lighter when they brought us in here," Mel said.

"Damn 'em to hell, anyway." The groggy blond got up and walked over to the window, looking down toward the ground beneath them. "I guess escape is gonna be harder than I'd hoped."

"Well, Janice - at least we're here together," Mel said, trying to smile. "If we have to die, Ah hope we get to do that together too. Ah hate to think of it happenin alone. It's just..." Her voice cracked and she began to cry, quietly.

Jan walked over to her newfound lover and sat down beside her, hugging her tightly. "You listen to me, Mel - we're not gonna die. I won't let that happen." She tipped her friend's head up, looking into those incredible, blue eyes, which were only slightly dimmed by the tears in them now. "I've been in jams almost as bad as this and I've always gotten out before. Now that I've finally found someone to fill the void that's been in my life for so long, I'm damn sure not gonna give up so easily." She drew Mel's head down and kissed her gently...

"Isn't zat sveet?" Khali said, as she looked through the small barred window in the door. "Such love between two people is a rare zhing - and a veakness as vell." She motioned behind her and several guards came into the cell. "Dr. Covington - you vill come vis us to ze interrogation room. Ve vill discuss ze location of ze crystal now." She turned on her heel and walked back down the corridor, her footsteps echoing off of the stone walls as she did.

The men grabbed Jan roughly, pinning her arms and pulling her away from Mel, toward the door. Melinda held her lover's hand until it was yanked away.

"Ah love you, Janice!" she called, as they passed into the hallway.

"I love you too, Mel," her friend replied. "Don't forget that." The remaining guard slammed the door, locked it, and then followed his fellow soldiers.

Mel's voice was a barely audible whisper, as she began to cry softly once again. "Ah won't, Janice - ever..." She walked over and sat down on the bench. As she did so, the emerald glow enveloped her body...

Xena glanced around the room - her warrior instincts sizing up her situation instantly. She took off Melinda's glasses and stuck them in her pocket. "A dungeon is still a dungeon, even two thousand years later," she thought, as she got up and looked out the window. "I wonder where in Hades we are now and how we got here?" She walked over to the iron door, testing it for weaknesses. She suddenly tensed, as she detected a faint scratching noise coming from behind her...

"Melinda, Janice - are you in there?" Rick's whispering voice came in through the narrow window.

Xena moved over and looked out through the bars. "It's Xena now. Where are you?"

"Finally," she heard him say. "I've been climbing all over this damned wall looking for you." A small, furry hand reached over the ledge, then another, followed by an equally furry body as the monkey pulled himself up and sat down. Mel's small pack was strapped to his back, though it was as big as he was. "Monkey or not - five hundred feet straight up with this damn backpack on was not an easy climb!" He took the rucksack off and shoved it through the bars, then squeezed inside also.

Xena took the pack and opened it, as the monkey jumped to the floor beside her. She withdrew her chakram, running her fingers lovingly over the familiar metal. Reaching in again, she pulled out Jan's whip.

"I thought you might need those," Rick said, as he looked around the room. "Where's Jan?"

"I don't know," she replied. "I just traded places with Melinda a few minutes before you got here and..." She stopped talking as the sound of hobnailed boots on stone filtered through the iron door...

The Nazi guard tossed his cigarette away when he approached the cell, which held the American woman. He belched, emitting the smell of schnapps from his mouth, as he fumbled with the key ring on his side. Though the Colonel had left orders that no one but her be allowed to see the prisoners, he had other ideas. He'd been on continuous duty for a long time now and hadn't been to town in quite a while. The American woman was much more beautiful than any of the trollops from the nearby town anyway. Besides, what the Colonel didn't know, wouldn't matter. He finally found the correct key, unlocked the door, and pushed it open quietly. The attractive brunette was lying on the stone bench, apparently asleep. "All the better," he thought, as he walked over to where she lay.

He stopped next to her, admiring the long, shapely legs that disappeared beneath her red skirt. Licking his lips in anticipation, he reached down and ran his hand along a lovely calf, across the knee, then further - sliding up the thigh and under her dress. Before he could even blink, two hands shot out and strong fingers slammed into his throat! He collapsed to his knees, gasping for breath, as the woman sat up and looked him in the eye.

"Just so you know," she said, "I've cut off the flow of blood to your brain. You'll be dead in thirty seconds - unless you tell me where my friend is."

"V..vas?" He looked at her with panicky, uncomprehending eyes.

"Oh, swell," a voice said, from outside the window. "He doesn't speak English. He can't tell us what we need to know."

"Well, I guess I'll just have to find Janice myself," Xena said. She jammed her fingers into his neck once more, releasing the pinch she'd placed on him. He sagged down onto all fours, then looked up - just in time to see Xena's fist slam into his face! When he fell backwards to the floor, his bladder released, soiling the front of his pants as he lost consciousness.

Rick climbed in through the bars and jumped to the floor, noticing the stain on the Nazi's pants and the smell of liquor on his breath. "The master race... Right."

Xena walked over to the door and looked out, seeing no one in the hall. She grabbed Jan's whip from the pack, looping it around her waist and securing it. Taking her chakram as well, she headed out the door, then stopped. "You go tell Salamon to meet us at the base of the hill," she said, looking down at the monkey.

He tried to argue with her. "You might need my help or..."

She silenced him with her steely gaze. "Don't argue with me - just do it! I'll go get Janice and meet you both soon. This is a job for a warrior - not a monkey." She eased her stare a bit and quirked the corners of her mouth into a slight smile.

"Oh, sure," he replied, "throw that up in my face again." He put the empty pack on and jumped up to the windowsill. "Good luck," he said, as he slipped through the bars and then disappeared over the ledge.


Jan was standing upright in the center of the room, between two pillars - with her arms splayed out to the sides and angled upward. The guards had made sure that the chains were very tight, so her shoulders felt as if they were being wrenched out of socket. She glared at her captors as Khali gave instructions, in German, to the guards.

"You two remain here, you two guard the door, and the rest of you return to your duties." She smiled wickedly as she glanced over toward her prisoner. "I think we can handle the infamous Dr. Covington now." The soldiers did as they were told, and she walked over to Janice - removing her cap and picking up a mace as she did. The two remaining men watched and smiled, in anticipation of what was to come.

"Now Dr. Covington," she said, in a very quiet voice, "vere is ze emerald?"

Jan looked her square in the eye. "Go to hell!"

The Colonel slammed the mace into her captive's stomach, causing the woman to gasp for breath and lower her chin to her chest. After a few moments, Jan raised back up and looked Khali in the eye once more. "I said, go to hell!"

The Nazi woman drove the end of her mace into Jan's gut again, forcing the breath from her body. "I see zat you are no stranger to pain Dr. Covington. Zat is very good - I enjoy a challenge." As Janice hung from the chains, gasping, Khali motioned to her men. "Ve haf much more effective vays of dispensing pain - as you vill soon see."

The two soldiers rolled a handcart out from behind a table. It held what looked like a large electronic device of some sort. They each pulled a large clamp, connected to the machine by wires, from the back of the cart. They unrolled the wires, connected one of the clamps to each of the iron chains that bound Jan to the columns, then moved back to their positions near the door.

The colonel put her mace down on a table and walked over to the cart, smiling at Jan as she did. "I ask you again - vere is ze stone?"

"And I say again, go to he..." Janice's body contorted in violent spasms as Khali flipped a switch on the box beside her. The blond adventurer's went rigid and her veins stood out under her skin as a strong electrical current surged through her body. She began trembling and shaking from the effects of the high voltage - then collapsed, gasping and hanging from her wrists, as the Nazi flipped the switch down once more.

"Zat vas a very low setting, Doctor." Khali adjusted a large dial on the box, then poised her finger over the switch once again. "Perhaps you vill save yourself anymore needless suffering and tell me vat I vish to know?"

Janice replied as she continued to gasp for breath. "You... AND your goddamn Fuhrer... can both... kiss my ass!"

Khali laughed wickedly. "Oh, Dr. Covington - zis is going to be so much fun. I really do relish a vorzhy opponent." She flipped the switch again.

Outside the door, the two guards looked across at one another, smiling, as Jan's screams penetrated the door and echoed up and down the stone corridor...

Xena was making her way through the maze of passages, trying to find out where the Nazis had taken her lover's future incarnation. She'd already taken out two guards, slipping up behind them and ending their lives before they even knew she was around. She felt no need for mercy with these Nazis. From what she'd seen so far, they were as bad, if not worse, than any of the murdering scum she'd encountered in the past. She Stopped, listening for a moment, as a faint sound came from the hallway to her left. As she stood there, the sound was repeated. It was Gabrielle - screaming in agony! No, it probably wasn't Gabrielle, but Janice. The voice was the same, however, and the sound of her lover in pain spurred Xena into a stealthy run - heading toward the source of the unbearable yelling...

Janice slumped down once again, her body trembling from the effects of the current. Khali grabbed her by the hair, raising her face up and smiling into the dazed woman's eyes. "Vere is ze stone?" she repeated...

Xena stopped, glancing quickly around the corner she'd come to. Up ahead, two men with guns were apparently guarding a wooden door. The screaming had stopped, for now, but she was certain that it had come from behind that door. She readied her chakram and Jan's whip, then charged around the corner - hurling the deadly circle as she did. It flew through the air and embedded itself deep into one of the men's chest. He slumped to the floor as his companion raised his sub-machinegun to cut down the approaching woman. Xena snapped the whip out, wrapping it around his throat and pulling it tight. He reached up, vainly trying to free his neck, though his windpipe was already crushed. Slowly, he sagged to the floor and the rifle fell from his hands as the Warrior Princess retrieved her weapon from the other man's ribcage.

"Vell Doctor," Khali said, allowing Jan's head to slump down once more. "If you vill not respond to our qvestioning, perhaps your friend vill do so. She may not tolerate pain as vell as you." She spoke to the guards, telling them to go get Melinda.

Jan raised her head, weakly. "If you... so much as touch her, I'll..."

"You'll vat?" the blond nazi said, as she once more flipped the switch, causing Janice to scream and writhe in agony.

The guards were just about to exit, when suddenly, the entire door crashed down onto them, smashing them beneath its weight. Khali spun around to see Xena standing on the fallen door, looking toward the struggling blond captive. The colonel reached for her pistol, but the whip snapped out, wrapping around her wrist. Xena pulled hard, bodily yanking the nazi toward her, then slamming her fist into the woman's face. The combination of Khali's forward momentum and Xena's angry strength snapped her head back violently! She fell to the floor and didn't move.

Xena ran over toward Janice and kicked the cart away with all her might. The electrodes pulled loose and Jan slumped down in the chains once more, finally lapsing into oblivion from the effects of the torture. The warrior swung her chakram in two quick strokes - the ancient metal cutting through the chains easily. She caught Jan as her body slumped toward the floor. Xena checked to see that her lover's descendant was still breathing, then tossed Janice over her shoulder and took off down the hallway from which she'd come...

Janice came to slowly, for the second time in as many hours. Her whole body was tingling from the aftereffects of the torture she'd been forced to endure. She tried to raise up, only to be pushed back down again. She saw Melinda beside her, looking down at her with concern. "Mel, when did they bring me back here?" she asked.

Xena smiled down at her companion. "I'm not Mel - I'm Xena," she corrected, "and we're not in the cell anymore. This is some sort of storeroom I found."

Janice looked around her, noticing boxes, crates and bags - one of which she was propped against. "We'd better get out of here, before they sound the alarm." She stood up, shakily, as Xena grabbed her arm to give her support. Janice walked over to the window and peeked out through the shutters. The sun was setting behind the mountains in the distance, beyond what looked like a small landing strip. The runway ended at the edge of the sheer cliff on which the castle sat. At the far end of the airfield, parked under a canopy of trees, sat a small observation plane. Janice turned to Xena and smiled. "I think I know how we can get away from here..."

Xena tossed the soldier's body into the brush, alongside the one Janice had just thrown down. Overcoming the two guards had been easier than climbing down from the storeroom window on the rope they'd found. As she turned to join Janice beside the small plane, they heard a siren go off behind them. Frantic shouts and orders could be heard coming from the castle courtyard behind them.

"I think they know we're missing," Janice said, with a smile. "We'd better get out of here." She opened the door to the plane and climbed inside...

Khali stormed up to the top of the battlements, issuing orders and cursing, as she rubbed her bruised face and blackened eyes. "I want them found - NOW! Search the entire castle and the surrounding area. Use whatever men are required, but I want..." Just as she reached the top of the wall, she heard the sound of an airplane engine, revving for takeoff. "They're taking the plane," she said. "Stop them or you will all wish that you had not been born!" Her second in command spoke into a portable radio as they watched the plane roar down the runway and over the cliff. It began a slow climb straight away to the north.

Around them, the sudden bark of heavy cannon began, as antiaircraft guns on the castle walls opened fire. Powerful searchlights stabbed through the darkening sky, illuminating the fleeing aircraft for the gunners below. Bursts of flak began to fill the sky around the slowly retreating plane. The explosions crept closer and closer until, suddenly, one detonated directly in front of the plane. It seemed to stagger, then it caught fire and rolled over, plunging down at a steep angle. As Khali watched, it fell even faster, then slammed into the base of a mountain in the distance - the fuel tanks exploding violently when it did.

She watched the fire burn for a moment, then turned to her subordinate. "I want the wreckage searched and have their bodies brought to me. Find out who was helping them. I will want to question all parties involved." She stalked down the nearby stairs without even waiting for a reply...

A squad of soldiers rushed toward a waiting truck, as darkness began to settle over the landscape. They piled inside the vehicle, then it started up and took off down the steep, winding road, going through several checkpoints before heading down into the valley to reach the burning debris in the distance...

Janice watched as the truck disappeared into the darkness. She continued helping Xena don one of the parachutes they'd taken from the plane, just before she'd set the controls and allowed it to take off - unmanned.

"That was a good idea," Xena said, as she pulled the straps tight on her chute. "If they think we were in that plane, it should give us enough time to get away from here."

Janice checked over her chute once more, strapped her whip to her side, and then followed Xena as she made her way through the trees toward the cliff. They stopped on the edge, looking down at the dark valley below them. "Are you sure you know how the chute works?" Jan asked.

"Remember, I did it once before," Xena replied. "I actually thought it was a lot of fun."

Janice stared into the eyes of her lover, though the soul behind them wasn't that of Melinda. "You look the same, but you're so different from Mel," she said. "Mel has always been afraid of heights." She looked over the cliff once more. "Anyway, just remember to jump as far out as you can and then pull the ripcord immediately. I sure hope we can hit some open ground down there."

They stood together on the precipice, in the dim light of the moon. "Are you ready?" Xena asked.

"Just one more thing," Janice said, looking down at her feet. She looked back up into Xena's eyes. "I know you're not Mel, but do you think Gabrielle would mind if I gave you a kiss - for luck?"

Xena smiled in response. "What do you think Melinda would say?"

"Under the circumstances," Janice replied, "I don't think she'd mind."

"I don't think Gabrielle would either," the warrior replied. She leaned down toward her lover's lips, though Gabrielle wasn't behind them. She and Jan exchanged a brief kiss, then pulled back, both slightly embarrassed, but both thankful for the comfort that the intimate contact had brought.

Then they joined hands and leapt out into the darkness in front of them...


Salamon continued pacing back and forth in front of the car, nibbling at his nails as he did. "Where are they?" he asked, looking toward the monkey that was sitting on the hood. "They should've been here by now?"

"Don't worry," his furry companion replied. "They'll be here. Xena and Jan are two of the toughest, most resourceful people you'll ever meet. Just give them a little more time." He tried to sound confident, but ever since they'd seen the small plane get shot down and crash earlier, he'd been worried sick.

They were watching the woods in the direction of the tall cliff, when Xena and Jan suddenly walked out from behind the car. The monkey jumped and Salamon almost had a heart attack when Janice spoke. "Hi guys, it's us."

"Don't do that!" the bearded salesman said, as he clutched his chest. "I don't know if I'll survive much longer around you two - always scaring me like that."

"Let's get the hell out of here," Jan said, as she opened the rear door for Xena. The Warrior Princess got inside and Jan followed her.

Salamon opened the driver's door, allowed the monkey to jump in, and then got in himself. He started the car and drove away slowly by the light of the moon. "I think I can get us close to Palermo without going through any roadblocks," he said, "but the ones at the edge of the city will be impossible to get around. We'll have to come up with a way to sneak you two through."

"You got any ideas?" Xena asked.

"Y'know, I just might have one," Sal replied, as he shifted gears. "Let me stop and see my sister on the way - I need to get a few things from her." He pulled onto a dirt road and began making his way through the forest, paralleling the main highway. They'd been driving for a few hours, when Melinda replaced Xena once again. Just before they reached his sister's house, Gabrielle replaced Janice as well. When they pulled up into the front yard, Sal got out, knocked on the door, and disappeared inside. Twenty minutes later, he came back out with a suitcase, put it in the trunk, then got in and they drove off once more. Melinda and Gabrielle were sleeping, as was the monkey, so Salamon just kept driving until the sun came up and he pulled over in a thick patch of woods, just before the Nazi roadblock. Everyone woke up and got out of the car, waiting for Salamon to explain his plan to them.

Just as he started talking, Melinda was surrounded by the emerald glow once again.

Sal looked at her for a moment. "OK - who are you now?" he asked. "I've lost track."

"I'm Xena," she replied.

"Well, here's the plan," he said. "My brother-in-law used to work for the circus, so I figured we can get through the roadblock disguised as travelling performers." He removed his clothes from the suitcase, then handed it to Xena and Gabrielle. While the girls went behind some nearby bushes to get changed, he put on the costume of an Arabic man, complete with a turban. A few minutes later, Xena and Gabrielle came out from the bushes - dressed as belly dancers.

"Nice costumes," Rick said. He tried to do a wolf-whistle, but found that monkey lips just weren't capable of it. "You two sure do wear those well." His lips curled in a monkey grin as he looked at the sheer, high split, and low cut costumes they wore.

"I'm glad you like 'em," Xena said, "cause I think this one is yours." She reached out and handed him the little outfit that she'd found in the bottom of the suitcase, as Gabrielle looked on - huge grins spanning both of their faces.

"Oh, no," he said, backing away slowly. "I'm NOT wearing that! It's bad enough that I have to be a monkey, but I refuse to put on that ridiculous thing. This is where I draw the line. I'm not doing it, I'm not doing it - you can't make me..."

A very sullen monkey sat on the hood of Salamon's car, as they waited in line at the roadblock. He was dressed in a red bell-hop style costume, complete with hat and he wore a leather, rhinestone studded collar. He held out a small tin cup as a young boy dropped in a coin - just one of many chattering kids who were gathered around the front of the car, looking at the monkey, petting him, and a few of the meaner ones even pulled his tail. "I swear - the next brat who touches my tail gets bitten," he thought, as he looked back into the car.

Xena and Gabrielle raised their veils, giving him a smile and a wave as Salamon leaned out, to whisper to him. "Act more cheerful. Remember, we're supposed to be having a great time entertaining the public." He waved to the small crowd around them, urging the people to come see their performance tonight in the town square. They pulled forward toward the Nazi checkpoint and two soldiers walked out to meet them, waving back the crowd of people that had gathered. One approached Salamon and another, obviously a low-ranking officer, got out of his truck, reached over, and patted the monkey on the head, roughly.

"Papers, please," the private said, in Italian. Salamon handed his out and the man looked them over, then gave them back. Walking to the rear door, he leaned in the window, admiring the two women he saw inside. "Papers please," he asked, with a smile. Xena and Gabrielle just looked confused and then looked at Salamon.

"Oh they don't speak Italian," Sal said, "only Arabic. I just bought them not too long ago for the show and they haven't had time to learn. You know how slow these slave women can be, huh?" He laughed with the guard, but didn't miss the evil look Xena gave him. He motioned toward the man and said, "Girls." This was a pre-arranged signal that they'd discussed to distract the soldiers. Xena and Gabrielle both got out of the car and walked up to the private. They began to shake their hips and wiggle their bodies, trying to do a convincing belly dance.

The officer was watching as well, though he still rubbed the fur on the monkey's back - now doing so the wrong way. He seemed to delight in annoying the animal to no end. Finally, he turned to walk toward the two women, as they gyrated around the other soldier, dancing and clapping their hands. Before he moved away, he slapped the monkey on the head, just for the hell of it.

Rick let out a low animal growl as the Nazi walked away. "You asshole!" he said, louder than he'd intended.

The officer spun around on his heel, looking back at the monkey in disbelief. Rick just tried to look innocent and pursed his lips. "Hoo, hoo, hoo," he said, holding out the cup and moving it up and down. The Nazi walked back over - and spat in the cup. He laughed and moved to join the other man as Xena and Gabrielle continued to dance. Rick glared at the officer's back as he watched him go, then he climbed down from the hood, disappearing into the weeds at the edge of the road.

Salamon spoke to the lieutenant, urging him to bring all of his men to the show later tonight. The girls stopped dancing, took a bow, and got back in the car. "Aren't they something?" Sal said. "Remember, tonight only, all German troops get in free - nine o'clock in the town square." He opened the driver's door and got back behind the wheel. The private walked back and raised the gate, allowing them to pass through. He gave Gabrielle a wink as they did so, and she returned it, waving to him as well. He walked back to the line of cars and began checking papers once more.

"Where's Rick?" Xena asked, suddenly aware that he was missing. Just after she said it, he jumped up on the slow moving car and climbed in through the front passenger window.

"What were you doing?" Gabrielle asked.

"Oh, I just had to take care of something," he said, grinning as he did.

Salamon drove on toward Palermo, watching the patrol station disappear in the dust cloud behind them. He still couldn't believe that they'd actually made it through...

The young lieutenant made another rude remark about the women to his subordinate, then opened the door of his truck and sat down to finish reading his paper. As he sat, he suddenly felt that things were not quite right here. Standing quickly, he realized that something was sticking to his pants and a bad smell began to assault his nostrils. He looked at the seat of the truck and began cursing loudly - as he saw what remained of a pile of monkey shit...


They drove on into Palermo, avoiding a few Nazi patrols with little trouble. On the way into town, the girls changed clothes in the back seat - Gabrielle insisting that Sal and Rick keep their eyes averted, despite knowing that she no longer had any physical secrets from the one in the monkey suit, at least. The monkey had already removed his red costume as soon as they got out of sight of the checkpoint.

By early afternoon, they were parked near a dock in the town harbor, beside a large fishing boat. Sal got out and went aboard, speaking to a short, stocky man with weathered skin and dark eyes - obviously his cousin. The boat was much nicer than Rick had imagined it would be. It wasn't a small, dirty craft as he'd pictured. Instead, it was a medium-sized trawler, in good condition and appearing to be most seaworthy. 'Santa Maria' was the name painted on the side of the ship, in large, red letters.

After a few minutes, Salamon came back to the car. "My cousin has agreed to take you to the island. Oh, by the way, he speaks a little English too. He said that he plans to fish west of Vulcano anyway and since he owes me, he'll drop you off tomorrow morning at first light, or thereabouts, then pick you the next morning - Good enough?"

"That'll be just fine," Xena replied. "Thank you for helping us." She clasped his arm and then walked up the gangplank, carrying Mel's pack under her arm.

Gabrielle gave him a hug and then took his arm as Xena had. "Are you sure you shouldn't come with us? The Nazi's will be looking for you."

"I'll be fine," he replied. "I can hide out with my cousins here and my boss will help me too. He has lots of connections and he doesn't like the Nazis either." Gabrielle smiled warmly at him, then turned and walked up the plank as well, holding the blanket-wrapped Thompson under her arm and Jan's whip and hat in her hand.

The monkey suddenly jumped up on Salamon's shoulder. "Well, thanks a lot for your help," he said. "If I ever see your ancestor when we get back to the past, I'll tell him hello for you." He jumped down and began scampering onto the ship. Sal called after him, smiling as he did. "Are you sure you wouldn't like to stay and go into business? A talking monkey would make me... er, make US rich." The monkey kept on going, disappearing behind some crates that were stacked on deck. "I guess not..." Salamon muttered, as his smile disappeared. He got back in the car, cranked it up, and drove away to meet his boss...

The Captain spoke to them briefly, telling them which cabin would be theirs for the night and urging them to stay below, in case they passed any German patrol ships. Xena and Gabrielle agreed and went downstairs to eat, since he also offered them food from the galley. They dined on shrimp, sea bass, and pasta, then made their way to the cabin to get some rest. After they'd stowed what few items they had, Rick decided to go topside and keep an eye on things, since a pet monkey would hardly attract attention. "Besides," he said, "you two might want to be alone - even though there's no hot tub." He gave them a big monkey grin and scooted up the stairs, chattering - just ahead of the shoe that the bard hurled after him.

"The way he talks, you'd think that all we ever do when we're alone is have sex," Gabrielle said, with a grin. She sat down on the bed beside Xena, who put her arm around the bard right away.

"Well, he couldn't be more wrong," she replied. "I mean, we've only done it once in the last two thousand years." She smiled as she drew Gabrielle to her, wrapping her arms around her lover, and then they began kissing. Just after their lips met, the green aura surrounded them both, bathing the room in its emerald light briefly. Janice and Melinda only paused for a second, when they realized that they were back in their bodies once again - then they kept right on kissing. If anyone had been there to watch, it would have seemed as if the same two lovers had been doing it all along.

After a few moments, Janice broke from the kiss and stood, taking off her boots and removing her shirt, then walking toward what appeared to be the bathroom. She went inside, then came back out, throwing the shirt onto the bed. "There's a shower in there," she said. "I've always fantasized about taking a shower with you, Mel. Would you be interested?"

As a reply, Melinda began unbuttoning her top and slipping her shoes from her feet in a very sensuous manner. She was very pleased when Jan watched her do so. She'd wanted her friend to notice her body for so long now and the simple joy of seeing Jan's appreciative stares made Melinda very happy. She tossed her red jacket to the side and the red skirt fell to the floor as Mel stood. She was outwardly clad only in her white blouse now, until Jan walked behind her, unbuttoned it, and slid it down her shoulders, kissing the soft skin revealed there as she did. Melinda's breath hitched in her throat at the touch of her lover's lips. She gasped out loud while Janice continued working her lips down the taller woman's back. At the same time, Jan slid her hands down Mel's sides, then across the front of her body to caress her breasts, through the sheer fabric of her bra.

When the blouse finally hit the floor, Melinda turned and began to unfasten Janice's pants, then slid them down over the strong legs that they covered. Mel bent down, pulling her lover's trousers all the way to the floor and allowing her to step out of them. Now both women were clad only in their underclothes. With a smile, Mel reached around Jan, and vice versa, each woman slowly undoing the other's bra, as they pressed their lips together in a passionate kiss. A few seconds later, both garments hit the floor and the women wrapped their arms around one another, pressing their breasts together, though Jan's were a bit lower. Both women were breathing very heavily at this point as they continued to rub hands across warm skin and their tongues danced around from one warm, wet mouth to the other.

Janice drew back, looking into those beautiful, blue eyes that she'd been dreaming of for so long now. "How about that shower?"

Melinda smiled that gorgeous smile that she had, then grabbed Janice by the hand and led her into the small bathroom. They each slipped the other's panties off, placing them on a small shelf on the wall. Janice got into the tiny shower stall and turned on the water, adjusting the temperature until it was very warm. She turned it down low, hoping to make the hot water last as long as possible, then she reached out for Melinda. When the tall brunette got in and pulled the curtain shut behind her, there was very little room and both women were pressed together out of necessity.

"Perfect," Janice said, with a sly smile. She wrapped her arms around Melinda and began to rub her back. "Now you can't get away."

"My deah, Dr. Covington, what makes ya think Ah'd ever want to?" Mel bent down and pressed her lips against Jan's, slipping her tongue inside her lover's mouth immediately. They held one another and kissed, as steam curled around them and the snug compartment grew warm and humid. Janice slipped her right hand down the front of Mel's body, sliding it across her stomach, then slipping her fingers inside the woman's warm, moist opening. She held Mel's shapely bottom with her left hand as she slid her fingers back and forth, then moved her mouth down and began sucking the perfect breasts in front of her. Moans of pure delight escaped the brunette's lips and she began to tremble in her lover's grasp.

Wanting more, Janice slid down further, putting her knees inside of Mel's feet. She withdrew her fingers and grabbed that shapely bottom with both hands, before plunging her tongue inside the warm cleft before her. She probed as far in as she could get, savoring the wonderful juices that flowed out into her mouth as she did. Janice alternated her probing with licking the outside, stimulating the center of her lover's womanhood. Melinda groaned and her legs began to shake, as Jan continued giving her friend pleasure. She began to use her fingers as well, switching back and forth from them to her tongue - inside to outside. Warm juices from Mel's body began to flow down her thighs, mixing with the hot water of the shower as Jan kept on and on.

Melinda gave a loud, strangled gasp, and her knees buckled. She leaned against the side of the shower, while Jan gave her support and continued pleasuring her all through a long, exquisite orgasm. "Oh, my god - YES! Oh Janice, Janice..." Melinda kept repeating her lover's name over and over, until the powerful feelings subsided and she slumped even more heavily against the wall - her body drained of all strength by the waves of pleasure she'd experienced. She stood there, trying to catch her breath as Jan raised up to hold her in strong arms. "Oh my lord, Janice - you are such a wonderful lover." Mel finally said, when she could speak once more.

The enamored blond was very pleased by the praise from the women she had given her life to. "Only for you, Mel - only for you. I never knew what love was, until you showed me."

"Well," Melinda said, a smile spreading across her face, "how bout lettin me show ya how Ah feel?" She slid down against Jan's body, getting on her knees now.

"I thought you'd never ask," Jan replied, as Melinda's tongue slid inside her body...

They continued making love to each other, until the water in the shower grew cold, then they got out and dried each other off. Not satisfied with what they'd done so far, they slipped into the lower bunk in the cabin and had just gotten positioned for mutual lovemaking, when they heard a quiet knock on the door.

"What is it?" Jan asked, from between Mel's thighs - her voice conveying mild annoyance.

"Uh, Gabrielle - is that you?" It was Rick.

"No, this is Janice. What do you want?"

"I'm sorry to bother you, but I thought you'd want to know. I heard the captain say that we're going into a storm. He said it's nothing to worry about, but that the ride is gonna get pretty rough until we get out of it."

"OK. Thank you." She had noticed that the rocking motion of the boat was getting worse. No matter. She pulled Mel's hips down and was about to slip her tongue inside, when Melinda spoke.

"Janice, we're not in any danger, are we?"

Janice knew that Mel didn't do too well on ships. "It's nothing to worry about. Just some rain and wind - that's all."

"Good," Melinda replied. She pressed her face down and began pleasuring Janice as her lover did the same for her...

They'd been making love for a while now, as the waves continued to worsen, rocking the small ship back and forth while the two lovers gave each other pleasure. Janice had her fingers inside Mel and had her almost to the point of orgasm. She knew that any moment she herself would find release as Melinda's busy tongue played havoc with Jan's senses. When she heard her beautiful lover begin to moan, Janice smiled in anticipation of hearing her cry out in pleasure.

"Oh, Janice... Ah, Ah think Ah'm gonna, gonna..." Suddenly Melinda leapt from the bed and ran into the bathroom. After a moment, Janice heard the sound of her friend being sick. The rolling of the ship must've finally gotten to her, but being such a devoted lover, she'd kept on for Jan's sake until she couldn't wait anymore. In that moment, the blond adventurer knew even more than before just how much Mel must love her...

In a few minutes, Melinda came back to the bed and sat down on the edge, her eyes lowered in embarrassment. "Ah'm so sorry, Janice," she said, "Ah didn't mean to..."

"No, I'm sorry," Janice said, cutting her off. "Why didn't you say that you weren't feeling well?" She reached up and began rubbing Melinda's neck.

"Ah just didn't want ya to be disappointed," Mel said, looking down again.

Janice crawled beneath the covers and patted the bed, wanting Mel to join her. The brunette lay back and Jan pulled the covers over them both, then snuggled up against the woman she loved. "Mel, I'd be happy just holding you all night. Next time say something when you need to. I don't just want sex, you know. I'm in love with you." She draped her arm over her lover's waist and grabbed her hand, squeezing it tightly.

"Ah love you so much, Janice." Melinda lay still, trying to ignore the pitching and rocking of the ship. When a loud clap of thunder sounded outside, causing Mel to flinch, Jan held her even tighter...


The storm lasted throughout the night, tossing the boat around until the wee hours of the morning. Rick awoke, as he lay on a tarp covered bundle, when he heard the lookout shout "LAND HO, OFF THE PORT BOW!" He jumped from the canvas and ran downstairs, tapping on his companion's door once more. "Hey girls - get up. We'll be going ashore soon," he said. He listened for a moment, then when he heard movement within, he ran back up to the main deck.

Melinda rolled over to face her lover, who was still asleep. She smiled inwardly, thrilled with the wonderful relationship that she and Jan now shared. Running her hands over the sleeping woman's hips, Mel pressed her lips against her lover's slightly parted ones. The dozing blond responded, even before she awoke, sliding her tongue inside the mouth that she found melded with hers upon awakening. They pulled each other close and shared a long, passionate, good morning kiss, then lay there staring into each other's eyes and smiling, as they interlocked their fingers.

"Good mornin," Melinda said, her blue eyes shining with the love she felt.

"Good morning, Xena," Gabrielle said, with a smile.

"Xena? What do ya mean, Jani..." Melinda suddenly got a shocked look on her face. "Oh, my! Gabrielle! Ah... Ah didn't know it was you - Ah'm so sorry!"

It became a contest to see whose face could turn the reddest, as Mel and the bard each became aware of just who it was that they'd given such a steamy kiss. They lay there, too embarrassed to talk for a long time, then the bard began to smile once again, causing Mel to do the same. In moments, they both had broken into open laughter, releasing the tension of the awkward situation they found themselves in.

Finally, Melinda managed to speak, though her face was still a deep crimson. "Ah guess you and Janice must've changed places durin the night, huh?"

Gabrielle smiled back at the woman who looked just like her soul mate. "It looks like it. This switching stuff can get pretty confusing, can't it?"

"That's an understatement if Ah ever heard one," Mel replied. "Ah will say one thing though." She looked away as she spoke. "Janice's ancestor kisses just as well as she does."

Gabrielle took Melinda's hand and gave it a squeeze. "So does Xena's."

Mel turned around and looked into the eyes of her lover, and the soul of the bard. "How about we just keep this out little secret? Ah know Janice and Xena wouldn't be upset, but..."

"I agree," Gabrielle replied, with a smile. "A special moment we'll always treasure."

"Well, Ah know AH'LL never forget it." Melinda began laughing again and the bard joined her once more...

They got dressed quickly and gathered their things, Mel putting on the backpack containing the chackram, the stone of Seti, and the copy of Stars and Stripes. Gabrielle grabbed the Thompson and attached the whip to her side, the way that she knew Jan did. She then put her descendant's hat on, feeling strange wearing it, but knowing that Janice rarely went without it. When they were both ready, they made their way up to the deck and found the monkey, who was sitting on the side rail. He was watching several of the crewmen lower a boat over the side.

"Good morning, uh... ladies," he said, looking at them uncertainly.

"Gabrielle and Melinda," the bard said, glancing up at her companion strangely.

Rick noticed the odd look, but didn't think much of it. He pointed to the tall peak on the small island in front of them with one hand, and scratched his side with the other. "Well, there it is - Vulcano: the Forge of Hephaestus. Now all we have to do is go throw that stone into it and everything should change back to normal, huh?"

"Let's hope so," Gabrielle replied, not at all certainly.

The captain motioned for them to get in the boat, so they climbed over the side and took a seat. In just over twenty minutes, they were standing on the rocky shore, waving goodbye to the crewman as they rowed back out to the ship.


The sun was beginning to lighten the eastern sky as the trio started making their way up the side of the volcano, through the scrub brush and boulders which covered its slopes. They were halfway to the peak by mid-morning, when the familiar green aura surrounded Mel once more.

"Where are we now?" Xena asked.

"Heading up the volcano," Gabrielle replied. She glanced at Xena, then looked away quickly, embarrassed as she recalled the earlier incident with Melinda.

The warrior noticed her lover's seeming reluctance to meet her gaze and the slight redness on her face, but attributed it to the effects of the sun and the rough hiking they were doing. "We should reach the summit by midday, I think. If nothing slows us down, that is." Being the cautious warrior that she was, she reached inside the pack and took out her chakram, holding it in her hand as she walked. In her experiences, nothing ever seemed to go exactly as planned, so it was best to be ready for anything.

About thirty minutes later, Gabrielle was surrounded by the emerald glow as Janice took her body back again. They filled her in on the latest events, then continued on toward the summit. Just before noon they were only a few hundred yards from the top, passing through an area of huge boulders and rocky crags. Xena climbed to the top of a small ridge, following the monkey, then leaned down to assist Jan up. Suddenly, a machinegun barked from off to their right and chips of stone flew as bullets riddled the rocks around them!

The two women threw themselves down behind a boulder and the monkey jumped into a convenient hole as slugs whined through the air. Janice fired a short burst around the rock and Xena readied her chakram. Flashes of gunfire could be seen coming from the shadows across a small gorge about fifty yards away.

"It looks like about ten men with rifles and one with a machinegun," Janice said, over the sounds of gunfire. "They've got us pinned down good too. The bastards must've been waiting for us." She took aim at a small movement in the shadows across the way and fired again. A uniformed Nazi tumbled from his hiding place and hit the bottom of the fissure with a thump. "Make that nine men," Janice said, smiling grimly.

"Can you keep their attention?" Xena asked. "I think I might be able to give them a surprise, if you can."

"No problem," Jan replied. "Whatever you have planned, I love it." She capped off a few more rounds at a muzzle flash and was rewarded with a scream of pain.

Xena slipped off her pack and disappeared into a crack in the lava covered surface of the volcano. Janice fired a few rounds to keep the Nazis' heads down, then called to the monkey. "Are you OK, over there?"

"Oh, yeah - I'm just dandy." Bullets continued to ricochet off of the rocks around them. "Never better."

"Just hang on," Janice replied. "Xena has a plan."

Rick ducked down as far as he could into the shallow hole. "Yeah - General Custer had a plan too," he said. But, he knew that if anyone could get them out of this, it was Xena. She always won on TV - right?

Xena had made her way down the crack and dropped into the ravine between Janice and the soldiers on the other side. She slipped across the bottom of the arroyo and into another crack just below the German's position. Crawling along the bottom, she moved toward the sound of the machinegun.

Janice kept firing at the muzzle flashes and movements when she saw them. She didn't know if she was hitting anything, but she had to buy Xena time to do whatever it was she had in mind. Jan saw a movement and was about to squeeze the trigger once again, when she was surrounded by the green aura of Seti. Gabrielle looked down at the weapon in her hands and jerked back as bullets continued bouncing off of the stone around her.

"Jan, are you OK?" Rick called. "Why'd you stop shooting?"

"I'm Gabrielle now," the bard replied. "I don't know how to use this thing."

"Oh that's great," Rick mumbled. "That's just great. We're dead - we're all dead."

The Nazis noticed that there was no longer any return fire. Several of them crept out of their hiding places, chancing a quick look. No bullets came toward them and the enemy remained silent. It seemed that the women were either out of ammunition or dead. The soldiers began to make their way from rock to rock, closing in on Jan's position.

Xena leapt up from the crack and charged the machine-gunner. Before he could swing the gun around, her hand lashed out, slicing open his throat with the razor sharp chakram it held. He grabbed his neck and collapsed as the Warrior Princess took his gun from its mount and leveled it in the direction of the remaining soldiers. She squeezed the trigger and bullets caught two of the men in a deadly spray of lead. Swinging the gun from one man to the next, she cut down another and another, riddling their bodies until all of them were down. When she was sure that all of them were dead, she dropped the weapon and began walking back toward the boulder where Jan and Rick were hiding.

"It's OK," she called out, as she approached. "That's all of them."

Gabrielle stood up cautiously and watched the warrior approach. "It's me, Xena. Jan's gone for now."

The warrior walked up and put her arm around the bard, as the monkey climbed out of his hole. "Let's toss that stone in and end this once and for all," she said. "Who wants the honors?"

"I'll do it," Rick said, taking the emerald from the pack. "I can't wait to get my old body back." As Xena put her arm around Gabrielle, the monkey scampered over to the edge of the crater and looked down. Beneath him, a huge pit stretched away into the distance. The bottom was filled with lava, which churned and boiled like a witch's cauldron. Rick smiled as he raised up the stone. "Human form - here I come," he said.

His furry body was suddenly hurled to the side as the sound of a single rifle shot echoed around the crater. The stone of Seti bounced down the slope and came to rest against a small rock, about halfway between the two women and the now motionless animal. Xena and Gabrielle ducked down behind the boulder that they were sitting on, just as another shot rang out and a bullet bounced off of the stone, directly where they had been sitting.


Xena looked grimly toward the fallen monkey, then surveyed the area around her. There was no way that she could slip away this time, without leaving herself open to a shot. She began looking around at the rocks and pinnacles in the area, trying to figure what to do next. Another shot ricocheted off of the boulder and rock splinters pierced Gabrielle's cheek, drawing blood.


"No, you won't," Xena whispered - a look of utter hatred on her face. She suddenly hurled the chakram toward a large rock across the ravine. It bounced off of the stone, then hit another, heading toward a third.

Khali worked the action on the rifle once more. She raised it to her shoulder, taking aim again. She was just about to squeeze the trigger, when the sound of metal glancing off of stone caused her to look away - just in time to see the chakram ricochet from the rock beside her, before slicing off the top of her head! The maniacal gleam in her eyes slowly faded as her lifeless body slumped to the rocky ground...

Xena caught the returning weapon, and then she and the bard ran over to the fallen monkey. Gabrielle turned him over gently, revealing a massive wound in his chest. Xena knew immediately that it was mortal.

He looked up at them through glazed eyes and managed a weak smile. "Well, girls," he gasped, as blood trickled from his mouth. "I guess... I won't be going... back with you... huh?"

Xena just shook her head as tears began falling from Gabrielle's eyes.

He reached up and stroked the bard's face with his paw as she bent over him. "Don't cry, Gabrielle... It was worth it. We... we saved the world - right?" He let out a gurgling laugh, then coughed up blood. "Gods - now I sound like a character... from one of those cheesy movies... I used to watch..." He took in a gasping breath. "Please, tell Ephiny... that I love her, and always will... and my kid too... when you see 'em." He coughed again, and then his eyes slowly closed.

"We will," Gabrielle said, sobbing as she spoke.

His voice was barely audible now. "It was... an... honor to meet you... both..." His head fell to the side as the air left his lungs for the last time.

After a few moments, Xena took Gabrielle's hand and led her away from the small body. She walked over, picked up the stone, and gazed into it - lost in thought. Pulling Gabrielle to her tightly with her left arm, she hurled the emerald into the crater with her right. It arced over the rim, fell down toward the bubbling furnace below, and struck the surface of the lava...


"Boy - that felt SOOO GOOOOD!" Ares exclaimed. "I finally got rid of those two do-gooders."

"Wanna bet," Xena said, as she reached over his shoulder and took the stone from his hand.

"What? How did you..." Ares spluttered. He turned to face the warrior and bard, who had suddenly reappeared behind him in the temple.

"Nice bauble," Xena said, as she looked at the stone, noticing that it was no longer chipped. "How about we see what it does to a god?" She held it out in front of her.

"Now wait just a minute," Ares said - a look of fear on his face. "Be careful with that thing. It can..." He stopped talking as a green aura began to spread from the stone, moving toward him. He turned to run, snapping his fingers as he did so, and disappeared. The aura retreated back into the stone once more.

Xena turned to face Gabrielle - and saw Rick's body lying on the floor behind them. His shoulder was still bandaged and his arm still wrapped in a sling. She bent down and felt for a pulse, but found nothing.

"So he really is dead," Gabrielle said, noticing the look of finality on Xena's face.

"Yes, he is," the warrior replied. "But we can see to it that no more innocent people die because of this cursed rock." She set the stone on the floor, then walked over and removed her chakram from the wall. Walking back to where the emerald lay, she slammed the edge of her weapon down on it, shattering the jewel into millions of shards.

As she and Gabrielle looked down at the glittering fragments on the floor, a green glow filled the room. They turned around to see from where it was coming. Rick's body was surrounded by the emerald aura, which faded as they watched. A low moan escaped his lips and he tried to raise his head. The two women quickly bent down and stopped him from doing so.

"What happened?" he asked.

"Rest easy," Xena said, a smile on her face. "The Stone of Seti must've trapped your essence when the monkey was killed. You're lucky to be alive."

"Yeah," Gabrielle said, as she smacked his arm, playfully. "That's for worrying us."

He managed a weak smile. "Women..." he said, tauntingly.

"Do you remember what happened?" Xena asked.

"Yeah - I think so," he replied. "I got shot, right?"

"Yes, but you seem fine now," the warrior replied. "How do you feel?"

He was quiet for a moment, then he spoke. "I feel OK, I guess. It's just that..."

"What?" Gabrielle asked.

He smiled mischievously up at her. "I have the strangest craving for bananas."

This time, they both smacked him...


Jan looked around her, noticing that they were still on the volcano. She felt Mel's arm around her and returned the hug that she was being given. She noticed that Melinda no longer had Xena's chakram. Walking over and looking in the pack, she realized that the stone was gone as well.

"Do you think that they made it back?" Melinda asked, as she took her glasses from her pocket and slipped them on.

"I don't know," Jan replied. "We need to find out if anything is different now than before." She reached down and grabbed the pack, pulling out the old copy of Stars and Stripes. She looked at the headlines about the attack on Midway Island.

It now read:

JUNE 4, 1942 - AMERICAN FLEET VICTORIOUS AT MIDWAY ISLAND - A small United States force of three aircraft carriers and supporting ships surprised the main element of the Japanese fleet and sank four of their fleet carriers. This defeat is the worst suffered by the Japanese navy in over three hundred and fifty years...

Janice grabbed Melinda and hugged her tightly. "They did it Mel. We all did it! History has been restored to the way it should have been."

As they laughed and celebrated, Melinda was suddenly jumped from behind! A pair of hands locked around her neck and she felt a heavy weight slam into her back! She turned her head to see who was attacking her...

... And found herself staring into the eyes of the small, furry monkey, which now sat on her shoulder, chattering excitedly. The two women looked at each other and laughed aloud as the monkey hooted along with them.

"Well, Ah guess things have been restored to the way they were before - just like the Oracle of Delphi said, huh Janice?" Melinda wrinkled her brow in thought. "Do ya think everythin has changed back to the way it was before this all started?"

Jan wrapped her arms around her lover and pulled Mel's face down toward her own. "Well, I know one thing that hasn't changed." She pressed her lips against the warm, soft pair that she'd wanted to kiss for so long, and felt them respond as she knew they would...


Let me know what you think...

Ch. 1-9 Ch. 10-17 Ch. 18-28

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