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Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle, Argo and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess, together with the names, titles and back story 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.

All works remain the © copyright of the original author. These may not be republished without the author's consent.

The usual Xena: Warrior Princess fight scenes – no more, no less.

The Magic Show

Written by Arlene Lugo

Scene I

The rich green hillsides rolled abundantly over the horizon like waves over water. The sky was a pale blue with a few scattered clouds slowly drifting by. The trees stopped at a clearing and a few houses could be seen indicating the outskirts of a town. A young girl with dark, short curly locks and pale, though dirty skin walked to one of the last trees. She stopped for a rest and leaned her tired body against the large trunk. She wore men’s clothing and had a very boyish look to her. She put her satchel on the ground and took in the area with her hazel eyes. With a sigh she took a long sip from her flask, corked it, and dropped it to the ground. She then reached in between her breast and removed a small purse. Rubbing the coins through the leather she could feel how empty the purse had gotten. With a despondent shake of her head she returned the purse, picked up her belongings, threw her satchel over her shoulder and began her walk into this new town.

Scene II

The town market bustled with customers and merchants who haggled over goods and prices. A small but muscular blonde softly caressed a lavender silk. She brought it to her face and enjoyed its softness. “This is nice.” Her tall, dark haired companion watched with an amused look on her face and a shake of her head.

“Xena, do you ever wonder what it would be like to have a need for silk. I mean to use it, everyday, for your clothes and stuff?” Xena was barely listening as she took in the sights of the market.

“Silk can come in handy if you have no other weapons around.” She commented offhandedly. She grinned at Gabrielle’s perplexed expression. “It’s great for distractions.” She added sarcastically. Xena’s alert eyes noticed a young woman across the street dressed like a boy. Curiously she watched as the young woman argued over a piece of fruit. The merchant tried to remove the fruit from her hand as the young woman tried to pull away.

“Please, this is all the money I have!” She held up a few coins in her free hand. “One fruit is all I’m asking for. It’s a small one.” The merchant shook his head.

“I’m sorry miss, but if I let everyone pay half price, then my family and I wont be eating.” He finally snatched the fruit from her grasp and began to shine it up. He turned slightly, but kept an eye on her.

Frustrated and hungry she walked off.

“Distractions?” Gabrielle questioned. Xena looked back at her friend with a smile and a raised eyebrow.

They walked across the dirt road to the town’s tavern. Gabrielle had bought the silk even though she had no real use for it. “Do you ever wonder what life would be like if you hadn’t become a warrior?” Xena gave a chuckle, unsure where these questions were coming from or where they would lead. The tavern was dark inside, and the bright sunlight quickly faded as the door closed behind them. Xena let her eyes adjust to the darkness before leading her friend to a table in the middle of the room.

“You mean what it would be like to be married and have children?” Xena questioned as she took her seat.

With a dreamy expression Gabrielle answered, “Yeah.” “No way!” Xena responded assuredly. “Change diapers all day long, listen to your kids screaming and crying, breaking your back washing clothes and cooking dinner... “ She could envision herself with bratty children running around her, as she tried to keep up. “Then your ungrateful husband comes home and you have to take care of him too?” She shook her head vigorously. “I like my life just fine, thank you.” She looked over to the bartender, showed two fingers and pointed to their table. The bartender nodded back.

Gabrielle looked at Xena with a puzzled brow. “Well if you put it that way, of course not.” Xena turned her head to see that the young woman from the market had entered the tavern. She had bumped into a man and was apologizing profusely. Xena could not hear her, but could see by her mannerisms. The man was drunk and smiled at the young woman and obviously enjoyed the fact that the young woman was fussing over him. She had placed her hands on his waist and shoulder to steady him. With a shrug, Xena turned her attention back to Gabrielle who was more than her usual talkative self this afternoon.

“No, I’m talking about something more romantic, like marrying into wealth. I’d have servants to care for me, I’d have poetry and music performed for me, and delicious feasts served at every meal.” Gabrielle envisioned herself sitting on a comfortable sofa surrounded by a feast, with servants and performers around her. “You would be there too.” Xena smiled at her own vision of Gabrielle’s description. She imagined herself at the end of a large banquet table in her usual leather and armor, while everyone around her – including Gabrielle wore their silks. Xena shook her head and smirked. Both of them were forced out of their daydreams by the loud sound of mugs crashing to the ground.

They turned their heads to see that this young woman had bumped into another man and he had dropped his mugs of ale. She helped him pick them up and again apologized. She helped wipe the spilt ale off of his shirt.

Xena turned her head back to Gabrielle who had already returned her focus to her own drink that had just arrived. “To answer your question, no. I don’t think of it and I don’t want it.” Xena turned back to watch the young woman.

Gabrielle followed Xena’s eyes and asked curiously, ““Xena, is there something about that boy that is so interesting?” “Yeah, she’s a she and she’s a thief.” “What?” Gabrielle asked in disbelief. “Well she is dressed like a boy. That’s strange, but why do you think she’s a thief?” Still looking at the woman, Xena explained. “She has bumped into nearly every drunken man in this tavern.

She’s picking their pockets as she offers an apology.” “Maybe she’s just clumsy?” With a smirk, she looks at Gabrielle, shakes her head knowingly, and looks to the thief again. The young woman had bought a bowl of stew and brought it to a corner table. She hunched over the bowl and spooned the stew hungrily into her mouth, as if she hadn’t eaten in days. Her curly hair came just to her eyes and Xena could see her eyes dart around the room as she ate. They made eye contact, for a brief moment. The hazel eyes looked first at Xena and then to Gabrielle. Xena didn’t like it. She finished her ale and stood.

“Let’s go, we have to figure out how we are going to get that heirloom out of the castle and back to Mercer.” Gabrielle followed Xena to the bar and placed the mugs down.

Xena headed for the door as Gabrielle thanked the bartender and paid for the drinks. Xena noticed the thief had also stood to leave and walked passed her to the bar with her bowl in hand. Gabrielle turned to leave and walked right into a bowl of stew.

Argh!” Gabrielle tried to jump back but couldn’t avoid the warm stew as it streamed down the front of her shirt and stomach. She held in a few curse words.

“I’m so sorry, oh my.” The young woman bent to pick up the bowl and began to wipe Gabrielle’s shirt and stomach.

“Ugh, it’s all right,” Gabrielle put her hands up and stepped back. She didn’t want this strange person wiping her bare stomach. “I think it was my fault.” Gabrielle took a rag from the counter and cleaned herself off.

“Really I’m fine.” Xena turned to see what had happened and began to walk back to her friend. Out of the corner of her eye, the young woman could see Xena approaching, “I’m really very sorry!” she muttered and hurried passed Xena and out of the tavern.“ “What happened?” Xena questioned.

“Oh nothing – it was an accident – I’ll clean it by the river.” Looking down at her stained top.

“Check your purse.” Xena requested in a mater of fact tone.

“What? Why?” Gabrielle asked almost not believing the young woman would do what Xena was suggesting.

She checked her waist, then a bit more frantically she checked her body with both hands. Gabrielle looked to Xena, then down and around. “I ... I must’ve dropped it.” “No, she’s got it – come on.” They both rushed outside.

They stopped in the middle of the dirt road, just outside of the tavern. They both looked to the right, but everything seemed normal. They both looked left, but everything seemed normal there too. They looked forward but she was gone. Xena pursed her lips and raised one eyebrow, “She’s good.”

Scene III

Xena and Gabrielle were walking through a grassy clearing. Xena had a hold of Argo’s reigns. “I can’t believe she got my purse, I didn’t even notice.” Gabrielle felt Xena would be disappointed in her.

“I should’ve known – it was my fault”. Xena insisted.

“No – I should’ve believed you. I feel so dumb. You now Xena, she took most of our money, except for the savings I tucked in my boot.” She didn’t notice the strange look she got from Xena. “It’s going to be a bit hard on us now.” Xena looked up and stopped in her tracks. “No it wont.” She pointed her chin in the direction she wanted Gabrielle to look.

Gabrielle did and saw the young woman arguing with a young man – boy actually. He held her arm in his hand and she tried to pull it loose.

Gabrielle and Xena looked at each other. Xena released Argo’s reigns and whispered in her ear. With a pat on Argo’s rear, the horse quietly withdrew to find some delicious grass to snack on. Then the two women advanced quietly toward the young woman.

“ Thaddeus, I’m not going back. I’ve got to find my brother and nothing will stop me, even if I have to starve.” She yelled at the yellow haired boy as she struggled to free her arm.

“Well you may have to do just that. Give me your money and we’ll leave you alone. We’ll call it even.” With one hand he held her wrist, with the other he reached into her cleavage and pulled out a very fat purse.

“No. I don’t have to give you anything.” She slowly pulled a long dagger from her waist, She reached back and was about to bring the dagger down onto the boy when she felt a strong hand wrap around her wrist and stop her. Confused, she looked back and then up into two blue, familiar eyes.

“You know the punishment for thievery is a short time in prison, the penalty for murder is death.” Xena stated bluntly.

The young woman was surprised, but relieved, to see Xena. She looked over the tall form to see the blonde right behind her. She relaxed her hand and when Xena let her go, she returned the dagger to its proper place.

Then she looked to Thaddeus, who had not let her go, but was looking in awe at the beautiful tall woman who had saved him. When he got his wits back, he finally spoke, “Look, this has nothing to do with you, so if you don’t mind, please be on your way.” “Well actually, this is about us.” With her long arms, Xena easily grabbed the purse from his hands. He was surprised by her quickness. “This belongs to my friend.” Xena handed the purse to Gabrielle who retied it to her waist. Xena kept her eyes on the blonde headed boy. “Now we can do this the easy way...” She hoped she wouldn’t have to hurt him, after all, he was really just a kid. She pulled her sword and squared off , with her sword at his chin. “...or the hard way.” She hoped he would be smart enough to be scared and back off.

Thaddeus did back up and released his hold. Xena let her breathe out. Good. She thought to herself.

Thaddeus spoke, trying to ignore the blade in his face. “Phaedra, you’re making a big mistake. We’re the only family you’ve ever known – you don’t want to turn your back on us.” “No Thaddeus, I’m not going back and that’s final!” Xena, who still had her sword drawn, looked from one to the other. Their both kids. She shook her head.

“Looks like our friend here wants to stay with us.” Gabrielle took a step forward and gave Xena a confused look.

Thaddeus knew it would be dumb to try to go up against this muscular woman who towered over him.

“Phaedra, I will see you again.” He hoped he sounded menacing. He looked at Xena then turned and walked off angrily.

Phaedra turned to Xena and Gabrielle. Xena whistled to Argo who approached the group. Feeling ashamed that she had stolen from them and feeling grateful that they had gotten to her in time, Phaedra spoke first.

“Uh, thanks for your help.” She made eye contact with Gabrielle, then looked to the ground. “Sorry about your money.” A nervous smile twitched her lips then disappeared. Xena had gotten something out of a pouch on Argo’s saddle. She quickly turned to the girl and grabbed the dagger from her waist. “What are you doing?” Xena proceeded to tie up Phaedra’s wrists together.

“Look I know you didn’t only take Gabrielle’s purse back there. We’re going back so you can return all of it.” Gabrielle whispered, “Xena – is all this really necessary?” She eyed Xena’s handiwork.

Xena looked at her friend, “She’s a thief – all thieves know how to get out of binds and locks easily. If they’re any good.” She turned a serious eye on the girl. “I’m not letting that happen.” Phaedra looked at her bound hands in surprise. “Wait!” She looked up to Xena. “You can’t take me back there. Just take the money, you can bring it back.” Xena shook her head and began to pull out several purses from various hiding spots on the girl’s body.

“Sorry, but they might want to deal with the person who actually stole all of these.” Gabrielle looked on in disbelief. Phaedra continued to argue. “If you take me back, they’ll lock me up. I can’t be in prison now – I have to find my brother. I ... I was hungry, I haven’t eaten in days.” Xena and Gabrielle looked at each other, Xena knew full well that this was just the type of story that her friend would fall for. She rolled her eyes. “I only took enough to get me to the next town, It’s not like I’m trying to get rich this way.” Gabrielle took her friend by the arm and led her a few steps away. They turned their back to the pleading girl. “What if she’s telling the truth. Maybe she is looking for someone. I mean, look at her clothes. She’s obviously not taking enough to even clean up.” Gabrielle pointed out. Xena took a deep breath. This was the reason she loved Gabrielle. She always looked for the best in everyone and gave them all the benefit of the doubt. But Xena knew she just couldn’t let the girl go free.

“Gabrielle, we have an obligation to the people in that town. She took their money – what if it was all they had? And what if she’s not telling the truth?” “But what if she is?” Phaedra continued her pleading. ”Please! I promise I’ll go back to doing magic tricks to get money and food – but please don’t send me back. “ This got a smile out of Gabrielle. She turned to the girl, “You do magic tricks?” Xena rolled her eyes again and walked over to Argo.

“Yes – my parents were in a traveling circus – they had an act.” Phaedra explained, hoping that somehow she could convince them to let her go. “They taught it to me and my brothers,” she paused for a breath “before they left us.” “Left you?” Gabrielle took a few steps closer.

With a nod of her head, Phaedra looked around and sat on a nearby rock. “I was 5 when they left – my brother took care of me – we used to perform on the streets to get by.” “So where is he now – your brother – why did he leave?” Gabrielle looked over to Xena then back to Phaedra. Xena listened to the girl’s story as she prepared Argo for the walk back to town. She had tied an additional rope to her horse’s reign so that she could tie the girl’s bound wrist to it.

“Well my brother, Ambrose is dead – he died just a few weeks ago.” She struggled with the sentence, and it was obviously hard for her to think or talk about it.

“Oh, I’m sorry.” Gabrielle again turned to Xena, this time making eye contact. Xena finished her knots and walked back over. “I thought you said you were looking for your brother, now you’re telling us he’s dead.” Phaedra looked up from the ground to meet the sparkling eyes that studied her. “Yes that’s true. My oldest brother, Saxon, joined the Greek army when I was about 9. He promised to return with enough money to care for me and Ambrose. He left us in an orphanage and we never heard from him ... he never returned.” “How sad.” Gabrielle remarked quietly.

“What makes you think he’s still alive? The Greeks have been involved in many wars since you were nine.” “I know – but I’ve got to find out. I’ve got no one. The gods only know what has happened to my parents – to be honest I wouldn’t even want to see them again.” Xena could sense the anger in her voice “Ambrose was my only hope – now he’s gone. I’m lost. I don’t know what to do ... where to go.” Gabrielle felt for the girl who was only now becoming a woman. Although with the short hair and boy’s clothes, she seemed even younger. “I figured, maybe I can find Saxon, be reunited. I’m sure there is a reason why he left us in the orphanage. That’s what I want to find out.” Xena shook her head and turned her back on the girl for a moment. Either this was a really sad life for this kid or she was a pretty good storyteller herself. Xena thought back to when she lost her brother. Lyceus.

She whispered the name to herself. She took a deep breath. She remembered that she, too, had been lost without her brother. And it took her a long time to find her way again. She turned back and felt Gabrielle’s eyes on her. Gabrielle walked over to her and spoke softly. “You okay?” Xena nodded. “Xena – maybe we should help her – she seems so desperate. You have connections in the Greek army.” Xena sighed and looked into Gabrielle’s eyes. They held so much hope in them.

“Yes please ... “ Phaedra interrupted. “I’ve been to several towns – no one has heard of him. I don’t even know where to turn next. I’m going from town to town, I’m hungry, I have no food or money and no friends.” “So who was that guy?” Xena nodded in the direction that Thaddeus left.

Phaedra paused before she answered. “He’s one of the guys I used to hang around with. That was when Ambrose was with me because he’d look out for me. But now I don’t want to be a part of that group.” “Well, what does he want with you?” Gabrielle questioned.

“He wants my skills ... pick-pocketing, illusions, magic, slight of hand. I was the best. While I performed, the others worked the crowd.” “What do you mean?” Xena answered for her. “She means they’d steal from the audience while they were being entertained.” “Right. – but I want no part of that now. I know there’s got to be more to life than barely getting by on a few dinars divided by the whole group. Please Xena, will you help me?” She looked from Xena to Gabrielle.

Gabrielle looked pleadingly at Xena until she finally caved. “I suppose I could get a messenger to ask around. Your skills might actually come in handy. You can travel with us for a few days while we try to figure out how to get Mercer’s heirloom back. But you’ll have to stay tied up – I don’t want you running off in the middle of the night.” Phaedra stood “I understand.” Xena turned to Argo and picked up his reigns. She removed the extra rope. “And if it turns out you’re lying – we’re going straight back!” “OK, OK, Thank you!” Phaedra agreed.

Gabrielle gave Xena a wide smile – Xena smirked back. “Come on.” The three of them begin to walk out, Phaedra was content to walk beside the horse. Xena led Argo and Gabrielle kept pace with her friend.

Scene IV

Night had come and the three women had set up camp in a small area surrounded by trees on three sides and a brook on the fourth side. They had been asleep for a while and the camp fire had nearly burnt itself out. On one side of the fire Gabrielle slept deeply next to Xena. On the other side, Phaedra lay sleeping. Someone approached quietly, setting their boots in deliberate fashion. Quickly and quietly a hand covered Phaedra’s mouth and her eyes opened wide. She looked up to see Thaddeus’ crooked grin. He pulled her to her feet and dragged her away. She could see a fire burning not to far away and he pushed her in that direction.

When they arrived, she saw some of her friends waiting for her. One of them held a torch. They were upset with her and it was obvious. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly as she looked to her hands that were still bound.

Xena opened her eyes and pushed herself, quietly, to her feet. She grabbed her sword and chakram and stepped over Gabrielle – heading into the woods.

“So it looks like you’re in a bit of a bind, Phaedra. You should’ve come with me when you had the chance.” Thaddeus teased Phaedra and pulled on her bindings. The others laughed. Thaddeus walked back and forth in front of her and the others surrounded her.

“I told you, I’m done with that life!” She yelled at them.

“Yes and I can see how good your new life suits you.” He wiped at some dirt on her cheek. “And what about this disguise? Did you think cutting your hair and dressing like a boy would really hide you from us?” She tried to move her face out of his way.

“Excuse me...” The crowd opened to reveal a shadowed form with her sword drawn, Thaddeus. turned quickly and recognized Xena, “ this a private party?” She inquired.

“That’s her, get her!” Thaddeus commanded. The group moved in on Xena hesitantly and Phaedra, again, breathed a sigh of relief.

Two boys charged Xena, she waited for them to get close enough. Then she jumped and kicked them both and easily knocked them to the sides, one in each direction. Thaddeus stood back but drew his sword. A young woman charged, next. Xena really didn’t want to hurt any of them. They were so young – just a band of hooligans trying to get by. Xena ducked the punches and grabbed the woman by her shoulders and flipped her over her own head. The woman flew a few feet in the air and landed in the brook that was nearby. One of the boys at her side got to his feet and she kicked him in the stomach. When he bent over she grabbed him and spun him so that the other boy couldn’t reach her. She shoved hard, sending them both back onto their rears.

While everyone was distracted by Xena, Phaedra removed the ropes from her wrists and took a few daggers from her boots and began to throw them at the others. She ducked an attack by a bigger guy. Xena noticed how easily she escaped from the binds and paused to make eye contact. Phaedra looked at Xena and gave her a shrug then kicked the guy in the groin.

Thaddeus saw his gang get tossed about and decided it was his turn. He faced off with Xena and waited for her to draw her sword. His hands were sweaty and he swallowed hard.

Xena drew her sword as he began his attack. She blocked his swings with ease and kicked him in the knee.

When he dropped she knocked him back with a backhand to the head. There that wasn’t too bad! I could’ve hurt him a lot more. She thought to herself. The others began to pick themselves up off the ground and decided they wanted no more of her. Thaddeus watched them run off and he too got to his feet. He tried to stare at Xena, but it was obvious she was way beyond his league. His eyes dropped to the ground and he angrily stormed after his friends.

Xena followed Phaedra back to the camp site where Gabrielle still slept. As Xena grabbed her covers she whispered, “You could’ve gotten out of those ropes whenever you wanted to, huh?” Phaedra gave Xena a shy grin, “Yeah, since you were helping me, I thought I’d better keep them on. I wanted you to trust me,” Xena nodded her head in understanding. She reached down by her feet, grabbed Phaedra’s daggers that were bundled up in cloth. She tossed the whole bundle to her.

“Let’s get some rest”. Xena smiled and Phaedra agreed. They settled themselves down for the rest of the night.

Gabrielle felt Xena moving next to her and was awoken from her slumber. “What’s going on?” She sat up and looked to Phaedra, who was no longer tied up.

“Nothing, go back to sleep.” Xena reassured her. Gabrielle looked at Xena and accepted her answer. She let herself drop back down to sleep.

Scene V

They had arrived in the town of Nemea shortly after sun up. Xena sought out a messenger and made arrangements. She handed him several dinars and when she was sure he understood his assignment she offered her hand. He clasped her forearm to seal the deal. Xena walked over to where Gabrielle and Phaedra waited and talked.

“See King Mercer of Megara was about to give his daughter’s hand in marriage to Prince Cassius.” Gabrielle explained why she and Xena were traveling in these parts. “His family has a long tradition of handing down this family heirloom to the bride. His wife Lelia had it handed down to her when she entered the family and now it was to be handed down to their daughter. Well the night before the wedding, King Mercer went to get the heirloom, but it was missing. They searched the whole castle, questioned everyone. It was gone.

Finally one of the guards broke down and confessed that he had helped King Argius steal the heirloom to prevent the wedding. See King Argius wanted his daughter to marry Prince Cassius.”. Phaedra was completely captivated by Gabrielle’s storytelling that she forgot for a moment that this was actually someone’s life.

“What a mess!” she finally said.

“I know.” Gabrielle watched Xena approach them. “That’s where me and Xena come in. Xena has agreed to help get the heirloom back for King Mercer. That’s why we’re here.” “Well maybe I can help. I’m great at creating diversions.” She turned her attention to Xena. “Hi.” “The messenger is on his way.” Xena stated. Phaedra smiled and let out a sigh.

“Xena, I think Phaedra can help us get into the castle.” Gabrielle said with a slight sparkle in her eye.

Recognizing the playful look in her friends expression, Xena turned back to Phaedra. “I’m listening.” “Well, I can get a crowd gathered near the castle entrance, I’ll distract them with my magic show while you get in.”

Xena stood several paces behind the crowd. She watched on as the crowd cheered and clapped. Phaedra had cleaned up and changed into a more exotic outfit that she picked up after making plans with Xena and Gabrielle. Gabrielle had also changed into something more “suitable” for this performance. Phaedra helped her pick out a long yellow skirt that flowed to her ankles and a small brown sleeveless vest for a top. She wore her purple silk over her head. Phaedra had explained her routine and Gabrielle was sure she could pull it off. Phaedra was confidant and expertly performed her magic act, doing all sorts of tricks. She made small items, that the crowd volunteered, disappear and made a dove and a rabbit appear. Gabrielle was as shocked as the crowd was, although she was supposed to be the assistant. Xena watched the guards become more and more interested. They had decided to do this magic act near the castle’s main entrance. Xena waited patiently.

“OK now I’ll need a volunteer from the audience.” Phaedra announced. She and Gabrielle pretended to search the crowd for the right person. “You look innocent enough.” Phaedra smiled and pulled one of the guards by the hand – the others cheered him on. “Ever cut a girl in half?” She whispered loudly enough for the crowd to hear. Gabrielle’s eyes widen as she made eye contact with Xena.

Xena had to hold in a laugh and gave her friend a reassuring wink. She then moved to the entrance and easily makes her way into the castle, while everyone watched the show. She quietly walked through the main hall and stopped to listen to the sounds of the castle.

The crowd yelled and cheered as Gabrielle stood up from her table and was back in one piece. She and Phaedra took a bow and she gave Phaedra a very perplexed look. “You’ll have to tell me later.” Gabrielle whispered.

With a smile, Phaedra continued her performance. “Now for my next assistant and I will need a few more volunteers.” They walked the first guard over to the wall behind them. Gabrielle walked into the crowd and pulled the two other guards into the show. She lined them up shoulder to shoulder against the wall. They were laughing and taunting each other. The crowd cheered them on. “Now be sure to stand still.” Phaedra playfully ordered the men as Gabrielle lifted a cloth off of a table to reveal several rows of daggers.

Phaedra picked up three daggers in each hand got ready to throw them.

Xena found the king’s chamber door. She placed her ear against it and listened. When she was sure it was safe, she pushed the door open and entered. The heirloom was in the center of the spacious room. It was a large ruby set in the middle of a gold medallion with the family’s crest engraved on it. It hung from a large gold chain. It rested on a maroon velvet cloth and was under a glass cover that was locked. Xena walked up to it and realized that if she were to break the glass it would release a trigger that was attached to a series of crossbows by a thin string. She may be able to avoid and catch several of the arrows, but she knew there were too many of them. She looked around the room to see how she could get the heirloom out. Just then a guard walked by the door and noticed it was slightly open. He pushed it open and saw Xena standing there.

Xena had her back to him, but her heightened senses picked up his movements. She turned to face him with a smirk on her lips.

The guard drew his sword and rushed forward. He took a swing to her neck, but she ducked in time. She jumped to avoid his swing at her legs. The guard took the hilt in both hands and brought the sword down with a yell. Xena waited and grabbed his wrists as the sword came down. She side stepped the sword and used the momentum to bring his face onto her knee. The guard fell to the ground unconscious. Two other guards heard the commotion and ran into the room. Xena let out her battle cry, “Ayayayayaya.” as she performed a series of back flips to add more space between her and the two guards. With a derisive grin, she drew her sword.

The crowd chanted as they prepared for the finale – but the guards looked to each other as they heard Xena’s yell. Before they could react Phaedra let the daggers fly. The guards were lifted off of the ground and pinned to the wall. They struggled to free themselves but could not.

Gabrielle and Phaedra looked to each other. Gabrielle quickly grabbed her staff and forcefully gave each guard a shot to the chin and knocked them unconscious. She grabbed Phaedra’s hand, “Come on!” The two women ran into the castle.

Gabrielle and Phaedra arrived at the king’s chamber door. They saw Xena fending off two guards. They took turns swinging at her and she met each attack with her sword. Xena backflipped onto a table as three more guards rushed in.

Gabrielle, with her staff in hand, faced off with one of them. She used the end of her staff to jab one guard in the ribs. She swung upward and caught him in the head. Then dropped to one knee, brought her staff in an arc and took his legs out from under him. Another guard rushed towards her, but Gabrielle sidestepped him and hit him in the back, using her force and his own momentum to send him flying onto a table that crashed down under his weight.

Meanwhile, Phaedra picked up a sword from a guard lying on the floor. She got into a dual with one of the guards. She wasn’t’ very skilled with the sword, but did her best to match his every move.

Xena continued her battle with two of the guards. She stood on a long table and jumped as one of them swung at her legs. She grabbed onto a candle chandelier above her and swung her legs so that she could get build up speed. She let go and sailed, feet first, to the guards who were lined up one behind the other. When she reached them she kicked her feet in a bicycle motion, pushing them back, until both men were pinned against the wall. She dropped to her feet, with her hands on her hips and waited until the sank down to the ground.

A yell from behind made Xena turn around. The King had entered and yelled in surprise. Phaedra turned her sword on King Argius. She knocked him onto his back and let out a yell, as she was about to bring her sword down on him. Xena yelled to her. “Phaedra – NO!” Phaedra turned to look at Xena who ran towards her. The King had enough time to get to his feet – but Xena cocked her arm and let loose a vicious punch to his jaw sending him back a few feet and into the wall. She replaced her sword and took the one from Phaedra and dropped it to the ground. “That ought to give us enough time to get the heirloom and get out of here.” Xena said.

“Are you all right?” Gabrielle asked. Both Xena and Phaedra nodded their heads.

“Come here.” Xena led them to the heirloom. She pointed to the thin string that connected to the crossbows.

Phaedra examined the lock and the trigger mechanism and nodded her head. She reached down into her boot and pulled out two very thin pieces of metal. She inserted them into the lock and patiently waited for it to click. When it did, she carefully lifted the cover and let Xena remove the heirloom.

Scene VI

The next morning was warm and the sun was high. They had finished their breakfast which Xena caught earlier that morning in the river. Gabrielle sat on a rock with her feet dangling in the river. She held the heirloom and gently rubbed her fingers on the large ruby.

Xena finished folding the bedrolls and started to put out the fire. Phaedra finished packing up her own satchel and placed it over her shoulders. Xena walked up to her. “Thanks for your help yesterday, Phaedra.” She smile at the young girl. “That was some show!” They both laughed. “So what are you planning to do now?” Phaedra looked up into the tall woman’s eyes – so blue – and paused before she answered. “Well, your messenger did say that there was a Saxon in the Greek army, but that he left after he was badly injured. He was sent to Pyloe for healing.” “Pyloe is just southwest of Sparta, about a two days trip.” Xena informed her. Phaedra took in the information and nodded.

“Is that where you’re heading then?” Gabrielle asked as she lifted herself off the rock and walked over to them.

“Yes – I have to try to find him.” “What if you don’t?” Gabrielle asked softly as she dried her feet and put on her boots.

With a deep breath, Phaedra answered, “Well – I don’t know – I guess I’ll just keep searching. But...” she turned to face Xena again. “...I promise, no more stealing. I realize there are other ways to get by. At least now I have some hope.” Xena smiled at her, “I’m glad to hear that.” Xena turned to Gabrielle and accepted the heirloom as Gabrielle handed it to her. “Ready?” She asked Gabrielle, who finished tying her boot laces and nodded in response.

“Good luck, Phaedra – I really hope you find what you’re looking for.” Gabrielle said with a smile. “Oh and thanks for the magic show...” she chuckled as she looked down to her stomach and placed her hand on it.

“... it was fun.” “You were a great assistant.” Phaedra gave Gabrielle a hug, then to Xena she said, “Thanks for your help and for believing in me.” “Good luck.” Xena bent down and gave the young girl a hug. She hoped the girl would find her brother and she hoped she would find her way. Xena reached down to her waist and untied a small purse. She handed it to Phaedra. “Maybe this will help you get by.” They smile at each other as Phaedra accepted it. Gabrielle smiled at Xena’s generosity. Out of the corner of her eye, Xena caught the look on Gabrielle’s face. She tried to conceal her own grin. Gabrielle and Xena watch as Phaedra turned and walked away with a wave.

“That was really good of you, Xena.” Gabrielle looked up at her friend.

Xena tried to shrug it off, “Nah! It was you really. You got me to get that messenger. You should give yourself the credit.” They picked up their belongings and walked over to Argo who was drinking some of the cold water. “No, Xena, I think you really helped her.” They each stood on one side of the mare.

Xena took a deep breath. “I know what it’s like to lose a brother, Gabrielle.” She looked over her horses back to met Gabrielle’s eyes. “I just hope she finds Saxon. She’s so young and alone in the world. It’s not an easy place to be ... I should know.” Xena reached up to hoist herself up onto Argo’s back, but Gabrielle reached out and grabbed Xena’s hand. She gave an understanding squeeze.

Scene VII

The castle courtyard was filled with royalty, guests, performers and Xena and Gabrielle. It was decorated with white flowers and candles. In the center, King Mercer stood looking at his beautiful daughter and her husband to be. He held the heirloom up for all to see. The sun sparkled off of the gold and jewel. The King then brought the heirloom over his daughter’s neck and let it rest upon her chest. He took his daughter’s flushed face in his hands and kissed her on both cheeks. Then he placed her hand into the Prince’s hand. The bride and groom beamed at each other and then kissed. The guests clapped and cheered.

Gabrielle and Xena stood at the back of the crowd. They too clapped them on. “You know Xena – maybe I wouldn’t want a life like this after all.” Gabrielle looked around as she clapped. “I think I’d get bored living behind the castle walls. No real excitement or adventures.” They began to walk away from crowd, Gabrielle grabbed her staff, from behind her, where it was leaning on the wall. “I think our lives are much more exciting, you know an Amazon Princess – a Warrior Princess. Who needs this?” She waved her hand at their surroundings.

“Yeah, I know what you mean – I kind of like our life style too, Gabrielle.” Xena reached over and placed her hand on Gabrielle’s shoulder, Their eyes met for a few moments and then they both let out a quiet laugh.

Xena dropped her hand down to Gabrielle’s waist as they continued their walk out of the castle and onto their next journey.

“So you want to know how I got cut in half an d put back together again? It’ll make a great story!”

The End!

Nov. 23, 1998

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