Chapter Six

The Prodigal Sister and Daughter

“I still say she should be held accountable for what she’s done,” Herodotus proclaimed. “She took our daughter away.”

“Gabrielle left on her own free will. Gabrielle left because that is who she is,” Hecuba pleaded. “Gabrielle probably talked Xena into letting her stay. Gabrielle has away of doing that.”

“Father, Hercules assured us Gabrielle is safe,” Lila said.

“I still don’t like it,” Herodotus said.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Lila sat alone in her room, thinking about her sister. She thought of how much Gabrielle has changed. Gabrielle was no longer the innocent villager. She was stronger now. She couldn’t figure out what was going on. The Xena she heard Gabrielle talk so much about was not the same person in their village. For some reason, Lila knew Gabrielle was safe. She didn’t know why, but that she was.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“I’m going to go after her,” Herodotus said. He grabbed a sword from the mantel.

“You can’t,” his wife pleaded.

“And why not?”

“Because what’s to stop her from killing you? You’ve misjudged Xena from the very beginning. She saved us remember? That man was going to take us. She even convinced him to ignore us and for what reason? Nothing other than it was the right thing to do,” Hecuba stated. “You’ve never given Xena the time. I did and I learned a lot. Not about her, but about my own daughter. It was Gabrielle that has kept her doing good.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Evil Will Defeat Itself

“Are you sure Gabrielle is safe?” Iolaus asked.

“She’s safe. Xena made a sub-conscious decision to let this village go. For some reason, she didn’t allow herself to go back,” Hercules said.

“So what if she goes on the rampage again,” Iolaus said.

“That’s the thing Iolaus, she didn’t. When her army attacked Costos, she was no where near her army. She was back, watching her army. She watched them, something prevented her from fighting then. Just like today, she couldn’t lead an attack,” Hercules said.

“I’m still not convinced,” Iolaus said.

“Have faith in Gabrielle. Evil will defeat itself,” Hercules said.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Bard, Warrior Bard

“Come on Gabrielle think. You are the Warrior Bard of Poteidaia. Use your stories. You’ve said things that have made some sort of contact with her. She’s trying to understand, but something is blocking it,” Gabrielle softly said. Gabrielle sat quietly in her cell. “I have to figure out a way —.”

“You have company — Get in there!” a guard shouted.

“Lila!” Gabrielle said, surprised. “What are you doing here?”

“I brought you this,” Lila said. She took a backpack out from under her dress. “I had you to make sure you were alright.”

“You shouldn’t have come,” Gabrielle said.

“She won’t hurt you, will she?” Lila asked.

“The last time we spoke, we didn’t part on the greatest of good times. It’s like she knows, but she doesn’t. She’s fighting it,” Gabrielle said. She looked through her pack.

“You can get out of here, can’t you?” Lila asked.

“Not without Xena. If I leave, she comes with me,” Gabrielle said.

“And you have a plan for that?”

“I’m working on it.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

> Going Back to Poteidaia?

“Are we going back there?” Janus asked. Janus was about the height of Gabrielle. He wasn’t a good warrior, but he was a great strategist.

“No. There is nothing there. Not anymore,” Xena said. “Something doesn’t fit right.”

Janus left the tent.

“Another chance. You brought be me back to defeat me Xena. The problem is you also brought back my powers. What’s the matter Xena? Having trouble fighting me in my spiritual state? Don’t — I’m real — formed from the evil of the earth. And I’m a much better fighter than you ever dreamed.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Journey to Nowhere

“Get up,” ordered the guard. “We are moving out.”

“Where are they taking us?” Lila asked.

“I don’t know,” Gabrielle replied.

The guard opened the door and Lila and Gabrielle left the cell.

“Who is that?” Xena asked Agrilius.

“Another person we found snooping around the camp,” Agrilius said.

“Why wasn’t I told?”

“A minor oversight,” Agrilius choked.

“Let her go. She’s not important to us,” Xena said. She rode ahead.

“What’s going on?” Gabrielle asked.

“Your friend here, gets to go,” the guard said, untying the ropes.

“I won’t go unless she goes with me,” Lila demanded.

“Lila, go. It’ll be alright. I’ve figured it out,” assured Gabrielle. The only thing she had figured out is that Xena wasn’t Xena. And that she was the only person to fix the situation. Something was going on, that was for sure.

“Come on — Get out of here,” the guard demanded.

“Put her on a horse. And untie her,” Janus said.

“What for?”

“I don’t know. Just do it,” Janus ordered. He rode to the back of the line.

Gabrielle watched Janus ride to back of the army.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Where are we going?” Gabrielle asked.

“Nowhere,” Xena replied. “Wherever we are going, there will be trouble.”

Gabrielle sighed and rode along side with someone she thought was her friend. Xena remained quiet.

It was dark when the army finally stopped for the night. It wasn’t safe to travel at night.

With no idea of what was to happen to next, Gabrielle decided to try something. Something she couldn’t do and hasn’t been able to do for quite sometime. There was something about Xena’s behavior that was familiar to her.

She slumped down on the ground. “Xena, if you are out there, you have to help me. I don’t know this person. I don’t know what else to do. We have to do this together, it’s the only way. I know you aren’t here.”

“You. Xena wants to see you,” the guard said. “Come on.” He muttered something to himself. He escorted Gabrielle to a cave.

Janus was close by, listening to Gabrielle. He knew what was going to happen to her. Eventually, Xena was going to kill her and he wasn’t about to let that happen. He followed the guard and Gabrielle into the cave. He knew this person didn’t have to die. This person shouldn’t die.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Present Future

“Tell me, can you see the future?” Xena asked.

Gabrielle slowly walked towards Xena. “No. They say the Fates have our futures are mapped out for us. We can’t change it. I’d rather not know my future.”

“That’s the funny thing about destiny, you can’t change it,” Xena said. “Once you know it, you can’t change it. No matter how hard you try.”

“And what does you destiny say, Xena?”

“That I will be able to complete my mission, finally. One of the two people that were truly stopping me is now gone. And the other —.”

Gabrielle moved back. Janus moved in for a closer look.

Xena turned around and ferociously grabbed Gabrielle by the neck.

“What has she told you about me? This person, is going to die because of you. Do you want the blood of an innocent on your hands. It will be your fault.”

Gabrielle looked in Xena’s eyes. “Alti!”

Janus stepped out the shadows. “Let her go.”

“You?” Xena said. She was distracted by this rude interruption. She pointed her sword towards Janus.

Janus swallowed hard. “Let her go,” Janus demanded. He took a deep breath. He knew he just made a terrible effort to try to save this young woman he didn’t know.

“Since when did you become the physical type? Doesn’t matter now.” Xena dropped Gabrielle. She walked towards Janus. Janus stepped back a few steps then stopped

“Don’t. She’ll kill you,” Gabrielle said. She was struggling to breath.

Xena moved around Janus. Janus remained still, eying the shiny weapon on Xena’s side.

Gabrielle struggled to stand up, watching the two warriors exchange looks. Gabrielle looked around for a weapon of some sorts. She couldn’t find any.

“What’s the matter? To afraid you might die?” coerced Xena.

“No. Not afraid to die,” Janus said.

“Good. Because you’ll be dealt with later,” Xena said. Xena firmly planted a kick into Janus’ chest, sending him backwards into the cave wall. He fell to the ground, unconscious.

Gabrielle knew she was next. She searched again for a weapon, she found a long of piece of wood. She grabbed it and charged the warrior. She knew she was no match, and that this was pointless. She knew she couldn’t hold a candle to Xena in a battle. She hoped that maybe Janus would regain consciousness in time.

Xena deflected the charge. She grabbed the weapon from the smaller woman and used it against her. The weapon broke into two pieces across Gabrielle’s back. Gabrielle screamed out in pain. Gabrielle tried to grab at least one of the pieces of wood, but Xena’s grip was too strong. Xena grabbed Gabrielle by the throat one more time. “Your future lives. It all ends here.”

Janus was slowly regaining consciousness. Janus was awakening to a brutal fight between two unfairly matched opponents. Janus rose up and charged Xena, grabbing the shiny weapon. “Rahhhhhhh!!!!” screamed Janus.

It was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. When Janus charged Xena, Gabrielle instinctively grabbed a hold of Janus, who grabbed a hold a Xena. All three went tumbling through a crater in the cave.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“What happened?” Janus asked, rubbing his head.

“I don’t know. I fell down a hole and —,” Gabrielle said. “Yeah. What is it with you and holes —,” Janus said, groggily.

Gabrielle stunned, turned to face Janus. “What did you just say?”

“What is it with you and —.”

Gabrielle crawled to Janus. “I don’t believe it.” She reached out her right hand and touched his face. She almost started to cry.

Janus, surprised, “Don’t believe what?” He was confused by this girl’s excitement. “I just saved your life and all you can say is, ‘I don’t believe it’.” He pushed her hand away.

“Thank you,” Gabrielle said. Gabrielle acted as if she had just found her long lost puppy.

“What did you do?” Xena asked.

Janus got up, the shiny weapon in hand. “It’s not what I did. It’s what you did.”

“The chakram,” Gabrielle said. She watched Janus get up and slowly walk over to Xena.

Xena looked down at her side and noticed her prized weapon was in Janus’ hand. Xena grabbed a hold of Janus and raised him off the ground. “I don’t believe it.”

“Believe this,” Janus said. Janus head butted Xena.

Xena dropped Janus and she fell to the ground. Janus grabbed Xena’s sword then ran over and grabbed Gabrielle. The two ran off into the forest.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

How Could You?

“Xena?” Gabrielle asked. Her face lit up. It is her, Gabrielle thought to herself.

“Yeah,” Xena said.

“It worked.”

“Gabrielle — Of all the people you could have sent me too — why did it have to be this guy. Joxer would have been a much better choice,” Janus said.

“Tell me you don’t mean that,” chuckled Gabrielle. “It’s Alti? How did she? How did you — Look at the bright side, you may not be in the best of a warrior’s body, but at least you have your abilities,” Gabrielle said.

“That’s the problem. I may have my abilities, but I have his as well. And Alti well — she not only has mine, but hers as well. It’s like trying to fight myself, times a hundred. The odds were against me from the beginning.”

“Naima said that we’d always be able to defeat her,” Gabrielle assured her friend.

“Naima didn’t think Alti would be able to pull a stunt like this,” Janus said. “She had help, Gabrielle. She had help.”

“So what do we do?” Gabrielle asked.

Janus looked around. “I don’t know.”

“You had me worried,” Gabrielle said. “Why didn’t you just say something?”

“I couldn’t. I’m just sorry Minos had to die because of this,” Janus said. “You couldn’t protect him?”

“If I protected him, you would have died,” Janus said. “I was using what energy I had left to protect you and your village and Hercules. Ares, surprised me though.” Janus unsheathed his sword and handed to Gabrielle. He then sheathed Xena’s sword.

“How are we going to fix what you’ve — Alti has done?” She looked at the sword, then tossed it the ground. She wanted no part of swordplay.

Janus shrugged his shoulders. “We better get going if we want to stay ahead of her and find a way out of here. There is something familiar about this place.”

Janus and Gabrielle continued to walk through the forest.

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