Memories, Dreams and Schemes
by Azurenon & Savanna Mac
Please see part one for all disclaimers.
Once thoroughly dressed and having hidden the staff, as well as, stashed the small knife in a pouch inside her left boot -the right one already containing a bit larger, more useful looking one- Xena had then made friends with the horse. The latter of whom seemed very friendly towards her indeed, nuzzling against her hand immediately. She had then saddled the mare, led her off into the woods near the cave and tied her to a small tree. Her uncertainty over this whole strange situation, making her want to err on the side of caution. For, if anyone was riding away from here on the horse, it was going to be her.
Horse securely stashed away to her liking, she had then relieved her very full bladder and walked back to the cave, taking note of the landscape, which bore not the slightest resemblance to anywhere she'd ever been before. So lush, green and thick were the flora and fauna, surrounding the mountainside the cave was tucked into, that it seemed almost surreal. The towering trees -slim, branchless trunks- with dark brown fruit hanging from the only foliage at their very tops, the dense undergrowth and vines of every assortment, suggested that they were near the ocean. But where? That was the question. And if this is just a dream, she thought, it's the most detailed one I've ever had.
Inside the cave now, she was eager for answers to her questions, which had not been addressed in the scrolls she'd found previously and later thought to peruse; for, they were ominously blank. The answers I need must reside in the still sleeping form beneath that blanket, she thought. But, how should I approach her?
So great was her frustration with this situation that a part of her wanted to snatch the woman up and either shake or beat the answers out of her. And yet another part of her was well aware that this approach may not be the best tactic to yield what she needed. For, she'd obviously had some previous acquaintance with the blonde, that was more than evident. And more than likely she'd trusted her, at some point, in order to have bedded her, because she didn't make a habit of leaving herself that vulnerable to just anyone. No matter how horny she got. And on top of this, she had to admit she was definitely curious about just exactly what her relationship had been with this woman. She also couldn't help but feel that she just might want to rehash previous events, later on; remembering them this time, hopefully.
This situation definitely calls for finesse, she decided, bending down on the blanket near the human form beneath it. She pulled back the blanket gently and slowly, revealing the enticingly naked body to her view. Her eyes hungrily perused the smooth creamy looking flesh, noting several large, obviously recent, passion marks on the right side of the woman's neck. You musta been good, she thought, ‘'cause I don't ever remember leaving marks like that on any others.
"Hmph," she grunted aloud, brushing a strand of long blonde hair away from the very innocent looking face. This movement felt familiar and yet the feeling quickly vanished like early morning fog. The desire to remember the previous night, however, stayed very close to the surface. If it were not for the blanks in my memory, she thought, I'd like nothing better than to crawl back beneath the covers with her. Her hand paused just before touching one of the enticing small orbs. Yet, I don't even know your name, she added. Although I feel like I might wanna get to know you better, a little later on, perhaps. But for now... I need answers.
"Wake up, sleepy head," the warrior said aloud, touching the blonde' s cheek.
"Jus'... a little longer... Lil-la," the woman mumbled, without even opening her eyes.
"Who's Lila?" the warrior asked a bit harshly, feeling a brief twinge of jealousy.
The blonde's lids fluttered open; blue-green eyes rolling around in their sockets for a moment, struggling to focus. When they landed on Xena' s own, the woman suddenly flinched and sat up. The warrior's hand was on her left boot in a heartbeat, ready to draw the small knife.
"Who-o-o?" the blonde said, backing away slightly on her elbows. Her eyes blinked several times, as she stammered, "Where's... how did... who are...?" She then glanced down at her naked torso, her eyes growing wide with shock. "Sweet Hestia!" she gasped and grabbed the blanket, pulling it up to cover herself.
Xena's hand was still near her left boot; for; she was unsure what was going on here. The woman was acting like she didn't even know who she was, nor what they'd obviously done; for, she seemed terribly upset by her own nudity.
"Who-o a-are y-you?" the blonde stammered, eyes wide, darting back and forth from the warrior to their surroundings. Questions followed as quickly as her eyes moved. "Wh-where's.. my mother and father and L-Lila? Wh-where am I? Wh-what am I doing ... Wh-who are y-you?"
"Who are you?" Xena asked, growing a bit suspicious now. It was one thing for her not to remember... but the woman too. That was a bit too much to swallow.
"Wh-what do you w-want with me?" the woman stammered.
"All I want is some answers," Xena responded. "Who you are, where we are and how we got here."
The blonde shook her head. "H-How w-would I know?"
"You mean you don't even know who you are?"
"No, I... my name is Gabrielle. But,... wh-who are you?"
The warrior hesitated. This was making less and less sense!
"Wh-where are my clothes?" the blonde inquired "Wh-why am I...?" She left the rest unsaid.
Xena merely stared at her, not knowing what to make of this whole situation. Was the woman possibly just acting as if she'd lost her memory, too? Surely she must be trying to cover her tracks with this great performance of hers. There was no other explanation, was there?
"What did you do with my clothes?" the blonde accused.
The proud warrior now lost her cool. She yanked the knife from her boot and had it beneath the blonde's chin, before the latter even had a chance to gasp. "Cut the bullshit!" Xena growled. The blonde's blue-green eyes grew wide with fear now. "You tell me what I want to know or... I'll slit your pretty little throat, you got that?"
Gabrielle swallowed hard. "Um-hm," she whimpered.
"That's better." Xena smirked. "Now, who are you? Where are we? And how'd we get here?"
"I... I told you.. m-my name is Gab-brielle. And..." She grimaced as the warrior pressed the blade of the knife against her throat. "I... d-don' t... kn-know wh-where..." She swallowed hard as a tear eased from the corner of one eye. "I d-don't know any... thing else!" she squeaked. "I... I sw-swear!" she added, as the warrior pressed a bit harder and another tear slid down her cheek.
"You think I won't kill you for lying to me?" Xena hissed. "Last night means nothing to me. You mean nothing to me. You got that?"
Gabrielle closed her eyes, unable to look into the cold, deadly blue ones of this warrior woman a moment longer. She had no earthly idea who this woman was or what she was talking about. "I... I can't tell you... wh-what I d-don't know," she muttered, tears slowly trickling down her cheeks.
Xena pressed the knife even closer out of sheer frustration, the blade not even sharp enough to nick the skin, which only added fuel to the fire inside. The warrior was tempted to put the pinch on her, but for some unknown reason, she couldn't bring herself to do this. "Listen close, Gabrielle," she hissed instead, moving closer and getting right in the woman's face. "Look at me!" she commanded. The blonde hesitantly opened her eyes. "You are not looking at a patient person here," Xena warned, her top lip curling up in a sneer. "Now I'm gonna ask you one last time." The warrior paused, her own eyes riveted to the watery sea-green ones before her. For an instant, she felt a brief flash of recognition. The feeling washed over her so quickly that she felt a bit light-headed suddenly.
"I... I don't kn-now... wh-where we are!" Gabrielle sobbed. "I d-don't even kn-know... who y-you are! S-so, wh-why ask me?"
Somewhere deep inside, the warrior was touched by this display. She released the pressure on the knife. Was it possible they had both lost their memories? That perhaps there was a third party involved in this situation? That they'd both been drugged by someone else? "Then tell me what you do know," Xena grumbled. "What's your last memory?"
"I... I went... t-to sl-sleep in... my bed. My si-sister Lila was...."
"And where was this?"
Xena frowned. Poteidaia would have been along her route to Amphipolis, if she had been going home, that is, which she hadn't. She'd not sat foot in her hometown in over ten years; for, she knew she would not be welcome. She had thought about going home several times over the past few moons; she wanted to see her mother, but... She shook her head to clear her thoughts. Could this woman, Gabrielle, know where she was from, perhaps?
"Pl-Please, either k-kill me or... put down the knife," Gabrielle heard herself say, though she did not know where the courage to do so came from.
"No one tells me what to do!" Xena growled, grabbing the blonde' s face and squeezing her cheeks between powerful fingers and thumb; her attention immediately drawn to the woman's pursed lips. The urge to kiss these was nearly irresistible. To avoid doing so, Xena shoved the blonde away from her, sending her back onto the bedroll. The warrior then quickly got to her feet, totally at a loss as to what to do next. She'd never felt so strange, so utterly and helplessly confused in her entire life.
Gabrielle clung to the blanket, as if it were a lifeline and didn' t dare move a muscle. She'd obviously been taken captive by a madwoman. But when and how, she couldn't remember. And neither could this tall warrior, evidently. The latter of which made absolutely no sense, whatsoever. Something bad had happened, that much went without saying and Gabrielle feared for her family. Where were they? What had this woman done to them?
"Poteidaia is nowhere near Amazon territory," Xena suddenly announced, running her finger over the blade of the knife. "Wanna try again, hmm?"
"Am-mazon?" Gabrielle stammered, taking a long look at the warrior' s attire, as well as, her musculature and tall stature. "Are you a real... Amazon?"
"Not hardly!" Xena shot back, frowning. "Aren't you?"
"Huh?" was all Gabrielle could manage to say. How could this woman possibly think that she was an Amazon? The mere thought was... inconceivable and almost amusing. If not for the gravity of the situation, she might have laughed out loud. But, now she knew the woman was totally off her rocker! And that wasn't one bit amusing, not in the least!
Xena patted her left foot and pursed her lips. She was so very frustrated, she didn't know what to do. She stared at the blonde, who insisted her name was Gabrielle, seeing fear, then a brief spark of amusement, which quickly changed right back to fear once again. If she's acting, she's doing a very convincing job, she thought. And what if she isn't acting? she pondered. What does that mean?
Why am I naked? Gabrielle wondered. What has she done with my clothes? And why did she make me take them off? I can't remember... a thing about this. Why? And what did she mean by what we did last night not meaning anything to her? What does she think we did? Or rather, what did we do? Glancing down at the blankets, she realized there was room enough for two people, but...
"Get dressed," Xena commanded, not liking the distraction of knowing the blonde was still naked beneath the blanket.
Gabrielle raised up slowly, hugging the blanket to her chest. "Wh-Where are my clothes?" she asked, glancing around herself.
"I assume those are yours," Xena responded, gesturing towards the green halter, brown skirt and boots beside the woman.
"No, those aren't mine," Gabrielle objected. "My dress is blue with..." She paused, glancing around on the other side now.
"Those are the only ones I found," Xena commented. "Besides these I have on, that is. And I don't think they would fit you, do you?" The blonde glanced up at her and shook her head. "So, put those on, hmm?"
"But they're so skimpy..."
"There's a cape in your pack," Xena suggested.
"My p-pack? I don't have a... pack."
"Just get dressed," the warrior grumbled. "Now."
Gabrielle reached over and picked up the green halter. She had no recollection of ever having worn anything like this. Her mother and father would not have allowed it. At the thought of her family, tears leaped into her eyes. Where were they? What had happened to them? Had this woman killed them? If so, why spare her?
"What's wrong now?" Xena inquired, seeing the distraught look, as well as, a tear.
"M-my f-family... you ki-killed them, didn't you?" Gabrielle accused.
The question took Xena by surprise. She hadn't even considered all the ramifications the loss of her memory presented. Yet, she did know that she'd never killed women and children before. The father, perhaps, if he was armed. However, she wasn't in the habit of taking female captives, either. Nor would she ever force herself upon anyone!
"I... I didn't kill anyone... that I know of," the warrior answered a bit hesitantly.
"That you know of!" Gabrielle cried, not even thinking of her present situation.
The warrior was suddenly on her knees and in her face, her left hand on Gabrielle's throat, her right holding the knife next to her face. "Listen to me," she growled. "I don't know anymore about this than you do, understand? I don't know why you're here, I don't why I'm here. I know nothing about your family. I don't even know what in Tartarus is going on here!"
Xena shoved the blonde away from her. Her anger boiling now, her frustration a palpable living being, scratching and clawing at her insides. The thought crossed her mind to stab the knife into the dirt by the blonde' s head and yet as she moved her fingers on the woman's neck, she noticed another passion mark. This one was not as red as the ones on the other side, it was fading. More than just one night, she thought, We've been together more than once? This was even more frustrating. She raised up suddenly, hurling the knife at the cave wall. The thin blade sank up to its hilt. She growled deep in her throat and crawled over the blonde, snatching up the pack she assumed was hers, as she scrambled to her feet. "Go home!" she demanded and strode out of the cave.
Gabrielle was trembling with fear. The madwoman could have easily killed her with that knife. She had to get out of here! She would go home, as the woman suggested. But, first, she needed clothes. Wiping tears from her eyes, she resigned herself to the skimpy halter and short skirt. She needed to get out of here fast, and the boots would protect her feet.
Xena traversed the distance to the horse in record time. She untied it and was quickly on its back. She was leaving this place, before she killed the blonde out of sheer frustration. She'd be far away from here before nightfall. And perhaps by then, she would have figured out what had happened. Or else, at least, put it behind her. "He-ya!" she exclaimed and dug her heels into the horse's flanks.
Gabrielle came out of the cave cautiously, making sure the madwoman was nowhere in sight. "By the gods, where am I?" she asked aloud, seeing nothing that looked even remotely familiar. "And which way is Poteidaia?" The feeling of being lost and alone was nearly overwhelming. Yet, the desire to move, to be gone when and if the madwoman returned was even more powerful. Her feet carried her into the nearest section of woods, with little undergrowth. When she found a village, then she'd ask in which direction Poteidaia lay.
It was after midday and Xena was back at the cave. She was tired, hungry and even more frustrated than before. She'd traveled in all four directions and found the sea, with no land in sight beyond. She was obviously on an island, but how she got here and what island this was, were still a complete mystery. No memories had returned and nothing else had struck a familiar chord.
She was now pulling food out of the saddlebag -she'd left in her haste to get away- and couldn't help but wonder why Gabrielle had not taken this with her, either. Then again, she hadn't taken anything except her clothes. The blanket and bedroll was still just as she'd left them, as was her pack and the staff; even the knife was still sticking out of the cave wall. It didn't make sense.
As Xena sat down on the bedroll to eat an apple, some cheese and bread, she couldn't stop thinking about Gabrielle. Matter of fact, the blonde hadn't been far from her thoughts since she'd left the cave. Her main concern being, if she was telling the truth. And from the looks of things, it appeared she had been. If this were true, then it meant Gabrielle was out there, somewhere, by herself and virtually defenseless. And the latter part bothered Xena; for, she'd already come across tracks made by a large cat, as well as, the boots of at least one man. So, she knew they were not alone on this island.
The boot tracks had made her wonder if they had possibly been shipwrecked here. Although that was a definite possibility, she had yet to find any signs of wreckage, nor did she have any memory of boarding a ship, or even being close to the sea in the recent past. Of course, the past itself was a puzzle. How long had they been here? The fact that nothing was wet, suggested a few days, if they had indeed been shipwrecked. And the fading mark on the blonde's neck could be more evidence of this.
Suddenly, she realized that she was now constantly thinking in terms of the two of them -"we" and "us"- always putting Gabrielle with her in this and not against her. And she was referring to her as "Gabrielle" more and not just "the woman". No longer was she denying she was concerned about the obviously younger woman, either. If there was a man on the island and a large cat, then the naive little blonde might well be walking into trouble!
"Damn!" she cursed. Then putting the half-eaten apple in her mouth, she snatched up the saddlebags. She'd just have to go find her and bring her back, where she could at least keep an eye on her.
The naive little woman was not hard to track; she certainly wasn' t making any attempt to cover her trail and was seemingly having a hard time going. Xena had found little pieces of string from her halter and skirt hanging from several nasty looking thorn veins. The latest in the series having a speck of blood on it. Xena wasn't sure why, but this made her want to speed up her pace.
On into afternoon, the warrior found the man's boot tracks overlapping Gabrielle's. He was obviously following her, as well. The questions began again. Was the man the possible third party involved in all this? Were they in cahoots? Is that why the blonde took nothing with her? Because she knew she had the things she needed, elsewhere? If so, then what purpose had it served for her to be with Xena? Why hadn't they killed her last night?
The farther she traveled, however, the more she doubted these recent assumptions. The man's boot prints were not walking alongside the woman, he was following; tracking her; his prints ever so often veering off behind trees, as if concealing his presence. Xena's gut reaction to this was to quicken her pace. Yet, with all the undergrowth and vines, it was difficult to go much faster on the horse. She'd have to leave it behind.
She had just dismounted, when she heard a scream from up ahead. She quickly tied the horse and took off in that direction.
"Well, well, well, look at what we have here," said the man with the smelly breath, as he peered over Gabrielle's shoulder, his right arm tightly wrapped around her neck; fist beneath her chin; a knife held at her throat, in the other. "Thought I recognized you. You're that mouthy little bitch that runs 'round with Xena. So, where is the mighty Xena, by the way? I haven't seen her around here, yet."
"Who... is... Xena?" Gabrielle gasped.
"Nice try, toots, but I know you. Don't you remember me... Toxeus?"
Gabrielle cut her eyes over at the smelly, bearded man with long, light brown hair, yellow teeth and dark eyes that only enhanced the overall appearance of sheer madness. And I thought the warrior woman was dangerous, she thought, but said, "No, I don't... know you. You're obviously mis-taken. My n-name is Ga-brielle."
"I know tha-at." He grinned wickedly. "Now where's Xena, Gabrielle?" The tip of the knife pressed against the underside of her chin. Gabrielle winced. "Tell me and... I might let you live!" he growled.
"I don't know... any Xena. You have the wrong person, I..."
"Oh, I've got the right person. I remember you we-ell. You were there when Xena killed me!"
Gabrielle's eyes grew wide. She wished for the madwoman to show up. At least she had not smelled so bad nor talked quite so crazy. The knife tip pierced her skin. She groaned and winced, tears welling up in her eyes. "I d-don't kn-know any Xena!" she whimpered.
"Hmph. Not afraid of dying, maybe? Guess the Ellysian Fields isn' t exactly something to fear. Hmph, then maybe you'd fear pain more?" The knife moved from her throat to her chest, hovering at the top of her cleavage. "This color is not becoming. Anyone ever told you that? Hmm? So, let's get rid of this, shall we? Have ourselves a little fun, before we go looking for Xena, hmm?" The knife moved over her halter, the tip now inching beneath the underside.
He suddenly yanked the knife upward, the sharp blade cutting through the lightweight fabric with ease. Gabrielle screamed. The halter sprang open, revealing its contents.
He clamped his hand over her mouth. "Oh-h my-y, isn't that ni-ice," he drawled. Then he cautiously glanced around them. Surely Xena would have made an appearance by now, if she was in the area. Another glance at the firm round orbs made his groin tighten; the desire to take this little wench overriding his good sense. He touched her left breast with three fingertips, the rest still gripping the knife. "Oh yeah, we're gonna have a fine time, you and me," he hissed in her ear, his arousal heightened by her struggling. The thought that she might possibly still be a virgin, adding fuel to the fire. What sweet pleasure to see how Xena would react, knowing he'd had his way with her little friend. And this one deserved it.
He nuzzled against the side of her neck, inhaling the enticingly sweet feminine aroma and... something else mixed in. What was that? He eased back and glanced down at her neck. "Ah-h, I see. So, I'm not the first," he hissed. The thought that this little blonde might possibly be Xena's bed partner was far more interesting than her being a virgin. "Oh yeah... blondie, we' re gonna have loads a fun!"
Gabrielle whimpered and groaned, knowing what he intended to do, while another part of her mind tried to make sense of his remarks. Yet, how could she, or anyone else for that matter? He was obviously crazy!
He grabbed her by the throat and turned her around to face him. "Lay down," he growled, tightening his grip upon her throat, the knife now upside her cheek. "Do it! I'll show you what it's like to have a re-eal ma-an!"
Out of sheer terror, Gabrielle did as she was told. He was soon astride her hips; the knife upside her cheek once again, while he fumbled with the hooks of her skirt. Gabrielle felt the waistband let loose and he pulled back one side, revealing her undergarment. His hand groped her privates through the thin material. He gave a tremendous yank and the side seams gave way.
"Oh yeah, baby!" he said, licking his lips now. "Much nicer than I thought."
"Pl-Please," Gabrielle whimpered.
"What's wrong, sweet thang?" he asked, cocking his head in a quizzical fashion. "You just can't wait, can you?" He was working loose the ties at his crotch; the knife hand holding up his weight, the blade pointed away from her face. Gabrielle noticed this, but wasn't sure she could take advantage of it. "Ah-h, now here's something the mighty Xena can't give you."
Gabrielle closed her eyes tightly, not wanting to see what he was referring to. She felt him moving one leg over between hers. Then there was a loud smack, a groan and his weight suddenly lifted off her. Her eyes shot open, her gaze landing on a tall figure; sword drawn; long legs crossing over her body. The warrior woman kicked upward, her boot connecting with Toxeus' chin. Gabrielle sat up quickly.
"Get outta here!" the warrior woman exclaimed.
Gabrielle scrambled to her feet in time to see Toxeus hurl his knife at the tall brunette. The latter swatted it away in mid-air with the mere flick of her sword. "Get outta here I said!" she reiterated, as the man scrambled to his feet, drawing his own sword.
"Xe-e-na!" Toxeus drawled, blood dribbling from his mouth. "So go-od of you to join us. Always did wanna have two women at once."
"Do I know you?" the warrior asked.
He guffawed. "You should, you killed me, remember?"
Xena was confused. If she'd killed him then what was he doing here, obviously alive and well?
"Oh Xena, now that hurts my feelings. It's Toxeus, remember? You had to kill me twice." His gaze shot over to the blonde.
Gabrielle snatched up her skirt, diverting Xena's attention and Toxeus took the opportunity to attack. The two warriors parried; the sound of metal striking metal ringing out and causing Gabrielle to back away quickly, the skirt clutched tightly in her hand.
The opening Xena watched for came a few moments later. Her blade sliced across his midsection and struck his sword hand, sending the weapon sailing. Unarmed and wounded, though not mortally, Toxeus staggered backwards, his left hand going to his midsection and coming away bloody.
Xena was swinging her sword back around for the finishing stroke across his throat, when Gabrielle screamed, "No!!" The distraction made the warrior flinch, yet her momentum carried the weapon to its target. The blade sliced open the man's neck, a bit further down than Xena had intended. Yet, Toxeus went to his knees, both hands going to the gaping wound at his throat. Blood spewed across his fingers.
Gabrielle turned and ran. Toxeus fell face first to the ground. Xena wiped her sword on his back -feeling little remorse- sheathed the weapon and took off after the blonde.
Gabrielle had stumbled into a small clearing, her breath coming in gasps; tears streaming down her face; her stomach gurgling. A shrill undulating cry rang out from somewhere behind her and the warrior woman was suddenly in front of her. Gabrielle gasped and promptly spilled the meager contents of her stomach onto the ground. Never in her life had she been privy to so much violence and bloodshed. She sank to her knees, her body convulsing with dry heaves.
Xena stared down at the blonde. All her suspicions about this woman were dissolving away. No Amazon -lost memory or not- would react this way to bloodshed. And neither would a warrior of any merit. Then Gabrielle must be telling the truth, she thought and took a step towards her.
"No-o!" Gabrielle gasped, her palm held out towards Xena. "Stay... away!" She wretched once again.
Xena stopped in her tracks. It was obvious Gabrielle did not want to have anything to do with her, even though she'd just saved her from being raped. "You... shouldn't be alone out here," she said, in a voice so soft she didn't even recognize it as her own.
"What... choice... do I have?" Gabrielle responded, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. "Everyone... wants to kill me or..." She left the rest unsaid.
"I don't want to kill you," Xena corrected, frowning slightly.
"You said you would," Gabrielle reminded, glancing up at her.
Xena put her hands on her hips. "If I wanted to kill you, you' d be dead."
Xena crossed her arms now. "What? You'd rather I let him continue?"
"No." Gabrielle shook her head. "I'm glad you... stopped him, but..."
"But... you didn't have to... kill him! You could have... taken him to a village and let the law handle..."
"There is no village around here," Xena interrupted. "At least, not one that I've seen." The blonde looked up at her, after getting to her feet. "We're on an island," the warrior continued. The woman frowned now. "I've been in all four directions... nothing but water on all sides."
"Island, but how...?"
"I have no idea." Xena frowned herself and shifted her eyes away from the blonde, whose nudity was distracting her. Especially so were the soft blonde curls at the apex of her thighs and the fading passion mark near the inside of her left one. A feeling deep inside made her want to kill that man named Toxeus all over again, for what he'd been about to do. She gritted her teeth, knowing she'd almost been too late. "Come on, it'll be dark soon. You'll need your other clothes, back at the cave," she suggested.
Gabrielle wrapped her skirt around herself rather quickly and hooked it. "And why should I go with you?" she asked and regretted it as soon as the words left her mouth.
"Suit yourself then." Xena turned to walk away. "I tracked you both here and... I also saw the tracks of a large cat. You wanna stay out here alone, that's your choice," she shot over her shoulder.
"Cat? Did you say large cat? How large?" Gabrielle questioned, holding her top together, as she took off behind Xena. "Hey... wait up," she called, her fear of the large cat more prominent than her fear of this warrior woman.
Continued in Part 6