Lila got the invitation for Xenas birthday by messenger. It was note from her sister Gabrielle telling her not to mention anything to her parents. She should just say that a friend needed her and that she had to go.
Lila was excited cause shed never been to Orlandopolis before and was very excited to see Gabrielle and Xena. In the note Gabrielle said shed arranged for someone to walk with her and theyd meet just outside the road of their village.
Lila was walking down the road from Potadeia thinking of the last time she saw the Warrior Princess and her sister. She hadnt been very nice to Xena when she thought Hope was Gabrielle. She knew that Xena forgave her but she did feel very bad about it. She thought of her gift and smiled thinking that it might make up for her bad attitude a bit.
She acknowledged to herself that she was still a bit jealous of the relationship between Xena and her sister. Until the warrior showed up they were inseparable. Then Xena came and changed everything. She touched a part of Gabrielle that had been kept down by her father and their village. Her adventurous side and that is what Lila was really upset about. Next to Gabrielle she was really boring. They had settled all their differences when Gabrielle came back and helped Meleager save their village.
"Im so proud of you Lila. You have become such an accomplished young woman."
"No, the girl behind you. Of course you silly."
"But Youre the one who is out in the world "
"So! We each are learning and growing. Thats whats important, Lila. I think you are going to impress yourself in the end. Just wait and see."
"I just hope I will be a good bard."
"But youre already that "
"Well I did do a good job at the academy but well, well see."
Then she hugged me and off she went to find her best friend. Thought Lila as she turned around a large tree and almost ran right into another traveler.
Lila looked up and smiled in pure relieve. "Hi Flora!"
"Well hello, Little Sister of the Great Bard." Said Flora with a big smile. They had met at a birthday party that Xena had thrown for Gabrielle and become fast friends pretty quickly.
"What are you doing here?"
"Im your partner in crime on the road to Orlandopolis."
"Its a joke, come on lets get a move on."
"Youre the ex rebel I am just a little peasant girl "
"Thats what Gabrielle was when she first met Xena. You have the same blood as your sister you cant be all that innocent "
"Im not my sister, Flora. I am not an Amazon; I dont know how to fight. In fact Im not much. I dont know why they invited me anyway!" The angry girl stormed down the path.
Flora followed thinking, Now that was smart, Flora old girl."
"Lila wait "
Lila stopped but didnt turn.
"Lila, I didnt mean to insult you really. I was just kidding. Youre a great girl. Gabrielle and Xena are so very proud of you."
"What? Xena is proud of me?"
Flora smiled and nodded. "Sure. You know she observes everything. She catches every nuance. She said you grew up a lot since the last time she saw you. She said that she and your sister were just so proud of how you matured."
"But she hardly spoke to me I mean she was mad at me I was mad at her cause I thought she beat up Gabrielle but it was really Hope. I um "
"Gabrielle told me. They stopped by to say hi on the way to Xenas retreat. Xena had said that she was impressed by how you had grown up and matured. That you werent the little frightened girl she remembered.
"Xena said that?"
Flora nodded and smiled. "Come on, I want to get a few more mile along before night falls."
Lila simply nodded and followed the other woman deep in thought.
*** *** **** ***
Flora was tending the fire while Lila cute the fish that Flora had caught for dinner at a stream that was close by. Lila was carefully slicing the fish but her mind was still on the conversation they had earlier.
Flora smirked and asked, "Im ready. How about you?"
"Oh? Its done," said Lila handing Flora the pan with the fish cut in it.
Flora took it and carefully held it over the flame of their fire. "It looks good. Whats on your mind, Lila?"
"Flora I dont think you could understand "
"Cause you were the Wolf."
Flora rolled her eyes; "I was fighting for the freedom of my village. I had a lot of help from my then boyfriend, who is now my husband and our friends. There were many of us believe me "
"You were the one who planned it. Gabrielle told me, I could never have done anything like that "
"You dont know that."
"Yes I do I watched Gabrielle plan and set the traps with Meleager. Then when she thought he had deserted us she simply took over and was great! I could never do what she did."
"I cant deny that your sister is remarkable. She is. I still say you dont know what you would do if you were faced with a situation were you had to act to protect someone. You never do till your faced with it. Xena taught me that."
Lila looked at the pan her eyes focused on the sizzling meat. "I cant understand I mean why would Gabrielle and Xena be proud of me. I havent done a thing."
"They are not judging you against someone else. They are simply proud of the young girl who is now a mature woman. Youre always your own worst judge I know I am."
"Here you go, I hope its ok." Said Flora handing her some fish on plate.
Lila took it and smiled softly, "Thanks it looks great."
They ate quietly and Flora hoped she could help her young through this before they got to the party. Gabrielle would be pretty upset at her if her sister still was this upset when they got to their destination.
*** **** *** ***
They were about two days from Orlandopolis and Lila was now moody and quiet. All the attempts Flora had made were replied to but only in quite little grunts. She felt sort of lost on how to deal with it.
She stopped at what she thought might be a nice spot to for a pleasant lunch.
"Lila are you hungry?"
Lila nodded and started to automatically help set up picnic for them. Flora eyed heaven and then helped her.
Suddenly the hairs on the back of Floras neck stood up. She stood up and whispered, "Lila we are about to have uninvited visitors "
"Um what ?"
"Shh, just work on lunch dont move from behind me."
"Well, well, well, Looky what we have here boys. Easy pickings "
Flora drew her sword and stood ready to fight. "We are not, nor have we ever been any mans pickings. And beside we dont share with scum."
Lilas eyes widened, Flora looked a lot Xena when she was ready to do battle. It was a remarkable transformation.
The men surrounded her with clubs and a large cheap sword.
Lila moved back she was still holding the pan that she was about to use for lunch. She held it tight as the fight began.
The leader looked at Flora with little respect, "So just because the little lady has a nice sword she thinks she can fight us."
He roared and attacked her; Flora fought the clumsy man very gracefully. When she had the opportunity she simply knocked him out cold with the hilt of her sword.
The two with clubs came after she easily dodged them using her legs and forearms to fight off the clubs. The third man was sneaking around Flora to try to get her from behind.
Lila took the frying pan and snuck up on him, as he was about to hit Flora. She struck him as hard as she could on the back of head was stunned to watch sink to the ground in lump.
Flora had just taken down the two men with a flying kick and landed to see Flora and the man on the ground and she smiled at her friend.
"That is why they are so proud of you. Good girl!"
"I I I just I thought " Lila was stunned she couldnt really think much less form sentences.
Flora smiled warmly and said, "Well whatever you thought you did that very well. Thank you. Would you give me hand tying them up?"
Lila nodded as she took the rope from Flora and tied up the man at her feet.
*** **** *** ***
They were now a few hours away from Orlandopolis and Lila was deep in thought as she walked beside Flora. Flora noted that this time there was a tiny smile fighting its way onto her face.
"Ya feel pretty good huh?"
"Seeing that you can see a situation and just deal with it. You did very well you know. How did it feel?"
"Good and kind of strange I didnt ever think I could. I just reacted "
"Your reaction was to protect me and Im grateful. It showed me you have good instincts. Thank you."
"Um your welcome I guess "
"Lila youve shown me during this trip that you are a wonderful person. Just like Xena and Gabrielle said you were. Be proud of yourself."
"I " Lila shook her head as the reality of what happened hit her. It crashed right into the image she had of herself and shattered it. "I am amazed I did that."
"Its just like I said earlier you never know what you can do till you just do it."
Lila nodded, "I wonder what Gabrielle will say?"
"Shell say, "I told you so.""
"Shell just pat your shoulder and say, "Good girl," with a proud smile on her face."
"Oh?" They walked quietly for a bit then Lila asked, "What did you get Xena for her birthday?"
"A new breast dagger. You?"
"I made her a warm new blanket I hope it wasnt too "
"No its practical. Shell love it. She is a very practical woman you know, she will love it twice as much since you made it."
Flora winked and said, "My honor, Lila really."
*** *** *** ***
They had arrived in Orlandopolis just on time and were now in the inn getting ready for the party down stairs.
"Flora, Thanks well for everything."
"Anytime Lila, It was a special trip."
"Yep, I learned a lot."
Lila nodded, " Really? So did I."
"Yep, I learned that sometimes actions speak louder then words."
Lila thought about it and smiled. Then she nodded and said softly, "Yes, I think so too. Wow."
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