Picture #18


DISCLAIMER: Story mine/characters not.



Del Robertson




“Ooh, isn't that just the most darling thing?”

“Exquisite, isn't it?” asked the proprietor of the stall, handing the black-and-white designed yin-yang necklace to the American.

Janice Covington rolled her eyes. Melinda Pappas might know her way around an archaeological site, but she was horrible at haggling.

“Let me see that thing. It's probably fake.”

Hers and Mel's fingers simultaneously touched the necklace between them. There was a blinding light. The marketplace melted away,


replaced by a garden with an elegant palace.

Birds are chirping, there's a cute, fluffy rabbit.

“Oh, Xena, isn't it beautiful?” asked Gabrielle.

“Yeah, I guess. In that yucky, I'm-in-paradise kind of way.”

There are blue marbled statues everywhere, each of them in a different, contorted pose.

Aidan introduces himself with the explanation, “Each figure represents ultimate inner peace, something anyone can achieve.”

The scene shifts to one of Gabrielle relaxing in a tub. Xena is strumming her fingers in agitation.

Another shift reveals Gabrielle learning breathing techniques while Xena practices her fighting skills.

“This place strips away all the layers until all that's left is the real you.”

Gabrielle is blissed out on a yin-yang style bed while Xena does rapid-fire sit-ups.

As she receives a massage, Gabrielle is unaware that Xena's nose is bleeding. Xena swats each drop away before it can fall on Gabrielle. All save one.

A devolved Xena faces off against Aidan, bits of bloody rabbit dripping from her chakram. Gabrielle is contorted into a yoga pose, her body turning to blue marble as Aidan urges her, “Reach for the stillness.”

Xena hurls her chakram.


Mel and Janice drop the necklace.

“You're right,” Mel visibly trembles, “It's probably a cheap imitation.”



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