When Xena woke up it was an hour after sunrise, she took in her surroundings then looked at Ulysses who was still asleep. She grinned as she touched his cheek, “mmmm,” Ulysses moaned as he pulled her closer. “Good morning,” Xena said and Ulysses opened his eyes and looked at her. “With you in my arms it always is,” he said and she grinned as she leaned in and kissed him softly. When the kiss ended Ulysses hugged Xena inhaling her wonderful scent, “umm...I love you so much,” he said and she grinned as she wrapped her arm around his shoulder.
Ulysses rolled onto his back bringing Xena with him and she laid on top of him her heart over his and they beat as one. “I was thinking we could do a few fun things today before we dealt with business,” Xena said as she raised her head and looked at Ulysses who looked at her with a grin on his face. “What did you have in mind?” He asked as he touched her jaw with his finger and she grinned at him, “not that,” she said knowing what he was thinking. “Not until much later any way,” she said with a sultry grin and he grinned back at her. “So what do you have in mind?” Ulysses asked and Xena grinned as rolled off of him then sat up on the side of the bed. “You’ll just have to get up, get dressed and see.” She said as she looked at him and he grinned as he watched her walk into the bathing chamber to freshen up.
He grinned to himself and lay there for a few more minutes before he got up and freshened up along with Xena. Today Xena chose to put on her short, black skirt with the wine colored sleeveless shirt. She brushed her hair and pulled it back into a pony tail then sat down on the sofa and put on her boots. Ulysses wore his regular which he always looked absolutely good in Xena thought. “You ready?” She asked and he looked at her his answer getting stuck in his throat when he saw how beautiful she looked. “Come on, let’s see what kind of fun we can have before we have to go.”
She said as she took his hand and he grinned as he followed her out of the room grabbing to apples on the way out. They took a carriage to the edge of the village then got out and walked the rest of the way looking around at all the vendors and the beautiful land. It was early in the morning and all ready the streets were bustling. For awhile they just took their time and looked around while they talked and enjoyed themselves. As they continued to walk Ulysses stopped by a clothes vendor and looked at some things, “what are you doing?” She asked with a grin and he held up a dress, “what do you think?” He asked and she grinned as she walked up to him, “not for you my love,” she said and he grinned at her. “No, for you,” he said and she looked more closely at it, “not bad,” she said as she took it from his hands.
“Would you like to try it on?” The elderly man who ran the vendor asked and Xena looked at him then at the dress. “Why not,” she said then walked over to the tent that he had closed off. As she changed and tried the dress on Ulysses looked through some other things finding things that he liked and others he didn’t. When Xena was ready she came out and he looked at her, “so what do you think?” She asked Ulysses and he walked up to her as he looked over the dress. It was a white cloth dress that covered one shoulder and the other was bare and it fell down to her ankles.
It outlined her breasts and hugged her waist, “not bad,” he said. Then circled her, “I like it,” he said and she grinned at him. “Really?” She asked and he nodded, “it shows off all your important features,” he said and Xena nodded. “Then I’ll get it just for you,” she said as she touched his cheek and he grinned at her. “Here try these on,” he said and she took the clothes from him and one by one she tried them on and they had a good time. Smiling and laughing at the way some of the clothes fit and the comments that were made. They bought three dresses from the man and asked him to have them sent to the palace giving him a tip for doing so. “It will be done,” he said as he looked at them with gratefulness on his features.
“I haven’t a clue as to what to get for Virgil,” Ulysses said as he looked at some weapons and Xena looked at him. “Well what sort of things does he like?” She asked and Ulysses hunched his shoulders, “Virgil is a complex guy.” He said and Xena smiled as she walked up behind Ulysses wrapping her arms around him. “And you’re not?” She asked and he grinned as he turned around and looked into her eyes. “Yea but I’m not hard to please,” he said with a double meaning and Xena smiled as she caught it then closed her eyes and moaned as he kissed her softly.
When the kiss ended she looked at him, “something from the Library,” Xena said and Ulysses’ brow scrunched up. “You lost me,” he said and she grinned. “Alexandria has one of the greatest libraries in the world or so I’m told, I’ve never actually been in it. Anyway, I know Virgil likes to read a lot of different and interesting things, so I thought maybe we could get him something from the library,” she said and Ulysses nodded, “I see what you’re saying but I doubt they’ll give us the originals or make us a copy.” He said and Xena nodded, “true but Cleopatra is going to owe us after this.” She said with a grin and Ulysses grinned back, “you have such a brilliant mind,” he said and she grinned and nodded as she met him half way for the kiss.
“Excuse me,” a man said and Ulysses and Xena ended their kiss and looked at the man or young boy. “Can we help you?” Ulysses asked and he looked at them, “I was wondering if I could paint you?” He asked and they looked at him, this young skinny boy. “When you say paint you mean a picture of us?” Xena asked and he nodded, “what’s your name?” She asked him and he looked at her then at Ulysses and back to her, “Cadell,” he said as he began to wring his hands. “Well Cadell why do you want to paint our portrait? There are plenty of other people here,” she said and he looked at her and swallowed hard. “I...well you’re the only people who seem so in love. Its...it’s a challenge for me to capture that love, that emotion on a canvas,” he said and they looked at him. “Are you any good?”
Ulysses asked and he grinned, “Yes sir follow me,” he said and Ulysses looked at Xena who grinned and they followed Cadell down a few vendors until they came to a tent. When they walked in they looked around at all the portraits he had there. Xena walked up to one and looked at it closely, “he is good,” Xena said and Ulysses nodded as he looked around. “So what do we get if we let you paint us?” Ulysses asked as he turned around to look at the boy, “if you are happy with my work you get to keep it of course for a small price.”
He said and Ulysses grinned at him then looked at Xena, “it’s up to you,” he said and she looked around the room at his work then at him. “Can we choose our own pose?” She asked and he grinned and nodded, “of course my lady,” he said and Xena nodded and looked at Ulysses. “I want to do it,” she said and Ulysses nodded. “Alright Cadell, where do you want us?” Ulysses asked and the boy pointed to the middle of the floor where the sun shined down on them for his light. He went behind his stand sitting down and situating himself along with his paints and brushes. “Take your pose,” he said and Ulysses looked at Xena who walked up to him. “What do you want me to do?” Ulysses asked and Xena grinned at him.
“Hold me,” she said and he grinned, “I can do that,” he said as he stepped closer to her and wrapped his arms around her. “Tighter,” she said and he pulled her tighter and she looked into his eyes as she brought her hands up to his upper arms where she held on. They looked into each other’s eyes and Cadell nodded, “good, now can you guys lean in like you’re about to kiss,” he said and they leaned in until their lips almost touched. “Good now stay just like that,” he said and he looked at them as he began outlining their features and starting his work. They stayed like that for an hour and a half looking into each others eyes conveying feelings they both already knew they had. “Okay you guys can relax,” Cadell said and Ulysses leaned in the rest of the way and took Xena’s lips in a kiss. “I’ve been dying to do that,” he said with the kiss ended she grinned at him, “I’ve been dying for you to do it.”
She said and he grinned as he picked her up and she smiled as she wrapped her arm around his shoulder. “I love you so much,” he said and she grinned as she touched his jaw with her hand. “I love you too,” she said and Cadell looked at them removing the papyrus he was working on and started to sketch them real quick while they held the pose and he would work on it later. When Ulysses and Xena were done basking in their love they looked at Cadell as he continued to work. “Is it finished?” Ulysses asked and Cadell shook his head, “when will it be finished?” He asked and Cadell answered him as he continued to work, “it’ll be finished when I’m finished. You can’t rush what I’m trying to do,” he said and Ulysses looked at him then at Xena who chuckled as she looked at other paintings.
“Artists are so grumpy,” Ulysses said, “and princes aren’t?” Cadell asked and both Xena and Ulysses looked at him. “How did you know who I was?” Ulysses asked and Cadell let out a breath, “I get around, I hear things and the latest news is Cleopatra has invited the Prince and Princess of Ithaca to the palace. I saw you get out of the carriage coming from the palace and I guessed the rest,” he said and Ulysses looked and him then at Xena who hunched her shoulders. They sat down for a bit on a sofa Cadell had in his tent, they talked for a bit before Ulysses stood. “I’ll be right back,” he said as he leaned down and kissed Xena then walked out of the tent. “Is he usually so active?” Cadell asked and Xena looked at him, “it depends on what he’s doing I guess.”
Xena said with a grin and Cadell nodded, “of course I hope for your sake he’s this active in bed,” Cadell said and Xena looked at him and he looked at her. “I’m just saying,” he said and she grinned at him, “have no worries Cadell, Ulysses definitely doesn’t have any problems in that area.” Xena said and he nodded, “so you must make a lot of money,” she said and Cadell shook his head. “You’d think so but I’m originally from Greece, in Thebes and I came here to learn more about the arts. They’re a little touchy about who they let in to whatever important thing plus, I think my art is too real.
Shows too much,” he said and Xena looked at one of his pictures, “I think it’s great that your pictures show such detail. It’s like you’re actually catching the moment,” Xena said as she looked at a picture of a woman working at the river. “Yea well I don’t make a lot of money. I’ve been trying to get back to Greece but I can’t afford it, I think I could make a little more money there if I could get back.” He said and Xena looked at him, “well if returning to Greece is what you really want then when we leave you’re welcome to come with us.” She said and his hand knocked of the water he was using and she looked at him. “Are you serious?”
He asked and she looked at him, “yea. You’re great at what you do Cadell and I’m sure once you’re back in Greece you can find a place and make you some money, I can even introduce you to a few people.” She said and he looked at her with happiness in his eyes. “If you were to do this I would be forever grateful and repay you back in whatever way I can.” He said and she grinned, “Finish the picture,” she said and he nodded and went back to work. Ten minutes later Ulysses quietly walked back into the tent with his hand behind his back. He walked up behind Xena who was looking at a picture; he placed a kiss on her neck and she jumped in surprise. She turned around and looked at Ulysses a grin coming to her features, “should I have left you and the painting alone?” He asked with a grin and she grinned at him.
“No,” she said, “where have you been?” She asked him and he smiled as he brought his hand to the front and Xena’s grinned turned into a smile as she saw the beautiful flowers he had for her. “I saw these and thought they were perfect for you,” he said and she smiled as she took the flowers from him bringing them up to her nose and inhaling their scent. “Mmm...They’re beautiful,” she said then looked at Ulysses, “thank you,” she said as she wrapped her arm around his shoulder leaning in and kissing him. Cadell looked at them and grinned as he finished their painting. “I’m finished,” he said twenty minutes later and they stood and walked over to where he worked. They looked at the painting and he was indeed a brilliant artist, “Cadell this is…” Xena said as she looked at it at the detail and saw her love toward Ulysses and his love towards her.
“Magnificent,” Ulysses said and Cadell grinned, “Thanks,” he said and they continued to look at the painting. “How much do we owe you?” Ulysses asked as Xena picked the picture up and looked more closely at it. “Forty obols,” he said and they looked at him, “that’s all?” They both asked and Cadell nodded. “Cadell you should charge more your work is excellent,” Ulysses said and Cadell nodded. “True but not many people here are willing to pay that for it,” he said and Ulysses looked at him. “Well we’re paying you double that,” Xena said and that’s what Ulysses’ gave him. “Thank you so much,” Cadell said and they nodded. He took the picture from Xena rolling it up since the paint he used dried quickly and he put a leather tie around it with his sign on it then handed it back to Xena.
“We’ll see you later Cadell,” Xena said and he smiled and nodded as he watched them go. “So where to now?” Xena asked and Ulysses grinned, “I was thinking a cruise on the Nile,” Ulysses said and Xena grinned. “Lead the way,” she said as she placed her hand in his and they walked towards the Nile River. There were slots for six small, long boats at the private dock and three were gone. “How much for a ride?” Ulysses asked the man who looked good enough to take them on a ride.
“Twenty,” he said and Ulysses nodded and handed the man his money then held his hand out to Xena helping her into the boat and he got in behind her. Ulysses sat down leaning his back against the back of the boat and Xena sat down next to him but her back leaned against his chest. Ulysses wrapped his arm around Xena and the man pushed off with his long oar and they began sailing down the Nile and looking at the beautiful scenery. As she lay against his chest Xena pulled the band off of the papyrus unrolling it and looking at the picture. “I wonder if this is how everybody else sees us?” Xena asked and Ulysses looked at the picture, “I know the love we feel is intense but to look at the picture,” Ulysses said and Xena nodded. Xena turned her head and looked into Ulysses’ eyes, “do you realize how lucky we are? To have the kind of love other people dream about,” she said and Ulysses looked into her eyes as he caressed her cheek.
“I know how lucky we are, how lucky I am to have such a woman as you. Xena you make my life worth living, I love everything about you. The love that you have for me, the love that I have for you I know is true, strong and pure.” He said and he couldn’t say anything else since Xena rose up and kissed him deeply and passionately. Ulysses moaned and when the kiss ended they were both somewhat breathless, “if…” Xena said then let out a breath. “If I weren’t already married to you I’d expect you to be proposing to me,” she said with a grin and Ulysses smiled at her as he placed his hand on her cheek looking deep into her eyes. “Will you, Xena of Amphipolis, marry me? Be my wife?”
He said and she grinned as she leaned in, “umm…I’d like that,” she said and he smiled then moaned as he kissed her softly. When the kiss ended she caressed his cheek as she looked into his eyes, “I will be your Queen standing by your side in good times and bad. Being there when you need me to,” she said as she began to lean in. “You always are,” he whispered to her before they kissed and when the kiss ended Ulysses looked into Xena eyes as she looked into his. “And without a doubt and without question I will be the mother of your children. I will bear your child,” she said and Ulysses looked into her eyes seeing a desire in them that had nothing to do with the connection they had. “I swear,” she said as they leaned in and Ulysses nodded, “I know,” he said then kissed her. “Ummm,” Xena moaned as she wrapped her arm around Ulysses’ shoulder and he moaned as he pulled her closer.
The boat owner smiled at them as he continued to stroll down the Nile. When the kiss ended they didn’t break their embrace as they continued to look into each others eyes. “I love you,” Ulysses said and Xena nodded as she leaned in and brushed her lips across his. “Tease,” Ulysses said and Xena grinned as they kissed and the kiss they shared was soft, passionate and unhurried. They kissed for a while then decided to watch the scenery while they shared soft caresses and little kisses here and there while they talked about any and everything. Xena had rolled the picture back up wanting to keep in it perfect condition and she placed it next to the flowers Ulysses bought her. “You know Cadell is from Greece,” Xena said and Ulysses nodded, “really? What’s he doing here?”
He asked and Xena let out a breath as her hands played with Ulysses’ hands. “He came here to learn more about art but it turns out they didn’t accept him or his work. I can’t understand why though, Egypt is a place of great things it would have been a plus for them to have someone as great as Cadell.” Xena said and Ulysses nodded, “you know as well as I do how people treat outsiders. The Egyptians are famous for their art among other things and it’s possible that they feel threaten to have an outsider with a talent as good as theirs.”
Ulysses said then placed a kiss on Xena’s shoulder while he ran his fingers up her bare arm. “Yea people can be so small minded; anyway Cadell has been working to get enough money to get back to Greece. Unfortunately a trip back home is very expensive so I told him he could catch a ride back with us.” Xena said and Ulysses grinned, “I bet he was ecstatic,” Ulysses said and Xena grinned as she turned her head and looked at him. “You’re not mad?” She asked and he grinned at her, “no, why would I be? Besides Cadell is a very gifted artist, I wouldn’t mind him painting a few more pictures of you and me.
A few of mom and dad, Camilla and I’m sure Virgil and his family as well as some of the other families in the palace would use his services.” Ulysses said and Xena grinned as she ran her fingers through his hair, “you know I hear that the library in Alexandria has an erotica section. We ought to check that out not that you and I need help in that department,” he said and Xena continued to laugh in his chest.
When her laughter died down she looked at Ulysses, “ah…what am I going to do with you my love?” Xena asked and Ulysses smiled down at her, “love me,” he said and she grinned. “Is that a demand or request my lord?” Xena asked as she ran her finger over his jaw and he looked into her eyes, “both,” he said and she grinned and nodded as they prepared to kiss. “When we’re finished with the business we have to do,” Ulysses started to say when the kiss ended and Xena leaned into his neck placing kisses on his neck with her tongue and sucking softly. “We’re gonna go back to the room and practice making a baby so when we’re ready we’ll get it done on the first try.” He said and Xena smiled as she kissed her way up to his ear, “you think we need practice?” She asked then sucked on his earlobe; he closed his eyes and let out a breath as she sucked on his earlobe then pulled on it.
“Well no…no not really but it…it never hurts plus we have so much fun,” he stumbled as Xena continued to kiss and suck on his ear and neck and Xena grinned and nodded. “Yes we do have fun and the pleasure is extreme,” Xena said and her lips were so close to Ulysses’ lips. He nodded as he looked down at her lips, “good pleasure and you,” he said in a breathless voice and Xena grinned then leaned in and kissed him. Ulysses moaned as he brought his hand up and held Xena’s cheek as he leaned into her adding more pressure to the kiss.
Xena could tell he was trying to deepen the kiss and under normal circumstances she would let him, but she didn’t want it to go any further than it could especially when they didn’t have any privacy. So she placed her hands on his chest keeping him in his position as she pulled back trying to end the kiss. She smiled as he stretched his neck trying to keep their lips connected. “Sorry my love but we have things to do and it would be distracting us,” she said and he let out a breath and looked around. “I see your point besides we’re almost back to where we started,” he said and she grinned at him. “I promise later on you’ll have me all to yourself,” she said and he grinned at her then ran his eyes over her body. “I don’t doubt that,” he said and she grinned at him and when he winked she smiled.
Five minutes later the boat pulled into the small dock and Ulysses got out of the boat then helped Xena out. They thanked the man for the ride giving him a tip which he was very grateful for. They made their way back to the palace where Xena ran inside and placed her flowers and picture on the bed before she went back out. When she was out the palace the horses had been brought out and Ulysses was on his. He looked at Xena as she got on hers, “we’re good to go?” He asked and Xena nodded and they galloped away heading to where they went the day before. They left their horses in the same place and took the same tiring trail back up the mountain then climbing the cliff. When they got there they stayed hidden and looked around but didn’t really see anyone beyond the guards.
“We’re early,” Ulysses said as he looked up at the sun and Xena nodded then looked around their surroundings. “Follow me,” Xena told Ulysses and he looked at her and followed her but kept an eye on the guards. They moved a ways from where Ptolemy and the others were camped, walking down a small hill until they came to a small pond. They looked around walking through some bushes making sure guards weren’t hidden. “Come see what I found,” Ulysses told Xena and she looked at him then walked over to where he was pushing bushes out of the way. They walked deep into some brush and when Ulysses moved the last bush out of the way he revealed an opening to a cave. They looked inside then walked in slowly making sure not to startle something if there was anything living in the cave.
There were pockets of sunlight and the cave wasn’t all that big because they soon came to a dead end. “Well it seems secure and I don’t think they know it’s here,” Ulysses said and Xena looked around and nodded seeing a few ledges in the walls made for sitting, laying and tables. “I figured we could rest and wait here until it was time to go,” he said and Xena nodded as she looked at him. “Sounds good to me, especially if we don’t have to be in that hot sun,” she said and he grinned and nodded. “I’m gonna get some water do you need some?” Xena asked and Ulysses handed her his water skin and she left to get some water taking a closer look around making sure they were safe and well hidden.
When she walked back into the cave Ulysses was sitting on the floor with his back against the wall sharpening his sword. She walked over to him sitting his water skin down next to his leg. “Took you long enough,” he said as he continued to sharpen his sword and she grinned as she gulped down some of the water. “You know me,” she said as she sat down on the ledge next to him and he grinned and nodded, “I do,” he said. She let out a breath and crossed her legs as she leaned back and ran her fingers through his hair.
“You know it’s become apparent to me that whenever we want to have a vacation, we won’t be able to. Someone will always need our help no matter where we go and especially if we stay home. So we need a get a way house,” she said and Ulysses nodded. “You know maybe we ought to stop helping people then they’ll leave us alone,” Xena said and Ulysses chuckled. “Do you really think so? I think we need to go far, far a way where no one can find us or has ever heard of us.” Ulysses said and Xena chuckled and they sat there for a while both with things on their minds. “Ulysses, would you prefer if I were like other Princesses? You know, frivolous I guess. Spend money on everything, order people around, let you boss me around like I don’t have a mind, do nothing all day but sit around doing my nails and hair,” she said and Ulysses laughed at her. She looked at him then pushed him on his head, “I’m serious,” she said and he sobered up some but was finding it difficult not to laugh.
“Do you want me to be like that?” She asked and he grinned as he shook his head. She let out a breath as he leaned his head down and chuckled before he let out a breath then turned and looked at her. “What put that idea in your head?” He asked and she hunched her shoulders, “just kind of popped in there I guess.” She said and he nodded, “and to answer your question no that’s not the kind of Queen I want and I definitely don’t want you to be like that. Xena one of the things I love most about you is that you’re independent. You don’t need me or anyone else to tell you what you can and can not do. You’re strong, brave, outspoken, all qualities I love about you and not one I would change. Especially since they turn me on,” he said with a grin and she shook her head at him.
“Seriously Xena, I don’t like women like that, I never have. What good is a woman who can’t think for herself? If you want to order people around be my guest but it’s not necessary for me. As for spending money, if you want to do that too go ahead but you don’t need to do anything of that to prove yourself as a Princess or a Queen. You’ve already done that in my eyes and I know you’ll do that in the eyes of our people. So please my love don’t worry,” he said and Xena nodded. “Wasn’t worried just curious,” she said and he nodded then went back to sharpening his sword. They were quiet as they both thought about things they had on their minds. They waited for about twenty five minutes then thought it was time to go. They carefully made their way back to the enemy’s camp going up to the caves but staying hidden.
“There’s more than one way in here,” Ulysses whispered very lowly as they watched Ptolemy and Pothinus walked into the cave from a different entrance. “I have news that the Roman is close,” Pothinus said and Ptolemy nodded. “Do you think we can trust him,” he asked and Pothinus looked at him, “we’ll soon see,” he said and a five minutes later Xena and Ulysses heard footsteps so they stooped down lower behind their hiding spot. They looked as Ptolemy’s guards escorted Pompey into the cave. “Pompey I take?” Ptolemy asked and Pompey looked at him, “you were expecting someone else?” He asked and Pothinus looked at him, “would you be insulted if we told you we wanted Caesar rather than you?”
Pothinus asked and Pompey grinned at him, “not really. How can I blame you if you have been misinformed?” He said, “misinformed? How?” Ptolemy asked and Pompey looked at him, “may I have a seat and something to drink?” He asked and they looked at him, “of course, forgive my rudeness for not offering earlier,” Ptolemy said while waving his hand to a chair and Pompey grinned as he sat down but he never turned his back to them. Pothinus poured them all a glass of wine and when they were all comfortable Pompey looked at them. “You see, everyone believes that Caesar has all the wealth and power. It’s not true especially sense, technically we’re still three in power although these days we don’t really count Crassus.
While it’s true that Caesar and I are allies at the moment I am by far a stupid, trusting man. I know given the chance Caesar would see me dead and I also know, once Crassus is gone, Caesar and I will be at war with one another. So, I have shall we say some reserves on the side, reserves that Caesar has no clue about.” Pompey said and Pothinus looked at him with a small grin on his lips, “so your plan is to wear him down with this war. Make him loose his soldiers and money and when you have him where you want him,” Pothinus said and Pompey grinned and nodded.
“So why then are you here?” Ptolemy asked and Pompey let out a breath, “Caesar has made an unsuspected turn I didn’t see coming,” he said and Ptolemy nodded. “Cleopatra,” he said and Pompey let out a breath, “yes. When I heard he and Cleopatra had been buddy, buddy lately I knew I had to make a move because if I didn’t it would mean my end. I don’t dare compete for Cleopatra’s affection, especially when I know Caesar would win, I doubt many things about him but never his charm with a woman,” Pompey said.
“You must be worried that she’ll lend him her navy,” Pothinus said and Pompey looked at him. “Among other things,” Pompey said then stood, “which is why I’m here. You scratch my back, I scratch yours,” he said and Pothinus grinned as he stood as well, “I see. You would be willing to help us in our fight against Cleopatra in the hopes that if we win you want our help in defeating Caesar.” Pothinus said and Pompey grinned, “I have it on good knowledge that you have what it takes to possibly defeat Cleopatra.” Pompey said, “if you know that then why would we possibly need you?” Ptolemy asked and Pompey grinned at him, “I said possibly but if you had me and my army then it would be definitely.”
He said and they looked at him then at each other, “can we have a minute to think about this?” Ptolemy asked and Pompey nodded and watched as they went over to a corner to discuss their options. Meanwhile Xena and Ulysses continued to listen to what was being said hoping they could get more information than this. After a couple of minutes Ptolemy and Pothinus walked back over to Pompey, “there are some minor things we need to work out but your plan sounds good,” Pothinus said and Pompey grinned and nodded as he held out his arm. “We have a deal,” Pompey said and Ptolemy looked into Pompey’s eyes as he took Pompey’s arm and shook it. “We have a deal but you bet not betray us or renege, if you do you’ll regret it,” Ptolemy said and Pompey looked at him. “I give you the same advice,” he said and they looked at each other for a minute.
“Now Pompey we have accepted you into our company but before we can tell you our plans we need some type of assurance from you. Some proof that you are indeed with us,” Pothinus said and Pompey looked at him. “What do you have in mind?” He asked and they looked at him, “information on who Cleopatra has helping her.” Pothinus said and Pompey looked at him, “well I can’t give you much since you probably know more than I if she picks Caesar then she’ll have his army and that may or may not pose a problem. However your problem could lie with two Greeks, Xena and Ulysses, Prince and Princess of Ithaca. They were just married and came to Egypt for their honeymoon when Cleopatra asked for their help instead. Now I haven’t that much information on Ulysses, he is of course his father’s right hand in Ithaca and he’s in charge of security on Ithaca and Paxos.
Xena is most definitely where your problem could lie, I doubt that the King of Ithaca will allow his son to get into a war that they have nothing to do with but if my information is correct and I know it is, Xena is Athena’s Chosen, meaning she can have an army here at the snap of her fingers, figuratively speaking of course.” Pompey said and Pothinus sat down and looked at Pompey, “tell me about her then so we can know how to get rid of her and her husband.” He said and Pompey grinned, Xena and Ulysses continued to hide and listen to them talk about Xena and the ways to get rid of her. That had been good enough for Pothinus to prove that Pompey was in with them so when they were done he took him over to his cave to show him the plans.
Xena and Ulysses needed to move but they couldn’t go out the way they came in since guards were patrolling so they followed Pothinus and Pompey into Pothinus’ cave. They listened as plans were explained and they remembered everything that was said. While they were listening they heard talking from the other cave and Ulysses looked at Xena and nodded his head towards the way they came saying he was going to check it out. She nodded and continued to listen to the plans, which way they were coming, who it included, their numbers and where and when Pompey would come into play. Meanwhile Ulysses hid behind some boxes and barrels as he listened to Ptolemy and Arsinoe talk. “Do you really think we can trust this Roman Ptolemy?” Arsinoe asked and he looked at her, “Pothinus seems to think so.”
He said and she let out a frustrated breath, “forget about what Pothinus thinks and think for yourself. You’re putting everything in Pothinus’ hands and for all we know he can be in cahoots with the Roman. Right now he’s in there telling him all the details of our hard worked plans.” She said and Ptolemy stood and looked at her, “what would you have me do Arsinoe? We need his help and besides, he has already proven to us that he can be somewhat trustworthy. He gave us some good information on two of the people Cleopatra has helping her.” Ptolemy said and she looked at him. “No doubt I would have been getting that same information in a couple of days. He hasn’t told us anything that will really be of any help.” Arsinoe said and Ptolemy let out a breath not knowing why he allied himself with his sister.
Her nagging alone would drive him to kill her, “look Arsinoe. Do what you are supposed to be doing and leave everything else up to us.” Ptolemy said then turned and left the cave. Arsinoe let out a frustrated breath as she poured herself a glass of water. “I’m thinking of having him killed sooner rather than later,” Arsinoe said as she felt a pair of hands on her shoulders. “Patience Arsinoe, let them think and act how they want to for a while longer until you and I can make our move.” Ganymede said as he moved Arsinoe’s hair to one shoulder and she turned around and looked at him placing her hand on his cheek as she looked into his eyes. “Please tell me I won’t be too long my love. I can’t stand being around them, these idiots.”
She said and he grinned at her as he placed his hands on her waist. “What time do you meet your informant inside the palace?” He asked and she looked at him, “we’re meeting at night, two hours after they’ve had dinner. It’ll be easier to get into the palace; I’m supposed to meet him in the garden by the pond.” She said and he nodded, “good. Do you want me to go with you?” He asked and she grinned as she looked into his eyes seeing concern. “Why not? I could use the company on the way there and I don’t think it’ll be a problem with my person on the inside.” She said and he nodded then pulled her close to him, “soon we will be rid of them all and everything will be ours.
It will be just you and me,” he said then grinned as he placed his hand on her stomach feeling a bulge. “And our baby,” he said and she grinned as she placed her hand on his then leaned in and kissed him softly. When the kiss ended they grinned at each other and Ulysses watched as Ganymede caressed Arsinoe’s cheek. “You look tired, why don’t you take a nap?” He suggested and she grinned as she took his hand in hers, “only if you take one with me,” she said and he grinned and Ulysses watched them walk out of the cave. He shook his head at all this backstabbing that was going on then made his way back over to Xena. She felt him behind her and they continued to look and listened as they talked about plans while drinking some.
An hour later they weren’t saying anything useful so Xena and Ulysses decided it was time to leave and that hopefully that had gotten more than enough information to help Cleopatra. It was a little harder getting out than it was getting in. There seemed to be guards all over the place so they had to be careful. When they were clear of all the guards they made their way back down talking about what they had heard and what thought their move was going to be so that they could tell Cleopatra. When they were down the hill they made their way back to the horses and rode back to the palace. When they got back to the palace Cleopatra was in a meeting with her advisors concerning the very problem Xena and Ulysses were looking in to. “We’re you successful?” She asked and they looked at her, “we’d rather talk to you about that alone,” Ulysses said and Cleopatra looked at them and nodded.
“Very well,” she said then looked at her advisors who took the hint and got up and left. “Please have a seat,” Cleopatra said and they sat down and looked at her. When the door finally closed that’s when they began to talk. “So what did you find out?” She asked and they both let out a breath, “what didn’t we find out? Pompey is joined Ptolemy and the others. He knew you would never pick him if you had to choose between him and Cesar, so he decided to join them in hopes that they would win and he would have their support in his war against Caesar.” Xena said and Cleopatra looked at her, “we know the majority of their plans and we’ll go over them with you and your war advisors in a few days. They’re trying to get every last detail in order so that nothing goes wrong so at most you have a month to get ready.
However that’s not solid,” Ulysses said and Cleopatra let out a breath. “You still have a traitor in your midst but we won’t know who that is until the end of the week but we can tell you it is someone close to you. Maybe one of your Advisors,” Xena said, “it can’t be one of my advisors. They’re all loyal to me and I trust them completely,” Cleopatra said and Xena hunched her shoulders, “we’re just telling you what we think Cleopatra and trust me we have been at this a long time to tell what kind of traitor you have. It’s someone close to you because they know a lot of information. Who other than your advisors know what you know?” Xena asked her and Cleopatra looked at her, “I’ll take what you have said into consideration but I just can’t see one of them being a traitor.” She said and Xena looked at her, “then that’s how you’ll loose your life or worse, your kingdom.” Xena told her and Cleopatra let out a breath.
“Now there maybe a bright spot in all of this, it seems that Arsinoe is not happy with what’s been going on. She thinks Pothinus has too much control over the situation and Ptolemy is blinding following.” Ulysses said and Cleopatra looked at him, “you were right about her and Ganymede, they are lovers and Arsinoe is pregnant. They have their own plans as far as taking down Ptolemy and Pothinus but unfortunately we don’t know what they are. We’re not sure if that’s all they want or if they want to continue to take Egypt from you. I don’t know if they’ll go that way or not,” Ulysses said and Cleopatra nodded. “Thank you both, you have given more information than I could’ve ever hoped for,” she said and Xena and Ulysses nodded as they stood. “We were happy that we could help,” Xena said and Cleopatra grinned at her.
“Can I assume for the next four days you want to be alone and undisturbed?” She asked with a grin and Xena and Ulysses smiled at each other. “You can definitely assume that,” Ulysses said and Cleopatra nodded. “I’ll make sure that your meals are sent to your room,” she said and Xena grinned at her, “thanks,” she said and Cleopatra nodded. “It’s the least I can do. Are you sure there isn’t anything else I can do for you? You’ve helped me so much I am in your debt and so is Egypt.” She said and Xena looked at her, “well there are two things you can do,” Xena said with a grin.
“Name them,” Cleopatra said and Xena grinned as she walked over to her then whispered in her ear so that Ulysses couldn’t hear. “Something poetic,” Ulysses heard Xena say and Cleopatra nodded. “And the other,” Xena said then leaned back in and whispered and Cleopatra smiled and nodded. “It will be done,” she said and Xena smiled at her, “thanks,” Xena said then walked over to Ulysses who looked at her. “We should be going, I’m sure Cleopatra has tons to do,” Xena said and Ulysses nodded then opened the door. Xena walked out and he followed her closing the door behind him and they walked down the hall in silence for a few minutes.
“So what was that all about?” Ulysses asked and Xena looked at him, “what was what all about?” She asked and he looked at her a grin appearing on his face. “The whispering you were doing with Cleopatra,” he said and she nodded, “oh…that,” she said then turned forward and continued walking. “Nothing really, I was just telling her about getting one of her famous writers to copy a few famous stories and maybe write a few poems for Virgil.” Xena said and Ulysses looked at her, “uh huh,” he said then pulled out the key and opened the door to their room. “And somehow I just don’t believe that was all of it,” he said as he walked into the room and Xena grinned as she turned and looked at him. “Are you saying I’m lying?” She asked with a grin and he walked up to her, “I know it,” he said and she grinned as she leaned in and kissed him softly on the lips.
“Maybe I am and maybe I’m not you’ll just have to see,” she said when the kiss ended and he looked into her eyes seeing mischief. “What’s going on behind those beautiful baby blues?” Ulysses asked as he caressed her cheek and she looked into his eyes as she picked up his hand and kissed his fingers. He looked at her falling into her eyes, “how much do you love me?” She asked him, “more than my own life,” he said and she grinned as she placed another kiss on his fingers. “And would you do anything for me?” She asked as she stepped closer, “anything,” he said and she smiled as she took his hand and placed it on her inner thigh. “I want you to go into town and get some of those sweet treats. You know the one with the honey all over and sugar on top?”
She asked and he nodded as his hand caressed the soft flesh of her thigh, “and get all the others we thought were good,” she said. “What’s in it for me?” He asked and she grinned as she took his hand moving it closer to her center, “do this for me and when you get back,” she said then moved closer as she moved Ulysses’ hand under her underwear then ran his fingers between her lips. “I’m all yours,” she said as she removed her hand from his then met him half way for a kiss. Ulysses moaned into the kiss and with his free arm he wrapped it around Xena pulling her closer while his other hand was busy stroking her steaming hot flesh. Xena moaned and pushed into Ulysses’ hand; when the kiss ended they were both breathless as they looked into each other’s eyes.
“Something to tide you over until you get back,” she said as she removed his fingers and he looked down at his glistening fingers then at Xena. He leaned in and took her lips in a passionate kiss, so passionate she had to take air in through her nose. She moaned and when the kiss ended she was definitely breathless, “I will be back as soon as I can and when I get back,” he said as he raised her chin looking deeply into her eyes, “I’m going to show you how long your husband can go and the pleasure I can create. We’ll experience something we’ve never experienced before, this I promise you,” he told her and she looked into his eyes. “Please hurry up and come back because I can’t wait,” she said and he looked into her eyes then kissed her softly before he turned and left the room. Xena closed the door behind him leaning against it as she let out a breath ‘gods I can’t wait until that man comes back’ she thought to herself. She let out another breath as she pushed off the wall and began preparing her romantic evening for Ulysses; sending him for the treats was just a way to get him out of the room. She went to take a quick shower washing her hair and scrubbing her body down.
When she was done she dried off then headed into the bedroom; just as she put her robe on there was a knock at the door and when she answered the door it was the servants bringing in the things she had asked Cleopatra for. “Put them by the fireplace,” she said and that’s where they headed. Xena had asked Cleopatra for some furs, blankets and pillows and without asking the servants knew how to set up the blanket’s furs and pillows in front of the fire place creating a nice little, comfortable nest. While Xena oiled her hair then brushed it until it was dry and it shined the servants were in and out bringing in trays of fruit, creams, cheeses, and sweets. They also brought in a few bottles of the wine that they had the other night at dinner. Xena had to admit that wine was good, it was sweet and potent, exactly the way to get Ulysses the way she wanted him.
When they were done they left Xena and she oiled her body down in Freesia oil that she bought today at the market. When she was done she went into her bag and pulled out an outfit she bought from home, it had been made especially for her. She put it on then let out a breath as she looked at herself in the mirror. She was never a pink person but when she tried the outfit on she liked it. She wore a pink G-string that went with the top. It was kind of like a shirt but was definitely sleeveless and the front was made like a bra-like top and fabric came down on the side about the middle of her thighs leaving the front of her uncovered and in the back not really covering her butt. She let out a breath as she looked at herself then ran her fingers through her hair ‘you look too good for him to even try to resist you and hopefully he’ll give you what you want tonight.’ She thought to herself then let out a breath as she went about the room lighting a few candles that had been left for her creating a romantic atmosphere.
She poured two glasses of wine then sat the bottle down by the blankets. She took a few gulps of hers riding herself of the little nervousness she had. There was a knock at the door and she walked into the sitting area to answer the door but before she did she ran her fingers through her hair and let out a breath. She opened the door and it was Ulysses with four boxes in his arms. “I thought we tried more than four,” she said as she took two of the boxes from him and he looked at her as she walked away. His eyes ran over the gorgeous body of his wife; he walked into the room, closed the door and locked it.
Xena placed the boxes she took from Ulysses on the table then walked back over to him and took the rest of the boxes from him sitting them on the table as well. “Yea we did try more than four but I was in a hurry to get back to you,” he said as Xena stood in front of him and he looked over her body. “Wow,” he said and Xena smiled, “baby you look…” he said then shook his head as he looked at her. “You like?” She asked and he nodded, “I do,” he said and she grinned as she took his hands. “Then you’re going to like what else I have planned. Follow me,” she said as she took his hand and pulled him towards the bedroom; his eyes nearly came out of his head when he saw the back of her. They walked into the bedroom and Ulysses looked around at all that had been done while Xena closed the bedroom door. She walked over to the table picked up Ulysses’ glass then walked over to him and handed it to him. He took the glass from her and as he took a gulp she walked up to him and pulled his shirt out of his pants and began undoing it. Ulysses’ eyes seemed to be glued to Xena’s body and he couldn’t wait to get his hands on her.
“Distracted my love,” she asked as she pulled the shirt off and he grinned as he looked at her. “You’re damn right and for good reason,” he said as he switched his glass to his other hand so that he shirt could come off. Xena threw the shirt to the floor then pushed Ulysses down in a chair; she kicked his legs open so that she could stand between them. He looked at her and she looked down at him as she ran her finger over his cheek then raised his glass to his lips watching as he took a deep gulp. She stooped down in front of him running her hands over his thighs teasing him. He grinned as he took another gulp and she grinned as she began to undo his boots. When they were off she sat them to the side then stood up. She leaned into him and he leaned forward and inhaled her scent, “by all the gods you smell wonderful,” Ulysses said and Xena smiled as she ran her fingers through his hair.
She closed her eyes when she felt his lips on her stomach and his free hand on her butt. She was tempted, so tempted to let him do whatever he wanted but she had to stick to the plan. She pulled back and looked at him as she took his hand pulling him up out of the chair and lead him over to the area in front of the fire place. “Sit,” she said and without thought or question he sat down leaning back against some pillows. She walked over to him looking down at him with a grin on her face, “I have a special night prepared for us,” she said as she got down on her knees then moved over to him. “Really? And what will this night hold?” He asked and Xena grinned as she sat next to him picking up the bottle of wine and pouring more into his glass. “Well there’s drinking and a little eating,” she said as she picked up a strawberry biting into it.
He looked at her and nodded as he took a gulp of drink, “what else?” He asked and she grinned at him, “well there will be other fun activities and if you’re good,” she said as she leaned in and ran her hand over his chest. “We’ll get down to the real pleasure of the evening,” she said then kissed him softly. Ulysses moaned as he tasted the strawberry and when the kiss ended he looked at Xena with longing in his eyes. “Why don’t we just skip everything and get to the real pleasure part?” He suggested and she laughed, “I assure you you’re going to like what I have in store for you.” She said and Ulysses looked at her and grinned as he took another gulp of wine. The evening went on and Xena fed Ulysses fruit dipped in different creams letting some of the honey dribble onto his chin and chest which she happily cleaned off.
They often shared fruit then lips going into some of the most passionate kisses they had ever had. As they kissed Xena undid Ulysses’ belt, “what are you doing?” He asked between a kiss with a grin on his face, “making sure you’re comfortable,” Xena said as she pulled the belt off throwing it across the room. “Now that is so much better,” Xena said as she moved closer and ran her hand over his waist down to the bulge in his pants. Xena leaned in kissed and sucked on Ulysses’ neck as she slightly rubbed the bulge in his pants. “Isn’t that better?” She asked Ulysses as she sucked on his earlobe and he nodded.
“Yea,” he said and Xena smiled then leaned in and kissed him softly. When the kiss ended she caressed his cheek then went to feeding him little sweet treats; he nibbled on one then fed one to Xena. They sucked on each others fingers and lips, Ulysses drained his glass of wine with help from Xena. She didn’t want him drunk for the evening just relaxed so she didn’t pour him another glass. Ulysses fed her a slice of peach dipped in a sweet, white cream sauce. She moaned as she ate the fruit then sucked on his fingers running her tongue all over the top and down to where the juice had run. Ulysses looked at her and grinned. She did the same with him feeding him a piece of cantaloupe then sucking on his chin and making her way down.
Before Ulysses new it he was laying flat on his back and Xena straddled his waist as she ran her hands over his chest while her tongue traced his tattoos. She bit, sucked, licked and kissed all over his chest teasing him and driving him crazy as she made her way down. Xena ran her hands over Ulysses’ sides and looked up at him as she kissed right above his navel. He had his eyes closed and was just relaxing in her touch. She grinned to herself and continued to kiss her way down her hands beginning to unbutton his pants. She grinned as his breathing picked up; when she had his pants undone she pulled them back until she was kissing his pubic hair. Then suddenly she stopped; Ulysses raised his head and looked at her and when he saw the smile on her face he let out a groan. “Why do you tease me so?”
He asked and she grinned as she lay next to him and caressed his cheek. He opened his eyes turned his head and looked at her. “Because I can and because when we make love I want you big and hard.” She said as she looked into his eyes while rubbing the bulge, “and I’ve learned the more I tease you and make you wait the bigger and harder you become.” She said and he licked his lips as he looked at her, “you know I love being inside you. Stretching you but be careful with what you’ve found out. Its true and I uh…I don’t want to hurt you,” he said and Xena grinned at him as she ran her finger over his lips. “Don’t worry about me. I can handle anything you’re willing to give. I want you to take me to all those great places,” she said and he looked at her then down at her lips. “Careful what you wish for,” he whispered to her just before he kissed her softly but passionately.
They spent twenty more minutes feeding each other fruit and sharing kisses and caresses in between. Soon they forgot about the fruit and Ulysses was on his side facing Xena and he was kissing and sucking on her neck while his hand ran over her thigh and butt. Xena had her eyes closed, head tilted back and her finger running through Ulysses’ hair as she moaned in pleasure. “Gods you smell divine and you taste better than ambrosia,” he moaned as he kissed his way up to her ear. Xena moaned and ran her hand over his arm gently pulling on it telling him he was welcomed to take more. “Xena,” he called as he pulled back and she opened her eyes and looked at him, “hmm?” She asked as she ran her fingers over his cheek, “not that I haven’t enjoyed eating the fruit but I’m going to be blunt and tell you I’d much rather be eating you.”
He said and she grinned at him, “you’re such a sweet talker,” she said and he smiled. “Does that mean yes?” He asked then kissed her, when the kiss ended she looked at him. “Yea,” she said with a grin then laughed as he attacked her neck and pulled her closer. Ulysses began to worship Xena’s body for what seemed like hours to her but she was enjoying every last minute of it. She thought she was in the Elysian Fields when he buried his head between her thighs and tasted every last inch of her, moaning as he did so. When he felt like he had paid great attention to her body, he kissed his way back up and they started passionately kissing.
Xena ran her fingers all through Ulysses’ hair as she wrapped her legs around his body while they kissed. In time she rolled him onto his back and paid so much attention to every pleasurable spot on his body, that he was almost hyperventilating and Xena had a great big smile on her face when she kissed her way back up. “You’re gonna kill me one day,” he said with a grin as he tried to catch his breath while he looked into Xena’s eyes and she continued to smile at him. “But I’ll die a happy man,” he said then kissed her softly but passionately. This kiss was of course just the beginning of things and an hour later they both laid there covered in sweat but with smiles on their faces.
Xena turned on her stomach and shook her hair away from her face as she reached for a strawberry and ate it. “Mmm…I’m famished,” she said then smiled when Ulysses leaned over and placed a kiss on her back then shoulder. “You should be after the workout we just had,” he said and Xena smiled as she turned and looked at him then fed him a grape and he smiled at her and she smiled at him as she leaned in and kissed him. “Now this is what I pictured our honeymoon like,” Xena said when the kiss ended and Ulysses nodded as he picked his glass up and took a small gulp of wine. “And didn’t I promise you that I would make all you wanted come true and more,” he said as he leaned over then placed a couple of kisses or her neck and Xena couldn’t help but continuing smiling.
“Yes you did,” she said then turned her head and met Xena for a kiss. “Mmmm,” Ulysses moaned and when the kiss ended he looked into his wife’s eyes as he ran his fingers through her hair. “You know what?” He whispered to her, “what?” Xena asked as she played with Ulysses’ fingers. “I’m so in love with you,” he said and Xena blushed as she looked down and smiled and Ulysses chuckled at her. “That’s a good thing, you know why?” Xena asked and Ulysses looked deep into her eyes, “tell me,” he said. “Well because you’re a handsome guy,” she said and Ulysses laughed at her and Xena laughed with him. “But mostly because I’m so in love with you, completely and utterly,” she said and Ulysses smiled at her.
They continued to lay there on the floor and talk to each other as they ate some more fruit then they began to play and wrestle which was fun and relaxing but at the end it led to them making slow, passionate love. Morning came and Ulysses was the first to wake up and he and Xena were in the same positions when they fell asleep, spooning one another with the sheet covering their bodies. Ulysses looked down at Xena as she continued to sleep and he just laid there and watched her sleep for the longest, he didn’t even move to go relieve himself. After a while, he softly ran his fingers up and down her arm and Xena began to stir so he placed a kiss on her shoulder and she grinned when she felt that loving touch.
“Good morning,” Ulysses said and Xena grinned as she turned her head and looked at him, “good morning,” she said as she touched his cheek and they both smiled as they met each other for a kiss. “How about a nice hot bath then a hot breakfast and depending on our mood we can either lie here all day and make love to each other or we can go out, explore Egypt a little bit more then come back and make love to each other,” Ulysses said and Xena smiled at him. “Both sound like a good plan,” she said and Ulysses smiled. “Well we have a couple of days before we have to check on that informant so we can do both,” Ulysses suggested and Xena grinned as she leaned in.
“I like that plan even better,” she said then kissed him softly and when the kiss ended they looked into each other’s eyes. “You go run and the bath and I’ll send for the food,” Ulysses said and Xena nodded and they both went different ways. Xena couldn’t do anything but smile as she walked into the bath chamber with the sheet wrapped around her body and she began to run them a bath and as she did so, memories of last night ran through her mind and all that did was make her smile more. She poured different oils into the bath water and before long she felt strong arms wrapped around her.
“Hey,” he whispered into her ear and Xena smiled as she caressed Ulysses’ arms before she turned in them. “Hey,” she replied back then they shared a passionate kiss and continued to kiss until Xena remembered the bath water. She went to cut the water off and just as she was doing so there was a knock at the door which of course would be their breakfast and Ulysses went to answer the door. The servants brought their food into the room then left and Ulysses went back into the bath chamber where he found Xena already in the tub. “The water’s great, come on in,” Xena said with a smile and Ulysses smiled back as he took of his robe, throwing it to the side and hoped into the water splashing water every where but mostly on Xena who laughed at him and so began a game of water war in the tub.
When they were done they soaked for a while, took their baths then got out and went to eat their breakfast. They chose this day to lounge around and make love and that’s exactly what they did and they enjoyed themselves to the fullest. That day came and passed on when the next day came, their morning was much like the one before but their day would be different since they were going out and about. They explored Egypt some more, went and saw the pyramids, camel back riding, they even took another ride down the Nile since it was so beautiful and relaxing. They spent the majority of their day out and about and when it began to get late they headed back to the palace.
When the reached the palace and were headed back to their room, they were stopped by one of the scribes. “My lord Ulysses?” The scribe asked, “yes,” Ulysses answered. “My Queen asked me to copy some things for you, poems stories, for a friend,” he said and Ulysses nodded. “Can you come with me for a little bit and just give me an idea of what your friend would like,” he said and Ulysses looked at him. “What’s your name?” Ulysses asked, “Panearo and I promise my lord it’ll only be a couple of minutes,” he said and Ulysses nodded then looked at Xena. “I’ll meet you back at the room,” he said then leaned in and placed a kiss on her cheek before he turned and walked away with the scribe.
Xena turned and was headed to the room when she walked by two large wooden doors with small glass windows. She saw a candle burning in there so she walked over to the doors and looked through the glass and she saw Cleopatra sitting at the table. She was sitting there with a look on her face that said she had a lot on her mind, for some reason and Xena didn’t know why but she placed her hand on the handle and turned it. The door opened gently but by far not quietly, Xena walked in and closed the door quietly behind her. She walked over to the table and just when she had gotten close Cleopatra looked up and she had a knife in her hand. Xena stopped and held up her hands, “you of all people should know Xena that just because I am a woman doesn’t mean I’m incapable of protecting myself.”
She said and Xena nodded as she lowered her hands, “I wasn’t trying to sneak up on you, it’s just my training has made my walking a lot quieter,” Xena said as she slowly walked over to the table. “What can I do for you?” Cleopatra asked as she placed the knife back to it’s hidden place. “I was walking back to my room when I noticed the light in here and I saw you and you looked as if you had something on your mind,” Xena said as she sat down and Cleopatra looked at her. “My brother and sister are trying to steal my kingdom, of course I have something on my mind,” she said and Xena nodded.
“With something like that who wouldn’t have things on their minds,” Xena said, “but I sense that what’s on your mind goes deeper than that,” she said and Cleopatra looked at Xena. “Are you here to be my conscience Xena, I have servants for that,” she said as she stood and walked over to a large window and she looked out at her mighty empire. “You are right about that, you have so many servants you practically don’t have to do anything but how many friends can you say you have.” Xena asked her as she too stood but she just leaned against the table and Cleopatra slightly turned her head when she heard the word friend. “You seek to be my friend Xena?” She asked as she turned her head and looked at Xena who walked up to her as she stared back.
“No, I don’t need to be your friend but I thought you could use one, someone who doesn’t want anything from you,” Xena said and Cleopatra grinned at that. “Everyone wants something from me, since they day I was born,” she said. Then let out a breath and turned and looked at Xena, “will you walk with me?” She asked and Xena looked at her and nodded, “sure,” she said and they left the room, which from looking around looked like some kind of archive room. They left the room and headed to Cleopatra’s chambers, “have a seat,” she told Xena and Xena looked around then sat down on the sofa, which she had to admit was very comfortable.
“Would you like something to drink?” Cleopatra asked as she placed her shawl on a nearby chair, “no, I’m alright,” Xena said and Cleopatra nodded then turned and walked over to the sofa where she sat down. “What are we doing here? Or what am I doing here since this is your room?” Xena asked and Cleopatra grinned at there, “are you always so suspicious?” She asked, “it comes with the territory,” Xena said and Cleopatra nodded. “Well, my room is one of the places here that doesn’t have ears, I’d be a fool to think my palace was almighty safe and secure,” she said. “Hmm,” Xena hummed as she nodded, “and you would think me a fool to not know that my room doesn’t have ears,” Xena said and Cleopatra looked at her.
“A precaution I assure you, I could not be sure of your intentions even though I had asked for your help,” she said. “Are you always so paranoid?” Xena asked and Cleopatra grinned at her, “it comes with the territory,” she said and Xena grinned and nodded. “You know I envy you Xena, I envy all those not born into the life of royalty,” she said and Xena raised an eyebrow at that. “You envy me because I was born a peasant, I feel so warm on the inside,” Xena said. “No offense meant,” Cleopatra said, “none taken,” Xena said and Cleopatra let out a breath. “It’s horrible to say but sometimes I actually wished that one of my foes would win so that I would be free,” she said and Xena looked at her.
“Free from the burden of ruling?” Xena asked, “its not just that,” Cleopatra said as she sat forward, “it’s the burden of decision making and expectations, always having to be on my toes, even more so because I’m a woman, someone is always trying to get over on me, and its just…tiring. I have no life outside of being Queen, as everyone says, I am Egypt,” she said and Xena looked at her. “I envy you because you have time to do other things besides be Athena’s Chosen, you have time to love,” she said and Xena looked at her. “I don’t understand, if you have servants to do everything why is it that you stay so busy?” Xena asked, “because I am Egypt, I am the morning and the evening sun, I have to stay on top of things all the time otherwise I am looked upon as weak and neglecting my kingdom.”
She said and Xena nodded, “I can understand that,” she said and Cleopatra let out a breath. “Are you thinking about giving Ptolemy and Arsinoe control of…” and before she could even finish her statement Cleopatra answered her. “Are you crazy?” She asked, “I understood the day my father made Ptolemy and myself co-rulers that my life would no longer be my own, I accepted that because I was my responsibility, I was born into this role of leadership,” she said. “Yea but Egypt once had co-rulers, you weren’t supposed to be running Egypt on your own,” Xena said and Cleopatra nodded. “Yes, but things are what they are now and I won’t let Egypt fall into unstable hands, I give my life so that Egypt can have one,” she said and Xena looked at her.
“I honestly wish there were a way I could help you would this but I can’t, as you said it’s your burden to bear,” Xena said and she nodded. “But I do understand where you’re coming from,” Xena said, “do you?” Cleopatra asked in a disbelieving voice. “Do you think my life is easy or will become easy with being Athena’s chosen, Princess of Ithaca, one day Queen, a wife and one day a mother?” Xena said and Cleopatra looked at her, “you have a point,” she said and Xena nodded. “But I take things as they come to me and it helps to know that I’m following my destiny that this is the rode I’m meant to be on,” Xena said. “You’re right, obviously this is what Destiny has is store for me, we make our own fate so I should take this in stride,” Cleopatra said and Xena nodded.
“Thanks for the talk Xena,” she said and Xena nodded as she stood. “You’re welcomed, I have to go, Ulysses is waiting for me,” Xena said and Cleopatra nodded and walked Xena to the door. “We should do this again, I feel…better having talked to you,” she said and Xena grinned. “Sure, no problem,” Xena said then left the room and headed back to her room. When she got there Ulysses had just walked into the room and she grinned at him as she closed the door and locked it. “Have you been exploring the palace?” He asked with a grin and Xena smiled at him as she walked into the bedroom, “no, I ran into Cleopatra and we were talking, she had some things on her mind, you know its not easy running an entire nation,” she said as she began to get undress and Ulysses nodded as he sat down on the bed.
“I can imagine, with Ithaca and Paxos and the other kingdoms that we help, it’s almost like running an entire nation. Thank goodness that we have help and I have you,” he said and Xena grinned. “That’s right, we have each other,” she said and he grinned and nodded. Their dinner was brought to them and they sat on the balcony where they ate and talked then went back inside and of course made love. The four days they had off passed too quickly for them but on the bright side they thought about when they got this last bit of information for Cleopatra the rest of their time the remaining days there would be for them. At least they had the whole day today for themselves, and they spent it wisely, they had a good time, relaxed, had fun and most of all they did their favorite activity, what their honeymoon was mostly supposed to be about.
“What do you suppose life will be like for us when we get back home?” Xena asked and she and Ulysses walked hand in hand and barefoot in the sand along the outskirts of the palace watching the moon as it began to set. “Well I suppose in the beginning things will be a little slow, just so until you get the hang of things and then they’ll really pick up. The life of royalty is by far an everyday job, things don’t stop just because the sun goes down.” He said and Xena nodded as she looked up at the time, “but we’ll have time for us?” Xena asked and Ulysses stopped walking and looked at Xena, “we’ll have more than enough time for us, I’ll make sure of it,” he said as he caressed her cheek and Xena grinned.
“And so will I, our marriage is a partnership we’ll make it work together,” Xena said and Ulysses grinned as he leaned in. “I knew there was a reason why I loved you so much,” he said and Xena chuckled as he kissed her softly. “I thought it was because I was great in bed,” she said and he smiled at that. “There’s that too,” he said and Xena grinned then moaned as they stood there and shared a soft, passionate kiss as the sun began was almost finished setting. “We better start making our way back,” he said and Xena nodded and they walked hand in hand back to the palace where they got ready to ease drop on Arsinoe to see who her inside person was.
Meanwhile back in Cleopatra’s chambers she was standing at the table with the maps on it and looked down at it, speculations running through her mind. “Everyone isn’t out to kill you, you know,” Athena said as she appeared across the table and Cleopatra looked at her. “You’re not an Egyptian god so I’ll take it as you don’t know that much about Egyptian way of life,” she said as she went back to looking at the maps. “Don’t think me a fool Cleopatra, I may not be an Egyptian God but life is life and if you thought that I didn’t know enough of Egyptian life then I wouldn’t be a primary God that is worshiped here in Egypt.”
Athena said and Cleopatra grinned at the goddess as she walked away from the table and over to another table where she poured herself a drink. “Would you like a glass?” She asked Athena who shook her head, “Athena must we have this conversation every time you come and see me?” She asked as she sat down in a very comfortable chair and Athena looked at her, “lucky for you I’m not her to talk about your trust issues,” she sad. “Then what are you here to talk about?” Cleopatra asked, “when you have this last bit of information will you need anymore help from Xena?” Athena asked and Cleopatra let out a breath as she looked at the glass in her hand, “after this last but of information I should be able to do without her, it would be nice if she and Ulysses could enjoy the rest of their honeymoon without anymore interference from me.”
She said and Athena looked at her for a moment then grinned, “I see she’s gotten to you,” Athena said and Cleopatra looked at her. “You presume too much, she is a peasant and I am an Egyptian Queen, she could no more get to me than a hungry child on the street begging for food.” She said and Athena looked at her for a moment, “I hope for your sake that isn’t true,” she said and Cleopatra grinned at her, “relax, relax…I was only kidding, you need to learn how to relax,” Cleopatra said and Athena shook her head. “You, Xena and Aphrodite, you all frustrate me,” Athena said and Cleopatra smiled at her. “I’ll take that as a compliment,” she said and Athena shook her head.
“I told Xena all she needed to do was provide you with the information that you needed and since she has done that, they’ll probably be leaving in a couple of days,” Athena said and Cleopatra nodded. “I know, and I’m confident that with this information I’ll be better able tot defend Egypt and continue to keep my throne,” she said and Athena nodded. “I’ll be seeing you Cleopatra,” Athena said then left in the blink of an eye. Cleopatra grinned to herself and shook her head just before she took another sip of wine and thought about how things would turn out, if all of the information that Xena and Ulysses provided her with was true.
The moon was now in the sky, the only light that could be seen was from the moon especially from the garden. Deep in the garden where there were more trees than anything, Arsinoe and Ganymede stood in the shadows waiting for Arsinoe’s contact on the inside and they weren’t aware that Xena and Ulysses were near by also hiding in the shadows. “Where is he?” Arsinoe asked in a hush voice, “he’ll be here, we’re a little early,” Ganymede said and a few minutes later the leaves on a near by tree began to rattle and instinctively, Ganymede pulled his sword and faced the noise, which was Cleopatra’s advisor Hotep.
“Hotep? Hotep is our insider?” Ganymede asked as he turned and looked at Arsinoe who nodded as she pushed his hand down that held the sword and at that moment Xena and Ulysses began to listen more closely. “One of Cleopatra’s head advisors is betraying her, now that’s rich,” Ganymede said with a grin as he sheathe his sword. “What is he doing here?” Hotep asked Arsinoe who looked at him, “what does it matter? He’s with me, now what have you got to tell me?” Arsinoe said and Hotep looked at them both then let out a breath. “Cleopatra has Athena’s Chosen and the Prince of Ithaca here and they’re helping her.”
“We know that already, now tell us something we don’t know,” Ganymede said and Hotep looked at him. “Well do you know that she’s sent them on Arsinoe’s trail, they were told where you like to go and I believe they went there, now if they got anywhere I don’t know, they won’t talk to anyone but Cleopatra and she hasn’t told us anything,” he said and Arsinoe looked at him then at Ganymede. “We haven’t had any problems as far as I know; there are two ways to get up there and one way we have guarded heavily and the other is a jungle, they would be crazy to go through there,” he said and she let out a breath and looked at Hotep. “Is there anything else we should know?” She asked and he shook his head, “only that I believe they were productive so whatever your plan, you need to act quickly or you’ll be worrying more about your lives than ruling Egypt.”
He said and Arsinoe nodded, “why are you betraying Cleopatra?” Ganymede asked and Hotep looked at him, “my reasons are my own but…” he said then stopped as he looked at them. “What?” Arsinoe asked as he stared at her, “I sense from you that you don’t really want to kill Cleopatra, perhaps you and she can come to some understanding. Perhaps you and she can become co-rulers and neither of you has to die, because if you keep down this road one of you will die. You and she have a better understanding and can rule better than she and Ptolemy did, he was all about power and absolute rule, he didn’t want to share the throne which lead to the many decisions that he made that has him in the place where he is now.”
Arsinoe listened to what Hotep had to say and then she looked up at the many stars in the sky and realized that most of his words rung true in her heart. “Enough of this,” Ganymede said then placed his hand on Arsinoe’s shoulder. “You know how to contact me if there is anything else you should find out,” she said and Hotep nodded. “We need to get going,” Ganymede said and Arsinoe nodded and just like that they disappeared in the shadows and Hotep stood there a moment more before he too disappeared and once they were all gone, only then did Ulysses and Xena quietly make their way back inside the palace and to Cleopatra’s chambers.
When they knocked on the door, moments later Cleopatra answered it and she was in her sleeping robes. “This couldn’t wait until morning?” She asked, “we know who the traitor is,” Xena said and Cleopatra looked at her then opened the door wider and let them in then closed it behind them. “Have a seat,” she said and she too sat down as they sat on the sofa. “What have you found out?” She asked as she crossed her legs, “the spy that they have inside is one of your advisors, its Hotep,” Xena said and Cleopatra looked at Xena. “Are you positive?” She asked, “we saw and heard him with our own eyes and ears,” Ulysses said and Cleopatra let out a curse as she stood and walked a couple of feet a way.
“How could I have not seen this?” She asked as she shook her head, “there was no way you could have seen this Cleopatra,” Xena said. “Hotep is one of your trusted advisors, he has a responsibility to take care of Egypt and you trusted him to do that, so why would you think that he would betray you this way, betray Egypt?” Xena spoke to her and Cleopatra shook her head as she walked over to the door, then called to near by guards over. “I want the advisor Hotep found and arrested immediately and wake Dagun and have him come to my chambers immediately,” Cleopatra said. “Yes my Queen,” they replied together then quickly left to do her bidding.
“Cleopatra, you arrest Hotep now and Arsinoe and Ptolemy are going to know that something’s up and their plans are going to change, that month we predicted a couple of days earlier could turn into a couple of days or weeks.” Ulysses said and Cleopatra nodded, “I know, that’s exactly why I sent for Dagun, we’re going to attack them before they attack us,” she said and Xena looked at her. “It’s your choice but we’ve provided you with the information that you needed,” she said then looked at Ulysses as she stood and he stood as well and they prepared to leave. “I need you help,” Cleopatra shouted as Xena placed her hand on the door handle.
“You and Ulysses are the only ones who have been up there so you know what their lay out is like,” she said. “We could tell you what their lay out is like but the last thing we want to do on our honeymoon is getting into a war,” Ulysses said. “Now you asked us to help you with getting some information and we have done that,” Ulysses continued and Xena looked at him then at Cleopatra. Xena stood there and listened to Cleopatra and Ulysses and she realized even though Cleopatra needed help, that this was her honeymoon and she had already helped Cleopatra with one matter, she was torn between whether she should help her with this one.
She turned and looked at Ulysses who looked back at her and could see that Xena was going to help her and he looked into her eyes and shook his head. “I’m sorry for being selfish my love, but this is our time,” he said and Xena nodded as she placed her hands on his arms. “I know,” she said and he looked into her eyes then looked down as he realized how ever selfish he wanted to be he couldn’t, his heart wouldn’t let him be because just as Xena knew, he knew this was the right thing to do, even if Cleopatra had caused this situation somewhat prematurely. “We’ll help you,” Xena said and Cleopatra let out a breath of relief, “thank you,” she said and Ulysses looked at her.
“Thank us when this is over and when it is you will owe us big time,” he said with demand in his eyes and Cleopatra slightly titled her head in respect and Ulysses shook his head. “We’re going camping in the woods next time,” he said as he opened the door and Xena grinned at him. Just as he opened the door Dagun was getting ready to knock and he looked at Ulysses and Xena before he directed his attention to Cleopatra. “You sent for me my Queen,” he said and Cleopatra nodded, “Xena and Ulysses have found out who the traitor is,” she said and Dagun looked at her.
“Who is it?” He asked, “Hotep,” she said and he looked at her, standing there in stunned silence. “I don’t believe it, he is so loyal to you and Egypt,” Dagun said. “It is true, they saw him talking to Arsinoe and Ganymede, I’ve had him arrested,” she said and he nodded his head. “The problem is with me arresting him its more than likely that Arsinoe and Ptolemy will find out and know that we’re on to them. That month that we might have had, will more than likely turn into a couple of days, weeks at most,” she said. “Xena and Ulysses have agreed to stay and help us since they know what things look like, so we need to get planning right away,” she said and Dagun nodded his head. “I agree,” he said, “we should go to the war chambers and start planning right away, perhaps we can attack them before they attack us.”
He said, “that’s just what I was thinking,” Cleopatra said, “I’ll be there after I’m dressed,” she said and Dagun bowed his head then turned to leave and Xena and Ulysses followed behind him. Cleopatra went back into her bedroom to get dressed, “information was all you wanted, all you needed at the moment,” Athena said and Cleopatra turned and looked at the goddess who was sitting on her bed. “Things change,” she said and Athena shook her head as she stood, “you’re too rash sometimes Cleopatra, you have to learn how to pace yourself,” she said as she walked up to her. “This is not a situation where I can afford to pace myself, I don’t have a man on the inside, so I don’t know their every move that their planning,” she said.
“This is the best way and just as they have the roman, I have Xena and Ulysses, a card that they know nothing about,” Cleopatra said then headed to the door. “She’s only going to stay to diffuse this one situation Cleopatra, everything else you have to handle on your on,” Athena said to her then disappeared before Cleopatra could say anything else. Cleopatra left her chambers and headed to the war chambers, on her way there she had been informed by one of the previous guards that Hotep had been arrested but before they caught him, when he saw the guards coming he knew and he began to run but they had still caught him. Cleopatra nodded and when she got to the war chambers, Dagun had all the maps laid out and Xena and Ulysses were pointing out key things to him.
“Hotep had been arrested but he knew as soon as he saw the guards,” Cleopatra said. “We were just going over what things look like and some possible scenario’s so when can know when and how to attack,” Dagun said and Cleopatra nodded. “Let us continue,” she said and they stayed there for a couple of hours discussing the best course of action and when they had at least come up with half of a good plan they called it a night and everyone went back to their rooms. Back in their room, Xena and Ulysses both got ready for bed in silence both had things on their minds. Ulysses was first into bed; Xena turned down the rest of the lanterns and got in the bed as well.
Ulysses was laying on his back staring up at the ceiling and Xena was lying on her side facing Ulysses and she stared out into space for a while before she looked at Ulysses who was still laying there looking up at the ceiling. “Are you mad?” Xena asked and Ulysses looked at her and shook her head, “no, I’m just thinking,” he said and Xena nodded. “You weren’t the only one who wanted to be selfish earlier,” she said and Ulysses grinned as he touched her cheek. “I know, I could see it in your eyes and I also saw that you knew this was the right thing to do and I knew it too but…” he said and Xena nodded. “This is our time and it should be a special time for us and it has been its just not as we pictured it,” she said with a grin and Ulysses chuckled at that.
“On the bright side, when we’re finished here, we have two weeks at sea before we reach home and so we’ll have those two weeks to spend with each other,” Ulysses said and Xena smiled and nodded. They laid there and talked for a little longer before they fell asleep. Meanwhile, when Arsinoe and Ganymede got back to the mountain side they spoke with Ptolemy and Pontius, telling them what they found out. “So, he believe that they know where we are and what we are up to?” Pothinus asked, “yea, I’ve sent some guards to check out the other way up here, to see if it has been disturbed and that’ll tell us if we have anything to worry about.”
Ganymede said and just as he said that a guard entered the cavern, “my lords I have word from Alexandria,” he said as he bowed his head. “What word?” Ptolemy asked, “Cleopatra’s head advisor Hotep has just been arrested but for what I do not know,” he said and Arsinoe looked at Ganymede. “We must not have been the only ones in the garden,” she said then another guard came running into the cavern. “What did you find?” Ganymede asked and the guard looked at him, “the other way up has indeed been disturbed,” he said and Ptolemy let out a curse. “Leave us,” Pothinus said and the two guards left and he immediately went over to the table and looked at the maps.
“We’re going to have to move things up,” he said, “we can’t attack now, we aren’t ready,” Ganymede said. “Knowing Cleopatra, she’s going to attack first so do you rather we wait here for her, or act before she does?” Pothinus asked, “neither, we should pack up immediately and find another place. That way we won’t get caught and we’ll still be able to go through with our plan,” Arsinoe said, “I agree, attacking now would be foolish, you know we aren’t prepared,” Ganymede said. “You’re both fools, moving now will set us back further and who’s to say that Cleopatra won’t have them find us again. No, the best thing to do is attack her before she attacks us and we have the Roman, so we will be fine,” he said and Arsinoe shook her head and left the cavern.
“Ptolemy you need to think about this, this is too soon, this plan is to rash, we could be falling into a trap for all we know,” Ganymede pled with Ptolemy but his pleas were falling on deaf ears. “Pontius is right, we need to act now and its time for us to stop running,” he said and Ganymede shook his head. “You’re fools and you’re going to get yourselves killed, Arsinoe and I will have no part of this,” he said then turned and left the cavern. “Good reddens, saves us from having to get rid of them later,” Ptolemy said and Pothinus nodded his head. “We need to figure out how we’re going to attack,” he said, “I’m going to send a message to Pompey and inform him of what’s going on,” Ptolemy said.
Ganymede walked back to his and Arsinoe’s cavern and found Arsinoe sitting in a chair, “they are idiots, we can’t stay here Arsinoe,” Ganymede said and Arsinoe looked at him. “I know but where are we going to go?” She asked and Ganymede shook his head as he went to go and sit down on the bed. “We can’t stay here any longer, we’re sitting ducks here,” he said and Arsinoe nodded. “What Hotep said earlier, really has me thinking,” she said and Ganymede looked at her and she looked at him as she stood and walked over and sat down on the bed next to him. “I’m tired of living life on the run, we have a child to consider now and living life as a co-ruler of Egypt wouldn’t be so bad, it would be better than we’re living now,” she said and he looked at her.
“Arsinoe, you really don’t believe that Cleopatra would share leadership with you, do you? She’s never going to trust you that much to allow that to happen,” he said and they spoke in hushed voices so that no one would over hear them. “We will trade with her, information on Ptolemy and Pothinus for us becoming shall we say her right hand,” she said, “there’s no way she will refuse us, Cleopatra is about to act and she would love it if she knew what they were up to,” Arsinoe said and Ganymede looked at her. “I’ve led the life that I have wanted to live, my main thing now is what’s best for you and our child. If you want to make this deal with Cleopatra then I’m behind, I’m confident that I’ve taught you well,” he said with a grin and she nodded.
“Would you be happy with whatever arrangement was made?” She asked, “as long as we’re living good, we’re respected and treated as the nobleman that we are, then I will be fine. I’m sure I can find something to occupy my time,” he said and Arsinoe looked into his eyes and nodded. “Then we should leave at first light,” she said and Ganymede nodded, “then lets get our things together now and I’m going to start making arrangements for us,” he said and Arsinoe nodded and began to get their things together while Ganymede left to go and get some things straight.
When morning came Xena and Ulysses had breakfast and headed straight back to the war chambers, where they went back to discussing options with the other war advisors and the General of Cleopatra’s navy, Markon. “We can come up both ways and attack them hard, basically surrounding them,” Markon said. “That would be great except that since Hotep has been arrested I’m sure Arsinoe and Ptolemy have heard. They probably know by now that we’ve gotten up there and since they know we didn’t go up they way by the guards they’re going to be checking the other way up that they think won’t get used and they’ll find that its been disturbed,” Xena said.
“That plan is not going to work, they’re going to have guards waiting there,” she said, “our men can overwhelm whatever guards they have there,” Dagun said and Xena shook her head. “Don’t just think about over powering, think about strategy as well because don’t forget, they have Pompey who will more than likely be helping them so they can very well over power you as well and he’s a Roman so he’s probably thinking strategy too.” She reminded them, “you acted too quickly Cleopatra, you should have strategize first, now we have no way of knowing what is going on up there, what they’re doing, if they’re going to run or attack first,” Ulysses said and Cleopatra nodded as she looked at him.
“Perhaps but I’m not afforded the luxury of waiting, you need to understand that its killed or be killed, that is the Egyptian way of life, has been for a while. Now I have been trying to change that but I can’t very well do that if I’m dead, I had to take action, I had to make the first move.” She said, “and now that you have, we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, we know we need to attack quickly but we don’t know how to attack. We could have used Hotep for inside information,” Ulysses said and Cleopatra looked at him, “that’s what you and Xena are here for,” she said and he looked at her for a moment and Xena could see his demeanor change.
“Cleopatra, you are the Queen of Egypt and I show you the respect as such so show me the same curtsey,” he said then took a step forward as he continued to speak. “Xena and I were here for our honeymoon, not to help you in your current crisis but we did. Then you dug yourself in deeper and now you expect us to dig you out, you’ve got to be kidding me,” he said and Cleopatra walked up to him. “I expect you to do as you’ve been asked, Prince,” she said and to Ulysses she used his title to show him that she was above him but no way would he let her think that and so they began arguing back and forth. “Enough,” Xena shouted as she stood between them, she placed her hand on Ulysses’ chest and looked into his eyes and he was about to speak when she stopped him.
“Enough,” she said, her eyes hard and cold, her body stiff and holding power, they were looking at Athena’s chosen and she meant business. “That’s right, listen to your wife,” Cleopatra said and Xena turned her head and looked at her. “I said enough,” she said, “you…” Cleopatra began to say but her words got stuck in her throat as Xena walked up to her and spoke to her in a hushed voice. “Enough,” she punctuated each syllable as she looked into Cleopatra’s eyes. “Do not disrespect him in that way again, we are here of our own free will and we can damn well leave if we choose and leave you in this shit that you’ve gotten yourself into.”
She said in a hushed voice, “we are not one of your servants, we’re helping you because you asked, because you need it not because you want us to.” Xena said, “I am Queen…” Cleopatra begun and again Xena stopped her, “that doesn’t mean shit to me,” Xena said and Cleopatra looked into her eyes where she saw Xena meant every word that she said. “You want to play the title game? Queen of Egypt, Athena’s Chosen, I am above you in every way. So unless you want to loose, let’s not play this game,” Xena said and all Cleopatra could do was swallow a she looked at Xena. “Do you understand me now? You have a problem, we are going to help you with it, without you treating us like we’re one of your servants. When we’re done, you’ll thank us and we’re going to leave. Are we clear?” Xena asked and Cleopatra looked into her eyes and nodded, “crystal,” she said and Xena nodded then looked over at Ulysses, her eyes said everything and he just nodded.
“Now, lets focus our attention back on the problem at hand, things are not as we would like them but we’re going to have to figure them out as best as we can. Now, short from one of their guys running in here telling us their plans, we’re going to have to visualize things to the best of our abilities,” Xena said and no sooner that she said that, there was a knock on the door. “Enter,” Cleopatra said and one of the guards entered, “my Queen, the traitors Arsinoe and Ganymede are here, they are requesting an audience with you,” he said and Cleopatra looked at Xena. “Ask and you shall receive,” Cleopatra said then looked back at the guard.
“Escort them to the throne room, I’ll be there shortly,” she said and the guard bowed then left. Cleopatra turned and looked at Xena, “come…” she started to say then stopped. “Will you come with me?” Cleopatra asked and Xena looked at her and nodded then looked at Ulysses, “the rest of you stay here and try to figure out how we’re going to attack,” Cleopatra said then she left and Xena and Ulysses followed behind her. “Are you sure about this Arsinoe?” Ganymede asked as he looked around the throne room, mostly at the guards who were keeping them company until Cleopatra arrive. “Relax Ganymede,” she said as she placed her hand on his arm and he let out a breath and continued to look around until the door opened.
Cleopatra walked in, followed by Xena and Ulysses. “Long time no see Arsinoe,” Cleopatra said as she walked up to her sister and Arsinoe held her ground as she looked at her elder sister. “Leave us,” Cleopatra said to the guards and once they were all gone they began to talk. “Have you come to turn yourselves in?” Cleopatra asked, “hardly, we have nothing to turn ourselves in for,” Ganymede said and Cleopatra looked at him. “Joining Ptolemy and Pothinus, trying to kill me or at least overthrow me,” she said. “Oh for goodness sake Cleopatra, I don’t want you dead,” Arsinoe said and Cleopatra raised an eyebrow at her.
“Could’ve fooled me,” she said, “what do you want?” Xena asked and Arsinoe looked at her then back at Cleopatra. “I’m tired of running, of hiding, planning to overthrow you,” Arsinoe said. “So you do admit to that,” Cleopatra said and Arsinoe nodded. “In the beginning I only did it because Ptolemy convinced me that you would have me killed so that you could have Egypt all to yourself. Then when you started coming after us with the intent on having us killed, well, I thought why not overthrow you, it was revenge for having you come after us,” she said. “What’s changed now?” Cleopatra asked and Arsinoe looked at her then placed her hand on her stomach and Cleopatra looked at her.
“Your delicate condition?” Cleopatra asked and Arsinoe looked at her, “yea I know you’re pregnant just like I know Ganymede is the father,” she said and Arsinoe looked over at Xena and Ulysses. “Just as we suspected, you were spying on us,” she said and Xena walked up to her. “You don’t want to fight any more, you want a life, a safe and happy life with Ganymede and your baby,” Xena said and Arsinoe looked at her and nodded. “Oh please,” Cleopatra said, “is that so hard to believe Cleopatra? We want to be happy just like anyone else,” she said.
“We propose a trade,” Ganymede said, “great information on Ptolemy and Pothinus,” he said. “In exchange for?” Ulysses asked, “a place here, your second in command, whatever charges that may be against Ganymede and myself, I want them gone. I want to live life as you live your life now Cleopatra,” Arsinoe said. “You are not my equal Arsinoe, therefore you should not live a life equal to mine,” Cleopatra said. “I am your sister,” Arsinoe yelled to Cleopatra, “had I not left, you and I would be co-rulers,” Arsinoe said. “And that’s what you want now?” Cleopatra asked, “no, I know that after everything I’ve done and had apart of, things can not be as they should,” Arsinoe said.
“By blood I am your equal but I know by title I am not nor will I ever be,” Arsinoe said, “I’m glad you know that,” Cleopatra said and was about to walk away when Xena grabbed her arm and Cleopatra turned and looked at her. “Listen to her,” Xena said, “why? She has a forked tongue, she spits nothing but lies,” Cleopatra said as she turned her head to look at Arsinoe then back at Xena. “Will you let go of me?” Cleopatra asked and Xena looked at her then let her go, “let me speak to you privately,” Xena said and Cleopatra nodded and they walked over to a nearby corner which was far enough away that they couldn’t be heard.
“What?” Cleopatra asked, “before you act stop and think about the situation for a minute,” Xena said. “You don’t know her but I do and this is some kind of trick,” she said and Xena shook her head. “They came in here, risking their freedom, the life of their child, I don’t think this is a trick. Perhaps you don’t know it Cleopatra because you don’t yet have one but a family is enough to make you change everything and anything. Arsinoe has already admitted why she went against you in the first place, now she’s here and trying to set things right,” Xena said. “Yea and for a price,” Cleopatra said, “she would be dumb not to ask for anything and she has valuable information that we can’t afford to pass up,” Xena said.
“You can always keep an eye on them Cleopatra until you one day trust them,” Xena said and Cleopatra stood there and thought about it then walked back over to them, with Xena behind her. “Lets get one thing clear Arsinoe, I was never going to have you killed after Ptolemy betrayed me as you said, you would have probably become the next co-ruler but the past is the past and it can not be changed. You can live here in the palace, you will be my second in command, Ganymede I’m sure you’ll find something you would like to have a hand in and just talk to me about it and I’ll see what I can do,” she said and he nodded. “You will have all the luxuries that I have, all of your past crimes will be as if they never happened but make no mistake, if you’re lying to me or if you betray me ever again you will be punished in the harshest way possible,” she said and Arsinoe looked at her and nodded.
“Thank you,” she said, “don’t thank me yet, the information you have I need and I need it now,” Cleopatra said and Arsinoe nodded. “Very well,” she said then turned her head and looked at Ganymede who walked forward. “We had no idea that you had found us until yesterday when our contact on the inside was arrested. We had both ways up there checked and found the way you came up, as soon as Ptolemy and Pothinus realized you knew where we were they began to plan an attack. Arsinoe and myself thought it better to run but they wouldn’t hear of it and they believe because they are allied with Pompey that they can beat you. They plan to attack in the next couple of days but I don’t know when, we left early this morning,” he said.
“What else do you have? What are their numbers? What sort of weapons do they have? What kind of attack can we expect?” Ulysses asked and Ganymede let out a breath and began telling them everything he could think of. Once they had everything that they needed Xena and Ulysses headed back to the war chambers to inform the others of what they had found out. Cleopatra stayed behind to get things with Arsinoe and Ganymede settled. The day passed by quicker than they anticipated and abut three hours after dinner Xena, Ulysses, Dagun, Markon and all the rest of the war advisors had come up with a great plan from all the information that Ganymede gave them and they were going to attack tomorrow at sun down.
Cleopatra showed Arsinoe and Ganymede to their new chambers, which were about as extravagant as her own. “I didn’t have these kind of rooms when I lived here,” Arsinoe said as she looked around and Cleopatra stood there with her arms crossed, watching her. “I’m a woman of my word,” Cleopatra said and Arsinoe nodded then looked at her sister. “Will you ever trust me again?” Arsinoe asked and Cleopatra looked at her, “will you ever give me reason to?” She shot back, “I just did,” she said, “no, what you just did was secure a life for you, Ganymede and your child. You didn’t come to me and tell me what you did out of the goodness of your heart, you came to me because you saw the walls closing in and you knew you had to act fast.”
Cleopatra said, “what do you want from me Cleopatra?” Arsinoe asked as she shook her head, “the truth, I accepted your terms because I needed the information that you had, I don’t for a minute believe you,” Cleopatra said and Arsinoe looked into her eyes and nodded then walked up to Cleopatra, took her hand and placed it on the bulge that was her stomach. “I carry a life inside me, I can no longer be concerned with my own wants and needs,” Arsinoe said and Cleopatra looked into her eyes as she continued to talk. “You want the truth, the truth is, we were allied with Ptolemy but we couldn’t stand him, we were going to help him overthrow you, bargain for your life and when it was all done we were going to have him and Pothinus killed.”
She said and Cleopatra looked at her and shook her head, “they Egyptian way, killed before I get killed and I was fully aware that Ptolemy had no intention of sharing power with me.” She said then let out a breath as she went and sat down on the sofa, “I was a fool for trusting him in the beginning, I don’t think I ever really did, that’s why I asked Ganymede to come with me,” she said. “Your lover,” Cleopatra said and Arsinoe looked up at her, “we weren’t always lovers, he was my mentor and the only one that I believed cared for me,” she said then let out a breath as she ran her fingers through her hair. “We became lovers a while after I left, a couple years later we were married, I became pregnant and our plans to come back to the palace were becoming realistic,” she said.
“Things were going good until you invited Xena and Ulysses here and asked for their help,” she said, “that and Ptolemy’s alliance with Pompey,” she said. “Sorry to have ruined your plans,” Cleopatra said and Arsinoe looked at her and hunched her shoulders. “You don’t understand Cleopatra, I’m extremely happy with the way things turned out, this is all I’ve ever wanted, I just regret the process I had to go through to get it,” she said and Cleopatra shook her head then walked over to Arsinoe and sat down next to her. “I don’t know if I can ever truly trust you again but the Egyptian way needs to end here, I never sought to be the supreme ruler of Egypt, you and Ptolemy made it so and now that I am the sole ruler of Egypt I have to take care of it as I see fit.”
She said then let out a breath, “I don’t believe things can ever go back to the way they were, Egypt has one ruler now and will continue to have one rule that will never change but if your intentions are true then you can help me rule through other ways,” she said as she looked into Arsinoe’s eyes where she saw that her intentions were true, at least for the moment. Cleopatra stood and walked to the door, “but as I said before, betray me again and it’ll be the last thing you do,” she said then walked out of the door. Cleopatra had a lot on her mind and she was heading to the dinning hall when she ran into Xena, “how did things go with Arsinoe?”
Xena asked and Cleopatra let out a breath, “well, I got her everything she wanted with ease,” she said and Xena nodded. “How are the plans going?” Cleopatra asked Xena, “the information that Ganymede gave us was very helpful, we came up with a plan and we attack tomorrow at sun down,” she said and Cleopatra nodded. “I’m not even hungry,” Cleopatra said as she turned at the corner of the hall and went to her room, leaving the door open as an invitation to Xena to follow which she did. Cleopatra went and poured herself a glass of wine then sat down on the sofa and Xena stood there and looked at her.
“You alright?” She asked and Cleopatra nodded her head as she looked at the glass that held her wine, “I will be,” she said and Xena nodded then turned to leave when Cleopatra stopped her. “No one has ever talked to me before like you talked to me earlier, I don’t know if I appreciate that,” Cleopatra said and Xena turned and looked at her. “No more than I appreciated you disrespecting my husband,” Xena said and Cleopatra sat the glass down as she stood. “I had to put him in his place, let him know that I did what I had to do and I wasn’t going to be reprimanded by him like I was some child,” she said as she walked over to Xena. “And I had to put you in your place, so you were reprimanded like a child because you acted as one,” Xena said and Cleopatra looked at her then raised her hand to slap Xena but her hand was stopped mid way.
“You’re a great woman Cleopatra, a great ruler, so act it,” Xena said and they stared into each other’s eyes and then Cleopatra did something that surprised Xena a great deal. She leaned in and kissed her passionately and what surprised Xena even more was that she responded to the kiss. It took her brain a moment to register what she was doing and when she realized she abruptly ended the kiss and backed away. “What are you doing?” Xena asked and Cleopatra looked at her, “to be honest with you I don’t quite know, I just had this urge to kiss you and when I did…” Cleopatra said then grinned as she shook her head, “it felt good,” she said and Xena just looked at her for a moment more.
“I have to go,” Xena said as she quickly left the room and Cleopatra shook her head as she walked back over to the sofa and sat down. “Why did I do that?” She asked herself then shook her head as she sipped on the wine, ‘yet another thing to think about’ she thought to herself. Xena continuously shook her head as she headed back to her room, she didn’t see Ulysses when she got there and she was grateful for that as she sat down on the bed and replayed that moment over and over in her head when Cleopatra kissed her, she never even saw it coming. “Hey,” Ulysses said as he walked out of the bath chamber and Xena looked at him, “what are you doing here?”
She asked and he looked at her as he placed the towel that was on his shoulder on a nearby chair. “I stay here, I was getting cleaned up for dinner. What’s with you?” He asked and Xena shook her head, “nothing, I just have something on my mind,” she said and Ulysses nodded and got on the bed and behind Xena, he moved her hair to the side and placed a kiss on her neck. “Well maybe I can help take whatever’s on your mind off,” he said as he placed kiss after kiss on her neck and Xena just sat there. “Cleopatra kissed me,” she blurted out and Ulysses froze in place, “come again,” he said and she turned and looked at him. “I said Cleopatra kissed me,” she said and Ulysses looked at her.
“What did you do?” He asked, “what do you think I did?” She asked him as she stood and walked a couple of feet a way. “I was stunned that she was kissing me and when I realized what was happening I pushed her away and left,” Xena said and Ulysses nodded. “Okay,” Ulysses said, “I didn’t even see it coming,” Xena said as she shook her head. “Well what happened?” Ulysses asked as he got off the bed and walked over to Xena, “I met her in the hall as I was headed back here, I asked her how things went with Arsinoe then told her about the plans we had made. She was going to get something to eat but decided she wasn’t hungry, she went back to her room, I followed her to make sure she was alright, I was leaving when she told me she didn’t appreciate the way I talked to her earlier.
I told her I didn’t appreciate the way she disrespected you, she said she was putting you in your place and I told her I was putting her in hers. Then she tried to slap me, I told her she was a great woman, a great ruler and that she should act like it. The next thing I know she was kissing me,” Xena said then spun around and looked at Ulysses after she recapped what happened. “Explain what happened, to me,” Xena said and Ulysses shook his head, “maybe the way you took charge of her, the way you spoke to her earlier, turned her on. I can imagine that no one has spoken to her that way for quite some time,” Ulysses said and Xena shook her head.
“How could I not see this coming?” Xena asked and Ulysses grinned as he took her hands in his. “You’ve never been with a woman before Xena so how could you recognize the signs?” Ulysses asked and before Xena could say anything he leaned in and kissed her passionately, when the kiss ended Xena grinned as she looked at Ulysses. “Well thank goodness I’ve been with a man before otherwise I wouldn’t recognize the signs you’re putting out,” she said and Ulysses smiled at her then leaned back in and kissed her softly. “How did you feel when she kissed you?” Ulysses asked and Xena hunched her shoulders, “mostly surprised I guess.
I mean, I’ve kissed Aphrodite before but I was just playing the game, it was on my own terms, Cleopatra just really surprised me but I guess it felt nice,” Xena said. Ulysses nodded then leaned forward and began tasting Xena’s lips and Xena moaned as she tasted Ulysses’ lips in return. “Is this tease going somewhere?” Xena asked after the kiss ended and Ulysses just nuzzled her face, “where do you want it to go?” He asked then moaned as Xena kissed him passionately and as they kissed she began walking him backwards to the bed. When the back of his legs hit the bed the kiss didn’t lessen, Xena just began undoing his shirt and he began undressing her in whatever way possible.
She pulled his shirt off then pushed him down on the bed and he grinned at Xena and looked at him as she took her shirt off then her pants and got into the bed, her body over Ulysses’ and that was all she wrote. An hour later a sweaty Ulysses fell face first onto the bed, “wow,” he mumbled into the sheets and Xena grinned as she lay on her back with the sheet wrapped around her body. “Yea, it’s been a while,” Xena said and Ulysses smiled at her, “that’s why I love you, it’s only been what, a day or two,” Ulysses asked. “What can I say? When its good I like it constantly,” Xena said and Ulysses chuckled at that, “oh sweetheart it’s more than good, it’s great, it’s out of this world,” Ulysses said then rose up and leaned over and kissed Xena.
“So what are you going to do about Cleopatra?” Ulysses asked as he ran his hand over Xena’s thigh and she shook her head. “Nothing, I’m going to try and forget that it happened and maybe she’ll do the same,” Xena said. “We only have a couple more days here, two more days to be precise,” she said as she ran her finger over Ulysses’ jaw. “This is not the honeymoon either of us pictured but it was still great,” Xena said and Ulysses smiled at her. “That it was,” he said and then they shared a kiss. As they were kissing there was a knock at the door and they both groaned, “I’ll go see who it is,” Xena said then kissed Ulysses softly once more before she got out of the bed, grabbed her robe and slipped it on before she went to answer the door.
When she opened the door she was surprised to see Cleopatra on the other side. “Can I talk to you?” She asked and Xena looked at her, “I don’t know if that’s such a good idea,” Xena said. “Please Xena, I want to explain what happened earlier,” she said and Xena looked at her then allowed her to come into the room. Xena closed the door behind her then walked over to Cleopatra, “who was at the…” Ulysses began as he walked into the room with just his pants on. When he saw Cleopatra he grinned as he walked over to her, “have you come over for another kiss?” Ulysses asked and Xena slapped him on his chest and Cleopatra looked down for a moment. “Hey I don’t blame you, she’s a gorgeous woman and a great kisser,” he said and just as those words fell out of his mouth he leaned over and kissed Xena passionately.
Cleopatra couldn’t help but watched as they kissed and in the back of her mind she realized she wanted to be the one kissing Xena, holding her like that. When the kiss ended Xena grinned at Ulysses as she caressed his cheek, “you are impossible sometimes,” she told him and he smiled at her then looked at Cleopatra who was looking down but he knew she had been watching them. “So did you come back for another kiss because if you did I would like to watch,” he said and Xena slapped him again, “would you wait in the room?” She told him and Ulysses hunched his shoulders as he leaned in and whispered to Xena. “You’re curious I know, so explore it if you want,” he said then placed a kiss on her shoulder before he headed back into the bedroom, closing the door behind him.
“So, explain to me why you kissed me earlier,” Xena said to Cleopatra who shook her head as she looked at Xena. “I’ve been thinking about it and…” she said then let out a breath. “I desire you, you treat me like any other person and I guess that appeals to me. You’re beautiful, talented, I don’t know but it turned me on the way you talked to me earlier,” she said. “Ulysses was right,” Xena mumbled to herself then rubbed her forehead as she thought. “Can you say that you’ve never thought of me in the same way?” She asked and Xena looked at her, “I’m on my honeymoon, the only person that I’m thinking about in that way is Ulysses. I…” Xena said then threw up her hands because she didn’t have a clue as to what to say.
“So you’ve never been with a woman before?” Cleopatra asked and Xena looked at her, “no, the closest I’ve gotten to being with a woman is kissing Aphrodite and that was just for show.” Xena said and Cleopatra nodded as she walked up to Xena, “when I kissed you, how did you feel?” she asked and Xena hunched her shoulders, “surprised mostly but all in all I guess I thought it was nice,” Xena said and Cleopatra nodded. As Xena looked at Cleopatra she could see the want and desire in her eyes and in her body from the way she moved and spoke. Xena didn’t know why she did it but she walked up the rest of the way to Cleopatra, placed her hands on her face and kissed her deeply and passionately.
“Mmmm,” Cleopatra moaned as she returned the kiss and Xena found herself enjoying this new experience, still, she was mostly doing this because Cleopatra wanted it and she wanted to explore this new found power and also because Ulysses was right, she was curious. When the kiss ended Xena brushed her lips against Cleopatra’s, “what are you doing?” Cleopatra asked, “isn’t this what you came here for?” Xena asked, “no,” Cleopatra said then moaned once more when Xena kissed her softly. “Yes,” she said when the kiss ended and Xena rewarded her honesty with a very passionate kiss that stole Cleopatra’s breath away.
“I…I want you,” Cleopatra said in a breathless voice and Xena grinned as she shook her head then backed up some. “A kiss is as far as it will ever go,” Xena said. “Why?” She asked, “why not?” Xena asked, “I have no intentions of breaking vows I just made,” Xena said. “Ulysses will be fine with it if we invite him to join us,” Cleopatra said and Xena shook her head. “I won’t deny that you’re a beautiful woman, a great woman but I’m just not interest right now,” Xena said and Cleopatra nodded. “And I’m in love with Ulysses, I want no one else but Ulysses,” Xena said, “I can make you feel what he makes you feel,” she said and Xena shook her head.
“No you can’t, on a physical level, maybe, but anything more than that you can’t even begin to make me feel. He is my other half and I love him with all that I am as I know he loves me,” Xena said and Cleopatra looked into her eyes and could see the immense love that Xena had for Ulysses. “That’s understandable,” Cleopatra said then turned and walked over to the door. “This has never happened,” she said as she turned and looked at Xena who nodded her head, “it never happened,” she said and watched as Cleopatra left the room. Xena let out a breath and went back into the bedroom, Ulysses looked at her as he lay on the bed. “Did you satisfy your curiosity?” He asked and Xena let out a breath as she got into the bed and crawled towards Ulysses, “I did,” she said then leaned in and kissed him, caressing his chest as she did so.
“And?” Ulysses asked when the kiss ended, “And the only person I want or will ever want is you, just you,” she said and Ulysses looked into her eyes and nodded before he kissed her softly. Xena let out a breath and laid down next to Ulysses, her head on his chest and they just laid there in silence. Later on they had dinner, spent some time with each other before they went to sleep. When morning came they were up bright and early along with Cleopatra, Markon and Dagun as they went over the plan once more and began to get ready.
Meanwhile at the mountain Ptolemy and the others were preparing for a battle as well. “Make sure the men are in top shape, we attack at sun down,” Ptolemy told a soldier who bowed his head then turned and left. “Is Pompey ready?” Ptolemy asked Pothinus who nodded his head as he looked down at the map, “he’s in place, he’ll attack the palace from the east and west and we’ll attack head on. Some of the men will stay here as reserves just in case things go wrong,” Pothinus said and Ptolemy. “We will be inside the place come sunrise,” he said with a grin on his face. “Arsinoe and Ganymede will be sorry that they left, the fools,” Ptolemy said then looked at Pothinus.
“Are you going to stare at those maps all day?” Ptolemy asked and Pothinus looked at him, “I want to make sure we have things covered from all angles, I don’t want there to be any surprises,” he said. “Pothinus will you relax, things are going to go just fine and just in case they don’t I have an escape plan,” Ptolemy said and Pothinus looked at him. “Planning battles is your thing and planning escapes is mine,” he said as he held up a parchment with a sketch of a map on it. Pothinus walked over and took the parchment and looked down at the map and thought those plans were pretty good. There was escape for their men but for them and Pothinus was more than fine with that.
“This is pretty good, keep it on hand, we might just need it,” he said and Ptolemy nodded and placed it back in his belt where he had pulled it from. Back at the palace, Xena was outside looking at Cleopatra’s navy as they prepared and she let out a breath then slightly looked to her left when she felt a presence. “Information, that’s all you said I would be doing,” Xena said and Athena walked up to her side and stood next to Xena as she too looked out at the men. “That’s what I had planned but as you can see, Cleopatra is somewhat unpredictable,” the goddess said and Xena looked at her. “Rash is more like it,” Xena said and Athena nodded, “she can be but not always, she usually looks at things with a clear head, its just that this has been going on for some time and I suspect she’s more than ready for it to end now.”
Athena said and Xena nodded, “can’t blame her for that,” Xena said then let out a breath as she looked up at the sun judging from its position that they had a half a day left before they had to go. “I need two dozen archers,” Xena said as she turned and looked at Athena who nodded her head, “you’ll have them when you’re ready to go,” she said and Xena nodded then turned and began heading back to the palace. “I’m sorry about your honeymoon,” Athena said as Xena walked away, “don’t be, I’ll get you to repay me in some way or another,” Xena said and Athena grinned before she disappeared and Xena went back to the palace. She and Ulysses went to the dinning hall to get a little something to eat and then they did some light sparring to basically warm themselves up for the bigger battle.
Once they were done they met Cleopatra and the others in the war chambers to go over the plan once more. “We’re going to come up the mountain both ways, now this way is heavily guarded,” Xena said as she pointed to the area that held the bridge and the guards. “But I’ll have archers up here,” she said as she pointed to various spots on top of the mountain, “and they’ll silently take the guards out and then we get into the caverns. “We’ll have wagons close by to load the weapons that they have,” she said. “Now we know that they plan on attacking soon, so I’ll stay here, the palace will be heavily guarded. Our main concern is not knowing where the Romans come in, so, twenty to thirty men will be hidden in four spots all around the palace,” Ulysses said as he pointed to four remote spots outside of the palace, where they would be hidden.
“I’ll command the men at east and west, Dagun you have the men to the north and Markon you have the men to the south.” Ulysses said. “With any luck will have them all in custody by the time the sun rises,” Cleopatra finished. “So, is everyone clear on what they are supposed to be doing?” Xena asked as she looked at them all and they nodded, “alright, then lets get ready to go,” she said and they all left the chambers and went their separate ways. The day was passing by very quickly and before they knew it, it was almost sun down. Xena and Ulysses walked to the front of the palace where the men Xena would be taking were waiting on their horses as well as the elite archers that she asked Athena for.
“You be safe,” Ulysses told Xena who grinned at him as she looked into his eyes. “Aren’t I always? I should be telling you that,” she said and Ulysses grinned at her. “Come back to me safe and unharmed,” he said as he picked up her hand then placed a kiss on the back of it. “You do the same,” Xena said as she caressed Ulysses’ cheek then leaned in and kissed him softly. When the kiss ended she looked at him once more before she turned and made her way down the stairs and over to what would be her horse. With nothing more left to do Xena began to ride away and followed by the archers and then the rest of the soldiers. Ulysses let out a breath then looked down at Gemini who looked up at him, “I guess it’s just you and me,” he told the wolf then turned and headed back into the palace.
Once he was in the palace he made his way to the back of the palace and went out that way and went to check on the men that were in hiding and he would stay with them to make sure things were quiet and stayed quiet. Xena and her men rode hard and fast up to the mountain, when they were almost there they got off of the horses and pulled them over to the side so that they couldn’t be found. She took one wave of men and they hid in the bushes by the way she and Ulysses had came up, Xena counted with her eyes and could see twenty men at the most patrolling that area. She looked at the man to her right which would be her sergeant at the moment and made hand signals to him telling him which way to go. She then looked back at the head of the archers and held up two fingers then pointed towards the guards.
She waited until the others were in place then nodded towards the sergeant and she nodded towards the archers and they fired arrows quick and hit their mark. Only two archers fired and they were deadly with their arrows and their accuracy, they took down four men and then the other soldiers that were in place began to attack as did Xena. They took down the rest of the men with swiftness and without a sound. Their bodies were dragged off to the side as to not be in the way when they attacked and also so that no one would be let on. “Barage, go up to the place that I told you and wait for the signal to attack,” Xena told the sergeant and he nodded and placed four of his men at the base of the mountain as look outs before he and the rest went quickly up the mountain.
“Elainis, you know what to do,” Xena told the head archer who nodded her head and she and the rest of the archers went up to the mountain to their positions with a swiftness that came from their training. Xena and the rest of the men went up the other way that held the bridge which was heavily guarded. There were men at the base of the bridge, some hidden and some weren’t, there were also soldiers on the bridge and on the other side. Xena and her men moved quietly but quickly and took out the men at the base of the bridge then stayed hidden as she waited for the archers to get into place. When she looked up at the mountain she could see the archers and when she saw they were ready she began to move.
The archers shot the men on the bridge and they fell over, Xena and her men were running across the bridge as the soldiers fell with arrows in their chest. The rest of the guards that were on the other side of the bridge were dealt with in a matter of minutes and they began making their way up to the caverns. Once they were up there Xena made a signal to Elainis who shot an arrow towards Barage and his men to let him know it was time to attack. When Barage saw the arrow he signaled his men to move in and Xena and her men began to do the same. The archers stood at different points on the mountain and when they saw Xena and the others begin to attack they started attacking as well, so the battle was on.
Back at the palace Ulysses and the others were still in place and there were no signs of any attack, not from their end anyway. “Things are really quiet,” one of the men said and Ulysses nodded as he looked around, “too quiet,” he said and just as he said that there was a loud bang coming from the south. “No one move, we stay here,” Ulysses told them and the men were anxious to go and help but them staying where they were was crucial to their plans. Ulysses heard another loud bang and just when he did arrows started flying their way, some hitting their targets and others just hitting trees or the ground.
“Take cover,” Ulysses yelled and the men hid behind whatever they could, some holding up their shields and others not acting fast enough. When the arrows stopped coming Ulysses ordered the men to attack but not to go in straight forward but from the side, so that they would be less likely to get killed or injured from another volume of arrows, especially since they didn’t know exactly where they were coming from. When Ulysses came in contact with his first soldier they were the Romans just as he had figured but what he hadn’t counted on was them being attack at all four places at one time. Ulysses took no time in cutting down anyone who got in his way and when he saw that their spot was secured he took some men and went to go and help the others.
It was a good thing that he and the others got there when they did because Markon and his men were being bombarded by Romans, there were many bodies on the ground already, Egyptians and Romans alike. “Ulysses don’t worry about us we’ve got this but Dagun needs help, their attacking the front of the palace head on, Romans and Ptolemy’s men,” Markon yelled and Ulysses nodded as he picked up another sword so that he now had two and he ran them through two men that thought they were sneaking up on him. Ulysses fought there for a while longer until he could see that they would indeed be alright and then he headed to the North which was the front of the palace, Gemini hot on his heels and if the enemy tried to stop him he ran them through with ease.
“Things don’t sound as if they’re going too well,” Arsinoe said as she, Ganymede and Cleopatra sat in the throne room with guards surrounding them. “I should go and help them,” Ganymede said, “Ganymede,” Arsinoe said with fear in her voice. “I’ll be fine Arsinoe but I should go and help them, they could really use my help,” he said then turned and looked at Cleopatra, “if that’s okay with you,” he said to Cleopatra who looked at him and nodded her head. “Be careful,” she told him as he walked towards the door and he nodded his head then left. “This is all so stupid and I never realized how much until recently, we’re all fighting over who rules Egypt and none of this is for the good of Egypt,” Arsinoe said as she got up and began to pace and Cleopatra listened to her then continued to listen to the sounds of the battle outside while Arsinoe’s words rung loudly in her head over and over again.
Back on the mountain, things were going pretty good, they were taking each cavern at a time, kind of like ants going after a piece of food. Since many of Ptolemy’s men were outsiders they fought to the death so as the mountain was being taken over there wouldn’t be many captives. When the last cavern was finally taken and all of the men were dead Xena looked around for Ptolemy and Pothinus but didn’t find them. “Begin loading the wagons,” Xena told one soldier who ran off to do just as she had said. Xena went down to what was Pothinus’ part of the cavern and began looking through his things when she heard a loud bang, much like the one Ulysses had heard.
“My lady they have catapults loaded with burning hey,” the second in command shouted and Xena let out a curse as she tried to find a way out of the cavern and down to where all the fighting was going on. She had to admit that they hadn’t thought about the Romans keeping guard of the mountain and it wasn’t a few Romans it was a lot so either Ganymede was lying about the number of Romans or he didn’t know, which ever one Xena couldn’t think about at the moment. Xena looked around for any way out and all she could see was a near by tree ‘well, my training is definitely about to come into use’ she thought to herself as she backed up a couple of feet.
She let out a breath then broke into a dead run and when she was out of the cavern and in mid air she did an aerial flip and grabbed on onto the limb of a nearby tree. She let out a breath of relief when she landed safely then she prepared herself for her next trick, a flip from the tree to the ground and she had to admit to herself that it was a lot easier than flying into the air. The moment she landed she was surrounded by Romans, “Xena, I presume?” Pompey asked as he stepped into the crowd and Xena looked at him. “Let me guess, Pompey,” she said and he nodded his head. “Surrender now and I won’t kill you,” he said and Xena grinned as she flipped her sword in her hand.
“Funny, I was just thinking the same thing,” she said and without any other word she attacked and they fought back but they were no match for her. When they were all on the ground either dead or unconscious she was now face to face with Pompey and even though she heard the sounds of a very serious and what could turn out to be very deadly battle going on around her she had to deal with Pompey first before she could deal with anything else, she couldn’t very well help the others if she were dead. “I hear you’re Minerva’s Chosen,” he said as they circled each other, “I hear you’re an ass, so what’s new,” she said and he grinned at her then attacked her.
Xena blocked his every move and added in some of her own, she kicked him in the stomach then punched him in the face. Pompey looked at her as he wiped blood from his lip and he attacked again harder than before and a little better but still he was going to have to do better. Xena kicked him hard in the stomach again and backhanded him so hard he fell back on the ground, she was going to try and knock him unconscious, not for the kill, she didn’t kill if she didn’t have to, most of the men she went up against today she just injured badly.
However, three soldiers surrounded her and although she dealt with them rather quickly it gave their leader a chance to get back up which he did. Pompey swung at Xena almost grazing her arm and she grinned a dangerous grin at him before she attacked, he was now finding it hard to defend himself against her hard and fast strokes. It was amazing and maddening to Pompey that this woman, this Greek woman was beating him in a fight and he was one of the best. Of course he was holding his own but he could plainly see that her skill was greater than his so his main concern now was getting out of this alive. He came at Xena hard and fast getting in a few blows of his own, he even managed to disarm her in the process and when he did he kicked her in the stomach.
When she came back up she did a round house kick which sent him a few feet away. Pompey took that moment to run for it and Xena picked up her sword and was going to go after him but she found herself surrounded by Romans again and she was forced to forget about Pompey and began fighting again and the fighting was gruesome and far from easy. Some of the Romans left when they saw their leader fled but most of the others stayed and that was mostly because of orders Pompey had given them, they were a distraction for his escape.
Back at the palace, things were pretty bad as well, the Romans were giving them a run for their money. When Ganymede walked into the battle he walked into a mess and somewhat of a blood bath. The number of Romans and outsiders were great and they fought well, some would say recklessly since they didn’t have much regard for their own life when they fought. “What are you doing here?” Ulysses asked Ganymede as they ran into each other, “I came to help and from the looks of it you need it,” he said and their conversation was cut short as they were attacked and they fought them off.
“They’re trying to get into the palace, its best if you help over there,” Ulysses told Ganymede who nodded as he pushed a guy off of his sword. He ran back over to the front of the palace and helped the guards there while Ulysses continued to fight off the others, trying to get things settled there before he went back to the palace. The men were dispatched quickly and Ulysses and the others went over to the palace and dealt with those men, the battle was far from easy and quick as they thought it would be but two hours before sunrise it was finally done but there was a lot of damage since they had catapults.
“What are the damages?” Ulysses asked Ganymede as he began walking down a hall on his way to the dinning hall to tell Cleopatra the news. “We lost a lot of men but losses were very heavy for the other side,” he said and Ulysses nodded. “What’s the news Ulysses?” Cleopatra asked as soon as he and Ganymede walked through the door, “we’re secured on this end, a lot of lives were lost on our side though, I expected the Romans but not those numbers,” he said and Ganymede nodded his head as pulled back from his hug with Arsinoe. “Those numbers were surprising I guess Pompey brought more men than we were expecting or that I was told about,” he said.
“I suppose they trusted us about as much as we trusted them,” Arsinoe said as she leaned into Ganymede. “During the battle Ulysses, I got a message that said things weren’t looking so good up at the mountain,” Cleopatra said and Ulysses looked at her. “What do you mean?” He asked, “they had some reserves of Romans up there, Pompey himself was there and they attacked hard,” Cleopatra said and Ulysses’ heart beat began to speed up. “How long ago was that?” He asked and she looked at him then looked down, “how long?” He asked in a raised voice, “almost two hours ago,” she said and Ulysses let out a breath as he walked away.
“You’re hurt, I should have…” Cleopatra began as she noticed the slash on Ulysses’ arm, “its nothing,” he said then paced for a while before he sat down in a chair and run his fingers through his hair in frustration. “I’m sure she’s alright,” Cleopatra said, knowing that Ulysses was thinking about Xena wondering and hoping that she was alright. A half an hour passed by, Cleopatra was busy with reports that were coming at her left and right about the damages, injured and the lives lost. “My Queen the men from the mountain have returned and they have a lot of injured,” a messenger ran to tell Cleopatra and Ulysses jumped up when he heard that.
“Where are they?” Cleopatra asked, “the main hall, a few healers are seeing to them,” the messenger said and Cleopatra nodded then looked at Ulysses who walked quickly pass her and she followed behind him. Ulysses was walking so fast he practically ran to the main hall and when he and Cleopatra arrived, there were injured men all over, so were lying down, others were standing and some were sitting against the wall. He looked among the men for Xena and when he spotted her she was standing there with an injured man leaning on her. Xena looked up when she felt a piercing stare and when she saw it was Ulysses she nodded to one of the other men that wasn’t hurt, to help the man that she was helping.
Once he was taken care of she began walking towards Ulysses and he to her, when they reached each other they just looked into each other’s eyes. “Are you hurt?” Ulysses asked and Xena shook her head and was about to ask Ulysses the same question when he walked up to her and kissed her softly but passionately and Xena returned the kiss. It was a kiss between two lovers, one that said I’m glad that you’re okay as well as a kiss that was alleviating their fears. When the kiss ended they rested their foreheads against each other and just relished the fact that they were both okay, that they both made it out of this battle. “I’m glad to see that you’re okay,” Cleopatra said and Xena rose her head and looked at the Egyptian Queen.
“The mountain is secured, I left some men up there to make sure that it stayed that way or to inform us of anything,” Xena said and Cleopatra nodded. “Thank you for everything, I am forever in your debt,” Cleopatra said and Xena gave her a small grin as she shook her head. “Think nothing of it,” she said then looked at Ulysses and she noticed the cut on his arm, “you’re hurt,” she said and he looked at his arm then back at Xena. “It’s nothing,” he said, “I’ll be the judge of that,” Xena said as she lead Ulysses over to a near by healer just to get some of his supplies before she took care of Ulysses’ arm herself.
She cleaned his arm then looked at the wound, “this is going to need stitches,” she told him and he nodded and watched Xena as she began to thread the needle. “When I heard the Romans were up there, I was really worried,” he said and Xena looked at him then began to stitch up his wound. “Scared shitless actually,” he said and Xena looked up at him, “I can take care of myself,” Xena said and Ulysses nodded as he turned his head and looked at her. “I know but, just the thought of losing you,” he said and Xena cut him off before he could continue. “Then don’t think about it,” she said and Ulysses let out a breath, “I’m alright Ulysses and I can understand why you were scared and worried and to be honest with you I was a little of both as well but I was trained for this kind of thing.”
She said as she continued to stitch up his wound, when she was finished she cut the thread then placed a slave on the wound to help keep out infection as well as to help it heal. “To tell you the truth I was more worried about you, the Romans that we captured were bragging about how they were slaughtering you guys over here, all I could think of was getting back here, to you,” Xena said as she began to wrap a bandage around Ulysses’ upper arm. He was about to say something when they were interrupted by Cleopatra’s presence, “is there something wrong?” Ulysses asked because by the look on her face there was something wrong.
“There are so many injured that my healers can’t keep up with it all,” she said as she looked around and Xena tied off Ulysses’ bandage then stood and looked around. “Things are just a bit unorganized that’s all and you could use a few extra pair of hands,” Xena said. “I’ll help the healers,” Xena said and Cleopatra looked at her, “you know something about healing?” She asked and Xena grinned at her, “fighting is not the only thing I know how to do,” she said then winked at Cleopatra who grinned at her. “Are you afraid to get your hands dirty?” Xena asked the Queen who shook her head, “what do you have in mind?”
She asked and Xena nodded her head, “find Arsinoe, get some blankets and tear them into strips, also have some water boiling to clean some of these other bandages.” Xena said to Cleopatra, instructing her on what to do, “I’ll get on it right away,” she said then turned and left and Xena looked at Ulysses, “find Ganymede and anyone else who is able to help move some of these guys around. The seriously injured over there,” she said, pointing to the far left corner. “The minor injuries over there, those who aren’t going to make it over here,” she said pointing to the left corner and then the far right corner. “And the dead over there,” she said, pointing to the last corner and Ulysses nodded and went to do as his wife had instructed.
Xena walked over to the man that seemed to be the head healer and stooped down next to him, “where do you need help the most?” She asked and he looked at her for a moment wondering to himself what could she possibly know about healing and then he thought it couldn’t hurt to let her help, especially since he could use the extra hands. “Mainly over here, I’m trying to keep things organized but it’s not turning out so well,” he said. “Don’t worry about it, it’s being taken care of, I’m here to give you a hand,” she said and he nodded. “It is greatly appreciated,” he said and Xena nodded then went about treating the seriously injured and Ulysses and Ganymede saw to the organizational as well as anything else that was needed and surprisingly enough Cleopatra and Arsinoe were doing what Xena had asked and more.
A couple of hours after sunrise were when things began to settle down. Everyone was basically seen to so that allowed for the others to go and get some rest. “You were amazing out there,” Cleopatra told Xena as she washed her hands of blood for what seemed like the hundredth time. “So were you, I can tell you really care about your people and you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty,” she told Cleopatra who grinned at her. “As I said before, you’re a great woman and a great ruler,” Xena said with a grin and a wink causing Cleopatra to grin. “Why don’t you go and get some rest, I know this is your last day here so you won’t be bothered, I’ll have all of your meals sent to your room,” she said and Xena nodded her head then looked at Ulysses who walked over to her.
“You look like you’re ready to drop,” Xena said to him as she caressed his cheek and he nodded his head, “as are you,” he said then looked at Cleopatra. “I trust you don’t have any more problems for us to deal with,” he said and she grinned at him. “No, at the moment I don’t,” she said and he nodded then looked at Xena, “for the moment,” he said with his mouth and Xena smiled at him as did Cleopatra. “Thank you for your help Ulysses, it was greatly appreciated,” Cleopatra said and Ulysses nodded. “You’re welcome but the next time you need our help try not to wait until we’re on vacation,” he said and Cleopatra smiled as she nodded.
“Will do,” she said then watched as they left the hall. She let out a breath as she looked around then decided to head to her own chambers to get some much needed rest. “My lady,” Dagun said as he walked down the hall and towards Cleopatra, “Dagun, any word on Ptolemy and Pothinus?” She asked as she headed to her chambers, “no my lady, it’s mostly likely when they saw that things weren’t going their way they ran,” he said and Cleopatra nodded. “Ptolemy was always good on escaping,” she said and Dagun nodded his head. “What of the Roman?” She asked, “Pompey fled before the sun came up,” Dagun said and Cleopatra let out a breath.
“Well at least their plans have been foiled for the moment,” she said and Dagun nodded his head and Cleopatra stopped and looked at him. “You’ve done great, go and get some rest,” she said and he nodded. “As soon as I check on the men once more my lady,” he said and Cleopatra nodded then continued walking towards her chambers. When Cleopatra got to her room she let out a breath as she sat down on the bed, she ran her fingers through her hair then decided she wanted a bath before she got into bed so she sent for some servants to come and draw a bath.
When Xena and Ulysses got to their chambers an eager Gemini greeted them at the door. Xena immediately headed to the bath chamber where she ran a bath and as the water ran she rid herself of her dirty and bloody clothes and Ulysses was doing the same in the bedroom. They took their baths and went straight to bed, falling asleep in each others arms. They slept well pass noon and when they woke they sent for some lunch and just lounged about the room, not really in the mood to do much else. The scrolls Xena had asked Cleopatra for were delivered and Xena made sure to send a message to Cadell to let him know that they were leaving tomorrow morning about two hours after sunrise so that he could get his things in order.
“This has been quite the honeymoon, very exciting,” Xena said with a smile as she leaned back against Ulysses while they lay in front of the fireplace. “I want to thank you for that,” Xena said and Ulysses smiled at her as he sipped on his glass of wine. “You’re more than welcomed, next time we’ll go to Athens or maybe Rome and see what trouble we can get in to there,” he said and Xena laughed at him. Ulysses smiled at Xena then leaned down and placed a kiss on her neck as he held her tight against him. “Besides all of the fighting and planning this is been the best time of my life,” he whispered to her and Xena smiled as she closed her eyes and just melted into Ulysses’ arms.
“It’s been the same for me,” she said and they stayed that way for a while, actually dosing off in those positions. When they woke for a short while it was night, the moon was high in the sky and they decided to go for a walk to be among Egypt one last time before they left. When they came back to their room, dinner was waiting for them as well as a message from the captain of their ship letting them know that everything was ready for them to leave tomorrow and that they had been in contact with Cadell. After dinner, Ulysses and Xena packed up their things then laid and bed and talked for a while before they dosed back off to sleep, needing their rest since the last couple of days hadn’t been full of rest.
Morning seemed as if it came all too soon. Xena and Ulysses were up bright and early, they had their things sent to the ship and they went to the dinning hall to have one last meal with the Queen of Egypt. When they got there it was practically a feast laid out for them, “what’s all this?” Xena asked with a grin and Cleopatra grinned as she stood, “I know it’s not much but I wanted to show my appreciation for all that you and Ulysses have done,” she said. “Cleopatra you didn’t need to do this,” Xena said as she and Ulysses sat down. “It was nothing,” she said as she sat down at the head of the table, “how are things settling in for you?” Xena asked Arsinoe who nodded her head, “it’s coming, there’s a lot that has to be done, things can be changed on parchment but people still remember,” she said then looked down at Cleopatra who was talking with someone else.
“I know I have a lot of work to do as far as trust goes,” she said and Xena nodded her head, “change is never easy but at least you have decided to change,” she said and Arsinoe nodded. “What will happen to Hotep?” Ulysses asked Cleopatra who looked at him, “he is a traitor he will die,” Dagun said and Cleopatra looked at him then back at Ulysses who waited for her to say that. “He will have a trial, a chance to explain his actions, the punishment will fit accordingly,” she said and Ulysses nodded his head. “Has there been any word on Ptolemy and Pothinus?” Xena asked and Cleopatra shook her head, “no, they have slipped through our fingers once again, I just hope that enough damage has been done to them that they won’t be back for some time, I could really use a break from this nonsense,” she said and Xena nodded her head in understanding.
As they ate they all talked amongst each other, there was even some joking and laughing at the table and Xena got the chance to see that Cleopatra was just like any other woman. Of course she had more power than any woman in her country but still none the less she was a pleasure to be around and she would prove to become a great friend to them both. When the time came they said goodbye to Dagun, Arsinoe, Ganymede and the others and Cleopatra walked them to the front of the palace where their Egyptian carriage waited for them. “Take care Cleopatra,” Xena said and Cleopatra nodded, “you too Xena,” she said with a nod of her head and Xena grinned as she stepped forward and gave the great Queen a hug and Cleopatra smiled as she hugged Xena back.
“You’re welcomed to Ithaca any time,” Ulysses told her as he placed a kiss on the back of her hand and she smiled at him. “I just might take you up on that offer one day,” she said and Ulysses grinned and nodded. “Thank you both again for all that you have done, when you come back to Egypt there will be a royal feast in your honor,” she said and they smiled at her before they descended down the stairs and got into their carriage. The ride to the docks was quiet and peaceful, they both looked at the scenery as they passed by, “its really beautiful here, maybe we can come back one day,” Xena said and Ulysses nodded his head. “Yea but hopefully none too soon,” he said and Xena grinned at him.
When they got to the docks they made their way over to their ship which was ready to go, they were just waiting on their main passengers. “My lord, my lady,” the captain said as he bowed his head when they boarded the ship, “how’s the weather looking today?” Ulysses asked, “great wind my lord, if this weather keeps up we could be home in a week and a half,” he said and Ulysses nodded. “Cadell, you made it,” Xena said as she spotted the artist near by and he grinned when he saw her. “I wouldn’t pass up this chance to go home, but then again its not quite home but it’s definitely close enough,” he said with a grin and Xena grinned back at him. “Everyone been treating you okay?”
Ulysses asked, “oh yeah, your sailors are real nice, the captain even let me set up over there so I can paint some of what I see, you know to keep myself busy until we arrive in Ithaca,” he said and they nodded. “Well that’s good to hear,” Xena said, “well make yourself at home, Ulysses and I are going to get some much needed rest and relaxation,” Xena said and Cadell nodded and watched as they went below deck. When they got to their cabin they both let out signs of relief, something familiar. “It feels good to be back on this ship,” Ulysses said and Xena nodded and she kicked off her shoes then jumped onto Ulysses’ back and he smiled as he held her legs.
“How’s your arm?” She asked him, “its healing,” he said then smiled as Xena began kissing and sucking on his neck as he walked over to the bed. “I thought you wanted to rest,” he said as he dropped her onto the bed and Xena smiled as she looked up at him. “We’ll rest after we’ve had a little exercise,” she said and Ulysses smiled at her as he pulled his shirt over his head. “I love the way you think,” he said as he climbed onto the bed and Xena smiled then moaned as they shared a soft but passionate kiss. That moan would be the first of many, many moans to come.
Some time later they lay in the bed under the cover, Xena was in Ulysses’ arms and she softly caressed his chest and he softly caressed her back. “How do you think things will be when we get home?” Xena asked and she remembered she had asked Ulysses that same question once before but she wanted to know if his take on that had changed. “It’ll definitely be interesting to say the least especially when my father here’s about what we’ve just done here, but I think things will be okay,” he said and Xena nodded her head. “No I take that back,” he said then rose Xena’s chin so that he was looking into her eyes, “as long as I have you by my side things will be more than okay,” he said and Xena grinned at him then kissed him softly before she laid her head back down.
“Things will be interesting and at times, probably challenging but I think we’re more than up to it,” Xena said and Ulysses nodded as he laid there and thought about how their lives would be when they got back to Ithaca. “The beginning of two lives as one,” he said and Xena smiled at that, “I look forward to it,” she said and Ulysses chuckled at her. “So do I my love, so do I,” he said. When they got home things would indeed be interesting, what marriage life wasn’t and with them being royalty and all, that was an invitation for more interesting and exciting things to happen to them, after all, Ulysses said it best, it was the beginning of two lives as one.
Tale Two: The Beginning of Two Lives as One
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