Disclaimers: See Part 1
Additional Note (Please Read): This tale is tied in with, The Conqueror & Ri: A Twist of Destiny. If you haven't read both story's chapters preceding this one, you should do so now. Also a thanks to all my readers, including the bard, Silvermoonlight. Enjoy ;-)
Feedback always welcomed, sometimes needed at, Alexjanos612@yahoo.com
Xena and Gabrielle,
A Turn of Fate,
Chapter 13: Samurai Training
'My avidity for Xena grates on her nerves and causes her to leave me.' Gabrielle mused. 'Yet she can be jealous, even when we are no longer committed to one another.'
Gabrielle would be damned if she was going back to her lonely cabin and sulk over a love that wasn't returned. The bard hoped where she was headed, it was empty of Samurai, that way she could work up a sweat doing her drills without spectators. Zicalus stated, the armory was also used as a training room and Gabrielle wanted to utilize it to its fullest.
She knew he was either already defeated, or was given false courage by being toyed with. Still, the outcome will be the same for the young man.
Gabrielle opened the double doors and became astound by how expansive the armory was. Many different weapons lined the walls of the room. Katanas, maces, staffs, daggers, bows, arrows and chained balls connected to scythes similar to what Moku had equipped when she'd first seen him.
She observed the entire room and saw that there was more than several other warriors in the armory along with her. Two was using the sparring area, dueling with their katanas. A few looked at her like an intruder while most continued with their own training. Gabrielle thought of leaving, but decided to stay and found an unoccupied space to herself.
Drawing her sais and giving them a couple of twirls in her hands, the short-haired blonde began her routine. Some of the Samurai watched her, amazed at Gabrielle's agile speed when she performed her somersaults and strikes. Gabrielle however, was in her own world as she released her frustration and energy in every fluid movement.
'I gave you everything, Xena!' she vented while doing multiple kicks. 'I loved you more than anybody ever has!'
Finishing a backflip, Gabrielle attacked the air with her sais, imagining that it was her ex-lover. 'You never loved me! How could I have been so dumb to think you did!'
All the Samurai's gaze was now on the Battling bard as she trained. A woman executing a fury of flips, punches and kicks was too much to simply ignore.
'Go to that Japian whore!' Gabrielle cogitated. 'See if she'll love and adore you with the amount of passion that I did!'
The scarlet clad Amazon's exertions slowed down. 'The passion and adoration I still have for you, Xena.'
Her fast actions dwindled, but remained subtle. The way Gabrielle's body moved could be compared to a graceful deadly dance and the Samurai was entranced by it. Once the armory's doors opened, it came to an end. Gabrielle viewed the three warriors that walked inside, leaving one of the doors ajar. She instantly recognized them as the first three Samurai that challenged, Xena.
"She's not human."
"Maybe you shouldn't have said anything to begin with, Neji."
"And let that woman have her way, Suzu." he countered. "Besides, you fought her first. It's alright though, we'll have our revenge soon."
"You are crazy." Suzu declared. "I'm never fighting Xena Sama again. Me and Hiro got off easy, although my leg hurts a bit from when she clipped me."
"Yeah." Hiro concurred. "She disarmed me, that's humiliating enough. A Samurai never drops his katana. I'm lucky if the Shogun doesn't enforce hara-kiri upon me."
"What are y'all complaining about?" Neji inquired. "It was I who got kicked, spanked by her sword and punched in the face!"
"We should have just let Xena Sama instruct us." Hiro affirmed.
"Backing you up was a mistake, Neji." Suzu confessed. "She still got her way by beating on our entire squard and did you see what she did to, Master Zicalus? Damn near pounded the man into-"
"Yes I saw." Neji interrupted. "And I'm not implying that we fight her. She's un-natural and belong with that spirit girl."
The last sentence garnered Gabrielle's attention. 'Akemi?'
"I'll personally honor Amaterasu with the sacrifice of my firstborn if I'm able to see her demise."
Suzu noticed Gabrielle and remembered their oath. "That's enough, Neji."
Neji wouldn't cease his garrulity. "I'm serious. That foreign woman caused us all of these problems. Half, if not every one of us are near death's grasp."
"Alright, Neji." Hiro whispered. "Gabrielle San is in here. Don't forget what we are sworn to uphold."
Neji looked at the petite blonde and glared. Next, he trekked towards her.
"What are you doing in here?" he questioned indignantly. "This armory is for Samurai, not your kind."
Placing her sais into her boots, Gabrielle chose to exit the room. "Zicalus said, I could train here. Perhaps I was mistaken."
"You were. It's time you left. This is for men anyway. Women aren't fit to be warriors."
Gabrielle was furious. The brash man insulted her in more ways than one. Not only did he wish death on Xena, but he attacked her gender as a whole.
Keeping her temper in check, the bard couldn't hold back a retort. "I think that kick and fist to your head, from a woman I'll add, has damaged your brain, or something. It doesn't matter though, I'm leaving."
"Silly girl." Neji replied. "Xena will get hers, you better trust that."
"Stop, Neji." Suzu tried to halt his fellow companion's hasty words.
Their relationship was ended and Xena had pained her terribly, yet Gabrielle still felt protective over the Warrior Princess.
"Don't threaten, Xena, or by god, I'll hurt you worse than what she did."
Neji was aghast by Gabrielle. "You? What can you do? You don't even wield any type of sword. You use garden tools from Chin."
'This guy is a joke and a waste of my time.' she rationalized.
"Maybe all you Greeks are worthless." Neji chuckled. "Your warrior will be with Akemi and you will hopefully never see her again."
Lashing out with both hands, Gabrielle applied the technique that was recently taught to her and he fell to his knees. Neji hadn't ever fathom such pain existed in all his life. Suzu and Hiro unsheathed their katanas while the others observed the situation. They seen what the bard was capable of doing her drills and wasn't eager to being beat on.
"What did you do to him?" Suzu asked.
Gabrielle ignored them both and bent down to growl in Neji's ear. "You have thirty seconds to live. If you don't apologize to me for all your disrespectful comments, it will be the worse experience of your short life."
Neji tried to breathe, however it was very difficult and caused discomfort to do so.
"Undo what you've done!" Hiro panicked.
"Twenty seconds." Gabrielle taunted.
Blood trailed from Neji's nose and Suzu exclaimed. "Gabrielle San, please!"
"Close to ten seconds. I'll allow you to die and won't give you another thought."
"I... I'm... Sorry... Sorry..." Neji rasped.
"Louder." Gabrielle responded.
"I'm sorry!" he complied.
"Good boy." she said, releasing the pinch.
Neji took in a huge gulp of air. "You're... Insane. Like... That Xena. I'll get great satisfaction from her-"
"Shut it, Neji." Hiro rebuked him.
"No, let him continue." Harukata announced, standing outside the slightly open door.
"Shogun." Neji was stunned.
The Samurai bowed to their leader as he entered the armory. He walked over to Gabrielle and the few men around her.
"Are you willing to dishonor yourself, Neji?" Harukata queried vaguely.
"No, Shogun." he answered.
"Seems to me you were. For that, you are to scrub the top and bottom main deck until I decide further."
'It'll take me forever to clean both decks.' Neji speculated.
"Do you understand?" Harukata questioned.
"Yes, Shogun." he acceded, standing up.
"I need everyone to depart the armory save for you, Gabrielle San." Harukata commanded.
All the Samurai bowed and did as they were told. The Amazon wondered what Harukata wanted with her.
"Were you training here?" he asked.
"I was watching your interaction with Neji for a while. You tried to walk away, but he kept provoking you. Would you have let him really die if he didn't give you an apology?"
"I honestly don't know." Gabrielle responded. "I'm not in a friendly mood at the moment."
"Because of Xena?" Harukata inquired.
Gabrielle wasn't feeling up to talking about her ex-lover. "Is Zicalus okay?"
"He has some bumps and bruises, nonetheless, he'll live." Harukata confirmed.
"I warned him not to engage her. She wanted to hurt him."
"Why's that, Gabrielle San?" the Shogun was curious.
'Xena's right, I talk too much.' Gabrielle berated herself.
She wasn't ready to shed light on their relationship. The wound was still opened and nowhere near healed.
Gabrielle countered with a question of her own. "What is it that you want, Shogun?"
"I want to know how you are doing."
"You should already have that figured out." she spoke. "Xena's going to Akemi when the time comes and I will be alone. How do you think I feel."
Harukata moved closer to Gabrielle and placed his hand on her shoulder. "You love Xena and she cares greatly for you, no matter what you may perceive."
Gabrielle recalled the last encounter she had with her soul mate and she knew that Xena's love for her was over.
"Thank you, Shogun, but I'm certain that's a lie." Gabrielle replied.
'What did you say to her, Xena?' Harukata pondered.
"I'm finished here." Gabrielle declared, backing away from him. "I'm going back to my cabin."
"Of course. Before you go, can I ask what weapons are you skilled with, Gabrielle San?"
"I'm a master with a staff, adequate with a sword and an adept with my sais." Gabrielle told him. "Why?"
"Are you decent in CQC?" Harukata asked.
"Close quarter combat." he disclosed.
"Yes." Gabrielle avowed. "I know martial arts. Xena trained me well."
"How about, Aikido, the way of the harmonious spirit?"
"No." she gave a simple response.
An idea formed in Harukata's brain. "Wait a moment, Gabrielle San."
The bard watched the old warrior take steps to where an assortment of swords was displayed and grabbed a katana.
'What's going on?' Gabrielle was becoming puzzled.
"Gabrielle San." he pronounced once he stood in front of her again. "Allow me the honor of teaching you to become a Samurai."
Gabrielle became surprised that the Shogun was offering her such a position. "I've been informed on many occasions that women can not become a Samurai."
"It is true." Harukata said. "You will be the first, ever."
"I don't follow you, Shogun." Gabrielle admitted as she looked at the katana blade that he held out to her. "Why do you wish to train me?"
"You are special, Gabrielle San. I haven't been acquainted with you long, however, I'm positive that you would make a powerful and talented Samurai."
The bard was at a lost. It would be awesome to learn the ways of the Samurai and it would take her mind off, Xena.
'You know how you can be. You meet a new person, discover their ways and sooner, or later wind up being absorbed by whatever they said that intrigues you.'
'I won't prove Xena's accusation correct.' Gabrielle mused.
"What do you say to Samurai training, Gabrielle San?" Harukata inquired.
"I'm deeply flattered by your request, Shogun, but I have to decline."
The petite Amazon started to head towards the door when Harukata stated. "You have an unique aura that surrounds you, Gabrielle San. If you change your mind and let me teach you, your keen senses will be heighten. You may even surpass, Xena."
"Surpass, Xena?" Gabrielle was dubious. "I don't believe that's even possible."
"It is." Harukata replied. "Think it over. Which ever decision you choose, I'll respect it. You have my word."
Slightly inclining her head, Gabrielle left the armory.
High above the heavens, two Arch Angels looked on as Eli gazed through the portal to the mortal realm.
"What is he planning, Michael?" Raphael asked.
Michael was unsure exactly what Eli was cogitating. "I don't know. But it's safe to say it concerns the Warrior Princess and Gabrielle."
"Their destiny is set in stone." the dark skinned Angel responded. "You don't think he's trying to alter it?"
"I'll speak with him." Michael said. "Go back to Paradise, Raphael. I got it from here."
Nodding in agreement, Raphael's wings carried him upwards.
"Eli, what is it?" Michael queried.
"The war is beginning." he answered.
"Yes, Japa is in turmoil. Yodoshi will be destroyed as prophesied and so will, Xena."
"No." Eli shook his head. "A deity is at work. I can sense her. She is manipulating events."
"Impossible, Eli." Michael was baffled.
"It's not, somehow she acquired the stone. It is being used in this world and the other."
"The Kronos stone?" Michael questioned. "Its destruction came by the hands of, Callisto when she melted it. The pieces that was left was launched into the atmosphere by, Hercules."
"A different kind." Eli clarified. "The Omphalos stone. A shard of it, is on Gabrielle's ring. Another shard is on her double, from the other world. It's activating."
"What will this stone do?"
"I'm not certain, but I foresee trials for, Gabrielle." Eli replied.
"What Greek goddess could have the power to conceive such a plot? There aren't many left. Is it, Aphrodite? I knew we should have never allowed her, nor Ares to gain their god-hood back." Michael argued.
"It was necessary at the time, Michael. The balance of love and war was broken, it had to be repaired."
"Now look." the Arch Angel flew and landed beside, Eli. "One of them is possibly aiming to control time and space, using Gabrielle and her twin."
"It isn't Aphrodite." Eli professed. "It's someone else. Only a master of wisdom could pull this off."
"Athena is dead." Michael pointed out. "Whoever is doing this must be aware of the Twilight, when only one god, or goddess can remain out of every pantheon on earth. They are hoping to achieve it, or bypass it."
"By going to the other world." Eli commented. "Xena and Gabrielle has to know. If the Omphalos stone takes effect it could have dire consequences."
"You want to save, Xena." Michael surmised. "She has to die, so that Yodoshi can stop attacking Amaterasu's temples and the souls she'd killed may move on to the afterlife. It is her fate."
"I acknowledge that." Eli conceded. "Still, something has to be done. Whatever goddess that is setting this in motion, is draining power from the demolished Kashiko-dokoro temple in Kyushu and channeling it to the stone. Gabrielle could be in grave danger."
"What could happen to her?" Michael was becoming concerned for the once Arch Angel.
"Her life's energy can be sapped. Or she could be transported to her double's world." Eli replied. "Anything can befall her there."
"That would be a shame." Michael said sadly.
"Unless she was warned."
"That can't be done." Michael admonished. "We can not meddle in the affairs of humans anymore."
"Are we to stand by and let this happen to Gabrielle without giving her some sort of warning?" Eli inquired, gazing at the Arch Angel.
"You can't, Eli." Michael leered. "God forbids it."
Eli turned to the portal once more and viewed the bard as she wiped the tears from her eyes before laying down on the cot in her cabin.
"I will submit to the rules of non-interference." Eli stated in advance of locking eyes with, Michael. "However, if Gabrielle prays to me, I fear I will go to her."
He looked at the portal again, with a stern facial expression. "I will take it up with our, god."
Michael made no reply as his wings began to flap. Looking up, he ascended the higher heavens, into Paradise.
To Be Continued
Return to the Academy