Summary: The Conqueror leaves Greece to visit Cleopatra and meets a slave/gladiator named Gabrielle but all is not what it seems.
Disclaimer: See Part 1
Authors Note: Howdy guys. I had planned on writing a few more chapters, but then I changed my mind. This will be the last chapter of TMaWH. I hope you've all enjoyed the story and thank you again for all the comments and emails I've recieved. There will be a sequel to this story, but I have no idea when it will be put up. Thank you again and enjoy. If you want to email me, my address is jacklavigne13@hotmail .com
Chapter Twenty Six
It was nearing dawn and the battle in the market place was finally over. We'd lost a lot of men but we had won and now everyone seemed to be waiting for something. The Roman ships had dropped anchor, just far enough away that even our best catapult wouldn't be able to hit them. It had been three candlemarks since Alexandria had explained the things that she had found out while being exiled and while I was never one to run from a battle, I knew when to cut my losses and save it for another day.
Today was going to be one of those days.
"You don't know the things that I found out, outside of these walls."
"What?" Gabrielle questioned as I leaned back in my seat with a weary sigh, studying Alexandria's serious face. "What did you find out?"
"That their army doubles ours in size," Alexandria responded. "And while we have Chin and Egypt on our side, more than half of Lao Ma's army is still back in her country and Cleopatra only brought a handful of men. Brutus and Antony were busy while we were visiting Cleo; they managed to take down Boadicea and add her soldiers to their legions. Not to mention they already conquered Gaul and the Norse lands before we even left."
"The Britannians are amazing warriors," Palaemon spoke thoughtfully, his brow furrowed. "Big hulking men and women with axes and war hammer,. I wouldn't underestimate them."
"Nor would I," Alexandria agreed. "The Gaul's worry me even more. With all that power behind Rome, we don't stand a chance, at least, not today. Half of our men are still out fighting the Romans on our borders."
"So, what do you want me to do, Alex? You want me to just run? To leave all of Greece at Rome's mercy?" I asked her, raising one perfectly sculpted eyebrow. "You want to leave all of our men behind?"
"No," my second in command replied simply. "I want you to bring them with us. I want you to get every ship we have and command every sailor in the city to take as many of the people in Corinth with them and get away. Tell them to sail to Egypt and Cleopatra can take care of them while we take our men and regroup somewhere, far away from here."
"And then do what?" Gabrielle asked.
"And then we'll go to Rome," Alexandria grinned, a twinkle in her dark eyes. "Like we planned to Xena, except that Brutus will be here in Corinth and no one with be protecting his precious city. We'll send out runners in every direction, out to all our armies and tell them to meet us there in any way possible. Then we'll take everything out from right underneath them. If we take Rome, then anything Rome has becomes ours, including Britannia, Gaul and the Norse lands. And you know that they'd all prefer to serve under you than Brutus. Boadicea almost hates Romans as much as you do."
"We'll conquer the whole world in one day," I replied, staring out of the window with a small smile pulling at my lips. "And then we'll come back home and take back what's ours."
"By the Gods," Palaemon whispered with wide eyes. "Did you two plan all of this?!"
"It wasn't our first plan," Alexandria grinned. "But a good general always has a backup plan ready, for when everything goes to shit."
So, now here she was, packing her trunks and bags that would be thrown on the back on the fastest wagon they had. She'd spoken to Alexandria quietly after their meeting, finding out who was to be trusted and who wasn't and had sent out messages accordingly. The whole city was in almost complete silence after she had sent out several of her guards to let the city know what was going on. The captains of the ships that lined the docks had been instructed to prepare for sail as quickly and quietly as possible, loading provisions for a long trip with a lot of passengers, all paid for by the Empire.
All my most trusted captains had been sent out already to retrieve their seconds and their armies. They were to meet us at a top secret destination as quickly as they could while taking out every Roman in sight. My army was already packed up and waiting at the gates, carrying equipment on their horses and backs. It wasn't going to be an easy trip, but it would be worth it in the end, I assured them all.
I heard a knock on my door and called for whoever it was to enter without even turning around. I closed the top of my truck and locked it for good measure before bouncing up and down on the balls of my feet to settle my armor.
"You seriously want to make Amazon land your top secret destination?" I heard Gabrielle ask from behind me, irritation in her tone. I couldn't help but grin, knowing how much it would annoy the Amazon's to have thousands of men camping outside their territory and not being able to attack. It hadn't been my idea, of course, and I took Alexandria it wouldn't go down well, but the woman had made several good points. No one would expect us to hiding there, for starters. Secondly, hardly anyone knew where Amazon territory was anymore.
It was the safest place for all of us right now.
"No one will be expecting an army of thousands to be hiding there," I shrugged as I turned around to face the blonde woman. "Brutus will be expected us all to take the next ship out, not to be trekking across half the country to hide in a forest with a bunch of warrior women."
Gabrielle snorted, shaking her head and crossing her arms over her chest. "My warriors are going to revolt. I'll be challenged by every woman in the Nation before this is over."
"Well, if you need a champion," I offered with a cheeky grin which finally caused Gabrielle to smile.
"Do you want to be my champion, Conqueror?" she asked me, her voice low and seductive. I had to swallow several times when I caught the lustful look in her eyes as she stared at me.
"I- I," I stuttered uncharacteristically, clearing my throat several times as I felt heat rush up my neck. "I think we'll have a lot of things to talk about on this little adventure. There are... things that we need to discuss."
"You still haven't forgiven me, Xena?" Gabrielle asked with a knowing voice. There wasn't any bitterness there, just understanding.
"I have," I surprised her with my words, and maybe myself. "But, you know that things can't just go back to the way they were. Everything is different now. I'm still technically supposed to be marrying Alexandria, for Ares sake."
"Hmm," Gabrielle mumbled in agreement before looking up into my eyes. "I guess this trip will be more interesting than I thought possible."
"It always is when you're involved, Gabrielle. It always is."
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