Nice, Comfy, Sensible Slippers

by thenorm

Disclaimers: Xena, Gabrielle, and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess, together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. I just borrowed 'em for a little while - I'll put 'em back when I'm done, honest!

Well, if ya still wanna call it subtext…: This story doesn't show ya anymore than what you'll see on the show, but I assume Xena and Gabrielle are involved in a loving relationship….and if that bothers you….oops!

Reference to a Story: Lady Adrell wrote "The Goddess Slave: This Could Be You" and that is where this character comes from. If you're interested in finding out what this means, here's her URL, but be advised that her story definitely has an NC-17 rating.

Many thanks to the folks who are in this story and haven't sought revenge...yet: Little Goddess In Training; her boss and trainer, Lady Adrell, The Goddess of Bootz; and if ya got all these godly footwear types, they need a footwear Oracle, so I designated Sleepwatchergal to fill that position, because of her love of shoes.

The forest was quiet as The Little Goddess In Training coalesced in a blue vapor. Being a lesser god on Mount Olympus was a bit taxing. After all, most of the gods were unwilling to share their secrets, thus making the training process somewhat trying. Fortunately for her, though, she had been able to find a Goddess willing to help her learn her place in the scheme of things.

She looked down at her clothes. Still in the robe from the palace on Mt. Olympus. Hmm, don't think this is unassuming. With the wave of her hand, she changed into a brown peasant dress.

Checking her newly formed purse, she was glad that she remembered the dinars this time. It would make the haggling process a lot easier. Last time she tried to hone her bargaining skills, she found that she forgot the local currency.

Trudging on to the nearby village, she made her way to the small shops. She was unhappy with the assignment from her mentor, but her mentor stood firm.

I have to learn how to do this.

"You've got to be kidding. Five dinars, and not one more! That's highway robbery for this frying pan."

As she looked up, she saw a woman with short blonde hair, haggling with the shopkeeper. Better stand back and listen to this - I might learn something.

"Three, then."

"Have mercy on me, lady. I am but a poor shop keeper." The shopkeeper waved his arms in protest.

"You're not poor at these prices." She smoothed out her golden skirt and placed her hands on her hips. "If that's the best you can do..."

Sighing, the shopkeeper relented. "Four dinars."

Smiling, the blonde handed the shopkeeper the dinars and took the frying pan.

"Excuse me," the Little Goddess said as they stepped out of the shop. "How did you do that?"

"Do what?"

"Get that shopkeeper to lower his price like that?"

"Oh," she laughed merrily. "That was nothing." Pausing for a moment, she extended her hand. "I'm Gabrielle."

"Gabrielle?" She took the proffered hand and shook it. "Gabrielle of Poteidaia?"

"Yes." Gabrielle stared at her. "Do I know you? What's your name?"

A name? I haven't been named yet. "Ah," she stammered. "They call me - Little GIT."

"Little GIT?" She was unable to stifle her laughter. "Are you serious?"

"Yes." She smiled, satisfied that she had been able to think of something.

"Well, Little GIT, it was nice meeting you." The bard began to walk away, anxious to meet her warrior at the inn.

She realized this woman who could show her the secrets of haggling was slipping away. "Gabrielle! Wait!" She hurried after her.

"Yes?" The bard hid her frustration; as usual, her haggling caused her to be late. Now this stranger to deal with!

"Can you help me learn to do that?"

"Do what? Haggle?"

"Yes," the Little Goddess responded. "I need to learn to haggle like that." She shuffled her feet in the dirt, feeling sheepish. Out of all the mortals I encounter with this skill, it has to be one that is so renown on Mount Olympus. Just my luck.

"There you are." A lower, feminine voice called to Gabrielle, breaking the Little Goddess' train of thought.

Little GIT watched as a tallish woman with jet-black hair approached them. Dressed in dark armor, she looked fierce, even as she smiled. Little GIT stared at the woman, perhaps too long. As she felt the inquisitive blue eyes bore into her, she raised her gaze and smiled sheepishly.

"Xena, this is Little GIT."

"Little GIT? As in Get In Trouble?" A smirk crept upon her face.

She held her peace. Little GIT knew who the woman warrior was. This warrior was not exactly well known for her reverence and respect of the gods. Nor was she one to be deceived about her godliness. She'd heard far too many stories of Xena's uncanny ability to sense gods as they appeared in her presence.

"Why are you here?" Placing her hands on her hips, she stared at the small goddess. Xena knew her for what she was, but she sensed no malice or mischief in her. She decided to feign ignorance.

"It is at my mentor's behest that I learn to haggle. I have not been able to acquire such a skill. I noticed that Gabrielle is conversant in this manner." She inclined her head slightly, trying to affect the manner of a servant.

"Really?" The blonde bard observed the interaction with concern.

"Yes, she was quite emphatic that I learn this trade." It was painfully obvious to Little GIT that Xena knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she had godly powers. "There is much that I do not know. So my mentor made this the first step in my quest."

The bard listened intently. "Okay, I must have missed something." As soon as the she issued the words, she realized what it was. "GIT, you're a goddess?"

She nodded her head solemnly.

"Does Little GIT have any significance?"

The Little Goddess glanced around nervously. Her godliness was supposed to be secret - it was one of the stipulations by her instructor. Dropping her voice to a whisper, she softly replied. "Yes, it means that I am a Little Goddess In Training."

The warrior and the bard looked at the stranger in askance.

"You're what?" Gabrielle tried hard not to laugh. Who had ever heard of such a thing?

"In training," she stated again, slightly perturbed. "I'm in training.

"Just because I was born a god doesn't mean I was born knowing everything I needed to know about godliness." Slightly annoyed and embarrassed, she folded her hands across her bosom. "I suppose you were born with a quill in your hand? Did you not have to learn to make letters and words prior to keeping your tales on your entrusted scrolls?"

Xena's left eyebrow raised on its on volition. Goddess or no goddess, she didn't much care for the tone this stranger was taking with her bard.

Sensing the unwelcome air emanating from the warrior, the Little Goddess moved her arms in preparation for battle.

"Hey," Gabrielle smiled as she stepped in between the two women. "Can't we all just be friends?"

It had been a long time since she'd slept in an inn with her bard and she wasn't about to upset her beautiful companion because of some goddess! She stepped back but continued fingering her chakram. She was ready for this goddess wannabe to make one false move!

The Little Goddess knew that she desperately needed to learn haggling from someone who excelled in this skill and gracefully apologized. "I hope that my comments made no offense. I am a little sensitive about training.

"As a lesser goddess," she continued. "I was denied the innate knowledge of one such as Bliss."

"Okay," Gabrielle responded, smiling. "So tell us, what are you a goddess of?"

Her brown eyes became downcast as she answered. "That is the importance of this lesson. Once I have learned to haggle, it will be made known to me which Oracle I must seek so that I may be categorized."


"All godly types must be categorized." She inhaled deeply, as she stood up straight. "It is written."

"So what you're telling us," the bard began, seeking clarification. "Is that while you're a goddess, you don't know where to apply your godly powers?"

"That is it. I do not know my forte, as of yet."

Gabrielle's stomach rumbled in great protestation.

"We need to eat." Xena interjected as she turned in the direction of the inn. Since she knew that Gabrielle sensed a story, she invited the goddess along. "You can join us, if you'd like." The things I do for my bard!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Xena was not in a good mood when she woke up. She had hoped that the Goddess would return from whence she came, at least for the evening, and leave her and her beloved companion alone. But that was not the case! Gabrielle stayed up half the night, talking with the Goddess, before collapsing in exhaustion. And the drills that Xena used to tire herself were not the drills she had in mind when they entered this town and secured the room.

As the Warrior Princess sweated and fumed, she furiously turned over ideas on how to best facilitate the departure of Little GIT without upsetting her Bard.

"No, no." She panted aloud struck at an imaginary opponent with her sword. "Can't do that. Too obvious." Quickly executing a backspin kick, she followed through with a right backfist punch. "But this quest thing. Maybe we can help her with that and be done with her."

Preparing for her trademark somersault, she gave her battle cry and smiled. Not just for the adrenaline rush she experienced, but also exuberance as she realized how to please her Bard and be rid of the Little Goddess In Training.

And maybe a retreat at Sappho's island….

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

As usual, Gabrielle reluctantly met the morning sun. After all, with as much walking as she did in a day, and now, without boots - didn't that earn her a later start in the day? Why did morning always have to come so early?

"Good morning, Gabrielle." Little GIT, on the other hand, was adapting to the mortal realm quite nicely.

"Good morning." Looking around, she realized her Warrior Princess was already up and probably working on fighting techniques….like she did last night. "Little - wait, I can't keep calling you that."

Gabrielle stood, fully clothed, as she was when she went to sleep. Creasing her brow, she paced the room as she mentally flipped through names for The Goddess In Training. Finally, she thought of one that might work. "Okay, I'm going to call you Leandra from now on. We can't keep calling you Li'l GIT - it sounds like we're telling you to go away!"

"Okay." Leandra smiled. This her first Test: To be named by a mortal.

"Leandra, what exactly is your status as a god?"

Her brow furrowed as she considered her response. Though she was a Goddess, she had to temporarily surrender her godly powers to embark on this quest. And this was not the type of thing that a Goddess bandied about.

"Is there a problem? Maybe I didn't ask the question correctly. What sort of powers do you possess and do you know how to control them?" Gabrielle's mind flashed briefly to Bliss, who created great havoc with his father's bow and arrows.

"Oh," she stammered. "I have my powers, of course. But I am not to use them on this journey into the mortal realm."

"Why not? Ares does it all the time - and so does Aphrodite."

"Well, they are complete in their godhood. I am discovering my niche, so to speak. I cannot learn my skills if I seek to rely upon my powers."

"That still doesn't answer the question." She laughed with a knowing smirk. "I travel with Xena; I know all about evasion."

"Well," Leandra sighed, "this is one of my tasks. To find my source of power." She paused momentarily, crossing the room. "As you are probably aware, gods have a symbol of power that denotes their office. Ares has his sword of war; Cupid, his crossbow of love."

"And how does this apply to you?"

"I must find my symbol."

"Let me get this straight," Gabrielle said, trying not to laugh. "You have powers and you're a goddess. You just don't know how to tap into them."

"Gabrielle," she said as she narrowed her eyes at the bard. Even as a mortal, with very few fighting abilities, she couldn't tolerate this lack of respect! "Did you ever wonder why gods have no patience for mortals?"

"Okay." She backed off, realizing she had probably hurt Leandra's feelings. "Well, how do we help you? What type of symbol are you looking for?"

"Shoes." Exasperated, she threw up her hands.

"Shoes? Like boots?"

"No. Lady Adrell is the Goddess of Bootz. She has been gracious enough to guide me on my quest. That is her symbol of power."

"Well, what other shoes are there? Sandals?"

"Let me preface this." Her brown eyes narrowed as she crossed her arms across her bosom. "We are assigned gifts by Zeus. And if you have any comments, you will keep them to yourself."

Gabrielle nodded in assent. How bad could this be?

"I am looking for really nice, comfortable, sensible slippers."

"What?" The bard did nearly choked on the laughter she was trying to withhold.

"Not just any slippers. I must see an Oracle to locate the correct pair."

"Xena!" Gabrielle smiled happily at her warrior standing in the doorway.

The Warrior Princess nodded and returned the smile.

"I've decided we're going to call Little GIT Leandra instead."

"Leandra?" Her forehead creased as she considered the name. "Whatever." She turned her attention to the Little Goddess. "Leandra, why don't we all get some breakfast and you tell me why you're here and what we can do to help."

Leandra smiled. This was more like it!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Goddess of Bootz observed her protégé's interaction in the mystical shine of her black, leather boots. Gabrielle came close to crossing the line. If she does she may never wear bootz again!

Still, Lady Adrell concluded that The Little Goddess was proceeding nicely with her quest and handled herself well, in spite of the restriction of no magical powers. The Goddess of Bootz considered this a serious restriction, one that built great character and allowed her protégé a better opportunity to understand those who would worship her.

"My Lady," her most favored High Priestess said as she entered the room and bowed deeply. "Forgive me for disturbing you."

Lady Adrell continued to gaze into the mystical shine of her black, leather boots.

"I have found the Oracle most fitting for this assignment."

"Have you, Cabina?" She glanced away from her bootz and locked eyes with her High Priestess. Briefly, her mind flickered to her initiation process…

"Yes, my Goddess, I have." Cabina's voice snapped her back to the situation at hand. "Sleepwatchergal."

The Goddess of Bootz nodded her head slightly.

"She is the Oracle of the Shoe Closet." The High Priestess breathed deeply, relieved to have again received favor from her Patroness. "Sleepwatchergal is most fluent in the ways of footwear."

"And where is she now?"

"Not far from the Little Goddess In Training."

"So, I see. And does she speak in riddles?"

"Oh, Lady Adrell," Cabina answered. "She can be most difficult to understand. If deprived of her special morning drink, not only will her comments be hard to grasp, but she might be impatient as well."

"Really?" The Goddess of Bootz smiled. This Oracle sounded better all the time! "And her name is Sleepwatchergal?"

"Yes, she does her best oracling at night. Her title is "Sleepwatchergal: Oracle of the Shoe Closet."

"Very well. Bring her to my temple."

"As you wish." The High Priestess bowed as she moved towards the door.

"And Cabina," Lady Adrell drawled. "Bring me another slave to initiate."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Xena waited impatiently as they prepared to head out of the village. She was pleased she had been able to convince the other two that Leandra could learn to haggle as they traveled. Someone ought to write a scroll: How To Avoid Gods In 10 Easy Lessons!

"I think we're ready, Xena." Gabrielle handed her the food bags to situate on Argo's back.

"Good." She paused momentarily and looked for the Little Goddess, who was nowhere in sight. "Where's Leandra?"


"What?" She tried unsuccessfully not to roll her eyes.

"Well," the bard began, somewhat condescendingly. "Gods don't pray. They commune."

A smirk crossed the Warrior Princess' face.

"She's communing with Lady Adrell."

"Gabrielle," she protested innocently. " I didn't say anything."

The bard approached the smirking warrior with a pointed finger when Leandra arrived.

"I have some wonderful news." She beamed as she approached, oblivious to the slight tension between her new friends. "Lady Adrell has decreed that I shall proceed directly to the Oracle."

The two women stared at her blankly.

"The Oracle I seek lives not far from this very village." Leandra was giddy in her excitement. "Lady Adrell must be well pleased with me!"

"Leandra, that's great!" Gabrielle congratulated her as they walked toward her.

"So," Xena asked. "Who is this Oracle?"


"Never hear of her." The Warrior Princess dismissed the name as she led her horse out of the stables.

"She lives in the village by the river."

"The village by the river?" Xena arched her right eyebrow in question. "The one by the mountain up ahead?"

"Mountain?" Leandra stared at Xena with slight trepidation. Although born a god in Mount Olympus, she'd never been fond of heights.

"Do you know anything about her?" Gabrielle interjected.

"Well," Leandra began, easily distracted. "I know that she is gifted to prophesize only after being regaled by tales." She paused for a moment and stared at the platinum blonde bard. "And she loves to hear tales of the Warrior Princess."

Xena rolled her eyes as the two women continued to talk. The last thing I want to hear is more stories about me!

They traveled onward, making progress the Warrior Princess considered far too slow. She kept to herself while the two women chatted endlessly.

"What do you think, Xena?" The bard's voice interrupted her thoughts.

Uh oh. Busted!

"You haven't been listening." Gabrielle placed her hands on her hips, looking very unhappy.

"I was surveying the trail." Even as the words left the Warrior Princess' lips, she knew that her bard was unconvinced.

Gabrielle's verdant eyes narrowed as she shook her head slightly.

"Look, the river's close by. Feel like fish?" Xena hoped the Amazon Queen's stomach would overrule her anger. "I'll clean them, too."

The verdant eyes remained narrow.

"Okay. I'll cook them."

"Thank you." Gabrielle smiled. "Leandra," she said, facing the Goddess. "That's an important lesson of haggling."


"Never give up an advantage," she replied smugly as Xena stalked off for the river.

The Warrior Princess decided she would be very glad to see the beginnings of a town, if only to be able to have a nice ale without the gloating smile of the Amazon Queen. Can't wait until the infamous Gabrielle effect takes place, she smirked to herself. Then we'll see who's smug.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Leandra studied the interactions between the two women as the journey continued. They bantered often, without malice - something that was definitely new to the resident of Mount Olympus. At home, as she observed gods banter, their tempers often rose.

The consequences were usually not nice.

"Leandra," Lady Adrell announced as she shimmered into view.

"Lady Adrell!" Leandra scrambled to her feet, afraid that she had given some offense to her mentor.

"Let us talk by the river." The Goddess of Bootz looked at the two mortals, who were slightly disturbed in their sleep by the godly activity.

"As you wish, Lady."

The two goddesses decided to walk the short distance to the river.

"I am honored by this visit, Lady Adrell." The Goddess In Training said as she curtsied.

"I know." The Goddess of Bootz replied in a patronizing manner. "You have been named by a mortal. I am satisfied with the name you received."

Leandra nodded her head solemnly, not wanting to interrupt her mentor.

"I am here to impart to you some of the Godly Rules of the Realm of Footwear."

A scroll and quill materialized in Leandra's hands as she waited for Lady Adrell to continue.

"Before I begin, however," The Goddess of Bootz began, clearing her throat. "I need to give you this instruction. You must meet with my most favored High Priestess, Cabina." She paused for a moment. "I shall begin."

"As you desire." Leandra scribbled Cabina's name and waited for the rules.

"Pay close attention. You are a goddess; your stature is of no concern to a mortal. Do not let anyone disrespect you. And no one is to make fun of you. To this end, I restore your ability to discharge lightening bolts. Just learn to control them."

Leandra did her best to contain her smile.

"Morbidity can be good. It is a helpful learning tool for our mortal brethren. And Leandra," she lectured. "As a goddess, you have no need to analyze everything. You decide, they accept, and that's the end. Nothing more. Not open for negotiation, especially with mortals."

"Yes, Lady Adrell." Leandra smiled sheepishly.

"Now I must depart. I have a slave I am initiating to the ways of Footwear."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"My Goddess, forgive my interruption."

"Yes, Cabina?" Lady Adrell dismissed the slave as the High Priestess entered the throne room.

"Are you well pleased with the selection of slaves?" Cabina asked as she hurried the young slave out of the room.

"You have done well." She yawned and stretched. "Have you seen the Little Goddess yet?"

"No, My Goddess, I have not. I came to You for instructions."

"Instructions." Lady Adrell repeated as she let her gaze wander slowly over her High Priestess.

"In reference to Your protege." Cabina shifted nervously and bowed in deference. "My Lady."

"Oh yes," she replied, shifting her gaze to Cabina's mahogany eyes. "My protege."

The High Priestess again bowed and wondered how many more slaves she should bring to attempt to appease the sexual hunger of the Goddess of Bootz.

"She will be meeting with you soon. You will, of course, direct her to your Oracle."

"Did you want her to travel to Sleepwatchergal's cavern?" Cabina breathed a silent sigh of relief as the Goddess of Bootz's interest returned to her mentoring responsibilities.

"Yes, yes, of course." Lady Adrell paused momentarily. "And you will conduct them there"

"Yes, my Goddess."

"You have pleased me, Priestess." She paused and lounged comfortably on her throne. "Return my slave to me. I am not finished with her."

Cabina shuddered with delight and fear as she left the room. She remembered her initiation.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The trio entered the village at sunset. As Xena secured a room for the evening and a place for Argo in the stable, a stranger addressed Gabrielle and Leandra.

"Little Goddess," Cabina announced as she bowed. "Lady Adrell has commanded that I shall accompany you on your journey to the Oracle."

"And you are?" Leandra looked the robed woman over carefully.

"I am Cabina, the High Priestess of the Temple of Bootz, most favored by Her Worship." She bowed deeply, her voice resounding with pride.

"Boots?" Gabrielle asked as her face lit up. Maybe I can get me a pair - I never realized how much I appreciated my boots!

"Bootz," Cabina corrected. "With a z, not an s."

"Still," the bard continued. "If I can get one boot, then another..."

"Only through the rite of initiation," the High Priestess interrupted. "May you wear bootz that have been blessed by the Goddess, Lady Adrell.

Gabrielle thought for a moment. How hard could that be? Each god had their thing - take Ares, for instance. Xena was initiated by calling his name into while going into battle. I can say Lady Adrell's name while I put on each boot, if it means protection form this blistering sand! I'm sure she Artemis wouldn't want me to go around bare-foot for the rest of my days! "So I'll be initiated."

"Initiated into what?" Xena growled as she approached.

"Oh no, Gabrielle," Leandra interjected immediately.

"Initiated into what?" Xena demanded again.

"Oh, to the ways of the Goddess of Bootz, Xena. You know how hard it is for me to find boots that match this golden skirt." Gabrielle continued in an off-handed fashion. "Probably have to say her name each time I slide on a boot or something."

"You'll be sliding on a boot alright," Cabina smirked.

"What do you mean by that?" Xena approached the stranger in her warrior mode.

"Uhm," the High Priestess fearfully stammered.

"Cabina," Leandra said as jumped in between the Warrior Princess and the High Priestess. "As mentor of the Goddess of Bootz, I command you to ignore Gabrielle's comments regarding initiation."

"What's the big deal?" The bard asked, slightly exasperated. "I'll slide on a boot and say a word of thanks..."

"Gabrielle," Leandra cut her off sharply. "If you call her name, she will appear. Then you will have to be initiated. I am certain that the Warrior Princess would not appreciate your willingness to participate."

"Leandra, what is the big deal?"

"In order to be initiated into the Ways of Bootz and be her follower, a mortal must first become her slave. Then that mortal must be initiated sexually."

"Oh." Gabrielle shrank back in embarrassment.

Xena could not conceal her smirk as the Gabrielle effect reared its head.

The four women quickly made their way up to the cavern. Xena was beginning to have second thoughts about Leandra, since she stopped her bard from volunteering to serve as the Goddess of Bootz' sex slave. She's not that bad - for a goddess, anyway.

Gabrielle had remained unusually quiet as they completed their trek. Finally, she broke her silence.

"You can stop that anytime, Xena." Gabrielle said under her breath.

"What's that?"

"That gods-be-damned smirk of yours." Her voice rose just above a whisper.

The Warrior Princess looked lovingly into the emerald eyes of her bard and smiled. She was about to reply when Cabina interrupted.

"That cavern, just ahead." Cabina pointed out the cave above the ridge. "That's where she is."

"Great!" Leandra exclaimed as she hurried towards the cavern. "I can't wait!"

"Leandra," Gabrielle shouted. "Wait a minute." As the bard attempted to run the terrain, she found many pebbles and twigs, to her painful consternation. "I don't have boots!"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sleepwatchergal watched with amusement as the blonde woman in the gold outfit hopped around, trying to avoid the pitfalls of walking barefoot. Serves her right - she obviously does not appreciate a good pair of bootz!

The wonderful aroma of her morning drink wafted through the air. It was a present, supplied by one of the gods: specially grown crushed beans, which she kept in an envelope of parchment in water as the water boiled. As she added milk to the hot, dark drink, she reveled its aroma. This is the true ambrosia!

As she was about to take a sip, the Little Goddess rudely interrupted her.

"Oracle!" She cried as she approached the entranceway. "Oracle, I have come, seeking your knowledge."

"Get in line and leave me alone." Sleepwatchergal was most unhappy. How dare this being bother her before she enjoyed her beverage?

"What?" Leandra demanded angrily. "Do you know who I am?"

"I think the question should be," Sleepwatchergal countered. "Is do YOU know who I AM?"

Leandra flexed her fingers, preparing to strike.

"I am the Oracle," Sleepwatchergal continued, unimpressed. "Whose knowledge you seek. Remember that."

"Why..." her voice trailed off as Gabrielle reached the cavern and jumped in between the goddess and the Oracle.

"Leandra," Xena warned. "No bolts." Although the Warrior Princess was loathe to admit it, she was unhappy at the thought of yet another rockslide to have to deal with.

"What is this, a reunion for you folks? Everyone of you," the Oracle spat. "Are keeping me from enjoying my beverage. And I don't appreciate it." She paused as she shocked the women into silence. "And do any of you know what happens when an Oracle is unhappy? SHE DOESN'T DO ANY ORACLING!!!"

"Oracle, do you have the information Leandra seeks?" The bard asked, trying to alleviate the stress building in the room.

"Yes, of course I have it. It's in the Shoe Closet."


Cabina snickered as she waited outside the cavern. She had suspected that the situation would be thus.

"Oracle," Gabrielle attempted in her most soothing voice. "We are most sorry for this interruption."

"I'll show you who's sorry!" Leandra glared as the Oracle and the bard.

"WAIT! I'm a bard!"

"You're a what?" Sleepwatchergal turned her full gaze on the blonde woman before her. It has been so long since I've heard a good story!

"I'm a bard. I propose a trade."

"Funny," Sleepwatchergal commented. "You don't look like a bard. Looks more like you woke up in a bad seamstress shop."

"Really?" Xena threatened as she advanced upon the Oracle. "Think so?"

"Listen, hon." Sleepwatchergal dismissed the Warrior Princess as she began drinking her prized beverage. "Your friend there has some strange taste in clothing. No offense, but you can't tell me you didn't notice."

Xena smiled as all eyes fell upon her.

"So," Gabrielle inquired sweetly, the situation at hand all but forgotten. "Did you notice? Please Xena, do tell."

The Warrior Princess had thoughts of doing her infamous war cry and somersaulting out of the cavern. Even if she landed all the way down the mountain, and broke both of her legs, it had to be better than answering this loaded question!

"I'm waiting." The Amazon Queen stamped her foot impatiently.

Of course I noticed. She went from being farm girl, to Amazon Princess and Queen in a very hot little number, which somehow morphed into a moth-eaten green thing and a short brown skirt. And of course, India brought that hideous golden thing that she insists on wearing. And what is this thing she has against boots?

"Xena? We're all waiting to hear your comments about my apparel." The bard was getting more irritated with each passing moment.

"Gabrielle," Xena began, ignoring everyone else in the room. "The color of your dress is as radiant as your personality."

The bard still looked perturbed.

Xena struggled to remember the words of a poem she heard Autolycus use on a tavern girl one time. She recited what little she could remember, in hopes of appeasing the bard.

"Of your beauty, there is no compare

And Apollo's kiss is in your hair.

Your dress, it tempts me into sin

As it softly contrasts against your skin."

The cavern was silent. Xena was reciting poetry to this woman in the ugly dress.

A soft smile formed on the Amazon Queen's face. Her verdant eyes shone with tenderness as she gazed upon her warrior. "I love you, Xena."

Xena smiled in return, said a silent thank-you to the King of Thieves, then faced the Oracle.

"Come, Leandra," the Oracle directed. "A deal is a deal."

Leandra quickly fell into step behind Sleepwatchergal.

"You must enter this closet," she motioned to the closed door. "And retrieve the correct pair of shoes. In that way, you will receive your appropriate designation and begin amassing followers."

Cabina eavesdropped, disappointed that the Oracle was not speaking in riddles.

"If you choose the wrong pair, you will be categorized incorrectly. For, as you know, it is written in the Great Book of Notes in Mount Olympus that all Godly Types must be categorized."

Leandra inhaled deeply. This was her moment, her true test of mettle. Nothing else mattered. If she selected incorrectly, she would be forever stuck with the wrong followers, destined to be unhappy for eternity.

She exhaled, grasped the door handle and opened. She was ill prepared for what she saw.

Thousands of pairs of shoes.


Rows and rows of shoes, boots, heels - anything imaginable as footwear, located in the Shoe Closet.

How was she to choose?

She stepped across the threshold. As a god, she had no one to whom she could offer prayer.

What was she to do?

Leandra did the most sensible thing she could think of.

She sat on the floor and meditated.

It worked.

Slowly, a pair of nice, comfy, sensible slippers floated towards her.

She was a different type of God - not one like her mentor, Lady Adrell. As the Goddess of Bootz, Lady Adrell commanded the edge required for having warrior disciples who wore boots.

Leandra was not like that at all. Softer, a little uncertain, new to the whole god experience. Perhaps this was the most appropriate pair of shoes for her designation.

But she had to be certain, before leaving the Shoe Closet. Once she stepped outside, the pair of shoes she took signified her designation for eternity.

Again, she concentrated....again, a pair of nice, comfy, sensible slippers appeared. Like they were destined for her.

As the Little Goddess In Training stepped out of the closet, Lady Adrell appeared with the Official Recorder of Titles of the Gods. "I see you have found your pair. They fit you well."

"Yes, I believe they do." Leandra beamed as the bard, Oracle, and warrior approached the Goddesses.

"Record Keeper," Lady Adrell stated. "Leandra is the Goddess of Nice, Comfy, Sensible Slippers. Write also that she is the Goddess of Souled Folk and Feet."

"Oracle," she continued. "I am well pleased. You shall find more of your beverage in your kitchen." The Goddess of Bootz and the Record Keeper shimmered away while the Oracle happily scampered to her kitchen.

"How can I ever thank you?" Leandra faced Gabrielle and Xena with tears of joy. "You have aided me to finding my designation and place on Mount Olympus!"

"Give us back our room in that Inn." Xena and Gabrielle replied in unison.



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