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Xena: Choose Your own Adventure #2


H = 7 & 8, X = 24

Gabrielle stared at the huge feet in front of her. Too many of them. She stood up and stared at who looked like the leader. He mumbled something Gabrielle couldn't translate. Two huge men grabbed her arms. She struggled and then loosened up. She trusted that Xena would find her.

* * *

Xena grunted as she tried flipping out of the cave again. Still no use.

She stared at her chakrum. Then at her whip. In no time, she had reached the mouth of the cave, her chakrum and whip acting as a makeshift rope. She hoisted herself above and sat at the edge, looking at the skeletons down below. "That's why I always carry that," Xena grinned at her chakrum, which was still stuck in the rock. It had saved her life countless times. She chuckled and started to stand up.

Before she could, she was pushed back in the hole by someone who had sneaked up behind her. This time, she held onto the whip, and was hanging several feet above the ground of the pit.

"I'm getting sick of this... think of something new to try and get rid of me with," the Warrior Princess said to no one in particular. Footsteps echoed in the distance. The cry of the Horde sounded.

* * *

"Let me go!" Gabrielle pleaded with the two men on either side of her as they traveled through the woods. What seemed like a mile was only a few yards to Gabrielle in this situation. They walked on for a long time.

"I know Xena!" she thought of the terrible ways to die by way of the Horde.

"I know people in high places!" Gabrielle whined, her voice beginning to tremble.

"She knows Joxer - I'd be careful if I were you," a voice spoke up behind her.

The Horde didn't understand what the klutz said, but they all turned around to face a man dressed in tin and a hubcap.

"Hey!" Joxer pointed his sword at the leader. "Let her go, and I'll let you live."

"Joxer! How did you get this far in these woods? Get out of here!" Gabrielle screamed. The Horde leader pointed and Joxer and grunted. Five Horde members moved in.

"Uh... Xena can help me anytime now! Ah!" Joxer screamed.

"Real smart, pointing a sword at the Horde," Gabrielle said. She looked around her. It had been at least an hour since she was found and tied up, back to back with Joxer, in the middle of a Horde camp. They were both underneath a huge metal cage with a strong lock.

"Xena'll show up any minute now!" Joxer said loudly, clearing his throat. "Gabby, if this is one of Xena's 'tests', tell her I'm not in the mood."

"This isn't a joke! I don't know where she is! We got separated earlier. Don't take the Horde lightly, Joxer - they're worse than Callisto," Gabrielle explained.

"Oh," was Joxer's only answer.

That night was cold. The wind blew hard, and Gabrielle watched as the clouds covered the full moon.

She heard metal meeting metal. Not fighting... it was very close... it was like sharpening of a sword... or a key in a lock.

"Autolycus?" Gabrielle cried happily as a man stepped out of the shadows.

"Hey! Keep it down!" the man with the mustache hissed and looked around, making sure no one saw him.

Gabrielle was quiet as the dark-haired man unlocked the cage and slipped in. He got out a knife and started working at the ropes.

"What are you doing here?" Gabrielle asked happily.

"I could ask you the same thing," the King of Thieves joked.

"You could, but I asked you first."

"I was looking for Xena. I have a favor to ask of her."

"Oh?" Gabrielle chuckled. "Really?"

"Yeah, really," Autolycus got defensive. He kept working at the ropes. The ropes fell to the ground. Joxer massaged his wrists.

"Thanks. The name's Joxer - you've probably heard of me," Joxer stuck out his hand to shake Autolycus'. Autolycus shook Joxer's hand and laughed. "Who does this guy think he is?" he asked.

Gabrielle smiled and shrugged. They sneaked out of the cage and ran off in the woods.

"Sh... I hear something," Gabrielle held up her hand for silence. The crunching of he leaves got closer.

"Joxer..." Gabrielle whispered. She raised her staff.

"Yeah?" he asked, his eyes darting back and forth.

"Duck!" she screamed, swinging her staff past his head and meeting the stranger's shoulder.

"Thanks a lot," Xena stepped out from behind the tree, rubbing her shoulder.

"Good senses though, Gabrielle." Gabrielle smiled and apologized.

"Hey, you learned from the best, right?" Xena joked.

"Xena, the Horde will notice I'm gone soon," Gabrielle changed the subject, turning serious.

"They'll miss me, too!" Joxer spoke up.

"No, they won't," Gabrielle said.

"Want us to send you back?" Autolycus asked at the same time.

They laughed quietly. Joxer pouted.

"Autolycus?" Xena looked at the wily man.

He smoothed his mustache. "At... your... service," he bowed gracefully. "No, really, though, Xena, I need to ask a favor." He stood up straight.

Xena raised an eyebrow.

"Hey! You owe me one from that body-snatching thing!" Autolycus whined. "I didn't say anything... yet," Xena added under her breath.

"Okay," Autolycus took a deep breath. "Demeter swears that I took her Narcissus flower."

Xena looked at him quizzically.

"You know, the one Persephone was picking when Hades first kidnapped her," he explained. Xena nodded.

"Well, I didn't take the flower. I mean, come on. That is just not my line of work. I would much rather work on weapons and precious stones if you know what I mean," Autolycus laughed. He then became serious.

"Xena... the gods say that they will execute me. In this case, I am guilty until proven innocent," Autolycus finished.

Everyone was silent.

If Xena helps Autolycus, go to chapter #26.

If Xena says she can't go stick up for him, but will vouch for him if asked for by the gods, go to chapter #27.