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Xena: Choose Your own Adventure #2


H = 22, X = 9

Gabrielle crept behind the inn with her staff.

"Ha!" the bard jumped out into sight to whomever was behind the inn. "Oh," she said quietly, feeling foolish. The thing that made the noise was a chicken.

The chicken clucked and flew away nervously.

"What was it?" Kaleipus asked curiously as Gabrielle returned to the centaur.

"A chicken," Gabrielle laughed. "No sign of Xena. No Solan, either," her voice turned serious. Kaleipus frowned. He unsheathed his sword and started towards the woods.

"Help!" a voice called from in the woods. Gabrielle jogged ahead and found Solan.

He was hanging upside down from what looked like a hunterís trap. Both feet were caught in the rope, and he hung several feet off the ground. Kaleipus entered the forest and stared at the sight. Then he realized the "prey" was Solan, and unsheathed his sword to bring him down.

"What are you doing up there?" Gabrielle asked, moving out of the way so that the centaur could cut the child free.

"I came here looking for someone and got stuck. Iíve been screaming for help for a while now! I even tried imitating Xenaís battlecry!" Solan said, falling in Kaleipusí arms.

"Who were you looking for?" Kaleipus asked, still holding Solan.

"Um... just a friend," Solan averted his eyes. Gabrielle put her hand on his shoulder.

"Who? The name?" Gabrielle smiled gently, prompting Solan.

"Xena," he said quietly.

"Why?" Kaleipus asked, almost defensively.

"A kid in my school told me that she was my real mother. I wanted to seeó"

"Why couldnít you just ask me?"

"Because... because I was afraid that you would be sad."

"Why would I be sad?" Kaleipus didnít wait for answer. He sheathed his sword and looked at Gabrielle. "Then where is Xena?" he asked. Gabrielle narrowed her eyes, squinting to see a shiny object in the distance.

She jogged over to the glittering weapon.

It was Xenaís chakrum. Gabrielle gasped. Xena and her chakrum were never parted. Something was wrong. She looked at Solan and Kaleipus.

"Letís go," she said demandingly.

Looking through the forest took hours. There was no sign of Xena except for the chakrum - and that was enough for Gabrielle to know that Xena was in trouble.

"Xena!" she called hopelessly. "Xena!"

She saw a sign of life beyond a few trees.

She came to an opening in the dense forest. It consisted of two things: a metal pole and ashes surrounding it.

The bard bent down to examine the ashes. They were still warm. Gabrielle frowned.

A piece of leather stuck out from the ashes. Gabrielle went from squatting to falling to her knees.

"No..." she whispered. "No! Xena!" her voice carried off in the forest, but Xena never heard it.

Neither did Kaleipus. Gabrielle turned around to find two axes - one in each back of her two friends. Solan and the centaur lay motionless as the Horde surrounded Gabrielle. She dropped her staff, not willing to put up a fight.