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It was almost time for the sun to set and the air was beginning to
chill. Xena and Gabrielle were growing tired from a long day of walking. It
had been three days since they had encountered an 'incident' and for Xena,
that was a long time. Xena and Gabrielle were nearing the city of Caynoria.
Gabrielle hoped that Xena will decide to spend the night there. She
collected some Dinars the last time she was in Athens, the Athenians really
like her stories, so Gabrielle thought she could pay for an Inn and some
food. She has heard of the Caynorians excellent food, and their even better
Gabrielle figured that the only way she could know if they were going to
stop in Caynoria or not was to ask. Xena was not in a particularlly bad
mood, just disappointed in the past three, slow days. However, both Xena and
Argo were tired.
"Hey Xena?" asked Gabrielle
"Do you think we can stop in Caynoria? I still have some Dinars so we
can get some food and stay at an Inn."
Xena stopped walking and looked at Gabrielle half confused. "Why do you
want to go there? Don't you like sleeping on the ground?" she replied
"Come on Xena, even your back has to be sore. Besides, we've been
walking for three days without a decent meal, a decent bed, and without
having seen anybody. It'd be a nice change of pace to return to
Xena continued to stare at Gabrielle and she raised an eyebrow at her.
"What?" asked Gabrielle
"You're not telling me everything. Why do you want to go to Caynoria?"
asked Xena most seriously.
"For food. It is a necessity you know. Do you have something against
it? Did you... hurt the people?
Xena finally unfixed her glare from Gabrielle and onto the ground as
they continued walking.
"No. I just have a bad feeling about it, that's all. But I suppose we
can take care of ourselves. Besides, I have an old friend there. We'll stop
in Caynoria, Gabrielle."
Gabrielle smiled, a little prematurely for Xena continued, "As long as
Xena and Gabrielle walked into the city of Caynoria late that night.
They walked into a well-accessorized tavern. The barkeep was a well-dressed
man of about thirty years, however, he looked sinister and intimidating, even
more so than Xena upon first glance. Surprisingly, he was quite polite.
"May I help you ladies?"
"I'll have one of your famed Belch Grape Juices please," answered
"And you miss?"
Xena was to occupied staring again at Gabrielle.
"What now?" asked Gabrielle.
"You wanted to come here for some grape juice?"
"Yeah, It's like wine that won't make you crazy. You want to try some?"
"So that will be two Belches?" asked the barkeep.
"No thanks," said Xena, "I'll just have water."
The tavern was full of Caynorians endulging merrily into their drinks.
Some of the citizens had four to five mugs in front of them and were
undoubtedly drunk. From across the room Gabrielle noticed a familiar face
which produced a familiar sound.
"Salmoneus," said Xena before turning around from the bar to greet the
traveling friend. She continued, "What brings you to Caynoria?"
He pointed to Gabrielle's drink and explained himself, "You see people
drink these Belches like they were Nectar, especially the Caynorians. Even
people who travel here come back for more. It's a business deal out for
grabs and I've got it!"
"Don't get in too far over your head, Salmoneus. I'm going to see if I
can't find my friend, coming Gabrielle?"
"Yeah, just let me finish my drink."
Both Xena and Gabrielle took the last sips of their drinks and headed
out the door. It wasn't long before they found Xena's friend. She greeted
him kindly, "Hello Uridion, it's been too long."
"Is that you Xena? It has been a long time. Last I heard your voice
was in Amphipolis. I've heard you've changed much since then."
"We both have," replied Xena.
Uridion is an old blind man that lived alone. He wore rags over his
head to cover his eyes and kept a daggar in his belt.
"This is my friend, Gabrille."
"Hello," said Gabrielle.
"Well, it's been a long time since I heard a voice as pretty as that,
miss Gabrielle," said Uridion as he gently kissed her hand.
"Ooh, thank you. I can tell you two have a lot to catch up on so I'll
head back to the tavern to talk to Salmoneus and get another Belch Grape
Juice. I'll meet you at the Inn."
"It's a deal, Gabrielle," said Xena before Gabrielle walked out the
"You're friend had better be careful Xena."
"What do you mean?"
"Those drinks have caused people to act irrational, they are not
"She'll be fine. Besides, it's not wine. I'll see you tomorrow
morning, Gabrielle and I have been on the road and we are tired."
"Xena, don't let her have too many drinks."
"Uridion, you're a wise man and I've always respected you for that but a
few drinks of juice never brought anyone harm."
Xena then abruptly left leaving Uridion once again alone. He said aloud
to himself, "I see, said the blindman."
Xena reached the Inn only to find that Gabrielle was not there. Xena
reserved two beds and headed back to the tavern but Gabrielle was not there
either. She headed towards Salmoneus and asked him, "Where's Gabrielle?"
"I thought she left with you."
"She did, but she came back for another drink."
"I didn't see her but I was busy ironing out my deal wih Castilles
"Thanks," replied Xena. She then motioned towards the barkeep and
inquired about Gabrielle.
"Did you see my friend come back for another drink?"
"Well, where is she?"
Xena was growing tired of the barkeeps attitude so she picked him up by
his collar and thrust him against the wall.
"I'm not going to ask you again," she said threatfully.
"Where is she now?"
"You can probably find her with Tendicides. Serphus will take you to
Xena then put the barkeep down and sarcastically said, "Thanks for your
help. Serphus, let's go."
Serphus stood up and Xena followed behind him as he walked out the
tavern door. Salmoneus and the other Caynorians had already left, leaving
Castilles, the barkeep, and a few of Castilles' men alone in the tavern.
Castilles helped the barkeep up and said, "That woman is going to be a
problem." The barkeep replied, "I agree. She won't drink a Belch, so how
are we going to handle her?"
"Her weakness is the girl. She's already hooked on the Swallow. We'll
give her a few more drinks and they'll have to stay long enough for us to get
rid of the Warrior Princess."
"She's the Warrior Princess Xena?"
"Yes, that fool Salmoneus told me about her. Hear that men? Tomorrow
morning, make sure the girl comes here and we'll give her a few complimentery
The men laughed and celebrated their good fortune well into the night.
Serphus and Xena went to the shanty home of Tendicides where they heard
much laughter from outside.
"This is the place," said Serphus, "your friend is inside."
"I appreciate your help."
Serphus left and Xena looked at the house. She listened to Gabrielle
and Tendicides before entering. Xena stepped over the threshold and into the
house to find Gabriellein bed with Tendicides. Xena, with a horror-stricken
look on her face, stood in the doorway staring at her friend and the man.
"Oh, hi Xena. Want to join us?" said Gabrielle.
"No thanks, I thought we were going to meet at the Inn," said Xena
holding the same look of terror upon her face. Gabrielle thought lo and hard
before answering, "Oh yeah, heh, I must have forgotten. I'll see you
later... What's your name?
Tendicides looked confused and answered unsurely, "Tendycideus, I
think." The shocked Xena and Poteidaian Gabrielle left Tendicides' home and
went to their beds at the Inn. Gabrielle immeadiately fell asleep but Xena
remained awake in deep thought about Gabrielle's actions. She was sure that
Gabrielle did not drink any wine, she wouldn't do that, but yet Gabrielle was
undoubtedly drunk. Xena concluded that Uridion was right, the Belches were
Morning came to quickly for Gabrielle who was reluctant to get ip. Xena
had been up for a while to tend to Argo teathered outside. She came back to
wake Gabrielle and she immediately put her hand to her head upon waking up.
"You feeling okay?"
"No, I don't"
"I've decided to stay a little longer, I have something I've got to do."
"Something is not kosher in Jerusalem. I am going to find out what's
going on here."
"Okay, I'm going back to the tavern for some breakfast."
Xena looked immeadiately upon her friend in pain and said, "Don't buy
anymore drinks, okay?"
"But they are so good."
"Just do me a favor Gabrielle, and don't buy anymore Belches."
Gabrielle disappointedly replied, "Alright, I won't buy anymore
Both Xena and Gabrielle left the Inn and headed for the tavern. Xena
went to the back room to wait for Castilles but Gabrielle sat dwon at a table
and ordered two quail eggs with nutbread.
"Anything to drink?" asked the waitress.
"Just water, thank you."
"Make that a Belch, on me," said one of Castilles' men.
"Thanks for you're kindness, but I promised my friend I wouldn't buy
anymore Belches," replied Gabrielle.
The man quickly retorted, "But you're not buying it, I am."
"Hey, you're right. I'll have that Belch afterall waitress, thank you."
The barkeep had overheard the conversation and smiled a devilish grin as
he prepared Gabrielle's breakfast.
In Castilles' office, Xena sat and waited for him to show. He did.
"Well Xena, you requested this meeting. How may I help you?"
"What's in your drinks?"
"Don't answer a question with a question Xena, I asked first," said
Castilles without a single sign of fear.
"That is what's on my mind. This is the last time I'm going to ask you,
what's in your drinks?"
Xena was becoming angry with Castilles' identical attitude to that of
the barkeeps'. She asked, "What else?" with anger.
"What do you mean?" replied the evil man still without the slightest
hint of worry.
"Now you're answering a question with a question. My friend had a few
of your Belches and she was more drunk than Dionysus himself. You put
alcohol in your drinks didn't you?" said Xena in a low but forceful voice.
Castilles wiped his short, white beard with his fingertips before easily
"I don't believe you."
"Well then, you'll have to chack it out for yourself. Salmoneus can
take you to my factory."
Xena sneered at the slightly happy man as she got up to find Salmoneus.
Castilles remained with a small smirk on his face. One of his henchmen
emerged from the shadows of his silk curtains. "While she's in the factory,
I want you and the rest of my men to attack. Xena will be alone with the
excaption of Salmoneus. You have nothing to fear from him," orderd
"Got it, boss," said the henchman as he left out the back door to
carryout his instructions.
As Xena passed Gabrielle in the tavern, she noticed the mug by her
plate. She commented, "What's that?"
"You told me you wouldn't drink anymore of those."
"I said I wouldn't buy anymore Belches. He paid for them."
"You can't drink anymore of them Gabrielle, I won't let you!"
"Lighten up, I feel a lot better now than I did this morning."
Xena blew her top. She lifted Gabrielle over her shoulder and took her
back to Uridion's house. Gabrielle did not take this lightly. She fought
with all of her strength but was no match for the determined Warrior
"Uridion, you were right about those drinks."
"I tried to warn you, friend."
"I need you to watch Gabrielle while I take care of this."
"No problem, I grow tired of all these libertines polluting Caynoria."
"Thank you, friend."
Xena dropped Gabrielle next to Uridion's chair and left without dely.
Gabrielle wickedly looked after her friend and started to get up but Uridion
forced her down with a single hand.
"Where do you think you're going?" said Uridion calmly just before
Gabrielle let out a muffled yell.
Xena set out in search of Salmoneus and found him trying to sell a toga
to a woman. He was painstakingly unsuccessful.
"Salmoneus, come here."
"What's up? Do you like that? What's up I mean, a lot of the kids are
saying it now."
"Nevermind that, I need you to take me to Castilles' factory. He
already knows about it."
"Well, okay. What for?"
"Castilles is putting something in his drinks that are making people
drunk. He wouldn't tell me what it is so I have to find out."
"You mean Castilles is 'spiking the punch' so the people will buy more?"
"I think so," said Xena.
"Heh, heh. Bummer, I'm screwed."
"Come on Salmoneus."
Xena mounted Argo and followed Salmoneus on the journey to the factory
outside the city of Caynoria. They reached the warehouse just before noon.
"Are you sure you're not doing anything too rash here?" asked Salmoneus.
Xena answered with alifted eyebrow.
"You can stay here if you want. I'm going to take a look inside."
Xena went inside the factory and immeadiately knew something was wrong.
No one was working and a hushed silence filled the building. Xena knew deep
down in the bottom of her soul that she was being watched. Nothing was
happeneing as of yet so Xena decided to look around. She looked for bottles
of alcohol or wine but she didn't see any. She first thought that maybe
Castilles was right, maybe he didn't 'spike the punch.'
Xena did notice hundreds of boxes with white powder inside and took a
look at what was in them. She put a pinch of the powder between her fingers
and tasted it. She was immeadiately overwhelmed with disgust at the sour
taste of the powder and wasted no time in spitting it out. She took a
handful of the powder and placed it in a pouch for further analyzation. As
soon as she turned around, a henchman charged her. Xena was knocked down but
she cleverly used he force of her falling to throw the man across te room
with her leg. The rest of Castilles' men came out of hiding and the battle
Xena drew her sword and fought off the first line of attackers one by
one. She used her chakram to bounce off of inanimate abjects and knock
unconcious the rest of her attackers. After defeating all of the henchmen,
Castilles made his appearance. Breathing heavily Xena asked, "What's this
"It's called Swallow, it is a drug from Liberia."
"What's it do?"
"It's like alcohol, people become addicted to it and come back for more.
When they do the Dinars roll in."
Xena put her sword back into it's sack but held onte her chakram and
said, "So ou make a lot of money by hurting innocent people who don't know
"Yes. It's brilliant, don't you think?" said Castilles as he raised a
crossbow to Xena.
"I've seen better," said Xena immeadiately followed by her flashing
chakram that landed in his chest. She continued, "I've done better."
Xena wasted no time in collecting her chakram. She dragged the
unconcious men outside the factory. She went back in, left her pouch, and
set the factory on fire to destoy all of the Swallow. When she left the
factoy for good, she found a curious Salmoneus interrogating her.
"I stopped Castilles, Salmoneus, thanks for your help but I've go to get
back to Gabrielle, she might be in trouble."
Xena mounted Argo and swiftly rode back to Uridion's shack. Gabrielle
was laying on the ground in tremendous pain.
"Uridion, is she alright?"
"She'll be fine as long as she never has another Belch, and as soon as
the pain passes."
"Well, she won't drink anymore Belches, no one will."
Xena crouched over Gabrielle and used her pressure point touch to help
ease the pain. Gabrielle commented, "Xena, you're back. What happened?"
"It's a long story."
Gabrielle sat up and continued, "Well, tell it to me while this headache
Xena and Gabrielle stayed one more night at the Inn and prepared to
leave the next morning.
"Dear Uridion, thanks for your hospitality," said Xena.
"Thanks for your company. I hope to hear from you soon."
"Take care of yourself," said Xena before she turned to Salmoneus. She
continued, "So where are you headed now?"
"Oh I don't know. But I did hear about this new cheese made by a man
named Parmeseus, I think I'll see what Dinars lie there."
Xena smiled and said, "I wish you luck."
She had finished saying her goodbye and turned to see Gabrielle waiting
by Argo. She headed towards her traveling partners and they left the city of
Caynoria that morning.
"I'm sorry for... you know... the way I acted."
"It's alright, it wasn't your fault. Let me ask you something. Do you
remember everything that happened?"
"You didn't do anything you regret did you?"
"If you're talking about that night with Tendycideus, no I didn't."
"His name is Tendicides."
"Oh, well, tell me about what you did in the factory again."
"Why do you want to hear about that again, Gabrielle?"
"Somebody has to write it down."
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