Disclaimers: Spoilers for "You Are There" within this tale.
Gabrielleís head shot out around the corner quickly look east then west, then east then west.
"Is the coast clear?"
"Yeah," the bard answered. "Nowís our chance! Go!"
The warrior and bard darted out from their hiding place inside the tavern and moved briskly out the front door.
"I think heís gone Xena," the bard answered as they walked quickly toward the wooded area. "I donít know why we just donít stay at the tavern tonight."
"Well I think this is safer," Xena told him, "For us and for him. Eli help him if he shows up with a spot light on our bedrolls tonight."
"Another world exclusive huh?" Gabrielle answered.
Xena smirked. "Something for that channel . . . What did he call it? Playboy?"
Gabrielle chuckled. "What a silly name eh? Of all the reasons to use that image stealing device of his, youíd think people would have a better use than just sex."
"Sex can be very wonderful to watch," Xena counted with a playful smirk.
"Well thatís true," Gabrielle bashfully admitted. "But think of all the wonderful, emotional stories you could tell instead Ė the fall of Troy, the death of Caesar or Cleopatra . . . and Sparticus!! Sparticus would make a GREAT story to tell donít you think! Epic chariot races, struggles within class structures, a romantic love story."
"Iím sure youíd know just where and how to use that viewer thingy that Nigelís buddy was carrying around wouldnít you?" Xena chuckled.
"Of course. I mean just think about how you could open the story of Troy. A pan around the room until you see a beautiful woman but you realize that the viewer thingy isnít on Helen Ė itís her reflection youíre seeing and you show her looking at herself in a mirror as she slowly becomes despondent and you have to wonder - What makes a woman so beautiful that unhappy? Then you start to tell the story-."
"Iíve lived the story," Xena reminded her.
"Of course you did and IíD make sure to include you. Of course Iím not sure if folks would think Helen was all that beautiful compared to you," the bard answered affectionately, wrapping her arm around the warriors.
Xena chuckled. "Oh you donít have to play up to me Gabrielle. Iíve already decided youíre gonna get lucky tonight."
The bard slapped the warrior arm putting on an offended demeanor. "I wasnít Ďplaying upí to you," Gabrielle answered. "You know I think youíre the most beautiful woman in the world Ė strongest, quickest . . . great in the bedroll."
"Great in the bedroll? You make it sound soooo romantic," Xena teased.
"Well thatís better than saying youíre the best lay in any village," Gabrielle retorted.
Xena began to laugh, her shoulders rolling. "Thatís very true. . . So tell me director Gabrielle, what do you see for tonight?"
"No lights, no camera and lots of action."
When Xena didnít reply Gabrielle looked up to her for a response.
"Yep," Xena finally said, "If Nigel shows up tonight - heís a dead man."
CONTINUED IN PART XIII: EMPATHY NEST