~ Attention Shoppers… ~

By Lawlsfan

No. 3 of the: Foibles and Follies, The Misadventures of the Warrior and Bard Series

If you feel so inclined you may want to read the other stories in this series. They can be found at:

http://www.aschweb.com/xenaeyes/fan-fiction/fiction.html  under the listings for Lawlsfan.

Alternative Sexual Content: Well as usual, there is some kissing and hugging and loving and it is between two adult and ve-e-e-ry consenting women. Hey, they are in love. So if you are not at least 18 years of age or this type of material offends you then perhaps you should read something a bit tamer. There are plenty of great classic general X:WP stories out there.

Spoilers: None. This is my story, my timeline, my creation. Mine, mine, mine. But…

Xena:Warrior Princess, its characters, and all related materials are the property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures 1995-2000. I’ve borrowed a couple of those characters, but the story idea for "Attention Shoppers" is solely the property of the author (me). This story may not be copied and/or reproduced in any form without express written consent from the author. "Attention Shoppers" was completed on 1/10/00.

Special Dedication: This story is dedicated to Kamouraskan, fellow bard extraordinaire, who in a passing comment inspired me by gently insisting that our warrior and bard needed to get ‘back into action’. Hmm, I don’t know. I thought there was plenty of action in those first two misadventure tales but anyway, here you go Kam.<g>

Feedback is always welcome at: lawlsfan@aschweb.com. Don’t be shy; tell me how you feel.

Now on to the story…

 

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Xena abruptly pulled back on Argo’s reins as they reached the peak of the hillock and the valley beyond came into full view. An uncomfortable twinge gripped the pit of her stomach as she studied the landscape below. It was dotted from end to end it seemed with tents and tables, and swirling with the activity of thousands of people hustling and bustling about, touting their wares.

"Zeus, I really do hate shopping."

She sighed and glanced down at her companion’s face. Almost immediately her mood lifted slightly and a grin stole across her face at the sight of the beautiful reflections she found there in those soft green eyes.

"My gods, she’s in Elysia."

Gabrielle’s orbs were dancing with joy and anticipation as she studied the broad expanse below them, marveling with glee at the sheer number of vendors she’d soon be haggling with. She absently patted the little leather pouch hanging from her waist and as the coins inside clinked together loudly, a chill ran up her spine and she shivered with pleasure.

"My gods, this is Elysia," she muttered under her breath. Smiling sheepishly, she quickly glanced up at the warrior. "Well next to you of course."

Xena smirked and abruptly clicked her tongue against the roof of her mouth, gently urging the big yellow mare beneath her into motion, and starting down over the hill toward the din below.

"Come on Gabrielle," she said over her shoulder. "Don’t want to miss all the specials do ya?"

The bard hesitated, did a bit of a playful jig from side to side, then grinning broadly broke into a trot and quickly caught up to her rapidly departing companion.

"Xena."

"Hmm?"

"I’m going to have to really thank you for this later. I’m so excited."

"Uh-huh."

The warrior’s eyebrow arched well up into her hairline in pleasurable pondering of the bard’s statement. She’d discovered long ago that shopping to Gabrielle was like fighting the good fight to her, it always seemed to trigger a certain need for additional satiation afterward. She grinned wryly; this was going to be a great day after all. All she had to do was make it through the next couple of candlemarks and they’d be on their way to…  Feeling a very familiar surge rocketing toward her loins she abruptly interrupted her own thought.  "Shopping first, fun second. Focus warrior, gotta focus...else this is gonna be a lon-n-ng day."  She pulled up on the mare’s reins as they reached the edge of the crowded marketplace and glanced down at the bard who was still grinning joyously from ear to ear.

"Let’s get this over with Gabrielle. The sooner we get in, the sooner we get…" She hesitated and cast the bard a mischievous smirk as she prepared to dismount. "Out."

Gabrielle wrinkled her nose and playfully stuck out her tongue.

Xena eyed the protuberance briefly then shuddered as another flutter of desire found its mark within her body. Oh yea, the bolt was definitely cocked on the crossbow of her carnality, and wittingly or not, the bard was preparing to trigger its release.

"Gabrielle, put that away will you." Her voice held a low timbre. "They don’t allow weapons in this market, remember?"

The bard immediately recognized the husky tone and slowly and quite seductively ran her tongue along the breadth of her upper lip before retracting it again into her mouth. She grinned with satisfaction while she watched a pale blush erupt from under the warrior’s breastplate and inch slowly up her neck and into her cheeks.

Xena sighed deeply, shook her head and lightly slipped down from Argo’s back. Quickly throwing the reins over a nearby tree limb and securing her sword and chakram to the saddle, she glanced around them, grabbed the bard and drew her close, then placed a lingering and quite promising kiss upon her lips. After a few moments of unmercifully teasing her tormentor’s tongue with her own, she quite suddenly pulled away leaving her captive in a hopeless swoon bordering on collapse. Grinning wryly, she turned and casually strolled away toward the crowded market.

Gabrielle sighed, swayed backward slightly, then opened her eyes and blinked several times trying to regain her reality and her balance.

"Mmmm Xena, you d-o-o know how to please me," she crooned softly then shook her head and trotted off after her companion, slapping her lightly on the bum as she passed by. "Hey, let’s get this shopping over with. We’ve got so much to do today. Where do you want to start? Oh gods, would you look at that…"

*****

Pilus studied the two women intently from his perch at the top of the rise. He stomped his hoof and swished his tail in disgust.

"Doesn’t look like much of an Amazon to me," he huffed as he watched the little blonde dodging her way through the crowd and stopping occasionally to chat with a vendor, her tall dark companion tagging closely along behind. His eyes slowly narrowed into an evil sneer.

"Xena," he hissed. "Could be trouble."

He turned abruptly to his two-legged companions and smugly continued.

"First chance you get, take her out."

"Right," they responded as one.

"But what about the warrior woman?" a single tentative voice inquired.

Pilus stomped his hoof again and with another swish of his tail turned and headed back toward the centaur village. He growled over his shoulder as he broke into a canter.

"Just try to stick to the plan. If she gets in the way…kill her to."

"Right!" they shouted in unison again as they watched him gallop out of sight.

The three men glanced uneasily at each other then turned and headed for the marketplace. As they drew nearer and started to disperse themselves amongst the crowd, a single tentative voice rang out.

"But guys that’s Xena. You know…the w-w-arrior princess. Do you think it’s safe to split up? Guys...?"

*****

The warrior was leaning against a tent pole, impatiently fidgeting while she waited for Gabrielle to change into a cute little number they’d picked up at the booth next door. She casually glanced at a small group of people that had gathered around a nearby fruit stand. At first glance she didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary, at least not until she took a double take. Sure enough, one member of the group seemed a bit too interested in the curtain behind which stood her bard, probably half naked by now. Her eyes closed to narrow slits as she studied him intently trying to figure his game. Moments later he caught her stare and hurriedly scurried away, occasionally glancing back over his shoulder as he walked swiftly into the crowd. She watched him go with an uncomfortable feeling rapidly growing and gnawing in her gut; something just wasn’t right. Starting after him she was quite abruptly pulled from her thoughts by the lilting sound of the bard’s voice and she stopped.

"Xena, what do you think?"

The warrior turned her gaze back toward the curtain and her mouth dropped open.

"My gods…" was all she could utter before she completely lost the ability to form a complete word let alone a finished sentence. "Th-th-th…"

Gabrielle was decked out in a sleeveless jade green top with blue trim made of the finest silk. It was draped low across her shoulders, cut to mid-waist and tied at the bottom exposing her taut abdomen. Being very tight fitting, it highlighted all of her assets quite well. A short navy blue skirt completed the ensemble with a black leather waistband holding it in place where it rode extremely low on her hips. She twirled to give the warrior a complete view.

Xena stood wide-eyed and slack-jawed and appeared to the bard to be in shock.

"Hey, Xena?"

The bard began waving her hand in front of the warrior’s face trying to snap her out of the trance she seemed to be in.

Abruptly the warrior turned around and motioned toward the vendor.

"We’ll take it," she said without hesitation. "How much?"

He held up three fingers and she immediately handed him the payment.

Gabrielle quickly grabbed the warrior’s arm.

"But Xena, I haven’t tried on the other…"

"We’ll take them all, " Xena said with a crooked smile. "How much?"

The vendor held up five fingers.

Gabrielle arched her eyebrow and touched Xena’s arm again just as she was about to hand over the additional five dinars in payment.

The warrior hesitated at feeling the heat of the bard's fingers against her skin.

"Xena, don’t you remember we saw the same items down the street for three?" Gabrielle slowly ran her middle finger lightly down along the length of the warrior's forearm while wriggling her eyebrows suggestively.

Xena gazed at the traversing finger blankly, for a moment simply transfixed. Then suddenly her eyebrow arched knowingly. "Ah right...haggling...juices." Her eyes lit up and she reached down and grabbed Gabrielle's arm.

"Oh yea, we did didn’t we?" She turned and started to walk away with the bard in tow. "Come on, let’s go Gabri…"

"Hey," the vendor called out after them, "four dinars and I throw in this little item."

The retreating shoppers abruptly stopped, glanced smugly at one another, then slowly turned around.

In his hand the vendor held up a jade hairpin with azure stone inserts that perfectly matched the top the bard had on.

Xena was instantly mesmerized by the bluish green light reflecting off of the gems, it reminded her of Gabrielle's eyes. She shuddered.

The bard gazed at the piece and grinned from ear to ear. Ah yes, victory was at hand; she could smell it, taste it, and feel it…in her loins. She shivered in ecstacy.

"Gods, Xena. I want…that."

The fervent hitch in her companion’s voice was not lost on the warrior. She glanced over at her, then abruptly stepped forward and snatched the clip out of the startled vendor’s hand. Grabbing the bard by the arm and nearly pulling her off her feet, she immediately headed for the curtained dressing booth.

"She’ll have to try it on," Xena said over her shoulder to the bewildered salesman.

He watched them disappear behind the curtain then shook his head bemusedly and turned back toward his stand and several waiting customers.

Inside the tiny booth the warrior quickly gathered a handful of the bard’s golden tresses and secured them into a bun at the back of her head with the hairpin. Then she leaned in and started to leisurely kiss her way down the back of her neck, beginning at the nape of her skull and continuing downward and out across her shoulder, slowly and seductively.

Gabrielle watched in the mirror as the warrior’s lips made their torturously erotic journey across her skin. She moaned softly and closed her eyes.

"Xena?"

"Hmmm?"

"Shopping is so...mmm, gods...so..."

Xena brought her right hand up and began untying the bottom of the bard’s new top while she slowly trailed her tongue back along the path her lips had just followed.

"Yes," she whispered into the bard's ear and immediately followed her utterance with her tongue.

Gabrielle shuddered and had to fight to stay standing as she felt her knees buckle and turn into quivering mush beneath her. Reaching up over her shoulder and draping her arm around the warrior’s neck to steady herself, she leaned back into her, into the intense heat that was rising between them.

"You hate it," she said quietly.

Xena slowly maneuvered her hand upward underneath the bard’s top, teasing and tantalizing the flesh there while her other hand slowly descended downward across her stomach and slipped inside the waistband of her skirt.

"But you love it, Gabrielle...don’t you."

"O-o-h yes."

Gabrielle was breathless with sensual overload as she turned her head and began placing hungry kisses along the side of the warrior’s chin.

"I love you," Xena crooned softly while tenderly kneading and torturing the soft flesh under her hands.

The bard shuddered and groaned.

"Oh Xena...please do!"

Their lips suddenly closed upon each other in an ardently heated exchange of passion.

Just then there was a knock on the side of the booth, startling and sending the two lovers scrambling to gain their composure. They immediately heard an agitated voice ring out from just beyond the curtain.

"Hey! You buying?"

The vendor stood with his arms crossed and his toe tapping impatiently. "Just how long does it take to try on a hairpin?"

Suddenly the curtain was thrust aside and a grinning warrior princess emerged. She quickly deposited four dinars into his outstretched hand.

"Yea, we’re buying." She reached back and grasped the somewhat flustered bard’s hand, took the rest of the purchased garments off the vendor’s table, and headed down the street. "Matter of fact, we’re gonna shop til we get everything she wants."

Gabrielle was still trying to pull herself together, retying her top and straightening her skirt and hair as they strolled away. Suddenly her eyes lit up when she noted a stand loaded with various assortments of shapes and sizes of frying pans.

"O-o-oh look, Xena." She tugged at the warrior’s hand and steered her toward the cookware vendor. "Never can have too many of those can we?"

"Yea, make great weapons," the warrior said wryly.

"Now please stand back and let me do some bargaining here will you?"

"Gabrielle, have you no faith in my…?"

"Xena," the bard said quietly. "It gets my juices flowing." She batted her eyelashes coyly.

"Oh yea, right…"

The warrior bowed down to the master and extended her hand toward the pot vendor.

The bard smirked and strutted by her. As she passed she casually extended her hand and placed it on top of the bowing warrior’s head, then gave her a playful shove.

Xena stumbled backward a few paces and ran smack into the strange little man who’d been staring at the changing booth earlier. Recognizing him immediately, she spun around and grabbed him by the front of his tunic, nearly lifting him off his feet. Quickly glancing over her shoulder at Gabrielle and noting that she was already in heated haggling with the vendor over a certain frying pan, she turned her full attention back toward the man cowering in front of her. Nope, he wasn't going to ruin her day, uh-uh not this day.

"Listen," she hissed sinisterly. "I don’t know what you’re up to but…"

He tentatively interjected.

"Th-th-they’re trying to k-kill her." He swallowed hard. "Your friend."

Xena tightened her grip on his tunic with one hand, then placed her other around his throat. She sneered at him viciously.

"What?!" She glanced quickly over her shoulder again to make sure the bard was still preoccupied then turned back and heightened her glare. "Who?"

"Pilus."

"The centaur, Pilus?" Xena said incredulously, shaking her head in disbelief.

"Y-y-yes. He wants to rekindle old hatreds and warring between the centaurs and the Amazons…" He hesitated as a bead of sweat rolled down the side of his face. "...by k-k-illing their queen and making it look like one of his own kind did it."

They both glanced at the little blond who was bartering quite rapturously with the pot vendor, totally oblivious to everything else going on around her, a hint of a blush creeping slowly up her face.

"Doesn’t look much like an Amaz…ack!" He grimaced and squirmed as her hand closed tighter around his windpipe and she captured him once again in her menacing stare.

"WHY?"

"B-b-because an Amazon killed his son."

Xena was just about to ask the how and why of the son's demise when she caught an odd movement out of the corner of her eye. She glanced upward along the line of the roof above them and spied a crossbow cocked and ready to release its bolt. It was aimed directly at the Amazon Queen -- her Amazon Queen.

Her reactions were innately natural and nearly instantaneous. She lifted and tossed the little man to the side with ease. He fell crashing and flailing onto a meat vendor’s cart. Then having quickly closed the gap between herself and Gabrielle, she stopped abruptly at the cookware table, grabbed a frying pan, and hesitated momentarily to flash the bard a toothy smile.

Gabrielle paused mid-sentence and mid-haggle to look up at her in puzzled silence.

"Just wanted to try it on for size," Xena said sheepishly, then quickly backed away leaving the bard bemusedly shaking her head as she returned to her bargaining.

Glancing back up toward the roof and carefully sizing up the appropriate trajectory, Xena wound up and sent the pan sailing upward. It bounded off the assassin’s hip. Surprised and thrown off balance he fell with a crash and a thud onto a fish vending operation below. In a flash the warrior deftly flipped across a row of booths and landed next to him just as he was flailing about trying to extricate himself from a pile of tuna. She quickly reached down and grabbed the frying pan lying near his left foot, flipped a large shrimp out of it, then promptly brought it down upon his head with a loud clank, knocking him out cold and placing a sizeable dent in the bottom of the pan. Glancing back over her shoulder toward Gabrielle she noted with amazement that the bard was still haggling with the pot maker and was as yet totally unaware that her life was in danger.

"Zeus, she is beautiful," the warrior sighed.

A groan radiating from the fallen assassin at her feet immediately brought her out of her reverie. Kneeling down next to him she pulled an arrow from his quiver and sized it up carefully. She’d seen its type before.

"Centaur," she muttered under her breath, then looked up at the fish vendor who was tapping his toe and eyeing her with contempt. She glanced at the piscine delicacies scattered about her over the ground.

"Sorry," she said sheepishly. "But…"

Then she heard it, the release of a crossbow bolt from the opposite side of the marketplace. Sighing agitatedly and rolling her eyes, she jumped up with frying pan in hand, stumbled over a large rock bass, and headed at breakneck speed toward the unawares bard, shoving startled shoppers aside and leaving them flailing and shouting obscenities in her wake. Instantaneously gauging the arrow’s trajectory, she grabbed a large slab of pork from a nearby stand and flung it upward. The arrow hit the meat with a loud thump, both meat and arrow stopping midair. They hovered there for a brief moment then fell with an impressive splash into a large pot of bubbling broth at the center of a lunch wagon, spattering the surrounding crowd with liquid and diced turnips. Several shrieks erupted and the cook shot her an ominous glare. She shrugged and flashed him her most charming smile.

"You’re gonna have to pay for that you know," a low, raspy, and menacing voice said calmly.

The smile slowly fading from her face, she glanced over and saw a short elderly graying woman with piercing blue eyes and lips curled into a sneer staring at her intently.

"That hog, you’re gonna have to pay."

"Right," the warrior said with a shrug as she started back toward the bard. "In a mo…"

"No NOW!" The old woman shouted as she lunged and mercilessly latched onto the warrior’s ear. "I don’t care WHO you are."

"Ack!" Xena cried out as she felt her auditory appendage nearly yanked off the side of her head. She shook out of the grasp and while rubbing her ear, cast her own sneer toward a group of bystanders who were pointing and snickering softly. They cowered away.

"All right," she hissed and turned back toward the old woman. "I just have to get your payment from my friend over there." She pointed through the crowd toward Gabrielle.

The woman eyed her suspiciously then finally shook her head affirmatively.

Xena headed toward the bard, rubbing her ear gingerly.

"Gods, I hate shopping…with a passion."

When she reached Gabrielle’s side she slammed the dented frying pan down on the table, startling the bard and the vendor, and eliciting a shrill shriek from a young woman nearby. She grinned wryly at Gabrielle who was staring at her bemusedly.

"We’ll take this one," the warrior turned to the vendor and exclaimed loudly. "How much?"

With a hint of alarm in her voice the bard quickly interjected.

"But Xena, we’ve just settled on another…"

The warrior picked the pan back up off the table and waved it in the bard’s face.

"Gabrielle, I like this one." She pointed out the dent on the bottom. "It fits."

The bard shrugged and turned back toward the vendor innately sensing this was one haggling battle she was never going to win.

"How much?" she said dejectedly.

He held up three fingers.

Gabrielle shook her head in mock disbelief.

"Listen buddy, we’re talking about damaged goods here…"

Xena quickly interjected.

"We’ll take it."

Gabrielle shot her a befuddled glance.

The warrior returned it with a charmingly crooked smile.

"Gabrielle, I think we’ve got what we want. Now it’s time to get what we need." She arched her eyebrow suggestively then leaned down and whispered into the bard’s ear. "Let’s get out of here."

The bard shuddered when she felt the heat of Xena’s breath against her ear and neck, then felt a flush creeping upward into her face. "Mmmm, maybe I have had enough haggling. Juices are flowing…yep, time to call it a day."

She quickly reached into her pouch, pulled out the three dinars, and handed them to the pot maker. Then grabbing the warrior’s hand and nearly pulling her off her feet, she headed immediately toward the spot where they’d tethered Argo, totally ignoring all the come-hithers from the vendors they passed along the way.

"Come on Xena, let’s go…cook."

Xena grinned impishly, then subtly and suspiciously cast her eyes toward the rooftops as she followed along behind.

"Ah, Gabrielle? Are you sure we’ve got enough juices? Dry food isn’t very tasty."

The bard quickly picked up the pace as they pushed their way through the crowd.

"Plenty."

They were about to make their escape when someone abruptly reached out of the crowd and grabbed a handful of the warrior’s hair. She stopped and spun around, hands up in striking mode and every muscle quivering in anticipation of a fight.

Gabrielle looked on in startled surprise.

"Hey! Where’s my payment?" The old voice croaked harshly.

Xena’s shoulders slumped and she dropped her hands as she immediately recognized the old woman from the pork stand. She grinned sheepishly and held out her palm toward the bard.

"Gabrielle, give me…" She arched her eyebrows questioningly at the woman.

"Three dinars," the old voice croaked again.

"Three dinars it is," Xena replied while absently rubbing her sore ear.

The bard glanced in wonder from the woman to Xena then back again. The elderly vendor sneered at her viciously. She quickly reached into the pouch and handed Xena the three coins.

"I’m sure there’s a good story in this somewhere," she said bemusedly as the warrior took the payment and placed it carefully in the old woman’s hand.

The woman cast them both one last look of contempt then waddled away. They watched her depart in silence, glanced at each other amusedly, and then hurried out of the marketplace.

As they started back up over the hill aboard Argo, the bard thought sure she heard someone in the valley below shouting out a rather odd announcement.

"Attention shoppers! Xena, Warrior Princess has f-i-i-nally left the marketplace." The announcer let out a long sigh before continuing. "Oh…and there is currently a blue lantern special in aisle ten featuring a freshly prepared pork stew…"

Shaking her head then snuggling in closer to the warrior’s back, the bard leaned up and cooed lovingly into her ear.

"Mmm Xena, I do love shopping."

Xena felt the bard's tongue lightly tracing the lobe of her sore ear. She shuddered and felt that old familiar pang of need work its way into the pit of her stomach and downward.

"Oh yea...me too."

Grinning broadly, she gently urged the big mare into a full gallop.

 

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To be continued in upcoming Foibles and Follies: The Misadventures of the Warrior and Bard Series.


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