by JayBird (Jay Markle)

Opening shot of beautiful mountains and woods in New Zea... uh, ancient Greece, as Xena walks down a dirt road muttering to herself with a determined look to her face.

Suddenly she slows down, sniffing at the air...

"What the... smells like someone just took a big sh..." A look of disgust crosses her face. "Okay, Ares... Show yourself! I haven't got all day..."

Ares materializes in an impressive optical effect reminiscent of the wormhole on DS9.

"Hello, my Warrior Princess," he sneers. "Out for a little walk are we? Where's your horsie today?"

"Nevermind, that's a long story," Xena replies. "If you've got something to say then say it. Otherwise blow!"

"In a bit of a hurry, are we?" Ares laughs. "Don't tell me Gabrielle got kidnapped and is being held hostage... again?"

"She's having a tough week... okay?" Xena growls. "Now if you'll excuse me." Xena brushes past him and continues down the road.

"Well, fine!" Ares says, rematerializing a few steps in front of her. "Why not get that village idiot who follows you about to help out?" He grins. "Unless he got..."

"HEY!" Xena sticks her finger in his face. "Lay the HELL of Joxer! He was trying to rescue Gabby when he got..." Xena sighs and continues on, still muttering under her breath.

"Anyway," Ares says, walking beside her, "the reason I'm here is to warn you that your friends are being held by a dangerous man... the leader of a vicious cult."

Xena stops. "Not that group of crazies we meant in Britannia?"

"No. He is the Grand Poo-Pah of the Mick-Mack, and..."

Xena laughs and walks on.

"No," Ares follows. "I'm serious! Really!"

"I'll take my chances," Xena says. "Grand Poo-Bah this!"

"By the way," Ares says, still following her. "You haven't commented on my new look yet. Whaddya think?"

Xena looks at him and snickers.

"Aw... com'n! this is the third time I've popped in on you this season and you haven't said jack-squat about the new Ares!"

"Gimme a break. Every time you do 'pop in' I'm in the middle of some freakin' crisis!"

"Well maybe it's the company you keep!" Ares says. "Look, despite our differences I do respect your opinion. You may have become a do-gooder but you still have a sense of style..."

"Yeah," Xena smirks. "I do."

"So?" Ares stands before her, hands on hips.

"Well..." Xena stops and looks him over. "I really wasn't going to say anything... but those sideburns are the dumbest damn thing I've seen in my life!"


"You heard me. I mean..." she waves her fingers in his face, "the way they... go past your ears 'n slide into your 'stache 'n... ugh!"

"You're just saying that..."

"No I'm not! Look, I think you're a murderous slimeball... but you did have a pretty hot look going there for awhile." Xena shrugs. "I mean, don't tell the Gabster, but you tempted me a few times last season, truth to tell..."

"And now?"

"And now you remind me of those guys who wash chariots in Thrace. Y'know, when you park your ride by a tavern and they come up to you with a bucket and a..."

"I've seen 'em!" Ares shouts. "Hey-Zeus, you are way off on this, Xena! I've gota lotalot of compliments about this look..."

"I bet," Xena smiles. "Who's gonna tell the God of War he looks like a dweeb? Who sold you this bill of goods anyway?"

"Ahhh... Zeus got this... 'image consultant' for everyone on Olympus. Says we have to get 'in touch' more with the mortals now that this One True God is in the mix!" Ares sighs. "He gave Hades a new breastplate... Aphrodite a new bra... Zeus a new robe..."

"And you got stuck with the sideburns from Tartarus," Xena said, clucking her tongue. "Hey, who do the Gods hire as an 'image consultant' anyway? One of the old, out-of-work Gods?"

"No... Zeus hired this mortal who used to work for one of the local despots..."

"Omigawds," Xena gasped. "Not Vidalis!"

"You know him?"

"Tubby lil' butterball who's... ahem, light on his feet?"


"We've met. He gave Gabby a makeover." Xena rolled her eyes.


"The stuff of nightmares. Gave her the silliest 'do this side of Leia Organa and pumped her up in front so far she tipped over!"

"Yeah," Ares says. "Aphrodite is having trouble tying her sandals..."

"Look, there's no love lost between me and you joker-boys on the hill, but you better ditch this guy before every last one of you become the laughing-stocks of the known world!"

"Thanks, Xena" Ares says. "I'll talk with Dad tonight..."

"And don't... kill or maim or curse Vidalis, willya? Just give him his walking papers and send him on his way."

Ares sighs. "Alright. If you say..."

"Good. Now if you'll excuse me... I have a damsel fair to rescue." Xena again starts on her way.



"There's a secret entrance to the Poo-Bah's Temple on the south side by the moat." Ares shrugs. "Might help..."

"I'll... consider it." Xena grins. "Bye, Ares!"

"Bye..." he watches her lope down the road and kicks the ground as he bamfs out of existence.

Mom said there'd be days like these.


Comments? Puh...lease?


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