Okay people, here's the deal. In this story, there are 5 bloopers. Spelling/grammar/typos are unintentional bloopers and should be ignored :) The bloopers I'm talking about are in the story line itself. Remember the white propane tank the crew forgot to hide in "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"? Or the floating fish in "A Day in the Life"? Or even the rolling chakram in "Ties That Bind"? Well, it's those sort of things you need to be looking for in this story. Since this isn't TV, the bloopers will be inconsistencies in the story itself. Here's an example (this is not an extract from the story):

Four grubby men brandishing daggers leapt out from behind the trees and grinned menacingly at the Warrior Princess. Xena grabbed her chakram from its usual position on her left hip and let it fly. It ricocheted off all her attackers' heads and the three of them fell to the ground -- dead.

Did you spot the bloopers?
1. Xena's chakram usually sits on her right hip, not her left;
2. The last sentence is incorrect. There were four men in total, so I couldn't say "… off all her attackers' heads and the three of them fell …".

Those are the sorts of bloopers you can expect. I advise that you just read this all the way through first so you get the general story idea, then you can go back and find the mistakes. When you think you've found them all, email me at xenriele@ozemail.com.au (please take note of the single 'l') with the list, and I'll let you know how observant you are.

Note: Paragraphs are numbered for easy reference.

Warning: There are some violent scenes in here, but nothing above the usual level on X:WP. Swords penetrating certain areas of the body are the basic idea. Please don't read this if you are a little squeamish about that sort of thing.





Xena crept over to the sleeping bard and shook her gently.

"Wha-? Listen lady, I said I haven't seen your turkey! Now … Xena?" Gabrielle rubbed her eyes and blinked a few times.

"Nice dream?" the warrior chuckled as she rose and went to tend to Argo.

"Um … yeah." The bard stretched, yawned and lay back down.

5 "Oh, nonono. Come on, Gabrielle. It's time for us to get going. I just received word that a small village northeast of here is going to be attacked today."

"Oh, all right then." The sleepy bard dragged herself out of the bedroll and stumbled over to the warrior who was saddling Argo.

"How long will it take to get there?"

"Oh, I'd say about two hours if we push it."

* * *

After an hour of riding, Gabrielle couldn't take it anymore. "Xena?"

10 "Hmm?"

"Nature's calling -- correction -- nature's screaming."

"Oh, all right. We can stop over there." The warrior directed Argo towards the tree line to their left and helped Gabrielle to dismount. As soon as the bard was on the ground, she took off into the woods. Xena chuckled.

A few minutes later Gabrielle emerged with a contented smile on her face.

"That was quick," the warrior noted with a lopsided grin.

15 "Well, when you've gotta go ... you've gotta go. Anyway, don't we have to get going? To this city in need, that is."

"True." Xena offered the younger woman a forearm and helped her up onto Argo.

"Ya Argo," she cried, and the Palomino took off northwest for the village they were to save.

* * *

A short while later, they entered the village gates which faced northeast. Much to their surprise the fighting had already begun and the warrior let out her warcry, leaping instantly into the midst of the raging battle. The villagers seemed to be holding their own pretty solidly and Gabrielle found that a lot of the attackers had already been dealt with. She fought with a few of the soldiers, but they were no match for her. Most of them were only young and didn't know how to handle a weapon. It pained the bard to see them beaten so harshly, but they were attacking the villagers, and it was only right to help those in need. Gabrielle stole a glance at the warrior and noticed that she was pulling a lot of her punches as well, and hadn't once touched her chakram.

Before long, the fight was over and a lot of the attackers were dead, wounded, or fleeing for their lives. Gabrielle made her way over to the warrior who was talking to a group of villagers.

20 "Who were these people, and why did they attack you. Half of them were not even strong enough to hold a sword for any length of time."

"We don't know," a man with a patch over his right eye stated. "It was only by chance that we found out they were coming for us. One of our farmers was out in the fields and noticed someone watching him who ran off into the woods. He saw that he was wearing a soldier's uniform and ran back to warn us."

"But half of these 'soldiers' were only boys," Gabrielle stated.

"We realised that only after they'd attacked us, miss." This man was obviously the appointed spokesman, because no one else dared say a word. "We had no idea until my friend here," he patted a tall man beside him on the back, "killed one of them and took off his helmet to see who it was. The poor kid must've only been fourteen winters old."

The tall man beside him hung his head a little and sighed. "I'd never killed anyone before, but he was going to kill my daughter. I never thought I'd have to kill someone ... let alone someone not much older than my own child." He was overcome with sobs and a young girl, obviously his daughter, lead him away into a hut nearby.

25 Gabrielle's heart went out to the villagers and she touched Xena's arm. The warrior looked at her with a pained expression before turning back to the people in front of her.

"So you have no idea why they attacked you?" Xena asked.

"Well ..."

The warrior raised her eyebrow and an evil grin spread across the man's face.

Suddenly, a bright flash of light appeared behind the villagers. It quickly dissolved into the form of a very unwelcome God.

30 "Ares," growled Xena.

"At your service ... as usual."

The villagers gasped and turned to face the black-leather clad God behind them. The crowd quickly parted as he began to walk towards Xena. He stopped and patted the village spokesman on the shoulder before turning to the warrior.

"You see, my Warrior Princess ... I made a small wager with Darcius here." He indicated to the spokesman. "If he could beat you in battle, I would give him my Godhood. But first we had to get you here. We couldn't just send you a message saying that someone wanted to kill you to win a bet, so we devised the 'village in need' scenario and you did the rest. We didn't want to wear you out, so we had young and inexperienced soldiers take you on. Of course," he let out a chuckle, "once you got here, we had to make sure you stayed long enough for the real fight. So ..."

Suddenly, a stifled scream erupted from behind the warrior and she spun around. There was Gabrielle; being held by two men with swords aimed at her throat. Two more men emerged from the tree line one hundred meters away with crossbows at the ready.

35 "Those men you see in the distance could shoot the toe off a hummingbird from there," Darcius stated with a wide grin. "They're just a couple of our sharpest shooters. We have a number of others posted around the village ready to shoot her if you so much as move an inch out of place."

"Well, what did you expect?" Ares cooed evilly. "We couldn't very well *trust* you to stay and fight. You and I both know that even the Warrior Princess needs some encouragement every now and then." He let out a hearty laugh and clicked his fingers. Everyone moved outwards to form a large circle -- leaving Darcius and the Warrior Princess alone in the center. Darcius unsheathed his sword and twirled it expertly through the air.

"I taught him everything he knows," Ares said with a wry grin as he took his place in the mortal ring.

Xena's eyes darted around the ring for a second before she too unsheathed her sword. She held it firmly in her left hand and let her fingers float over her chakram on her right hip -- it wasn't there.

"This must be a fair fight, Xena," Ares stated off the warrior's astonished look. He held up her precious weapon for a second before folding his arms across his chest.

40 "Fine then," the woman said coolly. She twirled her sword in the air in front of her, moving it to her right hand. "Fair fight it is."

Darcius didn't waste a moment, and before the warrior knew what was happening, he had already penetrated her defenses. Anger flared up in her eyes as she looked at the small gash on her left arm.

"That wasn't very nice."

The two parried for a while before Xena found an opening. Flipping over Darcius's head, she was prepared when he did the same and thrust her sword upwards, leaving a nasty gash along his chest. He landed shakily in front of her and glared at the wound.

"If Ares taught you, then I know exactly how you work. " She laughed evilly and started a new attack.

45 After a long while, it was obvious that both fighters were beginning to tire. Neither of them had landed a single blow since Xena's trick and they were more than a little agitated.


The warrior's attention was diverted as soon as her sensitive hearing picked up the faint cry from her best friend. She turned her head and saw Gabrielle lying on the ground. She instantly flipped up into a tree and jumped down next to her friend. Knocking out the men standing over her, she knelt down.

"Gabrielle?" She inspected her friend and was relieved to find that she had only been knocked unconscious. Back to the fight. She stood up ...

"Yeeeaaaaaa!" Darcius screamed out and brought his sword down towards the rising warrior.

50 With a single move almost too fast to be seen, Xena dodged the sword and thrust her own deep into Darcius's chest. He fell onto his side in the dirt -- dead.

"A true warrior doesn't attack their enemy when their back it turned. I see that you taught him well, Ares," she scoffed.

"I'm almost disappointed," he said as he made his way over to the fallen man. The villagers, having seen enough, filed back into their houses quietly.

"Why? You knew he wouldn't win. You made him into a completely predictable fighter." She put a foot on his chest and yanked out her sword.

"I said that I was *almost* disappointed, Xena. I knew that you would beat him in the end, but even you have to admit that he did put up a good fight. He had you going for a while there." He rolled Darcius over onto his back with his boot. The patch on the dead man's left eye fell away and the large scar was uncovered, glaring accusingly at the God. Ares grinned at Xena and quickly vanished.

"Lovely," the warrior mumbled, noticing that her chakram was back on her hip. She knelt down and checked Gabrielle's head. There was a bit of blood, but nothing a few days rest couldn't cure. She picked her up and hung her gently over Argo's saddle.

56 After quickly checking the small gash on her leg she'd sustained during the beginning of the fight, she pulled gently on Argo's reins. "C'mon, let's get out of here. I only have this one wound on my leg, and it isn't serious. I don't want to spend another minute in this place." With that, she lead Argo out of the northwestern gates they'd entered only hours before and headed into the woods.


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