Happy 15 Anniversary Xena!
A/N- Sorry it took so long to get this chapter up. I was planning on putting this chapter up a month ago, However real life had other plans!
Ares stormed in to Hades' office "So where are you hiding her?"
Hades looked up from his work, with a confused look on his face "Whom am I hiding? And why do you think I have this person?"
Ares looked amused "Xena, she's been missing for what, almost 2 years now, and she's not dead or I would know." Hades shook his head "The underworld is the only place I have not looked, so where is she!"
"Brother, if Xena was here, she would be dead. And I can tell you she has not been here since she helped me over three years ago. So,I can only conclude, she's alive and NOT in my domain, so go away." Hades hoped that was enough and Ares would leave.
Ares started walking around the office.
Artemis whispered into the darkness "We need to talk now, Xena." as she spoke a room formed around her "Its safe."
Xena dropped from the rafters, "She found one?"
Artemis nodded, "She caught Ephiny with one, and she admitted to having at least 5 more". Artemis paused, "Why was Ephiny hiding them?"
Xena looked away, "After I was sent here, but before we talked about how this would be done I . . . went to Ephiny in a dream… and asked her to care for Gabrielle." Artemis gave Xena a hard look, "She was hiding the arrows from her because I asked her to."
Artemis sighed "Anything else you want to tell me?" She paused, "Hades just warned me that Ares is in his office, looking for you."
Xena looked away thinking, after several minutes she answered, "I know about the joining."
Ares paused at a painting and turned to face Hades. "Hades I know she's here and alive. I can feel her."
Hades spoke with disbelief….."Really where? She not in Tartarus where she would be. Maybe you need to look to the seas."
Ares started to walk again "I'm not sure where you're hiding her, but I know she's here! And as for the seas, been there, done that!"
Xena looked at the ground and spoke quietly "Artemis, I broke the rules. I made contact after I left. So tell Gabrielle everyth. . ."
Artemis became angry and cut Xena off "She has prayed for your safe return every day!" she yelled, "Even before she knew about the arrows. If Gabrielle had not called off the joining I would have stopped it." Xena looked up surprised, she did not know that it had been called off or that Artemis would have stopped it. "My chosen loves you with all her heart and soul. I can't understand why, but she does. And if being with you will make her happy, then I will allow you to finish this. Yes, you broke the rules . . . before they were final. So I'll let it go." Artemis smiled and took a calming breath as she received Hades message, "Hades says Ares is on the other side of the door."
Xena looked to the door. "So I'm not his?" Artemis nodded. Xena thought for a moment "The final punishment is set to begin in the morning. Is there anything you want to add to it?"
Artemis looked at Xena, there was something she had learned over the last two moons that Xena needed to know before the final phase. "Xena, that's the main reason I came . . . I found out something I'm not happy about and you're not going to like." She paused for a long time "My Northern Amazons are trapped there . . . not at peace, because of you."
Xena's head shot up "What did I help Alty do?" she whispered.
"She changed the holy word."
"What can I do to help them?" Xena shook her head, deep down she knew the only way to help them was to have the "holy word" and she did not. "I don't know the new word. I don't know how to get it either?"
Ares walked around the office again, he stopped at a door he had never seen before today " Nice door Brother."
Hades looked up to see what Ares was talking about and sent a message to Artemis as he spoke. "Ah my new garden room for Eleshia, it's not done yet. Only some drawings in there now."
Ares nods "Really?" He studies the door intently.
" I'll have a new word for them soon, but I want you to be punished by them, however they want, as many times as they want, there will be no limits to what they can do to you." Artemis pauses as she gets the message from Hades, but says nothing to Xena.
Xena waits for her to continue but she says nothing, Xena says, "I assume there's something else you need to tell me?"
Artemis smiles "Oh yes, you will tell Gabrielle about the Northern tribe on the last day."
"A black door? For the good?" He turns his head as he takes several steps back. "I don't think so!" he chuckles as he sends a powerful fireball at the door.
The door shows no damage that Ares can see. Hades tells Artemis "Get her out of there."
Artemis looked over at the sound of the door rattling with the blast, she sees a huge scorch mark on it.
Artemis continues, "You will tell her everything, including what I just told you, and things you learn while you are with them."
"Nice" Ares says "So who made the door?" he asks as he prepares a stronger fireball and blasts the door again. He feels something he has not felt in almost two years, Xena.
Hades sends another message to Artemis "I'm stalling, get out now!" as he speaks to Ares "Actually Heftiest made it. Now leave it alone before you really do damage it."
Ares looks on Hades and smirks "She is so near I can feel her, I bet she is in there!"
He blasts the door with his strongest blast . . .
Xena looked in to Artemis' eyes and nodded "Agreed."
Artemis grabbed Xena's hand in a warriors grip and transported them to the Amazon land of the dead in a flash of green light. As the door is blown off its hinges.
Ares sees the fading flash of light and no longer feels Xena. He walks into the room looking around; all he finds is a table and two chairs. On the table is exactly what Hades said was there, several drawings of waterfalls and gardens.
Ares looks at Hades and yells, "She was just here! I had her!"
Hades just laughs and says "No Aphrodite just delivered those to me." And he walked.
Artemis looks over at Xena and says, "One second longer and you would have belonged to Ares."