by Joseph Anderson

No one in this story is in Xena: Warrior Princess, but it evolved from that so I should just say no copyright infringement is intended. Jilly, Angela and Sam all belong to me.

This story contains a little violence and some rough language.

The soldiers looked nervously at the two women. They didn't like this. Queen Jilly was removing her cape so she could move more freely, the rich gems on her fighting leathers catching the light. Captain Angela just stood there watching her, a slight smirk on her face, her own leathers flat black and devoid of any decoration. The corporal had sent one of the men to tell Prince Samuel what was happening in the exercise yard.

"Thanks, Jilly. I just wanted to get a chance to try out my new sword on a worthy opponent," Angela said. The tall freckled woman was holding a gleaming sword, seeming not to be able to keep from examining it.

The queen said, "Sure, Angela, I understand. I can't believe Euphemies is still alive and working. He must be over a hundred now. Maybe he really is Hephaestus; that's what Callisto always suspected. How'd you like him?"

Angela smiled slightly and threw the sword high up in the air, spinning and flashing, catching it when it plummeted back down at her. "I liked him fine though I don't think he cared for me. He said I reminded him of Cortese, whoever that was."

"He was a warlord in the old days...an enemy of Xena's. Callisto gave him the works before I met her."

Angela said, "Really? Why? I thought she'd like any enemy of Xena's."

"Not this one," Jilly said as she drew her own sword. "Xena got her start defending Amphipolis from Cortese. So Callisto blamed him for everything Xena had done to her. The arrogant fool didn't even think of that. He thought he could use her. I understand he was a good general and fighter though. Even Xena never defeated his army; drove him off but didn't defeat him. And that's impressive."

"Huh," the slender red head said noncommitally. "Ready?"

"Sure, Angela," Jilly said with a smile. The two warriors began circling each other, then Jilly leaped completely over Angela slashing down as she did so. The soldiers watched wordlessly as Captain Angela's upraised sword clashed on the queen's and made a quick cut. Jilly landed examining her wrist bracer. If she wasn't wearing it she wouldn't have a hand anymore. She grinned and her eyes got wide, the white showing all around the brown. For the first time Angela began feeling nervous.

"Oooo, Captain Angela, Captain Angela...what fine moves you have!" Jilly cooed in a singsong voice.

Angela carefully watched her. She'd heard of this side of Jilly but never seen it. When the queen had been working with her before she had never acted this way. She could defeat Angela anytime and was conscientiously trying to teach her. But Angela had improved a lot since then. Angela had never seen Jilly in actual combat though there were plenty of stories about her going back to when she was a little girl. She was Jilly the Butcher.

Angela leaped at Jilly now and their swords met in a loud clang, followed by a flurry of blows that the soldiers had a hard time even seeing they were so fast. The two women separated again. Angela felt something and looked down and saw that there was a long slash in the front of her leathers now, with blood seeping through. She grinned and suddenly threw her chakram. The queen raised her sword and the flying ring hurtled back toward Angela who had to duck to avoid being decapitated. She caught it after it bounced off a tree, but instead of pausing threw it again, and this time Jilly had to duck to avoid it. It returned to Angela and she replaced it on her belt.

Jilly's smile was wide and mad now. Angela felt something peculiar looking at her; like she shouldn't have brought this out in the queen. It felt disloyal to Sam, pushing his sister like this, especially when no one was around to bring her back--either Langland with drugs or Bancher just with his presence.

"Don't worry about ME, Angela!" Jilly said with a laugh, and the redhead started with surprise. "Worry about yourself."

The smaller blonde woman began moving ghostlike around the open area, Angela turning and never letting her eyes off of her. Angela could tell Jilly was trying to maneuver her closer to the trees. Jilly launched herself at a tree and then back at Angela, seeming to rebound like a chakram, her sword coming straight for Angela's neck. The taller woman leaped to the side, feeling the blade cut her as she barely got out of its range. She heard a girlish laugh. Angela rolled and came back up and charged Jilly who wasn't expecting that. Their swords met again and Angela's greater strength knocked the queen down. She kicked Jilly in the face and drove down with her sword, burying it in the ground and pinning Jilly's foot. The queen cut sideways at Angela and her sword bit into her shoulder.

"What the hell is going on here?!" Sam was suddenly there, putting himself in between them, his long dark hair and long mustache standing out against his white silk clothes and pale skin.

Angela yanked her sword out of the ground, freeing Jilly's foot. The tip was red with blood and it spattered a little on Sam's beautiful garments. She was holding her bloody shoulder now. "Oh, hi, Sam. Jilly was helping me break in my new sword. We got a little carried away, I guess."

"'A little carried away.' Jesus Christ! Look at you two. This is Greece, you know. We don't have antibiotics or real doctors. Christ! Are you two crazy?"

Jilly was sitting on the ground now, taking her boot off painfully. A soldier ran up and began wrapping a bandage around and around her foot. "We can go to Chicago and see real doctors if we need to, Sam. You just don't get it. This is the most fun I've had in years." She looked at Angela who smiled. A soldier was binding her shoulder.

"Fun! Shit! You two..." he paused. "Okay, I guess I don't understand. You're Ares' favorites. Whatever brains you have are in your sword arms, obviously. I mean, Jesus Christ! What is wrong with you? One or both of you could've been killed. I love you both! Don't do this anymore, please!"

Jilly said, "You're right, Sam. We did get carried away. I'm sorry."

"Me too, Sam. I'm sorry," Angela said contritely. She was feeling weak from loss of blood.

Prince Samuel looked at the soldiers, the relief that he was there evident on their faces. "Take them both to the palace in my chariot," he ordered. "And send word ahead to the healer." He looked at Jilly who was studying her foot, the bandage getting bloody. "Is that all right with you, your majesty?" Sam said sarcastically.

"What? Oh sure, Sam. Whatever you say." Jilly gingerly tried putting some weight on the wounded foot and instantly grimaced and pulled it back.

Sam shook his head in disgust and just walked away to speak to a soldier.


The queen and Captain Angela were lying on adjacent beds. The healer, a middle-aged man who had been trained by Xena when he was young, kept his face expressionless and his mouth shut. Anyone else he would have looked at disapprovingly and lectured. These two wouldn't take kindly to that approach though. Queen Jilly would probably just tell him to watch his mouth, but Captain Angela might have him impaled or something if he ever strayed out of Jilly's kingdom into one of the neighboring lands ruled by Prince Samuel. He left them alone, relieved to be away from them.

Jilly and Angela looked at each other and started laughing. "God, Angela, I have to thank you. He's more scared of you than me. You're good for my reputation," Jilly said.

"Glad to be of help," Angela answered, moving slightly and wincing with pain.

A low melodious voice, dripping with anger, suddenly spoke and they looked up at the dark beautiful man standing before them. "I have to agree with Sam here. Don't you two have any judgment at all?"

The two women tried keeping a straight face but caught each other's eye and began giggling. Ares looked furious.

"Don't laugh at me! I'll kill both of you. Don't think I won't!"

"Um, Ares, who would you have for a favorite then?" Angela said innocently.

Jilly spoke, "You're right, Lord Ares, I'm sorry. I really am!" Then she started giggling again and Angela caught it from her.

The walls began shaking from the God of War's fury. He disappeared in a blaze. The women looked at each other. "That probably wasn't a very smart thing for us to do, Jilly," the redhead said.

"I know," the queen answered. She started giggling and set Angela off again.

The End