The Lost

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Chapter 2

Joxer woke Xander/Yami carefully so not to also wake Yugi. {"It is time for us to break camp and be on our way. I thought you would like to wake the others, since you speak their language."} Joxer said quietly in Egyptian.

{"Yes, thank you Joxer. That was very considerate of you."} Xander/Yami said equally as quiet.

{"Aibou, it is time for us to awaken. We must begin our travel toward the city of Corinth."} Xander/Yami said quietly in Japanese as he gently shook the shoulder of Yugi.

{"Five more minutes, Grandpa"} Yugi said in his sleep.

{"No Aibou, your Grandpa isn't here and you must awaken"} Xander/Yami said insistently.

Finally Yugi came awake. Xander/Yami went from one to another of the group until they had all been awakened.

{"We'll look for fruit trees and game as we walk, when we find food for all of us, we will stop and break our fast."} Joxer said to Xander/Yami.

Walking back to the sleepy group, Xander/Yami passed on Joxer's message and within minutes they were all ready for travel.

Xena led the way on Argo as the others followed behind. Occasionally they chatted about inconsequential things but for the most part, the group was walking quietly. Each member of the group was reevaluating their situation from their own unique perspective.

When nearly an hour had passed, they found some fruit trees and stopped for a few moments to gather some, there wasn't nearly enough to feed the entire group, so they continued.

A few minutes out on the road Xander/Yami stopped and looked around. Xena had stopped Argo at the motion and looked to see what had spooked him.

"We're surrounded by bandits in the trees. Billy do the flash thing and defend our back, Xena has our front, Bobby go left, I'll go right. Witches give aid where needed. Yugi, stay with Joxer." {"Joxer, we are surrounded by bandits, protect Yugi."} Xander/Yami said as he moved into fighting posture, sorely missing his axe.

Xena now detected the bandits and was impressed that one of these barely adult children had the skill to detect them. She heard the tall one giving orders to the group as a warlord would. One didn't need to know the language to recognize the tone of a warrior leader.

The bandits began to close in from all directions. They were confident in their superiority and were surprised when Xena backflipped off Argo and landed square on the chest of one of their men. At that motion, Xander/Yami sprang into action. In three quick moves he had disarmed a man and had a decent sword to use.

Billy decided that he didn't need to morph just yet. He was a skilled fighter and used his extensive martial arts training to take on two armed men... and dispatch them in under a minute.

Bobby saw six men approaching him and decided that he would rather not face them at once, so he made a glare of ice form before their feet. A moment later, all six of them were flat on their backs. He could deal with them at his leisure while they were fighting for balance. He'd been trained for days like this one.

Willow saw a group of bandits coming from between Bobby and Billy's positions. Both of them were too busy to deal with them. She drew on her witchcraft and called forth a fireball with the words, "Creo Ignem." She was surprised to see her fireball formed as the size of a melon. She concentrated and threw the fireball at the approaching group of men. She carefully directed it to split into separate fireballs and attack each man individually. Seeking them if they dodged.

Tara saw a group coming between Xander and Xena. She thought quickly and remembered a spell. She mumbled the words quickly and when the last word was spoken she focused on her target. Simultaneously eight men began to scream and wander aimlessly.

Gabrielle had her quarter-staff drawn and was backing up Xena, as was her position for many years. She quickly turned to assess the situation behind her and stopped in shock at the sight. Bobby had formed an ice cage over a group of men on the ground. Billy was in the process of fighting a group of five warriors, and was flipping and spinning like she had only ever seen Xena do before. Xander was fighting with the ferocity of a wild animal. The red headed girl was throwing fire at warriors who were approaching. But the one who sent a shiver of fear up her spine was the blonde girl. If the screams of the warriors was to be believed, she was striking them blind.

A fresh wave of bandits approached, and Gabrielle renewed her position at Xena's side. Three men made it into the middle of their circle of protection. On impulse, Yugi grabbed his dueling deck and drew the top card. He didn't need to look to know which card he had drawn. In a clear voice he called, {"I summon the Dark Magician."} The sennen eye, an Egyptian third eye symbol, appeared on Yugi's forehead in a golden glow.

One moment he was wearing his blue pants and shirt, the next he was dressed in purple robes and a hat and carrying a staff. {"Dark Magic Attack!"} Yugi said in a deeper version of his own child voice. A purple glow flew out of his staff and the three men were on the ground, unmoving.

In less time than it took to tell of it, the fight was over. Xena looked back and noticed the carnage. She had been aware of the fighting, but didn't know the numbers of fighters that these children had defeated.

{"Game over"} Yugi said quietly and returned to his normal form.

Bobby completed his last bars of a very confining ice cage and turned back to the group.

Willow stopped her fire attacks and Tara stopped casting her blindness spells.

Xander/Yami was the last to stop fighting. He turned to the group and said with a smile, "Was that all? I expected it to be a little harder than that."

"Yeah, I get scarier stuff than that in my breakfast cereal." Bobby said with a grin.

"Just another day for me." Billy said matter-of-factly.

"They didn't have fangs or scales or anything. What fun is that?" Willow said, obviously feeling an adrenaline high.

"Y... Yeah. No problem." Tara said shyly before casting her eyes down as was normal for her.

{"Yami, did you see what I did?"} Yugi asked excitedly.

{"Yes Aibou, it seems that the Millennium magic left the puzzle and came to you. Use it wisely."} Xander/Yami said sagely.

{"Yami! That was really cool. I don't need a lecture on responsibility right now."} Yugi said gruffly, which was absolutely cute coming from the little boy.

{"Yes Yugi, that was absolutely cool."} Xander/Yami said with a smile.

"Joxer, tell them we need to talk. I want to know just what they are and how they can do that." Xena said irritably.

{"Xena wants us to talk, she wants to know about who and what you are to be able to do such things."} Joxer said to Xander/Yami in Egyptian.

{"We should leave this place now. These men will recover from their injuries soon."} Xander/Yami said seriously in return.

Joxer relayed the words and received agreement. The group gathered their things and were on the road again quickly.

* * * * *

Just after noon the group left the path, led by Xena. After an hour of traveling off trail, they came to a serene little lake.

They got comfortable and prepared for the questions.

"What are they? Gods?" Xena asked Joxer with concern.

{"Xena wants to know what all of you are. Are you gods?"} Joxer asked Xander/Yami seriously.

{"We are people, we just have abilities that others don't. We are not gods. I would tell you what we are, but it wouldn't matter because you don't have words to describe us."} Xander/Yugi answered as carefully as he could.

"He says that they are not gods. They have abilities that others don't and there isn't a word for what they are." Joxer said to Xena.

"Fine. If he can't tell me about all of them, how about the girl. How does she throw fire?" Xena asked suspiciously.

{"She wants to know about the girl who throws fire."} Joxer relayed.

{"Her name is Willow, she is a witch as is her girlfriend Tara."} Xander/Yami answered shortly.

"He says the two girls are witches." Joxer said to Xena with worry.

"Are they priestesses of Hecate? Where does their power come from." Xena asked with worry.

{"What is the source of their power? Are they priestesses or followers of Hecate?"} Joxer asked Xander/Yugi.

"She wants to know if you follow Hecate, are you priestesses and where does your power come from?" Xander/Yugi asked Willow.

"My power is from different places depending on the spell I'm using. If it's a nature spell, it's from the earth. If it's a demony type spell, it comes from the underworld, and like that. And I have called on Hecate a few times to add power to my spells." Willow said, trying to keep her answer simple enough for a novice.

{"She said her power is from different places for different actions. She has called on Hecate a few times in the past."} Xander/Yami paraphrased.

"She said her power is from different places depending on what she wants it for. And she has called Hecate once or twice." Joxer said, paraphrasing more.

...And so it went on into the afternoon. Xena asked Joxer, Joxer asked Xander/Yami, Xander/Yami asked a member of the group and the answer would make it's way back through the route. And at the end, Xena knew no more than when she had sat down.

"Enough. This is getting us nowhere. The best way to know someone is to fight them. I will fight each of them in turn to determine their abilities." Xena said, disgusted with the waste of time.

{"She wishes to fight each of you in turn so she can understand your abilities. She feels it will be faster than asking for descriptions that none of us understand."} Joxer said to Xander/Yami warily.

"Xena wants to fight us each in turn, one on one to understand our abilities. Does anyone have any problem with that?" Xander/Yami asked the group.

"She won't hurt us, I mean really hurt us will she?" Willow asked timidly.

"No, we'll agree that this will be a sparring match. No lethal attacks from either side." Xander/Yami said with assurance.

The group seemed to agree. Yugi began to go through his cards and Willow and Tara started whispering furiously to each other.

{"We agree, on the condition that no lethal attacks be used by anyone. This is a sparring match only."} Xander/Yami said in Egyptian to Joxer.

"They agree as long as no one tries to kill each other. This is a spar." Joxer relayed to Xena.

"Agreed." She said and nodded to Xander/Yami.

She took up a fighting stance and Xander/Yami crouched and curled his fingers like claws. His eyes flashed green for a moment then he lunged with the speed and ferocity of a wild animal.

Xena was thrown off guard by the swiftness of the attack and his willingness to use his hands, head, teeth and elbows to exact blow after blow to her body. Finally she saw an opening and was able to get one good punch to connect with his chin and knocked him down.

He got to his feet immediately then calmness fell over him as he bowed to her with respect. Then he motioned for her to attack him. She cautiously moved toward him, weaving and maintaining perfect balance. This time his fighting style was completely different. He was using his fists and bobbing and weaving to avoid her punches. He landed a few good punches on her but she finally got the best of him by doing a combination uppercut move that was a thing of beauty. He sat up and gestured surrender by raising his hands, palms out.

Xena relaxed and turned to the group to see who would be her next opponent. She expected one of the older boys to be next but the smallest of them came forward. She didn't think this was going to be a fair fight but got into her fighting stance. Yugi pulled a card out and said, "Gaia the Fierce Knight."

In the space between one second and the next the small boy was replaced by a seven foot tall warrior dressed in full armor. She was barely able to avoid the fist that thrust out to hit her face. She dodged and was able to get behind him where she tried to punch him in the kidneys. But every part of his body was covered in the armor. Her hardest hits weren't being acknowledged. After a few minutes of her trying to hit him hard enough to feel and him trying to make a punch connect, he finally caught her backhanded and knocked her to the ground.

She laid there dazed for a moment. When she stood back up. The little boy was standing there watching her sheepishly. She decided that she wanted another try at him so she moved to attack. He held up a card and said, "Dark Magician." And became the purple robed mage with the staff. "Dark Magic Attack." Was the last thing she heard before finding herself waking up on the ground.

Yugi had moved to the back of the group and Billy had moved to the front. Xena shook her head a few times and moved around to ready herself for another fight. Billy looked at her preparation and said, "It's morphin time."

For the first time, she saw Billy in his power ranger uniform. The suit that he wore didn't look like armor, but it covered every inch of his body. He seemed to be most disconcerting because she couldn't see his eyes at all. As she made to approach him, he did a back flip and landed gracefully a few feet back. A moment later he vaulted into a combination flip and twist that had him standing behind her. Before she could turn, he began to punch. She countered his moves well but when she thought she had him cornered, he would flip, somersault, vault, or some other move that would put him out of her reach. At one point he had jumped twenty feet straight up into the air and landed in the tree they were fighting under. Finally Xena threw up her hands in surrender. This boy was faster and more agile than she was and there was no way that she was going to hit him if he didn't want her to.

Billy de-morphed and stepped aside as Willow nervously made her way to the front of the group. Xena thought that this was going to be a quick and easy win. She had seen the fireballs and knew that she could easily dodge them.

Willow had been preparing a spell to make Xena become so heavy that she couldn't move, as if her entire body were made of lead. She had drawn the power up within herself and was ready to release it with the words of the spell when Xena started moving toward her. She meant to say the right words but her mind was not focusing on what it should be so she instead said, "Mamari Enorme."

Xena was expecting a fireball to emerge and to have to dodge it. What she didn't expect was for the bodice of her armor to pop open and for her breasts to fall free. To her further surprise, they were growing. Everyone watched in stunned silence for long moments until finally... she tipped over.

As the group watched Xena struggle with the weight of her ever expanding breasts Willow finally shook herself back to reason and said, "Undo the spell."

In a flash of magic, Xena was back to normal.

She looked at Willow to find a scarlet blush creeping up her face.

Xena turned at a movement and saw Tara approaching with a look of hurt and fury in her eyes.

She didn't have time to move a muscle before Tara started speaking a spell and she was frozen in place.

"One grain from the sands of time,
Just the one before the last,
Withered, wretched, racked with pain,
Behold the Crone, my spell be cast."

Xena cried out as every joint in her body simultaneously ignited in agony. Her vision went blurry and hearing became muffled. Her spine twisted into an impossible curve and she couldn't help but hunch over. Through her blurred vision she could barely make out the image of her withered hands, skeleton thin with paper thin flesh draped over it in blotched wrinkles.

The others watched as Xena's hair became gray and frizzy. Her skin wrinkled and her body became thin and frail.

"Do you still want to look at her breasts?" Tara said to Willow with disgust and walked away.

"You can't leave her like that." Xander/Yami said as he watched Tara hurry away.

{"I call upon the magic of the card, de-spell."} Yugi said, holding out a card.

The glowing image of a lock and key appeared, then key entered the lock and began to turn.

The image glowed more brightly, then vanished as the effect of the spell seemed to stop, then reverse.

Xena felt her strength return and the ache subside.

"That was... thank Yugi for me. That was the most horrible thing I've ever felt." Xena said between deep breaths.

{Tell Yugi that Xena thanks him.} Joxer said with a smile of gratitude directed at Yugi.

{You did well Aibou, Xena thanks you, and I thank you as well.} Xander/Yami said with pride for his young counterpart.

{Her attack was dishonorable. Her goal was not to win the spar, it was to cause pain.} Yugi said with a look of concern directed at Xena who was back to herself.

A flash of power drew everyone's attention.

"What in the name of all the gods is going on down here?" A beautiful woman asked as she appeared in a flourish of sparkles and rose petals.

"Hello Aphrodite." Joxer said shyly.

"Hi'ya Joxy. I just felt ungodly amounts of energy coming from down here. What's going on?" Aphrodite asked as she walked closer to Joxer.

"These people," Joxer began, pointing to the group, "They're lost and we were taking them to Corinth so maybe they could find some help to get home."

"Where are you heading?" Aphrodite asked pleasantly.

All the young adults looked at each other and Xander/Yami finally said, {Please tell her we don't understand.}

"They don't understand our language. Xander and I can talk in Egyptian, but that's the only language any of us have in common." Joxer explained.

"No prob." Aphrodite said and waived her hand in the general direction of the group.

"Okay guys, now can you tell me what's going on?" Aphrodite asked as she crossed her arms and began tapping her toe impatiently.

"Um, yes. Thank you... We're kind of lost. We don't know where or when we are. Willow... um... she's around here somewhere... she cast a spell to get us out of the last place we were lost in and kind of brought us all here." Xander/Yami said reluctantly.

"Back up stud. First of all, I want to know about the power that's been zinging around here. Who did that? We'll sort out the rest in a minute." Aphrodite said firmly.

"Um... I guess all of us were using some kind of power or another. Yugi, would you like to show this beautiful woman your power?" Xander/Yami asked with a blush.

"I summon the power of the Rogue Doll." Yugi said in an uncertain voice.

Before Yugi a small figure appeared which looked like a puppet holding a staff.

"Oh, how cute." Aphrodite cooed as she looked at the doll.

"Please be careful, the Rogue Doll can be quite dangerous." Yugi said with concern.

"So this is what you were doing to create all that energy? Making toys?" Aphrodite asked as she turned her attention back to the boys.

"No. We were sparring with Xena so she could understand our abilities. The language barrier proved to be quite debilitating." Billy said seriously.

"Oh, so you're fighters? I guess I should let you talk to Ar then." Aphrodite with a little frown.

"No, that's okay. Maybe you can help us. Can you find a way that we can get home? We really need to get back." Bobby asked desperately.

Aphrodite looked curiously at him, then at Billy.

"Maybe it is me that you need to talk to. What's happened to your loved ones? I can feel your concern through my godhood." Aphrodite said with concern.

"We both got pulled out of our battles just as our friends were hurt, we need to get back to them." Bobby said, focusing again on his last sight of Marie.

"Come here and let me take a peek in your mind. I think it will be a lot faster than me asking the wrong questions and you giving the wrong answers." Aphrodite said and walked to Bobby.

Bobby nodded nervously, knowing that nothing bad had happened when Professor Xavier had scanned his mind.

A long minute later Aphrodite opened her eyes and looked around the group with new understanding.

"I don't know guys. Honestly, this is a little out of my league. Why don't you come with me and I'll feed you lunch while I check on a few things." Aphrodite said in thought.

"Lunch sounds great." Xander/Yami said happily.

"Do you mind if I come along?" Joxer asked timidly.

"No prob Joxy. What about you Xena? Gabrielle?" Aphrodite asked casually.

"Thank you, no." Xena said firmly and immediately.

Gabrielle just shook her head.

"Go and find the girls while I ask the big guy for permission to take you upstairs." Aphrodite said, then got a distant look in her eyes.

The boys looked curiously at each other, then Bobby and Xander/Yami went to find Willow and Tara.

"It's cool with Big Z, he'll probably be showing up while we eat. Don't get freaked by him, he's just a big ole teddy bear." Aphrodite said with a bounce.

"Big Z? As in Zeus?" Billy asked in confirmation.

"Yeah, you heard of him?" Aphrodite asked as she turned her attention completely to Billy.

"I should say. I've always been fascinated by ancient mythology. This is the opportunity of a lifetime." Billy said with excitement, then an image of Jason, laying unconscious, flashed before Billy's minds eye and his excitement fell into despair.

"Don't worry, I promise that I'll do everything I can to get you back with your honey." Aphrodite said in sympathy.

"He's not. We're best friends, that's all." Billy said hurriedly.

"Hello? Goddess of Love here. I know what's in your heart... even if you've never said the words to anyone." Aphrodite said seriously.

Billy blushed as he nodded and looked at the ground.

Aphrodite felt a tug in her godhood and turned to see Yugi looking up at her with wide desperate eyes.

"I never could resist puppy eyes... what can I do for you?" Aphrodite asked with a tender smile.

"Can you help me? I've never told him... Yami... if you're the goddess of love, maybe you can find some way that... I mean... if he even feels that way about me at all." Yugi stammered.

"Hold on studling, Let me just peek in your mind to fill in the blanks." Aphrodite said and put her hand on his forehead.

She began to laugh and said, "You sure don't ask for much. You just want to be able to physically express your love for the spirit of a five thousand year old Egyptian Pharaoh."

"Sorry." Yugi mumbled.

Aphrodite sobered quickly and said, "Don't worry sweetie. I didn't say it was impossible, and I enjoy a challenge every now and again. But I'm going to need some expert advice, when it comes to spirits, there's only one god to ask."

Bobby and Xander came back to the group leading Willow and Tara who were obviously still angry.

Aphrodite looked at the two and said, "Okay, let's go, I see I'm going to have my work cut out for me today."

Aphrodite waved her hand and a doorway formed.

"Okay boys and girls, follow me and lunch will be served in just a few minutes." Aphrodite said and led the way through the door.

To Be Continued...