Usual disclaimers apply.

Chapter 61

"Should we be worried that there are no outer guards to welcome us home?" Rory asked

"You don't think?" Yaya looked at Mama and Mama looked at Mom. Straining my hearing I realized that even Mama and I couldn't hear that well.

"Race ya!" I yelled, "Moving Jedi into a full gallop before anyone else even had a chance to get moving. Slowing down on the path as I got closer to the village I began to realize that Aunt Hestia must have brought Eve back to the village early or that Eve may have escaped.

Watching from the safety of the tree I was soon joined by the rest of the group. "Why is it?" Mom began.

"That they are always naked?" Yaya continued.

"Or almost naked," Rory amended after looking closely. "While covered in mud."

"And why are feathers, and a goat usually involved?" Mama finished.

"The use of my junior staff warriors is new," I commented. "Along with involving the twins, Nasa, Minerva, and …." I was cut off when I heard Mama's low growl.

"Is that Argo? My very pregnant Argo? My about to give birth Argo?"

"Yup." Mom's short answer along with a well-placed hand on Mama's arm made me glad that I wasn't Eve or any of the miscreants involved in whatever was happening in the village. Then again, I couldn't figure out why Ephiny was allowing this to happen in the village in the first place.

Finally making our presence known a cheer went up from the Amazons surrounding Eve and her cohorts in trouble. "Thank the gods you're back. Solari stepped from the crowd and bowed on one knee as we all dismounted. Our horses were taken by young warriors as was Yaya's cart and Daphne's chuckle was knocked from her by Rory elbowing her in the ribs.

"What in Hades is going on here?" Mom demanded.

"Um, well, you see…." Solari stuttered. Only to be interrupted when Eve and her usual gang came running towards us.

"Get up, Solari." Mom's directive was met but Solari kept her eyes downcast.

"Mom, Mama, Sam!" My sisters greeted us with the usual hugs and I had to blink twice when I realized Eve was holding the hand of Grace.

"Little bit, why is Grace with you?"

"It's time she learns the ways of Trouble…" Addy spoke up first and then began to giggle.

"Uh-huh," I picked up Grace and shook my head at her mud covered body. At least she still had on her diaper."

"So, what's going on here?" Mom asked.

"We won."

"This is going to be good," Rory quipped. "What?" She looked at the scene in front of her. "We have a missing regent and weapons master, Trouble and her usual entourage, not to mention the twins, various pets, junior staff warriors and Amazons doing nothing. Then Trouble mentions that they won. This has got to be good. Oh, and we also have a missing Aunt Hestia…." Rory trailed off as Mama scrubbed her hand down her face and Mom groaned.

"What did you win, Eve?" She asked quietly.

"Dodgeball." Eve crowed beginning to dance around followed not only by her friends but the majority of the junior staff warriors.

"Sam." Mama's voice left no questions for me and I moved to the center of the group.

"Junior staff warriors, HALT!"

The chaos around us slowly began to die down and I pulled myself as tall as I could. Looking around I chose two of the oldest and most trustworthy girls I could find. "Jacoba, Milena, come here please."

The two were in front of me almost immediately and I smiled down at them, "Jacoba, I need you to pick three other girls and get everyone dismissed and home. I think we need to see if we can beat our unofficial time of ten candle drips."

"Sure thing, Sam." The girl replied taking off towards the other junior staff warriors.

Looking down at the blonde in front of me, I sighed. "Tell me what happened here today. What's going on?"

"Shouldn't your moms be asking Trouble that?" Milena asked.

"They should, and they are," I confirmed. "I'd like to hear how my junior staff warriors got involved in whatever this is…. what is this?"

"A play based on the Three Billy Goats and the Troll."

"Of course, it is," scrubbing my hand down my face I sat where I stood and made myself as comfortable as I could. I couldn't wait for this story. Waiting for Milena to join me on the ground I nodded to her and she grinned. "Well, it all started when Eve introduced the gods to dodge ball. Seems Ares is a sore loser and he put some sort of spell around Olympus and nobody who's immortal can leave. Eve got bored and she and Pegasus ended up here…"

"Pegasus?" I cut the girl off. "Where is Pegasus?"

"Off with Mavri. According to the twins Pegasus thinks he's pretty handsome and she hasn't had fun in over a hundred years with a mortal stallion."

Shaking my head, I nodded, "Continue, Milena."

Her eyes lighting up, Milena picked up the story once more and I wondered how the version of events I was getting would compare with the version of events Mom and Mama would be getting from Eve and her band of trouble makers.

***XENA***BARD***XENA***BARD***XENA***BARD***XENA***

Sitting down at my usual place at the family table in the dining hall I noticed that all those present were unusually quiet, especially Eve. "What's wrong, little bit?" I asked. "Not happy with the chat you and Mama had?"

"Nobody appreciated my artistic vision," she muttered as Yaya oversaw the food being brought to our table.

Seeing the adults trying to hold their snickers I shook my head. "Nah," I said just loudly enough for everyone at my table to hear me. "It wasn't that nobody appreciated your artistic vision," I began, "it's just that the proper people weren't involved."

"What do you mean?" Eve asked.

"Yeah, Sam, what do you mean?" Addy echoed.

"Yes, Sam, do tell us what you mean," Mom added.

"Well, it's like this," I continued. "First, you tried to put on your play before Ephiny and Eponin came back from getting Zivah at Andy's. You know you can't do something that big without the okay of the queen or her regent. Secondly, you needed a storyteller to tell the story while you acted it out. The junior staff warriors were a good idea, but come on, who tells that story better than me?"

"Nobody!" The twins shouted.

"Exactly," I confirmed. "And you missed a great opportunity to cast Daphne as the troll. I mean who else can play that part better?" I asked knowing that Daphne absolutely hated playing the troll when we were forced to put the play on for the kids at home.

"Daphne does play the troll quite well," Yaya confirmed. "She has the yell down perfectly.

"Not only that," I continued. "The twins couldn't get the goats to cooperate because, well, they're goats. How about we cast real people as the goats and put on a real play?"

"Really?" Eve asked.

"Sure, look around, I'm sure we have enough people that we can figure out those roles."

Taking a bite of the food now on her plate, Eve nodded. "The only thing I don't understand," I continued. "Is Argo. Why was she even at the play?"

"Oh, that's easy," Emily spoke up. "She came because she knew Mama would be coming home soon."

"And?" Mama interjected.

"Well, she said that she's ready to drop any day and she wants to be close to you because she's not having twins on her own at her age."

"Oh gross," Rory commented as Eponin's juice sprayed across the table as she laughed.

"Sorry, kid."

"Oh, and by the way," Zoe interrupted. "Pegasus said that Mavri and she might be having a little one soon too. She'll let you know when the time comes. What did she mean?"

"Really, Moms? Again?" Rory questioned as she wiped up yet another round of juice this time spit out by both of her mothers.

***XENA***BARD***XENA***BARD***XENA***BARD***XENA***

Just a fun chapter…don't worry- more to come and more information to be given. Party chapter will be coming as well… after all…we all know first feather ceremonies will require a party and Amazons love to party.

Hope you all enjoyed