"Xena, help me." The fear was clear in Callisto's voice. "Xena?"
As the blonde warrior sunk deeper into the ground, Xena made no move to save her. The look of utter terror in her enemy's eyes let her know just how desperate she was. Xena wasn't going to save her, this was payback for killing Perdicus.
Xena would've thought hearing Callisto's screams as she sunk into the quicksand would've brought peace to her, but it didn't. All she could think about was if she had been in Callisto's position, what if someone hadn't given her the chance to live? She would've never went on to save so many people. As much as she knew she shouldn't, Xena could not let Callisto die, not now.
With a flick of her whip, Xena wrapped the end around one of Callisto's hands that was still above the ground. Immediately she caught on, gripping the end of the whip as if she thought it'd suddenly disappear. Slowly, Xena watched as Callisto began to reappear from under the ground, grasping onto the whip that was her only means of survival.
Once Callisto had finally made it onto the surface, she dragged herself the rest of the way to the edge of the quicksand. As soon as she was safely on the ground, she backed up against a nearby log, as if scared the quicksand was going to pull her back in. Xena had never seen Callisto so out of breath, and the terror in her eyes still remained.
"You... you saved me." Callisto could hardly seem to believe it herself.
Xena didn't say anything, caught between wondering if she had done the right thing, or just saved a monster that would come back and kill everything she loved. She couldn't even imagine what Gabrielle was going to think.
"Callisto, your leg." Xena pointed to a large gash down her leg from some unknown source hidden under the quicksand. Perhaps a sword or knife that had been dropped in and disappeared beneath. Xena noticed multiple other scratches that she hadn't done to Callisto.
The sound of Gabrielle's approaching footsteps sent Callisto to her feet. She quickly hopped into the remaining chariot, clearly in pain from the injuries she had received.
"Callisto wait-" She didn't even listen to Xena, as she flicked the reins of the horse and screamed her signature scream as she rode off, disappearing in a cloud of dirt and sand.
Gabrielle finally reached Xena, running up beside her out of breath and panting. Xena noticed tears running down her face as well. "Did you kill her?" she asked bitterly. "Is she dead?"
The look on Xena's face said it all. She couldn't lie to her best friend's face. "Xena please tell me you didn't..."
"I couldn't kill her Gabrielle, I'm sorry."
The anger and rage that built up in Gabrielle was something Xena had only seen once before. In a blind rage, she threw her staff on the ground and screamed, before collapsing to the ground in sobs. Joxer, who had been following behind her, finally caught up to them.
Pulling out his sword, Joxer turned around as if looking for someone to battle. "Where is she, where's Callisto?" Joxer waved his sword around, pretending to fight an invisible enemy.
"She's gone, Joxer," Xena told him, no emotion in her voice. "I let her go."
"Stop, let's just go!" Gabrielle suddenly yelled from the ground, pushing herself up and stomping off in a rage. Xena and Joxer trailed behind, giving her some space. She needed time to mourn on her own. Xena just hoped letting Callisto go wasn't a mistake.
The three were silent in their trek through the land, the sun setting behind them. It was getting late, and they'd have to make a camp soon for the night. Xena knew it wasn't going to be easy for Gabrielle, but she hoped that somehow, she'd be able to forgive Xena for letting Callisto go.
"Why'd you do it Xena?" Joxer asked suddenly. She had forgotten he was beside her.
"I couldn't watch her die, knowing that it could've easily been me a long time ago. I was once in the same position Callisto is, and I couldn't let her die knowing I had been given another chance to live. I just hope this wasn't a mistake." Xena knew Callisto wasn't ever going to forgive her, but something about her near death experience made Xena think that there was something else going through her mind other than revenge.
"But what about Gabrielle?"
Xena sighed. She knew it wouldn't be easy for her friend. "She'll pull through. Gabrielle is so much stronger than she realizes. I just hope she has it in her heart to forgive me."
"She will," Joxer reassured her. "You're her best friend Xena."
"You've got a good heart Joxer. Let's just hope you're right this time."