A Friend in Need - Part I


TEASER

Gabrielle is looking up at an aura in the sky.

GABRIELLE
Looking out at the cosmos makes you think
about where we are, where we've been, where
we're going now.

Xena sits up on her elbows from her bedroll.

XENA
Yeah and like the bigger now. I mean, Gabrielle,
what are we gonna do? Wander around Greece
our whole lives looking for trouble? Why don't
we go away - far away? Whaddya say?

GABRIELLE
I can't believe you're awake, much less listening
to me.

XENA
Let's go south to the land of the Pharaohs. I hear
they're in need of a girl with a chakram.

GABRIELLE
You know that there's somebody out there.

XENA
Yeah, he's been trying to find us the past half-hour.

Kenji is heard from the woods falling.

KENJI
Oh!

Gabrielle gets up and leaves. Xena follows. Gabrielle moves over to Kenji who is in the bushes and has fallen. He is wearing a wooden piece on his back that would provide him with shade when there's sun. Gabrielle helps him up.

GABRIELLE
Are you all right?

KENJI
Ah, yes. Thank you.

He bows, nearly hitting Gabrielle with the wood piece on his back.

GABRIELLE
Whoa!

KENJI
Are you Xena?

XENA
Who's askin'?

KENJI
A messenger - sent by Akemi.

XENA
Akemi? You saw Akemi?

KENJI
Several weeks ago. I was journeying with another
monk through a forest - near the town of Higuchi.

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Kenji and Saburo move over to the tea house.

KENJI (voice-over)
It started to rain. And we sought shelter at a tea house.

Saburo knocks on the door, the door opens and they enter.

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Inside, Akemi, Miyuki and Ayako are kneeling on the floor in front of them. Saburo laughs.

SABURO
Kenji...

He chuckles.

SABURO
...not even you could be frightened of this.

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Outside, thunder crashes and lightning strikes.

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Inside, Kenji is with Akemi who plays a zeng. Kenji is reading a scroll. The robe Akemi is wearing slides down her shoulder. Kenji looks at her bare shoulder and then quickly turns away.

KENJI
Your shuji has great dignity and beauty.

Akemi pulls her robe back up and continues to play.

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Saburo is bathed by Ayako and Miyuki.

KENJI (voice-over)
I am blessed with a certainty about what it means
to be a monk. But my companion was not as steadfast
in his resolve.

Miyuki shakes her foot and the anklet on her ankle rings. Akemi looks up in shock.

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Yodoshi's POV, moving through the woods. This is the style used by Sam Raimi for the Force in the woods in "The Evil Dead" including the sound effects. It's called "Monster Cam."

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Akemi and Kenji.

AKEMI
You must leave - now.

Akemi helps Kenji up and leads him out.

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Yodoshi's POV, moving through the woods.

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Akemi picks up the sacred katana.

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Yodoshi's POV, moving through the woods.

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Saburo is in the tub. He opens his eyes to see that Miyuki and Ayako are gone.

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Yodoshi's POV, moving through the woods, over to the tea house and smashes into it.

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Yodoshi roars as he enters, smashing through the wall. He is a giant head and then the rest of his body joins him, his heard returning to normal size. He blows out cold air from his mouth, which freezes Saburo. Kenji watches. Yodoshi then inhales, pulling Saburo apart and into him. Saburo screams. Kenji runs off.

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Kenji jumps into the water around the tea house. He pulls himself out of the water and Akemi touches his arm. She has the sacred katana.

AKEMI
I know you're a good man. In the tea house, I
felt the compassion in your heart. Don't fear me.

KENJI
W--who--who was that demon?!

AKEMI
The Lord of the Dark Land. He's preparing an
army to wage war in Higuchi and slaughter, the
populace. Honorable monk...I beg you to do what
must be done to stop him enslaving the souls
\of that city.

KENJI
But I'm no swordsman!

AKEMI
There's one in the west, far beyond the setting sun.

KENJI
A samurai?! A priest?! A god?!

AKEMI
No. A warrior princess.

END OF TEASER



ACT ONE

Boat.

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Xena sits with the sacred katana and watches as Kenji trains Gabrielle with staffs like they are using swords.

KENJI (voice-over)
The way of the sword is the most ancient of the
warrior's art. With practice, the samurai develops
the sacred virtues of bravery, self-discipline and
honour. A samurai would rather die a warrior, than
live as a coward.

GABRIELLE
This Akemi who sent for Xena, what do you know
about her?

KENJI
She was forced by Yodoshi, the Lord of the Dark
Land, to seduce souls into his grasp. She's very
beautiful...and she's a ghost.

GABRIELLE
She's a-

Gabrielle looks at Xena.

XENA
Gabrielle, before we reach Jappa...I should tell
you everything that happened there last time.

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Gabrielle sits with Xena.

XENA
Many years ago...Borias told me about a young
girl who was kidnapped by a Chinese warlord.
She'd been taken hostage from a mighty island,
even further east than Chin.

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A drop of black ink moves slowly in water.

XENA (voice-over)
Being the kind of person I was then-

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Xena and Borias enter Kao's home.

XENA (voice-over)
-the challenge of finding a new land to plunder
was just too much for me. I had to meet her.

XENA
So, her daddy's rich, you say?

BORIAS
And powerful. He should pay well for the return
of his sweet daughter.

They move over to Kao.

KAO
Come.

He leads them over to Akemi who is bowing on the floor.

KAO
Akemi, meet-

AKEMI
Xena, the Warrior Princess.

Xena lifts Akemi's head with her boot.

XENA
You know me?

AKEMI
Oh, yes. I've heard that you're afraid of nothing.
Kao here - he's afraid of many things.

BORIAS
This girl has spirit.

KAO
This girl deserves to die. Speaking like that in
front of my guests.

AKEMI
You won't kill me. Xena won't let you. Because in
her heart...she knows that she will soon love me.

BORIAS
Xena loves no one.

Xena glares at him.

AKEMI
I'll be your student, Xena. You'll take me with
you. You'll teach me everything you know.

KAO
I have a few lessons for you!

Kao pulls her to her feet and moves to strike her, but Xena stops him.

XENA
Here. Fifty pieces of gold. It's the best offer you'll
get for her.

KAO
I do what I want with my property. I say this isn't
a good day to trade.

XENA
Is it a good day to die?

BORIAS
It's unhealthy to negotiate with this one. I'd take
the gold.

KAO
Guards!

Xena puts the Pinch on Kao. Xena flips.

XENA
She-e-e-a-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-she-e-e-e-e-e-yah!

She defeats the guards. Akemi watches. Xena moves over to Kao who is lying on the floor, dying.

XENA
I've shut off the flow of blood to your brain. You
got ten...nine...eight...ah, forget it.

Akemi holds out her hand to Xena who takes it and pulls her up. They leave. Borias moves over to Kao.

BORIAS
I would have taken the gold.

Borias leaves. Kao dies.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
A dolphin jumps out of the water.

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Xena is on the boat. Borias joins her.

XENA
You know, Borias? I have a dream - a dream of
conquering every land between here and Brittania.

BORIAS
Xena, you're always looking for green pastures
to rape and pillage.

XENA
Yep. And maybe there's more in this than just
the ransom, huh? I mean, with her father as an
ally, I could get a nice toehold on that island.

BORIAS
What makes you so sure she'll lead you to Daddy?

XENA
Ah, she wouldn't lie to me. Hm-m. She worships
her teacher.

Borias laughs.

XENA
What's so funny?

BORIAS
Xena, you couldn't teach a dog to bark.

Xena hits his hand away when he reaches out to her and Borias laughs. Xena whistles.

XENA
Akemi! Come here. I wanna show you something.

Akemi joins them.

AKEMI
You're wrong. Xena will be a great teacher.

Xena looks at Borias and snickers.

AKEMI
I'm ready.

XENA
All right. If someone's comin' atcha with a right/left
combination, this is what I wantcha to do - you
feint back, twist in the direction of the blow, and
then deliver a vicious jumping, spinning back-kick.
All right?

AKEMI
Right, so...that's right, a left, a feint, uh, a jumping, swinging-

XENA
Jumping, spinning back-kick. All right. Now, I'll be a bad guy.

Xena attacks Akemi, who does the moves she was told, but when Xena kicks her in the chest, Akemi fails to block her and is knocked back. Borias laughs and Xena glares at him.

XENA
Lesson one - trust no one.

Xena moves off.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Night.

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Xena and Akemi are on a row boat beside the larger boat.

BORIAS
Remember, Xena, I get ten percent of the ransom.

He laughs.

BORIAS
Good luck, 'Teacher.'

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The row boat moves off.

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Mountains.

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Xena and Akemi walk along. Several other landscapes are over cut with this image.

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Xena and Akemi walk along.

XENA
Come on, Akemi. Keep up.

Akemi sighs.

AKEMI
My ribs are still a little sore.

XENA
Well, next time we'll start with something a little simpler.

Xena stops and listens.

XENA
Like listening. Listen to that.

AKEMI
To what?

XENA
To life and death. Every sound, every movement, is
a message. A wagon just crossed a creek up ahead.

She closes her eyes.

XENA
A deer grazing nearby.

AKEMI
When you listen to the Kami like that, you must
be at peace.

XENA
The Kami? What's that?

AKEMI
The Kami are the powers behind all nature. They
make the sun shine, the grass grow. They brought
you to me.

XENA
No, no, no. When I listen like that, I'm at war. Every
sound is a possible warning of an enemy approaching.

AKEMI
I believe that one day, Xena, the Kami will help
you know peace. And I would be honoured...if
you would accept this.

Akemi hands her a scroll with Japanese writing on it.

XENA
Oh-h-h-h...uh-h-h-h-h....

Xena chuckles, confused.

XENA
It's really pretty.

AKEMI
It's our scripts. When my people are overcome
with a feeling, that needs to be preserved, we
write verse.

XENA
Oh, yeah? Like what feeling?

AKEMI
Love.

XENA
Love?

AKEMI
"Yesterday, the moon took lodging on my sleeve.
Today, I have hope for even the brokenhearted stars."

Xena turns away from her.

GABRIELLE (voice-over)
So beautiful.

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Xena and Gabrielle are on the boat.

GABRIELLE
To write something like that, she must have loved
you very much.

Xena says nothing.

GABRIELLE

What's wrong?
XENA
The truth is, Gabrielle...she broke my heart.

END OF ACT ONE



ACT TWO

Xena and Gabrielle are on the boat.

GABRIELLE
She broke your heart? I don't understand.

XENA
For a while, I didn't understand myself.

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Xena and Akemi arrive at her grandfather's home.

XENA (voice-over)
When I traveled with Akemi to her island for the
ransom, I was to learn that my heart was seeking
something else.

Xena turns back and looks at Akemi.

XENA
I thought I was taking you to your father.

AKEMI
His castle's in the north. We came here first to
visit my grandfather. He...died here many years ago.

XENA
Are you telling me that we have walked days in
the wrong direction to see a dead guy?!

AKEMI
We must visit my grandfather to seek his blessing.
He's dead, but I can still speak to him.

Akemi moves before a stone statue. She claps her hands, puts them together and kneels.

XENA
All your talk about moons up your sleeve - you
were playing me for a fool.

Xena draws her sword.

XENA
I oughtta just-

Xena is ready to strike off Akemi's head with her sword, when Akemi moves her hair aside to show a glowing on her skin on her neck.

AKEMI
You hear the Kami through the sounds of nature.
In the same way, I hear sounds that are silent
to you.

Akemi faces the statue again and prays. She places a scroll on the statue and smiles. She stands and faces Xena.

AKEMI
My grandfather says that you are a wise and
appropriate teacher and...he feels your sword
is not good enough.

XENA
There's a string of widows from here to Greece
that say different.

AKEMI
Compared to a katana...all other swords are toys.

XENA
Well...then get me one of those.

AKEMI
The great katana lies near here, but...you must
know - in our country, women are forbidden to
own katana.

Akemi moves off.

XENA
Well, they're just gonna have to get used to it,
aren't they?

Xena follows.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
A forge hut.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inside. Four large men and a Master Swordsman forge katanas. Akemi enters.

AKEMI
Sensei...I come bearing a challenge. My master
wishes to fight you for possession of the katana,
forged from the purest ore of the Hakiman temple.

MASTER SWORDSMAN
Your master must be a mighty samurai.

Xena enters.

XENA
Oh, no. I'm just a girl...in search of a really good sword.

Xena takes off her coat and hat.

MASTER SWORDSMAN
A woman? A foreigner - challenging us for the
sacred katana?! This is a great insolence!

Xena draws her sword.

XENA
Well, I guess you're gonna have to teach me a
lesson, hm-m?

He holds out his katana. Xena attacks him with her sword, but the katana breaks hers in half. The Master Swordsman laughs.

XENA
Ooh, gimme, gimme.

Xena punches him and then fights the other four men. She fights them with no weapons, even though they all have katanas. Two of them grab her and run her over to a wall with spikes. She manages to use her feet to prevent being impaled on them, but one spike stabs her above her right breast (where Lucy Lawless has a small scar in real life, thus explaining where Xena got the scar). Xena pushes them back with her feet and escapes. She flips.

XENA
She-e-e-e-e-yah!

Xena lands on a table where finished katanas lie face up. She lands with her feet on either side of a katana. The guys come at her again. Xena flips off of the table.

XENA
She-e-e-e-e-e-e-yah!

She kicks one of the men back, onto the swords. The Master Swordsman moves on Akemi. Xena battles the other men. Akemi backs away from the Master Swordsman who comes at her with a katana. Xena grabs a rope and swings.

XENA
She-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-
e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-yah!

Xena lands before the Master Swordsman and punches him until she knocks him out. She runs over and holds the sacred katana.

XENA
Yeah. Grandpa was right. Now, this is a sword.

She smiles.

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A drop of black ink moves through water.

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Xena and Akemi are camped. Akemi writes with black ink in the snow.

AKEMI
"In a flurry of snow, two breaths of wind unite and
become as one and then disappear into each other."

XENA
Listen, Akemi...I don't want you to take this the
wrong way. I really love the sword and you're a
nice kid, but I just came for the ransom.

AKEMI
I don't believe that.

Xena looks away from her.

AKEMI
What do you hear now?

XENA
Snow falling on cedars. Now...your heart...beating
harder than normal.

They look at each other.

AKEMI
You're a master of war, yet you know no words
to speak of love. And then you go and save my life.
There's no greater gift of love a teacher can give
a student than that. I have another gift I must ask
of you. I saw what you did to kill that coward, Kao.

XENA
It's a sacred trust.

AKEMI
I would be honoured, beyond words...if you'd
teach me that.

Xena slowly smiles.

XENA
All right.

Akemi chuckles.

GABRIELLE (voice-over)
You knew her for a few weeks-

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Xena and Gabrielle are on the boat. It's night.

GABRIELLE
-and you taught her the pinch? Xena, in all the time-

CAPTAIN
Higuchi is under siege, and there's no place to
dock. I'm turning back.

XENA
What?!

He leaves.

XENA
Gabrielle, I've got to go ashore.

GABRIELLE
I'm with you.

XENA
I knew you'd say that.

Xena jumps into the water and Gabrielle follows her.

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Higuchi is on fire. Harukata moves about.

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Xena and Gabrielle enter Higuchi from the water. Harukata sees them.

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Xena and Gabrielle look around.

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A catapult fires.

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Higuchi.

XENA
Firebombs.

GABRIELLE
They're going to burn Higuchi to the ground.

Xena sees the water tower on the other side of the village.

XENA
We've gotta release the water from the tower.
Gabrielle, what would you do?

GABRIELLE
I saw these acrobats. They used a-

XENA
Show me, Gabrielle.

Gabrielle moves off and Xena follows. Harukata watches them. Gabrielle grabs a rope.

GABRIELLE
Climb on!

She does and they swing through the village.

XENA
She-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-yah!

They land on a cloth overhang and bounce, flipping backwards.

XENA
A-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-she-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-
e-e-e-e-e-e-yah!

They land on a roof top.

XENA
All right. What's next?

GABRIELLE
This way!

They run off. More explosions go off. Gabrielle jumps through a window into another building, but before Xena can follow, a firebomb hits the window, blocking Xena's way.

XENA
Gabrie-e-e-e-e-elle!

A warrior climbs up the ladder to the window. Gabrielle kicks the ladder. The warrior yells. The ladder lands on a crate, like a see-saw. Gabrielle jumps.

GABRIELLE
Whoa!

Gabrielle lands on one end of the ladder.

GABRIELLE
Xena!

Xena sees the other side of the ladder and jumps onto it.

XENA
She-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-yah!

Gabrielle is launched across the village and yells as she flies across. She lands hard on a roof top. Xena cartwheels and then flips.

XENA
A-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-she-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-
e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-yah!

Xena jumps off of a pole and grabs another, and starts to swing around it.

GABRIELLE
Go for the ladder!

She stops, upside down and looks at the ladder. Gabrielle runs to the ladder.

XENA
A-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-she-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-
e-e-e-e-e-e-yah!

Xena starts to spin around the pole again. Gabrielle gets to the ladder.

EXTRA
Kill her!

Xena flips from the pole, across the village.

XENA
A-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-she-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-
e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-yah!

Xena hits the ladder on the other side of Gabrielle. They spin through the village on the ladder until they reach the water tower. Gabrielle grabs the wheel and grunts as she turns it. Xena draws her sword and hits it.

XENA
A-a-a-a-a-ah!

Water sprays out over Higuchi, putting out the fire.

EXTRA
Retreat!

The villagers cheer. Xena laughs.

XENA
Whoo-hoo!

The soldiers retreat.

EXTRA
Yeah! We've won! We've won!

EXTRA
This way!

EXTRA
Hurry!

GABRIELLE
Higuchi is saved.

XENA
Not quite the way I would have done it, Gabrielle,
but it sure worked.

They chuckle.

END OF ACT TWO



ACT THREE

Higuchi is still smoking, but the fires are out.

GABRIELLE (voice-over)
You know, Xena, I still don't understand.

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Xena and Gabrielle walk along in Higuchi.

GABRIELLE
You taught Akemi the pinch. Did she ever use it?

XENA
Yes, unfortunately, she did.

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Yodoshi's home.

XENA (voice-over)
After a many days' walk, we reached her father's fortress.

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Inside. Yodoshi watches some dancers. Akemi enters and moves over to her father, her face hidden behind a mask like she is part of the dance. She stands before him and takes off the mask.

YODOSHI
Akemi?

Xena enters.

XENA
Akemi, what are you doing?

Akemi puts the Pinch on him. The guards attack Xena and she fights them.

AKEMI
You have thirty seconds to live.

He claps.

AKEMI
My brothers, my sisters, my mother, and my gentle
grandparents - I avenge all your deaths at the
hands of this monster.

Xena defeats the guards and moves over to Akemi.

AKEMI
Father...

XENA
Father?

AKEMI
...I pray you suffer in death the way your family
suffered in life.

He dies. Akemi stands.

AKEMI
It was my duty.

She faces Xena.

AKEMI
He had to die.

Akemi leaves.

XENA
I don't care about that. What about the ransom?

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Akemi kneels outside.

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Inside.

XENA
Where's my money?!

Xena follows her.

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Xena joins Akemi.

AKEMI
Forgive me, Xena.

XENA
I don't suppose there's any inheritance in this!

AKEMI
I have one last thing to ask of you. Restore my
honour. The sacred katana.

Akemi pulls her hair back from her neck.

XENA
You want me to cut off...that's why you wanted
me to take the katana.

AKEMI
After that is done, take my ashes and place them
in the family shrine in the town of Higuchi.

XENA
(whispering) No, no. (normal) No, I'm not going to...

Akemi stabs herself in the stomach with a dagger.

XENA
Akemi.

AKEMI
I pray you will. "The snow melts...flowers fade...and
I pass as all things do."

XENA
You...

Xena sobs.

AKEMI
"But--but time and love...they go on." (gasping)
Restore my honour, Xena.

Akemi is dying. Xena gets ready to strike.

XENA
A-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-

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Clip from "A Friend in Need - Part I."

XENA (voice-over)
-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-

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Xena gets ready to strike.

XENA
-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-

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Clips from "A Friend in Need - Part I."

XENA (voice-over)
-aaaaaaaaaa-

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Xena gets ready to strike.

XENA
-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Clip from "A Friend in Need - Part I."

XENA (voice-over)
-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena gets ready to strike.

XENA
-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Clip from "A Friend in Need - Part I."

XENA (voice-over)
-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena gets ready to strike.

XENA
-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ah!

Xena cuts off Akemi's head.

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A drop of red ink lands in water.

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Xena and Gabrielle walk amoung the villagers. The villagers cheer.

EXTRA
Xena!

EXTRA
Yeah, Xena!

EXTRA
Xena!

GABRIELLE
How will you feel when you come face-to-face
with Akemi's ghost?

HARUKATA
Better question is, "How will Xena feel face-to-face
with the ghosts of the people she killed at Higuchi?!"

XENA
What?

GABRIELLE
Who are you?

HARUKATA
My family name is Harukata.

KENJI
But he's known as the Killer of Ghosts.

GABRIELLE
Xena saved your city.

HARUKATA
This time. But that does nothing to atone for what
happened when last she was here.

GABRIELLE
What's he talking about?

XENA
I was fulfilling Akemi's dying wish - to place her
ashes at the family shrine here in Higuchi.

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Smoke.

XENA (voice-over)
Word got out that I was honouring the ashes-

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena has cut her hair very close to head in ugly clumps. Her face is painted white and she wears wooden shoes. She has a jar with Akemi's ashes in one hand and a bottle of ale over her neck which she takes swigs out of as she walks along the ice.

XENA (voice-over)
-of a girl who had killed her father. The townsfolk
felt that I would be defiling her graveyard. They
banded together to stop me.

One person throws a snowball at her. Most of them carry torches. They surround her.

XENA (voice-over)
I tried to ignore them, but they came after me.

One attacks her and she knocks him back and takes the torch he is holding. The townspeople attack Xena. Her feet are knocked out from under her and she falls, the jar holding Akemi's ashes flying into the air.

XENA
Akemi!

The jar hits the ground and breaks, Akemi's ashes blowing away in the wind.

XENA
No! Akemi!

Xena yells as she gets to her feet. She takes a swig from the bottle and spits the liquor onto it. A flame hits one of the townspeople who runs around, screaming since he's on fire. The town catches fire as he runs.

EXTRA
Fire! Fire!

Xena walks off. She looks at the torch and drops it as she takes a swig from the bottle.

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Higuchi.

HARUKATA
The wind took the fire from house to house. Forty
thousand of my townsfolk perished in the flames!

XENA
No, it's not possible.

HARUKATA
That is only the beginning!

KENJI
Akemi told me that after she killed her father,
Yodoshi's spirit was so full of evil, even the
underworld would not allow him to enter. He
became Lord Yodoshi, the Eater of Souls. The
forty thousand lost spirits were at his mercy. Now
he holds them, inside him, enslaved.

XENA
Then I am guilty of a greater evil than I ever
thought possible.

GABRIELLE
Xena, it was a horrible accident.

XENA
No. No, I must put things right.

END OF ACT THREE



ACT FOUR

Overlooking the land.

XENA (voice-over)
Can you hear them?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena and Gabrielle overlook the land from a high wall. Gabrielle has her eyes closed.

GABRIELLE
I thought I heard a horse, before.

XENA
Listen not just to the sounds, but to what's
behind the sounds.

Gabrielle listens. She hears marching and flames and a horse snorts. These images overlap Gabrielle's face. Gabrielle opens her eyes and the overlapping images fade.

GABRIELLE
How many are there?

XENA
At least three armies are gathering.

GABRIELLE
I'll warn the others.

Gabrielle leaves. Harukata enters with Kenji.

XENA
Ghost Killer...I know that you think of me as your
enemy, but you must believe this. My spirit aches
for the torment I've caused.

He nods.

HARUKATA
We both want the same thing - to release those souls.

XENA
You've devoted your life to killing Yodoshi. Why
is it that you have never succeeded?

HARUKATA
I have the power to slay him, but it is impossible
for me to get close enough to use my blade.

XENA
Why?

HARUKATA
Because...I am mortal. Only another ghost can
try to trap a spirit as mighty as Yodoshi.

Xena looks out over the country. She moves off.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena is wearing Japanese armour and is kneeling in a temple.

XENA
Akemi...I know what I must do, but I'm afraid that
this day, what's done may not be undone.

Gabrielle enters wearing Japanese armour over her clothes.

GABRIELLE
Xena, the militia is prepared. Why aren't you ready?

XENA
Gabrielle, come here.

She sniffs.

XENA
Come here. Give me your hands.

Gabrielle kneels before her. Xena takes her hands and brings them to her throat.

XENA
All right. Here. Feel the surge of blood under the
skin. Now, just behind-

Gabrielle pulls her hands back from Xena.

GABRIELLE
Xena, you don't have to do this. I understand why
you would never wanna teach me the pinch.

XENA
No. No, today more than ever, I want you to know
what I know. Please?

Xena holds Gabrielle's fingers to her throat and smiles. She helps Gabrielle do the Pinch on her.

GABRIELLE
Why are you doing this?

Blood runs down from Xena's nose.

XENA
Gabrielle, if I only had thirty seconds to live, this
is how I'd want to live them - looking into your eyes.

GABRIELLE
Stop this. Stop it.

XENA
Always remember, I love you.

Xena uses Gabrielle's hand to undo the Pinch. Xena coughs and falls forward onto Gabrielle, who holds her.

GABRIELLE
Why would you teach me this right now? I don't understand!

Xena wipes the blood from her nose.

XENA
There's nothing to understand. I just wanted you
to know everything I know. Let's go. We got a
battle to win.

Xena leaves. Gabrielle is stunned and doesn't move.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mountain.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle, Kenji and the soldiers step out of Higuchi.

KENJI
Wouldn't it be better if we stayed with Xena?

GABRIELLE
Xena wants us to lead a contingent to the east
plain. She said a group of Yodoshi's archers
are gathering there.

Gabrielle and the others move off. Xena steps out behind them and watches them leave. Xena moves off in the other direction.

END OF ACT FOUR

STARRING
Lucy Lawless as Xena
Renee O'Connor as Gabrielle

GUEST CAST
Marton Csokas as Borias
Michelle Ang as Akemi
Mac Jeffery Ong as Kenji
Adrian Brown as Yodoshi
Yvonne Tan as Ayako
Shiori Terada as Miyuki
Kazuhiro Muroyama as Harukata
Gary Young as Saburo
Travor Sai-Louie as Kao
Ric Chan as Master Swordsman
Gregor McLennan as Captain

Story By Rob Tapert & R.J. Stewart
Teleplay By R.J. Stewart
Directed By Rob Tapert

Disclaimer: Xena and Gabrielle's Flying Circus and Amateur Fire Brigade will be arriving in your town soon.