Salmoneus: "Now, remember, if anybody asks, you're Miss Amphipolis and you're her sponsor, the Marchesa."
Xena: "What about the contest itself?"
Salmoneus: "Here's the deal … each girl competes in three events to win. Miss one of them, whatever the reason, you're out of the pageant and can't get back in. One miss, you're gone, understand?"
Xena: "Excuse me."
Miss Skiros: "Watch it, clod. Or can't you see from up there?"
Salmoneus: "Excuse me, Miss Messini? Sorry to interrupt. I want to introduce you to our newest contestant, Miss Amphipolis, and her sponsor, The Marchesa … Ladies, this is Miss Messini, sponsored by the Doge of Messini."
Miss Messini: "Hello."
Gabrielle as The Marchesa: [with a very strange accent] … "It's good to meet you. Don't let us keep you from your …" ... [An arrow is triggered as Miss Messini begins to strum her harp. Xena tosses her concealed chakram at the arrow, breaking it in two. After its return journey, she tosses the chakram into Salmoneus' shocked hands.]
Miss Messini: "You saved my life! Did you see that? He saved my life."
Salmoneus: "Yes! Yes, I did. It was nothing."
Miss Messini: "Nothing? I wouldn't call that arrow nothing, and I don't think my sponsor will either once he finds out about it."
Salmoneus: "Talk about a close call. If Miss Messini had been skewered, the Doge would have blamed the other two. I would have lost both the Peace and my shirt in one fell swoop."
Gabrielle: "Your concern is
Gabrielle: Look, as long as we can keep the contest fair while we find out who's doing this, we'll be fine."
Xena: "Okay, Salmoneus, you find me a disguise, while you get to know the other sponsors."
Gabrielle: "Got it."
Xena: "We'll meet back here after the first event."
Matron: "Matron of the pageant coming in! There's no time for modesty. I've got ten more of you wannabes to see before … here, what's this?"
Matron: "Aren't you … yes, I'm sure you are."
Matron: "You're wearing the robe inside out."
Matron: "Why the gods waste beauty on girls like you, I'll never know. If I had half your looks, I could rule the world."
Xena: "Look, I'm sorry about the robe. I'm just so totally thrilled to be here that--"
Matron: "Oh, save it for the judges. I'm on a schedule."
Doge of Messini: "That arrow nearly killed her! And, why? Because one of you wants to stop me from winning, that's why. It's an insult!"
Lord Clairon: "We don't know for a fact that--"
Palatine of Parnassus: "And what about me? My girls was attacked on the beach by thugs one of you hired to stop me from winning. It's a slur on my honor."
Lord Clairon: "As I said, nothing's been proven about anyone--"
Regent of Skiros: "Will you listen to yourselves? Hissing and moaning when it's clear my girl is going to win this one."
Doge of Messini: "What are you talking about?"
Palatine of Parnassus: "Are you saying my girl--"
Gabrielle as The Marchesa: "Er-hem! Is this a private bash or can any sponsor join?"
Lord Clairon: "You're a sponsor?"
Gabrielle: "That's right. I am called the Marchesa. And from what I just hear, I am the lot better sponsor than any of you. Your contestant is nearly killed and it's you who is insulted. Get a life! And yours is attacked but it's your disgrace. Give me a break! And I suppose if yours gets hurt it would be about you, too. Well, all I can say to you three is ... clear the runaway because my contestant is going to wipe the floor with all of you."
Doge of Messini: "And just who is your contestant?!"
Miss Parnassus: "Her name is Miss Amphipolis."
Miss Skiros: "Odd, her being sponsored by a woman."
Miss Messini: "I'll say. You wouldn't think a woman would put you through all this just to win a silly contest."
Miss Parnassus: "I just keep focused on the extra food my village will get if I win. The Palatine promised."
Miss Skiros: "Well, nobody twisted my arm to be here. I'm going to use this thing to get as far away from here as possible. And all I can say, is Miss Amphipolis better not get in the way."
Xena: "Thanks for the warning. I'll have to keep that in mind."
Miss Skiros: "Do that."
Miss Parnassus: "I gotta go. Too much steam, I turn all pruny."
Miss Messini: "Yeah, me, too. Besides, it's nearly time for the first event."
Xena: "Sounds like this pageant means a lot to you, huh?"
Miss Skiros: "No … but winning it does. And you can bet I'll do whatever it takes." … [stalks off]
Xena: "Was it something I said?"
[Finding herself now alone in the steam room, Xena tries to leave but the doors are locked. Never one to quit so easily, she strips off her towel and uses it to lasso a vent up near the ceiling.]
Gabrielle: [hears a knock at the door] … "Xena! It's about time! Keeping us all waiting … Where is she?!"
Salmoneus: "She's not back?"
Salmoneus: "You know, she misses this, she's out of the pageant, no 'if', 'and's or 'but's. Gone. Finito. Out!"
Gabrielle: "I know that. So do those warlords. You should have seen the way they acted, like this contest is all about them and how great they are. And, I'm telling you, they'll do anything to win."
Salmoneus: "That's unusually perceptive of you. The question is, which one?"
Gabrielle: "I wish I knew."
Salmoneus: "I wish I could stay, but I have a show to MC. If Xena gets back, get her dressed and down to the stage fast. If she doesn't stay in to keep this thing on a level, we're all goners. Buh-bye!"
Salmoneus: "Come on, everybody, give it up for Miss Artiphys, huh? Come on, a big hand for Miss Artiphys! … Let's hear it for all our contestants!"
Salmoneus: [getting the thumbs up from a late arriving Gabrielle] … "And now, it gives me great pleasure to present to you our last contestant ... Miss Amphipolis."
[Meanwhile, As Miss Amphipolis struts her stuff on stage, someone creeps through the gals' room and takes Xena's leathers from their trunk.]
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