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arphus, Xena's renegade, even crueler mercenaries captain, deliberately raids the innocent village Elysia and sends one man away to challenge Hercules, after showing him the scar left by his divine resurrection from death, then starts throwing human sacrifices to Graegus, the monster Ares gave him to defeat the half-god they both hate. When Salmoneus presents the picnic carpet and offers to catch some quail, provided Hercules cooks it for them and Xena, he gets caught himself by Iolaus, who still thought Xena was the problem, but happily joins the fight against Ares' stooge Darphus, although reluctant to believe Xena's turn for the good. Xena finds and defeats one of Darphus' plundering parties; she lets Quintus go to tell their approach to Darphus, who throws the man to Graegus 'for fleeing from his post'. Darphus' ravine trap succeeds in burying Hercules' party under a rock avalanche, but alive, so his celebration drink on the nearly full-grown Graegus, now unhindered, can help them establish Ares' worldwide rule of terror, is premature. Hercules gets everyone out, just in time, even Salmoneus who froze in fear. They successfully fight off Darphus' attack on a diamond mine, but Salmoneus goes missing, taking a cart-ride from an old peddler who accidentally heads for Elysia, where both are seized. Xena becomes Hercules' lover again. Iolaus sees Salmoneus dining with Darphus -actually just fattened to be eaten himself as last sacrifice- and notices Ares' nasty pet Graegus. The trio mounts the final attack on the mercenaries, Hercules handles the mighty monster...

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