Augean Stables

"I just don't see how these Augeun stables are so bad. Why are you stressing over them," Azeus continued to question Heracles.

"These stables are home to 1000 holy and divine heads of cattle. They never get sick, they never die. They are perfect in every way. That includes their excrement. These stables been unclean for thirty years," Heracles explained.

Heracles was right to be nervous. He was not above cleaning cow and bull dung. It was the thought that it had piled high for nearly 30 years. The cattle walking around in it. Growing higher as the older dung dried. The cattle were never sick, there was no reason to clean it if they would never grow ill. Appearances meant nothing when people would still pay to have the offspring of these cattle or the milk they produced.

A meeting with King Augeus was requested by Azeus when they arrived in the city. Heracles would clean the stables, but he would not do it for free. He would rather face off with several hydras than clean 30 years worth of divine waste.

"I will clean your stables," Heracles stated bluntly.

"Those stables haven't been cleaned in 33 years. Why would you do that," King Augeaus asked.

"I would do it for 100 of the cattle," Heracles offered.

"100? Of my cattle? Ha," King Augeus laughed in his face.

Off to the side, Azeus and King Augeus' Phyleus were getting along charmingly. Making several jokes and nudging one another. Phyleus was interested in the tales a warrior traveling with Heracles may have, and Azeus was interested in the life a prince must live. They both exaggerated greatly, but kept the other's interest. There was no harem for Phyleus nor had Azeus slain the Nemian Lion but they were impressed with each other.

"Father, I say we give him a chance. A hero as divine as Heracles comes around only so often. Even rarer is a hero offering to do such work as cleaning stables," Prince Phyleus spoke up, if only to impress Azeus.

Begrudgingly the King agreed to the deal. He was sure Heracles could not clean the stables, but was unsure if Heracles had a plan. Outside the four were lead to the stables. Heracles was presented with many tools to make the job easier as the King headed back to the city. Both Azeus and Phyleus stayed behind to watch.

"Azeus, come here," Heracles called.

"What is it Heracles," Azeus asked.

"Clearly your mind has wandered to the nether regions of Prince Phleus."

"Don't be absurd," Azeus interrupted him.

"I assure you I am not. Many young men serve older men as spear bearers and temporary lovers. But the love is not true. Simply a way to have the comfort on travel and in battle. I have loved many, I know love. The gazes you two share are the same as my wife and I once shared, but will never share again. Go, take the day off. Spend time with Phyleus, give into your desires. Take him within you, do as you must to give yourself to love. I will not stand in the way," Heracles spoke with a heavy hand resting on Azeus shoulder, as if he were a father.

"Thank you," Azeus hugged Heracles, as if he were the father he missed.

The boys quickly ran off together, waving a fond goodbye at Heracles. He waved back and smiled, glad that there was still love in the world. But he still had a task at hand and a plan as well. He searched for several large boulders around the landscape. No boulder that wasn't at least three times his size was brought.

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