No longer worried about damage to the city King Eurystheus demanded Heracles present the golden apples to him in front of a crowd. Honor the king with a gift were the words of his Herald. The crowd was stunned as the apples lie there at Eurystheus feet. Heracles had done the impossible. Found a way to retrieve the apples from Hera's secret garden as well as overcome the great dragon that guarded them.

"Are you not impressed," Heracles asked of the King.

"No, I am very impressed. I have tried to send you to Hades eleven times over now. Be it through your mind or physical death. You walk back every time, head held high. I am impressed. You have done the impossible eleven times over. You will not do it a twelfth," King Eurystheus proclaimed.

The king's voice no longer held cowardice. He had become sick and tormented by Hera for his failures to kill Heracles. He held no hate for his cousin when this began but now he hated him. He hated Hera all the same but there was no to defeat a god. Instead he would kill his cousin, and rid himself of Hera. If he had failed to kill Heracles he would see no end to the torment caused by Hera.

"What did you have in mind, King," Heracles asked trying not to provoke him.

"Go to Hades," Eurystheus spoke calmly.

"Is that all?"

"No. When you get to Hades, retrieve Cerberus and bring the dog here. If you survive, you're free to go. I will darken your days no longer. But, if you so happen to die, then you'll already be home."

Outside of the palace in a small popina frequented by the King's men Heracles and Azeus dined on stew and wine. Azeus was already making plans on how they would reach Hades. But Heracles had no intentions of taking Azeus with him. Azeus had grown strong but he could not survive Hades. Physically he would survive a battle alongside Heracles, but mentally he could not withstand the toll. Dead relatives calling out, and trying to drag him down. It would make quick work of him. Azeus settled on a plan, and Heracles broke the news.

"Azeus, you have been a good friend. Better than I deserve. When we met, you were concerned with being a man your father would be proud of. You have fought alongside demi-gods, dined with Centaurs, battled the Amazonians, giants, and even dragons. You are a man that most would envy. Thank you. But you can not go to the Underworld with me. This is a task too dangerous for you. Please, understand."

Azeus couldn't stop the tears. He knew how dangerous this was without Heracles telling him. He had already accepted the thought back in the palace. Still, he was willing to go if Heracles said so. He cared that much fort he man at this point. He had saved him from sacrifice and shown him the world. Accepted Azeus as Azeus and what the world saw as flaws.

This was likely the last time he would ever see Heracles. He embraced Heracles with a bear hug of his own, as he tried to say thank you, none of the words would come out. He tightened his grip trying to hold on to the moment. Heracles found himself stroking Azeus hair as he did his own children when they run to him crying. It was there that he understood Azeus was his child, not by blood or relation, but they had shared a bond. Heracles shed tears as well. Tears for his children that he had lost, but also the men he had raised as his own and how they had all come to his aid when requested.

"Farewell my friend, I hope we can meet again," is all Azeus could muster as they parted ways.

"I'll seen you again one day, my son," and Heracles was gone.

Sprinting through the woods, not wishing to succumb to his emotions yet again. In the moment he was sad to see Azeus go, but also happy to see the man he had become.

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