The Enemy Within II
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The following is an episode of the Young Hercules Fan Fiction Seasons, a non-profit virtual season project; written for fans by fans this is done to help keep the legacy of the short-lived television series Young Hercules alive on the Internet. The overall direction of the story that takes place in this virtual season may not be exactly what took place if an actual televised season had been produced.
(Hercules looks down at his hands, which are stained with dry blood)
THE SON OF ZEUS MUST ENCOUNTER THE EVIL MEDUSA
(Snake haired woman, with hideous face, slithers across a room)
(Iolaus, Jason, and Lillith run from a flock of harpies)
Hercules, angry: "One great battle...one great challenge."
BUT WILL IT BE MAN AGAINST DEMON
(Hercules swings a sword at Medusa)
OR DEMON AGAINST ITSELF
(Darker Hercules hysterically laughs)
(Hercules hefts up a sword, his face an angry shade of red)
THE ENCOUNTER REACHES AN INTENSE CLIMAX
Ares, to Hercules: "You know how much pleasure it gives me!"
Hercules, to Ares: "You're getting anything but that..."
ON THE NEXT YOUNG HERCULES
Hercules looked up at the watery form of his uncle. "Why do you stop us, Poseidon?" Hercules crossed his arms, glaring his eyes at the sea god with a scowl.
Poseidon laughed. "You would talk to your uncle like that? Where is your respect? No hello and glad to finally meet you..." the sea god lowered his trident to his side, still looking down. The imposing figure of water towered over them.
Hercules sighed, hesitantly pacing across the deck. "I really don't have time for family troubles at this moment. We're on a mission."
Poseidon pointed his trident at Hercules. "Foolish mortals! If only you knew what trouble you where getting yourselves into with this mission of yours."
Hercules momentarily looked concerned. "Don't let him ruin it," he silently worried, trying to hide his concern for the sea god's words.
Poseidon frowned. "Why do you think the gods sent Medusa to an island in the middle of the ocean where mortals would never sail to?" the sea god raised his pointing finger at Hercules.
Hercules laughed. "You gods are stupid!" the demigod was testing his immortal relative to the limit. Poseidon wasn't impressed.
Poseidon glared at Hercules. "You foolish half-god! Zeus made sure she could not turn gods or mortals into stone...her eyes are her weapons!"
Hercules shook his head in disagreement. "Jason was told by his teacher at the Palace that her eyes are also a powerful weapon to undo ice, stone, and other forms of imprisonment." Hercules snickered. "I'd trust my friend over you any day."
Jason nudged Hercules. "Herc, what if he's actually right. Ares wants the head as a weapon and doesn't want our friends free..."
Hercules tried to avoid eye contact with the other cadets, fearing they agreed all too as well. He didn't know what to say. Finally, a thought struck him. "What if you're in league with Ares and trying to stop us from getting the head?" Hercules was smug.
Poseidon flurried with anger. "Your insolence is beyond bounds, son of Zeus! You're filled with so much anger inside that you are willing to destroy your friends, everyone else, and yourself to destroy your en-"
Hercules interrupted him rudely. "Listen up Uncle! You have no idea what the other cadets and Cheiron mean to us. If risking your existence by hunting down the head of Medusa means saving my friends, so be it!" Jason and the others nodded their heads in agreement.
"It's strange you would stand in our path so close to our destination," yelled Iolaus.
Poseidon shrugged his shoulders back. "I gather you wouldn't be interested in... me setting your friends free of their current state should you head the ship back to Athens?" Poseidon tried to smile pleasantly.
Hercules quickly yelled back, "Your trickery won't work! Few gods would do anything to help. It's not worth the risk if you don't."
Poseidon started to lower himself into the water. "So long than Hercules, but beware my wrath. The sea is my domain and all here is controlled by me. Prepare to feel its wrath!" The sea god vanished.
Jason gripped his friend by the shoulders. "Herc, I don't want to lack my trust in you but...well, you know. What if a good god like Hephaestus could perhaps free everyone?"
Hercules sighed in disbelief. "You don't understand! We cannot rely on the gods for everything. Us mortals have to stand up for ourselves and battle the petty tyrants who want to belittle ourselves into worshiping them while they sit back and gloat, drink wine, and create chaos. Big deal, few decent gods, there are more bastards!" The son of Zeus stormed into the cabin.
The former thief didn't seem too enthused about anything. "This whole thing is messed up. Maybe we should head back! What if Poseidon was trying to help?"
Jason tried to remain calm. "I agree but disagree. We have to trust Hercules on this. If the head works then it works. Herc's heart knows the truth and that's what will prevail."
It was obvious that Jason was torn between opinions. He wanted to trust his friend but also knew his friend even had distrust in his mission and purpose.
Iolaus tapped Jason on the back. "Well, I'm going to try to talk to Herc. Maybe I can see if we can persuade him otherwise."
Nathaniel Lees as Chiron
Jodie Rimmer as Lillith
Mfundo Morrison as Theseus
Kevin Smith as Ares
Based on "Young Hercules"
Created by Renaissance Pictures
Tern O'Brien and Jose Estreda
Medea and Euterpe
Edited by Pelee
Night came. On deck, Jason and Iolaus were at the tiller. Theseus, Lilith, and the others were heading to the cabin.
Below deck, the demigod was sleeping. Just as he appeared peaceful, images started to form inside his head.
"So - How are we tonight?" the darker version of Hercules grinned.
Hercules, dressed in a vest that was white on the left and black on the right, seemed confused. "What am I doing? I'm risking it all for something that is pointless. I should just ask Heph for some help...some gods would do me a favor!" He shrugged his shoulders back. "No need for anything else!"
The son of Zeus stared around him. No longer was he in his cabin. He was sitting in a dimly lit cavern. Once he turned around, his darker version was grunting and groaning to himself. "Did I bother you?"
Darker Hercules wore a scowl. "You disgust yourself! Can you not see what you're doing if you give up and head back to the Academy?"
Hercules chuckled. "Nothing... But at least I stand a chance to save my friends."
Darker Hercules sighed, "So you don't even slightly distrust Poseidon's advice? You believe the gods sent Medusa to the island since her power could undo their spells and defeat them?"
Hercules surprisingly agreed with a nod. "I've made my choice. I think I should go... I think I shouldn't. You cannot decide for me though, only I can."
"Actually you're not dumb after all. Guess I am smart! Ha!" Darker Hercules slapped Hercules on the back.
Hercules looked down at his hands. They were covered with dried blood. "Not this again!" Hercules grabbed his darker half's shoulders. "Get out of my head!"
Darker Hercules stuttered. "That is your friend's blood on your hands!"
Simultaneously the mirror images wrapped their hands around each others necks to strangle. The opposite halves strenuously and viciously choked each other to the hard cavern ground.
Hercules finally let go. "Enough!"
The choking suddenly continued. Darker Hercules wore a smug smile under his grin. "You're gonna be history," spat Dark Hercules.
Hercules slammed his darker image against the cavern wall several times. The more he did so, the more a wound opened on his own head. Dark Hercules would eventually gain control of the struggle. As the Darker Hercules slammed Hercules into the cavern wall, a large wound began to open on his head...
Jason and Iolaus busted the door leading into Hercules' room down. The two friends restrained Hercules from continuously throwing himself against the cabin wall. "Stop it! This is madness," screamed Jason.
Awake, Theseus and Lilith hurried into Hercules' cabin. All four pulled their friend, shaking his head and drooling profusely, towards his bed.
Dark Hercules continued to choke down his better half. "Giving up yet," spat Dark Hercules. "I know you cannot win!" Darker Hercules' eyes were dreary but he could see Jason, Lilith, Theseus, and Iolaus trying to restrain him. Suddenly, Hercules had the features of his darker half covering him. In a horrific rage, Hercules grabbed Iolaus and slammed him against the wall, tossed Jason into a small bonfire, cracked a wooden board over the head of Theseus, and grasped his hand around Lilith's neck. Dark Hercules let out a hideous cackle.
"Calm down," screamed Jason, trying to restrain Hercules.
The demigod's eyes were still watery. "Jason!" he screamed, quite fearfully.
"What's going on?" asked a concerned Theseus. "Has he been possessed?"
Jason hesitantly whispered to Hercules. "This hurts me more." The King of Corinth slugged Hercules across the right side of his face. Hercules slowly fell back into the arms of Iolaus and Lilith. Then Iolaus and Lilith gently placed the stunned Hercules on his bunk.
Theseus had a sick feeling. "I'm no healer but I have a bad feeling about this place. It's almost as if Hercules was battling himself."
Iolaus, wiping sweat from his forehead with his hand said, "I think the old water-god made him think about all this stuff."
Theseus sighed, "Awhile back, I recalled hearing of people having nightmares and battling their dark sides. Often, they get to a point where the enemy within seeks revenge or else and all Hades breaks loose!"
Jason added, "No disagreement! Come morning, we will reach the island of Mobossor. I say we wait till morning and when Hercules awakes, we should talk to him and find out everything he knows. Stopping on the island is necessary, regardless at this point. Our rations appear to be very low."
"I thought we brought enough." Lilith lowered her brow.
Jason sighed. "I think Poseidon decided to show off. Go look at the supply room. It was filled with seaweed."
Iolaus was disgusted. "No doubt where his loyalties lie! He wants to starve us, but you don't even tell us? I'm shocked, I tell you."
Jason sat down in a wooden chair. He appeared to be exhausted. "Just before I told Iolaus to come along to see what all the commotion in here was about, I checked the supply room. It was wrecked! I would have said something earlier..." Jason frowned.
Lilith patted Jason on the back. "It's okay." Iolaus nodded his agreement. The young King graciously smiled back.
"I say we sail ahead. The wind is at our back and smooth sailing is ahead." impatiently ordered Iolaus. "I'll tiller this old bucket!"
"Humor is not needed,.but I'll laugh at that," giggled Theseus. Jason and Lilith sighed. "Same here!" Lilith added.
At the Halls of War, Ares practiced throwing balls of fire at a large statue of his half-brother. "How sweet it is," snickered Ares, hurling a fireball at the statue's head. The statue was beheaded. "The look on his face, when he stones his friends, will be priceless. Though if he gets stoned, I'll lose my favorite play toy. But it's still victory. A new decoration. Oh the feeling inside me." Ares laughed as he created one last fireball. He hurled it and it struck the statue's stomach. The headless body combusted, pieces crumbling all over the floor of the war god's chamber.
"Land ahoy!" screamed Theseus, standing at the crow's nest. "Lower the anchor," followed Jason, still at the tiller. The ship was docked nearby a large desert-like island.
In the cabin, Hercules stretched out his arms, yawned, and slowly opened his eyes. He quickly wiped his sleep out with his right hand. "What happened," he quietly asked himself, feeling his right cheek.
The son of Zeus stood up and slowly headed toward the doorless entrance to his quarters. Close to the door leading to the outer deck, Hercules rested his left ear against the door. He could hear Jason saying, "Let's go talk to Hercules. This thing needs to be settled now or else." Hercules quickly ran to the sailor's quarters. Nobody was there. The demigod hid behind the open door.
As he heard Jason and the others enter his quarters, Hercules slowly paced himself to the stairs leading to the door. Quietly, he exited the cabin. Hercules looked around on deck. Several sailors waved their hands at him. "They probably were told nothing," said Hercules with a sigh.
The son of Zeus quickly dived overboard, swimming to the shore. Once he was safely on shore, Hercules stood up and sprinted onto the beach, taking no rest. Swiftly he headed towards the hottest part of the desert. Brave and fearless, Hercules battled a momentary sandstorm, a hawk that nearly came down and attacked him, and several small scorpions that tried to crawl onto the tips of his footwear.
Hercules was now standing in front of a large rugged looking temple, made of marble and ivory. "I'm coming for you, Medusa!" shouted Hercules, snickering under his frown. Bravely, Hercules glanced around, spotting a long sword nearby. Quickly grabbing the sword, Hercules took one glance back. He couldn't see the shoreline anymore. This brought a small grin to his face.
"No stopping me now..." said the young demigod with a sigh. He walked towards the doors to the temple.
Iolaus, Jason, Theseus, and Lilith came ashore, carrying long wooden spears. Theseus listened carefully to a shrill laughter in the distance. The cadet imagined in his head a group of bats attacking the four. But, when he came back to reality, a flock of harpies, large winged demonic-looking female creatures swooped down from the sky. They all let out a shrill laughter, and attacked the cadets.
Jason stabbed a few with his spear, getting lucky. Iolaus had less luck, as one grabbed his spear, and broke it in half. The young cadet luckily caught the sharp end, which he hurled at the harpy who broke it, killing her. Lilith and Theseus had several harpies chase them down the beach. Once they stopped to catch their breaths, the harpies slowly swooped down right into the cadets' expecting outward spears.
Iolaus sighed, "Harpies are cured!" laughing at his joke. The reaction of his friends was not laughter. From behind Iolaus, a harpy rose up from the sand and grabbed Iolaus by his vest. It flew down the shoreline with him. Iolaus kicked and screamed for help.
"Iolaus, hang on buddy," screamed Jason running down the beach with a spear. The young king carefully aimed the spear at the harpy's rear and threw. But his throw was off and it missed. Instead the spear passed up the creature. Cleverly, Iolaus pulled a small knife from his pouch, but he instead fell out of his vest and several feet below on a large pile of packed sand. His vest followed, falling on his face.
As Jason, Theseus, Lilith ran over to see if their best friend was okay, Iolaus removed his vest from his face, which was covered with a tan, gooey substance. "EW!" Noted Jason, frowning. Lilith and Theseus helped Iolaus up to his feet.
Jason tossed Iolaus his leather vest. "Wear this buddy. Your vest will get cleaned later on."
A powerful whirlwind slowly headed across the desert, nearing the shoreline. Lilith and Theseus tried to head off the beach and into the seemingly endless desert beyond, but a strong wind forced them back. Iolaus and Jason made an attempt but the same fate came to them. Once all four tried together, it sent them back onto the shoreline.
The four cadets were lying on the beach, exhausted. As the powerful wind swept away, Ares cruel laughter echoed in the four cadets' ears. They laid still on the beach. Hercules was all alone for this one.
Hercules carefully made his way down the dimly lit hall of Medusa's lair. Looking ahead, the demigod spotted a large stone door, likely the entrance to the place where the gorgon made her home. "Just a few more moments and the key to killing Ares will be mine, all mine" the demi-god said gloating as he strutted faster down the hall.
Hercules soon reached his destination. One last deep breath, a gripping of his sword, and a serious demeanor on his face, Hercules was now prepared and ready for the challenge ahead of him. "Time's almost up," growled the demigod. "End game!" Hercules nudged the right door with his shoulder, knocking it open slightly. He repeated as if possess a few times, finally opening it. The determined Hercules walked into the dim chamber, which appeared empty. He slowly shut the door behind him, gripping his sword even tighter at the moment.
Hiding behind a pillar, making sure nothing was behind him, he fearfully gritted his teeth, hearing a loud slither. Sounds of venom being spat and the coil's of a snake slithering across the floor echoed throughout the chamber, but nothing was seen. Hercules shut his eyes, hefted his sword backward, and walked backwards. His sword felt the wall.
Hercules opened his eyes, moved his sword to his side, and walked against the wall, glancing to his sides and front. The demigod gasped for breath when seeing the shadow of a slithering woman on the other side of the chamber. Hercules pointed his sword out, grinned, and sprinted to the other side of the chamber. The slither was silenced. He screamed, his voice echoing back at him. Nothing else was heard. It was as if Medusa was vanishing after each supposed move.
"Come out, come out and face me. Are you weak?" Hercules arrogantly laughed. "The fearsome monster scared to battle a mortal, half-god, young cadet? Is she this pitiful. Did the gods punish you for strength or for being weak?"
The mighty Hercules looked downwards. A large snake tail was wrapping itself around his waist, making him uncomfortable. Hercules looked the other way, coming face to face with a hideous snake haired woman. Her chest was covered with a black armor. Under her waist was a green snake tail, which now was totally wrapped around Hercules body.
"Let go," squealed Hercules, attempting to break free.
Medusa hissed. "So pitiful half god, why do you come to slaughter me? Cannot a Creature live in peace?" The snake woman released Hercules, who fell on the hard floor.
The demigod looked up at Medusa, chuckling. "So much for the eye myth. I thought your eyes were all powerful or something."
Medusa frowned. "Just like all the others--the gods know my eyes hold power, but instead of allowing me to live in peace, they turn me into this creature! But then you come to slaughter me, son of the god Zeus. Why is that? What grudge do we have? Your father wasn't one who tried anything with me! It was Ares, and his cruel minions. They made me ugly."
Hercules grinned. "Well, say that I take your head. It will save my friends and destroy my half-brother, once and for all. Ares, your enemy, will be destroyed by you, your head, and my victory."
Medusa argued. "Will your heart be pure though? Mine isn't because of my rage, which gave me the power to destroy, and regardless it won't save your friends. The desperate will follow anything in rage and anger, no matter what their loved ones tell them. That is the mortals mistake and the immortals point to expose and test."
Hercules laughed his disagreement. "Maybe you cannot save my friends, but you can destroy Ares! That's what I want and then maybe my father will notice me, my power and what I can do and free my friends. He will be impressed!"
"Why destroy Ares? He is a bastard, but he is still a god. The God of War. He is doing his job, as cruel as it is to others."
Hercules sneered at the snake-woman, lifting his sword in the air. "You cannot expect me to not take down his evil when given a chance!"
Medusa laughed. "I suppose you don't care if your friends live or die?"
Hercules placed the point of his sword at Medusa's neck. The demigod's eyes showed no emotion, his lips were sealed together, and his face turned red. "May you go onto the other side... you hideous monster!" Hercules grinned, moved his sword away from her neck, and turned around. "Your eyes, I suppose only turn who you wish to turn to stone. Don't they?"
The gorgon was impressed with Hercules intelligence. "They are powerful, and controllable, but severed from me, my head becomes the ultimate weapon. No gods, Greek or otherwise, would smile upon one who severs my head and brings it away from this place. Mortal men tried and got what was coming to them... I hope you don't!" Medusa sniffled. "...But if you cannot resist, take my head. If your revenge and hate means more than doing what should be, I assume no reason not to stop you from attempting."
Hercules hefted his sword above Medusa's head, closed his eyes, showed no emotion inside or outside, and began to sweat profusely...
Darker Hercules stood above a sacrificial altar, in a dark cavern. Hercules, wearing a white toga, was chained down to the altar, sweating and gritting his teeth.
"Pathetic fool... That's what your goodness caused me to do to you. You are getting no attention, love, or defeating the problem like that." Dark Hercules snickered, pulling a silver dagger from the ground. He lifted it in the air, looked up at the dark sky, and hummed an eerie tune to himself.
"You cannot defeat what's inside you," desperately suggested Hercules. "But you can control it! You know what you want, what needs to be done, but you're giving into something more."
Darker Hercules slapped the bound image of Hercules across the face. "Fool! I will destroy everything that makes me weak, desperate, and pathetic. Because of you, I never destroyed Ares when given a chance and everything took place. You have me to thank for your friends coming back to life, the good of the future world, and the defeat of Ares himself. Glory, glory, and praise to Hercules!"
Hercules tensed up. "Resist it! RESIST THE TEMPTATION! You're too strong to give into this... You're Hercules! That's who you are, not the slayer of the gods, who will risk killing his friends to kill Ares. You know who you are, and that's someone who helps people, not one who takes petty revenge..."
Darker Hercules raged even more. He grasped Hercules by the neck, scowled at him, and began to strangle him. The Darker Hercules was unable to control himself. The more he hurt him, the more decrepit his skin became. Hercules was hurting himself! "Revenge, hate, and those things... can't you see they're all necessary for me to take down Ares?" Darker Hercules laughed. "They're a must!"
Hercules cried out, "You're too strong...DON'T LET *IT* GET TO YOU, because it will never leave once it is called."
Hercules, all too calm, sinfully smiled at the weary Medusa. The demigod hefted his sword above her head, smiled sinfully, closed his eyes, and let out a blood-curdling scream.
Hercules' scream echoed throughout the island.
On the beach, Jason and the others awoke at the echo of Hercules scream. Slowly they stood up, brushing the sand off their outfits. "By the gods, I pray Hercules isn't a statue," fearfully griped Iolaus.
Moments later, the four spotted Hercules running towards them, holding a small sack, with a round shaped object likely inside it. "The head is ours," said Hercules gloating. He flashed the bag to his friends.
Jason nodded his head. "Then why do we wait... Let's return home!" After boarding their vessel, Jason guided the ship back to their destination.
In the Halls of War, Ares laid back in his throne, listening to the thunderstorm brew outside. Victory... happiness... everlasting taste of glory all ringed in the God of War's head. Hercules was about to defeat himself.
As the doors of the Halls of War were slammed open, Hercules entered, wearing a serious demeanor on his face, carrying the sack in his left hand, and a sword in his right hand. "Your time is up brother!" screamed Hercules, pointing his sword in the direction of the god of war. "End game, right now!"
Ares laughed, rising to his feet. "You know how much pleasure this gives me... Pleasure to watch you suffer?"
Hercules smirked at his half-brother. "You're getting anything but that from me... you're getting stabbed right through."
Hercules dropped the sack on the ground, wielded the sword outwards, and missed Ares by inches. The God of War looked down at Hercules, grinned, and slugged him across the face. Then the god hurled a fireball at Hercules' sword, turning it to ashes.
"I think I'll really enjoy beating you up one last time," Hercules said sighing. Hercules slowly stood up, brushed off the ache on his shoulders, and kicked Ares firmly in the stomach. Hercules laughed, ducked down, and then kicked Ares in the stomach once more. Ares stumbled a bit, grinned, and pulled a sword from the wall. The god slowly hefted it in the air. Once it was lowered to Hercules' head, the demigod frantically caught it, pulled it into his grasp, and swung it at the full god. Ares moved away, grabbed a shield from the wall, and a sword of his own. The half-brothers wielded swords at each other, the other always blocking the sword of the other. This continued for several minutes, finally ending with Ares out powering Hercules, forcing Hercules to drop to his knees. Hercules looked up at his half-brother, frowning. "You cannot kill me..." Hercules grinned. "I guess your sword does no good!"
Ares laughed. "The head might though."
Hercules kicked himself to his feet, trampled across the floor, and tackled Ares on the hall's floor, just as Ares was about to grab the sack containing Medusa's head. Hercules grabbed Ares by the neck. Ares tried to punch himself free, but Hercules ducked every time. Finally screaming out, Hercules slugged Ares across the face, and kicked his half-brother in the chest. The demigod spun his foot around, kicked Ares, and swiped the tall god off his feet. Ares' nose was now bleeding. Hercules wiped sweat from his forehead; blood also trickled down from his nose, and his eyes became slightly glassy. Despite weakening, Hercules managed to avoid collision with Ares right hand. Hercules screamed as Ares' hands came down on his back and hitting him. Ares grabbed Hercules, lifted him in the air, and tossed him into a table of fruit. The weight of Hercules broke the table. The demi-god now layed among broken wood, smashed fruit, and shards of glass. Ares kicked Hercules at least ten times, preventing Hercules from getting to his feet. The demi-god became weary. Soon Ares backed off, laughed, and enjoyed seeing his younger brother coughing up some blood. Hercules still stood up, lunged himself at Ares, and tripped on the floor. The cruel God of War let out his most evil and sinfully laugh, spreading his hands to his sides. He took in every glorious moment of what was happening.
Ares picked up the sack. "I won't let you!" yelled Hercules, standing on his two feet, wearing a determined look. "You can't keep me down for long."
Ares appeared slightly shocked, gritting his teeth.
The demigod kicked Ares in the stomach. Ares' slowly stood up tall and strong, laughing down at Hercules, not impressed or shocked at all. "Pitiful, that's all you are to me. That didn't even hurt."
Hercules wobbled over to his half-brother, reaching his hands out. Ares moved back, preventing Hercules from grabbing the sack. Hercules finally struck a moment later as he slugged the mighty god across the face, grabbed the bag, tossed it onto the remains of the fruit table, and grabbed a shield.
The son of Zeus used the shield to knock Ares over the head. It didn't seem to hurt the god much. It just restrained him from getting ack up. Finally, Hercules grabbed a sword, hefted it above Ares, and knocked Ares out cold with the hilt. Hercules stood above Ares, laughing to himself.
Ares glanced over his shoulder. Amazingly he kicked himself back up, grabbed Hercules' sword, and spun his foot around, kicking Hercules on the floor. Ares created a fireball with his hands, laughed, and hurled it towards Hercules. The demigod frantically grabbed the shield to block the ball of fire. Hercules slowly stood up, putting the shield in front of him. Ares created another fireball, this one much larger. The son of Zeus used the shield as a deflecting device, sending the fireball back at Ares. The god of war was set on fire, screaming and hollering. Hercules seemed to take some pleasure, sitting back on Ares throne. He smugly wiped the sweat from his forehead. On fire, Ares somersaulted into the air, letting out a lion-like roar. Once he landed on his feet, right in front of his throne, he was extinguished. Ares grabbed the over confidant Hercules offguard by the neck, strangled him for a moment, and lightly tossed him against the wall. Hercules held onto his right shoulder, crying out in anguish. It was hurting. The demigod tried to stand up but he was too weak. His arrogance has struck him down. This pleased Ares, who sat back in his throne, created another fireball, and tossed it from hand to hand while he silently laughed at the fallen demi-god brother of his. Hercules stopped his brother's laugh once he stood up tall, brushing any pain he has endured away. He looked up at Ares, and smirked. Ares tossed the fireball at Hercules, who ducked it, but missed a silver shield thrown at him. Hercules gripped his right shoulder again, in more pain. He hadn't brushed it all off before as he thought he had. Thinking quickly, the demigod ducked down and rolled over to the remains of the table. He grabbed the sack from the floor and untied it. H emptied its contents onto the floor. All that was inside was earth; sand mixed with some dirt. The God of War was startled, bewildered, and in disbelief. Hercules didn't have the head of Medusa at all! Hercules frowned. "I couldn't take someone's life for selfish reasons... I couldn't lower myself to your level, as much as I wanted to, and still wish I could." The demigod balled his fist. "Don't think I won't beat you up some more though." The demigod pressed the bottom of his shirt against his side, using it as a truncate to stop some blood from flowing out.
Ares laughed. "Oh yes, you succeeded far beyond my hopes and wants. You see, little brother, I had hoped you wouldn't survive, but you did and couldn't bring back the only thing which could save your friends... The Gorgon head!" The god of war rolled his eyes. "What? You don't seem to realize what I'm talking about..." Ares lifted his right brow. "The head could have destroyed me... and all my evil against your pathetic friends would be undone, meaning no ice covering their bodies." The god of war silently gloated. "I win!"
"Ah, but you see..." The demigod stood up against Ares, looking up at his half-brother, grinning. "Jason and Iolaus are going to see Hephaestus as we speak... they will free them! Good plan you had, but it failed! Ha!"
Ares lifted his brow, grinning. "Oh, you think so, eh? I don't think your friends and you are very skilled in godly matters, being they are not gods and you not wanting part of that side of the family. You see dear brother, only the one who placed the curse down upon them has the power to undo the curse, that's me, and you know I would never do such a thing."
Hercules asked, in demanding tone. "Why not?"
Ares sighed in disbelief, pushed Hercules out of the way, and strutted around the Halls of War, admiring the weapons on the walls.
"Dear brother, you know, had you taken Medusa's head, turned me to stone, and done me in, your friends and you would be alive again, and you wouldn't feel so angry at yourself."
Hercules frowned as a tear welled from his right eye. "You cold hearted bastard!"
Ares agreed with a nod of his head. "Sure am, and proud of it. You are foolish, very foolish, for not taking the head and my life when you had a chance. You see, I had everything planned so perfectly... All perfectly that you either didn't make it or brought the head back, tried to undo the curse, turning your friends to stone and maybe killing yourself in your misery. Or, you were smart not to try and went against me, I using the head, or you using it, making the other gods angry. Whatever you destroyed is what means the most to you, your friends."
Hercules wasn't impressed with Ares little plan. "Guess you didn't succeed," noted Hercules, wiping his nose as he sniffled.
Ares lowered his head, grinned, and lifted his brow. "I did!"
Hercules desperately rebutted. "But..." The demigod wasn't able to come up with any other remarks. Perhaps he was defeated. "...I cannot say you didn't win this time." Hercules frowned.
Ares grabbed his sword. He admired it and then put it to Hercules' gullet. "I am sure the gods wouldn't hesitate your death. After all, there is no telling if you will never go and bring Medusa's head back to destroy all of us!"
Hercules grew angry. "Just kill me already for gods sakes!" he spat, filled with an anger and now in bit of a slump. "You won anyway!"
Ares sinfully smiled. "Oh yes I did win, all too well. I even depressed you and made you rethink your final choice. If I killed you now, I wouldn't be able to sit, gloat, and enjoy every moment of your anguish and suffering. You fully knowing you had the chance to end your worst nightmare and save your pathetic friends lives!" The war god added, "Oh, and don't expect Zeus to change anything. He could, but the malice of us other gods and Hera will prevent him from trying. Your father isn't going to go against them... we scare him too much... If you by chance wonder why I speak the truth to you, it's because the truth hurts. I enjoy watching you hurt. The feeling it brings me when it's told to you." The god of war swiped his hand outwards, making his godly exit in a spectrum of lights. "Until next time," his voice spoke, followed by a sinister laugh, vanishing into silence.
Hercules sat back against the wall. He placed his hands over his face, and knocked his head against the wall, and back against his hands.
Nighttime came over the Academy. Jason, Iolaus, Lilith, and Theseus met up with Hercules outside.
"Hephaestus said he couldn't help," carefully spoke Jason, seemingly frightened of Hercules response.
"It's okay," assured Hercules. "I've been acting foolish the last few days out of anger. I guess we will have to move on, whatever that is at this point... Not the best choice but some choices never are."
Jason clasped his friend's hand, following with a quick embrace. "It's okay buddy, we did all we could." replied Jason, smiling under his frown. Iolaus slapped Hercules across the back. "Just be sure not to go hunting nice monsters anymore...we don't want more bad ones." Everyone sort of giggled.
Hercules apologetically noted to Iolaus. "I feel bad about the harpy trouble. Harpies coming, on my adventure, to attack you, well..."
Iolaus shrugged his shoulders back. "Don't bug yourself about that. I always wanted to be swept off my feet..." Jason, Lilith, Theseus, and Hercules shared a laugh.
Looking at Hercules, Lilith nodded her head. "You fought brave..."
Theseus agreed. "For someone who chokes out practice dummies that he thinks are Ares, you're still okay! Glad to have you back." The four cadets stood side by side, looking at the sky, which was peaceful. Certainly the opposite of theor grieving hearts.
Suddenly, a huge lightning bolt struck down upon the Academy. Hercules and his friends were sent to the ground by its force. "What was that," Iolaus shouted. He covered his face to avoid the bright lights of a second lightning bolt that struck down upon the Academy following his shouting. Inside the Academy walls, Cheiron and the cadets slowly began to unfreeze. It was as if the lighting bolts undid the curse. Iolaus, Jason, Theseus, and Lilith were overjoyed to see their friends okay and alive, no matter what undid the imprisonment. Unlike his friends, Hercules smiled once and quickly walked outside the Academy gates, frowning. Something was still hurting, even though his friends were now free. He wasn't.
Cheiron came to check on Hercules later that night. The demi-god was resting in the dinning hall, steadily picking away at a piece of bread. "I see adventure makes some men starved and refusing nourishment."
"No riddle!" Hercules said chuckling. "A first for a lesson!"
Cheiron smiled, though not losing his stern demeanor. "You have had a rough night Hercules, a rough last few days at that. You shouldn't worry too much, as you resisted the temptation to do wrong and in the end were rewarded."
Hercules laughed in disbelief, crossing his arms afterwards. "That's what really took place...?" The demigod paused to look at his mentor, nodding his head slightly.
Being sarcastic, Hercules continued. "One time, yeah, next time I'll just be *reward for good*!"
The centaur shrugged his shoulders. "That shouldn't be the answer your adventure seeks."
"The young demigod became more emotional, as he sighed, "Ares must have given into some order for Zeus and undone the curse... he has the courage to talk to that warmonger but can't talk to his own son!"
The centaur put his hands on Hercules shoulders, carefully comforting the distraught cadet. "The lighting bolt striking has been recorded proof that Zeus sends a sign of his approval and work. Perhaps your father admired your courage and will, thus rewarded you with the gift of your friends, mentor, and Academy...that would explain everything."
Hercules slightly nodded his head backward and stared up at the sky. He gently removed Cheiron's hands from his shoulders. "So what if he did? We mortals cannot rely on the gods to be there every time. Of course Zeus could undo it, after all he is King of Gods, and holds more power than each of them, allowing him to also undo their work. Again, Zeus is a cow... Never mind!"
Cheiron nodded his head once. "Goodnight Hercules." As the centaur walked away, Hercules once again started to have images talk to him in his head... Darker Hercules clapped his hands, approaching Hercules.
The two sat down on a large rock in the middle of a calm bed of water. "So, how does it feel?" asked Darker Hercules as he frowned.
Hercules smiled. "Everything is back to normal!" Then he frowned, noting "...I don't feel happier or better. I still regret not destroying Ares. After all the gods played around and saved my friends, yeah. But still we cannot rely on the gods, we mortals must fend for ourselves."
Darker Hercules gently touched Hercules on the shoulder. "You're right for once! We have to... and that will trouble you. After all this situation of hurt and not getting back will haunt you more and you know it. So, you shouldn't expect it not to happen. This time you got lucky when you resisted me and someone helped you... but can you live with it again? This time you don't get help and someone dies because of your choice... answer that!"
Hercules frowned. "I'll deal with it!"
Dark Hercules sighed, "Of course you will, and hopefully you will rely on me to assist you in it, putting away the problem that faces you forever and ever! You know!"
Hercules grinned. "My dark side! How come you aren't me at the moment? I mean before, nevermind!"
Dark Hercules laughed sinfully. "...This is the first time in your life where you fully gave into me, bringing me out of you and into a path of my own. One in which you only need to call upon to assist you, because I'm part of you, and don't need to be battled to come out any longer, and I'm not just your dark side. I'm your darkest and most violent side. The one with bloodlust, anger, hate, and a need to kill and destroy anything that opposes you; sort of the malicious dark side."
Hercules felt a chill come across him. "I know, and you can guarantee that you won't be helping me, because I embraced you, fought you, and accepted you as part of me. Like I said before and say for the final time..."
Darker Hercules placed his hand across his counterpart's mouth, shaking his head. "No, No, No!" he screamed, slowly removing his hand.
"This time you allowed me to help, as your ally, not part of you. Once I come out, I can be tamed and controlled, but not put back in, and you now understand that. I am like your worst enemy, but I'm really your greatest friend if you will allow me to be... will you?"
Hercules kindly stated, "I don't want you to be my ally. You will force me into things without thinking, thus hurting everyone around me."
Darker Hercules chuckled mercilessly, sickened by his good counterpart's words. "Just remember, I'm out there if you need me. After all, you and I know you will experience much, and we both know how much I will be needed."
Hercules turned away from the image of his darker half. "I will continue to do what I do, learn who I am, and become the man I want to be, not the one you want to control. We can leave it at that. I know people and we will suffer, and I'm prepared for that." assured Hercules.
"You won't be," assured Darker Hercules.
Hercules sighed, "We shall see..."
Darker Hercules shrugged his shoulders. "If you say so. But, if you need me, and you won't even have to say because I don't need an invitation. I'm out and ready. I'll be right at your side ready to do battle whatever that plagues and troubles you. Punishment and pain we will bring to all! Wake up and smell the muses... the party is finished. Life has begun, and the most testing and dark part approaches.... I'm you... if not at this moment, then for sure next week, month... year... life, reality and till the day you die!"
...Hercules looked down at the table he was sitting at. The demigod slowly stood up and pushed the chair in. He headed back to the dorm rooms, feeling only slightly better. At least he could sleep peacefully tonight. But could he the next night? And then the one after that?
Medusa: Ursula Ventar
Poseidon: Charles Siebert
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