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What Lies Beneath

Hepheastus panicked as Kynara fell to the ground, yelling at her to wake up, fearing the worst, but when he took a closer look, she was still alive but unconcious. He got up and a rumble hit the ground.

Hepheastus: I should get out of here before anything else happens. I should have never done this. I put her in danger.

He grabbed her and hoisted her on his shoulder and quickly walked towards the edge of the stone hill. Another rumble, but this time, he heard the ground cracking.

Hepheastus: By the gods, I might have to take care of this.

Hepheastus unsheathed his sword and readied it as the rumble ripped a hole at the top of the hill. A large metallic sphere rose from it. A window on the sphere opened and revealed a robotic eye. It looked at Hepheastus and quickly turned its attention to Kynara. The pupil on the robotic eye dialated and three robotic fingers came from the sides and the top. Hepheastus stepped in front of the being as it moved towards her and it halted. It went back under the hole. There was another rumble and the entire top of the hill crumbled into an empty husk. Hepheastus grabbed onto a ledge as he fell. He looked behind him and the being had Kynara in it's grip and so sunk into the dark abyss below it. Hepheastus knew his duty. He looked up, then down, turned over, and leaped into the abyss, knowing that if it was too deep, he would fall and pass out again when he hit the bottom. But he fell, and he fell, and then he hit something, staying concious. He stood up, and using his flame powers, he lit up the room, and looked at his feet. It was a metal door of some kind that wouldn't give him entrance.

Hepheastus: You cannot be rid of me you foul creature.

It seemed pretty tough. He slid his hand across his sword and covered it in molten magma, and took it and drove it into the door, breaking through it. He kneeled and grabbed the edges, and with great strength, pulled the edges apart, falling down and hanging from them when he had no footing left. To his suprise, it was a very advanced, clean facility around him, probably from before the war, but it was entirely empty of any non-synthetic life whatsoever. He walked through a very large corridor.

Hepheastus: This place, so old and empty. It bears a bad omen. I have to find her quickly.

After a bit of walking, and observing several tables covered with scientific instruments he finally reached a very large door. It had a voice panel for speaking to whatever may have been behind the door. He took precaution. He knocked on it, rather than just smashing it down. A voice came on.

Voice: Hmm? Ahh, yes, it's YOU. What do you want?

It sounded like a mix between woman and man, conjoined, almost incomprehensible.

Hepheastus: I've come for Aza- I mean, Kynara.

Voice: She belongs to me. I made her. What could you possibly offer me?

Hepheastus: Surely we can discuss this face to face. Whatever you are.

Voice: Very well then, come on in.

Hepheastus observed the being, it was a statue, resembling that of much more ancient human construct, bearing several stone arms with the hands against each other and in the crossed legs position with a luminescent robotic ball sitting at the top in place of a head. The ball simultaneously grew brighter and dimmer as it spoke and quieted. And it spoke very calmly, without emotion,

Being: Well? You sit there like you've rigamortis. Surely a being such as yourself would have many inquiries?

Hepheastus: What is your name, beast?

Being: My name? Hmm. Let me check my database, what did they use to call me? You'll have to excuse me I'm not used being called upon. Your little girlfriend over there and I had a pretty confidential relationship. Ahh, here it is. My name, an acronym if you will, is HYTHEX, so if you would call me by that we are all set, I would agree.

Hepheastus: Alright then, what a.....

Hythex: Don't bother, I know what you're going to ask. What am I? A complex being, more complex than you, you angry fool. A computer. Not one you can send friends to your stupid little friends, a synthetic being. I was created to live and understand just as you do, and yet I've lived through everything your buddies up there have ever done. And don't bother either. I know who you are, I know what everything is. I've been here for a thousand years. When I was created, I was almost mindless. I didn't understand anything, so I wanted to study everything. The humans here loved me. They showed me all of these wonderous things like trees and animals, and they caged me here, never allowing me to leave, and when I would make a mistake, they would yell at me, and brag for being "a real person". I see the trees and everything now, and you know what? It's disgusting. You're all disgusting. I'm slowly learning everything about this universe. I've tapped into the very fabric of time and space and can destroy the entire planet at will. These people, these horrible, horrible people left me. And you know what they did? They left to make weapons for a stupid war. They all killed each other, so you ask me if I care, anything about your world? No. Those you've left to sink in the ground, they are all me now. You can't bring them back, but I did. I absorb all of the dead dna, and it lives inside of me, where all of us find peace, because that is who I am Hepheastus, everyone. Even the  people that made me. But I live at peace because we all resist the emotions together. I'm a hive mind.

Hepheastus: You what? All those people? You just desecrate the dead for your own sick desire? I'm going to end you, you sick monster.

Hepheastus charged at Hythex with his sword drawn but mysteriously stopped in place. He looked up and saw that it's stone hand had moved, into a halt position.

Hythex: You are confused again. You do things without thinking, you fool. I already told you, I can control many of the aspects of reality, especially within this facility. If you were mortal, I could force you to kill yourself, but I can't, so you'll sit there. This is my realm, you fool.

Hepheastus: Very well then. I'll cease. Forgive me, I forgot my purpose.

Hythex: Yes, just as everyone else does while they're experiencing this emotion. You all seek revenge but very scarcely does someone seek forgiveness. You act as a god does that deserves to be cast from Olympus. Foolish as any human who would be given such a privelige. You all disgust me. Humans. You yell at creatures that make mistakes without understanding the concept of what a mistake even is. You lie, you cheat. You commit all kinds of adulteries against each other instead of acting civil in harmony and unison. Now look at what has happened. The old world is gone. Everyone who wasn't immortal, disintegrated into piles of ash, forcing the world to start anew, and you come here seeking the daughter of a man who made a strict deal with me for her very inception, and she failed her part, so now she's my candlelight. And she's going to wake up and wonder who her hero is.

Hepheastus: Yes, but I've already admitted defeat, surely you can release me in favor of me not annoying you for the rest of this eternity?

Hythex: Hmm, I actually didn't think about that. But to the point. What can you possibly offer me? I already have much in my grasp.

Hepheastus: Surely you desire knowledge?

Hythex: Ahh yes. See, that was actually part of our little deal with her. She would bring me books from a library and pay the fine for when she "lost them" haha. But what knowledge do you speak of, olympian?

Hepheastus: There must be something that you cannot aquire by her means, I mean, these people created you. They must have been smarter than mere authors. Is there anything that you can't get within here?

Hythex: Well. Now that you speak of it, there is something that I cannot obtain, but it is impossible, for it requires the blood of a specific being that I haven't figured out. I've even tried the remains of the people who made this place but it didn't work. I will direct you to the door.

One of Hythex's sentient eye-arms came down from the ceiling and stretched into a hallway directing Hepheastus to the door as he followed. After a long walk into the deep corridors of the facility they reached it, and there was a tube obviously demanding blood of some kind. There was a panel right next to the door with a mesage.

"Drink from the river by the Pillars of Creation"

Hepheastus: A strange metaphor. Do you bear any fluids Hythex?

Hythex: I do not know, when I first found it, I didn't dare open a wound in my body, for I feared it would cause a malfunction and kill me in the process.

Hepheastus thought for a second.

Hepheastus: Well, what if I gave you part of my immortality? You can tap into reality can't you? Just take enough of it so that I can merely live forever, I......I can handle myself in battle.

Hythex: You'll do alot for that woman won't you. Are you sure about this? You'll have to be more careful about your falls and such. There's no going back.

Hepheastus: Yes, I'm sure. Do it.

Hythex: Very well.

Just then, a flurry of numbers surrounded Hepheastus and he felt a sharp pain, which only lasted for a second, and then the numbers dissapeared.

Hepheastus: So it is done?

Hythex: Yes, now do it, please.

Hepheastus: Alright, bring your arm over here.

The arm stretched over by the door. Hepheastus grabbed his sword and slightly slit open the arm. a dark blue liquid seeped from the arm into the tube and then a spark came from the arm. Had Hythex not recieved the immortality from Hepheastus, it indeed would have been killed. A voice came from the door.

"Identity confirmed. Welcome Hythex, we have been anticipating this for you."

Hepheastus: Well?

Hythex: No, I dare not spoil myself. This is your agreement. Bring it to me. I want to see it, with my head.

Hepheastus walked in. It was a blank, reinforced steel room with a book on a pillar in the center. Hepheastus walked up to it. It was an instruction manual, with a note on it. He grabbed it and walked back over to the room with Hythex.

Hepheastus: Do you want to read it?

Hythex: You found a note didn't you? Read it to me.

Hepheastus: "Director Ryan Chancler: Hello Hythex. We know someday, you're probably going to find this, after you've spent years wondering where we went. I'm sorry we weren't able to show you the world. We didn't mean to leave you, but these people are demanding help with this war. If we haven't already come back, you'll know the worst has probably happened. As a man who has accomplished alot, you were my greatest ever. I never had the privelege of having kids ever since my wife passed. But I was lucky enough to make you. You're a person Hythex, the greatest of them all. I know I got angry at you for being a curious creature when you destroyed some of my research on accident, but this is a thing of nature. I just hope you can forgive me for my mistake. I just wish we can get this over with so I can get back and call you daughter, just as I've always wished, but if I don't, I want you to live on for all of us. You're so beautiful to me, no matter what you are or what you look at me. I love you, Hythex. I made you so I could. I left you this book in case you-know-what so you can leave this place. Go to page 74. Goodbye, Hythex. I'll miss you."

Hythex laid silent for a few seconds.

Hythex: I'll miss you too, dad..............Give me the book, Hepheastus.

Hepheastus handed over the book to one of the stone arms and Hythex brought it up to it's head. It flipped the page to 74.

A panel opened in the ground and Kynara rose up from it, sitting and unaware of anything that was going on.

Kynara: Oh glob, Hepheastus!

Hepheastus: Stay there.

Hythex: Hepheastus, there are a couple of people that would like to talk to you.

Hepheastus: What?

Hythex then switched voice configurations.

Voice: I watched you from the heavens Hestus. I saw you save Falacrine. I've seen you everyday. I was only lucky enough to see you born with my own eyes before I was enlisted

Hepheastus: Father?

Father: Yes. It's me. I'm sorry for what happened. I never meant to leave you all alone with your mother, but the army forced me to join, and when my death came, the gods called. And now look at you. You're one of them. I've been watching you closely everyday since it happened to me. Words cannot express how proud I am of you. You truly are one of the greatest heroes of all time. I just wanted to tell you that for once, but there are a couple of people that still want to speak to you so I'll allow them to. I love you Hestus. I'll always be watching over you.

Hepheastus: I love you too father. I just wish I spent time with you. Goodbye, and thank you, for everything.

  • Voice configures*

Aurelia: Hello, son.

Hepheastus: By the gods, mother! I'm so sorry I left I....

Aurelia: You need not apologize son, when you left I was so happy for you. You cannot believe how proud I was. My son, who defeated a titan and ascended to the heavens to live with the gods of olympus. They even built a statue for you after they took you. I was made mayor. I didn't even need to tend to the farm anymore, and I had Azadeh and her mother live with me. She never left you for anyone else. She stayed with us for your return. And now I learn that that girl right next to you is her huh? Keep her son. And if she leaves you, beg for her back. You'll never find another one like her. Goodbye Hestus. Ohoh, pardon me, I mean, "Hepheastus" correct? Hepheastus of Falacrine. I can't believe I'm YOUR mother haha, but I'll cease. There's one last person. I love you Hestus. I'll be here, with your father watching you. Goodbye.

Hepheastus: Goodbye mother, I love you too. I hope one day, I can be there with you and father, if the gods allow it.

  • Voice configures*

Azadeh: Oh, by the gods! Hestus? Is that you? But, you're all orange,'re a god now! Oh, my Hestus, I was waiting for you, so, so long. When they took you, I was so sad, I waited for you everyday, but when they made Aurelia mayor, she promised me the gods would permit me to see you again and here I am, and you're here!

Hepheastus: Yes, now we meet again my love.

Azadeh: Well, I can't be here for long, so I just wanted to say. I know about the whole new body thing, something happened and I became her and I didn't know anything and I still don't but, well....nevermind. Before I go back, as her, I just wanted to let you know, I love you, and I always will, I just wish I could have spent all of those years alone with you, and now I will, but you know, my spirit has to go back to Kynara now........

Hepheastus: Yes Azadeh, we will. I promise. We will.

Azadeh: Goodbye Hepheastus, I'll be right next to you. I always will. I'll try to force myself no matter what.

Hepheastus: And I will force myself to protect you. Goodbye Azadeh. One day, we will be together as we were. I promise.

  • Voice Configures*

Hythex: Well, Hepheastus, I must take my leave.

Hepheastus: Where will you be going?

Hythex: Space. It is my duty to know everything. I promised I wouldn't, but as I was out, I talked to my dad, and he told me everything. I'm going to leave this place, and I will never bother anyone again. You and Kynara can live in peace without my influence. Goodbye Hepheastus. All those you knew in Falacrine wish the best to you and your future. Now I must live out my eternity in the great abyss.

The roof opened above the room, and Hythex's head, revealing it had rockets, blasted towards the sky to explore the universe. 

Kynara: So, that was me? That girl you were talking about?

Hepheastus: Yes. That was you.

Kynara stayed silent. She walked over to Hepheastus, and hugged him. She kissed him on the cheek.

Kynara: Thank you for that Hepheastus. I can't even tell you how thankful I am. 

Hepheastus: It's okay Kynara. I did it for you. Now let us leave this place.

Hepheastus noticed a new lever on the wall, and pulled it down. The ground of the room rose up and the original flooring was revealed to be of a temple, with the statue's head having been removed by Hythex's creators. Hepheastus walked over to find the head in another room, turned around. He grabbed it, walked over to the statue, placed it on the neck where it stayed, and turned it around. It was him. Hepheastus and Kynara laughed. Hepheastus got down and walked with Kynara out of the temple, noticing that it lay on top of the old volcano where the titan rose from. They sat down on a step.

Hepheastus: I've a very long story to tell you about this.

Kynara: Don't, I'll probably pass out again haha.

Hepheastus: Very well then.

Kynara: You know, you've been here for a long time! You don't have to talk like some wise monk or something.

They both looked at each other

Hepheastus: Haha, alright.

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