With the approval from Hephaestus, Summoner stayed in the forge to be his apprentice. As time went by, the day for Hephaestus to meet Zeus finally arrived.
Since travelling to Heaven would take Hephaestus some time, he worked extra hard to compete the quests he had taken. Hephaestus: Summoner, these are the weapons requested by a lakeside village. Please deliver them by sunset.
: No problem!
Summoner arrived at the small village next to the lake, with a wooden cart full of weapons. The villagers were all impressed by its quality, giving their harvests to Summoner as a gratitude.
It had taken Summoner for a while before he could leave the crowd. Exhausted by the overwhelming gratitude, Summoner pulled off the cart to rest under a tree. Looking at the tranquil lake, Summoner finally caught a moment of peace.
: 'Hephaestus will be meeting Zeus tomorrow, but I still haven't figured out the reason which will trigger him to kill Zeus.
: Sigh, why would things end up like this... Huh? Something is moving in the lake...
Waves burst out of the silky surface all of a sudden, splashing water in all directions. A naked woman jumped out of the water. The reflection of sunlight embellished her beauty to the next level, stunning Summoner into speechlessness.
: 'My goodness... She's gorgeous. I can't find an adequate word to describe her beauty. It's disrespectful to objectify her.'
The woman went to Summoner after getting herself dressed. There was so much seduction within her gaze while she bit her sweet lips slightly. ???: How dare you peek at me, filthy human! I'll gouge your eyes out!
: What? I'm just passing by, and it's you who decided to swim naked here - ???: Nonsense! I guess I don't have to show any mercy on you. Go to hell!
: 'Her magic is incredible... Who is she exactly... How come she's so powerful?' ???: It's impressive that you can withstand my attack, human. But the battle ends now -
The woman conjured the element to consolidate a razor-sharp sword. As a defence, Summoner created an elemental shield, but was crushed into pieces by her sword immediately.
Luckily, a shadow covered Summoner at the critical moment. Flames had burnt her sword into ashes. Hephaestus: Summoner, are you alright?
: I'm fine. Thanks to you... But why are you here? Hephaestus: You've spent too much time outside. I was worried if you were ambushed by the gnomes that attacked us before, so here I am now. But clearly it has nothing to do with them this time... Who are you? And why did you - Em!?
Suddenly, the woman ran to hug Hephaestus once she saw him. ???: My pour son, I finally found you!
Hephaestus stepped back with Summoner to get rid of the woman while keeping an eye on this stranger. Seeing his hostility, the woman started to weep. Hephaestus: What are you talking about? Theogony Ruler - Hera: I'm your mother, goddess Hera... But I totally understand why you don't recognise me. This is the first time we meet each other. Hephaestus: ...You're my mother...
Hephaestus was stunned in trance by the unexpected appearance of Hera, his birth mother, so Summoner asked on behalf of Hephaestus.
: Hephaestus will be reuniting with Zeus in Heaven tomorrow. Why did why come all the way down the realm suddenly?
Hera's expression turned grim, looking at Hephaestus anxiously. Theogony Ruler - Hera: I'm here to warn you. Don't meet Zeus tomorrow. Hephaestus: ...Why? Theogony Ruler - Hera: Because Zeus...he wants to kill you! Hephaestus: You - Shut your mouth! You’re not my mother... You’re just some vicious demon imposter! Die!
: Hephaestus, wait! I don't think she is - Hephaestus: Summoner, move away or I'll make you!
Hephaestus was irritated to attack Hera because of her words, so Summoner interfered before Hephaestus made some irreversible mistakes.
When both of them were wrestling, Hera was bumped away, showing a burn scar on her body. Hephaestus lost all his killing attempt once he saw that. Hephaestus: This is...by fire... Are you really my mother? Theogony Ruler - Hera: It's true, my son. This is the sceptre of goddess that I'm holding. You should be able to feel its power. Hephaestus: I do... Tell me. Why would father want to kill me? Theogony Ruler - Hera: It's because he thinks you'll do the same to him.
: Hephaestus will never do that! He loves Zeus very much. Theogony Ruler - Hera: Son of mortal, I know my son better than you. He loves his father more than anyone, but his love will never overpower Zeus' fear of the prophecy.
: Prophecy? What's that about?
: 'I've got a bad feeling...' Theogony Ruler - Hera: Killed by his own son. This is Zeus' prophecy. Hephaestus: This is absurd! Father won't believe in this ridiculous lie! Theogony Ruler - Hera: No... He will, because your grandfather Cronus was killed by Zeus too. Hephaestus: This...this is impossible... So it's his decision to abandon me?
Hera nodded. She came over to touch her son's cheeks and spoke gently. Theogony Ruler - Hera: My dearest son, please run as far as you can. Go to somewhere Zeus won't find you. I just want you to be safe. Hephaestus: ...No, I still can't believe he is such a cruel father... I don't!
Devastated by the brutal fact, Hephaestus ran away from the scene. At this moment, Hera hugged Summoner and pressed her breasts against him. She licked her lips seducingly, tempting Summoner with her mesmerising aroma. Theogony Ruler - Hera: Can you do me a favour -
: I'm sorry but I'm busy now! Bye!
When the situation went wrong, Summoner pushed Hera away and fled immediately.
: 'This is too horrible... What does she want from me?'
Breaking free from Hera, Summoner pushed his cart back to the forge by nightfall. There was only a faint light brightening up the dark area. As everything was settled, a shadow blocked Summoner's way back inside.
Glauox: Summoner, you came back finally. What happened? Hephaestus was insanely furious when he got back. He never responded anything. All he has been doing is forging.
: Sigh... It's a long story - Hephaestus: Dammit! I failed again!
Summoner and Glauox went speechless when they heard Hephaestus' roar from the chamber deep inside the forge. Sneaking to the forging chamber, Summoner saw that the failed pieces were tossed all over the floor.
Hephaestus grabbed his hammer to start forging another weapon, but he had lost the gentleness he used to have. Slipping his hammer, Hephaestus accidentally hit his hand instead of the weapon and left a significant wound.
He didn't stop for the injury, but kept hitting even harder. At this moment, Summoner went over to stop him.
: Enough! You're hurting yourself! Hephaestus: None of your business!
: Don't give up on hope yet! Maybe it's not like what we think it is. Let's leave all the questions for the meeting with Zeus tomorrow. Hephaestus: Summoner, you’re right...I'm too reckless- Watch out!
An arrow was shot into the house unexpectedly. Hephaestus pounced on Summoner to dodge the incoming attack. Yet they realised it was merely a beginning as countless arrows were launched at the subsequently...
Hephaestus burnt all the arrows into ashes with elemental power. In the nick of time, he grabbed the hammer behind him. Hephaestus: How dare you ambush me! You’re doomed!
The god of fire sprinted out of the house with himself wrapped up by flames. A ring of fire was blasted at the lurking assassin, forcing him to reveal himself. Hephaestus: Tell me! Who sent you! Assassin: I can't- AHHH!
Hephaestus smacked his leg without any hesitation. When the assassin screamed in agony, not a hint of sympathy could be found on Hephaestus. Then he moved his hammer to the assassin's other leg.
: 'Hephaestus looks like a completely different person... Wait! What's that?'
Summoner caught a glimpse of something appearing on Hephaestus' hammer, but it vanished before he could have a clear image. Meanwhile the assassin gave the most unwanted answer to Hephaestus. Assassin: It-it's Zeus! Hephaestus: ...So it's true. How ironic... My father hates me that much... Assassin: AHHHH -
The flames of Hephaestus started spreading to all direction, burning the assassin ruthlessly. Soon, the fire swallowed the forge, bringing down the whole place.
In the sea of flames, Hephaestus grabbed his hammer tight, full of fury and hatred. Hephaestus: I hate him... He had never loved me!
: 'That's why Hephaestus wants to kill Zeus... What can I do to release him from rancour...'