Hades approached the figure hunched over the forge as he hammered away. Hades paused and waited for Hephaestus to finish his project. Finally, after a few sweltering minutes, Hephaestus straightened up from the forge and peered at his handiwork.

Hades cleared his throat before speaking, "You called me, nephew?"

Hephaestus gave a little jump but turned towards his uncle without fear in his eyes, "Ah, yes, I did, I'm finished. I hope this works." Hephaestus picked up the trinkets and showed them to Hades. There were three of them, the first was a silvery skull ring with obsidian eyes and mouth, the second was a golden barrette that had a lion's head flanked by two leaves and a polished amber set in its mouth, while the third was a bronzed belt with the image of a phoenix carved out of a fiery red ruby blazoned upon the belt buckle. Hades was practically speechless, these were no doubt exquisite and extremely well done. He glanced at Hephaestus with awe, Zeus really did underestimate his son. But, a concern did pop into his head.

"Would this not practically shout to the whole world who our heroes are?"

Hephaestus gave a sly smile, "Ah yes, I did think of that too, uncle, but, once they transform, these items will not be visible at all. The ring will be replaced by a glove, the barrette by the lion's mane, and the belt by feathers. As for why these children will have these items, well, we already have the answer to that. At least, you certainly do."

Hades nodded as he took the three items from Hephaestus, "That, I do, I only hope this will work and get to the right people. But, considering the designs of these items, it's more than likely. Thank you, nephew, for your excellent work, they are exquisite."

"Are you sure about Cerberus?"

Hades sighed as he rubbed the ring, "I have to be, these are the three strongest creatures, and Cerberus might be the only one who can turn those monsters into stones. Besides, I have his brother Orthrus for now, it's not the same, but, he'll do. We need Cerberus to handle these monsters."

"Right, but, are you sure about the lion? This lion isn't like that other one."

Hades pursed his lips, "I know, but with this lion's claws and hide, it will provide a perfect ally for Cerberus. Not only that, but, I did promise it that if it behaved in this form, it may stay out of Tartarus for good, but if it were to ever go against its master's wishes or attempted to return to its evil ways, I will send it back to Tartarus without hesitation."

Hephaestus nodded in understanding, "Good, but, I do have one other question, uncle."


"Should I begin on some more, in case they need help?"

Hades nodded grimly, "That would be a good idea."

"Do you have any particular creatures in mind?"

"Pegasus, for one, and probably the griffin and the unicorn. Trying to figure out a seventh, since seven seems to be our lucky number."

Hephaestus scoffed, "No kidding, but until you do, I'll get the other three going."

"Good, thank you, and I shall be sure to get these three to their proper owners."

"Wonderful, and thank you uncle, for being perhaps the only family to appreciate me."

Hades smiled sadly, "Mainly because I know all too well. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must get going, the heat is getting to me." Hades walked away, shouting as he did so, "Besides, you and your heat are nowhere near as insufferable as Apollo!"

Hephaestus burst out laughing, "We are in total agreement there, uncle!" Hades merely grinned at him before shadowing away back to the underworld. He let out a sigh, he hoped this would work, but since Zeus refused to do anything about it, it was their only option. He gritted his teeth as he shadowed again, if only they could do more than just sit around and let the children handle their problems, things would be so much easier. But this seemed to be the only way, and they had to make it work, or else.