A.N Another chapter for all of you I hope you enjoy it as always please review and let me know your thoughts on it. As always i own nothing the mouse and his minions own everything.
Hecate's palace buzzed with activity as everyone milled around either preparing defenses or performing other tasks. Athena stood in the war room a large hologram of Hecate's palace from a bird's eye view was center stage. Hephaestus bustled through the doors practically trampling some of the gods in his haste.
"Athena I need your help!" Hephaestus shouted hobbling towards her as fast as possible.
"I know you weren't here when Pluto got his arse whipped but I'm sure you can understand me when I say I need to get everyone here marshalled in case the giants attack here, I also need to make sure that we get a message through to the romans so that anyone who can switch their form knows that it might save them so if you could wait..." Athena replied eyeing the map zooming in on different sections of the diagram to find any weakness' that could be exploited in their defenses.
"It can't wait Athena if we delay even for an hour it will be too late to save him." Hephaestus replied his voice full of impatience and worry.
"Him? Who are you talking about now Hephaestus? What's happened?" Athena asked turning fully to face him giving him her undivided attention.
"My son Leo…."
Athena interrupted him "Leo Valdez? I don't mean to sound too heartless but the life of one half-blood is inconsequential in comparison to the threat were facing here. Unless the whole quest is on the precipice now I can't justify leaving here at the moment."
"ENOUGH!' Hephaestus bellowed halting her diatribe with his anger' I seem to remember you helping to start this rebellion of ours over your daughter's death and then practically dropping everything to resurrect her. How is this situation any different? Are you telling me my son's life is less important than your daughters?' Hephaestus snorted angrily flames beginning to dance in his beard' If it makes you feel any better I just need some knowledge that I know you possess, you won't even have to leave here and can get on with your planning."
Athena's face had paled halfway through his rant at his accusations then her expression became wary at his last remark. "What is this knowledge I have that you need for your son? Also what happened to him exactly?"
"My son fought Herakles drawing his attention away from the rest of the crew of the Argos allowing them to gain entry into the old world. He pushed his limits too far when attempting to turn the island into a firestorm. When he did this though caused Herakles enough pain for him to revert to his true form…" Hephaestus replied raggedly.
"There's nothing left of him then no mortals can survive our true forms their bodies disintegrate instantly."
"Don't you remember Jason surviving Hera's form when Porphyrion rose? Leo is still alive for the moment I felt him extend his powers farther than was safe which is why I rushed there to see what would cause it. I searched his memories in his catatonic and weakened state I was able to gain all the knowledge of what transpired. After that I flashed him to my manse and hoked him up to several machines they are delaying the inevitable, I have already come up with a plan but I need your knowledge to make it work completely.' Pausing Hephaestus eyed Athena as if sizing up how she would take his request' Daedalus and I were good friends we shared some of our designs even while he was in hiding. As I said we shared some designs and in so doing I have the schematics for the artificial construct he made to extend his life. What I don't have but you do is the knowledge of how he transferred his soul into the body. That is what I need from you."
Athena's eyes widened and her mouth opened and closed several times finding herself at a loss as to what to do. On the one hand death was natural and was a necessity plus Hades would be foaming at the mouth if anyone ever again defied him as Daedalus had. But on the other hand Leo was a valuable asset to them admittedly he was expendable but it would be convenient to keep him around and would keep Hephaestus on their side.
Staring into Hephaestus' eyes she nodded slowly slipping into telepathy This information is to never see the light of day if anyone asks you for it. Do you understand?
Swear to it.
I swear on the river Styx that the knowledge you impart to me now I will not tell another. Even though the vow was telepathically made the sound of thunder booming in the distance was still audible.
Here is what you need to do to achieve the transfer. Having said this Athena shoved her knowledge through their link. Hephaestus closed his eyes as he took the information in. Opening his eyes, he nodded to Athena and with a silent Thank you. He was off disappearing in a flash of light.
Arriving at his palace Hephaestus walked briskly sending orders out to his constructs getting them to assemble what he need for the transfer to work as he headed down into the makeshift infirmary that still had all the tools of a forge present. On one table was what was left of Leo his entire body was burnt almost to the point of unrecognizable one of his legs was smashed in half dangling by thin strips of flesh and muscle to his upper thigh. Several tubes were connected to him injecting him with a mixture of ambrosia and nectar diluted with water so that the concentrated substance wouldn't finish him off. Leo's heart failed already but had been replaced with an artificial one quickly a set of bellows kept air moving in and out of Leos body. All of these efforts were just prolonging the inevitable but thankfully for Hephaestus they were buying him all the time he needed to get the knowledge from Athena and convert one of Daedalus' backup bodies into something more suitable for his son which now was positioned on another table next to his son.
Grabbing the various parts that his automatons brought to him Hephaestus quickly assembled a power reservoir designed to stabilize a soul for a short duration outside of a body. Then he took the blood emerald from the materials that had been brought and wrapped it meticulously in a cross weave of imperial gold and celestial bronze wires. Taking the wire encrusted gem with his hand he plunged it into the basin of molten lava that was next to him. Removing the gem after a minute in the extreme heat he quickly brought it closer to his face and began to mold the molten metals around the gem leaving only a fragment of the gem visible at the top upon which he inscribed several runes. Taking the construct, he then quenched it quickly in the basin holding water and after removing it engraved several runes into the metal coating the gem. Finally satisfied with his work he placed the gem into the slight depression that he had left in the reservoir smiling as it settled perfectly causing the reservoir to emit a soft silver light.
"Now for the tricky part." Hephaestus muttered.
Waving his hand, the devices that had been sustaining his son shut down until finally with one last exhale of air his son died albeit with the difference being instead of Leo's soul going into the underworld it was pulled into the gem that Hephaestus had made. The light emitting from the device changed from silver to gold indicating that Leo's soul had made the transition safely. Hephaestus breathed a sigh of relief Athena's information had said that there was a good chance that the soul might just transfer straight to the underworld if the person whose soul was being transferred was unaware of what was happening. Taking the gem carefully he inserted it into the mechanical body he had prepared attaching the various cables and wiring to the runes he had made earlier. After connecting the last wire, he reattached the chest piece of the body hearing it lock into place with a hiss as it sealed together. Stepping back away from his son he watched and waited.
Slowly the mechanical body began to stir the fingers and toes curling and uncurling as the new resident of the body began to waken from his unconsciousness. One eye opened and then the other using his right elbow Leo pushed himself upright and began to look around him taking in his surroundings. Leo was pretty sure he wasn't in the underworld since he didn't see any demonic three headed Chihuahuas walking around and he was pretty sure the underworld didn't smell like metal and grease. Stopping his observations, he noted that something was off with his vision everything appeared normal to him but he realized he was seeing things in sharp detail and was able to pick out the smallest details in the wall he had been looking at noticing that the Nano thin place where the metal had been connected to another piece. Turning around further he saw a man standing there watching him he had a large beard that had small sparks shooting off of it. He also noticed that the man had his knee in a metal brace and seemed to emit an aura of power, causing him to realize who it was since in his life this was the first time he had met his Father.
Hephaestus spoke up breaking the silence "How are you feeling my son?"
Leo raised an eyebrow questioningly "I feel fine…if you define overcoming your own bodies immunity to fire and getting your leg smashed in half by a …. For the love of Tacos what in Hades name happened to my body!?" Leo broke off as he looked down at his body and noticed that while it looked like a normal human's body it was actually composed of metal.
"Son I need you to sit down for a second." Hephaestus replied gently.
"Sure I'll sit down but then I would like to know why my bloody body is made of metal now instead of good old skin and bones.' Leo replied panic fully audible in his voice as he stumbled back onto the table.
"First off I want you to know that I am proud of how you handled yourself on that island you took the initiative and did what needed to be done. But in doing so you spent almost all your energy and were at deaths door. I managed to get to you in time to stop your passing temporarily and then with Athena's help I managed to save you by transferring your soul to your current body." Hephaestus spoke slowly.
"…Okay don't take this wrong but couldn't you guys simply have healed my body with a snap of your fingers I mean you are all gods." Leo asked his eyes blinking out of habit more than necessity now.
Hephaestus eyed the remains of his son's body then looked at Leo directly "We god's can heal many things but there are limits to even our powers. You don't have to look but if you want to see what exactly we had to work with you can remove that shroud from the table on your left."
Leo looked confusingly at the table for a second then it clicked in his head what was under the shroud. Moving over to the table Leo yanked off the shroud quickly hoping that seeing it all at once was less painful than bit by bit. As he saw the remains of his former body he felt like he might vomit…if he could still vomit that is. Hephaestus replaced the shroud over the body since his son was frozen in place by the sight.
Once the shroud was in place Leo laughed hollowly "Well it's not every day you see yourself dead."
"I'm sorry my son." Hephaestus replied sorrow laced his voice as he put a hand on Leo's shoulder pulling him away from the table and further into the palace leaving the room behind them.
"I need to get my mind off that image' Leo rasped as they walked onwards' what exactly are the capabilities of this body I have now?"
Understanding his son was trying to bury the memory with facts he spoke "Well you'll probably still be breathing out of habit but it is no longer necessary the same goes for food and air. The body itself is composed of celestial bronze and imperial gold and covered in a synthetic metal that mimics flesh the exception being those with enhanced sight as you now have of course. Since you no longer need to breath, and unlike Daedalus who originally built his body to hide from the gods, you are in the midst of a war and I felt that creating a fake set of lungs wasn't worth the time instead where lungs would normally be is a ensorcelled container of nitroglycerin and a series of compressors that once you've practiced it will allow you to spit or spray your enemies with the substance and since you still have your powers over fire you can ignite it that way.' Pausing he added almost as an afterthought' NEVER again reach that high of a temperature my son. While your old body withstood it for a while you need to remember that your new body is metal and even though that metals ensorcelled to withstand heat all metal has a melting point."
Leon nodded sheepishly at Hephaestus who continued speaking "Also there are two blades in the core of both your left and right forearm these blades can slide out when you need them and are made of stygian iron…"
Leo interrupted him "I thought unless you were related to Hades touching that stuff was bad for us mortals."
"Typically yes but you're not exactly mortal now are you? Stygian can only affect living flesh which is how it renders judgment on those who bear it without Hades consent. since you have none it cannot affect you. As I was saying before the blades will emerge from your palms in a straight line and are inflexible, they can be activated together or alone. They are your ace in the hole so to speak if you are disarmed and an enemy gets in close to you. Just remember that when you stab someone with these they will most likely die irrespective of where you hit them Hades metal has always been an effective means of ending lives. Next up is your bodies primary regular bits and pieces. Your eyes have perfect vision and see things in minute detail as I'm sure you've noticed, also they have both infrared and x-ray mode which you have to activate. Your strength is about that of a hardened warrior so don't go out and try to move anything beyond human in terms of weight. Your endurance though is another story unless you lose too much of your fluids that energize the body you can last for ages in running fighting or whatever task you are doing. The fluid is self-replicating but there are limits to how fast it replaces whatever you lose."
Leo nodded processing the details." Okay so basically I'm a more durable version of the former me with a couple nifty doo dads but I'm not the incredible hulk does that about sum it up?"
"I don't know what the hulk is but I…." Hephaestus started to reply but was cut off
"The Hulk is this guy who can lift thousands of pounds without …..." Leo trailed off as he noticed the glare he was receiving.
"I suppose that sums it up well. "Hephaestus acknowledged after a few seconds gruffly.
After walking a few more minutes in silence after that Leo looked at his father again "Thanks for saving me Father."
Hephaestus looked over at his son and his expression softened slightly "Your welcome son."
Argos & co.
Nico sat on the deck of the Argo his eyes closed as he focused on the souls of the departed searching for Leo's knowing that his confrontation with Herakles had only one possible outcome. Finally he sensed Leos soul felt it begin to cross towards the underworld only to reverse direction and disappear from his presence. Nico's eyes opened seeing the rest of the group looking at him dejectedly knowing what he must have felt.
"I have good news and bad news.' Nico began' the bad news is that I did feel Leos soul on its way to the underworld, the good news though is that it didn't cross over."
"WHAT?!" The rest of them burst out besides Hazel who was just watching him calmly trusting his judgement.
"It felt like someone I'd met before in the brief second as it faded away from my perception. Annabeth he felt like Daedalus did sort of when we met him back during the titan war.' Nico said keeping his voice steady' I do believe Leo has now made my father's list of all time hated heroes."