The Kidnapped Cook

The Kidnapped Cook


By Alayia


Rating: G
Disclaimer: I have no association with Fox Kids, USA Studios, and whatever else in charge of Young Hercules. I own Cassandra and the little spiders. There are no dollars to be made.


Concentrating and breathing hard, Hercules teetered on the poles. Covered with fatigue from the exercise, Hercules hoped it would be over soon. He'd been sparring with his longest and best friend, Iolaus, for a very long time now and he wanted to stop anytime.

When Hercules had first come to the Academy, he could never get the hang of it. Now, he had it down. Even though Hercules was the son of a god, Iolaus bettered him the first time they'd done this, but not this time.

From the duel being so long, Iolaus was tired and left his feet exposed. Hercules tripped him with the cudgel. Iolaus hit the floor with a thud.

"Very good, Hercules," the headmaster, centaur, and owner of the Academy commented, "You used your opponent's weakness to defeat him. In Iolaus's case, it was simply being tired. Good job, both of you. Tomorrow, I need you two and Lilith to go to Thebes to get the Academy's new cook. His name is Jarrus."

"You can count on us, Cheiron," Hercules promised.

The next morning, Hercules, Iolaus, and Lilith headed out for Thebes. When they did, they didn't think twice that a simple task could be chaos with a little help from the gods, especially Ares.

*****

"Iolaus, you're out of your mind." Lilith muttered with disgust while at a tavern in Thesally.

"No, I'm not," Iolaus denied, defending himself, "Herc, tell her I'm not crazy."

"You're crazy," Hercules jested with a small smile.

Iolaus had ordered lamb chops, gruel, yams, pomegranates, a whole chicken, and a drink. Not to mention he was trying to hit on the waitress.

"And Iolaus, " Hercules bantered, "That waitress doesn't want you."

"Hey, I can dream, can't I?"

"Yeah, you do a lot of that," Lilith added.

"Hey!"

"All right guys, " Hercules cut in, "We've gotta get a move on. Iolaus, to show the waitress your feelings, you should leave her an extra special tip," Hercules finished, starting to be funny again.

"Yeah, yeah let's get going."

On their way out the door, Iolaus gave the waitress one last wink.

*****

"Hey, Unc! It's me, Strife!"

At the temple, Ares sat on his throne in his normal position: his right leg draped over the arm of the throne with his left foot on the floor.

Oh, only if he knew how stupid he sounded, Ares thought.

"What are you doing here, Strife?" Ares asked, annoyed.

"Well, I was just thinking, well, um, you know..."

"Just spit it out!"

"Ah! Okay. Hercules is going to Thebes to get a cook with his buddies for the Academy. I say we go kidnap that cook and mess with Dumb-ules's mind."

"You know, Strife, out of all your idiotic ideas, that one's not half bad."

"So, you like it?"

Ares smiled. He liked hurting Strife. With a yell of effort, Ares thrust his hand out and a bolt of energy went soaring and hit his nephew. Strife went soaring across the temple and hit the wall headfirst and fell into a heap on the floor in pain. How else could he let out all his anger?

"Yes, I do. This time I'm gonna get you little brother," he promised Hercules. Even though technically his little half brother wasn't there, he knew Hercules knew it.

*****

On the road to Thebes, Iolaus thought he'd be helpful and break the silence by saying, "It's too bad there's gonna be a new cook. I was just starting to like spending our lunch time at Kora's."

"Yeah, because you just got a thing for Kora," Lilith tantalized.

"Oh, please do not bring that back up again." Iolaus pleaded.

"You brought it up,"

"All right, let's just stop now. We've still got another day's journey. Let's just keep the peace," Hercules cut in. He, too, was sick of the subject.

In the next village, Hercules instructed, "Iolaus, go get us three goat skins of soup from that tavern over there," He gestured his hand toward the tavern, "and Lilith, go get us a couple of horses that we can return. I'll get a chariot."

Hercules figured it would be just easier and quicker to take a chariot and to eat as they go along.

As they were going along the road, Ares suddenly appeared, only to Hercules's vision and the horses, too. He drew a lightning bolt, hit the rears of the horses and they went flying.

Maybe this wasn't such a bright idea after all, Hercules thought.

*****

As the horses veered out of control, they missed the route to Thebes, and took another one Hercules had never been on before. Iolaus and Lilith were just as confused as Hercules was.

"Where do you think we're going, Herc?" Iolaus asked.

"I think we're being lead into another one of Ares' traps," Hercules guessed, "I saw him hit the horses with a lightning bolt."

"Oh, " Iolaus stated, "Why can't we just let the horses go?"

"Because if we let them go, we'd be left lost in a place we don't know, and we'd have to pay for the horses because they're not ours," Lilith answered

The horses then just halted to a stop. They all looked around. Thirty-six paces to the right was a swamp, forty-five paces to the left was a thick dark forest, and ninety paces in front was a temple-like castle decorated with weaponry and flags of defeated armies.

"This must be another one of Ares' temples."

"You know, Herc, I think you might be right," Iolaus noted.

"About what?" Hercules asked.

"About Ares!" Iolaus exclaimed, pointing to Ares, who had just appeared.

Hercules was just about to get off the chariot, but Ares said, "Don't get off that chariot. If you do, " He moved his hand in a circle a couple times. Next appeared an image of Jarrus in chains, "'Cookie' will die!"

*****

None of them moved. Iolaus figured he could see if Ares got the wrong person, I mean it could happen easily, right?

"Well, then, what's his name?" Iolaus asked.

"The fool's name is Jarrus. You can see how easy it is to get information out of a man when he is tortured," Ares answered.

"You wouldn't," Hercules started.

Wait, he thought to himself, Cookie? Ares would never say 'Cookie' anywhere!

Hercules did a double flip from the chariot, hit Ares in his chest and sent him flying. He hit the wall with a thud and hit the ground in a heap.

"Strife!" Hercules angrily shot at him.

Strife stood up, giggled and regained his normal form. "Hi! I was just messing with your head."

"Watch what you say or how you say it, next time," Hercules retorted.

Strife shrugged and disappeared.

Hercules turned around back at Iolaus and Lilith. They looked relieved.

"Now what, Herc?" Iolaus questioned, "We're lost!"

"You know, I think you're right, " Hercules guessed.

*****

"Well, we could go inside the temple," Lilith suggested.

"It's better than staying out here," Iolaus agreed right after hearing a wolf howl.

"Yeah, let's get the team in the stable. It's getting dark," Hercules instructed.

After getting the horses settled, they entered the temple. Inside, there was a shrine to Ares. To the right and left were hallways.

"All right, we'll stick together and explore the hallway to the right," Hercules decided.

The hallway wound down to a quite large labyrinth.

Strife appeared. "Hello all of my wonderful fans! You know, Jarrus, your Cookie, is in the middle. There are a lot of dead ends, and in each one there is a, well, a consequence, so to say."

"Like?" Lilith asked sarcastically.

"Like giant spiders, a quick sand pit, um, mummies, you know stuff like that, but if you're going the right way, you get a progress map."

He then disappeared and immediately reappeared.

"Oh, and one more thing," He added

"What?" Hercules questioned.

"When and if you find Cookie, you have to fight Ares to get him." Strife giggled and disappeared.

"Oh, I really hate that guy," Hercules groaned.

*****

"Let's go," Hercules suggested, "It's best if we stay together. If we run into a dead end alone, we won't be any match for the "consequence". Whatever it may be."

"Yeah," Lilith agreed.

They started down a path. After a while of walking and very carefully chosen paths they came to a dead end. There was a gigantic cobweb, a dead spider, which looked like it starved and a young woman stuck in the web.

"Hold on, we'll get you out, miss," Iolaus called over to her.

Once Hercules got her out, he introduced himself. "I'm Hercules, that's Iolaus and that's Lilith. What's your name?"

"Cassandra," she answered.

Boy, is she beautiful, Hercules thought.

"Well, Cassandra, would you like to come with us?" Iolaus offered, "There's no point in staying here."

"All right, let's go!" she told them.

After more grueling paths, they found a progress map on the wall.

It was a bird's-eye view of the labyrinth and in the middle was a chamber, which had an X in the center.

"OK, that's where Jarrus is," Hercules pointed out, "We must be here." He pointed to a red dot on the map.

"We've sure got a long way to go, yet, Hercules," Cassandra noted.

He looked at her and smiled, "Yeah, well, let's try and take the map down so we can take it with us."

"That's a good idea," Lilith commented.

"Iolaus, come and help me with this," Hercules instructed.

"Oh," Iolaus muttered as he went over to help him.

They lifted out the map and went on. When they came to the edge, they stopped and put it down.

"According to the map, we should go that way," Lilith remarked, pointing upwards on the map.

"Yeah, then we have to turn left," Iolaus added.

Just then Ares appeared. He didn't seem happy. Who would be if your archrival had the key to getting out of your trap?

"Oh, no you don't!" Ares angrily quipped. He hurled a bolt at the quartet. They dodged it, but the map exploded. "That evens the odds," Ares triumphantly jeered.

"Oh great! Now what?" Lilith asked indignantly.

"We're back to step one again: Being lost," Hercules declared.

The labyrinth reminded Hercules of the time he went up against the Minotaur. It's still the same concept: Wherever you went, you got lost.

"Let's keep going," Cassandra offered, "We'll end up getting a new map along the way."

"You're right," Hercules agreed as they turned the corner, "There's no point crying over sp-uh, oh." He stopped dead in his tracks. They had just run into a dead end and they were now facing a giant spider that looked very hungry.

*****

The spider, at its full length, was at least eight feet tall, Hercules figured. Its fangs were long and very sharp.

"I'm glad spiders aren't normally this size!" Iolaus jested. No one laughed.

"Iolaus, you pick the worst times to joke around!" Lilith retorted.

"Alright guys," Hercules instructed, turning the corner, "He may be taller than us, by a couple feet, but we out number him by three. Plan beta-26: Scatter around the area! Go!"

They turned around the corner again. The spider was ready. Hercules was barking out orders to the others. He was worried for the others. He had never come up against anything that put he and his friends in this much danger before. He really liked Cassandra, too and he didn't want to lose her now.

"Scatter about! Try not to let it get you!"

They scattered around. It seemed to confuse the spider. It couldn't catch its prey easier. They were determined that they were going to beat him. As if reading their thoughts, the spider shot out a liquid. It was very unexpected. Iolaus, Lilith and Cassandra got their feet caught in the fluid. It seemed like a sticky substance for catching its prey in case it got into a predicament like this.

Seeing that his life-long buddy, his friend and secret crush was in danger, Hercules rushed for a sword. He saw one in the hand of a skeleton lying up against the wall. He grabbed it and choked, "Uh, thanks," Then dashed off to save his friends.

Just as the spider was closing in on his prey, Hercules cut in. Literally. He jumped in and cut off four of the spider's legs. While it was occupied, Hercules cut the sticky liquid off this friend's feet.

"All right! Let's finish him guys!" Lilith shouted.

They took the spider's remaining legs and tied them up. Then, they picked it up and trapped it in it's own web.

They turned the corner, the next, and so on, choosing very carefully where they went. Finally, they reached another map.

"Wow," commented Iolaus, "I didn't think we'd be that close to Cookie, uh, Jarrus. Strife's getting to me. Bad."

"Yeah, he must if you're talking like him," Hercules joked.

"Who is this Jarrus anyway?" Cassandra inquired.

"He's the person we're here to get. Cheiron, he sent us, told us that we had to get the new cook from Thebes. My half brother, Ares, kidnapped him and brought him here," Hercules answered.

"Wait a second. 'My half brother, Ares?' Your father is Zeus? You're a half-god?"

"Well, uh, yeah."

"Why does Herc always get the beautiful women?" Iolaus asked Lilith.

She slapped his arm. "Hey!"

"Oops."

When they turned the corner, they saw Jarrus tied up.

"We did it!" Cassandra shouted, hugging Hercules.

"Wait! Ares!" Hercules remembered, not returning the hug out of fear for his friends.

"That's right, little brother!" Ares growled, eager to attack.

*****

Hercules didn't want his friends to get in the crossfire between him and Ares.

"Iolaus, take the others and get Jarrus. Stay clear from us!" He warned Iolaus.

"Do you want to know how Cassandra got here?" Ares asked.

Hercules looked uneasy. "How?"

"It's simple," Ares narrated, "Her and her people were shunning my name. She was their leader. If I put her here, I knew you'd find her. I didn't think she'd survive the spider. Also-"

"You also thought that I would fall in love with her in the meantime and then I'd lose another girlfriend. That's low, Ares. Even for you," Hercules finished, "Well, as usual, Ares, your plans won't go accordingly."

"That's why I got back up," He informed.

Just then, Strife and Discord appeared, walked over, and guarded the others.

Some back up, Hercules thought.

Ares came in fast. He did a line of back flips all the way to Hercules. When he came up, he gave Hercules a punch in the face.

"Too fast for you?" Ares sneered.

Hercules walked up Ares, like a wall and ended by flipping and landing on his feet.

"Apparently not fast enough," Hercules answered.

"Let's make things a little more interesting," Ares suggested.

"How?"

Ares made a pool of fire appear. "Getting it now?"

"Yeah."

They both flipped over the fire, striking each other every time. There was a blaze a minute later, large enough for Ares to not see through it. When it calmed down, Hercules was gone.

All of a sudden, Hercules dropped from a rope hung on the top of the labyrinth, hitting Ares and pushing him into the flames.

"Ahhhh!" screamed Ares. When he hit the flames, everything vanished. That gave the cue for Strife and Discord. They left as well.

"Come on guys. Let's go," murmured Hercules.

*****

When they all got out of the labyrinth, Hercules took Cassandra and took her out of earshot of the others.

"Look, uh, I gotta get back to the Academy. Do you think you'd like to come with us?" he offered.

"No, I don't think so. Drop by Antioch sometime. You'll have a great time there," Cassandra answered.

"All right, I'll see you, then."

He leaned over and kissed her.

"Goodbye," she smiled, surprised by the kiss.

She walked away. Hercules watched her until he couldn't see her. He didn't know it, but as she went, a tear trailed down her cheek. "Goodbye," he whispered to himself.

"And the winner of "Best Heartbreaker of the Year" is awarded to Hercules!" Iolaus hooted, coming up from behind. "So, how'd it turn out?"

"That, Iolaus, is confidential," Hercules answered.

"You're a wet blanket!" Iolaus snapped back.

"No, I'm not!"

"Okay, Iolaus, you're right," Lilith acknowledged, "Hercules is a wet blanket. Hercules, you're right. It's none of Iolaus's business."

"All right, you're right, Herc. You can't be a wet blanket if you kissed Cassandra," Iolaus taunted.

"You saw?"

"All of us saw the whole thing!"

"Oh, you're done for!" Hercules bantered, leaping at Iolaus. He chased Iolaus all the way back to the Academy.

*****

When they all got back to the Academy, Hercules explained everything. They were out of hot water-for now.

"This calls for a celebration!" Jarrus insisted. It was the first time they'd heard him speak, "I'll whip up something good!"

In less than an hour, Jarrus made a feast fit for a king. When they entered the mess hall, the cadets practically keeled over.

"Wow! This guy is better than all the cooks we've ever had put together!" Iolaus remarked.

"Hey! He's even better than you!" Lilith joked.

"Ha, Ha." Iolaus quipped sarcastically.

The feasting and partying lasted until the darkness swallowed the light outside.

Hercules wasn't having such a good time. He knew Cassandra was out there-somewhere, probably feeling the same way he was.

"I'll find you again, someday, Cassandra. Maybe next time, things will work out," he whispered.

He decided to let it go and enjoy the party.


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