Chapter 13: Athena’s Whereabouts
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[Cycles are the most common term for the measurement of time across The Heavenly Realm. This is mainly due to the sheer amount of Sub-Realms linked to The Heavenly Realm. A conservative estimate would be a few thousand, and most of them operated a differing rates of time flow. And as a result of most Deva migrating to The Heavenly Realm when their strength reached a certain level it became the norm to measure time according to The Heavenly Realm. A cycle was the equivalent of 360 24 hour days separated into 12 months, each 30 days long. It was based on the required time for The Heavenly Realm's sun to complete on full rotation or "cycle".]

"Well it is part of the reason, for the last few thousand cycles I have been collecting dragons for the research of not only this bread, but a few other forms of food aswell as I really have been getting into cooking lately. But I also collected them to research some new weapons I thought of aswell as the creation of new materials, and to study the different forms of flame that dwell within them. But it wasn't only Dragons, I collected quite a few different creatures and brought them in here. They mostly reside on the other side of the mountain range though." 

Hephaestus's words caused the women no small amount of shock, and even Hestia showed some suprise at finding out that Hephaestus was the cause between quite a few species experience a sharp decline I  population.

Yet the person himself seemed completely nonchalant about the whole matter, as if his actions over the last few thousand cycles hadn't only lead to the complete destruction of some habitat, but also led to a severe shortage when it came to certain Divine Materials.

Francesca was not only Hephaestus's First Disciple, she was also his adoptive daughter and one of his first creations. Although she had a tru Anima and thereby her own soul and free will, she had been raised with all his views and had long since become numb to what would make others shocked. As such her reaction was similar to his, in that it was nonexistent.

"Anyway enough about all of that go on and eat the bread, tell me what you think!" Hephaestus moved on and motioned for them to eat.

At his earlier words the womens' minds had undergone something akin to a short circuit, thus calming their nerves and suppressing their instinctual desire to flee. As a result the tension had long since left their bodies. Yet, at Hephaestus's insistence they could no longer resist the smell of the rolls as they tickled their noses.

They cast each other glances and brought the rolls to their mouths before all biting into them at once.

They were immediately overwhelmed by its texture that was a perfect blend of, fluffy, chewy, and moist. What hit them next was the taste. The bread was both savory and sweet, seeming to electrify all of their taste buds at once making the moan in delight.

As the bread mixed with their saliva it seemed to melt away as a soothing wave of energy swept across their entire bodies.

They melted into the seats of their chairs as all of their accumulated stress simply vanished.

Before they knew what happened the rolls of bread that were the size of an adult man's fist were gone in a mere few bites.

Lights of disappointment flashed through their eyes as they hadn't been able to truly enjoy the taste before the bread was gone. Yet as soon as such thoughts crossed their minds, their entire bodies surged with overwhelming waves of energy, yet in contradiction to this enormous surge of energy filling their bodies their minds were overcome with intense drowsiness.

They soon gave in to the drowsiness and collapsed face down on the table, falling into a deep sleep.

"Huh, I guess it was to much to think that 7th and 8th Tier beings could withstand that amount of pure Divinity. I guess if I really think about it, the fact that they could eat a whole roll before passing out is a miracle in itself and a testament of their high talents." Hephaestus thought aloud as he gently waved his hand, causing their bodies to vanish.

He then turned to Hestia who had remained silent throughout the entire ordeal.

Her gaze was trained on him, free of any negative emotions or even shock, as she new that Hephaestus would never do anything to harm her followers. And she herself could sense that the affects that the bread would have on the four would be the opposite of harmful.

So instead of lashing out she asked in her trademarked tone of warmth, "How long will they sleep for?"

"There's really no way of knowing for sure but if I had to guess I would say around 10 days." He responded after pondering for a moment.

"Very well then, have you given that bread a name yet?" She asked another question.

"No, not yet," He responded before asking a question of his own, "Any suggestions?"

"Yes I do have one suggestion. You could name it after the legendary bread that fell from heaven to feed The Father’ s people, Manna." She spoke the title ‘Father’ with an inherent sense of reverence.

Hephaestus closed his eyes in contemplation before and amiable smile form on his face, "Yes, such a name is truly fitting as this is indeed a food that nurtures both body and soul, further empowering ones Anima and increasing their inherent talent. Bringing them even closer to The Heavenly Will through a moment of absolute clarity. It's a shame that those four were at a level to low to truly enjoy such a Heaven Sent opportunity..."

"Yes it is..." Hestia sighed in lament before continuing on, "Uet they truly haven't had time to focus on furthering their own strengths and discovering the true secrets of their Bloodlines as of late. When we return I will need to find a time to transfer their duties so they can focus on themselves."

As the two comversed Francesca stood up and made her way over to the kitchen the check on the rest of the food.

When she did she thought to herself, "Master truly does have a brilliant mind, but he is truly to easily distracted, almost letting the food burn..."

After Francesca walked away Hephaestus spoke, "Now as for the reason you came to see me personally Aunt Hess, I truly cannot be of much help as I do not know the current whereabouts of my sister Artemis."

"As expected. I will simply have to really on our connection to slowly look for her if that is the." Hestia spoke with an unaffected tone of voice before continuing to ask, "And Athena?"

Hephaestus smiled wryly as he stated, "If it wasn't for you coming to pick up some Divine Materials I am truly afraid your trip would have been wasted. You see, my sister Athena took upon herself to him on her. She sensed it the moment he was born, and came to see me requesting that I craft something for her. Apparently she must test him to see if he is worthy to be her Master."

Hestia's expression underwent a small change yet, she tok could only release a wry smile in acknowledgment of Athena's character.

"May I ask what item she had you craft for her? Or did she request that you not tell anyone." Hestia asked.

Hephaestus shook his head and responded, "There was no such request, but do you truly want me to tell you what she asked for?"

"Not really, whatever the scenario I believe the Young Master should be able to handle it." She spoke gently.

"Why do you already have such confidence in him already, you meet him only 20 or so years ago, correct?" Hephaestus asked in confusion.

As it was truly puzzling for him to have such an effect on someone who had already lived for millions of years in such a small period of time. In addition to the fact that she had only been in Basil's presence once, she should have zero reason to be so confident in him, but she was anyway.

"One reason is the undeniable resonance I felt coming from his Anima and Soul countless years which connected us through the unbelievably long river of time; but another, is that I have always possessed the ability to peer into the hearts and minds of every who stands before me, understanding the things that truly drives and comforts them, and one of the two things driving Basil was a sense of unparalleled confidence. Confidence in not just himself, but those around him as well. Confidence that that every goal can be achieved, that every aim can be reached. Confidence that their is no ‘best’, only better. And the other was the unshakable desire to be a pillar of both support and strength for all those close to him. Those are the reasons behind why I choose to believe in him. And if Athena went to find him, she too will soon understand why he is worthy to be ‘our’ master." She looked out the window and took in the sight of the vast plain beyond.

***

Countless miles away a woman possessing unparalleled beauty and insurmountable majesty strode across clouds as she approached a circular mountain range located in the heart of Olympus's main continent.

Within her mind’s eye, a lone figure sat on the peak of a sky-piercing mountain as he basked in the rays of the morning sun.

Announcement
Hey its Azu. So that chapter was pretty long huh? I'm still not sure what happened their I just kinda fell into a grove. Anyway if you want to get status updates on future chapters, take a look at character pics, mask me about certain characters or the plot, or maybe even just wanna talk to Azu here, stop by my Discord Server, here's a link https://discord.gg/JDVN5PC 
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