Hercules Detective Agency Case Files are Copyrighted with the U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress

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Proprietor Hercules (Roman name), also known as Heracles (Greek name), also known as Herc (Nickname)

It was early evening when Hercules heard someone knock gently on his door.

Aunt Hestia," Hercules exclaimed. He looked down at her hands. "Is that a pie? One of your famous pies?"

"I need your help, Hercules. It's Hera. You can't imagine all the trouble she's causing!"

"I think I might," Hercules muttered.

"I didn't want to be right about this. She's my sister after all." Hercules saw tears in her eyes that she was trying to hold back. "She's so .."

"Warm and cuddly?" offered Hercules.

That made Hestia laugh. "Perhaps not that exactly."

"That's not an olive pie, is it?" the Minotaur asked suspiciously.

"An olive pie?" Hestia said, startled., looking around Hercules at the Minotaur, sitting in a chair by the fire.

"Don't mind him," Hercules told his aunt. "He had a most unfortunate experience locked in a maze made of nothing but olive trees and sharp points and ..."

Hestia gasped. "Oh my goodness. You're the Minotaur, aren't you? You poor thing. Here, you take this. It's an apple pie, my famous apple pie."

"Thank you," thanked the Minotaur brightly. He grabbed the pie, scooped it up, and shoved it into his mouth in one huge bite. He smacked his lips. "Delicious."

"Oh my," said Hestia.

Hercules glared at his friend, then turned to his obviously distraught aunt." He led her to his couch. "Tell me what has you so upset."

"I know you founded your agency to help the Greek people," the goddess Hestia sniffed. "But I help them too, the Greek women anyway, and doing a pretty good job of it. Hera is trying to take over my job. I am the goddess of hearth and home. She is the goddess of marriage. The problem is, once a Greek woman is married, she turns to me for help and advice. Hera is so jealous. She has to be the center of attention all the time. You would not believe the rumors she's started. And now she wants me off the council entirely. She wants the council to assign her my job."

"The council of 12, the 12 Olympians? The rulers of all the gods? The most powerful gods in the world? The gods who live on Mount Olympus ?"

"Yes, Hercules. How many counsels of 12 are there?" Tears forming at the corner of her eyes. "I don't care if I'm on the counsel or not," Aunt Hestia sniffed. "All I care about is making sure the woman of Greece have me as their protector. I'm the best goddess for the job, you know I am, Hercules." Hestia wrung her hands. "What am I going to do?" she wailed. "Please help me."

"Aunt Hestia, you know I'd do anything for you. Of course I'll take the case."

A very relieved and very hopeful Hestia leaped up from the couch and gave her nephew a hug. "Thank you thank you. I am sorry to have interrupted your evening, but this is really important, not just to me but to all the women in Greece." The goddess Hestia took a deep painful breath. "I do want your help, Herc, but I want your promise that you will be careful. You know Hera has tried to kill you more than once, she's so jealous."

"Sounds to me like your sister is a bully," the Minotaur said, with nose pursed up as if he had smelled something rotten.

"There's only one way to deal with bullies," snarled Hercules, clenching his fists.

"There is only one way," the Minotaur agreed, narrowing his eyes. "Most of the time, it takes smarts, not fists. Bullies are cowards, Herc."

Hestia sank down in a chair by the fire, opposite the Minotaur. "You sound as if you've met a bully or two."

The Minotaur snorted. "A whole island full." He sat back in his chair. "They used to throw rocks at me. They never hit me because I was hidden from sight inside the maze, but they did bring down an occasional bird."

"See," said Hercules, happy for his friend. "You had more to eat than olives!"

"I didn't eat those poor birds, Herc. I nursed them back to health. It was nice to have company, if only for a while." The Minotaur's jaw clenched. "Believe me, I know bullies. They knew I could not retaliate locked in the maze like I was. Just a bunch of cowards."

A lump rose in Hestia's throat. "You were all alone in a maze with nothing to eat but olives?"

The Minotaur shrugged, acting unconcerned, but both Hestia and Herc knew better.

"Well, you're not alone anymore," the goddess announced. "You have a brother, Herc," she said, pointing at Hercules. "And an aunt, Aunt Hestia," she added, pointing to herself. "I always give my nephews nicknames. Hercules is Herc, and you I think," she paused for a moment. "I think I'll call you Tor." She thought about it for a moment, then nodded. "Yes, Tor. It's perfect for you. Strong and noble. And now," she said as she rose from the chair, "I'm going home. Thank you, Hercules. I appreciate your help. Be careful, the pair of you. You know how she is," Hestia warned, and was gone.

"You've got to help her," the Minotaur said firmly.

"I want to, only I don't know how." Hercules sunk into the chair across from the Minotaur. "You don't know Hera."

"But I know bullies. You'll think of something. You always do."

Hercules went still, surprised at the compliment.

It took three days, but Hercules finally had an idea he thought might work. He talked it over with his Aunt Hestia, the Minotaur (also known as Tor) and his good friend Dionysus, the god of comedy and wine.

"So," mused Dionysus. "You want me to shape shift, so I look like Aunt Hestia. Then visit Hera, wrap her in vines, and tell her if she doesn't stop spreading rumors, I will be back. And this time, I'll leave her wrapped." Dionysus grinned. "I like it."

"Aunt Hestia," Hercules turned to his aunt. "Are you sure you're willing to give up your seat on the council?"

"Absolutely," said Hestia.

Hercules turned towards his friend. "Dionysus, are you sure you want to be on the council. It's a lot of work."

"Positive," nodded Dionysus.

"Then let's do it!" the four conspirators agreed.

Dionysus had the easiest job. He was in and out in a flash. He left Hera badly shaken. She had no idea her sister had such amazing powers. She was uncomfortably surprised by the encounter, and not at all glad to see her nephew Hercules. But then, she was never glad to see her nephew Hercules.

"Not now, Hercules. Whatever it is, not now."

"Aunt Hestia sent me," Hercules sighed. "I'll tell you did not have time to listen to her offer."

"Hestia sent you?" blinked Hera in surprise. "What offer?"

"In a nutshell, she wants off the council. Taking care of all the Greek women keeps her busy, too busy to do her job as a council member, or at least too busy to do it well. She wanted me to see if you would replace her with someone else, someone who has the time to do the job right."

"She wants off the council?" Hera repeated in amazement.

"Yes, because the Greek women keep her busy. That's the only job she wants."

Hera's eyes narrowed thoughtfully. "So, as long as she's busy with the women of Greece, she doesn't want to be on the council?" Hera was quite sure she knew what Hestia was offering.

"Right," Hercules agreed. "If she had more time on her hands, she would probably work very hard, getting things done. But - "

Hera held up a finger. "Let me think. Replace Hestia. That would be a shame. She's an important member. But of course, the Greek women do take up a great deal of her time. So, who?"

"So many gods have opinions they'd like to express at the council level." Hercules laughed. "Just don't pick Dionysus."

"I thought you were friends." Hera snapped, suddenly suspicious.

"We are. He's a great guy. Hestia wanted me to recommend him. But he wouldn't help you at all. He'd just crack jokes and drink wine."

"Dionysus." Hera smiled. It was not a very nice smile. "Tell Hestia she's off the council. Her job is now to take care of the Greek women and that is her only job. And thank her for her suggestion. Since she suggested it, I will replace her with Dionysus." She whirled on Hercules, narrowing her eyes. "You make sure she doesn't change her mind or tell anyone I forced her off the council because, as you know Hercules, I did no such thing. She wanted it that way and she suggested Dionysus."

"But Aunt Hera, I really don't think Dionysus ..."

"Go away, Hercules," Hera interrupted him. "I'm busy."

And that's how Dionysus replaced Hestia on the council of 12. The rumors about Hestia stopped immediately. Hera most certainly did not want her sister to change her mind and retake her seat on the council. As for the goddess Hestia, she was most grateful. She nearly buried Hercules, Tor, and Dionysus in delicious apple and lemon and even fig pies.

Hercules named this the Case of the Tricked Bully. He wanted to name it simply "The Trick" but since the gods were almost always up to tricks of one sort or another, he decided that would be far too confusing if someday he needed to find this particular file for some particular reason. He stacked this case with the rest and went over to see if his good friend Tor had time to go fishing.