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vanagandr

Ah! The lost contract

139 posts in this topic

That's possible, and Mara will get a bit jealous of Skuld (like Hagall being jealous of Belldandy).

Of course, there's also the topic of having someone to keep an eye on Megumi (when she'll eventually show up). I know that in the series she had an earth spirit, but he wasn't even a named character.

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Van, I did like the latest chapter.

But.....

I kind of wish that you would not use material from 'The Following Day' in this story. I feel like I have read a lot of this already, and truthfully I have. I think I ended up skipping about a third of the chapter because of this. I know its a little late and that you are a little too far in, but I would love to see this story distinguish itself apart from the other and not rehash the same themes that I have already read.

Sorry if this sounded harsh. Just felt I needed to get that off my chest.

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Van, I did like the latest chapter.

But.....

I kind of wish that you would not use material from 'The Following Day' in this story. I feel like I have read a lot of this already, and truthfully I have. I think I ended up skipping about a third of the chapter because of this. I know its a little late and that you are a little too far in, but I would love to see this story distinguish itself apart from the other and not rehash the same themes that I have already read.

Sorry if this sounded harsh. Just felt I needed to get that off my chest.

No worries. After all, it's one of the things I pointed out in the AN section, as I've felt that it could be seen as a problem. I'm not planning to drop the entire story from "the Following Day" as it would be really redundant (and boring for me to write). The only reason I got this part was to explain the bit with Odin and even Hrym, who will show up in a following chapter. I wouldn't want to leave their situation unexplained and I thought it would be nice to give the readers a bit more than a short synopsis of what really happened (especially if they're not reading my other story).

It's not going to become the trend, though. I plan to differentiate it both from the manga and my other story, as I'm not too thrilled to make a rewrite of either of them (although, I'm using some ideas from the manga; just not to the point where it's the same thing). Aside from those characters and the description of a few things (locations, concepts etc), there's not much that's going to be imported from the other story, and most will be exclusive to "The lost contract." In other words, it's not something I'm planning to use too often as... it'll become too boring for the readers.

The only exception are parts where I'm just pointing out what the differences are. For instance, in 'The lost contract' Urd knew her grandfather and was even raised by him, unlike the other story where she never actually met him.

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Here's the draft for chapter 8:

Ithavoll, Asgard

“You know… I thought that you were smarter than that, Loki. What in Asgard’s name possessed you to pull such a… ludicrous prank on one of our best fighting specialists?”

Standing before his adopted brother and leader of the celestials, the troublemaker god readjusted the sling that supported his injured arm. Not that the rest of his body was in a much better state, since he had so many bandages that one could’ve easily mistaken him for a mummy. “To my defense, I never thought she’d throw me an iceberg. I may be good at predicting people’s reactions, but, I honestly never saw it coming; metaphorically speaking of course, as it was kind of hard to miss. I just wish that it would’ve… missed me as well, but… That’s life, I guess…”

“No, that’s what you get for being an inconsiderate jerk.” Giving his brother a cold stare, Tyr glanced at the document in his hand for a moment, before he went on. “However, I haven’t called you here to discuss your masochistic tendencies, I want explanations! What were you thinking?”

“It was a harmless prank!” objected Loki. “Captain Lind is a bit too... serious for her own good. Besides, I’ve politely asked to let me walk instead of dragging me along like a common troublemaker. I mean… come on, I’ve got some standards! That would’ve ruined my reputation! What would my devoted fans think?”

Enough of this nonsense!” shouted the enraged Daitenkaicho, slamming his hand on the desk. “What I really want to know is why you deployed one of Asgard’s mightiest weapons without any permission? Just because you created Fenrir, doesn’t mean that you’re allowed to do whatever you want with him! Remember that it was our resources that enabled you to build that super weapon!”

“You’re aware that we’ve got an old friend poking around in that town your daughters currently live in?” asked Loki, maintaining a cool demeanor despite his brother’s outburst a moment ago.

“If you mean, Welsper then yes, I’m fully aware of that demon’s presence. What of it?” countered Tyr.

“Do you even have to ask? He’s a known stalker and a pervert!” said Loki with a roll of his eyes. “Remember that one piece swimsuit he got for Bell-chan? The one that became translucent whenever it got submerged into water?”

“Yes, I do. Although, I really wanted to forget that fiasco…” said Tyr with a disgusted grunt. “However, in all seriousness, you’ve done way worse than that. After all, who sent that inappropriate gift for my wife’s birthday? What kind of god buys his sister-in-law a lingerie set, and especially one as... outrageously indecent as that… leather piece was? Poor Ansuz didn’t even know what to make of it!”

“Are you sure, dear brother? Because, if my memory serves me right, a couple of months later you got yet another daughter; the third one in a row. Now, that’s what I’d call a successful gift, and you’re just jealous that you haven’t come up with that idea first.” Watching his brother’s embarrassed expression, Loki waited for a comeback; one that never really came. “What? No snarky remarks? Am I right, or am I right?

“I’m not the problem here!”

Problem, is your last name!”

“You’re the last person in the nine worlds who has the right to say that!” Huffing in annoyance, Tyr was reminded why he hated to interact with that particular member of his family. Even the most serene, kind and mature individual would find it practically impossible to get into an argument with the unofficial god of mischief and not lose their temper. “Don’t you dare think that annoying me will force me to send you away! I’ll get my answers one way or another! The only difference is how uncomfortable it’s going to be for you!”

“Oho! That’s a quite the statement, brother!” said Loki with a wide grin, one that could’ve been described by some as provocative. “In that case, I’m not saying a word! Let’s see what’s the worst thing you can come up… Wait, who are you calling?”

“Mother,” was the Daitenkaicho’s reply, who tremendously enjoyed the trickster’s only display of genuine concern ever since he stepped into his office. “What? No snarky remarks?

“One, actually,” said Loki as he regained his composure. “Momma’s boy.”

‘I’m gonna kill him...’

XXX

Nekomi, Japan

“She’s gonna kill me!”

“Get a hold of yourself! You’re a first class demon, so, act like one!”

Forming a barrier around them, Welsper tried to shield himself and Gluhendes Herz from the explosives the violent deity was hurling at them. There was no warning, no exchange of insults or even an offer to resolve the situation in a peaceful manner. As one blast succeeded the other, the interior of the already worn building turned into a scene of complete and utter chaos with shrapnel flying all over the place.

“Please stop doing this, Skuld! Why don’t we talk about it for a second?” pleaded the blonde demon without much success.

“No way, pal! I know what kind of perv you really are and I won’t let you sweet talk yourself out of this!” replied the little goddess, retrieving yet another bomb from her blouse. “The only thing you care is to get into oneesama’s panties!”

“That’s not true! I must admit that I had a few embarrassing incidents in the past, but, those were mere accidents!” tried Welsper, hoping that she would continue to talk instead of attacking him. It was true that he was more than powerful enough to deal with her, however, doing so could be extremely hazardous. Since she was Belldandy’s little sister, any form of counter attack could possibly make the lovely goddess despise him, especially if he accidentally injured the nefarious kid who had no reservations to blast him into submission.

“You may claim that, but, there’s no way you’re telling the truth!” said Skuld. “Just how far you think you can push this act, Welsper? If it was one or two incidents, then I’d be willing to listen, but that’s clearly not the case!”

“I’m just a very unfortunate individual!” insisted the blonde demon, using all his skills in manipulation to sound as sincere as possible. While not a straight lie, there were several details about most of his attempts to impress Belldandy that could’ve been described as questionable, all for the sake of increasing his odds. And in all irony, they were the very reason why he failed time after time, earning a very bad reputation among her family members. “Please listen to me for a moment, and I can provide an explanation as to why I’m here!”

Narrowing her eyes at her opponent, Skuld tried to restrain herself from throwing the explosive she was currently holding. After all, she was aware that if she got too aggressive, the pesky demon would simply retreat, making it difficult to find him again. “Alright, I’m listening…”

“Hm… This is probably not the best place to have such a conversation. I mean… the building seems ready to collapse, so, how about we go to a nice, clean cafe?” suggested the demon with the best smile he could muster, despite his annoyance. “My treat, of course!”

“And why would I accept such a silly proposal? asked the little goddess, not wanting to spend any more time with him than it was absolutely necessary.

“Well… I just think that it could prevent any further acts of violence, since we’ll have lots of mortals around us,” replied Welsper with a smile. “That, and there’s also the fact that we can talk while enjoying some ice cream. Of course, if you don’t want we can talk here and…”

“Deal!” said Skuld with a gleam in her eyes, as she was happy that she would at least gain something from what would’ve otherwise been a big waste of time. “But remember, it’s your treat!”

“Of course!”

Meanwhile, the tiny version of Belldandy who had witnessed the whole exchange, debated whether or not she needed to step in and take matters in her own hands. From a certain perspective, she was fairly confident that her sister wasn’t in any immediate danger once she was amongst humans. Additionally, as annoying as Welsper might had been in the past, he hadn’t really tried to do anything particularly malicious to her. While most of her relatives treated him like a disease, Belldandy was certain that the actual reason wasn’t the trouble he caused, but, the possibility she could start to feel sympathy for him, or worse, come to like him.

There was already one incident of such a relationship in her family and none of her relatives wanted her to go through the same pain her father experienced when he had no option but to separate from Hild. And while she understood their motives, the goddess of the present had no intention to accept that it was impossible for such pairings to exist. The really sad part was that she hadn’t offered the demon a clear answer and she had nobody else but herself to blame for that. After all, her initial assumption that he would get the hint and leave her alone had turned out to be a rather incorrect one, and after some of her fellow celestials learned about Welsper’s attempts, they automatically expected her to turn him down; not because of his personality, but, due to his origins.

Ever since she was a child, Belldandy had done what she considered to be the right thing and followed her relatives’ advice whenever that was possible. It was never for the sake of becoming popular, and yet she had managed to attract a lot of attention due to her good reputation and excellent work ethic. Even then, there were moments when the brunette goddess felt that certain views were so distorted and unjust that had no real place in her society. However, it turned out that not only they were popular, but, also considered as something normal. One such topic was her relationship with her half sister, who as a demoness was portrayed in a less than flattering manner.

Some goddesses went even as far as to express their distress whenever she was about to visit her sister in Niflheim, claiming that it was unfitting for one as pure and proper like her to fraternise with such a filthy and vulgar demoness. At least, the fierce slap she gave the spokesperson of that group, had spared Belldandy the trouble of having to listen to such nonsense from that point on.

This time however, the Norn of the present hoped to resolve this situation in a way that wouldn’t allow anyone to make any profit out of it by using it as an example to support their bigoted views. However, she was beginning to realize that it was most likely wishful thinking on her part and a more direct approach was needed in order to put an end to Welsper’s struggle; especially, before any of her relatives decided to use some more drastic measures.

‘Perhaps with both of us here on Midgard, the whole matter can remain a rather private one and I can explain things without letting everyone learn about it. Meanwhile… It’s better if I follow Skuld and make sure nothing goes wrong.’

XXX

Central Command Center, Muspelheim

Overlooking the capital city of the fiery realm, the heavily armored structure was a characteristic example of the local architecture. Being entirely made out of metal alloys with several layers of thermal insulation to keep the overwhelming heat of the surrounding environment, it was never built with aesthetics in mind; just functionality. After all, most of the city was under the surface, on several levels that were stacked one on top of the other, rendering things such as exterior design pretty pointless.

Sitting on his chair, the lord of Muspelheim scratched his short, dark hair in frustration as he stared at his most hated adversary; paperwork. A warrior at heart, Surt despised having to go through the daily reports that often concerned things that he personally considered to be pointless bureaucracy.

‘Too bad we don’t have a currency, or I would’ve charged those suckers for every application they file. That should’ve taught them a lesson…’

Shaking his head, he decided to stop wasting even more of his precious time and get it over with, starting with the first stack of documents. ‘Now, let’s see… A sand dragon was taken out, a new tanker full of water arrived from Jotunheim, someone wants permission to open a… a what?!’

Reading the last document a couple of times to make sure that his eyes weren’t playing games with him, the head of the fiery realm and commander of the Eldjotnar, was so furious that he could barely control his rage that was threatening to take over.

“HRYM!

Seconds later, Muspelheim’s second in command poked his head through the door ever so reluctantly. “You called for me, sir?”

“Yes! Could you please explain me what sort of nonsense is this?” shouted the enraged Surt, his amber eyes glowing hot red.

“Let me see…” Taking the offending document from his superior, the half demon quickly read the application form, finding nothing out of the ordinary. “Uh… What is your concern with this, sir? I don’t see what’s so wrong about it…”

“You don’t?!” barked the dark haired demon. “The want to build a… swimming pool in my realm and there’s nothing wrong with it?!”

Already regretting his words, Hrym took a step back and tried to calm his leader down before he did something that he’d come to regret later. “Sir, such facilities already exist in Niflheim and…”

“I don’t care what exists in other realms! Muspelheim is the most arid world under our control, forcing us to import water from other areas! And they want to waste it by building something like that here?” said Surt, baring his sharp canines as he grit his teeth.

“Well… The counter argument would be that especially due to how rare it is, the demand would be rather significant. While we do have some natural oases, they are protected by our laws as natural reserves, imposing several restrictions on those who want to enjoy a nice soak in the water. As such, a pool could act as a means to provide our demons a way to relax and have fun...” started Hrym, before he abruptly stopped, realizing just who he was actually talking to.

“While wasting the precious resources of my realm?” pinching the bridge of his nose, Surt tried to come up with some legal reason to deny the request and after a few moments, he had enough. “That’s it! I’ll confiscate their property, and then draft whoever came up with this in our army. That’s going to teach them some proper manners…”

“Sir! That’s unconstitutional!” objected Hrym, already knowing that his superior was most likely serious about this. “If this reaches the Daimakaicho, we’re all going to be in trouble!”

Groaning, Surt plopped down on his chair, rubbing his temples. “What a bunch of… First we’re forced to halt most of the armament projects, then export most of the minerals at a ridiculously low cost, and now they want us to further waste what I’ve worked hard to obtain.”

“That may be, however, let’s not forget that we’re living during peaceful times, sir,” said Hrym. “As such, it’s natural that the economy shifts into more civilian oriented activities. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, and furthermore, if you’re far too strict with your loyal subjects, then your popularity will fall. After all, it’s just a swimming pool!”

“Even you’re in favor of this nonsense? I thought that you would’ve seen reason and…” started Surt, before he paused and thought about it from a different perspective. “Hold on a second… Don’t tell me you’re supporting this for the sake of seeing demonesses in ridiculously skimpy swimsuits.”

“Uh, sir... they’re already wearing revealing outfits on a daily basis,” was the dry reply. “While some may indeed see it this way, I still believe that offering the option of this recreational activity is something that could be beneficial for everyone’s morale. Not to mention that it would boost your popularity, since it would become one of the less military oriented project you’d officially support.”

“Look… It’s not that I don’t get it; it’s just that I don’t like it,” said Surt with a sigh. While not a huge supporter of pointless wars, the Eldjotunn had to admit that he found it hard to adjust to the idea of living in a peaceful world, although that was rather relative in Muspelheim. Thanks to the natural dangers of the fiery realm, his demons couldn’t afford to let their guard down. Still, Surt often felt bored with the daily routine and tried to find distractions to keep his mind occupied. While emergency drills were on top of his list, even he knew that there a limit on how frequently those could be conducted, leaving him without too many options, especially now that, Urd was on vacations.

In all honesty, despite her mischievous and unpredictable personality, the half demoness was his first student and in a way, he had grown accustomed to her pranks and antics over the last couple of centuries. Sure, he often reprimanded her for all the trouble she was causing, but, in reality she made things more interesting; not that he would’ve ever admitted that to anyone.

The sound of his communicator’s messaging system brought him out of his thoughts, and while it didn’t seem to be an emergency, Surt decided to check what this was all about. ‘Hm… from Loki? What is that bugger up to this time?... Interesting…’

“Hrym, do me a favor and ask Welsper’s file from the centrals.”

Blinking, the half demon tried to recall where he had heard that name before. “Isn’t he that broom race champion?”

“That’s him. I’ve got news that he’s currently on the same area, Urd and her sisters are staying and I want to find out what he’s doing there,” said Surt, starting to feel a lot better, now that he had something interesting to keep himself busy once again.

“Yes, sir.”

XXX

Ithavoll, Asgard

‘Who’s momma’s boy, now?’

Grinning as he sipped from his cup of tea, Tyr tried to contain his mirth as he watched the troublemaker explain his actions to their stepmother. Unlike his previous attitude, Loki was significantly more willing to talk as he recalled the recent events, while Frigg absorbed all that information.

“This is rather worrisome, indeed. All this attention is starting to become a problem, as more and more immortals begin to gather in such a small area,” said the elder goddess with a troubled frown. “Worse, the status of the mortal’s wish is also unknown. I had expected that once the demonic contamination was removed, the boy would’ve been added to our clients list, but... that never happened.”

“Imagine that…” said Tyr, eying his adopted brother with a sarcastic look.

“Are you insinuating that it’s my fault?” asked Loki, raising an eyebrow.

“You’re the one who maintains the Yggdrasil system, not me. If there’s a glitch, you need to fix it, unless… You don’t want to,” said the Daitenkaicho, narrowing his eyes. “For someone with such a big ego when it comes to your work, I find this indifference of yours to be rather atypical. Almost as if you don’t want the boy to get his wish.”

“The client selection algorithms weren’t written by me and I won’t touch them even if you order me to do that. They’re so ridiculously complicated that any alteration to their settings could potentially change their behavior. The modifications needed to add a single mortal back in the list, could also cause many others to get rejected. Any further attempts to fix that could cause a domino effect, making matters worse… way more than they currently are,” explained Loki. “Tell me, brother… Is that what you really want? Fix one problem and result in an avalanche of pain?”

“He’s right, Tyr. This situation is a bit more complicated than it seems at a first glance. If anything messes our wish granting activities, then your opponents will show you no mercy and directly accuse you and Loki for criminal negligence. It doesn’t actually matter if you’re trying to help or not, it’s the outcome that really counts and this case has the potential to end up in a big fiasco,” said Frigg as she sipped from her tea. “It’s going to give your enemies a nice opportunity to challenge your leadership skills and I won’t allow that. Failure is not an option… Do you understand me, boy?”

For the briefest of moments, the otherwise kind and gentle goddess stared at the Daitenkaicho in a such a way that allowed no arguments; her glowing, golden irises reminding her stepson that she wasn’t one that could be easily defied.

“P-Perfectly, mother.”

“Good,” said the elder goddess, turning to Loki next. “In the meantime, you’re going to monitor the situation and If any more immortals appear on Earth, I want to you to immediately inform me. No Fenrir, no theatrics or your regular shenanigans… just give me a call and if it turns out that they’re looking for trouble, I’ll make them regret the day they were born. Am I clear?”

“Of course! Crystal clear!” replied the trickster god, before he paused, scratching his head. “Although… I’ve got a feeling that a lot more will show up there, using one excuse or another. Which is exactly why I’ve used Fenrir, in hopes that whoever wishes to mess around with them would’ve thought about it twice.”

“Loki, I may not disagree with you, but, I’d rather prefer a more discreet method, instead of what took place at that temple. Furthermore, I believe that we need to establish an agreement on how to proceed from this point on. While it’s ill advised to tamper with the client selection algorithm, it’s unacceptable if we don’t seem to do anything about it,” said Frigg, holding up the initial report with Keiichi’s profile she had recovered from the system before he ran into Urd and Mara. “If push comes to shove, we might help the algorithm a bit, in order to get the desired result.”

“That’s illegal!” gasped Tyr, his eyes widening at his stepmother’s preposterous suggestion.

“The word ‘legal’ was devised by those who possess power in order to give some justification for their actions, as well as enforcing their views to the general populate. If we can fix this mess by offering a human a wish in a less… typical manner, then all is right in the world. Otherwise, we might face both the reaction of those who’ll try to make the best of this situation for their own profit, and the demons who would now have a way to sabotage our activities in a much more efficient manner. Neither will lead to a result that could be considered as desirable and to prevent that from happening, decisive actions need to be taken. Or... as the mortals aptly put it, desperate times call for desperate measures.” explained the elder goddess. “At the same time, I believe that we shouldn’t rush things too much and seek for an opportunity to add him into the list under better conditions, or, offer him a contract directly.”

Tyr frowned as none of the above methods sounded too appealing to him. Breaking the law, even if it seemed beneficial wasn’t something he believed in, and offering a contract to the mortal required some sort of extraordinary feat in order to be justified. So far, Morisato Keiichi was an average college student and if things remained like that, there was no reason for the Daitenkaicho to make any such offer to the young mortal. “Before we try to resort to such measures, shouldn’t we try to see if using the same method that got him rejected in the first place could also work in reverse?”

That seemed to caught Loki’s interest, especially since it came from the most unlikely source. “You mean… to contaminate him with some celestial energy? It might work, although I’m not certain if it’s good enough to do the trick and it might take some research before I can be sure about the outcome of such an attempt. In the meantime, I recommend to keep the whole matter as quiet as possible and pretend that there’s nothing out of the ordinary. After all, the system is supposed to be fully automated and there are no deadlines for picking the mortal back into the client list.”

“Indeed. I’ve already removed all traces of his profile from my agency’s database, just to prevent any of my wish granters to become aware of what’s going on. As far as anyone can tell, Belldandy is on vacations along with her younger sister. Even the fact that she’s together with her older sibling isn’t something I want to openly advertise,” explained the elder goddess. “Actually, I went as far as to assign the investigation of that glitch to someone from a different agency, who also happens to be an administrator; Peorth.”

“Really?” asked the now happy Loki. “It’s going to be a pleasure to work with her!”

“I bet you do…” mumbled Tyr, under his breath.

“What was that, dear brother?”

“The truth. You’ve already enraged a Valkyrie who got you like this,” said the Daitenkaicho, pointing at his bandaged form. “And you want to try your luck with another goddess? Peorth may be a wish granter and an administrator, but, she can be rather aggressive and she’s one of the most skilled whip users in Asgard.”

“Oh! I never thought you’d know her that well!” said Loki with a mock gasp. “Poor Ansuz… Her husband does such naughty things behind her back…”

What are you talking about! That’s merely common knowledge!” shouted Tyr, as he turned red from both anger and embarrassment. “And don’t you dare bring such nonsense up ever again! Stop laughing you...”

However, the trickster god wasn’t the only one who found this exchange to be humorous. Their stepmother was also giggling at their rather silly argument, although, it was a welcome change from having to deal with the troublesome details of the current situation. “Alright, I think that should be enough for now, boys. I hope that nothing bad comes out of this and perhaps once Anusz get there, we can have someone more responsible to keep an eye on things. Oh, and by the way, Loki… Watch out when you’re about to leave. I’ve spotted a rather annoyed goddess waiting outside for you.”

“Is she carrying a poleaxe?”

“Yes.”

“Oh great… I thought she was satisfied,” groaned Loki, starting to regret his decision to pull a prank on Lind of all Valkyries. “I guess she’s back for more.”

Before any of them had the chance to provide a reply, the troublemaker had already opened the door and poked his head out, looking around the antechamber until he spotted the fuming warrior. “Hey there, toots! Sorry about that back then, I’ve got you some new panties for the ones I’ve ruined with the flea powder. They even match your hair color!”

Palming himself, Tyr wondered if his adopted brother was too much of a thrill seeker or simply insane. No goddess would’ve responded positively to a statement like that, however, when the Valkyrie grabbed the mischievous god by the front of his robes and dragged him along, Tyr couldn’t help but blink.

“Mother… You don’t think she wants to dispose of him while we’re not present…”

“I sure hope not. I never thought that he would’ve taken that joke of mine as a legitimate suggestion for a gift,” said Frigg with a frown. “Oh, dear! Um… You’ll have to excuse me, but, I’ve got a son to save, before she pummels him.”

“I understand. Later, mother.” Trying hard not to laugh at his brother’s predicament, the Daitenkaicho decided to go back to his work, as Frigg went after the two other deities, leaving him finally alone.

‘Hm… That’s strange... These numbers can’t be right. It could be a bug, although, we haven’t gotten any incidents lately. maybe the demons are having some issues with their system? Perhaps I should make a call and ask… her.’

XXX

Nekomi, Japan

Welsper watched with amazement at the rather petite goddess who decimated one triple serving of ice cream after the other. Several cups were already stacked next to her, building a tower that kept getting taller by every passing minute. Even the owners of the cafe were stunned by the little goddess’ unreal appetite, despite the fact that they were making a huge profit from their ice cream sales at the moment.

‘She’s a black hole! That must be her true form. There’s no other explanation…’

Taking one more spoonful of the cheesecake ice cream, Skuld finally set the spoon down, patting her stomach with a huge smile on her face. “I think that this should be enough for now…”

Should be?!” gasped the stunned demon, blinking at her. “You ate more than a dozen servings! Are you kidding me? That’s… That’s… unreal on so many levels!”

“Was it too much?”

“Do you even have to ask?” Welsper could hardly believe that this was supposed to be the Norn of the future. In his opinion, the brunette was more suitable for becoming the ‘goddess of gluttony’ if such a title was ever going to be given to anyone. ‘I almost feel sorry for whoever sucker becomes her boyfriend when she grows up. If her eating habits don’t change… he’s in for a nasty surprise. Come to think of it… Urd is a rather unpredictable and violent demoness, Skuld is also rather aggressive. Don’t tell me that, Belldandy is like them, too. But… she acts so regally and with such grace… There’s no way, right?’

In his mind’s eye, the lovely goddess of the present couldn’t be anything like her two siblings. Unless of course, she acted differently while in private settings, something that he sincerely doubted, refusing to accept that her kind personality was merely a facade. Still, a certain part of his mind couldn’t avoid but imagine her with a whip… and lots of leather, which was more than enough to make him grin like an idiot.

“Ew! You’re drooling…” said Skuld with a disgusted look, causing the demon to snap out of it.

“Oh! My apologies, I was simply thinking about… the ice cream!” said Welsper, pointing at his serving of the frozen delicacy.

‘Yeah right...’ Rolling her eyes, the little goddess shook her head and tried to get some useful information out of him, now that she had finished eating. “Okay, now why don’t you tell me why you’re here?”

“That’s actually very simple! I wanted to have the chance to challenge your sister in another race. I grew tired of everyone’s criticism about the last one, so I want a rematch!” said the blonde demon, even though that was simply something he came up with on the spot. He knew that rushing to the mortal realm without a plan was a serious oversight on his part, but, he hoped to be able to talk to Belldandy as soon as possible. ‘Actually, that’s not a bad idea… I can use that as an excuse to stay around and who knows? Maybe I can finally make her notice me if I win!’

Meanwhile, outside the cafe, Urd who just returned from the temple was trying to find the rest of them. Normally she would’ve used a search spell, but, given that it was unlikely that they were hiding from her, chances were that they should still be in the general vicinity.

‘We were walking down that street, meaning that they must’ve passed this spot and headed… Oh! They’re probably to that convenient store to grab some stuff!’

Pleased that she didn’t need to bother with spells, the half demoness turned around to head to the shop in question, only to stop when a bizarre sight got into her peripheral vision. That imbecile of a demon was happily having a conversation with her youngest sister and for a moment, Urd really wanted to hurt someone.

‘That creep had finally shown his true colors! After all those failed attempts to woo Belldandy, he now wants to rob the cradle! That… That!...’ Shaking from her rage, the Norn of the past headed for the cafe’s entrance, eager to have a few kind words with this particular... gentleman.

Looking up from her soda that she got as a refreshment, Skuld’s eyes went wide when she noticed her eldest sister stride towards them. “Uh oh…”

Welsper on the other hand was frozen in place, the overwhelming wave of animosity and bloodlust causing him to slightly tremble. It wasn’t even necessary for him to check who that was; as only one demoness hated him enough to generate such a huge amount of negative energy that flooded the area like a tidal wave.

“Oh, my! What a coincidence, Welsper-kun!” Grinning widely, Urd plopped next to the paralysed demon and acted in an overly friendly manner for the sake of avoiding any unwanted attention from the rest of the patrons. “I was walking by and noticed you and... your lovely lady friend.”

“Who’s his friend?” asked Skuld, totally missing her sister’s glare. “I’m here just for the ice cream.”

“Don’t bother with the excuses, Skuld,” said Urd, before she wrapped her arm around Welsper who was trying to escape, getting him into a headlock. “And you’re going nowhere, mister. You and I are going to have a long and nice conversation on the way to Niflheim’s Rehabilitation and Recovery Center. If the experts cannot turn you into a productive member of our society, then I could gladly lend them a hand.”

“No! It’s all a misunderstanding! I’m innocent!” said Welsper, trying in vain to release himself from her iron grip. “All I wanted was to bribe her!”

“You’re not telling me something I don’t know,” said Urd, narrowing her eyes at him.

“Stop! You got it wrong! I needed to show that I had good intentions!” insisted the blonde demon.

“Oh, I bet you did. The best of intentions, actually,” snorted Urd back at him, increasing the pressure around his neck, making her captive squirm. “Do you really think your big, fat lies will work on me? I’m not like my sisters, you criminal scum!”

“Hey, I take offense at that!” objected Skuld, earning a pointed look from her sister.

“Be quiet! I haven’t even started with you, young lady! You’re one hundred years too young to do stuff like this and your eagerness to participate in this… illicit act is disconcerting. For ice cream? Really? I need to have a few words with you once we get back home,” said Urd with a scowl.

“Hey! I did nothing wrong! You’re just making stuff up, to give him a lesson!” said Skuld, crossing her arms in defiance.

“Keep that up, and you’re going to get a spanking instead, missy!” shot the half demoness at her youngest sibling.

“What? You can’t do that to me! I’m your sister, not your daughter!” countered the Norn of the future, while she reached to her blouse to retrieve a bomb; just in case she needed to protect her rump from Urd’s wrath. On the other hand, she wasn’t even sure whether her eldest sister was actually serious or she was just making stuff up, given that she had never really used any form of corporeal punishment to any of them.

“If you were my daughter, I would’ve raised you better, you little punk!” snarled Urd, her canines protruding from her lips, as she glared at her sister.

“Oh, really? You walk around with those skimpy outfits most of the time, and I’m the one who’s doing something wrong? Give me a break!” Meeting Urd’s gaze, Skuld refused to lose this argument, despite the fact that most others would’ve backed away from a situation like this.

“To begin with, I’m a grownup! And on top of that, I’m a demoness, while you’re a goddess!” said the Norn of the past. “So, act like one, dammit!”

“Whoa! Which forgotten era are you stuck at?” asked the surprised little goddess, despite her blush. “Do you seriously think that we’re all a bunch of prudes? A lot of stuff has changed in the last couple of centuries from what I’ve been told. After all, have you seen what Peorth wears?”

The mere mention of that particular administrator and wish granter was more than enough for Urd’s eyes to go wide from both surprise and horror. “You can’t be serious! After all the ‘oneesama this - oneesama that’ you’re… using her as an example?! Did I miss an episode? No!… Had you actually taken one of my potions? What did it look like?”

“Who in their right mind would’ve taken any of that weird stuff?” countered Skuld with a disgusted expression. “And I never said that I want to use Peorth as a role model. I still wish to follow oneesama’s example and become a great goddess! It’s just that… well… I don’t have to dress as conservatively as her, that’s all. So, when I grow older... I... might get an outfit like Peorth’s! I bet that’s gonna look great on me!”

Left with her mouth open from the shock, Urd’s grip around Welsper’s neck loosened to the point where the demon managed to slip and immediately used this one and probably only chance to escape. With that many humans around them, he doubted that, Urd would use any spells, making his getaway much easier as he rushed for the exit.

“Hey! Come back, you!...” However, before the half demoness had the chance to go after him, the sound of something hitting the surface of their table grabbed her attention.

Oneesama!” looking at the miniature form of her middle sister, who had apparently fallen from the ceiling, Skuld turned her around to see if she was alright. ”Speak to me! Urd… she’s not talking!”

“The poor dear… Your immoral comments must’ve been too much for her,” groaned Urd, grabbing a paper towel to fan the unconscious goddess who was still lying on the table. “See what you did, miss, I wanna walk around in my undies when I grow up?

“I’m so sorry! I just wanted to piss you off, not make her faint!” replied the distraught goddess. “I didn’t even knew she was here!”

“Well… congratulations, you’ve managed to do both,” said Urd, as she looked around to make sure that nobody had seen anything. “We need to get out of here, before any of those mortals notices Belldandy.”

Nodding, Skuld grabbed her middle sister who was starting to recover and headed towards the exit, since Welsper had already paid the bill. Following right behind them, Urd tried to discreetly cast a search spell for the fugitive demon, but, came up with nothing. He must’ve already hidden himself and without being able to use a much more obvious form of magic, she doubted that it was worth the effort to keep looking for him.

“Neesan? Skuld? What happened?”

“Actually, that’s what I also want to figure out,” said Urd and pointed to a nearby alley. “Let’s go there and try to figure out what’s going on here.”

Five minutes later, each of the three sisters had shared their side of what had taken place and much to Urd’s embarrassment, Belldandy had vouched for Skuld’s innocence.

‘She’s not going to let me live this one down, but… On the other hand, I’m actually relieved. Even as a demoness, I don’t want the kid to become this mischievous so early. Especially if… I was the bad influence for her,’ thought Urd, avoiding to look straight at the goddess of the future, while maintaining a neutral expression. “At any rate, we’ve got a demon on our hands and I don’t trust his story about a rematch with you, Bell.”

“How can you be so certain, nessan? He might be telling the truth,” said the Norn of the present, always trying to be the optimistic one.

“I’ll have to agree with Urd, actually. There’s no way his story is real, if he was snooping around the house while we were out,” said Skuld. “He’s just making up whatever excuse he can think to explain why he’s here. In reality, he’s just stalking you like usual.”

“I still don’t think we should jump to conclusions…” said Belldandy with a frown. “We can be wrong, right, neesan?”

Getting the hint, Urd remained silent and simply played with her hair, before she realized that there was one potential problem they hadn’t considered yet. “Wait a moment… What about Keiichi? He’s living with us and that includes you, Bell. In most of these cases, pests like Welsper can become really jealous that you’re letting a guy get this close to you and he might try to pull something on him.”

“But, I’m not involved with Keiichi-san,” countered Belldandy. “Besides, I’m not the only one who stays in that house.”

“Skuld is too young, and neither me nor Mara are available,” pointed Urd out. “You’re the most likely candidate to attract Keiichi’s interest and for someone like Welsper, that’s a big problem.”

Frowning, Belldandy wondered if her sister was right. After all, it would’ve been nothing for him to scare their mortal friend, given that he was a demon. “That’s…”

“A realistic possibility,” said Urd, finishing her sister’s sentence. “We must keep an eye on Keiichi at all times, just in case that creep gets any funny ideas.”

“Yeah! And we need to find a way to drive him away, too!” added Skuld, crossing her arms. “I don’t want him to ruin our vacations, just because he doesn’t take no for an answer!”

“I see… I suppose you’re both right, so, I’ll have to do my part, too,” said Belldandy with a sigh. She truly hated to patronize others and assume the worst of them, especially without any solid proof to back those expectations. No matter how annoying Welsper was at times, he hadn’t attempted anything particularly malicious so far, although, she had to agree that taking some extra measures were necessary if she was to be proven wrong.

“Excellent. In that case, let’s meet the others, before we head back to the temple,” said Urd, and with a nod, Skuld followed her, while Belldandy teleported back to her main body that was still shopping together with Mara and Keiichi.

XXX

Asgard

“Captain… Once again I’ll have to remind you of the fact that I don’t like being dragged along in such a fashion…”

“Be quiet, we’re almost there,” replied the stoic Valkyrie, not even bothering to look back at her captive. “And I strongly advise you to avoid any repetition of your previous stunt.”

“Actually I wasn’t planning to do anything of that nature. I don’t want people to think that I’m unoriginal,” said Loki with a snort. “Although, where are we going?”

“To my home. It’s much closer than your shop, so, it’s going to make matters a lot easier,” said Lind, missing the god’s baffled expression.

‘Her house? She… she’s not the kind to go for that… so… Don’t tell me she wants to seal me while no one’s looking!’ Struggling to free himself from her iron grip, the troublemaker had no desire to discover what the irate goddess had in store for him once they were completely alone. “Thank you very much for the invitation, but, I’ve got a busy schedule!”

“I’m fairly confident that you can spare some of your valuable time to make up for that crude joke of yours,” insisted Lind, pulling him much harsher, since the god was far too reluctant to willingly follow her. “And stop doing that. You’re acting like a child that doesn’t want to go to a healer.”

“Only because I know what’s the best for me and right now, I’d rather head to a much safer place!” said Loki, despite his failing attempts to free himself.

“My house is a perfectly safe location. Despite my association with the Fighting Wings, I don’t store any dangerous equipment in my living quarters,” said Lind, as she forced the god through her residence’s front door. “Now, cease this nonsense and get in!”

Stumbling a bit before he ended up on the floor, Loki decided to accept his fate with dignity. Getting up, he dusted his robes and took a look around the area, especially for any ways out. “That’s a rather… nice place, captain.”

“Thank you. Please follow me in the living room where we can discuss matters in a more comfortable manner,” said Lind with a tone that gave him no option but to obey; mostly to avoid agitating her any further.

“So… What exactly am I here for?” tried Loki, hoping that she hadn’t prepared any sealing circle in her living room.

Thankfully for the trickster god, there was no such thing waiting for him. Aside from what one would’ve expected in the first place, the only interesting part were the weapon racks on either side of the walls, with a great variety of bladed weapons placed on display.

“That’s quite the collection, if I have to say so for myself.”

“Actually, those are merely some of my backups,” said Lind as she walked towards the sofa and sat down; an action she quickly came to regret, the effects of the flea powder still making her quite uncomfortable.

“Of course, there’s nothing wrong to keep a few spare ones just in case.” Sitting on one of the sofas, Loki tried to remain as calm as possible, hoping that using a more casual approach would eventually force the Valkyrie to reveal the reason she wished to talk to him. ‘Providing that she doesn’t want to pummel me to oblivion. It’s moments like these that I really wish I had picked a better hobby; like knitting for example...’

“Would you like something to drink?” asked the blue haired goddess, making her guest even more suspicious, given how unexpected that request sounded to anyone who was familiar with her.

“Tea would be great, actually,” said Loki with a smile that quickly vanished as she stepped out of the living room and into the nearby kitchen. ‘Oh no… she’s up to something. It’s like those movies when the killer leaves briefly, only to return with a big, sharp knife, or axe...’

Taking another look at the weapon racks, Loki wondered what else she could’ve hidden in her kitchen. After all, with so many dangerous and sharp things around him, it was rather hard to imagine what would’ve been more effective. ‘Maybe she’s going to show up with a chainsaw and a hockey mask? A bit over the top and those things have the tendency to refuse to start up when you need them, ending up on an anticlimactic and rather embarrassing moment...’

“Here’s the tea.” Walking back to the living room, carrying a tray with a teapot and two cups, Lind set one of them on the table next to the nervous god and once she filled it, she went back to her own seat. Meanwhile, making sure he wasn’t watching, the Valkyrie checked her tiny memo note hidden in her sleeve which contained the most important steps of this type of operation. ‘Let’s see…Where was I?’

‘Step one, remove the target from their sphere of influence. Step two, get the target out of their comfort zone. Step three, prevent the target from predicting your moves by exhibiting unexpected behaviour. Step four, set your plan in motion and make sure you have a backup. Step five, if the plan A fails, use plan B. If none of the plans work, just blast them to smithereens. Finally, in the event that all of the above fails, run; fast.’

Smiling slightly from the irony of using an extract of ‘The theory of Chaos, Disorder and General Mayhem’ written by none other than her very guest, Lind was confident that her idea to fight fire with fire seemed that was rather successful. ‘Although… What constitutes as unexpected behaviour? Offering tea is fairly normal as far as I can tell. Those guidelines are rather vague, and too general to apply in this situation. Perhaps…’

“You know, I was wondering when you would offer me that promised compensation.”

Blinking, the god of mischief briefly attempted to recall any promises he might have made to her and failing to come up with something, he scratched his head in confusion. “Could you be so kind to remind me what you’re talking about? It’s not that I’m forgetful, it’s just that... sometimes I’m rather preoccupied with other matters.”

“That’s understandable. I was referring to the panties you mentioned before. The ones that matched the color of my hair,” said the Valkyrie, watching her guest choke on his tea; a rather delightful sight, given that he got a taste of his own medicine for a change.

“Eh?!”

“Do you have them or not?” asked Lind with little to no emotion, making the situation even more bizarre that it currently was. ‘That would suffice; probably. Now, the next thing on the list was…’

‘Either she snapped or… she’s trying to make fun of me. It’s not a good idea, but… I won’t leave this challenge unanswered.’ Reaching for a small package stashed in his robes, Loki handed it to the curious Valkyrie who was most likely expecting that he was merely joking in the first place. “Here, I hope you’re going to like them.”

“Thank.. you, I suppose,” taking the package with a raised eyebrow, Lind simply set it aside, not particularly wanting to check it right away. After all, that had nothing to do with the actual reason she ‘invited’ him for some tea, and seeing that he was quickly recovering from his previous stupor, she decided that it was advisable to get straight to the point. “I’ll have to check them later. In the meantime, I’d like to address a very different matter. Are you familiar with my… nickname?”

The one winged angel? Yes, I’ve heard that quite a few times,” admitted Loki, as he started to suspect where this conversation was heading. “The real question is what that has to do with me.”

“It occurred to me that you’re rather familiar with several types of life forms, both natural and artificial, which most likely includes angels,” said Lind, taking a sip from her teacup. “Am I correct?”

“Indeed. I suppose you want me to check on your angels. After all, twins are extremely rare when it comes to our symbionts and I have no doubt that most traditional approaches can be inadequate,” said Loki, waiting for a reaction to his words.

“I never mentioned that I had twins,” said Lind, narrowing her eyes at the troublemaker. “Who told you?”

“Nobody. I simply checked who got the modified angel egg that I’ve prepared for the Daitenkaicho and your name came up.” There were several ways to deal with this particular issue and while feigning ignorance would’ve been the easiest, in the long run it could’ve proven to be the worst. “However, if it consoles you, I was against the idea of giving that egg to anyone but the original intended recipient.”

“What?! Your modified angel egg?!” shouted the Valkyrie, as she felt really uncomfortable at the idea that her symbionts were created by this shady individual. “What have you done to my angels?”

“I’ve ensured that they’d become a pair of twins, instead of a single angel once they hatched. Like I’ve mentioned already, this was commissioned by the Daitenkaicho and the twins were meant for a very special goddess, or should I say demoness?” said Loki, content that the warrior hadn’t attacked him already, despite the icy glare she was giving him.

“You mean his firstborn? Urd?” asked Lind. “Why would she need something like that?”

“Think about it. She’s half a goddess and half demoness hybrid, which would’ve made her ideal for two angels; one for each side of hers. Of course, it’s never so easy to predict what the outcome could’ve been and late in the development I’ve started to worry that having two angels instead of one, might become an issue for my niece. Each one of them could draw their respective sides closer to them and unwillingly end up polarizing her mind. So, we never went with that idea, but… my brother worried that throwing that egg away would’ve been… ethically questionable, and as a result someone had to get it,” explained Loki with a sigh. “I guess I don’t have to say what happened next, right?”

Taking a couple of seconds to absorb all that information, Lind wasn’t certain what to make of all this. “If that’s the case, then why haven’t you ever mentioned anything?”

“Because I’ll get blamed? That’s what usually happens whenever someone else messes up and I’m somehow associated to that particular situation,” said Loki with a groan. “After all, it was Tyr’s idea, but, he never said anything to you either, right?”

“That is correct…”

“And if I’ve mentioned anything, then could you please tell me what would’ve likely happened? asked Loki.

“Nothing that you’d probably enjoy,” replied the blue haired goddess. “At least, I think so... With you, nothing is certain.”

Rolling his eyes, Loki opted to avoid any sarcastic comment. He was already in deep trouble, although, for the god who could sell ice in Jotunheim, nothing was impossible. “Well, now that we got that out of they way, why don’t we focus on the real question: your angels… I must admit that it’s something extremely rare and unfortunately, we don’t have any guidelines on how to approach such a topic. However, I think that with some effort and the proper guidance, you may be able to overcome this setback and utilize your angels in a much better manner.”

“In that case, I suggest we start as soon as possible. I’m on duty tonight, but, I can spare some time tomorrow,” said Lind, regardless of her opinion about the troublesome god. She had already tried all other methods she could’ve thought of and none allowed her to summon both her angels at the same time. ‘If dealing with this pest is the only way to accomplish my goal, then I have no other option but to deal with it...’

“Wait… What’s all this ‘we’ stuff?” asked the worried Loki, not fond of where this was heading. “I could give you some basic information and…”

“Your efforts to get rid of me are way too transparent. Like it or not, my problem has now become yours,” said Lind in the same authoritarian manner she addressed her junior Valkyries. “Tomorrow at seventeen hundred hours I’ll drop by your shop for receiving whatever training regiment you’ll have prepared for me. That’s all, you’re dismissed.”

“Yes ma’am!” Not wanting to make things worse than they already were, Loki rushed for the door, wondering how to get himself out of this mess. To say that it hadn’t gone as planned would’ve been an understatement, as the original prank he pulled on this Valkyrie had ended up becoming an entire project; one that he wished to be no part of. ‘What if she never learns to use her bloody angels? Then what? Is she gonna keep ordering me around like that? For heaven’s sake that’s...’

“How did it go?”

The sudden voice made the troublemaker jump, as he was too preoccupied with his own thoughts to notice the goddess who approached him as soon as he left the Valkyrie’s house. “Mother?! What are doing here?!”

“Never mind that! I’m so proud of you, Loki!” beamed Frigg, as she patted his shoulders. “This is the first time a goddess invited you into her home!”

“I don’t want to disappoint you, but... you may have gotten the wrong idea here,” said the god of mischief, with a frown.

“Oh, don’t worry, I know that it’s not like that,” said Frigg with a smile. “Still, it’s way better than any interaction you typically have with any goddess, so, I’d call this a wild success.”

“I wouldn’t call getting myself into this kind of situation a success, mother,” said Loki. “It’s more like a disaster it you ask me.”

“Once again, it’s much better compared to the outcome of all your other ideas.” Grabbing him by the front of his robes, the elder goddess dragged him across the street, heading towards the commercial part of the celestial capital. “Now, why don’t we go drink some mead to commemorate this event?”

‘What have I done to deserve this? Uh… actually… Never mind that...’

Meanwhile, back in her house, Lind was still tidying up the living room after the departure of her unlikely guest and came to a stop once she noticed the compensation she was given. Toying with the idea of simply tossing it away, the Valkyrie was just about to do that, when her curiosity got the better of her.

‘A glace wouldn’t kill me, I suppose. I have no delusions that this isn’t yet another one of his crude jokes, so, it’s not like I’ll be surprised by anything that he might’ve given me. Let’s see…’

Opening the small package, Lind actually baffled when she saw something that she initially considered to be a pearl bracelet, wondering if Loki had somehow made a mistake, or simply resorted to flattery in order to gain her favor. The latter made her even more curious as she would’ve never expected anyone to offer her jewelry as a means of pleasing her.

‘If it was a nicely made weapon, then I would’ve considered it as a worthy gift, but, decorative stuff? Totally unnecessary, although… How exactly am I supposed to wear that? It looks strange and has no clasp to secure it on my wrists. And what’s with that elastic band? Should I put tie that around my arm first and then the rest of it… Why are such simple things so frustratingly hard to use?’

Untangling the offending piece of jewelry from her wrist, Lind refused to admit defeat and held the item in front of her, trying to figure out what she was doing wrong. That was the moment when the Valkyrie finally realized what exactly she was holding, its familiar shape registering in her mind, despite her efforts to deny the simple fact; it was exactly what Loki claimed it to be in the first place.

Putting it back in the package, Lind walked calmly to the bath and put her head under the faucet, letting the icy cold water provide her some relief.

‘I’m going to get him for this...’

XXX

Nekomi, Japan

“Those guys… It’s up to me to do all the hard work; once again.”

Letting a frustrated sigh, Keiichi inspected the contents of the boxes his sempai had left behind and by the looks of it, it was yet another dragster. It wasn’t that the college student disliked to make them; far from it. The actual problem was that the extremely powerful engines required for that particular type of bikes required frequent repairs to keep them going which made them too expensive to maintain in the long run. With Motor Club’s tight budget and absolutely no sponsors, most of their dragster bikes had to be retired too soon for Keiichi’s liking.

As a matter of fact, he had hoped for something that was going to last long enough to win several races, instead of having to build a new one every time. Even with a seemingly endless supply of salvaged parts from various scrap yards all over Nekomi, it was inevitable that they had to pay a decent amount of money for a few things that had to be in a much better condition than most of the other stuff they could get their hands on.

“What’s wrong Keiichi?” Walking out of the house, Skuld looked at the college student who was still sorting out the various parts on the front porch.

“Nothing actually. I’m just trying to check if everything’s right, before I start putting this bike together,” answered Keiichi with a smile. “I was just hoping that we would’ve invested on a more common type of racer, in hopes to use it on multiple events. Still, I really enjoy the challenge of pushing the limits of how fast we can make something go.”

“Is there anything you don’t need?” squealed the little goddess, making Keiichi slightly suspicious about her motives.

“Uh… could it be that you want parts?” asked the college student, as he realized that she had actually been eying those boxes ever since they’ve returned from their shopping trip.

“Sure thing, Keiichi! You’re the best!” Taking his response as a yes, even though she knew all too well that he meant something else, Skuld grabbed a nearby stack of boxes that were still left unopened while the dark haired student checked the rest of them.

“Wait! Hold on a second… Skuld!” Staring at the rapidly departing deity, Keiichi realized that unless he acted fast, all hopes for getting them back would simply vanish. Worse, those parts technically belonged to the Motor Club and if anything happened to them, he was going to be the one to pay for their replacements. “Come back this instant! I need those boxes!”

With both of them so absorbed in their little game of cat and mouse, neither happened to notice the dark clouds that loomed menacingly above the temple grounds as a portal formed high above the surface; crimson runes decorated the opening gateway as a beam of light shot downwards, hitting the stone paved path in front of the house.

It was only then, that both Skuld and Keiichi realized that someone had apparently decided to visit them. And due to sheer coincidence they had chosen to materialize on the very spot that, Skuld had been a moment ago leaving her pursuer no time to stop, as his momentum kept carrying his body forward to what seemed to be an inevitable collision.

The muffled sound of Keiichi’s cry was followed by the startled scream of a melodious, feminine voice who clearly hadn’t anticipated such an... enthusiastic welcome.

What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” Having fallen flat on her back with Keiichi on top of her, Niflheim’s second in command seethed with rage, glaring at the offending mortal who from her point of view was greatly enjoying the outcome of this accident.

For his part, Keiichi was still rather disoriented, trying to shake his head only to find out that not only everything around him was dark, but for some inexplicable reason the ground felt way softer than he would’ve ever expected. As a matter of fact, he could’ve sworn that whatever he had landed on actually moved a bit while he was struggling to recover and that’s when he noticed a rather important detail; part of what his face was directly in contact with was skin. ‘D-Don’t tell me...’

Raising his head slightly from its previous resting place, Keiichi came to the realization that for the second time in the last couple of days he hand managed to find himself in a situation where he buried himself in a woman’s bosom. And Unlike Mara, whoever this lady was, her choice of clothing exposed way more flesh than he was mentally prepared to handle; especially from that particular perspective. “I-I…”

“You what? Just how long are you going to rub that stupid mug of yours against my chest?” snarled the furious Hagall, her eyes burning like hot embers, making the mortal freeze in the worst possible place. “Get off me, you filthy moron!”

“What’s up with all that noise out there! I can’t hear myself thinking, let alone the TV!” shouted Urd, as she opened the front door, to find her youngest sister silently staring at something with a fierce blush in her face. Following her gaze, the half demoness began to smirk, eyebrows raising at the sight. “Oh my!... You’re really fast, Hagall-chan! Not a moment wasted! Although… the stone path isn’t the most comfortable place to deflower him. We’ve got beds, you know...”

N-N-Neesan!... T-that’s not what it looks like!...

XXX

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I like it

I have to ask. Is Belldandy going to have a talk with Skuld about racism? I have my doubts she will, as that kind of thing seems out of the fic's general scope.

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Thanks, Katz :)

Actually, there's not enough reason for Belldandy to have a conversation like that with Skuld. While I did bring up some subjects in this chapter, it's mostly Heaven's popular views that can be considered as questionable (resulting in things like the Judgement Gate for example). Skuld on the other hand is fully aware that, Urd is a demoness and even associated with Hild, Mara and Hagall (since the latter is Urd's adopted sibling). So, it's rather doubtful that she needs to explain things like that to her younger sister (she already knows a lot of that already, unlike the series where she learns that, Urd is a hybrid way later).

On the other hand, it is within this story's scope to deal with certain topics that even exist in the manga, as long as I approach them in a manner that's not offensive to anyone (in the real world, not the story itself).

As for dealing with Welsper, most of Belldandy's relatives are mostly worried about history repeating itself (since they don't think that the demon has what it takes to pass the Gate with Belldandy), and not the possibility that she may end up with someone who's not a god. A prime example is Urd, who tries to pair her sister with Keiichi, while she's totally against Welsper's attempts to woo Belldandy.

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I have some corrections for you to consider:

“Oho! That’s a quite the statement, brother!” = “Oho! That’s quite the statement, brother!”

"The only thing you care is to get into oneesama’s panties!” = "The only thing you care about is getting into oneesama’s panties!”

"accidentally injured the nefarious kid who had no reservations to blast him into submission." = "accidentally injured the nefarious kid who had no reservations about blasting him into submission."

“Just how far you think you can push this act" = “Just how far do you think you can push this act"

"sake of becoming popular, and yet she had managed" = "sake of becoming popular, yet she had managed"

"felt that certain views were so distorted and unjust that had no real place in her society" = "felt that certain views were so distorted and unjust that they had no real place in her society"

"unfitting for one as pure and proper like her to fraternise" = "unfitting for one as pure and proper as her to fraternise"

"least, the fierce slap she gave the spokesperson of that group, had" = "least the fierce slap she gave the spokesperson of that group had"

"thermal insulation to keep the overwhelming heat " = "thermal insulation to keep out the overwhelming heat "

"or I would’ve charged those suckers for every application they file. That should’ve taught them a lesson…’" = "or I would charge those suckers for every application they file. That would teach them a lesson…’" (internal dialog does not have to be past tense)

"The want to build a" = "They want to build a"

"What is that bugger up to this time?... Interesting…’

“Hrym, do me a favor and ask Welsper’s file from the centrals.”

= What is that bugger up to this time?... Interesting…’ thought the tall demon as he reviewed the message. The then turned to his subordinate. "Hrym, do me a favor and retrieve Welsper’s file from the centrals." (would he really ask?)

"on the same area, Urd and her sisters are staying" = "n the same area Urd and her sisters are staying"

‘Who’s momma’s boy, now?’ = ‘Who’s a momma’s boy, now?’

"explain his actions to their stepmother." - "explain his actions to his adopted mother." (dont think an adopted mom is considered a stepmother)

"If anything messes our wish granting activities," - "If anything messes with our wish granting activities,"

"reminding her stepson that she " = "reminding her son that she "

"I want to you to immediately inform me" = "I want you to immediately inform me"

" them would’ve thought about it twice." = " them would think about it twice."

"don’t seem to do anything about it," = "don’t seem to do be doing anything about it,"

"That seemed to caught Loki’s interest," = "That seemed to catch Loki’s interest," ('seemed' provides the tense for this, 'catch' is more neutral in this instance).

"no deadlines for picking the mortal back " = "no deadlines for putting the mortal back "

"I bet you do…" (does not seem to follow correctly with previous statement) MAYBE = "That should go well"

"Their stepmother" (unless I am missing something, Frigg is Tyr's natural mother.) just say "Their mother"

"perhaps once Anusz get there, we can have someone more responsible to keep an eye on things. " = "perhaps once Anusz gets there, we can have someone more responsible keeping an eye on things. "

"Before any of them had the chance to provide a reply, the troublemaker had already opened the door and poked his head out" = "Before any of them a chance to reply, the troublemaker opened the door and poked his head out"

with a frown. “Oh, dear! Um… (as a suggestion, maybe add Loki yelping in pain to spur Frigg into motion?)

‘I almost feel sorry for whoever sucker becomes her boyfriend when she grows up" = "‘I almost feel sorry for the sucker that becomes her boyfriend when she grows up"

"They’re probably to that convenient store" = "They probably went to that convenient store"

"You’re just making stuff up, to give him a lesson!" = "You’re just making stuff up to teach him a lesson!"

"Norn of the future, while she reached to her blouse" = "Norn of the future while she reached to her blouse"

"actually serious or she was just" = "actually serious or if she was just"

" Had you actually taken one of my potions?" = " Have you actually taken one of my potions?"

"he doubted that, Urd would use any spells" = "he doubted that Urd would use any spells"

"story is real, if he was" = "story is real if he was"

"our vacations, just because " = "our vacations just because "

"meet the others, before we head " = "meet the others before we head "

"one for each side of hers." = "one for each side of her."

"late in the development I’ve started to worry that having two angels instead of one, might become an issue for my " = "late in the development I started to worry that having two angels instead of one might become an issue for my "

"Lind actually baffled when " = "Lind was actually baffled when "

" Should I put tie that around my arm " = " Should I tie that around my arm "

"it was exactly what Loki claimed it to be in the first place." (Pearl panties????) You might want to be more explicit for the reader so that they understand what they are.)

"powerful engines required for that particular type of bikes required frequent " = "powerful engines required for these particular type of bikes required frequent"

"With Motor Club’s tight budget " = "With the Motor Club’s tight budget "

Is this Keiichi possibly related to Keitaro Urashima?

Also, a thought.....

Why have we yet to detect anything even remotely resembling a spark between Keiichi and Bell? There have been a couple of opportunities that have been missed, I think, to at least hint that there may be a future relationship here. So far, they are still barely acquaintances. This is chapter 8, I would have expected to see something by now.

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Thank you, IdiAmeanDada :thumbsup: I really appreciate those corrections! I've already fixed them and they'll be in the final version of the chapter. :)

(I'd like to note that Frigg is only Baldr's biological mother. Tyr and Thor are her stepsons, while Loki is an adopted one)

Now let's see:

Aside from my now typical fashion of taking things REALLY slow, I've deliberately postponed the whole subject of getting Bell and Keiichi together. My main reasoning is that unlike the series, where the Judgement Gate was... well... a retcon, in this story, we already know about it and so does Belldandy (Keiichi has no idea of course). So, I'd rather say that she's going to be much more reluctant to get close to him at first (basically up to this point), knowing that if she gets too close, she might have to face a trial that may end up repeating history.

I mean, in the early manga she even kissed Keiichi a few times without any worries and I think that the whole Judgement Gate Test didn't even exist at that point. However, how would she act if she was aware of it? Given that so far, it's only a couple of days together with him, I feel that it might've scared her to get closer to Keiichi.

Of course, it's been several chapters and I do have every intention to start getting them the opportunities to get closer. I have already written the part where she tries to defend him (verbally) from a rather annoyed Hagall who doesn't like being close to Urashima... I mean... Keiichi :roflmao: Plus, with Welsper also around, there will be several opportunities for them to get closer (and thanks to him, as ironic as it sounds :joyful: ).

Actually now that I think of it, it's an interesting topic of discussion: How would the series go if the Judgement Gate was introduced from the beginning :sneaky:

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Totally agree the Judgment Gate was a retcon (and a poor one at that).

And I can understand where you are coming from on this. But it seems to be affecting both of them, where only Belldandy would be the one holding back. For example, when she was singing outside, I was expecting K1 to go out and surreptitiously listen in, which could then have stirred some feelings in him.

I know this is your story, so I apologize for being nitpicky here. But you could have gone with a situation where K1 is actually chasing after Bell, but she keeps pushing him away in a very mildly tsundere way.

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In a way, that's not unlikely to hold Keiichi back. Given that so far Belldandy seems to keep a distance, I doubt that someone as shy as he is would try to get his hopes up with her (due to past experiences). However, once she does show a tiny bit of interest (or concern), I believe that he might start seeing her under a different light. And given that it's only been a few days for him (since he started living with them), it's kind of understandable that he initially was reluctant, too (they're all immortals after all).

Also, I think that having him try to build a relationship in a slower manner might be what it takes to pass the Test in the long run. While it's really funny (and interesting) to see a tsundere Bell, it might seem difficult for such a couple to pass the Gate. Now, Welsper on the other hand :laugh2:

Don't worry, you don't have to apologize or anything. I really like this feedback and I do have the tendency to do things so slowly that sometimes it makes people wonder if they'll happen at all :roflmao: Of course, I do want to start paying more attention to Keiichi and Belldandy's situation and with most of the background stuff out of the way for now, I can start working to get there.

And to clarify something, I'm not going to use any libido blocker or anything of that nature. While the Judgement Gate was a retcon, that seal on his desires broke much of the earlier arcs :dry2: Plus, it's going to be really unfair if he's subjected to that while he doesn't have a contract with her.

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Yup. Always gotta be cautious of Real Life topics that are possible trigger buttons for a flame war.

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