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vanagandr

Ah! The lost contract

139 posts in this topic

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.

Well, since the retcon put the libido block in play, how much of his shyness was a result of that? I know the correct answer should be none, but, well...... he did work up the nerve to ask Sayoko out. ;)

Plus, you get a little prodding from Urd, and anything can happen.

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Well, since the retcon put the libido block in play, how much of his shyness was a result of that? I know the correct answer should be none, but, well...... he did work up the nerve to ask Sayoko out. ;)

Plus, you get a little prodding from Urd, and anything can happen.

My thoughts exactly ;) And let's not forget that there were a few moments in the series where he did think about Belldandy's attractiveness. Foe rcample when their hands were stuck and she had to take a bath. The only reason he fainted was Skuld, not any blocker :roflmao:Of course he's indeed shy and much of his natural reactions from other instances can be considered as part of a 'blocker' but... I'd rather not have that in this story. I honestly don't believe that it's going to add anything to the plot and will cause a lot of confusion.

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Here's the draft for chapter 9:

“Please stand still, Keiichi-san.”


Pressing an ice pack on the red, hand shaped imprint left on the student’s face, Belldandy couldn’t help but wonder how their friend managed to get in this kind of situation. It would seem that he had the tendency to find himself in the wrong place at the worst possible moment and only a few minutes ago, that happened to be Hagall’s bosom.


Gathered in the living room, the rest of the immortals watched the squirming boy with a variety of expressions, while Belldandy tended to his bruise. Although, in all fairness it was his pride that took the worst blow rather than his face. “Ow!...”


Giggling, Urd was still rather amused by her adopted sister’s reaction to what she thought as a blatant intrusion of her personal space. “You know, Hagall-chan… It’s been quite some time I’ve seen anyone bitchslapping somebody with such a passion!”


Narrowing her eyes in both annoyance and embarrassment, Niflheim’s second in command had never expected her reunion with her sibling to take place under such circumstances; all thanks to that doofus. “Excuse me, but I’ve got an image to uphold! I’m one step below the Daimakaicho herself, and having happy-go-lucky morons pull a comedy gag on me in hopes to get a feel is absolutely unacceptable!”


“Aw… don’t be so mean. After seeing from up close how nicely your figure has filled out since the last time we met, I’m rather surprised you’re still single,” said Urd with a wide grin, while Mara served them some rice crackers. After all, with one of highest ranking demonesses around, she wanted to make herself as useful as possible; for the sake of giving a good impression, or course.


“Thank you Mara,” said Hagall as she accepted the offered crackers, turning to her troublesome sibling. “For the last time, a demoness of my position cannot afford such basic forms of entertainment; not without tarnishing my public image. What would others think if the deputy commander of the demonkind cares more about the number of her nightly visitors than our market share?”


“Hey, it’s alright… Everything is fine as long as you don’t overdo it, Hagall-chan. That’s what mother taught us, after all,” said Urd, as she motioned for Mara to sit next to her. “Now, can you tell me the number of visitors you’re getting?”


“Zero! I’ve got way better things to do on my spare time!” shot the blonde back at her sister.


“Like what?”


“I practice my magic! And before you even ask, I’ve gotten way better since last time you’ve seen me use a spell,” said Hagall, pausing for a moment when she noticed her sister’s mischievous expression shift into a much softer one.


“That’s actually nice to hear, sis. So… You’re here on vacations, too?” asked Urd, as she took a bite from her crackers.


“Yes. Mother thought that it would’ve been a nice opportunity for us to hang out like we used to. Plus, it’s been a while since I’ve gotten any time off,” replied Hagall, before she glanced at the two goddesses, looking for any reactions.


While the three of them shared a common sibling, the relationship between herself and Urd’s half sisters had always been shaky. Hagall knew that despite being goddesses, there was no doubt that her elder sister would favor them, being her own blood, unlike herself who was merely adopted. As a result, she often felt rather annoyed whenever the brunette goddess dropped by for a visit, instantly monopolizing Urd’s full attention while leaving her behind with their mother who also seemed to enjoy the company of that girl’s own mother, playing all sorts of games.


To make matters far worse, that blasted Norn was immediately better at anything she tried to do. Cooking, magic, singing… literally every activity Hagall worked hard to improve herself at, Belldandy could master in such a little amount of time and effort that it was almost unfair. And if that wasn’t enough, she was ridiculously popular in her own realm, while the blonde demoness had to prove herself at any given opportunity almost as if nobody thought much about her, dismissing her as merely Hild’s daughter.


Skuld on the other hand had no skills in magic for most of her life, and in a bizarre way she reminded Hagall of her own childhood and all the problems she had with her powers. As a result, she did her best to tolerate the little deity’s presence and even spent time trying to give her any advice she could. A nearly impossible task given that their types of energy were nothing alike, but, once Skuld applied that to what she had been taught by her sisters, the young goddess managed to cast one of her first spells. And strange as it sounded, those two often ended up interacting like friends despite their vastly different personalities, making others wonder how such a thing was even possible.


“Have you made any arrangements for a place to stay while on the mortal realm?” asked Belldandy all of a sudden as she turned to face the demoness, causing Urd to frown.


“That won’t be necessary, actually. This house has four rooms, so, I can take one of them, since neesan and Mara share one. That would allow everyone to have a place to stay,” replied Hagall calmly, as if she was explaining the most obvious of things.


“Actually, that’s not entirely correct I’m afraid. You haven’t taken Keiichi-san into account, since he also has a room for himself,” said Belldandy, her lips turning in a thin line.


“I’m fully capable of doing such simple mathematical calculations, thank you very much. That guy is getting thrown out,” snarled Hagall, glaring at the startled mortal who hadn’t expected to get dragged into this conversation. “There’s no way I’m allowing a deprived molester to stay under the same roof with me.”


“Keiichi-san is nothing like that!” shot the goddess of the present back at the offending demoness.


Leaning closer to Urd, Mara gave her partner a worried look. “Hey, don’t you think we should stop them? I smell a cat-fight brewing…”


“I know… But… what am I supposed to do now?” said Urd, staring between her half and her adopted sibling. “If I take one’s side the other will be…”


“This isn’t the time to be indecisive! Just support Hagall-sama! She’s our boss, after all!” said Mara, while the situation was gradually destabilizing even further.


Glaring at the goddess of the present, Niflheim’s second in command had no desire to let her get away with this, at least not that easily. “Oh, really? I have two confirmed examples that the lover boy over there is merely an opportunist and a con artist, seeking the best chance to get some while preserving a pure and innocent facade in front of others.”


“That’s a lie and you know it! He lived with us for a few days and he never exhibited any sort of behavior like that!” Holding her ground with unwavering determination, the middle of the Norns was equally unwilling to allow this demoness throw Keiichi out, just because of an accident. “I’m absolutely sure that the only reason you want him gone is to make his life miserable. However, since we’re all on vacations, it’s for the best to leave work related issues aside and get along with each other.”


“Nonsense! You only support him because that’s what a perfect goddess is supposed to do in a situation like this! Besides, what the Hell is a guy doing in a household full of females? I bet this loser made you feel so sorry about his so called problems that you convinced neesan to give him a room to stay!” turning to her sister for support, Hagall watched the half demoness tense up as she had found herself in a situation where she had no other way but pick a side.


“Actually, I was the one who offered him a place to stay, Hagall-chan,” said Urd with a frown, as she tried to merely recall what happened and avoid supporting anyone’s opinions at this point. “However, I had made a… let’s say... joke before that and I’m fairly confident that he’s not the type of guy who’d try to score on the first given opportunity.”


Realizing that her sister wasn’t going to side with her, Hagall made an effort to restrain herself from going any further. After all, she had no desire to get into an argument with her over a mortal of all things, ruining their reunion in the process. “That still leaves us with a problem, though. We’re one room short and I refuse to stay elsewhere for his sake.”


“You can stay in my room.” Skuld’s sudden interjection took everyone by surprise, especially Urd who would’ve never expected her little sister to make such an offer to anyone but her beloved oneesama.


“How come?” asked the half demoness, unable to hide her curiosity. “You could’ve asked Belldandy to share a room with you, instead.”


“Yes, but, I don’t want oneesama to lose her room and as a result that’s the best option,” offered the little goddess with a shrug.


Realizing that all eyes were now on her, Hagall offered a nod, knowing all too well that she wasn’t going to get a better offer given the current state of things. I was far from ideal in her mind and she was particularly annoyed that the boy who started all this mess had allowed the brunette goddess defend him while he hid behind her like a coward, but, there was nothing that could be done at the moment. “Very well, I’ll have to accept your offer, Skuld. In the meantime, is there a bath here?”


“Of course!” said Urd with a big smile, happy to give as much distance between her quarreling sisters. “This way, Hagall-chan!”


With the two demonesses finally out of the room, Keiichi turned to Belldandy with concern evident in his face. “Is this really okay? She sure doesn’t seem to like my presence at all.”


“Don’t worry too much about it, Keiichi-san. Hagall is merely used to order others around, given her position in the demonic hierarchy and she probably assumed that we’d throw you away just because she said it. I doubt that there were other reasons beyond her wounded ego,” said Belldandy with a reassuring smile. “And both Urd and Skuld are much better at dealing with her than I am, so, it should be fine from now on. Now if you excuse me, I’ll have to make a cake for welcoming her.”


“Wait… I thought you didn’t like her,” said the surprised student who wondered why Belldandy was willing to welcome someone after such a heated argument.


“It’s nothing personal, Keiichi-san. I don’t hate her and I’ll have to admit that she does have the right to complain, given that her first impression of you was the worst possible.However, I trust that she’ll eventually come to forgive you, although as as demoness that could take a while,” said Belldandy while she headed towards the kitchen. “Also, she’s quite fond of my big sister despite the fact that she’s not related to her and that’s something that I simply cannot ignore.”


“I see…” Letting a sigh, Keiichi reminded himself that he still had a bike to build and getting up from his seat, he headed out where the various parts were waiting for him to put them together. Even better, he had managed to recover the boxes from Skuld who lost interest after she realized that the whole mess was probably caused by her in the first place. “If anyone needs me, I’ll be working on the bike.”


“Actually, I’ve got a bit of a project, too,” said Skuld, setting her manga aside.


“So, that’s why you wanted those parts...” said Keiichi, scratching his head.


“Exactly! Although, it’s not ready yet and I’d like to keep it a secret until I finish it,” said Skild with a prideful smile on her face, as she headed to her room. “You’ll have to wait and see.”


‘I hope it’s not anything that’s going to cause trouble. We already have enough to worry about,’ thought Keiichi, while he too went back to his own project, only to realize that, Mara was following him.


“Hey, Keiichi… I want to have a few words with you,” said the blonde, as she pointed outside. “Privately, if possible.”


“Uh… is there something wrong?” asked the nervous student, who wasn’t comfortable with the idea of having to deal with yet another demoness in such a short period of time.


“No, I just want to give you the short version about what’s going on here,” replied Mara, “While it’s none of your business, I think that you need to know just enough to avoid putting Urd in this situation ever again. It’s hard for her when she has to pick a side and her dual nature makes everything way worse.”


“Oh… I see…” said Keiichi, as he began to smile. “You really care about her a lot, don’t you?”


“S-Shut up!...” Turning red from her embarrassment, the blonde dragged him along to a spot where they could talk without anyone interrupting them.


XXX


‘Seriously…’


Leaning back against the sides of the traditional wooden tub, Hagall attempted to relax and forget the whole deal with that mortal. If her mother was right, then Urd was trying to tempt Belldandy into getting involved with that boy, however, she couldn’t help but wonder what was so great about that particular human. Perhaps her expectations were too great, thinking that she was going meet an individual with a truly charismatic personality, only to find out that he was just an average college student. Worse, given the manner he landed up on top of her, he almost appeared to be a protagonist of a silly romance manga or even an ecchi one.


‘If that’s the best candidate Urd came up with, I’d hate to see who’s the worst. Huh? What’s that sound?’


Turning to the divider that was set up in the bath to provide some privacy to those who used it, Hagall could’ve sworn that someone was still there and for a moment, she wondered if the mortal was a peeping tom as well, trying to get a nice view of her while bathing. “Come out! I know you’re there!”


Chuckling, the one who showed up was none other than Urd in all her naked glory, as she had already taken her clothes off and approached the tub. “That’s actually rather nostalgic, isn’t it? I don’t even remember when was the last time we took a bath together, Hagall-chan.”


Blinking, the blonde wondered if this was just another one of her jokes, since this tub was never really designed for two people to use it at the same time. “Hold on a second, Urd. There’s not enough space here!”


“Oh, don’t act like a spoiled little demoness. It’s more than enough, as long as you pull your legs a bit closer to your body. That way, we can certainly fit without any issues,” said Urd with a wink. “Tried it with Ma-chan and it works like a charm!...”


Covering her chest with her arms, Hagall backed away from the mischievous Norn of the past.“I’m your sister, not your girlfriend!”


“Come on, Hagall-chan! I’m not that immoral to try anything funny with you,” pouted Urd, before she edged closer to the nervous blonde. “I just want to check how much you’ve grown!”


“Check?... What are you… Wait! Not that!” gasped Hagall, forming a small ball of fire in her palm, pointing it towards the half demoness. “You’re not pulling the big sister check on me! As your superior I order you to stand down and… Stop laughing! I’m serious!”


“Don’t be so harsh, I’m merely looking at you,” said Urd as she got inside the water. “You know… for a demoness you’re way too shy. And while you wear such lovely dresses that reveal enough skin to make our mom proud, you sure get all embarrassed whenever someone gets too close. Can I ask you one thing?”


“Sure… What is it?”


“When I’ve made that joke about deflowering Keiichi…” purred Urd, offering her sister a cat-like grin. “Could it be that you were going to be the one who was about to lose her innocence?”


“Been there, done that. And I refuse to give you any more details about…” started Hagall, only to be interrupted by her excited sibling who now wanted to learn more.


“Who was it? Do I know them? Are they nice looking? Boy or girl? Details! Now!” Getting right in front of the blonde with a wide grin on her face, Urd resisted the urge to crush her sister in a huge hug.


“I said, I won’t speak of it!” insisted Hagall, backing slightly away from Urd.


“What are you talking about? This is a huge deal! We’ll call mother and invite whoever is your mysterious…” started Urd, only to have her mouth covered by Hagall.


“Not. A. Word. Got me? Last thing I want is to turn this into public knowledge. Actually it doesn’t even need that much attention to become a huge problem,” said the blonde, looking around cautiously.


Removing her sister’s hands from her mouth, Urd frowned at all this secrecy. It was a bit too much for mere embarrassment and the more she thought about, the less she liked the possible implications. “Hagall… Are you talking about a go-...”


“Shh! Don’t even say that word!” said the blonde glancing upwards. “I’ve got no desire to have her drop by along with that axe of hers…”


Staring at sister for several seconds, Urd had started to feel an approaching headache and a really bad one at that. “Does mom knows about it?”


“Are you kidding me?! Of course, not! She’s going to kill me if she learns anything!” said Hagall, averting her eyes from her sister’s intense gaze.


“I really need a drink.” Letting a sigh, Urd leaned back against the tub’s edge unsure what to say in a situation like this. Having to deal with one test was already a pretty tall order, but, two at the same time were too much for the half demoness to handle. “This is a disaster…”


“I can’t agree more. Especially after I saw that joke of a mortal you picked for your sister,” snorted Hagall. “Here I’m worried about that stupid test and you thought that boy would ever be good enough to pass the Gate with your sister? Not to brag or anything, but, my boyfriend is a hundred times better compared to that dork…”


“So, it’s a guy. Can I get a name, as well?” asked Urd, raising an eyebrow.


“No, and I’ve already said way too much. With your sisters being goddesses, I can’t risk any accidental information leaks. I have absolutely no intention to play the game of those damned celestials and go through the Gate,” explained Hagall with a disgusted look on her face. “They take that stupid thing and shove it…”


“You can’t keep it a secret forever you know… At some point, you’ll get caught and then what are you going to do?” asked Urd.


“I’m not as naive as you may think. It’s just that finding a way to destroy that thing once and for all is a bit more complicated than it sounds. However, once I get what I need, those fools will have no option but to remove that system from their mainframe to avoid a catastrophe,” explained Hagall with a smirk.


Not liking her sister’s expression, Urd worried that she was probably was delving into matters that could easily get her not only demoted, but reincarnated in a lower level life form, too. “Wait… What are you planning?”


“Nothing that they don’t deserve,” said Hagall with a snort. “Either way, once I’m done with them, that ridiculous measure will be gone forever.”


“And if you fail? Do you have any idea what’s going to happen?” asked Urd with a raised eyebrow. “Not only you’ll get separated, but, you may get into some really serious trouble. You position is a very desirable one and more than enough demons will try to use that fiasco to have you demoted.”


“Trust me, I’m fully aware of that fact and I won’t do anything that will get myself into trouble. If worse comes to worst, we can solve the problem in a different manner and even gain a new demon,” said Hagall with a tiny smile. “We have already discussed of that alternative and made some preparations if everything else fails. I simply don’t want to use that option right away, just because it’s faster and more convenient for me.”


While it was something that the half demoness secretly wished her father would’ve done, she doubted than any god was willing to join their ranks for the sake of avoiding the Judgement Gate. “Are you sure about that, or is he just saying what you want to hear?”


“I am, and that’s why I don’t want to make him a demon as our first option,” said Hagall with a frown. “You on the other hand need to worry about that mortal. Unless the Daitenkaicho offers to turn him into an artificial deity, there’s no other way around that situation.”


Rolling her eyes, Urd had no doubt that even if her father did that, the restrictions imposed on Keiichi would be rather severe. In many ways, that wasn’t a desirable outcome in her eyes and the only real hope was to have him pass the test first and then try to find a solution for his limited lifespan. “It seems that we both have a project in our hands, then. Just do me a favor and try not to antagonize Keiichi that much, he isn’t such a bad person once you get to know him.”


“Fine… I’ll give it a try, but, only because you’ve asked me,” said Hagall with a sigh. “However, if he tries to pull another stunt like that one, I’ll make him pay dearly.”


“That’s fair, I guess. After all, I want him to pay attention to Bell-chan, not you,” said Urd with a chuckle. As she started to relax now that she was a bit more certain that her adopted sister wouldn’t face their mother’s fate, the Norn of the past had one more thing she wished to know. “Hey, Hagall… About your boyfriend... Is he any good in the sack?”


“N-Neesan!”


XXX


“So… It’s a case of sibling rivalry?” asked Keiichi after hearing Mara’s explanation.


“Not quite. I’d say it’s rivalry due to a common sibling, or something along those lines,” replied the blonde demoness, scratching her chin. “Both of them try to compete for Urd’s favor and as you can imagine, that inevitably leads to some rather tense situations.”


“That’s terrible… It must be hard for Belldandy to deal with such an aggressive demoness like, Hagall,” said the college student with a frown.


“Aren’t we a bit too eager to pick a side?” Chuckling, the blonde grinned as she noticed Keiichi’s embarrassment. “You may wish to think that it’s all Hagall-sama’s fault, but, Belldandy can get really competitive and hates to lose at anything. There were more than enough circumstances where she was the aggressor, no matter how innocent she appears to be.”


“I find that hard to believe,” said Keiichi with a raised eyebrow. He may had only known the brunette goddess for a couple of days, but, it seemed impossible for someone with such a gentle personality to act in such a manner.


“I know… Most people refuse to accept, but, once you spend enough time around her you start to see things that are hard to notice at a first glance.” said Mara with a smirk. “For example, while she offered to bake a cake for Hagall-sama, it’s rather obvious that the rest of us will get some as well; Urd included. Now, Hagall-sama is also a good cook and I bet that, Belldandy wished to show off before her opponent had the opportunity to do the same.”


“Like I said before, I find that hard to believe,” insisted Keiichi, shaking his head. No matter what the blonde demoness told him, his opinion of Belldandy remained the same. ‘What’s next? That she’s a jealous cat? Yeah, right...’


Shrugging indifferently, Mara had no intention to get into any arguments with the mortal for such a topic. After all, Urd wanted to get those two together for whatever reason and as long as that plan worked, the blonde had no objections. “Whatever. I just explained you a few things for future reference. What you do with that knowledge is your problem.”


Heading inside, Mara left Keiichi alone to finally resume his work on his bike that was originally interrupted by Skuld. Of course, the arrival of Urd’s adopted sister had caused an even bigger distraction, one that nearly got him evicted due to a single moment of... misfortune. ‘That was a close one. If Urd hadn’t gotten me off her, she could’ve turned me into a frog or something. And I’ll have to stay with her under the same roof? Boy, that’s going to be really nerve wracking… I need to be careful before I give her another excuse to get mad with me.’


“Keiichi-san?”


“Huh?” Turning around, the dark haired student spotted Belldandy who was looking at him with a slightly worried expression, while carrying a plate with a slice of her freshly baked cake on it.


“Are you okay? You seem awfully distracted.” Setting the plate next to him on the front porch where he was currently sitting, the brunette goddess decided to join him and took a seat close to him. “Is it about Hagall?”


“Uh… thank you for the cake,” said Keiichi awkwardly, picking the plate up to try some of the delicious looking dessert. “Mm!... That’s really good!”


“I’m glad to hear that, Keiichi-san!” replied Belldandy with a bright smile. “Still… I think that you avoided my question.”


Letting a sigh, Keiichi took another bite to give himself more time to come up with a proper reply. “Well… She really scared me, to be honest with you. I know that it’s embarrassing to admit that, but, just looking at her was enough to make my body go rigid. I couldn’t even say a thing back there, let alone defend myself. Uh… I really thank you for that, by the way.”


“You don’t have to, Keiichi-san.” Shaking her head, the Norn of the present tried to reassure him, given that this was the first time he had a serious encounter with a demoness. “I could feel all that bloodlust she was emanating, even though she didn’t even seem to notice it. Under those conditions, there was no way for you to respond in any meaningful manner and someone had to stand up and defend you. With her being Urd and Mara’s boss, it was unlikely that either of them would try to stop her and Skuld did the right thing by staying out of that argument. She never had any problems with her and it’s probably for the best to avoid making an enemy out of her if it can be avoided.”


“I don’t want to sound too nosy, but, is it alright for you two to stay in the same house?” asked Keiichi with some hesitation, given that he wasn’t certain if he was bringing up a touchy subject. “I mean, it was my fault that the whole argument started, and yet…”


“Please, don’t worry about it too much Keiichi-san, it was merely a matter of time before we got into an argument. Your accident may had been what triggered it, but, in the long run something else would’ve caused it.” Shaking her head, the brunette goddess maintained her cheerful expression despite the topic of their conversation. “With both of us staying in the same place, I’m confident that we’re presented with a great opportunity to finally set our differences aside. In the past we only met once in a very long while and that prevented us from resolving those issues, so, I don’t think that sharing the same roof is a bad thing at all.”


“Well, that’s a really optimistic way to see things,” said Keiichi with a chuckle, before he suddenly paused, realizing that his comment might’ve taken the wrong way. “No offense of course! I didn’t mean to sound like I was making fun of you!”


“None taken, Keiichi-san.” Belldandy couldn’t help but giggle at his panicked reaction, thinking that it was probably one of the likable aspects of his personality; he always wanted to make sure that he didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. “Now, what were you doing before?”


“Huh?”


Looking at the confused expression of the student’s face, Belldandy realized that he must’ve been too preoccupied with their conversation that he nearly forgot what he was originally doing. “Unless I’m mistaken, those are bike parts. Is this the new project that your sempai were talking about?”


“Oh! Yes, that’s it. We’re building a dragster bike for an upcoming event.” Feeling that she probably had no idea what he was talking about, Keiichi decided to offer her a short explanation. “It’s basically a really fast bike that we use on a short, straight track. The goal is to cover a set distance in the least amount of time possible, and there’s a nation-wide event with many teams from various technical institutes participating for the prize. Aside from bragging rights, we can get a really nice amount of cash that can fund the Motor Club’s future projects.”


“That sounds really wonderful! But, if that’s the case, why aren’t the rest of the members helping you?” asked Belldandy with a frown. “This is supposed to be a team effort, not something you have to handle without any help.”


“Uh… well… It’s just that…” Scratching his head, Keiichi tried to explain the situation to the goddess and failed to do so. Normally he would’ve agreed with her, but, despite their skills, Tamiya and Otaki tended to be a bit too random and overly enthusiastic at times. So, he often preferred to do things on his own, despite the fact that it really put a lot of pressure on his shoulders. “It works better this way.”


“No, it doesn’t.” Surprising the college student with her sudden resolve, Belldandy wanted to make sure that no matter how unimportant it seemed to be, this was actually not something good for him. “It’s unfair to allow a single person to take all the responsibility while the rest of the team watches from the sidelines. I’m fairly confident that your fellow club members are good people and mean well, but, this is unacceptable. A less kind person would’ve described that as exploitation and at some point you need to draw a line, reminding the others that your personal time is something that should be respected.”


“But!...”


“No objections, Keiichi-san. I know that you really love to tinker with bikes, however, that’s not a sufficient reason for putting up with such an unfair practice. The Motor Club has also other members and they need to do their share of the work, instead of quietly accepting this situation because it’s convenient,” explained the Norn of the present to a stunned Keiichi who stared her with wide eyes. “Tomorrow, we should go and explain a few things to your sempai and I believe that they won’t have any objections to assist you into putting this bike together. Like I said, they seem to be rather nice people and as such, they’ll definitely agree with me.”


Remembering the determination she displayed during her argument with Hagall, Keiichi decided that doing anything other than agreeing with the goddess would’ve been utterly pointless. “Alright, I think we can drop by the clubroom tomorrow and… try to explain that it’s probably better if the others get involved, too. After all, it’s going to be a great chance for the some of our less experienced members to get their hands on a real project.”


“Excellent! I’ll even pack a lunch box for the whole team and help you in any I can,” Smiling at him, Belldandy gathered the empty plate and headed back to the kitchen, leaving a blinking Keiichi behind.


‘Maybe Mara was right after all. There seems to be more than meets the eye with her.’ Thinking about the whole situation, Keiichi had to agree that he wasn’t terribly pleased that most of the other club members were just happy to leave everything to him. Despite the fact that he didn’t mind about working on those projects, he had to agree that it was a bad practice in the long run. One day, he was going to graduate and he wished that the Motor Club would be left in good hands. However, if none of the younger members got the chance to do anything, that was never going to happen and the only way to prevent it was by getting them more actively involved.


Smiling slightly, Keiichi started to place everything back into their boxes, since they were going to take them back to the club house.


‘I think it’s probably for the best, too.’


XXX


“So… this is your room?”


Looking around her, Hagall couldn’t help but wonder if it was possible for the two of them to fit in this tiny amount of space, especially given the little goddess’ machines and tools that were lying around.


“Yes. I know that it’s nowhere as large as the one you have back in Niflheim, but, it’s probably the best option if you want to stay here with us.” Setting her welding tool down, Skuld decided to take a short break from her project in order to avoid making any errors while talking to her. “By the way… Keiichi’s not such a bad guy you know. I mean… he might be a bit silly at times, but, he hadn’t tried to take advantage of the fact that he’s the only male living here.”


‘Maybe he’s impotent? Or is he really that shy? Hm… I could use that, later,’ thought Hagall, before she waived her hand dismissively at Skuld. “Never mind about him. I guess I can tolerate his presence as long as he keeps his hands off me.”


“That’s nice! Maybe we tag along them tomorrow and let you see his college!” said the enthusiastic goddess, before she realized that this would put Hagall too close to Belldandy, resulting in a potentially volatile situation. The Norn of the future was fully aware that her new roommate wasn’t getting along with her oneesama, but, in a weird way Skuld could understand her. Hagall was trying to compete for Urd’s attention and whenever Belldandy was around, the blonde demoness was getting jealous.


Normally that would’ve been more than enough to add her to Skuld’s hit list, but, since it was all thanks due to Hagall’s desire to win Urd’s favor, it wasn’t that easy for the little goddess to write her off as an enemy. From her perspective, the demoness treated her sibling in a similar manner to how she treated Belldandy and that was something she could relate to. Even worse, the blonde was an adopted child and that made her way more insecure and therefore aggressive. Of course she hoped that those two would stop arguing if they spend enough time together, but, on the other hand, it could all end up in a disaster if handled improperly and Skuld worried that it was probably too early for such an attempt. ‘Maybe I should’ve never said anything...’


“It’s going to be my pleasure to accompany you, if you want me to come,” said Hagall with a smile that took Skuld by surprise.


‘Did I miss anything?’ Shaking her head slightly, the Norn of the future returned the smile and thought that, Urd might’ve talked to her earlier. “Oh, I’d love that! It’s a great place with many people and we can visit some stores on the way there, too!”


“If that’s the case, why don’t you let me comb your hair? They’re all over the place and you need to look great for such a visit,” said Hagall with a giggle, summoning a brush. “I suppose you were too busy with your project to take care of your appearance. Now, come here, Skuld.”


‘Uh oh… I need to run away before she...’ Despite her thoughts, the little deity’s reluctance to act right away had denied her the chance of escaping her cruel fate; being treated like a child. It was one of the Norn’s pet peeves and no matter how much she resented that, everyone were under the impression that they were entitled to either call her that or… play dress up with her. It was so... girly that she couldn’t help but cringe at the thought that other goddesses considered such behavior as the norm. Even stranger, she had no idea how a demoness of all things had such interests and briefly smiled as she imagined her and Urd being subjected to such horrors while they were younger by none other than the Daimakaicho herself.


Unfortunately for the young Norn, her amused expression was taken as a sign of approval and without delay, Hagall had her before a mirror, holding a brush in her hand. “What a mess… A young lady shouldn’t neglect her appearance like that, you know. After all, you’re getting to that age where it’s normal for you to make the first steps at getting others’ attention.”


“If I did that, mom and oneesama would be chasing me around with a halberd…” said Skuld with a chuckle, envisioning a scantily clad version of herself running away from them as they tried to teach the unruly young goddess a lesson.


“I don’t think that would be something you need to worry about, Skuld” said Hagall as she combed her hair.


“That’s not true. Things are a bit more strict in Asgard compared to Niflheim. If I wore anything like the demonesses my age do, I’d be in serious trouble!” countered Skuld with a giggle.


“Actually, I’m fully aware of that. What I really meant was that, Urd would be the one you’d have to worry about,” said the blonde demoness with a smile, causing the young goddess to pale as she realized that her eldest sister wasn’t one to mess around with when she got angry. “Don’t worry about it, though. I wasn’t implying that you had to dress like a demoness. I just thought that it would’ve been nice if you payed more attention to yourself, instead of spending all your time on your machines.”


“Oh… Wait! I know! I’ll make an automated hair styler machine! That’s going to kill two birds with one stone! I’m so smart!” exclaimed Skuld with a big grin, missing Hagall’s point completely, much to the demoness’ frustration.


“Okay… Let’s do this: I’ll try to avoid any arguments from now on. However, in exchange you’ll have to promise that you’re going to spend some time with me and let me turn you into a proper lady!” said Hagall with a smile that was so uncharacteristic for a demoness that, Skuld began to worry about her motives.


“I... don’t want to patronize you or sound like an ungrateful person, but…” started the young goddess. “What’s with all that interest? It’s not like my appearance is all that important for someone like… Uh… S-Sorry, I didn’t mean it like that.”


“Don’t worry, I know that it’s natural for you to become suspicious,” said Hagall as she shook her head. “However, I was hoping that you’d get a better view of demons than most celestials your age. Given your smarts and overall potential, I wouldn’t be surprised if you get a seat in the Council or even your mother’s position. As such, a goddess with a more positive views of demonkind could greatly benefit us.”


“Oh… That’s nice,” said Skuld with a sigh of relief, now that she knew that there was a selfish reason behind the blonde’s actions; something normal for any demoness, to a certain degree of course. “Although… I think you’re looking in the wrong place. I just recently started to use my powers and even then, I’m decades behind others my age. What potential are you talking about?”


“Appearances can be deceiving, you know. After all, the word potential refers to what lies in the future for you; not the present. Yes, you’re not the most magically gifted immortal, but, neither I was back then and we both know that this is no longer the case. You’re just selling yourself short, and you know it.”


“Really? I… Thank you. It’s funny, but, most others rarely think like that,” said Skuld, looking a bit sad. “Despite their typical mannerisms, celestials can be real asses sometimes.”


“A proper goddess shouldn’t be using such foul language,” said Hagall with a giggle.


“Yeah, right… I’ve heard a lot of goddesses use far worse expressions and most of them are considered to be proper,” replied the Norn of the future with a casual shrug. “Besides, I want to become a Valkyrie, so, that wouldn’t be that much of a problem.”


“Really? I thought that your goal was to become more like Belldandy. What changed your mind?” asked the blonde demoness as she summoned a white bow and began to tie it on Skuld’s hair.


“Nothing really. Even oneesama has a Valkyrie’s license, although, she never decided to use it by joining the Fighting Wings and preferred to grant wishes,” replied Skuld. “On the other hand, I’d like to have a position that allows me to do something less… boring I guess. I don’t think I can sit in front of a terminal and read client profiles all day long, hoping that someone will eventually call me.”


“I see. Well, you still have a lot of time to decide what you’re going to do in the future,” said Hagall, making the final adjustments to the bow. “Well? What do you think about it? Do you like it?”


Turning her head to see the how that accessory looked like from various angles, Skuld was happy that it wasn’t as bad as she originally thought. “That will have to do, actually. Now, do you want to know more about my project?”


“Sure thing, Skuld.”


XXX


As the rising sun signaled the beginning of a new day, most members of this peculiar household were still in their beds trying to get as much rest before they had to deal with what was slowly turning into their daily routine. Still, even at this point it was certain that nothing was far too repetitive and with Belldandy’s plans to visit the campus to meet the other members of the Motor Club, it was going to be an interesting situation. So much, that some of the others wanted to tag along and see what was going to happen; either out of concern or mere curiosity.


For those who knew the Norn of the present, it was apparent that despite her calm and kind personality she wasn’t one to get crossed. Of course, it normally took some effort to cause a forceful reaction from her, but, Belldandy was starting to believe that Keiichi was a bit too helpful which inevitably led others to take advantage of him one way or another. And while she believed that the members of his club were good people at heart, it was becoming apparent that someone had to kindly remind them that they shouldn’t push him around like that.


Walking in the hallways, the middle of the Norns was somewhat surprised to hear sounds coming from within the kitchen considering that it was too early for most of the other residents to be up and about, let alone have a morning snack. Opening the door quietly, the brunette goddesses peeked inside and much to her surprise, she found her elder sister preparing breakfast while she hummed a catchy tune, shaking her hips its rhythm.


Grabbing one of the unruly strands of hair above her forehead and giving a firm yank, Belldandy made sure that she was indeed awake and what was unfolding before her eyes was real and not some dream or hallucination. As a matter of fact it was so cute that she found it hard not to smile at the sight, although her expression slowly started to change into a frown as her sister’s impromptu dance was reminiscent of something one would’ve expected to take place in a nightclub or even a much… seedier establishment. Of course, the fact that Urd was only wearing an apron and nothing else, wasn’t exactly help her sister to feel any more comfortable either and the more she watched, the more she became worried what the others might think if they caught her like this.


‘Well… I suppose Mara is going to be fine with this and Hagall is most likely not gonna mind either. Hm…Skuld might be okay, although, I’d rather not have get any funny ideas at such a young age and Ke-... Oh no! Keiichi-san! W-What if he sees her like t-this?!’


“Neesan!”


Coming to an abrupt stop, the Norn of the past swore under her breath and ever so slowly turned around to face her scandalized sibling and for the first time in a while, Urd actually blushed. “Oh… Belldandy. I-I never noticed you there. I’ll be done in a moment and you can…”


“Never mind about that, Urd!” started the brunette goddess with a look of disapproval evident on her face. “Could you please tell me what’s the meaning of this? Why in Asgard’s name are you wearing… this? Or rather… where’s the rest of your outfit? Please tell me that you’re not planning to show up like that in front of others!”


“Actually… showing up in front of them isn’t the problem, Bell-chan. My outfit provides enough coverage from that angle,” said Urd with a giggle. “I wish I could say the same for the rest of it, though! If someone like… let’s say Keiichi was to open the door and catch me like this! Oh my! That would’ve been simply glorious! Who knows… we might even end up having more than just breakfast...”


No! That’s bad! You’ve got a commitment! It-it’s unfaithfulness! Adultery!” countered the Norn, pointing at her indecently dressed demoness with a trembling finger. “Y-You’re not supposed to say such things behind poor Mara’s back! H-How could you act.. like this?!”


“Huh? What does Ma-chan have to do with this?” asked Urd while she placed a few slices of nicely crisped toast on a plate. “You know that sharing is caring, right? I’m not that selfish to keep all the good stuff for myself. She could get her own turn and I doubt that, Keiichi-kun would mind either. The more, the merrier as they say!”


Standing there petrified by her sister’s unbelievable display of shamelessness, Belldandy was for the first time at loss of words. It was common knowledge that demonesses weren’t so reserved when it came to physical forms of intimacy, although, Urd had always been careful not to push things too far while she and Skuld were around. For whatever reason, that cardinal rule was now broken and the goddess of the present was trying to recover from her stupor and the trauma of having to deal with the mental image she got from that short and yet outrageous exchange. “Y-Y-You.... c-can’t…”


“Aw.. come on, Bell-chan! Spare me the sermon!” said Urd with an annoyed huff. “If we do things your way, the poor boy will start to suffer from getting too much stimulation and no release! He’s living with three… no… four fully grown and gorgeous women; Skuld excluded for obvious reasons. Get in his shoes for a moment and you’ll realize how hard it must be for him to deal with the… naughty thoughts he must be getting from time to time. Sure, he might object at first and try to fight it, but, it won’t take us long to make him squeal like a piglet!”


Grabbing all of the antenna shaped strands of hair and yanking them as hard as she could, Belldandy made a desperate attempt to wake up from this horrid nightmare she was having, but to no avail. No matter how she wished to deny this reality, there was no escape for the goddess of the present and her mind desperately tried to come up with explanation that would’ve actually made sense. ‘A potion!... She must’ve ingested an aphrodisiac or something similar! That’s it! That could ex-...’


“Good morning, Belldandy!”


The sudden interruption brought her thoughts to a grinding halt and without any hesitation, Belldandy slammed the kitchen’s door shut and pressed her back against it to prevent the college student from entering. “Good morning!”


The abrupt and almost panicked tone of the goddess took Keiichi by surprise, given her kind and gentle personality. “Um… is there something wrong, Belldandy?”


“Wrong?... What makes you think there’s something out of the ordinary?” countered the goddess in a desperate effort to avoid the actual question, given that she wasn’t allowed to lie.


“You’re acting strangely and…” started the sleepy mortal as he watched her bar the entrance to the kitchen. “It’s almost as if there’s something terrible lurking in there.”


“There is! Trust me on that, Keiichi-san!” was the quick reply.


“Really? All I wanted was to drink some water,” said Keiichi, still way too early to pay much attention to her warning.


“You’ll have to look elsewhere. This area is strictly off limits to you!” said Belldandy with even more force than before.


“But… I’m really thirsty! Could I get in there just for a moment?” protested the college student.


“No! You shall not pass!” nearly shouted the goddess, refusing to budge from her position. “Only ruin, heartache and sin awaits for you past this barricade!”


Blinking, Keiichi wondered if this was some sort of prank, but quickly dismissed it as an unlikely possibility. “Why would such a thing await me in a… kitchen? I only want some water…”


“What you’ll get is an invitation to an immoral lifestyle, full of temptations and unsavory pleasures that’s not worth it, Keiichi!” said Belldandy with a frantic shake of her head, not realizing that she had dropped the polite suffix to his name and she was merely addressing him like the rest of the immortals and his close friends. “You must stand firm and resist the seductive call of the siren that lies past me!”


“Are you talking about the… fridge?” asked the incredulous Keiichi who still had trouble to understand what was going on here. “I’m not on a diet, and besides… I just want some wa-... Wait! Let go of me! I haven’t done anything wrong!...”


“Not yet, but, trust me it’s not safe to stay here anymore,” replied Belldandy as she nearly dragged the stunned mortal as far from the house as she could. Heading to shed where he had his trusty BMW parked, the goddess of the present snapped her fingers changing them both into something more suited for going out on a ride. And while Keiichi was in his everyday clothes, the outfit she chose for herself was very different from the usual dresses she typically wore. Clad in shiny black leather pants and a matching biker jacket with a white blouse underneath, Belldandy got on the BMW in a hurry and clasped her hand, lightning crackling around it before she slammed it down on the ignition, kicking the clutch at the same time to start the engines without the keys.


As the college student watched her in amazement, he barely managed to catch the helmet she almost threw at him, while she got one for herself. “Get on, Keiichi. We can have something for you on the way to NIT. The cafe at the mountain ridge is a nice place to have a proper breakfast and we can appreciate a much more… acceptable view of the local nature, instead of… No, never mind that.”


Climbing on the sidecar for the first time since he got his bike, Keiichi was rather baffled from her significantly more aggressive attitude that even exceeded what he had seen from Urd. While not impolite, she had a much more assertive voice that matched her current appearance and given everything else that happened, he had no desire to argue with her. Hoping that whatever had gotten into her wasn’t going to be a problem, the young mortal watched the brunette goddess rev up the engine as she sent the motorbike forward and before long they were both speeding down the mountain road; probably way faster than they should.


‘It’s not like I’m doing anything wrong… Extraordinary situations call for extraordinary measures. I’m just trying to spare him from falling victim to one of neesan’s potions. Besides… she’s likely not herself right now and I bet she’s going to appreciate my actions once she’s back to her senses. The medicine is unlikely to last for too long, so, it should be fine to return in a couple of hours and that… incident can become nothing more than a bad memory,’ thought the Norn of the present, as she opened the throttle up even more.


‘S-She looks kind of cool driving like this, but…’ Keiichi couldn’t help but blush slightly as he glanced at the goddess from his position on the sidecar. However, despite his admiration at the aspect of her character he had never seen before, instinct was taking over and the college student began to feel the cold sweat trickling down his face as they kept going at a speed that was probably a bit too unsafe. “Uh… B-Belldandy… Is it really okay to drive this fast?”


“I think so,” replied the goddess as she navigated her way through yet another hairpin turn that hugged the steep cliff, causing the sidecar’s wheel to momentarily lose contact from the road. “Although, in all honesty this is the first time I’m actually driving a motorbike, so, I may not be doing everything properly.”


No matter how much he wanted to scream, Keiichi’s throat was too dry to produce any sound. Getting paler by every passing second, the college student could already see his life flash before his wide eyes. He was stuck in the sidecar while a total amateur was driving in a manner that even racing professionals would consider somewhat unsafe. ‘T-That’s it… Farewell cruel world…’


Sensing the sheer terror that was threatening to take him over, Belldandy tried to reassure him before he suffered a heart attack. “Please, don’t worry, Keiichi! I’m rather familiar with racing! It’s just that I never used this type of vehicle before!”


How am not supposed to worry?!” screamed the wide eyed Keiichi. “This is a huge problem! We’re going to crash!


“Well… I haven’t lost control of the motorbike yet and…” started Belldandy as she glanced at the cafe in the distance. “We’ve arrived at our destination!”


For the next couple of minutes it was the goddess’ turn to watch in confusion as she witnessed one of the most bizarre customs that mortals had; kissing the solid ground as they got out of a vehicle.


XXX


Meanwhile, back at the temple, the kitchen door opened to reveal a grinning demoness who had just finished making breakfast and unlike what Belldandy saw, she was fully dressed under her apron. However, that was by far the least important detail, since the demoness in question wasn’t actually her sister at all, but Hagall.


‘And they thought that my ability to create illusions was a useless skill. Fools… I almost feel sorry for her. Well… maybe.’


Giggling as she removed the apron, leaving herself with her typical outfit, Hagall was glad that she had managed to perfect some variations of her ability, such as to add it to a proximity curse like the one she attached to the door. And by the time Belldandy touched the trapped object, she saw something very different compared to what was actually happening inside the room.


‘She must’ve been too shocked to notice the spell on her. Actually, I was half expecting her to snap out of it halfway through. Hm… that’s good. At least I now know that I can use that skill even without making eye contact with anyone. Although, I’d rather not push it too far or I’ll end up starting a real fight with her. At least I did get her back for yesterday and… I also helped neesan with her plans to get them together.’


“Morning…”


Hovering in the hallway, the sleepy Urd was still in her nightie as she rubbed her eyes in an effort to shake the tired feeling off.


“Oh, good morning, neesan!” said the unusually happy Hagall, offering her sister a bright smile. “I see you’re up early.”


“Yeah… I need to make breakfast for Skuld,” said the Norn of the past with a yawn. “Yesterday I… told her a few things I shouldn’t and… I need to make up for that.”


“Bribery… I like it!” said the blonde demoness clasping her hands in front of her. “In that case, I’d love to offer any assistance I can!”


“Uh… If you want…” Scratching her head in confusion, Urd wasn’t entirely sure what was going on here. While her adopted sister always tried to be helpful, her current attitude was a bit reminiscent of Belldandy’s mannerisms and for a moment the half demoness wondered if something happened. ‘Did I miss anything?’


“Excellent! And while we’re at it, we could also make some for Mara and even a few things for later when we drop by the Motor Club!” said the excited Hagall.


Hovering right in front of her face, Urd couldn’t help but narrow her eyes at the blonde. “Okay… who are you and what have you done to my sister?”


Watching her giggle like a schoolgirl instead of answering, Urd was not positive that something was horribly wrong here.


‘Hm… Maybe I’ll have to ask Belldandy and see if she knows anything… She’s not in her bed, so, she may had seen something...’

XXX

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Heh, I really liked that scene in the kitchen.You have a great grasp of the characters' personalities.

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I'm really glad to hear that. To be honest, I was worried that I was pushing things a bit too far, but in the end decided to keep it. The greatest challenge was to make it shocking enough for Belldandy while keeping it believable based on the characters' personalities.

Plus, the next scene that resulted from that would've never really been possible without Belldandy being stressed. And that could finally break the ice between her and Keiichi, instead of keeping that distance between them that we've seen so far.

Also, the chapter is on FF: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11068984/9/Ah-The-lost-contract

Edited by vanagandr
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You weren't taking it too far.

You might have taken it too far if you had an omake where after Belldandy says her line of ' an immoral lifestyle, full of temptations and unsavory pleasures that’s not worth it', Keiichi's immediate reply is to slump and say, "Aw... Now I gotta go check."

But then again, that is an omake and might be still be allowed.

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That's hilarious :roflmao: Or have Keiichi say "Hey! What's that over there?" and sneaks inside as Belldandy gets distracted. :hilarious:

I was planning to use some of those scenes (as in the mentioned omake) later as dreams (for both Keiichi and Belldandy). That could make things even more interesting and... you know whose fault that's going to be, right? :sneaky:

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You're welcome.

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Here's the draft for chapter 10:

“Here’s your tea! Please enjoy yourselves!”


Offering her thanks, Belldandy accepted the steaming beverage she ordered for herself and the shell-shocked Keiichi who had yet to fully regain his color after experiencing her driving skills. On the other hand, the brunette goddess was feeling much better now that she had the time to recover from the… spectacle she witnessed in the kitchen. ‘I hope Urd’s alright… I should’ve done something more than just run away like that. Maybe a sleeping spell was all that I needed to stop her and make sure she was going to rest for a while until the effect of whatever she took ran out. That was so irresponsible of me and I even left Skuld there alone. There are no excuses for such a…’


“A potion?” Taking a sip from his cup after he spent a few moments thinking about what little he was told, Keiichi tried to find out more about the unusual events that took place earlier today. Although part of him was starting to get used to such incidents, he was far from the point where things like that would’ve no effect on him. And to make matters worse, he spent most of the night worrying about the confrontation between Belldandy and his sempai who probably had no idea who they were messing with. Actually, neither did he until the brunette goddess decided to forcefully remove him from the scene of what she described as a magical accident.


“I… think so. Making potions and all sorts of medicine is one of my sister’s favorite hobbies, although she tends to create problems with them at times. I believe that this was one of those moments and…” Belldandy paused to take a sip from her tea as a way to give herself the time to collect her thoughts and avoid giving away too much information that could potentially scare the mortal. “It was really fortunate that I’ve managed to get there before you did, Keiichi.”


“Out of sheer curiosity… What exactly was going to happen if I got in there?” asked the nervous college student even if he had a feeling that he was probably dealing with stuff that were not meant for him to know. In the last couple of days, he had discovered that humanity’s view of the cosmos was a very shortsighted one and by extension, so was he. Still, it was within the inquiring nature of his species to solve such enigmas and find answers to the most puzzling mysteries, even if they end up regretting their decisions after they learn the horrible truth.


It was moments like these that the brunette goddess realized how difficult it was to offer an excuse without lying about it. Even if she tried to avoid the subject, she had the feeling that one way or another he would eventually find out and she’d rather be the one to explain the situation to him instead of Urd. “She was under the influence of what seemed to be an… aphrodisiac. And… she was making some pretty improper comments, insinuating that she had the intention to… ravage you together with Mara… It was terrible.”


Blinking in confusion, Keiichi watched the goddess’ worried expression and while he had to admit that it was rather embarrassing, the college student actually offered her a smile. “Oh!... That’s what is was all about? What a relief!”


R-Relief?...” echoed the scandalized goddess who had expected a somewhat different reaction. In her mind, there was no doubt that the gentle and shy boy would’ve agreed with her viewpoint in regards to such matters and yet, he almost appeared to be… happy about it. Of course, it was common knowledge that most healthy young men at his age would’ve jumped at the first given opportunity to get intimate with someone like Urd. Not that she considered it wrong for people to like her sibling, it was just that she would’ve preferred for others to appreciate the half demoness’ personality more than her curvaceous body and to a certain degree, Mara met that requirement.


Noticing her troubled expression, Keiichi was starting to wonder if he probably said the wrong thing and considering his past interactions with women, he had a gnawing feeling that this was indeed the case. It was almost as if his brain failed to work properly whenever he was alone with a girl, especially if she happened to be an attractive one, too. That’s when he realized that all of a sudden rain began to shower down from the sky; even though he had seen no sign of clouds while they were driving to the cafe. “Hey… When did the sky get so dark? That’s not what the weather forecast had predicted...”


It was neither the reaction that the goddess had predicted either and staring him with a stern expression on her face, Belldandy tried to vent her anger in a manner that wasn’t going to cause any further incidents, willing the rain to stop. ‘No, I’m not angry. I’m merely disappointed that, Keiichi wasn’t the way I originally thought. He’s like most others who drool at the sight of some… oversized mammaries. It’s so rare that I’m wrong about this sort of things and while it’s not my place to judge him for his tastes....’ Narrowing her eyes, the Norn of the present decided that no matter how inappropriate it was for her to even utter such a thing, she wanted some explanations. “Keiichi? Could it be that you were actually looking forward to… fall victim of her potion? Perhaps I should get you back there while she’s still under its influence and… present her the opportunity to make you squeal like a piglet? At least according to her claims, that is.”


Choking hard on his tea and bumping his chest to cough the liquid that went down the wrong pipe, Keiichi stared at the brunette goddess in utter disbelief. “B-B-Beldandy? W-Why would I… Squeal?!... What?!”


Watching his panicked reaction, as well as his fierce blush, the Norn of the present started to feel guilty at the way she confronted him like that. Even if she happened to be right about her assumptions, she had to admit that it was rather tactless and even petty of her to throw such accusations around. “My apologies, Keiichi. It was absolutely uncalled for to use such uncouth expressions and…”


“But… why?” asked the college student, still trying to recover from his stupor. “I never said that I wanted that…”


Taking a moment to study his expression for any signs of deception and finding none, the brunette goddess was starting to realize that not only she said something outrageous, but, she may had also made a blunder of epic proportions. “I thought that you… were in favor of such a.. You said that it was a relief and…”


“Of course it’s a relief! What if she took something dangerous? I mean, she could turn into a really evil version of her. Like that doctor in a novel I once read!” said Keiichi with a panicked expression. “Or she could even turn into a giant monster that would terrorize Nekomi!”


“That is…undoubtedly true…” It was that very moment that Belldandy wanted to find a quiet place to hide at. She had no idea how to fix the mess she had made by assuming the worst about an innocent man, despite the fact that she always tried to defend others until hard evidence of their guilt was brought forth. And yet, she simply jumped into conclusions and to make matters even worse, she hadn’t kept those ill thoughts to herself. “In that case, I was… Oh dear Heavens!...”


“No! It’s fine, Belldandy!” said Keiichi as he watched her horrified expression. “I was the one who should’ve clarified things instead of making such vague comments!”


As both of them struggled to come up with something else to say to fix this disastrous case of miscommunication, they figured out that the best was to offer a sincere, proper apology to the other party. Bowing deeply to each other, they tried to sound as honest as possible without wasting too many words in hopes to put an end to this misunderstanding.


I’m so sorry!


Unfortunately, since they both did that at the very same time, they ended up smacking their heads together and while that was hardly sufficient for the brunette goddess to register the impact, it was more than enough for Keiichi to go back to where he was just over an hour ago; the land of dreams.


Keiichi!


xxx


Vingolf, Asgard


Starting her morning with a light breakfast before she had to deal with the multitude reports, requests and complaints, Asgard’s second in command tried to savor the last bit of her apple pie, just as her communicator demanded her attention. ‘Can’t a goddess enjoy her guilty pleasures without interruptions? Wait… it’s Belldandy?’


“Yes, dear? Is everything alright? You sound terribly upset… Is that so?... What have you done that’s so bad?”


Staying frozen in place for a few moments as her daughter tried to explain her situation, Ansuz used the time to trace the call through her terminal, just to make sure that this was indeed her eldest daughter and not some elaborate prank.


“Wait!..Not so fast, Belldandy. One thing at a time.... Yes, I see. Urd did what?!...”


Grabbing a notepad and a pen, the teal haired goddess scribed down some notes for… future reference, as she kept listening to her daughter’s woeful tale.


“No, I’m still here… Hold on a second! You’re telling me that you said all that with a straight face?”


Shaking her head in disbelief, Ansuz had a lot of trouble to come into terms that her otherwise shy and collected child had lost her control in such an outrageous manner. Although it wasn’t unheard of, and happened more than enough times to even bother to count, most of those incidents involved less… patient and kind celestials. And so far, Ansuz had no signs that Belldandy of all goddesses would act in such a manner.


“My sweetheart, in those cases, you need to use your head… Wait! What do you mean you just did that?!... He’s unconscious?!... Heal him!... If there are other mortals around, get some ice! Don’t waste time by chatting with me!


Pinching the bridge of her nose, Ansuz had a gnawing feeling that what started as a wonderful day would end up becoming a long and frustrating one instead. Worse, if she had these kind of problems with Belldandy, she didn’t even want to know what would happen when Skuld grew up and began to flirt with others.


‘I should get there as soon as possible, before she does anything she’ll come to regret later...’


xxx


Holding a bag with ice cubes the shop owner had graciously offered her, Belldandy carefully pressed the plastic container against Keiichi's forehead as he rested on one of the benches outside the shop that were placed there for the customers to enjoy the view of the surrounding nature. Using her free hand to hold what appeared to be a common cell phone, the Norn of the present was still trying to get some advice from her mother no matter how late she decided to do that.


“I know… Everything went wrong today,” said the goddess of the present with a frown. “The idea was to make a lunch for everyone and meet the other members of the Motor club and yet… Nothing went according to plan. Worse, Keiichi probably thinks less of me now and…”


“Alright, enough with that attitude. Just because things went wrong, doesn’t mean that it’s all over, Belldandy. Yes, you’ve made a mistake… or maybe more than one, but, it’s your ability to recover that really matters. You shouldn’t grovel and cry over the damage that was already done. Instead you should try to regain your composure and make the necessary modifications to your existing plans in order to accomplish what you intended from the very beginning,” said Ansuz, pausing for a second to consider how to phrase the next part. “Belldandy, we all make errors, even if we’re first class goddesses. That’s not something you should be ashamed of and others won’t immediately reject you because of them. Please do you mother a favor and stay clear of that stupid crowd that wants their precious perfection at all costs. Yes, you need to fix some of those flaws, but never consider yourself as a failure because of them and I doubt that your mortal friend or your sisters will think any less of you. The will however, if you keep thinking like that and push others away whenever you make a blunder.”


“That was no mere error, mother. If that was the case, I would’ve no problems dealing with it,” said Belldandy in an almost quiet tone. “I made a huge mess by saying all those… hateful things and even I have trouble accepting that I was able to do that in the first place. How am I supposed to expect that I’ll be forgiven just like that? It’s downright unrealistic to expect that a smile and some homemade cookies will be enough to make up for such harsh insults. I more or less called him a pervert.”


“And yet you apologized, right? Remember that in a situation like this, it’s not the words themselves, but, the sincerity behind them that counts. Even if you say no lies, the impact they have will determine the outcome and as long as he accepted your apology, you should move on,” said the teal haired goddess. “Lingering on the same incident forever is not recommended and will deny you any chances to make him see you as anything more than a mere acquaintance, let alone a potential girlfriend.”


“I...I…” Stammering as her cheeks turned bright pink, Belldandy could envision her mother’s grin as she caught her wayward child doing something she wasn’t supposed to. It had never been her intention to come to the mortal realm to seek a temporary date. That was one of the less… noble things that her species sometimes did; exploit their own charming looks and the limited lifespan of the humans to get an easy date and not worry too much since they wouldn’t be around for too long anyway. Even worse, some of them claimed that due to their responsibilities, they had to return back to their jobs way sooner, leaving their mortal lovers behind only to forget about them in a matter of days. Thankfully those were supposedly isolated events, but, there was already a precedence and the last thing Belldandy ever wanted was join that particular group of celestials who saw mortals as a disposable source of pleasure. On the other hand, the sad part was that whoever was truly serious had to face the risk of going through the Judgement Gate and given that no couples had managed to pass its test so far, it was no wonder that it worked as a deterrent measure instead of its intended purpose.


“You don’t have to be so embarrassed about it, Belldandy,” said Ansuz with a chuckle. “I know that you’re… intrigued by the boy, to say the least.”


“But, mother… I hardly know him! It’s only been a few days since I met him and that’s not enough to even consider such thoughts,” said Belldandy, as her blush deepened. “It’s a bit far fetched to claim that I’m trying to make him see me as a potential girlfriend. And… it would’ve been terribly irresponsible of me to lead him on like that without telling him about the restrictions and the…”


“Belldandy, for such things there’s no protocol or even rules. In some cases it takes a lot of time, and yet it could also happen in a minute. At least, that’s as far as crushes can go and I don’t see why you should rationalize everything while discussing a topic that’s not purely based on cold logic,” said Ansuz, before she paused for a few moments. “However, that being said… keep in mind that it’s better to take one step at a time or everything could simply go wrong in the end.”


“That’s what I’ve been doing!” said the brunette goddess, finding it strange that her mother would criticize her careful approach of the subject.


“No, not really. You kept a safe distance due to your fear of the test and then made a huge leap ahead by displaying something that could only be described as jealousy,” said Ansuz, correcting her daughter. “I said one step at a time, Belldandy. Even if you feel a bit interested right now, it might be nothing more than a mere crush and for all we know, it could go away. Try becoming his friend first and then you can see if he's suitable for anything more than that. Don’t jump into conclusions and push others away just because you fear that getting too close is a problem. And if you take the necessary steps, it won’t become one, as long as you do things the right way; not too fast but neither too slow.”


“Truth to be told I wanted to get to know him a lot better before I even considering approaching him. The last couple of days were actually enough to realize that he’s a good person and I had indeed read his profile, but… I still…” started Belldandy with some hesitation. “He sure has a lot of good qualities, but… he has some terrible luck with women and I’m unsure as how to even approach him without raising his hopes. I don’t want to become yet another girl who turns him down if I end up realizing that I only want to be friends with him and nothing more. His confidence is already a bit low and I don’t want to make matters even worse for him.”


“That… is true,” said Ansuz while scratching her winglets. “However, he’s currently living with a lot of women, so… he might start considering interactions with them as something natural and that’s going to include you as well. After all, there’s nothing wrong if you try to be friendly towards him, given that you’re sharing the same roof. Under these circumstances, I think that you’re not going to lead him astray just by talking to him.”


“I see… I was probably worrying too much about it,” admitted Belldandy as she let a sigh. “Very well then, I’ll try to follow your advice and let things happen in a more natural manner. Providing that it’s not already too late…”


“That will depend on Morisato-kun, as well as how you’re going to act from this point on,” said Ansuz with a giggle, finally relaxing a bit as her daughter seemed to get her point.


“In that case, I’ll have to do my best and see what happens.” Smiling as she began to feel better, the Norn of the present decided to ask her mother’s opinion on what she should’ve done. “Um… hypothetically speaking… If you happened to be in my position, how would you have reacted to that incident?”


“The same thing I have done to Hild actually; give a much needed slap to that shapely posterior of hers,” replied Ansuz with a low growl, as she recalled those old and deeply embarrassing memories.


“You’ve spanked the Daimakaicho?!” said the wide eyed Belldandy, not believing what she was hearing. “B-But, I’ve thought that you two weren’t competing for… I mean…”


“I know what you mean very well, since I was the one who told you most of that. However, given your young age at the time, I haven’t given you all the details and… Well, the short version is that, Hild wanted to give me a few tips when I was about to marry your father; regardless of my insistence that I desired no such help,” said Ansuz with a scowl. “Of course, that never stopped her from trying and ended up making all sorts of raunchy and downright inappropriate comments whenever I visited her to check Urd-chan. She even went as far as to give me demonstrations of how to utilize some... rather intriguing outfits; if those things even count as articles of clothing.”


“I’m sorry to hear that, mother,” said Belldandy, unable to come up with any other response for the time being.


“You don’t have to be sorry. Although embarrassing beyond words, Hild’s methods had proven to be rather effective,” admitted the teal haired goddess, a blush starting to appear on her face.


“Y-You did... t-things like that?” asked the incredulous Norn of the present. “D-Did that even work?”


“Oh, it worked alright. Just look at a mirror and you’ll see the result,” said Ansuz, who wasn’t entirely comfortable to discuss this particular topic with her daughter. ‘And I’ll have to do this once again with Skuld?... Good grief...’


“M-Mother… you w-wouldn’t be… suggesting that I should t-try that, would you?” asked the stunned goddess.


No! Good Heavens!... How did you even think that I’d…” Shaking her head, Ansuz worried that talking about such things might’ve been too much for her eldest daughter to handle. “That’s something you’re not supposed to do anytime soon and even then… it’s uncertain if it’s a good idea to try that. Besides, which part of one step at a time you didn’t get?”


“I’m sorry! I simply misunderstood and…” started the brunette, before her mother interrupted her.


“For your own good, you’d better not have any such misunderstandings in the future and try any funny ideas with anyone who’s not your official spouse! No daughter of mine shall act in such a shameless manner and if I ever hear of such debauchery, I’ll tan your hide with a wooden brush!” warned the teal haired goddess, narrowing her eyes as she felt her anger spike to a potentially dangerous level.


Yes mom!


“Good! Now do as I said and everything’s going to be fine! And try to avoid any more headbutts! You're not Thor!” said Ansuz as she ended the call. Taking a few seconds to fan herself with her head winglets, she was now certain that staying in Asgard at a time like this was far from ideal and there was only one way to rectify this.


‘I need to get there as soon as possible!’


XXX


Ithavoll, Asgard


Reading the morning news on his terminal, Tyr took a moment to stretch and clean his desk, removing the remnants of his breakfast. Still, a good day needed a nice dessert and the slice of lime cake he saved from Belldandy’s last visit to his office looked simply scrupulous; all thanks to the time freeze spell he had on it, keeping it fresh as it was the moment his daughter brought it here. ‘Ah… finally I can try one of her famous desserts...’


Just as he grabbed a spoon and reached for the masterfully made cake, the door of his office swung open in the most abrupt manner possible. To say that it was against protocol to do such a thing before the Daitenkaicho was an understatement, however, the look on his wife’s face convinced him that any talks about rules and regulations would only add more fuel to the fire and right now, he was facing a blazing inferno.


“Ansuz? Is there something wrong? You seem... disturbed.”


Striding to his desk, Asgard’s second in command slammed her hands on the wooden surface, causing her husband to back slightly away. “I’m not disturbed… I’m a concerned parent who’s away from her daughters when they need their mother the most! As such, it’s imperative that I go on that vacation. And that means, right now!


“Hold on a second! We can’t just have you leave in such a hurry! I was actually making the preparations for you to…” started Tyr, but then stopped as he watched his wife get hold of his most treasured dessert and much to his horror, she began to devour it. “What are you doing?!


“Mhmph?” offered the goddess between bites, blinking in confusion.


“Don’t chomp it down like that! It was my birthday present from Belldandy! These things are meant to be savored not eaten in such a crude manner!” said Tyr, watching his wife as she set the now empty plate down with a guilty expression. “At the very least, could you please tell me how it tasted?”


“Fhtang!”


“Ansuz, don’t speak with you mouth full! Not only it’s impolite, but, I’ve got no idea what you trying to say,” commented Tyr with scowl.


“Fantastic!” repeated the goddess once again, although in a much clearer manner. “And I’m terribly sorry for that, dear. I had no idea you’ve been saving that gift for so long. I’ll ask Belldandy to make another and sent it later. However, I wish to get there as soon as possible.”


“I'm fairly certain that there’s nothing particularly threatening that requires your immediate attention. While I agree that spending some time with our daughters could be beneficial, the arrival of Hagall is hardly a matter of great concern,” said Tyr shaking his head. “Please tell me that you’re not planning to join Urd’s rather transparent efforts to play the matchmaker for Belldandy and that mortal. I thought that you knew better than that.”


Raising an eyebrow at his words, Ansuz was rather troubled that her husband was probably entering that overprotective phase that a lot of fathers got themselves into whenever their little girls wanted to date someone. “You disapprove of this?”


“Yes. Although, it’s not whether my daughter dates a mortal, but, all this… effort to make it happen. I have to admit that it’s not something unexpected from Urd to try to pull, however, I’d rather not have you mindlessly try to help her in her plans,” said Tyr, drumming his fingers on his desk. “There’s no reason to think that forcing those two together under such circumstances is a great idea. No matter how cute she may think he is, that’s hardly sufficient as a basis for any relationship and worse, Belldandy has practically no experience on such matters. The margin of error in such cases is way too small for me to encourage them and I believe that if you think about it in a more objective manner, you’ll eventually agree with me.”


“That may be true, but, the fact that she is actually considering that possibility is a something important in my opinion. She never tried to find a romantic interest before and with the sheer number of celestials who wanted her for her popularity, I can’t blame the poor girl,” said Ansuz, returning her husband’s intense gaze.


“Not every one of those celestials wanted her as trophy and overgeneralizing like that is really unfair. And if we want to bring bad intentions, a mortal has way more to gain from dating someone like our daughter. She has all those qualities one would’ve expected from the perfect housewife and that doesn’t even count for her magical powers and that fact that she’s ageless,” countered Tyr. “The number of mortals who would love to have her as an over glorified housewife is much greater than the celestials who simply want a popular goddess for a date. I have no intention to hand her over to someone who likes to get spoiled and exploit her kindness. While there are no indications that this particular mortal is like that, it’s a problem that might arise once she starts to take care of him along with the rest of her sisters. People change and not always for the better; that much I do know.”


Feeling that they were approaching a topic that she had no intention to discuss under these circumstances, Ansuz lowered her head and tried to think of a different way to convince her husband. “Belldandy is fully aware of the dangers involved and she’s rather afraid that she’s got no chances. As her mother, I feel it’s more important to help her overcome her fears, instead of exploiting them to get what I think is the best for her. She could spend decades regretting her mistakes if this backfires, but, the same could be said if she missed that opportunity by not doing anything. After all, he is a mortal and won’t be around forever. At the very least, I want her to have some happy memories from this, instead of grief.”


‘Happy memories, huh?’ Letting a defeated sight, the Daitenkaicho leaned back against his chair knowing all too well that she was right to a certain degree. Looking back at his own situation, it would’ve been wrong to assume that due to the eventual outcome he came to regret his decision to date Hild. And while he had no wish for his daughter to go through the same pain, denying her the opportunity to start a relationship of her own was equally problematic. “So be it… I won’t oppose you, but, please try to avoid any mistakes.”


“That’s… actually one of the reasons I want to get there,” said Ansuz with a sheepish expression. “Our daughter had… for the lack of a better expression, made quite a blunder.”


“Belldandy?” asked Tyr with a raised eyebrow. “She’s the sweetest goddess you can imagine. There’s no way it’s going anything too serious.”


“I don’t know about that,” replied Ansuz, scratching her winglets nervously. “She did knock him out with a headbutt…”


Huh?!


XXX


Nekomi, Japan


“Why exactly are we going there again?”


Watching the rest of them prepare for their visit to the campus, Mara was unsure what that was even necessary, given that Keiichi and Belldandy had already gone to meet the rest of the Motor Club’s members for some boring talk. Instead, she was hoping that with the two of them away and with Hagall keeping Skuld busy, it would’ve been the best opportunity to go on a date with her girlfriend.


“Because everyone else is going, too?” countered Urd, as she checked herself in front of the mirror to make sure that her purple minidress was as tight as it should be in all the right spots. “Besides, I thought you wanted us to head to the city, instead of spending all day home.”


“Yeah… Although, I was thinking about a much trendier part of Nekomi, not the campus,” said Mara with a groan. “There’s nothing there but boring dorks who use some of the worst pick up lines I’ve heard. Seriously… who asks for the time right in front of a street clock?”


“I know… Some people think that those old tricks actually work. At least they didn’t ask you if your wanted to star in their amateur video. Had a couple of those offers the last time I was there. Hopeless idiots...” said Urd with a chuckle, before she turned to check if her sisters were ready. And while Skuld was already wearing one of her civilian outfits, Hagall had a green minidress with only a couple of minor differences from hers. “Are the lunchboxes ready?”


“Yes, they’re over there,” replied Hagall, pointing at stack that was right outside the kitchen’s door. It took her a lot of skill to prepare them in such a short period of time, but in the end she was happy that she managed to pull it off. Of course, magic would’ve made things a lot simpler and even leave her with lots of time to spare. However, Hagall wanted to prove to her sister that it was not an impossible task for her and therefore she needed no shortcuts.


“Good! We can finally get there and… Hey… what’s with the long faces?” asked Urd as she noticed the somewhat disappointed Mara and even Skuld didn’t look that happy.


“It’s way too early to go to the Motor Club,” said the little goddess as she pointed at the old clock they had in the living room. “Most of them are probably still in their classes. There’s no point rushing there, so, why don’t we visit the city first and then go to the clubroom?”


“Fine… I guess we can make some adjustments to our schedule to make a few stops along the way,” said Urd, missing the amused smiles on the others’ faces.


“Is it just me or Urd actually used the word schedule?” whispered Skuld at Hagall, as she leaned closer to the taller demoness.


Giggling, Niflheim’s second in command kept her voice low as she replied to the goddess of the future. “Sounds unlike her, right? She used to be so unpredictable and wild and now she’s actually planning things in advance whenever she feels it’s necessary. That’s quite the improvement, actually!”


“Yeah... Although, it feels kinda weird at the same time. She almost acts like Surt whenever she gets into that mood and I have no idea whether that's a good thing or not,” said Skuld with a nervous chuckle. “I know that he was her mentor of sorts, but, it's still rather impressive that she eventually began to imitate him.”


“Imitation is the best form of flattery, Skuld. Besides, she most likely had some other motives for trying to follow his example whenever she could. Given that she had just hit puberty when she was first sent to Muspelheim, Urd was in that phase where a powerful demon like Surt appeared to be a very attractive option for a romantic interest,” said Hagall with a wink.


“You mean she used to have a crush on him?” asked the Norn of the future with a big grin, as the whole topic reminded her some of her manga. “That's way too cute for someone like her!”


“Oh, you better believe it! And it got worse the more time she spent there, too. Once she got a bit older, Urd's rather simplistic attempts to get his attention became more and more aggressive, to the point where she even learned how to make some love potions and various other types of aphrodisiacs in an effort to ensure her success,” said Hagall in a conspiratory tone, while Urd was busy talking to Mara about their plans for the day.


Blushing a bit as the topic seemed rather spicy for the young Norn of the future, Skuld was regardless interested to learn more about her sister's misadventures, especially since the whole subject was something that normally others would've never discussed with her; claiming that she's too young to talk about such things. “Wow... she did that? I knew that she messed around with love potions and she still likes to make several variations of them, but... I never thought that she originally wanted to use them for herself. I was under the impression that she simply enjoyed to pull pranks and mess around with others.”


“Well... that never stopped her from using them for those purposes, too. Of course, the one who was her primary intended target was Surt and I've heard that some of the results were pretty hilarious. While most of her early attempts were rather unsuccessful, a few of the later ones worked way better than she would've ever expected,” said Hagall with a naughty grin, causing Skuld's eyes to go wide.


“R-Really?! She never said... I mean... I had no idea that she did such outrageous things.” Turning bright red, the scandalized goddess was almost afraid to ask for more, even if she knew that her eldest sister wasn't exactly the picture of innocence. “A-And you say that those potions worked... way better than expected?”


“Well... I don't think that she intended for an entire regiment of war demonesses to chase after her,” replied Hagall with a giggle. “Instead of the ruler of Muspelheim, she had a decent number of his female troops madly in love with her. For such a simple potion, it sure had some rather spectacular results. Thankfully for her, Mara saved her from the lust driven mob, or she would've gotten into some serious trouble.”


“But... why wasn't she also affected by Urd's potion?” asked the confused goddess.


“Oh, that's rather simple actually. Neesan's love seeds don't mess with those who have true feelings of affection towards the one who used them,” said Hagall with a genuine smile. “I guess that's when Urd realized that her blonde friend probably liked her more than she willingly admitted.”


“Aww...That's kind of cute actually,” replied Skuld, mirroring the demoness' expression.


“Care to tell me what you two find so amusing?” Tapping her foot as she glared at her sisters, Urd had little doubt that they were talking about her, especially given the way they kept whispering like that.


“Nothing too serious, neesan. I was merely telling her about your old crush on…” started the younger demoness, before she was interrupted by the embarrassed Norn of the past.


“Don't you ever dare mention it!” snarled Urd, who despite her anger was actually blushing like a maiden; a pretty rare sight for anyone who knew her. “If I hear anything more about that, I'll…”


Surprising her eldest sister with a hug, Skuld smiled at her fellow Norn, making her to forget about her anger. “I'm so proud of you, Urd! I always thought that you're so wild and brazen, but, you also have this... girly personality, too! I'm sorry that you've failed to get the guy you liked, though…”


Unsure how to respond, Urd blinked and kept staring at the young goddess who suddenly started to treat her like Belldandy. While Skuld always got along with her, it was rather evident that she idolised the middle of the Norns and that was something Urd had no problem with. In a way, she preferred it like that, since the alternative would've caused more issues. It was already hard enough that she had to spend so much time away from them and knowing that the youngest of her sisters missed her terribly was something that, Urd wished to avoid; even if she suspected that this was the truth anyway. “T-Thank you Skuld. Although, sometimes good things happen out of situations that you may initially consider as a disaster. While the object of my childish crush refused to see me as a possible girlfriend, I did discover that there were others who also liked me in that manner.”


“And you're fine with that?” asked Skuld who found the explanation to be somewhat uncharacteristic of her.


“I may have to admit that I was kind of frustrated at some point of time in the past, wondering what I was doing wrong. However, mere infatuations are not necessarily something that we have to pursue forever. Real life doesn't work like like those trashy stories you're likely going to find in Asgard or even here on the mortal realm,” said Urd while patting her sister's head. “Those tend to stretch things beyond what's believable to get a happy ending. In many ways, I find that I'm a lot happier now compared to what I had in my mind when I was young. You're about to hit that phase of your life and I want you to remember that, instead of using some romance novel as a source of advice. To avoid any misunderstandings, I'm not encouraging you quit when something seems hopeless. I merely want you to remind yourself that life is full of opportunities and you shouldn't fear to look for alternatives that might end up being better than the original goal.”


“I... see. Thanks for telling me all this, sis,” said Skuld as she smiled at her sibling, who was actually using a soft tone she had never heard from her.


“It's alright, Skuld. As your eldest sister, it's my duty to make sure that you know everything about relationships. After all, there are certain topics that neither your mom, nor Belldandy are comfortable to discuss with you. For example…” Summoning an old, leather bound tome, Urd handed it over to her little sister and tried to maintain a neutral expression while she waited for her reaction.


However, as the goddess was about to open it, Hagall rushed and took it off her hands before she peeked at its contents. “No! What are you doing?! That's way too advanced for her!”


'Here we go again... It's something too raunchy for the kid...' thought Skuld, narrowing her eyes at the two demonesses.


“Aw... I never expected you to be so overprotective of her!” squealed Urd much to her adoptive sister's chagrin. “You're making me so proud Hagall-chan! So mature and responsible! You'll become such a great mom one day!”


“C-Cut it out! That's not funny at all!” shouted the embarrassed demoness, paleing as a rather sensitive topic was brought up. “Besides, what possessed you to give Skuld a love manual! It's already bad enough that you taught me about this and that way earlier than it was necessary for a demoness to know... You want to pull that on her, too? She's a goddess for Niflheim's sake!”


“It's only the first tome of that series,” replied Urd with a dismissive waive of her hand. “That much should be acceptable and she's no longer a little kid. At this point she's ready to have the talk and before you even complain, I was the one who did that for Belldandy, too.”


“And as we all know, that goddess is still single,” shot Hagall back with a raised eyebrow. “It's no wonder that after going through that traumatising experience, she no longer wished to try her luck with a relationship. I wish something a bit better for Skuld and…”


“You dare question my teaching methods?” counted Urd with a raised eyebrow. “Belldandy simply prefers to do things at her own pace, that's all. Besides, I taught you too and you've gotten yourself a… bo-... mhmph!...”


“Be quiet you!” said the panicked demoness, rushing to silence her adoptive sister with her gloved hand, before she revealed anything too sensitive. “As your superior I order you to remain silent, lieutenant!”


Turning to Mara, Skuld couldn't help but feel rather curious about their strange behavior. “Do you have any idea what's going on here?”


“Beats me. I don't think it's very smart to poke my nose into Hagall-sama's private life,” said Mara with a shrug. “Just because I'm dating Urd doesn't mean I can treat her like my sister in law. She's still the second highest ranking demoness and I must show the necessary respect or face the consequences; something that I really wish to avoid at all costs.”


“Hm... Say, Mara…” started Skuld as she scratched her head, trying to come up with a way to ask her one of the things she always wanted to know. “Why haven't you asked Urd to marry you?”


What?! I...I…” Stammering as she attempted to come up with an explanation, Mara felt that telling a lie would've been too obvious and just end up making a fool of herself. “I don't know if... Urd's not the kind of demoness who might want to... What if she says no? I'll ruin everything and I have no wish to lose Urd because I scared her by asking the question.”


“What if I try to talk to her and find out what she thinks about it? I won't mention anything about you, so, she's not going to think that you wish for more all of a sudden,” said Skuld with a smile.


Thinking about it for a moment, the blonde demoness nodded back at her with a somewhat nervous expression. “I... I'd like that.”


“Good. I'll try to bring up the subject whenever I get the chance to do so,” said Skuld. “In the meantime, why don't we make them stop arguing and head to the city?”


“Sounds like a plan to me. Oh and... thanks... Skuld…” Despite the fact that she tried to hide her excitement, the rather goofy grin on her face made the young goddess giggle as it was too uncharacteristically cheerful by Mara's standards.


“Alright you two! That's more than enough! Let's go before the day's over!”


XXX


“Are you sure it’s alright for you to drive?”


“Sure thing, Belldandy! I feel perfectly fine and you even healed me, so, there’s nothing for you to worry about!” Looking at the sidecar for a moment, Keiichi offered the goddess a reassuring smile as they headed towards the NIT campus. The trip had been a slightly awkward one at first, with both of them uncertain how to start up a conversation given everything that happened so far; especially in the cafe.


From a certain perspective the college student felt slightly intimidated by the goddess’ words, worrying that he had gone and said the worst possible thing given the circumstances. That would’ve actually been kind of expected for him, since his brain had the tendency to turn off while he interacted with women and often made a fool of himself when he tried to give them a good impression of himself. After all, the fact that such a gentle goddess reacted in that manner could’ve been a perfect example of his ineptitude, although, a tiny part of him considered that she might’ve been slightly jealous of him. ‘Yeah… keep thinking that, Morisato… Why would a goddess even get to the point of liking such a plain, boring and hopeless guy like...’


“Um… Keiichi?” started the concerned Norn of the present. “There’s a tree ahead of us.”


“A tree… how nice… Wait! A tree?!” Hitting the breaks, the dark haired student managed to stop the bike before he got out of course and cause an accident. Even if he had always been careful whenever he drove his BMW, he had to admit that this wasn’t exactly his day so far. After bringing himself to talk to the brunette celestial without running away, he was now worried about her eventual encounter with his sempai. Even before the whole incident he had been nervous, but now, he was rather scared that Tamiya and Otaki were going to get an idea of what happens to those who manage to anger her.


“I can drive from this point on, Keiichi,” said Belldandy with a concerned frown. “There’s no need to push yourself too hard.”


No! I mean… It’s not… necessary. We’re practically there, after all.” Feeling a shiver as he remembered those agonizing moments he spent on the sidecar as she drove down the mountain road, the wide eyed mortal had no desire to let her repeat that anywhere near a populated area in fear of causing so much havoc that would’ve certainly gotten them arrested.


“After them! Don’t let them get away!”


Blinking, the duo turned towards the source of the sudden commotion, only to find Tamiya and Otaki run away from an angry mob of students who were chasing them across the campus.


“Something tells me that I don’t want to know what that’s all about,” muttered Keiichi, narrowing his eyes at the fleeing giants. ‘What are they up to this time?’


“Sempai! It’s terrible!” Rushing towards the bike, Hasegawa was trying to catch her breath as the mousy girl attempted to follow the mob until she spotted Keiichi; one of saner members of the Motor Club. “Tamiya and Otaki had attempted to fix the baseball club’s stuck door and instead, they’ve opened a huge hole in the wall!”


“Seriously…” Letting a disgusted sigh, Keiichi could already wondered just how much money they’ll have to pay to fix the damage, although from past experiences he knew that it would be enough to completely wipe out their budget. “Let’s get back to the clubhouse and see what we do about this new mess…”


Ten minutes later, Keiichi was pacing around the clubroom in front of a depressed Hasegawa who checked the financial books and reached the rather obvious conclusion that they were already pretty much broke. And that was even before the whole stunt that their sempai had pulled earlier, which naturally meant that the repair costs for the damage they’ve caused would come out of their pockets. “Alright… how did we ran out of money, this time?”


“I think that Tamiya-sempai and Otaki-sempai spent all our funds to buy those bike parts,” replied the bespectacled girl as she held the tiny metal box they used as a safe. “Look, it’s completely empty… Well, we still have a 100 Yen coin, but…”


“That’s not going to do us any good at all,” groaned Keiichi, pinching the bridge of his nose. In all honesty, he wasn’t actually surprised to find out that once again, those two had pretty much gambled all their budget on a single project. While it was inevitable that they’d have to invest money on various vehicles, Keiichi personally preferred to have some savings in case things went wrong, or rather… in the event where they haven’t won some race and the associated prize money. It was merely a matter of time when their luck would run out and despite their blood, sweat and tears, they’d have to face the consequences of relying on such gambles.


“Is there something wrong?” asked Belldandy who was making some tea to cheer up the two catatonic students.


“Yes, I’m afraid that’s the case,” said Hasegawa as she readjusted her glasses and turned towards the tiny kitchenette where they had the gas stove that the goddess was using to prepare the tea. “Our month’s budget is pretty much gone, along with all the money we’ve made during that Queen of NIT event. And to make matters even worse, we’re likely going to be forced to pay for some damage our illustrious sempai have caused.”


“Oh my… That’s quite the predicament,” said the Norn of the present, as she added the hot water to the teapot along with the leaves. “I suppose this means that you must win the next event.”


“Pretty much. Unless we get the first prize for the drag race, we’ll be left with absolutely no funds and let’s not mention, no means to pay for their blunder,” said Keiichi with a sigh. “That’s not something that happens for the first time, but… I really wish that we wouldn’t have to go through this every single time we’re participating in some race...”


Setting a pair of cups on the table next to Hasegawa, Belldandy smiled as she retrieved the teapot in order to serve them their steaming green tea. “I see… Then given the importance of this event, I suppose it’s only natural that you’ll have the whole club work hard to prepare the bike, right?”


“Of course! We can’t afford anything other than first place at this point,” said Hasegawa while Keiichi nodded, until he suddenly started to realize something.


‘Hold on a second… Didn’t she want to talk to the others about contributing to… Don’t tell me she’s already doing it!...’ Staring at the smiling goddess, Keiichi was utterly speechless at how easily she managed to convince Sora and without even directly confronting her about the actual topic. Sure, it was only natural to make those suggestions, however… the dark haired student couldn’t help but wonder if she was doing it on purpose, leading the conversation to a direction she wished. ‘Maybe… I’m looking too much into it. It could be a coincidence for all I know.’


Slamming the door open, Tamiya and Otaki hurried to the safety of the clubhouse as they had just barely managed to lose their angry pursuers who demanded a refund for the damage they caused to their changing room.


“We must bar the door, Dai-chan!”


“Yes! They won’t get us that easily, Den-chan!”


“Hello there! Would you like to join us for some morning tea?” asked the brunette goddess, surprising the two directors of the Motor Club. Aside from the fact that they weren't expecting to see her there, the biker outfit she was wearing was more than enough to make the two buffs exchange a concerned look.


“Hey, is it me or she’s wearing leather?” whispered Tamiya to his partner in crime.


“Yeah… I thought she was the girly type. You know… the one who prefered dresses and such,” replied Otaki in a hushed voice. “Um… Maybe she's just trying a new look?”


Staring at the smiling goddess who turned to prepare more tea for them, Tamiya managed to spot a tiny detail about her outfit that most others had missed so far. Pocking out of one of her back pockets was a metallic object that nobody would’ve ever expected her to possess.


“D-Dai-chan!... Take a look at that!”


Following his gaze, Otaki frowned as he started to think that his friend was checking the brunette’s assets. “Dai-chan, you shouldn’t be staring her like that… Morisato’s gonna notice and think that... Huh? Wait... Isn’t that a knuckle duster?”


“W-We need to get out of here, Dai-chan!” stammered the gruff man as he started to worry for his wellbeing. “That’s more than just trying a new look!”


“No kidding! Who knows what gotten into her?… Hold on! She’s dressed like a gang member and even has tattoos… Don’t tell me that all this time she was with...” trailed the horrified blonde as he paled considerably.


“T-The Yakuza?...” finished Tamiya with a low voice. “Someone hired them to to shake us down for all the trouble we’re causing? A-And she’s with them?”


“Maybe being nice was her cover?” said Otaki. “And now she's out to get us!”


‘What are those guys mumbling about?’ wondered Keiichi as he took a sip from his cup. ‘I hope it’s not a scheme to make me pay for that damage...’


“Tea’s ready!” said Belldandy approaching the scared giants who unconsciously hugged each other as they tried to desperately back away from her. “Is there something wrong?”


No!


Blinking as she felt their distressed aura, the brunette goddess turned to glance at Keiichi who simply shrugged. It wasn’t the first time those two acted in a strange way; rather, acting normal would’ve been more of a surprise to those who were familiar with them and as such, the young student thought nothing of this.


“Are you sure? You seem terribly nervous,” said the concerned goddess, tilting her head. “Is it because of that damage you caused?”


“She knows, Dai-chan!”


“We’re doomed, Den-chan!”


“Alright, cut it out, sempai… what else have you done?” asked Keiichi who was starting to realize that they were acting a bit crazier than normal.


Nothing! We swear!


Despite having serious doubts about that, Belldandy decided to get back the conversation back on track and focus on her original goal; getting them to help Keiichi with the Motor Club’s newest project. “At any rate, I was wondering about the upcoming drag racing event. As I was informed by Hasegawa-san, it’s really important to get the first place prize, so, I thought that it would be really great if you offered Keiichi a hand with the bike. He can’t possibly do everything by himself and I hope that you can see things my way and…”


“We’ll do everything you want!” said Tamiya.


“Yes! P-Please don’t let your boss kill us!” added Otaki. “We’re going to be good from now on!”


“Why would father do such a terrible thing to you?” asked the baffled goddess as she tried to make sense of their words, and even more importantly how they knew about the lord of Asgard. “At most, he would just seal you…but...”


“F-Father?... S-She’s the daughter of a Yakuza boss!” said Tamiya to his blonde friend.


“S-Seal us?!” added the terrified Otaki. “They’ll encase us in concrete! And then dump us in the ocean!”


“Um... excuse me, but, I think that you..” started the goddess of the present who finally started to realize that they had gotten a very wrong idea of what she was actually saying. However, she didn’t manage to get far before the two giants rushed out of the clubroom and started up the engine of their trusty trike.


“Please forgive the delay!” said Tamiya as he got on the driver’s seat.


“We’ll get all the bike’s parts here in no time!” continued Otaki as they rushed to become as helpful as possible, in hopes to appease her.


“But…” Staring at the rapidly departing vehicle with a baffled expression, Belldandy turned back to Keiichi who was actually trying hard not to laugh. “Is that really okay? I think they misunderstood everything I said.”


“That’s not a problem, Belldandy,” chuckled Keiichi. “It was about time those two would fall victims of a prank, even if was an accidental one.”


“Sampai… Shouldn’t I call the others to gather here?” asked Hasegawa. “It’s probably a good idea to have as many helping hands as possible.”


“That’s a great idea, Sora!”


Letting a sigh, Belldandy couldn’t help but wonder why everything seemed to go wrong today. ‘I just wished to have a nice launch with everyone...Although...’


"Um... Keiichi? What's the Yakuza?"


"The Japanese mob," replied the college student, trying not to burst into laughter. "I don't even know what made those guys assume that."


"Well... she's dressed very differently than normal," noted Hasegawa as she stared at the brunette goddess. "I guess it must've surprised them and as usual they jumped to the wrong conclusion."


"Oh well, we can explain things once they return and..." started Keiichi when he abruptly stopped as he noticed the Norn of the present toy around with a metallic object she retrieved from her pocket. "B-Belldandy... where did you get that?"


"Oh, this? I remember Urd having things like that whenever she wore a similar outfit, so, I thought it was part of the getup," replied Belldandy with a smile. "At least, I removed most of the accessories that I knew were optional."


"C-Can we have more tea?" asked the wide eyed Keiichi, trying to stop her from saying too much, especially with Sora right next to them. ‘After all, who knows what Urd’s carrying with her?’


"Of course!" replied the happy Norn. "And while we wait for them to return with the bike parts, why don't we tidy up the place?"


"Sure thing, Belldandy!"


XXX



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I like it. Still has the spirit that made the beginning of A!MG so great. And hearing about Ansuz and Hild's actions in the past was a hoot.

and now to chat about some thoughts I had for a bit.

When I got to the part about Ansuz worrying about Skuld growing up and flirting, my first thought was 'That's if she begins to flirt with others. There's a slight chance she'll make a robot boyfriend or girlfriend to be in a relationship with.'

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I'm glad. Actually I was concerned that I pushed it a bit too much. The whole point was to get some things out of the way, like the whole situation with Belldandy's reservations about getting close to Keiichi knowing about the Judgement Gate. Unlike the series, I plan to use no such retcons at a later point, so, I needed to have someone (Ansuz) reassure her that it's not the worst thing in the world to try and become friends with Keiichi. That could allow me to give them some more natural interactions from now on.

However... I didn't want a boring chapter that was simply restricted to talk, so, I've added some humor. Okay... maybe a bit too much, but, I prefer to have Belldandy act a bit clumsily when it comes to such matters instead of being completely oblivious. Even if it doesn't follows the canon description of her during the later part of the series, I'd rather have act like that instead of completely missing the point.

I also likes that line, Katz. Actually, I was planning to have Hild mention it to Ansuz after Skuld builds her robots :joyful: (they're not introduced so far in the series). However, when they'll show up, Hild might bring up the subject, especially considering how human like Sigel looks like, making Ansuz freak out about her daughter's hobbies.

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and when talking about the subject with Ansuz, would Hild be evil enough to suggest that Skuld might base the possible robot she might get into a relationship with on Belldandy? Y'know, just to try and make Ansuz separate Skuld and Belldandy for a little bit by putting Skuld's worship of Belldandy into a negative light?

Or is that a line that Hild would not cross in your fic?

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