I do not own the Ah! Megami sama / Oh! My Goddess series
"I hate buses…"
Letting out a frustrated sigh, Urd's initial enthusiasm was slowly waning out as the long, boring road trip was starting to get on her nerves; most definitely due to the very means of transportation she and her housemates were supposed to use. Given that the organizers of the lottery tried to conserve as much money as possible, the tickets they handed them corresponded to the cheapest method of transportation possible; which was basically a regular bus instead of hiring a much more comfortable mini bus just for them.
That inevitably meant that, Urd, Keiichi, Vali and the newcomer, Dagaz were amidst a group of elderly people who also wanted to visit the hot springs resort, as the warm mineral water did miracles with arthritis. And if it wasn't just the fact that the bus was packed with people, the old ladies sitting behind the goddess were really getting on her nerves as not only they kept gossiping about the exotic looking foreigner, but their poor hearing meant that they were actually quite loud too.
"Oh my… women these days wear such audacious clothes! Look at her skirt! It barely hides her panties!"
"Her husband must be really worried! He looks so uncomfortable!"
Groaning, Urd rolled her eyes, as she glanced at Keiichi who was sitting right next to her and he too could hear the old coots go on and on about one thing or the other. However, the biggest problem was neither her stylistic choices nor the false assumption that he was married to her, but, their previous topic of discussion: how a seemingly short and unimpressive man like him managed to marry such an attractive lady. Or why he didn't take her to their destination by car, like any good salary man would, as it appeared to them that money was the only reason behind this unusual couple.
"Those hags are starting to get on my nerves!..."
"Please try to ignore them, Urd," whispered Keiichi, even though it was unnecessary to do so, given the most of the other passengers' poor hearing. "It's just nonsense anyway…"
"You got that right! If I knew this was going to be so annoying, we would've gone there on your bike!"
"But… what about Vali and Dagaz?" asked Keiichi, looking over his shoulder at the two gods who sat much further back in the bus.
"They can shrink down and fit in the sidecar with me, or even teleport straight to our destination."
"I see. Although, to be fair… you were the only one who looked forward for the bus trip," said Keiichi with some hesitation, worrying that he may had offended her.
"Hey, it's not my fault! I was expecting something a lot… better than this. And for the record, you and Dagaz didn't seem to mind it too much, either, mister," said Urd as she leaned a bit closer to Keiichi, making him blush. "After all, I did put something really nice on, didn't I?"
"W-Well…" Struggling not to stare at her, Keiichi had to admit that despite how simple her outfit appeared to be, the pearl white blouse with the matching skirt she had closen, really hugged her body in all the right places.
"You're blushing!" giggled Urd as she got even closer to him, making the dark haired mechanic even more self conscious about the stares they were getting from the other passengers.
"I can't help it! You're too close!" said Keiichi, staring at the goddess' lips in an effort to keep his eyes from wandering lower, at Urd's ample bosom almost brushed against his arm.
"And? Is there a problem with that, Keiichi?" Leaning even closer to him, the half goddess momentarily wondered if she should go for it and give him a kiss but the sudden flash from outside made her blink. "Huh? Did you see that?"
"See what?" asked Keiichi, trying to follow her gaze.
"For a moment I think I saw something zoom by the road in the distance!"
"Are you sure it wasn't a bird or something?"
"Yes. Unless birds use brooms… Or at least, something that looked like one." Scratching her head, the goddess couldn't but wonder if that was a mirage. 'Hm… perhaps I just imaged it? Although… I kind of recall hearing something like that from Dagaz, but… I kind of wasn't paying too much attention at the lesson. Maybe I should ask him later?'
Meanwhile, at the back of the bus, Dagaz was biting the sickness bag he was holding, looking over at Urd and Keiichi a few rows ahead of them.
"Will you stop that? Not only It's not edible, but you seem silly while doing that," said Vali from the seat next to him.
"But… I like to bite at something when I'm nervous and I just found this conveniently available bag!" said Dagaz as he kept munching at the aforementioned item. "Besides, it's not fair! Why am I sitting here with you?"
"Because we lost? Or have you forgotten the game of… what was it called again? Pocket?"
"Poker." Grumbling, the blonde god wasn't terribly pleased with the outcome of Urd's brilliant idea to decide who was going to sit next to her. All they had to do was play some kind of card game with Urd acting as the dealer, and they lost to Keiichi; pretty badly too. "I still find it suspicious that we lost like that!"
"Maybe. Although, there's not much we can do right now," said Vali with a groan. Ever since yesterday the blonde god kept nagging at how unfair that game was and even tried to challenge them again in a rematch.
"Why not? I've found a few nice alternatives to that… nonsensical game! Here, take a look at this!" said Dagaz, holding up a deck of cards.
"That's… a children's game, actually," said Vali raising an eyebrow while he inspected the depictions on the cards.
"So what? It has a strategy to it and I even pulled an all nighter to learn how to play, so that I can challenge you guys to a duel!"
"If you want a duel that badly, I can get you a trainee's battle axe and then we can have a real one," said Vali with an almost uncharacteristic smirk that caused Dagaz to swallow nervously.
"I'm a pacifist!" said the blonde god, before he desperately tried to change the subject, retrieving a leaflet he was carrying with him. "Actually there's a tourist's guide for the town we're visiting. Want to take a look?
"Sure, why not? It's not like I've got anything better to do right now."
"Finally! We're here, but… What the Hell is this?!"
Staring at the note outside the hot springs resort, Urd could hardly contain her anger as the much anticipated trip was getting from bad to worse. First they had to deal with the annoying passengers of the bus, and now… it seems that all that was for nothing.
'Due to maintenance, the resort is closed until further notice. We apologize for any inconvenience this may had caused you.'
"Who… who's in charge of this… dump!"
"Relax, Urd!" tried Keiichi, worrying that the goddess' anger would escalate to the point of demolishing the place with a spell, and this time it would be rather… problematic, given the number of eyewitnesses. "Maybe we should've called first and check whether…"
"That would've been pointless," said Vali, interrupting him as he also seemed a bit miffed by this development. "Our prize specifically required us to arrive here today and the more I think about it, the more I realize that it might'd been a scam. Since this looks like scheduled maintenance, it's unlikely that the organizers of that competition didn't knew about it; and even if they did, just contacting the resort should've provided them with that information. To me, this feels like an attempt to save money."
"You mean… because we can't charge them anything as long as it's closed?" asked Keiichi as he started to see what the blue haired god was getting at.
"Yes. The idea was that most of the basic expenses for this trip would've been covered by marketplace's officials, but… as long as the resort is closed... all they've actually paid are our bus tickets," explained Vali while Urd seethed in rage.
"What a bunch of… Then we came all the way here for nothing?"
"Well, technically speaking, there are a few more options," tried Dagaz in an effort to appease her. "If I recall correctly from this guide, there are a few more establishments that take advantage of the geothermal…"
Not bothering to listen to the rest of the god's explanation, Urd grabbed the leaflet from his hands and started to seek for an alternative. "This one! It's not far and the ratings are the best!"
"Whoa! Hold on a second, Urd!" said Keiichi as he took a look at the onsen she was talking about. "This is a really expensive one! How are we going to even pay for that? Only two of us have a job and even then…Well… you know."
"Um… you've got a point there," said Urd after a few moments of staying quiet while staring at the two gods that started to get slightly unnerved by her gaze. "We've got two underpaid employees and two freeloaders here."
Wincing at the half goddess' caustic words, the gods lowered their heads in shame, while trying to come up with some sort of solution on their own to prove themselves to her. And while Dagaz had a tough time to find an alternative, Vali came up with a decent idea, although he really hated asking for favors.
"Is this absolutely necessary? I mean, do you really want this?" asked the blue haired god, making everyone stare at him; especially given how deadly serious he sounded.
"Uh… yes?" said the unsure half goddess, worrying that she may had gone a bit too far and sounded like a spoiled brat asking her parents for a new toy.
"Wait here." Heading towards a payphone in the distance, the blue haired god left the three remaining members of his group wonder about this unexpected development; all sharing the same question.
"Um… what did just happen?"
"It is I."
"My apologies for calling you for such a petty reason, my lord but… I wish to ask for a favor," said the war god cadet, wondering if this was even a good idea. He may had been on a mission assigned to him by the Daitenkaicho himself but that still didn't mean that he was someone special enough to make such requests.
"Oh? And what that may be?" asked Tyr, despite he had actually been monitoring them ever since they departed on that trip and knew all too well what the problem was.
"I need the means to cover the expenses for a visit to a local hot springs resort. As such, I request the permission for currency acquisition."
"Hm… I see." Struggling not to laugh at how nervous the boy sounded all of a sudden, Tyr decided to do it, even though it wasn't something important. After all, it wasn't every day someone tried to help his daughter get what she wanted and besides… with Hild in the general vicinity, there was a realistic chance that she could try to offer her assistance; and probably cause a lot of commotion in the process. "Very well, but only on this occasion."
"T-thank you, my lord," said Vali, although he was somewhat shocked that his request was accepted so easily.
"Oh, and don't be too stingy. Try to get something nice for the others too; within reason of course."
"Of course, my lord!"
"And perhaps a second TV for the house too? Although an AC could be nice to have as well, and… Oh! While you're at it, get a dishwasher! Urd's going to absolutely love it!"
"Uh… my lord?" asked Vali as he stared at the receiver, not really expecting the whole list of requests, Tyr had come up with. "Is that truly within reason?..."
"Who do you think decides that?" shot the Daitenkaicho back at the baffled god who could only agree with his leader.
"Good point. Is there something else I should get while we're at it?"
"Hm… a microwave could always come in handy, and there are automated rice cookers, so get one too."
"What about a coffee maker?"
"Only if you get an espresso machine, too. I need something stronger to wake me up in the morning."
"Understood. Anything else, my lord?"
"No, I think that's sufficient for now," said Tyr before he cleared his throat. "And for the record, this whole conversation never took place. Am I understood?"
"Perfectly, my lord."
"Good. Then I consider this matter resolved. Now go ahead and get the resources you need, before the day is over. After all, you still have to visit those hot springs."
"Of course! Thank you, my lord!"
Hanging up the headset, Vali couldn't help but feel happy that not only he got them out of this pinch, but he also made their lives easier in the long run.
'But first things first… Let's tell them the good news.'
"Yes! Now we're talking about! This is how it's supposed to be!"
Entering the much more lavishly decorated building, the group had to pause and marvel at the sight of their surroundings. While most hot spring resorts tried to maintain some of the trademark elements of traditional Japanese architecture, this one was far more successful at doing a decent job at that, instead of a poor, halfhearted attempt. Indeed, it almost felt as if they had gone back in time, and even the workers here were dressed in old fashioned clothes from a few centuries ago.
"Greetings dear customers. Do you have a reservation?" asked a young woman in a stylish kimono as she offered the group a polite bow.
"Not really I'm afraid," replied Vali. "We were hoping that you aren't fully booked for today."
"Oh, that's perfectly fine, we certainly have enough free pools right now. Actually, for an extra fee you can rent one just for yourselves, eliminating the possibility of having to share one with other customers. Additionally I'll have to inform you that we also have tubs better suited for couples."
"The pool please!" said Dagaz with an almost pleading look on his face. "With my rotten luck I'm gonna get stuck with one of those dudes in there and that's just… not fair!"
"Very well, if you wish, I can show you the way," offered the employee, while the rest of them tried not to laugh at Dagaz's indirect admission that he wanted to bathe together with Urd, something that the half goddess found rather amusing and wondered what she could do about it.
However, as funny as Keiichi found the blonde's reaction, his smile turned into a frown as he suddenly realized that they were as a matter of fact going to use a single pool; with all the implications behind that. While he had been on public baths on numerous occasions before, this was the first time he was going to experience that with a woman present and more specifically; with Urd. Given how notorious she was when it came to teasing those around her, Keiichi worried that this whole situation was simply too spicy for her not to try and pull a prank on them.
Indeed, the moment he and the others stepped in the changing room of the pool, he couldn't help but wonder how they were going to deal with this whole situation. "Um… shouldn't we change into some towels before we get into the water?"
"I think that's the advised course of action given the fact that we've got Urd here," said Vali, before he was interrupted by the half goddess in question.
"Aw... come on! It's so much better without a damp cloth wrapped around our bodies!"
"I second that!" added an excited Dagaz, much to the two others' annoyance.
"Perverts…" muttered Vali, while Keiichi simply scratched his head nervously.
"I personally think that the towels would be the best option," said Keiichi in a desperate attempt to avoid any embarrassing incidents.
Staring at each other as the two opposing parties had reached a standstill, Urd decided to try her favorite method of solving such problems. "Hey, since it's a tie, how about we flip a coin or something?"
Sharing a look, both Keiichi and the blue haired god felt that they were probably stepping into a trap and as such, the cadet decided to make sure that if they the other two wouldn't try to cheat. "Alright, but only if Keiichi flips the coin and nobody used any magic to affect it."
"Deal! I pick heads!" said Urd with a cheerful grin, while the dark haired mortal reached for his wallet to get a coin.
Tossing it up, everyone gathered around him with a hopeful look on their faces. "And the result is… tails!"
"Aw…" lowering their heads in defeat, Urd and Dagaz walked towards the shelves where a few towels were stored for the customers to use, while Vali and Keiichi followed after them with a content smile on their faces; thinking that after this, those two were going to behave.
Little did they know how wrong they were going to be proven.
"Ah... it's so relaxing! Right, Bell-chan?"
Leaning against the brunette goddess, Hild's childlike avatar enjoyed the hot water of the tub they had requested in order to have a more private setting, as they both wished to keep a certain distance from Urd's group.
"Indeed. I must admit that this is even better than I had originally expected, even if we ended up in a different onsen."
"That couldn't be helped, although, I'm rather happy to see your father trying to relax a bit for once and allow Urd to have some fun. Perhaps he's starting to realize that there's more to life than rules and regulations..." said Hild with a giggle. "Although, I'm also impressed that it was Vali's idea to begin with. Considering his personality, I never thought he'd actually go for this kind of solution."
"Yes. It seems that, neesan is surrounded by good people."
"Hm… no comments about daddy, huh?" asked Hild with a wink, looking up at the goddess as she sat on her lap. "It seems that you're nowhere as naive as some try to make you look like."
Remaining quiet, Belldandy gazed towards the direction of the pool where Urd and the rest of her group currently was, frowning a bit. "Is it really alright to avoid her like this? I may know the reasons behind that decision, but still… It feels wrong to hide from my sister. Shouldn't we try to tell her more about her past? Or at the very least, meet her without revealing much about my relation to her?"
"In due time, Bell-chan don't rush things too much. But… yes, that could work as soon as she starts to remember a bit more," said HIld before she smiled and then added in a much more teasing voice. "Although… could it be that there are other reasons you're eager to go and meet her?"
"Um… like what?" asked Belldandy, tilting her head as she didn't quite get what the Daimakaicho was hinting at.
"I dunno… maybe introducing yourself to her housemates? They're not bad looking after all, and she probably won't date all of them, so… how about getting one for yourself too?"
"Eh?! I… I… wouldn't do that!"
"And that's because?"
"It feels like… I don't know… Stealing?" said Belldandy with some concern in her voice.
"You might be correct, depending on how you approach the whole subject. Although, you have met Lind's boy, so, why not trying to get to know him even better?" said Hild with a wink, making the brunette blush.
"Urd?! What do you think you're doing?!"
Blinking, both of them shared a look before they turned towards the direction of the half goddess' group.
"Hey, that sounded like Keiichi-kun. I wonder what kind of naughty things Urd-chan tried to do to him?" said Hild, while Belldandy's blush deepened.
"I really hope not. After all, starting a commotion in such a place could draw a lot more attention than needed," said the goddess of the present as she tried to calm herself down.
"Well, there's only one way to find out," said Hild with a huge grin. "Let's spy on them!"
"Eh?! B-But… that sounds wrong and…"
"No complains! It's no fun to just sit here without knowing what's going on. Especially if something spicy is happening right now!" said Hild, changing into her tiny, chibi form and then forced her companion to a similarly sized version, despite the latter's protests.
Letting out a sigh, Hild decided that arguing with her was pretty much pointless and as such, she more or less dragged the reluctant goddess along.
"Sheesh!... Stop being such a big baby! That's why I need to show you how to have fun…"
"But… Peeping on others isn't right!" insisted the brunette goddess, stubbornly refusing to let go of the tub's edge while Hild tried to make her let go.
"We're just making sure that Urd-chan is alright, so that's more than enough to justify such measure! She's got a tendency of being too aggressive at times and as a result she could end up doing something stupid. Now, stop fighting back and come with me! You don't want anything bad to happen, right?"
"O-Okay. I-I… I'll come along."
"Excellent! Now let go of the tub."
"What do you mean, Keiichi? I've done nothing wrong."
Standing by the pool's edge, Urd raised an eyebrow at the blushing mortal who along with the two gods had just finished scrubbing and entered the water.
"You're not wearing a towel around your…"
"Excuse me, but what do you call this?" said Urd, pointing at her waist. "I believe that's the same thing you're wearing as well, right?"
"Yes, although… me and the others are men, so we don't have to cover our chests, Urd!" said Keiichi, trying not to stare at her exposed top while an embarrassed Vali glared at Dagaz who was more or less drooling at the sight.
"Oh, really? That sounds so sexist in my opinion! Just because I'm a goddess doesn't mean that I'll have to wrap that huge towel around me. This should be more than enough, and yet you're still complaining," said Urd, tossing her hair over her shoulder, which actually made matters even worse, as it eliminated the last means of provided herself with some cover.
"But… We can see your… I mean… it's not the same with us and…" tried Keiichi in vain as the half goddess showed no signs of getting convinced by his attempts to reason with her.
"How about a small towel? Just enough to cover your chest?" suggested Vali in an effort to find an acceptable compromise.
"Well… I suppose I could live with that," said Urd, deciding that it was for the best to stop this debate before it turned into a heated argument and ruined everyone's mood. Looking over her shoulder she spotted the shelf where the towels were stored and was just about to head there to retrieve one until an idea struck her mind. As a goddess she felt like trying to give her powers a chance and hovering a towel towards her; a truly trivial thing for any adult celestial and after some training with Dagaz she wanted to show the rest of them the fruits of her labor. "Aright! Now come here!"
Snapping her fingers, Urd smiled when a towel started to fly towards her, and a quick glance at her housemates confirmed that they were somewhat impressed with her ability to control her powers so soon after her lessons had started. Keiichi in particular was gawking at what in reality was a trivial thing for any goddess, yet didn't prevent Urd from getting really excited to see his awestruck expression, as it made her accomplishment feel even more important than it actually was.
Unfortunately once her mind became preoccupied with other thoughts instead of what she was supposed to be doing, the half goddess' control over her powers started to slip and her sheer excitement caused a huge spike. As a result, all the towels in Urd's vicinity shot up in the air and flew towards her, covering every inch of her body as if she was some kind of magnet for them.
Despite her surprise, Urd couldn't help but giggle at how silly this whole scene was, leaving her covered from head to toe like a mummy. Taking off the towels that ended up on her head, the half goddess turned to the others and was about to make a joke until she realized that her spell had affected not only the towels stored on the shelf, but also the ones her three housemates were wearing. And given how surprised everyone was, that gave the goddess the perfect opportunity to get a very nice glimpse of their entire bodies, as the trio seemed to be frozen in place with a fierce blush on their faces; unlike Urd who was actually licking her lips.
"Well, well… Aren't you boys happy to see me or what?"
Letting a startled yelp, two of them lowered themselves into the pool to get some cover, while the last one simply fell face first into the water. The most interesting fact however was that the one who did that wasn't the shyest of them all, but the one who appeared to be quite the opposite.
"Why did he faint?" asked Vali, looking over to the unconscious Dagaz as he floated on the water.
"Maybe, it was over stimulation?" suggested Keiichi while he tried to calm down a bit, since his elevated heart rate made him feel light on the head. "Although… shouldn't we get him out of there? He could drown if he's left like that!"
"Keiichi, gods or any immortal for that part, cannot drown in water. We don't even need to breathe, although it's necessary if we want to talk. Unless… we use telepathy of course," explained Vali in a calm tone, unlike Keiichi who seemed to be somewhat concerned about their blonde friend.
"He's right about that, Keiichi. I may not remember much, but even I know that much by now," said Urd once she got rid of all the towels that had gotten stuck on her and approached the pool. However, as the bronze skinned goddess was about to enter the water, she noticed the incredulous look on their faces and this time even Vali was blushing; all while Keiichi was now about to faint too. "Hey, what's wrong, now?"
"I think that along those towels, you've also taken off yours too," said the blue haired god, as the dark haired mortal nodded in agreement.
"Huh?" Looking down, Urd found that the god was right and she was indeed standing there totally naked, but unlike the boys, the goddess decided that panicking about it didn't seem like her. Instead, she calmly got into the pool and lowered herself into the water, acting as if it wasn't that much of a big deal at all. "Well, at the very least… you can now say for certain that the drapes match the carpet. And besides, it's only fair that you got to see me, when I got the chance to do the same, so, relax a bit."
"That's actually easier said than done. I feel I'm about to have a nosebleed," said young mechanic after a long pause as he struggled to calm down enough for his brain to start working again.
"Keiichi, that only happens in manga and anime! In real life most of the blood goes in the totally opposite end of your body, instead of gathering on your head," laughed Urd, much to the mortal's chagrin. "And by the way… that almost sounded as if you really liked what you saw. Hm… maybe you're not as shy as I've originally thought after all. In that case, how about bathing like this from now on?"
"No! That's not really nece-..."
Before had the chance to finish, the sound of a splash from an adjacent pool caught his attention. "Hey, did you hear that?"
"Yes, although I wouldn't worry too much about it," said Urd with a shrug. "Some kids like to jump into the pools, even if we're not supposed to do that in a place like this."
"Hm… probably. Anyway… shouldn't we try to wake Dagaz up?" asked Keiichi, glancing over at the still unconscious god.
"I think you're right. We can't just let him stay like that forever," said Urd, as a smirk formed on her face. "So let me…"
"No!" said both Keiichi and Vali, moving to get to him before she got the chance to pull off whatever she had in mind. "We've got this!"
"Hey, I've got no wasabi this time!"
"That's what makes it even worse! We've got no idea what you're up to!" said Keiichi, standing between the goddess and the unconscious blonde while Vali tried to wake him up.
"Aw… you're no fun at all…" pouted the Norn of the past, before a wicked idea crossed her mind and stood up, causing most of her body to be above the water's level. "I just wanted to help, but if you insist I can still go and get a something for us to drink while we're here. Do you want anything, Keiichi?"
"N-No! I-I'm fine!" stammered the embarrassed mechanic, averting his gaze to avoid staring at her for too long; which of course allowed her to try and walk around him.
Unfortunately for Urd, while she was close to Keiichi, she accidentally stumbled on his foot and ended up falling right on top of him with a loud splash.
"Whoa! What the?!..."
Turning to them, Vali and Dagaz who just managed to get back to his senses, found that the half goddess had somehow managed to make Keiichi faint this time, as the sensation of having her ample bosom pressed against his face had proven to be too much for the poor guy.
"Don't just stand there like that! Get him out of the water before he drowns!" said Vali with a frustrated sigh.
"Bell-chan? Can you hear me?"
Fanning the unresponsive goddess she retrieved from the pool where she had fallen into when the whole situation turned a bit too spicy, Hild began to wonder if she could even manage to keep her around for the duration of this whole visit.
"I… I'm okay," said the dazed goddess of the present, as she struggled to sit up from the mat the little Daimakaicho had placed her on.
"Sorry about that. I haven't noticed that you've zoned out until you've actually fallen in the water," said Hild while she scratched her head.
"No, it's fine actually. I'm the one who overreacted, even though I should be old enough to… deal with that kind of situations," said Belldandy with a tiny blush on her face.
"Speaking of that…" said Hild with a grin, as she leaning closer to the brunette goddess. "Did you like the show?"
"Stop acting like a little kid, Bell-chan. There's nothing wrong to admit that you enjoyed what you saw," purred Hild much to the Norn's embarrassment. "I'm just curious as to who was more to your liking. So, come on, fess up already!"
"Whoa! Hold on a sec there!" said the stunned demoness who wasn't waiting that kind of response at all. "I've got no problem if you like girls, but… Urd-chan?"
"No! What I wanted to say was that, neesan wouldn't appreciate if I checked on them like that," said Belldandy with some hesitation.
"It's not like she can keep all of them. Then again… it wouldn't be unlike Urd-chan to try and do just that," said Hild as she scratched her chin in thought. "Anyway, that's not really important right now. Instead, I've got an idea you're going to like!"
"Um… does that involve nudity?"
"No, unless you want to show us what your mama gave you. We're in a hot springs after all, so don't be this shy dear! After all, you've got such a nice backside!"
Shaking her head vigorously Belldandy didn't trust herself to offer an answer to that, although she did try to look behind her out of sheer curiosity; much to Hild's amusement.
"It's not big, if that's what you're worried about; just… curvaceous. However, how about we try to focus a bit more on what we can do while we're here? Like I said I've got an idea that could allow us to meet Urd-chan without her realizing who we are," said Hild with a wink. "We can use a disguise and pretend to be here for the hot springs too. After all, there are other customers around, right?"
"I… I'd like that!" said Belldandy with an excited smile. "Although, is the disguise good enough to prevent them from seeing through it?"
"Have you forgotten who you're talking to?" countered Hild, tossing her hair over her shoulder. "I'm the Daimakaicho! Such a spell is pretty trivial for one of my position!"
"Then I'd love to do that!"
"I knew you'd like that idea. Now, let's get started!"
"Hey… are you absolutely sure that you've never played this game?"
Visiting a hot springs resort wasn't just about taking a soak in the pools filled with hot mineral water. Instead, that also included a lot more activities which were often considered as part of the whole experience and for Urd, making the best of their time here was a matter of utmost importance. There was no guarantee as to when they could afford to come here again and as such, she wanted to try everything that was available for her entertainment; from tabletop tennis and arcade games to singing karaoke.
However the inconsiderate blue haired god on the other end of the table was currently ruining everything for her; especially with that winning streak of his.
"I'm fairly positive that I've never done anything like this before," said Vali after a few moments of hesitation, given the glare he was receiving from the half goddess.
"Give me a break! You're telling me that a total amateur is making me look so bad?" asked the irate goddess. "I haven't scored a single point yet!"
"Amateur or not, thanks to my combat training, I've got much better reflexes and eye to hand coordination. Which is rather essential skill for a game like this," explained Vali, despite the sparks of static discharging around Urd's body.
Sensing an imminent disaster if things didn't change, Keiichi decided to step in and interrupt their conversation before Urd reached her limit. "Actually, we've been here for a while, so why don't we go drink some tea and then try something else? Like… um… karaoke for example!"
Despite that it was more than obvious that the dark haired mechanic was trying to diffuse the situation, Urd decided that it was about time she admitted defeat. Wasting too much time in the ping pong room was far from ideal and while they had booked a room for the night, it was already afternoon; leaving them with a few hours until they'd have to call it a day. "Fine! Although to be honest with you, I'd rather have some sake, instead of tea."
"Oh, that's not a problem, Urd. We still have that sake we've bought from Nekomi."
"Actually, since Mr. Ping Pong Champion is paying, we can save our sake and try what they serve here," said Urd with a big grin, while Vali let out a sigh.
'Like mother, like daughter… I should've let her win at least once…' Shaking his head, the blue haired god glanced over at Dagaz who had been surprisingly quiet for a while, and realized that the blonde was looking at two voluptuous redheads in the far corner of the room. 'Why am I not surprised?'
It was actually rare to see women that had proportions comparable to Urd's and even similar style of clothes that displayed their curves. Although the taller one of them seemed to be rather uncomfortable as she tried to tug her mini skirt lower, in a desperate attempt to cover a bit more skin; despite her companion's indifference.
"Hi there!" said the shorter of the two women, as she approached the group, attracting Urd and Keiichi's attention, since neither of them had noticed them.
"Huh? Oh, hello," said the half goddess as she turned to see the two redheads walk towards them. Dressed in almost identical outfits that consisted of a red mini skirt and black sleeveless top with a low neckline, they were a sight that made Urd feel rather peeved; even if she wasn't sure as to why.
"Pleased to meet you! I'm Hilda, and the one who's trying to pull her skirt down is me sister, Bella. Don't mind her by the way, she's a bit too awkward when talking to strangers and on top of that, I may have picked something a bit too bold for us to wear," said the disguised demoness as she came to a stop before her daughter, while searching for any signs of suspicion. After all, the disguise spell she had put on herself and Belldandy not only altered their appearances, but also concealed their energy signatures as well as their facial markings in order to make everyone think that they were mere humans. Still, it never hurt to make sure that the half goddess didn't see through the spell and Urd's lack of any sign of recognition reassured her that this plan was working.
As a matter of fact, everyone saw Hild's avatar as a young woman in her early twenties that was slightly shorter than Belldandy and while the latter remained mostly unchanged, she now possessed a chest that was almost the same size as Urd's. Also, both of them had red, curly hair that reached all the way to their hips, although the Norn of the present still had them in a ponytail, while Hild simply left them flow freely.
"Hm… I don't see why your sister should be this shy. She's definitely a looker," said Urd after studying the disguised Belldandy for a few seconds. She did seem to be rather uncomfortable in those clothes, and in a way that made the half goddess feel a little bit more at ease around her, given that she didn't seem to be here to hit on her housemates. After all, it was easy to assume that those two were probably looking for some dates and at the very least she wasn't a likely threat; leaving only one to worry about. "Oh, where are my manners? I'm Urd and these are my friends: the dark haired one is Keiichi, the one next to him is Dagaz, and… Mr. ping pong champion is Vali."
'She really doesn't know how to lose…' thought the war god cadet, shaking his head. Still, there was something strange about those two, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't quite tell what it was. So, for the time being he decided to keep a close eye on them for any kind of suspicious moves they might make.
Unlike him, the two other guys of their group appeared to be much friendlier to the newcomers; especially Dagaz who tried to make a good impression to them. "Hello girls! It's nice to see some friendly faces around here!"
"The pleasure is all ours," said Hild, as she glanced towards Belldandy who had remained silent during the whole exchange. "Right, Bella?"
"Um… yes, we're happy to meet you all." Looking from the blonde god to Urd, Belldandy was worried that having a conversation with them would be really problematic. As a first class goddess, she was prohibited from telling a lie and as a result, any questions about her background would be impossible to answer without revealing the truth. Because of that, they decided to leave Hild do most of the talking while she played the role of the shy sister, although her clothes did make her act the part much more naturally.
"Likewise. Actually, we were planning to go and get a drink, so if you want you can come with us, too," said Urd with a smile as she saw Dagaz's excited expression. It was no secret that the blonde god really appreciated the fairer of the two sexes, even though his courtship skills left much to be desired.
"Sounds like fun to me," said Hild, giving her daughter a wink. "Lead the way, darling!"
Smiling contently, the bronze skinned goddess could almost feel the revitalizing effect of the high quality sake as she sipped from her glass. According to the explanation she had gotten from her two celestial housemates all immortals had an innate power source, rendering them truly self sufficient in every sense of the word, although there were situations where that could also be quite problematic. The extreme energies released by those ten dimensional beings could literally rip the very fabric of reality in the three dimensional mortal realm and as a compromise while they resided there, it was mandatory to rely on a local power supply which was provided to them by Yggdrasil.
Acting like a power converter, it transformed their native power to something that could be used safely in a lower realm and while that solved the majority of problems, a rather unfortunate side effect was that as long as they remained stationed on the mortal realm, they became dependent on the celestial mainframe for nourishment.
In order to have a backup in the event Yggdrasil went offline for a while, all of them had an alternative power source that could be used both in emergencies or as an auxiliary power supply, even if there was nothing wrong with the celestial mainframe. What that alternative power source was depended on each individual god or goddess and could vary greatly from edible things to various kinds of activities.
For Urd, that turned out to be alcoholic beverages, which explained why she enjoyed having some booze on an almost daily basis, while Vali meditated to recharge himself and Dagaz apparently enjoyed eating peanuts; earning the nickname squirrel from Urd. Knowing that made her life a lot easier, as it reassured the amnesiac goddess that her taste for alcohol wasn't some kind of addiction but a natural need and at the same time, it also allowed her to realize that quality was far better than quantity.
Cheap alcohol was easily accessible yet it provided little amount of energy for Urd, and as a result the half goddess new knew that finding higher quality booze wasn't an unnecessary excess but a more efficient way of recharging herself. The only real downside was the additional cost of buying some premium brands of local sake that proved to be a bit too expensive for her rather unimpressive salary.
With that in mind as well as the fact that, Vali was covering the expenses of this trip, Urd felt less reserved to drink to her heart's content and went all out; making some of the onsen's employees wonder just how she could have this much sake and not get totally wasted in the process.
What started with a few glasses ended up becoming a competition of sorts as to who could drink the most and much to her amazement, the two women she met earlier had managed to keep up with her; despite the fact that they were supposed to be mere humans. It was far from unusual for Keiichi to call it quits after his second glass, as the young man was unaccustomed to alcohol, but after her other immortal housemates gave up, Urd was rather hesitant to do the same and allow herself to look like a lightweight compared to those two.
"Ah, that's really delicious too!"
Frowning, Urd glanced over at Belldandy who sat next to her at the room's traditional low table and then looked at the dozen or so bottles of sake they had ordered so far; most of them already empty. Opposite of them was Hild who apparently was rather amused by the sight of her daughter struggling to keep up with two 'humans', since she was blissfully unaware of their true nature and apparently was starting to feel the effect of her power buildup that eerily resembled someone having a light buzz.
Normally, Urd would've simply used most of the energy she got from her booze and then keep drinking for as long as she wanted. Yet with the two 'mortals' next to her, she had little choice but to endure, hoping that at some point they'd finally give up; although with every passing second Urd was getting closer to her limit. "Yeah… that's really nice, right… uh… Belld-... Bella?..."
Taking a sharp breath, the Norn of the present wondered if her sister had somehow managed to remember something or even see through her disguise; although in the end she rationalized that it was most likely a mere slur caused by the sake. Still, that didn't make things way better as a drunken goddess could be dangerous and on top of that, given her lack of memories, Urd had little control over her powers even under normal conditions; let alone in her current state of mind. "I'll have to agree, but how about we try something else for now?"
"Like what? Vodka? Tequila? Or do you want something else?" asked the inebriated half goddess.
"Actually, I thought that we had enough drinks and… a game could be a much more entertaining way to pass time," said Belldandy in a desperate attempt to stop her sister from drinking any more booze and end up losing all control of herself.
"Oh! I like the sound of that!" said the grinning half goddess, much to Belldandy's relief. Alought that proved to be too early for the temporary redhead to relax when Urd decided to voice just what she had in mind for the group. "Let's play strip poker!"
"Oh! I love the sound of that!" Much like her daughter, Hild was more than delighted to try anything that was interesting and given that everyone was gathered in the same place like this, the potential for something good to come out of this was hard to ignore.
"Great!" said Urd before she turned to her three housemates. "Hey, boys! Come and play some strip poker with us!"
Looking up from their own card game, the trio glanced at each other and seemed rather hesitant to offer a definitive answer.
"But… we're already playing a game!" said Dagaz, causing Urd to get up and approach them in order to get a closer look at what they were doing.
"That's… a children's game, actually," said the half goddess with a frown, shaking her head. "Real men should play an adults' game!"
"But!... For once, I'm actually winning!" said Dagaz in a desperate attempt to convince her.
"Oh well… I can't really force you. What a pity, we're definitely have more fun over there…" said Urd with a low purr. "And if you end up in a winning a round… you'll get to see boobies, too!"
There was a long pause as the blonde god went completely silent while his other two housemates groaned at the goddess' painfully obvious attempt to bait him into joining her. Although, in the end they didn't have to wait for too long before the blonde god finally caved in and decided to go for it.
"Uh… I think you've both got the basics, so… um… you can have a duel all by yourselves, right?"
"Sure, have fun," was Keiichi's dry repy, while Vali shook his head. Despite her claims, Urd wasn't known for someone who liked to lose that easily and the whole setup was most certainly a trap to get a convenient victim as an additional assurance that she wasn't going to end up buck naked.
"Thanks guys! Wish me luck!"
Trying not to laugh, both of them gave him a thumbs up. Luck was the only thing that could save the poor god at this point, and without further ado, Keiichi and Vali decided to start their own… duel.
"Hey, move it! I want to see too!"
A group of about half a dozen Valkyries were gathered around Chrono's station where the young recruit was monitoring the situation over at Midgard. Tasked by her commanding officer to keep an eye out for anything potentially troublesome while she was taking a break, the blonde Valkyrie couldn't resist the urge to check on what was the most spicy topic in the whole Valhalla: Urd and her three housemates.
As a matter of fact, it had turned into such a hot topic, that there was even a betting pool as to which one of the three was going to end up becoming the half goddess' boyfriend. And right now, they had the perfect opportunity to watch what was going on over there.
"Hey, don't push! The screen is big enough for all of us!"
Despite Chrono's best efforts, it was hard to maintain order when dealing with excited Valkyries and the latest footage they've got didn't make matters any better either. Especially those clips from the pool where everyone ended up buck naked at some point of time.
"What's going on here?"
All of a sudden, everyone went silent and turned to find Lind approaching them with curiosity evident on her face. She wasn't expected to return for at least another hour, and as a result she caught her subordinates by surprise when she showed up this early, especially Chrono who was supposed to be the only one on this station.
"Um… I… Well… y-you see…"
Panicking as she was caught red handed, the blonde Valkyrie almost froze right on the spot, all while the others took a few steps away from her and the approaching captain. And as a result of her inability to react, Chrono had unwillingly allowed Lind to get a good look of what they were previously watching once she got close enough to the terminal, making the senior Valkyrie pause and raise an eyebrow in complete silence.
For several tense seconds, Lind kept watching at the recorded footage of her son and his two housemates stare Urd while they were in the bath; yet what was note mentioning was the fact that everyone was totally naked. While it was nothing unusual for her to bathe together with her fellow warriors in the communal baths they had in the dormitories, the idea of doing the same in a mixed gender setup was one step too far for the blue haired goddess. Worse, from her personal experience as a member of the Fighting Wings, Lind knew that settings like this were often a prelude of acts most… immoral, and that time was of the essence before her poor boy was corrupted by getting involved in such debauchery.
"Carry on," said the Valkyrie captain, shocking her subordinates as she turned around and was about to leave them as if nothing was out of the ordinary. However, they were soon to discover that it wasn't indifference that motivated their captain to do such a thing; far from it. "If anyone inquires as to my whereabouts, tell them I went to Midgard."
"No, wait captain! We've got explicit orders to stay out of this!" Shooting up from her chair, Chrono grabbed the blue haired Valkyrie in an effort to stop her from doing something that she might later come to regret.
Of course, it took a lot more to stop the determined war goddess and concerned mother from leaving the room; and to be precise, that meant the rest of the Valkyries who were present on the scene. Such was the strength of Asgard's most famous war goddess that it took nearly half a dozen of her subordinates to bring her to a halt and even then it required a lot of effort on their part.
"Let go of me this instant!"
"Please, calm down! You'll get yourself in serious trouble if you defy Tyr-sama's orders!" pleaded Chrono, hoping to reason with her.
"That would be my problem, not yours. Now unhand me before I'm forced to use force to…"
"Excuse me, but… what's going on here?"
Pausing and turning towards the exit, the Valkyries noticed Ansuz standing by the doorframe with a curious expression on her face. After all, it was a most peculiar sight and anyone would've been intrigued by what was happening; especially considering the reputation of the highest ranking goddess that was involved in this.
"I'm needed on Midgard," was all that Lind had to offer as a reply.
"Your subordinates seem to disagree, though," said Ansuz as she approached the war goddesses. "So, there's got to be more to it than that."
"Yes… it appears that morality is all but a word with no meaning these days."
"Oh, my! Details please!" said Ansuz, leaning closer to the grumbling Valkyrie who simply nodded in the direction of Chrono's terminal. "Thanks! Now, let's see what's going on there!"
Glancing at their apparently excited second in command, judging by her flapping winglets, the assorted Valkyries couldn't help but notice how poise and manners could be thrown out of the window when gossip was concerned.
"Hm? What is it, Lind?"
"It may not be my place to say this, but… as a married goddess you shouldn't be looking at naked men in such a fashion."
Letting a sigh, the teal haired goddess glanced over her shoulder at the indignant Valkyrie, all while she saved a copy of the footage in her personal account for… further study, of course. "It's exactly because I'm a wife that my personal experience could give us a better insight in a situation like this. Besides, that accusation is a bit inaccurate, since I'm also a mother and as such, I've got two daughters to marry. Given that I find it unlikely for Urd-chan to get all three of them, that would leave the other two as available choices for my girls; Belldandy in particular since Skuld needs some quite some time before she's old enough."
"B-But!... That means!..."
"That means that the chances of your son ending up as my son-in-law are now significantly higher," finished Ansuz for the trembling Valkyrie. "Actually, I think I need to talk to that stubborn daughter of mine and convince her to try and date one of them after Urd-chan picks whoever she likes!"
'Over my cold, dead body… Although… Belldandy wouldn't be that much of a bad option… No!... They won't fool me that easily! Vali's not ready for such a big step… yet. I need to talk to him, before they manage to seduce him.'
It was already past midnight when Urd and her group decided to retire for the night, or rather… her housemates did their best to convince her that she had enough fun for one day. A task most difficult once Urd realized that she was almost impossible to beat in video games and thought some payback was in order; especially after losing to Vali at ping pong and Bella to… pretty much anything that involved luck.
The disguised goddess in question along with her demonic accomplice had also excused themselves several minutes ago, but not before Hild offered Urd a tiny piece of paper with her phone number written on it. And while the half goddess didn't pay too much attention at first, dismissing it as a stereotypical promise people made to keep in contact only to be quickly forgotten; when she actually read the paper Urd couldn't help but feel that the number written on it was oddly familiar. Even more, those two acted in a way that made the bronze skinned goddess feel as if she actually knew them, even though she was fairly certain that she had never met them previously.
As a result, Urd remained awake for a while after everyone else had fallen asleep staring at the little note in her hands, despite that it was almost pitch black with only the tiniest amount of moonlight coming from outside the window.
'Where have I seen this before? I could've sworn that not only I know this but… I've even dialed it. Or is it just my imagination? It's so hard to tell…'
Letting a sigh, Urd pocketed the note and looked over at the guys who were crammed together in one half of the room with the other being reserved for her. Not that it really mattered since there was virtually no divider or any other kind of barrier to provide any privacy. Yet considering what took place a few hours ago, Urd wasn't terribly concerned about letting them get a glimpse of her nightie or even worry that they'd overreact in any sort of way; Keiichi in particular.
'Poor guy… I think he had a rough day with all that happened in the pool. Not that he didn't enjoy it, with me falling on top of him and all that.'
Grinning at the memory of the struggling mechanic before overstimulation caused him to lose consciousness, Urd had to admit that for an accident it was definitely a pretty funny one. Still, considering that it was unlikely for Keiichi to believe that she hadn't done it on purpose, the half goddess wanted to find a way to make up for it and one of the best ideas she had was going to be a real challenge for her: cooking.
As mundane as it sounded, preparing a meal for Keiichi could make him a lot happier than trying to come up with a much more elaborate plan, although the obvious downside was that she had no idea how to pull it through successfully.
'Hm… I'll have to buy a few books and maybe ask Dagaz for some tips, too. Although, I probably need to let him some time to forget about the whole strip poker game. Wearing three garter belts on top of each other might've been a bit of an overkill on my part. Oh well, I think he's going to forget about it in no time, and help me with my little project. He may not be Belldandy but he does know about…'
All of a sudden Urd's thoughts came to a screeching halt and backtracked to the point where that particular name came up. She had no idea how she even recalled it but for a moment, the Norn of the past had no doubt that it was a major breakthrough, a belief that was further affirmed when images of a brunette popped in her mind and even more, a young goddess was also present in many of them.
Shooting up from her bed, Urd nearly jumped over to the startled god who along with the others looked around to see what was going on. as soon as they woke up.
"What… who... when?" wondered the blue haired god as he summoned his battleaxe for a good measure, just in case he happened to need it.
"Never mind that! You've read my profile, right?" asked Urd while hovering right in front of his face.
"Um… yes?" replied the hesitant god, swallowing as he backed off a bit.
"Hild… are you awake?"
Turning to the goddess who was lying on the futon next to hers, the miniature Daimakaicho summoned a tiny ball of dim light that was barely enough to illuminate the room. "Yes. After all, as they say... there's no rest for the wicked. So, what is it Bell-chan?"
"I just wanted to thank you for today. I got to meet neesan even under a disguise and it felt better than just watching her from afar," said Belldandy with a tiny smile as she recalled the latest events.
"You're welcome, Bell-chan. I was planning to show up anyway and taking you along only made things even better. Except when it came to playing poker with you…" said Hild, pausing for a moment to offer the goddess a mock glare. "If I didn't know better, I'd say that you cheated."
"I…. It was just luck… I've never played that game in the past."
"If you're trying to make me feel better, you're not doing a great job, Bell-chan." said Hild with a pout, before her expression changed to a wicked grin. "Yet, I'm the one who's going to have the final word in this. You may have beaten our… panties off, but look what I've got here!"
Staring in shock and disbelief, Belldandy realized that the item dangling from Hild's hand appeared to be her pantes, and a quick check under her nightie verified her suspicion. "How did you?!"
"I've got my ways…Although I must admit that I'm genuinely impressed Bell-chan. A side tie design? Not bad; not bad at all!" said Hild tossing the pilfered undergarment back to its rightful and rather embarrassed owner. "But I think that this should be enough fooling around. I wanted to ask your opinion about those three boys."
Trying to recover, the still blushing goddess scratched her chin as she tilted her head in thought. "Hm… they seem to be nice people if you ask me. Actually, I've met Vali before on a few occasions while he was still spying… I mean… monitoring neesan and the other two also appear to care for her. Although, poor Dagaz seems to have a rather bad luck whenever he tries to attract her attention and ends up in all kinds of embarrassing situations."
"That's the kindest way of calling someone a pervert I've ever heard," said Hild with an amused giggle.
"I don't think that he's so crude to only care about neesan's… assets, if that's you mean. A more proper way of describing him would be..." said Belldandy, pausing for a moment to consider her words. "I'd think that chivalrous pervert would be a more accurate description."
"Hm... I see no reason to disagree with you on that. However, what about our mortal boy? He's the one who met Urd-chan first and got to live with her. So, what do you think about him?"
"Quite honestly… I believe he's got the best chances to end up in a relationship with Urd, although… when it comes to neesan it's always a bit hard to predict how she's going to act."
"True words, although, what of the man himself?"
"I have no idea, to be honest with you. He seems to be a genuinely good person, but…the real question is whether he can handle Urd, since she can be tricky at times. On the other hand though, he doesn't seem to be one who gives up easily and that's a great trait for anyone aspiring to become her boyfriend. Even more, after learning about her true nature, he made no attempts to distance from herself or worse… exploit her for his personal gain," said Belldandy with a frown. "It's unfortunate but on more than enough occasions, mortals try to make a profit by approaching us."
"Well, for us demons that's business as usual, although I'd rather not have an individual like that try to date my girl. She's got enough morons for boyfriends already!"
"Alas that's true," said Belldandy with a sigh. "I just hope that whatever happens, Urd's not going to lose this opportunity to have someone special instead of a jackass like… Uh… what's so funny?" said Belldandy when she noticed the little Daimakaicho roll in her futon in laughter.
"J-Jackass?... I never thought that you'd say something like that!"
"Well, it's not that I can lie, although… I may had been a bit too harsh. Not that I truly regret it, though. Neesan deserved a lot more than being dumped time after time, and in some cases for petty reasons."
"It would seem that things are different this time, though," said Hild with a smile. "Say… can I ask you something?"
"Um…. what is it?"
"Did you actually had a great time today?"
Pausing for a moment to think about it, the brunette goddess eventually smiled and offered a nod. "Yes, I must admit that I did enjoy it quite a bit!"
"Good, because we might do this again in the future, although without our disguises," said Hild, offering her a wink. "If my little insect spy is right… Urd-chan apparently remembered you."
AN: I would like to thank everyone that has offered their feedback and support both here and on the Goddess Relief site.
I would also like to thank ObeliskX for the initial suggestion for a reverse harem setting that led to this story.
There are a few things that I'd like to note for this chapter.
In the series it was never hinted whether celestials required any permission to summon money, although, Belldandy had mentioned that she couldn't make money appear out of thin air (not an exact quotation though). I personally believe that it's possible, but only under some restrictions and that caused the whole scene with Tyr and Vali.
The biggest thing that happened in this chapter was probably the fact that Urd started to remember more about her past and more specifically, Belldandy's name. And while I've left it as a cliffhanger for now, I must point out that I'm not going to start adding more characters in the temple as residents. There are more than enough living there and there's no need for more. Still, meeting her sisters will be an important part of the story and something that I do plan on covering in the next chapters.