1Foreword: Ah! Megami Sama does not belong to me.
"Blessings" was just an idea I had one day, and after it got some good responses, I decided to do another, and now another to the point where this might end up being a serial. I can't say for sure how far it'll go, but as long as it's fun and ideas are plentiful, I'll keep going.
Special thanks go to author WillZ for all his help not only with this story, but a good many of the others. Thanks, bro.
Finally, this one has a few more adult themes than the other two, hence the higher rating.
Urd adjusted her glasses and pulled a small cardboard box from under her white lab coat, placing it unceremoniously onto the table between them. Keiichi, a very skeptical look on his face, didn't move.
"From now on, these are your best friends," Urd told him.
Keiichi took the box and rolled his eyes. "Condoms, Urd?"
"Look, I'm trying to help you here," Urd said defensively. "You don't know the first thing about the mysteries surrounding a..." She leaned back and posed a bit. "... heavenly body."
He arched an eyebrow.
She sat up again. "Okay, look," she said. "In the divine world, Belldandy is three basic things." She began to count on her fingers. "She's the divine representation of the present, she's a guardian of the World Tree, and finally..." She smiled evilly. "She's a goddess of fertility."
Keiichi's eyes went wide.
"So unless you want quintuplets every nine months, I'd invest in Trojan."
The boy took the box. "Owe you one."
For the first time that day, Keiichi felt there might be something to Urd's offer to teach Keiichi about the basics of being intimate with goddesses. At first, he blew it off as another case of Urd's teasing and meddling. Then she brought up a couple of really good questions he had never thought about before and found just a touch disturbing...
"Oh?" she had asked when he said he didn't need help. "So when she loses herself in passion and her wings make an appearance, you know how to hold them so they don't snap in your boorish male hands? Oh, and something else you might want to consider, if she's really into it, you might see her angel appear, and for someone not expecting it, it can be a little awkward..."
So he had relented. Belldandy had to return to Heaven briefly. For what, she wouldn't say, but it did give him and Urd the opportunity to discuss it as mature adults.
"Now, for this next part we're going to have to get physical," Urd said.
"Oh no! No way!" Keiichi said, putting his hands up. "I told you, no 'samples,' no touching!"
"Oh, relax, Keiichi!" Urd chastised him. "Do you really think I could do that to my sister now that she's engaged? That's just plain wrong!"
Keiichi breathed a sigh of relief.
"That's why I asked Peorth to help."
"HI! HI!" Peorth cried as she poked her head into the room. Keiichi watched wide-eyed as the goddess, dressed in a white fuzzy bathrobe, entered the room.
"Would you relax, Keiichi?" Urd demanded. "She's not going to bite!"
At this Peorth scrunched up her face and reached down over Urd's shoulder, flipping a couple of pages in a book marked "lesson plan." She found the right page and pointed.
"Oh... My mistake..." Urd said.
"I am NOT going to... to..." He looked at Peorth. "No offense, Peorth san..."
The goddess waved the apology aside. "Oh, none taken! Don't think of me like that. Think of me as an 'interactive visual aid.'" She sat down next to Keiichi, her hands folded in her lap.
"I don't need lessons in how to be intimate with Belldandy!" Keiichi argued.
Urd narrowed her eyes. "Yes you do. And so does she."
Peorth smiled at him. "What do you think Belldandy is doing in Heaven today?"
Urd nodded. "Goddesses are required to attend a sex education course when they declare they intend to have a relationship with a mortal," she told him. "Otherwise, they might lose themselves in the passion of the act and cause the man's heart to cave in on itself and then explode."
"Don't worry," Urd told him slyly. "She's learning from the best teachers in Heaven."
Keiichi frowned and folded his arms over his chest angrily.
"Oh, he's so angry!" Peorth cried. "Isn't that cute?"
"Watch this," Urd told her. "Keiichi, you can stop being jealous. All her teachers are goddesses."
The angry expression slacked off into a zoned out one, with Keiichi looking off with a distant but happy look.
Peorth waved her hand in front of his face. "Is he conscious?"
"Somewhere in there, I'm sure." She snapped her fingers, and Keiichi shook himself out of it. "Now, if we're done being childish..." She gestured to Peorth, who turned her back to Keiichi and lowered her robe halfway down her back.
"Do you see the part of the spine between the shoulder blades?" Urd asked.
"You mean here?" Keiichi asked, touching the point on Peorth's back. To his surprise, the goddess suddenly stiffened and sighed, turning her head and throwing Keiichi an appreciative look.
"Yes, that's an erogenous zone for us," Urd told him.
The boy squeaked and jumped three feet away from Peorth.
Urd nodded. "It's sensitive because our wings protrude just inward of the shoulder blades there. Now then..."
Before she could finish, the phone started to ring.
"I'll get it," Urd declared, rising to her feet.
As she walked toward the phone, she could hear Peorth pestering Keiichi behind her.
"Come on!" she was saying. "Are you REALLY sure you know where it is now? Try again!"
"No, absolutely not! Let go of me!"
She shook her head and picked up the receiver. "Moshi moshi!"
"Urd, I need to speak with you. Now."
The phone went dead a moment later. Urd gulped. While Keiichi and Belldandy had a pretty good relationship with the Almighty, Urd and her father tended to have issues too numerous to count.
Her hand paused over the phone, finally replacing the receiver with a click. "Keiichi, Peorth, I have to go for a bit."
She turned and found Peorth had pinned the horrified young man to the floor. She looked up at the other goddess and frowned. "Is anything wrong?" Peorth asked casually.
Urd gave no reaction to seeing her future brother in law on his back. "I don't know yet. I'll be back as soon as I can." She frowned a bit for the first time. "Don't break his brain, okay? He's Belldandy's now, you know."
"Hai, hai," Peorth said lazily as the boy struggled beneath her. "I'm just teasing."
"Please get off of me," Keiichi begged, tears streaming from his eyes.
Peorth frowned down at him. "You're going to have to learn to deal with it! When Belldandy enters Peak, she's not exactly going to give you a choice in the matter..."
Urd sighed and turned, throwing her hands up in frustration as she walked to the TV. Turning the knob a few times, she found the channel she wanted and climbed through the screen. A few moments later she was greeted with the sights and sounds of Heaven.
She found herself outside in one of the main courtyards, but she knew Terminal Dogma was only a short walk from here. Turning left, she strolled toward the building where her father controlled the universe, not in any particular hurry. Whatever The Almighty wanted, she knew it wouldn't be good for her.
The goddess even went so far as to consider stopping by the building where Belldandy was taking her class, but decided against it. She had enough to deal with without having to deal with Urd just because she didn't want to talk to Daddy.
In all it only took ten minutes to get to Terminal Dogma. Taking the lift to the top floor, Urd stepped out and found the white-robed Marella sitting at her desk, going over files. She didn't even have to look up, instead tapping an intercom.
"My Lord, Urd is here."
"Send her in, please."
Marella finally looked up at her and smiled. "Please go right in."
Urd entered her father's office to find the creator of all things standing at the window, his hands in the pocket of his white jacket. He was looking out at the city, only turning when she stopped three feet behind him.
"Urd, how are you?" he asked nonchalantly. He stepped forward and hugged her stiffly, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek before stepping back again.
"I'm well, My Lord," she answered equally stiff.
He seemed to mentally chew on her tone for a moment before getting down to business. "Does the name, 'Corus,' ring a bell with you?"
Urd stiffened and started to sweat just a bit. "Sounds familiar," she said meekly.
"I'm sure it does," The Almighty told her with a slight smile. "You and Verthandi fought and sealed him about two hundred years ago in a place called Kala Gush."
Nervously biting her lip, Urd nodded. "Mm hmm," she said.
"From what I understand, you did something rather unorthodox during that confrontation." His voice was curious with a touch of amusement. "Do you remember what that was?"
Urd shook her head quickly.
The Almighty smiled and picked up a file off his desk. "It says here you hit him with a dart containing one of your love potions just before Verthandi sealed him. Why would you do that?"
"Because it was funny?" Urd answered with a nervous smile.
"Okay, look, we were losing, all right?" Urd said quickly, taking the offensive. "We needed a distraction, and I happened to have one of my new special darts with me, so I hit him with it."
The Almighty folded his arms over his chest. "And then he opened his eyes and..."
Urd winced. "Looked right at Belldandy," she finished sheepishly, tapping her index fingers together. "But it didn't matter, because Belldandy sealed him three seconds later! And it caused him to hesitate which is what I was going for in the first place!"
His lone blue eye looked at her for several moments before he said, "Corus broke his seal and escaped to Earth six days ago."
Urd's eyes went wide. "What?"
"Oh, it gets better," he told her, taking a seat behind his desk. "Ask me how I found out."
"How did you find out?" she asked nervously.
"He popped up on a System Force reaction," he told her. "And any System Force reaction involving a goddess level wish goes right to my inbox, and the only goddess level wish in force right now is..."
"Belldandy's engagement," Urd finished in a haunted whisper.
He nodded. "Precisely."
"We have to warn her," Urd said.
"She's safe for now, and Keiichi is with Peorth," God told her. "I'll text message her and tell her to stay close. Keiichi should love that," he said with a wry grin. "In the meantime, you are going to find Corus and reseal him."
"You are," he said, jotting something down on a post-it. "I'm going to temporarily up your license to a first-class unlimited. Marella will issue you a limiter."
"Why me, My Lord?" she asked, confused.
"Because as part of the original problem, you get first crack at making things right," he told her.
"What about Belldandy?" she asked.
He sat back in his chair and frowned. "Making a big deal out of the situation would force her to act differently than she normally would, perhaps even putting their wedding behind schedule and causing the very System Force reaction we're hoping to avoid. I'm serious about this, Urd, I want this handled quietly."
"Yes, My Lord."
He nodded. "Good."
"Are you sure? You don't want me to come with you?"
Urd shook her head, even knowing Peorth couldn't see the gesture over the phone. "No, I want you to stay with Keiichi in case Corus goes after him. If he wants Belldandy, he's probably already in Nekomi. I have Central Dogma working on it, I hope to have something soon."
"Okay, no problem!"
Urd heard something in the background and frowned into the receiver. "Is... Is that Keiichi crying?"
"Huh? Oh! That!" Peorth replied. "I went ahead and taught him a few things while you were gone!"
Urd's eyes narrowed. "I mean it, Peorth, if you break him, you have to answer to Belldandy, not me."
"Oh, he'll be fine! You just be careful."
She sighed. "Okay. I'll keep in touch."
Hanging up, she walked down the hall to Heaven's main operations center and found Lind standing over another goddess' shoulder.
"Anything?" Urd asked.
"Possibly," Lind told her as the other goddess worked at the terminal. "Normally Nekomi has about seven demonic presences at any one time, Marller being the largest." A map appeared on the screen, and she pointed at an area in the top right corner. "This one appeared recently, a rather large Cat Seven."
Urd bit her lip. "Corus is a Category Seven," she murmured. "I'll go check it out."
"Are you sure you don't want me to come along?" Lind asked her.
"The Almighty wants me to take this one myself," Urd told her. "I'll be okay."
The best the ops center could do was put Urd within a mile of where Corus might be. The rest was up to her. Pulling herself out of a TV playing game shows in a run down laundromat, Urd found herself in a rundown part of Nekomi she knew Keiichi tended to avoid. Trusting her own senses, she pulled her jacket closer around herself and started walking down the street.
Wandering down the street past pawn shops and questionable bars, Urd's fingers went to the earring hanging from her left ear. She felt glad to have the extra power an unlimited license gave her. Corus wasn't exactly an easy target last time. And now he was likely to be ticked, as well.
She was about to pass a burned out and condemned factory when something stopped her. She turned and stared into the husk of what once churned out sewing machines or refrigerators. It had been mostly cleaned out, with only a few black stains on the metal and concrete pylons to remind passersby of the fire that had claimed it.
There was something in there.
She slowly entered through a door that had once been boarded up and only recently reopened. Stepping carefully through the large work room beyond, her hand up and ready to cast a defensive spell, she swept the area and saw nothing.
But something was there.
Moving toward the back of the room, she found another door that opened to a staircase leading down. It appeared the fire had missed most of this area. She strained her senses downward and felt nothing, heard nothing and the light was barely enough to see. She started down.
What she found at the bottom of the stairs surprised her. Gone was the dilapidated and burnt out husk. In its place was a large, ornate bedroom. A king-size bed sat against the far wall, complete with a heart-shaped comforter. Two tall, wooden wall lockers sat side by side to the left, and a chandelier hung from the ceiling.
It looked to Urd like something out of a love hotel. It gave her the creeps, and she could almost smell the demonic atmosphere despite the decor. A demon had been here very recently. If not Corus, then one equally powerful.
Stepping over to the first cabinet, she grasped the gilded handles and pulled the door open. Inside stood a mannequin wearing a very elegant wedding dress complete with train and veil.
Urd swallowed back bile as she realized what she was looking at. This dress was meant for Belldandy. Not only was Corus still under the influence of the love potion, it had obviously driven him over the edge.
Her skin crawled at the implications. Where the thought of Keiichi marrying her sister had always made her feel warm inside, the idea of a demonic bastard like Corus touching Belldandy repulsed her at every level of her being.
She closed the cabinet again and moved to the next one, almost afraid to open it. If the first contained stuff for the wedding, who knew where he kept things for the honeymoon? And that was something she definitely wanted no part of.
The goddess pulled the gold handles and stepped back in surprise. A second wedding dress stood before her, a slightly different cut and style than the first.
"What did he do, get a back up dress?" she asked herself quietly.
Something didn't add up in Urd's mind. As well as being a different cut and style, the dress was obviously made to fit a much taller woman.
A woman about Urd's height, actually.
She shook her head and stepped back. "Oh, no," she breathed. "No, no, no..."
An almost animalistic panic filled her. It was simply too creepy. She had to go, and she had to go now.
Just as she was about to turn, a new sound came flooding through the room, an awful, frightening sound Urd knew only too well. She jammed her hands over her ears as Enka music poured from hidden speakers somewhere in the room, too loud to block out.
She threw out a couple of lightning bolts in a futile attempt to silence the sound, but doing so required her to move her hands from over her ears. Drowsiness gripped her body and she felt her knees begin to weaken under her. A moment later, she was on her knees. A moment after that she was lying on the ground, screaming in an attempt to disrupt the sound or just keep herself awake.
As the music continued to play and her eyelids began to fall, she looked up and saw a sinister face smiling down at her.
"Welcome home, my love."
Peorth heard the door open and whirled around, her finger pointed at the person entering. When Skuld's form filled the doorframe, the goddess lowered her hands and returned to reading her magazine as if the young goddess wasn't even there.
Skuld arched an eyebrow and walked across the living room to the kitchen. "Um, Peorth," she began tentatively. "Can you tell me why Keiichi is under a blanket in his room... sobbing?"
Peorth turned the page in her magazine. "He had a busy day," she said nonchalantly.
"Uh huh," Skuld said. "Kind of jumpy today, aren't you?"
"Yeah, I'm expecting someone," she said, her eyes never leaving the magazine.
"Where did Urd go?" Skuld asked her.
Peorth waved her hand in the air. "She's around."
They both turned as Keiichi walked into the room.
"Keiichi?" Skuld asked in concern. "Are you okay?"
"I... I think so..." he said, scratching the back of his head. "It's just a lot to take in." He threw a pointed look at Peorth. "And that last thing was a little weird."
Peorth blanked for a second, then her eyes widened as she got it. "Oh! You mean with the thing!"
"Yeah, that was weird..." he said deadpan.
"That should only happen if she's really drunk."
"I know... Still weird."
They both watched Peorth jump again as the door to the bathroom opened and closed. She relaxed a moment later when Belldandy came into the room, her face beet red as she saw Keiichi, but wouldn't make eye contact with him.
"Skuld! Peorth!" she cried happily. "I'm so glad you're here! There's something I want to show you!" She glanced at Keiichi but quickly looked away again, flustered. "Hello, Keiichi san," she whispered quietly.
He cleared his throat. "Hi, Belldandy."
She recovered again and grabbed Peorth and Skuld's hands. "Come with me!"
Peorth threw a look back at Keiichi as she was dragged away. "Don't leave the house," she said.
Keiichi blinked, puzzled, but before he could ask why, Peorth was already in Belldandy's room with the door shut behind them. He shook his head.
Urd opened her eyes, but there was something wrong with her vision. The world in front of her was blurred, as if she was trying to see through wax paper. It took her a moment to blink the fog out of her eyes and realize why.
She was looking through a wedding veil.
The goddess went to pull it up off her eyes, but found her hands immobilized above her head. She was lying on a soft bed and could make out the red comforter.
"Looks like you're awake," she heard. She saw movement and felt someone lift the veil. Looking down at herself, she found she was now fully attired in the wedding dress she had seen earlier. Looking above, she found her hands held to the headboard by what appeared to be a stone snake wrapped around her wrists.
She finally looked up at Corus. The demon was bald and stocky, the red and black markings on his face almost made him look like a football player. He smiled and reached down, caressing her cheek.
"How do you feel?" he asked.
Urd growled at him. "Release me. Now."
"Soon enough, my love. Soon enough." He rose from the bed and went to the cabinets. Urd took a moment to test her bonds and found them tight. She could try magic, but now wasn't the opportune time.
She decided to stall. "I thought you wanted Belldandy," she said accusingly.
He turned and nodded with a smile. "When last we met, I don't know what happened. But I know one moment I was ready to destroy you both, and the next..." His expression turned misty. "I was looking at the two of you and wondering how I could even think such a thing." He looked at her. "When I love you both so much."
Urd swallowed nervously. So that was it. Somehow, after being hit with Urd's love dart, Corus had managed to see both of them at the exact same moment. The potion was supposed to lock in the first one seen. That being Belldandy at the time, Urd had just assumed she was the only one he was infatuated with. But if somehow, one eye had caught each...
"So this is what?" she asked. "Your revenge on us?"
"Revenge?" he asked. He walked up to the bed and knelt next to her. "No, my dearest Norn. I must have been acting very irrationally. You and darling Belldandy did what you had to by sealing me."
"Yeah," Urd agreed coldly. "It was the least we could do."
"Exactly!" Corus said, rising to his feet again. "It took me awhile to figure it out, but I did. You were goddesses, and I was a demon! Our love would never be accepted by either side. By sealing me, you protected me and yourselves."
Urd couldn't believe what she was hearing. She knew her potions could warp minds, but Corus was borderline delusional. She decided to play it cool and nodded. "You figured this all out on your own?"
He smiled and nodded. "And I had two hundred years to figure out how to solve our problem so we can be together, all three of us."
"By living and hiding here on Earth?" Urd guessed.
Urd scrunched her eyebrows in puzzlement. "Then how?"
"You should know, it was the two of you that gave me the idea!" He grinned broadly, waiting for her to get it. When she didn't, he went to the cabinet and produced a shiny black sphere the size of a softball.
Urd instinctively tried to back away. "Get that thing away from me!" she hissed. "If you're not careful..."
"Oh, don't worry, darling Urd," he said softly. "I'm not going to activate it until our Belldandy is here." He put it back in the cabinet and turned back to her. "Then the three of us will be sealed away, where no one will ever find us."
Urd started to panic. Unlike other sealed mediums, shadowspheres didn't have a timer on them. While other mediums, such as Marller's CD, would time out and release after five hundred years or so, shadowspheres sealed permanently.
"And the three of us will be together in married bliss forever," he finished.
Urd watched as he put on a black leather coat and a pair of sunglasses. "Corus, listen to me," she said. "You don't want to do this."
He knelt next to her again and moved a lock of hair out of her face. "I'm going to go fetch Belldandy now," he told her. "Then when I come back, we'll have the wedding and go off to our honeymoon." He leaned down to kiss her, and she tried squirming away. She needn't have bothered, however. His lips stopped just short of her.
The demon smiled. "Oops, can't do that," he said. "I couldn't kiss you and not Belldandy. It wouldn't be fair." Standing up, he backed away. "I'll see you soon." With that, he disappeared in a puff of black smoke.
Urd waited a handful of heartbeats before turning to her bonds.
This should be easy, she thought as she channeled magic into her hands and into the stone snake. As the energy coalesced in her hands, the snake suddenly turned from stone gray to black, coming to life and growing, wrapping further around her arms down to her elbows. Urd quickly stopped what she was doing. The snake turned back to stone.
"Well, I guess Corus isn't as stupid as I gave him credit for," Urd remarked. She searched the room with her eyes, looking for something that might help her.
It seemed pretty hopeless. She tried moving her hands but found that the snake had bound them so tightly, she could only move the very tips of her fingers. She tried jolting the bed forward, but it must have been bolted down.
She was trapped.
And as she laid there, Corus was on his way to the temple to find Belldandy, and when he found out she was still in Heaven, he would turn his rage toward the others.
With another grunt, Urd went to work.
"Oneesama," Skuld breathed. "It's beautiful."
Standing before them in her room, Belldandy grinned and turned completely around, showing them every angle of the wedding dress she wore.
"It's okay," Peorth allowed, hands folded over her chest.
Skuld rolled her eyes at the other goddess.
"I'm going to go show Keiichi san!" Belldandy announced happily, starting for the door.
"Ack! No!" Skuld cried, pitching forward and grabbing her sister's arm. "Oneesama! You can't!"
Belldandy was brought up short. "Why not?"
"Because the groom can't see the bride in her wedding dress before the wedding!" Skuld cried. "It's very bad luck!"
"Goodness, even I knew that!" Peorth remarked. "You might have jinxed the whole thing!"
With that crisis averted, Skuld stood up again. "Where did you get this?"
"Mother made it for me," she said. "After my class today, I got a message to go to Terminal Dogma. When I arrived, Mother was there and said she had something for me, so..."
"Wait, wait, wait!" Peorth suddenly interjected. "So... You haven't seen The Almighty today?"
"Well, no," Belldandy told her. "I received a message from Marella to go there, and Mother met me there. I just assumed that's what it was about."
"Did you see Urd?" Peorth asked, her voice become more concerned.
"No. Peorth, what's going on?"
"Corus is on the loose," Peorth told her. "Urd was sent after him."
"Alone?" Belldandy asked in frank concern.
Before Peorth could answer, there was an explosion outside.
"Well, that's a bust," Urd sighed, no closer to escaping than she was twenty minutes ago. Sighing, she reviewed her options and came up with very few good ones. The best she could think of was to wait for Corus to come back and find some way to convince him to let her loose. The other was to simply wait for Lind or Peorth to come looking for her.
Neither option was very appealing.
"How did I get myself into this?" she asked herself. Tied up on a bed in a wedding dress with a demon who had vowed to marry her and her sister before trapping the three of them in a shadowsphere for all eternity. It was almost comical.
The funniest part was that if the circumstances were different, it would almost be flattering. Despite her role as a defacto goddess of love, it had been a very long time since anyone put the words, "my love," behind her name.
Is that why I try so hard to help Belldandy and Keiichi? she asked herself. Am I trying to live vicariously through my little sister?
No, that was just stupid.
Face it, Urd, she thought. You took it personally every time Keiichi wavered on acting on his feelings. You put more effort into their relationship than you did for any of your own, and even now, your eternity in jeopardy and your sister at risk, there's still two percent of your mind wishing there was a mirror nearby so you could see how you look in this dress!
The idea kind of disgusted her. It couldn't actually be true.
Okay, okay, fine! Maybe there were times when she saw the way Keiichi looked at Belldandy and wished someone would look at her that way. And maybe there were times where she got angry with Belldandy for not recognizing just what she had.
She growled. I'm getting off the subject.
Keiichi heard the explosion and opened the front door. Banpei was launching another rocket at a large, bald man who strolled through the impacts as if they were nothing. As he stepped closer to the robot, Banpei readied himself for hand to hand combat, but before he could lift a finger, the bald man touched the robot's forehead.
Banpei's head fell to the floor with a crash.
Before Keiichi knew it, the man was in front of him. "Are you the guy engaged to Belldandy?"
"Uh... Yeah," Keiichi answered stupidly.
The force of the man's punch knocked him out before he even hit the floor.
"Unacceptable!" Corus growled.
His head turned and he paused. Belldandy, decked out in her wedding dress, stood at the front door.
"Lucifer's beard," he muttered, taking off his sunglasses. "You're beautiful."
Belldandy's face turned wrathful. "What have you done to Keiichi san?!"
"It's all right, you don't have to marry him anymore. I'm here," he told her. He stretched his hand out to her. "Come on, love."
Something flashed from behind Belldandy, and Corus looked down, finding a rose protruding from his chest. He looked up at her and chuckled. "What the hell is this?"
Three more roses pricked him in rapid succession. A moment later, the petals from the roses started to grow, wrapping around the demon's body and blending together. Corus fell to the ground, rolling around and trying to push the petals off of him.
Belldandy turned and found Peorth laughing.
"Ooooh hohohohoho!" the goddess laughed. "And Urd said this was going to be hard!" She rushed past the other goddess and put her hands on her hips, smugly looking down at the struggling demon. "Now then, where is our dear Urd, hmmm?"
Something inside the petals was glowing a bright red. Peorth's smug look broke, and she took a step back. Belldandy, who was tending to Keiichi, looked up in shock as an explosion knocked Peorth through the wall and back into the house.
"Peorth!" She felt Keiichi stir beneath her and looked down at him.
That was a mistake.
The next thing she felt was someone's hand wrap around her wrist. She looked up and saw Corus' other hand glowing in front of her eyes. She saw spots explode in front of her eyes, expanding until she could no longer see. Before she realized it, she was asleep.
After taking a few moments to grab her latest invention, Skuld rushed out the front door only to find the battle over. Peorth was nowhere to be seen, and Keiichi was lying on the ground not far away. But a black-clad figure was walking away from her. She lifted her invention, Mr. RPG, over her shoulder and shouted.
"Stop!" The figure turned, and Skuld gasped. "Oneesama!"
Corus smiled. "You're not going to use that on us, are you?"
"Let her go!" Skuld ordered, aiming Mr. RPG right at the demon's head.
"Sorry," Corus told her. "My other bride's waiting for us." With a puff of black smoke, he disappeared.
Skuld frowned as she reapplied the bandage to Keiichi's face. "Why would he take Oneesama?" she asked again.
"It's a very long story," Peorth said, dialing into their phone.
"Who cares why?" Keiichi bit out. "What are we going to do about it?"
Peorth ignored him. The phone was ringing. Finally, someone picked up. "This is Peorth, Class One, two-six-two-six-five. I need a grid reference."
Urd quickly stopped struggling as a cloud of black smoke heralded Corus' return. She felt her heart plunge into her stomach as she saw the unconscious form of her sister in his arms.
"What did you do to her?" she asked him in a whisper.
"She's just asleep, my love," he told her with a comforting smile as he laid Belldandy next to her on the bed. He moved the sleeping woman's arms to the headboard and secured them there with a second snake. Urd watched, looking for some clue to how the creatures functioned but had to admit she didn't have any idea. A moment later, her sister was just as powerless as she was.
"It'll just take a few minutes to get the shadowsphere ready," Corus told her. "Then we'll be on our way."
This was it. Her only hope had been that Belldandy would still be in Heaven, and that Peorth would be able to repel Corus' attack. Now it appeared that she was wrong on both counts. She looked at her sister's sleeping face and knew that if she didn't do something, Belldandy was going to wake up in a dark place and never see Keiichi again.
It would be more humane to simply kill her.
Corus was working with the sphere near the cabinet. Urd licked her lips in thought and finally decided to act.
"Corus," she called. The demon paused, and why wouldn't he? Urd had put as much innuendo into his name as a love goddess could. When he turned to face her, he found his fiancee looking at him with a come-hither look. She had also managed to bend her knee enough to escape the frills of her dress, giving him a modest, but effective, glimpse of her legs.
"Corus," she repeated. "My love, could you come here for a moment? There's something I need to tell you."
The demon smiled. "Sure, hon," he said, turning away from the sphere. He knelt next to her and caressed her face. The goddess swallowed back bile and smiled.
"My love," she said, "I have a confession to make."
"Oh, my love," the demon said. "I'm sure whatever it is, we can make it right."
"I knew you would say that," she said softly. She sniffled and turned away. "I'm afraid, Corus. I'm afraid of sharing you, even with my darling sister."
"Oh, Urd, you shouldn't think that," Corus said comfortingly. "I have enough love for both of you."
"But there's more than that, my love," Urd said, sniffling again and letting a tear fall. "I love my sister so much, but you even more. I couldn't stand to share you and she... well..." She trailed off.
"What, my love?"
She turned back to him. "Belldandy cannot survive in a seal. Without the sights and sounds and smells of life, she would shrivel." She bent her head and nuzzled his hand. "I fear for her."
"Don't worry," he told her. "The three of us together will be fine."
This isn't working, she thought. He's a demon. Appeal to his demonic qualities.
She smiled at him. "I know. I know you'll fix everything," she said. "But I fear that I won't have as much of your love as she does."
"That's ridiculous," he said defensively.
"Then do me one favor, my love," she begged. She wet her lips. "Marry me first. Now, while she's still asleep. Give me this one thing you won't give her."
He wavered, the appeal to his vanity was pushing him toward the edge.
She nuzzled his hand again. "Please, my love. As your fiancee I beg of you..."
Corus took her face in his hands and smiled. "All right, my little Norn. All right." He released her and went to the cabinet, pulling a small box out of it. Placing the box in his pocket he returned to her and touched the snake binding her hands with his finger. The snake came alive, squealed, then burned away to ash.
She was free.
Taking her by the shoulders, he lifted her to her feet. Urd had a choice to make. Strike now or wait for an opportune moment? Alone, she was still no match for him.
He reached into his pocket and removed the box, opening it for her and removing a small ring with a large diamond. Roughly taking her hand, he placed the ring on her finger.
Taking both her hands in his, he looked into her eyes, his words coming in a fast, rambling gait. "I, Corus, take thee, Urd, to be my wedded wife." His hands held hers so tightly Urd was sure they'd break. "To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, from this day forward unto eternity."
He watched her face for several moments before Urd realized he was waiting for her to speak. "I, Urd," she began quietly, her stomach heaving, "...take thee, Corus, to be my wedded husband, from here unto eternity."
The demon grinned, gasping in happiness. Urd only stood there, stunned at what she had just done. Before she could move again, she felt Corus' lips on hers as he kissed her.
Get ahold of yourself! her mind screamed.
She pulled away, taking him by the shoulders. At first, the demon looked stunned. "My love," she said hurriedly. "We must move quickly. It won't be long before the Combat Division arrives. It's possible for you to hide alone, but they'll zero in on two first class goddesses!"
"I can protect you," he reassured her.
"Not from them!" she said. It was a total lie, of course. While she was certain Central Dogma could give Peorth the same information they had given her, she was also certain they wouldn't deploy the 1st Combat Division for anything short of an assault on Heaven. A shame, since right now she knew the most beautiful thing she could ever see was a few angels from the 509th Winged Infantry Regiment coming through the door.
She took his face in her hands. "My husband, we must move! Now! You ready the sphere, and I'll get my sister ready to move!"
Corus looked unsure, but finally nodded. "All right!" He turned and rushed to the sphere while Urd turned to Belldandy. The other goddess was still asleep.
She reached down and caressed her sister's face before leaning down and kissing her softly. "Be happy."
Standing up, she turned to Corus, who was several feet from the foot of the bed, moving his hands over the shadowsphere. Tendrils of black light moved lazily around the sphere. Corus took three steps back as a small flash of darkness filled the room. The air around Urd began to blow toward the sphere, the demonic instrument beginning to suck matter into it.
"Urd, is Belldandy ready?" Corus asked, turning to her. When he saw the other goddess still secured to the bed and Urd staring at him, he knew something was wrong. "Urd?"
The older goddess raised her arm and fired a shot into the sphere. The orb crackled with energy, and suddenly the soft wind was replaced with a tempest as the shadowsphere's pull increased a thousand fold.
The goddess and the demon were pulled off their feet. Urd hit the ground with a thud and found herself being pulled toward the orb. Flailing about, her hand found one of the legs of the bed.
And Corus found hers.
She cried out as she felt the demon's hand squeeze, holding desperately to her as everything that wasn't bolted down was sucked into the sphere. In the bed, Belldandy fluttered in the wind, the stone snake the only thing holding her down.
Urd looked down and saw Corus looking up at her in bewildered betrayal. "My love!" he screamed.
The goddess suddenly had hope. Her grabbing the bed hadn't been part of the plan, but she could certainly run with it. She kicked at the demon's face.
"I!" KICK! "Want!" KICK! "A divorce!"
She felt his claws pierce her leg. Her hand was starting to give. Then, with one final kick, the demon's hand let go. Corus screamed as he was sucked into the sphere.
Urd held on for dear life. A few moments before she was prepared to spend eternity in there alone with the demon, now her knuckles were white with effort.
She screamed. She didn't want to go! She wasn't ready!
Finally, the wind started to die. Her feet touched the floor again, and the air was still.
She panted with exhaustion and fear, closing her eyes and letting a quiet sob escape, but refusing to release the footboard.
It was only when she heard Belldandy groan above her that she opened her eyes. She had to force the muscles in her fingers to let go of the railing before climbing to her feet. She found a groggy Belldandy looking up at her.
"Neesan?" she asked. Her eyes widened a moment later. "Neesan!" Her face was incredulous. "That dress is so lovely!"
Urd sweatdropped. "Yeah, yours too," the Norn muttered.
Before they could continue, something came crashing down the stairs. Banpei, complete with a set of power armor that looked suspiciously like Keiichi's Beemer, scanned the area as Peorth, Skuld and Keiichi, wearing a football helmet and carrying a baseball bat, stormed the room.
Belldandy saw Keiichi and screamed. "AIIIII! KEIICHI SAN! DON'T LOOK AT ME! DON'T LOOK!"
"What?! What is it?! What's wrong?!" Keiichi cried.
A moment later, Skuld jumped on him, twisting his helmet around so he couldn't see. "She's in her wedding dress, you clod!" she shouted at him.
"Where's Corus?" Peorth demanded. "And nice dress."
Urd pointed at the shadowsphere, and Peorth took an instinctive step back. "Gone?" she asked.
The Norn nodded. "Could you get rid of that, and maybe take Keiichi and Skuld outside? I'll get Belldandy out of this thing."
The other goddess nodded. "Sure. Come on, kiddies. Playtime's over."
Urd went and sat on the bed next to her sister, lightly touching the snake, probing it with her magic.
"Neesan, are you all right?" Belldandy asked her.
Urd wasn't sure what to say. "Yeah," she finally breathed. "You?" The other goddess nodded. Urd worked on the snake for several minutes before either of them said anything again.
"Do you know how lucky you are?" Urd finally asked her.
The older goddess paused in her work. "You have someone to anchor you to this world. I was all set to banish myself along with Corus... so that he couldn't take that away. I didn't even give it a second thought. In a way... I think that's kind of sad."
"Neesan," Belldandy said sympathetically. "Of course you have people here to anchor you. You have me and Skuld and Keiichi..."
"No, Belldandy. That's not what I mean." She went back to work on the snake. "He was in love with us both. He was going to open a pocket universe where the three of us would be the only things there. And as pathetic as that sounds, for a moment I was almost tempted."
The snake briefly came to life, then turned to ash. Belldandy sat up and faced her sister. "Love isn't something you can just make happen, Neesan," she told Urd quietly. "It comes when Destiny calls it. And I know there's someone out there destined for you." She smiled. "If you search too hard, it gets harder. Remember when you accidentally married Gan chan?"
Urd's eyes narrowed. "We agreed to never speak of that again," she growled.
"Gomen," Belldandy said, her eyes drooping. "What I'm trying to say is like anything else, it usually happens when you're not expecting it. I didn't expect it to happen to me."
Urd gave her a crooked smile and stood up. "Come on. Let's find a mirror so Keiichi doesn't have to walk home blind."
"So," Peorth began casually as she stirred her bowl of miso soup. "You never did say how your class went."
At the head of the table, Belldandy turned crimson and looked down at the table again.
Peorth grinned evilly. "Did you learn anything new?"
The maroon-tinted goddess nodded quietly.
Skuld, clueless due to age, pressed her. "Like new spells and potions and stuff?"
The older goddess wouldn't look up. "No," she trailed off.
"Then, what DID you learn?" Peorth asked innocently.
"It's time to do the dishes!" Belldandy announced, standing up and grabbing still full plates on her way to the kitchen.
As the sound of the sink came on, Peorth looked to Keiichi and nodded in the kitchen's direction. The boy narrowed his eyes questioningly. Peorth nodded again and made a motion with her hand. Keiichi shook his head. Peorth made the gesture again and followed up with a fist and an angry expression. Sighing, Keiichi stood up.
Peorth clapped her hands gleefully and watched him walk into the kitchen.
Keiichi approached his fiancee slowly until he was standing beside her. Belldandy smiled at him nervously and continued washing dishes as he reached up and placed his hand on her shoulder. The goddess' smile brightened.
The boy started to sweat as he rubbed her shoulder and casually moved his hand down between her shoulder blades.
Urd picked up the ringing phone. "Moshi moshi," she said.
"Urd, this is your father."
The goddess raised an eyebrow. He never greeted her like that.
"I just wanted to say that you did well today."
Urd hung up.
"I didn't do it for you," she whispered.
As she walked back into the living room, she saw Skuld and Peorth eyeing the kitchen door.
"I haven't heard anything for awhile," Skuld said. "Maybe we should check on them."
"You're far too young to see that," Peorth told her.
"What the... What is that supposed to mean?!"
Urd could hear them fighting, but wasn't paying any attention. She was thinking about what Belldandy had told her. After all, if a goddess as powerful as she was could find her soulmate in a college dorm room, who knew?
"I wonder if he has any brothers?" Urd muttered.
The other two goddesses locked onto her. "What?" Skuld asked.
Urd suddenly shook herself out of her thoughts. "Nothing," she whispered.
"Nothing at all."
Omake of Wrongness #1
Urd stormed into the kitchen and held a piece of wood and metal in front of Keiichi's nose, her face a mask of rage.
"Keiichi, what the hell is this?!" she demanded.
The other goddesses looked at Urd in puzzlement.
"Neesan?" Belldandy asked.
Keiichi blinked, not sure what he had done wrong. "It's a rat trap," he said. "I've noticed this big, stupid looking rat around the temple lately."
Skuld and Belldandy gasped in shock.
"You have to find all those traps!" Skuld cried. "Right now, before..."
From down the hall, there came a THA-WACK!
The goddesses were dead silent. Finally, Belldandy's hands went to her face in horror.