Here’s “The Many Shades of Urd,” my first A!MS fanfic, and my first fanfic, ever. I haven’t read much with Urd, so this one’s an Urd story (sort of). Also introducing my antagonist, Riana, fellow RGO worker!
This story takes place after OVA 5, during Urd’s license suspension. The only change I’ve made to the OVA plot is Megumi knows of the goddesses’ nature. Well, it doesn’t affect the plot directly, just after OVA 5.
DISCLAIMER: I’ve only seen the OVAs and read the Dark Horse translations. Any glaring errors are entirely mine. So are any other errors, I suppose! :) This is my first fanfic: please respond, reply, repost! Critique, glory, fame, the RGO’s phone number, etc. can be emailed to:
SPOILER: In this story, I relate the events of OVAs 4-5; well, actually all of them, but specifically, those two. If you haven’t seen these two OVAs (either the highlight or the bane of the anime, so I read; I liked it - it made the series that much more romantic) you should view them before reading this. It’s not required, but it helps!
Ah! Megamisama and the main characters therein are copyrighted by Fujishima Kosuke.
“The Many Shades of Urd”
by Hanna Goodbar
16 November 1995 1600h
“Man, oh man, am I bored!” exclaimed an extremely bored- looking Urd. “Not even a single indecent game show on TV.” She got up from the mat and started pacing around the living room of a certain temple.
Uh-oh, not the pacing-around-the-temple-who-can-I-help thing. Skuld, sitting in a corner, looked up from the latest Aliens versus Predator manga translations. “You could find something constructive to do, like helping oneesama with supper.”
“I don’t see you helping Belldandy with the cooking! How can you sit there and read all afternoon?”
“I’m not bored. Besides, if you ever took the time to read, you’d find some very interesting stuff. It makes the time pass quickly.” Taking in the glare on Urd’s face, she glanced over at her ever-present mallet. It was within arm’s reach.
Fortunately, before anything else happened, Belldandy walked in, drying her hands on her apron. “Urd, Skuld, supper will be ready in an hour or so.” With all the food the gang left us from the New Year’s party, we still have plenty of food. “There’s a fresh pot of tea if you want some.” Ever the gracious host, Belldandy looked expectantly at her two sisters.
“Well?” Skuld asked, with a glare.
Damn little brat, cornering me like this. Urd knew exactly what Skuld was asking. “Um, Belldandy, do you need any help with supper?” Of course, Belldandy would refuse, but damn Skuld for making her ask!
“Thank you sis, but no, it’s cooking now. Would you like some tea? Skuld?”
“Thank you, oneesama, yes, please!”
“I’m going for a walk. Thanks anyway, Belldandy.” With that, Urd turned and walked toward the bedroom. Skuld let out a small sigh, and Belldandy turned back toward the kitchen to fetch Skuld’s tea.
Urd stood at the temple gate, looking up and down the road. Oh, where can I go? Keiichi and Megumi are with the motor club, working on another motorcycle or go-kart. Sayoko and Aoshima are probably hatching yet another scheme to separate Keiichi and Belldandy. Too bad I can’t just pop in. What to do? Day twenty of Urd’s thirty-day license suspension wasn’t going well. The temple was too cold, her bath water wasn’t warm enough, she was cold getting out of the bath. Belldandy didn’t find any ripe bananas, so Urd had to settle for peaches and apricots for breakfast. Nothing on the television. And then, for Skuld to do what she did! Urd clenched her teeth and balled up her hands, but nothing happened. No sparks of energy, no balls of light, nothing. And for ten days after this, nothing. Damn. At least I helped Keiichi keep his promise, and absolved Belldandy from hers. Urd sighed. Then again, I’m not the only one stranded here. The thought of Skuld, now an Earth-bound trainee, gave her some satisfaction. Feeling better, Urd grinned and started walking.
Baka baka baka baka baka. Dumb Urd. Conning me into helping her with that magic circle, just so she wouldn’t be stuck here alone! Skuld made an angry face and stuck out her tongue at Urd’s back as she walked out the temple door.
Belldandy walked in with Skuld’s tea. “Here you are, Skuld. Why are you still angry at Urd?”
“Arigato, oneesama. She’s so impulsive and selfish, using me like that. Now we’re all stuck here!” It was the same argument every day since December 24th, when Urd and Skuld created the Ultimate Magic Circle of Warding that temporarily closed the Gate taking Belldandy to the heavens. Belldandy helped Keiichi forget his promise, and was freed from her Recall Notice. For interfering, however, Urd had her goddess license suspended for a month, and Skuld was assigned to Earth as a trainee until the bug problem in Yggdrasil was fixed. At least, I still have my powers…
“Now Skuld, you did help, and it wasn’t just for selfish reasons Urd did what she did. And she is paying the price for interfering. I still can’t thank you enough for doing what you did for Keiichi’s sake, and mine.” Belldandy held Skuld in a tight, sisterly hug, then let go after a few moments. “Oops, gotta watch the dinner.” With that, Belldandy was back to the kitchen, leaving a thoughtful Skuld nursing her tea. A few minutes later, Skuld plopped down in front of the TV, a mecha video in hand.
At the motor shop, Keiichi and Megumi were finishing engine- tuning yet another of Tamiya’s go-kart “creations.”
“Where does Tamiya-sempai get these weird designs? Why does he always insist I drive them?” said Keiichi, to no one in particular. “At least they could’ve stayed around to help! Could you hand me the oil and a towel, please, Megumi?” Keiichi finished torquing the oilcase into place.
“Here, Kei-chan. Could we please hurry it up, it’s cold in here,” Megumi said, as she handed him a rag and a bottle of oil. “It was nice of them to turn off the heat when they left!”
“Yeah, I know. There, let’s see how it runs now!” Keiichi finished up with the oil, and started up the engine. The engine emitted a small roar and came to life. After idling a few seconds, Keiichi shut it off. “Now, that sounds much better!”
Megumi glanced at the wall clock. “Hey, it’s almost 5:30. Let’s go home and eat - I’m starving!” To punctuate her remark, both their stomachs growled. Megumi was already heading for the door.
“All right, all right!” Hastily, Keiichi cleaned up the mess they made around the kart, wiped his hands, and headed for the door.
“Where is neesan? It’s not like her to be late, especially with all this food!” Belldandy looked around her, as if expecting Urd to pop up behind her. Gathered about the round dining table with Belldandy were Skuld, Megumi, and Keiichi.
If she doesn’t show soon, I’ll eat her portion! Keiichi looked hungrily at the food already in the middle of the table. Megumi had a similar, if not more intense, look on her face. Skuld was looking at the bowl of ice cream set aside for her, as if already enjoying the sweetness of the vanilla.
Just then they heard the outside door slide open, then closed, soon followed by two hard smacks. Urd walked into the room. The four heads present underwent various stages of shock, followed closely by ill-concealed smirking. Finally, Skuld couldn’t hold herself, and let loose with loud peals of laughter. Keiichi and Megumi soon followed, with Belldandy at last letting herself go.
“ENOUGH!!” cried Urd. She stood there, her breath coming in gasps. In place of her long, white hair, she now had neon blue hair. Where her skin was a golden bronze, was now obscenely pale, more so than Belldandy’s. Her eyes were now bright, almost reflective orange, and her goddess markings were a lovely shade of highlighter pink.
Out of breath, Belldandy gained control of herself. “Neesan!” She shot up and ran to Urd, grabbing her by the shoulders. “What happened?!” The other three fell silent as Belldandy led Urd to the dinner table.
Belldandy served dinner as Urd explained her plight. “I was walking in the park a few blocks from here, watching some kids throw a ball. I thought I felt someone watching me, and as I looked around, I saw Riana across the way. Since I wasn’t in the mood to talk to her, I turned back on a trail to leave. She must have been watching me for a while, because she met me on the trail a few minutes later.
”‘So, Urd-san, how are things?’ She had to know something, because her expression was so coy and her voice was so sweet. ‘Enjoying this fine winter afternoon?’
”‘I was fine until a few minutes ago. What do you want?’
”‘Why, Urd, you should be nicer to someone who’s about to bestow you with a gift.’ A small sphere formed in the palm of her upturned left hand. ‘I’m reciprocating for the gift you left me last year.’ The little sphere left her hand and hit me in the chest. It seemed that nothing happened; I didn’t feel anything.
“Then a mirror appeared in her right hand, and she held it up to me. ‘Now you can look forward to some new and unusual fashion changes. Every day when you wake up, your hair, eyes, markings, and skin will be different. Enjoy! Ja!’
“Then she dissolved in the air. I stood there for a moment, stunned at the changes. Of course, that little witch would find out I don’t have my powers now - that’s the only reason she could do this, and she knew it! I threw down the mirror and made my way here. Just look at me! I have to face this every day until I get my license back!?”
Apparently, the color changes had no effect on Urd’s appetite, however. She is eating a lot more than usual, Belldandy thought.
Skuld looked up from her food. “So, what does she look like now?”
“You would want to know, hmm? She is your friend, after all.” Before Skuld could interrupt, Urd continued. “Well, she looks like an Indian princess now. Copper skin, jet-black hair, now has a ring in her nose. With that little round dot on her forehead, she would fit in perfectly with the Hindus. She still has that punk style of dress: a long flower-print jumper-dress, leggings, and combat boots. Just your style, Skuld. Really, I never have seen anyone enjoy changing their looks so much! I hate mine already!” She got up and took her empty plate to the kitchen, then went to take a bath.
Belldandy looked thoughtfully concerned. I wonder if there’s anything I can do… Her forehead furrowed, deep in thought.
Keiichi was finishing his chocolate cake dessert. Wow. I thought only demons like Marller were so mean. What did Urd do to make another goddess that mad?
Megumi gathered up her dinner plates, a look of contentment on her face. “Arigato, Belldandy. Your cooking is wonderful, as always!” She took her and Keiichi’s pile of dishes and utensils to the kitchen, then went to watch television. Keiichi thanked Belldandy for the dinner and followed Megumi.
Skuld was starting on her ice cream, which was still hard. A sly grin escaped her face. Yea, Riana. It’s time someone put Urd in her place for meddling so much! But Urd was always proud about her looks… Nah, she should suffer for what she did to Riana. After a large bite of ice cream: Oishii! How does oneesama keep the ice cream this good?
Later, Belldandy got up and gathered Skuld’s dishes, with her own, and carried them to the kitchen. Skuld followed to help with the dishes.
“Keiichi! Wait up a minute!” Urd was running out of the temple toward Keiichi and Megumi. They were standing next to the motorcycle, preparing to go to the auto shop on a mild winter morning..
“What’s up?” asked Keiichi.
“Keiichi, could you give me a lift to the store? I want to do something about this hair.” She held out one of the bright orange and green plaid-colored locks. For the past three days, Urd’s coloration became weirder and weirder. At first, she thought Riana was joking, when she said Urd’s looks would change every day. However, each morning now for three days, Urd awoke to a “new” look. For the first two days, only her coloration changed - using the brightest colors and the worst possible combinations. Urd thought she was a walking Dali print, with such garish colors. Today, day four of Riana’s Revenge, as Urd thought of it, she awoke to pink-colored eyes, off-yellow skin, bright blue markings, and green and orange plaid-patterned hair.
“Sure, I suppose.” It was disconcerting to see Urd with a “different” look every day. A small grin crossed his face, then disappeared with a fierce look from Urd.
As they arranged themselves on Keiichi’s bike, Megumi noticed, “Uh, Urd, it isn’t that cold outside.” Urd was wearing a heavy jacket with the hood pulled around her head, a long, casual skirt with opaque tights or leggings, and boots. Megumi couldn’t get over how normal Urd looked. After another fierce look, just like one Keiichi received, Megumi put on her helmet and hopped on the bike seat.
With Urd in the sidecar and Megumi seated behind him, Keiichi set the BMW in motion.
From the kitchen, Belldandy dropped one of the eggs she was preparing for breakfast.
In the dining room, Skuld jumped, startled, and rumpled the latest Mechs ‘R’ Us weekly.
Outside, Keiichi and Megumi dropped the tools they were holding; fortunately, they weren’t working on anything.
Seconds later, Belldandy appeared in the bathroom doorway, followed by the others. Urd was standing in front of the mirror, wearing her robe and a look of disbelief on her face. Slowly, she turned to face the others. Her hair was now a honey color, but it looked clumped together. Her eyes were a wild shade of iridescent purple. Her markings were lime green and baby-purple checkered patterns. Her skin was again paler than Belldandy’s, but had what looked like small multi-colored paisley tattoos on it. On closer inspection, Belldandy saw a fine black powder on Urd’s hair, face, and on the shoulders of her robe. Urd’s hair looked clumped because it was coated in honey. In fact, it seemed to be oozing from the pores of her scalp and running along her hair. A few trickles were running down her face, and the shoulders and back of her robe were already soaked with it.
“Just look at my hair! It’s so messy! That stuff is running down my back! And these little things in my skin!!!” She held out her arm and pulled up the sleeve of her robe, revealing little paisleys on her hand and arm. “They’re everywhere!” Urd looked as close to crying as Belldandy and Skuld could remember, but Urd held herself in check. “Bell-san, can’t you do anything about this???”
Belldandy shooed the others out of the way, led Urd to the bedroom, and closed the door. She chanted a few words for a spell, and the black powder disappeared. She tried another spell to change Urd’s hair, but it failed. She tried another for Urd’s skin, but it, too, didn’t work. Finally, using a third spell, Belldandy stopped most of the honey from running all over Urd.
A small look of helplessness crossed Belldandy’s face. “I’m sorry, Urd, but I can’t do any more. What did you do to Riana? This is almost as bad as one of Marller’s stunts. It looks like yesterday’s hair-color experiment didn’t work. Whatever spell Riana cast, it must cast off whatever you do to hide your hair color. I’d bet that it would do the same thing if you tried to cover up those little paisleys. Gomen nasai.”
“I thought yesterday was bad, with just the hair, but this?!” Urd pointed out the little paisleys and her garish goddess markings. A tear ran down each cheek.
Belldandy took a finger and gently wiped the tears away from Urd’s cheeks, then held her for a few minutes. “Gomen nasai, Urd- chan, but without knowing just what Riana did, I dare not do more than I’ve already done.” She continued to stand in the bedroom and let Urd lean against her shoulder, crying softly.
After a few minutes, Urd sighed and collected herself. Belldandy cast one last spell that wiped away Urd’s tears and honey that had run over the two sisters. Urd sighed again and led the way out of the bedroom and into the living room. “I guess I should explain what happened to Riana last year…,” she said, as she sat down on a mat. While Keiichi, Megumi, and Skuld gathered around, Belldandy went to the kitchen, and returned shortly with a tea service. She poured the tea while Urd related her tale.
“This happened last spring, just before I came here. Riana was always kinda cute, I guess, but she always changed her looks. Any of them would knock a guy over, but she always had to change it! One day, I made a potion that ‘kept’ Riana in one of her looks, and slipped it in her tea. It worked perfectly. Unfortunately, it also created a small bug Attractor. I had to get out of the RGO quickly, so I came here, to help Keiichi and Belldandy along the path of love…” Keiichi looked irritated, remembering what Urd’s “helping” did last summer. One of Urd’s “love potions” caused him to say he was in love with Sayoko. Fortunately, Belldandy helped him break free of that spell. Not as irritated now, he looked at Belldandy, thinking of all the good times they had.
“That was YOU?!” exclaimed Skuld. “I had the damnedest time figuring out what happened to Riana. The nerve. We couldn’t figure out what happened until I called on a favor, and we never found out who did that to her…”
“Apparently, Riana did,” muttered Urd.
Skuld suddenly jumped up, and pulled a small sphere, covered with tubes, from her pocket. Skuld tossed the little bomb at a surprised Urd, where it exploded at Urd’s feet, showering her in soot. The floor was scorched where the bomb hit. Megumi and Keiichi scrambled to get out of the way. Urd got up and charged toward Skuld, who had readied another, larger, bomb. Suddenly, Belldandy was beside Urd, pulling her to the side as Skuld threw the second bomb - to have it plucked from the air by Belldandy. Standing directly between Skuld and Urd, Belldandy tossed the bomb back to Skuld, who caught it deftly. Angrily, Belldandy said, “Skuld, stop! Urd is your sister, and for the next few days, without her power. Would you attack someone unable to defend herself in the same manner? That makes you as bad as Riana, or Marller!” A small ball of light appeared between Belldandy’s outstretched hands. Her voice was low as she said, “You’d better back down, now.”
Urd, Keiichi, and Megumi held their breath as battle-readied Skuld and Belldandy faced off. Long moments later, an angry Skuld put the bomb back in her pocket, plopped down to the mat, and put her face in her hands. “You don’t know how miserable you made Riana feel; she reveled in changing her appearance. One time, we went to a party as twins…” Skuld finally broke down, tears running down her angry face. Belldandy let her energy ball dissipate. Urd remained standing, in shock. I’ve forgotten how important my powers are. I thought, ‘Get out of the way,’ but I couldn’t…
Anxiously, Megumi got up and went to Skuld. “C’mon, let’s take a walk outside,” she said, and led Skuld from the room. As Belldandy tended to cleaning up the floor and Urd, Keiichi gathered up the tea service and took it to the kitchen. Almost a year living with a goddess, and I’m still not used to all the stuff that happens! Remember: don’t piss off Skuld!
Megumi took a handkerchief out of her pocket and handed it to Skuld. “You and Riana must be really close…” They were walking along the paths on the temple grounds. The crispness of the air helped Megumi calm herself. Skuld’s anger faded, eventually, leaving the tears.
“Riana loved changing her appearance; it was as natural as breathing for her… You don’t know, Megumi, how long she cried after that happened. After oneesama and Urd left, Riana was one of my few, close friends in the RGO. To think that Urd could be so thoughtless toward a friend…” Tears started welling up again, and Skuld held the handkerchief to her eyes, babbling incoherently.
Megumi steered Skuld to a large, flat rock nearby, and they sat down. When Kei-chan said he had a surprise for me Christmas morning, I never would have believed that there was anything like a goddess. Geez, I mean, Skuld tries to be nice; I’ve never seen her this upset before… I know Urd’s disruptive, but to make another goddess so angry… Megumi was still absorbing the story Keiichi told her that Christmas, of how Belldandy appeared in a mirror after he misdialed the phone, trying to order take-out; how she was from somewhere called the “Relief Goddess Office,” there to grant Keiichi a single wish; how Keiichi thought it was a joke and wished for Belldandy to stay with him forever - and it was granted! Later, the arrival of Urd, posing as the Goddess of Love, to help Keiichi and Belldandy with the earthly desires… The arrival of a lonely third sister, Skuld, at first jealous of Keiichi and Belldandy’s relationship, but now dealing with it. Megumi empathized with Skuld, since she was also lonely after Keiichi left for the university. Now she and Skuld were good friends…
”…I think I crossed a line with oneesama. You know, Megumi, she’s always nice, but when she’s mad… I hope she’s not too upset with me.”
Megumi looked thoughtful for a moment, then said, “Let’s go get some ice cream, Skuld. My treat. That will help us both!”
“Oh, thank you, Megumi!” Skuld looked somewhat happier, and jumped off the rock. Megumi pulled her coat tighter, thinking, If I don’t freeze in the meantime…
As Keiichi walked in the kitchen with the tea service, he noticed the broken egg on the counter, and two others in a bowl, waiting to be whisked. …And we haven’t had breakfast yet! Leaving the tea service, he cleaned the counter.
“I shouldn’t let these eggs go to waste,” mused Keiichi, as he broke three more into the bowl and whisked them. Grabbing a pan, he proceeded to cook the eggs. While they cooked, he looked around for something else to add to breakfast.
Waving her hand, Belldandy repaired the floor. The soot vanished from the floor and from Urd. Some of the honey that had dripped onto Urd’s robe and face also vanished.
“Domo arigato, Belldandy. I was totally surprised when Skuld pulled those bombs on me-”
“Oh, no you don’t, Urd! I won’t let Skuld use her powers on you while you’re defenseless, but that doesn’t excuse your actions! When will you learn to stop interfering with other people’s lives?”
“Ah, such as the Ultimate Magic Circle of Warding, that helped you save Keiichi and saved you from the Recall Notice?” Urd was getting irritated, and more honey was dripping from her hair.
Belldandy wouldn’t let herself be swayed from her argument. “It was from your interference that the bug problem occurred, and which is why you and Skuld are here now! You may not realize it, but everything you do affects other people, like a thrown pebble in a pond. The bug attractor and the Magic Circle are just ripples from your past actions. You’ve always meddled, but that trick with Riana was the catalyst, forcing you to come here, causing the bug problem and the rest of this mess!”
“I don’t have to hear this. Listen: if I hadn’t come when I did, you and Keiichi would still be skirting your feelings for each other-”
“That’s enough!” Belldandy stood there, fists balled at her side, her chest moving in and out rapidly to match her angered gasps, glaring at Urd. Belldandy thrust out her arms, with an energy ball growing as a shocked Urd watched. Belldandy screwed her eyes shut and grimaced. Narrowly missing Urd, Belldandy hurled the ball across the room, where it pounded into the far wall, splintered the wood and left a scorched mark. Furious, she turned and stalked off to the bedroom. Urd heard the bedroom door slide closed with a hard smack. She stood in the dining room, her face alternating between anger and shock.
Keiichi came out a few moments later with a small stack of plates, with the eggs on the top plate. Seeing only Urd in the dining room, he asked, “What happened? Where is Belldandy?”
With a glare on her face, Urd replied, “She’s in the bedroom. You need to talk some sense into that girl!”
Ignoring Urd’s remarks, Keiichi thrust the stack of plates at her and went off toward the bedroom. Urd, seeing no one else around, set the plates on the table, took the top one with the eggs, and walked off toward the kitchen, in search of a fork, sake, and a towel.
Keiichi knocked softly on the door, then slid it open, revealing Belldandy sitting on a futon, with a tired and tear- struck face.
“What’s wrong?” He walked into the room, closing the door softly behind him.
“I’m so tired, Keiichi-san; I think I used too much power this morning. Will you just hold me for a while?” After hearing Keiichi’s stomach rumble, she looked up, remembering. “Oh! Gomen nasai, Keiichi-san! I didn’t finish fixing breakfast!” Belldandy started to get up, but Keiichi was already pulling her toward him and back down on the futon.
“It’s okay, really. Skuld and Megumi are outside, and Urd is probably eating the eggs!” He laid on the futon, his back against the wall, his arms around Belldandy. A grateful Belldandy sighed, resting against Keiichi’s chest. A few minutes later, she fell asleep. Keiichi laid there, thinking, What a morning! Soon, he also began to drift off toward sleep.
Ugh! I don’t see how Belldandy does this! Urd straightened up, wiping her brow. Of course, her forearm came away with honey. “Great. As if I wasn’t hot enough from the dishwater and actually doing these dishes, now this!” As she reached over for the towel lying on the counter, her arm brushed a glass, knocking it to the floor. “Kuso!” she muttered, thinking the glass broke. But when she looked down, the glass was unscathed.
Urd bent down to pick up the glass, when it rolled away from her. She started after it, but the glass was spinning along its long axis, trying to right itself. Finally, the laws of physics pushed the heavy end of the glass down, and forced the open end up. In a moment, the glass stopped spinning and stood upright on the floor. “That was pretty weird.” Urd bent over a second time, but suddenly a form started to emerge from the glass. Urd stepped back, readying an offensive spell - but realized she didn’t have any power. Instead, she grabbed a recently-washed pan, wielding it like a bat. While the form emerged, she walked up beside it and was prepared to pop it on the head.
The form fully emerged, standing with a foot on either side of the glass. “Konnichiwa!” exclaimed a dark-haired girl, with tanned skin and a small ring in her nose. Just seeing Urd in her peripheral vision, Riana spun around, narrowly missing a solid whack on the head. Urd overbalanced and spun around, barely maintaining her balance. Riana collected herself and plucked the pan from Urd’s hands. “Really, that’s no way to greet a visitor,” she smiled, and placed the pan on the counter.
Getting a good look at Urd, Riana let out a good laugh. “Wow, that’s pretty wicked, even by my standards!” she said, watching the honey drip over Urd. “Ooh, what cute patterns!” Riana took Urd’s hand, and traced one of the paisley patterns with her fingertip.
Urd jerked her hand back. “Stop enjoying this so much!” She grabbed the towel from the counter, and scrubbed her arm, then her back, sopping up the excess honey. Glancing at the clock, Urd said, “And, it’s still morning! What are you doing here?”
Riana shrugged. “Unlike you, I wanted to see the effects of my handiwork.” Wow, the changes got pretty weird quickly! I hope I didn’t use the wrong randomizer… “Anyway, gotta go - Skuld needs to see a friendly face, after looking at yours! Ja!” Before Urd could react, Riana jumped back into the glass, knocking it over again as she left.
“Little bitch,” Urd muttered, picking up the fallen glass. She reached for a bottle of sake she left on the counter, took a pull, then continued with the dishes.
At the cafe, Skuld was eating spoonful after spoonful of ice cream, while Megumi concentrated more on her hot chocolate, taking a bite of ice cream occasionally. How does she do it? “I don’t see how you eat all that ice cream and not be cold!”
Skuld looked up. “Oh! And how do you know I’m not cold?” she grinned. “I guess I don’t worry about it. But, now that you mention it, I think I’ll have some cocoa, too.” Skuld went to the counter and proceeded to order a cup of hot chocolate.
‘Ding ding.’ Megumi looked over at the door, but didn’t see anyone, though the chimes at the door were moving slightly. As she was turning around, something from the corner of her eye caught her attention. At one of the back booths, a dark-haired girl was sitting cross-legged on the table. As Megumi watched, the girl hopped to the floor and quietly walked toward Megumi’s booth, a finger over her lips. Soon she was seated across from Megumi.
Skuld returned to their booth, and saw a strangely familiar figure sitting in her spot. The figure said, “Sorry, there’s no more room here,” then grinned, and moved over to make room for Skuld.
“Well, don’t stand there, your chocolate’s getting cold!”
At that, Skuld plopped down in the booth, almost spilled her chocolate, remembered to put it on the table, then hugged Riana. “It’s so good to see you! How are you doing? What are you doing here? How did you find me? How long can you stay?” As she let go, Skuld took in the changes the past few months made in her friend. Riana looked much as Urd had described - she looked like a Hindu princess with a punk attitude. If Skuld were Indian and a few years older, she might have looked like that. Glancing below the table, Skuld confirmed one of the few constants of her friend’s appearance: Riana almost always wore combat boots. Skuld looked up at her friend and grinned - it was like being back in the RGO.
“Slow down! Too many questions! I’m doing great. It did get a little lonely, if not quieter, in the Office without our favorite debugger. I’ve missed having you around. Oh, who’s your friend?” Riana asked, looking at Megumi.
Skuld looked around the cafe, which was completely vacant except for the three girls. “Ah. Riana, meet Morisato Megumi-san, a good friend. Megumi, this is one of my best friends, Riana, Goddess Second Class.” At Riana’s shocked look, Skuld replied, “Don’t worry, she knows about us. Oneesama has a contract with her brother, Morisato Keiichi-san.”
“Oh! Well, I guess it’s a small world, ne?” There was no mistaking who “oneesama” was, when Skuld said it. “What does Belldandy-san think of that contract?”
Skuld took a sip of her almost-forgotten hot chocolate, and launched into the series of events that occurred since she arrived last summer. She tip-toed around her jealousy of Belldandy’s relationship with Keiichi, but began in earnest when the Bug Attractor appeared between Keiichi and Belldandy, and how they had to be kept separated and out of sight of each other. She told about a cherry tree at the temple being the source of power for the Attractor, and of Urd’s plan to use the Ultimate Magic Circle of Warding to break its power. Skuld got excited when the Gate appeared and took Belldandy off, and of Urd’s casting of the final spell that activated the Circle and closed the Gate. She told of Belldandy’s journey into Keiichi’s mind, though she didn’t know what had happened; just that Belldandy brought Keiichi’s consciousness back. Finally, she told about Keiichi’s gift to Belldandy, the ring, and about a forgotten promise. Then she revealed the aftermath: Urd’s license suspension, her own assignment to the surface, and of Belldandy’s Recall Notice nullification.
During Skuld’s recollections, Megumi sat, fascinated by the tale. Kei-chan told me a lot, but not all this!
Riana ate the rest of Skuld’s ice cream.
Skuld wrapped up the narrative. “Only Belldandy knows what happened while she was in Keiichi’s mind. As for the contract, she’s always happy when she’s with Keiichi. They love each other a lot.” She sighed, then, “So, how are you?”
Riana grinned. “Oh, I’m doing fine. I’m here doing some fieldwork for the Office. But, I just had to run a little side errand after I heard what happened to Urd. There was talk that she got suspended, but no one found out why. When I saw her yesterday, I couldn’t feel any waves emanating from her, so it must have been true. It was delicious! Skuld, you should have seen the look on her face! You would have loved it! I had that planned for a long time. It was bad enough she pinned down my appearance, but that Bug Attractor! That was one hellish week I’d rather not relive.”
“Ah! Urd may yet have such a week! You should have seen her this morning-”
“Oh, I did! That spell exceeded all my expectations!”
After that, the conversation turned to Riana’s various activities at the RGO, doing fieldwork and trying her hand at system administration and debugging. Three bowls of ice cream (Skuld) and five cups of hot chocolate (two each for Megumi and Riana, one for Skuld) later, Skuld looked at the clock. “Hey! It’s almost eleven-thirty. I wonder what oneesama fixed for lunch?”
After Megumi paid for the snacks, they bundled up, preparing for the walk back to the temple. Megumi donned her coat, Skuld wore a heavier version of her white long-tailed coat, and Riana unfolded the charcoal grey trenchcoat lying over her arm and put it on. After various snapping, buttoning, and zipping, the three girls stepped out into the breezy winter morning.
As they left, the waitress at the counter thought, I didn’t see that Indian girl come in… but forgot it when she saw Megumi’s tip.
Urd slowly opened her eyes… Iya iya! Too bright!! …then closed them again, quickly. While she was waiting for the stars to disappear from inside her skull, she tried to remember what happened.
Slowly opening one eye, she peered down to a numb and seemingly disconnected hand holding a rather large bottle of sake. She closed her eye and tried to think about that for a few moments. Sake… Hmmm… Where are my hands?? As if on cue, it seemed every part of her body erupted into wakefulness, showering Urd in pins-and-needles tingling. Against her will, she abruptly sat up and opened both eyes wide. She barely held herself in check as her head spun viciously. An eternity later, tingling sensation subsided.
Realizing she could feel her hand holding the sake bottle, she pulled it to her face. There were, maybe, three drops left. Finally, she remembered that morning’s events: a truly ‘bad hair day,’ Skuld’s eruption into anger at her explanation, then Belldandy’s anger, then Riana’s abrupt visit. That was enough, Urd decided, and after she washed the dishes, continued on the bottle of sake she pulled down while doing the dishes, and sat on the kitchen floor, downing it pull after pull.
Vaguely realizing she shouldn’t try to get up, Urd slowly leaned back against the lower cabinets and closed her eyes. …something was weird about my hand… Urd thought, but she lost the thought as she lost consciousness again.
On the way back to the temple, Riana voiced her worries about her spell. “Skuld, what do you know about randomizers?”
Skuld, either not noticing the worries in her friend’s voice or thinking it a joke, assumed a holier-than-thou stance and said in a low voice, “I know all. How can I enlighten you?”
Riana couldn’t help but laugh at her friend’s number-one antic when asked an obvious question at the RGO. However, the worry remained in her voice. “I’m serious, Skuld. When I saw Urd this morning, I was a bit surprised by how quickly and how weird the effects of the spell became in such a short period of time-”
Skuld looked concerned. “What kind of randomizer did you use - the Lorenz or the Full-On Chaos?”
Riana looked at her fingertips. “Er, I, um, used the Biurification Attractor…”
“What?! Didn’t you see that randomizer was marked ‘Use with caution!‘? That randomizer…” Skuld launched into a long, complex explanation of why that randomizer should not be used. Megumi, getting colder, grabbed the two goddesses by an arm and started for the temple.
At the temple, the three girls went inside to the dining room and sat around the table. While Skuld and Riana were still in a discussion, Megumi noticed a stack of plates on the table. Still a little cold, she took the plates and went off to the kitchen to make some tea.
That irritating noise cut through the fog in Urd’s mind and made her wince. She opened her eyes, slowly, to see a startled Megumi staring down at her. This time, she could feel her limbs, so she raised a bright orange hand and pointed a webbed finger at Megumi. “Look, you-”
Then she looked at her hand.
“Huh?” Keiichi opened his eyes, for a moment forgetting where he was. Then he looked down at Belldandy, sleeping serenely in his arms. Ah. If only we had more time like this, just to ourselves-
“Oneesama!!” The door slid open, and Skuld burst into the room. “Oops…!” exclaimed Skuld as she saw Keiichi and Belldandy lying together.
“Hey! Where are your manners?!” Keiichi looked irritated. As always, either Urd or Skuld must interrupt everything…
But Skuld was already kneeling next to Belldandy, trying to wake her. “Oneesama, wake up… oneesama…”
Belldandy slowly awoke, then remembered what happened before she went to sleep… “Skuld! Why are you here??” With a small look toward Keiichi, she untangled herself from him. Fortunately, we’re still dressed…
“Oneesama, Urd ‘changed’ again! Riana’s spell is going out of control! We’ve got to do something!” Skuld got up, grabbed her by the hand, and ran from the room with a groggy-but-concerned Belldandy in tow. Keiichi sighed, got up, and followed.
“What?!” Riana crossed her arms and glared defiantly at Skuld.
Around the dining room table sat six figures. Three of the figures, goddesses all, were having a heated discussion about interdimensional physics. Two others, a brother and sister, watched and listened to the ‘discussion’ without comprehension. The last figure sat with its legs pulled to its chest, head on knees and arms wrapped around legs.
“Didn’t you hear what I said? Used improperly, the Biurification Attractor degenerates at a geometric rate! In a few days, there won’t be an Urd we can recognize!” Skuld looked exasperated.
While Riana absorbed that piece of information, Belldandy got up to make more tea.
“Engine mechanics I can understand, but what are you talking about?” Megumi looked confused. “This ‘metaphysic’ stuff and dimensional stuff is way beyond me…” Keiichi looked similarly confused.
“OK.” Skuld took a table napkin from her pocket and unfolded it on the table. Reaching into another pocket, she produced a fountain pen with an impossibly tiny nib. She proceeded to draw a schematic on the napkin, with such fine detail Megumi thought was impossible for regular paper, much less a napkin. Beginning on the left edge of the napkin, she drew a horizontal line to the right, which branched into two, then four lines. Sketching quickly, each of the lines doubled itself as it approached the right edge of the napkin. Within moments, the right edge was covered with a thousand tiny lines.
Capping her pen, Skuld explained. “Here,” pointing at the single line on the left, “is where the ‘Bi-Attractor’ starts. In the beginning, it looks like a normal geometric progression: one, two, four, eight, sixteen, thirty-two, and so on. However, at an indeterminable point,” she pointed again, this time, perhaps a third from the right edge, “you can see gaps where the doubling should take place, but don’t. It’s in these areas where the Attractor breaks down. As you move toward the right, with more branching, the areas increase in frequency and number. At first, only her appearance changes. But as the randomizer breaks down, it begins to change the atomic structure, as well.”
Skuld looked at Urd, who was sitting next to Megumi. Urd’s skin was orange-yellow and was scaly, and her fingers had webbing between them, like a duck’s toes. Her hair was made from fiber- optic wires, each one glowing a different color. Her eyes and goddess markings were iridescent. If not for the orange skin and scales, Urd would be eerily pretty.
Belldandy came back into the dining room and poured the tea, then took her place between Skuld and Urd.
Looking at Riana, Skuld continued, “What we need are the parameters, or basic values, Riana used with the randomizer, so we can shut it down properly. When it’s shut down properly, Urd’s appearance and structure will revert to its previous state; that is, before you cast the spell. Remember, Urd is mortal until her License is reinstated…”
Riana crossed her arms in front of her chest and said, “Hmph! You didn’t run to Urd when you needed the information to break the spell she set on me-”
“We didn’t know she caused it, remember?”
Riana sat for a few moments, lost in thought. She looked around at the five people present. She looked at the two goddesses, and could see only concern for their sister, and perhaps frustration. On the two mortal’s faces, she saw some confusion, no doubt caused by their earlier discussion. Finally, Riana turned to the source of concern. On Urd’s face she saw a play of emotions: anger, shock, disbelief, grief.
Finally, she turned to Belldandy. “Belldandy-san: I’ll need someplace quiet to meditate. I can reverse the spell later tonight.” With that, she got up and went outside.
Skuld watched her friend walk outside, then got up. As she walked toward the kitchen, she noticed a black mark on the wall, and some wood splinters on the floor. Nani…? Just then, she heard the outside door slide open again. When she looked around, Belldandy was gone.
Belldandy sat tailor-style in the garden, the afternoon sun warming her back, deep in thought, when Skuld quietly walked up and knelt next to her. The two goddesses sat together in the cool afternoon. After a long silence, Skuld said, “Oneesama, I was wrong for what I did this morning.” She left her apology simple; there was no use for an elaborate explanation.
Belldandy remained sitting with her eyes closed for a few moments, then turned to her sister. “Oh, Skuld, you know I can’t remain angry with you! Now I know how you feel, and why you did what you did. After you left this morning, Urd said some things that made me upset. I almost attacked her with one of my energy spheres… But I couldn’t do that to my sister, in her position…”
Skuld nodded. “I saw the mark it left in the wall. If you had hit Urd with that…”
“I know. That’s why I’m here now… Thank you, Skuld.” Belldandy closed her eyes again, and bowed her head.
Skuld watched her sister for a moment, then left as quietly as she came.
Riana wandered around the garden, thinking about nothing in particular, when she heard voices. She stopped next to a hedge and listened. The voices were quiet, and Riana could barely make out the words. “…almost attacked her…” “…had hit Urd…” “…thank you, Skuld…” Belldandy?? Riana started again, deliberately choosing an opposite direction, letting the snippets of conversation run through her mind.
Eyes closed, Riana chanted slowly, in a low voice. Urd, unconscious, laid on a futon in the guest bedroom. The other two goddesses sat side by side, quietly watching Riana. Brother and sister also sat side by side, behind Belldandy and Skuld, watching the events with awe. As Riana chanted, her arms moved in a complex pattern around her, and her magical force lifted her from the floor. Slowly, ever so slowly, a small blue-white sphere formed in front of her, at eye level. After she finished chanting, Riana placed the sphere over Urd’s forehead, and started chanting again, in a higher voice. The sphere dissipated as a soft glow settled over Urd. As the four others watched, Urd’s features melted back into their natural forms, as if in time-lapse photography.
Long minutes later, or so it seemed to those watching, Urd’s natural form remained, and Riana stopped chanting. She slumped to the floor, exhausted.
Belldandy and Skuld came out of the kitchen, bearing trays of food, which they deposited on the dining room table. The early morning sun streamed through the room, bathing its occupants in its clear, yellow-white light.
While Belldandy and Skuld set out the trays for breakfast, Megumi herded Urd and Riana toward the table. Urd looked tired, but considering the events of the previous few days, no one was surprised. Riana also had a look of weariness about her, which surprised Skuld. “Are you all right, Riana?”
Riana gave Skuld a little smile and replied, “Sure. I just haven’t had anything to eat since last night, that’s all.” She took a place between Skuld and Keiichi. Urd sat on the other side of Skuld. Megumi sat next to Urd, leaving Belldandy to sit next to Keiichi.
For once, breakfast was relatively quiet, with Urd still eating a lot more than normally did. Belldandy watched Urd carefully, remembering what Riana said before she reversed Urd’s appearance. “The changes in Urd’s appearance consume a lot of energy, since the spell is ongoing. After tonight’s change, she should be eating normal amounts of food in a few days.” Megumi had asked, “Why does Urd need to be unconscious while you change her appearance?” Skuld thought it was obvious, but didn’t say anything. Riana answered, “Because that’s how I designed the spell. Urd’s appearance changes only while she’s unconscious. Plus, it’s easier to reverse the changes when she isn’t actively fighting them.”
Bringing herself back to the present, Belldandy noticed Urd and Skuld fighting over the last piece of sliced fruit. Apparently, Urd ate most of the tray. Belldandy sighed, then, “SKULD! URD!” They froze in mid-squabble, and turned toward their sister. “There’s more fruit in the kitchen. It will only take a moment to prepare another tray… Riana!!” The other two sisters turned toward their guest, who had plucked the orange slice from Urd’s hand and proceeded to eat it in one gulp.
“What??” Riana looked at the three sisters, her voice sounding totally innocent. Keiichi and Megumi, watching the whole time, couldn’t help but to laugh.
Riana walked out into the garden, catching up with Skuld. They walked for a while, taking in the crisp winter air.
Riana stopped walking. “About yesterdayÖ,” started Riana. She let the words drift between them, then picked up the thought. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have been so petty, but-”
”-but Urd has that effect on people!” finished Skuld, grinning at her friend. In a quieter voice, she said, “Yes, I know.”
The two goddesses resumed their walk through the garden.
“You won’t stay a few more days?” Belldandy implored.
“Yes,” replied Riana. “I really should go. Thank you for the hospitality you’ve shown me in the short time I was here, though.”
Riana reached into the kitchen cabinet and pulled out a glass, then walked into the dining room. Keiichi and Megumi were looking over some engine diagrams. “But Kei-chan, isn’t that one too stressful for the frame? Oh, Riana, hi. Why are you carrying an empty glass?”
“This is how I get around, you see. Skuld uses water, I use a glass.” Riana thought that was an adequate explanation. “Megumi, I’m glad Skuld has a friend like you. Truly. Keiichi, take care of Belldandy, or Skuld might put you in line!” She set the glass on the table and walked to Skuld, sitting by the wall, as usual. “Well, I’m off. Some people’s jobs are never finished!” she said with a grin. Skuld got up and hugged Riana tightly. “Hey, I’ll be back soon, now I know where you are!” Riana added.
Just then, Urd walked in from the street, with a grocery bag in her arms. Seeing Belldandy’s look, she said, “Sorry, Belldandy, I can’t wait until lunch!” and started for the kitchen.
As Urd walked past, Riana said in a louder-than-life voice, “Urd! When you think you’re ready, you find me!”
Urd turned around. “Look you-” she started, but she was addressing an empty glass rolling toward the edge of the table.
Tired of arguing with Keiichi about engine mountings, Megumi thought for a moment, then asked, “Skuld, how did you get the drawing on that napkin yesterday? So much detail should be impossible, especially with a fountain pen!”
Skuld laughed. “You see,” Skuld said, producing the pen and uncapping it, “This isn’t an ink nib. In fact, there’s no ink at all here. I think of what I want to write, or draw, and the nib changes the color properties of the material directly to form a contrasting color. The thickness of the line is controlled by the ‘scale’ of the image in my mind. I thought of this diagram in a huge scale, and the pen reduced it to fit on the napkin. All I need to do is hold the pen, and it practically draws itself!” She recapped the pen and put it away. “I just hope Riana doesn’t ask too many questions about the Biurification Attractor around the RGO…”
“I was a little dramatic with my explanation, Megumi.” Skuld held out her thumb and forefinger, almost but not quite touching. “Belldandy was right, you know. Urd is a pain, but she’s my sister. I should be the one to do that to her!” Skuld laughed, and so did Megumi. Grabbing Megumi’s hand, Skuld ran off. “C’mon. Let’s get some ice cream before lunch is ready!”
Oh no, not again!! Megumi sighed and let herself be dragged to the café, leaving Keiichi with his schematics.
Urd was in the bathroom, examining herself in the mirror. The previous five days were finally behind her. As she could tell, Riana truly reversed the spell. Urd felt and looked normal again… Nanda? She looked closer, and saw a tiny tattoo of Riana on the inside of her ankle. Damn! I’ll get you, Riana. Just five more days… Urd smiled and stretched out an arm, closing her fist. Although nothing happened, she could taste the sweetness of victory already.
Well, I wanted to write something light. I started out with Nuku-Nuku and ended up with Battle Angel! So it seems. (OK, maybe it wasn’t that drastic.) Oh well, that’s how the characters progressed. Don’t look for the big showdown anytime soon: I haven’t written in quite a while, and this little story told me to rest some before I try another. :)
Of course, while I was writing this story, I picked up one of the manga volumes (number 4, to be exact), where Marller does the same sort of plot twice!! (Chapter 26: Marller turns Keiichi into a lizard [Dark Horse translation available: Part 1, issue 4]; Chapter 29: Marller turns Megumi into a car!) Oh well…
Before I’m flamed too seriously: If Keiichi appears to be a cardboard character, gomen nasai. I wasn’t concerned too much with Keiichi (he does have three goddesses caring for him!), but it would look strange not to see him in the story. I’m also sure there’s more to Megumi than I’ve exploredÖ (thinking about OVAs 2 and 5, to be specific) Hmmm. Besides, I think she and Skuld have a lot in common!! Riana also didn’t do as much as I intended, but hey, that’s what another story is for!
I’ll stop now before I have more notes than story!