10 am Monday Morning.
Sunday passed without incident. Skuld and Urd were once again engaged in one of their running battles to control the television. This time instead of a game of Goddess Poker they decided to go out into the courtyard and throw Skuld-bombs at each other and whoever got blown up lost TV rights for the day. Banpei and Sigel, the female robot Skuld built from a old junk shop's welcome doll, who kept avoiding Banpei's advances, were chasing each other around the temple. Sigel kept shooting her rocket punch at the amorous robot, and he kept dodging them. Keiichi was working on his computer which burned out yet another hard drive. This was the third one in three months. And Belldandy was once again in the kitchen looking through Western homemaking magazines trying to find a new delicacy to serve Keiichi. This was the morning that Lind and Peorth were to show up to help Belldandy to cast the spell and escort the gang to Heaven. But no one knew the exact time they were to arrive, so they kept themselves busy until they showed up.
It was a little after noon when it happened. Belldandy was in the kitchen preparing lunch, when she suddenly tensed up. There was a familiar stirring of energy in the air. Urd ran into the kitchen and said “You felt that, right?” Belldandy answered “Yes, the gate's opening.” Both sisters dropped what they were doing and hurried outside into the courtyard.
They stopped next to Skuld who pointed into the sky towards the west. The clouds in the sky started to turn a purplish blue and the winds kicked up suddenly. All three goddess sisters stared at the sight, the winds blowing their long hair wildly. Lightning bolts flashed in the distance and an opening developed in the clouds. The center of the opening rippled and shimmered like the surface of a pond.
After a few seconds, an object appeared in the opening. It was hard to describe, but it looked somewhat like a Celtic knot with an empty space in the middle. It was the gate. The edges of the gate glittered with an unnatural sparkling. In the empty space, waves of energy flowed in upon themselves from the edges of the opening to the center. The lightning continued to flash as the clouds started to recede. The gate became much clearer as the clouds thinned. After about a minute, the clouds had completely disappeared leaving a completely blue sky. Two figures materialized in the gate. As they came closer to the opening, Belldandy could make out the silhouette of the figures. One was shorter, much more scantily dressed, and voluptuous than the other which was taller, slimmer and carrying a long handled ax that looked like a medieval halberd. The figures exited the opening of the gate and floated down to land softly in the center of the courtyard. It was Lind and Peorth.
Lind was the taller of the two. She was dressed in her Valkyrie battlesuit and carried her halberd in both hands across her chest. She had a stern look on her face as did all of the warrior goddesses of the Valkyries. Lind was a combat specialist. Trained to fight demons and defend heaven from all attackers. She had the reputation of being the most aggressive of the Valkyries and she also employed the most extreme training regimen. It was hard to understand how this goddess who was trained to fight could have such a beautiful singing voice.
Peorth was the more attractive. She was dressed in a revealing black outfit that resembled a bikini, but with a more substantial top. Over that she wore a brown harness/garter belt. She wore brown matching gloves, boots and garters that had undone clasps on them. Her hair was in a short pageboy with a long ponytail going down the middle of her back. Peorth was employed in the same job as Belldandy except she worked for the rival Earth Assistance Agency. Peorth's specialty was in “services.” Both Goddesses were First Class, but Peorth held the same type of license as Belldandy: Second Category, Unlimited. Lind held a First Category, Special Duty license as befitted her combat status.
Lind stepped up to Belldandy and her sisters, and said in a firm, clipped tone, “Belldandy, Urd, Skuld. It is good to see you again, although I wish the circumstances were more positive.” Peorth added “Oui mon chere, Belldandy has been the talk of all heaven. Everyone's all a twitter about her defying the Almighty. I can tell you, he is not pleased.”
Belldandy stepped forward and clasped the hands of Lind and Peorth and welcomed them. “Welcome back to the temple. It's been a while since you both were here. Shall we have some tea and discuss what's before us? Lind responded curtly. We can't stay too long. We need to get going as soon as possible, but a cup of tea would be satisfactory.
The goddesses walked back to the front door where they were met by Keiichi. “Hello, Lind. I'm glad to see you. I remember you said you wanted to come back on your next vacation.” Lind said “ I did make that promise, but I've been really busy with the demon problems we've been having lately. Unfortunately, this is not a social call. We have a lot to discuss and little time to do it.”
Peorth took one look at Keiichi, and floated over to him and put her arms around him in an smothering embrace. “Ke-e-i-i-i-i-c-h-i-i-i!!!, you're not going to welcome me back to the temple???” She nuzzled her face against his and cooed, “ You didn't miss me???, I missed you!!! I'm still waiting to grant you that wish, anytime, cherie.” Keiichi wanted to blow away on the wind. “Hello, Peorth.” he sighed. She was about ready to plant a kiss on Keiichi when Urd cautioned her “Peorth, I wouldn't do that if I were you. Remember Belldandy's jealousy issues?” Sure enough, thunderclouds appeared overhead, a savage bolt of lighting struck the temple roof and blew a foot wide hole in the shingles. Belldandy stood there her ocean-blue pupils the size of pie plates, her lips set in a firm frown. Murder written across her gorgeous face. Peorth let go of Keiichi, but only after lingering just a few seconds in seeming defiance to Belldandy. “Hhhumph, she's no fun.” Belldandy snapped out of it and acted none the wiser.
In the Tea Room Belldandy, Peorth, and Lind sat at the table while Urd floated nearby, Skuld and Keiichi sat next to each other, but the young goddess was still sore at him for bringing all this on her big sister. “You're gonna get it up in Heaven, Keiichi!” She said and stuck her tongue out at him. Keiichi shook his head and ignored her.
Belldandy opened the discussion, “Lind, how is this going to work? Lind said “The spell requires a special magic circle drawn according to these specifications. She waved her hand and a piece of paper with very complex equations and formulas written on it, materialized from nowhere. She handed the paper to Skuld. “Skuld, you are one of the best magic circle designers and mathematicians in Heaven. You're responsible for setting up the circle. It has to be laid out exactly as these formulas state. No deviation.” Skuld beamed at her new job. “It's about time someone around here recognized my sheer genius!!!” She happily ran off to her room to do the calculations.
Lind continued “Now, here is the spell program.” She waved another gesture and three more papers appeared. She passed them out to Peorth and Belldandy. “As you can see, this is very high level spell. We will definitely need our angels for this one. There is only one chance that we have to do it right. Any mistake would be unfortunate to say the least.
“Once we get to heaven, I will escort you directly to council chambers. You should know that the entire company of goddesses is expected to observe this hearing. This is an unprecedented occasion. And the Almighty is very intent on revoking your license. I've been told that isolation is out. So you won't have to worry about that.” Belldandy breathed a sigh of relief.
“But if you're guilty, it's safe to say that your license will be revoked. The question is for how long. He's hoping to get five years heaven time at least.” Keiichi raised his hand. “Lind, what is my role in this and why was I asked to come along. I don't know what I as a human can do to help Bell.” Lind looked straight at Keiichi and with all seriousness said “ Keiichi, you are the most important part of this whole thing. You will testify to Belldandy's character. You're going to be the one who'll tell the Almighty and the Council about what Belldandy has done for you and how she has helped you since you've been living with her. While we will all have a role in trying to sway the council from passing sentence on Belldandy, it will be your statements the council will listen to most. If there was ever a time for you to convey your truest and deepest feelings about Belldandy, that will be the time. Do not hold back under any circumstances. If you truly love Belldandy and your statements reflect that, your feelings will come through and she will be acquitted.
Peorth was sitting silent during the discussion, but she then added her concerns. “One major problem with this whole situation is Lind. As you know, Lind has Level One Song Proficiency. But you also know well that when it comes to non-combat magic, her skills are...lower than average. This level of magic is well above her abilities.” Peorth said her last sentence nervously ready to dive out of the way should Lind take offense. But Lind didn't flinch. “ I do admit that I am the weak link in this whole affair. My magical skills leave much to be desired. I am a combat goddess, we in the Valkyries have no use for singing spells. But I'm the only other First Class Goddess with the required singing credentials. There is no one else qualified. All I can ask is that Belldandy and Peorth can cover for my weakness. I will give all I have to make this work, but I will need help in casting my parts of the spell.” Belldandy put her hand on Lind's shoulder. “This problem presents a challenge, but I have faith that you will do your very best. We all have shortcomings we must overcome. But only by hard work and support from people who care about us, will we achieve success.” Lind looked at Belldandy, smiled and said “Thank you, Belldandy. With you helping me, I'll be all right.”
It took Skuld two hours to draw the circle according to instructions. She borrowed every calculating device in the house including Keiichi's computer and soon had her room filled with arcane formulas and calculations. She had to convert ten-dimensional math into three-dimensions, take into account the difference in time calculations between Heaven and Earth and also make sure that the gate deposited them in the correct location. Keiichi stopped by to ask if Skuld needed any help crunching the numbers. She looked at him as if he had grown a second head and kept doing her work. He looked at her calculations and within ten seconds had gotten hopelessly lost. She was doing math that wasn't found anywhere on the Earth. He had to admit, that even though she was annoying, immature, self absorbed, and incredibly moody, Skuld was a hell of a mathematician.
Belldandy walked up to Keiichi and pulled him aside. She had serious concerns on her face. “Keiichi, I'm nervous. I'm wondering whether I made a mistake in defying the Almighty like I did. So many things could go wrong. The spell could fail, you could be destroyed, and even if we make it to Heaven, I could still lose my license.” Belldandy wrapped her arms around Keiichi and said “Hold me, for just a little while.” Keiichi held his goddess, and spoke words of reassurance to her.
“Belldandy, there comes a time when people have to take a stand for their convictions. Standing up for what you believe is not an easy thing to do. If it were, everyone would do it. You love me enough that you would disobey an order from the Almighty himself. I am humbled and awed that you care enough for me to do that. Whatever happens, you have my word and my bond that I will always be with you. No matter what. The Almighty can take away your license, but he can't take you away from me. What's done is done, you can't go back now.” Belldandy didn't say anything, she just held on tight to her man. She could once again hear her's and Keiichi's hearts beat as one. She took comfort from his reassurance. She drew on his strength and retreated into his warmth. Keiichi looked into Belldandy's face and kissed her on the forehead. “Hey, you're supposed to be the big bad Goddess First Class who could destroy the earth with one wave of her hand. And you're taking solace from a frail human like me? Something's wrong with this picture.” Belldandy smiled.