Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chapter 15 and Epilogue--The Song of the Goddesses.

Chapter 15

4th rotation, 3rd Interval, 2nd Period of Cycle 17 Year 2,800,000,000

Keiichi began his testimony. “As you heard the goddesses say, I'm not the best looking, or the smartest, or even the luckiest man on Earth. I've even heard such comments from some of the goddesses in the gallery. But that's alright. I guess that's why Yggdrasil sent Belldandy to me. It knew that I needed someone in my life that would give me a chance to show them what I was all about. And that someone was Belldandy.

“When Bell first came to me, I thought she was a joke played on me by my sempais. They were always picking on me and taking advantage of my gullibility. They knew that I had little experience with women, so I figured that she was put up to it by them so they could have a laugh at my expense. I made the wish that I made partially because I thought it was a joke, but deep down, I hoped that it was true that Belldandy was a goddess who had come down to grant me a wish. It was only after the wish was granted and I was kicked out of my dorm, that I realized that I had a living, breathing goddess from Heaven staying with me. And that I had to take care of her.

“ We had no place to stay, a kindly Buddhist priest took us in and left his temple in our care. During those first days together, we were barely able to make it from one day to another. I had to take part-time jobs to buy food for the both of us. But even though we had those hard times, Belldandy never lost faith in me. She has done so much for me. She kept my spirits up. Her constant encouragement gave me the strength to carry on. With her in my corner, I can take on the world. And I knew that I never wanted to do anything to let her down. I was even willing to put up with Urd and Skuld's antics as long as I had Belldandy. If that was the price to pay to have a goddess like her my life, It was a small one.” The entire chamber sat in complete silence as Keiichi continued to speak.

“For sure, living with three goddesses presented challenges that normal humans wouldn't face. Urd and Skuld are a handful. But I appreciate having them around. They liven up the temple. It's never boring with them." He looked at the two sisters as he said this. Urd looked back at him coyly and Skuld stuck her tongue out at him. Keiichi continued. "Urd becoming the Lord of Terror and then having her demonic and divine halves separated. Dealing with Hild and Marller. The Angel Eater. Skuld's crazy inventions. Outbreaks of bugs and being turned two-dimensional. Boy, that one was strange. So many crazy adventures. But also so many peaceful, wonderful days just living with this goddess and enjoying all the blessings she's given me. And I've had the privilege to face the good times and the bad with Belldandy by my side. Thank You, Kami-Sama, for allowing Belldandy to come and live with me.” As if on cue, Belldandy ran up and stood next to Keiichi. He turned to her and looked into her deep blue eyes. She smiled as a tear began to form. Somehow she knew what was coming.

He took her hands and said “I've been wanting to say these words for a long time, but I never had the guts to say them. I guess I needed the right time and to be in the right place.” Other times when Keiichi tried to profess his love to Belldandy, his words would get caught in his throat, his nervousness would get the best of him. He was afraid that maybe Belldandy wouldn't feel the same way. But this time, before all of Heaven, there was nothing to get in his way, nothing to stop him from saying those words that summed up his life with Belldandy to this moment. Keiichi peered deep into his goddess's heart and soul and confidently declared:

“Belldandy, my friend and my goddess, I love you!, and if you'll have me, I'd like for a goddess like you to stay with me always!”

Belldandy looked into Keiichi's eyes, and as the tears started to flow, and with a smile that spanned the length and breadth of Heaven, she tilted her head back and shouted for all to hear.

“I Love You, Keiichi Morisato!! and I will stay with you forever!!, I really do love you Keiichi!!!”

Her voice resounded throughout Heaven, and echoed off the infinite walls of the chamber. Every God and Goddess on the streets, in the buidlings, even those Valkyries at the Gate could hear Belldandy's declaration as if they were witnessing it in person.

For a few moments, there was total silence in the chamber, except for Belldandy's muffled weeping. Then at the very back, one goddess released her angel and began to sing. It was only one goddess but her voice filled the hall. Then another goddess joined in, and another and another. Soon, the chamber was filled with the complex, celestial harmonies of thousands of goddesses singing with their angels. The angelic choir was like none Keiichi had ever heard. One that no choir on Earth could reproduce. He could understand each word. He could see the runes that made up the song spiraling over his head towards the ceiling.

The song was about the love between a man and his goddess and how that love could never die. As the goddesses sang their song, Keiichi looked towards Lind and the others, they all had their angels out and were singing, including Skuld. He looked back at Belldandy and she too was singing with Holy Bell, a look of rapturous joy on her beautiful face. As the song filled his heart, he felt the lightness in his stomach again, but this time his mind had been even further expanded. He felt power surging through his body, the likes of which he had never felt before. This power started in his head and radiated out down through all his limbs and out through the soles of his feet. It cleansed him, invigorated him, transformed him. His senses were completely released from their human constraints. It was as if he had been removed from his earthly body and was floating free of the bonds and limits of humanity. The power gently called to him, beckoning him to let go and submit. He did.

He felt as if he could move the world with just a thought. He closed his eyes and drank it all in. He let his body go. And yearned to float freely on the notes of the song of the goddesses. He opened his eyes again to see that he had done just that. He was airborne with Belldandy floating high above the chamber. Her wings were fully extended. He looked at his clothes. The street clothes were gone, and they were replaced with royal blue and gold robes, the same color as the trim on Belldandy's uniform. Belldandy raised her right hand and produced a mirror. Keiichi looked into it and saw that he had indeed been transformed. On his forehead was a mark that looked like a crescent moon. With boundless joy, he grabbed hold of his goddess and pulled her to him and kissed her. She returned the embrace. This time, they knew, was the right time. There would be nothing to hold them back. He could give all of himself to her and she could give all of herself to him.

The song finally ended. The chamber returned back to normal. Keiichi and Belldandy returned to the floor. Keiichi could still feel the power flowing through him. He felt in total control. His senses could now experience the fullness of Heaven in all its eternal glory.. He and Belldandy looked around at the gathered masses and saw nothing but approval and joy on everyone's face...even Skuld's.

Kami-sama said “The council has spoken. Goddess First Class Belldandy, you have been acquitted of all charges against you. You are free to return to the surface world, if you so choose. And Keiichi Morisato, in recognition of your exemplary service to Heaven during the time that you and Belldandy have been together. You have been made a Second Class God with all the rights and responsibilities thereto...”

Peorth interrupted “Kami-sama, Before you go on, can you answer a question for us?
Why did the transition spell fail, and why was Keiichi able to still come to Heaven? I and my fellow goddesses are confused.”

Kami-sama though for a moment and said “Peorth, the spell didn't fail. Keiichi would not be here if it did. The spell was executed correctly, and despite what you may think, Lind performed her part quite admirably. You see, Keiichi is a one of a kind case. He had God-powers which were sealed unto him when he was born, but only a specific set of circumstances performed in a specific sequence would have caused these powers to manifest themselves.

“ It was pre-ordained by me that he and Belldandy were to meet, and she would grant him his wish. No other goddess could have put things in motion. Belldandy alone was the key. She knew this from the beginning, but was sworn to secrecy and forbidden to speak of it to anyone. This was a topic of special significance and even if Belldandy would have been tempted to reveal this, she would have been physically silenced. Once Belldandy and Keiichi met, his God-powers started to slowly develop.

“ Keiichi's wish was the next piece of the puzzle to fall into place. His wish for Belldandy to stay with him further unlocked his powers and also advanced the plan. This was the only wish that would have done so. That is the reason why his wish, as unusual as it was, was accepted by Yggdrasil. The arrival of Skuld and Urd into his life was not part of the plan, but just happened to provide an unintended benefit, because as all here know, Belldandy, Urd, and Skuld are not ordinary goddesses, at least not in the sense that there is such a thing as an ordinary goddess. They are the Norns of Time. Urd of the Past, Belldandy of the Present and Skuld of the Future.

“The presence of these three special goddesses in one place and the love and respect that Keiichi showed them over the years only served to strengthen his powers quicker than expected. But because Keiichi was still only human, his powers could only grow so much. He had to be released from his human bonds for his powers to fully develop.”

Belldandy looked at Keiichi, and with a touch of remorse in her voice said “I'm sorry that I had to hold this information from you, Keiichi. It was for your protection that this had to play out as it did. I would understand if you're angry with me about holding out on you.”

Keiichi said “Bell, there was nothing you could do. It was better that I didn't know. There's nothing to be sorry about. You really need to stop apologizing about things beyond your control.”

Kami-sama reasserted himself “Now, on to the transition spell. Belldandy forced my hand prematurely when she defied my order to return to Heaven. But after consulting with the council, I realized that this hearing would be an opportune time to bring Keiichi here and to see precisely why Belldandy was so willing to defy me. Do not believe that this hearing was merely a cover to bring him here. Belldandy was accused of a serious offense and had she been found guilty, would have been punished.

"The transition spell did work, but not precisely as the goddesses expected. You raised the dome of power and Keiichi's mind was opened and expanded as expected. But what happened was that at the precise moment that his mind had opened, he exerted a rush of power that interfered with the spell and caused the dome to collapse. So there was nothing wrong with the spell. The Song of the Goddesses was the final act that sealed Keiichi's elevation to Godhood.

“Keiichi, did you notice that whenever you and Belldandy embraced, both your hearts beat as one in perfect time with each other? Keiichi and Belldandy nodded together. “That was clear proof that it was your destiny that you and Belldandy belonged together. Such a phenomenon could only occur between a goddess and a human if they were meant to be bound together for eternity. Did you also notice that the testimony laid before this council was skewed more towards assessing your character than Belldandy's?”

Keiichi said “I was aware of that. I was wondering why it seemed like I was on trial instead of her”, pointing to Belldandy.

Kami-sama said “In a way, you were on trial. Look around you, every goddess in heaven is represented here. There are tens of thousands in this hall. For sure, I have had the rare case of goddesses defying my orders and had they been found guilty of disobedience without a legitimate excuse, they were swiftly disciplined. But Belldandy was the only goddess ever to defy an order from Heaven because of her love for a human.

“Goddesses like Belldandy are taught to always do what ever it takes to honor their client's contracts, but that orders from Heaven supersede all contracts with no exceptions. The fact that Belldandy chose to do this speaks highly of you and your ability to impress a goddess like her. Field goddesses are not easily impressed. They are trained not to be.

“Sometimes the contracts they undertake require them to witness the worst in humanity. And they have to put on a pleasant demeanor to make the client happy, even though they consider the contract to be distasteful and not worth their time. To a goddess, the fulfillment of the contract takes priority over their personal feelings about the contract, or the person with whom they have contracted. They can become cynical and jaded. Happily, Belldandy has never reached that point. She has always taken each of her contracts in a positive and upbeat manner. But it took a very special human for her to fall in love.

“And you were able to convince all these goddesses that you and Belldandy deserved to be together for eternity. And that could only occur if you were elevated to Godhood, hence the Song of the Goddesses. That Song served to finish the expansion of your mind and senses and the transition of your soul and spirit from your human self to your immortal self. From this moment forward, you and Belldandy are bound together for eternity. As you are no longer human, the contract between you and her is dissolved. You and Belldandy can either choose to stay here in heaven, or return to the Earth.

“Of course, you can come to Heaven to visit anytime you wish. With these great powers do come great responsibilities. You are expected to use your power for the good of the Earth and all the people on it. You will be held to a high standard of conduct. And know that you are subject to heavenly discipline should you misuse your powers. You are the only human to ever be elevated to Godhood. It is a testament to your goodness and your love for this goddess that you have received this gift. Go in peace.” Kami-sama waved his hand and the chamber and all it's inhabitants disappeared from Keiichi and the goddesses' view.

Epilogue

There was another flash of light and Keiichi and the goddesses were standing in the temple courtyard. He wondered whether his powers would remain with him on the Earth. He raised his right hand and conjured a rose that he presented to Belldandy. She accepted it and smiled “Thank You, Keiichi, my love. May our days be always filled with happiness.” Keiichi held Belldandy and said “Belldandy, they already are.”

Lind and Peorth came up to the happy couple, and congratulated them. Lind said “Does that invitation still stand?” Keiichi said “Anytime. Both of you have a standing invitation.” Peorth said “Well, well, well. I never thought I'd see the day. Keiichi becoming a God. I guess they'll let anyone into Heaven these days.” She tipped Keiichi a final wink and said “Au revoir, mes amis” Both goddesses stepped into the beam of light and disappeared through the gate.

Urd came over to Keiichi and Belldandy, gave them a thumbs up and said to Skuld, “Hey Brat, how's about I treat you to a big old ice cream sundae.” Skuld said “I'm not hungry, maybe later.” Urd said “Yes you are hungry, and you want a big ice cream sundae with lots of chocolate fudge and whipped cream and strawberries...”

“No, Urd I'm not hun-o-o-o-o-o” Skuld squealed as Urd dragged her little sister by the ear down the steps of the temple and towards town.
Keiichi and Belldandy were alone in the courtyard. Bell said “Well, Keiichi, ”
“Yes, Belldandy.”
“We have some time before dinner, and there's nothing to do.”
“Oh, I can think of something.”
“How are we going to explain...” she pointed to his forehead “to Megumi and the r rest?”
“I guess I'll have to start wearing hats.”

Belldandy grabbed Keiichi's hand and eagerly led him towards the temple. “Well, we will have plenty of time to come up with an excuse.”
Keiichi picked up his goddess, held her in his arms, and said “Belldandy, we've got forever.”

And for the first time, Keiichi and Belldandy made love...as God and Goddess.

An hour later, Urd returned from the ice cream shoppe and walked by Keiichi's room. There she saw Keiichi and Belldandy asleep on a futon, his arms holding her tight against him. The looks on their faces showed that they had a very good time to say the least. Their clothes were piled up in a corner, and nothing but a sheet covering their bodies. Urd thought to herself, “Now this could get verrry interesting.”

THE END.

Credits
Thanks to the communications faculties at the Community College of Allegheny County and Robert Morris University for awakening my dormant writing gifts. Also thanks to Kosuke Fujishima for creating, the finest manga I have ever read and for providing the source material to extend and expand. Also thanks are due to the largest OMG community on the web, The Goddess Relief Office for all their great content from which I drew inspiration.

There you have it, Boys and Girls...The Song of the Goddesses. To use a well worn phrase, I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I have not decided whether I will do another fan fiction piece. Surely, while I am proud of this first piece, I could probably do better the next time...if there is a next time. Who knows? I've thought about writing a sci-fi short story. I just need to find the right plot, something that hasn't been beaten to death.

This was my first major writing project since the late, lamented "Just Another Lovely Day in Paradise" anthologies from waay back. Don't ask about where and when you'll see that content. We now return you to the usual hinky doings for which the Moonlight Scribbler is (in)famous.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chapter 14--The Song of the Goddesses

Chapter 14


4th rotation, 3rd Interval, 2nd Period of Cycle 17 Year 2,800,000,000


The next in line to testify was Skuld. She was clearly very nervous as she had never seen the Almighty in person. The little goddess' stomach was doing backflips. And she still hadn't completely recovered from the incredible amount of ice cream she devoured.

Kami-sama called her forward.

Goddess Second Class Skuld, please step forward.”

She almost jumped out of her skin at the sound of Kami-sama's voice. She slowly made her way to the witness box, and looked around at the vast sea of goddesses as well as the eighteen councilors and the Almighty who would decide her big sister's fate.

Kami-sama's voice changed from the omnipotent voice of power that befitted the role of the Almighty to a quieter, comforting fatherly one. Skuld, I sense that you are afraid of what's going on. You think that we're here to hurt your big sister, We are not. We're here to discuss what happened down on Earth and whether or not your sister should be held accountable for what she did. It may sound unpleasant, but it must be done. We will listen to every word of everyone's testimony and weigh them carefully before coming to a decision. You have nothing to be afraid of. Just say what you have to say. Everything will be all right.”

Kami-sama's words did little to quell Skuld's fears, but she pressed on.

Well, Belldandy is simply the greatest goddess of them all. She's so kind and caring. She's helped me a lot since my powers started to work. She always gets me ice cream and appreciates my inventions. No one else on Earth appreciates my genius, but Belldandy does. But then she had to go down and live with that Keiichi.” She stared at Keiichi with unbridled loathing. “Keiichi took my big sister away from me and now she'll lose her license because of him!!!” She pointed at Keiichi as she said her last sentence.

Why do you think that Keiichi is at fault for what was clearly an act of Belldandy's choosing, Skuld?” Kami-sama asked.

Because she had to go and fall in love with him! Goddesses don't fall in love with humans. It's not right. He's so nice to her and he's always doing things to make her happy and I just hate him!!! I wish he'd just go away and leave us goddesses alone!” Skuld ranted, her voice and actions becoming more animated. She clearly forgot that it was the goddesses that entered and disrupted Keiichi's life and not the other way round.

No offense Keiichi.” Skuld continued, softening her tone. “You're not completely useless. You don't complain too much when I borrow your stuff for my inventions. And you tolerate it when me and Urd are fighting over the television. By the way, thanks for giving me my own TV, but you gotta know that me and Urd just like to argue. And you do understand my love of creation, although you can't come close to my brilliance.

You're not a bad guy, Keiichi, but I just wish you hadn't summoned Belldandy, and I wish you two hadn't fallen in love. She really does love you, you know. She's crazy about you. Although I don't know why. Am I done?”

Kami-sama said “If that is all you have to say then you are done. Please step down.”

Skuld stepped down from the witness box and walked back to the line, satisfied with her performance.

Keiichi nudged at Peorth, and said “Isn't it odd that the testimony so far is more focused on me than on Belldandy's conduct? I don't understand this. There's clearly an ulterior motive here.”

Peorth answered “Yes it is a little strange. Then again, it's pretty much an open and shut case. Belldandy clearly admitted to us that she defied the order. Urd corroborated the accusation. Why else do we have to go through all of this. The Almighty should have just passed sentence and been done with it. Let's just let it play out and see what happens. By the way, do you really think I'm as sexy as Urd?? I'm way hotter than her. Too bad you won't let me prove it! I'm up next, wish me luck.” Peorth looked hungrily at Keiichi and turned away.


Goddess First Class Peorth, please step forward.” Kami-sama intoned. Peorth strode to the witness box brimming with confidence. Keiichi had to admit, she was a looker. He hoped that Belldandy didn't hear that.

Peorth, how would you describe your relationship with Belldandy?” Kami-sama asked.

Well, I would say that it's a bit complicated.” Peorth responded. “I don't hate her, but there are definitely some things about her that I don't like. We get along well. I've spent a lot of time with her and her sisters on the surface world. And I've had quite a good time in her presence, but I would say that we are, shall I say, friendly rivals. We work for competing agencies. We have different clienteles. And she's much too goody-goody for my tastes. But as a goddess, she's the best at what she does. I'll give her that. And she definitely has Keiichi wrapped around her little finger. I honestly don't know what's so great about him. Like Urd said, he's a bit plain and boring, and despite my best efforts, he wouldn't give into his desires when he summoned me. But he's a nice guy and they do fit together very well.”

Does your opinion of Belldandy stem back to the “grudge” you harbored against her?”

I wish you hadn't brought that up. Kami-sama. I still catch a lot of heat from the Earth Assistance Agency about that. I mistakenly thought that she was going to take credit for that debugging. But I found out from her that the bugs had found their way inside me and she was willing to mark it as a team effort between her and myself. And after checking the debug logs, I found she was telling the truth. But we're all good with that now. That is one thing about Belldandy that I did appreciate. She could have taken credit for that job, but didn't. She is truthful to a fault.”

Kami-sama asked “Is there anything else that you'd like to say at this time?”

Only that I ask the council to take it easy on Belldandy. She is not the type to go off half-cocked about things. She clearly had her reasons for what she did. With any other human, she'd have come back to Heaven in a minute. But there's something about Keiichi that when he's in trouble, she'd go to the ends of the earth to find him.” She'll protect him at the expense of her own life. It's not the most goddess-like behavior, but then again, Belldandy is not your usual goddess.”

Thank you Peorth. Please step down.”

She stepped back to her place in line, and gave another wink to Keiichi.

Keiichi was still pondering the direction the hearing was taking. “Well, so far everyone has given Belldandy a glowing testimony. I'm not sure if it's enough to get her off clean, but it looks like she should just get her license suspended for a while. At least she'd still be able to live with me. I just wish I knew why it seems like she's not the main focus of this hearing. I seem to be on trial more than she is. Well, nothing I can do for now.”


Kami-sama called the last of the goddesses to the witness box. “Goddess First Class Lind, please step forward.”

Lind proceeded to the box, and her face was totally unreadable. She betrayed no emotion or intent. No matter how hard Keiichi tried to read her thoughts or her visage, he got nothing. “That must be part of the Valkyrie training she goes through.” he figured. “Demons can't get the jump on her tactically if she doesn't give them anything to work with. She's a pretty serious goddess. I'm glad she's on Belldandy's side. She'd be a nightmare as an enemy.”

Kami-sama opened the questioning of Lind “Lind, what experience do you have with the goddess Belldandy?”

Lind, still showing no emotion, replied. “I don't have a lot of experience with Belldandy except for the Angel Eater attacks. I was with her when her angel, Holy Bell was taken from her. It was only after that attack, that I realized that somehow, I had carried the Angel Eater with me down to Earth. That was a lack of vigilance on my part for which I am still haunted to this day. I pride myself on my combat readiness. But it failed me that night.

Belldandy is a truly powerful and incorruptible goddess. She sees the beauty in all things, and she knows how to provide encouragement to those who get down on them selves. I should know. She didn't lose confidence in me when the transition spell broke. She knew that my magic was not strong enough to ensure success, but she still had faith when others doubted.” Lind turned to look at Urd and Peorth as she said her last sentence.

She was able to convert the familiar implanted into her by Hild, into an angel, albeit one of demonic origin. Even under demonic influence, Belldandy never lost sight of the light. Through the love that she had for Keiichi, he was able to support one of my angels long enough to head off the Angel Eater and Skuld's Noble Scarlet was able to eventually rescue those who were captured. It was a total team effort and a total team victory. And it could not have happened without Keiichi and Belldandy. Both of them are formidable allies for Heaven. And I feel that the council should think twice before revoking Belldandy's license. She possesses remarkable courage and great power for a Non-Valkyrie. She would be a credit to the Combat Section, if she were inclined to join us. That is all.”

Kami-sama excused her from further testimony. Lind stepped away from the witness box and returned to the group.

Keiichi knew that his turn was coming up. His mind raced as to what he was going to say. All he could do was just testify to what Belldandy had done for him over the years. But, he wondered whether it would be enough to save her license. He didn't want to be one that swayed the councilors vote to suspension or worse, revocation. Like he told Belldandy, standing up for one's convictions was never easy. But if he truly loved his goddess, and wanted her to live with him forever, now was the time to act.

Kami-sama announced, “Our final witness, Keiichi Morisato.” Keiichi's legs felt like jelly as he strode to the witness box. He could feel the eye of every goddess on him. He even heard a few stray comments hoping he'd fail to convince the Council. But those comments only seemed to ignite his competitive nature. Keiichi lived for competition. He had an innate desire to win. Belldandy fed that desire. They were both intense and single minded when opposed in a race, and together they were a team that was damn near impossible to beat. Both of them had won more than a few awards for the Motor Club in competition, but this time the stakes were infinitely higher. He didn't know if he convince the council, but he remembered the words that Belldandy spoke to Lind to spark her confidence. 'It's better to try and fail, than not to try at all'

Kami-sama spoke to Keiichi in an encouraging tone. “Keiichi Morisato, I know that this is something that you're not totally prepared for. You have been through a lot the past few days, and I would understand if you'd prefer to withdraw from testifying, but any light you can cast on the matter would be appreciated.”

Keiichi gathered up his courage and put it before him. “Kami-sama, no disrespect intended, but can you please just call me Keiichi? I've never been comfortable being referred to by both first and last names.” Kami-sama, a note of surprise in his voice, said “Keiichi it is, please continue.”