An Oh My Goddess fanfic
by Mike Breslau
Note: Most of the characters appearing in this story are copyrighted by their rightful copyright owners and are used without permission, but with gratitude. Donner appears with the consent of Ed Sharpe, who holds the copyright on the character. Please don't sue me, I haven't got enough to make it worthwhile.
In this story, this is emphasis, and ::this is telepathy.::
The Lord of Benevolence
As told by Morisato Keiichi
Chapter 1 - Training the Gods
Having read and enjoyed my sister's memoir, "Megumi No Megami," I thought I'd like to add a bit and extend the story a little. It's been a long time since those early years when I still burned with the impatience of mortal youth. Remember that I was less than 40 years old when the events I relate below happened, and I still had much to learn. Let me begin where Megumi left off, just after the conclusion of our wedding reception banquet.
After the festivities were over I took some time to show our parents a few more of the scenic locations in Asgard, including a tour of our new home. Then I teleported them back to the interior of our former home, intending to remain for an hour of debriefing and settling in. It would be unwise to return them to the mundane world and just leave them there, because they had experienced too much that was astonishing and would need some time to calm down.
Keima was beyond words. He threw his arms around me and gave me a hug that spoke volumes.
Takano beamed with joy. "You were right, Son, I just can't believe all the things I've seen today. You've made us very proud and happy." She paused to catch her breath, then continued, "When Megumi offered us the temple yesterday I wanted to refuse. Our friends and jobs are far away, and it didn't seem practical to live here. Now I think that you can overcome any difficulties we might face, and I'm inclined to accept your offer."
I agreed. "If I had tried to offer you a universal shortcut yesterday, you wouldn't have believed me."
"From now on I'll have to believe anything you tell me, no matter how strange it may sound."
Keima found his voice. "Son, what is a 'universal shortcut'?"
"It's a doorway to anywhere, directed by the intentions of its users." I pointed to a rather plain-looking closet door. "Just think clearly about where you'd like to go and then walk into the door. If you want to take anyone or anything with you just hold on and they'll come along. Would you like to try it?"
Keima paused a moment. "But how do we return? The shortcut stays here, doesn't it?"
"The shortcut works in both directions, but one end always stays here. You just have to intend to return here and walk into any reasonably flat surface, and you'll emerge from the shortcut right here."
Takano asked, "Won't we be conspicuous when we walk out of solid walls? I'm sure I'd be surprised if saw someone doing that."
"The shortcut spell has privacy provisions. The only people who'll be able to notice you are those who already know the truth, or potential gods and goddesses. If you brought your friends here through the shortcut, they'd remember being here but would have no recollection of how they got here."
Keima was intrigued. "Let's try it."
We held hands, and Keima led the way into the closet door. It offered less resistance than a soap bubble. In a minute we were in a deserted office on the fourth floor of a building in a downtown location.
"This sure beats commuting," Keima murmured.
Crossing the room, he approached a cabinet with a large flat door. He placed his hand against the door and noted that it felt solid. Taking our hands, he resolved to return to the temple and tried the cabinet door again. He easily passed into it this time, and we all followed.
"Can I try it now?" asked Takano, "I want to visit my friend Nabuko."
I suggested a point of etiquette. "A word of advice, Mom. When going to someone's home aim for the outside of their front door if possible. That way you can ring the bell instead of appearing unannounced inside a room."
"A good point," she agreed, "I'll be back soon."
Mother was brave; she went solo on her first try. She returned quickly because her friend wasn't at home.
I stayed and talked for a while longer. It became clear that my parents were going to like living in the temple. Megumi and I would come back for a few hours the next day to move their personal belongings from their old home. Afterwards we would try to visit them every weekend. I made dinner, and left after we had finished eating. It was my wedding night, after all.
I returned to our new home in Asgard. Our advance team had done a fine job of selecting a site and putting up a building. Part of it looked like a larger version of the temple, with a dozen classrooms added on at one end. It was made of heavenly materials and the architecture blended in with its surroundings, but the design influence was obvious. We really didn't want to cut our ties with the time we spent in the original temple, for those had been the happiest and most exciting years of our lives. For my sister and me this night marked the end of our adolescence. Tomorrow we'd begin our adult careers. We'd be going to work.
The next day Urd and Skuld returned to their regular jobs running Yggdrasil, the computer that runs the world. Megumi, now the Goddess of Computing, joined them because she needed to get familiar with the Yggdrasil system. Belldandy resumed working at the Relief Goddess Office, but she also served as registrar of my new school. There was very little work involved in being registrar because we charged no fees, assigned no grades, and gave no diplomas. Her principal duty was to see to it that I wasn't overloaded with too many students at a time, so all she really had to do was list the students in each class.
I began my teaching in eight groups of four students each. There was a morning session and an afternoon session, so I could train 64 gods per trimester. At that rate I could reach all the gods in eight trimesters. The material of that first course was essentially the same as I had already taught on Earth, rearranged into a more logical sequence and with a little new material added. That course, initially untitled because it was my only offering, was later called "Magic" and still later renamed "Elementary Magic." I was no longer making it up as I went along, and the groups were synchronized with each other, so my daily preparation time was minimal. Even so, I was putting in 80-hour days. It's a good thing I had increased my stamina. You may wonder why I was working so hard-I plead guilty to impatience and ambition. I was still quite young.
Megumi and I briefly returned to help our parents move their things. We were feeling the shock of adjusting to our adult jobs, but we were in good spirits and got the moving job done quickly. We didn't have to pack or unpack anything. Communication and coordination were efficient since we were both present in the old home and the new. Takano was impressed by how well we worked together. When it was over, we hugged our parents and departed.
When we were making preparations to relocate to Asgard in the weeks prior to the wedding, I had given a little thought to what I'd wear. My wives had no problem; they normally wore goddess garb. The prevailing dress code for gods was elaborate, spectacular, and showy, but not always practical. Since I wasn't a god, I wasn't bound by their standards. I wanted something nicer and more formal than my usual tee shirt and jeans, but I didn't want to give up comfort or convenience. In the end, I settled on two basic costumes: a pastel colored polo shirt with trousers a darker shade of the same color, or a dark colored turtleneck pullover with black trousers. Belldandy approved of my choices, but I detected a note of envy. She wouldn't mind wearing something so obviously comfortable.
Tomasu was in the morning session of my first trimester. When he had heard that we were open for registration, he quickly signed up. He wanted to see if I could do for him what I had done for Skuld and Urd. I'm pleased to report that I made a believer out of Doubting Tomasu.
Megumi and I went to visit our parents that weekend. It had been an eventful week, and we were both eager to unwind and tell our stories.
Megumi started first. "I had my first good look at Yggdrasil on Monday. It's huge and quite impressive. They had to raise the speed of light inside the box to permit such a large computer to function efficiently. The components are infallible so it has no hardware faults ever. In contrast, the software is a great disappointment. No wonder they have bugs, it's full of spaghetti code."
Takano was puzzled. "The computer that runs the world is full of Italian noodles?"
Megumi laughed, a delicious sound. "I wish it was that simple. The programs are written by gods, who are good at what they do, but they've no understanding of modern software engineering practices. 'Spaghetti code' refers to programs whose flowcharts are so disorganized that they resemble a bowl of noodles. There's only minimal modularity, with no information hiding, no structured or object-oriented programming at all. They can't properly test new programs before going live. It's going to take me a while to get this operation into proper shape, but it'll be well worth it."
It was the first time I had heard of this. "What are you planning to do?"
"Onii-sama, I'm going into competition with you and will teach some classes of my own. The programmers need to be brought up-to-date. Then I'll duplicate Yggdrasil, data files and all, so that we'll have an off-line system to test and debug new code before it goes live. We'll have dedicated smaller computers to feed input signals into and collect output signals from the old and new Yggdrasil systems, so we'll have a record of how they differ in performance. The smaller computers will also be able to simulate extreme conditions that you wouldn't want to have happen in the real world so that we can test how the code reacts to stress. That way we'll be able to have confidence in our new programs before they go live. Kami-sama approves of my plan and yesterday he authorized me to do it."
I was impressed. Have I ever mentioned that I'm proud of my sister?
Then it was my turn. "I'm teaching magic to groups of four gods each, mostly by telepathy in order to minimize misunderstanding. I don't want to have larger groups because that would dilute the personal attention that I can give each student. The biggest problem I'm having is getting them to unlearn old habits. When they go from 'I already know how to teleport' or 'I already know how to fly' to 'that's so easy' or 'why didn't I think of that?' then I know I'm making progress. But there's more.
"I have a hidden agenda. I'm trying to encourage creativity, spontaneity, and fun while I seem to be teaching only magic. Next week I'll begin giving homework assignments. Most of the assignments will have several possible solutions, but one of them will have no solution at all. Some of the assignments will be intentionally silly, or even absurd. I want to shake up and wake up the gods to get them out of their ruts. Many of my students are thousands of years old and have become set in their ways. I hope to rejuvenate them, to restore the sense of wonder and the feeling of limitless possibilities that one enjoys while young."
Keima radiated approval. "You've done that for us already, Son," he said. "You've restored our sense of wonder and convinced us that nothing is impossible. I thank you, and the gods will thank you too."
Takano joined in. "Indeed you have. But, Keiichi, you should have warned us about the pantry."
It took me a moment to realize that I had forgotten the pantry and the refrigerator when I had been removing spells from the temple. Both now contained exactly what you were looking for, and nothing else, whenever they were opened.
"Oh, I'm sorry," I replied, "It slipped my mind. I hope you weren't inconvenienced."
Mother laughed. "It's not inconvenient at all, but I can't shake the feeling that there are more magical surprises waiting for us to discover them."
Megumi said, "Why don't we give them a tour of the temple as it used to be, so they'd have a sense of what to look out for."
I looked at the twinkle in Takano's eye and knew it was a good idea.
I began explaining what we had in mind. "Have you heard of Virtual Reality? This will be something like that. You'll experience exactly what you'd have experienced had you actually visited us in the past, but since you aren't really there, you won't be noticed by anyone or able to influence anything. Now set your mental clocks back a couple of months and we'll visit the temple on the day before Mara, Deiko, and Phoko moved out."
There was no sensation of movement, but the appearance of the temple around us altered. I pointed out the visible differences, then lead the way to Megumi's room.
"It seems much larger," observed Keima.
Megumi answered, "It's about three times as large as it should be, but wait until you see Keiichi's room."
We then entered Mara's room, which was adjacent to Megumi's. "There's no such room here in our time," remarked Takano.
Mara and Phoko were there, but they paid no attention to us. "Why are there coffins on the floor?" inquired Father.
Megumi answered, "They used to be demons, and they sleep in coffins out of habit."
Mother looked surprised. "They were goddesses when we met them at the wedding. I didn't know they used to be demons."
Megumi pointed to me and observed, "Onii-sama doesn't know the meaning of the word 'impossible.'"
Takano chuckled and agreed. "He certainly doesn't."
We toured the other rooms and saved my room for last.
"Oh my goodness!" exclaimed Takano when she saw how large it was.
Keima laughed. "It's a good thing you can fly, or it would take an hour to reach the closet. Talk about conspicuous consumption!"
"I might have overdone it a little," I admitted. Do I get extra points for understatement? Belldandy was in the room, but she soon left. She seemed to walk right through us because we weren't really there.
Keima gestured at the bed. "This seems extremely large, even for a man with four wives."
"We never tried to use all of it," replied Megumi.
"This is quite nice, but I'm glad you put it back to normal for us mortals. I couldn't cope with a room this size," Mother said.
"That concludes the tour," I announced, and the temple returned to its normal appearance.
Megumi and I made dinner, and soon the four of us were enjoying the meal.
Takano observed, "This food is so tasty and plentiful that it's amazing that none of you seem to be gaining weight."
"Just another benefit of magic," Megumi explained.
Keima said, "I'd like to hear your history, if you don't mind. Obviously, a lot must have happened during the transition from what you were to what you are now."
"That sounds reasonable," I observed, "Next week we'll bring the whole family and see how much of our story we can cover. It may take several visits to cover the highlights, because it's been an eventful four years."
Our visit ended soon after that and we returned to Asgard.
The next day's classes covered bilocation, which turned out to be one of the most useful spells I had developed. Those gods who had heard of it had been eagerly awaiting this lesson, but I couldn't introduce it any earlier because the foundations weren't in place yet.
The day after that I taught the variations on bilocation, including gender changing and morphing. I showed them how to deduce what they'd be like had they been born with a different gender, and how to predict what their appearance would be at different chronological ages. This lesson met with some resistance, but it began to open some minds to really new ideas for the first time in a long time.
On Wednesday I gave my first homework assignment. There was some initial grumbling-"All this and homework too?"-until I explained.
"All assignments are optional, but if you don't try them you might not learn something interesting. That will be your loss, not mine. Don't spend more than two hours on any one problem or do more than one problem per day. Finally, if you don't enjoy working on an assignment, tell me about it and I'll try to modify the problem for future classes. Now here's your first assignment: try to design the most completely useless spell you can think of. Devise some magic that has no possible value at all, even as entertainment. Got that?"
Most of the students were baffled. "Why do you want us to make worthless magic?" was a typical reaction.
"You've been doing useful magic all your lives," I replied, "Wouldn't it be refreshing to do something completely different? Besides, this will give you practice designing new spells to meet new challenges, and that will be good for you."
The next day was rewarding as the gods demonstrated their new spells. A great deal of creativity was evident. Tomasu produced a gray fog that fell to the floor and slowly evaporated.
"That's pretty good," I said, "Can anyone find a use for this spell?" There were no responses. I suggested, "Suppose there was an insect on the floor and you dropped this on it. Would it confuse the bug?"
One god cautiously asked, "Is a confuse-a-bug spell useful?"
I replied, "Not very, but I had asked for a spell of no possible value."
The next spell was even more useless. It was completely invisible, and all it did was to erase itself until it was all gone. The class applauded. This one would be hard to beat.
On Friday I gave my second homework assignment. "Choose one of the following and create five new and useful spells that use it: a cigar, a condom, a camel, a compass, or a centimeter. For extra credit, use two or more items from the list in the same spell, or produce more than five new spells. Remember not to spend more than two hours on this."
Most of the gods were incredulous. The general reaction ranged from "impossible" to "ridiculous."
One bold student asked, "Sensei, what's the purpose of this exercise?" In Japan, pupils never question their teachers, but this wasn't Japan. My pupils were all gods, older and possibly wiser than I was.
"You should have learned the principles of devising entirely new spells by now. This exercise is intended to ensure that you actually produce new spells, and not rehash some that you already know. It will teach you creativity and stretch your imaginations." This seemed to satisfy them, and they accepted the challenge.
Perhaps a note about weekends is in order here. In Asgard there normally are no weeks or weekends. Running the world is a full time job, and deities took time off when and where they could. Since my responsibilities consisted of teaching, I had more freedom to set a schedule. I was keeping to a mortal style week partially out of habit and partially for convenience in visiting my parents on weekends. As I mentioned, this weekend and several weekends further were spent bringing my family to visit my parents and filling them in on as much of our recent history as seemed reasonable. It made a complex and fascinating tale.
On Monday we saw the results of the second homework assignment. A great deal of creativity was evident, along with some clearly derivative thinking.
"What's that camel doing on top of the television?" asked a high-pitched voice.
There was a bright flash and some noxious smoke, but no more camel on the television. A camel bomb? I'm glad my bomb-loving wife Skuld didn't see that.
"It smells bad," complained a student.
"Let me handle that," offered another. She waved a cigar at the foul smoke that filled the room. The air was immediately clean and fresh.
"An odor eating cigar? Now there's an original idea!" I declared.
Then there were the flying camels. The first one was harmless; it delivered presents as if competing with Santa Claus. These were presents for grown-ups; they were gift-wrapped condoms. The other flying camel wore a fireman's hat and extinguished fires using a technique that only a male camel could use efficiently. He must have had a very large bladder. The class howled. Let's not forget the cigar-smoking camel who oozed out of a cigarette pack every time it was opened and exhorted people not to use tobacco products.
There were other categories of entries as well. A goddess produced a flowerpot and buried a compass in the soil. Upon watering it a little, a green shoot appeared and soon grew into a low bush topped by an eight-petaled red flower. The flower inclined toward the North no matter which way the flowerpot was rotated.
"A Compass Rose," I guessed.
She beamed. "I omitted the thorns for ease of handling," she explained.
Two days later I gave the third homework assignment. "You're to construct a cliche detector. It must resemble a cartoon or a caricature and be funny enough in appearance to make someone laugh. The detector should roll its eyes and stick out its tongue when it hears a cliche, and flap its ears when it detects insincerity."
By now many students were rolling their own eyes, and a few were sticking out their tongues too. I took this as a sign that they were beginning to catch on to the spirit and intent of my assignments.
My pupils were growing bolder and more inventive. Three of the 64 students brought in caricatures of me. I awarded them extra credit for bravery. Thor designed the best of the lot. He brought a really cute little purple baby elephant. Instead of sticking out his tongue, the elephant raised his trunk and blew colored bubbles.
I was delighted. "Why Thor, I didn't think you had it in you!" I exclaimed.
The elephant rolled his eyes, and the class cracked up. I awarded Thor extra credit for not following instructions. He had thought for himself.
"Thank you, Sensei," Thor said, "I haven't had so much fun since my child was young."
When I speak of "extra credit," I mean public recognition and praise. I wasn't assigning grades, or ranking students, or even taking attendance. "Extra credit" was one of the few motivational tools I had, but it was sufficient. My students came because they wanted to learn, and I came because I wanted to teach. We were all enjoying our roles and life was wonderful.
The rest of the trimester passed very much like the part outlined above. On the last day of class I removed the walls and addressed two sessions of 32 gods each. There was no final exam. I gave a two-hour summary of the material we had covered followed by a two-hour question and answer period. One of the gods asked whether I was planning to teach any additional material.
"I certainly am," I replied, "This is my career and I have eternity ahead of me. There will be courses in more advanced magical techniques, at least one in psychic skills, and perhaps a course in sexual pleasure, among others."
That got their attention. "What can a youngster like you teach old hands like us about sex?" demanded Thor.
I smiled wickedly. "What can a youngster like me teach old hands like you about magic?"
There was a quiet murmur from the class.
"Sensei, you had quite a reputation as a teacher and magician before you even opened your school," said a goddess.
I responded, "There are some things that are usually done in private, without advertising. If you need references, ask my wife Urd." Another murmur, a bit louder this time. I continued, "I've had considerable experience being both genders, which few of you have had. Besides, there's always Rule Three."
The goddess looked confused. "Sensei, what is 'Rule Three?' Did I miss something?"
I realized that I hadn't covered my three rules because it didn't seem appropriate in a magic class. I thought I'd better explain. "When I discovered that I'd become unique, and that the rules of mortals, gods, or even demons didn't apply to me, I had the opportunity to develop my own rules for living. So far I've developed only three. In decreasing order of importance they are:
Rule One-Do as much good and as little harm as possible. Every major system has some variation on this rule at its core.
Rule Two-Nothing is impossible until proven to be so, and possibly not even then.
Rule Three-Whatever I don't know I'll try to find out."
Thor looked respectful. He said, "Sensei, if I tried for a thousand years I couldn't find better rules for living."
"Would there be homework assignments?" asked a voice from the rear of the room. Most people were still tantalized by the thought of a sex course.
"This is still in the planning stages, and is likely to change. All pupils will be required to come as male and female, as will I. There will be two simultaneous sessions, one for each gender. I plan no demonstrations or laboratory work during class. There will certainly be audiovisual aids and homework too. I imagine the homework will be very enjoyable. I hope to be informative, not offensive, and will even accommodate nonstandard sexual preferences. Don't try to sign up yet, this is still a work in planning."
All the students seemed to be in a joyous mood except one. I approached him and asked, "Tomasu, you look troubled. Is there something wrong?"
He replied, "Sensei, you've completely wrecked our licensing system. Even prepubescent children will be able to pass our tests now unless they're changed. We'll have to revise our standards. If you keep on teaching magic, we'll be chasing a moving target. We may never catch up." He was obviously upset.
"For starters, you could date the licenses or list the test standard revision number on them," I suggested. Tomasu brightened. "Or you could consider abandoning licenses altogether," I continued.
Tomasu was shocked. "That's impossible!" he responded.
I shrugged and said, "Rule Two."
My second trimester was already fully enrolled, and gods were signing up for the third trimester when a shock went through the Asgard community-Kami-sama was enrolled in my third trimester! The rumormongers had a field day. All I could say was, "He signed up. How could I refuse?"
That weekend I told my parents the news. Keima looked amazed, but said nothing. Takano twinkled. "I always thought he had good sense," she observed, "and my son is the best teacher there is. What could be more natural?"
They were actually taking it better than most of the gods were, perhaps because they were less involved. I thought again that my parents were very special people.
The second trimester began the next day. It was largely a rerun of the first trimester. Only one detail is worth recording here. The goddess Peorth was in the afternoon session. She wore her on-duty goddess garb because it was in the middle of her workday. One day after class I managed to ask her a question that had been bothering me a little ever since I first encountered her on Earth.
"If you don't mind my asking, Peorth, isn't your outfit a little impractical and even uncomfortable?" Her original uniform featured wide leather bands that floated around her in loose loops, making her look not like a bondage queen but rather like a present waiting to be unwrapped.
She smiled ruefully and replied, "It certainly is. I've gotten used to it, and these bands get out of my way when I move my arms, but it still inhibits my movements."
I asked, "Then why don't you wear something else?"
"It's the rules," she answered, "I'm not allowed to while on duty."
"Who makes these rules?" I wondered.
She answered, "Kami-sama himself did. From time to time one of us has spoken to him about it, but with no results. There are times I'd like to force him to wear this for a week, but..."
I resolved to speak to Kami-sama myself about this rule. I can be very persuasive, and he did seem to be more inclined to listen to me than I had expected. I should mention that Megumi's on duty garb was both comfortable and practical even though it was goddess fancy and showy. She had had the foresight to specify that in her wish. I knew she was smart.
Imagine the joy and surprise that ran through the heavenly community the next day when Kami-sama announced an easing of the dress code. Once per decade a god or goddess could petition for a change in garb. The suggested design would have to pass a standards committee of five senior deities chosen for their aesthetic judgment and good taste. Kami-sama retained a right of veto, which he seldom exercised. Only Peorth suspected I had something to do with this change in policy. I guess I just can't leave anything alone if it could be easily improved.
Kami-sama was in the morning session of my third trimester. Naturally he got a session entirely to himself, so there were three fewer students in my third trimester. He had three reasons for signing up: he wanted to give me his endorsement, he wanted to take the class (and the homework) just like any other student, and he wanted to get to know me better. After the first day my anxiety faded, and the course went surprisingly well. Kami-sama really needed my lessons on precision and control. He had always used his great power to compensate for inaccurate application. The homework assignments were also welcome. He possessed creativity and imagination, but these qualities had grown rusty from disuse in recent eons.
Author's Mumblings: My very first fanfic, Keiichi's Magic Trick, arose from a divine inspiration and compulsion. My second fanfic, Megumi No Megami, was inspired by KMT. This story in turn was inspired by MNM, and caused me to refer to the whole collection as the "KMT Trilogy."
Since then, two more fanfics have been set in the same universe. I'll post them here as soon as I can. I've kept the name "KMT Trilogy" because "Keiichi's Magic Trick Pentology" just didn't have the same cachet...