Neon Genesis Evangelion Fan Fiction / Ah My Goddess Fan Fiction / Sailor Moon Fan Fiction / Tenchi Muyo Fan Fiction / Love Hina Fan Fiction / Chobits Fan Fiction / Star Ocean (All Series) Fan Fiction ❯ Anime Assassinations: Quest for Chicks ❯ Attempt 07 - Ah! My Goddess ( Chapter 7 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]


Black Seventeen carefully unwrapped the bandages from Sanyasi's face, and smiled as he saw his henchman's undamaged features beneath. "The mummy lives!"

Sanyasi picked up a nearby mirror and inspected his face carefully. "Not even a scar."

"Kind of a shame, though. Scars always make badasses look cooler. Kenshin would have been just another long-haired hippy freak if not for those scars on his face."

"I'm surprised there are no markings. Naru really turned my face into hamburger with that kick. How can someone that cute go from hottie to Hades in two seconds flat?"

"I guess she's kind of self-conscious about people seeing her naked."

"She's got nothing to be self-conscious about. I mean, have you seen the rack on her?"

Black Seventeen raised an eyebrow. "You're starting to sound a lot like me, you know that?"

"Rats. We should both try not to do that anymore."

"Well, I'm afraid I don't have much choice in that matter."

"Then maybe you should just stop talking."

"Don't sass me, goth boy! I could crush you like a paper cup!"

"Who are you calling a goth boy, fat man?!" Sanyasi snapped back. He whipped out a pistol and pointed it at Black Seventeen. "I'll shoot so much metal into your body that your corpse will be fully recyclable!"

"Oh, so you think you can go fifteen rounds with the fanfic master, eh? Bring the noise!"

Sanyasi pulled the trigger, only to have a hollow metallic click greet his ears. He hung his head dejectedly. "Let me guess; not loaded?"

"Not loaded," Black Seventeen confirmed. "And, just to drive home the point that I am totally in control..." He typed hurriedly into his keyboard as Sanyasi looked on. Suddenly, Sanyasi felt pressure on his ankles, and looked down to find that he was now chained to the floor. From within the darkness that surrounded them, a throaty growl could be heard, and a galloping of paws soon followed. As the sounds got closer and closer, a figure began to take shape in Sanyasi's field of view. He soon recognized it as a great lion, which ran towards him at top speed. He shrieked in fear as the lion roared an pounced for him. Sanyasi shielded his face from the oncoming attack, but felt nothing. He brought his arms down, and was shocked that the lion had stopped short. Even more shocking was the fact that it was now standing on its hind legs and dancing the Charleston. After a brief number, the lion returned to all fours.

"How was that?" the lion asked.

"Very nice. Your Charleston is getting a lot better," Black Seventeen said. "I'll call you again if I need you, Jimmy."

"Will-do," Jimmy replied. He then slowly plodded away , retreating into the darkness.

Sanyasi's fettered ankles were freed, and he looked at Black Seventeen questioningly.

"I take it by your confused look that you understand that I am in complete control over this fanfic and everything in it," Black Seventeen said. "Even dancing lions."

"I... was not expecting that."

"Of course not. After all, every good fanfic author knows that the best stories contain an element of surprise. And what's more surprising than the king of the jungle busting a move?"

Sanyasi smoothed out the front of his coat. "Well, now that we've established that, why don't we get down to business?"

"Fair enough." Sanyasi procured a file from his desk and handed it to Sanyasi. "This next assignment is going to be a little tricky. There will be divine powers at work."

Sanyasi pursed his lips The last time he had gone up against a divine being he did not fare so well. He had tried to shoot the interfering Tsunami, and it didn't work out too well. "Well, I guess I'll have to figure out a way to prevent a goddess from stopping me.

Black Seventeen shook his head and held up three fingers.

"There's three?! How the hell do you expect me to go up against that? I mean one's bad enough. But three? What's to stop one of them from sneaking up behind me and putting me in a head-lock or something?"

"Just look around a lot," Black Seventeen said. "In case you haven't already guessed, you'll be infiltrating the Ah! My Goddess universe. Your target is Keiichi Morisato. His story is particularly frustrating. He dials a wrong number and is rewarded with a drop-dead gorgeous goddess to stay with him forever. I dial a wrong number, and I get chewed out by a surly old lady who apparently just got out of the shower. I swear, if it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all."

Sanyasi flipped through the file. Keiichi didn't look like much of a threat, but it was the goddesses that concerned him. "Tell me briefly about these goddesses."

"Belldandy is your main concern. She may seem sweet and passive, but she's very protective of Keiichi, and if you try to harm him, she'll most likely try to blast you into oblivion. Also watch out for Belldandy's sisters, Urd and Skuld. Urd is more inclined to use her powers and other forms of trickery. The best way around her is to try and outsmart her, but it's not easy. Beware of Skuld's large hammer."

Sanyasi rubbed his head. "I have a bad history with young girls who wield large blunt objects."

"Then be extra careful. Probably the best thing you can do is sneak in as quietly as possible and kill Keiichi before anyone knows what's going on. I'll provide you with silencers for your pistols."

Suddenly a pillar of fire shot up from the floor. When it dissipated, it revealed a red-skinned man with cloven hoofs, a tail, horns, and brandishing a pitchfork. He held up what looked like a contract. "I will give you all the power you need to defeat this foe," he rumbled. "But it will cost you. Dearly."

Black Seventeen hurriedly typed into his computer with a flustered look on his face. The red man disappeared. Black Seventeen sighed in relief. "I hate it when that guy shows up. He creeps me out!"


Sanyasi stood before the nondescript residence and looked at it. From what the file said, it was Belldandy who fixed the house in the first place. With a goddess on his side, Keiichi barely had to lift a finger to lead the sweet life. Having earned his monetary status from hard work in organized crime, Sanyasi felt disgusted. As he quietly withdrew his silenced pistol from his holster, he felt particular satisfaction in knowing he would be exterminating a particularly undeserving dork. Under cover of the moonless night, he silently snuck towards the house.

The lock on the front door was surprisingly easy to pick. Sanyasi was at first afraid that there would be some sort of super goddess security something-or-other in the house. Then again, when there are three all-powerful beings living in the same house, any would-be burglar would most likely be discouraged from pursuing criminal activity anywhere on the premises. But Sanyasi was not just any criminal. He was an extraordinary criminal, and he held an extraordinary pistol in his hand. He felt confident that his own wits and expertise would lead him successfully through the mission, regardless of the overweight and oversexed geek who was running the show. Keeping a low profile, he continued into the house.

He paused at the entrance to the living room, as he heard the telltale murmur and saw the flickering light of a television set. He peeked around the corner, and saw a well-tanned woman with white hair lying on the couch. He kept as still as possible as he observed, making nary a sound lest he give away his position. He stayed as such for what seemed like an eternity. But finally, he let out a relieved sigh as he heard her snore. As he quietly plodded past her, he wondered to himself, "Do goddesses really need to sleep?"

As he proceeded down the hallway, he saw another glow emanating from a side room. However, a different sound accompanied it; which he immediately recognized as the hum of a computer. It was a sound that constantly permeated Black Seventeen's office, and hearing it again made Sanyasi wince at the thought of his inept boss. He peeked into the room to investigate, making sure to remain silent so as not to disturb the person within. He again was relieved to find the person asleep at the desk. It was a young girl with dark blue hair. Judging from the photo he had seen in the file, Sanyasi surmised it to be Skuld. Sure enough, a large red mallet was propped in the corner, a sight that sent a cold shiver down his spine. Piled up around the desk were about a dozen empty cups, with the remains of what appeared to be ice cream. As he continued down the hall, he wondered to himself, "Do goddesses really need to eat?"

Finally, he reached the end of the hallway, where Keiichi's bedroom was located. He opened the door a crack and peered into the darkness. His eyes having adjusted to the low light conditions, he clearly saw Keiichi lying in the bedroll in the center of the room. He opened the door all the way and slunk in. He stood over Keiichi as he breathed softly in sleep. Sanyasi shook his head and smiled. For once, it appeared as though an assignment would succeed without incident. He raised the pistol and pointed it at his target's head, preparing to make the cleanest kill he had made in a while.

Suddenly the room filled with bright blue light, and Sanyasi felt like he was being pushed back by a red hot locomotive. The force slammed him into the wall, and very nearly through it. He groggily sat up as the light switch was flicked on. His vision cleared for him to see a startled Keiichi sitting bolt upright, and a very angry-looking Belldandy standing next to him. Her fingertips crackled with energy. "You tried to hurt Keiichi," she said slowly.

"I, um... I can explain!" Sanyasi stammered, truly fearful of the divine power before him. He held up his pistol. "This is... ummmmm... a water pistol?"

Apparently, Belldandy wasn't buying it, as she flung another blue ball of energy at Sanyasi, and completed the task of sending him through the wall. As he lay in the pile of drywall, collapsed on his back looking up at the stars, he wondered to himself, "Do goddesses really need to kick my ass like that?"

Belldandy stepped through the hole in the wall and stood over Sanyasi. She grasped him tightly by his shirt collar and picked him up, his feet dangling a foot off the ground. Her face was almost pleasant and her voice sweet and lyrical as she said, "I will punish you." Sanyasi began to pray, but stopped, realizing it was goddesses who were in charge of that department, and it didn't look like they would be too receptive to his pleas at the moment. Urd and Skuld had woken up and had joined Keiichi in watching the spectacle unfold, having turned on a floodlight that illuminated the yard. They, too, felt that the man in Belldandy's grasp was living on the last few grains of sand in his hourglass.

Suddenly a phone rang. "Hang on," Sanyasi said. He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out his cell phone. However, there was no incoming call. "It's not me. Could it be coming from your house?"

"I'll go see," Belldandy said cheerily. She dropped Sanyasi and pranced into the house. Sanyasi was able to look through the hole in the wall to see her answer it. He couldn't hear what was being said, but suddenly her expression became very serious. She put the receiver down on its side and stepped out into the night again, looking straight at Sanyasi. "It's Him."

"Him?" Sanyasi asked, wrinkling his forehead in confusion. "What do you mean Him?"

Belldandy pointed straight up. "I mean it's HIM!"

Sanyasi mimicked the gesture, trying desperately to think of what she meant. Finally, he caught on. "Oh, you mean HIM!"

"Yes, HIM!" Belldandy confirmed. "He saw what was going on and he wants to talk to you."

"Me?" Sanyasi asked. He hesitantly stepped into the house and picked up the receiver. With a shaking hand he held it to his ear. "Yes, sir?"

"Hello, Sanyasi," the voice said. "I'm sure you know by now who I am."

"Indeed I do, sir. What can I do for you?"

"Well, I was just curious about why you are here. After all, you're not here because of me. So what brings you to this continuity?"

Sanyasi nervously tried to find an explanation. "Well, I... was just following orders, really."

"Whose orders?"

"It was my boss, Black Seventeen. He told me to come here."

"I see. Can I speak to this Black Seventeen?"

"Well, he's not here right now."

"Would it be possible for you to get him for me?"

"I'll try my best, sir. Please hold on a moment." Sanyasi laid the receiver back down and took out his cell phone. He dialed Black Seventeen and waited for him to pick up.

"Larry's Taxidermy. You snuff `em, we stuff `em," he answered.

"You have to get over here now," Sanyasi deadpanned.

"Really? You've already killed Keiichi? That was fast. Good job."

"Actually, something has come up. There's someone who wants to talk to you."

"Who on earth could possibly know about me over there?"

"No one on earth," Sanyasi said. "It's HIM!"

"HIM?! What the hell does HE want with me?!"

"I don't know, but he sounded a little upset."

Black Seventeen wiped his brow. "I guess I don't have much choice. Okay, I'll insert myself into the story now. Just stay put and don't do anything."

"Okay," Sanyasi said. He turned off the phone and put it back in his pocket. He picked up the receiver of the house phone and put it to his ear. "Um, Mr. God sir? Are you still there?"


"Black Seventeen will be here shortly. Could you please hold, sir?"

"Very well. After all, I've got time."

"Thank you, sir." Sanyasi put the receiver down and walked back out of the house.

Belldandy still looked a little cross. "Well?"

"We're going to get this straightened out in a few minutes. My boss is coming."

"And are you going to try to hurt Keiich again?"

"No, I've been instructed to do nothing until my boss gets here."

Instantly Belldandy's face softened. "Oh, well in that case, would you like some tea?"

Sanyasi scratched his head. "Erm, that would be... nice. Thank you." With a smile, Belldandy went off to get the tea.

Meanwhile, Keiichi walked over to Sanyasi and inspected him carefully. "Are you some kind of criminal?" he asked.

"Yeah. I'm basically a gun for hire. But due to certain circumstances beyond my control, I've been working for the same guy for a while. Hey, do you think Belldandy could pull some strings and let me stay here? I think a change of venue might be just what I need."

"I heard that!" someone said behind him.

Keiichi, Sanyasi, Urd and Skuld all directed their attention to the bottom of the steps leading up to the house. Standing there was a slim man in a tuxedo, a slight breeze ruffling his straight chestnut hair. He walked up the steps with a confident swagger, a compelling smile on his face. "Who are you?" Sanyasi asked.

The man smiled wider. "Don't you recognize your employer?" he asked.

Sanyasi squinted at the new arrival, and then his eyes shot wide open when he realized that he was looking at Black Seventeen! The face was a lot slimmer (along with the rest of him), but it was definitely him. "Is that really you, Black? Damn, you look... you look..."

"Bishounen-y?" he finished. "Yes, I know. That's the beauty of self-insertion. It's still fiction, so I can make myself look like whatever I want."

"And your voice has changed, too!" Sanyasi marveled. "It doesn't have that grating, claws-on-a-chalkboard quality that always gets me so pissed off."

"I'll remember you said that," Black Seventeen hissed. I've got a tape of my a cappella version of `In A Gadda Da Vida' with your name on it when we get back!" Then, he directed his attention to Keiichi and the others and smiled. "Friends! No need for us to be at odds now. My name is Black Seventeen. I come bearing gifts to make amends." He sauntered over to Skuld and produced a box. "For you, Skuld, so full of life and unbridled genius, I present this gold-plated socket set-standard and metric-to aid you in your many noteworthy projects. For your ingenious creations deserve to be created with the finest tools this humble planet has to offer."

Skuld took the box and opened it, and saw her reflection beaming back at her from every one of the gold-plated sockets. "Wow, even the stainless steel ones cost an arm and a leg!" she exclaimed. "Thank you so much!" Black Seventeen flashed her another warm smile as he turned to Urd.

"Goddess of Love," he said, his voice lowering an octave and delivered silky smooth, "the one who maddens us men with desire, I humbly offer you this, crafted of the finest silks, hoping that you find it adequate to fill with your radiance." He reached behind his back and procured a box, and handed it to Urd. With a sideways glance at him, she removed the top. She reached in and pulled out an exquisite evening gown, ornately embroidered and shimmering with sequins.

"You have adequate taste for a mortal," Urd said as she gave a small smile. Black Seventeen wasted no time in moving on to Belldandy.

"And lastly, but surely not least, for your gift, dear Belldandy, I agonized unimaginably. What could I possibly bestow upon you, an immortal goddess with deathless beauty that rivals the stars themselves?"

Meanwhile, Keiichi leaned over and whispered to Sanyasi, "This guy's a pretty smooth operator."

"Only in the fic," Sanyasi replied. "Once this fic is finished he'll go back to being a blithering idiot who couldn't get a date with a vinyl sex doll."

Black Seventeen continued on. "In the end, fair goddess, knowing your tastes are not for the decadent things in life, I decided to present you with a small tribute to your beauty." He reached behind his back, and returned his hand to view grasping a bouquet of luscious white roses. "Some of the finest radiance on this humble planet do I present to you. And yet, see how the silky petals seem to dull and shrink from your own divine beauty. When compared to you they are but objects, no more lustrous than the dust at our feet. If only to see, dear Belldandy, how the brilliance of this planet fades at your presence, your divine radiance that mesmerizes the gentle clouds, the crashing seas, and the craggy peaks, that is the purpose of my humble gift. I present it to you now, along with my undying awe."

"Blowhard," Sanyasi grumbled.

Blushing slightly, Belldandy accepted the roses. "Thank you for your kindness, sir, but don't you think it would be best if you didn't keep HIM waiting? Something tells me that HIS impatience would not bode well for you."

"Indeed!" Black Seventeen said. "Business before pleasure." He walked inside and picked up the receiver. "This is Black Seventeen."

"Ah, so you are the one disrupting this plane of reality," God said, his voice unyielding yet nonthreatening. "You must draw your power from some other source than us divine beings. Indeed, it must be a power comparable to our own, for such a large incongruity to occur. I have no desire to entangle this world in a power struggle between the heavens, so I ask you, Black Seventeen, to please return to the realm from whence you came and plague us not with your designs."

Black Seventeen paused a moment before answering. "Your peaceful ultimatum has not gone unconsidered, good sir. However, there is business in this world which I intend to conduct, and therefore an immediate departure is out of the question. Rest assured that this dimension is in no danger from me, aside from a very specific target that is of little celestial value."

Keiichi sneezed. "Gesundheit," Sanyasi said.

"I see," God said. "It seems as though an agreement cannot readily be reached. Very well, as much as it inconveniences me, I shall meet with you in person. Be prepared for my arrival shortly." God hung up, and the dial tone returned. Black Seventeen put the phone down and walked outside.

"What did he say?" Skuld inquired.

"Well, we couldn't hammer out anything concrete over the phone, so he's coming here," Black Seventeen said.

Everybody gasped. "God is... coming here?!" Keiichi shouted.

"Oh, no, the house is in shambles!" Belldandy exclaimed, looking at the rubble that used to be the bedroom wall. She knelt and began praying, and was soon engulfed in a brilliant glow. The glow spread to the rubble, and it began to reassemble itself. Piece by piece the wall pulled itself into its former state, and once again served as a barrier between the bedroom and the moonless night.

Sanyasi gaped at the reassembled wall. Nothing indicated that it had ever been broken down. "Damn, she could get a hefty contract from Craftsman!"

However, Belldandy did not pause to admire her handiwork. Instead she raced about to make preparations for His arrival. "Oh dear! I haven't dusted since last week, and there are still dishes in the sink, and- Oh, no! I never made the tea!"

"Calm down, sis," Urd said. "It's not a social call. He wants a word with this guy, that's all. Besides, it's the middle of the night. I'm sure He'll forgive a spot of grime here and there." Oblivious to her sister's words, Belldandy continued to clean.

Keiichi stood shaking. "I've... never met God before..."

"Relax," Sanyasi said with a pat on the back that made Keiichi jump. "If He wanted to smite thee, He would have smote thee a long time ago. Besides, He's letting Belldandy stay with you for reasons that escape those with any sense, so He must like you, right?"

"I guess," Keiichi said. "But still... It's God!"

"It's God!" Skuld shouted. Everyone turned their attention to the street where a white sedan pulled up to the curb, a glowing license plate reading, "ALMGHTY."

"God drives a sedan?" Sanyasi asked flatly. "No golden chariot, or bevy of angels, or parting of clouds?"

"He likes sedans," Urd said in an audible whisper. "They're sensible, and they get good gas mileage."

The door of the sedan swung open and out stepped a man in elegant robes that sparkled with the light of heaven. So much so that Sanyasi was forced to put on his sunglasses. In contrast, his face looked very human. More than that, it looked exactly like someone he had seen before. Sanyasi gasped. "God is... God is... Sean Connery!"

God smiled as he approached Sanyasi. "Ha! I only wish I was that guy. He's just plain cool!"

"I know!" Sanyasi agreed. "He was awesome in `The Hunt for Red October.'"

"Yeah," God said, "but `Goldfinger' was his crowning achievement."

Sanyasi smiled. "`You expect me to talk?'"

"`No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!'" God quoted, at which point they both broke out in jolly laughter. Everyone else stood bewildered.

"I could talk about Sean all day," God said, "but right now I need to talk things over with Black Seventeen."

"I've brought the tea!" Belldandy said as she emerged from the house carrying a tray. She made her rounds among her housemates and guests and made sure to pour tea for them all. Then she sat quietly by Keiichi's side, waiting for the proceedings.

"Amazing," Sanyasi commented. "God is standing right in front of her, and all she is concerned with is making sure everyone has tea. You better realize just how lucky you are, Keiichi, or I guarantee Black Seventeen is going to send me here again." Seeing Belldandy's threatening gaze upon him, he nervously improvised, "At which point, of course, I will gently remind you that Belldandy is a very special woman, and that you should never take her for granted in your long, peaceful, assassin-free life." Sanyasi looked at Belldandy again, who seemed to be appeased by the answer, and he sighed in relief.

Having finished their tea, God and Black Seventeen set down their cups. "Now then, on to business," God said. "There seems to be, Black Seventeen, some confusion as to who wields the reigns of this universe."

"Isn't it obvious?" Black Seventeen asked. "We are all here now as a part of my fanfic. I control the happenings of the fanfic with my powers of fanfiction. Therefore, I am the one who holds absolute power."

"But this universe would not exist if I did not will it so," God countered. "If I did not create this universe, there would be nothing for you to write a fanfic about. Because of me, your fanfic can exist. Therefore, I should wield the power."

"That may be true, but if not for my fanfic, none of us would be here now. Where I come from, the story of this universe concluded quite some time ago. It is my fanfic that has brought you all back to the public eye once more. You exist to the reader only because I will it so. If I did not want to include you in the fanfic, I would not have written you in, and you would not exist. Therefore, your existence is due to my will."

"Ah, but you did write me in," God said, "knowing full well that my presence would not be conducive to your plans. This leads me to believe that my appearance here was unavoidable and ordained, and further reinforces my claim to dominance over this universe."

"But your universe would not exist now if I wasn't writing about it. In fact, I am writing about you claming dominance over the universe right now!"

"But I am making you write that I am claiming dominance over the universe!"

From her seat at the edge of the yard, Keiichi grasped his forehead. "This is giving me a headache."

As Belldandy lightly stroked his hair, Sanyasi said, "You're just thinking too much. Whenever Black Seventeen's involved, it's best not to think about what he's saying. I stopped listening to him ages ago and I've saved a fortune on aspirin."

Meanwhile, God and Black Seventeen continued their argument. "This scenario that is happening now is a product of my imagination!" Black Seventeen insisted.

"But it is taking place in a universe that I created!" God replied

"This universe exists in my fanfic!"

"This fanfic exists in my universe!"

Black Seventeen paused and rested his chin in his hand. "It seems that our argument has reached an impasse."

"Agreed," God said. "It seems that now the only way to resolve our differences is the Challenge of the Gods."

"The Challenge of the Gods!" Skuld echoed. "But that hasn't been performed for thousands of years!"

"Umm, what's the Challenge of the Gods?" Keiichi asked.

"The ultimate test of divinity," Urd said. "The one who successfully completes it wields ultimate power in the universe."

"Something tells me that Black Seventeen is outmatched here," Sanyasi said.

God declared in a booming voice, "Black Seventeen, I hereby issue the Challenge of the Gods! Do you accept?"

Black Seventeen already knew all about the Challenge of the Gods; after all, this was his fanfic. "I accept your challenge," he said calmly.

Urd jumped up. "I bet 500 yen on God!"

"Put me down for a thousand!" Skuld said.

"I guess I'll put 200 on God," Sanyasi said.

"You're betting against me?!" Black Seventeen asked, outraged.

"Hey, I'm only going where the smart money is."

Black Seventeen threw his hands in the air as he turned to face God, who hardened his stance. Black Seventeen did likewise, and the two stared at each other intently. The coming dawn lightened the sky, rolling back the darkness to frame the two powers in golden light. Slowly they inched towards one another, closing the distance between them little by little. Their piercing gazes never relented, both combatants focused intently on the foe before him. Then the sufficient distance was closed, and they both tensed. Standing a scant meter from one another, not breaking eye contact, the air crackled with energy. The procession leaned in, witnessing a divine ritual that no mortal had ever seen before. Suddenly, the tension was broken as one cuts a taut string, the earth beneath them rumbled, and in a roar that echoed in their ears the combatants thundered in unison:


Black Seventeen looked down to see his flattened palm opposed by the two extended fingers of God. Scissors beats paper. Black Seventeen was defeated.

"Yes!" God exalted. "You are my BITCH!"

"Dammit!" Black Seventeen lamented. "I thought for sure you'd choose rock, since the divine spirit is considered to be so solid, like a rock, you know? You completely crossed me up!"

"You were wrong to accept the challenge," God said. "I haven't lost at jan ken pon since time began. No one can dethrone me!"

"I told you, Black Seventeen: smart money," Sanyasi said.

"Yay, God wins!" Skuld cheered. "We get to keep our universe!"

"So, what were the odds on those bets you guys made?" Keiichi asked.

"Well," Urd said, "it was one-to-one on God, and 13,000-to-zero on Black Seventeen."

"You mean, a bet of zero yen on me would have gotten you 13,000 yen? And nobody took it?!"

"Well, you lost, didn't you?" Sanyasi asked. "So don't get so uptight about it."

God dusted his hands. "Well, since I have once again proven my celestial superiority, I must decide how best to deal with an interloper like yourself, Black Seventeen. Now, it wouldn't be fair of me to just kill you, since you're not exactly a part of this universe. Let me see... Ah, I have it! I shall punish you in the most severe way I know how. I shall doom you to spend all of eternity... reading your own fanfics!"

Black Seventeen sank to his knees and began to tremble. "You... you monster!"

"Hey, God," Sanyasi interrupted. "Listen, I know you're ticked at him, but don't you think you're being a bit harsh? I mean death is death, but his fanfics? Why not just impale him on a bed of hot nails and be done with it?"

"Oh, could you?" Black Seventeen begged. "I'd sing of your praises! Hell, I might even go to church! The late services, of course."

"Sorry, but my will is absolute," God said. "So, from this day forward, I formally decree that-"

The ringing of the phone within the house cut him off in mid proclamation. Belldandy scampered in and answered it. After a brief moment she emerged from the house, phone in hand. She handed it to God. "It's for you."

God placed the phone to his ear. "Hello? ... Oh, hello Dear, how are you? ... Well, I was working. ... Yes, I know it was the middle of the night, but- ... But I didn't have time to- ... No, but- ... I would have, but- ... Dear- ... I'm not raising my voice, I just- ... I had important business, so- ... Well, I have, but- ... But I still- ... Yes, Dear, I understand. ... Yes, I'll come right home. ... What's that? ... Okay, milk and eggs, I got it. ... No, I won't forget. ... Okay. ... I love you, Dear. ... Bye bye." God turned off the phone and handed it back to Belldandy.

"Who was he just talking to?" Keiichi asked.

"The most absolute power in the universe," Urd said. "Mrs. God."

God, fidgeting nervously, turned to Black Seventeen. "Well, I've really got to get going, so I'll just let you off with a warning this time. But don't go ripping the space-time continuum again, you hear?"

"Right, gotcha. You'd... better be heading back now, or..."

"Yes, yes!" God shouted as he sprinted back to his holy sedan. He dropped the clutch and sped off like a rocket, leaving dust in his tracks.

"He'd better not forget the milk and eggs," Sanyasi said.

"Well," Black Seventeen said loud enough for everyone to hear, "our business is done here. Thank you all for your hospitality. Sanyasi, let's go!"

Sanyasi scratched his head, puzzled as to why Black Seventeen would want to leave so quickly with a mission still unfulfilled. His train of thought was broken when he felt something rub up against his leg. He looked down to see what appeared to be a bug-eyed rabbit with eight legs. It nuzzled his ankle, and then leapt to the top of his head. Skuld shrieked, "BUUUUUUUGGGGG!" She whipped out her mallet, poised it above her, and brought it down heavily to eradicate the creature. Sanyasi saw the head of the mallet speeding towards him, growing larger in his field of view. An astounding pain, and then all was dark.


Sanyasi bolted upright, shrieking. "Child with blunt object! Child with blunt object!" Coming to his senses, he realized that he was back in Black Seventeen's office, sitting in a portable hospital bed. He looked around, and saw Black Seventeen and Jimmy the Dancing Lion sitting across from each other playing chess.

"Check mate," Jimmy said.

"Son of a bitch!" Black Seventeen said. "I can't win anything lately."

"Hey, Sanyasi's up!"

Black Seventeen looked towards the hospital bed. "Oh, you've come around. I had to rent another hospital bed for you, as you see. Get one more head wound and we can take advantage of Free Fracture Fridays at Our Lady of Malpractice Hospital."

"Well, I gotta skate," Jimmy said as he got up from his chair. "I'm trying out for an off-Broadway production of "The Wizard of Oz."

"What part are you going for?" Black Seventeen asked.

"Do I even have to say it?" Jimmy asked. "The Tin Man, of course!"

"Good luck!" Black Seventeen called to him. "And try not to eat Toto this time!"

Sanyasi rubbed his sore head. "I hate kids. And their bludgeoning tactics."

"Your lucky that bug absorbed most of the blow," Black Seventeen said. "Or else not even Belldandy's divine powers would have been able to scrape your brains off the patio."

"I don't get it," Sanyasi said. "I mean, I know kids are supposed to be energetic and rambunctious, but every one I meet is stronger than Hercules, and seems to be hell bent on cracking my head open like it's some pony-tailed piñata. What are they hoping to find in there, Jolly Ranchers?"

"Kids these days. No respect for their piñatas. I mean, elders."

"Hey, I have to ask you something. You were in an awfully big hurry to get out of there. Why the rush? I mean, I thought for sure you'd try to find some other angle."

"Well, Sanyasi, part of me wanted to do just that. But another part of me was listening intently to God on the phone with Mrs. God. That really planted a seed of doubt in my head about marrying into the divinity. I mean, if the Almighty Himself can get hen-pecked into buying milk and eggs at the drop of a hat, where would that leave me? I mean sure, Belldandy's a fox and all, but it ain't worth the whipping."

"This from a man who was looking forward to Washu `experimenting' on him."

"That's a completely different kind of abuse, Sanyasi. And think of all the things you can do with a test tube."

"Whatever." Sanyasi leaned back on the hospital bed. "I just don't want anything to do with goddesses for a very long time."

"Me, too. Oh, and I still remember that comment you made about my voice. So, here's that tape I was telling you about." Black Seventeen pushed the play button on a nearby boom box and turned the volume all the way up. The room became filled with the screeching sounds of Black Seventeen's a cappella rendition of "In A Gadda Da Vida."

Sanyasi covered his ears. "Oh, God! There's no key, and you're still singing off it!"

"I hate it, too," Black Seventeen shouted over the noise. "But it's a damned better fate than reading one of my own fanfics!"