Story: Oh My Goddess: Ladies' Retreat (chapter 1)

Authors: Shanejayell

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Chapter 1

Oh My Goddess: The Ladies Retreat Part One

"All right, so how did I let you talk me into this again?" Megumi Morisato shouted to the others as the bikes rounded another curve, the three riders, two passengers and sidecar all taking the steep curve with skill.

From the lead bike Chihiro Fujimi signaled them to pull over on to the side of the mountain road, stopping beneath the shade of the trees. The leaves gently moved with the breeze, shadows crossing the older woman's face as she climbed off her bike. The past president and power behind the throne of the Auto Club said to them cheerfully, "Well, Keiichi Morisato and the boys of the Motor Club are off on another summer endurance training camp, so I thought that we'd all go on our own little training trip."

"Which still doesn't really explain why I'm here," the third cyclist noted as she removed her helmet, shaking out her long black hair, bangs falling into her eyes. Once she had been known simply as the Queen, the best cyclist in the school, until she was defeated by Megumi. Now she was merely Natsuki Ogami, a cycling enthusiast and regular over at Whirlwind.

"I'm really sorry," Sora bowed as she stiffly got off the back of Natsuki's bike, the smaller woman's glasses gleaming as she explained, "but with the sidecar loaded up with supplies we needed a third bike to haul the two of us."

Urd chuckled softly from where the dusky skinned beauty was still casually perched sideways on the back of Chihiro's sleek motorcycle, "Yeah, when the boss started talking about this little excursion, I just knew I had to come along." Silently she added to herself, 'Especially after Megumi suggested were we should go.'

"All right everyone, mount up," Chihiro clapped her hands, "we should push on, or we won't have any time to unpack before the party really begins!"

"Right," Megumi climbed on to the older cycle she borrowed from Keiichi, taking a moment to check on the fully loaded sidecar. The old girl handled beautifully, as she would expect from a cycle maintained by her big brother, and smoothly fell into step behind the others.

Together they rode up the mountain road, and as they did Megumi took amused note of her companions. Urd had draped herself comfortably on Chihiro's cycle with her mane of white hair flowing out of her helmet, holding on to the other woman with a almost sexy sort of intimacy. Sora, on the other hand, was stiffly uncomfortable holding on to Natsuki, the smaller woman clearly nervous but still game to go on. Natsuki herself was oddly considerate to the younger woman, clearly taking care of the nervous young lady.

They swung past a old sign reading 'Mountain Resort Honda Lodge' and continued on, eventually coming to a stop not far from the old building surrounded by aspen trees, the mountain lake gleaming off in the distance. It was an old, faded hotel, unchanged from long before the war, but it had a graceful charm all it's own.

"Looks like we're here," Megumi said as they coasted to a stop.

"Not bad," Natsuki said as she gracefully dismounted, casually holding the bike steady for Sora to climb off.

"Not bad at all," Chihiro nodded her agreement, gentlemanly offering a hand to help the slightly taller Urd off.

"Thanks," Urd gave her a saucy little grin, casually stretching once she was off of the bike and unconsciously showing off her full body.

Chihiro's gaze lingered just a moment as she sighed to herself, 'God can be cruel, she has such a great body.' She looked away towards Megumi and asked, "So, this place is run by a friend of your grandfather?"

"That's part of why we can all stay so cheap," Megumi agreed as they helped unload the sidecar and the saddlebags on the bikes, eventually accumulating a fair bit of supplies. "You and Urd went up here the last time, what did you think, Sora?"

"Oh," Sora seemed startled to be asked. "Actually I liked it a lot," she admitted, "it's peaceful and the housekeeper was very nice."

"Housekeeper?" Natsuki raised a eyebrow as they each loaded up, carrying the packs of stuff up towards the double doors.

"Chieko Honda," Sora nodded as she grunted with effort under her own heavy bag, "she seemed to be an old fashioned kid of girl, but very likable." She frowned a little as she conceded, "She certainly liked Keiichi, though."

"That's my brother," Megumi shrugged casually as she joked, "I think it's his likable ineptness that gets the girls."

"Here," Natsuki casually relieved the overloaded Sora of a heavier bag, "let me."

"But...." Sora protested.

Natsuki gave Sora a gentle smile, "Hey, I'm getting a cheap vacation out of this, the least I can do is help out."

Megumi tried the door and said in surprise, "It's unlocked."

'Not again,' Urd blinked as she felt an oddly supernatural presence just beyond the doors, 'you have got to be kidding me.'

The doors swung open and a young lady beamed at them, her old fashioned maid's uniform flowing. "Good afternoon," the black haired girl beamed, "and welcome to the Honda Lodge! I'm the housekeeper Chieko Honda, pleased to meet you."

"Eh?!" Urd managed incoherently.

"Urd-san, Sora-san," Chieko smiled brightly as she recognized both of the women and continued, "welcome back."

After doing her share of unloading and unpacking Urd finally was able to duck out, pulling Chieko aside to talk to her. "I thought that after Keiichi gave you that ride on the bike," she half accused, "you had moved on to the other world, Chieko."

Chieko Honda, it seemed, was not an ordinary young woman. Nearly seventy years ago she had made a promise to a young man, and when she died young with that promise unfulfilled she had lingered on as a ghost, or more accurately a entity called a shinnentai. Her intense desire have her the ability to interact directly with the mortal world, allowing her to maintain the role of housekeeper while she waited for her young man to finally return.

When Keiichi had arrived at the lodge with the motorclub, bearing such an uncanny resemblance to his grandfather Hotaru, she had assumed he was Hotaru! Refusing to believe he wasn't her beloved she had tried reason, then enchantment to try to bind Keiichi to her, to fulfill their promise. Ultimately Keiichi had agreed to help out of his own good naturedness, and after the ride around the lake Chieko had disappeared.

"I thought that it would," Chieko said a bit sheepishly, "but apparently not." She looked thoughtful, "I think that Keiichi's grandfather Hotaru's spirit is still out in the world, and I can't pass on until I meet him again."

"Damn," Urd blinked. She frowned thoughtfully, "But he could be anywhere in the world...."

"No," Chieko shook her head gently, her expression thoughtful as she explained, "I get the feeling he's somewhere nearby."

Urd thought about that a moment, "Are there any other guests here?" When Chieko shook her head Urd sighed, "Then it has to be Megumi, Natsuki or Chihiro."

"Not you or Sora?" Chieko blinked.

"I'm a Goddess so I was around when Hotaru was alive," Urd shrugged casually, "and Sora was here the last time and you didn't react to her then."

Chieko frowned as she asked, "But how do I narrow down who is carrying Hotaru's spirit? The feeling I have so far is too general to be sure."

Urd looked up towards the ceiling as she considered the problem, "Is that Brough Superior motorcycle that Keiichi fixed up last time still here?"

"Of course," Chieko looked indignant, "it was Hotaru's most precious thing."

"Then let's find an excuse to haul each one of them down there to look at it," Urd suggested, "I bet you'll be able to tell from how they react."

Chieko beamed, "Thank you, Urd-sama!"

"Well then, let's get to work," Urd said with a grin, leading the young woman back to where the others were.

To be continued....

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