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Sometimes home is where your heart is not a place where you live

*At the Temple, in the senior monk’s study*

Two heads, one white haired and one red, are touching the floor as the senior monk speaks.  Several of the elder monks are behind him, nodding their shaven heads at every sentence…

“You will disconnect the pipes to the baths, reconnect the hand operated pump back at the spring, and send the steam engine back to Babbage.  You far exceeded your limits when you changed the time honored methods of instruction and discipline when you eliminated the bucket line for the younger monks.  Everything shall be set back to the time honored traditions by this afternoon.”

Iyou sighs, “Hai, Yamada-sama.”

Belldandy, never to surrender easily, speaks to the floor.  “Yamada-sama, we meant no dishonor to the tradition but it took forever to climb the stairs to the upper baths.  This way was much better and the water was ever so much hotter.”

An eyebrow climbs its’ staircase up the forehead of the senior monk.  “You question me Belldandy?”

A small gasp, “Never!”

The senior monk smiles sadly, “Then you shall show the way to enlightenment Belldandy by being the first in line to haul the bucket tonight.  Agreed my Brothers?  If you are happy with this, please allow me some time to further instruct these two in private.”

Amidst happy whispers, the elder monks depart the study closing the great door and leaving them alone.

“Sit up you two and face me.  What shall I do with you?  You both must have known that you were going to displease them when you piped that pump to the baths and got rid of that job.”

Iyou looks up, “Hai, I thought that by doing that we could study more and try to do new things to bring us closer to the West.  I meant no disrespect sir.  How was I to know that the elder monks would accept change slower than the snows melt from the mountain top?”

The senior monk chuckles at the comparison.  “Iyou, we do not discourage change but wish only to control its speed and reach.  You are an amazing person and your solution to the yakuza brought great joy to them.  But to change too quickly is not the way of the Temple much less of Nihon.”

She looks up at this blue eyes flashing, “Then why send me across the oceans and lands to learn these things if I am not to use them here to help us?”

“Because I asked him to.”  The voice behind the hangings is known to all in the room.  Father Hermit strides in and sits besides his old friend. “You see dear the West will change Nihon sooner or later.  It is our wish to have someone understand these things with an eye to using them in a Japanese fashion when the time for change comes upon us.  Let us say that this return was as much a test of that as well as saving you from an early grave.”

Belldandy speaks out angrily, “Why would you educate your daughter and then force her to struggle in such a binding manner?  She is years and years ahead of the smartest monks now.  Iyou chafes under this.  What will you do about it?”

The Hermit looks at Belldandy until she lowers her eyes, “What will I do?  Why send her back of course.  Did you think otherwise?”

Both maidens gasp at this.  “But the threats, the dangers, the temptations.  You would return her to that alone?” Belldandy shouts out.

The senior monk raises his hand and silence drops like a blanket. “No Belldandy.  She won’t return alone.  You are going with her.  It will be good for you to work more with the spirits of Babbage, you will learn the Western ways, and perhaps protect your sister-miko along the way.  Think you can handle this assignment?”

Belldandy turns almost as white as Iyou.  “Hai Yamada-sama!  Domo Arigatou! I shall do it!”

Iyou, her calm pose restored, inquires. “Then we both shall be going to Babbage?”

The senior monk smiles and pats Iyou on the head, “No.  You shall be taking Belldandy back home with you.  You have out grown the Temple I am afraid.  This is your home no longer but will remain your sanctuary whenever you need it.  I think you enjoy being there among the soot and smoke more.  I hear that you have friends there also who will rejoice on your return as much as we did when you came here.”

Father Hermit adds, “Just keep your sword close to you and a supply of pigeons handy.  We do expect you to continue your stream of dispatches to us so that we may prepare for change in a manner that everyone can accept.”

“When shall we leave Father?  I will have to prepare for the journey.”

“Take your time dear.  Be ready rather than hasty.  Take a few weeks before you leave.”

The two mikos stand to leave the study joyous as two children given a great present.  The senior monk clears his throat which causes them to turn and look to him in question.

“Iyou, you may start to disconnect the steam engine and replace the hand pump at the spring.  Belldandy, the bucket line starts when the great bell tolls.  See you are ready to work hard tonight.”  Through the groans he adds, “You did not think I forgot your punishments did you?”

((Yes, Iyou is coming home to Babbage and bringing Belldandy with her.  She should be seen more as her typist considers plots of land to build upon.  The return should be sometime in September.  Beware male dancers of Babbage; if you thought Iyou was hard on you wait until you see Belldandy!))



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