On a Godless Planet:Volume1A Chapter 7

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Chapter 7: SimEarth 01[edit]

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Some things get through even when you don’t understand


Now, then, I thought.

I left the stone hut and found an area of land below the starry sky. I turned back toward Balancer and Senpai who had followed me.

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“So has the terraforming already started?”

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“Yes, it has.”

Senpai gestured at our surroundings and the stone hut.

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“I created all of this earlier.”

I loved that proud look on her face. That confidence in her own accomplishments was great. I wanted to marry her at least 5 times! But aside from that inner desire, I asked Balancer a question.

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“Does that mean Senpai turned the lava sea into land to terraform it?”

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<Exactly right. But since I seriously doubt you know, I will add that she is not cooling the planet itself to create land. She is using her power as a god to forcibly create land. That hides the geothermal heat and lowers the planet’s surface temperature.>

Dammit, the AI got carried away and started getting into the details.

Luckily, I understood that stuff a little. To start with…

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“And by cooling the planet, you create water?”

Senpai applauded my answer. On the other hand, Balancer displayed a dumbfounded expression on the screen.

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<I thought you were just an idiot, but it seems I have misjudged you. How humiliating.>

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“Is it really that bad? …Oh, but wait! Are you that shocked and appalled to learn I know something about this!? Uhohoi! Uhohoi! Take that! So what happens next?”

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<Y-you damn descendent of the apes!>

Balancer’s opinion of me seemed to have reverted to normal. Anyway, they tilted the screen once and then spoke.

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<First things first. You really need to bow down and apologize to her.>

I immediately prostrated myself on my back at Senpai’s feet.

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“Ahh! Low aaaaaangle! But that moving screen told me to do this, so blame it, not meeeeeeee!”

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<Feel free to stomp on him.>

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“No, no, no. What is this about anyway?”

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“It’s about how your boobs are so big I can’t see your face from below!”

This was a discovery! I had already discovered it when she gave me a lap pillow earlier, so this made it a double discovery. Incredible. I wanted to increase the degree of this discovery as much as possible.

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“Thank you for this excellent opportunity, screen! I misjudged you!”

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<I am not a screen. Well, I kind of am, but calling me that would only invite confusion, so I recommend using the more accurate name of Balancer.>

It would be a pain to have to correct myself if that kind of confusion happened later on, so I was fine with switching to that name now. And I had something to say to Balancer and to Senpai.

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“Balancer, are you saying I’m only able to breathe and survive here because of Senpai?”

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<Could you please stand up before continuing the conversation?>

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“Dammit! You just don’t get it! Why don’t you understand!? This isn’t about that! It’s more…you know.”

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“Um, Sumeragi-kun? The ground here is rock, so doesn’t it hurt your back?”

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“Oh, I’m A-OK! I’m willing to put up with this much if it lets me get a low-angle view from the very ground you created!”

I crawled along the ground and looked up at Balancer.

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“How about that!? This spot on the ground here, that one over there, and all the other ones around here are handmade masterpieces Senpai worked hard to create while her huge boobs jiggling all the while. Ahh, I can feel her touch all over my body! I bet you’re jealous! Jealous you’ll never know how this feels!”

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<This idiot refuses to continue the conversation, so how about we continue it ourselves?>

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“But, um, he’s my partner…”

Oh, no. I was turning into a bad underclassman who caused his upperclassman trouble. I scrambled to my feet and tilted my head toward Balancer.

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“So what is it? I’ll hear you out.”

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<Kh…!>

Balancer turned the other way and shook up and down for a bit. After a while, the screen faced me again and resumed speaking.

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<To get back on topic, it is indeed thanks to her that you can survive here. While you are near her, her power as a god protects you as her believer…or an ujiko as it is known in Shinto.”

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“Senpai, you’re so cooooooool!”

She smiled back at me and I could tell how easily swayed I was.

Oh, this was not good at all. I was really too easily swayed when it came to her. It was like I had fallen for her the instant we met, but who could blame me when she was a god!?

However, she narrowed her eyes and spoke.

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“My divine rank increased after we came together as partners, remember? That allowed me to do a lot more than before.”

“We came together as partners!?”

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“Eh?”

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<Hey.>

I slapped my own cheek. Bad. Bad me. When I was in the presence of a god, my glass heart couldn’t hide anything and it all came spilling out.

That said, it was my turn to speak, so I asked a question.

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“What kinds of things can you do now?”

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“Before when I would transform lava or a similar geographical phase into a rocky ground like this, I could only affect my immediate surroundings and the space beyond my outstretched hand, but the range of the effect has increased somewhat. Just watch.”

She walked to the edge of the land.

Hot air and embers were rising from there. It had to have been scorching hot, but I was fine and couldn’t feel any heat. And Senpai was a god, so she was probably even more fine than me.

When she held out her hand, something happened.

An area of lava about 30m wide and long transformed into rocky land.

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“Ohhh…”

It was like painting over the terrain or using a roller or something.

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<She has transformed the phase.>

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“The phase?”

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<A “phase” is the mold given to the terrain by the ley lines or that otherwise develops on the terrain. You can think of it as another term for the type of geographical feature present in an area.>

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“What does that mean?”

Balancer glared at me.

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<That wasn’t enough to understand?>

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“No, not really. Cause you suck at explaining things.”

We exchanged insults for around 2 minutes. By then, Senpai had returned and she explained for me.

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“Um, ley lines flow through every part of the world. Do you…know what ley lines are? Oh…well, they are the large currents of ether that create the space around them.”

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“I am glad you could figure that one out from the look on my face. You’ve both neglected to explain that part for a while now.”

She gave a more relaxed nod than before and held both hands out as if supporting the emptiness there.

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“This is what we call ‘space’.”

I decided to listen to Senpai’s lecture. That’s what it meant to be an underclassman. Yes. So I stood right in front of her.

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“Sorry, Senpai.”

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“For what?”

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“There’s a good chance I’m going to end up staring at your chest while you explain this, but I assure you I am listening and all I am doing is staring. So please ignore it.”

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“U-umm.”

She was clearly flustered and then Balancer spoke without warning.

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<Oh, this should be a good example.>

Immediately afterwards, something happened.

There was light.

The 1m cube of “space” above Senpai’s hands suddenly glowed, burst, and shattered.

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Huh!?

I had no idea what was going on. I thought Senpai may have brought a flashlight or something with her, but…

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“The light…”

The shattering light was clearly solid. It was almost like glowing shards of ice or glass, but they scattered in the planet’s scorching wind and vanished as if unraveling.

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What was that?

I didn’t know. But Senpai checked a Revelation Board in slight surprise and then looked at me.

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“Surprised? I mean, it surprised me too.”

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“Well, yes, it surprised me…but what was that light? Or fragments?”

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“Um, that was a failure.”

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“A failure?”

I had expected something interesting, but that was her answer. I had wanted to know what that “solid” light was, but whatever! Having a conversation with Senpai was good enough for me! I don’t think I’d ever spoken with a girl this long in my life! I could die happy now!

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“Um, your odd behavior distracted me and that made me mess up and cause an unexpected transformation.”

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“Eh? So it was…my fault.”

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“No, I didn’t say that. It isn’t about anyone being at fault.”

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<No, don’t go easy on him! Really let him have it!>

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“Dammit, this talking screen needs to show me more respect!”

Senpai intervened and then held up her hand again.

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“The light exploded last time, but think of this as me holding up this ‘space’ with my hand. Yes, this 1m cube of space you can see right here.”

“Oh, right,” I said as I viewed the empty space between us that she was seemingly supporting with her hand.

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“What is in this space right now?”

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“Noth-…”

I started to answer, but then I realized that wasn’t true.

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“This planet’s…atmosphere? And heat too. Not to mention wind…oh, but that’s just the atmosphere again.”

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“No, you can look at it like that. Now, allow me to explain.”

Senpai continued talking.

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“If I smoosh the space like this, then – pow! – it changes. You see, ether is fwooshing through his space, but my smooshing makes it only sloosh through.”

Oh, she’s really bad at explaining things.

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“Do you understand now?”

When she asked me that, I turned toward Balancer and found the talking screen angled down toward the ground.

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“Hey, what’s the deal? Don’t tell me you didn’t understand Senpai’s explanation.”

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“…Are you saying you did understand it?”

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“Don’t be dumb! I can understand anything she says! She smooshes it so it goes squoosh and ahaaahn, right!? Damn, that was cute!”

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“No, um, when I smoosh it, it only slooshes, which makes it go pow.”

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“See, just like I said!?”

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“Did you understand that?”

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“I mean, I get what she was trying to say, but that was not it…”

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“This is supposed to be like the tutorial, so are we already screwed?”

Balancer wanted to just disappear, but they managed to recover mentally.

They formed words to speak to the descendant of apes.

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<This world is filled with ley lines. In other words, there is no place through which the ley lines do not pass. …Do you understand that much?>

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“Are they something like blood vessels?”

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<Wow, this ape kind of does understand… Oh, just speaking to myself. Please ignore it. Anyway, the term originally referred to an aspect of the terrain, but the actual ley lines exist in all of space and not just the ground. If you think of the entire world as an ocean, then the ley lines are like the ocean currents.>

And…

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<The substance flowing through the ley lines is known as ether. Ether is sort of synonymous with the ley lines, but the relationship is similar to that of the ocean and water. “Ley lines” refers to the whole and “ether” refers to a specific area or target of change.>

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“If we’re talking about the ocean, wouldn’t it be seawater and not just water?”

Balancer really wanted a way to delete him from existence.

For a few seconds, they used their high-speed thoughts to search their database for methods of calming oneself down and put those methods to practice in a virtual space. Once back in top form, they resumed speaking.

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<In other words, we too are ley lines and ether.>

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“Wait.”

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<What is it?>

The idiot pointed at his partner and tilted his head.

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“How does that make sense? I mean, if Senpai and I are part of the ley lines, shouldn’t we be flowing? You said the ley lines are like currents, right? But we’re not flowing at all. Aren’t the ley lines passing right through us?”

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<No. You, she, and I are made of ether and we form a portion of the ley lines. And we are indeed caught in the current of the ley lines.>

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“Then why-…”

Hearing his question would be a pain, so Balancer preemptively answered it.

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<Because we have molds. That is the same thing as the phases we mentioned earlier. You have your own mold and that is what preserves you. She, I, and the world itself also have our own molds that allow us to exist. That is the answer.>

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<When ether fills a mold, it creates the form indicated by the mold. It is something like a water balloon. And since ether exists everywhere, the mold constantly maintains its form.>

That was a simple rule.

They all were able to exist here because of their molds. Without a mold, the ether would have no fixed state or direction and it would break apart and pass right through them.

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<To take humans as an example, information begins to accumulate once the egg is fertilized in their mother’s womb and that information eventually creates their unique mold.>

And…

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<This ground and everything else is the same. The phase of the terrain is no more than a largescale mold, so it takes its current form when ether flows through it and some of the ether remains behind and is given a direction.>

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“Hold on.”

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<What is it?>

This boy would have nothing but skepticism for Balancer’s words. In fact, he probably did not really understand the rules yet. And he asked exactly the question Balancer had expected.

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“How does that make sense?”

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<What about it does not make sense?>

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“Well, you said the world has the shape it does and I have my human form because we have molds, right? But that’s not how it works. I ended up like this because of cell division and this planet was formed by gravity, heat, and other physical laws… Yeah, it’s because of the laws of physics!”

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<A fair point.>

Balancer accepted that and the idiot gave them a suspicious look.

But the explanation was only just getting started.

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<But that is only because those were the laws of physics installed as an OS in this world’s ley lines.>

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“What?”

What Balancer said sounded crazy.

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Senpai and I only exist because we have our individual molds?

That was nonsense. But when I protested, they explained it away by saying the world’s laws of physics were an OS in the ley lines.

But did that even mean anything?

“How does that make sense?” I asked.

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“This world has the laws of physics and that explain everything just fine, so why even bring ley lines, ether, and molds into it?”

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<Please think more about it. I said ether contains this world’s basic laws of physics, but what if I told you ether can be controlled?>

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“What?”

I repeated the same confused question because I didn’t get what the talking screen meant.

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Ether can be controlled?

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“You mean you can like…move it left or right?”

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“No, not like that…”

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<Ether is the basic building block of space and it is also the laws of physics that govern the world.>

But you could control it.

What did that mean?

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“You take it, make it go all gwoon, and then whap it back together!”

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“You’re super cute, Senpai!”

What was she working so hard to tell me? I thought I understood, but if I did, then it meant something very strange indeed. However…

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“Do I need to understand this for us to work together?”

That would be bad news. I mean, this was my chance to work with a busty, long black-haired, good-looking, hard-working new style uniform girl who explained things using onomatopoeia! If I let this opportunity slip by me, I’d probably just die. And I’m not exaggerating. I mean it. So I needed to work at this. And I knew what I had to say, as crazy as it sounded.

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“Can you control ether to transform what’s in a space into something else or to rewrite the laws of physics there into something else!?”

Balancer decided they had crossed the largest hurdle here.

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<Correct. I am glad you caught on so quickly.>

She raised her voice to celebrate and the idiot tried to downplay it, but this was something everyone but him already understood.

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<This world’s physical laws are determined by the OS installed in the ether, so they are easily rewritten. And while ether requires a mold to form whatever it might form, those molds can be rewritten or the ether can be directly rewritten to transform whatever it is into something else.>

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“So it’s like alchemy?”

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<That was a flawed methodology.>

But this descendant of apes had to understand by now.

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<She created land earlier and you saw those shards of light scattering, didn’t you? Do you know what that was now?>

The idiot said yes and nodded. When she raised her hand again, he also nodded at her.

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“Within the range she can control, Senpai rewrote the ether’s mold from that of lava to that of rock. And when my passion was too much for her to handle, she accidentally rewrote that space into ‘light’. But not the light of this world. A solid light.”

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<We are fortunate it was only light. If it had transformed into a black hole or some other state she is unable to control, I would have had to forcibly intervene.>

Now…

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<That said, it is difficult for humans to control ether like that. There is a method that we call magic, but it is inefficient. Our high-speed thoughts can immediately construct the technical system from the ground up, but then there is no need for humans and it also brings our own purpose into question. So…>

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“So the gods?”

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<Exactly.>

At that point, it was an issue of work efficiency.

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<What is the difference between gods and humans? Humans cannot escape the grasp of the world’s physical laws, but gods can rewrite the ether within the bounds of their authority. In other words, gods can cause ‘miracles’ beyond human comprehension.>

So…

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<When attempting a largescale task, the work can be made more efficient and stable with the help of gods who can bend the laws of physics and rewrite the world. But even those gods have their limits. …That is why human worship is needed to lift up the gods. This should be done before the gods hand the world over to the humans, so that is what we have done. …That is the current situation.>

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This screen sure likes to talk…

I felt like I more or less understood.

To put it simply…

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“The gods are going to transform the world, so I’ve gotta help ‘em out.”

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<Yes, that more or less describes what you must do.>

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“Did you really need to explain all that stuff about ether and molds?”

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<You must be able to communicate with her for the work ahead. If you did not understand the process, you would be the same as an ape given a lighter. You could never come up with any new ideas on your own.>

That sort of made sense to me.

And with that settled, I turned toward Senpai.

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“Senpai, I can’t really trust this talking screen, but will you give me reason to trust you?”

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“Um, yes. This is what I wanted to show you earlier.”

She gently lifted her hand as it supported the empty air.

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Her boobs are jiggling…

Just as I was admiring their movement, something else happened.

The 1m cube of space above her hand suddenly became water.

It happened in an instant. With no time lag at all, a portion of the planet’s atmosphere became water.

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“This isn’t my specialty, but I can do this much with the basic authority.”

I knew this made no sense at all. Because…

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“How hot is the air here?”

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<About 300 degrees Celsius.>

That was even hotter than I had thought. And yet a cube of water was just floating there.

It should have vaporized.

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“It’s like a magic trick…”

Despite what I said, this had to be all that stuff about molds.

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“Senpai, are you ‘preserving’ that water right now?”

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“Everything in my territory is protected by my power. That’s why you and I can stand here without issue.”

“Then,” I said.

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“If you released it, it would vaporize right away, wouldn’t it?”

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“Yes, I was thinking I could show you that to help you understand.”

I turned toward the talking screen and they turned to look at me.

I asked a question.

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“A steam explosion is a favorite chemical reaction of kids everywhere, isn’t it?”

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<By the way, when water boils, its volume expands approximately 1700 times.>

We looked at the water Senpai was holding up and she spread her mouth horizontally.

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“Oh, dear. What am I supposed to do with this now?”

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<The two of us will not die. Although the idiot will be killed instantly as his status is only slightly above that of an ape.>

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“Wow! I love that exciting lack of caring. I’ll look up how to reformat you later, so let me see your database then, okay!?”

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“Wait, wait, wait, wait. I can take this water and, um…?”

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“Oh, can you transform it into something else?”

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<Her rank as a god is still quite low, so transforming air into water and then into something else is asking a little too much of her.>

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“Then what do we do?”

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<The range of her phase expanded when her rank increased earlier, so it will not explode the instant she lets go of it. It should be fine if she sprinkles the water inside the stone hut over there and then we move away before letting it explode.>

The stone hut shook violently, but it survived.

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“Yes, you can’t destroy my creation.”

Senpai was super cute when she got a little smug.

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“This will be cramming in a lot of information, but how about we explain the current situation and how to make the terraforming process even more efficient.”


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