On a Godless Planet:Volume1B Chapter 30

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Chapter 30: Blockout 02[edit]

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Whoever makes the claim first wins.

Shifu heard Omokane groan.

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“We try to shove all the blame onto you, but you send it right back at us since we were supposed to be supervising, huh?”

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“It’s like a counterattack doing more damage for everything we had built up against them.”

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“Yes, a real ‘too clever for our own good’ moment!”

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“You have guts to say that at this stage.”

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“But what are we going to do about it?”

Omokane groaned again and nodded with an oddly refreshed smile on her face.

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“I may be too clever, but Sugawara-kouhai is exactly the right amount of clever. It’s high time we saw just how skilled a negotiator she is.”

Tenma considered how to view the concept of “apology” here.

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They want us to apologize.

That word was nothing but a nuisance.

During her mortal life, she had caused some political trouble and been the target of some political trouble behind the scenes and she was eventually demoted for it. She had been sent to as remote a region as they could think of back then, so her enemies had been absolutely ecstatic. However…

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My apologies fell on deaf ears.

The experience had definitely left its mark on her, so most of the poetry she wrote during her mortal life had been gripes about being demoted and pleas to her boss, the emperor.

She now wished she had written something more cheerful, but that poetry was how she had ended up being known as a vengeful god, so you never knew what twists and turns life would throw at you. Back then, she certainly had not expected to end up as a girl like this. But why would she have?

Regardless, she considered the topic at hand.

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“You want us to apologize?”

She knew what that meant.

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“Are you sure that’s all you want?”

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“That’s all?”

She caught on fast. That was her weapon after all.

So Tenma came out and said it.

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“If we hurt you, or your group’s, feelings and displeased you in that way, then I voluntarily apologize for that. I too have feelings and understand what that is like.”

But she had more to say.

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“But apologizing does not actually fix anything. If bowing your head could recover a physical loss or a waste of your time, apologies would be a miracle surpassing even the acts of the gods. But apologies cannot do that. So if no rules have been established regarding apologies, they will only make up for hurt feelings.”

However…

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“Let us refer back to your question: How will Shinto apologize for breaching the DC’s trust?

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“That was a surprisingly good impression of her voice.”

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“Wasn’t it? Wasn’t it!?”

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“Why do you sound so proud, Yatsui!?”

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“Hey, I feel kind of proud when Kuwajiri-chan does a good job.”

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“I will do what I can.”

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“I’m soooo jealous. One of myyyy people kept getting into trouble, so I had to send caaaast him down into the deeeepths.”

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“You need to stop doing stuff like that.”

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“Hey, hey, hey. Aaaanyone would get pissed when someone blasts a truuuumpet in your ear while you’re trying to sleeeep.”

Tenma was glad she had that statement on the record.

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“I am most grateful that you will overlook a breach of trust with nothing more than an apology, which would normally only resolve an emotional issue.”

She doffed her hat and bowed.

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“I am dreadfully sorry about our mistake. I will let my superiors know you were so kind to us.”

She faced forward to find Eshtar viewing her with a bag of Wasabeef in hand.

The bag was still closed, so she opened it for her.

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“Here.”

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“Thanks.”

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“Now, I believe we are done here for today. Take care on your way home.”

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“Sure, sure…wait, no! We’re not done here!! Hold it!!”

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“She’s surprisingly friendly, isn’t she?”

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“We really are very sorry.”

Eshita punctuated her response with a sigh.

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Neat, my breath is spicy!

That was pretty cool. It made her not want to brush her teeth. But on the other hand…

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“Do you really think that qualifies as an apology?”

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“That was a fairly high level apology by Shinto and Japanese standards. Are you saying even that was insufficient?”

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“High level? That?”

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“Yes,” she replied. “The lowest level starts at something like ‘Oh, hey. My bad.’, the low level is a simple verbal apology, the mid-level specifies what it is you are apologizing for and includes a written letter of apology, the high level includes a bow as a physical sign of apology, and the highest level is a prostration. The prostration in particular has a spiritual effect that allows it to work with any target.”

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“You’re pulling my leg with some of that, right?”

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“I am not.”

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“The prostration in particular works against gods too thanks to the manifestation system, meaning they can actually influence the workings of this world.”

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“A prostration can?”

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“I can demonstrate for you if you like, but you will regret it.”

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“Wait, stop!”

This girl could always be a suicide bomber, so it was best not to provoke her. Eshita also heard some comments from the peanut gallery.

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“Tch. Why’d she have to say no? We totally would’ve won then.”

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“Indeed we would have, Sumeragi-kouhai. She must have realized any provocation would have guided us to victory.”

Oh, man. Does this mean I’m actually clever?

Also, this Wasabeef stuff is so good. The other spices were a tingling kind of spicy, but this is more of a piercing spicy. It came as a shock at first, but now it’s kinda fun and I can taste a hint of sweetness behind it, like a little treat. I’m totally buying some of this before heading back.

But she had a problem to solve before that.

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“Did you think you could weasel out of this with some cheap wordplay?”

Oh, I know what I can do.

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“I will forgive your breach of trust based on that apology.”

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“Thank you very much.”

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“Hey, it’s nothing.”

She smiled before continuing.

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“Now give me the results.”

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“I will forgive the breach our trust. That is a simple act. But the result of that act is a separate matter. In mathematical terms, the act is the expression and the result is the solution. I will forgive you for using the wrong expression, but you still need to give us the solution.”

So answer us.

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“If you want us to overlook your expression, you must have the solution for us, right? So where is it? Hand it over. Spell it out for me.”

Well?

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“You never said you couldn’t produce the results, so this must be a good deal for you. I mean, we all heard what you said: I am most grateful that you will overlook a breach of trust with nothing more than an apology, which would normally only resolve an emotional issue.

Now.

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“I’ll forgive the breach of trust, so give us our results.”

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“That impression was so bad I would never have guessed who it was if I didn’t already know.”

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“She called that wordplay ‘cheap’, yet now she’s doing it herself.”

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“I am sorry. So sorry.”

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“I don’t really think you need to apologize for this, Bilgamesh.”

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“I am so, so sorry.”

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“This is why people start calling you Apology Man, Bil.”

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“It must suck to have a weird boss.”

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“Omokane-san, you’re just fishing for reactions from Kubiko-san at this point, aren’t you?”

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“Sorry, I already wrote out a rather lengthy message.”

Tenma began by raising her hand.

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“We have shown you results.”

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“You have, have you?”

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“Yes.” She chose her words carefully in order to test her opponent. “We confirmed the existence of a 0th Generation mythology for this star system and discovered what that mythology is.”

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“–––––”

She must have known about that. Since Balancer was involved, that neutral AI would have given the information elsewhere as well. However…

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“We have Shinto and the human to thank for that result. And while things have been considerably delayed, we have that series of events to thank for this result. Shinto recommends we extend the current schedule since things are playing out as desired.”

Because…

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“If we continue on this schedule, there are definite odds of achieving further results of this nature, but using other methods might have no odds of that. I think these observation results are worth gambling on, but…”

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“But what?”

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“But it took us 4 months to achieve these results. Let’s say you in the DC took the human for yourself. How long would it take you to achieve results on this same level? 4 months? Now, Shinto exists outside of the generational numbering, but if we were placed inside it, your 5th generation is more than twice as advanced as us. So 2 months? No, I doubt it would take the great DC that long.”

She asked a question.

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“If you did have the human at your disposal, are you confident the DC could produce similar results in less than a month?”

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“It all comes down to this,” muttered Omokane.

She was confident of that.

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Now, how will Sugawara-kouhai finish this off?

The knowledge god nodded to agree with her expectations here.

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“That is true. The star system’s 0th Generation mythology is definitely something we could not have achieved without Sumeragi. And the DC is wary of yet badly wants the ability to create new mythologies like that. But if the DC intends to criticize our results and take her from us, they must first prove that they could achieve the same or superior results in less time. Otherwise, they would be seizing her for purely selfish reasons.”

That was exactly right. But…

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“Is it even possible to get Sumeragi-kun to produce further results in less than a month?”

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“One problem is we don’t know what those ‘further results’ would be. And there are a few other problems too.”

She counted them off on her fingers as she thought them up.

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“First, would Sumeragi-kouhai obey them?

“Second, Sumeragi-kouhai will die again and need to be rolled back.

“Third, what other results could they get from her next?”

They would have to solve all of those and produce some results in less than a month.

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“That is no small feat, 5th Generation.”

She spoke loud enough to be overheard and received a convenient response from one of her own people.

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“No, it isn’t.”

Good, way to play it up. The natural tone makes it work even better.

Sugawara nodded too.

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“So how about it, DC? Can you produce results within a month after taking the human from us?”

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“That’s just not possible.”

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“Right? I mean, the DC has never done it before, so they can’t just come out and say they definitely can do it.”

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“Exactly. But what do you think, Kuwajiri-kouhai?”

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“I agree it isn’t possible. But…”

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“But?”

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“This is all about politics, so I already know what their answer is going to be.”

Good question, thought Eshita.

The DC, the 5th Generation, and the Mesopotamian gods had never done anything like that before.

There was no way they could pull it off in less than a month.

So her answer was obvious.

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“Of course we can. Less than a month? We can do that easy.”

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“Eh!? Um…ehhhh!?”

I knew I was overly flustered, but it really did make no sense to me. I mean…

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“I thought that wasn’t possible. I thought they couldn’t say they could do it.”

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“Douhai-kun.”

Oh, right. We’re in the same year, so she can’t call me Senpai-kun. And why can I analyze that part so rationally?

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“What they want first and foremost is Sumeragi-kouhai. Once they have her, they aren’t returning her. We could demand it, but they just have to find a way to weasel out of it. Hence, they can say whatever they want here.”

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“But! But how is that fair!?”

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“That’s politics for you, Senpai-san.”

Kuwajiri continued without turning my way.

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“Truth and logic are irrelevant. They only want results, but they need that idiot – that is, Sumeragi – for that. So they are willing to accept and push through any condition we place on them to get her. They can either figure out a way to pull it off later or come up with an excuse.”

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“That’s right,” said Eshita. “If we can’t achieve results with the human, we just have to say ‘something unexpected’ occurred. You said that earlier, Shinto, so you can’t tell use we can’t say the same thing.”

She reached for a new bag of Karamucho as she spoke.

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“The DC, and especially us Mesopotamian gods, have a lot of pride and reputation to live up to. You lowly Shinto gods could never understand.”

So…

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“We will be taking the human and the right to create new myths. Also…yes, if we can establish the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation mythologies for each planet in this star system, we will accept that as suitable results.”

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“Also,” said Eshita. “When you hand over the human, we will forbid the use of her partner god’s authority in a way that would allow her to grow beyond the limits of humanity. We cannot have anyone forbidding our use of the human because using her could affect humanity in some way.”

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“How convenient for you. But do you really think we will give you all that for nothing in return?”

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Here it comes.

They were talking on her terms now.

They were accepting her suggested restrictions as part of a possible deal. She had hoped to guide them in that direction, so this was convenient.

So she began to think, but she also began speaking since she knew she was right about this.

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“In return, we will accept Bilgamesh’s defection. Enkidu, on the other hand, must first complete the recreation of her myth.”

She raised her hand and a spear glowing with a horribly dark light appeared in it.

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“This is the spear of the underworld. Are you prepared to die?”

Ki realized what Eshtar was really after here.

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So that’s it.

Had some decision been made behind the scenes? She belatedly realized the true meaning behind these political dealings.

She thought about what it meant for Eshtar to be here, but…

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Yeah.

She faced forward to view the wild goddess who was munching on snacks.

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“Since we have not officially defected yet, our contract with the DC prevents us from discussing this, Eshtar.”

But that settled it.

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“I accept that death, Eshtar.”

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“Kidou-san!?”

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“Holllllllllllllllllllllld up, Overdressed Mucho! You’re planning on penetrating Busty Girl here with your spear!? What kinda euphemism is that!? And do you have any idea what it would mean for the world to lose a girl as busty as that!? You’re only somewhat busty, so you wouldn’t understand, would you!? Well!? Mad you don’t understand!? I’m not mad, cause I do understand! Oh, and now the fury of my boobs worship has come full circle! Which is to say, you won’t get away with this!”

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“Euphemism!? What it would mean for the world!? What the hell are you on about!?”

That may have been the most sensible thing Eshtar had said all day. But…

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“I am so sorry, everyone.”

Bil held a hand out to the side, telling the others to stay put. And…

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“Do not interfere in Ki’s case here. I will explain why later. For now…can we continue the discussion of that human?”

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“Oh?”

Eshtar turned to Ki and smiled bitterly. She was definitely looking that way and she even nodded.

That settled it.

Ki was right about what was going on here. So…

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“Can we get back on topic now?”

In Shinto, words influenced the world.

Eshtar thought that was the most beautiful part of Shinto.

Since humanity had been given language by the gods, they could use words to access the gods. Because they were divine words.

But in Shinto, words were not just connected to the gods; they were connected to the world as well.

Words themselves had something like a spirit, creating what Shinto referred to as Kotodama.

People could use those rules to approach the gods and the world itself through the medium of words.

The Mesopotamian gods had been friendly with the people, but there had still been a distance between them. Also…

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I like how the gods and the people are both only a part of the world.

That sounded like such a carefree existence to her since the Mesopotamian gods were both residents and rulers of the natural world.

Since all the world’s rules came from them, they were also responsible for everything.

That was the natural result when they could not rely on the people for anything.

But in Shinto, the people could influence the world through the words given to them.

It had to be so much easier on the gods to leave all the inconvenient nonsense to the “world” which included the humans.

She envied those later mythologies for that.

The people who created the mythologies already understood what they could do for themselves, so they looked to the gods for much less.

That was probably why the gods of later mythologies had specialized powers instead of taking on multiple jobs and authorities.

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On the other hand, this pressure is the best part of being an earlier generation god.

Maybe that made them arrogant, but that was just who they were.

So she knew exactly what to say to these newcomers from a later mythology.

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“You want to continue this conversation? Then continue.”

Your Kotodama can influence the world, but we are the world itself, so just try and influence us.

Shinto is supposed to be the “path leading to the gods”, so use the power of your words to speak to us gods.

Tenma knew it all came down to this.

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I already had her forgive our mistake thanks to my apology.

Then she had pointed to the creation of a 0th Generation mythology for their results.

And she had guided them to this point.

She had lured the other god in by saying they would have to produce results even faster than Shinto if they wanted the human.

Eshita had fallen for it. Or more accurately, she had accepted the challenge.

And then.

And then she had grown more aggressive.

She had worked toward acquiring that human for the DC.

She was willing to do whatever it took. Acquiring the human was her top political priority.

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And she didn’t stop there. She is using everything at her disposal.

Then she had banned the use of the partner god’s power in a way that would render the human unusable as a human.

That was meant to limit their options.

It was a further attack.

And…

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“Now you are using the defectors as bargaining chips.”

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“That’s right,” said Omokane, regarding Sugawara’s comment. “Eshtar said they would accept the defector’s defection to counteract our results with the human.”

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“How is that supposed to work as a deal?”

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“A major 5th Generation god like Bilgamesh will strengthen the Shinto forces considerably. Whether or not that allows us to continue terraforming, we could give him a double divinity with one of our more physical gods as a show of force against the other mythologies.”

However…

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“But that would mean giving them Sumeragi-kun.”

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“Was it a mistake to challenge them to produce results with Sumeragi-chan?”

It did look that way at the moment.

Luring Eshtar in like that might turn out to have been a bad idea.

The challenge had forced Eshtar to take this seriously.

So what were they going to do?

Would they accept those terms, or reject them?

If they were going to accept, they only had to accept.

But if they were going to reject, they had to explain why.

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“Sugawara-kouhai.”

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“Understood.”

That underclassman knowledge god took a deep breath.

Tenma spoke.

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“I will make the decision.”

She had to make a decision.

So she did.

First, she took a certain action.

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“Auth Spell: Divinely Ordained Constellation.”

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“Eh?”

Something appeared just as I questioned Tenma-san’s words.

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“A library?”

It first appeared by her hands.

Revelation Boards opened by her hands, those began to eject pages on a myriad of topics, and more and more continued to appear there.

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“–––––––”

Once that massive amount of information was joined together like that, she began to read it.

The information took the form of a book.

Within all that movement, she recited some kind of poem.

The stars of the divine

Follow paths and reside in constellations

But do they have their own thoughts as they float in the inky black

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“Divinely Ordained Constellation.”

She repeated the name and unfathomably long bookcases appeared in a half-circle behind her. They were made of ether, countless books were automatically pulled from their shelves, their pages loosened, and the bamboo writing strips came apart.

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“Come to me.”

She spoke to the written characters. Whether in books, on bamboo writing strips, on stone tablets, in cloth scrolls, or whatever other medium, the chosen ether writing flowed out and approached her like a torrential river.

It was all drawn in toward the stack of Revelation Boards she held in her hand.

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“–––––––”

When she waved the Revelation Boards like a fan, the bookcases vanished and she held a single book in her hand.

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“Um, what was that?”

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“I know! That was Master of the Akashic Book, wasn’t it!? I remember writing that down in my dream journal a week ago when I dreamed about having that power!”

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“Ow, the cringe.”

I looked around for someone to provide the actual answer and our superior crossed her arms and nodded.

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“Sugawara-kouhai’s Divinely Ordained Constellation uses historical precedent and an experience-based AI to search through all of her knowledge and provide several possible solutions to the problem at hand. So the more knowledge she accumulates, the more accurate and versatile that guidance will be.”

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“Ahhh! I was so close to being right!”

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“Better luck next time, Sumeragi-kun.”

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“Okay! I’ll do what I can!”

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“Can we please focus on the negotiations!?”

To Kuwajiri, Sugawara was a knowledge god one rank below her own level. She knew she could not let Sugawara get ahead of her, but she was also seriously considering creating a similar Auth Spell for support in the future. However…

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I would have a hard time escaping this situation.

They were up against a 5th Generation god.

Of course, negotiations came down to negotiating skill and knowledge. Even if the generational difference created a historical gap in knowledge, this would come down to how well they understood the current situation. In that sense an Auth Spell that provided immediate support would be effective when you absolutely had to win no matter what.

Before long, Sugawara shut her book.

She had decided what to say, so she faced the 5th Generation goddess in front of her.

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“Eshtar.”

She called out to her first.

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“Shinto will accept you here as an inspector.”

That was a compromise.

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“We will allow you to work as our manager.”

That sounded like a complete capitulation.

Eshita stopped eating Karamucho when she heard her negotiating partner say they would allow her to work as their manager.

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“What do you mean by that?”

She was confused.

This discussion had honestly included a lot of what she could only call petty bickering. But…

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“Why would you accept my authority now?”

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“That is simple enough.”

Light scattered from the other girl’s hand.

She had held a large book providing an answer derived from her knowledge and the historical precedent contained therein, but it now vanished as ether light, as if to say its role was complete.

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“Because that is what you want. Or am I wrong?”

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“I don’t understand this. Why in the world would I want to be your manager?”

Kuwajiri realized something from that line.

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“Oh.”

Her voice gathered Raidou and Shifu’s attention.

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“You’re up, Miss Knowledge.”

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“Could you explain this one for us?”

When her superiors asked for it, she couldn’t refuse. She had to preface it with “most likely”, but…

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“This is all based on the assumption that both sides need a compromise.”

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“Why a compromise?”

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<Because without one, this would lead to the worst case scenario.>

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“What is the worst case scenario here?”

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“Well,” cut in Kuwajiri. “That would be Sumeragi. She would become a dangerous presence that could easily lead to the worst case scenario.”

The idiot looked back, but she was harmless for the time being.

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“Sumeragi will become dangerous if Shinto hands her over to the DC. That would lead to the worst case scenario.”

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“Hold up! I worship Senpai, so I’m not going anywhere else!”

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“The thing is, just like Bilgamesh can defect to the Shinto side, Senpai-san could join the Mesopotamian gods and continue to be your god there.”

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“For real!?”

A hand shot up. It belonged to Shamhat who had held her tongue thus far. She nodded at what Kuwajiri had said, and then…

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“To be blunt, that would mean making Senpai-san there a temple prostitute like me, just one dedicated to that human. That would be the best option for the two of you.”

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“Eh? Eh? Eh?”

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“Wait! Senpai is making a class change to be my personal sex god!? What kinda porn game is this!? Is it for the 88!?”

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“They’ve been releasing more of those for the 98 recently, haven’t they?”

Senpai, please don’t get her further off topic.

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“Whatever the exact method, it is a convenient system for controlling Sumeragi over there. However, that would require changing all of Senpai-san’s settings. I do not know what her authority is, but some of you have hinted it could be dangerous for that human. To eliminate that risk, she would have to first be removed from the list of Shinto gods to remove her authorities and such. Then she could be re-manifested as a new god in Mesopotamia.”

What would happen then?

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“Sumeragi would temporarily be without a god.”

And what would that mean?

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“Sumeragi would become a threat to all of the gods during that time. Because she would be free to create any myths she liked.”

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“Yes, that is exactly the issue.”

No doubts or guesses were needed here. Omokane viewed this as a perfectly predictable fact.

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“If Sumeragi-kouhai so much as looks up into the starry sky, she could easily create a 0th Generation mythology none of us could have ever even considered. After all, everyone but her is a god right now, so her thoughts about someone might provide that god with a new myth.”

And…

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“Eshtar-kun.”

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“What do you want?”

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“You should have a decent grasp of my personality by now, so let me ask you this: Do you really think I would let you have Sumeragi-kouhai without doing anything in response?”

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“Of course not. I know exactly what you would tell that human: Sumeragi-kouhai, once your partner is gone, start thinking about that star system mythology you came up with before.

That sounds nothing like me. You should really stop trying to do impressions of people. Not that it matters.

Now, Omokane knew exactly what expression was on her face right now, but…

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“I am perfectly fine with removing Sumeragi-kouhai’s partner if that is what you want.”

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“You know that would count as another breach of trust, don’t you?”

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“You’ll forgive us if we apologize, so why should I care?”

She smiled and raised a hand toward Eshtar.

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“I do apologize. I might breach your trust if you do this, but don’t let that stop you.”

She also opened a Revelation Board.

It played back the footage Balancer had provided of this star system’s history and she handed it to Sumeragi.

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“Store this on your Revelation Board. It will guard you like a protective charm if things go south, Sumeragi-kouhai.”

Now.

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“Eshtar, what will you do?”

Eshtar responded swiftly by standing up.

Eshtar did not use the spear of death she held.

She simply stood up and tried to protest, but Omokane spoke up before she could.

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“Now, now. Don’t push yourself too hard!”

As soon as those words reached her, she found her own actions lacking.

She had tried to step forward and speak, but…

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“Eh?”

She grew unsteady and fell back onto her butt.

Eshita had no idea what had happened.

She only knew her hands and knees were trembling and weak.

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“Ugh.”

Her throat felt horribly dry. What was this? Had an authority hit her with some kind of disease? But she doubted any of the gods here could do that.

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“Wh-what did you do!?”

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“It is honestly impressive that you are still conscience and capable of speaking. I suppose that’s the 5th Generation for you.”

Omokane spread her arms as if to indicate the entire summer night.

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“You are dehydrated. You might be from the Middle East, but you let your guard down, didn’t you? Real manifestations are a scary thing.”

A figure sank down in the library.

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“Sigh. She actually did it.”

Omokane had set her up, but it was Scarecrow who had made the arrangements.

She still remembered when Omokane had initially explained it to her:

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“Make it a convenience store parking lot. Somewhere blocked by walls and roofs would be best. And somewhere with the large air conditioning unit located next to the store, not on the roof.”

A search of Shinto land had found the perfect location.

The rest had been simple. She had only had to contact some of the Shinto gods there.

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“We made sure Eshtar-kun was exposed to all that heat but we didn’t give her any drinks after the initial one. Instead, we gave her plenty of super-spicy snacks that got her sweating. I also told Sugawara-kouhai to drag out the negotiations as long as possible. I had no idea how much endurance heavily-dressed Eshtar-kun would have in her real manifestation, but I had hoped it would at least keep her from focusing on the negotiations. I honestly did not expect it to knock her out with dehydration.”

Was that really something to sound so proud of?

But, thought Scarecrow.

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I feel kind of bad doing this to Eshtar.

With a virtual manifestation, a god existed as a data entity, so they barely needed to eat and drink. They existed as ether and they lived in a virtual world full of ether, so it was like living within the very nutrients they needed.

But a real manifestation was a different story. They were still a data entity, but one designed to match “reality”, a world formed from the bare minimum of laws.

They had to eat if they were to maintain themselves.

Of course, they had their durability and divine protections as a god, so they could draw on their power and cool themselves down if they overheated.

But they still had to resupply whatever they had consumed.

Also, the circulatory system was a critical factor for their real manifestation bodies.

If they lost bodily fluids, parts of their body would cease to function. They would not actually die thanks to their divine protections, but they did not have any divine protections or Auth Spells to replace those lost fluids. At best, there were ways of moving an unconscious body, like those found in Voodoo.

Their nutrients were not automatically acquired like they were in the virtual world.

That was why the gods ate so much.

But they only learned to do so after living in this world for a while.

Eshtar had not done that yet.

Omokane’s dirtiest trick was giving her just the one ginger ale at the beginning.

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“Ginger ale makes you sweat.”

And that effect was greater if you drank something to begin with than if you drank nothing at all.

The fact that you had had something to drink would reduce the body’s caution regarding dehydration.

Also, Eshtar was a Middle Eastern god. The temperature there was high, but the humidity was low, meaning you would not sweat all that much. That was also why it grew so chilly at night.

But this was Japan.

The temperature remained high during the summer nights and the humidity was high.

Plus, those sweltering nights had rapidly grown more common during the 80s and 90s.

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“Eshtar and her heavy clothing could not have been a worse match for a Japanese summer.”

Tenma looked to her cruel boss.

First of all, Eshtar had fallen onto her butt and could not move.

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“C-curse you! You coward! You set me up because I’m not familiar with the local climate!”

Second of all, Omokane crouched down in front of her and gulped down a bottle of water.

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“Ahhhhhhhhhh! Precious water! It’s soooo good! And it’s natural water at that! Truly delicious! I might just buy a dozen bottles to bring home with me!”

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“You are the worst.”

Tenma apologized in her heart, but she had assisted in setting this up.

And it had worked even better than they had expected.

Her boss had a huge smile of satisfaction on her face.

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“Okay, what should we do now, Eshtar-kun!? I am so glad to see we are finally in a position to talk this out as equals!”

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“Kh! You coward!”

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“A coward? Me!? But giving a powerful foe exactly what they want to lower their guard is a traditional Shinto tactic seen in as major a story as the slaying of Yamata. This means you were outplayed by Shinto, not me.”

She placed a new water bottle on the ground next to her.

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“Now, let’s work out a mutual compromise.”

Interlude[edit]

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“She’s evil.”

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“Does that make us the servants of evil?”


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