On a Godless Planet:Volume1B Chapter 32
Chapter 32: Curse 01
What do you call a punishment you didn’t ask for?
The spear stabbed me dead center of the chest. It clearly split my spine and stuff.
…Wow, this hurts like hell!!
C’mon, Mesopotamian gods, if this spear is supposed to “grant death”, couldn’t you make it a little more painless!? Agh, it hurrrrrts.
But when I collapsed backwards and looked down at my not-quite-huge chest, I found the spear was already gone.
I had been granted death.
That meant I was going to die. In fact…
“Ohhhhhh!? There’s light coming from my arms and legs!”
<That is a well-made “death”. It “kills” the target’s body as a data entity and releases the data bonds.>
“This kind of thing always starts from the extremities and works its way in, but shouldn’t it start from the top of the head too? I wonder why it doesn’t.”
“Hey! This isn’t the time for analysis!”
Senpai ran over to me. Ohh, now that’s a super low angle. Her chest was jiggling and the crotch of her uniform was…how should I put it? Lifting up on her? Ahh, what a waste! Also…
“Wow, you’ve really done it now.”
Those three busty goddesses gathered around me. Well, one was only a half-goddess, but the image was amazing regardless. I had to be the first human in history to see this. Thank you, god! Which god? Well, there’s plenty to choose from right here. Oh, but you stay out of view, Kuwajiri. You’d ruin the perfection of it.
Anyway, Senpai crouched down and peered into my face. She was crying.
“Sorry, Senpai. But…”
But this was another way.
“That inspector was supposed to ‘grant death’ to that busy goddess, but she instead ‘granted death’ to their precious human by mistake. Won’t that help you in your negotiations, Omokane-senpai?”
“You just gave me a lot more work, Sumeragi-kouhai.”
She gave a short laugh.
“But if we do this through the DC, it will leave Eshita-kun in a much worse position responsibility-wise, so let’s settle this between Mesopotamia and Shinto. We can designate Shamash as the negotiator to smooth this over and build an understanding between us. We are the victims here because our human was killed. Let us discuss this with an understanding that we are prepared to withdraw our complaint if they send Shamash.”
“Why do this?”
“Isn’t that obvious?”
I watched my feet and hands disappear and felt intermittent waves of excruciating pain, but I still managed to speak.
“Even if those two aren’t separated by death, one of them still might lose her memories or have other issues, right!? I don’t want to find excuses for why that’s the best option! That doesn’t have to happen to anyone other than Senpai and me!”
This would be a problem for Senpai, but you could say it was just more of my troublesome antics.
I wanted to say something, but what could I say to that tear-streaked face?
Argh, I could normally talk a mile a minute, but I was completely hopeless at times like this. Her emotion had overpowered me and I felt so bad. I wanted to say something. But…
“Hey, are you okay!?”
Just as Mucho called out in a panicked sort of way, Senpai looked up at her with eyebrows raised.
“You did this!!”
Eshita was overpowered for just a moment.
It was true she had caused this to happen and her awareness of that had let her be “defeated”.
But after taking half a step back on reflex, something else happened.
She had reached out her right arm while calling out to the human, but the nails of those fingers suddenly crumbled away.
She thought it was some kind of destruction or collapse Auth Spell.
But it was not. Because her sleeve was still intact. Then was it an Auth Spell related to disease or death?
This was something more fundamental. Gods like her were defended by many different divine protections and Auth Spells that provided a resistance against disease, death, and injury. Unless she caused the loss hereslf like she had with the previous dehydration, it was nigh impossible to harm her.
So what was this?
She suddenly recalled what Omokane had said.
…That goddess is the most powerful of the gods!
She had thought that was ridiculous and could not possibly be true. She had assumed it was a bluff.
But what was this?
She realized her fingers were collapsing too. This really was not simple destruction.
She thought it might be a drying effect since the skin looked parched and almost seemed to be disintegrating like a dry branch.
She quickly pulled her hand back, but the motion caused her hair to flutter out and the ends of that scattered in the wind too. Whatever this was, it was not going to let her escape, so she raised her voice against whatever was pursuing her.
“Is this a calamity!?”
Now, I’ve done it, was my first thought. I had given into my emotions and grown angry. I had started to feel hatred toward her.
I looked out in front of me and saw Eshita-san there.
She was staring at me with her face pale.
It looked like she was afraid but was trying her best to hide that fact.
“Senpai-chan, have you calmed down now?”
Shifu-san got down on her knees and held me in her arms from behind. Her presence and body heat brought focus back to my senses and not just my mind.
I really had done it just now.
“What is the meaning of this?”
There was no hiding it now. While I tried to figure out if I should stay silent or say something, Omokane-san spoke up.
“Let me assure you that was an accident. And that it was the natural reaction of a partner.”
“That isn’t what I meant.”
Eshita-san took a breath to regather strength in her body. The fear faded from her face, leaving only consternation behind.
“Yes, it probably is about time to reveal this just to the people here.”
Omokane spoke while viewing the goddess who was lending Sumeragi her lap and who was held in Shifu’s arms.
“She is the most powerful wildcard against any god from Shinto or otherwise. She is Iwanaga-hime.”
Kuwajiri had a question.
Once it had been decided she would work with Shinto, she had investigated their gods. She had plenty of knowledge on them, even if it was more like a catalog of gods than anything. Based on that, she knew the story behind Iwanaga-hime.
“In Shinto mythology, the Heavenly God Ninigi descended to Japan after the creation of Japan and after the gods began to live their various lives, right? And on his journey, he married a beautiful Earthly God named Konohana Sakuya-hime and their descendants became the Japanese people.”
“Correct. Some of the myths say the people were created by the Heavenly Gods and others say they came about from that marriage with an Earthly God. However…”
The origin of the Japanese people might seem unconnected to the topic at hand, but it was necessary groundwork for discussing Iwanaga-hime.
Kuwajiri explained why while viewing the girl seated in front of her.
“When Ninigi married Konohana Sakuya-hime, there was another possible bride: her older sister Iwanaga-hime. But because Iwanaga-hime was ugly, Ninigi rejected her and married Konohana Sakuya-hime instead.”
“When their father Ooyamatsumi learned of this, he said this to Ninigi: ‘What have you done? Iwanaga-hime is the god of longevity. Because you rejected her, your descendants will all have short lives.”
“Yes, that is how the Kojiki describes it, but the Nihon Shoki says that Iwanaga-hime resented Konohana Sakuya-hime and shortened her descendants’ lives with a curse.”
“I did nothing of the sort!!”
Shifu gently rocked her body while holding Senpai-san tight.
But Kuwajiri noticed that Eshtar’s right arm was beginning to regenerate. Then what kind of authority had destroyed her hand?
Destruction? Withering? Or maybe drying or disintegration? None of those had anything to do with the story of Iwanaga-hime’s rejection. There was only one possibility.
“The shortening and lengthening of one’s lifespan. That is Iwanaga’s authority, isn’t it?”
Eshita now understood what had nearly happened to her.
Her lifespan had been shortened.
Gods effectively had no lifespan since they were not human. However…
“Anyone who rejects her has their lifespan shortened?”
The Shinto Representative did not try to hide it anymore.
“And it even affects the god’s believers since most mythologies have those being children of the gods.”
“Eh? Hold on. But I thought gods generally had no lifespan and lived forever.”
But this would shorten their lives and make them die.
“It removes your immortality?”
That felt like the collapse of a crucial assumption.
They were gods, so they were supposed to be eternal, unlike humans. Except…
“She can give gods human-like lifespans…and give their human believers even shorter lifespans!?”
What would have happened if that had fully hit her?
She would have died.
Even gods would die if they were killed, but that was worth mentioning because gods would not die if they were not killed.
That was how life and death worked for gods.
But what would happen to a god if they were hit by Iwanaga-hime’s authority?
“You’re given a lifespan?”
All the rules changed.
You would be unable to escape death.
No matter what you did or how much you struggled, you would die when your limited lifespan reached its end. And it would be a shortened lifespan.
Eshita was supposed to live free without a care in the world, but this would make it so even she died and was no more after a few decades. Based on the collapse of her hand earlier, she had nearly been hit by the authority but it had missed.
“What happened to my hand means I’ve already reached the end of whatever lifespan she was giving me, doesn’t it?”
“I’m glad you noticed. Every god out there has lived dozens if not thousands of times as long as a human. That’s just how it is. So if we’re hit with a short-life enchantment, we die instantly. And our believers will also have their lifespan shortened by her authority. Since the lengthening of lifespans also comes from Iwanaga-hime, only she can remove the shortened lifespan. But if you’ve made her your enemy, that isn’t going to happen, is it?”
“If you oppose Iwanaga-hime, a shortened lifespan is impossible to avoid. No one will want to worship a god if that shortens your lifespan, so even if the god survives, they will eventually dry up and die from the lack of worship.”
Omokane pointed at the bottom of her neck.
“There are a lot of myths about determining people’s lifespans. In Mesopotamian mythology, Bilgamesh seeks out the rejuvenating aquatic plant named Shibu Issahir Amelu to bring Enkidu back to life. In Yomoji-kun’s mythology, choosing to eat the Fruit of Knowledge in paradise does it. The Laurasian ones seem to involve choosing to eat something a lot of the time. And the Gondwanan ones aren’t much different since they use the selection of food, objects, or people’s appearances. Anyway, it changes forms a lot, but most mythologies involve ‘choosing something’ in the determination of lifespan.”
“But you could say she is the only god who directly possess that power as an authority that can affect even gods.”
That was crazy because there was no way to defend against it.
“Gods are immortal, so we cannot preemptively give ourselves a long lifespan to defend against the shortening. Because we already have an infinite lifespan which is considered superior.”
“Yes. If we did have finite lives like the humans, we probably could have defended against it by lengthening our lifespan, but our lives are infinite. Do you see now why she is the most powerful?”
She was a weak god in purely physical combat.
She also had a low divine rank.
But that authority could reach the other gods and there was no defending against it no matter how much higher your divine rank was.
“Inspire hatred in her, and it will reach you. …That is what you felt just now, wasn’t it? Hatred.”
Yes, that was right.
“Emotions are powerful enough to kill even gods.”
I was used to saying that.
The words were directed toward Sumeragi-kun who was disappearing below me.
I had to apologize to him because…
“You wouldn’t have done that if I hadn’t said anything.”
“I’m so powerless I couldn’t do anything to stop it.”
“I’m too weak to heal you now.”
Yes. It all came down to my weakness.
“I wanted a good power, not this scary one!!”
I was no use at all.
All I did was cause problems. But…
I heard a voice and looked down to see Sumeragi-kun looking up at me.
“Don’t worry cause I’ll come back to life! This being the 13th time admittedly sounds like bad luck, but that jinx isn’t a Shinto thing! So…”
Sumeragi-kun smiled up at me.
“Don’t forget about me, okay?”
That was the end.
Sumeragi-kun scattered away as ether and Shifu-san held me tighter from behind.
Tears spilled from my eyes. They would not stop and they were accompanied by sobs.
Everything I had held in for the last 12 times came out all at once.
Why can’t I ever have anyone I care about?
And it’s always me that pushes them away with this power.
She had no idea what was going on. Far too much had happened over the past few hours.
But she did have to ask one thing.
“Omokane? You can bring that human back to life, can’t you?”
“Oh, are you worried?”
That question was probably meant as a yes.
But this was a problem.
This divine world now only contained gods.
And from what she had heard, humans were far more ephemeral and transient than the gods.
“Agh! I can’t deal with any of this!”
Everyone here was worried about the human.
Gods were supposed to be the center of attention, so didn’t that mean them?
“What’s wrong with you? You’re making me feel like I was defeated!”
She did, however, make sure to buy some Karamucho and Wasabeef before heading back.
“Eshtar, that drink from before is called ginger ale.”
“I-I knew that! Um, which drink was that!?”
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