On a Godless Planet:Volume1 Chapter 21
Bilgamesh nodded toward Omokane.
“Thank you for arranging this.”
“Does that mean you’ve explained your reasons to Omokane?”
“It does,” confirmed Omokane.
“I must make the most beneficial decision for Shinto, so if you two lose, I will negotiate with them and keep things as beneficial as possible…while having them take over the more physical duties where Shinto is lacking.”
“Yeah, I guess that makes sense.”
Shifu placed a hand on her chin.
It was true they were good at those physical duties, but the Norse gods also saw it as mercenary work.
“Since our terraforming got through the first stage pretty early, the other gods sent us here so we wouldn’t pull further ahead and as a way to wear us down. Also, I think that was more just the gods in general than the DC in particular.”
“Well, we’re not so much acting on the DC’s behalf as we are-…”
“Ki, do not say too much. It would shame me to earn sympathy.”
Did that mean they had their reasons?
No, thought Raidou. Every god has their reasons. Which led to something:
“You could call it that. Because that is what is it.”
With that, Bilgamesh stepped back. But not to retreat. He was simply putting distance between them.
His partner Ki moved behind him while waving toward Shifu.
“It all comes down to this:
"–––Peaceful resolutions are for those who do not wish to fight.
“–––Peaceful resolutions are for those without military might.
“–––Peaceful resolutions are a postwar sight.
“So where do you stand on this issue, Norse gods?”
“Ask our sponsors.”
“Yes,” said Omokane.
“Shinto has yet to gain a real manifestation of a purely physical type. That is why we have outsourced most of our fighting and security to the Norse gods, but that means something else here.”
She said it.
“Raidou-kun, Shifu-kun. No matter how much you two lose here, it will not harm Shinto. Because this is all outsourced. But you are free to fight if that is what you wish to do.”
“That’s a little confusing, so can you dumb it down a little?”
Hell, yeah. We’ve got permission.
Kuwajiri grabbed the screen.
“Balancer? Aren’t you responsible for letting this happen?”
<It is admittedly a little contrary to the name of Balancer, but I generally take a neutral and indifferent stance toward the gods’ non-terraforming activities. To me, the gods primarily exist for the terraforming, so as long as the are doing their job, the rest can be handled by their politics.>
“Then did you know those two were coming?”
<I know of others who came here as well. We do not actively track their actions out of respect for their privacy, but we do record all the “changes” in this world caused by their presence here, their use of transportation, their use of various facilities, their consumption of food, and their breathing. …But information concerning them, actively tracking them, and whether or not they are a threat to all of you is a separate matter. Because we are well-made AIs.>
There were times like this that reminded you this being was neither human nor god.
They could completely detach themselves from the emotions and risks of specific phenomena.
They were subjectively acquiring all forms of information and facts, but they could objectively ignore them. They were focusing only on the parts that were necessary for the Shinto terraforming.
Was that what Kuwajiri and the others mistook for emotions and a personality?
She decided to stop being so pessimistic. She did not want to assume things were bad. Wisdom was a flat thing, so her decisions based on it should be the same.
Balancer’s way of thinking and looking at the world was digital, so it was different from them. But…
“Does that mean you are not all-knowing when speaking with us?”
<Thinking of it like that should lead to fewer misunderstandings.>
Then it was not a problem.
Balancer understood this as well as they did. Both sides were working toward that end.
“Have you appeared to the other side and spoken with them like you do with us?”
<Yes, it was like that during the virtual manifestation days. I am neutral toward the gods, so I will respond if they seek my help. But…they have not called for me since arriving here.>
What did that mean?
“Shifu-senpai, Raidou-senpai, there is more to this than meets the eye.”
Kuwajiri saw her upperclassmen’s responses.
“Yeah, I imagine so. Hence the politics.”
“It’s time for some physical politics.”
She knew what they meant.
This opponent was powerful. They had the strength needed to get their opinion through.
That meant they did not need to descend to the Shinto group’s level. They only had to use their strength.
There was only one case where they would not do that.
“When we resist them.”
“That’s about the size of it.”
Then the rest was simple.
“It’s time to teach that older pair what politics is all about.”
Just as Raidou prepared to fight, Ki spoke a single word.
Too soon to even call “immediately”, the bathhouse behind the Norse group was crushed.
This was not a collapse or destruction.
It was crushed as if evenly pressed down on from above.
Kuwajiri had been in the entrance, so she ran out while holding Balancer. But the white building grew shorter right behind her.
None of it was broken. The fogged glass windows, the metal window frames, the columns, the walls, and everything else were simply vertically compressed.
There was a sound: a hard straining similar to an empty can being crushed underfoot.
But that was all.
Ki sighed and spoke.
“You have a pretty overpowered god on your side, so I felt like a warning was in order. I want to make a clear division here so he doesn’t get involved in the duel.”
This is insane, thought Kuwajiri.
“She really just crushed the building out of the blue!?”
Crushing a building was simple enough for gods of their divine rank, but Ki had not even hesitated.
She had decided doing so would not cause any problems.
“You really need to stop making assumptions like-”
When Kuwajiri turned around, she saw the bathhouse there.
In its original form.
It was unharmed.
This was weird.
The building behind her had been crushed, so she had frantically escaped from the entrance.
But the white building in front of her now had taken no damage whatsoever.
She heard a displeased comment from their opponent behind her.
And then it happened.
Someone burst from the boy’s side curtain and struck a Y-pose.
A moment later, a kilometer-long meteor fell from the heavens and struck 15m in front of her.
The mass that hit weighed approximately 1.4 trillion tons.
The Balancer-created Divine World used its bare minimum of physical laws to blast up the earth’s crust over a radius of about 10km and create a giant crater 2km deep at the center.
It had a diameter of approximately 20km.
The circle from Sunakawa of northern Tachikawa, to Kichiouji in the east, Akigawa in the west, Iruma in the north, and Osawa to the south was utterly destroyed. The shockwave produced by the kilometer-long mass first struck everything over that kilometer. While the shockwave out as a side effect of the hit, air flowed into the vacuum created in the center, producing a storm. Everything was blown away from the landing point, but then it was all sucked upwards, tossing it into the air.
The tremor that ran through the crust shook the ground like a wave. In a 10km radius from there, the surface itself became a “wave” with a height difference of more than a hundred meters.
As a result, the crust, the buildings, and everything else were blown away and folded up.
Everything was literally stacked on top of each other.
In Tokyo Bay, the tremor tossed the seawater in the air all the way down to the shallow sea floor. On the coasts from the Uraga Channel to Yokohama and from Kanagawa to Shizuoka, an immense amount of spray and the ground were thrown into the air.
From Chichibu north of Okutama to Mt. Fuji in the south, the mountain range was shaken so badly it caused landslides and several dozen meters of the Izu Peninsula’s base broke off toward the ocean.
The sound moved well past the audible range, the wind blew towns and the earth into the air, those violent gusts produced even more wind, and bottom to top circulation was created within the crater.
The wind repeatedly sent dirt and dust skyward just like the many waves on the beach.
The structures on the ground were sent more than 20km high and some of them even reached satellite orbit. Whether they were pebbles or buildings, they were all burned by the adiabatic compression, so they poured down like lava rain.
The scattered water – mainly groundwater – was also sent into the sky, where the shockwave hit it and vaporized it.
The water became a heat wave which sent stormy clouds racing along and electrification crackled along the crust’s minerals that were spread through the air along with the dust.
That light that raced freely through the heavens had long been attributed to a god.
Lightning had formed.
Below the wind, rain, clouds, and repeated lightning strikes, Tokyo and southern Kantou’s crust had been destroyed and split to a deep level. With its water gone, Tokyo Boy flowed out through the Uraga Channel and into the ocean trench and the coast leading to Atami accelerated as it began to fall toward the Japan Trench.
All these actions reached Mt. Fuji’s mountain range where the red light of magma was visible through the split parts of the earth. The side effects had already reached all of Japan, the shockwave swept across all of Kantou, and the Aomori region began to split apart despite escaping the power of the crust.
But someone still lived in what had once been Tokyo, Japan, despite all this.
They were the gods.
Most of them were within defense barriers automatically created by their individual divine territories. Others were protected by the barriers of the facilities they happened to be inside and struggled against the continuing explosive blasts.
It was truly cataclysmic.
Every single one of the gods knew exactly who had done this.
“It was that ill-tempered god, wasn’t it!?”
And everyone heard a single voice.
The voice came from the stormy heavens and it was accompanied by a great beam of light that sounded like trumpets and small bells.
Then the world returned to normal.
“Therrrre’s nothing like coffee milk after a bath. I love driiiinking it with a strawwww.”
“Ah ha ha ha ha ha! You’re the best, Yomoji-chan!”
My wife has nerves of steel to laugh at this, thought Raidou.
They were in front of the bathhouse near the train station in Sunakawa.
They could hear the busy sounds of a pachinko parlor in the distance, so the gods playing some pachinko inside must have noticed the cataclysm and opened the door to see what was going on.
No one had been harmed, but…
“Kuwajiri, stand back a bit.”
“Eh? Oh, sorry, I can’t. My legs are a little too weak to move after that.”
He looked to see Kuwajiri sitting with her back against the wall next to the bathhouse’s entrance. She held Balancer in her hands and that screen was weakly bent over for once.
<Sigh, this is the problem with you gods.>
“C’mon, I need to get it out of my syyyystem every once in a while.”
<That took care of a large chunk of the structure materials, so please do it in the real world next time.>
“Hmmm, sorry about that. Iiiit’s just that all my attaaaacks are map-level AoE.”
Simply put, Yomoji had used that attack to show how much more powerful he was than their opponents.
And by using up his fuel so he could not do it again, he was showing his neutral stance here.
And that meant he was neutral toward his allies as well.
“Sorry about this.”
“Wellll, I was mosssstly ready for this.”
After that short exchange, someone burst out of the women’s bath.
“Hell yeah! The school was destroyed!? I’m a free girl now!”
“Hm?” groaned Ki with a tilt of the head. Her partner was also puzzled.
“Ki, is that who I think it is?”
“Yes, it’s the girl we met this morning.”
She had sensed a few presences beside Yomoji inside the bathhouse when she crushed it before.
There had been two presences on the level of household gods and one extremely weak one. So…
“I thought it was the bathhouse’s guardian deity or something.”
She was not all that familiar with the Shinto rules, but gods of that type were generally stuck in a specific location, or Balancer had had allowed them to move around so they could act as one of the “citizens”.
So she had assumed the girl they met in the morning was a small god playing a “citizen”.
But then why was she in the same bathhouse as the gods preparing to duel them?
“Could she be a god from a different mythology like us? She could have been coming from a bathhouse on a phase different from Shinto or ours.”
“I haven’t actually seen her status, but she just has to be Shinto to be wearing the new style uniform of this primarily-Shinto Divine World while at such a low divine rank.”
The normal assumption would be that this was a coincidence.
She was Shinto, so she had been in the same phase barrier bathhouse as the Shinto-related gods. But…
“There is one other possibility I need to reject.”
She spoke to the Shinto Representative standing with her arms crossed next to the vending machine behind them.
“I have a question, Omokane.”
“Do you promise not to be mad?”
“You’re saying I’m right, aren’t you?”
“Ki? So she is-…?”
“Yes,” she said.
“She’s like me. Similar to how I became a woman later on to match you, she must have originally been a guy.”
“You pulled a fast one on us there.”
Ki looked to the girl making various meaningless poses in front of the bathhouse.
“Information on the human named Sumeragi Izumi has reached all the different gods, so we would be able to find him immediately if we performed a search. And since we have the authority to detect humans, we wouldn’t even need the search.”
“You changed his sex, so he would be ‘someone else’. And there was another trick here too, wasn’t there?”
“What might that be?”
“The god chosen as her partner is casting a continuous divine protection on her. …We mistook her for a household god because of the divine rank we sensed there, but that was coming from her partner god.”
That was a form of camouflage.
But why had they done that?
Ki’s partner gave the answer.
“Was it to delay the DC inspectors from reaching Sumeragi Izumi as much as possible?”
“Yes, it was meant to fool the DC inspectors, but it seems to have worked even better than expected.”
The girl added an “indeed”.
“We had a convenient rollback opportunity on hand, so I pulled some strings behind the scenes. Without that, this would probably have all been settled this morning.”
The ferrets on Omokane’s shoulders looked up and gave a cry.
That seemed to be truth of the matter.
“Um, Kuwajiri-chan? So what happened with Sumeragi-chan was all a setup?”
“Ehh!? This is the first I’ve heard of any of this!”
“I was just sitting there thinking I had accidentally caused all this. ”
“Eh!? What!? What’s going on!? Why are you looking at me like some poor, pathetic creature!? Did I miss out on some fun!? Hey! Kuwajiri! Say something!”
“You need to thank me.”
“Huh!? What’ve you done that’s worthy of my thanks!? My thanks goes to the earth’s gravity and the ups and downs of the ground that make Senpai’s boobs jiggle, so that means you’re worth less than some ups and downs! Which makes sense since you don’t have any ‘ups and downs’ of your own.”
“Hey, Sumeragi-chan? Look this way.”
Bilgamesh saw the feminized human fly 70m before excitedly running back.
“Woohoo! You’re amazing, Shifu-senpai! I can go so much further without a rock ground! Again, again!”
What in the world were they doing?
But someone new appeared from the bathhouse’s women’s bath.
“H-huh!? I thought something horrifying had happened, but now everything’s fine?”
“Who is that?”
“An unidentified goddess with low divine rank. She must be the one.”
The girl wore the new style uniform of the Shinto-related gods, but based on her long back hair and build…
“Omokane Yatsui, she does not at all look like ‘the most powerful’.”
“No, I imagine not. And I doubt she will participate in this duel.”
“Is she not a war god?”
“No, she is not even close to being that. You have experience with such things, don’t you?”
Bilgamesh raised his eyebrows at that question.
“If you are trying to blackmail us with some information, then we will make you a target of this duel too.”
“Oh, my apologies. I have a bad habit of forgetting what I ultimately want and instead going with what is most entertaining. …Good luck. What I ultimately want here is a victory for Shinto.”
Next to him, Ki took a half step back and nodded.
That settled things.
“I demand a duel!”
These were the rules.
“Mesopotamian Gods Bilgamesh and Enkidu challenge Norse God Representatives Thor and Jarnsaxa who are temporarily working for Shinto.”
It’s finally happening, thought Raidou with a smile.
“So you show respect to the opponents you want and try to crush everyone else, huh? That’s a pretty biased form of courtesy…or would you call it justice?”
“We can discuss those things once the duel is complete. All of this is necessary.”
“Is that so?” he replied before the idiot raised her voice while being healed behind them.
“Hmmm!? Are those the people I met in Will this morning? It’s Apology Man and the busty girl who was originally a guy like me! Busty Girl, was it a banana for you too!?”
“Do not remind me of that shameful memory, Ki!”
“So what’s this about a banana?”
“Do not remind me of that shameful memory, Sumeragi!”
“Is this like an indiscriminate bombing or something?”
It really did feel that way. But they had other things to focus on now.
“Hey, Sumeragi. You, Senpai, and Kuwajiri need to fall back toward Yomoji.”
“Yayyy! Hey, screen! Did you hear that!? He didn’t mention you! Ohhhhhh!? Why are you coming this way? You were excluded!”
<Shut up. I am free to go wherever I like.>
That seemed unnecessarily thorough, but then the idiot asked a question.
“Anyway, what’s going on here, Raidou-senpai!? Did Shame Man and Busty Girl do something!?”
“Bil, you were upgraded to Shame Man.”
“Are you really fine with just being ‘Busty Girl’?”
“I felt like I lost when my first reaction was ‘well, it’s accurate’.”
“Yay! I wiiiiiiin! …So what’s going on, Raidou-senpai!?”
“We’re about to have a duel. That means a battle.”
“Can’t we head inside the bathhouse and have bath-tle instead?”
“I’m sorry, Raidou-san and Shifu-san, but I laughed at that one a little.”
“No! It’s fine! I’m willing to tease anyone if it’ll put a smile on your face! Oh, what’s that look for, Kuwajiri!? I’m in an absolute safe zone here! I’m so cool!! …So, Raidou-senpai!? Is there anything I can do to help?”
Raidou thought for a moment.
“I told you to fall back, didn’t I?”
“Oh, right! I’m falling back, I’m falling back! Falling back just enough to have a nice view of Senpai’s butt! Ah! Senpai, don’t move! Please! I beg you! …Thank you so much!”
Are they okay? But then the idiot pointed at Bilgamesh.
“Shame Man! You should thank me for falling back like this! Because this means I won’t have to use my power on you!”
“…!? Can humans use some kind of Auth Spell!?”
“You better believe it! You should thank me for not using my object teleportation spell! If I did use it, I’d teleport the poop in my colon into yours!”
“Who even thinks of something like that!?”
“Realistically speaking, that would increase our weight, which would be more of a handicap than you think.”
“I just noticed, but aren’t we having a hard time standing out against these people?”
“No, you’re just imagining it. Yes, just imagining it. Completely imagining it. Definitely had to say that thrice.”
“To be honest, I don’t think I could bear it if you went insane too, Raidou-senpai.”
“Well, I guess it’s all about having a nice balance,” said Raidou.
“A duel, huh? What kind of barrier are you thinking?”
“A diameter of 10km should be enough.”
“Injuries will be virtual and you’re out of the fight once it’s deemed you can’t move anymore. Does that sound good?”
“Ohh, you’re being surprisingly rational about this.”
Shifu was right. Those two were not trying to hurt them.
“So it’s politics, is it?”
I tilted my head.
“What’s that about a barrier?”
<Battles between the gods can get crazy and an injury taken in battle could mean losing an authority, which could greatly affect the overall power balance. So a barrier is set up around the combat space and a few different divine protections are cast on it to protect the location and the combatants.>
“The DC decided on all this and created a system of rules. Generally, combat barriers will virtualize the location and the combatants so that any damage done to the location or injury done to each other will have no lasting effects beyond a negative influence on the phase.”
“So it’s like a game?”
“You could say that,” agreed Kuwajiri.
“Both sides will supply an amount of ether scaled to their divine rank to create the barrier.”
Meanwhile, Raidou-senpai and the others waved their hands.
Bluish-white balls appeared below their palms, burst, and disappeared.
Something spread out. Or it seemed to. And when I looked back, I saw waves of light the same color as the balls racing out into the distance. Also…
<It is beginning.>
Just as Balancer said that, it started.
This was a battle of the gods.
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