On a Godless Planet:Volume1 Chapter 22
It began suddenly.
With those words, the ground and all the structures were destroyed for about 200m in front of Bilgamesh.
I screamed while taking a direct hit from the sword. I mean, this had to be trouble. He actually pronounced the ‘w’! Who pronounces a ‘w’ after an ‘s’!?
“What about in ‘Sweden’? Stop being dumb, idiot.”
“Huh!? Kuwajiri!? You’re dead!? That’s what you get! You’re dead like me!”
“No, no, no, no! None of us are dead, Sumeragi-kun!”
Now that she mentioned it, we weren’t. The city had been destroyed, but we were fine.
We were in the valley created by the sword attack on the city.
It had been one hell of an attack, so the spot where the bathhouse had been, as well as the houses and factories behind it, had become a valley. Yet we were just fine.
“Senpai, you protected me, didn’t you!? By sheltering me below your boobs umbrella! In America, they’d call that being ‘under the Big Apple’!”
I dove into an upside-down, straightened-body prostration at her feet to praise her boobs from below.
“Thank you so much!”
Kuwajiri kicked me in the side.
I rolled a bit and then hopped to my feet.
“Y-you really went for the toe kick, didn’t you!? That hurt, you moron!”
“Senpai-san, I’m sorry and I know she is your responsibility, but she’s really pissing me off.”
“Um, Kuwajiri-san? You can just tell me and I will warn Sumeragi-kun, so let’s not resort to violence right away, okay? Try talking to me first.”
<Then can you warn that ape that she brings me constant displeasure?>
“Sumeragi-kun, don’t do too many things that make Balancer mad, okay?”
“Okay! I swear on my life I won’t!”
<Could you swear on the life of someone who hasn’t died a dozen times already!?>
“This is like the stereotypical version of an overprotective person, isn’t it?”
“So what!? Are you jealous!? Uhohoi! Uhohoi! Okay, Balancer! I get that I’m alive because Senpai’s boobs protected me, but why isn’t Kuwajiri dead?”
Kuwajiri narrowed her eyes far more than necessary, but I ignored it.
Meanwhile, Balancer looked around us.
<It was a barrier.>
All around us, some kind of weird light rose from below the destroyed city.
“Is this an RPG’s healing effect?”
<The destroyed city’s phase-shift is being returned to normal.>
Kuwajiri thought Balancer’s explanation was too stiff.
There was a simpler way of saying it.
“This is making it so the damage to the city ‘never happened’.”
“Wait, wait, wait. But it really was damaged.”
“Oh?” she said with a tilt of her head and gestured around her.
“I mean, yeah, it was.”
“Where are we standing right now?”
Even the idiot had a change of expression when asked that.
They had been standing at the bottom of the valley created by Bilgamesh’s attack, but now they were standing on the untouched road in front of the bathhouse.
“The ground below our feet and our altitude have both changed.”
“What in the world?”
“Um, it was replaced.”
Senpai-san gave an example.
“1+1 is 2, right?”
Oh, you’re explaining it that way, thought Kuwajiri. That’s surprisingly digital. Meanwhile, the idiot tilted her head.
“Yes! 1+1 is 2! There are other, weirder ways of saying it, but let’s go with that for now!”
“Okay, then this is the same as that. The undestroyed city and the destroyed city are made from the same amount of ether, so they are equivalent values. They are only different representations, so we are simply taking the 2 and reverting it to 1+1. So while it looks like the ground and our altitude have changed, the truth is that ‘nothing has changed from the beginning’.”
When Sumeragi tilted her head and entire body, Yomoji shrugged.
“Shoulllld I call the Buuuuddhists? To explain that form is emptiness and emptiness is form and allll that?”
“Oh! That shows up in Genpei Touma Den! I remember looking it up!”
Kuwajiri had no idea what that was about, but…
“So it goes back to normal on its own when its destroyed and it does what we want?”
Senpai-san applauded and the idiot danced a jig.
<Why did she understand such a convoluted explanation?>
“Yours was too straightforward.”
There were other barrier rules to explain why they were unharmed, but she decided that did not matter right now.
That human was not going to get involved in a battle between gods after all.
“But,” said the idiot.
“Where are Raidou-senpai and the others?”
“There around here.”
Was that not enough for him? No, of course it was not.
“At their divine rank, they move too fast to see with the naked eye. Balancer.”
<I will display relayed footage with a built-in delay conversion.>
Balancer opened a Revelation Board. And…
“I can hear them.”
A distant, thunder-like rumbling was coming from the south.
“Raidou-senpai is exchanging physical blows because he needs to get himself worked up.”
The location could be seen in the background of the Revelation Board footage.
<The Tama River’s riverside. They’ve already moved 3km?>
This wind is nice, thought Raidou.
They were already moving around faster than the speed of sound, but they were not causing any damage to their surroundings.
“Gotta love these barriers!”
These barriers were like a specially-modified phase space.
Generally, they were allowed to borrow a portion of the territory rights in the Divine World created by Balancer and also receive permission from or even use the local gods or spirits that Balancer had created or moved here.
Destruction was one form of expression and their actions were also included as one form of expression for the land.
No matter how fast they moved or how many buildings they leaped over in a single bound, it would count the same as the flowing river water or the summer grass and flowers blowing in the wind.
“Kuwajiri-chan explains this using a picture, doesn’t she?”
“Yeah. That scribbles and an immaculate painting are only different forms of expression.”
That was a surprising way of looking at it for her.
She was probably giving that same explanation to Sumeragi right now while watching the footage of the battle.
“They’re pretty wild! Maybe cause they’re not connected to Shinto!”
Bilgamesh and Enkidu were giving chase.
They had just passed Tachikawa on the south and reached the Tama River alongside the monorail track.
The Tama River was large.
It was not actually all that wide, but it connected to western Tokyo’s rivers and waterways. The water level was quick to rise during the summer rains, so the riverbank was kept at least 200m wide.
They were running along that. In fact, they were still accelerating.
They were moving their legs the same as normal running, but each step took them well over 50m.
They were moving west alongside the river like that and accelerating upstream.
They approached an elevated train track.
That track was the Chuo Main Line cutting across the Tama River.
The bridge was 30m tall and they took a running start along the playground in front of it before leaping.
It was like jumping over a fence.
Their bodies felt light.
They cleared the metal bridge and spun around in midair to dodge their opponents’ attacks.
Raidou was looking forward to the coming battle in the urban area. He was not worked up enough for it yet.
But the other side was already ready to go.
Those two had already made an attempt while they were heading south. A monorail track cutting north-south through Tachikawa was under construction and only the support pillars existed at the moment, but when Shifu had tried running to the Tama River along that…
“Man, I did not expect you to slice right through that support pillar!”
Bilgamesh’s weapon had done that.
But he was not the only one attacking.
With that word, a fireball raced after them.
And it was not alone. Enkidu spread her arms like wings and hundreds of fireballs raced out. Some shot straight toward the two Norse gods, others circled around toward them, and yet others rose into the sky and dropped back down after a time delay.
“They’re not making this easy!”
“But why are all their attack names in English?”
The fireballs started arriving just as they landed.
Raidou and Shifu dodged the speeding fire. He kicked up at a few of the ones targeting her to send them spiraling away into the sky.
“Because it’s Shinto and the 90s. Names are important in Shinto and we’re not exactly major gods in Japan, so we converted our names into the Shinto format…or Japanese format, really. They’ve probably done the same thing with their weapons.”
“Weapons aside, they’re about as major as you can get. These are some really old names.”
Shifu nodded as she spun around and kicked up some of the fireballs coming his way.
And after turning that kick into a step…
“Yeah,” he replied as they accelerated.
Raidou and Shifu spun around and dodged the barrage of fireballs flying after them.
Speed was their ally. In the high-speed battles of the gods, the physical laws were badly distorted.
Besides, explosions and shockwaves could not keep up with the speed of the gods.
So why had Enkidu used an attack as slow as fireballs?
…Because they’ll still “hit”!
Yes. They would not normally hit. In fact, breaking the sound barrier would normally snuff out any fire.
But those attacks and questions worked differently when a god’s authority was involved. These looked like balls of fire, but they were actually a special attack meant for use against him and Shifu.
So speed came first and foremost. Figuring out how to dodge them could wait. And to a war god, this all came naturally, so as the fireballs rained down like an aerial bombing…
“What a pain.”
Shifu seemed to be dancing as she ducked below the sparks of the bursting fireballs.
Her golden hair whirled around and she pulled it in and swung it around so it would not touch any of the fire. Raidou drew them in and forcibly shook them with pure speed, but she ran as if playing with them.
“This is fun.”
“Yeah,” he agreed when he saw her smile illuminated in the fire.
He was a war god and she was his wife. This was clearly no more than part of a festival for Norse gods who found honor in battle. So he lined up alongside his wife as she danced in the firelight.
“They should be coming soon.”
They broke free of the barrage. He used some extra acceleration to shake the final shot that came from directly above and he tugged on Shifu’s hand to match their speeds.
“I guess that slowed us down some!”
Their two opponents were running through the shimmering heat and red light of the fires lit by the fireballs landing behind them.
By godly standards, they were close enough to make an attack.
The riverside playground came to an end in front of Raidou and Shifu.
Now it was just the river.
A curve in the flowing water was directly in front of them.
The river came right up to the embankment on their right.
If they continued like this, the snaking river would be straight ahead with only the much-narrower riverbank and embankment to their right.
“That narrow riverbank is gonna make it hard to dodge!”
“But moving to the road will give them a line of fire and they’re sure to get carried away!”
That was true. The poor footing of the rocky riverbank had worked to their advantage, so…
He only had to call her name while leaping forward and left.
He accelerated and jumped diagonally across the river.
Shifu followed without any assistance.
But their jumps had a very shallow angle, so they could not make it across in a single bound.
“Trying to turn this into an underwater battle!?”
“We might be Vikings, but we’re not that crazy!”
There was something to stand on.
The riverbed was not made of stone or sand in this region. The hard soil was exposed. Only the bare minimum of maintenance was done for the sake of excavating fossils and because Akishima, the city in charge of this area, chose to preserve the natural terrain. So…
…That makes the phase easy to manage!
Dirt and rock grew up from the river. That outcropping, which had originally been a geological stratum, caught their feet and was not slippery despite the water.
The terrain was on their side.
After stepping twice to keep his trajectory straight, he took Shifu’s hand in midair to escort her.
And they crossed from there to the opposite bank.
“They’ve caught up, but it’s about time for our trick!”
Ki breathed a sigh at managing to catch up to their opponents.
Both sides could manage a stride with steps of well over 50m. Norse Mythology was from two generations later, but that meant their abilities were more refined. And…
“The footing here is really bad!”
In this Divine World, the local gods provided them with little support even with the barrier contract active. As proof, the crust of the riverside shot up like pillars of water.
They were in the riverside playground.
Oh, the soil here is a different color from my skin. This is black soil. I bet it’s good for growing things.
But they kicked off those pillars to keep going.
Their opponents had crossed to the opposite bank and had only been exposed to some clouds of dust. However…
“We need to jump over the river soon too!”
“That’s your answer!?”
Bilgamesh shouted like diligence itself and light erupted from the outer edges of his feet.
This was not just an Auth Spell.
For a brief moment, gold wings were clearly visible. And…
He took her hand.
You’re as forceful as ever, she thought as they instantly soared along a shallow course across the river.
They were catching up even more.
Back at Sunakawa, everyone was watching the footage of the battle on the Revelation Board. They could see the local gods arranged by Balancer assisting the gods moving up along the Tama River. But…
“Bikkuri Donkey smells really strongly of meat on the inside, doesn’t it!?”
“Yeah, it’s incredible! They really are pushing for a win in the battle for low cost and large portions! Oh, but it’s really cute how the menu is shaped like a Western partition, isn’t it? Wait, isn’t this my first time eating out with Senpai!? What are the rest of you doing here!?”
<The ape suggests we watch the battle in a family restaurant and this is where it gets us?>
“Kuwajiri-san, are you okay?”
“I feel really bad doing this to those upperclassmen…but it would be weird to just stand outside watching it.”
“Eatinnnng is part of ourrrr job.”
After hearing that, Kuwajiri said something else while viewing the menu that was standing up like a partition.
She had adjusted the brightness of her Revelation Board to make the night battle easier to see in the restaurant’s lights.
“They’re headed west, aren’t they? …Things look good. It would be best if they could drag this out to right up against the edge of the barrier west of Fussa.”
“Hm? They aren’t just running away to wear out their opponents?”
“They wouldn’t do that. The strongest of the Norse gods are setting things up to show off what they can do.”
Ki had a thought after she crossed the river, fired a few Auth Spells, and saw the enemy run away.
…How far do they plan on running?
Their opponents were not even trying to fight.
If they wanted to, they could easily get in a hit.
But even when she fired that barrage of fireballs, they only dodged them and moved further away.
They were picking up speed.
She and Ki needed to defeat those two for their “politics” to work out well. That was why they continued this pursuit, but…
“Bil! Could we just negotiate with Omokane instead of bothering with these two?”
“Omokane is not on our side either. …That is why she told us to go defeat them.”
“This barrier will not last forever. If we cannot defeat them in time, our reputation and our influence will suffer.”
“So it’s an away game, is it?”
They did not want to lose, but neither did their opponents.
Their opponents could maintain their influence as long as they survived this. In fact, they could reduce Ki and her partner’s influence just by not being defeated. So…
“Do you think they’ll just keep running away the entire time?”
“Do you think Norse Mythology’s strongest war god would do that?”
“It’s hard to say,” she responded, but she agreed it was unlikely.
“I don’t think they’re really running away.”
It felt more like those two were guiding them to some kind of good location. So…
“Let’s assume the location will work to their advantage. From there…”
“They are in range!”
Her partner moved forward, opened a Revelation Board, and activated an Auth Spell.
Their footing was undeniably poor, so…
“I will provide my own buffering instead of receiving support from this Divine World!”
He stepped on the ground.
A buffering spell shattered between his foot and the ground, but the rocks no longer hopped up underfoot. The same spell appeared on his elbows, shoulders, knees, and more.
“Full-body buffering at current max setting!”
And he uttered a single term.
He rocketed forward.
Shifu heard a deafening roar.
Tooru was the power type, but if anything, he used bursts of speed for his power. But this opponent caught up to them in just three steps.
…A buffering spell…and an artifact!?
She had seen Bilgamesh using those before too. His attacks, movements, and other actions were strengthened. She had initially thought they were Auth Spells, but they were not.
“Tooru! Their Auth Spells are used to summon those things!”
“That’s right. Bil and I are half-god and half-human, so we only have such high divine ranks because we strengthened ourselves with equipment and Auth Spells like this.”
A metallic sound rang out.
Bilgamesh had defended against Tooru’s strike. And…
It was indeed a gauntlet.
It was iron colored. It had a simple design with only some white paint in the center.
But the weapon was far from normal. This applied only to the shield portion and not the gauntlet as a whole, but…
“It’s over 5m tall? What kind of gauntlet is that!?”
This was much taller than a tower shield. The giant gauntlet was swung around based on the coordinates of Bilgamesh’s right arm, but it provided autonomous defense.
The wall-like shield portion had stopped Tooru’s strike and deflected it upwards with the auditory version of a dull pain.
But that was not all. The gauntlet was swung around while not actually attached to Bilgamesh’s arm, but it synched with the way he raised his arm.
Oh, no, thought the Norse gods as they accelerated apart.
There was a good spot for them.
It was a bridge.
They had traveled far enough up the Tama River that they had left Tachikawa and arrived in Akishima.
Up ahead, they could see the Tama Ohashi bridge that connected Akishima and Hachioji.
It was an old bridge with only two lanes. It was about 20m tall, but the entire bridge was more than 400m long.
The Tama River cut back to this side below it.
That meant they were approaching another break in the riverbank and the river cut across head of them.
If they went up, the bridge would get in the way.
If they went down, the river would get in the way.
So what were they supposed to do?
“Okay, let’s do this!”
She went down.
Raidou chose to go up.
The river was flowing below the bridge and the footing was poor.
Going up meant running into the Tama Ohashi bridge, but…
“The bridge will provide cover from that gauntlet!”
He twisted around to make sure he could counterattack while he leaped over the Tama Ohashi bridge.
Or he meant to.
When he looked back in midair, he saw an iron-colored wall.
It was Bilgamesh’s gauntlet.
But its size was even more abnormal now. It had been about 5m tall before, but…
“That thing’s over 50m!”
“Because it is sizing down to match me. …It would normally pierce the heavens.”
He raised the gauntlet and made a strike that eliminated Raidou’s cover.
The iron strike broke through the bridge and flew toward him. Also…
“I suppose I will go for a jab.”
In addition to the shield portion, the metal forearm portion was launched in a diagonal strike.
An attack more than 200m in length smashed through the bridge and toward Raidou in the air.
It scored a direct hit.
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