On a Godless Planet:Volume1 Chapter 7
Once we had decided to resume the terraforming, I spoke to Balancer and Senpai.
“Okay, Senpai! I’m counting on you!”
“Yes, let’s do our best!”
“Hey, don’t you dare slack off.”
But Balancer did ask a question.
<Just to be sure, do you actually understand the terraforming plan?>
“Eh? Aren’t we cooling the hot planet?”
<And why must we cool it?>
“Cause we want water.”
<And why do we want water?>
“Cause we’re thirsty.”
“Hey, don’t give me that ‘you idiot’ look. Don’t think I’ll forget this, cause I won’t! So don’t you forget it either!”
<I do think you are an idiot, but we are not terraforming the planet to quench your thirst.>
I thought about that and I did kind of remember seeing something about this in one of the books I checked out from the library.
Oh, no. Senpai was looking at me with hope in her eyes. She was staring at me! Ahh! Never before in my life had a good-looking and busty girl given me a look so full of hope!
…Now I feel trapped!
I really would have preferred for her not to look at me when I was revealing how dumb I was. Ahh! Please, Senpai! Don’t…don’t look at meeeee! Gwah! But I didn’t want Balancer to have their way with me either…
Anyway, I did have one thought.
“The answer just kind of came to me and I answered without thinking too hard, but isn’t it kind of weird to get water by cooling the planet?”
<The water that rises into the sky upon being heated will fall as rain once things cool, so cooling the planet is correct. Of course, that only applies to a planet that has water in the first place.>
“Does this planet have water?”
<It does. So suppressing the surface heat by forcibly making land out of the lava is the logical course of action.>
“In that case…”
“We reach Balancer’s earlier question about why we want water. Or to rephrase it: why do we want rain? Can you think about that?”
I pondered Senpai’s words.
What reason would we have in this case?
“Senpai, I’m going to just say everything that comes to mind, so please listen.”
I looked straight at Senpai.
…Oh, she’s so tall…
Her shoes played a role, but she was tall regardless. Come to think of it, Shifu-senpai from the game club was also super tall with big boobs. Is that just how gods were? Oh, no, no. Kuwajiri was short with a flat chest, so…
“Is a god’s chest size proportional to her height!? Is that how it works, Senpai!? I think you’re just right on both fronts!”
I slapped my cheek. Balancer was giving me a harsh look, but I ignored it. And…
“Why do we want water? Or, why do we want rain?”
I calmed my thoughts and spoke my mind.
“It leads to the see-through genre.”
I slapped my cheek. The other one from before. The red would stand out too much if I did the same one twice!
Anyway, that was the wrong answer. I mean, it was accurate, but it wasn’t the answer she wanted. Yes, if it rained, Senpai’s uniform would grow see-through and then while we sheltered from the rain together…ahhhhh! Ahhhhhh!
<Are you okay, idiot?>
“I’m at the good part, so don’t interrupt me! Idiot! Idiot!”
<You only seem to be growing more obnoxious, so please get back on topic.>
I thought a while longer.
“I know. When it rains, it will cool the lava regions and further…landify? the planet.”
Senpai applauded with a smile.
This was like…y’know, the video game tutorial where you’re praised for changing the world even though all you did was press a single button. Yes, I was easily satisfied. But was there a single part of me that wouldn’t be motivated by praise from a person – well, a god – like Senpai for saying some simple thing!? No, there wasn’t!
So I had more to say.
“As the rain falls, it will accumulate in the cooled areas.”
“And what happens then?”
“Um, it makes puddles?”
<We are not talking about your neighborhood, so think in terms of natural phenomena.>
“Then it makes lakes?”
“Yes, that’s right. But try to think bigger. And when water accumulates and starts to flow, what does it end up creating?”
I responded as an underclassmen being guided by his upperclassman.
“When the accumulated water starts to flow, it creates a river….”
“Yes, and then what happens?”
I thought about it.
There would be rivers, but what would they ultimately create?
“…It makes an ocean?”
When Senpai applauded and I struck a pose with both hands raised, the talking screen cleared their throat.
<To be more accurate, in the early stages of terraforming, there are no rivers as people generally think of them. The water flows to and accumulates in the lower areas where it creates oceans.>
“You just have to get the last word in, don’t you? But what do you mean there aren’t any rivers?”
“The newly-cooled land is a lot like water turned to ice, so there are no mountains or valleys or anything. And there is no water-retaining dirt which is necessary for a river to function.”
<There is no plant life either, so the ground has none of the water retention needed to maintain a river. So when the rain falls while the ground is still cooling, the water cycle is much more direct and the environmental changes are quite dramatic when it collides with the regions that are still quite hot.>
“The steam explosions we mentioned before. When the rain or flowing water hits the lava or heated ground, it will go kaboom all over the place, the atmosphere will bwoosh wildly, and it will finally smoosh together to form a giant air current. There are no mountains or hills on the surface, so the air current will become super hot and fwoosh across the land.”
“Isn’t that dangerous?”
<Yes, but it will also cool the surface. However, the subterranean heat will not be cooled and the lava will continue to move thanks to the influence of the planet’s rotation and other factors. Do you know what happens to the cooled land on top when that happens?>
I thought about it. I knew exactly what they were asking: what happens to the chocolate on top of the ice cream if you eat the ice cream first?
“It’ll split apart?”
Senpai applauded with a smile. I was right. Go, me! Balancer, don’t give me that look, okay? But…
“And how will the land move when it splits apart?”
I thought about that question. What would happen if the ice cream in question was the size of this land?
The term “fissure” came to mind, but that wasn’t it.
“Will it create mountains and things like that?”
<We are skipping past large parts of the process, but more or less. And once mountains and valleys exist, there will be lower areas for oceans to form.>
But Balancer had more to say.
<When water forms and rain falls, oceans will form, but what happens then? Tell me what comes to mind.>
What happened once you had oceans?
I answered with complete self-confidence.
“We can wear swimsuits… Hey, don’t give me that look, screen.”
I slapped the front of my face. I had already slapped both cheeks a fair bit, so this was to balance it out.
Anyway, I thought some more about what happened once you had oceans.
…It feels too soon to say you get life.
“Would it be too spiritual to say the oceans would be teeming with life?”
“That does happen, but think of it as the next stage.”
<And it is not so much spiritual as creepy when you say it.>
“What, you wanna fight!? Huh!?”
I decided to ignore the small fry. Cause I was a big shot. And a big shot wouldn’t stumble over a small pebble in their path. Damn that stupid screen!
Anyway, what were we talking about? Right, what happened once you had oceans. I realized something as I thought about it.
…This terraforming is being done by gods like Senpai…
In that case, I could return to the earlier lecture.
Ley lines, ether, and molds. If all those existed…
“It creates more phases.”
I realized that was probably the right answer, so I said more.
“Originally, the land was nothing but lava and the air was nothing but stormy heat, but when you cool them down, you get some actual land, even if it’s just rock. And when rain falls on that and forms oceans, a major change occurs.”
<And what is that?>
“A phase. With the lava and stormy air, those were the only phases on the planet. And since they’re very active and cover the entire planet, they’re too all-encompassing. But…”
“Cooling them gives you rocky land and oceans, which increases the overall number of phases.”
What happened when you had more phases?
“Phases are molds. So when you have more phases, they’re easier to use. …Is that it?”
<That is going a bit too far. Although knowing that would require knowledge we have not provided you.>
“But that’s more or less it. You’re right, Sumeragi-kun.”
“Yay! A compliment from Senpai! Bet you’re jealous, Balancer!”
<Ohhh, how very jealous I ammmm. Oh, sorry about the deadpan tone.>
“So you’re jealous, huh!? Uhohoi! Uhohoi!”
<Y-you weren’t even listening, were you!? You idiot!>
But Balancer got back on topic.
<Anyway, it seems you understand the beginning steps and you seem to understand the purpose behind adding more phases. Now…it is time you understood how the odds are stacked against you.>
“The odds are stacked against us? You mean Senpai and me aren’t unbeatable if we work together?”
Senpai stammered and gave me a troubled smile, so there was clearly something to this. There was always a reason for a good-looking girl’s bitter smile. I hadn’t ever known any good-looking girls well enough to know, but I was pretty sure it was true.
Anyway, Senpai walked forward and stopped at the edge of the rocky land.
“Watch for a moment, okay?”
I saw Senpai hold both hands out over the sea of lava.
Just like before, she rewrote a 30m square of lava into rocky land. So…
“Incredible, senpai! Nice rocking!”
“No, it was nothing…”
<Um, was that not enough to figure it out?>
“Eh? You mean to figure out that Senpai’s god powers are beautiful or that the way she swings her arms forward causes her skirt to lift up in the back and you can’t help but think ‘nice ass’ if you’re standing behind her?”
I pointed at Balancer.
“It’s this thing’s fault! They asked a leading question!”
<You’re doing this because you’re sick of slapping yourself, aren’t you!?>
That was pretty much it. Self-harm was bad, after all. But I was curious about what Balancer had said.
“What was I supposed to have figured out?”
<How much land was created by her technique?>
“A square of about 30 meters?”
It hit me when I said it out loud.
…Oh, so that’s it.
I kind of got it.
This terraforming would not be easy. And it would not be easy on Senpai either.
This was all sounding a lot harder than I had been thinking.
And just as I realized that, Balancer spoke up.
<This planet is extremely close to the earth in size, so it has a total surface area of 510,060,000km2.>
I spoke up.
“I am doing this with Senpai. That’s already a given. So don’t underestimate us, Balancer. Nothing you say can scare me off, so quit beating around the bush and just say it.”
<I see. That simplifies matters. Then I will say it.>
They said it.
<Your god partner can only create a 30m square of land at a time, so how is she supposed to terraform an area of 510,060,000km2?”
Wait, I thought to myself.
I couldn’t protest this just to be contrarian, so I had to think.
I had just been presented with a challenge. I was told Senpai’s power was not enough to terraform the planet.
And I knew she had to be worrying about the exact same thing.
I mean, she had been so excited and thanked me when my presence increased her divine rank.
That showed just how important it was for her to increase that rank.
…She might be weak as a god.
But she was trying to get stronger and she had said she would do this with me.
So that settled it.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s only 30m or whatever. I’m doing this with Senpai and she says she’ll do it with me. That’s a given. So, Balancer, what options do we have to complete the terraforming? Tell me that.”
Balancer sighed in their heart.
What a pain, they thought.
<Humanity really does love showing off for no real reason.>
They had to understand what it meant to use efficient methods based on logical and realistic ideas, yet they always grew emotional and made mistakes to save face and preserve their pride.
But was that the case this time? Balancer considered that question.
The overall objective of this mission was for him to complete the terraforming. And he had chosen her as his partner.
So this was not a problem if he was trying to do the terraforming. And if Balancer did not see a problem, it was their duty to fulfill any demand from humankind.
So that was what they did.
<There are three ways.>
<1. Continue terraforming with her while also worshiping her to increase her divine rank. That will strengthen her power and she will ultimately be able to perform largescale terraforming at will.>
<2. Get creative. There is only so much she can do with that one power, but it is possible a little creativity could greatly change the efficiency and result. So think about that for now. And if you cannot come up with anything…>
<3. This one is simple: get help from another god.>
I raised my eyebrows.
“Wait. Senpai is my partner. She might back out of our partnership when she realizes how vulgar, lewd, and sometimes downright perverted I can be, but she will still be the partner for me. Oh, and that was a nice speech, so make sure to record it.”
<Oh, sorry. The first half was so awful my mind numbed over and I missed the rest. Did you say anything worthwhile?>
But I had to move on, so I asked the question on my mind.
“How exactly would we get help from another god?”
<That is simple. The group of gods that agreed to let you two terraform this planet can assist you. In other words, you can temporarily borrow the powers of the gods who are on your side.>
Just as Balancer said that, I heard a voice from behind. And I recognized it.
“Yeah, that’s about the size of it.”
I turned around to see the members of the game club.
I wasn’t even surprised at this point.
“So you really are gods?”
“How should I put this? I might be the weakest of the group, but even I am a higher being than you.”
“Now, now,” said Shifu-senpai as she took a step forward.
“Okay, Sumeragi-chan and Senpai-chan there. After we introduce ourselves, we can talk about how to borrow our powers for the terraforming and about how the terraforming hasn’t made any real progress.”
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