On A Godless Planet Volume 1 -B Chapter 29

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Is she okay?

Hmm


Hatoko liked the ginger ale she tried.

…I need to buy some more before I leave.

Back home during the mythological age, there had been no ginger. Same with sugar.

There had been beer, but it had not used hops and lacked any bitterness. It had been more like a sweet drink and had actually been a little like this ginger ale, but…

…This ginger stuff gives the drink a nice sharp flavor!

Unlike ancient times, her home had received some imported herbs during her virtual manifestation. Ginger had been one of them and they had received sugar too, so she was pretty sure they could make this.

But that would be risky. The sugar was especially risky. Sugar had been too powerful for her back when the only sweetness she had known came from honey, fruits, or glucose syrup made from fermented wheat. The rapid importation of sugar had led to most people having more bountiful weights.

In other words, I need to lose some weight.

Oh, but it's best to have a little extra weight, right? This can work. Or maybe not.

But back to the ginger ale. The balance between sweet and sharp was nice. Canada, huh? Where's that? She looked it up and found it was a long way from her home. It probably belonged to the 8th generation mythologies or later, so she wondered if her mythology could surround it and take control of all the ginger ale.

On the other hand, the convenience stores seemed good enough. She hoped one of those Seven Elevens would open in the Mesopotamian virtual manifestation world.

"Balancer, when do these convenience stores reach the Middle East? Around 1500 BC by any chance?"

"How awful. How am I supposed to last another 25 years?"

"Defect! You can defect! Go for it!"

The Norse G.o.ddess made it sound so simple, but she was planning to stay here a while longer on a whim. However, she had not requested to defect. The upcoming political dealings would probably influence their decision on this. So…

"Eshtar, are you ready to do your inspector job?"

Eshtar liked the Karamucho she had tried.

…I can see why that human said she would eat these for every meal!

What are these even made of? The back of the bag says potatoes, but…potatoes? What're potatoes? My Revelation Board says that's a crop from America, but…America? Where the h.e.l.l is America? My Revelation Board says that's a new continent, but…a new continent?

…How am I supposed to know what happened 3000 years after my time!?

Karamucho seemed to come around 500 years after that, but that was a separate issue.

Oh, but you don't really have to pay attention to the outside world during your virtual manifestation. So it isn't my fault I didn't know about potatoes! Of course I didn't know!

Still, these things are good. And there's still a big bag of them, so this might just be the best day ever.

"Um, Eshtar?"

"What!? Do I get another bag!?"

Hatoko gave her a bottle, so she chugged it.

"It's so good! What is this!? Ginger!?"

"Yes, well, it was from Omokane over there."

"A gift!? At least someone knows how to treat me! Now, what else!?"

"Oh, we have a big bag of Karamucho. And some napkins."

"How thoughtful! What mythology are you from!?"

"You have to ask!? This is Senpai we're talking about! Just look at those b.o.o.bs and try again!"

Es.h.i.+ta had no idea what that was about, but the girl who gave her the Karamucho answered the question.

"U-um, I am s.h.i.+nto."

"s.h.i.+nto!? Then you're the one's I'm inspecting! So what's this!? Trying to bribe me with Karamucho!?"

"Um, will it work?"

"Wow! These are so good! I could get hooked on them!"

Bribing an official? For shame.

"Man! If you were some random spirit instead of a s.h.i.+nto G.o.d, I would've ranked you up to a 'G.o.d of giving Karamucho'!"

"Is Mesopotamian mythology really that casual about this stuff?"

"I am so sorry."

"I think Eshtar is especially special in this case."

"To add to that, Mesopotamian mythology is a polytheistic religion with more than 2100 G.o.ds over the entire area and time period it was followed. So it seems fine to me for one of those to be a 'G.o.d of giving Karamucho' or a 'G.o.d of giving Ethnican'."

"Oh! Ethnican! You like Calbee, don't you!?"

"To add more to that, the stories in Mesopotamian mythology get more and more casual as time goes on. With Bil and me, it reaches a point where fanfiction would be taking it more seriously."

…Ethnican!? You mean there's more!?

What was I doing here again? wondered Eshtar while accepting an opened bag labeled "grilled beef".

She paused to help her remember. And then…

"Hey! You're trying to win me over with food, aren't you!? Well, it won't work!"

"What if we threw in this Polinky that just came out the other day?"

"Wow! These are so good! The combination of sweet and salty is- wait, no!"

She noticed someone in the other group had their hand raised.

"What is it!? You have your hand up, so speak your mind!"

"Um, I'm supposed to be the negotiator, so when are we going to hold the actual negotiation?"

Everyone fell silent.

They all glared at Eshtar, so she knew exactly what to say.

"It's not my fault!"

Anyway, thought Eshtar while taking a breath and wiping off her hands with the wet wipes she had someone open for her.

"Then let's get down to business. I would like to keep this short."

"Understood."

Then…

"First of all, explain the delays in the terraforming."

"Very well," replied the negotiator. "s.h.i.+nto's terraforming of this planet is in fact progressing on schedule. You could even say we are ahead of schedule. If you heard of any delays, there must have been some kind of miscommunication."

Eshtar lightly tilted her head at that sudden counterattack.

…What kind of claim is that?

But that was fine. These differences of opinion were the entire reason for sending an inspector, so she knew what she had to say here.

"What? You're saying there are no delays?"

And the claim of being ahead of schedule was utterly absurd.

"You are clearly behind schedule. Four months have pa.s.sed in this divine world, but you have only created a 300 square meter patch of land."

She opened a Revelation Board that showed the terraforming records of the other planets.

She checked the timeline for the first four months and displayed the models of the planets at that time.

"The planet done by Yomoji over there was almost entirely complete at the four month mark. And the planets done by those Norse G.o.ds and by the other forces had the surface almost entirely complete by four months. This is the only planet that has not done that. Care to explain?"

"There is nothing to explain. But if I must, I would say that this is normal."

The negotiator made a bold claim.

"Terraforming is a time-consuming process."

Tenma thought this should be viewed as a problem to be solved.

…When you encounter a problem, you must determine what it is and work toward a solution.

It was inefficient to start throwing around accusations when you encountered a problem.

After all, personnel and time were limited resources.

So even if this inspector was far above her rank, she had to say this.

"First of all, the s.h.i.+nto group sent to this planet is primarily made up of Earthly G.o.ds. We do have three Heavenly G.o.ds, but the other sixteen, including me, are either Earthly G.o.ds or humans made into G.o.ds. There is a large difference in the number of G.o.ds and the overall divine rank of the G.o.ds sent here when compared to the other planets."

"What even is divine rank?"

"Well," said Raidou-senpai in response to my question. "It generally refers to the extent of your sovereignty, your number of wors.h.i.+pers, and the historical rank a.s.sociated with that."

"Sovereignty? Historical rank?"

"It ranks their sphere of control and can be broken out into different levels: World, s.p.a.ce, Heaven, Planet, Realm, Region, Country, Metropolis, City, Town, Village, House, Room, Hidden, and Empty."

"You look awfully proud of yourself for rattling of a list of units that make no sense."

Balancer shook their screen downwards.

"Sorry, I still don't get it. Is it like when you first become aware of the opposite s.e.x?"

"If that's what it takes for you to understand it, then go with that."

I decided to go with that.

"I think I get the ones like room, house, and village. Is it using SimCity rules?"

"Yeah, more or less. It measures the extent of the s.p.a.ce you can control. 'Room' means a diameter of a meter."

"So by room, we mean a bathroom."

"There are other rooms that size. Like a closet. So at 1m, you could say it is more like a closet than a room. At that level, we're talking about a guardian deity of a closet or something. And once you reach House, you have a diameter of 10m."

"Woo hoo! That's like three stories tall. That's a pretty big house!"

"Anyway, Village is a radius of 100m. Do you notice a pattern yet?"

I thought about the numbers I had just heard. House was 10m and Village was 100m.

"It's going up by powers of 10."

"Yes, so the next one is 1000."

"Town is 1000m or 1km. City is 10km, Metropolis is 100km, Country is 1000km, Region is 10,000km, Realm is 100,000km, Planet is 1,000,000km, Heaven is 10,000,000km, s.p.a.ce is 100,000,000km, and World is 1,000,000,000km. The numbers don't really mean all that much on the upper end there."

I tried imagining it, but…

"What is all that based on?"

"The World cla.s.s has a one billion kilometer sphere of control and the shortest distance between Earth and Saturn is more than 1.2 billion, so it's about that much."

"Then," I said. "If we had someone with that vast a sphere of control, couldn't we just get them to do the terraforming?"

"When you control that much, you also have to maintain control of it all."

"Yes. G.o.ds with vast areas of control must maintain those areas and also maintain the other G.o.ds living there, so they have trouble staying in the black as it is. Our own authorities are constantly being drained to preserve the laws of this world, so we cannot act at our full power either. Our available power is reduced considerably."

"Thaaaat's right," said Yomoji-senpai. "I've got a Worrrrld cla.s.s divine rank, but maintaining eeeeverything eats up a lot of power. I mean, I've got to supporrrrt an entire world on my owwwwn. The initial planet was easy, but then I got anotherrrr planet, and now this plaaaace? There will probably be morrrre, so I have to leave some roooom to spare."

"That is why the DC chooses who they send to help with the terraforming. Our seemingly World cla.s.s G.o.ds are actually at the Realm level, so we could be in trouble if an actual World cla.s.s shows up."

"s.h.i.+nto's World cla.s.s G.o.ds have been sealed away using reserved manifestations, so that's another way we're at a disadvantage."

I had a thought about all this.

"That's a lotta politics."

And as usual, what I thought also left my mouth.

"I bet there are a lot of problems with overlapping control areas between G.o.ds."

"That is why we make careful adjustments during the terraforming. Of course, if we don't try to 'control' anything, we don't use our powers and we don't have anything to maintain, so we can just exist there without causing any problems other than our pa.s.sive influence on events."

"So is it like doing anything at all puts you in the red?"

"No, G.o.ds at our rank can shove a lot of the 'maintaining stuff' part to the G.o.ds with higher ranks, letting us act more freely. …But you know how we created a combat field to fight in earlier? The four of us together only covered about 10km. We're allowed to go nuts inside there and we're doing just fine afterwards, but my divine rank is actually at the Region level. Can you see how much the maintenance, buffering, and restraint takes off the top now?"

"The buffering is the worst of it all. You end up paying that where you least expect it."

"I know what you mean. I'm at the Village cla.s.s, but I still get a lot taken away from buffering against local G.o.ds and spirits."

They were now just swapping complaints.

I was hardly one to talk, but it felt like we weren't making any progress. Oh, does that make me clever? Well, I'd better ask about it to show how clever I am.

"Anyway, to keep the conversation moving, what was that historical rank you mentioned before?"

"Oh, that."

The Druaga guy raised his hand.

"I was originally at the Country level, but the things I do in the myths put me at the Region level. That is your historical rank. You can think of it like a correction made between generations. If you take a 5th generation G.o.d like me and a 7th generation G.o.d like those Norse ones over there, the historical rank correction would make me twice as powerful even if our original rank was the same."

"In that previous battle, our ranks were b.u.mped up from Country to Region while the Norse couple had to make up for that x2 difference."

"I am honestly impressed they managed to win."

"I see. So what about Miss Karamucho over there? What's her divine rank?"

"Well," said Kuwajiri. "She is normally ranked at the Region level, but her mythology correction puts her at the Realm cla.s.s. She of course has a lot of that taken away by maintaining that realm, but in terms of the pure power difference, no one here is capable of beating her. In a physical fight, we would have to rely on compatibility or on strategic use of our authorities. Those two would be in trouble since they just got done fighting a battle."

"If you ask us to do it, we'd still win. I'm a war G.o.d, so I'll always fight no matter how outmatched I am and I'll make sure I find some value in that fight."

"I know that and I do trust you, but we have a better option here."

Namely…

"The DC's mythologies are willing to negotiate in order to preserve their pride. We must take advantage of that. If fighting is necessary, it can come later."

Tenma waited for the divine rank lecture to conclude behind her and then bowed toward Eshtar.

"I do apologize. There is a lot we have yet to reach a consensus on."

"That's fine. I don't mind it much myself. …But what do you mean your overall divine rank is low?"

"I have a doc.u.ment on it right here."

She displayed the level up status of the s.h.i.+nto G.o.ds on a Revelation Board.

"The G.o.ds of the other mythologies start off at a decent level by using their ancestry, but s.h.i.+nto was not allowed to do that and we must start at a low level."

"But you can level up quickly using that human, can't you?"

There it is, thought Tenma. Bilgamesh was right. They do want to take the human for themselves, don't they?

That told her what Eshtar would argue.

…"s.h.i.+nto is not making full use of the human."

So they would take the human from s.h.i.+nto.

Tenma wanted to test this.

"What do you make of what she's saying, Tenmkun?" asked Scarecrow on her Revelation Board.

"I think I will face this head on in order to test her."

How deep did this go? She threw out some words like throwing a stone into a pond.

"Something unexpected occurred after introducing the human to the terraforming."

"Oh? And what is that?"

"Well," she said. "The human dies more easily and more unexpectedly than we ever imagined."

I saw everyone looking at me.

"What!? What's all this!? Are we starting a new surveillance society!? Or did you finally notice my hidden charm now that I'm a girl!? That must be it! Yomoji-senpai, tell me what makes me so cute!"

"Baaaack when I had a bit of an ego, I got a biiiit salty with a wors.h.i.+per who kept asking for praise, so I turned them into sallllt."

"Wow! That is salty! But what's that got to do with anything!?"

"It is true you tend to die unexpectedly. Now that I think about it."

"Wait! I'm the dainty heroine! I'm always having to take a seat because I've worn myself out! But I also lose my temper a lot! That gap is what makes me so great! So what's wrong with that!? I get that being dainty means I can die easy, but what's this unexpectedly nonsense!?"

"Who was it again that ran out into the road and got hit by a dump truck?"

"Wow, what kind of moron did that? You always want to look both ways before crossing the street, right? I mean, if there's a busty girl waiting for the light next to you, that's your chance to look over at her chest while still following all the rules! Oh, but if you were standing next to me, Kuwajiri, I might forget to look both ways! Or would you prefer I did!? You would, wouldn't you!?"

"What am I supposed to do with this idiot?"

"U-um, does this mean I need to make sure I'm standing next to Sumeragi-kun whenever she crosses the street?"

"Ha ha ha. I knew we had G.o.ds to protect travelers, but I never knew it worked like that."

"Omokane-san? You need to stop talking."

"I do not shout weird things! What if Senpai were to hear me!? That's why I always shout it outside of the audible range!"

"Are you some kind of monster?"

"Even more concerning is the thought of what happens if Senpai-san is on the opposite platform at the train station."

"Yeah! Leaping out in front of train sounds like an awful way to die!"

"I was more thinking of the hundreds of thousands of Tokyo residents whose commute would be delayed."

"Waiiiiiiiiiiit, Kuwajiri! You're not doing this right! You've gotta be clearer about what you mean or I sound like an idiot!"

"Is it always like this here?"

"I'm so sorry."

Everyone seems to be having fun, thought Tenma while everyone squabbled behind her.

But she had a job to do, so she had said what had to be said.

…The human dies easily.

That meant two things for the G.o.ds.

First, it meant humans were weaker when compared to the G.o.ds.

Second, it meant that humans were weak creatures in and of themselves.

The former was a simple matter.

While the G.o.ds could descend to the real planet during the terraforming, humans would be killed instantly if the environment was not adapted to them the instant they appeared.

Phase compatibilities could make it hard for the G.o.ds at times, but they would not be killed instantly. It helped a lot that their very existence was a phase and a mold, so they automatically erected their own field.

They were a lot more physically durable.

G.o.ds were weak at first when their divine rank was at Empty, but once they reached Hidden or above, they rapidly grew stronger.

The existence of a phase was what mattered most. G.o.ds had one and humans did not.

Then there was the latter meaning.

…Humans are weak creatures.

She could tell that much when comparing her life as a G.o.d to her life as a human. She would no longer die if she was. .h.i.t by a dump truck. She might be sent flying, but she would just roll around for a bit and be fine.

The rules were different.

And that comparison said that humans were effectively weaker.

The DC did not understand that fact.

They lacked the experience.

So how would the DC handle this?

Tenma heard Es.h.i.+ta speak after placing a hand on her chin and thinking for a moment.

"We already knew humans were weaklings, didn't we?"

"Yes, but it was worse than expected."

She had to explain this so the DC would recognize that the weakness of humanity was greater than expected and so she could justify the delays to the terraforming.

"The human has already died and been rolled back twelve times. A simple calculation tells us that twelve times in four months means dying once every ten days. Also, the human loses some of their memories with each rollback. They must be reeducated about the terraforming each time to prepare them."

"I have a question out of simple curiosity."

Es.h.i.+ta made it clear this was not an official question.

"Can't you change the settings there? How about giving them some divine protections so they're more durable?"

"Then they would exceed the bounds of humanity. The human a.s.sisting with the terraforming can be created by the G.o.ds, but they cannot exceed the bounds of humanity."

"What would happen if they did?"

"Any changes at a fundamental level would mean they no longer count as human. At best, they would be considered half-G.o.d, half-human."

I noticed Senpai had fallen silent.

No, she had already been silent, but what was this? It was like her presence had shrunk. Her b.o.o.bs were still as big as ever, but it was like she had a flat-chested presence now. Like she had grown more docile.

"What's wrong, Senpai?"

"Oh, um, it's nothing."

Just as she replied, Mr. Bil raised his hand. He somehow made it look like a solemn act. It was honestly impressive.

"What would happen if divine protections or whatever caused the human to no longer count as human?"

"Temporary buffs from divine protections or authorities count as a blessing given from their G.o.d based on their wors.h.i.+p. Those are accepted as normal. Otherwise, no human could ever descend to the planet for the terraforming."

Kuwajiri explained.

"But if the divine protection or authority is more powerful and it permanently changes something about that human, they will have become superior to the rest of the species and will count as a half-G.o.d, half-human."

"That's what we are. We were given power, so we don't count as truly human," said the busty girl. "You can't do that with every human. There's no going back after that change, right?"

"Correct," confirmed Omokane-senpai. "So we have some insurance in place just in case."

"Insurance?"

Tenma nodded at Eshtar's comment.

"The partner system. Everything is set up so the partner G.o.d's divine protections and authorities will only affect their individual partner and that partner's actions. Thus, if the partner G.o.d does give the human power exceeding the bounds of humanity, it only means the end for the partner. It will not affect the rest of the humans sleeping until the terraforming is complete."

The human remained normal so far.

And with that explained…

"The human must partic.i.p.ate in the terraforming as a mere human. The partner system is being used to ensure they remain in that position while the work is completed, so the current level of progress is in fact according to schedule."

"Is that so?"

Eshtar smiled in a way that showed no emotion.

And then she spoke.

"But you are in fact behind schedule."

"Listen." Es.h.i.+ta looked to all of them. "No matter how you try to excuse it, you are behind schedule according to the initial predictions you sent us. I don't care what your reasons for this pace are."

So she asked a question.

"Do you have a solution for this problem?"

"Are you suggesting we strengthen our human past the bounds of humanity?"

"Can you do that?"

"We could if we wanted to. We just do not want to."

The s.h.i.+nto Representative gave an oddly bright smile.

"Listen. I doubt we will ever decide to do that, but if we did, our terraforming here with the human would effectively be a failure. So…"

Es.h.i.+ta looked to the human behind her.

"Yessssss! I will always be meeeeeee! Wait, what was that!? Some weird expression of adolescence!?"

She ignored her.

That idiot was not who she had to focus on. Omokane was.

Noticing her gaze, Omokane nodded.

"If we ended up failing like that and we received approval from the DC, we would make a new human and redo it all. And if we did not receive approval…well, the entire terraforming project would count as a failure and we would probably have our rights stripped from us. I just want to make sure the other mythologies are aware of that."

Yeah, I thought. What are we even supposed to do?

So that's what they're doing, thought Es.h.i.+ta while munching on some Karamucho. They're taking the human hostage.

Terraforming with a human introduced several advantages and problems.

The most direct was the leveling up provided by the human's wors.h.i.+p.

On their own, G.o.ds could only train themselves up, but respect from humans could improve them from the outside. That doubled their efficiency and broke through the upper limits.

Es.h.i.+ta was from the 5th generation. Her generation was effectively the top of the currently existing G.o.ds, but it was true some of the later generations were catching up. The support of a human would provide an advantage there.

The DC had wanted to run an experiment on a human's effects using s.h.i.+nto since they were not strictly part of any generation and had a low divine rank.

And that was what they had done.

But s.h.i.+nto was taking advantage of that.

"If that human ceases to be human, the introduction of a human will be deemed a failure, huh?"

"Yes, the human's frequent deaths are one cause for the terraforming delays. But if the human's partner boosts their power more than necessary, they will cease to be human."

So…

"We have no intention of doing that. Even if we are technically falling behind schedule, we view it as the unavoidable result of the circ.u.mstances."

The negotiator made her point.

Es.h.i.+ta thought using the partner system as insurance was a good idea.

It prevented all of humanity from being made partially divine either by accident or by some mischievous G.o.d.

But that allowed s.h.i.+nto to make another claim.

"So you're saying you can't be blamed for the delays because you need to protect the human while terraforming?"

"Yes. Asking us to strengthen the human to speed things up would be mixing up our priorities."

She was a bold one.

To put that another way…

"The delays to the terraforming schedule are due to the human's frequent rollbacks. Are you implying this is the human's responsibility?"

Es.h.i.+ta understood where this was headed. She knew what s.h.i.+nto was trying to say.

"You're using the human as a s.h.i.+eld to protect s.h.i.+nto's terraforming, aren't you?"

She directed the question at Omokane, who did not respond.

She took that as confirmation, so she said more.

"But what if the DC tries to take the human from you?"

"Take them from us? Are you sure you can do that?"

"I'm saying I could challenge you to a duel right here."

"Not what I meant." The s.h.i.+nto Representative waved a hand dismissively. "Remember the partner system? Sumeragi-kouhai's partner - and thus the target of her wors.h.i.+p - is that girl right over there. Taking Sumeragi-kouhai from us will not change the target of her wors.h.i.+p. And if you were to try to cancel the partner system…"

"I'd flip out!"

Es.h.i.+ta heard a voice.

"Huh!? Do you wanna know what happens if you try to cut my bonds with Senpai!? I'd go ask some G.o.d for a sensory transfer spell and transfer the feeling of using moxibustion in my a.s.shole to your a.s.shole!"

"Are you sure you want to do that? I'm pretty sure that would leave a mark on your a.s.shole."

"Eh? Um, um?"

"What are you even talking about!?"

"I see," sighed Raidou. "Omokane is really only after one thing here."

"Is it that s.h.i.+nto wins in the end no matter what?"

Exactly right.

If it did end in failure, s.h.i.+nto's losses would be kept to a minimum.

And the partner system provided insurance for s.h.i.+nto on top of that.

If need be, she was willing to use Sumeragi as a s.h.i.+eld to pull it off.

"So no matter what happens, she's using the human's presence like she was given a hostage."

"So if you change your point of view, this double bind that forces them to sacrifice someone can also be seen as a double bind that protects that someone?"

Raidou was not sure about that.

Could this really be seen as protecting Sumeragi?

"A double bind!? What's that!? Is it when you do bondage on the top and bottom!? Ahhhn!"

That idiot needs to shut up.

"This is the worst thing about Omokane-san."

Scarecrow was lost in thought.

…Using the human's presence as insurance for the human is fine, but she feels a need to add more nastiness on top of that.

She used it to protect s.h.i.+nto.

She used it to guide s.h.i.+nto to victory.

Because s.h.i.+nto was so powerless, she would use every means available to them.

Those were all advantages Omokane had planned for by introducing the partner system.

The DC and the other G.o.ds had not tested to see what actually happened when a human was introduced to the terraforming, so s.h.i.+nto had a lot of authority on the subject.

They were the only ones who could determine through direct experience if the experiment had been a success or a failure.

What if?

What if the time came to make that decision?

…No matter what the DC says, we can say quite clearly that it was a failure.

It did not matter if the DC rejected that.

There would be mythologies that opposed the DC and there would be those who used s.h.i.+nto's decision as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the DC.

If that happened, Omokane would do everything she could to convince the other mythologies that terraforming with a human was dangerous and an abject failure.

Then the DC could not use the terraforming as an excuse to claim the human for themselves.

Omokane was currently threatening to do just that.

She had also used the partner system to fix Sumeragi's wors.h.i.+p on a specific G.o.d.

The DC could try to remove that wors.h.i.+p, but it was unlikely to go well. After all…

"Sumeragi-kun is a serious wors.h.i.+per of Senpai-san."

She felt like maybe she should not smile while saying that.

But all of this was unfair to Sumeragi.

"Our strategy here is to proclaim we are throwing out the human while also protecting both the s.h.i.+nto terraforming and the human."

She had to wonder why they were doing something so risky, but that was just how Omokane was.

Was it possible Omokane was actually an evil G.o.d?

Now, this is evil, thought Es.h.i.+ta in awe. They're trying to bind us with our own words.

The trick here was to restrict the DC with the DC's own demands.

If they demanded that s.h.i.+nto hand over the human, Omokane would claim that using the human was a failure and thus humans had to be eliminated from all future terraforming work.

But Es.h.i.+ta had a question about that.

So she asked about it.

"One question," she began. "If things go south for you, you plan on declaring the human a failure in order to protect everything for yourself, right?"

"No, not at all."

She really was a bold one.

But Es.h.i.+ta decided to ask further.

"Let's see if I have this right."

Es.h.i.+ta chose to restate things, including the concessions that had been made.

"The delays to the s.h.i.+nto terraforming were due to protecting the human, right?"

She would accept that reason.

Otherwise, they would use the human as a s.h.i.+eld.

The DC only wanted the human, so it was best not to make any choices that would harm the human.

So she made a concession there.

The delays to the s.h.i.+nto terraforming was not enough reason to take the human from them.

But, she thought.

"There is one thing I must ask you."

"What is that?"

Oh, this was a simple matter.

"You said the partner system is a safety measure to avoid turning all the humans into half-G.o.ds, right? But that's the thing."

She asked her question.

"That G.o.ddess there has a really low divine rank, so I doubt it's even possible for her spells or divine protections to permanently strengthen that human beyond the bounds of humanity."

"Eh? Um, uh."

"Well? Am I right?"

"Hey! Mucho! Don't bully Senpai! You think I'm letting you get away with that!? Okay, Raidou-senpai! Go get her!"

"While that is my role here, try to think more politically."

"Who are you calling Mucho!?"

"Calm down," said the human's partner G.o.ddess. "It is true I do not have that kind of power at the moment."

"A good response."

She implied things would change in that regard.

Nothing could sound more wonderful coming from the one and only G.o.d with a human wors.h.i.+per.

Es.h.i.+ta had been like that in her memories of her nonexistent life in the Earth Age.

But that line also established something.

"Answer me this."

She asked a question.

"That partner G.o.d cannot strengthen the human very much at the moment, so why do you claim the partner system functions as a safety measure?"

"Why do you think?"

That was not an answer, but she was pretty sure she knew the answer already.

"That G.o.ddess has some kind of divine protection or authority that could affect all of humanity, doesn't she?"

She had to check on this.

If it was true, then this was a double hostage situation.

"The rollbacks are to blame for the delayed schedule and the partner G.o.d's power could affect all of humanity. …You are not making these negotiations easy for me."

"What is so difficult about this?"

"If we try to take the human from you over the delays or any other reason, the partner G.o.d's power could activate and render all the humans unusable. It's like negotiating while holding a bomb."

"Indeed, indeed," said Omokane while gesturing toward the G.o.ddess who Es.h.i.+ta had considered recruiting as a Karamucho G.o.ddess. "Do you want to know what her power is?"

"I would. So what is it? Is she really that powerful a G.o.d?"

"Yes." Omokane nodded. "As you have guessed, her power can affect all of humanity."

And…

"The partner system only limits her divine protections and authority in regards to humanity. Those things can still reach us G.o.ds. Otherwise, she could not protect herself if another G.o.d attacked her and she could not receive support from other G.o.ds either."

That meant her authority could affect Es.h.i.+ta.

After making that point clear, the s.h.i.+nto Representative spoke with a smile.

"If she is serious about it, then it does not matter who her opponent is. It could be me, you, anyone else on the DC, or even a 0th generation G.o.d. That is just who she is."

This whole topic was not fun for me, but Sumeragi-kun turned toward me with a light in her eyes.

"Senpai!? Do you have the authority to make all of humanity busty!? If so, can you make me busty so I can simulate feeling your b.o.o.bs!?"

"Eh? Eh?"

s.h.i.+fu-san was standing behind Sumeragi-kun, so she slapped her on the cheek.

Es.h.i.+ta saw the human roll about 70m along the ground and then run back over with a huge grin.

"Yahoo! Standing between two busty G.o.ddesses and getting slapped from behind is the best! This makes the whole life thing worth it!"

What was she even talking about?

But regardless, this was dangerous.

"I'm going to keep this simple since I'm getting fed up with it all, but what if I said s.h.i.+nto's methods were unacceptable?"

"Yes, I can see that you feel that way. But as long as it remains a warning, we will still have permission to continue. So I must determine what exactly you mean when you say this is 'unacceptable'."

Simply put…

"We will use a j.a.panese negotiating method since j.a.pan is the homeland of s.h.i.+nto. How 'regrettable' do you find this turn of events? That is the fastest way to confirm the seriousness of your statement and for us to find a compromise."

Es.h.i.+ta nodded at that.

…I said I wanted to keep this simple, so why is she making this way more complicated!?

This was part of her strategy.

This younger girl was acting as the actual negotiator, but this must have been set up before the negotiations even began.

She was discussing the supplementary topics to see how much she could steer this in s.h.i.+nto's favor.

That meant "negotiating" with her was meaningless. It would only wear away Es.h.i.+ta's own footing.

So she knew what to say.

"Then let's establish some common ground here."

"What might that be?"

"The terraforming has been delayed, hasn't it?"

"It has."

She accepted that much. That settled it.

"I'm sure you have your excuses, but you had our trust when you began terraforming, didn't you? First, you must take responsibility for breaking that trust."

"She's s.h.i.+fting the blame again," said Scarecrow in her own library.

The s.h.i.+nto strategy was the one Omokane had thought up: ensuring that s.h.i.+nto won in the end.

So whenever they ran into trouble, they had to arm themselves with arguments that would leave s.h.i.+nto blameless.

They would place responsibility on someone other than s.h.i.+nto and negotiate from that perspective. However…

"She is treating the issue of responsibility as separate from our excuses."

s.h.i.+nto was not at fault.

It had been an unpredictable accident.

But their failure nevertheless remained.

Eshtar's voice arrived via divine transmission.

"Shouldn't a businessperson predict what could happen and submit a schedule that accounts for the worst case scenario? Even if that means they submit a slower initial schedule than the others?"

And…

"You failed to contact us when you ran into these delays. …Although I will admit contacting us would have led to an inspector like me being sent out immediately. But that was a bad move. This means you knew about the delays yet you failed to report them."

"And what, pray tell, is wrong with that?

She knew the answer. It was very simple.

"That qualifies as a breach of trust with the DC. s.h.i.+nto has committed a serious betrayal against the other mythologies, so I simply cannot overlook it."

There it is, thought s.h.i.+fu.

Es.h.i.+ta had turned it around.

"She's not even talking about Sumeragi-chan anymore."

"Yeah. We figured they wanted the human's wors.h.i.+p and that's why we used Sumeragi as an excuse and a threat, but she's narrowed her focus down to the issue of s.h.i.+nto's responsibility."

"So she is focusing on s.h.i.+nto's behavior instead of whether or not humans should be used in the terraforming?"

Exactly. But how will this play out? wondered s.h.i.+fu just as Sumeragi-chan stood up next to her.

"Eh!? What!? The world no longer revolves around me and everyone's ignoring me!? Not on my watch! Tell them to pay more attention to me! Kupaaaaaa!"

The background noise was getting irritating, so s.h.i.+fu tugged on her skirt to get her to sit back down.

Anyway, s.h.i.+fu knew this was going to be a pain.

"She is ignoring our explanations and excuses and instead focusing on our responsibility and failure to report. Unfortunately, that is something we cannot deny."

"Th-then what do we do?"

"Apologize, I guess."

"I mean," said s.h.i.+fu. "We did something wrong. If they can define it as a breach of trust, then it means they were the ones harmed, not us."

"Wait, when did you harm them?"

"By betraying their trust. You could say it harmed their reputation."

En-chan seemed to get that, so she must have initially interpreted it more literally since that was the way her mythology tended to do it.

"Well, let them cry about being a victim all they want. They're not actually wrong, after all."

"The DC seems to be having a tough time of it too."

"They are. Now, it might seem like they have us dead to rights, but we still have some wiggle room here."

"Wiggle room?"

Kuwajiri-chan nodded at that. The summer night and the intensity of the meeting must have gotten to her because she wiped some sweat from her brow.

"Yes. We do still have some wiggle room here. Because even if s.h.i.+nto does apologize, the DC cannot say what it is they want from them."

Kuwajiri could tell the negotiation was approaching a conclusion.

…Both sides are searching for a way to end it.

The tension of the exchange was making her sweat. Or maybe it was the heat of the summer night.

Whatever the reason, she took a sip of the orange Fanta she had set down next to her.

"If the DC directly demands s.h.i.+nto hand over the human, s.h.i.+nto could go to the other mythologies saying the DC is abusing their power."

"Because the DC was using the human as a bargaining chip?"

Exactly. That would be the best way to get the other mythologies riled up.

"We could justify our actions by claiming that the G.o.ds are meant to protect humans."

Then what would they do?

"So we know the DC won't ask for Sumeragi-chan, but will they have s.h.i.+nto come up with the apology method and try to guide s.h.i.+nto into handing over Sumeragi-chan themselves?"

That sounded like trouble.

"If s.h.i.+nto fails to apologize here or tries to s.h.i.+ft blame elsewhere to dodge responsibility, then the DC can go to the other nations claiming to be the victim."

"Something like, 's.h.i.+nto isn't doing their job and they won't even apologize!' perhaps?"

"Wow." Senpai-san opened her mouth in a troubled way. "I'm having a hard time deciding whether we or the DC are worse here."

"That just means we are evenly matched. So we need to focus on what factors remain that could tip the scales."

"Whether or not s.h.i.+nto apologizes. And if they do, how they do it."

Kuwajiri nodded at Raidou's answer.

"If s.h.i.+nto can dodge the responsibility issue while not having to actually hand over the human, then the DC loses any means to attack them. s.h.i.+nto is from j.a.pan and no one loves apologizing more than j.a.pan, so this should all come down to how they pull off that offensive form of defense."'

"Now," said Es.h.i.+ta. "How will s.h.i.+nto apologize for breaching the DC's trust?"

"I love having Sugawara around to apologize for me. It makes things so much easier."

"It isn't supposed to be easy!"


On A Godless Planet Volume 1 -B Chapter 29

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On A Godless Planet Volume 1 -B Chapter 29 summary

You're reading On A Godless Planet Volume 1 -B Chapter 29. This novel has been translated by Updating. Author: KAWAKAMI Minoru already has 146 views.

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