17-11. Realm of Gods Revisited
Satou here. I couldn't deal with allegories that teach moral lessons well. I think it's partly because of the strict limit on number of characters, but man, you just lose interest fast when it's laid out so plainly before the climax.
"""Human, come forth."""
After receiving a summon to the realm of gods from god Tenion through Sera, I dropped by the place once again.
"""Human, to the Ring of Audience."""
I went forward and stopped before the gods.
"""Offer your prayers."""
I was planning to give my thanks for the matter with Aze-san which I missed last time, but then I caught a sight of a twinkling green light coming from god Tenion in the corner of my vision.
I could somehow tell that she was warning me to, "take it easy", so I offered my prayers reasonably.
It was mostly the same as last time, but there's one big difference compared to before.
"Heya there, sorry 'bout this. Calling you here without consulting first and all."
The one who amicably sent thoughts was a small purple structure that was half as big as other gods size-wise.
It's got weak lights and a simple design to it, shaped like a wire puzzle in the shape of two entwined triangles.
"Stay back, demon god."
God Heraruon divulged the purple structure's identity just like that.
It really seems to be the demon god.
But his friendly attitude kind of strays from my image of him.
"Hear hear Heraruon! You thief god--"
"Silence, Zaikuon. Why don't you realize that the lower world people are losing their faiths precisely because there's someone like you who would scorn anyone out of mischief here."
"Shut up, Garleon!"
"Zaikuon, Garleon, you two keep it down. Karion said so."
"I didn't. Urion, stop with your delusions."
These gods are so noisy. Unlike their supernatural forms, their mental capacities are like that of gods in Greek myth; human-like in nature.
From what god Zaikuon said, apparently thief god is a derogatory term for demon god.
No wait, that doesn't matter.
There are more important things to think about.
To begin with, why is a god that should have been sealed away here in this place, and why is he acting friendly toward the seven pillar gods, I've got more questions now.
"Oh, please excuse my discourtesy. This clown will stay behind the line, if you will top seat-sama."
The self-mocking demon god stepped back while god Heraruon who shined like the sun stepped forward.
I saw a pale blue light coming closer toward the purple light behind god Heraruon.
She kind of looks like a spoiled puppy.
Wonder if god Parion is attached to the demon god?
"We forbid the destruction of 『Towers』."
The old structure, Laluloluliluheaph conveyed god Heraruon's words to me.
"Don't forget about printing."
"I know. You clown stay in the corner."
When the demon god interrupted, god Heraruon scattered around irritated-looking ripples of orange lights.
The nymph and apostle structures nearby curled up in fear, while the demon god himself twinkled jokingly, "Ooh, scary."
"Get away from him, Parion!"
"You must not get close to demon god. Parion's pure lights would be defiled by demon god's miasma."
God Zaikuon's yellow light and god Garleon's blue light pulled apart the peevish god Parion from demon god.
"Chief-sama has given his command. You shall not do this printing thing in the lower world."
God Heraruon told me that through the old structure.
From the way this old structure is speaking, looks like printing press doesn't exist in this realm of gods.
"I got the permission last time though?"
"A mere low class human objecting the command of great god, know your place!"
The old structure flew into rage when I indirectly expressed my objection at the inconsistent order.
While ignoring the phantom torrent of flames sent by the old structure, I observed the gods towering behind him.
Most of the gods seem apathetic, only two who had different reactions, god Tenion who seemed sorry and demon god who was observing me in delight.
From the flow of conversation, it must be demon god who seeks to ban printing press.
"Could I inquire the reason for the ban on printing press?"
"Y-you, know your--"
"Now now, Lalilulelo-cchi. Don't get so worked up."
"Who the heck's Lalilulelo! This name Laluloluliluheaph has been honored to me by the great god-sama!!"
Demon god who had warped in front of me before I knew it tried to calm the enraged old structure only to get the opposite result.
"Sorry, sorry. As an apology, I'll take it upon myself to explain instead. That okay with you, top seat-sama?"
Demon god nonchalantly brushed off the old structure's anger and asked god Heraruon.
Demon god deciphered god Heraruon's silent as an affirmative and started explaining.
"Printing press is bad news. Promoting the proliferation of technology and communication means is bad enough in itself, but the real bad news is the concept of idea. --We've got no book culture in god's realm, so these great gods here have no idea about the danger of that."
The demon god got close to me and said the last part in whisper.
"And you're familiar with book culture?"
"I spent a long time in the lower world, you see."
Demon god affirmed it.
"No objection is permitted."
Demon god curtly refused.
"Well then, demon god--sama. Could you honor me with your name?"
"I've long abandoned my old name. It's demon god now. A god who rules over magic, monsters, and demons. Nothing less, nothing more."
That's one curious way to explain.
"Then, Demon God-sama."
"No need for 『sama』. Just call me demon god."
Is it because that would have made it sound like Tenion-sama?
Calling him [Demon God] is kind of like calling him by first name, kinda awkward.
"Would you be willing to tell me the reason for the ban on destroying 『Towers』 near locations with crowded populations?"
Personally, I'd like to press more about printing press, but this one is higher in the priority list.
"Ah, that huh. Humm, I've gone out of my way to create those with the little of divinity I got, can't have ya just go around destroying them, do we. Well, those things were not supposed to be destructible though. No seriously, you know?"
Those purple towers are demon god's creations, just as I thought.
But, for what--.
"You wanna know why I made those 『Towers』?"
I nodded to demon god who almost looked like he had read my mind.
"The conventional threat system by way of monsters and demons was nearing its limit, see. Even though fear and repugnance toward me soared up, the amount of prayers toward gods didn't increase as much as predicted."
He went and confessed that they were a match pump to collect faiths to gods from people. <TLN: Match Pump, a phrase for 'stirring up trouble to get credit from the solution.'>
"It was good enough as a deterrent for wars between men, but it didn't work as well as dungeons for collecting and purifying miasma. It's not exactly a failure, neither it's a success though."
Fumu, the part about it being a war deterrent seemed to be the truth.
"『Towers』 are the upgraded version of that function. They're a kind of labyrinths, but the monsters inside would get weaker the more prayers and gratitudes people collectively offered to gods. I don't mind you informing that fact to people, but since we've arranged hints about it already, they'll find out soon enough anyway, I think? I had a hard time trying to visualize faith toward gods, but the self-serving people of the lower world would get desperate to offer their prayers so long as they've got a carrot dangled right in front of them."
Contrary to his jeering tone, I could feel loneliness and sadness coming from demon god.
"In other words, those towers were created for the benefit of gods?"
"Yep. They benefit people too, indirectly that is. Of course, I gain something myself as well."
Getting the leftover divinity is an attractive deal, the demon god boasted.
Got a feeling that he doesn't actually care about the divinity itself.
"In other words, am I correct to assume 『Towers』 as a device to stimulate people to offer prayers to gods?"
"Yep you got that right. And it's not an exploitative relationship, those towers also act as a device that helps promote growth on people by giving them chances to obtain magic cores and treasures."
Demon god answered my question.
I think, those towers also function as a blade pointed before your neck.
Divine punishments in the form of [Monster Stampedes] could happen anytime if people violate the taboo.
"Just so you know, gods are not enemy of the people."
Demon god seemed to have guessed my mind and declared that.
"It was the gods who transformed the lands to be inhabitable for people to live in, and it was also the gods who created men. Watching over people to grow up correctly and scolding and correcting the error of a rebellious child are part of gods' duties."
The way he said it sounded sarcastic somewhat, but I've heard something similar to the later part from Aze-san before.
"Suppose people as sheep, and gods as ranch owners, I think? Faith is like the wool, and in return gods provide them with a pasture and a proper environment to grow up in. Truly an ideal Win-Win relationship, don'tcha think."
I could sense a bit of sneers in Demon god's words.
He's on the side of gods, but it feels like his goal differs a bit than them.
"Well, I think that covers it? Got any more question? I don't mind giving you answers to questions I can answer, you know?
"Are the reincarnated and you--"
My words disappeared midway through.
I was going to ask his purpose for granting fragments to the reincarnated people, but a restraining thought wave the demon god blew at me halted me.
I could brush aside the restraint if I just fired myself up, but he's most likely not gonna give me an answer even if I succeed saying the whole question.
In fact, this response of his is a form of answer in a way.
"You are supposed to be sealed off by gods in legends handed down in the lower world, would it be fine to inquire you about that?"
"Seal? Oh I am sealed."
What's going on?
Are there two demon gods or something?
"What have been sealed are the other half of my body, claws and fangs--it's my fighting spirit and insanity that are sealed off."
Looks like this demon god is the part that governs his reasoning power.
Apparently both are like split spirits (mitama).
"--Pshaw. It's like a black spot in my history, so try to not get too close to the moon. It should be fine since it's been sealed in a dimensionally shifted location, but you could get yourself swallowed up if you carelessly approach it."
I see, that explains how nothing happened when I went to the moon.
If I had taken just one wrong step, it could have resulted in the advent of demon god Satou.
"Keep the stuff about me off-record, okay. Especially to the demons and demon lords. Those guys' gonna make more mischief if they knew that I'm not sealed off."
Looks like the fact that the sensible side of demon god being outside of the seal is kept secret from demons.
"Does that mean, the one who stopped goblin demon lord from trying to undo the moon seal was--"
"Yep yep. It was me. Although that seal wouldn't have come off with such a rough treatment anyway, there was a chance it would loosened up in a half-baked state."
Looks like he was the man Arisa and the girls saw.
"Well, that's that. Don't destroy the purple towers and don't propagate printing press, make sure to adhere to these two things. Of course, keep this one off the record too."
Demon god gave a warning once again.
"I'd feel bad if we just prohibit everything, so we'll give you permission to create printing press and copy machines in secret. That's okay right, top seat-sama?"
God Heraruon sent out light waves that signified approval to demon god.
"And that's an OK. Oh right, I don't mind if you publish guides on how to conquer the 『Towers』--I can simply deploy update patches if I see real bad exploits, so go on and spread those guides worry free."
Demon god added something that sounded like it was coming from a game developer.
"Good work. Fall back, human."
With god Heraruon's words conveyed through the old structure telling me to exit, I couldn't ask any more question and was forced to leave the realm of gods.
<TLN: If you're reading this novel at any other site than Sousetsuka .com you might be reading an unedited, uncorrected version of the novel.>
"Eh~, ban on printing~"
"Every temple got oracles regarding the purple towers."
After returning to the solitary island palace, I called only Arisa, Liza and Hikaru inside a completely isolated barrier made by goblin princess Yuika to discuss about our future plan.
"Master, are you sure it's okay to tell us that?"
"It's fine. The stuff we talk about here won't leak outside, so don't worry about it."
The [Demon God Fragment] inside Arisa potentially contains a back door, but the gods seemed indifferent about it anyway, and I got the feeling the demon god himself had no intention to seriously act upon it.
"Spread it around and lower faiths toward gods, won't surprise me if he actually had that goal in mind."
"Un, I think so too. I mean, that demon god didn't need to go out of his way and talk about his alliance with the gods and the stuff about match pump to Satou, they could just prohibit the destruction of purple towers and let you be on your way."
Liza nodded to Arisa and Hikaru's words.
"It's probably a good idea to take what the demon god said with a grain of salt."
"Un, I think that's a good idea too."
At Arisa's statement, Hikaru, I and Liza agreed to it.
"And what was the oracle about?"
"It was like, 『Go and seal towers of demon trickery with the power of gods. O brave faithful ones, challenge the towers and crush demons' ploy. O powerless ones, pray piously, as that shall empower the brave ones』 or something like that."
According to Hikaru, the content differed a bit depending on the temple.
With this oracle, there was a huge rush of people attempting to enter the towers, to the point that even the king's decree couldn't contain them.
"Should I tell Sete about the ban on tower destroying?"
"Well we can't keep silent about it forever."
"Are you saying that we should instead encourage people to conquer those towers? Isn't that exactly what the demon god wants to happen?"
Arisa's worry is reasonable.
Liza who had been listening to us quietly turned toward Arisa.
"What makes a trap frightening is being caught in one without prior knowledge. No matter how ingenious it's hidden, no matter how dangerous it is, there is no need to be afraid of a trap that has lost its secrecy. All you have to do is to step on it and break through as it activates."
That sounds like Liza alright.
Hikaru and Arisa looked at each other and then burst out laughing without a prompt.
"Un, that's exactly right."
"I mean, we've got our cheat master with us after all."
I can destroy all the purple towers in the world within hours of trap activation if I just set teleport points to enable Unit Arrangement near them and cast anti-god magic outside the range of human habitations.
Next, I just need to think up a way to save explorers wandering inside those towers all at once, I guess?
"Ah, he's gone into meditation mode."
"It's going to be fine judging from that face."
"Okay then, I should go tell Sete about the ban on tower destroying."
"Then I will be going to inform everyone that conquering the purple towers may be a trap set by demon god."
When I snapped out of the sea of thoughts, I found Tama curling up on my lap, and Pochi and Mia leaning against me while sleeping.
I'm getting sleepy just looking at these three peaceful slumbers.
It's not like the few solutions I came up with could be done in one or two days anyway, let's take a short break here.
※ Next update is planned for 4/21.