“Traveller, great to see you here.”
Having arrived at the Earth Church’s headquarters, the Grand Crimson Palace, I was guided by a member of the church to the inside of it.
There, the person waiting for me was a man of around 50 years old.
From what I heard, this man is the Founder of the Earth Church.
I couldn’t hold back my agitation from being so easily allowed to meet such an important person.
“Don’t worry, even if I am the Founder, I don’t have much to do in such a countryside as a leader. I always welcome guests that can alleviate my boredom.”
He has a slender face and looks like he is skinny, but his limbs have proper tough muscles, and the more I see it, the more I could tell that he is muscular.
How to say, should I call it an ideal musculature? If you were to train arbitrarily, you wouldn’t be able to get these kind of muscles. It is a figure that can only be obtained by people that continue working everyday and strengthens your body in kind.
His tanned skin also tells me about what kind of lifestyle this person leads.
“A countryside church? No way. The Earth Church is one of the five Great Churches that lead this world, isn’t it. Also, in the way here, I saw the big farm that extended further than the eye can see. Such a big agricultural land, no other churches possess something like that.” (Haine)
“All of it is the blessing of the Mother Earth Goddess-sama.”
I offered some lip service as a greeting of sorts, but the Earth Founder took it modestly.
Even so, calling the big farm that spreads at the surroundings of Ishtar Blaze as the biggest one of all might not be too far from the truth. I was indeed overwhelmed by its magnificence after all.
“Mother Earth Mantle-sama is the Goddess of good harvest. The crops that sprout from the earth and bear fruit, everything is thanks to Mantle-sama. And if us, who worship Mantle-sama, are to waste the blessing of the earth, that in itself would be a blasphemy.”
“That’s splendid!” (Haine)
I feel like I have met the first Founder that’s acting like an actual Founder.
With a cool gesture, the said Founder takes a tobacco from a tobacco box that was at his side, and lights it up.
Every movement he did felt like that of a millionaire.
“But, in this Ishtar Blaze, there’s a lot of things different compared to that of the other church headquarters. Specially that…” (Haine)
“The Golems? It is true that the outsiders that come here for the first time all get surprised by it.”
So it really was the case.
The Founder puffed out smoke of the tobacco from his mouth.
“For us, that’s something pretty natural. Since before we were born, Great Pillar-sama was there, and we grew alongside those Golems that Great Pillar-sama gave birth to. The Golems are our friends, and they are also our benefactors that help us in our daily life.”
“Uhm…this may sound rude but…I still find it hard to accept.” (Haine)
Because monsters are the enemies of humans by nature.
“I understand the confusion from the outside. When I was young and awakened my need to learn more in order to become an appropriate Earth Founder, I travelled to other countries to obtain experiences. By doing that, I learned this for the first time; about how abnormal our relationship with the Golems is.”
“Yes, I have seen it. In the other water, fire, wind, and light churches, they fight against these things called monsters, and suffer. Our Earth Church also uses divine power, and because of it, we can tell with our trained senses…that monsters are the same thing as Golems.”
It is more accurate to say that Golems are a type of monsters.
“Of course, monsters also appear in the surroundings of Ishtar Blaze. Fire, water, and wind element monsters, that is. Our Earth Church also sees them as a threat and doesn’t neglect on preparations. Our military force, the Scorched Earth Annihilation corps, and the assigned earth hero are doing their best.”
“Ah, so there really is an earth hero.” (Haine)
“She is currently in a mission so she is away from the Grand Crimson Palace, but if you are going to be staying long as a guest, you can meet her once she returns, and I would like it if you were to tell her stories of the outside. She is also a person that carries the church on her back. I want her to widen her view as much as possible.”
The conversation deviated a bit.
The Founder plays around with the tobacco inside his hand for a bit, and then, returns the conversation back to the original topic.
“And in the fights against the evil monsters, the Golems also work as strong allies.”
“Must be. With that big frame and power, it would be able to deal with normal monsters plenty enough.” (Haine)
That means the Golems are helping out the humans in many aspects.
I wouldn’t have been able to imagine it before coming here. To think it would be possible to create such a harmonious world by having humans and monsters cooperate…
I now understand why Yorishiro warned me not to bring any ethereal devices as best as I can.
And in reality, I have seen almost no ethereal device since entering this city.
Because there’s no need for it.
The plowing of the big agricultural land, building houses, repairing them, and moving around, even the fighting that has ethereal strictly forbidden, Golems are able to participate in it.
If I were to untactfully bring ethereal devices here, the people here would instantly notice that I am an outsider and I would stand out in a bad way.
“Guest-san, as the Earth Founder, and also as one of the humans living in Ishtar Blaze, I have thought of it for a long time; what are Golems for us? There’s a saying that states monsters are the punishment of the Gods towards humans for forgetting their respect. If that’s really the case…”
The Golems who help out humans even though they are the same monsters are…
“…Might be the blessing of Mother Earth Mantle-sama for the humans that venerate her.”
That’s indeed a way that can be taken.
Even when they are the same monsters, compared to the other elements, only the earth monsters are acting differently towards the humans.
And among the five Churches, this place was able to develop in a way that is different from the others, but at the same time, in a way that doesn’t fall behind the others.
Proof of that is without doubt the big farm.
“…Oya, no good no good. Now that I notice, we have been talking about myself all this time.”
As if relieving his throat, the Earth Founder smokes his tobacco.
“Even though I had you come all the way here, it was rude to have you hear about stories of this old man all this time. Now, I want you to tell this country bumpkin about your stories. Now that I think about it, I haven’t heard you name yet. Really, it is embarrassing how bad of a reception I’m providing.”
“No, it is true that I was late to introducing myself. I am sorry about that. My name’s Kuromiya Haine.” (Haine)
A dull sound reverberated in the Grand Crimson Palace’s floor.
The Earth Founder had dropped the tobacco he had in his hand.
It feels like the expression of the Founder changed.
The narrowed eyes of the good natured old man were now wide open and staring right at me.
“…Uhm, is there something wrong?” (Haine)
“N-No no no no! It is nothing, it is nothing! I probably just smoked a bit too much and the strength in my hand went away!”
Saying this, the Founder hurriedly picks up his tobacco, and once again drops it by mistake.
This suspicious behaviour was indeed weird, but I can’t just try to inquire about something that’s clearly a landmine.
As long as the other party doesn’t state the reason of it, I will just have to feign as if I didn’t notice. After some harmless conversation, the talk with the Earth Founder ended.
- 96: The guiding of the *Kodama* <A spirit in Japanese folklore that inhabits trees>
And then, night came.
I, who was provided lodging at the Earth Church for one night, was sleeping in the guest room of the Grand Crimson Palace.
In the past, I have stayed in the guest room of the trading and sightseeing city Hydra Ville, and this one was simpler than that one, but that made it easier to relax and sleep in.
But I can’t sleep yet.
I still have something I have to do.
I first wait for a good amount of time feigning as if I’m sleeping and wait for the surroundings to grow quiet.
“…I think it is already good enough.” (Haine)
The presence that was peeking from the neighboring room is gone.
It is probably the lookout of the church. Maybe it has to do with the Founder clearly having a turn in his attitude when we were in the middle of our conversation?
But since they soon stopped their surveillance once they thought I had fallen asleep might mean that they don’t think I am such a dangerous being.
Do I hold some sort of crucial importance to them?
I am bothered by it, but right now I have something I want to clear out first.
I jump out from the window of the guest room and…
“[Dark Matter, Set]” (Haine)
I use the repulsive force of the dark matter and fly.
Repeating this again, and again, and again, and again.
The place I am aiming for is…the big tree that represents this Ishtar Blaze, also called ‘Great Pillar-sama’, and I go up, until I reach its top.
Up, up, up, up, up, up,up,up,up,up,up,up,up…
Am I still not there?
I was underestimating ‘Great Pillar-sama’…
I understood that it was an incredibly tall tree even when looking from far away, but I had not understood it at all in terms of feel.
After a time that was plenty enough to count to 1,000 with time to spare, I finally reached the leaves that can be considered the summit.
But well, this is a tree not a mountain, so even if I say summit, there’s only leaves everywhere I see though.
It is not reliable as footing, so I was using dark matter to hover in place, and so, I search the surroundings carefully.
What am I searching for?
I have been feeling it for a long time now. A gaze that has been peeking at me without rest. Even in the time when I was having a conversation with the Founder at the Earth Church’s headquarters, in the time I entered Ishtar Blaze, in the time when I caused a commotion with the Oba-san and the Golem at the farm; in all those times, I felt a gaze.
And when I confirmed the figure of this big tree at the far away mountains, I felt this gaze as if examining me from afar.
This big tree is being called ‘Great Pillar-sama’ by the people. The reality of it is that this is an Earth Mother Monster, Grandma Wood.
Of course, its roots should be different to other trees.
The unbelievable size goes without saying. There’s also the point that it can create this bricks called Life Blocks that possess life, but…
There should be other things as well.
“You can hear me right?! Come out!!” (Haine)
I shout at the peak of the big tree.
I took that much time to reach here from the ground, so even if I shout out my lungs, the people down wouldn’t be able to hear me, that’s why, there’s no need to hold back.
“I noticed it, you know! You were watching me, right?! I felt a gaze the moment this tree came into my field of view!!” (Haine)
That’s right, this thing that has nothing different aside from its big size, is in truth not a tree.
It is a monster in the shape of a tree.
Just like the trees growing in this world, it can’t speak.
The most it can do would be to observe the person that has come to its own territory with the objective of destroying it.
“Isn’t that right?! Am I mistaken?!” (Haine)
And then, a change occurred.
In this footing that has been a single blanket of green…a different color appeared.
It was like the color of wisteria, a light pink color. At any rate, it is a vivid color, and yet, a faint and fleeting color as well.
That’s the color it had…that flower bud.
Even if I say flower, it is coming from a giant tree. The flower that is growing from it is also pretty big itself, and its bud already surpassed my height.
“Or more like, this tree can grow flowers?!” (Haine)
And then, the tip of the bud slowly opened and spread into several separated petals. And from inside it, what came out was not a stamen or a pistil, it was a woman.
She is not a human; I could tell that with a glance.
She has a figure that is quite similar to that of a human woman, but in the first place, normal humans don’t come out from flowers. Also, at the surface of her body, there’s things like wisterias and peaches that have a vivid yet fleeting color.
And, I myself understood something the moment I saw her.
“…Are you…Mantle?” (Haine)
Mother Earth Mantle.
One of the five Gods of Creation, and the Goddess that governs over earth.
As the incarnation of the Dark God Entropy, I can tell.
I don’t know for what reason she appeared in the surface world with a body, I was so dumbfounded I couldn’t say anything.
And then, after a while of silence…
She suddenly apologized.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, please forgive meeeeeeeee!!!” (Mantle)
The big woman shouted a storm of apologies while crying?!
“Uhah! What’s with this?!” (Haine)
“Please forgive meee!! I will do anything!” (Mantle)
Is what she says as she clings onto me.
Moreover, this Mantle…even though she is in the form of a human, she is so big I can’t think of her as a human.
She came out from a crazy big flower that came out from a crazy big tree, so the woman that came out from it was also crazy big.
She easily surpasses my height.
Try to have someone like that cling onto you. It is like having a big dog pressing you…but that wouldn’t be enough to describe this. It is like a giant beast, like a lion or a tiger jumping at you.
Against a beast that has a certain amount of strength, it is life-threatening to try and play around with it.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sooooooorryyyyy!!!” (Mantle)
“As I have been saying, just calm down already!!!” (Haine)
With all the confusion, the release of dark matter was cut off. And because of it, the repulsive force it was creating was also gone and…
Mantle and I both fell and entered the overgrown leaves of the big tree.
97: Holy Flower
“I thought I was going to die there!”
Having lost the ability to float, I fell down inside the foliage and, luckily, I got caught in a branch and it ended with nothing major happening. I say branch, but we are talking about Grandma Wood here, so it is big enough to be called ground in itself. It is more than enough to consider it a footing.
And if I were to fall without stopping, I would have definitely died.
But, the moment I fell onto the thick branch, Mantle who came falling down after had crashed onto me with those giant breasts of hers and I felt as if I was going to die crushed by them.
I felt like I was going to die twice over.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorryyy!” (Mantle)
The giant woman prostrates on top of the branch.
A big woman that you can easily state that there’s no adult man that can grow as big as her.
From the women I know of, the one who was the tallest was the fire hero, Mirack, but even when comparing her to Mirack, from what I can measure with my eyes, she is at least 1.5 times bigger than her.
Of course, she is taller than me as well. If we were to line up, my face would be right around her breasts.
But, since the time I encountered her, the only thing she has been doing is chanting those same words and prostrating herself, so I don’t really know for sure if my measurements are actually correct though.
“I’m sorry, please forgive me. I will do anything~!!” (Mantle)
And this giant woman is still apologizing.
What is she even apologizing this much for?
“…Uhm, first of all, you are really Mother Earth Mantle, right?” (Haine)
“Yes! And you are the Dark God Entropy-san, right?!” (Mantle)
If she can tell my identity it is proof that she is also a God.
“That body…did you incarnate as a monster just like Nova and Coacervate?” (Haine)
Why do the four Base Element Gods like to incarnate into monsters that much?
“…No, it is not. This is just a temporary body.” (Mantle)
“In order to communicate in the surface world, it would be easier to have the ability to sense and speak. It is one of the abilities I have as a Mother Earth God. I can connect my senses directly into any plant I want. I call this ‘Fairy’.” (Mantle)
Saying this, Mantle looks down at her own body that is shining faintly and shows slight embarrassment.
“It is normally in the size of the palm of a hand, but it seems it is proportionate to the plant that was made as the source. I didn’t expect the ‘Fairy’ created from Grandma Wood to be so big…” (Mantle)
A power I didn’t know of.
The powers of the Mother Earth Mantle are not only of the earth, but it also includes the vegetation that grows from it as a whole.
In that sense, it can be said that her powers are a lot more wide in range compared to me -the Dark God.
“It is not that convenient of a thing though. This body has no ability to fight after all. The most I can do is really only conversing……ah, there’s also one other thing it can do! Want to fondle my breasts?” (Mantle)
“I won’t!” (Haine)
I have plenty enough of that with Karen-san and Yorishiro.
When I straight out rejected it, the expression of the excited Mantle suddenly froze.
“As I thought, Entropy-san, you really are angry!” (Mantle)
And then, she began crying.
“Uuuuuh~~!! I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry~!! You can fondle other things aside from my breasts, so please forgive me~!!” (Mantle)
And she once again begins with the storm of apologies.
Moreover, she is not only apologizing, she is also clinging onto me, so with that big body of hers pressing onto me, I might get killed.
“Eey, give it a break already! In the first place, what have you been apologizing all this time for?!” (Haine)
“But Entropy-san, you are angry, aren’t you? About what happened 1,600 years ago…” (Mantle)
“That’s why, since the time you incarnated, you fought Nova-san and Coacervate-san, and turned them into beaten pulp. And now, you are looking to serve vengeance upon me too, aren’t you? We don’t know where Quasar-san is after all…” (Mantle)
I see. So she is talking about the Battle of Gods that occurred 1,600 years ago…
I was sealed for 1,600 years after being defeated by the five Gods of Creation. Now that the seal has been undone and I am free, she thinks I am now going around beating them up to clear away my grudge…that’s indeed a plausible conclusion.
Also, beaten pulp?
“I am reaaaally sorry! I didn’t really turn into your enemy because I hated Entropy-san or anything like that! I didn’t want to be left out of the group~!” (Mantle)
Saying this, the giant ‘fairy’ prostrates herself once again.
It is true that this woman has been like this since the long past.
How to say it, it is like she is not independent at all, or more like, she doesn’t hold her own opinion. She ends up being pressured by her surroundings.
Her wish is probably ‘I don’t want to be the enemy of anyone’.
And because of it, when there’s a confrontation, she wants to be good for both sides and ends up unable to say anything herself.
Even so, in the fight 1,600 years ago, the fighting force was so inclined to one side that she judged it was impossible to stay neutral and decided on joining the other Gods.
In other words, a fence-sitter.
“…But in these 1,600 years, the situation has changed greatly. You four Base Element Gods have changed due to being bathed way too much in the prayer energy and are unable to show your former strength. And the biggest factor is that the Light Goddess Inflation is no longer on your side.” (Haine)
“Frankly speaking, in the battle 1,600 years ago, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that it was a 1 vs 1 between Inflation and I. I possess an absolute advantage against you four Base Elements, but I am completely powerless against the light element. Having Inflation as your ally is akin to me being checkmated already.” (Haine)
But because of the rise and fall of the Dark Underworld Country that occurred after the battle of Gods, Inflation ended up changing into a Goddess that would definitely kill the four Base Elements.
Even if a battle of Gods were to occur again, she won’t be siding with the four Base Elements again.
“Now that I think about it, I heard you also supported the destruction of the Underworld Country.” (Haine)
Right at the time when the history of mankind had begun, the Light Goddess Inflation had incarnated into the human called Izanami, and what was created was the oldest nation of all, the Underworld Country.
The first time humans had shown development in culture and progress had hurt the superiority complex of the Gods and because of it, the purging begun.
With the disasters that were brought by the Gods and the invaders from outside that were influenced by them, the Underworld Country fell.
The ones who perpetrated this were the Earth, Water, Fire, and Wind Base Element Gods. In that group, Mother Earth Mantle is included.
Because she cried too much, her voice was incredibly nassal.
“I had no choice~! The three of them came at me telling me to cooperate~~! If Inflation had been there, I would have been able to oppose them a bit, but she had been missing for a long time, moreover, when we found her, we discovered that she was actually the incarnation of the queen of the Underworld Country~~!!” (Mantle)
She really is a girl that gets easily pressured by others.
According to Yorishiro who knows about the events of that time, Mantle was conservative in the destruction of the Underworld Country and had cooperated with the other Gods unwillingly.
The desertification that occurred was a slow advancing one compared to the disasters from the other Gods, moreover, it ended up being helpful in the seal that Inflation did.
“I’m sorry, I’m really sorry. You can fondle anywhere you want~~!!” (Mantle)
The Mother Earth God rubs her forehead on the ground, or more like, the branch that’s serving as our footing.
This might be considered her personality but, that attitude of hers that makes you question ‘Dignity of a God? What’s that?’ is on the contrary very refreshing.
“Hah…it is fine already.” (Haine)
I said this while losing strength.