Chapter 2: The Weapons of the Gods were not Created by the Gods
As usual, Waltraute the Valkyrie was peering down to the human world of Midgard from the 3rd runway of Bifröst which acted as the entrance and exit of the heavenly world of Asgard. Waltraute was married to a boy who lived in the human world, but she had been forced to live apart from him due to various circumstances.
Frigg, the goddess married to the head god Odin, had lately started spending her time on the 3rd runway as well (she was more interested in happily watching Waltraute and the boy’s relationship than she was interested in the boy himself), so that 3rd runway had been unusable for quite some time. There were even rumors that Iðunn, the goddess who grew the apples of immortality, was planning to open a street stall there. Heimdallr, the watchman who was in charge of Bifröst, had reached the state of resignation.
Then along came a goddess who was completely unable to pick up on the mood of the situation.
Appearance-wise, she seemed about the same age as Waltraute.
“Nyaho! It is I, Freyja, Asgard’s most beautiful goddess. How are things for you fleeting stars that are hidden by the sun of my beauty!?”
Waltraute loudly clicked her tongue to express her annoyance at the intrusion.
“…Oh, it’s the pig.”
“Don’t be so blunt, Miss Valkyrie!! It may be true that I am also known as Sýr which means sow, but I am a fertility god, so it can’t be helped. Pigs and boars are common symbols of gluttony and fecundity.”
“So why are you here?”
“I have of course come to congratulate you, Waltraute. Congratulate you for reaching life’s graveyard!! Ga ha ha ha ha ha ha!!”
She seemed to be referring to marriage.
Freyja wiggled her hips, causing her pigtailed hair and the ends of her frilly outfit to shake about.
“Congratulations on the marriage, Waltraute!! Another star shining in the sky has gone out, making my own radiance all the brighter!! Isn’t it great!? Isn’t it wonderful!? Nya ha ha!!”
“…But aren’t you married? What happened to Óðr?”
“He suddenly disappeared one day, so I am now transcendentally free!! I’m still receiving all sorts of proposals from the giants, but I just reject them all! I’m starting to get tired of their different efforts, though. One even teased Thor by hiding Mjölnir which made him cry!! Fwa ha ha!! It sure is tough being a popular girl!!”
Frigg had remained silent for the past bit not because she had been overwhelmed by Freyja’s presence but because she was desperately trying to contain her anger after having the purpose of her existence denied like that. No one was better at angering other women than that (self-proclaimed) goddess of beauty.
“Well? Well? Who is this boy that won over a Valkyrie?”
“Uuh… What does it matter? I would rather not tell a pervert like you.”
Waltraute was hesitant to tell her.
After all, Freyja was the goddess said to have forgotten her chastity inside her mother when she was born. She defiantly insisted it was part of her job as she was the goddess of fertility, but she clearly acted out of her own interests. She had even slept with 4 dwarves simply because she wanted the necklace called Brísingamen, so it was obvious she was simply crazy.
Waltraute was not about to introduce that boy to someone like that.
“Hm? So are the rumors of it being some fat, hairy, black-hearted old man true?”
“He is a boy!! Look, it is that slender but strong-hearted boy using that ash tree to stay out of the rain! Do not insult the one who won my hand, you fool!!”
“I see. I see.”
Waltraute immediately regretted having said that, so she began violently smashing her forehead against the 3rd runway and very nearly destroyed a portion of Bifröst. But it was too late.
The goddess of beauty peered down into the human world and said, “Oh, he looks so cute. So you’re into that kind of thing. Do you play the older sister character?”
“N-no!! This was the result of a serious competition! And I am one of the ones who must watch over the results of conflicts and competition in the human world. It just so happens that boy was on the winning side of the competition!!”
“But don’t you feel a bit lucky? At the very least, you have to think this is better than the hairy and black-hearted old man I mentioned before.”
Waltraute let fly a spear-like glance.
Heimdallr would have balled up his body as if he was trying to fit inside a wooden box, but Freyja merely folded her arms and grinned.
“But let me be honest here. That boy might be good enough for a roll in the hay or two, but is he really worth offering the rest of your life to? I would go for more of a dandy who…”
Before Freyja could get completely lost in her own world, the boy hiding from the rain in Midgard looked up into the sky.
He could of course not see all the way to Asgard with his naked eyes.
He simply looked up into the sky that was covered in rain clouds and said, “Hang in there, sun.”
Freyja, the goddess of fertility, accidentally got serious.
A malfunction of her powers as the goddess in charge of harvest and the weather began to cause a serious drought in the human world.
“Wait! Freyjaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!! Why are you letting my husband get to you!?”
“What!? Wh-what did I just do…?’
“Don’t act like you don’t know!! And the weather is under your brother Freyr’s jurisdiction! Are you really so horrible that you will butt in on someone else’s territory just to show off!?”
As Freyja worked to stop her nosebleed and regain her cool, the weather in Midgard became a calm sunny day.
With her bleeding stopped, Freyja cleared her throat and began spewing abusive language once more to regain the previous tone of the conversation.
“Anyway. How are things now that you have wandered into life’s graveyard aka marriage, Miss Valkyrie? Have your days of housework and looking after your husband given you joint pain and the smell of an old lady!?” Freyja’s tone made it obvious she knew just how rude she was being. “Oh, but I heard you are living apart. Have things cooled down so soon after the honeymoon? Gya ha ha! What a disaster! This is just a disaster!! Are you on the path to a break up just a few days after getting married!? That’s hilarious!!”
“Th-that is not true.”
“W-wait, no! I did not mean it like that, you fool! I was the loser and so I cannot have you insulting the victor!!”
“Fine, fine. So did something happen? Or is something coming up? Tell me, tell me.”
Freyja grinned and Waltraute’s shoulders trembled as she responded in a low voice.
“…We have a date in 3 days.”
Freyja froze in place.
It seemed Frigg had also not known this because her eyes opened wide.
Waltraute awkwardly continued, “Also, I just got back from one. That is why I am observing the boy to determine his reaction. I need to know what I did right and what I did wrong.”
“…You go on dates…even though you’re married…?”
“How innocent!! Oh, Waltraute!! You are just so innocent!!”
Frigg seemed to especially lose her self-control over this. It was possible she had issues with Odin as a husband.
“This goes back to that original challenge. As I lost, I must do my best to serve the victor. For that reason, I must go on a date when that boy wishes for it. The name of the victory prize he asks for does not matter.”
“So in other words, ‘Ahh, I lost! But I am relieved because you have the courage to ask me on a date. Thank you, boy. Smooch smooch.’ ”
“Please explain to me what about my explanation led you to that conclusion.”
“There was definitely a casting mistake in having that role played by that muscular machoman Heimdallr before. The high-pitched goddess Freyja is much better suited for the role!!”
Waltraute’s sharp gaze was unable to stop the two goddesses.
The goddess of beauty moved in closer to Waltraute and asked, “Well, well? What’s with the post-marriage dates? From that I’m going to assume the two of you haven’t done it yet. I can’t picture this at all, so tell me what this date you just went on was like.”
“N-nothing happened that would make an interesting story.”
Waltraute, the Valkyrie who was top class when it came to strength, began to tell the story…
Waltraute lived in the heavenly world of Asgard while the boy lived in the human world of Midgard, so they did not often have a chance to speak with each other.
Waltraute had given the following instructions to the boy if he wanted to contact her:
“Whenever you wish to tell me something, tie a letter to the weather vane on your house’s roof. The two ravens will retrieve the letter and take it to me.”
Huginn and Muninn were fed up with being used for odd jobs, but they found Waltraute’s gaze too frightening to say no when she told them to act as carrier pigeons.
It all began with one of those letters.
When she saw the boy’s handwriting saying “I want to go on a date with you”, Waltraute magnificently overturned a container of an Asgard alcoholic drink and frantically headed down to Midgard.
“What kind of joke is this!? I would never go along with such a shameless demand!!”
“Yay, you came to go on a date with me!”
“Eh? No! That is not why I am here!! Do not continue the conversation without listening to me. Wait! Do not start unpacking that lunch!!”
“Do not look so puzzled, you fool. A competition. We must decide this with a competition! If you insist on making such an unreasonable demand, you must defeat me first!!”
When she had previously challenged him to see if he could climb the world tree Yggdrasil, it had all spun off in an unexpected direction. Waltraute had learned her lesson from that.
She was no longer going to hold back.
There was simply too great a difference between a Valkyrie and a human when it came to physical ability. Waltraute would win in almost any form of competition.
As such, Waltraute stood in a position where she could crush the boy’s hopes.
“O-okay. Then I challenge you to a game of Super Rune Duel Cards!!”
“Dammit!! You chose something that gives you the advantage thanks to the target demographic!!”
Waltraute started tearing at her beautiful blonde hair, but she was not completely ignorant of that card game that used wooden cards.
The Einherjar the Valkyries gathered and controlled were originally souls from Midgard. For that reason, the culture of Midgard had a way of leaking into Asgard.
“B-but we must ensure this competition is fair. We must determine each other’s strengths and weaknesses and set up strict rules to ensure-…”
“Wait, why are you starting already!? Honestly, that is the problem with your age group…!”
“Eh heh heh. I get to play card games with Waltraute on our date.”
“This is our competition to see if said date even happens! This is not part of the date!!”
“I use contact on Thurisaz and Raido! Together, the two cards quadruple the damage dealt!!”
“Wait, wait! What do you mean together!?”
“You don’t know, Waltraute? It’s a new rule they added with the third edition.”
“I-I see. I suppose information taken from the dead would indeed be out of date. But I reverse Hagalaz! The damage is sent right back to you!!”
“They got rid of the reverse rule in the second edition.”
“Ehh!? Wait! You need to tell me that kind of thing ahead of time!”
“Okay, two more cards added for a total of four combined together. That’s 16 times the damage. And boom! There goes all your health!!”
And before Waltraute could figure out what was going in, they had a date to go on.
Waltraute blushed, but she had no choice but to carry out her duty as the loser.
“Hm, hm. Hm, hm, hm! And then what happened, Waltraute!? Tell Freyja what happened on this date!!”
“U-um, it was a punishment, so it was nothing as enjoyable as you seem to be imagining.”
Waltraute continued the story while averting her gaze.
Whatever she might say, a loss was a loss.
And so she had to go on a date.
She could not bring a mere human boy to Asgard (Technically she could, but doing so would kill him), so Waltraute had to go to Midgard.
Normally, it would have been the boy’s duty to escort her, but he did not have the financial ability to do so at his age and he had no way of knowing anywhere beautiful enough to satisfy a Valkyrie that could travel freely through the 9 worlds and to any number of castles and palaces.
For that reason, Waltraute was in charge of deciding what they would do on their date. Her plan was to use an Asgard-born white horse to visit various sightseeing spots throughout the human world.
After they got on the horse, the boy said, “Why are you holding the reins from behind me?”
“Because you would fall off otherwise.”
“I feel like I’m being completely enveloped by you. Shouldn’t our positions be reversed?”
“With our difference in height, you would not be able to see anything from behind me.”
“Also, your armor looks like it would hurt because it’s so hard.”
“Y-you do not have to touch it directly! You fool!!”
“J-just enjoy the scenery!! Do not worry about me! I will show you a view that can only be seen from one of these Asgard-born horses that can easily travel any dangerous route!!”
“And that is what happened.”
The goddess of marriage Frigg and the goddess of beauty Freyja had initially been brimming with curiosity, but they gradually grew less interested as they listened to the story.
Frigg was holding her head in her hands and seemed unable to speak, so Freyja chimed in.
“…Um, one quick question.”
“Why were you in full armor during a date!? Meeting him like that is simply too surreal!”
“This is how a Valkyrie dresses! A-and despite how he looks, he is still a guy. Wh-wh-who knows what could happen!!”
“Eh? That’s out of the question even after you got married? Then what exactly is your goal? When are you going to join together!? And are you going to continue just leading him on even after marrying him!? If you do that, the boy’s libido is going to eventually explode out from within!!”
“Eh?” Waltraute’s body stiffened slightly. “…What? Human bodies can explode if you do not handle them properly?”
“No, no. That’s not what she-…” started Heimdallr the watchman, but he was silenced by a hand over the mouth by Freyja and a kick to the gut by Frigg.
They no longer cared if she was mistaken.
They had to correct the ridiculous way that Waltraute treated being a wife.
“This is dangerous. This is really dangerous. The countdown has probably already begun. Frigg would probably know better than me though since she rules over marriage.”
“Y-yes, that is right. Ho ho ho. Waltraute, marriage is a ceremony to allow a man and woman to come together and bring about the next generation. If you only go halfway and leave him hanging, it is like forcibly damming up a river. Once the river builds up and breaks the dam, you have quite a disaster on your hands.”
A frown remained on Waltraute’s face for a while.
The two goddesses were silently urging her to strip off her armor and to at least wear some cute clothes for the next date with the boy. But…
“…I am not sure I believe you.”
“Tch!! Why do idiots only use their heads at the most inconvenient times!?”
“Heh heh heh. So I was right. You are simply trying to mess with our relationship for your own amusement! Yes, yes. Marriage is a bond between two souls!! We can be together forever without stooping to such indecent acts!!”
“…Eh? You’re setting that aside forever?”
“You might have been raised to be too obsessed with fighting…”
The two goddesses held their heads in their hands, but they both decided what they would do next at the exact same moment.
It did not matter what it took.
They had to make that boy strip Waltraute of her armor!!
And so the goddess of marriage Frigg descended to the human world of Midgard.
Frigg used Bifröst just like the Valkyries did, but it did not produce any flashy effects because she was not wearing the aurora armor. And that was just fine as far as Frigg was concerned.
Normally, it was the duty of the Valkyries to convey the will of Asgard, so the gods themselves did not often go to the human world. …One exception was Odin himself who would often head to Midgard while transformed into a human or animal (and he would usually induce killings or wars between humans). He set a very bad example for all the gods below him and completely ruined the idea that gods must not head to the human world.
By the way, it was often said carelessly crossing between the nine worlds could cause a war, but the only type of war the goddess of marriage was like to cause would be fights between couples. It was possible somewhere in the world on that day, a dragon-slaying warrior and a rune-using witch got into a serious fistfight.
Frigg was officially heading to Midgard in the name of celebrating a marriage occurring there, but after shocking the lucky bride and groom to the bottoms of their hearts, she dropped by the small house where a certain boy lived.
If she had entered through the front door, she would have surprised the boy’s parents and made the whole situation more troublesome, so she entered directly through a window on the second floor.
“Good day, boy.”
“Who are you, miss?”
“Good, good. Miss. Heh heh heh. You called me miss. Heh heh heh heh! Good, good!!”
After having unintentionally struck the bullseye, the boy merely tilted his head innocently, so Frigg frantically cleared her throat.
The boy may have possessed some kind of additional attack spell called Charm.
“Ahem. I am Frigg, the goddess that rules over marriage and Waltraute’s boss. Technically, her boss is that war-obsessed idiot Odin, but I am taking over that role for now because he is surprisingly useless. He does do some things well, though.”
“You do not need to understand. That is not what I came here to discuss.” Frigg sat on the plain windowsill. “You have a date with Waltraute in three days, correct?”
“Ehh!? How did you know that!? Miss, are you a beautiful spy!?”
“Miss…heh heh…beautiful…heh heh heh heh heh!!!!! …No, I am not. I manage the nine Valkyries that Waltraute is one of. It is only natural I know her schedule. And I also know of a problem concerning that date.”
“...Can she not go? Is there something else she has to do?”
“No, no. Of course not. In fact, I approve of the date. But it is obvious the date will be a failure at this rate. So I want you to get rid of the reason behind my concern.”
“What is the reason behind your concern?”
“Well.” Frigg grinned. “To be blunt, Waltraute’s armor. As long as that is removed, everything should go well.”
Meanwhile, Heimdallr the watchman desperately tried to hold back a Valkyrie. Ultimately, Waltraute knocked him out of the way and started stomping down the third runway.
The goddess of beauty Freyja started sweating a bit.
“Hey, Freyja!! What is going on? Why are you preventing me from seeing what is happening in the human worl-…waaahhh!? Why is that boy with Lady Frigg!?”
“Just so you know, she is not trying to seduce that boy into cheating on you. …If anyone’s going to do that, I’ll make sure it’s me. I don’t wanna get married, but the thought of taking him as a quick snack makes me drool.”
“I know that and I have no interest in who that boy speaks with!!”
“ ‘Nooo! Boy, only look at me, Waltraute! I’ll even let you use my lap as a pillow and feed you cherries from my mouth.’ ”
“E-enough of your nonsense, you fool. I am asking for an explanation of what is going on!!”
Waltraute shoved Freyja out of the way and looked down at the human world of Midgard.
When she did, her magically heightened sense of hearing picked up the boy’s words.
“Eh? I don’t need to do that.”
“Why not? You were attracted to Waltraute’s femininity, weren’t you? Then don’t you want her to remove that armor and wear a cute outfit at least while on a date?”
“Hmm. But I like that armor.”
Waltraute averted her gaze slightly with her arms folded and let out a “hmph”. Needless to say, something belying her attitude could be seen on her face.
Freyja replied in shock, “I guess he is a young boy. Is he just at the age where they love swords and shields?”
“You fool, this is not something so simple. His unclouded eyes have seen the pure white light that is the essence of a holy Valkyrie.”
But then the boy in the human world added, “I like that armor because it’s sexy.”
“That’s the essence!! That’s the essence of it right there!!” shouted the goddess of beauty Freyja as she held her sides and rolled around.
Waltraute then began destroying pieces of the rainbow runways of Bifröst left and right.
However, the goddess Frigg had her own objective, so she used various arguments to convince the boy. Ultimately, she succeeded in motivating the boy by convincing him that he would enjoy the date even more if Waltraute removed her armor.
Frigg explained, “The armor worn by Valkyries is special, so it cannot be destroyed by normal blades. Naturally, it would be difficult to remove by hand. …Talking about ‘removing an aurora’ makes no sense, right?”
“Then what am I supposed to do?”
“Head to Niðavellir.” Frigg responded with a smile to the boy’s innocent question. “That is the underground world of the dwarves. They are extremely skilled with their hands, so they are the ones to create the tools and weapons we gods use. If you are able to receive the help of a dwarf, you can have a tool made that can remove a Valkyrie’s armor.”
Normally, no human from Midgard would ever think of approaching another world deep underground, but as usual, this boy had no such misgivings.
And it seemed the goddess of marriage Frigg intended to let him head off after giving him only a cursory explanation.
“The reason the previous date was a failure is likely because Waltraute was unable to get her mind off of work while still in her work outfit. If she removes that armor and puts on a cute outfit, you will get to see a different side of her.”
“Oh… Thanks, miss.”
“Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh!! Then I will be going. I should really stay with you for safety’s sake, but as the goddess of marriage, I cannot come between a man and woman any further than this.”
“Bye bye, miss.”
“Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh!!”
Frigg left with a smile as if she was some kind of gentleman thief. She seemed to truly enjoy that innocent appraisal over any form of flattery.
After his trip up towards the heavenly world of Asgard, the boy began a trip to the underground world of Niðavellir.
A single goddess looked annoyed up in the heavenly world of Asgard.
It was Freyja.
“Lady Frigg is trying her best, but will this really turn out okay?”
“What do you mean?”
“He may look cute, he may be the type I just want to devour, and he may make me drool, but isn’t that boy a little too delicate? Simply put, I doubt he can make it to the underground world of Niðavellir on foot.”
“Th-that is where you are wrong! Despite how he looks, he has a strong core. He is the boy who did not hesitate to take on the world tree. Heading to the underground world will be a simple… Ah!?”
“Why are you grinning like you are holding back from saying something, Freyja!? Is it that strange for the loser to refuse to overlook any insults turned toward the victor!?”
“Hah. Not at all. ‘My darling is so powerful and cool. I will not let anyone speak badly of him.’ ”
“I take it you want tonight’s main dish to be a sow ginger sauté…”
“Then how about we make a bet to turn this into a competition? I’ve been wanting a new accessory anyway, so if that boy does not make it to the underground world of Niðavellir, you give me those decorative feathers on your head!!”
“Wha-…? If I lose these, I will have no idea who I even am! No one will be able to tell it is me!”
“But I thought he was going to make it? You’ll win the bet, so does it even matter? You said that boy has a strong core, so he can easily make it to Niðavellir, right? Hee hee.”
“Uuh…!! B-but… What do I get if I win this competition?”
“Then Freyja here will give you a very hands-on lecture on what pleasures can be achieved between two wome-…Nothing, nothing. I was just joking.”
Waltraute pulled out her Spear of Destroying Lightning, so the goddess of beauty Freyja quickly corrected herself.
“Then how about this: As the goddess of harvest and fertility, I will give that boy an abundant harvest from the asparagus growing in his garden.”
“That still does not actually benefit me…but if that boy is satisfied I suppose he might be less likely to challenge me to strange and reckless competitions. If I look at it as adjusting the frequency of future competitions, it does benefit me.”
“ ‘I, Waltraute, want to see that boy’s joyous face. I will go to any effort at any opportunity in order to see it, so rub my head, darling!’ ”
“How about you repeat that nonsense after I hang you upside down?”
“If you’re going to tie me up, make sure my legs are spread.”
At any rate, the competition had been set.
Waltraute was betting the boy would make it to the underground world of Niðavellir while Freyja was betting he would not.
“(Idiot. Have you forgotten what will happen if that boy does make it to Niðavellir? I look forward to seeing your cute form after that boy removes your aurora armor, Waltraute. Nya ha ha!)”
“Hm? Did you say something?”
“Nyothing at all! Okay, now that the bet has been made, let’s see what’s going on in Midgard!!”
“Then again…” Waltraute may have consented to the competition, but she seemed worried about something else. “Hey, Freyja.”
“Will that boy be okay? When he tried to climb the world tree Yggdrasil to reach Asgard, he almost died due to issues with the atmospheric pressure and altitude. There will not be any trouble like that this time, will there?”
“It’s hard to say,” replied Heimdallr the watchman in all seriousness. “The pressure and altitude will not be an issue this time because he is heading down. But heading to the underground world means heading deeper and deeper into a cave. As the space grows narrower and narrower, he might not have enough oxygen, and it’s possible he could run across some volcanic poisonous gases down there. You can’t exactly say the journey is without its risks.”
“Is there no way to take measures against those risks? I do not want to have to act at the last second like last time.”
Everyone else there thought “that is only because you were too stubborn”, but they did not dare say it.
Heimdallr honestly replied, “I hear they use canaries in mines. When the oxygen is too low or dangerous gases are floating around, they react in a special way to inform you.”
Waltraute then turned to the two messenger ravens Muninn and Huginn.
They both began protesting.
“I don’t want to do a dangerous job like that!!”
“No good can come from acting as a sensor by being the first to collapse!”
The Valkyrie then slowly held up the Spear of Destroying Lightning.
“If you can make that much noise, you are perfect for the role. Now go.”
After Waltraute sent the two ravens to the boy, Freyja spoke up.
“But how are we supposed to see what happens in the underground world? We can’t see down their just by looking down from the runway.”
“Heimdallr. Hand over the horn.”
Heimdallr’s shoulders jumped when she held her hand out toward him.
Waltraute ignored that and continued.
“The Gjallarhorn. It stretches down to Jötunheimr so you can use it to drink the water of wisdom, correct? If we have it stretch down to the underground world, we can use it to view the boy’s movements.”
“Y-you can’t!! The Gjallarhorn is also used as a siren for the heavenly world! The final battle of Ragnarök could start at any moment! My duty as watchman is to inform everyone if I detect its coming!! So I cannot let go of the Gjallarhorn no matter wha-…!!”
“What a pain.” Waltraute shook her head slowly. “Are you really asking for me to become a tyrant once more?”
“Me too!? You’re going to do to me what you did to Muninn and Huginn!?”
He was in danger of becoming a heavenly meal.
After Waltraute swiped the horn from Heimdallr, it stretched out using magical power. It quickly stretched all the way to the human world of Midgard before stabbing down through the ground and into the cave leading to the underground world.
Waltraute and Freyja peered in through the mouth of the horn.
“Hm. It looks like we can watch using this.”
“I can kind of see why Lord Odin feared this marriage of yours. But as long as the galactic pretty girl Freyja can enjoy it, none of that matters!!”
“Are you coming up with groundless suspicions again, you fool?”
Thanks to the Gjallarhorn’s magical effects, it would easily move around even while stabbed in the ground as long as it was moved slightly from above. They would have no problems keeping the boy in sight.
As they viewed what was happening underground, they spotted the boy double-checking his possessions at what was more or less the entrance to the cave.
“Handkerchief: check. Snacks for when I get hungry: check. Water bottle: check. Okay, time to go!”
“He’s packing that lightly again!? He’s clearly only wearing sandals. And he doesn’t have any kind of light despite heading into a cave!!”
“Whoops, my hand slipped,” said Freyja unconvincingly as she tossed a torch into the mouth of the horn.
After a hard clattering noise echoed through the horn for a bit, the torch fell out from the roof of the cave the boy was in.
The boy looked puzzled, but then he picked up the torch and headed further into the cave.
“Wasn’t that against the rules?”
“We never set any rules.”
After casually turning aside Waltraute’s question, Freyja went back to watching.
The cave had many complexly intertwining paths that stretched out over vast areas. Plus, the underground world was split into two large categories. The boy found himself at a junction between many different paths. Among them, one led up to the surface, one led to the underground world of Niðavellir, and one led to the underground world of Svartálfaheimr.
“Oh, dear… It’s so hard to say, he’s started to say it wrong!!”
“He’s definitely going to get lost.”
“But there is a sign right there telling him which way to go…”
“If that other path leads to Svartálfaheimr, doesn’t that mean the dark elves come through here? I wonder if those prank-loving elves have switched out or altered the sign.”
The residents of the heavenly world grew quite worried, but the boy continued on into the cave with no real trouble.
The ravens Muninn and Huginn were secretly watching over the boy, but they did not start yelling about lack of oxygen or poisonous gas.
“Hm. This is quite normal. Nothing interesting is happening,” complained Freyja.
“Yes, this would be boring to the one who bet he would give up. But this is going extremely well for me since I bet he would make it safely. Nothing happening is for the best. All hail nothing happening! Who needs drama!?”
“ ‘Oh, I’m so worried. Waltraute is so worried about that boy. I hope he doesn’t get hurt. I hope he doesn’t get lost. Once he gets back, I’m going to give him a nice big hug!’ ”
“Do not start spewing strange nonsense just because you are bored, you fool!”
“By the way, aren’t you kind of denying the whole reason Valkyries exist by praising normalcy? Your job is to watch over and retrieve the souls of humans who die in dramatic ways.” Freyja gave an annoyed sigh. “But he’s headed to Niðavellir in order to request the dwarves make a tool for him, right? But don’t they make their items out of gold? And there are always a lot of extra issues to go with their tools. I wonder if he’ll be okay. I’d say the real challenge is yet to come.”
“Shh, wait. Someone is approaching that boy.”
The area near the entrance to the cave was very complex, but once one got onto the route heading to Niðavellir, it was just a single path following Yggdrasil’s root. A figure could be seen walking toward the boy from the other end of the passageway.
“Is it a dwarf?”
“They aren’t that tall. Ugeh!? That’s-…!!” shouted Waltraute when the figures face was illuminated by the boy’s torch.
The boy did not know who it was and the figure spoke to him.
“Oh? A resident of Midgard here? How unexpected.”
“Who are you, mister?”
“Ha ha ha. Sorry, but your skill is useless against a male god.”
The figure merely smiled at the sort of talk that had elated Frigg.
As he smiled, the male god said, “I am Loki. My origins are pretty complicated, but I am one of the Æsir.”
Meanwhile, the Valkyrie was trying to throw any and all weapons available to her into the mouth of the horn.
Freyja was frantically trying to stop her from destroying that treasure of the gods and the military level of the nine worlds.
“D-do not stop me!! That is Loki! That is Loki!! He killed the god of light Baldr as a joke, shaved off the blonde hair of the harvest goddess Sif as a gag, chaotically fathered both Fenrir and Hel, and is one of the primary causes of the final battle of Ragnarök!! It is so obvious he is lying about this being unexpected! He is definitely waiting to pull some kind of trick!!”
“That’s almost certainly true, but just calm down!! You’re about to destroy the world!!”
“I must do this to preserve the fairness of our competition!!”
“Yes, yes. I’m sure you want to go kiss that boy right now and just kiss and kiss and kiss!!”
Freyja tried to hold Waltraute’s hands behind her back but was thrown off. The giant boar the goddess of beauty usually rode around on slammed into the Valkyrie to buy some time. Meanwhile, the conversation between the boy and Loki continued in the underground cave.
“What are you doing here?” asked the boy.
“I was having the dwarves make a magic tool for me. That bastard Thor was really pissed that I shaved Sif’s head. I needed some replacement hair.”
“That’s why I’m here, too.”
“You also shaved a goddess?”
“I came here to have a tool made.”
“Oh, so that’s it. But ordinary methods won’t work with those dwarves. If you simply ask them, they’ll take an exorbitant fee and then run off without giving you anything.”
“Yeah. There’s a certain trick you have to use when asking something of them.”
Goose bumps appeared all over Waltraute’s body.
“He’s creepy!! That smile of his is creepy!! Vahh, vahh!! Get away from that boy right this instant!!”
“Just calm down!!” said Freyja. “While he’s most certainly a pervert, you’re in luck. He’s a male god! He won’t try anything of that sort with the boy, so just calm down!!”
“That is not what I was talking about! The fairness of the competition and the boy’s life are both at risk!!”
“Yes, I know what you claim your reason is. But this grouping won’t result in any kissing, so don’t worry!!”
“I-I suppose so.”
Waltraute finally calmed down a bit.
But then Heimdallr made an unnecessary comment.
“But what if he’s gay?”
“!! That’s right! This is dangerous after all! And come to think of it, Loki transformed into a horse, was mounted by a different horse controlled by a giant, and then gave birth to Sleipnir!! He was both a horse and the bottom!! Is there any less trustworthy god when it comes to sexual preferences!?”
“Dammit, Heimdallr! Why did you have to say that!? D-don’t worry, don’t worry. Such a turn of events may make me drool, but this isn’t going to turn into anything of that sort that maidens would love to see!! Calm down, calm down.”
As she pacified the angry Valkyrie, Freyja wiped a cold sweat from her brow.
Meanwhile, the conversation in the underground cave continued.
“What do I do to get them to make me a tool?”
“It’s simple. You have to…”
After receiving advice from Loki, the boy parted ways with the male god and headed further into the cave.
And up in the heavenly world of Asgard, Waltraute was wrapped in self-hatred after awakening from her anger.
“How much effort am I going to give for that boy…?”
“Well, you are married to him, so it isn’t wrong to react somewhat.”
The boy stopped to eat his snacks, drink from his water bottle, and fill his empty stomach with hard rye bread, but he finally made it to the end of the cave.
He had arrived at the entrance to the underground world of Niðavellir where the dwarves lived.
“So he has safely arrived at the other world. Ha ha ha!! I win the bet!!”
“Yes, yes. I’ll make sure the boy gets tons of asparagus. I’ll give him a forest of asparagus.”
“…Why do you not seem the least bit upset that you lost?”
(Because this means the project to strip you of your armor is well on its way to success. Hee hee hee.)
The goddess of beauty Freyja hid her true intentions and instead said, “Wasn’t the difficulty level of the previous challenge to climb the world tree just too high?”
“H-hmph! That was a competition officially arranged with a Valkyrie to manipulate her fate in the form of marriage! It was only natural for it to be that difficult!!”
“Can you make up your mind over whether you want to be hard on him or soft on him?”
The boy entered the underground world of Niðavellir.
Unlike the damp cave, the inside glowed with gold. Literally. All the buildings and roads were made from pure gold. That glow seemed a bit gaudy to the residents of the heavenly world, but it was an excellent scene for stimulating human greed.
The dwarves were only about half the height of an adult human and their skin was dark. They all mined and forged metals as both miners and blacksmiths.
“Excuse me. Where is the blacksmith?” asked the boy.
“I don’t know,” replied a dwarf.
“I need the blacksmith. Y’know, the guy who heats up metal and then beats it.”
“No, no. That isn’t going to work at all, boy,” said Waltraute as she held her head, but her voice could not reach the boy. “All dwarves possess skills as a blacksmith, so there is no specialist known as ‘the blacksmith’. The person you are looking for is right before your eyes, but you will never find him if you do not know how to ask.”
“…You sound more like a mother speaking to her child than a newlywed.”
After repeating that failed exercise a few times, even that boy realized something was off. He grabbed one of the dwarves walking along the golden path and asked him a question.
“Tell me which dwarf can make me a tool.”
“Y-yes,” said Waltraute. “That’s right. That is what you must say. It certainly took you some time to figure out something so simple. You really are hopeless…”
“That look on your face says quite a lot, you newlywed wife. Should I repeat out loud what that grin of yours is saying?” said Freyja.
The dwarf led the boy to his workshop.
The dwarf asked, “What would you like made?”
“Um…Mrs. Frigg said I could enjoy my next date more if I had a tool to remove a Valkyrie’s armor.”
“Ah!?” exclaimed the Valkyrie in realization. “I was so caught up in that competition that I forgot success means having my armor removed!!”
“So you finally caught on, hm!? But it’s too late now!!”
As Waltraute frantically tried to cover up her chest with both hands, the dwarf’s next question reached her ears.
“Can you pay?”
“But…wait. Wait a second!” said Freyja.
“Can we really have that dwarf make this golden tool?”
“O-of course not!! It is simply unthinkable to have my armor stripped off! B-but…I suppose… I suppose if that boy gets this tool made and earnestly asks me, I will have no choice but to go along with it…”
“That’s not what I meant, you exhibitionist,” spat out Freyja coolly. “The tools created by the dwarves are of such high quality that not even the Æsir can copy them. Even the lightning god Thor’s Mjölnir and the head god Odin’s Gungnir were made by the dwarves.”
“What is your point?”
“They put a curse on the gold they use,” continued Freyja with a serious expression. “Especially when it comes to those that shirk the bill like Loki suggested he do. Even the tools we use have a dwarf curse on them. The reason we remain unharmed is because our properties as gods repels the curse. But if a human who cannot repel it was to hold them…”
“Loki stole some gold from the dwarf named Andvari and gave it to the human Siegfried. It became one of the reasons behind the death of that hero who even sliced the dragon Fafnir in two. The magic sword Dáinsleif is usable by human hands, but it is also said to be one of the triggers for Ragnarök. Surely you have heard the stories. It is often said that humans cannot fully use the weapons of the gods, but that is a lie. In truth, the humans cannot withstand the curse put on the weapons by the dwarves.”
“Th-th-then…” Waltraute asked a question in a trembling voice. “What will happen once that boy accepts the golden tool the dwarf makes?”
“Hmm.” Freyja looked straight upwards. “He’ll probably die.”
And in Valhalla, the great hall of the heavenly world, the head god Odin was plotting.
“Honestly, I didn’t know what to do when Loki showed up. But now that boy will finally join the war dead.”
“What do you mean, father?”
That question was asked by the lightning god Thor who was Odin’s son.
Thor had been thoroughly beaten by a pissed Waltraute last time and had been on the verge of losing any meaning to his existence thanks to losing in a competition of lightning, but he was just barely holding onto his position as the lightning god.
Odin arrogantly replied to Thor from his throne.
“Well, it seems my wife Frigg and some others are tempting that boy into something. I have been watching on all the while, but I realized that allowing it to happen is better for us than to try to stop it.”
“So we let him have a dwarf create this tool?”
“Yes. The dwarves’ curses are not enough for us Æsir. But humans do not have that same protection. If they are handed a dwarf tool, there is only one possible result.” Odin grinned. “Did he not learn his lesson last time? Trying to cross to another world only brings death.”
“Oh, oh. Ohh!! I get it now. This will add that perseverant and courageous boy to the ranks of the Einherjar war dead! That is excellent!”
“Isn’t it, though!? Midgard is filled with all sorts of humans, but not many have tried to cross over to two other worlds!! Given the awe the average soul born in the human world feels for the world tree and the general unease they feel towards other worlds, they would find this completely unthinkable!! This boy will make an amazing war dead! And then the Wagner-style group of nine Valkyries will return to normal. Our preparations for Ragnarök will be perfect!! Ah hah hah! Gah hah hah!!”
The goddess of marriage Frigg held her head in her hands when she saw how pathetic the head god had become.
“Don’t tell me you actually think this will progress exactly like that.”
“You screwed up this time, Frigg!! I won’t do a single thing. After all the trouble you went to save that boy’s life, you have now handed his soul to me!!”
“…Sigh. You sound like some kind of great demon king.” Frigg sighed as she felt a serious headache coming on. “And do you really think this did not occur to me when I put together my plan?”
“It doesn’t matter what you say now! It’s too late!! That boy has already ordered that dwarf to create a golden tool. Once he received the tool from the dwarf, the curse will activate. A soul born in the human world has no way of defending against it. Even if a Valkyrie and a goddess are protecting him from afar, he cannot escape his fate. That level of protection isn’t enough. You need the protection we gods are born with to repel a dwarf’s curse!!”
Frigg was shaking her head at a loss for words, but she then added, “You two should really be more worried about a more pressing danger.”
“What do you mean, mother?”
“You may claim to just be watching, but you plan to bring that boy to join the war dead if this does not go well, right? Now how did you order Waltraute to deal with people who manipulate pure thoughts like that?”
The trauma from the other day came back to Odin.
With a great roar and a bluish-white flash of light, the wall of the great hall was smashed from the outside. A single Valkyrie stomped in through the rubble.
Odin was completely shaken by this development. He frantically tried to grab the holy spear Gungnir, but a Spear of Destroying Lightning mercilessly stabbed into the weapon. Sparks flew and Gungnir rolled into a corner of the great hall.
While standing in a foolish pose because his grasp had reached only air, tears filled Odin’s eyes.
“I-I’m the head god!! The head god!!”
“Rank and strength are unrelated, you fool. Do you need to be ripped apart before the giant wolf Fenrir devours you?”
“Shit!! War has been distorted again because that boy carelessly traveled between the nine worlds!!”
Waltraute had become more frightening than a deadly dragon, but Frigg merely sighed.
“Waltraute, calm down a bit.”
“Come to think of it, you are the one behind it this time!!”
“Th-that’s right! That’s right!” chimed in Odin. “I did nothing this time. I only watched! It was Frigg that led that boy to the underground world of Niðavellir! She is the one that told him to have the dwarves make him a golden tool!! This is all her fault!!”
Frigg spoke to Waltraute while ignoring Odin who was charging down the path of the pathetic.
“Like I said: calm down a bit. Don’t worry. This will not end like that bearded old man say it will.”
“…What do you mean?”
“It is true that the golden tools and weapons created by the dwarves are cursed. And it is true a human could not withstand that curse.” Frigg admitted all that, but she continued. “But there is a certain trick regarding that curse.”
She was still not entirely satisfied, but Waltraute returned to Bifröst with the goddess of marriage Frigg. When they arrived, the goddess of beauty Freyja spoke while peering down from the third runway to the underground world of Niðavellir.
“Oh!! Look, look! This has gotten interesting!!”
“What do you mean?”
With a suspicious look, Waltraute peered into the Gjallarhorn.
“Here. Will this work?” asked the dwarf.
“Wow, wow!! Thanks!!” replied the boy.
“W-wait!! Isn’t that dwarf handing him the golden tool he made!?” cried Waltraute. “He’ll be taken out by the dwarf’s curse!!”
“Shh. Look more closely, Waltraute.”
“It’s a multi-tool knife! It opens up!!” exclaimed the boy.
“Ha ha ha. Each tool inside automatically removes a portion of the Valkyrie’s armor. Just press the button and hold the tool out. It will do the rest on its own.”
“…What?” said Waltraute. “It does not look like he is being affected by the curse.”
“Of course not. It isn’t cursed,” replied Frigg nonchalantly.
Waltraute froze in place and the goddess of marriage continued speaking.
“The dwarves only put a curse on the gold because the Æsir did not pay them an amount worthy of the effort the dwarves put in. Most of the time, the tools were taken without payment at all. In the worst cases, the dwarves were threatened into making the tools with a blade pressed up against them.”
“Well, with that bearded old man who loves war as the main god, the gods are all overflowing with brute strength and little else.”
“When made to make the tools under those conditions, it isn’t surprising that a curse or two was added. But those war-obsessed idiots who think it is only natural to speak through their power may not be able to understand such subtleties.”
“You snapped and came to attack Valhalla partway through, right? You missed what happened in the middle. Freyja, could you explain to Waltraute what happened while she was away?”
“Um... but nothing very dramatic happened.” Freyja’s gaze wandered into the sky as she casually opened her mouth. “When the dwarf heard what the boy wanted, he asked about payment. He bluntly asked how much money the boy had brought.”
“Normally, the Æsir would either lie at that point or use their brute strength to threaten the dwarf.”
“The boy said the little he had on him was all he owned and therefore was all he could pay. I think it was about 7 silver coins.”
“That must have angered the dwarf. You said they needed to be paid an amount worthy of their effort, right? This is a tool made with the same handicraft as the weapons of the gods. Seven silver coins from Midgard would never be enough.”
“But that isn’t what happened.”
“When the dwarf saw those shabby silver coins, he asked the boy how much time it took him to gather the coins.” Freyja shrugged. “And the boy said it took him about a full month of work. What was it he said? I think it was something about it being what he earned helping out the mead maker he apprentices under.”
“But the dwarf finally smiled and said he would have to put in a month’s worth of effort to match it. It was horrible. A sparkling beauty like me hates, hates, hates that kind of sweaty conversation.”
“That is what happened,” concluded Frigg. “The dwarves do not care about how much money is given. They put in enough work to match the effort put into acquiring the money. For the Æsir who rule the nine worlds, a giant pile of gold coins can be acquired with little to no effort. That will not get anything out of the dwarves. And they feel disappointment and hatred toward those who fail to pay even that amount.”
“But…that boy…was different?”
“The dwarves’ curse is a reversal of their sense of professionalism and their sincerity. The curse appears when their pride as a blacksmith is betrayed. If a serious negotiation is made and their skills are respected, there will be no curse. And, Waltraute, you should know better than anyone what kind of person that boy is. It was my knowledge of who he is that told me this plan would work. In other words…” Frigg paused for a second. “Odin and the others brought about their own ruin by trying to use a challenge the boy had no chance of losing. Do you still have any reason to be mad?”
It seemed the entire issue had been cleanly wrapped up, but one problem remained for Waltraute.
“That boy now has a tool to remove a Valkyrie’s armor, doesn’t he!? Wh-what is this…? I feel a silent pressure telling me to strip!”
“…Yeah, but going on a date in full armor is just creepy. The military is all sweaty and nasty!! A boy does not want that from a girl!! Or do you think your husband has some ridiculous parameters like a sweat fetish!?”
“You fool! Of course I do not want to hear that we have to be in a gym during summer for him to be happy!! But…!!”
“Then strip! Strip off that armor! Strip! Strip!!”
“I do not like it… I do not like it, but since he has the golden tool, am I even able to resist? After all, the weapons and tools created by the dwarves are directly linked to the attributes of the gods. Just like the lightning god Thor must wield the lightning hammer Mjölnir and the head god Odin must wield the holy spear Gungnir, a tool to remove a Valkyrie’s armor must have the ability to remove my armor.”
“If you understand, then we need to decide what cute outfit you’ll be wearing! Will it be a nice dress? Or maybe some tight pants? Gwa ha ha ha ha ha!! Or maybe you can try some underwear that’s strings need to be tied together in such a complex way that no one would ever wear them under normal circumstances!!”
“Even if it is nothing but your wild delusions, that is going too far!!”
“Damn, this is one annoying Valkyrie,” complained Freyja, but Heimdallr once more added an unnecessary comment.
“Um, if you are that unwilling to remove your armor, can’t you just resist? Even if he has a tool to remove your armor, he is still only human. If you actually tried, you could…gyah, gyah, gyaaaaahhhhhhh!?!?!?”
The giant boar Freyja always rode around on slammed into Heimdallr and dragged him around the runway.
Freyja refused to have Waltraute grow stubborn once more thanks to an unnecessary comment.
Waltraute climbed onto her white horse while Freyja saw her off with a smile.
“I am going to head off for my date. We arranged this three days ago, so I have no choice!!”
“Okay, okay. If you like, you could reward the winner with some bonus points by bringing the goddess of love and lust along for a threeso-…never mind.”
The goddess of beauty shrank down when she saw the tip a Spear of Destroying Lightning.
Waltraute and the white horse used Bifröst to break their “existence” down to individual particles and descend to Midgard while creating an unnatural aurora across the sky.
Once the Valkyrie was gone, a smiling figure arrived at the third runway.
She was the goddess of marriage Frigg.
“…How is it going?”
“It’s just starting. Oh, Waltraute just met up with the boy!”
“Oh! Waltraute just led the boy to a deserted water mill!!”
“Well, it would have been quite a shock to the boy’s parents if she headed into his house. They would probably think their son was going to die soon.”
“F-fine,” said Waltraute down in the human world. “If you do not like my armor, you may remove it. But only in private.”
“Seriously!?” exclaimed Freyja. “She’s going to let the boy do it himself!? I-is this the scenario where the older girl teaches the little boy how to do it!?”
“I have prepared a number of outfits appropriate for a date according to the fashion sense of the human world,” continued Waltraute. “But my armor must be removed in order to change into them.”
“Ehh!? That’s what she’s doing it for!? She’s only stripping to prepare for the date!? That water mill is your goal point, so why are thinking about going somewhere else from there!? She really is the queen of the cock teases!! She’s such an amateur that you would almost think she was an expert!!”
“Does Waltraute know what is supposed to happen at the end of this date?”
While still probably having no idea what it meant, the boy pulled out the golden tool he had the dwarf make for him. Several devices opened up on their own from the multi-tool knife.
“I-I had not seen it up close like this before. It really is amazing. P-please be gentle.”
“This is my first time, so I don’t really know how to do it.”
“Go slowly. Just go slowly, okay?”
Freyja shouted out, “Just listening to this makes it sound really erotic!! I can’t believe she is actually trying to keep away from that!!”
“As the goddesses of marriage and lust, this almost feels li